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This is why we are leaving: From Grape Juice to Red Wine Part V

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I really don’t like Christians right now.

I really don’t want to be called one.

I am not sure what that means yet.

Wednesday morning I published a post about World Vision’s decision to let legally married gay folks work for them. I wrote about the evangelical backlash to the news – in which Christians came out of the woodworks to curse World Vision for letting the gays drag them to hell – and I encouraged my friends to give them grace.

And then World Vision retracted their decision a few hours later, apologizing for their “mistake”.

Yes, I still believe in affirming the humanity. Giving grace because we have received it. Leaving space for people to grow. Trying to understand where they are coming from. The principle remains and I stand behind it.

But after yesterday’s announcement, I’m finding it so hard. If you want grace, go read the piece I wrote Wednesday morning. There you’ll find all the grace I believe in deep down but just don’t feel right now.

Because right now, I’m angry. I’m sad, and confused, and discouraged and sickened.

World Vision President Richard Stearns, in an interview with Religion News Service on Thursday, said nearly 5,000 sponsored children were dropped in the 48 hours the organization decided to let gay people serve along side them. Five thousand kids were held hostage by Americans who held put their hatred for gay people above their compassion for third world children.

The world heard it loud and clear: Christians really, really hate gay people. And we’ll go to the grave defending why we think there is no place for them in the Kingdom of God. 

Stearns said that several World Vision employees quit over stress from the backlash.

“You can imagine some of the folks in our call center that are answering our 800 line. They’re receiving an earful of anger. I think we had a few people who couldn’t handle the stress and the anxiety created by the incoming calls…Within an hour of the reversal, the call volume dropped. The angry calls stopped and dropped to a much lower level. Some of the sponsors called back to reinstate their sponsorships,” Stearns told RNS.

Within an hour, the angry calls dropped. 

Meanwhile, the Assemblies of God is asking its 3-million members to once again support World Vision, after urging them to drop their sponsored children cold earlier this week.

The message I’m hearing is: Evangelicals, it’s time to turn your compassion switches back on – don’t worry, the gays are gone!

///

For the past few months I’ve been working toward forgiveness toward the Church – but this week was rough for me and so many others who feel pushed to the margins of our religion.

We are done identifying with a group that points to a few Bible verses to support bigotry for an entire population.

This is why we left. This is why we are leaving. This is why evangelical leaders sit around trying to figure out how to attract young people in their churches. They try hipper music, they dress the preacher in skinny jeans, they let you sip your lattes during service, they hire a worship pastor with a cool cross tattoo, they offer programs and ministries and free babysitting and pizza.

But none of it works because underneath all that, we find it all so hateful.

The Episcopal Church welcomes you. I keep hearing it in my head.

///

Sometimes I wonder if we know the same Jesus.

The Jesus I know didn’t mention homosexuality once as recorded in the Gospels. He did, however talk a lot about serving the poor. Loving people. Mercy. Inviting everyone to the table.

Regardless of your view of homosexuality, I think we can agree that as a Church, we have failed our LGBT brothers and sisters. We have alienated, ostracized, demonized, and ultimately have driven them away. You are unclean, we say, and you are beyond the grace of God. This is Jesus’ party, and you are not on the guest list.

Go stand outside.

I’ll let smarter, more theologically inclined writers talk about homosexuality and the Bible, such as Patheos blogger David R. Henson, who wrote Wednesday:

 Evangelicals have a hate problem when it comes to homosexuality. Period. I know that’s extreme language. But it’s true. We can disagree over an issue and still find common ground in aiding the very poor and disenfranchised. We can work side-by-side in the work of Christ and not agree on every single marginal issue. And homosexuality, as it relates to the Bible’s message and meaning, is marginal. There are 31,000 verses. Only around 8 or 9 can really be said to have anything to do with homosexuality. (None are actually about homosexuality — monogamous, committed relations — as we understand it.)

That’s around 0.026% of Scripture.

And yet that fraction of Scripture has become central to the public identity of evangelicalism.

They have placed homophobia at the center of the Gospel.

Somehow, my chosen view of homosexuality has become the fundamentalists’ way of testing whether I am a True Christian. It has become a method of separating the wheat from the chaff.

If treating people with dignity means I’m chaff, then chaff I will be.

But I’m not writing for them – I’m writing for you, oh fellow Jesus Misfit. To you, on the outskirts of the Christian franchise. To you, who has felt beat up this week. To you, who is confused about what this means for your faith. To you, who is desperate to see hope in all of this.

The fundamentalists demonstrated their power this week. But now there are thousands of Christians uniting under a revived passion for LGBT justice. We will fight – not by dropping sponsorships or screaming at a World Vision employee – but by quietly, firmly not letting go of hope. 

If you want to read something moving, inspiring, eloquent and heartbreaking on this topic, read Benjamin Moberg’s piece. It’s seriously good.

I have no pretty words. I am just here to grieve with you.


This is the fifth installment of “From Grape Juice to Red Wine” – a series featuring stories from evangelicals migrating to the liturgical church. When I launched the series, I told you that the stories would be raw and unpolished, to capture the process of change, not looking back on a change. I think this post delivers on the promise of being “raw”.

grapejuiceforredwine

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115 Comments

  1. Carol Vinson on March 27, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Just all of this! I too have been leaning towards a more liturgical approach to my Christianity. What is it for you that has drawn you in this direction?

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:41 am

      So much, Carol. The sacraments. The space for mystery. Tradition. No self-help worship songs. You?

      • Carol Vinson on March 28, 2014 at 9:16 pm

        I think it’s the ages old tradition of it that is attracting me. Growing up evangelical, everything was based on some type of emotion – guilt and shame mostly. Never measuring up or doing good enough to even deserve to keep my salvation. It’s been hard to shake that and to accept that I am loved simply just because.

  2. Carol Vinson on March 27, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Just all of this! I too have been leaning towards a more liturgical approach to my Christianity. What is it for you that has drawn you in this direction?

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:41 am

      So much, Carol. The sacraments. The space for mystery. Tradition. No self-help worship songs. You?

      • Carol Vinson on March 28, 2014 at 9:16 pm

        I think it’s the ages old tradition of it that is attracting me. Growing up evangelical, everything was based on some type of emotion – guilt and shame mostly. Never measuring up or doing good enough to even deserve to keep my salvation. It’s been hard to shake that and to accept that I am loved simply just because.

  3. JN on March 28, 2014 at 3:11 am

    What if people moved their sponsorship of children from World Vision–because it did not line up with their beliefs–to the multitude of other child sponsorship programs out there? How many are church organisational bodies and individual sponsors? The statistic is perhaps not entirely accurate.

    Really though. People are outrageous. People need to chill.

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:40 am

      Yeah, I do think there are other wonderful relief aid organizations. Compassion International comes to mind. But if I recall, each organization has “zones”, so if a World Vision child from a certain village in Uganda is dropped, it doesn’t mean that same child will get picked up by Compassion International right away.
      But yes, everyone has the right to put their money behind organizations they stand behind. To me, the “outrage” and hysteria was what stung more.

