I’ve had a lot of friends from Shreveport, my hometown, texting me recently asking me if I read Hunter Leone’s blog that he posted on Sunday. Unless you’re from Shreveport — and most of my readers aren’t — you don’t know who Hunter is. But in many ways, I’m sure Hunter represents someone that you do know.
I think the most unsettling thing I’ve ever experienced is seeing someone that I thought knew Christ, walk away from Him. Even though I’ve only been a Christian for a relatively short time (4 years), I’ve already seen this happen a few times. It’s heart breaking on so many levels. And frightening. It creates dread in my own heart regarding my own salvation. I was nearly as sure of their faith in Christ as I am in my own faith in Christ, and here they are now. Faithless. Godless. Hopeless.
I know that we deep thinkers (as we like to think of ourselves, anyway) tend to look at easy believing, “blind-faith” type people and call them ignorant or whatever, but honestly, part of me really envies them. I don’t mean the people that have never read the Bible and call themselves Christian simply because they’re American and they think that the two go hand in hand (they don’t). But I mean the people who actually know the Word of God and have an unwaveringly steady and unshakeable confidence in it.
If I can be totally honest here (which is always a risk, because people tend to twist my words around kinda frequently), sometimes reading the Bible and embracing what it teaches is hard for me. This morning was one of those times. I was wading about in Romans – a book jam packed with big, hard truths that I usually love and feast on – and my heart started to race. Anxiety began to consume me. I know that sounds dramatic, but this is really the physical reaction I have sometimes when meditating on certain teachings of the Bible.
Today’s mainstream culture assumes that people attracted to the same sex are born that way because the same sex attraction is something that comes naturally to them. They didn’t choose it, they didn’t will it, they didn’t ask for it. It has just always been there. And that’s been my personal experience as a same sex attracted person.
This way of thinking isn’t derived from facts based on anything biological or scientific, though; it’s a theory rooted in logic. The logic goes something like this: “As long as I can remember I’ve felt this way, and I never made a conscious decision to choose to feel this way, so it must be true that I was born this way.”
As I’ve tried to proclaim the life that is in Jesus through my writing over the past few years, I’ve emphasized the doctrinal essentials: our inherent sinfulness, God’s response in the Person and work of Jesus and our need to bank everything on Him for salvation. But after writing my article last week on my experiences in the Church as compared to my experiences in the gay community, and subsequently reflecting on the goodness that I’ve experienced in the midst of God’s people, I’ve felt that I have neglected to communicate that God’s design for the walking out of our faith is not an individualistic design. It’s a corporate design. A community design. A family design.
Alright, so there was a time earlier on in my Christian life where I was quite the zealous little theology cop. I would blast Joel Osteen and the likes of him with their biblically deficient statements about God on my blog, twitter, Facebook — any outlet I could find. I thought it was my job to stand firm and “defend God’s truth!”, calling out every bit of erroneous teaching I came across. I’m not that person anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely think that there is a place for exposing false teaching (and to be clear, I think that most of what I’ve heard of Joel Osteen’s teaching is false). But I think it needs to be done out of a love for Christ and a desire for people to know Him in truth, not out of a egocentric desire to just be “right.”
I sent something similar to this out to my email subscribers a couple days ago, but decided to go more publicly with it in a blog post as I know that many of my readers don’t subscribe by email. To my email subscribers: sorry for blowing up your inbox this week! I think I’ve blogged more this week than I have in the past month!
When I began writing publicly a few years ago, I didn’t anticipate it to be anything more than a few scattered thoughts here and there throughout the year. But as time has progressed, the Lord has confirmed — both in my heart and through those around me — that writing about Him is a calling, and a privilege, that He has assigned to my life. When I started this blog in 2011, I never anticipated it functioning as a ministry, but nonetheless, that is what The Lord has done with it. Continue reading
Over the past couple of days, a video of a young man’s coming out to his “Christian” family has gone viral – and for good reason. I watched the video for the first time this morning and I’m in utter disbelief over what happened. As I’ve seen the articles floating around about this video, I thought it was probably just Christian parents vocalizing their disapproval (in a non-aggressive way) over their son’s decision to live a gay lifestyle and the liberal media is just spinning it around to demonize Christians. But that’s not the case at all. This family’s response to their son’s coming out is disturbing and disgusting. And the fact that they throw the Word of God out there as the basis for their reaction is infuriating.
I’ve picked out the big statements throughout their hostile conversation and am going to try my best to address the each one from a truly biblical perspective.
The gay community is the first place that I ever felt at home. They embraced me, a confused 19 year-old struggling to peek outside of the closet for the first time in my life, with arms wide open. They celebrated the parts of me that — in my pursuit to “be like everyone else” — I had been unsuccessfully trying to conceal and uproot for years. The gay community is the very first place that I ever felt free to be myself.
But as my beliefs about God and sexuality started to shift a few years later, I began to see that their acceptance wasn’t as unconditional as they had advertised it to be. The gay community portrays themselves to be a people for all people — whatever your orientation, skin color, beliefs may be. They promise to exercise unconditional tolerance, love and support to all. Continue reading
Things are kind of not-so-peachy in life, right now. First, writing a book sucks. Yeah, there are spurts of enjoyment sprinkled in the process, but it’s mostly been a grueling and frustrating endeavor. All my writer friends will chime in with a “hear, hear!” on my sentiment, I’m sure.
Second, my job/living/money situation is incredibly uncertain. I moved to New Orleans two years ago as a part of a Church plant and got a job at a gym about 45 minutes outside of the city. I’m still at the same gym, and it’s been an awesome experience. I’ve built amazing relationships with the people out there and have seen the gospel bear much fruit. But… BIG BUT… none of the people I connect with for Christ are really willing to come to my church in New Orleans. The distance is just too far. So I’ve been coming under the conviction over the past year or so that I need to leave my job — and the financial stability it provides me– and get a job closer to my church (which, based on the area, will mostly likely be at a coffee shop or restaurant).
This morning on my way to work I was overwhelmed with anxiety and frustration.