Target Toilets

Target Toilets

Reading Time: 11 minutes

This post is not about hate. I am not a homophobe. I don’t believe those who engage in a homosexual lifestyle should be stoned, drowned with a millstone, burned at the stake, torn apart by wild animals, or crucified.

Growing up I had friends who engaged in that lifestyle and over the years I have had students who also shared they were gay, and parents who were part of the gay community. I treated them with the same respect, compassion, and love I did the rest of my friends and students. I hate the way that sounds. It reminds me of the proverbial racist who says he had a black friend once, but those that know me, know me, and the rest can think what they want.

A short white guy by the name of Joseph Backholm who works for the Family Policy Institute went to the University of Washington to see if students could tell him he was wrong. Wrong in some very obvious ways. Watch the video before you read any more, it is only 4 minutes long.

Christians are often labeled as ‘intolerant’. This label is due in part for the new definition our current culture has adopted for the word tolerant. Many people have a definition of tolerant that is different than what it means. If you look it up, you will find it means: showing willingness to allow the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with. In other words, being tolerant means you are putting up with someone or something you don’t agree with. It does not mean you have to adopt or embrace an idea that you don’t approve of.

Alen Shlemon of Stand To Reason points out that tolerance can be applied to behavior, ideas, and people.

Every day at school I am tolerant of certain behaviors with students who have an IEP, (individual education plans) because they are incapable of behaving in a way we would expect of them. Other behaviors we don’t tolerate. For example, those that murder or steal are put behind bars. Over time, depending on the prevailing winds, cultures will embrace behaviors that were previously thought to be unsound or nefarious, and we see this a lot today.

Tolerance can also be applied to ideas. The idea that some people are worth more than others because of their skin color is no longer tolerated. The idea that the earth is the center of the universe may be tolerated, but dismissed as foolish. The idea that the earth is millions of years old may be tolerated by those who believe the earth is only a few thousand years old. The idea that men can have sex with little girls or little boys is not tolerated in most clear thinking cultures, some even consider it to wicked or immoral.

So tolerance can be applied to the behaviors of people and the ideas of people, but when Christians reject the homosexual lifestyle they are labeled intolerant. Yet, it is not the people who are rejected, but the behavior and the idea. Granted, some Christians, (and non-Christians) do make the mistake of coupling the behavior with the person, and reject the person. Because of this, many in the LGBT community are especially intolerant of Christians who don’t approve of that lifestyle because they in turn feel rejected.

The gay actress Cynthia Nixon shared in a New York Time interview that her gayness is a choice. “I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line, ‘I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better.’ And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice. And for me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice and you don’t get to define my gayness for me.”1 For her and others gayness, is a choice, but I have learned an important difference between same-sex attraction and homosexual behavior. This distinction is important and must be made clear. Behavior is a choice, but same-sex attraction is not. Many don’t choose to have same-sex attraction and it often begins at a very early age.

Kevin Deyong, who writes on homosexuality and the Bible made a good point about gender choices. “Sexual orientation is not an immutable part of our biology like a hitchhiker’s thumb or the presence of a Y chromosome. If it were, the concordance rate would not be so low between identical twins (i.e. both twins would always have the same sexual orientation, which is not the case).”2 In other words, there are environmental factors that play into a persons gender identity. Most men have a male gender identity and most women have a female gender identity, but not always, and the factors that play into a gender identity are far and wide. Gender identity is influenced greatly by one’s biological sex, but the biological sex does not determine their gender identity 100% of the time. Consequently we have a small percent of the population that will have a gender identity which does not match their biology.

So we have a minority percent within a population that will have same sex attraction. Some act on the attraction, others may not, and the degree of attraction will vary in strength. According to a Live Science 2016 article, “Just less than 2 percent of men and a little more than 1 percent of women identified themselves as gay or lesbian, which is consistent with past survey data results.”3 Keeping that in mind, it should not come as a surprise that those with same sex attraction, and who act on it, would rather use a bathroom opposite to their biological sex. Their gender identity does not match their biological identity. One of the ways this behavior has been justified by liberal academia is to suggest the queer theory.

