Month: October 2015

What the Hell Does it Matter to You? Calling Out the Bluff of Anti-Gay Christians

There are obviously a lot of Christians who are anti-gay. Many of which who give little pause to speaking their opposition, being hurtful, and even abusive with their aversion.

For those of us who are not anti-gay, when we think about such people, one of the questions that paces the halls of our brains is, “What the hell does it matter to you?” Why do you care so much, what’s the big hairy deal? Seriously. Is this homosexuality thing really affecting your life? Is this reality in other people’s lives really any of your business?

I find it interesting the reasons many Christians articulate they are anti-gay. The answers are all over the map. As a gay-affirming, homosexual-loving pastor and blogger, I suspect I’ve just about heard it all.

The classic response is that homosexuality is unbiblical and deemed a sin, therefore it’s ultimately an intolerable offense to God and the scriptures. For them, the sacred tenets of Christianity and the authority of the bible are in the balance. Furthermore, if homosexuals don’t repent of their sin and turn away from their homosexuality, they’re going to hell. Others are concerned about homosexuality causing a breakdown of the traditional family structure, especially when it comes to the issue of gay marriage. Some simply see homosexuality as being abnormal and contrary to the nature as God’s design, having an imploding, negative impact on society. Many harbor fears about the influence homosexuality and homosexuals will have in leading their children astray.

Put it all together, in the minds of many a Christian, the world is going to hell in a hand basket and America is tipping the caldron of God’s wrath. The primary cause? Homosexuality.

I know, for a few anti-gay Christians, they are truly wrestling with this issue, its juxtaposition in their faith, and seeking God’s heart in the process. For that, they should be highly commended. Their struggle and genuine heart should never be belittled.

But for the rest, I’m not buying it. I’m not buying it one bit.

Is there a genuine ignorance out there among anti-gay Christians? Absolutely, but most of it is a chosen ignorance. If I had a dime for the number of Christians who comment negatively on my homosexual-themed articles but have clearly never even read them, Donald Trump would be shining my shoes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve challenged specific Christians to study-out the homosexuality issue for themselves, reading material from authors on the other side of the fence. Do they ever do it? No. Weeks later, when I follow up, “have you read any of the stuff I suggested?” Their answer… “Nope.”

If biblical faithfulness was really the issue regarding homosexuality for anti-gay Christians, we would see these same believers being be far more concerned with obvious scriptural giants like… truly loving your neighbor, feeding the poor, stewarding a dying planet, adopting orphans, to name a few. Which by the way, if only 3% of the world’s self-professed Christians adopted, there would be no more adoptable children in the world. There are far more clear, incontestable biblical references to those issues than the mere six, highly debatable passages in the Bible that are deemed by anti-gay Christians to reference homosexuality.

But they certainly don’t want to hear that. Why? Because, unlike homosexuality, none of those mandates give them a throne to sit upon or an issue to be against. With nothing to appose or a sin in another to justify their own, many anti-gay Christians would be that awkward, pimple-faced kid at the high school dance standing against the gym wall, not having a clue what to do. It’s interesting to me how the interpretive practices of contextualization and studying word origins have become so important when applying the bible to issues like divorce, gluttony, and women in ministry, but not homosexuality. How convenient. It will be a cold day in hell before we see anti-gay Christians standing outside Golden Corral after Sunday morning preaching with signs reading “God Hates Christian Gluttons”.

This whole, I am anti-gay because the Bible says so… I’m not buying it. I’m not buying it one bit.

“Oh, but we don’t want them to go to hell.” Really? You truly expect me to believe there is a genuine spiritual concern from anti-gay Christians that homosexual people are going to hell? Most of the anti-gay Christians I know don’t give much pause to that notion at all, many even being quite at peace with it. Some, even a bit tickled. Furthermore, if they really did care, would they be beating the crap out of them, labeling them, marginalizing them and making the second class citizens of their church, if citizens at all? Does that sound like the strategy that comes out of the heart of a Christian who truly cares about the eternal salvation of a group of people? I think not.

And don’t give me any of this, “homosexuals are stealing my freedoms as an American” crap. At best, this issue may or may not be challenging some of your religious freedoms, but it surely isn’t challenging your freedoms to be Jesus. Maybe it’s just me, but I have this sense that not only would Jesus bake a gay-wedding cake, He’d multiply it and give it to the couple for free. But let’s not let the ways of Jesus get in the way of our religious pouting.

I’m not buying it, I’m not buying it one bit.

“But this homosexual thing is tearing apart the family structure.” Sure, all while your Southern Baptist denomination has a higher divorce rate than Atheists and you’re on your third marriage, with one eye on the secretary. Oh, I know, your divorce was for Biblical reasons. I am sure your “ex” felt so comforted by that, and experienced so much Jesus in that sentiment. How spiritual of you. It just makes it all so nice and good, like a warm, crackling fire on a cold night.

Bullshit, I’m not buying it, I’m not buying it one bit.

“But what about our kids? They are going to take control of our kids. We’re going to lose are kids to the Death Star tractor-beam of homosexuality.” Lions and tigers and bears, oh my. Nothing says you truly care about the influence in your kid’s life, like forking out the eighty dollars for their Miley Cyrus tickets, letting them watch R-rated movies and vulgar cartoons, spoiling them with blow-out Christmas’s to celebrate the Jesus who ironically was born to give His life away, teaching them they are the center of the universe as you make their every want and extracurricular activity the center of your universe, instilling in them that the Bible is best memorized, prayer is something you fight to do in school, church is a club with a cross on top, and people who don’t believe the way you do are misguided and maybe even the enemy.

