Tuesday, February 15, 2011

lest ye be judged: an open letter to Ugandan pastors about homosexuality

An open letter to pastors in Uganda regarding the recent rise in anti-gay rhetoric and violence in their country.  If you would like to gather some background first, please read a news article like this one about the death of homosexual activist David Kato and the subsequent national reaction in Uganda.

Dear Fellow Pastors in Uganda,

Let me first begin by saying I am a Christian who truly believes that the Bible is the inerrant, inspired Word of God.  Though I am far from perfect, the Bible is the final authority on everything in my life.

I understand your consternation about homosexuality in your country.  The free exercise and outright promotion of sexual immorality in my country troubles me too.

But I must plead with you to show grace from those who struggle with sins that you do not.  Please stop supporting legislation that would force family, friends, and neighbors to report homosexuals to police and proposed punishments of imprisonment or execution for homosexuals.

In fact, I would ask you to oppose it.

Romans 1 tells us that God allows people to get lost in the folly of their own sin, and it specifically mentions homosexuality as an example of this.  My brothers, if God permits this sin to exist in the world, who are you to condemn it as punishable by death?

You might argue that the Old Testament prescribes punishment of sexual sins by stoning, but you should remember that those sins include adultery.  Furthermore, Jesus himself equated all lustful thoughts with adultery in one's heart.  If you believe the words of Jesus and want to practice Old Testament justice, then you have just condemned every human being with an active sex drive, presumably including yourselves.

Please do not mistake my voice as that of a man who condones homosexuality or advocates its codification in law through marriage.  As far as I believe, you are not obliged to ignore this practice in your church or incentivize it in government, nor should you.

But you are a light on a dark continent.  You stand with our brave brothers in South Sudan, representing Jesus, though you are a small, thoroughly surrounded minority.  The world watches you with curiosity about what Jesus can do on a war-scarred and spiritually-confused continent.  Please represent him well, better than this hateful grandstanding does.

David Kato was a man whom God loved regardless of his relationship with Him.  His brutal death is a tragedy, not something to which God-fearing people should ever lend approval or encouragement.  You should mourn, not rejoice.  You should pray, not persecute.

I hope that Martin Ssempa is the Ugandan equivalent of America's own incredibly embarrassing Westboro Baptist Church and that he, like Fred Phelps, is reviled by Christians and non-Christians alike in your country.  I know he allegedly even showed gay pornography in his church in support of his twisted agenda.  I hope that he is a loudmouth whose inflammatory rhetoric has gotten far more press than he deserves.

I hope that you, the real Christians of Uganda, find a way to love, protect, and serve your homosexual countrymen in a way that draws them toward Jesus rather than forever disgusts them about him.

My prayers are with you tonight.  May your light shine in Africa tomorrow.

God bless,
Raj Lulla

Monday, February 14, 2011

a fool's errand

photo: Thomas Hawk

Apparently my mom reads my blog.  She may be the only one.

Her most recent critique was that she thought I came off as arrogant in previous posts.  I get that.

Whenever you challenge the way things are, the natural reaction from people is, "What, you think you know better?"

At my age and with my level of experience, odds are that I don't know any better than anyone else.  But that's where I win, I guess.

In 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 tells us that God chooses the foolish ones of the world to accomplish his plans, and this in turn shames those who are considered wise by the world.

My earlier posts emit a sense of frustration and hurt by a systematized church that routinely excludes the foolish, weak, unimpressive, etc. opting instead for the educated, polished, eloquent, etc.

Moses stuttered, and God used him to deliver His chosen people.  The disciples were rabbinical school rejects, and Jesus chose them to make sure the rest of the world knew about him.  When's the last time you saw a new Christian musician or author who didn't look like they belonged on the cover of a magazine?

If I'm onto anything here, with my critique of the Church and desire to do something new, then it only means that I've climbed my way to the top of the pile of fools.  If I take any pride in that, it's that I am proof that God has a great sense of humor.

Friday, February 4, 2011

why does it annoy US?

photo: Kevin Steele

I've mentioned before that giving up traditions, personal habits, and even our preferences can feel like killing off a part of our identity.

There are times when we want change, when we get a new hairstyle or clothes, we vacation to a new place, or we try a new restaurant.

In reality, these times show us that we don't like change that much after all.

We want to be a little bit more attractive, to change the scenery with people we already know and love, or to feel a little more satisfied after a meal.

We don't want to change from eating tacos to eating gravel. We just want better tacos.

In most every area where we seek change, we're really just looking for mild improvements over what is otherwise an already pretty pleasant existence.

Even when we're miserable, we sometimes prefer misery we know to anything we don't know, no matter the promise for improvement. If you don't believe me, watch The Biggest Loser.  People don't get to weighing a quarter of a ton because change comes easy.

The real changes, the ones that are "all in" potentially life-altering changes, we mostly avoid until life pushes them on us or until staying the same threatens to kill us or make us feel like dying.

We daydream about those ideas, but it nauseates us to even consider actually taking a step toward them.

A job change. A career change. A major move. A new relationship. Ending a relationship.

When the potential is high enough for something to be truly great in our lives, then it's also high enough to truly crush us if we fail.

What's the last great thing you tried?

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