Moving Beyond the Duck Hunt.

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In an effort to try to “just blog” thoughts about life and ministry, here are some thoughts I jotted down in answering a question posed by a friend. The other day, Kevin asked me, “In regards to the Phil Robertson debate, where do we, as the church, go from this point as far as opening a dialogue to the LGBT community? How do we use this to show the love of Christ?” I think these are great questions to be asking and wrestling with as the body of Christ. And we need to answer them; these questions are not optional.

Here’s what I wrote back to Kevin:

Hey Kevin, Sorry this is a bit late. Don’t have internet connection at our new house yet. So I had to wait till I got to church. Anyways … some thoughts about your blog post:

Where do we go, as the Church, from this point forward, in regards to the LGBT community? That’s a great question. While some churches have made a sufficient stride in bridging gaps between both communities, the Church as a whole has a long way to go. One aspect (with the Phil Robertson episode) that really irked me, was that straight conservative Christians didn’t understand why people like GLADD were upset with his comments. For many of them, they looked at the issue in two lenses: Phil was being scolded for his Biblical views on homosexuality, and this was yet another attack on Christians and their beliefs. Basically, people couldn’t see the issue beyond themselves – and that’s extremely dangerous.

What I tried to communicate in my blog post, was that, as Christians, we need to learn the art of listening and being silent. And this is hard, even when we know we are correct in our said belief. For too long, the church has been trying to shout louder than the other sides (gay community, atheist, evolution, etc). Those sides want to get us in a screaming match, because they know in such a match we tend to fall apart within ourselves. Any they’re right, we do. So what if we learned how to process things through listening, first. What if we took time to hear the stories of those who disagree with us, instead of reacting right from the start. I’m wiling to bet we’d find a different conversation happening.

Some will refute this and say, “Well Jesus never backed down,” or “Well Jesus never apologized for speaking the truth.” And while He didn’t apologize for the truth He spoke, Christ did know how to communicate with people. When speaking to others, Jesus saw the person for who they there – people in need of Himself. He spoke value over them, showing people that they were more than an issue, a sin, and a lesser person of society. Jesus brought equality. He taught us to see and love people for who they were.

When He left, Christ commissioned us to go and do likewise. As representatives of Christ, we must do better in living as imitators of Christ.

This isn’t to say we ignore truth and we remain silent as people and culture pass by us. Rather, it’s a challenge to change the conversations and interactions we’re having. Silence is good at times. We need to listen. We need to be slow to speak. Sometimes it’s more important that people see our faith being lived out, rather than hearing us through a megaphone. In a practical sense, sometimes we need to hug tightly a gay man or woman, and remind them that Jesus loves them. That He was born for them, and that He died for them. And not only does Jesus love them, but so do we. Sometimes we need to apologize, if for no other reason but to ease up the tension between us. In times like this past week, the church needs to remember that there is no “us vs them.” It’s only “us and Him.” We are in this world together, and we are on this journey towards Christ together.

In the end, it’s a challenge to be set a part for God, and to be agents of God’s work within this world. The church is called to be different – in how we interact with one another, in how we talk, in how we love, in how we live, in how we argue, in how we value people, and in how we live out the faith we profess to believe. My heart is to make this a reality within the global body of Christ – instead of just words on a page.

I know these thoughts may be scattered, but I hope things make sense.

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13 responses to “Moving Beyond the Duck Hunt.

  1. Jesus didn’t have to back down when he spoke about sin because he was perfect….no planks in his eye while he was tweezing the splinters in others. When we achieve that status, we’ll probably be afforded the freedom to speak however we wish regarding sin. Until then, maybe we could try to do it with love, within the context of relationship with REAL people who have REAL feelings in addition to the ones the feel about the same gender, ice cream, cheating the IRS, or pornography. The issue is rarely WHAT we say about sin – it’s almost always how we say it, to whom we say it, or both. And sometimes, even when all the planets align, we still have road blocks communicating when issues are as close to the surface as feelings are…but until we shape our response to sin with a gentle, tender word in the context of relationship, all we are is a clanging cymbal.

