Never Give Up
Dear Calvary Family,
Is there someone in your family that you would love to help? Do they have areas that need to change? Or more personally, are there areas in your life that need to change but you seem stuck? Most of us deal with those issues throughout our lives. To help, I want you to learn a little about a man named Caleb Kaltenbach. I discovered him just two days ago and his story offers us all hope in the face of those questions.
When Caleb was two years old, both his parents stated that they were gay. They then divorced and he grew up in a broken home with a very antagonistic attitude toward Christians and the church.
Here is how Caleb describes his upbringing:
My mom and her partner were active in gay-rights organizations. They took me to gay clubs, parties, and campouts. I marched in gay pride parades and went to political events. That was just my life.
I hated Christians because I saw how they treated gay people. At the end of one parade, I saw signs saying, “God hates you.” Protesters were spraying water and urine on people. I asked my mom, “Why are they acting that way?” She said, “Caleb, they’re Christians, and Christians hate gay people.”
My dad and I sometimes attended an Episcopal church, but it didn’t teach me much about God. I was an altar boy but fell asleep during most services. I learned that evangelicals were people who wouldn’t like you if you weren’t a white Republican.
We need to learn from those perceptions, even if we do not believe they are true. For some reason, the gay community and their friends view many Christians this way.
In spite of that home life, Caleb believed in Jesus and lived as His follower in his teen years. His parents were irate at his new faith in Jesus. His mother did not talk to him for months but Caleb remained faithful to the biblical definition of marriage and told them that sexual intimacy should only occur between a husband and wife.
Caleb did not give up on his parents. He said, “But I always told them that God loved them, not based on their sexuality but because of what his Son accomplished on the cross. I had to continually show them examples of people, including my friends, who were not like the Christians they had known before.”
One Sunday he brought his mother to a church that he pastored, but a couple of Elders said he would never preach there again if he brought someone like his mother to church. He left that church and took on a new ministry with this approach: “At my current church, we absolutely believe God has expectations for sexuality. But I am not called to change anyone’s sexual orientation. My goal is to preach the gospel and to share Jesus. The LGBT people who attend know about our traditional views. That doesn’t stop us from loving and embracing them.”
One lesson Caleb learned is this: “We can also learn a lot about loving other people. Are there militant activists like my mom? Sure. There are extremists in just about every community. But for the most part, they are some of the most loving and accepting people I know. They’re not looking for the next battle to fight. They just want to live their lives.
At its best, the LGBT movement has many qualities we’d associate with the church. There’s a love for people. There’s a strong sense of justice and a commitment to a shared cause. They’re intentional about sharing their views and unashamed to be recognized for what they believe.”
Most importantly, both of Caleb’s parents have now come to faith in Christ, in part, because they experienced God’s love through their son.
Never give up on loving those who need to change. God loved all of us when we were deep in sin. It is that love that draws us to Him.
This Sunday, we will learn why it is so hard to reach some people and how God can still save and change them. Be sure to join us. This message is the very foundation of how Christians are called to live their lives and why the church exists.
See you Sunday. Celebration worship begins at 8:45. Elevation worship at 10:45. Please join us early as we continue in our series Better Together.