It is sweeping North America. It is a cause of contention within families. It’s a condition based on lifestyle choices that are rooted in sin and lack of self control giving way to desires and passions. The behavior becomes addictive and consuming. The worst result, of course, is a disease that can be severe and debilitating and even bring death.
The condition is obesity, the sin is gluttony, and the disease is diabetes.
(Inspired from reading chapter 5 in unChristian.)
Today’s post is a continuation from yesterday’s, where I tried to explain the influence of the internet in shaping sexual preferences, so that regular readers of this blog — mostly interested in Christian news and opinion — will better understand the rapid growth of same sex attraction.
Dave Kinnaman in his book unChristian (Baker Books) suggests a number of ways in which the Church (capital C) and local churches (small c) can do better when interacting with people who are ‘out’ in the gay community, as well as people struggling with same sex attraction:
Acknowledge the Complexity
“The biblical response to homosexuals should be to deal with the fundamental needs that all men and woman have. We just acknowledge that everyone has sexual baggage but also the potential for sexual wholeness. There are major problems across the spectrum of sexuality that the church needs to address…
“Being “against ” gays and lesbians is not a flag to wave… Sexuality should not be seen as dualistic — all good or all bad — but as a good part of our created nature that is constantly in need of repair…
Open Doors With Conversations
“A vital element of engaging homosexuals is to elevate the importance of conversations. Christians expect overnight results and are impatient with the need to develop deep, candid relationships and interactions of trust…
Treat Other Christians With Respect
“Christians need to downgrade the importance of being antihomosexual as a “credential” proving that we are more faithful to God than anyone else is… We need to be more concerned about reaching those who need Jesus than “proving” our faith to those who already claim to know Jesus…
Have the Right Perspective
“We should not give up channels of influence, such as politics, just because our stand might cause negative perceptions, but we must pursue our efforts in those arenas with integrity, respect and love for people.
“…Despite widespread mobilization over the last decade, most Christians have become even more isolated from homosexuals… Gays and lesbians should not be surprised to find us working side by side with them to address HIV/AIDS and to end workplace discrimination in nonreligious settings.
Express Concern for Kids
“…It’s offensive to homosexuals to say that a child needs both a father and a mother; it’s a difficult part of what Christians believe. However, though this is an important conviction, Christians have to avoid rhetoric that dehumanizes people, especially in interpersonal interactions. Our most important concern must be the response of young people to Christ, not merely what type of home they grew up in.
“…Our words in an us-versus-them world can be weapons we use against outsiders, especially Gays… It is easy to decry political correctness, but it is much more difficult to abide by the biblical concept of guarding our tongues and being accountable for what we communicate to others. It is easy to learn what words are offensive and simply avoid them; it is much harder to find meaningful ways to speak the truth in love…”
~from unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity, by David Kinnaman with Gabe Lyons, 2007, Baker Books
If addiction to internet pornography is a factor in the life of someone you know and care about, be sure to check out my own resource, The Pornography Effect which is posted online for free reading.
If you are someone who is same sex attracted: Again, as I said yesterday, some Christians have not been at all charitible in dealing with this issue, and maybe dealing with you personally. For that, I am sorry. I think that many in the Church thought that with enough opposition, this issue would simply go away. It didn’t, and in the Western world, it’s here to stay. Please be patient as we who are older, as well as the next generation of Christ-followers learn what it means to have the compassion that Jesus had in caring for those who came to him; as well as dealing with the issues that we have in our own lives. And re-read yesterdays post with an open mind, considering the possibility that where you find yourself today may have actually been somewhat random; a consequence of who got there first at a vulnerable time in your life.