Friday, August 22, 2008

what did she mean by that?

I've never responded to comments posted on my blog before, but my spirit is restless and I feel compelled to do so. I pray my heart is made clear here.

First of all, I let the post entitled "simplify" sit for a while after it was written because I was unsure of how it would be received. I want those of you who are reading my blog to understand that I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. That it is totally God-breathed and that even the parts of it that seem difficult to understand or process are still His Word. We can't dissect portions of it so that our feelings are better justified or defended. Having said that, I would tell anyone - gay or straight - that my personal beliefs on homosexuality must be shaped by the words of the Bible. Everything else in my life is! The Bible is very clear on homosexuality. Paul even writes in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 about homosexuality and says that it is a sin. I struggle to use that word because our interpretation of sin as modern-day Bible readers is sometimes so skewed; we often believe it gives us permission to begin alienating and persecuting the very "one anothers" Jesus calls us to love. What sin is, in its simplest form, is something that separates us from God. Homosexuality is a sin just like lying or cheating or even compulsive worry are sins. They are things that separate us from the Father because they are not a part of the way He created us to live in complete compatibility with Him. This is what I wanted to make clear by using the passage regarding living "well" - not just getting by. Where there is sin, there is a better way. A way to experience freedom in Christ that, in turn, points to living righteously. We will never be able to reverse the equation. Freedom in Christ - accepting His free gift of grace - must come before any decisions we make to live sometimes incredibly difficult but godly lives.

While I am utterly convinced that Scripture is not only clear but inerrant in this teaching on homosexuality as sin, I am also utterly convinced that Jesus is appalled at the way Christians treat homosexuals. Not because we are wrong to read the Bible as inerrant, but because we take the word 'sin' and allow it to justify an incredible abuse of our fellow man. We are called to love each other while at the same time hate the sins that entangle us. Hate the sin - the traps we fall into, the lies we believe about ourselves and about life. Satan is at the helm of our determination to mock, persecute and degrade homosexuals out of their homosexuality. I desire, as a sinner saved by Jesus' unbelievable grace, to say to my precious friends who are homosexuals - whether wrestling against it or embracing it fully - to simply exonerate the truths of Jesus: you are loved, you are dear to the Father, and if you so desire, He will equip you to live in a better way. It will not be easy. And I cannot say I understand it or can comprehend what that path will look like for you. But far be it from me to question His capability.


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55 comments:

Paulette said...

Beautifully said indeed, I love your heart and compassion. This is exactly how I feel on this subject as well. Love the person not the sin.
Are we going to see pictures of you pregnant soon? I have been praying for you and this pregnacy all the way!!
Blessings

labrunda said...

Well stated. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Boothe,
This is my first comment ever - on any blog - but I want to thank you for both posts...the one that spurred this one was so thought-provoking. I couldn't help but be curious about the bottom line of what you were writing. I also appreciate your second post "what did she mean by that?" I think you said it beautifully and I agree whole-heartedly. Thank you for writing, you articulate so well, It's like a mini Bible study.

Anonymous said...

Boothe,
This is my first comment ever - on any blog - but I want to thank you for both posts...the one that spurred this one was so thought-provoking. I couldn't help but be curious about the bottom line of what you were writing. I also appreciate your second post "what did she mean by that?" I think you said it beautifully and I agree whole-heartedly. Thank you for writing, you articulate so well, It's like a mini Bible study.

Terry said...

Dear Boothe,
Well Said, I have been watching your blog daily as it is link on my blog.
We must love each other as he has loved us.
I get so much knowledge out of your blog Hope all is going well.

Again Well said.

Sarah Partain said...

I completely agree with you and your stand on homosexuality as a sin. I think it falls into the general category of sexual sins and feel that some may be more biologically leaning toward the same gender, but it's still how God made them and because the world is fallen, of course there's a tendency to want to go where one feels comfortable. Some people struggle with sexual purity as a whole and while they may be great lovers or very passionate, they may also be fighting a great battle, constantly, not to give into its utter destruction. I feel that if God truly made us to possibly be also gay, that he would have created human beings to come into this world in a different way. The unnaturalness of it is also what points me to know that God did not intend for things to go that way, in addition to Paul's teachings against it.
We have recently moved from Seattle (a huge haven for the gay community) to Indianapolis. While in Seattle, I felt very negative toward them, feeling oppressed by their need to push their lifestyle on me. I hardened my heart and refused to love them in spite of this. Our new neighbors are gay and are some of the nicest, most welcoming people, putting some of the christians I've known to shame. And my heart has been inexplicably soft to them. I so desire to show them God's love and mercy and am grateful for an opportunity to raise my son next door to them, hopefully being able to model Jesus' love for the sinner and not the sin.

mamaredhead said...

Rock on, Boothe. Well said. I have a family member who is gay and I believe exactly the same way... simply because that's what Scripture says!

Thank you for this post and the one before it. Beautiful.

