Everyone should read this book regardless of their stance on "gays vs. Christians."
Justin Lee presents one of the most gracious and compassionate guidEveryone should read this book regardless of their stance on "gays vs. Christians."
Justin Lee presents one of the most gracious and compassionate guides to loving other people that I have ever read.
"...when people are hurting, they don't need our advice and theological theorizing as much as they need our understanding and comfort. As Proverbs 18:13 says, 'To answer before listening--that is folly and shame' (TNIV)."
"We as a church have become spiritually lazy, substituting aggressive culture-war tactics for the generous, self-sacrificing humility Jesus taught and modeled."
"Unfortunately, some churches are now so worried about being arrogant and unbending like certain other Christians that they fail to stand for anything at all."
"But there shouldn't be a clash between 'God's Truth' and 'more loving.' In the Bible, Truth and Love are two sides of the same coin. You can't have one without the other. God's Truth is all about God's Love for us and the Love we ought to have for one another. We are being untrue to that Truth if we treat people unlovingly. And we are missing out on the full extent of that Love if we try to divorce it from Ultimate Truth."
"Jesus radiated grace and compassion in such a way that people came to him to hear his views on things. By contrast, we Christians were so focused on preaching our views on things that we were driving people away, turning them off to church, Jesus, and everything we had to say."
"If anyone had a right to lecture people about their sin, it was the sinless Son of God. If even he could meet sinners as equals, how much more should we Christians--all sinners ourselves--treat as equals the people we encounter in our lives?"
"When it comes to gay people, the church can remember that they're already well aware that Christians think they're sinners; no one needs to remind them. In every moment of every day, we can treat people with God's agape love."
"...it is certainly not necessary to dilute or throw out the Bible in order have a loving, welcoming approach to gay people."
"Grace sees people for what makes them uniquely beautiful to God, not for all the ways they're flawed or all the ways I disagree with them. That kind of grace is what enables loving bridges to be built over the strongest disagreements."
Lee presents grace in every facet of his arguments: toward the non-Christian gay angry at Christians, toward the straight Christians honestly believing "ex-gay" ministries are healthy, toward the gay Christians pursuing a celibate lifestyle, and the gay Christians in committed same-sex relationships.
At the core, Lee's message is to return to Christ's example in treating all men with compassionate (and not clinical, legalistic, rule-oriented) love. Instead of trying to "change people" but to show concern, interest, and care for where people are at in the moment.
In addition, Lee presents his own eventual argument for why he believes the Bible doesn't not speak against same-sex relationships and how he came about that belief from a conservative, southern baptist background. He addresses many common (and weak) arguments for and against accepting LGBT and his personal issues with both, leaving few if any doubts unturned--all spoken of in a tone of grace and a desire to pursue the honest heart of Christ and not just "find loopholes."
Regardless of where each person lands in their own convictions toward the current controversy of LGBT and the church, Torn is a beautiful read that paints the grace of Christ as indiscriminate toward all men--straight of LGBT or anything else--and stands to be one of the most inspiring things I have read to date. ...more