Tag: pride

Maybe This Is The Real Reason You Believe Being Gay Is A Sin

So, you believe homosexuality is a sin.

I get it—it’s where you are at and what you uphold to be true.

Maybe for you, you’re not exactly sure why you subscribe to that position, other than the countless times you have been told, “That’s what the Bible says.” You want to be loving, accepting, and viewed as a compassionate follower of Jesus, but numerous admonitions from fellow Christians declaring that “loving people doesn’t give license to their sin” seem to give you no other alternative posture than one of judgement and distance. Sure, you’re familiar with a few of the verses typically used to condemn homosexuality and those of the LGBTQ community—since childhood, your mind and heart has been seated around the traditional male/female relationships of Scripture as being the only God-approved model for marriage, gender, and sexuality, but that’s about as far as your thinking has taken you. Deep down, it’s a complicated issue, and quite honestly, you’re not always sure what you believe. Even though you know some LGBTQ people and perhaps might even call them friends, moments of belief-questioning or consideration of LGBTQ-affirming views are quickly summoned to a much more comfortable, default position in your faith, “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” For you, you’re hoping it’s as simple and settled as that, and if it’s not, it’s just going to have to be.

On the other side of the coin, maybe for you, it’s all so perfectly, crystal clear. There’s nothing to reconsider, nothing to learn or unlearn. It’s a slam dunk, a biblical no-brainer. Not only have you sat under the popular chorus, “This is what the Bible says,” you proudly and boldly sing it from the mountain tops. You believe to know every verse relevant to the issues, even citing original Greek and Hebrew words and context. In your mind, heart, and faith, all things LGBTQ are a deplorable, disgusting affront to God and an offensive abomination before the Lord. Maybe you have never held the sign (or maybe you have), but “God hates fags” largely fits hand-in-glove with the bottom line of your faith understanding. Sure, if they repent, change their ways, and adopt your faith views, there’s hope. However, until that day comes, “ground and pound” is your perceived divine mandate to wrestle the LGBTQ demons out of our culture and country. No matter the consequences or costs wrought by your anti-LGBTQ angst and rage, you are “right” and everyone else will always be “wrong”—even to the exclusion, excommunication, and potential suicide of your own LGBTQ child, sister, brother, parent, congregant, or friend. In your mind, any other way of seeing things is to author confusion where God created infallible clarity—and you, the God appointed vessel of His authority and truth. If a transgender person were to commit suicide and your secret (or not so secret) conclusions to this tragic event were displayed on your church’s worship screen, it might read something like, “They had it coming to them, for the consequences of sin is death.”

Well, no matter where you are on the spectrum of believing homosexuality is a sin, I have an honest question.

Are these really the true reasons you believe being gay is a sin? These are the case “evidences” you really want us to attribute to your actions and beliefs?  “The Bible says so…” “God hates fags…” “Rethinking my views or considering new information is unnecessary…” “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” These are the foundational, core kind of sentiments that make up the sum, depth, and rationale of your thoughts, words, deeds, and creeds regarding one of the most important issues of our time affecting countless God-imaged souls?

With all due love and respect as I truly want to understand and believe the best, if I’m honest, the ruby-slippered Dorothy in me is having a hard time swallowing that pill. In fact, pull back the curtain of your confessions and I wonder if there’s perhaps a deeper Wizard behind the smoke and mirrors of your anti-LGBTQ declarations—and it’s not God, the Bible, or spiritual laziness—in fact, I think it just might be… you.

Maybe, just maybe, the real reason you believe being gay is a sin, is because—you want to. When it’s all said and done, it’s not anybody else’s voice or choice—it’s yours.

