Saturday, November 28, 2009

"Clobber passage" audio teachings

We got a request to make sure the so-called "clobber passage" audio teaching files we did some time ago continued to be available, even after the site is no more.

The hard part was finding a host that would store and make these available for free (due to their size). As you may remember, we decided several months back to change over to free, rather than pay, sites. That way all this info continues to be available no matter what our income happens to be at any given time.

In any event, I found a site this morning, and I've moved the files there.

You can access these files through these links. Simply right-click on the one(s) you are interested in, and choose download to listen from your own PC (probably faster / better audio):

What does God really say in:
Let me know if you have difficulties accessing or using these.

In His love,


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Why I don't listen to anti-Gay Christians (& why you shouldn't either)

My grandmother, who was a Christian, recently passed after a long illness. During the time I spent with her and my Christian grandfather, through my blog I also received emails from two other Christians who are unknown to me.

Now, I've made this observation before, but it came to me again this last week: another lesson from the Lord in how His Bible works to illuminate who really has their heart on Him and who does not. Who really "gets" it, and who does not.

See, my grandparents were and are very conservative in their theology. They are truly holiness-based fundamentalists, and they've attended a holiness-based fundamentalist church for the last 70 years or so of their lives.

The two Christians who emailed me this last week are also very conservative in their theology.

Yet my grandparents have been biblically safe to spend time with, and these other two Christians are not only a waste of time but also biblically unsafe to give any time to.


It has to do with application. With what's apparent in one's heart by one's outward actions. And here's what's apparent:

My grandparents have never believed that homosexuality is ok with God. They've always believed that women should be subordinate to men. They've believed that anything not lived in strict, legalistic holiness is of the devil. In fact, the way they have seen themselves and the world has been exactly what everyone hates about fundamentalists in general, around the world.

Yet while my grandparents have always believed these things, they've lived in total, gentle, humble love, from their Jesus-filled hearts outward.
  • They've not preached at other people. 
  • They've not participated in attacking and slandering other people they don't agree with. 
  • They've simply, quietly, lived out their own belief system to the best of their ability within their own lives – preaching with the example of their hearts, attacking sin with their faith in God's goodness and rightness – and left the rest of God.
In other words, they've done exactly what Jesus and Paul and the other writers in the New Testament have said to do: answer to God for yourself, and leave how well everyone else is doing to God [See Romans 14:10, for example].

And the result of their Christian lives? People do not confuse their human belief system with God's truth, so people are not turned away from Jesus Christ because of their lives. Instead, people see and are attracted to the love of Jesus Christ through the all-welcoming and very real love for all people that my grandparents feel.

In other words, God is glorified, and not vilified, by their witness.

Now, what about these other two people who emailed me? I can't speak to their lives, but I can speak to the witness of their theology.

They obviously also believe homosexuality isn't right with God. I'm guessing they would share a number of other conservative theological beliefs with my grandparents. And from their emails, they also believe themselves to be great witnesses for Jesus Christ.

But in that they are deceived, because it isn't for Jesus Christ that they are witnessing.

See, none of us is perfect. That characteristic belongs to God alone. God understands that, and He gives us allowance to live out the best we understand of His ways. He also to a large extent judges us based on our compliance with how we understand His ways. He gives us a break, in other words, as long as we aren't by the same belief or act breaking one of His indisputable requirements (like, turn the other cheek, don't sleep around, take care of and stand for those who are oppressed, and so on) [See Romans 14:3, for example].

That's why it is vitally important for us to not only live our own lives according to how we understand God's ways, but to also avoid the sin of self-righteous arrogance wherein we try to force or browbeat our own human understanding into the lives of others.

When we commit this sin – when we try to make people live according to our own ideas as if they were God's – then no matter how much we believe we are about God, we are actually trying to take the place of God. And that alone should scare us beyond imaging!

Now, that doesn't mean we can't share our ideas and understandings. In fact, that's what people did in the early church: they gathered together and all shared their lives and understandings with each other, learning and growing as God was leading them.

It also doesn't mean we should go along with what anyone and everyone says or does. If someone is living sinfully – especially if they are living in religious sin – it's best that we don't keep ourselves in something that removes us from the Lord or tempts us to also live in the same sin. We'll always have more than enough of our own sin in our lives. We don't need to be borrowing sin from others!

I don't attend my grandparents' fundamentalist-holiness church, for example, because – despite the example of my grandparents – it's full of religious sin that trumpets God while tarnishing God's Name and distorting His message. And my understanding of God and God's Bible says that I'm responsible for keeping His REAL truth, even if it costs me. Even if it means I have to give up fellowship with a church fellowship. Jesus is quite clear on that [See Luke 9:62, for example]!

