Tag Archives: forgiveness

In Case You Were Wondering…

More than once I’ve been faced with the assumption by others that if circumstances were to change in my life and in the life of my family, my beliefs would also drastically change. That myself and my siblings would, as they say, “be singing a different tune” when it comes to our convictions about God and sexuality.

I’ll be honest, if your goal is to see me angry, this assumption has been the fastest way to get there, not because it’s a sensitive area for me, not because it causes me fear or anxiety, and not because it calls into question (which it does) my faith in my dad. No, the reason this assumption can take me from zero to seething in the time it takes to make it is because it calls into question my faith in God and the very nature of my relationship with Him, as well as that of my siblings.

Facing this recently I realized that I’ve never actually taken the time to sit down and address the assumption head-on. Honestly, I’ve been so caught up in being angry that most of the people making it have never voiced it to me or my family personally and given us an opportunity to answer their questions, it never even occurred to me to spell it out myself so it was available to those who wouldn’t ask.

So, in case you were wondering what I would do/feel/think if my dad decided to embrace the identity of a gay man and settled down with a male partner, this blog entry is my attempt to answer those unasked questions and speculations.

I understand that most people have had to do very little thinking about their parent’s sexuality and the effect it has on their life, but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for most of mine. I haven’t thought about what  would happen if my dad left us for a relationship with a man once– I’ve thought about it thousands of times in my 32 years of life. When people start to speculate over what we, my dad’s children, would do if he changed his mind about the type of life God called him to, they always ponder it from this mentality that it’s a possibility that we’ve never considered, the reality of which would be completely devastating to us.

Being closely involved in my parent’s ministry for the majority of my life, I have seen up-close the pain and devastation of family’s being ripped apart by same sex attraction. I have witnessed the most steady stumble and the strongest of strong broken into bits. The possibility, no the inevitability, of my parents stumbling, failing, or falling and the pain it would cause our family has never been lost on me. I have never felt sheltered from disaster or lulled into believing that based on my Dad’s choices we have some kind of  immunity from suffering. My parent’s relationship was never a veil of perfection, and I say that with the deepest respect and love for both of them. It was very raw and honest. But these very real possibilities that have always been present in my life, are NOT sources of fear for me because if my parent’s taught me anything it was to trust God more than I trust them.

What I believe isn’t built on the foundation of my Dad’s behavior or even on what he believes. My convictions have been formed through years of knowing just how perilous the road we walk is and how much risk there is in taking it, but learning along the way that through it all God is good. God is love. And God is faithful, so “even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close”.

I can say today, with complete confidence, that my circumstances will always change, but God does not, and in that knowledge I invest my hope and security.

If my dad came home with a partner tonight I would feel angry, upset, and hurt. I would grieve, and I would believe he was wrong, but it wouldn’t change the reality of who I know God is and what my relationship with Him convicts me is true.

My love for my Dad would be the same. He’s my Dad, and I know him to be a man who struggles for righteousness in spite of himself and in spite of his occasional shortfalls and it isn’t the shortfalls that define him or my relationship to him. It’s not as though a change in circumstances would be forcing me to confront my Dad’s sin, as though I never had. At the end of the day people want to act like SSA is somehow an especially rebellious sin and it isn’t. At the end of the day someone’s pride, or their other deeply internal sins are far more deadly because not only can we not see them as clearly to help,  but they may not even see it themselves. At least with something like SSA, the issue is obvious and everyone knows what it is.

I have nothing to fear from what is exposed and out in the open and I relate to my Dad, a person who sins, as a person who is, myself, also a sinner.

Just like we need to stop putting labels on people that categorize them because it objectifies the subject, we need to stop talking about “relationships” and talk about “relating” because its the same problem. A relationship is an abstract object, but you relate to a subject. We talk about “having a relationship” like it is a thing we possess rather than relating to a person. We also tend to use relationships as a way to exercise control over other people, threatening to abandon the relationship if our expectations are not met. The nature of relating, however, is humble, it’s open and vulnerable. Isn’t this the example Jesus gave us? People have this sense that God “had to” become a human and die to fulfill some kind of cosmic blood debt that he owed himself but he could have done anything he wanted to do. He’s God! But God is love and love relates. So He became us to better relate us to Himself.

I wouldn’t believe that my father had fallen from grace, I would trust that he had fallen into it and rest in the understanding that God’s love for him is bigger than sexuality.

On the flip side of that coin, neither would I be tempted to recant my beliefs about what the bible says about sexuality and I wouldn’t change where I stand on speaking truth and love. It wouldn’t alter what I believe about salvation or grace or redemption.

