Written by cycleguy on January 6th, 2016

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.


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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.

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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.


16 Comments so far ↓

  1. Laurie Krieg says:

    So good, Bill. I love your church’s starting stance of “No perfect people allowed,” and now your own heart saying, “Love your neighbor–all your neighbors.” As someone who struggles with same-sex attraction, I feel like an outsider and can tremor with fear whenever I share my story in a church I am attending. (Even though I share it on public level, the personal is way more difficult.) The rejection is real. The lack of love is real. The lack of truth is real. To embrace the messy grace is pivotal to truly loving our neighbors. Thanks for the embrace of grace.

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks for coming by Laurie (although I have to be honest and say I asked you to. 🙂 ) But I so appreciate your comments. The church has to get over the lack of love and truth and embrace messy grace. Still working on having you guys here. 😀

  2. jeff says:

    I work with a fair number of gay people. They seem moral enough to me. I think as long as the Christian community chooses to brand them as immoral they will lose the battle for the acceptance of their religious beliefs. I tend to believe that the immorality is with those that can’t see past ancient nonsensical manuscripts written by unknown uneducated superstitious fearful tribal persons. I personally know a lot of less than moral Christians than I care to. I am not sure who they have sex with. And I am not sure it matters.

    • cycleguy says:

      I know some gay people also Jeff. Nice people although some are too in-your-face (sort of like some evangelicals). But i do believe grace balances truth and love. You and I will continue to disagree on what you call “past ancient nonsensical manuscripts…” but I see the Bible as life-altering.

      • Jeff says:

        I’m sure the Quran is life- altering as well. Both can claim some for the good, some for the bad, and mostly not much.

  3. Daniel says:

    I sense no condemnation in your tone either. That is a good thing and it seems these books will help you as you deal with issues within your own flock.

  4. Jon Stolpe says:

    Thanks for the book suggestions. I added them to my “Books to Read” list.

  5. When Jesus commanded that we love others, there were no exceptions and they’re still not today. These books both sound like awesome reads, Bill. Thanks so much for the recommendations!

  6. Sharon says:

    I love the stance of your church, and I think your views are spot-on. Such a slippery slope when we venture into judging others. The Bible is quite clear on the issue of sin, but we humans have a tendency to *rank* them. Some sins are not-so-bad, others are terrible. The truth is that God sees SIN – a condition of humanity – that manifests itself in many ways. There are no “lesser or greater” sins. We ALL fall short, whether we “miss the mark” of perfect holiness by an inch or a mile (or more). We all need a Savior. I truly believe that if Jesus physically walked the earth today, He’d still cause a ruckus. For He chose to associate with people who needed Him, and many times that was scandalous!

    Love your neighbor as yourself – and EVERYONE is a neighbor.


  7. floyd says:

    I appreciate the perspective, Bill. I like the slogan of your church too. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” That pretty much casts a net over every single one of us. Following rules won’t get anyone any closer to heaven. Love is shown in action. Thanks to you and your friends for the reminder.

  8. Ed says:

    I’m sorry if the following may seem a bit harsh, but my tendency is always to treat (a) Homosexuals as just another human being…looking past their choosen lifestyle and seeing the person. But as a Christian, I also cannot wink at their sin. What I need to learn is how to approach them with God’s love, yet with God’s firmness too. A lot of gay people think that God is ok with their sin. That’s not the case. a firey judgement awaits them if they do not repent. Still, the compassion of Christ is an issue that can only be experienced when a heart is open to it. Just my thoughts…

  9. Interesting topics.