The way Jesus puts it is this:
Now great multitudes accompanied him; and he turned and said to them, “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build, and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace. So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. (Lk 14:25–33).
This is what my good friend Zippy was at pains to stress in the discussion of Elton John and he is perfectly right, of course. But then, so am I. 🙂
George MacDonald used to say, “God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.” We should be like that too when dealing with people in the difficult process of having their lives turned upside down with an encounter with Jesus (especially converts like me, for I was a stranger in the land of Egypt once myself). When a man who was, a few years ago, calling for the complete ban on all religion is now capable of seeing that the pope is not his enemy and expressing a modicum of trust in him as a human being, that is a real step and an opportunity. But it’s a first, baby, step. Not a last step. Should he take other steps, as converts to the Church do, in fact, do (including gay converts) it will be necessary, sooner or later, for him (as for all converts) to lay his personal agendas at the feet of Christ. Meanwhile, we meet people where they are and ask of them what is possible for them, not what is impossible. Jesus makes gigantic demands on us in the end, up to and including gruesome martyrdom for his sake. But he starts small, with things like “give me a drink of water”.
God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy. He will not be happy till we are completely happy.