Archive | February, 2014

When A Fundamentalist Loves a Gay Person . . .

28 Feb

I had an hour-long discussion online with one of my college friends the other night.

It was an amazing exchange.  I think I cried the entire time. 

Maybe my friend did, too.

You see, I am a fundamentalist Christian.  A Baptist.  I believe God inspired every word of the Bible, in its original languages, and that God never changes.

My friend Scott, while having been married to a woman in a relationship that produced four children, now identifies as a gay man and is in a gay marriage up in Canada.

Our conversation, carried out in public on his Facebook page, concerned the issue of states trying to pass laws to protect business owners from being compelled to serve as photographers, florists, or bakers for gay weddings. 

We differed on that issue.  However, the amazing aspect of our conversation that I haven’t seen in any other exchange thus far is that we both understood the viewpoint of the other and could explain it, while disagreeing with it. 

That, and the fact that we held our entire exchange with the respect due between old friends, never once slipping into snarkiness to score a cheap shot, as such public conversations always seem to do eventually. 

Scott was once a pastor.  He can explain many of my theological points just as well as I can.  He just has different beliefs now.

And while I could explain that Christians cannot be separated into parts so that they can leave their beliefs about gay marriage at church and live out another reality during the week, I also could totally understand that Scott cannot be separated into parts either. 

He perceives that a company refusing to photograph his wedding earlier this year would have been exercising discrimination against a relationship that he regards as just as legitimate as a heterosexual marriage.  Even if it were my company and he could understand intellectually why I hesitated to photograph his ceremony, the refusal would still hurt him.

In fact, when he saw my original post about photographers who only wish to shoot heterosexual marriages, it distressed him so much that he was distracted at work for the rest of the day. 

And that made me sad at such an elemental level that I not only cried as we communicated, but I felt as though I were going to throw up.  I would not hurt a beloved friend like that for any amount of money. 

Only I did.

We went through a lot of theological scenarios.  And I reiterated that, just as I cannot be divided into parts, and Scott cannot be divided into parts, so the Saviour and His Scriptures cannot be divided into parts.  It would be so much easier if we could just do that, or if we could de-emphasize the parts of Scripture with which we have a hard time. 

But such is the integrity with which man and woman have been created, modeled on the integrity of God Himself, that we cannot be divided.  One part of us, whether sexuality or religious beliefs, can’t be given a lower priority than another part.

They all make up the essence of who we are.  Therefore, it feels like a wrenching inside of us when someone else, even a beloved friend, would suggest that we can just leave an essential part of ourselves behind.   

There are no easy answers here, folks.  I know that Scott and I are both still works in progress.  God never changes but we are undoubtedly not now the people we will be when we die. 

In the meantime, however, I believe we are the very best kind of people to talk publicly about this issue because we love someone deeply who is on the opposite side of the issue.

I would say this discussion needs to be conducted with tears running down both faces.  Until that happens, we are not truly listening, we are not truly understanding what that other person, also made in the image of God, is trying to convey.  

There are no easy answers here.  I understand that, by the mere suggestion that a gay friend would consider celibacy to honor God’s image in him, I have asked of him one of the hardest things to do and one that would be nigh on impossible for me as a married woman. 

If I don’t see that, I could be guilty of the most obstinate hypocrisy—expecting others to obey God on a much more elemental level than I myself am willing to do. 

What hard things am I willing to do to honor God?  It is a fair question and one I hope gay people will feel free to ask of their fundamentalist friends. 

May we long continue this conversation as a respectful and loving dialogue. 

I love you, Scotto.

 

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What is a Red Letter Christian?

28 Feb

What is a Red Letter Christian?

A Red Letter Christian is a person who belongs to a group that seeks to weight the Scriptures, making some more important than others.  Red Letter Christians say that the words written in red (and thus said by Christ) carry more spiritual weight than the other words in the Bible.  

There is a whole host of hocus pocus emanating from this current movement (which I have studied very little, so I can’t speak authoritatively to many of their beliefs except one).  One well-known statement they have made is, since Jesus never addressed homosexuality directly, He didn’t condemn it.  They state that later condemnations of homosexual behavior by Paul were somehow tainted by being too far removed from Christ.  

