So what do you REALLY believe??

Warning to readers: The blog below is written for people who respect, if not believe, the Bible as God’s Word, and God as our Creator. If you do not, as many of you have strongly expressed, don’t feel compelled to read this. There might be better uses of your time. It will just make you angry and then you may feel tempted to send me more hate mail.


Ever since the piece I wrote, Just Because He Breathes somehow got picked up and shared and reshared all over the place, I’ve had people – mostly conservative Christians, but not all – emailing, messaging and commenting with a similar question. It usually goes like this: So, how do you deal with the verses in Romans about homosexuality being an abomination? Do you and your husband even believe in sin anymore? Are you just doing the thing of saying “we love you” over and over again, but really, secretly, you think your gay friends are doing something immoral? How do you get past the “love the sinners, hate the sin” concept that the Bible teaches? I want to love my gay friends, but I just don’t know how to reconcile that love with what I’ve been taught from the Bible. So, instead of answering each of you separately, I am going to try to give you our answer right here. I do need to say a couple of other things before starting:

  1. The Bible does not teach that any human being created by God (and we all were) is an abomination. Wow…I have come to LOATHE that word because of how it has been used to destroy people.

  2. The Bible does NOT include a verse that says, “Love the sinner, but hate the sin.” Someone who wasn’t thinking very carefully came up with that, and unfortunately, it caught on. After the abomination accusation and the threat of hell hurled at blameless individuals who have done nothing but be born, this is one of the phrases that has been most damaging – not only to the individuals who are hurt by it, but to the cause of Christ.Granted, if I am using this cliché to refer to the fact that I love my dog, but I hate it when she poops in the house, it might be fitting. Or maybe if I said to my husband, “I love you, Rob, but I really hate it when you put the aluminum recyclable soda cans in the kitchen trash,” it could pass as tolerable.However, when used to say, “I love my friend John who is gay, but I hate his homosexuality,” it is a complete oxymoron. It is like someone saying to me, “I love you, Linda, but I really hate that you are heterosexual.” How am I supposed to respond? “Oh! Thanks for loving me…..I guess? I will just…um…stop being so attracted to Rob’s body so that you won’t hate my sexuality! And, btw, thanks for loving just PART of me, not all of me. THAT feels so reassuring.” Pardon my sarcasm, but this one really gets to me.Parents of LGBTQ kids: Please, please do not tell your children this. I promise you, they will not feel, hear or believe that you love them, even though you do. In fact, they will probably want to scream that your love is a load of crap before you tell them that if they don’t stop being disrespectful they can just leave the room RIGHT NOW! (Trust me. I have made similar mistakes myself.)

  3. Before delving into this, please search your heart for what is really at stake. My friend Jodie’s quote bears repeating, “I wonder if it has become easier to oppose ideologies than to actually love people.” It is WAY easier for us as selfish humans to get into an academic debate – especially online – than to get out of our comfort zones and just go spend time with people who are different from us, hearing their stories and learning from them. And really, if you never have a perfect answer to the questions surrounding what Paul meant in the New Testament mentions of homosexuality, will it cause anyone to NOT know the love of Christ? I doubt it. But if we neglect the hundreds of mentions in the Scriptures about loving and caring for the poor, the stakes go WAY up. Not only for us, but for the millions of people who will go unfed, uncared for, unhoused and UNLOVED.

First, our background: As I’ve said before, Rob and I are not trained Bible scholars, theologians, philosophers or even impressively diligent Bible students. We are: Christ-followers, a straight, married couple who are CRAZY about each other after almost 30 years, parents of four adult children (one who is gay), siblings and dear friends to our gay brother and the honored friends of countless LGBTQ individuals who have shared their journeys with us. So as we often reminded our kids when they were growing up, please consider the source as you read and decide whether or not we have anything valid to say. Rob and I were both raised hearing condemning messages about homosexuality (for me, from the Bible, for Rob, from more of a general “American moral code”). As young parents, we heard horror stories from conservative “family” radio speakers about the dangerous practices of “those” homosexuals, complete with graphic details about their perverse practices and number of daily conquests. These came from sources we thought were trustworthy, and though I did doubt their veracity and was suspicious of the agenda behind the tales, I can see now that the power of propaganda to incite fear is, indeed, real and potent. It was after my brother Don courageously came out to us that I began reading books – from varying perspectives – about what the Bible had to say about homosexuality. At the end of the day, I came away a bit confused, but sure of one thing: The Bible did NOT support hate. That, at least, was clear.

It was after our own son came out to us, ten years later, that the fear that had been planted in our minds years before began to grow and make us feel that our son was in very real danger. Hence, our many mistakes and our choice to be ruled by fear rather than to live by faith in the One who made Ryan. Over the past 7-8 years, we have come to care less and less about the academic, Biblical debate. We have read lots of material from both sides, and we know people we love and respect that hold completely opposing views on what the Bible really teaches about homosexuality. However, each time we’ve read the different debates, we’re left a bit cold, because they tend to leave out the human element and they tend to discount the power of God, through the Holy Spirit, to lead and guide us. We’ve learned far more by listening to the stories of people we love, ex-gays, celibate gays, monogamous gays and out and proud gays. To be honest, their stories hold a lot more weight for us about THIS issue than the stories of straight people, Christian or otherwise.

For those of us who are straight, we have other questions to ask. But for these individuals, this “issue”…this unchanging characteristic about themselves is often a matter of life or death. Literally. So what is our “position” on whether or not it is okay with God to be in a gay relationship? First, our position is one of staying on our knees, in prayer, seeking God continually – eyes on Jesus – for His love and wisdom for our lives. Key words: our lives. Secondly, our position is that God has called us to unconditionally love ALL of our friends, family and neighbors, without any exclusions. My friend from high school, Jill Rennick, says that “the gospel has no asterisks.” For those who still really want to know what we think about the Biblical passages, here is our take: After much prayer, study and a lot of listening to God and others, we’ve come to believe that this is one of those issues mentioned – infrequently – in the New Testament, like eating meat previously sacrificed to idols. For some, it may be sin. For others, it is not.

We realize that most of our conservative Christian friends, and many of our closest friends, disagree with us. Our senior pastor, who is one of our dearest friends, has a different perspective. One of my closest girlfriends, and the amazing mother of my son’s beautiful wife, doesn’t agree with me. Thankfully, that has not stopped them from loving and respecting us or us from loving and respecting them. Rob and I know many Christian gay couples who are thriving in both their walks with God AND in their relationships. We see the fruit of the spirit ALL OVER their lives! Really, it is between God and them….not our business. We DON’T secretly think they are in sin.

At the same time, for some other dear friends of ours, God has clearly called them to celibacy, and for them it WOULD be sin to be in a gay relationship. God has given them clear direction, and they are obeying and finding the same level of flourishing in their obedience to His call. This may only serve to frustrate those of you who are looking for THE answer…because it isn’t a black and white answer. But truly, most things aren’t. And, our conclusions might be wrong. We are certainly not above that… Rob and I continually seek our Lord for Truth. Thankfully, God hasn’t given up on us because we’ve been on a journey, and we’re still learning.

What I do know for sure is this: As a straight, married couple, we HAVE had to grapple with the questions surrounding premarital and extramarital sex. Those apply directly to Rob and me. So we’ve taken those very, very seriously. God called Rob and I to be faithful to each other in marriage and to honor the vows we made before God and hundreds of people almost 30 years ago. He has also called us not simply to stay married but to stay in love – and that keeps us plenty busy (wink). Honestly, we don’t really have time to worry about whether someone else is sinning or making a mistake. We have plenty of our own weaknesses and flaws to work on. So for us…Love wins. Every time. And as our friend Julie Rodgers often says, “God invites EVERYONE to the wedding.” THAT is what we’re about. Making sure that NOBODY feels excluded from the love of Christ…because according to Him, NOBODY IS.


For those of you wanting to do your own study, I have found these resources to be extremely helpful. And if you’d like to comment and add your own links to the list, feel free to do so.

Gay Christian Network has posted a fascinating, thoughtful and respectful debate between two gay Christians with different views, Justin’s view and Ron’s view.

My personal favorite when it comes to books for those who come from an evangelical, catholic, Pentecostal or similar background, is Justin Lee’s Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate. Even if you don’t agree with Justin’s personal conclusions, after reading it you will have a MUCH better understanding of the pain, suffering and deeply personal torment that an individual who loves Christ but who is also gay faces.

One that has rocked my world is James V. Brownson’s book, Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships. I love what Peggy Campolo said about it, “If ever a book spoke the good news of the gospel with biblical authority to those children of God who happen not to be straight, it is this book. Brownson addresses with clarity an issue that is tearing the church of Jesus Christ apart, as he gently insists that all of us allow new facts and insights to illuminate our understanding of what Scripture has to say to gay and lesbian Christians.”

