The New Christians

The New Christians

Comment of the Day

posted by Tony Jones

Preson takes issue with my post, Announcing Queermergent, as did many others.  What’s interesting is that I merely pointed out this new group, with no editorial comment.  Yet my even publicizing it raises the ire of many. I guess that simply acknowledging the existence of gay Christians is a bridge-too-far for some. 

Alright, I’m done.
Many of us have been involved in this conversation for a very long
time. We defended it with the hope that it would truly become something
that would represent a true organic holistic Christianity.
I just can’t walk with you beyond this step.

The emerging church movement saved my faith, and gave me a reason to
be excited about my faith again. After reading “Generous Orthodoxy”, I
realized how huge the kingdom of God truly is. I gave up my tired way
of legalistic Christian faith, and embraced a LIVING faith. And I now
pastor of an urban church where the gospel is preached in word AND in
deed. A faith that doesn’t strain out gnats while swallowing camels.
Many lives are being changed, and people are coming to Jesus and being
freed from addictions and lives destroyed by sin… and I owe (some of)
it to the emerging church conversation.

I understand sensitivity in approaching people, and I understand the
fact that people need to come to Jesus and not morality. I believe that
Jesus can deliver people from anything, and that the spirit will teach
to live right. I understand not taking sides on “sin management”, but
rather than standing around and naming sin, we should proclaim Christ
crucified out of a love for His people, and wanting them to be forgiven
and to connect with Him. I even voted against an amendment to stop gay
marriage because I don’t think that forcing people to live moral lives
brings them closer to Jesus in any way shape or form.

But now you’ve let the pendelum swing in the completely opposite
direction. Instead of telling people to look to Jesus for their moral
compass, you have taken it from “condemning” to “encouraging” a
lifestyle that is clearly not what God has for us regarding holy and
good relationships. You are promoting a lifestyle that will not fulfill
the purpose of a healthy sexual relationship, and it will leave people
feeling empty and unfulfilled.
You are leading people away from living at peace with God.

I understand that some people are born with certain things that they
will always struggle with… but we are not taught to give in. I
understand that some people are born with both male and female
physicality’s, and that these things should be approached with prayer
and mercy and grace… but this is not that case.

This is not where most of us are… and you will most definately alienate us.

(btw…What happened to your “5 year moratorium”?)

Many of us would like to continue this conversation. Please sir,
bring it back to the center, where we can all have a part in it.

Comments read comments(17)
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posted January 20, 2009 at 9:20 am

done talking? done listening? i don’t understand what preson is done doing, i guess.
and after looking at the original post, i do see that you were merely posting a link to someone, not giving your opinion on it.
i just chatted for an hour yesterday with a childhood friend who is a christian and who is currently raising her 3 kids with a girlfriend and is still recovering from a horribly abusive marriage. i have already been working on trying to love people where they are, but this has seriously challenged my thinking regarding people who are living differently from me.
right now, i am just torn apart that she has had to endure a life of abuse and suffering, and i’m also confused because what i would want to label as wrong based on my upbringing, i see as an extremely healthy and safe life for her and her children compared with the “hetero” life she was leading before.
so this leads me to think: we should not worry about alienating people who are already part of this conversation, part of the in crowd; we should be worried and focused on trying not to alienate people who are part of the out crowd, bringing people together to further conversation. no one said we have to be accepting of everything everyone says or does. but neither do we need to sit in condemnation over people.
it’s not our jobs to decide what kind of faith people are living out in their lives. i, for one, am relieved that God is the One who does all the work in that department.

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rick bennett

posted January 20, 2009 at 9:54 am

i am a bit confused by the outrage. while I may have opinions regarding this group that could be considered negative or positive, does that matter? i though your mandate by Beliefnet was to talk about the “dispatches from the new frontiers of Christianity.” that is allyou were doing here. You were giving a dispatch, not offering anything els
people need to chill and stop with the assumptions.
sorry this is convoluted. typing with thumbs.

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posted January 20, 2009 at 9:56 am

Bye Preson. We were glad to have you walk with us. Wish you could keep going. Hope your path continues to give you life!

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adam waugh

posted January 20, 2009 at 10:26 am

Isn’t posting a link without editorial comment a defacto endorsement? It felt like one to me.
If not, what do you think of queermergent, Tony, and why DID you post the link? Hopefully there is a better reason than “fundamentalist bait.”

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posted January 20, 2009 at 11:19 am

The GLBT “issue” (sort of dehumanizing to reduce it to an issue) is one that I wrestle to understand. I can appreciate Preson’s confusion, and I can wholly resonate with Kristi’s narrative. And for me, this is exactly the reason that I can’t be “done” with the conversation. I don’t have any “answers” (though I suppose I might not ever need any), and so I go on. I know that I certainly can’t make any definitive claims until I can deal with the adultery, the deceit and the gluttony in myself that I willingly engage in everyday.

