Love Won Out Billboards Are Vandalized In St. Louis

I was reading the paper a while back and saw an article on a group of roadside billboards that were vandalized. This of course immediately caught my eye, and even more so when I saw what the billboards were about. The billboard was bearing a photograph of an African-Amercian ex-gay man and it quoted him saying “I Questioned Homosexuality: Change is Possible”. This is only one of many of the billboards that were vandalized in attacks against the Love Won Out conferences that were offered in St. Louis on February 25th.

Exodus International placed these billboards in the St. Louis area in conjunction with the upcoming conference presented by Focus on the Family which is designed to offer help for people who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions.

Gay activists are protesting this event, they have bombarded the church hosting the event with eggs, and now they are resorting to vandalizing billboards. All of this coming from a large group of people who are crying out for tolerance. It seems the people who desire tolerance are not willing to give it themselves.

I honestly don’t see why it is so offensive to help people who honestly want to get out of homosexuality. Believe it or not, there are people in the world who are struggling with these things and their desire in life is to get rid of these feelings. Do people not have a right to get out of homosexuality once they are in it? It seems like people who are ex-homosexuals are abused and tolerated even less than those who were never a part of it in the first place.

It is a sad day when the homosexual community resorts to breaking the law and vandalism to protest someone’s free choice, especially when they claim to be fighting for free choice themselves. I think this is a good example of the real face of gay activism. Many of them are not the hurt, scared, innocent minority of social outcasts that they make themselves out to be. If this was all about personal choice and sexual diversity then these Love Won Out conferences wouldn’t be a problem, but the issue is not about personal choice, it goes far deeper than that. The attempt to make their personal choice socially acceptable is quickly becoming a violation of others personal choice, and the tolerance they seek is clouded by the intolerance they give.

Lets face it. There are men and women out there in the world who are unsatisfied with their lives and no longer want to be a part of homosexuality. They have a right to change and that isn’t an offensive thing, that is life. It isn’t wise to resort to childish behavior and vandalism to try and prove a point, when the only message you are sending to the world is your own intolerance. The gay rights activists have just earned some more socially negative points in my book.

I’m Born That Way!

There is an interesting and intriguing discussion going on over at He Lives. Check out David’s post from Monday, January 17, 2005 entitled “This Post Calls Someone A Heretic”. The post deals with the view on Homosexuality being genetic and whether or not it really matters. A large majority of Christians, including myself, have run into the discussion of homosexuality armed with a variety of reasons why homosexuality is not genetic with the premise that we must defend Christianity by proving that God would never intentionally make someone a homosexual. This was a position that I defended whole-heartedly and yet now David has called this view into question. His post brings some light to the subject that I had never really thought of. Maybe God did make homosexuality a genetic predisposition, or maybe He didn’t, either way, does it really matter? Maybe people are predisposed to certain sins including homosexuality, but that still does not justify the sin. It seems that sometimes we spend a large amount of time and energy trying to gather information and facts about the homosexual gene when in fact it is of no consequences as to whether or not a homosexual is genetically predisposed to that specific sexual orientation. Sin is sin, regardless of how much we are susceptible to certain ones. “I’m born that way” is not a valid excuse to openly practice sinful behavior.

I encourage you to click the link above and read the post and then click on the comments and read those too. There were some very insightful comments dealing with this issue as well.

A Right To Privacy Or A Right To Life?

Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Our pastor preached on the value of human life and how human life is sacred. Life is a precious gift from the father and we are but stewards of what God has given us. It’s our obligation to protect human life, not destroy it due to our own individual decisions or inconveniences. It got me thinking about abortion and the issues related to it and I remembered a post I had started a long time ago but never finished.

Now, I have a question for you. Does personal privacy and choice override human life? I was reading several cases today that led up to Roe vs. Wade and I downloaded the entire transcript and articles from those involved in that decision and from what I have seen the common theme is personal privacy as established by the fourteenth amendment. According to the Supreme Courts “interpretation” of the 14th Amendment, a mother’s right to privacy overrides the courts rights to make decisions regarding the life of the child before birth. It is the mother’s liberty that dictates the life or death of her child.

