Jesus Needs New PR

Jesus Needs New PR


SECOND UPDATE: Sean McDowell Responds

When I posted about Sean McDowell/Interlinc yesterday, I didn’t know that it would create such a heated debate at my blog as well as several other well-visited blogs across the Internet. This morning I received an email from Sean. And though he and I don’t agree on the topic of discussion, I must say that his email is kind and civil. And I respect and appreciate that a lot. As most of us know, it’s not easy responding to criticism, so anytime somebody does it well, I believe it should be acknowledged and commended.

I also think Sean makes a great point regarding the titling of the initial post: I’ll admit it was unfair. The only reason I used Sean’s father’s name was because I’d never heard of Sean and thought that using his father’s name would bring recognition/context to the post. But I realize now that using it was also sensationalism, and I’m sorry about that. I’m a blogger, not a news reporter… Also, while I do think that Sean’s answer to the question was fear-filled ‘Christian’ jargon, I wasn’t trying to “define” every part of him as such. I should have made that clearer in my post. Again, my apologies.

The only other thing I would add before you read the letter is this: The “quote” Sean uses toward the end of his letter (highlighted in red) was not written by me! I assume he, like others in the comment section, are confusing my comments–mpt–with one of my faithful readers’ comments–MattPTurner. With that said, here’s Sean’s letter unedited…

Dear Matthew,

Wow, it seems I’ve become quite the topic of interest on your blog the past couple days! Chad (my friend you quoted on the 2nd blog post) forwarded me your post today so I’ve taken some time to read your blog and familiarize myself with your writings.

It seems we have a lot in common. We are both 34. We are both writers and speakers. And we both grew up in conservative Christian homes. And we both also have a heart for our generation, and in particular for gay people. Believe it or not, I would be very interested in meeting you in person some day and talking through some of these issues. I live in California, so you’ll have to let me know if you’re ever in the OC.

Reading your post (and many of the comments) brought some thoughts to my mind. Allow me to share a few.

First, thanks for posting the rest of the video. I appreciate what you said here: “However, my goal is never to misrepresent somebody’s views or opinions, which is why I’m posting the complete answer as a new post rather than simply linking to it.”

Second, I realize you didn’t edit the video. You probably didn’t even realize there was more to it. In the future, please consider contacting me directly so I can give some context. I think this may have avoided a lot of misunderstanding.

The title of the post, “Josh McDowell’s son uses fear, hate, & ignorance to teach kids how to love” clearly implies that I am a fear mongering, hateful, and ignorant person.  In fact you say, “It’s insensitive. Hateful. Ignorant. Manipulative. And while it might be “Christian,” it has nothing to do with Jesus.” My intentions were not to be any of these and I believe this is an unfair characterization.

In reality, the point of the video (which is evidenced by viewing it in its entirety) is that we are to respond to homosexual behavior with both grace and truth. John says that Jesus came in grace and truth (John 1:17). The loving thing to do often involves patient opposition. In fact, you said it perfectly in one of your responses on the blog: “Regardless, my love as a parent will always be with them. Will I accept what they’re doing? No. Should I treat my children, who I already love dearly, any less than what I should for my fellow man because of decisions they make? Absolutely not.”

I actually have an in-depth article on my website that makes this very point. It’s a chapter from my book Apologetics for a New Generation. Please take a minute to check it out here.

Sincerely,

Sean McDowell

Emotions run high regarding the topic of homosexuality–on all sides of the issue. While many of JNNPR’s readers support Sean’s thoughts/opinion on the topic, others are hurt, frustrated, or angered by his opinions. Debating his opinion is one thing (I’m okay with that)… but let’s refrain from making personal attacks against him. Can we do that?!



Advertisement
Comments read comments(123)
post a comment
James Williams

posted January 27, 2011 at 2:38 pm


First, thanks for posting this. Second, regarding your very last plea/sentence, I would ask if you believe that calling the attitudes in the video clip “hateful” are, in fact, a personal attack?



report abuse
 

    chris

    posted January 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm


    I would tend to say yes James. The original posting of this was never intended to stimulate honest debate, it was intended to be sensationalist, to stir anger, and was extremely snarky and judgmental from the outset.

    Having said that, kudos to MPT for following up and listening to Sean. Like so many of the sensationalized things MPT sticks on here, they are done so with no context wrapped around them, therefore can be viewed in a myriad of ways and most often they are intended to be viewed negatively on here. That’s what this whole blog is about.



    report abuse
     

      LRA

      posted January 27, 2011 at 9:37 pm


      Meanwhile, Chris’ comments demonstrate a complete failure to understand the concept of “needing new PR”.



      report abuse
       

        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 10:59 am


        Jesus does not require PR-new or otherwise-from human beings. His statement was made on the cross and that’s about all that goes with it.



        report abuse
         

          vegas710

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:46 am


          Actually, Scripture is explicitly clear that WE are to be his ambassadors.



          report abuse
           

          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm


          Perhaps, Christina.

          But you Christians are certainly in need of new PR. To many of us, many of y’all are an ugly, ugly group.



          report abuse
           

          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm


          Yes, you are correct. We are to magnify the glory of the cross by letting ourselves go so it can reflect in us and on us. Not by acting like we know what we should do for him. Jesus hated that kind of arrogance more than he hated anything.



          report abuse
           

          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 7:20 pm


          Wow, MPT. Christina thinks you are arrogant. Shock and surprise.



          report abuse
           

    Grace

    posted January 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm


    Can’t speak for MPT, but from my perspective his assessment of McDowell’s comments was accurate and not a personal attack. It was a criticism of what he said, not who he is. What he said did display either ignorance about how HIV/AIDS is contract or willful omission of any acknowledgment of that information. What he said was hateful because it implies that parents are leading their children to their deaths if they accept their children’s sexuality – when in fact we know the opposite is true, that lack of acceptance from family, friends and society is incredibly harmful to non-heterosexual people, and sometimes even deadly. It was insensitive, and it was using fear of AIDS to manipulate. The fact that his conscious intention was one of “love” doesn’t change the meaning or effects of his words.



    report abuse
     

      Christina

      posted January 28, 2011 at 11:18 am


      How is that so when scientific research shows that AIDS is a direct result of irresponsible sexual practices? Scientific research also shows that as recent as 2008 male to male sexual contact was the leading transmission route. There’s your science.

      He never once said AIDS was a punishment from God. You all are used to hearing foolish “conservative” “Christians” tout that stuff everywhere else that’s what it is. So used to it in fact that you refuse to open your eyes and evaluate the context of anything else where similar words and phrases are used. You can’t imagine for one second that there are people out there who really just love God and other people enough to tell the truth. THAT’S IGNORANCE.



      report abuse
       

        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 11:41 am


        Just to clarify (since people here are such fans of nit picking) that should read

        *the spread of AIDS is a direct result of irresponsible sexual practices.



        report abuse
         

          vegas710

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:49 am


          Always? Because it sounds like you are saying always but that would be completely ignorant so I am going to assume that you know that “irresponsible sex” isn’t the only way to get AIDS and other STDs.



          report abuse
           

          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm


          It’s the number one way, read your facts.



          report abuse
           

        Grace

        posted January 28, 2011 at 10:31 pm


        You need to read more attentively. The only “irresponsible” sexual practice that leads to contracting AIDS is not using a condom. Which populations have the highest rates of HIV has nothing to do with what *causes* HIV. And in other parts of the world, the most common transmission route is heterosexual sex. Fail.

        I never claimed he said AIDS is a punishment from God so I have no idea what you’re responding to.



        report abuse
         

Troy

posted January 27, 2011 at 2:38 pm


” In the future, please consider contacting me directly so I can give some context.”

that would be no fun for anybody, would it?



report abuse
 

MCH

posted January 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm


Apologizing is never fun. Way to go, Matt! I appreciate how both parties have handled this…internet scandal?



report abuse
 

josh

posted January 27, 2011 at 2:45 pm


The problem remains, Sean McDowell still sees homosexuality as a choice. Does he think we choose to be criticized by Christians? The reason programs like the ex-gay movement exist is because Christians promise this sort of conditional love. “I love you, but I still think you’re wrong.” I didn’t choose to be gay any more than Sean McDowell chose to be straight. In the video, the “grace and truth” Sean McDowell points to in the story about his friend is that the friend’s parents loved him unconditionally, and then he died of AIDS. It is as hateful to me as if I were to say that Sean McDowell was born a Christian, his parents loved him in spite of this, and then he died of cancer.

The difference here is that being Christian is an actual choice, and one that an increasing number of people are choosing to cease.



report abuse
 

    James Williams

    posted January 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm


    His is simply a difference of opinion. Even Matt said himself on the first of these posts that it’s his opinion that homosexuality is not a choice. You will never, ever, get everyone’s opinion to line up with yours, on any topic. You will have to live with that. McDowell was asked the question, and he answered what his view is. He’s entitled to arrive at that opinion in any way he chooses (in this case through Scripture, and in your case, you arrived at yours through personal experience).

    I used to be bothered by the fact that people disagreed with me, and still let it get to me from time to time. But you can’t let it get to you. Because someone is always going to see things differently.



    report abuse
     

      Grace

      posted January 27, 2011 at 3:03 pm


      Re: whether homosexuality is a choice, it’s not “simply” a difference of opinion. It’s an opinion that contradicts both the preponderance of research on human sexuality and the lived experiences of most gay, lesbian, and bisexual people.

      Sean McDowell and Christians who agree with him have the right to express their opinions, and those of us who disagree have the right to point out that your opinions are both factually and demonstrably incorrect, and harmful to people who are not heterosexual.

      E.g. – whatever one thinks about homosexuality, it is a matter of fact that AIDS is not caused by being gay, bi, or otherwise not straight. It’s caused by HIV, which is contracted the same way any other STD is and is no respecter of sexual orientation.



      report abuse
       

        chris

        posted January 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm


        On paragraphs 1 and 2 I disagree, on paragraph 3, couldn’t agree more.



        report abuse
         

          Jordan

          posted January 27, 2011 at 3:23 pm


          In what sense do you disagree? Because it is simply your opinion and you have the right to stick to it despite evidence? Or, do you have some studies to cite that show it is in fact all choice? That is, do you just disagree, or do you disagree for a reason (other than on principle)?



          report abuse
           

          LRA

          posted January 27, 2011 at 10:52 pm


          Some people just can’t be bothered with facts.



          report abuse
           

        Brian

        posted January 27, 2011 at 3:51 pm


        Grace – I think they are saying that homosexual behavior is a choice. People choose to follow their desires and give in to them. People who participate in homosexual activity are making a choice. I don’t think you are saying that they are mindless zombies.

