ChurchandWorld linked to a poignant story of children killed by their own tribe’s people in order to stave off supposed curses to the community. “Ethiopia's river of death,” reminded me of other missionary stories I have read. Lord’s of the Earth, a sequel to Peace Child, tells of children thrown into the river because they wandered into forbidden territory.
Another is Mary Slessor-Everybody’s Mother, the story of a Scottish Presbyterian missionary who began her ministry in Africa saving twins who were deemed cursed because they were twins. The transforming work of Christ ends the awfulness of such practices; it will hopefully do the same in Ethiopia.
But I am also reminded about the article Michael Adee posted on the More Light Presbyterian site, “Sojourners Enters into Fuller Conversation About LGBT Issues.” I am not finished addressing it. It too is about children at risk, homeless LGBT youth. They too are to easily pitched in the river or undone by the wolves, just in a different manner. And no one seems to care for their souls; certainly not LGBT political organizations who are now using them as pawns in a political game.
In the first posting I wrote on this subject, LGBT homeless youth & religious freedom, I explored the political issues which were pushed in the article. They were the concerns of Adee and others that faith based organizations who believe same gender sex is a sin would be harmful to LGBT homeless young people.
But now I want to address the more important issue, the ultimate needs of LGBT youth. (And in reality all homeless young people have the same basic needs.) Physically they are homeless. They are often hungry, in danger and lonely. Spiritually they are also homeless. Their lives are full of emptiness, brokenness and they are disconnected from themselves, community and God. They not only need to be loved by older responsible adults but they also need to be lead to Jesus, who will give them comfort, love, forgiveness and transformation.
Jesus did not reject the sinner, but he did not leave them in their sin either. His love was transformative.
The daughter of the synagogue official, whom Jesus raised from the dead, was hungry. Jesus told her parents to feed her. (Mark 5:35-43) On the other hand he told the rich young ruler to sell all that he had and follow him. Possessions were the young man’s lust. (Mark 10:17-27) The woman caught in adultery was saved from a self-righteous community that failed to grasp the whole of the law. She was also forgiven and told to go and sin no more. (John 8:1-11) The demoniac who screamed among the tombs and was healed was sent home to tell of his transformation.(Mark 5:1-20)
Jesus gathers his lambs out of dangers; he forgives, restores, meets needs and transforms the sinner. He heals within the community and in the individual heart.
Despite any organization’s use of derogatory words such as bigotry or homophobia, the Church has an obligation to the homeless and rejected to both care for and proclaim God’s words to them. Carefully, with integrity the young people, LGBT young people, need to learn from the Scriptures of God’s grace and God’s will that the Christian, redeemed by Christ, walks in obedience to his Lord. Holiness is an out growth of discipleship.
It is not a question of government grants or subsidies, what matters are Christian care and Christian witness. Those who fail to lead the young to new life in Christ because of a misplaced allegiance to culture or political correctness should be reminded that Jesus said it would be better to have a heavy millstone hung about one’s neck and be cast into the sea then to offend the young who believe in Jesus. (Matthew 18:4-6) And to leave them in their sin without any words about the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ is sin.