Why is it that abortion is the one issue we can’t seem to see as evil? If you kill someone in the process of protecting your property you are a murderer, because life is greater than property. If you accidentally kill a pregnant female on her way to the abortion clinic then you can expect being charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. And yet, if you walk into a clinic and have your precious child brutally torn apart and slaughtered, you are simply exercising your personal choice and right as a mother.

As we continue to flounder around about this issue and as Christians continue to sit in silence the abortion industry is making millions from the brutal death and destruction of human life. The almighty dollar and an irrational sense of freedom wield a power greater than the sanctity of life. America, we’re guilty.

Christian Liberty

In the matter of Christian ethics I believe the Bible speaks distinctively to actions of the redeemed with undeniable and irrefutable moral absolutes. It speaks specifically to what is right and wrong and gives a general premise of what God declares as morally right. It does not, however, speak to all issues with the same specificity and general conception, thus leaving some things we deal with as Christians without answers as to whether a particular action is wholly right or wrong. Could there actually be issues that are left up to the believer to decide whether or not it is right or wrong for them to do? Doesn’t that sound just like relativism (what is right for you may not necessarily be right for me and vise versa), which is something that you all know I speak adamantly and strongly against? I admit, yes, there is a twinge of relativism here, but not in the sense of all moral judgments, it is only found within the context of what Paul calls disputable matters. The ethical absolutes found in Scripture destroy relativism at its very premise, but a small amount of relativity seeps in at this particular juncture. I must clarify that I find myself to be a strong proponent of moral absolutes and I hold strong and fast to God’s leadership on the ethical issues we face in society today, as do most conservative Christians. Nonetheless, it is within these boundaries that I find some Christians becoming hard nosed moral police, brutalizing other Christians for not holding to their own sense of right and wrong when dealing with these particular unknowns, or disputable matters.

Since Christianity is seen as one of the most intolerant and belligerent forms of religious expression in America and with conservatives being passionate about the Scriptures and the absolutes it brings forth, it may be hard to believe that within such a group there could be any Christian liberty. Even so, there are practices not covered in Scripture by a moral absolute and there are no commands that forbid these particular actions and therefore there must be some freedom in these areas for the Christian. The problem is, all of them have arguments for and against them. For example, while Scripture prohibits drunkenness (Eph 5:18), and while I think that even an occasional drink of alcoholic beverage is not wise, the Scriptures are still morally indifferent to social or occasional drinking. Do I think Christians should drink? No. But, while I believe that there are plenty of other logical reasons why Christians should not drink such as addiction, impaired judgment, poor witness, it’s a drug and while I believe that people drink for the wrong reasons, which is sinful, I still must conclude that the Bible certainly does not condemn the act of consuming alcohol in itself unless it leads to drunkenness or something else that the Bible speaks against. What is the absolute here? Drunkenness is sin. What is the moral indifference? Drinking small amounts of alcohol but not getting drunk. Since there is no absolute here, how can we know whether or not Christians should be doing these things?

Paul enters into a similar situation in Romans 14, only the question is not alcohol or dancing, but it is eating meat that was offered to idols and holding one day special above another. The principles that Paul teaches in this instance are general to all disputable matters.

Accept anyone who is weak in faith, but don’t argue about doubtful issues. One person believes he may eat anything but one who is weak eats only vegetables. One who eats must not look down on one who does not eat; and one who does not eat must not criticize one who does, because God has accepted him… One person considers one day to be above another day. Someone else considers every day to be the same. Each one must be fully convinced in his own mind… Romans 14:1-5

1. Respect your neighbor’s convictions
Let’s face it, there are some things the Bible simply does not discuss and then there are other things that it simply does not condemn. Yet there are people who have specific beliefs one way or the other about certain issues that may simply be arguments from silence. For instance, some would claim that TV is evil or secular music is evil and the Christians who use such things are involved in the work of the devil. However, the Bible does not specifically condemn either and I know many Christians who do watch TV and listen to secular music. Are they evil? No. Like anything else TV and music can be abused and can be used for evil things in which the Christian should use swift judgment on what he or she watches and listens to, but watching TV and listening to music is not inherently sinful. So what do we do? We respect each others belief. I should not look down on the person who refuses to watch TV and that person should not look down on me who chooses to watch it. We must respect each other. Each of us will give an account to God for what we do, why should we criticize each other over disputable?