Anthoy Esolen, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization explains that, “…the homosexual knows better than anything that something has gone awry with him. Hence his now enthusiastic adoption of the word queer. That word too, in its origin, suggests something out of kilter, running crosswise…The whole point of the Queer Theory in our universities is to persuade students to accept the abnormal behavior as normal, and to see supposedly abnormal strains underneath as normal.”4 Academia is teaching our youth the new normal is to expect the abnormal. If we can expect a certain percent of any population to have same sex attraction, then the behavior can be justified.

Of course, if you give this line of thinking a moments consideration you will see the problems. If this is normal why the parades and celebrations flaunting the homosexual lifestyle? Can you imagine a parade of heterosexual couples celebrating their choice? A parade of men who celebrate their use of the urinal in the men’s room? It’s silly, why celebrate the normal?

Lets follow this line of thinking and apply it to other areas of our life that may have some abnormal strains of behavior. For example, the small number of students found guilty of plagiarism each year in college, should they be excused and simply considered part of the expectant cheaters in our universities? Or what about those that over eat, and weigh hundreds of pounds outside what would be considered ‘the norm’? Should we simply dismiss their eating disorders as the expected abnormal strains within a population? Esolen goes on to say, “Then the question is not whether such boundaries are to be drawn, but where and why, according to what moral and pragmatic principles and with what effect upon the common good.”5 Abnormal behavior, no matter how you decorate and parade it, is abnormal behavior. One simply needs to consider if the entire human population suddenly had same sex attraction and acted on it for the rest of their lives, the human race would cease to exist within a hundred years. That is not normal, nor anything to celebrate.

CNN reported a few weeks ago that the department store Target will allow those with same sex attraction to use the bathroom of their choice. Target believes it is a persons gender identity that determines their bathroom, not their biological sex. “Target said Tuesday that transgender customers at its stores are welcome to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity…”6 As of May 11th  the numbers who have pledged to boycott target because of their stance that could endanger women and young girls, (any man can walk into a woman’s bathroom and claim to be transgendered) is over one million two hundred thousand.

Regardless of your stance on this issue, a simple solution would be to provide a 3rd bathroom option for those who want to use a single bathroom or a transgendered bathroom option. Of course this would be a significant cost to the retail giant, but until the impact of the boycotters is felt within the quarterly profits, it will not be considered.

According to Political Insider, “Targets position also extends to its fitting rooms. ‘Inclusivity is a core belief at Target,’ the company said in a statement on its corporate website. ‘It’s something we celebrate. We stand for equality and equity, and strive to make our guests and team members feel accepted, respected and welcomed in our stores and workplaces every day.’”7 It should be obvious that Target is catering to the minority and not considering the feelings of majority, those who don’t have same sex attractions.

If the purpose of Target is to be charitable toward transsexuals, a very small minority within our population, then why are they being uncharitable toward those who do not have same sex attraction? If one of every ten would be more comfortable, (and that is a extremely high percent) using a bathroom opposite to their biological gender, then what of the charitable decisions to the 90% who would be uncomfortable sharing a bathroom with someone opposite to their biological gender? You can see how this does not make any sense, unless Target has an addenda that supersedes the wishes of the majority, and clearly they do.

The truth is, we are all born with a biological sex, male or female. Adopting a stance that allows anyone to change their gender identity and then pass laws that permit those who make that decision to supersede their biological identity is foolish.

In Canada there has already been two lawsuits against the University of Toronto where they allow students to use locker rooms that match their gender identity. Men were caught using their phones filming girls showing in adjacent shower stalls. Hello? Is this a surprise to anyone? Reported by the Huffington Post, “The University of Toronto (U of T) is temporarily changing its policy on gender-neutral bathrooms after two reports of voyeurism in a student residence.”8 How many of us could have saved Toronto University the trouble of having to reverse such a decision by advising them not to take such a step in the first place? Somethings deify common sense and leave those conservatively minded shaking their head in disbelief. The truth is, ones biological sex cannot be determined by their making a mental decision. No matter how strongly one identifies with the opposite sex, the truth of their biological sex is observable objective, and undeniable. Objective truth exists, and if someone passionately tells you otherwise, ask them if that is their opinion, or if they know it to be objectively true.

