We attended the Conservative Friends Gathering in Barnesville, Ohio several weekends ago and had a great time meeting other like-minded folks including some from England and Finland. I've never been in the Stillwater Meeting House before, but we had the privilege of worshipping there both in the morning and evening. It was a well spent weekend connecting with other families and forging ties of unity within the Conservative movement. One of the issues that is becoming a hot topic in the Ohio Yearly Meeting is the subject of gay marriage. There is enough dissent on the issue that, unfortunately, we're going to have to discuss it. The fact that this even needs to be a subject of debate saddens me and signals something wrong within the present day Quakers because, doesn't everybody know that homosexuality is a sin? Well, no, unfortunately they don't. My belief, and mind you this is my belief is that there are two reasons why they don't.
The first reason is that there is a tendency within Quakerism, as in most other mainline churches, to become more like the world. Christianity seems to be somewhat embarrassing and it's cool to "Christianize" popular culture in the effort to be more acceptable. If one studies the Bible as well as the history of the Religious Society of Friends you'll see over and over and over and over and over that we are to be separate from the greater culture because the danger is that if we aren't separate we will be unduly influenced by them. The whole history of the children of Israel is a perfect example of a people that really wanted to be acceptable to their pagan neighbors and intermarry with them and worship their gods. That didn't work out so well for them if you recall. The New Testament reiterates the call to be separate and touch not the unclean thing. So I ask you, what can we firmly declare to be unclean today? To be able to say a thing is unclean you need to be versed in the Scriptures and the historical position of the church and be willing to listen. The light doesn't lead contrary to itself. It matters not what the world says is or isn't acceptable, social mores don't dictate Truth! If for 6000 years homosexuality was acknowledged as a sin, why would we think that somehow in 2010 it's not?
The second reason comes from the reluctance of Friends to infringe on the leadings of others. I think that's a good thing, I don't want to have my clothes regimented for me by someone else. Or my car or my food. It's a central Friend's tenet that God desires and is able to lead his children himself. We need to follow his light to be obedient. Now, however, I fear we're swinging into the opposite ditch of "I can't judge anybody or say anything about anything they're doing". This is equally wrong and ties in to the above paragraph of the light doesn't lead contrary to itself. Early Friends had no issues about calling sin sin. George Fox called the immoral behavior of some filthy, that seems pretty clear to me. Homosexuality is a sin, it is filthy and has no place within the body of Christ. A friend of ours recently said, "I do things that are sin and I know they're sin but I don't twist people's arms to change the definition of sin so that I can feel better about what I'm doing." That pretty well sums it up, doesn't it?