As we enter into this debate, we can’t avoid the fact that this is personal for most of us; few can take an ‘objective’ stance on this issue when we all of us exist in a society conflicted about issues of homosexuality, with most of us hearing from at least two vocal groups of lobbyists. Many of us also have friends, family, and workmates who identify as gay or lesbian. These personal relationships matter to us. And all of us in the church are personally involved in reading and living according to the scriptures; how we interpret them in this matter makes a difference to how we interpret them generally and vice versa; so for all of us, this is an important personal issue.
That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If it wasn’t personal, it would simply be an academic exercise, and not really worth bothering about. We become ‘emotionally involved’ when things are meaningful to us. The depth of personal investment in this debate means that we’re dealing with issues that are of great importance to us. It is right and good that we should address such issues with care and consideration.
We should also be careful to address these issues with care and consideration for the persons who are involved in the conversation; for ourselves as individuals, for those we know to identify as homosexual, and for those others with whom we might agree or disagree, but who all have something to say, and a right to be heard with respect and humility. Yes, this debate is personal – but that should be a positive thing, not a danger.
Finally, the single most important relationship for all of us is with the person of Jesus Christ. “For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Jesus has given us new life – to be with Him and like Him, and it is from that beginning point that we understand all that follows. It is because of Jesus that we love the scriptures; because he loved them and taught them – and challenged people to see them in new ways, and to look beyond them, too! (Matt. 5.17-48, Mark 2.23-28, Luke 24.13-32, John 5.39-40). It is because of Jesus that we will love our brothers and sisters who experience homosexual desires, regardless of how they deal with those desires – because God in Christ has loved us and we can do no less. It is because of Jesus that we seek his kingdom; it is his calling to us to do so, and it is as his body that we serve in the unity of his Spirit.
Jesus gives us the confidence to seek for the truth, and to believe that He will bring light into the darkest corners if we trust Him.
 For those who don’t personally know any homosexual people, there are some excellent video resources, books, and articles by Christians who identify as gay – and who have a wide range of perspectives on the issues before us.
II Corinthians 4.5-6, NRSV, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 1989.