jesus, politics, justice, mission & life


“I do discuss it, just not the way people want me to”

Carl Lentz is super trendy these days with his Hillsong Congregation in NYC. With the celebrity sightings at his church and the hip factor, I have not known what to make of the church. But with all of Hillsong’s recent media coverage on the topic of homosexuality, they have been hard to ignore. First, influential leader and Hillsong Church’s pastor Brian Houston opened the doors by not refusing to take a stance on the subject. Then Carl Lentz took it a step further and welcomed gays into his church.

Below is the comment from Lentz that is getting a lot of buzz:

“Jesus was in the thick of an era where homosexuality, just like it is today, was widely prevalent.  And I’m still waiting for someone to show me the quote where Jesus addressed it on the record in front of people.  You won’t find it because he never did,” he said.

That’s true and points to the Christian culture’s obsession with making their voice heard on the issue. And though I like that quote, I love this one:

“I do discuss [homosexuality], just not the way people want me to,” he says.


The media often baits pastors or church leaders in to taking a side and regardless of their stance, they are likely to get blasted from those holding an opposing view. Almost weekly, a new pastor or congregational leader feels the need to tell everyone they can about how they feel on the subject. However, it is not a topic that should be debated on the airwaves of cable news or through religion magazines. It’s an internal subject. When Christians fight in the public arena, they often lose attractiveness to those they are fighting about.

The other thing Lentz and Houston refuse to fall in to is this yes or no, right or wrong, black or white narrative. Houston says it this way, “the real issues in people’s lives are too important for us just to reduce it down to a yes or no answer in a media outlet. So we’re on the journey with it.” Critics will be quick to call this a cowardly comment. They will talk about the church going soft and how this is just part of the decline of Christianity in the US. But I think it’s a strong and powerful statement. Houston is saying his Church’s doors are open for people to work their issues out. His church is a place where everyone has a story and that story often cannot be simplified to a “right or wrong” comment by a pastor.

To be clear, there are sins. I don’t believe the Church should accept sin as the norm. But more than that, I believe that Jesus went after those that the pharisees and sadducees discounted because of their sin. Today is no different.

Lentz, Houston and Hillsong have already received push back from other religious leaders and that is not likely to stop. But I hope they don’t back off from their stance. The church they lead is more likely to foster discussions of sexuality and be inclusive of all people no matter their sins.


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