Comments on this issue of Viewpoint, from producer, John Ondo:
In my thirty-five years of creating television shows, producing a program about same-sex and transgender topics for TV44 is not new to me. TV44 has always been at the forefront of having a respectful discussion of this topic from not just a Biblical but a practical perspective as well.
I have several good friends who are gay or bi-sexual. My wife and I genuinely care about them and love them because of who they are, not because of who they love. When it came time to create a ViewPoint episode about the LGBTQ climate in our culture, I didn’t want to talk about how we can change their community, and I wanted to see if God would have a message that would change the hearts of believers like me.
I have heard many painful stories from friends in the same-sex community about how they felt torn away from God because the church asked them to leave or just made it so uncomfortable, they couldn’t stay. It made me question how we can sing the hymn “Just As I Am” and make people feel rejected? Please understand, I believe that the Bible is clear on God’s view of homosexuality, as well as a million other sins of which I’m guilty of a few daily.
I was so glad that I was able to connect with Pastor Daniel Fusco of Crossroads Community Church, Vancouver Washington. Pastor Fusco is an unconventional looking Pastor with his beaming smile through his impressive dreadlocks. But I’ve found few with a bigger heart for Christ and the lost.
Our host Bob Placie and Pastor Fusco had a great discussion on ViewPoint about this topic. Pastor Fusco said all the things I hoped about how the church needs to be the place for sinners and be uncompromising about what God’s Word. He also mentioned how we as the church had gotten the theology right but God’s heart wrong with the LGBTQ community. But then Pastor Fusco me caught me off guard. He shared with Bob the story of a Christian man who had a same-sex attraction and the church asked him to end his long-term relationship with his partner. The man was heartbroken. Pastor Fusco went on to explain that from the viewpoint of someone in a same-sex relationship to be asked to end that relationship can be seen as a lifelong sentence to being alone and unloved. That broke my heart as I hurt for those who have no one to love in their lives. However, the next part of his story hit me even harder. Instead of leaving this man to be sad and alone, this man’s Pastor chose to “adopt” him to become part of his family, filling in the void that he could have a family who loved him and walk with him and not be alone. To me, that is such a Jesus response.
We (the Church) are eager to tell people how to change their life. However, we often stop short of being part of the solution and sharing in the journey. Would abortion be as big of a problem if more people would adopt and provide another option? Would racism be less of an issue if we would open some doors for someone who is different? And would there be a different climate toward the church by the LGBTQ community if instead of the church closing its doors, we opened up our homes and displayed unconditional love to help lighten the burden on someone who wants to experience God’s grace versus God’s wrath? What would you be willing to do to help share God’s love with someone who is searching? For me I know my answer was, I’m not doing nearly enough.
I hope you can catch this important interview on ViewPoint with Bob Placie this week both on TV44 and on-demand at WTLW.com. TV44 created ViewPoint to bring different ideas to these discussions. I hope it brings you a new insight and challenges you as much as it did me.
John Ondo is the producer of ViewPoint with Bob Placie. John is a native of Lima and was part of the original staff of TV44, remaining here for 18 years. He now does contract producing and consulting work with TV44 from his home in Columbus.