Mar 26, 2009

What Do You Say?

I desperately want to write about something funny today, because Lord knows I need a good laugh. But I'm all torn up tonight about something I read today. This excerpt is from Charisma magazine, it is in regards to Ted Haggard. Don't remember him? Maybe this will jog your memory.

Okay, now that we're all caught up, here is some of the article from J. Lee Grady, editor.

When Ted and his wife, Gayle, appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show Jan. 28,
Gayle dared to defy Oprah and her audience.

Oprah is the closest thing we have to a high priestess of America's new morality, and she seems obligated to push the politically correct idea that it's OK to be gay. Oprah told Ted, who is now 52, that he should just accept his "identity" rather than hiding it or running from it. Then Gayle, who has raised five kids and knows a lot about discipline, struck a nerve. She told Oprah that just because a person has certain inclinations doesn't mean he has to act on them.

Oprah got upset at that point. She even got out of her chair and said to Gayle: "That's where I disagree with you"-and her audience cheered...

I was cheering for Gayle-not just because she has modeled Christian forgiveness during this embarrassing scandal but also because she clearly articulated the gospel during the interview. She stuck her neck out and defied the false religion of our times.

Oprah is the closest thing we have to a high priestess of America's new morality, and she seems obligated to push the politically correct idea that it's OK to be gay. She is paid a lot of money to promote this agenda, and she's good at it. She is articulate in her arguments and velvety smooth in her affirmation. Just come to Oprah, all you who are weary and burdened, and she will console you.

This "just accept who you are" argument certainly doesn't make sense for other categories of sinful behavior or emotional dysfunction. Consider these examples:

* I've prayed with countless people who struggle with addictions to alcohol, marijuana or prescription drugs. In most cases they were using the substances to numb their emotional pain and they hated their condition. When they received prayer ministry and counseling they found the grace to break free from these addictions. Can you imagine a counselor telling these people: "Why fight it? God gave you an addictive personality! Embrace it!"

* I know several single straight guys who struggle to stay sexually pure. They want to honor God and save sex for marriage, but sometimes they give in to the temptations of pornography or they cross barriers they shouldn't when they're dating. If I embrace Oprah's philosophy, I should just tell my friends to accept these temptations as their "identity"-as in, "Go ahead, God created you to be a fornicator! Let your hormones control you!"

* This week I met a man who spent more than 10 years in prison and is officially classified as a sex offender in police records. He found Christ during his first year of incarceration, and today he is a strong Christian. He has been out of prison for 10 years, and has had no further criminal incidents, yet he occasionally struggles with lustful thoughts. Should I tell him to stop trying so hard and just accept perversion as a way of life?

It would be absurd to discourage these people from seeking change. The very essence of the gospel is that Christ gives us the power to live a holy life. We are helpless to overcome sinful urges on our own, but when we have the presence of Jesus in our lives we discover the truth of Romans 6:14: "Sin shall not be master over you (NASB)."

God does not want us to stay the way we are! The apostle Paul told the Corinthians: "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come" (2 Cor. 5:17). That is the hallmark of genuine Christianity.

Three years ago I decided to go for my Master's degree at a Christian University. Lots of people thought I did it for lots of different reasons - and I suppose I did. I want those letters behind my name, I won't lie. I also wanted to have more doors open in the area of my ministry. And my mom said she would buy me some cheese dip. So yes, I did it for several different reasons.

But one of the main reasons I did it, one that no one knows, is that I wanted to be able to put into words what I felt about certain issues regarding the church today; certain issues regarding our society; certain issues that Jesus would stand for and certain issues that He would not. I needed clarity on how I felt; I knew what I felt - but how do I say it? I thought going back to school would help me do that to some extent.

Maybe it has, maybe it hasn't. Personally, I've never been one to need help putting words to how I feel - but there are certain issues facing us (the church) that I get all bumfuzzled on.

This is one of those topics.

