Last night, in our summer classes, I had the great privilege of talking about gender issues. In these days this is a very emotional topic in all communities. Christian or not, gender and identity is hotly debated. And, last night was no exception!
We had great discussions about issues of gender identity, homosexuality and transgender lifestyles. I must be honest that even some of the words we use as Christians are offensive to those who have these identities, but we did the best we could to navigate difficult topics.
Most of us don't reach out with love and grace to those in other communities. Our fears keep us isolated. But we desperately need to build bridges and relationships with others no matter their identity or faith.
When we put real faces and lives to these images of "gay" or "trans" it changes everything! We then have people whose faces come to mind as this topic is discussed, friends we love, and when love enters the discussion it changes our rhetoric in a way that grace and truth can be heard.
Here's the goal for each of us, a goal that Paul described in 1 Corinthians 6,
"Or pdo you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? qYou are not your own, rfor you were bought with a price. sSo glorify God in your body."
When we encounter anyone outside of Christ don't forget that this is God's goal for them....that they and we might each glorify God in their bodies.
So, how did we finish last night? I hope we finished with more questions than we started with. I hope compassion was ignited. I hope we began to see others through Christ's eyes. I hope their walls were broken down and some were drawn to open their hearts to love and care for others no matter what their identity.
AND, I hope we more effectively share the only answer to the heart need of every man- Jesus Christ, God's solution to all of our sin problems.