Truth is a Lonely Walk

For a long time, I’ve followed the posts of Heather Kopp at Soberboots.com.

Recently though, after much thought and deliberation, I have chosen to withdraw from her audience. Why? It’s not because she doesn’t write well. It isn’t that she doesn’t have wonderful things to say. It is because of the following words in a blog written many weeks ago.

Here is the quote. Below it, you will find my letter to Heather.

“Silly me, I thought “this year”meant maybe by, I don’t know, November? But here it is, January, and I’m more than ready to tell you that I no longer believe that people choose to be gay. I don’t think gay folks are going to hell. I don’t believe that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transsexual can separate us from the love of God in Christ any more than alcohol can.

But really, who cares what I believe? What matters is who I love, and how. As God would have it, I happen to love a whole bunch of women who happen to be gay. Women who deserve to be claimed and celebrated for exactly who they are.

And while I’m at it, I might as well say that the church Dave and I belong to is an open and affirming congregation that welcomes everyone to worship and follow Jesus, no matter what their sexual orientation. And we like that.”

After many weeks, this was my response to the author. In some ways, I missed making my own point. Don’t you hate it when that happens? See what you think:

Heather,

I’ve put off writing for some time, as I’ve spent a long time thinking about this. I’ve come to a decision which I could make in private. But I feel that you deserve to know about this decision, as it effects you — even if only in some very tiny way.
Some weeks ago, you published a blog article about “maybe I’m a bald gay guy.” It evoked a great deal of response. I read every reply with interest. I was so profoundly disappointed in the comments made by your readers, and especially by you that it took me by surprise. I needed to consider that. After much pondering, I’ve come to a difficult choice:
I’ve decided to withdraw from your audience.
It is not simply because I disagree with your point of view. I’m strong enough to disagree with someone comfortably.
It isn’t even because we interpret a simple section of scripture differently. I’m not that confident of my own work with scripture. I’m open to interpretation. Here is the problem:
In your comments about this particular subject, you indicate by your beliefs that you are willing to disregard whole sections of scripture. In your decision about “not being an evangelical conservative — as you used to be” you have placed your own wisdom (that gays are nice people, struggling in similar issues as you, and they “don’t choose to be gay” they “are born that way,”) abovethe wisdom and truth God reveals to his people. This is a very dangerous place to be.
In my case, I’m not willing to put what “seems obvious” to me above the black and white text. I hope NEVER to become that strong. That prideful stance is dangerous. I truly pray that I don’t come to that place.
In our case, disagreeing isn’t the issue. The issue is that I choose not to read “spiritual advice” from someone who disregards spiritual revelation. I choose not to follow someone who thinks that their own experience is more reliable that the words of God.
If you begin to throw away large sections of scripture, what is left? How can you believe any scripture included in such a flawed revelation?
Do I follow blogs of unbelievers? Yes, many of them. But in that case I know I must discern truth from opinion. However, when it comes to advice for my soul, I choose to listen to someone who buys the whole book, not just the comfortable, understandable, and agreeable sections.
Our God is a loving God. Yes. But he is also a demanding God. He does not ask that we “understand” his point of view. He simply insists that we accept it.
In the case of the gay world, so many of us who believe the difficult word as it appears on the page, have done great harm to the reputation of Christ. I admit that. I accept responsibility for it, and I frequently take the opportunity to apologize for my disobedient brothers and sisters in Christ. I also have gay friends. I’ve written a whole fiction piece on the subject. It is my best and truest work to date.
I know one gay woman who claims to have been completely delivered from her previous life. She is waiting for her husband. I know many gay people who have chosen to abstain from sexual activity. They do not deny who they are. They choose to live an obedient life. (Not unlike an alcoholic who chooses to live a dry life). I have wide experience in this area. I don’t claim to understand it, but understanding isn’t my job. Explaining God isn’t my job. Choosing which scripture I believe isn’t my job.
Faith demands that we obey what we don’t understand. That we trust in a God who has purpose beyond our own revelation. Faith demands that we bend our knees to One who is bigger, smarter, wiser and purer than we can ever be.
I’ve loved your writing. I’ve loved your heart. I worry for you. In revealing spiritual truths to others, you put yourself in a place of spiritual leadership. That position comes with GREAT responsibility. Your current position, of believing yourself wiser and smarter than the words on the page, is a dangerous one. You might want to think about that. The leader is held to a higher standard.
I wish you the best as you seek God’s plan for your life. Thanks for the journey. Thanks for forcing me to reconsider my own commitments. It has been good for me.
Your sis in Christ,
Bette
So my dear readers, how might you respond? Looking back, I realize that my point isn’t that folks must “change” before they come to Christ. It isn’t that I get to decide who is or isn’t a Christian. My point — and I admit, one that I made badly — is that I don’t get to choose what is sin, and what is not. That is God’s job. And, it  is God’s job to point it out to others. My only option is to simply agree with God. I do.
What about you? What might you have said?
Bette
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9 Responses to “Truth is a Lonely Walk”

