“Away, Gay Christians! But About That Charitable Work You Do …”

As reported in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and elsewhere, the American Episcopal Church now seems irrevocably split between the traditional Episcopal Church and the brand-new Anglican Church of North America, recently formed specifically in opposition to the way the Episcopal Church kept refusing to apologize for ordinating, six years ago, the openly gay Gene Robinson as one of its many bishops.

It’s pro-gay Episcopalians versus anti-gay Episcopalians, basically. The result is that there’s now a new American Christian denomination. I believe that brings the total of Christian denominations to 575, 224,676, 459, 937, if you don’t count the Mormons.

As it happens, I go to an Episcopal church. I am an Episcopalian, actually–I went through the oil-and-ashes ceremony and everything. My wife and I belong to San Diego’s massive St. Paul’s Cathedral. The former dean of St. Paul’s is John Bryson Chane, now the Episcopal bishop of Washington, D.C., and CEO of the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation, which oversees the operations of Washington National Cathedral.

The former dean of my church is now the dean of what amounts to America’s church!

I would guess that 30% of St. Paul’s congregants are openly gay. It could be as high as fifty percent. I have no idea. I just know it’s a lot of its great many members. When we joined up with it, my wife and I had no idea that St. Paul’s was a gay-friendly church. We just thrilled to its worship service–and the more we learned about Episcopalianism, the more we liked it. Plus, the cathedral was really close to our home. So we signed up. And it’s been a great church. A lot of people there aren’t overly thrilled by the church’s gay-friendliness, but they stick with it anyway. Everybody gets along. It’s nice.

A lot of conservative Christians understandably chafe at the reason the Episcopal Church gave for deciding at its recent convention that “any ordained ministry” is open to gay men and lesbians. Many leaders at that convention said their decision to thusly effectively revoke their three-year-old moratorium on ordaining homosexual bishops was less a matter of doctrinal preference than it was a bow to practical reality.

By way of justifying their decision what they said, in effect, was, “We already have so many gay men and lesbians in our church; it’s ridiculous to pretend they aren’t already making all kinds of decisions about who gets elected to what. We’re just acknowledging the reality we’re already living.

But for conservatives, of course—and, again, absolutely understandably—that isn’t anywhere near a good enough excuse for the continued tolerance of homosexuals in Christian churches.

“Show them the door,” has become a rallying cry of conservative Christians toward unrepentantly gay Christians.

My church founded and operates a charity in Tijuana, Mexico called Dorcas House. From St. Paul’s website: “Dorcas House is foster home in Tijuana, Mexico for children whose parents are in prison. St. Paul’s Cathedral is a major underwriter and supporter of Dorcas House, providing operating funds, staff support, medical aid and much more. It is the dream of the Friends of Dorcas House that the children of prisoners have a safe place to sleep, enough food to stave off hunger, and a nurturing environment where they can grow and learn. The hope is that each child may someday understand the love of Jesus Christ through the people who invest in their young lives.”

Dorcas House is an amazing ministry. It saves children’s lives, period.

Dorcas House absolutely depends for its existence upon gay men and lesbians who call St. Paul’s their spiritual home. Without their unceasing support and dedication to it, Dorcas House would collapse overnight.

Are we still supposed to expel from our church our gay and lesbian congregants? How does that work, exactly? Do we just trade the glory of Dorcas House for showing the door to the very people who built and sustain it?

In the name of Christianity, do we really stop giving food, shelter and love to starving, homeless children?

That gays and lesbians shouldn’t be in our churches—that, in fact, they can’t be real Christians—seems like such a simple and obvious truth. But, like all simple and obvious truths, the more you look at it, the more complex and mystifying it gets.

Related post o’ mine: The Confusing Power of the Devout Gay Christian.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is co-founder of The NALT Christians Project and founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here). His blog is here. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • Tim

    Another great post, John. The fact that "show them the door" is the rallying cry of any group of Christians is troubling. I have a hard time believing that Christ would share their sentiment.

  • sarah

    I have been doing a lot of thinking about this type of issue lately. I really would like to know what Jesus would do. I consider myself conservative, but I want to be a thinker and not just be a lemming. I keep hearing that what Jesus would do is love gay people, which I know is true, BUT I can't reconcile the concept of loving a person with accepting whatever that person wants to do. I WANT to be able to believe that Jesus is cool with homosexuality. For me, it would be a lot easier to just say, "

    Lets all just do what we feel is right." than to make anyone feel like something they're doing is wrong. When Jesus encountered the prostitute, he was very kind and loving to her, but he said, "Go and sin no more." It seems like our society today has twisted his treatment of people like this to be, "I love you and if you feel good with what you're doing then I'm cool with that and we can hang together."

    So I'm really searching here. What WOULD Jesus do? Can someone(s) give me some Biblical evidence for how we're supposed to treat this situation? I know that I'm personally kind to everyone and have no intention of showing anyone the door, but I need to know what's right! Thanks.

