Sunday, December 23, 2012

Advent & Adoption

Today was the fourth Sunday of Advent. As a person who did not grow up in churches that practice Advent, it is still a new tradition to me. I love watching the candles being lit as we all pray and anxiously await the arrival of Christ. This day Advent was made more real to me as I looked over and saw the Burdett family. The Burdetts first starting going to my home church (Servant Church - Austin) the same time I did, at the time they were childless, today they have two beautiful children and during the service one of them was snuggling with Grandma Burdett as she comforted him because his finger was hurting. She held him like she had known him his whole life, but she only met this child a few months ago. The Burdett’s beautiful children were adopted from Uganda, and what’s interesting to me is how much adoption is like Advent.
During Advent we await the arrival of Jesus Christ, we wait like Mary did for 9 months, although Advent only lasts a month. During adoption the future parents wait to be matched with children like the Burdetts did, they waited for months until one day they got the call, they would become parents to these precious gifts from God. They flew to a foreign land to gather their children and then they waited for weeks in a hotel until the country of Uganda legally turned the children over to them, then they returned to the United States and waited until the US government allowed their children to become US citizens. Adoption, like Advent, involves a lot of waiting and a lot of trusting in God. And as we wait and trust in God, God assures us that our waiting will not be in vain, God has not left us, God is here. The Burdetts will not be left without children, their children will rise up and call them blessed. Christ is coming, all we have to do is trust and wait.

You can read more about the Burdett's adoption story on their blog about it:

Monday, December 17, 2012

My attempt at a book review of Torn by Justin Lee

I have never written a review for a book before, which is strange because I read books all the time. This book, Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs,-Christians Debate is different. Justin Lee tells his life story in these pages, and yet he also tells the story of the Church, and the stories hundreds of thousands of Christians that have struggled in this “culture war”. He doesn't just tell his story he tells my story, and the story of my friends who left the Church because it refused to show them grace. He tells the story of parents who had to leave their churches because their children were not safe there, he speaks of families that separate because of the dogma the Church promotes, and he does it all so brilliantly from the perspective of an Evangelical Southern Baptist gay man that wants to serve the Lord.
As Lee continues to immerse the reader in his own personal story he uses others’ stories to continue not only moving his story forward but working in theological information and well as the history of the Church’s opinions and reactions to gay people. His in depth analysis of “Ex-gay ministries” as well as on “Queer Theology” is done from the position of a layman making it more understandable and relatable. He ends the book by giving practical ways the Church and individual Christians can work to bring unity instead of division on the issues that homosexuality may bring up, and he does it in an unbiased fashion.

I found myself drawn to Lee’s story and even more so to the passion he has for serving Christ and the Church. In this book I saw the future of the Church and its role in hosting healthy conversation about sexuality, and more importantly about the people these conversations effect. I strongly recommend every Christian read this book, because in it there is so much information that we as Christians need to learn in order to be faithful and gracious disciples of Christ.