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Kathleen Bliss

posted January 20, 2009 at 11:37 am

I don’t know whose opinion is being expressed in the OP, but it is clear to unbiased observers that “emergent” is a personalized, customized self-made religion with a Jesus label stamped on the outside packaging. It has no objective anything attached to it–no absolute teachings, no moral codes, no historic past, and no future.
In contrast, historic Christianity has high demands for personal reform. Jesus came to save humans from evil moral acts variably called “sins,” “wrongs,” and “transgressions.” These evil acts are personal violations of various moral codes (such as theft, murder, homosexuality, gluttony, lying, adultery, etc.). In Christianity, Jesus saves people from their evil acts and the collateral damage those acts cause to others around them. And, when evil acts are reduced by 10-40% in a society, that society is greatly improved–i.e., it is more just and good. This is how an entire society benefits from the gospel.
The “spirit” does not teach one person it is okay to steal or commit adultery while teaching the next person it is not okay. Therefore, the morality of christianity is a fixed morality, not a subjective one that individuals can decide for themselves. The spirit has already revealed the moral law and codes we are to judge ourselves and live by–we are not still waiting for the spirit to guide humanity in what is right and wrong with regard to personal ethics and morality.
Next, the laws of a nation determine the acceptable behaviors of mass populations and provide the means of reducing or increasing behaviors. So, for example, seat belt laws and enforcement really do cause higher percentages of humans to wear seat belts. Likewise, laws against smoking in public places really do reduce the smoking in public places. Laws are a vital part of the implementation of gospel principles into society. Likewise, in China, laws about having just one child really do achieve their aim, even if that aim is not a good goal. Laws and enforcement achieve behavioral norms in mass populations. Christians must become educated on law and politics so as to participate in the creation of good and just laws.

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posted January 20, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Your “unbiased” observation betrays the glaring bias of your comment.
I’d like to know what the collateral damage is for being gay. Aside from the fact that lazy evangelical parents don’t know how to talk about it with their kids. Being offended isn’t collateral damage. It usually means that you have too high an estimation of what you think than you should.
The “fixed morality” of the first century, when the Bible was written, would have precluded you from having an opinion on this conversation. But thanks to the Spirit’s ability to move outside of the categories we like to constrain it with, you can leave your Christian reconstructionist comment on this blog.
Thanks be to God for the Spirits ability to transcend the law!3

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Kathleen Bliss

posted January 20, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Everything you said was based on incorrect information and assumptions. Contrary to your relativism, Christ and Christianity are based on the notion that there are numerous acts that are objectively wrong and thus must be repented of and rejected by all humans. Moreover, Christ has provided the internal motivation for confronting personal and social evils, so as to bring heaven’s goodness and purity to earth. This is the good news of Christ and Christianity.
There is obvious collateral damage for homosexuality, including the grave public and personal health threat, self-genocide, and a denial of God’s purpose for sex (which includes willful partnering with the opposite sex in the creation and education of children).
You are wrong to attribute all of your radical departures from Christianity to The Spirit. In fact, it’s blatantly self-serving and transparently opportunistic. For sure, the Spirit is not one to “transcend” lawfulness in favor of lawlessness. To the contrary, the Spirit urges us to avoid and reject our personal sins, and to confess our failings as such.
We Christians are called to the hard work of resisting our personal evils and those perpetrated by our fellow human beings. You, in denying this, are an anarchist.

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Johnny Brooks

posted January 21, 2009 at 1:35 am

I appreciated the link, and subscribed to the RSS feed. Thanks.

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Christopher Hibma

posted January 21, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Self-genocide?! Are you kidding me? And this is “Good News?” I’m so happy that God is constantly revealing God to me and that my faith isn’t limited to my assumptions or notions (no matter how vehemently I may believe them). Gosh… move on to more important matters like promoting peace and understanding.

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Kathleen Bliss

posted January 21, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Isn’t it “an assumption” of yours that “God is constantly revealing to you that your faith isn’t limited to your assumptions”?
And how do you know that God is telling you to “move on to more important matters like promoting peace and understanding”? (That is, how did you come to know that God doesn’t care about sexual sins but only cares that people “understand” all sexual behaviors and make “peace” with them? Shouldn’t he have told others about this in scripture or something?)
Finally, what god do you claim as god?

