August 26, 2006

Civil Discourse: It Takes Two

One of the things I do to try and bring a wider readership to this blog it reach out to other bloggers and offer to exchange links. I don't restrict that search to those who totally agree with my views and that led to me contacting a gentleman named Jonathan Marlowe, who writes the blog "The Ivy Bush."

There have been times when these requests have been met with judgementalism by someone with a closed mind, but this was not one of them. Mr. Marlowe's politics lean to the left like mine, but his views on homosexuality are much further to the right. I explained my views in the e-mail I sent and he did something unusual; he visited this site, read some of my posts, and found value to the discussion over here desipte his disagreement.

Mr. Marlow agreed to link here and shared our e-mail exchange on his blog. I point this out here as a reminder that not all people who don't openly accept and validate homosexuality are sworn enemies of GLBT people. There are actually people on the other side of these issues who
will respectfully engage in an exchange of ideas, who are professing Christians yet bigoted and judgemental.

It was a pleasure to make the connection with Mr. Marlowe and exchange links. I encourage you to visit his blog.

August 25, 2006

Thoughts From a Reformed Political Preacher

I ran across this exceptional essay from Dave Burchett, a writer and public speaker. In this piece, he does something truly remarkable in today's political and religious discourse; he admits mistakes and shares what he learned from them. At a time when most speakers are trying to shout down those who disagree with them to make sure their voice is the loudest, Burchett humbles himself and shares his lessons and also those of Dr. Gregory Boyd, the minister who lost over 1,000 members from his church because he preached that the church should stay clear of politics.

Here are some important quotes from Mr. Burchett:

"I have been roundly criticised for supporting George Bush in my first book, When Bad Christians Happen to Good People. I regret the political references I made in that book. I wish I could remove them because I found out that political remarks polarize and deflect the message of the Cross. I tried to make it clear that Christians were making a mistake by trying to change our culture through politics instead of by changing hearts for Jesus."

"I regret the impression that I gave to some readers that I believed the Republican party was the official party of Christianity. I do not believe that at all. And yes, I expect to see Democrats in heaven. And Libertarians. A few Republicans will be there too. But the common link will not be politcal ideology. The link that will bring us there will be Jesus. Period."

"I am not smart enough to decide what God has called people to do. If He has placed a desire for people to impact the culture through political action I am not about to question their motives. But I do agree that His house should be a house of worship and not a house of political promotion."

Mr. Burchett also includes some quotes from Dr. Boyd excerpted from a New York Times story:

"Christians are not to seek "power over" others by controlling governments, passing legislation or fighting wars. Christians should seek to have "power under" others winning others hearts by sacrificing for those in need."

"America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world. The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ."

There is a lot of wisdom here from these two men, and there is more in the article I linked to.

This speaks to the messiah complex President Bush has demonstrated in trying to position the United States as the world's savior and the inevitable failure of that because this world has only one true Savior, Jesus Christ.

This speaks to those who claim absolute moral and political authority over the United States when there is actually only one absolute moral authority--Jesus Christ. Those who claim to know His judgement for others need to worry a lot more about His plans for themselves.

This speaks to how religious leaders are trying to shape this nation into their own image twisting selected passages from the Bible to claim their authority. In truth, they have no authority. Instead of trying to impose their will on the people of the United States, they need to be on their knees and submitting to the will of Jesus Christ.

Jesus will not transform the nation and the world through court rulings or legislation. He will touch the hearts of His children one at a time, and His greatest rewards will wait for those who faciliated ahd helped feed open hearts and open minds, not for those who got laws passed or stacked courts with right-wing judges.

August 24, 2006

WHOSOEVER: Believing is Seeing

We live in a world that advocates, "I'll believe it when I see it." Yet, medical and psychology professionals have manuals of information proving that our eyes can play tricks on us. What a quandry.

When faced with such a situation I go to the Scriptures for guidance. Jesus says in Luke 11:40 Mod Ver. "Didn't I tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?" He says again in Mark 11:24, "........and when you pray believe that you have received it and you shall have it." The Lord's way is believe THEN see.

Now, don't let your thoughts go running wild. We must mix wisdom in this equation. There are some things we will never see no matter how much we believe. We can't believe hard enough to see ourselves jump off a roof and fly. We can't believe hard enough to see our skin change color. There are some things that are the way they are because God created them that way. These are not the kind of things Jesus is referring to in these Scriptures.

If we can just start believing that our lives can be better, eventually we will see them get better. Believe then see.