Matthew Vines has also written a great book about what the Bible actually says about homosexuality, and tells his own story, and several others. God and the Gay Christian is an easy but extremely informative read (Matthew is brilliant), and is available both on Amazon and Audible, if you’d rather listen to it, like I did.

For those interested in checking out evangelical Christian ministries who are trying to create space for open, honest wrestling of issues around sexuality in a safe space, check out New Direction Ministries of Canada. Their Executive Director, Wendy Gritter, M. Div., also writes a great blog.

Thad Norvell recently posted a brilliant blog called Gay Marriage and the Posture of the Gospel. Well worth your time!

From Peter Enns: Tim Keller on Homosexuality and Biblical Authority: Different Crisis, Same Problem. Another interesting perspective…perspectives, really. Though Peter Enns differs with Tim Keller’s perspective, we respect them both. We own a lot of Tim Keller’s books, and love them. One of them, Prodigal God, is one of my all-time favorite reads.

From Scot McKnight and Steven Harrell comes Bible Verse Arms Race, which though it doesn’t address homosexuality directly, is extremely applicable.

If you are a Christian parent of an LGBTQ child, Susan Cottrell writes regularly on very practical issues related to the experience of having a gay child on her blogsite Freedhearts.com. She also has a new book out entitled, “Mom, I’m Gay” that you can order there.

For those interested in reading the very personal journey of one Christian who has felt called to celibacy, I highly recommend Wesley Hill’s Washed and Waiting. After finishing it, my first comment to Rob was, “DANG. The commitment to celibacy is SO MUCH MORE DIFFICULT than we in the church make it sound. I don’t think I could tell ANYONE that celibacy is their call – I’ll leave that up to GOD!” (Especially given that Rob and I have the ability to sleep together, pillow talk, bike ride and overall, be soulmates, whenever we want. To tell someone else that they CAN’T have that seems awfully arrogant and hypocritical to me.) That said, I have deep respect for Wesley Hill, and for others like him who feel personally called by Christ to celibacy…Julie Rodgers is a new and quickly beloved friend of ours who has a GREAT blog on her own journey.

Note to my critics: You will see that I did not include resources that come down clearly on one side or the other, because I do not. There are a LOT of them out there, on both sides. And a lot of them have valid, good things to say. I included the resources that have spoken most deeply to me, and the ones that I feel encourage having grace and understanding for each other, as well as giving each other in the Body of Christ space to disagree about the things that aren’t essential. Matthew 22:37-40 is essential. Matthew 25:31-46 is essential. Micah 6:8 is essential. John 3:16 is essential. These speak to themes that are repeated over and over again, throughout the Bible. If I am going to die on a hill for something, I will die on a hill over loving the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind…and loving my neighbor as myself. I will NOT die on a hill – or even spend two seconds thinking about – whether or not my brother Don was “Biblically justified” to love his partner Fletcher. THAT was between Don, Fletch and Jesus, and the three of them had it sorted out just fine, thank you, without my help. Okay, bring on the hate mail. I know it is coming. But as Ryan at two said, “Please be gentle.”

103 thoughts on “So what do you REALLY believe??

  1. Jen

    No hate here, Linda. Just admiration and respect for your courage to speak your heart, when it would be so much easier to be quiet. You have helped open my eyes to how big God is, and how full of grace. And we ALL need that.

    Reply
    1. lynne

      Thank you! for your beautiful words and heart. You have put into well written words what I have felt God telling me was the truth for years. Living in a community of conservative christians, I have often felt alone in my thoughts. Finding someone that has carefully, painfully, prayerfully sought the Lord’s face and reached the same conclusions, is a balm for my soul. Today I feel less alone because of you. Thank you.

      Reply
  2. Terrence Lynch

    There is so much I’d like to share with you. My deepest sympathies on the loss of your son. How much I admire your courage to share your family’s story. To steal a phrase from a song by Sean Thomas, a gay Christian musician and songwriter, “I see the Christ in you.” Another song of his that comes to mind is “Faith Unashamed.” I saw the piece on Huffington Post of you and your husband’s testimony at Exodus International, the video, the letter your husband wrote to your son. Tears streaming down my face. For you and for me. I’ve ready your previous blog posts. You have resurrected in me something I had given up as being irreconcilable: the fact that God made me gay and a Christian and that was His intent, and my mission was to bring that to the attention of those who believe that you cannot be gay and a Christian. Or to love the sinner but hate the sin. It’s OK to be gay as long as you don’t act on it (It IS ok, but not mandatory to be a Christ follower in good standing.”
    I look forward to reading more of your posts and learning from you, and most importantly moving closer to Chrst as a result of your inspiration. A thousand than yous. You ARE perfect to me.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      WOW…Terrence, there is no better reward than to hear that someone is moving closer to Christ because of our story. Thank you for sharing yours…and I will look up Sean Thomas!!

      Reply
      1. Terrence Lynch

        Regarding Shawn (NOT Sean, my apologies to you and to Shawn) Thomas. Here’s the URL for his web page: http://www.shawnthomasonline.com I can’t figure out how to make it live, sorry. And thank you for all the resources you mentioned. Finally, I apologize for the atrocious spelling and grammar in my prior reply. In the future I promise to proofread before posting.

        Reply
  3. Katherine Grace Bond

    Thank you, Linda, for your courage. Mine would fit into a thimble by comparison. I have ALWAYS been moved and encouraged by your love for your son. Your journey gives me much to think about. Love to you and Rob.

    Reply
  4. thad

    Thank you for your kind words about what I wrote, Linda. I have been stunned by the response to it. I hope it’s an encouragement to you to know that one of my biggest surprises is how many people who share our background (mine is similar to yours with respect to this issue) shared it and/or wrote me personal notes thanking me. I don’t expect that the Church will reach total agreement on the particulars anytime soon, but I do think enormous progress on how we relate to the world around us no matter what we believe is possible. I think the Spirit is up to something that may surprise us.

    Most importantly, thank you for sharing your story with such vulnerability and grace. I can’t imagine the pain that you, Rob, and your family have endured, but bless you for inviting others in and allowing them to share in the hope and life you’ve discovered along the way. All things new.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Thad…I have to tell you one thing (of the many) I loved about your blog. I saw it, first, on Alan Chambers’ FB page. Read it, reposted it on mine. Then I watched the shares. One was a woman who is my self-proclaimed “left-wing liberal Jewish friend” (an incredibly intelligent woman who I respect greatly), two were dear friends from the Biola University Queers group (both gay), another was a close conservative Christian friend and the last, from my page, was my oldest daughter, who, besides being quite particular about what she posts on her FB wall, is working on her PhD in psychology at an evangelical university. She said, “musing on the implications, meaning, usefulness…of this “position” v. “posture” distinction…and on the use of beautiful art and how it helps me encounter familiar things.” (Which, of course, I loved, since I delight in my adult kids and think most of the things they say and write are brilliant.)

      Basically, I LOVED how your blog reached out to so many of my very diverse group of friends…in a way that we could ALL hear and learn from. Rob and I agree…we think the Spirit is up to something. When an evangelical mom like me (who have never blogged before in her life) gets over 175,000 likes on Huffington Post Gay Voices, SOMETHING IS UP. And it sure isn’t about me. I have a feeling it is about Grace…and yes, all things new. So thankful for your courage to challenge those of us who are Christ-followers and to ask forgiveness from those who are not.

      Reply
      1. Bonnie Senftner

        Yesterday when I posted, I neglected to tell you that I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful son. He has given you a new mission now, helping others prevent the loss of theirs.

        Thanks for this latest article. I know in my last post I mentioned the movie “Prayers for Bobby” as that mother went through very similar circumstances with her son. She finally met a gay chaplain and there was a discussion between them about bible verses. I will have to watch that part again as it has been a long time, but the one thing that I remember is that he never quite had clear enough answers for some of these bible verses against homosexuality. I wish a good theologian could help all of us with how to respond to some of these verses when right winged conservatives are giving us a hard time about them. Verses can be interpreted different ways which can give an entirely different meaning to a verse. For instance, the verse about slapping the other cheek” in the bible has an entirely different message than most people think when one studies theology. I read an article by a theologian that stated
        this:

        “There was a difference in slapping someone with the back of the hand versus the palm of the hand. When Jesus says, “If someone strikes you on the right cheek,” he is talking about a slap with the back of the hand as most people are right-handed. The Mishnah (legal regulations of that time) lays out compensation for those who experience such a shaming action. A slap with the palm of the hand carried a penalty twice as much as a slap with the back of the hand (Mishnah, B. Ḳ. viii. 6). Why would it contain a higher fine? Because to be struck on the right cheek, with the back of the hand, would be more degrading and shameful than to be struck on the left cheek with the palm of the hand. In effect, Jesus is saying, if someone degrades or shames you greatly by a backhanded slap on the right cheek, turn your left cheek to him and see if he is willing to say you are closer to his equal than the initial slap indicated. Of course, this also would inflict more compensatory damage to the one doing the slapping.”

