Search Results For "lgbtq"

Rhetoric is a part of this conversation whether we like it or not.  I don’t want to get overly intellectual here, but I do need to explain one thing.  In today’s world, if someone is against same-sex marriage (or for traditional marriage) that person is being viewed as a bigot and oppressive.  This is powerful rhetoric that can apply a lot of pressure on Christians.  It will require us to be very careful with the words and tones we use in conversation.  It’s almost viewed as hateful to be “against” this or to be “for” only traditional views of marriage.  That to say, what we say and how we say it in the world, and more pointedly in relationships, is going to be critical.

Here are 2 things I think we should keep in mind if we want to navigate this conversation well:

Respect people.  If we want to be respected for our beliefs, we must also respect people who have different beliefs.  This is a fact of life: people have different beliefs.  That’s inevitable in so many ways and we ought not freak out when it happens.  But my point is that we can respect people even though we believe different things.  Again, the goal is not to judge the morality of non-Christians (see 1 Corinthians 5:12), but instead to proclaim the excellencies of God (1 Peter 2:9-10).  We are not pointing people toward proper behaviors.  We are respectfully pointing them toward Jesus.

Not condemning people doesn’t mean we condone their actions.  I have plenty of friends who are currently in same-sex partnerships.  I make sure I articulate what I believe in loving and respectful ways that keep our relationship in tact, where there is mutual respect for each other as human beings and where the doors for the gospel to penetrate are still left open.

My prayer is that we, as the Church, can navigate this conversation well and in a humble way that would honor Jesus.

 

How we navigate this conversation will determine a lot in the future for the Church.  I would say this is a critical time and one that we must take very seriously.  Here are a few things I believe we must keep in mind as we converse with people about this subject:

  1. Make God’s transformation priority.  The only thing guilting or shaming people into conforming their behavior accomplishes is bitterness toward Jesus or us being attacked – or both.  In this conversation we have to embrace our theology at very practical levels.  Sanctification is God’s job (Philippians 1:6).  We cannot confuse God’s transformative work in a persons life with a person who conforms their behaviors so that they look like they’ve been transformed.
  2. Be careful to not judge non-Christians.  1 Corinthians 5:12 is very clear that it is not our place to judge people “outside” of the Church.  We cannot expect people who are not believers to act like believers.  Additionally, there are countless people within the Church that need to be walked with in this struggle and wrongly judging people severely hinders that.
  3. Truth is a Person.  In John 14:6 Jesus says that he is the truth.  In other words, truth is not morality nor is it simply doctrinal statements.  Truth is summed up in a Person and his name is Jesus.  That to say, as Christians, we proclaim truth (Jesus) to a lost world, not behavioral standards.  This line must be walked carefully.

Tomorrow I will post one more blog on this topic and then we will be on to the next…

To say that issues surrounding the LGBTQ movement are sensitive to navigate would be a gross understatement. Here are 3 mistakes that are often made in our ministries:

  1. People make “gay” jokes.  Statements like, “that’s gay” or “what are you, gay?” are exactly the types of things that will repel someone who needs to have a safe place to share. This will alienate kids and make you completely unsafe to talk to.  We come across as arrogant and condemning.  Huge mistake.
  2. People treat this issue as a simple one.  This is perhaps the most complex issue we are dealing with today from a pastoral perspective.  Mostly because it’s tied to identity in such strong ways.  We cannot make the mistake of trying to make it simple for people.  It’s not.
  3. People just point to the bible.  We can no longer just say we’re against “same-sex marriage” because “the bible says marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman.” This may be true, but it in no way addresses or even acknowledges the emotional turmoil people are in.

What are some ways you are addressing this issue in a positive way in your ministry?

Conversation has to happen at every level of our churches about the relationship between the Church and the LGBTQ. The BARNA group will be releasing a study on how the views of Christians are changing toward the LGBTQ movement soon.  If you’d like to read an article about this from the Washington Post, click here.  LGBTQ would include at least the following groups of people: homosexual, lesbian, asexual, bi-sexual, transexual, the small amount of people born gender-ambiguous…and those that are “questioning” their orientation (that’s where the Q comes into the equation here).  These are all representative sexualities that are making up a powerful coalition to seek legally recognized freedoms and ultimately social relief from shame.

If this seems more complex to navigate than ever before that’s because it is.  Tomorrow I will post 3 mistakes we cannot make as we seek to navigate this conversation.

For now, here is a graphic that the BARNA group put out (as posted in the Washington Post article above).

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There is a new book out that I can’t wait to read. I’ll get to that in a minute.

I have written no less than 1/2 dozen posts here on the LGBTQ conversation. There is a world of complexities when dealing with this issue – and they are NOT all black and white. One of the worst things we can do to another person is make their struggle a universal black and white issue.

There is a black and white issue here that we should recognize, but it’s one that, unfortunately, few people articulate. The issue that we should be concerned about in our churches is not one of homosexuality, but one of porneia. This is the Greek word translated in most cases as, “sexual immorality.” It speaks of any sexual promiscuity outside God’s design for marriage. Homosexual behaviors can fall into this category, but the truth is heterosexual behaviors are addressed at a much greater length in scripture than any homosexual behaviors are. That’s black and white.

To point out one porneia behavior over another may be done out of ignorance by some, but sadly in many cases it seems to be little more than bigotry. On the other hand, discipling people who are gay is not for the bigot, but for the follower of Jesus. For those of us that want to lovingly guide people toward the ways of Jesus, in any issue, we understand discipleship as being much more than walking people through a curriculum once a week. It’s every bit of the word, “messy.”  It’s anything but black and white. Everyone is different. Their fears, concerns, and questions are unique…and befriending gay people is no exception.

I recently read an article that expressed some of the growing complexities we are seeing in our context. It was written by a gay man who just found out his partner was a trans* woman (a man in transition to become a woman).  He was concerned about what this made him…heterosexual now? It was complex, but it was honest. It was an article that explained the emotional complexities this man was going through and the questions he was honestly wrestling with.

Now, this may be an “extreme” case for some of us, but make no mistake about it – every gay person is riding a number of emotional roller coasters that are unique to that individual – and especially those in the Church.  If we want to lovingly relate to people, whatever their struggle, we need to pay the price of time with them. That’s when we become certain that this is not black and white.

There is a new resource out through Simply Youth Ministry that I am looking forward to reading.  It’s called Ministering to Gay Teenagers: Practical Help for Youth Workers and Families.  I would recommend checking out the video from the author (Shawn Harrison), reading the description, and purchasing the book.  I don’t personally know the author, but I am looking forward reading his book.

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