Friday, April 20, 2007

Condom Evangelism

Can I just say a big thank you for yesterdays comments, it's great that we can chat these things through without anyone getting offensive, I loved watching it unfold, this makes blogging worthwhile.

I hadn't really thought about the condoms and lighters being an issue, it was more a plea for help with regards Computers and Bibles

So please if you know anyone who could help let me know, and thanks for all the stuff with regards websites and offers of help people have already given. In all honesty I was more worried that using my blog in a shameless plea for money and resources would be more offensive than condoms and lighters!!! I didn't want to abuse your friendship.

Anyway, what do I think about Condoms being given out? well as Jonah said people will have sex whether we give them a condom or not, and most people if they have a condom handy will use it, but if they don't have a condom they will probably just go ahead and have unprotected sex. Unprotected sex sometimes leads to the tranmission of deseases and also unwanted pregnancy. So if we can stop that happening by providing a condom, so be it. We haven't put our logo on the condoms or anything like that, we couldn't afford it. But heres the deal for me "Mercy triumphs over judgement" everytime, without fail, totally, grace, grace, grace, grace. Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead, he's the judge not us! Right now we just need to love people, yes of course there are things we don't agree with and they will need challenging but in a gracious way.

Tough love doesn't exist, not the witholding and punishing kind of love, that's not love! or the love that says let them make mistakes they will eventually turn to Jesus, that's not love. When they are in a hospitable bed dying of AID's, or being told they are infertile, they aren't going to be searching out the nearest Christian to say "thanks for not giving me that condom, I appreciated your tough love!". This is the kind of "love" that doesn't do anything to cure the problem but just stands outside abortion clinics abusing poor women who have made a mistake. It's not a very well thought through concept when it comes to loving people, it appeals to us because it makes life less messy and ,means we can just hand out judgement and platitudes without actually engaging with people. Mercy, grace, love, forgiveness, acceptance this is the way of the cross, now that's a tougher way to love.

Lighters, well they are a fun evangelistic tool. I was talking to a villa owner last night and he wants a load to put in his welcome packs for guests on the island. I love it, posh people coming to rent out exclusive villas end up with a little Jesus fire in their visitors pack!!!

I have been reading the gospel of John this week. As I look at it I am reassured that right here right now we are doing the right thing.

But I am happy if you don't agree with me, thank you all for reading and contributing. Don't forget we need Bibles and Computers!!!!


john heasley said...

Brian, really glad you have made a statement on yesterdays blog,because some of the comments quite scared and frustrated me, and I feel i might have made an angry comment. give out more condoms

Karen said...

Bibles and computers! Got it! ;-D

Did you say, in the last post, where one might be able to make a simple contribution? I was too distracted with the other "interesting items" in the packet to take note. lol But really, if I were to help out financially with the project, paypal would be an easy way?

Maybe something on your sidebar that says: Contributions for outreaches can be made via...
Just wondering/suggesting. And for the record, I'm not bothered at all to hear that you have need of support with your ministry outreach. It allows us have a tiny bit of involvement, even when we live somewhere else around the world.

So thanks for asking.

Sheena said...

I'm glad you asked for feedback about the condoms because I did have some, but didn't feel like it was the place to jump on the last post.

We have a ministry here in Portland called Can We Help?, one of our targets is street kids and homeless adults. We give out water, snacks, socks, deodorant, toothpaste and tooth brushes, "girl" get the idea. We pray for people if they want prayer and the moment opens up. We also have a person on each team that is a "resource specialist" with a binder that has all the various service agency access info for the city. Anything from rental assistance to temporary housing, to free meals to Native American or veteran services. The idea is that there are lots of homeless in Portland, and they come here because there are so many services for homeless, but nobody can figure out how to access them. We help them with that.

As you can imagine, we aren't the only ones on the streets giving food and dignity items (that's what I call them) to the street kids. Another group that isn't faith-based does that as well, but they give out clean needles and condoms. When we started all of this we really prayed about what we should and shouldn't be giving, and the bottom line was that if we were the light we should behave as the light. I think this is what it means to be in but not of the world. It's letting your light so shine before men that they see your good works and glorify God. I don't see them glorifying God because they got condoms.

