Our culture seems to be preoccupied with sexual orientation. While traveling from California to Colorado we listened to an interview with Jennifer Knapp. She became a Christian music star shortly after becoming a Christian in college. After burning out on the celebrity life Jennifer left to find herself. After many years of searching the person she found was a lesbian who still wanted to be a Christian.
Here is where the orientation thing comes in. The interview is challenging to listen to and the thing that really struck me was Jennifer’s concept of personhood. Her identify, which includes her sexual orientation, had become her orientation as well. Rather than evaluating God, the Bible, and the world from God’s perspective everything is seen through the lens of her person. Her theology has become me-ology. The God of the universe must make sense to her given who she is.
What struck me is how common this is. You might read this and be tempted to judge Jennifer. Be careful. If a skilled interviewer was to sit down with me and have a similar conversation I’m sure that she would quickly discover that I have similar blind spots. I can’t see me objectively and I certainly can’t see me from God’s perspective. Even when I look in a mirror I only see a part of me. Most of the time I’m the center of the universe and I’m evaluating everything I see against my truth.
How do I objectively evaluate my lifestyle and behavior? I can read the Bible and that helps, but my reading of the Bible is influenced by years of experience and my own desires. I keep coming back to the importance of listening to God’s Word through the voices of people in my community who love God and me. Even that has its risks as not everyone has a high view of the Bible.
Years ago, I was in a meeting with members of our congregation. We had a disagreement over the role of the minister. As the elder in the room, I thought that if I made a clear case from scripture that this would settle the issue. I didn’t know what to do when one of the church members said, “I don’t care what the Bible says.” I fear that we all too often say something to the same affect when the Bible is clear and doesn’t fit what we want to do. Like Jennifer Knapp the struggle is even greater when God’s way doesn’t fit the way we want to be. I hope that I’m trying to be more and more what God wants me to be even if that involves uncomfortable changes.