August 23, 2006

Exodus: "restore wholeness to the Body of Christ"

That what the organization's president, Alan Chambers, feels the Lord wants Exodus (the "ex-gay" group) to accomplish. This was excerpted from their most recent newsletter, "The Exodus Impact." Here is the entire opening paragraph of his column, lest you think I took the phrase out of context.

"I woke up thinking about Exodus this morning and its mission to rebuild the Church. I am unalterably convinced that the Lord means to use Exodus International in a significant way to restore wholeness to the Body of Christ. After all, those currently caught up in homosexuality are the ones being used to destroy the Church. But for the grace of God, you and I might be among those seeking to 'renovate' scriptures and sanctuaries to suit our unbridled passion. I am so thankful that the Lord and His people helped me to see, believe, and live out something far better than what I once accepted as a good alternative. I am equally thankful that He has chosen to use me to minister from the very broken places of my life where His healing has been most significant."

I sincerely hope Mr. Chambers is one of the few who acted as a homosexual but was truly born straight. If that is the case (he is now married), then I join him in thanking God for making him the man he was born to be.

Even if that is the case, however, his organization continues to foster the ideas that (1) people can decide to not be homosexual and (2) God won't accept them unless they "change."

This message has proven to be false for many of the now former leaders of this organization. Don't take my word for that, check out Wayne Besen's extensive research in his book "Anything But Straight." This trend is also well documented on the informative site Ex-Gay Watch.

The problem with people like Mr. Chambers, who reach the point of absolute enlightenment, is that they fail to see the light glowing from different paths. When he writes "those currently caught up in homosexuality are the ones being used to destroy the Church" he invalidates the experiences of any and all GLBT Christians, something he obviously lacks the knowldege to do.

Unfortunately, many religious right groups gain their strength not so much from lifting people up but rather by making them feel small, lacking validation, and unloved by God.

It is that final point where we clearly see the agenda of man replacing the love of God, which is constant and unchangeable. Nothing we can do will make God stop loving us, despite what groups like Exodus want you to believe. By teaching those lies, they show a critical lack of understanding of who God really is. God is love. Anyone who teaches differently is a heretic.

Therefore, Mr. Chambers, I submit it is not the homosexuals who are out of the closet and worshiping Jesus that are hurting His church. It is homosexuals who crawled back in their closet and working to push others in there with them so they can worship a God limited by their lack of understanding.

1 John 4:8 (NIV): Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Where's the part that restricts that to straight people? It's not in my bible.

August 21, 2006

Back to School

There are plenty of students who aren't happy when summer is over and a new school year has begun, but this column in the Philadelphia Daily News reminds us that GLBT students are often less enthusiastic. (Thanks to my friends at for the link).

I know as a sometimes dorky straight kid, I caught plenty of crap in school, but as you can imagine (or, even worse, know first hand), it can get pretty rough when your sexual orientation is the point of ridicule or abuse--both verbal and physical. In my school days, I was still struggling to figure out who I was, and if I'd had to deal with the issue of being attracted to other boys when most of my friends were chasing girls, I would probably have been a total wreck.

One save haven for young men and women trying to sort this out is the gay-straight alliances that are popping up on campuses all over the United States. They won't be allowed in Georgia if attorney general candidate Perry McGuire has his way.

According to the Philly News story, McGuire has "likened gay-straight alliances (GSAs) to pedophilia and said they're illegal because they promote sex among minors: 'In Georgia, sex between minors is illegal; statutory rape laws apply. Homosexual activist clubs in schools are detrimental to students and to the moral well-being of society,' he said.

It is this kind of stupidity and bigotry that puts innocent kids at risk, not only of short-term physical harm but long-term psychological scars that many of them likely never fully recover from--in part because they are not encouraged to.

If your child or one you know is a target of this kind of abuse, I recommend you check out The Gay Lesbian and Straight Educators Network for some helpful information.

We can all also show them the true love of Christ and accept them for who they are, which will help them become who God wants them to be.

August 20, 2006

WHOSOEVER: Partners with God

Our God is an awesome God whose thoughts and ways are much higher than ours. Knowing that we would need and enjoy the relief and exhilaration of discovering the answer to a problem, or experiencing the realization of a long-awaited desire, God arranged things so we would have to seek after what we need. He also provided the security that we will have everything we need if we put our trust in Him. Even though God requires us to ask, seek, and knock for what we need in life, He has made a provision that those who ask will be answered, those who seek will find, and those who knock will be opened unto. God knows we need a sense of accomplishment as we work out the details of our daily lives. Yet, we are never alone. We are partners with the God of the universe.