Let's talk about groups, organizations and clubs in a relational difference between the church and (in this case) the gay community.
Recently, We were asked if we thought that the "gay/straight alliance" clubs are good or do they compromise Christian teaching? We will answer this as we go along.
This article is about other groups as well. In the gay community, there is a group called PFLAG. This stands for "parents and friends of lesbians and gays". Another functioning organization in the gay community is called the "Alliance". Otherwise known as GALA (gay and lesbian alliance).
As we were researching and pondering the original question, it came to us that there are several organizations in the greater gay community. Starting with from infancy, (a group called rainbow kids) all the way through death and death with dignity groups. Committed to and for the protection and advancement of gay and lesbian people. "Human Dignity Coalition", protects the rights of gay people and stands for them in society where injustices are done.
Then we began to look at the churches and find what they have to offer. What we found was offered to the parishioners of the church (as long as they seem to fit the mold of a parishioner). The singles groups, the ladies groups, the men's groups, the kids groups even the team groups, all focused on themselves and the acceptance of each other as Christians.
We're not saying that these groups are bad or there's anything wrong with them. This just shows you how the church is very much geared toward Christian only or married with children as the common mold or look of a welcomed member.
The singles groups centered around getting singles together so they can get married.
This works great unless you're not of the mindset or the heart that you want to marry or have children.
This goes to not only people with same-sex attraction but straight people too. We know several wonderful people who are single, have never been married or perhaps are divorced, don't have children and don't care to get married or have children at this time in their lives.
Perhaps they're older or just got out of a relationship. They don't want to be back in a place where they're almost forced (by association) to be in a relationship or for that matter actively dating.
Another thing we did not find in the churches is a strengthening or core belief of outreach for people of the world.
We believe the aforementioned church clubs would work well for people seeking God if you are heterosexual. At least you can date somebody or "look right" to be accepted.
But what about the gay community? What about those alliances and clubs? Where is the church?
The gay straight alliance was started as a club for high school kids to come together and learn about each other and accept each other for who they are and what they are.
This is an opportunity for the two sides (if you will) to come together and through acceptance, no longer be afraid of the other persons life or lifestyle. They were not as much set forth to be an acceptance of everything that one does in one's personal private life. Moreover, it was an acceptance of the person as a person.
What a great opportunity the church missed by not reaching out in the same way. What difference does it make (gay or not) to reach out to someone who wants to be a part of your body and our Christ.
Then we have PFLAG. A group where parents and friends of lesbian and gay people get together to share time and enjoy each other's company. Obviously, the common thread is they have someone gay in their lives. They seek a safe, nonjudgmental or condemning place where they can learn how to accept and love them. PFLAG is a way to socially and publicly show their gay friend/family member that they care and love them right where they're at in their lives. Sound familiar...recognize Jesus before man...?
What does the church offer for parents and friends of lesbians and gays? Nothing that we have seen. Nothing that we have been invited to. Nothing that we've even heard of!
And now what of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance? These are established in many cities around the country and the world. Set forth to be a safe haven for all who come seeking support and resources as a gay person.
Resources include housing, gay churches, doctors and many other services of life. They are also outreach organizations that offer time for community and closeness.
They offer a safe place to come and be with like-minded people. The room is filled with the same look so everyone feels safe, not threatened, not thrown away or dirty. Not put down for who or what they are.
So what does the church need to do? What can the church do? What can you do?
We believe, support and advocate anyone who wishes to start any such club that is supported by the pastoral staff and the members of the church congregation. In fact, we believe these club should be started even before the church congregation knows of them. We believe that it's required to get the pastoral staff involved, as it is their flock, their church and they are responsible before God.
But what if the pastors don't want anything to do with something like this? What if they're stuck in old ways? Ways that do not include grace. Ways that are of law and works. What is one to do then? We leave that to you to seek God as your final authority!
For God would not lay something so important on your heart and ask you to reach out to his children (that others will not) if he did not have a plan and a way for you to be successful. Success comes in many ways. The success of what you're doing could simply be to change or to begin to change people's minds.
It could be to just start the conversation around people that have never heard it and realize that they need to have it. So even if this doesn't get off the ground, in the particular church you attend, doesn't mean you have not succeeded or failed God. On the contrary, everything you do, when you seek him first, will be counted unto you as righteous. It will be a path directed by him and he will honor it. He will honor his word to you always. His will be done not ours!
But let's look at it from the standpoint of the church leaders that welcome what you're doing. How exciting would that be? What a great dilemma. How do we get the gays here? What a wonderful laugh out loud in a holy beautiful way. How do we get them here? How do we love them? What are we going to do when the pews are filled with people who felt like they had no hope and now they're here?
We believe heaven will rejoice with your church with you. That God will be pleased and he will give you even more to do to reach out to more people. He will continue stretching you beyond yourself and really truly learning what God's will really means.
What does "God's Will" mean? What does that look like? Answer...It's GOD's will for your life. It's so big that only God can comprehend what he wants to do for you and through you! It's so big that you can't even know it all at once. You can only receive it in little pieces. Bit by bit, day by day moment by moment.
What a wonderful place to be! Sold out to God's will every day.
This is how Jesus expressed his love for people. He brought them together just as they were, he said "Come to me ALL that are burdened and I will give you rest". He didn't have any qualifiers on that. When the masses came to him and gathered on the hillsides to listen to him, he fed them, he loved them, he healed them, he forgave them. He never ever turned them away. He never made them feel like they owed him something. He never told them what was wrong with them before he showed his love for them. And although the Bible does not tell us what it was like for the hours after his teaching, We wonder if now and then, he stopped and allowed the crowd to crush around him just to touch him.
Just to look deeply into his eyes. Just for him to look at them and smile. With a smile that God can deliver that says, "I love you. I always have and I always will".
We think he did. We think Jesus never turned anyone away that wanted to know him. We know Jesus never crushed them because they were different from the men he chose to follow him.
So, do we think that the gay and lesbian alliance clubs compromise Christian teaching? No! We think they show Christian teaching. We think they show in their own way, what Christ wants us to do. Free Indeed believes those people are being blessed. Never assume that the people in these clubs are not Christian!
God is looking for someone to raise a voice and say come, let's all get together and know the love of Jesus. If we make the assumption that no one is a Christian in one of these groups, do they not (in their own human way) look like what the Bible describes as fellowship?
As Christians, let us never forget that fellowship with all people is what God has called us to do.
By reaching out, going beyond ourselves, our thoughts, beyond our fears, beyond our offense; we meet people right where they're at. Here we find Grace. Here is where we find God dwelling.
God is greater than our fears! Remember this please. Just reach out your hand of love and acceptance. Whether they need Christ are not, everybody needs Christ.
We hope you get what we just said. If you do, we know you're working in the same way, on the same mission field as Free Indeed. To love the unlovable, to reach the unreachable, to do the impossible.
May God richly bless you as you reach out in Christ's love. As you go into all the world and be the Christ in everyone's life. Let your light shine and let God be God!
John, who lived in the lifestyle for 30 years and returned to Christ full force, and Brandon, a 21 year old straight man also in love with the Lord Jesus. A team of two brought together by God to act as one. One gay one straight both in loving relationship with Christ.