Homosexual Sex and a Cup of Tea

Homosexual Sex and a Cup of Tea

Failed Resolutions

Easier to find a picture of a cup of tea! (By Factorylad (ownwork) via Wikimedia Commons)

I’ve never been much good at new year’s resolutions. This year my resolution was to blog more and look, January is nearly over and I’m only starting to blog now. I remember the first new year’s resolution I ever made. I was ten years old and it felt like I was always in trouble. I made a resolution not to get into trouble, especially at home. I was serious in my intentions, but 20 minutes later I was back in my room, sent there because my resolution was already broken. I hadn’t even made it through breakfast on the 1st of January!

It wasn’t my fault! How was I supposed to know that my sister would leave her cup of tea unguarded? And next to a glass of orange juice? What was a self respecting ten year old little brother supposed to do? The curdling effect was perfect. Mouthful of tea spat out over the table. If only I could have contained my hilarity, I may have got away with it! I couldn’t and I was sent to my room.

I was with my sister over the holidays and you wouldn’t believe it! Thirty seven years later and she still hadn’t learned her lesson and left a cup of tea unguarded! You’ll be glad to know I didn’t do anything because I’ve learned that the bedrock of any happy family is to be able to leave cups of tea unguarded without the fear they will be tampered with. It was wrong to put orange juice in my sister’s tea (sorry sis!) and it was right that I should have been sent to my room.

Is it a sin?

During last year’s general election, Tim Farron, the then leader of the Liberal Democrats, was asked repeatedly if homosexual sex was a sin. A few weeks ago he made a statement referring back to that question, and changed his answer.

So, is it a sin? Is putting orange juice in your sister’s tea a sin? I find both those questions very difficult to answer. Not because I don’t have views on those subjects, but because they are bad questions. They are questions that presuppose a caricature of Christianity that is a long way from the Christianity of the Bible.

Whitewashed tombs

So what is sin? Or what is a sin? It’s not a word that is in modern day usage. The caricature of Christianity that the question presupposes is that this is what Christianity is about. A ‘holier than thou’ Christianity that sits around and classifies this as a sin or that as not a sin. In this caricature, the job of the Christian is then to go around trying their best to avoid those sins and point the finger at those who do those things. If that caricature was true, then you would expect this kind of discussion – is it a sin? Is it not a sin? – to be in the Bible, but it just isn’t.

In fact, the opposite is true. There are some people in the New Testament who do this kind of thing. Jesus reserves his strongest criticism for such people. He calls then whitewashed tombs, who appear to people as righteous on the outside, but on the inside are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. It’s actually quite hard to find the phrase ‘a sin’, in the singular, in the Bible.


So what is sin? When you stop to reflect on what is wrong with the world, it’s easy to soon become depressed. So much is wrong. And these problems are not so easily solved as saying just stop doing this or stop doing that and the world will be a happy place. There is layered web, layer after layer after layer, that is impossible to resolve. One of the best definitions for sin doing the rounds in recent years is Francis Spufford’s ‘HPtFtu’ – human propensity to **** things up. (Please fill in the blank to suit your levels of censorship!) 

Christians believe that Jesus is the only person to have ever lived who was sinless. Noone has ever got close. It’s a nonsense to picture a ‘sin counter’. In first place we have Jesus with no sins and close behind is Saint Soandso with 2,345,432 sins! Sin is not a countable noun!

It’s not an app …

The Christian belief that Jesus was sinless is more than just he didn’t commit any sins, but that he had a completely different operating system. In mobile phone terminology, sin is not an app, it’s the operating system. If our operating system is ‘the selfish gene’ then Jesus’ was the selfless gene.

“Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped, but made himself nothing … And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself – by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross.”

Sin – not an app but the operating system

The Bible doesn’t speak about operating systems, but it does talk about new creation – out with the old and in with the new. It talks about an old sinful nature and a new different nature. It talks about being ‘born again’. In this life, we are not free of the bugs of the old system, but one day it will be completely re-installed. A new heaven and a new earth, with a completely different operating system!

‘Is this a sin? Is that a sin?’ is a complete misrepresentation of authentic Christianity. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” The good news of Christianity is not about condemning, but about transforming. HPtFtu (sin) can’t be dealt with by ourselves. Thankfully there is a God who so loved the world (even with all the HPtFtu) that he gave …

Continued in next blog …

2 Replies to “Homosexual Sex and a Cup of Tea”

  1. This is very thought provoking, challenging how we view sin, with a great touch of
    humour. Really looking forward to reading the next part.

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