Why the vitriol?

Friends, dear readers, fellow Cranachers, let us restore the high level of discourse and welcoming spirit this blog is famous for! We’ve got FW, longtime voice of forgiveness who has always held us to the Eighth Commandment, making some of you thinking he’s not the real FW. We’ve got two Anons confusedly arguing different sides, mixing us all up about who’s saying what (do give yourselves different names, please!). We’ve got TK alarmed at our rhetoric. Let’s pause, catch our breath, consider that politics is transient and that we have a citizenship in Heaven, and sing a round of Kum-bah-yah.

I wonder if we could discuss WHY politics in this cultural moment stirs such vitriol.

For example, I do not recall ever seeing such knee-jerk HATE, that’s the only word for it, among liberals at the introduction of Sarah Palin. Nor have I ever seen such seemingly illiberal tactics in going after her. Setting aside the legitimate questions about her qualifications and positions, why was the first and immediate response, before even getting to know her, to try to destroy not just her but her family? I’d like to hear especially from those of you who are Democrats. I don’t want to get into another argument about her; I just want to understand what it is about her that stirs such negative passions.

We Republicans are guilty of this too, of course, in our visceral reaction against, say, Hillary Clinton. Why do we get so worked up?

We’ve discussed controversial theological points and complex moral issues on this blog and stayed friendly. Why do we lose it when it comes to politics? There may be good reasons, but I’d like us to think about what they are.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • surfergal

    I’m a registered democrat, because I flipped a coin when choosing parties. I haven’t seen much difference between presidential candidates since I was old enough to vote. I vote based on who I think will do the least amount of damage, not by party affiliation.
    That said, I do like Sarah Palin. She seems the most….normal (I hate to use that word, but I can’t think of a better term) of any politician I’ve listened to.

  • Pr. Schroeder

    Why the vitriol? My answer as independent with Republican tendencies: the change began in January of 1973 and the legalization of abortion. The law of God is written into the very fabric of our lives. I think this is the natural law for unnatural man. And so to defend breaking the commandments as something else, like “choice” can result in wrath. Or to defend greed, as ‘consumer choices’. Or worship of personality as a magazine choice and not sheer idolatry, etc. etc, and ad nauseum. As we pretty-up the breaking of the law, under the facade is the clear and persistant, always accusing voice of the Law saying: No. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John) We are self-deceived people. Civil discourse is possible when at the very least the Law of God in the laws of man are acknowledged and the Law’s truth. If not anarchy and wrath can result. As you can tell I am a Lutheran and I think the crisis in the Church is not preaching the Law of God.

    And as salt and light, the Church’s restorative vocation will not be first and always organizing for change in legislation, say, regarding the beginning of life and abortion (and marriage between man and woman, rampant consumerism, etc.) but it will be the witness of the Church as in the first centuries: this is the way we are commanded and given to live. So Gov. Palin is hated because she stands for a standard that is not her choosing, but His in Law and Promise. And this is by the Law’s very work, accusatory…even though she is not doing the accusing per se. So Gov. Palin’s daughter holding her newest sibling, grooming the baby’s hair will speak volumes compared to the volumes screamed at abortuaries by protesters regarding the sanctity of life in the Lord. As in the early Church, we do not expose our young, the marriage bed is sacred, we do not practice serial monogamy in divorce, remarriage, divorce, etc. And this all happens not because we keep the Law, but because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the One Who died and rose for us sinners, forgiving us, and the Law is holy and kept. And to deny, that I could not do the very thing I decry (and have!) is also a lie and is persistent self-righteousness…and self-righteousness also exacerbates the vitriol. And so two of the most encouraging lines from Sen. McCain’s speech last night: I can not save America and I am an imperfect candidate. Truly, but by the grace of God…

    Why the vitriol? My answer in a nutshell: denial of the Law and self-righteousness and they go hand-in-hand.

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  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    I, too, am somewhat surprised by the extreme reactions to political questions, considering the number of divisive theological topics we’ve hashed out in grace and love. What is it about politics that stirs more deep emotions and chases away any kindness in us than scripture? I don’t have the answer, but find it fascinating…like a bad car wreck you can’t turn away from.

    I am the child of long-time active Republicans and I got more than my fill of political speeches and lectures before I left the family home. My first act of disobedience? I voted for John Anderson! Oooh, my mom was so frustrated. Early in my married life, I became a Reagan Republican partly due to my involvement in the Evangelical movement. By Bush’s second term, I was done with the Republican’s…mostly due to my discovery of Confessional Lutheran practice. I was free of the legalism of Evangelicalism and free of the hypocrisy of right-wing Evangelical Republicans (preach God and country, but freely uses attack ads to tear down opponents because it is justified). Who was left to vote for? Yeah, I still vote Republican, but I console myself that I’m not one of them. I’ve been a fan of John McCain for a while. I especially like the fact that he has tolerated rejection by his own party for years. He really is an outsider and I like that. I intend to follow his advice from last night to serve my fellow man and my country. I think that we saw the new faces of the Republican Party this week in St. Paul. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I’m married to a life-long DFLer teacher, son of a farmer/teacher. For the first time, he will be voting for a Republican. Shhh….

  • Eric M

    That is a good question Dr. Veith. It is certainly not something new (just think of the hate that came with the nomination of Clarence Thomas) but it is very distressing. I wonder if it has something to do with denying our own sins. For example, someone who is divorced or who is living with a significant other without being married is shown their sin by a candidate who talks about being married to the same man for her adult life. Someone who has had an abortion is shown her sin by a mother who shows off a baby with Downs.

    Our reaction to these things is not to feel good about ourselves but to deny the sin (the baby would have been a burden or my girlfriend is afraid of commitment). If the candidate is held up as an example of goodness and all that is right with family, then the lives of those who have denied family and life are wrong.

  • PeteS

    Pr. Schroeder and Eric M make good points.

    Might it have something to do with a “team” attitude? It seems, on both sides, that it can be more a matter of which “team” wins than who is president. Just listen to the way they talk, both politicians and supporters. It seems to go beyond ideology to just plain power. And when it’s about “team,” then, just as in sports, many people are willing to overlook the flaws in their captain and teammates, or at least they don’t address them honestly unless they are forced to. They defend and attack, defend and attack, sometimes in the lowest of ways. It gets frustrating for those who wish to honestly look at issues and hear real plans and how those plans will work. Maybe I’m all wet, but that’s how it looks. And as for the people on this blog – it’s a reminder that, apart from the power of the gospel, we are no different than anyone else. We need to exercise the power of baptism each day, burying the Old Adam with the law that God may resurrect the New Man by the gospel.

  • Kay M

    I’ll offer another theory. When we discuss theology, we may find vast differences, but in the end we can still go home and believe as we believe, changed or not. Our freedom to do that doesn’t disappear.

    With an upcoming election, we are discussing things that may directly affect us in the near future, whether it’s gun rights or taxes or abortion. We see the potential for the changes that they have promised, and they may frighten us, depending on which new administration. It’s a much more real and tangible thing that’s on the table. Perhaps the reason the conversation gets more heated is because our fear shines through.

  • Ryan

    I have found this article from FIRST THINGS helpful in look at this question.

    http://www.firstthings.com/blog/2008/09/04/why-they-hate-her/

    The closing words from the article:

    “Her opponents quickly intuited that the particulars of Palin’s story, on their own, stand as challenges to some of the most integral parts of their worldview, whether or not she ever makes them explicitly.

    It isn’t any of Palin’s specific policies or ideological beliefs which have so antagonized the liberals (although they surely dislike her for policy reasons, too). They simply hate her for who she is.”

  • Carl Vehse

    Arguing doctrinal issues is done within the kingdom of the right (the Church) and normally does not involve our vocations in the kingdom of the left (the State).

    However, certain issues, based on doctrine, have direct impact on a Christian’s calling and duty in the kingdom of the left. In the past such major issues have include the American Revolution, slavery, wars, and others. For the past 25 years, as Rev. Schroeder stated, another issue has been added – abortion.

    Christian citizens cannot simply confess their doctrine position that abortion is murder, rather than a personal decision equivalent to what socks to wear. Christians are called to act in their vocation as citizens, and this includes how to deal with (in and through the legislative, executive, and judicial branches) those who advocate, support, conduct, and fund abortions.

    On abortion and similar issues, the “Can’t we all just get along?” mantra is part of the Liberal Lie – “All beliefs are to be tolerated, except those that are not to be tolerated.” While Scripture calls Christians to love our enemies, God’s Word also provides government the authority and responsibility to “bear the sword” and to “bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” In the U.S. republic, that means “we, the people,” in addition to our elected and appointed representatives.

    As with recognizing that through Christ we are at the same time “sinners/saints”, Christians should recognize that our vocations in the two kingdoms are not an issue of “either/or” but “both/and.”

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Eric nails it, at least as far as the anti-Palin sentiment goes.
    I see my own family torn apart now, because the conservative cause has gotten a boost from Palin–from her own life story, as well as from her professed values.
    The liberals in my family all say they’re sick of such values being shoved down their throats, while, in reality, they’re only being talked about. No one’s forcing anyone to do or to believe anything. But the mere mention and attention has sent them into a frenzy. Really. A frenzy.
    I think liberals thought they’d pretty much marginalized conservatives, through Obama-magic and the predominance of the liberal view in the culture. McCain (after all, he *is* responsible for bringing Palin to light) and Palin are putting conservatism back into sharp focus, and it’s become a maddening surprise.
    Maybe Reagan’s presidency once made conservatives think they’d won the battle; then Bill Clinton’s did the same for liberals. Now both sides realize it’s a constant battle, and, at this very moment, liberals maybe sense they’ve lost ground they hadn’t anticipated losing.

  • fw

    indeed. the 8th is the one I personally seem to break the most. The large catechism always nails me when it asks me who appointed me to be judge (my ability to vote does NOT qualify me here….) and if I could prove my accusations in a court of law. and when it tells me that I should be quiet and not repeat bad things about others but i should instead DEFEND them, SPEAK WELL OF THEM, and put the best construction on whatever….

    And God wants me to do that for public figures as well? Now …

    would someone tell me just HOW I am supposed to be a shrill partisan liberal Democrat and follow the 8th commandment meticulously in THOUGHT , word and DEED?

    to take no glee at all but rather be very sad when I see republican elected officials attacked as to their character or mischaracterized and then to take the additional step of DEFENDING and speaking well of them???!!!

    you have GOT to be kidding me…..

    Dr Vieth´s site here comes about as close to civil discussion as i have ever heard from “red-meat-republicans”

    I would suggest however, that we all still (including me!) have such a very long way to go!!!!!!

    ANYONE disagree with me here?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I’m not exactly sure why politics make me so mad. I mean talking about these things produces a very visceral reaction in me and I doubt that I am alone. For me, I know what I believe the political answers should sound like and what sort of policy I would prefer and then there is the way things actually are (especially in the party I usually prefer). And even though I know this discrepancy exists, I am still tempted to blame it on the opponents more than look for blame in my team (as mentioned above).

    Self-examination and a call for actual reform among both Republicans and Democrats seems very lacking even in this year of “change”. Perhaps if we had more bold politicians who really led in this way, it would temper our inclination to call the opponent to “repentance”, which always comes off as judgmental and rude.

    Right now because of the political climate it seems much more acceptable for Republicans to recast themselves and question their positions, but that makes sense considering the history and unpopularity of the last 8 years, especially with the war on terror (This may make the Democratic party feel more self-justified).

    The Democrats are pushing to win on the standard democratic stances, but despite the rhetoric seem very unwilling to self examine. Though the democratic party holds both the house and the senate, it still plays up how poor and oppressed its party is along with all women, minorities, and gays (and I know in some ways these groups are suffering – but the answers I would give to the difficulties faced are very different from the boilerplate democratic response). And I think these issues really inflame the passions of cultural conservatives.

    Anyway, just some thoughts on what I think is a very good question.

  • http://hamburgerland.blogspot.com Hamburger Lad

    I would have to agree with Susan. I see the current vitriol coming from fear. Barack Obama’s biggest strength is probably his charisma, and in that respect he had the edge over John McCain. Sarah Palin gives the Republican ticket a big boost in that department and suddenly Democrats see that they could be facing their third loss in a row. The fear isn’t unfounded–as a pro-life Democrat, I do find Governor Palin somewhat appealing, even as I dread the thought of her candidacy securing four more years of neo-conservative policies in our government. (Oh, Lord Jesus, come quickly!)

    As to why the vitriol against Senator Obama, I can only guess. Perhaps the motivation is the same. Perhaps there’s a different factor involved in that.

  • fw

    a suggestion:

    what if we all agreed to spend the rest of the election till november criticizing ONLY our own candidates and our own party for their shortcomings and agreed to only defend, speak well of, and put the best possible construction on what the opposing party says and does?

    would this even be possible with our group? it would be an interesting exercise in humility and christian virtue would it not? would any thing valuable be lost in the process? would any truth be compromised? would any of us be shirking our responsibilities as christians?

    just what would happen?

  • fw

    maybe look for and confirm only what we positively have in common with the opposition party and candidates as being americans who love our great country?

    count our blessings so to speak and not focus on the negatives…..

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I believe Walter Williams summed it up for me a few months back (or maybe years, his archive is available on JewishWorldReview if you want to look). He pointed out that when you have government do more and more things, you have a situation where people’s livelihoods depend on what they can get out of government. Is it any surprise that one gets fighting when so much is at stake?

    Another reality is that for too many (many on the liberal side, some conservatives, too), government and politics has effectively become their religion, just as surely as when Caesar made his subjects make an oath to him as a god.

    And as you can see, vitriol in politics is nothing new. It was not for no reason, for example, that the response of many to the writings of those like Henry and Paine was to pick up their gun and clean it.

  • Joe

    “Dr Vieth´s site here comes about as close to civil discussion as i have ever heard from “red-meat-republicans”

    I would suggest however, that we all still (including me!) have such a very long way to go!!!!!!

    ANYONE disagree with me here?”

    Nope. Nail on the head.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    The Eighth Commandment is a difficult one. I just found that out again recently. I ran into yet another instance where someone was on the verge of getting very righteous against someone, only to find out that the story they were relying on was a false story. It had gotten changed a bit two or three times in the telling. And from what I could tell, nobody had deliberately distorted anything.

    For a more personal example, I can’t tell you how worked up I was at one point some years back when I thought that Janet Reno had defined a cultist as someone who had a strong belief in the Bible. Then I found out it was false information: http://www.snopes.com/quotes/reno.asp

    Sometimes the vitriol comes from believing false stories.

  • Carl Vehse

    Bad suggestion, fw!

    That suggestion is not congruent with the Lutheran understanding of the Eighth Commandment, nor does it fulfill a Christian’s responsibilities as a citizen.

    Instead that suggestion is just a corollary of the Liberal Lie – “All beliefs are to be tolerated except those that are not tolerant.”

  • fw

    #19 carl

    aw c´mon dear brother. I am not asking you to “tolerate” anything. I am suggesting the experiment that you train you critical guns for a time only on those you tend to side with, and then look for points of agreement with those you oppose and try your best to defend speak well of and put the best construction on everything.

  • Anon The First

    I don’t think that the level of vitriol has risen to the level of the commentary in the reader’s edition of the Book of Concord ;-)

    Dr. Veith, we get worked up by people like Hillary Clinton because of her intense support for the brutal murder of babies, and the use of the organs of the federal government to attack her political and cultural opponents, from IRS harassment, to the FBI files, to VAAPCON, even the Waco pogrom, for she and her husband believed them to be evangelical Christians deserving of their fate. There is a time for strong clear words. And who here has been as strong in words as the editors of the Readers Edition of the BoC, or of certain writings by prominent Lutherans in 16th century?

    Why do we ‘lose it’? Because of the brutal murder of tens of millions of people being defended by those who claim the name of Christ. Because of the threat to our liberties by those espousing fascist beliefs, such as you describe in your _Modern Fascism_.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    I get your point, fw, but I’m not buying it.
    Criticism isn’t necessarily meant to divide or to speak ill or break any commandment. It’s how criticism is delivered that makes the difference.
    The burden might just as well be placed on the offended as on the offenders: Don’t respond in kind. Turn the other cheek. In fact, don’t respond at all. Or, even, don’t give your opponent the satisfaction of your being offended.
    Asking us to answer only for our own candidate’s failings is more than unrealistic; it’s basically ignoring the truth that differences exist, that elections are contests, that someone will win and someone will lose, and that it’s supposed to be about ideas and not people.
    People–candidates and voters–are often the victims of bad ideas, and they need and deserve a forum for speaking out against bad ideas or dishonest claims.

  • Anon The First

    Pr. Schroeder, I agree with most of what you say. However part of what you attribute to the Gospel belongs to two of the three uses of the Law. Though the BoC does say that it is legitimate to refer to Law and Gospel together as the Gospel, and perhaps you were doing that.

    Romans tells us how even the lost have consciences informed by God. to have righteous wrath towards abominable sin and cruelty is only natural and right. That isn’t self-righteousness, that is agreeing with God. The fact that we, too, sin does not mean that we lesson and diminish the Law, but that we must respond in repentance to our own sins made clear to us by the Law. Look to the examples of the prophets and the apostles, and to the example of Our Lord.

    Carl also puts it well.

    fw, as to criticizing our own candidates: you first. But I don’t actually believe that to be wise. To be the watchman on the wall is a valid calling. As long as people are deceived into thinking that they do not imperil their immortal soul by supporting the the abortionist, homosexualist and Caesar-as-god antichrist agenda of the Democrat Party of today, I must cry the warning. To do otherwise, as Scripture teaches, is to become guilty of their blood.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Heh. ‘You first.’
    I like that.
    I’ll go.
    McCain is too disposed towards manmade global warming, too willing to accuse anti-illegal immigrant Americans and too slow (has he ever?) to criticize the illegal actions of the immigrants or the bad policies of Mexico that drive them here.
    He’s made too many compromises with Democrats on the immigration front, and on the selection of justices and federal judges. (Nevertheless, we got 2 great justices, so…)
    But I don’t find him to be self-serving or blindly ambitious. Can’t tell you how I’ve reached that conclusion; but I’ve reached it nonetheless, and it was ratified by his speech last night. I’m not saying he’s obviously humble or modest, or not seeking the grandeur of the Presidency. But I don’t perceive that that’s what drives him, or what he needs to satisfy.
    Oddly enough, I think he’s at the end of a parade of politicians who’ve simply answered the call of duty, and has risen due to his accomplishments, not his rhetoric or maneuverings. He’s been pretty above-board, near as I can tell, in his operating, and sometimes a little naive about how open he should’ve been.
    Odder still, I think Gov. Palin is at the head of a new parade of a different generation of politicians answering the call.
    The call is constantly being made, and someone has to answer. Sometimes it’s good [albeit fallen] people, and sometimes it’s sheer opportunists. I don’t see either of the current Republican place-holders as the latter.

  • http://viz.tumblr.com Tickletext

    Anger (the unrighteous kind) is often an expression of impotence.