I’m not buying it, I’m not buying it one bit.

The truth is, it’s really not about the Bible, it’s really not about a genuine spiritual care, it’s not about God’s design or the influence of homosexuality, it’s about… control.

Control of the content, comfort, familiarity, protection, and future of the elitist, pristine, starch-pressed, Evangelical brand of institutional Christianity and church that you grew up with and likely participate in now. Control of who gets to determine what is sin and what is not, who’s right and who’s wrong. Control of who’s in and who’s out, who’s deemed as truly spiritual and who’s deemed as truly not. Control of who is seen as a positive force for society, who has the corner market on truth, has more political influence, and who does not. Control, of the acceptance and approval of the people in your life. Control, of the self-condemnation your own sin causes by the clamping down and determining of sin in another’s life.

Control, control, control.

Isn’t that what religion has alway been about… control? Sadly, much of Christianity has become far more about religion than it is about Jesus.

I’m not buying it. I’m not buying it one bit.

Homosexuality. What the hell does is matter to you?

I’m calling out your bluff.

Say what you want, put all the lipstick you can on that pig.

It’s not a biblical care, a people care, a family care, a societal care…

It’s control.

If You Didn’t Before, You Do Now : A Pastor’s Love Letter To The LGBT Community

I’m not sure how this all started. All I know is, it has.

You are of the LGBT community, I am not, but I might as well be. You have a LGBT child, I do not, but who knows what could be.

A pastor who was once lost in anti-LGBT’s ignorance and delusion, now a pastor whose fight is to bring Light to the confusion.

Your story is my story, and my story, your story. Not exactly, but yet exactly—a glue that cannot be unglued from what God has knit together. You in my heart, and my heart with you—together.

Not out of some benevolence, as if you were some come kind of mission, but out of pissed-off objection to truths that have seen their evil omission. This is a violent world, and you, a prime recipient. Blind spots here, ignorance there—religion, both the product and the primary cause. You are a beautiful creation of the Creator and the victim of a darkness that only Truth can give pause.

A terrible, disgusting injustice has been done, you have been lied to flat out, and lies about you. Poisons of the Poisoner, hate from the Hater, deceptions of the Deceiver—proof texts, and cons from the removal of context, all from the Accuser. The waterfall of evil’s river, holding you under with shame, it’s time for the captive to be set free, to awaken to your true Name.

“Beloved”

There is nothing to be changed, not a problem to be solved, nor a choice to regret—no shame from which to hide, or a mistake for which to apologize. Nothing to cure, run from, remove, discipline, or overcome. You are not a blemish solved by Grace or some sympathetic exception, but a divine creation, no less than all the others, you are God’s intention.

Tolerance is reserved for things that annoy us, acceptance reserved for that which we deem abnormal. Run from it, all of it, a spiritual veil to an empty offering. Beauty and blessing are things to be desired—you deserve to be desired and I, desire you.

From the affection of the Father, the pride of His gleam, His favor poured over—I desire you.

I want to curse dark skies with you, wrestle out depression’s claws with you. I want to battle haunts in your head, stomach rejections’s vomit with you. I want to stand in “straight” lines, dine at homophobic tables with you. I want to walk on broken family glass with you, pull back the knife in your hands with you.

I want to catch fading breaths with you, beat ignorance’s chest with you. I want to dance in parades with you, laugh to the point of peeing with you. I want to rejoice at the dawn of a new day and celebrate the God-affirmation of being lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or gay.

If you didn’t have before, you do now—a warrior defending your side, a wing under which you can reside, a protector proclaiming your innocence, an ear that hears with no pretense, a mutual tear crying, a mutual heart sighing.

You have never been alone. You are not alone. Not ever before, not now.

Let’s take this hill together, run the race together—until strength we have no more. Let’s raises our glasses, stand up to the masses, “greater is He that is in us, more are they in heaven that are with us.”

Never giving up, never giving in—we will not stop, we will not retreat, we will not be silent

No chance, no way, not ever.

This is our day.

This is our time.

This is our life.

This is our truth!

If you didn’t have a pastor, you do now—never received a love letter from a pastor? You have now.

It’s about damn time.

You deserve to be desired, and I… desire you.

Standing With The People You Can’t Stand

The root essence of every person that was, is, or will ever be… is goodness.

In the creation poem that opens its scroll at the front of the Christian Bible, God speaks the world into being. With hands coursing His artistic beard, He pauses between breathes to evaluate His living imagery. In rhythmic cadence, with each step He declares, “it is good.”

I love that God creates creation good, not perfect. It can go here, it can go there. Loaded with life force, the cosmic tapestry awaiting humanity’s weaving. Not without the capacity for hands to sew devilish patterns out of divine art. It’s good, remember, not perfect.

The Tempter in serpent form, exploited the Garden of its goodness. Playing his sole card of condemnation, the first human ones bit the bluff. Convinced they lacked in some way, unworthy of the worthiness etched into their being. What was natural became naked, and the yarns of shame and guilt slithered their coil through the threads of inherent goodness. It is a complex weave. And we, are a complex people in the arduous journey of trying to unravel from condemnation’s relentless entanglement.

This is the story of every human being, bobbing and weaving, wrestling to come out from under condemnation believed. It is the root of all sin. The catalyst of all that is religious. The genesis of all contortions, twisted personas, and justifications. Compelling us into the dance to heal or conceal a shamed heart. All of us have a life that tells a unique, complicated story and reveals a personal shaping from our quest to be released from the lie we swallow as truth… condemnation. Adopted perspectives, twitches, scars, blind spots, aversions and conclusions along the way. However beautiful or deplorable the verses we write, the views we take, the paths we travel. From this, the many layers and branches of our complexities are sprouted. Beliefs, attitudes, actions. The whole nest.

