Why This Blog?

For a number of years now, there has been a stirring in my heart. I couldn’t explain it back then, but what was happening inside me was that a fire was growing. God lit a fire in my heart that burned so intensely, I could not explain it. I wanted to shout from the roof-tops. I wanted to yell down the streets. I wanted to challenge the everyday thinking of everyday Christians, and cause them to be uncomfortable in their own skin. I wanted to create that feeling so that people who called themselves Christians would examine their hearts and understand exactly what makes them a Christian. Is it a prayer someone says at a certain time in their life? Is it going to church on Sunday and serving on a music team or in the Sunday school?

I wanted to do all these things, but there was a struggle inside. It was clear to me that God did not want me to do that. He desired that I simply moved on in my faith, leaning on Him and learning from Him.

But this fire kept growing. And it kept getting more intense. The apathy of people who call themselves Christians and followers of God bothered me, and continued to grow. There really isn’t any fruit, or evidence of Christ’s impact in their lives. How can someone say they are a Christian and advocate for same-sex marriage? How can someone say they are a follower of God and still laugh at all the tasteless, offensive jokes? How can someone say that Jesus is Lord of their life and pass by the homeless? The needy? The orphan? The widow?

How?

And the fire kept growing. It is continuing to grow, and become more and more focused, and more and more intense.

And then, on Sunday, June 19, 2011, things changed.

That was the day my church commissioned me as their full-time youth pastor. I have been operating as a youth co-ordinator for four years now, and just at the tail end of the fourth year, I was commissioned as the full-time youth pastor. I didn’t realize how God was working beforehand. I didn’t understand it all, but on Sunday, June 19, 2011, that little bit of light to light my path became clear.

On that Sunday, they had a question and answer period during part of our morning service in which the conference pastor, Keith Poysti, asked me a number of questions and gave me opportunity to address everyone in attendance. My answers startled even me at some points, so I’m sure they startled some of the people sitting in the pews.

And that is when the revelation hit me: This is the moment God had been waiting for.

“It’s time to let the lion out of the cage,” were the words I heard. It’s time to roar.

And roar I shall.

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15 thoughts on “Why This Blog?”

  1. I think you need to realize that this blog is only helping people who are already Christians who think the way you do and want a kick in the butt, or want to read something to back up their thinking.
    People are NOT drawn to Christ with judgement and hashing over of old testament law – nor are they won over by arguing and proving how learned you are in the scriptures. They ARE drawn to God by love and compassion – you claim that you live your life with love and compassion, but your replies to the former comments only show all too well that you do not. You only removed the plank from your own eye to see more clearly the faults of others, looking straight past the blinders you have on to your own faults. You apologize for the people “persecuting” Jane Addams – after spending the previous paragraph BEING a person persecuting her. She made her comment to you, I assume, after reading your posts and feeling persecuted and hated by you. Your answer did not show love, it showed a need to prove why you were right to judge.
    I question how much real experience you have on the street and I would urge you to make it a point to spend at least once a week working in a soup kitchen or wandering the downtown streets of Winnipeg and interacting with the people there. I question how much real experience you have ministering to someone who’s not a youth already in the church – or a visitor to the church. But someone completely outside of your comfort zone. From my experience in those situations, YOUR approach starts fights it doesn’t bring people to understand what you’re saying.
    You ask what the difference is between accountability and judgement – a relationship is the difference. You need to have formed the right to speak into peoples lives. You do not have the right because you read a few articles, to hold every woman accountable for her abortion. You do not have the right because you did a little research, to hold every homosexual person accountable for their lifestyle. As a pastor you can speak openly in your church because your church gives you freedom, the people who have come there know what is taught and probably are there because they believe the same or something close to the same. But here, anyone can read, and so you will be held accountable by God for the people who come here and are forever turned off of a relationship with him.
    I’ll share a story: I had a close friend who left the church. I didn’t chase her down, but I prayed for her and for God to give me an opening. She called me one day and asked to go for coffee, that day we just talked about how life was – we didn’t broach the subject of God – but I showed her love and acceptance where she was now. We went for many more evenings out, filled with listening and loving her where she was then. When she was ready I started to speak about God’s love and forgiveness and she did come back to God. We recently spoke about this blog and she said “If that was the guy who had tried to bring me back to church, he would have turned me off forever”.
    Think carefully about your response, read over what I’ve written a few times. Read it beyond your initial gut reaction. Read it without trying to think of a good come-back or argument the whole way through. Don’t patronize me with “I’m so sorry you feel that way BUT’s”… These people writing to you are the people you’re trying to reach and they’re telling you that your method is not working. They’re telling you that your method is driving them further from God instead of into his LOVING, CARING, ACCEPTING, COMPASSIONATE arms.