        If this particular passage can be so misconstrued, than what about the ones that conservatives hold on to when they try to justify the condemnation of homosexuals? It would be great if we could get a good theologian on board to help us with some of these answers.
        Bonnie Senftner

        Thanks so much for this article Linda. You have my brain churning now!

        Bonnie Senftner

        Reply
  5. Jeff

    Linda, this is a wonderful post. Thank for putting your convictions and reflections into words and for following the Holy Spirit in doing so. When pressed by some for black and white answers, it is not easy to always know what to say. Jesus himself was often pressed for yes/no answers and usually confounded the person asking by refocusing on what was really important in the situation at hand. You have done similarly here.

    For once I’ve actually read quite a few of someone’s recommended readings. For Christians who choose to pursue celibacy, or anyone believing celibacy is the way to go in dealing with homosexuality, Wesley Hill’s book is a must read because it paints a true picture of what this choice entails, and it details the Body of Christ’s role in the life of celibate Christians, which is not well handled by most churches today. I also recommend Wendy Gritter’s blog for many posts she has written about the concept of “generous spaciousness”, but most recently I have been influenced by a re-reading of her 7-part series from 2011 on considering covenanted same-sex relationships a “disputable matter” for Christians, whcih sounds similar to the position that you have arrived at. For anyone interested in Wendy’s series, I’ve collected the links to the seven posts on this post from my blog: http://carleton1958.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/are-covenanted-same-sex-unions-for-christians-a-disputable-matter/

    Reply
  6. Julie Rodgers

    LOVE that you’re more concerned with loving Christ and other people more than a position! For all those who are uncomfortable with ambiguity, there are thousands more who can see the essential truths of the Gospel all the more clearly when you make them central. Thank you for keeping the main thing the main thing, and loving people so wonderfully well as they work out all the questions that surface. Sending so much love from Texas this morning!

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Julie…SO MUCH LOVE back from you from Seattle!! Thanking God for you this morning…and that we are stacking hands on pointing ourselves, and others, to the One with all the answers!

      Reply
  7. Chris Schumerth

    Hi. Having lost an older brother (whose own sexual experiences, desires, and identity are quite mysterious to me) about a year-and-a-half ago I have been watching your story and these posts with some degree of admiration. Even him aside, I suppose through some of my own relationships (and probably a propensity to be over-analytical) I’ve been thinking through homosexuality from my own Christian perspective and especially for me how to confront some of my own prejudices and how to love better. Thus my interest.

    I do have a couple questions though that I’m wondering if you’d weigh in on. You seem to speak about about the homosexual orientation or desire as “unchanging,” and certainly I know many gay people who would identify with that. But what are your thoughts, and what are the implications, for the kind of person whose sexuality seems more fluid? I guess maybe I think there is at least SOME developmental component to the sexual desires, experiences, and patterns we develop over the course of life. Just as an example, I may be referring to people who experiment across genders and who knows, they might be in a different place five years from now. I suppose the world would call this person “bisexual.” Hope it isn’t sexist to say it, but I have noticed this phenomenon quite a bit among the young women I know. I’m thinking, too, about the Kensey scale (I assume you’ve come across it?), 0 to 6, in which many people are supposedly neither a 0 or a 6, meaning that they experience both homosexual and heterosexual desire. Have you encountered people like this? Any thoughts???

    A second question, and this is probably harder, even though people throw this word around like the meaning should be self-evident. But can you offer a definition of the word “love”? Because I think that’s harder than we think, to “just love” someone. Maybe you just defer to 1 Corinthians 13? I guess what I’m getting at is that in my own life, my best experiences of love have involved more than just including me, making me feel welcome. That’s definitely a part of love, but it seems, and I think the Bible would support me here, that intimate love includes some combination of deep knowing, trust, gentle confrontation, and a lot of grace. But wondering what you guys think?

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Chris…I wish I could respond at more length, but I have GOT to get to tackling email…I have hundreds of unread ones dating back to June, when this “thing” started. But I agree with you that sexuality is complex…VERY complex. Which is one of the reasons I think we have to be VERY careful about making judgements and condemning others…and that we need to be quick to listen and slow to speak, as the Bible says.
      I actually really like your description of love…it is nuanced, true and beautiful. And of course, I stack hands on I Corinthians 13, too. I have seen a reflection of God’s love for me through my husband (my therapist calls him a “Christ-figure” in my life)…he knows EVERYTHING about me, the most shameful, embarrassing, flawed, boring, weak, wicked, arrogant and selfish parts of me…the parts that I try, most of the time, to hide from the world, when I see them in myself. He knows them and still DELIGHTS in me, in every aspect of who I am. I can trust him completely to want the best for me, even when it might not be easy or convenient for him. He is willing to hold my grief and my anger and my doubt and my joy and my faith and my compassion all at the same time…and he never writes me off and shuts me out. Even when I say things that hurt him and make him angry. He has listened to my thoughts and feelings for over thirty years, and has never once said “well, THAT’s stupid!” There isn’t anything I could do to stop Rob from loving me…WOW…now THAT is something I need to think about, because I so often doubt God’s love because of what I have or have not done. I don’t have a fancy definition of love, but I know that I know that I know that I am loved by Rob. FULLY. And I am trying, increasingly, to realize that God loves me like that – much MORE than that – because He is GOD. It is a slow process…but I am on the journey!

      Reply
      1. schumes

        Thank you for this. I can appreciate the picture you’ve offered us here of your husband’s love for you and how much work and understanding and failure and grace is involved. I suppose my hesitance, in case it wasn’t obvious, comes from a world that often pleas for us to “just love,” with some sort of self-evident implication that love equals something like inclusion/tolerance/niceness/don’t judge. And I suppose those things might be small situational parts of love, but on their own, they really fall quite short of what it is to love.

        Reply
  8. Mark Olson

    Thank you for sharing your story and your reflection on such complex issues that tend to be reduced to black and white ideologies. Your thoughtful, insightful writing is one of the most genuine, moving examples of faith as a positive force that I have seen.

    Reply
  9. David

    I would also add another great book to your reading list. Written by the late Rev. Peter Gomes, Former Harvard Christian minister, led the inaugral prayer for a couple of presidents, etc., etc. He wrote “The Good Book” about how interpreting the bible in modern day culture runs into the pitfalls of three things: culturalism, literalism, and idolatry. He explores issues ranging from slavery and women’s issues, all the way to Anti-semetism and Anti-Gay thoughts and how the Bible is misused to justify debate points. As the 17th century Jesuit priest, Blaise Pascal said, “Men never do evil so completely and cheefully as when they do it from religious conviction”. As I say, “He who professes their faith the loudest is usually still trying to convince themselves of it.”

    Reply
  10. Catherine M Wilson

    Several people have already asked how they should think about homosexuality, as if they are required to come to a decision about it. I think it would be helpful to remember that thing Jesus said about judging people.

    I hardly ever hear someone judge another person for being divorced, something Jesus himself condemned. Of course, divorce could happen to anyone’s family, while no one believes homosexuality will ever happen to theirs. Easier to condemn the sin you will never be guilty of.

    Most gay people really don’t care about the theological position of other people regarding our sexual orientation. We just want to be left alone to live our lives in peace. If the best anyone can do regarding their attitude to homosexuals is to refrain from persecuting us, we’re fine with that!

    Reply
  11. janette loewen

    Your both such an amazing couple!!!!! I watched your video and just wept.This blog answered a lot of questions I had…thank you! God has so wonderfully brought three young, amazing gay christian kids into my life, I too have listened to their stories and it breaks my heart the way they have been, in their words, “dehumanized by the church”. I love God and have four amazing straight children and have been married for 30 years also, but God has given me such a heart of love and total acceptance for these kids. My question for you Linda is….how do I help these kids???? What can I, as just a Mum, do for these kids???? Right now, like you I am just loving them. I am not a biblical scholar my any means, and as a matter of fact, these kids can quote way more scripture than I can LOL……but I am discovering, that all that does not matter….I just want to love and support them. I realized I to was motivated by fear, and that fear was directly related to what “other” christians may think of me….hmmm…..so now I am determined to be motivated by faith and what God wants to do in their lives for them to reach their full potential in Gods plans for their lives. I think God can mightily use them in these times…don;t you???? I look forward to more blogs and thanks again for being so totally honest….your both amazing people who have truly stepped out in faith with their big God!!!!!

