So Jennifer Knapp (Christian musician) came out about her sexual orientation in Christianity Today. She was then on Larry King Live to discuss her faith and homosexuality. She was pitted against Pastor Bob Botsford of Horizon Christian Fellowship (middle aged, slightly hip, mega church) who took the opposite view point when it came to mixing faith in Christ and homosexuality. My wife and I watched the riveting interview. The interview has been bothering me a lot for a few days now. I realize that this nationally public interview was potentially monumental culturally, maybe even a landmark for Western Christianity. It really was the first time that a seeming evangelical, an “insider”, who loves her bible, believes it’s the inspired Word, communicates clearly her love for Jesus, is not angry with the church but embraces homosexuality engage with another insider who believes all the above but does not agree with homosexuality. It was like the world got to see a family argument. It really was an unprecedented interchange.
Politically the church has aggressively personified what a homosexual looks like and believes. The problem here is Jennifer did not embodied many of those personifications. I think it caught Pastor Bob of guard. He was like a deer in the headlights many times with the intelligent, theologically insightful and gracious nature of Jennifer’s approach. Jennifer asked him hermeneutical questions and knew quite a bit about interpretation and church history. Many times my wife was cringing and closing her eyes as the pastor refused to converse and tried to lob Christian clichés like “God didn’t create Adam and Steve” and us against them language like “God stands for righteousness”. They were like rubber bands being fired, that seemed flimsy the moment he “snapped” them at her. Pastor Bob was not prepared; it made me wonder if he’d ever talked to someone who was of homosexual orientation.
Pondering Pastor Bob’s demeanor the last couple of days made me realize the church is in serious crisis. Modernism is over. Chuck Colson’s weapons to bring down the undefined enemy of Atheism, Darwinism and liberalism are not where the battle front is any longer. Sure those buzz words catch our attention and stir up a fear of a brewing culture war, but I genuinely do not see those residing at the belly of the churches identity and mission crisis.
As Jennifer Knapp sat there, she didn’t see herself as the enemy she just wanted to have a conversation. The church in general does not seem to have a handle on how to interact with your average sinner and our morally bankrupt culture than to tell them to just stop offending God, throw jabs and pretend we won the argument. This crisis the church finds itself in does not require stronger language, it requires and demands Holy Spirit wisdom. Our Crisis: How do we relationally engage with people in confusion, raised on confusion and studying the same Bible we study? This has great implications for how the church resurrects its missionary presence in America. Simplistic, cliché responses will not do.