Thomas Sowell a social analyst pointed out the obvious, “However lofty and vaguely poetic such words may seem, the cold fact is that truth cannot become private property without losing its whole meaning”.9 That is to say, if truth becomes relative to the feelings, opinions, and ideas of individuals or special interest groups, it has as much foundation as a tent in the Sahara. Douglas Groothuis points out, “Truth is reduced to a fashion statement, it has no binding force or persuasive power.”10

Walter Anderson, who wrote on sex and gender observed, “One of the most fundamental and revolutionary discoveries people have ever made [is] that any society’s customs are constructions of reality.”11 Douglas Groothuis quickly points out in his book, Truth Decay that is society can create these, they can just as quickly deconstruct them. “Since they were invented under various conditions, they can be reinvented when the time comes.”12

In the book of Revelation the longest letter to the seven cities is addressed to Thyatira. This city was praised for a work ethic, love, faith, service, and that their deeds were greater now than before. But this love was too accepting, too tolerant. The doors were wide open accepting the behavior and ideas of false teachers. Deyoung wrote, “Thyatira’s love could be undiscerning and blindly affirming. The church tolerated false teaching and immoral behavior, two things God is fiercely intolerant of. Jesus says, ‘You’re loving in many ways, but your tolerance is not love. It’s unfaithfulness.”13 Jesus said in Revelation 2:20 “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.”

What parent would tolerate disrespectful behavior from a young child out of love? Every year I hear from my students how respectful I am toward them, but at the same time I am very intolerant of certain behaviors. They get it, and don’t have a problem with it. It should be clear that tolerance has a proper place and time in its use. I personally will not be shopping at Target until they reverse this absurd polity decision, it is a policy I will not tolerate.

So now I get to the heart of this post. We have raised a generation that is willing to ignore objective truth in fear of hurting the feelings of another. This generation feels they should be allowed their own ‘personal’ subjective truth. A truth that replaces reality with illusion. This is also true within the church as well meaning Christians pluck bible verses out of context, ignoring not only who it was penned to, but the authors intent. They apply bible verses to their own circumstances to justify a decision or behavior.

The world, and and some Christians create their own truth. This is made all too apparent in the short video by Backholm. It is obvious he is not a woman, not 6’2” tall, and not Chinese, yet these college students could not bring themselves to speak truth to him. Why? Because of fear? They don’t want to seem harsh or intolerant of another belief. Or could it be because of love? They don’t want to seem unloving and judgmental. Matthew 7:1, ‘Don’t judge’, is probably the most popular verse of unbelievers, and I have even seen other Christians use the verse when defending the homosexual lifestyle. Really, anyone who wants to justify any behavior that might be considered questionable to their peers will toss this out.

Jesus pointed out that tolerance on the level of allowing immoral behavior is not love, but unfaithfulness. If you don’t believe in God, then it is unfaithfulness toward reality. Faithfulness toward reality is necessary for human flourishing, and if you doubt that, then allow those who think they can fly leap off the tall buildings. The minute you begin to replace reality with a subjective, personalized truth, then you are well on your way to a lifestyle that may be celebrated by the culture, but is nothing more than a fantasy.

What does this mean for the Christian that believes Jesus is the way the truth and the life? How many of us don’t share our faith because we fear what others may think. I am certainly guilty of that. Are you? We may boycott Target, cry foul when they legalized same sex marriage, but what of the bigger picture? What of the unbelievers who find momentary pleasure using a bathroom matching their gender identity, but will spend eternity separated from God? Do they see that objective truth when we complain, or do they just see intolerance and judgment? Sometimes when a child is spanked, it is not the spanking that has the most impact, but they loving embrace by mom or dad afterwords.

Sources:
1. Witchel, Alex. “Life after ‘Sex’” New York Times 19 January 2012: MM24. NYTimes.com. Web. 30 April 2016.
2. Deyoung, Kevin. What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? Wheaton: Crossway, 2015. Print.
3. Ghose, Tia. “More young people report same sex attraction.” Live Science. 7 January 2016: livescience.com. Web. 7 May 2016.
4. Esolen, Anthony. Defending Marriage. Charlotte: Saint Benedict Press, 2014. Print.
5. Ibid.
6. McLean, Robert. “Target Takes a Stand on Transgender Bathroom Controversy.” CNN Money. CNN, 20 Apr. 206. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
7. Kosar, Kevin. “Breaking Target Stores make Massive Announcement Parents Furious” Political Insider 20 April 2016: politicalinsider.com. Web. 1 May 2016
8. Chin, Jessica. “University of Toronto Gender-Neutral Bathrooms Reduced After Voyeurism Reports” Huffpost.com. Huffington Post, 6 October 2015. Web. 2 May 2016
9. Groothuis, Douglas. Truth Decay. Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2000. Print.
10. Ibid
11. Anderson, Walter T. The Postmodernization of Sex and Gender. New York: Putnam, 1997. Print.
12. Groothuis, Douglas. Truth Decay. Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2000. Print.
13. Deyoung, Kevin. What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? Wheaton: Crossway, 2015. Print.