I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, indeed I am not. But I would hope that when the time comes I would stand for what I believe to be right - whether I say it perfectly or prophetically, or not. I suppose that is all Christ is asking for. Not that we speak perfectly - but rather, that we speak at all

If you ask my feelings on this particular issue I believe this video sums up perfectly how I feel.

Although I feel like logging off of this computer, turning off my phones, ignoring crying kiddos, lying on my couch with a huge bowl of ice cream and sleeping the day away - I can't.
I won't.
Would it be nice? Yes.
Would it be wise? No.
I would suffer. My kids would suffer. My home would suffer. And tomorrow I'd be more behind (literally and figuratively) than I was today. It would be a cycle of despair and frustration that I put myself in because I chose to do what I WANTED TO DO as opposed to what I know to be the right thing to do.

I would like to know your thoughts and feelings on this issue. They may differ greatly from mine, that's okay. I hope they do. After all, 80,000 people with feelings and thoughts exactly like mine, although wonderful to think about, would be quite boring. So tell me - in the best words you can (and I welcome your stumbling...makes me feel more human) - how you feel on this issue. I assure you, we are still friends.



Teresa said...

It should come as no surprise to you that we are on the same page regarding this issue. What I want you to know is what an answer to prayer this post is for me today.

Next weekend I'm going to be spending some time with an old college friend who comes down on the opposite side and there's no doubt she's going to bring it up for debate. I've been wringing my hands over how to defend my position to her without sounding defensive or abrasive. Now I've got a pretty good idea. So thanks!

Teri from Indiana said...

I agree with you.
I'm going to throw out something to be considered. The hardest part of becoming a Christian is surrendering. Surrending and confessing the sins that you have. That's what most people fight against. They really do want the peace that Christ brings. They know there's a better way to live but they don't want to surrender totally.
As a society we are taught that surrendering is a sign of weakness. It's never your fault when you act on your sinful nature. Embrace whatever you want and fight for your right to do it. Whether it's homosexuality, drug addiction, infidelity, we're told that it's not our fault. I won't debate whether a person is born gay or not, because I don't know. I know the bible condemns it, so it can't be right. Drug addiction is a sore subject with me. I have two sons who are addicts. Not laying in the gutter addicts( yet) but they are addicted. Breaks my heart, robs me of the joy of being their mother & sometimes when they're on a roll of my having to accept it, it robs me of my grandchildren. It causes division in the family. Do I love them? Oh yes. Will I allow them to come into my home wasted? Not a chance and they know this. This infuriates them to no end because we're their parents and we are to love them unconditionally. We do love them, just as God loves us but when we sin He lets us know. We don't have to accept the sin of their lives into ours. Which is another little sermonette in itself. Parents assuming the guilt of their adult children's sin.........

Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D. said...

Society says "be who you are." God calls us to be who we could be, to rise above our own nature.

Thanks for the reflections.

Rev. Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.
author of Save Your Christian Marriage

Melissa said...

I saw that interview with Ted Haggard on Oprah, and the whole time I thought Oprah was almost villifying Ted. On the one hand she wants him to "ambrace" his sexuality, but only if it's on the terms she deems popular. On the other hand, when he says how sorry he is for what he's done, she looks at him with this disgust for his choices. It's Satan's way of discrediting the body of Christ. I was so blessed by Ted's candid interview. He didn't make excuses and he stayed true to the Word. His wife is a woman of honor. Proverbs 31 in 2009. I pray that God will be honored and glorified for His redemptive work in the Haggard family.

BTW, totally off the subject, but I had a dream that you and I met randomly at the library. You were passing out flyers about your blog.

LOL. I just thought it was so funny. And you just thought it was no big deal that we just "happened" to run into each other at a Boca Raton, FL.

Melissa said...

spelling correction: "embrace" not "ambrace"

IRW Dana said...

We are called to be like Christ. In no way is Christ perverted and neither should we.
What makes me angry is "good" christian people, giving Oprah the power she has. STOP watching her and referencing her stories. This gives her the power to continue to share her agendas.
I'm glad you shared this story. I have never heard it before. But do not make a reference to her name. Just say a leading TV host. People who watch her show are putting the power in her hands. And I have to believe that is going against God and all that I hold holy. I would pray that all Christians would STOP watching her and using her name.

