Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Getting past our discomfort level with non-Christians--what about homosexuality?

I often point to the fact that Jesus spent time with those who were non-religious and far away from God, including those who were shunned by religious people--prostitutes and tax collectors.

Who are those shunned by religious people today? Anyone who is engaged in sexual immorality--adultery, pre-marital sex, or homosexuality. While most Christians struggle to spend any time with non-Christians, they might be able to conceive of hanging out with non-Christians who do not engage in behavior which makes them uncomfortable.

But how well do we do in reaching out to those living an "alternative lifestyle"? Not well at all. We usually stay as far away as possible. Our ministry to this community and to those who have AIDS has been terrible. But Christ has called us to go to all peoples, and he died for everyone. The problem is that we rank sins, not recognizing that our sins--such as pride, materialism--are just as abhorrent in God's eyes, even if they are socially acceptable. We have no problem inviting over the rich young ruler, but the prostitutes don't get invited in. Remember, Jesus ate dinner with prostitutes. This was no less scandalous among religious people then than having a gay person over for dinner in today's time.

This weekend we have a high school reunion of some of our music friends that we are going to. I have been looking forward to seeing old friends and re-connecting. Some of those from the music program, however, are now living alternative lifestyles, and they will have their same sex "spouse" with them. This group won't be going to the "official" reunion, but will be getting together with some of us in a different setting. I'm sure they are fearful of judgment and condemnation amongst the larger group.

As much as I seek to follow Jesus' example in loving all people and taking them where they are, I have to admit that I had a bit of angst when I found out about the situation. We do not believe that homosexuality is morally okay. But Becki and I are going to find a church friend in Edmond to watch the kids, and we will go and seek to be Christ to this group. We will not feed into stereo types of Christians being harsh and judgmental. They know that I'm a minister now, and I'm sure they are looking to see how I will react. We need to love people regardless of circumstance and share Christ with them. We can't do this without spending time with people. And we must love them before ever calling them or inviting them into a different live.

Well, it should prove for an interesting time! Please pray for us that God would guide us in our words and actions, that we will help people along their spiritual journey and not hinder.

4 comments:

Kim said...

James,
What an awsome opportunity for you and Beckie. I know it may be an uncomfortable situation for you both but with God's presence it could just lead to a wonderful experience for all involved. I will keep you in prayer.

James said...

Kim,

Thank you for your prayers. They are much appreciated.

James

SuseADoodle said...

Hi, James.

I have George Little's blog in my bookmark list (http://georgelittlejourney.blogspot.com/) and visit from time to time. Today I noticed he had a link to your blog and decided to go have a look. It is refreshing to see such honesty from someone in ministry; far too often failings or deficiencies are covered up because "leaders have to be perfect" or something like that so that people keep looking up to them.

The news about the cancelled memorial service in Texas disturbs me. I ended up writing to one of my blogs (which is sort of new and no one visits) instead of posting to the "what do you think" link at the story. I did that after the Pope's statement about the Roman Catholic Church being the only church, and found that no one wants to listen to anyone else, just wants to spout off -- either bashing Christians, beating up non-Christians, or using churchified terminology that people outside the church just don't understand. It was very depressing to read through all those posts; though I did actually learn something about Catholic teachings that day.

Here is the link to what I wrote if you care to take a look and comment. Thanks for being a witness to the hurting world. I've added your blog to my bookmarks and will be back from time to time to see how things are going.

God bless!

http://suseadoodle-tmm.blogspot.com/2007/08/we-are-all-sinners.html

James said...

Suseadoodle,

So glad to have you join this blog. George and I have corresponded from afar, and he clearly has a heart for reaching lost people in a loving way. You seem to have this heart as well.

I read your posting about the cancelled memorial service. I too am saddened about this. The early church was known for its burial of pagans, something which the pagan emperor Julian said caused many to believe in Christ. To refuse to have a memorial service for someone merely because of a homosexual lifestyle--though a wrong lifestyle--is to single out one sin above others. And it also refuses to give love and comfort to the deceased.

Thanks for your thoughts, and I hope you will be a regular contributor!

James