Posted by loswhit in Deep Stuff

I got this question from a great friend who was let go from a church staff because he struggled with homosexuality and asked him if I could share it with you.
It read…

If a fat man can lead a church, serve on a church staff, and not be held responsible for his lack of self discipline when it comes to gluttony…
Then why can’t a gay man lead a church, serve on a church staff and not be held responsible for his lack of self discipline when it comes to homosexuality?

I’ll share my response tomorrow…
But for tonight…
I’d love to hear your answers.
Answers…
Los

  • http://human3rror.com John (Human3rror)

    you like fire.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      ;)

      • http://human3rror.com John (Human3rror)

        FIRST! i win.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      and yet it seems like he never gets burned

    • Traci

      the reason this question would warrant any significant discussion would be due to the lack of knowledge in the church and otherwise of the spiritual realm and the ramifications of sexual sin versus others sins. even Jesus made a distinction between the consequences of sexual sin and others. People involved in sexual sin are subject to powerful demonic attachments and lead people to the path of reprobate mind. Not to mention the devastation and destruction you pass on to your family, sexual partners and the church at large. This kind of enslavement to such a powerful sin also grieves the Holy spirit and enslaves the flesh to a point that a mans judgement on spiritual matters and the ability to hear from God could certainly not be trusted or relied upon.

      • http://nathanielmarquez.wordpress.com/ Nathaniel

        So then why was David considered to GOD … did he not defile himself & murder someone … a sin is a sin is a sin … while we try to make a distinction of sins to gratify our own agendas … the fact is that the BIBLE does say all have sinned and come short … it does say … if have lustful thoughts you have already committed sin … sin is a matter of the heart no matter what it is … we all have crazy thoughts … most wont admit it … and while it is influenced by what we allow to minister to us … the fact is … its the declaration of this struggle with homosexuality that will allow for healing … God knows our conditions … he wants us to declare it … because by doing so we are talking to him thus “BUILDING” a relationship with GOD … and the people that are present in the room when such a declaration should walk softly lest they forget … they have been forgiven also … because the BIBLE still calls the prodigal “SON” … and the BIBLE also tells us that if you offend one of his children that we would be better off tying a rope hooked up to a millstone and throwing it into the sea … and yet it tells those doing the confession not to be offended … BOTH SIDES NEED TO CONSIDER THAT GOD WILL JUDGE … FAT OR NOT IF HE IS THE PASTOR HE IS STILL GODS MAN … LET GOD DEAL WITH IT (AS DAVID DID WITH SAUL) will this be a hard thing to do … most likely … and OUTSIDERS LOOKING IN MUST CONSIDER THAT HE DID WHAT HE WAS SUPPOSED TO ON HIS OWN HE WENT TO THE LEADERS AND CONFESSED HIS SIN … so we as the outsiders need to HOLD HIM UP … otherwise we are not following the BIBLE …

      • abriggs

        Amen Traci. Also, not all fat people are fat because of gluttony. Some people have real medical issues that can cause them to be overweight. The Bible is very direct about sexual sin being a sin against our own bodies and how devasting it can be.

  • http://mrclm.blogspot.com Chris Meirose

    Both are sinful, but the fat man has to eat something, not so for the other.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      ummmmm

      • http://kellygoinsproject.net tenmileg

        Is the guy gay or struggling with the sin? I think there’s a difference.

    • http://mcblake.com Mark Blake

      If we’re going to operate with that kind of logic then it would be wiser for a man struggling with homosexuality to serve in a church than a man struggling with gluttony.

      Since, as you said, the fat man has to eat something (i.e. put himself in a position that easily invites the possibility for him to fall back into gluttony).

      Not so for the other.

      • http://mrclm.blogspot.com Chris Meirose

        Wasn’t a statement of logic, just pointing out the dilemma.

    • http://blog.rrchapman.us Bob Chapman

      Homosexuality is not about having intercourse. A person can never have had sex and yet be as queer as a $3 bill.

    • Sandy

      People need to love and be in relationships as well … that argument doesn’t hold a great deal of merit.

    • Hannah Wilson

      has to eat SOMETHING…not EVERYTHING. so, you’re basically saying gluttony is ok because we HAVE to eat. i think you missed something there.
      i think god wants us to love the sinner, not the sin. to accept some people into the church because we think their sins are smaller or less important to god means we as the church have seriously missed the point of being the church!

  • http://joshuaonesix.com Alex Quinonez

    Just because you are fat doesn’t make you a glutton.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      And he would say just because you struggle with homosexuality doesn’t make you a sex maniac.

      • http://www.mattmacdonald.ca matt

        what??

        not all fat people suffer from gluttony…

        ALL dudes that think about other dudes naked suffer from homosexuality.

        one is a sin SOME of the time…the other is a sin ALL of the time.

        P.S this conversation is irrelevant. ANYONE living in habitual sin should not be in a place of leadership within the church…full-stop.

        Let’s not benchmark our sin with someone else. How is it Biblical to say, “okay…so i’m living in sin…but other ppl are and getting away with it, so it’s what’s up with that??”

        What’s the verse about the plank and the spec…oh yea Matthew 7:3-5 LOOK IT UP.

        • http://quotable1988.wordpress.com Matthew W

          Your second statement is logically inverted from your first statement. Let me restate what you just said, using the same logical premises:

          Not all fat people suffer from gluttony.
          All homosexual “dudes” suffer from homosexual lust (i.e. “think[ing] of other dudes naked”).

          Those two statements are logical equivalents. However, imho, the second is not true.

          Is it possible for a heterosexual male to be attracted to a woman without thinking of her naked? Or without lusting after her in any way, for that matter?
          I believe it is.
          In the same way, it is possible for a homosexual male to be attracted to a man without thinking of him naked… or lusting after him in any way.

      • http://www.twitter.com/dadoflevi gary

        I struggle to see what being a sex maniac has to do with being a homosexual.

  • Becka

    Bravo. And Chris, that was an ignorant statement.

    • http://mrclm.blogspot.com Chris Meirose

      Ignorant in what way? It wasn’t a judgment, just a statement of dilemma.

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

    uhhhhhhhh….

    well I think it either means that we are saying we have conditions to each sin or that we are prejudice…but there is definitely a message there on what we approve and what we turn a blind eye to.

    How about this, how can anyone be a minister? By their (the ministers church that let them go) no one can fill the pulpit because we have all sinned. I guess the real question or the amazing thing is that God uses sinners to advance his Kingdom.

    From Soren Kierkegaard
    “God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners.”

    But I am sure that this response will leave no room for grace and could be misconstrued for me saying that homosexuality is okay…or for that matter being a glutton is okay.

    All this to say, I have no answers.

    • kennyd

      Me 2. Thank GOD He does…

    • alan

      While an understandable reaction, this still sounds like a 4th grader on the playground saying, “So what if I pulled Susie’s hair at recess and made her fall down? Billy stole Kyle’s lunch money and he didn’t get in trouble!” Is this how we want to carry on the conversation – minimizing or even justifying our failure by pointing to the failure of another? This is not just a theologically bad argument, it’s simply immature.

      • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

        I guess I see what you are saying…kind of.
        The only question or maybe what I am trying to say and it doesn’t translate very well. But I really was not trying to minimize failures because everyone else is doing it.

        My whole point falls inside of the lines that I am a sinner and I struggle and amazed that God still gives me grace.

  • http://www.chrisburke.ca Chris Burke

    touchy subject.. I guess for me the question would be, was he LIVING a gay lifestyle.. i.e. shackin up with dudes.. or was it just inner feelings he was having.. if it was just feelings.. and he wasn’t acting on them, i think he shouldn’t have been let go of.. because he recognized his sin, and didn’t act on it..

    as for the topic of the fat guy.. i don’t know why we as the church do this.. i don’t understand why we elevate some sins over the other.. it doesnt make much sense to me.. I’m not skinny.. I wouldn’t say i’m fat, but I can certainly loose a few (50) pounds.. but I am also aware of my eating habits, my unfortunate circumstance (3 herniated disks) prevents me from doing any type of useful exercise.. so i can only loose weight by eating right.. which only goes so far.

    interesting topic though for sure.. will be interesting to see what kind of comments come back

    • B

      I’m sure that the homosexual man could come up with all kinds of excuses too such as he was born that way, he was sexually abused, he isn’t attracted to women…. What makes your excuses more valid in excuse of sin? We are all forced to play with the cards we are dealt.

      • http://mcblake.com Mark Blake

        But we’re not necessarily talking about the same thing – being overweight and the sin of gluttony are not mutually inclusive.

        Being overweight may simply be the consequences of sin – simply put: We live in gluttony, we gain weight.

        So in this example we may be trying to compare two unlike things.

        Don’t take this as me siding one way or another, though. I am simply stating that the illustration may be inappropriate.

        • http://theologyforreallife.com/ mikeraburn

          No amount of environmental contextualization excuses sin. We are born with a sin nature, but that does not excuse our sinfulness. Living in a gluttonous culture does not excuse the sin of gluttony.

          • http://mcblake.com Mark Blake

            I did not intend to imply environmental justification. I was referring to a man being overweight as a result of living a life of gluttony in the past; being fat in the present may only be a reflection of the consequences of gluttony.

            Don’t take this as me saying that all overweight people are now, or have ever been, gluttons. I know that that is not always the case and I do not mean to imply it.

      • http://www.mattmacdonald.ca matt

        born gay? really?

  • kennyd

    was jus discussing this with friends. No conclusions except we are all sinners saved by grace. what about those living together but not married. Technically it’s adultery. Does fat (gluttony) = adultery = homosexuality? And if we have the discipline to control those, we are STILL sinners saved by grace. Dis is why I don’t do religion…I just do faith.

  • http://stephenbateman.com/connect Stephen Bateman

    It’s easy for me to hate sin that isn’t particularly personal to me…
    But if I say something about eating habits…I have to start thinking about *my* eating habits.

    is the fat man’s weight impeding his relationship with God and others?

    • Rita

      I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a non-repentant homosexual who would say that his sexual preferences “impede his relationship with God and others”.

      • Kat

        Agreed.

      • Russell

        Because it doesn’t or his eyes are blind to see it?

  • http://iamlivingproof.org/ Joseph Louthan

    Both are sinful and both men are not being held accountable and both men are not being rightfully subjected to church discipline according to Matthew 18:15-20.

    If that was the actual case, then my heart breaks into a million pieces because no one loves either man to be their true brother in Christ and walk with them in love of Christ.

  • Colin Moran

    So if you work at a church one of the qualification is can’t be a sinner?

    I dont agree with the homosexuality bit, just a question

  • http://www.justlivingthelife.com Jay

    I ask too. Why can’t he?

    Seriously. I am thankful I have access to a gentleman who is not only a man of God, but also a psychologist who worked in the clinical field. He’s one of our church elders and during a leadership class we were involved with, a discussion about homosexuality was raised.

    We discussed questions about whether or not gay people can go to heaven (Yes, they can) and would people pass from this life still struggling with homosexuality. He said without hesitation the answer was yes. He said there will be people who will have that struggle buried so deep within their psychosis that it will never change until they are in Heaven with their glorified body. He said the church is losing people like your friend because people falsely believe that no “true” Christian could have such struggles.

    He has said something that is so simple, but so profound and not enough people get it, particularly Christ followers. He said, “We’re humans first. Christian second.”

    I’ll be praying for your friend. I hope that he finds a church that will accept him, knowing he still struggles in that way.

    • Kjell

      “We’re human first. Christian second.”

      Perhaps that’s the way it IS, but I don’t believe that’s the way God intended. There’s a ton of examples of scripture that talk about putting our selfish humanity to death; putting our old life to death. Jesus instructions to the woman caught in adultery were really overly simplistic: Go and sin no more. I can’t see how we can live out God’s will for our lives if we put our humanity first. It’s our humanity that got us into this sinful condition in the first place. If we focus on being Christ followers first, the rest of life flows quite simply. Not that being a Christ follower is easy, but our humanity leads us into sin whether it’s gluttony or something more taboo.

      • http://www.justlivingthelife.com Jay

        Well, that’s the point isn’t it? It’s not what God intended, but it is what it is. I know all about the scripture and understand it. That still doesn’t mean we’re not going to struggle with sin. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15-16, ” Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.” Not “was” the worst. AM the worst. Paul didn’t stop sinning because he became a Christ follower. While it is to be our life’s pursuit to be like Christ, all of us will fall short. It’s not about the attitude of putting our humanity first. It’s about understanding that our humanity is often going to win out over our faith. If that wasn’t a concern, saying “we’re human first” would not apply.

        • http://www.pjs-til-noon.com jennybek

          Bravo!

        • Rachel

          Amen Jay! This is the most reasonable comment I have yet to see on this forum. I will second jennybek’s Bravo! If only all Christians understood this, I believe that we would see SO many more people turn to Christ.

    • http://jesusandstuff.com Joe

      If your friend thinks there will be any sin or temptation in eternity with Christ, he apparently has never picked up a Bible.

      • http://www.justlivingthelife.com Jay

        That’s not what he thinks and I wrote nothing to give off that impression.

        • http://mcblake.com Mark Blake

          Be nice.

        • http://mcblake.com Mark Blake

          I once heard a great illustration which I think clarifies your friend’s thoughts:

          In Egypt, the Israelites were in slavery. When God split the Red Sea and they walked across on dry land, they were free – set free by their God. They were no longer slaves.

          But after that, they did a lot of walking until they reached the Promised Land. Sometimes they lost faith and fell away from God and they dealt with the punishment for that. Nonetheless, they arrived at the Promised Land.

          I think that is how we can characterize all of our lives inside of Christ.

          We were set free from our sin, but there is going to be a lot of walking and, sometimes, frequent instances of rebellion, but we’ll get there.

    • Adam

      Philippians 1:21…2 Corinthians 5:17 the second verse explains how we are a new creation that the old stuff has passed away, we are not human first, when we use that as an excuse we allow ourselves to slip into a dangerous territory of giving power to sin in which case Christ has complete and absolute power over satan and sin.

      • http://www.justlivingthelife.com Jay

        Sorry, but that doesn’t cut it. Does stepping across the line of faith suddenly mean those with clinical depression are no longer depressed? Do those struggling with porn for example, suddenly stop struggling with that? Do we cease to be human beings when we accept Christ as our Savior? No. The context of 2 Corinthians 5:17 is that the new creation is one that is reconciled with God through Jesus Christ. You have to read 18-21 as well. It is that kind of thinking that is fundamentalist in nature and one the separates our humanity from our spirituality and brings about the attitude that if a person still struggles with something it means they’re not “right with God” or that they don’t have “the spirit in them” or aren’t “really saved.”

        Saying we’re “humans first and Christans second” is not an excuse. Engaging in sin and then saying, “Well I am only human” is an excuse. The point of “we’re humans first” is for Christ followers to recognize that we are going to fall short of God’s glory. Should we sin? No. Should we do all that we can not to sin? Yes. Are we going to fail? Without a doubt. Does God still love us and forgive us (assuming we ask for it)? Yes. It also allows us to recognize that our significance is not determined by those around us. Those who walk away from the faith because they feel they cannot live up to God’s standards do so because of the attitudes of the other human beings around them who are also not living up to God’s standards but act like they do, when in reality NONE of us can live up to God’s standards. That’s why Jesus was sent here.

        • http://www.twitter.com/aliciamc AliciaMc

          Agreed. Thank you for posting this!

        • Rachel

          Amen brotha! Tell it! :)

  • http://thehigherplaces.wordpress.com Trae

    Good question. Obviously a double standard is at play. I’m not going to blast away and throw out Scripture, but I will pose this one thought: If that individual, be it the glutton or man struggling with homosexuality, is held in accountability by church elders/leaders, and is able to face that problem head on, seek healing and deliverance, and talk openly about the highs and lows, I think God can use that individual still in a very powerful way. Personally, I find it just as strengthening when I share my burdens with someone as when I share my victories.

  • @realpb

    i hate gluttony.

  • Sterling Sellman

    Good question. But I feel this question comes from self-centerdness and not Christ-centerdness. Be glad & thankful you were pulled out of a leadership position. He’s teaching in this moment.

    • Michelle

      Whamo! Bulls-eye! Father God please open this man’s heart to what you are trying to say to him through this situation. -Personal thoughts are that this is a private matter that should be handled as such. Leadership is public. James 3:1-2 *the role of spiritual and church leader is something that most believers are cut out to do. A leadership position requires real maturity in the faith, and a willingness to accept the increased responsibilities that comes with leadership.

  • Eric

    It all boils down to God’s standard… perfection. The homosexual, the glutton, the prostitute and the religious, we all fall far short of this line. Ephesians 2 says it’s only by grace. The fact of the matter is that the American church has decided to “pick” our battles and it’s extremely sad. We’ll speak out against homosexuality and abortion, but when it comes to fat people, living together and premarital sex, well, we’d rather not talk about it. I think the Bible is quite clear that all of these are wrong not for the sake of being wrong, but for the sake of giving glory to Christ. Our lives should be lived in a way that looks different than the unsaved world and brings glory, not to Christ first, but to Christ alone.

  • http://www.bluejeanphotographyonline.com Ronni

    Okay, I’m fat. I’m not a glutton. In fact I eat less than most people around me. My doctor yells at me to eat more. NOT KIDDING.

    Los, I’ll give you her number to verify it if you want. 10 years ago I had cancer. Uterine cancer. As in “put this person on so many steroids she gains 190lbs in 9 mos”. It was like one day I woke up fat. REALLY fat. I’m 100lbs down from that now but it’s been hard getting it off. I have other health issues now that keep me from running a marathon to get it off (disk issues in neck and back) so I’m in pain… well, most of the time. I’m on vicotin and flexeril. I’m not allowed to do what most people do.

    My body fights me now, and today I had 1475 calories. Yes I counted. I usually do. I won’t let myself go over 1500, no matter how weak I get anymore, because of statements people have made, and limitations put on me because of my size, even if subconscious. I’d rather pass out.

    I’ve been told I’m not fit for ministry because this shows lack of discipline. I’M TRYING! What else do I do? Anyone have an answer for that?

    I’m not a glutton. I had 2 diet dews, a double stack from Wendy’s and a cliff bar today. What did YOU eat? We need to stop putting judgements on people based upon outward appearances. God looks at the heart, and He knows I’m trying.

    My doctor is afraid I’ll kill myself doing this, but either way, I’m useless to the kingdom. At least that’s what some people think. I know better.

    • Krystal

      Completely, completely agree with you. I have a disorder that causes me to gain weight extremely easily and makes it difficult to lose. On top of that, I also have Multiple Sclerosis. The docs put me on steroids when I was diagnosed, and I gained 90 pounds. I don’t walk well, and real exercise is out of the question. I can eat less than anyone in my family and still gain weight while they are losing.

      Off subject, I know, but it’s not okay to assume “fat” people are gluttons.

      • http://www.bluejeanphotographyonline.com Ronni

        totally. assumption and presumption are also both sins… but that’s rarely spoken of.

        Fat person=presumed glutton. (USUALLY the way it is. Until you find out the truth…)

        Honestly people, if we spent more time on ourselves and walked in true humility, we wouldn’t care so much what the other person is doing…

        • ragingrambler

          “Honestly people, if we spent more time on ourselves and walked in true humility, we wouldn’t care so much what the other person is doing…”

          Beautiful statement. We love looking for the specks in others eyes, don’t we?

          We cant possibly fathom what God is doing or who He is using to do it through because our minds are so finite. We tell of our limitations when we think to define His intentions with minds that can’t begin to hold His capability for reasoning and understanding. I think God is in control and we all undercut Him by trying to do anything other than surrender to our vast inferiority. We think too highly of ourselves.

          We have but one instruction. Love. Im sure the self loathing and the pain the struggling minister is surely facing right now will be used to benefit him, but I cant help but wonder how large the stumbling block is that the rejectors have created for this man. God forgive us for taking His goodness and ripping ppl apart with it for His name’s sake.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      Totally get it.
      And a gay man isn’t banging a bunch of dudes either is his point.

    • Sherri

      I agree that being overweight is not necessarily a sign of gluttony. And sadly, although I have been underweight most of my life, gluttony is MY biggest struggle. Can’t keep ice cream in the house because I will eat the whole quart in one sitting. However, I think we’re making an assumption that this guy was saying that this man struggled with gluttony just because he was “fat”. He obviously spent a lot of time with him, so he would have been able to witness certain behaviors. And he was obviously speaking from his pain.

  • http://jackalopekid.com @jackalopekid

    Well if God doesn’t rank sin, then both are wrong at the same level. And u religious folks prob don’t like that answer.

