Today was a smack in the face with how truly blessed I am. It was global awareness day at church, so obviously, we spent a lot of time talking about other countries. But to give us some perspective they offered some statistics from around the world. Do the research sometime; you will be shocked. Even though sometimes, as "poor" college students we feel like we don't have much, compared to the rest of the world, we are so blessed! We then spent some time in small group prayer for different countries around the world. I love how interactive this church is. And rather than just discuss an issue, it's presented and then we gather and talk to God about it. Why don't Christians always go to God so quickly?
But it was really interesting to pray for other countries while living in Ireland. All of a sudden, the United States becomes a foreign land and our problems something to offer up to God. It's funny that while we're living in America, we are less likely to turn to God about issues like the economy or elections on a daily basis. It's just something we do on the National Day of Prayer or some other big event But over here, it's on their list. Partially because they can relate to us. They know what it's like to be out of a job. In some ways, the circumstances my family is in has made it easier for me to relate to the people here. There is a sense of understanding and community that forms much more quickly.
On a random tangent... we were invited to go to a church in Dublin tonight to hear a fascinating testimony. The man is a single, Christian, pastor that is passionate about God and trying to follow Him faithfully. Not too unusual... except for one thing... he struggles with homosexuality. It was interesting that we had this invitation, considering this is a topic we were discussing as a group only a week or so ago. This pastor had a really great perspective on it, and I respected his position because it is part of his testimony. He believes that acting on homosexual desires is a sin, the same way that it is a sin for a heterosexual person to pursue their lusts. He also defines marriage as between one man and one woman based on Genesis 2, so he knows he will never be able to be married. The great thing about his talk was his emphasis on compassion. Too often the church turns its back on people who struggle with this and label it as a "worse sin." But it's not. He shared a tongue-in-cheek quote that really emphasized this point. I can't remember it exactly, but more or less, it pointed out that the Bible points out homosexuality as a sin 6 times, but over 300 times it lists sins that heterosexuals commit. Basically, yes it's a sin, but not any bigger or lesser than any other sin. Overall, I thought he did a good job presenting his position. He was honest, but extremely compassionate.
But I did have an interesting conversation with a woman after. She was really offended by the whole thing. Her sister is a lesbian so out of her love for her sister, she refuses to acknowledge homosexuality as a sin. We had a really good conversation about that. It does make it hard to say something is wrong if someone you love or you, yourself struggle with it. I guess that's when you have to know what you believe and why you believe it. And in the end, we must act with compassion and love.