This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

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The title of this post is a bit misleading – it actually should read more along the lines of “This is why we cannot have meaningful relationships and conversations.”

Earlier this week, singer Kim Burrell in a video, predicted that homosexuality and those “who play with it in God’s house will die in 2017.” She also spoke about “the perverted homosexual spirit” in her sermon. (She has since stated that her comments were taken out of the context of her message, and that she holds no hatred for gays or lesbians.) The comments made in her original video came to the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, who cancelled Kim Burrell’s upcoming scheduled appearance on her show.

And I don’t blame her (DeGeneres) for taking that step.

Once again, someone who is a follower of Christ was found to take homosexuality out of the greater context of Scripture and twist it into a something unrecognizable. Predicting the death of anyone in this or any other year is beyond the pay grade of any disciple of Jesus.

I believe that there are several reasons behind this type of thinking:

  1. Bad teaching.
  2. Resentment
  3. A Lack of Discussion Regarding Sexuality in the Church

Let’s take a closer look at these…

1. Bad Teaching

At this point in the history of the church, there really is no excuse for this. There are more resources available than there have ever been. (You can find a list of some of them under the “Resources” tab of this blog.) For Kim Burrell to have said these things, it seems that she has spent little time in understanding how homosexuality is addressed in Scripture, and how God works in the lives of those who have experienced same-sex attractions, or any other sin for that matter.

Singer and songwriter Keith Green once said, “This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of souls on the earth!” We have a responsibility to learn about the issues our culture is concerned with today in order to reach the souls of those around us with the Gospel.

2. Resentment

Sometimes it seems as though Christians speak out recklessly in regards to homosexuality in particular because of a resentment of the wider cultural acceptance of those who identify as gay or lesbian. It is as if lashing out with words you would never hear applied to any other sin is done in a terribly misguided effort to take back ground in some way.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I’m thankful that people are able to be more open about their same-sex attractions in our culture – I don’t want to go back to where we were. It is good for people to be able to walk down the street without being afraid of getting beat up. It’s good for people to be able to go about their days at work or running errands on eating meals with friends without harassment. It was not a good thing to treat homosexuality as a cultural taboo.

Christians always walk in two worlds – we live here on earth as citizens of another Kingdom. It makes no sense to waste time railing against our status as expatriates. This world is not our home, and we have the privilege of showing those around us what it is like to live a life of freedom and love in Christ. When others see His love in us, they will want to join in the call to know and glorify God.

3. A Lack of Discussion Regarding Sexuality in the Church

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6

Kim Burrell lost her opportunity to meet Ellen DeGeneres, to appear on her show, and to have any kind of conversation or build any kind of relationship with her because she chose to pick out homosexuality as a sin deserving some kind of special punishment from God. Her theology was wrong, and it will take some time and effort to ever have that kind of opportunity come her way again (if ever.)

Without discussions about sexuality – whether about homosexuality or heterosexuality – within the church, room is created for bad teaching and resentment to build, instead of wisdom and contentment in Christ. Too often people are afraid to bring up the subject in a Sunday School class or Bible study, and their conversations end up being seasoned with flamethrowers instead of salt.

Salt is known to be one of the basic human tastes. (The others are sweet, bitter, sour and savory.) According to Wikipedia:

“As taste senses both harmful and beneficial things, all basic tastes are classified as either aversive or appetitive, depending upon the effect the things they sense have on our bodies. Sweetness helps to identify energy-rich foods, while bitterness serves as a warning sign of poisons.

According to Lindemann, both salt and sour taste mechanisms detect, in different ways, the presence of sodium chloride (salt) in the mouth, however, acids are also detected and perceived as sour.

The detection of salt is important to many organisms, but specifically mammals, as it serves a critical role in ion and water homeostasis in the body. Because of this, salt elicits a pleasant taste in most humans.

Sour and salt tastes can be pleasant in small quantities, but in larger quantities become more and more unpleasant to taste.”*

I’ve made the mistake of adding too much salt in recipes, and the results were inedible. When we fail to use wisdom and discernment in our conversations, we make relationships with people who don’t know Jesus unpalatable. (Now, of course, we know that some people may find the message of the Gospel hard to digest – but that is not what is happening in this example with Kim Burrell.) We need to spend time learning within our fellowship groups how to address questions surrounding sexuality in a Biblically sound and compassionate way. I believe that Kim’s words would have been different if she had spoken to other mature Christians first.

