John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

Setting the Bar too Low

Yesterday I let you read how my conversations with Adam started, and the conversation continued. But I want to stop here and process a bit. Adam knows that I don’t believe a person can live an actively LGBT (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender) lifestyle (complete with the same-sex sex) and consider theirs a Christ-honoring life. He knows I would equate that to any other sin. I don’t see homosexuality as a greater sin than others, but I still see it as sin. He knows that. And I know he knows that. So, I didn’t feel compelled to tell him that over and over again. That only serves to stop the conversation. I’d prefer to find some common ground with Adam. I’d actually like to learn some things from him about what he thinks, how he came to think what he thinks and how open he is to another way of thinking.

This is what my last publisher could not abide, and this is why you're reading this material online instead of in printed form. But, as I've tried to explain, that’s conversation – an informal exchange of ideas. I want to engage in a dialogue – a two-way interaction that may involve opposing points of view. I want to employ civility – courtesy in speech and behavior. I want to walk in love – that thing which is patient and kind and willing to give someone else the benefit of the doubt.

Now, I know that’s a little different from the way we’re often taught to talk to people who don’t believe the same things we believe. We want instant conversion. But what if persuasion isn’t our primary task? What if our primary task is to grow up and be like Jesus? And what if the primary way we do that is by loving other people?

Not that love should keep me from speaking a hard truth. But what if I was committed to never telling the truth outside the context of love? After all, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). This is how I’m going to grow up.

Adam and I continued our conversation. We talked about what he believes and what I believe. As it turns out, we agree more than we disagree. We talked about his life, what’s going on, how the changes he’s made since “coming out” have impacted his life. We talked about the challenges of being a dad and about how hard it is to do ministry with integrity.

And the conversation goes on. I hope it does for a long time.

My ultimate desire, though, is not to talk Adam into agreeing with me. My ultimate goal is to demonstrate the love of Christ to Adam in the way I treat him and in the things I say to him.

Anything else is setting the bar too low.