December 12, 2017

Startle Us, O Lord: Jesus Talks To A Gay Man

Every so often the internet will provide you with something that you will never hear anywhere else. I’ve found it this morning, and I hope you will read and share it. It’s entitled “Jesus Talks To A Gay Man,” and it is from a remarkable post by Steve at Ragamuffin Ramblings.

It is a retelling of the story of Jesus and the woman at the well in John 4. Not only is it creative and well-written, but it does exactly what the original story was supposed to do- and did- in its original context: It shocks us. It startles us. It makes us want to ask more questions.

You might want to use this with any Bible study groups you lead. I gurantee you discussion will follow 🙂

This is one of those weeks when I am travelling and may not be able to post. Those of you who pray are invited to pray on Tuesday for my mom. At 83 she is blind in one eye and has about 10-15% vision in the other. They are doing a procedure to draw some blood out of the bad eye. Our hope is for improved vision, but it will be a frightening procedure with no gurantee.

If you don’t know about Macular Degeneration, learn about it, and be aware that there is no cure. It’s very common.

Comments

  1. Jeremiah Lawson says:

    I’m only 30 but I had surgery for a macular detachment ten years ago. I was born premature and got oxygen poisoning in the incubator I was placed in. The resulting scar tissue on my retinas stretched to the literal breaking point as I got to 20 and I had to have eye surgery–I was reading The Brothers Karamazov on a great sunny afternoon and suddenly discovered I couldn’t read anymore. I had apparantly gone from 20/60 to 20/300 in my right eye in just three days but I have to read so closely I didn’t notice how badly my vision had deteriorated.

    My mom and stepdad took me to a home fellowship where a guy said he could pray for people and God healed them. I didn’t buy it but my folks were terrified so I humored them. Thank God they decided surgery was the best solution. Even fairly safe procedures like scleral buckles are terrifying and have 1/3 chance of failure. God was generous to me or I wouldn’t even be able to post this. I don’t know exactly what you’re mother is going through but I nearly lost the only eye I have that can read and can relate to how scary eye surgery is. I’ll be praying for her.

  2. Powerful.

  3. Mike
    We will be praying for your mother and your travels. May the Lord reveal himself to you in every detail this day.
    Love ya , Mean it
    Jon

  4. Great Link — I have commented on it here

    I have a good friend with Macular Degeneration. My prayers are with you and your family.

  5. First, Michael, know that you and your mom are (and have been) in my prayers. I can’t imagine much that’s scarier than eye surgery, unless it’s the prospect of blindness. May there be healing and endurance for the road ahead!

    Second, thank you for linking to this story, and your encouragement. I’m grateful – even to those who are perhaps underwhelmed with the presentation – if only because it has people talking, and thinking. My prayer is that the truth of the Gospel shines through the muck of my own petty scribblings…

  6. Eric Rodgers says:

    I liked the re-telling of that wonderful familiar story, but there’s a danger in that it seems he’s almost approving of the homosexual lifestyle. Yes, he is condemning of the anonymous partners and the anonymous sex, but to single out a group of “gays and lesbians” and say they believe… that’s a bit misleading. There’s something fundamentally different about being gay as opposed to being born a certain race. Being a Samaritan was something that people couldn’t help and yet was held over their heads anyway. It was no more sinful than being from New Jersey (inerpret that as you will…). Homosexual practice (though not necessarily homosexual attraction) is a conscious decision and is to be reviled. Gay people are to be loved and not just blindly accepted as “okay” as tolerant America would have us do.

    We have to offer them the truth. The first part is that what they are doing is wrong and, yes, even damning. The second part is that Christ was “damned” on their behalf, and if they but believe, they will be saved. But those who won’t even acknowledge that what they’ve done is wrong would seem to say that they have no need of grace. Will the unrepentant receive forgiveness?

    I agree that as a community, Christians should do a better job of reaching out to members of the gay community in love (and indeed, this love, as with any other kind, must be sincere). But this should not blind us to the fact that God hath called homosexual practice sinful. I worked with such a ministry in St. Louis called First Light. It was amazing, and when I go back up, I hope to reconnect with it.

    There are my thoughts. Where’s my penny?

  7. Eric…

    Specifically, where would you see this retelling approving of the lifestyle where John 4 disapproves?

    Just curious. MS

  8. Eric Rodgers says:

    Michael,

    I don’t see it as explicitly condoning the gay lifestyle. But I see that as the danger of the way it is told. Please, don’t misunderstand me. I liked the retelling. I understand what it was intended to do and wish more Christians would heed its words.

