faithit

what would you do?

I just read an article this morning that I think would definitely stir the Christian pot. Take a look really quickly for yourself and try to think about what you would do, and I would encourage you to think about this especially in terms of this being a very close friend of yours. What would you do? Why or why not? Personally, I wouldn't give it a second thought (provided I was invited to this wedding obviously). I would be there for my friend in a heartbeat. While my beliefs on how gay marriage intermingles with faith are a little more complicated than that, I think that we need to go back to what Jesus said are the two greatest commandments which can be found in Matthew 22:36-40.

"'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?' And He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

When it comes down to it, I think that these are the commandments that we need to be the most careful of obeying, and they have to do with love. For me, I would much rather err on the side of love than on the side of worrying that we're going to "unintentionally endorse sin" or something like that.

After all, Jesus was caught hanging around with sinners and outcasts all the time. He defended the woman caught in adultery from the Pharisees. He had dinner with tax collectors. He brought in His disciples from all walks of life, many that were ostracized because of their professions. He even spoke with and forgave one of the criminals who was on another cross beside Him as He was dying. Jesus didn't necessarily keep a "noble" crowd around Him, especially if you asked the Pharisees in His day. If we're supposed to be emulating the life of Christ, what does that imply for us?

Think about it this way, especially if your friend doesn't happen to be a Christian. How would you feel if one of your friends refused to attend your wedding because they believed it was sinful? I don't know about you, but I think that I would probably be more hurt and turned away from Christianity than anything else, and I don't think that's what we're called to do. Yes, the Gospel definitely offends, but I think that if we're making people feel unloved and pushed away because of the actions that we take, then I think that we should maybe reexamine them.

I'm not trying to say to go against your conscience on something like this, but I feel like if you have a gay friend who is already willing to and feels close enough to you to invite you to their wedding, then you should at least be willing to consider these things. I just think that, as Christians, we have been called to be a people of love, something that I feel like has been lost in the past few hundred years. I think that we have grown too concerned with presenting ourselves as a "holy people," being "in the world and not of it," "hating the sin, and loving the sinner" (a saying that I absolutely detest by the way), and a myriad of other "Christianese" things that we have forgotten what our true calling is.

We have been called to be a people of love and to make disciples of all nations, and I'd argue of all philosophies, sexualities, and everything else that is out there in the world. I think that we need to get back to our roots and start loving people again, and loving them exactly where they are in life. The church is supposed to be a place for broken people who realize they need Jesus, not a place where a righteous reputation is paramount and people feel judged and alone when they go through difficult trials. We need to remind ourselves constantly that the church is for and made up of broken people. It's why we became Christians to begin with, because God broke us and showed us that we are horribly broken and that we will never be good enough, but that doesn't matter, because He loved us too much.

So again, what would you do?

For me, I will always choose to err on the side of loving people.

p a r e n t s

So, I realize that I haven't written a whole lot of original content thus far, just commenting on and responding to various articles. I promise I will get to that. I've just been reading a lot of things leading up to and through the process of starting the blog, and I have encountered a lot of different people writing a lot of different things that I both agree with and disagree with. I think it's a good description of someone's beliefs when they articulate what exactly they believe and what they do not, which is what I have been doing so far. So today, I have another post which stems off another article that I just read recently. This post is addressed to any parents that might be reading this blog or this post. The article that I'm going to link to below is one of the best that I've read. It describes one pastor saying all the things that he will do if he has gay children, and I think that it's heartwarming and encouraging for all of the LGBT Christians out there. I think that it provides a nice contrast to all of the straight, Christian parents and pastors who would love nothing more than to continue to berate Christian young people for simply being the way they are. And yes, the comments at the bottom of the post, if you choose to read them, are disheartening and difficult to read, perhaps even angering, but I think that the point is that this pastor and dad is willing to speak up about this even though he knows full well that his opinion will probably not be received well, which is precisely why I'm sharing this with you. I'm all about people speaking up for what they believe, especially if their beliefs aren't popular. Here's the link:

http://www.faithit.com/gay-children-4-promises-christian-parent/

Alright, this article is pretty short, so I'll try to touch on at least the four points that are brought up as well as some other things that caught my attention while I was reading. The first thing that I want to mention is that I'm very thankful that this pastor has had many interactions with LGBT people in his life. I think that's incredibly valuable for anyone who is in a leadership position in the Christian sphere, especially when those interactions are with LGBT people who have had bad experiences with the church. I really appreciate that he addresses the fact that it's difficult to be a gay Christian kid in the church, because it is! There are a lot of different opinions on whether or not being gay and being a Christian can coexist, and many of those opinions are not positive. I'm just really glad that he acknowledges the struggle that gay Christians have to go through even while they're trying to be a part of the church.

It's difficult to be a gay Christian kid in the church.