Creative Commons License
Target Toilets by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.dev.christianapologetics.blog.

Marriage Market

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Marriage is not defined, it is described. It has been a foundational feature of natural order. It is not a religious institution. It is not a governmental institution. It is an attribute, or characteristic, of human flourishing since we began walking on this earth. I believe marriage to be a created institution, but I will argue this from a secular perspective.

Changing the language or the laws does not change the natural order, or the necessary characteristics for marriage. Greg Koukl has pointed out that as a rule, as a group, and by nature, heterosexuals produce the next generation.

Children/families were the natural outcome of marriage, and in ancient times for a couple to be childless was considered a great misfortune. If this childlessness continued, the man could divorce or take on a 2nd wife to give him children. Of course, the problem, (infertility), may not have been with the woman, but my point being that ancient cultures recognized the importance of children.1 So much so, that even in ancient times, cultures had marriage contracts between the couple and their families.

marriage contractThis papyrus marriage contract housed at the London British Museum is dated B.C. 172 from Egypt. Written in demotic script, (Egyptian writing in and around the Nile Delta), this particular contract states the husband must return a certain amount of money within 30 days if there is a divorce. Reasons for a divorce could include adultery by either party, or the failure to produce children. On the back of this papyrus are listed eight witnesses.2 Some recorded marriage contracts date back to B.C. 661. Why have a marriage contract? Commonly because the bond was for procreation, to produce the next generation, and ancient cultures recognized the importance of this, no matter how crude the marriage contracts or the methods they used.

Different relationships serve different purposes, and the government is not under any obligation to give all relationships the same rights and benefits as others. Heterosexual relationships have the unique and primary role in society of producing the next generation, so it is understandable that the government would want to be, and has been, involved in encouraging those kind of relationships for thousands of years.

Herodotus, who many refer to as ‘The Father of History’, wrote that every woman, at some point in her lifetime, had to sit outside the temple of Ishtar and have sex with any man that would choose her. This practice would insure the flourishing and prosperity of the community.

Herodotus also wrote about the bride market, “Once a year in each village the young women eligible to marry were collected all together in one place; while the men stood around them in a circle. Then a herald called up the young women one by one and offered them for sale. He began with the most beautiful. When she was sold for a high price, he offered for sale the one who ranked next in beauty. All of them were then sold to be wives. The richest of the Babylonians who wished to wed bid against each other for the loveliest young women, while the commoners, who were not concerned about beauty, received the uglier women along with monetary compensation…All who liked might come, even from distant villages, and bid for the women. This was the best of all their customs but it has now fallen into disuse.”3 Yes, best for those with money and who lived in a culture that viewed women as property.

The church really did not get involved until 1563, when the Council of Trent stated that marriages should be celebrated in the presence of a priest and at least two other witnesses. Reason being was that marriages  seemed to be lacking glue and the church wanted binding agreements between the couple. An argument could be made for the churches involvement going back much further if you look at Paul’s comments in Ephesians 5:22-33, but my point is simply how far back cultures and the church recognized marriage and its purpose.

Some will say that homosexual couples were not given the same advantages or benefits as heterosexual married couples, however, same sex couples could express love, have weddings, share in a home, and have sex, (see Lawrence v. Texas where the Supreme Court ruled consensual sex between adults of any sex is legal), receive inheritance, and spend their lives together, just as married men and women. The difference is that same sex couples wanted to be recognized or legitimized by the government.

What will follow from the new Supreme Court ruling? Alan Shlemon points out two things, first, “Anyone continuing to make the gender distinctions dictated by nature will come into conflict with the law dictated by man.” And second, “The boundaries of marriage will continue to expand as the state continues to tinker.” 4

Amy Hall, in her Stand To Reason blog, quoted G.K. Chesterton, “In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”5

If the purpose of marriage is to raise a family, that is to produce the next generation, and the state has changed that purpose to, well, if you think about it, marriage now has no purpose. In a Live Science article, Stephanie Coontz, author of Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage said, “One of the reasons for the stunningly rapid increase in acceptance of same sex marriage is because heterosexuals have completely changed their notion of what marriage is between a man and a woman,” Coontz said. “We now believe it is based on love, mutual sexual attraction, equality and a flexible division of labor.”

