The Ugly Way Evangelicals Love Gay People (a new blog post)

Evangelicals LOVE gay people. They do. They really love them. In fact, nearly every evangelical I know, when talking about their views on homosexuality, preface their opinions with disclaimers about how much they love gay people. Many prove their progressive-leaning love by talking about how often they watch Modern Family. 

For many evangelicals, watching Modern Family is like having a gay best friend.

Now, some evangelicals don’t say anything about loving gay people; but they swear on everything good and holy that they don’t hate gay people. They hate that loaded word—”hate”—because it makes them sound mean and unbecoming.

Both types of evangelicals—the lovers and the non-haters—seem to become frustrated or bewildered or or defensive when people don’t believe them when they say they love or don’t hate gay people. Which makes sense, of course; most of us become agitated or saddened when somebody doesn’t believe us.

But consider the last two weeks. Because I think these last 14 days might offer us a little insight as to why many GLBTQ people think us evangelicals—those of us who affirm and those of us who don’t affirm—are full of crap.

♦ Because on May 28, the American Family Association issued a statement to all of its members regarding the stamp honoring activist Harvey Milk. In that statement, the evangelical organization wrote:

1. Refuse to accept the Harvey Milk stamp if offered by your local post office. Instead ask for a stamp of the United States flag.

2. Refuse to accept mail at your home or business if it is postmarked with the Harvey Milk stamp. Simply write ‘Return to Sender’ on the envelope and tell your postman you won’t accept it.

♦ Because 2 days earlier, Franklin Graham, while talking about how much he loved GLBTQ people, offered the objects of his affection God’s ultimatum: “I love them enough to care to warn them that if they want to continue living like this, it’s the flames of hell for you,” Graham said. “Now, if you don’t like that, don’t get mad at me. I didn’t write the rule book. Almighty God wrote it, and it’s a sin against Him.”

♦ Because on June 2, a whole bunch of Southern Baptists met in Baltimore for their annual convention. On their list of topics to discuss were the “700,000 Americans [who] perceive their gender identity to be at variance with the physical reality of their biological birth sex.”

Amid their chat, a summary as to why the topic was being discussed was offered…

WHEREAS, the American Psychiatric Association removed this condition (aka, “gender identity disorder”) from its list of disorders in 2013, substituting “gender identity disorder” with “gender dysphoria”; and

WHEREAS, the American Psychiatric Association includes among its treatment options for gender dysphoria cross-sex hormone therapy, gender reassignment surgery, and social and legal transition to the desired gender; and

WHEREAS, news reports indicate that parents are allowing their children to undergo these “therapies”; and

WHEREAS, many LGBT activists have sought to normalize the transgender experience and to define gender according to one’s self-perception apart from biological anatomy…

And then they offered “God’s opinion” on gender. You can read their conclusions here.

♦ Because on June 3, John MacArthur published a YouTube video offering his best advice to parents of gay children. In the 2-minute clip, MacArthur said that, if the gay child was a Christian who refused to repent, “You have to alienate them, you have to separate them; you can’t condone that [because] it’s inconsistent with a profession of Christ. So, you isolate them. You don’t have a meal with them. You separate yourself from them. You turn them over to Satan as scripture says…”

♦ Because three days later MacArthur offered his wisdom about how bakeries should respond when a gay couple asks them to bake a cake for their wedding…

♦ Because people flock to read evangelicals like Matt Walsh acting like Matt Walsh on the topic of transgender children.

♦ Because Rick Perry, while speaking in San Francisco compared gay people to alcoholics.

♦ Because this Christian politician from Oklahoma seems to think that stoning gay people isn’t out of the realm of possibility…

♦ Because Tony Perkins, the guy in charge of the Family Research Council, had the audacity to say this…

I can’t be sure, of course; but these last couple weeks seem to offer a lot of reasons as to why non-evangelicals of varying kinds don’t believe that evangelicals love (or don’t hate) gay people.

Most evangelicals will say something like this: Those examples are extreme. They don’t speak for me!

While they might not speak for you and me, can we honestly say that these are the evangelical extremes any more? The guy from Oklahoma? Sure. He’s extreme. But all of them? I don’t think so.

Does the average church in American evangelicalism really believe or adhere to a different doctrine than many of these examples? Sure, they might never project their ideas aloud when cameras and microphones are present, but are their beliefs/doctrines/values different enough that they’re willing to challenge these ideas?

Because the only evangelicals challenging the messages of these voices are the progressive ones, a handful of liberal evangelical bloggers who have little influence on the likes of Franklin Graham, John MacArthur, and the SBC. If these people don’t speak for evangelicals, where are the non-progressive evangelicals who might challenge these messages? We need them to speak up, on behalf of the gospel, Jesus, and the evangelicals who really do love gay people.

Because I refuse to believe that the majority of America’s Evangelicals are okay with these agenda-driven evangelicals speaking on their behalf. Because whether we like it or now, right now, they are. And they’re getting louder. And they’re speaking up more often.

And they are the reason why so many GLBTQ people laugh or roll their eyes or scream expletives when an evangelical says that he or she loves them. Because nothing they hear coming out of evangelical culture suggests love or non-hate… it’s the same rhetoric that evangelicals have been preaching in America for nearly 70 years, a rhetoric of shame and hopelessness.

 

Comments

  1. MichaelBrianWoywood says

    Matthew, thank you for this post. I have been moved by the recent news from the SBC and other sources to dedicate each Saturday, starting tomorrow, to preaching in front of the SBC building in Nashville. I don’t know what good my “prophetic protest” will do, but I cannot not speak on behalf of the GLBTQ community, who are being mightily oppressed.

  2. says

    Yes, we progressive evangelicals would welcome our non-progressive brothers and sisters joining us in condemning these extreme actions and comments. Thanks, MPT!

  3. PatrickOlp says

    I have to humbly disagree with you Matthew. You say you refuse to believe that the majority of Americans are not okay with these agenda driven leaders, but they are the same leaders who have been conditioning the majority to accept everything they say for years and even decades now. There is no conversation. Just a lot of yelling at people with fear-inducing rhetoric to get a point across. Of course people are going to stay silent… 
    This isn’t something that we get to win by being equally loud. This is something that happens through relationship, and humility, and the ability to turn the other cheek when you get disowned by a friend or family member who is too afraid to look outside of what the loudest voice in the room has been telling them forever. 

    Just so we’re on the same page… I’m not preaching at you, just reminding myself. I’ve tried screaming and it is what those other loud people expect from me, and it doesn’t work. I’m just worried that when they’re done striking my face cheeks, they’ll start kicking my ass ;)

  4. says

    Really we must first love people. If we hate anything it is the sin within us and not to judge others. As to being instructive to others we must be careful. God convicts. Also if being gay is not a sin then this whole discussion is bunk. It can be easily demonstrated that being gay is not what is being discussed in the proof texts being cited by the haters but that takes a book length discussion and is not for here. Most of the haters have mistakenly made up their mind. My position is that loving the sinner and hating the sin isn’t even Christian anyhow. It must be from some other religion that I don’t practice.

  5. ChristopherTaylor1 says

    I’m actually experiencing this ‘love’ right now in my church. After attending for 6 yrs I’ve been reduced from an active member to now being asked to stop attending. I’m told I’m causing a divide in my church family because I attend every Sunday and sit in a pew. That’s all I do. I don’t talk about my sexuality at church unless others bring it up and I’ve never tried “recruiting” anyone. We use to have a fellowship time before the praise portion, but I’ve been told they removed that because of me. Because I’m a friendly, loving person and hug my fellow Christians that I’ve grown to love, but some of those people are now uncomfortable with me hugging them and instead of telling me they complain to the pastor. I have recently been made aware of slander toward me by other ‘believers’ in the church. And just this week was told that if I continued to come and a divide did happen and people left that would b a threat to the church and the local ploice would b called to keep me off the grounds. And it’s not every person there, but the few speak for the church.

  6. JerryFrancisReiter says

    A southern woman who thinks the way this article describes tried to break the tension in a dialogue between a group of conservative church people and a gay couple who had come to Sunday service. She told the church folks to calm down and concluded, “I just love these gays to death.”

  7. Eric T says

    Jjoe5678 If you can’t tell the difference between being disagreed with and being hated, you might be a conservative evangelical. In any case, you are willfully ignorant.

  8. nonamethanks says

    I wouldn’t call myself exactly a “progressive” Christian, but I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with homosexuality. (Full disclosure: I am a bi woman married to a straight man; the only person in my church who knows my sexuality is the service pastor, who also couldn’t care less.) But at an evangelical church in the South – I don’t think anyone really knows what to do other than just be quiet and pray a lot :/

  9. damannion says

    Please provide just one shred of evidence of Matthew being hateful. Opinion and commentary is not hate.

  10. Ben Cachiaras says

    Thanks for this thought provoking post.  It’s important to find a way to highlight the ugliness without resorting to the same kind of bashing, fear, or rhetorically empty words.  I’ve tried to do that in a recent interview for a Christian Magazine.  I have found a wide range of people saying, “Thank you” for voicing what many, as you point out, believe.  If you’re interested you can check out the interview here: http://christianstandard.com/2014/05/a-conversation-with/?utm_content=buffera832c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

  11. says

    So thankful to be ending my day by reading this post…to know I’m not alone in my thoughts…
    Because I started the day by reading a Facebook thread on Mike Huckabee’s page where he addresses same sex marriage. I sat and read countless comments from “Christians” that we’re so unbelievably vile and hateful…it was truly shocking. It made me not want to get out of bed, to contemplate leaving “Christianity” (although not Jesus) altogether, and my heart has physically been hurting all day from the grief over what I read. I’ve been praying for God’s mercy and grace to come and wake my people up from the damage we are doing in the name of Jesus.
    I will continue to pray that our eyes will be opened…and that we, as a body, will truly understand, and walk out, what it means to ‘love thy neighbor’.
    God have mercy on our souls.

  12. LynnKalinosky says

    Adam Bates:  “And to think people are worried about the Muslims taking over haha”.  There is so much hysteria out there about Sharia Law taking over in some American cities, fueled by hoax and satire articles that people take as real.  What would be the difference?

  13. says

    nonamethanks I imagine the reason your pastor could care less is because all he sees is that you are married to a man so all problems solved.  If you were married to a woman I imagine the situation would be different.

  14. says

    Matthew,

    This is a fantastic post rounding up all the shards that have pierced my heart this week. I tried to pull it all together into a post of my own but it was too painful to keep reading over all the vitriol so I took the easy way out and posted a slightly snarky post about the Duck bible.  

    I started to write a much longer response full of questions and blathering on but now it has turned into a post of my own. Watch for the ping.

    K

  15. Melissia says

    KimberlyKnight nonamethanks Agreed, Kimberly.  A lot of evangelical pastors only care about women in general enough in order to try to tell us we should get married to a “Good Christian Man”.  And until we do, every bad thing that happens is because we haven’t done so (and if problems continue afterwards, it’s because they aren’t praying hard enough).

  16. lynne0652 says

    There is most certainly a ‘conversation’ and a media platform at the most noticeable level, among others, – the national one. The GOP is infected with the kind of Christian ‘moral majority’ Matthew is talking about.
    Patrick – it’s going to take a metaphoric avalanche of progressive, compassionate, thoughtful rhetoric in our very visible and public Christian leaders and groups, as well as a bunch of unending, meaningful, one-on-one dialogue and mutual exchanges in our small groups to get where we need to be in this important LGBT arena.

  17. drdougl says

    I have talked with several “gay” males and a couple of gay “male prostitutes.” They all say that with out their clients from various areas of the ministry, yes, that includes evangelicals, they would not have many clients.

  18. drdougl says

    lynne0652 My church voted me out of its membership when they learned of my same0sex attraction. And,. my two children, one a doctor married to a minister, won’t even talk to me or answer my emails or texts!

  19. fiveironfille says

    “Our culture has accepted two HUGE lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone, means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” – Rick Warren

  20. says

    And then as if it made any difference, their arguments or basis of argument are faulty. How much patience do they deserve based on faulty reasoning? What if they sew hate, lies, and harm? Where must we draw the line? Some times there is only one defensible position on the side of safety.

  21. ChadHoltz says

    Matthew,

    I have to disagree.    Are you not saying that the only way to love someone is to accept their behavior?   I hope not. 

    My parents showed me the greatest love ever when they refused to pay the utility bill I needed paid lest I get evicted from my apartment 3 years ago.  They had the means, but God told them not to lift a finger for me.    My eviction ended up saving my life, though at the time it was very painful.  

    When Jesus met the rich young ruler in Mark’s gospel, Mark wants us to know that when Jesus demanded he leave everything and come follow him that he “loved him.”    He loved him while asking the ultimate of him, and when the young man went away sad (no doubt telling others how little Jesus loved him) he didn’t barter with him.  

    The problem with most progressives is they have little concept of biblical love.   Love is not the same as sentimentality, which is what it far too often is reduced to today.

  22. JoeNCA says

    ChadHoltz “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” – Romans 13:10
    Conservatives can’t tell the difference between sex and love. The bible has HUNDREDS of chastisements against acts of HETEROSEXUAL sex. Does that mean all heterosexual sex is bad? No. And certainly love is never a sin. In fact, God commands us to love one another. 
    It is exactly the same way. 6 chastisements against certain acts of homosexual sex doesn’t mean that all homosexual sex is bad, and love is absolutely never a sin. That’s why never at any point in the bible does it condemn the lifelong commitment of two people of the same gender. Never. Ever. Once. 

    No, it is you sir you cannot possibly under that love is the greatest commandment Christ gave us, and love is never a sin.

  23. ChristopherChick says

    Werussell98 I agree, to tell someone you love them, but hate their sin is wrong.  People actually hear ‘i care more about your sin, than i do about you as a person’ If there is any sin to hate in this situation its your own sin.  Just as Jesus said when talking about judging others in his beautiful sermon on the mount ‘why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brothers eye, but pay no attention to the plank in your own eye’ by the letter of the law, we are all sinners.  Thank the Lord that we have Jesus who came  to seek and save, not us but Jesus.  I could go into a sermon right now :)

  24. BrendtWayneWaters says

    “Because the only evangelicals challenging the messages of these voices are the progressive ones …”

    Let’s see — how can I persuade more to my line of thinking? I know! I’ll claim possession of an issue and state that only my “team” has it right!

    MPT, do you realize that you just committed the most common error of the very people that you criticize?

    Pardon my bowdlerized French, but I am getting so fornicating sick of being told what I believe.

  25. drdougl says

    ChristopherTaylor1 I have already been formally voted out of my church, and I, like you, never said anything about my sexuality. Others talked for me. LOL

  26. Eilsondancan says

    You are wrong. You can love someone without accepting their behavior. I remember being punished as a child for disobeying my parents. Despite this, I know they did it because they loved me. Love does not mean “accepting and condoning another person’s behavior”.

  27. says

    BrendtWayneWaters Brendt, I’m not following you. Because while I’m certainly prone to making flawed assumptions on occasion, here, with this post, I’m certainly not trying to tell anybody what to believe or take “possession” of an issue…

  28. says

    ChadHoltz Chad, your example doesn’t work here. Relating a very personal example of an event that happened between you and your parents cannot be used to prove anything about love in context with the examples I mention here. You know your parents. They know you. You both have years of experience engaging each other. And… you asked for the money. Your parents took the whole of the experience and decided that the best way to answer your question was to say no…  Please tell me what part of that story relates to the examples above…

  29. ChadHoltz says

    Matthew, thanks for the reply. My story may not have a direct connection but I think it along with the story of Jesus loving the rich young ruler demonstrates that love need not be reduced to acceptance or even being “nice.”
    Can I ask a question? Is there any way evangelicals could call homosexuality sin and not support SSM that you would consider loving?

