Donny's Ramblings


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I’m Known For What I Say About Pornography. Now Let Me Briefly Address Homosexuality.

When speaking about porn, I’m often told that the perspective I share is different than what people are used to hearing.  I make it a point to try making things very personal.  I want people to realize that pornography involves real people with real feelings and real lives.  I want people to consider those on the screen as if it was someone they deeply love.

Not long ago, I took the stage of a church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, just moments after a group of young children had departed it.  I’d watched these beautiful, bright-eyed, hopeful little people sing their hearts out.  As children often do, they’d brought tears of happiness to many eyes, mine included.  In fact, their innocence had struck me in a way I couldn’t describe; as they sang I had to turn towards the walls because I was embarrassed to be seen literally weeping, yet not being able to put into words why I’d been so affected.

Standing in front of the parents of these children, I paused for a moment of silence before beginning.  I was afraid of their potential reaction to what I was about to say, but I also had a point to make.

“Your children are beautiful.  It won’t be long until they’re 18 and can make decisions on their own.  How would you feel if, on a Sunday morning, I walked up to you before service and congratulated you on the scene your little girl performed for me the day before, when I’d paired her up with a few men for my latest pornographic production?  Legal adult or not, and regardless of whether she’s ‘an adult making her own decisions,’ I guarantee you wouldn’t be okay with it, and you’d undoubtedly hate me.  So if it’s not okay to watch porn when it’s your little girl in the starring role, why’s it okay when it’s someone else’s?   They’re all someone’s little girl, and they’re all daughters of The King, which literally makes them princesses.  No princess is supposed to be treated like that.”

People were impacted.

These children had not yet hit puberty.  That being the case, I wonder what the impact would have been if I’d have said, “Your children are beautiful.  It won’t be long until they’re old enough to really start feeling butterflies inside as they discover a new love interest.  What if that love interest shares their same gender?  … so if it’s not okay to make your little boy or little girl feel like crap about themselves based on who they find attractive, why’s it okay when it’s someone else’s…. ?”

If it’s not already obvious, I’ll admit this article is inspired by the recent flap over Phil Robertson’s comments.  I’ve read the entire article in question half a dozen times, and personally find nothing offensive about it.  When it comes to my opinions on gay marriage, they are quite similar to those shared by Elton John in 2008 (for the record:  Elton later changed his opinion).  It’s easy to share these opinions freely. Perhaps too easy.  I wonder if it would be so easy for me if one of the children I love were in tears before me, begging me to pray with them in asking God to remove a same-sex attraction with which they didn’t want to live.

When I leave the stage, few people in the audience feel judged or condemned.  Many of them come up afterward and share their personal struggles relating to pornography.  Because they feel it is safe to do so.  Even though they’ve heard me share a message against pornography for the last 45 minutes to an hour.

God help me and God forgive me if there’s ever a time in the past, present or future when a person with a same sex attraction doesn’t feel equally safe around me.

What if it was my son?  What if it was your daughter?  

We’re all children of the King.  May I always keep in mind that I’m called to bring people to His love.  May I remember that His love is what changes lives.  May I always recall that when it comes to “fishing for men,” God has a “you catch ’em, I’ll clean ’em” motto, releasing me from the need to clean up anyone other than myself, and that only with His help.  I really don’t need to concern myself about whether or not God wants something changed in any life other than my own.  Admittedly, it’s quite hard for me to keep that in mind.

There’s lots of preachin’ to myself going on here this morning.  God help me to listen.

Ted Haggard shares thoughts on the Duck Dynasty matter here in an article well worth the read.


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You’re Invited to One Heckuva Party!

If you’ve listened to my story, I sometimes tell about the song that came on the radio right after I asked God to save my life. It was “When God Ran,” the Benny Hester version. It movingly takes the story of the prodigal son and personalizes it. Hearing that song just moments after surrendering my life to God was like a “welcome home” party for me.

For a few months now, I’ve been ostracized from one small branch on my family tree. It started as silly as this: a young member of our family posted a status update out of frustration at not being allowed to hang out with a friend who professes to be gay. Another family member, an adult, publicly chastised that family member in the comments area of the original post. Scriptures were used to back up this chastisement (albeit completely out of context). I was very annoyed by the way it all went down, because I cannot think of ANY POSSIBLE REASON for an adult to comment publicly on a child’s Facebook page, criticizing her for all her friends – and the world – to read. So… what did I do? Publicly and privately put in my own two cents. Perfect response, no? Of course not. But that’s what I did. When the mother of the adult I addressed was told about it, she and others in the family decided to stick up for the adult, rather than the child. I still fail to see the logic in that decision, but it is what it is.

The adult’s mother asked, “If someone were to tell your son he was wrong, how would YOU feel?”

Here’s how I feel about that question: If my son is wrong about something, it’s okay to tell him he is wrong. Coddling him provides no value. An incredibly important part of growing up comes from being corrected. Publicly admonishing him, however, would be different since he is a child. When he is an adult, I feel the rules will change – if he publicly humiliated another person, a public response would not be out of the question, and I would not hold onto offense.

Of course, I am open to the idea that I’m wrong about that.