    Because people today tend to think of themselves as selves rather than members of a body, they approach and think of life in terms of control instead of communion. Like the ancient Greeks inside their city-states, they see the larger world as basically chaotic, lacking a larger purpose, and so they insulate themselves. They try to shore up whatever private levies they can against the chaotic flood: their careers, their families, their possessions, etc.

    But no one can control it all. And as they discover that they become angry. They experience road rage because they cannot control traffic. And they give themselves over to blog rage because the political world seems so chaotic, so uncontrollable. In particular, they are maddened by the media, which is very powerful but unelected and hard to hold accountable.

    And so they rage.

  • Manxman

    Prior to Palin, I think Obama & his liberal rainbow minions thought they had the election locked up and that in November they would be taking over the government in a way that hadn’t been done before – their New World Order was going to get a huge shot in the arm.

    Then, out of nowhere there suddenly appeared an obscure someone from a background they like to ridicule who didn’t have to play their politically correct games because she was a woman, and whose life challenged the very core of their beliefs. Until Palin came along, McCain & the GOP was pretty much DOA. Now, all of a sudden, it may well be a horse race in November, and Palin has energized a class of American citizens who have had to sit by for decades and watch things they loved destroyed by liberal barbarians. That’s no longer the case now. Those people have a voice and energy they didn’t have before.

    To see hopes of a great victory dashed so quickly and by someone whose values showed clearly the poverty of their own agenda must have been intolerable for Obama and those who he represents. Hence the anger.

  • Anon The First

    Susan,
    I agree with your criticisms of McCain’s views.

  • Trey

    Criticizing a political candidate based upon their policies is one thing criticizing them based on the mistakes others around them have made is another unless of course it is their spiritual leader or the espouse their cause.

    The rumor-mongering by many in the media, is a blatant disregard for the 8th commandment and is utterly sinful. The innuendo, hearsay, and suggestions are outrageous and egregious. When such rumors of Obama surfaced, the main stream media dismissed them without indulging in the false allegations and innuendo, but when it is a Conservative Christian Republican who they disagree with they consume the fodder and present the fabrications as factual.

    Anon the First makes some great points in their (He or she) comment. The opposite of sinning is repentance (change of mind/heart and sorrow). The Law never makes us righteous it only shows us the need for a savior, which thanks be to God we do have one in the perfect God-Man Jesus Christ. For in Him, we have all things.

  • Another Kerner

    Agreed, Carl Vehse at #9 and Anon the First at #21.

    Christians are directed to “resist evil”.

    We realize that here we have no “continuing city”, we acknowledge the doctrine of the two kingdoms, yet we must also recognize that there *is* a Christian worldview which is valid in the political arena.

    Statism and centralized power has long been hostile
    the the tenets of Scripture and to the people who uphold them in a society.

    When we identify an evil and resist it, wherever we find it, whether in the family circle or the public square, we are most often met with rejection, anger, vilification and hatred.

    Let us bring to mind John the Baptizer addressing Herod Antipas, “that fox”, or any of the Christian martyrs who resisted Statism in old Rome or those who spoke out against Soviet persecusion in the 20th Century.

    Let us not be surprised when the truth is met with anger and malice.

    It was ever thus.

    History is replete

  • Carl Vehse

    Here’s a small excerpt from a much more devastating view on Zerobama from the website of former SNL actress, Victoria Jackson:

    Whoever Obama’s paying to help him appear to be a Christian, to win the Evangelical vote…is doing a terrible job. He should ask me for a few pointers. First of all, “obscure reference in Romans” is a dead give away that he’s never cracked a Bible. “Evangelicals” love Romans. They have it practically memorized. -”obscure reference in Zephaniah” might have been more appropriate. And, Obama, when you say things like, “Sin is…being out of alignment with my values.” That is a blaring siren of Biblical ignorance. The Bible says, “Sin is being out of alignment with God’s values.”

  • Susan aka organshoes

    I think I’ll see fw and raise: Once we’ve pointed out our own candidate’s weaknesses, we’re permitted to criticize the opposition.
    Really, one thing that jazzes me about McCain is Sarah–well two things that jazz me about McCain are: Sarah Palin, and he’s said–ok, three things that jazz me about McCain are: Sarah Palin, he’s not liberal, and he’s said (not promised) something about serving only one term.
    Palin in ’12. That jazzes me.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Interesting stuff, Carl–I was going to reply and say “I knew from the get-go he wasn’t an evangelical”, but then….well…that kinda makes your (and Victoria Jackson’s) point.

  • Jonathan

    What would really jazz me is an Obama victory.
    If McCain wins (God forbid), Palin will be irrelevant in a McCain White House, except perhaps to attend hockey mom conventions. While McCain thinks he needs the evangelicals to win, he does not need them to govern.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Why do people get so charged up? Because deep down we still have a believe in politics as saviour, a belief that Christendom and my country are one and the same thing, and an irrational trust in the words of people who depend on votes for their livelihood. We are not sceptical enough. We refuse to be reminded of the fact that when all is said and done, when the tallies are in, when the government is better or worse, that our Kingdom is not of this world.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dr. Veith, it’s good for you to call out the “knee-jerk HATE” that some liberals have leveled at Palin. However, your entry seems to have ignored the knee-jerk hate that some here on your own site spread about Democrats.

    When people spread un-Christian rumors about Obama’s birth, when they say that Hillary Clinton used “the organs of the federal government to attack her political and cultural opponents, from IRS harassment, to the FBI files, to VAAPCON, even the Waco pogrom, for she and her husband believed them to be evangelical Christians deserving of their fate,” when they say things about Obama’s family that are, at the very best, highly misleading … and not a single Republican Christian calls them on it, just lets it slide, what sort of message do you think it sends?

    If I criticize McCain for anything, I will almost certainly be joined in debate, and rightly so (unless, of course, I “criticize” him for not being enough of a Republican, an admission I don’t imagine would take much effort for most here to make). But if people spread bile attacking Democrats? Nothing. The message, to me, is clear: everyone who remains silent believes these rumors, these lies.

    “I’d like to hear especially from those of you who are Democrats.” Perhaps Democrats are unwilling to respond because some here have gone to great length to declare that anyone identifying as such are at best sinners by virtue of party affiliation, and at worst unsaved, in league with Satan, etc.

    I understand that there is much that is despicable being said and done out there among non-believers. I don’t think any of us should have to answer for that, although we certainly should discuss it. But when Christians remain silent on rumors and lies, the impression is very strong that such things are, in fact, what Christians believe.

  • Mary

    Why vitriol and lack of productive conversation about politics? How about the “self-evident” nature of American politics. We are not as well versed in philosophy and our own worldviews as we should be, and when one can’t explain oneself, one attacks another, making it personal.

    Fear of what may come then further drives our behavior from trust in God and charity towards one another.

    I’m glad we’ll never all agree on all things political. That’d be one of the most dangerous weapons/situations/temptations of all.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Thanks, The Scylding #34, that’s something I’ve been thinking about too.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the culture war stuff could be gotten beyond? Or perhaps if the government would just stop taking these topics over and just leave them to families to sort out? Then we could actually talk about government policy. We get all wrapped up in this culture junk (which matters – definitely). But rational views and alternative views of governing get thrown out the window. It seems that hardly anybody notices, but these things are as much to blame for troubles Americans are concerned about than anything else.

  • Carl Vehse

    However, your entry seems to have ignored the knee-jerk hate that some here on your own site spread about Democrats.

    Any particular examples of what you judge as “knee-jerk hate” about Democrats, tODD?

    This would, of course, not include references to their 30+ years of promoting in party platforms and elsewhere, supporting, and legislating murder-by-abortion, a massive genocidal slaughter unborn infants, for which thay can be rightfully given the descriptor of “demonrat” (no insult to rodents intended).

    And to be fair, there are closet RINO ‘rats in the GOP who have promoted the same evil.

    And we shouldn’t forget the MSM clymers, fellow travelers with Adam Clymer, who have earned that descriptive for their continuing distortions of news, the details of which one can peruse on Newsbusters and Media Research Center’s website.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Carl, you asked (@38) for “particular examples”. Did you read the whole comment (@35)? If you do, you’ll find examples (some quoted, some alluded to), and you’ll notice that abortion is not listed among them.

    I wonder: do other people here think Carl’s continual resorting to playground taunts helps or hurts in terms of the discussion we’re having here? Is it of value for us as Christians to compare all members of a political party to demons or rats? Do the Christians here mind the use of the word “a__hole”? Do they mind thinly veiled references to it? Do they think it’s good to refer to all members of one profession with it?

  • Carl Vehse

    tODD, since there are no links (which you could easily enter in a way that avoids the 1 or 2-URL limit) to those issues which you complain about, are you implying everyone must read every email in thread and critique it for any transgressions. That is not very reasonable, though you seem to be doing a pretty good job of making a list of a number of things you don’t like.

    Those who are responding to points made in a particular post, whether they agree or not, are probably the best ones to note or question unsubstantiated negative comments.

    Personally I don’t have time to read everyone’s posts, or everyone of your posts.

  • Don S

    I think Conservatives are passionate about these issues because they sense that the institutions of society are generally adverse to their point of view and it is exceedingly frustrating. It feels as if we are fighting upstream for our views to be fairly heard. The “objective” news media, entertainment media, educational establishment, etc. seem to take every opportunity to marginalize and misrepresent conservative politicians and issues, while liberal politicians and issues are lionized and treated as mainstream. Examples: a) frequently labeling conservatives as “staunch conservatives”, “ultra conservatives”, etc., while almost never labeling liberals in supposedly straight news stories; b) refusing to acknowledge conservative minorities and women who advance to important positions in government as breakthroughs in America’s efforts to overcome racism and sexism in its past, while practically identifying anyone who votes against a liberal minority or woman candidate as racist/sexist. Obama’s convention speech is “historic”, with very little criticism of content or credibility, while Palin’s convention speech is accompanied by a drumbeat of criticism concerning her political views, family life, and whether or not someone else wrote her speech. According to the media, Palin isn’t a real feminist, because she doesn’t believe in killing unborn children, and actually likes Republicans. This environment causes frustration, which results in vitriol at times.

    I believe Liberals, on the other hand, are frustrated because they believe Gore was the rightful heir to the presidency in 2000, and Bush somehow stole it from him. From day one of the Bush administration, he was portrayed as a bumbling imbecile who was in the pocket of the religious right. Of course, after 9/11, there was a short period of harmony, because the vast majority of Americans are good patriots at heart, and came together to fight a common enemy. However, it didn’t take long for the drumbeat to start up again, and Kerry was fully expected to resume the Democratic hold on the presidency in 2004 (due to faulty polling, in my opinion). When that didn’t happen, they felt denied again, and comity has taken a further hit ever since. Obama was crowned the next president last year by the establishment, as 2008 was pronounced a Democratic year, with all political races declared decided in favor of the Democrats. Now that this assumption appears to be slipping away, to some extent because of the nomination of Palin, desperation is showing on the liberal side.

    This is obviously the view of a conservative, so there is a substantial amount of subjectivity in the above analysis. But, I do believe it fairly reflects the respective reasons for vitriol on each side of the political debate.

  • Anon The First

    Jonathan,
    That you (appear to) think that the mothers of this country are irrelevant is telling. Sarah Palin will also be a tie-casting vote in the Senate which does such things as approve judicial appointments.

    Scylding, while it does seem that many of the followers of Obama are looking for a political messiah, I see no evidence of that among the Bible believers and Constitution supporters here.

    tODD, is it not an unchristian rumor-mongering of you to claim I’m rumor-mongering and being unchristian for citing well-lknown facts?

    I’m tired of your antics, your tactics and your making it your over-all practice here to attack me and divert my attention from more important matters.

    The reason for strong statements by the Bible-believing Christians here is that we see wolves in amongst the sheep. When that happens the guard dogs bark. Protecting the least of these and protecting the brethren motivates us.

    Bryan, Luther wrote that if we don’t fight where the battle of the day is, we are not confessing Christ, no matter how loudly we might be professing Christ. We must continue to fight against the culture war launched against us in the late 1960s. We must continue to fight for our Biblical teachings and the cultural outflowing of that, for the lives of the least of these, and for the souls and minds of children forced to drink down anti-Christian propaganda in the government schools. It is not an option if we actually want to follow Christ. At least, Luther didn’t think it was an option.

  • WebMonk

    AtF, tODD has been a regular and respected commenter here for years and years. While I’m in general agreement with your political positions, you’re being a jerk, to put it bluntly. I like a broad range of views in a discussion, but please tone it down a bit.

    (yeah, yeah – you’re just “passionate” or something)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Carl (@40), the prescription you infer (a) doesn’t follow from there being no links — besides, one was a quote from the comments on this page; I trust you will not need a link to find it! — and (b) is unnecessarily complicated. Thankfully, it is also not what I meant. I am not asking everyone to read every comment ever.

    But given that my comments rarely fail to find readers and their replies, I cannot help but wonder why the same does not happen to those who spread rumors and lies with a Republican bent to them. Is it possible I’m the only one reading them? If not, what is our responsibility as Christians when we see someone else wrongly attacking or defaming others? Is it to “pass by on the other side”?

    “Personally I don’t have time to read … everyone of your posts.” Hmm. Not sure the evidence is in your favor on that one. :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Also, I was wrong to say (@35) that “not a single Republican Christian” has called anyone on spreading rumors or lies against Democratic candidates. I remembered one counterexample.

    In the comments to “Chinese gymnasts and the tooth fairy”, Carl had said, “There are even doubts about the authenticity of the birth certification posted for one of our presidential candidates.” (I suppose phrasing it like that was meant to avoid charges of slander — if you merely insinuate who you’re talking about …).

    Anyhow, in the comments to “The Saddleback confessions”, Carl defended that remark (as such) by saying “For evidence of the doubts, check out” some blog (never mind that he was sidestepping the issue of his rumormongering by pointing out that others were also spreading that rumor).

    In the comment after that, WebMonk, who hadn’t heard of that Obama rumor, looked into it and called it “a red herring on a dozen different levels”.

    That is precisely the sort of behavior I was asking for, so it is incumbent on me to point it out, as I now have. Thank you, WebMonk. And thanks for the compliment (@43). Maybe it would suffice to say I’ve been a regular commenter here for years? :) I’ve only been here since late 2006, I think.

  • allen

    Why the vitriol? Because every question has been federalized. There’s a lot more money at stake at that level than at those of state, city, or county. More money, more fevered rhetoric.

  • Michael the little boot

    As Anon the First @ 42 said: “We must continue to fight against the culture war launched against us in the late 1960s.” This is one reason for some vitriol, I believe. Some people are sick of others living in a pluralist society, taking advantage of the freedom this type of society affords them, and then saying there’s a culture war against them. There’s no culture war AGAINST Christianity. The war is against people who feel it’s okay to say they should be treated as “more equal” than others.

  • Michael the little boot

    Just banging my radical drum again!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael (@47), I’m pretty sure I know where you’re coming from — I live in Portland, the liberal nerve center of the most unchurched state (I’ve heard), and most of my friends are atheists or otherwise unbelievers — and I can see how one would come to feel how you do, but I’m also guessing you aren’t seeing things the way most of us Christians here do (if, in fact, those of us here can be said to have a common worldview). In large part, this all comes down to the culture one belongs to, and the filters that come with that culture.

    It’s true that much of what Republicans perceive as “culture war” is not being waged against Christians per se, but rather against societal morality that Christians once thought they held sway over. Many Christians see their influence waning, and perceive it as an attack, but I can see how you’d say it is not. As a Lutheran, I am of two minds about this decay. Not that I endorse it — I do not, and it’s sad to see people and society afflicted by sin, given the consequences, spiritual and otherwise. But then, neither do I endorse the attitudes of some Christians who think that government must be made to mirror the Bible, since many of them believe in a Christianity that is centered on good works, and I reject this. I would prefer that people live lives free from sin, but I do not see this as the end of Christianity (rather, it is the result of a proper understanding of Jesus’s forgiveness of sins, but more on that another time).

    That said, I can tell you as a Christian that, if not I myself, then my beliefs are frequently under attack, or at least outright mockery. Not that this is surprising to me — it has been going on for millenia, not merely since the 60s — but it is silly to deny such prejudice, if not hatred, exists. I just finished watching a scene from The Office in which the Christian character, Angela, was held up for ridicule for her judgmentalism. (Of course, I’d say rightly so, because she has a horrible attitude, but most people I think see her as an example of Christianity, not a deviation.) Would you like to compare the number of movies that portray Christians as loving or Christianity as a good thing versus those that portray Christians as stupid, evil, judgmental, etc? Are there other “famous” blogs you comment on that aren’t Christian-focused? If we trolled through them, would we find any vehemence towards Christians and Christianity?

    Still, those who maintain there is a culture war are talking about just that — culture — and not Christianity. Jesus himself said that the world would hate Christians (after all, it hated him) — it was true several thousand years ago, and it’s true now. Part of the confusion stems from the fact that for almost as long (1600 years or so), there have been people in power here and there who, though nominally Christian, would not be claimed by either you or I. Many of them would be, to me, an example of the corruption of the world and its power, while you might see them as examples of Christians ruining the world. This makes communication difficult.

    Anyhow, that’s how I see things. You see that, as a drummer, I can bang my drum for even longer! Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum. :)

  • Don S

    Yes, you are definitely banging your radical drum, Michael. The statement “There’s no culture war AGAINST Christianity. The war is against people who feel it’s okay to say they should be treated as “more equal” than others” is inaccurate. Those who believe they are being treated unequally (let’s use homosexuals as an example) have determined that the tenets of traditional Biblical Christianity, when adhered to literally, cause society to discriminate against them. Therefore, they are indeed at war against traditional Christianity. To put it another way, they are fine with Christianity, as long as it is re-interpreted to validate their lifestyles and choices. They also want government, through the public schools, to instruct children that the Christian view of homosexuality, as taught from the Bible, is wrong. Finally, they want the institution of marriage, which has always, in history, been a union of a man and a woman, for the purpose of procreation, to apply equally to any random pairing of two people, whatever feels good and right to them.

    Is it so unreasonable that those of us who think there is value in the traditions of thousands of years, and in the tenets of a faith which has been the primary influence in the world for millenia, to fight back against these attacks on society and order, as we know it? Are you really so blind to the history of mankind that you can’t see why this is so, or understand it, at least, even if you don’t agree with it?

    No one is saying that homosexuals are not equal to other people. What we are saying is that traditions have value, and promoting certain values over others, as a society, is legitimate. Every person is treated equally, in that they are entitled to marry someone of the opposite sex. Some choose to do so, and some don’t. Those who choose to couple with another of the same sex is free to do that. They just can’t call their relationship marriage. Or at least that’s still true in most states.

  • fw

    #50 don

    “They also want government, through the public schools, to instruct children that the Christian view of homosexuality, as taught from the Bible, is wrong.”

    The bible says nothing at all about homosexuality per se, as it is defined by the ama, apa, aba, etc…. (1) what is your definition of homosexuality don, and (2) where do you see that called “wrong” in the bible?

    We can make this personal if you like. I am a homosexual. In what way do you feel that I am “wrong”?

