Friday, June 30, 2006

A Letter to the Old Pastor

The following was sent via email by O.F. to O.P. this morning:

O.P, after discussing this issue with my wife and with G.F.P. we've decided to move the memorial service to another location.

While I appreciate the difficulty of the position that you were in, I am very disappointed in the response of some of the staff to our personal decision to have G.F.P. officiate. He served the church faithfully for years and is a personal friend. I have done a considerable amount of research, prayer and contemplation and have arrived at the decision that if one is to be gay and follow Christ, then they as servants are accountable to their master just as we all are. I think you were quite correct to say that none of us is without sin, and I am troubled that the church as a whole seems to treat homosexuality as somehow unique unto itself as a category of sin.

For the record, G.F.P. does not "advocate" homosexuality from the pulpit. He teaches that homosexuality is likely a brokeness that resulted from the fall of man and acknowledges that this is a deviation from God's standard. However he does not require that a believer who is gay enter into an "ex-gay" program and does not teach that abstinence is a requirement for belief.

But the point, O.P., is that I am quite sure that whoever raised this objection to G.F.P. never bothered to research what G.F.P. actually teaches. They also did not presume to give me, a four year servant on the Board, the latitude to pick my own minister for my mom's memorial service--which, I'll just point out again, is not a church function and would be taking place on a Saturday when nobody but the caretaker would be there.

I don't want to force your hand on this. You are the pastor and you decide which battles to pick. But I am firmly convinced that the church (as in the evangelical church, not just this one) treats the gays in its ranks with thoughtlessness and discourtesy on a regular basis. None of us possesses absolute knowledge on this mysterious and challenging topic--but more importantly, those of us who are not homosexual have no real idea what it's like to live as one, let alone what it's like to try to reconcile homosexuality and faith. I have been listening to those who are trying, and I have heard a great many stories of mighty struggle and of painful hurts inflicted upon them by friends, family, and fellow believers who stop seeing them as the people that they are and start seeing them as "homosexuals."

I am frustrated and disappointed by this situation, but I understand where it comes from. I, for one, have no problem confronting what I believe to be the careless dismissal of gay believers, especially the one who served this church and led worship to the blessing of the congregation for several years. And taught well from the pulpit, I might add.

But like I said, you as the pastor have the authority and accountability, not me. It's not for me to force this issue around my mom's memorial service, although my wife and I do plan to be respectfully outspoken on this topic when I return.

Warm regards,



At 1:30 PM, Blogger ninjanun said...

Right on.

So did you send this? Are you gonna keep us posted as to how this situation plays out?

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

It was sent and G.F.P. was BCC'ed. Here is his response:

God bless you O.F.! I truly pray God gives your voice a hearing audience to those who exclude and often even spew bitterness and hate to we who are genuinely seeking our Lord and Savior with regard to how we are to live.

I have the greatest respect for your true faith and the way to live and love as Jesus did. God help us when the fractured and lost of our communities are further injured as the "believers" pick up rocks.

Jesus is Lord.


At 7:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's official.

You are my new blogging hero.

Do you suppose we can ever understand, much less embrace the paradox of our own humanity? We hold inside us such glory and such frailty. Our church is the same.

Your story beautifully showcases both sides of this paradox.

At 7:24 AM, Anonymous said...

I love the verse in Romans 8 which descibes how God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. :-)

I will be praying that the Lord will take these very hurtful circumstances of loss and grief which have been compounded by "yuck and ugly", to bring people to the table. Its a tough topic, but it does not require absolute agreement on the issue itself. The issue that we need to absolutely agree on and figure out is that we will choose to love each other as Christ loves us. That we will recognize and give Him credit for the work that He is doing in each of our lives - even when we have differences.

Blabbity . . . sorry, this stuff hits my buttons. :-)

Your friend's letter to the pastor was loving, honest and articulate. I pray that the words can be received in love, and that a healthy dialogue will be opened up for this local fellowship to deal with a very tough issue.

Dawn :-)

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Pammu said...

i wish i could letters that way.

i hope something happens.

At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was blessed by your blog! Thanks for your honest heart and truthfulness, it is refreshing to hear someone be real. Its cool to read about real people who serve Jesus.

I am a musician, and I would be honored if you would check out my music. All music on my site is free for download. Anyway, don't want to be a pest, I just thought that I'd share.

"All my music is free."

At 11:59 PM, Blogger dorsey said...

That was the most polite spam I've seen so far.

I'll be interested to hear how this pans out, Z-man.

Meanwhile talk to me about the lowest mortgage rates in your area. ;-)

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

I'm all over that Dorse. I can also share with you my secrets to how to lose weight without dieting... that the medical community doesn't want you to know!

At 6:54 PM, Blogger Craig Bob said...

Well said my friend (the letter, not the spam).


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