Abby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mom22girls said...

Well said, amen 100%! Thank you for putting into words what I feel and I am sure many other do as well as Christians.

mom22girls said...

meant for the last sentence to say "as do many other Christians". Whoops!

Anonymous said...

Boothe,
I love what you said. My experience with homosexuality is a little unique. First, I have a family member who lives the lifestyle and has for about 10 years. As much as we hate what she has chosen, there has never been a day that we have, as a family, rejected her. She knows how we feel about her lifestyle, but just as important, she knows she is loved.

Secondly, before I was married, I dated a guy who had left the lifestyle. I was the first woman he dated after being away from homosexuality for about 2 years. We were very good friends before we dated so I knew all the details before dating him. Although we had unique challenges in our relationship, we dealt with them. Ultimately, we ended out relationship, he still is doing well and hasn't returned to his old life. I wish more people knew that it is possible to leave that lifestyle and experience ALL that GOD has to offer them.

Thank you for your thoughts

lisalyn said...

I just posted on your "simplify" post and I will say it again.... Thank you for reminding us that it is and always has been about Him.

The Porter Family said...

Boothe,

I really appreciate your heart. It is so genuine, and I just know that you would be a person who would be sooo trustworthy and approachable. This is a hard subject for Christians, and it's good to know that there are others out there who see the truth of the situation. Sin is sin no matter what. It's all the same. Sin does seperate us from God, but it doesn't mean that he LOVES us any less. What a GREAT savior we have! Thank you for always sharing your heart, even when it's going out on a limb :)

Love, Krystle

Alison said...

I have read your blog and loved your blog for a very long time. I know that you are so strong in your faith and things that you have written here have continually inspired and uplifted me.

This blog touches on a subject that have struggled with (and still do sometimes!) for many years. I, however, have come out on the opposite side of the fence, and do not believe that it is, actually, a sin. I think that people struggle with sexual sin whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, but the orientation itself is not the root of that sin. Here's a link to a sight that was written by a Baptist minister that challenged me in some new ways: www.godmademegay.com (I promise that this contains NO explicit content!)

I respect you immensely for your thoughtful post on this issue, but I also felt moved to represent the "other side" and share what I feel God has been doing in my heart. Isn't it strange how as Christians we can feel so completely differently on issues?

With much respect and appreciation for sharing your journey,
Alison

Molly said...

Boothe - I've never commented before, but I love reading your blog. You are a gifted communicator, thanks to Oak Hill, I'm sure (fellow Logger, here). I think you'd enjoy the website www.musingson.com. Misty Iron's husband was an OPC minister. It's basically her thoughts on homosexuality and what the Christian response to it should be - and it is so far from what it has been. I have really enjoyed reading it as it is an issue that has touched my family. Praying for your little girl and hope she'll be a Logger (I may start a campaign to get them to go back to being Loggers) with my baby girl in a few years! Of course, that would require my convincing my husband that Nashville is a much better place to live than where we are!

Anonymous said...

I have read your blog for over a year..and I think this is one of the best posts to date. The bible teaches that we are all sinners and the each sin is looked at equally. It says that if you believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again and recongnize that you are a sinner, then you will go to heaven. That is it, all it takes. Your sins are forgiven. We all sin, and they are all equal, so in turn, we need to love and respect everybody as human and a child of Jesus that is not perfect! Good luck with the new baby, you and your family are in my prayers!

These Three Kings said...

Amen Sister! Amen LORD! I pray we all get to this point of love toward this dying world.. How else will those outside of the household of FAITH believe that Our GOD is real

Grace to you and the TRUTH you are imparting to your readers!
Nicole

Anonymous said...

Boothe,
You have a tremendous gift with words and speaking the truth in love. Your words were very well spoken... Sin is sin. Satan wants to decieve us by telling us that "it" (whatever It may be to you or me) is okay and not a sin. But God's word clearly points out sin as black and white. God does not have gray areas. Although he loves us no matter what.. Praise God!

StephieAnne said...

Two wonderful posts, Boothe.

If I had your gift of words, I would have phrased it in the same way.

It is such a hard thing for those of us who still struggle with grace to not "rate" sins with how we perceive them, vs. what they mean in terms of "missing the mark". We all fall short - whether that be from sexual sins, judging others, dishonesty, or worry..... When we start placing values on "permissible sins" vs. those that are "just unacceptable" we completely throw away the all-encompassing gift of God's grace.

There was no indication anywhere in scripture that when Jesus promised the thief everlasting life who hung next to him on the cross that he required a run-down on every bad thing he ever did and put a limit on what would be forgiven and what wouldn't. The thief believed, asked forgiveness - and Jesus entered his heart. That was that - it's that easy, and that personal. Thank you again!

Anonymous said...

to alison, after reading your comment, i went to the site you referenced. there was not one reference to scripture in the entire article....

JoeHill said...

