The Message and the Messenger

This is one of those blog entries where I am thinking out loud with the hope that you may respond with your thoughts and prayers.

As many of you know, I love to read.  I read 500 to 1000 pages on the average week, mostly Christian non-fiction and social commentaries.  This week I began a book, and for the first time in a long time, I am struggling with the messenger's choices over and against the message of the book itself.

Sara Miles' book "Jesus Freak' focuses on a deeper relationship with Jesus that allows you to do the same things that Jesus did, such as feed the hungry, heal the sick, and even raise the dead (bring life out of death!).  That message reasonates with my spirit.  Jesus said that those who come after him will do "even greater things" (John 14).  She goes on to reveal that this stems from her radical conversion to Christ through a dramatic understanding of eucharist (some know this as communion).  As I am reading, I am excited about what she is saying and inspired by her writing style which is somewhat provocative and contemporary.

Then, I hit the breaks....

Sara shares a story where she goes home to her wife.  That's right, her wife, Martha.  I looked at the back of the book to see a picture of Sara, with the possibility that Sara might be a man, but nope, Sara is really Sara the female and she is married to to another women.

Now, I have taken the time to search the scriptures regarding homosexuality multiple times.  I believe that the Bible is clear that homosexuality is against his desire for humanity (Leviticus 18:22, I Corinthians 6:9).  I have heard many arguements that try to reduce this declarations to be cultural manifestations of the context.  However, I find that God, in His Word often uses people who are marignalized by socieity.  He used Deborah, a woman to lead Israel in a time when women were mere property.  Jesus spoke to prostitutes, tax collectors, etc.  However, there is no record of a homosexual being used of God in scripture. 

This does not mean that God is incapable of using someone who is homosexual in powerful ways.  I guess, I struggle with the role of her sexuality and how it plays in the message that she teaches.  Homosexuality is not a greater sin than other sins.  Would we discredit the message of a passionate preacher with the problem of pride?  Would we negate the message of a clearly overweight person who practices gluttony and greed, just on the basis of this sin?   As a preacher of the Gospel myself, can I say that I am without sin, or that my sins are "less important" than Sara's lifestyle?

In Sara's book, I question some of her metaphors and approaches, but is that due to her sexual preferences, or just because they are poor metaphors to describe what she was expressing.

One metaphor in particular, she and a gay episcipal priest, describe Jesus as "the boyfriend" (their take on the Biblical metaphor of Jesus as the bridegroom".  She then says that "the boyfriend" is promiscuous as he will be with "nearly anyone".  I think this metaphor cheapens our relationship with Jesus.  It compares it to the shallow sexual encounters someone may have with a promiscuous boyfriend with the deep, rich, and transforming relationship we have with Jesus Christ.

I would love to know how you separate the message and messenger.  How do you allow the grace that God can speak through sinners (we are all sinners!)?  Please leave a comment,

May God bless you all,

Pastor M Traylor
Dr. M TraylorComment