Two Complaints about the NALT Project

nalt-logo-mediumI have two quibbles with the new NALT (Not All Like That) project, which is trying to make it clear that Christians are not all anti-gay:

(1) It reinforces the idea that the mainstream of Christianity is anti-gay, and the gay-affirming Christians are the exception. But that’s increasingly not true. A majority of Christians in a growing number of denominations support gay rights. We are, or soon will be, the mainstream; let’s leave it to the anti-gay Christians to explain that not all Christians are like us (gay-affirming).

(2) It’s one more example of Christians defining themselves by what they’re against — “Oh, we’re not the Christians who are opposed to gays; we’re the Christians who are opposed to the Christians who are opposed to gays!”

Instead of telling me who you aren’t, why don’t you tell me who you are. Tell me how the love of God breaks down the barriers that society uses to divide people. Tell me about Jesus’ heart for the oppressed and the marginalized. Tell me how God knows me by name and loved me even before I was born.Tell me about the power of the gospel to transform the heart of even the biggest bigot. Don’t just tell me what you’re against — tell me what you’re for.

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A Thirteenth Question

My church is doing a sermon series on “God’s Questions” — twelve different questions that God asks humans throughout scripture. So far, it’s a really interesting series, and has really gotten me thinking. Today I’d like to think about a thirteenth question, one not included in the scheduled sermon series. Continue reading

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Response to the “Deathly Ill” Letter #3: Invitation

The so-called Deathly Ill letter is partly a theological treatise, but primarily, it’s an invitation.  The key phrase is halfway through:

We invite like-minded pastors and elders to a gathering on August 25-27 in Minneapolis to explore joining this movement and help shape its character.

I like the idea of an invitation. I like it, because it calls to mind the ministry of Jesus. But how is this invitation different from Jesus’ invitation? Continue reading

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Response to the “Deathly Ill” Letter #2: Why it won’t work

You seem to think that you can actually separate the church – that you can divide the good old-fashioned Bible-believing family-values anti-gay Christians from the homosexual heretics and those who support them . Just cleanly pull the two groups apart, like tearing along the perforation.

This makes me smile to myself.

Because it won’t work. Continue reading

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Fulfilling the law

Last Sunday’s sermon text was Matthew 5:17-20.

Here’s an exercise for you: read the whole rest of the Sermon on the Mount, and then fill in the blank with the word you think Jesus is most likely to have used here: “I have not come to abolish the law, but to _________ it.”

Affirm? Maintain? Strengthen? Proclaim? Restore? Obey?

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished….”

If you think about it, “fulfill” is a really strange word to use when talking about the law. You can talk about fulfilling a promise, or fulfilling a prophecy, or even fulfilling a requirement or an obligation. But what would it even mean to fulfill a law?
Continue reading

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Response to the “Deathly Ill” Letter (#1)

For the past few months I’ve been meaning to respond to a letter that’s been circulating in the Presbyterian Church (USA), nicknamed the “deathly ill” letter (from a phrase it its first paragraph). This will probably be the first of two or three posts.

For background, I’d suggest you read the letter itself, here:

I’ll address this post as though to the letter’s authors. Continue reading

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I’m Jonathan, and this is my little house on the Internet. Come on in and make yourself comfortable.

First blog posts are a sort of genre of their own — a dreadfully dull genre, I’m afraid — wherein I introduce myself and state all of my plans and goals for the blog, before I (a) utterly neglect the blog, or (b) take it in a completely different direction.

If you’re reading this, I assume you probably already know me in real life; I’m not sure why else you would be here. But in case you don’t, here’s what you’ll need to know to make sense of this: I’m a Christian (Presbyterian, to be specific, and PC(USA) to be even more specific), and I’m gay.

Oh, and I was on Jeopardy! once. But that was a long time ago. Continue reading

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