Friday, March 29th, 2013
I asked a friend this morning what he thought about what Jesus might want us to know about Good Friday today, at this time in human history? This led into a great discussion about Good Friday and this Easter weekend.
In our discussion this came to mind. Many have questioned why a good God would send His son to suffer and die, or why a good God would forsake and abandon His son on the cross in suffering penalty. Many theological questions arise about the true character of God when we think of the horrifying suffering of Jesus on the cross.
But then as we talked further, something else came to mind. If I believe in Jesus being God, and God is present in all things, all of time, then in reality, Jesus wasn’t alone and forsaken, He was God hanging in torment for my sin. Jesus said, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” But this doesn’t mean that God was absent. There is a paradox that seems to always exist in who God is, and how He functions, but none the less, God was present throughout the death of our Savior, He is our Savior.
Then our discussion went further and we talked about the resurrection that followed. When Jesus rose from the grave, He didn’t rise as He was before. Rather, He rose to a new form, a new life, a new reality. He became the first representation of the restoration of life!
I came to see, and believe that from that grave, came the new life that has been given to all of creation. The restoration began in all of our lives! The promise of a completely restored future reality was now in place.
I trust deeply in the restoration process. I believe strongly in the renewing grace for my life, and for all of mankind.
As is said in the Bible, It Is Finished! It is completed.
Jesus death paid for it all, his resurrection promised restoration for all.
Jesus life proclaims a future full of hope for all!
Thursday, March 28th, 2013
A while back I was sitting in my living room with a female friend who was challenging my openness about being gay and my belief that it was okay for gay men or women to have a relationship and be a believing Christian. She said she believed I was completely wrong and said that the bible backs up her opinion.
So, I began to ask her a few questions.
1. Have you ever known or been connected to a gay couple?
2. Have you ever known a gay person who proclaims belief in Jesus, and a faith walk with God?
3. Have you ever known and been connected to a gay man or lesbian?
4. Have you ever personally studied the Bible regarding your opinion that it condemns homosexual practice?
No, but I’ve always been taught that the Bible condemns homosexuality.
I’m befuddled! Here is a supposedly seasoned Christian who is challenging me on my belief that a person can be a Christian, gay, and have a relationship and walk with God fully. Yet she has virtually no personal experience nor personal study to back up her claims.
She doesn’t know anyone, hasn’t personally studied the resources she claims to stand on, and has no experience with the gay community to know their hearts and faith walk.
I’ve been in full time ministry and relationships with gay men and lesbian women for over 25 years. I’ve attended fifty plus conferences, attended hundreds of seminars both for and against same sex relationships within the Christian faith. I’ve known 1000’s of gay men and lesbian women. I’ve personally heard the hearts of hundreds of gay men and lesbian women.
I’ve read, studied, prayed over, been in much turmoil over my own belief regarding what the Bible says, and doesn’t say about homosexuality.
And you’re challenging me about my beliefs when you have virtually nothing to stand on that is a basis for your challenge!
I might add, that I am a homosexual. I’ve prayed, studied, listened, experienced all of these matters myself for my entire life! I’m quite invested in the issue. Are you? Do you really care about me, my life, or my personal experiences? Are you interested in hearing my heart? Do you have a real concern for other gay men and lesbian women?
No wonder so many gay people have shut down, and walked away from Christians.
I am so frustrated that so many who claim that homosexuality is sinful, that gay relationships are in congruent with the faith walk of a believing Christian and yet they lack experience with gay people . They have not personally studied their resources significantly enough to base their opinions on.
Far too many have listened to pastors, bible teachers, and public speakers and formulated their opinions on what they’ve heard, rather than to research it themselves. With this matter, are they really interested enough to seek their own personal education? Or, will they proclaim God’s standards, hold up signs against gay marriage, and continue to condemn gay relationships because of the things they’ve heard. Would they be interested in hearing another viewpoint and actually be willing to discuss it?
I met with a pastor once who said he’d never studied the passages on homosexuality himself, yet he also condemned homosexual practice and relationships in his sermons. Wow! A pastor speaking for God on this issue, and yet he’d never really studied these matters either! And in many cases, this is the man my friend might be learning from that homosexuality is condemned in the Bible.