I was very sad to hear of the latest row that has been rocking the blogosphere. Once again, Christians are giving ammunition to unbelievers who are only too eager to jump on unwise comments and over-the-top reactions. I wish that I wasnt so embarrassed by the words and actions of some of the people who passionately believe the same gospel I do. I wish that certain people would stop and think before they write the sort of throw away comment that can be said in a private conversation but which looks REALLY REALLY bad plastered all over the mainstream media.
We have to learn how to speak the truth IN LOVE and with a little bit of care before we hit the "publish" button. There are things that are more important than whether a homosexual activist is a suitable candidate to play a Christian hero, or indeed for that matter exactly what certain ministers think an appropriate Christian view of homosexuality is. We have to instead ask ourself what has gone wrong that we have got to a point where the spectrum of views on homosexuality (or heterosexuality for that matter) amongst professing Christians would stretch as widely as recent events have demonstrated it does.
The problem is that the actions of some do not help us regain the ground we have already lost in the eyes of the public. The whole church is these days in danger of being relegated to being perceived as nothing more than anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-modernity, anti-progress, anti-muslim, anti-democrat, in short antiquated.
Some might say, "well of course they hate us, its persecution". I feel its about time we started doing a better job of explaining what exactly we are for and doing so in a winsome way that might leave people actually willing to think about what they have just heard. Once they understand what we are actually saying they may still hate us anyway, but let them hate us for the message not for our insensitive attitude!
I am not in any way calling for us to comrpomise on issues and jettison what the bible says. But I am calling for us to demonstrate our love for all kinds of people, including those who disagree with us. We need to stop acting like we are surprised when we meet someone who’s values are so opposite to our own. We need to stop being surprised even when that person calls themselves a Christian or is a prominent member of the church. We in the UK have had to deal with one of our most prominent evangelicals, Steve Chalke coming out as someone who believes that most of the rest of us are teaching nothing more than "cosmic child abuse" when we preach of the gospel of Christs death. We have also seen too many prominent christians suddenly declare that they have fallen into different forms of sexual sin. Sadly for many their sin is hidden for years precisely because they fear the response even of those close to them will be very far from a loving attempt to bring repentance, forgiveness and healing.
We live in a broken world. Lets remember that, and remind ourselves of our own part in being broken and sinful in all our public and private pronouncements. In short, lets pray we all learn how to "speak the truth in love"