In a Christian church-world where there are over 30,000 different denominations who read the very same Bible you do, and come to thousands of different belief-conclusions on major theological issues. In a Christian church-world where elective misunderstanding and ignorance are seen as legitimate positions instead of serious problems. In a Christian church-world where there are countless, growing numbers of biblical scholars with the same love for Jesus, submissive heart for Scripture, and tenacity for Truth as you, who see the Bible as affirming LGBTQ people, not condemning them. Maybe, just maybe, the real reason you believe being gay is a sin is because—you want to. It’s not the Bible saying so, it’s you saying so. In fact, if one can be faithful to the sacred Scriptures and yet come to an LGBTQ-affirming view (which you can) instead of condemning, demonizing, and abusing a whole God-adorned population of humans, why wouldn’t you? Maybe, just maybe, the real reason is because—you don’t want to.

In a Christian church-world where many apparently have little-to-no true fear of having a sin lifestyle of blatant, chosen gluttony and greed that potentially even compromises their eternity. In a Christian church-world where virtually none of its participants would ever dare construct nor hold up the sign, “God hates fatsos.” In a Christian church-world that largely has little-to-no restraint in looking the other way regarding its own sins and strongholds. In a Christian church-world where nearly 50 percent of its married adherents end up divorced, and even the “unbiblical” ones are given a free pass. Maybe, just maybe, the real reason why you believe being gay is a sin, isn’t for fear of condoning it or leading one into hell, but simply because—you want to.

In a Christian church-world that is known for justifying and feeling oh-so-good and righteous about itself through the condemning and demonizing of people they conveniently deem to be sinning differently than they. In a Christian church-world that largely needs a sin-battle to fight in order to justify its purpose, worth, validity, energy, and existence. Maybe, just maybe, the real reason why you believe being gay is a sin is because—you want to. The self-righteous perch from which doing so seems to afford you exclusive divine favor, license for anger, and spiritual justification for hate is just too convenient to step down from. Watching porn on Sunday afternoons never seemed so benign as after a rousing, gay-condemning sermon from Romans 1 and 2. It’s a drug only Grace can disarm, but you refuse the “reparative” cure. Why? Because—you want to.

In a Christian church-world where community is often centered around the conformity of beliefs and behaviors. In a Christian church-world where in many of its expressions you are either “in” or “out.” In a Christian church-world where to believe differently is often met with a kiss of death—discipline, rejection, marginalization, termination, or just a good-ole’-fashion greeting line of cold shoulders and religious spankings. Maybe, just maybe, the real reason why you believe being gay is a sin is because—you want to. The fear of being convinced of LGBTQ-affirming views is just too strong, and the perceived ramifications, just too costly. When the rubber meets the road and you hear the Jesus-call to put the suffering of others above your own—you simply don’t want to.

See, at the end of the day, when Toto draws the curtain open, the scheme that was concealed becomes the truth that is revealed—people don’t choose to be LGBTQ, but they sure do choose to believe whether it’s a sin or not.

In fact, I find it interesting how many Christians proudly proclaim to be pro-life and wear it as a badge of faith-honor, all while at the same time they are certainly pro-choice about the Bible—determined to protect their freedom to use every interpretive knife they can contrive to abort countless people into hell, murder their souls with condemnation, and yank them out of the womb of God’s Grace and affirmation, slicing and dicing them with sin-labels and discrimination—all while singing songs to Jesus with a self-righteous, anti-gay smirk on their face.

When all the smoke clears, perhaps the real puppeteer behind your anti-gay beliefs finally emerges—it’s you. You don’t “have” to believe being LGBTQ is a sin—you want to. When all is said and done, the pain of affirmation has been determined to be greater than the pain of discrimination. The call to take up our cross and follow Jesus, perhaps is a cost, you have concluded is too costly to endure. The ego-humbling, faith-reconstructing, soul-examining, human-loving, life-transforming, and courage-requiring invitation of Jesus to put down the nets of religion for the sake of “the least of these” is finally met with what is perhaps the real sum and truth behind your response—”I don’t want to.”

Maybe, just maybe, this is the real reason why you believe being gay is a sin—it’s not God, not the Bible, not spiritual laziness, nor moral purity or responsibility.

But rather, all because—you want to.

