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When the Human Sexuality Report (HSR) was adopted by the ruling body of the Christian Reformed Church in North America at Synod 2022, and re-enforced at Synod 2023, I couldn’t help but feel I was being drawn into a grievance fueled shouting match that was simply a proxy for the culture war being waged outside the church by fractious politicos. 

I wasn’t looking to debate the membership worthiness of a child of God who happens to identify as a gender not assigned to them at birth or same sex couples who love the Lord and desire to worship in community. But now I feel like I have been awakened to the harm I have been a part of my entire life as a member-from-birth of the CRC. I need to change my words and actions; I need to affirm, include, and speak up rather than stay silent.

I can’t help but wonder what this commotion is covering up. What insecurity is being overcompensated for? Why are we being asked to spend time and energy on this distraction, framed as a right and clear move towards purity ? Why this fixation with sex and sexuality?

Over the years, way before I was born, political wedge issues were devised or reintroduced to galvanize people to vote a certain way. Those who needed to control the narrative used immigrants, a woman’s right to vote, black integration, homosexuality, wokeness, or trans health to keep the eyes of the populace focused elsewhere while they wrote discriminatory laws against others and money making laws for themselves.

I propose that we use the example Jesus modeled for us to solve three foundational matters before squabbling about anything else. These matters are: Hunger, Health, and Housing.

Hunger — Consider the miracle at the wedding at Cana, the feeding of the five thousand, and fixing a dinner at a fire for his disciples after rising from the dead. We need to make sure every person has enough to eat and drink. That’s just a basic bare minimum. Yet thousands go starving and thirsty in our nation, and millions share this plight globally. We should share our bounty: locally and globally.

Health — Consider the many opportunities Jesus took to heal the sick: bodily, mentally, and spiritually. What greed and short sightedness is keeping us from offering national healthcare, much less universal global healthcare? Health includes mental health and “head health,” by which I mean, education. Jesus showed us our status, and everyone’s status, as people of worth. He stood up to the empire, which has always preferred a pliable, ignorant populace.

Housing — Consider that the Son of Man had no roof to lay his head. Jesus was unhoused like so many are today in our nation and the world. Giving everyone a tangible place to belong should not remain a far-fetched idea. It should become a reality in which we all participate. The poor we will always have among us. This is not a reason for hopelessness, but rather a rallying cry to be faithful and diligent, striving to do what is right until Jesus returns.

These three matters are between humans. What if we were to bring in the vertical dimension? What does the Lord require of us but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. Let me add two additional Hs.

Hospitality — Consider that Jesus came to earth to be with his people — God with us. But Jesus didn’t come to eat with the well connected and comfortable. He spent time with common folk, those of low repute. Hospitality is less about showing our friends a good time, and more about showing the friends of Jesus a good time. When you eat with someone, you get to know them, learn about their health concerns and how they live. Their cares become your cares. That’s hospitality.

Holiness — Consider that Jesus was the Son of God, eternally begotten of Father, yet miraculously also the Word made flesh, fully human and fully divine. To be holy as he was holy doesn’t have to mean we are to live puritanically, as we have too often been taught. Jesus often rebuked the religious leaders for missing the point of purity. What if holiness is less about counting up sins and looking for self-justification in a rule book, and more about embracing the gift of justification by faith as we work tirelessly towards the day when the very earth below us, sky above us, and people around us are all treated justly.

Let us not be distracted by low hanging sexual fruit, the titillating tools of those who seek to control us. Let us be dogged in our desire to follow Jesus, not by attempting to keep to the letter of the law, but by embracing the spirit of the law bearing good fruit with the help of the Holy Spirit!

Luke Seerveld

Luke Seerveld lives in the San Francisco Bay area, where he has his own lighting business. His YouTube channel, "Meet the Gaffer" has over 350 videos and 42,000 subscribers.


  • RZ says:

    This is a helpful framework for all sides to consider. Jesus, it seems to me, always taught us to step back and consider the big picture, to look at issues from 30,000 feet, from a variety of perspectives. Jesus refused to be galvanized by “political wedge issues.” In fact he showed more concern that we do “right” for the right reason. I am sadly impressed by the fact that Christians can work and worship side by side for good causes, the ” H” causes noted here for sure, UNTIL someone draws a “political wedge” line in the sand. We are so insultingly manipulated by platform issues and whatever loyalties deceive us.

  • Henry Baron says:

    Thank you for reminding us of the Bible’s mandates – feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, welcome the stranger, love God and neighbor. All these are actions of response to 1Peter 4:8: Above all, love each other deeply…..”

  • Heidi De Jonge says:

    This is so simple and beautiful. Thank you so much, Luke.

