Wednesday, April 14, 2010

People Matter

This week, Contemporary Christian Music artist, Jennifer Knapp, announced in an interview to Christianity Today that she is gay. If you look at the comments on message boards and Facebook pages it is easy to see that the backlash from her announcement has already started.

This post isn't going to be about the Homosexuality vs. The Church issue, although this is an issue that I care deeply about and may blog about later. This is going to be focused more on the church's reaction to announcements like this and to people who are different than us.

First, and most important:

The church should be known
as a group of people who run
TO people,
not FROM them.
Too often our response to announcements like this has been to distance ourselves, turn from the person and ignore the issue, when our response should be to draw near to the person and not be afraid to address the issues and answer the tough questions.

If people matter to God, they should matter to us. The same God who made and cares for me, made and cares for you. Jesus said that the most important things are simple: Love God & Love People. He didn't say "Love God and Love other middle-class white people who drive similar cars and also like Coldplay." We need to learn to love without limits. Love the single mother, love the gay couple, love the guy who takes the bus to church, love the person who has made hairstyle choices that differ from your own and love the person who decided that 20 tattoos would be better than 1. In fact, the person in church who seems the most different from you, that you feel the most awkward around, is probably the person you should get the closest to and love the most.

We are the representation of Christ in the world. People can disagree with our message and beliefs, but they should never be able to doubt our love and compassion for people.

The church should be a place that says, "No matter who you are, no matter what your situation or baggage, this is a safe place and we are here for you." Our churches need to be a Sanctuary for hurting, lost, confused people and not a Social Club for the comfortable. It should be a place where people from all walks of life, nationalities, income-levels and sexual orientation feel welcomed by Christians and challenged by Christ. A place where we can gather, admit our need and be changed in the presence of a God who is passionate about people -- ALL people.

And Jennifer Knapp, you are welcome to come to church with me anytime!

45 comments:

  1. I've got her new album pre-ordered! So excited to hear her new music.

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  2. Is there anything that you aren't good at? Thanks for the reminder that love should always be my first response.

    Brian

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  3. Wonderful response to Jennifer's coming out. Thanks for representing real Christianity.

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  4. Alison L. KudlacikApril 15, 2010 at 9:23 PM

    Wasn't sure what to expect when I saw this post, but I clicked through and was surprised and happy with the kind and loving words you wrote, contributing to a positive Christian way of being in the world. Thank you.

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  5. Absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing

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  6. LOVE the post. Such honest truth...and hopefully something that will penetrate the heart of the Church.

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  7. Thank you all so much for your comments! I appreciate the feedback and hope that you check back here often!

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  8. I agree with what you said...the church should welcome the broken and needy but that doesnt necessarily mean that we should be ok with the lifestyle they choose to live. I agree we should love those who struggle with homosexuality, and yes care for them, but we also have to take into consideration that His word clearly says that homosexuality is a sin and wrong. (Emphasis on the Sin not the sinner) Christ still loves us, no doubt about that, and we too should love others who struggle with same sex attractions but to be fine with the lifestyle and encourage them to continue to live in it... well... we gotta dig deeper in the Word to find out what He says about that.

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  9. I agree with most of what you said, and I think that most people would. However, my job is not to bust you for your sin and yours isn't to bust me for mine. If it is the spirit that convicts of sin we need to let the spirit do His job and not try and act as everyone's personal Holy Spirit, pointing out sins as we see them.

    I will choose to love people and trust that God is at work in their life and He will convict them of anything that needs to be changed.

    I love the saying that people won't care what you know till they know that you care. It is through love that people earn the right to be heard.

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  10. I am a gay Christian. I know when you read that you perhaps think..."awwww, she's a girl who is gay and she accepted Jesus in her heart and calls herself a Christian". Well, it is much deeper than that. I have been passionate about my Jesus since the age of 4...been on the mission field multiple times, worked at Christian camps, taugh Bible Study for years. I am deeply rooted in the Word of God and I am passionate about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and what he has to teach me about how to live.

    All the while, I have carried around a knowing in me that I am gay. This is not something I would have chosen. I tried to put it in the closet and just deal with it. What I have found though is that God never intended me to live in a closet. He never intended for me to live with secrets. And just like Jennifer, after many tears, much prayer, counseling, studying, contemplation, research, and laying on my face before the Lord without any secrets or shame, I have also chosen to share my life with a woman.

