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Spiritual Growth Agendas

Dan Savage Savagely Attacks the Bible
Our Actions


Main Point: There are many, many people who disagree with the Bible and its teachings. But no matter how vicious a person attacks the Bible, Jesus’ teachings, or even His believers, all Christians are commanded by God to do good in return.

Discussion Starter: The Bulls**t in the Bible
WARNING: Let us say right from the start that this small group discussion contains VERY, VERY COARSE dialogue. We readily acknowledge that this small group discussion isn’t for every youth ministry group. The topic of discussion (homosexuality) is not only a very sensitive one, but the way in which it is handled (crudely) only makes it worse. Please carefully pray about your use of this curriculum with your group, and exercise discernment that involves the counsel of various leaders around you.

You may not know the name Dan Savage, but you’ve probably heard of his organization “It Gets Better.” Mr. Savage is an openly gay man who was harassed in school for his homosexuality. His suffering made him keenly aware of the plight of others and he was so deeply moved by the suicides of young people who were bullied because of their homosexual orientation that he started It Gets Better, an organization that tries to help members of the LGBT community understand one simple message: it gets better.

It Gets Better has been endorsed by celebrities and politicians alike. Hillary Clinton made a YouTube video about the subject. Lady Gaga has lent her support to the cause, and even President Obama has addressed the project. Together, these folks – and many others – have worked tirelessly against the evils of bullying and taunting and slander and degradation.

But ironically enough, Mr. Savage has recently made headlines for being guilty of the exact same acts of hate that he publically denounces. In an address he gave to a bunch of high school students gathered in an auditorium, Mr. Savage talked about the Bible (and Christians that claim homosexuality is a sin) in a manner that was crude and expletive-laden. Many of the students in the assembly respectfully dismissed themselves from his tirades, which compelled Mr. Savage to then refer to them in an even more disrespectful way.

(By the way, The Source for Youth Ministry has crafted a lengthy statement about homosexuality as it relates to culture and the church, which addresses the biblical concerns Mr. Savage raised in his keynote address.)

The whole affair has landed Mr. Savage in hot water. It’s not the first time his tactics have been criticized, but this brouhaha has proven to be particularly destructive to him because it shows him to be guilty of the same behavior he hates in others.

Introducing the Clip:
Dan Savage is the founder of
It Gets Better, an organization that helps young people understand that living as a homosexual doesn’t always have to be tough; in fact, he suggests “it gets better.” You’ve probably heard of his organization even if you’ve never heard of Mr. Savage, himself. Lots and lots of celebrities and politicians have applauded his efforts to try and stop bullying, taunting, hate speech, discrimination, and the degradation of others. But, in a recent speech he gave to a gathering of high school students, Mr. Savage used extremely course language in reference to the Bible and hurtful language to describe those who disagree with his views. Some of the students cheered him on; others respectfully walked out. His tirades have landed him in hot water. Although this clip is short, it’s filled with lots of demeaning language, and in NO WAY do we want to encourage this kind of speech, but because his topic is an important subject for us to be clear on, let’s take a look at what happened, and then discuss it from a standpoint of love.

Show the Clip:
ANOTHER WARNING:
This video contains VERY, VERY COARSE dialogue. We know that many students may already have seen this video, but you should prayerfully and discreetly discern how to present this…or whether to present it at all.

The clip is available online at http://popwatch.ew.com/2012/05/01/dan-savage-christian-teens/

Transitional Statement:
This speech by Dan Savage isn’t the first action he’s taken that has gotten him into trouble. In the past, he’s done some pretty despicable things to those he disagrees with. But as it relates to our discussion here, there is so much to be sad about when watching this short video. My heart breaks for Mr. Savage because he doesn’t truly understand God’s Word, because he uses such terrible language to describe God’s intentions for our lives, and because he refers to my brothers and sisters in hateful terms. But I’m also saddened by the harassment and the bitterness he’s faced in his life at the hands of others because he’s a homosexual. We’re going to spend several moments discussing what we saw and heard in this video so that we can make sure we react in a godly manner to these kinds of situations. Let’s acknowledge reality: there are many, many people who disagree with the Bible and its teachings, but no matter how vicious a person attacks the Bible, Jesus’ teachings, or even His believers, all Christians are commanded by God to love them in return. That’s not easy, but let’s talk about doing it anyway.


Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.

CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.

Discussion Questions:

  1. AROUND THE CIRLCE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and how big a problem you think bullying is today.

