We’re at a great cultural moment for the Church of Jesus Christ, and when I say this I mean the conservative Church. i.e. those who believe God’s word says what it says, and who refuse to let their faith be captured by the cultural torrents of the moment. This even includes conservative Jews who embrace Scripture. It shouldn’t surprise us that sexual ethics is at the heart of this cultural challenge. The sexual revolution of the 1960s and 70s was a sea change in Western culture, and homosexuality and gender issues are simply the logical conclusion of this change. (See the wonderful book Adam and Eve After the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution by Mary Eberstadt to see just how convoluted and inverted values and morals have become over the last 50 years or so.)
This piece at Touchstone by Brian Patrick Mitchell, “Gay Christians? The Grave Danger Coming Out Poses to Christian Churches,” is a sobering reminder of what is at stake in the current cultural battles. In case you are not aware, there has been a growing number of people who self-identify as “gay Christians” who are committed to celibacy. On the face of it this seems like a welcome change; better this than debauchery, or changing the definition of marriage. But after reading Mitchell’s well thought out and argued case, there is a definite downside to accepting the “gay Christian” label.
I’ve always thought and am thoroughly convinced that a large number of people who accept the homosexual label and lifestyle do so because of cultural reasons. Culture is one vast plausibility structure; what appears and seems true to a person is mediated by that culture. American culture today and for several decades has said that homosexuality is just as normal and right and good as heterosexuality, a natural expression of the sexual urge, and that to not embrace the homosexual passions and act on them is to deny your authentic self. And of course, repressing sexual urges is uniformly bad, right? So when a young person begins to have same-sex attraction everything in the culture says, go for it! Be true to yourself! That person instead of fighting these unnatural and sinful passions, embraces them and their entire identity is built around them. It just seems right to them. Mitchell believes acceding to the “gay Christian” label destroys the Church’s ability to fight against this sexual sin and the culture that promotes it.
He outlines an approach that recognizes the biblical norm of heterosexuality, of “male and female he created them,” and explains how Christians can live a counter-cultural message and actually help those struggling with this sin:
This biblical and traditional approach to sexuality edifies everyone, especially those afflicted by homosexual passion. Strong public sanctions against sodomy confirm the norm of heterosexuality, reinforcing the distinction between male and female and eliminating any uncertainty as to the proper sexual use of the human body. Intolerance of homosexuality actually strengthens those afflicted by homosexual passion in their struggle against temptation by impressing upon their consciences the enormity of the evil, giving them even more reason to “put off the old man with his deeds.” It teaches them self-control by minimizing opportunities for temptation and making indulgence unthinkable.
It also encourages them to live heterosexually as much as possible. For the young person just beginning to experience same-sex attraction, this means struggling against the attraction, adopting the manners and courses of life appropriate to his sex, directing his romantic attentions toward persons of the opposite sex, and often even eventually marrying, begetting or bearing children, and otherwise living in every way as a normal (yes, normal) man or woman.
Needless to say this is as politically incorrect as a person can be circa 2015 America, but the Bible could not be more clear, regardless of what is claimed, that God’s design for sex is exclusive to men and women within the context of marriage. Well meaning Christians who in the name of love and tolerance are not willing to call a spade a spade, or a sin a sin, should engage Mitchell’s argument to see if they are not actually causing more harm than good.
Christina Lee has a heart for missions, and when she was younger went to China to follow her heart. Prior to that she had worked in Hollywood but felt compelled to share the gospel with people on the other side of the world. While there, however, she had a revelation that Hollywood was as much a mission field and in need of the gospel as any country on earth, and she followed her heart back. She realized then and still does, that the influence of Hollywood around the world, for good and ill, is something Christians cannot afford to ignore.
Now she is the President of Act One, a community of Christian professionals in the entertainment industry. In addition to ministry work, it is also a training program for aspiring filmmakers, providing in-class instruction from professionals, internships, and practical experience. The program is divided into two branches: the Writing Program (with several advanced tiers for mentorship-driven workshops) and the Executive Program, which trains students in the development and production side of the business. Both programs typically take place side-by-side in the summer.