You have to read the entire article, including the appendix. In Appendix B, Bruce takes each reference to homosexuality mentioned in the Bible and gives further explanation. Like I mentioned earlier (I was the one who first mentioned the website), I don't expect that it will change anyone's mind. But I think it's important to see that Christians who love God and seek to live like Christ, just like Boothe, can see this issue very differently.

Anonymous said...

My husband likes to say, regarding subjects such as this, "love the sinner;hate the sin." He recently heard a sermon by Johnny Hunt at First Baptist Church Woodstock (GA) in which he took that expression further. He said, "Love the sinner; hate MY sin." It is often other peoples' sins which bring our own to the forefront.

Emily

Anonymous said...

My thoughts on this subject is that the sin is the sex. This goes for heterosexuals and homeoexuals. I feel we are born who we are and we are all shaped in the eyes of God. The sex is the sin, it is a choice. To sin or not to sin it is as simple as that. If one understands the bible the way it is written then it will be clear. "Thou shalt not commit adultry". I accept all people, I try no to pass judgement, we are all made in the eyes of God. Personally I do not enjoy watching anyone flaunt their sexuality, it needs to be respected. God Bless you Boothe.

Dani said...

I went back and forth for a while on whether or not I was going to comment but in the end decided I would. I agree with you in the fact that we should show them Christ's love just as we should show someone who has murdered someone Christ's love. I do however think there is a difference in living in homosexuality and telling a lie. Homosexuality is a habitual sin if you continue to live in it. Unless you repent and turn away from that lifestyle I don't think you can have a right relationship with God. If you tell a lie more than likely you will ask for forgiveness and repent. Therefore doing your best and with God's help not lying again (Of course we ALL fall short and will lie again but the point is to have the desire not and strive for that daily and when we do fail ask for forgiveness). I do not believe that God makes someone gay. I believe it's a choice. Just as I believe we choose who we fall in love with. If you know in your heart that it is wrong which as you said the Bible clearly states then you will choose (if you are a Christian) to follow God and turn from your sin. As I said earlier we will all still sin. It is our nature but it whether we repent and ask forgiveness or we live in it and let it come between our relationship with God. These are just my thoughts on the subject. :)

~Dani

sumi said...

Boothe, this is written so eloquently. Love this post, love your heart.

amy@amystanfield.com said...

I want to say something too! ;) I've been listening to all, and I think its an interesting discussion. Forgive the long post ahead of time. ;) I hope it isn't too long...
Thank you, Boothe, for not shying away from the more controversial and deep topics. People have a very difficult time with absolute truth, and I have found that many people simply aren't ready to ask themselves the hard questions of life. The ones where we ask ourselves, "who am I, really?" and "why am I this way?" "what do I really believe?" "how have my family/experiences shaped who I am?" I'm speaking of every area of our lives, the deep parts that are so easy to cover up because we don't want to go there. (for whatever reason) Hopefully those kind of questions are ever evolving as we grow more in our relationship with Jesus, if we indeed desire to draw nearer to Him.

I have many friends that are gay, (working in more artistic fields over the years, and as an artist myself) and I have found that a deep need is that people really long to be loved and accepted.
People need to know that regardless of anything you are going to love and accept them, and that takes time and a lot of listening before you have the right to say anything. If you've built that trust, then you can ask some of the deeper questions, and I've found that people are willing to go there and discuss those things because at that point they know they are loved by you. (just like your friend Boothe) We have all made the mistakes of judgement where we rushed too quickly through this process, and have probably crushed hearts because of it. We must also be willing to show our brokenness, and not act as if we are trying to simply "fix" people- who wants to feel like someone just wants to "fix" them and not just want to know and love them? Christians don't take the time to get to know gay people and it is sad- there are so many precious people out there that are amazing people.

Yet, we must stand firm in our basic beliefs about what God has clearly said not just about homosexuality, but about so many other issues that it connects with. There are many deep rooted issues here that are hard questions to ask and discuss. One of my friends who is gay can always remember wanting to play with dolls and he always loved playing with his mom's makeup. Someone may say, "well, he's always been gay!" Yet, when you dig deeper his father was never really a part of the picture. I asked him after a long time of knowing him- what it is about being with a man that you feel drawn to? He replied, "It makes me feel safe. I feel much more safe with a man than I do with a woman." He is in his early twenties and has always dated much older men. There is this deep need in him- a longing to have that love of a man, and I believe he began to look for it when he didn't have it in his father. Of course, all stories are different, his story is just one, but there are deeper issues to think about that most people don't want to ask, they want to simply believe that they are gay and believe it is inherent in who they are. We must think beyond our sexuality to the depths of our soul. I know some people are saying, "but I am!" and only you can answer that question for yourself as you let God shine his light on your heart.

