Thursday, July 16, 2009

Unintentional Isolation

Jeremy Jernigan is a teaching pastor at Central Christian Church of the East Valley in Gilbert Arizona. His position is arguably Emergent and somewhat liberal in a variety of areas. The following is from his blog, Tomorrow's Reflection in which he has on ongoing dialogue with a homosexual man named Kimeron.

I'll let the article speak for itself and hope I get some comments here. I wonder if others will ask the same questions I am asking? I'll wait to see and then comment myself.
If you try to post anything contrary to Jernigan's position at his blog, they are not likely to see the light of day. However I think it's important to examine and if need be, expose teaching that is increasingly man-centered and less reverant concerning issues God has already cleary spoken about in the Bible. The result is low view of scripture and of God's holiness.


Unintentional Isolation
by Jeremy Jernigan

I caught up with Kimeron again to continue our ongoing conversation about homosexuality. You can read our previous dialogues here. Here is the latest question I asked him, “I know there are a lot of people that maliciously try to alienate and hurt gay people’s feelings on purpose. Aside from people like that, what do people do unintentionally that cause a gay person to feel judged or isolated?”

Kimeron: “My first response would have to be the assumptions that people make about me or other gay people based only on stereotypes or characters from TV or the movies. For example, not all gay people cross dress, or are sexually promiscuous, or are anti-religion. We are individuals just like not all straight people have affairs or get divorced. It is awkward and uncomfortable when people make assumptions about me, which requires sometimes taking a light-hearted moment and making it serious because I need to speak up and counter the impression that person has. Listening to jokes about gay people, even if not intended to be hurtful, but that perpetuate a stereotype is very uncomfortable. Jokes, for example, where the person mocks effeminate men or masculine women, suggest to me that the person telling it is not comfortable around gays or is incredibly insensitive to the possibility that someone they know or love might be offended.

Other more obvious ways that people can create an uncomfortable situation is by asking questions that assume the person you just met is straight. I am asked frequently about my “wife” because I wear a wedding band as a symbol of my commitment to Brad. It creates a moment of awkwardness, especially if I don’t know the person, because I have to decide whether to bring up the issue for discussion (which I may not want to do in every social setting) or to avoid answering, etc. It’s much simpler if the person just says “what does your partner do?”. I know it takes some getting used to when you first start using the term “partner”, but actually I’ve found that in California many people use this term I think because of the many varieties of relationships out here (including heterosexual couples who may not be married, or are domestic partners, or are just dating, etc.). Not inviting my partner to dinners or social events is another way that can be unintentional, but is unfair and hurtful.

There’s an excellent book written by Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong called ‘Living in Sin: A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality’ that I read some years ago that was just an amazing blessing to me. Rev. Spong is himself heterosexual, but believes that many Christians have missed the boat on ministering to the human sexuality side of us all. He talks about for example how the church has rites to bless marriages (of straight people), but has no formal form of ritual to help people deal with divorce. He also believes strongly that dogmatically rejecting gay people based on a few Biblical passages that may or may not actually mean what we think they mean, is wrong. His other significant book to me personally is called ‘Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism.’”


John Dunning said...

I'm sorry but this pandering to sin is really getting me down lately. There is a real sense that many mistake God's love for something emotional, warm and fluffy.

It is true that God is love, but just because He is love, does not mean that He loves sinners in the sense we would like to think He does, far from it! Many references in Scripture, such as in Psalm 5, show quite the opposite.

However because He is love, somehow that love extends to even the ungodly sinner that He abhors, in that He sent His Son to die in our place, and make a way for salvation where there was no way.

How great will that wrath be that is poured out on those who willingly cling to the sin that Jesus Christ bore the wrath of His own Father in Heaven to release us from?

It is not unloving to call sin for what it is, in whatever its shape or form. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, but those who claim to believe are commanded to recognise that sin in their life by the discernment of His Word, and turn from it by the power of the Spirit of God. This is repentance, and it is not requested from us, but demanded from us!

It is a dangerous place to stand waving the banner of Christ for salvation, whilst identifying evil as good, and good as evil!

God bless,


Robert Tewart said...

Thanks for your comments John, well said.

How much worse is it for a pastor to be getting involved in this dialogue in the name of wanting to "understand" the gay viewpoint. I'm a black and white kind of guy and it seems kind of simple to me. Jernigan has a significant following of young people mostly within his own church, yet he is taking them down a path of post modern type of wider mercy "Christianity."