Archive for January, 2010

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Nothing’s changed, yet everything needs to!

January 21, 2010
Because Nothing has Changed, 2000 by Anya Gallaccio


Installation at Lehmann Maupin, New York. Private Collection.
Photo courtesy Lehmann Maupin, New York

Nothing’s changed, yet everything needs to!
Yeah, that is a play on Brian McLaren’s book Everything Must Change, and to a degree this is about that book… but more this is about correcting a few things that have been stated lately about me.
I have recently decided to make a more conscience effort to reach out and accept Gay people. Gratefully, I have been able to do an interview with a controversial figure, and it seems that interview marked me as “embracing sin”.
My issue with all this is that nothing has really changed in my views. I still believe that one must be saved through Jesus Christ and that the Holy Spirit changes a person from the inside out. I still believe that the core issues are acceptance and identity. Yet, I find some stating awful things about me. Nothing’s changed.
I define sin as “anything that comes between a person and God that keeps them from having a close, intimate, loving relationship with Jesus.” This may include being gay when the person’s conscience is not free of guilt. Yet, (and this is the sticky point) a person may be gay and God has other things He is working on of MORE importance. Does this mean a gay person will change their sexual attraction? Sometimes… but not always. Yet, if same sex attraction does not go away and the person still confesses Jesus as their savior… and fails or maybe gives up trying to change in “that” way, what are we to do with that person. Some say cast them out… yet… is it their failure or ours? And then there is this…
We accept all sorts of “sin” in the church. Divorce is a sin… yet there is the same amount of divorce in the “Christian” world as there is in the rest of the world. Yet, there are not many who will stand up and denounce a couple who were divorced and have remarried someone else. (I would not either to tell you the truth). The Bible clearly teaches that if this happens, adultery has happened… and get this… most churches let unrepented divorced adulters attend their church, serve in the church and sometimes…. even pastor a church! Again… for some reason most will fall back on grace for that sort of thing, yet why “Grace” for unrepentant divorced remarried couples and not for struggling or non-struggling gay people? Does grace stop at some point? I hope not… otherwise it is not grace, but works. If God only accepts us by grace then what I think about someone who is gay does not matter… God accepts them, loves them, and wants the best for them… and if I am a true imitator of Jesus, so should I! (Please understand this is an example of how there is a double standard concerning Grace, I am not condemning anyone who has divorced and remarried.)
The Gospel is the Gospel that gives life. In fact, if one confesses Christ and comes to faith, the bible is clear as to what happens.
Ephesians 1: 13. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14. who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.
Therefore, to not accept someone who believes in Jesus and is gay seems to me, misses the point of Grace…
So, now let us go back to the topic of sin. If someone is in sin, Paul tells us how to approach him or her.
Galatians 6: 1. Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Yet, it seems that depending on the type of sin, gentleness seems to not matter to some, let alone that we are to carry each other’s burdens. I might also add that there are many verses on patience and longsuffering, yet most also ignore these. If someone is in sin, most likely the already know it or have justified it or just keep themselves in denial. To tell them they are in sin will tend to make them hold on to that very sin even tighter. The only real way to free anyone from sin, is to have the Son set them free. This goes for ANY sin. If we spend our time focused on sin, then Jesus is not our focus. In fact, to focus on our sin is denying that the Lamb who was slain took our sin away. If someone must focus on sin, then it should be his or her own sin, yet even that is wrong! Paul states:
1 Cor 4: 3. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.
Even if we have a clear conscience, it does not mean we are innocent, so how we judge ourselves may not be accurate. We could see ourselves as right when we are wrong or wrong when we are just fine. We truly need to let Jesus be the judge and instead look to ourselves to make sure we are not falling victim to self-deception.
Finally, I want to ask those who disagree to at least agree with these words from Paul which are my prayer for you, me and anyone else who calls themselves followers of Jesus.
1 Peter 3: 8. Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
Ephesians 1: 2. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
It is not my job to diagnose and then try to fix anyone else. I cannot even do that with myself. It is my job though, to assume “the sick need a doctor” and that I too need that same doctor. We all need Jesus. We all need Jesus not just to get to heaven, but also to Live… To live now and for eternity. My job is simply to be one that needs the doctor who helps others who need that same doctor and walk side by side with them as they are being cured. Meanwhile, always remembering, I have not fully arrived yet, or totally healed and need help from the other person to walk at times. This is what needs to change in our thinking about anyone different from us. Jesus removed the “other” from the Christian vocabulary and changed it to brother (and sister of course ) = ) This new life is no longer about seperation, but reconciliation… and that we now walk supporting each other as we become more like Christ and walk in God’s Kingdom come to earth.