People want to justify everything these days, and its exhausting. They especially want to distort the truth of God's word to their benefit. In this site a couple people have offered up as a resource, godmademegay.com, this man says that the homosexual person is not to be thought of in sexual terms, but that its about falling in love. This is simply not true- the definition (if you look it up in the dictionary) is that a homosexual is "a person who is sexually attracted to another person of the same sex." The definition we are all hopefully going by is this one, because its the actual definition. Not the one he would like to make up out of his own experience. He may be a very kind person that has experienced a lot, but he is sadly mistaken on a lot of points. Someone very close to me was gay, and lived a lifestyle like that for over 20 years, and although he loved his partner dearly, he came to the conclusion that living this way could never fulfill him as knowing Jesus would. He ended the relationship and has begun to seek Jesus in a deeper way because he was finally willing to not just ask the hard questions but to take action in changing the way he had been choosing to live.

He did choose to change his lifestyle, although I don't think he would have ever chosen to be gay because of things that happened to him in the past. In that sense he didn't "choose" to be gay, but he does have choice in the matter nonetheless. God has given us free will, there is no doubt about that- we can condemn Him or love Him, its up to us. We do have choices in every part of our lives, whether we want to believe it or not.
People do indeed change, especially when they begin to understand that Jesus is the only true lover of their soul. I have known many personally that have, and are truly happy now.
All in all, let's commit to really getting to know people and loving them deeply, as we would want for ourselves. Let's give people the opportunity to say, "this person has loved me well" despite any part of their life that we don't agree with. It is very difficult to love without judgement, is it not? Oh, I've failed miserably at times, and I've been humbled. It has taught me a great deal about sensitivity and wisdom. Jesus did it best because he can see and know the heart of man. We must know him to follow that example. We must ask the hard questions and be willing to give people time to get there without pushing them. We must not be afraid to speak the truth, but may we do it in a timely manner in love, kindness, and understanding.

Vanessa and John said...

Boothe, I love your post and most of them, my favorite is still 10 square inches. I'm sorry you are getting so much grief about it. I have sinned many times in my life and i knew exactly the sins i committed b/c they are plain as day in the Bible, why is it that this particular sin, whether born into or not, is subject to interpretation? A sin is a sin is a sin. The bad press about it is that some Christians have put their judgemental hats on and mentioned going to hell, blah blah, blah, and that hurts many people. You really should post cute preggo pics!! :) When do we get to know the name? :)

JUST A MOM said...

hope you are able to enjoy your days waiting for that baby girl,,,,, Our daughter is due in a couple weeks and I am excited.....

Glenda said...

Your heart is a transparent beautiful testimony of the love of Jesus. Oh if only all believers would be able to see our great need to love others regardless of where they are at in their lives. Jesus loves us right where we are, how can we ever justify doing any less for the people He chooses to bring into our lives? We can't. As you said, simplify. Choosing to love does that. Leave the judging to God and simply...LOVE. We really can love and yet not condone the sin we see in someone else's life. Bottom line, we've got enough to deal with our own "log" that is in our own eye to be bothering with judging others anyway! Sin is sin. What we would label as a "tiny sin" required the sacrifice of Jesus every bit as much as what we would label a "big sin". Jesus gave His life for us all - purchased us back with His very blood on our behalf. May we ever live in awe of His sacrifice and forgiveness for our own sins. Thank you for sharing your thoughts - I look forward to meeting you in heaven someday! Your blog has touched me deeply. In HIS Love,Glenda

Mar said...

I agree with every word of your post, beautifully stated. It grieves me that homosexuality seems to be the one sin that the person believes may be "untransformable" -- and sometimes we Christians act as if that is true as well. Jesus called Saul/Paul from being a murderer and didn't leave him that way. There is no difference ... we fully expect Christ to redeem people from a lifestyle of extra-marital heterosexual sex and provide everything they need to walk purely -- why do we exclude the homosexual from the same power and promise? Christ is able! Telling the gay person we believe "they're made that way" denies the power of God -- we all come into the world with sinful hearts of many types, but all of it is redeemable in the power of Christ. To tell them otherwise is not to truly love them. To tell them "maybe you're just made that way" cuts them off from the hope and healing available in Christ to be transformed.

Alison said...

Okay, I wasn't going to post again, but reading many of these comments has brought up a question for me, so I thought that I would pose it here.

Many posts have referrenced individuals who have successfully "converted" from homosexuality to heterosexuality. What are your thoughts on those people, of whom I know several, who have prayed every single day for years that God would take their same-sex attraction away, that refuse to participate in relationships (besides some failed attempts at hetero relationships) and who are becoming angry at God because they have presented themselves as broken and are not receiving healing? It just seems to me that if this was something God truly hated (as He does all sin) that the success rate would be higher...

Karen said...

Homosexuality has long been a source of contention for me. Yes, I believe it is a sin. I'm not sure if people are 'born that way' or not. It's a tad inconsequential to me. We are all born sinners. I understand the commenter that said lying is not the same as homosexuality, but I still disagree. She said if you lie, you will repent...but you will probably lie again because we are human sinners (a synopsis). That is no different than a habitual sinner. You lie, repent, lie again, and again, and again.

