Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


One of the blogs I read is nothing but comic strips about the church. I’m not sure where I heard about it first. It was either from Marko or Josh. It’s from London I think and as a result, sometimes it’s got some inside humor I miss, but for the most part, I read it daily since it takes about 10 seconds and I never comment or read the comments- though I see from time to time that he has quite a few.

Anyway- tonight I noticed this one.

I found it interesting because I just had a conversation with a coworker last week about a difficult discussion I was set to have with some parents regarding addressing homosexuality in our youth ministry on the weekend. In talking about this issue, it seems to be one of the things people like to label themselves or others with. Homosexuality is never an issue. It quickly becomes the issue or the way people define you. It’s almost got a racial status.

On the one side, I guess everyone labels themself something:

  • Christian. Buddhist. Soccer player. Baseball Fan. Pianist. Drummer. Artist. Architect.. whatever.
But some labels come with more baggage or highly opinionated responses by those around you when you say it is what you are:
  • Politician. Lawyer. Pastor. Cop. Evangelist. Abortion doctor. CEO of Walmart. etc….
But it is also true, that virtually no one labels themselves by what they struggle with, and it’s often unsafe to share that issue in many church environments. So, you find someone very upset when you address one issue, but very much ignorant of their own mislabeled self. If we were all true to our labels, they might read something like the “comic” above or like this:

  • Adulterer. Liar. Struggling Alcoholic. Luster after all things electronic and new. Obese due to lack of self control. Stress case. Worry Wart. Unfaithful with my eyes. Porn addict. Anger management nightmare. Insecure. Financially irresponsible. Bitter. Struggling sex addict.
So, especially in the context of the church, it seems odd to me that we would, even when taking the position that homosexuality (male or female) is not part of God’s design for sexuality, choose to label people by the thing they struggle to give over to Christ. And if we’re going to do that with one group, guess you might as well start passing out the markers and label everyone that way. Seems like about the dummest thing the church could ever become is a place where people are defined by their past or their sins or whatever- especially when we are supposed to be defined by the identity and redemption we have in Jesus.

I pray that our youth ministry and the church I serve in never becomes a place where people are defined by their past or their struggles and temptations. At the same time, I pray that it is a place where people can be open and honest about those same things that they still wrestle with and find comrades and partners in the process of becoming like Jesus instead of condemning and judgmental fingers.

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