    You hit the nail on the head with your post. It is all about love. You don't have to understand someone to see if they qualify for your love...just love them. Great things will be done in your heart and theirs as you reach out with unconditional love. Please know that the most frustrating thing in the world for me is to be looked at as a project. I never mind dialoguing with people, but please don't try to fix me. When you are "outside the box" it is so easy to feel the agenda of your fellow Christian trying to pull you back in.

    My encouragement is to echo the blogger. Just love people...agenda free. We are brothers and sisters. There is a gaping wound in the gay and lesbian population...we need to know that we are loved. "God Hates Fags" is burned in our brains. It will take a lot of Christians following the example of our Savior and reaching out to those that society discarded to change that message.

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  11. I appreciate your post, but I think the reason many gay or lesbians don't go to church is about more than just love. I am not gay myself, but in thinking about this as if I were, it's almost like the church is saying, "we love you and want you to come to our church, but we still believe your choice is wrong and will be praying that you change". When I read JK's interview, to me she was saying that she had come to terms with being gay and did not feel that it was wrong in God's eyes. If someone feels that way, they aren't going to want to go to a church that loves them, but deep down is praying for them to change when they don't think there is a need to change......right? It's important to be loved, don't get me wrong, I just think there's more to it than that in this case. Just pondering...

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  12. Thanks for allowing us the opportunity to post our thoughts. I want to share a verse that comes out of 1 Corinthians 5:

    I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

    What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."[b]

    I love Jennifer Knapp and will continue to purchase her music because it ministers to my soul, but the Word of God says what it says. The fact is that those that say they are Christians should be held accountable by other Christians. I believe we spend too much time accepting sin and not enough time rebuking it. Homosexuality is a sin, and that is clear in the Bible.

    I will continue to pray for Jennifer Knapp. Thanks again for the open forum. :)

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  13. Becca - Thanks for sharing your story!

    Anonymous - Part of what you said is right. I do want them to get into church and change. However, change is the point of church. You never encounter the presence of God and leave the same. I trust that everything in my life that is dark will be shown to me when it is exposed to the light and everything in your life will be exposed to you. So yes, I do want them to change. And I want me to change. Everytime I encounter God.

    Christopher - The 1 Corinthians verse is a struggle for me because the sexually immoral, greedy, idolaters, slanderers, drunkards and swindlers were who Jesus was drawn to. How does this verse jive with his interaction with people? Also, in today's world most people could be classified into one of those groups. I would love for someone who's theological giftings are much deeper than mine to chime in on this issue.

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  14. I found your page via a link on Jennifer Knapp's Facebook page and I wanted to share some thoughts with you.

    I have been involved in an inner-city ministry in Boston to college aged gay and lesbian students for about 10 years. We have dozens and dozens of students that we work with and one of the hardest parts of my job is finding churches who will partner with us. There are individuals within these churches who are willing to help and volunteer, but the churches themselves are always very hesitant. We do not ask these churches to condone or promote their lifestyle, all that we ask is that they provide a safe place for them to explore our faith. People often confuse being welcoming and loving as condoning, and they are not the same thing. Thank you very much for your post and I wish that there were more people who held your opinion, but I also with that more churches would be willing to be brave enough to take on this issue, not condone or promote the gay lifestyle, but just love people.

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  15. Adam, I think my initial reaction is to jump head-first into the "Is-homosexuality-a-sin-or-not" debate, and this is exactly what you're saying we cannot get bogged down in. The bottom line is we are called to love our fellow man (and woman), regardless of whether their lifestyle is sinful or not.

    With that being said, I do wonder about the church's response to this issue. If we are called to love each other, how is that love to manifest itself? If we find someone who is living a lifestyle that results in harm (be it homosexuality, alcoholism, drug abuse, pornography addiction, whatever, and be it physical harm or spiritual harm, which really are not different in the long run), do we not show our love by trying to get them to turn from that harmful lifestyle? If I care about someone, and I know they are hurting themselves, won't my love compel me to prevent them from hurting themselves? If my son is sticking a fork in an electrical outlet, my love and concern for him will lead me to admonish him and encourage him to change his behavior. If homosexuality is a sin (and there are versus that suggest it might be, but I'm not at all qualified to parse the theology on this, and my point is not to focus on just homosexuality, but any potential sinful behavior), and we know that sin leads to harm, won't we encourage them to turn from their sinful ways, just the same way I hope someone (the Holy Spirit, my brother in Christ, whoever) will encourage me to continue to turn from sin?