  4. JN on March 28, 2014 at 3:11 am

    What if people moved their sponsorship of children from World Vision–because it did not line up with their beliefs–to the multitude of other child sponsorship programs out there? How many are church organisational bodies and individual sponsors? The statistic is perhaps not entirely accurate.

    Really though. People are outrageous. People need to chill.

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:40 am

      Yeah, I do think there are other wonderful relief aid organizations. Compassion International comes to mind. But if I recall, each organization has “zones”, so if a World Vision child from a certain village in Uganda is dropped, it doesn’t mean that same child will get picked up by Compassion International right away.
      But yes, everyone has the right to put their money behind organizations they stand behind. To me, the “outrage” and hysteria was what stung more.

  5. Autumnseer on March 28, 2014 at 3:40 am

    Amen, sister, my thoughts exactly.

  6. Autumnseer on March 28, 2014 at 3:40 am

    Amen, sister, my thoughts exactly.

  7. Emily Brisse on March 28, 2014 at 4:29 am

    Right there with you, Carly. So frustrating and sad.

  8. Emily Brisse on March 28, 2014 at 4:29 am

    Right there with you, Carly. So frustrating and sad.

  9. Jesus Tavern on March 28, 2014 at 5:48 am

    Love this piece Carly. Thanks for your honesty. Especially the lines about kids being held hostage by fundamentalists (Pharisees in my book) and turning compassion back on because the gays are gone.

    Here’s my question: If all “sins” (I hate that word) are equal (James 2:10), then why do gay people get singled out? Not to mention at the beginning of Romans 2 (often overlooked) when Paul follows up his rant in chapter 1, he says, “who are your to judge? You who do THE SAME THINGS”. In other words, we’re all guilty of what he describes in chapter 1 because all “sins” are the same (James 2:10)

    Jesus had dinner with “sinners” (Matt 9:10)

    Jesus vindicated the adultress in public (John 8)

    Jesus washed Judas’ feet and shared communion with even after he KNEW Judas would betray him (John 13:11, 26)

    Yet… we’re going to protest gay people? Are we serious?

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:37 am

      See, I just have All The Feelings, and you have all the Bible knowledge. I am glad you’ve studied this. Thank you.

  10. Jesus Tavern on March 28, 2014 at 5:48 am

    Love this piece Carly. Thanks for your honesty. Especially the lines about kids being held hostage by fundamentalists (Pharisees in my book) and turning compassion back on because the gays are gone.

    Here’s my question: If all “sins” (I hate that word) are equal (James 2:10), then why do gay people get singled out? Not to mention at the beginning of Romans 2 (often overlooked) when Paul follows up his rant in chapter 1, he says, “who are your to judge? You who do THE SAME THINGS”. In other words, we’re all guilty of what he describes in chapter 1 because all “sins” are the same (James 2:10)

    Jesus had dinner with “sinners” (Matt 9:10)

    Jesus vindicated the adultress in public (John 8)

    Jesus washed Judas’ feet and shared communion with even after he KNEW Judas would betray him (John 13:11, 26)

    Yet… we’re going to protest gay people? Are we serious?

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:37 am

      See, I just have All The Feelings, and you have all the Bible knowledge. I am glad you’ve studied this. Thank you.

    • Elizabeth Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      Thank you for sharing. These thoughts have also been turning around my head lately,too… how one sin is elevated so high above others, when there is no difference in the eyes of God?

      I didn’t see much love happening this week… and that’s what believers are to be known for. We are called to have words seasoned with salt, to give grace to those who hear, compassionate hearts. This is the heart of God, and the heart we should have too.

      I wish those who could get all riled up about this homosexuality issue get that passionate about the 21,000 kids that died today from preventable causes. I wish that all those who came out to tell World Vision what they think would be just as bold to share the gospel. I wish believers spent energy getting mad about things that matter desperately to God’s heart.

      • Jesus Tavern on March 28, 2014 at 6:08 pm

        Dare I go on… In Christ… There is “NO MALE OR FEMALE”. No gender. No homophobia. Galatians 3:26-28 “Christ is ALL and is in ALL” Colossians 3:11

  11. Sam Carletons on March 28, 2014 at 5:53 am

    Your closing sentence is right on the mark! I am right there with you! It reminds me of that verse: Jesus wept. Here is the beautiful thing, after Jesus joined Mary in her place of pain, he raised Lazarus from the dead, he healed Mary, Lazarus and ushered in a new day.

    But I do see Christ bring something very, very beautiful out of all of this… It is people like you and all the others non-homophobic folks respond to the reverting: love and grace. As compared to the way the first group reacted with hate and division.

    Somehow, how I know not, God will bless all those that are responding in love and grace, he will use that to bring yet another new day.

    It is always wonderful to see a new day dawning in the Lenten season:)

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:36 am

      Sam, you did what I could not do yesterday: See Jesus in all of this.

      Jesus wept.

  12. Sam Carletons on March 28, 2014 at 5:53 am

    Your closing sentence is right on the mark! I am right there with you! It reminds me of that verse: Jesus wept. Here is the beautiful thing, after Jesus joined Mary in her place of pain, he raised Lazarus from the dead, he healed Mary, Lazarus and ushered in a new day.

    But I do see Christ bring something very, very beautiful out of all of this… It is people like you and all the others non-homophobic folks respond to the reverting: love and grace. As compared to the way the first group reacted with hate and division.

    Somehow, how I know not, God will bless all those that are responding in love and grace, he will use that to bring yet another new day.

    It is always wonderful to see a new day dawning in the Lenten season:)

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:36 am

      Sam, you did what I could not do yesterday: See Jesus in all of this.

      Jesus wept.

  13. Hannah on March 28, 2014 at 6:51 am

    Thank you for your honesty! This was a beautiful piece! So much of what I’m feeling right now too.

  14. Hannah on March 28, 2014 at 6:51 am

    Thank you for your honesty! This was a beautiful piece! So much of what I’m feeling right now too.

  15. Natalie Trust on March 28, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Love this. I’m with you.

  16. Natalie Trust on March 28, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Love this. I’m with you.

  17. Alison Hughes on March 28, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Carly, I have been one in the room that does not clap and agree when President Obama is ridiculed or others that do not line up with “Gods standards” I often wonder how is this ok? Would Jesus be clapping along too? I struggle with feeling a misfit and find grace the way to peace. I just can’t figure it all out. Thanks for being raw.

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:34 am

      I sat in church the Sunday after Prop 8 passed. How individual people in the church voted is one thing – the mass celebration and “praise” after it passed though was something else entirely. I can’t figure it out either.

  18. Alison Hughes on March 28, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Carly, I have been one in the room that does not clap and agree when President Obama is ridiculed or others that do not line up with “Gods standards” I often wonder how is this ok? Would Jesus be clapping along too? I struggle with feeling a misfit and find grace the way to peace. I just can’t figure it all out. Thanks for being raw.