  2. ASK A FEW: Mr. Savage repeatedly calls the Bible’s teachings about homosexuality “bulls**t.” Why do you think he used such harsh language to describe the Bible’s teaching?

  3. ASK A FEW: Is his judgment about the Bible’s teachings fair or unfair? Why?

  4. ASK A FEW: Do you know students in your school or neighborhood who are bullied?

  5. ASK A FEW: Mr. Savage only talked about kids being bullied because of their homosexuality. But what are some other reasons kids are bullied? (Leaders – This is a key question. Mr. Savage’s focus, whether admitted or not, is on homosexual students who are bullied. But let’s face it, kids are bullied because of their intelligence, their gender, their race, their faith, their abilities, their weight, and so on. It’s not just homosexual young people who are bullied.)

  6. ASK A FEW: You saw that some of the students got up and walked out during his tirade. Was that a good thing or bad thing to do? What would you have done?

  7. ASK A FEW: Of course, there were plenty of students who stayed behind to listen to Mr. Savage’s remarks, and in some cases, even cheered him on. Do YOU know students who feel like this cheering crowd?

  8. ASK A FEW: Mr. Savage went on to call those students who left the auditorium “pansy-asses.” Do you think that Mr. Savage is guilty of the same kind of behavior he denounces in others? Why or why not?

  9. ASK A FEW: What do you think God’s expectations are of us when we are made fun of, or persecuted in some way?

  10. Read the following passage:

      1 Peter 4:12-19 (NIV)

      Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" 19 So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

  11. ASK A FEW: According to verse 14, in what way are Christians “blessed” when we are insulted? Is that important to you?

  12. ASK A FEW: Why does Peter make “suffering for being a Christian” sound so normal or typical? (Leaders – Historically speaking, when Peter wrote this, Christians were being slaughtered for their faith. In fact, Peter himself would die because of his devotion to Jesus. Another reason Peter treats persecution as “business as usual” is because Jesus said there would be persecution.)

  13. ASK A FEW: What advice does Peter give to Christians who are suffering (by being called names, or by being mistreated, or even being killed)?

  14. ASK A FEW: According to this passage, do we have God’s permission to lash out, get revenge, or take matters into our own hands when we suffer for being a Christian?

  15. ASK A FEW: Peter closes his thoughts here by saying that Christians should “do good” even when they are suffering. Why is that important?

  16. ASK A FEW: When Mr. Savage suffered, he did not “do good” in response. What are some VERY SPECIFIC ways we can “do good” to those who disagree with us, or make us suffer, because of our faith?

  17. AROUND THE CIRCLE: Chances are very good that every single one of us has suffered for trying to live for Jesus. Maybe we’ve even suffered recently for being a Christian. What will you do this week to show others that you are committed to “doing good” in spite of the suffering you face?

Wrap Up:
In our time together, we’ve talked about a couple of very touchy subjects in our culture, namely homosexuality, bullying, and suffering. But the core of our discussion has been about the actions we take when we’re wronged. What we’ve learned tonight is that no matter what happens to us as believers, we never get God’s permission to strike back, lash out, or hurt others because we’ve been hurt.

God strictly tells us to “do good” in spite of what we face.

Dan Savage didn’t do that. But then again, he doesn’t confess to being a Christian, either. I’m really glad that Mr. Savage tries to help those that face bullying. He’s probably helped thousands of young people with his work. That’s a good thing. But that doesn’t give him the right to lash out at Christians just because we disagree with his line of thinking.

Many Christians believe homosexuality is a choice, and therefore, a sin. Mr. Savage deeply disagrees. And that’s OK. What is NOT OK is him becoming disrespectful, discriminatory, and hateful.

To his testament, Mr. Savage did issue a slight apology for his words when he realized what a ruckus he’d caused.

Here is the truth I want embedded on your heart as you leave tonight: regardless of what Mr. Savage and anybody else does against Christians, God expects us to “do good” when we face persecution, suffering, or disrespect.

So, here is what we’re gonna do that’s good.

First, let’s pray for Mr. Savage.
(Give students a few moments to individually pray for him. You might want to lead them through this endeavor, giving them specific things to pray about, for instance, his patience, his understanding of the Bible, etc.)

Second, I want us to pray for each other. If we’re truly living for Jesus, we’re going to suffer. So, let’s spend a few moments lifting one another up in prayer.
(Again, give students a moment to do this, guiding them if necessary.)

