When i confront the issue of homosexuality, I do not immediately think of the theology of human sexuality, of Christian sexual ethics, or of matters of church order. To think about homosexuality is to think about people—people whom I have known as acquaintances and a few well enough to love.

I think of Tom, who begged me to help him regain his Christian faith and stop both his compulsive pursuit of anonymous sexual encounters and his seduction of teenage boys. Before I really had a chance to know him, Tom announced that he did not want to control himself any longer. He later wrote me in shocking and angry detail of his immersion into the rough leather world of the gay bathhouses and alleys of San Francisco. Tom is now dead of AIDS.

I think of Gail, a lesbian in a monogamous relationship, who speaks with passion of her Christian faith, but who worships a god who accepts and affirms the “god force” within us all. She argues that the true Christian faith does not get bogged down in repentance and forgiveness but is empowered by love of any kind. Gail felt her lesbianism should not entail a denial of her right to experience motherhood. She had several friends donate sperm so she could be artificially inseminated with no ties to a father. Gail gave birth to a baby whom she loves deeply.

I think of Fred, who was homosexually molested by an older brother as he was going through puberty. He subsequently threw himself for six long years into a highly promiscuous gay subculture. He experienced no attraction to women. When Christ claimed his life, he immediately forsook his homosexual behavior in simple obedience to what he perceived to be the call of God. After a couple of years of costly discipleship and growth, Fred felt called by ...

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