In addition to her work with Act One, she is also an international independent producer who has collaborated with filmmakers from around the world. Her most recent producing credits include To Save A Life, The Least of These, and Flesh: Bought & Sold in the U.S., a documentary about the widely overlooked yet widespread practice of human trafficking in the United States. Christina was Production Supervisor for the highly acclaimed, 2012 Oscar-winning film The Artist. She was Manager of Digital Production at Rhythm & Hues Studios (R&H), which recently won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects for their ground-breaking visual effects work on Life of Pi. While at R&H in digital production management, Christina also worked on over a dozen films including The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Happy Feet, and most recently Hunger Games, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.
Christina has a passion for making films with profound themes. She is an alumnus of Act One: Writing for Hollywood program and has served on its Advisory Board for the Executive/Producing Program. She is also a member of the Producers Guild of America and has been serving on the guild’s National Board of Directors and AP Council Delegates for the last 6 years. She recently received the AP Council Commitment Award, the highest award given by the AP Council.
We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind of self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the ten commandments of God.
The last month or so I’ve been seeing pictures online of what is obviously a man dressed up like a women promoting a TV show called Transparent. Apparently it won some Golden Globe nominations last month. I had an inkling why. Doesn’t it figure that in 21st Century America the first streaming series from Amazon is about a transgendered person. This is obviously the next great wave of cultural transformation brought to us by our secular progressive cultural elites. Obviously we need to become more tolerant and accepting of minorities and those different from us. Notice what this show is about:
“Transparent,” the latest gift from the streaming Gods, is being released in its entirety Friday, the better for binge watching one half-hour episode after another.
The Amazon series, created by “Six Feet Under” and “The United States of Tara” alum Jill Soloway, revolves around an L.A. family that would give Fox News anchors a cow if they stumbled across it: The father (Jeffrey Tambor) has been secretly dressing as a woman for years, and eldest daughter Sarah (Amy Landecker), a stay at home mom with kids, begins screwing around with her lesbian lover from college soon after they meet again. Then there’s music producer Josh (Jay Duplass), who has had a secret affair with the family’s baby sitter, and is carrying on with a young musician client Kaya (Alison Sudol).
Youngest Ali (“Girls” co-star Gaby Hoffmann) has no job and questionable judgment.
The Pfefferman family, is other words, is gloriously unconventional. Even better, it is not studiously so. Family members can’t help but follow their hearts wherever they lead them; they are not trying to create waves.
How quaint. This is quintessential post-modern America, post-Christian in every way. The ethical imperative, what is truly virtuous in our day is to “follow our hearts” because there is nothing more important than self-fulfillment, of being “authentic” to our true selves. This is of course absurd because the writer would never say the rapist or racists or sexist or thief or murderer or bully or any person with any number of such vicious actions or attitudes should “follow their hearts.”
The last thing a fallen sinful human being should do is “follow their heart.” As we’re told in Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Yet American culture is awash in such blather about being true to ourselves. The secularist cannot have it both ways. They claim some kind of objective morality doesn’t actually exist, but themselves impose a moral standard because some moral must be imposed one way or the other; the question is whose or what moral standard.
It will great when some day sophisticated and talented Christians are making TV shows that deal with reality as reality really is. Until then we have to put up with characters like our transgendered hero that “follow their heart” and then be told this is the pinnacle of virtue.
Whenever we come upon these matters in secular writers, let that admirable light of truth shining in them teach us that the mind of man, though fallen and perverted from its wholeness, is nevertheless clothed and ornamented with God’s excellent gifts. If we regard the Spirit of God as the sole fountain of truth, we shall neither reject the truth itself, nor despise it wherever it shall appear, unless we wish to dishonor the Spirit of God.
–John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (p. 273)