Saturday, September 10, 2005

A Place for All?

This week I was part of a debate in the coments section over at Locusts & Honey on a post regarding the recent "Hearts of Fire" event at Lake Junaluska.

The debate centered on a question by one commenter about a place in the church for equal respect for Reconciling Ministries and Transsforming Ministries when it comes to issues around sexual orientation.

This is a hard one for me. I have no problem with offering ministry to people who are struggling with/trying to understand their sexual orientation. BUt too many of those in what are called Transforming Ministries state their aim is to help people find freedom from homosexuality--which sounds perilously close to seeking healing from it. When do you know that the line has been crossed between supporting a search and advocating which answer one is supposed to find? In our churches which contain people at both extremes on this debate, how do we find ways to talk to each other, not at each other.

When is our attempt to transform the world getting in the way of our seeing how God has made the world? I hunch that this question could (and should) be asked on many issues in our life. Not to say that the answer will be clear, or that those of us on different sides of the issues will agree, but I think we need to ask it from time to time.

7 comments:

  1. BUt too many of those in what are called Transforming Ministries state their aim is to help people find freedom from homosexuality--which sounds perilously close to seeking healing from it.

    If you hold that homosexuality is sinful behavior, then this is a rational response.

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  2. And for those of us who don't it can seem abusive and damaging. Therein lies the block to discussion much of the time.

    The challenge (on both sides) is to find a way to talk around/through/in spite of that block

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  3. looks like not much is different over the border---except for the fascination with hockey of course

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  4. You've already said it, Gord: I have no problem with offering ministry to people who are struggling with/trying to understand their sexual orientation.

    This implies that they are seeking the answers, and that you the counselling minister, are not coming down on one side or the other. Neutral, in other words.

    The so-called "rational response" described above postulates skewing the counselling in one particular way. Which means, it's not counselling at all. And it's fundamentally dishonest unless the person coming to you had already stated up front that they want to be "healed of homosexuality".

    Personally, even the incrfedibly open congregation which i attend could not support two such opposed movements (Reconciling & Transforming) in its midst.

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  5. The so-called "rational response" described above postulates skewing the counselling in one particular way. Which means, it's not counselling at all. And it's fundamentally dishonest unless the person coming to you had already stated up front that they want to be "healed of homosexuality".

    It's not dishonest at all. If you follow the premise that homosexual conduct is sinful, then the Christian response would be to counsel such a person away from that sinful conduct.

    In the same manner, if one holds that adultery is sinful, then if a Christian response to a query for counseling must attempt to persuade that person not to commit adultery again.

    You may disagree with the premise and the resulting conclusions, but that doesn't mean that they are dishonest. There is nothing dishonest about taking a stand on a moral principle.

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  6. THe honesty comes in how one presents oneself. IF you say that you are helping sek clarity but have a predetermined outcome then honesty is in doubt. OTOH, you need to be true to yourself and what you believe. SO if you see orientation as sinful then you are only dishonest if you hide that fact at the beginning of the processs (Trusting that the other can make their own choices about continuation).

    True, it is not the same type of counselling. But if we are open then we can each make choices based on informed consent.

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  7. Okay, I see what you mean now. Yes, Transforming Congregations, or any other similar organization, should be upfront about its views on homosexuality.

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