    • JU

      I think that IS the answer. We can rate the sins on our scales of ‘which is worse than the other’ but until we step back and look at what is going on in our own lives, we have NO right to judge.

      HOWEVER – There is a certain level of higher standard that church leaders are held to (any thoughts on this?).

      Love the person not the sin. I think both the glutton and the homosexual should go through different levels of forgiveness and discipleship – but that doesn’t mean they need to be kicked out of the church.
      I think if we really stopped and looked into the nitty gritty details of the lives of some of the pastors just in America we would be shocked and appalled at what is REALLY going on under the surface. Please excuse the rash generalization – I am not a church basher or someone who hates organized religion.

      In fact, I am a worship leader. I’m not so sure that people would want me on the stage leading them to worship if the REALLY knew who I am. But, that’s between me and God.

  • http://occasionalsanity.blogspot.com Rich Stephens

    The answer, to me, is pretty simple. Ugly, but simple. Gluttony is an “acceptable” sin. It doesn’t make people uncomfortable. Homosexuality is a subject that makes most church people pretty uncomfortable. It’s not right, but its what happens. Like all the deacons out in front of the church feeding their smoking addiction between Sunday School and church, while the pastor rails against the evils of the drunkard. (Can you tell I grew up Baptist in a small town?)

    • Eric

      amen…

    • http://mcblake.com Mark Blake

      Exactly! We are satisfied with having a sanctuary filled with gossips, gluttons, and liars but when someone approaches us with a “dealbreaker” sin – homosexuality, prostitution, drug use – we tell them to go get that sin out of their life and then maybe – just maybe – God will give you a place.

      Or we picket them. That’s always helpful.

      I remember the time that a group of gay men accepted Christ because a group of “Christian” protesters held up picket signs quoting obscure Old Testament verses about hell.

      • http://iloveddeeper.com Nikki Jo

        This comment made my day.

        • Amanda

          Oh my goodness…so funny.

  • Agnew

    Define “fat”. I’m serious.

    If we’re going to equivocate, then it becomes necessary to set a standard that is clear.

    So – how fat is too fat before it becomes enough of a pattern of sin that one’s leadership qualifications should be called into question?

    There HAS to be a number or objective measure, or else you can’t call it.

    (as an aside, since when did “gluttony” equal “fat”? Gluttony is about greed, first and foremost. We commonly apply the term to overeating, but that’s not really what it is. It’s about the “why”)

    How do you define “gay”? Engaging in sexual activity with another person of the same gender?

    Does someone have a way to condone that from the bible?

    Separating the desire from the behavior? Nice idea, but not realistic. As soon as the pastor who in his heart knows he is gay admits as much, he’s done.

    A better way: Instead of the legalism, believe the gospel. “But if anyone does sin, we have One who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the righteous one.”

    Then, let’s distinguish between the fully pardoned sinner (you, me, the fat dude, the gay guy) and one who, because of the particular nature of their sin, and the culture in which we live, might not be employable in institutional church leadership.

    Clearly, this does not just apply to homosexuals. There are many redeemed sinners for whom church employment is just not an option.

    Just because you cannot draw your paycheck serving in an institutional church does not mean you cannot serve others in the name of Christ.

    • Kjell

      wow . . . so well put.

    • http://twitter.com/ineffableGod Jonathan Jacob

      Completely agree with this.

    • http://www.nonegativitynow.com Richie Allen

      Great, GREAT response!

    • http://theologyforreallife.com/ mikeraburn

      I really like your response Agnew. I despise the label “homosexual” because I refuse to define a person based on sexual attraction and/or discreet sexual acts they may or may not commit. How dehumanizing!

      I also think a root problem here is the paycheck mindset that is rampant in church leadership in America these days. It is perfectly okay for churches to select and compensate people as they are able to facilitate ministry, but when that becomes a barrier to doing ministry, when those who get paid assume that gives them authority, then we have a problem.

      All authority in the church, and all anointing for ministry comes (or should come) from the Holy Spirit, not the payroll clerk. The test for the man with homosexual feelings should not be that he is working out his own salvation, it should be whether or not the Lord is using him to minister to others in that community (and/or the community as a whole) in such a way and to such a level that the community needs him to devote his full-time energies on doing that. If so, pay the man. If not, let him volunteer like the rest of us and find his tent-making job.

      If you are a disciple of Jesus, you are a minister of the Gospel and have all the authority he gives you. All of us need to adopt this mindset.

    • http://www.austinklee.com @austinklee

      So…does that mean you are advocating a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for men or women who struggle with homosexual feelings?

      • Agnew

        I don’t advocate it, but that’s exactly what the institutional church, employment-as-ministry complex has given us.

        Homosexuality is a sin. It is not the only sin. It is not a “special” sin. Gay Christians should not be ostracized. That may not mean they will be able to hold a leadership position in many churches, but the other extreme that is completely wrong is the way most Christians think, talk, and act toward them.

        Being Gay is one of the few sins that is pretty much sanctioned to be mocked and derided openly in the church today, and that is not Christ-like, to say the least.

        The problem comes when we equivocate and say that because there are many many sins in the church besides homosexuality, that therefore it doesn’t matter. It does.

        A womanizer should be just as worthy of rebuke or removal as Loswhit’s friend.

        To even suggest there is anything wrong with homosexual behavior immediately puts you at great odds with our culture today, even in the church. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t adhere to scripture.

        It ALSO doesn’t mean we should use what we see as a “terrible sin” as license to hate and that is EXACTLY what too many Christians do.

    • Melyndiana Jones

      Hmmm….gluttony personified: the straight and shiny televangelists who preach about sin? (Enough room in their churches for homosexuals, but the fat guy has a hard time fitting in to the stadium seats, LOL).

    • bm

      absolutely well put.

  • Eric

    Hey Ronni, when I refer to people being “fat” or overweight, I think about the people that joke about it like it doesn’t matter in the long run at all. I think about all of the Baptist pastors that when asked how they knew that they were “called” to the ministry, they jokingly say, “well I didn’t want to work but 2 days a week and I love fried chicken.” I’m talking about every time we “fellowship” at the church, it involves so much food that we go home holding our bellies. I just wonder if gluttony it so much more than we’ve ever imagined.

    Please don’t think that I’m the perfect example. I’m overweight at 200 lbs right now am deeply convicted by it.

    I guess it just makes me wonder, what would happen if an overweight person such as some of the pastors that I know, were to go to Sudan and talk about hunger. How could you take someone like that seriously. Just a thought.

    • http://www.bluejeanphotographyonline.com Ronni

      totally understand, which is why when I was asked to go to Africa, even tho my heart so majorly wanted to, the last thing I wanted to be was another fat american preaching at them.

      I wish I could get this off. I’m trying to get a gastric (which my doc says is pointless for me, as my body is screwed up bad now due to chemo and such) but I’d rather die than live in this body at times. God and I have had some conversations about this after I have have been outright told in the past that I am disqualified to serve because of my weight in other areas (like singing, because I’m up on stage and I’m not as pretty as others… thing is, I’m NOT ugly. Actually I’m fairly attractive, but I’m fat so that kills it).

      Yeah our church seems to revolve around food as well, but we are all a bit more careful about what we bring at times. And honestly just because it’s served doesn’t mean you have to eat it. I don’t always. If I know I have a “food” meeting I don’t eat all day until I get there because I know I’ll eat something there. Heck recently I’ve gone days without eating… I forget. *shrug*

      Thing is as the body of Christ, we need to stop judging outward appearances and only putting the shiny happy people up front. That tells everyone that unless you have it all together you aren’t fit to be used by God… and that’s a lie.

      I’m sick of the church being so worried about appearances of the flesh and not give a rip about holiness and repentance.

      When was the last time a major study was done by one of the big 20 ministries calling people to holiness and repentance? When was the last time the Holy Spirit moved so heavy in your church that people were sobbing at the altar begging God for forgiveness?

      *sigh* Yeah let’s get the cart before the horse and watch millions sit happily content in our churches meanwhile getting a watered down gospel that they walk happily into hell with. *sigh*

      We have bigger issues than any of this in the church.

      • ragingrambler

        Ronni, you are good enough if you never lose another inch, and even if you gain untold more. If God had given you a choice that you could die from cancer or survive it and be fat afterwards which would you have chosen?

        Joseph suffered unspeakable injustices, yet every one of them served a purpose. If your being bigger saves 1 person that wouldn’t have been saved otherwise would you then accept it?

        There is a very beautiful woman I know. Tall, thin, always dressed model beautiful. Shorts and a t-shirt have never looked so good as when she donns them. She and her husband are called Ken and Barbie. I was praying to God that He allow me to be thin like her and to look so beautiful like that and as I live He said to me, “Why, so you can make others feel like she makes you feel?” I stopped short. I feel so inferior when I’m around her. I would never want to make others feel so bad about themselves. Let her be beautiful and let me touch ppl in ways that will heal and minister to their brokeness. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do anyway.

        The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

        If doing this the best way possible means I have to be afflicted in one way or another then gladly I walk that path. Much love and God’s peace to you.

        • Lori

          So, can’t the Barbie girl touch people in ways that will heal?

        • http://www.bluejeanphotographyonline.com Ronni

          “If God had given you a choice that you could die from cancer or survive it and be fat afterwards which would you have chosen?”

          I’d have died. Seriously. The struggle afterwards has been tormenting. Both physically and spiritually, and emotionally. I’ve learned things about “christians” I didn’t want to know. My heart is broken on so many levels for the Bride…

          Death is merely a portal anyways, and I’d rather been with my Father. But here I am, and I’m His, so I drag this body all over and do what I can.

          Fat or not. ;)

          • Becky

            Due to a bunch of life circumstances, I often wondered why I had to stay here on earth when I knew that heaven & God’s presence was waiting. God finally told me this: “so that others can see Him through us…” That stopped me cold. So I stay and pray that God can be seen through me no matter how hard things get.

        • bm

          “Let her be beautiful and let me touch ppl in ways that will heal and minister to their…”

          Wow. Really? Not mutually exclusive. Careful here.

  • http://www.dancingcripples.com Dan Nold

    Two thoughts…

    1) Perhaps better to say, “If a rich man can lead a church, serve on a church staff and not be held responsible for his lack of generosity when it comes to the sin of materialism…”

    2) Both should be held responsible, though there is perhaps some reason to see a different level of soul-damage from sexual sin (of all types). Having said that neither one should be an immediate dismissal or immediate hire. Justice might be able to operate with broad generalities, but grace requires personal relationship.

    3) I want people on my staff who will wrestle with questions like this in the midst of personal relationships.

  • http://Walkingwithchris.blogspot.com Chris

    Fat guys get fired. Or they never get the pastorate.

    As for being born gay? So what? All that says is that he was born in sin. Seems the Bible sas something like that.

    Typically sexual sin is seen as more extreeme. Also obesity is very common. We tend to be okay with a pastor having extra pie, but not extra man love. Both are sin. Sexual sins seem to have the added whammy of the hat trick of sin because it is a sin that is against God, self and others.We also allow excessive anger but freak out over adultry and theft.

    Either way, if you live in open sin you are subject to being disqaulified. And if you confess sin or struggles you are open to judgement from the self righteous. Leaders. Must be transparent butust also becareful what they congress publicly. I knew a guys that siad he had had homosexual thoughts but never acted on them. Lost his church, odination and license all on one weekend.

    Jay – good stuff. Thanks for sharing

  • http://www.terrytheweaver.com Terry Weaver

    As a rather chubby dude who is cutting back on Mt. Dew, using low/light/no fat options when I can. I don’t find myself to be a glutton. One of my best friends was just let go from church staff cause of his issues with porn. I always find rating of sin very interesting. One of the conversations that we need to be having if we are going to let staff go for “major” sin’s we are going to find ourselves in a very interesting place of letting Pastors go who pray more at the beginning and end of a sermon than they do all week. Letting worship leaders who only “worship” on stage and have no personal times of worship during the week. Going to have to remove elders who gossip. Or those that are glutton of celebrity status. It never ends.

    I do not feel like someone who is outwardly practicing homosexuality should be in any leadership position at church. But that the church needs to be a place were real people deal with real issues. My wife is a Children’s Pastor at a church and she had a lesbian couple that wanted to serve in the nursery and had to say that they were welcome to worship but could not serve in a way where they were connected with kids. There was no issue with them helping with set up. I feel strongly that if people who are struggling with whatever sin MUST feel welcome at church. If sinners are not welcome at your church then your church is not a church its just a club. I feel like church leaders are just broken people who end up serving.

    All of that to say. I don’t have the answer. I have more questions.

  • Billy Bob

    Note: I changed my name to protect my ministry from idiots. :D

    I have struggled with homosexuality since puberty. I didn’t ask to, it just happened. On top of that, I was molested by my music minister, went public with it, and saw how evil people can be. I’ve never been hated more than by the church and was left out to dry to deal with my issues. I’d say I’m an expert on this topic. Needless to say, I am currently active in ministry and using my talents for God everyday.

    People who have never dealt with homosexuality are so repulsed by it that even when most say they don’t judge it, they are quick to take step away. To most people, “struggling” means people like me are going home to another man/woman and are horrible, lust-filled freaks. (Neither of which is true) I want nothing more than to look at a woman and feel something. After YEARS of work, I can. Do I still struggle with homosexual thoughts? Yes, but my sexual discipline has to be far more honed than most people. Guys, try looking at another guy and feeling the same way you do about women. It’s hard to switch sexual preference!

    You must remember, there is a difference between someone having a thought about gambling and someone going to the casinos and dropping $10,000. Satan plants the thought, we act on it.

    In spite of that, I know God has called me to ministry. Beyond a shadow of a doubt! I plan to get married one day and have children. My God’s a lot bigger than man and his small opinions. He created me knowing I’d struggle with this. I know he wants me to help others, but I still fear the condemnation of the church.

    I am praying for this man. I hope he finds what God is calling him to and is obedient to the Lord’s will. I also hope he doesn’t give up on ministry!

    Btw, I’m sure there are a lot of struggling homosexual ministers, only a few who come out about it.
    That’s enough. This isn’t my blog.

    • Jake

      I’m in my mid-20s. I grew up in the church. All my life I believed that wanting other guys was merely behavioral, that I just needed to stop thinking about it.

      I couldn’t.

      I believed my world would come crashing down if anybody ever found out. I lived two lives, and it nearly killed me. I had a close relationship with another dude my age, was unable to tell anyone about it, and that nearly killed me. Secrets kill. And this became unbearable.

      A few months ago God told me: “tell someone – now”. I fought him. But he won.

      A few weeks ago I talked to a good friend. Toughest damn thing I ever did. But you know? He still loved me. Hell, he was even willing to hug me.

      In the past few weeks I have talked to my parents, family, 16 friends, my pastor and ministry leaders.

      I am actively involved in worship ministry. So if it helps, here is what I believe from firsthand experience:

      This is the body I was given. I am gay and cannot change who I am. (Tried. Didn’t work.) That leaves me one of 3 options:

      1. I embrace being gay and live openly so. FOR ME, I don’t believe that’s an option. Call it gut, Holy Spirit conviction. FOR EVERYONE ELSE, I make NO judgement. Good luck telling someone else that who they are is wrong (least of all in anger).. Holy Spirit was the only one who could convince me.

      2. I believe that God will change me “soon” and anticipate it. Well, I thought that way for a while. Then he asked me, very clearly, late one night: “would you still love me if I don’t?” Shit. I had no answer.

      3. I believe that God may or may not heal me. I accept that my life may not end with a wife and 2.5 kids. I also accept that God doesn’t give me anything HE hasn’t already overcome…

      Most days I wake up, #3 is where I live.

      Now, since I mentioned I’m in ministry, I’ll clarify. I believe I can lead people in worship as long as:

      1. I worship God first. Alone. No audience. That should just be true of all worship leaders.

      2. God calls me to the stage. It’s not mine to take, but his and the pastor’s to give.

      3. I am accountable to my best friend and 4 others. The number is arbitrary. The more the better. But the fact is, I can’t live this way and lead worship.

      So that sounds great.

      But honestly man, I’m still so new to accepting that this is even who I am. If I conveyed at all that the past few weeks have been easy, then I haven’t been honest. I’ve yelled at God, screamed, cried, written to, written about, yelled some more… For many years. Maybe less so recently. But the pain is still there.

      And despite my pain, God is faithful. I have been blessed tremendously by the friendships in my life.

      Everyone is not so lucky.

      Anyone in the church (or not?) who is dealing with this can email me: jakenjxx@gmail.com. I want to talk to you. If you aren’t dealing with this firsthand, or if you have anger to vent, please don’t tell me about it yet.. I don’t think I’m ready for that.

    • Carrie

      You are brave to come forward. May God bless you as you lead others to freedom.

    • Sherri

      Wow – thank you to both of you for being willing to be honest and share your struggles. I am not gay, but I have several friends who are. Some love Jesus – sometimes in a way that leaves me in awe. And some are afraid of how they will be treated because of their struggle. They have all been treated HORRIBLY by Christians at some point or another because they are gay. One thing I do know – they are all loving people and I feel honored that they would choose to be friends with me despite all of the junk and struggles in my life. And I would be honored to serve alongside any of them in ministry.

  • http://DwayneSayre.com Dwayne Sayre

    In God’s view both are sin and if God ranks sins then both are the same. We as humans just see being Homosexual as the bigger sin and makes folks uncomfortable, so we label this and make noise. The fat guy people just say well he eats to much and he’s fat.

  • http://www.pinkhairedgirl.net Crystal Renaud

    i think it depends on which one is or is not living a life of sin.

    the bible clearly speaks on both.

    “do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman.” lev. 18:22
    “put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.” prov. 23:2

    both are strong in their detest of these sins. and i am believe that God doesn’t place one sin over another—but there are certainly varying consequences, particularly culturally.

    what makes one a sin and the other not a sin?

    if the homosexual man is acting out sexually outside of the confines of marriage before God… (and in this country, marriage between two homosexuals is predominantly not legal so he’d be pretty much out of luck in that regard) then that is a sin issue more than it is a homosexual issue, imo.

    i don’t think any of us would look at a single, straight pastor that was acting out sexually outside of the confines of marriage and say that’s okay.

    so my question is this: is this man acting out in his sexual orientation or is he simply living a life of an asexual male who believes himself to be homosexual? is okay with being homosexual and remaining abstinent or does he detest his sexual confusion as God detests it?

    if the fat is fat because of gluttony and is a professed glutton with no remorse or desire to change: that’s a sin. but if he is fat because of some sort of metabolism disorder… and is getting help for his issue: that’s not sin.

    to me it is about whether or not these people are LIVING lives of sin or are simply trapped in the body/mind they’ve been given and desire transformation.

    there’s a big difference.

    and that is one super long comment.

    • http://www.justlivingthelife.com Jay

      Well that’s the point I was trying to make in a sense. It’s one thing to struggle with homosexuality. But still having homosexual attraction towards other men and actively engaging in sex with other men are two different things. It’s still sin for him to even think about having sex with another man (as Jesus says when he says a man merely looking upon another woman with lust in his heart is adultery).

      In addition, it all depends on what the person is doing. For instance, we had a gentlemen who played in our praise team who struggled with alcohol addiction. He’s a godly man and kind man who loves the Lord and is also a good friend. But he succumbs to the bottle and after doing it too many times, it didn’t matter how much he loved the Lord or how good he was at playing music, he was asked to step away from that ministry.

      So I guess what I am saying is that there is a context to all of it and it’s not really a simple question.

    • Vanessa

      Crystal, do you consider marriage to only be the legal commitment recognized by the state or do you consider it to be a spiritual commitment or do you consider it both? I believe two people can be married in the eyes of God and witnesses but not in the eyes of the law. Your thoughts?

      • http://www.pinkhairedgirl.net Crystal Renaud

        Vanessa, great question.

        Romans 13:1 says, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

        So, basically we are to follow the law of the land… wherever that law may be. To me, this means we are also to follow what marriage is according to the law.

        Side note: In my opinion, God would never look at a homosexual marriage, as it clearly states in the bible that the relationship detests Him. So, it wouldn’t be marriage in the eyes of God. Again, my opinion and interpretation of scripture.

  • B

    Or we could all just stop trying to judge and punish each other. Stop trying to make ourselves feel better by pointing out other’s struggles and shortcomings. Stop ranking things to make our sin “less sinny”. Could you even imagine? What would all the people do with all that spare time? ;)

  • http://mcblake.com Mark Blake

    What exactly are we calling “struggling with homosexuality?”

    Does this man walk in redemption but nonetheless face temptation daily?

