As an administrator at a small Baptist university, I have watched the recent news about Soulforce's 2007 Equality Ride and wondered what would happen if the bus stopped at our school. A group of gay, lesbian and transgender students are visiting 32 Christian schools to protest what they deem to be homophobic policies. Responses of the Christian schools have been varied, obviously. At many places, members of the group have been arrested, including at Baylor here in Texas where several spent the night in jail for illegal sidewalk-chalking. A friend at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama talked about their response, in which a group of Samford students met the bus in the parking lot, and each Samford student was assigned a Soulforce Rider to greet, give a tour of the campus, and eat with. After some discussion and disagreement, the whole group went to the chapel and offered a prayer together.
I want to start what will be a long discussion I'm sure by quoting Jesus in Luke 6.27-31:
But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
The modern evangelical church sees the homosexual community as its enemy (some of you are going to disagree with me on this, but I find most "love the sin, hate the sinner" arguments lacking in the love category, and our public statements sure sound like we think of immoral people as the enemy). So then, do Jesus' statements apply to the church at large? And if so, how?
It would seem to me that love--the kind of agape love Jesus is talking about--has at least 3 aspects: relationship, service, and sacrifice. How can the community of followers of the Way of Jesus practice those 3 things with the homosexual community regardless of whether you believe strongly that the Bible teaches homosexuality is sinful or whether you believe strongly that, just like our modern American view that slavery is wrong even though allowed in the Bible, homosexuality is viable in loving, lifelong, monogamous relationship?
This is a long and difficult question, and I invite comment on loving our enemies. There is a place to debate between the two viewpoints of my last question, but I don't want to go there until we really think about loving our "enemy".