Coontz is wrong, we have marriages every day that are simply over money. No one quizzes the partners to see if they ‘love’ each other before they sign the marriage license. In April of this year, the New York Times reports one woman had 10 husbands between 1999 and 2002. “Most of her husbands immediately applied for citizenship and some, when denied, divorced her and refiled with different wives…”6

A little research and you can find hundreds of cases like these each year, where the ‘marriage’ was for anything but love. For example, economic benefits, (tax breaks), citizenship, power, status, name, convenience, pressure in the case of an unexpected pregnancy, and a host of other reasons that have nothing to do with love.

So what is next? Many in the LGBT community don’t want to get married. Though it has been redefined by our government and will continue to be redefined, those in domestic relationships will start pressing for equal rights. In a very recent NPR article one reporter wrote, “In some cases, couples don’t want to get married, they would prefer to have the domestic partnership. And that can be for ideological reasons, they may not…like the institution of marriage.”7 Those currently in domestic relationships want the same rights as those who are married. If you have any doubts, just start looking at headlines and reports on domestic relationships just since same sex marriage has been legalized.

The gate keeper, as in marriage between one man and one woman, has been removed. We have entered the slippery slope of questioning where to draw the line on the description of marriage. Will it be just a domestic partnership between two loving individuals? Is love a requirement for marriage? Obviously not. Could marriage be defined as simply a domestic relationship? If so, then the government will be pressed to provide the same benefits to domestic relationships as they now define marriage relationships.

Then the question, how would the government define a domestic relationship? How would the state define a family? Why limit it to humans? Some people have married animals, but it is not recognized by our government. Yet every year we have evidence that suggests people prefer pets to humans.

ABC News reported in 2011 that a elderly woman in her 90’s left 13 million to her pet cat. “As her health began to fail two years ago, Assunta, who had no children, began to seek out a way to see that Tommaso was properly cared for after she died. In November 2009, she bequeathed her entire estate to the alley cat that she’d rescued.”8

Mother Nature Network reported, “Between 12 and 27 percent of pet owners provide provisions for their pets in their wills, according to the Washington University School of Law. In fact, pet trusts have become so popular that 39 U.S. states now have statutes outlining them. In most cases, these trusts are relatively small — typically in the $30,000 range — but some pampered pets inherit millions of dollars, in addition to property, jewelry and a lifetime of prearranged pampering.”9

Why the examples of pets receiving outrageous inheritances? If people are willing to leave so much for their pets, as opposed to family and friends, it is obvious they care more for their animals than their human relations.

I am a huge dog lover and I would want my dog to be cared for after I die, but I could never countenance leaving an inheritance to animals when it could be used to help local schools, feed and shelter the homeless, fund crisis pregnancy centers, or benefit family or friends.

If marriage is not a contract between families, if it is not about human flourishing, if it is not about love, if it is not about sexual attraction, if it is not between a man and a woman, then what is it?

According to Tylenol, the new Beser Carr Schneider Musich Family commercial, “Family is what you make it out to be.”10 This is clearly a pluralistic view. You can define a family and a marriage anyway you want. There is no right or wrong way to look at a family and marriage. One is just as good as another, whatever works for you, whatever floats your boat, just don’t judge. Marriage and family will be defined by the winds of the current culture.

remoraIn the coming years, our culture will continue to ‘tinker’ with redefining family and marriage. Marriage has simply been reduced to the inclination or desire of the individuals who live in the same domestic location, their reasons for it are irrelevant, much like the relationship between a shark and his Remora, a commensalism relationship, which means one organism benefits from the other without affecting it.