  • Ashley Taylor

    I feel that if you say homosexuals cannot be a part of the church you are saying sinners cannot be a part of the church. Yes being homosexual is against Gods word, but so are so many of the things you and I do in our daily lives as well. Being homosexual is not a bigger sin than the others named in the Bible. At least it isn't to God. I understand that homosexuality is a lifestyle and not individual sins like we may commit but I still don't think God sees it as worse. That is just my opinion on Christian homosexuals or homosexuals in the church. I would welcome them at my church just as I would any one else. They hurt and need healing just as much as I do.

    I like what Sarah says about the story about Jesus and the prostitute and I feel that is what Jesus would say to homosexuals as well. In the Bible it tells us we are to confront our fellow Christians in what they are doing wrong. But it is not our job to make sure that they follow it. If they choose not to heed our words we are to just pray for them.

    I do not mean for this post to incite anger, it is just my personal opinion based on what I have learned thus far. And obviously I don't know everything. :)

  • http://www.1truebeliever.wordpress.com wickle

    You know, I'm not entirely certain about the ordination of gay clergy.

    That being said, I'll keep silent about your denomination … Of course, since I'm a Baptist, I don't get a vote anyway.

    What I do find disgusting is the "show them the door" attitude. Homosexuality is no worse than other sins that plague all of us. I figure that Jesus wasn't kidding when He said that I should see to the plank in my own eye before I go looking for others' specks.

    The whole thing is a sad, sad story, I think.

  • Marco Luxe

    Thanks for the thoughtful post, John.

    I think your reference to Dorcas House is poetic, even though your comment is based in practicalities. It really resonates when you ask: In the name of Christianity, do we really stop giving food, shelter and love to starving, homeless children?

    This is exactly what affirming congregations have asked themselves when deciding to open their hearts to gay and lesbian members. It is these men and women who in many areas have been the homeless children among us. Affirming churches give them love and shelter. They in turn make Dorcas House possible. A coincidence? I doubt it.

  • http://www.myspace.com/whitenoisemetalpodcast Brian Shields

    Talk about an abomination!

    When will the Christian church wake up and get rid of those evil sinners who congregate at Red Lobster and openly eat shellfish? What's worse is some of them actually bring their children and encourage the poor innocents to eat the jumbo shrimp with cocktail sauce.

    Repent ye crustacianaries!

  • Maria Daniels

    Not being a psychiatrist, I don't know for sure where homosexuality comes from. If I were to guess, I would say that someone is born with those tendencies and that they cannot lose those tendencies any more that a heterosexual can "decide" to become gay.

    Unfortunately, some homosexuals believe God put them on this earth to be condemned, because of the way they were born. This lie is unfortunately encouraged by the ignorance and intolerance of some in the Church who believe homosexuality is a lie from Satan that some people choose to follow, to their condemnation.

    I am glad to have an understanding that there is a difference between being a homosexual and being a homosexual "offender". The latter does not know the Lord and lives their life in sexual immorality.

    I hope more people with homosexuality come to know the Lord and understand that salvation was meant for everyone. More proof of this can be found in Romans 9:20 and Matthew 18:14.

  • Julia

    Well, as an outsider, the Church has always been an advocate of: 'If you are not one of us then you are not welcomed.' Then of course you have to specify what 'one of us' actually means. 'Sinners welcomed' is kind of misleading for it expected of you become a non-sinner once you become a Christian. Keep sinning and you arent a real Christian and thus you make god mad. Keep it up and eventually you will be asked to leave. Which makes me wonder' how many sinners will actually end up in heaven if god only wants non-sinners there….?

    On a side note, I wonder what would Jesus say about folks born intersexed……?

  • http://megaloi.blogspot.com Redlefty (Michael)

    Sarah, for a pretty good primer on some of the biblical study on the topic of homosexuality, I recommend the documentary "For the Bible Tells Me So". It introduces some of the historical and cultural settings that influenced the original text, and now influence the church's interpretation of those texts.

    As a result, I've yet to meet a person who has done this type of in-depth study and come away still saying that homosexuality is an abomination. The only people I've met who have the "abomination" view are the ones who read the current English translations of the bible and stop there. And at the same time, they say that the other commands surrounding the "abomination" passages (shellfish condemned, women covering their heads, no mixing of fibers, etc…) are not to be applied today. Maybe they're right, but the logic seems inconsistent to me.

    And John, regarding this blog post (which was excellent), the church hasn't historically had an issue in separating money from membership/influence.

    For example, you noted that some churches don't want gay members but they might like their donations. Likewise, churches don't donate a dime to the government through taxes, but many churches in my state (Texas) are trying to exert a lot of influence in the political realm.

