Coming out and Signs of Hope in Our Lives

My story of Sacred Worth is about my JOURNEY of COMING OUT by becoming a Reconciling United Methodist in 1996. It was just before General Conference in 1996. Nancy McMurtry, a good friend, asked me to sign a card saying I would be a “Reconciling United Methodist” and I decided to sign it realizing it was time for me to “come out” as an ally. I had no idea where this JOURNEY would take me at that time but I knew it was a commitment to COME OUT as an ally and to COME OUT personally to be more visible as a person supporting persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities. I also knew I would have a lot to learn along the way with many challenges and struggles as most journeys are!

I knew what “coming out” meant as I had come out to myself about being sexually abused as a child in the years just ahead of this. I have come to realize that this very simple task of signing this card, (or signing on at the new website http://www.Rmnetwork.org) became the starting point for me to mentally & spiritually take the risk to start this journey of listening to other stories and being more aware of those around me who were searching for any SIGN OF HOPE in our churches and

communities to be SAFE.

Through the past eleven years I have become more aware of how important small SIGNS OF HOPE are to all of us and especially to folks who are looking for any shred of HOPE in our churches.  Once when my husband was called to a home to meet with an older couple in the church he had no idea what they were wanting to share. He arrived to find them wanting to share about the HOPE they had found in a simple church newsletter article about an upcoming Telling Our Stories” program planned by RUMOLA at Cornerstone in Lincoln. They had used a yellow marker to HIGHLIGHT it in the church newsletter. Then they told him about their daughter and her partner and how they wanted to come to this gathering. This simple newsletter article became a way of sharing a SIGN OF HOPE for them and in return they gave all of us a SIGN OF HOPE back when they came to this gathering!

Another time recently a mother emailed us to tell us how glad she was we had a Reconciling Community in our church as one of her children had just come out to them over the holidays. She was so relieved to know there was an OPEN HEARTS group in the church so she could come and find strength for this new journey. She had read about it in our church newsletter as her SIGN OF HOPE!

Newsletter articles don’t seem very important but another person came to our last meeting from another town because of seeing an article about our meeting in a local church newsletter. So these simple SIGNS OF HOPE are so important as we have many people looking for anyway to feel accepted and affirmed by the church. Parents, families and friends in our local churches are looking for people they can trust and safely talk to about having children who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.

When I think of all the SIGNS OF HOPE in my life through new experiences, new friends, & new faith understandings about sexuality that have GRACED my life through signing this card eleven years ago, I rejoice in all the ways spring is COMING OUT now in our lives; and I think of all the ways we need to show SIGNS OF HOPE to each other through our church newsletters, our conversations, our rainbows, our groups, our emails, and our new ways of making our churches SAFE to ALL persons!

We can keep COMING OUT like spring, like newsletter articles, like sharing our STORIES OF SACRED WORTh, like the rainbow, like Jesus CAME OUT with his message of LOVE to those around him who were marginalized and shared his compassion with all persons! Signs of HOPE!

Maureen Vetter, Grand Island, NE

PS:- I rejoice every time I come out to myself or someone else comes out to me-

 

Next blog post: Anonymous 1’s Story               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/603

Coming out and Signs of Hope in Our Lives

Foreword to Stories of Sacred Worth

Stories of Sacred Worth

Foreword

By Phyllis Burrows

I am very proud to have been chosen to put this book together.  I am straight but I do have a story that explains why I care so much for all diverse people, especially the gays and lesbians that we lovingly accept in our church family.

When I was about eight years old, we had a neighbor who was a woman, but she always had her hair cut like a man’s and wore men’s suits and ties, etc.  She was a really nice person, but I couldn’t understand why she dressed as she did.  One day I asked my mother if she knew the answer.

Mama took me into the living room and had me sit down on the sofa.  She told me she wanted me to listen carefully to what she said, and to remember it all my life.

She told me that Jeanette was a very nice woman, but she was different in some ways.  She explained that she was attracted to women just as Mama was attracted to my father who was a man.  She said that was a God Given attraction, and that there were also men who were attracted to men, and that they were living as they were supposed to live.  She told me to continue to like Jeanette, and to respect her and anyone else I would meet whose life was the same.

That was a very long time ago, but I have remembered my mother’s kind words regarding our neighbor, and have always respected any GLBTs I have met.  FUMC is a truly outstanding church family, and I am proud to be a member.  This booklet is a tribute to everyone who has the courage to live their God-Given Attraction.