  30. LauraKCowan says

    I think the reason you don’t find conservative evangelicals challenging this sort of behavior is that by the time an evangelical breaks ranks on this issue, he or she is way outside the fold on other evangelical theological points as well and is no longer considered or willing to consider him or herself an evangelical. At least that’s what happened to me. I spent years talking with friends about this and other issues and then woke up one day and realized the reason they were calling me a heretic and were worried for my soul was that I genuinely wasn’t an evangelical anymore and they thought as soon as I unchecked those theological boxes on the heaven-access survey, I wasn’t one of them or sane or worth listening to anymore. Poof, turned into one of those fairy unicorn progressives that can’t really possibly believe what they say and is brainwashed into being too like the mainstream culture. So, I’ll stand with you on this, but no evangelical is going to associate themselves with me or listen to me and no one outside that realm of twilight zone Phariseeism is going to think I speak for them either. My friends who have left the church or thought all Christians were crazy to begin with are always happy to hear someone who still professes as a Christian is a loving, respectful person, but I’m not “them” anymore so the problem you’re describing still stands to some degree, though I’m happy and conscience-bound to stand up against hateful opposite-of-Christ-like behavior whenever necessary.

  31. Eilsondancan says

    Love isn’t always touchy-feely and heart warming. Sometimes you need to be a bit more harsh for the greater good. Example: if you love your child sometimes you need to punish them and be harsh, even though you feel bad about it, you do it because you love them and you know it’s best. On the contrary, parents who let their kids roam free and do whatever they want aren’t showing the necessary love. People need to the idea out of your head that disagreeing with someone’s lifestyle = hate. I applaud people who take a stand for what they believe in because they aren’t afraid to do what’s right and don’t care about being “politically correct” or being complained about in some random guy’s blog online. To me, that is true love. Much like the parent who isn’t afraid to punish their child, because they know it’s the right thing to do.

  32. Eilsondancan says

    In response to the Rick Perry comment: gays are sinners, so are alcoholics. What’s the big deal? Oh no! The guy stated a fact! He must not love gays! That’s as silly as someone saying apples and oranges are both fruit and assuming that they must not like fruit at all.

  33. SarahPearce says

    MPT, the man I now call pastor came out of a life of Homosexuality. He has a great testimony and you can look up The Voice Ministries in Newark, Delaware to find out more.

  34. Eric T says

    Eilsondancan Fact?! Bwahaha! That would be funny if it were not so depressing. Um, no, Perry did not state a “fact.” He repeated a cliched and discredited analogy, a logical fallacy.
    Let’s be clear: alcoholism is inherently harmful to self and others and being gay or lesbian is…not. No evidence supports this, no data, no facts remotely like those that show how alcoholism is harmful. To make the comparison one has to *start* with the assumption that being gay or lesbian is, somehow, intrinsically harmful, a condition that should be managed if not cured.
    Since, however, the analogy is trotted to *prove* that being gay or lesbian is something that can and should be controlled because it is harmful, the argument is completely, and viciously, circular. The analogy demonstrates nothing but what was assumed from the beginning. Honest people recognize that as begging the question, a illogical form of argument.   
    In other words, Perry was basically telling a lie, a hateful lie at that. So no, he does not “love gays” because telling an entire group of people–without any evidence whatsoever–that there is something inherently, pathologically wrong with them is not an act of love or telling the truth or stating a fact. No honest person would even suggest that. We do have a word for what Perry expressed, though: prejudice. And if conservative Christians are tired being called out for hatred and bigotry, then perhaps they should stop repeated hateful, bigoted lies about others.

  35. ChristopherTaylor1 says

    Thank you. I attempted to go to church today and was met at my car. They told me I wasn’t allowed inside and according to friends they then locked the doors and had people gaurding the exits during service.

  36. Eric T says

    Eilsondancan So, by all means, share with us the punitive techniques you think society should employ on gays and lesbians. in the name of “love,” of course.

  37. ElizabethCox says

    “Owe nothing to anyone–except for your obligation to love one another.
    If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s
    law.  For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not
    murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These–and other such
    commandments–are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor
    as yourself.” Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. ” Romans 13:8-10 

    “You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.
     For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be
    boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and
    ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.
     They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have
    no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.  They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!  They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the
    confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin
    and controlled by various desires.  (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.)These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith.  But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will
    recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres.”  2 Timothy 3:1-9
    All that was directed against those who were acting religious without actually being so, and do you see the part where everyone will recognize what fools they are?  It’s been happening through history.  Hateful people have tried to murder people on the other side from the moment Christianity became a state religion at all.  But over time, all of that evil has been brought to light.  Even Hitler tried to use Jesus claiming He was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter.  But usually the evil follows a pattern- it finds a scapegoat of people to persecute as the worst of sinners- instead of realizing that everyone’s a sinner and only God can save us, and only through Jesus- who, don’t forget, is still alive!  He still has a say in the matter. 
    So, what should we be looking for in a godly person? 
    “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:22-23
    Oh, but they think they love them!  What can we use to guess whether this is according the measuring stick of the bible?  This is an aside while speaking about different spiritual gifts, comparing love to things like speaking in tongues or prophesy.  
    “If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I
    could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained
    nothing.  Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
     It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
     Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:3-7
     
    Slapping God’s name on your actual idols (money and flag) won’t fool Him.  Using the ten commandments which are summarized as love your neighbor as yourself in order to make things unpleasant for your neighbor is like slapping someone with a book entitled ‘Never slap anyone”.  Satan worshipers stepped forward and proved how they weren’t treating others how they wanted to be treated by offering to donate religious statues of their own, using the same loophole of donations- and suddenly oh, no, you can’t do that!  We don’t believe in that!  (But there are plenty of people in this country who don’t believe in the ten commandments, some of which are trying to post them!)  
    So, going out of your way to harm someone or make life unpleasant for them, because the roman world had a kind of non consensual sex with those of the same gender that was so varied it had specific terms, and then using the blanket term for any men with men and women with women situation is like me saying that gang rape is evil (like anyone needs to tell you that it is, you know it is, you wouldn’t want it done to you, you know it shouldn’t be done to others), and you concluding that all sex is bad.

  38. Eilsondancan says

    Well I personally believe being gay is wrong, because the God of the universe tells me that. You and I probably differ on that viewpoint so there’s no point in continuing this conversation, because it will go nowhere. You can try and look for empirical proof and try and show off those logical arguments you learned in philosophy 101, but that won’t overrule the all powerful Word of God, as you are just a simple human being. Who are you to claim you know more than God?

  39. taylor1962 says

    I am Christopher’s father and I was told I was not welcome that this church because of my views and the fact that I challenged the church on their beliefs. I believe it is time for everyone gay or straight who believe that this kind of action is a  hate crime stand up and be heard. Talking about it amongst ourselves is fine and may make us feel good but it will not make the issue go away. Let’s call it what it is and use the media to let others no of this issue. I feel this behavior is no different the when this nation separated the races. gay, lesbians and cross gender people are just that people they are not a subspecies.

  40. Eric T says

    Eilsondancan Well, I could ask in return: who are you to speak for God? 
    You are probably right that we have different views about the origins and nature of the Bible. But regardless of what you believe about how God “speaks,” the interpretation of what is said is still up to “simple human beings.” So when it comes down to it, in no way do you merely “trust what God tells me.” You decide what is most convincing among a range of possible interpretations of what God says and wants, in this case or any other. Sorry, but there simply is not getting around the process of interpretation, which includes making use of reasonable arguments. The alternative is to just baptize your gut feelings or prejudices as what God *must* say.
    So that raises, again, this question: why is being gay “wrong”? Surely there are reasons, reasons everyone can understand, if God has such a strong, unambiguous stance on the matter. So far, though, all of the reasons conservative Christians have put forward have been shown to be unpersuasive, and often down-right false, like Perry’s analogy. 
    Those who think being gay or lesbian is a sin or wrong or whatever still owe the rest of us a compelling case of that belief.

  41. Eilsondancan says

    I am not speaking for God, God is speaking through the Bible and I personally believe the Bible is inerrant. To me that is a compelling enough case. I understand that may not resonate with some people, but it is their choice not to accept it. There is so much more I could say but I know we’ll just end up going back and forth using clichés like quoting obscure passages from Liviticus and asking if I believe that too, etc, and neither of us will end up convincing each other and we’ll both just be irritated with each other. I believe in the inerrancy of God’s word, you chose to believe only in empirical evidence. /Agree to disagree

  42. BrendtWayneWaters says

    MatthewPaulTurner Please read carefully. I did not say that you were telling me what *to* believe. I said that you are telling me what *I* believe.

    You said: “Because the only evangelicals challenging the messages of these voices are the progressive ones …” By stating *only*, you are making the gross over-generalization that if an evangelical is challenging the messages of these voices, s/he must be a progressive. That is, in a “word”, male bovine excrement.

    You have basically said that in order to get it right (and be genuinely loving), you must first join a particular demographic. This is exactly the ridiculous prerequisite that the vast majority of those you are (rightly) criticizing make — essentially saying to homosexuals, “de-gay yourself first; then (and only then) we can talk about Jesus”.

    If we were in first century, it would be the equivalent of someone saying that you have to be circumcised to be a Christian. And we all know how Paul felt about those people.

    If you want people to become progressives, then tell them to be progressives. But if you actually want them to be loving, leave that baloney out of the equation. All you’re doing is making the hateful people dig in more. As Andy Stanley has said many times, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to make a difference?”

  43. BrendtWayneWaters says

    LauraKCowan  Laura, thank you for your forthrightness to boldly state the gross over-generalization that MPT only implies. You’re wrong (both in your first sentence and your allegation that “no evangelical is going to associate themselves with me or listen to me”), but kudos for the boldness.
    I’m sorry that you had a crappy experience, but it’s no more fair to paint all conservative evangelicals with a broad brush than it is for many of them to paint all homosexuals with a broad brush.

    And even though we probably disagree on many points, this conservative evangelical would be happy to both stand with you on being loving and listen to (and genuinely consider) your thoughts on ways to continuously be more Christ-like.

  44. Eric T says

    Eilsondancan Er, no it isn’t a “compelling enough case”–even if you hold to the inerrancy of the Bible. It still doesn’t answer the question of *why* God condemns “homosexuality” or is interested in sexuality at all. Nor does it tell us which human interpretation is the correct one when reasonable people disagree.
    “God said, I believe it, and that settles it” is not foundation for a belief. It is the refusal to think, an abdication of one’s responsibility to love God with all one’s being–including one’s mind. It is a recipe for making mindlessly obedient children or a slogan for fascists.   
    So, no, I won’t “agree to disagree” because haven’t offered anything to disagree with. I never said I believe “only” in empirical evidence; in fact, the appeal to empirical data comes from Perry’s analogy itself and I simply pointed out how it fails on its own terms. Instead, I explicitly said that those who think “homosexuality is a sin” owe the rest of us a better account of why–regardless of what you think about the origins or nature of the Bible. 
    At this, point, though, I suspect I’ll just have to take your comment as a refusal to do that. In that case, I’ll suggest you refrain from commenting on this topic at all, since you have no interest in contributing to it and have no real point to add.

  45. AlanSchultz says

    SarahPearce Have you asked him deeply personal questions about his sexual likes? If not, then you don’t know if he still has “yearnings” or not. And, if he still has yearnings….

  46. LauraKCowan says

    BrendtWayneWaters LauraKCowan Wow, thank you for perfectly illustrating my point. Do you really think I’m stupid enough to buy that someone who is accusing me in a passive-aggressive manner of stereotyping and telling me flat out that I’m wrong with no discussion is really listening and really has the moral high ground they claim? Your nastiness masquerading as open-mindedness is PRECISELY the abusive, hypocritical fakeness my generation has had enough of and won’t come back to for any price. Exhibit A ^^. Done with this thread.

  47. AlanSchultz says

    I have one question to ask evangelicals: Why do YOU think we get angry at you? I am an LGBT Christian. When you do things that hurt us. When you do things that hurt our community. When you deny those of us who are LGBT CWhen you condemn us. When you show us that your love is conditional based upon how you think we should live, you show us hate. You don’t show us God’s love Love comes through acceptance. And God is all-loving. When you want to reach out to us, just say “God loves you” and nothing more.  Not everyone believes, like you, that homosexuality is a sin and for good reason. It is not a choice and it is not something that can be cured. While you may believe that you’re doing the right thing, you’re telling us that we should be ashamed of who we are and how God made us. You’re projecting your personal beliefs onto us and saying we can’t be loved until we match up with those. Why would all of this not make us angry?  None of us are perfect. All of us have issues to work upon in our relationship to God. But hurting us doesn’t help us grow stronger in relationship to God. It only causes anger and hatred. And that helps no one.

  48. BrendtWayneWaters says

    LauraKCowan Thank you for perfectly illustrating MY point. You made an utterly binary statement (“NO evangelical”, not “none that I’ve encountered”), I call you out on it and you complain about my lack of nuance (“no discussion”).
    I won’t even go into the irony of complaining about “no discussion” and then announcing that you’re leaving the thread.

  49. AlanSchultz says

    Eilsondancan True love is accepting someone for and not judging what you think they should be. Being LGBT is who we are.

  50. BrianBeasley says

    Have you read the Bible the way it was intended? As individual books, not as one book. Have you read a Bible that was printed before the word homosexual was placed in there? (1940’s) The King James Version mentioned unicorns, four legged foul (birds), and had far more mentionings of Hell. Read the Bible as different Books. Read Mark as the first gospel, then realize the last twelve verses of Mark were written in many years later. Realize that Matthew and Luke copied most of Mark, but Luke went in a historically inaccurate direction. Realize that John and Mark are telling two entirely different stories. Realize that Paul did not write Acts. Realize that the story of Paul in Acts and the story of Paul in Galatians are at odds with each other. I could do this all day. The point of the Bible that is consistent is this: Love.

  51. says

    ChadHoltz – 

    Of course I’m not Matthew (sorry), but I’ll give you my unsoliceted perspective.  

    If you look at Matthew’s examples and myriad others, there’s an overwhelming tendency in the conservative church to exclude, marginalize, and stigmatize queer people as an expression of moral disapproval. Russell Moore has gone so far as to say that accepting gay couples in the church puts the very gospel at stake.

    Moral certitude has created a barrier to accepting those who believe differently (even as Christ has accepted us).

    So the question is this: Can you hold the traditional belief about homosexuality without margianlizing, stigmatizing, or excluding people who are gay and those who affirm them? 

    I want to believe that’s possible, and I’m encouraged by so-called “third way” congregations like the Vinyard in Ann Arbor; but it requires traditionalists to hold their beliefs without judgement or certitude.

  52. JeffPreuss says

    Eilsondancan I personally believe being gay is NOT wrong, because of what the same God tells ME.
    :)

  53. JeffPreuss says

    ChristopherTaylor1 This is NOT Jesus speaking.  This is NOT God’s Word in action. This is man’s pettiness and desire to “own” God, when God should be shared with ALL.