For his first point, the biggest thing that stands out to me is that fact that he promises not to be ashamed of his kids, at least that's what he seems to mean at the core. He states that having a gay child won't be the dirty little secret that his family guards above all else, and I think that's incredible, because it reiterates indirectly that being gay isn't something to be ashamed of, something that's important to remember, especially in Christian circles. Just like him, my opinion probably won't be very popular, but there's nothing wrong about having a homosexual orientation. God doesn't love you any less because you're gay, and He certainly didn't make a mistake in the fact that you're gay, and it definitely isn't a choice that you can be ridiculed and torn apart for. I'm so glad that this pastor isn't willing to sacrifice his kids for the comfort and acceptance of others. That's parenting done right. How are kids supposed to be able to go out into the world on their own and endure all the hate and criticism that they're going to experience from others when their own parents don't accept them and love them all the same regardless of their sexual orientation that they certainly didn't choose? Just like the Christian community as a whole, I believe that the responsibility of parents is to love their kids unconditionally while pointing them to Christ. God will take care of the rest.

God didn't make a mistake in the fact that you're gay, and it isn't a choice.

Secondly, I really like the intent and the attitude that is behind his second point. The promise to pray for his gay children is an important one to make, even though it seems to be almost trivial compared to what other parents might do when they find out that one of their children is gay. To me, the reasoning behind this is the same as in the other points and the article as a whole. This dad and pastor is aiming and striving to love his kids unconditionally no matter what, and that is his focus. And again, I absolutely love that he isn't praying for his kids to be "normal" or that God would make them straight. This is such a powerful model for other Christian parents of gay children to keep in mind, because when you pray that God would take away or change your child's orientation, what you're really saying is that there is something wrong with them that needs to be changed. What kind of message is that to be sending to your kids, especially kids who are already probably struggling with this identity means for them and what it means for their lives? Again, it's not the responsibility of parents or even Christians in general to try and change other Christians who also confess to being gay. That's not a part of the Gospel message that was given to us in the Bible. Changing of orientation, if that's even going to happen, is only God's responsibility. Thus, I also really appreciate this dad's prayer for protection for his kids, especially the prayer that ungodly treatment from others wouldn't prevent them from continuing to seek the Lord. That is a very real thing that happens in churches all over the country. Gay Christian kids commit suicide or leave the church because they feel so unloved and judged by a community that is supposed to be the embodiment of Christ's love on earth.

He isn't praying for his kids to be "normal" or that God would make them straight.

The third point of his article is the most important one in my opinion, because it encapsulates everything that he is trying to say and also the mission of Christians in general. My favorite idea that he gets across is that the sexuality of his children is basically irrelevant in regards to his love for them. He says that he won't love them despite their sexuality or even because of their sexuality, but simply because they are his. That is a beautiful picture of what parental and also unconditional love is supposed to be. You love someone simply because you do. This also ensures that those children will be open to talking with their parents regardless of whether or not they are gay, and that is an important relationship to have. As he says, his children might doubt a million other things in their lives, but they will never doubt that he loves them, because he will make sure of it. And that's all he is supposed to do, love them and point them toward Christ. Anything after that is up to God. Even if his children walk away from the Lord or live in a way that isn't pleasing to the Lord, he will know that it's in God's hands, that he did everything that he could. And I think that's another good perspective to keep in mind, especially when dealing with older children. It's not the parents' responsibility to control their children and dictate everything about them. As they get older, their parents need to promise to love them unconditionally, but then release them to make decisions for themselves, whether they be good or bad. That sounds like a characteristic of uncaring parents, but in reality, everyone has to learn things for themselves. Everyone has to make their own mistakes and everyone has to encounter God on their own, otherwise their faith will never truly be their own.

Everyone has to encounter God on their own, otherwise their faith will never truly be their own.

Finally, I can't even begin to express how much I appreciate this author's take on homosexuality, because I think that even the idea of being gay is something that most straight people can't even fathom. They don't understand why a boy would be attracted to another boy or a girl attracted to another girl, but that's simply because they themselves aren't straight. An oft asked question, but a good and thought-provoking one at the same time is: Did you choose to be straight? I didn't think so. And I understand that many people will attest to the fact that it seems unloving and highly unlikely that God would create someone and make them gay knowing that it goes against what His word says and the general Christian conventions, but I also strongly, firmly believe that God does not make mistakes. In the same vein, I believe that God is sovereign over all things, which by extension would imply that He does indeed make people gay from the start, and I think that the verse that the author quotes and interprets is used properly and the interpretation correct. The Bible states that God knew every one of us even before the foundations of the world were made, which means that He knew that some of us would be born this way, that we would not choose it, and He made us that way anyway. There is nothing wrong with that. After all, everyone struggles with different sins in their lives, whether that is selfishness, pride, greed, lust, or anything else. For gay people, it just so happens that what they will have to struggle with is their sexuality, which is not wrong in and of itself. The Bible never says that it is wrong simply to be attracted to the same sex. It only states what is right and wrong to do sexually, something that it address for people of all orientations. The reason for this is that we, as Christians, are all called to live holy lives and strive for holiness, and that path is going to look a little different for everyone. No one has the exact same path to follow in their pursuit of God and His will in their lives, and for this reason we cannot expect any two people to approach life and its struggles the same way. And this also applies to gay Christians. After all, I don't recall anywhere in the Bible where it says that holiness entails being straight, thus I don't think that God will "cure" all professing Christians of their orientations that differ from the norm. That's because there's nothing to "cure." Being gay is not a disease, not something to be ashamed of, not something that makes you more sinful or dirty than everyone else. It's another aspect of yourself that you must align with the will of God, just like a straight person would have to align all aspects of themselves with the will of God. It's no different. It's just going to look a little different for Christians who also happen to be gay.

