This past weekend the movie Blue Like Jazz (based on Donald Miller’s book of the same name) was released into select theaters across the country. Donald Miller, who obviously has a lot invested in the project, was extremely excited about the release of the movie and it’s implications for sparking conversation inside and outside the church. On April 15th, the Sunday of the weekend release he tweeted “Donald Miller (@donaldmiller) We may be the only movie where the evangelical community and gay community can watch and be moved: bluelikejazzthemovie.com”. And you would think that the response for this would be positive as the evangelical community is always looking for ways to engage the gay community. But less than an hour later Donald Miller tweeted, “Donald Miller (@donaldmiller) I just got unfollowed by 50 people who do not think the gay community and evangelical community should talk. wow.” Wow is right. Have we lost our way as evangelicals? Are we so bent on alienating gay people and distancing ourselves from the gay community that we don’t even see an opportunity to engage them through modern media?
I can’t help but think about how sad this is. We are called to be people characterized by love. And what does love do? “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. I especially love the part about always trusting. Love trusts that when you engage someone who is different than you in a loving way that God will be there in that moment. Love trusts in the fact that they “gay” will not rub off on you and perhaps you may enter into healthy dialogue with someone who is different than you.
Here is the crazy part about winning people to the Kingdom. We are not responsible to do it. God is. We are simply called to love…and unfriending/unfollowing someone simply because they suggest that you might be able to talk to someone different than you doesn’t sound a lot like love. I remember hearing a story about Billy Graham and I haven’t been able to validate it, but this is the internet and so I guess it is okay to share ;). It was the day of the presidential prayer breakfast following the Monica Lewinsky scandal and since Billy Graham was an adviser to the president he was in attendance. Someone asked him why he would be there in view of the president’s open moral failure and Billy Graham’s reply was simple. “I believe it is God’s job to judge, the Holy Spirit’s job to convict and my job to love. I am just here doing my job.”
How often do we forget what our job is? I just worry about what the future of the Christian faith looks like when we can’t even fulfill half of what Jesus called the greatest commandment…to love our neighbor like ourselves. It really could be sad.