  • Allen

    And, OK, as a gay Christian who is considered a Lay Leader (but in the nice churchy way), I gotta say it's tempting sometimes to take my good works and go where I'm actually welcome. I'm clearly welcome in God's church, and in my own congregation — but my Denomination (Christian Church – Disciples of Christ) can't bring itself to do anything on the subject of my Christianity. My husband's ordination in the CC(DOC) is not necessarily acknowledged outside our own region of the denomination.

    Many of us gays and lesbians of a certain age in the church feel like we need to work extra hard to be acceptable, not in the sight of God or Jesus Christ, but in the sight of our straight fellow-Christians. This is getting harder and harder to do over time, frankly, when inane discussions about whether I could possibly be a Christian are still prevalent. Most of the gays and lesbians I know under 40 don't feel this need to belong and be "accepted" by the church. Which is definitely the church's loss! I applaud St. Paul's for its community building that allows people to share their gifts with the church in the name of Christ.

  • Lance

    I believe a review of Matthew 25:31-46 (The Sheep and the Goats) and 1st Corinthians 5 1-12 (Expel the Immoral Brother!) is in order. We are called to "not conform" to the world. That doesn't mean that sinners are not welcome in church, for Christ came into the world not for the righteous (as if there were anyone of us who is righteous) but the unrighteous which includes us all. However believers are also called to confess and the repent (turn and walk away) from our sins, not to continue in them. Christ didn’t say to Mary go and continue in your sin, to the contrary, he said your sins have been forgiven you, go and sin no more.

    There is also Roman's 1 18-32 in which we find out all non-repentant sinners will suffer God's wrath including those who indulge “in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.” That is defined as sexual immorality which includes sex outside the marriage, premarital sex, etc. Romans continues stating that “even their women abandoned natural (and might I add ordained) relations for unnatural ones”, and “in the same way men committed indecent acts with other men and because of that they receive in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”

    The bible states in the last days good will be considered evil and evil will be considered good. It also states that in their wisdom they have become fools. But God’s judgment is righteous regardless according to 2 Romans 5-11.

    In the interested of full disclosure I am a former alcoholic who went to church, told folks and myself that I was a Christian. Truth be known anyone can make that claim. My testimony is simply this, God wanted my undivided love, he did not want to share my love with alcohol. In the end

    I could not give up the alcohol, it took understanding this, confessing this to God and allowing “HIM” to intervene which he did in a mighty way. As a result, I have been free from alcohol for 5 years, I had no withdraws and have no desire to return to drinking alcohol.. I guess you can say I am now on a lifetime fast from alcohol for my Lord and savior. A guess a question could be, why do homosexuals get a free pass? The sin of homosexuality is painfully evidenced in the Bible in both the old and new testaments. I understand that the truth isn’t pleasant, but that fact alone does not make the truth less truthful. I believe today there is a big difference between folks that call themselves Christians and true born-again Christians who have an intimate relationship with our savior and have repented. I believe we do people having same sex attraction a disservice by trying to sugarcoat the sin. Hence the problem today – the true church needs to be courageous – fear God not man.

    Finally, why do you refer to your church as “gay friendly”? Shouldn’t all church’s be sinner friendly? I think the distinction in interesting and telling.

    At any rate, I am truly grateful God is the same yesterday, today and forever more. The is also so much more I could add to this, but for the sake of rambling I will close.

    God Bless.

  • Fred Philippi

    I think the article points to three positive factors not often discussed regarding homosexual relationships: the profound and mysterious love that can exist between two people of the same sex, the desire many gays and lesbians have to be part of a faith community and secular society in truthfulness as regards who we are, and that gay or lesbian love, given half a chance, will manifest itself in a fecund love towards others. If these are characteristics of "unrepentant" people, I am honored to be counted among them.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    OK. But should we tell the unrepentant gays and lesbians in our church to leave our church? I might have missed it, but I don’t think anyone has answered that very simple question, the posing of which was the point of the post.

  • Narducci

    Bravo to Redlefty (Michael) , Allen, and Fred Philippi for their comments on this slightly disturbing blog that I have stumbled across. To your statement, "That gays and lesbians shouldn’t be in our churches—that, in fact, they can’t be real Christians—seems like such a simple and obvious truth," all I have to say is: Is it? You sound like you think you are being broadminded with this post, but spouting assumptions like these makes me a tad queasy. gay friendly does not equal sinner friendly. Thank you to Brian Shields also for adding some humor to the cause of deflating this hatespeech.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Nard: This blog is a mirror blog to the one I write on Crosswalk.com, which is run by the largest Christian media entity in the world. Crosswalk is as conservative as conservative gets. When I say that it seems like such a simple and obvious truth that gays can't be real Christians, I'm talking to the hundreds of thousands of Crosswalk readers, who do believe exactly that. I'm bringing the very cause you're so passionate about into foreign territory, dipshit.

  • Julia

    ??

    Are you saying then do hundreds of thousands of Christians believe they should kick the gays out…?

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Yes, Julia, hundreds of thousands of Christians feel that "gay Christian" is an oxymoron–just like hundreds of thousands of Christians don't. How do you not know this?