I know there are some who will say that this is all easy to say, easy to convince myself of when it’s not my reality, but please, while you’re assuming and speculating, consider for a moment that my life has involved harder realities than the reality of my dad sleeping with another man would be, and here I am and God is still God.

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*Also, I’m not making an attempt here to speak for my sibling, even though I know how their answers to this question would go, they are entitled to their own way of expressing their feelings and I don’t want to strap them to my own.

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Video Tuesday : Grace Abounds

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Amen Sister!

alanandleslieIn this awesome post by Leslie Chambers (wife of Alan Chambers President of Exodus International ) she shares about her marriage, grace and true freedom in Christ! Read and enjoy! From the Exodus Blog. . .

Leslie Chambers Tackles Heterosexuality, Hyper-Grace, and Offers Hope.

Have you ever wondered what people think of you? As my husband is Alan Chambers, the President of Exodus International, I have. At present, he is somewhat of a conundrum for a lot of people. There seems to be some confusion about who he is, what he is saying and what he stands for. Here it is in a nutshell: while he has repeatedly stated his biblically orthodox view of sexuality, he has also stated his belief that one particular sin is not somehow more offensive to God than another. As his wife, I have stayed out of most of the chaos, but there are a few things that I cannot be silent about any longer. So here it goes… click here to read the rest!

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Brennan Manning. 1934-2013

With heavy hearts we share with you today a statement from the website of beloved author Brennan Manning.

It is with mixed emotions that we must tell you that on Friday April 12, 2013, our Brother Brennan passed away.

While he will be greatly missed we should all take comfort in the fact that he is resting in the loving arms of his Abba.

Sincerely,
Art & Gerry Rubino

 

The written works of Brother Brennan have touched our lives and helped us draw closer to the relentless love of our Abba Father, we are so grateful for his willingness to be honest and vulnerable so that we in our own brokenness could begin to understand how much Abba loves us.

He fought the good fight, he finished the race, he kept the faith. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. – 2 Timothy 4:7 & Psalm 116:15

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Condolences can be made at the Brennan Manning Facebook page. Purchase Brennan’s books here.

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Thoughts on Life: Don’t They Know It’s The End Of The World?

Thinking_44121810I’ve been thinking about some big things. Now, I will be the first to tell you that

  1. I might be way over my head in these ponderings, and

  2. I might also be completely wrong ( or at least a little off base 🙂

But let me go on and you can add your thoughts and ideas and arguments in the comments, I would love that.

In our current social/political climate I think it’s understandable that I would be asking a lot of questions about the fate of our world, from gun laws and mass shootings to same sex marriage and divorce, I think it’s fair to say the moral compass of our land is in question but my big thoughts are more concerned with  the roles of the church and followers of Christ in this present situation.Are we really doing what , based on the Bible, our beliefs command us to do?As a very wise friend of mine said, in a fabulous blog post you should totally read

“ In the Great Commission it says to make disciples of all nations … not disciple the nation.”

If, as the Bible teaches us , we believe that this world will part ways with the way God intended it to be to the point that Jesus returns, what then is our role in this predictable sinking ship, if you will ?

As Galadriel says in The Lord of the Rings ” The time of the elves is over.Do we leave Middle-Earth to this fate? Do we let them stand alone?”

If we look at Jesus in the Gospels we do not see a man concerned with the political arena, a man desperate to change the morals of the people by way of the laws of the land. We see our Saviour in the communities he finds himself, reaching out for connections with the people. We see Him meeting their needs, reaching into their lives through relationship, compassion, kindness.

Right now is a trying and yet wonderful time to be a part of the Body of Christ, Grace is being taught and lived in our churches in a more honest way than it has been in a long time, but at the same time our influence in the world is  decreasing.Truthfully I would have to say that we are in the middle of two extremes, on one side we are overly concerned with “ discipling  the nation” and on the other we are courting the worlds affection and second guessing every sermon to make sure we aren’t offending anyone. I know this is not an easy road to navigate,it’s right for us to proclaim the Gospel and to be fearless in our desire for holiness, and  it’s right for us to challenge ourselves against scripture and check our selves to make sure we are being loving and speaking truth in that love , at the same time Jesus made it very clear that the world would hate us the way they hated Him.  (John 15:18) Can we handle that?

In an open letter to the American Church, author Brennan Manning wrote at length about the state of our church today , the whole letter is worth reading but I will only quote a bit of it here, You can read the rest in his book The Signature of Jesus.