See what I just did there?  Showed you how a group that wishes to welcome gay people to their church without requiring them to repent of sin (like anyone else must) ends up justifying their decision by claiming that some parts of Scripture are tainted or not altogether important.

To recap:  all of Scripture is one, and totally unified.  Jesus did speak of marriage in Matthew 19:4-6.  He specifically stated that it was to be between a male and a female, according to God’s design in creation, and that it was to last as long as natural life (that divorce was only allowed by Moses due to the hardness of human hearts).

All Scripture is God-breathed.  If we treat any of it as extraneous, we do violence to all of it and to its unity.  (I say this in love to my fellow Baptists who make fun of the genealogies.  God put them there for a reason, too.  He wasn’t up late one night with insomnia when He inspired them . . .).  

Be aware of the Red Letter Christians.  You may have to do damage control for them after they have messed with a new Christian’s mind.  

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Arranging the Flowers for a Gay Wedding . . .

28 Feb

Arranging the Flowers for a Gay Wedding . . .

Albert Mohler has headed the Southern Baptist Convention.  He says this so much better than I ever could, and with all the appropriate research.  

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One Example of People Flooding the Twittersphere with Inaccurate Comments

27 Feb

One Example of People Flooding the Twittersphere with Inaccurate Comments

Like a giant game of Telephone from our childhood, things sometimes go around the Internet so far and for so long that their meaning is totally twisted.

I called out a liberal this morning for commenting on piece from a “newsmagazine” like the Onion (made-up satirical stories) that “that story could have been true, given the outrageous attitudes of some conservatives right now.” Nobody wants to be a caricature, and I told him so.

Let’s not play into that, folks. If you don’t have time to read a piece with attention, fine. Just don’t comment on it or forward it. If you do, you might be making a false conclusion and bearing false witness with your forward. Ya know?

“You Brought it On Yourself” or another Queen of Mean Statement We Christians Say . . .

26 Feb

I was caught up short by a younger friend a couple of years ago.  

Someone had made a very bad decision to jaywalk. 

He was struck by a car and died.  

I stated, “Well, he brought it on himself . . .”

My friend responded, “Then you think that jaywalking is a capital offense and should be punishable by death?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“Yes, you did.” 

(Ulp!)  She was right!

I have remembered that ever since.  I remember it when someone cuts me off in traffic and I find myself fantasizing about the next person not being able to stop and slamming into him, with disastrous results.

Cutting someone off in traffic is not a capital offense either.  Most things are not.

The first sign that we are giving way to unrighteous anger is that desire for people to be punished in ways far disproportionate to their offenses.

There is a judge in heaven.  But it is not us!  

I need to remember that quite often, so I don’t dishonor the gospel by presenting if from lips that are cold and unattractive and mean in their message.

God gave me mercy.  I can do no less for my fellow fallen humans.

Soldier’s posts about avoiding flag salute cause social media firestorm

26 Feb Featured Image -- 12036

I think you have to be a special kind of stupid to put this out there for all the world to see!

WTKR.com

A soldier’s selfie on Instagram set off a social media firestorm that has caused some to call for her removal from service.

According to The Army Times,Pfc. Tariqka Sheffey hid in her car to avoid saluting the flag and then posted about it on the social media site.

“This is me laying back in my car hiding so I don’t have to salute the 1700 flag, KEEP ALL YOUR ‘THATS SO DISRESPECTFUL/HOWRUDE/ETC.’ COMMENTS TO YOURSELF cuz, right now, IDGAFFFF.”

The image was shared via social media and then it was sent to Army Times.

She is part of the 59th Quartermaster Company, 43rd Sustainment Brigade at Fort Carson in Colorado the site says.

A spokesperson says that the chain of command is looking into the situation.

She posted a video on Instagram thanking those who stood up for her but saying that she was not a disrespectful soldier.

Click…

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If You Want People to Stop Making Parenting a Competition Sport . . .

25 Feb

If You Want People to Stop Making Parenting a Competition Sport . . .

I absolutely can give a witness to this. I have looked at life from both sides now (oh, wait . . .)!

Really! If it feels as though people (read: other moms) are competing with you, just stop it. Don’t play the game. It will be amazing how many allies you will develop after that. You probably had them all along . . .

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