    Or are we talking about someone who is only recently walking out of a season of living in homosexuality?

    Those questions seek to define a very important distinction.

    Bottom line: I believe that it is difficult to effectively carry out the ministry of God while in the process of healing from a very captivating sin and for their sake it may be wise to take a break.

    We are called to pick up our cross and carry it. I don’t personally believe that our crosses change over time. I once heard a man who had walked out of homosexuality speak. He said, “I’ll never be so holy that I’m never tempted like that again.”

    To think that we could, in whatever temptation we face, get to a place that is so righteous that the enemy never tempts us like that is naive. It is stupid.

    So any church board who feels that a former homosexual or even a man who fought with homosexuality but never took that path – a church board who feels that that man cannot serve is not operating in line with scripture.

    On the flip side, if a former or almost-former gay man (I am not suggesting that this is the heart or the situation of the subject of this post) uses this example as an excuse to “accidentally” slip back into his sin then careful consideration needs to be taken when reviewing the ministry-worthiness (from a church paycheck point of view) of this person.

    This is a very complicated situation and I think that we could only come to the wisest decision in this situation by knowing each and every detail and the circumstances surrounding the people involved.

    But then again, this is the internet, and we all have all of the right answers, don’t we.

  • prodigal59

    I think alot of us are gonna be suprised when the door slams in our faces. I love God and accept Jesus Christ but still continue in habitual sin. And make no mistake about it, Jesus wasnt playing when He said things He said, we have mixed religion and doctrine way too much with His Word. If there is no repentance, then there is no salvation. Scares me too.

  • http://www.jenniclayville.com Jenni Clayville

    both are sins… if you act out on them.

    i LOVE to eat. but i also work out a LOT. and i stick to healthier foods. however… i’m an emotional eater. i can easily allow food to consume me and take the place over GOD as my comforter.

    i have friends who are homosexual… but don’t act out in those tendencies. i have friends who are fat, but are very healthy in how they live. they just inherited some bigger genes.

    so… your quote. there IS accountability. there SHOULD be accountability for both. not LESS accountability. but there should also be grace and the church should reach out to help with restoration.

  • Jessica

    Send him to us. We’ll accept him. I’ve seen as many (if not more) God-honoring, committed monogamous gay relationships than straight (including married straight). If we were half as hard on de-humanizing straight relationships as we are on any type of gay relationship, we wouldn’t have much church leadership left. Guaranteed that at least a few of those who decided to let him go have issues in their own lives…lonely wife, absent from kids, problems in the bedroom, etc.
    Both the gluttony and the homosexuality may or may not be resolved through the Healing Power of an ever-increasing, ever-growing relationship with Jesus. If they are actively pursuing that, then I trust God to do whatever work He wants to do in either man’s life.

  • Angel

    not all overweight people are in gluttony. i am saddened by this comment. how about we just minister to people share the love of christ and stop arguing within the church.

    sin is horrible no matter what it is, but be cautious about what we are calling sin. if you see an overweight person on the street corner you cannot automatically say they are in sin. I had a tumour in my brain and gained about a hundred pounds this year, was that sinful? should i have been taken out of ministry.

    you people are very sad to be arguing like this, is this glorifying God? do you think that heaven is aplauding this? arguing tore my church apart last year, senselessly.

    • Angel

      also, let’s think about this, where would we draw the line? some people cannot lose weight, some have health problems that cause them to gain, and some skinny people are more gluttenous than anyone and they eat but do not gain, or they eat and throw it all up.

      and what about people that spend a lot… etc.

      how can one blanket statement a group of people who have extra weight and equate them all with people have sexual relations outside of God’s will?

      • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

        I’m quoting a friend in an email.
        We need to talk this stuff out.
        And now you are saying all people who are homosexual are having sexual relations outside of God’s will.
        That is as big of a blanket statement as the one you see.
        This is the problem at hand.

        • Jonathan A.

          People are making blanket statements because
          that’s what they believe the Bible is doing.

          Oh, and we’re a lot more comfortable giving them when they don’t seem pointed as us so lets try this on for size.

          “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” (Rom 3:23)

          Thats Me. A Sinner.

          A sinner who does things outside of the will of God in the sense that God does not desire us to sin.

          What are we doing outside of God’s will? What do we need to approach Christ for in repentance and receive forgiveness and transformation as a result?

          How can I show Christ’s love to your friend? To @Angel? to @Jessica?..

  • Vanessa

    I’m wondering how many people who have commented have actually done research on the scriptures that refer to homosexuality (context) to the same level that they study the other words of scripture. If you read the pro-gay understanding of those scriptures according to the traditions and context, it can be legitimately argued that the church has held an incorrect understanding for many many many years. Honestly, the word homosexuality didn’t appear in the Bible until 1946…you have to look at what it said before that and you have to put it in the context of the culture in which it was written. It’s been debated scripturally for years and is a very gray area….and I think that is where love and acceptance should abound.

    • http://jonathanedmund.blogspot.com Jonathan Edmund

      Vanessa, your voice is wonderfully refreshing for a gay Christian to read. Thank you.

      • http://johnfitzsimmons.blogspot.com John Fitzsimmons

        Objection 1. Gen 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” That’s how it was before sin entered the worlds, that’s what is good and pleasing in the eyes of God and that’s what naturally makes sense.

        Objection 2. Rom 1:24ff “…Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own heart, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more that the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up to vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned with lust towards one another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet…”

        Yea the word homosexual didn’t appear until 1946, but the idea was certainly there many many many years before – “vile affections” “unnatural affections” – words and terminology may have changed, but what is natural and unnatural has not.

    • http://www.marklove.tv Mark

      It may be painful, but you have to go back to scripture. John points out well researched scripture. The word itself is unimportant. The principles are.

  • http://annieology.com annieology

    What about the skinny glutton who just chooses to purge? I think that Christ left us with only two commandments, love God with all your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. I agree that we pick and choose acceptable sins vs. not, but good and bad can be assigned on a whim. So, I choose to love. Gay, straight, fat or bitchy.

    awesome question.

  • prodigal59

    Be careful vanessa. No gray area, it was talked about in the OT and NT, throughout the whole bible. U cant really go there. Paul says they left what was normal, and burned with lust for one another. there is more than one instance where the word isnt used and anyone, except people who try to twist the word, knows clearly what the Word was talking about. And ive talked about this before, homosexuality is bigger than a sexual sin. It is actually a spit in what God is know as throughout the world. He is known as the Creator God, and by making a life style out of homosexuality, you are physically stopping creation, or pro creation. And in my humble opinion, that is going directly at the throne of God, and one of His main attributes. I’m in no way judging, I love all and have homosexual friends that are dear to my heart, but we cant bend or twist what is established in numerous different passages.

    • Vanessa

      So are you saying that birth control (in ANY form) is sin because it physically stops pro-creation? What about men marrying women who are knowingly unable to bear children…because he locks himself into a lifelong relationship that is not “life producing” when he could use his “seed” to create life with another woman. I’ve studied this a lot trying to discern truth….I disagree with your assessment of the scriptures and won’t get into that debate because it is useless to argue something that has been argued OVER AND OVER again.

  • Vanessa

    BTW…just read in a magazine that the American Psychological Association has adopted a resolution advising mental health professionals not to tell clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy. It also urges families to avoid sexual orientation treatments that treat homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder. Thought that was interesting…

    • http://www.bluejeanphotographyonline.com Ronni

      Psychology is not the Bible. Don’t even compare the two. Blurring the lines has been the problem of the church for too long.

      Homosexuality is sin. Period. It is what it is. You can redefine it any way you want to justify it. Satan is really good at that. The thing is, this was never questioned until the last 60 years whether or not it was sin.

      Quit justifying it. If I ate 4 quarter pounders a day and said “but I just have that kind of appetite” then that would be me justifying my sin.

      • http://iloveddeeper.com Nikki Jo

        Ronni,

        Just curious, but do you approach people in failing marriages (known or unknown) with the same disdain?

        • Heather Miller

          I don’t know Ronni, but she doesn’t seem to have any disdain for anyone. In fact, from her comments she seems to have more compassion because of what she herself has gone through.

          I think what she’s saying is that it all comes down to whether or not we want to make Christ ultimate. If your marriage is failing, I am so sorry. I come from a family full of broken marriages, and I am married to a man who has been through a messy divorce, and it came down to the fact that his ex-wife did not want to make Christ her pursuit. She made herself and other men her pursuit. That’s sin. It is what it is, and I wish that someone had pointed that out to her and her boys could have had their mom with them as toddlers. She’s doing well now, and we all have great relationships.

          Sometimes mercy comes when a caring, compassionate person is willing to be raw and rugged with another and point out danger. I could be wrong but that’s what I get from Ronni’s comments. Not disdain, but compassion and mercy and growth through discipleship for people who struggle with sin. That’s what the church should be.

          • http://www.bluejeanphotographyonline.com Ronni

            Thank you. And as for failing marriages. Usually they are because of sin. Usually it’s because they don’t put God first in the relationship, and put their spouse second. Period. Usually there is rebellion on one persons part or both and selfishness.

            Until these matters are dealt with, the marriage will be in trouble.

            God first. The other person 2nd. Yourself 3rd. Get that right and everything else will fall in place. Both people need to be on this path. Until then, there will be problems. Nikki, I have no distain for anything other than SIN. I’m sorry your having issues and I pray that you can find a way to save your marriage. Actually right now my pastor is teaching a life changing series on marriage that I’d be happy to send you if you get ahold of me. It’s revolutionized my own marriage!

            Again, I don’t hold distain for people or individual circumstances… but sin is sin… period. I will call it what it is, and I will crucify it within myself and give the tools to others to do the same. We have the power of the Holy Spirit within us if we truly know Christ (a lot of us don’t but think we do… more on that later)… so we have the power to overcome EVERYTHING that comes against us.

            No, I distain, even have deep hatred for Sin and Satan and hope he goes back to hell where he belongs and stays there.

  • http://twitter.com/ineffableGod Jonathan Jacob

    So I think this comes down to one thing sin is sin. We’re all imperfect and flawed creatures…it’s practically etched in who we are. I like what C.S. Lewis said:
    “God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them.”

    See it’s not a question about which sin is worse-God is just and looks at all sin equally, but it’s about the heart. Is the glutton trying to take steps to become less greedy and have more discipline? Is the homosexual trying their best to live in the way of the Word? Is the one that is addicted to porn making an attempt to live a pure life? See, none of this can be done by our own strength, but only through the leading of the Spirit, and that can only be attained through the earnest seeking of the heart. I firmly believe with all my heart that God is the same God yesterday, today, and forevermore. And that means, that He can do anything and change anyone no matter how long it takes.

    As far as leadership goes–I believe there has to be certain standards. You can’t just let anyone lead a church..or do any job for that matter. Obviously, none of us are perfect. I’m not saying what happened to your friend was right. I don’t know them or the situation, and how it went down. But, I pray that God works everything out for him.

    • http://twitter.com/ineffableGod Jonathan Jacob

      I’d also like to add to this. I’ve been looking at the other posts, and I’d like to clarify “equally.” I understand that some sins can be more serious than others. What, I was meaning to say is that no sin is to extreme that Christ can’t forgive. God doesn’t have a “sin-o-meter” where he comes to a halt if a sin is too grave. God is just. He is so just-it’s an inherent part of who He is, and we, as humans, will never fully be able to understand that. Take an extreme example: what if a murderer found the Lord. They did their time, and they fully understood the gravity of what they did. There our consequences for actions, and society probably would never look at that person in the same light (which is a consequence of their actions). But, what if that person was honestly following Christ with all their heart, and was genuinely not the same person? See, God would accept him or her even if the rest of society couldn’t. God IS love.

      But, we have to recognize our sins, and actively pursue God with a constant desire to overcome. It’s a two-way streak.

  • Jessica

    One additional thought:
    I think that it is very important to consider what his understanding of Scripture is. Without entering the debate, I think we can all agree that what the Bible says has been argued over for years. That said, if his understanding of Scripture (after deep and prayerful consideration and study) is that there are potential mistranslations AND he is not personally convicted by the Holy Spirit AND he is open to the Holy Spirit’s conviction in this area, what more can we ask? I think that is a significantly different situation than if he simply says, “Yea…it’s sin…so what? We all sin.”
    Just sayin`

    • http://twitter.com/ineffableGod Jonathan Jacob

      ok, but with that logic, what if the glutton is not personally convicted by the Holy Spirit, or the porn-addict, or _____ (any sin)…See, if we are earnestly pursuing God, He won’t leave us hanging. I’m not saying this from a critical standpoint, but as a person who has messed up more times than I can count. People are always going to say the Bible has mistranslations–but this I know:

      “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2Timothy 3:16-17

      • Jessica

        Hey Jonathan, Thanks for the response. Not sure if you saw or not, but this was in addition to my other thoughts in a previous comment.
        Have you ever met a Gay Christian? Have you ever met one who has studied scripture (not just today’s translation) as much or more than you and just has a different understanding of what is there? What if that person were in a 5, 10, or 20-year committed loving relationship with someone of the same sex? Wouldn’t that make you wonder if you were 100% right, beyond any doubt?

        • http://twitter.com/ineffableGod Jonathan Jacob

          So, as I said I’m not judging any person. I’m not God (and thankful that I’m not). All I can say is what I believe the Word says. If you only knew my story, you would understand how deeply this post resonates with me (too heavy for here). But, my point is this–you can’t ignore certain parts of the Word. I can’t say I’ve met a Gay Christian like the one you’ve stated, but it’s hard for me to believe that they would be ok with that state no matter how great their relationship is if they took the Word for what it is. But, still what about the glutton who did the same thing and came to the same conclusion–that they were ok with it? For me, as I said in my post–it’s comes down to the heart…

          • Jessica

            Love that we agree about the heart thing, even though we disagree about the gay thing. That’s what I think this whole thing is all about!

  • http://www.joshuarwhite.com Joshua

    Oiy, I’ve been talked into commenting. I didn’t want to, because I wanted to try and stay away from the irony of being the fat, fatty-hater.

    Hi, my name’s Josh, and I weigh 350 pounds.

    No matter how you slice it, I am morbidly obese. But, I have a clean bill of health, the doctors consistently marvel and my perfect blood pressure, and I live a relatively normal life (albeit, I spend a lot more for clothes.)

    But, I’m smart enough to realize the joys of a youthful metabolism will eventually fade away. Someday, if I don’t change my ways, I will be very, very unhealthy.

    I’ve heard all the excuses… because I’ve said them all. I was raised in a terrible foodie household, where fast food and terribly bad for you dinners were the norm. I used food to escape, and blah blah blah.

    The truth is, I don’t care, and neither should anyone else, how I was raised. Sooner or later we all have to man (or woman) up, put on our big boy (or girl) pants, and grow the hell up. We can scream till we’re blue in the face whatever our excuses are for being the way we are (please read the final note below), but ultimately I believe it comes down to comfort, ignorance, and fear. We’re comfortable eating whatever the crap we want, we don’t take the time to learn what the crap we’re putting in our bodies, and we are scared crapless of change.

    (See what I did there… most of the food we eat is crap.)

    I am speaking from experience, from my own experience. Weight loss has been the single biggest struggle of my life. Three years ago, when I was topping the scales at 410, I decided it was time to finally get serious about this. I went nuts for a year, and lost a total of 93 pounds. Since then, I’ve been off and on, struggling daily, and am back around 350 pounds. Is losing weight easy? No way. But it IS A CHOICE THAT I RECOGNIZE I’VE FAILED TO MAKE. So many people want the magic bullet, the easy way out, and will do anything to not take responsibility. I can’t stand that. I’ve made excuses most of my life for being overweight, so you’ll have to forgive me for being tired of reading other people’s excuses.

    I’m tired of the “mmm, but it tastes so good!” and the “it’s comfort food, it’s what i grew up with!” or “sweat is gross.”

    SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE (see what I did there too?) AND GO FOR A DAMN WALK!

    Seriously, just the little things we do in our life will make a huge impact. Stop sharking the parking spot that is a mere three feet from the front door of wal-mart… park in the back. If you MUST go to a fast food joint (though, I really believe there is ever a time when you MUST), park the darn car and walk in. Get up from your desk every once in a while and take a walk around the office.

    Take responsibility.

    Sorry, I ranted.

    To answer the original question… I think both are sins, and both should be dealt with gracefully.

    *NOTE – I realize that some people have VERY real health issues that prevent weight loss. I do not mean to overly generalize and include them under the above umbrella. What I posted above, is directly pointed at the people who HAVE THE CHOICE to live differently, but chose not to.

    • petshopdad

      Wow. All we need now is a gay person lecturing us to stop liking c*ck.

    • http://sarapipkin.blogspot.com Sara

      You know…I think the glory in what God does in our life includes us being able to speak from experience. Keep fighting Joshua. I like what you said! I love how you are real…

    • http://www.bluejeanphotographyonline.com Ronni

      and that is why I love Josh White. :)

      Seriously… most of our foods suck. We eat so much hydrogenated high fructose corn syrup stuff…

      How about this… eat REAL food… and in moderation. And take a walk.

    • http://www.jenniclayville.com Jenni Clayville

      i love you, Josh! LOVE!

  • Gerald

    1 Corinthians 6:9,10

    • http://mcblake.com Mark Blake

      1 Corinthians 6:11

      “AND SO WERE SOME OF YOU. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.”

      If you’re going to try the condemning route, be sure and read the verse right after your chosen text.

      • http://twitter.com/matias72 matias72

        Context is very important… Repentance or not that is what this entire debate rests on

        • http://mcblake.com Mark Blake

          I agree completely.

    • Dan

      …and which version do you go by? Clearly a modern translation. The word Paul used, Arsenokoitai, has been recently translated (as noted above, in the 20th Century) as referring to any homosexual behavior. The problem is that if Paul intended to simply refer to any homosexual behavior then he had the word “paiderasste” and other more commonly-used Greek terms for homosexuality at his disposal. That he used a word that is rarely used at the time (many scholars say a phrase he effectively coined) would imply that he means something different. In fact the KJV uses the phrase “abusers of themselves with mankind.”

      So it is fair to question whether he meant straight-up homosexual activity, or perhaps specific, more “criminal” types of activities. Some translations use Sodomites, which is to imply specific behaviors in which sex is forced or coerced upon another. Even the NIV version adds the qualifier “offenders.”

      But it is very fair to argue that Paul’s word-choice would imply that he meant something beyond “textbook homosexuality.” So while that may be a slam-dunk to some it’s no so to all…

  • http://jonathanedmund.blogspot.com Jonathan Edmund

    As a gay Christian, my heart goes out to your friend. He should apply for a position at an open and affirming church…there are tons in our nation alone: http://www.gaychurch.org/Find_a_Church/find_a_church.htm

    And if he (or anyone) is curious about some well written articles and stories by gay Christians, check out http://www.gaychristian.net.

    As always, I encourage everyone to explore and wholly question both sides. And if your friend’s God-given conviction is that homosexuality is a sin for him, I stand by that respectfully; after all, I’m not God. There are plenty of ex-gay resources out there that he and his church may find useful (try http://www.exodus.to).

    All that being said…yes, I hear your friends’ frustration with the church’s double standard. It sucks to be on the receiving end of the harsh side. It goes to show that the church is made of all of us, broken people, who continually need to strive for Christ’s promise of the kingdom of heaven together.

    • http://jonathanedmund.blogspot.com Jonathan Edmund

      Why does it say that my comment is still awaiting moderation?

  • http://blog.rrchapman.us Bob Chapman

    Let’s change the question a little bit.

    You have one man that is overweight due to having that extra piece of pie and not exercising–but because of sleep apnea, metabolic problems, or some other reason. It is not like he is going to the buffet line multiple times 3 or 4 nights a week. Just eating more than he knows he should.

    Your other man lusts in his heart when he sees a nice looking lady. She doesn’t even have to be beautiful. If she is beautiful, he may have the reaction that St. Augustine had problems with in his life. (Go read his Confessions if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) But, he never says anything to that person or acts on the impulse. He loves his wife and cherishes that relationship above the thrill of an extra marital relationship.

    Are any of these men disqualified from working in a church?

    If not, why would a gay man who is not acting whoring about be disqualified? Remember that you’ve just given approval to the glutton and adulterer.

    (Jesus had a few words about lusting in your heart in the Sermon on the Mount, in case you missed the reference.)

    • http://religionsucketh.com Jonathan Jones

      Wow.

      You just summed up what a friend and I were talking about.

      I can’t even add anymore to that, except you were reading my mind.

