Tag Archives: homosexuality
There’s an interesting side bar included on page 200 of Timothy Keller’s new book, Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City. In light of the pending election, I thought it was a particularly salient point to mull over. Here’s what he says:
James Hunter’s claim that political activism does not typically lead cultural change is supported by an interesting finding in Robert Putnam and David Campbell’s American Grace. Today’s young adults are surprisingly united in saying that one reason they have turned from the church is the antihomosexual activism of the Religious Right. So why are young adults much more liberal in their views regarding homosexuality, so liberal, in fact, that they find the traditional Christian position on sex to be offensive and harmful? Putnam and Campbell, among other reasons, say “TV and the movies normalized homosexuality during the period.” (American Grace, Simon and Schuster, 2010; p.128) In other words, while some Christians were hoping that legislation would change people’s attitudes, it was pop culture, the academic institutions, the arts, and the media that were shaping the popular mind. Public policy is only now beginning to follow suit.
Since James Hunter is seeking to correct an imbalance – an overreliance on politics and activism for cultural change – he could be read as proposing that believers should not be involved in politics or government. This is not what he is doing. Christians have a high calling to represent Christ in all vocations – in the public sphere as well as in the church.
Watch a free webcast with Tim Keller on Friday, October 19th at 3pm EDT – www.TheGospelCoalition.org/CenterChurch
He will be speaking on Center Church and will discuss ministry topics with David Wells and Richard Lints.
Larry Osborne’s advice for innovators and ministry leaders: Larry Osborne is one of the teaching pastors at North Coast Church in southern California. He’s also a well-known serial innovator. In this post he offers ministry leaders and innovators some unlikely advice: “Slow down. You move to fast!” It’s a great post for leaders who oversee ministries that contain lots of smaller ministries. [Shameless plug: Larry's new book, Accidental Pharisees, will be out in two months! Woohoo!]
Sticky Faith at Saddleback: Kurt Johnston leads the Student Ministries Team at Saddleback Church. In this blog he talks about why and how Saddleback is making intentional steps to break down the silos between their youth ministries and adult ministries. It’s a really intriguing post, especially considering that Kurt ministers in such a unique church. What he’s proposing would seem much easier for a smaller church to do, not a big one. What’s extra cool about the post is that he mentions how much he appreciates Sticky Faith and the work of Kara Powell and the others at F.Y.I.
A Better Conversation about Homosexuality: This article from Christianity Today talks about three different authors views on how the church should address the topic of homosexuality. It’s heady-er (is that a word?) than the average CT article, but it’s a good one. Our author, Wesley Hill, is one of the three discussed.
The Hardest Sermons You’ll Ever Have to Preach: The Gospel Coalition recently posted a new review of this book. Douglas Sean O’Donnell from New Covenant Church in Naperville, IL is the reviewer. If you’ve not seen this book and you are a preacher you’ve got to go check it out. It’s a ‘have-handy-on-my-shelf’ type of resource created by some of today’s leading preachers.
Why Virginity is not the Gospel by Carolyn Custis James: Carolyn’s article in the Huffington Post discusses the difference between the gospel and the Virginity Movment that recent interviews with Olympian Lolo Jones have brought to light. Carolyn is a thoughtful writer and gifted theologian. The distinctions she highlights here between the gospel and the Virginity Movement are important ones.
Interview with Wesley Hill: A two-part interview with Wesley Hill was recently posted on the Hopeful Realism blog. Here is part 1 and part 2. Wesley Hill is the author of Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality. This is an interview that I hope many, many church leaders read. It’s not about ministry tips, or practical strategies for ministering to same-sex couples or anything like that. It’s a thoughtful conversation about the complexities of being a Christian and having same-sex attractions. Regardless of where you stand on this issue, or how you’re used to addressing it in your church, I hope you’ll take time to read this. Wesley is a thoughtful writer and a committed Christian. I think ministry leaders would do well to consider his story and ponder its implications for their ministry.
On Sabbaticals, Mark Buchanan: Mark Buchanan (Your Church is Too Safe) is wrapping up a four-month sabbatical. His blog post is worth reading even if, like me, you’ve never taken a sabbatical. For those of you that have, you’ll perhaps enjoy his perspective on how time passes while on sabbatical.
Book Review: Dan Kimball’s newest book, Adventures in Churchland: Finding Jesus in the Mess of Organized Religion was just reviewed on the Englewood Review of Books. This is the perfect book to give to people who are on the fringe of going to church. If you know anyone that says, “Why do I need to go to a local church? What does that have to do with my faith?”…give them this book. It’s a humorous read and it will help them understand why Jesus loves the church.