        I agree with McDowell, btw. We should be loving and patient. The problem is that people buy into the liberal lie: affirming is loving. The truth is, affirming is not equal to loving. Loving is telling the truth no matter how bad it hurts.

        And regardless of whether you believe that homosexual behavoir is sinful or not, the meat of the matter is this: people who participate in homosexual behavoir, people who participate in heterosexual behavoir and people who are celibate are all sinners. We are all sinners before God. But the good news is that we can all be forgiven by repenting of our sins and put our trust in Jesus.



        report abuse
         

          Grace

          posted January 27, 2011 at 7:35 pm


          Why should queer people be held up to a standard that straight people have never been able to live up to – total “chastity” as defined by an antiquated and highly problematic philosophy? What percentage of straight people would you say are content to remain totally celibate their entire lives and not find a companion to share their lives and possibly build a family with? What percentage are content to walk away from someone they love and who loves them back? Or to refrain indefinitely from having sex with the person they love, just on principle? That’s what you’re asking all queer people to give up *on principle*. You are asking us to deny a hugely important part of our humanity.

          No, queer people are not mindless zombies. But It’s virtually impossible for straight people to live the way conservative Christians tell gay people to live. We aren’t magically more capable of living indefinitely without love and without sex than straight people are.

          And you know what, being gay or queer isn’t all about who you have sex with. Conservative Christians have a tendency to make non-hetero sexualities all about sexual acts. I’m in a straight marriage; I’m still queer, and it’s still part of who I am, even if I never have sex with anyone else. Sexual identity is bigger than who one is having sex with (or whether one is having sex at all).



          report abuse
           

          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:43 am


          “Loving is telling the truth no matter how bad it hurts. ”

          Amen. Now watch as everyone gives their opinion on what the “truth” is.



          report abuse
           

      Bob Chapman

      posted January 27, 2011 at 3:30 pm


      “He’s entitled to arrive at that opinion in any way he chooses (in this case through Scripture, and in your case, you arrived at yours through personal experience).”

      Scripture does not exist in its own reality, separate from the rest of the world.

      While anyone can form a personal opinion only from what they read in Scripture, that doesn’t mean that it is a good way to do it. It is just as deadly as using only personal experience.

      And, Josh did not necessarily form his opinion from only personal experience. (He may have, but he didn’t say so.) There is extensive, repeatable research that shows a person’s sexuality is not simply a matter of choice, but a matter of many inputs. That goes for heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality. People do not choose their sexuality. Some choose to deny their sexuality, and are hurt by that.



      report abuse
       

        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 11:48 am


        I agree. Each person I know who is gay, bi, transgendered has all come to that place in a different way. I also know a lot of people who are gay and refuse to admit it to themselves unnecessarily and have gone on living a life that’s a lie which is very dangerous.

        Basically what i means is that there is no set of rules as to how one arrives at the state of gay or how one handles it. This is where science fails us. This goes for many things, including disease. We can research all day long, we still don’t have definitive answers to many many things. That is because life is a great mystery that science and it’s “facts” so often seeks to destroy.

        Ah, control. We love it to the point of death.



        report abuse
         

          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 3:54 pm


          “This is where science fails us. This goes for many things, including disease. We can research all day long, we still don’t have definitive answers to many many things. That is because life is a great mystery that science and it’s “facts” so often seeks to destroy.

          Ah, control. We love it to the point of death.”

          So… because science doesn’t yet have all of the cures to all diseases or because the science of human cognition hasn’t yet advanced to secure a clear explanation of human behavior, it is a failure? How does that follow?

          Also, if you like living with the mysterious, then why don’t you stop enjoying the advances in human health and technology that science has afforded you? If you think life would be so fantastic without science, then why don’t you read up on some accounts of the Plague or the experiences women used to have in childbirth?

          Science is an epistemological endeavor. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the “mysterious” is not in the realm of scientific fact-finding in so far as the “mysterious” includes the supernatural. So your anti-science rant is really rather silly.



          report abuse
           

Bob Chapman

posted January 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm


I lost interest in what Sean had to say when he said in the linked article, “After 25 years of deep immersion in the gay lifestyle, he wanted out.”

For me, the “gay lifestyle” involves earning a living, paying my taxes, providing care for my brother with MS and recently-widowed father, all while living in relationship with my partner.

I’ve never been to Palm Springs, Provincetown, Boy’s Town in Chicago, Fire Island, or any other “Gay Mecca.” Although, while on our last visit (almost 10 years ago) to San Francisco, my partner and I attended a symphonic music concert at a music academy (because of the conductor). My partner did not use any of his professional connections in the ballet community to snag free tickets to anything.

As a former mathematics teacher, I occasionally coach my nephew (the son of my partner’s sister) as he practices to pass his exam so he can enter the National Guard and be a military police officer.

I’ll admit to loving to ride my motorcycle. This is why I say all my leather has actually been on a motorcycle.

What I want out of is watching my brother’s mind dissolve into his music like a cube of sugar dissolves in hot coffee. He has a Masters in Music (Conducting) and had been accepted into a doctoral program about the time he was diagnosed with MS.

What I want out of is assuring my 82 year old father–who still has a very sharp mind for a person of any age–that he is not becoming irrelevant. He spent 59 years married to my mother before her recent death, now trying to find something to do.

What I want out of is the way some Christians to think their sins are any less significant than mine. We all sin. We all sin after conversion. We all sin while we grow in Christ, reforming our lives. It is a pass-fail system folks, and we all failed. If David can say the love of Jonathan is better than the love of women and still serve God, why can’t I?

It isn’t because I do things well. Over the past year, with pressures building from trying to earn a living, care for my brother, and be present with my mom in her last months (my parents moved from over 1000 miles away to be where my brother and I live), there are times I haven’t been loving. Remembering that all the law and the prophets hang on loving God and loving others as ourselves, all I can do is plead for mercy and thank my loving partner.

If there was only a gay lifestyle to come out from.



report abuse
 

    Christina

    posted January 28, 2011 at 11:20 am


    Gay lifestyle means dating (falling in love with, marrying etc) men. It’s a lifestyle choice just as much as women dating men is a lifestyle choice. Believe it or not people (regardless of their sexual preference) can opt out of dating and love and marriage all together. It is not a requirement for individual survival.



    report abuse
     

      LRA

      posted January 28, 2011 at 12:02 pm


      Yes, let’s reduce gay people to survival means. Let’s deprive them of thriving.



      report abuse
       

        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 6:11 pm


        My life is not deprived in the least. Thanks for speaking for me though.



        report abuse
         

          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 7:22 pm


          Christina, you are not the spokesperson for all gay people. Talk about arrogant!



          report abuse
           

          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 7:23 pm


          Oh- and just because you have bought into your own repression doesn’t mean other gay people should have to.



          report abuse
           

          Joe Crenshaw

          posted January 29, 2011 at 9:59 am


          I don’t think David’s “love of Johnathan” was homosexual at all. I love my brother more than most women I have dated and there is nothing homosexual between us.

          Again, I see both sides of this issue and I see ignorance on both sides.

          I don’t think anything will ever change, those who believe that homosexuality isn’t a sin and ignore where scripture clearly says it is a sin are just being rebellious to that commandment.

          The same way folks who believe in evolution who reject biblical creation are rejecting a biblical doctrine.

          Be honest about it, be honest that there are things in the bible you believe and agree with and things in the bible you don’t believe and don’t agree with.

          Don’t say they are not there.

          I am glad the only thing required for eternal salvation is faith in the death and resurrection of the Messiah JESUS the CHRIST of Nazareth.

          Outside of that there would be no one in heaven as we fight and bicker about everything outside of that truth.

          Thank GOD he made it simple for us all or we would all be subject to his wrath and judgment.



          report abuse
           

Sam

posted January 27, 2011 at 3:41 pm


I just realized – Isn’t the other guy in the clip Miles McPherson, pastor of The Rock church in San Diego, one of the leading voices in the “Yes on Prop 8″ campaign? Was this filmed as part of the Prop 8 campaign a couple of years ago? It smells like politics mixed with religion.



report abuse
 

David in Houston

posted January 27, 2011 at 4:04 pm


I read Sean’s chapter on homosexuality from Apologetics for a New Generation. At one point he says that a person’s sexual orientation isn’t a choice. But later he “hopes gays and lesbians will reconsider their lifestyle”. If sexual orientation isn’t a choice, then it can’t be a lifestyle. Charlie Sheen sleeping with an assortment of women is a lifestyle. Going to a bar every night to get drunk is a lifestyle. You might as well say that being a heterosexual is living the “straight lifestyle”. It’s insulting when it’s put in that context. So, if he knows that gay people can’t change their sexual orientation, the only option is to remain celibate their entire life (or pretend to be straight). If Sean were asked to do this, I hardly think he’d follow his own advice. Nor should anyone else.

Why anyone would use the Bible to explain human sexuality is anyone’s guess. It’s a book of morality tales, not a scientific journal. It might be best to keep that in perspective when dealing with complex subject matter such as sexual orientation.



report abuse
 

    Christina

    posted January 28, 2011 at 11:23 am


    I have no idea if I was born gay or if I chose it. My current lifestyle choice, is not to be in the gay lifestyle. So yes, from personal experience it is a choice.

    Just FYI, I am not repressing anything. I am absolutely more joyful than I have been in YEARS, and more healthy than I could imagine.

    I don’t ever forsee myself marrying a man, so with that aspect I am still gay. My lifestyle choice is simply not to date or get married.



    report abuse
     

sharideth

posted January 27, 2011 at 4:06 pm


i don’t think there’s going to be any real understanding between christians and the gay community until people stop getting hung up on why people are gay.

why doesn’t it have to be one answer?

there’s 3 reasons why someone is gay.

1. born that way – sorry brothers and sisters in Christ, but science is to close to defining this conclusively for us to keep to denying it’s a possibility. the bible is clear that we are “born in our sin”.

2. sexual abuse – denying that someone’s sexuality gets skewed because of sexual abuse by a same sex offender is to deny libraries full psychological evidence.