Third, I would like for us to think about those in our lives that suffer for any reason whatsoever. Is it because they are a homosexual? Is it because they are a Christian? Is it because they are Hindu? Overweight? Uncoordinated? Unpopular? Un-whatever? Let’s think about these peers for a moment, because I think it’s a shame that Jesus’ Church – you and I – have missed the opportunity to care for hurting people. Maybe if we did a better job as the Church, organizations like It Gets Better, the Red Cross, and even the United Nations might not have to exist!

Jesus wants us to show compassion, mercy, and love to everyone! Who will you do that for this week?

Finally, I’m going to pray for you. I am going to pray that you live courageously and boldly for Jesus…no matter what. I’m going to pray that you will “do good” no matter what you face. And if you are facing some suffering or persecution, I invite you to hang around after we close up tonight and talk to one of our adult leaders. You don’t have to face this alone. We want to help you “do good” right now.


Close in Prayer

Written by David R Smith


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Comments on this post

   Brandon         5/16/2012 8:36:03 PM

Sean, the passage you quoted in Luke is from a parable. Jesus is telling a story to illustrate a spiritual truth. You need to read the surrounding context to understand it properly. It is not in any way a statement about the morality of slavery; the passage really has nothing to do with that. I have an opinion about the Exodus passage too but it would take too long to get into here and I think we have really strayed from the purpose of this study anyways. If you really wish to continue this conversation, you can email me at f u e l 1 2 2 4@y a h o o . com, without the spaces of course.

   Sean         5/16/2012 5:29:28 PM

I did some research, and obviously I'm gonna post the stuff taht is damning, but to be fair I will say that saw some passages that made some slaves mentioned in the bible more like servants. Servants who could actually be freed. HOWEVER..."When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. -Exodus 21:20-21"..............now lets see how Jesus thought slaves should be beaten, "The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. "But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given."-Luke 12:47-48. Which is odd since he uses the word servant, it's almost like being a slave was better. Still the Bible speak of how slaves/servants should obey and fear masters, and speak of how they should be beaten. Tell me how that isn't wrong either way you look at it? Especially since a few of the passages came straight from Jesus himself.

   Brandon         5/16/2012 5:10:26 PM

Sorry Sean, you did mention in your initial post that many Christians fought against slavery. By the time I got to the end of the thread I forgot about that, so my apologies...also, you said "the notion that just because these slaves are treated better makes it all of a sudden ok..." This was not my point at all. My point was more to say that slavery as it is referred to in the Bible isn't even really the same thing as the slavery that you think of when you hear the word today; that is, unless you know of "slaves" who were allowed to marry, to be wealthy, independent, and the second most powerful person in an entire nation. My point was that slave may not even be the right word today to adequately depict what the practice was, because it wasn't the same thing as North American Slavery. Servant may be something closer to what it would be today, but I'm not even sure that fully expresses it. If you really want to know more about slavery in the Bible, I would highly recommend checking out the podcast at this link: http://www.thevillagechurch.net/sermon/slavery-and-the-skeptic/ It is a bit lengthy, but definitely worth the listen as it gives a very in-depth look at this topic and how it is treated in the bible

   Sean         5/16/2012 3:29:03 PM

Actually not true, in my original post I brought up that Christians fought against those who opposed slavery, but I went on to say not all of them. Some,many, fought against the idea of slavery. And am I supposed to believe that everytime slaves were mentioned in the bible that they all lived as highly as Joseph? Plus the notion that just because these slaves are treated better makes it all of a sudden ok is kinda odd. I don't think that's what your saying, but you were headed in that direction with that example. All forms of slavery are wrong, and any book that tells you the proper ways to treat slaves but not to free them is wrong too. Joseph definitly wasn't a free man. AS for persecution, to me it's all the same. You christians take it a little beyond just disapproving of something. You people will go up to someone, someone who has suffered for being gay or lesbian, will tell them how sorry they that they are treated so badly, then go on to tell them that god loves them. Right? NOT FINISHED...then you'll tell them their life style is wrong because a book says so, and that they need to give it up the sin and come back to god. In someways,atleast IMO, that's worse then the super bible beaters who threaten and hate. I'll stop there, and will probably stop using this article to discuss the matter since it wasn't meant for that. David if you wish to constinuie our discussion feel free to e-mail me.

