Friday, August 22, 2008

I am very proud of the Bible college I went to about many things. They put away so many of the silly rules while I was there. They are instituting planned mentoring. They eliminated a mountain o debt while I was there. I really could go on and on about things they are doing and planning on doing that are an inspiration, but there are a few things that shame me. One thing in particular is how they handled a group that came to the campus a couple of years ago. The group is called "Soul Force" and they were participating in the "Equality Ride." If you are unfamiliar with the group, here is a link http://www.soulforce.org/. This is a group of gay, lesbian, bi, transgender individuals, and those that support them. They go to private schools that have rules prohibiting homosexual lifestyles, such as Bible colleges, and try to talk with students and administrators about changing the rules.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't support a change in the rules. I believe that the Bible prohibits those lifestyles and that we must not encourage sin. Moreover I believe that those attending Bible college should be Christian and so should be held accountable to the rules of the Book. On a side note, I disagree with the idea that Christians should work to get moral laws passed by a secular government so that the government will enforce the Bible's teachings. This is clearly taught against in the Bible. Paul says in Corinthians, "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. 'Expel the wicked man from among you'" (NIV 5:12-13). And yet we spend so much time and energy as a church judging sinners and ignoring our own sin. How many big time evangelists have made a career of shouting down the sins of the world only to have it revealed that they are immersed in sin? We should look at the ministry of Jesus for the correct example. He goes to the sinners and even eats with them regularly. The Pharisees tear Him apart over this. There is a difference though. He doesn't judge ad condemn them like the Pharisees … like so many Christians today. No, He loves on them and builds a relationship with them. The best part though is that He never leaves them in their sin. When He goes away they are a changed person. This is what we are supposed to do. Finally, let's look at something Jesus said. He tells us, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:44-45). Jesus never told us to persecute. He told us to expect persecution. Yet here we are in America persecuting people that don't agree with us. I'm not sure if there is vomiting in heaven, but if there is this kinda stuff has to make Jesus so ill He vomits. Oh wait, I remember there is vomiting and this garbage does make God puke. In Revelation He says that He spews out those who are luke warm. If you pick and choose what verses to follow then you are luke warm.

Now that I have said that let me say what I didn't like at my Bible college. This group planned on coming as part of their tour a couple of years ago. They sent a letter to the administration informing them of their plans and asking to meet with the administration and to be given the opportunity to meet with the students and tell them how they felt on issues of homosexuality et al. The administration told them they were not welcome so the group said they were coming to protest. I could agree with the administration for not wanting them to meet with students to some degree. Personally I think they should have looked at this as an outreach, but I wasn't in charge so I wasn't asked for my opinion. I do think the administration should have met with them personally though and I will say they were completely wrong in how they handled things because of their fear.

As an employee I was informed I would be helping with security on what was fondly called "G-day." Yes that is "G" for "gay." The plan was to stake out the entire campus with eyes watching for potential gay threat encroachment. We had all the student wear lanyards with their name tags and no one was allowed on campus without a lanyard. I never liked how this was planned, but I submitted to authority and did my job. Leading up to the event I felt compelled to research the group and my heart went out to certain people to lift them up in prayer. Some of them lost their families when they came out. I began to pray for them. We met for prayer and devotions prior to the beginning of the work every day so I started to bring them up in prayer. I would ask people to pray for them and even printed out bios from the website. This is where I get ill.

Instead o doing what Jesus said and loving them and praying for them this would result in gay bashing. One guy, who was a huge jerk that eventually got fired, would lead of with talking about all the things he would do to them if he could. The boss would laugh and join in. Did I mention that the boss had been a preacher before this and is a preacher again? Yeah. Well the day came. They pulled up in their tour bus and a wall of security guards were waiting to stop them. The head o security greeted them and told them if they came onto campus they would be arrested. I saw some of the people I had been praying for and prayed for them. The school had worked with the city to have a strong police presence. There were spotters on the roofs and in every building. They had a paddy wagon around back and about 20 reserve officers with that vehicle. The group silently prayed and softly sang for an hour or so, then two of them walked onto campus and 20 police officers ran out to stop them and arrest them. Neither of the ones arrested were GBLT but were only there to support their friends. One of them was someone I felt called to pray for. She was a Buddhist, but was probably living a more Christ like life than the people that were gay bashing instead of praying. I prayed for her again.