3. choice – sorry my gay friends, but it does happen. i’ve seen it. but i’ve only seen it with women who have given up on men and find comfort with another woman.

feel free to debate whether or not homosexuality is sin. that’s a dialogue worth having. but let go of the why fight. ultimately it doesn’t really matter.

and for me, the bible says to love God and love others. i see no qualifications on who those others are.



report abuse
 

    Bob Chapman

    posted January 27, 2011 at 4:34 pm


    Choice? Those people were probably bisexual to begin with.

    Abuse? There is evidence, also, that at least some abusers sense this in whom they choose to abuse. “I only did to him what he wanted me to do.” So the resulting orientation still isn’t a that much a matter of choice.

    And, heterosexuals are born into sin, also. Which is the real point. Just like “Everyone Poops,” it is true that “Everyone Sins.” If we make acceptance based upon there still being sin in our lives, the churches will be empty.

    Everyone sins.



    report abuse
     

      sharideth

      posted January 27, 2011 at 10:04 pm


      since we’re going to ignore my point that why someone is gay doesn’t matter….

      no they weren’t bisexual to begin with. these are people i know personally and they would tell you the same thing. so unless you know their mind better than they do, you can’t assume it’s not a choice. though i understand that would be convenient for you. like i said, it’s only girls i’ve seen this happen with. sex for women is more emotional than physical, which is why there’s so many crappy online videos of girls making out who aren’t gay, and none or too few to mention of guys who aren’t gay, with other guys.

      really? you’re argument is that a 9 year old boy gave a 40 year old creeper the vibe that he’s gay so it really wouldn’t matter anyway? that’s the one you want to go with? because that’s really disturbing. it’s even more disturbing that you think this must be true for every situation where a sexually abused child ends up gay to support your theory of “born that way” only.

      exactly my point. i don’t understand why christians think people can only be born with a finite list of predispositions as long as it lines up with their belief system. it makes no sense.



      report abuse
       

      Christina

      posted January 28, 2011 at 11:24 am


      “I only did to him what he wanted me to do.”

      That has to be the most ignorant comment in this entire dialogue.



      report abuse
       

    Joseph P. Mathews

    posted January 27, 2011 at 5:12 pm


    I think there’s already understanding between Christians and gays (and they overlap!) in Churches where understanding is sought. The Episcopal Church welcomed me.



    report abuse
     

    alfista

    posted January 28, 2011 at 6:53 am


    Your post seems to work from the assumption that sexual orientation is a polar system: you are either A or B. The reality that we see in the world is that sexual orientation is actually a continuum of human behaviors and that humans do not always land on A or B but can be at any place along that continuum. These understandings are part of God’s ongoing revelation to us, and it is hubris when one purposely denies these kinds of revelations because their world view is a house of cards built solely from the understanding of authors writing millenia ago. We do not live on a firmament within a vault where water falls from above and flows to the underworld. That is a beautiful piece of ancient poetry, whose author was trying to understand his world. So to, we must use all of our heart, soul, AND mind to understand our own. Grace and peace be with you.



    report abuse
     

      sharideth

      posted January 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm


      A, B or C actually. :) i understand you’re point and frankly, i’m completely willing to allow for a spectrum. what i’m not willing to entertain is a single and finite answer to what can be a very complex issue. i think that cheapens everyone’s argument.



      report abuse
       

Christina

posted January 27, 2011 at 4:28 pm


Sorry, as a gay Christian I agree with Sean on this one. My family (that includes my church family) NEVER EVER EVER EVER condemned me. Ever. What they did do is support me to the point of never letting me forget what it means to be one with God.

If you want to know how to effectively treat homosexuality, consult them, study them. They saved my life. With love. You wanna know how they did it? By never ever believing they had the answers. By staying fully submitted to God for EVERY SINGLE STEP.

People, this is what God wants from every single one of us. How are we missing this? It’s time to step up (or step down, i should say) in submission to God. As a church we are failing people at that. That’s why we are losing our sons and daughters to AIDS and other things. By acting like we have the answers when the ENTIRE point of life is to admit we don’t. Homosexuality is a symptom, not the disease.

That said, homosexuality is a sin. All of us gay folk know that. Christians or not. No matter what we say out loud or act like, we know this. You all have done a fine job of informing us of this…applaud.

And yes we need reminders, I think, in gentle chastising which is love. This is a completely different than constantly informing us of our mistakes. Sean is exactly right; what we need here is to remember the clear definition of love which is sometimes a very dark and difficult thing to live out. Most of are dead wrong on what it means to truly ‘love’ someone. When Christ truly loved, it cost Him his life. This is the radical life he is calling us too. Nothing less, nothing more.

My life was saved because first and foremost nobody important to my survival ever condemned me as a person. And secondly, they never lost foothold of the truth. They gave me room for my mistakes without letting me fall all the way in. This is family. This is interdependence. Room for freedom, room for growth, room for instruction, room for God.

As a gay person I know what condemnation and fear mongering really is, and this is NOT it in the least. I am sorry, but it’s not.



report abuse
 

    David in Houston

    posted January 27, 2011 at 4:52 pm


    “That said, homosexuality is a sin. All of us gay folk know that. Christians or not. No matter what we say out loud or act like, we know this.”

    Please don’t speak for me. All gay people do not share your beliefs. My truth is: homosexuality is an innate sexual orientation that some people are born with. Scientific research backs this up: gay/straight brain scans, identical twin studies, in utero hormone studies, birth order studies. Your truth is: a 2,000 year old book says so. I’ll stick with my truth, thank you. — Had you not been “indoctrinated” into religion, and chosen to be religious, you’d have no concept of what is and isn’t a sin.



    report abuse
     

      Anonymous Christian

      posted January 27, 2011 at 5:05 pm


      If science is the answer we still have problems. How many people still believe that Macro-evolution is FACT??? It’s not. In order for something to be scientifically PROVEN, scientists must be able to recreate the situation in a controlled environment. Guess what, the found out the a fish is still a fish and did not create a human out of it. MY point being that science doesn’t always have the answers and sometimes get them wrong. I am not taking a side here, I just don’t always think that we should turn to science for the answer or to comfort us.



      report abuse
       

        Christina

        posted January 27, 2011 at 6:31 pm


        Science leaves us with more questions than it gives us answers to. That’s what happens when humans forget how futile they are when compared to the universe as a whole.

        And I didn’t have to say God once.



        report abuse
         

          LRA

          posted January 27, 2011 at 11:03 pm


          Science also gave us the computers we are typing on, the cure to polio, and men on the moon.

          What has religion done for us lately?



          report abuse
           

        LRA

        posted January 27, 2011 at 11:01 pm


        LOLWHUT???

        Ok– you won’t believe a scientific claim that is supported with evidence, but you’ll believe a religious claim that is not supported at all by any kind of real evidence?

        Silliness.



        report abuse
         

          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 10:53 am


          It’s called being courageous. Look it up. People who need evidence are weak minded.



          report abuse
           

          vegas710

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:58 am


          @Christina, that is one of the FUNNIEST things I’ve ever heard. You big, brave Christian you. It takes courage to turn off your brain and do whatever some guy tells you, eh?



          report abuse
           

          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm


          Wow.

          Facing my own final death/annihilation a a non-believer isn’t courageous?

          Standing up to the majority of people in my culture isn’t courageous?

          Seeking for authenticity no matter where it leads me isn’t courageous?

          You have a funny view of courage.

          On your view, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Zoroastrians, indeed any person who has ever held a belief in something supernatural is courageous.

          On your view, courage is about arrogantly asserting claims regardless of just how silly they really are.

          On your view, ignorance is superior to knowledge.

          Wow, that is some view.



          report abuse
           

        LRA

        posted January 27, 2011 at 11:05 pm


        AND the fact that you think science is about “proof” shows just how scientifically illiterate you are.

        Seriously silliness.



        report abuse
         

          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 10:55 am


          Sciece does not explain love, or courage. Or anything else that ACTUALLY matters on this earth.



          report abuse
           

          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 12:10 pm


          Actually, science does. It’s called cognitive neuroscience. You might ought to look it up.



          report abuse
           

        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 6:14 pm


        Yes. It takes courage to be humble and follow the creator of the universe without any control which is why you don’t have a clue what I am talking about.

        Guess what? It also has benefits you would never even dream of.

        I count everything else as lost…It’s crap compared to what I have now. I know that sounds crazy to you, trust me it is not a insult that you think I am ridiculous. It just highlights everything more.



        report abuse
         

          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 7:26 pm


          If you say so.



          report abuse
           

          vegas710

          posted January 29, 2011 at 11:55 am


          Been there, done that. I suppose you would assume I did it wrong if I didn’t get these same benefits you’ve listed. I never felt more free than when I left the Christian church. That’s my experience, which proves NOTHING. Which is my point.



          report abuse
           

      Christina

      posted January 27, 2011 at 5:06 pm


      I didn’t say anything about belief. I said “know.”



      report abuse
       

        Joseph P. Mathews

        posted January 27, 2011 at 5:16 pm


        What I know is that I’m loved by God and by my same-sex fiance. And that I love him. And that in coming out to God I never felt more loved, welcomed, or such an experience of grace in feeling that I could be who I was created to be.

        So yes, please use “I” statements. You know what you know, and I know what I know.



        report abuse
         

          Christina

          posted January 27, 2011 at 5:18 pm


          Read the context of the sentence and perhaps you will stop making up your own truths. I don’t know what you know, I am not in your head. That was a DIRECT statement to ignorant people who pound that information out to Gays on a constant basis.



          report abuse
           

          Joseph P. Mathews

          posted January 27, 2011 at 5:41 pm


          You said, “That said, homosexuality is a sin. All of us gay folk know that. Christians or not.” I don’t know that. I know that not being in right relationships with others is sinful, and I know that not being in right relationship with God is sinful. Context doesn’t change the wording of the sentence. By using “all” you are suggesting that you are, in fact, in my head.

          That’s what happens when you speak for all queerfolk, which you don’t. David said that all gay people don’t share your beliefs and you decided to be snarky and paint it as fact. Well, we don’t all know what you think we do. We encounter God as we encounter God, as we know God’s grace and God’s love through warm fuzzies or through Christ’s Body on earth the Church.



          report abuse
           

      Bob Chapman

      posted January 27, 2011 at 5:13 pm


      That 2000 year old collection of books doesn’t have the word “homosexual” or “heterosexual” in it. Anywhere.