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:34 am

      I sat in church the Sunday after Prop 8 passed. How individual people in the church voted is one thing – the mass celebration and “praise” after it passed though was something else entirely. I can’t figure it out either.

  19. Jacob Tucker on March 28, 2014 at 8:56 am

    All too true. What I thought was telling from the interview was that the original decision spawned a reaction of anger – phone calls, dropped sponsorship, withdrawing support. The reversal? Not so much. I think the reaction was just hurt. That’s telling…

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Jacob, I didn’t have the words to articulate that, but I am glad you went there. We might write some rant-y blog posts but we will NOT drop sponsorships.

  20. Jacob Tucker on March 28, 2014 at 8:56 am

    All too true. What I thought was telling from the interview was that the original decision spawned a reaction of anger – phone calls, dropped sponsorship, withdrawing support. The reversal? Not so much. I think the reaction was just hurt. That’s telling…

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Jacob, I didn’t have the words to articulate that, but I am glad you went there. We might write some rant-y blog posts but we will NOT drop sponsorships.

  21. William McPherson on March 28, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Without writing you a book, I want to point out a few things.

    1) I am sorry that Evangelicals, a group of which I am a part of, tend to love judgement over mercy; we all need to be careful with not taking justice out of God’s hands and into ours. I think we err on the side of caution and really we should err on the side of extravagance.

    2) A lot of what you are seeing is the result of the “myth of the Christian nation” and what it has done to Evangelical power structures. Evangelicals have enjoyed having a lot of say in the governing of America, and now we feel entitled to it. We see that power slipping away (I see it as a positive, many do not share my viewpoint), so we are grasping for whatever we can before we are definitively (and perhaps permanently) exiled to the margins of culture, society, and government. I hope that the secular authorities will be more merciful to us than we were to them…but knowing humanity’s propensity for revenge and retribution, I highly doubt it.

    3) There is an inability for Evangelicals, due to the influence of stricter fundamentalism, to connect with people whose behavior we disagree with. It is like we cannot get into our heads that these people will not conform to the fruits of the Spirit and Christian ethics because…well…they are not Christians. I struggle a lot with getting to know non-Christian (in my belief, lost) people, and it bugs the crap out of me. I find myself working in a Christian business, surrounded by Christian friends, and not really being able to engage with those who frequent less reputable places. Honestly, I do not know where to begin! (It may just be my own fear of initiating conversation with any stranger). The local church has not modeled for us effective ways for us to engage LGBTs or any other “sinful” group. There is a balance between, “I am just a sinner,” and “I am a saint,” I do not think we get right often.

    4) There is a lot of homophobia mixed in with biblical convictions in Evangelicalism. While I am morally and theologically opposed to the identity and actions of homosexuality that does not mean that I want to quarantine myself away from such individuals. Part of my problem is that I do not know any practicing homosexuals personally, and because of being an Evangelical it makes it even harder to speak with them. I do not believe homosexuality condemns people to hell, I believe that our original sin nature in whatever manifestation condemns us to hell without Christ. Jesus had harsher words for the religious leaders than the prostitutes and extortioners…that should always humble us.

    5) I am not so sure homosexuals should not be allowed to work in a Christian organization (other than of course the leadership of the local church); it might do LGBT persons some good to see actual Christians and being able to engage with them (and vice versa). Now I understand the difficulty in allowing people who conflict with your values and convictions to LEAD the organization, but making them not able to work for you gives a business too much control and responsibility for the personal lives of an employee. God gave us the local church to handle issues of discipline AMONG BELIEVERS; these individuals are likely (though not always) not believers. What an opportunity to engage people we have had a hard time building bridges to, in a third place!

    6) I do think we need to stand (though humbly, kindly, and mercifully) for our convictions on these issues. The homosexual community is getting mixed signals from the Evangelical church: is it okay for me to be LGBT or not? We do not do them a lot of good by being wishy-washy. There are homosexuals who are celibate for the sake of the Gospel and the kingdom; they do the same thing we ask single people to do with the caveat that if God does not change them, they will remain alone. There are some who commit to be Christians but who continue to practice their homosexuality in the church. I do not think the public square is the place to debate the rightness of homosexuality; the local church has the authority of Scripture and must interpret it to the best of its fallible ability. Sometime that means some people are asked to repent; it stinks and it is painful, but if we believe it to be necessary is right for us not to say so?

    7) I have a brother who struggles with homosexual tendencies; he does not practice it and is constantly seeking repentance, but nevertheless it is real for him and for me. It is not one of those issues that you can just be haphazard with. Identity, and placing it in the wrong things is a lot of the problem with our society today. When we challenge LGBT behavior (whether genetic or not), we challenge their identity. This is heartbreaking because it is idolatry just as much as a guy who makes an idol out of his career, a woman out of her racial heritage, or a child out of their parents’ opinion of them. When we place our identities in anyone or anything other than Christ we rightly become defensive and hurt when that identity is called to question. Part of the overwhelming objection to homosexual rebuke is that crises of identity, “Who am I, if I am not homosexual (or bisexual, etc.)?” That is why we need to teach and demonstrate the Gospel, because who we are can only be fully realized in Jesus Christ. It is not our original nature that determines rightness, but who we are in a new nature through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

    Still ended up writing a book! Oh, well. My point is that there are a lot of non-religious, unbiblical reasons that many Evangelicals are pursuing groups like LGBTs. I also hope to help you understand that not every Evangelical thinks that power and coercion is a good means of spreading the Gospel. I am for the rights of homosexuals; we live in a pluralistic, secular society that is governed by law and the will of the people. For better or worse, the people have spoken: LGBTs are in and conservative Evangelicals are out. But let me also say that I still believe the people are wrong for affirming homosexual identity; I will lovingly, graciously stand by that conviction until my reading and conscience tells me otherwise. God loves the world and he allows us all to continue breathing despite our constant rebellion; I hope that we will show more of that same kind of love to peeps we disagree with, are afraid of, or simply do not understand in the future. God bless you, Carly, and be gracious to you.

    • Kyle S. on March 28, 2014 at 10:14 am

      No one I know who’s gay has ever had a problem with Christians challenging their identity. Their problem is Christians telling them what they can and can’t do with the people they love.

      • William McPherson on March 28, 2014 at 10:43 am

        Thanks for your response, Kyle! I agree with Christians not being able to control what people do in our pluralistic society; religious freedom demands that we protect the rights of all not just our group (I could argue Christians have no rights, but I digress). However, when we preach against our sin nature, we preach against whatever idol we set up. Many homosexuals engage in a homosexual lifestyle because they believe they were born that way or chose to pursue that direction, which ties in directly with identity. So, when we say, “We believe homosexuality to be morally and theologically wrong,” what they hear is, “We believe that who you are is fundamentally evil.” While that is true, since (in my view of Scripture) we are all fallen and fundamentally evil, they believe it some sort of personal attack because they have made homosexuality their identity. The hardest part for us is being able to affirm them as people made in the image of God, while not affirming their choice toward what may be a natural, genetic inclination. If we believe that homosexuality is an idol manifested in our corrupted sin nature, then it is our duty to say so! However, I think that everyone knows pretty much where we stand, but they do not see the willingness to love and engage. I do not believe we can legislate personal morality and hope to win a hearing for the Gospel. We have to ome up with new ways to be faithful and yet open our arms and hearts to this community whom we have ostracized and demonized.