The group left shortly after that but had planned on coming back. I made sure my post was covered and took lunch myself. I was one of the last to take lunch that day since I worked to make sure others got their lunch before taking mine. I microwaved my lunch and brought it back to eat because the group was supposed to be back soon. In that short time some of them came back. I ended up right in the middle of the group as they waited to cross the road. I saw one of the other guys that I had been praying for. He was a gay black man from a very conservative Christian family. His family disowned him when he came out. His lifelong very close relationship with his mother was severed and he hadn't spoken with her in several years. I told him I was praying for him and that his mother would being speaking with him again then prayed again while waiting on the light. When I got across the street the guy that was covering while I went to lunch was joking about how I ended up having to walk across with the gay parade. I think Jesus cried.

I have already said this but I'll say it again. I don't support homosexual lifestyles. I believe they are sinful. I also believe hate is sinful. As a campus we didn't advance the gospel one bit that day. In fact, I think we probably hurt it. You may disagree with me, but you won't ever convince me I'm wrong on this. You might think I'm a liberal Christian that plays tear out the Bible passage I don't like, but the truth is I'm extremely conservative and try to follow the Bible as literally as I can. I love my enemies and pray for the ones that persecute me. I judge myself and fellow Christians not the world. I'm not perfect, but I serve a God who is.

I am posting this now and in a few days I'll be posting about how this issue is confronting me again in a different way.

26 comments:

Leanne said...

Just surfed on over here from SCL, and had to comment!

I worked at one of the colleges that was visited by SoulForce a few years ago. I don't think it was the same one, because I don't remember lanyards and nametags being issued to students, staff, or faculty. Everything else you described, though? Pretty much identical.

I actually said to a co-worker at one point (at our billionth staff meeting that spring about SoulForce and how to "handle" them), "Good Lord, they're people - not vampires - they're not trying to 'turn' us!"

I think you are right on, and you are a breath of fresh air compared to most of the youth pastors I know (other than my best friend, who totally rocks - just on the remote chance that she happens to stumble onto this blog, lol!).

Keep serving Jesus and BEING Jesus to others!

David Carrel said...

You are exactly right Nick. I just wrote a book and addressed that topic in the book. That group never came to our college, but I know that the church has not handled homosexuals with compassion, but rather homophoebia as much as hate, as you describe. Thanks for that post.

JJ said...

Thanks for bringing light to us today and illuminating a character flaw in the Body of Christ. I'm also familiar with Soul Force as my company gets hired by universities and churches to help guide them through the "confrontation." It is good to hear your heart (and leanne's) on this issue. We try to persuade those organizations to not react as yours did. We counsel them to meet with Soul Force and dialogue. Sadly, that is the road less traveled in these scenarios. I don't think we'll ever know the mental struggle a believer is under when they feel they are homosexual. Continue to be the hands and feet of Christ to them.

eastern ky pastor said...

Like you, I am conservative and like you, I recognize the truth that homosexuality is sin, just as hatred, gossip, stealing, lust, adultery and et cetera is. I think dialogue is a better approach. Perhaps, even hosting a debate about what the Bible says regarding homosexuality (I actually have heard people, even politicians, try to establish Biblical support for "tolerance.") or have a forum to discuss whether homosexuality is genetic or chosen behavior. After all we are the ones whose sacred Scripture says, "Come let's reason together..." and we are on the side of Truth.

On a side note, since you alluded to this becoming a relevant issue to you again, kindly allow a couple of words that I hope are of wisdom. Remember that church is an institution and changes come to an institution slowly. It's like trying to turn a ship. It happens, but it doesn't happen quickly. You may be able to easily accept someone struggling with homosexuality. But, most of your church is not going to be like those of us in blogosphere. They may not be with you yet. Grant them time to have their heart changed.