      The concept of sexuality started among the early psychologists in the 1800s. (That does not mean there weren’t homosexuals, only that any sexual orientation isn’t called out or defined.) Because of that, there is no way that a collection of Books finished somewhere around 100 CE can have the word “homosexual” in it.

      For this reason, the Bible is actually silent on homosexuality.

      Some people have, through making an interpretation, tried to add “homosexual” to the text. That doesn’t make their interpretation correct. It only makes it their interpretation.



      report abuse
       

    Grace

    posted January 27, 2011 at 7:03 pm


    If you’re content in how you’ve chosen to live out your sexuality, that’s great. But your understanding of what the Bible “says” about how gay people should live is based on faulty translations that have been deliberately translated to mean something that’s not there in the original Greek (as Bob Chapman points out).

    It’s also based on a philosophy of biblical interpretation that is:
    1) inconsistent- claiming the NT passages theological conservatives claim are about homosexuality should be read as unassailable truth while at the same time saying Paul’s comments on slavery and women covering their heads should be read in cultural context and
    2) frankly, ridiculous, given that we’re talking about a millenia old set of poorly edited together books, which, by the way, many parts of were taken from surrounding “pagan” cultures and religions, and written when marriage was an economic transaction in which a father sold his daughter into another man’s ownership, slavery was a-ok, and people thought the sun revolved around the earth. It’s one thing to claim the Bible has spiritual truth in it; it’s another thing entirely to claim that everything it has to say about marriage and sexuality is timeless, universal truth which must be applied exactly to the letter today. That’s absurd. If we still had that mindset about the Bible’s statements of slavery people like me would still be slaves today.

    That said, homosexuality is a sin. All of us gay folk know that. Christians or not. No matter what we say out loud or act like, we know this.

    Speak for yourself. I’m a queer woman, and I not only know that homosexuality is not a sin, I know the concept of sin “traditional” Christians believe in has little to do with actually being kind to people, working to make the world a better place, or actually living a truly good life. It’s a concept that requires obedience to a set of arbitrary rules, many of which have no logical rationale, many of which actually do harm to millions if not billions of people. I utterly reject that concept of sin and know that a truly just and loving God, if one exists, would care more about war and hunger and poverty- things that actually harm people- and has better things to worry about than harmless consensual sex between people of whatever gender.



    report abuse
     

      Grace

      posted January 27, 2011 at 7:13 pm


      I see from comments below that Christina is saying she meant that all gay people know that Christians believe homosexuality is a sin, not that all gay people secretly know deep down inside that it’s a sin. Which is nice, I guess, but not actually what the words she used mean: No matter what we say out loud or act like, we know this.. That sentence makes no sense whatsoever if the preceding couple of sentences were really about gay people knowing what Christians believe about homosexuality. Perhaps Christina mistyped. Even so, there are plenty of Christians who don’t believe homosexuality is a sin, and the more people see that gay people are not monsters or perverts, and the more they see how these kinds of teachings harm gay people, the more people will learn to accept gay couples and families in their lives and in society.



      report abuse
       

        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 10:46 am


        The point is we’ve heard it all before. That was my point. End of story.



        report abuse
         

      Christina

      posted January 28, 2011 at 10:51 am


      The song you are singing has been sung for centuries. And if you so strongly believe it, why do you waste so much precious energy trying to convince the world of it?

      Why are you commenting on Christian posts? If you are so at peace with yourself, and you have it all figured out, live it out by example. Do the world that supposedly has no God a favor.



      report abuse
       

        vegas710

        posted January 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm


        POT MEET KETTLE



        report abuse
         

          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 6:26 pm


          Um, this is a supposedly Christian blog so that doesn’t really apply the way you intended it to. I’m not here trying to convince anyone of anything.



          report abuse
           

          vegas710

          posted January 29, 2011 at 11:57 am


          “I’m not here trying to convince anyone of anything.”
          Then why are you here?



          report abuse
           

          Grace

          posted January 28, 2011 at 10:38 pm


          WORD.



          report abuse
           

        Grace

        posted January 28, 2011 at 10:37 pm


        Why are you commenting on Christian posts? If you are so at peace with yourself, and you have it all figured out, live it out by example. Do the world that supposedly has no God a favor.

        If I’m so wrong, why are you bothering to argue with me? Take your own advice.

        There are a lot of reasons why I’m commenting here, but a big one is because the stuff you believe about homosexuality is dangerous, and I’m not just going to shut up and say nothing about it when people are living in misery, killing themselves and being killed, because of some ridiculous teaching that God cares soooo much about what kind of sex everyone is having.



        report abuse
         

      Christina

      posted January 28, 2011 at 11:26 am


      How i live is not based on people’s translation of anything. How i live is based on my submission to God and how He answers that call for love. I serve God not man.

      And you don’t know much about real Christians, I can see that from how you talk. Want to meet some real Christians? Come hang out with me. Real Christians are not on the internet, or TV.



      report abuse
       

        vegas710

        posted January 28, 2011 at 12:05 pm


        But…you’re on the internet.
        And also, never trust anyone who claims to know who is a “real” Christian and who is not.



        report abuse
         

          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 6:16 pm


          You don’t seem to trust anything or anyone, you’ve made that quite clear. Yes I am on the internet, but my love for Christ however is not.



          report abuse
           

          vegas710

          posted January 29, 2011 at 12:02 pm


          “but my love for Christ however is not”
          I’ve been wondering where you hid it.

          So because I don’t trust YOU, I don’t trust anyone or anything? You are way off-base in your assumptions about other people.
          There are many Christians that I trust. Matt here, for one. Then there’s my husband, my former pastor, my Bible College professors (most of them) and many Christian friends both conservative and liberal. And I would not hesitate for a second to call out any one of those people if they claimed to KNOW who was saved and who was not.



          report abuse
           

        Grace

        posted January 28, 2011 at 10:34 pm


        How you live isn’t based on anyone’s translations? You read koine Greek and ancient Hebrew fluently, then?

        I was raised a Christian like you – I’m sorry, a “real Christian” – so I know plenty about what they’re like.



        report abuse
         

    vegas710

    posted January 27, 2011 at 10:41 pm


    I find it rather amusing that you know the thoughts and feelings of all gay people. I’m straight (mostly) but I would never presume to say that I KNOW what all other straight people are feeling. PLEASE.



    report abuse
     

      Christina

      posted January 28, 2011 at 10:45 am


      Nobody said that. Re-read. And read all the comments.



      report abuse
       

        vegas710

        posted January 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm


        My apologies. It sounded like that was exactly what you were saying.



        report abuse
         

Joseph P. Mathews

posted January 27, 2011 at 5:08 pm


If you’ve skimmed it, go read all of Bob’s comment. I think that speaking from personal experience is helpful here. I will say that I haven’t watched all of the video, though I’ve read the comments and summary. The first minute of it, regardless of what the last two say, is based on ignorance and fear. Being gay doesn’t mean contracting HIV.

I identified as “ex-gay” for about four years after I was outed to my family. During this time I lied to myself and everyone else. I also engaged in some really unhealthy, compulsive behavior. I had never been taught (thus not really considered) that two people of the same sex could be in a committed, loving relationship. Coming out to my mom was miserable, and for the last three years she’s in some way or another mentioned that she thinks it’s wrong and that she prays for me to change.

Needless to say, this has put a strain on our relationship. “Patient but loving opposition” has decreased the amount I communicate with her. I have no reason to believe that her views have changed. I have no need to hear it said over and over again. There comes a point in hearing it when I want to say, “Who are you trying to convince? Me or yourself? I took you at your word.” I’d like to get a card or letter from her that doesn’t end with “Stay in the word” or “I’m not your Holy Spirit.” Praying the Daily Office easily keeps me in Scripture. Almost the entire Bible in two years. And I sure as hell know that she’s not my Holy Spirit.

I don’t need to be reminded that she doesn’t support me as I am, that I live in fear of her deciding not to talk to me anymore, that she might not come to my wedding, that she threatened to not come to my college graduation if my boyfriend (not fiance) was going to be there (though she did come and they were not introduced). I don’t need “patient loving opposition.” I just need love. It took me a long time to love myself as God created me, and when I came out to God an almost audible response was “duh.” That can’t be taken away from me.

My mother’s behavior contrasts with my friend Jacob’s. Jacob was my best friend through college and is still a good friend. We didn’t go to the same school, but the Internet makes long distance friendships quite possible. Early as we started to get close I told him that I identified as ex-gay. All the other (straight) guys I’d ever gotten close to had bolted at that admission. Jacob didn’t. Jacob supported me in that. As I came to realize that I was lying to myself, I wanted to share my life fully with Jacob since he was my best friend.

Coming out to Jacob was one of the hardest coming outs I had. And Jacob didn’t say anything. I have no idea where Jacob is on the gay issue in terms of support or not. I can make assumptions based on Jacob’s being far more politically, socially, economically, and theologically conservative than I am, but Jacob hasn’t said anything. And he hasn’t bolted. I am extremely conscious of Jacob’s not-statements in support or against. I am also extremely conscious of Jacob’s loving me and caring for me as a person.

These two differences of experience illustrate for me what it’s like to be loved as a gay person without condition and with condition or at least expectation or hope of changed that is not only voiced, but continues to be voiced. It feels like conditional love sometimes, rather than the unconditional love that my mom truly is trying to express. And now I’m in a community where I am loved completely. I’m in churches (locally and at the denominational level) that love me and celebrate me as I’ve been made and with a vocation to serve God.

All of this is to say that love is love and it’s clear and isn’t doubted. “Patient loving opposition” may very easily just be seen as patient opposition.



report abuse
 

Christina

posted January 27, 2011 at 5:14 pm


“I don’t need “patient loving opposition.” I just need love. ”

That’s exactly the same thing. You can not tell your mother how to feel. If you don’t let her feel what she wants to feel, then you have no right demanding that she accept you for who you are. It’s hypocritical for you to ask her to accept you the way she is but yet not accept her for who she is. It’s that simple. Love is a two way road.



report abuse
 

    Christina

    posted January 27, 2011 at 5:14 pm


    *accept you the way you are.



    report abuse
     

      Joseph P. Mathews

      posted January 27, 2011 at 5:59 pm


      I’m not asking her to change her mind. I mean, I’d love it, but that’s not what I’m getting at. I take people at their word, usually. I don’t need to be reminded of their word every time we converse. And probably far to frequently, to avoid conflict, I’ve explicitly not mentioned my fiance. My heart races whenever she calls and we’re together. The first thing she said to me about our engagement (which I didn’t tell her about personally to avoid conflict) was “How much counseling will you have to do?” My mom says something every time we talk.

