Monday, February 15, 2010

I Like Ellen

I really like Ellen DeGeneres. I think she's funny, I love when she dances, and she's lovely and seems kind. More than that, I can't tell because I've never met her.

At a party yesterday with the TV on, an American Idol commercial played and Ellen was on it. Someone there told me a short story about how he used to watch AI and then review the show long distance with a grown child. He loved to do it, but can't anymore because now Ellen is a judge. When I asked why, "I just cannot do it with her open lesbianism, I've read articles where she details her joy in her marriage to another woman, I just can't watch it." I responded that I really like Ellen, and that pretty much ended the conversation.

But this has left me with much to think about. Ellen will never know if I watch her talk show or not (I don't - I work and I don't TiVo it) or American Idol, I do like the CoverGirl commercials she's done, but how do I and should I, as a Christ follower, respond? How do you respond? I think the issue could be much more black and white if the contents of said shows were obviously wrong, but I don't think they are.

A brief list of some of the things I know:
  • God loves Ellen DeGeneres.
  • Ellen is an admitted lesbian.
  • The Bible, to many, seems clear on lesbianism being wrong.
  • The Bible is also clear on many things I do being wrong - even things I like to do.
  • God, being the ultimate Good cannot look on sin, cannot abide when darkness is, evidenced when Jesus was on the cross.
  • In one of those strange paradoxes that only God seems to be able to do, He does look at us, and love us, even when we are so broken in our sin, He still draws us, woos us and redeems us.
  • I know God loves and pursues me, even in all my brokenness. He doesn't look away.
  • We are supposed to learn and grow and be more and more like Jesus as God heals us.
  • We are supposed to avoid evil, avoid doing wrong, repent what God is pointing to in our lives.
  • Jesus said to take care of ourselves and stop judging where someone else is at. (Luke 6:40-42)
  • I don't think Jesus would have EVER said that, 'I just can't watch this, I can't look at, I can't stand this person.'
  • It's awful hard to love on someone when you aren't looking at them, can't see them, and don't care to.
Not to reduce this to a trite, overused phrase, but what would Jesus do?
Because that's what I want to do.

(*** IMPORTANT NOTE: This is NOT a post on whether or not homosexuality is right or wrong. This is a post about trying to discern how God, who loves each of us unconditionally, wants us to respond to and love the people group with which we have the most issue - whatever it may be.)


  1. While the gentleman you spoke to is of course free to choose what he wishes to watch or not watch, there are two issues I have with the underlying attitude he appears to have. One, that he seems to have singled out that particular sin as being worse than others. I wonder if he refuses to watch anyone on television who is overweight, since gluttony is also a sin. Or people who are known to be living with someone they are not married to, since fornication is sin as well? Two, that he apparently refuses to have any contact with someone who is a known sinner (because, really, aren't we all???) who is not promoting that sin in that venue but simply providing some entertainment. If we were to attempt to ignore everyone who sins, we would have to ignore EVERYONE - including ourselves. According to the Bible I read, that is pretty much the opposite of how Jesus treated people.

  2. Karlys - I think we are reading the same Bible - how nice! And this is a lot of what I'm thinking - in fact wondered how he could possibly be sitting in my house with out fear of all my sin rubbing off on him... So, how do YOU think we should respond in the face of this attitude and behavior?

  3. Matthew 7:3 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye.

    Kathy, I think you and Karlys have already said it. We all sin. None of us are worthy of salvation. It is God's job to judge people, and it's people's job to love people.

  4. Of course I wasn't there to hear this person talk about his inability to watch Ellen, which makes it difficult to know where he's coming from, but if that's something he "just can't do," who are we to judge his motives? If we are judging him for his decision, how is that any different than what we are accusing him of doing?

    Here's a good quote from Oswald Chambers: "Never make a principle out of your experience; let God be as original with other people as He is with you."

    I like Ellen, think she's funny, etc. I don't watch her because I don't watch TV period. I don't think that means I don't love anyone that might be on TV just because I can't see them. I personally don't think Jesus would have watched a whole lot of television.


  5. Delaine - thanks for your input. I really like the Oswald Chambers quote and think that is true, God can speak to and do whatever He wants in whomever and it is not for me to judge their experience. I also agree that Jesus would not have spent a whole lot of time, if any, watching TV.