Also, remember that quick change doesn't last. It either dies like a flash fire or like a cancer is attacked or cut out. If you have folks that are struggling with accepting someone who consider themself to be homosexual, focus them on the child. It's clear your church loves children, or you wouldn't be their youth pastor. So, build on that common love for youth and children. Remind them of the need they have to be loved. Leave homosexuality out of the equation. A student struggling with sexual idenity, is no different than a student struggling to obey parents. It's just a kid, who's struggling with sin. They need a Savior, not a protest.

Keep up the good fight!

jenn3 said...

This post brought several things to my mind. The first was where you were talking about judging those outside the church. That's one thing I love about my pastor and church (although there are always a few "hiccups" at every church, as my pastor would say). I can remember my pastor preaching on this one time. He said that we should never expect a nonChristian to act like a Christian. You find Jesus and He cleans you up. If someone isn't following Christ, why should they act like those who do? (I totally butchered what he said, he's better at explaining these things than I am, but maybe you get the idea.)

My second comment would be about how some Christians treat homosexuals. I think this is extremely sad. I've never heard of this group before, but it would have been a great time for ministry. Even just showing love would have been a huge testimony. Not arguing or preaching at them, but just accepting them. (Accepting them, not condoning what they do. Big difference.) We definately fear what we don't know. I understand that. It is sad though.

Okay, here is where I can kind of relate. I wasn't going to mention this, but I can't help myself. I'm a single Christian mother, and all of my blog reader's know that. I kind of glaze over why I'm a single mother though. Everyone in the real world knows why (it's hard to hide in a small town when it's all over the news), but I've kept it mostly a secret on my blog. I was married for six years and I was pregnant when my husband got arrested for molesting my underage male cousins. Apparently it had been going on for several years and, although some people would say I had to know, I really had no idea. I never would have condoned that. Never. (And I'm not one of those scared little women that let their husbands walk all over them and turn a blind eye to what they do. We had our problems, but I thought we were mostly a normal couple.) I don't like to mention this to people because it's embarrassing and shameful. I didn't have anything to do with it, but he was my husband. My church was very supportive of me, but I noticed how they glossed over things and never mentioned him at all (my pastor and his wife and a couple close friends were exceptions). It's such an ugly situation and I can now understand why people avoid the topic. It hurt me before, because I was dealing with all of it and I was disappointed in people that I had always respected as mature Christians. I expected more from them. I understand now that we're all human and we all have our issues and I'm okay with that. Maybe it bothered me so much because I had an internal battle going on for two years, about whether to stay with my husband or divorce him, and I felt like I couldn't talk to anyone. I didn't want to leave him because I don't condone divorce and I didn't want to make him think that his sins were beyond forgiveness. After two years of praying about it and finally talking to my pastor and his wife about my conflict, I decided to divorce him for mine and my daughter's safety. I don't hate him and I've honestly forgiven him, but I certainly don't trust him and, if he got out of prison, I wouldn't want him near my daughter.

Okay, I totally didn't mean to go into all of that. Sorry. I don't know what I was trying to tell you with all of that, except that I can relate to the fact that Christians are afraid of homosexuality, like it's something they might catch, and probably hurt people because of it sometimes. We have to love the sinner and hate the sin. I don't know why I went into the rest of my story, except that I guess I felt like I had to defend myself and tell everyone how it ended, since I gave some details. Sorry. I promise that if I ever comment again, I'll make it short and sweet and happy. I'll try anyway. I think you have a great attitude about the whole situation with your college and your youth group is blessed to have you as a leader. (Because who seeks acceptance more than a bunch of teenagers?)

I'm debating whether to even post this comment. I feel like I've said too much, but what the heck, I don't know you. God bless.

jenn3 said...

Wow. I didn't realize my comment was quite that long, until I saw it posted on your site. Sorry. :)

Nick the Geek said...

@all,

Thank you for taking the time to read what I have written and comment back. I am glad that my words have had some level of encouragement. Even when I am being sarcastic I like to think on some level I am being an encourager because we are all called to this.

@leanne,

When I first read your comment I wished I had thought of the vampire comment when we were going through this. Then I realized that I wouldn't be so tactful. I would have stood up and said it for everyone not just a nearby co-worker. I have two modes, reason and sarcasm. Well, this isn't true I have one other mode but it only comes out when I see someone needing it. I can be surprisingly empathetic and have learned how to shut up and listen when people are hurting. I like to think this is a part of reason though.