“If the apostle (Paul) were to return to the earth today, I believe he would call the entire American church to return to the discipline of the secret. This ancient practice of the apostolic church was implemented to protect the sacred name of Jesus Christ from mockery and the mysteries of the Christian faith from profanation. The ancient church avoided mention of baptism, Eucharist, and the death and resurrection of Christ in the presence of the unbaptized. Why?  Because the most persuasive witness was the way one lived, not the words one spoke. Soren Kierkegaard once described two types of Christians: The first group comprises those who imitate Jesus Christ; the second are those who are content to speak about him. “ (emphasis mine)

If we are supposed to leave people with no question of our faith and if the best way to demonstrate and share our faith is through showing real tangible love in the ways that Jesus demonstrated then aren’t we called to be set apart by our unfathomable love for others and extreme acts of grace and mercy ?To truly set ourselves apart by our actions in this world? Perhaps living our faith out loud is not about standing on a street corner yelling about the sins of the world but being a people that act so differently that the world is forced to ask “ what is the hope that is in you?”

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Easter Things!

OldRuggedCross_Sept06cropBWsmall.sized_Easter is such an important time. A sacred time of reflection,  thankfulness, Victory, love and remembrance. This year I have been so overwhelmed with the amazing works of tribute to this important weekend that I couldn’t think of anything better to do for our readers than to just share those things with you. So here is a list of some of the things that have been a blessing to me this Easter. If you think of something that should be on this list, share it in the comments and I will be sure to add it. Happy Easter Y’all!

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A Safe Place.

Today I read this article Growing Up With Two Moms:The Untold Children’s View, it was written a few months ago by a man named Robert Lopez who grew up with two moms, he shares about his confusion and difficulty growing up without a father or any other male role model.He also talks about feeling silenced by the gay community .  Having grown up in a somewhat more traditional family with only one SSA parent I don’t know the same pain as Robert Lopez but I do identify with his frustration about not being counted,but instead silenced. He talks about being ignored and treated like it would be better if his voice was erased from the public conversation on this issue. And while I don’t share all of his views I appreciate and commend his determination and willingness to speak out .

He also talks about the affirmation he found in the 2012 Regnerus Study , a study that explores the impact of SSA parenting on the children involved. And it makes sense that he would feel that way. The study has received praise and criticism but I don’t think voices like Mr. Lopez’s can be ignored anymore.

At Tourniquet we are not here to push any agenda whether we agree with it or not. What we are here to do is give people like Me, like Mr. Lopez , like you a safe place to speak, a place to find support and understanding and a place to find a way forward. We believe that restoration is possible even in these  hard situations and that no matter what your upbringing you can find hope and freedom through a relationship with Jesus Christ. We hope to one day be able to reach more and more kids of SSA parents because we know the loneliness of growing up where you are misunderstood from every side and we have found that there is restoration in Jesus and a purpose in our stories!

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Awesome Blogs: Boldly Sharing His Story.

I just read this wonderful testimony from a young man named Everett Wickham, it blew me away. He shares about his journey with Same Sex Attractions, porn addiction and his desire for God. Go read it for yourself and leave him some encouragement or a kind word. I think he is very brave for sharing his story . To see a man his age longing for God with such determination in the midst of such a serious battle is really very cool. And it’s not that he believes that God is going to magic his SSA away, he says in the post

“We (as Christians) all wrestle with various sins, and if I had to pick something to struggle with, this sin would not be it. But I can’t choose my struggles. Neither can you. I can, however, choose what I do with them. I can choose to deny myself every day, and take up my cross, and follow Christ. So can you.

And that is what I am doing. This journey is a very difficult one, and God is still writing it. I am turning my story over to Him, and I am submitting it to Him. Part of that is obeying His command to share it with you. Living two different lives is utterly horrible. And telling you my story brings a great level of transparency to my life. It’s God’s story to do what He pleases with. I am His child. God is showing me that He does indeed “cause all things to work together for good” (Romans 8:28).”

! Very cool stuff. Go read it! And then pray for this young man, we as the body of Christ need to be constantly praying and lifting up the younger ones in our family.

Also check out Truth Ministry in South Carolina,their director McKrae Game who, as you will see in Everett’s story helped him so much, has a wonderful testimony and  blog too!

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Christ Crucified

In the beginning was the Word,and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.In him was life,and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness,and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-

With all of the “Gay Christian” controversy and conversation going on, it’s led me to think very deeply about what I believe about salvation and ask a lot of questions. I like to pool my resources and dip into perspectives that are different than my own, I like to reach outside of my comfort zone when I’m searching myself and God this way, because, honestly, some of the best answers come from the places that are less familiar to me. Shocking, I know.

Thinking about what I believe about salvation has led me, naturally, straight to the cross and stirred some interesting feelings and reactions that I didn’t quite expect from myself, and from those whom I’ve asked questions of. I like to challenge myself, perhaps more than I should at  times, but for the most part I think it’s a good thing. For this reason when I feel resistant to something (most of the time) I want to know why, when I sense other people feel resistant to something I want to know why even more. Where do resistance and the cross meet? Let me tell you.