So, I work to counter some of the damage their false gospel causes amongst Gay and straight people alike – but I don't run campaigns to raise money and votes to attack or oppress them for what I understand of their sin.

I speak the truth when the Lord opens up a time for me to do that, but I don't carry signs in front of their meetings, telling them they are going to hell for their self-righteous but still lawless lifestyles.

I love them (with Jesus' help) even when they insist on being my enemy, but I don't condemn them to hell in personal emails.

See, if I did any of those things – if I acted like they do – then I would be trying to do God's work by using the Devil's tactics.

I'd be saying with my life:
  • Jesus turned the other cheek – but I know better.
  • Jesus never harmed anyone – but I know better. 
  • Jesus did things backwards, according to the world's ways of doing things – but I know better.
And that would just be sin.

It's doubtful that my grandparents and I will ever come to any agreement about a number of issues, including homosexuality, women, and so on (not in this world, in any event!). But:
  • We can keep our own lives in line with what we each personally believe, and still manage to act as much as we can like Jesus.
  • We can do and say what needs to be said, and still manage to glorify, rather than vilify, God.
  •  We can truly learn from each other, adding the strengths we each have to the weaknesses we each also have, and support each others' faith.  
  • We can be truly disciples of Jesus Christ, in other words. The ones He will count as His own, when He comes again, because we look like Him, and not like the world.
I don't listen to anti-Gay Christians any longer because they've taught me that the truth of their lives is more about the world, and not very much at all about Jesus.

They've taught me that they have Jesus on their lips but the devil in their hearts – which is exactly what Jesus said would happen, if we do religious things the world's way and not His way [See, for example, Matthew 12:43-45, for example].

They've taught me that they aren't thinking and learning – aren't using the heart and brain God gave them
. They're just memorizing and regurgitating complex human theories and assertions as if they are God's Word are the same.

And that is just a waste of my time – and God's.

I do encourage us all to pray for them, though. For whether or not they ever understand that God does not condemn Gay people, they have already condemned themselves by their righteous lawlessness.
  • Unlike my grandparents, they've only learned to speak what they understand as God's truth with their mouths, but not with their hearts.
  • Unlike my grandparents, they haven't yet figured out that a holy life is garbage if it doesn't have the real Jesus Christ in the center.
  • Unlike my grandparents, they haven't figured out that, being without real love, they are nothing more than ugly and ridiculous noise noise noise.
They are more in need of God's mercy than they believe we are – but they don't know it.

And there's nothing that should break our hearts more.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Q: "What does God want from me?"

That's a very important question – and not just for Gay people!

But despite what many may tell you, it really has a simple answer – and one that applies to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, gender orientation, gender, race, and so on.

And what is that simple answer? It's:

God wants you to completely trust in Him. That's it!

But then the question becomes, how do I properly do that? Again – no worries. That’s not a difficult thing to learn either!

Trusting in God means, first of all, learning about Him.

You can't trust someone you don't know, and you can't come to know someone you don't spend some time learning about (note: you can't even honestly reject someone you haven't really learned about – though many people do that to God, every day).

Most people spend more time getting to know the woman that rides next to them on the bus each morning than they do getting to know the Creator of the Universe – and that's a shame! Because as nice as the woman on the bus may think you are, she'll never long to have a one-on-one relationship with you like God does. You see, unlike every human being on the planet, God truly already knows all about you – every good thing about you, and every bad thing about you. God even knows all the really ugly shameful things you haven't even done yet – and He still loves you more than you can humanly imagine, and He wants you to learn about that!

Second of all, trusting in God means using the right learning tools.

There are millions of books and ideas out there about who God is and what He wants. But there's only one book with one central idea that has stood the test of time and proof in prophecy-come-true – and more: the Bible. And not just any Bible, because one of the greatest tragedies of the last many centuries has been the often well-intentioned but still very sinful mistranslations and misinterpretations of one or another part of the Bible, that are then passed off as if they are God's true Scripture. That's what's been done to Gay people: people who are already prejudiced against Gay people "translate" the original Hebrew and Greek of the Scriptures God gave us, and then not only insert their own wording and phrasing instead of using God's, but then also ignore the historical, linguistic, and cultural context of God's original Scripture, so that it ends up appearing as if God condemns Gay people.

The real truth of the matter is that it isn’t God that condemns Gay people – it's people who are prejudiced against us that condemn Gay people!

Unfortunately, today there are exceedingly few English translations of the Bible that do not contain such human re-writes. Even translations that aren't bigoted against Gay people can be mistranslated on other topics, simply because of the translator's particular theological biases, for example. So part of learning about God is learning to use His Bible, and correcting the errors in it as you learn of them, so that you end up learning about the real God!

