Sunday, April 24, 2011

What do Joel Osteen and Crystal Cathedral have in Common

As Paul and I listened to two television broadcasts today, Easter Sunday, we couldn't help but feel torn. Rev. Robert Schuller Sr and Joel Osteen give a lot of people hope and spiritual guidance. Their messages are important to many people. In the past we listened with an open heart and used their words to help us to become better Christians - better people.

Now we have become more cynical about their spoken words. Behind their words of love we have an image of nonacceptance of a group of people. They seem to have a ranking of "sins" with being homosexual ranking higher than other sins. Crystal Cathedral choir members need to sign a covenant that they support the church's stand on homosexuals. I wonder if that covenant included not eating shell fish, killing a woman if she was not a virgin on her wedding day, killing a woman if caught in adultery, condemning men who shaved their beards, excluding people from the alter if they had a physical handicap, and the list goes on and on. Joel Osteen says they can't be God's best. Robert Schuller says homosexuals can't be excellent. In fact, we wrote Rev. Schuller a letter about that and he personally responded to us. It didn't change anything.

Our personal philosophy is in tune with Jesus and many great theologians who have said that it is not necessary to take the Bible literally in order to take it seriously. Jesus talked about things that worried him - divorce, remarriage, adultery, hypocrisy, oppression, greed, class structure, accumulation of wealth, etc. but never about homosexuality. If this was a critical issue, why didn't he mention it?

I know this is a broad statement, but one that we believe. The "church" stand against homosexuals is the single biggest roadblock for acceptance of homosexuals. Family members, without a personal study of this issue, will blindly accept their church stand. Lazy? Homophobic? Heterosexism at play? For us it appears to be an easy excuse to disregard gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders for other reasons.

Here is another thought. I just don't want to hang around people who are judgmental and sit in their ivory tower of self-righteousness. We are all imperfect. Being gay is not, however, an imperfection. It is God's plan for them. It is who they were designed to be. They are some of the most wonderful people you could possibly meet in your lives. We are blessed to be their friends and advocates. We will never believe God sits in judgment of their sexual orientation; God and God only sits in judgment of how you live your life as a Christian.

I wasn't expecting to write this blog today but it does seem fitting. Jesus died to forgive our sins. Our position - being gay is not one of those sins. If you believe otherwise, please take the time to study this issue and ask yourself the real reason you may be anti-gay. The Blue Book by the Presbyterian Church, Mt. Kisco, is a great guide and is available for a minimal charge or online at