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Project Love: Restoring A Bridge With the Gay Community
You know me. You know who I am and what I believe because I am just like every other good Christian in your local community. I was raised in a solid Christian home by my Bible-believing parents. I had loyal and trustworthy friends. I was homecoming king of my 3,000-student high school. I lettered in three sports. I received a Division I athletic scholarship to play baseball in college and I grew up in a large evangelical church located in a conservative suburb of Chicago.
I was also the biggest Bible-banging homophobic person I knew.
Fast forward eight years. I am 27 years old and still a straight, conservative, Bible-believing male. I now lead a non-profit organization that seeks to build bridges between the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) and religious communities. I have dedicated my life to educate, equip and provide both the religious and GLBT communities with tangible experiences and relevant teaching that brings each group to have a better, and more clearly defined understanding of the other. So how did I get from there to here? It all began with how my heart and mind were transformed through my three best friends.
I believed I knew gays and lesbians very well because I saw them on TV, I saw the cross-dressing pictures of them at the Pride Parades and I heard “the” rumors. They were too flamboyant and hated everything I loved. I was able to succinctly rationalize myself and my actions without ever thinking twice about what I believed or said because I was convinced the GLBT community was exactly the same in real life as they were in my mind.
I didn’t know one person in that community. Not one! Neither did I know anyone who was dealing with an unwanted same-sex attraction, and that was fine with me. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Don’t see, don’t care. Out of sight, out of mind. Those philosophies worked well. I didn’t understand them and never one time did it cross my mind to actually reach out and make any effort to try. I just didn’t care enough to do that.
Looking back on those years I never remembered hearing anything defaming gays and lesbians from either my church or my parents. But that didn’t matter because I read the Bible and I knew what it said. It’s a sin. They have chosen to be like that and they can stop their behaviors whenever they want to, so it’s their fault for what happens. Besides, the thought of gay sex grossed me out. I just knew enough at the time to know that my beliefs were right. Case closed.
My story thus far has likely not surprised anyone, because I’ll stake my life on the fact that this way of thinking does not differ from you or a vast majority of other Christians you might know. The summer after my freshman year in college that all changed. My story took a wild turn and drastically altered my entire existence.
THE COMING OUT PARTY
During three consecutive months in the summer of 2000 my three best friends all came out to me! Yes, you read that right: three consecutive months, three best friends. That summer was a blur because I was continually scared, confused and dumbfounded as to why in the world God would give me not one, not two, but three best friends who were now in the one community that I had purposefully alienated all of these years.
I had no idea what was going on or what I was supposed to say. Is there even a right answer? What does a homophobic 19 year-old, straight, Bible-believing Christian, alpha-male Division I athlete say when his three best friends all tell him that they are gay?
All I could do was lie down each night and hope I didn’t have to wake up in the morning and face my life as reality. And yet just as the sun rose, I did have to face each day as reality. That summer I somberly searched for anything I could get my hands on that would even begin to offer reason to those unreasonable three months. Then I felt the Spirit tell me, “If you want to find the truth, you have to seek it for yourself.”
Knowing exactly what that meant, I called my best friends and told them we needed to get together. When we were finally able to talk I could not hold back my emotions and my feelings. In one fell swoop of nervous energy I blurted, “I believe that being gay is a sin, it’s a choice, you can change, you’re going to hell, you’re going to start obsessively drinking and doing drugs, you’re going to be promiscuous, you’re going to be butch and flamboyant and you’re going to get HIV/ AIDS or STD’s at some point.”
Everything just came out; I couldn’t believe myself. But now I had a problem. I didn’t know what to do from there! Even worse, my best friends didn’t respond to anything I said and they just sat there in bewilderment. I was terrified waiting for something…anything. I started to feel bad because I never wanted to offend them. I didn’t know how else to say it so I spoke what I believed to be true. And here we were in a very awkward silence and I was mortified. I finally said, “Please give me something that explains what I feel! Help me understand because I can’t live like this!”
