Thursday, November 27, 2008

MissionGathering Billboard cont.

An open response to my good friends Robert and Susie to my previous blog post.

First of all, Robert and Susie, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

I also agree, Susie, that the church has much to apologize for.
That apology, however, should not turn into an ad for a particular church.

Plus, those things worth apologizing for: stupid jokes, elevating the sin of homosexual activity over other sins like pride, lies, bitterness, etc., the belief that those participating in homosexual activity are automatically lost sinners... all of those legitimate offenses are never mentioned in the billboard.

Instead, the apology is for people with a differing opinion on whether Gay marriage should be legal. And, the billboard characterizes those with differing opinions as judgmental, narrow-minded, and manipulative. What is ironic is that the billboard itself is all of the things that it accuses others of.

But, now to the elephant in the room. I don't believe there is a Constitutional right to gay marriage. According to the billboard, that would make me a totalitarian bent on taking rights away in the name of God.

I wonder if others might vote against the right of a man to marry multiple women? Would that be judgmental, narrow-minded, etc. Or, would it be a vote of conscience, a genuine voice of concern that marriage has to mean something.

Our church (LifePoint) has apologized to homosexuals for the wrong headed sinful way in which Christians have built barriers to the truth of Christ with arrogance and outright rejection. We openly welcome all into our church so that we all may align our lives to Christ.

Of course, another elephant, I also believe that homosexual activity is a sin. I think that a clear headed examination of scripture will reveal this to anyone without an agenda. I realize, that in the last few years, an attempt has been made to say these things:

1. Romans 1 is talking about loveless, lust-filled homosexual orgies.
2. The sin of Sodom was not being a good host.
3. The O.T. Laws pertaining to homosexual activity don't apply.
4. Jesus never mentioned homosexuality... (or rape, or pedophilia, or internet porn, or smoking crack)

I have examined these arguments. Believe me, it is important to get to the truth on this. My belief is that we are all born with certain temptations... and you can't choose your temptation. But, even though we all have an bent towards sin, that doesn't make the sin itself ok.

I read Jay's, the creative arts pastor of MissionGathering, testimony of having good friends wanting to not be gay anymore. "Please, make me not gay", was one of the statements.

Well, some believe that pedophilia is a sexual orientation. I don't know whether it is or not. I just know that the activity itself is sin. It is sin whether or not Jesus mentions it. It is sin whether or not Romans 1 is specifically addressing it.

So, how do you communicate these truths with grace? How do you, as I really do, love homosexuals and still hold these beliefs? I don't find it that difficult.

I love Jason. And Jason (gasp!) struggles with sin.

I love Robbie Rob Rob. And he is a fellow struggler.

I love my wife, Amy. She is a world class sinner. She would say the same about me!

The church's problem has been the elevation of homosexual activity above the sins that we deal with because it made us feel better about ourselves. It was wrong.

But calling sin ok... that would be a bigger wrong. One that I am too fearful of God to commit.


Susie Moore said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you! I hope you are eating lots of good food! I agree with you that the church has lots to apologize for with regards to how they have approached the homosexual community and I agree that instead of addressing those issues the billboard was more of an attack on those who supported Prop 8. However while I think the execution was poor I think the intent was a geniune desire to communicate to the homosexual community that they have friends in the church. And I applaud that as well as Life Point's welcoming attitude to all people. As far as whether gay marriage should be legal or not I feel like any debate we might have will probably end with something to the effect of "Lets agree to disagree". I dont think that I am going to change your mind nor do I think that you will change mine. I support gay marriage. I believe it is a constitutional right that all consenting adults should have. However I also believe that you should be able to vote your conscience. If you dont agree with gay marriage than by all means please vote that way. But I also dont think civil rights should be decided by a vote. They should be decided in the courts. If black civil rights had been left to a vote would we be where we are today or would segregation still be in effect? Im hesitate to click the 'publish your comment' button because I know that most of the people that read this blog are not going to agree with me. Im not trying to attack anyone because they dont support gay marriage and I would ask that no one attack me because I do.

Lance said...

Rest easy, Susie. You are among friends who love you very much.

If anyone attacks you they are going to have to deal with one of your biggest fans... me.

So, above all in Christian love, let's agree to disagree.

Danielle said...

I really related to one thing you said Lance about calling something that is sin "ok". It is awful tempting at times to call a lesser name. I know that if I did that very thing, I would be happy. Perhaps even blissfully so. I'm not sure if the following is heresy or being real about my sinful nature (perhaps both), but there are times that I would love nothing more than to rid myself of the difficult (and sometimes painful) life of a Christ follower and take up happiness. To live on the ecstasy of a flesh fully satisfied. To only feel momentary pains between now and the next time I medicate, instead of the pain of sacrifice that sometimes threatens to never dissipate. Not caring for peace or joy or fulfillment of purpose, but simply possess happiness all the days of my life. To have the very things that God says I must not possess in his stead. After all, it is easier to call sin by a lesser name, than to do as Alexander the Great suggested and change my own name to something less than Christian. Christ has thus far spared me from throwing myself headlong into a permanent life of wretched happiness. However, my inability to procure happiness is not for lack of effort on my part. It is simply and only the persistent grace of a frustratingly patient God. He is bent on fashioning my desire after his own. For that I am immensely grateful and amazed.
Sorry I wandered off topic a little.

Christina said...

Danielle, I just want to say I read your comment three times. I love being able to hear all of your hearts on these blogs. And its so true that we are in a battle against our flesh. Our struggles are just different. I think the key is never deciding that our struggles have defeated us and have become who we are. I am learning that with my over-sensitive nature. I've always said, "that's just the way I am." And God is showing me that, that is not an excuse. Getting offended every-time anyone corrects me or disagrees with me is not being over-sensitive, its pride and pride is a sin. I can no longer say this is OK in my life. I will no longer accept that its "just who I am." I hurt for those who struggle with homosexuality. I do not believe its something they have just chosen out of nowhere - its a struggle an enormous struggle - and it really doesn't seem fair to me. Their struggle seems more difficult than most to overcome. But I pray and hope that those that love and follow the Lord yet struggle with homosexuality will keep fighting and find the church to be a family that stands with them in prayer and intercession. Jesus received tax collectors and prostitutes as his close friends and disciples but I do think he expected them to change. From reading about Peter, I am so grateful to see that even when we fail, He still uses us for His great purposes. He is bigger than our struggles, bigger than our humanness and his grace is always great enough to forgive our mistakes. When I think on that it fills me with a greater desire for purity a greater desire to have more of him and less of anything other than HIm.