Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gay Boltz

Not making fun of his "sound" - Ray Boltz actually came out of the closet and is now an admitted homosexual. Gay Ray. Gay Boltz. I'm sure the nicknames will continue for (g)a(y)ges.

Many of you remember Ray Boltz. In the late 80's/early 90's, he became really famous for a couple of hit "Christian" songs, "Thank You" and "Watch the Lamb". These were big songs and I remember, growing up in a Southern Baptist setting, hearing these played all over the place. I even saw a video where Boltz - mustache, mullet and all - was at a home group meeting with a bunch of elderly women and singing the words "Thank you, for giving to the Lord - I am a life that was changed". As he sang these words, tears dripped down from the old and gray eyes of the women listening. I thought to myself "HOW CHEESY!" (remember the word Cheesy got big in the 90s) - all Ray was doing was making of bunch of old Christian ladies cry by playing on their religious emotions. I've become a lot more understanding over the years, that many people are touched by that song, because in ministry, you never hear "Thank you" as much as you hear complaints and whining.

Now, years later, in a liberal, post-modern, and post-Christian culture; in a world where just about nothing is shocking any more, I found myself saddened and slightly even shocked by yet another famous Christian singer stepping outside the bounds of his self-proclaimed faith and defying what it stands for. No Christian is perfect, and we are all sinners who have been restored undeservedly by God's grace. However, while Christians often feel repentent, and try to be "better" when they are selfish, angry, violent, alcoholics, or addicts (among many other biblically defined "sinful" lifestyles), "Christians" such as Ray Boltz embrace homosexuality and advocate it loudly.

For a moment, let's look around the homosexuality issue. Consider the fact that Ray divorced his wife of over 30 years. Now ask yourself, if he did this for another woman, or a beastiality issue, or a sexual affair with a minor, what would become of his ministry? He would be publicly shamed and the media would show how yet another "Christian" is no different than the disgusting world around us. However, instead churches are applauding him for his openness about his sinful lifestyle. Sadly, he even flaunts it on the front of his website, talking about how he would not be "accepted" in many churches. Instead of being accepted into a Christ-loving church and coming to Christ just as he is and finding freedom to change and be who God made him to be, he goes to a church that pats him on the back for being "just as he is" and tells him to never change.

In his coming-out interview, Boltz mentioned "we all suffer with our humanity". Sadly, rather than "putting to death the flesh" as the Bible says, or being "crucified with Christ, and yet I live, not I but Christ who lives within me", Boltz has decided to embrace and remain shackled to the fallen flesh of humanity rather than transcend it through freedom in Christ. (the picture to the right is Ray Boltz, not Ricky Gervais)

Now I turn this back on the true Christian church: because of our shaming people for their sinfulness instead of embracing them and working with them to overcome it, we see churches sending homosexuals, unwed pregnant teens, and adulterous couples away, and where do they go? To churches that help them get abortions, divorces, and become proud of their homosexuality.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Mercer University Seeking Muslim Converts

Mercer University, where I completed my undergraduate degree, has announced it will be bringing in a Muslim speaker from Egypt to "raise awareness" for Muslims, and to teach the students to have "respect and understanding" of Muslims.

Mercer was originally founded as a "Baptist" University, and for many years was affiliated with and supported by the Georgia Baptist Convention. Recently, the convention pulled support and disaffiliated when the University sponsored a GLBT (Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered) "Coming Out Day", and the state-wide publicity upset the evangelical conservative community, many of whom had sent or were planning to send their children to attend the school. This move was a long-time coming event, and the University was well-prepared to face the removal of funds, having set up a tight connection with the ironically named "Cooperative" baptist fellowship, a branch of moderates/liberals that "seceded" from the conservative evangelical Southern Bapitst Convention.

On the basic level, the University's Islamic effort could be very positive - to teach the students to share a respect and compassion for a people of a certain faith, especially one which is not the "majority" faith of the University's demographic. However, what the University is doing is much different than simply an "awareness" project.

The school also intends to " infuse its curriculum with a greater emphasis on, and understanding of, the Muslim world." See the article

Ultimately, the school is allowing a well-known Muslim spokesperson to come "share their faith" with the school, and further, to demand that students learn about this faith in an academic setting. It can't hurt to learn about another faith, but when combined with the effects of removing the foundation of Christian faith from Christians by absolutely refuting the Bible's authority in the "Christianity" classes (I know from experience), what is developing is a grand effort to form a notable number of converts from Christianity to Islam.