We finally started talking, and until the early hours of the morning they each told me about their lives. What life was like trying to deal with these thoughts and feelings on their own. What it was like to have me as a best friend. How they weren’t sure whether they were right or wrong, weird or normal, sinful or not sinful, nature or nurture or whether this was their fault or God’s. Each of them had their own answers and there was so much new information being shared with me, that I had no idea how to process any of it. I was confused. I still believed that the Bible was the inerrant word of God, but staring at my vulnerable friends’ pain and uncertainty deeply hurt my soul.
It seems that the writer of this piece, though trying hard to sound like he is not, still maintains a high level of intolerance. Can one say that he/she is building a bridge to any type of group when it is held up on conditions? Marin avoids the rhetoric of groups like Exodus International and other "ex-gay" ministries, but it sure looks identical on a foundational level. Is the Marin Foundation in place, when all is said and done, to help GLBT people "change"? If so, just say so.
Nicholas makes a point that I've often wondered. The problem that often has to be encountered in the "bridge building process" is that there is a point in the relationship where there will be issues where people "agree to disagree."
I don't know the Marin Foundation. I've only read about it here and visited their site, so I can't vouch for them. But I wonder, can you have a foundational belief that disagrees with someone else's and maintain a meaningful relationship? I think that if it is possible, then it is possible to "build a bridge." I think that those who may have a hard time separating core differentiating beliefs from the fact that the person who holds them is still simply 100% human just like themselves, will always have a hard time "building a brige." I don't know if that makes sense, but I appreciate the dialogue.
The problem with the "building the bridge" concept is that many Christians still want us to be treated like second class citizens. If I pay taxes and obey the law of the land, I demand equal treatment under the law including civil marriage and nothing less. Otherwise, I shouldn't have to pay as much in taxes as straight Christians who get everything.
Thank you for telling your story. What you have learned!
I have found myself a bridge-person too and I haven't quite understood what God is doing but each step of the way, like you, tried to obey. I actually wrote about it *this week* on my blog.
I'll be checking out the Marin Foundation.
A bridge implies going both ways. I really don't think that the homosexuals are under ANY obligation to explain themselves or justify themselves to any brand of Christianity. The onus is on the Christian I think to welcome them, not hold up conditions of acceptance.
I grew up in church. I father is prejudice and isn't afraid to show it. I grew up listening to
racial judgement against other races, different religion groups, different social classes, even those towards people who helped all races and were in inter racial marriages. I began to think like him alot....then I realized I was gay....I am no better than anyone else....had I been straight would I still be able to love unconditionally?
I don't think I would. As for the church that I group up in...I was immesl y(yeah i may have spelled that wrong..) blessed by the people. When my father kicked me out my pastor and his family opened the doors to his home for me. One friend even to ld me that he didn't care about my gayness all he knew is that GOD loved me and so did he. I truely began to understand what love is all about. Its not about putting one another down, or stripping someone of their rights....its about being able to reach out and loving someone no matter what.....if they have a home or not, if they have made past mistakes or not.....we as a whole have falles short of HIS glory. I choose to practice unconditional love rather than a holier than thou hate. Jesus spent HIS time with the tax collectors and the sinners.....not with those of the church...even those of the church tries to trick HIM into stoning a woman for adultry.....I dont want to be the one throwing a stone. I want to be the one that can love and forgive.
I believe if you love the other person, then you will always tell them the truth. I believe the bible is our authority and is the truth. Gay people need to know how God feels about sin too. As do all non-Christian people. Sin is an offense to God, and God will not let sinful people into heaven.(That means everyone) Unless one is born again, they will not see heaven. whether your gay, muslim, catholic, hindu or mormom, it doesn't matter, without Christ as our Lord and savior, no one goes to heaven. We have all sinned and fallen short of Gods glory. God says to repent of our sins, and believe the gospel. If we have broken any, and/or all of the ten commandments, then we have sinned against a holy God. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life, and no one can come to the Father exept through me! I recommend reading the gospel of John to any out there that has fallen short of Gods glory! I did, and now I am born again.