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    On the kicking-out I'm leaning toward "no." I'm just not sure that it accomplishes anything productive or Christ-like. Like, if my kid were gay, would I stop associating with him? No. I'd be clear about where I stood on the topic, and then I really feel my job from then on out would be to love him like I always have. So I don't think this should be any different in a church community, where in theory we are like a family.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    But if by "being clear where I stood on the topic" you mean you'd tell your gay son that you were against his being okay with being gay—that you think homosexuality is an affront to God, or a moral abomination, or whatever—then isn't it true that from then on out it would be virtually impossible for your son to ever again think that you DO, in fact, love him as you always have?

  • Julia

    Oh, I figured it out alirght: Gay Christians arent real Christians. Just like alcoholic Christians arent real Christians, drug addicted Christians arent real Christians, greedy Christians arent real Christians, adulterous Christians arent realy Christians, theiving Christians arent real Christians, lazy Christians arent real Christians, fat Christians arent real Christians…etc, etc…. Got it.

    The real crux of gay Christian issue seems to be: do you 'tollerate' gay Christians in church so you can use their funds for your own agenda? At least til the money dries up THEN should you kick them out? God only wants REAL Christians in heaven you know, so maybe you should only allow REAL Christians in Church, yes? By all means use -er, accept- the not-so-real Christians until they have no more real use to the Church then give them the boot. That'll show 'em for being fake wannabe Christians!!

    BTW, I am still curious and would like comments on; What would Jesus think of folks born intersexed….?

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Whoa, Julia. Angry much? "Use their funds for their own agenda"? What are you talking about? What "agenda"? The post is about how gay and lesbian Christians save starving, homeless children in Tijuana. I'm sorry, but it's irrationally furious comments like these from you that are the reason I have to moderate your comments before I allow them to appear. You've gotta calm down on this stuff if you want to engage in a realistic conversation about it. At least on this blog you do. Another tirade like this one, and I'll simply blacklist you off the site. Okay?

  • Marco Luxe

    Lance:

    I'm just curious. When you say that the bible states:

    "in the last days good will be considered evil and evil will be considered good. It also states that in their wisdom they have become fools."

    How do you KNOW which side you are on; good and wise, or evil and foolish?

    Might the evil & foolishness that you cite in fact be hubris & homophobia? The hubris in your certainty of scriptural interpretation and the evil of using the bible as a justification for an anti-gay position?

    According to the bible, your own "wisdom" might in fact be foolishness, no?

    Seems like the lesson is one of humility and humanity. Think about it.

  • Shooting your own

    John, I think you cut Julia off at the knees when she was trying to be ironic — and was actually supporting your argument. She did sound a bit forceful doing it, but she seems to be on your side.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Shooting: Julia's been commenting on my blog for awhile. Trust me: She wasn't being ironic.

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    Why would disagreeing with my kid's theology prevent me from loving him, or prevent him from believing I love him?

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    I'm sure you understand that if you reject or condemn a person's sexuality, you have, to that person, rejected a good deal more about them than their theology. It means (again, to THEM) that you've rejected something absolutely core to who they are. Imagine your mother or father saying to you, "I love you. Being heterosexual is an offense against God and I cannot accept it–but I love you, same as I ever did." That's a seriously mixed message. After declaring your son's sexuality—which is to say who he is–as something offensive and wrong, you can SAY you love him "the same as ever," but you would have made it virtually impossible for him to believe that.

  • Shooting your own

    I get what Skerrib is saying. Personally, I don't believe sexuality is at the core of a person's being, so it is completely possible to love someone irrespective of that issue. In fact, if you continue to love someone regardless of differences, that love is stronger — simply because of the challenges faced. It means more when you love someone in spite of disagreeing with them — because then it's a sacrifice of of love.

  • Shooting your own

    Maybe this would be more clear:

    Sexuality is not what makes a person human, so love for someone can be separate from that whole discussion.

  • Narducci

    you know, they say that normal person + anonymity + audience = asshole. The dipshit humbly apologizes for misreading certain critical passages of your post, and for failing to be aware of your context and audience. Humble pie eaten.

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    Hmmmm, so maybe "same as always" isn't the right way of saying it. What I'm thinking (and hoping) I'd say is something along the lines of "I understand that for you this is part of who you are, and I don't want you to feel like you have to pretend around me, or try to be something you're not. You know there seems to be a disconnect between what you're telling me and what I believe God says about it, but I will always keep loving you, and be proud of you, and I will always trust God with you." I imagine it would take on a different dynamic out of necessity, only because my kid then would be different than my assumptions had been…but still my kid.

    There's another part though…where I have to go to God and say "Look, I believe you say one thing about homosexuality, and my son is telling me this other thing, and I'm not sure what to do with that, but help me to love my son well." I'd like to think this translates to the world at large, except with perfect strangers I don't need to get into the intricacies of what I believe about homosexuality…unless they want to talk about it. But always, love and relationship first.