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Janette…WOW! I so respect you! God has brought your ministry right to you…and in my humble opinion, you are doing EXACTLY what He has called you to do…LOVE THEM! So many of these kids have felt so unloved by their Christians families and friends that they can’t fathom God loving them…but through YOUR love, HE can speak. Don’t underestimate the power of listening, loving, providing a safe haven for their joys and sorrows…you don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t have to have ANY answers…other than the most important one…that Jesus loves them and wants to walk with them. I wish I could hug you! The world needs more Janettes!!!!

      Reply
  12. Jill D

    Here’s our problem. We do love our daughter but we believe that homosexual behavior is sinful behavior. You don’t have to agree; that’s OK. But from our understanding of the Bible, that’s what we believe. We are eager to see her in a few weeks and plan to love on her as much as we can. And if she were to bring her girlfriend to our home, we’d love her, too. But we would not make accommodations for them to practice in our home what we believe is sin. It seems reasonable to us that it needs to work both ways, that we love our daughter, while disagreeing with her behavior, and asking her to love us, while disagreeing with our faith’s stance. We can no more change our deeply held beliefs than she can change her sexual preference and it seems unfair for either party to expect impossible change, doesn’t it? This article seems to put all of the burden for tolerance on the part of the non-homosexual party and none on the homosexual. Somewhere between shunning the homosexual and embracing their ‘sin’ despite one’s deeply held beliefs, there must be a middle ground.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      You pose a good question…and one that many Christian parents wrestle with. You have the right, clearly, to set boundaries for your own home, just as you would for heterosexual children. However, what we have learned is this…is insisting that they adhere to our beliefs more important than maintaining the best relationship with our children as possible? For us, the answer has become no. If I desire a completely open, honest relationship with my adult children, I can only have that if I choose unconditional love. Because we are the parents, no matter how old our child is, the onus (or burden, as you said) is on us to do the loving. Just my humble opinion…

      Reply
      1. Catherine M Wilson

        I wish Jill D could see that she is asking something of her daughter that her daughter cannot do. She might as well say, If my daughter’s eyes were just blue not brown, I would be fine with it. Should her daughter then rip out her brown eyes and have blue (and sightless) eyes put in? That is what people are asking gay people to do when they insist that we change.

        If you think having a same-sex relationship is a sin, then don’t have one, but I would again mention that thing about judging someone else. No one knows another person’s heart, or their relationship with their god. It could just be possible that Jill’s daughter is doing the will of god as god has revealed it to her, and that is not for anyone to judge, not even her mother.

        Reply
        1. Jill D

          Catherine, you did not read my comment very carefully. I was not asking that our daughter change her sexual preference. In fact, I explicitly assumed that she could not. What I did say is that it seemed that all of the burden is placed on the parents and none on the child; that the parents must fully accept and embrace and allow what the parents consider sin to be practiced under their roof, but the homosexual adult child is not asked to respect the parents’ faith beliefs which are equally unchangeable. I am not here to argue, but I think it only fair that my initial comment not be so unjustifiably mischaracterized.

        2. Linda Robertson Post author

          Jill, thank you for clarifying…and thank you for helping to keep this “discussion” respectful! This is an issue around which there has been MUCH too much shouting and pointing fingers…the only way we are going to help each other actually work through things is to LISTEN to each other well. Jill, I respect your process…you are trying, honestly and humbly, to figure out how to love your daughter and your Lord. Keep seeking Him…and I am praying for you!

    2. Kathryn

      Jill, I wonder if you might consider looking at this matter differently. You can honor your beliefs, and worship God as you choose, and at the same time NOT involve yourself with what your adult daughter chooses to do, or not do, in the privacy of her guest room (with her partner) when staying in your home. We may believe that all should hit their knees and pray before bed, but we would not oust a houseguest for choosing to do otherwise. There needs to be a difference between our side of the street, and the side of the street which belongs to others. If you were to apply the same type of reasoning found in your post to any manner of other behaviors, you would have all sorts of reasons to treat guests in your home in a way that might not be very hospitable (and would be unChristian, frankly). The continuum of beliefs and behaviors that other people choose would be a full time job to evaluate and process in order to judge and decide. The notion of “in our home” and “under our roof” seems antiquated and loaded with assumptions. It seems like an arbitrary way to let others know, under no uncertain terms, what we REALLY think, and in a way which is sort of unkind and unproductive. What people do when in our guest rooms, except for really unreasonable stuff, is their business. Obviously you know that you are not going to stop this behavior from occurring, so why bother drawing a line in the sand which will only cause insult? The kernel of truth here is that you would not like your daughter to be homosexual, and you have therefore decided that this one thing (controlling who sleeps where in your home) is justified. You are entitled to make the rules in your home, but this action will harm your relationship with your daughter and it will hurt her feelings (and the feelings of her partner). If Jesus was willing to speak out in favor of a prostitute being stoned, if he was comfortable lifting her up, standing by her side, and having her as a close friend, then surely you can respect your daughter’s adult choices and leave judgement of them to the Lord.

      Reply
      1. Linda Robertson Post author

        Wow…Kathryn…I think YOU should be the one writing a blog! I am going to save this – what an insightful, articulate description of what I was trying, whtout success, to communicate. Thank you for your grace and kindness as we try to walk alongside each other in this process…and thank you SO much for taking the time to add your perspective!

        Reply
      2. Catherine M Wilson

        I am replying here to Jill D’s reply to me.

        I meant by my example that in order to gain your approval, your daughter would have to fundamentally change who she is. I agree with you that you are at an impasse. I don’t know how she can ‘respect your beliefs’ when you believe she should be someone else, even while you say that you know it isn’t possible.

        I would like to add that you have no idea what your daughter has had to endure, and still endures on a daily basis. Because of your disapproval, I doubt she shares much of her life with you. Home is supposed to be a place where we feel safe and accepted, so she cannot feel ‘at home’ in your house. Is your belief in her ‘sinfulness’ so important to you that you cannot afford her an oasis of kindness in a world that treats her shabbily.

        Reply
      3. Amy VerHoef Johnston

        I feel compelled to write because it sounds to me that Catherine, Kathryn, and Linda are making it seem Jill’s struggle has an easy answer or possibly even just one right answer, or else she’s certainly going to “harm [her] relationship with [her] daughter”. Let me ask a question: Would you hesitate to ask guests in your home not to smoke or drink in your home if you have a personal conviction that it’s wrong to do so? Or even better, as a person who seeks to be loving in all you do, would you hesitate to refrain from smoking or drinking as a guest in the home of someone who holds a conviction that it is wrong to do so? Okay, I know you CAN choose to drink or smoke and you CAN’T choose your sexual identity, but please play along here… My point is, when you enter someone else’s home (family or not), it is loving to honor their convictions whether you agree with them or not. My oldest friend in the world (friends for 40 years) was to visit our home this summer. She’s unmarried but living with her boyfriend. She knows that sex outside of marriage is something of which I don’t approve. Because she loves me, she offered for her boyfriend to sleep on the couch. Same thing when my husband’s unmarried cousin and his girlfriend visited a while back. To me, this is essentially the same difficult situation as the one posed by Jill (a question of condoning by acceptance a behavior which one believes to be contrary to God’s Word). I agree with Jill that it’s a very difficult path to navigate. Ideally, parents never stop loving their children no matter what. That seems clear enough from the Bible. But does that mean a parent must check her moral convictions at the door whenever she sees her child? Its also the ideal that children never stop honoring their parents. There’s no statute of limitations on that Biblical command, either. So what should Jill do? The only answer I see is for her to seek God’s guidance and have a very respectful and honest conversation with her daughter about how they can love and honor each other, and God.

        Reply
    3. Linda Robertson Post author

      Jill…I just found this blog…a friend posted it on my FB wall…and I think it is well worth reading. It resonates with me, because this mom gets that she doesn’t know how much longer her son will be on this earth…nobody does. And since our son died, Rob and I wouldn’t let ANYTHING come between us and our children…not if they were Satan worshippers or murderers.
      http://serendipitydodah.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/choosing-love/

      Reply
    4. bethiea

      Jill D, Just want to let you know I support you. You either hold to your beliefs or you don’t. Can’t have it both ways. God will bless you for your faithfulness.

