I am a devout Christian. And because of that devotion, I feel it is my responsibility to hold fellow Christians accountable when they misrepresent my religion. There is a problem in the Christian community. That problem is self-righteousness...the notion that I am better than you because Jesus is my personal savior. It's an attitude that is wholly un-Christian, one that I reject and one that I am highly critical of whenever I see it. Which brings me to the High Point Church in Arlington, Texas.
Cecil Sinclair worked as a janitor in the church, although he was not a church member (probably because he did not feel welcome). He died from post-operative complications and the church agreed to hold a memorial service for their employee, that is until they discovered that he was gay. Apparently, they were concerned about some photos supplied by the sister for a tribute slide-show. Some of these photos showed questionably provocative images of Sinclair and his partner. The church claimed they were unaware of his sexual orientation until the day before the service, and decided to cancel the service so as not to appear to endorse homosexual behavior.
Well, the church is dead wrong. I do believe that homosexuality is sinful behavior. This is my personal religious belief and I have been attacked ruthlessly for it, but my belief is my belief. So, I side with the church in that regard. But, if there is one thing my religion teaches it's that Christians should be careful that we condemn the behavior while embracing the individual. To do otherwise would be construed as intolerance and bigotry, and perhaps rightfully so. It gives Christianity a bad name and I will not tolerate that.
How exactly does holding a memorial service for a gay man amount to endorsing homosexual behavior? I have no idea. The man was a sinner, so what. Are any of us any different? Are any of us any better? No. I wonder if the High Point Church feels the same way. If the photos are offensive or conflict with church teaching, then don't show them. But you can still pay tribute and remembrance to the man who died. I think Jesus would agree with that.
The High Point Church is way off, and if I were a member this issue would effectively terminate that membership. It is my wish that Christians join me in condemning them for their actions not representative of our beliefs. Cecil Sinclair deserves a memorial service, and if the church promised to provide that service then they should have. Shame on them for refusing to embrace a fellow human being, a fellow sinner. Shame on them for misrepresenting Christianity.