A Better Conversation about Homosexuality

Jason Micheli —  August 2, 2012 — Leave a comment

Already I’m weary of the amount of FB posts, Tweets, and talking-head debates around Chik-fil-A.

Maybe if I’d ever actually enjoyed Chik-fil-A I’d care more or maybe I’m ambivalent because I lament how the tenor of this debate, from both sides, has done harm to the Church’s unity and greater damage to how the un-churched perceive the Gospel.

A former teacher of mine at Princeton, Christian Ethicist Nancy Duff, in her essay, How to Discuss Moral Issues Surrounding Homosexuality When You Know You Are Right, defers to the philosopher John Stuart Mill to explain why it is important for Christians to dialogue with Christians of differing views:

1. Mill reminds us that because we are fallible sinners, if we ignore an opposing opinion we may in fact be ignoring the truth.

2. Mill points out that even if another’s opinion is in error, it may still contain a portion of the truth.

3. Mill reminds us even if we are entirely correct in our position that position risks becoming simple prejudice if we cease to be in conversation with those who would disagree with us.

So, as another cultural conversation around marriage and sexuality has risen to a boil I think it would be appropriate for Christians to remember that A) you are fallible (sinful) and B) to ignore one of your peers may be to ignore truth that the Spirit is trying to speak to you.

Remember that even if you think one of your peers is wrong, it’s not likely they’re absolutely wrong.

Listen for what you think is true about their perspective. And do not forget that even if you have no intention of ever changing your mind on these issues, you owe your peers the hospitality of your ear. As Barbara Brown Taylor says, you can’t see the image of God in someone when you’re screaming at them.

Jason Micheli

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