Dec 312014
 

I read the story and I still don’t know what to say about it and more importantly how to think about it.

“Transgender teen commits suicide, cites Christian parents in blog”

It goes without saying that this is a tragedy and it’s impossible not to feel the intense pain and confusion in this child’s writings…pain and confusion that led to his death by suicide.

I wish I could have done something to help him…but I wonder if I’m even equipped to do so.

The comments that accompany the story as it’s made it’s way around the internet basically tar and feather Christians as the ones culpable for the tragedy.

Much wrath in particular has been directed at “Christian counseling” as wholly inadequate to address such issues…and as being deadly to people struggling with them.

For this generation the answers are simple…the Christian faith and it’s moral standards are primitive, ignorant, irrelevant, harmful, and should be discarded.

Many of them will contend that any form of sexual and gender expression is a choice that must be respected and affirmed and those that refuse to do so are the enemies of reason and love.

For my generation, it’s not so easy.

When I read much of the writings on this issue, I’m staggered by the number of choices in sexuality and gender identity that are now supposed to be within the norm.

When I grew up, you were either male or female, you were “straight”…and if you fell into another category you were usually silent about it and placed yourself outside the common society.

The closest we came to knowing anything about “transgendered” people was when a well known male tennis player became a woman…and we thought that was the strangest thing we’d ever heard of.

That may not have been right or righteous, but it’s the frame of reference I work from …as it is with most people my age.

The current acceptance of “diversity” in sexual and gender identity is, quite honestly, baffling to me.

As a Christian with a traditional view of the authority of Scripture I believe that God created them “male and female” and He pretty much knew what He was doing.

I believe that the Bible teaches that homosexual acts are sinful, thus I cannot affirm the behavior of those who practice them.

I do not and will not condemn the practitioners as we all have sinned and fall short of the holy standards of God.

I think that in a fallen creation all of our faculties have been marred by sin, including our sexual identities.

The question is how do we address these issues pastorally, scripturally, and lovingly?

I wonder what I would have said to this young man who believed that he was trapped in a body that didn’t fit him.

I wonder if what I would say would be different if it was my son.

Is it possible that a surgeons knife and hormone therapy are legitimate tools to reverse this effect of the fall?

I do not want to be ignorant or uncaring…but I cannot and will not relinquish my faith either.

I do not want to be perceived as anyones enemy, neither do I want to support anything that God rejects.

All I know this morning is that the Gospel is the only thing I’m sure of…and I’m sure it is for everyone who will receive it.

We need to think and talk about these issues…acknowledging the complexity and risks both to those vulnerable and our faith.

What is the way forward?

  161 Responses to “How Do We Respond To Changing Sexual Norms?”

  1. I don’t see how we can blame any parents for wanting their child to be the sex of his/her body. At the same time, I can see how parents should love their child, no matter how wrong they think they are. “I don’t agree with what you are doing, but God knows I love you with all my heart, and I am here for you…..Don’t ever forget that…I know the enemy of your soul is telling you that I am disappointed with you, I am judging you, etc, etc…but I want you to know I love you!! You are mine and nothing will ever change that. I love you.”

  2. Nonnie,

    Foundationally, any response any of us make has to come from that place of unconditional love.
    Well said…

  3. I know a transgender friend from childhood, who went from being a man to woman and had “the surgery” – it has not brought the happiness he thought it would.

    It has brought isolation and a very small circle of friends.

    It did not “open up his world” or liberate him in my opinion. He never found the ‘man of his dreams’ and longs for that to this day, even in his late 50’s…but has given up it will ever happen. He sheepishly says he is “at peace” with his decision, but it is hard to believe as there is no conviction or happiness in his voice.

    At one time, he professed belief and walked with God, then moved to S.F. to serve at a large ministry once based there, and became ‘sucked in’ by the big city and all of it’s ‘lures.’ Well, he was ‘lured’ and caught in a ‘net’ of confusion and now lives on the other side of the bay, afraid sometimes to go out for walk and will wear a football jersey to mask his ‘womandhood’ so as not to bring on ridicule or worse.

    This lost soul needs Jesus and not ‘religion,’ but a true love relationship in Christ.

    As for our relationship, I have chosen to call once in a while, love him unconditionally and as hard as it is, address him by his new name, but I always try to tread gently, lovingly, hoping one day to see a real TRANSFORMATION of his soul that will bring him home again.

    Please pray for my un-named friend. He needs it desperately.

  4. I heard a good discussion last night about the latest “Satanist” monument debate – the argument put forth is that a lot of people just hate Christianity (and thus Christians) – and rather than truly believing and worshipping the prince of darkness, seeking his supernatural power, they just are finding some outlet for their hate. Not much more than the teenager buying Marilyn Manson albums (or Ozzy back in the day).

    It was noted that you never see Muslims and their monuments and holidays fought against in America by the same people – because Christians are easy targets and you just might get your head cut off by the Muslim.

    I guess my point as to this article (though not dealing with the specifics here) is to expect that Christians will continue to be the blame, no matter how loving and accepting they may be – until they fully capitulate on convictions.

    When the press makes a big deal about the transgender kids from Muslim parents, then maybe I will revise my remarks.

  5. Nonnie, I am sure you intended this but I want to be clear. Michael asked how a pastor and a father would/should address young people in this situation. As a pastor and dad (grown kids), I will never stop loving the people Jesus brings into my life. Unconditionally so. But loving them unconditionally does not mean accepting unconditionally the life they choose to live apart from Christ. If you really love someone, truth matters. In this case, I do understand the psychology of a world that encourages young people to explore the options available to them. I also understand same-sex attraction and, as a pastor, deal with it often. But it is never loving to tell them the choices they make do not have consequences both spiritually and physically. I would have told this young man that thinking he is a female is wrong and giving in to the feeling will only make matters worse. I know what it is like to think you have found the answer only to be devastated because that which you thought would make you happy did not because it could not. Real love limits behavior for young people and would have made it impossible for a parent to accept this young man on his own terms. Even common sense tells us we can’t be what we wish we were; we have to come to terms with who/what we really are! I/we can’t have what we want. Kids have been lied to and told they can.

  6. FYI, I said that a parent can believe his/her child is WRONG, yet the love for that child does not stop. That was my point. Accepting the lifestyle is not the same as loving them and at the same time, saying, warning them they are making a terrible mistake. But do we cast them out? Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
    I was just saying we should not burn bridges, but keep lines of communication open, let our children know we will always love them no matter how much we may disagree with their choices. We will always be here for them. Now, how that is “fleshed out” in each individual life ….well, God help us. I think we are on the same page.

  7. Having read your posts for a long time here, that is what I thought you were saying. We are on the same page. I only added what I did because to many, fully accepting the choices our kids make is the only way to love them. Have a wonderful new year.

  8. Fyi,

    I think it’s much more complex than just telling someone that their feelings are wrong.
    Evidently, that’s what the counselors told him…and we know the result.
    I think we have to go far deeper than that…and I think it may be possible in a fallen world that someone genuinely has this type of distortion in their understandings.

  9. Michael, I agree. But telling them they are wrong remains essential because it is true regardless of how they feel. The only real answer is Jesus and I have known you long enough to know that you agree there is no way to help a young man (or older for that matter) like this because there is no answer to be found in rebellion to God. That remains constant. No amount of acceptance or affirmation would have helped this young man’s psychology.

  10. If children can be born with any number of genetic defects or other diseases, why is it difficult to believe that messed up sexual identity (chemical, genetic or physiological) could not be among the traits that might occur in a certain segment of the population? God may have known how he created adam (male and female), but corruption enter the world through the sin of Adam. I wonder if these parents did their due diligence on the state of medicine and science on this issue or were more concerned with shame in the eyes of their peers.

  11. This is one of those topics that just makes my brain feel like it has shorted out.

    The simple answer is to love people, but man that is not even remotely a simple answer.

    I read articles like these (and moreso ones about parents allowing their young children to make these decisions) and my brain screams WRONG WRONG WRONG! It’s really hard to get to love from there. Perhaps it takes having someone in your life who is dealing with those things to even start to wrap your heaad around it.

    Yeah, like I said, I don’t know.

  12. “If children can be born with any number of genetic defects or other diseases, why is it difficult to believe that messed up sexual identity (chemical, genetic or physiological) could not be among the traits that might occur in a certain segment of the population? ”

    Jean…that’s what I was trying to say…you said it well.
    Thank you for helping clarify…

  13. Jean, very condemning of you. You are judging parents who you do not know and assuming that they did not do everything they could. I repeat: truth is indispensible and the only real solution. Whatever happened to taking a stand with/for Jesus and the truth being considered the most and only loving thing to do?

  14. When I was 9 years old I wanted to be a boy. My dad coached little league baseball, I was a fantastic play with no outlet and being a boy just seemed the right thing. How I thank God I didn’t have some wacko psychologist telling me that I was really a boy in a girls’ body!!
    I think so many children and young people are very confused purely because of culture/society and not because there is something genetically out of balance.

    I will always believe that we can speak the truth in love and if someone rejects that truth, and rejects our love for them, then we have done what we could.

  15. Christianity aside – would you treat this guy or advise him differently if instead off his feelings being locked in the wrong body – but that he had pedophile feelings? To keep it on the same level, he does not act out but is still tormented by ‘confused’ sexual feelings.

  16. Nonnie, you said it better than I have been able to.

  17. MLD,
    I don’t know the medical condition of the boy, so I can’t advise him on his gender issue. Regarding sexuality, I adhere to biblical teaching regarding the bounds of heterosexual, monogomous sexuality. And of course, pedophilia would be off limits for obvious reasons.

  18. After having this exact conversation last night with my daughter and then reading this article soon after, I found I was without any good response.

    My daughter believes fully that the LGBTQ lifestyle is misunderstood and that the identities embraced are foundational, not the product of a choice. She knows well my position but still needs to make her argument knowing full well I will listen. She and I both know that no matter how much discussion happens between ourselves, little will change outside of our relationship. Her position is quite clear: we need to see people as humans first and leave their sexuality alone. It’s their business, no other opinion need be given.

    As progressive a view as that is, she still rail against the establishment mindset that I represent. And what many parents today still represent. There lies the impasse.

    Reading this letter, the young man expresssed opinions that many things in his life were lacking and that mindset, combined with the realities of his life, created this tragic end. This is simply not something that our society is equipped to accept on a wide scale, much less world-wide, which has a far harsher view and consequences thereof than in the United States.

    That reality is in strict oppostion to what Hollywood promotes in regard to these lifestyles. And that, cannot be told of; it is something that is experienced.

    In the end, I believe my daughter was looking to me for the very answer I have already said I would give previously: I would love them anyway. And I will.

  19. Jean,
    We can advise on many things and it sounds like the therapist did just that – said stay within your body.
    This is why I suggested that he does not act out – just like we can tell the transgender to not act out. But that does not relieve the confusion.

    I am all for moral restraint. Not as much today as when I was younger, but I lived my whole life in the tension of the philandering, get all the girls I want going on in my head and society and the Bible’s restraints telling me to be monogamous.

