Theodicy is the official name for the oldest theological conundrum. If God is all powerful, and all loving, why is there evil and suffering in the world. The answers are numerous – some more satisfying than others.
Recently, Alan Chambers of Exodus International, sparked my reflections on what I’m calling gay theodicy. Chambers announced that Exodus International was distancing themselves from reparative therapy (the notion that through psychological and spiritual interventions, gay people can be cured, or repaired). You can read the New York Times treatment here. One of the reasons sited by Chambers is the overwhelming evidence, through their experience, that it simply doesn’t work.
This led me to think about “curing” gay people from a theological perspective within the frame of theodicy. I set it up this way: IF God doesn’t want people to be gay, AND God is all powerful, AND God is all loving, THEN why do so few people, who are sincere followers of Jesus, who pray for liberation, fail to experience liberation from being gay?
I think this is a signifiant issue that I would love to hear some reflection on – especially from those that believe gay people should be excluded from the church. I’m sure some will blame the gay person themselves – as in their lack of healing is due to their lack of faith or true desire to be changed. Unfortunately, I’ve met too many people that are gay that don’t fit that category.
At the same time, a more conservative view would also be that God answers prayer according to God’s will. If being gay is clearly against God’s will than wouldn’t all prayers asking for deliverance from being gay be squarely in God’s will? If that is the case, why such little transformation in the lives of gay Christians who seek healing?
What can we learn from Exodus International and their experience from a theological perspective? What does their experience tell us about God, if anything? Is it possible that we care more about gay people being gay than God does?
How does this line of thinking hit you? What am I missing?