News.com.au ran a fascinating story a few years ago, a man who had been sexually attracted to men all his life, yet made a conscious decision to fall in love with a woman and marry her.
What is more - he's a Presbyterian Pastor!
We have to admit the main line media does not give the traditional 'anything' much of a jump start. They are 'a'gin' the Prime Minister, they are 'a'gin' the Government, they are 'a'gin' the church, they are 'a'gin' anyone, well anything really!
We all get kind of use to it and take for what it's worth. Swimmer Tracey Whikam's father said he knew what newspapers were used for in the outback! Enough said!
Glossy magazines are classics at this. Nothing gives me more joy than to sit at the doctor's or dentists' and pick up those 4-5 year old magazines and rejoice as I call out, page after page, “Wrong again”, “Wrong again,” “Wrong again” …..
A different path
The News.com.au article explained that Pastor Allan Edwards said his belief was that there was no hope in “reorientation”. “False expectations of change or conquest lead to shame and hiding.”
But the Kiski Valley Presbyterian Church minister in western Pennsylvania in the US considers such same sex attraction a sin (as there are many sins associated with forbidden desire, the 10th Commandment, Thou Shalt Not Covet).
“It’s not just that the religion was important to me, but communion with a God who loves me, who accepts me right where I am,” was by far the greater emphasis upon my life and now he is married with a baby on the way.
His wife Leanne knows about his sexual attraction to men but the couple believe that all marriages face the temptation of outside attractions. “There’s always going to be situations where a partner is sexually attracted to someone else and isn’t necessarily dealing with sexual attraction with their partner,” Leanne explained in the article.
Pastor Edwards noted that everyone struggles with discontentment. The difference, I think, and the blessing Leeanne and I have experienced is that we came into our marriage relationship already knowing and talking about it. “And I think that’s a really powerful basis for intimacy.” his said.
Orientation is the 'new word'
John Mark Ministries web site has many articles on this subject of same sex orientation and all that is associated with it. One of these articles Benji Watson tackles the issue of the church itself not comprehending this orientation of Christians and what it does to their hearts.
He writes that is is clear if you read the gospels, Jesus’ motivation behind every choice He made, behind every word, was love. His concern was the heart of the individual.
“Reading through the Sermon on the Mount, you can see that when Jesus says things like, “Even if you hate, you are a murderer in your heart”, and “if you lust, you have committed adultery in your heart”, you see it.
“Jesus was more concerned about the condition of your heart, than your actions. We (as a church community) have not shown a care for the heart of those with this same sex orientation and especially such Christians, only contempt,” Watson stated.
There seems to be a change in the language, from Gay to same sex orientation, as the later has a wider connotation to referring to those with such but do not practise.
Let's not be ignorant
It would behove Christians therefore not to be ignorant that there is a clear line for many evangelicals between those with a same sex orientation and for whatever reason do not practise and those who do and are clearly identified as such. Huge entertainment personalities such as Elton John has recently married his long term male partner.
Only recently in the Dominican Republic a same sex marriage service was enacted in the British Embassy. The local evangelical church called this “a curse to the nation”.
Many are saying this will continue to be the great divide within the evangelical church, those who are valiantly opposed to same sex marriage and such sexual sin, and those who have no such qualms. The theological debate rages.
Most however pull up the draw bridge when the issue of same sex relationships are deemed as normal behaviour and surprisingly the concerns are not religious or moral, but the welfare of the nation such as the population debate and national health issues.
Australia passed legislation to approve same sex marriage. The Prime Minister of the time Malcolm Turnbull and then Opposition leader Bill Shorten both stood up in Parliament saying this will only allow same sex marriages. They refused to listen that the ramifications would impact the nation.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 25 books, and enjoys writing. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded ‘The Gutenberg’ - the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. He and David Chang editor of Christian Today together bought the young writer ministry into fruition in 2009. In 2011 Mark established Laguna Quays Respite (Whitsundays) for missionary respite and replicated at Aldinga Beach 2016 (Adelaide) and Greens Beach Bass Straight (TAS). His ministry is honoured all these years by Christian philanthropist Mr Basil Sellers AM. He is married to Delma (44 years), with four adult married children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html