Thursday, October 30, 2008

Humility or Hypocrisy?

This Saturday (November 1), TheCall ministry will occupy Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California in prayer and fast for the “deliverance of the homosexuals.” Lou Engel will deliver a chilling message that is rooted in untruth, intolerance, and spiritual violence. I received an email last week from someone connected to TheCall; I was told that this Saturday, TheCall will extend an invitation to the “homosexuals” to come forward and they will wash our feet as an act of love and peace.

The image of Christ washing the feet of the disciples in John 13 is very moving. It is the ultimate display of love, grace, and humility—TRUE humility. After Christ washes the feet of the disciples he tells them: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (v. 14-15). Jesus says to repeat this humble act; however, he does not say to do “what” he did but “as” he did. The disciples are to pass on the same teaching that Christ has done by conveying as he has, both in word and deed, the selfless love of God. The community Jesus has brought into being is to manifest the love of God that he has revealed through serving one another with no vestige of position or superiority.

I don’t disbelieve that Lou Engel and TheCall mean to reach out in love; although loving they have taken an abusive and spiritually violent role. They do not recognize the happiness and peace in my life and the lives of other LBGTQs, instead they seek to invalidate the faith gay and lesbian Christians have in Jesus and the journeys we have been on. Because of the messages they teach, they stand over the LGBTQ community in the position that their Christian walk and idea of sexuality are morally and spiritually superior. Their position and their messages are incongruent with the teachings of humility and selfless love because they seek to belittle the progress and journeys we have experienced as LGBTQ Christians.

Let’s LEARN what it means to be a Christian: it’s about a man who spoke love, not tolerance, but acceptance. The idea that we should “love the sinner, but hate the sin” is two-faced and spiritually violent. Let’s compare how many times the Bible attempts to discuss homosexuality to the number of times the Bible teaches us to care and love for our neighbors. Tell me about the Jesus you serve! The Jesus I know didn’t walk around saying “Oh no whore, can’t help you! I’m against prostitution!” I serve the Jesus who talks about love and grace. I understand spirituality and I understand the grace and kindness behind being selfless in my love.

Before you pull out your water basins I challenge you to look into your hearts and to look at where your actions come from. Instead, why don’t you take time to come out to our level and stand vigil with a community that advocates for love, equality, and true humility? Humble yourselves and step into our shoes to understand our journey. That is servant leadership, that is grace, and that is love.

Thanks Peterson for some guidance on this.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Childhood Brainwashing?

Over the past couple of months I've been doing as much as I can to raise opposition to Proposition 8 in California.  That has included volunteering at the phone bank for "No On 8" and just reaching out to friends and family to spread the word.  But for every bulletin I post on Myspace about Prop 8, I am met with resistance...by a thirteen-year-old.

My thirteen-year-old cousin has really enjoyed challenging me on my beliefs, interpretations, and opinions on politics.  However, he shares information with me that I've heard before, because I used to be in the same place he was at his age.  But he disregards that and chooses to put down my marriage and call me a sinner.  This is the last message I received from him...

VINCE AT LEAST 75% OF PASTORS AND CHURCHES THINK GAY MARRIAGE IS WRONG AND IT IS. GUESS WHAT I JUST TURNED SOME ONE WHO WAS GAY INTO A STRAIGHT MAN HE WAS MY NEIGHBOR, I TOOK HIM TO CHURCH AND HE FEELS WRONG THAT HES GAY SO I CHANGED HIM AND I SHOWED HIM THE PAPER I MADE THAT I SENT TO YOU. I'M PRAYING FOR YOU AND HIM. I THINK GOD IS USING ME TO CHANGE GAYS. I ALREADY CHANGED ONE AND I CAN CHANGE 2 MORE.

I was left speechless.  There are so many things wrong with this message.  Where does a thirteen-year-old get the idea that God has chosen them to "change the gays?"  Not to mention that he thinks he's been successful in converting at least one person and has the power to change more.  I politely responded that I tried reparative therapies and they don't work and that using guilt to push someone back into the closet is not the same thing as converting them to heterosexuality.  But what are church leaders teaching young people today?

It is not okay for a junior high student to believe that God has given him superpowers to make people straight--it's not okay for anyone to believe that.  Granted, when I was that age, I believed that homosexuality was wrong and I would voice that, but I never thought I could change gay people; but I also never thought it was fixable, I just thought they were out of luck and were destined for hell.

It is disturbing that there are church leaders that would be very proud of this young man's efforts.  Churches are using dangerous indoctrinating messages to turn children into mini-reparative therapists.  That is a scary abuse of religion.