I Am Not Defending My Support of LGBTQ Anymore

I Am Not Defending My Support of LGBTQ Anymore June 4, 2014

i love you

“You’re a Christian! How can you support LGBTQ people and gay marriage? Don’t you realize you are condoning sin? You are leading people into hell!”

This is Rob, Susan’s husband, and I have heard it all.

When we came out as parents of an LGBTQ child, and then as strong allies and advocates, I was pretty defensive.

More than 20 years in the evangelical church had engrained in me certain beliefs about homosexuality. To be honest, beliefs which I never really looked into. I was just running a program.

So, when the attacks and challenges and questions came, I felt like I needed to ‘defend’ my position.

My heart knew that unconditional love was indeed the bottom line and truth of God. But I needed to reconcile those things I had heard on Sunday mornings.

But I didn’t just read the printed words of whatever Bible translation was my personal favorite.  I actually looked into the passages… the context, the motivation of the author, the audience, the original language, and much much more.

And my eyes were opened. “I was blind but now I see.”

I discovered the truth… the truth of the Gospel, the truth of the heart of God, and the truth of the life of Jesus.

I discovered that unconditional love, acceptance and support for LGBTQ people does not conflict with my faith in any way.  Actually, it is a requirement of my faith.

And now something else has happened.

I have come to realize that I am not the one who needs to defend my position!

I am no longer going to defend or explain my support for, or acceptance and affirmation of the LGBTQ community and marriage equality. I am going to love and embrace.

Because I take my Bible seriously. I stand on the literal meaning of the Word and I stand on and follow the life and truth of Jesus.

And you know what…

You have the right to believe something different. But if you do not welcome and embrace lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers and those questioning to attend and serve in your church, if you do not support full marriage equality, if you do not love without condition – it is you who needs to defend your beliefs.

Why?

Because you are the one deciding who God does and does not welcome, and the consequences of that include misrepresenting the truth and heart of God, and the rejection, condemnation and shaming of fellow human beings – even ending in tragedies like drug abuse and suicide.

I do not need to defend my position anymore.  I am not going to defend my position anymore.

I am following Jesus.

I am loving as he loves, and I am loving who he loves.

– Rob Cottrell

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  • Makes me want to say … Can I get a witness!!! Boldness in love is beautiful!

  • Amen. Thanks! : )

    – Rob

  • I am proud of you Linda! Your son is blessed to have you as a Mom. : ) Thank you!!

    – Rob

  • Thanks Lee. : )
    – Rob

  • I agree Nate. I appreciate your thoughts and your hearts, and I understand your comments. My point in saying that others are the ones who have to “defend” their beliefs is because of the harm being done to an entire group of people – including driving teens and adults to things like drug abuse and suicide – because of those beliefs. But again, I understand and appreciate your point. : )

    If you want to really go deep on educating yourself on what the Bible says and does not say about this entire issue… check out http://astore.amazon.com/freed086-20/detail/0802868630

    Thanks.

    – Rob

  • Hey Nate, Awesome comment. I think you make some good points. I think that since you are in the process of developing your opinion, or stance on the topic, I’m guessing you would also be unlikely to demand that someone like Rob, or me, to defend their position.

    By the way, reading your comment, I find myself thinking you really do know your position at some level. You are too close to the heart of God to chose anything else! 🙂

    Peace,

    Sharon

  • Thank you brother. : )

    – Rob

  • Survivor Girl

    ***APPLAUSE*** ***APPLAUSE*** ***APPLAUSE*** 🙂

  • Lol!

  • I think that Rob’s idea is that the ones who are loving as Christ loves, and as Christ directs us to love, are not the ones who need to defend their position. I don’t think he meant people authentically wresting through this issue, but those who reject anyone from the church who are in an indefensible position. Nate, you have demonstrated enormous love and compassion for your son over these months you’ve walked through this with him. That’s the authentic wrestling we’re asked to do, to hear someone else’s viewpoint, not just put a lid on them with our understanding of the “rules.”