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Brian McLaren: the pain of division over gay issues

January 20, 2010

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYl6hbBYvqo

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The ooze.com Brian McLaren and Spencer Burke

January 20, 2010

I should be getting the book soon… I hope.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiAiFt_dLFk

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Haiti: Beloved Chldren of God

January 17, 2010
Thanks to Jesse at The Trailblazers blog for pointing this out. This video brings some sanity after the words of Pat Robertson and others rather sick theology that God is punishing Haiti for their sin.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOPvc0HvsAY
Also, I recieved great news from Luceanna at Oasis for children, an orphanage in Haiti. She wrote:
(Luceanna if you do not want me to print this I will remove this) Please help in any way you can. There is a donation button at the site.
GREAT NEWS FROM HAITI; AFTER MANY CALLS, TEARS, AND WORRY, WE FINALLY GOT A CONNECTION IN HAITI AND THEY FINALLY DID CONFIRM THAT THE CHILDREN IN THE ORPHANAGE ARE ALL STILL ALIVE. I WAS TOLD THAT IT IS A MIRACLE HOW THEY MANAGED TO COME OUT OK.
THE ORPHANAGE, THE CHURCH, AND THE SCHOOL WAS DESTROYED SO THE CHILDREN HAVE BEEN STAYING OUTDOORS. WE HAVE TO STILL BE IN PRAYER BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO ACCESS TO WATER AND FOOD HAS JUST ABOUT RUN OUT COMPLETELY.
OUR NEXT CHALLENGE IS TO SOMEHOW GET TO THE CHILDREN WITH WHAT THEY NEED. WE ARE BUSY WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK LOOKING, MAKING CALLS, AND TRYING TO GET THROUGH TO SOMEONE THAT IS ALREADY ON GROUND TO GO BRING THE CHILDREN FOOD AND WATER UNTIL I CAN GET THERE. I’M STILL HAVING TROUBLE GETTING INTO THE COUNTRY. MY GOAL IS TO GET THERE AS SOON AS I AM ABLE. I PRAY THAT WHEN I DO GO THAT I AM ABLE TO GO WITH ENOUGH FUNDS TO TAKE CARE OF THE CHILDREN.
GOD IS STILL GOOD! THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY AND I ASK YOU TO PLEASE CONSIDER MAKING A DONATION, WE ARE CERTAINLY GOING TO NEED IT IN A BIG WAY.

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Gov’t Mule: I shall return

January 17, 2010
I am not sure what Warren Haynes means by these lyrics, but for some reason they are hauntingly prophetic to me. In a way they seem like the words of Jesus as they speak of dying yet returning. Personally, it speaks of resurrection…
The first video is the song with just the lyrics. The second one is Warren Haynes and Gov’t Mule performing the song. Enjoy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mySJ3PDUjM4
  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQMPEzb4hpU
I shall return
As this wheel goes ’round and I search to find my way
Struggle just to hold on through an ordinary day
I do believe I’m slipping away
But I shall return though I’m losing myself
I shall return
I shall return from the depths of my own hell
I shall return
Fate should not have blinded me
For your beauty steals my eyes
and what good is my wisdom
when there are no words to say
How I feel everyday
But I shall return though I’m losing myself
I shall return
I shall return from the depths of my own hell
I shall return
Daylight finds me sleeping dreaming of my youth
But darkness calls my name out loud
And I answer to the truth
But I shall return though I’m losing myself
I shall return
I shall return from the depths of my own hell
I shall return
Oh, I shall return though I’m losing myself
I shall return
I shall return from the depths of my own hell
I shall return
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CRI article on Saint Augustine