    • Thank-you for your comment, S.B. I have taken your advice and have carefully read over your comments a number of times. I have spent many hours over the last few days, meditating and praying over what you’ve said. I ask in return, that you consider prayerfully, what are to be my closing thoughts to your comments.

      I have discerned that nothing i write will be appeasing. Your comments reflect much of what the other readers have already written and so i do not need to spend time spinning the same wheel around. I do not need to convince you of anything.

      I have also discerned that something i have written, i’m not sure if in one of the replies to one of the readers, or in the opening to this page, that has caused a past hurt or issue to re-surface in your life that you have not dealt with in a healing way. I pray that you will experience healing in that area of your life.

      Prayerfully, Jason

  2. As a Christian who also has no issues with same sex-marriage, I can tell you there’s plenty of reasons for me to believe what I believe. Mostly, it involves me reading the Bible within its historical and cultural context. For example, I don’t believe that homosexuals should be put to death (Leviticus 20:13). I’m guessing Jason that you wear cotton-poly blend clothing sometimes (Lev. 19:19), eat your steaks rare occasionally (Lev. 19:26) and I’m sure you’d never ignore a person just because they’re blind, lame or have testicular cancer (Lev. 21:18-20). If we read the Bible literally, then you have broken his law multiple times under that narrow criteria alone and deserve to be put to death and sent straight to hell. If you are going to take the Bible literally and say that Lev. 20:13 applies today, then are you planning to murder homosexuals yourself…or ask the police to do if for you? Lev. 20:13 needs to apply to us today in it’s full context if it really is literal.

    I think Christians who take the time to understand the Bible within its historical and cultural context are brave, not “apathetic.” It’s great that you have a passion for following God. Just don’t turn that passion into a jihad against anyone that you choose to label a false believers. I’d never presume to know God’s heart when it comes to your salvation Jason, and I’d hope you would be kind enough to do the same for me and everyone else too.

    If you’d like me to provide you with some more reasons as to why I as a Christian am ok with homosexuality, I would be happy to do so in a respectful and civil discourse. In the meantime, I seriously encourage you to check out the 2007 documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So” from the Prov library.

    Keanan

    • Before I respond to your comments allow me to say this: I respect you. I have always valued your input and insight into various matters, ranging from political to spiritual. And so I was surprised by your lack of decorum and civility (which you are asking for) in suggesting that my passion might turn into a jihad against anyone, “[I] choose to label false believers.” Never once did I question in any way, anyone’s faith. I do not presume to know the state of anyone’s heart. That is not for me to decide.

      I must admit I struggle in trying to follow your logic of historical and cultural context. If you read carefully, you will see for instance, that the command is not to eat rare meat, but rather to see to it that the meat one eating meat ensure that the meat is cooked through. And make sure you read the Leviticus 21 portion starting at verse 16 and going through at the very least, verse 21, if you wish to maintain cultural context. It clearly states, “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron, saying: ‘No man of your descendants in succeeding generations, who has any defect, may approach to offer the bread of his God. For any man who has a defect shall not approach: a man blind or lame, who has a marred face or any limb too long, a man who has a broken foot or a broken hand, or is a hunchback or a dwarf, or a man who has a defect in his eye, or eczema or scab, or is a eunuch. No man of the descendants of Aaron the priest, who has a defect, shall come near to offer the offerings made by fire to the Lord.’” Clearly this passage has to do with the offerings made by Aaron and the priests, and is God’s command that the ones with “defects” not come near the altar. It does not say they cannot be part of the people, but God required a holiness from those who entered the Holy of Holies to make the sacrifices. As you caution against any historical and cultural misrepresentation, be careful and do your homework before doing so yourself.