 

Next blog post: Coming out and Signs of Hope in Our Lives               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/600

Foreword to Stories of Sacred Worth

Niebuhr’s Moral Man and Immoral Society

Some readers may recall that one of my brothers responded during the family discussion by mention of Reinhold Niebuhr’s Moral Man and Immoral Society.  In the next preceding post, His Spirit Is Crying Out and Yearning, the reader will hopefully recognize that the issues of homosexuality and transsexuality, when considered in the light of actual lives, aren’t so easily identified or judged.

Why do I juxtapose these two statements?   Because Niebuhr understood that one cannot do theology in the abstract.  His prayer, known as the Serenity Prayer, has been an inspiration for those confronting addictions based upon 12 Step programs.   It recognizes that when one “does theology” in the flesh, one must struggle “to know the difference” between what we can change and what we cannot change.  He has been cited by both extremes of the political and religious spectrum and all points between.  In the 2008 presidential election, he was quoted by both President Obama and Senator McCain.

For an excellent discussion of Niebuhr’s teaching and influence, particularly as relating to his book, Moral Man and Immoral Society , see http://www.onbeing.org/program/moral-man-and-immoral-society-rediscovering-reinhold-niebuhr/feature/five-conversations/2253.  That National Public Radio website describes Niebuhr’s contribution: “We explore the ideas and present-day relevance of 20th century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, an influential, boundary-crossing voice in American public life. Niebuhr created the term “Christian realism:” a middle path between religious idealism and arrogance.”

 

Next blog post: Next blog post: Foreword to Stories of Sacred Worth               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/596

Niebuhr’s Moral Man and Immoral Society

His Spirit Is Crying out and Yearning

Let me tell you a story of a person who’s family was religious, not spiritual, who has walked a path of hardship, loneliness, denial, and violation within the society called “church;” who feels drawn to spirituality.  This person wants trust and acceptance in a community of spiritual believers, not judged, condemned or rejected for the path he walks today.  From the “get-go,” she felt out of sorts, neither fully female nor fully male. She ran with a group of boys during the week, but on weekends her parents tried to put her in dresses.  She hated that from an early age: it felt contrary to who she was.  Her family was religious, not spiritual. She went to a revival meeting about the age of ten, accepted Christ and was baptized that night.  When her dad, a deacon in the church, found out (someone told him before she got home) he beat her because she did this without his permission. At the time, she was devastated and hurt, not just physically but emotionally. Years later she came to recognize that was the first time she was spiritually hurt. By later elementary school years through high school she was tormented and humiliated by the other girls for being different and not developing physically as they were. The boys generally ignored her gender marker society had tagged her at birth because she could and did compete successfully with them in sports and really didn’t look like a girl. As she grew into a teen, she didn’t turn from the church but yearned for knowledge.  She took every adult class she could, but this only furthered the rift she felt with her peers.
Her spirit was crying out and yearning.
The youth pastor took her into his confidence to teach her what a proper woman is to do. He betrayed her trust and violated her spiritually, emotionally and physically for his own personal gratification.  She was devastated. She then walked away from church for many years, though her spirit was still calling out.  By her early twenty’s, she found the yearning of her spirit too great to ignore and was drawn back to the church in another town. Here she felt forced to take on traditional female roles. By this time she was dressing more masculine or neutral, which matched her physical appearance and was unacceptable to the church community.. This caused her great emotional turmoil and ostracism.  Again, she walked away, feeling alone and rejected.
Her spirit was crying out and yearning.
She moved to another state and finally gave in to society, took a husband and gave birth to a child. She did not conform to society’s demands, though, in her dress, appearance or mannerisms, and was often taken for a male.  Again, the yearning in her spirit persisted so she tenuously reached out to another church community. All seemed well at first.  Her husband allowed her to join mission teams to build churches, which suited her well, but in time, through a series of manipulations over several years and abuse by her husband, she severed her connection with the community. Then eventually she with her three-year-old child ended up in her birth state in a shelter and her husband on death row.
Her spirit was crying out and yearning.
Over the following four years she picked herself up, got out of the shelter system and went to college and discovered she was not alone in this world: there are others like her. In time, after a lot of research, a lot of “now what do I do with this information,” “how do I proceed,” and “do I walk away and ignore this,” she decided to proceed.  Finally, after everything she had walked through, she now knew it was not her fault and she was not abnormal, just part of a hidden society that heterosexuals wish would go away and does nearly everything possible to inflict pain, judgment and ostracism. She is a male with some physical gender characteristics of a female – or a female to male transgender. His spirit starts crying out and yearning. Again, he tenuously is reconstructing trust.  That is complicated.  On one side he is loved and accepted in his local church community.  Some know of his transgender identity and some do not.  On the other hand, he is aware of the conflict in the larger church community concerning GLBT issues. He hears from that group that he is a sinner and does not belong in Christ’s community because he is not acting like a woman, consistent with a set of female physical characteristics, while ignoring that dominant part of him that is physically, emotionally and spiritually male.
His spirit starts crying out and yearning.
I am a Christian.  I want to be accepted and loved among the followers of Christ, as Christ has loved and accepted me. I want again to trust.  But, it is difficult when I hear muffled, but angry, judgment of who I am.