    ” Finally, they want the institution of marriage, which has always, in history, been a union of a man and a woman, for the purpose of procreation, to apply equally to any random pairing of two people, whatever feels good and right to them.”

    So you are saying that people who marry and find they cannot procreate, their marriage is nul? Women who have passed through menopause may not get married? Only people who can procreate should be allowed to obtain a marriage license and then should be legal required to procreate?

    “these attacks on society and order, as we know it? ”

    will allowing two homos or lesbians to marry affect in ANY way at all the marriage traditions or practices of heterosexuals? How will it? if it will not, how is it an attack? where is your indignation on divorce. Is this not a MUCH greater attack on marriage?

    “promoting certain values over others, as a society, is legitimate.”

    ok. so what keeps you from promoting your values over others if any two persons are allowed to obtain a marriage license?

    “Every person is treated equally, in that they are entitled to marry someone of the opposite sex. Some choose to do so, and some don’t. Those who choose to couple with another of the same sex is free to do that. They just can’t call their relationship marriage.”

    so Don. You would support marriage license issued to anyone if the government, for the sake of fairness, changed the name to “domestic partnership license” and EVERYONE , heteros, gays etc would receive that same license? Then each individual could go to the church of their choice and define their union according to their particular religious and cultural beliefs?

    “Every person is treated equally, in that they are entitled to marry someone of the opposite sex.”

    try this…. “every person is treated equally, in that they are all entitled to marry someone of the same race.” This was stated legal doctrine in the usa till 1970. Would this be equality in your mind? if not, what is your reasoning don?

    until around 1880 blacks could not marry each other. Asians could not marry whites. Until 1970 black could not marry white. These social norms extended back hundreds of years. Slavery was legally considered consistent with our constitution so a “strict constructionist” (one who interprets the constitution as intended by the authors) would still support all these things about marriage. Do you Don? The bible seems to condone polygamy. What is your objection to that practice?

  • fw

    #50 don

    by the way don. I am a traditional christian.

    I do NOT feel that christianity descriminates or wars against me or my being a homosexual in any way whatsoever. My God in fact is a great source of strength in my daily life.

    sometimes my fellow christians simply can´t distinguish between cultural norms and their christian faith. or… they, like you Don, are simply confused. Like you they consider “homosexuality” a sin, but don´t really have the faintest clue as to what homosexuality is. They rail against a straw man. They assume that “of course , everyone knows what we are talking about when we say homosexual.”

    not true.

    simple and profound ignorance and prejudice is what this is. with all due respect.

    This is the utter opposite of truth. Truth is what Jesus Christ, our Lord, calls us to seek.

  • fw

    #52 don and all others here…

    I have challenged our group many times to provide me a simple definition of homosexuality.

    It is most telling to me that NO one has yet been able or willing to provide that.

    Just HOW can a topic be discussed so passionately and negatively by someone who cannot even dispassionately define the topic they are so virulently and obsessively fixated on?

    If the definition of the word “homosexual” and “homosexual lifestyle” are so painfully obvious, why is this so hard?

    Romans one does NOT define homosexuals or homosexuality. By the way. I did not trade my natural desires. So far as I can tell I have never lusted after anyone in my entire life. male or female. I am full of idolatry, but I would challenge someone to tell me that I am more idolatrous than they are as christians.

  • fw

    #5o

    you are the one who is radical Don in that you do not stand on Holy Scriptures for what you believe.

  • BKW

    fw –

    Well, instead of trying to provide a definition of homosexuality, I will tell you that I don’t know. Over time, I have read many of your posts on this site and have become very intrigued by what you have to say about homosexuality. I have heard many Christians speak to homosexuality by saying that gay people live unrepentant lifestyles, and therefore, can’t possibly be “saved”. I’ve always wondered about that – particularly when Jesus called us to love God and love our neighbor – how does a bold, judgemental statement like that fit into Jesus’ great command? Many Christians confuse me – they make sweeping generalities that blast groups of people without ever really getting to know one of the individuals within the group they have just stereotyped and judged so boldly.

    I realize that I haven’t answered your question, but I would like to keep this discussion going in some way.

  • fw

    #55 bkw

    If you feel a great sense of sadness from me, you have successfully perceived what it is…

    Most christians, including those here, do not seem to truly be able to imagine gays to be included in the great commission.

    there is a separate law and gospel just for them.

    i also know little except that I know for certain, that God is reconciled to me fully in what Jesus did for me and the whole world with his life, death and resurrection.

    That is my starting and end point. Apart from Jesus Christ there is no truth. There is no way. There is no life.

    This is simply because Jesus IS THE Truth.

  • BKW

    fw -

    Yes, I do sense sadness from you in some of your posts. I believe you are right in saying that *most* Christians can’t imagine gays being included in the Great Commission. That has been my experience when the subject arises. How many of us have truly researched homosexuality? Not many, I’m sure. And you are also right in saying that even though folks don’t have a good understanding of what being gay truly means, they will quickly and passionately rail against it.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    FW, I’ve done a bit of my work among homosexuals (not a major emphasis or anything, but there’s some experience and friendships there) and I think you are being a bit judgmental of many people who comment on this blog. I really don’t remember anyone ever saying (though perhaps I’m wrong) that homosexual sin is any worse (or better) a sin than heterosexual sin or asexual sin or whatever sin we, in out fallen creativity, can come up with on our own or together with strangers or loved ones. I’m just so glad that your and my sins are all completely forgiven in Christ.

    By the way, is there something wrong with the dictionary definition of homosexuality? I don’t know why defining it would have to be any more difficult than that.

  • fw

    #58 Bryan Lindemood

    thanks for the polite post. depends on the dictionary bryan.

    you haven´t been on this blog long if you haven´t seen people here rail against “homosexuality” as some “super sin”.

    I am saying that homosexuality is not a sin actually. it simply is. Like blue eyes or albinoism.

    Many here refer to homosexuality as a sin as though to even question that assumption (that is nowhere in scripture by the way) is to deny the authority of scripture.

    I freely admit that homosexuals commit sins, including sexual ones. They do it daily in thought word and deed, and even if they did nothing, they would still be condemned apart from christ because they are sinners. the law applies to homos exactly as it applies to heterosexuals. The even better news is that the good news of Christ´s work applies also and fully to us homosexuals exactly as it applies to heterosexuals.

    there are not two kinds of humans… (or 3 if you are a racist as well…)

  • Bryan Lindemood

    AtF,

    I don’t think I meant to imply that Christians retreat from the culture war. What I would love would be government retreating from the culture war and leave those issues to hashed out between families. Do we really need a bunch of new federal laws about marriage and sexuality (for example). And wasn’t it our federal government that got us into the mess of abortion rights in 1973 when it felt the need to confiscate more local governmental rights in this very important arena.

    Now that I type that, I guess I just have a problem with the Federal Government overextending its hand into all of our lives – we have let it do too much in shaping our culture and locally, Christians have done too little. In my opinion.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Having thought a little more about your response to Don S, fw, I know that many Christians treat homosexual sins as one of those MONSTER SINS but it is not any more monstrous than any other sin that we commit from one moment to another.

    Perhaps what most Christians are really railing against is the almost relentless pursuit of homosexual activists to redefine homosexual sin as not sin. (though usually they are very imprecise in their language – and maybe I am not being as precise as I could be, but I’m in a hurry right now, sorry). I really despise the MONSTER SIN impulse though which often does trump the outrage we should have at many other things that are destroying families and most importantly, trust in Christ. Anyway, gotta go…

  • fw

    #58 Bryan Lindemood

    you raise a valid point about a dictionary definition.

    I guess for the same reason that the dictionary definition of “heterosexual” does not come even close to describing in any detail what it would look like or feel like to be heterosexual versus an alternative existence.

    If one really wanted to understand a homosexual and what his day to day existence looked like, I am pretty sure that the dictionary definition would not be quite enough.

    I think it is safe to say that there is a rather strong intensity surrounding this topic. the church of england for example was not split when her bishops have denied the divinity of Jesus for the past few hundred years,but the topic of homosexuality is now ripping her apart. Just why is that? this should interest non homosexuals as well. something is akilter. very akilter.

    any attempt by someone like me to get beyond the cultural static is called “revisionism” or worse.

    it is is a taboo subject. the standard line is “homosexuality is a sin. the bible is clear on this. end of discussion.” there is no discussion possible outside of this loop. unfortunately expecially in our beloved Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

    The first sentence in this loop is where the primary error is. homosexuality is never clearly defined in a way that a homosexual would see himself in the mirror.

    now, if I described you bryan in a way that was unrecognizable to you, especially in areas that were intensely an intimate part of your life, and did so in a way that highly offended you as well, and insisted on your accepting MY definition of YOU, what value would that serve?

  • fw

    #61

    might I suggest that there is not homosexual sin, heterosexual sin,black sin.american sin.

    there is simply sin.

    better there is the good news of Jesus that convers the sins of everyone regardless of the label we place on them beyond the simple label of “lost sinner” that applies to all of us apart from christ.

    the sin list is the same for everyone. it is really that simple.

    there is no such think as homosexual sin. and homosexuality is not a sin. this is biblical. nothing else is.

  • fw

    #61 bryan

    I do not consider myself to be a “homosexual activist.” I am not really sure what that is.

    I am a christian who sees that homos are not really reached out to with the good news of Jesus Christ as they deserve to be.

    it seems a natural vocation for me to be rather relentless about this. I am gay and I am christian and there are few who claim to take the bible inerrantly and seriously who speak up. So I guess that means I have something to do eh?

    The gospel of Jesus christ is that important to me, as are the lost souls that are his that happen to be homosexual, along with those who are members of a Lutheran or christian church who cannot reach out for the comfort and spiritual support they often desperately need. They must remain invisible in their churches along with their families and those others who are affected.

  • fw

    whoa. is there ANY other site on the internet where topics like this can be discussed freely and politely?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I wasn’t meaning to call you a “homosexual activist”, and your other point kindof was the point I was trying to get across, that all sins are the same (in relation; or non-relation to God, rather) regardless of how we may want to label them or overemphasize some of them while ignoring others. Usually overemphasizing the sins of others, while trying to brush under the rug the consequences of our own sick sins.

    I particularly like this paragraph, but get the feeling that many Christians struggling with homosexuality think one has to be homosexual themselves to authentically care. This paragraph:

    “The gospel of Jesus christ is that important to me, as are the lost souls that are his that happen to be homosexual, along with those who are members of a Lutheran or christian church who cannot reach out for the comfort and spiritual support they often desperately need. They must remain invisible in their churches along with their families and those others who are affected.”

    I don’t really feel like arguing with you about what the Bible does or does not say about homosexuality and whether or not it is (was) God’s original design for anyone or for you, though you should know that I believe God is very clear in His Word about His will for sexual relationships. That being said (and as you pointed out above) Christians today often read into the text their (and their cultures) own preferences about sexuality.

    Anyhoo, I also very much resonate with this point you made above:

    “the church of england for example was not split when her bishops have denied the divinity of Jesus for the past few hundred years,but the topic of homosexuality is now ripping her apart.”

    For some local former ELCA congregations, their church’s recent struggles with homosexuality, sent them over the edge to the point of breaking their fellowship with the ELCA. This is not my main reason for not joining the largest Lutheran fellowship in America.

    So, fw, a question for you. My opinion is that there is fault to be shared for why homosexual Christians do not seek the truth of the Word of God and the extraordinary measure of comfort we are (in my opinion) so well poised to give to these folks. Of course Christians can be faulted for their “trying to remove the speck from the brother’s eye” while having that telephone pole swinging around all over the place sticking out of their face, but dontcha think that “the homosexual community” also in some ways is attacking our witness of the Gospel, making homosexuals feel that there is no way that those conservative Christians over there could possibly understand their struggles?

  • Don S

    Frank:

    I do not believe that homosexuality is an unforgivable sin, a “monster sin”, or anything else other than a regular old sin. All sins are monster sins, in that they separate us, if unforgiven, from our God. I do not believe that the Great Commission is not for homosexuals. The Great Commission (the Gospel) is for all men (and women, and children), who are all sinners, in need of a savior. Christ died for all.

    I don’t understand your request for a definition of “homosexuality”. There are a number of passages, both Old and New Testaments, as you know, that directly address homosexual behavior as a sin. They are quite clear, and definitive. I believe these passages refer to behavior, not feelings or weaknesses. By that, I mean that we all have areas in our lives where we are weak, and subject to temptation to sin. Heterosexuals who succumb to temptation to have sexual relations with a woman or man not their spouse have sinned. Heterosexuals or homosexuals succumbing to a temptation to view pornography have sinned. One who is attracted to others of the same sex, who does not act out on those attractions by engaging in sexual relations, has not sinned. Because this is a fallen world, we all have to deal with temptations which attack weaknesses in each of our makeups. Some have a tendency to addictions. Others have a tendency to dishonesty. Still others have a tendency to adultery or fornication. Yet others have a tendency to be attracted to those of the same sexual orientation. You apparently fall into this latter category. In the strength of the Holy Spirit, we are told in the Scriptures to flee these temptations, and the Holy Spirit promises to free us of them if we do so. Our pursuit is toward holiness in this life, in the strength of the Holy Spirit. We are all valuable in His sight, and Christ has died for all of us.

    Marriage is an institution given to us for the purpose of procreation. This is clear from Genesis, and from all of the Scriptures. Of course, this does not mean that all couples will be able to procreate, and thus to continue mankind from generation to generation. Some will not, but have other purposes, from God, for being together. Marriages are referenced throughout Scripture, including those of childless heterosexual couples, but never is a homosexual marriage referenced, nor is homosexuality ever discussed in a positive light.

    Frank, even if you were correct that homosexuality was perfectly OK, the actions of modern militant homosexual advocates, to overturn thousands of years of societal tradition, would be wrenching and radical. In your heart, you must know this, and must understand why those of us who are traditional Christians, and have a literal and traditional understanding of Biblical truth, must oppose these actions with every fiber of our beings. We must stand for the literal truth of the Bible, the absolute standard of morality for mankind.

    I respect you on this site, and the things you post. They are generally thoughtful, and reflect a deep understanding of the things of God. I do not, and cannot, condemn you, just as you cannot condemn me. Our status with respect to eternity is solely between each of us, as individuals, and our Lord.

    God bless you.

  • Carl Vehse

    Shocking revelations have been uncovered about the extremist views and statements of Gov. Sarah Palin’s pastor at Wasilla Bible Church. According to a Scrappleface article:

    In the days following Gov. Sarah Palin’s appointment as John McCain’s running mate, Americans have grown increasingly concerned about her brand of radical Christianity. A new recording released to the media today by Barack Obama’s campaign, gives definitive proof that Gov. Palin’s pastor, in an emotional tirade, once called on God to “bless” America…

    Democrat insiders wondered how Mrs. Palin could have sat under the so-called “Biblical” teaching of this man for years without challenging his pleas for divine favor upon the nation which most intellectuals agree is the world’s leading source of oppression and greenhouse gases.

  • fw

    #66bryan

    “So, fw, a question for you. My opinion is that there is fault to be shared for why homosexual Christians do not seek the truth of the Word of God and the extraordinary measure of comfort we are (in my opinion) so well poised to give to these folks. “but dontcha think that “the homosexual community….also in some ways is attacking our witness of the Gospel, making homosexuals feel that there is no way that those conservative Christians over there could possibly understand their struggles?”

    “homosexual community”. “heterosexual community”. not sure those terms mean alot…I would say that 90% of gays and lesbians lead very quite lives. alot are very vocal republicans. it is advantageous for most of us to remain hidden from society. as in the church “community”, those who shout loudest claim to represent more than they do. Dr Dobson in NO way represents what I believe for example….

    you ask very good questions bryan that beg for some good thought. and your responses are very mild and christian. I do very much appreciate that. we agree on most things it seems.

    Now to answer your question:

    there are books and seminars galore published by concordia and others as to how to go about winning the souls of mormons and JW´s and muslims and others.

    The message I hear from the church, and I AM a christian, is that the sodom and gomorrah story and romans chapter one describe what the “homosexual lifestyle” looks like. This is so WILDLY far from reality, that most homos, especially those raised in the church are AFRAID to look into their bibles. This is unfortunate because Jesus can be found ONLY there.

    If someone insists on defining and describing you and the most intimate particulars of your life in a way that makes you cringe and feel uncomfortable and offended and in no way reflects your reality, and then tells you that if you insist that they are not right, that you are “a revisionist” “activist” that you are “unrepentant” that you are insisting on calling sin non-sin…. this does not sound very welcoming to me bryan. and someone who is non christian and well educated would mis-perceive christians as simply being very willfully ignorant and hateful. sad all of this.

    it could be so very easily fixed with just a little dialog and patience.

  • fw

    #67 don s

    I respected your previous contributions here. I now have a much deeper respect for you as a fellow christian and as a descent human being. thanks for your comments Don. Let me see if I can be even half as polite and helpful in my response. yours is a hard act to follow dear brother!

    “I don’t understand your request for a definition of “homosexuality”. There are a number of passages, both Old and New Testaments, as you know, that directly address homosexual behavior as a sin.”

    dear brother Don. I am a christian. I am also a homosexual. You are telling me that you know something about my “homosexual behavior” that that it is wrong? maybe email me directly and get to know me and you might be surprised. just where are these passages of the bible you assume that I know?

    the standard ones uses are usually the (1) the passage in leviticus about a man treating a man like a woman in bed (2) the sodom and gomorrah story (3) romans chapter 1 (3) a passage in corinthians that has nothing to do with homosexuality (4) a passage in timothy that also has nothing at all to do with homosexuality…. so no. I do not “know” that the bible says ANYTHING at all about the subject of homosexuality. I think the bible actually says NOTHING at all about homosexuals. Leviticus and romans one seem indeed to describe *heterosexual* behaviors. It would make NO sense to any homosexual to treat another man like a woman in bed, and I don´t know of any gay men or lesbians who feel that they “traded their natural desires” for the desires they have. As a christian, I really can´t relate to the men and women described in romans one in any way. I don´t see myself in the mirror there, except to confess, along with you, that I DO worship the creation rather than the creator. this idolatry is one of the roots of my sinfulness. My sins of coveting are really all about placing my faith in trust in something other than God. This is idolatry. I also have to note that Lusting after someone else physically doesn´t loom large on my personal sin list. Maybe it does for you and others here. and you are heterosexuals. interesting that. Besides, Leviticus needs to be handled with extreme care. It was , as Luther said, written for the Jews and Not for us. to say that one part applies to us as christians, well where is the clear principle that would allow us to dismiss the rest as NOT applying to us but only to the jews….It would probably be safer, biblically to simply say that sex outside of marriage is forbidden and turn to passages that support that idea. This would include everyone then, and not just homosexuals. It would also probably mean that divorced people should not remarry…..

    sodom and gomorrah seems to be about gang rape. I do HOPE you do not picture me or those like me as protagonists in that story. now THAT would be EXTREMELY offensive to me. corinthians and timothy…. the words arsenokoitia and malakoi… no one can translate those words with any certainty in context. so we can set those passages asside. Am i missing a passage?