January 16, 2010

I have written or mentioned quite a lot on Augustine and his Platonist influence that I believe influenced Calvin and scores of others into a “soft Gnosticism”. Now I am not saying Augustine is not worthy to be read, on the contrary I believe him to have added some great thoughts to the historical Christian dialogue that continues even today.
Yet, many who push Augustine miss he was a Christian Mystic and influence many, including St. John of the Cross. Not only this but that Augustine was heavily influenced by Plato which could have gave a Gnostic twist to the Gospel.
Here is an article by Gordon R. Lewis at Christian Research Institute, (not to be confused with those whack job wannabees) which goes deeper into these ideas.
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Gabba Gabba Hey!

January 11, 2010
I have been taking a beating so far in my view on what must be done to reach the gay community. It is heartbreaking to have a friend stab you in the back with false accusations of “embracing sin”… as it is frightening to have some come and encourage me as I know I may not fully agree with their view either. My only hope is to encourage all to a closer, loving, and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
There is so much baggage cast out against someone who is gay. I have already met parents with gay children who can hear what I am saying and are finding hope. They understand what I mean as they process the horrible isolation someone who faces same sex attraction must go through. They understand why their son or daughter does not come to church or see why Jesus would not accept them. And that is core to the issue. Acceptance. If one comes to understand he or she is accepted by God, great and wonderful things begin to happen. New Life begins and they change! Yet so often we stand in the door to heaven and keep thinking we are ushering in those Jesus is drawing to Himself, yet instead we are blocking those Jesus drew out. We set on them a higher standard than God set on us. Often we just do not see this yet; there is a type of favoritism in the church that needs to be driven out.
You see this is the issue… when we look at proving one side or the other we either have tempers raised and accusations tossed out… or we have the attempt to legitimize sin (Again I define sin as anything that comes between you and a close intimate, growing, relationship with God.)
Instead, the focus of our faith is and should NOT be sin, but Jesus. For no one can change someone else. I can take a bottle of booze from a drunk but then he is a sober drunk… I never changed them. Instead, we clean the outside of the cup but Jesus cleans the inside. Therefore, it is the same with anything that could come between a person and their relationship with God. When we focus on Jesus, then we no longer see sin! For Jesus was the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world… yours and mine. We then can see a beloved brother or sister that Jesus died for and gave new life to.
Therefore, it is in no way the acceptance or embracing of sin… it is the embracing of Jesus for all His Resurrected Life that is imparted to us. It is embracing the abundant Life. It is letting all we are that is not Christ fall away and God become all in all of you as a person.
If this is heresy then burn me at the stake. All I am saying is if we focus on sin, it should be our OWN. Yet, even with ourselves, we should face Jesus and not our sin for only Jesus takes sin away. If we are facing our sin we are not facing Jesus, it is like when we face the sun…. We do not see our shadow, but if we turn away from the sun, then we see a distorted view of our self in the shadow.
Even to tell someone he or she is a sinner is futile most the time. A person can rationalize their position and sere their conscience. Only the Holy Spirit can convict a person to change. Only God can corner someone with a question that can only be truthfully answered. If we try then we are making someone settle for less than the inner workings of the Holy Spirit…
We can walk with someone through his or her struggles and pain, his or her joy and success and accept the person unconditionally with the same love God accepted us. So all I can say to those who feel outside is something that was coined by the Ramones. “Gabba Gabba we accept you! One of us!”
To those of you who understand what I am saying or even if you do not, pray for me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BBfybCPkjA

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