A Southern Baptist and a Lesbian Couple Walk into a Bar…(Part I)

A friend of mine related a very interesting story to me the other day and I wanted to share it here*. He’s a lapsed Southern Baptist who is shopping around for a different denomination, but for the time being is Southern Baptist.

He was out getting a beer at a bar (as I said, a lapsed Southern Baptist), sitting outside enjoying the beautiful weather. Apparently some guy was smoking his cigar and blowing it in the direction of a lesbian couple trying to enjoy their early dinner. My friend gave them a look that said, “Is he really doing this?” He then offered them his table since it wasn’t downwind of the man with the cigar. They laughed and said it was okay and then invited him to sit with them. He happily obliged and enjoyed a great conversation. Of course, he was reading a book while he was there that was theological in nature and it caught the eye of one of the ladies at the table. From here I’ll try to duplicate the conversation as best as I can from what he told me (we’ll call the ladies Jane and Sally):

Jane: “So what is that you’re reading?”

My Friend: “It’s a book on how we’re all made in the image of God.”

Jane: “Oh, so are you studying that for a class or are you religious?”

MF: “I’m reading it for fun, I’m a Christian.”

Sally: “Oh, so you must really hate us” (she said this with nervous laughter)

MF: “Not at all. Like I said, we’re all in the image of God, so to hate you would be the same as hating myself.”

Jane: “Oh, so you’re one of those Christians who doesn’t see a problem with homosexuality?”

MF: “Well…I do see the act of homosexuality as a sexual sin, but we all sin.”

Sally: “Yeah, I’ve heard that before. ‘Love the sinner, hate the sin’ and all that. But in the end you still think we’re going to Hell. Why do you think so low of us for falling love, for simply doing what we are?”

MF: “There’s a lot in that statement! Look, I’m really enjoying my time with you and I’d love to unpack that statement, but if my presence is offending you then I can leave.”

Jane: “No, go ahead and talk, I want to hear what you have to say.”

MF: “Alright, but if I start making you angry just let me know. First, I think the whole ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ statement is really stupid. I get the sentiment, but even the way it’s worded is wrong. ‘Sinner.’ It still calls people ‘sinners.’ And yeah, we’re all sinners, but I think we know that. We should just love people, which means we’ll hurt for them when they’re caught in sin.”

Sally: “So we’re ‘caught in sin!’ It’s still the same thing!”

MF: “We’re all caught in sin. Both of you have kids, how have you felt when they’ve harmed themselves thinking they’d enjoy it?”

Sally: “But homosexuality doesn’t harm me.”

MF: “Think about it through a Christian perspective just for one second. From what we’ve talked about I can tell you’re a great mother. How would you feel if she brought home a guy that made her happy, but you could tell just wasn’t good for her? What if this guy led her away from you? Wouldn’t her decision to be with a guy you know is wrong for her negatively impact your relationship?”

Sally: “Yeah, it would, but that’s different.”

MF: “And I’m not here to convince you otherwise, just to give you my perspective. So if her actions would harm your relationship, would you still love her and even desire after a deeper relationship with her?”

Sally: “Of course I would! Nothing could change my love for my daughter!”

MF: “But that’s how God feels about you and every single person in this world. I know that you think sin sends you to Hell, but it doesn’t. Sin erodes our relationship with God and while He loves us and desires after us, our choice to act in sin prevents Him from engaging with us. We’re His rebellious daughters going after what we desire, but He knows that ultimately what we desire isn’t good for us.”

Jane: “So are you saying we’re not going to Hell? Do you believe we all go to Heaven?”

MF: “It’s not my position to say which individual will or will not go to Heaven. That’s completely up to God. I will say that some will go to Hell, but that’s the wrong focus. It shouldn’t be a focus on Heaven or Hell, but on our relationship with God. Sin doesn’t become something we avoid through a set of rules we follow, it becomes something that harms our relationship with God. For instance, Jane, you don’t cheat on Sally because of some rule, but because you love her, right?”

Jane: “Yeah, but it’s kind of a rule that if either of us cheated it’d be over.”

