Why in the world would a heterosexual, semi-conservative, republican (on the bubble), Bible believing, Church going, Christian Pastor, who is a 46 year old married man love GAYS?
Brace yourself, it's profound. (sarcasm)
Because my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the one and only freedom giver and life saver, the one who lived, loved, bled and died, to suffer the vast, deep and destructive punishment for my rebellion and hate. BECAUSE HE LOVES GAYS. That is right.
Jesus Loves the Gay Community.
Sin & Acceptance & Tolerance ---
If it's a sin: According to the Bible I read and try to follow, all sexual conduct outside a marriage relationship between man and woman, among either singles or married people, is sin. This includes levels of lust and fantasy and attraction among church people who "look" but don't touch. It's not my job to walk around with a Sin-O-Meter and decide who to love based on where they land on the sin-scale. If I did that, some days, I would not qualify to be friends with myself, or most other heterosexual, homophobic, opinion sharing, gay-bashers. In fact, we all would end up too high on the sin-scale with no friends at all. So, sin or not, gay friends are just that, friends who are gay. I have friends who are fat, angry, bitter, drunk, divorces, married three times, hooked on prescription drugs, depressed, oppressed, bulimic, anorexic, materialistic, bullying, lying and some are even criminals. Of course most of them do not feel they have to "come out" to talk about the controversial areas of their life, because most would judge instead of love. Lastly, the fact that I call sexual relationships outside of marriage a sin, including heterosexual and homosexual, is my personal conviction. The fact that I choose to love all of those folks and hope they choose to love me, is also a personal conviction.
Acceptance: Humans try so hard to be accepted by family, friends, coworkers and more. We need to be accepted. We find affinity groups to join. We dress the same, we shop the same, we play and work the same, based on where we feel accepted. I believe many in the gay community are confused and trying to figure life out, just like anyone else. I believe they are people who deserve dignity and respect. Some are confident and outgoing about their identity and life choice, but no matter. Either way I believe they were created in the image of God and I deeply believe they are loved by God. If that is true, then how can I do anything but show them acceptance? I can love them, and accept them as a person without completely accepting all their life choices, behaviors and beliefs. If I can accept the selfish person, the glutton, the adulterous person, the smoker, drinker, screamer, joker and over bearing person, they why can't I love and accept the gay person. I do not have to accept the gay lifestyle to the point that I affirm it, condone it or participate in it. I can simply love and accept them, like I try to do with e v e r y o n e e l s e.
Tolerance: I would love to see us be the generation of tolerance that we imagine and claim to be. We talk about it, we ask for it, but few give it. The gay community struggles to tolerate the straight. The straight struggles to tolerate the gay. The LGBT community struggles the same way. They want others to tolerate them, but my observation is, they struggle to tolerate those who don't agree with them. The hyper-straight community openly judges and rejects, instead of loving. Humans struggle to accept and tolerate those who believe and practice a lifestyle we don't enjoy, understand or experience. The rich and poor struggle to tolerate each other. Old and young struggle to tolerate each other, and surely, all of us struggle to move beyond tolerance to acceptance and love. That's not my desire.
I hope to move past tolerance into acceptance and to avoid telling the gay community that I can't love them because I think sexual activity is reserved for married men and women. I don't need to argue, defend or debate. Truth is, I can just love.
When I do "just love", maybe my gay friends will trust me enough to test my theories about life, family, sex, relationships and other life choices. This is not my goal or motive, but observation tells me, my goal of being a good friend may allow me to have an impact that saying "I hate gays" would never accomplish.
The Gay community, the gay person, has intrinsic God given value, they are human like me and deserve all the same love as I do, without a but....it's love but nothing........