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“A Letter” via Scot McKnight’s Blog

As I was reading through the blogs I subscribe to using Bloglines, I came across this post on Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed blog entitled The Letter. I encourage you to go there and read entire post and interact with the community there.

Here is the text of the letter reprinted from McKnight’s blog post:

Dear Scot,

We have a college student on our worship team who has been struggling with issues of homosexuality.  He had voluntarily removed himself from the team last year due to this issue.  He has since come to the conclusion that homosexual unions are acceptable to God, not sex outside a civil union, but within a union.

He currently has a boyfriend, although he is not sexually active. He believes he is “right with God” and wishes to rejoin the team, with the understanding that should he cross the line and become sexually active outside of a civil union, he will no longer be eligible to be on the team.

As the worship leader, the decision lies in my hands.  I do not want to condone the theology that God is accepting of homosexual unions or acts.  I would appreciate some advice as to how to handle this situation.

McKnight had guest blogger Andrew Marin respond to the letter in a separate post. McKnight stated that he will be addressing this type of issue later in April or early May on his blog after reading Marin’s book. Andrew Marin has a book coming out in May called Love is an Orientation that addresses how the church can build bridges and reach out to the gay community.

I wanted to throw it out here on Elemental Children’s Ministry. What would you do if someone like this wanted to work in children’s ministry? Like McKnight posted with this letter, issues like this will become more commonplace over the next 10 years whether we like it or not. We need to know how we are going to deal with these issues and people like this young man with love while at the same time not compromising our core beliefs.

Before I say anything more, let me just make it clear that I do not condone homosexuality. At the same time, though, how do we deal with people who are honestly struggling with stuff like this and come to different conclusions than we do. Are there any churches that have policies to deal with issues like this? If so, what are they and why do you have them? Would you let people dealing with similar issues be involved anywhere in children’s ministry? Where would those positions be and why?

I don’t have any answers to this one. I am interested in hearing from all of you. Please be civil in the discussions. I don’t believe that working with people in a homosexual lifestyle or struggling with a homosexual lifestyle is as cut and dry and we pretend it to be most of the time. Also, can we just say that child safety really isn’t an issue in THIS discussion; there are plenty of people (both men and women) who are gay and work with children in multiple capacities: teachers, child welfare, childcare centres, health care, etc. What I would like to hear is how you work with someone like this young man who is honestly searching for God and wants to be involved in ministry… and what that might look like in a children’s ministry setting.

I will post my own thoughts in the next couple of days, but I’d like to hear from you all.

6 Responses to ““A Letter” via Scot McKnight’s Blog”

  1. jonathancliff April 1, 2009 at 9:31 pm #

    I'll think about it…

  2. Kerry April 1, 2009 at 11:23 pm #

    Wow! Henry, I am so glad you are broaching this subject of discussion. I agree with you completely that this is an issue we need to learn to address in love, and that it is not as black & white as people sometimes want it to be. Looking forward to the comments and seeing responses.

  3. Matt Guevara April 2, 2009 at 12:50 pm #

    A friend in Ohio went through this issue with a lesbian couple that was working in children's ministry. Her inclination was to allow the women to serve in non-teaching roles and provide care and support for them through it. I'll have to ask her what happened – maybe she'll even post here. Where sin is apparent, it has to be addressed. If someone that volunteers in our ministry is openly committing sin, we are not going to leave that alone. It is our role to address it and shepherd the person. Does that person have to get kicked out? Not sure…

  4. Desiree April 2, 2009 at 9:29 pm #

    I had to think about this a little and work it out in my head…

    Our pastor recently was speaking from Ephesians 5 and I think that text can be helpful here.

    As for the situation with Scot Mcknight, I would say they need to have a heart to heart about the guy's conclusions. I don't think it's a sin to struggle with feelings, but acting on them is a different story. I think it's clear that he cannot serve if he has a boyfriend or is united with him. This does not mean he cannot serve at all, but he cannot serve as a prominent figure. Usually when these sort of things happen, God redeems the situation when addressed in love. For instance, he may no longer serve in that area, but it is an opportunity for mentoring and a deepening in friendship between Scot M. and him.

    As for children's ministries, I would suggest gay volunteers serve somewhere else. There are many great opportunities for them in other areas. Of course it all should be handled in a loving manner, but not excusing sin because of hurt feelings. The goal is not to hurt them, but to direct them lovingly in the way they should go. With children's ministry we have to be more guarded against sex related sin, whether it is homo or hetero sexual.

  5. Desiree April 2, 2009 at 9:47 pm #

    Agree these situations have to be addressed. When your friend came in was the couple already serving? Did they have policy before her? Or did she discover they were lesbians after they started helping?

    I think to say "kicked out" is a strong way to put it because it sounds like they are being punished. And they aren't being punished, they just don't meet the requirements.

  6. Dean April 7, 2009 at 1:40 pm #

    Well said Desiree. Let me also add that the senior church leadership should be brought into this discussion as well. Chances are the SP, Executive Pastor and whatever type of church board there is would want to know about this issue (in other words, if they were not brought in and found out about it, they may be fairly upset).

    This is no doubt a touchy issue and one that should not be dealt with as a Lone Ranger. But, that does not answer the question how I would deal with it…

    I agree with Desiree that to struggle with sexual feelings in one thing, but to say "I have a boyfriend" or that "I won't engage in sex until I get 'married'" is sinfully acting upon those feelings. It is sin because it is in direct contradiction to the plan of God set forth from Genesis and on. Marriage between one man and woman, for life, is the way God created the world to be. Homosexuality is a direct "slap in the face" to that design. He is residing in sin by believing God condones homosexual thoughts or unions. He should not serve in CM – and I would bring leadership into the discussion regarding other possible places to serve.

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