@david,

It is sad that the church has missed so obviously what Jesus has told us and ends up on two extremes. We tend to either just condone everything or judge everything. I like to think that maybe the pendulum of both camps will one day stop in the middle instead of reaching for the other extreme and passing in the middle.

@jj,

I'd like to hear more about your organization. It may be relevant to an issue I am facing which I'll be bringing up soon.

@eastern ky pastor,

I wish the school had followed any of those ideas. I even advocated this, but my position had little sway over policy. Thanks for the advice of being patient. That is honestly one of my biggest flaws. I want everything right now. One day I'll grow up, but only kicking and screaming.

@jenn3,

First let me say thanks for being so open. It is very hard to share things so close even in a setting like this. I felt it difficult to post this blog because I was so vested in it and honestly shamed by what my school did. Having read what you posted I can see how much more shame you must feel even though you didn't partake in the sin. I hope your openness is able to help others experiencing similar hurt. It has already encouraged me more than I could say.

I to believe we must reach out in acceptance, not tolerance. I believe we should minister through love, not judgment. I believe we should preach mercy, not damnation. Jesus said we would be known by our love for each other, and if this is true then I find it very hard to recognize Christ in the church. This is one thing that I am pushing to change. I am pushing for more relationship in the church and growth through relationship. In this I think we will change the world much as the early church did.

Carrie said...

This story breaks my heart. These people need love and prayer. The sin of homosexuality is no worse than the sin of lying, cheating, etc. Props to you for acting like Jesus would. It just makes me so sad that what could have been an enormous outreach opportunity was blown by people who acted like jerks. I've never heard of this group but I KNOW that Jesus would call me to reach out to them not mock them or be hateful to them.

Julie said...

SoulForce also came to my campus and I was SO proud of how it was handled! There was a planned public debate / conversation that was held between a few faculty members and SoulForce members. They were also invited to come to chapel and join students at lunch. It makes me proud to be an alumni when I think of it.

One of my professors always told us in class that when someone would come out to him the first thing he would do was apologize for how the Christian community had and would treat them. This professor was the first to open my eyes to the fact that how we treat GBLT individuals can be just as sinful as being GBLT.

I now am a youth minister at a church where GBLTs are accepted with open arms. It is not viewed as a sin. And I'm okay with that. Bigger fish to fry :)

Paul Merrill said...

GREAT treatment of a difficult issue.

May God bless you in your ministry.

Nick the Geek said...

@carrie,

It really bothered me going through this. I felt like everyone around me was supporting evil for the sake of good, which I think is as good a definition for insanity as any other. Sin is sin, but we like to hone in on the ones that are further from out own sins. Look at the waistlines of so many televangelists that harp on homosexuality and it becomes clear they probably suffer from gluttony. Of course gluttony is an acceptable sin even though it is a mortal sin.

@Julie,

I wish my campus had been more loving. Even if they didn't allow open forums they could have used this as an outreach. I will say one thing though. I disagree with saying homosexual sex is not a sin. Jesus never condoned sin even though he spent significant time with sinners. He loved them but because he loved them he didn't leave them in their sin.

This is the line that I am trying to walk. It is difficult to say the least, but when I am perfectly in line with Christ I can make a difference.

@Paul,

Thanks.

heartafire said...

jenn3
what a beautiful post.

I thank you so much for sharing this; I think if more Christians were open about the REAL issues confronting them in their lives, we would all have more true compassion, repentance and real love for one another.

Thank you for following (what must have been) the Holy Spirit in posting....

Seda said...

Nick,
Thank you for this post, and for your ministry to the Christian community. I can tell you that, as a transwoman, I frequently find the words and reactions of Christians to be very painful, and sometimes frightening or threatening. I've blogged on teh subject in the past: http://silknvoice.blogspot.com/2008/03/connecting-with-christians.html.

When I read your post, I felt sadness - for the pain that so many experience on this subject, for the approach that, it seems to me, most Christians follow in their response to GLBT people. For that matter, I also feel sad when I see GLBT folks speak with similar hate and fear about Christians.

But your post gives me hope. I think perhaps I was wrong.