    Is my condition any different than that of the young man in question. Age has tempered me – I can’t chase as fast anymore. 😉

  20. my understanding of “same sex” attraction and transgender individuals is that they are two different things entirely…
    how many people down thru time have had a problem with transgender identity, i don’t know… the homosexual is another thing altogether, IMV…
    i do know that today’s children have the cards stacked against them when it comes to safely navigating thru puberty… and i do think that we have focused on the pot, not the flame… in the second half of the 20th century the intellectuals-so-called among us labeled all censorship of sexual expression and prudery – as there probably have always ben transgendered folk, i am sure that there have always been prudes among us… many things in society have changed over the last 100 years… i’m still looking for progress, tho

    how do i feel as an old Christian about the accusation that this child’s Christian parents drove him/her to suicide? i feel sad… poor child… poor parents… then maybe those parents weren’t Christians – just using the name to back up their sense of right and wrong… poor child, poor parents – God give us strength and wisdom… and maybe a backbone to stand gracious and firm – forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors

  21. fyi,

    Simply to say that “Jesus is the answer” depends on what question one is asking.
    Jesus des not always heal mental or physical illness, nor does He completely reverse all the manifestations of the fall.
    To “stand with Jesus” usually involves loving the unlovable and standing against the religious and societal trends of a given day.
    I honestly don’t know what the “truth” is on some of these issues…

  22. Laura,

    Well said…

  23. MLD,
    There a lot of different kinds of “therapists”. I know if that I had a loved one who was dealing with intense emotional and/or psychological issues, I would not limit my resources to only “Christian” therapists.

  24. Em,

    The way that “options” are offered and affirmed by the school system and society are making the teen years a minefield for both children and parents.

  25. Jean,
    I would probably put ‘christian’ therapist low on my A list. But I would be leery of any therapist who first advises people to act out their feelings – and there are many who do.

  26. I agree with MLD’s 25 as far as the one who would advocate “acting out ” their feelings.

    Like MLD said, Most men would not be monogamous, if they “acted out” their feelings.

  27. Michael, I know you understand what I am saying yet you are trying to re-frame the argument. Are you trying to find a solution for sinful human conditions apart from Christ? If so, I have nothing to offer. There is no help for the man/woman who insists on behaving in a way contrary to Scripture. Period. If there really is no help available in the world, should we not direct hurting people to the only One who can offer real help? It is NOT unloving to tell people the truth; it is, in fact, the only way to unconditionally love someone. Your original post described your positions clearly and brilliantly. But now you seem to be looking for help from another source, solutions that are not solutions. Maybe I misunderstand (please be more clear if I am misunderstanding you) but God help us if we ever view standing for Jesus and for right as unloving. The truth is always the same: people are hurting an dying and making horrible choices because they have been convinced by a Christ-rejecting world that it is OK to make the choice and that it should be their right to make that choice without consequences. We know there are always consequences to the choices we make. Might I be considered by unsaved people to be unloving because of what I know is true? Of course. But that has to be OK because I know, and Jesus knows, it is exactly the opposite. We cannot fix what the fall has caused. There is no relief in this world from any source other than Jesus. If you are looking for an answer/relief that does not require conversion and obedience, you will find none.

  28. If this were really an issue, perhaps all children by the 5th grade should be required to question their gender and sexuality.

    How do we not know that many more without realization are really locked in the wrong body and have confused feelings (again without realization) that in later life will turn in to a time bomb.

    Let’s get some legislation going that requires this to be a forced issue. or perhaps not.

    To be honest, I think people like this are troubled about “other things” and it manifests itself in their “sexual confusion”

    I am not a therapist, but I did spend the night at a Holiday Inn express.

  29. fyi,

    What I’m saying is that these issues are far more complex than religious cliches allow.
    I have loved ones with mental illness…they are “saved” but still quite ill and dependent upon medication and counseling to have any hope of a “normal” life.
    Offering simplistic answers to complex problems is often unloving in result, whether intentional or not.

  30. Nonnie’s #14 … reading that, a chill literally ran up my spine… i was a tomboy as a child, i grew up tall and late to “fill out”… i love being a girl and all that implies, i love being designed to appreciate men and to fulfill the role of one man’s helpmate… could that have been traumatized out of me, were i a pubescent girl of today? Today, i’m sure i’d be going out of my skull with the “advice” that would come my way… i think, i’m pretty sure of it, that a pubescent child is far more suggestible than is acknowledged and those raging hormones of youth can go off the rails in many directions… what we are seeing now is the canary of the coal mine parable… don’t blame the dead canary for the toxic air… IMHO

  31. MLD,
    I agree with your #25.

    I raised 2 boys. Maybe it’s easier in the Midwest, but I didn’t find gender identity or sexual attraction a minefield. On the other hand, alcohol use is a constant challenge for parents here.

    I have always thought that raising children is the primary responsibility of parents. This morning I was pointed to a fantastic article on a Lutheran blog, Brothers of John the Steadfast, that really drills home the primacy of the family in incolcating our children in the Faith. This obviously impacts morality and all sorts of other things. You do not have to be Lutheran to enjoy this article and take points of advice. Please give it a read and pass it on to anyone you know who you think might benefit from this wisdom.

    http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=32304

  32. In this fallen world we will continue to see these challenges in the Church. If you haven’t experienced a church member with a loved one dealing with gender issues you will eventually. Yes we are often times not fully equipped to minister to these souls.

    As the Church however we must continue to reach out and love these people without compromising the Truth or enabling them in their lifestyle choices. Simply ignoring the issue or worse shunning people with alternative lifestyles is unloving.

  33. Em….I agree

  34. Jean – I agree. Parenting is not for the weak at heart. I thought I kept up on my kids pretty good through high school, but now that they are in their late 30s and early 40s the revel in telling my and their mom the stories of drinking, heavily and drugging, lightly and general carousing.

    We can laugh about it now around the holiday table because we all survived and they are all emotionally healthy, but… if I had known then about them what I know now – one of us would be dead.

  35. “If you are looking for an answer/relief that does not require conversion and obedience, you will find none.”

    The truth we need to acknowledge is that conversion and “obedience” don’t always provide an answer or relief either.

    That’s my bottom line…without degrading the importance of either.

  36. On the table. Your kid announces they are gay and they are going to have a same sex wedding. Are you going? If a girl are you going to give away the bride.

    How would you handle it?

    As a side note, all of my kids lived with their spouses for years before getting married. I had to live and love through that. All of these new fangle relationships are all strange to me – for those who know, remember, my wife is the only girl I ever dated.

  37. “On the table. Your kid announces they are gay and they are going to have a same sex wedding. Are you going?”

    Yes.

  38. Nonnie,

    “I think so many children and young people are very confused purely because of culture/society and not because there is something genetically out of balance.”

    Michael

    “I think it’s much more complex than just telling someone that their feelings are wrong.
    Evidently, that’s what the counselors told him…and we know the result.
    I think we have to go far deeper than that…and I think it may be possible in a fallen world that someone genuinely has this type of distortion in their understandings.”

    Agree heartedly with both comments. Genetic research as only hypothesized that those who identify their sexuality as other than anatomically designated or heterosexual. Clinically speaking, much can be understood when reading up on what is referred to as: Attachment Theory. Not all clinicians see it this way, yet there seems to be more scholarly work being done in this area. Been around for some time now, but with those who would like to do the “born this way,” thing, attachment theory waters down what they have achieved thus far.

    Good book: The Fantasy Bond – Structure of Psychological Defenses – by Robert W. Firestone, Ph.D.

  39. MLD #36,
    Yes.

  40. The idol of sex/gender/orientation is the one holy idol in this culture. It is the one you dare not question or speak against. Even certain lines of genuine inquiry into these areas are forbidden. Those who do not wholeheartedly welcome it with open arms are publicly castigated, shamed and even stripped of their vocations. Our discussions of the topic are subject to rules, not the least of which is to tread very humbly and cautiously (more so than other subjects) lest you offend and blaspheme the doctrine.

    Here is my take on the subject. I believe that there has always been a tiny fraction of the population that was homosexual in orientation, or had real physical gender dysfunction or abnormality. These instances provide real psychological and physical challenges. However, with the popularization of gender issues and homosexuality, there seems to be a subset of mentally and emotionally unstable individuals who latch on to things and claim the identity or issue for themselves.

    I have several reasons for this belief.
    A. The huge increase in the numbers of people claiming these orientations. The number appears to be far larger than we would expect just from the new ‘openness’ allowing these folks to go public.

    B.Note the number of straight white males from all walks of life (Military Special Forces, Education, Pro Sports, etc.) married and with families, in their late 40’s and 50’s who suddenly report being ‘trapped’ in male bodies and seek gender reassignment. Something about this seems amiss. Why now? Seems that if this was an issue earlier, it would have been easier to act on it then, rather than at a time when you potentially had the most to lose.

    C. I have a number of gay friends and have seen more than my fair share of gay culture. Many of these individuals are deeply troubled. Of course the blame falls on straight culture for ‘oppressing’ these individuals resulting in their subsequent problems. But that is not entirely true. (Inquire discreetly about male homosexual domestic violence, if you don’t believe me. It will be a ‘social issue’ in the future.)

    Add to this the odd syndrome that you see in segments of the deaf community, in which deaf people actively oppose and shun cures for their deafness, and view them as a threat to ‘Deaf Culture.’ It has it’s own literature, denigrating those of us who can hear and who try to help the deaf, and discouraging deaf people from availing themselves of the latest medical advances to cure them. They actually claim that deafness is not a disability. I believe this has a huge parallel in the LGBTQ community. (Note: I doubt that there is any ‘cure’ or ‘reparative therapy’ at this point in time that will reorient these individuals to a heterosexual outlook.) But the parallel survives in that what was once viewed as a disorder or dysfunction, is now championed as a healthy and desirable identity. (Since when is what you do with your genitals, and your preferred activities, a sound and exclusive basis for the sum and substance of your identity?)

    All that being said, I am at a loss as to what to do in the church. This culture views disagreement on this subject as hatred and bigotry. That’s a lie, but one that is wholly embraced by society. I know my gay friends will never strive to change their orientation, they won’t even consider it.

    I guess it comes down to loving your kids and friends who are gay, and pray for them.

  41. Michael, I don’t wish this to become (or sound) personal so I will say this one final thing: it is a bit demeaning to respond by viewing what I wrote as religious cliches or simplistic. There are all kinds of problems that will have no solution until heaven–why are we trying to solve them? Do we view ourselves as spiritual Don-Quixotes under compulsion to attack windmills? The fact that a mentally ill person does not get healed doesn’t re-frame the argument. Jesus is still the answer; conversion still necessary. By His stripes we are healed is a promise of a future with no infirmities and no effects caused by sin and this fallen world. In this life, some just have to bear it by faith, trusting that, in their obedience, God will bless eventually. In this life hopefully but we both know many die after suffering horribly for a long time. Right this minute, a 42-year old precious woman is only minutes/hours from being ushered into the presence of God. The Lord entrusted her to us a little more than 5 years ago when, under protest, her sister brought her to our church. She ran out of the sanctuary the moment church ended and the Lord put on my wife’s heart to run out to her and talk with her. The woman did not want to talk but the Spirit kept pushing on my wife. He asked that my wife get down on one knee and, in the parking lot filled with people, propose marriage to her for Him. As you might expect, the woman thought it very weird but was polite and left. She came back 2 weeks later and told my wife that she was gay and hurting. That same day she gave her life to Jesus. Did her same-sex attraction leave instantly? No. But she really fell in love with the Lord and decided that Jesus was worth saying no to her fleshly desires. It was very difficult for her but she remained convinced that the only way she could walk with Jesus was to say no to her flesh. And wonderful fruit resulted from her obedience. Now her entire family has been saved and are gathered to say their goodbyes. She is about to be healed completely. That is neither simplistic nor a religious cliche. Beating down flesh is painful and requires constant maintenance. But Jesus’ promise remains: a day is coming where are all the pain will make sense and be gone. But that day only comes for those who hear and respond to the truth; there is only a promise of torment for those who will not. We told her the truth–in love–and the Spirit of God did the rest of the work. He will also do the same to young men/women who struggle with transgender confusion or same-sex attraction. Or mental illness. We have no promise of healing in this life. Should we not be focusing on the healing that awaits us all? To imply that the struggles of this world (for many) are too complex for real, honest answers is a far greater (and more dangerous) cliche.

