Or, "Another Criticism of a Christian stance on Sin."
In Slavoj Zizek's narcissistic adventure of a documentary Zizek!, there is a clip of him on the American talkshow Nightline. He's plugging his new book, and offers a glimpse into the spirit of the book.
He brings up two versions of the standard situation of a father telling his son that since it is Sunday, they are going to visit grandmother, a ritual the son finds painfully boring. In the first story, the father is a Stalinist. He is direct and insistent; "you are coming to visit your grandmother; you have no choice." In the second story, the father is more "loving" and "permissive." He says, "Listen, you don't have to visit your grandmother. But she loves you very much, and I know you love her."
So what's the difference? The first father is telling his son what he has to do. The second father is also telling the son what he has to do, but he is tacking on an implicit demand: "you have to enjoy doing this." Surely that is the far more insidious demand; the first father demands an action, the second father demands submission.
I'd wonder if something similar is going on with well meaning Christians and homosexuals. When a Christian tells a homosexual that they may first recieve God's love, and alter their behavior "when the time comes," it's basically saying "change, and enjoy changing."
There's an idea that I think is fairly common in our society: that one's own individual conscience is where one finds their freedom. That in order to be free, you must be able to follow your conscience and do what you believe is right. External rule systems are crushing and totalitarian. I think this maps onto a common articulation of grace and law; grace opens up room for all those things that are "permissible, but not necessarily beneficial" while the law brings impossible demands and so death.
But what if it is the other way around? What if it is individual conscience, and that common articulation of grace, that is in fact the most crushing and totalitarian?
(As an aside, I wouldn't say the type of grace I'm speaking of is the only kind)
What if the infinite demand for perfection does not come from the external law, but is something we internalize, basically saying that we must enjoy trying to fulfill that infinite demand? "God's grace will forgive you. . . (you're a jerk for taking advantage of it, though)" The seemingly gentle and loving offer of permanant support and forgiveness is a sneaky attempt to get someone to enjoy being under the law, or in other words, to get them to internalize the law that brings death.
So when one says to a sinner "recieve God's love and grace, and change when the time is right," doesn't the sentence continue silently, ". . . but if you love God, the change will come quickly"? This a far cry from "Go now, and sin no more" which silently continues ". . . because if you do, I'll kick your ass."