I don't want to change you (or any Christian). I just want to be free to live my life as who I am, with all the rights and responsibilities that "normal" folks enjoy. And I would dearly love to start a conversation, and to deal with love and respect with those of you with whom I disagree; to at least achieve understanding and some common ground, and peace.

Perhaps that conversation can start now.

katharhino said...

I saw your comment on SCL and came over to read. Great post. I think this is a serious issue that needs to be discussed in all churches and Christian organizations.

I have felt the same about judging non-Christians, but didn't know how to say it. It's a very fine line, because sin is still sin whether you're a Christian or not. But I think I agree with what you've said. Very thought-provoking.

Nick the Geek said...

heartafire,

Thanks for commenting. I agree that is was very awesome that jenn3 shared this hurt and that we should all be more open. It is hard since so many judge us even when we aren't open. Imagine how they would react if they knew all the stuff I don't share. One day though we will see fully and accept as we are accepted.

seda,

I am totally open to dialogue. I will say this up front. I believe that homosexual sex is a sin. This is a very important distinction. Being GBLT is not a sin just as being an alcoholic is not a sin. The sin, for an alcoholic, is getting drunk. A person can be an alcoholic and overcome their craving for alcohol without sinning. A person can be gay, but celibate and so not sin.

I also need to say this. It appears from your reference to "Christians" that you are not a Christian. I believe that it is not my place to judge you. I believe you will be judged for whatever sins you may have commited, but I do not have the authority to judge. I do have the authority to love.

I do not plan on spending a lot of time talking with you about sin and such. If you feel convicted of sin and wish to know the answer I'll e happy to help. I cannot convict you though. Because of this I believe that we can agree to disagree on certain issues instead of fighting over them. I only say my views up front so you will never think that you've been blind sided if I make a comment that makes my view on sin apparent. I hope you can understand and accept my views on this and still hold to your plan of getting to know me.

Oh, and one other thing. I am so not PC. I still call my black friends "black." I personally think African American is a misnomer. I am likely to use words occasionally you might find offensive. Off the top of my head I imagine I might use the wrong gender when referring to you on accident. This is not meant as an insult or sarcastically. I'm just me and that is all I know how to be. I'm sure you feel the same.

@katharhino,

Thanks for the comment. I am so glad that everyone has been accepting of what I've posted here. I honestly thought a few people would tear me apart for not tearing those "God hatin' queers" apart. I am quoting some "Christians" here.

Seda said...

Nick,
I felt so happy to see your answer to my post. Really meets needs for connection and hope, and maybe community.

I don’t know how much background you want about me. If you’re curious, you can always read my blog. I’m pretty much open and out there. So I’ll leave that off, except to say that I was raised in Christian Science, got “saved” and “born again” and converted to Baptist while in the Marine Corps, and afterwards converted back to Christian Science. I dropped that 10 years ago and now consider myself a “quantum neo-pagan,” which means I think reality is best explained by quantum physics, and worship feels best when it’s personal and connected with nature and god’s (small ‘g’) creation, and not in a building, no matter how pretty or spectacular it might be. I’ve read the Bible completely through at least twice, and I’ve read passages, such as the 91st Psalm and the Sermon on the Mount, dozens if not hundreds of times. Used to have a lot of it memorized, but I haven’t read the Bible much in the last 10 years and have pretty much forgotten the details, though I go back to read Matthew 5 through 7 from time to time – it’s one of the most incredible treatises in history.

You’re right that I’m not a Christian. And I’m glad you don’t want to talk much about sin, since I believe that’s just a euphemism for an action that makes more pain that it meets needs. I respect your belief that homosexual sex is a sin, and respectfully disagree. I’m grateful for your clarity and honesty, and I’m not all that PC either, so don’t mind that a bit. I appreciate every time you use female pronouns when you refer to me, and forgive you for every time you don’t; I also want you to know that it is painful for me to hear people refer to me as “him” or “he.” I have no desire to change you or your views, and value the leavening presence you have on society by the sincerity of your love. I also respect that your religion may require that you proselytize to me, and ask that if you do, you respect my own attempt to proselytize right back at you (which I will do, and I’ll use the Bible to the best of my ability to do it).

