In June 2018, the RCA General Synod commended the “Great Lakes Catechism on Marriage and Sexuality” for consideration by the Commission on Theology (COT) and the wider RCA. In response, a diverse group of people from the LGBTQ community, parents, pastors, educators and others shared their thoughts with Room for All and the COT, offering alternative perspectives on a faithful ethic for living as sexual and gendered people of God. Room for All is grateful for the opportunity to share those responses in “Outsights” over the next several weeks.
Response to the Great Lakes Catechism
Diane & Ed Saxsma – Indiana
Our son is a wonderful Christian young man who is married to an equally wonderful Christian man. We take the “Side A” position (affirming same sex-relationships for gay people). We didn’t always feel this way, and truthfully did not change our opinions or theology because our son got married to another man. Through many years of prayer, studying scripture, and discussion with others, God led us here.
We are not going to debate scripture or anything else. People usually have their minds made up. Each person needs to prayerfully follow God’s leading. This is what it comes down to for us: there is side A and side B (non-affirming). One of them is wrong. We are willing to admit that it might be us. Others won’t even consider that possibility. In any case, we have looked at the end result of each side being wrong.
If we are wrong, and God is not OK with same sex monogamous relationships, then we are willing to stand before Him some day and confess that we gave too much love, too much grace, and too much acceptance. We trust God will work in the lives of his children, but there has to be a loving relationship with Him first. We don’t want to be God’s hall monitor. God doesn’t ask that of us. We would rather be in the welcoming party. God can handle the judgment part. We will always, always err on the side of love. Then we believe we’ll find ourselves right next to Jesus.
The Pharisees were characterized by holding people harshly to the law, void of love and grace. Jesus is characterized by loving, embracing, and accepting people. We never see Jesus shun anyone – ever. Not once. We find him embracing endless streams of broken, hurting, isolated people, and breathing life into them! It seems to us that Pharisees were the only people that really seemed to bother Jesus.
If the other side is wrong, they’ll have to ask forgiveness for building barricades where bridges should have been. Some people are more concerned about rules and interpretation of theology than they are about God’s children. Gay people are God’s children, and they are being hurt! If they’re hurting, then God’s heart hurts, too.
The Bible says that a tree is recognized by its fruit (Mt. 12:33, Lk. 6:44). Our son and his husband belong to an affirming church. One is the leader of the prayer team, and the other serves on the finance committee. Both belong to small group Bible studies. They are using their gifts to bless the family of God that they worship with.
In a different scenario, there is a family in our congregation whose gay son got married, and consequently the family is being torn apart. Their son does not feel welcome at the church he grew up and served in, so he and his spouse don’t attend. This family is deeply fractured, and the mother feels like her world is falling apart. What looks like better fruit? What makes God smile?
To quote Billy Graham, “It’s God’s job to judge, the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, and our job simply to love.” Amen to that!