  54. ChadHoltz says

    Ford1968 ChadHoltz

    David, thanks for the response.    I am not convinced that moral certitude, by necessity, creates a barrier.   Jesus certainly had moral certitude, but we wouldn’t call him a barrier, would we?    I have moral certitude that adultery is sin, as I’m sure most Christians do, but does that mean I don’t love those who commit it?   Does it mean they are not welcome in the church?

    You ask a good question:  Can you hold the traditional belief about homosexuality without margianlizing, stigmatizing, or excluding people who are gay and those who affirm them?

    As a pastor, and one who holds the traditional (and I would add, scriptural), belief about homosexuality, I say yes.   I have gay people who attend my church, and they know where I stand, and they know they are loved.   I leave it to the Holy Spirit to convict them and bring them to a place where they can see for themselves their need to repent.   I see them no differently than I see myself or anyone else – all sinners saved by grace and growing in holiness.    

    I have a bigger hang-up with those who are teachers, pastors, and leaders who affirm their sin than I do with the actual sin itself.   I used to be one of those people – a very vocal ally for LGBT inclusion – and I realize 3 years later what a false teacher I was, saying “peace peace” to God’s people when there could be no peace when living in rebellion to God’s word.   I have witnessed first hand the power of God setting people free from all sorts of bondage, including that of same-sex attraction.    This doesn’t mean they no longer struggle or become “straight” but that they have found the joy of the Lord – TRUE joy – by laying down their desires at the cross and trusting God to show them the way.   

    Contrary to what JoeNCA says above, love is not always “good.”   We are born into a fallen world where we our greatest problem is we love the wrong things.  As Augustine said, we all have “disordered loves.”    I used to love pornography and women that were not my wife.   I know fathers who “love” their daughters in ways that Scripture condemns.   I know polyamorous throuples who “love” each other and feel their relationship ought to blessed just like same-sex couples are being blessed.   And quite frankly, once you abandon what Scripture defines as marriage:  one man, one woman, as it was meant to be from the beginning (everything since the Fall is a deviation from God’s plan), then you have no ground to stand upon to tell an incestuous couple or a polyamorous group that their relationship can’t be blessed.    

    Love, as defined by Jesus, is marked by obedience to God.   The one who says they love God while disobeying His commands is a liar (1 John 2:3-4).   

    As a former progressive, I’m skeptical that any progressives will be happy with any of us until we are fully affirming of homosexuality just like they are.   For them, it’s a justice issue and they do not see it as sexual immorality.    They’ve met really nice people who are gay who have some really great gifts, and that has (like it did for me at one time), changed how they interpret the scriptures.    I’m still curious to know what I have to do in order to have progressives affirm that I love homosexuals while still calling them to a life of holiness, apart from which no one will see the Lord, which will include leaving behind their “disordered loves.”   

    blessings to you,
    Chad

  55. says

    This is a public forum. There are diverse opinions about whether being gay is a sin. I hold and with sufficient scholarship that from a biblical standpoint you have reached an untenable position that a person is a sin or that the practice is a sin. I know that my understanding will hold up against your lack of love and scholarship.

  56. JeffPreuss says

    Disheartening to hear that you think your former teachings were false. I am gay, and living my life NOT in rebellion to God’s Word. I have a committed relationship that is valid and true, and I repented long ago, yet I am not coming out of my same-sex attraction – it is NOT bondage.
    I live TRUE joy as my true self in Christ, something I made peace with, and with our Lord, 20 years ago.
    I frankly don’t believe that most progressives are coming from a place of just having met some really nice prople who are gay. I’ve seen enough Biblical debate back and forth to affirm there isn’t 100% agreement on Scriptural meaning, so it’s amazingly possible these progressives have reached their points by praying and studying the Bible.
    I’ll say your tone seems more sincerely loving than most, but it still holds the position that we are “sexually immoral,” which is not a spiritually-affirming thing to hear. Especially when we in Christ do genuinely we are NOT broken and not in need of the Holy Spirit to move us, at least not in the way you think it should.
    Still, thanks. It’s still better than getting called a pervert or a pedophile.

  57. JeffPreuss says

    fiveironfille That can be extrapolated, then, to say that just because you allow them in your church, you don’t agree with everything they do.  But, that seems to be a threshold some are uncomfortable with allowing us to cross.  If you disagree with my “lifestyle” (incredibly lavish and party-filled as it is) that doesn’t necessarily mean you fear or hate me, but if you work to outlaw my “lifestyle” then you probably do hate or fear me, because you are responding to me as if I am a threat.

  58. lynne0652 says

    How would they know you are gay just by you pulling into the parking lot? Or, we’re you known beforehand, by the leadership in the church?

  59. says

    ChadHoltz

    <blockquote>I’m still curious to know what I have to do in order to have progressives affirm that I love homosexuals while still calling them to a life of holiness, apart from which no one will see the Lord, which will include leaving behind their “disordered loves.”</blockquote>
    Hi Chad.  Yes, your conversion to the holiness movement played out in a very public (and painful) way.  I think I might understand where you’re coming from, and I truly hope you have reached a place of peace.
    From a coroporate perspective, the traditional ethic has caused indisputable harm. It’s my belief that if the Church is interested in loving gay people better, we must change our theology – we must believe in a way that doesn’t cause harm. 
    Those who believe as you do must answer to your own conscience if the continued harm being caused by your theology is truly aligned with a Christian worldview.
    I wonder if calling others decieved and unbiblical is really a loving way to approach people, like myself, who do not believe covenant gay relationships are sin. Why is your faith understanding any more legitimate than mine? And it seems more than a little arrogant and prideful to claim that those who don’t believe as you do are incapable of “see[ing] the Lord”.  
    And since when is it the job of any pastor, parent or layperson to “call [people] to a life of holiness”? I’m pretty sure God doesn’t need you to be His enforcer.  Instead, how about coming alongside people and partner with them in their life of faith?
    Your dissmissive, demeaning, and belittling of those who believe differently is not, IMO, a loving approach to any conversation about faith (including but not limited to discussions of sexuality). The narrow path is not the same thing as a narrow understanding.
    Luckily for people like me, God is my judge and not you. And it is not in any person’s power to exclude people from the communion table – that’s not our invitation to revoke. So I accept you as a sibling in Christ even if that acceptance is not reciprocated.
    I wish you peace,
    David

  60. lynne0652 says

    Alan Chambers, ex-president of the now disbanded group, Exodus International, also identifies as a former gay. He is married happily to a woman now, with two children. Alan admits to this day that his same sex attractions have never left him 100%, though they are diminished and he calls himself ‘Leslie-attracted’ now. Leslie is his wife. (I have great respect for this man, though he is understandably loathed in certain gay circles.)

  61. ChadHoltz says

    Ford1968 ChadHoltz

    David,
    I guess you have proven my point, haven’t you?   Simply because I stand behind the traditional view of marriage and name homosexuality a sin I am labeled as “dismissive, demeaning and belittling.”   I take that to mean that there is no way we who hold to traditional views can ever be seen as loving unless we come over to your side of thinking.     Was Jesus being unloving when he told the rich young ruler to give up everything in order to follow him?    Was he unloving when he didn’t pander to him after the young man walked away sad?   Was he, or John the Baptist, or Paul, unloving when they called people snakes, or blind guides, or wicked?    

    God’s word is not unclear on this issue.   Those who say they love God while disobeying what God has said are in grave error, and scripture is clear that they are not God’s, no matter how nice they appear to be.   But there is always room for repentance, and it’s offered to all, without reserve.   

    The table is open to everyone.   But we should not expect it to leave us unchanged.   As a Methodist pastor, it was every Methodist’s duty to call others to holiness, to “watch over each other in love.”    The most loving thing you or I can do for anyone is to ask them how it is with their soul, and to spur them on to good works, and to “bearing fruit in keeping with repentance.”    We cause great harm when we do not call people to obedience to God’s word.  That must be our foundation, or we have none at all.  

    peace to you as well.

  62. says

    JeffPreuss
    Hi Jeff – 
    I know it’s disheartening when people like Chad claim that people like us don’t experience the joy and peace of the Lord. He seems really certain about that even though he has no relationship with me.  
    My faith and my marriage are two things that profoundly impact my life and give it meaning. It’s maddening when they are both flippantly dismissed like Chad has done here.
    So…I just offer us both a word of encouragement – we are shaped by our faith and our relationships, and, as such, we have unique contributions to make to the kingdom.
    My very best to you.
    David

  63. JeffPreuss says

    ChadHoltz Ford1968 The point is we have changed from Communion at the table, but you think you don’t see the change in us.  You can try to call us to YOUR interpretation of God’s Word, but if we truly believe we are following God’s Word (as I truly do) then after a while, it’s just nagging.  And harmful.  Walk WITH us in faith, realizing the answers to OUR prayers may come in ways you do not expect.

    :)

  64. says

    ChadHoltz
    Chad – 
    It’s not what you believe, it’s how you hold the belief that ‘s problematic. To insist that you are absolutely right and everyone who disagrees is absolutely wrong is not “stand[ing] behind the traditional view”, it is a prideful expression of that view.  
    The traditionalists in my life love me and they love my husband. They can believe differently without the prideful certitude you seem to embrace. They don’t feel like they need to correct or rebuke me – that’s God’s job. Instead, we delight in each other.  
    I would hope our faith isn’t so fragile that it must insist on being right or risk shattering. IMHO, that’s not really faith at all.

  65. ChadHoltz says

    Ford1968 ChadHoltz

    David, actually, what you describe is how it ought to be.   I’m only speaking from the context I am in, which is all I can do.   In my context, as a Methodist pastor, we have determined as a global church a way in which we will live.   We have factions in our UMC that are “pridefully’ asserting we are wrong, and teaching something contrary to what our Church has taught and holds to be true.    So sure of themselves that they are right (over and above the global church which has repeatedly said they are not) they are now rebelling against church law in open defiance, claiming it’s a justice issue.     Thus, what I said before bears repeating:  it’s not the sin of homosexuality itself, but the prideful way in which it is being declared “good” by those (pastors/bishops) who have covenanted to uphold the church’s teaching.

  66. JeffPreuss says

    ChadHoltz Ford1968 But, you didn’t say it was that it was done in a prideful way that bothered you.  “I have a bigger hang-up with those who are teachers, pastors, and
    leaders who affirm their sin than I do with the actual sin itself.”
    These teachers, pastors, and leaders may just differ from you on this theological issue.  If you TRULY have issue with them being haughty about it, I understand completely, but that is NOT the point you made about it earlier.

    Because, in reality, these other teachers, etc. do not believe they are affirming sin – they believe it is not sin.  And, in my eyes, that’s usually achieved by coming at the issue humbly and WITHOUT pride when it’s from actual Biblical study.  Now, there are plenty in the secular world who will say you should affirm us in a way that comes off as “I’m better than you for loving them!” but in the religious world, it can come from the humility of true believers, too.

  67. says

    ChadHoltz
    I have a dear friend who pastors a reconciling congregation. I’m so encouraged by the civil disobedience. It’s just.  It’s prophetic. There is harm inherent in the traditionalist theology. Those congregations who teach it are injuring the fourteen year old gay kid in the front pew. It’s time for the church to believe in a way that doesn’t cause harm.
    With that said, I recognize that a change in belief does not happen overnight – it is a journey. I think your right, the disunity in the UMC is a result of pride from both ends of the spectrum (I offer the recent open letter urging schism as “exhibit A”).
    I think the PC(USA) has it right in this regard (even if the change in beliefs has been painful at times).  When they changed their ordination standards, they allowed for the possiblity of openly gay ministers without forbidding conscience-based discrimination by individual congregations).
    My sense is, based on your comments herein, you would absolutely reject any attempt to allow the sinfulness of homosexuality to be considered a disputable matter. Likewise, I’m sure that the same holds true for some revisionists in the denomination. That’s truly a shame. We can’t be mutually transformed unless we stay in communion with one another.

  68. says

    lynne0652 –
    Alan Chambers has also said that 99.9% of people he’s seen in sexual orientation change therapy did not change (GCN conference 2012). Mixed orientation marriages are really dicy. Not even Mark Yarhouse recommends them.

  69. JeffPreuss says

    lynne0652 If he still has same-sex attractions, he cannot be called “a former gay.”  Which essentially helps to reinforce the notion that our sexual orientation is naturally ingrained within us, and not something so easily switched, even for the former head of an organization dedicated to fostering that switch.  Mr. Chambers himself has rejected anyone’s attempt at labeling him gay, straight, bisexual, or even ex-gay, so clearly HE doesn’t necessarily think one can ever “come out of a life of homosexuality.”
    So, in essence, I am refuting your statement that he identifies as “a former gay.”  He simply doesn’t.

  70. lynne0652 says

    Brendt, I think you might be ‘sweatin’ the small stuff’, by accusing MPT of over-generalizing. I’m not even saying here that is what he did, but I do want to point out that sometimes certain generalizations are made for the ease and flow of a conversation. I hate generalizations as much as you, but it is not always possible to name and include every person who espouses a particular opinion or set of opinions, you know what I mean?
    Okay, so maybe it should have been worded: “because for the most part, the only evangelicals….”. So what!? Get past that, and consider the meat of the message.
    And anyway, for the most part, the highly visible evangelicals with national platforms are NOT giving up their bigoted rhetoric – on the contrary, as alluded to by the many links in Matt’s article. And those are the voices MPT is referencing. Those are the voices we are hearing from most often.
    Also, in the very next paragraph, Matthew states that he does not believe most evangelicals feel that way (biased against gays). So, his thought is followed-through. Don’t jump the gun on him.
    I think you might consider these things. Eat the meat of MPT’s article and throw out the bones (the minor grammatical offenses that are raising your ire).
    IMHO

  71. lynne0652 says

    Chad,
    I am also, like you describe yourself, not FULLY gay-affirming, and that is because I do believe there is sound biblical support for traditional GOE marriage and sex. Actually, I might more accurately describe myself as ‘not gay-celebrating’. And I don’t even like that, it sounds mean. But I haven’t found the right word – don’t you hate labels?
    I am able to affirm certain things about gays, my friends, my family and in the general population:
    I can affirm that they know more about their inward selves and their same sex attraction than I do, though I also know that God knows more than either of us. I really don’t get it – same sex attraction. But they are vested 24/7, the average person only about 10 minutes a week when reading the news or social media like this blog. I’m somewhere in between because of my interest and avocation in LGBT, probably like most of the other folks here.
    I can affirm that whatever ssa IS and whatever ssa is NOT, it is absolutely, without question, something that arrives, more or less instinctively, at an early age; the same, in essence and substance, as opposite sex attraction comes to heterosexual youngsters.
    I can affirm the possibility, (but cannot confirm), that one or more conscious or subconscious early childhood experiences, whether they be abusive in nature, or traumatic in a more subtle way, MAY be a contributing factor in some ssa. I can’t believe it totally because it doesn’t always materialize that way. So only God knows for sure. Every individual is a different person.
    I can affirm that as children, or as very young adults, their hands are ‘clean’ meaning they are relatively innocent, not going out and actively seeking their gayness. This is especially and dreadfully true when compared to the guilty, filthy, sinful hands of adults who engage in adultery, pornography, neglect and abuse, which I am a contributor of a few. These are the sins that are destroying God’s lovely marriages and families. Divorce is another sin that, hated by God, changes the lives of children forever! And these are within Christian circles! Again, as I’ve said elsewhere, the hypocrisy is nauseating, is it not to you!? That alone should seal our lips. It might be different if our Christian marriages were bastions of the paradise we are beating other folks about.
    I can affirm that there is so much sorrow, suicide, pain, doctrinal confusion and error surrounding this important reality that I am content now, to leave it in God’s able hands to show ‘them’, as He does ‘us’, the way to all truth in this as in everything else. And if they are believers in The Lord, and they remain in their gay relationships – so be it. Think for a moment, especially at an adult age, say 30-40 for instance, just think about changing your mind about being heterosexual. Just being real here. Not that God couldn’t help change a person’s mind in a New York minute, but He doesn’t force anything on anyone.
    I can affirm nothing will get much better if we continue to think, speak and act in those ‘us’ and ‘them’ terms.
    I can affirm that most gays know exactly what most Christians think of them and this hurtful, soul-ripping criticism, no matter how neatly wrapped up in an apparent message of how much we love them, has long since lost any credibility whatsoever. I can affirm my understanding when I hear some gays say (esp. young people) “we’re just waiting for you to die”.
    I can affirm that many gays and many other people really just don’t believe in God so why should we insist that they adhere to doctrine that has no meaning to them?
    I affirm that I am willing, able and eager to joyfully live with and worship with my gay friends, whatever that may look like, however messy it may be at first. I think we need to find ways to make it happen. No telling what kind of revival will ensue on ALL our parts!
    I affirm I will continue to believe what I believe and talk about that in forums like this, and in person, WHEN ASKED! Lol
    I affirm a bunch more stuff but I already talked too much. :)
    Thanks for read-listening to my opinions which have taken 27 years for God and me to work through with fear and trembling :)
    Lynne E.