    Ok. if there is NO reference to homosexuality in the bible, I remain perplexed as to why *some* seem to make such a huge deal out of homosexuality.

    that all being said , dear brother, I very much appreciate the tone and brotherliness of your posting. If ALL christians were at least as mild and patient as you, our church would be so very much better off. I agree in fact with most of what you said. believe it or not.

    The one area where i disagree is a common misunderstanding. Most christians reduce homosexuality to a sex act or at least something amiss in thought word and deed. or as some sort of urge, like a desire to use drugs or drink. homosexuality is far far more indelible and goes far far deeper than that.

    your identity as a heterosexual (I assume that you are that…) is such a deep part of who you are. It affects everything. even if you became celebate, it would still affect you profoundly. it is about alot more than the sex drive.

    I think the best way to ask you to ponder this is to consider your development as a heterosexual BEFORE you went through puberty. this would separate the sex from your heterosexuality.

    Young gay men and women go through EXACTLY the same process of discovering their sexuality (prepuberty remember… puppy love.. all that….). The difference is that when young 4 year old gays discover all this, they are much more confused that other adolescents (it is a confusing time for all adolescents I think…) and soon discover they must dissimilate and hide their emotions. Gays learn what a metaphor is very, very early. they hear comments about boy and girl and say to themselves “ok I can relate to that completely with one small change….”.

    i believe that I am saying that it is not sinful for a 6 year old boy to have a crush on his male gradeschool teacher or another little boy. where would the bible tell me that is wrong? where is the passage you would turn me to to tell me that is wrong? Don´t confuse your discomfort with the idea as a moral impulse. it is not.

    there is a film called “my life in pink” “ma vie em rose”. it is a french film about a 7 year old transgender boy and his family and community. (be clear that gay men and lesbians have NO desire to change their gender. another misconception held by many). I would highly recommend this film. I am not transgender, but the film was excellent and I could relate to large parts of it. it makes NO one out to be wrong or bad. ask yourself , if you rent the film, ask yourself just what would YOU do if you were the boy´s parent and why? where would you turn to in the bible to decide what was right or wrong, sin or non sin?

  • fw

    #67 don

    I think most gays are just human beings who want to be left alone to live their lives.

    but those men and women do live in a society. They want to be sure their significant other can visit them at a hospital, that the wishes of their significant other can take precidence over the wishes of parents and other family in the event of illness or death. all the things you would want for your children or wife.

    what if the government simply got out of the “marriage ” business? pastors could no longer be quasi officials of the government. ALL people would get a license that would be called a “civil union license” that would be the same for every taxpayer.

    THEN any individual could go to their church or synogogue or mosque and have a non-legaly-binding ceremony that would define their union according to their religious and moral beliefs. simple? what would be your objection to this?

    any two persons could get this license. it would entitle them all to the SAME benefits. and responsibilities. say you have a sick older brother. you could get that license with him in order for you to care for him. he would get your social security survivors benefits, be entitled to your medical coverage as a dependent…. you would be responsible for his debts…..that license would become a legally binding social contract between the two of you.

    I can´t see any biblical or traditional principle that would be violated here.

    can you?

    There ARE ways to work through these social issues without having to decide that civilization as we know it will end if we accomodate others in their differences….

    why do we need to have culture wars? it is a way for politicians to divide and conquer. this is not necessary.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    “homosexual community” – somehow I knew you were going to say that, fw, which is why I tried to put this in quotes, but failed. So, please enlighten me: who does put together those GLBT shows that are on late at night on PBS? ;)

    And just for the record, it really peeves me that sexuality is made to be such a huge identifier these days. People are people, no? Does everything in life really need to revolve around ones sexual orientation? These are the questions I have had when I have found myself up late watching such PBS shows. Those shows, to me at least, seem to illustrate such large opportunities for the comfort of the theology of the cross. Maybe there are some faithful Christians there, but they certainly don’t get any screen time.

  • allen

    The regulation of marriage by the State of who may marry whom is an intrusion into the rightful duties of the Family. Since we live in an imperfect world, I think the only justifiable intrusion would be regarding the number of people who may be married to each other – that would be two.

  • kerner

    allen:

    “I think the only justifiable intrusion would be regarding the number of people who may be married to each other – that would be two.”

    What distinguishes this intrusion from others? And do you think that the state ought to be able to intrude and prohibit siblings or 1st cousins or 14 year olds from marrying? What makes one intrusion acceptable and others not?

  • Anon The First

    FW,
    Many here believe the Bible to be true, and therefore homosexuality is a sin, one chosen by those whom God has removed the protection from, because of their hardening of their hearts in refusing to acknowledge God or give thanks to Him, and their insistence upon worshiping the creation instead of the Creator. We get that from the Bible, such as the first chapter of Romans, as well as a passage later on which says that homosexuals do not inherit the kingdom of heaven. Since we are Lutherans, and thus believe that Christ died for all (and that all really does mean all) that confirms the clear teaching of the Bible that it is a sinful choice rather than a genetic characteristic brought about by evolution or by God.

    I’m not sure how you can claim that the Bible doesn’t say that homosexuality is a sin. Perhaps you have not read the Bible, or recall what it says about the topic? That is the most charitable explanation.

    What sort of sin is it? It is one that people are only able to commit if they so reject God that He removes His protection from them in that area. I would imagine that is so as to wake them up that they might repent and be saved. It is one that is a blasphemy of the relationship between Christ and the Church. It is one that is intrinsically evil, rather than extrinsically evil. Heterosexual sin, for instance, is extrinsically evil. There are cases where heterosexual sex is not sin. It is an abomination to God, and it is one of the sins that God commanded the civil authorities of Israel to execute people for committing. It is against nature, natural law (I agree that natural philosophy while the best human philosophy that exists, is not as authoritative as the Bible), and it is against the moral codes of most societies throughout recorded history.

    Let God be true, and all others be shown liars, if need be.

    There is no such thing as a homosexual who is a Christian. That is uncontrovertible for those who believe the Bible. There are many who do not believe God and yet claim the authority to redefine the term “Christian”. They lack this authority, and it is intellectual dishonesty for them to claim it, bu then, some of them at least have “cast off all restraint” so that shouldn’t surprise us.

  • Don S

    Frank,

    Thank you for your gracious posts. I understand the point you are making about the Romans 1 passage (that you did not exchange your desires for a woman for those of a man, because you never had desire for a woman), though I don’t agree with that interpretation of the passage. I also don’t agree that I Cor. 6: 9-10 and I Tim. 1: 9-10 can be summarily dismissed as having nothing at all to do with homosexuality. The Leviticus passage explicitly cites homosexuality as being an abomination, and worthy of death. I don’t think you can simply put it in the category of a dietary or ceremonial regulation, superseded by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The law presented in the Old Testament (eg the ten commandments) is still in force, and condemns us to hell save for the atonement available to us by God’s grace through Christ. If you argue that Levitticus 18:22 doesn’t apply to Christians, would you also say that the very next verse (23) referring to mating with animals, also doesn’t apply? Since homosexuality is also referenced in the N.T., as I mentioned earlier, you bear a strong burden, in my opinion, to prove that homosexual acts are not a sin. But, again, these issues are things we all wrestle with, in various categories of sins and potential sins, and ultimately are between us and our Lord, individually.

    As for homosexual activism, in present day America, what are your thoughts concerning the methodology, i.e., outrageous displays of lasciviousness at so-called Gay Pride parades, etc? Why do you think the activist community chooses that “in your face” approach, and do you think it helps or hurts the advancement of the cause (presumably equality, whatever that means) that they support?

  • Michael the little boot

    tODD @ 49,

    Been outta the loop all weekend! I don’t have much to say in response to what you said, as I see your point. But I would like to offer my “outsider” perspective…

    The example from The Office you give is a good one. I would suggest that, even though it comes off as anger or hatred toward Christianity, it is only toward the character’s judgemental attitude that the negativity is directed. Personally, I don’t notice many other religions proselytizing as much as Christianity. Jews and Muslims will accept converts, but do not actively seek them. Most other religions don’t have a need to be judgemental to people’s faces (although I assume all of them are behind the scenes, only because we ALL seem to be, regardless of worldview). In fact, the two other religions that preach to nonbelievers as much as Christianity came from it: Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    It could be that some people are just sick of being judged by others for basically no definable reason, other than their opinions differ. Christians have been the majority in this country for so long that they believe they have the right to say whatever they want. Part of the negativity comes from the rest of us being in the minority for so long. That does not justify it, I agree. I’m not trying to defend the practice, just explain why it may be going on. I think it’s a little like reverse racism. And it DOES get in the way of people having a “live and let live” attitude. Although, the Christians who speak out do not come across as though they want to “live and let live.” So, as I said before, part of the negativity could come from the perception that we aren’t given the same consideration when we let Christians “live.”

    The only other blogs I’ve felt comfortable commenting on are Jim Pierce’s Law and Gospel blog (and there’s no Christian bashing going on there), and the blog for the Xbox live game Braid (quick plug: BEST GAME EVER!!!). The only “famous” blog I read is Pharyngula – though I’ve NEVER commented – and I will of course acknowledge there is no end of Christian bashing on that site. I read it for the science and the perspective. I do not participate in BASHING, as I like to dialog and do not consider that practice conducive to a discussion.

    We could go back and forth talking about movies that bash Christians. How about movies that bash atheists? They’re out there. I would suggest Hollywood is not the best example to give when talking about the “average” person. The average person in the US is a Christian, anyway. Most PEOPLE in the US do not bash Christians.

    I don’t see people like the Angela character as representative of Christians, but they do represent that TYPE of Christian. The judgemental people who think everyone should share their exact view of morality. I would be unable to say whether those types are the majority within your religion. I tend to think they are the most vocal, whether they represent what the average Christian believes or not.

    I don’t think of the “Christians” in power, though, as you suggest. “Many of them would be, to me, an example of the corruption of the world and its power, while you might see them as examples of Christians ruining the world.” I just see them as people ruining the world. I don’t let their religious views color my understanding that it is their greed and corruption causing them to do these things. In fact, many of them may think they are doing the “right” thing.

    Communication is difficult, though. I agree.

    Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum right back atcha!

  • fw

    #76 don

    “As for homosexual activism, in present day America, what are your thoughts concerning the methodology, i.e., outrageous displays of lasciviousness at so-called Gay Pride parades, etc? Why do you think the activist community chooses that “in your face” approach, and do you think it helps or hurts the advancement of the cause (presumably equality, whatever that means) that they support?”

    I would not be sure what “the cause” is either. Neither would any gay or lesbian that I know. Interesting huh? What would be the “heterosexual ” cause? That doesn´t make sense does it? Maybe you look at things through a framework that has been needlessly radicallized and polarized? Gays are no more or less unified in their wishes pursuits and ideas than the population at large.

    hmmm. madonna, britney spears, lord byron, ben franklin, sex in the city, strip joints, whore houses (here aren´t any gay ones of those as far as i know…) , sex clubs, makita power tool and beer ads and calendars that make women into mere sexual objects, hugh hefner, playboy, larry flynt and hustler magazine…. the “dating” section of “craigs list” in any small town here in america is sorta shocking…

    gay pride parades actually seem to be becoming more toned down over time in my perception…..

    I hope you get my point. You seem to suggest that there is some organized movement out there trying to gain social acceptance for gays and lesbians. some sort of “gay agenda” out there…. this probably looks about the same as the “hetersexual/hedonist” agenda. I would assume that it would be wrong to say that you and larry flynt and hugh hefner have the same agenda since you are all heterosexuals.

    to class people in a group and then assume that they are all the same is the fundamental hallmark of prejudice. As in “those black folks are all (fill in the blank)…” I am as different from another gay man or lesbian as you are from another heterosexual. even how I express my sexuality is very unique and different. just as it is for you and your wife and children.

    I think senses are dulled all around to societies depravity.

    to be completely honest:

    men tend to be very visual. They see something and are aroused sexually. Men like porno therefore. porno usually doesn´t interest women much. Men tend to objectify the object of their sexual interest. Women have been objectified, increasingly so, in this way for a very long time now.

    What is jarring, at a somewhat unconscious level, for heterosexual males, and is somewhat threatening, is to see males objectify other males in exactly the same way females are objectified. It is just that most of us are pretty numbed out due to the utter pervasiveness of women being objectified. Might be good to consider your gut reaction to seeing gay men objectify each other and reflect on just how that is different in moral character from the way women are objectified. You should probably be rather saddened at both sides of things. I assume in fact that you are.

    next time you men find yourself appreciatively oogling one of those makita power tool calendars, imagine it is your mother or daughter there….

    all of God´s children deserve much better. call me a prude….

  • fw

    #76 don

    wow you are so polite. thanks!

    “the Romans 1 passage … though I don’t agree with that interpretation of the passage.”

    Ok. I see romans one as where st paul talks about the idolatry of the pagans leading them to actually make idols of each other. idolatry squared. this is a setup for chapter two. Paul lays a trap. He has the jewish readers going “tell it Paul!” Paul describes crass idolatry in a way that a Jew would never ever be guilty of. Just like heterosexuals can really go to town over homosexuality because they know it is a sin they would not ever come close to committing…. then… Paul tells them that they are even worse in chapter two…. how would you disagree with that?

    “I also don’t agree that I Cor. 6: 9-10 and I Tim. 1: 9-10 can be summarily dismissed as having nothing at all to do with homosexuality.”

    the word “arsenokoitia” appears in only one place in all of contemporary greek literature of the time. there in I cor. etymology is risky (eg use etymology to parse the phrase “lady killer”,,,) the context is not helpful in that it is a list. in timothy the word “malakoi” can mean spiritually weak or lazy, or efeminate. there are alot of homos that are NOT efeminite, and alot of heteros who ARE efeminite. not sure if I would want to call a lisp or limp wrist , or a strong ability to accessorize sins.

    If THIS is the strongest passages you have to condemn homosexuality…. hmmm…

    ” The Leviticus passage explicitly cites homosexuality as being an abomination, and worthy of death.”

    First. this is not about homosexuality. It is about a heterosexual man turning another heterosexual man into a woman in sex. This does not look actually in any way like what a homosexual would want to do or have done to him. yuck. My reaction is yuck.

    the word abomination certainly sorta points to the idea of a super sin here. it would be interesting to do a word study of the underlying hebrew word for abomination throught the old testament. what you will find might surprise you…

    disobedient children are also worthy of death in the old testament, those who trespass on sacred ground, women who have sex with animals (both woman AND unwilling(?) animal are to be killed. Nothing about lesbian sex… adulterous women (men definitionally could not commit adultery in the OT). Generally Leviticus seems to prescribe temple sex practices of the tribes around them…

    I would be really really interested in your sure fire test of what would classify as civil , ceremonial or moral law in leviticus and the old testament. can you share with me please?

    Luther´s opinion is that leviticus was written for the jews.

    You did not mention the sodom and gomorrah story. this is “traditionally” (the last couple hundred years) as being about homosexuality. What is your take on that? would you say (along with most “conservative christians” ) that the sodom and gomorrah story describes me and my lifestyle and character?

    ” I don’t think you can simply put it in the category of a dietary or ceremonial regulation, superseded by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.”

    Ok. why is that? and again what are the rules for how to determine what is moral and what is ceremonial or civil law?

    ” The law presented in the Old Testament (eg the ten commandments) is still in force, and condemns us to hell save for the atonement available to us by God’s grace through Christ.”

    No. the 10 commandments were written for the Jews. We actually need to tweak the 3rd commandment about the sabbath to make it work for us christians. but it works as a neat summary of the moral law that is all repeated in the new testament.

    “If you argue that Levitticus 18:22 doesn’t apply to Christians, would you also say that the very next verse (23) referring to mating with animals, also doesn’t apply?”

    Yuck. sex with animals. Yuck. to answer your question, I would need to come up with some rule or guideline to let me know for sure what is civil vs ceremonial vs moral law. I am not sure that I would support your right to stone your disobedient children either. I hope you know that this does not mean I am a “sex-with-animal advocate. I just want to take the task of interpreting scripture with all seriousness….

    “Since homosexuality is also referenced in the N.T.”

    Where is that Don?

    “as I mentioned earlier, you bear a strong burden, in my opinion, to prove that homosexual acts are not a sin. ”

    fortunately my own opinion and yours are not all that important. the scriptures, alone, are what matter.

    in any court of law, the burden rests on the accuser, not on the accused. I feel no burden here. The Holy scriptures are on my side here.

    by the way, there is nothing alot worse as a sin than to call something a sin when it is not. great care must be exercised so as not to fall into the trap of the galatians. Offending one of the little ones who believe in Jesus and causing them to stumble or stop attending church by declaring sin where there is none is a serious matter. nothing could be more serious.

    I say your evidence would hold up in NO court of law.

    This does not mean that there is no moral law for me sexually. It means that the SAME laws and morals about sex applie to heterosexual and homosexual alike. There is no separate law and gospel for homos. You yourself pointed this out.

    there is not homosexual sin.

    there is simply sin. it is deadly. all of it.

    just for arguments sake, let´s say there is actually NOTHING in the bible that addresses homosexuality per se.

    where would that leave us? would it change anything?

    no.

    would it leave us in lawlessness?

    no.

    the SAME moral laws that apply to you as a heterosexual, no as a sinner and human being, would apply equally to me. Just as it does now.

    Would anything at all be lost?

    no.

    would the world be less moral?

    no.

    would the church´s moral stand be in ANY way compromised or weakened?

    no.

    so why is this a cause that makes people so very very agitated? why?

    Dear brother don. I hope I have succeded in being as polite and mild as you have been in your post. where I have failed I would beg your patience and forgiveness in advance. and I know you will grant me that. thanks!

  • fw

    #75 anon the first.

    first I want to say, I really like alot of your poetry.

    “FW,
    Many here believe the Bible to be true, and therefore homosexuality is a sin,”

    I believe the bible to not only be true but also spirit breathed and without error in the original text. therefore, and BECAUSE of that… I do not believe the Holy Scriptures say anything at all about homosexuality per se.

    I know that at the last day, I will need to give an account for how I have confessed the apostolic faith. I tremble knowing that I will not get it exactly right. But I do fear God too much to not be very very ernest about using scriptures for their sole intended purpose. which is to lead people to Jesus Christ. The entire and only purpose of any and all parts of the bible is to be a testimony to Jesus Christ.

    if you do not agree fully with this last statement, you are no Lutheran. so I assume that you do agree fully. And that we both agree that ONLY scriptures are to be considered an infallible guide to faith and what we are to believe as true.

    “There is no such thing as a homosexual who is a Christian. That is uncontrovertible for those who believe the Bible.”

    I am a homosexual. I am a christian. I have been baptised! I believe that Jesus has paid for my sins on the cross. I believe that I sin daily in thought, word and deed, but that I am fully forgiven for my daily sins and that , with God´s help, I will be useful to my neighbor and my love for God will increase. I receive Jesus actually body and blood weekly as a sure and certain evidence that my sins are personally forgiven by God for Jesus sake.

    You are telling me brother, that I am no christian.

