"Peter turned around and noticed the disciple whom Jesus kept loving following them. He was the one who had put his head on Jesus' chest at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is the one who is going to betray you?" -John 21:20
We watched a film called 'Lord Save Us From Your Followers" and in the movie, Tony Compolo shared this story:
There was a boy in our high school named Roger. He was gay. We knew about it. We spread the word on him, and we made his life miserable. When we passed him in the hall, we would call out his name in an effeminate manner. We gestured with our hands and made him the brunt of a lot of cheap jokes. On Fridays after PE class, we would go into the showers, but Roger never went in with us. He was afraid to, and for good reason. When we came out of the showers we would take our wet towels and whip them at his little naked body. We thought that was a fun thing to do.
I wasn't there the day they took Roger, dragged him into the shower room, and shoved him into the corner. Folded up in a fetal position, in the corner of that tile room, he cried as five guys urinated all over him.
That night Roger went home and he went to bed sometime around ten o'clock. They said it was about two o'clock the next morning when he got up and went down to the basement of his house - and hung himself. When they told me, I realized I wasn't a Christian. Oh, I believed all the right stuff. I was as theologically sound as any evangelical could expect to be. I knew what I was supposed to believe and I believed it intensely, but I hadn't surrendered to the Holy Spirit. I had not yet yielded myself and allowed God's Spirit to invade me and transform me into the kind of person I ought to be. If the Holy Spirit had been in me, I would have stood up for Roger.
When the guys came to make fun of him, I would have put one arm around Roger's shoulders and waved the guys off with the other and said, "Leave him alone. He's my friend. Don't mess with him." But I was afraid to be his friend. I was afraid to stand up for Roger, because I knew that if you stand up for somebody like Roger, people will begin to say nasty things about you too. And so I kept my distance, and I failed to be the loving person that Christ wanted me to be. The work of the Holy Spirit was not evident in my life. If it had been, Roger might be alive today."
That story and the themes in the movie sparked a lot of discussion, primarily centered around how we as Christians and as a church community can show our GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgendered) neighbors that we love and care about them as people. How could we know them by their "Names" instead of their "Needs or their Deeds"? Those conversations have been diverse, there have been disagreements and judgments made. The film was called "Hitler propaganda" and the fact that we were having these conversations somehow indicted us in a slide of liberalism, homosexual agenda supporting and were on the edge of becoming a "gay loving church". Needless to say...the waters have been stirred a bit.
But I was still pierced to the heart over the above story.
We have a GLBT youth center in our neighborhood. I've been floating ideas on how to serve them, reach out to them in friendship and find ways to bless them. That conversation has been a loaded one. Endorsing agendas, lifestyles and supporting their evil deeds are all the end points of most of those conversations. In the end the safe phrase that practically means nothing is..."Love the sinner but hate their sin"...which in actual theory means....love in words but not in deeds.
Some in our group are working on a script for a film loosely based on the story Tony shared. That has been an interesting unfolding project...some people have just walked away...unwilling to even attempt to approach the subject from any other angle than...same sex=Hell and that means our role is to love them by telling them they are going to hell...because that is what the bible says. Any attempts to say that possibly the bible says some other things as well...is met with indifference of bibilical circular reasoning.
I think this video: shares my position the best:
and I think this short video explains the challenge of the issue from an angle most people do not see it from:
I too share the conservative position on the issues...but I do not share the missional position (no pun intended) on the subject. I do not think that Jesus was gay or that John was either...though if anyone came into my communion service and saw one of my elders laying his head on my chest...I would surely incite some rumors. I'm not sure I understand the level of love that took place between David and Jonathan...I'm sure it was non-homosexual...but the complexities of environment, genetics, upbringings, birth order, religious background, culture and other issues...demand a humble approach to the conversation.
I think if I allow process in the lives of my heterosexual seekers...why can't I extend the same grace to others? If we wink at the shacking up, the sex sin and the non committal marriages and the divorces in the church...why do we hammer these folks with such intensity and visceral emotions?
Is it wrong to be a "gay loving" pastor and church?
What's the alternative.....?