I’m very grateful for your openness to dialogue. My agenda is peace between Christian and queer. (I use the term queer to mean the LGBT community, and reclaim it from derogatory usage, with pride, as my own; many in that community would be offended by it, and I ask that you use it judiciously with that fact in mind.) One of my favorite quotes is from Abraham Lincoln: “Am I not destroying my enemy, when I make him my friend?” It is with that spirit that I have engaged this dialogue.

What I want from you, though, is not necessarily friendship. Peace is enough. Distant allies in a common cause would be wonderful. We come from very different places in our philosophy and outlook on life. That doesn’t mean we have to be at war with each other.

I would like to be heard and understood. I ask that you hear the deep pain and fear and grief I feel when Christians donate millions of dollars to pass laws that make it impossible to marry the person I want to marry; the grief and anger I feel when I realize that my friends Anne and Christine and their son can never know the safety and sanctity of legal marriage. I would like you to hear the fear I feel when Christians write their congressmen asking that I be forbidden from the safety of using a public restroom appropriate to my gender, and the anger I feel when I hear of Christians boycotting companies that offer me health insurance for my peculiar needs. I want you to hear the pain and grief that the person I thought was my friend chose to cut off all contact of her family from mine, and preferred to sacrifice the friendships of her children and mine rather than to get to know me when I told her the truth about who I am. I would like you to hear and recognize that the pain of being transgendered is great enough that, according to Mabel Brown, about 17 to 20% of us attempt suicide – yet hormone therapy and surgery give about 98% of us a life improved enough to make us productive, connected members of society.

I also want to understand you (collectively). I want to know why you feel threatened by my friends’ marriage, why you would forbid them something so special to yourself, when it has, so far as I can see, no effect at all on the sanctity of your own marriage - and how we can meet our own needs for the safety of legal marriage without compromising yours. I want to know why you feel threatened by me when I put on a skirt and grow breasts and ask a doctor to invert my penis, and show my real self to the world rather than hiding in the cowardice of self-imposed solitary confinement - so threatened that some of you would beat the crap out of me or even kill me. I want to know how I can ease your fear and ensure that your needs and your freedom are met without costing me mine. I just want to live free and safe in my own community, and share and contribute to the freedom and safety of all in it, you included.

I also want you to know that I recognize not all of the blame is on your side. Plenty on mine have said painful things regarding Christianity, or done things that you must find painful, frightening, or offensive. I don’t want capitulation from you. I cherish your integrity and courage to stand up and ask that your needs be recognized and met.

I’m laying a lot of pain on you, and ask your patience and understanding. You don't deserve it, and I feel sad to lay it on you, but also hopeful; because y’all are at war with me, and I will not quit so long as y’all attempt to keep my needs from being met.

May this be seen as an olive branch, a reaching out to find a way to stop the war, to create peace between us.

It seems to me we could all do so much good, spread so much peace and joy around the world if we would just stop fighting each other. I see the millions spent to crush our hopes of marriage in California, and our own response of spending millions more to keep that privilege; and meanwhile every time I ride my bike under the bridge I see homeless people huddled around a stinking fire, and wonder why in the hell you care who I marry. Wouldn’t our resources be better spent helping the poor? Sending the children of single mothers to college? Cleaning up polluted watersheds? Creating carbon sinks to counter global warming? Developing domestic sources of energy that could free us from our slavery to the Saudi royal family?

How do you feel, when you read all this?

May your God bless you kindly,
Seda

Kristan said...

Just a few ramblings after a little discussion.

First, to Seda, one of the greatest sins we "Christians" commit is to misrepresent Christ.

It happens all the time -- I do what I want to do and then say that it is what Christ would have done or said. I apologize to you on behalf of all the Christians who are learning to "act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with God." We are not perfect -- far from it -- but sometimes say and do where we have no business saying or doing.

Also, I've been having a conversation with friends regarding this topic. I am no different in my thought abstinence is the key for all pre-marriage regardless of "orientation." But I do have this question, why do we treat bondage any differently based on the flavor? Bondage is bondage - and it comes after us alike. For one it is escapism into drugs or alcohol or sex (easy to see), for others it could be more socially-acceptable escape food, sleep, etc. But bondage is bondage. Period. Just because one is pc or even church-pc, doesn't mean it is the way Daddy views the behavior....