Thanks for your string of cliches.
No cliches, just honest truth! Our authority comes from God and His word, not from man.
I think that if most Christians would actually study the Biblical passages that are used to beat gays up with that they would understand how much of a non issue being gay is. I mean study the original languages and study the context of those obscure verses. The word homosexual did not even appear in translations of the Bible until the 1950's. Somehow Christians still want to point to "the sin" of homosexuality, hold on to selective, out of context verses and still say "Oh, we love the sinner/hate the sin." I have Christ as my Savior. I believe the Bible is God's Word. And I am gay, gay, gay.
But unfortunately Bonnie you haven't read Psalm 5;5-6 and Psalm 7:11..... Don't be decieved Bonnie, the scriptures are very clear, and you must repent of homosexuality, and all other sins as well. (Just like all of us have too) God commands that all repent of sins and beleive the gospel in order to be saved. But if you continue in your sins, which you clearly are, (as noted in your last sentence) then you are in rebellion of Gods word, and not truly born again. My desire is not to be your friend and tell you what you want to hear, but my desire is to honestly care for you, and your soul, and tell you the truth that you must hear! You are right in wanting to study the text, and be very careful to get the context right. But again, don't be decieved Bonnie, these are not obscure or ambiguous verses, but rather, very clear teaching of the scriptures. 1st.John 2;3 clearly states, that if you love Christ, then you will obey His word. By holding onto your sins Bonnie, you are not loving Christ. But after reading your notes, I would caution you to read 2 Corithians 13:5 Which tells you to examine yourself and make sure that you are in the faith. God hates all sin Bonnie, not just homosexuality, but ALL sin. 1 John 2:4 should be of particular interest to you. It says "he who says I know Him, but does not keep His word is a liar, and the truth is not in him. You are decieved into believing Jesus is ok with your sin, but you must know that if you continue in rebellion, then you are clearly not saved! This is the truth. At least take a look at what I said. look up the scriptures, and study it out. I am very concerned for you that you will experience Matthew 7:21-27 Very scarey stuff! Please, at least read the scriptures and see for yourself. Praying for you Bonnie!
I think the problem with Don's approach is similar with many Christians--they feel like they have to proclaim their view of the Bible's stance about gays as if gays have never heard this before. But trust me, the vast majority of American gays already know the evangelical Christian's ideas about gays and the Bible. I've even known many gays who were raised Christian and probably know the Bible better than most Christians. So all that lectures like Don's above spiel will accomplish in reality is to just get them to shut down and stop listening. Why? Because they've heard it all before. They know exactly what you are going to say before you say it.
I'm gay, for example, and I've known tons of evangelical Christians in my life so I'm a pretty good predictor of everything modern evangelicals can say about the topic--the types of arguments they use, their interpretations of Bible verses on the matter, etc, etc. Which means that I can pretty much say what they are going to say before they even say it.
So quite frankly, it's kind of annoying and condescending when some evangelical hear's that I'm gay and tries to lecture me on his view of the Bible as if I am some kind of child who hasn't heard this stuff before (or as if I've never read the Bible for myself). In such a situation, I am WAY more offended by the condescending attitude then I am by the fact that this individual believes that homosexuality is a sin. In fact, I really am not at all offended by the fact that they believe homosexuality is a sin. As long as you behave civilly and don't try to pass laws impeding my livelyhood, I say believe what you want about homosexuality. I don't care. But if you're going to lecture me please save your breath as not only are the lectures usually kind of rude, but most importantly I, and I would guess most homosexuals in the country, have probably heard everything you are going to say a million times before.
If you want to be my friend then be my friend by acting like a friend. If you want to love me then show this love, don't tell me about it. Then, maybe, once we're friends we can start having the sorts of theological/ethical/philosophical discussions that friends have and maybe start to engage in a discussion about our thoughts on the issue. But the surest way of getting me to never listen to you again is by giving me the same old religious lecture I've heard thousands of times before---in the same way that I am sure you all would be turned off if some guy walks up to you and starts lecturing you on why your beliefs are wrong and why you should ascribe to his political views. It's just rude, condescending, and a turn off.
