Thursday, July 30, 2009

From a reader

It's been a long time since I've printed a sample of the many emails I get from readers. My number one concern has always been to be sensitive to people's privacy which is why, with very few exceptions, I make an effort to write back to everyone personally. But I had to share this email which was particularly encouraging to me (the brackets are mine):

Hey Misty. I'm a worship pastor at a fairly conservative evangelical church. At an early age I was heartbroken to see the church's response to my gay uncles. They lived and died without any support or love from the church. I have recently been thinking about the response the church should have to homosexual believers. I know that there are several SSA [same-sex attracted] believers in our church, all but one of them is closeted. The one that is out is my dear friend who comes to my house weekly for a home group that my wife and I host. He's given us an amazing opportunity to process all these thoughts from a different perspective. Just this past weekend he brought a boyfriend to church. His friend loved the church, said he was intrigued by the message and prayed the prayer with our pastor. I sat with them throughout the service to show my acceptance, support and love, but I know that this raised many eyebrows. It should be interesting to see what kind of comments I get, especially from my boss.

So, I'm hopeful that our church will be open to ministering to those with SSA, but I'm sure that this will be a slow process.

I really appreciate your blog. Thanks for all you do.

grace and peace, jimmy [with permission]

I don't have all the answers when it comes reaching out to gays and lesbians. But it's great to hear how some of you are out there taking chances and sharing the love of Christ boldly. Someday you will be rewarded for your faithfulness.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Gay at Wheaton

A gay Wheaton student shares insights that younger evangelicals--who are interested in being more compassionate and open-minded toward homosexuals--need to hear in order to take the next step in reaching out to the gay Christians in their midst. Is it enough to simply not be anti-gay?

Wheaton is not oppressive for the reasons Soulforce was protesting. Homosexual students aren’t actively oppressed under the community covenant. We just can't have sex--which puts us in the same boat as all unmarried Wheaton students. Wheaton is also not oppressively anti-gay, like some other communities. When we finally share our stories, we are usually well received. The community really does desire to help and love us. But they don't necessarily know how, so they keep quiet. As a result, many of us are wasting away, even in the midst of a loving community, under the burden of a well-meaning but deadly silence.

The third point of the article gives helpful advice on how to create a community for Side B (committed to celibacy) gay Christians in the church or on campus. If you want to know why this is so critical, read the second point of the article about what happened to a Wheaton student named Stephen . . .

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Followers list doubles

So I wander off for about a week or so and come back to find that the "Followers" list has gone from 9 to 18! How'm I gonna keep up with you guys? Welcome, brave souls, who publicly admit to reading this blog:

D.J. Free!
Craig L. Adams
Allie Huger
Doug Taron
Dave E
Owen Lee (<---my pastor!)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Don't Ask Don't Tell in the church

A reader tipped me off to this piece by the Rev. Gordon Atkinson about a painful incident he and his congregation went through over a decade ago. A lesbian couple with two young daughters started attending the church regularly and became friends with everyone including the pastor's own kids. The "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy regarding their relationship seemed to work fine until the couple asked to become members.

One woman said to me, “I have no problem with Mary and Karen joining our church. But the fact is, the majority of the people in this church believe that homosexuality is sinful. We’ve never talked about it, but you and I both know that is the case. If Mary and Karen join and no one says anything to them, they will likely assume that our church blesses and affirms homosexual relationships. If we are going to be in community with them, shouldn’t we be honest with them about this?”
In spite of many good intentions, the story does not end well. It illustrates the kind of dilemma the conservative church will be facing more often in the coming years. I don't think there are easy answers, but certainly finding solutions can't happen unless we in the conservative church are willing to discuss homosexuality openly and calmly. Sweeping it under the rug until reality hits us square in the face at some future point can only result in disaster.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thank you, followers

I started a "followers" section on my sidebar a few months back, not knowing if anything would come of it. I'm happy to see that nine people have joined so far. Allow me to say a belated thank you to each of you for letting me know you're out there:

anonymous (Brussels, Belgium)
SO Katie
Joe Naturgesetz
michael daniel

Thursday, July 09, 2009

"Hazards of Christians Supporting Gay Marriage"

My friend, conservative Christian blogger Alan Ng, has turned a recent email he received into an animation. (Apparently, there is a company that does this sort of thing.) The email was written by a Christian reader who calls Alan an "instrument of the devil" for supporting civil same-sex marriage.

I don't get this kind of email as often as I used to, but they do show up every now and then. Personally, I've never found name-calling very persuasive in getting me to rethink my views. Good argumentation is much more effective. More of that, please.