   Brandon         5/16/2012 2:08:40 PM

If I can make one brief point without diverting the conversation too much, the "slavery" talked about at most points in the Bible was nothing like the North American version of slavery. Case in point, in Genesis, Joseph is a "slave" but he is also rich and second in command over all of Egypt. It'd be like a slave in the US having been Vice President of the United States. Sean, you want to condemn some Christians for supporting slavery but you you don't mention the fact that numerous Christians led the charge to abolish slavery as well. That doesn't seem very fair in my opinion. Lastly, I think you are equating David's position of opposing homosexuality with supporting persecution of homosexuals, when the two things are not the same. A major point of his message in this study was that Christians should not support persecution of anyone and he even complimented Savage for helping those who face bullying. Simply, arguing that you believe a certain action/lifestyle is wrong does not mean you support bullying or persecuting those who do those things. That's all I have. Carry on.

   Sean          5/15/2012 5:49:45 PM

and another thing, I notice the issue of sex is used as the fall back defense against homosexuality. Me I include it with love, but I'm assuming christians concieve of sex as just for procreatation? My question is this. What if a man is sterile, would you diapprove of him having sex, or getting married for that matter? Obviously he can't perform the neccessary function of hte purpose of sex or marriage, so my the christian definition he shouldn't be allowed. If I'm wrong and you wouldn't condemn him for having sex. Then what the hell is the difference when the subject switches to homosexuality?............................... Sigh!!!

   Sean         5/15/2012 5:35:25 PM

Really wish you could quote on these things. UPDATE THIS THING JOHN..Anyway in response to what you said David, I think it just proves how I really don't think there will ever be an understanding between Atheist, non-believers, Pagans, etc and Christians. You take a hard stance on the subject, a very Christian one, which you should since you are a Christian. I really can't understand how you people can say that two humans of the same gender can't love each other the same way other people do, just because of a book. Still, that's me the atheist, that's how I see it. I personally can't do it, I can't get into that state of mind of telling someone they can't love someone else, because they might be the same gender. It's just totally backwards. It's just like the issue of slavery, which the BIBLE condoned. I know Christians like to defend what the bible says on slavery, but regardless the book seems to be pretty ok with it. I guess the defense is that you follow the New Testement not the old, but Jesus also said he didn't come to change the old law. Plus since God doesn't change it would seem that neither would his laws. Because if he changed then that would mean he wasn't unchanging. Am I right? Maybe if Jesus had just come out and said that slavery was wrong, there wouldn't be a debate on the subject. Still since he didn't, obviously I'm gonna use it to make a point. Yet it was us, the human beings of the world who said, "Nah, I really don't think we have the right to do this to people anymore." Yes it took a lot of blood, but we ended slavery(for the most part, still some places in the world). Yet now we are on the subject of Homosexuality,something the bible doesn't condone but condems. Just as before more and more of us are finding it hard to rationalise persecution. Is this really a step in the wrong direction David? If so were we wrong about ending slavery? Should we still follow the Bibles laws on that? Would you feel vindicated if the world went to hell, because people excepted it? Maybe that's what Christians want, vindication. Because if the world accepted it, and the world stayed the same regardless, then what was the point in the end for all the hatred and love the sinner not the sin nonsense? Yes the world accepting homosexuality doesn't make it right, doesn't make it wrong either. It also doesn't make your people right for disapproving of it. ON a side note do some research on War, hunger, famine, etc. and you'll fine alot of them are down. In other words a lot better. The War on War seems to be going some place. I can't remember exactly but I think I read that only 30 percent of the world is at war. Yep the world can be a bad place, but I think people have a very narrow view of it. Pull back and I think you'll see that the world is no better or worse than it's ever been. Now going back to my bit on being on the wrong side of history. Well Christians are steal wagin war against it, but more of the everyone elses in the world are starting to approve more and more of it. So it's clear that in time the yays will outway the nays, and thus history will side with the yays. Thus Christians are on the wrong side of history. Hell I'm gonna keep going here. I just saw this pic that had a bunch of gay teens holding signs like," I'm scared to hold my boyfriends hand,".."My mother disowned me," and one sign standing on it's own that said,"I'm not here anymore." Yall disapprove of that, the hatred these people get, but will still go about hating their way of life. Don't you see that when you say, "Everythings alright. Those people shouldn't do that, but you need to come back to god and give up this way of life," that it's the SAME EXACT THING as telling them they all deserve to die? Your just being nice about it.