    So, here I am, getting into the sin-and-responsibility-of-the-church debate, even though I know this isn't ultimately what your post is about. In the end, I think I just wanted to join the dialogue on this extremely happening blog. Keep up the spiritually and intellectually stimulating work, bro.

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  16. I love everything you said. Thank you for sharing. As a woman who lived out and proud for 10 years as a lesbian, I can tell you sincerely that in my case, love is what drew me back to truth. I can only speak on my own experience, and say that any other approach only drove me further away during those 10 years, and in some cases, created wounds that are still sore to this day. We were not commanded to be God's personal Judges and juries on earth. We were commanded to love our neighbor. I believe wholeheartedly that when we get that right, everything else falls into place. Blessings!

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  17. "We need to learn to love without limits. Love the single mother, love the gay couple, love the guy who takes the bus to church, love the person who has made hairstyle choices that differ from your own and love the person who decided that 20 tattoos would be better than 1"

    But having tatoos or being a single mother is not a sin (according to many). Anonymous hit the nail on the head. Gay christians don't believe thay have a need to change. Yet, many
    christian teachers and the mainstream church
    believe they do have to change. I don't have the answers. But I'm not ready to accept the gay lifestyle as normal in Gods eyes when the bible seems to be against it. But I wish I could let my gay friends off the hook and beleive theirs no issue to God. Yes, I know Gods love is beyond this but at the same time, why are their many gays who have quote been "healed'. Some are just as passionate as those who say their being gay is Gods will.

    Dont' know what to think to be honest.I love my gay friends and I think God does too

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  18. Anonymous - Thanks for your comments!

    My comments about the single mother, gay couple, ect. had nothing to do with sin, I was making the statement that, too often we are willing to love and accept people who we are comfortable around and who look and act like us and we often find it difficult to love and welcome others who do not.

    That was my point there, nothing to do with sin.

    In fact, this post had little to do with sin, i didn't want this to be a "is it a sin or not" post. Instead, i wanted this to be a post that says...weather it is a sin, or isn't a sin, they are still people, created and loved by God. Could there be things there that need to be changed, sure, but there are things in my life that need to be changed too.

    I want to echo a comment that I made near the end of the post. That people should be welcomed by Christians and challenged by Christ.

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  19. I appreciate your blog and follow-up very much; however, I agree that there is a sense of "us-vs-them" going on in there. That all "those" people must be welcomed into the gather of "us".

    I'm sure you didn't mean to say that and I honestly don't think you treat anyone that way; and yet it is there. It is an attitude that is nearly impossible for churched folks to pick up on and one of the first things unchurched folks pick up on.

    I was a pastor for 25 years and am guilty as charged dispite my best efforts. Now that I am more of an unchurched Christian I have new eyes and ears to what those outside the church see and hear.

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  20. Can somebody point out the verses that allude to homosexuality being a sin? I haven't read the Bible in years. My opinion is that people are seeing what they want to see; years and years ago some theologian interpreted those words with a personal bias and because of that future generations of gullible Bible-thumpers are railing against this so-called "harmful sin" in the name of their lord. Logically speaking, how in the world is homosexuality hurting anyone? How can anyone DARE compare love to actual sins and acts of cruelty? That makes no sense. Someone please help me see what you see?

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  21. Let me direct you to a link I just posted on my website: www.clothman.com.

    This is a series of talks by Tony and Peggy Campolo on the topic of homosexuality. It is some of the best material I've heard. It will answer many of your scriptural and sociological questions in a very easy to listen to yet informative way. Everyone should taken in these talks before listening to more media coverage on Jennifer ...for the sake of Jennifer and Jesus.

    Again just click on the link at my website's home page at www.clothman.com

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  22. Clothman - Thanks for your posts! I am glad to see this turning into an interactive place. That is my desire!

    You made a good point regarding an "us vs them" mentality. It is hard to write about this topic and not have it come across that way because I was trying to explain how "we" (church), should welcome "them" (anyone outside of church)and so it naturally feels like an us vs them and that is certainly not my heart in this, I just don't know how to present this without it coming across like that.