We are, complex people.

Yet, thousands of years later, chapters into humanity’s stumble-filled stewarding of life. A biblical writer Paul to a younger man Timothy, re-articulates the Spirit. Seeing underneath humanity’s blunder of intricate cuts, knots, and lose ends fabricated to mend the wounds of a soul believed to be shamed. God still deems our essence as… good. Always has been, always will be… good. After all the religious patches and patchwork, it is still… all good.

Sin was never who we are, it’s always been the fruit of a heart believed to be forever rooted in unworthiness and its garments of guilt and shame. Condemnation’s great deception, that we are lacking life, not loaded with it. Bad seed, not good.

No matter the different complexities, for good or evil, this Serpent-shame has wrought, the root essence of every person that was, is, or will ever be… is goodness.

Until Grace.

Grace, the only cure for a condemned heart.

Grace, the true catalyst for all this is right.

Grace, the maker of our new-creation identities.

Grace, the final triumph, resurrecting us beyond goodness.

Completely whole, in-condemnable in Him. At the cross, one and done. All finished, for all. Grace upon Grace!

This is not my evaluation, it is in fact the Christ’s re-creation. It is His mark, it is His stamp, it is His declaration. No matter how reckless, evil, eschew, or vile our wrestle from condemnation’s pursuit becomes us. All is still… good. Not just good… but now whole, pure, blemish free. Fully human, fully holy.

This is our mutual humanity. No one excluded.

This is our human story. All included.

The Finisher calls out, “All is Grace, and all are whole in Me.”

Even in full awareness and rest in this Jesus-proclamation. Realizing there is no longer any hold from which to wrestle out. The Tempter still tempts, to crawl back under Law, to bite the old bluff, to weave a curtain already removed, to escape from that which one is are already free. Ancient and modern messages, all to sew condemnation’s bitter seed anew.

This, we must remember.

It’s not where our humanity meets another human that sparks fly, it’s where our complexities collide. You say “Tomato” I say “Tamato.” You road is traveling here, my road is traveling there. Your understanding says this, my understanding doesn’t say that. Your coping looks likes this, my run from coping looks like that. Behind every person’s eyes is a story, that if they told you, would break your heart. We are all just trying, our best. To come out, stay out, from under… condemnation.

We are all human, and complex in being so.

Where that complexity needs Grace who can always be for sure, all we know is Grace is sufficient for all our complexities. In the tapestry we spin, we all need Grace.

No more, “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” We love others, as them, not just towards them.

This, we must remember.

Pushing out from condemnation’s relentless entanglement. Standing watch from being dragged back into the web of lies from which Truth has set us free. This is a shared story, from which we all read and must read others.

That Jesus died for all, we must stand with all… in all our complexities.

Not that I agree with all in mind, action, or spirit. But agreeing with Jesus. His evaluation of all is sufficient for my all.

I may not be able to stand you at times, but I am going stand with you for all time, as a fellow human being, in all of our complexity, God-imaged by our Creator, and included in Jesus and His finished work. Eternally loved, valued, and embraced in Christ. Free to be, who we are… human. In all our complexity.

Cutting through, with the sword of Grace that our differences might give way to our common goodness; not just goodness, but wholeness. That my insecurities may no longer eclipse my view of your God-imaged essence. That my ignorance of your story might give way to my standing under it, and even with it.

I may not be able, at times, to stand your theology, behaviors, attitudes, decisions, even telling you so, the same. But I will stand with you, nonetheless, even if you should walk away.

That I agree with your story, is not a requirement. That you have a story, is reason enough.

This is the Jesus call, for all of us… standing with people, particular the ones, we can’t stand.

Grace wins, yet again.

Be Brave : God’s Ardent Message to Every Gay Person, and The People In Their Life

It wasn’t your choice, it may not have been your desire, but the stage is set. You are gay, you have a gay child, your brother, sister, or friend is gay.

For some of you, the curtain awaits, but coming out… the apprehensions are too overwhelming. You’ve rehearsed your lines a thousand times, looked into the crystal ball of every person’s response, plotted the strands of dominoes that are sure to fall the moment you sing your first note…  “I’m gay.” “My son is gay.” “Yah, my sister… she’s gay.”

For others, you’ve taken the stage. You began your song, the crowd looked down at the Playbill. They were quick to the disconnect. This wasn’t in the script, it’s not how the story was supposed to go. The plot twist sounded… gasps, chatter… then silence. Some picking up their things, searching for exit signs.

One thing is clear, the audience of your life is uncomfortable with this scene, if not in complete rebellion. Relatives can’t seem to understand. Your spouse, hugging an old baby picture off the mantle, still convinced “denial” is just a river in Egypt. Once intimate friendships have now evaporated. The people who should be drawing you close are pushing you away. With spotlights burning your gaze, you struggle to see who’s in and who’s out.

This if your life. This is your scene. You are gay, you have a gay child, your brother, sister, or friend is gay.

A rush of anxiety wells up from your toes to your head. You scan the auditorium. It’s funhouse mirrors without the fun. Everything that once was so familiar looks so unfamiliar. You ad-lib a closing verse knelt down with fists shaking…. “This can’t be real, this can’t be happening. Oh my God, my hands and feet are bleeding. Somebody, pull the damn curtain, and get me the hell out of here.”

In tears, you scamper off stage. If only it ended there.

You search for quietness, but the quietness won’t be quiet. You have questions for God. Why me? Why us? Isn’t there some other way?