The Letter Every Parent Should Write To Their LGBT Child

As parents, we want to parent well. We love our children deeply and want the very best for them. There are many things that shape the values and philosophy we carry into the raising of our children—spirituality, beliefs, culture, family, traditions, preferences, not to mention the often unshakeable manner in which our parents parented us. However, nothing should ultimately dictate the attitudes and actions we manifest towards our children more than unconditionally, unconditional love. No matter what parenting mantras we adopt along the way, however holy and seemingly righteous, without unconditional love taking center stage, we are powerless and bankrupt of true influence with our children.

The journey of being a parent is a daunting one where the playing field is constantly shifting beneath us, each stage along the way requiring careful adjustments. Parenting often feels like a constant tripping down the stairs where the main goal quickly becomes to simply stay on our feet and manage the fall—none of us our perfect or have the inside scoop. Yet, there is no greater opportunity to win the heart and shape the life of our children than in the giving of unconditional love when our children need it most.

When a child finally steps to the edge and invokes the God-given courage to reveal themselves as being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, there will perhaps be no greater moment and opportunity in all of our parenting to reveal to that child that ours has been a hug, all along, from birth until now, that is truly unbreakable and unstoppable—no height, nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation will separate the embrace of love, loyalty, and pride we have gripped around them. There was no fine print in our parenting that is now called into application. There were no loop holes or contingencies that warrant us a way out or a justified shrinking back. The very same joy we had when they came out of the womb is still the very same joy we have when they “come out” of the tomb of living a lie in fear of being fully known for who they truly are—lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Whether in agreement or disagreement, whether in affirmation or in confusion, we still declare in determined resolve, “this is my child with whom I am well pleased.”

This, is unconditional love when it’s needed most.

Yet sadly, while Jesus is calling our Lazarus-children to “come out” and truly be alive and fully live, unwrapping from the burial clothes of fear and condemnation that suffocate them—we can miss the moments, and even, intentionally or not, turn our children back towards the grave, wrapped once again in fear and shame. For ours is a powerful voice.

No, our children are not expecting nor desiring nor needing our perfection, but rather they long for a simple, unyielding, unbreakable, undeniable connection of loyalty and unwavering pride, sealed by an unconditional love for them that nothing can reverse or restrict. We are all born with this ancient sense deep within that this kind of love is not only possible, but ultimately the essence of God and life—and thus, the most important gift we can give, especially when everything within us or around us would tell us not to do so—when we feel those voices of our faith, culture, family, or inner convictions telling us to place conditions, to put up walls, to tighten the grip, or even condemn our very own children.

Regardless of the situation, regardless of our creed, we never make a mistake when we give unconditional love—we always make a mistake when we withhold it. Leaning on our own understandings to the reduction or removal of unconditional love always creates a detriment and depravity God never supports.

See, the truth is, we are constantly sending letters to our children, whether we intend to or not. Every day is charged with cosmic opportunity—messages of life welling up from our souls colliding and reverberating into the atmosphere of our children’s living and being. Never underestimate the power of the living letter we are forever composing to our children. The most beautiful and transformative words we can write within these verses and inject into their veins by script and action—”I love you no matter what,” “I’m forever proud of you” and “I’m sorry, I was wrong.”

Nothing can change the course of things like these kinds of words spoken and displayed genuinely from a parent.

Whatever has happened, whatever path has traveled beneath your parenting feet, it’s never too late to write that letter.

It’s never too late.

Perhaps, today is the day.

For today is a new day, full of Grace, truth, and promise.

Now is an opportunity as good as any other to give echo to the Father’s heart through your voice spoken into the life of your LGBT child.

And maybe, here is the place to begin—the kind of letter you can write, the kind of letter you should write, and I pray, the kind of letter you will write.