Audio Book: Listen to chapter 1 of Dan Kimball’s book They Like Jesus But Not the Church. If you’ve never read Kimball then you’re in for a treat. Not only will he give you insight into how the younger generation views the church and the Lord, but he’ll also make you laugh! The entire chapter is available on YouTube.
Last month Slate.com ran a series of ten articles written as a back-and-forth exchange between the notable journalists, William Saletan and Ross Douthat. They wrote and responded to each other in a congenial manner (though they have stark disagreements) and sign each entry with their first names, as friends. The exchange, in part, promotes Ross’s newest book, Bad Religion, but it also provides a stimulating conversation on homosexuality, abortion, and other issues without degenerating into rants.
(If only every book could be discussed in the public square by reputable journalists! *Sigh*….a book marketer’s dream.)
In the eighth entry of the series Ross writes to Will in an article entitled: “How Should Christianity Engage with Gays in a Post-Closet World?” In this article Ross makes reference to Wesley Hill’s book Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality, a book I’ve blogged about a few different times.
This exchange is worth reading. If you read only one entry, read #8. I don’t recommend this series or entry #8 because I’m trying to endorse everything Ross and/or Will say. Rather, this exchange helps me see with greater clarity how a thoughtful non-believer and a thoughtful believer think through some of the critical issues of our time. It’s a horizon-expanding conversation that gets me turning back to Scripture and back to God in prayer. By God’s grace, I’ll go into my next ministry opportunity with more of his wisdom.
Washed and Waiting provides the same opportunity to turn to God and his Word in the light of a tricky cultural conversation – which in my estimation is one of the marks of a good book.
I’ve been reading various blogs today about Andy Stanley’s recent sermon illustration that included a homosexual couple (see part 5, beginning around 24:25) and Al Mohler’s response to that illustration.
All of this has got me thinking about Wesley Hill’s book Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality. (Hill has blogged for us before, and we also ran a blog tour for his book.) One of the unique benefits that comes with working in publishing is that publishers are constantly blessed with the opportunity to hear new ideas from thought leaders. Throughout the process of marketing Hill’s book I was blessed and challenged to consider what it might be like to struggle with same-sex attraction, yet want to remain celibate and honor God. It helped me gain what Hill calls an “empathetic understanding.” Watch the video below to learn more.
We’re excited to announce the Love is an Orientation Blog Tour! During the week of March 12 Zondervan will be sharing blog posts of reviews and thoughts on the new DVD curriculum from Andrew Marin, Love is an Orientation: Practical Ways to Build Bridges with the Gay Community.
Marin aims to equip Christian communities to find peaceful, productive ways to build bridges with the gay community. In the introduction, Marin writes:
Rooted at or near the center of the constant social unrest and political culture wars that cover our landscape today seems to be the disconnect between the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, evangelicals, and conservatives in general. Each group has become subhuman to the other; a mere voting bloc that is preyed on and pressured by extreme activism tearing the fabric of our churches and government apart. It’s our time, right now, to step up and lead our culture forward by practicing what it means to build bridges among division, letting our surrounding world know that impact and authority are earned through those who know what it means to have love as their orientation.
It’s a topic that generates a lot of strong opinions on both sides. Marin has lived his message in his Chicago neighborhood, and his lessons are demonstrated in the DVD curriculum. The stories of lives that have been transformed by love are significant and the possibilities for further transformation in cities across the country are endless.
Keep an eye out for the blog tour coming in just a couple weeks. In the meantime, you can view a trailer for the curriculum here and watch the first session from the DVD below:
I am continually being asked, “How are people receiving your book, Turning Controversy into Church Ministry: A Christlike Response to Homosexuality?” Many offer this question with an anxious tone and a look of concern. One minister, in fact, looked me in the eyes and warned me, “Expect a firestorm to develop all around you, and to come against your church and family. Nobody can speak openly about this topic and not experience that kind of reaction.”
Surprisingly, the reception to the book and its adjoining resources has been very positive. Evangelical church leaders continually say things to me like “Now I get it,” or, “This is the most balanced book on this topic that I’ve read.”
Theologically liberal church leaders, and even many gay advocates have said things to me like, “Finally, a book that calls Christians to respond with compassion,” and, “this book is good for the church.” You can see reviews from various sides of the spectrum at http://www.amazon.com/Turning-Controversy-into-Church-Ministry/dp/0310321328 .
Many of you recently participated in our blog tour for Washed and Waiting. The reception by all of you was incredible! Review after review highlighted what a blessing this book will be in future ministry to people struggling with homosexuality. I’m grateful for all of you support in getting the word out about this book, and for supporting Wesley Hill. Below is a clip from a recent interview. Perhaps as you tell others about Washed and Waiting you can show them this video as well.
We have more of our interview with Wesley to post later this week! Stay tuned.