Just to correct the above article, the term "homosexuality" does NOT come from the Bible. The term "homosexuality" was coined in Germany in the 19th century by the medical/psychological community and thus has always had more "clinical" or "scientific" connotations. So the word "homosexual" did not exist prior to the 19th century.
Given this, I suspect if gays are uncomfortable with the word or dislike the word it's probably more because it has traditionally been associated with what the medical community for years saw as a psychological disorder and a diagnosis--so it might have negative connotations due to this as to call them "homosexuals" kind of equates them, historically, not only with what was seen as a psychological disorder but also being nothing more than a diagnosis. If some gays don't like the word it's probably due to this, rather than anything in the Bible (especially, as others have noted, translations of the Bible did not even start using the word until the 1950s).
However, that said, I really don't think the word is as offensive as the article lets on. It's biggest problem might just be that it's so sterile and thus slightly dehumanizing (and thus it's probably not a good idea to over use the word when directly addressing gays), but at the same time I don't know of any gays who see the word in itself as a slur or anything.
Thank you for this article! It is refreshing to see someone who is bold enough and cares enough to build this bridge. Although I do hold a conservative, traditional view of sexuality and marriage, I do not believe that we should see gays and lesbians as enemies. They are also created in the image of God. But it's not easy to live out these two views. Oftentimes, I feel that as soon as a gay person finds out a person is a Christian who believes that gay sex is wrong, he will immediately close his mind to anything else the Christian has to say, no matter how caring the Christian tries to be.
A good friend of mine in college came out to me while we were roommates, knowing that I was a conservative Christian. To his surprise, I did not react with shock or anger, and even stayed as a roommate. We mutually respected each other's views and beliefs. But unfortunately, we gradually grew apart simply because our lives and circle of friends were so different.
I do pray that the Christian community and the LGBT community will find more ways to listen to and understand each other.
All Christians are commanded to proclaim the truth, that is, against sin itself, not any particular sin, but sin! Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is a powerful message, one that the Christian is commanded to do regardless of the circumstances. and if there is to be true love shown, it will be found in the gospel of Jesus Christ; who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, in order to appease a God who hates sin so much that he created a hell so that "we all" as sinners could be saved from this horrible and terrifying place. Hard message, but a true one! I recommend that anyone reading this blog read and re-read the Gospel of John.
Kel, I am glad that you openned your doors to your friend and shown your friend love, I am also hopeful that in addition to being a friend, that you also shared with your friend the only life giving message there is, and that is the gopsel message of Jesus Christ. As I said before, this is true love being shared with one another! Blessings Kel!
I used to struggle daily with SGA. There is freedom in Christ. Hallelujah. Deny yourself. Pick up your cross.
If you are gay and christian, ask God Himself if He is pleased with your lifestyle. If He says yes, okay. If He says no, okay. Not that difficult...
Yet, (and here's my christian spiel, get ready!) manXman= no children; manXwoman= babies! (and this equation excludes adoption) I think that is why homosexuality is wrong. It does not continue the human race and God looooves people.
What christians forget to do is to explain the whys. And we don't know why! That is why there is God, who gave the Bible. He's not dead, so stop arguing one way or the other; it's annoying. He's right up there. Just ask. Anytime.....
Stop leaning to your own understanding!!
Everything changes when you take the time to listen to, and understand the journey of someone that has never had feelings for someone of the opposite sex...
...particularly if that someone has had a genuine revelation of who Jesus Christ is and walks with him daily.
It takes some very bold, educated people like Mr. Andrew Marin to tell the truth and the truth of his life experience as a straight heterosexual male.
One only has to check the pages of Craiglist all over the US and World to see that 'married heterosexual males' are often Christian, Catholic, Mormon, all types of faiths and because of their fears hide under marriages - but deep down, they know they are gay.
