With Six:11 Ministries, I’m striving to help the Church see and understand the gay community in respectful ways, despite personal convictions. The gay community is first and foremost people made in the image of God their Creator. They deserve the same dignity, respect, and right as any other human being. Jesus loves them just as much as He loves you and me. His death is meant for them just as much as it’s meant for you and me.
Slowly the Church is embracing this truth from many loud voices promoting the same message. And this is great.
However, the Church isn’t the only group that needs to move towards a new direction of understanding and respect. Many in the GLBT community have a long ways to go themselves. In fact, let’s be honest, both sides fail at being “tolerant” of one another – generally speaking.
On one side, you have extreme Christians saying, “We won’t accept you or talk to you until everyone admits that homosexuality is a sin.” On the other side, you have extreme gay activists saying, “We won’t accept you or talk to you until everyone admits that homosexuality is not a sin.” Both extremes fail at their message. Both extremes miss the point that tolerance is a two-way street. To receive you have to be willing to give. But we’re failing to do this with our “all or nothing” mentality.
It was reported on Tuesday that Pastor Louie Giglio would be leading the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration. Then today, news surfaced that Louie stepped down from the invitation, saying, “Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration.”
First … I listened to the whole sermon Louie preached in the early 90′s about homosexuality. You can listen to it here. He starts off by saying that his point of the sermon is not to attack the gay community. It’s not to discuss what causes homosexuality, or how one “gets free” from homosexuality – though he did bring up an article written by Joe Dallas of Exodus International. Rather Louie’s point of the sermon was two-fold: what does God say, and how do we reach out in truth and grace to the gay community – like Jesus.
Remember the church climate back then, the majority of Christians weren’t talking about the gay community in a positive light at all. So Giglio’s sermon, being quite different, was a bold move in the right direction. He challenged his listeners to be Jesus to a group of people who were being rejected by the Body of Christ.
Did he approve pro-gay theology? No he didn’t. Did he stand up as a voice of change and compassion? Yes he did. As he said, “It’s not a message that anything goes, but that all are welcome.”
Second … I have followed Passion and Louie Giglio since 1999. I attended One Day in May of 2000, and was wrecked by God. Ever since, I try to attend any thing of Passion with my wife and/or with students as I can. And I can count on one hand the times I’ve heard Louie speak about homosexuality. Actually, it was more he spoke the name, then gave a full message. Passion, more importantly Louie Giglio, is all about two things: Jesus, and calling people to live for Jesus. This is his agenda, if you will. Giglio has influenced the lives of millions of people around the world, especially mine. He oozes out Jesus. Not hate. He does not deserve the title “anti-gay” at all. Just as he is pro-Jesus, so he is pro-people.
Third … This year’s Inauguration comes at the 150 anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The Inaugural committee wanted people involved with this year’s Inauguration who were a voice to the generations in promoting freedom around the world. For the past two years, Louie Giglio has challenged (tirelessly) this generation of young adults to stand up against modern-day slavery. In the past two years, college students and adults have raised over $6 Million dollars to fund awareness, education, programs, and ministries in order to end modern-day slavery in our time. Like it or not, Giglio is a strong voice in this generation, and he is declaring freedom in Jesus’ name. To have him be apart of this special day in our country was a right choice to make.
Fourth … The extreme side of the gay community chose to hoist up their agenda over everything else going on. This saddens me. This event had nothing to do with gay politics, but yet, once again, it has turned out that way. Just as many in the overall gay community tell us Christians that we are judgmental, that we hold agendas, that we are not tolerant, that we don’t look at people for who they truly are, and that we label people too quickly, so every finger points back at them also.
Pastor Louie isn’t perfect. None of us are. But he is a humble man trying to lift high the name of Jesus in everything he does. He is a man pushing the global Church to stand and end a severe global issue. And yet he is being silenced because of a biblical conviction he voiced 20 years ago in a sermon. Yes, freedom still has a long way to go in our country!