Next blog post: Niebuhrs’ Moral Man and Immoral Society               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/587

His Spirit Is Crying out and Yearning

1 On Gay Marriage: Love and Do Not Judge

Robert Wheeler:  I know there has been a lot of discussion about gay marriage long before Pres. Obama recently supported it. I have many friends who have been harmed by social exclusion because of their sexuality or orientation. I have a blog that I posted about a year ago that addresses the assumptions that we make about the GLBT community, about the science relating to it and scriptural principles that have been applied to it. In a nutshell, the ethic of Christianity is unconditional and unrestrained compassion. To those who read passages from the scriptures to support their right to judge another, I ask whether you can both love unconditionally and judge fairly the circumstances and practices of another person. That, again, affirms a comment common to all of my blogs: “by their fruits you will know them.” My blog site is Love and Do Not Judge, which may be found at https://lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/

Discussion with Sisters on Nashville Statement

Nashville Statement

Robert E Wheeler God created male and female. No argument there. Where does the hermaphrodite fit in?

Sister 2:  Did you read the statement, Robert? This was addressed. Just reading the comments for and against this you would not see it, but see the link Sister 1 posted in comments

Sister 2 I signed. Thanks for sharing, sister 1.

Robert E Wheeler Thanks. I didn’t catch that and will read it again.

Robert E Wheeler Sisters 1 and 2, I looked over the Nashville Statement again, and I do not see that hermaphroditic sexual structures is addressed. Rather, that “physical anomalies” do not nullify the God-appointed link between biological sex and self conception of male or female. In the Statement there are a number of references to transgenderism as being contrary to the will of God.

Here is my problem and the reason that I mentioned the hermaphrodite: I believe that transgenderism, at least with respect to the persons that I know who are, even by themselves, considered to be transgender, are related to a hermaphroditic condition.

(See http://www.isna.org/faq/conditions/mosaicism for an article on the genetic structures of a mosaic hermaphrodite. Who can deny this genetic condition? )

This IS their biological sex in the language of the Statement. My friend who considers himself transgender has a combination of both male and female genetics causing him to be hermaphroditic. In his case, his parents considered him to be female – predominant, so he tried to live as a female according to their expectations; but he always identified with the boys that he played football with. While considered as a female, he worked on electric lines just like “other fellows,” and fell once, requiring medical attention. It was then that he learned that he has the bone structure of a male, contrary to the external appearance as predominantly female. Nonetheless, even externally, there were male structures along with the female appearances just that those exterior appearances predominated on the side of female. Who can reasonably deny that such physical conditions do occur?

Why does this trip my trigger? First, I have always been particularly sensitive to outcasts. That likely reflects my polio hospitalization and significant isolation from Mom and Dad. Secondly, as a lawyer, I have been guardian ad litem for abused and neglected children, many of which were misunderstood. Finally, I have represented people of the LGBT community and have several of them as friends. When I come across views and actions upon them, such as that expressed by the Nashville Statement, I consider that position to be based upon ignorance of undeniable physical conditions which they judged as acceptable. I feel compelled to defend them, and help people to understand them.

Sister 1: I don’t know, Robert, but I think “physical anomalies” includes what is known as the “hermaphrodite”condition. Did you read the articles carefully? There is nothing that denies the worth of any person, only of specific behaviors that for over 2000 years the Christian Church has said are outside of what God has ordained. Either that is true or not. It really doesn’t matter what any of us think or feel if there is an actual right and wrong about the behavior.

 

Sister 1:Did you see that Rosaria Butterfield signed it? Have you read her writings?

 

Robert E Wheeler I understand that, but to me, it appears that the statement requires that such people with sexual anomalies none-the-less conform to the interpretation of the Bible which sanctions only male female sexual relationships.

Sister 1: Robert, I believe you are right about that.