  42. MLD’s question is very provoking but a very good one.

    Attending the wedding of a son or daughter yes but giving a daughter away the answer is another matter.

    Attending the wedding extends one’s unconditional love but it is not necessarily a gesture of approval of the lifestyle choice. Giving one’s daughter away however communicates to those witnessing the ceremony that one also approves of the union.

  43. fyi,

    We will have to disagree agreeably.
    I reject the way you frame the question and you reject the way I answer.
    We will not get more light by continuing.

  44. I don’t know if the numbers are higher or whether the people with these issues are just more vocal and or visible than they used to be. I come into contact with lots of people all the time and the vast, vast majority of them are heterosexual.

  45. The complexity of the relational issue of same-sex sex is difficult and I have often said it includes much broader issues than simply accepting those who engage in it. I believe the issue for many “straight” people often is more about their personal freedom than restricting others.

    When I say no and restrict homosexual sex I am also, indirectly, saying no to other forms of deviant behavior. In a broad sense if I restrict other’s sin I also must restrict my own and I believe that is a huge part of the issue for most of us.

    Is this something new? I can point to the scripture where Jesus takes a very restrictive view of marriage and divorce and considering his disciples response they were not very happy with it.

    Tough and relevant subject.
    Can I have my cake please.

  46. Francisco, let’s go one further. how about a same sex wedding in a church where they are asking God to bless what God has already called sin?

  47. A few years ago, a 17 year old female, requested to be seen by me at her mother’s insistence, as I also treat those in the Christian community.

    Mom was in constant panic mode, particularly now that her daughter would soon be on her own and out of the home. More recent, the daughter was discovered to be carry on with another female, near the same age, but older. Mom was also terrified that her daughter was going make the same mistakes that she did, that is, she became promiscuous when she was 14 years old.

    Daughter, the client being of legal age to have therapy without Mom immediate presence, was seen without Mom with the agreement that every 4-6 week, I would see Mom first by herself, then with the two together.

    I never told the either how they should or should not feel about this or that, but instead explored their feelings with them to understand what was driving them. As it turned out, daughter was extremely controlled by her mother’s fear and due to this she was seeking the attachment that she did not get from her. The person, the daughter was involved provided this to her. She was afraid of men due to being molested several years before by her father, who was never prosecuted as the mother just wanted to get away from him due to domestic violence. Mom wanted her daughter to be a normal Christian girl who went on to school and could find a good man. Daughter wanted to be free from Mom’s clutches and control. Mom wanted me to tell the daughter that she was wrong in the choices she was making regarding this relationship with this female. But Mom resisted in exploring her own choices of living with a man whom she was not married.

    Mom drew upon the rules of Christian rights and wrong, however, had difficulty applying them to her own moral choices. Mom was obsesses with every aspect of her daughter’s choices, down to what she ate each day.

    Outcome: Daughter chose to forego her relationship with this other female and opted in preparing herself to graduate from high school and to go and attend college. She also learned to set boundaries for herself and to understand how her affection towards this female was idealized and sexualized. She stopped drinking and chose instead to pick up a part time job to give her more freedom than setting herself up to enable her mother to have control in areas that a 17 year old needed to have mastered that would enable her to make those choices that she along would be held responsible for as an adult.

    Total time in therapy: 9 months.

    Mother was encouraged to seek therapy with another therapist as she felt that if daughter would just do what she wanted her to do, her life would be less complicated. Mother did not want to explore her past or present relationship with men at that time. Daughter planned to move away from mother upon graduation and continue therapy with another Christian therapist in geographical area she plan to go to school.

    Mother was not a difficult person or ungodly person—just a fearful and defensive person who lived her life through her daughter and whatever her daughter was doing or not doing was perceived as a reflection of the mother’s own perspective of herself. This involves the processes of projection and what is called the mirroring effect. It has to do with type of attachment style that obviously set this daughter/mother relationship up to evolved into what it did when they came to me for therapy.

    As Michael stated, it is not necessary to for the therapist to be a Christians, but it is necessary for a therapist to get to the underlying core of what is driving the defenses.

  48. FYI, that is a powerful testimony!
    God bless our sister in Christ .

  49. BTW, this statement from the blog kind-of bothered me a bit:

    “Despite Leelah’s request that we be not sad, we should be sad. This was an avoidable tragedy. All that was required was a little more education, and a little less religious bigotry.”

    What bothers me is the cultural propensity to place blame for our actions on others. This teen’s suicide was committed by his hand and not his parents, nor his friends around him. The sadness is he was surrounded by a whole host of supports and yet he chose to end his life.

    I have known a large number of people who have committed suicide over the years and in my own times of depression these words, spoken by a very close friend, come to me; “suicide is one of the most selfish acts (she could think of).”

    Despair and depression are a very difficult and often insurmountable things, but blaming parents or others is simple not true. The only way this was avoidable was for the young man to make a choice for life and tough it out like the rest of us.

    Sorry for sounding so hard.

  50. if one reads the comments on this thread, one would think that Christians are loving, God-fearing and sensible people 🙂

    glad this topic finishes 2014 and is not the topic that starts 2015

    A good and God blest 2015 to all who visit Michael’s site – especially to Michael, himself

  51. MLD in response to #46.

    This is why I believe that it is essential for every independent local church to have a solid Statement of Faith and its doctrinal positions on paper. Also when a local church is transparent in its doctrinal positions(eg. scripture supporting marriage as a sacred institution created by God) and someone all of a sudden has a grievance, it is not a legal issue but a doctrinal one. I am not an attorney but my understanding is that most courts will not hears cases against churches regarding doctrinal issues. Problems will certainly arise however when a local fellowship is vague or worse ignores its doctrinal positions regarding marriage or alternative lifestyles.

    In answering your question, I would not not perform a same sex ceremony or allow such ceremony to take place in the facilities of the local church because doing so would go against the doctrinal positions of our local church. This said if a family member or any other church member invited me to attend their alternative lifestyle wedding at another location performed by someone else, I would still extend them unconditional love by attending, without compromising the integrity of the local church.

    Happy New Year.

  52. Search Youtube for “Transgender children”. It appeared on the sidebar of another video I was watching -it followed at a boy who wanted to be a girl.They are now calling kids under 10 transgender and are giving them hormones to stop puberty. The Dr’s decide on what age they will start the transition. This particular child was cleared for those drugs. It makes the child sterile as they reach puberty. It is also non- reversible.

  53. Anne:

    Nothing new in your article, I’ve heard and read all that stuff before and actually have intervened and acted on the “signs” of suicide. But, the choice, in most cases, is all ours when we decide to end our lives.

    Suicide, like all sin, leaves a trail of consequences, hurt, questions and morning in its wake. Truthfully if the prevention of suicide does one thing, it protects other from the consequences of such action. In a culture which doesn’t believe in eternal life why would we be bothered by any loss of life, unless we have personal ties to it in some form.

    While I can’t speak for others (yet I believe many are the same) again, my personal depressions are self-centered and selfishly oriented and the blame for the action of suicide ultimately rests on me.

    Will I live in this world with others, respecting them or not?

    BTW, It is true that some people are so far over the edge, brain chemistry altered, life situations so defined, they feel like they have no hope. How do they get out of it? I can only write for myself and care about others.

  54. On the subject of “gender” and all the stereo-types my personal experience includes a female couple. Outwardly the couple is very stereo-typical, one of them dresses, appears and acts very feminine while the other appears “butch.”

    Ironically of the two the “butch” one is actually the most feminine in actions, personality and relationship. She is sweet, tender, caring and mothers people while her outwardly feminine partner is selfish, bold, aggressive, not a truth-teller, and generally more “male” in her personality traits.

    My point is this, our stereo types are all screwed up!

    Both of our friends are women, live like women, and even ultimately act like women. It’s our culture who thinks the one who dresses sexy and does her make-up correctly is more of a woman.

  55. “On the table. Your kid announces they are gay and they are going to have a same sex wedding. Are you going?”<<<

    No.

  56. Francisco,
    If they have not already the ELCA would welcome doing same sex wedding, in the church with the exact same liturgy as a “regular” wedding – with prayer and communion. It is this that I am asking about – would you attend?

    If I were in the situation and my gay child were to have a same sex wedding, I would go if it were in a reception hall, clubhouse, restaurant etc.

    If it were in a church, I would not attend. Although both mock God, I just can’t do it in God’s own house.

  57. God’s house was destroyed in 70 ad.

  58. Technically, I am God’s house.

    Which makes me realize that my previous post was hypocritical – I really shouldn’t even take God’s house (me) to a reception hall for such an event.

  59. Jesus went to the Centurian’s house not because he endorsed Roman occupation, but because he loved his enemy. The good Samaritan…. The father of the prodigal son….

  60. How is Roman occupation sin?
    How is the prodigal son in sin for having left home?

    Would Jesus go to a brothel in Jerusalem and participate. Would he pronounce acceptace of the acts going on in the brothel?

  61. Apples and oranges. Jesus dined with sinners. Dining was an intimate affair. He was in a sense accused of participation in their sinning and or condoning. I would err on the side of preserving the father son/daughter relationship.

  62. The Lord said that if we aren’t willing to leave our family members for Him, we cannot be His disciple. St. Paul said to avoid all appearances of evil.

    Sentimentalism says yes, go along with whatever. Don’t upset anyone, don’t hurt anybody’s feelings, make sure they always like you so act accordingly, even if it means participating in evil or condoning wickedness so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings. Christianity is all about being nice so be nice, even if it’s wrong.

    Sometimes you have to realize that sentimentality is not always in harmony with God’s truth.

  63. Does anybody here really believe Jesus would go to a homosexual “wedding,” read the prayers in the wedding service, dance with the groom/ groomette at the reception and shout mazel tov?

  64. Apples and oranges. Jesus dined with sinners.

    That’s all there are to eat with. Find me the non sinner among us and I will take him out to dinner.

    But show me the instance where Jesus praised someone and celebrated their sin.

    You say “I would err on the side of preserving the father son/daughter relationship”.- Of far less consequence, if your son came to you and said “dad, I’m going out tonight to get hammered, would you come and do the same with me?” … you would say?

  65. Xenia – I think many do think that.

  66. If your child wanted you to join him in a shoplifting spree or a counterfeiting scam or any of a hundred other sinful acts, would you join them “to preserve the relationship?” Maybe the whole fam could sit down for an evening of viewing p0rn?

    Or would you realize that encouraging and condoning them in the sin, effectively hardening their hearts, is probably the least loving thing one could do.

  67. Xenia really cleared it up for me. thank you

  68. Who said anything about praising and celebrating sin. Good grief.

  69. Would you take your daughter to the abortion clinic?

  70. What is a modern wedding these days but the celebration of two people? If you attend a homosexual wedding, you are participating in their sin. You are helping celebrate perversion. You are telling them and everyone present that it’s ok. It’s not ok.

