This week I spent a bit of time on John Piper’s website. It wasn’t a decision I consciously made–I found my way there via the twitter page of my former pastor.
I remember studying John Piper in Sunday school and in sermons. The church I grew up in held him in the same respect that they hold the apostle John: In addition to believing that the Bible is the direct Word-From-God, we were also supposed to believe that John Piper had it all right. 100%. Anything he published was as good as gold. And yeah, he’s a smart dude. He’s a great writer and a compelling speaker.
But after years and years of attending church, I got a little fed up with John Piper. Not so much Mr. Piper himself, but rather the way my church (and others in the evangelical world) held his work in much the same light that they hold the Bible.
I’m sorry, but I don’t worship John Piper.
Since breaking with my former congregation, I haven’t sought out the works of John Piper. But this week, I decided to click around the website.
There’s a Q&A section where “Pastor John” as he’s called takes questions from people (who I am assuming are his readers) and answers them in a much more casual setting than a sermon or a book. As is typical, the questions deal with the hot button issues; homosexuality, abortion, homosexuality, the sanctity of marriage, homose…. you get my point.
A nice little thing I read was commending a state official for her “brave” decision to refuse to marry a gay couple. I’m personally of the opinion that if you are hired to do a job that conflicts with your morals that strongly? you probably should not have that job. Mr. Piper is not of that opinion. In a particularly excellent section, he calls gay marriage an “evil” of the world, by association then, calling LGBTQ individuals who seek to get marriage evil as well.
Below are some passages from the specific article I was reading. Notice the language used to describe LGBTQ individuals, particularly “Evil” & “Destruction”.
That made me quite sad, so I want to do something here:
Hi, Mr. Piper (I hope you don’t mind being called Mr. Piper). My name is Lily. I’m 25 years old. I’m a Christian. I was saved at the age of 8. I play in the worship band at my church. I volunteer with the youth group. I believe all life to be sacred. I like learning and listening to other people’s viewpoints. I have a heart for teenagers; I just want to make sure that they’re okay in this crazy world. I’m not evil. I swear to you, I am not evil. I really try so hard to show the love of Jesus to everyone around me. And my witness only improved in the midst of inner and external adversity: I am a lesbian.
There’s no argument I can make or revelation I can give to make you change your mind; I don’t actually care about changing your mind. I will however, encourage you to think of the young people especially when you use words like “evil” and “destruction”, and other common words like perverse, unnatural, or abomination. Whether or not you believe that people can be “cured” of their gayness is beyond the point. This is a human issue.
Due in part to the rhetoric listed above (and in your writings and the writings of other evangelical leaders), I have a very poor image of self. I’ve struggled with eating disorders, cutting, alcoholism, and suicide attempts. I’ve been told that who I am at my very core is despicable not only to people here on this earth, but to my Creator. At times when I was at my most vulnerable, it was the words of my brothers and sisters in Christ that came to me and convinced me that I was indeed a mistake, broken, worthless, an abomination, and irreparable. On top of that, where others are encouraged to love, I am required to reject the romantic love I yearn for. I want to give my love away, and I am told that I cannot.
It sucks. Hi Mr. John Piper. I’m Lily. I promise you I’m not evil. I want to build up God’s Church. That Church to me includes the trans-boy at my youth group. It includes the lesbian couple down the street. It includes room to listen to these stories and make sure that everyone’s needs are met. This is a fragile demographic, and I encourage you to consider especially the LGBTQ youth when writing about this topic.
Hi Mr. John Piper. I’m Lily. I love God. I’m gay. I’m not evil. I’m just a girl.