Son / daughter,

You are beautifully and wonderfully made, as is—whether lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, it matters not. The One who holds all the stars in the sky holds you with deepest affection. You are not, nor ever will be, a problem to be solved, a question that needs an answer, nor a mistake that needs transformation—you are a finished, divine work of art. I am always proud of you and there will never be a day I don’t take great joy in calling you my child, no matter what. You are of the greatest gifts from God in my life. No, I am not a perfect parent, and yes, there have been desperately important moments I so wish I could have back that I missed showing the relentless loyalty and love I have for you. I am sorry, at times I have been flat out wrong—wrong about God, wrong about you, wrong about life, wrong about most everything. I’ve done a whole lot more talking than listening, selfishly absorbed with myself. Yet, this remains true and the deepest desire of my heart, that the same unconditional, affirming love the Father has for me, is the same love you know and experience to have from me as well, as much as I am capable of humanly doing so. For He loves you, delights in you, is proud of you, believes in you, and so do I—He will never leave you nor forsake you, and neither will I. I stand with you, by you, and for you, forever.

With deepest love,

Mom / Dad

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.

Pushy School Prayer People

So you read the title of this article, and your back has already tightened up. As we speak, your mind is powering up remembered “prayer” passages from the Bible as your eyes drift down to find the comment section of this post.  But before you have a cow, or some other farm animal, read closely. I believe prayer is important. I pray, I value prayer, and encourage others to do so.

But holy steaming manure Batman, not only have many of us Christians turned prayer into everything Jesus never intended it to be, we have also become so ridiculous about this “prayer in school” issue.

“You need to pray more of this,” “you need to pray about that,” “pray this way,” “don’t pray that way,” “pray here, but not there.” Hot off the shelf,  “6 steps to more effective prayer,” “10 steps to bending the ear of God.” All with the vibe, if you aren’t doing prayer like us, you aren’t doing prayer.

I mean seriously, we have created such a huge fermenting debacle out of prayer; eroding it into spectacle, verbosity, formula, ritual, work, Law, and God arm pulling.

Yes, I believe prayer is important, Yes, giving a time for all students to silently reflect or pray as school begins seems benign. For the individual this can be either religious or not, and always kept personal. I get it.

But common, nothing is perhaps worse than Christians who have become reckless about the issue of prayer in schools.  Some demand that students have a set time to pray in school (even audibly) and whine like little school girls when in some instances they don’t get their way, or their way is threatened. Many blame the lack of prayer in school, or its restriction, as the reason why students’ behaviors and morals are in decline. Some, even go as far as to say that if prayer (the Christian kind of course) was more prevalent and planned in school, there wouldn’t be near the school shootings and other tragedies. “Don’t let them throw God out of school” is the battle cry of many, as if that would be possible anyways.  I’m just shooting in the dark here, but I think I remember reading a semi important figure in the Bible discovering something like… “I can never be lost to your Spirit! I can never get away from my God! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there.” Gee, I wonder if that includes schools. Probably only those where Christians are praying.

It all makes perfect sense to me now.  Duh, God only answers prayers from certain locations, right? God thinks to Himself, “Yeesh, I could have kept that tragedy from happening if they only allowed or encouraged kids to pray in school.”

It’s interesting to me, how many Christian adults care so much about having kids pray in school, but never, or rarely pray at home. And by the way, that religious “bless this food, Jesus” around the KFC bucket doesn’t count. Ranting about prayer in school all while buying your kids tickets to a Miley Cyrus concert, sounds like a plan to me.

I mean really, does God think to Himself, “Now that you asked me to ‘bless this food’ not only will I Jesus-zap the Ecoli out of it, but I will make it send your body into the next level of fitness and vitality.” It’s so obvious this is the way God works with prayer. I mean can’t you tell by how healthy, fit, and slim all those Christians are who religiously ask God to, “bless this food, Jesus.” Besides, no one ever gets sick at the local church barbecue… never.

Nothing lacking or present in the daily school life of a child can resurrect what is being put to death or ignored at home.

Furthermore, none of this is to even begin to get into the whole issue of Church and state and the constitutional restrictions and freedoms thereof.

