Can We Redeem Queer Culture?

I tussled with a few of the folks from Revoice right before Easter weekend, particularly Nate Collins. He was bothered by a tweet I posted. I wrote,

The Hunky Jesus and Foxy Mary pageant, along with the Folsom street fair, drag queen library story time, and a number of other similar homoerotic, fetish themed events that take place around the world, is the core of what defines queer culture. Any individuals attempting to normalize same-sex attraction and queer culture within the Christian church may not like that reality, but it is the truth.

The one breakout session that Nate kept insisting I hear is the lecture called, Redeeming Queer Culture: An Adventure.  Leading up to their first conference in the summer of 2018, that was the most controversial workshop advertised because the original description stated that queer treasure will be brought into the new heavens and earth. It was described as,

For the sexual minority seeking to submit his or her life fully to Christ and to the historic Christian sexual ethic, queer culture presents a bit of a dilemma; rather than combing through and analyzing to find which parts are to be rejected, to be redeemed, or to be received with joy (Acts 17:16-34), Christians have often discarded the virtues of queer culture along with the vices, which leaves culturally connected Christian sexual minorities torn between two cultures, two histories, and two communities. So questions that have until now been largely unanswered remain: what does queer culture (and specifically, queer literature and theory) have to offer us who follow Christ? What queer treasure, honor, and glory will be brought into the New Jerusalem at the end of time (Revelation 21:24-26)?

My detractors implied that after hearing the talk and thoughtful reflection, I would not have made such an incendiary remark suggesting that Revoice leadership is bringing sexual perversion into the church. I took up the request and gave the session a listen. Are there virtues within “queer culture?” Is “queer culture” even a legitimate description? I wanted to provide my review for others to consider.

Disappointingly, the overall presentation was untethered from Scripture. I guess that should be expected, though. Sure, a few passages were mentioned here and there. For instance, Acts 17 and Paul’s confrontation with the philosophers on Mars Hill receives the most examination. In the same way Paul cited a couple of secular, Greek poets in his sermon, so too can Christian utilize positive elements of so-called queer culture.  But what God’s Word clearly says about homosexuality, relationships, marriage, and sins of the heart, was not even expounded upon. Instead, the presentation’s trajectory is set early on with affirming the secular definition of orientation as defined by the American Psychological Association.

After the introductory pleasantries, the bulk of the talk is a hagiographical retelling of the gay struggle in the United States. Gays are identified as “sexual minorities,” an Orwellian-style description that has floated throughout the vernacular of Revoice advocates and their Living Out counterparts in the UK for a while now.

Similarly to how other cultural minorities were mistreated and marginalized in early 20th century America, so too were homosexuals who had to remain closeted for fear of losing jobs, friends, and even family. The heavy promiscuity within the homosexual community is blamed on society forcing gays to live in the shadows. Gay literature, like The Price of Salt and Angels in America, is recommended to the audience as having helpful insight with understanding the gay experience. Christians can gain sympathy for the personal trials homosexuals have had to silently endure, often times alone.

Moreover, the history of homosexuality in America is white-washed and the sexual deviancy of the various activists groups and individuals within the movement is played down or dismissed altogether. Take for instance the Stonewall riot. The traditional gay narrative of oppressed homosexuals standing against bigoted police brutality is advanced, while ignoring the fact that the police were not raiding the establishment for violating sodomy laws, but because illegal drugs and alcohol was sold. Additionally, there is no mention of radical homosexual activists groups like GLSEN aggressively working to introduce homosexuality and other perversions within public school curriculum, nor the various explicit versions of gay manifestos posted online. Instead, what is defined as “gay culture” is the expressions of writers and artists and fashion designers. That is the queer treasure that should be filtered out and brought into the New Heavens and New Earth.

The talk concludes with exhorting churches and straight Christians to recognize the struggles of Christian sexual minorities. Rather than speaking about biological families and the importance of marriage, Christians need to think in terms of biblical families, those who have left biological families, fathers, mothers, and siblings, to find spiritual kinship within a chosen family that is following Christ. What Jesus told the disciples in Mark 10:28-30.

After listening to that presentation, I must confess that I am even more troubled by what is being brought into the church.

Reflecting on the talk I think what bothered me the most was the unspoken assumption that there is a legitimate group called “sexual minorities” and that Christians may identify with them. It’s just an unspoken given that individuals who struggle with the inordinate affections of homosexuality are “born that way” and must accept the reality that they may never change. And as a sexual minority Christian, a person must resign to the fact that he or she will remain celibate, only finding intimacy among the companionship of friends within the so-called shared community.

On top of that, friends, family, and parents also must accept them as they are, never assuming that change in desire can happen and certainly never pressuring them to change. Instead, loved ones need to involve themselves in their struggle, realizing that these sexual minorities have unique needs and produce their own special culture. Instead of looking to change them to like girls or boys, Christian friends should seek to understand and embrace the best of what queer culture has to offer, like creativity, interior decorating, and sharp clothing.

However, the problem with the notion that the best of what queer culture has to offer is vibrant creativity that will provide wonderful treasure for the kingdom of God is that it’s a stereotypical myth that gays own the market on creativity. Artistic expression has never been exclusively a gay culture thing. Bach, for example, is one of the greatest composers the world has known and he wasn’t gay. The same can be said about hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals throughout history.

It truly is a despairing outlook that was presented. I would even go so far as saying Christless. Jesus doesn’t genuinely save souls and redeem lives. There isn’t any newness of life, freedom from sin, or a new heart that is promised in the New Covenant. There is no hope that a man or woman can obtain healthy, natural sexual desires for someone of the opposite sex. Instead of putting off sinful habits and desires and putting on the new man in Christ that is robed in holiness, those struggling with homosexual desire should muck through the sewer that is “queer culture” attempting to redeem various facets and adapting them to Christian living.

Tragically, I believe we are witnessing a similar pattern emerging in the church that happened with Israel in the book of Judges. Rather than casting out the Canaanites from among them, Israel began to befriend them, eventually giving their sons and daughters to them in marriage. Those serious compromises became a snare for Israel. It led them to idolatry and covenant unfaithfulness and eventually to God’s judgment. The more the Christians adopt worldly thinking regarding sexual sin, the quicker we move to having Christ write Ichabod across the doors of our churches.

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  1. Pingback: Saturday Sampler: May 25 6 — June 1 | The Outspoken TULIP

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