December 31, 2005

Back to the Light at BCF

This week's issue of "Metro Weekly," a Washington, DC area magazine targeted toward toward the gay and lesbian community, featured an interview with the pastor of my church, Dale Jarrett. Pastor Jarrett talks about the role he sees the church filling in the GLBT community. I'm linking the whole piece, but this part is worth highlighting:

"A lot of people don't know what the Bible really said. They know what a preacher yelled at them from a pulpit. God does not have an issue with us. People do. And that comes out of their own ignorance and lack of willingness to question whether they're right or wrong. Too often, we've turned away from God because of the way God's people have treated us.''

I encourage you to read the entire interview:

December 29, 2005

Talk It and Walk It

I recently saw a post in one of the Yahoo groups I belong to refer to Jesus' ministry as "not one of ideas, but of acts." That struck me as something deeply profound, and it accurately describes His time on earth. Sure, He preached and introduced an amazing wealth of new ideas into our world, but He also took action.

Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple, healed the sick, and provided food for the hungry. Most importantly, of course, was his willingness to die a painful, gruesome death on behalf of mankind and establish the path for our salvation.

This example is a fairly straightforward one to apply in our lives, yet it often proves very difficult to do. It's not because there are not opportunities--the need for service greatly outweighs the resources available. From my experience, I feel it is the sinful nature of man that pushes us toward focusing on taking care of ourselves and makes service to others seem burdensome and uncomfortable.

I, for one, have decided to practice what I am preaching. I have recently signed up with an organization called Equality Maryland and have volunteered to participate in a protest at the State House in February against a proposed amendment that would make same-sex marriage illegal. I also plan on helping out the organization in other ways, along with assisting the local county branch of the organization.

Political involvement is important, but from where I sit it should never come ahead of our service to God. That's why my wife Brenda and I continue to ramp up our involvement in our church. She will soon be assuming some pastoral duties, while I am helping establish a drama ministry and supporting her outreach work. It's a busy life we have, but it's a very good one that God continues to bless and make better as time goes by.

None of these activites may sound appealing to you, and that's fine. Trust me, you won't have to look very hard to find something that fits your personality and utilizes the gifts that God gave you. This is especially important regarding the GLBT community.

There is a very loud, well financed group of people in this nation that would love nothing better than to chase every GLBT person back into the closet and never hear from them again. If you are part of this community, your rights are being threatened and you need to take action. If you are straight like me, you need to step up and let those who are narrow-minded towards GLBT people know that you won't stand for them being treated like second-class citizens, both in the political arena and in the house of God.

As we move into a New Year, people like to make resolutions and set goals. If you are not currently active, I strongly encourage you to make 2006 your year to ACT!

Happy New Year's everyone, and may God richly bless you in 2006.

December 27, 2005

The Next Boycott Target

The folks at the American Family Organization, basking in the glow of saving Christmas from heathen retailers who wouldn't address customers with "Merry Christmas," have locked onto their next target, the NBC television network.

NBC is rolling out a new program titled "The Book of Daniel." The main character is a troubled Episcopal priest and his very disfunctional family, which includes a 23-year old homosexual son. The AFA is deeply offended by this program, which they claim "mocks christianity."

The AFA is trying to mobilize its members to e-mail the chairman of NBC, Bob Wright, to express their outrage that the network would even consider airing this type of program, and is also asking people to get their friends and family to do the same.

I have no opinion about the program because I have not seen it yet. There are plenty of other shows on my cable system which I do find offensive, and I would suggest people follow my lead if they are upset about "The Book of Daniel." It's a radical approach, but it's just crazy enough to work.

Don't watch it.

Doesn't the AFA realize that the bigger stink they make about this program, the more people they will influence to actually watch the show out of curiosity, myself included. I'm not an expert on the television industry, but their is one basic principle of a market economy that is almost foolproof that applies here--supply and demand.

If their is little demand for a television program, the supply will stop because it will be pulled off the air. Apathy is the enemy of the entertainment industry. Free press, including public protest campaigns, can be a great asset.

If "The Book of Daniel" offends you, may I suggest you turn the channel or even turn your television off completely and spend your time focused on loved ones or doing something constructive, like reading this blog.

Please don't waste everyone's time with petitions and counter-productive protests. There's a long list of ways we can better spend the precious time that the Lord gives us on earth.

December 26, 2005


I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Brenda and I sure did. We had an opportunity to entertain about a dozen members of her family and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. As an added bouns, there were no casualties or any property damage while the six kids were here.

Of course, one of the major events of Christmas is opening the presents. How wonderful it is to see loved ones enjoy gifts that you have put a lot of thought into and braved the hoardes at the mall to buy. It is also very nice to receive special gifts from loved ones who have done the same for you. As we tally up the loot, let's keep this scripture in mind.

Matthew 6:19-21: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

While its great to receive that electronic gadget you wanted or the special book, dress, or decoration for the home, Jesus told us in the above scripture we need to make sure that is not where we put our focus. Possessions come and go, but it's what we do with our lives that matters to God.

It's okay for us to enjoy what we have, especially those items that are special gifts from special people in our lives. It's also okay in our Creator's eyes if we don't have the wealth of our neighbor. We are blessed with true riches when we focus our lives on Jesus and model what we do and how we spend our time after the example he set for us.

Before he started his ministry, Jesus was a hard working carpenter who would probably be thought of as no better than lower middle-class in todays socio-economic structure. Obviously, accumulating wealth was not important to his mission on earth. What he stood for and what he did for others is what set him apart. As we catch our second wind from the holiday rush, let's try to approach our lives the same way.