  71. Who said anything about praising and celebrating sin. Good grief.

    Then what is going to a gay wedding if not praising and celebrating? Where do you draw the line? How about a “regular” wedding officiated by a satanic priest? (and you know ahead of time.)

    I went to my nephews wedding in the forest somewhere in Monterrey 10 years ago and the guy officiated was a druid priest. I don’t think I would have gone if I had known.

  72. the guy officiated was a druid priest.<<<

    Was that "Father Charlie?"

    He used to do all the hippie weddings around here.

  73. Y’all are like a dog after a bone. I’m going to cry uncle and open a beer. 🙂

  74. Timely post and very good discussion thread. Church, meet yor lateat challenge.

  75. *your

  76. I was at my old alma mater, UC Santa Cruz, today, and the signs on the restroom doors were so confusing I couldn’t figure out who was supposed to use what. At the bottom of the paragraph engagingly titled “free to pee,” it summed up with “Whatever sex you find yourself most comfortable presenting yourself as, you may use this restroom.”

    Complete and total idiocy.

  77. Complete and total idiocy.

    We have gone mad – afraid to tell our kids NO!

  78. We are afraid of our kids. We are afraid of everyone except God.

  79. What I would have given in high school to be just temporarily gender confused so I could sneak into the girls showers. 🙂

  80. i am in debt to the conversation here on weddings… before reading, my inclination would have been to go and sit quietly in the back somewhere solely because the participants were friends or relatives… after reading, i am convinced that i would not go and, further, i’d make it a point to go privately to the participants and tell them that i loved them, but my God would be offended by my celebrating what He taught was wrong headed and called by Him ‘sin.’ It would not be for me to edit God – thank you, Xenia

  81. Michael: if you want serious discussion on this subject, feel free to write me privately. You can find me on FB (my name is very rare). I live in Maryland, USA. You can send me a FB message.

    Bonnie and I have been married for 39 years, and counting. I married as male, and became legally female in 2007. I am certified with Gender Identity Disorder (now called Gender Identity Dysphoria).

    I live as a follower of Jesus (or which I have written before). I held a Top Secret gov’t clearance as a transsexual (so my life is not exactly exciting nor titillating… in fact, I am rather boring… lol).

    So, for me, this is not theory… this is pragmatic theology.

    The subjects of the Fall of Man, mental disorders, medical treatments, church involvement in medical/psychiatric treatments, the variations of bible-based counseling, primary vs secondary arguments, suicide prevention, biblical (hermeneutic) approaches, the difference between sexual-orientation and gender-identity … are all good subjects to consider.

    I will not be ‘following’ this thread here, as I recognize this is a blog that is primarily concerned with abstract (non-pragmatic) doctrinal discussions. And, in many ways, I have so little to add to that approach. [Nothing against it… just not the style of music I enjoy as I close out my 50’s, so to speak.]

    Blessings! and, Happy New Year. Caryn

  82. We leave the job of conviction of sin to the Holy Spirit.

    John 16:8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.

    While we unconditionally love humans God will convict them of of sin unless the above Scripture is not authentic…

  83. “abstract (non-pragmatic) doctrinal discussions” … sounds like the folks who comment here have a lot of time to waste … 🙂 …
    also sounds like Caryn has done her best to deal with the anomaly that entered hers and her spouse’s lives … it would not be easy … other thots have already been expressed above

    just verbalizing my reaction to the lengthy post intended for Michael’s eyes as i’ve finished my critter sitting and my access to the internet – unplugging with prayer for all

    God keep all here close

  84. I for one find nothing noble about Caryn’s tale. I am glad that he/she was able to call it a disorder so that we don’t come to any conclusion that this is some kind of ‘gift from God’ as I have heard many homosexuals describe it.

    I do want to know why this is not just described as some acting out of a sinful urge – no different than what an adulterer does?

  85. Well, I don’t see a thread for this so ill say it here…Happy New Year everyone!

  86. Selective story telling

    … is the means of changing minds. They never tell stories of the ravages of the disconnectedness of the homosexual experience because of myriads of unfulfilling empty sex-ploits. They never tell you stories that reveal the underbelly of this world. Media has always manipulated minds by selectively injecting the prey. I can guarantee you that this story is being selectively exploited as well.

    Now in full disclosure I have not ingested the article or the discussion…

    Didn’t care to end 2014 that way… and am swallowed by work.

  87. You can find tons of stories and articles of trans people who are deeply unhappy after undergoing gender reassignment surgery. My understanding is that rates of suicide and attempted suicide by trans people are high across the all the various levels of transitioning that people undergo. Leelah’s parents may have made a million mistakes in dealing with this issue, but refusing to allow any sort of transitioning treatment to occur was not one of them in my opinion. If it were my child, I would not have okayed it, just like, on a smaller level, if I had a son I would not have him be circumcised, or, on a much smaller level, I would not allow my child to get a tattoo. That sort of massive, permanent, physical altering of the body is something that I think should, in most cases, be decided by an individual when they are an adult and they should bear the full responsibility for that decision.

    I also kind of feel like, children/teenagers have horrible conflicts with their parents all the time, and it’s very possible that even if Joshua never identified as trans or as gay and was instead a totally straight, cisgendered person that there could have been some other issue that caused his parents to not accept him or caused him to not feel accepted by his parents. There are plenty of kids out there (and plenty of kids from christian homes) who feel rejected, unloved, and judged by their parents without gender identity ever entering the equation.

  88. Mld, I find nothing noble about you wishing you had been gender confused so you could sneak into the girls showers.

  89. Alex, you’ll have to make a name change…we already have an Alex here …and you’re not him.

  90. Alex 2,

    It’s called “Humor”. Get a sense of it.

    Contrary to popular belief, it is not forbidden in scripture.

  91. Neither is being transgender, parker or mld

  92. I have lost well over twenty friends / family to suicide. I personally witnessed one suicide attempt as a young person I E twelve or thirteen where a distraught young man jammed a broken beer bottle into his wrist and slit his wrists. One of my very dear friends did succeed in his attempt while I was in the same house. There was some talk of my brother but his death was ruled an accident.

    Some of the comments on the post where people showed a sense of glee over the death of this young person were truly troubling but I will be honest I heard them from people in my own life. One of my dear friends in high school committed suicide in a rather bizarre way and my brother came to tell me how the policeman came and told everyone in the room he was in about what happened, they all had a good laugh. I was working on my car when my brother came up and told me what an idiot my friend who died, was. It broke my heart, still does so many years later. This was common in my neck of the woods as a kid growing up.

    My brother has changed dramatically and me and him have reconciled over so much. I am sorry for the young person’s loss.

  93. I agree with J2 as to not allowing a permanent decision like that on my child.

    Also Incognito, I’m not going to go back and read all the comments, but I don’t recall anyone having any glee over the suicide of that young person. Suicide is tragic, regardless of circumstances. I’m sorry you have been so close to others who have tried or committed suicide; that must be horrible. I would imagine you are a kind and compassionate friend to those around you. God bless you in the new year.

  94. The prescription for a sin sick world, is the message of the gospel of the kingdom. That is to repent from your sins, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins. Like Peter, save yourself from this evil and perverse generation.

  95. They were in the original post linked, several well its not important.

  96. Michael,
    This hits very close to home, as my son is gay.

    There are so many issues regarding parenting, sexual politics, narcissism, and pop psychology. The suicide note left behind many clues into why the momentum swung towards this end result. Having a son who is gay, became for us as parents to make choice of making life difficult or not for him or ourselves. Because so many people seem to blend their own form of cultural norms and place the bible to justify their behavior is alarming. We were very keen to not have that happen. So what to do? How about trusting the Lord.

    Here are some basics that we did. We help guide and build a foundation around Christ. Did we raise him to understand and accept Jesus? yes. Did he? yes! Did we teach him to believe in himself and never be ashamed of who he was to Christ? yes we did. Did he understand that world will look different to him than what his family would show? Yes he did. Did we give in to pressure to become more sexual (just because he was gay) no we didn’t, and even if he was straight we still wouldn’t. Did we try to compensate with every desire he wanted even though it didn’t follow what social norms dictated for a young boy? no we didn’t. Did we compensate for his sexual preference? We treated him like a young boy/man growing up. And here’s the key, did he grow up afraid? No he didn’t. He was confused on why his family is this way and others were not. He actually felt sorry for others which led him to really try to help people. God always has a plan.

    Did we pray and ask God to show us what He wants from this? Yes. Did He answer? Yes, He did. We have a healthy, God fearing young man who is GAY and loves the Lord. So much so, that he been on missions, teaching young people of tolerance and how Jesus accepts everyone. Which means everyone.

    If parents got out of their own way and follow what Jesus is trying to tell us, our spirit would be softer. Do I agree with the gay agenda? no They’re just as lost as anyone and they need to know the Lord first and foremost. Just because they are gay doesn’t mean that they cannot accept Christ. That is between God and whoever the person is. And talking about a “person”. The christian community is really guilty of objectiving “gays” as them, those, or the other kind. Which really places them into a non-human status and in a very sick sinful way, allows us to call or drag whatever attitudes you may have towards them (all because of a sexual preference. I have heard plenty from so called christians such as calling them sexual predators to pedophiles, without a shred of a contriteness in their dialogue.

    My final point here is what was said in the letter. The letter as sad as it was, was all about want,want, and more want. Parents who have to deal with this issue may cave-in more often leading to a more narcissistic child (hence this generation seems to be), where instant gratification is certainly a driver for bad behavior. I cannot argue the why someone is or is not gay, but behavior, parenting and expectations has no sexual preference but are used to compensate how a child’s behavior outcome should be.

    The person who I really feel terrible for was the driver who struck him. He or she didn’t deserve any of this. Why because he wanted a sex change? Really? In this case, the end certainly doesn’t justify the means. When we throw in Christian this or that, its becomes a case of managing outcomes. Just because some people feel they need a sex change, should they automatically get it? Should a parent be compelled to compensate for it? I am sorry, those are not parental issues but more of selfishness and poor guidance of expectations. In this case, we may be looking at the wrong victim because in the end, he did exactly what he wanted to do.

    This is a sad commentary for tolerance, Jesus Love and what people expect/want.

    I pray we learn from all this.

  97. Ivan,

    Thank you…that was an excellent comment with much for us to consider.
    Thank you….

  98. Ivan’s comment is one of several reasons I come here regularly. Thank you Ivan and thank you Michael for many thoughtful and useful comments here on this blog. I look forward to continuing my listening and learning from this site.

  99. SO DON’T BE GAY

    I have known many gay / lesbian people. Most were just very casual acquaintances, others I have known as friends. I know a couple of life stories, and the family members are convinced that these gay adults were born that way. The signs were there early on. I don’t believe that there is any such thing as “choice” when it comes to attractions. When you think about and study “Attraction”, and what it really is, it is anything but a choice. We don’t get to choose what thing, place, object, car, house, or person we are attracted to, we just are, or are not. Attractions aren’t choices we make, they are a part of who we are.

    I have come to believe that most gays are born that way, and a small fraction have had some kind of sexual abuse or trauma that has dramatically altered their entire life and natural development. Lonnie Frisbee, for example.

    If given a choice, most all gays would not wish this on themselves if they were honest about it. Who would want to volunteer to go through life having to deal with all the societal pressure, the confusion and secrets, the shame and guilt, the rejection from family and friends, the persecution. In spite of all that, they remain gay anyway. They don’t say, “You know, this “choice” I made has caused me so much grief, I just won’t be gay anymore”. That doesn’t happen. They remain who they are because it is who they are.