I find it interesting that Jesus taught…

And now about prayer. When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who pretend piety by praying publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. Truly, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, all alone, and shut the door behind you and pray to your Father secretly, and your Father, who knows your secrets, will reward you. Don’t recite the same prayer over and over as the heathen do, who think prayers are answered only by repeating them again and again. Remember, your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!  -Matthew 6:5-8

See, if you pray the way Jesus taught, every person has the freedom to pray biblically anywhere at anytime. And believe it or not, Jesus listens and responds to it just as much (and maybe more. *wink wink).

I know, but there’s no spectacle in that, no religious pushing and shoving, no freedom fight, no work, no spiritual notch on your belt, no protest. Praying Jesus-style takes all the Evangelical fun out of it. Dang nab it.

Did I say fun?  My bad, I really meant “flesh.”  Stupid spell corrector.

“We just need to keep prayer in school.” “God is offended we are keeping Him out of schools” It sounds all so spiritual, like we are real-deal Christians, but it’s so reflective of how religious, insecure, selfish, political, parental-outsourcing, and Jesus-doubting we have become. We obviously believe prayer is primarily about location (school), behavior modification and personal performance (kids do better), and getting God to do certain things He wouldn’t normally do or hasn’t done. This is absurd and nothing like Jesus’ attitude towards prayer.

“I don’t entertain guests in my closet. You’ll never hear me tell visitors after dinner, “Why don’t we step into the closet for a chat?”. Denalyn and I prefer the living room or the den. God apparently likes to chat in the closet. The point? He’s low on fancy, high on accessibility. To pray at the Vatican can be meaningful. But prayers offered at home carry as much weight as prayers offered in Rome. Travel to the Wailing Wall if you want. But prayer at your backyard fence is just as effective. The One who hears your prayers is your Daddy. You needn’t woo him with location.” -Max Lucado

Let’s stop outsourcing and pushing prayer onto schools. Let’s do our jobs at home to spiritually lead the way. Trust me, teachers and administrators would trade their salaries for parents to start doing that.

Let’s see prayer as a way of life, a humble communication with God, not a spectacle, ritual, or Evangelical badge to be worn.

Prayer is simply talking and listening to God.  Nothing more, nothing less.

It’s not how you pray, as if God were into verbosity, postures, formality, formulas, or eloquence as a condition or key for prayer.

It’s not where you pray, as if God was a location snob, territorial, or contextually limited.

It’s not how long you pray, as if God were holding a stop watch, doing a word count, or was impressed by stamina, waiting for that “o.k, that’s enough” moment to respond. The false notion that “the more you pray, the more God responds” places the power of prayer on you and not God.

It’s not how hard you pray, as if you have to bend God’s ear, wrench His blessings, or prove you’re seriousness in order for Him to reply or to increase His willingness to reply favorably.

It’s not how loud you pray, as if God is hard of hearing.

It’s not how good you are as a person, as if anyone’s righteousness before God comes from their own performance.

God already knows what you need long before you ask, He knows the desires of your heart, long before you express them.

So, why pray?

It’s simple, because God enjoys hearing from you and you could benefit from hearing from Him. Prayer, from a posture of thanksgiving and faith, draws our minds and hearts to all that we already have in and with Jesus, and reminds us that He works out all things for our good. Prayer is not about getting what you want, but much more about embracing, enjoying, and resting in all the you already have in Him.

In prayer, you don’t get anything more from God that you don’t already have, you just become more aware of it, and thus can enjoy it, harness it, believe in it, and be blessed by it. Bam, there ya have it!

Make you prayers full of thanksgiving, words (declarations) of faith, and honest requests. Then… listen, with the Holy Spirit as your guide.

Keep it simple, personal, and genuine. And for crying out loud, stop being so ridiculous, pushy, and preoccupied with prayer in schools. Jesus is bigger and prayer is higher, deeper, and wider than all of that.

If your particular brand of Christianity requires you be pushy, be pushy about making sure prayer happens at home. And even more so, be pushy about making sure you and your kids have the right heart, understanding, and attitudes toward it.

© 2017 Chris Kratzer

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