Beauty and the Boycott

I just read a blog from a Christian leader declaring that Jesus wouldn’t boycott Disney.


Well that’s kind of a no-brainer…He wouldn’t have to! How much time do you think Jesus would really spend in theaters or watching TV? He had 3 years to start a movement that changed the whole world and was finally martyred because of how offensive that movement was to the mainstream.  I’m not sure he would have had time to be a movie critic. If we really are interested in what Jesus would do, maybe we should start by asking whether he would spend hours of every day watching other people interact on a screen rather than interacting with real people Himself.


But since you bring it up… (see what I did there?)


Disney has promoted, teased, and tantalized that its new rendering of Beauty and the Beast will have an openly gay character. I haven’t heard anything about a boycott, but I’m sure it must be there because all the usual characters are rushing to condemn it and point out the hypocrisy of “Evangelical Christians.” Of course, much of the bashing is from “enlightened” fellow Christians, who sometimes seem to be more interested in currying favor from the anti-Christian, pop-culture crowd, than with what Jesus actually said about loving one another.


Let me state clearly, I have no interest in boycotts, but I am bothered by the thought of a popular Children’s story being adapted to help normalize and gain acceptance for something that God, through the scriptures, calls sin. Sin separates us from God and others, sin kills, sin condemns people to life, and eternity, separated from God. God takes sin so seriously that He sent Christ to die for our sins so that we could be set free and “die TO our sins!” (For more, read Romans 6 carefully) Christ didn’t die simply to free us from the consequences of sin, but from slavery to sin.


It is true, we believe that we should “hate the sin and love the sinner.” But what does that look like lived out? Jesus is often quoted from John 8 where he lovingly tells a woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you.” It is a powerful, compassionate moment that truly displays the heart of Jesus! However, that is just a half quote. Jesus, just as lovingly, continues, “Go and sin no more.” The sin was destroying her life…he called her to leave it behind and live a different life, in Him! It is not loving to leave someone in bondage to something that is hurting them. I can truly love and accept someone while praying for them and calling them to leave behind the sin that is killing them. (If you don’t believe me, just think of any alcoholic that you really love!)


Herein lies the problem with homosexuality. We believe that, like all our sin, it hurts those involved, and as with all our other sins, we can be set free in Christ! However, with this sin, we have been told to stop calling it sin and declare it a healthy, God ordained, orientation. Our critics ask, “Why is this sin such a big deal? What about other sins?” Well it’s no different from our other sin, but I haven’t heard anyone asking us to accept adultery, violence, lust, gossip, self-righteousness, or other Biblical sins as morally acceptable behavior. But in this case, we are being asked to throw aside the scripture’s teaching as hate speech and accept same sex attraction as a normal genetic trait, like race or skin color, and if we don’t, we are called hateful bigots. Of course, sexual attractions and behaviors have been documented to change, unlike race or skin color, but those facts don’t seem to matter.


So when we’re told that a character is being portrayed as gay to encourage acceptance and normalization, Bible believing Christians should have a problem. Please understand, I’m not suggesting that any art involving sinful behavior is harmful… so long as it depicts that behavior as harmful. If a movie honestly depicts the heartbreak and human carnage of adultery, I think it has merit. However, if it dishonestly shows adultery as a harmless diversion without serious consequence, I consider that dishonest, damaging, and not worthy of my time and money. In the same way, if a movie depicts same sex attraction and behavior as something less than God designed and harmful to those involved, I think it has merit. If, on the other hand, it presents it as right and healthy, then I consider that a harmful influence.


This is a very difficult issue for serious followers of Christ; one where devout believers can differ on how they live out “speaking the truth in love.”  So, before we bash our fellow brothers and sisters who are understandably bothered by a children’s story being morphed into a pro-LGBTQ statement, we should remember how seriously God takes sin and ask ourselves if acceptance is always the most loving and life-giving approach.



The Last Word

I know I need to be reminded from time to time, so I thought I'd pass the good news along to you...

Our hope is not in the outcome of the upcoming election. If it were, I might be depressed. 

Our hope is not in economic future of our nation. If it were, I might be afraid.

Our hope is not in people, who can fail us. If it were, I might be bitter.

No. Our hope is in the Lord and He is still on the throne of Heaven. He has been faithful throughout history and promises to continue, because it's just who He is!

Be encouraged...the day after the November election, He will still be God and He will still be good. And He will have the last word!

To Tell The Truth

For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie…  Rom. 1:25a

I’m looking around and honestly wondering if we have lost our minds!

Ten years ago if you would have told me we’d be engaged in the current public debate, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you would have told me our president would declare that public schools would be compelled to allow “transgender” students to use the public restroom which corresponds with their chosen gender identity, rather than their actual gender, I would have again, not believed you.

But I would have been wrong.

In fact, today we face the bizarre, awkward, and even dangerous reality of men in the women’s restroom and women in the men’s. All because of the arbitrary misapplication of “gender identity.” I’m not sure we even understand the complex and nuanced implications of that term, but what I do know, is that I don’t look forward to the first time I have to inform some poor woman that in spite of her “gender identity” that urinal is just not going to work. It’s not built for her kind of “guy.”

And, of course, here is where the idea of “gender identity” breaks down. Gender is not a matter of opinion; it is observable, scientifically provable fact. It is determined by X and Y chromosomes, and anatomy, not how one feels. In this recent Wall Street Journal article, Dr. Paul McHugh, formerly of the Johns Hopkins Institute, pioneers in the field transgender surgery, explains why the institute stopped performing the procedure. Dr. McHugh categorizes transgender identity as a mental disorder similar to anorexia or bulimia nervosa, where a person who is dangerously thin sees themselves as overweight. Similarly, in this very direct report, the American College of Pediatricians strongly weighs in and warns against attempts to make gender a matter of ideology rather than biology.

Sadly, many people will view this as horribly offensive and insensitive, and I’m sorry for that. Please know, I feel genuine compassion for those who wrestle with transgender feelings.

The problem is, how they or I feel has no bearing on the truth.

And this brings us to the real issue…some things are simply true in spite of how we feel about them. For example, if you and I are ever on top of a tall building and I tell you that I self-identify as Superman and try to jump off, don’t spare my feelings, just stop me. That is the truly compassionate thing to do, because my feelings or self-identity have nothing to do with reality…I’m not superman and I can’t fly! Now this should seem like common sense, but in a world where feelings increasingly trump truth, you never know!

And here lies the crux of the problem. The greatest casualty in this whole conversation is the truth. We are creating a world where we dare not claim to know, let alone declare, truth. Stop for a moment and consider what that world would eventually become?

In John, chapter 8, Jesus said, “You’ll know the truth and the truth will set you free.” How many times have we seen this statement proven true? Think about all the lives you’ve seen improve and the people you’ve seen set free, because they moved from self-deception to embracing truth. 

If truth leads to freedom, what does a world where truth isn’t welcome look like? Sadly, I think we’re beginning to get a glimpse. Things that would have been considered deviant and harmful just a few years ago are being applauded as normal, and even courageous. And what’s truly sad, is that the people involved, while “feeling accepted,” are still suffering rather than being truly set free.

And it seems, by and large, that our culture is just following along blindly.

Like the child in Hans Christian Anderson’s story, I just want to call out…   

“The emperor has no clothes…

…And that’s a dude!”

But we need to be careful, because while telling the truth may be the right thing, it’s often not the popular thing.