    Like I said, there is a fundamental difference between a person who is another race (Samaritan) or gender and a person who willingly gives their minds and bodies to homosexuality. One is voluntary. The other is “random.”

    The last part is what I’m talking about. In John’s original rendering of the story, he no longer refers to her lover or any of her husbands, so it’s anybody’s guess as to whether or not she actually turned her life around in the wake of meeting Christ. Based on her reaction, to Jesus’ words, though, I would venture to guess that she did. However, this essay still refers to the new believers as gays and lesbians.

    While I know this comes dangerously close to legalism — and I may be entirely wrong on this — I would posit that if these people really did believe all the words of Jesus, they would no longer want to be identified as openly gay. This is not to say that they won’t struggle or even backslide. They may. But believing God’s word means believing both Law and Gospel. The Law states that homosexual practice is wrong, and the Gospel does not change that one iota.

    The reason many people abandon the gay lifestyle is because the Law has driven its point home very effectively. They know their lives are broken and sinful. All you see on the television is what the media want you to see. Two young, attractive men (or women), a lingering look, a smooth caress, a tender kiss, maybe a few witty jokes… What you don’t see is the reality 30 years later. A lonely, middle-aged man who only finds menial pleasure in anonymous sex with multiple partners (sometimes numbering up into the hundreds). He is broken, and he’s at a very difficult crossroad. He knows that the way he has lived his life is wrong, but he also can’t just step away from it. To do that would be to *admit* that he was wrong to live the way he did all that time. And human pride will not let a person do that very easily. But with God all things are possible, and I’ve seen it in many of the men I’ve worked with. They are lonely, and they know that their lives have been very displeasing to God. Where else have they to turn but the Gospel.

    I can almost hear that Samaritan woman’s sarcastic tone turning into sheer wonder and awe as she hears the words of promise offered to her for the first time. Never in her life has she heard anybody of her own race — much less, one of her most hated enemies — saying words of encouragement and good news to her. It’s enough for her to want to leave her sinful life. May God’s word affect the ragamuffins around the world in the same way, be they straight or gay.

    This is really only a half-formed thought. If you want a fuller critique, e-mail me. But you’ll be about 5th in line for my attention as far as writing goes. I’m pretty busy right now.

    Regardless, God bless you all!!

  9. I thought the reason Samaritans were hated was not that they were another “race” (not really a biblical concept to begin with) but that they were of Jewish origin but had gone apostate. Clearly being apostate is not an inborn trait.

    Honestly though, I’m not convinced the Bible or the cultures it depicts really makes the nature/nurture distinction the way we do. In a non-individualist society, being born with certain inherent tendencies and being born into a culture that was going to socialize you to do certain things were both “inherited” traits. Not to mention the later Augustinian idea that you could “inherit” original sin, which if you think about it is really odd. It might be more productive to say that Christ came to redeem us from sin both voluntary and inherited.

  10. Jewish Problems with Samaritans, in no particular order:

    1) Intermarried with Assyrians and other gentiles
    2) Broke off from Davidic Rulers and established own Kingdom
    3) Built their own temple, had own priesthood, had own Bible with all references to Davidic rulers removed)
    4) Had cooperated with Syrians in wars with Judah
    5) Banditry against Jews
    6) THEREFORE were certainly unclean, etc.

  11. Monk-in-Training says:

    Good evening Eric,
    I would like to address this statement of yours.

    “What you don’t see is the reality 30 years later. A lonely, middle-aged man who only finds menial pleasure in anonymous sex with multiple partners (sometimes numbering up into the hundreds). He is broken, and he’s at a very difficult crossroad. He knows that the way he has lived his life is wrong, but he also can’t just step away from it.”

    You say that as if it was universally true. Do you know that to be so, or have you just believed it because you where told it?

    I personally know four gay couples (among many straight couples). One together 27 years, one together 18 years, one together 15 years, one together 7 years. All are healthy productive members of society. The two that have kids have well behaved, seemingly happy adjusted kids, one is a friend of one of my own sons.

    They serve in their respective churches (three different denominations) and all seem to have a vibrant life of service to the Lord. No depression, no disease, faith in Christ and service in the community. I don’t know how that fits into your construct, but I just wanted to share that you view might be a bit limited by rhetoric.

    I know a couple of gay male singles, the only one that approaches the difficulties you mention above goes to a local conservative church that showers him with guilt and disfunction every time he goes. The other is almost 30 and has had 2 sexual partners in his life (he mentioned this to me once).

    If I err, I want to err on the side of compassion as best as I can.