How Do We Deal With Homosexuality? Part 1

A few days ago, I posed a question to my good friend and pastor Rob Harrison. Rob is a master of teasing out the truth when it requires precision and subtlety. My question is one I have long felt is met with a steamroller approach. The question is, simply, “What should a same-sex attracted Christian do?”

For those of you not familiar with me, let me lay out my understanding. To wit, the Bible is the true Word of God, a God who does not change. Within the Bible, God says homosexuality is sin.

Rob turned it over to Ron Belgau of the blog Spiritual Friendship, quoting Belgau’s post “Spiritual Friendship in 300 Words”.

Now, I need to tread carefully here, because I’m talking about this from the outside. I am a happily married man, with a wife and 18 month old. I’m more concerned about the issue because of two former friends who are bisexual. (They are former friends not because of their sexuality, but because I told them, perhaps too bluntly, to pay their rent.) Also, I see a need in our culture at large, of a compassionate and righteous response, to a people whose desires would take them away from God.

To that end, if you’re a Christian struggling with homosexual desires, you may or may not wish to read this with the intent of getting help. However, I would be interested in getting feedback. I might get something wrong. Instead, I’m going to try to target this more at the man or woman in my situation, asking the same question.

I’m not going to pull any punches. There is no single, simple, satisfying answer. The answer can be complex, multi-faceted, incomplete, and, at times, deeply challenging. But I feel like I’ve pulled back a layer or two of the answer which, ultimately, lies within God himself. And it is those discoveries which I wish to share with you.

First, love is greater than sexuality. Belgau, in his study of St. Aelred, points out that our culture has too intertwined love and sexuality. If friendship is defined by love, then we can see that just as there are different kinds of friendships, there are different kinds of loves. Steve Cudworth & Rich Mullins parsed the difference between carnal and worldly friendship, and created space for spiritual friendship, when they wrote “There’s a love that is fiercer/Than the love between friends/More gentle than a mother’s/When her baby’s at her side”.

Second, friendship is greater than sexuality. “Well duh”, you may say. But think about it for a second. It’s common -for us conservative, straight Christians- to try to make our closest friendships (spouses excluded) same-sex. But why? Is that based on a fear of falling for another woman? Or maybe a fear of appearance of impropriety? In either case, I have to say, fear is a dangerous response. I do not say it is incorrect; but I can confidently say it is dangerous.

I am able to form powerful friendships with women, married or not, and learn from them. I have female friends who are more learned, more logical, more giving, or more passionate, than I. Perhaps this situation is helped by the fact I am married; but it is certainly not prohibited by singleness.

Third, there are celibate gay Christians out there, trying to figure things out as best they can. One of the things they point out is that we are culturally indoctrinated to see celibacy as a “fall back” position, a second (distasteful) choice. However, this is not how the Bible puts it! In fact, if anything, the Apostle Paul says celibacy is better than marriage, because there are fewer distractions, and the potential for a greater focus on ministry.

One last thing I will bring out. I don’t recall the mental connection I made, but I was listening to a sermon from Timothy Keller on missions. Although he doesn’t mention homosexuality directly, this sermon is what prompted me to ask Rob the question in the first place: http://www.gospelinlife.com/missions-5778

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Leadership

lead·er·ship

ˈlēdərˌSHip/Submit

noun: leadership

the action of leading a group of people or an organization.

 

What is our culture’s obsession with leadership? You drive by billboards and hear about seminars and books are sold– all about leadership. The push for selling leadership is ubiquitous. You hear about it in church, at work, in the home, and at school.

Does anybody talk about followership?

More importantly, can we understand what it means to be a leader, without understanding what it means to be a follower? Have we taken any time at all to understand what it means to be led?

Oh sure, sometimes, in Christian circles, we talk about servanthood. And that’s more than close enough to what I’m talking about. However, I feel like half the time, we end up talking about “servant leaders”. Because we can’t stop trying to push “leadership”.

Please don’t get me wrong– we need strong teachings on leadership. However, I am increasingly noticing a dearth of teaching and interest in being a follower and a servant. And I think it’s having a deleterious effect on our quality of leadership. I had a boss once who was great in one specific area. But he wasn’t good at managing his people– or at least, not me. His competency in his specialty did not translate to management capabilities.

Here’s my hypotheses:

  • There are three categories of workers: leader, follower, and independent.
    • Everybody, in their job, probably exhibits at least a little bit of each.
  • Your understanding of leadership cannot be kept abstract from an equal understanding of followership. In other words, you cannot ignore followership, believing that it will teach you nothing about leadership.
  • You cannot understand leadership for all areas and competencies.
  • Good leadership may not look like what you expect.
  • Leadership is not being a good independent worker. Taking charge of your own stuff does not make you a good leader.
  • Being a leader is rarely optimal.

Oh no… I may be a morning person

It just occurred to me I may be a morning person.

It all started when I got a 5:30-2:30 job. Make no mistake about it, I do not relish getting up early. However, I get the opportunity to see sunrises. And sometimes, I get to see some real humdingers.

IMG_20160107_080133598

For me, the mornings are beautiful. There is a quietness, and a stillness, which is rarely found anywhere else. There is the opportunity to prepare for the day ahead before anybody else has an opportunity to come in and gum up the works. 🙂

Now, a night owl would probably point out that staying up until 2AM can also be a great way to get stuff done. And if that works for you, knock yourself out. But there is one definite advantage of being a morning person. The day which has passed is in the past; it is yesterday, not “still today”.

And then, after the stillness, there is the gradually increasing hum, the noise of a world waking up, getting up, and going about its business. I’m off to join it now, how about you?