      Reply
  13. loriphoward47

    Linda: You are a special person, indeed and an inspiration to many. I pray that you don’t receive any “hate mail”, but suspect that sadly you will. I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes that I try to read at least once a week! “The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitude.” – Unknown

    Reply
  14. monica

    Thank you for this post. Yes…I am one of those who wondered how you felt about the scriptures in relation to homosexuality. I agree with your view completely and appreciate the resources you have provided.
    Love to you!

    Reply
  15. Shirley

    We are becoming convinced that God cares more about our hearts than he does our brains – that it more important to put into practice what he says about loving others, than it is to figure out all the correct theology (we’ll leave that up to the Pharisees). We love your blogs, Linda (and Rob too)!!

    Reply
      1. Dennis Laing

        Linda, great post and I just have to say it’s so wonderful to see your mom and dad still growing and so humble. They are a blessing!

        Reply
  16. JD Brown

    Thank you for your continued fight for people to simply LOVE each other. It is amazing to me that do many people will continue to grasp at the magnifying glass rather than pick up the mirror in their constant debate over right and wrong. You incredible people. Thank you again for sharing the humanity and gentleness of Jesus!!

    Reply
  17. Cheryl Cojerean

    Hi Linda,
    I met you (and the rest of the family, including Ryan) at BIOLA U for the graduation of my son Joshua and for your daughter Lindsay, in May 2009. Josh had mentioned your names, many times, in connection with his friendship with Lindsay. Josh and Lindsay had become close friends, especially during their semester in Oxford. At that time, I didn’t have a clue, that my Josh was gay. And, I didn’t truly come to know that fact until this past Jan. 2013, when Josh let me know through a letter.

    Although I had been slightly aware of Ryan’s death, the details or circumstances were not something Josh revealed at the time. He remained vague. It was only after listening to your story presented at the June 2013 Exodus Intl. conference, through a link Josh sent me, that I made the connections, realizing for the first time, the reasons Josh had been unable to talk in details about Ryan’s death, back in 2009.

    I’m grateful Linda, for the love and acceptance you gave to my Josh– long before Josh came out to me. I know it must have given him hope and courage to feel accepted by Lindsay, you and the family. Thank you for letting him see, through your lives, as Christian parents, the possibility of how it could be between myself and Josh one day.

    My journey is just 6-months old and has only really started. By God’s amazing leading and promptings- truly by His Grace alone– my first thoughts after reading Josh’s coming out letter, were thoughts of the slogan of immediate responders in the service field: “First do no harm.” With that in my mind, I tried to respond to Josh with love and acceptance. Ever since, I have been on a new journey, trying to navigate these new waters. I have so much to learn and understand. I “stumbled” on Andrew Marin’s book, “Love is an Orientation” which I found very helpful. Also, I read Phillip Yancey’s book, “What’s so Amazing About Grace.” Long story short, Josh came for a visit about a month later, after reading his letter, with his friend. We had a good time. One of healing, new openness and seeking to understand. I am determined to be in relationship with my son, for I love him dearly.

    These 6-months have been hard, confusing, painful— even excruciating at times, as God has been over-hauling my heart and mind, bit by bit. God has been radically deconstructing my pre-learned ideas/understandings of His love and grace, showing me just how limited my views have been…And, that He will not be contained in my theological box.

    I truly love my Josh, just as he is. He is and will always be my pride and joy. I want to keep learning how to be a dispenser of God’s love and grace, to my son, to his friends, and to the LGBT community. Afterall, Jesus reminded us in Matthew 22:37-40, that God’s Supreme Law is to love God and to love others. And, since God has shown us such amazing Grace, how can we not show that same grace to others??

    Thank you Linda, for your courage in sharing your story, so more of us can catch a glimpse
    of a better– sweeter way to deal with this issue, than what the Evangelical church at large is showing. I want to express my deep sadness for your loss of Ryan. Know that my love and prayers are with you, as God uses you, through your story, and journey.

    I Corinthians 13:3-7 reminds us so well: “…No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” (The Message)

    Oh Jesus, let our love be the proof of Your love… let it begin with me.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Cheryl…I am weeping…How can I even BEGIN to respond to this…other than to say that I am deeply, deeply moved by the way that you are allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you, by your words of great insight and wisdom (and beauty – YOU should be the blogger), and by the story of how Ryan and Josh’s stories have been interwoven…by the Hand of God. I will never forget how kind Josh was to Ryan when Ryan flew out to see Lindsey perform in the Torrey play…He went out of his way to make Ryan feel comfortable. Or how compassionate Josh was when we were in Oxford, having left Ryan behind in the hospital. Or his genuine willingness to grieve with our family, and to just sit in the pain with us. You have an AMAZING son. We couldn’t think more highly of him, Cheryl. I just feel honored to know him, and to know you. And I am praying with you…Oh Jesus, let our love be the proof of Your love… let it begin with me.

      Reply
      1. Cheryl Cojerean

        Linda,
        I so appreciate your kind, caring and encouraging words. I want you to know that I have already found your suggested links very helpful, as I begin to try and wrap my mind around the various issues.
        Also, I will be reading both books you suggested…Washed and Waiting and Torn (one of which was already on my list….that’s our God). I am so grateful for the work you are doing for the Glory of our God. I too look forward to what God may have for me as I journey this new path.
        Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

        Reply
        1. Linda Robertson Post author

          Cheryl…You are amazing! And your words SO blessed Rob last night…thank you for reminding us of how faithful and intimate Jesus is with us!!

  18. Kathy >

    Linda thanks for the essential bible verses, I happened to look up Micah 6:8 – because it’s a small book and I wondered what the scripture might be – I found to my surprise that verse was circled in my bible, thanks for bringing it to mind again and for sharing all the wonderful resources listed above.

    We need to be challenged and pulled out of shape sometimes, keep doing what you are doing, blessings to you and Rob

    Reply
  19. Richard Padilla

    “The commitment to celibacy is SO MUCH MORE DIFFICULT than we in the church make it sound. I don’t think I could tell ANYONE that celibacy is their call – I’ll leave that up to GOD!” (Especially given that Rob and I have the ability to sleep together, pillow talk, bike ride and overall, be soulmates, whenever we want. To tell someone else that they CAN’T have that seems awfully arrogant and hypocritical to me.) That said, I have deep respect for Wesley Hill, and for others like him who feel personally called by Christ to celibacy”……………………..I am very happy you brought this up. I’m wondering if you think that friends can have this type of relationship Linda. I have been doing some deep studies about friendships throughout history and I am amazed at the level of intimacy friendships had back in the day. Some of the greek philosophers said that two friends were like 2 souls being attached to each other. Any thoughts about friendship Linda? I love this blog post btw!!!

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Good question, Richard…can friendship – real, deep friendship – meet the needs of the human heart? Hmmm…Wow. To quote Ryan, “THAT is a complicated question.” Much love to you, Richard!

      Reply
  20. Roger Owens

    Dear Linda,

    I would like to thank you and Rob for your faithfulness, courage and commitment to honesty and integrity.

    As a lay leader and deacon, I have said the following during a blessing at communion:
    “Listen to your heart. Listen to your soul. It’s God speaking! And the greatest thing is that God never shuts up !!! Sometimes we just need to be quiet and listen”. You’ve been quiet and listened to the voice of God telling YOU that it is YOUR interpretation of scriptures that matters most. It’s YOUR soul that will be saved because YOU believed in what YOU hear from your heart and soul. It’s YOU having the conversation with God just like Moses and Mary and Jesus.

    Thank you for your words of wisdom and faith. It makes my journey helping others easier. You bring wholeness and holiness to those who are lost and broken or to those who would stop and question what they have “heard”.

    You’ve done much research on this thing called “Homosexuality and the Bible”, here’s one more reference:

    Youtube: The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality with Matthew Vines (March 8, 2012 in Witchita, KS) (Out of the mouths of the young, comes great wisdom!)

    May the joy of the great commandment bring you and yours LOVE, today, tomorrow and forevermore.

    Love,

    Roger

    P.S. I am a very active member of Founders MCCLA where your brother attends. We love him for his faithfulness, courage and commitment to honesty and integrity! It must run in the family!

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Roger!! What a blessing to meet a fellow brother in Christ, and a friend of my dear brother!! Your church is an AMAZING blessing! And I agree…Matthew’s YouTube video is a GIFT! Much love to you!

