Hello Ellen! My name is Jay Forseth, and I am a Pastor in small town America. I am writing this letter because I think you are kind. In fact, many times on your show your actions appear more Christian than most Christians I know. Your generosity impresses me. You are obviously successful and loads of fun to be around.
Could we talk for a bit? I feel like I could trust you to have a safe conversation about several sensitive but connected topics of our day–same sex marriage, gender identity, our core human nature, and homosexuality. You might believe the issues are settled. I don’t. Change is more than an announcement or even a law. I am trying to work through this, having read 7 applicable books this week alone, and I need some help. Would you mind giving me more of your perspective?
I don’t expect to change your mind, nor do I think you will change mine, and I really don’t want you to think we should have to be argumentative. Some of my friends will be furious that I reached out to you, some of your fans will get angry if you reach back. We are not enemies. I don’t hate you. I am not mean spirited. I am not judging you!
I simply don’t understand…
I support traditional marriage, you support a re-defined union. I get it. But somehow, in an extremely short period of years, I am being called narrow minded, labeled as hateful and on the wrong side of history. I do not believe this issue should be compared to 1960’s civil rights or to inter-racial marriage, but I might be off. Again, I say I could be wrong.
I celebrate the differences in our genders, like estrogen and testosterone. Human anatomy and procreation necessitate both the penis and vagina, although science is overcoming that more every day. 100% of people on planet earth are the result of a sperm and an egg. For thousands of years moms and dads were the norm. Why am I not allowed to support what I believe the Bible teaches? That we were created male and female, that we become one with the marital act, that our anatomy is wonderfully specific and complimentary, which breeds continuous offspring. I am asked to be affirming, even by several church denominations. I certainly affirm you as a human being, in order for me to get a seat in the discussion, must I affirm all behaviors, even if they go against my core values?
How did we get here so lightning fast? As recently as the 1990’s a super majority of states in America defined marriage as being monogamous between a man and a woman. If the states would have banded together, they could have immediately amended the United States Constitution. For some reason I thought state’s rights and the voice of the majority took precedence over un-elected judges. Evidently, I was wrong. I don’t deny you the right to have your union, but I struggle to call it a marriage. I am sorry if I hurt you with that statement. I also want you to know I am very sorry when Christians have used the five prohibition “clobber” passages in the Bible as a hammer to beat you down (I don’t recognize the sixth from Sodom).
I am not denying people can love who they choose. I also readily admit traditional marriages suffer an abysmally high failure rate. Adultery, addiction, abandonment and abuse are far too common. This was once a more sacred institution, but I don’t think gay marriage will solve that. What is the divorce rate of same sex couples since the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision in 2015? I honestly don’t see where this change in the definition of marriage ends. Plural marriages are already testing legal limits. The over-aged will wish to hook up with the under-aged, including young children. Some will want to marry a cousin, or a pet. If love is the only pre-requisite, there is no boundary.
And what about parenting? We don’t have near enough data to test effectiveness of two mommies or three daddy’s. This grand modern experiment has little long-term research, but the consequences are far reaching and complicated. At the rate we are going, it may be difficult to put the brakes on if the experiment fails.
I honestly do not want to make these issues Christian versus non-Christian. They are so much larger than that. I would rather talk about issues of IDENTITY and GRACE and GROWTH and SUPPORT as they relate to our flawed humanity and insatiable basic human need for quality relationships.
With kindness. I am listening. Please help me understand…
Pastor Jay Forseth
Sprinkle, Preston. Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church. Zondervan, 2016.
Sprinkle, Preston M. People to Be Loved: Why Homosexuality Is Not Just an Issue. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016.
Yuan, Christopher. Holy Sexuality and the Gospel: Sex, Desire, and Relationships Shaped by God’s Grand Story. Colorado Springs: Multnomah, 2018.
Berryessa, Drew. Are We There Yet? Sexuality, the Church and the Road to Transformation. Medford, OR: Living Letter Ministries, 2018.
Grant, Jonathan. Divine Sex: A Compelling Vision for Christian Relationships in a Hypersexualized Age. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, a Division of Baker Publishing Group, 2015.
Burk, Denny, and Heath Lambert. Transforming Homosexuality: What the Bible Says about Sexual Orientation and Change. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2015.
Coles, Gregory. Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, an Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2017.