I am not writing these words to judge or condemn anyone but we need more folks like Mr. Marin to tell their story, boldly and consistently!
Art Scott, Southern California
I believe all he is saying is that as christians we are called to love everyone unconditionally and many times people forget or ignore this fact if they don't agree with someone's views. We are all sinners but God loves everyone and calls us also to love everyone and that should be our life mission as christians no matter who the other person is or what they think or believe. We are called to love unconditionally not judge
Judging solely from the article, I think this is an excellent first step Christians should take. Let's put it this way, for the gays, lesbians etc who have a strong belief in atheism, and bashes Christians as much or worse as some Christians would bash gays, there probably isn't much purpose in trying to reach out to them directly. What can be done would be to reach out to those that can be reached out, and demonstrate that Christianity is not some judgmental bigoted religion. Sadly, that is what has been portrayed these days, and that is the exact opposite of what Jesus was trying to accomplish.
I think ultimately, one thing I agree strongly with the author is the fact that it is not our job to change anyone. Our job is to simply demonstrate the love our father has for us. The unconditional love Jesus demonstrated through his grace. For myself, I believe through change can only be invoked spiritually. There is nothing we can do to change someone through our own efforts.
Similarly to the LGBT community, we have no power to change anyone. That is not our job. It is probably not even our job to question if our efforts made a difference. To simply unconditionally love someone and demonstrate but a fragment of our father's love for us is all we have to do. The rest stems from what we call faith, and there is no further need to question or try to invoke any change through our own efforts.
So in reply to Nicholas Dials, no I do not believe that the Marin foundation wants to change LGBT people. I believe the key point here is to just be a source of comfort and love to LGBT people who seek it. The rest is left to God. That is the impression I got from the article. If that is truly their aim, then I would fully support them and pray that more Christians start thinking like that.
Another very important factor that all Christians need to gain is the sense of humility and humbleness. The problem with many well intending Christians trying to reach out to non-Christians (gay or straight) is that they consistently portray a 'holier-than-thou' attitude, as if they are above them. It may be unintentional, but that hint of arrogance is something that consistently puts non-Christians away, We need to start portraying ourselves in a humbled listening state. Only than can we hope to reach out to anyone. This is true I believe not just in reaching out to the LGBT community, but to anyone who has been ostracised in anyway, which very often, this feeling of being ostracised would usually have stemmed from the Church.
Don, I am a straight married guy with 2 kids. For years I have thought the same as you, homosexuality is a sin. Until recently. God has shown me that my thinking is not aligned with His. We are assuming that a person who is gay, chooses to be gay. But what if the person is born gay? God created them and knew what He was creating before thery were even born - just like you and me. Would you deny someone who is gay not to have a personal, loving relationship with someone else? Some gays want to be straight and will go to organisations like Living Waters to try and be 'healed', if healing is the right term. Some are and some aren't.
It doesn't matter if you are gay or not, unless you accept Jesus into your life you aren't saved anyway. You will quote the bible and what Paul writes about homosexuality. Paul writes this because of the orgies that were happening during Roman times to their gods. They were not in a loving, one to one relationship.
In the OT such as Sodom, similar practicies were happening there too. As I said, God has been challenging me on my previous views. I'm not sure as yet what I am meant to do with what He is giving me, but I don't think damming people because they are gay is the right way to bring them into the kingdom.
Research who Marin speaks for and who backs him up. He is 501c3 and speaks at many united nations conferences. I personally have heard him (speech at Gordon college) say that ALL faiths and ALL beliefs need to come together and merge as one. This is part of the New World Order and the Antichrist system, let's throw out true biblical teachings and paint a false Jesus image. Sure he is good at scripture, so is Satan. Please research the united nations and their satanic goal to control the world, a great place to start is the "know your enemy" series on YouTube by "the fuel project". Like it or not, gays and homosexuals, sodomites, whatever you wish to be called, WILL NIT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM! We are called to preach the gospel, don't change the message.Love and pray for everyone, but don't expect everyone to understand the message. If they don't want be free from their sin or demonic grip of homosexuality, Jesus will not free them. Don, keep up the preaching! Everyone reading, please use your own free will to research 501c3 govt owned churches and the united nations ! Billy graham and Clinton ? Come on???
