Pete Wilson and I – and a documentary film crew - were walking around the Global Village at the 2012 AIDS conference in DC. We were engaging people in conversations about their organizations and causes at the conferences.
One booth caught our attention: Condomize.
The woman working the booth glanced at us tensely as we approached, as if she were bracing for impact. I don’t blame her. Having two guys with microphones and three guys with camera equipment approaching you would have anyone react that way. The good news was that this awkward moment only lasted a few seconds and ended when we said “hi there.”
The ensuing conversation was uncomfortable, yet amiable. It was uncomfortable, because it was about condoms, sex and Jesus. It was amiable because it was lighthearted and friendly. We had several other interesting conversations that day but I don’t think I will ever forget this one. It was the most uncomfortable conversation I have ever had with a woman.
Now weeks after the conference, having processed my experience, I wonder if the willingness to have uncomfortable conversations isn’t one of the biggest hurdles for the modern Church. Church history shows us that we are better with “comfortable condemnation” rather than “uncomfortable conversation.” We comfortably condemn instead of uncomfortably converse with people about their issues.
But that’s the past. We can create the future. It will require from us courage to face our fears and apprehensions. It will require us to lead with love - for love to be our first reaction to the brokenness of this world. Practically, its means that we are intentionally open about talking about HIV and all that comes with it. It means that we are Ok about not having all the answers and resolving all the issues.
It means we are ok with the Holy Spirit doing most of the work, allowing Him to lead people into repentance. Romans 2:4 tells us that “God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.” What if we were “God's kindness” - could it lead the world into repentance?
At Mosaic, we are not rushing towards programs but rather changing what we care about. Because gay, straight, bisexual or transsexual, the Father loved us all, in fact He loved us first. His first reaction was love. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Could you imagine if the Church welcomed uncomfortable conversations, engaged uncomfortable issues and embraced uncomfortable people? She would become uncontrollable and irresistible.
Naeem Fazal was born and raised as a Muslim in Kuwait. He came to the United States shortly after the Gulf war of 1990. In 1992, he had a supernatural experience with Christ that changed the course of his life. He was ordained in 2001 at Seacoast Church. In 2006, with the help of Seacoast Church, the ARC and Mosaic LA, he planted Mosaic Church in Charlotte,NC. Naeem has been featured in Relevant Magazine, Outreach Magazine, Leadership Journal and Charlotte Magazine.