        • Kyle S. on March 28, 2014 at 11:07 am

          It’s not a lifestyle and it’s not a choice. If it’s become an identity for someone (and it hasn’t been for anyone I’ve known), it’s because that’s the only thing someone in their life has been able to see about them.

          • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 11:15 am

            With you, Kyle.



          • Kyle S. on March 28, 2014 at 11:34 am

            Thank you. I really appreciate you speaking up and letting me and other outsiders that there isn’t a Christ-following monolith. It’s easy–too easy–to go “ugh, Christians” after an episode like this, so it’s truly beneficial to read a post like this and be reminded of who I might be writing off when I do that. Call yourself what you like, you’re good people.



          • William McPherson on March 28, 2014 at 11:46 am

            I had this wonderful reply and the hit the wrong thing on my iPad…oh they joys of being ill! Maybe God is just teaching me to be brief.

            Anyway, I do not think the inclination is a choice; I do think they choose to follow that inclination. There are many homosexuals who choose not act on the inclination (Wesley Hill and his book are a great read) out of reverence for Scripture. I may have inclinations to have sex with someone other than my spouse, that does not mean have no choice in the matter. Not all of our natural inclinations are good; they are all corrupted by our fallen nature. You cannot say, “It’s genetic,” and expect that to justify whether or not you should pursue it. It is also genetic to have high cholesterol and alcoholism; no one advocates that those are good things. We have to look beyond our feelings and deal with the text for itself; I have read alternate interpretations of those text…but I am not convinced as of yet. The inclination may be something they have no control over, but the acting out of homosexuality is entirely different.

            I also believe that we need to objectify homosexuals. Each is a person unique, made in the image of God. Even in their fallenness they can be used to show us something about God, whether they realize it or not. On some days, I am even used to show somebody something about God…still cannot believe that! Identity must be found in Jesus and who he can make us to be; that is why we must continue to teach the Gospel of Christ crucified and resurrected. That is why this issue matters. Will you see yourself as God desires you to be, or will you embrace the way your were born, corrupted by sin? That is the choice for each of us. Grace and peace to you.



          • David Adkins on March 29, 2014 at 7:06 pm

            So, William, if it is a choice, at what point did you decide to be straight?



          • William McPherson on March 30, 2014 at 5:58 am

            David, thanks for your question. I think my inclination is not toward homosexuality so I have never had to make that choice. My brother, on the other hand, does have that inclination and has made the choice to stay away from it. I am inclined however, to do other equally sinful things and must constantly and imperfectly make the choice to live in the holiness of Christ. We all have our crosses to bear, so I do not think it is helpful to compare.



    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:44 am

      William, this is incredibly well thought out, and better written than my own post! I think we need more people like you, who do not let their convictions move them to hate or bigotry. On both sides. I think KNOWING people behind the movement is key. For instance, you’ve seen your brother’s plight. You will not dehumanize him. And you’ve also seen sincere evangelicals who operate from love and grace regardless of their perspective.
      Thank you.

  22. William McPherson on March 28, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Without writing you a book, I want to point out a few things.

    1) I am sorry that Evangelicals, a group of which I am a part of, tend to love judgement over mercy; we all need to be careful with not taking justice out of God’s hands and into ours. I think we err on the side of caution and really we should err on the side of extravagance.

    2) A lot of what you are seeing is the result of the “myth of the Christian nation” and what it has done to Evangelical power structures. Evangelicals have enjoyed having a lot of say in the governing of America, and now we feel entitled to it. We see that power slipping away (I see it as a positive, many do not share my viewpoint), so we are grasping for whatever we can before we are definitively (and perhaps permanently) exiled to the margins of culture, society, and government. I hope that the secular authorities will be more merciful to us than we were to them…but knowing humanity’s propensity for revenge and retribution, I highly doubt it.

    3) There is an inability for Evangelicals, due to the influence of stricter fundamentalism, to connect with people whose behavior we disagree with. It is like we cannot get into our heads that these people will not conform to the fruits of the Spirit and Christian ethics because…well…they are not Christians. I struggle a lot with getting to know non-Christian (in my belief, lost) people, and it bugs the crap out of me. I find myself working in a Christian business, surrounded by Christian friends, and not really being able to engage with those who frequent less reputable places. Honestly, I do not know where to begin! (It may just be my own fear of initiating conversation with any stranger). The local church has not modeled for us effective ways for us to engage LGBTs or any other “sinful” group. There is a balance between, “I am just a sinner,” and “I am a saint,” I do not think we get right often.

    4) There is a lot of homophobia mixed in with biblical convictions in Evangelicalism. While I am morally and theologically opposed to the identity and actions of homosexuality that does not mean that I want to quarantine myself away from such individuals. Part of my problem is that I do not know any practicing homosexuals personally, and because of being an Evangelical it makes it even harder to speak with them. I do not believe homosexuality condemns people to hell, I believe that our original sin nature in whatever manifestation condemns us to hell without Christ. Jesus had harsher words for the religious leaders than the prostitutes and extortioners…that should always humble us.

    5) I am not so sure homosexuals should not be allowed to work in a Christian organization (other than of course the leadership of the local church); it might do LGBT persons some good to see actual Christians and being able to engage with them (and vice versa). Now I understand the difficulty in allowing people who conflict with your values and convictions to LEAD the organization, but making them not able to work for you gives a business too much control and responsibility for the personal lives of an employee. God gave us the local church to handle issues of discipline AMONG BELIEVERS; these individuals are likely (though not always) not believers. What an opportunity to engage people we have had a hard time building bridges to, in a third place!

    6) I do think we need to stand (though humbly, kindly, and mercifully) for our convictions on these issues. The homosexual community is getting mixed signals from the Evangelical church: is it okay for me to be LGBT or not? We do not do them a lot of good by being wishy-washy. There are homosexuals who are celibate for the sake of the Gospel and the kingdom; they do the same thing we ask single people to do with the caveat that if God does not change them, they will remain alone. There are some who commit to be Christians but who continue to practice their homosexuality in the church. I do not think the public square is the place to debate the rightness of homosexuality; the local church has the authority of Scripture and must interpret it to the best of its fallible ability. Sometime that means some people are asked to repent; it stinks and it is painful, but if we believe it to be necessary is right for us not to say so?