Tina said...

Your absolutely right... what separates us from "animals" is that we CAN control our actions.

Jenny said...

So I love that Rick Warren brought up people having certain tendacies because that is exactly how I feel about this topic. I believe that people are born with tendacies, be it masculine/feminine, addiction,etc. And just as he said, it is up to us to chose whether we give into those tendacies or we make a choice to stand firm in our beliefs.

This is where I will not waiver: the Bible is the living, breathing Word of God and it has no errors in it. My God makes NO mistakes when creating life. His Word says that marriage/sex should be between 1 Man and 1 Woman so why on earth would He create a being to intentially go against His Word?

Ashley said...

Wow. I very much disagree. I'm sure I'll be the lone dissenter to speak up. But comparing homosexuality to anger is quite absurd. Gays do not choose to be so. They are born so. Anyone who is friends with a homosexual would know that. God made them that way (if that is what you believe). It may not be the norm and it certainly is not accepted, but it is real and true. I find it very hypocritical for Christians to call out homosexuals and it always touches a nerve for me. I will be happy when one day our country truly recognizes this as a human rights issue and stops vilifying people for how God made them.

And this type of 'Gay is wrong' attitude is why so many of the homosexuals within the church are caught in this type of behavior.... hiding, having sex with prostitutes, and negating their marriage vows. Ted Haggard is a sorry excuse for a Christian. Christians would certainly do better to find a decent role model other than this fool.

Rhonda said...

Personally, I think that homosexuality is the least of our problems these days. I don't necessarily agree with the marriage issue. I definitely don't agree with a child having two moms or two dads. And I don't want to see open expressions of affection, in public, but then I feel that way of heterosexuals too. That said, they aren't hurting anyone. They also just want to be happy. Why not let them be?

I don't believe in 'organized religion' but just that we all need to try to be the best person we can be, love each other, be kind, and for crying out loud, don't be killing anyone or hurting children or animals. That should be enough, shouldn't it?

Because otherwise, I suppose I'm in a whole heap of trouble.

Karen said...

I do undestand where you are coming from and what you are saying.

However, I am in the 'differ' camp..

There is certainly scientific evidence out there, that points towards homosexuality being either genetic or having a hormonal component. There is also research that suggests that there may be psychological effects.

My way of looking at what you bring up is this..

Drugs, alcohol and other addictions, not only harm the addicted person, but they also harm others..

I have been the victim of pedophiles. It near destroyed me. It has had an effect on my life and on the lives of others.

I have friends that happen to be gay. I can't think of one way that their sexual orientation affects me, or anybody else.

These are people that are in stable, commited relationships...have a love for God ...lead productive lives.

As a person who also has a love for God, why would I want to pray for them to change, when they are at peace with their lives?

It might seem a simple way of looking at this, however, I see a very strong difference between someone who is an addict, a sexual predator or who makes no attempt to control their anger or other actions .... and someone who happens to be gay.

Anonymous said...

It is simple, the bible condemns it.

Kat said...

My opinion (since you asked :) on this hot-button topic, like every other hotly debated issue in our ever-increasing PC society, is based on my foundation of belief; I believe that the bible is the infallible Word of God- that every single word in it was breathed by the Holy Spirit into its writers and therefore is ultimate Truth.

Science and society always have and always will contradict the bible. But because of my firm foundation, I do not waver. I still believe in a literal creation, that Jesus raised people from the dead (not to mention His own resurrection!) and that we are created to do good works and through Christ's power fight the inclination to sin that lies within us.

Sadly, I do believe that some people are more inclined to certain sins, homosexuality being just one of them. But, according to God's Word, we are all held accountable to live according to His standard, not whether or not our lifestyle is directly harmful to another person or whether it is generally accepted by society.

What's really a disappointment to me is how some Christians forget that although some sins do carry more severe consequences here on earth, we have all fallen short of the glory of God. It's one thing to stand up for truth, but quite another to vilify someone or simply minimize their struggle with a sin that's not close to us. Let us not succumb to the sinful pride that prevents us from loving others unconditionally as Christ commands us to!