  1. gail lampers Says:

    i think you made great points and did so quite well. and you said it in plainly enough that most of understand your point. it never occurred to me that you were implying you get to choose who is a believer and who is not. so if someone got that out of your comment they were projecting or seeing something that wasn’t there. good work, bette.

  2. Duane J. YOUNG Says:

    Two people are walking through the forest, each has a guide book. One of them believes the guide book and follows it. The other chooses not to believe the guide book and wanders ‘free will’ anywhere they want to go.

    I’m interested in who comes out at the end and where they end up. According to God’s word they can’t both end up in the same place.

    I rest my case.

    • Bette Nordberg Says:

      The only problem is that the folks who won’t use the guide book don’t believe that God’s word declares they won’t end up in the right place. It’s a bit of a circular conundrum for them! The most disappointing part of the discussion for me is in how many folks think trashing the words of the book is their rightful prerogative. I know. Isaiah predicts it. It still makes me sad. “They will call evil good and good evil.”

  3. Jeannie St. John Taylor Says:

    Wonderful response to Heather. I, too, am disappointed.

    • Bette Nordberg Says:

      Thanks Jeannie. I wish I’d said this more clearly: It’s not ever my job to determine who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. In fact, Paul warns us not to worry too much about the world’s sin condition. That isn’t what this discussion is about. It is my job to declare my allegiance to God’s Word. It IS my job (according to Paul) to determine whether or not someone who claims Christ is living in sexual sin. While Heather talks about love, even she would agree that sometimes love involves difficult conversations, because love always wants the very best for the object of your love.

  4. Zelda Pienaar Says:

    Bette, I think you handled a difficult issue very well. So often we just let such a change to lovingly confront someone on what they confess to believe as a Christian slide. I have to confess that I do that sometimes. It takes courage, so well done.

    • Bette Nordberg Says:

      Thanks, Zelda. Isn’t it funny how you can want to write things in EXACTLY the perfect way, and yet in the end, it never quite says what you hope it to say. Ahhhh well. Only the Holy Spirit can convince anyone of anything. Not my beautifully written (or not so beautiful) words!

  5. Miriam Cheney Says:

    This is a very thoughtful, brave, and true response to Heather’s changing perspectives. Her view point is becoming less rare in the church these days. I do not minimize the struggle, hurt, and/or frustration of feeling unable to experience intimacy in a relationship. Whether it is someone within the church battling the tendencies and wanting freedom, or someone outside looking in, raging against the injustice they may feel at the Christian response–even when represented in love. But it is the heart anguish we all face in our various battles when God says, “No. That is not my best for you. Trust me.” Oh, that we would know how great His love and mercy and grace is to carry us through. “In Him is Life, and that Life is the light of man.” Thank you, Bette! 🙂

    • Bette Nordberg Says:

      Miriam, so well put. So compassionate. Yesterday in my Bible STudy, we read Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church, and he said what you said (essentially), that in knowing how much God loves us, we have the power of God to live a godly life here on earth. Paul is sooooooo eloquent, “How deep, how wide, how high is the love of God.” If we knew that, really knew that, we could rejoice in the “Nos” not just accept them. Thank YOU Miriam.

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