Q. In light of recent events and revelations about your personal life, is your ministry, and/or that of Church In The Now going to dramatically change now?
A. Absolutely not. I still will teach/preach the unconditional love of God (or, better said, that God IS love) as I always have, and Church In The Now will hold to its vision of creating a community of REAL PEOPLE EXPERIENCING THE REAL GOD IN THE REAL WORLD with more conviction than ever before. The only thing that has changed is that I/we have been given a much larger platform and greater sphere of influence than we had a few days ago.
"Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
(Matthew 5:14-16 - The Message)
Last week when I ministered at the CCC, I referred to the 4th verse of the great hymn of the church “There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood” which says:
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die,
and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme,
and shall be till I die.
Whatever you think of me, and regardless of how your perception of my ministry may have changed in recent days, you can be assured of this one thing...REDEEMING LOVE HAS BEEN MY THEME, AND SHALL BE TILL I DIE!
Q. Why don’t you post negative comments and opposing viewpoints here on the blog?
A. Well, first of all, this blog wasn’t created to be a cutting-edge forum for endless debate on hot topics, so I try to keep it on track, and true to its original purpose (encouragement, communication, exchange of ideas, inspiration...). And when it comes to negative or insulting comments, I make no apology for using my own discretion in what I deem to be appropriate to post here.
In a word, it’s my blog to do with as I see fit, and I’ve never presented it as anything but that. Actually, there really aren’t that many negative comments that come in, relative to the ones posted which are positive and affirming, and those that are negative pretty much all say the same thing. There’s a lot of cutting and pasting of the same two or three Scripture passages, and, while I appreciate the effort of those who do the incessant cutting and pasting, I do have many, many Bibles, and I have read (and studied) those passages for many, many years. In other words, it‘s really not necessary to keep sending them to me. It would be redundant to post them all.
But while I’m on the subject, I will say that in some of the un-posted negative comments I‘ve received, the question of whether or not I’m aware of what the Bible calls an “abomination” keeps coming up, and the answer to that is yes, I am well aware. In fact, here’s a short list of just some of the things the Bible calls an abomination, in case you’re wondering about it…
Cheating is an abomination (Mic. 6:10). A proud look is an abomination (Pro. 6:16-17). A lying tongue is an abomination (Pro. 6:17; 12:22). Hands that shed innocent blood are an abomination (Pro. 6:17). A wicked scheming heart is an abomination (Pro. 6:18). Feet that are quick to sin are an abomination (Pro. 6:18). A false witness that speaks lies is an abomination (Pro. 6:19). A sower of discord among brethren is an abomination (Pro. 6:19). A false balance or scale is an abomination (Pro. 11:1). The sacrifices of the wicked are an abomination (Pro. 15:8; 21:27). The proud of heart are an abomination (Pro. 16:5). Condemning the just is an abomination (Pro. 17:15). Divers, dishonest weights are an abomination (Pro. 20:10, 23). Divers, dishonest measures are an abomination (Pro. 20:10). Refusing to hear the law is an abomination (Pro. 28:9). The prayers of a rebel are an abomination (Pro. 28:9). Eating the flesh of a peace offering on the 3rd day is an abomination (Lev. 7:18). Taking ornaments from idols when they are being destroyed is an abomination (Dt. 7:25-26). Any Idolatrous practices are abominations (Dt. 12:31; 13:14; 17:4; 18:9; 20:18; 29:17). Offering an imperfect animal to God as a sacrifice is an abomination (Dt. 17:1). Re-marriage of former companions is an abomination (Dt. 24:1-4). Cheating others is an abomination (Dt. 25:13-16). Making images or idols is an abomination (Dt. 27:15). Incense offered by hypocrites is an abomination (Isa. 1:13). Eating unclean things (pork, shellfish, etc.) is an abomination (Isa. 66:17). Offering human sacrifices is an abomination (Jer. 32:35). Robbery is an abomination (Ezek. 18: 6-13). Oppression of others, particularly the poor or vulnerable is an abomination (Ezek. 18: 6-13). Violence is an abomination (Ezek. 18: 6-13). Breaking vows is an abomination (Ezek. 18: 6-13). Lending with interest to a brother is an abomination (Ezek. 18: 6-13). Sleeping with a menstruous woman is an abomination (Ezek. 18: 6-13). Hardness of heart is an abomination (Ezek. 18: 6-13). Injustice is an abomination (Ezek. 18:6-13). Things highly esteemed by man are an abomination (Lk. 16:15). (Thanks, R.G.)
I could go on, but, suffice it to say, we are probably all guilty of regularly committing abominations (ever had a “proud look” on your face, or eaten a pork chop?), so we need to keep the use of that word in perspective (and please don't bother with a rebuttal, because I'm just not going to be pulled into a Bible fight with anyone)...Thank God for the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world!
OK...enough of that…
One more thing, though, before I move on...I’ll be the first to admit that some of the praise I’m currently receiving here and on Twitter and Facebook is a little over the top, but it does bring some balance to the abundance of negative things written about me elsewhere on some other blogs, and on a few Christian and Evangelical websites online (or videos posted on YouTube). You don’t have to look very far to find that stuff, so there’s really no need to just pile on more of it here. But I would also like to say how much I appreciate the fairness and goodwill of the mainstream media in dealing with my story. All of the major players have been just awesome…every single one of them.
Q. How are you really doing?
A. Seriously, I've never been happier or more at peace with God and with myself. I have favor with God and man, and the positives in my life so far outweigh the negatives, that I can't think of myself as anything but blessed. I am surrounded by love, even in the midst of some expected persecution. Is there transition happening? Yes, but it's all good. The continued outpouring of affirming letters and messages from around the world keep me built up and encouraged. And for those of you who still love me and believe in me, I want you to know that I feel your prayers.