    7) I have a brother who struggles with homosexual tendencies; he does not practice it and is constantly seeking repentance, but nevertheless it is real for him and for me. It is not one of those issues that you can just be haphazard with. Identity, and placing it in the wrong things is a lot of the problem with our society today. When we challenge LGBT behavior (whether genetic or not), we challenge their identity. This is heartbreaking because it is idolatry just as much as a guy who makes an idol out of his career, a woman out of her racial heritage, or a child out of their parents’ opinion of them. When we place our identities in anyone or anything other than Christ we rightly become defensive and hurt when that identity is called to question. Part of the overwhelming objection to homosexual rebuke is that crises of identity, “Who am I, if I am not homosexual (or bisexual, etc.)?” That is why we need to teach and demonstrate the Gospel, because who we are can only be fully realized in Jesus Christ. It is not our original nature that determines rightness, but who we are in a new nature through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

    Still ended up writing a book! Oh, well. My point is that there are a lot of non-religious, unbiblical reasons that many Evangelicals are pursuing groups like LGBTs. I also hope to help you understand that not every Evangelical thinks that power and coercion is a good means of spreading the Gospel. I am for the rights of homosexuals; we live in a pluralistic, secular society that is governed by law and the will of the people. For better or worse, the people have spoken: LGBTs are in and conservative Evangelicals are out. But let me also say that I still believe the people are wrong for affirming homosexual identity; I will lovingly, graciously stand by that conviction until my reading and conscience tells me otherwise. God loves the world and he allows us all to continue breathing despite our constant rebellion; I hope that we will show more of that same kind of love to peeps we disagree with, are afraid of, or simply do not understand in the future. God bless you, Carly, and be gracious to you.

    • Kyle S. on March 28, 2014 at 10:14 am

      No one I know who’s gay has ever had a problem with Christians challenging their identity. Their problem is Christians telling them what they can and can’t do with the people they love.

      • William McPherson on March 28, 2014 at 10:43 am

        Thanks for your response, Kyle! I agree with Christians not being able to control what people do in our pluralistic society; religious freedom demands that we protect the rights of all not just our group (I could argue Christians have no rights, but I digress). However, when we preach against our sin nature, we preach against whatever idol we set up. Many homosexuals engage in a homosexual lifestyle because they believe they were born that way or chose to pursue that direction, which ties in directly with identity. So, when we say, “We believe homosexuality to be morally and theologically wrong,” what they hear is, “We believe that who you are is fundamentally evil.” While that is true, since (in my view of Scripture) we are all fallen and fundamentally evil, they believe it some sort of personal attack because they have made homosexuality their identity. The hardest part for us is being able to affirm them as people made in the image of God, while not affirming their choice toward what may be a natural, genetic inclination. If we believe that homosexuality is an idol manifested in our corrupted sin nature, then it is our duty to say so! However, I think that everyone knows pretty much where we stand, but they do not see the willingness to love and engage. I do not believe we can legislate personal morality and hope to win a hearing for the Gospel. We have to ome up with new ways to be faithful and yet open our arms and hearts to this community whom we have ostracized and demonized.

        • Kyle S. on March 28, 2014 at 11:07 am

          It’s not a lifestyle and it’s not a choice. If it’s become an identity for someone (and it hasn’t been for anyone I’ve known), it’s because that’s the only thing someone in their life has been able to see about them.

          • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 11:15 am

            With you, Kyle.



          • Kyle S. on March 28, 2014 at 11:34 am

            Thank you. I really appreciate you speaking up and letting me and other outsiders that there isn’t a Christ-following monolith. It’s easy–too easy–to go “ugh, Christians” after an episode like this, so it’s truly beneficial to read a post like this and be reminded of who I might be writing off when I do that. Call yourself what you like, you’re good people.



          • William McPherson on March 28, 2014 at 11:46 am

            I had this wonderful reply and the hit the wrong thing on my iPad…oh they joys of being ill! Maybe God is just teaching me to be brief.

            Anyway, I do not think the inclination is a choice; I do think they choose to follow that inclination. There are many homosexuals who choose not act on the inclination (Wesley Hill and his book are a great read) out of reverence for Scripture. I may have inclinations to have sex with someone other than my spouse, that does not mean have no choice in the matter. Not all of our natural inclinations are good; they are all corrupted by our fallen nature. You cannot say, “It’s genetic,” and expect that to justify whether or not you should pursue it. It is also genetic to have high cholesterol and alcoholism; no one advocates that those are good things. We have to look beyond our feelings and deal with the text for itself; I have read alternate interpretations of those text…but I am not convinced as of yet. The inclination may be something they have no control over, but the acting out of homosexuality is entirely different.

            I also believe that we need to objectify homosexuals. Each is a person unique, made in the image of God. Even in their fallenness they can be used to show us something about God, whether they realize it or not. On some days, I am even used to show somebody something about God…still cannot believe that! Identity must be found in Jesus and who he can make us to be; that is why we must continue to teach the Gospel of Christ crucified and resurrected. That is why this issue matters. Will you see yourself as God desires you to be, or will you embrace the way your were born, corrupted by sin? That is the choice for each of us. Grace and peace to you.



          • Kyle S. on March 28, 2014 at 12:27 pm

            I’m an atheist, so I don’t have to deal with the text at all (and when I do it’s usually one of the Gospels or Ecclesiastes). But I respect that you do–that the position you hold, you didn’t come up with it. And you think by giving up that position you give up the thing (person?) that’s most important to you. Hope I got that right.

            So I apologize for being snippy. I recognize you’re not trying to be anyone’s enemy and I appreciate you being gracious with me. Can I suggest, though, as you move forward in talking with people about this, that you bear in mind that it’s not always about sex? I think your position is unfair because it says to a loving couple that their relationship is wrong because they happen to be of the same sex, not because I think you care about what goes on in anyone’s bedroom.

            Not trying to keep a debate going or impugn you personally. It’s just a trend I’ve noticed in the way this gets discussed.

            So that’s me trying to be helpful. Grace and peace to you, too, William.



          • William McPherson on March 28, 2014 at 12:50 pm

            Kyle, thanks for letting me know! Now I will proceed to dismantle your belief system in one fell comment…eh, who am I kidding. Anyway, that makes sense about your view of the situation. I would challenge you however, that there even atheists who would say free-will trumps genetics. So, it is not just an Evangelical position that people are the master of their own bodies and inclinations, and if they so chose could be able to put them under subjection (Stoics in particular come mind, though I don’t think Paul was as influenced by Stoics as people tend to believe).

            Now, after I wrote my response I began to think about what you brought up, that homosexuality is not all about the sex. This is encouraging, because at least people are beginning to see the lies of sex being some sort of be-all-end-all when it comes to ethical considerations. I get tired of seeing how people “feel” about things, as if that in itself makes it true (and Evangelicals are notorious for describing how they feel about things…without much further consideration). So, it is good to see that we are trying to talk about affection and not sex.

            However, you and I can hopefully agree that if there were not some sort of sexual component we would not be talking about homosexuality. The reason I love my wife is not ALL sexual, but it certainly is sexual to some degree. Now, I have heard it suggested that homosexuals living together but not having sex is acceptable because they are not in active participation in homosexual acts. In principle I agree that there is nothing sinful about it, but I consider it unwise. I would never encourage an alcoholic to go to a bar; neither would I encourage an engaged couple to live together. Nothing may ever happen, but the potential for disaster and compromise is extreme. Now, there are communities of single homosexuals who live together and support one another with rigid accountability; I support that because it is tough being single and not having a life long partner. But the idea of having to homosexuals living together and thinking that the temptation for sex will not exist…I cannot go a long with that.

