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We’re in a mess, really. All of us have contributed to it through words, deeds or . . . silence.

Most evangelicals feel compelled to let everyone know that they believe same-sex intimacy is not biblical. Those from the social justice camp, believing same-sex attraction is innate, are committed to normalizing homosexual behavior on all levels of church and society–no matter what it may cost us. It’s all the makings for a high speed collision. Some are scrambling for seat belts. Others are pushing eject buttons.

How can we live with this tension? Like Mom and Dad did, I suspect.

Dad battled Parkinson’s Disease for over a decade. The fall of 2011, his health began to decline rapidly. The following spring he passed into the next life. During those nine months of decline I came to understand more fully just how deeply my parents loved each other.

Upon being discharged from the hospital, Dad was not stable enough to go home, and yet the only place for him was a crowded room in an understaffed nursing facility. Thin curtains separated the beds and blocked the main light. In the dimness, the mutterings of incoherent roommates filtered about the room. Feeble and exhausted, Dad looked at Mom and pleaded, “Don’t leave me here.” Mom, fighting back tears, leaned over the bed, embraced and kissed him. That portrait of love will forever be etched on my mind.

A few days before his passing, my siblings and I were comforting him with words we felt he needed to hear. The medication and dementia which travel with Parkinson’s patients had clouded his mind. We wondered how much of what we said he actually understood. But he nearly wept with joy when we assured him, “You provided well for Mom.”

Did Dad and Mom agree on everything? Of course not. She hated traveling in snow and made that very clear. Dad, seemingly deaf to her cries, would quietly plow forward through the blizzard.

Both were children of the Depression but reacted differently to the post-war boom. Money was a tension point. One wanted to spend more on decorations and appliances; the other pinched every penny. They went through 65 years of marriage without an air conditioner! In July and August, that could have produce considerable tension!

Healthy relationships can stand that kind of tension, disagreeing without being disagreeable. But in the Church we just don’t have the stomach for that, it seems. Fearing slippery slopes, those on the “right” shrink back from any form of compromise. The “left” seems resolved to press forward until all see things as they do–even if it further fractures the Church. This is most apparent within mainline denominations, but is doubtless present within all stratas of the American Church.

The next blog will propose how we can move forward. Love, trust and perspective are key.

But for now, how can we begin to rebuild love and trust within the Church at large? Your thoughts?

  • John Emigh

    Very well thought out, well written, presenting both sides fairly, and all in a loving tone…. as you always do. Thanks!

  • John Seth

    You have my attention…looking to see how you develope an apologetic of love: loving the one you disagree with, keeping integrity of heart and mind and spirit in tact while embrassing the one you reject.

    • Mark Ongley

      Loving. Yep? Keeping integrity? Have to. Embracing those we disagree with? If their arms are open!

  • Bryan C

    You have my attention a difficult issue, I think I have my seatbelt on and waiting on the collision. I do want to see how other leaders are approaching this issue and maintaining the integrity of scripture. Will it be possible to avoid the collision in light of the current agendas.

  • Dan MacKinnon

    True love does not allow us to look past people and turn them into issues. Like Mark, I think there is a way forward but it begins with ending the battlefield rhetoric and accepting that we are all broken. My brokenness may show up in a different way than yours but I am still broken, and Jesus’ grace still reaches me and you both.

    • Mark Ongley

      Great word, Dan.

  • This acknowledgment of brokenness from leaders in churches is, I believe, an important first step in any conversation on sexuality. Thank you, Dan and Mark. I am eager to learn how to communicate agape love to those with whom I disagree. May God raise up a mighty Apostle Peter in this day and age!

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