  72. lynne0652 says

    You are correct, and I know that he refrains from any of those labels. I was just getting it out there mainly in response to Sarah’s comment, to indeed let folks know that even those who do identify as ex-gay and leave their ‘homosexuality’ behind, do not, in reality really leave it all behind. And this is because of what you are saying and Alan has admitted – the ssa does not just go away. Thanks for the correction. You may have seen the Lisa Ling special I saw where Alan talked about ll that.
    I have always been interested in seeing numbers on success and failure rates of ex-gay therapies. And Exodus and NARTH do not seem forthcoming about those results.

  73. lynne0652 says

    …said the man who thinks, meditates, and prays about this stuff 30 minutes a week with most of that time spent thinking up catchy new Christian mantras.

  74. JeffPreuss says

    lynne0652 I had no trauma as a kid, so it’s entirely individual.  I mean, I was picked on a little, but nothing consciously or subconsciously abusive.  I grew up in the Church with loving, devoted, and devout parents and a strong family group and Church life.  Although you could say I’ve been a lifelong Christian, I made my formal proclamation at 7, only realizing I was gay at the onset of puberty.
    I spent 10 years praying, studying, and crying daily, pleading for the Spirit to “move my heart” and change me to what I “should” be.  It never happened.
    What DID happen later is I also prayed specifically for the fruit of the Spirit that is patience.  (The prayer leader warned me, “Know this – God WILL test your patience…”  All I could think was, “Lady, you have NO idea.”)  Patience to not insist His time frame matched MY immediate desire for a change.
    Instead, I was granted peace.  Peace with myself, and with my God.  Peace with who and what I am, and how that CAN work with my faith.  The Spirit DID change me, but not in the way I expected, but in the way I NEEDED.

    That was 20 years ago, and I’ve never been happier, or more sure of my faith.

  75. JeffPreuss says

    lynne0652 Well, I would think it would be because it’s nigh-impossible to actually document results.  It’s not a quantifiable number that can be measured by any scientific method.  (How attracted are you to men now?  On a scale of 1 to 10, a 3?  6?)

    In all honesty, to allow us to walk our own faiths, we should be willing to let someone who is genuinely struggling with SSA and their faith to walk their own path, too.  Though I personally believe it’s ultimately a fruitless attempt to curb those attractions, if someone else is sincerely unable to rectify them with their spiritual beliefs, who am I to tell them they can not seek “reparative” therapy?

    I just bristle a bit when churchy folk are so quick to say they’re so welcoming to those of us “struggling with same-sex attraction” because I am simply NOT struggling.  Neither have I given in to sin, but that path isn’t supported by some, as if they find it SO incredulous that I am not so sexually broken that all I need is some Jesus in my life, and I’ll be fixed.

    It’s all a big game of semantics, but in manners of the spirit and faith, the language and tone of how all sides communicate IS of paramount importance.

  76. boionfire81 says

    Makes a very good point. I would like to add a comment for thought. When you look at yourself do you see a group of people formed into one body? Do you see yourself as an exact replica of someone else? I know I don’t. I also know God see’s me as a unique creation of his. We see ourselves as individuals, but are quick to sum up others as one type of person. While it is often very hard to look at each person a new because you do get spat in the face a lot, a lot of times it’s about respecting each other. I don’t feel Jesus meant just the poor, the hungry, and the homeless when he said what you have done for them you have done for me. Often when you hear somesomeone preaching against sin and condemning people, that isn’t why they started becoming a christian. But over the years they have been mislead themselves thinking, if they condemn someone it’s bringing them to God. No man comes to the Father except through Christ. I try to encourage people when you simply can’t agree instead of turning against each other lift each other up to Christ in prayer. Let His will be done. Because I’ve gotta say his way is far better than anything we could do. 
    O
    f

  77. lynne0652 says

    JeffPreuss lynne0652
    I am not a proponent of reparative therapy, I was just interested to see some of their statistics, other than the individual testimonials they share.  And I am more than willing “to let someone who is genuinely struggling with SSA and their faith to walk their own path, too.”  Or not struggling for that matter.  I’m butting out.  Though that won’t preclude me from engaging in the conversation – I’m very interested from a spiritual standpoint and somewhat vested personally, though less than you, I’m sure.  

    I do like Alan Chambers and have kept up with editorial letters through the years and read a couple of his books.

  78. JeffPreuss says

    Oh, no. Don’t “butt out!” I didn’t mean to come across as combative or defensive to you (if I did). Please keep in the conversation – in my opinion, it’s been respectful.

  79. DanSloan says

    It’s not even this stuff that turns gay people off Christianity, though it is a good representative of the comments we deal with daily. 
    As a gay Christian myself, it’s dealing with the same eye-rolling comments that one even sees here in these comments. (i.e., Being in a gay relationship is just like adultery, lying, theft and things that, you know, actually hurt people or break their trust.) Gay people want to destroy the church/family/America. If we truly loved God we’d be healed into heterosexuality. 
    It’s dealing with commenters who are more than willing to ignore, contextualize, compromise or make allowances for other Biblical prohibitions – women speaking in church, not covering their heads, remarriage (which Jesus called adultery and St Paul said wasn’t a moral choice (1 Cor 7:10-11)), charging interest on the loan, eating rare meat, working on the Sabbath, etc.  but feel like the church will implode/God will be mocked unless they hold the line on this topic. Why the double standard? 
    And finally, explaining over and over and over and over and over and over again (over 30 years of my life!) why I don’t believe that gay relationships are condemned in Scripture (while dodging accusations that I only believe this so I can practice sin; I’m going to hell, etc.) as if there hasn’t been a lot of material that supports my position written about this, including by conservative evangelicals who (unlike me) believe in Biblical inerrancy that is available.

    It’s the constant negativity, double standards and hypocrisy that is the turn-off and what has led me to believe that for all the professions of “love” we aren’t really loved.

    I feel very safe as an Episcopalian in New York City where sexuality ceased to be an issue and all people, gay or straight, are expected to form responsible committed relationships, but the constant negativity online leads me to distance myself whenever I encounter an evangelical Christian. Sure, these comments in the media are vile, the anger, the false accusations, the willful ignorance about the subject matter speak much louder than any professions of “love” (which has been twisted to mean something rather Orwellian in evangelicalism today anyway.)

  80. lynne0652 says

    JeffPreuss
    No, Jeff, LOL, what I meant is that through the years, the Holy Spirit has worked in my heart and mind about these matters in such huge ways (26 years this has been laid on my heart) that through the struggle, by working out my salvation with fear and trembling, He has brought me to the point that I am contentedly ‘butting out’ of the business of gays uniting and having loving relationships with one another.  

    Not more than 3 years ago I actually thought that “gay Christian” was an oxymoron.  Geesh.  I was spouting the LTSHTS nonsense (love the sinner, hate the sin).  And I’ve come so far in this journey – especially when it dawned on me how utterly hypocritical we were being when the real problems we should be focusing on are our own marriages and families!  As in divorce, adultery, pornography.

    Not that I even want to talk about that crap, but every time I see a Christian point their finger at a gay, you can bet, that is the first thing I will bring up!  And then from there, we can all move in more loving ways .

    I’m thinking…maybe ;)

  81. lynne0652 says

    JeffPreuss lynne0652

    I do celebrate that you no longer struggle as you did as a youth.  For too many young people, being gay and filled with angst is a jump off the nearest cliff and that MUST STOP.  

    I do celebrate you are now at peace and happy.  

    Mostly I celebrate that you identify as a Christian and as long as that includes a daily, personal relationship with the Lord by way of the blood of Christ for your sins, I celebrate that with you as well.

    Nice to meet you, e-bro :)

  82. lynne0652 says

    JeffPreuss lynne0652
    And, much respect for you Jeff, and an honor that you shared your testimony briefly here with me.  Thank you.

  83. lynne0652 says

    Gays are so precious, so so very precious in so many ways, I can’t even list them all here.  (Excuse me if that is obnoxiously patronizing.)  They have their hands full. They know what Christians think of them; why heap any negative shaming crap on them…especially when we have such big logs in our own eyes.  We should be crying in shame for the way we’ve treated them.  Crying and begging THEIR forgiveness!  Gays didn’t even go out and look for this, like us adults do when we engage in pornography and adultery.  (Not comparing those to gayness except in the sense that Christians are colossal hypocrites with double standards.) 

    Gayness comes to kids just like straightness comes to kids.  They’re just kids.  It’s what I call, “their hands were clean”.  When their sexual orientation was recognized by themselves as youngsters, their hands were clean, unlike us Christians with our dirty, adulterous, porno-loving hands.  (A Barna survey states 1 out of 2 Christian pastors have viewed pornography, more than once – ask me for the link if you like.)

    Sex.  It can be confusing – its deep, at the core of our beings and I don’t understand it all, for sure, especially LGBT stuff.  Ever try to shake a fetish or change from straight to gay!?  Yeah. Good luck with that.  Praise God that He has relieved me of any obligation to tell anyone they had to change their sex stuff before God can accept them, or even after.  Grace doesn’t work that way.  Christians are doing more horrific bad than one iota of good. 

    God is so much bigger than all of us.  The most important thing is to meet God, meet Jesus here and now.  And we aren’t exactly drawing people to Him with our clobbering, dirty hands, no matter how much ‘love’ we try to wrap it up in.   More like we are standing between God and His precious children like a firing squad, locked and loaded!

    And if people come to a saving knowledge and relationship with the Lord, and for some reason, (between them and God), they remain in their gay relationships, I am still butting out, (unless I am asked…which is unlikely).  We’ll find out everything in heaven some day, but it won’t matter any longer because there isn’t going to be any marriage and sex in heaven.  No matter how many virgins Bin Laden thought were waiting for him.

    Do you know there has never been a perfect marriage ever, and there never will be?!  Except one – the marriage of Christ to his bride, the church.  We’re all in this together.  Adam and Eve’s marriage wasn’t perfect because sin happened, so the perfection was only temporary.  But our marriage, The Church to Christ, will be perfect and eternal.  Let’s celebrate that and love each other into His arms in the meantime.

  84. JerryFrancisReiter says

    ChadHoltz Jesus never spoke a single negative word against gays, but you ramble on incessantly about other people’s sins. Jesus hung out with the very people that the religious conservatives deemed to be sinners. And he did not confront them. Follow His example. It sounds like you went from loving peace to loving finger pointing. Right now you sound like a follower of the religious conservatives Christ constantly spoke against.  (and, yes, I know Christ said “Go and sin no more” buy you added, “And make sure to go around telling others how horrible they are and mock their marriages as disordered love.” Chad, you are infected with self-righteousness and wrong about the bible. You are living in the tradition of every religious conservative who opposed every new civil rights advance since the abolition of slavery. Bible verses were used to defend the slave owners, the segregationist Jim Crow laws, to oppose integration and to support bans on interracial marriage, along with using bible verses to oppose women’s rights.
    Do you have any clue what the evangelical ex-gay leaders said the last few years? The very top leaders admitted nobody changed from homosexual to heterosexual. Since then nearly every major ex-gay ministry with decades of experience in the entire free world either shut down or became gay-affirming. Biology, not demons, cause “homosexuality” a modern medical concept derived from scientific evidence unavailable to scripture writers. You are on the wrong side of history and science. Your prejudice is showing.

  85. seneynah says

    Okay I have to give my two cents….I go to a fairly liberal evangelical church, and I have been wrestling with this issue in my heart non-stop….I’ve prayed, I’ve read, I’ve researched all different theological viewpoints and find it all inconclusive…we know that gay sex in Biblical times was sinful…we know nothing about gay marriage…all gay sex was fornication and therefore sin.. Also we know that men who were naturally straight and experimented with same sex were also sinning, as they left their natural use and burned with lust for each other…that indicated “going gay” when they were straight.  There is not mention of people with SSA originally… I also know that a man/woman marriage for life is the perfect ideal….there is not man/man or woman/woman perfect option mentioned…So all I can conclude is that being born gay is part of the fall as is all other sin including the polygamy practiced all over the Bible, part of our inborn sinful nature in some of us…not a mortal or harmful sin, but simply imperfection, much like my 2nd marriage and blended family…not God’s ideal, but part of my fallen nature.  I think God understands we all fall short…
    So why can’t we all just say to each other….”I’m not okay, you are not okay, but that’s okay!!”  I think God knows we are not okay but he is concerned about our hearts…and if we love or not, he is not looking for perfection (that is unattainable).  So this is why I am okay with gay marriage, just like I am okay with 2nd marriages and even polygamy if that floats your boat and everyone in the relationship is fine with it…but I will never say that either is on par with one man and one woman for life who married as virgins, but honestly, who does that? not many, and those that do may have infidelity issues, alcoholism, abuse or a whole host of other sins in their family….NO FAMILY is perfect in this fallen world…get over it I say… But I do know that God has a HUGE issue with pride…and gay pride is sin…so is the pride of a heterosexual bigot who thinks they are so much better than the gay person and acts like a hypocrite pointing fingers (while he watches porn, drinks heavily, or beats his wife behind closed doors)…God frowns on both of those people IMO…but still loves their sinning butts! That is the mystery of God…but the proud will fall that is a guarantee, there will be consequences and He will pick them up and restore their broken and now humble butts…

  86. lynne0652 says

    *worship openly, I should say, as I’m sure I am already worshiping with an unknown closeted number of gays.  

    **also, I am sorry for the “them” references in the final paragraph.  ARGHHH!  I hate that!  

    And I hate labels!

    And I hate ‘HATE’!  Ya know?

  87. BrendtWayneWaters says

    lynne0652  I appreciate your response and the nature in which you phrased it. Two comments:

    (1) Shortly after my last comment, a friend pointed out the next paragraph that you cite. I missed that; it does clear things up.