So to any parents reading, keep these things in mind, should the occasion arise. Remember that it's not your responsibility to convince your children of any particular way of thinking and that it's not your responsibility to change them. Your only responsibility, and the responsibility of all Christians, is to love unconditionally with the love of Christ and point them toward Him. After that, it's all on God. It's out of our hands, because we don't control other people. Only God can change their hearts and minds if that is His will, and He loves them to the ends of the earth.

So again, never forget that Jesus loves you, more than you could ever imagine. He doesn't need to change your sexuality or your attractions for you to serve Him. He will take you and meet you where you are, and He will walk alongside you on your path to holiness, whatever shape or form that journey may take.

a c c e p t e d

Hmm. I still can't seem to figure out how to get these links to properly embed in my posts...oh well...I'll just continue to post the URLs old-fashioned style and what not. The link below is to a video that I just watched today, one that I think is very powerful.

http://www.faithit.com/christian-woman-present-much-powerful-approach-homosexuality-pray-gay-away/

In this video, Julie Rodgers talks about her own struggle with homosexuality, and I really like the very real, honest way that she approaches a topic that many others would shy away from. One sort of funny thing that occurred to me while I was watching the video was how many times she actually says the word 'gay' and the phrase 'I'm gay.' I think that many of us can probably resonate with just how hard that can be to say out loud, not to mention giving an entire talk on this subject.

I want to try and keep my thoughts on her video brief so that you're able to take in all of her thoughts, which are sort of an alternative to the way that Vicky Beeching handled her coming out as described in the last post that I reblogged. Obviously, I'm not going to go out and say that what either of these women does was more right than the other or that what one of them did was wrong, mostly because who am I to judge? I do want to commend both of them though, for speaking up for what they believe and talking about homosexuality and the struggle with same-sex attraction in such a down-to-earth, authentic way.

In my opinion, one of the most powerful moments of this whole entire video is when she gets to the part about her realizing that she doesn't need to change to be accepted by God, that she doesn't need to be "healed" of her same-sex desires in order to be a Christian. I think that is such an important point and aspect of the meshing of Christianity and sexuality that I cannot stress enough. It pains me every time I hear or read a story about a person being condemned for their sexuality or forced through gay conversion therapy, because I don't think that's what we are supposed to be doing as Christians.

There is nowhere in the Bible that it states that you must be straight in order to be a Christian.

The reason for this is that there is nowhere in the Bible that it states that you must be straight in order to be a Christian or that you must be straight in order to be saved or that you must be straight before God can use you. That is complete nonsense. I whole-heartedly believe that you can be a Christian and you can be gay and that God will not condemn you to hell just for being attracted to people of the same gender. In my opinion, it is only when you act on those desires that you sin. Simply being attracted to someone of the same gender is not sin in my mind (and I'll go into the specifics of what I think about that in a future post, because it is rather complicated). However, that hasn't stopped several different denominations or pastors from denouncing people just because of they way they find themselves attracted to other people.

Simply being attracted to someone of the same gender is not a sin in my mind.

So, watch this video of Julie Rodgers. Think about what she has to say. Think about what she believes. Then think about what you believe.

As I've said before, the two goals I have for this blog are the following: I want to make sure that no one feels like they are alone in this struggle; you are just another anomaly among many. And I want to talk about these issues since they aren't talked about very often in a real, analytical, non-judgmental way, to speak into the void of the seemingly unspeakable.

To that end, I will share what I think about the topic of homosexuality and same-sex attraction as it pertains to Christianity and meshing with faith, but I don't want anyone reading this blog to believe something solely because I said it. I try to backup whatever I say with Scripture, but the truth is that the Bible doesn't say a whole lot about this topic. So I guess that a third goal of writing this blog would be to encourage anyone reading to formulate their own beliefs and have reasons for them. I'm not trying to tell anyone what to think. I'm sharing what I believe in the hopes that it will help people figure out what they believe about this topic. I want people to think about hard things and interact with other people without being judged.

So remember that Jesus loves you always and that nothing can separate you from His love. Everyone is broken and everyone sins, and no sin is greater than any other. So come before Jesus where you are. He loves you.