Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Gift from God

Some of you might have seen "Oprah" this week with the Rev. Ed Bacon, the rector of All Saint's Episcopal Church in Pasadena, CA, and his statement that kicked off a firestorm on the program when he told a gay man in Georgia, "Being gay is a gift from God."

Even Oprah looked a little surprised, and was wrestling with the idea that a man in a collar representing a mainline Christian denomination would actually call "gay" a "gift from God."

But Rev. Bacon, and countless others out there in Christendom, understand that the essence of who we are is "of God". You can even find it in today's Daily Office reading from Paul's Letter to the Ephesians:

"You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ*—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life."--Ephesians 2: 1-10

There are no asterisks, or opt-out clauses in this passage that say, "Applicable only to heterosexuals."

Now, the "Cut-and-Paste" Bible crowd often say that people who are gay are giving in to sinful, fleshy desires, and that the only way they can be right with God, is to repent their sin of same-gender orientation. But that presupposes that homosexuality occurs only below the belt, and between the sheets. Not true. If that were really the case, then sure: I could simply stop being gay by not having sex. And (by logical extension) straight people could also stop being straight by not having sex, too. Somehow, I don't think most heterosexuals, even the ones who like to quote the same ol' seven passages from the Bible, would buy that argument. Because that would mean their sexual desires would be the sole definer of why they are straight.

If we believe that God created us all, then we should also believe that God created us all with a blueprint that is uniquely God's, and imbued with special gifts given through the grace of God. Our sexuality, straight and gay and bi and transgender, are part of those gifts. And, as with any gift God has richly bestowed on us, it is freely-given in love to be shared with love and in stewardship. Such a basic idea, and yet one in which we're always looking for the fine print.

But you won't find the exceptions for gays. And you heard it on Oprah!


Janet/Redselchie said...

hey Susan, dunno if you have seen this or not (you've not blogged about it so I assume you've not :)~)

Gay bishop invited to pre-inauguration event in DC - it's about Bishop Robinson.

SCG said...

Thanks, Janet! And I actually did touch on this (one of my earliest influences in the church taking part in the inauguration? How could I not!) :)
Check below the entry "Obama and the Olive Branch".

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I have 4 children and my final Gift from God was my daughter who besides being funny, intelligent, thoughtful, caring, and multiple other things, is a lesbian. She is my gift from God along with her 3 brothers who feel the same way.