    (2) But, basically, I missed the forest for the trees that fell on my face. While the use of exclusivity may have been a “minor grammatical offense” on MPT’s part, words like that are all too familiar, and most of the time (note: I didn’t say “all”), they are neither minor nor just a grammatical error.

    I have long derided, decried, and occasionally mocked the “right” for their exclusive statements and lack of nuance. But I have come to realize that the “left” is no better (despite their protestations to the contrary). I grew up in a very conservative, traditional environment. As I have grown older, I have recognized that more and more of my beliefs are not foundational and can be reviewed for their veracity without abandoning my faith. But it is *very* rare that I encounter someone who believes less traditionally than I do who seems to have any interest in persuading me toward that belief unless I’m ready to instantaneously become their clone. As I said before, they’re interested in being right, not in making a difference.

    Two examples:

    A) I grew up with a traditional eschatology, including a pre-trib, pre-mill traditional rapture. As I got older, I became a mid-trib’r who hoped I was wrong (and that the pre-trib’rs were right). More recently, I have heard folks talking about the concept that there is no traditional rapture – some of whom I have a great deal of respect for. But I have yet to see a single argument against a traditional rapture that didn’t spend 10% of its time saying “he didn’t mean that” (an absolutely meaningless mantra — very popular with the “right” too — that simply means “this makes me uncomfortable, and so I’m going to claim divine knowledge and say that his intention fits my belief system”) and 90% of its time saying that anyone who believes in a traditional rapture is an escapist (just looking to get out of here) with no interest in others (except as notches on their conversion belt), even less interest in the planet, and who spends all their free time re-reading the “Left Behind” series. The fact that none of this is even remotely true for me is only outweighed by the chutzpah with which the author claims this drivel. But if abandoning my belief in a traditional rapture means that I have to become like those idiotic egotists, I’ll just put my Hal Lindsey poster back up.

    B) Frankly, I think Ken Ham is a loon whose emphasis on YEC borders on “another gospel” (purveyors of which Paul wished would go to hell). That said, I grew up YEC and haven’t seen enough compelling evidence to change that belief. But unlike many YECers, I have no problem with any theory of origins that doesn’t cut God out of the equation. But I get a great deal more respect from the likes of Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson than from many “Christians” who aren’t YECers.

    So when MPT says “only” (even if he apparently didn’t mean it), he is using the language of the idiot right and the idiot left, and I roll my eyes and think, “Here we go again. Same Skubala, Different Day.”

    Hardly minor.

  88. says

    You say, “We need them to speak up, on behalf of the gospel, Jesus, and the evangelicals who really do love gay people.”
    What exactly would be your hope – regarding what these Christians should be saying?

  89. crashtx1 says

    taylor1962 You don’t want the church to condemn sin? As other posters note, there are lots of sins, we all sin. But I’m not going to go into church and try to explain away my sin. Your cowardice of using “crime” is just that.

  90. crashtx1 says

    ChristopherTaylor1 Shall we assume there is more to this story? Have you possibly been trying to sow discord in the church by trying to justify your sin?

  91. says

    Condemning in sin is one thing, but hating the sin and loving the sinner makes no sense. Secondly what is sin is a matter of church teaching. Weather being gay is a sin is a matter between ones particular church but is not a universal position among all churches. I am not attempting to tell the general public that gay is a sin (a great oversimplification that some hold as part of their belief system) but I am a Christian who is not willing based on sound understanding to explain sin away when it with reason is not a sin. That may be putting me in the liberal progressive camp when I am otherwise orthodox. This sounds like an argent between Christians that makes us look sick by the worlds view.

  92. crashtx1 says

    Werussell98 We Christians have done a poor job of handling the issue, but the issue isn’t resolved by dumping Christian principles.

  93. ChristopherTaylor1 says

    I’ve never hid the fact of my sexuality since coming out 10 yrs ago. And no, every Sunday I attended church I didn’t come n the doors waving a rainbow flag while in drag. I came to church and worshipped with my fellow Christians who are also sinners. If u want to put names to sin I could name actual sins of mine. Like a struggle with pornography or self image issues. I don’t count my sexual preference as a sin or disease. I lived with a pastor of the church for 2 yrs. And I can’t sew. I’m not that type of gay. Any discussion n the church of homosexuality was brought up by others and I responded. All I wanted to do was attend church.

  94. boionfire81 says

    Werussell98,
    I have come to understanding that makes sense to me. Hopefully, it can help you as well.
    Everyone of this earth is created by God. We are not created of sin. We are born into a world of sin. At some point, the perfect being created by God falls victim to sin. The being God created is not sin. The being God created is a victim of sin. Having been born by Christ and ravished by sin.
    So yes despise the sin, but love the creation by God.

  95. says

    I am not dumping principle by saying it isn’t a sin. I am truly convinced by principle that you have it wrong yet I am a Christian and therefore by any principle must oppose this misguided position.

  96. says

    It sounds like a principle purported by mahatma Ghandi, not a Christian thing to say hate the sin but love the sinner. I don’t agree it is a sin based on principles.

  97. says

    Sounds hateful. Of course he is not trying to sew discord. A non-Christian would see your comment as hateful. You need to tone this down in a public forum. Even not all Christians agree with your position and it comes across as hateful, even if you could be right. I’m embarrassed by such hateful writing.

  98. crashtx1 says

    Werussell98 So anything that disagrees with your views is considered hateful? I asked for a follow-up on a story that is obviously missing some pieces, that’s not hateful.

  99. JeffPreuss says

    crashtx1 Werussell98 No, but you calling his father out as a “coward” for standing up for his son against their church and not thinking it a sin is a pretty hateful thing to say, even though you agreed that we as “Christians have done a poor job of handling the issue.”

    Just assuming there is more to the story than a church simply throwing someone out for being gay ignores the reality that many gay people experience with their faiths and churches.  It may not fit your narrative of what gay people are like, but sometimes it’s the truth.

  100. crashtx1 says

    JeffPreuss crashtx1 Werussell98 His father used the term “hate crime”, which is inflammatory and cowardly and I called it as such. Sorry if you find that “hateful”.

  101. JeffPreuss says

    crashtx1 JeffPreuss Werussell98 This whole blog post is about the ugly way Christians treat gay people, and you find HIS words inflammatory? Wow, I think you lack some perspective.

  102. crashtx1 says

    JeffPreuss crashtx1 Werussell98 No, my perspective is fine. Is his dad gay? He’s mad so he thinks it’s a crime? Sounds like he and his family need some perspective. We have gay people in our church. No problem. It seems this guy went looking for trouble and is shocked that he found it.

  103. JeffPreuss says

    crashtx1 JeffPreuss Werussell98 “it seems”

    You are assuming there is more to this story, and you don’t KNOW that there is.

    Again, your perspective is very skewed.  You came in here calling him a coward when he was having a very real reaction to seeing his beloved child face discrimination and shunning by people of faith.

    You are just making the situation worse by placing the blame on the person who is the victim here.

  104. crashtx1 says

    JeffPreuss crashtx1 Werussell98 No, again, my perspective is fine. Go back and actually read. His father said a crime had been committed, a hate crime, as in breaking the law, and also said the media needed to be called out. That is loss of perspective.

  105. boionfire81 says

    Instead of dipping into devious acts and arguing and pointing fingers, let’s turn our eyes to God, lift each other up in prayer that His will be done. :)

  106. thedrewboo says

    I feel that most Christians hate gays subconsciously  but don’t really know why except that they are supposed to (and many probably dont want to hate gays from a conscious perspective).  I also think there is a lot of shame that younger Christians are beginning to experience (Millennials and maybe some Gen-Xers) because they want to hold the line for their faith but also know deep down in their hearts that the line is, has always been and will be known in the textbooks to be a tragic mis-step in the history of Christianity.  Those younger Christians do not know how to reconcile ‘the line’ with the reality they see around them.  I think many parents of Millennials are also beginning to feel a level of discomfort as they relate their child-to-parent inconsistent views on interracial relationships to their parent-to-child inconsistent views on same-sex relationships.

    The unfortunate thing for these uncomfortable parents and ashamed millennials/genXers is compounded by two major factors:

    1). Everything is about to get REAL ugly, uglier than we have ever seen in the christian v. gay culture war. Christians have had the bully pulpit for so long and have held all the political capital since they started the war against gays.  Gays have accumulated enough political power to win in politics but are now coming for the pulpit as well. Kicking the hornets nest is backfiring for Christians, albeit generations later.  Karma’s a bitch.  Christians will never understand or fathom what they have done to gay people and their collective psyche – they will probably never care.  Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.  The compounded accumulation of the Christian response to AIDS, the Christian response to hate-crimes, the Christian response to gay-youth suicide rate, the Christian response to gay genocide.  In every example of Christians engaging gays in history, what you see is Christians doing whatever it takes to reduce the number of gays who exist.  A non-response to AIDS, a non-response to hate-crimes and child-suicide, an intervention into African politics to induce genocide.  Lets just say that the gay-Christian movement may not be the best thing for the Christian-movement to survive the modern era, it might be the Christian movement’s best defense from the collective rage of the gay community at large.  The Christian mandate since the beginning of this culture war has been to exterminate the gays.  Matthew is right, we don’t think you love us.  On the other hand, while most Christians are obsessed with all things gay gay gay gay gay, most gays could give two shits about anything to do with Christianity.  This is bad news for gay souls if Christ is the only way, and its also bad news for the church if gays teach heterosexuals how to engage spirituality the same way we teach them how to appreciate fashion, art, music, style, design, and every other aspect of materialism.

    2). There are no affirming influences for the Millennial & GenXers to look up to for guidance on how to move forward through this ethical & spiritual dilemma.  We have peer influencers like Matthew Paul Turner, Rachel Held Evans, Matthew Vines – and many more… but who do we have to look up to from older/established elders?  Most of the older stock of Christian leaders are vying to hold the line.. whether they are trying to hold the line of their faith or their pocketbooks remains to be seen.  Rick Warren types want to tone down the criticism while still holding a superiority view while raking in deposits.  This is not leadership.  Who will lead from the Christian side other than the handful of Millennial apologists?

    I think Kathy Baldock is right about the Gay-Christian movement being the only thing that can save us all from the 1). ugliness that is yet to take place.  Arthur Schopenhauer’s famous words in 1818 “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”  I think the era of ridicule is ending and we are entering a short phase of violently opposing.  I think most Christians are waiting to see how their leadership responds to the sweeping gay marriage cases that have thirty-something states in federal litigation.  They are waiting to see how their leadership responds to transgender visibility and anti-bullying mandates in school and employment non-discrimination in the private sector.  It appears the loudest of the extremist Christian leaders are not yet violently opposing anything in particular – at least not the ones who are invited to comment on CNN and Fox News.  It will take few non camera-polished Joe Pastor’s who finally break and go nuts over gay rights who eventually lead the Christian community to pick a side, but the confusing thing for most will be that few will see two equalized sides of one clear-cut coin.  And thats when it will get ugly.

    At that time, Christians will need to make a conscious choices regardless of a subconscious disposition. At some time in the future, Christian and gay will not be mutually exclusive terms.  Until Christians release the mutual exclusivity of those terms, they cannot love a gay person – that day has not come, and that’s why no one believes them.

  107. JeffPreuss says

    thedrewboo Meantime, those of us who have been gay AND Christian this entire time will continue to try to find some sort of middle ground where the two extremes might find some common ground.

    And hopefully stave off any and all violence.

  108. says

    JeffPreuss thedrewboo
    I’d like to think that our community’s experience with maltreatment will manifest itself as compassion. I think Christians who are gay will have a role in that type of reconciliation.
    Best -

  109. thedrewboo says

    I do not believe there will be much physical violence (I hope).  I dont think the rage aspect of the collective gay psyche is one of physical violence, but how it manifests does not necessarily mean it will be civil.

  110. crashtx1 says

    thedrewboo Your post has more bigotry and prejudice in it than anything you could blame on those that believe in orthodox Christianity.  There will be no violent response unless it’s from the Act Up crowd.  At a popular level, much like legalizing drugs, the decisions have been made. Since Christianity and morals can no longer be used as an argument in court(except for the somewhat shocking Hobby Lobby case), the court will eventually rule in favor of nationwide gay marriage. So few of the younger generation(millennials, gen-x, etc) have enough biblical teaching to know they are being taught incorrectly.  There will still be some good churches, those somewhere in between the right wing nuts and those that change the Bible as their opinions change.

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  112. PhilHeslop says

    JeffPreuss thedrewboo I’m curious – as a gay Christian do you believe you should be able to enter into a sexual relationship? If you do believe you can, how do you reconcile that with your belief about God creating a perfect world that has fallen into sin but that he sent his son so that all of it could be reconciled to him?

  113. JeffPreuss says

    PhilHeslop JeffPreuss thedrewboo First question, yes, like straight Christians can.  Second question, I’m going to attempt to pierce the the theological doublespeak to answer what I think you are really getting at:
    I do not think being gay or having a gay relationship is a sin.  

    Do you, as a (I assume) straight person, ask yourself how you can reconcile having a sexual relationship with your belief about God creating a perfect world that has fallen into sin but that he sent his son so that all of it could be reconciled to him?