Therefore, let us no longer criticize one another, but instead decide not to put a stumbling block or pitfall in your brother’s way… For if your brother is hurt by what you eat, you are no longer walking according to love. By what you eat, do not destroy that one for whom Christ died. Therefore, do not let your good be slandered, for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever serves the Messiah in this way is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another. Do not tear down God’s work because of food. Everything is clean, but it is wrong for a man to cause stumbling by what he eats. It is a noble thing not to eat meat, or drink wine, or do anything that makes your brother stumble… Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. Romans 14:13-22

2. Respond to your neighbor’s convictions
Here is the hard part. As Christians we are quick to point out the easy thing, ‘Hey you are not allowed to judge me for what I believe and I am not allowed to judge you for what you believe’, and we would like to leave it at that. Paul goes on to further explain what should be done in light of disputable matters. Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit trump disputable matters. What I mean by this is; if your actions negatively affect you or your neighbor’s righteousness, peace, or joy, then your actions have become sin. Whereas earlier we said drinking alcohol is not sinful if you do not get drunk, now we see that drinking alcohol can still be very sinful even if you do not get drunk. For instance, there are many people who are deeply offended by others who drink, especially those who come from families with a history of alcoholism and drunkenness, much like my own family. Christians drinking alcohol does deeply offend me, and therefore, for you to drink in my presence or to attempt to persuade me to drink is a sin. Drinking is wrong if you use it to get drunk, to drown your sorrows, to get a buzz, to fit in, and if your use of it offends your neighbor or causes another brother to stumble.

Why? Why should we have to give up things we enjoy so as not to offend or cause someone to stumble? Because it is our Christian duty to build up our neighbor in righteousness over seeking our own self-pleasure. ‘Now we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not to please ourselves. Each one of us must please his neighbor for his good, in order to build him up.’ Romans 15:1-2

Christianity and Homosexuality

A quick story:

I think the chicken came first. Once the chicken came into existence, the egg became the primary means to form other chickens from then on. The chicken was created in a specific way with specific purposes, but the chicken’s offspring didn’t often agree with the destiny of chickens and therefore the chicks decided to stray. They still considered themselves chickens of course, but they decided that they didn’t want to cluck or lay eggs. They decided that they would rather moo and produce milk. The original chickens were repulsed at such an idea knowing that chickens were created to lay eggs, but the renegade chickens didn’t care. They decided that it was in their genes, and they proclaimed that they were designed to moo and produce milk. The original chickens were called bigots, fundamentals and thought to be closed minded, when all they really wanted to do was set the minds of the poor confused chickens straight. What did it mean to be a chicken? To cluck and lay eggs of course.

The confused renegade chickens just wouldn’t hear it! They cried out for their own rights, formed their own support groups, and moved to the stables with the cows where they mooed and attempted to produce milk (even though they couldn’t, because they are chickens not cows.) Many confused chickens adopted jugs of milk from cows in order to simulate the destiny they so desperately wanted, to be able to produce milk. Imagine the poor farmers surprise when he went to milk the cows and found a group of chickens mooing and standing next to the borrowed milk that they didn’t really produce. What could the farmer conclude? These chickens were very strange indeed and obviously confused about their place in life. Thus, the farmer is left with a decision to make… does he simply allow the confused chickens to hang out with the cows and moo, setting the stage for chickens across the country to do the same, or does he force the chickens to move back in with the others, denying them their rights to moo?

The farmer does what any level headed farmer would do. He takes the chickens and forces them to go back to where they came from. He decided not to allow the confused chickens to act like cows and live in the barn. Now the confused, renegade chickens were angry. They went on strike, refused to lay eggs, and angrily pecked at the farmer’s legs when he was around. They thought they had every right to be cows and that every other animal and the farmer should just accept it. The farmer, however, knew the true place of the chicken and would not allow this foolishness to take place on his farm! Among the chickens, cows, and other animals on the farm there was much rejoicing. The poor renegade chickens continued to moo, and peck at the farmer’s legs to no avail. They lived out the rest of their days with the other chickens, forced to live by rules that they didn’t choose, and they remained angry and bitter chickens all the days of their lives.

