Monday, January 3, 2011

Mercy Me...and everyone else.

This is for "D" and all of my "so-called" GAY friends.

A good deal of this post will simply be me politely venting over some stuff that has been building up in me for a while now. I suppose it crystalized in me yesterday morning before worship when I read a post from an acquaintance of mine on FaceBook. He linked me to an interview in The Huffington Post with an artist who is quickly becoming a favorite of mine, Derek Webb.

Back in late November, I got to see Mr. Webb and a few other artists perform. I was impressed. I discovered that Derek Webb tends to be a thorn in the side of standard American Evangelicalism. This caused me to like him almost immediately! (Kind of Christianity's Angry Young Man.) He also performed his song"Wedding Dress," which I had never heard being late to the party as usual. At this point, I think that song is the theme for my life.

You can read the interview for yourself if you desire. Just click on this link.

Suffice it to say that in the interview, Derek Webb took to task the way that many people who call themselves "Christians," treat people who are attracted to others of the same sex. Webb has a new song out that pretty much nails this issue to the wall. Enjoy it, wont you?

YES, he actually drops some "Swear Words" in that song. Not that I encourage people to cuss all that much. But at the same time, there often is room & reason to use that language to make a point.

That picture at the top of the blog is from a sign that seems to have been put up in numerous American cities. The one below here is of a boy named Justin Aaberg. He's a cute kid. Great smile. (I'm seriously jealous of his hair now that I'm losing mine.) Seems like he had a decent family. I live in the Twin Cities. Justin went to a school in the northern suburbs here. Seems like he had a good future for himself.

Justin was 15 this past summer. He was gay. He hung himself this past July because he was bullied & tormented at school so much. Did I mention that he was only 15?

15...and he hung himself.

A True Story:
Many, many years ago, I was at work one night and a bunch of us were yakking away because everything had slowed down and we were willfully wasting time. Somehow the subject of gays came up. I was still very much in my rebellious phase at that point, and had every reason not to like Christians. That night, I was blessed with another very good reason why I should despise people who call themselves "Christians."

I remember this gal that I nick-named "Judgmental Jamie" having this visceral reaction to any of us actually knowing someone who is a homosexual. "You know gay people?!?!" she yelled at us. "Well, yeah," we all said, "we know lots of different people."

"WELL, the REPUBLICAN is leaving the room!" And with that indictment, she stormed out of our area.

Now, as ridiculous as such behavior is, it also pre-supposes a rather difficult standard for me to live by. You see now, before I can say "Hello" to any stranger on the street, I must first solicit a resume' of their personality. This way, I can ascertain if they are decent enough for me to wish a good morning to. Apparently, I must have this knowledge so that I do not offer any unwarranted salutations to not only gays...Bi-Curious would be included in that catagory, but also to Wiccans, Unitarians, Animal Rights activists, Democrats & Independents, Non-Calvinists, the Left-handed, and certainly not to foreigners from non-European countries. (Russians not included. They are Slavs, breed like rabbits, and their cooking smells.)

Yep, beware the Left-Handed, kids.

And now a word about "TOLERANCE":
For the record, "Tolerance" actually means to tolerate something. (Crazy, I know!) It does NOT mean to endorse, condone or agree with something or someone. This term is more often mis-used by Americans to mean that you think something is hunky-dory, but that is incorrect. As an example, I shall use a co-worker of mine.

This un-named person is a Nazi. Yes, an actual Nazi-Nazi. He denies the Holocaust, but wishes it had happened. He hates Jews and thinks that they control the weather from some hideout in Alaska. He believes that he is a part of the "Master Race." (All of which is very impressive coming from a person who's brain is damaged from drug abuse, barely graduated H.S., will never move beyond the most menial of jobs, and now lives on welfare.)

I TOLERATE this guy and the words that come out of his mouth. There is no way in heaven or hell that I will EVER agree, condone or endorse a single thing he says or believes.