      And it is a two way road. She keeps saying I’m wrong, I’m going to keep reminding her that I’m gay and in a healthy, loving committed relationship that I’ve been in for almost three years…which I haven’t been doing for the three years that she’s been negative and not supportive.



      report abuse
       

        Christina

        posted January 27, 2011 at 6:13 pm


        Her way of dealing with it is to remind you of that. That’s just how it is. It’s up to her to change that. You wishing it to go away in order for your life to be easier, or for you to feel loved (even though clearly she does love you) won’t make it any better.

        If your eyes are focused on Jesus, nothing else matters. Everything that lacks for the cause of His kingdom will fall off of you as He molds you into His image. Why would anyone want to hold on to anything but the riches of His kingdom? That’s the only reason you are here on this earth, to take your inheritance.

        You either believe that or you don’t, and if you don’t…I’m not sure why you fool with Jesus at all. Wouldn’t you rather just free yourself up all together and take the treasures of earth? He gave you that option.

        He asks you to take up your cross. Regardless if gay is a sin or not, if you are not willing to give Him all of you, He can’t work.

        And, if anything you should gently remind your mother of this as well, all while accepting her unnatural wishes to have control over your “change.” That’s her growth area, give her the room to grow. Love her the way you ask her to love you. Lead by example.

        It’s all a learning process and it angers me how much all of us don’t leave each other room to grow mostly because we don’t want to accept that we ourselves have room to improve.

        I wouldn’t begin to understand what you know about the “sin” of your homosexuality. That’s a growth area for you. Whether it’s good for you or not is not for me to know. Like I said, I’m not in anyone’s head but mine.

        Romans 3:23 says that ALL have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. 99% of what we do is sin. Some hetero marriages are sin. It’s about the room we give him to come alive in us that matters. The dirtier we are, the brighter His grace shines in us.

        That was what I was aiming for with my original statement. Sean was by no means fear mongering anyone. He’s doing his job by pushing for growth and allowing for it’s room all at the same time.



        report abuse
         

Christina

posted January 27, 2011 at 5:57 pm


You’re telling me you’ve NEVER once in your life heard someone say that homosexuality is a sin? I don’t believe that for one second.

In case I didn’t make it clear, that is what I meant. My apologies for allowing the fog in somehow by not writing it clearer.



report abuse
 

    Joseph P. Mathews

    posted January 27, 2011 at 6:06 pm


    THAT I have heard. I think reading the sentence, “That said, you think homosexuality is a sin. All of us gay folk know that. Christians or not. No matter what we say out loud or act like, we know this.” Or “…gay folk know that you think that.” Or something. I know that some Christians think it is a sin, yes. But I don’t know it to be sin. That’s my position on that point.



    report abuse
     

Christina

posted January 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm


BTW I don’t speak for queer folk. I speak for lovers of Christ, more specifically myself. Lovers of Christ know nothing but the way He is asking us to go, which is completely different for each person. You would do yourself a favor by not looking at it that way. I wasn’t writing about you, as much as that might shock you, I was writing about myself. My knowledge goes nowhere beyond that.

What I do know for sure, is that the church as whole has had no difficulties in telling all of us what a sin homosexuality is.

Meanwhile the world goes on without it…



report abuse
 

    Joseph P. Mathews

    posted January 27, 2011 at 6:21 pm


    Hells bells I wish my wifi would stop acting up and that my comments would go through when I think they do.

    Thank you for the clarification. My confusion was about what “that” referred to in “we all know that.” What I read in this comment is that what we know is that parts of the church think living in a same-sex relationship is sinful. What I originally read was that you thought we all know that it is sinful (not that certain parts of the church think it is). Thanks for the clarification (if I’ve got it right! Sorry if I don’t!) and I agree with everything in this comment.

    Not the church as a whole, though. There are some great groups within mainline denominations and some whole denominations that are affirming.



    report abuse
     

      Christina

      posted January 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm


      The problem here is shame. When we feel shame, regardless of where we are, or when we are told we should be shameful, we are tied down in chains. No matter what, Jesus did not die for us to wallow in shame chains regardless of where we are.

      If the church doesn’t live this out loud for the entire world to understand FROM WHATEVER PLACE THEY STAND we have no business calling ourselves followers of Christ, and certainly have no business pretending we are His bride.



      report abuse
       

Nash

posted January 27, 2011 at 8:09 pm


Christina, I applaud you and your honesty. Well said, well handled.

At some point someone said that straight people dont live up to the standards that we hold for gay people, or even christians dont hold up tp the standard we hold up to gay people, to that I say, your right, and shame on us. Shame on us as christians, living together out of wedlock, sleeping with people, watching what we watch, saying and talking like we talk. I know it isnt all, but I would say it is a good majority. I also say that many many many MANY “christians” will find themselves standing in front of the Lord saying ” But Lord Lord… and hearing Him say… I NEVER KNEW YOU”

We are called to be different, not to look for excuses to live like we want to live, but to live like HE wants us to live. Narrow is the door, yup, it is going to be hard and you probably need to give some things up. I still say in the end, you get the better deal than He. He gave His life, and in return he gets us, yah….. we win, we get the better deal.



report abuse
 

    Christina

    posted January 28, 2011 at 11:28 am


    Way to go, that’s exactly true. If only we would spend more time defending Christ and His Love than defending our own choices.

    Oh what would the world look like then?



    report abuse
     

      LRA

      posted January 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm


      A theocracy.



      report abuse
       

      Rhonda

      posted January 29, 2011 at 2:16 am


      Christina, I too applaud you and your honesty and your boldness for Christ. But I also don’t think you should feel the need to argue and defend yourself so much. This argument will ALWAYS go in circles. The passage that comes to mind as I read these comments is 1 Corinthians 2 (especially verse 14). Keep following Christ. Sounds like you are doing an amazing job putting Him first and living in step with the Spirit.



      report abuse
       

Sarah Mae

posted January 27, 2011 at 8:29 pm


Much respect to both of you.

(MPT, your humility is really something lovely.)



report abuse
 

Roger Smith

posted January 28, 2011 at 3:42 am


What an interesting range of views expressed in these comments — but, except for really a few of them (Bob Chapman is one notable exception, plus several others), there’s actually a lot of armchair theorizing going on. (Even worse, in one or two instances, there’s that awful abandonment of thinking framed as “science doesn’t have all the answers”; which is effectively the same argument that church figuresm both Catholic and leading Protestant reformers, gave against Copernicus and Galileo: they wouldn’t let scientific fact get in the way of their view of Scripture.) (Btw just on that point, I’ve been a born-again Christian since age 5 [pushing 55 now], went through a wonderful, conservative graduate theology school, have read the Bible through a bunch of times, and studied it in several languages including Hebrew and Greek, and went from 20 full years as a staunch creationist, through 7-8 years of hard critical thinking about my positions, till I finally recognized that far from being some sort of “challenge against God”, evolution is one of the more elegant evidences FOR God; but I’m sorry for digressing, since this isn’t about evolution.)

Armchair theorizing. Lots of people seem to talk in terms of “gays, they (this or that)”, without seeming to refer to any actual GLBT people they know personally (with only a few exceptions, and then they talk about only the handful they know personally, as if you can generalize from only a few examples); or they talk about “homosexuality is …”, and either give what seems to be only their own views, or else their Scriptural positions on it. But only rarely does anyone mention actual facts about variations in sexual orientation (how’s THAT for a clumsy way of putting the whole spectrum from gay to straight), let alone seem to dare even to reconsider their biblical views in light of knowable fact.

In my case (I know, starting only with the example of “me”, but you start somewhere), when puberty hit, I found a little to my surprise that I was attracted about equally to both genders. And of course (to answer the preconceptions that a lot of people have, though maybe not anyone on this page), no I never suffered any kind of abuse growing up (sexual, physical, emotional, or any other kind, thank God), and yes, I had a wonderful relationship with my dad as well as my mom, who were both very genuine, loving parents, Christians in the very best genuine, sincere, biblical sense of the word. So nothing “caused” that orientation to show up in me; there it was, just like everyone else discovers that they have a sexual orientation at about that time in life.

Here’s where I’d like to refer to something McDowell said, in the link to his article that he asked readers to look at (the chapter from his book): “Next, don’t call homosexuality a choice. It’s not. This is hard to swallow for many Christians. Although homosexual behavior is a choice, homosexual attraction is not.” Of course he’s quite right; and he’s exceptional in that he has a genuinely sincere (as far as I can tell) love and sense of grace that he consistently wants to extend to people, including GLBT. But the bizarre thing is that he has spent most of the rest of the chapter talking matter-of-factly about how homosexual behavior (that is, acting in any way on the “attraction”, that is, the orientation) is a sin. I don’t at all doubt his genuinely loving sincerity in wanting to help people move away from that, if they’re dealing with it in their own lives; and again he is exceptional in giving multiple examples of treating others graciously, of how he has helped counsel people (parents, for example) to deal more graciously with their GLBT loved ones, and so on.

But the really strange thing is that it never once seems to occur to him that there’s a complete logical disconnect between “homosexual attraction is not a choice” and his describing homosexual behavior as a sin. Fundamental logic for Christians: if anything at all in your human constitution is that way from birth, then ultimately God he Creator takes credit for that. Since that naturally includes who you become attracted to as you become an adult, then the inescapable logic is that’s how God made you.

Rebuttal from some Christians: “Aha, but sin and the Fall introduced all sorts of abnormatlities into creation — sickness, birth defects, on and on; and homosexual orientation/attraction would just be one of those abnormalities. A birth defect or genetically inherited illness is there from birth too, because sin and corruption taint God’s creation; yet we aim to help treat or cure those diseases and disabilities, don’t we? So of course we should aim to treat homosexual atraction the same way, say maybe like autism or dyslexia; you’ll always have that condition, but it can be dealt with, so that you can learn to live a more or less capable and normal life in spite of it.” There are lots of variations on those general views, of course, and no doubt you’ve heard some or other like these; but you get the idea. Sin > abnormalities in nature > we aim to treat or deal with those > we should do the same with homosexuality. That’s the standard-issue line in much of conservative Christianity.