    That being said, I think it is important for Christians and churches to be aware of the natural curve that happens towards an "us vs them" mentality and how off-putting that can be. As someone in their comment mentioned earlier, no one wants to feel like someones project.

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  23. Well said Adam ...not that I am the authority on this or anything.

    I assure you Jennifer is feeling very much like a "them" right now even after so many years of being an "us". From what I've picked up from the little bit I've read so far, I think she has inwardly felt like a "them" for a long time. She knew she was outwardly an "us" but inwardly she was a "them". She wasn't who she really was, she was who status quo said she should be. (Sounds like a lot of church folk.)

    It appears she has freed herself from that dualism now, but I know from experience (from other issues) that she will probably not be seen as an "us" ever again ...unless she completely denounces everything she says she is and once again becomes a fake "us" in the eyes of "us".

    I can't speak for Jennifer, but I'd much rather be a "them" than an "us" under that sad pressure. It certainly doesn't seem much like the unconditional love of Jesus to me. That said Adam, I again appreciate your addressing this with a much different, more gracious tone.

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  24. To Adam:

    I see what your saying Adam, but I'm not sure you can have it both ways. You see Adam, you amdmit you need to change, You know thoes areas. This issue tends to deal with poeople who don't see that need. Again I would love to let them all off the hook, and its not about their worth as people or loved by God,
    of course they are, but when I'm asked by my kids if bieng gay is a sin what do I say?
    Really, I'm not convinced I have the answer for that, and this is coming from a former bible student and youth pastor.
    Grace

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  25. Grace -

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

    I don't think we have to know or be aware of everything in our life that needs to be brought into the light right from the beginning. What we need is to provide everyone a safe, secure, loving place that they can land that allows them to encounter the truth of God and as we love them and they love us we can know that God is at work and anything that needs changed or needs worked out, will be.

    As for what to tell kids, that's a tough one, however I think the most important message to convey is that people matter to God and that God cares enough about us that He himself intervened in our depravity through the person of Jesus Christ.

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  26. I have a family member who is transgendered. We have come to the place where we don't talk about it anymore. I don't do the convicting because it turns into an argument. I did have a conversation once with this person to lay out my feelings and let them know where I stand. Once that was out of the way, we go get coffee and talk about family. They don't push my buttons and I don't push theirs. Somehow though, I feel like it's going to bubble over again somehow. We have to be careful that we do remove the plank from our eye so we CAN remove the speck from our neighbors eye. This is a BIG issue and it won't be solved simply by opening our doors. We DO have to be challenged by other Christians. The New Testament makes it obvious. Why else does Paul write his letters. It wasn't like he sent them with everyone saying "you know, I was just thinking that." Love is important but it MUST be done SOMETIMES with a heavy hand. God will not MAGICALLY make it happen. The conversation MUST take place. I'm glad you wrote about this subject. This a great opportunity for everyone to get this out in the open.

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  27. danielwe77 -

    Thanks! I agree that challening must happen. However, my point is that it should happen by people who have already put in the love and investing time, where the relationship is already built and there is trust there.

    If someone walks into a church and gets blasted right from the beginning, they will be right back out that door never to return. But if we take the time, provide the welcoming atmosphere, build the relationships, then we will have earned the right to speak truth into peoples lives.

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  28. Adam. You are awesome, and never cease to amaze me. Love, Mom

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  29. This is a surprisingly calm forum. This is such a hot button issue for so many people you know? So I just want to say thanks to everyone who has posted here in a reasonable *tone of voice* if you know what I mean.
    I agree with a lot of different points here. The Bible does say that homosexuality is a sin. Do I like it? No. Would it be easier if it didn't say that? Yes. Adela mentioned that some people see what they want to see, and that is true, but more than not the young christians that I know really struggle with those verses because they want to be loving, and they don't want to have to have that conversation with someone that they love, and so it is really a struggle to walk that line.
    Adam is definitely right about one thing, people don't like being projects. I was heavily involved in church leadership for quite a few years, mostly with young adult ministries and one of the reasons I left was because I hated that aspect of us. I want to love people, just because they are people. I want my actions to speak louder than my words.
    It feels to me like there is a movement going on these days. More and more people that I know are moving away from "traditional" church. There is a reason for that. Perhaps we have been going about things just a little bit wrong. Fellowship and community worship doesn't have to be with a group of 200. The bible says "where two or more are gathered." So, I think we should be the best people we can, love others the best we can, and like Adam said, this will open doors for us to speak into other people's lives...but these will be doors that GOD opens, rather than doors that we open with our very grand sense of right and wrong, or our own personal righteous indignation.