    And then I would go get therapy because I suck at actually "living out" love a lot of the time, and I need to be reminded a lot.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Earlier in this comment thread Redlefty was good enough to recommend this 2007 documentary, which deals with this specific dynamic. I've ordered it from Netflix and look very forward to seeing it:

    http://www.forthebibletellsmeso.org/index2.htm

  • Lance

    Marco:

    You asked how do I know what side I am on. I just know, that’s all. Just as I know Jesus is Lord of all and my personal savior, my redeemer and that no one comes to the Father except through Him. I know that He took upon Himself all the wrong I have done, and that it

    Is by Him that I am completely redeemed through His precious sacrifice. He who gave His life willingly, no one took it from Him. Because He first loved me when I was yet lost to him. I understand that to the world such talk is foolishness, but to a born again Christian it is salvation through

    Christ and Christ alone. I sincerely apologize if I came across as judgmental or harsh that was certainly not my intention, but some truths are harsh. I don’t know your standing, that is to say whether you have a personal relationship with Christ or not, all I know is what the Bible tells

    me and that I was once a lost alcoholic, but am an alcoholic no more – free in the truth my friend. No temptation, no desire, just pure freedom. How do I know you ask – well aside from the fact that He intervened in my life in a very dramatic way, my certainty

    is such that I would stake my life on Him. – how do I know, his Glory is all about us, in all the beautiful aspects of His creation. I understand that that may not be good enough for some folks, but it is good enough for me.

    May the Lord Bless you and yours..

    With deep & abiding respect,

    -Lance

  • Lance

    John:

    You asked, "OK. But should we tell the unrepentant gays and lesbians in our church to leave our church? I might have missed it, but I don’t think anyone has answered that very simple question, the posing of which was the point of the post."

    I believe the answer to that question is found in 1 Corinthians 5: 1-12.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Lance: Then you think we should kick the gay and lesbian Christians out of our church. Even knowing that doing so would mean dozens of children would be put out on the hard streets of Tijuana with no shelter, money, or food. Tell us that that's the choice you would make. Because that IS the choice at hand. So don't just tell us where to go look up scripture. Tell us the full truth. Tell us you'd rather put starving children in the street than know that on Sunday morning, somewhere in the pews worshiping with you, are gay men and lesbian women.

    Say that's your choice. And then tell everyone what a great Christian you are.

  • Lance

    John, what is really your motive – I guess that is the question I have. I don't like the word "kick", but personally the truth should be presented, they either except or do not. God does not need people or money to see his work done either, to insinuate that is arrogant. If the work in Tijuana is such a blessing I have full confidence that God can see it through with or without your church's assistance.

    Finally I never said I was a great Christian – those our your words.. Angry much?

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    I knew you wouldn't say it. I knew you wouldn't say you'd rather have no gays in your church than a place for starving, homeless children to be loved and have food.

    Yeah, I'm angry. I'm angry at anybody who sanctimoniously claims the high road as a justification for doing or allowing wrong. I hate it when people stick to the abstract, when they know its practical ramifications are forcing people to suffer. At least have the nuts to stand up and admit, explicitly, that you'd rather have no gays in your church than allow the home they support for homeless and starving children (and support in the name of Christ, no less) to disappear.

    It's so smugly arrogant, so insanely nonsensical, to say "God doesn't need people or money to see his work done." What are you, twelve? Without people on earth DOING God's work, how do you think it gets done??

  • Lance

    Goodbye John and have a nice life.. I offered my thoughts and testimony and you attacked, Shall I be symbolic and I shake the dust from my feet in protest against you and go to Iconium? ;-)

    May God Bless you and yours.

    Respectfully

    -Lance

    • DR

      Another Fundamentalist Christian who got “attacked” when he’s asked to take responsibility for the impact of his belief system on children. I need to stop being so surprised when this happens, I have to start setting my expectations accordingly.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    I knew you wouldn't say it.

  • http://www.cornerstone4sq.tv Kory

    John,

    I find something very amiss here.

    I've read several books about why "people like Jesus but not the Church" and have even been a passionate supporter regarding how we in the "church" should stop criticizing people to the point they are turned away at the mere thought of Christianity.

    After some considerable observation though I find that the Bible is very clear on all of this. I don't understand the confusion really.

    First of all, Jesus was all about not judging others lest we shall be judged and said that all the commandments are based on loving God with all your heart, strength and might. Second, to love others as ourselves. I do not have to agree with you nor be willing to spend time in worship with you, call you brother/sister to love you as Christ loves all of us. We all sin and sexual immorality is defined by scripture and if we are sexually immoral then we sin. Trust me I've been and continue to be, at times, sexually immoral. Like someone stated previously, Jesus said to "go and sin no more".

    Does that mean that once saved we are to live perfect? No, we cannot otherwise Jesus need not have died for us.