  114. thedrewboo says

    PhilHeslop Thank
    you for your question Phil.
    Do
    I believe I “should be able to”? Why shouldn’t I? Because some same
    sex acts occurred during idolatry practices? Because some same sex acts were
    threatened via mass mob rape? Because some 600 mitzvuhs included same sex acts?
    Because some sex same acts were committed by prostitutes?
    What does any of this
    have to do with me? Do you identify with Solomon having
    700 opposite-sex wives and 300 opposite-sex concubines? Do
    you think it’s moral or acceptable to
    have opposite-sex relations with 700 wives and 300 concubines if you
    had the financial means to support them?  Do you identify with
    stoning a woman who has had sex outside of wedlock or for money?  Is that
    your typical reaction to becoming aware of human sexuality being expressed in
    unconventional ways around you?
    Just like every
    opposite-sex act in the Bible isn’t something that every Christian heterosexual
    can identify with, I also cannot identify with these same-sex acts that have
    been mentioned in the Bible which modern Christians have become obsessed with.
    Do I believe that a
    concept that has never existed in history until 1869 and was first added to the
    Bible in 1946 is an appropriate way to apply a “high view” of
    scripture? No, I do not.
    I am sorry I am asking so many questions of
    myself, but I get a sense of assumption in your question since you have
    categorized me as a gay Christian although I have not identified myself as
    such.  I do not recall the Bible saying that God created a perfect world
    and we should model everything that exists in our world from the Garden of Eden
    as the ideal expression of creation.  What I do recall is God seeing what
    he had created and saying that it was “Good”. 
    Was Adam and/or Eve
    right handed or left handed?  We need to know because we need to know what
    to do with left handed people if God didnt create them!!  If we dont know
    which hand Adam/Eve predominantly used, then how will we know if left-handed
    people are a spawn of sin and banishment from the garden?  What about
    different races?  What race were Adam/Eve? What color hair did they have –
    I bet they didnt have red hair… because red hair is more rare statistically
    than homosexual orientation.  Surely, red hair is due to the fall of sin!!
     The Bible doesnt say that either of the original humans had red hair so
    God didnt create it!!!
    I think we probably
    read more into the Bible than we read out of it.  One of the worst things
    we can do with a high view of scripture is cloud it with our own biases.
     We all do it – it’s probably impossible not to read the Bible in a way we
    can identify with but that doesn’t mean we should force everyone around us to
    understand its content the way we understand it.  If the gift of Christ is
    for everyone, then everyone should be able to read the Bible in a way that
    uplifts their spirit.  A woman should not have to accept condemnation or
    inferiority from the Bible even though some of that exists in the text.  A
    female should not have to undergo a sex-change because some scriptures seem to
    denigrate the humanity of females.  I think in reading the Bible, we have
    to allow a balance between a high view of scripture expressed through a certain
    culture and time and understanding its intended message… in other words, we
    should be able to see the forest in addition to all the trees.
    Regardless of how you choose to read the Bible and what texts you feel more
    compelled by compared to others, no interpretation of “clobber
    passages” refers to same-sex couples.  In fact, of the gay people I
    know and/or know of who are not in monogamous relationships and even
    promiscuous gay people that I know of, none of them to my knowledge are
    participating in idolatry, mob rape, jewish-rabbinical rituals or…. ok well
    Im sure some gay folks are participating in prostitution.  Still, I dont
    know what any of that has to do with me.
    Since the Bible does
    not mention Adam/Eve hair color, eye color, race, hair length, second-to-fourth
    digit finger-length ratio, handedness, etc – I cannot assume that one dominant
    attribute was “perfect” and all other gene expressions that create
    evolutionary diversity are deemed to be ‘fall of man” / sin /
    garden-banishment.  The Bible doesnt tell us where all of Adam/Eve’s
    children found their spouses and it also doesnt tell us the sexual orientation
    of all of Adam/Eve’s children.  The Bible
    is not explicit in regard to if the first children were born inside or outside
    of the garden – God made childbirth painful as a punishment to kicking them out
    of the garden which implies it was previously not painful.  Adam named his companion Eve because all life
    came from her which implies she was giving birth at the time of her naming.
     There is a lot that the Bible does not tell us, but we have still based
    many theological concepts such as complementarianism from inferred overall intent.
    I guess my point is
    that the Bible tells us some things, but all that we read from it does not
    necessarily come from it.  In conclusion, I do not believe God created a
    perfect world – that is not a Biblical high view to me, God saw that it was
    “Good”.  Would Satan have access to a perfect world?  Would the perfect world have a giant tree in
    the middle that you can’t touch with large succulent fruit that you cannot eat?
    Would you be lonely in a perfect world with nothing but animals to
    befriend?  Would God have needed to
    create Eve if the world was already perfect for Adam? Just as we read “perfect
    world” into the creation story, we also seem to read “gay people” into the
    Bible when people are getting raped, worshipping idols and getting paid for
    sex.  I just don’t see how we should be
    able to define an entire cross-section of the human race as rapists, idolaters
    and prostitutes if there is no evidence of those things occurring in the vast
    majority of same-sex relationships or even promiscuous same-sex relations.  If anything those are as outlying to the gay
    world as 700 wives and 300 concubines are to the straight world.
    It simply does not
    apply to me, relate to me or have anything to do with me.  Not to mention, the clobber passages are not
    even talking about same-sex acts as the focal point of the story.  They traded God for a false image and
    worshipped that instead, God wanted to destroy the cities if there were not ten
    righteous men, here is a list 600 rules to obey to be different from the
    non-chosen peoples around you, here is a list of folks including prostitutes who
    will not receive the kingdom of God… same-sex acts were not the focal points of
    any of those ‘clobbers’.  Lesbians are
    never mentioned in the rabbinical codes nor are they mentioned in arsenokoitai
    / malakos.  A high view of scripture does
    not condemn same-sex relationships or general same-sex acts without invoking a
    personal bias into scripture.
    Simple answer: please
    tell me where you see the Bible speaking explicitly to egalitarian same-sex
    relationships.

  115. standupwi1 says

    What do you do with 1 Corinthians 6:9-10???
    (Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.)
    Answer: go to verse 11: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. Flee Sexual Immorality…

  116. JeffPreuss says

    standupwi1 The word homosexual wasn’t added to the Bible until 1946.  And, based on historical contextual understandings about what the other “clobber verses” in the Bible might have really meant, it’s not quite so simple to lump homosexuality in with sexually immoral.

  117. JeffPreuss says

    standupwi1 It’s a first to you?  Really?
    As for “proof” I’ll provide you several links to places where it’s debated if it’s a sin according to Scripture.  Whether you’ll accept them as proof is doubtful, but the theological debates ARE there, and many find the condemnation not quite so clear.  A few of these pages reference the English-language addition of 1946, but perhaps not all of them.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2012/04/the-best-case-for-the-bible-not-condemning-homosexuality/

    http://notalllikethat.org/taking-god-at-his-word-the-bible-and-homosexuality/

    (Those first two were the same people effectively.)

    http://www.gaychurch.org/homosexuality-and-the-bible/the-bible-christianity-and-homosexuality/

    http://matthewvines.tumblr.com/post/19110639328/the-gay-debate-the-bible-and-homosexuality
    https://christiangays.com/articles/anita10.shtml

    And, here’s a spot that tries to be a bit more even-handed in coverage of the discussion:
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibl.htm

  118. standupwi1 says

    Lol!! Those links are laughable at best. I asked for proof of a 1946 insertion into the biblical texts, and you come up with John Shore and Matthew Vines. Hardly the bastions of Scriptural truth.

  119. standupwi1 says

    I snorted because you stated your case as a well-known indisputable fact, when I think you meant it was wishful thinking…

  120. JeffPreuss says

    standupwi1 Those were the links that I quickly culled from Google.  You snorted because you are exactly the sort of Christian Matthew Paul Turner speaks about in this blog post, deriding us for possibly daring to find a theological opposition to your “certainty.”

    There’s no point in engaging you.  Your head is “clear.”  Have a beautiful evening.

  121. says

    Go read “gay People and the Bible” by Rev Kenneth W Collins published by iTunes for iBooks on iPads. It is an excellent scolarly and critical exposition on the topic from a biblical and historical perspective. The proof text method just won’t cut it. I am neither evangelical nor politically conservative nor a fundamentalist. I don’t believe in the contradiction of love the dinner and hate the sinner which seems to be a Hindu teaching and not Christian. Fundamentalism tends towards Gnosticism which is a heresy. I can hate my sin but am not allowed to judge others or their sin.

  122. standupwi1 says

    No Jeff, YOUR certainty. I simply asked for proof about why you are certain that the Bible was re-imagined in 1946. Which translation? ESV? NASB?

  123. standupwi1 says

    By the way, what is this “us” vs “you” stuff? My original post points to the beautiful hope we have in Christ’s love and redemption. You are the one who turned the conversation sour.

  124. JeffPreuss says

    standupwi1 You’re surprised that I felt like you made it into “us v you” when you “snorted” and called anything I linked “laughable”?  Are derision and mockery key tenets of your interpretation of Christian faith?

    My list of links, I even called it “proof” in quotes, since this is an issue with MUCH debate to it.  I even acknowledged before showing them to you that you might not see them as PROOF.  It was more to show you the debate is there, and with much on both sides.  Which is why I showed the last link which tried to compare (with charts and everything) opposing theological interpretations of it.  Ultimately, it is for you to decide whether you think any of the arguments are valid.

    I turned nothing sour.  You introduced the condescension, and it’s all too familiar territory that doesn’t need to be further mined.  You can continue to denigrate theological differences all you’d like, but I won’t be your target any more.

  125. lynne0652 says

    The CARM link you reference is an important one, standupwi1, and from what I have seen of JeffPruess here and his ability to calmly and courageously articulate his position with, what I would also call demonstrable defenses for a theological debate, I am sure he will take note of this essay and perhaps seek other help or opinions concerning it.
    Your demeanor, however, is an embarrassment to Christians on all sides and although God loves your puny little head as much as He loves my big fat arrogant one, you would do well to keep your snarky-ness contained and do a little more compassionate listening.
    imo.

  126. lynne0652 says

    Here is something you can “do with 1 Cor 6-9″, MR. upfront, put a book mark there, then follow these links to the several dozen OTHER bible verses you need to read, (in any one of 30 or more translations including Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew), and GET yourself a clue.
    (Forgive me dear brothers and sisters, this nauseating contempt coming from the ‘so-called’ Christian Right, has just pressed my last button this month.
    https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?qs_version=NASB&quicksearch=Judge&startnumber=149
    https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?qs_version=NASB&quicksearch=Judge&startnumber=124

  127. standupwi1 says

    lynne0652 You are about to (later in this thread), tell me how unChristian I am with my snarkiness. Just wanted to remind you of your comment here preceding it.

  128. lynne0652 says

    standupwi1
    Yeah, no kidding.  I will own all my ‘unChristian-like’ comments to you.

    Blew my lid.  And now I’m done.

  129. lynne0652 says

    Its my belief that Solomon having multiple wives and concubines is a statement of historical fact and not something that God prescribed or approved.  The same applies to the existence of slavery which is often given as ‘something God got wrong’, so he may have gotten ‘human sexuality’ wrong too (Dan Savage, John Shore).  Slavery was instituted by imperfect man, and God often allowed men to have what they asked for.  When they wanted a king instead of God’s prophets, he let them have Saul.
    I believe creation was perfect prior to sin and your reasons don’t adequately prove otherwise, imo. God is perfect and there is no reason to think He did not create perfection.  Angels (Lucifer) were given free will to chose, as was man.  The tree was placed in the garden as a test of man’s obedience, else how would man’s free will be challenged.
    ***************************************
    I realize this is improbable, but If it could be proven to you that God did present to us, the male/female model as the ideal according to His will, design and purpose, would it make any practical or spiritual difference to you?

  130. lynne0652 says

    ChadHoltz
    (I’m not Matthew either), but in response to your question:  Is there any way evangelicals could call homosexuality sin and not support SSM that you would consider loving?”

    And later you asked it this way:  “I’m still curious to know what I have to do in order to have progressives affirm that I love homosexuals while still calling them to a life of holiness, apart from which no one will see the Lord, which will include leaving behind their “disordered loves.”   

    I think I heard you mention that you are a pastor?  So I can’t really answer that, though you did seem to imply that you are simply following the UMC directives.  If those directives go against what you believe in your heart (a fair treatment of gays more aligned with the progressives), then why would you want to remain in that denomination?  I wouldn’t go against what I believed to be true and humane in a single conversation, let alone because of a job.

    But Also I wanted to ask, why do you think are we called to be the ‘sin police’ anyway?  If you spoke out from the pulpit or in private to divorced couples against their divorces, and insisted that they should not continue in their sinful states, and go and be reconciled with their ex-es, how long do you think you would have anyone sitting in your pews?  

    They would be out the door in a NY minute.  

    Women were not even permitted to initiate divorce proceedings against men in the time of Jesus.  It was forbidden.  How is it not hypocritical to excuse these on one hand, while bringing the hammer down on gays with the other hand?  You don’t even know or see what they do behind closed doors.  Why do you have the right to go there?  If we insisted on viewing the online habits of the pastors in this country, it would be a staggering journey into the world of pornography for about half of them.  where is your voice?  Leave the 2.7% of the population alone (many who are not even Christians) and put your effort where the most damage is being done to traditional marriages and families..

    I am not called to be a sin policeman.  I would never get away from my own mirror.  Maybe you as a pastor feel called, but I don’t.

  131. ChadHoltz says

    lynne0652 ChadHoltz Lynne, I don’t think of myself as “sin police.” That’s a rather pejorative way of viewing the Bible’s call upon the church to watch over one another in love by judging one other in right ways (as Jesus commands us to do (John 7:24) and Paul (1 Cor. 5:12).   Of course, all things ought to be done in love – speaking truth in love – with an awareness that we are all sinners in need of grace.    Would you call me “sin police” if you knew that the bulk of my preaching is against pride, gossip, greed, and so on?  These are all sins I know all too well in myself, as well.   And my church knows that.  

    I’m a former porn addict, free now by the grace of God for nearly 3 years.   The blog my wife and I write is dedicated to helping people caught in sexual sin to find freedom, and to heal marriages that are broken.   I’ve never once preached a sermon about homosexuality but I’ve preached many about the sinful nature of pornography and God’s design for marriage and how divorce falls short of that design (by the way, so does same-sex marriage).    Our church is growing.   I have gay people in my church whom I love and they love me.   They know where I stand.   I also have people addicted to porn in my church.  They know I love them and they love me, but they also know where I stand on porn.    I have people full of pride in my church.  I love them and they love me, but they have also heard me say many times that pride is the sin God hates the most.   

    My question to Matthew is still unanswered:  Is there any way progressives will concede that it’s possible to love a homosexual while still maintaining that their choices fall short of God’s will for them?

    Please feel free to check out our blog:  www.desiremercy.wordpress.com

  132. JeffPreuss says

    If it could be “proven” it WOULD make a lot of difference to me. However, I think we might differ in our interpretations of what constitutes that proof. :)

  133. says

    ChadHoltz lynne0652

    I don’t know how you can claim love for people who are gay in one (virtual) breath and then compare same sex marriage to divorce and porn addiction in the next. That is as compassionless as it is lacking in grace or mercy.

    When you look into the lives of couples who are gay, is “sin” all you can see? Are you so blinded by your modern-day holiness code that you are unable to recognize or celebrate the virtue in these relationships?

    Self-sacrificial relationships, mutual care-taking, life-long fidelity – these are generative. Covenental gay relationships have the potential to manifest a 1Cor type of love the same way all covenental relationships do. 

    Monogomous, committed, same-sex relationships are generative. They are in no way similar to the destructive behaviors that lead to divorce and porn addiction. 

    As you continue to write, I sincerely question how you have convinced yourself that you actually love people who are gay. It seems to me that the onus for love is on the gay people in your life. They are choosing to love you despite your harmful beliefs that they are less than fully human.

  134. says

    lynne0652
    It sounds like you have what’s called an “accomodation” position. In a nut shell, accomodationists believe that same-sex relationships are not God’s ideal, but that they are the most moral life available to gay people who are not called to celibacy.  
    I personally dislike the accomodation position because it still diminishes the humanity of people who are gay. But I also recognize that it causes far less harm than other non-affirming views.  It allows traditionalists to love people who are gay well and view the relationships we form as morally permissable.  And, most importantly, accomodationists don’t demand that gay people live contrary to God’s creative intention for humanity.

  135. ChadHoltz says

    Ford1968 ChadHoltz lynne0652
    Ford, I believe the breakdown here is how you perceive “love.”    By your comments it appears that one cannot love someone unless they affirm everything they do, or at least never utter a word of judgement.    Biblical love is not sentimentality, and sadly, too many Christians today believe it is.    Biblical love is ALWAYS marked by obedience to God.    Jesus LOVED the rich young ruler and yet he still demanded he give up the thing he cherished the most in order to be his disciple.    We are told this young man walked away sad, unable to do what Jesus demanded.   Did Jesus not love this man?    Of course he did.   Love does not mean we lower God’s standards.   

    The thing we need to recognize is that we are ALL sinners.  None of us is born holy, righteous or good.   We are all broken.   Our brokenness comes out in a myriad of ways.   Of course I can love people who are broken while at the same time pointing them to Jesus, who calls us all to come and die to ourselves, and in our dying he can make us whole.  

    I have no doubt that there are many same-sex couples who flourish in their relationship.   That doesn’t make it holy.  I know plenty of people full of pride who flourish.   Their pride is still a sin.   I know atheist couples who seem to have a happy, healthy marriage.   That doesn’t make them right.   The standard is God’s word.   When we think we know better than that, we set ourselves up for dishonoring God through our disobedience, and those who disobey God cannot say they love him (1 John).