    In any case, this is all a great dialogue and kudos to everyone on both sides of the issue for such a great discussion.

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  30. Thank you for this topic, Adam. I'm gay and a christian. Look, we can pull out all the scriptures that says homosexuallity is a sin and you shouldn't touch a dead pig or you shouldn't wear different fabrics at the same time or you shouldn't eat shellfish. The point is, the Word says we should love one another. I think the church should stop judging and be more Christ-like. I know that God said that there is no condemnation for ALL who are in Christ! Not 'there's no condemnation for all who are in Christ except gays, lesbians, bisexuals, intersex or transgenders.'

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  31. I don't think enough people give God and the Holy Spirit enough credit. We are told to love others the same way God loves us... unconditionally. Love and leave the judging to God. Too many think God is too slow or unable to do his job and want to do it for Him with their limited knowledge and overactive emotional drive. Love, humble yourself then watch and see what the lord will do.

    Let mercy lead.

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  32. When we're talking about "shellfish" we have to use the whole of scripture and not just what supports our position. Acts talks about dietary issues and how they are to be handled. Just because other things are wrong doesn't make homosexuality less wrong. Grace is sufficient for everyone; that's why we need it. It doesn't excuse our mess. Like I said, we do have to pull the plank out of our eye AND THEN we have to pull the speck out of our neighbor's.

    It's amazing how folks who think it's wrong are put into a category of being unloving or unsympathetic. I'm tired of being told how "hateful" I am because my views are not "inclusive." These are not my views. This is the whole of scripture. We must love with the positive and negative. I have issues in my own life that I wrestle with, the point is that I still wrestle with them. I don't give up because I know other folks will just accept it.

    I hope that everyone knows that there are plenty of us who feel this way. The struggle is what makes us who we are. Don't give up because it's the easy way out. I've had places in my life where giving up on my marriage would have been "easy" but I would just be trading one set of problems for another.

    Ephesians 4:14-16. Love you guys.

    Daniel

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  33. This is one of the best blog conversations I've ever read. Everyone seems to have a good handle on this issue...well as much as they can with what they understand.
    I was raised in the church as a christian and was raised knowing that homosexuality was a sin and if you were gay you would go to hell. I have a gay uncle and we were rarely allowed to see him. The funny thing is that from a very young age I knew I was different. All through high school I knew I liked girls but pushed it so deep into the closet and dove into the church because I just knew that would save me. I was a youth group leader, went on missions, the whole 9 yards. After high school and into college I pushed God further and further away because I felt "dirty" and like I was going to hell. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't shake this gay thing. I even contemplated suicide many times because if it. Finally I had it "out with God". It was a knock down drag out and in the end He showed me His love and lifted the weight of this pain from me. I know now that He loves me no matter who or what I am. That saved my life. I am closer to God than I've ever been and now can love all through Him who loves me. The biggest message here is to just love...no matter what.
    The hardest part of it all is my parents who say they love me but can't accept me. You can't do both. You either love and accept me or you pretend to love me. Keep that in mind the next time you tell someone you love them but not who they are.
    Thanks for this chance to share my story. Blessings to you all...

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  34. Adam,

    Thank you for posting this about Jennifer Knapp. She is not a musician that I'm all that familiar with -- show my age here -- but Marsha Stevens, who wrote the Christian favorite, "For Those Tears I Died" experienced exclusion when she came out.

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  35. Homosexuality is a sin? I have serious doubts. I'll reserve any judgment until I'm judged and filled in by the Boss. I'm going to play it safe and love those who are different, especially those who trust me enough to share their nature/ story. Your message is very clear. Thanks David Mc

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  36. I have to say, I have read all the comments here and for once it's been a civil discussion. So glad we can talk in ways that aren't hurtful. I do believe Homosexuality is a sin, but I do believe we must be loving and compassionate. I have many friends in this lifestyle. They know me and where I stand. I still love them and continue to pray for them. Ultimately it is their decision to hold on to the Truth.

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  37. Mostly this blog-post avoids the real issues, to the detriment of a real discussion. I don't think anyone is saying Jennifer Knapp can't come to church. And one can show love without giving publicity to someone who is promoting a behaviour we think is wrong, and extending her infulence.