    How homosexuality became the greatest “sin” in the world is beyond me. I think all of us here on earth are in the same boat. I have learned the hard way, not to point my finger at anybody.

    As a Believer, this “apparently” puts me and my thinking at odds with the scriptures. Over the last several years of my life, I have come to realize I am no longer a fundamentalist, nor do I believe in the inerrancy of scripture. Inspired, yes. Inerrant? Not so much. I don’t know who started that. This hasn’t changed my faith in God. Fundamentalism is a fairly new American idea anyway. It has only been around a hundred years or so.

    Right or wrong, these God-given reasoning and critical thinking skills have brought me to this place. I hope there are those out there who will think on these things.

  100. Parker,
    I think your comments are spot on. It’s very hard logically for a fundamentalist to say they have “Unconditional Love”. It’s a paradoxical doctrine. I am in no way a new age evangelical or unitarian whatever. However there are fundamental beliefs that we all are connected by either black or white, gay or straight, murderer or not. If you believe in Jesus, His crucifixion and His resurrection, you are justified “In Christ” meaning there is “no condemnation” with regards to your sin, as Jesus has paid this price on our behalf. Where it goes from there has cause wars, divorce, murder, prejudice, shunning to just name a few.

    Why do we as christian, must be the “Christian Police” when it comes sanctification? Who gave us the right and the power to judge on God’s behalf and Jesus’s sacrifice to name the one is “In Christ” and this one is not. Especially because they are gay? How about vegans? How about smokers? How about drinkers? How about adulterers? Where did this line come from?

    What I read in the scriptures,there are more references about Jesus anger when it turned to those who acted in piety but their hearts were like stone.

    The greatest line the devil made for us christian was the biggest cop out phrase in my generation, “we love the sinner but hate the sin”. It sounds and taste really good, but swallows really bitter.

    For the life of me, I can’t wait to meet Jesus when I leave this earth, because I am really tired of seeing the fake Jesus’s down here.

    You cannot use phrases like “Unconditional Love” and be fundamentalist. It doesn’t make any biblical or logical sense. You sound more like an imbecile, which is why our young people today look down on Evangelicals with disdain. You speak with both sides of your mouth. By using that phrase and doctrine you are a hypocrite.

    Here’s a suggestion,”How about all of us start trying to “trust the Lord, that He actually knows what He is doing” much better than anyone of us does. and actually do what He says, and pray. Pray for guidance. Pray for understanding. Pray for opening up your heart. Pray that through all of this I can come even closer to you, Lord. Pray that my example in this life could never be confused of someone who doesn’t know you. Let’s start with that and maybe we can have a conversation of “who’s gay, why gay, and so on”. I doubt you can even approach this conversation because “this is not your war, it’s God’s” so stop acting liking and do someone novel like “love you neighbor, regardless”.

    Don’t let your fears act like love, it’s not.

  101. Wow, the last 2 comments blow me away.

    As Christians we are not to call brothers and sisters to repentance? Just let God handle it? Does that mean God does not use fellow Christians to do his work?

    This whole gay agenda / sexual norms question has thrown everything out the window and Christians have lost their minds (and perhaps souls) over this.

    So you have a friend at church and you know that he steps out on his wife every month with a different woman … you say nothing? You don’t call him to repentance? You let him sit in church, take the supper – sit with you in a Bible study class and you say nothing? You just let Jesus handle it?

    PS – I did like the way Ivan threw the misdirect by including being a vegan a smoker and a drinker in the list with the topic sin. Those 3 are not even sins. As I said, today’s christian is losing his mind.

  102. MLD,
    I believe you are missing my whole point. There’s no gay agenda, there’s only a sin agenda. When we stop labeling and start praying, then we move in the direction that is positive and holy. I am not saying to not help “others” towards repentance, but history has proven time and again what kind of helping “others” can cause, which often times is abusive. I used those points to pick out the obvious illogic of it. If I am losing my mind because I love you in Christ’s name (so be it), that caring for you in my love for you are my brother or sister regardless, I am to pray, keep loving dialogue and to engage in kinship. Those are the drivers to bring anyone towards repentance. But repentance is on God’s timeline not mine or yours. You are to love, be open and accepting. You are also a sinner justified by His grace. The power of God’s love will take care of the rest. it may not be in your timeline. And guess what “That’s OK”. You (I) need to look at ourselves and make sure that we represent Christ always, in a loving way.

    In some ways you are proving my point. Thank God, I am losing my mind. May we all do.

  103. Ivan,
    It is you who miss the point. The “gay agenda” has put in limbo addressing the “sin agenda”.

    You stay afar from my example of your friend the adulterer – do you confront his sin and call him to repentance… or do you dance around it? Jesus was direct – he told the woman caught in adultery that she was in sin and to stop it.

    I have not said anything about withholding love or concern for the sinner (of which I am included) – I do have issue with the continual UNREPENTANT sinner and will follow the scriptural dictate to withhold the supper.

  104. “You are to love, be open and accepting. ”

    Paul had a different view – he had a different way to love the sinner. Read how he wanted the guy handled who was sleeping with his father’s wife.

    I believe Paul was doing the loving, caring thing. What do you think?

  105. MLB,
    I am sorry if any of my statements offend you. Roman 8 and Philippians 1 really rounds out the whole message of Christ love and mission.

    Paul was the deliverer of the message. We can debate back and forth about context of treating others who are in Christ but one thing is immovable, that we as man will never know a man’s heart, or the timing of repentance or the motivations to continue on in sin. It’s simply not our job. That is God’s job. As I said earlier, we are to be representatives of Christ, or as Paul says a citizen of Christ and His overwhelming love, to be the witness, that if anyone sees us, in our midst they feel the experience of Christ’s love and indwelling.

    It is the Holy Spirit work to move and change hearts. Love, love them always without prejudice. I cannot express enough.

    What is interesting is that our recent dialogue represents a microcosm of what is wrong with belief and doctrine. In heaven, you and I will be brothers rejoicing, but here on earth, we argue about the splinters in our arms. Not that it hurts, but argue how long the splinter is. Sad but true.

  106. Ivan – so at your church today there will be no mention of the law and no call to repentance from your pastor because he is waiting for the Holy Spirit to do it directly?

    Wow

    As I have said many time, I break every one of the 10 commandments every single day. Call me odd – but I need to be called to repentance. Now you have me sinning as I now envy those who do not.

    Off to church – blessings to you 🙂

  107. Ivan,

    You really are hurting singles with your rhetoric. Actually its single adults in church that are treated as non-human. And gays whether married to a same sex individual in a state that allows it or homosexuals that aren’t in a consistent relationship are all singles in my mind. Being single is not a sin but sexual immorality including committing homosexual acts is. If the church would stop treating singleness and being alone as the greatest sin and start embracing the single person, there wouldn’t be so much pressure for some to hook up. You really are doing a tremendous disservice to the single community including those that struggle with the sin of homosexuality.

  108. MLD,
    It saddens me that you cannot see, and are caught in this dogmatic web. As suggested read Romans 8 and Philipians 1. How you approach such an important subject and perspective speaks volumes of your flippancy and contraion irrelevance of another persons POV. Hence this is what gets division started in the first place. The Ten Commandments could never be followed but showed how the grace of God is so powerful with forgiveness and redemption, that at The Cross we all have a way to connect with Christ without the Law. Thank you for showing the other perspective.

  109. Andrew,
    I am sorry that you find it as rhetoric. In my earlier post, I said that I have a son who is gay. And I also said that I do not believe in a gay agenda or any agenda for that matter (a question of labeling), but anything that can harmfully separate us from our relationship with Christ, is at issue. We all as Christians are guilty of placing wedges between each other for the sake of personal doctrine, when our connector is our love and devotion to Christ. Being, gay, single, or whatever are very much secondary issues that when we view the spiritual paradigm what connects all of us as family,our love for Christ, which in turn should be our love for each other.

    Whatever harm you and anyone feels that taking a position that places God’s love above anything reduces their dogma within their church fiefdom (let’s call it for what this is) has to seriously consider what are we all in this for.

    Here’s an example; my wife and I were attending a church not too long ago and the pastor mentions some rhetoric about catholics. He says he has friends that are catholic, that they have contributed a lot to history, and can do some good things in ministry (helping poor,etc). Then he says this, “let’s not make any mistakes here, that we cannot be convinced that Mother Theresa was ever saved or that she is going to heaven even though she did a lot to help the poor.”

    Most of the congregation acknowledged with “Amens”. My wife and I are not Catholic but we took offense of this judgemental supposition that unless we follow a certain doctrine (religious affiliations) that salvation can be questioned and dismissed.

    The question for all of us here then is…”who are we to question who is saved (justified), will be sanctified and can go to heaven?”. What spiritual power (please find me this in the scriptures) where we have the holiness to judge and dictate who will enter into Jesus’s grace and glory? Where does social norms become a predictor of who is in Christ?

    From what I read, Jesus saves the thief on the cross, maybe the thief was gay, single or catholic. We may never know, but I am pretty sure he is with Christ right now.

  110. Ivan,

    I’ve been working on week on what it means when the Bible says that “Christ is the end of the law”.
    I think doctrine is important…very important.
    How doctrine works out in relationship with others and God is even more important.
    You have spoken clearly and well to this matter and given me much to consider whether I end up in complete agreement with you or not.
    I’m thankful for your contribution.

  111. Ivan, thank you for commenting here. Your life experience and love for your child is valuable here in the discussion.

    I hope you don’t mind a couple of questions and comments your posts have spurred in me. Again, please know I am asking and commenting with respect and sincerity.

    I would appreciate hearing your answer to what I believe was a legitimate question by MLD.

    “So you have a friend at church and you know that he steps out on his wife every month with a different woman … you say nothing? You don’t call him to repentance? You let him sit in church, take the supper – sit with you in a Bible study class and you say nothing? You just let Jesus handle it?”

    What I (Nonnie) am trying to understand is if you are saying that since someone is a very sincere Christian that his/her PRACTICE of homosexual activity is no longer a sin issue?

    Or are you saying , “Yes it is sin, but we should just ignore it” and let God deal with it in His time.” Say nothing, do nothing.
    Or are you saying something entirely different?

    If a practicing homosexual or adulterer (known to the church) wanted to volunteer to teach Sunday school or help with youth group, should the church say, “sure.”?
    I am asking sincere questions as I am confused by your answers and comments.

    I agree 100% that the church and Christians are to love….love sinners. We are ALL sinners, but we come to church, we gather together to acknowledge we are broken and we need forgiveness and by the power of the Holy Spirit, ask for His help to turn from sin that besets us.

    I know the difference between loving, respecting and wanting the best for someone and, at the same time, disagreeing with someone’s unrepentant lifestyle.

    Again, thank you, Ivan for joining the discussion!

  112. Nonnie,
    Thank you for the question.

    Here’s another question “In God’s eyes is all sin the same?”. Christ died for all sin, right?

    As human beings we like to divide sins, with one greater than the other (I am guilty on this at times).

    If we are to take the approach that we are all in a loving family connected with Christ as our father, our love and concern then this is the overriding response to help someone “in trouble”. For me, that would be to confront in love and caring, in offering prayers and understanding and finally to keep my “brothers or sisters door” open at all times. That would mean keeping an ear to what is being said for their current circumstance and guide accordingly. That would also mean “we have a stake in his/her outcome” and not treat as an outcast.

