- There are a handful of references to gay sex in the Bible, all of them negative.
- There are somewhat more than a handful of references to gluttony in the Bible, nearly all of them negative. (I say "nearly" because I seem to remember that Jesus was accused of that vice, but it was maybe just sour grapes on the part of repressed Pharisees or Sadducees or whatnot.) Some of the consequences of gluttony were quite grim - I think of the Israelites in the desert gorging themselves on manna and quail - much to their detriment.
- There are way more than a handful of references to slavery in the Bible, almost none of them particularly negative about the institution itself.
- There are one hell of a lot of references to greedy neglect of the poor and marginalized in the Bible. It's always condemned in the strongest possible terms. Sometimes Jesus even seems to be saying that being rich, in itself, can be a terrible thing.
But let's say, for the sake of argument, that gay sex is, indeed, sinful. And let's say, too, that we agree (for the sake of argument) that the Bible is a good place to find out what's sinful and what's OK with God. I'm now standing, rhetorically, on roughly the same ground as a lot of people who then conclude that openly gay folks, in loving relationships, must be excluded from church leadership.
In my opinion, that's crap. Please refer back to the bulleted list above. Even conceding the point that gay sex might be sinful, I personally refuse to condone excluding gay folks from church leadership until such time as we are prepared to also exclude fat people. And rich people. (Want to know if you're rich? Click here.) And since that keeps me out of church leadership on two counts, I guess then I'll shut the hell up. But until then, I'll share the following not-so-humble offer with anyone who thinks that the handful of Biblical references to the sinfulness of gay sex is sufficient ground to slam doors in the faces of gay followers of Jesus: you show me a church leader who's free of unrepented sin, and I'll show you a big, fat liar.
The church is made of up, and led by, broken sinners. Broken sinners who are trying to follow where Jesus leads us, together. That's who God calls, 'cause there ain't anybody else to choose from. Excluding gay folks from church because of their "sin" is, in my opinion, a radical betrayal of this reality and of Jesus' example of welcoming all to his table - especially "sinners". I think Jesus calls us to that same radical welcome.
Sin is real, but it's up to God to judge and the Spirit to convict us and work change in our hearts. If you feel convicted to share with your gay brother or sister your concern over what you see as their sin, then I'm not going to tell you that's wrong. But I hope you're as ready to talk to me about the error of my gluttony and greed. We all need accountability from our fellow believers, and we all need their radical welcome too. And we really, really need to get over ourselves and realize that we're all - gay, straight, or otherwise - in the same boat.