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September 16, 2018, 12:00 AM

"Torn" Session 1: Chapters 1-3


Synopsis:

In chapter 1 Lee recounts a call that came in to the Christian organization where he worked.  The female caller is in tears.  Her son has come out as gay.  She talks about how much of a “good kid” her son is.  She has always been so proud of him.  But now she is afraid.  She is afraid for his soul and his future, for the dangers of AIDS and hate crimes, but most of all, she is afraid of their church.  She fears her son will be rejected.  She is so afraid that she doesn't even feel comfortable talking to the pastor.

            Lee goes on to cite a 2007 Barna Group study that asked 16-29 years olds to choose from words they associate with the Christian church.  The most selected word was “antihomosexual.”  Lee talks about his church experience growing up as a conservative southern Baptist.  The Christian church’s anti-gay rhetoric has created the cultural assumption that one cannot be gay (or an ally) and Christian.

            In chapter 2 Lee tells a story from his time in high school.  An anti-gay poster is anonymously hung in his school.  The next day 6 students pass out pamphlets calling for tolerance and understanding.  Those six students are punished for doing so.  When asked by another student his opinion on the issue, Lee is confident in his response.  “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”  At this point, his church upbringing has taught him that homosexuality is a sin, but he doesn’t think it’s right to hate people for it.  His classmate is not impressed. 

            Chapter 3 describes the beginning of Lee’s own struggle as he starts to understand his own sexuality.  As a teenager, he realizes he is attracted to men rather than women.  At this point in his life, he also fully believes these feeling to be wrong.

Quotes of note:

On parents of gay children, “If the things their churches tell them about gay people doesn’t match what they whom from their own children, who are they supposed to believe?” p7.

On the generation gap, “Today’s young people have gay friends whom they love.  If they view the church as an unsafe place for them… we might just be raising the most anti-Christian generation America has ever seen, a generation that beleives they have to choose between lovng and being Christain. 

“Loving people doesn’t always mean agreeing with them.  Sometimes you show your love for people by telling them what they need to hear instead of what they want to hear.” p17

On loving the sinner, but hating the sin, “I thought I was sharing the gospel that day, when in fact I was probably only confirming Sean’s negative views of Christians.” p18

Questions to consider:

Why might “love the sinner, hate the sin” be problematic? 

What is our response to the idea that “you can’t be gay (an ally) and Christian?” and how does our faith inform this response?  

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