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Had we done so, instead of fighting the traditional values battle, we'd have neutralized any accusation of bigotry, because although we disagreed with the lifestyle, we still viewed them as worth saving and worthy of love. Such action would have been an embodiment of the gospel itself.

For 30 years we missed it, our unique opportunity to be AIDS activists. To be Good Samaritans, loving those who are different from us. To earn the right to be heard. And now we wonder why no one listens?

Caught in the Middle

In Jesus' day the Pharisees were committed to upholding the law with heartless precision, while the Sadducees were dedicated to throwing out anything that was difficult to believe. Religious conservatives and liberals. Jesus neatly avoided both camps.

Today theological liberals have adopted a "theology of convenience" in their dedication to reaching LGBTs, but dodge the difficult responsibility of faithfully representing a God who is as pure and holy as he is loving. Conservatives make their protective last stand on the high hill of morality, but dodge the difficult responsibility of actually loving their neighbors.

Both sides push people further away—though in opposite directions—from the God of the Bible. One side erects an idol of purely tolerant love, while the other preaches a righteous but wrathful deity that no one really could love. Both versions of God are easy to ignore.

Jesus glided deftly between these extremes. He threw no barriers in people's way, nor did he compromise God's holiness. There is tension here. It's not easy to understand, to preach, or to live. It probably takes a divine being to get that exactly right.

That was the dilemma I faced that day as the woman's question hung in the air. "I'm a lesbian. You're talking about all of this love and mercy. What does this mean for me?"

I answered, "It means the same for you as anybody else."

For all I don't know, I am confident that nobody gets a separate gospel.

One for All

I heard gasps from the crowd. For real. They betrayed those who didn't really understand the grace of God. Similar gasps must have been heard when Jesus singled out Matthew with his index finger and said, "Follow me." There was tension in the air. It was uncomfortable.

Then something beautiful happened.

An art professor called out, "Nobody here is any different from anybody else in God's eyes. You should get to know me. You think you're a hard case!"

Ten heads over, another woman raised her voice, "God loves you. You know how I know? He took me. I was a homeless, alcoholic wreck. Nobody wanted me, but Jesus wanted me, and I know he wants you too."

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From Issue:Sexual Tensions, Fall 2013 | Posted: October 14, 2013

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Displaying 2–6 of 14 comments

Corey Walters

February 13, 2014  10:18am

As someone who is a part of the LGBT community, I have to say this article is offensive on so many levels. If your goal is to win over the hearts of LGBT people, it's not going to happen when you start off your article with the title "What the gospel means for those whose identity is their sexuality." First off, let's cut the "they" / "us" language. It's very exclusive. Secondly, my identity is not my sexuality. It is only one aspect of who I am. Contrary to what is taught at the pulpit, I am not all about sex and undermining "traditional marriage". I'm here to say I am no more about my sexuality than any straight person is. Ultimately though you're not going to get LGBT people in your churches. Because there's something that doesn't fit in your list of "smell like alcohol", "signs of poverty", "substance withdrawal" and "lesbians holding hands. The juxtaposition is apparent to us. The last one represents all that is right in this world: love. And the other three, all that's wrong.

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Remembering to live like our radical Savior and Lord

January 07, 2014  10:32am

What a great response the pastor and church family gave to this lesbian. It respected her as a person made in the image of God, demonstrated unconditional love, but also pointed her to the life change God needs, can, and desires to do in all of us. My only problem with this article was the reference to a "gay Christian." There is no such thing. First Corinthians 6:9-11 says that those who practiced that lifestyle has been delivered from it. Now they might be weak towards the temptations that entrapped them in the past by believers have a new nature in Christ. They do not struggle with two natures. Colossians 2 says the old nature was cut away. What we have to do is stop living under our old nature's programming and walk in the newness of Christ (Ephesians 4). We put off the former ungodly habits and put on new godly ones. The old nature is gone, but you have to "consider" it dead and start living by the spirit (Romans 6; Galatians 5).

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December 28, 2013  2:12pm

Wow! Good article. Eye opening! God doesn't see certain sin to be worse than other sin. So yes, I do think gay Christians exist. Every person has their own struggles in life. We are all sinners even when we are saved by His grace. I love the Lord with all my heart and yet there are times when I fail Him because of my sin. Does that mean I love Him less and don't want to follow Him? No! When someone decides to dedicate their life to Christ they don't instantly become this sinless, perfect person. So many Christians think because they aren't alcoholics, drug users, murderers or homosexual, that they are better. Sin is sin,lying, hating, gluttony and stealing, are just a few sins that even the "best" Christians commit daily. Like Peyton says,it's a journey. A personal journey for each different individual. Everyone has sin and only God can help us overcome it. Our goal as Christians is to spread the word and bring people into a personal relationship with Christ. God can use any one of us.

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December 18, 2013  4:29pm

Very well said...the gospel is for all. Far too often we prefer to be pharisees and judge the fruit before the Spirit has even begun to transform someone. The church (including me) has a horrific record on preaching salvation by grace through faith to the LGBT community. Too often it's a message of change to be acceptable to us before we tell you how to connect with Jesus.

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December 18, 2013  11:09am

Beautifully stated and biblically sound. I agree 100%. Thank you for helping me as I struggle with how to love gay people as an expression of--not a compromise of--the Gospel.

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