There's almost no love for Christians in this city, but there is respect for those of us that are in the same place every week, willing to help them with anything from hunger to pregnancy counseling. I don't think the "they'll do it anyway" argument is appropriate. To me it's not different than giving a suicidal man a good noose since he would just suffer more if he didn't get it right. Jesus didn't have grace for sin, He had grace for sinners. And He told them to go and sin no more. The power of God is the power to break the grip of sin on our lives. I think giving out condoms is to deny that power.

We are seeing kids get off the streets and lives change. We don't tell them what to do or preach at them. We just do what God asked us to do, and we don't try to be something we aren't...and we aren't slaves to sin.

Funny enough though, I don't have an issue with the lighters.

Sorry if this was a bit blunt. I just want to be honest with you.

Mimo said...

Love what you are saying Brian.

And - this is the best place to post your needs, how else would we know! :)

Anonymous said...

This is Brian, good name huh :), aka anon from yesterday that had the intial comments about the condoms...anyway Brian I just want to say love and blessings to you and your team there and all the people coming this summer to help you....we agree to disagree on the topic of passing out condoms but I know we agree that Christ is the answer for all our needs and we are part of the same family in that you are in Ibiza brother let your light shine!! :)

Brian Heasley said...

Thanks brian, It's a great name, it means "strong warrior" I appreciate your comments thanks for stirring up some good debate. I think when you have to defend why you do things it helps you look long and hard if you are doing it for the right reasons? Your comments and the other including you Sheena have made me think about giving out the condoms and in all honesty I feel okay with still going ahead and doing it. I respect your opinions this is just a blog I hope I never try to force my opinions on anyone but love the conversations we have.

Brian Heasley said...

I will put a button on my side bar for donations as soon as I work out how to do it.

Brian Heasley said...

Mimo, I think you could be right it might be and American church thing!

Carla said...

Hey Brian,

Love the post, love the debate, love the mature responses. Interestingly I am 24-7er, a UKer and I'm uncomfortable about the condoms. I decided to post just to break down the soft Euro/US devide.

For me the issue is endorsement. Absolutely we cannot expect people that have not yet expereinced the love of Jesus, to respond to that love by rejecting the parts of their behaviour that hurt Him. Equally we need to ask what impression we're giving a stranger receiving a condom from "Church". It's kitsch, it's cool but will they see past the gimic? If all they recieve is the condom and never the relationship to put it's presence in context I would say that is irresponible endorsement.

Here's why I don't mind the Ibiza team giving them out - context & relationship. These welcome packs are backed up by friendship, a chance to meet people who put our grace/love into context and live differently... I trust Brian and the team. I know that Brian and Tracy are the kind of people that would have thought carefully about this. So - God bless you guys with discernment and deep friendships to give context to that condom. xc

Jenelle said...

Carla, thanks for your comments. What you add about relationship and context is what does it for me, too. I trust Brian and his team to listen to God for the people their hearts bleed over.

Anon, thanks for unveiling your name!

Brian, I can help you get a Paypal button on your blog. You need one so people can give when they get itching.

Brian in NC said...

Hey Brian again, man some great stuff everybody has been posting, I love this :)) Carla and Jenelle read your stuff and I thought what you put was great, its not a Europe or USA thing its a God thing right yall :)

There was one thing I wanted to add because I kno that Brian spoke alot about judging or judgement of the people there in Ibiza that they were witnessing too. This is the way God has broke it down for me: judging someone goes like this, I am not going to pray for or try to develop a relationship with that person I met outside that bar cause hey, they are dressed crazy or they are drunk or they look just too wild, and that is absolutely wrong. Now, speaking truth into someone's life goes like, I meet this person on the streets of Ibiza that is messed up and I tell them, hey I love you and God loves you and I will pray for you, but bro, your lifestyle is killing you man, lets pray and let God reveal that into your heart and spirit. Speaking truth into someones life vs. judging them is key, cause ya kno, I got my planks in my eyes and I don't want to go there either as far as judging someone :)

Just wanted to give more insight into where I was coming from with the comments I posted over the last few days. Again, I think Brian and his team rocks and I think it is so great them being there in Ibiza and I pray that through them the spiritual atmosphere over that island is changed by God to what He really looks like a pretty island, the beaches look great..hey and Brian love the pink shirts man, its a brave guy who wears pink :)

Mimo said...

lol, must straigthen that by "cultural thing" I wasn't really thinking of America! Just that different words have different connotations to each of us, and brought light to what connotation it gave me. Also, believe in the context too.! Blessings everyone, M :)