Sunday, April 26, 2015

How Should Christians Respond to Gay Behavior They Consider Sinful? A Lapsed Mennonite Replies Awkwardly to Bishop Silva


The Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to deny her cake and flowers at her wedding."

Now: Anybody with passing familiarity with the Christian Bible probably can spot right away that this is not a faithful retelling of the incident in John 8. Instead, it’s a telling of scripture as I re-imagined it in light of the law, passed recently in Indiana, allowing shopkeepers to discriminate against gays. My conservative writing/debating partner, Ben Boychuk, has told me on several occasions that my effort was “glib,” but I disagree. Satirical, yes, but considered satire, with a purpose that was quite serious: To suggest that Christians might want to reconsider this issue in light of an age-old question: What Would Jesus Do?

Of all the responses I received — and I continue to receive them, weeks later — none was quite as surprising as my discovery that the Bishop of Honolulu, Larry Silva, took my column and made it the centerpiece of his Sunday homily a few weeks ago. Suffice it to say, he did not agree with my outlook. He deserves to be quoted at length. (And, in fact, I’ll be writing at some length here, so you might as well settle in.)