I despise the fact that our churches have chosen this particular sin as the one to publicly crucify, and by doing that, isolate an entire group of people. It is wrong. In fact, I believe it is sinful. Let me clarify, I believe Jesus was strong in His words on sin. I believe He wouldn't shy away from being forthright about sin. But I do not believe for one second He would approve of choosing a sin and crucifying those people. (It is very telling how Jesus reacted to the many sinners He came in contact with. Think of the woman at the well and Zacchaeus. Each of them He treated with great compassion. Now think of the greedy church people selling goods in the temple. He responded with anger, throwing their tables over!) Churches are stuffed full of greedy, judgmental, sinful people. Let me clarify this, as well. I LOVE church! I love church for the role I believe it should fill. I believe God created church to be a place of refuge to fuel us into the next week. A place to fellowship with fellow believers. I believe church is not a place to get together with like-minded (read: judgemental) people and attempt to feel superior or more Christ-like.

Christians need to be pushed on this issue. We will be judged for how we act. We are not responsible for 'converting' a homosexual. We shouldn't overtly try, simply because it won't work. The only thing that will is loving them unconditionally...for WHO they are; NOT a project! Note this is no different than how we should treat every person we come in contact with. It's not my job to transform anyone, it's God's. It's my job to love them, whether they are a liar or a homosexual.

For me, it just comes down to, "WHAT IS YOUR POINT??" Why would a Christian go on a tirade about how wrong homosexuality is? Why would one attempt to isolate a group of people? How would one expect that to make them feel? Would you REALLY think you are making them desire to come to know YOUR God?

Samantha said...

Boothe,
I found your blog from Angie's, and I love your post. I have never commented before, but I wanted to send you a link to a website. Today, a man came to speak at our Church (He has struggled w/ homosexuality and is dying from Aids). He talked about his struggles, and even though his sinful nature still wanted to be a homosexual, he is fighting that urge, and giving it to God. Anyway, I understand if you dont have time to read his testimony, I just thought it went along with your post perfectly :)
His website is www.jonathanervin.com

Samantha

amy@amystanfield.com said...

Alison, that's an honest question I think a lot of people would ask. I think what I was trying to say is that there is opportunity for change and transformation in Christ- that its not impossible. God can rebuild anything and anyone, because He is who formed us from the beginning! That is beautiful to me.

I know I can testify in my own life that I have failed over and over trying to change sin in my heart. Have I prayed a lot? Yes. I don't ever give up, because I've seen that over time it always proves fruitful. The word says that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds, and Jesus has the ability and desire to transform us where we cannot on our own.
I know where I've missed the mark in my own life is when I have failed to connect the dots of prayer and then surrender by taking action to repent of my sin. When I have repented (turned away completely!) from my sin, God is faithful to forgive and give His grace where I so desperately need it.
Repentance is key to the one who is in right relationship with Jesus-this goes for any part of your life, big or small. True repentance does bring change, but it certainly is not an easy or a quick road. Acts 3:19 says, "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord." The Lord does indeed long to refresh us, but we must take steps towards Him by repenting of the sin that pulls and tears us away from the closeness of being at His feet. His kindness draws us near, His love. I am so thankful for that.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if anyone has heard of these organizations, but they are what my ex-boyfriend turned to when he left the homosexual lifestyle.
EXODUS MINISTRIES and LOVE WON OUT. You can google them.

And one more comment on that. Because I dated this guy, he's not the only one I know who has left the lifestyle. There is a huge population of people who have been delivered from this particular stronghold. If you haven't heard DENNIS JERNIGAN's story, it is well worth googleing. The LORD delivered him from homosexuality many years ago and since has blessed him with a family (9 kids i think) and a worship ministry that has touched the world.

Delivery from sin is possible! ANY SIN! Addiction, pornography, lying, self-abuse, sexual immorality....DON'T DISCOUNT WHAT GOD CAN AND WILL DO! Keep praying, find community you can share your heart with, make drastic changes if necessary, but don't give up on GOD'S mercy and grace. We ALL need that!

Stepping off my soapbox now.

Heather said...

Boothe,
I am so thankful that you quoted Scripture and stuck to your beliefs. I would have had to bite my flesh if someone had posted something like that on my blog. I pray God blesses you as you truly seek to live for him!

Sarah said...