    IF this is what you are telling me, (and I in christian charity must assume that I am totally misunderstanding you and that you are NOT saying this to me), then Satan is most certainly talking through you.

    I know that is strong language, but God is not the author of words that intend to cause any repentant sinner to doubt his salvation. Period. THIS is incontrovertable. Sealed with Jesus blood in fact.

    What do you mean by incontrovertible? that we can have no meaningful argument or discussion of this assertion of yours, based soley on Holy Scripture. Just what is your basis for this assertion “anon the first”?

    I take your post as being very sincere. I find nothing where you have stated your views in an offensive way. I do appreciate that.

    I just, with all do respect, do not believe that the Holy Scriptures agree with hardly anything you are saying and asserting to be “incontrovertible”.

    it would be great to have us respond to each other on the basis of “sola scriptura”. maybe you can respond to the posts where I have specifically addressed all the passages (there are 5) that have been said to deal with the topic of homosexuality.

    and ln peace let us pray to the Lord that our exchanges will be mild, humble and reflect sincere love and utmost respect for one other. Feel free to correct me where I stumble here in that!

  • fw

    #72 bryan

    ghettos exist for those parts of society that for whatever reason arent able to integrate with the rest of society. jewish and italian and greek ghettos have mostly disappeared. gay ghettos are disappearing very fast… most “gay” districts, even in san francisco are becoming homogenized (no pun intended).

    alot of the gay pbs stuff looks sorta like nostalgia to me nowadays… “queer eye for the straight guy” is gimmiky. the hosts are oh-so-”gay”. most gay men are more hopeless than most straight men at decorating or dressing themselves or accessorizing actually. but I like those programs because they make people less afraid of homos. even if they do advance some (rather hilarious and false) stereotypes.

    I live in brasil now. I am not really sure why sexual identity is such a big deal now in the usa. it is not in the rest of the world.

    i suspect that it is because what is unique to americans is that americans love to have everything standardized. windows, doors, containers, … you name it.

    we also assume we can do exactly the same with people… even though the fact is…God didnt make ANY two living organizms alike. not even “identical twins.”

    What this also means is that we have a compulsion or mania to label everything. we are not comfortable with things that do not fit neatly into a category. “liberal” “conservative” etc…..

    then we conveniently assume that the label IS the thing that is labeled.

    reality is usually alot messier and more challenging and complex….

    but many, if not most, find labeling and classifying and categorizing and stereotyping comforting at a profound level. it makes their world seem comprehendable and safer.

    it is ok not to know or understand something or be able to classify it in neat terms.

    this does not make one a relativist or someone who does not believe in absolutes. sometimes it results in holy awe and childlike wonderment at God´s creation.

  • Michael the little boot

    Don S @ 50,

    I’ve obviously missed a lot of what’s gone on since I smacked my snare the other day! Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum, indeed! There are a few things I take issue with, Don, in what you said @ 50, and I’d like to answer them, even though they may have been addressed in the later comments. Haven’t had time to go through them all yet…

    Speaking of beating a drum, Don, you bring up homosexuality out of nowhere! Wow. “Those who believe they are being treated unequally (let’s use homosexuals as an example) have determined that the tenets of traditional Biblical Christianity, when adhered to literally, cause society to discriminate against them.” Exactly! Which means (to the mature, thoughtful mind) that we must rethink either a) whether “traditional Biblical Christianity” actually DOES reject homosexuality as a lifestyle; or b) if Christianity DOES reject homosexuality as a lifestyle, whether it is incumbent upon citizens of a “free and democratic society” to reject that portion of Christianity, as we have rejected those who owned slaves or oppressed women.

    People have used your same tired arguments to reject the aforementioned abolition of slavery, as well as to continue withholding rights from women. These arguments have even been used to show why it is wrong for people of two different races to marry. These examples of discrimination have eventually been rejected, as many of us realize will happen with the unequal treatment homosexuals receive around the world. When we look back, it almost seems inevitable. Of course, it is not; it must be worked toward in order to be achieved. Many of us see it as a noble goal.

    Why do you reject homosexuality? Do you realize that the things talked about in the Bible were not the same as the relationships enjoyed now? Homosexuality as a LIFESTYLE didn’t exist then. It was not allowed out in the open. “Relations” between people of the same sex occurred, no doubt; but relations are different than a relationship.

    Also, if you’re going to use the OT defense, I must ask: do you accept it all, or pick and choose? If the former is the case, I can see why you have so much animosity toward homosexuality; if it is the latter, I guess I must wonder why you “pick” to observe the laws about sexual purity, then reject others. I’d want to know your criteria for doing so. Not making accusations, since I don’t have your info. I’m just asking.

    I also take issue with this statement: “Finally, they want the institution of marriage, which has always, in history, been a union of a man and a woman, for the purpose of procreation, to apply equally to any random pairing of two people, whatever feels good and right to them.” Not to put too fine a point on it, but I feel compelled to ask: do you ever have sex with your wife for reasons OTHER than procreation? I assume you’re married, so correct me if I’m wrong. Using procreation as a reason to reject homosexuality is specious if you don’t also apply it across the board. Or do you side-step it by saying procreation must AT LEAST be possible? If so, what do you do about couples who are unable to conceive?

    “Is it so unreasonable that those of us who think there is value in the traditions of thousands of years, and in the tenets of a faith which has been the primary influence in the world for millenia [sic], to fight back against these attacks on society and order, as we know it?” Yes. You assume that your “traditions” are not just that, but are, in fact, THE TRUTH. So don’t misrepresent yourself for the sake of argument. And these are not attacks on society and order, but on the perception that YOUR definition of these terms is right merely by virtue. As I’ve said before: we live in a pluralist society. You benefit from this in that you are not forced to follow a religion you wish not to follow. Just because Christianity dominated western society in the past does not mean it gets a free pass in the future. This is a different world, and Christianity must not assume it will be viewed as it has been. Most of us are not comfortable with the type of oppression you’re talking about.

    “No one is saying that homosexuals are not equal to other people.” Not exactly, but I’ll get back to this. “What we are saying is that traditions have value, and promoting certain values over others, as a society, is legitimate.” You’re right. And we’re now in a time where, more and more, the average person does not see the old values as something to be promoted. Many of us are trying to grow past the old prejudices. As a society, we are starting to lean toward the side of marital equality for everyone, regardless of which gender one finds attractive.

    “Every person is treated equally, in that they are entitled to marry someone of the opposite sex.” Which means those who are not attracted to the opposite sex are out of luck. You say they are free to couple with whomever they wish, but they can only call it marriage if they couple with someone of the opposite sex. Sounds like “separate but equal” to me. And we, as a society, have rejected that notion.

    I must say, I’m happy that in my state (California), the Supreme Court has recognized the public does not have the right to legislate discrimination.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    God’s design of sexuality is the one flesh union of the husband (male) with his wife (female) – Gen. 1:27; Gen. 2:24-25; Mark 10:6-9.

    Can there even be a one flesh union of this kind (technically even) between two people of the same sex. Of course they can love one another and be the best of friends and want to be there for one another when they exhale their dying breaths, but technically trying to get together sexually is the “unnatural” part of it. The husband and the wife can be one in a way that a man and a man, or a woman and a woman just cannot be. I’m not denying the fact that they can certainly try. I wouldn’t even legislate that they can’t (because wouldn’t that be a funny thing to try to enforce?). There are lots of things folks can do to make it seem to work, but naturally there is a Biblical and “natural” truth here that the homosexual seems to me to be working against. This is nothing to say about whether he chose to sin in this way or inherited this work or “unnatural rebellion” (how’s that for a double negative?) through good ol’ ma and pa.

    fw, what are your thoughts regarding these Biblical truths.

    By the way not trying to be obtuse with you, I know that you are in Christ, for which I give thanks, and I appreciate your desire to stick to God’s Word (not sure about some of your arguments about some of the other passages, but I will look into them as I have time).

  • Michael the little boot

    fw,

    Read a little more. Oops. You pretty much said everything I said. Except for the comments which could only have been made by a nonbeliever. Those were definitely made by me.

    Roll over, London!

  • fw

    #83 Bryan

    “There are lots of things folks can do to make it seem to work, but naturally there is a Biblical and “natural” truth here that the homosexual seems to me to be working against.”

    Every gay man and lesbian is the product of a heterosexual union. I don´t think homosexuals are trying to deny the law or gravity, or the fact that only heterosexual sex can result in babies or that penis and vagina seem to be a natural fit. Whoever do you know that would deny these simple and obvious facts or would feel that there is a way to negate them as facts? maybe I am missing your point. about 95% of all gays made a decisive and insistent choice about their sexuality. they all chose to be heterosexual. they then tried for most of their life to be heterosexual. I am one of those. many tried to cut a deal with God by getting married (very selfish and sinful to do that!), or become a priest or nun or pastor.

    I agree that God created society, starting with adam and eve. the idea was beyond the union of male and female. the purpose was to create brothers and sisters and bakers and policemen and pastors and all the people needed by every human. “it is not good for man to be alone”. Right there is God´s clearly stated and simple purpose for creating male and female and giving them a sex drive. I have a full part in that society even if I am , by virtue of being a homo, denied a part in the specific vocation of procreation. we are all imbued by our creator with a natural desire to not be alone, to be with someone, to be a part of family and society. this is maybe even stronger than the sex drive God also imbued us with for the purpose of creating that society that is the basis for all first article gifts we receive.

    the formation of families through the bond and union of men and women is the foundational creation for all of society and God´s governing of the civil estate. it is part of the civil, not the religious order. it IS the VERY foundation of that civil order.

    by definition, the institution of marriage cannot be overthrown, any more than the law of gravity can be overthrown.

    but it can be perverted. and this can only be done by men and women. marriage in the biblical sense simply doesnt exist outside of the union of a man and woman. therefore, by definition, only heterosexual men and women can present a threat to the institution. make sense?

    two homos can CALL what they have marriage for legal reasons, and get alot of people all hot and bothered. Their calling their union marriage does not affect in ANY way what men and women do and will continue to do. I challenge anyone here to dispute this simple fact. I say. lets call the civil legal contractual component something other than “marriage” and let ANYone get a license to make THAT social contract with anyone else.

    let real marriage ceremonies between men and women happen in churches and keep the government OUT of that part.

    gay “marriage” or “marriage” between two brothers or two sisters or two friends, could exist in a civil sense. There is no word of god against this.

    civil marriage in history has rarely reflected the full biblical meaning that is a reflection of the relation between Christ and his church. sadly it as often been more about securing social position and property rights and forming aliances for material ends…..polygamy was uncomentably normal in ot times. rape was about a property rights violation. women had NO sexual volition at all.

    I don´t see how gays or others calling what they do “marriage” is really a threat to anything I know of. Mormons call what they do “baptism”. it is most certainly NOT! Only the christian church is commissioned to baptize and therefore only THEY truly do in IN THE NAME of father, son and holy spirit. Mormon baptism , even though they use the sound of the words naming the trinity is of no effect. it is null and void. so I put an modifier in front of their baptism. I call their baptism “mormon baptism.” voila! no problem. you can call gay marriage “civil marriage” voila!

    gays are not trying to assert that THEIR marriage is EXACTLY identical to hetero marriage. That would be rather silly and in deep denial of biology 101 now would it not? NO one I know is denying those basic and obvious facts. all gays are really trying to obtain is exact civil parity. that their social contract is , LEGALLY , treated identically to anyone elses social contract that is currently called marriage.´

    last time I checked, marriage is not considered to be a sacrament by Lutherans. The term “holy matrimony” borrowed from the anglicans is probably an unwise construct and is unbiblical. Marriage IS holy. It is however holy in the exact same way as any OTHER vocation… plumber, soldier, politician, even ..gasp ! attorney….for liturgical and churchly purposes the adjective “holy” should probably be reserved for things sacramental and/or reserved and set apart in service for the holy gospel. Probably this unthinking liturgical borrow has cause some of the mischief over all this.

    Finally i see a logical fallacy here… I am not sure i will be up to identifying it. God´s creation of a normative pattern in creation means something for sure. what it does NOT mean is that any deviation from that norm is evil or wrong or sinful. just where is THAT doctrine in the bible? help me out here in articulating or exploring this…

    God´s norm is to create all humans with two legs. If someone is born with only one leg, it is does not war against nature or natures God to use a prothetic or otherwise make the best of a situation. it is probably a good and gracious gift of God in relieving the suffering of someone who cannot walk. it is NOT the same as having two legs. it is in many ways not as good, but it is better than thinking it would be wrong to try to make things as close to the ideal of God´s creation as is possible under the circumstances yes?

    Further, I am not at all sure that an unfallen world would not have albinos, or birth “defects” such as the blind or deaf. or gays. Maybe the problem is our perception and our pitting the idea of “perfect” against the idea of “good”. maybe that idea of perfect is a result of the fall.

    I base this on when jesus was asked if a birth defect was the result of sin, of parent or child. Jesus said it was not because if sin. It was so that God would be glorified. Maybe my homosexuality is the same deal?

  • fw

    #83 bryan

    Now bryan, I have extolled the virtues and benefits of marriage between a man and a woman. I could go on for pages and pages as to how wonderful marriage is and what a blessing it is to society. I have also said everyone is born with a social drive and a desire to pair off and bond and not be alone.. and that this drive might even be stronger than the sex drive which was put into us to create society as you have stated (procreation…).

    doesn´t it seem quite predictable and even , well…. natural, that those who are definitionally denied the blessings of male/female union would try to do whatever they could to approximate as closely as possible that institution to not be completely denied all the blessings of that?

    Just exactlyu as someone missing a leg or hearing or sight would naturally try everything to approximate what a “normal” person is blest to enjoy.

    Would this pursuit really be an attempt to declare one leg + prothesis to be equal to or as good as a having two legs? How is this a threat to the natural order? Does it not rather CONFIRM the goodness of the natural order of things?

    should we then oppose protheses as unnatural and therefore evil and an overthrow of the natural order of things?

    isn´t it a good thing to relieve human suffering? imagine the blessings and joys you would have missed had no not been allowed to get married?

    help me out here.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    fw, you said: “about 95% of all gays made a decisive and insistent choice about their sexuality. they all chose to be heterosexual. they then tried for most of their life to be heterosexual. I am one of those. many tried to cut a deal with God by getting married (very selfish and sinful to do that!), or become a priest or nun or pastor.”

    Perhaps our society has encouraged these responses? Obviously they are sinful responses and would be terrible counsel. What about finding greater meaning and self-fulfillment in vocations that are not so focused on sexual identity? It seems that many people want the homosexual to put their sex under investigation for the rest of their lives. Perhaps if we investigated the other vocations which match each persons unique personality, but no, we have clubs at nearly every university for GLBTs to go and get GLBT support, if they want spiritual support, well we’ve got churches for that which will affirm all lifestyle choices. Yes, its becoming more normal, yes, I see that. I am the Christian fundamentalist freak who talks about God’s created order. It seems a lot more easy to me to defend homosexuality in our day than it is to defend God’s design for sexuality. As you have pointed out before, other sins like divorce, shacking up, hooking up, youth being taught that oral sex doesn’t count, along with a media culture that jumps to paint mothers and especially fathers as out of touch, insensitive jerks, all rail against this one flesh union and the created order. You have in the past tried to distance yourself from this sinful culture. But when the subject turns to sex, you seem to want to make the Bible defend same sex unions. I don’t get how you, especially, would want to do that. I just don’t get the purpose of your arguments on this topic. Do you just want the Church and especially Lutherans to be more sensitive to the plight of folks like you? Well that’s great. I’m totally with you there. But if the point is to say that the Bible has nothing to say that is helpful for a sexually confused culture in dealing with this topic, well, I must respectfully disagree.

    By the way, I don’t buy the argument that folks trying to attempt same sex unions is similar to a boy born with a stump for a leg trying to use whatever means to walk. I think we need to search for a better analogy.

  • allen

    kerner @#74

    Thanks for the reminder. Yes, regulation of age and co-sanguinity for marriage are also justifiable intrusions by the State into the rightful duties of the Family. There are objective state interests at stake there; protecting the interest of those too young to give informed consent; protecting public health(or the gene pool, or whatever it’s supposed to be – I know – it sounds lame – and states have different rules in this matter – but there it is). Likewise, we know from arithmetic what kind of social ills result from polygamy; too many single men. The State has a right to keep that to a minimum.

    So, that’s three justifiable intrusions. So far.

  • fw

    #87 bryan

    “I just don’t get the purpose of your arguments on this topic. ”

    some posit the topíc of homosexuality as some sort of option or philosophical or political or religious “position” or opinion.

    People like me have just found themselves to be in a situation that they did not ask for and tried for years to be in denial of.

    We are just trying to make sense of it all and make the best of things.

    we want to be productive and well adjusted members of our church, our families, our communities and be kind and learn to integrate what we have been given to deal with sexually since age 3 or 4 with all the other parts of who we are.

    “lifestyle choices”. wow. I am not sure what that means in my life´s context. just how do you imagine that my “lifestyle choice” differs from your own bryan? how do you imagine that my life looks different than yours? how much of that do you imagine was because of a choice I made? chosing to be heterosexual or get married did not turn out to be an option for me…. so….?

    i want and long for probably all the things you do. i don´t claim to have all the answers or even most of them.

    “by the way, I don’t buy the argument that folks trying to attempt same sex unions is similar to a boy born with a stump for a leg trying to use whatever means to walk. I think we need to search for a better analogy.”

    I am not asking you to “buy into” anything at all bryan. It seems that you are puzzled because you are expecting me to try to win some argument. I am trying to do nothing of the sort. the truth requires no defense. I am trying merely to give you a window into how one christian homosexual has tried to make some sense of his situation. that is really ALL I am trying to do. You can see that I have give things ALOT of thought. it would be helpful for you to disagree with me actually. and to state exactly why you disagree. maybe there are things I have overlooked in my thinking. entirely possible.

    That analogy about the missing leg, by the way, was offered as description, not as an argumentative point or to win some sort of argument.

    the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that it does in fact represent the motivation of most gays and lesbians who seek to pair off and be monogamous with someone. we long for all the things you and every other human longs for. a desire to be a part of, to find our significant other. I DO believe that we are created in such a way that “it is not good for man to be alone.” and I do not see how i could get from the bible that this would only apply to heterosexuals….

    help me out here bryan. forgive me if I am a little slow… or dense…. seriously…

  • fw

    #87 bryan

    would be interested to know exactly where you find my leg analogy to be deficient. thanks!

  • Anon The First

    If someone willingly refuses to repent of sin, that person has turned his or her back upon their baptism, and is not willing to die with Christ to that sin, and thus rise with Christ. Such a person is in mortal sin and must be brought to repentance through the preaching of the Law and then through the office of the keys, lest they be damned for the sin they insisted on living in. This is the plain testimony of Scripture. To claim that I’m not Lutheran because I believe the Bible is perverse. In all sorts of ways.

    It is plain that the Holy Bible does condemn homosexality as a great evil, a blasphemy, an abomination. To deny that when it is so plain is the work surely of the one who said “Did God really say? Such a one is no reliable source of information of the Bible.

