Sunday, July 17, 2011

Breaking News: It is Now OK to Love Queers

If you're a Southern Baptist, great news!  It's now OK to love homosexuals!  You can now get rid of your Gaydar Detector and take a deep breath!  Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler has shaken up evangelical circles with his recent chastising of Southern Baptists and their tendency for negative treatment of homosexuals.  The Associated Press quoted Mohler as saying, "We’ve (Southern Baptists) lied about the nature of homosexuality and have practiced what can only be described as homophobia… We’ve used the choice language when it is clear that sexual orientation is a deep inner struggle and not merely a matter of choice...That doesn't mean it's any less sinful, but it does mean it's not something that people can just turn on and turn off."  He also encouraged the denomination to repent from a "form of homophobia" and condemnation, rather than granting them a spirit of love and embracing them as fellow sinners.

Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright has also recently challenged conservatives to refrain from using hateful rhetoric toward the gay and lesbian community and urged compassion in saying, “It’s not only upholding God’s Word, but there’s always that spirit of Jesus that we want to seek to communicate. When we feel passionately that something is wrong, we are still called to love that person who is ignoring what God’s Word says. It’s not always easy to do.”  Note that neither of these two leaders are condoning homosexuality or rejecting the traditional doctrinal belief that it is a sin.

Most of you know that I attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, but don't necessarily label myself to be a Southern Baptist.  My initial reaction to these two statements was that these leaders deserve praise for taking what is proving to be a very controversial stance.  This is a huge step for a denomination that has long been considered intolerant, judgmental and even hateful toward the homosexual community.  But after meditating on this for a while, I realized that I actually have a very different perspective on this issue and wondering if it is such a good thing after all.

First of all, I am purposely not going to share my beliefs on homosexuality.  Many of you already know where I stand on this issue and if you would like to know details on how I feel personally and how I deal with this in ministry, you can always email me and I'll be glad to elaborate.  However, the purpose of my silence of personal belief is intricately intertwined with the reason I am writing this blog in the first place, and that lies in a simple question: Why?

Why does it matter?  Why is a non-Christian homosexual any different than other non-Christians and why do Christians have to be told how to treat them?  Why does it have to come to a point where two very respected Christian leaders have to remind us that we need to love our human brothers and sisters, regardless of their particular sins?  You see, whether or not you believe that homosexuality is a sin is totally irrelevant. The overshadowing element is that our personal beliefs should have no bearing on our love for one another and should have nothing to do with how we treat each other; in this case those that claims to be a homosexuals.

From the perspective of the Kingdom of God, there are two types of people that we journey through this life with: those that know the truth, love and salvation of Jesus Christ, and those that don't.  Our mission within the Kingdom should remain focused on bringing Christ's life changing message to light; not critiquing the sins of someone that needs Christ because of sin.  Whether or not homosexuality is a sin is not the point.  The point is, we're all messed up people before knowing Christ and carry a lot of crap in our baggage.  We need His unconditional love and to understand that it doesn't matter what's in the suitcase.  That's why we need Christ and that's why others come to him in the first place.  Does it matter, or should it matter why they come?  Do our individual sins calculate differently on the salvation meter?  Because I have news for you; God looks at ALL sin as repulsive, so if that disgusting spec in your neighbor's eye is causing you chronic nausea, try removing the hideous log in your own first. (Matthew 7:3) 

This reminds me of the story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8.  If you aren't familiar with the story, take a look at it in John 8:3-11  The Pharisees come rushing up to Jesus with this young woman that has been sleeping around.  More than likely, she was a prostitute, in fact some theologians think that this woman could have been Mary Magdalene.  "Teacher, this skanky woman was caught screwing some guy that she's not married to!  She’s a whore!  The Law of Moses says that we should kill her!  She's not worth salvation!  She's a lost cause!  What do you think about this?"  After all is said and done, what does Jesus say to the woman?  Does He point out the fact that her sin is more repulsive than the next person?  Does He tell her to keep her legs closed, stop sleeping around and gets her life straight first, and then come back?  Instead Jesus tells her that He doesn't condemn her.  He doesn’t judge her.  He  doesn’t make her feel like an outcast, subhuman or not worthy of the Kingdom.  He accepts her as she is and asks her to leave her life of sin; not her life of sex, her life of sin.  Did you catch that?  He doesn't rate her sins on a scale of 1-10, or point out to everyone that she’s a whore.  He just says "leave it" and "come".

Come.  I like that about Jesus.  He asked people to come to Him, and they did.  When He walked the earth, he just wanted to be close to people, not caring where they’d been or what they’d done.  He just wanted people to come.  The Church is His Body, His hands and feet.  Why should we add qualifications that He never did?    

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30                 

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