Welcome to my blog. I spend half my life in coffee shops having honest conversations about how following Jesus works in real life. So, let’s learn together, grab a cup and – join the conversation.

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I’m a businessman, elder in one of the more conservative mega churches in Grand Rapids, Michigan and for over 25 years a full time spiritual mentor of men. I love introducing people to Jesus and truth from God’s perspective. I’m also an NPR listener and student of our culture because I want to understand how the world and a younger generation think, so I’m prepared to engage in conversations which are true to the Bible, intellectually honest and gracious.

Following Jesus is the only hope I have of living this life with purpose, energy and expectation. I hope to end my days on earth still meeting young men at Starbucks who have no interest in God, being the patriarch of my family, cheering them on to godliness, making sad people smile and the lonely – laugh, giving the poor hope, pointing wayward men back to their families, teaching the whole counsel of God and keeping myself unstained – God’s reputation and mine intact.

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Welcome to my blog.
I spend half my life in coffee shops having honest conversations about how following Jesus works in real life. So, let’s learn together, grab a cup and join the conversation.

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2

Everyone is Gay!
Posted by Clare
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Several weeks ago, I received a desperate call from our daughter at the public high school several of our grandchildren attend. All the students were shown a video that celebrated the “fact” that students shouldn’t think of themselves as strictly male or female, but somewhere on a spectrum. In other words, students are being taught that just because we are born with “girl parts” or “boy parts” we have the freedom to identify and act out sexually, according to the gender we feel, even from day to day – gender fluidity.

We tried to get a copy of that video, but the administration will not release it. However, a segment of that video was taken from this video “Everyone is Gay,” (https://youtu.be/0VG1bj4Lj1Q)  which has been viewed over 3,000,000 times. You need to watch this video, because it is creatively, and seductively causing children to both doubt their own sexuality, but it celebrates an indifference to the historical understanding of being male or female. After you’ve watched it, I’ll let you read my edited response to the school superintendent. (I’ve used fictional names).

I want to begin by praising efforts by the school system for programs like “Words Matter” which help students understand the power of words- to hurt, or heal. I fully support anti- bullying programs for all students regardless of their sex, race, religion, dress, physical or mental impairments, or gender orientation. Specifically, all LGBT+ kids should be respected, treated with kindness and accepted. So what I’m about to express has no roots in any personal homophobia.

I’m writing to voice my shock at the video that was shown to high school students at Eastern last week Thursday which I’ll just call “Everyone is Gay”

I also understand that “only 18 seconds” of the actual source video, “Everyone is Gay” was used, as if that softens the impact.  However, I have viewed that video on YouTube a number of times and I can’t find 18 consecutive seconds that are not only offensive, but untrue. And it’s fair to assume that having viewed, “only 18 seconds” of this video, a significant number of students, also found and viewed the entire original as I did, and assumed that it’s content had the blessing of the school, as no disclaimers were given.

Here’s why I find the video both offensive and untrue.  

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For Your Own Children’s (or Grandchildren’s) Sake, You Must Read This Blog
Posted by Clare
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A great friend of mine, Preston Sprinkle sent me this story and he wrote this response a few months ago.

Hi. My name is ____________. I read your book “Living in a Gray World” and I’m struggling with same-sex attraction. I was wondering if you could help me cope with a problem at school. Well I don’t know where to begin. My so and so friend told the bus driver that I’m gay and things went south quickly. First he moved all the boys forward and me to the back of the bus. When I asked why he said, “I may be a Christian, but I won’t have an abomination sit next to the rest of my kids I need to get home. I don’t need you doing stuff with them.” The word got around school and now I can’t go 23 steps without being looked upon like I grew a tail or being called f*g. And I’m scared to talk to my pastor. (Yes, I go to church) I was wondering if you could help me.

I wish this were only an isolated incident, but it’s not. It’s actually quite common. According to the largest scientific study done on the religious background of LGBT+ people, 83% of them were raised in a Christian Church. And more than half (51%) have left the church by the time they were 18. What’s fascinating is that of the LGBT+ people who have left the church, 85% left primarily for lack of kindness and care. In their own words, they did not feel safe, they didn’t feel loved, they experienced a relational disconnect with leaders. They got tired of the hypocrisy – they were seen as monstrous sinners for being gay, while greedy, divorced, gluttonous straight Christians got a free pass. They had to wear the scarlet LGBT+ letter and they got fed up with it. And so they left.

Please don’t miss the magnitude of this statistic: 85% of LGBT+ people who have left the church did not leave primarily because the church said “gay marriage is wrong.” They left because the church said (in so many word) you are an abomination and you belong in the back of the bus.

Here’s why, for your children’s sake, we need to change our attitude toward LGBT+ people without changing our theology!
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Sin: Disordered Love
Posted by Clare
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When I grew up, I had a clear idea what sin was. If the Bible, my pastor or my parents thought something was a sin – it was a sin!

So, what do you think of when you hear the word “sin?”

It’s probably adultery, cheating, stealing – the obvious violations of God’s moral laws. In traditional Christian morality, it’s the understanding that we all have something broken in us. What’s broken is not always something dark and depraved. St. Augustine had a more profound definition of sin.

He said we sin when, “we have our loves out of order.” Think about that for a moment. We sin when our loves are out of order.

David Brooks, has this take on Augustine in his new book, The Road to Character;
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2

Making a Case for Hypocrisy
Posted by Clare
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Last year, I was meeting with a young man – a brand new Christian. He and I had been studying the Bible for months and he’d begun attending church and experimenting with living out the Christian life. But everything was new to him. He’d begin most days conscientiously thinking about God and virtuous living.   Then occasionally slip back into old habits and sin. At times he enthusiastically embraced this new life and other times he wasn’t all that excited. He felt like a phony and a failure. It also felt hypocritical trying to be obedient when his heart wasn’t always in it, or even scared to death about what his friends might think or say.

“I feel like a hypocrite, when I fail, or my heart isn’t really in it. That’s a sin isn’t it?”

“Not necessarily,” was my answer.
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