Saturday, October 06, 2007

Jesus Would Have Hung Out With Gays.

"I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." (Mark 2:17)

During Jesus' ministry it was very offensive to many respectable, religious, church-going people that Jesus had so little regard to what was expected of Him as to hang out with people who were no better than they should be. "If this man were a prophet," said Simon the Pharisee to himself, when Jesus allowed a woman of doubtful reputation to touch him. "He would have known...what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner" (Luke 7:39)

But Jesus knew perfectly well what the woman was, and for that reason decided to let her do what she was doing, which would be to any other "religious" man, an embarrassment.

Jesus has been called a "friend of the sinner," which is a comfort to us all for sure. But did you know that was given as a criticism at first? They called him a "glutton and a drunkard. A friend of the Tax Collector." Tax collector being considered lowest on the totem pole of respectability by the religious, matched only by hookers. So... guess what the self-righteous religious would have called Jesus today?

A fag, or at least, A friend of fags.

Why? Because that is exactly where Jesus would have planted himself. Right in their midst, for the whole world to see.

But wait, it makes us feeeeeel so much better when we say that Jesus simply "tolerated" the sinner. Nah uh. Not according to the gospels. As a matter of fact, Jesus seemed to prefer their company according to the Pharisees. "This man EATS with the sinners, in their own home!!!" (Luke15:2) Now, back then, when you ate at someone's house, it was THE way to signify a "unity" or fellowship with him or her.

God desires that NONE should perish. And how does that get done? By hiding it our light in our big giant Sunday buildings and perfectly organized bible studies? Nope, by diving in where the sick hang out and loving. Because it isn’t a clean record that shines light. God isn't a clean record. God shines in the prayer, "Woe is me for I am a sinner." God is Love.

So, hang out with Gays? Looks like the question is yup to that one. Why? Because God loves them. We should love them. Sorry, you can’t say that you love someone and avoid the crap out of them. Who do love and avoid?

Jesus believed in dealing with the root of the problem, not just the symptoms. And the root is a desperate need for Love, and if not from us, then who from? I think we know the answer to that one.

I thank God that Jesus didn't deal with me how I have dealt with Homosexuals in the past. I would have never known him. I repent of that.

I wonder what would happen to the world if Christians REALLY acted and operated like Jesus did.

Time for me to find out. But, maybe I can plead my case and opt-out of the Gay bar. Just because they dress too nice and I feel out-fashioned.

P.S. Thanks to F.F. Bruce for some great insight on this question. Check out his book "Hard Sayings of Jesus." Its great.


Chaotic Hammer said...

I was going to respond and continue the dialog on the comments for your original Gay Bar thread. But now you've started a new one -- should we continue here, or let the one over there be separate? Seems like a continuation of the same subject.

kddub said...

I think that you are totally right. I also think that the reason he was able to hang out with a prostitute, or sinners in general was because he was strong enough to not be tempted at all by that, he saw past what they were doing to who they were.
There are certain people I could hang around no problem, but there are some where I might be tempted to do something I shouldn't, you know? I think all in all what you are saying I totally agree with, but if a man struggles with a temptation to like other men or whatever, it might not be a good idea for him to hang out with Gay guys.
I think you have got to have spiritual strength to do that.

Seth Ward said...

Thanks kddub.

I don't have a temptation with homosexuality, nor have I ever. But I do have some very good friends who are happily (and I do mean happily and in love) married, who have struggled with it and I don't think it would be a good idea for them to venture into the gay bar just to hang. (As for me, I'd rather avoid the situation in the future, mostly becasue to guys cuddling or kissing just still gives me the heebie-jeebies. No matter how many hundreds of times i've seen it. But then again... that might make me the right guy for the job. Dangit!)

However, I do know a couple of those friends struggled have been able to help them in areas where I can't relate. The conversation only goes so far with me and I there comes a point when I am a little speechless and say dumb things... "how in the world could you not like women????" or something like that.

Honestly, I find it odd that God has put me in the places that he has in the past 10 years because I really have zero tollerance for gay come-ons. The few times it has happened have been almost comical.