Here are some suggestions:

Invest some time in learning more about what the Lord has to say about our sexuality in general, as well as about homosexuality. (Again some excellent resources are listed on the Resources tab of this blog.)

Spend some time listening to those who have experienced same-sex attractions. Ask questions just to gain insight into the perspective of other people.

Find other Christians who are interested in learning more about how to reach out to people around them who are involved in the LGBT community, and talk about your concerns and questions. Invite someone to come speak to your small group on the topic, and ask your church staff for more teaching to be made available so you can ask your questions within the Body of Christ.

There are ways to speak about sexuality without alienating people – and those conversations are best when they are earned. We need to be involved in serving everyone around us, and being ready to give thoughtful (not bland), graceful answers when opportunities do arise. Here is one example that I thought was very good – you may recall that there was an article raising a controversy about Chip and Joanna Gaines late last year, where it was noted that they attend a church in which the pastor has addressed homosexuality as a sin. Just this week, Chip has posted the following response on his blog…it is well worth taking your time to read:

https://magnoliamarket.com/chips-new-years-revelation/

Instead of decrying the state of being attacked and misunderstood, Chip Gaines has asked us all to raise the level of the conversation. He asks us to be considerate of one another and give one another breathing room. It is possible to lovingly disagree and work alongside each other in a community. Let us look for opportunities to do that in this new year.

 

 

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taste#Basic_tastes

Why I Really Think You Shouldn’t Use Sexual Orientation to Bully or Insult Others

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First posted on Facebook, October 17, 2010 at 9:52am

To be blunt, I don’t think that you should use gay / lesbian slurs because it really is personally painful to me.  I’ve struggled with lesbianism since kindergarten, and hidden that struggle for the majority of my life.  Fear of being ridiculed, misunderstood, and ostracized meant that I kept a tight reign on anything that could possibly “give me away.” For the most part, I’ve been successful in avoiding anything close to what so many others have experienced – insults, actually being beaten or thrown out of their homes.

It wasn’t until I was half-way through college that I found a safe place to open up about what I had been feeling and thinking, how confusing it was, and was able to work through sorting out my struggles with my faith.  Having that opportunity was very freeing.  I should have been able to have that opportunity in church.  (Through the years since then I have found a few churches where conversations on that level came to pass.)

Homosexuality is such a polarizing issue in our culture, and it’s easy to lose track of the fact that there are people beyond the headlines and political heat – people that you may do business with, work out with, joke around with, etc.  Everyone deserves the chance to live his or her life in peace.  And it’s during our school years that most start to ask themselves questions about their sexuality – that’s a tough time for big questions.

It takes effort to create an atmosphere where people of any age can ask questions without fear of retribution.  It takes maturity, self-confidence and courage in order to listen and to show compassion.  But as these recent sad losses of kids to suicide show, it’s a rare thing to experience.  I wish that those kids had the chance to find the kind of place that I had, with kind, levelheaded, considerate people who took the time to allow me to unfasten the knots and the clear up the mystery around what I was struggling with.

If you’re ever in a place where people are being bullied, I would like to encourage you to seek to stand up for those who are being put down around you.  It’s not OK to laugh along.  Each one of us can make choices to make the world a better place every day.  Make the decision to eliminate gay slurs from your vocabulary.

And I realize that if you’re in a peer group or family where that kind of jeering is common practice, it can be hard to be the one person who speaks up and says, “Guys, really – that’s just not cool.”  Right away you’re setting yourself up for someone to spin around and accuse you of being homosexual, and you’ll get slammed with all the same slurs.  Well, that’s where the call to be courageous comes in.  Think this situation through now and be ready with a solid answer beforehand.

Maybe you’re really grossed out by the thought of homosexuality.  Well, you probably do or think of things that would gross out a lot of other people yourself.  I’m sure you appreciate not being ridiculed or beaten up about it.  In a sense, it might just take you greater courage to stand up for those you just don’t understand.  Do it anyway.  Imagine that you were the one being insulted for whatever reason – how would that make you feel?

That’s what the Golden Rule Pledge is about – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

If you have questions about how to go about taking a stand against bullying, check out the Golden Rule Pledge website for more information and resources.

http://goldenrulepledge.com/