It’s gut wrenching, it’s hard, aloneness never felt so lonely.

This if your life. This is your scene. You are gay, you have a gay child, your brother, sister, or friend is gay.

In the very midst. Right here, right now, God speaks a message, to you. He’s sitting on your lap, grasping your shoulders, speaking straight into your eyes…

Be brave.

It’s time to be brave.

You’re gay. You are fearfully and wonderfully made… gay. There was no mistake. You’re not a question, you’re a statement. From the voice of the Father, of the beauty of Jesus.

For such a time as this, you are born. You are the revival God is bringing to this world. Stop wishing for everybody else’s life, this is your life. Holy, pure, without blemish, overwhelmed with purpose. Stand up, take your place.

If God created you to be you, and you aren’t willing to be you, then why in the frigging universe, did God create you in the first place?

Sing your song, damn it, sing your song!

The moment is now. Don’t you dare give up, and don’t you dare shrink back.

It’s time to be brave.

God is not ashamed of your child, why are you? Look at me eyeball to eyeball. You are their family, for crying out loud. You are God’s best idea as to how to manifest His Grace and love to this divine-imaged human being.

What? You think those people’s backseat opinions really matter? You’re actually giving them a voice? I’m not trying to minimize the challenge. But, you don’t owe them anything. Not an explanation, a plan, a Bible verse, and surely not a space in your head. This is your scene, not theirs, this is your family, not theirs. This is your child, not theirs.

For Christ’s sake, it’s time to be brave!

Fine, you’re having an honest debate in your mind regarding the Scriptures. But, it’s our children that deserve our strongest stance and defense, not the Bible. Jesus would have it no other way. It’s unconditional love, or it’s not love at all.

Your homosexual child isn’t a cross to bear, don’t ever think or speak that poison again. They are no less than the Christ you carry into this world.  Stop fiddling, stop fumbling, start embracing, with the same pride and delight your Father has in you.

It’s time to be brave.

Friends don’t let gay friends be gay, alone. They don’t let families with gay children, be families, alone. This is friendship, to lay down one’s life. You could be the only ray of heaven in that person’s hell. If you walk away, what will be left?

It’s time to be brave.

If you are going to be a church, and claim that “ALL are welcome,” with all your branding, slick staging, and spiritual posturing. You better make for damn sure that ALL aren’t just welcomed.. but wanted, loved, empowered, protected and dare I say… affirmed, and celebrated.  You represent Jesus. Who for the joy set before Him… endured. For the God-smiling affirmation and heaven-bursting celebration of ALL set before Him… He endured. Not just endured, but died.

If you aren’t enduring for the ALL, and the joy Jesus takes in ALL, you are not enduring for Heaven’s sake, you are enabling… for Hell’s.

You are gay, you have a gay child, your brother, sister, or friend is gay.

It’s time to be brave.

Be brave.

For Christ’s sake. Be brave.

Be Brave : God’s Ardent Message to Every Gay Person, and The People In Their Life

It wasn’t your choice, it may not have been your desire, but the stage is set. You are gay, you have a gay child, your brother, sister, or friend is gay.

For some of you, the curtain awaits, but coming out… the apprehensions are too overwhelming.  You’ve rehearsed your lines a thousand times, looked into the crystal ball of every person’s response, plotted the strands of dominoes that are sure to fall the moment you sing your first note…  “I’m gay.” “My son is gay.” “Yah, my sister… she’s gay.”

For others, you’ve taken the stage. You began your song, the crowd looked down at the Playbill. They were quick to the disconnect. This wasn’t in the script, it’s not how the story was supposed to go. The plot twist sounded… gasps, chatter… then silence. Some picking up their things, searching for exit signs.

One thing is clear, the audience of your life is uncomfortable with this scene, if not in complete rebellion. Relatives can’t seem to understand. Your spouse, hugging an old baby picture off the mantle, still convinced “denial” is just a river in Egypt. Once intimate friendships have now evaporated. The people who should be drawing you close are pushing you away. With spotlights burning your gaze, you struggle to see who’s in and who’s out.

This if your life. This is your scene. You are gay, you have a gay child, your brother, sister, or friend is gay.

A rush of anxiety wells up from your toes to your head. You scan the auditorium. It’s funhouse mirrors without the fun. Everything that once was so familiar looks so unfamiliar. You ad-lib a closing verse knelt down with fists shaking…. “This can’t be real, this can’t be happening. Oh my God, my hands and feet are bleeding. Somebody, pull the damn curtain, and get me the hell out of here.”

In tears, you scamper off stage. If only it ended there.

You search for quietness, but the quietness won’t be quiet. You have questions for God. Why me? Why us? Isn’t there some other way?

It’s gut wrenching, it’s hard, aloneness never felt so lonely.

This if your life. This is your scene. You are gay, you have a gay child, your brother, sister, or friend is gay.

In the very midst. Right here, right now, God speaks a message, to you. He’s sitting on your lap, grasping your shoulders, speaking straight into your eyes…

Be brave.

It’s time to be brave.

You’re gay. You are fearfully and wonderfully made… gay. There was no mistake. You’re not a question, you’re a statement. From the voice of the Father, of the beauty of Jesus.

For such a time as this, you are born. You are the revival God is bringing to this world. Stop wishing for everybody else’s life, this is your life. Holy, pure, without blemish, overwhelmed with purpose. Stand up, take your place.

If God created you to be you, and you aren’t willing to be you, then why in the frigging universe, did God create you in the first place?

Sing your song, damn it, sing your song!

The moment is now. Don’t you dare give up, and don’t you dare shrink back.