    My wife and I discuss this often about mistakes, our response and the actions proceeding, in that we do not fall into the place where we think its another person’s problem and “sin” is an singular issue, meaning it contained to one person and to one event, but that sin affects all of in our stand with Christ i.e.our response, our hurt, our concerns, our tests. If one hurts we all do, regardless. That means having each’s other back. Not a finger pointing admonishment, but a loving and redemptive spirit.

    “It’s not our problem” is common attitude, but in truth and Jesus speaks lovingly, its all of our problems because he or she is your brother and your sister.

    It’s seems easier and mightier to chastise and cause levels of spiritual separation when in truth we all came in the same way, believing in the same Christ, with brokenness and humility. Where do we lose this? Man. self-righteous man. Everything else becomes interpretations.

    Would I seat with a tax collector and adulterer at the same table knowing their story, yes. Would I offer my love, advice, and understanding? Yes. Do they feel pain from separation from Christ because of sin? maybe or maybe not? but if they are truly in Christ, God is not going to let it go. The Holy Spirit will eat away, maybe not in your or I timeline but His. That’s what being in Christ is all about. We are family, we are support, they fall, we pick up, vice versa. We are a holy family looking towards Him.

    I am not telling you anything you don’t already know, but we really stink at being a “family”. We are better at being in a club than family. That’s not what Jesus says, and if you read Acts, its a shame that we are so far away from that.

    Like I said, there’s one agenda no matter what, its about sin, our sinful nature and constant reach to be close to Christ. It has little to do with what (fill in the blank) sin. It’s about bringing others to understand the love, glory and majesty of the “I AM”. That’s the top. Paul gives many books of how we should all (as believers) get along but to truly understand the differences we all need to embrace the TOP, first and foremost! We are getting stuck in the weeds.

    I hope I answered your question.

  113. I am as well. Thank you, Ivan.

  114. Michael,
    Thank you for the kind words and for the privilege to express them. I love your topics and respect your ministry. Love You Brother!

  115. Ivan – this, at least my side of the conversation is not about sin at all. It is about, do we as Christians call out sin, do we show each other our sin, and do we call each other to repentance.

    I say yes – thank you for showing the other side.

    I assume that you think that Michael and the many others were wrong, perhaps in sin themselves for pointing out the sin of Mark Driscoll and their continued call for him to repent?

  116. MLD,
    There’s leadership, bullying and direction. There has been more than enough information regarding all three, and then there’s that place of “piling on”. I believe we are at that place now. You can trust one thing, God has the Mark Driscoll issue in control. There is nothing we can do that will out weigh what God will do. In some ways, this has become our “reality” show of religious leadership and the problem is people feed off it. My belief is that is not the way, Mark’s time will come soon enough to answer to Christ. That’s between him and God.

  117. Ivan,

    I think you missed my point entirely. I encourage you to love your son and embrace him as a SINGLE person. The apostle Paul used labels when he was ministering to SINGLES and Married people. Labels aren’t the issue unless you insist to use the non biblical label gay. You said this is an earlier post ” Being, gay, single, or whatever are very much secondary issues”. Not exactly. You speak exactly as our culture speaks and you would be great as a Human Resource person. But no HR person really gives a damn if you are single, they only care if you call yourself homosexual. But being single is really the heart of the issue. Its loneliness and felt rejection and a slew of other emotions that singles deal with. And guess what, your son is SINGLE and I encourage you to love him that way instead of the label you are giving him as gay. Why not use the labels the bible uses instead of the cultural labels especially when you are hung up on using labels in the first place.

  118. Why should he love his son cause he’s single, or cause he’s gay?
    He should love his son cause he’s his son.

    Any other label is superfluous

  119. So, since Mark Driscoll was not “convicted” by the Holy Spirit yet he should still be at his church and in his pulpit until “God handles him. In the mean time, man’s concern for him and his actions / behavior is unwarranted as prejudicial and divisive.

    I would assume you hold the same view for those pastors in Ohio who run the orphanage hat rapes children that other than the legal side, there is no warrant to call them to repentance if God has not … and if you ask them, they will tell you they are blessed by God through ministry growth.

    I just can’t be that ‘open minded’.

  120. London,

    You got a point. You should love your son just because he is your son. So lets just stop using the label gay completely! Its a ridiculous label that just enforces acceptance of sin and its not found in the bible anywhere.

  121. To MLD,
    I will not speak about MD conviction with regards to the Holy Spirit. All I can say there is a strong sense of vengeance on the part of many people. And we know who said, “vengeance is mine”.

    To Andrew,
    For the sake of my initial submission I revealed that my son is gay. He’s also my son and he is single. The gay venacular reveals the fears that Christians have. Is it a disease? Is it sin? It’s an abomination? It’s terrible to have gays in church and so on. The truth is sin is sin. No greater no worse. If he decides to be with someone (most likely I will know) and again, while counsel can go so far. He is his own man.,

  122. Jesus Himself used the expression “the greater sin” – Paul includes various “vice lists” which were not exhaustive (or meant to be) of all possible sins but chosen for their specific evil – There is a sin unto death (and sins not unto death) – There is a sin compared unfavorably to even Gentile living – and that’s just the New Testament.

    If one included the Old Testament study (or for that matter, just common sense) any argument that all sins are equivalent on this earth and in God’s sight is woefully erroneous.

    Now, if the discussion is simply the need for a Savior, then sure, any one sin, no matter how trivial, is enough….but that is not the discussion here.

  123. Steven,
    I would think rejecting Christ when you are presented the truth is a great sin. For believers, we are washed by His sacrifice and grace. No condemnation for our sins. Doesn’t mean a free pass to sin but it means we are His child.

  124. I must be in the right place. Over on the New Years thread Joe is beating me up because I won’t hammer people with the law as he sees fit and here I have Ivan accusing me of being prejudicial and divisive for pointing out sin and calling people to repentance.

  125. Ivan, it is hard to discuss the theology you express because it is centered in the story of your son that you shared – and I try not to bring family into such discussions.

    I just taught on 1 John 1:5-10 today – with a special emphasis on the difference between our relationship as an adopted child of God, and the fellowship we can only enjoy as we walk in the light and confess our sins. Likewise, an emphasis on the difference between condemnation (of which, as you write, there is none for those in Christ) and conviction, which comes from God, is always for our best, and is to be welcomed (and heeded).

    It is also difficult to engage because, while you have been very open in a few matters, you have also been very vague and somewhat non responsive to direct questions and comments by others. Your response @125 to my post being a prime example.

  126. Ivan,

    There is not a fear of the gay vernacular any more than the fear of the adulteress vernacular. Neither one is harmless.

  127. Steven,
    Actually this is not about my son so much of being gay as understanding the context of the perception of sin and our responsibilities as christian brothers and sisters . He is 30, he can take care of himself and his dealing with his relationship with Christ. I never intended to delve deeply into my personal life in the sense of saying is being gay or not have anything to do with sin. That’s the hot button for people it seems. The bottomline we are all sinners, saved by grace, regardless if you are gay or not.

    My original intent was to address narcissism within today’s young people and how parenting can fall into a trap into feeding this by giving in to quell whatever the reasons are for the so called needs of a child.

    The rest of the responses were poised on how we approach relationships, and its context to sin. As you can see, saying “gay” really draws lines.

    These exchanges bordered on trying to trap me, into a confession of sorts. The truth is we never really know the truth for any individual in the context of their relationship to Christ, their sin or their outcome.We believe we have faith. Simply put we are not the judge or jury, God is.

    That’s a hard concept to believe but its absolutely biblical and the story of the “woman at the well” reminds us so. Culturally we have fallen into the trap that the more sordid it is, the worse the sin. Its just not true.

    Relationships matter as within our Godly family. Let’s start acting like one.

  128. The article is titled: “How Do We Respond To Changing Sexual Norms?” My answer: Christians and the Church must do much better. IMO the response thus far by many Bible believing Christians has been hypocritical and unloving at best. Part of the problem is ignorance regarding what same sex attraction is, and part of the problem is that for some heterosexual Christians, same sex attraction is a sin that they can easily avoid and may feel that same self-righteousness as that expressed by that Pharisee who prayed about himself life this: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: extortionists, unrighteous people, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.”

    On the other hand, some Bible believing Christians who advocate for a more accommodating and loving acceptance of LBGT Christians have not adequately harmonized their viewpoint with Scripture which specifically addresses overt sin within the Body. In other words, overt sin cannot be ignored.

    What often (as here) then happens in these discussions is that each side of the issue clings to Scripture that best supports its worldview, and neither side is actually offering IMO a complete Biblical solution. Below is an incomplete, but representative, Scriptural basis for both positions. Every Bible believing Christian must embrace all of the relevant Scriptures.

    Position A:

    “Jesus stood up straight and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She replied, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.” [Jesus called her to repentance, but in private]

    “Don’t you know that a little yeast affects the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough—you are, in fact, without yeast. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. So then, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of vice and evil, but with the bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.” [Permitting unrepentant sin within the Body may lead others into sin. How can the church be salt and light to the world, if its members walk in darkness?]

    “But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who calls himself a Christian who is sexually immoral, or greedy, or an idolater, or verbally abusive, or a drunkard, or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. For what do I have to do with judging those outside? Are you not to judge those inside? But God will judge those outside. Remove the evil person from among you.” [How good a job does the church do at removing the verbally abusive, alcoholics, greedy, etc. from fellowship? Especially the wealthy donors? There is hypocrisy in selective enforcement of Scripture.]

    Position B:

    “Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own?” [It’s easy to call out the sins I’m not involved with. What about my sin?]

    “Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.” [What kind of witness are we for Christ when we’re so good at shooting our own?]

    “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast, but do not have love, I receive no benefit.” [What makes a more effective ambassador, the one who professes the perfect doctrine or the one who conveys the love of Christ?]

    “Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” [What does “It bears all things” mean to you?]

    So, in conclusion, let both sides (of Bible believing Christians) start utilizing the entire Scriptural witness to address the current issue of same-sex attraction. I want to reiterate that I am only speaking to Bible believing Christians. Further, no one so far on this thread has stated that the practice of homosexuality is not a sin. Therefore, what this thread has focused on is the Christian response.

  129. Jean…a nice overview of a tough issue.

  130. Ivan @ 104

    How do you understand the following scripture? Jude, Chapter One, verses:

    22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

    23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

    Repentance is a choice—God does not force anyone. In other words, it does not happen on “His” timeline, although He will provide every opportunity to do so. In this, He uses the redeemed and the unredeemed to get a person’s attention. Love does not mean that you go along to get along, sometimes, you actually need to speak truth into the life of another, while setting boundaries that serve to protect and to hopefully, lead the erring person into repentance and reconciliation.

  131. I for one tried to take it away from the “gay” issue. That is why I used the example of the adulterer.and whether we have a responsibility to call out sin and call to repentance – or do we let him make mockery of his wife, family and the church.

    Should one confess their sin to God? Should one repent? Should the adulterer confess and repent? should the gossip confess and repent? should the cheat, the thief, the drunk (you fill in the blank) confess and repent? Should the homosexual?

  132. You’re still not getting it MLD. Who is called to be the repentance police? Is it the pastor or the lay people or anyone in the congregation? Is it just certain sins or all sins? How much investigation into each person’s life is appropriate?