    If you believe in scripture then you cannot believe in just part of it and not another part. That's like being borderline pregnant. I mean, either you are or you are not.

    John 17:17 says that the Word will sanctify us and it is Truth.

    The problem I do not feel so much is the church being so critical but rather the people in the church are becoming like the rest of the world and therefore ineffective. Many churches are undergoing a transformation to be "worldly correct". I feel Jesus would be disgusted at this as much as He was with the money changers in the temple which brings me to my next point. Notice how Jesus treated sin inside God's House versus outside the temple. I believe if you look up 1 Corinthians 5: 12-13 you will find the answer to your question John. We are commanded to love others including gays or anyone else. In fact, we need to strive to become like Christ in that He laid His Life down for us who did not deserve it (sinners). We are to however confront ongoing, intentional and deliberate sin according to and defined by God's Holy Word and if the person is unrepentant than we must, according to Paul, expel the person to be left to Satan. I know, it is harsh but this is what we are to do. In the same chapter it mentions that a little yeast leavens the whole loaf and to get rid of the whole loaf so that a new loaf without yeast can be made. In other words, unrepentant people should not be allowed to continue fellowship in the church or then the church becomes ineffective and everyone left to their own devices.

    The Bible says in the last days that the people were lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God and we wonder why we get called hypocritical so often by non-church-goers.

    So expel the gay people regardless of how great all their other good works are; however, if a brother is struggling and expresses the sin, is seeking God for resolution in mind, body and spirit then we are not to expel him but rather encourage them and pray and be a family, not criticize.

    Many will ask but what if you are born that way somehow? Last I checked someone asked a similar type of question when they asked Jesus how can a man re-enter the mothers womb and be born again? Most know the answer, "with God all things are possible".

    -Kory

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    So your vote would be to expel the gay Christians, and put the children back out onto the street. Again, it's a simple yes or no question.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    I'm just looking for a Christian who won't, ala Lance, fail to have the full courage of his conviction. I just want one Christian to say, "Yes. Even if it absolutely guarantees that the children of Dorcas House will be put out on the street without food or shelter, gays should be kicked out of your church." A million Christians will take responsibility for claiming that we should definitely kick the gays out of our church. I'm just looking for ONE who will also take responsibility for what, in this case, that would actually mean. I have zero hope of finding even one.

  • Shooting your own

    Okay, so you seem to be describing the situation in this way:

    1. These children clearly need help.

    2. A specific group of people are currently helping them.

    3. If that specific group of people do not help the children, the little ones will be on the street.

    You said Dorcas House would collapse overnight without this specific group of congregants helping the children. Perhaps it would, but it seems more likely that you've oversimplified this discussion to set up a false dilemma; it's all or nothing. If the good, kind, charitable gays in your church win the theological argument, the children win! But if the Bible thumpers win, the children suffer. And let's be honest; you would be beyond infuriated if a pro-choice, pro-life discussion would be framed in such a way — and you would be right. Pro-lifers cannot fairly say that you *want* children to die, can they?!

    And yes, it is hard to deal with reality, with the everyday rub of life together in the specifics you've mentioned. But we have to trust the creativity of the God of the universe to move and to act in the hearts of people inside and outside your church, as well as inside and outside that community to meet the needs of those children — and every other human being in need on this planet.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    So … you gonna answer the question? (And I didn't set up a "false dilemma." This is the truth of Dorcas House. And even if it weren't, it works as a solid proposition.)

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Nard: Aw, that’s sweet. Thanks.

  • http://www.cornerstone4sq.tv Kory

    So I guess I did not answer your question fully as I thought that if I said Paul is clear that any unrepentant sinner must be expelled then yes Dorcas House would have to be shut down and children be left on the streets. That is, assuming that Dorcas House could not find other supporters.

    I don't like it any more than you do as I have several openly gay people I would consider friends.

    If we are going to look toward the Bible as the guide for handling such things then we do have to expel them and if that means that Dorcas House shuts down and the kids live on the streets, go hungry, subject to all kinds of evil then I'm sorry that is what the Bible says to do.

    You are creating a hypothetical situation John but doesn't sound like you are also willing to also consider that maybe God could not take care of those children in Dorcas House or provide other funding. I bet once it was understood the reason why they would have to shut the doors many organizations would step up to the bat to provide. I would have to have faith.

    Again, I think you are trying to live your faith and be "worldly correct".

    Sorry but I won't choose to participate in such moral relevance.

    -Kory

    • DR

      Wow. This literally makes me feel sick to my stomach.

  • Kory

    Just to be clear YES I take responsibility with my answer that we should expel the unrepentant gay in the church even if it means Dorcas House crashes and burns and all the little children are left in the cold IF that would be the only alternative. I'm sorry, one wrong to make a right is not scriptural.

    I answered your question will you answer two for me?

    Why would it be that Dorcas House could not find other donors?

