God’s Wrath and Homosexuality – Divine Kintsugi

OK,  referencing my last post, so if we sinners are saved by the cross from God’s own wrath, what does that mean for issues like homosexuality and transgenderism?  It is easy to see why God would be angry at sin when someone is hurt.  But what about those times when there is no “victim”? Is God angry at me for merely being attracted to men?  If I actually had sex with another guy who was of age and willing, would there be a “victim”?  Would God be angry at that?  Is God angry at the 10 year old who feels they are a girl stuck in a boy’s body?  If the child eventually goes through with transition, the only person they are truly affecting would be themselves.  Would God be angry at that?

I think I am going to come down on the side of “Yes and No.”

First, I think we need to be cautious.  Yes, the doctrine of Forensic Justification is central to Christianity.  But sometimes we may be trying too hard to force everything into the paradigm of divine wrath and appeasement.  (Not that the doctrine is improper but its use is often clumsy.  For example, the manner in which the RCC attempted to fit sexual abuse by priests into a confession/absolution framework to the degree that they failed to protect children and even, sometimes, pushed the victims to “confess” rather than helping them) So much so that, sometimes, we never let the individual move beyond repentance to grace.  A gay man may try everything; prayer, reparative therapy, fasting, behavior modification, avoiding pornography and temptation, and yet never develop lust for women.  Through it all he may very well be repentant – probably is or why would he put himself through all that?  At what point do we stop beating him down with the law, demanding repentance without grace, and realize that all we are doing is making him miserable and realize he is probably going to be gay the rest of his life and that is just the way it is?  Maybe there are some situations in which we have to start with “God loves your” rather than “you miserable sinner, you.”

At the same time, if we look at the issue from the concept of creator/creation, we do have to face the fact that the creator has the right to be upset and even angry at a broken creation.  I love the Great British Baking Show.  But, man, it almost hurts when you see one of the competitors work for hours on a beautiful cake only to have it all collapse at the last moment because something was not cooled enough or an ingredient took too long to bake.  We have the right to be upset when something we worked hard on and put our heart into suddenly falls apart.  God has the same right.  He has created a beautiful world and it is not unreasonable for Him to be upset and even angry at its corruption – even, so to speak, to toss it in the trash bin.  A potter can discard or reshape a ruined pot.  Who are we to say that God can not be angry at a broken creation, even when that creation is a human being?

So I am willing to say, “yes, God has the right to be angry at me for being broken.  In fact, if He truly loved the creation as He made it, I would expect this to be the case.”

But here is the tricky bit; God is not angry that I am not like you.  He is not angry because I am not straight.  Nor will the “fix” mean that I will become like you, lusting after females.  Even forensically speaking, when we talk about God not seeing our sin, it does NOT mean that he sees me as heterosexual instead of gay.  He declares me “righteous” He does not declare me “straight.”

You see, you are as broken in your sexuality as I am.  You do not merely “misuse a good gift of God” when you are attracted to that girl in the low cut blouse, when you visit that porn site or when you watch James Bond and admire him for getting all the girls.  Nor am I more broken than you when I feel an attraction to a good looking guy.  And, frankly, I don’t want to be like you.  I no longer care if I am straight or not.  I have exactly zero desire to lust after anyone, least of all females.

This is where the Church has too often made a grave, even heinous, error, in seeing homosexuality as more broken than heterosexuality.  Every single “ministry to gay people” from the 70s through 2012 or so was based on this assumption, that being heterosexual was the default good for which we gay individuals had to strive.  All the nonsense of reparative therapy, behavior modification, reclaiming the masculine or feminine image, etc were based on the idea that heterosexuality was the goal.  It was all based on replacing one kind of lust with another, one sin for another, one brokenness for another.  It was all built around replacing one form of sin with another form of sin.  And it was stupid.  And it was destructive.

We are all equally broken and God’s “fix” does not, in any way, mean that he makes me like you or you like me.  Rather, He makes us both like Christ.  And, in fact, just as the cross, the ultimate defeat, is, in reality the greatest victory and glory of God, so also, I think it is in our brokenness that God’s greatest glory shines.

In 15th century Japan, so the story goes, the shogun Yoshimasa sent a broken vase to be repaired and was upset when the repair involved ugly staples.  Craftsmen began looking for a better way to repair valuable pottery that had been broken and hit upon the idea of using lacquer and gold dust, which left a beautiful golden seam at the site of the repairs.  This method was called “Kintsugi.”  It resulted in such a glorious effect that, at one point, Japanese nobles were smashing their own valuable pottery in order to be able to repair it using Kintsugi.

I rather suspect that, in a much more glorious way, the manner in which each of us is broken will be sanctified by God so that the repair will result in greater beauty from the “fix” than if we were merely corrected back to the original mold.  Why else would God have allow mankind to have our way in the beginning?  Why not simply fix Adam and Eve to their pre-fall state?  And let us not forget Paul’s thorn and God’s statement that in our weakness God is strong.  God has a habit, throughout the Bible of taking those who are broken and using them, not in spite of their brokenness, but because of it, to do things of great glory.

So, in one sense, i guess,we do fall under God’s judgement because of our fallenness, yes.   In that sense you might say that we LGBT+ fall under God’s anger.  But this too is an anger born of love.  Because of His love He does not leave His creation broken. And, in this sense, God’s love is so much greater than just making us straight.  I suspect that in many many cases, the solution God sends is not at all what we creatures expect.  And I rather suspect that, in the end, those of us who prayed in our teens, “why, God, are you not making us straight?  Do you hate me?” will find ourselves, instead, saying with Paul,So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.”   And I rather suspect we will find ourselves praying, “Thank you God that you loved me enough not to make me straight so that I could better learn of your glory and your love and better show it to the world!”