            So, I think it should be encouraged for homosexuals to have solid biblical relationships with the same sex, but not in such a way that puts them in the fire and potentially causes a messy situation that their local church would have to deal with. Again, I am speaking only for homosexuals who wish to follow Christ as revealed in Scripture, not homosexuals in the outside world. Some choose to live faithfully and others choose to join churches that do not care or do not know what to believe. It is a conversation Christians need to keep having because we do have homosexual believers in our churches who need is to be faithful to what God says about himself in love and holiness.

            And Kyle, it is ok to disagree; you have absolutely no reason to agree with me. May God bless you in Christ regardless.



          • Jesus Tavern on March 28, 2014 at 6:30 pm

            Kyle, your kind response exemplifies Christ. Here is what the “text” says: There is NO gender in Christ (Galatians 3:28). “But only for those who believe” someone says–but ALL are in Christ (Colossians 3:11). God brought the WHOLE WORLD together through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19). And we have all committed the same “sins” (James 2:10). We are all “guilty” of homosexuality, bestiality, and idolatry (Romans 1 and 2:1). And for the record, if being an Atheist means equal footing with God, then count me in (John 17:23, Galatians 2:20, and Colossians 1:27).



          • William McPherson on March 30, 2014 at 6:06 am

            Jesus Tavern, you are right that distinctions fall away in salvation for God makes a broken world whole in Christ! I think though the list was not to say we are all of the sins but rather to show each of us has a place on that list, no excuses. We are also repeatedly called to believe and repent, even by Jesus himself. So, I think you are stretching “all are in Christ” to be absent of what Paul would attach to repentance and belief.



          • David Adkins on March 29, 2014 at 7:06 pm

            So, William, if it is a choice, at what point did you decide to be straight?



          • William McPherson on March 30, 2014 at 5:58 am

            David, thanks for your question. I think my inclination is not toward homosexuality so I have never had to make that choice. My brother, on the other hand, does have that inclination and has made the choice to stay away from it. I am inclined however, to do other equally sinful things and must constantly and imperfectly make the choice to live in the holiness of Christ. We all have our crosses to bear, so I do not think it is helpful to compare.



          • christine on April 2, 2014 at 6:04 pm

            William, since you’ve read Wesley Hill, please consider reading the book “Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate”

            by

            Justin Lee



    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:44 am

      William, this is incredibly well thought out, and better written than my own post! I think we need more people like you, who do not let their convictions move them to hate or bigotry. On both sides. I think KNOWING people behind the movement is key. For instance, you’ve seen your brother’s plight. You will not dehumanize him. And you’ve also seen sincere evangelicals who operate from love and grace regardless of their perspective.
      Thank you.

      • William McPherson on March 28, 2014 at 11:16 am

        Thank you, Carly. I must say thought that is only by the grace of God that I have come to see how I see. I do not hate my brothers and sisters who do not see that way, for I am sure I am blind somewhere else. We need to be kind to one another…that is what is missing. It is much easier to label, start boycotts, and be angry than it is to do the hard work of confronting the issue with the person, in love and grace. This is not some abstract concept; people’s lives are great affected. I know that there are more of us in Evangelicalism who believe this, and we will hopefully help to create more of dialogue and less of a monologue.

    • christine on April 2, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      Because you are obviously a thoughtful person and for the sake of your brother, I would encourage you to read the book “Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate” by Justin Lee

  23. Kelly Cone on March 28, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Hmm, but there is another hard position to take in all of this. What if you consider yourself a Christian, believe that homosexuality is wrong and not what God intended (the statistics on what same-sex marriage is doing to our society are staggering, btw), but desperately also want to love them? To not make them feel hated? Yet the other Christians from other churches are giving you a bad name? That’s the position our church is in, to hold a belief without being labeled a hateful bigot.

    • William McPherson on March 28, 2014 at 9:37 am

      Kelly, to be fair, the reason we are lumped in with hateful bigots as Evangelicals is because we give the platform to people who espouse an unloving, uncharitable view toward a certain sin. The fact that Evangelicals can hold any organization or nation hostage because of our fear mongering and anger is not at all Christ-like. I think most people know what we believe about homosexuality, now let us show that we can actively love homosexuals despite are disagreeing with their chosen identity and lifestyle. I think that is the challenge we have before us, being gentle and kind but still saying, “No.”

      • Kelly Cone on March 28, 2014 at 9:45 am

        Very true, William. I think that Christians haven’t found the fine line between loving someone and condoning their actions.

    • Ready-to-Halt on March 28, 2014 at 8:04 pm

      OK, I can’t let a leading statement like this one pass without commenting. “The statistics on what same-sex marriage is doing to our society are staggering.” What statistics? What do they say? Where (and from whom) did you find them?

  24. Kelly Cone on March 28, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Hmm, but there is another hard position to take in all of this. What if you consider yourself a Christian, believe that homosexuality is wrong and not what God intended (the statistics on what same-sex marriage is doing to our society are staggering, btw), but desperately also want to love them? To not make them feel hated? Yet the other Christians from other churches are giving you a bad name? That’s the position our church is in, to hold a belief without being labeled a hateful bigot.

    • William McPherson on March 28, 2014 at 9:37 am

      Kelly, to be fair, the reason we are lumped in with hateful bigots as Evangelicals is because we give the platform to people who espouse an unloving, uncharitable view toward a certain sin. The fact that Evangelicals can hold any organization or nation hostage because of our fear mongering and anger is not at all Christ-like. I think most people know what we believe about homosexuality, now let us show that we can actively love homosexuals despite are disagreeing with their chosen identity and lifestyle. I think that is the challenge we have before us, being gentle and kind but still saying, “No.”

      • Kelly Cone on March 28, 2014 at 9:45 am

        Very true, William. I think that Christians haven’t found the fine line between loving someone and condoning their actions.

    • Ready-to-Halt on March 28, 2014 at 8:04 pm

      OK, I can’t let a leading statement like this one pass without commenting. “The statistics on what same-sex marriage is doing to our society are staggering.” What statistics? What do they say? Where (and from whom) did you find them?

      • Kelly Cone on March 28, 2014 at 9:37 pm

        Let me clarify: I was referring to a few articles I’d just read concerning Mark Regnerus, a doctor of Sociology at the University of Texas Austin, wherein he documents the problems that children of same-sex marriages encounter later on in life. UT has distanced themselves from his opinion as more of a political move, but no one has been able to contradict his claims. One could also argue that the kids struggle because of society, but one can always blame society– it’s the universal scapegoat that can’t fight back.

