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E-vangie Tales #74 “The Shepherd of Brokeback Mountain”

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“We’re here! We’re queer! Get used to it!”

That was the ominous chant I heard twenty years ago on a news program from a pro-gay group called “Act-Up!” I didn’t think much about it then—after all, this was some strange, fringe, radical group that would never make an impact with their in-your-face methods. Boy, was I ever wrong! They’re here. I’m a Christian. What am I going to do about it?!

I ordered my coffee from the polite Barista at Starbucks and asked if he ever thought about where he would go when he died. “I don’t want to talk about this right now,” he said.

“Oh c’mon,” I pleaded with a smile. “Where do you think you would go, Heaven or Hell?”

“I don’t know,” he answered.

In a voice just above a whisper I encouraged him to stay with me because it was very important that we find out. “Have you ever lied?”

He nodded.

“Stolen anything?”

He reluctantly nodded again, then said, “I really don’t want to talk about religion…”

At this point I admit to pushing the envelope a little. I thought about it afterward (I’m not sure I would do this again), but the reality of Hell compelled me, and I didn’t want this poor guy to go there. I looked behind me; no one was in line. I spoke in a firm whisper and stated the obvious, “Look. I haven’t paid you yet.” I smiled again. “You kinda have to talk with me.”

He conceded the point.

“Jesus said that if you look at a woman lustfully you have committed adultery already with her in your heart. Have you ever looked at a woman with lust?”

There was a too-long pause. The Barista hung his head and looked up at me from beneath his baseball cap. I repeated the question, “Have you ever looked at a woman with lust?”

He shook his head “no” ever so slightly, so none of his co-workers could see.

In an even softer voice—respecting his reluctance—I restated the question. “Have you ever looked at a man with lust?”

He nodded “yes” without looking me in the eye.

What do you think I did? Shake my head in disgust and walk away? Pay quickly and leave him to face God’s wrath when he dies? Laugh and roll my eyes?

What would Jesus do, indeed?

I’m not exactly sure what Jesus would do; I don’t think he ever drank coffee anyway… maybe a Mocha Frapp. I do know that He wouldn’t condemn him. He wouldn’t shake His finger in his face. He wouldn’t pull out his big, big, Bible with the ribbon bookmark and shout, “Leviticus 18 says, ‘Thou shalt not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination!’” He wouldn’t wear a Christian “hate” T-shirt either. Nor organize rallies against…against…against…

Why wouldn’t Jesus do these things? Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

Is homosexuality a sin? You bet it is. But so is heterosexual immorality—so is lying, stealing, murder and blasphemy. God won’t send Mr. Barista to Hell for being gay; he’ll send him there because he has broken God’s commandments, sinned against God, and has rejected Jesus Christ as the only sacrifice for sins.

That’s why I pushed the envelope in a respectful, gentle—yet insistent way. That’s why I wasn’t thrown off my game plan. And that’s why I asked him the very next question without missing a beat: “Have you ever used God’s name in vain?”

I loved this guy so much I had to tell him that he was a liar, thief, adulterer and blasphemer. I loved this guy so much that I had to tell him that God would find him guilty of breaking His Commandments on Judgment Day. I loved this guy so much that I had to tell him of his eternal destiny in Hell if he didn’t repent and trust Jesus.

“I’m Jewish,” he replied.

“Then you’re missing your Messiah.” I told him to please consider what I said as I paid for my coffee and thanked him for listening. He admitted that the conversation was not that bad.

Every time I see him now, I just warmly say, “Hello.” I don’t need to say anything else. I want him to see Christ in me. I want him to see a nice Christian.

Because Jesus is the only man I want this guy to be attracted to.

15 Comments

  1. Pastor Steve,
    I’m glad you re-posted this experience, even though it was from a couple years ago. There’s plenty of lessons to be learned here, particularly the last comment about wanting him to only be attracted to Christ Jesus!
    thanks so much!
    Matt

  2. Thanks for posting this. It’s a great story. I knew a Christian woman who hated gays. (Because her daughter had been married until her husband decided he wanted a divorce so he could marry his boyfriend.) I had to point out to her that yes, homosexuality was a sin but so was lying, stealing, gossip and who of us hasn’t done those things. I told her that Jesus died for that young man just like he died for her and I.

  3. Pick and Mix Christianity at it’s finest. With a dash of Jerky Evangilism for good measure.

  4. BathTub,

    How is this “Pick and Mix Christianity”?

  5. Invoking Leviticus for the cherry picked Sin you want and ignoring all the rest.

  6. BathTub,

    How is talking plainly to someone “Jerky Evangelism” and who “Cherry Picked”? I didn’t focus on the man’s homosexuality at all; it was about his general sin.

