Your pastor and I both preached in my hometown on homecoming weekend about Jesus on Sunday, October 13, 2019. We did our best to share a message of compassion and hope to the people God entrusted to us at our two different churches across town from each other. My sermon was about the story of Jesus’ miracle turning water into wine. Your sermon was about Jesus’ view of people who are the “T” of LGBTQ. You were warned that the sermon was risky because it is a topic avoided by most preachers.
I watched the video of the sermon. The risk of preaching is that what we say from the pulpit will be heard and interpreted a thousand different ways. What was heard may be different than what was said or different than what was intended. Yet, what I heard was ultimately harmful.
I heard the preacher say that transgender people will not get beat up at The Crossing. They will not get called names. The preacher said that as Christians we need to treat transgender people with compassion. Yet, compassion is more than promising not to bully, physically abuse, and harass someone, right?
The preacher also said that if someone is transgender, then they need to make a choice: to follow Jesus or to follow culture. The preacher says that being transgender is a choice influenced by a sexually promiscuous culture. For the preacher, transgender identity is not of God.
He says this is the Biblical view and that Christians need to submit to Biblical authority over and above culture. He gives the example of slavery, saying that culture supported it for a long time. He forgets to mention that the Bible was the authority used to defend slavery. He forgets that Christians used the Bible to defend their God-given right to own slaves.
I am concerned for my hometown of Columbia, Missouri. The Crossing Church is an important community partner, doing great things (eliminating medical debt for hundreds of families). Yet, The Crossing’s message about transgender people is not reflective of Jesus’ love. The thing is, what the preacher said was a spiritually abusive interpretation of the Bible. And that is not Christian compassion.
Church, we can do better than to say to a whole population of people “you can come here and we won’t call you names or beat you up.” Is that really what Jesus would do?
Church, let’s do better. Jesus loves LGBTQ people a whole, whole lot. And Jesus would never ask us to choose between loving God or loving ourselves. I am a Christian Minister, pastor of a church and a preacher. I preach Jesus and Jesus loves LGBTQ people just as they are…beautiful, beloved, and created good.