"Diversity" ... To so many Christians this seems like a swear word. Maybe it's interpretation and maybe it's different meanings.... but in the life that I have been going through and the things that I have seen, this word is a powerful word.
This all came to my mind today when I was leaving for church. I walked out of my appartment as my downstairs neighbors were also leaving for church. I'm walking out in my jean shorts and t-shirt with a burnt cd with a mix of pop and rock songs.... this couple was leaving in their dress clothes. I got in my 5 speed Cavalier, and they probably got in a nice lincoln or something.... I went to New Life where we make sure our music is heard... they probably went to a nice quite baptist style church. Of course there is alot of speculation on my part here.... but the thing that God showed me at that point, and then even showed me more through the day... is that diversity is beautiful. Diversity *IS* what the body of Christ is. We all have our different convictions and our different styles. We all wear different clothes... we listen to different music... we drive different cars... we go different places. But in the end, we all love God -- and we all want to server Him... we just do it in our own way.... and in those ways does not mean that anyone is less pleasing to God. God is interested in our hearts.... not our styles. It's our different styles that God uses to make us effective in different areas.
My first real understanding of the word diversity was when I started working at Disney. That company preached diversity.... yet I started hearing more and more about how churches and denominations put Disney down because of their emphasis on diversity. I honestly, from day one, never understood why. I am guessing because of the fact that in Disney's way of promoting diversity, they put alot of support toward the homosexual community. But honestly, lets think back to what Jesus' life was like in the Bible. Think of the woman at the well. Jesus asks her for a drink. This woman was a samaritan. She was a sinner... she was not a Christian.... but Jesus accepted her (John 4). In my life there is an odd thing that has been happening around me. I moved to FL to work for Disney world and the shock of my life occured down there. It was all related to diversity. over 90% of the males that worked in my department were homosexuals. Now, I was always a person that was really uncomfortable around that.... but God helped me deal with it... and I really hit a point where I was not comfortable with the sin, but I was comfortable being around it. I could tolerate it (uh oh, yes.. another swear word to some Christians: tolerance). I worked there and I did my job... and I did it the best that I could.... and I gave some of those people the only glimpse of Jesus that they would ever see. The biggest shocker of all was when I was transfered to Epcot center for the Tapestry of the Nations parade. In training I met this guy.... He always wore Christian T-Shirts.... You could tell that God was in his cares. The shocker was when I found out after getting to know him, that he was gay. I struggled with this for a while and then God spoke to me. Homosexuality is a sin. There is no way around that, but the homosexual is nothing more than a sinner. It is the same with the struggles that I go through.... and that others go through. What makes homosexuality so different than lying to someone? Absolutely nothing! Do we love people who lie any less and treat them like they are not a Christian? Not typically... usually in that case we can accept the fact that everyone makes mistakes... so why can't we accept that homosexuality is a sin....
Let's look at this from another angle.... We were told (in Mathew) to go into all the world and preach the Gospel..... We were also told that the gates of hell will not prevail against us. Did anyone stop to think what that means? The gates of hell won't prevail? There is logically only one way that the gates of hell would be a stumbling block and that is if we are storming those gates. Jesus went into hell and took the keys. Think about this.... God wants us to storm the gates of hell.... He wants us to be unstoppable to the point that we could run into hell and attack. Ok, no.. we're not going physically into hell... but the meaning and anaology that Jesus used is what we need to look at. But if we boycot Disney and we restrict homosexuals from our churches -- how are we storming the gates of hell? When I say we need to promote diversity, I dont mean that we need to tell everyone it's ok to be a sinner... the same way with the world tolerate. We dont need to tolerate the sin.... we need to tolerate the sinner. And if this means letting them go on doing what they do, then thats what it means. Keep it out of our lives, yes... but if you stop there and walk away from that homosexual, what purpose have you served in God's Kingdom? The only thing you have done is removed any positive exposure from them as well as completely turned them against God even more than they probably already were.
I live in Virginia now... and here I have to say that I have 2 friends that I could single out and say that they are my best friends in VA. Both of them are homosexuals. Why? I dont know why they are my best friends.... other than God is working something... I dont know what it is... I dont know where I'm going.... the point is, I love both of these guys with the Love that Christ wants us to show others. The one friend told me that he really saw me as being different than most Christians he met. People.... This guy hates Christians.... yet we're the best friends that we can be. This has to say something, doesnt it? My friend knows that I dont support homosexuality... I know that he doesnt support Christianity.... but I can still show the Love of Christ, can I not? When he told me that he thought I was so much different than any Christian he met before, I rejoiced. I dont want to be your "typical Christian" ... I want to be someone who is going to do the work of God. If this means accepting people for who they are, then that is what I am going to do.
When I lived in Orlando, God was doing something... and I'm sure He still is. And the Power that was felt in Orlando was because of diversity. Diversity both within the church and within secular society. Baptist churches working with Pentecostal chruches... Christians working with homosexuals.... There was a great move of God down there. Then you look at Greensburg, PA and see 20 churches on main street and not one of them knows what the one next door is doing.... and then people wonder why God isn't moving? Quit trying to save the saved! You may not agree with the same things I do... but we both love God... let's put our effort into reaching the people that need reached instead of arguing who is right. Going into all of the world doesnt mean leaving our country... it means leaving our comfort zones and our churches.... That is what going into the world means to me. Believe it or not, my 2 best friends in VA are part of the world too.
WOW Bob, I have to say this is very encouraging to me as someone who struggles with homosexuality. I'm in the process of returning to a church, not sure which one, but I left because so many christians treated me so badly... the guy who slept with a prostitute was welcomed, I was shunned because I slept with a man. It's kinda funny that I read this when I did because my best friend and I just discussed this issue while I was on vacation. He may not agree with my lifestyle, but as a friend and brother he still loves me for who I am. My friend was telling me that one of his professors said that homosexualls have it the worst in the church because we are treated differenly than a man who slept with a woman out of wedlock when sin is sin. Be a friend to your gay friend and show him the love of Christ, show him the way Christ himself would have treated him. I have not come across one gay man that hasn't said that they lacked either a father or an influencial father and the thing they are searching for is the validation of another man. Thank you for being a loving friend to your gay friends even though you don't agree with their lifestyle.
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