Seda said...

Kristan,
Apology accepted. Please accept mine for some of the things I've said about Christians!

I'm a little confused by your talk about bondage. Not sure what you want from me there, or whether you want anything, even to be heard. Quite frankly, I'd like everyone to be free from it. It took me 40 years to break the shackles of a gender binary cast on me by a society that made no room for who I am, and believe me, I feel very grateful for the freedom I experience today!

I'm not sure I'm connecting in the way I'd like to. Would you be willing to tell me what you feel when you read this? Instead of clogging Nick's blog, you could email me in private off my profile, or comment on my blog; or, if you want to continue here and Nick's okay with it, that's fine, too.

Be blessed,
Seda

Seda said...

Kristan,
Shoot. I think I missed the boat on that last comment. What I reall want to say is, I'm guessing, from your apology, that you're feeling sad about the pain I (we LGBT folks) have experienced from the actions and words of Christians - and maybe guilty about it, too. I'm guessing that you have needs for understanding and contribution to others that are not met when you hear that pain and feel that guilt.

Am I right? or did I miss the boat on that one, too?

Seda said...

Nick,
I'm afraid I said something in my long post that may be misconstrued: "What I want from you, though, is not necessarily friendship." I just want to clarify that I would love to have friendship with a conservative Christian such as yourself, I just didn't in that moment feel optimistic that one would ever accept me that far. Okay, maybe I should put that in present tense, too. I'm still hopeful, though.

Anonymous said...

also visiting from SCL.........

I totally endorse your viewpoint when you wrote:
"I don't support homosexual lifestyles. I believe they are sinful. I also believe hate is sinful."

well put.........there are many lifestyles we can view that are sinful, and hurtful to both those involved and those around them.....but we are to love and pray for them anyway. Life can be hard and painful and people find many ways to cope (drugs, alcohol, porn, hate, financial excesses....) Our challenge is to love them and show them a more excellent way to deal with the pains life can bring. You seem to be living that, and i find that encouraging.

spacey
(not anon...but having problems with blogger today)

Nick the Geek said...

@ Kristan,

Thank you for your comment. I agree that bondage is difficult regardless of what is binding. I think, if I were to say one was worse, that bondage that can't be seen is worse in many ways because of the appearance of freedom. When I moved here we had out dog on a chain because there was no fence and we didn't have time to setup our radio fence. I always felt bad for him on the chain. That isn't really the point though. Now he has a radio fence so it looks like nothing holds him in. I think I feel worse for him though when he does find that he is still captive. He never cried on the chain. Fortunately he is an inside dog and doesn't spend much time in his area. In fact, now that he is learning his boundaries I don't use the radio fence most of the time. Anyways, sin that seems to be acceptable is like a radio fence that has the appearance of freedom except when you get shocked.

@seda,

I don't mind if you have conversations on this blog. I'm pretty open to that in my other blogs as well.

Also, I don't know if we will every have a "friendship" per se but we can at least have some level of understanding. Friendship requires common interests and I simply don't know enough about you to say if we have common interests. I will say that I have had friends from varied beliefs that are somewhat incompatible with my own. For example, my best friend from High School is LDS (Mormon). One of my most promising friendships in this area is Catholic. A have had several friends in my life that were ranging from atheist to Wiccan. I say this just to say I don't discount any friendship based on basic belief systems.

@Spacey,

I do try to live the life. I am not perfect but I am growing. I find that reading what Jesus actually says keeps challenging my belief that I am getting close, but also reassures me that I am getting closer. I hope and pray that I may arrive and take solace in the knowledge that His grace will cover me even if I don't in this life.

jake - aka the comment novelist said...

Wow. After reading through all the other comments (full of love and some thought provoking stuff all around) I'm not sure I can get out everything I wanted to originally after reading your post.

As a gay man who was raised Baptist and even did a short stint in a Pentecostal church before coming out, there is one thing I would love for you to understand.

Not that I want to preach to you or change your mind. It's just something that it took me years to say to my mother, and felt so good once I did.