Sister 2: This is not about anyone being an “outcast.” If you are reading it that way, I am sorry. It does not deny that some people are born with both male and female characteristics, and even underdeveloped male/female structures. I had a grandchild born that way, so that is real. This statement doesn’t address this as you want, but yet it does.

Sister 1: Rob, you are very compassionate, but telling someone that what they want to do when what they want to do is wrong is not compassionate, it is harmful. That does not mean you don’t care about the person. You must have seen some situations like that as a judge as well. Obviously, the bottom line has to be what is the ultimate truth. If there is none, then the Nashville Statement is meaningless. If there is, how we “feel” is not the right motive of behavior. If we persist it is rather a rebellion against truth.

Robert E Wheeler I have heard “Truth” many times from different people, and of man’s wisdom as folly, in opposition to my evidence concerning the world that we live in. I like the statement by someone that faith is a commitment without physical evidence, but not contrary to the evidence.

Sister 1:Robert, from what I read the Nashville statement addresses the physical world which you emphasize and the eternal world.

Robert E Wheeler Do I understand correctly: not outcast, persons of worth, but unfaithful with all the consequences that follow.

Sister 1: I’m sorry, Robert, I don’t know what you mean when you say “unfaithful with all the consequences that follow.” It is often difficult for me to understand someone when I am not face to face with them. Too bad we are separated by so many miles!

Robert E Wheeler My point is that it appears that the Statement defines the beliefs and expectations for behaviors of faithful Christians. What are the intended consequences for a believer’s violation of the Statement’s provisions and denials?  While it may appear that the statement holds that LGBT people are respected as God’s creation,

Sister 1: This statement is really a challenge to the Church Universal to remain true to what we believe is God’s purpose for the people he created, specifically related to the fact they are created male or female. Go back to the Statement (which I linked) and click on the preamble. It is not about consequences or punishment. It is more like a world view, except Christians believe it really is God’s design, and command, not something to which we are given legitimate choice.

Robert E Wheeler Sister 1:, I don’t have evidence to show why gays are gay or why lesbians are lesbian (and, frankly, I don’t understand a justification for bi’s). But I do have irrefutable evidence of why hermaphrodites are hermaphrodites, and that in the cases I know, transgender is simply a choice of a hermaphrodite address the conflict in their inherited double sexuality, and to embrace one part of sexuality and to minimize the other to become as close as possible to normal. I am an idealist and I at times find it is unacceptable to others, and that it exacts great cost. but whatever the cost, I feel I must be true to what I believe to be right and true. In that regard I cannot deny the world, and scientific evidence concerning it, and what it reveals to me to be true.

Sister 1: I know.

Robert E Wheeler And as you know, the world doesn’t operate according to ideals, and it is difficult – I should say impossible – to live up to your ideals.

Sister 1: What you describe ends up in hopelessness. This world has been chaos ever since we listened to “Did God really say..?” and determined to live on our own terms and according to our own understanding. And rather than freedom we’ve experienced absolutebondage. C.S. Lewis said “Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement; he is a rebel who must lay down his arms…this process of surrender…is what Christians call repentance.”

Robert E Wheeler Sister 1, thank you for your concern , and I know it is sincere. What I wrote was not out of despair, but a recognition that I must accept the fact that the world is not perfect, and neither am I, and that I must temper my idealism. A couple of the symptoms of post-polio syndrome is type A personality, and OCD specific to post-polio: constant activity so that the polio survivor doesn’t have time to fear as he or she once did. To deal with that, I work the 12-step program, and God is active in my life. I am a follower of Jesus, just not with all of the historical doctrine that has, in my mind, clouded him with theology (philosophy justifying religious belief). I appreciate Dad’s writing to me: Christians think that the goal of Christianity is dying and going to heaven. “I say absolutely not. It is about living a life of Eternal significance.” He quoted Mathew 25: in as much as you did it for others, you did it for me; enter into your reward. I thank you for your concern and love.

Robert E Wheeler Sister 1:, my first response to the Nashville Statement was the exclusion from the “faithful” of the LGBT community. (How can one be faithful if he or she does not follow the doctrine – the rules of behavior?)
Beyond that, I wonder whether this doctrine is like the rules of the Pharisees which Jesus condemned. It seems to be creating a log in the church’s eye while trying to pick out the speck from that of the LGBT community, which they don’t even understand.