      Reply
  21. chann223

    I would first like to say I am very grateful for you sharing your story. And second, I really enjoy the way you write and speak to your audience. I can identify with a lot of the things you talk about in your blog, and being a gay man myself I still battle with the fears of knowing the truth. I have only come out to a few, but most whom I have were accepting. However, my mother is not and right now she’s just pretending as if I never told her, and that I am just confused and God will set me straight, literally( laughing). I constantly wonder if she will ever get it one day, or if she will pass on without ever truly trying to learn the truth for herself. But regardless, I know I need to live my life and find acceptance for myself, and know that God accepts me no matter what, that much I know is certain right now. It is a journey, which I have just started, but I am glad their are parents like you who have been through, actually struggled and seen what it’s like on both sides of the fence, and been able think it through and have the actual experience to show others. You are witnesses to many, and rays of light. I think you are going down the right path for your lives and no one can really argue that fact who hasn’t experienced what you have. I hope you continue to let the Lord guide you and teach you as he has been, and that your faith and understanding in this matter only further blossoms. Thank you so much!

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Chann…I LOVE your sense of humor! Truly, I don’t know how all of you who are actually GAY survived this without becoming bitter and mean…I have only had a tiny slice of hate and it just wrecks me! But you, and so many like you, are walking examples of God’s GRACE.

      Reply
  22. sacredtensionstephen

    Thank you so much for your words. I’m in the opposite situation: not a parent, but a gay child (if you can consider 25 still a child), trying to reconcile what it means to be gay and Christian. It’s extraordinarily difficult, and has almost claimed my life several times. I wish my generation of LGBT people had more parents like you. You words and grace can save lives.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Stephen, first of all – Gotta LOVE your screen name. SO true…so perfect. And I am SO thankful that God can hold us in that scary place of sacred tension…it is Holy ground, where He is…I am convinced. Thank you for voicing the intensity, the gravity of the struggle to reconcile…we straight Christians BADLY need to understand that! Feel free to expound if you feel like you want to…we’re listening.

      Reply
      1. sacredtensionstephen

        Glad you like the name – sacredtension is the name of the blog I run, dedicated to chronicling the journey of being a young gay Christian. You can go to http://www.sacredtension.com and read it. Many of the things I want to tell straight Christians, I am saying there (while trying to say it without getting too angry or upset.)

        I think people like you fill a very deep need in the gay community. We are a culture who have lost our parents to fear and prejudice; an entire culture that feels estranged from motherly/fatherly love. When parents – even when they aren’t our own parents – do show us love and support, it is a *huge* deal. So thank you.

        Reply
        1. Linda Robertson Post author

          Please,Stephen…keep sharing on this blog. And I will read yours! We NEED your voice…you are articulate, gracious and willing to be vulnerable…an unbeatable combination! If I were your mom, I would be BURSTING with pride and joy!

        2. hornungj

          And I think too, we are valuable to the church … we are really, the only marginalized group that has had to war toward the integration of faith and sexuality; spirit and our bodies – Most Christians can be ‘good followers’ and never have to grapple with bringing EVERYTHING to our faith. So keep writing, Stephen. 🙂

  23. Debra

    I must admit I didn’t read every single reply on your most recent blog so forgive me if I say something that’s already been mentioned….I love what you wrote, plain and simple!!! I should’ve looked it up before I started writing this but the Scripture that comes to kind is when Christ was asked of all God’s commandments, which was the most important to obey?? Jesus put it so simply when he narrowed it down to only two commandments, 1) that we love our neighbor and 2) that we love God with all our heart, soul and mind. Anyone out there that wants to give the exact verse, feel free to share (gonna be honest and say I’m feeling a little lazy at the moment to look it up myself-lol).

    Much love and prayers to you, Linda and your husband, Rob and the rest of your family. You have been so unfairly attacked by just challenging Christians to just love, with no exceptions or conditions!! Thanks for trusting the Lord enough to be obedient to Him and sharing anyway!!!

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Thanks so much for your prayers, Debra. We never planned for this to happen…EVER. But we have asked God to show us how to steward our story, and then all this. So we are hanging on to Him…and He keeps reminding me to walk in FAITH, not FEAR (sometimes easier said than done).

      Reply
      1. Debra

        Walking in faith, not fear…maybe that should be my new tattoo!! Nothing could ever prepare any parent for the loss of a child, so I admire you and Rob for pressing in to God and trusting Him to help heal the hurt while you reach out to parents and family of gay children and to those very children who have been abandoned by their own parents and family. You lost your son, yet as I read through all these responses to your story I see that you have gained many other “sons and daughters”. Sounds like Ryan had more then enough love and space in his heart and would’ve gladly shared you guys with as many people that needed you.

        I shared your YouTube link with my son, Robert, who is almost 23 and gay~just told him that this was confirmation that contrary to what many of my dear Christian friends and family have said at times, you know “love the sinner, hate the sin”, it really isn’t any of my business (or anyone else for that matter)….this is between Robert and his Heavenly Father!! He was entrusted to me, on loan for a short time, but ultimately he belongs to God, his Creator and I just need to love him….just because he breathes!! Powerful, powerful God-given message!!!

        Reply
  24. Gerry L. Blalock

    You asked what I believe? I believe in happiness for all the days of our lives here on earth. In Heaven, we will also find happiness, and see ALL our loved ones, once again. I have family who are gay, and also lesbians. I DO NOT judge them. I totally love them for WHO they are!! Your life with your son, of course brought tears to my eyes, and I only wish I could have re-written it all over for you, so it would have a happy ending. God Bless you for sharing, and I know your son is forever by your side, maybe not in human form any longer, but as one of God’s Angels.

    Reply
  25. Sharon Versace

    WOW! Linda, I just want to say THANK YOU!!! I know that you are bracing for “hate” mail but this comment is nothing but “love mail”! 🙂 I appreciate your beautiful and thoughtful words and the work that you have put into this blog. I really enjoy your posts and I thank God that you are on this path. I really feel as though God has placed you on this path because you are brave, courageous, intelligent and you have a beautiful soul. Thank you for being such a wonderful and insightful person and for bringing the LGBT cause to the forefront. God Bless you and your family. Your biggest fan, Sharon Versace. (ps: I am in a loving and beautiful relationship with the women of my dreams now for 13 years!)

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Sharon…Thank YOU for hearing my heart…what a gift you are! I really like your “love mail”…SO much more than the hate mail I get! I try to remember that most of them are from people who have been horribly hurt by the church. The ones that come from within the church are a bit harder (rejoicing with you on the blessing of your committed relationship…!).

      Reply
  26. Ian

    Hi,

    I would just like to ask respectfully what people think if instead of gay, your son was saying he has the urge to commit adultery. He cannot help who he is, he is a sexual being and needs to get it from as many different partners as possible.

    Would you say that is a grey area and for some adultery is a sin and for others adultery is not a sin? If someday medical advances prove that some people have an irresistible urge to have sex with as many different partners as possible even if they are married.

    What I am trying to ask is, if everything is really a grey area (for some it is a sin, for others it is not a sin). and who decides if it is a grey area, does society? (if the majority believe that committing adultery is okay and normal, and the urge to do so is something we are “born with” and cannot change) would that make a difference?

    What about if we take it one step further to extend to murder? If one day society says that some people are born as a murderer and has uncontrollable urges and for them it is okay and normal?

    What are your thoughts and views on this? I know many christian polygamous couples who appear to be thriving in their walk and in their relationships.

    I think your blog is an inspiration and thought provoking, I agree with you on loving unconditionally and not to push them away but to embrace them.

    But I personally believe that there is a need for correcting with love if one believes it is a sin. For example if your child is a kleptomania and cannot help but steal, would you say it is okay to steal, God made you like that therefore it is okay? or would you try to correct the behavior with love while understanding it is something your child has to struggle with.

    There is a difference between correcting with love and judging with “righteous fury”.

    I also believe that society is now shifting towards the other extreme where if you hold a personal belief that the sexual act of homosexuality is a sin, you are wrong and should be condemned.

    Hope I didn’t offend anyone. I apologise if i did, just want to know what people think about this and have a healthy dialogue.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Ian…thanks for asking with respect…you weren’t offensive at all. The first thing that comes to mind is that murder, stealing, adultery, etc. are behaviors, while our sexuality is an inherent characteristic. My husband and I are INHERENTLY heterosexual. If one of us committed adultery, that would be a behavior that is inconsistent with the vows we made to God and each other.

      I’ve heard this argument used before by many Christians…and I think, though it may seem to make sense in theory, it doesn’t play out in the real world. It plays to the fear of the “slippery slope,” if we say that same sex marriage is okay, then what else are we going to allow? Will all hell break loose? This is one of the many kinds of ideas that played into our reactions to Ryan coming from fear rather than faith.

      Until we had close friends and family (who we know well and love deeply) who ware gay, this distinction didn’t make sense to us. We are so grateful for all the gay and lesbian Christians and non-Christians alike who have shared their stories with us.

      As I’ve said before, we are not theologians. I’m sure there are some readers who are, though…it will be interesting to hear their thoughts!

      Reply
      1. Betty Taylor

        Linda,

        Do you believe the Scritpures are authoritative?