      As for the issue of homosexuality, which you are addressing in your post: There are too many versions of the bible to quote, but each one puts Leviticus 20:13 very nicely. The difficulty lies in that you have chosen one verse (at least in your argument) to argue that we can’t take the bible to literally. The reality is that, yes, we can read this verse literally, but must do so through the cross of Jesus Christ (also surprising is your avoidance of the NT). He himself, in discussing marriage and divorce concludes in Matthew 5:32, “I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery…” Whoever wrote the study notes in Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible, 1997, makes the note, “Sexual immorality is a general term that includes premarital sex, extramarital infidelity, homosexuality, and beastiality” (with a reference to Matt. 19:3-12).

      But so we don’t get lost in too much technicality, Paul reminds us in Romans 1:18 ff, “For the wrath of god is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. (24) Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonour their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” After this Paul lists a bunch of things that are “unrighteous”.

      But of course he is speaking to the Romans of the time, and we must remain contextual. He also writes to the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 5:9-13 and 1 Cor. 6:7-11 warning of the same things, along with all kinds of revilings. And then Paul writes in 1 Cor. 6:18, “Flee sexual immorality (remember this means: a general term that includes premarital sex, extramarital infidelity, homosexuality, and beastiality).”

      But I am still using contextual and historical arguments. So let me direct your attention to Revelation 2:18-29. Here is the church at Thyatira, and the letter Jesus directs John to write to this church. It is the longest of the letters to the seven churches, and yet as William Barclay notes, “[we] have so little definite information about Thyatira, and about the background against which the Church existed there.” It is interesting that this would be the case. Perhaps this is so that the letter remains timeless. Whatever the case, all of these letters contain warnings for the Church, whether historical, that of today, or that of the future, as Revelation is information for the end-of-the-age.

      The warning that Thyatira was given had to do with the fact that, “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols (Rev. 2:19-20, emphasis mine).

      We can see by these few references that it is not only OT scripture that warns against immorality and homosexuality, but also the NT. Understanding the scriptures, both OT and NT, within their historical and cultural aspects is important, to be sure. But we make a mistake if we decide in our own minds that they do not apply to our lives today. For what is shaping us as Christians, if not the Bible. It is the only thing God left us, apart from the Holy Spirit and experience in worship.

      For other reading, you might be interested in: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/03/my-take-the-bible-really-does-condemn-homosexuality/, or check out Robert Gagnon’s website at http://www.robgagnon.net/.

      References:

      Barclay, William. The Daily Study Bible: The Revelation of John Volume 1. Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press, 1965.

      Buttrick, George Arthur, ed. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. 4 Vols. Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1962.

      Radmacher, Earl D. TH.D, ed. Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997.

      And various translations of the bible including NRSV, NLT, NIV, The Message.

      • Jason I must disagree with your premise that you did not “question in any way, anyone’s faith.”

        By your own account you want “to challenge the everyday thinking of everyday Christians, and cause them to be uncomfortable in their own skin.”

        “The apathy of people who call themselves Christians and followers of God bothered me, and continued to grow. There really isn’t any fruit, or evidence of Christ’s impact in their lives. How can someone say they are a Christian and advocate for same-sex marriage? How can someone say they are a follower of God and still laugh at all the tasteless, offensive jokes?” This sounds to me very much Jason like you are indeed presuming to know the state of other Christians’ hearts just because you can’t see anything that you would identify as “fruit or evidence” of God in them. You are suggesting in your blog’s preamble that anyone who advocates for same-sex marriage is not a Christian and that is not a definition of Christianity that I will accept. There are a myriad of Christian denominations. No one has a perfect interpretation of God’s word. We are all fallible.

        I believe this portion of your blog very much sounds like your declaration of a holy war on “apathetic Christians”. How can you label another Christian apathetic without passing a judgement on them? The comment on jihad was meant as a strong caution as your write your blog. You do need to be careful when you suggest, for example, that anyone who advocates for same sex-marriage is not a Christian. I strongly believe in Matthew 7:1-3 and I also believe that the language you have used to state the purpose of this blog is in direct contradiction to it.