  136. says

    ChadHoltz
    “The standard is God’s word.” I agree.
    Unfortunately, you seem to think that you fully know God’s will now, while the reality is that we see in the mirror darkly. I have peace about my understanding of God’s will for people who are gay; you find that belief intolerable because it’s contrary to your personal understanding. If you can’t actually affirm, at least you can hold your beliefs with a more open hand. I know this goes without saying, but you are not Jesus.
    You’re moral certitude – and the judgement and condemation that flows from it – is demonstrably destructive and most likely sinful. I’m sure that the Christian Scientist who withholds essential medical care from his daughter sincerely believes that he is acting in a loving way too. He may be loving her the best he knows how within the context of his beliefs. I have no doubt that you love gay people just like that father loves his daughter. A destructive belief, no matter how sincerely held, is still destructive.

  137. thedrewboo says

    lynne0652 I did not say God necessarily approved of Solomons zillion lovers… what I said (intended to say) is that every mention of heterosexuality in the Bible is not necessarily something every Christian heterosexual can relate to.  So we agree on that point.  Every mention of heterosexuality in the Bible is not model heterosexual behavior.  Likewise, I do not relate to the clobber passages since they deal with idol worship, prostitution, being a jew, and mob rape.

    I do not believe that it is my place to write into the Bible something that is not written in it whether I would do that physically or mentally.  The Bible does not say the Garden of Eden was perfect (it does not explicitly say it was imperfect ether) – it did say it was good.  So as far as whether it was perfect or not cannot be proven in scripture alone.  We are free to believe whatever we want to believe about topics not covered in the Bible, just so we dont claim those beliefs are in the Bible.  I never claimed I had “proven” it was imperfect – I just stated its not specified in the Bible.

    As for complementarianism, I simply do not believe that to be the case. It is not scriptural or scientific, and science in my view is the study of creation.  The Bible specifies various things that would be different outside of the Garden, but modern Christians have lumped anything they dont like or understand into that list thereby adding to the written word of God.  The Bible does not say that same-sex relationships entered the world as a punishment for Adam/Eve’s sin.  It provides a detailed list of changes and same-sex relationships are not included in that list of changes.

    This is a question that lots of heterosexual Christians end up asking at some point in the conversation, and its really an unfair question – basically what you are asking is “if this can be proven, then will you divorce your same sex spouse, break up your family, deny your humanity and the gift of sexuality… etc etc etc.” the simple answer is “probably not”.  I cant see how that would be something I would do. 

    However, I think if I asked you if its proven that complementarianism is a sin and homosexuality is Gods ideal “would you break up your family and hop into a gay relationship?” I think I know what your answer will be. Something along the lines of “thats silly, thats impossible, could never be proven.”  On your facebook page, that is connected to your livefire account, it appears to me that family is very important to you. Its not a fair question, so I decline that question.

  138. JeffPreuss says

    lynne0652 Eh, I won’t really take much out of the CARM position, as I lived that position growing up, and it was only after over a decade of prayer and study, that I reached the point of Peace in my life with being gay and Christian.  I am intimately familiar with all the reasoning against it, as I used that reasoning to mentally and spiritually punish myself for all of my teenage years.

    I don’t need help explaining their side — I get it.  REALLY, I do.

  139. lynne0652 says

    thedrewboo lynne0652
    I
    maintain that because of who God is and His perfect nature, Eden was created in
    a state of perfection. When you take all of scripture into account and what we
    know about God, the evidence appears conclusive (for me).
    Although I cannot find a scripture using the exact word
    ‘perfect’, aside from all the references to the perfect nature of God, through
    all His works and His names, I can bring this to the table for your
    consideration…
    Genesis
    2:2-3
    “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast
    array.
    2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been
    doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed
    the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of
    creating that he had done.”
    God =
    God is ALWAYS perfect
    Finished = God’s completions are ALWAYS perfect
    work = God’s work is ALWAYS perfect – even in imperfect created beings
    He = God is ALWAYS perfect
    doing = God’s doings are ALWAYS perfect
    He = God is ALWAYS perfect
    rested = God’s rest is ALWAYS perfect
    His work = God’s work is ALWAYS perfect
    God blessed = God’s blessings are ALWAYS perfect
    seventh day = God’s perfect Sabbath rest is the 7th day
    made it holy = God is perfectly Holy, His righteousness is ALWAYS perfect.
    “He
    rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”
    (Perfect)
    He (perfectly) rested from all the (perfect) work of (perfectly) creating that
    (perfect He) had (perfectly) done.
    **************************************
    As you know, it is
    necessary to take the entire Word into account when interpreting scripture.
     We Christians read the bible for all its worth, approaching it with joy,
    respect, submission, mystery (at not having all the answers), and a sense of
    mutual love between God and us.  It is unworthy and erroneous to cherry pick scriptures
    in order to defend our own preconceived notions.  You surmise that most of us Christians are
    doing that in order to exclude gay relationships being within the convincing and
    beginning ideal set forth by God in the OT and ratified by Jesus in the New.  I and other Christians contend that it is gays
    who are passionately defending their premises in this way.
    I am no longer
    interested (except when asked in person or on forums and social media like
    this), in trying to convince anyone either way – that is God’s job and the
    indwelt Holy Spirit and all that relationship entails.  I will always,
    however, try my best through my education, experience and relationship
    with God to give
    reasons why I have the joy, peace, grace and Sabbath rest of God
    within me.
    Those personal
    decisions about what is sin in a person’s life, (outside the obvious murder,
    stealing, gossip, lying etc etc), and particularly when there is so much
    division and convincing arguments among laymen and scholars and pastors on both
    sides, for me, they are decisions of the mind that can be made in a matter of
    moments, or over a lifetime, or never, for that matter.  We will understand
    much, if not all, in the end when we are united with Christ in person.  And then, it won’t matter anyway because there
    will be no sex or marriage in heaven.  Those in Christ are already
    the righteous and only bride of the only righteous and perfect bridegroom –
    Jesus.
    I believe our God is
    generous, gracious, loving, sympa- and empa-thetic, and merciful toward
    gay believers, infinitely more so than all of the rest of us are merciful
    toward these brothers and sisters.  Further,
    gays are more in tune with what is going on inside them than I am. Sex
    stuff can get pretty crazy, intense, confusing, ardently focused, stemming from
    instinct and childhood, etc etc. , particularly  for men, imo.
     God bless them.

  140. lynne0652 says

    thedrewboo lynne0652
    Drew, you said this, “This is a question that lots of heterosexual Christians end up asking at some point in the conversation, and its really an unfair question – basically what you are asking is “if this can be proven, then will you divorce your same sex spouse, break up your family, deny your humanity and the gift of sexuality… etc etc etc.” the simple answer is “probably not”.  I cant see how that would be something I would do. ”

    That really was not my intent in asking that question, because, all in all, I can’t really see a huge portion of mature, adult gays giving up their relationships.  I could be wrong and certainly that is what God is all about.  I don’t believe He would take anyone anywhere they would not willing- changing hearts, minds and lives.

    But it is HUGE!  Its huger than any life issue that any person ever has to face – imo.  It speaks to the core and it goes back to when a person’s ‘hands were clean’ and innocent as I’ve stated elsewhere.

    I think I asked it to find out if the matter is important enough spiritually to make a difference, not necessarily to jump up suddenly and leave their gay spouses, because like you stated in your initial comment in this discussion, most gays don’t give “two shits” about Christianity”.   But would it make a difference to some – particularly gay Christians – enough to d

  141. lynne0652 says

    JeffPreuss
    Exactly right Jeff.  And ultimately, with something that is so very complex and socially contentious, so fatal in its impression sometimes on our youth, it seems it would be a difference that must come from within – within your heart and mind, or mine, if I were to change my convictions.

    And that is the way it is supposed to be anyway, right?  Our belief to follow God, our willingness to accept Him at His word is something that, after all is said and done, comes from deep within.  Deep within that place as St. Augustine put it – that empty but yearning place that God reserved in man to bring us back to Him.  I’m paraphrasing quite a bit there. :)

  142. thedrewboo says

    I
    understand what you are trying to say.
    But I also don’t take
    it as Biblical per se.  As you have stated, we have to take the whole
    Bible into perspective when reading the “cherry picks” of it… which
    can get complicated when we try to figure out how Judas died and several other
    things if we take that approach.  Additionally, that approach calls into
    question what is the definition of perfect that we are proclaiming to use?
     Perfect for God because he cannot be questioned, or perfect for everyone
    and everything.  God say that Adam was lonely – is loneliness a perfect
    experience, was creation complete before Adam was lonely?  The story shows
    that God reacted to something he observed.. that Adam was lonely.  So
    essentially to me what I gather from that text is that Gods creation was not
    perfect before Adam was given a mate.  God created all that was before
    Eve, but it was not “ideal” (a word you seem to be fond of) and it
    was not perfect in the sense that those experiencing creation were not
    experiencing fullness and satisfaction (Adam being lonely).  It sounds
    like the term perfection is being ascribed to God out of respect and loyalty to
    his sovereignty, but not a literal application of the term “perfect”
    as would be defined by Webster.  Taking the whole of the Bible into consideration,
    its a fair conclusion to say that the creation before Eve was created, was not
    perfect for Adam.
    Additionally, Adam and
    Eve probably did not have belly buttons, but everyone since them do have belly
    buttons.  That doesn’t mean everyone else is not ideal.  When I look
    at my best friend Suzanne who suffers from Friedreich’s Ataxia, it would be
    heartless to think of her, she is not creation’s “ideal” because she
    has this genetic mutation that makes life harder rather than ‘normal’.  It
    hurts me to think of that judgment, but I can only imagine what God’s thinks of
    her when he sees her in light of Romans 9:20-21:
    http://biblehub.com/romans/9-20.htmBut who
    are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the
    one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ”http://biblehub.com/niv/romans/9.htm#footnotes http://biblehub.com/romans/9-21.htmDoes not
    the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for
    special purposes and some for common use?
    How much angrier it
    would be for me if I were God and I created this beautiful creature, but she
    was deemed “not ideal” by people who claim to be my ambassadors.
     I think that terminology “ideal” is extremely dangerous and
    ultimately separates God’s creation into two categories – one of superiority,
    one of inferiority – one whose lives makes God happy and one whose lives makes
    God sad.
    Since I grew up in
    Christianity, had a pastor for a father, and read the Bible three times in
    Christian home school, Id like to take this moment to offer gratitude for
    informing me what Christians think of what gays are doing with the Bible.
     I realize you probably didnt mean it like that – you seem fairly
    reasonable and genuinely interested in the topic unlike others on this forum.
    I understand your
    forest/trees approach to reading the Bible (although many authors probably had
    no clue what others would be writing, some probably did with the “as it is
    written” comments, but Id think not all would know if their book would
    make it into an encyclopedia of the future religion).  Read the whole as
    well as the single – I think that can be dangerous though since the
    historical/cultural context of the new testament was vastly different from that
    of the old testament.  I feel that for me, I would prefer to read
    specifically what is written and think of the overall message of what its
    saying as well as what it is saying literally and in context of history/culture
    etc.  I think if I try to define what the “whole of the Bible”s
    message is, it would be like putting a club sandwich in the blender and
    drinking it in a glass.

  143. thedrewboo says

    I think any commandment that the Holy Spirit is guiding a Christian to obey would be a big deal to any Christian.  But we have this situation where all the straight Christians are saying “you are wrong, you have to be like us!!” and all gay Christians are saying “thats impossible, God loves me the way I am, he created me this way”.  If the gay Christians have some reason to believe that they were created by a perfect God in his divine image as homosexuals in a world who hates them, then Im guessing its probably their conscience that drew them to this conclusion.  Because let me tell you, EVERYTHING ELSE in our world is telling these souls they are worthless and God hates them.

    If someone is saving gay people from this terrible message, it is the Holy Spirit conscience telling them “you are ok, this is God’s plan”.  I honestly cant think of any other way gays can be overcoming the extreme message of hate coming from every other direction, except through God’s love.  So if that is true, and its not something that can be proven either way (at least to a straight person), then we are back to square one:

    Straight Christians saying “youre wrong, you have to be like us”
    Gay Christians saying “no, God made me this way on purpose”

    Its one of those “he said she said” situations.  Your word against theirs.  So yeah, I dont think the “which one is ideal in creation” question is going to do much good in this struggle. :-/

  144. lynne0652 says

    ChadHoltz lynne0652
    As a pastor, you are (perhaps) in a different position than I am.  I’m not pressed by God or the HS to bring people’s sins to their attention.  For every one verse you provide, I will cite ten that instruct me not to judge my brothers and sisters.  You have a captive audience that want to be there – gays in your congregation may be searching their souls and their spirituality as it pertains to their sexuality.  But there are tens of thousands who are not in those seats and I’m not willing to force anything on them.  Many have survived decades of abuse and rejection that I cannot even imagine.

    I saw your blog and signed up for your updates.  Your work is awesome and important.  The horrible effects of porn addiction alone are far-reaching and harmful to everyone involved, and I pray you have a great impact in this area.  I’m a FAN!  Trust me.  I’m also supportive of your ministry with gays, trusting that you do not preach any “you will go to hell if you don’t change’  nonsense.  Judging from all that you’ve said, that kind of brimstone doesn’t seem likely from you.

    I will share mutually in small groups or one-on-one, if asked, but that’s it.  A gay Christian who is convinced of their holiness and joyful in their relationship would NOT be someone I would approach – ever – unless invited by them, or in forums like this.   In person, I would look for a way (if they can’t already tell), to let them know of my belief, early on, just so they can decide if they want to continue in relationship with me.  But after that, I wouldn’t bring it up again.  I am content to let the HS work in them as He works in me, leading all of us to all Truth.

    Again, as a pastor, you may feel compelled, and perhaps necessarily so, to do otherwise.  You may not have seen my other comments, but like you, I do also maintain that traditional male/female unity is the ideal God established in the GOE and was ratified by Jesus in the NT.

    ‘Sin policing’ is exactly what I see the majority of mainstream Christians doing in regards to gays, and it is ever so much more contemptible because of the greater sins of divorce, adultery and porn consumption.  I really don’t mean to apply that word (sin police) to you, personally, but I do stand by that ‘pejorative’ description, as you put it, generally speaking and for the most part, as it applies to ‘the rest’ of Christendom.  ‘Sin police’ pales in comparison to the horrific terms Christians apply to gays. 

    Finally, I ask you, what should be the final outcome of those you counsel about their divorce, adultery, porn, gossip and pride?  Are they to be turned out if they do not change?  

    Chad, imo, most progressives who know you, see your heart and know your history and are aware of your ministry are able to deduce that you love all people, including gays.  Sometimes loving them comes out in very ugly ways though, something we all need to be mindful of…I’m thinking.  

    I guess I just don’t understand that you might limit or alter the way you would minister to them because of the confines of your denomination.  Aren’t the Methodists beginning to allow for some flexibility anyway?

    Just my thoughts, for what they’re worth.  Sorry I’m so long-winded – I’m trying to get that under control.  :)

    Regards,
    Lynne E.

  145. lynne0652 says

    Ford1968 ChadHoltz lynne0652
    Ford,  I use those as an illustration only to show Christians their incredible hypocrisy and double standard.

