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New Church Perspective
is an online magazine with essays and other content published weekly. Our features are from a variety of writers dealing with a variety of topics, all celebrating the understanding and application of New Church ideas. For a list of past features by category or title, visit our archive.

Entries in homosexuality (5)


Love Your Neighbor (yep, even those different than you)

Rather than argue her perspective with quotes from scripture, Michelle urges people to listen deeply to each other and maintain a humble and open mind when discussing homosexuality. While certainty remains out of reach, mutual love and respect must inform the search for it. This is the final entry in our July series on homosexuality. -Editor.

I am sure I’m not alone when I say that I’m still trying to balance my view on homosexuality between its modern cultural context and the authority I give the teachings of the New Church. We are probably the majority out there— wishy-washy about what we believe, or too hesitant to say what we actually believe in fear of offending someone. But the truth is, offense has happened. Feelings have been hurt. People have died over this issue. No matter what conclusion people come to, there is discomfort out there around homosexuality and it’s not going anywhere right now.

Here’s the way I see it: it is fairly evident that homosexuality is not completely orderly or within the parameters of “conjugial love”— procreation the obvious example.

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The third piece in our series on homosexuality is contributed by Lawson Smith. Rather than speaking out against homosexuality directly, Lawson focuses on the creation story and what it means to be created in the image of God, male and female. He draws passages together that suggest that the highest use we can perform in this world would be to raise children who can come to know the Lord and serve Him. -Editor.

Coleman did a very good job introducing this difficult subject. He referred us to a site where we can find several studies from doctrine on it. Dylan brought in a key teaching from the New Testament on love toward the neighbor. Perhaps it would be useful to look through some passages in bite-sized pieces, rather than in the form of an extended dissertation. Here are some reflections on one passage, the creation story.

When we open the Word, the first story is creation. That in itself tells us a lot about who the Lord God is.

On the sixth day, when God created mankind, it says, “And God created man in His [own] image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply…” (Gen. 1:27-28)

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The Pro-Love Agenda

Dylan's argument for the equal rights of homosexual people stands on the back of the greatest commandment, to love the Lord above all, and the neighbor as oneself. In a world of nuance and division, this message simplifies the terrain and encourages us to enlarge our concept of the human family. This is the second essay in our series on homosexuality -Editor.

I was asked to write a "liberal" response to the idea of homosexuality, a subject that is being debated here as well as many other places in our culture right now. I don't want to do that. I think these two teams have already done a very fine job of establishing their talking points and worldviews by this point, and all the movements, laws, websites and other armaments are firmly institutionalized to support either position. This culture war is already a war of attrition, each side hoping...I don't know, that the other side will be worn down enough that they'll relent and admit intellectual and theological defeat? Or that maybe the issue will just disappear, and all the detractors with it? I doubt most people even have a strategy for how this should all play out. They have strong emotions, and convictions, and that's enough to dig in and swing away - thoughtfully at times, crudely and aggressively at others. Either way, it'll likely fall to our children to settle this debate, mostly by not being interested in it. They'll have the robot uprising to think about after all, and gay rights will be lumped into the "issues my parents fought over" bucket, along with Facebook privacy concerns and lamentations over the death of paper books.

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This is the opening essay in our series on homosexuality. Here Coleman elaborates on his position that homosexual attraction is disorderly. By voicing that conclusion, he feels he can offer people who experience same sex attraction the opportunity to disconnect from that inclination with integrity and pursue a higher path. -Editor

“Growing up I thought homosexuality was kind of gross, and I just kind of accepted the church’s teaching that it was wrong, although even then I guess I had doubts about it. Then as I got older and went to high school, and then to college, I made friends with a lot of gay people. And I realized they were real people. And not only real people: real good, loving, warm, funny people. I realized that the ones who were in relationships truly loved their partner and were committed to the relationship. And so, yeah, I think the General Church’s stance on homosexuality is wrong. God cannot possibly disapprove of a loving relationship between two people. Love can’t be a sin.”

That quote isn’t from any one person, but it’s a sentiment that I’ve heard expressed again and again by my peers. If you did a poll of people raised in the General Church in my generation, I think you would find that the vast majority of them think that homosexuality is not evil, and that many homosexual relationships are positive and healthy.

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Editor's Box | Themed Series on Homosexuality

Starting on July first, we are going to deal with a very challenging topic. These days the conversation around homosexuality is very political and at the same time, for some people, it is very personal. It makes it a difficult subject to consider carefully.

We don't really need to point to the changing legislative climate, shifting cultural tide or consternation in churches in the western world to establish the obvious: that this is a pressing and often distressing topic for many people. It is almost certain that you will not agree with all of the articles published in the next several weeks. As with all the articles we publish, New Church Perspective does not necessarily endorse the opinions and ideas expressed. And it is important to be clear that New Church Perspective does not publish the New Church perspective. Instead we offer the thoughts and feelings of writers trying to speak from or about that perspective.

There are different ways to have a conversation. It can be very useful to find people who hold certain things in common. The more that is held in common, the greater can be the feeling of safety and the ability to get deeply into the nuances of a commonly held view. On the other hand, it can be valuable, though less comfortable, to listen to a wide range of divergent opinion. In this case, one is forced to work harder to listen, understand and maintain respect for the other people in the conversation.

In this discussion of homosexuality we have chosen to lean toward the second approach. Please join the conversation in the comment lines. The authors know that they have opened themselves up to strong disagreement from readers by writing on this subject. But, as always, make an effort to engage fairly. Try to avoid accusing others of bad motives or deliberate biasing of the subject. Please write sincerely and trust that others have done the same.

There are five articles in the series:
Homosexuality by Coleman Glenn
The Pro-Love Agenda by Dylan Hendricks
Creation by Lawson Smith
View of Homosexuality: Doctrine or Bias? by Dylan Glenn
Love Your Neighbor. Yep, even those different from you by Michelle Chapin