I don't expect anything really. What I would like is to just give you something to chew on and think over.

My biggest heartache, and the thing that makes me cry in the pit of my soul is the thought of all the gay and lesbian people the church pushes away.

I consider myself a Child of God, as imperfect as anyone else. I am aware of the need for salvation for every man and woman walking this earth. It is, after all the "Great Commission" if you'll excuse the cliche.

Why then, are so many christians (the middle finger of grammar! Oh snap!) actually keeping God's children from Him?

I'm of the mind-set and belief that the good intentions of Christians the world over have morphed into something that the enemy can use to his advantage.

If a christian's behavior, in words or deeds, is keeping any one person from seeking and finding the grace of God through the blood of Jesus, who's will is that christian ultimately serving? God's or satan's?

jake - aka the comment novelist said...

I just realized that was a lot to lay on you, given you wrote this back in August and all. I didn't mean to sideswipe you with that.

I bookmarked you after your guest post on SCL, and am finally getting around to reading your archives.

I don't like throwing around negativity at people, so let me add this to my previous comment:

I get the fact that you believe the relationship I have with my partner is sinful. I respect your opinion. I respect it even more because it is based on your interpretation of the Word of God. I feel it is out of a love for Him and his Word that you take your stand.

I admire your courage of conviction.

I love that you have been obedient to God's call to work with teenagers. Had He ever called me to work with youth, and I had to choose between that and eternity in hell, I would probably have to think about it for a while. Just kidding. I think.

I love your sense of humor.

I love that you respond to everyone personally. It's a nice touch.

I love that you love Jesus.

Nick the Geek said...

Jake,

Thanks for being so open. I believe we need to do all that we can to try and reach people everywhere where ever they are. That is not a redundant statement. I specifically mean everywhere in the world where ever they are spiritually.

I think Christians really freak about certain sins as if they are more dirty than other sins and then they see the wrong thing as "sinful."

As a gay man I'm sure you can say that who you are attracted to is not a choice any more than who I am attracted to is a choice. We are who we are.

I do believe that being gay is not a sin any more than being straight is a sin. It is what we do with who we are that is sinful and so separates us from God.

Since we have all sinned in who we are then we are all living with a death sentence. Jesus came to restore us to God. He did an awesome job of it. I think the woman that was dragged before him as an adulteress is the best example. He sat there and drew in the sand while they were going on and on about how evil her sin was. Then they sat and watched while he continued to draw before he finally answered them.

"Let the one among you that is without sin cast the first stone."

BAM! He totally said that out loud. I know there are many times I've thought stuff like that and later when I tell the story I'll say, "and I was all like ..." then they'll say, "wow you said that?" So I have to respond, "No, but I thought it real loud."

Jesus actually said it though. Those guys started leaving. He completely diffused the situation and literally saved this woman's life right then and there. They wanted to throw rocks at her till she was dead and he stopped them. That is amazing, but it gets better.

After the last of them realized they couldn't go pick up a rock and chunk it at the lady Jesus turns to her and say, "where are your accusers?"

She replies, "they are gone."

"Neither do I condemn you," he says. He doesn't condemn her even though he is without sin. By his own statement he could have tossed the stone but he chooses not to. He chooses grace. That is powerful. It is the second most powerful thing he says in this encounter.

He finishes with the command "go and leave your life of sin." That is powerful. He doesn't condemn her but he doesn't want her to condemn herself with her continuing actions. He makes it clear here that she is in sin but he is letting her go. He also makes it clear that she needs to get out of it.

This is why Jesus changed lives around him. He loved people and so didn't condemn them. He loved people and so didn't leave them in their death and sin.

I really wish the church would get it. I wish Christians would stop making things either legalistic or sloppy agape. It isn't a question slapping all these rules on people and condemning them, but it isn't about saying grace covers it all so live life for today for tomorrow may never come.

We have to love people enough that we refuse to condemn them, but we also have to love people enough that we help them get up out of their sin.

Nick the Geek said...

jake,

I'm going to post my comment as a post because it is really long.

I'm very happy that you see my take on things and I hope that you get that I'm not looking to condemn you or anyone. I think we are called to rise above that.

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