  • http://www.sunnycain.blogspot.com Sunny Cain

    It seems to me that when we get dealt with on our sin areas, it is easier to look at the sins of others around us. I think your friend should embrace the discipline in his life, and not make it about others who sin too….

    • http://findingwonder.com Larry Westfall

      Sunny… I have read every entry but this statement captures the heart of the issue.

      I have two children. When one gets caught doing something he/she begins to point out the wrongdoing of the other. The issue isn’t whether an overweight man should still be allowed to serve or whether there is a double standard. It seems possible that God could use the situation to get the man’s attention that has been struggling with homosexuality.

      We could spend the next ten years debating right & wrong, was it fair, who is going to heaven or hell, but that isn’t what is important. Carlos, your friend can only groe from this experience if he deals with his own struggles. Losing his job was unfortunate and I hope there are plenty of people in his life to support him financially, emotionally, and spiritually, but his spiritual struggles are more important.

      It seems that this person has some things to get in order. The sooner that becomes the priority the better. This person cannot right all of the world’s wrongs. He can’t even kick and scream and change the people that made the decision. What he can do is look to God and start asking some very personal and very difficult questions about his own faith journey.

      That may be a bunch of jibberish, but this person doesn’t need to waiste any more time pointing fingers.

  • adam

    last time i checked, God never called being fat an “abomination”.

    Seems cut and dry enough…

    • Vanessa

      nope He didn’t…but He did say that eating water creatures without fins and scales is (Lev 11:10-12). That would include things such as shrimp and lobster…

      • Agnew

        Homosexual behavior is clearly condemned in the Bible. Leviticus 18:22 and 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 are just two of the many biblical passages that call homosexual acts “sins.” To say homosexuality is a viable lifestyle is to deny the Lord’s authority over what is right and wrong, and therefore, to worship a false god in His place.

        Romans 1:18–32 addresses the sin of homosexuality most fully. As with all sins, the root problem is idolatry — the substitution of man-made deities in place of the one, true God of glory. Homosexual behavior is only possible for those who deny the Lord who reveals Himself in nature. When men ignore creation’s witness to our Father, they can suppress the clear evidence from nature that males are to bond sexually only with females and vice versa (vv. 18–23).

        Homosexual acts rob mankind of its dignity as well. Our worth is derivative; we have value because we are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26–27). When our idolatry denies the One whose image we bear, we will in due time deny our own dignity as well and may choose to vandalize our bodies through homosexual activity (vv. 24–27).

        Scripture views homosexual behavior as an especially blatant form of idolatry, but it does not view it as unforgiveable.

        • http://jonathanedmund.blogspot.com Jonathan Edmund

          If you’re interested, check out an opposing Biblical viewpoint: http://www.gaychristian.net/justins_view.php it may not be the best one out there but it’s well written and articulated.

    • http://www.joshuarwhite.com Joshua
  • http://www.whatsthislifefor.org Toby

    I’m fat….and Jesus loves me….I’m not gay, but ya know what? If I were, Jesus would love me.

    Guess what? I don’t GIVE A RIP what or who you are, God can and will use you to bring the lost to Him. Now then, what happens at the pearly gates, is beyond me…..and it’s beyond you too. Let Him worry about that.

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  • http://allaboutchris.co.u Chris

    Man, I am seriously looking forward to loswhit answering this one tomorrow. Wouldn’t it be great if he could do it in such a graceful yet inspired way that we all agreed with him?

    • http://www.nonegativitynow.com Richie Allen

      God can’t even do that, Chris. So I don’t hold out much hope for Los. Although I’m certain it will be well thought-out and non-judgemental.

      Good luck, Los! :)

  • http://allaboutchris.co.uk Chris

    Man, I am seriously looking forward to hearing Pastor W answering this one tomorrow. Wouldn’t it be great if he could do it in such a graceful yet inspired way that we all agreed with him?

  • Jonathan A.

    I’m one of those lurkers. I rarely comment here, but I want to know, when you write the term struggling I take that to mean 2 specific things.

    1. He’s got some method of accountability.
    2. He believes that acting in accordance with his homosexual desires to be indeed sin.

    If the first of these isn’t true it should be rectified. If the 2nd isn’t true I’d have a hard time believing he should be in a position of leadership because He’d not be lining up with our SoF.

    No one’s perfect, we all struggle. We all fall short of the glory of God.

    The answer to becoming more Christ-like isn’t less accountability and less looking out for the needs of others, but more of it. Not legalistic, but motivated out of love for our brothers and sisters.

    Perhaps he stumbled, publicly or privately and needs to spend some time with less responsibilities to the body to have his walls strengthened against attack, with the help of his fellow believers, but it shouldn’t preclude him from serving in the future.

    I write this knowing full well that I could find myself in a similar boat as your friend very easily without having in my own mind doing anything wrong. I’d want at least the board/head pastor to know about my issues going in, but maybe this guy didn’t get that chance or feel safe doing so, it can be pretty risky even these days.

    I pray that God will make himself known to your friend as he goes through this very difficult time.

    Jon

  • @realpb

    a lot of commenters are being defensive about being fat. i don’t think the original quote is pointing to fat-ness in itself as being a sin. it’s using gluttony as a point of comparison to homosexuality (while recognizing both as sin).

    without knowing more about the situation/details, we have to assume that the leader in question is a glutton. that’s what he is being accused of. maybe he’s not a glutton (and just somewhat overweight) and the guy that got fired is just pissed. but i think that would be assuming a lot. at least that’s how i read it, for the purpose of this exercise.

    “and not be held responsible for his lack of self discipline when it comes to gluttony…”
    the leader is being accused of lack of self-discipline in regards to gluttony.

  • Alex

    First, IMO, fat shouldn’t always be related to gluttony. A person is not guilty until proven so.

    A sin is a sin. Gluttony or Homosexuality, it’s our society who made up things like: ‘small’ sin is OK. A ‘big’ one is not.

    We shouldn’t judge, Jesus didn’t do that to Mary Magdalene; and she’s the first person who preach Jesus is risen & alive.

    If a person with homosexual problem has a potential to become a leader, so be it. But the church & that person have to agree with Bible that Homosexuality is not from God. So they can work on it together and be healed. Like Mary Magdalene, she’s forgiven and she wants to be healed, she knows what she did was wrong.
    And she’s given a second chance.

    If the church can’t agree with that, the person shouldn’t be felt undone. There is a place for everyone.

  • http://thedevospot.wordpress.com Jason

    Lack of accountability is a serious issue in church leadership–and it needs to be addressed on many different levels of leadership.

    But, Los, it seems like your friend is more concerned with a perceived hypocritical nature. I hate to disappoint some of the people on here posting about how all sins are equal, but there’s not a supporting verse in the Bible for that (and there are plenty talking about how some sins are greater or lesser; see 1 John 5:16, Matthew 12:31, Mark 14:21, 1 Cor. 6:15-20). Sexual sin is so serious because of how it impacts so many people. Just ask any one of your friends whose lives have been shattered by sexual sin and they’ll tell you. The impact of that is much greater than someone they know who eats too much.

    If you have a black and white worldview that all sins are created equal, then sure, that comparison seems messed up. But regardless of what sin anybody is working through, accountability is critical. We all need to walk in grace, but walking in grace doesn’t mean we put just anybody in a position of leadership.

  • http://www.heathervassar@blogspot.com Heather

    we are missing the point.

    we could save ourselves a lot of time & arguments if we wouldn’t skip the most important thing. i think satan has us chasing “which is worse” trails so we don’t recognize the real problem.

    1 Timothy 3

    our leaders of the church are to be held to a higher standard. they are called to live above reproach.

    end of story.

    it’s simple really.

    if you want to be a leader…you must know that it comes with a much higher standard.

    and we, as the church, have lost almost all sense of accountability for ourselves and to one another.

    we’ve also forgotten 1 John.

    just my thoughts..

  • http://realworldworship.com Christian

    Because gays are too clever and wouldn’t take a job that would probably involve a pay cut?

  • jeremy

    “He who is humble in his thoughts and engaged in spiritual work, when he reads the Holy Scriptures, will apply everything to himself and not to his neighbor.”

    _St. Mark the Faster

  • Charlie

    I wish you would have picked smoking as the sin. That would have cut through with a lot less static.

    • jeremy

      Smoking isn’t a sin, nor is it a moral issue.

  • Mickey

    We need more info. Read 1 Corinthians 5. Was he willing to repent of his sin, or was he not going to change. Anyone confronted with there sin should repent no matter if it’s sexual, greed, or gluttony, and if they don’t according to this scripture would have to be expelled from the body. We can not make a “judgment”(which is another issue) until we know if he was willing to repent. This is all taken into consideration that we agree homosexuality and gluttony is a sin. If you don’t think that you need to read the Bible some more.

    • http://www.pjs-til-noon.com jennybek

      It is my understanding that there is no sin. The guy struggles with attraction to men, not acting on the attraction. He was let go for admitting a serious struggle in his life. So would it be better had he hidden it and not sought accountability in this? He would probably still be employed, but not better off spiritually.
      And he feels he was treated unfairly. We all would ask the same question. If I got fired from a church for simply being attracted to 1000 fried pies, then I would ask why the man over there flipping tables in anger wasn’t reprimanded.
      Being tempted is not sin, otherwise nobody gets to heaven, not even Jesus.

  • Roy

    Seriously just a question here- using the logic of all sin is equal and should be dealt with the same, every person who speeds (breaks the law willfully) should be dismissed as well? Can we really be in love with Jesus Christ and live in a CONTINUAL state of sin? Or have we “got” just enough Jesus to feel saved, because we repeated a prayer back in bible camp? Your friend seems to admit that like gluttony, homosexuality is a sin, in which case the bigger question here is how can you help you friend overcome this sin. Rather than legitimizing the smoke screen of “poor me, fatty gets to lead and I don’t”, why not address the admitted sin? If serving in church means that much, why continue in a lifestyle of sin that prevents you from being able to? Does anyone else find it ironic that we judge people we don know, who are making a decision based on information we don’t have, for the same of the church God has entrusted to them- by playing the ” people are so judgemental” card. Meanwhile the devil just smiles
    and waves, as we get so caught up arguing about the evil church that has a standard (whether we agree with it or not) that people walk by and shake their heads, pitying us, and wanting no part of our stone throwing “Christianity”.

  • Scott May

    Wow…Los…you aren’t afraid of tough topics. I’ve read through most of the posts. Agreed with some, disagreed with others. Stopped reading a few because of the vitriol.

    My heart truly aches at this point. It aches for the state of the “modern church” and its continued focus on excluding those who are different from “me.” It aches for those who are struggling with sin. It aches for you friend.

  • http://www.marklove.tv Mark

    There really isn’t an easy answer in this with this information. Bottom line, man looks on the outer appearance, but God looks on the heart. We can’t know the heart of either one. Questions…
    1. How fat is he? How old is he? What is his metabolism? Can he push himself away from a table? Hormonal, genetic problems? Diabetic? etc.Is he hypocritical? (I saw a well known, very obese tv preacher chastise his congregation for lacking self discipline in eating while another time saying he ate 6 eggs and a half pound of bacon for breakfast). Does he acknowledge a struggle with his sin?

    2. How is your friend “struggling” with it? There is a difference between true agonizing repentant struggle and half hearted, to please the christians, struggle. Is he practicing? Is porn involved? Is past or present abuse involved? Is he as concerned with his sin as he is with the perceived injustice of it all?

    The heart is what matters to God. We can’t judge it. Any sin will keep you from a relationship with God unless you have true repentance and a desire to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. However, the Bible does talk about homosexuality more severely and it’s consequences. Take that for what you will.

    As an aside…most homosexuals will report some type of sexual abuse in their past. Not all, but most. If homosexual tendencies are a result of the abuse, then there hasn’t been adequate healing from it to be in such a prominent leadership position. Perhaps that is a first step before pursuing another staff position. Until then, serve as he has surely encouraged non-staff people to serve before.

    • http://lenflack.com Len Flack

      I appreciate your comments, Mark, and I think you’re on to the key issue here: a repentant or unrepentant heart.

      Should an unrepentant person in homosexual sin be a pastor? No. Should an unrepentant person in gluttonous sin be a pastor? No.

      If they are repentant? Sure, as long as the other requirements for pastoral ministry are present, and appropriate methods of accountability are in place.

      I’m a FAT pastor, but I’m no longer a glutton. I lost some weight in 2009, but at the end of the year I was truly convicted of this area of sin in my life, and I repented. On January 1st, I weighed in at 350.4 lbs, started blogging my journey to health, and publicly asked my church to keep me accountable. Today I weighed in at 330.8. I’m still fat, and still have days where I eat better than others, but by God’s grace, there is no condemnation for past sin, and I’m not a glutton anymore.

      Given the radical transformative nature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I have to believe that a similar resolution is possible for a repentant person who struggles with homosexual sin. They key is a heart for God, and encouraging accountability from within the body of Christ.

      • http://www.marklove.tv Mark

        Great thoughts. Especially on repentant vs. unrepentant and the need for accountability. Most people won’t enlist an accountability system for the fear of chastisement (or being fired). Such a need often unused.

        • http://www.bluejeanphotographyonline.com Ronni

          Yet something we are called to. Accountability. Which is why within the confines of my own church body, this isn’t an issue for me. Just outside… but they are the ones I’m accountable to in the truest form… true relationship…

  • http://www.daleschaeffer.com Dale Schaeffer

    Are we talking about someone who struggles with homosexuality or someone is living in a state of unrepentance? Are we talking about someone who struggles with gluttony or who is blatantly living in disobedience?

    Scripture is very direct regarding the issue of homosexuality, but basically silent on the issue a lack of gluttony being a criteria for leadership in the local church.

    I’m very sympathetic with your friend as I’ve got some great friends who struggle with homosexuality, but have chosen to live celibate. I say as long as the person is choosing celibacy they should be allowed to work on staff. I know this would be the approach of our congregation, as we already practice this with lay leaders in the church.

  • http://bricebohrer.com Brice Bohrer

    I didn’t read all the comments so this may have been said. Has anyone suggested that not all sins have the same consequence? This actually does seem simple to me.

    All sins separate you from God yes. And we all have our Sunday School answer, but sorry folks. Not all sins are the same.

    From old testament through the new, different sins had different consequences…

    I think you are trying to over think it.

    • http://bricebohrer.com Brice Bohrer

      Being gay or having an affair gets you kicked out of the pastor job. Getting a speeding ticket doesn’t. Gluttony doesn’t.

      Deal with it folks.

      Have you all read the requirements for Pastors/overseers/elders and such?

      • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

        Being gay should get you kicked out of a pastor job like being straight and lusting after hot chicks should get you kicked out of a pastor job.
        Being gay DOES NOT equal having sex.
        FYI peeps.

        • http://www.bluejeanphotographyonline.com Ronni

          thing is Los, “being gay” is like “being white” or so we think… WRONG

          it’s “being sinful”… as we ALL are. Thoughts of the heart and mind that have set themselves up against the truth and purity and holiness of God that He commands us.

          Be Holy as I am Holy… either He is setting us up to fail in that manner, or by the power of the HS, we can actually do it.

          I’m thinking He wouldn’t set us up. I’m thinking that mindset and tendancy CAN be changed. I know it can.

  • http://www.jacobschlegel.com jake

    I didn’t take time to read 100+ comments, so I’m sorry if this thought is a repeat.

    I would like to know more about why he was let go. Was he watching gay porn on his computer at work/church? Was he let go for other reasons besides the homosexuality? It’s really easy for someone to highlight one point of them being canned by the church when there were several listed. I’m not doubting the story, just seems to lack detail.

    Now, if he was let go for the sole reason of “struggling with homosexuality” then it’s a bigger than I am prepared to discuss. :)

    Everyone struggles with sin.

  • Bob

    At the risk of using a culturally “irrelevant” statement, sin is sin. If I give in to gluttony, or if I give in to promiscuity with whatever sex I am attracted to…it is sin. Not being a gay man I can not empathize with being attracted to men and to know that behavior is off limits for life according to the scriptures. It has to be brutally tough. Being attracted to women…I get to pick one…and get married for life…my heart aches for those with this cross to carry….but for all of us no matter what our sin struggle, Jesus Christ is the answer to every broken heart.

  • Jonathan

    has anyone said that a fat man can’t lead a church? That’d be my answer. I think there is a direct connection between weight and your spiritual condition…and obesity is a very serious condition. In fact it’s the only sin i can think of, besides an unwed mother [and at least that one produces life], that you actually wear and display proudly for the world to see. isn’t the job of a pastor to hear the Holy Spirit, be obedient, blueprint the way of Jesus, & make disciples? How in the world do you effectively do that if you’re in either boat and haven’t begged God to pull you out yet?

  • Emily

    Wow. Just WOW! I can’t believe I’m about to jump in here…..
    I’m not one to get in to a debate about when fat = gluttony. That’s not my place and I’m lucky to say that’s not a struggle I’ve really faced in my life.
    One question I do have after reading most of these comments is this: Los said nothing about this man being thrown out of the church and told never to come back because he was struggling with homosexual temptation. He was removed from a position of authority and leadership due to his “lack of self discipline when it comes to homosexuality”. I would hope that this was done out of love and concern for not only the man but also the flock.
    I am not delusional enough to believe that there are any pastors or church leaders out there who do not struggle with temptation at one time or another. However, I believe when the struggles are something that that are overcome and not something that they ‘lack self-discipline’ over, I believe they are more effective leaders and pastors. Maybe for me it is a focus thing? Maybe I believe that if this is something that is taking his focus away from his calling and his ability to shepherd a flock that he should take time away from the ministry (not the church, and certainly not God) to work on himself and his self-discipline.
    No one is perfect. Not the gluttons, not the people struggling with sexual sin, not the liars, the cheats, the gossips, the addicts, the envious, the prideful, the vain, the greedy, the apathetic, the blasphemous, etc. But let’s not forget that not only are we all included in these descriptions (and more) but we can be assured we sit in a room full of them every week at church. We are all struggling with temptation in one way or another and we are all called to live a life according to his purpose for each of us. That does not, however, mean that we are all qualified or called to be in a position of authority over another group of people. I know I’m certainly not.

  • george

    It makes me really sad that the debate being had here is whether fat people are gluttonous, but noone has expressed the opinion that homosexuality (yes, even gay sex, not just homosexual-but-abstinent) is not a sin. I can’t be the only one, surely?

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      thanks for sharing.

    • http://dannyjbixby.blogspot.com Danny Bixby

      No, you’re not the only one.

    • http://www.marklove.tv Mark

      I guess it depends on how you interpret the Bible on the issue if that is a source of authority. If not, it becomes purely subjective and what is percieved as a moral and societal norm.

      • george

        I hold the Bible as a source of authority, yes, but not as the only source of authority. I believe that God did not just reveal himself twice, through the person of Jesus and through the Bible, but continues to reveal himself, and will continue to do so.

        As Vanessa has already pointed out, there are many semantic arguements that could be made as to other things that are permitted / forbidde in the Bible – as has also been pointed out, the word ‘homosexual’ doesn’t appear in even translations until relatively recently.

        I don’t see how love can be a sin.

        • http://www.marklove.tv Mark

          Tough argument. That’s why interpretation is important. Love can definitely be a sin. One husbands love for another man’s wife, for instance.

          • http://www.marklove.tv Mark

            Different types of love. Erotic, brotherly, unconditional. Depends.

    • http://jonathanedmund.blogspot.com Jonathan Edmund

      I wrote a comment about it but it’s still awaiting moderation for some reason.

  • http://theologyforreallife.com/ mikeraburn

    The sad part about this is that the two men are in similar positions (if we accept that the one man is in fact a glutton which is a contentious claim). Both struggle with sins closely related to their nature, what they were designed to do. It is right and natural to desire both food and sex, God created us in this way. Sins involving a distortion of natural desires are the most difficult to overcome, because you cannot flee from them, they draw power from your nature.

    Other sins can also be difficult to break, but once you get past the breakpoint, things get easier and you can leave the sinful behavior behind. No matter how much discipline you exercise, you will get hungry again, and you will desire sex again.

    God is very able to bring the inner healing necessary to overcome these distortions in our natural desires, but it takes patience, grace, perseverance, and maturity, which seem to be lacking in this situation.

    I pray the Spirit will lead the man who was ousted to a place where he can receive healing, from his prior hurts, and the ones he sustained in that unhealthy situation.

    Mike

  • http://dannyjbixby.blogspot.com Danny Bixby

    God hates fatties.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      I will start calling you Danny Phelps

  • http://www.gotworship.net Jason Whitehorn

    Homsexuality…sin.
    Gluttony…sin
    long list of other things that each of us have done on a daily basis before even reading this post…sin.

