The Shepherd of Brokeback Mountain


In light of the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage today, here’s a re-post of an article I wrote back in 2006….


“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 alone 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 drank coffee…maybe a Mocha Frapp? I do know that He wouldn’t condemn this man. He would never shake a 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 his 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 I’d like him to be attracted to another man: the God-man, Jesus.


The Supremes Image Credit:


  1. I have no idea whether or not your barrista was impacted by your talk, but consider that he, like the Walmart woman and anyone else you have evangelized at their place of business is forced to tolerate you. They can not walk away and in most cases would lose their livelihood if they were less than polite to you.
    I have had people do this to me on my job. I am a manager at a data collection, market research firm and frequently deal with our clients customers, over the years some have tried to evangelize me. In my own time I could easily and cheerfully expose all of the flaws in their pitch but I could not do so while representing my company. My boss our area manager would not be offended by my doing so, her boss our division manager is as much a militant atheist as I am and would be amused, yet they both would fire me without a thought if I was in any way impolite or unprofessional towards even the most belligerent customer. Customer service is key to my job, our clients trust us to perform our services without disrupting their business. The barrista would have been fired had he not politely listened to your good person test. Evangelizing people at their work is extortion. Whether you mean to our not you are telling them “let me force my religion on you or lose your job.” This might get people to listen to you but it is more likely to create resentment towards your faith than converts to your faith.
    He may see you as a nice Christian but just as likely he sees you as someone who victimized him and continues to be polite to you simply because it is his job to be nice to you.

  2. Faithful as always to make the most of every oppoortunity. May this young man be granted a repentant heart.

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