But somehow, God has figured out a way to use me...

For instance, I was at a piano workshop at Baylor, a Christian University about 8 years ago. There was a guy, Micheal, there who was OBVIOUSLY gay, but didn't come on to me or any of the other guys.

We became friends, and he never talked about his sexuality. I think it stunned him because I was "a guy" in the sense that I wasn't effeminite and I talked about "guy" things. (for a musician) Even casual talk about girls I thought were attractive. (By this time I had been through the immorality boot-camp at my undergrad where 8 out of the 10 guys at the music school where evangelical gays, so Micheal didn't frighten me.)

Later in the week one of the girls in the workshop approched me and told me that she really appreciated me being friends with Michael. She said she had known him for a long time and its been a long time since a hetero male had befriended him, much less a "active" Christian. She said she thinks he had forgotton what it was like to be thought of as just "a guy."

I eventually talked to him about it. He brought it up. Poor fella, was like trembling when he brought it up. I think he thought I was going to hate him. I told him that I knew, and when he asked me what I thought, I told him that I thought Homosexuality was a sin but that didn't mean that I would stop being his friend. I told him that I knew that God loved him and that never to doubt that, no matter what. He began to tell me his tragic story of attempted suicides and how he loves God and he has desperately prayed for it to go away but it never did and now he just accepts it. I didn't know what to say really... just listened.

Last thing I told him was "listen buddy, I'm not God, I do believe what the bible says about it, and I do think that all things are possible through Him, but it's not my place to judge your eternity, and I know that Jesus said to Love God and Love your neighbor and it sounds like we are both doing that pretty well... Just don't ever grab my ass."

Anyways, I agree. I don't think you should put yourself in a position where you know you might fall. What's interesting about that is that MOST of the time, we know we would fall before we try it and use the opportunity as an excuse.

Rob said...

Now you've got me all confused!

First you have me convinced that you think stopping into a gay bar on the way home from work for a pint and a bit of conversation with your pals is just fine. (After all, Jesus would have, right?) In fact I'm almost tempted to believe you might extend the same thinking to strip joints, the adult video place down the street, and maybe stop in at one of those private poker clubs to play a few hands with the gamblers there. I'm all in a lather to straighten you out before it's too late!

They you tell the story about Michael. You see, that's EXACTLY the point I was trying to make. That's EXACTLY the way we're to behave as Christians. You got it EXACTLY together as far as I can see.

So which is it?

Jesus didn't plant himself in the middle of a bunch of "tax collectors" to tweak the Pharisee's noses or because he preferred their company. He didn't just tolerate their sin, in fact he didn't tolerate their sin at all. He knew they needed him and he picked those sinners who he knew would listen to what he had to say. There was nothing random about what he did. He didn't just happen by and drop in on Zacchaeus. He deliberately selected him out of the hundreds or thousands of possible tax collectors.

Seth, I agree with the notion that as Christians we have to be in places other than church and the Christian bookstore. What I'm having trouble with is the idea that these are good places, and that I can go there without thinking, or that they might even be somehow preferable places for me to be. They are not. We are to avoid even the appearance of evil. The only reason to be there is because you believe God has commanded you to be there so as to accomplish some task he has set you.

Jesus was not a "friend of the sinner." He just loved me too much to let go of me.

Rob said...

How come every time I post I sound like a nasty, judgmental, opinionated bigot? Hmm.....

Chaotic Hammer said...

Seth - Obviously, if you read my comments on this subject in the previous thread, you'll see that I agree with you. I can relate to your thoughts and feelings a lot, and I've had several similar experiences with friends struggling with homosexuality.

But, to sort of follow up on Rob's thoughts about this, I noticed something very interesting about one of the scripture passages you cited in defense of your position...

You cited Luke 15:2, where Jesus eats with sinners (as you pointed out, this indicated very close fellowship in that culture). So I read the entire chapter of Luke 15, and couldn't help but notice Jesus' response when the Pharisees and teachers of the Law criticized Him for this. Immediately, Jesus launched into three different parables: The Parable of the Lost Sheep, the Parable of the Lost Coin, and the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

The first parable ends with this statement: "I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance."