It’s time to be brave.

God is not ashamed of your child, why are you? Look at me eyeball to eyeball. You are their family, for crying out loud. You are God’s best idea as to how to manifest His Grace and love to this divine-imaged human being.

What? You think those people’s backseat opinions really matter? You’re actually giving them a voice? I’m not trying to minimize the challenge. But, you don’t owe them anything. Not an explanation, a plan, a Bible verse, and surely not a space in your head. This is your scene, not theirs, this is your family, not theirs. This is your child, not theirs.

For Christ’s sake, it’s time to be brave!

Fine, you’re having an honest debate in your mind regarding the Scriptures. But, it’s our children that deserve our strongest stance and defense, not the Bible. Jesus would have it no other way. It’s unconditional love, or it’s not love at all.

Your homosexual child isn’t a cross to bear, don’t ever think or speak that poison again. They are no less than the Christ you carry into this world.  Stop fiddling, stop fumbling, start embracing, with the same pride and delight your Father has in you.

It’s time to be brave.

Friends don’t let gay friends be gay, alone. They don’t let families with gay children, be families, alone. This is friendship, to lay down one’s life. You could be the only ray of heaven in that person’s hell. If you walk away, what will be left?

It’s time to be brave.

If you are going to be a church, and claim that “ALL are welcome,” with all your branding, slick staging, and spiritual posturing. You better make for damn sure that ALL aren’t just welcomed.. but wanted, loved, empowered, protected and dare I say… affirmed, and celebrated.  You represent Jesus. Who for the joy set before Him… endured. For the God-smiling affirmation and heaven-bursting celebration of ALL set before Him… He endured. Not just endured, but died.

If you aren’t enduring for the ALL, and the joy Jesus takes in ALL, you are not enduring for Heaven’s sake, you are enabling… for Hell’s.

You are gay, you have a gay child, your brother, sister, or friend is gay.

It’s time to be brave.

Be brave.

For Christ’s sake. Be brave.

Anti-LGBTQ : The New Racism of the 21st Century

I once was full blown, anti-LGBTQ… but not anymore. Not even close.

I have met extensively with LGBTQ people, many of which were already friends. I have read, studied, and dissected every biblical passage on the matter. I have sought the counsel of scholars, scientists, church historians, all from various sides and angles. In the process, I have come to a place of level rest and resulting peace that LGBTQ is no more “sin” than having flat feet. You can’t choose it, and you can’t lose it. Heterosexual, or gay. Straight, or LGBTQ. It’s what you are, or aren’t.

I fully understand the complexity of this issue and all the spiritual, religious, and relational strings attached. This is tough stuff. I am well aware of the nature verses nurture debate and the reparative therapy discourse. The science of gender variances in human biology is compelling to stay the least. Yes, there are those who may “try to be gay” for various reasons. But that is far from the norm, nor the reality for the overwhelming majority.

For the LGBTQ person, there is nothing to be repaired, changed, overcome or transformed. It is… who one is.

As a Jesus follower and pastor, long before I became LGBTQ-affirming, this reality first confronted me when feeling the difference in my Spirit between counseling a person involved in something like abusing alcohol verses counseling a person in regard to their sexuality. Guiding a person abusing alcohol in applying the power of God’s Grace to overcome, fit hand in glove with the heart of Jesus. Doing so with a LGBTQ person left my Spirit deeply unsettled and conflicted. Something didn’t add up. At the time, I couldn’t put words to the disconnect, but I can now.

Being LGBTQ isn’t a problem to be fixed, a sin to overcome, a temptation to subdue, or a stronghold to break. It is the person’s beautiful, God-imaged reality, unchosen and inseparably interwoven into their personhood. There is nothing to change, that can be changed, that should change. It’s like asking a tree to become a mountain. Why would you do that? Both are simply different, and wonderful in and of themselves.

Racism towards black people essentially began during the Renaissance and Reformation. Europeans were coming into increasing contact with people of darker skin in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Merely because of the skin color differences among a minority of people, judgments against blacks were increasingly asserted. From this biological condemnation, a rationale for enslaving Africans developed. Because of their darker skin color, a spiritual scar was branded upon them, declaring them “heathens.” Many used the Bible as their justification. In most instances, a story regarding Noah and his sons is referenced. Ham finds Noah drunk and naked in Noah’s tent. He tells his brothers, Shem and Japheth, who then proceed to cover their father without looking at him. When Noah finds out what happened, he curses Ham’s son Canaan, declaring he will be ”a servant of servants.” In the biblical account, Noah and his family are never described in any sort of racial terms. But as the story morphed over the centuries, falling into the hands of the religious, Ham became widely portrayed as black. Blackness, servitude and the construct of racial hierarchy emerged.

From simple, unchosen biological differences in a minority, to labeled demonic spirituality, to judged inferiority, to active slavery, prejudice, and abuse. Racism against blacks is born. Much of which, in the name of God and biblical faithfulness.

“[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God…it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation…it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts.” –Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America

“…the right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example.”Richard Furman, President, South Carolina Baptist Convention

Enter LGBTQ.

From an unchosen, biological difference among a minority, to labeled demonic origin, to judged deviancy from the divine, to active condemnation, isolation, inferiority, and prejudice. Anti-LGBTQ is born. Much of which, in the name of God and biblical faithfulness.

