The Drowning Isn’t So Slow Anymore, Or We’d Better Act Fast Before The Offer Expires

I just heard about an incident where Answers in Genesis, an apologetic ministry focused on creationism, hosted a date night at their facility that included dinner, a concert and a talk by their President Ken Hamm. (As the blog I heard about it on noted, nothing says romance like a sermon about young-earth creationism). A male couple was denied entry into the event, specifically because they were gay, though they had bought tickets in advance.

Now as I always try to do, instead of picking apart this one incident I want to look at the bigger picture and ask larger questions. To me, it isn’t much use to complain about something that’s already happened and therefore cannot be changed, but we can explore the greater trend this incident fits inside of.

I’m not trying encourage us to go the total opposite direction of what our stance on homosexuality has been in the past – to go from one extreme to the other. But if we’re gonna square off so definitively against homosexuality I just want some reason and basic logic to be clear. I understand why so many Christians fight so hard against homosexuality, I just think some big thinking errors are made in the process that need to be pointed out.

We're even in church attire as we shoot ourselves in the foot!

1) A rant: gay people are showing interest in your religion!!! How remarkable is that? And you won’t even let them in the door? Churches these days try all sorts of gimmicks and tricks to persuade people to come into their building – it doesn’t make sense to put forth so much effort to entice people closer and then put a bouncer to keep them out. That’s an exact recipe for bitterness.

2) How do you ever expect them to change if you won’t let them anywhere near you? Because certainly condemning and yelling at them from a distance hasn’t produced a great success rate. As I noted yesterday – this Jesus things spreads like a fire from tree to tree, which implies proximity.

I’ll be very strong here – I think how we’ve dealt with homosexuality is killing Christianity. I recently read that a celebrity proposed to his girlfriend, but that they won’t get married until marriage is legal for all people. It’s starting to feel like us versus everyone else, and that’s fine – if it’s something worth standing up for.

But here’s the thing: I don’t think Jesus called us to be the morality police – especially for people who are not our brothers and sisters in Jesus. I think this is a grave misunderstanding – that we are in charge of cleaning up the riff raff on the earth. And I use the word “grave” for a reason…

I apologize if you’re tired of posts about homosexuality and the church, not just from me but everyone else. I know its on every radar screen. But I really do think it’s that big of a deal. It’s getting to the point where we are marginalizing ourselves and discrediting all the worthwhile and beautiful things we offer.

Am I being too dramatic? Do you think this is the one battle that could send us into obscurity? What is worth fighting in this battle?

(though the Answers in Genesis event was merely used as launching pad for a great point I want to offer a few footnotes: 1) apparently it was made known during event advertising that gay couples wouldn’t be permitted, so I don’t know why they tried 2) I do understand the reasoning that their presence would distract other attendees. Then again we are in bad shape if we are a bunch of perfect people sitting around distracted by sinners)

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16 Responses to The Drowning Isn’t So Slow Anymore, Or We’d Better Act Fast Before The Offer Expires

  1. Jeff says:

    No, I don’t think you are being too dramatic. No, I don’t think this argument will send you into obscurity.I don’t think this is a battle worth fighting. If the bigotry of Christians and the self serving interpretation of scripture was deadly, then the Church would have died a long time ago. I have always thought that Christians and Homosexuals are both their own worst enemies. Every cause needs an enemy to rally around. Satan isn’t enough for most Christians so they invent more visable things to hate and denounce. Bigotry can actually help attract more members to the flock. Particularly to the crazies on the fringe.

    • I suppose the hatred/bigotry has more to do with the people doing the hating than the people being hating. And it does get Christians into the news (even bad publicity is publicity) but I agree it attracts people to the flock who aren’t the most helpful to the flock’s thriving.

  2. Christians desperately want to live in a completely Christian society. And since God hasn’t done a satisfactory job of eliminating sin from the current society, we presume that He has left it up to us.

    • HolyRollerNovocaine says:

      AMEN TO THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jeff says:

      I can’t imagine anything worse than living in a theocracy. Make the Pope king? Ted Haggard for president? Jimmy Swaggard for Chief Justice? I think Christians might want to clean up their own act before they are ready to tackle all of Society. I’m not sure a Pentacostal Congress waiting for a sign would work out.

      • I feel like I’m merely plugging two of my posts here…

        @Bernard – I wrote a post recently about how God uses his authority for grace, not judgment – but we of course reverse it so we can clean up the town

        @Jeff I also wrote a while back how I’d not want to live in a totally Christian society – it’d be boring and very oppressive (though of course I mean a society run by hardcore evangelists). And great point about the plank in the eye – I guess we really do think we’re sinless.

  3. David says:

    Not permitted? Children under 32″ tall are not permitted on Space Mountain. Do the Boy Scouts have to allow girls? Does men’s fellowship have to include woman? Does Sears have to let men in the woman’s dressing room? Does Minnesota have to let a 13-year-old get a drivers license?