        Scripture teaches God made man in His image-male and female. Yes, He made us sexual beings. In the same book and chapter where He made man in His image, He also told the male and female to be fruitful and fill the earth.

        The teaching that we are just sexual beings inherently is not the whole truth. We are made in God’s image, and as His image-bearers, we all fall short of His glory Part of the fall means that when we sin sexually, we do not represent God faithfully.

        Jesus said if a man LOOKS at a woman with lust, He has committed adultery in his heart already. We don’t have to act out a behavior for it to be sin. Out of the heart comes evil thoughts, adulteries, etc. (Mark 7)

        Sexual sin is wrong because God is faithful!

        God calls all men everywhere to repent, turn to God, and perform deeds in keeping with repentance.

        Our biggest sin against God is unbelief in His perfect goodness. Our sin is evidence of this unbelief, as Romans tells us. We all know God IS, but we don’t honor Him as God but our foolish hearts were darkened. We became fools.

        Scripture tells us more than one place that in sanctification, believers are to turn from sexual sin-whether of the mind or the heart. That would include any lusting, fornication, adultery, and homosexual sin.

        God calls us to holiness. Not necessarily to a heterosexual relationship. But to holiness! To Himself! For some that may mean remaining single while giving glory to God.

        We must call sin , sin, if God calls it sin.

        That doesn’t mean we don’t love people. God calls believers to love even their enemies!

        But we don’t get to define love. God does. He says if we love Him, we will keep His commandments.

        Please watch the trainwreck conversion of Rosaria Butterfield here:

        Reply
        1. Linda Robertson Post author

          Thanks, Betty, for caring about how I view Scripture. I absolutely do view Scripture as authoritative – but I do think that intelligent, passionate followers of Christ can have differences of opinion in how those Scriptures were translated, and what those interpretations mean for us today. And while I absolutely respect Rosaria Butterfield’s story, it is only the story of one woman – and her experience doesn’t define what is right and wrong for others.
          There are many Godly individuals who don’t believe that the verses that mention homosexuality – or rather the word that has been translated as homosexuality – condemn those in committed, monogamous same-sex relationships. Here are a few resources from some of those individuals:
          The Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality
          Matthew Vines – God and the Gay Christian
          Matthew Vines – YouTube video summarizing the difficulties with those six verses
          Ken Brownson – Bible, Gender, Sexuality
          Changing our Mind by David Gushee

          Thanks again, Betty, for chiming in here…May Jesus bless you richly as you follow Him!

        2. fisherwomanforjesus

          Linda, the first reference said this:

          “This is laughable if it weren’t so powerfully sad. Here’s the thing, Franklin: you need to read your Bible better. The sooner you do, the more and better work you can do in Africa and elsewhere with Samaritan’s Purse. We need your time focused not only on poverty but in addressing America’s original sin of racism. We need all you got for those fights. It’s time to end the culture wars and fully focus on the war against poverty, racism and injustice in our world.”

          Why would this author want Franklin Graham to focus on only poverty and racism and injustice?

          Scripture does address these, But Scriptures doesn’t only address these. Again, the Bible makes multiple (if the author needs them listed,he could) references also to sexual sins. He gives His good , holy law in Deuteronomy and Leviticus. And the word Paul uses for homosexuality actually is the word used in the OT for homosexuality. The word was not a word in Hebrew or Aramiac. It is directly from the word for homosexual in the Old Testament.

          If we try to redefine what God has already defined, we sin. And we err.

          We celebrate what God calls evil. We celebrate what God says we need to repent of.

          The author says: “And yet, all anyone wants to talk about these days are six Bible verses that “condemn homosexuality.” Here’s the thing — they don’t.”

          But the verses DO. They do in the Old and the New Testament. Again, it is God’s law. By what standard do we make ourselves judges over the Lord of creation?

        3. Linda Robertson Post author

          Betty, clearly, we disagree about how these verses have been interpreted, and how they are understood. And after our experience, which only brought about “bad fruit,” I am completely at peace and feel confident that those relationships I am celebrating bring nothing but glory to His name. I respect that you see it very differently, though. Thanks for chiming in here!

      2. fisherwomanforjesus

        With Scripture as authority, Jesus says:

        Matthew 19: 3And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”a

        With Scripture as authority, Paul says:

        1Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

        6Now as a concession, not a command, I say this.a 7I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.

        8To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. 9But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

        10To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11(but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.

        12To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called youb to peace. 16For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

        Reply
    2. Linda Robertson Post author

      Ian…I have been praying and thinking about your question, ever since reading it. I can remember verbalizing that exact same question myself, except in a different form, about 10 years ago. I remember saying that is someone was born with the gene for alcoholism, that doesn’t give them license to drink as much as they like, right? But now, reflecting back, I realize that I am equating “drinking” with “being gay,” and that isn’t an equal equation at all – those are like quantities. Again, one of a behavior, while the other is an inherent quality.
      But really, God didn’t use an argument to change our hearts. He used PEOPLE. He used RELATIONSHIPS to show us that He values our hearts for Him more than He values anything else.
      One of the readers of my blog has a blog himself that I think is a beautiful portrayal of the torment – and the beauty – that gay Christians experience as they wrestle with God, and seek HIm for His will in their lives. I hope you find it is insightful as I did..
      http://sacredtension.com/2013/07/08/three-reasons-the-traditional-perspective-on-gay-marriage-makes-me-uncomfortable/
      I’d also highly recommend reading Justin Lee’s book…personally, I think it is a MUST READ for every Christian who cares about his or her fellow believers, if nothing else than to grant them greater compassion and understanding.

      Reply
  27. dogtorbill

    “God invites EVERYONE to the wedding.”
    Linda and Rob, Julie’s reference is so very profound. God’s warm, loving light shines for us all. We can choose to walk in the light or away from it, but denying that it exists is absurd.

    Certainly someone involved in a “bridge-building” ministry can’t come down on one side or the other, risking shutting the other side down completely. The fringes on each side who demand a yes or no answer to the over-riding “sin” question will not be satisfied regardless – they are militant and seek to destroy the other side. However, I don’t think I can agree that we each get to decide our own “right” and “wrong.” Much too “new-age” pop speak for me. There are rights and wrongs, and they (in my humble opinion) do not differ for each of us. Far be it from me to know the details of every truth, only that Jesus Christ “shows” and “is” the Way and the Truth.

    However, I also agree that the place I am most comfortable and closest to our Lord is on my knees in contemplative prayer. Leading others to that kind of a personal, conversational relationship with Christ is a most incredible calling.
    Much Love.
    Bill

    Reply
  28. John H

    Linda, I wanted to say thank you for your posts. I sent them to my dad, who is rather religious, and it has opened new dialogue between us over sexuality and love. You are a much needed beacon of light on this controversial issues and I’m delighted to have come across your writings. My faith aside, i very much respect what you have to say. Thank you

    Reply
  29. Will Byrd

    Rob and Linda, You have received so many responses to your blog and to your story about your family and your beloved Ryan. I’d like to add my own.

    Yours is one of the most profoundly moving (if not the most) that I have watched on video, and be sure that I have shared it with as many friends as I can think of. My heart screams inside, and though I have watched your presentation from the Exodus conference several times, there are always tears …. lots of tears, and a heart so very saddened as well as filled with love for both of you and your family.

    At the Episcopal parish here in San Francisco where I am part of the beloved community, our Easter Vigil service is over the top incredible … filled with every atom of joy for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and those who are our beloveds. Each year as we prepare to gather around the communion table as a family, we sing this litany: (Name) COME REJOICE WITH US!! Recognizing the reality of the communion of the saints, and that our beloveds who are in the fullness of His presence are every bit a part of our rejoicing … we invite them to participate. And so dear Ryan … COME REJOICE WITH US!!

    Much heart felt love to you,
    Will Byrd

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Will…that litany is BEAUTIFUL…and has put a new song in my heart this morning. Bless you for reminding us of our hope of resurrection through Jesus Christ! On the bench that sits next to Ryan’s headstone is a quote from Ryan, written in May 2009: “The day will come, when we will all stand together in unity, sins atoned, worshipping our gracious and merciful God. Never forget that day will come.” Lord Jesus, come quickly!

      Reply
      1. Will Byrd

        Linda .. what a magnificent gift Ryan left you in those words. “NEVER forget, that day will come.” My friends Lois and George had to say goodbye to their own son; Don, at way too young an age, and we often remind each other that “reunion day is coming”. YOU would be filled with great joy to hear the Litany, by the way!! OH for that day when we come to know and understand every tear that has fallen from our hearts and our eyes. Blessed day to you!!