Theda said...

Melissa (and others)Beautifully said. Praise the Lord that there is healing and forgiveness for this and every other sin - if we seek it. We must remember that we, as Christians are expected to correct our brothers and sisters, lovingly, when they are continuously living in sin. It's not OK for us to be 'kind' and just let them be. The wages of sin is death. Don't you love your brother or sister enough to help them to life in freedom and joy rather than bondage to their sinful life. And, yes, it hurts others. It breaks their Mom's heart, and their Dad's and makes it almost impossible to be a part of a loving church family.

Tracy P. said...

Very interesting conversation here, Melissa. To my understanding, the biblical call to those whose attractions are homosexual in nature is celibacy. Therefore, I do not favor gay marriage. However, I often try to reflect on what my life would be like if I had found myself having crushes on women instead of men. Because I know that the crushes I began having as a teenager (or younger) never had an ounce of rationality to them. They weren't something I could just turn on or turn off.

There were years in my 30's when I thought it was quite possible I would be single for the rest of my life, and I quite believe that a sex-free life would have been what God would require of me and that he would have been sufficient and faithful. But if I were single and celibate because I were gay, could I be honest in the body of Christ? Should I be honest? Would I be treated like someone who had overcome sin, and celebrated as someone who had overcome a criminal lifestyle or a drug addiction? How would I feel about such a comparison? Would it be fair? I think we do have to deal with comparing the "sin" of homosexual orientation with those that hurt others. I have far fewer answers than questions, but I think the church has a long way to go in terms of the way we live in fellowship with our homosexually oriented brothers and sisters. You seem to at least want to have the dialogue, and we must begin there.

There, that should be plenty of stumbling to make you feel better. ;-)

Jenn said...

Karen-I'm genetically 'doomed' to obesity, so am I supposed to just accept that...or try to rise above it? I'm not trying to be argumentative, but it's something to think about. I want everyone to BE happy...but true happiness is of God.

Obviously, I'm with you Melissa. Amen!

Apryll said...

Wow! Way to jump on to a hot topic issue. :) 1st I have to say I agree with you 100%. I watched that TV show as well, and couldn't believe the hostility coming from her. What saddens me more than anything is the amount of anger that seems to come from both sides of this issue. It sickens me.

I completely believe that the Bible is true and is the work of God. I completely believe the Bible is clear that homosexual behaviors are sinful.

That being said, my opinion on the issue in general is that sin is sin. There is no one sin greater than another, and we all fall short of the Glory of God.

I'm a Christian who is tired of the Christian agenda treating gay people with condemnation. We need to take the plank out of our own eye before we point out the speck in anothers. Do we want to win them over to Christ? OF COURSE!! But isn't loving those people unconditionally going to speak God's truth FAR more then speaking words of hate and condemnation?

Melissa, please know I'm not saying your blog did that in anyway. I think it was very respectful and tasteful.

I agree with Kat's comment when she said: "What's really a disappointment to me is how some Christians forget that although some sins do carry more severe consequences here on earth, we have all fallen short of the glory of God. It's one thing to stand up for truth, but quite another to vilify someone or simply minimize their struggle with a sin that's not close to us. Let us not succumb to the sinful pride that prevents us from loving others unconditionally as Christ commands us to!"

Whew...I feel better now. hee hee. Seriously, thanks for bringing this conversation up. :) Blessings!

Apryll said...

My comment was so long on your post, that I figured I should make it my own post. Then it dawned on me I had two blog posts this week...because of your blog. Will you be my muse?? :) hee hee


Trish said...

he's spot on!

Joie said...

Thanks Melissa, I agree with you about this issue. I especially enjoyed the last part of your post and it struck a chord with me. I have been feeling extremely burnt out with just gave me the kick in the butt, I needed! Thanks and my best to ya to make it to your Texas destination all together in good health!

Tassie said...