    How do you reconcile the scriptures I used in my previous lengthy answers, with what you really want to do and that is let anyone and everyone in the church do what they want in life and have the church condone it or stay passively quite as they rationalize it because of the money they give to a very good charity?

  • Shooting your own

    You posted this in a blog last October, 2008:

    All people love babies. Okay? So could we Christians please stop talking about anyone—especially anyone who’s actually been nominated for the office of President of the United States—as if they “support” the murder of babies? That’s beneath us. We’re better than that. And so are the “baby murderers” at whom we keep pointing fingers, waving signs, and screaming.

    Here's a possible revised version:

    All people love [orphaned children]. Okay? So could we [as writers on this blog] please stop talking about anyone—especially anyone [who is trying to follow Christ and the Bible]—as if they “support” the [abandonment] of [orphaned children]? That’s beneath us. We’re better than that. And so are the “[gay haters]” at whom we keep pointing fingers, waving signs, and screaming.

  • http://www.1truebeliever.wordpress.com wickle

    Wow,. Shooting, too bad you didn't read Kory's "yes, let 'em starve" comment before you posted yours.

    As for being Scriptural … I don't remember the part in the story of Jesus sorting out the goats and sheep when He paused and said, "Oh, that would have meant associating with gay people? Never mind, then."

  • Shooting your own

    John, here's a comment you posted earlier on this thread:

    I’m just looking for a Christian who won’t, ala Lance, fail to have the full courage of his conviction. I just want one Christian to say, “Yes. Even if it absolutely guarantees that the children of Dorcas House will be put out on the street without food or shelter, gays should be kicked out of your church.” A million Christians will take responsibility for claiming that we should definitely kick the gays out of our church. I’m just looking for ONE who will also take responsibility for what, in this case, that would actually mean. I have zero hope of finding even one.

    Imagine using the same kind of approach in the pro-choice, pro-life discussion:

    I’m just looking for [a Christian who supports abortion rights] who won’t, ala Lance, fail to have the full courage of his conviction. I just want one [pro-choice Christian] to say, “Yes. Even if it absolutely guarantees that the [scientist who would have found the cure for cancer is never born, or a whole generation of African-American children are aborted at Planned Parenthood offices in urban neighborhoods], [abortion rights] should be [supported].” A million [pro-choice] Christians will take responsibility for claiming that we should definitely [maintain abortion laws so women can make these decisions on their own]. I’m just looking for ONE who will also take responsibility for what, in this case, that would actually mean. I have zero hope of finding even one.

  • Shooting your own

    By the way, John, in your original post, you did weigh your words; you gave a nod to the other side in trying to use language that wasn't quite so inflammatory. I noticed!

  • http://www.myspace.com/whitenoisemetalpodcast Brian Shields

    > If you believe in scripture then you cannot believe in just part of it and not another part. That's like >being borderline pregnant. I mean, either you are or you are not.

    Kory. I know my post in this thread was viewed by some as comic relief… but I do ask you if you stand by the above statement how can you continue to fellowship with people who go to Red Lobster? Or do you not believe in Leviticus 11:10 while clinging to Leviticus 18:22? Why don't we bring back slavery? Or are you going to just gloss over Ephesians 6:5 where Paul says slaves should be obedient to their masters "as unto Christ?"

    John and I have discussed this before. Wouldn't it be great if a believer could embrace the transcendent parts of the religious experience without getting bogged down in the cultural mumbo-jumbo that was attached to the people who first received the spiritual message? Wouldn't it be great if churches could focus on the Sermon on the Mount and not on the sexual and dietary practices of the cultures from which those books spring?

    I think it would be great. It would be even better if Christians and gay people and shrimp eaters and even model agnostics like myself could sit down and fellowship, agree to disagree on some matters, and support the great works that sustain the children in Tijuana and around the world.

    I think it would. I think it would even make John happy.

  • Narducci

    They should make a sequel to "A Day Without a Mexican": A Day Without a Queer. Seriously though, don't keep us around just because you need us. Keep us around because it's the right thing to do.

  • Kory

    Well then why give any adherence to scripture Narducci?

    I made my comments with the erroneous assumption that I was commenting to mostly Christian people.

    For the critics of my comments, trust me folks, I don't like it any more than you do as there are a lot of things I falter and do that fall into the list of sins that Paul lists. At some point though I do repent, I do seek forgiveness and go and do my best to not willingly participate in the sin again. It would be entirely much easier and nicer if I could satisfy my conscience and continue to live in that sin. However, it does not change the fact they are still there in the scriptures, plainly stated as sin and valid today in any age. I mean, at what point do you draw the line with what is moral and what is not? Is it what's socially acceptable at the time? Come on folks!

    I do understand though that these archaic principles are gaining in their unpopularity. Like one of those outdated and irrelevant scriptures states, "There is a way that seems right to man but the end thereof is death". -Prov. 16:25 (then again, what do they know?)

