**Disclaimer: A friend encouraged me to add a disclaimer to the top of this entry. Please read the entire blog. If you stop after my first thought, you will miss my heart on the matter. Basically, read it all, or don’t read any of it.
I write this with a hint of trepidation. I have consistently chosen to refrain from commentary on trending, controversial social topics. I do so because my voice matters, and at times, to protect your voice you must remain silent. However, as it pertains to the recent interview with Lauren Daigle in which she was confronted with a question of homosexuality and sin, I have not been able to shake a sense of responsibility. I am in oversight of a ministry which influences hundreds of teenagers and young, emerging leaders every year. I feel the need to speak so those who value my voice can read my thoughts.
Therefore, I humbly, carefully, and hopefully with love and wisdom wade into the waters of this hot button issue. To be clear, I don’t know that you can come to an absolute, air tight, right answer to this situation. It’s one of our great challenges in this age…the unwillingness to accept that some things are more complex than a Tweet or Blog can cover. Having said that, below are my thoughts:
**In case you haven’t read about it, I have linked an article. I am not necessarily endorsing the article. However, it has the audio clip of the interview at the bottom so you can hear it for yourself. You can find it HERE
Lauren Daigle was wrong for not alluding to Biblical precedent
When asked about homosexuality as sin, what a person “thinks” is not especially relevant. This is the case for any issue which has explicit communication in the Bible. Based upon her ministry to this point, I presume Lauren has read enough of the Bible to have a solid idea of what scripture says concerning homosexuality. It is possible she knows of the Biblical precedent, but does not wholeheartedly accept the Bible as completely authoritative. Nonetheless, Lauren said, “I am not God”, seemingly in an attempt to absolve herself from the responsibility of making a definitive statement. Many have already said this, but one does not have to be God to make definitive statements about what is found in scripture. If she does believe homosexuality is sin, her answer was dishonest. If she does not believe homosexuality is sin, she is in error. If she legitimately does not know, she is either lacking in Bible literacy or has allowed society to create confusion in her thinking. Whatever the case, the moment was not handled well.
(And to be clear, so no questions are asked…yes, I believe homosexuality is sin. Same sex attraction is an illegitimate attraction.)
It is difficult to navigate the tension between having love and compassion and making a godly stance
I have a healthy measure of compassion for Lauren. If you listen to the interview, you can almost hear the wheels in her brain turning. She alluded to those she cares about who are professing homosexuals. I can only imagine how deeply she was concerned about grieving them…hurting them. One of the great tensions of following Jesus is that often we are left trying to balance two opposites. Can we all just admit, no matter how many cliches and pat Christian statements we throw out there, it is difficult at times to balance being kind, gentle and compassionate with being firm in our beliefs. I believe it is possible, but it is difficult. If you have close family members who are living outside of the parameters of the ways of Jesus, and you are being honest, you know being torn on how to proceed is a common emotion. I 100% agree with those who say the greatest expression of love she could give to her homosexual friends is the truth…but can we have a little grace for someone trying to navigate that? I would venture there are a few of us who have loved ones in various lifestyles of which we don’t approve. We would certainly appreciate the benefit of the doubt as we try to walk it out. We would be wise, as brothers and sister, to not bury a 27 year old young woman who has been thrust into a very uncommon spotlight. Which brings me to my next thought…
The majority of us will never know what it is like to be put on the spot in the way Lauren experienced
I will admit, I tend to be more of a processor. I mull things over. I am usually a slow decision maker. When pressed in a moment, I often lack a sufficient, immediate response. Often, after given time to think, I can return with a strong thought. It is very possible Lauren agrees with many of the believers who are criticizing her (and I’m not saying she shouldn’t be criticized). However, in the moment, she was not prepared to answer. In the moment, she possibly allowed the anxiety of “hurting” others and the fear of losing audience to dominate her response. I am confident of this…I have no idea what its like to be exposed to that type of audience, with that type of immediate pressure. Once again, I will offer grace because I cannot fully identify with what she was facing.
It is problematic to live as if we believers are the ones on the outside looking in
Having said all of the above, one issue we as believers must overcome, is our lack of understanding of how we fit into society. We are not the pitiful little chess club in the corner with our head gear, pocket protectors, suspenders and high water pants, longingly, somewhat embarrassingly, hoping the world will join us. We will ALWAYS find ourselves caving to a broken, ungodly society if we walk the earth feeling like we are the outsiders. We will ALWAYS submit ourselves to the pressure of the world’s agenda if we view ourselves at a deficit. Always keep in mind, with deep humility and great gratitude, that as a follower of Jesus, it is you who has the “upper hand”. The world has been sick with the plague called sin and death since the fruit was devoured in Eden. The world, and those who live according to its customs, are ravaged with this disease. God sent the antidote in the person of Jesus, and you have been filled with the healing elixir that is our beautiful Savior. Friends, the world is sick and we are healed. We aren’t the scraggly fringe of society hoping to be affirmed and respected by those who do not agree with our beliefs. We are sons and daughter of God, of royal lineage. The sooner we embrace this reality, the more effective we will be at walking the earth without intimidation.