My spiritual influences have been predominately Protestant/Evangelical until the last few years as I’ve began to deeply appreciate and have interest in Orthodox Christianity. Something I’ve noticed about Protestants is that, for the most part, when we talk about The Cross, we talk about, well, the cross… as in literally the wooden beams that Jesus was hung on, but very rarely do we focus on Him actually hanging there. Think about it, when we wear crosses, they aren’t crucifixes, it’s just the image of the cross. How often have you seen pictures of the three crosses on a hill depicted in Protestant/Evangelical churches? In my own mind, when the cross is mentioned, in my head it’s not the torture device bearing my dying Savior, it’s a pristine naked cross that reflects that same Savior risen. This isn’t a terrible thing, but I thought it was interesting, especially interesting when I started to note my own reaction to images of Jesus on the cross.

I’ve always had the impression that Protestants were more interested in a resurrected Christ than a dying Christ. I’ve accepted the message of the hope of the Risen Savior without question, and don’t get me wrong, it is a very good message. But there seems to be this resistance within Evangelicalism to see Jesus on the cross, I have sensed it in myself and in others.  Images of Jesus dying are unnecessary and keeping a crucifix is taboo or ultra religious.

Thus my curiosity was stirred and I began to dig, and to keep it simple the gist of what I’ve found is that my Protestant/Evangelical brothers and sisters seem to think that the message of Jesus on the cross is not as important as the message of Jesus risen. Or to say it a different way, why focus on the gory sad part when we can be glad that Jesus rose again and defeated death and sin? Well yes, why in the world… except…

We think of Jesus as all God and all man right up until the cross and then he becomes simply all man. All man dying. We view him there as we would view a man sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit, it grieves us, we sense the injustice, we are even able to accept and mourn the fact that it is in our place that he dies. But in the moment to many of us, Jesus, the Son of God, is just one of us dying, we even wonder sometimes if we would be able to die for love of someone else. Then we move on and Jesus becomes God again as he defies all odds and raises from the dead. We revel in the impossible beauty of our Risen Savior, our Jesus who isn’t destroyed in death but who lives victorious.

What we’re failing to realize is that as impossible and beautiful the resurrection is, God’s death on the cross is even more impossible and more beautiful. Why? Because God died on the cross.  Digest those words for a moment. I don’t blame some of us for resisting any type of focus on this one area, because as I attempt to really grasp it, it’s horrifying and beyond my ability to cope with fully understanding. It is a mystery unlike any other, but after having really thought about it, for me it has become the most crucial part of understanding salvation and who I am in Christ.

                                                                                         

If I’ve quoted Peter’s words once, I’ve quoted them a thousand times, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18) and I’ve always believed that what was done on the cross covered past, present, and future, but when I stopped thinking of a man dying on that cross and came to terms with my God dying on it, this truth took on new meaning. I realized that Jesus’ death was not a moment in time, or a historical event, but rather an irrevocable fact. The reality of God dying for us is so impossible, if we can even begin to wrap our minds around it as a reality, that it is uncontainable, limitless, it has no boundaries. It didn’t just change the course of the future, it reached into the past and made human existence possible, otherwise the world would have caved in on itself when Eve took the first bite of the forbidden fruit. Creation wasn’t made to be in rebellion against its Creator, but we are given the opportunity to exist and be reconciled to our Creator because God died and rose again.

How do we dare to question that there is -anything- that could not be covered by what was done on the cross by God himself? If there was anything that was not covered we would all cease to exist.

I cannot bear to weigh sin any longer, not my own, and certainly not the sin of others. Sin and death were broken when the Creator of all things sacrificed himself. If I truly believe that what the Bible says was done on the cross was actually done, who am I to question who does or does not belong to God?

The sight of a crucifix is still uncomfortable to me, but not because it seems spooky or religious, but because it reminds me of something real that I cannot fully understand and I welcome the reminder.We have to stop leaving Jesus off of the cross, because when we do it becomes less about him and more about a status symbol. Perhaps it would do us all good to stop being so proud of what we think we know, and be humbled by what happened on the cross and what we cannot understand. After all, God told Adam and Eve to eat freely from the tree of Life, but to leave the tree of knowledge alone.

It doesn’t matter to me what your sexual orientation is, where your weaknesses lie, what are your strengths, credentials, what denomination you belong to, or where you align yourself politically, it’s not my job to decide whether you belong to God or not. All I can do is turn to the Father with all I am, encouraging you to do the same, and let his grace and love draw out of us what is true. He has given me the ministry of reconciliation, not condemnation.

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