The second parable ends with this: "In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

And the third ends with this: "But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found."

So all three parables end with the sinner coming to repentance, and the lost person being found. It seems to me that Jesus' point was "Sure, I hang out with sinners, because those are the people who need to hear about the Kingdom of God, so they can repent and be saved". Would we say that Jesus had ulterior motives, then? Was His fellowship with sinners primarily evangelistic in nature, or did He simply enjoy their company? He seems to be saying "It's the sick that need the doctor, so that's where you'll find me -- among the sick." But it doesn't seem to me that a doctor's aim is ever to "participate in the sickness". It's to cure the sickness, right?

I think another issue we are starting to touch on with this discussion, is the question of how much "separation from uncleanness" the Lord requires of His church in order to keep His followers holy, consecrated, and set apart for His glory. This is a major sore point between various denominations, and also one of the major things that is brought up with groups like the Amish, who completely separate themselves from "secular society". How can the Amish hope to reach lost sinners, when they never actually come into contact with them?

As I said, I agree with you about being a light right where we are, and living our lives among the people who we see every day, showing love and compassion for all people, regardless of what their sins are. I agree that the Lord is longsuffering with us sinners, and it's because of His patience and steadfastness that we eventually come to know Him. I don't believe the Lord ever tells us to throw someone to the dogs to be devoured, or tells us to completely give up loving them and hoping to bring them to repentance.

And for some reason, I seem to be completely unable to keep my comments brief and to the point. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I just stumbled upon this blog and haven't read previous posts.

I have to say, homosexuality is certainly not a 21st century phenomena! For Paul there were probably plenty of "gay" hangouts he could have gone to, but I don't read of that happening. My guess is that he welcomed the sinner into his midst,though. Neither was Jesus hanging out with sinners at the brothel, that we know of.

Here is a real life example of how this plays out. I am aware of a young Christian man who struggles with his homosexual desires. He has failed on occasion, since dedicating his life to the Lord. He wants to stay involved with the homosexual community, even stay 'cool' in it, and reach out to them for Christ.

According to him, he thinks it is perfectly okay to spend the night in a hotel room with another man with the same issues, not because they are traveling or at a conference, simply for the pleasure of it. On top of that, this is an overnight that includes massages, alcohol and meals in.

Now, if this were any other single couple, it would be just as disturbing. Or what if your spouse decided to spend a night at a romantic hotel with another woman (or man)? Then add drinking, never mind the massages(!). His/Her reasoning for the rightness of this would make as much sense as this man's angry and unkind response to having his overnight event questioned.

If this practice causes others to stumble, even if it does not tempt him,(hmm), he is failing to uphold the gospel.

All things are permissible, not all things are profitable. and we *are* under 'the law of Christ', Paul says. He is playing with fire. God provides "a way of escape", but, that way may be to say "No!" to such a crazy idea in the first place.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved." 1 Corinthians 10:31-33

This event was not to be questioned. When I questioned and implied that something was wrong, this is the sort of response that I got; 'How dare you insinuate something sinful occurred or was in bad judgment!. You legalist! I don't have to tell you what happened. You know, you never were a friend of mine in the first place. Friendship is now over.''

How would you respond to your spouse or friend telling you that they just spent this same kind of weekend at a hotel? Wouldn't you have something to say?

Seth Ward said...

Uh, yes. I would. I don't think you were too off in your concerns anon...

I wouldn't want to stay in a hotel room for any amount of time with anyone other than my wife unless I just had to. Mostly because I hate sleeping without her, and other than that... well, no. That's pretty much it. So if some dude struggling with homosexuality is planning clandestine weekends with another gay man... I'm not sure that's the greatest idea, and as a brother in Christ, I would most certainly question the intentions, as I would for any straight married man or woman taking a trip with someone not their spouse of the opposite sex.

Anonymous said...

Yea, Seems like it should go without saying. But, obviously not.