Numerous medical, psychology, and social work articles (CDC, Journal of the American Medical Association, etc.) attest to early childhood trauma as being the cause of gay tendencies as early as 6 years old.
Jerry Arterburn, gay author, said: "I was involved in the homosexual world as a blatant attempt to obtain affection from other men which I did not receive from my own father."
Jerry was rejected by his father and therefore tried to gain male affection from his male classmates starting in grade school. His yearning for male fatherly affection became sexualized at puberty. He said his female mannerisms came from his only role model, his mother, and he became ambiguous and confused about his sexual identity, all because of an unloving and emotionally distant father.
The early childhood trauma can come from: a distant or nonexistent parental figure, emotional or physical neglect, an unloving overbearing parent, witnessing violence in the home, and worst case - molestation and rape (Otago University study).
Recent studies from the Netherlands, where gay marriage has been legal for over 10 years and the vast majority (72%) of the general population has an open and accepting attitude toward the LGBT community, has seen an INCREASE in gay suicides - contrary to what was expected.
Any act of 'love' toward the LGBT community which increases suicides and death is a FALSE compassion. May we all learn to love each other with a pure love which only comes from God Himself.
"Like many who struggle with same-sex attractions, the early years of my life were filled with pain and confusion. When I was 8 years old my parents divorced. This single event was the turning point. For the next 12 years my life would be marked by rejection, estrangement, isolation…What I did not realize for the first half of my life was that my struggle with same-sex attraction was born out of a legitimate hunger for love, affirmation, identity and security." (D. Berryessa, Ex-gay)
Here we see that being gay is neither a choice nor from being born gay. No one chooses to live through traumatic circumstances, nor is there any scientific evidence of a gay gene or gay area of the brain.
To obscure things further, a child may not have a full understanding of the situation at the time, and may actually have loving memories of their parents, even in light of the trauma that they experienced while living under their parents' roof.
Study: Homosexuality Linked with Childhood Trauma (2010) – “A recent Otago University study has found that homosexual or bisexual individuals are more likely to have undergone a variety of traumas in childhood, including sexual assault, rape, violence, and witnessing violence in the home....suggesting that such experiences TRIPLED the chance of later professing homosexual or bisexual inclinations.”
Because we, as a humanity, have all suffered from various traumas to some degree, I believe we are all capable of empathizing with those who have suffered in a like manner. Therefore, we must uphold the following:
1) The Dignity and Value assigned to All persons by their Creator, especially the LGBT Community.
2) Love for our Brothers & Sisters in the LGBT community: Our Only Motivation for presenting Biblical or scientific truths to the LGBT community.
In Addition, we renounce and repudiate:
1) Incivility, religious or otherwise, toward gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender individuals.
2) Bigotry/prejudice and Reverse bigotry/prejudice.
3) Willful ignorance of scientific evidence which contradicts political goals of any kind.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails ... "
1 Corinthians 13:4–8
“Abused adolescents, particularly those victimized by adult males, were up to 7 TIMES MORE LIKELY to self-identify as gay or bisexual than peers who had not been abused.”
Journal of the American Medical Association (1998)
“One half of the victims…often linked their homosexuality to their sexual victimization experiences....The age at the time of the molestation ranged from 4 to 16 with a mean age of 10.” (A. Dean Byrd, Ph.D)
The above article shows how gay tendencies from emotional trauma can start as early as 4 years old because the trauma also occurred very early in childhood.
Once again, we should know that less severe circumstances of emotional trauma can contribute to gay tendencies such as an absent male or female role model or an overbearing unloving parent.
