Saturday, January 09, 2010

Coming Revival Amongst the Gays???

Some of you have caught wind that Tony Jones has stirred up a bit of conversation about the possible demise of Vineyard and Calvary Chapel. Now Iggy has weighed in with a very interesting comment:
It seems there are many Vineyards that may be as you described, yet there are also many that are not. Presently I attend a great one. I know also that Jason Clark in the UK is Vineyard… so I wonder… is your analysis quite as right on as it could be? Remember we entered the Anita Baker era in the 80’s so homophobia was rampant… so it would follow suit that many CC and Vineyards would turn against those they found to be gay. Yet, I see a openness that is returning… Vineyard is actually turning to N.T. Wright as far as theology… and many of us are looking at the gay community as the next wave of God’s grace. To put it in the old terms… some are seeing a revival coming out of the gay communities.
A couple of things struck me as I read Iggy's comment.

1) Finally someone said it. Really I think we need to recognize the context in which Lonnie carried out his ministry. This is not an excuse for homophobia, or even a watering down of the gravity of the injustice of homophobia, but a simple recognition that this is what was being done at the time. We need to look back and say in that context we probably wouldn't have done any better - but that should provoke us to make sure we don't perpetuate the ignorance that was the homophobia of the 80s. What I took from David's film is that John didn't respond until it was thrown out in the open by someone else. My gut tells me we just don't know enough about what happened and neither man is around to probe into this any further.

2) About time. I have been feeling for a while that there is a work of grace that God wants to do in the homosexual community. I say this as someone who hasn't completely worked out what I believe about homosexuality. So far I'm convinced that orientation is not sin and that the scriptures are far from clear on the topic (despite what some have asserted). I'm also confident that God loves homosexuals, and that God has put a huge love in my heart for homosexuals that are in my life, some of whom I know also love God in profound ways. Maybe I should have taken a clue from my friend James, way back in my early Christian days he befriended me and let me in on his struggles with self-worth. All of them centered on a lack of acceptance for him as he knew he was - didn't James deserve unconditional love too? He asked me what I thought of him being gay (this was the first thing he ever said to me) and I told him I didn't think God approved but that I was ok with that. I don't think he expected that from the fundie Pentecostal he worked with. As I got to know James I began to see the ways in which God was reaching into his broken life and trying to heal the rejection he'd faced. I also noted that God's agenda was bigger than Jame's sexual orientation - James was a person Jesus loved and longed to be with. I'm not sure where it would go from there, I leave that to God. I moved away and left James with another very capable Christian to be friend and counselor. What saddens me most though is that finding Christians who were capable of seeing someone like James through the eyes of God's love are still few and far between.

3) But haven't we also heard... Even though I felt that news of a grace revival amongst the gay communities was hopeful I can't help remembering all the other sources that us charismatics have been claiming revival would come. I am tired of it. Revival is coming from the North. Revival is coming to the Middle East. I can't help wondering how much of that is individuals crafting false hopes because they simply don't have the psychic energy needed to deal with the spiritual needs around them. Or worse because they can't cope with the fallen world we live in and want to escape. I'm not sure this is the same thing, but I feel caution is the word. Revival is not a word I like that much anyway. Revival never comes by our initiative, although I do believe that true revival is proceeded by prayer - not all prayer efforts resulted in revival (nor should they). Rather I think these things must be processed as invitations. I think that if you feel God wants to move in a particular community - then do something about it. That might be the very call to prayer that I was talking about earlier. But it is also a call to act. I am not confident in revivals (they don't usually end well), but I am confident in God's desire to reach into all communities and bring Good News that changes lives. Sadly, I'm also convinced that Jesus' assessment is still good today - the workers are few.


Anonymous said...

Interesting Frank... I'm not sure of the context here, but I admire greatly your words. Human beings are human beings, regardless of their orientation. We are one humanity and all of us are in this together.

I have personnaly experienced a wonderful work of grace that has opened my heart to people of whatever orientation they may be. As I contemplate the incarnation, I see the God who enters into the human condition with us, satisfies a longing in humanity, and draws near to everyone of us. I too haven't really worked my thoughts on this...

I know this though, as you said, Jesus has come, all of us, great and small, He came for all of us. If I look with any kind of disdain at anyone, no matter who they are, it almost seems like a offense against the incarnation.

david said...
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