 

 

Sources:
1. Mark, Joshua J. “Love, Sex, and Marriage in Ancient Mesopotamia” Ancient History. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 16 May 2014. Web. 29 June 2015.
2. Stead, M. “Papyrus marriage contract between the priest Pagosh and Teteimhotep” The British Museum. Britishmuseum.org, n.d. Web 28 June 2015.
3. Herodotus, The Histories, trans. A. D. Godley (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1920), Perseus Digital Library.
4. STRvideos, “Same-Sex Marriage: Is Same-Sex Marriage a Good Policy Decision?” Youtube, 19 July 2015, Web, 29 June 2015
5. Stead, M. “Papyrus marriage contract between the priest Pagosh and Teteimhotep” The British Museum. Britishmuseum.org, n.d. Web 28 June 2015.
6. Newman, Andy. “Woman Admitted She Married One of 10 Men for Money, Prosecutors Say” New York Times. Nytimes.com, 10 April 2015. Web. 30 June 2015.
7. “After Marriage Equality, What’s Next For The LGBT Movement?” National Public Radio. NPR, 28 June 2015. Web. 29 June 2015.
8. Dolak, Kevin. “Woman Leaves $13M Fortune to Pet Cat” abcNews. Abcnews.go.com. 12 December 2011. Web. 30 June 2015.
9. Moss, Laura. “Pets that inherited a fortune” Mother Nature Network. mnn.com. 16 September 2011. Web. 30 June 2015.
10. Tylenolofficial. “Beser Carr Schneider Musich Family |For What Matters Most| TYLENOL. Online Video Clip. Youtube. Youtube.com. 12 December 2014. Web. 30 June 2015.

 

 

Creative Commons License
Marriage Market by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.dev.christianapologetics.blog.

Response to homosexuality

Response to homosexuality

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Image by Sharon McCutcheon from Pixabay

Keep the love going as we peacefully protest Fire church Sunday after pride. During the pride event you will have a chance to hear Flip Benham and other representatives of Fire church throwing damnation our way. Lets show them that they cannot come into our community and intimidate us.
We will meet just before Service begins, and protest as they gather, we will have a silent protest as service is going and let them have it as they leave for the day.

Remember we will be peaceful and respectful, something they don’t understand. We are going to STAND TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY to show that our love is stronger than their hate.1

The above was a post on qnotes, an LGBT community calendar in North Carolina. The church they were protesting was Fire Church located in Concord North Carolina. Number 1 on the church’s vision statement: Fire Church is “Living out and cultivating the values and ideals of the New Testament, which include holiness, purity, sacrifice, service, community, fellowship, spiritual empowerment, worship, intercession, and divine presence.2

It sounds like a church I would enjoy attending, and after reading the whole of their vision-statement, I would feel comfortable recommending it to anyone who lived near by. Yes, in their list of ‘What They Believe’ there could be some theological issues for some, but as my wife recently reminded me, it is the plain things that matter.

I am not sure what prompted the desire on the part of the LGBT community in Concord, North Carolina to want to protest the church, but it could be the book written by the church founder, Dr. Michael L. Brown, author of A Queer Thing Happened to America. It is on my Amazon wish list.

What I wanted to focus on and share was the outcome of this and  the response by the Fire Church to the protest by the LGBT community.

According to Examiner.com, Brown was out of the country during the protest, but posted this response on his blog: “On behalf of FIRE Church, I want to extend to you the warmest welcome and let you know that we are thrilled that you are here with us on Sunday. We have been praying for you for a long time!

As always, you will only meet with love, kindness, and respect from the FIRE leadership and congregants, and we proclaim to you once again the amazing grace of God. Jesus died to save us from our sins, heterosexual and homosexual alike, and only in Him can we find forgiveness, redemption, and transformation. Jesus alone is the Healer, Savior, Deliverer, and Transformer.

It has been my personal joy to have shared meals together with the last two editors of Q-Notes as well as to have given an open mic to the past editor of Q-Notes so he could share his own story in our church building. Our doors are open to you, our hearts are open to you, and as Jesus gave Himself for your salvation and well being, we are committed to following in His footsteps.

Should you ever want to have an open forum for the purpose of mutually respectful discussion on the issues that divide us, we would gladly host that event in our church building or participate in one of yours. Let us know what we can do to help make that happen.3

Sure enough, when the protesters arrived at Fire Church they were embraced with smiles and warmth by the congregation. The protesters were invited into the service and offered water, snacks, and truth.
This was no surprise really, according to Examiner.com. Scott Volk, one of the pastors at Fire Church, wrote in response to the protest announcement, prior to the protest, “As the pastor of FIRE Church, I just want you to know that you’ll be greeted with the same love and compassion as we always endeavor to show anyone–you are more-than-welcome! You make mention of the ‘hate’ that we show. Yet, in all our years here we’ve only desired to reach out with love to everyone in the local community here whether they are labeled as gay or straight. Hopefully, you’ll see that love demonstrated on Sunday as you protest.4

This post prompted the following replies from some of the followers.

