Responding to the LGBT community

Sunday was part three of a four week series we’ve been doing in Student Quest (for 9th-12th grade) called ‘Responding.’ Basically, we’re asking the question ‘how are we called to respond to …’ and then addressing a different topic each week. The first week was abortion, the second week was death and suicide (really two different talks shortened into one). Next week will be disability, with some guest speakers, while this week was responding to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community.

It’s been a challenging process for me to teach these last few weeks – I’ve lost more sleep wondering if I am doing the topics justice than I have on a series in a while.  Unfortunately we had recording issues the first two weeks, but you can hear the most recent one on our podcast feed if you’re curious. Here’s the basic outline:

I started off by tackling (briefly) the six passages of scripture that explicitly mention homosexuality (Genesis 19:1-11; Leviticus 18:19-23, 20:10-16; Judges 19:16-30; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11), and then summarizing the two sides of the debate on whether or not they are relevant to today, or even the topic of the LGBT community. There are compelling discussions on each side of the issue and for me I think it doesn’t give students a fair conversation to not acknowledge that.

From there I launched into the actual topic of responding. The video above was meant to be a transition piece from the one part of the lesson to the other (we ended up showing it at the end due to time constraints). I also referenced parts of this blog post, The F Word (part two of three), a provocative and powerful letter written by an anonymous gay man to the church. A big part of what I was trying to communicate is that ultimately, the most important thing is connecting people to God, not arguing, fighting and driving people away. Towards that end there were three responses I challenged the group with:

  • Make the priority connecting with God. The church has a bad reputation in this area; we seem more concerned with straightening America than we do with spreading the good news. Jesus’ world was just as full of issues as our world is today, but his anger was reserved for those making religion and knowing God a burden.
  • Stop making homosexuality a subject of derision. If the words coming out of my mouth are hateful, angry, disgusted, etc., what person in the LGBT community would ever want to hear about God from me? All they will have heard is ‘I don’t want to be around you, you disgust me.’
  • Stop making it a joke. Similar to the previous point, but in a different direction. If I am making gay jokes, labeling people, using offensive terminology, etc., than I have broadcasted loud and clear that I am not someone safe to open up to. What person in the LGBT community is ever going to want to hear about Christ’s love from me when I treat their orientation and lifestyle as a joke, insult, or punchline?

Anyway, listen to the audio of the talk. I loved that it provoked a lot of conversation with many of our students. Several of our small groups are planning on doing the Love is an Orientation small group study by Andrew Marin, which is great (you can read my review). Our teens are being bombarded with this topic, and the reality is, many of them are struggling to find answers because it is a more personal issue for them than many of us may realize.

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