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posted January 21, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Kathleen Bliss:
“There is obvious collateral damage for homosexuality, including the grave public and personal health threat, self-genocide, and a denial of God’s purpose for sex (which includes willful partnering with the opposite sex in the creation and education of children).”
Let’s analyze that.
1. “grave public and personal health threat”: Well, that theory was popular back in the 80s when we didn’t know what AIDS was. Now we do, and to blame it on LGBTs today just reeks of ignorance.
2. “self-genocide”: What does that even mean? Do you think gays should be tried for crimes against humanity?
3. “a denial of God’s purpose for sex”: I’m really tired of the “the Bible says sex should be between a man and a woman” argument. We have a right not to believe in the Bible. If we choose, we have a right to believe in the Torah, or the Quran, or even our own human reasoning. And my human reasoning tells me that LGBTs are no more of a threat to society than any other group.

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Kathleen Bliss

posted January 22, 2009 at 8:58 am

Mordred: “grave public and personal health threat”: Well, that theory was popular back in the 80s when we didn’t know what AIDS was. Now we do, and to blame it on LGBTs today just reeks of ignorance.
Matt Foreman, outgoing Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, replies: “The ‘established’ gay community seems to have a collective shrug as if this isn’t our problem. Folks, with 70 percent of the people in this country living with HIV being gay or bi, we cannot deny that HIV is a gay disease. We have to own that and face up to that.” (Feb. 2008)
Lorri Jean, CEO of the Los Angeles-based Gay and Lesbian Center, replies: “HIV is a Gay Disease. Own it. End it.” (2007 statement)
Likewise, the CDC has acknowledged that male-male anal sex is chiefly responsible for spreading HIV/AIDS.
Simply put, Mordred, your information is wrong. Gay sex is deadly. People deny this at their own peril. Liberals don’t want it to be true, but reality is reality. Join reality, Mordred.

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posted January 22, 2009 at 9:31 am

Kathleen Bliss,
The comments you cite do not imply what you want us to think they do.
The majority of people in the world who have died of, are dying of, are now infected with and shall horribly die of this virus are heterosexual.
Not gay.
The virus was first discovered in gay men, unfortunately many people jumped to the conclusion that it was a ‘gay disease’.
It is true that many gay men in the US reacted and continue to react to the disease with a shrug. This is a serious problem and one which can only be resolved when, to quote your out-of-context-citation from Lorri Jean, “HIV is a Gay Disease. Own it. End it.”
The CDC was not referring (obviously) to the majority of people who have contracted Aids for the simple reason that they are heterosexuals in Africa. You did not provide a year with that citing, but it is a sad, horribly sad fact of history that American health agencies assumed the HI virus could not be transmitted through vaginal intercourse for quite some time. This was not based on scientific rigor, but the political atmosphere of the Reagan administration.
There is no evidence whatsoever that male-female anal intercourse (which is practiced extensively by heterosexuals) when one partner is infected is less dangerous than male-male.
There is overwhelming evidence that condoms protect against transmission of the virus in all forms of intercourse.
You are arguing against gays loving each other and expressing their love, among other ways, through sex. Because there is no real basis for oppressing us, you are resorting to exactly the same sort of propaganda as many “Christians” have used throughout history to murder, torture and oppress Jews, Blacks, Women and anybody else who didn’t fit into their concept of whom God is to love and whom He shall not.

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Kathleen Bliss

posted January 22, 2009 at 12:43 pm

The comments from homosexual leaders that I cite imply what they explicitly say. Matt Foreman, outgoing Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said: “The ‘established’ gay community seems to have a collective shrug as if this isn’t our problem. Folks, with 70 percent of the people in this country living with HIV being gay or bi, we cannot deny that HIV is a gay disease. We have to own that and face up to that.” (Feb. 2008)
Even the gay community has abandoned its decades-long denial about the grave health threat of gay sex. The stats don’t lie.
Moreover, condoms provide only limited protection. Only suicidal people will risk having sex with a known-HIV-carrying partner, even with a condom. It’s a game of Russian Roulette. It’s playing with fire. In fact, I would not have sex with a partner known to have any STD, much less a deadly one.
People are free to have gay sex at their own grave risk, but perhaps the government should put warning labels on condoms that mirror those placed on cigarette packages (i.e., “Warning: Gay Sex Is Dangerous to Health and May Cause Death from HIV and Other Diseases.”)

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posted January 22, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Kathleen Bliss,
I suppose it is pointless to even try, but here goes.
Sex with anyone who has the HI virus is risky unless you take the appropriate precautions. As long as their is no exchange of blood or semen, there is no single documented case of virus transmission. Condoms prevent infection.
There is nothing inherently dangerous about sex between two people of the same sex. Nothing.
Gosh, golly, gee. How do you fundamentalist Christians decide what aspects of science you accept and which you reject? You cherry-pick the Bible, you reject science when it doesn’t please your vanity.

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posted January 22, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Got a little typo there, Ms. Bliss. Let me fix it for you.
“Even the gay community has abandoned its decades-long denial about the grave health threat of unprotected sex.”
No need to thank me.

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