I was inspired to write this after reading a post today entitled the chicken, the egg, and the homo. I actually liked the post made at Obliquity. I considered it to be thought provoking and creative, however, it inspired me to write a silly little story about chickens from the viewpoint of the conservative, Christian chicken. I didn’t come up with this to be mean or to make fun of anyone. Thinking about the chicken and the egg theory in comparison to the current battle between Christians and homosexuals got my creative juices flowing and this weird little story came out of all that.

The relationship between Christianity and Homosexuals right now is a current hot spot in our society and from personal experience I am well aware of both sides of this argument. The religious right stands up and declares homosexuality to be wrong, while the homosexuals and the left believe otherwise and it is a constant battle back and forth. I have been there, done that, and really have little interest in continuing such a battle, other than just reaffirming the position I have come to on the issue. I don’t hate homosexuals and I don’t spend my time finding new exciting ways to bash them. I don’t intently try to harm them, but I will stand strong in my belief in what the Bible declares as truth. If saying that God’s word says Homosexuality is a sin makes me a hatemonger, then I guess I am a hatemonger. I don’t believe that I am, because I am not a gay hating individual. If you want to be gay, then be gay. Just don’t try to force me to accept it as ok, don’t try to force me to believe it is the right thing to do, and don’t try to force me to believe that God says it’s ok. “What if a homosexual came to your church for a worship service?” I would welcome them, shake their hand, and treat them like everyone else. And yet, I am considered a hatemonger, and a hypocritical Christian because I believe homosexuality to be a sin. Would I be considered a hater if I declared murder to be a sin? Adultery? Pedophilia? Lying? Stealing? Cheating? Am I a hater because the Bible speaks against such things? According to the logic of some I hate adulterers, liars, thieves, cheaters, and child molesters because I call them sinners. When I correct children, telling them they are doing something wrong, I must hate them too. In fact, if someone sins and another person points it out, it must be hate! Of course, since they are pointing out that I’m doing things wrong too then they hate me as well and in this circular argument everyone ends up hating everyone. Even God takes an opportunity to point out the faults of humans, would that be hate as well? Obviously we’ve misunderstood what hat is. Recognizing sin as sin is not being closed minded.

I think Christians as a whole are simply misunderstood because of the poor choices and actions of a few who do promote hate. We don’t hate homosexual people, at least I don’t. I believe the Bible speaks against it, and I think it is a sin, but how does that make me hate homosexuals? It doesn’t. I’ve always thought that everyone has the freedom to have their own opinions and thoughts on things.  Most people will agree with that.  Yet if a Christian believes homosexuality is wrong they are immediately branded as haters, and evil hypocrites for expressing that opinion. However, if I were to get on here and say you were a hypocrite for expression your opinion, well it would be another story all together. Just like with everyone else, Christians have the same right to express their opinion or understanding of what they believe the Bible says. It doesn’t make them haters, evil, hypocrites, or anything else. I don’t hate homosexuals, I just disagree with them. Have we really come to the place in life where disagreement is equal to hatred?

How Would You Respond?

In my ethics class we were given this question and asked how we would respond to the situation.

Suppose you are the pastor or staff member at a local church. A mother and father who are dedicated Christians approach you and say that there son who is a junior at MU or any other (Big State U) announced his homosexuality to them over the weekend.

What advice would you give them? What is your approach? Share your ministerial approach to this situation.

Here was my response:
This situation is fairly close to home for me right now in my ministry. I have a good friend who has family members that announced their homosexuality. I also have members of my own family who are open homosexuals. In addition to this, there are some students in our local high school who have announced their homosexuality and the teenagers in my youth group are not really sure how to act in regards to this issue. Needless to say I have thought about this. While it is an easy thing to discuss and think about, when it comes to real life I find it far more difficult an issue, even more so when it is your own family. This being said, unless you are going through it in your own family, I think it is really quite difficult to understand the onslaught of emotions the parents will be going through. It’s important that we are sensitive to the emotional state of the parents as we talk with them about their son. Assuming they are faithful Christians who are grieving over their son’s situation, I think we should grieve with them. I would answer any questions they may have about the Biblical stance on homosexuality and would certainly offer my prayer and support to them as they deal with this.

