(Editor’s Note: The Northern Illinois Confessional Lutherans, NICL for short, have a private e-mail list for the group. This afternoon NICL member Rev. Roger Gallup posted this excerpt from a recent Episcopalian sermon. BJS is pleased to publish articles from NICL and other confessional groups which are cataloged on the Regular Columns page.)
In other words, a lot of people do very good things out of evil, self-serving motives-such is the hypocrisy Jesus rightly says corrupts the good works of the law-abiding Pharisees. A lot of other people do things that make them social outcasts and yet have redeemable motives, like the prostitutes, tax-collectors and sinners with whom Jesus spent so much of his time sitting at table.
So it doesn’t matter, in and of itself, if you’re gay or lesbian, or whether you’re one of those white, Anglo-Saxon males some folks want to exclude from the human race.
If you are a loving, faithful, positive homosexual person you warm the heart of God. If you’re an abusive, exploitative person, gay or straight, you defile yourself and damage others.
If you’re a decent white guy who’s trying to understand the world and make it a better place, good for you. If you’re a smug, condescending, covertly abusive white guy, you’re defiling yourself and damaging others.
The role of the Christian is not to focus on the external behavior but the inner motive, and to do it in a way that points forward toward God and not backward to sin. Put simply, the Christian chooses to love people, not to shame them.
The job of the Christian is to confirm the goodness of good motives in people.
The job of the Christian is to call people from damaging, defiling motives.
The job of the Christian is to encourage people to look beyond their bodies so they can know one another as souls. Souls, where our true motives lie. Souls, where our true identity and our best selves are to be found.
The entire sermon can be found here.