    Can’t we focus on something important? I think there is too much focus on culture, and not enough focus on Jesus!

    As long as we clear about what sin is, then extending love and grace is where we need to go. It is when we turn truth into judgement, that we are in the religious zone, which is also sin.

    Everyone is warmly welcomed in my church. We have preaching and teaching on a variety of subjects, sin is only one of them. Would gays feel comfortable there? I don’t know. But I do know they would get the same treatment as everyone else.

    I wrote a lot more about this a few months ago – it is only 1 out of nearly 600 posts. I try not to focus on any one topic.

    Gays, God and Grace

    I don’t think this, or any other issue will put us in obscurity. The gates of Hell will not prevail. We may have a lot of people martyred, and a great falling away, but we will never be in obscurity!

    • it’s true that it won’t put us into obscurity – that’s a bit strong – but I definitely see it marginalizing us as I mentioned.

      I have to say your example of not permitted, though make a point, are a bit over the top and don’t form a strong argument for certain people not being permitted in church.

  4. Larry Hughes says:

    Although the Bible is pretty adamant on Homosexuality, It is not up to us to judge gay people. Any one seeking Jesus and His loving grace should not be exempted because of their lifestyle.
    Being from the south as a child and experienced segregation up close, I can recall all white churches that prevented blacks from attending the all white churches. How bigoted is that? What impression does that show others? The church is God’s house for all to attend. It is not up to us to determine who is welcome or not. To do otherwise is sin.

  5. Chris says:

    Charlie,
    you are right. Some much bigger picture issues are at stake here. I won’t go into them here as it would take a very long blog of my own to even scratch the surface.
    But in one of your points you touched on the very core of the issue. You said:

    “2) How do you ever expect them to change if you won’t let them anywhere near you?”

    I understand that this conversation is in some sense intramural, but when gay people hear your comment above many will be greatly offended because they feel that they have nothing to change from, nor any reason to. The culture and even certain theologians have told them that change is not just an impossibility, but it is also completely unnecessary. You are as God made you so rejoice. If you Charlie, or any Christian community agree that change is unnecessary as well, then once again you will be forced of necessity to deconstruct Holy Writ. It’s difficult to over-exaggerate the gravity of this issue from so many angles. It is THE wedge issue for many of the churches in the mainline. There are irreconcilable differences and so this is why you see the mainline churches losing membership at alarming rates. One thing I will say is that the church in general has for the most part done a completely miserable job of welcoming gays and lesbians into its doors. I suspect that the example you mentioned about a gay couple being turned away from some Christian conference may have had more under the surface than initially perceived. They may have been there to just stir up trouble in which case keeping them out was the right thing. But overall as a group, the evangelical and more conservative churches have not been places of warm invitation for most gays.

    I do know one well known pastor and author that I won’t name whom I think is a model for interaction with gays and lesbians and happens to be more theologically conservative. I heard a discussion of how this particular pastor was personally taking a dozen lesbians through one of the books of the bible at his church. A dozen lesbians!!! How does that happen in a church in a large metropolitan city in this post-modern age? When asked he essentially answered: “I love them. They trust me. Some of them will convert and some of them won’t.” He doesn’t create a hierarchy of sin and so feels no need to treat them any differently than anyone else who might be lost and is searching for someone to tell them the truth in love.

  6. Chris says:

    Sorry for the second comment. I don’t mean to be a blog-hog. 😉

    I re-read this blog-post and thought your last comment was a bit unfair and not well thought out.

    “Then again we are in bad shape if we are a bunch of perfect people sitting around distracted by sinners”

    Yes we are in bad shape. We are all in bad shape. And I would find it very distracting if I were an alcoholic aspiring to ex-alcoholic status and I was hanging around in bars. Are people aspiring to grow in holiness “perfect”? Does anyone believe that? It’s simply a false caricature thrown out there for the sake of scoring some kind of rhetorical points. I don’t mean to be polemic. I think you usually try to be fair. But I think maybe this time you might have flubbed it.

    • I’ll have to think about your critique (and look up some words in the dictionary).

      Thank you for acknowledging that I usually try to be very fair, as I sepnd a lot of time trying to say things just right so that I am indeed fair. I work really hard to keep this blog free of sensationalism, as that doesn’t help anyone moving forward.

      And you said in your first comment that you could write your own blog in response – do you have a blog Chris? You never link to it, and I would surely check it out if you do!

  7. socabiker says:

    You are correct in this post. The scriptures are clear that we are to judge our brothers and sisters – even to rebuke them when they sin (Luke 17.3) but who are we to judge the servant of another? Only those who WANT to have Jesus as Lord will ever want to take up their cross daily and follow Him, no matter the form. The rich young ruler had to give up all his money, Paul had to sacrifice his standing in the Jewish scholarly community, I can’t have sex outside marriage, and gay people also cannot act on their desires … AFTER they have comitted to God.

    The church is making a huge mistake by alienating the very people we should be attracting: sinners. Where else will they find healing, if not from Jesus?

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