   David R Smith         5/15/2012 2:16:28 PM

Sean, I’ll try to answer the questions you ask at the end of your comment, but first, let me correct a few points you mentioned before you asked your questions. 1. You said, “You should never fight hate with hate.” I fully agree. In fact the MAIN POINT of this piece of curriculum states the following: “There are many, many people who disagree with the Bible and its teachings. But no matter how vicious a person attacks the Bible, Jesus’ teachings, or even His believers, all Christians are commanded by God to do good in return.” If ministry leaders use this curriculum in line with its intentions, thousands of young believers will learn the important point that we both agree on. As it pertains to my personal thoughts on Mr. Savage, my writing is completely free of “hate speech” as it’s deemed now. Pointing out his personal inconsistencies isn’t hateful, it’s just objective reasoning being verbalized. 2. You also said, “Christians were the ones who caused his pain.” I don’t know if that’s true or not. I mean that: I just don’t know. I don’t think he’s ever said. If not, great! If so, I’m deeply saddened that a group of people who call themselves Christ-followers would veer so far from His teachings of love. 3. I may misunderstand your statement about the following, and if so, just disregard, but I’m not willing to concede that we (Christians) are “on the wrong side of history” as it pertains to human sexuality. Granted, the Church has certainly been wrong in the past, and in some cases, heinously so. But neither party involved is willing to say they’re wrong on this one. You go on to say that “we don’t have a right to tell someone who they can and can not love.” That’s true, but ALL of us have serious thoughts about who should be having sex with whom, do we not? For instance, I have thoughts about who and who doesn’t have sex with my wife! I’m sure the father of a cute 11-year-old daughter has a strong feeling about who and WHO DOESN’T have sex with his underage child, too! But again, I may have misunderstood your point on this one. Now, I’ll answer your questions. Is it “pretty much over for the issue of homosexuality”? Well, according to our culture, yes. Celebrities, politicians, and an undetermined amount of the US populace have made their decision in favor of homosexuality. But just because the world has decided something, doesn’t mean they’re right. Further, it doesn’t mean that the Church has to follow or agree. Personally speaking, yes, I think our culture will continue to move in the direction it’s headed now. You speculate a decade (or two), but it may happen much sooner than that. I hope not, but you and I will just have to wait to see. Regardless, no Christian with a proper understanding of biblical authority will ever oppose clear scriptural teaching to side with the majority, no matter its size. Your next question revolves around whether or not “the world is going to Hell because it’s finally accepted it [homosexuality].” Biblically speaking, only unrepentant sinners who reject Christ go to Hell. But at the heart of your question – I think – is, “Does this acceptance of homosexuality make the world worse?” Perhaps. But to be honest, it’s not like the world needs another “chink in its armor” to be labeled negatively. There’s war, corruption, human trafficking, injustice, murder, addiction, and many other terrible realities that condemn us (which is why we need a perfect Savior). I hope that helps. David

   Sean         5/10/2012 9:45:49 PM

You should never fight hate with hate. I myself am an atheist, and will say Savages harsh stance is uncalled for. Mainly because it proves nothing, makes him look bad, and because you never give Christians ammunition for anything. No offence. Clearly Savage believes Christians were the ones who caused his pain, and takes are very crude stance against them. More than likely he's correct in his view. I really don't know many people who dislike homosexuality who aren't Christian or Muslim. I'm sure there are a few out there, but I've never met any. Still this is the way of things. Cause and effect. For centuries, decades, I don't know, Christians have been on the war path against Gays, Lesbians, and Transgenders. Now you finally find yourselves on the wrong side of history, and all of a sudden your the bullied ones. I really don't think it happened over night, and I believe the harsh views Christians have had over the years lead to people with harsh view points like Dan's. It doesn't really matter if your a Bible beating Christian who says, "All Gays are going to hell," or the "Love the sinner, not the sin"(which really doesn't make any sense)Christian, it's pretty much the same thing. Just instead of threatening, your just telling people they're wrong with love. :) Human beings surprise me sometimes. IT was human beings who said enslaving other human beings was wrong. That issue was fought against, hell it was fought against by Christians. Not all, not all. Now, human beings have come to realise that we don't have a right to tell someone who they can and can not love regardless of gender. As horrible as human beings have been throughout history, we sure have come a long way. Makes me proud to be one. Still, it hurts me that this is an issue. IF it weren't Dan's crude words would never have been spoken. If there's one thing I do believe in it's fate. So tell me David, do you realise that it's pretty much over for the issue of homosexuality? Seriously, can you honestly not tell me that you already know that in one decade, maybe, two people like Dan Savage won't even exist because the issue will be dead for good? I guess the next question will be is that once it's over will you think the world is going to hell because it's finally accepted it? or.....will you look around and realise that the world is no better or worse, that it's exactly the same?














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