Phil Robertson said some things that were coarse. He couldn’t, however, expound beyond his two killer paragraphs. I won’t try to climb in his brain and try to put words in Phil’s mouth, but I will offer my own observations. As a fan of “Duck Dynasty,” a practicing, stumbling, flawed Christian, and a kindred spirit with the Robertson patriarch, I want to thank him for raising the debate – it’s long-overdue. In that spirit, I offer 10 personal Christian observations for gays to consider as you temper the outrage you’re supposed to exhibit towards my brother in Christ, Phil Robertson.
#1: No one cares that you’re gay. Most of us – Christian and secular – don’t need to know what you do behind closed doors. You’re not that important. Neither are we. We’re humans, captive to the same planet and on some obscure mission to pursue truth and find meaning. Christians are, mostly, indifferent about the inner workings of your personal, selfish desires – as you are to ours. We care about your honesty, trustworthiness and integrity but really do not want to know the details of your private lives. Presume we don’t care because – we don’t.
#2: We all sin. Homosexuality is a sin. Period. So is fornication. Period. So is lusting after another man’s wife or daughter or son or property. “All fall short of the Glory of God.” We believe that. We believe there is no reward for us other than hell – unless we repent and try to amend our sinful nature. Is it possible for a gay man to go to heaven? Absolutely. Is it possible for a straight man to go to hell? You bet. Sexuality is not a qualifier or disqualifier of heaven. Grace is. How this Grace is revealed is through faith – and faith is borne of a soul fired in the crucible of sin.
#3: Do not expect me to endorse your behavior. I made a prediction 15 years ago if gay marriage is adopted, the gay lobby will be knocking on the school doors insisting curricula be established to promote their lifestyle. It appears I’m a prophet. But just as we (officially) will not allow the preaching of faith – any faith – in public schools, we ought not to offer up homosexuality as just one more “option” on life’s menu. Gay studies, gay curricula, gay “events” ought to be forbidden the same way denominational preaching is excluded from the public square.
#4: Our kids are not a pool of recruits. If you come near our kids and in any way try to seduce them into the gay lifestyle we will not act rationally. While we will always love our kids – unconditionally – regardless of their sexual orientation, even gays agree that homosexuality is not the preferred outcome. While the debate on “nature versus nurture” rages and the scientific community is unable to find a “gay gene,” we know that a good share of the gay community comes from the ranks of young kids who are sexually “confused,” and yearning for acceptance. I believe, myself, that many gays are gay not because they don’t like the opposite sex, but because the opposite sex (for whatever reason) doesn’t like them. Heterosexuality is a difficult dance to master. It requires a walk through a minefield of hormones, behaviors, expectations and heartbreaks. When you intervene in the process and prey (yes, prey) on youths who might just be going through a “phase,” you are a fox in my hen house. Your sexual conquest of my son is no less a sin than the sexual conquest of my daughter – either way I’ll be waiting up cleaning my gun.
#5: We don’t want to know the details. What goes on in my bedroom is a secret. Yours should be, too. ‘Nuff said?
#6: We don’t hate you. You can whip yourself into a froth believing the media, but you will soon learn what Christians learned in the first century: media lies. Don’t believe what you read about Christians – believe what you can verify personally! We would like to invite you on our o life raft, but first you have to admit you’re on a sinking ship. We’re praying for you. We want you to pray for us. Why? It’s what God requires.
#7: I don’t want to see it. I work downtown in a major metro area. One summer day, I couldn’t escape what I saw. During our local gay parade I saw two gay guys, clad only in their briefs, holding hands and sporting some vile thing written on their buttocks. I’m an adult and could digest what I saw, but I wondered about the parent with small kids who just happened to stray downtown. If you think my faith is offensive, consider the plank in your own eye!
#8: You can’t change the laws of physics. We believe God made men and women to procreate. In fact, it’s written precisely that way. It’s a natural law only a scriptwriter or a judge could exhibit the hubris to ignore. Look at the anatomical evidence – look how well the pieces fit! Men and women were designed for each other – physically and emotionally – to act as an independent authority inside a bond we call marriage. This bond is an ideal not just for the man and the woman but, particularly, for the nurturing of children. All other “arrangements” are outside of God’s norms. If you cannot accept this, you have to re-invent God – as many are willing to do.
#9: A sin is a sin is a sin. Which is the greater sin – homosexuality or murder? Fornication or adultery? Theft or swindle? Our gospel tells us a simple truth: all sin is equal. All sin is a condemnation to an eternity apart from God. Whether stealing a piece of candy from a store or disemboweling your neighbor with a garden spade you have sinned. There is only one salvation which, if you haven’t heard – is Jesus Christ. If you’re curious, there’s a church or a pastor available to help you wade through the confusion of the gospel. But YOU have to seek this counsel. Your relationship with God cannot be inferred or assumed by others. Proxies never appear at the Pearly Gates – and testimonials from your peers are never entered into evidence. Salvation, like death, is a solo performance.
#10: God loves you. It’s tough to imagine God could love such a flawed creation as us, but Scripture tells us so – time and again. Regardless of the depth of your sins, you have a place in heaven, but first you have to confess your sins and pledge to follow God’s prescriptions. The thief who hung on the cross with Jesus was guaranteed a place in heaven because of his faith. Jesus didn’t ask him if he was gay or straight. So, too, are fornicators forgiven – and idolators, the lustful, the drunken, the liars, the cheats and, yes, wretched liberals and intolerant conservatives. Jesus didn’t come to save the righteous – because there are none. He came to offer a means of knowing the Glory of God through an undeserved gift called Grace. Grace is available to all. It knows no boundaries of income, race, creed, or even sexual orientation. And you can have it.
But you have to seek it!
Jerry Lindberg is the author of two critically acclaimed fictional novels, “The Fingerprint of God,” (2007) and “The Battle of Mayberry,” (2013).