A Lenten Prayer of Repentance for When We Have Failed Our Neighborhood

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After This — Luke 10:1

After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. Luke 10:1

After this…
Failure to love
I avoided my neighbour today
I saw her out of the corner of my eye and turned the other way
After this?

We knocked on the door only to learn that her husband had passed six months ago.
We didn’t know.
No one on our street knew.
After this?

I was trimming a tree out front and felt a tap on my shoulder.
I looked around and there was a little old lady standing there.
She said, “I’m moving tomorrow and after 37 years in this neighbourhood, I just thought someone should know.”
After this?

Seventeen dead in a high school hallway
Sexual harassment, loss of honesty,
Refugees, disasters and criminality
Bombs, boasts, bribes and brutality
Our racism, violence, prejudice and hypocrisy
After this?

The havoc wrecked on Your beautiful creation
The poverty—physical, emotional, relational, spiritual
We ignore or avoid
or allow
Our greed, materialism, selfishness, pride.
After this?

You appoint and send us.
You appoint and send us?! Luke 10:1
After we argue over who’s the greatest Luke 9:46-48
After we claim Your Name for ourselves
To the exclusion of others Luke 9:49-50
After we want to torch the whole village Luke 9:51-56
After we make so many excuses Luke 9:57-62
We’re still making excuses.
After this?

Forgive us, Lord.
For we know not what we do. Luke 23:34
Or do we? Sometimes we do…
And we still do—or don’t, when we should.
Though our sins be as scarlet, make us white as snow. Isaiah 1:18
Help us to forgive ourselves
and one another
and sometimes our neighbours
Though truth be told
It’s likely we need their forgiveness more than they need ours.
Remove the log in our eyes
that we might humbly come along side those with specks in their own.
Matthew 7:3,4
After this?

After this, may we know…
The Word has become flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. And we have seen the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. John 1:14

After this
May we know
Why You came
Why You lived among
How You showed us the Way
How much we needed You
Need You
To live,
To love
God WITH us.

After this
We know
May we know
You died for us
What burdens You bear
What grace You give
What love You share

After this
May we know
You rose from the grave
And continue to choose to hang out with us
To use us
To love us
To make us part of Your Story
—after this!

And you fill us with Your love

After this
Renew us again and again
Restore us – Send us
That we might remain Luke 10:7
Among and with our neighbours…the Kingdom come near!

After this then…
“Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God”. Revelation 21:3

[Artwork: Dangerous Confession by Erica Wilk]

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9 responses to “The McLaren-Driscoll Exchange on “the Homosexual Question”: On Posing a Different Question

  1. Thanks for your thoughtful post…I’m still chewing on the subject and aren’t too sure where I’ll land yet.

    I’m heading to St. Pete, Russia March 16th as well and hopefully will jaunt over to Moscow for a brief visit as well.

    Blessings on your travels!

  2. I deeply appreciated your comments on the dialogue (or lack thereof) regarding the homosexual issue. You presented a clear synthesis of thought that summed up quite nicely the tussle I had going on inside my brain after viewing the opposing viewpoints in the “Out of Ur” blog.

    One of the greatest criticisms I would raise of Brian McLaren is the waffling approach he gives to issues in his writing style. Don’t folks tend to say our greatest strength can be our greatest weakness? McLaren’s generosity (the desperate need for an effective and Christlike pastoral response to the homosexual issue) can move too far into the relativism Driscoll highlighted (rather disingenuously) and you put much more respectfully. Though McLaren addressed this eventually in his response to Driscoll, it seems to me he finds the most meaning in the gray areas of struggling with the question on an intellectual level and wading through conversations that stem out of this thought without feeling the need to take a (some would say) necessary stand on a tough issue.

    I love questions, and I’m into taking a gray area out of anti-intellectual or fear-driven black and white, but we need to stand for something, or we aren’t standing for anything, you know?

    Your words were practical and loving; a great example to follow as we seek to integrate necessary pastoral reflection and action with the necessity of taking a theological stand.

  3. I don’t think we have to spend even five minutes, let alone five years trying to figure out what kind of community we need to be.

    At the risk of sounding trite, I think it has already been defined. It’s just that MAYBE, just MAYBE, we aren’t happy with how Jesus has defined us. Jesus doesn’t need our help defining, He wants us to walk out what we already are.

  4. Hi David,

    I thought what you wrote very interesting. In my experience, to non-christians- towards whom Christians are directed in loving mission and service, from whom Christians derive their very raison d’etre- the christian revelation is often perceived as simply bizarre. Without the experience of the Holy Ghost what rational reason is there to believe that a transcendent, loving, self-scrificial God exists, let alone possesses a certain specific set of moral guidlines for people in the this world? Legalistic matters of moral conduct are staggeringly secondary to the imperative to preach and reveal the love of God in Christ. The question of the ‘status’ of homosexuality, is secondary to the fact that God loves all people, Masking the love of god behind a facade of moralism is cruel and gracelessly judgemental. The fact is many homosexuals love each other. Would Christians prefer that men hate each other as long as they dont sleep with one another? This puts the matter starkly but relevently I feel. If a gay person is to be persuaded of the inglorious nature of homosexuality, let the holy spirit gently, sensitively, and tenderly testify to that in his/her heart…something entirely impossible if that person comes no where near Christ on account of christians who rank law above love in a manner disturbingly reminiscent of the ancient manner of the pharisees. As Christians we may reprove and respectfully criticise one another but to judge non-chritians for a syle of behaviours which they account moral in thier own eyes is an outrageous affront to the gospel. In my opinion.

    Your 5 year plan I applaud. Christians must talk to , talk with and not talk at the world.

    God bless and enjoy your travels.


  5. and sorry about the spelling typos:) my fingers are not fully disciplined alas!

    I chose the word ‘inglorious’ after much thought and some hesitation. I link it to what I understand to be the definition of sin…falling short of the glory of God. Would it not be fair to say that many people fall short in this way, if not all, Christians as well as non-Christians…and also for many reasons other than their sexuality.

    Cau (central european spelling:)


  6. ” We need to be able to listen without clamoring to take up a side.”

    I have no idea actually how you do this with this issue or any issue. We all have beliefs right or wrong and some of them are wrong. Just talk to the people who think is is ok for the to try and persuade society that it is ok for adults to have sex with children and put it under the guise of “loving them”. My best man in college came out of his gay orientation and is the most vocal person on this issue that I know. This issue I predict will split the evangelical church and I am so pleased that the issue is going public. Dialogue is great but at some point all of us make up our mind. Many have made up their mind, many may need more dialogue, but they will be on one side or the other. It is the way life is and we should not be naive that we of the emergent church will be any different.



  7. […] Larry King revealing the emptiness of our sexual formation, it only gets worse. As I said way back here, , the broader evangelical church of my heritage has, generally speaking, not been the kind of […]

  8. […] conversation. This one is by David Fitch and nails it. Thanks for writing this David. He also has another post on the topic which is a good read responding to the back and forth conversation between Driscoll […]

  9. […] where we have the “thick language of Christian sexuality” to guide us.  Fitch doesn’t think that homosexuality is morally permissible.  But it’s hard to see where the line regarding public statements gets drawn.  Is the […]

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