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    Narducci–"…don’t keep us around just because you need us. Keep us around because it’s the right thing to do." I think that's a really good point. Expelling the gay folks, and quite possibly shutting down Dorcas House doesn't seem right, but neither does not expelling them only because of the ministry they do to keep Dorcas House running. It seems to de-value them as people; reduces them only to what they do for the church. What if there weren't a need for Dorcas House anymore, or if somehow it became supported entirely by hetero people? Would it then be "See ya, you're of no use anymore." That feels icky to me.

  • Kory

    Brian,

    I think I”m fixing to accuse you of doing what I think you are accusing me of and that’s taking pieces of Scripture and trying to state a belief based on a few scriptures.

    Here’s the deal, we probably would be better off not eating shellfish as scientific fact they are the cockroaches of the sea and contain many harmful contaminants but what doesn’t nowadays right?

    In Leviticus many things are being addressed but basically God gave many laws & regulations through Moses to the Israelites so that they would be a particular people. I think the word here would be they would be sanctified through works.

    Now you have to couple the Old Testament with the New Testament as all scripture is given for doctrine.. but as you know Paul states that we are to judge no one in basis to how they eat, weather circumcised, observe ceremonial holy days of tradition, etc. However Paul does say that no one will enter the Kingdom of God that contiues to willingly participate in immorality.

    Eating at Red Lobster or weather you observe Saturday or Sunday as Sabbath is not a question of morality but rather of ceremony, tradition, physical or nutritional observance of which we are free in Christ to observe as the Lord leads. However, actions such as adultery, fornication, dishonesty, angry rages, stealing and much more are acts of morality of which Paul states that those that continue to practice such without any regard to repentance will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. To continue in a spirit of such disobedience and to snub God is to deny Christ as faith without works is dead. That doesn’t mean that such people are not “good” people or do good works as i do all of these sins but I seek to live in the Spirit and not do these thing but when I do them I know they are wrong and I seek to repent and through His Grace I’m able to overcome. This is the act of sanctification that is a lifelong process. Now I will not judge that someone that is gay is not going to repent at some point and I do not judge him but leaders in the church are told by Paul not to allow willful disobedience to continue within the church.

    What you are talking about are entirely to different matters and scripture taken in entirety deals with this quite concisely.

    Sure we could all just participate in overlooking willful sin and sit around a campfire and sing songs and talk peace and love, on and on. I think many Christians participate in such moral relativism and for that I repeat what it says in Galations 6:7 be not deceived God will not be mocked, what you sow you will reap.

    -Kory

  • Narducci

    I also find it a humorously freudian slip that Kory originally said “Sorry but I won’t choose to participate in such moral relevance.” instead of relativism. I find it humorous because the very thing he is blind to is the lack of relevance in the passages he cites. Morality that is relevant is a good thing. Why cite a text written by men of such an alien worldview to our own? These men kept women as chattel. They believed stupendous things which no sane person can now ascribe to. This worldview influenced their thoughts on morality. God has a way of organically guiding us, being the type of God that we need in each epoch of our existence. The stern, violent God of the old testament gave way to the message of love in the new testament. Adhering to moral edicts written by people of cultures removed from you by antiquity is like only using the reptilian portions of your brain. It makes you a beast.

  • mm

    "or a whole generation of African-American children are aborted at Planned Parenthood offices in urban neighborhoods]"

    Gee, thats not a stereotype at all. Have you ever been to a planned parenthood? I have. Not everyone is a minority when I've been there. In fact, abortion, isn't the only one service they offer. Most people are there for lots of other reasons besides abortion. But you know whatever, you can bury your head in the sand that 42% of women(whether they admit it or not) will have one abortion(for medically neccessary reasons or lifestyle choices), in their lifetime. Obviously ,if that is the case, and african americans make up less than 20% of the poplulation, then what you just said is complete bs. Which it was.

    I'd like to find a god who doesn't tolerate ideas like that. Oh wait, your god doesn't, which is the point John is making.

  • Shooting your own

    MM:

    I didn't choose to put the Planned Parenthood offices in urban neighborhoods; they did.

    I think that's horrifying.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    The last Planned Parenthood office I went to wasn't in an "urban" neighborhood at all: it was in a nice business park in the suburbs of San Diego. So was a different one I went to before that.

  • http://www.maranathachapel.org Tim

    Maybe I'm just dense…and I probably am. I didn't have the time to read all of the comments. But even if I were a gay person booted out of St. Paul's, why would that stop me from loving, and wanting to minister to the kids at Dorcas House? Can the policies of an organization contributing to the support of Dorcas House keep the gay men and women expelled from from St. Paul's from supporting Dorcas House independent of St. Paul's? I know this is sort of a cop out on the whole issue of whether practicing homosexuals belong in church or not…personally I believe there is no better place for homosexuals or heterosexuals, for that matter.

  • Lore

    The end doesn’t justify the means.