But what I’d really like to say to this part of my family, which in subsequent conversations have let me know their opinions on how much God hates homosexuals, is that I’d love the opportunity to sit down and study the story of the prodigal son with them, as well as the story of his brother. It’s a beautiful story that was originally told by Jesus Himself:

The prodigal son left his father’s house to go out into the world and blow his inheritance. He was rebellious. He lived his life in a way that was a disgrace to the family name. He rolled in the mud with pigs, covered in crap. You couldn’t get much worse than this guy even if you tried. He hit rock bottom.

At that point he decided to try to head back to dad’s house, hoping for the life of a servant. He didn’t feel like he even deserved to be called a son anymore.

But what happened? His father welcomed him home, running to meet him. He had always been his father’s son. Nothing he did could ever change that. Dad threw one heckuva a party!

In the meantime, the prodigal’s brother was living in daddy’s house, feeling as if his good works entitled him to be called “son”. He couldn’t understand why there weren’t parties to celebrate his “goodness”. He found it very unfair that his poop covered brother, the one who had been such a disgrace and done so many bad things, was being made such a fuss about.

I once read a book that said something like, “One brother thought his sins prevented him from being called ‘son’ and separated him from his father’s love, while the other thought his good deeds entitled him to be called ‘son’ and justified his father’s love. Both were wrong. The father’s love just… IS.”

And you know, family and friends, that is very true. The father’s love is just… there. For everyone. It doesn’t have to be earned. Doing the “right” things doesn’t get it for you. Doing the “wrong” things doesn’t disqualify you from it.

I am a prodigal. And, while they may not realize it, I am quite aware of the things that were said about me when I was out living with the pigs by those same family members who ripped a teen for being unable to understand why she couldn’t associate with a gay friend… a friend who, just a few short years ago, lived as if she were part of the family. Circumstances and life choices have now excluded her, and how dare anyone go against that exclusion decision! Guess what? EXCLUSION NEVER WORKS. Did you get that? Read it again. Exclusion. does. not. work. It just causes bitterness to build. I realize this pattern of exclusion has been going on for quite some time, and I’ve personally experienced it too, but that cycle CAN be broken. It NEEDS to be broken. It is, in fact, keeping you from enjoying one raging party!

Instead of excluding, perhaps a better idea is to invite those who need the father’s love to a party in their honor. Forget making up all the reasons why that’s not a good idea. It doesn’t HAVE to make sense to you. The Father’s grace and love doesn’t make sense, and it isn’t “fair” because it is given to those who don’t deserve it. It is given freely. There are no qualifications to receive it. There is no sin big enough to separate the sinner from it. It is a gift. Sometimes you and I are privileged enough to be able to carry that gift and lay it at the feet of someone who needs to receive it. We can’t do that by exclusion. It is impossible to do so.

We don’t get to decide who gets this gift of grace. Lay the gift at the feet of even (gasp) the homosexual. Let the recipient decide whether to pick it up or not. And if the package can’t be delivered right away, let’s develop a better reputation than even FedEx by bringing it back for another attempted delivery, again and again and again.

Whaddaya say?


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On Politics: Go Shane Claiborne! (Why the Republican Party Does Not Have a Lock on the Young Christian Vote)

After reading this post be sure to read the discussion going on down in the comments area…

Shane Claiborne on CNN.comI was first “introduced” to Shane Claiborne a little over a year ago when Nathan Edwardson, the (very young) Lead Pastor of The Stirring in Redding, California gave me a copy of Shane’s book The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical. Shane’s book made me think about things I’ve never before considered from a Christian perspective.

CNN.com is one of the websites I read on a daily basis. Today Shane was on the front page as one of the site’s lead stories. Beneath Shane’s photograph was the headline Young Evangelicals not a lock for Republicans. Much to the chagrin of many of my Constant Readers, my heart felt great joy when reading that headline. Why? Because it is my opinion that the Republican Party is very far away from being a Party that Jesus would have endorsed. Not that I think the Democrats would fare a whole lot better, but as I’ve stated before, I personally have more respect for a person who is honest with me about issues that he knows I don’t agree with than one who deceives me by pretending to feel the same way I do just to get my vote.

Prime example: Republicans legalized abortion, yet receive a lot of the Christian vote by claiming to be against it and then doing practically nothing about it once in office (FYI: 7 of 9 current Supreme Court Justices are Republican appointed yet still do nothing about the issue so what makes anyone think yet another Republican administration will change anything?).

Our current Presidential Administration really opened my eyes. While I’m still registered as a Republican, and have been since turning 18 and receiving my right to vote, I’ll likely follow the example I set for myself during the 2004 Presidential election by NOT voting Republican this coming November. Should Senator McCain choose a very strong running mate I might change my mind, but as of now I’m strongly favoring Barack Obama.

I particularly like this quote from the article:

But these voters say views on abortion and homosexuality won’t define them in November. The environment and social justice are moving to the forefront of their discussions.

Yes! I totally agree with that sentiment! I’m not saying topics such as abortion are not important, because they are very important , but I really wish more Christians would wake up to the fact that Republican candidates should not automatically receive their vote based on these topics. As mentioned before, the Elephants have a record of being deceptive about such issues (again: Republicans, not Democrats, made abortion legal to begin with) and there are definitely better ways of spending our tax dollars than taking over a country for its oil a long, drawn out, needless war.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. Read this CNN article and let me know what you think about it, and your general feelings on the upcoming election. The can of worms has been opened!