Anti-gay Zealot or…?

 —  October 13, 2009 — 6 Comments

I just read the following article by Jane Kendricks called, “If God had wanted me to be accepting of gays, he would have given me the warmth and compassion to do so.”

What do you think of this…? Think she’s really anti-gay or communicating something else…? Here it is:

I don’t question God. The Lord is my Shepherd and I shall put none above Him. Which is why I know that if it were part of God’s plan for me to stop viciously condemning others based solely on their sexual preference, He would have seen fit–in His infinite wisdom and all–to have given me the tiniest bit of human empathy necessary to do so.

It’s a simple matter of logic, really. God made me who I am, and who I am is a cold, anti-gay zealot. Thus, I abhor gay people because God made me that way. Why is that so hard to understand?

Here, let’s start with the basic facts: I hate and fear gay people. The way they feel is different from how I feel, and that causes me a lot of confusion and anger. Everyone knows God is all-powerful. He could easily have given me the capacity to investigate what’s behind those feelings rather than tell strangers in the park they’re going to hell for holding hands. But God clearly has another path for me. And who am I to question His divine will?

Compassion, tolerance, understanding, basic decency, the ability to put myself in another person’s position: God could have endowed me with any of those traits and yet–here is the crucial part–He didn’t. Why? Because the Creator of the Universe wants me to demonize homosexuals in an effort to strip them of their fundamental human rights.

I’m sorry, but you can’t possibly ask me to explain everything God does. He works in mysterious ways, remember?

Try to understand. If I were capable of thinking and acting any other way, then I’m sure I would, but God seems to be quite adamant about this one. He’s just not budging at all. So unless our almighty Lord and Savior decides to change His mind about my ability to empathize on even the most basic level–which I find highly unlikely–then everyone is just going to have to accept the fact that I’m going to keep on hating homosexuals. And I know that He will fill me with the strength to remain mindless and hurtful in the face of adversity.

Which isn’t to say that my faith hasn’t been tested. Believe me, there have been times when I’ve drifted from the bitter and terrified life God has chosen for me. When my younger brother told me he was gay, it shook my faith to its very core. But here I am, 27 years later, still refusing to take his calls. Just the way God intended.

It’s actually pretty astonishing how many complaints to the school board you can make regarding the new band teacher you’ve never met when you are filled with the Light of Christ and devoid of any real kindness or mercy toward His other children.

At the end of the day, I’m just trying to lead a good Christian life. That means going to church on Sunday, following the Ten Commandments, and fighting what I believe to be a sexual abomination through a series of petty actions and bitter comments made under my breath. Sure, I sometimes wish God would just reach into my heart and give me the ability to treat all people with, at the very least, the decency and respect they deserve as human beings. But unfortunately for that new couple who moved in three houses down, He hasn’t yet.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have God’s work to do.

This post was originally here

Fewer Future Youth Workers?

 —  October 12, 2009 — 11 Comments

Fall Retreat(s)

 —  October 8, 2009 — Leave a comment

Well, now is the time where many campus ministries and Christian college’s are putting together their fall retreat plans. I’m speaking at one this fall for George Fox University and I always enjoy these times. There’s a freshness in the ministry, excitement in the students, and a ton of potential in the people just getting involved. Those just plugging in could be freshmen, or junior transfer students…and hopefully some new believers. But these are key times for ministries to set the course for the rest of the year.

Note to church-based leaders: we can learn from campus ministries in this area (among a bunch of others). Instead of doing a winter trip, think about the possibility of doing a fall retreat while there is still a freshness in your ministry. Or, maybe do both. But sometimes, certainly not all, waiting until after the first of the year before something like this can cause a lack of “momentum” in your ministry. Having something in the fall can really help bond those in your ministry in the beginning of the year, helping focus the ministry for the remainder.

Note to campus ministry leaders: consider inviting a church-based ministry (or four) to join your trip. This could have some impact on the focus of the weekend, but connecting with a church-based ministry that you are in unity with can really be beneficial. In fact, I believe it’s beneficial for everyone involved. But the top benefit I see is two different ministries coming together for one purpose – reaching a campus. When campus and church ministry come together it can be very powerful.

If you’re a campus ministry leader, have you included church-based ministries in your fall retreat? Was it beneficial? What were some hindrances to your trip by doing so, and are there tweaks you made to improve in future years?

If you’re a church-based leader, have you tried a fall retreat before? Do you have a relationship with a campus leader that you could approach with the idea of joining forces for a fall retreat?

CollegeLeader Conference

 —  October 5, 2009 — Leave a comment

Today is going to be spent putting together final details for the CollegeLeader Conference coming up next week. I can’t believe it’s already here. Crazy. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can see all the info on workshops, etc. here. Also, if you don’t know, we do have a One-Day Pass for Friday. You can see the info on the schedule here. Here’s a short video of my heart for this time as well. Hope to see you there.

