“Not That There’s Anything Wrong With It” (3 of 4)

As I concluded yesterday, sending an e-mail is easy. Living out the implications of having homosexuals in your church is not. Not only will you be judged by Christians, you will face some difficult situations. For instance…

One Sunday I walked in and saw a gay couple working at our “Welcome Table” in the lobby. I thought, “Ooooh, that’s not good.” We met and explained that they are welcome to attend our church, but could not volunteer at the “Welcome Table.” It gave the impression that they represented our church, but as two people who continued to live out a homosexual lifestyle, they do not. It’s not because they’re not perfect; none of us are perfect. But, in my opinion, the fact that they continued to live together and had not made the choice to abstain meant that they should not serve in that kind of position. I would have said the same to an unmarried heterosexual couple who lived together and were having sex. So these guys heard all that, and I expected, “Forget you, we’re out of here!” But they said, “Okay. Where can we serve?” And every Sunday since they show up at 8:00 a.m. for set-up. Why? Because although they heard painful truth, at our church they have always experienced overwhelming love.

I’ve also sat across a table in the food court of the mall and explained to an actively gay man that he could not go on a mission trip. There would be some mission trips he could participate in, but because of the nature of the trip he was interested in, I just thought it would be best for him not to go. In fact, I thought it wouldn’t be fair to him to be involved. He was disappointed. It was painful, but I had to speak the truth. And he continues to attend our church, because he knows he’s loved.

In his book, “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” Philip Yancey illustrates both the truth and the love on this issue. He tells the story of Mel White, who used to be a prominent Christian author, but then admitted to the world that he was gay, and left his wife, kids, and ministry to embrace a homosexual lifestyle. A network news show did a piece on Mel White. They interviewed his parents, who were conservative Christians and disagreed with Mel’s decision. The interviewer said, “You know what other Christians are saying about your son. They say he’s an abomination. What do you think about that?” With a quivering voice his mom answered, “He may be an abomination, but he’s still our pride and joy.”

That’s what I would say about the gay people in our church. It’s also what God would say about me. I am an abomination. But I am also God’s pride and joy. My life has been changed by the radical, perplexing grace of God. The homosexual people in our communities will have their lives transformed when they experience the radical, perplexing grace of God. But they will only experience it if we speak the truth, and do so in overwhelming love.

– featured on newchurches.com