    NONE of them greater.

    Agnew…well played. Too many parameters to define the vast amount of “what if’s” being played.

    If the fat guy a glutton? I dunno. Take one look at me. Im a fat worship leader. (see for yourself http://gotworship.net/?page_id=685 ) … but I am far from a glutton. I have medications that have long since caused my weight issues. One look at me would cause judgement of gluttony. Wouldn’t it.

    SO…here is my question, church.

    Are we ALL a body? And are we not ALL His creation? Whether one worship leader sins from gluttony…or one sins from homosexuality….or one sins from casting way to much judgement on others by reading a blog….shouldn’t we be lifting up the other in prayer rather than casting judgement not due to us to begin with?

    /digress.

  • george

    Sorry Vanessa, I didn’t see your comments before.

  • http://heretolead.com Michael

    it’s important that we answer these questions from Scripture and not our own opinions. while we can respect other people’s opinions, we must recognize that what we think doesn’t matter when compared to what God says.

  • http://www.servantsdiary.com Christina

    Both should be held responsible.

  • http://www.wellbread.wordpress.com Stacey

    I am SO EXCITED about this! What a freakin’ awesome point!!!!

    As a single mother (who is overweight) that chose to have sex out of wedlock not once but twice with the same sinner hoping for a better outcome than the first time around, i say this….

    We are all broken, sinners, fat, lazy, homosexual, fornicating, liars who fool ourselves into thinking that we are not.

    To jump on the debate about same sex relationships as the ultimate sin and inside the church it is a sin unwelcome and taboo. If we start seeing people above the sin, and start seeing the hurt that causes the sin we can heal hearts and develop leaders that not only will change the world, but lead a new generation in leading the world for Christ!

    • Cory

      Hurt doesn’t cause sin. Selfishness causes sin. We’re born with it, it doesn’t come from our experiences.

      We can’t see people above sin, because without Christ they are dead in it. They can’t exist apart from it.

      You’re making the assumption that we as believers are capable of doing for other people something only Christ can do, which is to take a dead heart and heal it and make it alive.

      We’re not called to heal with the “hurt” in people’s lives. We are called to preach the Gospel, and like it or not, the Gospel includes the fact that all have sinned and have fallen short of the Glory of God. Once people accept that fact, Christ will change hearts and heal hurts. But as long as we continue to pretend that sin is nothing more than the lashing out of a hurting heart we will continue this ridiculous downward spiral into postmodern mush.

    • http://findingwonder.com Larry Westfall

      Stacey… To discuss (or debate) same sex relationships does not qualify it as the church believing that it is the ultimate sin. The question is whether or not it is a sin (which I believe it is), and then what do we do about it. It is the same with any other sin or need in a community.

      Same sex relationships is one of the hot topics within our culture today. The church must have a voice concerning an issue that will effect our entire society. At the end of the day someone’s will is going to be imposed on our society that will determine how we define and embrace human sexuality. Many of the outspoken here and in the larger Christian community are only fighting for a Christ centered culture. Unfortunately, to believe that homosexuality is wrong is to be labeled with those that are malicious in their arguments and actions.

      Also, many of the churches that we could criticize for mishandling the issue of homosexuality could also be criticized for mishandling a great number of other things as well. (i.e. the poor, the widowed, the drunkard, the prostitute, the college student, young families, etc..) Each of these demographics are missing from the majority of churches because of alienation as well. WE are only passionately talking about homosexuality because politicians, special interest groups, and those that have chosen the lifestyle are trying to push the acceptance of the lifestyle onto everyone.

      I agree that the church needs to have a ministry to those that struggle with this lifestyle choice. We need to be more compassionate and less judgmental. But, it is difficult to do when the church has to keep defending its theological position on the sinfulness of the behavior not only with society but also within the ranks of the church.

      When you say, “We are all broken, sinners, fat, lazy, homosexual, fornicating, liars who fool ourselves into thinking that we are not,” there are those of us that believe that God has the power to redeem us so that we are no longer that person. I can love someone who chooses a homosexual lifestyle (and I have had many friends over the years that have), I can hang out with them, and I can even invite them to church. But eventually they will have to hear me say that I disagree with their lifestyle because God says it is wrong, and that doesn’t make me a bad person or a jerk. I makes me a good friend.

  • JOSH

    I struggle with homosexuality and i am on the worship team of my church. My heart is fully devoted to God but it is hard sometimes to resist the temptations that arise. The same way it would be difficult for a straight person to abandon their love for the opposite sex, it is the same in the shoes of someone who struggles with homosexuality. Homosexuality is not a choice and I feel that while we may struggle with certain things, it doesn’t make my relationship with God less real or passionate that the next man.

  • http://Scalyeyeshavewe? Shannon

    Woah, last time I checked sin was sin. No sliding scale, it is what it is and no one is without it whether they’re gay or fat or pious or just plain grace intolerant.
    The man at the pulpit is serving God, he will struggle with many facets of sin. One of my favorite passionate pastors was fired after going through a divorce, and I can’t help but think of the countless times I left his service with thought provoking dialogue with friends and family and a sincere quest for God’s word.

  • http://sarapipkin.blogspot.com Sara

    I guess my question back would be: “Do you believe God has the ability to break every bondage of sin? Of just everyone else’s?”

    I have a friend that struggled with homosexuality for years and through a very tough season in his life was able to walk away from that life, is now married with children, very much in love with his wife and is a missionary. Look at Dennis Jernigan and his ability to break free from that oppressive sin.

    Why do we put God in a box? The question is why is it okay for one and not the other…well it’s not…but a pastor (in my opinion) is held to a higher standard than the rest and therefore in need of stronger accountability. If that isn’t there…gluttony…homosexual…alcoholic…drug user….whatever the case may be…you will fall back into sin. The other thing I guess I believe is until you can take a look at your life and desire to be broken and purged of every sin daily by our Father…you have no business leading a church…how can you expect your congregation to do what you will not do for yourself? All this means there are a lot of people out there pastoring that shouldn’t be. I’m going to get hate mail for saying that…but look at Ted H. at New Life in CS, Colorado…that devastated a HUGE congregation. In any case, the real question here is do you want healing from it and then the blessing of what God brings next? Or do you just believe the gospel is meant for everyone else but you because you’ve done the ONE thing God can not forgive? AND will you continue to point at the sins of others and never buckle down and focus on your own until you can walk away saying ‘I am free!’. Don’t tell me God can’t heal THAT…the Creator of the ends of the earth, the Ancient of Days can not be put in a box.

    1 Cor 6:12 “Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything.

    I just want to end this by saying…I go to a church full of sinners, and if our pastor stood up, knowing who holds him accountable, and said “Earlier on in my life…I struggled with homosexuality” and then he told us the story of God’s deliverance from that…you better know I’d be praising the LORD for that man leading our church!

  • @JoshuaGustin

    Two wrongs don’t make it right!

  • Shawn

    Where do people get the idea that all sins are equal?

    • http://www.nickblevins.com Nick Blevins

      I’m glad somebody posed that question.

  • Holly

    I’m fat and gay… thankfully the holy spirit called me to medicine and not to ordained ministry. I don’t think I could live with all this rubbish being talked about me on the internet.

    I’m another vote for gay sex being lovely… after all- most of us have been told at some point not to touch what we haven’t got. (got to love youth leader logic)

    • http://www.ryanwoolsey.com Ryan

      “Don’t touch what we haven’t got!” Love it!

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      Holly. You win…

      • http://www.marklove.tv Mark

        Los, so when are you going to post your more specific thoughts?

    • http://dannyjbixby.blogspot.com Danny Bixby

      Obvious winner of this post. :)

    • http://www.marklove.tv Mark

      I don’t see how there could be a winner in the post except truth that can set people free regardless of the sin. Hate that some see this as a joke. It’s not to the many people who struggle with it.

      • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

        it won in sarcasm.

        • Jonathan A.

          Los, thank you for clarifying that. This topic strikes way too close to home for my sarcasm detector to be working at its best (and it’s fairly lame to begin with).

          Arguments with broken people (of which we ALL are) aren’t about winning or losing, they’re about coming to Jesus and finding hope and healing. Lets try not to give each other more beats and bruises along the way!

          • Holly

            Sorry… I find that sometimes sarcasm helps… I tend to joke when i’m uncomfortable. I love Jesus, the church and my beautiful partner and we’ve all been hurt- Jesus, the church, my partner and me..

          • http://www.marklove.tv Mark

            My sarcasm doesn’t work as well either. lol

            • http://www.marklove.tv Mark

              *Sarcasm detector

    • http://matybigfro.blogspot.com Matybigfro

      absolutly masterfull holly
      utterly agree
      unfortunatly you’d be unlikly to fine me within amile of many of these fine folks churches

      • Holly

        Oooo what do I win? Must try to remember who told me that.

        Joking aside (and speaking as a gay Christian) I know it’s not a joke. I just also don’t think it’s a sin.

        It took me a really long time to come to a point where I don’t struggle with my homosexuality any more. I’m just a Christian who happens to be gay… or a lesbian who happens to be a Christian… or a child of God who happens to be both.

        • Vanessa

          Rock on Holly….rock on. You have my support…keep loving Jesus and sharing your story.

  • http://www.gilallensworth.com Gil

    I think we are all missing the point. What I read in the letter from the original post is that a child of God is hurting. The place where he was employed that professed to love like Jesus (at least I hope the church said that) has apparently shown that they won’t love like Jesus.

    Hurt people lash out. Sometimes hurt people actually try to hurt other people. I pray that is all that is going on here.

    Undisciplined weight, gay, addicted to porn, alcohol, drugs… whatever the sin, Jesus is here for you. Jesus didn’t throw sinners out of the temple, I believe that was the Pharisees and Sadducees.

  • http://why-arizona.com jordan

    the minute we stop classifying people by their sins, we can finally allow God’s grace to cover us. not all people who struggle with homosexuality are “homosexual.” i’ve grown up in the church. over the past five years, i’ve had a couple of dear friends tell me they have struggled with different sins. these were my spiritual mentors. one of the people i look up to most told me he has struggled with homosexual thoughts. he felt he needed to tell me. he has never had sex with a guy. he’s never kissed a guy. he’s never had any contact that could be considered sexual with a guy. so… is he gay? no. is a person who struggles with lying a liar? no. is a person who struggles with gluttony a glutton? no. they are people who are loved by a loving God. that’s it.

  • http://travispaulding.com Travis

    Fat does not = gluttony/sin

    Some people can be gluttons and show no outward signs of it. Some people can eat less than I do and weigh twice as much.

    Homosexuality is a sin, being overweight is not.

    And yes, I know our body is a temple. It is still not a clearly defined area of sin with regards to body weight.

  • http://www.dannyeason.com Danny

    I can’t speak for your friend but I can speak for me.

    When / if I get sat down by the leaders God has put around me for correction, instruction, and maybe even discipline, the first thing I’m going to do is run through my head every sin I could possibly think of in the lives of the leaders around me.

    Because it would be so much easier for me to cry foul instead of allowing God to transform me in this process.

    • http://sarapipkin.blogspot.com Sara

      amen

    • Jonathan A.

      So often true.
      May we become people who run straight to Christ when confronted and honestly and humbly ask. Is it true? Are they right? May we listen to the answers God wants to give us, without letting our pride get in the way.

  • http://www.twitter.com/thomdaugherty Thom

    So much here about how homosexuality and gluttony are “equal sins.” Wondering if it wouldn’t be better to focus instead on whether God’s grace is powerful enough to cover both.

    • http://www.ryanwoolsey.com Ryan

      I second that Thom. Well said!

    • http://www.gotworship.net Jason Whitehorn

      agreed

    • http://www.marklove.tv Mark

      I think the issue is not whether God’s grace can cover both but are there certain issues that should keep someone from vocational ministry.

      • http://www.twitter.com/thomdaugherty Thom

        Who ultimately gets to decide that then?

        • http://www.marklove.tv Mark

          Practically, each faith community has to decide according to the conviction they have by reading scripture. At least in the case of who they are going to appoint to a staff position. Some decide poorly. Ultimately, the fruit that we bear shows more about our heart and our walk with Christ than what we say.

  • http://www.hurrelladventures.blogspot.com Lita-NJ

    firstly, Carlos….good topic!!!

    I am a devoted Catholic but one thing I can’t stand is the issue of someone being Gay.

    I personally don’t care what someone does in the privacy of thier own home. What I do care about is how many people do not go to church or have turned their backs on God because of a few opions!!!! It makes me so mad that I personally know of gay couples that were brought up with religion and want to go back to church and bring thier children to church but don’t because of fear of judgement. Who are we to judge!!??!!?!? Who are these priests or church leaders to judge?!?!? We all sin but who are we to say that loving someone is a sin?

    Every Sunday when we go to church, we are all “refreshed” and ready for a new week. Usually at the end of mass when everyone is trying to get out to the parking lot you can count on an “Italian hand” flying or someone’s rolling thier eyes or some jerk speeding out of the lot while the little old ladies are trying to get out of the way. Why don’t we pick on those people?

    Can a church tell a husband and wife how to behave in thier bedroom?!!?!? the answer is NO! I don’t think the church could or anyone who belongs to the church has any right to say that someone has sinned for loving another. It is wrong!!!

    Now we live in a generation that gay is as normal as anyother couple. It’s easily talked about, it’s not shocking anymore, it’s not taboo. So when talking about “Sinning” the church better watch what they are saying, because they might turn off other people who have gay friends or family.

    OH and the subject of marriage….call it something else, i have yet to meet a gay couple that wouldn’t mind calling it another name. These coulples are having children and we as religious people can not turn them down, it’s not right.

    Don’t get me started!!!!!!

    LITA-NJ

    • http://jonathanedmund.blogspot.com Jonathan Edmund

      Lita,

      Your friends may really benefit from finding an open and affirming church. Depending on where they live (obviously cities have more) there should be several to chose from.

      http://www.gaychurch.org/Find_a_Church/find_a_church.htm

  • Tobias Sturesson

    I think we all struggle with some things… But if I say that I struggle it confirms that I believe that what I struggle with is wrong. If that’s the case it might not matter so much what it is. Problem is if I try to justify what I do through calling it right. Then it’s a whole other thing…

    • http://findingwonder.com Larry Westfall

      Very well put. I agree completely.

  • http://www.krissyleigh.wordpress.com Krissy Leigh

    Wikipedia says this about gluttony:
    Gluttony, derived from the Latin gluttire meaning to gulp down or swallow, means over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink, or intoxicants to the point of waste. In some Christian denominations, it is considered one of the seven deadly sins—a misplaced desire of food or its withholding from the needy.

    according to that definition, i am certain that no matter what size pants you wear to church, we are all gluttonists. not even just with food, but with everything. We as a people have too much of everything and it is leaving us with little room for the Lord to move.

    I don’t agree with gluttony (although as i’ve said, i struggle with it..despite the skinny jeans).
    I don’t agree with homosexuality. But never would i ‘kick out’ a friend in my life that struggles with either.
    Let He who is without sin cast the first stone.
    Here’s my question..

    The person in leadership who made the decision to ask the minister (struggling with homosexuality), where is the state of their heart? are they judgemental? are they loving? and most of all are they taking steps to guide that minister through inner healing and such?

    I think this is a main reason so many people in the church and leaders in the church feel pressured to ‘hide’ their struggles and put on the attitude that they live perfect lives. Then when it finally sees the light (which will always happen, biblically) the church and media goes nuts rebuking and judging saying ‘how could you lead all those years with such dirty secrets?’

    well..if we aren’t a church of love, how do we expect ANY sinner to come seeking love, help, forgiveness and healing?

    I say, no matter the sin. If a person is hernestly seeking Jesus’s face through it all, and wants healing and obviously struggles with it…let them stay, allow God to minister to our growing homosexual community through that person.

    God’s bigger.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      lovely

  • http://www.krissyleigh.wordpress.com Krissy Leigh

    ps. I just got done reading Redeeming Love, if you’ve never read it, please do..
    but i wanted to add,

    we are called to be like Christ.
    Christ = Hosea
    he never kicked the prostitute out… but instead MARRIED her and continued to pursue her, run after her, seek her heart and LOVE her until her heart was softened to the Lord.

    can i get an amen?

    • James

      I’ll throw an amen at you… I don’t care who got fired… when asked to take a leave from the position they were in, who came along side and discipled them… if no one did, then fire the whole effing leadership team for being “Under qualified”.
      glutton
      Arrogant
      Homosexual
      lustful
      greedy

      they are all disobedient. just like the leader who will not come alongside and disciple those i their care!

  • http://www.robertpooley.org Robert Pooley

    Los… you might want to take tomorrow off. :-)

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      you aint lying.

  • http://www.spintheaxis.com Jason

    In 2000 I was thrown out of ministry. I admitted I had a problem with pornography and lust of the mind and was shown the door so quickly you could see the footprints on my butt for a week. If you want to be real here there’s more condemnation in the church for someone addicted or who struggles with porn than for someone who wraps up their identity in being “gay” because at least you’ll have people twist Scripture to try and excuse that behavior like we’ve seen in the comments of this thread! ;)

    God set the standards here. We didn’t set them. However, the desire to change God’s standards to allow us to do whatever we want isn’t new. So many Christians run around like spiritual Perry Masons looking for any loophole or interpretation to allow them to do whatever they want to do without consequence. If you read the Bible, you’ll see humans have been this way since Adam and Eve. It’s foolish to assume that this wouldn’t be the case right now. Homosexuality just happens to be the current hot issue because the world is pushing that issue…and somehow there’s an assumption on the part of many if the world thinks it’s OK then God has to approve it somehow. However, if you look closely, you’ll see groups dedicated to “fat education” that are saying it’s perfectly OK to be morbidly obese and that you should never point out to someone that it’s not OK to be that way.

    I think it’s a factor of the last few generations getting older and more vocal. They’ve grown up in atmospheres where they’re told in the world they can do whatever they want to do as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. That’s not God’s standard. It’s not a joke when we’re called to be in the world and not of it.

    I have no problem saying my former ministry was right in throwing me out. I was viewing pornography, it’s a sin and a Christian leader who is unrepentant in sinful activity should be removed. In the same way, if a pastor or staffer who struggles with homosexuality is living in a way to glorify that lifestyle and/or engages in same-sex sexual relations, they should be removed from leadership. If a pastor who weighs more than your average NFL offensive lineman is taking three trips to the hot bar at Old Country Buffet after church each Sunday then he needs to be removed as well. The temptation to sin is not something that should remove someone…it’s the acting upon it.

    Los, your friend is right in that many churches do turn a blind eye to the sins of someone who is engaging in gluttony versus someone engaging in homosexuality…but that does NOT excuse the person being held accountable for their sin. A common misconception in hypocritical situations like this is that somehow because one sin is ignored the other should be ignored as well. That’s not God’s standard, either.

    Believe me, I feel for those who are struggling with homosexuality. We may not have Fred Phelps running around with signs that say “God Hates Porn Viewers” but that sentiment runs VERY high in most churches and with most Christians. I’ve been told many times by Christians that because I once had a porn addiction that I will never be allowed to serve in ministry because God wouldn’t let someone who has to fight temptations like that to lead His people in any way. I know for a FACT that they’re full of crap just as I know it’s full of crap to say someone who struggles with homosexual desires could never be used by God in ministry. The whole issue comes down to whether or not you’ll stand against the temptations themselves & not give into them and avoid the temptation to try and justify it.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      Thanks you Jason for your words. There is ALOTTOCHEWON

    • http://sarapipkin.blogspot.com Sara

      amen! and can I get a ‘whoop whoop’! If they were never allowed to serve in ministry again, Kirk Franklin would be poor! Know what I’m saying.

    • Jonathan A.

      Well put.

    • http://www.bluejeanphotographyonline.com Ronni

      *applause*

    • http://davidgoodwin.com David

      yes *standingovation*

    • Kyle

      I’ve read all the replies so far and yours is my favorite.

  • http://www.artgood.tumblr.com Art

    Something I found interesting when was filling out a staff application for a Teen Camp this summer:

    Two questions on the application…

    1)Do you CURRENTLY use tobacco, alcohol, or any illegal drugs?

    2) Have you been involved in homosexual activity WITHIN THE LAST 5 YEARS?

    I’m assuming if I didn’t have a beer, smoke a cigarette or joint THIS WEEK I’m ok… but not if I’ve had sex with another man 4 1/2 years ago, but not since then… what?

    (By the way, I’ve never had sex with a man, and I haven’t smoked a cigarette or a joint or had a beer in the last five years. I don’t like beer.)