  133. Jean,
    You poison the discussion with the word “police”. So this may be futile.
    I was just watching a commercial for the new movie Selma. According to your position, a pastor preaching against racism in the 60s – one asking his congregation to stop the violence and harassment of blacks and asking them to repent of their sin of racism is wrong – that he has no business getting involved. I don’t buy that.

    As for investigation, I say there should be no investigation – but when sin comes to light, what are you as a christian, a pastor or a church to do about it? SHow wrong are you saying Paul was in his reaction to the man caught having relations with his fathers wife. Should it have been ignored and as Ivan suggested, be left to Jesus to sort out?

    I don’t believe that a church has a responsibility to remain silent and let sin abound as we wait for Jesus to act. Jesus gave his church for this reason – to care for each other.

  134. Ivan @ 110

    Actually, we can walk in the spirit and not sow to the flesh. And for those that do and genuinely strive (not making excuses) towards this:

    Romans, ch. 8

    1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

    4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    God does use His people to keep the congregation and families protected from those who choose to walk otherwise. Well, that is if we stop this nonsense about not holding one another to an account.

    1 Corinthians 5-6.

    We err when we cut and paste to avoid the harder things that God has given for us to do, but instead boast of our tolerance for permitting it to go on claiming God will deal with him or her, apart from those who claim to be in Him. To maintain this mindset is not loving anyone except the self —–for fear of being rejected or losing the relationship with that person who needs to turn away from any type of sexual immorality, being fornication, adultery, lusting, or other types of sexual affections, outside the bonds of marriage between one man and one woman.

  135. My only comment was to correct the false idea that was repeated more than once that somehow all sin is equivalent. The Bible is clear that is not the case. I too did not mention anything to do with sex or certainly not homosexual behavior.

    The response I received was multiple unrelated sentences, somehow addressed to me, with no actual comment on the correction I raised – and in response to that, the snippy “Relationships matter as within our Godly family. Let’s start acting like one.”

    As long as it is clearly refuted that all sin is not equivalent, so such a falsehood does not stand unremarked upon, then I’m done. A legit discussion might be to ask why homosexual sex seems to be taken more seriously as sin than heterosexual sins of a sexual nature, but I have a track record already of noting that and speaking against such a double standard….and besides that topic has been discussed a lot here in the past. I think most here are in agreement on that one

  136. Linda,
    I am guessing this is fast becoming a class on apologetics.

    My response, you simply do not know. No one knows. And yes, by faith with free will we do choose repentance or not. But God who is omniscience knows all things and all timing. What we do know is that our witness is consistent in our love of Christ. That we do not waver in this but everything with love and compassion. Verse 23, really discusses the depth of the relationship you have with another with trust, love and humility. And yes, it can be heated because you love them so much. They can received this because they also know and love you too. The connecter is Christ not a hammer.

    And with regards to Jean, I agree. People often use scripture as their proof points to make their position known. More times than not it comes across painful and directed by ego.

    I was trying not to act that way, but approach it with care, love, logic and reasonability. Pointing out the fact of how tolerance or intolerance the banter can be. And what a destructive force it has become. And we all can read it from the responses above.

    If we are all so called Christians, believing in His Death, Resurrection, and promise to come back. That we are saved with no condemnation and are part of His family. is that enough common ground for everyone to get along? Apparently not as that seems to be very hard with this family.

    And I believe (as I mentioned earlier), these comments are just a snapshot of the discord, that have little to do with salvation and more towards ego positioning. And for what? Really? Don’t we want everyone to know Christ? Isn’t that is what the Great Commission is all about.

    We are willing to treat people like heretics if the lutherans don’t agree with the baptist, that don’t agree with the catholics that don’t agree with the methodist that don’t agree assembly of God. What are we talking about here?? Throw in gay and that stirs the pot more..you have to be kidding.

    I hope you can see the problems. We know the enemy and the enemy is us.

  137. MLD,

    First, I’m not going to respond to the ridiculous straw man you set up on your first paragraph. As to your second paragraph, my #130, directly addresses your concern.

    Your attitude reminds me of the story of Zacchaeus. That SOB was a Chief Tax Collector and rich. Jesus lavished his grace upon this swindler and enemy of his people for no other reason than “grace.” No conditions! What happened? Zachaeus was brought to repentance and low and behold “Today salvation has come to this household”.

    But apparently in your tribe, Jesus couldn’t go into dine with Zacchaeus until Zachaeus first repented of his wickedness. Where is the grace then?

  138. The thing is, though many people may have their dueling Bible verses, at least the word of God is being quoted as an authority and thus at minimum is sought to be understood and followed.

    That’s called the truth, according to Jesus Himself. A fine example seen here as I find much agreement with Linda, Andrew and MLD, though we disagree on much, because all three (and myself) stand on the Bible as the authoritative word of God.

    I will take the Bible being quoted, even if poorly, over the lectures of others done in some vague name of “love” which can mean anything to anyone with no standard whatsoever.

    The word “love” has been cited many many times here by Ivan, but I must have missed any reference to the word truth.

    Jesus didn’t though. Go through his words and see how often he speaks of love (often) and how often of truth (also often).

    The calling card is “speak the truth in love” and there is the assumption that when someone speaks the truth about homosexual sins, they by default are unloving and thus unChristlike – that is not the case of course, but for some people the only way to meet their standard of love is to suppress the truth….and that’s a shame

    Yep, God loves you just as you are….He died for you just as you are….then He calls you to repent and walk in the light as He is in the light. I just preached this today at four services so it is sort of fresh in my mind 🙂

  139. Jean,
    Your position overwhelms me. No one said anything about disassociating from people who sin. If you did that you would need to go to Mars to find an unsinful friend. So, your strawman has been knocked down.

    The point Ivan was making is that we have no business using your term being the sin police and that we should mind or own business and let Jesus sort it out. If you do agree with him, fine – we have a difference between us. If you disagree, then take it up with Ivan.

    Your use of the woman caught in adultery misses Jesus’ point. Just because he pointed out the hypocrisy of those who took her to judgment in no way kept him from pronouncing to her that she was in sin and that she need to stop it.

    So where is my strawman – we either call out sin and call for repentance (my 60s pastor against racism) or we don’t and we let Jesus handle it.

    Which is it?

  140. Steven,
    As I mentioned earlier, and I agree with you as that I stand on the authority of the scriptures. I had suggested to read Romans 8 and Philippians 1 in its entirety in gauging and in engaging a broader context. Those two chapters alone are a great connector for all of us.

    Apparently that was either missed or dismissed.

    I really don’t get it. It sad.

  141. Dr. George Tiller is a good example of what we are talking about. George Tiller was allowed to sit in church every Sunday as a full participant in Word and Sacrament – with no one confronting his sin. I guess they were waiting for Jesus to intervene without realizing their own responsibility to call this man on his daily sinful life and call him to repentance.

    I guess in the name of christian love they gave comfort and support to the nations biggest late term abortionist. Sadly, it was in a Lutheran church.

    Hey, no harm, no foul.

  142. Hey, who needs two entire chapters of the Bible. Way too much reading

    All that is needed today is two verses.

    “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone”
    “Judge not lest you be judged”

    Cover it all in “love” and call it a day

  143. In total agreement with MLD. Jean did well until he used the word, “police.”

    In scripture, just a reminder:

    7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

    8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

    This is applicable to all who are in Him, not just those in leadership to do with a heart filled with love, not willing for anyone to perish or for the church to be turned inside out and upside down, thinking they can wallow in their sins, while claiming Christ. If this is so, then what does being born again and having the power of the Holy Spirit within us have to do with anything that was accomplished through His life’s blood, death, and resurrection.

    One sin is not the same as another, but as Steve shared, one sin will separate us from Him. For He is Holy and in Him, through His son, only can we be Holy as well. But this does not give us license to mock God, or to trample the blood of Jesus, and then claim ourselves to be loving by not calling this out or remaining silent, for to do so is taking part in the sin and approving of it.

    Am I being harsh—not at all. I am speaking the truth knowing that it is love within me that provokes such a response. Please also know, I tool have loved ones who are not walking the walk and are wallowing and making excuses for what they do and whom they have chosen to go with when being drawn into that which is not of the Lord. They know that I love them deeply and what more, they know I am speaking truth into their lives as well.

  144. Ivan

    “And I believe (as I mentioned earlier), these comments are just a snapshot of the discord, that have little to do with salvation and more towards ego positioning.”

    With all due respect and loving thoughts, I must call you out on this. Although you put out many comments that would appear to be balanced in exhorting or calling a person to an account, there are many other comments that clearly state, as MLD has drawn to our attention, that you also believe that those practicing such sexual sins should not be a huge issue within the body of Christ. That God will handle it between that person in His own time. Sooner, or later He most assuredly will, but this does not negate what MLD, Steve, Jean, Nonnie, or any others, including myself have shared. And in this, I think you have essentially ignored what you need to know and swept it aside by turning what we have shared as being an “ego” trip instead, so that you can claim forbearance and some type of higher level of love you have towards a person claims Christ, but blatantly practices those things that God tells us should not be named among us.

    I’m sorry but I cannot buy into your argument or rationale. For what you proposed has little to do with love at all, but only promotes and support such things that serves to harm the body of Christ and shame upon His church and His people instead.

    Andrew–appreciate your comment on the singles.

  145. Jean,

    First of all, I would like you to know that I thoroughly appreciate what you shared on this blog. It causes me to stop and to consider. Not that others who comment don’t do this as well, for I read everything and although I don’t always agree, it helps me to understand the many challenges that are in the church body at this time. But with the comments that you have shared, I tend to pause a little longer.

    Being so, when you told MLD that:

    “But apparently in your tribe, Jesus couldn’t go into dine with Zacchaeus until Zachaeus first repented of his wickedness. Where is the grace then”

    Why would you say such a thing knowing that Jesus already knew Zachcaeus (spelling) heart and being so, He would use this as a lesson for all who would hear to take to heart what followed during the time that they dined? And when so many scriptures tells us that for those who do repent we can have fellowship with them? But for those who do not, we are not to even eat with such a person? What would have happened, had not Zacchaeus repented after Jesus spoke into His heart? Do you believe that Jesus knew that he would repent, so was a good example to use for what He wanted His followers and others to know and to witness to others?

    God knows the heart of men, but He also tells us that we can know them by their fruits and given certain fruits, we need to expose it and not participate it it—–agree?

  146. Steve—-5 stars on 140.

    I like the way you laid this out. I guess we were thinking along similar lines as my comment that follow shortly after also affirms this, but in a different manner.

    Scripture is always that is far more solid than that which is based on a sentiment that has little meaning unless, it can be measure and laid to the plumb line of God’s Word.

  147. @ 148

    should be: Scripture is far more solid than that . . . .

  148. Linda,
    Thank you for your responses. I smile as I write this, as this enlighten dialogue really exposes the root causes of divisions. And the certainty of each conviction. I pray that your solidarity within scriptures allows you to always keep an open heart and welcoming spirit. I pray that if there’s one unbeliever out there that reads this and can come to CHRIST, it was all worth it.

    Have a great night!

    In Him,
    Ivan

  149. Linda,

    “Why would you say such a thing knowing that Jesus already knew Zachcaeus (spelling) heart and being so, He would use this as a lesson for all who would hear to take to heart what followed during the time that they dined? And when so many scriptures tells us that for those who do repent we can have fellowship with them? But for those who do not, we are not to even eat with such a person? What would have happened, had not Zacchaeus repented after Jesus spoke into His heart? Do you believe that Jesus knew that he would repent, so was a good example to use for what He wanted His followers and others to know and to witness to others?”

