First of all let me say that I was an evangelical of evangelicals.
Prophesied over in the womb. dedicated to God on my eighth day. Raised in the southern Baptist and Assembly of God churches. My first concert was Carman. My Mother was a Women’s Ministry section leader, and taught Sunday school. My father a worship leader, who sang before leaders like Mark Rutland, and supported Evangelist healers like Benny Hinn. He sang on TBN, and we supported Jim Bakker and Jim Swaggart. Big name preachers in the full gospel men’s fellowship, Church of God Clevand, and Word of Faith Movement had my father sing for them. I went to every vbs in a 15 mile radius from Douglas county Georgia Growing up. We were only allowed to listen to Christian music or the oldies channel growing up. All my t-shirts had bible verses on them. I went to Bible quizzes. I was baptized with fire at the age of 14, by one of Kathryn Kulhman’s followers. at 18, I was the president of the Young Republican Party, and I marched with the “right to life.” I went to a denominational Bible college. I wrestled with God. I spoke in tongues. I had a near death experience- several times, and a one time fully dead and back alive experience- I went to the Assembly of God Theological Seminary, and spoke at some of the “hippest” gatherings in those circles. I prayed in tongues like 24 hours a day- I was an evangelical of evangelical- but not of that matters, and its all horse junk compared to knowing Jesus!
If I can let me humble myself to talk to you on behalf of my LGBT brothers and sisters,
yes, we are going to talk about sex. Listen, the Assemblies of God, has had more pastors fall morally over sexual situations than many other denominations. Don’t freak out, yet, we are going to talk about Godly sex.
So you decided to follow Jesus. You have read the Bible. the romans 1 passage. You hear some friends say Paul’s words can not be equal to Jesus’. You hear other friends say all scripture is God breathed. all- even Paul’s.
so how do you handle DOMA and LGBT issues?
what if you did not approach it in that way? what if you just began to form loving relationships with every person? what if you talked about God and the bible in a different way? what if you even made friends with main line denomination pastors or gay Christians?
what if you tried asking questions instead of making statements?
what if you let God be God, and you humbled yourself to serve and love everyone? what does it mean to go into all nations and teach, making disciples? what does that mean? does that mean join a holy-social club and never talk to anyone who doesn’t look or smell like you?
I love people. all of them.
I question everyone who practices sexual acts inside or outside of covenant marriage by asking them some questions:
is this sex act for love?
are you loving your partner?
is it for control, domination or lust?
do you merely seek an orgasm or is it to UNITE with your lover?
another set of questions I ask people about their relationships:
is this relationship equal?
do you hope to dominate someone or be very submissive and dominated?
are you looking for a father?
are you looking for a mother?
do you find yourself in the role of sustainer or the other persons source of well being?
do you view this person as god?
do they worship you as an idol?
is this relationship focusing on serving one another?
These are great questions to ask every person.
another question I ask followers of Christ- have you submitted every area of your life before God?
Do you feel like you are following any selfish agendas?
what does it mean to loose self and pick up a cross?
My main point of conflict with the church is the way we have treated LGBT persons over the past 100 years. whatever your viewpoint on the issue, if you really love Christ than you choose to edify, lift up and serve one another in love.
I have experienced some serious sex issues as a result of childhood molestation(which occurred in a church, no less) and an emotionally absent father. I have experienced hurt from the church. My father told many church members I was living a lesbian lifestyle, because I was masculine in my mannerisms and dress. I was hit on by women and called “dyke” by men.
even three years ago at the seminary where I studied, men told me by best role in ministry would be to have children. upon questioning them- i heard the phrase “gender role confusion” and things like “in the closet,” even one of my trusted male friends told me he thought I was “GAY when he met me.” Now this was all before I was kicked out of my home church for having a ministry towards loving LGBT persons. But as you can see I have always been straight, but not narrow.
The lord has done much work in my heart to allow forgiveness and healing to abound. I identify with people who have gender identity questions and with those who Love God and love being Gay. I am a Christ follower who is broken, still sins, and wants to be a humble vessel of love. I try my best to love people. I feel it is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict each person and change them with love and grace. I am very torn about the mistreatment of any person.
Each individual needs to allow Christ to reign in their live and suggest which things need to be worked on. I know my biggest problem after coming to Christ was getting “love” from men. I always thought if someone screwed me I had value and wasn’t ugly. that was the second thing to go after a long battle with sexual addiction. when I first started attending one mega church in Douglasville, Georgia I was having sex outside of Marriage. and while I rationalized my behavior as love, I felt convicted later that my actions were not holy. I also suffered from sexual addiction.