Jesus is not on trial
To follow up the previous thought, it is not our responsibility to dull the sharp edges of Jesus to make him more acceptable, more palatable. Jesus calls humanity up out of our sickness into the real way of being human. As long as we live, worried that people won’t accept Jesus, we will perpetually do a disservice to Him. Jesus isn’t some pitiful, lonely guy, up at 1:00am sending out friend requests on Facebook hoping someone will accept Him. Jesus is the Lord of all…the King of all ages…He is seated upon His throne ruling in majesty. All people…every single human being…must come to Jesus on HIS terms. Once again, we would do well to hold tightly to the tension…yes, Jesus is loving, kind, gentle…and yes, Jesus is Lord and King. You don’t get “nice Jesus” without also embracing “authoritative Jesus”.
It is possible to be very anointed and used of God, but live with wrong thinking and error
The Bible, and church history, are full of people who were used of God for great exploits, all the while being flawed, having wrong thinking or questionable theology. A conversation about the Biblical idea of “the anointing” is much longer than I can cover here. However, I do believe it is important to understand that someone being “anointed” or “effective” is not necessarily a stamp of approval. It is evidence that God has marked a person for his service. It is effective when a person functions in their design. But anointing and effectiveness do not necessarily equate to God being pleased or the person being in right standing. In Lauren’s case, don’t assume the anointing on her life, or the platform she has been given, means the Lord is absolutely pleased with her. Equally, don’t assume God is not patient. God can put his hand of anointing on someone and give them great platforms, all while they are in process and still maturing. It is HIS anointing and HIS platform.
We must be wise when choosing which streams we drink from
In short, the next two thoughts are my synopsis. Lauren Daigle’s music may minister to you. It may be effective is reaching others. However, we are responsible for stewarding our soul well. Therefore, we must be very wise what we consume. This is true not only as it pertains to “secular” things, but also within the body of Christ. At times, we must be wise enough to even refrain from drinking from the well of those in our camp. Lauren’s response in this interview should cause all believers to proceed with caution. There may be some toxins in the water yet unseen. Without realizing it, too much consumption could poison your soul. I am not saying “do not listen to her music”. I am saying it would be wise to give it some time to see which road she travels before you submit too much of your spiritual development to her influence. I say this from experience. For the last few years I have followed several ministers on Twitter who intrigued me with their thoughts and theology. They helped me in several ways…in part by helping to mature and enrich my faith. Nevertheless, there were a few concerns along the way regarding their theology and practice that I could never fully reconcile. While I love those brothers and see their value in His church, the assignment on my life is not congruent with the road they travel. To keep drinking from their stream was not beneficial to the long term purposes of God in my life. I quit following them, because the health of my soul, my convictions and following Jesus is more valuable than what positives I could receive from them.
Time will tell
I referenced time in the previous thought. Simply stated, Lauren Daigle today, is not who she will be in the coming years. While we may struggle with her “moment”, it is the test of time that will be the real story of her life. The same is true of us all. We all tend to be so now focused. We want absolutes now, but when it comes to the life of faith, it is a long journey. We would be wise to step back and see how things play out with this young woman. She will go one way or the other…we don’t know today. I can tell you unequivocally I am rooting for her. I want her to walk in the ways of Jesus, have tremendous success and be an incredible ambassador for God’s Kingdom. I am hopeful this interview was a moment of weakness, a miscue, a moment that didn’t quite go the way she wished it would…and that she would keep moving forward, deepening her relationship with God’s word (Bible) and God’s Word (Jesus). I don’t write any of this to bash her, but for the purpose of using this as an incredible teaching moment. Until completely proven otherwise, I consider Lauren Daigle my sister in Christ. As stated, time will tell the story of Lauren Daigle much more effectively than a 10-minute interview ever could.
When a teenager with same sex attraction comes into our TYM environments…
Finally, I am not naive. Every time I host an event there are teenagers in the room with same sex attractions. Writing this blog is tasking a risk of alienating some precious people…I simply want to say I love you. We want you to be a part of TYM. We are for you. When you walk into our environments with same sex attraction, we don’t mark you as different or downgrade you to a diminished level of humanity. While you may not want to be lumped into this category, any given week of camp, or night at The Movement Conference, there are dozens upon dozens of teenagers like you who are wrestling with various forms of pain, sorrow, anger, confusion, disappointment, rejection, abandonment, and addiction. It may be hard to hear someone say what you are dealing with is sin. I respect the difficulty of hearing and receiving such a statement. But every single person who has ever come to Jesus has had to deal with hearing the same thing…All of us start out sinners. All of us start out wrong. At some point in history, every wrong thing that was done, someone in society tried to justify it…validate it. But arguments, debates, town hall meetings, the media, university professors, political movements…none of them can make a wrong thing right.