First, I apologize for this post being a bit longer than my normal ones. Just warning you…. 🙂
When I first came to OVCF I carried with me a strong desire to be a church of No Perfect People Allowed. Not only was I ready to do church differently after serving at a very traditional church (I loved the people though), I was also greatly influenced by John Burke’s book, No Perfect People Allowed (which I devoured twice and led in some small groups). I’m veteran enough now to know copying someone’s methods won’t work, but the ideology was something which resonated in my spirit. Fortunately, the folks here were ready to jump on board with me.
In all honesty, neither I, nor they knew exactly what that would mean. No one does. It certainly means more than the way a person is dressed or whether he/she is OCD. It is about creating a come-as-you-are culture in the church. The scenarios are numerous and I would actually encourage you to pick up Burke’s book (as well as Unshockable Love). The reality of this type of church culture is an “open door” policy, some of what you have no clue what you are getting into.
Caleb is a pastor now. He was also raised by LGBT parents. His father and mother divorced, his mother had her lover/wife, and years later he learned his father was also gay. He marched in gay pride parades as a youngster, and experienced the hatred and bitterness of some Christians toward his family.
But then Caleb surprised everyone by becoming a Christ-follower. Maligned, but never disowned by his parents, Caleb stood firm in his convictions. He loves his parents; loved his mother’s wife (now deceased); and continues to have dialogue with his (now converted) celibate parents.
The purpose of his book is to show that Jesus’ command to love your neighbor does not have a clause which says, “Except for ______________” That exception is, as you can guess, for the LGBT people. I liked the way Caleb interspersed his personal story with stories of people he met along the way (both straight and gay) and how they impacted his life. What I really like is Caleb doesn’t give blanket, easy solutions to the issue. You know where he stands on the morality of homosexuality, but never once do you find a condemnatory tone.
Grace, by its very definition is Messy.
Right after reading Caleb’s book, I read another one.
Out of a Far Country by Christopher Yuan and his mother, Angela Yuan, is a book you also need to read. Raised by Chinese parents (atheist), Christopher eventually adopted the gay lifestyle and lived full-bore as a gay man. His hatred for all things “God” is real. His mother’s unexpected conversion spurred that hatred even more. But eventually praying parents (after some time his father also converted to Christ) who continued to love him; a drug-addled existence; getting caught and imprisoned for selling drugs; being diagnosed as HIV+, led to his conversion. Today Christopher teaches as an adjunct professor at Moody and also travels speaking on homosexuality and the church’s response (as his health allows). Yeah, there was no miracle “cure” for his HIV+ status. This is Christopher’s story and reads quickly. There is no lambasting over the homosexual issue. Christoper, like Caleb, sees them as people in need of a life-perserver (Jesus) who offers what so many are looking for.
My suggestion is you get your copies of both of these books. I believe it will open your eyes and heart to a whole new approach toward those in the gay lifestyle. And while you are at it, check out Matt & Laurie’s site Hole in My Heart here. They are both open and honest about their struggles (Laurie with SSA and Matt with porn).
Well…you have my thoughts. Time for you to act. Let me know what you are thinking.