awkward conversations

Awkward_Postcard (1)I had a friend, and fellow blogger, point out to me on Sunday that I thrive in tension and that I love creating it.  The truth is that creating an awkward, tension filled environment is great for learning.  I don’t do it to make people feel uncomfortable but when you think about it, the moments that shift our paradigms the most are when we recognize the tension that is alive within us and face it.

On April 27th we begun a series called, “Awkward,” our goal is to face these issues head on and become the kind of church that the world is waiting for (Romans 8).   Ever since I wrote a little on gay marriage a few months ago I have been more and more compelled to talk about this issue.   The problem is the divisiveness of the issue.  More and more “disagreement” has been translated as “intolerance” and intolerance has moved to “hate.”  This type of thinking is inherently illogical.  While it helps the homosexual agenda, it can be extremely damaging if applied to other areas of life.  Taken to its logical conclusion, this form of thinking is inherently reverse discrimination.  Here is an easy example that has actually happened.  Voting for traditional marriage was branded as hate, in that the campaign was “NOH8.”  This actually happened.  Then a company CEO (although not tactful) states his position on gay marriage and then almost immediately the entire company is branded as a hate filled organization that needed to be boycotted.  Effectively, labeling any group as “hateful” is the impetus for discrimination in the marketplace.  Even though this person showed no evidence of being hateful by the real meaning of the word, they simply had a strong opinion.

It is my belief that this tit-for-tat petty thinking needs to end.  Unless we engage in meaningful conversation and give the homosexual community a chance to be heard and understood we will always be steeped in this type of battle.  Similarly, the homosexual community needs to give the Christian community a chance to be heard.  We need to understand each other’s differences and respectfully disagree with one another.

We need to recognize that a war has been waged.  The homosexual community and the Christian community did battle numerous times.  Very little about this was tactful.  Very little about the war created unity and allowed for others to understand one another.  Our culture is immersed in a type of toxic thinking.  That is, retributive violence or revenge is a means by which order is restored.  I believe this to be the biggest lie of all.  I want to submit to you a new way forward.  I think there is really only one way to restore order after a war.  We need to repent in the areas we have been hurtful, change any hurtful behavior and begin to learn from one another.

I want to publish my teaching outline from this past Sunday, and invite you out to the conversation I will be having with a friend of mine who is gay on May 4th.   If you have a topic or question for conversation that you’d like us to cover then please put it in the comments below.

If you’re looking for a fight then this is not the place for you, but if you’re looking for actual dialogue that will help us approach this issue better, then I’d love to have you as our guest.

————–Sermon outline———————–

This is Awkward…The Homosexuality Discussion

Matthew 21:31

What do we do with our enemies?

Matthew 5:43-48

The logical conclusion of Jesus’ teaching is to have no enemies

We remember the mission of the church is to be a community of redemption

Many of you have heard this quote:

“The church is not a museum for saints but a hospital for sinners.” Morton T. Kelsey

Luke 18:9-14

Matthew 21:31

We never define, label or joke at the expense of others.

We have to always remember:

  1. Each person bears the image of God (Genesis 1:27)
  2. We are God’s delivery system of Grace (1 Peter 4:10)
  3. We must speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15, 25)
  4. We must guard against unwholesome talk that doesn’t build others up (Ephesians 4:29)

We never Judge others

Luke 6:37-38

We show hospitality to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation

Sodom and Gomorrah was more about a story of inhospitality than a story condemning homosexuality

Ezekiel 16:49 

We remember that loving someone and walking through life with them does not constitute affirming a particular lifestyle

Jesus spent so much time with the tax collectors, drunkards and gluttons that he was considered one of them.  We have no evidence to say that Jesus was actually one of them.  However we do have evidence to say that Jesus led them out of their lifestyles

Luke 7:34

Let the Bible speak for itself

We do have a Biblical basis to say that homosexual behavior is outside the will of God in regard to our sexual relationships.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Romans 1:24-28

Jesus on traditional Marriage:

Matthew 19:3-6

We have a working framework for discussion

Frame 1: Homosexuality = Struggle

Frame 2: Homosexual behavior = Sin

Frame 3: Homosexual agenda= Strategy

How to engage with others:

  1. Listen and learn from them
  2. Lead them to Jesus
  3. Leave people with Jesus
  4. Love people like Jesus
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