 

2 On Compassion and Forgivenesshttps://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/493

1 On Gay Marriage: Love and Do Not Judge

9 My Friend’s Reply to Me

Rob, I hope you can bear graciously with my poor communication skills here, it may be a bit rambling though I don’t intend it to be.  I’m not interested in promoting GLBT issues or even debating over them since that is not what God has called for.  What I am interested in and what all people are commanded to be interested in is the glory of God and conformity to His purposes, which is to say, submission to His Lordship and surrender of our will, purpose, thoughts, motives, actions to Him.  John says that to love Him is to obey Him, not to obey is to demonstrate that we don’t love Him.

As regards troubling Scripture, we need to let it speak for itself and take God at His word.  Scripture testifies of itself and is not subject to our judgments of it, rather we are subject to its judgments:

2 Tim 3:16  All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, rebuke, correction, and training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Isaiah 8:20 To the law and the the testimony!  If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.  (implication being there is no reason to listen to them –  their thoughts are futile

And we could add Heb. 4:11-13 about its power to discern our thoughts and motives; 2 Peter 1:3-4 about the power of God’s word – absolute sufficiency – for all things pertaining both to life and godliness, no area of need left out of that; Jesus promise to his Apostles that he would sovereignly and supernaturally enable them to complete Scripture through the work of the Holy Spirit who He Himself would send after His ascension – see John 14:25-26 & John 16:13-16.

In light of Jesus enabling of the Apostles to relay truth fully and accurately to us, and in light of His high priestly prayer in John 17 where he implores the Father “sanctify them in the truth, Thy Word is truth”, read the following bold statement by John about the authority and truth of the New Testament:

1 John 4:6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us.  By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

God is Lord and He will not give His glory to another (Is 42:8).  This is the overall purpose of Scripture, to point us to the glory of God and His truth.  His holiness is on display throughout, and the total uselessness of the mind of man apart from God is also on display.  Romans 1:22 says that when we ‘profess’ our own wisdom we become fools – that is a reference to our putting ourselves in the seat of judgement as to whether God’s word is reasonable and then relying on our own so called wisdom.  But God’s welcoming response is “Those who come to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Heb 10 or 11)

Having said all that let’s take our focus off ourselves and dialog seeking self-affirmation, this is not about us, it is about God.

God is love.  Is this an overlooking love, like a father who winks at childish transgressions saying ‘boys will be boys?’  Or is this a purifying love that sees the transgressions and deals with it for the sake of the child’s good?

Here’s what Paul says in Titus 2:11-14:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;  who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

And  Peter quotes the OT “You shall be holy, for I am holy” 1 Peter 1:13-16 gives the context and its very instructive, we are to be obedient children, putting away the former lusts which were ours in our ignorance, preparing our minds and setting our hope completely on grace yet to come at the revealing of Jesus Christ.

God’s love is a purifying love, that is His will and intent for us.   That runs contrary to any notion of God ‘accepting’ us, but then not changing us..  Our purpose is to glorify God forever by enjoying Him forever.

Now, God is not a respecter of persons “for there is no partiality with God, for all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law” (Rom 2:11-12)..  Person ‘A’ is not a worse sinner because he is homosexual any more than Newt Gingrich is a better class of sinner because he has ‘only’ committed adultery or Jimmy Carter is ‘commendable’ because he only thought about it.  In fact, look at the condemnation Jesus has for the pharisee in Luke 18:10-14.  This pharisee even gave credit to God with his lips thanking God that he was not like this other man, this sinner.  The pharisee failed to see the depth of his own sin and that mere outward actions and prohibitions do nothing to change the heart and make us acceptable to God.  He looked to the sin of others to make him feel better about himself, rather than being humbled and crushed by his own sin against God (dealing with the inside of the cup).  Paul warns against reliance on outward acts as well in Colossians 2:20-23, they actually deceive us by blinding us to our own sin.  The point is that it was the societal outcast, the lowlife, the crook, who didn’t even deem himself worthy of coming near and who beat his chest crying out “God, be merciful to me, a sinner” who Jesus said went down to his home justified.  Don’t miss the point – this man did not justify himself in anything, rather was truly crushed by his sin against God and cried out with complete submission, making no demands but falling on God’s mercy.  And God is merciful and would not deny him.

There is no drawing near to God apart from seeing ourselves as sinners before a just and holy God.  John says two things in 1 John 1:9-10:

1.  The repentant are saved by Christ

2.  The ones who say they’ve not sinned have two problems – critical problems:

a. they are calling Christ a liar

b. they do not have His word in themselves, and that is an eternal problem

Someone has written (and I’ve lost the reference) “the contrast is simple:  the ones who do not recognize their sinfulness in a way which causes confession and lease us to be ‘cleansed’ are apart from Christ, and the ones who do confess are ‘cleansed’ and are in Christ.”

