Accountability or Recognition
Such is the focus of this morning's LA Times article by Stephanie Simon (Melissa Rogers beat me to posting and commenting on the article). Simon writes:
"No one has proposed rethinking the theology that homosexuality is a sin. Instead, there's a growing consensus that the church must do a better job of helping pastors resist all immoral desires, such as a lust for pornography, an addiction to drugs or a lifelong same-sex attraction."
"Seminary professors, Christian counselors and veteran clergy say the best way to help pastors fight temptation is to get them talking — even about their most shameful secrets. They don't want a sordid tell-all from the pulpit each Sunday. But they would like pastors to bare their weaknesses and admit their lapses before a small group of "accountability partners" — friends committed to listen with empathy, then rebuke or advise as needed."
But, once again, is that the issue? Is it just an issue of accountability? Or is it a matter of theology and the need to change it. Interestingly the one example they provide of accountability shows a pastor, another Colorado pastor, who ultimately embraces his gayness. The person quoted from the ex-gay ministry Exodus International reinforces this through his own denial. I realize that sex can be addictive and that there are sex addicts groups, and I'm assuming that gays can be sex addicts, but the issue here isn't one of addiction but of shame. If one feels shame that is reinforced by society (and religion) they will not admit to who they are and likely will end up in trouble.
So, while accountability is important, recognition of reality is even more important. Then we can deal with the culturally imposed guilt and come to an understanding that will bring wholeness to people, to churches, and to society as a whole.