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      Brilliant.

  • http://www.wadeandreneelittle.blogspot.com Renee Little

    WOW tough talk…but I love the openness, honesty and reality of this conversation. This is what we need as Christians, as American’s as people trying to figure it out. We do not have to agree, we just have to share, listen and respect.

    I am glad I am not God. I am grateful he is all knowing and all powerful. He can see everything we cannot. The very little I know…is that we are called not to judge…we are called to hold people accountable and to love them…but not to judge them. That is for God alone.

    I really agree with Danny…and I loved what he said to being open to how God will confront your own sins. My first reaction would also be to find sin in others…when really I need to sit down and take a long look at myself.

    We all need to start looking at ourselves more.

    So I will start. I had sex before I was married. I am a liar. I use the Lord’s name in vain. I have cheated on a paper in college. And on and on.

    I could never throw the first stone.

    I am praying for your friend.

  • http://sidekicksolutions.us Aaron

    Ok so normally I’d stay far away from a discussion like this, but after skimming through I have to say something. I’m honestly shocked at the lack of biblical reference. And btw, one of my best friends ever was bisexual. I’ve talked about this with him before and he was very respectful of it. All of this is offered in love and humility because for real…I am the chief of sinners.

    1. While the wages of all Sin, capital S, is death (Rom 6:23), a universal punishment does not make all sin equal. Jesus definitely reamed the Pharisees in Matt. 24 and indicted them with “all the innocent bloodshed since able” and that was just for their religious pride that lead Israel into rejection of the Messiah. Under the law some sins were punishable by death. Others weren’t. The heart of it all seems to be that sin that influences others to sin or endangers others is more serious than sin that is relatively confined to self. That’s why Jesus said “if any one causes one of these little ones to sin it would be better for him to tie a millstone around his neck and be thrown in to the sea.” All sins are not on the same level.

    2. To take it a step further, the city of Sodom was so enflamed by homosexuality that Lot had to offer the mob his teenaged daughters when the Men of God came to visit him to see the city. Shortly thereafter the city is destroyed. I don’t think we’ve even seen homosexuality like that in modern times BECAUSE of the work of the Holy Spirit and the presence of the Church. But the clear angle of the story is that the extreme, unashamed homosexuality was evidence of how distant Sodom was from God. If that weren’t enough, because I know we don’t like the Old Testament, in Romans 1:26-27 depicts homosexuality as the result of people being given over to “dishonorable passions”- of God’s influence being completely absent. So biblically speaking, someone living in unrepentent homosexuality is not just AN example of someone living in sin, but the ULTIMATE extent of that.

    3. The dude mentioned “struggling with homosexuality”. Struggling is one thing. I struggle once or twice a year with internet pornography. That results in 5-10 minutes of looking at crap that I hate. And then I stop, am depressed for several days and confess to my wife. It is horrible. I know as a diagnosed Obsessive Compulsive, there are psychological factors influencing many who struggle with homosexuality. If you are a leader and that is the case, then out of a desire to repent and be free…get some counseling. Hopefully that sin bothers you enough to do that. But if what you call struggling is really just an unrepentent lifestyle don’t fool yourself. You are correct. ANYONE who is committed to ANY sin to the point that when they are confronted by God or others, they respond consistently with a stiff neck or with recrimination of the accuser should NOT be in a leadership position in the Church. Not because of the “sin” but because of the refusal to repent.

    • http://www.marklove.tv Mark

      Excellent thoughts.

      • http://findingwonder.com Larry Westfall

        Very well said.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      Good word man.

  • http://www.marklove.tv Mark

    I’ve commented on several of these because we have walked with so many that struggle with homosexuality at Journey. Some have come and gone, others have overcome it, and others have chosen that it is “right for them”. It is a heartbreaking issue because of the shame and guilt that followers of Christ feel. Their stories of pain, what has been done to them in the past, and how the church has treated them would send shivers up and down your spine. They each know that we believe the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin (see above posts) but they experience acceptance, love, and a chance at healing. We offer the same thing for porn addicts, adulterers, addicts, and any other issue that walks in the door. If we say there is no sin, we don’t offer healing. If we just claim grace, then we ignore the call to purity and holiness. Society is having a great influence on the church in this area. Sharing truth in love is more than just the worthless catch phrase that it has become.

    • http://findingwonder.com Larry Westfall

      I agree.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      well put.

  • http://seth.heasley.net/blog Seth

    It’s a fair point, but the fact is that gluttony and obesity are not scandals in (particularly) America today. Homosexuality is. The sad part is, the homosexual might be experiencing more victory in his struggle than the glutton is. But his failures are more scandalous.

  • S

    My dad was a gay minister that left our family when i was six years old. Married to my mom for over 20 years and was gay the whole time. He wanted nothing to do with us, and told us that there was someone more important than his family and his ministry. It sucked.

    • http://sarapipkin.blogspot.com Sara

      I’m so sorry.

    • http://findingwonder.com Larry Westfall

      I am with Sara. I am so sorry for your pain.

    • http://www.marklove.tv Mark

      So sorry, not just for the incredible pain that had to cause but the horrific example of someone claiming to be a follower of Jesus. He was not.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      that does suck. gay or not. it would have sucked either way

  • Cory

    There are just so many different issues that play into this that it’s difficult to weigh in (see what I did there?) with Biblical honesty.

    If this man was living an unrepentant homosexual lifestyle, then his termination was absolutely justified.

    If he was simply struggling with sin, and was repentant about it, then things aren’t so clear. What did the struggle entail? How many times in the past few months or years did he fall into this sin? Is it an issue of needing to take time to deal with personal sanctification, or is the church simply being condemning of someone guilty of a hot-button sin.

    If the church just flipped out over the idea of him being gay, even though he was living an abstinent lifestyle, then they’re absolutely wrong. We’re all sinners living in the midst of God’s grace, and to simply boot a man from leadership for a struggle is wrong.

    As much as we all might hate the concept, we are called to hold each other accountable. Admittedly, this concept doesn’t extend as far as it should. We should be holding the unmarried couples shacking up accountable, as much as we hold the porn addict accountable. We should be holding the one who struggles with unholy anger as accountable as those in homosexual sin.

    Homosexuality is sin, the Bible is very clear. For those who think that culture changes Scripture, you’re wrong. You’re simply looking for a buffet where you can take heaping helpings of grace and love and leave behind the expectations of holiness and obedience. If any part of the Bible is irrelevant, then all of it has to be, because who are you to judge what aspects of Scripture are true?

    He does have a point about the one who is possibly struggling with gluttony, but he doesn’t know what is being done or not being done by that man to correct the issues of his sin. He could simply be overweight from gluttony in the past and just hasn’t lost the weight. Whatever the case though, it’s obvious that he has an issue with repentance and accountability, because his response is to point out the sins of those around him to try to make himself look justified.

    Overall, there’s a lack of accountability in church leadership, but that doesn’t excuse his sin.

    • http://sarapipkin.blogspot.com Sara

      “For those who think that culture changes Scripture, you’re wrong. You’re simply looking for a buffet where you can take heaping helpings of grace and love and leave behind the expectations of holiness and obedience. If any part of the Bible is irrelevant, then all of it has to be, because who are you to judge what aspects of Scripture are true?”

      YES!

      • http://www.marklove.tv Mark

        Great thoughts Sara. On the money.

      • http://findingwonder.com Larry Westfall

        Sara that is very well said. Unfortunately taking this kind of stance is what get many labeled as homophobes or simple minded religious nuts.

        I get the impression by some that walking in grace means that you have to do so at the exclusion of walking in holiness. God intends for us to do both.

        • http://sarapipkin.blogspot.com Sara

          I was quoting what Cory said actually. Larry, I think that not taking a stance is more dangerous than taking one and being labeled something you are not.

          One of my very good friends is gay and he and I talk very freely about what I believe and what he believes…oddly enough is pretty close to myself…he has openly admitted he’s making a choice to do it his way… in this case, I would rather stand in judgement before my Father and say I spoke in love and truth the HARD things, than be questioned on where my nerve was when the time came to speak His word…

          • http://findingwonder.com Larry Westfall

            Sara, I am sorry. I wasn’t criticizing your position. I was actually trying to affirm it. I just did so poorly. I was pointing out that many of us are looked upon negatively for standing for what we believe in. I agree that it is more dangerous to be silent.

  • http://justplainron.com Ron

    I’ll leave the meat of this discussion to those who have studied more than I have.
    Having said that, I can’t see that a gay man who abstains is any ‘more’ of a sinner than a straight guy who abstains.

    On another point… All sins being equal in God’s eyes?
    Not so sure about that. I agree that when the standard is perfection that even the smallest blemish is to much. So we all need a saviour to completely cover our sins. But (to use an often used illustration) while pink when compared to white is very definitely not white; it is also not scarlet.
    Thoughts?

    • http://sarapipkin.blogspot.com Sara

      I don’t remember ever reading “all sins are equal” I do know it says “the wages of sin is death”, but when Christ was handed over this was the conversation: John 19:10-11 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

      I think the point is there ARE greater sins…however 1. we aren’t judge of that 2. His blood still cleanses ALL sins.

    • Cory

      While you’re right about the smallest blemish being too much, there’s no such thing as “pink” when it comes to sin.

      James 2:10 tells us that breaking one point of the law makes us guilty of all of it.

      One sin makes our soul black. Praise God for the blood of Jesus.

  • Toy

    I guess the obvious question that no one is askng is: which is more importnt to your friend- leading worship or a homosexual lifestyle? If you want so badly to be involved in ministry, why let a sinful lifestyle choice keep you from doing it? Why not addres the sin rather than the percieved hypocrisy?- oh yeah because pointing out others faults is alway easier than dealing with our own!! ( yes I believe any sin is a choice, and that God can and will deliver us from it through His grace, but it takes a desire to repent for tat to happen)

  • Pingback: Our view of sin….do we rank them? | jtkirkland.net

  • Vanessa

    So since people want to make this about weight and not being able to lose weight due to health issues, what about God’s being the ultimate healer and miracle worker. To use the same argument that some of you used toward gays, why don’t you quit justifying/excusing your sickness and let God’s heal you and set you free from your sickness and weight problems? Seems like a bit of an unreasonable thing, doesn’t it?? That’s how gays feel when you say those things to them about changing their attraction or not acting on it. Just saying…

    • http://findingwonder.com Larry Westfall

      Vanessa… you are comparing apples and oranges. Choosing a homosexual lifestyle is simply a choice. It might be impacted by trauma in the past or childhood but it is still a choice. If you compare that to someone who is 350 lbs. and eats a dozen cheeseburgers everyday then you have a reasonable argument. But there are some who are overweight due to a medical condition. To my knowledge, there is no evidence that validates the claim that homosexuality is genetic.

      To put that in spiritual terms. God can deliver us from our sinful choices but does not always choose to heal us from our physical infirmities.

      • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

        please respond in love and meekness.
        Thanks!

        • Vanessa

          Hey Los….wasn’t trying to be unloving. Was trying to make the point that its not as simple as some like to Make it when they use the ‘you are just trying to justifty sin’ tone. Didn’t re-read it to double check how it sounded. Sorry. You can remove it cause I’m not a jerk like that. My bad in not considering the tone that it could be read with.

      • JOSH

        Having homosexual feelings are not choices… they are feelings…. you don’t choose your feelings… If I tried to not be attracted to the opposite sex it would be equivalent to asking someone struggling with homosexuality to erase attraction to the same sex. As Christians in obedience they must try to suppress the attraction in an attempt at being Christ-like… but the attraction never goes away… you just learn to walk with a God- consciousness that helps you along as you grow closer to God.

        • http://www.facebook.com/jasonaroth Jason A. Roth

          Josh I appreciate your answer. I feel as if people completely write off the aspect of self control in our spiritual walk. We may not be able to eliminate desires but we have to control what we do in response to those desires. Homo or hetero are both prone to sexual desires they cannot act on in righteousness and a Christian seeking to glorify God should not be acting on it. Gluttony is self control as well but I don’t think it has been clearly defined how we determine if the fat man pastoring is a glutton or if he is just overweight even if he eats a normal balanced diet.

      • http://www.krissyleigh.wordpress.com Krissy Leigh

        have we not the holy spirit?
        knock and the door will be opened unto you, ask and you shall receive.
        tell that mountain to throw itself into the sea and it shall be done.
        apples or oranges, Gods bigger than it all, and he can and will ‘heal’ the gluttonous or the homosexual. If only we would have the faith of a mustard seed. :)

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      please in love and meekness.
      Thanks!

  • D

    Late to the party, it seems.
    Forgive me if someone else has already pointed this out (too many comments to sort through).

    Doesn’t Paul give Timothy (and by proxy- us) a list of things to look for in church leadership? 1 Timothy 3, specifically.

    If the Word isn’t our standard, then all we do is fling flawed human opinion at something that we really don’t posess an answer to. Besides, God’s more concerned about the heart of the person(s) involved that our ideas about His ideas of sin ratios.

  • http://www.iheartbrad.com Brad

    So then, do you have to be perfect to lead a church?

  • Colt Carter

    How do we determine who a Glutton is? I don’t think it is as simple as saying, “Hey, you’re fat, so you must be a glutton,” and I certainly don’t think we can tell a fat man he can’t be a preacher. This whole quote in the post, just seems more like an immature response than a sincere question to me.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      not the point. the point is gluttony. skinny or fat

      • http://www.krissyleigh.wordpress.com Krissy Leigh

        all of us are gluttonist by definition.. food or not.

  • http://www.contentunderpressure.net Josh

    Just read through the mountains of comments….seemed just like church to me- a lot of hurt, brokenness and name-calling. I feel at home.

    Carlos, I have some anxiety on your behalf for tomorrow… :)

    There are many things that I’m unsure on in regards to life decisions and what God thinks about them. His ways are so much higher than mine. Better, sure…but confusing to say the least.

    But, here’s what I do know: The cross did not leave a few sins to bear by someone else. When he said it was finished he meant it.

    We (the Church) will forever be divided if we don’t get that, in my opinion.

    Carlos, good luck buddy. :)

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      no need for luck. many wont agree with me.

      • Jonathan A.

        Los, praying you share from the heart things that would bring glory to God and healing to his children, ones who know him and don’t know him yet.

        Thank you for allowing us to journey with you ass we try and get to know our Savior better.

        God Bless!

      • http://www.contentunderpressure.net Josh

        I was saying good luck in terms of what I can imagine is an internal struggle to say the right thing, since so many are listening.

        Agree or not, speak away! It’s your stinkin’ blog anyways. :)

  • http://www.iheartbrad.com Brad

    So God won’t allow us to carry out the vision he’s given us unless we’re skinny? I think that’s kind of funny…what’s the standard of overweight? According to BMI and general height/weight ratios, Thomas Jones of the NY Jets is overweight, as well as Ray Lewis, and just about every other athlete in the NFL with a body composition of 3%-10% body fat. LOL!

    But on a more serious note, I’m obese. I’m working hard to combat that and change my life and my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. I think the difference comes with the obese pastor who refuses he has a health issue/risk and the pastor who is working towards real change.

  • Miriam

    The Bible is a matter of interpretation. Google “gay christians” and you’ll find a rebuttal for every anti-gay argument out there. I’m upset by the amount of Christians who have such strong opinions on why homosexuality is wrong and then try to legislate that into the law of the land. (I live in Cali where Prop 8 is a BIG deal). What about legislating a law that all gluttons go to fat camp then? What about those Christians then that drive big old gas guzzling cars and live in lavish neighborhoods but do nothing about the poverty that engulfs the majority of this world?

    This is an argument that the devil prides himself on because it distracts from our real purpose as believers in Christ. In my opinion, homosexuality is a NON-issue.

  • Anna

    This is a really sore subject with me being I have a lot of friends that are gay that have been pushed from Christ because of politics in the church.

    Basically this is how I feel a sin is a sin, none is greater then the other no matter who is involved. Luckily for us God loves us enough to show us his grace through the blood of his son so we can be with him again some day. And no where in the Bible is it acceptable nor does Christ approve or teach us to point, judge, or show hate to anyone. We are to lift each other up, encourage and Love one another. Maybe instead of pointing out the sin whatever it maybe we should pray that the Father grace and love is shown through all of us to help each other battle whatever sin in our lives.

    Now I will kindly step off my soapbox :)

    • http://sarapipkin.blogspot.com Sara

      Anna, I agree that plenty of people have been pushed away from the Church, but I’m not sure it is for political reasons. I think it’s because we don’t know how to stand up for what we believe so we make ignorant statements and draw our information from resources other than the Word of God. You are right sin is sin, however no where in the Bible does it say no sin is greater than another…as a matter of fact, if we look at Christs words in John, we might come to a different conclusion: Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

      I guess what it comes down to is we have to very careful to speak truth in Love. Our job is to get people to Christ and let Christ convict them of the rest…we just have to know what the Word says when the tough questions come along.

  • http://www.gotworship.net Jason Whitehorn

    Los,

    Praying for words of wisdom and pure honesty to resonate from your keyboard tomorrow, bro.

    Level head.
    pure heart.
    from one ragamuffin to thousands of others.

    Peace,

    Jason

  • http://blindin.com stevo

    whilst i haven’t got a great deal to add here, i’m just stoked there’s a place people can talk/question/dialog about this stuff.

    just saying.

    props to los.

  • http://sarapipkin.blogspot.com Sara

    so…like…what time tomorrow…so I’m not sitting here with massive ocd hitting refresh till my finger is blistered…

  • http://e-devotion.blogspot.com @michaelharrison

    Excellent question, Los. Tough but real and honest discussion. Being over weight, I have to be honest about my eating habits (they stick and often are sin). Yet each of us has to deal with our sin and allow God to build our self control. That can be in the area of drugs, destructive relationships, eating too much, homosexuality, and a plethora of other struggles. Fact is: WE ALL STRUGGLE. Fact is: WE ALL NEED GOD. Fact is: GOD’S GRACE IS REAL. Fact is: WE MUST STRUGGLE AND SEEK GOD EVERY DAY. One we go, and God is good!

  • haemin

    i’ve read most of the comments here and have had some time to think about your friends question. the specific way that he is struggling is obviously unclear to us, the readers, but his question implies that he has lacked self-discipline in living as a homosexual Christian man.

    while i agree with him that another man equally struggling with gluttony/lust/hubris/drug addition should equally be held accountable for his “lack of self-discipline” (to use your friend’s words), it doesn’t excuse the fact that his own lack of self-discipline has its own consequences.

    i know we’re not perfect. i believe our life is a process of sanctification. and i do believe that jesus loves us despite our deepest, darkest sins.

    that being said, if he admitted to lacking discipline – which i infer to mean that he may have engaged, albeit regrettably, in homosexual activity – then i think his leadership is justified in releasing him from their paid staff. but as his leadership, they are also responsible for loving him as a brother in Christ, and walking with him as he continues to struggle with this.

    there’s no perfect solution here. and no matter how good our intentions as church leaders, we’re going to mess up and allow external things to affect our decisions (e.g., if he was an UNPAID volunteer, would the course of action have been the same?).

    but leaders ARE held to a higher standard, inside and outside the church. your friend, as a leader, may have to consider that stepping down is the best thing he can do for the church right now. and HIS leaders/pastors, may have to consider that while firing him is best for the rest of the church, they also have to do what’s best for your friend – because HE is part of the church too. what are they doing to lead him well? or have they fired him and wiped their hands clean of this already?

    sorry this was so long.

    looking forward to your thoughts tomorrow, Los.

  • http://peregrinateplaid.com Jonn McDaniel

    The two issues at hand here are:
    1) homosexuality and gluttony (and by implication, all sin)
    2) leaders in churches (who can lead)

    1. God is wholly good and therefore any sin is reprehensible. However, because of His love and mercy for us, he chose grace and made a way for us to be forgiven and be in an eternal relationship with Him. If God chose grace instead of giving us the eternal “you’re fired” how can we possibly say we are worthy of not giving grace to anyone.

    2) When are we going to stop projecting our own ridiculous ideas of the impossible standards our leaders must adhere to? I’m not saying we shouldn’t care if our leaders sin, I’m saying we should be focussing on our own sin and the projection that a “church leader” can be without sin. If God leads someone to be a leader in this “business” of introducing people to the reconciliation found in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, then let’s find ways to come along side them and love them like they are trying to do with us.

    Additionally: it has been touched on briefly by a few peeps but I want to draw attention again to understanding scripture more clearly. Please don’t pick specific scripture verses about a subject without doing your research. Understanding all scripture contextually is understanding the Truth regarding scripture. Please, please, study the culture, language and intention of the writers of those OT & NT passages. I can address this in more detail, as others already have, if needed.