“[homosexuals are] brute beasts…part of a vile and satanic system [that] will be utterly annihilated, and there will be a celebration in heaven.” -Jerry Falwell, Christian Leader

“Homosexual conduct is, and has been, considered abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God upon which this Nation and our laws are predicated. Such conduct violates both the criminal and civil laws of this State and is destructive to a basic building block of society — the family….It is an inherent evil against which children must be protected.” -Chief Justice Moore, Alabama

“Build a great, big, large fence, 150 or 100 mile long. Put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified till they can’t get out. Feed ’em. And you know what? In a few years they’ll die out. You know why? They can’t reproduce.” -Charles Worley, Christian Leader

Sound familiar?

Anti-LGBTQ, the new racism of the 21st Century is here.

This, my friends, is what we have, and it ought to shake you to your core and sound off every alarm in your conscience and creed.

Maybe for you, like many who lived in the midst of the racial history of the past seven centuries, you don’t see it that way. There are too many cultural, spiritual, and religious biases and presumptions constricting your view. For many, you are simply trying to navigate from what you have heard and long been taught. But just because you don’t see it now, doesn’t it mean it isn’t true now.

I know some of my readers will consider this line of thinking as an atrocity. How can LGBTQ today be symbiotic with the racism of yesterday? Yet, I find it interesting how what are often deemed in history to be theological atrocities of the present later become Christian apologies of the future.

What is a different color of skin on the outside for some, is a different sexual orientation on the inside for others. At the core, it’s as simple as that. No choice, no sin, no different than the color of your skin.

“We struggled against apartheid because we were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about. It is the same with homosexuality. The orientation is a given, not a matter of choice. It would be crazy for someone to choose to be gay, given the homophobia that is present.”Desmond Tutu

Wake up America, wake up Christians. Do you really want to be on the wrong side of history, biblical interpretation, and the manifesting of God’s heart for our culture yet again? Do we really want to be connected to and the catalyst of atrocities being committed towards LGBTQ people not unlike the ones we once (and even still) asserted towards blacks?

Let’s surprise even God Himself, and go ahead and write that letter now, apologizing to the LGBTQ community for our role in demonizing, marginalizing, and damaging their lives. A letter, mark my words, we will most certainly construct, sadly years from now, when we finally realize our error and grow the fruits to admit it, in the same way we did with racism, slavery, interracial marriage, and might I add… divorce and women in ministry.

The new racism of the 21st Century is here. It has a name… anti-LGBTQ.

If You Really Were “Unashamed”

Rallying kids to bring their Bibles to school, Facebook status pictures declaring “I’m a Christian,” Sharpie pens used to write “I am unashamed” on a hand or two. Really, this is the best idea we can come up with to present Jesus to our planet?

I know, you feel attacked as a “conservative” Christian, believing there is a growing “war” against your flavor of faith. You fear you aren’t getting your “way” in American culture, and in your mind, it’s all going to straight to hell… homosexuality, gun control, religious discrimination, loss of “family” values, and on and on. Shoot, old episodes of “Leave it Beaver” are even hard to find these days. Stop the madness.

And then, your freedoms. As if somehow they are under vicious attack as well. Last time I checked, you can still pray, worship, study, and do everything Jesus exampled. No, not where separation of Church and State applies. It’s been that way for how long now? But evidently, that’s not good enough as you conclude your leverage and influence is slipping. Truth be told, the rules have long been bent on the side of extending Christian favor in American society. That things are perhaps leveling a bit is truly nothing to get your panties in a wad. In fact, it presents great opportunity, maybe not for your religiosity, but for Jesus. Besides, worst case scenario, don’t we believe in the God who holds all the stars in His hands? What posture of fear or angst could we ever take if we were truly “unashamed?”

Do you really want to represent Jesus like that spoiled kid in the sandbox who always has to get his way, whines when he doesn’t, and pushes people around? Do you think we Christians getting together and standing sideways against the world as we declare our “unashamed” Christian allegiance, is making any impact at all? Congratulations, you are “a Christian.” We get it. Your Facebook status, twitter tags, t-shirts, and body art declare it. Applause, applause, you got your kids to carry a Bible to school. Wow, you are so faithful and uber-devoted. Your “Braveheart” battle field defense of team-Christian has even Mel Gibson taking notes.

Though it may look and feel all Jesus-serving to you with high-fives and spiritual pats on the bottom from your church-peeps, the rest of us aren’t fooled at all. Nope, we’re actually repulsed. And quite honestly, we are ashamed, not of the Gospel, but of your religious, elitist, pretentious, “I am… unashamed, a Christian…look at my Bible… blah, blah, blah…” stand against the world and all that you deem wrong, offensive, or unfair. Your version of Jesus and His Gospel has become so “spit it out of my mouth” worthy. I’m struggling for words right now to describe the taste on my tongue, so how does “crap” sound to you? Defensive, self-serving, arrogant, religious.

If you really were “unashamed” of the Gospel…

Your outward obedience and spiritual show would be flat out nothing to you, and the spotlighting of Jesus’s obedience, the complete sufficiency of His Grace, and the beauty of His perfect love would be everything.

You’d be licking your chops for opportunities to declare to the world, “we are unashamed of you.” Writing it on the hearts of every kind of person of every kind of lifestyle, skin color, creed, status, morality, nationality, or background. Not resting until all are aware, and never forget the Father’s true heart for them.

You’d care less if the world is accommodating your Christian agenda and values, giving them fair play and perpetuation. Simply serving people, unconditionally without conditions would be opportunity overflowing.

You wouldn’t be so cocked and loaded to defend Christianity, rallying the troops to demonstrate your resolve. To simply be Jesus to your neighbor, defending the poor, the marginalized, and the ones so confidently deemed to be sinning. That would be your cross.

You’d be far less interested in appearances, people knowing you are a Christian and a devoted player on the team. That people would see Jesus, His ardent delight in them that compels His eternal smile and forever embrace. That would be heaven to you.

