An Emotional God

This summer I went to a wedding in SoCal, and during the reception we were seated next to the bride's youth pastor, a gregarious, talkative guy.

As we swapped stories of ministry, this pastor talked about how he was helping his youth understand the Christian perspective on homosexuality. Namely, he was responding to their wrestling on approaching the subject because they had friends who were gay and felt bad for being asked to see them as sinful.

Something he said really caught my attention and stayed with me. He said, "I tell my students that you have to focus on the truth and not let your emotions get in the way. You can't let your emotions decide where you stand on this situation. We have to stick to the truth of what the bible says."

(I won't go into right or wrong or what exactly it is the bible says about homosexuality. There's enough on the blogosphere about that.)

Something about his comment didn't sit right with me. It sounded logical and yeah, I'm all for truth in the bible.

I mulled over it and then realized why it bothered me so much. I told Bryan, "You know, if God made decisions based on truth and didn't let his emotions get in the way, we would all be screwed."

What I meant was, if God decided our fate based on truth, we would all be eternally separated from him. God's decision to restore our relationship with him was an emotional one. Jesus went to the cross because of the joy of our impending reconciliation.

I don't think my "epiphany" warrants any final decisions about where I stand on the topic. I do feel that you can't have an "only truth" approach. It has a tendency to crowd out compassion and other fruits of the Spirit that we're called to.

Note: In these conversations I do like to play devil's advocate. After listening for awhile, I asked the pastor, "What do you do about the youth whose parents are divorced? How do you address the hypocrisy in the church about the double standard when it comes to the sin of divorce?" I'll admit it was fun to hear his wife chime in, "Yeah, I always ask you about that!"