Would you share a table with them?


In the recent news coverage of gay couples marrying in California, you might have overlooked an event that began in May called “American Family Outing.” MySanAntonio.com reports that gay couples supported by Soulforce, an Austin, Texas civil rights organization, contacted six mega churches requesting that a church staff member have dinner with a gay couple to dialogue about the church and gay issues. The article contained the following quote:

Jeff Lutes, executive director of Soulforce, the Austin-based civil rights and social organization spearheading the outing, said the group was essentially asking churches: Can you show hospitality to strangers with whom you disagree?

“Having a meal and talking with us does not mean that you support our beliefs,” he said. “It’s simply people coming together and bridging a divide. We’re just hoping that somehow, someway we can get a little bit past the divisiveness around this issue.”

Lakewood Church, Joel Osteen’s church, was one of the churches contacted. Soulforce was told by Lakewood that their staff did not have time to have a meal with the couple, but that anyone was welcome to visit their services. Saddleback is in discussion with the group, Willow Creek met with them, and others are considering it. The Family Research Council has taken the approach of organizing “Church Crisis Response Teams”  to counter the group’s approach. Jay Bakker, son of Jim and Tammye Faye Bakker, is acting as liaison between the mega churches and the gay group. Lots of folks getting in the act.

What would you do? Would you share a meal with a gay couple to “dialogue?” Or do you think there’s nothing to dialogue about, and would decline? What media risk is there to either position? Is this just a political stunt, or a sincere attempt to open the lines of communication? I have a hunch these issues are going to be with us a long time. How would you respond?

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8 Comments

  1. Sadly, I know the answer to that question: I asked a group of christians if they would visit me in jail, or feed me if I was poor and hungry. The answer that I received was “IFyou asked.” I’m not sure the exact verse where Jesus says “do this to the least of these, if they ask.” Nor do I know where Jesus calls us to “tolerate one another as I have tolerated you.”

    Yes, that’s how the gospel is being lived by many people. I am a gay christian, and have been both all my life. I’m thinking of dropping the title christian because of the negative baggage it carries. Perhaps I’ll just start calling myself a Child of God, who happens to be gay.

  2. Yes I would share a table. Why wouldn’t you? I want to follow Jesus in everything I do, and His table companions were not the folks with everything together, just the opposite. We could meet as equals since we’ve all sinned and fallen short, and are all in needy of God’s saving grace.

    Why in the world wouldn’t you? I don’t mean as a media stunt, but as a means of learning about another human being who God made in His image.

    Just blows me away.

    David

  3. Not sure how I would answer that question. I do know how I have answered questions brought up in the college Sunday School class that my husband & I co-teach with another couple. We in a very liberal college town home to one of the largest Universities in the country.

    Last, fall while studying either Matthew or Mark (can’t remember which one) we were asked how do you respond to gay friends, co-workers, etc. Where do you draw the line between moral absolutes and ministering/witnessing to the lost? All very tough questions, that I am still trying to come up with a good answer for. I know we have had some gay college students visit our church & they were accepted by the church. We have discussed loving the sinner but hating the sin. How to accept others without compromising personal standards.

  4. I think it is primarily a stunt…but now that the offer has been issued we ought to call their bluff. I would love to sit down with anyone for a meal and dialogue. I’m assuming everyone would come in to it with the hopes of understanding each other and not trying to change minds. They will know we are Christians by our love.

  5. Of course I would. Jesus shared table fellowship with everyone…no exceptions. Personally, I have no trouble with homosexuality…even theologically. That aside, Jesus ate with all kinds…even those who disagreed with him.

  6. Great comments, and thanks! Keith, I’m sorry your experience with Christians has been so disappointing. You are indeed a child of God. Thanks for your comments.

    David, Marcus, and Anglobaptist, Yes, I would share a table with them, too, stunt or not. But, as Dee points out, there are difficult questions that all of us are wrestling with.

    Thanks for the comments. Food for thought….

  7. Absolutely. I can’t think of a better thing to do. Jesus shared tables with lots of folks who were considered unclean in his day. And sin is all around us. Why does one sin get declared greater than any other when we all know that ALL sin separates from God. And if it is a stunt, why is it “calling a bluff” to respond. Was having dinner with a tax collector a stunt? Was calling Zaccheus out of the tree a stunt? How about that that third day rise from the dead thing? Whatever the motives, I’d certainly be more than happy to sit at the table with anybody who expressed a desire to open that divide the separates me from any other of God’s children.

  8. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t share a table with a gay couple. I mean its not like we are disease ridden, you can’t catch being gay. As for talking, I believe there can always be something to talk about, especially if someone is different from you. It’s not a bad thing to be open minded. If you are going to walk with the lord remember God is love. God is giving and gracious, God is not judgmental he is caring and forgiving.

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