- by Candice Czubernat -
One day, while in class at the Bible college I attended, we were discussing whether The Bible allowed for women to serve as leaders in the church. A male classmate of mine used a verse from The Bible to “prove” that women weren’t allowed to lead. I distinctly remember the feeling of time slowing down and my heart and mind shutting down. I couldn’t breathe, or think. Had I rebuked his argument, I imagine it would have led us into deeper circles, ending in his ultimate authority of quoting the Bible.
This same thing occurs frequently when I talk with some Christians about homosexuality. While I truly don’t think it’s the original intention of the person doing the quoting to shut the conversation down, I wonder how they expect me to reply. What do they imagine I’ll say when they use the Bible as a sword to prove me wrong? I’m quite sure they don’t expect to hear, “You’re right. I am sinning and I’ll most likely go to hell. Thank you for pointing that out. Want to grab a beer?”
If I don’t believe that the intention is to silence me, then what could the intention be? And if the intention is indeed to silence me, how do I respond with grace and love instead of engaging in a Bible war?
It would be easy to engage in my own quoting of scripture, including historical and biblical context. I do understand the temptation to do so. There’s a certain power you feel when you essentially say that there can be no other perspective, because this is what God has said. When it comes to something most people have intense feelings about, such as homosexuality, it can be difficult to hold back. But, ultimately, it only serves to shut the conversation down even more.
If the Biblical battle is off the table, how, then, do we handle a discussion about homosexuality? While I’m not exactly sure, I do know that God would rather me be open to love. What does love say in the face of someone calling me a sinner and condemning me to hell? It’s painful to hear someone tell you you’re wrong, because it’s so deeply personal. But if I take a minute to deeply breathe in the love that I know God has for me, I can use that peace to bring the discussion to a deeper place and try to understand what the other person is feeling.
My hope is that we can love one another and have enough humility toward The Bible that we never “use” it against each other. We should use The Bible to initiate more conversation, not shut it down. My hope is that in the face of such a debate, I will have the courage and grace to learn more about the people who are trying to prove me wrong. I want to hear the stories of their lives and allow them to hear mine. At the end of the day, I pray to God that we are both changed for the better because we allowed ourselves to be known by another human being.
Once we see the glory that God created in each and every person and understand that we share so much in our human experience, the only option is to be changed for good.
. . .
Candice Czubernat is a licensed mental health therapist. She has spent the last 13 years studying theology and psychology grappling with how homosexuality and Christianity can co-exist. She is now an advocate working to educate those on both sides of the argument, and is a therapist at The Christian Closet. The Christian Closet is a therapy practice for Christians who are lost, scared and alone in their process in figuring out if they are gay. She sees her clients over the phone and via Skype so that no matter where they are in the country they can get the support needed. She lives with her partner whom she’ll be marrying May 2013. Learn more at www.thechristiancloset.com and www.facebook.com/thechristiancloset.