In Search of Holistic Ethics: A Chinese Pastor Considers Sexual Identity and the Christian Faith, Part 3

As the Chinese house church grows, so does its desire and ability to engage with questions of ethics, morality, and identity not only on China’s social landscape, but on the global stage as well. This is the third post in a series by a Chinese house church pastor engaging issues concerning homosexuality and the Christian faith not only in his Chinese context, but also in the light of Western developments. This series was originally published on the pastor’s personal blog in 2007, and updated and republished this past summer. You can read the rest of the series at Part 1 and Part 2.
Pilgrims, when it comes to certain ethical conservatism, this is indeed the common inclination of many religions and traditional cultures. The Old Testament relational boundary of marriage between one man and one woman is a revelation commonly accepted and obeyed by the three major religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. If you can observe Christian ethics from the broader conservative landscape, I think you would more deeply appreciate the public appeal of ethical and cultural conservatism.

In the Bible, the basic boundary of marriage is that “a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Leave, cleave, hold fast, and become one flesh – this is the Bible’s position on marriage and sex. From a biblical standpoint, marriage is designed by God. Union in marriage (including the joy of sex) is blessed and permitted by God. The union between a man and a woman is an ideal arrangement for the created, not the result of human lust. The results of lust are undeniable suffering and bondage. The holiness and beauty of sex, from a Christian perspective, can only be attained within this relational boundary.

Today, whether or not you are a Christian, we face the crisis of an era: does the holiness of marriage still exist, are love and sex still holy? Ethically, only when you completely and coldly deny the yearning and beauty of your most innocent love, only when you coldly reject a love that is loftier than animal instinct and worthy to be cherished, only then is it possible for you to ethically and existentially validate homosexuality and say that it is right and proper.

From my point of view, such validation is in fact a degradation of the meaning of life. In other words, when our discussion is limited to only laws and rights, our argument to not discriminate against a gay person is based on our care and respect for a struggling soul. But when we exaggerate this validation to ethics, we are in actuality discriminating against an individual. When we say homosexuality is a kind of spiritual suffering and moral sin, we are in actuality treating a gay person just as we are, as someone who has a soul, created, loved, and saved by God like us. It also means we believe our love is not decided by biological instincts. For those who are obviously straight, but for reasons of political correctness declare homosexuality as a normal human way of life, they are in fact not treating gay people as themselves, not giving their souls the same type of respect, not seeing them as brothers and sisters. They are expediently separating themselves. Once you classify yourself as “normal” and “right,” but then also say that there is a type of people who are born differently, your type of equality is only a deception. In other words, your so-called tolerance seems politically correct on the surface, but in its core, it is really a type of “sexual racism.”

One time I openly asked a female scholar who claims to support homosexuality, “If you find out today for the first time that your daughter is gay, would you be heart-broken? Would you be sad? Let’s not talk about theory, just use our hearts to measure whether we would be sad.” She was very honest. She thought for a while and admitted that she would feel sad. I said that this is what Mencius meant in saying everyone has a heart of compassion, a heart of right and wrong. When you say you support homosexuality as a justifiable way of life, you actually have not truly loved them; you have not truly cared for their souls like the way you love your daughter. You would naturally grieve for your daughter, but you are also persuaded by a type of ideology not to be sad for them.

As a Christian, I insist that homosexuality is type of sin that denies both God and the meaning of life; it is also a type of individual suffering. Because I believe they and I are in fact the same kind of people. We all feel dejected, we all sin, we are all helpless, unable to save ourselves. Because there is only one type of person in the world – those who are created by God, and for whom Christ died on the cross.

I want to say to my gay friends, the people who unconditionally support you and claim to support your choices do not truly love you, or they do not know how to love you. Perhaps they really want to help you and stand by you, but they probably do not recognize that there is truth in this world, nor do they recognize that we have the same kind of souls. On the other hand, the people who criticize you may not necessarily mean that they do not love you. What they love is your eternal soul, although you may not agree with them.

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Further Reading

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Qingdao: How to Pray
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Qingdao: Locals and Outsiders
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Qingdao: Good Soil for the Gospel
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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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