Things like “bring a Bible to school” would be so less attractive to you, and show itself to be ridiculously self serving and lame, while washing the feet of those you least like and who are least like you would become so compelling.

If you really were “unashamed” of the Gospel…

You’d be brave with Grace, believing it all the way, daring to live it… all the way.

You’d be reading the world, the Scriptures, and the issues of our day through the lens of Jesus.

Jesus who is Grace, and Grace which is the Gospel.

But perhaps there in lies the crux of the matter… maybe it’s more like you are “unashamed” of club-Christianity, but Grace is another story.

Grace disturbs you, it shakes your foundations, it levels the playing field, and renders all your religious posturing and precepts as gonging, clanging cymbals… out of beat. A Grace that strips all the religious playing cards out of your hands and in return gives you plowshares. But you want to point fingers, not plow. You want to proclaim your faithfulness, not plow. You want to protect your agenda, not plow. You want to promote your ideology, not plow. You want to perpetuate your brand, your team, your institution, not plow. And then you wonder why so many don’t respond to your religious, Christian whistle blows, follow your cadence, or stay committed to marching in your band.

The more you religiously declare “I am unashamed” the more you in fact show yourself to be “ashamed,” not of your religious allegiance, but of a Grace that renders your allegiance as filthy rags, and admonishes you to serve rather than be served, love rather than label, and accept rather than condemn.

You see the house of cards your conservatism has built falling to the ground, one scriptural contextualization, one church statistic, one condemning, bible thumping Christian at a time. And so your best idea is to dig your religious heels in the ground, do something that looks and feels spiritual to show the world, you still mean business, and your God isn’t dead. All while, refusing the cure… Grace.

At best, your freedom to be religious has been challenged here and there, but not your freedom to be Jesus, if it’s Jesus you are truly “unashamed”… to be.

The One Thing Every Parent of a Gay Child Must Know

There is something so uniquely beautiful, spiritual, sacred, and honorable about parenting a gay child.

This, you must know.

Yet, there is also something very heart stirring. This, you surely, already know.

Every range of emotion called to the nerve receptors of the soul. Like the sailing of a small boat atop the depths of the oceans, every wave, gust, blazing heat, chilling rain, all intimately, symbiotically felt in raw detail together, move by move. Wandering through a fog, alone in the silence of night, holding tight through a storm. You never stop hearing or feeling the heartbeat of your children. Irreversibly connected.

A connection birthed from the intimacy infused into all humanity; from the Father to the Son, through the Spirit, into you… entirely. That Jesus lived, died, and is resurrected, His declaration to the world that an At-one-ment has forever occurred. In the doing of His death and resurrected life, He did so not just for humanity but as humanity. God has immersed Himself indistinguishably within you, that you are the presence and the essence of Christ in this world. As He is, so are we.

Yet, this manifestation of Jesus in and as humanity, through your gay child, is a uniquely clear, profound, and powerful force. In them, as them, and through them, their Christ-essence is a special kind of exposure of Jesus to the world. An enlightening of the Light. An unveiling different than any other. This, you must know.

To say that you have been chosen by God to parent Jesus, that you are a modern day Mary and/or Joseph is true, but falls far short of your gay child’s unique significance on this planet and their cosmic revelation of Jesus. For they carry within them and as them, a specialized projection of the pure Gospel. A revelation of Jesus so uniquely radiant that it penetrates, perhaps like no other, through the fortified layers of self-righteousness walled around our religious culture, exposing its adulterous bedding of ignorance, pride, and a religious spirit. A divine x-ray of the Christian world displayed on the light-board of the outcast of the outcasts, revealing its true cancer for all to see… that many worship Him with their lips but their hearts are far, far, far. A Gospel-manifesting so loud, that its trumpet demands a re-hearing and a re-understanding of sacred stances thought to be sure and forever fitting, overturning tables of Evangelical advantage, sending scores of church-world participants into the shadows, murmuring, plotting, and justifying, all while knelt down under the lame protection of their pews.

The Gospel is here, afresh… in your gay child.

So pure, so offensive this Gospel. That to accept Jesus must be to accept all humanity, because He became us… not some… but all of us. And transversely, all have been included in Him, we are His image bearer and life carrier… as is. For whatever you do for the least of these you do it to Him, because He is us, and we are Him.

Your gay child is the Gospel, the Gospel that none are better, only different. All signed, sealed, and delivered. Image-created. The world’s wrestling with your homosexual child is the world wrestling with Jesus. There is nothing wrong with your gay child anymore than there is something wrong with the true, pure Gospel. For they thought in Jesus was a crazed, evil spirit, only to discover He is Love made flesh; the Good News, humanely presented in humanity’s form. For what some think is a stronghold, a physiological abnormality, a psychological deviance, sin, or some bondage in your gay child, is just Jesus made flesh once again. This time, anew. For such a time as this.

And this, you must know.

There are Herods that are licking their chops with an appetite for killing; religious powers, authorities, and alike. You will be persecuted, betrayed, flogged, crucified. But not as one who carries a cross, but one who parents the Gospel.

For as the Light came into the world, and His own received Him not. So too, it is and will be with many a believer and your gay child. Your journey may feel at times like a special kind of hell, but your child is a special kind of heaven.

Perhaps the most difficult thing for you will come in the echoing of your child’s current or future voice, “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” It’s one thing for Jesus to declare, it will be a whole other thing for you, mom or dad, to say the same. His Grace is sufficient.

Do you know who your gay child is?

They are, the One… uniquely, purposefully.

