1 Feb

powerful video.

and the point is not which faith or religion gets it ‘right.’  the point is not whether or not you agree with mormonism, or if you choose to follow jesus within the context of a different christian faith tradition (after all, most faith communities – whether mormon or catholic or protestant, or even jewish or muslim – treat this issue from the same perspective, and cause the same amount of damage).

the point
is he didn’t have a choice… and so when he had not magically changed his sexual orientation, he had to leave his church.  he did not belong.

all the more reason this is true ::we cannot force people to choose between being a christian and being gay.  if we do, they’re left with NO choice – being gay is something people are; being a christ follower is something people choose.  so if left with an either/or choice, they’ll become ex-christian.  or ex-mormon.  or ex-muslim.  or ex-jewish.  or ex-whatever.
my thought || the church is going to have to wrap its arms around the simple truth that people can be (and many are) both gay and christian.

what are your thoughts?

9 Responses to “ex-whatever.”

  1. Tyler Helfers February 1, 2012 at 8:26 PM #

    I was wondering if you might be able to clarify on a couple of things so i might better understand what you’re saying:

    1. When you talk about “being gay” are you talking merely about the orientation, or about both the orientation and lifestyle (in my experience with the topic, people have made a distinction)?

    2. Are you saying that anything we are (by nature, or predisposition) can be compatible with being Christian, and should be accepted as such?

    I appreciate your honesty about what you think, Michael, even if I disagree with you. Hope all is well in Peoria and perhaps we can get together the next time Christina and I are in town.

    • the WayWard follower February 2, 2012 at 10:36 AM #

      tyler – thanks for reading and for your questions! to clarify ::

      1. when i speak of ‘being gay’ i mean one who identifies themselves as having same sex attraction. i think the term ‘gay lifestyle’ is just as ambiguous as a ‘straight lifestyle.’ both orientations have individuals who are abstinent, celibate, in monogamous relationships, sexually promiscuous, experimental, et cetera.

      2. i certainly hope that anything and everything we are as created beings is compatible with finding christ; otherwise we’ve added some pharisaical rules that didn’t exist with the very jesus we christians claim to follow.

      glad you’re engaging with the conversation. i trust all is well! next time the two of you are in town, just let me know.

      • Tyler Helfers February 4, 2012 at 7:26 PM #

        Thanks for clarifying. I was struggling to come up with the right words with the second question and I think your answer reflects my poor vocabulary. Christina and I will be back in mid-March, so perhaps we can talk more about it then. I’d also love to update you on what God has been doing among Latinos in LA.

        I’m curious about your thoughts on a couple questions which are not necessarily related to the issue of homosexuality/the church:

        Do you think there is anything about our natural self which the church (believers) can/should reject as unacceptable because it is in conflict with God’s will? Or put another way: Do you think there is anything we are born with (a part of our natural being) that Christians should strive to “put to death”?

        Do you think we choose to be Christians like we choose to be a part of a club, and is our relationship with Christ like that of a club membership? (Please let me know if I am misunderstanding your language, but this is the way I understand your use of “choose” in the post.)

  2. Rick Mills February 1, 2012 at 10:24 PM #

    Michael, I respect your opinion on this but I am not sure if I understand. In this I read “being gay is something people are; being a Christ follower is something people choose”. It is very difficult for me to grasp this concept of being gay as something a person is. In my opinion, if one says that is what they are then they are stating that there birth body is wrong and they should have been the other sex. If that is the true then they are saying that God made a mistake when they were created, and I cannot believe that the God I serve has ever made a mistake! In saying that, it is my opinion that the gay lifestyle is a choice just as being Christian is. Every action we take in life is a choice: whether it be to have breakfast when we wake, or to speak to person, or to be in a relationship with a member of the opposite sex, or even being in a relationship with a member of the same sex.

    • the WayWard follower February 2, 2012 at 11:19 AM #

      it really is difficult to grasp the concept of having a same sex attraction if you are attracted to the opposite gender – and for so long, we’ve been told that a ‘normal’ sexual attraction is opposite gender oriented, and that homosexuality is a choice – with no convincing evidence to back up those claims.

      we’ve been told, ‘God made adam and eve, not adam and steve.’ this unhelpful idiom and the biblical claims that our creator God is perfect firm up the conviction that homosexuality must be an abnormal choice of rebellion towards the created order. God can’t make mistakes, so therefore anything other than heterosexual attraction must be a choice of rebellion towards God (or so the argument goes).

      yet, if we’re to follow that line of thinking :: what do you do with hermaphrodites (a better term would be ‘intersex people’)? did God make a mistake there? are they sinful? who decides whether they should be sexually attracted to a male or a female? what if they’re not attracted to the gender chosen for them, or to either? should they force themselves to comply with the ‘choice’ that has been forced upon them by doctors/parents/guardians/society? what if they don’t? is that sin too?

      certainly it is a choice to eat breakfast or not, to speak to someone or not, to engage in a relationship with another human being (whether straight or gay) or not. those are all choices. i would challenge the notion, however, that same sex attraction (i.e., being gay) is a choice.

      and this leaves us with the point of my post || the church is going to have to wrap its arms around the simple truth that people can be (and many are) both gay and christian.

      hope that’s helpful, rick! appreciate that you’re taking the time to read and think through this.

  3. ledgerlock February 2, 2012 at 8:12 PM #

    “…and the point is not which faith or religion gets it ‘right.’ ” I found you through Tony Jones. It seems as though most people following Tony would hold to this position. However, I would think people that hold to this position can easily leave the term “Christian”.

    It also seems like the leadership of the church you are a part of would not hold to this position either.

    • the WayWard follower February 3, 2012 at 8:51 AM #

      it seems to me that you’ve misread the post, my friend. i’m sorry if it was not clear – this post is not a diatribe against mormonism nor an apologetic defending a specific doctrinal stance per my denomination or local church body. i am not advocating or defending a position on universal salvation. this post is a response to the issue raised in the video regarding the church and its traditional posture towards the gay community ::

      the point is he didn’t have a choice… and so when he had not magically changed his sexual orientation, he had to leave his church. he did not belong.’

      my desire is that we love all people well in the name of jesus, inviting them to belong rather than insisting they believe and behave prior to belonging.

      hope re-reading my post or perhaps this response helps provide some context.

  4. bretttilford.com February 3, 2012 at 9:11 AM #

    Wonderful video and post. It’s unfortunate that the church has largely, at least up to this point, ostracized the gay community because of a handful of verses taken completely out of their cultural context. My hunch is that in the same way we look back on our grandparents use of the bible to defend racism with horror, our grandkids will do the same with us on the issue of homosexuality. As a Christian, if you’d like to do more reading on the subject I’d highly suggest ‘A Time to Embrace’ by William Johnson http://www.amazon.com/Time-Embrace-Same-Gender-Relationships-Religion/dp/080282966X/ref=wl_it_dp_o_npd?ie=UTF8&coliid=I3JR6MDL4W5MCS&colid=1WDSVHOXMI9LQ

    • the WayWard follower February 4, 2012 at 5:10 PM #

      thanks, brett! jay bakker also recommended the same book – it’s on my list!

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