Boothe -- I LOVE your posts here, and you have some wonderful points. Also, some really fabulous comments have been made. I feel called to put out a new ministry along these lines -- people have mentioned Exodus and Love Won Out, but a ministry that is fairly new in my town is CenterPeace
. A woman started it from her own experience in conquering her struggle with same-sex attraction and longs for other people to be free from that if they long to be released from that bondage. All of them are worth a look. The founder of CenterPeace, Sally Gary, also preaches long and hard to us, the church, about the speech we use and how we treat folks trapped in this sin. We must be Jesus to them! Just as you have said, Boothe. Thanks for touching on a difficult subject.

christi28 said...

i have a very dear friend who is in a long term homosexual relationship. she is a wonderful person and i love her dearly even though i do not believe in her lifestyle.

me, loving her unconditionaly is what God calls me to do, no matter what she does. like some of the others have said, a sin is a sin is a sin, no matter what that sin is.

like boothe quoted from the bible saying that it is a sin. just like lieing, adultry, murder and gossip. like with any other sin, you have to daily work at not continuing to walk in it. it is a daily battle. so if you believe what the bible says, and all of it, you can't pick and choose the parts you want to believe, then you have to make an about face turn away from the sin, even though you may not want to and as hard as it seems, and live out how God has instructed. i know it is hard and i don't think He ever said that it would be easy. i stuggle daily with certain sins and i have to ask Him for His strength daily to help conquer them.

i dont think you can be "converted" from homosexuality, but i believe that God can provide what you need to live a life free from this sin and any sin that has a hold on you.

blessings and prayers ~

Clare said...

How can homosexuality be a sin when that's the way God made someone. Deny it if you will, but in doing so you merely show your ignorance.

I am a Christian who believes the Bible is a collection of allegories written to explain what the ancients did not understand. As we've progressed through the ages, science has been able to explain these things and while the Bible still serves a purpose, we can no longer rely on it as inerrant.

I stumbled across your blog, but this is the last time I'll visit it. I have neither time nor patience for such ignorance and glibly shielded hatred.

I pray for you, and pray the Lord will open your heart to the truth.

Karen said...

Boothe,
I feel like I need to add that my previous comment was not really speaking to you. It was more intended for the conversations you began and the people commenting and reading. I think you said what you did with sincerity, grace, and compassion.

Rachael said...

Clare,
Why would you bother praying for anyone if you don't believe that the Bible is true?
The only thing that science does is a. prove that there is a God and prove what the Bible says, or b. disprove itself constantly every couple of years.
That (b.) doesn't seem like much of a basis to stand on.

JoeHill said...

Rachael, please don't assume that because someone interprets the Bible differently than you that they are not a follower of Christ. The only person who knows his/her relationship with God is that person. It is not any of our jobs to determine where one's status lies with Christ.

Jen said...

Alison, Paul asked the Lord three times to take away the thorn in his side. What that thorn was, exactly, we don't know, but it cause Paul grief, he knew it had no place in him. However, God, in His infinite wisdom, chose not to deliver him from it, saying "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

I believe that while we may want something so terribly badly, be it "straightness" or financial freedom, it mayn't be what would grow us and mature us in our faith. The Lord hates pride also... with equal intensity... and I haven't been delivered from it yet either. *smile*

Georgia's blog said...

Boothe,

Thank you so much for your eloquence... My Bible says there is only ONE unforgivable sin and that is denying the Father. My abortions years ago are no worse than someone else's homosexuality. Despise the sin, love the person! We as Christians must love them as Jesus does, with mercy and grace! Continue to plant seeds... we may not see or reap the harvest this side of eternity but will surely see the results of showing His love and mercy in Heaven!

Again, thank you for sharing your heart even when it is hard. You have ministered to me more than you can imagine.

God bless!!!
Georgia
www.easysite.com/fulenwiderfamily

Anonymous said...

I too am one of the many who have been blessed and inspired by your thoughts over the past year. Through you, I feel my journey to know the Lord has become strengthened and for that I am eternally grateful. Your old friend, Shannon (Vansant) Galbreath is my treasured neighbor and has shared stories about your gift of the pen. As God would have it, we will be moving from down here in Georgia up to Brentwood sometime in the forthcoming months for my husband's job. I do hope we can meet for I would love to give you a hug and thank you in person for all you have inspired in me.
Wishing you the best with your girls - my girls, Hailey (age 3) and Hayden (5 mos) would love to meet yours!
In His Name,
Deanna McCurdy
deemccurdy@earthlink.net

seriaunmilagro said...

Hi Boothe, My name is Jena and I found your blog quite randomly, i think i linked it from somewhere that linked it from somewhere...etc etc from a survey of posting links to all the blogs you read.

Yours caught me because of your title 'keeping awake' that reminded me of a beautiful song called 'Awake' By my favourite singer josh Groban- anyway I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts and seeing how God has worked in you.

yeah, just wanted to say thank you- your posts are very inspiring.


~Jena

daniella said...

Boothe,

Again, thank you for lettin ALL of us know that no matter what, we are called to a higher calling. Indeed, it's NOT about us. Whatever it is any of us struggle with, no matter what sin we're battling with, we need not to make excuses for it but lay it all at His feet and ask Him to invade our hearts, lives, and the halls of where we live. We are His children and He loves us just the way we are and that's the beauty of Grace. BUT, how much more are we making His Son feel the pain in those scars by taking ADVANTAGE of that Grace with our excuses?