This, One-thing, you must know.

What if you’re Wrong? A Question for Every Anti-Gay Person, Pastor, Father, Mother, Friend.

So, you believe homosexuality is a sin, whether it be in practice, orientation, or both. Maybe you have studied the issue, or just assimilated the beliefs heard from others. If you have become familiar with any or all of the six passages in the Bible that seem to specifically address the issue, you interpret them as condemnations against homosexuality and proof that God declares it all as sin.

From that belief, your actions and attitudes have formed.

Perhaps you have adopted a posture that concludes the most faithful response to this issue is to “hate the sin and love the sinner.” It feels spiritual and gracious to you. Maybe you are even willing to go so far as to conclude for yourself and underscore to others an understanding that the sin of homosexuality is no greater than your’s or any other’s. Therefore, in your mind, homosexuals aren’t necessarily better or worse than you, just different in their sinning. In your church, family, or community they may even be, not only welcome, but wanted. Yet, at the end of the day, their homosexuality is seen as a sin problem nonetheless. Jesus died for “them,” just like He died for you.

On the other hand, maybe you hate homosexuals and have no restraint in saying so with all the lingual colors afforded you. Confident in your biblical grooming, you may even assert that homosexuality is a special kind of sin, more sinful than any other. To you, all homosexuals are self-declared exclusively by choice. You may or may not, out of the kindness of your Christian heart, allow them in your presence or fellowship, but they are at best, a deplorable kind of abomination in your sight, and less than qualify for any kind of harbor, inclusion, or acceptance in your church, family, or community. With your Bible in hand, and perhaps a picket sign or two, you declare in either speech or action, “God hates fags” and therefore, deep down, at some level or another, so do you.

Wherever you are on the spectrum of response, at the end of the day, in your judgement, homosexuality is a sin, it’s never acceptable to God nor is it ever His will or within His design. Therefore, “repentance” is ultimately the only answer, whether empowered by Grace or Law or some mixture thereof… change, confess, move away from sin, apply the power of Jesus to overcome, turn or burn… however you want to put it …that’s the answer, that’s the cure. Until then, there is still a “problem,” an “issue,” an “abnormality,” a “sin.”

My question for you is… what if you’re wrong?

I know, it’s all so clear to you. The biblical texts, the studies, the nature of it all. But, what if you’re wrong? What if it’s not so clear, the studies not so definitive, the unnatural not so unnatural.

What if you’re wrong, like Paul in Scripture, who actually believed it was “unnatural” for the Gentiles to accept Christ and be included in the fellowship of believers? By the way, you know who the Gentiles are?  You.

What if you’re wrong, like countless Christians throughout history who read your same Bible and vehemently concluded its support for racism and slavery?

What if you’re wrong, like court reporters and clerks in the 1960’s who, citing Biblical grounds, refused to document and issue interracial marriage certificates because they believed them to be committing sin?

What if you are wrong, like the Southern Baptist denomination, who finally in 1995, apologized to the black community for its role in using the Bible to endorse racism and slavery?

What if you are wrong, like the Pharisees, who believed they knew and lived the Scriptures better than anyone, but were shown out by Jesus to not only be in biblical error, but completing absent of understanding in regards to His heart and essence?

I mean, just imagine if Hitler had only considered, “maybe I am wrong about the Jews”

Imagine if the Christian theologian John Calvin had only considered, “maybe I didn’t read this text right?” before brutally burning one of his critics to death, all in the name of biblical faithfulness mind you.

Imagine, just imagine.

Imagine, if you’re wrong about homosexuality and homosexuals.

What if ignorance has eclipsed your understanding, not unlike the kind Hosea spoke of as the prime destroyer of people?

What if mistranslation, proof texting, and a lack of proper contextualization has rendered the Scripture as saying that which God never meant it to?

What if your unyielding grip on inerrancy has become in fact, your own spiritual death hold?

What if your fear of being wrong and therefore having to deconstruct and rebuild one’s heart, mind, and faith is preventing you from the guidance of the Spirit?

What if peer pressure and the gravity to conform to the prevailing Christian “norm” is squelching the wind of Jesus from His revelation in and transformation of your life?

What if homosexuality isn’t a sin, and now you don’t have a “sin” that you are confident can never and will never apply to you from which to comfortably condemn others and drink from the intoxicating chalice of self-righteousness that medicates your own inner shame, insecurity, condemnation, and guilt?

What if, like your heterosexuality, it’s not a choice, any more than the color of your eyes?

What if… you’re wrong?

If I am wrong, the Holy Spirit will simply pursue me with correction, go around and ahead me to thwart the misleading, and work in the lives of homosexuals to lead them to “repentance.”

However, if you’re wrong…

You have condemned, marginalized, persecuted, and falsely judged an entire group of God-imaged people.

You have labeled as sin, that which is not.

Some of you have disowned your own children. Labeling them, casting them out. While God declares “I will never leave you nor forsake you” you have abandoned, or at best, distanced yourself from that which God purposed you to forever enwrap.

You have put barbed-wire fences where God meant for tables.

You have been a contributor to the depression, the isolation, the terror, the suicide, and the living hell of countless people.

You have participated in nothing less than the new racism of the 21st Century.

And worst of all, you have joined the choir of the False Accuser, singing songs of pure evil, believing them to be hymns of the Savior that reflect His heart and mind.

You have partnered with Satan in the stealing, killing, and destroying of an entire population of God’s beloved.

…all, in the name of Jesus and biblical faithfulness.

Honestly, I am o.k. if somehow it turns out I’m wrong.

My question for you is, how can you ever be o.k. with the possibility…  you are?

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