MF: “No, that’s a consequence that we treat as a rule. The reality is that love is a very real thing, perhaps the thing that makes everything else real…”

Sally: “Now you’re just being too philosophical.”

MF: “Ah, I’m sorry. That’s just a view I have on creation, that because God is love and reality, that love makes everything real since He created out of love. I won’t bore you or run off on that rabbit trail. Anyway, because love does exist and is more than an emotional feeling, when that love is violated we feel real hurt. That’s not a rule anymore than scraping your knee from falling off a bike will result in pain is a rule; it’s just a natural consequence. So sin the the same thing with us and God. It’s us going against what He wants for us, which results in natural consequences because those things aren’t good for us to begin with.”

Jane: “But how does that make homosexuality a sin? How are Sally and I hurting God or hurting our relationship with Him?”

MF: “Well there’s a lot of debate and beliefs behind that. Honestly, outside of having a relationship with Christ and understanding His reason for sex and marriage and family life, I really don’t see how anyone could understand it. I’d say that it’s far more important to have a relationship with Him first and then deal with obstacles, so why talk about an issue that would be later down the road?”

Sally: “So is there where you ask us to pray a prayer with you?”

MF: “Not at all! I’m just trying to have a friendly conversation with you and explain my position. You could never accept Christ, but I’d still like to be your friend.”

Jane: “So you don’t think low of us, but you think we’re sinners. I don’t get it.”

MF: “I think you’re struggling with it because we Christians have failed to love sinners. There’s an account in the Bible about Jesus talking to a woman who was getting water at a well. He confronted her because she had been married multiple times and was living with a guy who wasn’t her husband. He never shied away from the fact she was in sin, He just didn’t go on and on about it. Instead, He displayed who He was and that forgiveness was found in Him. Same with the woman the religious leaders wanted to kill; He never said she wasn’t sinning, He just loved her and forgave her, asking her to stop sinning. But that’s just how Jesus is; He’s always around the prostitutes and the druggies, He’s always around sinners, because while He knows they’re sinning, He wants to build a relationship with them to help them stop sinning and hurting themselves. So I try to look at you as Christ would look at you; yeah, you’re sinning, but you’re His creation, His image, so what excuse to I have not to love you or treat you as His daughters?”

Sally: “Wow…”

Jane: “I’ve never heard any Christian put it this way before. I still think you’re ignorant though…”

MF: “I promise you that I’m very ignorant! Just maybe not on this, but who knows. I’d love to talk about them more, or we could talk about something else entirely.”

At that point, they exchanged numbers and the couple invited him over to dinner. He hasn’t gone to dinner yet, but it was interesting.

Tomorrow I want to offer my analysis on the whole conversation and what I think was at play. What can be seen now is the civility and love, that love calmed the situation down and allowed both sides to talk.


* Some parts or all parts may or may not be a conversation that took place in one mind in order to prove a point, or the context actually did occur and sentences have been changed to protect the identity of those in the conversation. Or it could all be true. Who knows (the one true part is the love that existed between my friend and the couple).


2 thoughts on “A Southern Baptist and a Lesbian Couple Walk into a Bar…(Part I)

  1. I see the Christian as a kind fellow who nonetheless should have stood stronger for love the sinner, not the sin.
    I guess he couldn’t. You see, there is repentance, not only for sin in general, but for particular sins. But the Christian’s love is greater than his or her “demand” for repentance. We understand that the desire to repent comes from within and is a result of Divine regeneration of the soul dead in its trespasses. The lesbians are harmed because they are further disrupting their relationship with Almighty God. They are immoral. However, one of the reasons for the Word of God is, we are told, to correct. He is correcting them, but that does not mean he hates them. I might even say, I am correcting you, but I don’t hate you. I am advising you what the Holy Scriptures say, but I personally have no animosity, resentment, hatred, etc. towards you. Or, if the entire conversation is just too “heavy” or unpleasant, then he can leave them alone. Paul notes that he intends to leave them to their reprobate lifestyle. I therefore think it’s legitimate to do that.

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