        • Ready-to-Halt on March 29, 2014 at 12:13 am

          Regnerus accumulated an unprecedented mass of data, and doesn’t get enough credit for that. However, he was only able to identify two children who had actually been raised by same-sex couples. (And those two he pronounced “comparatively well-adjusted on most developmental and contemporary outcomes.”) Since that wasn’t enough to constitute a statistically valid sample, in making his conclusions he lumped them together with anyone else whose parent might have had a same-sex fling at any point in their lives, regardless of whether the child ever actually lived with the parent and his/her partner. That’s why UT has distanced itself from his work. He provided plenty of proof demonstrating that broken, unstable homes are deleterious to children, and none that same-sex households are innately unstable or unhealthy. Yet the latter is the conclusion he’s been attempting to peddle. (And recently got slapped down hard by the Michigan court for it.) Jim Burroway took a close look at the study, its strengths, weaknesses, and biases at Box Turtle Bulletin: http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2012/06/10/45512

  25. Carolyn Palacios on March 28, 2014 at 9:33 am

    I think you are pretty judgmental of the bride of Jesus. You don’t know what’s in other people’s minds, but you assume no one is as accepting as you are. It’s a good thing we have you around to tell us how awful everyone else is! Lucky us.

    • William McPherson on March 28, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Carolyn, I would say that Scripture tells us how awful we are; we have this tendency to forget. Perhaps Carly is being overly judgmental of Evangelicals, but she is not talking about leaving the church or talking about the universal church. However, I do think you are not addressing her hurt and her understanding of what she is experiencing from Evangelicalism; you are not giving her a very gracious exception to her own knowledge at the moment. She has good points, though I am sure her ideas and thoughts are just as fallible as yours and mine are.

    • Kelly Cone on March 28, 2014 at 9:49 am

      Carolyn, it IS a good thing we have people willing to put themselves out there and speak up. Jesus spoke up against his own people and was ridiculed for it. We shouldn’t be the ones shutting people up, we should listen and love without being afraid that it will somehow tarnish us. Are you afraid of people like Carly who are pointing out potential flaws?

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:46 am

      Carolyn, as I stated in the piece, I’m not writing for you. I’m writing for the Misfits. My view is flawed and one-sided, I’m certain of that. But if you want to read someone who thinks just like you do, there are many many blogs out there for you.

  26. Carolyn Palacios on March 28, 2014 at 9:33 am

    I think you are pretty judgmental of the bride of Jesus. You don’t know what’s in other people’s minds, but you assume no one is as accepting as you are. It’s a good thing we have you around to tell us how awful everyone else is! Lucky us.

    • William McPherson on March 28, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Carolyn, I would say that Scripture tells us how awful we are; we have this tendency to forget. Perhaps Carly is being overly judgmental of Evangelicals, but she is not talking about leaving the church or talking about the universal church. However, I do think you are not addressing her hurt and her understanding of what she is experiencing from Evangelicalism; you are not giving her a very gracious exception to her own knowledge at the moment. She has good points, though I am sure her ideas and thoughts are just as fallible as yours and mine are.

    • Kelly Cone on March 28, 2014 at 9:49 am

      Carolyn, it IS a good thing we have people willing to put themselves out there and speak up. Jesus spoke up against his own people and was ridiculed for it. We shouldn’t be the ones shutting people up, we should listen and love without being afraid that it will somehow tarnish us. Are you afraid of people like Carly who are pointing out potential flaws?

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:46 am

      Carolyn, as I stated in the piece, I’m not writing for you. I’m writing for the Misfits. My view is flawed and one-sided, I’m certain of that. But if you want to read someone who thinks just like you do, there are many many blogs out there for you.

  27. Kelly Cone on March 28, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Carly, I just have one other thought that’s bugging me. Your article points out that only .026% of the bible deals with homosexuality. To join a church (aka, the Episcopal church) due to their welcoming policy would be to emotionally focus on that .026%. Just like it shouldn’t be the center of our discussions and the target of so much hatred, it also shouldn’t be a reason to join a church. Their reasons for WHY they are so welcoming are probably more important. When a church decides not to take a stance on anything and just flow with the political tide, they won’t be a safe haven for long. Just food for thought because I care about you 🙂

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:29 am

      Kelly, I think you are completely right. More than any church’s policy I am grieving over the meanness on the evangelical side. Thanks for pointing that out.

    • William McPherson on March 28, 2014 at 11:10 am

      I think many parts of Christianity stand for different reasons; we tend not to appreciate the stands the others make and glorify our own. It is a foolish mistake to think your brand of Christianity is infallible. Evangelicals have been woeful in confronting societal evil, while doing well at reminding us that God is concerned with personal holiness as well. Liberal/Emerging/High (not equating these three!) churches know how to confront societal issues, but shy away from personal morality. Both sides critique each other well I think, when we are respectful and listen to each other…which rarely happens.

  28. Kelly Cone on March 28, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Carly, I just have one other thought that’s bugging me. Your article points out that only .026% of the bible deals with homosexuality. To join a church (aka, the Episcopal church) due to their welcoming policy would be to emotionally focus on that .026%. Just like it shouldn’t be the center of our discussions and the target of so much hatred, it also shouldn’t be a reason to join a church. Their reasons for WHY they are so welcoming are probably more important. When a church decides not to take a stance on anything and just flow with the political tide, they won’t be a safe haven for long. Just food for thought because I care about you 🙂

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 10:29 am

      Kelly, I think you are completely right. More than any church’s policy I am grieving over the meanness on the evangelical side. Thanks for pointing that out.

    • William McPherson on March 28, 2014 at 11:10 am

      I think many parts of Christianity stand for different reasons; we tend not to appreciate the stands the others make and glorify our own. It is a foolish mistake to think your brand of Christianity is infallible. Evangelicals have been woeful in confronting societal evil, while doing well at reminding us that God is concerned with personal holiness as well. Liberal/Emerging/High (not equating these three!) churches know how to confront societal issues, but shy away from personal morality. Both sides critique each other well I think, when we are respectful and listen to each other…which rarely happens.

      • Kelly Cone on March 28, 2014 at 3:19 pm

        William, high churches are PARTICULARLY good at confronting moral issues (confession, anyone?). Every evangelical church I’ve been a part of has shied away from talking about personal holiness because it was too “legalistic”.

  29. Andrea Enright on March 28, 2014 at 10:20 am

    I’m right there with you.

    “I really don’t like Christians right now.

    I really don’t want to be called one.

    I am not sure what that means yet.”

    Grieving with you,
    Andrea

  30. Andrea Enright on March 28, 2014 at 10:20 am

    I’m right there with you.

    “I really don’t like Christians right now.

    I really don’t want to be called one.

    I am not sure what that means yet.”

    Grieving with you,
    Andrea

  31. Paula Willems on March 28, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Here is an eye-opening info graphic that I came across recently in my Facebook feed that is helping me stay more open-minded about homosexuality to begin with: http://www.westarinstitute.org/blog/infographic-new-testament-say-homosexuality/

    Especially #4 #5 & #6… I hate definitively saying one way or another if it is wrong or right, not because I don’t believe the bible, but because I am not 100% convinced we got the right idea about it in the first place. It is worth taking, a second look at our initial conclusions on this, (or a 3rd, 4th, or 5th look) and be humble enough to admit maybe we have taken God’s limited commentary on the subject completely out of context and turned it into something it was never intended. There is enough of a question to cast doubt on our limited human interpretation of this, and I do not feel confident claiming it as an absolute sin or not sin. I am not even saying it for sure it isn’t a sin, but maybe we should be more hesitant to fight so aggressively over something that possibly wasn’t exactly true to begin with.