But the point made (far above) by commenter Grace holds true, and of course it didn’t get adequately responded to: the way some Christians expect GLBT people to “deal with” their “abnormality” (which is what those Christians think it is, even though most people don’t dare use that term much any more) is ultimately to live celibate lives — incredibly, denied the relational and family love that most of those same Christians would probably stoutly defend as part of God’s plan for healthy lives on many levels — or else to pretend to themselves and others that they are straight. (That is, they would have to attempt some mental gymnastics such as telling themselves, “I really am straight, because that’s how God really intended for everyone to be, so I will do my best to ignore or suppress any same-sex attraction I sense, and just live straight, as I’m supposed to.”)

And Grace is also right in that those same straight Christians would most likely never be able to live such a life of self-repression, themselves, even though they confidently expect GLBT people to.

Lots of repsonsible, professional studies (and no, not “produced/influenced by the gay agenda”, but by people whose careers, meaning $alarie$, depend on their research not getting busted as false by other researchers, the “peer review” that helps hold professional accountability in research) have shown, for decades now, that:

(1) variations in sexual orientation are just that: they occur across a spectrum, with a rather small percentage of people being authentically same-sex oriented (gay), and approximately 45% of people having some degree of bisexual orientation (although, the closer you get to either end of the spectrum, more people are likely to identify with either “gay” or “straight” because it’s just simpler to understand, and that’s just a normal human tendency: we’d rather things be simpler than more complex); and

(2) none of it is an “abnormality” in any negative sense, only at most in a statistical sense (in the same way that being left-handed — which I also am, not that it ties in here — is statistically out of the norm, that is, roughly 10% of people are left-handed, and this we’re not the “norm”). That is, although there are plenty of other factors in life, families, relationships, or society to add stress or cause problems in people’s thinking or emotions, nothing along the whole range of variations in sexual orientation “causes” problems. In other words, there’s nothing that has ever been shown to indicate it’s an “abnormality” (in the negaive sense), “disability”, or anything else that needs to be “helped”, “treated”, or “fixed” — except in some Christians’ understanding of Scripture, labeling it as morally or spiritually wrong.

Now should I be including all sorts of links to research and other sources? Probably, but I also know you are intelligent readers who (since you’re here on the Internet!) I’m sure know a thing or two about searches, and as I would tell my students (that is, working adult, university students): I’m confident you can do your own homework. I’ve outlined the basic facts, the reliable information is out there; I know you can find it.

But along with all the research on human sexuality, in relatively recent years researchers in the life sciences (biology, zoology, etc.) have acknowledged what they had seen all along (but for a long time were reluctant to publish, since it’s an obvious cultural hot button): that the same variations in sexual orientation occur with the same regularity all across the animal world, in fact it’s commonly held now that there is no species of (sexually-reproducing) animal in which same-sex behavior AND relationships (as in, bonded mating pairs, for example as with many birds) has NOT been observed. I’ll go ahead and give you one link on that, as an interesting starting place to read:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual_behavior_in_animals

As you’ll see there (and like any encyclopedia, Wikipedia is a great place to start, but please always follow up with the sources and references they give if you want to know more), this includes “sex, courtship, affection, pair bonding, and parenting among same sex animals” — for example, among the black swans native to Australia, some 25% of bonded mating pairs are male-male; they bring in a female to produce eggs, then boot her out and hatch and raise the young themselves, and cygnets raised by male pairs are statistically more likely themselves to live to adulthood and raise their own young (which is prety clearly a reproductive advantage, and not in any way an “abnormality” or other problem). A variety of other advantages seen in other animals have shown that, far from being some fluke or aberration in nature, same-sex orientation is just part of (what Christians ought to see as) God’s unfathomably imaginative good creation.

And the same could be said for the way same-sex (or bisexual) orientation has been seen in cultures around the world, all through human history: while of course some cultures have taken a negative view of it, many have had either “mixed reviews” (for example ancient Greece, where it was expected that a young man would be taken in and trained for manhood and battle by an older mentor, while it was also expected that they would have a physical/romantic as well as a mentor relationship; then when the youth came of age at around 22, he left his mentor and it was expected that he would marry a woman and raise a family), or have had positive views (as in some Native American cultures, where such people have been considered given a gift from God — and the Natives’ Creator is the biblical God! contrary to some superstitious Christian ignorance on that — and are considered blessed to have characteristics of both genders: “two-spirit people” is a common term for that). The generally negative view in Western cultures though not alone in that negativity, is by no means the standard view worldwide, either.

“But the Christian view is the RIGHT view!” is another Christian objection. Well, according to Scripture itself, we’re supposed to form (and keep refining) our Christian beliefs or views based on, not just Scripture, but all the resources and facts God makes available to us — which is, the whole world and everything we can possibly find out about it. Christianity is a thinking faith (or at least, it’s supposed to be): Jesus’ response to “What is the greatest commandment in the Law?” was, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” — you’ll notice the part about “with all your mind” in there. As the president of my theology school put it (in a welcoming assembly to us new students), “God gave you a brain, and he expects you to use it.”

Remember how I referred to the church vs. Galileo (and Copernicus)? That’s pretty much where the church finds itself today, on the GLBT issue: Galileo (a devout Christian) pointed his telescope at the heavens, carefully observed, and drew logical conclusions that ran headlong against some deeply (and sincerely) held Christian beliefs. But in a rebuttal to his critics (in an essay, “Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina”, available in anthologies of his writings), he made an eloquent point that Christians today would do well to take to heart about things like GLBT, evolution, or other matters they don’t want to accept: “We hold that Scripture is true, and that the creation is true; and clearly two truths cannot contradict one another. If, therefore, we have carefully observed the natural world [he's describing what we would call responsible, diligent research], and it seems to contradict Scripture — then it is neither creation that is wrong, nor Scripture, but our reading [i.e., understanding, interpretation] of Scripture that is wrong.”

And that, of course, is exactly what turned out to be true: nowhere does Scripture even seem to hint that Earth orbits the sun or rotates on its axis, but seems to speak utterly clearly that the sun goes around Earth (and that was the argument that church figures, both Catholic and Protestant, made against his views); but consistently observed fact could not be denied, and sooner or later people (the Vatican included) came to accept that what he had seen really was true, and adjusted their interpretations of Scirpture accordingly, and (in spite of what those church leaders genuinely feared) the Christian faith did not come crashing to the ground in a ruin of secularism or sin.

The same is true here. The Scriptures (McDowell, in fact, encourages people to focus on the famous passage in Romans 1) have been shown, by responsible Christian commentators, to refer to specific things like male prostitution or even trafficking of young boys; and if anything, the cascade into sin and corruption, abandoning God and so abandoned by him, depicted at the end of Romans 1, hardly describes the great majority of GLBT people (though it also could describe a lot of straight people, infortunately!). That is simply not a generalized description of GLBT people.

We ought to heed Galileo from 400 years ago: it’s neither nature (creation) that is wrong, nor Scripture, but our interpretation of Scripture. GLBT people, like animals across the rest of creation, are as God created them, and it is good.



report abuse
 

    vegas710

    posted January 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm


    Is it unnatural that I want to marry this comment? It’s unfortunate that those who need this message the most will likely not receive it.



    report abuse
     

      Christina

      posted January 28, 2011 at 6:18 pm


      Nobody needs any message but love. That’s what we exist for.



      report abuse
       

        vegas710

        posted January 29, 2011 at 12:03 pm


        then why do you keep trying to convince us otherwise?



        report abuse
         

    Grace

    posted January 28, 2011 at 10:39 pm


    Loved this comment.



    report abuse
     

    Sam

    posted January 29, 2011 at 1:31 pm


    I have long been suspicious that there are forced interpretations of many Scriptures. This can result in the manipulation and/or oppression of certain people.

    Perhaps this is done out of ignorance, or perhaps because those who insist on the incorrect interpretations have something to gain – power to control or oppress, as is the case in the present scenario.

    There you have it – church history in a nutshell. The rest is just the details.



    report abuse
     

Noelle

posted January 28, 2011 at 11:29 am


I know this isn’t the point, but I will work to never confuse the 4 score and 20 Matts here again.



report abuse
 

Christina

posted January 28, 2011 at 11:32 am


“incredibly, denied the relational and family love that most of those same Christians would probably stoutly defend as part of God’s plan for healthy lives on many levels”

I personally lack absolutely nothing. My life is far better now than it was when I was in loving gay relationships. Simply because I’ve surrendered to the truth, having no idea what that meant when I did it. What came next was an adventure. This is the mysterious reality that is God that very few people here even seem to understand at all.

God is not a debate about sin, He is a marvelous artistic ineffable mystery. Try it sometime. Sex and security and “normalcy” doesn’t even begin to compare.



report abuse
 

JLM

posted January 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm


Speaking only for myself, not for all gays, all Christian, or even all people eating sandwiches for lunch today, but only as a gay woman who does attend Church I’d like to add a small thought to this debate. There are churches today to who seem to have lost focus on why they exist. The church’s mission should be, again my opinion only, to reach out to sinners, all sinners not just gays or liars or whatever, where they are, lead them to a place where they can experience the message of Christ, offer them the love of Christ’s church, and then leave the changes up to Christ. The church shouldn’t be directing what changes have to be made. Let the church lead sinners to Christ, then let Christ move in a person’s life for change.

Being homosexual, again only for me, wasn’t ever a choice I made. I wasn’t sexually abused either, no abuse of any kind actually, no addictions in my parents, they both love me, nothing happened. I never thought, I’m gonna like girls today, but I did have to think about what boy I should like so I would fit in with all the other little girls.

Being homosexual isn’t my choice, but acting on my attractions is a choice, just like it is for straight people.

No, I don’t share the view of some posters here that because I’m gay I have to live a celibate life. I am very much in love with the woman I have spent four years with. Before anyone throws me to the wolves and screams that I’m not a ‘real’ Christian, I urge you to stop, and I remind you that my relationship with Christ is not your relationship with Christ.