    Man, you are way too sensitive down there on that little island. But that’s okay, sensitive guys need the Gospel too!

  7. Steve wrote: “How is talking plainly to someone “Jerky Evangelism”?

    Because the barista twice (at least) stated that he didn’t want to talk about it. When someone (especially someone you don’t personally know) says that they don’t want to talk about something, and you push them on that subject, that’s jerky.

    Think about it, Steve. How do you like it when people do that to you?

  8. “Look. I haven’t paid you yet.” I smiled again. “You kinda have to talk with me.””

    “I haven’t paid yet, you have to talk to me” You yourself acknowledge you were pushing the envelope and probably wouldn’t do it again.

    I already responded to the cherry picker, you had to moderate my last response.

    You know Leviticus is full of sins you don’t care about anymore. Yet you invoked it in your effort to guilt trip the guy you were forcing to listen to you.

    Ah I love the caring insult. The refuge of bigoted idiots from the northern hemisphere… hey I say it in love!

  9. Hey Steve, do you still see that barista? If you still do, you might want to try greeting him with Shalom instead of Hello? He should know what it means and may realize that you still care for him as Jesus would and hope to grant him peace. Might break the ice even more since he claims to be Jewish. Just a thought. God bless

  10. Wow – I had passed over this thread. Steve, you really don’t see a problem with confronting people while they’re working, specifically, while you are the paying customer?

    This person told you twice that he didn’t want to pursue it.

    He couldn’t walk away – you were withholding payment.

    He couldn’t say anything else – you could have complained to his boss.

    Anything louder would have caused a scene – not something his employer would appreciate.

    You trapped him. This is even worse than than preaching in a closed elevator because he had to make sure he wouldn’t get in trouble with his boss. Nice of you to put him in that position.

    Steve, is there anything this man could have done to get you to leave him alone AND would have been acceptable behavior for a retail clerk on the job?

    • You’ve got to understand this: there was no one in line behind me. If there were I wouldn’t have spent this two minute conversation with him. Also, please re-read my post “The Drowning Woman.” Remember, this was a two minute conversation and there was no one in line. It was private and low-key.

      The next time I visited. I just said “Hi!”

  11. So? Steve, he was working – therefore it wasn’t private. It wasn’t his own time.

    It wasn’t low-key — He told you twice he didn’t want to continue.

    It was coerced — You were a customer withholding payment until he played your game.

    I’m glad you just say hi now, but you really owe him a huge apology.

  12. Cancel that — If he was working he’d have no choice but to accept it.

  13. Hehe, Leviticus is a funny book, that’s where the whole, man not laying with man thing comes from, but no one seems to read a lot of the others or adhere to them.
    Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.
    Leviticus 19:28
    – So God says no tattoos, I’ve seen a TON of Christians with Tattoos, crosses even, I guess they’re default hell bound, if they die with a tattoo on their skin.
    -27 Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.
    – So those of you who ditch your beards, well you’re hellbound too, Steve you have to start growing your beard man, otherwise you’re going to be in trouble.
    Some say that these are in reference to pagan practices that were held at the time, but if its in the Bible it can not be dismissed at all regardless of whether or not its modern times, no tattoos, no haircuts, and no beard trimmings. Period.

    “…and the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you.” (Leviticus 11:7)
    – No swine or you’re going to hell.

    …do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear material woven of two kinds of material.” (Leviticus 19:19)

    – So pretty much every modern farmer is guilty of this and every modern person wearing clothing is guilty of this. We have sinned because of this and are destined for hell. For clothing preference.

    “But all in the seas or in the rivers that do not have fins and scales, all that move in the water or any living thing which is in the water, they are an abomination to you.” (Leviticus 11:10)

    – Oh so no shellfish either. Oops.

    If you want to look to the Book of Leviticus to condemn homosexuality you can’t pick and choose, that would just seen like discrimination. A scholar once asked Jesus, what is the GREATEST commandment, and his response was “The great commandment is this… to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the second command is like it, to love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Seems like to me, all others are secondary.

    • Thank You! If you broaden Leviticus to Old Testament you can add condoning slavery to your list of stupid bible versus. I’m too lazy to go search the verse but in exodus it says its ok to beat your slave as long as it takes a couple days for him to die. Even in the New Testament Jesus talks of slavery, but says nothing to condemn it. He even goes as far as to tell slaves that they should be good to their masters. Now there’s a God I want in charge of my morality! (Sarcasm, if anyone’s that simple)

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