    At the risk of sounding a little snarky about this: if you are going to make the Leviticus and Romans passages your banner you want to fly high, what say you about women wearing jewelry, eating cloven hoof animals, women speaking up in church, an eye for an eye, etc., etc., etc….

    Los, tell your gay friend (and your fat one, too), if the church doesn’t want him any more, don’t fret. God still does. There are many other ways outside the typical church to serve Him that are creative and where God is bringing up a host of believers to reach the lost.

    Peace

  • http://www.reflectionofgrace.wordpress.com Brandi

    i just read through all 264 comments and my heart breaks for the fat, gay, hypocritical, judgmental, confused self-righteous church.

    can’t help but think that if we were truly loving Jesus with all our heart, mind, soul & strength we wouldn’t have so much time to label each other, rate each others sin, or cast so many stones.

    and maybe, just maybe, if we were truly making an effort to love Jesus wholly we wouldn’t be so fat, gay, hypocritical, judgmental or self-righteous.

  • shayne

    Well, if nothing else, this discussion certainly does highlight an even bigger issue…why the church (and I mean the Universal Bride of Christ here) has no real power.

    Judging by the comments (Yes…I’m being judgemental. As in using discernment. Go ahead and hate me for it.) we are simply unable to discern what the truth is.

    Scary.

    Some want to lean on the side of Jesus as the consummate Lover of all mankind. Which is true, He is…but that doesn’t mean He overlooks our sins.

    Some want to lean on the side of Jesus as the Righteous Judge. Which, again is true. But that doesn’t leave us free of our responsibility to rightly discern what the truth is and to speak the truth…no matter how others may hate us or disagree with us.

    At the heart of everything no matter what…we’re supposed to lean on the side of Mercy and Love.

    But Mercy and Love doesn’t mean that we get everything we want. Which again, is what all this really boils down to. We want to live our lives the way we want to live them without anyone telling us what to do. Christian or no.

    My kids would be so happy if I let them have their own way all the time. It would just be party party party at my house.

    The thing is…my kids’ happiness is not at the top of my priority list. But molding their character is.

    I don’t know God’s purposes for everything He says in His Word. I can’t begin to even fathom one iota of God’s thought processes.

    All I have to go on is His Word. And it’s either true or it isn’t. All this trying to get to the understanding of the why’s and the wherefore’s…it’ll drive you nuts.

    Abraham certainly wasn’t given a whole lot of explanation about anything. He wasn’t told where he was going much less why. But He believed the word that he had from God.

    I’ve got to do the same. So do we all. If the Bible says that bowing down and worshipping anything other than God is a sin (be it food, television, American Idol, or ourselves) then it’s a sin. Plain and simple.

    The only cure for sin is to confess it, and to repent or turn away from it. We then need to fill the empty hole left behind by sin with Jesus. Or we’ll fall right back into it.

    All this to say…we as the Bride of Christ aren’t doing anyone any good until we know and practice the truth. But since we can’t even decide what that is, even though we have it before us in black, white and sometimes red…it’s no wonder that people are so indifferent to the Gospel.

    God help us.

    • Brandi

      Well said.

    • Carrie

      Bravo!! Great points!

    • Becky

      God help us indeed!

      I like what you say – and perhaps it’s humbly and meekly seeking and living the truth in our own lives and in our own relationships. Instead of having national church boards decide what the “church” thinks. I like the way you paint the “church” as opposed to the big organized religion churches.

    • http://Jason Jason

      Do you have a blog, Shayne? This is good stuff.

      I, too, tire of hearing Christians complain about how unhappy they are because of a godly standard that goes against how they feel. God is shaping and refining us into people who can be used to our full potential for HIS glory–He’s about the heart.

      When people focus on their sin over on Jesus, of course they’re eventually going to be given over to it. But when we seek the Kingdom first, we won’t have to worry about all the other periphery issues. They will take care of themselves.

      Peace

  • Katie

    The problem is that no one should be “leading a church” to begin with. We are all priests and have access to the throne room.

  • Vanessa

    I have to ask this question in light of all responses. Is it possible that God could use a gay person to lead people spiritually? If so, who are we to remove a God-loving, CALLED, individual who is expanding the Kingdom, from pastoral leadership simply he/she is a homosexual ? If God is using them, why replace them with a potentially less effective straight person who is a sinner just like the rest of us?

  • Geoff Bradley

    Yo this is another one of those distractions that get believers focus of the mark. the main reason we make a bigger deal about homosexuality is because the Bible calls it an abomination. ALL sin leads to death. The unforgivable sin is denial of the Holy Spirit. If we focus on availing ourselves of the Holy Spirit we don’t get distracted, because that is our help . . . ever present in times of trouble.

  • http://www.dannyeason.com Danny

    After reading the comments a second time, I wonder.

    If the roles were reverse, would the glutton get the same support?

    I have a sinking feeling that there is a swing in the church. In trying to change how the church used to unjustly treat the lost, we now unjustly treat each other.

  • http://www.bencotten.net Ben

    Why are we assuming that all sins are actually equal? The penalty for all sin is certainly the same – death. But does the Bible really treat all sins equally in terms of the effects and consequences?

    Traci’s comment at the beginning of the thread gets close the heart of the matter, I think. Scripture has some tough things to say about homosexuality that it just doesn’t say about gluttony, though both are clearly sins. We don’t like that idea because we want to figure out a way to merge moral relativism with the Bible. When you do that, you get crazy results. It doesn’t work.

    What many of the comments WANT to say is that a guy having sex with a guy is just as bad as a guy eating too much bacon. OR… they want to say that a guy WANTING to have sex with another guy is just as bad as a guy WANTING to eat too much bacon.

    Are we really going to let ourselves believe that? Because if that’s true, then we should either start putting jaywalkers in prison for life or give murderers misdemeanor tickets and a ride home. It’s the same crazy logic.

    I agree that the church has totally dropped the ball on the homosexuality issue. We’ve demonized them, treated them like lepers. I believe that the Church needs to get over itself on this issue and live the gospel. However, I don’t believe the way to do that is to relativize the issue. That will only muddy the waters and serve to enslave more people to their sin.

    • http://sidekicksolutions.us Aaron

      Brilliant written bro. I said something similar earlier in this thread. But I like yours better! :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/jasonaroth Jason A. Roth

      I think Leviticus demonstrates that the earthly consequences for sins vary in severity. The ultimate consequence is the same for all not redeemed by grace.

  • Becky

    regarding “ranking” sins…

    Doesn’t Hebrews teach that Christ came as our high priest, and set aside the law? That if we try to apply one part of the law, we’re held accountable to all the law and thus will miserably fail?

    And that Christ’s sacrifice and teaching replaced the Old Testament law with a new commandment – to love one another.

    And that if we are saved by grace, we are to seek God, we are to work hard to live by grace, to love one another. Then isn’t God faithful to work in our lives on the behaviors that He wants us to change? Isn’t God going to follow through with each of us where we need to change?

    That we are not to judge one another, but to encourage each other to live in grace. And that requires a personal relationship with each other, not just some mandates.

    BTW – I’ve seen two different mainstream church “leadership” organizations cover up pedophelia by clergy and move said clergy to other communities. My hubby was investigator in both situations and was livid when he learned that both men were repeat offenders. Talk about the church not holding people accountable! Much less encouraging them to live godly lives…

    • Becky

      p.s. I write these as questions cuz I truly don’t know quite what to think on these sorts of issues but this is where my pondering over the past year has gotten me. Not intended to come across as opionion… :-)

  • http://voss-man.blogspot.com Paul Voss

    Good question. All I can say is, I am blessed to have a great Pastor, and I get to attend one of the best churches in the world. (Elevation).

  • http://quotable1988.wordpress.com Matthew W

    Los, you sure do know how to open a can of worms, don’t you? ;-)

  • http://www.worshipperiod.com Jeff Somers

    I started reading this post thinking i’d have something to add. Turns out, nope. Just kinda got bummed out. I know I’m gonna be told I’m oversimplifying or a chickensh*t, but I just get warn out by how excited we are to snap at each other about this stuff. I kinda think we’re all supposed to be tryin’ to push this rock up the hill from the same side, but tellin’ somebody else how they’re not pushing as well as we are is more fun, I guess.

    All I know is grace has gotta win. Bring on Heaven.

    • http://www.twitter.com/FayZ Fay

      Yep. This is exactly how I feel. I have no idea how to answer Carlos’ question. And I feel for his friend because that’s a tough spot to be in. And I hope’s he’s received more grace than some of the comments I’ve seen here.

      My non-answer is that I don’t sit around thinking about how this kind of stuff though I guess someone should.

      I feel like we’re still stuck on our agendas to convert people, and that we always have to have the right answer, and that we need to reclaim America, and that gay marriage is supposedly going to corrupt us all, etc, etc, etc, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, reductio ad absurdum….and I don’t even participate in those arguments anymore. In fact, I run from them. Very, very far. And for some people, that’s too wishy-washy but so be it. To quote Andrew Marin, we need to elevate this discussion.

      True grace has no agendas. Jesus first, then the rest. Rinse your brain. Repeat.

      (Drops the mic gangsta style; walks off)

      (I kid. I wish I was gangsta.)

      • http://jonathanedmund.blogspot.com Jonathan Edmund

        Fay, you will forever be gangsta in my mind.

      • http://www.pinkhairedgirl.net Crystal Renaud

        love you, girl.

        • http://www.twitter.com/FayZ Fay

          It’s mutual. Love your ministry!

      • Michelle

        Thank you!

      • http://jasonthebaldguy.com jasonthebaldguy

        well said!!! ha ha that is just plain truth sister! I am so tired of the stinkin agendas!!! it’s like nothing really matters to anyone unless they can condemn somebody for it.

        Sure this situation is a hard one…but it’s nothing that love and some discernment can’t solve!

        MARK MY WORDS!!! The fires of persecution of christians will be ignited by the intolerant, bigoted, harsh, judgments of those who proclaim the name of Christ but deny him by their actions. They cast stones at those that Christ came to save, they judge with harshness and yet wallow in the filth of their own sin… not one of them is innocent yet they would proclaim their righteousness even to the face of God…

        I say bring on the pain! let the purging begin! let us expose the righteousness that so many seem to have such a firm grasp of… my mind sees them scurry like roaches to the dark as they witness the light of judgment that they bring upon themselves…

        … Reading back, you may want to moderate this.. :) feel free Los..

      • AJ

        Fay…loved your words. Wish I new you and glad you know the work of Andrew Marin. I wonder what he would say or what most of the people commenting would say if they had some of his insight? I also wonder if half of the commenters even know a gay person but has such strong opinions. I am not saying that their beliefs would change if they did, but I think their outlook or approach would be completely differert.

    • Dan

      Like..

  • Amy M

    What happened to a sin is a sin is a sin? God doesn’t differentiate between “types of sin”. Adultery is a sin, telling a “white lie” is a sin. It ALL SEPARATES US FROM GOD.
    The Bible, God’s WORD, is very clear on how He looks on homosexuality. And gluttony for that matter. If neither is REPENTANT, then they shouldn’t be in a church leadership position. Period. The Bible, God’s WORD, says so. Often.

    • John G

      Amy. you might want to consider these verses:

      “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” 1 Cor 6:18

      “The one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin” John 19:11

      “If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” Luke 11:12-24

      “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” – because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3:28-30)

  • Amy M

    You’re right John.

  • http://www.theveracityproject.com Charlie Matz

    I feel like there’s an incredible amount of unsaid information in that painful statement from your friend. There’s most likely a larger more important story worth listening to.

    One of the primary ministries of Christ was and is to listen. I think before making any decision a LOT more listening has to be done.

    Any of us Christians would be wise to sit down with your friend and hear what happened, where he’s been and slowly hear the true pain behind his experience. Only then can we respond like Christ.

    Christ’s answers were so poignant and to the heart because he could see beneath the layers. It takes us much longer, with more of a discipline in listening.

    • Dave

      That’s the best thing I read so far.

  • http://verboseannalise.tumblr.com/ Annalise

    In my opinion, the same-sex thoughts don’t especially make you “gay.” Those thoughts are LUST. And we all struggle with that. It’s the “living it out” part that makes it homosexuality. Either way it’s a sin, and either way there’s redemption.

  • stefan Brooks

    I saw why not just leave it up to God? Everyone struggles and everyone has vices. It’s not about the failures with Jesus, it’s about following him. If you trust God with your life, you will follow him in every decision you make. If God thinks that his sexuality or their gluttony is causing greater harm than good for his kingdom, don’t you think he would let those “in charge” of the church know? I don’t think there is an answer to this question and that is perfectly ok.

  • Erick Bauman

    Until recent weeks, I was ambivalent to this discussion. It was tough to be disassociated from it because I live in Manhattan (a gratuitous plug for sure). Then someone very close to me came out of the closet & I became confronted with these thoughts and internal reactions. I didn’t share them with anyone but God and my wife at first. I realized two things… One. It’s easy to toe-the-line when you don’t realize there’s another soul attached to your assumptions, thoughts or understandings. It’s like pissing in a lake and you’re upstream and the rest of camp is downstream. Two. We are all disqualified, mere filthy rags.

    Please, let’s remember that the leaders of The Church are not the ones who speak on Sundays, Saturdays or via holograms or video venues. They are merely professionals still living in sin and disarray clinging to grace and the mercy of Jesus. They may motivate and spur others to action, but the true leaders are the ones who recoginize they are true sons and daughters of the most high and live out of that construct. So, if you can muster the troops to listen to you pontificate on the Good News and are glutinous, slothful, homosexual and/or a numerous other labels that we put value into define you, then lead without abandon.

    My hope is that the grace we have been afforded would define
    us and not what we are being redeemed from. Out sexuality, our gender, our religious aptitude and our pasts do not impede us from drawing near to God, nor do they define our abilities to lead others.

    And let’s be honest, one of the principle issues with who
    leads in the church is a direct response to our inability to truelly believe that Jesus is the Head of the Church, which is a much more greater concern than LGBTA in the pastorate or fat peeps leading the flock. Funny enough that most of the concern is over fat/gay men leading the church, because hell would surely have triumphed over the church if we were discussing women in that capacity & let alone a fat broad or lesbian pastor….

    There’s a decent book to read called Jesus, the bible, and homosexuality by Jack Rodgers that might interest some.

    Looking forward to the responses.

  • http://andykiff.wordpress.com Andy

    Wow. Once again the internet shows its shortcomings as a tool for discussion. Seriously, if some here talked the same way face-to-face as they do on a comment form they’d be demonstrating a severe lack of humility and/or social skills (and get punched a lot more).

    I could explain my understanding of the Bible on gluttony or homosexuality but I’d offend half of you and I’d rahter discuss such things with people directly.

    I believe there was an initial post before all these comments… ah yes. los, your friend raises a good question. But it’s a side question. What matters is that he receives grace shown by his Saviour and his friends and gives grace to those he feels wronged him. Especially any fat people! Only then deal (or not) with the sin/not sin (delete as applicable depending on your interpretation of Scripture).

    But grace first. Always grace first. Or correction is just condemning.

  • Connormcc

    Ok, I don’t want to respond to any comment in particular, but Reading through these comments has got me pretty annoyed. Are we as Christians so arrogant that we can’t see that homosexuality is on a par with lies, cheating, lust, or even not giving due praise to God ( which we are all guilty of). Are we so self righteous that wr can’t get down off our high horse and look at ourselves along with others in the light of the Gospel of grace!

    I don’t think it may be wise for a homosexual to be a pastor, but I don’t think you can say definately not.

    The thing I have learned most from this post and comments is how filled with hate, pride and Pharisee-luke attitudes we christians really are when the gloves come off. How about we sort out the mess in our own lives first.

  • Boh

    It shouldn’t have been “If a fat man can lead a church…can a homosexual lead…?” It’s not comparing like with like.

    It probably should be “If a glutton can lead church…”

    “Fat” doesn’t necessarily mean the person’s a glutton. There are factors like hereditary body make up, hormonal imbalances, etc.

    Again, this discussion boils down to semantics.

    • Dan

      A homosexual would say that same.

      • http://www.mustardseedyear.com/ Jason Wert

        Actually, a homosexual wouldn’t say that it’s an imbalance or medical issue within their body. That would be admitting something in their body wasn’t normal.

  • http://heretolead.com Michael

    Paul is pretty clear in his instructions to Timothy that there are some sins that disqualify a person from pastoral ministry. We just have to rewrite the Bible to come to a different conclusion.

    The glutton, liar, homosexual, thief, you and me all stand on equal ground when it comes to SALVATION. None are worthy and grace is required. In that sense, all sins are equal in that the separate us from God and require mediation/restoration that comes from the cross.

    However, there are different, Biblical standards for elders, bishops, deacons and pastors.

    • http://bricebohrer.com Brice Bohrer

      Seems that simple to me. Thanks for the summ-up.

  • http://bricebohrer.com Brice Bohrer

    Oh, and you can’t really even have this debate in that most of the forum doesn’t even agree on whether homosexuality is a sin or not.

    There is no base line to dialogue from.

  • Carrie

    Tough question. When faced with questions like these the best way to go is to look in the Bible for answers. If you look at both gluttony and homosexuality both are considered sins. However, homosexuality clearly has deeper consequences because it’s a sin that we committ against our own bodies. Although one could argue so is gluttony. I think we would have to look at the person’s heart and words that come out of their mouth. If someone is leading a church and saying “I’m a glutton and I don’t care! Bring on the Krispy Kremes!” Then I would question whether or not they should lead. Just like if someone was saying “I’m gay and in the lifestyle and that’s OK with God.” I would question their ability to lead. Mainly because both are flashing around their sins as something to be proud of (moral relativism) and not something to repent of and turn away from.

  • http://bricebohrer.com Brice Bohrer

    What about spikey cool guy hair, skinny jeans and white belts? Sin of vanity perhaps. Also one of so called 7 deadly…

    They can’t be pastor either.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com Los

      Quit picking on Louie.

  • Jenn Wilson

    Not sure why I feel compelled to post this given that I’m like the 400th comment! LOL But I was thinking this over last night while my 3 yo kept me up from 3am-present! =)…..Thanks a lot Los!

    2 things came to mind:

    1. As a church we are great at our drive and attempts to rescue, save and restore the “lost”. We SUCK, however, at rescuing, saving and restoring our “own” when they get into trouble. In particular, we don’t know how to do this with our leaders.

    If we are willing to rescue the prostitute from the street, pay for her restoration with both time and money, why not be willing to do the same for our leader who is struggling with sexual sin? Instead, we often throw them out the door because we are terrified of their sin and how to face it together head on.

    2. Jesus lived during a time in history when sin was rampant. I recently watched a show which depicted the culture during that time. Talk about gluttony on every level! Excess of sex, bloodlust, food……..It made me sick but it also made me realize that He truly HAS been “tempted in every way.” & Therefore He IS enough to cover and help me resist and overcome ANY sin.

    I don’t know the details of the situation behind the original question enough to comment directly. However, when I think of my Jesus, who hung with the worst of the worst of sinners, it compels me to be like Him. A bearer of both Truth and Grace equally.

    And that’s what ya get folks when your kids keep ya up all night……….a whole novel in response! And I’m out.

  • shayne

    True story…

    I have a friend. She’s one of my besties you know? She’s been in the trenches with me, interceding for family, seeking God…worshipping and frappucinos at Starbucks.

    She told me some really severe things her husband was dealing with…she and prayed hard and long and for a while things started to get better. Then something triggered in her husband and he committed a really foul act. He’s now sitting in jail and may be there for a really long time.

    I wonder if he had felt safe…you know…to come forward with his struggles…to talk about them with his church family without fear of condemnation…would he be sitting in jail today?

    We kill our wounded too often it’s true. But you know Los, sometimes its the heart that isn’t ready to receive correction that’s in the wrong…not the church.

    We forget that when we sin…it affects the entire body. And I’m not speaking specifically to the issue of your friend here…I’m speaking in general. You brought up the subject and have given everyone a platform to speak their thoughts.

    I’m so glad you did. Not because I want to show off my bible memorization skills, but because we need to talk about this stuff.

    As for my friend…we’re still praying and seeking God and eating cheesecake when we can. I love her husband no matter what. I love her no matter what. But if they ask me, I’m not gonna hold back speaking what the truth is to the best of my knowledge.

