Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Love, Fear, Phobias & Homosexuality

Yesterday was a monumental moment for our Country as we watched our first African American take the highest seat in the land, The Presidency of the United States - our Commander and Chief. And as most of us know, President Obama selected Rick Warren to be the "one" to pray for our nation during this historical moment. But Rick's participation came with some strong scrutiny.

Reporter, Ann Curry, interviewed Pastor Warren days before the event, asking him to respond to the objections from the gay community over President Obama's decision to select him to share the platform. I had the chance to watch Ann's full interview with Pastor Rick and I wanted to include just a short portion of this interview (1:10) that deals with an important subject matter that I would like to discuss. (click below).

My Observations:

Let's be honest, Ann has to do her job and she is paid to put the tough questions to Pastor Rick. I have no ill feelings toward Ann in her interview with Rick. She's simply doing her job, and I know that Pastor Rick would agree.

So here it is: During the interview, Ann asked a very straightforward question to Pastor Rick that must be answered by all Christ followers. Ann asked Pastor Rick, "Are you homophobic?"

Of course the natural tendency among most of us when presented with this question is to respond, "no" and to attack the question -as Rick did. But would it have been acceptable for Pastor Rick to have said, "yes, I do have some fears and reservations toward homosexuality?" In other words, "yes" I can love each and every individual as Jesus has taught us, but "yes" I am fearful of what the gay and lesbian lifestyle represents to our culture today.

Here is where I believe we dig a whole for ourselves when it comes to this issue in our churches today. Namely, we want to dodge the question, or even attack it as being unfair. But it is a fair question.

I believe that most Christians have a very hard time knowing what to do with "fear" and "love." In fact, the Bible says that "Perfect love cast out all fear" (1 John 4:18). Hence, we wrongly equate this verse to saying that if we have any fear, we must not have God's love in us. And because of this faulty thinking, the "enemy or our advisary" gains an upper hand on us by placing a "phobia" on things that we may not necessarily support - for moral reasons. In this case, "Homaphoebia," fear of homosexuals. This is where Pastor Rick found himself.

If you recall in the Old Testament, Joseph was being lured into a sexual propisition by Potiphar's wife. She had Joseph all alone to herself and she wanted him to participate in this brief activity. And yet the Bible said that Joseph ran out of the house, leaving Potiphar's wife with only his clothing in her hands. I would strongly suggest that "fear" engaged Joseph's heart at that moment and it also ignited his feet to run. Joseph made the right decision. Joseph knew the implications of such a decision and he fled. Joseph had a healthy fear of what this sin could and would produce in his life. He also had a healthy respect for God, Potiphar, and...Potiphar's wife.

Now, can you imagine Ann Curry, months later, interviewing Joseph after this event? It might go something like this:

Joseph. There is a particular group of people in your community, who are suggesting that you might have, adulterousphoebia?

What's Joseph going to say? Unlike Pastor Rick, I'm sure Joseph would say, "Dang right! I have some real fears about this. You did notice that I ran away." Upon hearing this, Ann cleverly twists his answer from "phobia" (fear) to "hatred" by saying, "So you do have a bit of hatred toward those that practice adultery?"

See how slippery this gets? Can you see how the enemy can play the Phobia game to produce evil results? Of course Joseph can still love Potiphar's wife because she was created in the image of God (like everyone else). However, Joseph was truthful in his fear and he fled before the result produced sin.

I would assume that every living being on this planet has fears and reservations over some moral issues. To simply share, "Oh, I have no phobias," is untrue. It is precisely for this reason that decisions are made - good or bad. But what is possible is to love those in which our fears are attached.

I know Pastor Rick. He holds no hatred toward homosexuals. But I do know that he does have Biblical reservations toward those who are homosexuals. And that's okay. It's called, moral differences.

Here's the point: The church must be honest about our feelings on this subject. If we have some fears, let's share it productively. If we have hatred, let's reject it openly. If we have love, let's spread it universally.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pause and Be Still

I was tempted to write about this historical day in our history as a Nation, but instead I simply decided to pause and be still. Sometimes God speaks stronger to us and in us during a still moment. So pause and be still.

Now...start praying for our New President!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

American Idol Pastor?

The other day I was listening to a local Christian radio station (Twin Cities) in which the DJ was sharing his thoughts about the renewed hype on the popular hit show, American Idol. He then went on to say, "What if we, as Christians, were to vote on the pastor that best represents our "Christian Idol of this day?" He wondered, which Pastor would we vote for? Who would be "thee" next American Idol for God? Of course my mind quickly raced to a number of great "pastors," such as Billy Graham, Charles Swindoll, R.C. Sproul, Charles Spurgeon, and the like. But after further reflection, and not to take anything away from these extraordinay men of God, I started wondering about the men and women who may never take center stage. The men and women who are serving Christ faithfully in a rural town or village, where the flock is small and the laborers are even fewer. Men and women who are limited in supplies, but not on hope. Men and women who have to load up their cars and trucks each Sunday with people, never to ask for a reimbursement slip for gas. A church in which the budget is tight but their love is lavishing. These men and women are the "no-namers." You will never see them on the cover of a magazine, never to have written a book or article, never to be selected as a Twitter friend, never to be consulted as a speaker at a Christian convention. No, they just go about their work quietly and diligently, not for glamour reasons. They are the "no-namers."

I wonder from time to time if we are guilty of favoritism for those pastors who are just a bit louder than the rest and have a larger stage or platform to present their ideologies and truths on what Christian success is all about - while neglecting the meek and humble pastors who do it for the eternal prize that awaits them. I believe that there is a fine line between what we call an "idol" and what God perceives as the real deal.

Hey, just some of my thought today as I reflect on some remarkable pastors/mentors in my life that have touched so many in a meek and gentle way.

Today, I'm cheering for the "no-namers."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Props to Mark Batterson

Just finished reading, In a Snowy Pit with a Lion, and I cannot lie, it defines the word, transforming. Props to Mark Batterson who puts the cookies on the table. I have been rejuvinated to dream bigger when it comes to trusting God in the area of leadership and personal devotion. My only regret with his book is that I didn't read it sooner. When you get the chance, grab the book and start reading. I think you'll agree - it will make your heart beat fast.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Polar Plunge

Oh ya... it's going to be one incredible day and one incredible event. I'm going to take the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics on Saturday, January 31. And I need your help. Would you...could you...sponsor me for a great cause? Below is a link to give you more information.


My life has been blessed by those who have been challenged greatly in life. It will be a privilege to take the plunge for them.

It's Time to Really Live

Here's a great quote to start your New Year off:

Christ is not valued at all
unless He is valued above all

- St. Augustine

I'm going to take the remainder of this week to let this sink into my cranium and make its way to my heart. I hope you'll join me.