Not sure if any of this makes sense (I'm not as articulate with words as you are)but just wanted say what God put on my heart.

Cat said...

I stumbled across your website the other day and I have so enjoyed reading your blog. God has truly gifted you with beautiful thoughts and eloquent words. I was intrigued by “Simplify” and the sequel “What did she mean by that?” Before I became a mother, I worked as an actress and writer for many years and had occasion to befriend many people in the homosexual community. I was often frustrated and, at times, downright disgusted by the Christian response to people struggling in that lifestyle. One dear gay friend had been ridiculed and judged with hateful words by so many Christians that he turned his back on God. But a group of godly men befriended him and over the course of several years they expressed God’s love to him. And he accepted Christ. He is now married and has two beautiful children. It is imperative that the body of Christ learns how to approach sinners as Christ himself did with the woman at the well. Christ did not ridicule or rebuke her. He was not disgusted or even surprised by her past. He was tender. He was considerate. And He spoke the truth. After He had addressed her need, he told her to “go and sin no more.” It is so important that while we speak words of love to those who are stuck in any sin, that we do not fail to speak the truth. My dear friend who came out of the gay lifestyle was able to hear the truth after he was secure in the knowledge that God and his friends loved him.

I love the tender heart you have toward people struggling with homosexuality. I have the same passion to reach those who have been hurt by judgmental Bible thumpers. I have myself been on the receiving end of that judgment in my former choice of profession. It is a very painful place to be. But I fear that you may send a mixed message to people by saying that your friend’s choice to marry a woman would be “permissible” but not “beneficial”. I’m afraid that your conclusion may be based on a faulty assumption. You say that God would continue to love her if she chose to marry a woman. Quite true. God would most certainly still love her. God’s love is not in question because nothing can ever separate us from His love. But we know that every person who has ever died and gone to hell has been wildly loved by God. That may sound crazy and illogical to the unbeliever, but as followers of Christ, we know that this is true. God’s love did not make their sin “permissible”. So God will love your friend no matter what she chooses because, as you say, “it’s not about her, it’s about Jesus”. But to then conclude that God’s love makes her sinful lifestyle “permissible” is a claim that Scripture cannot support. Choosing to live in sin is not choosing the permissible over the beneficial, or the better. It is choosing the unacceptable over the acceptable, the profane over the sacred. God’s love does not negate the consequences of our actions, of our sin which always leads to death. Only repentance does that. When Paul said that “all things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial,” I believe he was speaking in the context of those things that God has not expressly forbidden in Scripture (like eating meat offered to idols), or those things that are no longer required under the new covenant (like circumcision). Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that neither the “sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders…” will inherit the kingdom of God. If that is the truth then, like Christ, we must tenderly tell those who live in sin that to inherit the kingdom of God, they must “Go and sin no more.” We must love them, and then we must speak the truth. The change in their lives may not be instantaneous. Likely it will be incremental. But that change must happen. You are either becoming more like Christ or more like the other guy.

There is another vitally important distinction we must understand when considering the issue of sin, a distinction that ties this whole discussion together. God still loves us in our sin, and He does not consider one sin to be more offensive than another. But there is separation that God does make, and it’s a biggie. God does differentiate between the repentant and the unrepentant. That is huge. It would be hard to overestimate the implications of this truth. This is why a man who committed adultery and then followed that deed with an encore of murder can still be described as a “man after God’s own heart.” He repented. Throughout Scripture we see this dance between God and Israel. His people reject Him and turn to idols, God strives with them for a while, but when they persist in sin, God brings judgment. Many of them died in their sin. But those who repented, He restored. Over and over again, like a broken record, the song goes on and on. God is merciful. He will wait for us to repent far longer than we deserve. But if we persist, if we remain unrepentant in our sin, He will judge. We, too, must make the distinction between a believer who occasionally sins and then repents, and those who choose to remain in a lifestyle of sin. I don’t want to lead someone to believe that a lifestyle of sin is permissible, for without repentance, it will surely end in judgment. Either here, or in the hereafter.

So when dealing with people involved in any lifestyle of sin, as Christians we must reach out to them with love and acceptance, as Christ does with us. But we must also speak the truth. We must tell them that in order to be in right standing with God, we must “go and sin no more.” We should tenderly explain to them the danger of living in unrepentant sin. Their sin will never separate them from God’s love, but it may separate them from His Kingdom.

Anonymous said...

Cat,

Thank you for your comment, I've followed the comments on this post ever since it was written. I think you make a very strong and important distinction. I have never really thought about sin beyond the obvious, but what you have said about repentant and unrepentant sin really hit a chord with me. It defines sin for me in a whole new way.

Thank you,
Bonnie

daniella said...

