On Orlando And The Gospel

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I don’t normally comment on current events or controversies. I think it’s better to stay quiet and keep things in my heart until the storm blows over, at which time the moment has passed and I end up having not shared my thoughts at all. For today’s shooting in Orlando, I wanted to speak what’s in my heart out loud… or at least on a computer screen.

As a Christian who experiences same-sex attraction, I don’t consider gay folks to be my “community” (the Church fills that role in the most beautiful ways). But the gay community represents everything I most certainly would be had the Holy Spirit not invaded my heart and changed my desires (and I don’t mean my sexual orientation). In very real ways, my gay neighbors and I are alike — not only because of our orientation and some of the struggles we’ve faced as a result, but also because we’re made in God’s image, made to need Him. All of us. 

Maybe that’s why this tragedy hit me harder than others have. There’s that extra piece of myself that I see in them, and in this story. I think (I hope) loving our enemies is that easy. Finding ways we’re the same — including our greatest problem, which is sin, and our only hope, which is Jesus.

Conversations in the coming days and weeks are going to touch on parts of this tragedy — gay rights, terrorism, gun control, hate crimes, and (worst of all) politics — but we can’t lose sight of the most central and hopeful part. Jesus came to earth, he “stepped down into darkness,” as we sang at church this morning, to put things right. We’re not there yet, but it’s coming. He’s already started with his resurrection and the outpouring of his Spirit. He’s making all things new (Revelation 21:5). Amid the Facebook posts, Buzzfeed articles, and TV talking heads, I can’t lose sight of the one thing they’re all likely to forget: the gospel.

That’s why I “came out” four years ago; that’s why I launched a blog; that’s why I talk so much about sexuality and singleness and happiness. To share the truth and beauty and goodness of the gospel. To try and bridge the divide, in some small way, between the Church and the people we often see as “other,” the LGBT community. I don’t want to waste another tragedy not talking about the things that really matter.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith — more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:3-7)

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3 comments on “On Orlando And The Gospel

  1. LILLIE WHITE

    Thank you Bryan for posting this. I agree so very much that we’re all in need of God’s saving grace :
    Romans 3:23New King James Version (NKJV)
    23 for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

  2. James Stolhand

    I’m a bit behind the curve, but I found this remarkably interesting, especially, “I think (I hope) loving our enemies[sic] is that easy. Finding ways we’re the same — including our greatest problem, which is sin, and our only hope, which is Jesus.” I’m sure that this blog is intended only as a medium of broadcasting your own views, not entirely dissimilar to a public journal or diary, however I find this mentality intensely interesting, since it seems to be bandied about in Christian circles.

    I’d be curious to know why being gay is a problem. Granted, I live as genuinely as possible, as a creature who wants to love and be loved romantically, I still struggle with overcoming this mentality, and it has caused a great deal of anguish in my life. I realize that, if one ascribes to Christianity, that they shall not be tempted above what they are able, how does this view necessarily jive with living ethically? Further, “I think… loving our enemies”… is precisely the mentality which precipitated the Orlando Massacre. How precisely are gay people the enemy? Or is that an aggrandized flourish?

    As a student of ethics and philosophy, it seems unconscionable that these views are inculcated, since there can be an argument mounted that these exact views put LGBT folks at greater risk for discrimination and violence. While I have never been the target of violence, I have faced rejection by my family and friends because I came to the conclusion that, if God had wanted me to be straight, then by golly I would be. It would seem that there is a new suicide in the news every week at this point, of which the person decided that there was no other way to overcome being gay except by sucking on a bullet. With that in mind, I maintain that such views are indeed immoral, and not in keeping with living an ethical life. I suppose my objection could be boiled down to, “Think of the children!”.

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