Yes women, too can be sexually addicted. I never want to be slave to that beast of lust again. and while I am very UNPERFECT God is working in my heat.
Many of my fellow friends say that it is o.k. to do whatever.
I always ask” does this please God?”- and guess what- as a sinner saved by grace many of my actions are not pleasing to God.
I do not pass judgment- I only ask questions.
I love and welcome LGBT persons and despite some hurt from fundamentalists- I try to love them as well. I don’t avoid scripture- Paul, Jesus, and the prophets- whoever.(for a deeper biblical look at abomination and LGBT issues check out my blog on purity codes and outward holiness. https://thebeccranford.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/purity-codes-holiness-and-what-god-requires/)
I just ask each person to come to the text with me as we look at historical contexts. the application is up to them and God.
let us love one another as Christ has loved us, laying down his life. I know, that idea of Philippians 2 Kenosis sounds so far off especially when we are yelling at each other and screaming bible verses across the web.
Here is what I believe is the biggest question for the evangelical Church: Can you pray that God would give you his heart for LGBT persons?
What if he does? will you welcome them?
If you pray for the Lord to send you souls can you love those who walk through your doors? When will we see people as those who Christ loves instead of sinners? we are all sinners, yes?
Maybe you can ask people who are in relationship with God similar types of questions about their sexual relationships. Maybe you can do more by being someone’s friend than being someone’s judge. We need people to speak into our lives; let me challenge you to invest in someone’s life before throwing stones. and let me challenge you to study the scriptures.
I mean honestly, we evangelicals have been loud about our ignorance! even saying things like “I didn’t need no seminary to train me, I learned from the Holy Ghost!” Obviously, some of us didn’t finish elementary grammar either. We should educate ourselves. We are so worried about sliding down the slippery slope to liberalism or heresy that we hide in fear behind our fundamentalism and prejudice of education. that is just silly! I had a pastor yesterday quote, out of context of course, that the world’s wisdom is foolishness. Indeed the Aeon, or age’s wisdom is foolishness, but God’s wisdom is always in favor of helping the oppressed. Here’s the deal- study the Bible. Even hang out with some educated folks who are Hebrew scholars, church history professors, and Biblical Linguists. Its ok.
We all loved grandpa, he loved Jesus, and prayed in tongues more than anyone- but he was racist. What if, like Grandpa, we are the ones who are being simple minded?
I challenge all of us to pray dangerous prayers:
Father God, Give us the heart to love LGBT persons. Give us the desire to truly study your word, with historical context, original languages, and look for perspectives outside of our tradition. help us to be like Jesus and love those who religion says aren’t clean enough to worship.
Thanks for reading my blog. I know most of you don’t want to read anything by me after I was told by that mega church I couldn’t minister, or by that denomination. I also know that you loved me, even when you thought I was too “real” for Christians. Just keep praying for me. And know you can private message me, the theology police don’t have my inbox tapped.
want more Bible for what I am saying? try:
In Leviticus, the wandering people of God read instructions on how to live their life. These instructions set them apart from the previous cultures who oppressed, right? Leviticus is then a boundary setter between the people of God and the Canaanites. Near eastern ancient persons often dominated enslaved persons or conquered people by sodomizing them, or subjecting them to being in the sexual position of a woman, murdered children in cultic practices, valued profits over people, sacrificed swine, snakes, and “unclean animals” to Canaanite deities and worshipped foreign gods. Israel was a holy nation. The law urged followers to separate themselves from other nations and cultic practices.These codes give laws on things like not wearing mixed fabrics (Leviticus 19:19) or having sex with a wife who is experiencing menses (Leviticus 18:19) or not sacrificing children to Molech. Richard Boyce states that these were boundary laws, having to deal mostly with each man’s personal property. Some scholars suggest that these codes affect the order or nature of things. Other academics link holiness with wholeness, contending that liquid displaced in life cycles- sex, childbirth, death, and sacrifice was unwhole, such as blood, semen, and other fluids. Scholars argue why and what these purity codes represent. The precise meanings do not stand out even to the “Judeans of post-exilic” age. Does uncleanliness merely result from contact with animals or contagion, and not deal with matters of the heart? Are purity codes an outward symbol of an inward intention? Did the expression or outward symbols really count as much as the heart?
The word used for abomination in much of the purity codes of Leviticus is To’e’bah. This word is often translated as “taboo” or relating to the worship of foreign gods. Others suggest the word directly related to unclean or impurity.
Now I am an affirming and welcoming pastor read the story here: http://thegaychristian.com/?p=1154