    I think that’s what everyone here who has commented has done. They’ve spoken to the best of their knowledge…I don’t think anyone has intentionally hated on or despised another. We may come from opposite ends of the spectrum and disagree about what should or should not be done…but differences in opinion don’t automatically mean there’s hatred.

    Anyways…may God bless your words today with wisdom…we’re all looking forward to what you have to say.

  • http://www.RecentRainfall.com John G

    The initial question is lacking in information.
    Was the man in question engaging in sexual relations or just being tempted.

    If the man was involved in sexual activity, then a better question would be does his church apply the same standards of discipline for any sexual transgressions (homosexual activity, fornication, or adultery) by leadership.

    While we are all sinners in need of grace, the Bible treats sexual immorality (in its various forms) as something very serious. Since leaders are called to model Christian living in word and deed, there are heavier requirements on leaders.

    I would never assume that a ‘fat’ person is a glutton any more than I would assume that a mannish woman or a effeminate man is a homosexual. To do so is foolish and shallow. When I was younger, I could eat large amounts of food, and never put on an ounce of weight. I could have been a ‘stealth glutton’ and people would have never judged me because I was skinny. I know overweight people who eat the same amount of food I do.

    It is disheartening to read people saying “Just let people do whatever, and let God sort it out. ” The love of Christ does not condone sin (Go and sin no more). It’s not loving to not hold believers accountable.

    To the people saying “Gays just choose to be that way and they are disgusting”. It’s easy for us to condemn people for things that we don’t struggle with. Think of the secret besetting sin that you find yourself falling into. Do you have desires that you didn’t ask for, which war against your soul? Are you able to look at the person who wrestles with a different struggle than you do, and see them with compassion? If you personally knew a person with homosexual struggles, who is trying to follow Christ, you might not have such a shallow, flippant attitude. Do you understand to that for a person who is attracted to the same sex, and believes the Bible teaches that homosexual acts and relationships are wrong, if God does not miraculously change their same-sex attraction, then they are facing a life of celibacy, and not acting on those desires? Do you face stakes that high in your own life? So with that in mind, you’ll find it in your heart to be more campassionate in your approach. As much as certain behavior might repulse you, deep down everyone wants to be loved, and not face a life of loneliness. That is the core of being human, underneath all our sin and brokeness.

    The other thing that makes discussing this issue difficult is that many people seem to be operating from whatever vague feelings they have on things like sin, judging, church leadership, and sexuality, without being aware, or even caring about what God has spoken about such things, through the teaching of Christ and the Apostles. If we call ourselves Christians, then we must at least try to interact and wrestle with the whole of biblical revelation and not simply ignore large sections of Scripture which happen to be inconvenient.

    • http://twitter.com/James3am James Marler

      This is a really good point. I also don’t like the phrasing of the “struggling with ‘X sin’” that has come to be so frequently used in churches today. (Though I admit I have used it myself)
      The problem isn’t that it isn’t true. Temptation is not a struggle between what you want to do and what you should do, it’s a struggle between two different “wants.” I know a woman who, in her own words, ‘struggles with alcohol.” Now, this isn’t the time or the place to discuss the “alcohol” issue, but, in this woman’s mind/spirit/heart alcohol is a sin. This is how she struggles with it: She drinks beer almost nightly and goes to bars on the weekend.
      Now, I hardly see that as a “struggle” but… whatever.
      Similarly, if the man in question “struggles” with homosexuality in the sense that he has thoughts about other men or homosexual encounters, but never acts on them even if it’s tough… then, yes, he’s struggling. If he’s “struggling” in the sense that he feels bad/ when he comes back from a night at the gay bar or wakes up in someone’s bed… is that really a “struggle.”
      I mean, conviction or even guilt is one thing. Actively, aggressively fighting the sin is another. I think we have to be careful of phrasing things in a way that makes them sound better than what we’re actually saying.

  • http://www.missionalspace.com Grady Bauer

    Excellent question. So we can struggle with pride, lying, vanity and stay in ministry….but if you struggle with homosexuality…you’re fired. No wonder the world laughs at us and looks for ways to connect with God outside of the church.

    I just wrote a post called “What about Saddleback Sandy and Sally?” I think our churches are more concerned with outside conformity than they are with inside transformation. The problem with this is that we have a double standard….and the world sees it…and they see God in the same light. Shame on us….

  • http://robert4tnr.blogspot.com Robert

    Los,

    Looks like what we have here is a clear cut case of “Your sin is always worse than my sin” syndrome.

    rf

  • David

    Wow, I’m so glad that some of you have the scriptural hierarchy of sin so completely worked out. I believe it was Jesus who said “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” I think our present discussion is completely empty if it is not filled with patience, grace, and love. I also think that the discussion is pointless unless each side admits that there is a possibility that they could be wrong on the issue. I believe it was Billy Graham who said that it’s God’s job to judge, the Holy Spirits job to convict, and our job as Christians is simply to love. Let love reign.

  • Pingback: If A Fat Man Can Lead A Church…My Reply | Ragamuffin Soul

  • Meredith

    I THOUGHT IT WAS ” COME JUST AS YOU ARE”. JESUS TAKES US JUST AS WE ARE. HE DOES THE CLEANING AND PRUNING. yOU DON’T GO GET “ALL BETTER” AND THEN COME TO CHRIST.
    I DO AGREE THAT A PERSON IN CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP THAT IS NOT EXHIBITING CHRISTLIKE BEHAVIOR, SHOULD BE REMOVED. NO MATTER WHAT THAT SIN MAY BE.

  • http://www.hellokevinlin.wordpress.com Kevin

    well… first off i want to say i don’t know the answer. but i think 1 Timothy 3 and 1 Corinthians 6:17-19 might help us find what God thinks.

  • http://amandachavez.wordpress.com Amanda Chavez

    So I have read every single response and seriously wrestling with this for a while. I would like to think that I have the right answer but I came to the conclusion that I dont. In searching for some verses I was looking for yesterday to see if I could see what the word says on this I found this verse highlighted in bright orange that God drove straight to my heart
    “Yes, we know that ‘we all have knowledge’ about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all of the answers doesn’t really know very much.” 1 Cor 8:1a-2
    Talk about feeling like I was just smacked in the face. I know in the context it is talking about food sacrifices but I think this is definitely a principle that can be applied here. My heart absolutely breaks for this gay friend. I cannot even imagine the internal war he must be dealing with…
    That being said I feel like I need to say something that God has laid on my heart. Not knowing all of the details I can say that I don’t know if the leadership may or may not have made the right decision in letting him go. But I do know that God places spiritual leadership in our lives for a reason. And I think it is essential in whatever church you do attend to trust and support that your church staff is making the best decisions for the congregation. I am not say follow blindly. Trust that they have really wrestled with God over it and made the decision they felt was best. I am sure with this guy being on staff that some of these people that had to let him go were his friends. It is really hard as a leader to have to make tough calls and not feel like your team is standing behind you and they are undermining you. If he feels they havent handled things appropriately then the word has very specific guidelines on how to deal with conflict within the church. (Matthew 18 I believe) I really truly pray that there are people that come along side of him and love him like crazy and support him in this time of struggle. I will be praying.

  • Nick

    First off we all fall short of the Glory of God, therefore have sin in our lives that separates us from God. Praise God for establishing a plan that through His Son Jesus Christ we can have that sin forgiven and enter into a relationship with God. The sin’s I struggle with are the same magnitude of sin that everyone struggles with (in the eyes of God). We humans are the ones that place scales and measurements upon things. I do believe that if you are going to be a leader a disciple of Christ you must seek to live by His word and His commands – now does that mean we still sin YES! Now we are forgiven, but at the same time that give us no excuse to sin. As a person that God has CALLED to lead people in a ministry we are judged hard the word of God says. We are to live a life that seeks to be like Christ and that means if we have struggles in sin we deal with them first with God and then with accountability from a Christian Brother (if male) or Christian Sister (if female). If this sin is a sin that is a lifestyle that you are not giving up – that you are not seeking to get rid of then yes you should step down from leadership and work on your relationship with GOD. It does not matter if it is gluttony, homosexuality, a habitual liar or if it is sex outside of marriage. The one thing we must remember is to be like Christ and when a person is struggling with a sin we need to help them focus on God and repent (turn) from that sin. We as Christians usually do the opposite and are quick to judge and send them on their way down the road. We are to help the hurting and God’s word says they will know us by the way we love one another. SIN IS SIN – It is wrong, but we must seek God to turn from it and then let Him lead us to the places He wants us – and it helps to have some good Christian friends out there that are willing to come along side us and walk with us – that’s discipleship! Do you know what kind of guys the 12 Disciples were – most churches these days would not even let them in the door – But Jesus saw more and He discipled them and walked along with them teaching them about who He was through words and actions.

  • Jacob

    Come come. Online discussion is not the place for such issues. Too many chances of miscommunicating and misunderstanding.

    • shayne

      Jacob…I totally agree about the chances of miscommunicating and misunderstanding, but unfortunately, the online community is the only place this type of discussion is taking place.

      So…right now it is the place because no one else is doing it.

      I’m so grateful Los is doing this. I’m grateful for all the comments…even the ones that made me scratch my head and go “I dunno about that…”

  • http://www.worshipcity.wordpress.com Conner Byrd

    Oh…I can’t read any more comments :(

    I think if the church isn’t the place to come alongside sinners and pour out the love and grace of Jesus Christ then we’re all in alot of trouble. I think public sins of those in leadership can’t be covered in a blanket statement, they have to be done individually.

    So this man struggles with homosexuality. Is there a worship leader that can stand up and say they haven’t struggled with pornography? I get that 1 is public and 1 is not but both occur and both are equal in the eyes of God. If this man was bold enough to approach leadership and they let him go then shame on them and shame on the church.

  • jerah

    If someone is let go for struggling with a sinful nature then non of us would be in ministry. I think that him coming forward and expressing he is struggling with the sin is a good sign. He is wanting help. At that point accountability and spiritual guidance should be set in place. What would be the difference in him coming and saying he struggled with wanting to sleep with another woman other than his wife? I think the situation should have been handle differently but I don’t know all the details.
    As far as Gluttony goes. I looked the word up and its excess not only in food but drinking. I don’t think you can say its “fat people” that are gluttons. What about those struggling with Balemia who excessively eat food then throw it up. They can range in size big, small and large.
    Bottom line is we all struggle with sin and we have to die daily to our flesh. I would hope I would never lose my place in ministry for this. With that said I am striving to be more like Christ everyday.

  • Todd V

    Can skinny people be guilty of gluttony? If so, how do you tell? Not trying to get off topic. Just pointing out how our assumptions so easily hide.

    • http://twitter.com/adaminspired Adam Mason

      Brilliant.

  • http://jeremybarr.com Jeremy

    I’m a little late to the party, but I think this comes down to the condition of the heart. Gluttony and homosexuality are both sins, clearly. But if a sin-free life was a condition for leading a church, there would be a lot of empty platforms on the weekends. Be it homosexuality, gluttony, or any sin, if the person has given their heart over to that, embracing it so to speak, and it has taken a higher role in their life than God, then some action should be taken.
    But if this is just something that someone is struggling with, and their heart is focused on loving God, then Grace needs to be extended and council needs to be given. Maybe some time off from leading to work through some of the sin issues is warranted? In my opinion, I don’t know that step one would be to fire the person, especially if the gay friend in this case came to his pastor asking for council and help.
    Becoming a Christian is clearly not a “get out of sin free” card, and while Christ does indeed deliver many people completely from a burden of sin that they’ve carried, many others are left with that burden even after becoming a Christian. That may be the case here, but I couldn’t say for sure. Either way, God calls us to love each other unconditionally, and even in this time of heartache for the friend, bitterness will only help to draw him farther from God, and I hope that he stays away from that road as much as he can.

  • Lindsey

    I say, let’s try and focus on the huge ass plank in our eye. If the pastor was focusing on his own sin he would probably have handled our brother’s struggle with sin a bit more…ok, a LOT more gracefully. If our brother who is struggling was focusing on his own sin (homosexuality being a small one of many if he’s like any one else I know), he wouldn’t care whether or not the pastor judged because he would know that is what we all DESERVE. We DESERVE judgment and condemnation but receive GRACE through Christ. If no one else, Jesus gives it. I know some incredible people who have been a light exposing the GRACE found in Jesus who struggle with homosexuality. We all need to be a brighter light of that grace. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

  • Andrea

    Last time I checked my Bible, this shouldn’t even be an issue from the church’s standpoint because only GOD can judge our actions or our hearts. Even if we say that being homosexual or a glutten is a sin, then WE are judging and that is NOT what God calls us to do. It is not up to US to decide if what OTHER people do are sins or not, our only responsiblity is for our OWN actions to be as Christlike as possible. HE calls us to love one another and to accept one another. As some other posts have already pointed out, ALL of us sin, and NO ONE is in front of anyone else in the line to heaven, based on merits or how you live your life. As long as a person has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, then they are our brother/sister in Christ and they should be treated accordingly.

    • Brett

      Andrea, you may want to check your Bible again. The New Testament (specifically the epistles written to the churches) have a lot to say about believers holding one another accountable for sin, condoning sin in the body, and church discipline. “11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler— not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves” (1 Cor. 5:11-13)

      • Brett

        Sorry, I just saw the date on this post. I am way late to the conversation.

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  • http://www.ministryhd.com Ryan Smith

    In light on Andrea’s comment- I wouldn’t have a problem serving on staff with someone who “struggles” with homosexuality- I mean we all struggle with something- If you’re not “Struggling” I would question about what you’re comfortable with. The church would be a better place if we judged ourselves as much as others :)

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  • http://brno101.com Jay Draper

    Thanks so much for posting a lot of this awesome content! I am looking forward to seeintg more blogs!

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  • alienlenny

    obesity is clearly a sign of moral defect, like alcohol addict, if someones life is lead by food addictions, they can not be considered appropriate for church leadership. they need prayer and should be allow to work to livinging in a healthy way to glorify God

  • Drowning In Grace

    That man is not alone and I will pray for him…because I basically am him, with a church that just happens to be a little bit more graceful, Praise God. I struggle with my own sexuality and lots of other issues that I don’t have all the answers for. It’s not something I ever wanted or chose to be, but it happened and I believe it has a lot to do with the circumstances of my childhood…but I don’t point the finger or blame my parents. Just trying to somehow make sense of where it all went wrong.

    And I’m a worship leader at my church. I’ve been serving on the worship team for 6 years. The upper leadership of my church knows about my struggle. In fact, many of the members of the church know. I did a testimony at a conference in 2011 and touched on the issue briefly. Many people were surprised to hear it, which surprised me, because as a man that struggles with it and isn’t the “manliest” of men, I automatically assume that everyone knows I’m “in the closet”. And you would think that the fact that people know about it would do it one of two things. Either:

    A. What happened to the guy in this blog. Or…

    B. They would seek to help me overcome it.

    The truth is…nobody knows how to fix this problem. There’s nothing you can “stop doing” to change where your affections lie. You can’t flip a switch in a person’s brain and make them straight anymore than you can make them the opposite. You can’t fix their daddy issues or “pray away” how they feel. So where does that leave me? I struggle daily with trying to reconcile how I feel romantically, sexually, and relationally about men to my love for God and the teachings of his word and maybe one day, I will overcome. Maybe one day I’ll be put on the “straight and narrow.” I know God can do it. I know he is capable. The question is never, “Is God capable?” The question is ALWAYS, “Is God willing?” And you might say, “Of course He is! He doesn’t want that for your life!” But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told myself that, and nothing has changed.

    So I don’t know, Los/other ragamuffins. I don’t have all the answers. I love God. I love Jesus. I thank Him for saving me through the prayer I prayed on October 22, 2002 when i was 15 years old. I thank him for giving me a church of grace. I will continue to worship him and lead the church in doing so as long as he will allow me. But I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t break my heart to know that it’s quite possible I may never experience love on this earth the way the rest of the heterosexual Christian community does. Because the truth is, if God never relieves this burden from me…I don’t think I could ever bring myself to disappointing him so greatly by pursuing another man the way my flesh desires.

  • Torso Candyfield

    I say let gay people be leaders. If they are skinny.

  • graceman

    I believe both are sins. So is being impatient. I can’t wait until we make impatience and lack of initiative the hot button sins. You will see the church shrink by 50%.
    I think we need to hold each other accountable for our sins, in a loving way that equals the accountability Christ would use. My big issue with most of the sins we deal with in our Christian culture is this: Most people deal with the hot button sins and forget the rest of them. I don’t think this is appropriate to do. I don’t think the hot button sins need to be the subject of a lot of our conversations. They are not hidden, they are just popular for XNs to talk about for some reason. When I baptize someone – they are moving into a new life in Christ – He is regenerating them from the inside out and it is a process. They might struggle with a sin or two or three for a long time – maybe until they go home to meet the Lord. Most churches and Christians might not even talk about this person’s sin or hold them accountable unless it is homosexuality, porn, or another hot button sin. This is the sad judgement state we live in. In an effort to teach and preach all sin is equal – there are still XNs in my congregation and on my staff that think I am not tough enough on sin. If I preached on the hot button sins – they would love me and think I walked on water. But I do everything to please the Lord and not people.

    Maybe if we started showing more grace in all our life, those who struggle with sins (hot button sins) would be more open to sharing their struggle and could get help in overcoming them.

    Sin is destroying our families, society, and souls – but it has been doing that since the garden. Nothing has changed – we all need a savior. And all those impatient and lazy XNs out there – may you repent of your sin and stop judging others with much smaller sins like homosexual tendencies and porn struggles.

  • http://twitter.com/andrewpenner78 Andrew P.

    So I’m gonna jump in and comment on this old blog post.

    At a church I used to serve at, one of the “old guard” started to judge me for being a smoker and was calling me out for being “addicted” and that I should lay it “before God and REPENT”.

    I knew he was a VERY avid coffee drinker, so I looked square in his eyes and politely asked him about his coffee addiction. I swear I heard the man’s eyes’s pop out of his head and then saw the lightbulb go on. I smiled at him, said “Have a good day”, and walked away.

    Our outward lives reflect our inner hearts. Fruits in our outer lives are a reflection of where our roots are. Struggles are life. It makes us real. I think society has made certain issues more “hot button” issues. I think if we could really get Jesus’ take on HIS “hot button” issues I think a lot of us would be shocked.

    So what does this have to do with Los’s question? Attitude. and honestly having Jesus’ attitude about life as a whole then what is politically correct at that point in time.

  • http://twitter.com/wvcnpastor Bruce Barnard

    It’s not that folks consider one a “greater” sin, it’s that they consider it an “ickier” sin…hence, the sinful judgement…ergo, we all need grace…starting with me…Lord, hear my prayer…

  • http://twitter.com/MattieBatt Matt Battershell

    First, justifying one sin based on another sin NEVER fits into the Christian standard. If a leader struggles with gluttony, we ought not use it as an excuse to let MORE sin (homosexuality) in but rather to make adjustments according to the Grace of Christ in removing the first sin! (Grace is the strength of God empowering us to change what normally we could never change in and of ourself. Grace is NOT an excuse to sin without punishment!)

    Second, let us read scripture – something that is far too often left out of these discussions:

    1 Tim 3:2-7 “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

    You can read on for further qualifications of a deacon. These qualifications are ABOVE and BEYOND the obvious things scripture talks about, such as sexual immorality, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of
    any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s
    holy people.” Eph 5:3

    Now, these qualifications in scripture are rather intense. Not every Christian can achieve these ‘Above and Beyond’ guidelines in order to be an elder, teacher, bishop, deacon, etc.

    So, what do we do? We can a.) lower the qualifications because ‘times have changed’ b.) remove the qualifications because ‘it’s not nice to judge anyone anymore – we’re under Grace’ or c.) obey the qualifications and in turn have far FEWER Christian leaders but far greater holiness and Godliness spewing forth from pulpits.

    But the one thing we can never do is say: “hey, that person has a sin problem so you should let me enjoy my sin problem too!” If you see sin, in Grace gently encourage your brother to repent. Gal 6:1 “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.”

  • Jean

    I certainly do not have time to read all these comments. But after reading just a few of them from guys who are struggling with homosexuality, I hate to say this, but I’m somewhat glad my gay son quit the struggle on his 24th birthday. He was a gifted, passionate worship leader who was put through anti-gay therapy in Bible college and suffered from extreme depression during that time. Now nine years after deciding to quit struggling, he is happy in a monagomous, seven-year relationship with a wonderful man, does not struggle with depression, and is beginning to dare to reconnect with the church. The other week we visited a “welcoming” church in his city (NOT one that is all about homosexuality), and it was a beautiful, healing experience. I have NO answers anymore on this issue.

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