  2. Shawn great post, makes me think. I agree with most of what you said. One thing that concerns me is that we (the church) have allowed culture to shape the minds of our young people today, from public school to TV they are slammed with message after message that homosexuality is ok and its not a sin. I feel that the church has been quiet too long on this subject. We have to find a line that loves and yet is concerned for those who are lost and bound up in homosexuality and so many other things. I actually think Phils statement is one the culture needs to hear. I love all but I just don’t like white washing sin….that’s scary imo. I hope you understand where I am coming from in love.

    • i am not sure how much kid gloves they would like us to use when people ask if it is a sin or not. Knowing Phil, he is no Joel Ostein meaning he is a “man’s man” kind of guy, loving but a bit blunt. I am sure that he would open is arms to anyone including the gay community. But listening to some of those who do not support Phil’s message yet admit it is a sin, well if you read the Bible when it talks about sin not just this one, I am sure they would be considered “not loving” either. It is a bit much when critiquing Phil because this particular sin has gained so much popularity and after what phil went thru and hearing this no one will say anything again.

      • Hi Jesus Saves – thanks for commenting.

        My issue isn’t with Phil’s belief about gay sex and relationships. I agree with him, and the Bible, that these things are sinful according to God’s intent and design. And we have every right to state this belief – whether or not our culture says we can.

        My issue is how Phil said these things – mainly his choice of words and phrasing. If you read my original post, Phil made a blanket statement saying all that a gay man needed to do was look at a female’s anatomy to be convinced and “healed” of their homosexuality. While there were people who took offense at his calling homosexuality a sin, many other people, like myself, took issue with the above comment, and found his remark to be not only offensive but insensitive, too.

    • I agree with Kay…I have a son that is struggling with ssa, he has been raised in church, went to private christian school, and our culture today has spoken louder, clearer and very engaging to him. When we first discovered his struggle, i found myself needing direction, and getting him in a place that he could talk to someone. It would have been a piece of cake to find a counselor to assist him in embracing his struggle, but to find one that would help him find his identity in christ and not his sexuality…geez, not easy. I felt the need to get connected, prayer, direction for our family, so i started with my local church, i was told “there really has not been a need for anything like this”….? i went to another church, no return call, yet another, no resources. We live in the 4th largest city in the US, and nothing? I emailed C.Yuan’s mom and finally started getting directed. I found this site, found a ministry 4 hrs away that could help us.
      I have been accused a time or 2 or 3 of being sensitive, esp in regards to my children. Phil’s comments did not offend me or my son (we discussed the gq article). PR’s comments sent shock waves because we have been silent.
      My relationship with my son has NEVER been BETTER. We hug more, we tell each other we love each other more, we spend more time together, because we are finally being honest and the silence is gone.

      • Catalina:

        I agree with you as well. Our 13 year old son struggles with SSA and the churches in our area of Florida won’t touch the issue. I do drive an hour to Orlando twice a month and I and a couple meet in our county to get Christian parents and churches on board. So far, no takers. My wife and I have grown up in the church and my dad is a retired pastor. Mom is Pentecostal! With no assistance from local churches and not interested in joining a screaming “gay rights” group, we are on our own.

        As for the comments by Phil Robertson, my son actually brought up the issue with me. I told him that I did not know all of what he said (and I really did not) and asked what he felt about it. His response was that he did not care. This would mean a things to me. One, he is trying to figure me out. Two, he is trying to figure out where he really stands or three, he really does not care.

  3. Thanks for continuing to be a voice of reason. I found it difficult to understand how so many people did not notice a phrase like ‘homosexuals, drunks, terrorists’, or perhaps just did not see how that would be offensive to anyone.

  4. I am always confused when people say the Church has been silent on homosexuality. I was a young teen and just realizing I was attracted to other guys when Anita Bryant led her protest in Florida. The church wasn’t silent then or any time since. By the time I graduated high school it was a struggle to make through each day through the fog of depression because I was convinced, even though I was committed to sexual celibacy, that my temptations made me disgusting to my fellow Christians.

    I, frankly, don’t recall a single time Christians did not take the opportunity to loudly protest any hint that the “gay-agenda” was likely to win another ballot or piece of legislation.

    The problem isn’t that we are silent but that when we speak we tend to speak like jerks.

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