29 March 2013

reads for your weekend

In light of the goings on this week, here a few reads that made me think. Some of these are new reads; some I've read in the past months but find them appropriate for this week. As we remember and celebrate this Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, I pray that God stirs your heart and draws you to Him. He's a great God, even though His followers aren't good. But some of us are trying. Even then our sinful nature pokes through. We try to do good, but we don't. This is nothing new.

For those who are hurting or feel ashamed or don't know what to believe or have been called an unbeliever or just want to go to the basement until the storm passes:

(A follow-up to In the Basement, a favorite read.) 
This isn't some Christian commune. This is a way of representing the Gospel. It is about our hearts and words, reaching across party lines and believing that love is the most excellent way, even in the hard stuff. It's about becoming slave to everyone to win anyone to Christ--quite the opposite of "defending our rights" all the time. In the basement, people matter. All of them. And we've discovered that kindness and dignity do wonders for forging healthy dialogue, especially the difficult ones.  
But if we can turn our attention away from these provocative comments and come alongside those who are earnestly and humbly seeking to know how to view this issue through the lens of Scripture with the help of the Spirit, I think there can be more to the conversation.  
I want to sit down with you today in order to offer confession and repentance on behalf of myself and my Christian brothers and sisters, because I believe reconciliation begins with confession and repentance. Please understand that many Christians will never stop believing homosexuality to be sinful, but the topic of whether or not it is a sin before God is not something I am interested in discussing today. If I were to try to begin with that discussion, I would be struggling to see around the plank in my eye in order to evaluate, weigh, and measure the speck in yours.
Wanna hear something crazy? I made a bigger difference in the gay community through that one sermon than I have in over 10 years of ministry. Why? 
Because it was the first time I really cared about gay people and they could tell.
That night I shook hands, hugged and became friends with several gay people (most of who disagreed with me theologically). I also got emails from others who admitted they’ve always felt hated by Jesus and the church until that night. 
But Sammy, (what some of you are thinking right now), how do you love someone whose actions or behaviors you find really unacceptable?  How can I love someone who I believe is living in sin? Great question. Do your thing Mr. C.S Lewis. 
“There is someone that I love even though I don’t approve of what he does. There is someone I accept though some of his thoughts and actions revolt me. There is someone I forgive though he hurts the people I love the most. That person is……me.”
(If you can’t say amen, say ouch).
  • Sex | Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary
But. If you've already gone down that path, you knocked boots, you got 'er done, you did the nasty.... and now you're not sure, or maybe you feel dirty and you're rocking the walk-of-shame-face day in and day out, you need to hear this -- I mean it, you really need to hear this...
You've had sex outside of marriage? *gasp* So what! You are so much more than your sexuality. And the God of the Universe, the one who turns whores into heroes, and drunks into prophets, and liars and murderers into leaders and kings - that God? He made peace with you and me and our promiscuous, pathetic attempts at love a long, long time ago. He gave you a Redeemer. Shame is no longer your burden. 

1 comment :

Christine said...

SO much good, thought-provoking stuff. Thanks for sharing.