Welcoming, but not affirming.

Posted: March 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

Recently I heard a bishop say that he was welcoming of LGBTI people but not affirming of them.

I’ve been mulling on this, (which is not a good plan for me).

I find it upsetting somehow that I can be “welcomed” into the Church and at the same time not affirmed. It’s like come in but we don’t approve of you.

This is nowhere in the Bible as I can see. It’s not really “putting out of fellowship” as Paul describes when there was a problem in one of the churches. It’s more like “come on in but don’t expect to be an equal”.

What would Jesus do? Samaritans were really really hated by Jews, they were looked down upon, along with tax collectors. But when Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well there was no “welcoming but not affirming”, he simply laid out who He was by making a statement about her life, something he could not have known. (John 4). What is fascinating is that a lot of Christians read into it that Jesus condemned her lifestyle, but in fact, he simply pointed out what her lifestyle was and left it to her to work out the rest. The Holy Spirit convicts but it is up to us to respond.

He was good at that, in Matthew 19, he simply made a statement about Eunuchs. He didn’t seem interested in the “rights or wrongs” of such people.

If we are truly embrace the Golden commandment found in Matthew 22 there is simply no place for this sort of attitude. Loving your neighbour as yourself means welcoming and affirming someone as if they are you. Rejecting someone or expressing anything less than full acceptance of a person is veering towards the “Sheep and the Goats”, “What you did to the least of these you did to me”.

So I don’t think being welcoming but not affirming is a Christian view. It’s the “Love the sinner hate what I think is their sin” idea, which incidentally is nowhere in the Bible. The truth is we love ourselves and let ourselves off of our sin, but are quick to find fault in others. This is a kind of Christian Narcissism. If we truly loved our neighbour as ourselves we would simply love people. No holes barred.

So I’m cool if you don’t want to affirm me bishop. IF you’d just like to explain that to Jesus.

 

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