On Sunday, June 23 I had the great privilege of participating as a panelist in the Gays & God discussion hosted by our sister church Continuum. The event was hosted at Park Street Tavern near downtown Columbus.
The panelists included a self-proclaimed “super-gay atheist”, a gay pastor, a chaplain at a local university, and myself. Each member of the panel was respectful of the other and handled the evening with grace and poise.
The audience was a little more than half gay and about 2/3 affirming of gays. The other third was primarily accepting of gays but not affirming of the gay lifestyle. This is where I land on the issue. I accept every person as a person and do not base relationships on labels or lifestyle. However, I do stand for Biblical truth and do not support that a person or persons can live any way they choose.
I had two goals going into the evening:
- Glorify God
- Let every person know that God loves them more than they know
I was not there to win an argument, or even to get into one. I was not there to make points or put anyone “in their place.” I most certainly was not there to bring condemnation on anyone. I wasn’t even there to bring conviction. None of those things are tasks or objectives that God has entrusted to us.
We have one main task given us by God – be His witness. We do this by loving God and loving people. Yes, there are intricacies and specifics in God’s will for each of us that go beyond this. However, this is the one thing that is universal for everyone who is a follower of Christ. It is our one common objective. Just like a football team has the one common objective of scoring a touchdown, even though each position has different responsibilities.
To be a witness simply means to tell what we know from first hand experience. As we experience more of God through His Spirit and Word, we can share more of who He is and what He has done.
We aren’t tasked with winning debates, making points, or bringing condemnation to people. We are to lovingly and humbly share with them truth through relationship. As we do that, things change. They change positively.
In the next couple of posts, I am going to explore more from the evening of Gays & God finding principles that apply and getting into some of the issues raised that evening.