Keeping Sin in Perspective

This post by Matt Moore was timely in the wake of Kim Burrell’s statements earlier this week. Matt shares his thoughts on feeling that homosexuality was somehow different than any other sin, and how that mindset can undermine the potential for growth in one’s relationship to Jesus:

http://www.moorematt.org/not-an-anomaly/

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Trusting Love

Here is yet another great post by Jean C. Lloyd, PhD shared on Public Discourse.

My Same-Sex Attraction and My Brother’s Disease: On Suffering and Serenity

Another Short But Deep Read

Over the past few months I’ve come across some excellent resources that I wish would have been available when I was growing up.  The quality of writing has been on the rise, matching up to the great need of helping the church to grow into it’s calling to walk alongside those who experience same-sex attraction.  I am excited to see how the Lord will use these things to help followers of Christ in the days to come.

Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s Talk: How and Why Christians Should Have Gay Friends

by Brad Hambrick

I came across a recommendation for this book recently and added it to my Kindle. I was able to read it in it’s entirety during a long car ride, highlighting passages on almost every page.

The inscription on the first page was striking:

This book is dedicated to those who have felt that their experience of same-sex attraction has left them isolated within or from the Body of Christ.

May this book help the church better embody the gospel we proclaim and be the family of God.

~ Brad Hambrick

I’ve never read a book that was so directly dedicated to me, or to people like me (outside of Scripture, of course!) It took me aback for a moment – to think that the author even noticed that experiencing this temptation can be an isolating experience, often leaving a person feeling detached from the conversations going on in a church group, or even cut off from the gospel – the good news of salvation and redemption itself. To see that the goal of this book was to help end and mend this isolation through the maturation of the church was touching.

As I then read through the recommendations, I came across a familiar name – John Freeman, President of Harvest USA:

Finally, a practical book that helps us engage people as Jesus would! Brad Hambrick captures the heart of what is means to invite into dialogue and relationship people who you might otherwise see as so unlike you that you may not know how to begin a substantive conversation. Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s Talk teaches the lost art of how to talk with people, draw them out, get to know their story and, therefore, know their heart…all of which makes fertile soil for the gospel to take root and flourish!

That is a fine summary of what this book can help one accomplish. I’ve probably mentioned this on this blog before, but the number one question I receive from people after hearing my story is, “How can I talk to my gay / lesbian friend / family member without offending or hurting them in some way?” People really want to show that they care, and they want to love others well, which in and of itself is a world away from the mainstream of the culture I grew up in.   So there is already a great need for a book like this, and Brad Hambrick does indeed do a wonderful job of giving practical help.

It is a short work – only 100 pages, divided into six chapters which build on one another, so it’s worth reading from beginning to end. The last chapter was the most awkwardly worded, which the author acknowledged as it was a compressed fictional conversation, but you could catch the application of what was shared in the previous five chapters enough to justify reading it through.

Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s Talk: How and Why Christians Should Have Gay Friends would be an excellent follow up to Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach* for a small group wanting to learn more about bridging the divide between those who experience same-sex attraction and the church at large.

*See the Resources tab for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Many as the Stars in the Sky…

When people ask me, “What is the cause of homosexuality,” I’ll tell them that the “causes” are as numerous as the stars in the sky.  Every person is different, and sexual orientation is a complex thing.  There is no one “gay gene,” and the jury is still out on early hormonal influences.  No one has been able to eliminate the variety of life experiences that can also contribute to the mix.

So it’s good to learn about the backgrounds of others who have gotten involved in homosexuality, at the least to remind us that people are not easily stuffed into little boxes.  Thankfully God isn’t either – and He knows each one of us as well as He does each star in the sky.  There are a variety of ways into same-sex attractions and actions, and the Lord has made a way out for each person.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.  1 Corinthians 10:13

Here is one more story of a woman who found her way out through Christ, Jackie Hill-Perry.  It is great to see how the Lord led her out of fear and into trust:

http://9marks.org/article/from-lesbianism-to-complementarianism/

More Aspects

A friend sent me this link to a talk given by Rosaria Butterfield.  If you’ve heard her speak before, several things she says here may seem familiar, but there are always new aspects and insights she shares that I find profound.  Enjoy!

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/conferences/after-darkness-light-2015-national-conference/repentance-renewal/

There and Back Again

Joe Dallas in a radio series on Homosexuality and the Bible – great teaching from a man who became a Christian during the Jesus movement, then left to embrace homosexuality and teach in a pro-gay church, and returned again to repentance and a new life in Christ.

http://www.refugefm.com/online-messages/

From a Catholic Perspective

In the past year I’ve noticed more and more individuals sharing their stories of stepping away from same-sex attraction. Some of them have gone on into heterosexual relationships, others into living chastely. One film that gives a portrait of three individuals has come back to mind over and again. The stories they share are honest and riveting. The film is called, “Desire of the Everlasting Hills.”

http://everlastinghills.org/

It’s 60 min. long, and all three people share a Catholic perspective. Although I was raised in NJ, where there was a heavy Catholic influence, I don’t know all that much about the Catholic side of Christianity. The stories of these individuals gave me a better understanding of what their branch of our faith is like on a deep level, and I appreciated aspects in a way that I’d never done before. (Particularly their practice of going to confession.)

Here is a review of the film by Thomas McDonald, published in the National Catholic Register, July 23rd, 2014: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/review-desire-of-the-everlasting-hills/

I’d like to hear your thoughts on the film if you do watch it. What resonates with you?