        Reply
  30. william

    Linda, you make a correlation between homosexuality and eating meat sacrificed to idols to leave the matter as one of conscience between people and God (right for some; wrong for others). Are there other sins, classically understood as such in Biblical terms, that you would offer up as a matter of conscience?

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      William, I am certainly NOT a theologian. But I do know that as a church, we’ve changed how we read scripture over the years…especially when it comes to the directives to women, divorce and remarriage, slavery and many more. Personally, I loved how Justin Lee worked through the scriptures in chapter 13 of his book, Torn…I found his perspective to be fascinating, and more importantly, a very genuine reflection of what the Holy Spirit was saying to him in his journey.

      Reply
      1. william

        Although I have not read that book, I certainly will. You are, however, a theologian, as you formulate thoughts, come to conclusions, and hold convictions regarding a knowledge of God.
        I cannot speak to Lee’s perspective, but hold to the Holy Spirit’s guidance in accord with God’s written word, never contrary to it. Experience can be a “good friend” but an “evil master.”
        It is not always easy to grapple with culture issues from a 21st century perspective with that of the 1st century world of the Bible. A 1-to-1 corollary does not always exist. As you mentioned Tim Keller as a favorite author, he does a good job of explaining how understanding the Law of God (categorically understood in Civil, Ceremonial, and Moral terms) is very important in contemporary conversations about homosexuality.

        Reply
  31. Angela

    Linda, I am a mom trying to raise my kids (ages 1-10) the way you did: lots of love, great memories and a deep faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. I have always believed homosexuality is one of the “big sins” and can imagine responding to my child the way you did when Ryan confided in you. I watched your video, read your blog and read your sweet, authentic responses to dozens of commenters. You are amazing. I still don’t think I can put “gay” and “Christian” in the same sentence, but I know that you are speaking GOD’S TRUTH when you emphasize that the main thing is love. Just love–and let God sort out the rest. I hope I can tap into the Holy Spirit’s power and just love without any “buts” if I’m ever faced with a child who is gay. Just typing that made my eyebrows kinda twitch and put a lump in my throat. But I know God’s love reaches everyone without favorites and without earning it in some way–just because we breathe. SO I choose to love that way too. You are so courageous for the way you loved your son and are sharing his story now. God bless you!

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Angela, your genuine honesty and candid words are so refreshing! Thanks for making me smile this morning…and thanks, too, for really seeing me…that I was just a mom trying to love her children well…and love Jesus most of all…and our journey took a turn that we didn’t expect. Bless you for your kindness and grace!

      Reply
    2. Catherine M Wilson

      Angela says: I hope I can tap into the Holy Spirit’s power and just love without any “buts” if I’m ever faced with a child who is gay.

      May I remind you that you may already have a gay child and not know it.

      Something I try to point out to people who believe being gay is a sin is that your children know what you think, and if you have a gay child, that child will live in fear of your finding out. Is that how you want your child to be? Afraid of you? Afraid to tell you one of the most important things that he will ever discover about himself?

      We hear every day of gay kids who kill themselves. What about the suicides of kids who never told anyone? Can you imagine what it must feel like for a parent NOT TO KNOW why their child is dead by their own hand?

      Please, please, please, people. Just consider for a moment that you might have a gay child. Now think about how you talk about gay people and about homosexuality, because you may be telling your own child that he or she is not OK, not acceptable to you, and not acceptable to god.

      Reply
  32. Darla

    You are a breath of fresh air. You give us a glimpse of the Hope, Grace and LOVE of Jesus Christ in a broken and hurting world. Your transparency is humbling and encouraging. How the kingdom of God would advance if more people were like you, rather than those who trample hurting and wounded people on their way to the next protest. Thank you seems so insufficient, but I know no other words. You have made a difference in my life, and have made me hopeful that I am capable of the courage to do the same for others.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Darla…I am sure I have done my own share of trampling upon wounded and hurting people…Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner. Thank you for joining with me as I ask God to help me be FOR people rather than against them. Much love to you!

      Reply
  33. HyeKeen

    Thank you for all your advocacy and love on behalf of GLBT people and their families and helping to foster understanding between folks with more traditional views on gay folks and their gay family members.

    I’m not sure if you’ve come across it yet, but in the United Methodist Church there is a movement called Reconciling Ministries (website for nationwide org. http://www.rmnetwork.org/) which accepts gay people as they are (without trying to change them) as children of God. I first encountered this kind of church when I lived in Nashville, TN at Edgehill United Methodist Church.

    My hope is that with more brave souls coming out to their friends and family, the more acceptance of gay people will spread, until it’s the norm rather than the exception.

    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  34. Joe

    As a gay 18 year old boy struggling with what it means to be gay and Christian, this has been very encouraging.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Diana

      I’m on my knees for you too Joe. Please keep one thing in mind, it doesn’t matter what the world thinks of you, God created you and He loves you unconditionally. You are His child and He will never turn his back on you. Our Lord will always be with you, carrying you when you are too weak to stand, picking you up when you fall, and holding you close when you are scared.

      Reply
  35. Courtney

    I just want to thank you for this blog. I’ve been raised in a Christian household and I’m a Christian myself and I also happen to be gay. Some nights I would much rather put a bullet through my brain than try and live with myself. But you’ve helped me see that I don’t have to do that.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Oh, Courtney…YOU are why we are speaking out and sharing our mistakes. YOU are perfect and beautiful and I am so very, very sorry that we, as a church, have made you feel less than perfect. My heart is breaking for you. Listen to the words of Perfect – they are for YOU. http://vimeo.com/68734358

      Reply
  36. mn5beyer

    Dear Linda,

    It’s Thursday evening, and you are in Chicago for the Gay Christian Network. I am praying for you as you have the opportunity to share God’s love and grace through this weekend. I wanted to thank you for sharing your story, and for being such an encouragement and blessing to me.

    In February, my youngest son, Bryce, shared with us that he is gay. My husband, Mark and I have two other children, a son and a daughter. We are a very close Christ-loving family. And this was a surprise in some ways, not so much in other ways. God had blessed me with the friendship of a lesbian woman at my job, who is a woman of faith, and she had shared parts of her story with me prior to Bryce’s sharing. The biggest thing I learned from her was pain. She grew up in a Christian home but has been almost totally shunned because she is a lesbian. After Bryce shared his story with us, she was the first person I called. I told her I wanted to love my son well. And she was very encouraging. So, as a family, we limped through those first months struggling with the tension of honoring God’s word and honoring our son.

    I have been very involved in our church. I have taught Women’s Bible study for several years and have loved teaching the Word. I had a concern with one of our pastors and in the course of sharing my concern, shared about Bryce being gay. For me, it is what it is. I know Bryce’s identity is in Christ. However, I was asked to step down from teaching and have felt very hurt by my position of being okay with my son. The women who were in small group with me have dropped me like a hot potato. I have been lonely and saddened by the awkwardness there is now if I happen to see them. And it has surprised me. I’ve learned what it feels to be isolated and “less than.”

    And then I read this post. And it resonated with my spirit. So I wanted to thank you for saying the things I believed, but didn’t know how to articulate. I know that to honor God’s word is to love my son just as he is. To trust Him to teach me His truths and to speak life to those He brings in my path. And to know the love the Father has for us, and to communicate that with those in my life.

    So THANK YOU!! I’m so sorry about your son’s death. Makes my heart hurt to even think about it. But for you to allow God to bring life from Ryan’s death, to share your loss, is redemption at work. I am so grateful. May you see the fruit of your ministry one hundredfold.

    Natalie

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Natalie!! What a gift that God used your friend to prepare you! We have a private, online FaceBook group of moms who love Jesus and who are also committed to loving and supporting their gay children…would you like to join us? If so, please friend me on FaceBook and let me know! We have a wonderful group of women who are 100% committed to Christ, as well as to their kids. I think you’d be SO encouraged…most of them have experienced tragic, incredibly hurtful situations exactly like you did at your Bible Study. I hope you’ll join us!

      Reply
  37. Merryn

    I’m looking forward to checking out those resource links over the next little while Linda. Such a poignant post, speaking to the confusion in me (I had, for many years, a gay friend who I couldn’t help but love with the love of Jesus- sadly, our friendship ended last year). I am so drawn to your blog posts tonight. Having written him a letter filled with regret and apology for anything I could have done (as a final piece of correspondence), I can’t help but wonder if he is going to contact me again. God has a way of preparing us for future events. Could you please pray for my friend Andrew – I would love to have the chance to rekindle my friendship with him and most importantly, lead the way to Jesus. This short poem captures the pain I had in losing him from my life: https://humbleheartscribbles.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/regretful-goodbye-2/

    Reply

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