Here, Sara asked a question about sin and "separation." Here's my answer.
Sara, the questions you are asking are important. I feel a little bit, though, like you are asking Windows questions to a Mac guy. The operating system we are using at Vintage is not the same one as we used in college. Certainly, we all want to accomplish the same thing, but the terminology and processes we use to get there might look completely different and sound completely foreign. With that in mind, here's how I would answer your question.
Vintage is / will be guided by a set of value statements that help us determine the flavor and focus of ministry that we will engage in.
Some of the pertinent ones are:
Truth Transforms - We believe that as we teach truth in a relevant and abductive way, people over time will grow in their love for and obedience to Jesus. The journey has a destination and we will give people a map so they can walk it.
Grace Happens - We believe that in a world where people get judged and condemned by their bosses, their spouses, the supermodels on TV, and more, church ought to be a place where unexpected mercy comes crashing in. Nothing helps someone keep going on their journey like a compassionate friend to walk with them.
Love Wins - We believe that hope and optimism are the order of the day. We believe that the world can be a better place, that people can change, that love - not condemnation - gets the last word. The journey has a destination, and it is a really, really good place.
So ... I hestitate to answer any "what about the gay guy" question because it isolates one sin and one group of people while insulating everyone else. Our approach will be simple - and really hard.
- Teach the truth. Not just on Sunday mornings at the theater, but in conversations and emails and blog entries. What is wrong is wrong - in my life and anybody else's.
- Don't withhold love. When I read Paul say to treat someone like a pagan and an outsider, I ask myself "How did Jesus treat pagans and outsiders?" Frankly, they were his best friends. That is the pattern we ought to follow.
- Keep hope. Sin does not go away quickly in my life. I am still struggling with the same things I did in college. Years and years and years people walk the path with an albatross on their necks. The only hope is that progress can be made and love wins. If God is patient with people, not wanting any to perish, why can't we be the same? Peter asked Jesus how long he had to keep forgiving someone, and the answer was something like "forever."