  • Thanks!! :-). – Rob

  • So I’m wondering, Bjorn, when you say the bible condemns homosexuality, are you talking about the idolatrous abuse of power over slave boys in 1 Cor. 6:9? Or the blending of a separated group for a particular purpose in Lev. 18:22? (If that’s the case, be sure to condemn eating pork and shellfish, and don’t be in the same house as a woman on her period.) Or flouting God’s direct requirement of hospitality in Gen 19? Surely you don’t mean same-sex, loving relationships between two adults, since that is not a concept in the bible. (I assume you know that, since you are knowledgeable enough to make these proclamations.) And when you talk about God’s plan for marriage as one man-one woman, are you condemning the many patriarchs throughout the OT who had multiple wives? I’m asking because God never does that… I wondered whether you are condemning something God does not condemn. And when you tell someone what their only recourse is, are you meaning to condemn something in someone that they do not feel any conscience about? Because Romans 14:22 and 1 John 3:21 tell us that if our conscience does not condemn us, then we’re all good! Can you imagine the freedom? It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Gal. 5:1). I appreciate your heart, Bjorn, but I encourage you to seek out Jesus, who tells us in Matt. 9:13 to find out what it means that God requires mercy, not offering sacrifices (or, law). And he tells us many more times (basically) to mind our own business! I hope he shows you what he has in mind about that, my friend, which is MUCH MORE than lining out right and wrong devoid of context and compassion!

  • 🙂

  • Thanks Chris : )

    – Rob

  • I have one rule in life, “Live and let Live”. That is it.

  • Love it. Mine is overlapping: “Love God, love others.” Thx for sharing.

  • Incidentally, this is one of the basic tenets of Jainism. And, it is not just restricted to humans, but to all living things. And I do mean ALL.

  • I appreciate you hanging in here, Bjorn! So I have a couple of thoughts for you. So which people on that list will not inherent the kingdom of God: remember, the word homosexual was not introduced into the Bible until 1946. It does NOT refer to gay people we know today, but men married to women who also had sex with temple prostitutes, powerless slaves and young boys. So, to put them in the “bad” category will get much less objection than two adult men who have never been attracted to women. That group is NOT who the bible means, and it’s important we keep that in mind. (Check my RESOURCES page for more.) Who else do you include those from that list? Idolators? By that I mean people from your church who don’t give to the needy because they worship their bank accounts. The greedy? That’s even more people from most churches! Do you see how convoluted this gets? Far be it from me to discredit the gospel — and what is the gospel? It’s the astoundingly good news that Jesus came on earth to give us life! Peace! Joy! To show us what it means to love! That’s what he came for! NOT to give us rules. I promise you, Jesus did not come to give us rules to keep. God said that as far back as Genesis! In fact, Jesus had PLENTY to say to those who wanted to enforce the rules, and it wasn’t pretty. He wasn’t even happy with their detailed, amazing attempts to keep the rules, which they kept better than any of us keep them. He should have been overjoyed, if keeping the rules was the endgame. It’s not: it’s life, dependent on Jesus.
    I appreciate your fervor, Bjorn, but the bible is NOT clear on the subject. Read Matthew Vines’ latest book or Brownson’s book. They will show you what you don’t understand about the context here. Someone’s “lifestyle” (another subject for discussion: which lifestyle? Two monogamous married men? Or male prostitutes?) is not up for us to condone or not. That’s where the church has missed it. it’s about correcting people when JESUS SAID: “Love God, love others. All the rest of the law and the prophets fits under that.”
    If your heart really aches for these people who have been hated, rejected, excommunicated, murdered, and driven to suicide, then use the RESOURCES I have found for you, and dig in. Find out where the disconnect is between our interpretation and life in the real world. (Find out what it means that God desires mercy, not sacrificial offerings.) If you just want to argue your case, I will not approve any more comments — not to be mean, but because you’re the one with more work to do, if your interest is really to understand. I’ve done my work. I have no conflict about this. You do. Your view keeping you from loving people Jesus died for, without condition. (Who are we to wait until we condone their behavior? God did NOT give us that job!) So the ball is in your court. All the best to you.

