Skip to main content

uh-oh


this sunday in church as we continued our series entitled "when christians get it wrong," we dealt with that ever-so-sensitive topic of homosexuality.  in some ways, i suppose, i have avoided talking about thsi from the pulpit for some time, and, in other ways, i have been wanting to preach about this.  basing this sermon series on adam hamilton's book "when christians get it wrong" gave me the perfect opportunity, since his book has a whole chapter devoted to this subject. 

and it should, because our position on this particular issue is - unfortunately - how we have come to be defined in our culture.  in the recent barna survey which lead to david kinnaman writing the book "unchristian" (which is well worth checking out), 91% of the unchurched people surveyed chose the word "antihomosexual" to define christians, thus becoming the most widely chosen word among a total of 20 (10 positive, 10 negative).  so, to make it clear, among those unchurched folks surveyed, christians weren't known for being merciful, for our commitment to justice, or for our love, but for being "antihomosexual." 

this is christians getting it wrong.

and yet i have always been very hesitant to preach about it too much.  living, as i do, in the heart of central pennsylvania, in a region that is markedly conservative, i have wanted to avoid burning bridges.  i have wanted to journey with the people of my congregation, not try and push them over what they may perceive to be a precipice.  and yet, it was time.  we've been talking about getting it wrong about politics, science, other religions, and so i had to deal with this issue.  but, i must tell you, i was very anxious about it.  not so much about what would come out of my mouth, but about how it would be received. 

after i read the text for the morning from acts 10, in which peter has his remarkable vision about what was previously unclean (all kinds of food) becoming clean, there was a pause before i started the sermon.  in this silence, while people anxiously awaited to hear what their pastor was going to say about this topic so often avoided, one voice split the silence in two, boldly.  it was the voice of a child.  and the child couldn't have better expressed my inner turmoil at that moment.  he vociferously proclaimed: "UH-OH!"  i laughed.  the congregation laughed.  and it seemed to take the edge off of the whole moment.  i preached the sermon, and we continued to worship the God who loves us with a love beyond our imagination, and calls us to love others likewise. 

as for the sermon itself, i was basically just trying to get people to realize that faithful Christians and serious scholars from all around the globe are going to have to learn to live with great diversity of opinion on this issue.  we all read the same scriptures, but we all don't understand it the same way.  and we are going to have to love each other in the midst of that.  i said a whole bunch more, of course, but i'm not going to spoil it here.  if you want to hear my sermons, you should come to our church!  seriously, you should come!  we are doing some new things, growing in new ways, and living into a new vision that God has given us to become a community of hope in a place that has come to be marked by despair.  so, come and join us.  we get it wrong sometimes, to be sure.  but we are working on it, trying to remember that what we are called to be is known for one thing, and one thing only: not our judgment, not our upstanding morality, not our firm principles, not our purity, but for our love.  messy, dirty, colorful, hopeful love. 

uh-oh. 

Comments

Bill Uebbing said…
Brilliant. I do so wish I could have been there, Greg, because of all the people I know on this earth, I can't imagine a more thoughtful insight than the one you gave your congregation. Good for you. Good for your congregation. Good for love and peace and understanding.
greg milinovich said…
very kind words, indeed. thank you for blessing me with them today.
Happy said…
:( Sad that central Pa seems a bit far for a Sunday morning drive to church.

We can barely make it on time to the church that's a half an hour away. We are pretty pathetic.

I'm so glad for the little "uh oh" voiced by a child that eased so much tension in the room and in your heart a bit.

Was thinking about you on Sunday and hoping your message was received in love.

Popular posts from this blog

State College to Birmingham

 as some of you know, i have been working towards a goal i set at the beginning of 2020 of running 1000 miles in one calendar year.  today is the last day of september (what?!?), and so that means the year is 3/4 of the way complete, which means i should be right around the 750 mile marker.  however, i am doing better than that, as my 5 mile run today put me at 847 miles for the year, almost 100 miles ahead of schedule!  i am feeling great, enjoying the journey, and experiencing a real sense of accomplishment as i work towards this goal.   i have also enjoyed these little milestones along the way, just to see how far i've come.  as it turns out, 847 miles from State College (along the roads, not as the crow flies) would have me arriving in Birmingham, AL, right about now!  not too shabby!  only about 150 to go!

bad haircuts (for a laugh)

everybody needs to laugh.  one good way i have found to make that happen is to do a simple google image search for 'bad haircut.'  when you do so, some of the following gems show up.  thankfully, my 9th grade school picture does NOT show up.  otherwise, it would certianly make this list!  please laugh freely and without inhibition.  thank you and have a nice day. 

happy mother's day 2020

twelve years ago i started making a video of our children as a mother's day tribute to their mother, and somehow it became a tradition.  back then, our oldest son was 3 years old, and cute.  now he's 15 and, well, not so cute .  however, we have really come to love this tradition, and the time capsule of sorts that it has become.  we love looking back at each year's video, to see how we've grown and changed, and how our love for Shannon has remained constant. below is this year's video, and if you want to walk with us down memory lane, the other eleven are down there as well.  happy mother's day to all the mom's out there...you make us feel like a million bucks. 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009