    My point was more that I don't think He would summarily disregard someone and since I want to be like Him (He did say to follow Him and do what He did) how would that look today? How could and should I have responded, both to the person I was in conversation with? How can I show love to them? (It's also admittedly an interesting example as I am not likely to ever be face to face with Ellen.)

    And them let's throw parenting in there - I never want to model avoidance of a person or group that Jesus loves.

    That's more that stuff I am chewing on here. (And kind of for the record, I don't have issue with some of the big 'pet sins' that seem to be popular, I DO have issue with the people who do, making them kind of my 'pet sin people' so I am confessing that [sin] and working that out here, too. As iron sharpens iron...)

  6. I just can't believe that so many people think Ellen is funny. She is one of the least funny people who people think is funny that I know of.

    Oh well.

    One point that hasn't been made yet is that not only did Jesus not avoid sinners, he sought them out and actually preferred their company over the religious folks of the time. He was so good at loving people that he could point out their stinky spots without making them feel rejected or judged i.e. the Samaritan woman at the well.

  7. Maybe the distinction we are failing to make is that Jesus did not spend time with sinners to be entertained by them, but to love them and show them the way of salvation.

  8. Yes, but the point really isn't Ellen, being entertained, or that she's on TV, this whole conversation and topic was really just the catalyst to think about and discuss how I(we) respond & treat whomever. Let's say I met 'Bob' on the street and I knew similar agreeable things or not about him. How can I show love like Jesus and not get lost in what is right or wrong about him? Even for further clarification; the greatest form loves takes is to pass on God's love, the most significant being salvation.

  9. Kathy thanks for this conversation and being transparent in your blog.

  10. I believe the answer is in the phrase to "love the sinner, hate the sin". To accept a person and love them unconditionally does not need to imply that we then accept their behavior as being morally acceptable. I do believe the Bible, and when it says something is sin, I don't try to argue with it or justify it in some cases. However, aren't we as Christians called to be a light to the world? How on earth can we do that if we choose to avoid people who we deem "sinners" rather than allow them to enter our lives and let God show them His love through us?

  11. kathy you asked me what I thought on this. I'm not very smart or coherent about these kinds of things so this will be akin to some kind of strange ramble so here's what I think--for what it's worth: I don't believe being homosexual is a sin. I like Ellen--she is an actress I sometimes find funny. I believe that we are called to be kind and loving to one another and in fact I think Christ said the greatest commandment is that we "love one another." I think there are bible verses that are taken out of context and blown to a place where they maybe shouldn't be blown--and wow the results can be ugly--people hurling verses at one another like missiles. but you must also know I'm from the historical critical school of thinking so it's no surprise I think that way--I'm not a biblical inerrancy girl. I think there are people way smarter than me who can quote me in to the ground with bible verses and give me all kinds of stuff that's counter to what I think but in my study and prayer life, its where I'm at--How I understand God is that God is a God of grace. God loves us no matter what. That doesn't mean we get to do whatever we want yet I also believe we run on a pretty slippery slope when we start pointing fingers and deciding who god loves and who god does not--the science around this issue, which I also take very seriously, is far from conclusive around what makes a person homosexual--is it nature or nuture? Both sides can quote stuff into the ground on that too. If it is nature, which I often suspect it is, then what? God doesn't make junk- So what I know is only from my tiny human experience, of god, of scripture and of other human beings--and it may also sound redundant but this also comes from what I have seen and experienced in my own life-- the loving people I am privileged to call as friends, and aquaintences (sp) and who also happen to be gay--who knew from a very young age that they were different, had to live a long time with that secret, were rejected by some of their family and friends when they finally did come out and who are now just trying to live their lives like the rest of us--yet more often than the rest of us end up having tread carefully through the world lest someone really angry gets a hold of them and as we've seen more times than we'd like--does them extreme physical harm--why someone would "choose" that path, I'm not sure--so I think I probably should be the last person to point any finger at them and say "sinner." what would Jesus do? I believe love them--since Jesus never did address homosexuality I'm not sure what else he'd say. I understand he has some pretty strong stuff to say about divorced people and yet that doesn't seem to be an issue with many people who get angry and stressed out about this issue. I note your friend isn't stopping his tv show watching based on the marital status of the host/contestants--but of course if he never knew Ellen was gay then would it be ok--so for what its worth these are some of my rambling thoughts. they'd never hold up in court--