Tag Archives: same-sex marriage
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 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.
Look for reviews this week of Wesley Hill’s Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality. I’ll be keeping a list here of the reviews as I find them. If you are at all engaged in minstry with or to homosexuals you cannot miss this book!
Chris Kidd – Applied Youth Ministry
Till He Comes
Peter Ould – An Exercise in the Fundamentals of Orthodoxy
Can’t. Catch. My. Breath.
Ponderings by Andrea
Simul Iustus et Peccator
John Umland – the umbl0g
as I travel thru this Pilgrim Land
Studium et Liturgica
Chosen for Grace
Your Daily Strength
Baker Book House Church Connection
Searching for Meaning and Purpose
Fundamentally Reformed and a giveaway!
The THE Family
Growing for Christ
Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality is Wesley Hill’s debut book and it’s a powerful one at that. Here’s a brief descriptor:
In Washed and Waiting, Wesley Hill writes for gay Christians and those who love them. Part-memoir, part theological reflection, Hill shares the struggles that gay Christians face as they seek to live faithful to God’s “no” to homosexuality.
If you google “Washed and Waiting” you might find reviews of Washed and Waiting in Relevant, The Harvard Ichthus, Between Two Worlds, Challies.com, plenty on Goodreads and Amazon, and Wesley’s guest post for EngagingChurch.
I encourage you to read those reviews and then
sign up for our blog tour [Sorry! This blog tour sign up is now closed]. It’s clear that homosexuality will be a critical topic to the post-modern generation. Our culture seems to be (generally speaking) in the midst of a shift of beliefs and practices regarding homosexuality.
This book – perhaps more than any other available right now – can give Christians an incredible inside look at what it’s like to be a follower of Jesus that struggles with same-sex attraction. Pastors and church leaders simply can’t miss it. You will be able to understand, and minister to, homosexuals better.
Our blog tour wll be the week of February 21-25. You agree to post your review on your blog and on Amazon (or a similar site) and we’ll send you the book for free.