  • Stephen

    Can you not love someone even if you disagree with their life choices? I try to love everyone but that doesn’t mean I condone their actions. It seems that you are doing exactly what you accuse Bjorn of doing. You narrow the passages to what you believe them to be without leaving any more room for interpretation. You state the bible is not clear on the issue, but you state your facts as if the are. (Such as the statement about married men having sex with the powerless boys and temple slaves) I agree the New Testament is not about rules but about love. Yet, the bible makes it abundantly clear what God’s views are on this subject. It is easier to condone ones actions then it is to stand up for what is right. Once again I love everyone and have friends that are gay, but I cannot twist the scriptures to agree with your viewpoint.

  • Stephen, yes, we don’t have to agree with others’ life choices to love them. But much of what LGBTQ people have experienced from those who don’t agree with them is NOT love, and doesn’t feel like love, because it’s from someone who’s holding out for them to change. (Even though they think they ARE loving!) I’m offering another explanation for those verses (based on extensive research by those I reference), that would otherwise only condemn people who couldn’t change their orientation if their life depended on it (and sometimes it’s felt like it has), who NEVER chose that orientation, and they’re being told either to change or be alone the rest of their lives. I’m not the one twisting scripture. I don’t pull out six verses, out of context, and apply them to a completely different situation than they were written for. I have been open to seeing that perhaps we have badly misunderstood a very passages written worlds away, millennia away, to people of very different cultures. Given all that, seems like very little room for hubris on having found the only interpretation — which is the one that requires OTHERS to pay such an exorbitant price. (Of being always alone, or married to someone they’re not attracted to.) But here is what the bible is abundantly clear on: OUR job is to love; our job is NOT to try to eradicate sin; our job is to seek mercy and justice, not sin-free living. We have failed on so many fronts on which the bible is VERY clear. I believe we have misinterpreted, but way beyond that, we are playing God. And we are shoving people far from Christ. We are saying God is good with this and not with that — and the “that” are REAL PEOPLE who have now turned far away. People recoil when I mention anything about God or especially about Christ. Christians have conditioned that response — how can we justify it? They don’t want an “excuse” to be gay either, and mean old Christians won’t let them be. No, the church has conditioned them to believe God hates them, has no place for them. Jesus always gives life. Point them to Christ, as he told us to, and let him deal with it. He never said clean up the fish when we catch them. He explicitly told us NOT to judge God’s servant. We are out-of-bounds by deciding what’s okay and what’s not, when Jesus’ offer is not to make bad people good but to make dead people alive.

  • Stephen

    Susan,

    I would agree that it is unfortunate that some “Christians” have condemned the person and not the sin. I would also agree that we are not God to cleanse sin, but we are to proclaim the Word of God and let God do the work. I would have to disagree with your statement about conscience, I can personally say that it is easy to fool oneself into believing they are doing what is right but be completely opposite. That is why I am so glad we have the scripture to help us in our own infirmities. That is my measuring stick. My heart is deceitfully wicked and I would much rather here what I believe to be true than the actual truth. Why else did God appoint preachers? Why else does he command us to meet together. It is much to easy to be led astray. Paul even seeks of this in Timothy. I believe if we ever met we would be friends and have great conversations. As for not showing true love because we are waiting for them to change, if this is true what about Christ and us? Did he not really love us because he was waiting for us to realize the errors of our ways? I think resources are great but when they contradict with scripture, I have to turn back to scriptures. I believe God made the scriptures relevant for all time, and not just for a specific era of time or society. One last thing I should clarify, from your statement (which I could have misunderstood) you believe that homosexuality is not a choice. I believe everything in life is a choice. We might be predisposed to certain things in our lives but we decide if we are going to act on them or not. I have my own struggles but I still decide whether or not I will perform on them or not. Thank you for this intellectual discussion. It has been a pleasure!

