Dear Five Oaks Family, The weekend's coming so there are a few things I want to share with you.
The friendship between Jonathan and David kept David strong in God during one of the darkest times in his life. Their commitment to each other and love for each others show us how spiritual friends strengthen each other in the Lord. That's the focus of this weekend's sermon in The David Story (1 Samuel).
Wesley Hill on "Why Can't Men Be Friends?: Men and women alike increasingly say they are lonely. It doesn't have to be this way"
As a single person, I acutely need intimacy and loyalty from my friends. I'm eager for them to say to me, "We love you because you're ours," without leaving an escape clause. Part of the reason I need that kind of friendship is because I don't think marriage is in my future. I'm gay, and also committed to the traditional Christian view that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. When I contemplate a lifetime of celibacy, I know I want committed friends who will walk beside me on the journey.
Mark Yarhouse on "Understanding the Transgender Phenomenon: The leading Christian scholar on gender dysphoria defines the terms—and gives the church a way forward"
A few years ago, my research team at the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity conducted the first study of its kind on transgender Christians. We collected information on 32 biological males who to varying degrees had transitioned to or presented as women. We asked many questions about issues they faced in their home, workplace, and church, such as, “What kind of support would you have liked from the church?” One person answered, “Someone to cry with me rather than just denounce me. Hey, it is scary to see God not rescue someone from cancer or schizophrenia or [gender dysphoria]...but learn to allow your compassion to overcome your fear and repulsion.”
One More Thing
Once again the Bryant's small group, together with several of their friends and family joined together to offer VBS at an apartment complex filled with Karen refugee children. Here's Kristen Brayant's email to me sharing her joy (and don't miss the pictures below):
We had another great Karen VBS. This year we had 127 kids attend, and 23 kids made first time decisions to accept Christ. That is something to celebrate! The highlight for me was when my daughter came over to me all excited that she helped 3 little kids accept Christ. What an amazing thing it is to see my own child stepping up and sharing the love of Christ with someone. That is what I really love about the Karen VBS, the opportunity to serve as a family.