My advice to them would be to love their son. They should never stop loving their son and expressing that love to him. That’s the easy part. The hard part is never accepting his new lifestyle. There are some major consequences to that decision, which I would share with the parents. It could mean that he may never talk to them again unless they accept what he does. It may mean he will never come home if he cannot bring his partner with him. It may mean he will remove himself from his own family if that family won’t accept his lifestyle. It may mean he will not feel loved if his choice to be a homosexual is not accepted, regardless of how the parents continually express love for him. However, in the face of what could happen I would encourage the parents to hold strong to their love for him but never accept what he does. I believe this is a Godly response. Regardless of our sins, God loves us and while we were yet sinners he would even die for us, but that never meant He simply accepts our sin. It is sin that separates us from God and damages our relationship with Him, but it will never damage his love for us and desire to see us Holy as he is Holy. So, the most important advice I could give them would be to never stop praying for their son and never stop loving him.

As I told my students in our youth group, we would be wrong if we treated homosexuals with anything other than love, kindness, and gentleness. However, we should never deviate from what is right. Our response to homosexuals may need to be love, but our stance on what the Bible says should never be compromised. I think the church has the same responsibility as the parents. As his Pastor, I would love him and respond in prayer and support to him as a person and yet let him know where I stand on this issue, assuming he would listen or agree to talk to me. Depending on how he responded to that would determine my next step. If he was remorseful and wanted help I would do everything that I could to help him or I would find someone who could. I would fight for him and support him all the way. If he responds in anger and resentment, I can only love him anyway and pray that God would deliver him.

Statistics Say Fatherless Daughters Are:

Fatherless Daughters Are:

53% more likely to marry as teenagers

111% more likely to have children as teenagers

164% more likely to have an out of wedlock birth

92% higher divorce rate (32% higher for sons)

“A house is built of logs and stone,
Of tiles and posts and piers;
A home is built of loving deeds
That stand a thousand years.”
– Victor Hugo

Proof being found in the results; parents have a tremendous responsibility to their children. Whether you are a single parent home or not your responsibility to your child is extremely high. More often than not we are finding that single parent homes and single sex homes have a greater difficulty in providing what is needed for raising the children in our nation and unfortunately the number of single parent or single sex homes is on the rise. This is not to say that single parent homes can’t raise and nurture a child, but it is to say that it becomes more difficult, and where things are more difficult there are more failures.

It has been an age old thought that a child needs to grow up being nurtured under both a loving father and mother. I tend to agree with this but we should put an emphasis on LOVING! Children growing up with a mother and father isn’t the cure all either. Families experience divorce, some girls get pregnant outside of marriage and they are left alone, and some families are even forced to deal with the death of a loved one. In these situations it is not impossible to raise a child, but unfortunately it is more difficult. However, divorce and self inflicted single parent homes (teen pregnancy or pregnancy outside of marriage) are the number one culprits of the statistics above. Divorce is traumatizing to families and the stress of it falls on the children more than anyone else. Mothers and Fathers can get over it, many times children can’t. Other families start with an immature child having a baby and then being forced to raise the child alone when they are just a child themselves. There are so many problems with this and the difficulty of raising a child under these circumstances is ten fold.

Families dealing with divorce, painful break-ups, abuse, drugs, alcohol, and many other things are on the rise and children growing up in these environments are living in an age where the family has broken down. We no longer live in the “leave it to beaver” world, and in fact that type of family is a distant dream. The more the family continues to break down, the more it is statistically proven that children grow up to create their own broken families, ultimately producing more children who have an even greater chance of living in a broken family when they are adults.

The sad thing is parents raise their children in the name of freedom, relativity, personal choice, and free will which is a blatant disregard for the very nature of human relationships, causing a mass chaotic world that our children must grow up in. Parents or parent, “you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself” and your children too!