Is homosexuality, according to some modern Christian churches, a sin? Yes there are followers of Christ who believe it is. I would offer a thought about this also, the New Testament is full of things listed as sinful, Christ himself did not mention homosexuality, yes He did mention Sodom many times as an example to cities that were hostile to his message, but homosexuality he never mentions. Yes, he does discuss marriage between a man and woman, but I would ask why if a divorced couple can worship why should I not. How is the sin they are committing, adultery (without repenting), be considered less a sin than the one you believe I commit?

We used the Bible to support slavery and then we used the Bible to renounce it, Calvinists banished Quaker women from Mass. because they dared to preach the Bible and now women are teaching and preaching everyday, these are just a couple of the examples of ways our understanding of the Bible have changed.

I’m not really looking to get into a huge theological debate with anyone, as I stated before I’m only posting my thoughts and opinions. I’ll close with this, I am at peace with myself both as a gay woman and a follower of Christ. Condemn we if you must, pray for me if you will as I will pray for you.



report abuse
 

    vegas710

    posted January 28, 2011 at 4:03 pm


    Lovely! Standing ovation. <3



    report abuse
     

      Joe Crenshaw

      posted January 29, 2011 at 10:02 am


      So when JESUS said marriage was between man and woman he didn’t mention homosexuality? Yeah right . . .



      report abuse
       

        JLM

        posted January 29, 2011 at 12:06 pm


        Since you ask the question, no I don’t believe He was addressing homosexuality with that statement. He was addressing marriage in answer to a question about the lawfulness of divorce. I grant that you can infer from the statement that either homosexuality does not exist, or if it does it falls outside marriage, However I would also point out that you can also infer from it when taken out of the context of the answer to a question about the lawfulness of divorce, that he is also requiring all men to unite with a woman as their wife.

        My statement might have been better phrased He does not directly address the subject of homosexuality.

        I’ll point out again that I am stating nothing but my thoughts and opinions on the subject, as you also have done.



        report abuse
         

        vegas710

        posted January 29, 2011 at 12:12 pm


        Reference please?



        report abuse
         

          JLM

          posted January 29, 2011 at 12:31 pm


          My original comment was in reference to Mark 10:1-12, however the lawfulness of divorce is also discussed in Matt 5:31-32, Matt 19:1-12, and I might be missing another one, but those are the ones that jump to mind right now.



          report abuse
           

          vegas710

          posted January 29, 2011 at 1:10 pm


          Thanks. I’m having trouble understanding how this pertains to homosexuality. I don’t think it’s good theology to infer something from what was not said.



          report abuse
           

          JLM

          posted January 29, 2011 at 1:39 pm


          No problem, I probably should have noted where I was talking about the first time.

          Honestly, I don’t see that it does have anything to do with homosexuality, Most Christian theologians will admit that Christ never directly talks about homosexuality, the New Testament admonishments against homosexuality almost exclusively come from Paul’s letters to the churches.There are, I believe a few verses from Revelations that are sometimes interpreted to apply to homosexuality.

          I agree with you about the danger of inference to good theology, but I’m not a Biblical literalism follower either. When I study the Bible or works on theology, I try to be very careful not to fall into either of these traps, sometimes I do better than others, what can I say.

          I don’t expect to get divine answers until my life on Earth is over, but I’ll keep trying to understand and live in the best way I can.



          report abuse
           

Christina

posted January 28, 2011 at 6:24 pm


Celibacy is not for everyone and so far nobody has said that. Celibacy is not about sin, or getting into heaven, it’s about taking up your cross because you love Jesus more than you love anything on earth that keeps you from Him.

That’s definitely not for everyone not even all Christians. That is for the keepers of the secret as Jesus said in Matt 13:11 and it’s also the narrow gate He spoke of in Matt 7:13.

Celibacy is my choice because I love Jesus more than I love myself or anyone else. It’s a healthy choice for me, but never once would I agree that it’s a healthy choice for everyone.

You are exactly right, everyone is on their own journey.



report abuse
 

    JLM

    posted January 28, 2011 at 7:18 pm


    I wasn’t implying that anyone had said celibacy should be for everyone, I was only pointing out that for myself it isn’t what I choose. If you choose to be celibate, I honestly do respect your decision and support you in that decision. I really was, as I stated, only expressing my opinion on the matter.

    I think Paul came close to expressing the view I hold when he spoke about marriage in 1 Cor. 7:8-9, although I disagree with his idea that I can’t control myself, I do believe that sexual expression is best saved for a committed lifelong relationship, as does my partner.

    Everyone is on their own personal journey and will have to account for their actions, words, thoughts, or lack of action when they are to be judged. I don’t claim to have any kind of divine knowledge that will answer this question for all people, I can only answer it for myself.



    report abuse
     

    PlainJane

    posted January 28, 2011 at 8:18 pm


    Thank you Christina. I now know what my gay peeps mean when they refer to their “bitchy lesbian” friends. This would seem impossible, but you actually give Christians AND lesbians a bad name.

    You should drink more.



    report abuse
     

Rhonda

posted January 29, 2011 at 2:18 am


Christina, I left you a reply above, under Nash’s statement. Not sure if you will see it if I don’t tell you it’s there. (And it’s not a comment to haggle or bash you.) Keep loving God!



report abuse
 

Pingback: // saturday round-up (29/01) « worship music should sound like this

Phil

posted January 30, 2011 at 10:39 am


@Joseph P. Matthews

Out of honest curiosity and respect, I have to ask…how do you reconcile yourself into right relationship with God when your lifestyle goes directly against Gods original intention for humankind?

That is to ask, how do you KNOW that homosexuality – as an act and behavior, that is, to be in a physical relationship with someone of the same-sex – isn’t a sin and KNOW that God is ok with that when Gods original intention for man was to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife as it is clearly stated in Genesis.

Could one say that your stance on that is perhaps moral relativism? That is to say, if I feel ‘O.K’ or not guilty about an act it must be ‘O.K’ and ‘not a sin’ for me to do it.

I guess I am interested as to how you can justify, as a Christian, a homosexual relationship when the Bible blatantly declares Gods intentions for man is to be in a loving relationship with his wife.

I had a quick read of Sean’s book, Apologetics For My Generation at work the other day, and have been mulling his thought of “Same-sex attraction isn’t wrong or a sin in and of its self, HOWEVER, homosexual behavior, IS a sin in and of its self”. Has been interesting, and complicated/spurred further by one of my girlfriends ex-flatmates and guy friends coming out this week as gay.

@LRA

“What has religion done for us lately?”- It has given humanity hope for the past 2000 odd years…something not many other religions (in my experience) can claim to do. If you go to Africa, kids with literally nothing in their lives, hardly even a meal a day, have an overwhelming joy and love of life….because they love Jesus – how many other religions do you see do doing that?

Sure Christians and religion aren’t perfect, no one is! You sure aren’t, and neither am I, or my girlfriend, or my mum, or my flatmates or even my pastor! I have yet to meet a Christian who claims to be perfect. I find it interesting that you expect someone to be perfect before they can question your lifestyle or choices in life. That would leave me to ask where you get off being rude, arrogant and disrespectful of other peoples opinions and ideas, since after all, you aren’t perfect.

Following your reasoning that we all need to ‘remove the log from our own eyes first’ as a reason for Christians not to hand out moral advice is like telling a Dad with a very low batting average he can’t teach his own son to hit a softball pitch. Just because someone may have their own issues and struggles doesn’t mean they can’t help someone else with theirs. Yes an alcoholic can’t help an alcoholic, but an imperfect Christian with their own issues still can. Just because they may lie, or cheat, or steal doesn’t mean they may not have some advice, support or wisdom that will be useful to that person.

@Grace

“I utterly reject that concept of sin and know that a truly just and loving God, if one exists, would care more about war and hunger and poverty- things that actually harm people- and has better things to worry about than harmless consensual sex between people of whatever gender.”

I don’t know if that is a wise move to be honest, and sounds a little bit like moral relativism. The Bible says “God knows and cares for every sparrow in the air, how much more does he know, love and care for you?”

Yes I think God is concerned how we as Christians treat others greatly, I think he is very grieved that the world is full of greed, hate and lust. But to say that ‘I don’t think God really cares about consensual sex between two adults regardless of their genders’ is giving you a green flag for anything, isn’t it?

Could I then not say “God doesn’t care if I get drunk and lose control of my body, as long as I don’t hurt anyone and love people while I’m doing it/during my week”, or “God doesn’t really care if my girlfriend and I are fooling around outside of marriage, as long as we love each other and are making the world a better place”.

The fact is I think God DOES care because those behaviors (getting drunk, messing around outside of marriage) go completely against his original intention for my life which was to honor and love him first and foremost, to do his will on earth as it is in heaven. God ALWAYS has our best interests at heart, that is why he put guidelines and boundaries in place, as any loving mother or father would for their child. It is my experience that more often then not the ‘bizarre’ or ‘restrictive’ boundaries God has put around my life are for my benefit.

Excessive drinking can lead to health problems later in life, it can cause death in extreme cases and end potential careers because you do stupid things when you are drunk.

Sex before marriage/casual sex can lead to early pregnancy’s, STD’s/STI’s, emotional disconnection from future or current partners (something both my girlfriend and I have had to work through due to our pasts), general lust and desire to shag anything and everything.

Lying/gossip/slander can hurt those close to you and ruin your reputation and character.

Lust/looking at pornography can lead to sexual and emotional disconnection from a partner.

Murder – well that is an obvious one is it not?

I don’t have one for homosexuality, at least not a solid, un-refuted series of ideas/links. I have however read some research done by an independent group, that is to say they were neither Christian nor homosexual and were unbiased in the desired out come of the research, come to the conclusion that the AVERAGE monogamous homosexual relationship lasts only (I believe but I could be mistaken in my mental recalling here) 5-12 years, that is not to say there are any exceptions to the rule as there often are in society and nature. However the same company did note that in more long term monogamous homosexual relationships there was more sexual ‘freedom’, that is, that both partners knew and felt it was ‘ok’ and even ‘beneficial’ to have frequent sexual relations with others outside their relationship.

That raises questions in my mind.

1) If an average homosexual relationship lasts no more then 12 years, and that couple wants to adopt, how does that provide the stable, loving environment needed for a child’s ideal growth?

2) If sleeping with others is what keeps your relationship strong, then can you really say it is love? I am repulsed by the idea of my girlfriend even touching another man and I am extremely protective of how she is treated by other men in general, just as she is repulsed by the idea of another woman touching me and is extremely protective of how other women interact with me – and before you go ‘oh well you can’t really love each other if you are SO protective’ you need to understand my heart. I love my girlfriend, I want the best for her in EVERYTHING, and if another man isn’t respecting her as a woman and as my girlfriend/fiancee/wife, then he has a bone to pick with me.