Love the sinner, hate the sin!

wy-not said...

Yikes. Hot topic with so many opinions. I didn't see the Oprah show, nor do I know what that was all about. But I am so torn. I too believe that God does not make mistakes. But I believe that many religions and many Christians take what they want to from their own interpretation of the Bible. It is the holy word of God, I don't dispute that. But some churches won't let women speak, some "cults" won't allow their children to have blood transfusions, and some people condemn "gays" simply from a phrase or two that was penned in a different time by people who were moved by the Spirit. How could they have any understanding then of where life would go? It makes me sad to hear homosexuality used as the same kind of sin as pedophilia and addictions. A very dear friend of mine is gay and it is so clearly a choice that was made for him at his birth. It confuses me greatly. Does God love him less? Does God expect him to live a lie? He and his partner hurt nobody. They live their lives, and they attend a church that honours the word of God. I am so confused. I love the Word of God. I love my Lord and Saviour. But I also love my friend. I'm just confused.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I am a little late in reading your blog. Found this post VERY interesting and the comments even more so. Alot of what I would have written has already been covered by others, but there are a couple of things I'd like to clarify.

First, yes, there are many, many different kinds of sin, and every one of us is a sinner by nature. But the sin I am addressing here is homosexuality. Don't read that to mean I believe we should overlook other types of sin, for I do not.

Second, homosexuality is not genetically predetermined. Nor is it a choice. Rather, it is the deception of the enemy which leads people to believe that they are gay and can do nothing about it. We do not call him the Master Deceiver for nothing. He's very good at what he does. And I believe that he causes people to believe with their whole heart that "this is just who I am," and "I can't help who I am." They believe that because he has them so deeply deceived.

Third, I know for a fact that people can be delivered from the deception of the enemy and, thus, from the homosexual lifestyle. There is a wonderful man named Stephen Bennett who has an amazing testimony in this regard and who founded a ministry focused on reaching the homosexual community. I am sure there are others, with whom I am simply not familiar.

Fourth, just the fact that a gay person attends church, knows God and even loves God is not enough, for even the demons know him and tremble. He/she must turn from their ways and engage in true repentence; otherwise, that lifestyle continues to separate them from the relationship with God that will ensure that they not only enjoy all the benefits of serving the one true God on this earth but also that secures their place in eternity with Him.

Fifth, it is said we must love the sinner but hate the sin. This is so true. I think too often we forget this call in our lives. It is critical that we not villify anyone for their sin. But we do have an obligation to pray that Truth will be illuminated for them and that they will come to a saving knowledge of Christ. Perhaps we are the person who is to share the Truth with that person; perhaps we are merely the one who is to pray and intercede. Either way, it is our responsibility to reach out to the lost and hurting (and even the lost who don't know they are hurting). But we MUST do it in love.

Sixth and lastly, I am so fed up with us looking to Hollywood for direction in our lives. Since when did they become the moral authority? We live in a world where people do and say so much that we are anesthetized to the sin around us. And this, too, is the work of the enemy. For, if we he can deceive many for long enough, he will take them to hell with him and rob them of their promise of eternity in Heaven. He does not want us to address this issue. More significantly, he doesn't want anyone to hear those of us who are willing to speak out. So, he is working double-time and using people like Oprah, whom half of the world has placed on a pedestal as if she were God herself.

Do not be deceived, my friends. There is only one true God, and He has set out for us in the truest form possible all that He requires of us and all that He has in store for us. You need nothing more than His Word.


KO said...

One of the things I find fascinating in the whole discussion of "it's biological" and gay marriage, is that in every gay couple that I have seen or known, one person usually plays the "male"/"husband" role and the other the "female"/"wife" role. So, even in homosexuality there is the tendency towards male and female. The bottom line issue to me is black and white. The Bible could not be more clear, but, yes, walking it out, addressing it is difficult. Particularly because most homosexuals identify themselves completely as that. THAT is what they are (in many of their minds) and so any disagreement is aimed directly to who they are, not a preference, not a personality thing. Any argument is 100% personal.