Christ came to save sinners, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” (1 Pet 2:24)

“in repentance and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength”

The purpose of the gospel, in fact all of creation, is for God to display all of what He is in His fulness, by purchasing a people for His own possession from among sinful, defiant, enemies who blaspheme His name even while He is drawing them to Himself.  And those people He will justify and He will purify and glorify by His own power.

We are all experiencing the mercy of God with every new day, every new breath and heartbeat.  He is long-suffering in delaying the judgement we are due in His justice and hatred of sin. He is patient toward us, not willing that any would perish but that all would come to repentance.  The writer of Hebrews says “there remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God” (speaking of the rest in Christ’s salvation that was foreshadowed in the Sabbath day), and “today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart…” ( a repeated warning that is patiently held out in mercy – for a day will come – act now)

It is not about GLBT issues, it is not about social reform, it is not about creating moral laws in society, it is not about electing a moral government….it is about acknowledging that we are sinful and need to repent and submit to the sovereign Lord…it is about dying to self and being raised to new life in Christ.  His kingdom is not of this world, His children are called specifically to live holy lives with thanksgiving, praise, and dependence on Him alone, and to bring the message of repentance, reconciliation and deliverance to all who will hear.

Sorry to disappoint you if you’re hoping for some lengthy dialog over GLBT issues, at best it is an issue of debate that distracts from the real issues, at worst it attempts to ask ask again Satan’s question to Eve: “…did God really say…”

So, to come back to Julian (and by implication you can plug any and every other person in as the name), she does not have some special, unique, God-stumping problem or situation that is different from any of us.  Her problem is the same as my problem is the same as the Canaanites’ problem, we are sinners at our very core, enemies with God, our thoughts, reasoning and motives are impure, and God would be right and just to blot any of us off the face of the earth at the moment He has determined.  But God in His mercy has provided a time of mercy and calls on us to repent and put our trust in Him – we are without excuse if we will not because He says “there is salvation none other”.

The Lord’s response is to call us to repent and submit our hearts to knowing Him, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.  Putting all confidence in Him who is able “to keep that which I’ve entrusted to Him” and to complete what He has started.

I would urge you to flee to open hearted searching of Scripture to prayerfully look to the whole counsel of what God has revealed about His priorities and His salvation.  When you come across people who mock God, especially in the ‘church’, and do not reverently exposit God’s word to understand and explain it as God intended it – run away as fast as you can – do not run into their disaster with them.   I will take God at his word that it is a matter of both immediate and eternal priority.

I write this with … affection and a concern for God’s glory, please consider.

MY Friend

 

10 a My Scriptural Response to My Friend  https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/342////////

9 My Friend’s Reply to Me

8 Joann’s Reply

Dear
Rob,

I’m sure your friend Julian appreciates your friendship.  Of course he
should be welcome in the church.  The church is the body of Christ and the
pre-requisite to admission is a belief that Christ is the redeemer promised by
God and a desire to live as He taught and witness the fact to the world.
The church gives us communion with other believers and encourages us as we
worship, learn and share in each other’s lives.  Being composed of
imperfect people results in all kinds of imperfect behavior.  However, it
is blessed by Christ himself as we seek to worship truly and love as He loves.

It seems that the only examples of people being cast out of the early church
were those who professed Christian faith and lived arrogantly claiming they
were now free to do anything they wanted because they would be forgiven.
Obviously their focus was on themselves and not on pleasing God.

I’m not sure what you meant that Julian hasn’t been accepted into the
church.  Do they shun him?  Have they refused to let him
“join”?  Are they just rude?

Is it because some people think he is practicing homosexuality?  Even if
that were the case that is not a reason to not accept someone into your
fellowship.  However, the church has the responsibilty to give teaching
positions only to those who live as close to biblical teaching as
possible.  Julian’s genetic situation is not common but the situation of
his soul is common to all people.  We do all need to be forgiven and
changed. We all need to recognize that we are selfish creatures created by God
for communion with Him.  Christ came for the express purpose of making God
known to us and to substitute himself to pay the bill for our willful, sinful
core so we can be made like Him. So as Christians we know we are loved by God
and have the opportunity to accept Christ’s subsitution for our
wrongness.  I hope your friend knows the peace of God’s forgiveness and
love.

Have a great day.  Too bad we are separated by so many miles.  Love
to [your family],

Joann

 

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