        If you would like to read some additional articles regarding pro-gay Christianity, I have included them below. Finally, if homosexuality is wrong, I would still be interesting in hearing from you Jason why we shouldn’t kill gay people as we are Biblically mandated to do?

        http://www.soulforce.org/pdf/whatthebiblesays.pdf
        http://www.irenemonroe.com/2001/01/01/biblically-challenged/
        http://pastorbobcornwall.blogspot.com/2010/04/gays-and-church-interview-with-rev.html

      • The bible tells us, OT and NT, that good and lasting Fruit will be evident in the lives of those who call Christ Lord. I do want people uncomfortable, not because of something I say, but because the Holy Spirit conviction on their lives.

        It is interesting that the comment I make about homosexuality is the only one that receives any response, yet I also challenge the “tasteless, offensive jokes.” The bible is clear that Fruit will be evident, not only by God but also by people.

        Perhaps the wording of my question, “How can someone say they are a Christian and advocate for same-sex marriage?” is off-putting, so I will word the question differently: Knowing that the scriptures, OT and NT, declare homosexuality as an immoral act and that marriage is a union of a male and female, if an individual claims Jesus as Lord over their life, should that individual’s life not be freed from the bondage of homosexuality and be found in the fullness of a heterosexual relationship?

        Let me ask you: Is sola scriptura-scriptura sola dead? Or better yet, as Eugene Peterson asks, “Do we read [the bible] for information about God and salvation, for principles and “truths” that we can use to live better? Or do we read it in order to listen to God and respond in prayer and obedience?” (Eat This Book)
        We cannot read the bible to suit our own fancies or “holy war” as you write. If I speak the truth as it has been declared in the bible, and the Holy Spirit brings conviction over an individual’s life when they are confronted by that truth, is that not a good thing? They have two choices: Either ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit or repent and continue in sin no longer (see Romans 6).
        I agree with you with regards to Matthew 7. However, once again you stop short of reading through the rest of the passage. It clearly states in verse 5, “First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your [fellow believer’s] eye.” To be sure, this passage is a warning about judging others, but in it is also the call to accountability. I can assure you with certainty the plank has been pulled from my own eyes. I am sure to pull the planks out almost daily, so that no foothold may be given to Satan. In doing so, I have come to see clearly the state of our society, and the apathy and compromise that exists, not only in the world but also in the Church. I am not the only one. I do not speak as one who is “high and mighty” or with a “holier than thou” attitude. Many leading ministers the world over are recognizing the state of the Church and the world today, and are making just as vigilant a stand. I speak as one who’s love for brother’s and sister’s is so great my heart cries constantly.
        Finally, as I stated in the previous post, the OT must be read through the lens of the Cross of Christ. Paul addresses your question, “Why shouldn’t we kill gay people as we are Biblically mandated to do?” in Romans 7 (although all of chapters 5, 6, 7, and 8 are worth reading on the issue). He writes in 7:6, “Now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the old-ness of the letter.” So, through the death of Christ, the old law has been abolished and a “newness of Spirit” put in place. It is in this Spirit we operate today, and are no longer held to Lev. 20:13. To be clear and so there is no misunderstanding, the OT and NT, as I pointed out in my previous response, is filled with clear passages that call homosexuality immoral. The decree of this did not change throughout time, and is made clear through the Cross, and after the death and resurrection of Christ. The law of killing gay people abolished because of the grace of the Spirit, while the act of homosexuality is still called immoral.
        I will read your references as I have time. And look forward to your response, along with your various reasons for supporting your stance.

      • Jane Addams said:

        Jason, as a gay person and a Christian, I ask that you stop speaking about that which you do not know.

      • First, thank-you for visiting the site. I will respectfully decline your request to remain silent on issues plaguing Christians; not only the issue of homosexuality, but others as well as they come up.

      • Jason, I will decline getting into a full blown argument via the Internet with you on this issue. I don’t believe I can effectively discuss this with you as I disagree with almost every premise your above comment presupposes regarding Biblical interpretation, etc.

