Dear Spiritual Family,
Some of you have asked me about the PCUSA's approval of gay marrages. The D & C also called me for a comment, and below is my reply. I don't know what they'll publish of it, it anything. But it's an important issue and I want you to see my reply.
This is Fritz Longabaugh, Senior Pastor of Parkminster Church. Thanks for your attention to this important matter.
I was a pastor at a gay-inclusive church earlier in my career because I felt that issue important to fight for. Over time, though, I've come to see the issue differently. I think the heart of the issue is "what is love, and how do we know what love really is?" A compassionate, non-judgmental approach to homosexuality means affirming that like anyone else gay people are looking for love. It's my belief that some gay relationships do indeed provide important and satisfying companionship. I don't think God forbids that.
However, that doesn't mean God approves of sexualizing those friendships. And that's where the question "what is love and how do we know what love is?" comes in. Today most people see love as a feeling and those feelings are authoritative in deciding if we are in love. That approach is a disaster for marriages everywhere. Traditional Christianity holds that humanity has a problem called sin which distorts our feelings and indeed our very nature. We are no longer naturally inclined to true love but rather to self-indulgence. And that inclination leads us into all kinds of misery. My concern for gay people is the same as my concern for straight people, that our disordered sexual and romantic feelings will create a world of hurt for ourselves and others.
I've come to trust that the bible knows more about love than I do. The bible forbids homosexual expression, just as it forbids heterosexual sex outside marriage and lust and many other forms of sexual expression that are encouraged in popular culture. The reason why God forbids these things is because he invented love and he alone can define what love is. He wants us to experience love the way he intended -- even though it means resisting some pretty powerful feelings.
We have gay people at Parkminster and we want them here. Most if not all of us struggle at least sometimes with our sexual broken-ness and we think it's best if we do this in a community of Christ's love and grace.
My church, Parkminster, has decided not to try to leave the PCUSA. We do not feel at home in the PCUSA, but leaving means either surrendering our building or paying an estimated $500,000. We believe the PCUSA truly cares about people who are attracted to the same gender, but we disagree on how best to love and encourage them.
Senior Pastor, Parkminster Church