For the record, I do have opinions about Homosexuality that are based on Scripture. I try to base my life on what I read in the Bible. It's a part of following Jesus into his kingdom, you know. So with that in mind, let's take a look at just a few snippets of how God expects his followers to treat other people that they meet...this would include any & everyone we meet, be they gay, straight, somewhere in between, and even the Left-Handed.

"For I desire mercy, not sacrifice..." I.E. "WORKS" (Hosea 6:6)
"This is the Lord Almighty says: Administer true justice; show mercy & compassion to one another." (Zec. 7:9)
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

That's just from the Old Testament. Try reading for yourself what Jesus had to say about the subject of mercy. Matt. 9:12 & 13, 12:7 & 18:33 Of course, all of these are just tiny bits on the subject of mercy. Still, you get the idea fairly quickly that "Mercy" is an important issue for God. In fact, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes it very clear that he expects his followers to show mercy towards others if they expect any for themselves. (Matt. 5:7)

Also, for the record, I AM a very sinful guy. I can't seem to go more than 5 minutes without some sinful thought entering my head. I am in need a savior who will extend a massive amount of mercy to me. Perhaps I should do the same for others.

It really kills me the way many "Christians" treat people who define themselves as gay. I remember after the 9/11 attacks when Jerry Falwell blamed it on gay folks. (Because brain-washed Islamic psychos obviously had nothing what so ever to do with it.) I'm old enough to remember when AIDS first became a big deal, and many preachers called it God's divine retribution. It made me wonder what they would say to promiscuous "Straight" people if they contracted AIDS or some other nasty STD.

Everything I heard & saw from these preachers made me question if they had really read any of the Gospel accounts.

The way a Believer interacts with others is important to Jesus because we are called to reflect his kingdom in our lives. In many respects we ARE the Gospel, because we are the living, breathing evidence of what Christ can do in a person's life. So why in the world would I treat a gay person any different than I would anyone else?

I have a really cool friend who defines himself as "Gay." He also desires to follow Jesus. Needless to say, there is a struggle there. I have learned so much from him. He has taught and continues to teach me more than he will ever know. One of the first things he taught me is to shut up & listen. And out of that comes a relationship. Once the relationship is there we can talk to each other about our struggles, and lift each other up. Relationship is almost everything. With out it, we might as well just be standing on street corners holding up damning signs and screaming at each other. (Always the most effective means of changing a behavior or position, don't you agree?)

The longer I live, the more I realize how little I actually know. This causes me to look to Jesus a lot more than I used to, because I desperately need a savior to rescue me and make sense of everything around me. Life & the world are BIG, and I have such a limited understanding of most of it. For example, I will never in a million years understand how my friend can't find women interesting and attractive.

My friend truly does not give a hoot about the "Babes." I, on the other hand, cannot walk past the pharmacy at our store without having my heart go pitter-patter when I see the strawberry blond gal with the killer smile, standing behind the counter. I just don't get it. But I'm willing to listen, because I grow closer to Jesus when we talk...and I hope he does too.

I mentioned towards the top about another song by Derek Webb called "Wedding Dress." (My personal theme song.) He sings about the way he often treats God and his grace & mercy. I can't help but identify with the lyrics, because I am so extremely un-faithful towards the one who died and was resurrected for me. It causes me to remember something Jesus said on a mountain side many, many ages ago.

"God is on the side of the Merciful,
for they shall receive mercy."




  1. Joe,

    Thanks for always pointing the way clearly back to Jesus and what He decided to spend His life illustrating and living out to those around Him.

    All too often, it is so easy to get caught up in issues and causes that turn our eyes back to ourselves and cause us (me) to miss the true lessons that can be found in our daily life.

    For you friendship and encouragement, much thanks. For the Salsa and Pesto...myself, family and friends say awesome! Hope this year brings some amazing things and people your way.

    Happy New Year! I look forward to finding more time to communicate and converse about all the things we find so interesting and puzzling.


  2. I love you, bro. I hope you know that.

    I also hope you liked Derek's video.

    Justin Aaberg, I wish I would have had him in my class. Beautiful kid with a beautiful heart. I would NEVER had allowed that shit near me. Makes me sick!!!!

    You will ALWAYS be my friend.