  • You’re welcome. So here’s a little puzzle for you: if scripture is the be-all end-all superseding even conscience, then how in the world did Peter welcome the Gentiles, whom scripture to that point said were NOT part of God’s chosen people? In a vision (it was such a departure, God gave it to him 3 TIMES!), God showed Peter something different from what his scripture showed him! He told him to eat non-kosher, to prepare him for including Gentiles. How do you reconcile that? If “resources” are less important than scripture — and I hope you know I meant resources as a studied, exegetical understand of scripture — than I can imagine you standing with the Catholic Church as they jailed Copernicus because his “resources” (observable discoveries about space) CONTRADICTED scripture… many more verses than the measly 6 concerning same-sex relations of any kind… Your mindset is what kept those discoveries labeled heresy for hundreds of years! Scripture is not B&W and was never intended to be! It’s a love story between God and humankind. Paul himself decried a B&W interpretation of it. Read Galatians! Jesus ALWAYS feels loving to me, even when he’s showing me some shocking revelation about myself. Not so with fallible, self-interested humans, even good ones. 🙂 Best to you.

  • Stephen

    Susan,

    For scriptures above conscience, you answered that with God giving Peter visions. The scriptures we have went through a rigorous examination by the church and had to meet certain criteria. As for Copernicus, I am unaware of what scriptures contradict his declarations. Please enlighten me on those. As for feelings, generally they lead us from the truth which is why we have an anchor in the scriptures. I put my trust in what God authored through man them what man has written about what it thinks God has said. Paul speaks about how men will be willingly ignorant. It seems you discredit scripture to make your points, but then stand by it when it suits you. When Bjorn started using scripture you immediately stopped approving his posts. If you could defend your views why would you do this? He was not being hateful or malignant. It is easy to stand for something when all you allow are comments about how great your ideas are. Unfortunately, you feel it is easier to compare people to the Catholic Church then defend yourself with the scripture. At the very least you have read this and can think on it. I wish you the best of luck and hope you spend some time reading material on the opposite viewpoint as much as you defend your viewpoint. God bless!

  • I am busier than you could possibly know. I have written at length, with great patience, about these things for more than a year. Anyone who really wants to know can read the many resources on my resources page, without taking up my time to rewrite what I have already gone to great lengths to provide. While you are parsing scripture, to defend your interpretation, people are being pushed away from God. I am going after them. God bless you too.

  • Stephen, I found sites in two seconds that show verses to justify slavery and a flat earth and earth-centered universe. There are plenty more, this was just a second’s work. The takeaway from this — and this whole issue — must be that we cannot throw people away based on scripture that stands to be reevaluated in the next century. We cannot throw people away for any reason. A scripture-based theology is destined to fail; we must be Spirit-based (Galatians 5:1).

  • Stephen, I found sites in two seconds that show verses to justify slavery and a flat earth and earth-centered universe. There are plenty more, this was just a second’s work. The takeaway from this — and this whole issue — must be that we cannot throw people away based on scripture that stands to be reevaluated in the next century. We cannot throw people away for any reason. A scripture-based theology is destined to fail; we must be Spirit-based (Galatians 5:1).

  • Dear “Anonymous” — we need to ‘love the sinner and forget the sin’, because others’ sin is none of our business. Jesus TOLD US not to worry about others’ sins. Christians have made sexual orientation the focal point with every beating, shunning, shaming, bullying, rejecting act. THESE CHRISTIANS ARE WRONG – AND THEY ARE NOT CHRIST-LIKE. Other people’s behavior is none of our business. How are YOU doing? Do you overeat? Are you putting money above trusting God? Have you ever been angry at someone? Have you had a stray sexual thought? Do you suddenly wonder why this is my business? IT’S NOT! Nor is orientation anyone else’s. But culture has made it their business by allowing bullying and marginalization. Back off and let God be God and we can be us. People make better friends than gods.

  • You are welcome. Thank you for being. 🙂

  • You are welcome. Thank you for being. 🙂