Third, trusting in God means understanding Jesus.

It may not be obvious at first, but the whole Bible is really all about Jesus. From start to end, it tells the story of why the human race came to need Jesus in the first place, how God proved that we need Jesus (and can’t rely on our own abilities to save ourselves, in other words), why God wants us to choose to trust Him (instead of just forcing us to trust Him, like biological robots), and how much God was willing to do to make sure everyone that wants to spend eternity with Him gets to do just that. The final part of the Bible story is also about Jesus. It tells what happens just before and after Jesus comes back one more time to finally rid the world of all the sickness, injury, evil, hatred, injustice, and so on that has come to drive us all crazy and make us so confused, now.

If we don’t understand Jesus – meaning, we either don’t know Him at all, or we only know Him through wrong interpretations of Him we’ve gotten from other people who don’t understand Him – then we don’t understand God. Jesus is God, you see. Not some “lesser” deity in a three-person mix. Not some really-good-guy who ran into some really bad luck at the end. Not some high-level spiritual guru who works alongside other high level spiritual gurus. Read the Gospels – John, then Luke, Matthew, and Mark – in the New Testament, and see for yourself! Know Jesus – and know God. Know Jesus – and know exactly what God wants from you, what He’s willing to do for you, and what He wants to offer you, out of His unending love for you!

Finally, we have to ask and answer: “How will I know when I DO know Jesus?”

Unlike what some may tell you, it won’t be if or when you "stop" being Gay.

But finding you’re more at peace with everything – including being Gay – is a good hint that you’re on your way to having Jesus in your heart.

It won’t be when you stop wanting Gay friends and family.

But finding that you’re wanting to share God’s love with other Gay people is a good hint that you’re on your way to doing what’s most important to God.

It won’t even be when you start attending a church, or singing along with Christian radio, or putting money in the collection plate each month (though there’s not necessarily anything wrong with any of those things, when the rest of God is in your heart, too).

Instead, you’ll know that you’re finally really knowing Jesus and seeing the blessing of His Spirit in your heart when it’s the most natural thing in the world for you to:
  • comfort people who are hurting,
  • feed people who are hungry,
  • clothe people who need clothes,
  • love people who aren’t lovable,
  • be gentle with people who don’t deserve it,
  • live in control of your body’s natural, God-given passions, and not be controlled by them,
  • find joy and peace in your heart even when things really stink,
  • appreciate how easy and great things work - when they're done God's way,
  • hang on to Jesus even when it’s really hard,
  • revere only God, and not things, angels, or even other very good people, and,
  • test everything you’re told (even by religious authorities) against the Word of God, before you go along with it (yes, that’s really in the Bible, too – many times!).
It can’t be repeated often enough that Jesus loves you, more than you will ever be able to imagine. And Jesus isn’t afraid of your questions. I know, because before I came to Jesus, I had a million of them.

He isn’t afraid of your unbelief. I know, because before I came to Him, I had boatloads of it.

He isn’t afraid of your anger at Christians. I know, because I was burning with it (and He shares a lot of it too, you know!)

He isn’t afraid of your rejection. I know, because before I came to Him, I put Him out with the trash.

What I found as I made my own starts at getting to know Him, was that Jesus knew all along that I needed to make this very long, ragged spiritual journey of questions, unbelief, anger, and rejection before I could trust in Him.
In our modern culture, where (just as the Bible said would happen) most people who say they’re Christian actually don’t really follow Jesus at all (but instead, just give Him a bad name), if I had just accepted being a Christian without going through all this questioning and so on first, I would have just become another BAD Christian! And the world already has too many of those (whether straight or Gay)!

Jesus is ok with whatever you need to do to purge all these false ideas about Him and what He wants from you. He can wait and tolerate quite a bit, actually, because He knows that once you do get all that junk out of your system, you’re going to be a real friend to Him – and not just another faker.

So, start learning.
  • Start learning why God revealed Himself as Jesus Christ just so you could spend eternity with Him in no pain, no sickness, and no sorrow, and how He wants more than anything for you to choose to do just that.
  • Start learning why you need to make that choice to be with Him with your whole heart – and why just floating along in the world’s muck, assuming that “some day” you’ll get around to it, is a really bad game plan.
  • And finally, start learning what it means to trust in God, and to follow His plan – and not one or another human plan – and why doing so will become a way of inner peace like you’ve never imagined!
It will be not only the biggest -- but also the best -- thing you've ever done in your life!

God bless you in your learning journey!