    1) We don’t know whether or not Jesus knew in advance what Zacchaeus would do in his encounter with Jesus. That is a discussion for another article regarding the nature of the incarnation. However, it’s beside the point of my comment. In other words, my comment is just as valid whether or not Jesus knew the heart of Zacchaeus.

    Remember, after Jesus called Matthew, Matthew threw a dinner party for Jesus at which “many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with Jesus and his disciples.” There is no indication that anyone at that meal was converted. Jesus dined with and fed unconverted sinners.

    2) My point was that Jesus took the initiative to redeem one of the lost sheep of Israel, which was his ministry. In this case a particularly vile lost sheep; a person who would have been considered a sinner and traitor by the religious establishment. Jesus did not send his disciples ahead to preach law and gospel to Zacchaeus or wait for Zacchaeus to repent before inviting himself for a meal with Zacchaeus.

    3) “So he came down quickly and welcomed Jesus joyfully.” The encounter with Jesus, gave Zacchaeus joy and produced repentance. The encounter was unconditional. Even if Jesus knew what Zacchaeus’ reaction would be, that doesn’t invalidate or un-authenticate for Zacchaeus either the value that Jesus bestowed on him or the conviction he must have felt coming into the His presence.

    4) Jesus took the initiative with other people who were on the outside and changed their lives without conditions: e.g., woman at the well; the demoniac. His initiative produced change in their lives, not as a condition to his engagement with them, but as a product.

    5) What I conclude is that sinners need Jesus, because they need repentance, healing and eternal life. This ministry of reconciliation has been given to his church. We need to find an approach that reaches outside the walls of both the physical church building and our personal prejudices to offer Jesus to the outcasts of our contemporary world: people who often are different from us. Being an ambassador of Jesus means being his personal representative, as if He were making his appeal directly through us.

    6) The reason I think the church is out of balance on the issue is twofold: (a) because churches by and large do not treat the Biblical teaching of chastity outside of heterosexual marriage evenly, evidencing hypocrisy, which is a terrible witness; and (b) most of us haven’t learned how to imitate Jesus’ outreach to the outcasts.

  150. Outcasts? You see, this is where the conversation always falls apart in the real world of the good ol’ USA. As we were already reminded, the article speaks to “changing sexual NORMS”

    Does anyone argue the starting premise of Michael’s is flawed. I assume not.

    You speak of a tax collector like Matthew or Zaccheus as an outcast and you speak well. The tax collectors were HATED by the population. The homosexual is not hated in America. They are more and more celebrated, legally protected, and even given special treatment that others do not have in the law. They are elected to public office, their movies and music are bought in the millions of dollars, they are defended by most heterosexuals in America and God help the person, anywhere, who calls homosexual sex sinful unless he is in a pulpit because if he works for a corporation in the business world he/she is almost certain to be fired, suspended or sent to sensitivity training.

    Outcasts?

    The few of us who simply do want to affirm this sexual sin, anymore than we want to affirm adultery, fornication, p*rnography or even baser forms of deviancy, are the last ones in society who dare speak a word – and as we see even in the churches around us, more and more there is compromise.

    Outcasts? Homosexuals have some of the higher disposable income out there and more than a few churches that will gladly take them into full membership….

    Outcasts to the church are the homeless, mentally ill, and poor – and I would prefer to analyze a church’s memberships or outreach in those areas than their stance on toleration to practicing homosexuals with no desire to seek celibacy and overcome their sinful temptations.

  151. In the eyes of some of their own parents, classmates, and churches, they are outcasts. Yes, they are outcasts.

  152. Come on Jean…you’re comparing them to Roman tax collectors in Israel. You’re wrong.

    Christians are outcasts to in the eyes of many parents, classmates too, and churches for that matter (as witnessed to denominational splits). Is the goal that we should not rest as long as one person out there does not celebrate the homosexual’s life choices??

    If you think it is easier to be a Bible-believing, witnessing Christian, who abstains from sex, drugs, booze in a typical high school today, than it is to be LGQBT…you are just simply mistaken

  153. Steve, where do you get off telling me I’m wrong or mistaken? You’re just throwing your opinion around as if it’s fact. When’s the last time a Christian (fitting your describe above) committed suicide after constant harassment or bullying?

    Regarding your ridiculous comment “Is the goal that…”, no has proposed that in this thread, so you bring discredit upon yourself by your ignorance.

    Please make a bigger fool of yourself by taking the last word. Goodnight.

  154. Jean,

    Thank you for taking the time to share a response to the questions that I posed.

    I have only thought to all of this: if a person is claiming to be a Christian but is practicing sexual immorality, then we are to them to an account or break fellowship, if they do not repent and bear fruit of that repentance.

    In the story of Matthew, I don’t think we can compare this with how to treat or minister to those who are claiming to be born again, however. Mathew may have been Jewish, however, he was not a Christian. Not until Jesus witnessed to him by accepting Jesus invitation to visit him in his home to dine together, did he vocalized his repentance and immediately made a commitment to return what he has stolen from others.

    Now say that he did become a Christian, but continue to overcharged people on their taxes—then what? 1 Corinthians is clear on this one. So the lesson here concerning the taxpayer is not the same as those who claim to be in the Lord, but at the same time want the body of Christ to tolerate a continue lifestyle of this type of sin.

    As MLD, and Paul suggested (1Cor 5), we are to judge those things within the church body. For those outside of the body—God will judge. We are not to tolerate this type of hypocrisy, but expose it and not tolerate it, nor boast of not doing so. What more, it is not an issue of sin per se, but rather that which is in the world vs. in the church. If it is taking place within the church, it needs to be addressed and the person needs to repent, but if it is being done by those in the world, they need the gospel message, a lot of patience, but never a rubber stamping saying, “just believe,” it’s all good—that would be half of the gospel message that left out the need to repent.

    Over and over and over again, scripture tells us that leaven cannot exists in the church. For if it is permitted to do so, then the entire body will be infected.

    I appreciate that last paragraph of your response, however, don’t agree with just who is, or who is not the outcast. You have to be part of something before you can be cast out by who did the casting.

    One other thought on Matthew: Matthew was an outcast of the Jewish faith, not of the Christian Faith. Not everyone present, as you reminded me were practicing Jews, although they may have very well have been Jews. Not everyone, repented, to turn away from the lifestyle they were living. Jesus did not address those—he went fishing for one soul and in this he provided an example of one person, who accepted His invitation to dine with Him. Everyone else, was just kicking back to do what they had been accustomed to do. They could have repented as well, but as far as we know, Matthew was the only one. Upon his repentance, he then became an Apostle, no longer scamming others but instead traveled the King’s highway.

    As for a Christian being an outcast of society and at times from within the church and having to suffer great persecution, even unto death, there is a great cloud of martyrs that surround us, as well as, the heavenly host. I would suspect there are some among them which have also been driven to suicide. It is not easy being a Christian, yet I wouldn’t trade it off for anything the world or anyone else could offer me. It is not easy having one’s whole family turn their backs on you and it is not easy to walk ever so cautiously within society while not selling out He that is within you. Being a Christian is not an option—sexual immorality is. Being a Christian is not a ticket to heaven while crying out persecution because a person does not want to die to themselves and give up that which scripture has told us is wrong and will separate us from Him and His people, if we fail to repent and turn away from it. You know this, as well as any—why is it that we need to keep going over this.

    People didn’t like Jesus either when He spoke truth into their lives—-they crucified him. Was he an outcast as well? Hmmm. Or were they who crucified Him?

  155. Andrew @122

    I never said anything but that the son should be loved simply because he is the son.

    That was my point in it’s entirety.

  156. My opinion was first drawn from the facts of modern American society I first put in my post which you ignored. If you think that a Jew, who chose to side with Rome and collect taxes for the Empire was no different in popularity than the homosexual today, I guess I won’t convince you. Some people believe lots of things despite the facts of history.

    Now, I know you are not really asking when the last time a Christian committed suicide? The pastors here, including me, can tell you the heartbreak of doing those funerals, not to mention the counseling sessions we have had with their survivors. Suicide is a very complicated issue concerning obviously troubled individuals with problems that are almost always multi-layered and may or may not involve mental illness. EVERY suicide is a tragedy, However, if the totality of suicides in America is shown, the number that are attributed to homosexuals, solely due to being bullied is quite small. So why that somehow leads the discussion is beyond me. Frankly, while bullying may be the last straw, and what the media blames, who can possibly know the full causes. Maybe the world screaming at them that they were born gay and need to embrace sexual relationships with others like them is a pretty depressing thing for a teenager in puberty to handle. Maybe if a Christian came to them and shared the truth and the power of God to forgive and to change it would set them free.

    It sure has a good track record with every other sort of sin for 2000 years as Christ has forgiven and changed multitudes of sinners of every sort. Somehow, I think He is up for this challenge too.

    Read post #88 by Pastor Dread. It is gold. And spot on to your (IMO foolish) suicide response to my earlier post.

    Multitudes of families torn up over drug and alcohol abuse, and the biggest weight for them to handle as they refuse to enable their loved one any longer is the threat of violent death, suicide or overdose – and of the three all with the same result, their loved on in the ground. But enabling sin is killing the addict and keeping them from God.

    The church over the years has had a decent track record with these sinners too, and it starts with Christ’s love for them, then the promise He can set them free, and the desire to BE set free. Of course, if the addict wants to stay in their sin, there is not much more to say. Just pray they will repent one day and don’t enable their sin in the meantime.

    The thing is, the world encourages sobriety, and if Jesus is what “works” then the world says congrats….it doesn’t encourage gay celibacy and strongly opposes any effort in Jesus name to encourage it. And in response to the world, many Christians cave or at least “reevaluate”

  157. I will make full circle here to what I said at #103 this morning before 6am- and i see nothing that makes me change my mind.

    “This whole gay agenda / sexual norms question has thrown everything out the window and Christians have lost their minds (and perhaps souls) over this.”

    In order to protect the, now let me get my terms right to present no offense, LGQBT in the church, we cannot deal with anyone’s sin. Paul’s excommunication of the man sleeping with his father’s wife today would be frowned on.

    Early at #105 I made it perfectly clear that my comments spoke of – “I have not said anything about withholding love or concern for the sinner (of which I am included) – I do have issue with the continual UNREPENTANT sinner and will follow the scriptural dictate to withhold the supper.” – I am not just speaking of anyone – I speak only of those in the church.

    Which led to the conclusion that in the modern American church we must sit side by side, partake in prayer and the supper with a man who murdered late term unborn babies daily … lest we offend.

    Ahhh, but church cn still bang away at smokers.

  158. Linda,
    We as imperfect humans have no idea if someone will repent.

  159. Here’s one thing In know in all this, If you are living with your boy/girl friend and have decided not to marry then you are guilty of denying Jesus. The same goes for saying you are Gay.

    Yes it’s hard and we all should feel shame and guilt over our sins. To embrace them and say, “Jesus (or God) loves me,” while true, is to deny Their presence in our life.

    We are therefore the liars, not Him, and we need to question if the truth is really in us.

    In this world the message seems to be, “I need to feel good about myself, regardless…”

    The thread is about a young man who, for whatever reason, chose to defy his parents, his religious culture, ignore the help around him and is the only one guilty of his suicide. In a very real way he committed murder and the victims are those left behind in the wake of his crime.

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