Good morning and welcome to another edition of my weekly email!
Once again it comes to you a bit late, as last night I was completely engrossed in a book by Pastor Caleb Kaltenbach of Discovery Church in Simi Valley California, “Messy Grace.” It’s written from a very unique perspective with the Christ-commanded job of all Christians to be Jesus to EVERYONE (not just those who are “good” like us). You see, Caleb grew up in a home where both of his parents were gay. Yup. Mom was a lesbian and dad was a homosexual male. It raises some very good questions as to our Christian roles in this 21st Century into which each of us have been immersed.
So what does “messy grace” mean? In a nutshell, it means loving EVERYONE. Don’t believe me? Read it here:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another. John 3:34-35” Also here: “We love because He first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:19-21” (Text in red is Jesus’ words.)
God has given Caleb a very unique and blessed point of view on homosexuality and the Church’s role within it, and what a “messy” opportunity it is to both love those in the LGBT community and at the same time not waver on the holy truth of God’s Word. He got an “insiders” vantage point of the LGBT community as well as at the same time growing in God as he was made a believer in Jesus during this very time, in high school. You have to admit this book is going to raise more than a few eyebrows in the Christian demographic. Yet at the same time, it will also raise eyebrows of hope in the truth of Jesus’ suffering and death for them, and for the love that can and should be found in His Church.
From the Amazon book reviews:
One story in particular broke my heart. When he was a teenager, Caleb went with his mom and her partner to a gay pride parade. While there, they met a group of 'Christian' hecklers waving signs that said, "Fags go away," and "Jesus has no room for you." The hecklers used water-guns to shoot them with urine. As they were being verbally and physically demeaned, Caleb looked at his mother and asked her, "Why are those people acting like that?" Her response was heartbreaking: "Well, Caleb, they're Christians, and Christians hate gay people. Christians don't like anyone who's not like them."
Yes, the Christian Church has come a long way in these last 50 years or so in becoming more inclusive of those around us. (Think of a homeless person trying to get into a house of worship back then, or an alcoholic or a drug abuser or even someone with physical disabilities.) Yet the issue of homosexuality has become the “hot potato” of modern churches. “What do we do with them?” they may ask. “As long as they don’t try to show up at OUR church, we can ignore it and maybe they’ll go away. Or at least to some other church or…” is another response that is explicitly or implicitly given.
Do you see the hypocrisy of all of this? We pick and choose who we will love and invite and let into God’s churches. I’m sure God is shaking His loving and holy head when He looks down on all of this. If we can’t even have an election that isn’t heated and hateful, what hope do we have in loving EVERYONE inclusively. Remember that God has the power to do ALL THINGS! God lets us know of His will for this in Ephesians 3:20 – 21. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Please not that “messy grace” doesn’t apply only to the LGBT discussions that are going on. Think to yourselves where each of us have come down on the un-loving and un-grace filled opinions and actions toward anyone “who isn’t like us.”
What a challenge and opportunity God has placed before us, as He gives us everything we need to carry out His mission of love and messy grace. PLEASE EMAIL ME at Pastord@fisherssaintclair.org WITH ANY THOUGHTS YOU HAVE ON THIS POST. ALL RESPONSES REMAIN CONFIDENTIAL.
You can find the book “Messy Grace” on Amazon.com here.
Remaining in love with Jesus,
FISHERS COMMUNITY CHURCH
Pastor Joseph Doenges
WORSHIP SUNDAY 10:00 AM
301 N. 6th Street
St. Clair, MI 48079
a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization