Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Proposed Script for THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE Book Trailer

So I'm thinking of doing a book trailer for my forthcoming book, The Triumph of Love: Same-Sex Marriage and the Christian Love Ethic. My proposed script for it appears below. Let me know what you think. Also, my son actually has some video editing skills, so I might be able to arm-twist him into helping me create something better than just a talking head. If there are any visuals that strike you as good supplements to me talking into the camera in front of a bookcase, let me know your ideas! 

So once when I was in college, a friend and I were talking to the woman who ran the cafeteria ID cards. When we told her we were Christians she snapped out, “Does that mean you think all homosexuals are going to hell?”

This was the late 1980’s, and as Christians we were used to getting push-back from secularists and “greed-is-good” materialists and classmates who just wanted to party and get laid. But this kind of moral indignation about Christian views on homosexuality? That was new to us.

Fortunately my friend jumped into the silence. “Of course we don’t think all homosexuals are going to hell.”

“What,” the woman said, “so you don’t think it’s a sin?”

It was at that point that my friend invoked the now-familiar saying, “Love the sinner but hate the sin.” The saying wasn't quite so familiar then, certainly not to me. It sounded profound, and as my friend said it I felt this huge surge of relief: love the sinner but hate the sin! Yeah! I’m still a loving guy.

It wasn’t until I started making gay friends that I realized just how inadequate that response was.

Here’s the thing: Just because we can love people while condemning what really is a sin doesn’t mean we can take anything to be a sin and still love people the way we should. Can we love children the way we should if we think that it’s at all times and in all places sinful for them to play? What about loving our diabetic neighbors while declaring it a sin to use insulin?

And can we love our gay and lesbian neighbors properly if we condemn as sinful their most meaningful, loving, faithful, monogamous relationships? Can we love them if, convinced that homosexual acts are at all times and in all places sinful, we try to systematically exclude them from access to the goods of marriage?

Too often, Christians have used the Bible as a kind of weapon, extracting clobber passages and beating sexual minorities over the head. And then we use those same passages to plug up our ears so we don’t have to hear their anguished cries. Surely that can’t be the way to go.

Of course, Christians can’t ignore the Bible. But if we don’t seriously wrestle with what it means to love our gay and lesbian neighbors as ourselves, that’s exactly what we’re doing. If self-righteous certainty takes the place of compassionate attention, we haven’t been paying attention to Jesus. We need to listen to our neighbors in all their diversity, including those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transender, and beyond. We need to hear their stories—stories about how Christian condemnation has affected them, and what access to same-sex marriage means for their lives. And then we need to struggle with what that means for living out the law of love.

Only then can we hope to move closer to the one thing God longs for more than anything else: The Triumph of Love.


  1. A double "déjà vu" for me. My son also is a video producer and a great one at that. And I can't remember how many times I heard that slogan "hate the sin but love the sinner" in my evangelical days. Initially, it didn't dawn on me the implications of what that meant, but over time I began to have very huge problems with that analogy. Like the sense of this for your book trailer but maybe others will have suggestions how to fine tune it.

  2. I like the text but would like to point out something that struck me as dissonant. To answer the question “So you don’t think [homosexual behavior is] a sin?” with “Love the sinner but hate the sin.” sounds like “Yes, it is a sin, but we love homosexuals nonetheless”.