The Third Way: The Only Authentic Response

The Third Way: The Only Authentic Response June 5, 2014

way out

The Third Way. Perhaps you’ve heard about it or seen the posts flying. The Third Way re. LGBTQ means to love without taking a position of “right or wrong” on being LGBTQ (or “acting” on it), but instead to suspend judgment and simply embrace.*

Perhaps you saw this exquisitely thoughtful video by Pastor Danny Cortez, about Danny’s change-of-view on the LGBTQ issue.

Perhaps you saw Danny’s son Drew Cortez’s heart-rending video.

Perhaps you saw Albert Mohler’s critique stating there is no Third Way for a Christian–you are either for or against, with no middle ground. Perhaps you saw Wayward Follower’s or John Shore’s or Zach Hoag’s rebuttal.

If you study Christ, whose name his followers bear, if you seek to love as radically as He loves, the Third Way is the only authentic response.

Countless times in countless ways, Jesus pretty much instructs us to take the Third Way — to love our neighbor, not to judge God’s servant, to deal with the gargantuan log in our eye instead of searching out a speck in someone else’s.

What is this if not the Third Way?

The verse that man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart is the poster-phrase for the Third Way. Who can possibly put themselves in the position of judging who’s “for us” or “against us”? …not to mention, why are we so addicted to that judgment?

Jesus gives us actual examples.

  • Healing on the Sabbath: in direct conflict with the letter of the Fourth Commandment. Jesus healed the man, purposely, on the Sabbath. Religious leaders don’t like a Third Way; they like things black-and-white, cut and dried. But Jesus would not allow that.
  • Failing to condemn someone the religious leaders thought should be condemned: called “a sinful woman” (whatever that might mean there), this woman scandalously anointed Jesus’ feet with oil. Simon the religious leader could not even believe that Jesus not only failed to condemn her, much less let her scandalously rub his feet. Instead, Jesus had some words for Simon. In essence, Jesus showed us a Third Way by lauding this “sinful woman” the religious teacher thought SURELY deserved condemnation.
  • Even the woman caught, redhanded, in adultery. Even her, when the law REQUIRED her to be condemned, Jesus did not condemn… much less did he let anyone else condemn her. Whatever you believe he said to her afterward (which I may take issue with), JESUS said it (…which is still not the same as stoning her). Legalists jump in with Jesus’ followup remark and overlook that he did not allow anyone else to say anything. He required everyone else to take the Third Way.

Jesus gives us no precedent whatsoever to condemn. No precedent whatsoever to judge.

The MOST precedent we get — after complete acceptance — is, in fact, the Third Way.

We love. God does whatever else needs to be done.

Come on, people (…Mohler…) IT’S NOT THAT HARD.


*(I want to be clear that I do NOT mean the position that “being/acting on LGBTQ is a sin, but we love and embrace you anyway,” as was posited in a film on a new Catholic Church; though better than excommunication, it is still determining sin for others, which contradicts Christ’s message to us.)

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  • You’re so welcome!

  • I hope so, Criselda.

  • Great word! Because enemy fire and friendly fire still annihilates people.

  • Incredible as always! I was having a discussion with friends yesterday and this came up .. and of course their were as many opinions as their were people in the discussion. I believe my purpose, perhaps the purpose of EVERY Christian, is to become more Christ like day after day … In becoming more Christ like aren’t we fulfilling every thing the Bible calls us to do? That task is a high calling … In fact it takes all of my energy and focus … so thankfully I have little or no time left to be judging other folks.

  • My thoughts exactly, Whosoeverperiod! I think our hands are QUITE full just loving well! Who has time for anything else?

  • That movie “The Third Way” should carry a trigger warning for ex-gay ministries…it’s full of all kinds of ex-gay propaganda disguised as compassion…not to mention the priest featured in it is a homophobe and a bigot.

  • Yes, I thought that would be pretty triggering as I watched it. I was disappointed that their foundational assumption was, “gay is wrong, but we’ll love you anyway.”

  • I agree completely, Liz. I am NOT using Third Way as “you’re wrong but we accept you” — connecting anything LGBTQ-related as sin/wrong. I was disappointed that the clip (I linked at the end of this post) DOES do that. I use Third Way to mean, bug off, stop deciding what it right or wrong for others, because your plate is full enough just learning what it means to love. Similar to Paul saying basically, “If it’s not a sin to you, then it’s not a sin.” I in no way mean to endorse some kind of subclass for LGBTQ “even though we love them.” Thanks for helping clear that up.

  • I think I unwittingly threw fuel on a fire when I was just warming my hands over here. That is, our job is to love, let people be, with FULL INCLUSION under the law. I believe that with all my heart. Instead, I’m inviting those who can’t set aside their “sin” issue to just let it be, just as Jesus instructs us — give people all the respect of any other human beings, including freedom to marry, to have wedding cakes, and not be harassed. Those who will not budge on the sin issue can still give all those things without sacrificing their faith. That was my intention on this post. I am probably speaking into pre-existing conversation on this Third Way term, and I want to be VERY CLEAR that I do not mean anything but forward motion for LGBTQ people, legally and in every other way. If you can’t condone interracial marriage as practice, you can keep your opinion to yourself, without hindering your “religious convictions” in any way. I’m getting the clear gist from you and Liz that that term has been used to create another barrier, but I do not mean it that way. I’m actually dashing out right now, but I’m happy to edit the post to make this clear. Anyone who knows me knows my position on this, as Liz said. I’m probably too optimistic that I could trust churches to actually rely on Jesus and leave to him all this hairsplitting on things they don’t understand (i.e., orientation and identity).

  • Ricky Scruggs

    What you seem to be saying is that we must not only allow other to have their belief and rights but we must actually agree with them or this will never end. It is the same old thing – the lgbtq must have the right to their voice and belief but no one who disagrees can even be allowed to refuse to participate with out being accused of discrimination. It is to me, totally hypocritical to preach love, freedom, individuality, and inclusion and then hate, silence, constrict, and shun those who don’t agree with you.

  • Ricky Scruggs

    I want to clarify that my reply was in response to Micheal’s comments. And that I know he does not mean to come across that way but it is rather the extreme pro LGTBQ voice that pushes that way.