Love is the most disfigured mask that hate wears.”

You can fool yourself, Mr. Volk. You can fool your parishioners. But you can’t fool God. He knows what’s in your heart, and it isn’t love. It’s hate.

FIRE Church…how perfect, a church that symbolizes HELL.
What these fire church people probably don’t understand is that spending an eternity ANYWHERE with them is what I would consider a true HELL. They should concern themselves with their own pathetic lives and leave other alone to theirs…5

Scott Volk and others pointed out that those who said Scott was a hater, had never met him. Volk took it a step further and invited anyone who wanted to come over to his house to meet him, his family, and enjoy a dinner. Hats off to Scott Volk for showing such tolerance. His actions show us the true meaning of tolerance, that is putting up with something we find disagreeable. The biased media, where most are educated on culture and current events, has changed the meaning of tolerance to acceptance, or approval.

As Christians, we are called to point out Jesus to others. Some may do this by their quiet, respectful, loving manner, hardly saying a word, but offering a daily sacrifice of time and relationship to others. Extroverts may share by engaging people on the street, with a bull horn, or casual conversations about their faith. Most Christians fall somewhere in between the two extremes, but where ever they stand, it is their job is to share Christ.

Our goal for members of the homosexual community should be no different than the goal for the heterosexual community. Turning a homosexual to a heterosexual is not a requirement for salvation; Jesus Christ is.

Over the years, I have had multiple students who have entered the gay community, and all of them have continued to receive the same love and concern from me they had prior to their life style choice.

Yes, I think homosexuality is a sin, but so is sex outside of marriage, and the lustful thoughts every man or woman has if they allow themselves to.

The Fire Church and their staff showed us how to respond to the LGBT community and we need to take note. Following the event, Dr. Brown reported, “The next day, Monday, Aug. 27th, the leader of the protest called into my radio show to apologize publicly for the protest, explaining that their ‘anger  … was aimed [in] the wrong direction.’ And then he said these words: ‘Once we got there Sunday morning we were greeted with absolutely perfect love. I mean, it was fantastic.’ Praise God!6

After the event, one protester wrote, “On another note, My partner and I had dinner with Dr Michael Brown and Pastor Scott Volk to talk about our differences last week. While we didn’t change any opinions, we were able to get our stance on the issues out on the table.7

A month ago, someone posted on Facebook Matthew 7:1, in reply to someone calling homosexuality a sin. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” It is absurd: we all judge, and make judgments every day. From when to slow down for or drive through a yellow light, to what we think of our friends’ parenting style. The difference is when we make moral judgments. Some think we ought not to judge, quoting Matthew 7:1. Read the rest of Matthew – you will see that He is talking about judging someone when you yourself are sinning worse than they are.

If we were to take that passage literally, we would never be able to call a friend or family member on their infidelity, abusive behavior, drug addictions, or any unhealthy habits or life styles.

So, for those of you who quote Matthew 7:1 when I am making a judgment you don’t agree with, quit judging me. I am entitled to my opinion, and you should be more tolerant. Can you hear my sarcasm and see my eyes rolling?

Sources:
1. “Peaceful Protest of Fire Church in Concord” Qnotes. goqnotes.com, 26 August 2012. Web. 19 June 2015.
2. “Vision Statement” Fire Church. Fire-church.org, 2012. Web. 23 June 2015.
3. Smith, James-Michael. “LGBT group cancels protest because church is ‘too nice’” Examiner. Examiner.com, 28 August 2012. Web. 20 June 2015.
4. Ibid.
5. “Peaceful Protest of Fire Church in Concord” Qnotes. goqnotes.com, 26 August 2012. Web. 19 June 2015.
6. “The Gay Protest That Encountered the Love of God” Charisma News. Charismanews.com, 8 August 2012. Web. 23 June 2015.
7. “Peaceful Protest of Fire Church in Concord” Qnotes. goqnotes.com, 26 August 2012. Web. 19 June 2015.

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A response to homosexuality by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.dev.christianapologetics.blog.

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