    Such a wilfully unrepentant person profanes the Body and Blood of Christ by receiving it in that condition. A pastor granting communion to a publically willfully unrepentant sinner is commiting a grave sin.

    This is not unique to me, this is the teaching of the Church, East, West and Lutheran. It is the teaching of the undivided Church, and of the Bible.

    When a person claims that something so very straightforward doesn’t mean what it says, very little can be said to that one, for such a one will simply continue to deny the obvious, since that is an act of the will, not a matter of exegesis.

    Repent and believe, and you will indeed be forgiven. Totally, completely. But if you do not, there is no other sacrifice for sins. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God, for our God is a consuming fire.

    To distort Scripture attempting to lead people astray is a very serious matter. We all know that is what you are doing, fw. The whole Church stands united in this, as does Scripture. You know this. Have you come to believe the lie you propound the way Satan did when he fell?

    Claiming that the telling of the Word of God to you, Law and Gospel, is of Satan, well, that is a perilous thing to do, for there really is a God.

    I don’t really even know where to begin with you other than to rebuke you in the Name of Jesus.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anon (@91), the best construction I can put on what you said is that you’ve truly failed to understand what FW has said. Words mean something, and from what I’ve read, FW has gone out of his way to make sure we’re all on the same page. I don’t remember you taking him up on that and engaging in that discussion (though hopefully you at least read through what he said). As such, you probably aren’t communicating very well with him, but instead relying on definitions — note, not Biblical definitions of concepts, but merely English understandings of what words mean — that you do not share with him. Things go downhill from there.

    Now, think very carefully here: of what sin are you accusing FW? Think very carefully. Is it of being a homosexual? Then you should remind us exactly what passages you’re thinking of in which God condemns someone for being a homosexual.

    Myself, I do not think that I could accuse FW of a sin from this discussion — though he is, of course, sinful, and readily admits as much. I do think you’re on shaky ground yourself, though, with your pronouncement that FW is “attempting to lead people astray”.

    I have doubts as to whether my opinion is of any value to you, so instead ask yourself why Pastor Lindemood, who is also engaged in this discussion, has not seen fit to make statements such as you have, but instead is engaged in a discussion with FW. A discussion that, I think most would agree, is loving and Christ-centered and a model for such discussions. Note that Pastor Lindemood does not necessarily agree with everything FW is saying. And yet their discussion continues.

  • BKW

    Wow. Anon The First – what a truly ugly representation of Christianity. But, I’m sure others here agree with you.

  • BKW

    How sad.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    fw, I’m sorry, but I find if kinda funny that you keep pointing out catchphrases that I sort of cringe at their inadequacy when I type them. This one “lifestyle choice” I think is just one I’ve heard the “gay community” like on PBS use before.

    Anyway, as a married man, I find the stump-for-a-leg analogy so deficient because for me to logically take it through to the conclusions my mind wants to make with it would leave just such a chasm for my wife to try to bridge in her own sexuality. Do I need to say more or is this enough for you to understand my critique?

    And I think what I’m trying to get at here is an important aspect in the created order that God has given to female-to-male sexuality.

  • fw

    #95 bryan

    dear brother bryan..

    I think the “lifestyle” word is probably used more by heteros to try to describe being gay as being some sort of wierd choice as in whether to buy a timeshare or not… What does the “hetero lifestyle” look like. We can agree that this is sorta of a wierdness with whoever uses the term or terms like it (eg “gay agenda”. what would a “heterosexual agenda” look like??!!) .

    It is actually post modernism in full bloom I would suggest. using a word with ill-defined meaning for solely the effect of the emotional content and response, or to rally the political masses with pure emotion devoid of any true content.

    I see now, maybe, your problem with the stump analogy. I sense that you are thinking of the sex act. I am thinking about everything ELSE about your relationship and not what you two do for sex in bed. Correct me if I am not on track with you….

    again, think of your sexuality before you went through puberty. yes you were sexual long long before you could have sex. think of the puppy loves you had, the surprises and discomforts you experienced in finding that you were a sexual being (pre-puberty). It was a huge part of defining and shaping who you were and are today.

    Again, when gays talk about all this, sex acts are a very small part of what they want to discuss and describe. heteros, especially the religious ones for some reason, have a really hard time getting past imagining what happens in bed.

    imagine someone daring to reduce, in as crass terms as would be possible, your entire relation to your wife down to what you two do in bed. make your wife seem more like prostitute or worse, rather than anything that is the object of love or a shared life. and imputes all this as the primary motive for your union. Wouldn´t you be rather insulted? would it not be very hard to talk to someone, especially in the presence of your wife, to someone who would refer to your bond to your wife in these terms? you would feel robbed of dignity I suspect and reduced to something less than human. as would be also your wife.

    maybe you do need to say more.

    NO one is denying the importance of the union of male and female. It is so very fundamental, the sex drive God put into each of us… as well as the (possibly) stronger drive to become a “part of” the life of a significant other and of the greater society and of family.

    if this “not-good-to-be-alone”-ness is part of the VERY nature of mankind. to the extent that in a GOOD world pre fall this was the ONE thing that was NOT good. If this is a very part of the essence of what it is to be a man. that craving to NOT be alone….

    it would in fact support the idea of the importance of male/female bonding, and not diminish it in any way to see those who are not able to enjoy the blessings of all that try their very best, naturally, to come as close to realizing those blessings as possible. (Most of those blessings are not about what one does for sex in bed i would assert. correct me if you disagree here…..). this would be natural and predictable.

    “Exceptions do not overthrow a rule, they confirm that a rule does in fact exist.” the rule is heterosexual unions.

    exceptions to that rule in the form of gay unions do nothing to threaten the idea that the rule is what it is…. quite the opposite….think… on the one hand gays are portrayed as pure hedonists of the gay pride parade variety, and at the same time gays are perceived as even MORE threatening to social order when they clamor and fight to have a legally recognized monogamous union and try to blend into society in that way. Wouldn´t it be great to see heteros fighting against divorce and it´s evils with the same fervor?

    You don´t see any cognitive dissonance here? I do.

    “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

    I would, saying this, cautioning STRONGLY against supposing that gay and lesbian couples try to mimic hetero relationships in one assuming a passive female role and the other assuming a dominant male role. It simply doesn´t look or work that way.

    Gays, when they pair, do NOT try to have a female role and a male role in their relationships normally. gay men want to be with another man and not with a woman. ditto for lesbians.

    Occasionally you will see what seems to be gender roles in gay relationships, but i would point out that often as well in hetero relationships, the woman is seen as “wearing the pants” in the relationship. there can be no general conclusions drawn from any of this. I would simply ask you to take my word for this if it doesn´t make sense to you at the moment.

  • fw

    #95 bryan

    maybe let´s try this in a theological way to try for a cognitive breakthrough here.

    when christ describes himself as the bridegroom and the church as his bride, what content comes to mind about that relationship. how would sex or the sex act enter into that as you meditate on that metaphor?

    marriage is so very very much more than sex. it is about relationships. relationships and society and intimate union are the essence of marriage. sex is not. sex is means not end.

    sex is a means to an end. it was put into man in fact after his creation. it will be removed in the new creation. there there will be no marriage or sex. male or female. the bible is clear on this. this is why:

    Sex is not a part of man´s essence. Sex, for man, unlike beasts, was given to man to address the need that is a part of the very essense of mankind. that essence means that it is not good for man to be alone. as to his very essence. maybe a reflection of the union the holy trinity enjoys, and therefore an essential part of the image of god that is in man. something that very profound. it is about society and creation of society. Vocation is ALL about this. Vocation is to be God-like and reflect His image. Sanctification. it is about union with others. it reflects (as moon to sun) the divine union of father, son and holy spirit.

    female was not created for male for the purpose of the male getting his rocks off on a regular basis is what I am saying. it is about fellowship and society and intimate union. like the ripples of rock thrown into pond it is, inseparably, about much more than just one man and one woman.

    so it IS about procreation, about the larger society, yet it also IS about that smaller society of two humans and the un-aloneness that their physical bond creates. but the stated and specific purpose for ALL of it is that God stated that an ESSENTIAL part of being human is that humans are hardwired to not be good to be alone.

    I would suggest that this “not-good-to-be-alone” is an even stronger drive than the sex drive. it is not a drive. it is simple part of what it means to be human way beyond what sex is.

    call it the “social drive”.

    it is not put into us as was the sex drive “be fruitful and multiply” AFTER our creation. it was described by God as a very part of our essence prior to the existence of a sex drive or sex or male/femaleness.

    it is only natural that gays, like any other humans, would be driven by this and would act out on this.

    it should be expected as a predictable outcome of being human. it is about the very essence of being human.

    so gay and religious heteros are both wrong. to reduce being human to sex or sexuality is to dehumanize. sex is (to use aristotilian terms) an accident. It will be removed from human kind in the new creation. the need to be in intimate union and communion with another human and humans is of the essence. THIS part is what gays long for. exactly as any other human.

    does this make sense?

  • fw

    #95. bryan

    dear brother. you have helped me formulate in words in my post #97 something I have been struggling to express for a few years now. thanks.

    I hear that you are a Lutheran pastor. I would be very interested in having you vet what I have written to help me see if what I am thinking is true to Holy Scripture.

    Thanks!

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I guess I do need to say more. In my questioning of the stump analogy I wasn’t only making reference to the sex act.

    Of course I know that the one flesh union (Bible quotes given above in both Old and New Testaments, and by Christ, no less) is more than a sex act.

    But by this stumpy analogy what I hear you saying is something like this: The boy is born with a stump for a leg and he sees all his friends, family members, and all of society walking in a certain way which he is unable. He longs to walk as his father walks and as his friends walk. So he goes to the doctor, sees specialists, learns a great deal about the different options of how he may be able to walk with a prosthetic or something and then he avails himself of these services and his learning and viola, he’s walking! This is awesome and its great for the boy! Way to go! Good job!

    Now, I can imagine myself in this analogy in your position. But for the life of me I don’t understand where your “partner” would see himself in the analogy except for in your exact same position. In this analogy there is no human complimentary position to the intimacy longed for. I imagine that neither you nor your partner would want to be the doctor or the clinician or the prosthetic in this analogy. I don’t think me or my wife would either. It just doesn’t translate to the human intimacy that is marriage. This is why this analogy (in my view) is such a terrible one for what I am talking about being a one flesh union between two completely different people coming together in all aspects of life and intimacy.

    Your “its not good to be alone” response is interesting, but God answered that in a specific way for marriage, thus creating (procreation comes in here) society. But then marriage isn’t the only option for those who feel alone (and thus solving many of our problems of aloneness on other levels – and not needing to talk about sex acts at all – I know its not all about sex acts). I would be much more willing to “vet” #97 (which I am a little unclear what you’re asking, perhaps you could clarify) if you would acknowledge that you are at least trying to get what I’m trying to say about the uniqueness of the created order of the one flesh union and that any good analogy is going to have to have a lover and a beloved with equal understanding and respect for the other.

    And by the way, this (in my view) is why the “Christ and His Bride” analogy of God’s word is such a beautiful thing for you and me. He is willing to give everything, even sacrifice himself for her (your and my) well-being.

    Does this clarify what I was saying before?

  • Anon The First

    BKW, do you then also find the Bible – the whole Bible not just Marcion-like extractions – to be ugly?

    I said clearly that all who repent will be completely and totally forgiven. That is ugly?

    That there is God’s Law, flowing from His character, which we sin against, and thus are guilty, that is ugly?

    That we need to repent lest we endure justice ourselves, that is ugly?

    That Jesus died in our place so that we don’t -have- to bear justice ourselves, that is ugly?

  • fw

    #99 bryan

    “I would be much more willing to “vet” #97 (which I am a little unclear what you’re asking, perhaps you could clarify) if you would acknowledge that you are at least TRYING to get what I’m trying to say about the uniqueness of the created order of the one flesh union and that any good analogy is going to have to have a lover and a beloved with equal understanding and respect for the other.” (emphasis mine.)

    I am not only TRYING to get what you say. I agree with what you say and think I do fully understand it. what in what I have written would suggest otherwise dear brother?

    Keep in mind bryan that (1) I was raised as a confessional lutheran christian. i still am one. (2) I, as with all other gay men and women, have spent our entire lives in close and intimate proximity to heterosexual couples. We have studied them with more than usual and conscious attention because we realized it would make life FAR easier if we could follow that path… in fact ALL of us are the products of such a union.

    How many gay men or women or couples have you been able to study and understand up close in that way? Gay men and women do have a certain “leg up” over heterosexuals therefore you might suppose in understanding both sides of the human experience we are discussing.

    by vetting, I am really asking if there is anything you see in my post #97 that would be contrary to holy scriptures as far as you can see?

    You talk as though I am gay perhaps because i simply don´t “get” the concept of a union between a man or woman. How is that even possible? The world I exist in is a heterosexual one.

    you did a great and patient job of explaining why the stump analogy is deficient. I agree. I will search for a better one. try to see beyond the analogy to my point.

    marriage (and sex) are means to and end. they are not ends unto themselves. The benefits of marriage both within society and as a vocation serving society can probably not be extolled sufficiently.

    those benefits touch to the very essence of humankind. marriage, sex and gender are means, important means to treat the social need that is a part of the human essence. that human essense remains in gays as well, even though the normal (no quotes here around normal!) means are not available to gays. it overthrows nothing of God´s order to partially cure that need by other means. this is in violation of none of God´s commandments.

    I do not agree that all the benefits of marriage can be had in other forms. (“But then marriage isn’t the only option for those who feel alone “).

    example:

    The traditional christian and biblical view and practice, going back apostolic times, was that divorcees should remain single and celebate.

    My observation is this idea crumbled not out of theological necessity but rather out of practical necessity.

    divorcees were traditionally in more or less the same boat gays are in. Maybe I am suggesting that the church should respond in like kind to homosexuals.

    I am not sure what I think on that at this point.

  • fw

    #99 bryan

    “I would be much more willing to “vet” #97 (which I am a little unclear what you’re asking, perhaps you could clarify) if you would acknowledge that you are at least TRYING to get what I’m trying to say…”

    you are saying that the one flesh union of a man and woman is unique and cannot be duplicated.

    I fully agree. what is it you feel that I am missing in my understanding dear brother? are you suspecting there is some shoe in the background waiting to be dropped.

    feel free to assume that I, as a 52 year old confessional lutheran from the midwest who lived most of my life daily under the same roof and around many male-female-one-flesh-unions fully “get” what you are telling me.

    maybe ask questions to try to ferret out where you suspect that maybe I don´t get it. or to confirm that in fact I fully DO “get” all you are telling me.

  • fw

    #99 bryan

    are you thinking that if I DID truly “get” it , that i would be heterosexual and not homosexual? is that what I am hearing?

  • BKW

    Anon The First said:

    “There is no such thing as a homosexual who is a Christian. ”

    “I don’t really even know where to begin with you other than to rebuke you in the Name of Jesus.”

    You have no right to judge another, and that is what you are doing. But, of course, you won’t see it that way.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    fw, I also appreciate your patience with me. And I don’t think our sin problem is curable through some measure of finally “getting it”. I personally know that to be true.

    I just didn’t think you were understanding my criticism of that analogy. I now see that you do more.

    It just seemed to me before that you were saying that 2 gay men (or 2 lesbian women) could have that same one-flesh union with one another. Perhaps I was assuming too much from your arguments.

    In regards to how many folks I have been able to be close enough to study their sexuality, well, very few. I don’t think I would be able to say that I’ve even really gone to the depths of that with folks I have counseled about sexuality, about which I try to be very Biblical, but also very sensitive because I know how volatile this topic can be to folks and their faith (though I do try to be as direct as I can with folks and their practical questions). You might not think of Salt Lake City as the best place to think through and practice some of these pastoral considerations, but then your assumptions would probably be wrong.

    I know what God’s Word has to say (as I know you do too) and I know myself and my marriage with my wife. I too have my parents imperfect marriage as an example, but really very few others whose sexuality has been anything that I would want to say I had ever been close to.

    I certainly also remember those formative adolescent years and how confusing a time that was for me – perhaps the road I have traveled has been more confusing than others too, who knows, I only know myself that well.

    I’m not assuming that you have to get it and then become non-homosexual. You are who you are and I understand that what is good for the soul of one homosexual might destroy the faith of another.

    I also firmly believe that real pastoral soul-care is damn near impossible through blogging. For this each Christian should speak to their own pastor.

    I will look at post 97 again to see if anything is contrary to Scripture and also what lines up with God’s Word, but I’m going to have to do that later. Until then…

  • kerner

    allen:

    I guess my problem with your reasoning is that the reasons you present as objective justification for government intrusion into the realm of the family do, in fact, sound a little lame. And most of them could be used to justify prohibiting homosexual marriage.

    For example, you admit that the prohibition on marriage between close relatives varies from state to state and is based on protecting health or the gene pool or whatever. It can be argued that homosexual activity is unhealthy. On the other hand, gays would argue that marriage is not about procreation as marriage is about a whole lot more than sex, and only a tiny percentage of sex actually results in procreation under any circumstances. You could even argue that the Egyption Pharaohs got by all right with consanguinous unions, or that the the chances of birth defects from such unions is not that much greater than among children born of middle aged parents.

    You could argue that parents (as legal guardians) make decisions for their children in other areas, so why not let parents contract marriages for their post pubescent children? (historically, many societies have done this). You could even argue that lesbian marriages contibute to the “too many single males” problem that you use to justify anti-polygamy rules.

    Just to be clear, I’m not arguing that any of these practices should be the law. I’m just saying that it is really arbitrary for you to say that state regulation of who may marry whom is an inappropriate intrusion by the state into the realm of the family when the state prohibits homosexual marriage, but that the intrusion is ok when it is based on these other things.

    I think that our laws as to who may marry whom are all based in our morality as a culture, much of which, but not all, comes from New Testament teaching on this subject. Nobody had a problem with that foundation until recently. But if you are going to throw one rule out on the grounds that this subject is none of the government’s business, then I think you are very hard pressed to have any rules at all.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    fw, you wrote in #97: “marriage is so very very much more than sex. it is about relationships. relationships and society and intimate union are the essence of marriage. sex is not. sex is means not end.”

    Here I wonder if you are arguing against a straw man here. I agreed with you that relationships are about much more (and much less) than sex; especially Christ’s relationship with His bride, the church (including you and me). But that one flesh union is, I would argue, also largely about sex (you seem to be underplaying that idea in my opinion). Besides the order of creation verses I have cited before, I would also point to Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well. We don’t know that she had, in the eyes of society, “married” each man, but we do know that in the eyes of God she had. Why? Because they had sex.

    Would you agree with this line of thought: Sex is about relationships. There can be no relationships without sex (I mean, without sex, who are you going to have around to have a relationship with?). For my wife and myself, sex has been (even unexpectedly so) all about relationships and literally creating new ones which we would never have even dreamed of with our children. Sex does bring an end and in fact a very good end which is society itself (including you and me – which God planned even if our parents did not).