CollegeLeader Conference from Kristen Giesenschlag on Vimeo.

Need to laugh?

 —  October 2, 2009 — Leave a comment

This is something you don’t say in your own church, but we all feel it. Pretty funny.

Great Example!

 —  October 1, 2009 — Leave a comment

This here, my friends, is the perfect example of what it takes to lead people – especially college-age people.

10 Questions…

 —  October 1, 2009 — Leave a comment

I recently read a blog post by Sean McDowell titled, “Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Professor About Intelligent Design.” It’s written to college students. I’d recommend reading it, possibly even using it as small group discussion at some level. It would take some work to put something together, for sure, but could be worthwhile. I’m not a “science person” at all, so for someone like me you’d need to boil it down and simplify the importance of these a bit. Sean is obviously much smarter than me. But if you have students in your ministry who are really engaging in the science field you might want to pass it along to them. Sean explains the importance of each of these questions in the blog post, but here are some of the questions:

  • If nature, or some aspect of it, is intelligently designed, how could we tell?
  • Should biologists be encouraged to look for signs of intelligence in biological systems? Why or why not?
  • Who determines the rules of science? Are these rules written in stone? Is it mandatory that scientific explanations only appeal to matter and energy operating by unbroken natural laws (a principle known as methodological naturalism)?
  • How do we account for the complex information-rich patterns in biological systems? What is the source of that information?
  • Do any structures in the cell resemble machines designed by humans? How do we account for such structures?
  • What are irreducibly complex systems? Do such systems exist in biology? If so, are those systems evidence for design? If not, why not?
  • The Earth seems ideally positioned in our galaxy for complex life to exist and for scientific discovery to advance. Does this privileged status of Earth indicate intelligent design? Why or why not?

Anyway, just thought I’d pass along the resource…

Book Review: Finding Organic Church

 —  September 30, 2009 — 8 Comments

Picture 3I recently read the book, Finding Organic Church by Frank Viola. The subtitle is: a comprehensive guide to starting and sustaining authentic Christian communities. I read the book because there’s been a fair amount of buzz about it from college-age people nationwide. I have heard of a sort of “rebellion” happening from people in this stage of life after reading this book.

If you’re leading a college ministry, I’d recommend reading it. My guess is this book will gain much more traction, especially with college-age people. I’ll explain more in a minute.

Things I liked: The book had a lot of really good insights into what biblical community can actually look like. And, it was practical for leaders seeking to implement community in their church/ministry. I can say that there were a lot of things I’ve been doing in my ministry for years and agree with. I think any leader can gain some insights for their immediate ministry – regardless of context – from reading this book. I can also say that I think Frank Viola (from what I can tell) loves Jesus, the Church, and is seeking to be faithful. I mean that.

But I’m also very concerned.

My Concerns: To be as blunt as I can here, this book is extremely dangerous. And, I think, it has the potential of causing damage in the body. This is all the more reason you ought to read it!!! Frank Viola’s conclusion is that there should be no long-term leadership or authority in the church. You can probably see why people could grab ahold of this and run, especially the college-age person who has been burned by a leader or has been in a ministry where the leader has abused the authority given. This book, unfortunately, is fuel on that fire. And I believe without biblical grounding.

Frank Viola of course uses a ton of Scripture to back his opinions. He bases his conclusion on a study of the patterns of the apostles – they started a church/community, then left it in the hands of the people there. One problem though: in this book he never addresses passages clearly speaking of spiritual authority in the church. He omits them and this is where the danger comes in. If you take a person who has been “burned” or experienced an abuse of authority in a church context – has a lack of biblical knowledge and only reads this book – they can be lead astray.

This book never addresses Paul’s apostolic instruction to Timothy or Titus to appoint elders in the church (1 Timothy 3:1-7 / Titus 1:5-16) or Peter’s instruction for the elders to “shepherd the flock of God among them” (1 peter 5:2), nor does he mention the role of deacon (1 Timothy 3:8-13). He also doesn’t address passages like Hebrews 13:17 where it speaks of us submitting to and obeying our leaders. What was most surprising to me was he doesn’t mention the apostle’s ongoing leadership in Acts 6 (a book he bases much of his conclusions from). The entire way through I kept waiting for his response to these passages. I was with him on so many things, but was left waiting on these.

There is more and more people feeling like the “American” way of doing church isn’t the biblical way. In some ways, of course, they are correct. We’re not perfect and over the last 45 years we’ve learned a lot. I’d recommend you reading the book so you know how to respond when/if someone in your church reads it.