And to complicate matters, a child may not fully understand the effect of the trauma on them or even recollect any memory of the trauma. So as an adult, they may actually have loving memories of their unloving parent.
In any case, when the church encounters someone who has suffered from circumstances beyond their control, should they throw them out? No! We should embrace them and love them as we would our own children if they came home hurting from some adverse situation. Love is first, correct doctrine although important, is second.
1 Corinthians 13:
"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."
thankyou so much for your website. I have recently formed a friendship with a lesbian couple and have been in absolute torment wondering how I could witness to them with the love of jesus in the true way while not condoning their behaviour. I felt like in order to still be able to call myself a christian i had a duty to rebuke them in their sin. I didnt want to shame them or hurt them so i didnt, but then felt like i was sinning against God. Now I feel the peace of the holy spirit and know it is his place to convict. I am so relieved that all i am called to do is love them. God bless you for your website. A real answer to prayer.
Jesus is coming!!! brothers,believe it...(sorry my errors!!!)
Jesus dara a cada um segundo suas obras.
enquanto o ser humano tem vida ele tem tempo de se converter a Cristo antes que venha os maus dias,não devemos jogar pedras em ninguem, pois tambem somos pecadores,Jesus ama a tds sem distinção de cor,raça ou sexo,deixo a tds Isaias 55:6 para meditação aos gays,lesbicas,heteros e livres pensadores.
People who judge others, need to look at their own behavior. Don't judge others because their sin is different from yours. God's word says there is none perfect, no not one. You can't put a sin meter on people who don't live according to what you think is right. God hates sin, any sin, judging being one of those. I grew up in the house of an independent Baptist pastor. My father was hard against sin, but I never saw such an example of loving people, all people, no matter what situation they were in. When others would drive by homeless people, people who were broke down, people who didn't have food or lights in their house, my dad would help, not the church he pastored, but him. He worked a full-time job, as well as pastored a church. He used to say, without the grace of God, that could be us. To much is given, much is required. Extend some grace today.
Thanks for this article Andrew. Very well written, with much passion and I believe wisdom also. Way to elevate the conversation! And way to focus on what is most central: God's deep, relentless, and unconditional love for his creation... which transcends our bitter battles for "right-ness", and control by means of religious justification. It's quite ugly, and insecure of us I believe - to always need to anxiously bring our own conviction upon people, rather than to love without condition. Boy, how we crown ourselves prophets without God's permission!! And I imagine God weeps at our deep homophobia and euphemistic hate (which is, even more sadly, almost always rooted in our own self-hate) And while God grieves it now, I'm sure we too will grieve it when all is made clear.
I also am reminded of Hosea 6:6 - "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings" ...oh how God must delight in the gay young man who LOVES Him, and pursues Him! And does so, courageously, and regardless of whether the Holy Spirit has given him clear word on how to steward his sexuality (which, we all need to ask that question, don't we - gay or straight! - let's not forget the sad normalcy of marital infidelity and glamorized promiscuity among the straight community.) But really... I mean has sin (and I recognize some might be offended at the idea of calling their same-sex love a 'sin')... but in ANY case... has sin EVER stopped God from conforming someone to his image? This is the entire point of the Gospel - that God transcends our brokenness and folly. (oh I could go on about that of course...)
So yes, Andrew, way to elevate the conversation, and pour a big tall glass of grace over it all. I imagine Jesus echoes your call for justice here, brother - and may the Church bring His healing balm to soothe us all, and remind us of His goodness, and faithfulness to redeem us, heal us, and conform us ALL more and more into the image of Christ.
I recommend a book based on true life experience:
I have met the authors (a mother and her ex-gay son). The son is now a pastor after years in rebellion, as a gay, drugs, struggle with HIV.
Title: OUT OF A FAR COUNTRY - A GAY SON TURNING TO GOD AND A BROKEN MOTHER'S SEARCH FOR HOPE
BY CHRISTOPHER YUAN & ANGELA YUAN.
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