        I will however take the opportunity to post one final article that I discovered this morning that I think is very relevant: http://rachelheldevans.com/ask-a-gay-christian-response

        I still hold that your stated goals with this blog are not helpful but rather hurtful, counterproductive and destructive in nature. When I think of a “roaring lion” scripturally for example, the images from Proverbs 28:15, Ezekiel 22:25 and 1 Peter 5:8 come to mind. At the very least, the number of comments on this section of your blog should at least give you a moment’s pause as you contemplate how best to share your opinions with others.

        This will be my final comment on the matter.

        Keanan

      • Thanks Keanan. I am only trying to explain my position, as you were the one to bring it up. If you wish to meet in person, let’s do so. After the comments i have received, here and on some posts, I will seriously consider fine-tuning this page. Shalom.

      • Jane Addams said:

        That you describe homosexuality as “bondage” and heterosexual relationships as free and full is both offensive and ignorant. As a homosexual person, there could be no greater bondage than to deny who I am and live inside a false heterosexual relationship. There are free, full homosexual relationships just as there are constricting, abusive heterosexual ones. It isn’t the sexual orientation of the people that determines the nature of the relationship. It’s the people themselves.

      • I apologize for not giving you the courtesy of a fuller response yesterday. I did not manage my time well and quickly rattled off a few words, with the intention of producing a fuller response as time allowed. I don’t think I need to go into an explanation of myself to any great extent here. If you are curious as to my position, feel free to read through the conversation I had with krbyggdin in the other comments. In it you will see a portion of the scriptural basis as to how I came to my conclusions on homosexuality.

        Where you write, “There are free, full homosexual relationships just as there are constricting, abusive heterosexual ones,” I agree with you.

        I see, even in close personal relationships with family and friends, that heterosexual relationships are not all “wine and roses”. I have never met a couple who can say that they rode off into the sunset and lived happily ever after. And i agree with you also that the people themselves make the relationship.

        No, I do not know the in’s and out’s of the homosexual lifestyle, nor have i researched it in depth. But I have read and studied the topic a bit. And so you are aware, to be fair, just as with the issue of abortion, I have read material presented by both “sides” of the argument. I don’t know the great extent of the struggles that the Church has caused for homosexuals, and if it is any consolation to you, please accept my apology on behalf of the Church, if they (wherever you live and whomever has persecuted you) have treated you unfairly, or have been unkind and un-Christianlike in their attitude towards you.

        Please, read the other comments, and if you choose, respond in kind. I would appreciate meeting you in person to have a discussion, and to hear your story, if you are up to it. I don’t know where you live, but if you are in Southeastern Manitoba, I would make every effort to meet you.

  3. I hear lots of judgement in this statement of why this blog is being written

    • I can assure you from the bottom of my heart that my intention is not to judge. Yes there are scriptures that talk about not judging a brother or sister, and even one portion talks about pulling the log out of your own eye to see clearly before you try to pull the splinter out of your friends eye. But the reality, and this is evident just by looking around at our society, is that Christians have gone soft. We have bought into the whole political correctness idea so horribly that all the things that offend God continue to go on without any contest from his followers. My purpose is not to judge, and i pray that is not what it sounds like. My purpose is to wake people up from the slumber of Christian apathy.

      Perhaps at the core of this, and it may help you to understand where i am coming from, is the saying by St. Francis of Assisi, who said, “Preach the gospel, and if necessary use words.” The driving force behind my new-found intensity is this statement. I know my life probably doesn’t reflect the sentiment that St. Francis was aiming for when he said this, but i am trying. I have been just as guilty as too many other Christians of using this statement as a reason not to preach the gospel. So what i’ve done, mainly in my own mind, is rephrased this slightly, so that it says, “Preach the gospel, until your life shows that you no longer need to use words.” I am quite sure St. Francis would not have said the words he did unless his life proved that he didn’t need to speak for the gospel message to be preached.

      I know i will step on toes. I know people will be uncomfortable. I have already been called a radical, and i’m fine with that. The apostle Paul was a radical and he turned out just fine, so i should be okay. My desire is that i can encourage people to step out of their fear and stand up for Christ in all places. In the office. In the marketplace. Walking down the street. It is time that Christians live with the urgency of Paul, who lived his life expecting Christ Jesus to return any moment.

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