Today we run the risk of misunderstanding each other. I want to begin by reading part of the statements on human sexuality in The Manual of the Church of the Nazarene and by our Board of General Superintendents:
The Church of the Nazarene views human sexuality as one expression of the holiness and beauty that God the Creator intended for His creation. It is one of the ways by which the covenant between a husband and a wife is sealed and expressed.
The Church of the Nazarene believes that every man or woman should be treated with dignity, grace, and holy love, whatever their sexual orientation. However ... We stand firmly on the belief that the biblical concept of marriage, always between one man and one woman in a committed, lifelong relationship, is the only relationship within which the gift of sexual intimacy is properly expressed.
This month we are trying to understand our sexuality in all its God-given beauty. Today, we are continuing to teach the holy love for God and for people which the Church of the Nazarene has always upheld. I just want to make that clear at the beginning.
I have been preparing for this sermon for more than a year. Throughout this process of reading and studying and praying, I have also thought about my friends and family members who are gay.
Sarah’s uncle is gay and lives with his partner in a long-term, loving relationship. We have stayed in their home more than once, and they showed our family great kindness and hospitality.
My cousin is gay. Her “wife” experienced severe and sustained sexual abuse by men. Now, as an adult, she is physically unable to eat foods that remind her of sex with men. Pickles, hotdogs, and mayonnaise all make her vomit!Throughout this year, I have been talking with “JiHye.” She dated guys most of her life, but while at our church, she “came out of the closet” as a gay woman and began dating other women. She finally felt so uncomfortable in our church that she stopped attending. When I asked JiHye what I should say today, she said that I should put a human face on homosexuality.
To help us think about real people, I want to stop and hear a story from “Michelle.” Michelle no longer attends our church, but she sent us a letter telling us her story.
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