@JLM

“The church’s mission should be, again my opinion only, to reach out to sinners, all sinners.”

I disagree, my job as a CHRISTIAN is to reach out to sinners, to those around me, to show them a better life. The Churches job is to lead and love and teach CHRISTIANS.

Whilst Jesus doesn’t mention homosexuality blatantly, he doesn’t mention pornography either, or fetishes like S&M, role playing, needle play, pain play, Horse & Jockey (yes seriously, there is a fetish where one partner enjoys pretending to be a horse and their partner a jockey) or many many other things in today’s society, he DOES however mention sexual immorality and scripture clearly states where God stands on sexual morality, that a man would leave his mother and father to cleave to his wife, that he would not cheat, no, not even THINK of another woman, that he would love, honor, cherish her.

Right…I think I have said A LOT in this post…should stop now and get some sleep! I’m looking forward to the replies…and to LRA – take heed of your mothers age old advice, if you have nothing nice or constructive to say, don’t say it at all.



report abuse
 

    JLM

    posted January 30, 2011 at 11:47 pm


    @Phil -

    I don’t dispute your opinion about reaching out as a Christian to sinners nor with your statement about the Church’s role to lead and teach, my statement was my opinion as to how the Church should fulfill it’s role as a leader and teacher. As well as my view and experience that change should come from one’s relationship with Christ, otherwise I’m not sure true change has actually happened. It is kind of like when someone is court ordered into drug rehab instead of seeking help themselves. Being forced into change usually doesn’t take, whereas seeking change and guidance and support for one’s self usually has a better overall outcome. Should the Church offer guidance to it’s members who seek it, of course it should, the same as Christ offered guidance to those around him as well as those who sought him out.

    Again these are only my opinions, but my experience with some Churches, as well as some Christians, have been extremely negative, and not just in regards to my sexuality. I believe that some Churches have gotten too wrapped up in the idea that following the specific dictates of the theology they accept, with all its rituals and rules and that in doing so they have made it too easy for their followers to seek a more personal relationship with Christ. It is too simple for people to get caught up in the dogma and to lose sight of their need to actually know Christ. I don’t now, and never have, painted all Christians with that brush, just as I try very hard not to assume any individual person belonging to any group must be a stereotype.

    I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be adherence to rules by church members, but I also think that the church needs to open its doors to all who would seek Christ. Just as Christ rebuked the leaders of the Jewish temple for favoring the law over seeking God, I also feel that some Christians have been playing with this same fire.

    Please don’t assume I’m making this statement about you personally, because I am not, this view comes from my personal exposure and experiences alone.

    As far as Christ’s lack of direct mention of homosexuality as well as all the other things you mentioned, you are correct none of them are discussed, however they all can be grouped together under sexual immorality (and yes the Horse and Jockey thing is real and disturbing) if you assume the activities are taking place outside the bounds of an accepted marriage relationship. The point I was attempting to make in reference to Mark 10:1-12 specifically is that according to Christ’s answer to the question posed anyone who divorces and remarries or who marries a divorced person is guilty of the sin of adultery, also a form of sexual immorality. Yet, the modern Christian church no longer holds this view. Divorced couples are, with the exception of a few denominations, accepted without fault, even as they continue unrepentant in their sin. I doubt any Christian church looks at divorce as a preferred solution to martial problems, but it is no longer cause for exclusion from the community of believers as it once probably was. The question I ask is then, because I am guilty of the same sin as the divorced couple is, why are they allowed and accepted, however others, not just gays, are not allowed this same exemption of repenting for their sins yet they continue to remain in a state of unrepentant sin because of their relationship?

    I don’t expect anyone to agree with my thoughts, I am just putting them forward. I also know that there are people who will say that I am cherry picking to justify my personal beliefs, and they probably aren’t totally wrong, but I would say that because we are all imperfect humans we all do the same thing to support our own positions.

    You didn’t actually pose this question to me, but I was thinking about it after I read your post. The idea that homosexuality is not a sin, but the sin is homosexual behavior is always a hard one to examine, but if you look at it with the idea that it is the behavior that is sinful alone, not the orientation of homosexuality, then we are back to my question about the difference between the sinful nature of homosexual relationships and the sinful nature of relationships of divorced people. If you allow that homosexuals can, and do regardless of what some people think, form committed relationships and acts of sexual expression happen only within the bounds of those relationships then while they are still committing the sin of adultery, the same would apply to the marriages of people after divorce. This paradox is one of the reasons that some Christian groups deny that homosexuality is anything other than a choice. Because if you allow for the fact that it isn’t a choice then you run into this paradox, or similar ones.

    For example, and I don’t necessarily hold this viewpoint I’m only presenting it as an example, in 1 Cor 7:9 when Paul says that if the unmarried and widows can’t control themselves it is better for them to marry than to burn with passion that would also apply to homosexuals therefore why shouldn’t same sex marriages be allowed to save homosexuals from the same sins marriage is offered to save heterosexuals from? Now, before anyone rips me apart for posting that I’m aware that’s an amazingly broad interpretation of Paul’s writing, but one that is not totally outside the realm of the possible that the argument could be presented.

    I have personally struggled with some of these same questions and I do admit that there is validity to all the questions posed by both sides of this debate and no answers that will make everyone happy. All I, or anyone else can do, is listen with an open mind to both sides, consider the arguments and then thoughtfully try to come to their own conclusion. Sometimes you might have to agree to disagree with the other side and that’s an acceptable outcome.

    Again this wasn’t directed at me, but I might be able to offer a perspective on your post. There is evidence that monogamous homosexual relationships are not as likely to last a lifetime when compared to the relationships of married heterosexuals. There are actually quite a few reasons for this not the least of which has to do with being unable to make a commitment that is on the same level as married heterosexuals. I could be wrong about this, but the study you are talking about may have been the Dutch study that began in 1984 and published in 2003. This study is a favorite one of anti-gay groups to refer to, however the study doesn’t actually say what most people have been led to believe it does. This wasn’t a large scale study of a group of randomly selected members of the homosexual population, it was a very specific study of the sexual behavior of already HIV positive men under the age of 30 who lived either in or close to the city of Amsterdam. So, those results are not actually representative of the homosexual population of the city of Amsterdam, much less the international gay community.

    The issue of lasting homosexual relationships is a valid one, even excluding the above evidence. Homosexual relationships do tend to show some of the characteristics you mention, as do relationships between unmarried straight couples. I offer my opinion about this, not to excuse but to offer perspective. When straight people become involved in a relationship there is the acceptance of the possibility of a permanence that homosexual relationships lack. Even with the high divorce rates in the US married heterosexual couples relationships have a stability that other similar relationships lack. Mostly, in my opinion, because of the amount of work and expense required to sever those relationships. When they marry I really doubt that people assume they will end up in divorce court so making a commitment to maintaining the relationship is expected of both parties. Even straight couples who choose to live together without marrying end their relationships on a much more frequent basis than their married counterparts, almost as common as the numbers given about homosexual couples.

    Homosexual relationships are excluded from any requirement of commitment other than what the parties agree to abide by. Therefore it is much easier for those relationships to end in a split, or to suffer from infidelities. By excluding homosexual couples from the protections, as well as the responsibilities and requirements faced by married couples, and here I’m speaking about civil law only, then you remove the need of people to more carefully examine the relationships they enter into. Homosexuals know when they enter into a relationship when it runs into difficulties all they have to do is pack up and leave, and while married heterosexuals also can up and leave should they choose the civil law surrounding marriage and divorce often offers a reason to remain and try and work on the relationship. You find the same thing with unmarried heterosexual couples, relationships are easier to end and therefore more often do end.

    Just as not all heterosexuals who could marry do marry, not all homosexuals would would be able to marry would do so, but for those that did the numbers would probably reflect similar experiences to their married heterosexual counterparts.

    And as far as the issue of sexual activity outside the partnership I believe probably the same issue would apply, not to everyone of course, but to those who chose to enter into a marriage contract.

    In closing I hope my rambling post might come across as a thoughtful reply to your post as it was meant to be. I really do appreciate the civil nature of your post and hope that you might find this reply the same, as well as offering a perspective on some of the questions that you raised.



    report abuse
     

    Grace

    posted January 31, 2011 at 8:16 am


    No, it’s not moral relativism. What’s moral relativism is defining right and wrong by a completely arbitrary standard of “sinfulness” and “holiness” that in many respects has little or nothing to do with how people are actually treating each other or the actual effects of their actions and choices.

    You’re engaging in a logical fallacy where if people reject your definition of morality, that means they must have no standard of morality and anything goes. That’s not how I or anyone else I know who doesn’t buy into the Christian concept of sin lives.

    All your list of behaviors and consequences shows is that without moderation a lot of behaviors can lead to harm to oneself and others. One hardly needs a Bible to figure this out. Nor does that make behaviors which taken to an extreme can be dangerous inherently wrong if practiced in moderation. And no, if there is a God who has any sense of proportion or cares about humans at all, I don’t think such a God would care anywhere near as much about people’s sex lives as some Christians think. There are much more important things going on in the world than could use divine attention.



    report abuse
     

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Jesus Needs New PR. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!  

posted 10:19:20am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

A Baptist mom meets the Black Eyed Peas…
Aw… my mom dances like that, too. A Baptist mom meets the Black Eyed Peas… is a post from: Jesus Needs New PR

posted 11:21:43am Dec. 30, 2011 | read full post »

Pat Robertson blasts SNL over Jesus, Tebow skit!
Hmm. SNL has poked fun with Jesus before… Chances are, Pat wouldn’t have said anything about this skit had it not been poking fun at Tebow… SNL has used “Jesus” in skits many many times. There seems to be a double standard among some Christians when the religious sati

posted 9:16:03am Dec. 22, 2011 | read full post »

Pirates, bubbles, and Jesus
Merry Christmas… Pirates, bubbles, and Jesus is a post from: Jesus Needs New PR

posted 9:02:42am Dec. 22, 2011 | read full post »

Bad nativity…
@gveitinger Bad nativity… is a post from: Jesus Needs New PR

posted 8:18:59pm Dec. 21, 2011 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.