This article was published during the controversy by the Evangelical Church in Malta about ‘gay conversion’. It first appeared on the Time of Malta on Monday, May 16, 2011.
On the spur of the moment, much has been said about homosexuality and Christianity.
Claims have been presented by a particular religious community about the corrupted nature of gays and lesbians; homosexuality is absolutely sinful, and no LGBT will enter the Kingdom of God. Interpreting the Bible word for word with no knowledge of different interpretative methods leaves the homosexual with one assumption: “I am a sinner and a dishonoured creation”. The proposed solution for an LGBT to inherit the Kingdom of God is to change one’s own sexuality and repair what has been tainted.
However, if this reparative therapy fails the LGBT person is considered lacking in faith and a sinner. Based on such assertions I am not surprised that many LGBTs reject these militant religious conclusions, and they ought to do so!
Faced by this extreme interpretation of homosexuality and Christianity, I wish to convey an uplifting spirituality through my participation with Drachma (an LGBT Christian community) and through the support of modern priests and theologians. Such spirituality harmonises the individual’s sexuality with the Christian faith. Primarily it stems from a respectful appreciation of God’s creation. No creature of God is considered corrupt, and like heterosexuals, homosexuals are viewed as created beautiful and called to love God.
The notion of sin changes; sin no longer encompasses what sexuality one possesses but is about how one expresses it. This argumentation has Biblical roots and the individual starts relating to God as a Father rather than a judge. Hence, an LGBT individual has a rightful contribution to creation which stems from the conviction that all human beings are created in the image of God.
If others think differently and believe that change is the only option, no one will prevent them from believing this, but I prefer to view my sexuality as constantly transforming; viewing sexuality as a disposition to know God; a God who is not rigid but continuously active and close to the different characteristics of humanity. Sexuality becomes part of the package of the individual’s identity and it is through the whole identity that the human being is called to encounter God. Hence, for LGBT their sexuality is not an obstacle to attain the Kingdom of God but it becomes a necessary instrument (as it should be for heterosexuals too!). It is a gift bestowed by God which through it, one can view God’s love differently. Let me be explicit: no one has the authority to deny us this divine gift.
Without delving on the argument of celibacy and the manner how one should express morally one’s sexuality, it must be highlighted that no institution or community can provide a perfect and flawless blueprint about the appropriate manifestation of one’s sexuality.
Any exhortation about morality based solely on sacred scripture is not only problematic but it instils a fundamental and extreme notion of Christianity which can lead to violent behaviour. The Bible has its proper importance in the cultivation of spirituality with the Trinity, but other important instruments must be used to explore and understand realistically what God reveals.
I recommend LGBT individuals to read what James Alison and Margaret Farley propose in their theology. Through such reading not only does one grow profoundly in faith, but through their theological reasoning depict a genuine inquiry on sexuality and Christianity.