Gay con­tro­versy a dif­fi­cult ter­rain

The Herald (South Africa) - - Opinion & Analysis -

“Damned if I do, damned if I don’t” is an apt adage in terms of re­spond­ing to W van Niek­erk’s let­ter (“Don’t mis­in­ter­pret the Bi­ble”, July 6).

Although I am loath to ex­press an opin­ion on the very sen­si­tive topic of LGBT is­sues, I am equally con­cerned that some of my fel­low Chris­tian lead­ers in the city may mis­con­strue my com­ments.

Hav­ing coun­selled many gay cou­ples as a pas­tor, I have come to a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of some of the painful chal­lenges they face in the dom­i­nant het­ero­sex­ual so­ci­ety, not­with­stand­ing the per­ceived ho­mo­pho­bic attitude of the church.

ACDP coun­cil­lor Lance Groot­boom ob­jected to the coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to fly the gay pride flag on the Donkin Re­serve (“ACDP coun­cil­lor flies anti-gay flag”, July 4).

Van Niek­erk ac­cused Groot­boom of bib­li­cal ig­no­rance and listed a litany of Scrip­tures he be­lieved needed to be “cor­rectly in­ter­preted”.

Hermeneu­tics is the science of bib­li­cal in­ter­pre­ta­tion and schol­ars who ap­ply this science ex­eget­i­cally agree that the Bi­ble con­sid­ers same sex unions a sin. The gay de­bate is a dread­ful mine­field that can fur­ther po­larise and di­vide fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties.

Chris­tian lead­ers should be more cir­cum­spect and lov­ing when con­fronted with this co- nun­drum. The gay con­tro­versy needs dis­cus­sion that is ra­tio­nal, pru­dent and ob­jec­tive with­out nasty name-call­ing and ridicule.

All of us, ir­re­spec­tive of our sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, are de­praved and in need of a Saviour.

There are no con­clu­sive sci­en­tific tests to prove or dis­prove “ori­en­ta­tion” or pref­er­ence, ex­cept the bib­li­cal ac­count of our de­par­ture from the di­vine pro­to­type.

To say that ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity is an abom­i­na­tion is not help­ful but hurt­ful. Is it nat­u­ral?

Is it a norm? Is it the re­sult of na­ture or nur­ture?

These ques­tions will not solve the prob­lem. We have to ad­mit that we face a fright­en­ing fu­ture as a species.

With the ad­vent of hu­man­like ro­bots, it is too ghastly to con­tem­plate the next 100 years.

I do un­der­stand that an at­trac­tion to a same-gen­der or op­po­site-gen­der per­son is not a choice. The mo­ral agency of how we re­spond to that at­trac­tion is a choice.

Ad­dicts may feel jus­ti­fied in in­dulging in their vice by stat­ing that they never chose to be an ad­dict, but we know that how they process their thoughts will re­sult in their re­cov­ery or lapse.

An­other ob­ser­va­tion is that mod­ern man is con­fused with the emo­tion of love and equates it with sex. “Phileo” love (pla­tonic) need not be “eros” love (sex­ual).

The hu­man race is sick and in need of a di­vine an­ti­dote. We be­come what we think. Man­age the thought and you will change be­hav­iour.

I dare not keep si­lent be­cause the likes of Van Niek­erk may feel the Chris­tian com­mu­nity has lost the de­bate and nei­ther can I ar­tic­u­late my opin­ion with­out the likes of Groot­boom feel­ing jus­ti­fied.

This is why I stated, “I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.” Choose this day whom you will serve!

Bruce Woolard founder min­is­ter of St Marks Church and pas­tor of St Davids Church

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