  • Bryan Lindemood

    fw, you wrote in #97, “sex is a means to an end. it was put into man in fact after his creation. it will be removed in the new creation. there there will be no marriage or sex. male or female. the bible is clear on this.”

    I’m not so sure on this one. I agree that God’s Word (because of Jesus’ own clear teaching) is clear that there will be no marriage in heaven. I don’t know whether or not there is sex in the new creation (not the act – the different sexual beings – male and female. The Bible is clear that Male and Female make no difference to God in terms of His Justifying work for us in Christ, but I don’t think that translates to sexless beings in the new creation. Maybe it does, but I don’t know a Bible passage you would use to prove this is God’s view. I wonder why you make this point. It may be important to you, but if we know it won’t be about marriage in the afterlife, then why does this even matter?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    fw, you wrote in #97, “Sex is not a part of man´s essence. Sex, for man, unlike beasts, was given to man to address the need that is a part of the very essense of mankind. that essence means that it is not good for man to be alone. as to his very essence. maybe a reflection of the union the holy trinity enjoys, and therefore an essential part of the image of god that is in man. something that very profound. it is about society and creation of society. Vocation is ALL about this. Vocation is to be God-like and reflect His image. Sanctification. it is about union with others. it reflects (as moon to sun) the divine union of father, son and holy spirit.
    female was not created for male for the purpose of the male getting his rocks off on a regular basis is what I am saying. it is about fellowship and society and intimate union. like the ripples of rock thrown into pond it is, inseparably, about much more than just one man and one woman.
    so it IS about procreation, about the larger society, yet it also IS about that smaller society of two humans and the un-aloneness that their physical bond creates. but the stated and specific purpose for ALL of it is that God stated that an ESSENTIAL part of being human is that humans are hardwired to not be good to be alone.”

    Celibacy – that’s my question for you here. God speaks of it positively in His Word. But for who? This is a category that our society has largely dismissed as about as mythical as unicorns. Does celibacy imply aloneness in God’s Word? I don’t think so. Does it deny sexuality or a sinful nature? I don’t think so. And if its not about sex acts, why is this so unreasonable? (I ask this knowing that perhaps the question itself may feel all too reasonable in the “reason has its limits” sort of category). But still, I would appreciate hearing you reason on this thought a little more. I don’t really feel equipped to discuss which parts of humanity are or are not still a reflection of being made in the image of God (due to the fall), only to say that my understanding is that the male and female aspect – the “them” is the one obvious component in Gen. 1:27.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    fw, you wrote in #97, “so gay and religious heteros are both wrong. to reduce being human to sex or sexuality is to dehumanize. sex is (to use aristotilian terms) an accident. It will be removed from human kind in the new creation. the need to be in intimate union and communion with another human and humans is of the essence.”

    Again, I don’t know of any Bible passage you could use to support this – feel free to point one out to me.

    And again, not trying to be mean, but simply trying to “vet” Biblically for you. Curious as to how you’ll respond.

  • fw

    @110 bryan

    dear brother.

    there is no considered and yet unspoken endpoint to my observations. and so what I have written so far are not arguments in support of some point of view.

    so what is the point? I am just trying to understand what the holy scriptures says about us humans and our sexuality better. there is really no overarching agenda.

    I will consider most carefully your excellent comments and respond in a short time.

    as to celebacy, here is what I hear St Paul say
    :

    He says it is better not to marry and to remain celebate to devote onesself to the works of God.

    He says that Celebacy is a gift, and it is a rather rare one. It is not something someone choses for one´s self.

    The sex drive is extremely powerful and irrisistable.

    therefore it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

    once married, sex should never be denied to ones spouse except by mutual consent and then only for a very short time and then only for the purpose of prayer and fasting. This I feel is extremely telling as to how Paul views things…

    This last instruction is what informs me about how powerful paul considers the sex drive to be and to what lengths a married couple needs to go to , to avoid temptation and complications due to the sex drive.

    so marriage serves also the practical and utilitarian purpose of making sex serve a good purpose and not us being enslaved by our sex drives.

    It seems that if the church were really serious about all this, then the advice to young people would be to marry rather than to burn. concerns about sacrificing careers , education and material gain by marrying as teens would be cured by the ministrations of the extended family in support of a young couple.

    premarital sex and unwed teen pregnancy would become something of the past among christians…

  • Carl Vehse

    So, three Gospels record our Lord saying that in heaven people will not be marrying.

    This raises the question – Will there be people in heaven who will be homosexual?

  • fw

    #112 carl

    The short answer to your question dear brother Carl is a definite and resounding “NO!” There will be NO homosexuals in heaven! But I will be there right along with you Carl. Be most certain of that! …..and I am a homosexual.

    The longer answer is as follows….

    If there is no marriage in heaven, the inescapable conclusion is that there will be no sex or male/female. there will be no heterosexual or homosexual or sexual identity.

    ….or would there then still be sex outside of marriage? I rest my case here.

    This makes sense of St Paul´s observation that, IN christ, there is neither male or female doesn´t it? In the NEW creation of the Body of Christ (one-flesh-union-squared anyone??!!) is what he is speaking…. amazing. deep mystery here.

    sex, male/female, marriage are all a temporary arrangement.

    It is a means to an important end. It is not an end unto itself or significant apart from it´s purpose, which is to create society, and with it vocation, and the opportunity to love as fullfillment of the law and man´s existence thus, as being in the image of God. Moon to sun. God who IS love, being in perfect trinitarian “one-flesh” if you will, union. Mankind as a reflection of what exists in the Godhead from eternity.

    In the fall, mankind is turned from love. They became aware of…… self. Naked self. And become ashamed.

    there was a time when human kind was asexual. human kind at that moment was fully human. it is possible to be fully human without indentity as male or female. sexuality is not of the essence of humanity. another inescapable conclusion.

    my sexual identity as a homosexual is not a part of my essential identity as a human being. Nor is male or female.

    what IS a part of my essence as being human is that it is NOT good for me to be alone. The fact that I am created to be a SOCIAL being.

    From here we can speculate and meditate in many directions. maybe LOVE is what was lacking and what was “not good” in man´s being alone. LOVE requires lover and object to be loved.

    Jesus, the second Adam then comes. He CAN stand a lone. as God he has LOVE. He IS LOVE. Father, Son and HS love each other from eternity. This explains Jesus seeming asexuality. He is the new Adam. That Adam described as a “he” yet asexual and not good to be alone. Our Lord´s marriage to his church is the “one-flesh-union” that supercedes what God put in place TEMPORARILY, the pebble of “male-female-one-flesh-union” that ripples into creation of society.

    I believe that Gays and Heterosexuals both DEHumanize mankind by reducing human-ness to sexual identity or gender. Or by considering sexuality to be part of the essence of what it means to be human based on what I read in the bible.

    I would be curious as to what the readers have to say in response to what the Bible seems to CLEARLY say here about male, female and sexuality.

    Where this would all take us in a discussion of sexuality or homosexuality I really do not know. But I am increasingly certain that the Holy Scriptures take us here.

    We read the Holy Scriptures to challenge our dearest and most closely held assumptions, not to go and look for confirmation of what we think we already know.

    “Lord God,
    You have called your servants to ventures,
    of which we cna not see the ending,
    by paths yet untrodden,
    through perils unknown,
    Give us faith to go out with good courage,
    not knowing where we go,
    but only that your hand is leading us,
    and your love supporting us,
    through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

    Amen!”

  • fw

    #107 Bryan

    “Would you agree with this line of thought: Sex is about relationships. There can be no relationships without sex (I mean, without sex, who are you going to have around to have a relationship with?). ”

    Yes! that is it. it is not an end to itself. it is a means to an end. it is a temporary arrangement however, not of the essence of what it means to be human.

    For now there can be no relationships without sex. And to have sex, you must have maleness and femaleness. Biological fact. In heaven there will be no marriage. no sex. no gender.

    this in no way makes sex unimportant. it is hugely important. for the time being that is.

    The order of creation. It is important to see that the order of creation is to have sex as a means to an end. Maleness and Femaleness, the distinction between those two things rather, in the order of creation, is about means to an end and not about essence.

  • fw

    #110 bryan

    Please see my post #113 for the answers to your question in Holy Scripture.

    Brother Carl took me straight there.

    I will be interested in your response my friend!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    FW, I can’t claim to have completely followed everything that’s been discussed here to this point, but I had a question about something you said (@113): “in heaven, the inescapable conclusion is that there will be no sex or male/female.”

    Why, then, does God refer to himself with the masculine pronoun?

  • allen

    kerner @106,

    Thank-you for your considered reply. You make a good case. But is it not true that this marriage license business is of recent vintage? George and Martha Washington didn’t have to get a piece of paper from the government to do something that would be illegal to do if they didn’t have it. To my humble way of thinking, State intrusion into the proper role of the Family should be kept to an irreducible minimum.

    Certainly it is true that nobody had a problem with banning gay marriage until recently. But government regulation of marriage is recent too. Yes, our laws as to who may marry whom are all based in our morality as a culture. But that is also true of all laws. Is it wrong for this or that county(usually in the so-called Bible Belt) to ban all sales of alcohol? If this or that state wanted to get out of the marriage license business(and perhaps switch to some sort of “mutual next-of-kin certificate”), that would represent a step forward in minimizing the conflation of the proper duties of State and Family.

  • fw

    #116 TODD

    God the Father imples male-ness. but he has no body.

    This is probably wrapped in the mystery of the nature of God and the Holy Trinity.

    by mystery I mean those things that are true but are beyond human finite comprehension. we can only in those matters repeat what God has told us. attempts at complete understanding or reconciliation to human reason usually (if not always…) result in heresy of one form or another.

    Better yet than your example is Jesus referring to himself as bridegroom and church as bride. male and female.

    maybe the temporary good gift of sexuality and sexual identity of maleness and femaleness point to something far larger that supercedes it and is not something we can now completely understand.

    In otherwords, I don´t know the answer to your question and I can only speculate.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    fw, I don’t agree with you that there is a necessary and logical conclusion based on God’s Word that there will be no male and no female in heaven. I don’t know what it will be like for sure. I know it will be good. The Male and Female aspect will not mean what they mean here at least in regards to marriage. But for much of your argument, it seems to me that you are arguing from silence. Asexuality? Really? You think that would be better? Maybe it would and my fallen mind doesn’t get it, but why in your mind doesn’t God want to redeem that part of our lives and identity? Remember that they recognized Moses and Elijah at the transfiguration.

  • fw

    #119 bryan

    It is not for me to decide what is better or worse. I don´t read Holy Scripture to find things to prove my views.

    I look for things to challenge my personal views.

    but actually, more than that, I look for a living connection to Jesus, his life death and resurrection in every bit of what I read. That is because that is the unitary purpose for the scripture´s existence among us.

    Any understanding of scripture that points to Jesus and helps unpack and understand who he is, what he did, and why he did it in a way that is orthodox is of great benefit.

    Jesus, moses and elijah had “transfigured” bodies. I would not even begin to know what that means. I accept it as true without understanding.

    I am not sure that even the first adam was exactly “asexual”, except to know that he was originally created neither male nor female in the only way we can comprehend that as humankind now exists. Mankind was created as mankind. He was completely human and lacked nothing of humanity. This was BEFORE the change to male and female was made to the human condition.

    What was referred to as a “he” was neither male nor female as we understand those terms.

    I disagree that the Holy Scriptures are silent on this point. They are not.

    Please tell me exactly how you can disagree with something that seems so utterly obvious and literal in reading the text.

    I am not sure that “asexual” is really the right word. but for sure I am not arguing. and for sure what I describe is not based on Scriptural silence Bryan.

    There was a reason God chose to tell us these details. The fact that God said , in a cosmos he declared was “good” that there was ONE thing that was NOT “good” sounds to me like a HUGE textual cue that screams “listen up!” there is something really important to be said as a result of this.

    Human kind was hardwired to not be alone. Why that fact is we can probably only speculate, but to do so in light of the second Adam is interesting at least….

    the fact of SUBSEQUENTLY separating out a part of Adam, and then the injection of a sex drive (“be fruitful and multiply”) is firstly, different from any of the beasts, and secondly that pebble that rippled into creation of society as it´s clearly stated aim (the opposite of being alone is???). it is the resolution to something. or more precisely a means to achieve that resolution.

    And it is a temporary means to an end that will continue for eternity as something called the Body of Christ.

    Male female, does not speak to the essence of what being human is. I have to be very careful here don´t I so as not to overstate and say more than scripture says?

    If the first adam , the first human , contained in him everything human, he had both what we know as male and female in him and a male or female today now each lack something that would add up to being what human completeness is. So to say the first Adam was asexual may not be as accurate as it should be. at the same time, the separateness that male female now represents… that only male+female=complete humanity is something that did not exist at the very beginning and will not exist , in the same form, in the new creation.

    work with me here bryan. Don´t assume any hidden agenda. please. in christian charity.

    It (male/female) did NOT exist at the very beginning of human kind, not at least as we know it now. and….

    it will not exist in the new creation, at least not as we know it now….

    now whether this is good or bad, better or worse is entirely moot IF this is what the scriptures actually do say is it not?

    I draw NO conclusions from this Bryan. and I would not decide the truth or faithfulness to scripture based on a my own judgement as to whether it is a good or bad thing. I am surprised you would interject this.

  • fw

    #119 bryan

    can we fully agree that there will be no sex acts in heaven?

    If you agree, then what would that imply to you about “one-flesh-unions” that can ONLY, as we agree, be consumated with the sex act?

    What would this suggest about sex, sexual identity, male and female?

    Would any conclusions drawn truly be based on biblical silence in your mind?

    Posit this as a “bookend”, a symetry, to that first Adam who was not exactly male OR female. and now with the second Adam, who largely seems asexual but also referred to as a “he”, and our “one-flesh-union” with him as part of the body of christ. is reflection on this based on biblical silence?

  • fw

    #119 bryan

    do you have any problem at all with the idea that marriage , that unique (apart from the body of christ) “one-flesh-union” is something temporary. that it is an ends to a means, a form that is transitory, and therefore not (as one form of expression) an indelible part of what it means to be fully human ?

  • fw

    #119 bryan

    oops. obviously meant means to and end in the last post…

    can we focus for a time on the “what” of the matter and leave the “what does this mean” as a subsequent discussion? maybe what this all means is unknowable, or not fully knowable, after all.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    fw, you said in #119 “Male female, does not speak to the essence of what being human is. I have to be very careful here don´t I so as not to overstate and say more than scripture says?”

    Yes, we need to be careful. And I still don’t think I can agree with your interpretation of these verses. I think you are saying more than the Bible says.

    You also said, “If the first adam , the first human , contained in him everything human, he had both what we know as male and female in him and a male or female today now each lack something that would add up to being what human completeness is. So to say the first Adam was asexual may not be as accurate as it should be. at the same time, the separateness that male female now represents… that only male+female=complete humanity is something that did not exist at the very beginning and will not exist , in the same form, in the new creation.”

    Ok, here I’m trying to just logically unpack what it seems to me that you are trying to say: That it was not good for the man to be alone. That the man originally had in himself both male and female. God took the female out and there you go, he’s not alone anymore.

    And so, you say, the resurrected man (and woman) will be more like Adam – “pre Eve” than Adam or Eve – “after Eve”.

    Again, I just think you are saying too much. The Bible doesn’t argue this way. Again, my surprising question to you is why is this so important? And why do you want to defend this as Biblical, when it seems clear enough to me that women just may be women still in heaven.

    You seem to be implying that you believe the entire creation was done and the creation of man was complete before Eve was created. This seems to be a move which imposes Genesis 2 over Genesis 1. I believe Genesis 1 and 2 are clear that creation was not complete until both Adam and Eve were created (Gen. 1:31). And perhaps it was not good for man to be alone because the woman had not been formed yet (nor had they any children yet).

    I don’t think a man or a woman by their sexuality today lack what being fully human is. Man and Woman Sinners are each fully human. A man doesn’t need the one flesh union to be fully human, but each sex does need the other to have a one flesh union.

    Every man (and woman) is fully human.

    So was Jesus and even sinlessly so and He was a man. And He didn’t even have to get married to be fully human. Aint that great?! Perhaps His incarnation is the biggest reason I have a problem with the direction your argument seems to be taking these verses. What do you say?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Oops, you said those things in #120.

    And to respond to #121 and #122, the Bible is silent about sex acts in heaven. I don’t think it will be there, but, heck, I ‘m not there yet, so I don’t know. And yes, Marriage – is a 1st Article gift given now that Jesus makes clear will not be a gift He gives in heaven. Though I believe I will recognize my wife as herself and you as yourself in heaven.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I wrote in #125: “…in heaven”. I actually prefer the phrase: “…in the resurrection.” The resurrection is always just so much more tangible in my mind.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Good job, Bryan. Doing the work my mind can’t wrap around.
    Is there a Christian alive who doesn’t wish to see scripture speak more approvingly of himself; to hold that forgiveness is mine, but not for who I am, but for who I say I am; not for all I’ve done, but for what I’ll own up to having done?
    fw, are you not turning theology into philosophy, and that only in order to satisfy what you wish to be true?
    How, from the scriptures, can one conclude (or even toy with the notion) that Adam was changed by any more than the amount of ribs he had, in God’s creation of Eve? The amt. of ribs, and the fact that he was blessed in no longer being alone.
    Next you’ll be telling us that the blessing of being God’s own wasn’t enough for Adam; God had to give Adam a woman as well.
    It really amazes me that you’d go to such lengths to justify yourself or your position.

  • kerner

    allen:

    I think I agree with you in part. I particularly understand that the concept of “licensing” a marriage is relatively new and has its defects. The first instance of it that I am aware of is revolutionary France (though I really don’t know much of the history of this). But I do know that in many other countries it is not necessary. I have had many asian clients, when asked for their marriage license, respond with a blank stare.

    Back in the good old days of anglo-american jurisprudence you could be married in a religious ceremony, or be considered married at “common law”. Common law marriage meant that, if a man and a woman lived together long enough, they would be considered legally married even if they had never observed any of the formalities usually used in making a marriage. But “common law” marriage, or for that matter “common law” anything, was a legal concept that grew out of a time when there was very little statutory law. Most law was decided by precedents set by judges after the fact using general concepts of fairness and customs of the English culture. In this way, judges decided cases in which there were no statutory principles to guide them.

    The United States Constitution changed all that by specificly assigning the authority to make laws to a legislative branch of government. The change was not instantaneous, and judges continued to develop the “common law” of their states for a long time thereafter.

    But the use of the common law has almost faded away in the 21st century. I’m afraid that one downside to the Constitution is that, by creating a branch of government whose only job is to write laws, this branch has been overly encouraged to write lots of them.

    So anyway, nobody would have extended common law marriage status to two men, or two women, who lived together 100 years ago. And the statutes in all states have simply assumed that a one man/one woman model was what a marriage would be. In some states, judges are trying to modify that, and if states (which are cultural communities) want to retain the older understanding of what marriage means, they have to amend their constitutions to make that happen. There isn’t any other way to do it under the legal systems that exist today. At least, not that I know of.

