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I’m a hopeless idealist. At least nearly hopeless.

In the last blog, I likened the division of the Church over homosexuality to a collision about to happen. And I stated that trust, love and perspective are the means to avoiding the crash. My hope? That it’s never too late to avoid the collision.

Recently realism woke me up with a cold slap in the face. The collision is already happening, albeit in slow motion. Denominations have already divided and will likely continue to do so. Local churches and families are fracturing and fissuring.

Like actor John Astin as the teacher in “West Side Story”, I’ve hoped someone could stand up at the school dance, urging both the Jets and the Sharks to “just get along.” Maybe they’ll dance nicely with each other. (Yeah, I know how that movie ended. But I’m still an idealist.)

It is never too late to begin doing the right thing! What is the right thing? Learning to dance together. Taking the initiative ourselves. Not from a top-down ecclesiastical mandate, but a personal walk across the gym, offering our hand and dancing song by song. Shedding the metaphor, it’s building relationships and combining efforts. Why? Lot’s of reasons. We are all actually on the same side as far as the Kingdom is concerned. Jesus prayed that we would be one, even as he and the Father are one. And there’s a heck of a lot more we agree on than the several issues which divide us. It begins by building trust and love.

But perspective is also a missing element. Probably the biggest. As previous blogs and the free download have pointed out, we are fixated on the wrong issue. What about human trafficking, healing of sexual abuse, ministry to the sexually addicted and sexually averse? These neglected matters effect perhaps 70% of our culture. Jets, Sharks and everyone in between are needed to to address these issues. And as the Body comes together to bring healing, grace and freedom, we will live out before our culture the love of the Savior.

This is not to ignore or dis the pain of the LGBT community and their sympathizers. For many of them, their deepest wounds have been caused by church people. Certainly wrongs need to be righted. But there are masses of people who carry pain they feel no freedom to voice within the local church. Over 30% of women and 20% of men live lives crippled by sexual abuse. Who will speak for them? Internet access to porn and social media sites has accelerated sexual addiction, adultery and use of porn. Will the Church do more than shame people into accountability groups? As for victims of human trafficking: What about uniting to build an underground railroad? And the greatest silence is among those in marriages jolted by sexual aversion. No one in the Church seems willing to even bring up this delicate issue.

The prophetic courage of the social activists is needed. Evangelicals can be tapped for their zeal for the lost. Those from the Holiness and Incarnational traditions can contribute with their wisdom. And the Charismatics have much to teach us about the workings of the Spirit to bring healing to the broken.

Everyone is too busy. I get that. Churches have committee meetings, Bible studies, potlucks, ladies meetings, bake sales, rummage sales . . . Pretty important stuff. How can we find time to unite with others to address these issues? I don’t know. But we seem to find plenty of time, money and newsprint to spar over homosexual concerns.

When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way,
From your first cigarette to your last dying day!

OK. I’m not asking you to change your opinion on the nature of homosexuality. I’ve delved into the matter as much as anyone and more than most. For me the traditional view lines up most clearly with all of the evidence. I’m a Jet, and you may be a Shark. But gang fights are not the way of the Kingdom. There is so much more we could do if we could just learn how to dance. The movie doesn’t have to end with gunshots in the playground.

Any other idealists out there? Can this happen? What am I missing?

  • Dean Ziegler

    I resonate with that, Mark. Well said, my friend.

  • John Emigh

    Yes- as we see “sharks” breaking church law and “jets” filing charges, and the John Astin’s (the teacher, i.e. bishops) reluctantly holding trials it does appear that the collision has already begun. Pray that way forward can be found without compromising Biblical truth.

  • Heather Escontrias

    I don’t find it hard to collaborate with people who have differing opinions from mine. I draw the line, however, when it comes to working with people whose attitude towards others is abusive or demeaning. In particular, I find that the issues of racism and sexism are inconsistent with the Gospel and so I find it hard to work with people who hold those views. On the issue of homosexuality, I believe that there are very committed and sincere believers on both sides of the debate. I am interested in engaging in meaningful dialogue with anyone, on either side of the issue, who can approach this issue of homosexuality without being demeaning to others.

  • Jean Smith

    Well said. If only…..

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