I just finished reading a book by pastor and author Dan Kimball titled “They Like Jesus But Not the Church”. It’s an incredibly well written book. It covers many subjects related to our emerging culture and how non-Christians view the church.
His main theme is that many of these outsiders love Jesus, who he was, what he stood for, and what he taught, but just as passionately oppose and are repelled by the church.
We aren’t doing very well applying the teaching of Jesus and expressing His love to others that have different opinions, beliefs, and lifestyles.
More often that not, what outsiders feel is judgement and rejection rather than love and acceptance. We don’t have to agree with everyone to love others and respect them as a person…a fellow human on this earth.
In Dan’s book, he has a very comprehensive covering of the topic of homosexuality and how to address it within our churches. One big point worth noting here it that we need to treat homosexuals as people…not objects. We can’t talk with or about homosexuals as if they are some inferior class of humans or that they are some broken object we can “fix”. For the other points, get and read the book.
There ARE homosexuals or people with same-sex attractions within our churches. Many leave the faith because of the jokes, the ridicule, and the hurtful ways we talk about homosexuals…usually while they are still in the closet.
They feel rejected, unloved, and frankly hated by Christians. Jesus taught us how to love others and this isn’t what we are doing. So, my call to action is this: if you are a homosexual, have same-sex attraction, or are in a church which seems to be out of touch or blind in this area, I encourage you to check out Dan’s book.
Give a copy to your pastor and senior leadership. It’s eye opening and shows a very Biblically based and experienced based look at this issue. It may very well provide the answers you seek on how to positively address this topic within your church.
And to anyone reading this who has felt rejected by the church. You are indeed loved by God. Even if you hate the church, I do hope and pray that you will continue to love Jesus!
Ian McKerracher says
While I agree wholeheartedly with the basic tone of this article and must confess that I haven’t read the suggested book, I do have something to say about the topic of Chrisyianity and the Church. It appears to me that there needs to be a separation made between the biblical Christianity and the “Christianism” that is practiced by too many people calling themselves Christians. Christianism is a world religion based on the moral teachings of Jesus and his followers. It is a set of beliefs that values a religious response to the circumstances of life and ultimately will create, in our culture, a really good neighbour. What it lacks is any eternal weight. Christianity is something that may, in various circumstances, look very similar. However much it is based on the same words in the same Book, it has an added aspect that is unequivical. Those words are enlightened by the Holy Spirit! Those circumstances are interpreted as things that actually, really, and truly come from the Hand of God. The Holy Spirit is an expression of God that lives inside the Christian (and unfortunately is absent in the Christianist) and is the single point of difference that sets Christians apart. It sets them apart from the culture, from the world, and from the christianists. If it doesn’t, can we assume that the “born-again” experience without which Jesus said “No man can see the Kingdom of God” (John 3) is still required?
not understanding your point
Joe Brooks says
The article is correct in that sometimes we “elevate” homosexuality in a way that makes it, and those who practice it, the greatest evil. Its given a weight that is not scriptural. On the other hand, we should not water down the Word and become tolerant of the sin, so as to not offend or hurt the sinner. We can try so hard to avoid being judgmental that we end up being tolerant of sin. This is the path we have to walk as Christians: to avoid the legalism of the law and the judgmental attitude that so often accompanies it, but not to veer off into an “anything goes” liberalism that replaces God with a love that is more about societal acceptance than it is about the character of Christ. Sadly, we often elevate social mores or personal preferences to the level of the law and hold to these things simply because we have a personal distaste or favor for certain behaviors. Rather than loving the sinner and hating the sin, we sometimes dismiss the sin or compartmentalize it in order to stay on friendly terms with the sinner. Loving the sinner has been replaced with being the sinner’s buddy and, in order to stay friends, we rationalize their sins away. In the end, rather than trying to gently lead a friend to repentance and to Christ, we make their sin disappear in a puff of relativism. Rather than being honest and possibly alienating friends, we choose to allow them to hang onto their sins at the expense of their relationship to Christ. On the other extreme, we can become so tied up in regulating behavior, our own and that of others, that the freedom that Christ died for was in vain. We’ve set up our own law and established ourselves as Pharisees: overseers of the institutional Christianity, often holding others to a higher standard than we hold ourselves, concerning ourselves with the speck in our brother’s eye, oblivious to plank in our own. I’m actually putting the finishing touches on a book that addresses many of these issues. My new book, The Four Pillars of the Kingdom, is set to be released soon. It is, not only a response to some of the metaphysical arguments of the so-called New Atheists, but also a call to believers to take their faith serious in a very real way. You can find a few excerpts from the work at my website, The Immaculate Conservative, here: http://bit.ly/TheFourPillars Please read and let me know what you think! Thanks, Joe Brooks
In your summary you stated, “They feel rejected, unloved, and frankly hated by Christians.” This is a completely accurate statement. As an out lesbian who personally went through a horrible experience of rejection and pain, I think you can safely add, “And in turn, rejected, unloved, and hated by God.” At least that was my experience.
R. Brad White says
Beth, I’m sorry you were rejected and experienced the pain you described. People are pretty awful sometimes. Your mind may be made up on this, but I know God does love you. God allows bad things to happen, but in my mind that’s very different than him causing them. The people involved are to blame. Imagine a God that proactively prevented anything bad from happening (natural disasters, common accidents), or preventing people from doing intentional harm to others. You might initially think that’s exactly what a loving God would do. But the result would be creating mindless drones that couldn’t do most anything (giving into our normal selfish behaviors) without having a cosmic “pause” button applied to what we were doing. God would have to override natural forces pretty much 24 hours a day around the globe…and instead of being able to use free will, make choices, do what we want…we would be involuntary slaves. Then, guess what people would hate God for? Not allowing us free will. So, it appears God made the “give them free will” decision…and with that comes the consequences of people making bad use of their free will. Not sure if that helps, but I would be honored to hear more of your story. If it can be used to prevent rejection by other Christians toward the LGBT community, It would be worth it. Brad
What many people forget is that Jesus did love sinners as they were but also expected their lives to change including; rejecting the sin of homosexuality. Homosexuals should be welcomed into a church with the understanding that a healing process, to including repentance, needs to begin if they are to remain in the church. Too many churches today are filled with people sitting pews who are going to hell because they are deceived by their church and pastor because no one wants to tell people the truth for fear of offending them. It’s like letting a child continue to come to harm because a parent does not want to say, ‘no’. God does not tell people not to sin because He hates them and wants to take away their, ‘fun’. He says ‘no’ so that we may have everlasting life with Him in heaven. His desire is that no one should perish.
No, it’s not the ‘greatest’ of sins. It is… the same as the other sins that God has stated are admonitions though. It’s also one of the same on the list that Paul writes about and it’s certainly on the list Jesus talked about. It used to be that you wouldn’t see people who celebrate divorce, adultery, stealing, liars in the same way that homosexuals celebrate their lifestyle. However, we do see that on tv now quite a bit. It’s cool to screw around on your wife, watch tv shows that celebrate it as well. They’re ALL equally debauched as the Word of God states. There’s no getting around this position.