  • fw

    @127 organshoes.

    I don´t need to justify myself; Jesus did that. so that is not my aim.

    I don´t have a position. I am just trying to understand what the bible says better.

    There is nothing in what I said that would make a homo feel comfortable any more than it did you. or I am missing something….

    gays make some considerable deal about sexual identity. therefore: most non-christian gays would probably not be cool with rendering this concept as transitory and temporary in some form as to identity.

  • fw

    #124 bryan

    “I don’t think a man or a woman by their sexuality today lack what being fully human is. Man and Woman Sinners are each fully human.”

    Hmm. Yes that is true. maybe I should say the human race is not completely human without male

    A man doesn’t need the one flesh union to be fully human, but each sex does need the other to have a one flesh union.

    Every man (and woman) is fully human.

    So was Jesus and even sinlessly so and He was a man. And He didn’t even have to get married to be fully human. Aint that great?! Perhaps His incarnation is the biggest reason I have a problem with the direction your argument seems to be taking these verses. What do you say?

  • fw

    #124 bryan

    “I don’t think a man or a woman by their sexuality today lack what being fully human is. Man and Woman Sinners are each fully human.”

    Hmm. Yes that is true. maybe I should say the human race is not completely human without male and female. This may seem as obvious. But only because we know of no other world or order.

    In an all-male work camp , there is some humanity lost without the women folk up in the mix. ditto for all women´s schools.

    “A man doesn’t need the one flesh union to be fully human”.

    Remember that you are dialoging with a homosexual. so it is telling that you would feel compelled to point this out to me. Maybe there is no gay agenda behind my thoughts? hmmm….

    ” but each sex does need the other to have a one flesh union.”

    No each side needs the other to have that one flesh union called marriage. Would you not consider the body of christ to be a one flesh union?

    “Every man (and woman) is fully human.”

    Yes. Agreed. yet lacking something of what is complete humanity at the same time. Maybe this is a case where 1+1 does not exactly equal 2 but is still true because the bible says so?

    “So was Jesus and even sinlessly so and He was a man.”

    Ok. you got the nicean creed on your side. gotta be with ya on this brotha!

    “And He didn’t even have to get married to be fully human. ” agreed. but this sorta indicates you are missin my drift. I am fully human. I cannot , for moral reasons and definitional reasons be married. ok.

    “Aint that great?! Perhaps His incarnation is the biggest reason I have a problem with the direction your argument seems to be taking these verses. What do you say?”

    Why do you see the incarnation as indicating something contrary to what I am saying?

    First adam + Eve = one flesh union = creation = resurrection baptismal.

    Second adam + Holy Church = one flesh union = new creation = resurrection of the flesh transfigured.

  • fw

    #124 bryan

    the fact that i would be unlikely to say that I am not fully human and gay men and lesbians are not fully human…..

    might give you pause to reflect as to whether you are fully nuancing and catching what I am struggling to express…

    that impulse of yours also might lend comfort and security to the idea that this is not the discussion of a gay man somehow trying to come up with some novel defense for being gay or for anything gay for that matter.

    Do I really need an agenda or ulterior motive for trying to better understand what the scriptures say about sex and sexuality other than that (1) sex and sexuality have been big topics lately (eg episcopal church), (2) I seem to be uniquely positioned by being gay, christian , with lots of theological training and study to thing these things through in a fresh way, and (3) 1 and 2 would indicate a vocation for me not of choice, but who else is thinking things through this way? (4) I am seeing alot of miscommunication, mistrust (pre-judice and constant assumptions about agendas hidden and otherwise on both sides). (5) last but most importantly, there are alot of souls belonging to Jesus that need the aid and comfort of a church that is not well equipped or willing to deal with them incarnationally (go to them where they are at), and I don´t want to cede that task to liberal churchs that would do anything BUT lead gay men and lesbians to Jesus Christ. ok?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    fw, you said, “In an all-male work camp , there is some humanity lost without the women folk up in the mix. ditto for all women´s schools.”

    Actually, I disagree. There is no humanity missing in these situations. Marriage and procreation are missing from the equation here but not humanity. Right?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    fw, Before we argue much further, you said something up in #111 that I agree with:

    “so marriage serves also the practical and utilitarian purpose of making sex serve a good purpose and not us being enslaved by our sex drives.

    It seems that if the church were really serious about all this, then the advice to young people would be to marry rather than to burn. concerns about sacrificing careers , education and material gain by marrying as teens would be cured by the ministrations of the extended family in support of a young couple.”

    And you’re right, this sort of support is largely missing from our culture and I think is a large part of the reason we have so much confusion over these matters.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    fw, you said, “Remember that you are dialoging with a homosexual. so it is telling that you would feel compelled to point this out to me.”

    I certainly remember who I am trying to dialogue with, but you asked me to vet your argument Biblically and that, simply, is what I was trying to do. I think I have been trying pretty hard to follow your arguments and give you the benefit of the doubt over the last couple days. I’m sure not perfectly, but critique the Biblical points I brought up there, not my point of view, please.

    I spent quite a bit of time in the Word today, reviewing and studying the Biblical passages you have been citing and others regarding sexuality, marriage, the resurrection, and the order of creation, and I honestly think I can say, that I think a person with your background and in your situation would want to interpret those passages, especially where Jesus is saying that there will be no marriage in heaven, to say that we will be sexless. It doesn’t say that, but I can see your desire to fill in the gaps that way and make that jump.

    And I am fully aware that many souls are at stake and hate giving up this fight to theological crooks who seem to attack the Word in so many ways. But I also don’t want anyone to come away from our discussion and not be called to repentance if that is what they need.

    That’s enough for now from me. You go.

  • kerner

    fw and Bryan:

    I confess that I haven’t followed all that you have been saying, but I appreciate your discussion. I really agree with a conclusion you both reached about how the Church would better serve young Christians if it were to encourage them to marry younger, and encourage their extended families to support them in their earlier marriages.

    I think telling young people that they cannot be “ready for a commitment” until they are 28 or more years old, while simultaneously throwing sex in their faces from the time they are 10, is one of the most distructive things our culture does. In my experience, more young Christians are marrying before the world would call them “ready”, and I believe it is a good thing.

    I suppose that is more of an aside than the central points either of you have been making. But, please accept my compliments anyway.

  • fw

    #135 bryan

    “I honestly think I can say, that I think a person with your background and in your situation would want to interpret those passages, especially where Jesus is saying that there will be no marriage in heaven, to say that we will be sexless.”

    I am not really sure I would go that far bryan. there will be no marriage. I would assume that means no sex. unless you envision extra-marital sex would be ok there. adam was created without eve first, but I am not sure that means he was sexless, maybe more (excuse the example) like a worm that contains both sexes at the same time. I can´t see us in the new creation being exactly like that.

    You seem to be looking for a firm position I am trying to defend or hold. there is none bryan.

  • fw

    #135 bryan

    the text also seems to indicate quite clearly that that “one-flesh-union” between man and woman is a transitory temporary arrangement yes?

    and as Lutherans we agree that marriage is not a sacrament right? what does that doctrinal fact mean to you? how would marriage be different as a sacrament?

  • fw

    #135 bryan

    “I honestly think I can say, that I think a person with your background and in your situation would want to interpret those passages, especially where Jesus is saying that there will be no marriage in heaven, to say that we will be sexless.”

    Ok. Now my curiosity has gotten the best of me. Why, with what you think you know about homosexuals, would you think that gays would eagerly anticipate an existence where there was NO sex?

    Very, very interesting and surprising.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    fwWell, I’m fairly surprised too as to you taking your argument in the direction that you did. You said before that you wanted to put behind us the “What does this mean?” for a time. Well what about now? Why do you think you wanted to have the Bible say that the ideal humanity is one where folks are more like Adam before Eve than like Adam and Eve before the fall. I also found that to be a bit surprising? I think I just Biblically vetted your argument. And you still don’t seem to want to examine that at all. You would rather examine me? Well, believe me I’m thinking about me. And you know, I’m sure your thinking about you. These thoughts I don’t think we need to share through blogging. Again, I said something extremely important above: something like this: You are who you are and I understand that what is good for your soul might destroy the faith of another.

    “I also firmly believe that real pastoral soul-care is damn near impossible through blogging. For this each Christian should speak to their own pastor.”

    Perhaps if this conversation needs to continue between you and myself it should take some other form. I just ask the question.

    Now, about your #137, I have already responded from the Bible why we may want to doubt your assertion that there will be no sex (not the act, necessarily) in the new creation. I’ll stand on my previous arguments here. And I thank you for challenging me to find them. I do really appreciate our discussion.

    About #138, If marriage was a sacrament, I would have expected Jesus to be married in the New Testament for one, and we would hear him attach some promise to it and not say that this 1st Article gift is taken apart in heaven. Good question. You go.

    OK, a little more on #139: I think I understand how your taking that comment and I think your making a little too much of my words, “a person with your background…”. Perhaps in writing them, the emphasis is a little off from what I was wanting to emphasize and that was the Biblical “support” that I myself might imagine was there for humans being changed into sexless beings or “angels” in the new creation. There that takes you out of what I was trying to say – this is what I meant, more charitably said. Sorry. I really did spend some time in the Word yesterday and indeed this conversation has challenged me to dig into the Lord’s revelation to us. But that led me to the conclusions I have already stated above as to why I think as I said before, “women may still be women” in the new creation.

  • fw

    #140 bryan

    “But that led me to the conclusions I have already stated above as to why I think as I said before, “women may still be women” in the new creation.”

    dear brother. at this point somehow, we are managing to talk past each other.

    I am thinking this because I am not disagreeing with your points. They all seem to conform to my own.

    yet your points seem to be offered somehow as counterpoints.

    I have not asserted that mankind ever has been or ever will be sexless. dunno. I don´t feel a need to know everything. I am connected to Jesus in my baptism. that is more than enough.

    I am saying, simply, that the bible says that things sexually were not always as they are now for human kind and they will not , in the resurrection, be as they are now.

    That “one-flesh-union” you mentioned for example will be no more in the resurrection. Yet the order of creation will remain fully intact will it not?

    If something has a transitory or temporary nature, this suggests that it is a means to a far larger end.

    IF that be the case, it seems out of balance to spend more time extolling means that will soon be no more, than considering the God-purposed end. Does it not?

    What that end is, I am not sure. I am QUITE certain that it has alot to do with the birth, life, death and resurrection of our Lord and his purpose in all of that.

    A penny for your thoughts here dear brother Bryan.

    I am suggesting that there is a great deal of food for thought about what the bible says. Some unpacking to do. that being the case.

  • fw

    #140 bryan.

    cs lewis suggested that two gentlemen spend time trying to identify areas of full agreement to then be able to identify points of disagreement and discuss them fruitfully.

    we don´t know each other, other than to know that we both confess the concordia and are confessional Lutherans (I am assuming this brother…).

    I like structure. I have seen that you do to! It´s a lutheran thing I think…. Usually agreeing on the “what” first facilitates discussion of “what does this mean.” that comment was meant as trying to be helpful and not anything other.

    I am seeing that neither of us seems to have a clue as to where, if anywhere, after all these exchanges, we actually disagree on anything. yet some of the exchanges come across as point/counterpoint. Interesting.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    My question after all of this, is, Would this conversation be helpful to a homosexual who was still outside of the Body of Christ or someone who was trapped in a liberal church that is no longer Christian?

    Another question as to the “What” as you say. After all of this I’m curious (and feel a little embarrassed to ask you this), but what is sexual immorality, then, from your point of view? I really don’t understand how you understand or apply that category to yourself. You don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to, but this “What?” has been on my mind for a while now. I certainly know what sexual immorality would look like for myself (i.e. stepping out on my wife with another woman (or man, homosexuality), pornography, unfaithful sexual and objectifying thoughts about other people, sex with animals – oh, there’s all sorts of ways, isn’t there?). But does this look different to you? And I’m assuming you will say no – not much difference. And then on the flip side, then, is there no sanctified keeping of this commandment in your mind for the homosexual? Or is a sexually pure and decent life, simply a constant putting off of ones homosexual drive for you?

    Putting my “What?” question another way, we agreed that the Church should be more counter-cultural in the advice, care, and support that it gives young people struggling to deal with sex. But what, from your perspective, should the churches response to the person struggling with homosexuality be? I think perhaps you and I might respond in similar ways, but from our conversation to this point, I’m really unsure that my assumption is true. Perhaps you could clarify better now. Sorry for not placing this “What?” on my mind out to you sooner. I don’t like talking past anyone.

  • fw

    #143 bryan

    yes our views on morality are the same.

    The church should respond to homosexuals like they do to anyone else. a fat person looking to join a church is not told to slim down and stop being a glutton before being allowed to commune. gays should be welcomed as long as they can make the general confession at the beginning of the church service and are baptised , absolved and instructed and then regularly receive the holy supper.

    you should apply the law in exactly the same way to their sins and the gospel as you would to any other soul.

    homosexuality is not a sin. no more than is albinoism or blue eyes. all homosexuals are sinners in exactly the same way as are heterosexuals. what a person does in thought word and deed is sin.

    sexual sin is the same sin for homos or heteros.

    i believe this is rather simple. the church says that all sex outside of marriage is sin. ok. then does it really matter beyond that what form the sex takes? I would think not. Just why is it important to even label sin as homosexual that being the case?

    What would be your advice to a teen, with hormones raging away, whom you would have to tell, that they could NEVER have an adult intimate relationship, that they could NEVER ever experience sex ever, that they would need to remain celebate even though they lacked the gift of celebacy? That they could never have a romantic relationship with another soul. And what about a prepuberty youth… how would you help them find peace with the fact that they are gay?

    Would you pack them off to some ex-gay ministry? a psychiatrist? encourage them to marry? try to do more “guy stuff ” with them (assuming freud was right that homosexuality is about too much love from mom (?!) and too little male modeling from dad….). Where would you turn for practical advice on this? your circuit counselor? anybody else?

    Would a teen in your church be comfortable talking to you about this? imagine having to tell this to your son or daughter.

    This is a tough one. I am so glad that I am not a Lutheran pastor , as you are, for whom this is part of your responsibility.

    Personally, I deal with ALOT of youth who are in crisis over this. alot of them go to their church and pretend and pray that they won´t go to hell. they live a dual life which is extremely painful. many are turned out of their homes in their early teens because their christian parents dont want to “condone” their being gay. Most of these are celebate until well into their 20´s or 30´s or longer. The are faithful church members. alot are in deep denial and full of self hate and some are suicidal.

    would you permit me to turn this question back at you?

    I would really encourage you to rent the film “ma vie en rose” “my life in pink” and watch the film and consider what you would advise both parents and child as a Lutheran pastor and where you would see sin at work as opposed to a situation that is merely difficult.

    You have a serious task. I pray for pastors daily. God´s blessings on your work of comforting sinners with the holy gospel and treating with holy balm the suffering caused by sin.

  • fw

    #143 bryan

    “And then on the flip side, then, is there no sanctified keeping of this commandment in your mind for the homosexual? Or is a sexually pure and decent life, simply a constant putting off of ones homosexual drive for you?”

    I am not sure what the OR is here. what is on both sides of the or you are asking me about please?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    fw, thanks for your kind words. I’ll probably respond more in detail tomorrow. in response to your good question in #145, I’ll have to think about what I’m really trying to ask. Sorry for asking a somewhat unformulated question. More later.

  • fw

    #146 bryan

    i will check here later, or we can take this offline fwsonnek@gmail.com feel free dear pastor!

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Sorry, I’ve been a bit delinquent from the blog of Veith. I’ll probably email this week. Stay tuned.

  • fw

    Ok Pastor Bryan, I have further distilled my thinking here based on your comments and others. Hope this helps….

    that maybe it is best to think of sex being made to be an essence-tial part of marriage, a social part. a part of that un-aloneness, and not sex being made solely for procreation in a certain sense. this would sorta short circuit the notiion that sex is primarily or only for procreation….. carefull here… RATHER…

    sex being the first and most powerful solution to that (let´s call it….) “social drive” (not-good-to-be-aloneness part) and from that ahem, intimate social interaction (it says something that man is again naked when sex happens rather automatically!) , society just sorta happens as a natural consequence of that when and where God wills it….as a direct organic part of that…. like a pebble thrown into a pond will make ripples inevitably…

    a progression appears as follows…

    man (sexless or containing both sexes) is made.
    It is not good for him to be alone so woman is taken from out of him (now only man+woman=human kind completely)
    Comment: The “social drive” is of the essence of humanity (ie it is NOT good for man to be alone…) before woman and after the resurrection, unlike gender and sex drive which seem transitory, at least in their current forms…….
    the sex drive is put into mankind (this seems done in a way and for a purpose different than it is for the animals…).

    in the new creation (now) there is neither male nor female. I don´t understand this part. obviously there is STILL male and female, but I guess maybe st paul is saying the meaning and purpose are different? maybe because there is a NEW one-flesh-union called the body of christ that does not replace (yet) but supercedes marriage as a taste of life in the resurrection?

    In the resurrection there is no longer marriage (would it be safe to assume also NO sex from that?)

    There is something here all tied to the first Adam and Jesus as the second Adam.

    I think it could be said that gender, marriage and sex are not part of the essence of what it is to be human, but at the same time, these things speak so very profoundly of what it is to be human in a way we could not extricate and also probably speak to a far larger reality of what it means to be in the Image of God.

    So why am I pondering all this so much?

    It seems that all talk of sexuality as of late seems to be in COUNTERPOINT to the current issue of homosexuality. I think that twists and distorts the discussion. If Marriage,and even gender and sex were not always with us and will not always be with us in the current form, then they are transitory arrangements that are a means to a larger end. Part of the order of creation for now, but the larger order of creation does not need them in their current form to be the order God ultimately intends. These things are waystations, they are not ends unto themselves I am saying. Their existence depends on their temporary purpose, and will cease to exist, IN THEIR CURRENT FORMS, when that purpose is no longer necessary.

    I am not sure where all this would lead. Truly, but it would be good for a more trained mind than my own to pursue some of these leads….

    Think of the larger themes here when you read this pastor. old adam/new adam. prefall, post fall, new creation , resurrection….. don´t look for an agenda. there is none. other than try to make more sense out of a discussion that, fairly, has satisfied no one completely so far.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    fw,

    Are you still reading this or should I email you? The Issues Etc. Pastors’ Roundtable aired yesterday on the First Commandment speaks to what we have been talking about regarding discerning the ideal man before the fall. As we have been having troubles here about knowing what that looks like, they reminded me why that was. It is totally speculative. We can’t know what that was like pre or post Eve! We need to look to the second Adam. We know a lot more about what His life looked and sounded like. Obviously it is in connecting to Jesus more. Or rather, letting him speak to us in His word and connect to us through the sacraments. This is the key to the new identity now.

    What do you think of these thoughts and insights. And what does this help us in our struggles with interpersonal relationships now, including sexual relationships? Your thoughts?

    If I don’t hear from you, I’ll email this weekend.

  • http://www.baidu.com baidu

    Thank you and I aim to please in the future with my future articles!


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