Bling! Another message came in from a guy I was chatting with. I had an odd feeling I knew what was coming next but I was not prepared in the least for the words that came across my screen. “I lost my virginity.” Being his friend and understanding his faith, that took my breath away. What came next hit me like a T.K.O. “It was with another man.” The clicking of my computer all but stopped and there I sat, stunned and silent. How do I love him now that I know? Can I love him and still love God?
I knew in my heart things would be different now that he was out. I did what any dumb high school boy would do, I shunned him. I cut off communication out of anger and confusion. I wish I had a volume like Loving My (LGBT) Neighbor: Being Friends in Grace and Truth back then. Reading through this book I came across so much truth that I could have applied to our friendship then and spared some heart ache along the way. Though we are still good friends now and speak occasionally, I could have really used the practical advice Glenn Stanton brings in this hard-hitting volume on grace and truth.
Stanton begins by laying out a working definition we can use in going forward with understating who falls into the LGBT categories. Indeed the acronym here can include many more letters and is a multi-faceted application. “We can’t talk thoughtfully and productively about what we don’t understand.” (34) It is from this seeking after understanding that Glenn begins to build a bridge between the Christian and those in the LGBT community. He teaches us how to love in a winsome, and often hysterical way, those who hold a different worldview or lifestyle contrary to what the Word of God says.
In the closing chapters Glenn teaches us the best way to navigate the muddied waters of friendships, our homes and churches, and our society. He urges the Christian to be wise, truthful, and loving. He calls us out of the 4 walls of the church in an informed and influential manner. “Each believer lives in a particular generation with its own blessings, opportunities, challenges, and dangers; and thus, we are called to be faithful, discerning, and life-giving in the unique generation in which we are placed. To be able to do so requires that we be prophetic. It means that we learn to have eyes, ears, and hands that can see, hear, and touch the spirit of the age in which we live, knowing how to apply and live out God’s grace, truth, and life among our time.” (198)
Knowing of and having read a vast amount of writing that Glenn Stanton has done, I find that this volume fits perfectly into his understanding of the family, the culture, and the Scriptures. He writes from an informed and well-researched position. Knowing Glenn and being able to work alongside him in a ministry that feels so much of the weight culture is pressing on it and yet living out the Scriptures in a way that is both loving and orthodox, is an honor I would not trade so quickly. Being on the front lines of the debate between the Church and the culture is an odd place to be but it’s one crucially necessary for the bridges to be built that Glenn has so clearly shown us need to be built.