Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Loving Homosexuals

How do we love? What does it mean to love one's enemy?

This is part 2 of what I expect to be a long dialogue. My friend bwolf30 commented on my post about Roland Martin's CNN article: Martin "uses the failures of one part of the church as leverage to justify silence (or more accurately, compromise) on important issues. He doesn't explicitly say this but reading the article I get the feeling that just like with the EC guys, anyone with a Biblical opposition to homosexuality and/or abortion is scorned as a hypocrite or judgmental, or whatever. Well, its not that easy."

Absolutely, it's not that easy. Either way.

We've started with the premise that we are to love our enemies, and that love has at least 3 aspects: relationship, service and sacrifice. Today I want to talk about relationship.

Relationship is, I think, the greatest thing human beings can experience in life. Relationship with God, relationship with other people--there truly cannot be anything greater. We were made for relationship, made to live in community. Without relational interaction with other human beings, we do not live life.

When was the first relationship? Careful, it's a trick question. You might think it was Adam and Eve. Nope. Then you might think it was Adam and God. Nope again. Uh, God and the angels. Nah uh.. The first relationship was God. The mystery of the Trinity, the Three-in-One God, characterizes the value of relationships today. Relationship has eternally existed. Community is in our DNA, because it is in the "DNA" of God.

So to love is to have a relationship with. Love is not the absence of hate. It is not saying "I love them, but I don't like them." This is nonsense. To love someone is to seek out a relationship with them.

My first challenge then, for myself and for my community is this: it is time that we build relationships with those in the gay community, in particular those who claim to follow Jesus as well. It is time to stop throwing stones from a distance, lobbing holiness hand-grenades from behind the bunkers of the Christian ghetto, and move into the streets and stories of real people, loving them simply because they are. Not to evangelize them, although that might happen. Not to change them, although loving relationships change us all. But because they are, and we are. We all are, because of God.

The leaders of the Christian communities need to decide now that this debate will not be taken to the courts or the halls of government. We will not use the force of the state to enforce our morality in areas that don't involve the life and death safety of society. We will sit down with, break bread with, talk with and build relationships with people regardless of their "status" in life--even their moral status. Many will not understand, but they didn't understand Jesus eating with the "sinners" either.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

On Dealing with Homosexuality

As an administrator at a small Baptist university, I have watched the recent news about Soulforce's 2007 Equality Ride and wondered what would happen if the bus stopped at our school. A group of gay, lesbian and transgender students are visiting 32 Christian schools to protest what they deem to be homophobic policies. Responses of the Christian schools have been varied, obviously. At many places, members of the group have been arrested, including at Baylor here in Texas where several spent the night in jail for illegal sidewalk-chalking. A friend at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama talked about their response, in which a group of Samford students met the bus in the parking lot, and each Samford student was assigned a Soulforce Rider to greet, give a tour of the campus, and eat with. After some discussion and disagreement, the whole group went to the chapel and offered a prayer together.

I want to start what will be a long discussion I'm sure by quoting Jesus in Luke 6.27-31:

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

The modern evangelical church sees the homosexual community as its enemy (some of you are going to disagree with me on this, but I find most "love the sin, hate the sinner" arguments lacking in the love category, and our public statements sure sound like we think of immoral people as the enemy). So then, do Jesus' statements apply to the church at large? And if so, how?

It would seem to me that love--the kind of agape love Jesus is talking about--has at least 3 aspects: relationship, service, and sacrifice. How can the community of followers of the Way of Jesus practice those 3 things with the homosexual community regardless of whether you believe strongly that the Bible teaches homosexuality is sinful or whether you believe strongly that, just like our modern American view that slavery is wrong even though allowed in the Bible, homosexuality is viable in loving, lifelong, monogamous relationship?

This is a long and difficult question, and I invite comment on loving our enemies. There is a place to debate between the two viewpoints of my last question, but I don't want to go there until we really think about loving our "enemy".

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter Week Buzz

There was a ton of TV and radio stuff about Jesus last week. Even the media are "Easter and Christmas" followers of Jesus...

Here is a great article by Roland Martin on CNN. Are you tired of single or double-issue people? Martin has a great point: Jesus (and by extension his followers) should speak to a myriad of issues, in particular those that adversely affect life and oppose justice. Some right-side followers of Jesus want the issue to be only about abortion or homosexuality. But poverty, crime, societal injustice, capitalistic injustice, racism, genocide, war--all of these adversely affect life and oppose justice!

A friend and mentor said to me years ago that many people spoke out against the sins that made them uncomfortable but that they weren't tempted with themselves. Sin that didn't affect them or that affected them personally didn't matter. I'm not sure he wasn't right.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Movie Review: Meet the Robinsons

"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
Walt Disney

We took the family to see "Meet the Robinsons" on Saturday, and although the wife would say I have always said this about new movies, this is the best Disney computer-animated movie yet. Instead of the normal family-friendly kid fare these days, with often contrasting themes like "be yourself" or "everyone needs a family", the theme for this movie is focused on letting the past go and just keep moving forward. It's got a neat plot that has twists for both kids and adults, and lots to laugh at. There is some scariness for younger kids at the end as the bad guy gets the upper hand for awhile (my 6 year old didn't want to watch that part), so keep that in mind. But altogether a great flick!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

I hate mowing

I spent the day after church mowing, trimming, all the fun mundane things of yardwork. And boy do I hate them.

Here's a link to some strange people who seem to enjoy it. Not only do they believe in the force but one guys says he loves to mow.
That's just sick.