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  38. To those who frame homosexuals and their innate
    God-given orientation in a negative UNCHRISTIAN way -- "sinful...broken...struggling with...look to change"
    and lump gays with thieves and immorality, I
    wonder what in themselves they self-hate and need to project onto others to elevate their self-esteem.
    What gay or straight would even want to be part of a religious institution where there is such underlying (and irrational) judgment
    and un-Christ-like compassion?

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  39. This really IS a sexual immorality issue when you get down to it. We all want to dance around it like it's not.
    The fact is, being attracted to the same sex does not condemn you. Your actions condemn you. I am heterosexual but unmarried. I choose not to have sex, NOT because I don't WANT to have sex. Duh. Of course I want to. I am human! Do I struggle with this?? YES. The point is not to let my desire override the truth. Have I made mistakes?? Yes. The difference is, I know they were mistakes. Therefore, knowing I have sinned, I can repent and go forward.

    If, on the other hand, I decided to get into a sexual relationship, the point would come where I would have to justify this to other christians. I would start by saying; "We love each other" or "we are married in our hearts". Eventually I would even believe what I was saying.

    It is true, of course, that I *could* one day get married and therefore it would be ok to have sex. And, if homosexuality is wrong (which is biblical), then Jen (for example) would not have that option. On the other hand, I may *not* ever get married. That means that I am looking at a life of celibacy. Does this idea thrill me?? Hell no. The question is, will I choose my sexuality, whatever I classify it as, over God.

    And yeah, I know it's harsh to say that if you struggle with homosexuality you are condemned to a life of celibacy. I know it's harsh because I face essentially the same dilemma. But it's not impossible, and there ARE those out there that say they have been delivered from this, as unbelieving as people here seem to be about that. God is God after all, and can do anything.
    The person who commented on the "being inclusive" struggle, is not wrong. We're getting to the point where we can't even teach our faith, because our faith believes in absolutes. After all, if there is no absolute sin, who needs a saviour?

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  40. My point here wasn't the sin issue of homosexuality. My point was the response that Christians should have towards her.

    If homosexuality is a sin, what should the response be? Go on her Facebook page and point out all of the scriptures that she has heard a hundred times from a thousand people? Confront her about it anytime we see her?

    My point was that she does need people who will speak truth into her life, challenge her in all areas and pray for change. We all need that.

    But is every christian supposed to do that? challenge her without knowing her? Are we supposed to point out sin in everyone around us, even those we don't know or have a relationship with? I have to think no.

    Again, this wasn't supposed to be a discussion on the sin issue of homosexuality, it was supposed to be a discussion about how we as "the church" should react to announcements like this and anyone that is perceived as "different"

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  41. You are right. The church is VERY often the finger pointer. How often are we the feet of the gospel? Jesus did speak truth into people's lives, but he went forth loving them before anything else. We think that holding up a picket sign is going to somehow change the world?

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  42. Adam,
    Have you watched Larry King's interview with Jennifer? Her words/terminology were revealing. She is not a Christian in the NT sense of the word. She is a "person of faith" (same as a Mormom or JW). She wants God on her terms. The Church can't do anything for her. Her lesbianism has blinded her to God's truth. The tense exchanges between her and Pastor Botsford indicated she operates from beliefs, not convictions. She pleaded she was no "scholar," them proceeded to reinterpret NT Greek words referring to homosexuality.

    Gays will not darken a church door unless they are "struggling" with their same-sex attraction. And I know of no Bible-believing church which would welcome two gay men who came into church holding hands. Would the church be in the wrong biblically? Maybe - or maybe not. Should the church welcome people making an open display suggesting a life of sin? If they truly were seeking fellowship with God and believers, would they make such a display?

    My wife and I have a lot of experience in this: our son, an only child, came out to us three years ago. He left the Pentecostal church we attend and spent months going through CCD to become a Roman Catholic because they see sin only in the "act," not in the "orientation." He can live with that, but cannot abide being told homosexuality is a "choice" of sin. We now see him as a person of faith who prefers "spirituality" over biblical Christianity. We pray God will lead him, someday, back to the Truth.

    A national debate over this matter is overdue. The Church needs to decide how it is going to respond to this hot-button issue with compassion but without compromising The Word.

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