    And then like many here have been saying, even if we still conclude that we got this right and modern homosexuality is a sin, why are we being so hateful about it? If we are, then its ok for anyone to deny us employment because we may sin by gossiping, being glutinous, being drunkards, looking at porn, pirating movies, or cheating on our taxes… the list goes on and on! So you can see how if you are using a person’s sin as the standard by which they are allowed employment in a ministry or God’s kingdom, in a fair world (which this is not), none of us should be allowed to work for any ministry.

    Especially since it was sounding like these were Gay or Lesbian Christians… lovers of the same Jesus we love, who were wanting to work for and support World Vision. No one overcomes their struggles or sins overnight, and if homosexuality is a sin we’ve just slammed the door in their face, when we don’t know what short or long term healing Jesus was carrying out in their hearts. I have homosexual friends who indeed walked away from that lifestyle because of Jesus. It took them years, but God was working on them and pursing them. Let them be involved. Bless them. Pray for them. Befriend them, and maybe as they get stronger in their faith they will someday grow the courage and find the insight to walk away from that lifestyle. …Then again, we may be wrong about it being a sin from the start.

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      “and be humble enough to admit maybe we have taken God’s limited commentary on the subject completely out of context and turned it into something it was never intended…”

      Love your openness here.

  32. Paula Willems on March 28, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Here is an eye-opening info graphic that I came across recently in my Facebook feed that is helping me stay more open-minded about homosexuality to begin with: http://www.westarinstitute.org/blog/infographic-new-testament-say-homosexuality/

    Especially #4 #5 & #6… I hate definitively saying one way or another if it is wrong or right, not because I don’t believe the bible, but because I am not 100% convinced we got the right idea about it in the first place. It is worth taking, a second look at our initial conclusions on this, (or a 3rd, 4th, or 5th look) and be humble enough to admit maybe we have taken God’s limited commentary on the subject completely out of context and turned it into something it was never intended. There is enough of a question to cast doubt on our limited human interpretation of this, and I do not feel confident claiming it as an absolute sin or not sin. I am not even saying it for sure it isn’t a sin, but maybe we should be more hesitant to fight so aggressively over something that possibly wasn’t exactly true to begin with.

    And then like many here have been saying, even if we still conclude that we got this right and modern homosexuality is a sin, why are we being so hateful about it? If we are, then its ok for anyone to deny us employment because we may sin by gossiping, being glutinous, being drunkards, looking at porn, pirating movies, or cheating on our taxes… the list goes on and on! So you can see how if you are using a person’s sin as the standard by which they are allowed employment in a ministry or God’s kingdom, in a fair world (which this is not), none of us should be allowed to work for any ministry.

    Especially since it was sounding like these were Gay or Lesbian Christians… lovers of the same Jesus we love, who were wanting to work for and support World Vision. No one overcomes their struggles or sins overnight, and if homosexuality is a sin we’ve just slammed the door in their face, when we don’t know what short or long term healing Jesus was carrying out in their hearts. I have homosexual friends who indeed walked away from that lifestyle because of Jesus. It took them years, but God was working on them and pursing them. Let them be involved. Bless them. Pray for them. Befriend them, and maybe as they get stronger in their faith they will someday grow the courage and find the insight to walk away from that lifestyle. …Then again, we may be wrong about it being a sin from the start.

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 28, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      “and be humble enough to admit maybe we have taken God’s limited commentary on the subject completely out of context and turned it into something it was never intended…”

      Love your openness here.

  33. Stephanie on March 28, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    You said so well how I have felt. There were no winners this week, but so, so many people – gay believers, sponsored children, World Vision employees, compassionate evangelicals, religious skeptics – were hurt by the events of the past several days. Thank you for writing this. I grieve with you.

  34. Jesus Tavern on March 28, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Please allow me to remind us… Jesus hung out with “sinners” (Matt 9:10). He vindicated the adulteress in public (John 8), had robust conversation with the Samaritan “whore” (John 4), and washed the feet and shared communion with his KNOWN betrayer Judas (John 13:11, 26)

  35. Jesus Tavern on March 28, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    I’ve cheated, stolen, been glutenous, lusted, gossiped, lied, had my girlfriend abort two babies, and yet I’m not persecuted like homosexuals. Why are homosexuals singled out if all “sins” are the same (James 2:10)?

  36. Pete Litterski on March 29, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    I don’t know who for whom we should weep most:
    * The children who lost sponsorship because of this kerfuffle;
    * The gay Christians whose efforts to serve the Lord’s children have again been rebuffed; or
    * The reactionary Christians who are blinded to the way their behavior in this affair is an affront to all that Jesus tried to teach us.
    I believe deeply that to be an evangelical Christian is to feel the call of the Lord’s command that we love his children … all of his children. We most effectively share the Lord’s promise by sharing his love. But in one broad swipe, the reactionaries who spewed their hate against gays violated that command twice.

    • Carly Gelsinger on April 2, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      Preach.

      • Pete Litterski on April 2, 2014 at 6:16 pm

        One thing Carly, either you opened your blog with hyperbole or you are teetering on a bad decision when you write “I really don’t like Christians right now … I really don’t want to be called one.” I remember an evening several years ago when I said much the same about our current denomination … the one with real wine.
        Our own congregation was starting to get caught up in the broader Episcopal debate over the “gay issue” and I was worried we might take a stand against acceptance of gay clergy. I told my wife, “If that happens, I may have to move.”
        She said, “If that happens, who will stand up for what we believe?” She hit the bulls eye. I believe our congregation is leaning in the right direction and I know our faith family has played an important part in our lives the past five years as we have overcome a series of personal challenges.
        Don’t be afraid to be called Christian, just make sure you keep letting people understand how Christ works for you. Your blog is a good example of what “the rest of us” need as we put a face forward to the world and to the Christians whose point of view we may abhor, but who we nonetheless must love as our neighbors.

        • Carly Gelsinger on April 2, 2014 at 6:32 pm

          I’ve been known to use a bit of hyperbole in my writing, but at the time I wrote this post, it was a very real feeling. I’m wrestling with it. I don’t want to be called a Christian because of the events last week, but at the same time, I feel even more urgency to identify as one. Just like you put it, we need to be a good example of “the rest of us.”

  37. aspekx on March 30, 2014 at 5:01 am

    having been among them i can say that ‘evangelicals’ have a hate problem, period.

    secondly, welcome to finite humanity. you cannot, nor will you ever be able, to extend grace to all people in all situations, at all times.

    being finite and limited comes with the territory for us. at some point all you can do is hand them over to be ‘graced’ by someone else.

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