  • Mary VanderVennen says:

    Amen, Luke! We are being distracted willy-nilly by the culture around us, focussing angrily on relatively minor matters while losing sight of what Jesus lived and taught us.

  • Robert and Janice DeVries says:

    Thank you, Luke for these “modest'” but compelling reminders of what Christ requires of us!

  • Sharon A Etheridge says:

    Thanks so much for writing this. It is so meaningful.

  • Rodney Haveman says:

    I’m all for your 5 H ideas. It’s noteworthy to say that the first three require real system changes in our society to complete. The church cannot simply make it happen on our own.
    The last two feel like religious activities and they should not under any circumstance get into the public square lest we turn our faith into Christian nationalism.
    One last thought, when you ask why we “waste” our energy on “political wedge” issues or get distracted, I get it, but I can answer it too. Many of us non LGBTQ+ folk can refer to these conversations/arguments as secondary. That is our privilege. But young kids are dying by suicide at much higher rates because of rejection and judgment. They suffer at a much higher rate of homelessness and violence and bullying, etc. I think there are many reasons why this justice issue is crucial for the church to address, and when we suggest that it might not rise to hunger, housing, and health, we may have unintentionally forgotten that so many LGBTQ+ folk suffer significantly in all three of these areas because of who they are and how the church has encouraged society to treat them.
    And I think your comments on hospitality and holiness open up a framework for us to have healthy conversation about how we welcome and affirm all of our siblings.

    • I have been one to relegate this to secondary position and steer clear of the fray. Thanks for pricking my conscience.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful response, Rodney. Marginalized communities usually take the brunt of whatever social ill or calamity is being experienced. My point was not to brush anyone aside; my hope was to include everyone in the act of building each other up.

      • Rodney Haveman says:

        Thank you, Luke
        I did not think you intended to brush anyone away.
        I offered my comment for all of us with the privilege to consider these struggles secondary.
        Thank you for the article. I thought your Hs were great.
        Keep it up

  • Pam Adams says:

    Luke, I read your entry with agreement. I am disheartened by the tension in the CRC because of the issue of non-acceptance of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • Mary Kortenhoven says:

    And while we ponder and argue over the dot and tittle of our creeds and confessions we become more separate in all of our ways. The church (CR) is not the same as the one I grew up in. Everything is up for grabs…the budgets of the once well funded outreach both in other countries and in this country. Young families feel alienated and disappear from the church directories. I appreciate the challenge Mr. Seerveld has given us. It reminds me of the song we used to sing “I cannot come to the Wedding. Our priorities have changed. Thank you, Mr. Seerveld.

  • Dean Van Farowe says:

    Thank you.

    I think you are missing something in both your opening paragraphs and then later under the holiness H.

    Early in your piece you ask, “What insecurity is being overcompensated for? Why are we being asked to spend time and energy on this distraction, framed as a right and clear move towards purity? Why this fixation with sex and sexuality?”
    I think one answer is that sexuality is a great gift, not to be misunderstood or squandered. It is not the over-emphasis that is the problem here.

    Later under holiness you emphasize justification, but do not mention sanctification. It is not “puritanical” to emphasize sexual purity in terms of holiness, if it is done without condemnation and without a holier-than-thou emphasis. It is not unjust to categorize behavior as ‘missing the mark’ or even as sin if it is emphasized consistently in scripture.

    • Hi Dean,

      We agree that sexuality is a great gift. We may differ on what is being misunderstood or squandered. My impetus for sharing my frustration, and simple framework, was to propose that you and I put all our time and effort into the first three H’s (and the fourth would follow naturally), before we get into schismatic dust ups about who is on the right sanctified path. My hunch is we would run out of time.

  • Rowland Van Es, Jr says:

    If one part suffers, we all suffer, so all suffering needs to be taken seriously but we do need priorities. 95% suffer from health problems (with over 1/3 having over 5 ailments). 30% don’t have adequate access to food, with 828 million (10% of humanity) hungry every day! 20% have poor housing (with 150 million homeless and 15 million being evicted each year). Still, the needs of our LGBTQIA population remain a valid concern. Let each of us and each church and each community pick an issue they can actually deal with & just do it! “An ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory.” It is no good to say, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed” but then do nothing about it (James 3:16). Thoughts and prayers won’t cut it when real people are suffering.

  • Joel Slenk says:

    I read this article a few moments after watching Nick Shirley’s YouTube video on the migrant crisis in New York City. The city of New York, the state of New York and the US federal government are trying their hardest and in many cases succeeding in providing all 5 of your listed H’s for the migrants. Much to the chagrin and deep frustration of the masses. So frustrating in fact, that one might seek relief by circling back to bask in a debate over human sexuality.

  • That’s an interesting choice to source one’s news.

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