To Cat,

Wow, your comment hit right home for me - THANK YOU! I do belive though that it's exactly what Boothe was trying to say in the response to "Simplify." Actually, I don't even think her major point was whether the gay lifestyle is ok with God or not, but the point was that it's NOT about us. Too many times we make it about us and loose the sight of God's forgiveness and tender love for us. At the same time, too many times we accept His grace and forgiveness yet knowingly continue in our sin by taking advantage of that grace and making excuses for the sin in order to cover our guilt. Like you said, many times we overlook when He says "go and sin no more".

I admire your thoughts you placed in your comment and if you don't mind I'll be sharing it with some of my friends because it couldn't have been said better than that! God bless you.

Cat said...

Bonnie & Daniella,

Thank you for your sweet responses! You made my day. I debated on whether I should post that entry. It seemed obnoxiously long (especially with these narrow paragraphs). I didn’t think anyone would bother to read it all, so I figured why not. I’m so glad that it “struck a chord” with you. I so appreciate Boothe’s heart to reach people who are struggling with sin. And I admire her courage for even broaching this topic, which could clearly alienate a lot of her readers. Christians are branded as bigots when we simply repeat what the Bible says on this topic, as Boothe courageously did in “What did she mean by that?” But you know what, some Christians are bigots when it comes to homosexuals. It is somehow acceptable to reach out to any other type of sinner, but Heaven forbid we should love the homosexual. Far be it from any Christian to determine who may be the recipient of God’s grace and love. None of us deserve it. Who are we to withhold it. That is precisely what Booth so beautifully conveyed. These are the kinds of conversations we need to be having. I just hoped to clarify a confusing part of the discussion.

If I may add one more important thing about unrepentant sin (and risk another long, narrow entry… sorry). When we persist in sin, our ears become clogged to the truth. We may continue to pray and seek the Lord. We may continue to read His Word and go to church. But we come up with all kinds of justifications for our sin. And the god we “hear”, the god who condones our lifestyle, is one of our own making. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, “But I fear that somehow you will be led away from your pure and simple devotion to Christ, just as Eve was deceived by the serpent. You seem to believe whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach about a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed” (NLT). Any “Jesus” that contradicts Scripture, any “Jesus” that condones what God has called sin, is one of our own making. A man-made Jesus may make life more comfortable, but he lacks the power to heal and to save. And he lacks the power to keep us from judgment. Paul warns us again in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to right teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever they want to hear. They will reject the truth and follow strange myths” (NLT). When we persist in unrepentant sin, our hearts will no longer perceive the truth and we will adopt these “strange myths”.

It is far more dangerous to pick and choose what Scriptures you will live by, serving a god of your own making, than to be a secularist, a humanist, an agnostic or atheist, or even to believe a false religion. At least if you fall into one of those categories, you know where you stand with Scripture. When we make a different Jesus and call him the God of the Bible, we think that we are living a holy life. We think that we are pleasing God and all is right with us spiritually. But we are deceived. Jesus says in Matthew 6:23, “If the light you have is really darkness, how deep that darkness will be.” It is better to have no light at all than to have a false light, lulling us into believing that all is well. We see exactly how that ends in the next chapter (Matt. 7:21-23).

Every example of unrepentance in Scripture leads to deception. There are so many people who believe that they are following Christ, but their lives show that they are not. Paul says in Phillipians 3:18-19, “For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. Their future is eternal destruction.” We, too, must admonish those whose lives show that they are not followers of Christ. With tears in our eyes, we must warn them of the consequences. As difficult as it is to tell someone that their lifestyle is not pleasing to the Lord, we must. Withholding the truth from someone in sin is like keeping a lifejacket from someone who is drowning. They may not take it, but we must offer. Even if they hate us for it.

daniella said...

Boothe, I appologize that some of us are having "conversations" in your comment section :-) but I don't know of any other way to get in touch with them...well, just Cat. Having said that,

Cat, I heart you. There, I've expressed my admiration for your wise truthful words that I can't stop reading over and over again. I don't know where you live but if we were any close (I'm near the Washington D.C. area) I would love to perhaps meet you. Feel free to leave a comment on my blog or email me: daniellafaithsummers@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I must also appologize for having a conversation on your blog, Boothe - but thank you for the opportunity to connect with you, and others!

Cat - I want to thank you for your thoughts and for sharing them here. I guess I needed to hear some of the things you've said - you have helped me "simplify". I've read your posts several times and I've thought about emailing you or trying to get in touch - not sure if you are open to this, if you are, my email address is bmcelhinny@gmail.com. I'm a little paranoid about internet correspondence so I've hesitated to say anything at all. Thank you for your words.

...and Daniella, I checked out your blog (hope you don't mind) - you are funny! You have such a down to earth humor, I don't know you but you remind me a little of myself - we even look alike - It's kinda funny. If I was closer to D.C. I would love to meet you for coffee (coffee is my love language)- but I live on the Westcoast.

Bonnie

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