    I do understand what you are saying to us, but you are bringing us back to the crux of this debate – the fact that folks like Chad and myself do NOT agree with you that God included same-sex unions in His ideal.

    I am at peace with the fact that you do not agree and will live your life as you know in your heart and mind is true, for you.  And you should have every right and freedom to do so and I will support and vote in that manner.

    Are you able to allow me a bit of grace to believe what I know to be true in my heart and mind, even though it is different from yours?

  146. lynne0652 says

    ChadHoltz Ford1968 lynne0652
    Chad,

    I think it is not good to think that everyone needs to understand every doctrinal issue and accept and understand every single sin in their life before or even after coming to God.

    Heck, 26 years ago, when I decided to believe God, I knew nothing other than the fact that Jesus was a distant and perhaps a real historical figure who died on a cross.  I knew that I was a sinner – that I lied and gossiped etc.  I had no idea how selfish, prideful, etc. I was until years later and the extent of it still would plague me today if I continued to define myself as ‘sin-filled’ instead of saint, child of God and joint heir with Christ – a daughter of the King.  Its because of Him and what He did that saved and sustains me, not me and my works..

    Jesus isn’t insisting people understand and exhibit every single holy or proper doctrine…that isn’t why He came.  He came for relationship and each relationship is a one-on-one with him…we can’t dictate how it will all transpire in a person’s life.  We just can’t.  Nor, are we called to do that.
    It would be better if we just got out of the way.  We are doing more harm than good.  Surely, you can see that?

  147. lynne0652 says

    thedrewboo
    “The story shows that God reacted to something he observed.. that Adam was lonely.” 
    That isn’t what the passage states.  And your interpretation implies that God reacted with something akin to to surprise – that creation turned out differently than He anticipated and so He did a ‘something else’.
    Rather, God said “it is not good for man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.”  He went on to create all the beasts and then finally, the woman from Adam’s own rib.  
    Followed by these often quoted words (Gen 2:23-24) that describe the high and honorable marital union of man and woman:
    “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”  For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

    I understand that we don’t agree on this Drew, but for me, (and this is my belief), this is exactly when and where God establishes the perfect marriage and these passages could stand alone in their prescription for us.  This marriage, with the inclusion of God as the head of the marital union, is not only the perfect ideal of marriage and the foundation of the family unit which in turn is the foundation of society, it also represents our union with God ( Ephesians 5:31-32 ).  It is a pure and holy calling to which none of us has ever attained.  We have all fallen short of the ideal and Jesus confirms this fact in the NT.
    That doesn’t mean I won’t continue to hold to the ideal.  I have contributed ruinous things to my marriage, absolutely ruinous – but God has and continues to bring me and my husband (who is not a believer) through to more glorious days.  We will be married 32 years December 6, 2014.
    *******************************
    You said, “Since I grew up in Christianity, had a pastor for a father, and read the Bible three times in Christian home school, Id like to take this moment to offer gratitude for informing me what Christians think of what gays are doing with the Bible.”
    Drew, you must understand that in conversations such as these, it is often necessary to speak in generalizations, even though that is not the completely accurate thing to do.  Your indignation, I think, is misplaced here.  Are you seriously suggesting that pro-gay defenders of the bible – and especially the non-believing ones who have no affection or respect for God or the scriptures – do NOT cherry pick verses to defend their position?
    For example, over a year ago, I watched the Matthew Vines video (I’m sure you know what I’m talking about), and was thoroughly impressed with a couple things #1 his dedication and scholarly endeavor, and #2 and even more significant for me, was his passion and love for Christ and the word.  That was extremely important for me.  But at the end of it, it dawned on me that his entire essay was centered on that handful of ‘clobber verses’ and the bible was not really considered ‘for all its worth’, for its entirety, at least it did not make it into the conversation, though I’m sure he is indeed a student and pastor of the entire bible.  That is not what I am saying.  But his defense focused only on those six passages – and they are ones that I, as a Christian, would not even refer to in my defense of traditional marriage – not a one of them!  And for very good reason.
    He gives no consideration to the fact that heterosexual (or complementary or opposite sex) unions are the order of the day then as they are throughout all of Judeo-Christian history.  This was/is the ‘gold’ standard and to assume that because gay unions are not mentioned in scripture then that leaves the door open for us today is not even logical to me.  I don’t say this to anger anyone, but the burden of proof isn’t even close to being there – for me.  But if I was gay, I would probably go to great lengths to find a defense for what I think would be impossible for me to escape otherwise and I cannot say that I would not believe exactly what you and others do believe.  
    *********************************************
    “I think if I try to define what the “whole of the Bible”s message is, it would be like putting a club sandwich in the blender and drinking it in a glass.”
    I believe the whole message of the bible is very clear – redemption and salvation through one person, Emmanuel (God with us) Jesus Christ.  Of course the new is so different than the old – Jesus came to give (become) the new covenant (a covenant between him and God, not God and man),  The law of sin and death is abolished for them that believe and the new covenant of grace, the righteousness of Christ is ours.

  148. lynne0652 says

    thedrewboo
    “But we have this situation where all the straight Christians are saying “you are wrong, you have to be like us!!” and all gay Christians are saying “that’s impossible, God loves me the way I am, he created me this way”.  If the gay Christians have some reason to believe that they were created by a perfect God in his divine image as homosexuals in a world who hates them, then I’m guessing its probably their conscience that drew them to this conclusion.  Because let me tell you, EVERYTHING ELSE in our world is telling these souls they are worthless and God hates them.”

    **********************
    And I hate that for you.  Truly I do.  It takes great pains for me to contain the anger and outrage I feel toward my own brothers and sisters in God.  There but the grace of God go I…once, not too long ago, 4 or 5 years, I believed as they did – love the sinner, hate the sin, and nonsense like that.  I thought ‘gay Christian’ was an oxymoron up until I think I heard that Vines video and saw his heart.  I’m ashamed.  They will be too, I just hope it doesn’t take as long for them as it did for me!

    Truly, Drew, I mean that from the top of my heart!  I want to be part of a much different conversation that does not include one iota of rejection.  But I ask you – can you accept me knowing I believe differently than you on this?  Or do you still see that as hate or rejection on my part?

    I cannot change what I believe.  But I want to do my part to assert your rights to live as you choose.  Can that ever be considered enough?

  149. thedrewboo says

    I
    love how you spliced together Genesis & Matthew but conveniently left the
    part out about “Not everyone can
    accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given.” Then you ask
    if gays “dont” cherry pick verses.
    Since you are
    critiquing Matthew Vines on not delivering the perfect sermon/message – how
    long do mainline Christians expect to sit in a night service?   Why on
    God’s green earth do you think Matthew selected those 6-7 verses to talk about
    in the 67 minute lecture?  I feel like the answer to that question
    “should” be blatantly obvious. 
    Matthew was not attacking “traditional marriage” as you call it, he was
    defending the dignity and spiritual rights of gay people.  That you are framing the “defense of
    traditional marriage” as dichotomous to the “defense of dignity and spiritual
    rights of gay people” is so patronizing. 
    Matthew was responding to cherry picked verses used against gays by most
    Christians & pastors all the time. 
    Since there are only 6-7 depending on who you talk to, we hear them all
    the time.  Six or seven verses are also
    conveniently possible to cover in one 67-minute sermon.  I know Pentecostals are used to services
    lasting up to two hours or more… but I doubt a Methodist church would feel so
    inclined.
    No one
    is talking about attacking post-1967 marriage that you refer to as traditional.
     My spiritual dignity has nothing to do
    with you being able to have a heterosexual marriage affirmed by the spiritual
    country club of your choice.  If the only
    thing standing between gay people and their spiritual dignity is you being able
    to say “God prefers mine over yours”, then by all means, take it to the bank!!
    Say “bless your heart” to every gay couple you meet.  Gay people being equipped to defend
    themselves (as Matthew was trying to do) against the modern-Christian obsessed
    6-7 verses has nothing to do with straight people being able to attend Mars
    Hill Church in peace.
    For me though,
    personally, I am not upset that you believe what you do about me or about
    yourself or about the Bible or God – I am not upset about how you relate to God
    in these beliefs you have articulated… because it’s the common view.  Most (if not all) of what you are saying is
    what everyone else is saying.  It’s not
    my place to ask you to recheck any preconceived “facts” of yours.  But for the purposes of what I am saying on
    this forum – my original question was “what does any of that have to do with
    me?” None of the clobber passages have to do with me, your personally-held “ideal”
    has nothing to do with me and your idea of egalitarian straight marriage having
    existed throughout all of time has nothing to do with me.  You cannot point to once place in the Bible
    that says egalitarian same-sex relationships are sinful and/or inferior to
    opposite-sex relationships but you place the burden of proof on me to “prove”
    that my spirituality is good enough to live the full experience of gay man with
    dignity in tow.
    I would be perfectly
    fine with civil marriage equality for now and maybe when enough baby boomers
    have died off, I might can feel dignified enough to hold my partners’ hand in
    Walmart (which sucks because my parents wouldn’t be around to enjoy my dignity).  I don’t have to go to Mars Hill Church or Saddleback
    Church.  I think the Southern Baptists
    are going live – gay people will be perfectly OK with not attending a
    non-affirming church.

  150. says

    lynne0652 ChadHoltz
    Hi Lynne
    Please call me David. Your heart really shows through your comments.  I especially appreciate your williness to let God be God.
    I am committed to staying in communion with my siblings in Christ – even and especially those with whom I disagree.  I believe we are mutually transformed – we are sanctified through relationship. We need to be discussing our differences as we walk together toward shalom. That takes grace from all (and from God).
    AND  being transformed by one another is not simply a matter of “agree to disagree”.  We need to be able to have frank conversations. 
    You have a sincerely held belief that gay relationships are immoral and inferior. That belief has done demonstrable harm – not only because of the way it has been expressed, but also becuase the belief is inherently harmful. It engenders self-loathing, depression and detachment. Statistically, gay kids growing up in traditionalist congregations are very likely to consider suicide. Many will actually attempt it, and some will succeed.  That’s not hyperbole, that’s fact.
    So while I embrace you as a sister in Christ and recognize that you are living out your beliefs as faithfully as you know how, you don’t get a moral pass for contributing to the harm. You may believe that the harm to gay people is necessary for the flourishing of humanity and is part of God’s larger plan – that’s your issue to sort out with God (and I know He is faithful). But the reality of the inherent harm of the traditionalist doctrine cannot be denied for the sake of Christian unity. IMHO, pointing it out does not constitute a lack of grace and is not casting aspersions about the faithfulness of Christians who believe as you do.
    I appreciate your willingness to engage in this conversation and I sincerely wish you my best.
    David

  151. thedrewboo says

    I cant accept what you believe and I can accept your intention of wanting better for everyone.  You CAN change your beliefs since you just said in the paragraph preceding that, that you have changed your beliefs :-).  You might need convincing, but I think the best person to convince you can only be you (of course the Holy Spirit working as your conscience is part of you).

    I think I would just like to have my civil equality.  And I would also like to be able to have spiritual equality.  If we take away condemnation, yes – thats a step in the right direction.  But this whole “ideal” things is so mean in my opinion. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Love God and Love each other.  Where does “im the ideal and you are not” work in that equation?

  152. says

    thedrewboo
    Hi Drew. 
    I agree. My faith and my marriage with my husband both profoundly shape my life and give it meaning.
    I would add this: Many traditionalists like Chad have no capacity to look into the lives of people who are gay and see anything virtuous. All they see is sin. Similarly, they are loathe to consider the entirety of the bible; they are fixated on six clobber passages.
    But we should start by understanding what the bible says about what it means to be human and where sexuality fits into that. What we find is that we are created as relational beings – we are meant to be in relationship. Sexuality is an important gift for living into that creative intention – not just because physical and emotional intimacy are blessings, but also becuase sexuality informs the way we relate to others…it is an essential part of the human experience.
    The bible doesn’t say “it is not good for man to be alone unless you’re gay.” Paul didn’t say “it’s better to marry than burn unless you’re gay.”
    Traditionalist doctrine attempts to pathologize people who are gay and insists that we are required by God to shut down this essential part of ourselves.  It demands that we live contrary to God’s creative intention for humanity. That, IMO, is the root of the harm caused by traditionalist theology.
    My best to you
    David

  153. thedrewboo says

    Ford1968 thedrewboo I agree 100%.  More than anything, being gay has taught me that there are some things I can never know or truly fathom about people who are different from me simply because heterosexuals simple do not and cannot get it. Not saying that condescendingly, but I mean to point to any demographic majority.  You cannot slice yourself into parts and accept some while rejecting others – you are 100% you and thats all you can be. It seems like a simple idea, but it also seems few can fathom it.

  154. lynne0652 says

    Ford1968 lynne0652 ChadHoltz
    Thank you David. Your response is well-received by me and I will be meditating and praying about it for a long time to come.
    Please know, I do NOT believe harming gays is part of God’s plan and/or required for humanity to flourish.  That idea sickens me.  
    Whatever is the God’s Truth in this, has been His Truth from the beginning and will always be God’s Truth.  And that gives me a sense of rest because there is nothing I can do about that, nor should I feel compelled to do anything.  But we have us people and we have our reality and, as you say, we need to live together and perhaps have these conversations.  If this is one of those conversations, and I hope it is now that we have established that we are united in Jesus and a bit of friendship has begun, I would want to say a couple things in reply to you if I may.
    I disagree with you about how we are sanctified, though I know our human relationships are important and certainly influence for good and not so good.  I believe we are sanctified through, by and in Jesus Christ, by believing God about who He says He is and who He says we are.  He doesn’t say I’m right and you’re wrong.  He doesn’t say I’m straight and you’re gay.  I love what He says here:  2 Cor 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  For me, its all about Jesus, all the time.  God sees Jesus when He looks at the true church, the body of Christ.  God sees Jesus in us, by His choice and by His own work through the cross.
    When you say this:  “the belief is inherently harmful” and because of this you don’t give me a ‘moral pass’ because of all the ‘harm I’ve contributed to’.  If it is God’s truth that sex outside the Eden model (one we have all failed) is not holy and is not righteous, then your statement is not accurate.  But I do agree that we have lived out an expression of our beliefs that is beyond harmful, indefensible, and godless.  It disgusts me.  Of course, you are entitled to your opinion about that and about my responsibility.  I can tell you if my 22 year-old son told me he was gay tomorrow.  I would open my arms wide, draw him to my breast, smile warmly and say, ‘Thank you for telling me, John.  Do you want to sit down and talk about it some more?”

  155. says

    Hi Lynne,
    Thank you for your thoughts. Again, I appreciate your tone, and I appreciate your heart even more. When you say this: “the belief is inherently harmful” and because of this you don’t give me a ‘moral pass’ because of all the ‘harm I’ve contributed to’. If it is God’s truth that sex outside the Eden model (one we have all failed) is not holy and is not righteous, then your statement is not accurate.
    I’ve heard that line of reasoning before. Your belief is objectively harmful. The kid growing up in the affirming church doesn’t have to deal with the religion-induced distress regarding his sexuality. Statistically, gay people in conservative churches are likely to consider suicide as a result of this distress. I look at that a little more in depth here: http://fordswords.net/2014/02/18/is-traditional-morality-moral/
    So if you believe God’s truth doesn’t harm, I would ask if this observably harmful belief – one that diminishes the humanity of a whole people group -could possibly be from God? Or could it possibly be our flawed understanding of God’s will (in the same way we got it wrong about slavery and the subjugation of women)?

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