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From the editor
Years ago, the editors of The Lutheran Witness published an issue of the magazine called “God and the Gay Lifestyle.” The cover photo was of two women, one in a white dress and one in a black pantsuit, walking down a church aisle arm-in-arm.
The number of phone calls and letters went through the roof. Perhaps we weren’t ready for a discussion then on what same-sex attraction meant for us as Lutherans. Hopefully we’re ready now.
This issue of the magazine, written by the Synod’s “God’s Gift of Sexuality” task force (learn more in President Harrison’s “From the President”), is a start to a broader conversation, one that can and ought to take place over dinner tables and in narthexes across the United States.
The task force’s goal with each of these pages is for all of us, as the Church, “to learn to speak compassionately yet faithfully regarding sexuality and same-sex attraction in our vocations as pastors, educators, parents and grandparents,” explained the Rev. Dr. Harold Senkbeil, executive director for spiritual care for DOXOLOGY, an LCMS Recognized Service Organization that cares for the spiritual, mental and physical well-being of church workers.
Speaking to our church’s youth, the Rev. Tom Eckstein’s “The Silence of Jesus” answers the question, “If Jesus never mentioned the sin of same-sex behavior, isn’t it ok?” In “God’s Gift of Sexuality,” the Rev. Roger Sonneberg explains our Father’s unique design for the sexes. The Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer, in “Confessing Marriage–Confessing Christ,” encourages Christians to stand up for marriage, taking pride in the One who has always stood up for us.
The Rev. Kevin Karner’s “It’s Broken: Hope and Healing for the Struggle” offers comfort to those struggling with same-sex attraction, assuring them that in Christ, we are all new creations. “The Birds and the Bees,” by the Rev. Gary Zieroth, helps parents and Sunday School teachers and all who work with youth explain the Christian understanding of healthy sexuality.
Heidi Sias’ “My Heart Overflows” gives insight into how to care for close friends and family members who struggle with same-sex attraction, pointing them again and again to the cross of Christ.
You’ll also find a marriage toolkit, available for free download, as well as learn what one noted Princeton professor, Dr. Robert George, had to say to the LCMS about its promotion of biblical marriage at a recent conference on same-sex attraction, hosted by DOXOLOGY.
At that same conference, Dr. Beverly Yahnke, DOXOLOGY’s executive director for Christian Counsel and professor of Psychology and chair of Social Science at Concordia University Wisconsin, reminded those gathered, “We aren’t anti-gay. We are pro-children, pro-family. The church is not anti-homosexual; it is anti-homosexual behavior. We have the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and for the people in our churches who are living celibate homosexual lives, we want to wrap the Gospel of Jesus Christ around them.”
May it be so for all of us!
Adriane Heins, Managing Editor
The Lutheran Witness