i mentioned that one inexcusable form of prejudice that evangelicals are particularly guilty of is hateful speech and beahvior towards either [a] gays, or [b] muslims
and have received a fair-amount of curious feedback from my remarks.
i've reprinted one set of correspondance here to illustrate:
We have some questions regarding your sermon on last Sunday (March 11th).
Were you advocating the homosexual lifestyle? Were you saying that if we believe as the Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong, sinful and separates the homosexual from God, that we are racist or have prejudices or that we are hateful?
Instead of focusing on and accepting the 'lifestyle', shouldn’t we focus on the individual and lovingly come alongside them to help them turn from sin? If we are going to be balanced, shouldn’t we address all sexual sin and not single out homosexuals?
How does what you said line up with 1 Cor. 6:9-11, I Tim. 1:8-11, or Romans 1:27?
hi guys - thanks for your email
for future reference, my personal email is email@example.com and you can feel free to email me directly. i try to make myself really accessible for conversation, so please don't feel like it would be inappropriate for you to contact me this way.
as to last sunday's sermon, let me see if i can clear up any misconceptions here
no - i am not advocating that homosexuality be considered un-sinful
i think the bible is fairly clear on that issue
i am concerned by how hatefully we proclaim it to be sinful
the old adage is 'hate the sin, but love the sinner'
which i find to be a little trite, but also very true
i think this is what jesus did
he never excused sin
but he never responded to sinfulness with sinful behavior
i.e. he never treated a "sinner" with disdain, prejudice, or hatred
and i think the north american church is often collectively guilty of treating homosexuals hatefully
i realize that by saying we ought to be less hateful towards homosexuals [and/or muslims, etc...]
i run the risk of being labelled a liberal
or being boxed into a category of pastors/theologians who seem to disregard the scriptural mandate for moral behavior
but i'm not those people
in fact, i don't believe i made any mention whatsoever of excusing immoral or unethical conduct
including the immoral and unethical conduct of christian people who [through their deep convictions about biblical morality] often get carried away with condemnatory language and behavior
does that help?
your email is the third email i've received about my remarks last sunday
and i want to make sure i respond respectfully
because your concerns are valid
if i was actually dismissing the biblical mandate for moral and ethical behavior
you would be 100% justified in questioning my legitimacy as a bible teacher
but i'm really quite concerned that those standards remain unmoved
and that we all use the bible as the guide for our lives
i'd like to make sure you know that i didn't catch any accusations or "complaining" in your email
it just seemed like an honest set of questions
if my really long response seemed defensive
that wasn't my intention
i'm just trying to make sure that i give you the courtesy of a fuller explanation
if you'd like to talk further about these things then please let me know
i'd like to do everything i can to become a better pastor
and perhaps our conversations can help me in this regard
Thank you, David, for the quick response.
Your email helped clarify the misconceptions for us. The reason we emailed you was that we felt you left us hanging on what you meant when you brought up the topic of homosexuals/muslims...when your sermon was on racism. (which with muslims, would tie into the subject, but we couldn't figure out where in that homosexuals fit in.) When you bring up something like that, which is actually a new subject as it does not tie in to racism, perhaps you could explain a bit deeper. We did not imply that you were excusing immoral or unethical conduct; actually, perhaps you should have said you weren't excusing it and that would have clarified it, at least for us.
We would be interested in a sermon on homosexuals and how to reach them, lead them to Christ and set them free from the sin that has enveloped their lives. Actually, it should be a sermon about sin, and how it can take over one's life, as this is true with any addiction, be it alcoholism, pornography, gluttony, etc. It is the sin that they need to be set free from.
We realize this is not an easy subject (homosexuality) and a very controversial one. And we happen to agree with you that there are many who go overboard with hatred towards the sinner. For instance, we are extremely sold out on 'pro-life'. But it makes us sick when we see protesters yelling "baby killer" in front of an abortion clinic. I am sure Jesus is much more pleased when we make the effort to find a way to help the pregnant woman with her pregnancy; be it financial, moral support, or adopting the unwanted child, and hopefully, counseling her to better decisions that got her pregnant in the first place! (a life-style change?)
Sure, you can post our email on your blog, but as we are 'behind-the-scenes' type of folks, skip our names. Thanks.
Sometimes we trolls need things explained in more detail... (trolls being those who live beneath the bridge...okay, I'll explain that more if you don't get it...