Helping Christians be Bored by Homosexuality Since 2007

bored

A conservative Christian emailed me yesterday to share his idea that I should “back off from writing about the gays so much.”

So I did the only thing I could do.

I had him killed.

Hey, you’ve got your friends. I’ve got mine. That’s all I’m saying.

No, but this quarrelsome query (oh, that Daniel Webster! what a gay lexicographer he was!) was prompted by my recent post, Nothing Says Love Like a Lesbian Christian Minister with an Oven, in which I wrote about a dieting, exercising woman whom, I think you’ll agree, set a very clear example for all of you by baking and shipping me cookies.

“What is it about you and gays?” wrote my conservative correspondent. “Why is it so important to you to write so much about them?”

What a naive question. Isn’t it obvious that I write about gays and lesbians because they bake and mail me cookies? If you want me to write about you, you make me cookies. That’s been my motto ever since I first learned, back in kindergarten, about Dick and Jane having the runs.

Oh, no. Now I’ve taken up all this room with these stupid jokes.

Time for … Succinct Man!

The reason I wrote about Anita the Christian Lesbian as I did is because I think it’s critical that whenever any one of us straight folk think, talk about, or talk to any given homosexual, we are very careful to move to the forefront of our hearts and minds the truth that a homosexual’s sexuality means absolutely no more to their overall understanding of who they are, or how they experience the world, than any other person’s sexuality does to them.

It’s so easy for us to forget that though a person may be gay, that’s all they are. They have whole other humongously complex lives that have virtually nothing to do with their sexual orientation. Just like we do. Just like everyone does.

Gays and lesbians spend every bit of their lives as bored as anyone else does, is really the thing. Being gay doesn’t make you exotic, or talented, or interesting, or anything. It just means that when it comes to .. well, you know.

I have a lot of conservative Christian readers, which I hold as an honor. And what I’m saying here has nothing to do with the question of whether or not God automatically condemns to hell the unrepentant homosexual. That’s a theological question I’ll for now let other people argue about.

All I’m saying here is that the reason I wrote about Anita in the manner I did was to say, “Here. Let’s look at this woman. She isn’t just a ‘lesbian.’ She’s someone who cares. She’s funny. She’s smart. She long ago decided to make the point of her life honoring Jesus Christ. In the war she’s been fighting all her life against food and her body weight she’s recently proven victorious. She’s humble. She works hard.  She’s generous. She’s in a loving, committed relationship. She’s articulate. She’s careful. She’s the infinite number of other things she is. She’s a whole person.”

I get that a lot of Christians believe that Anita Cadonau-Huseby is going to hell. I understand that if God wants that, that’s what’ll happen. That’s really none of my business. None of what happens to anybody beyond the grave is my business.

I just want we who are still here on earth to remember that if it ever happens that we have to let go of the hands of the likes of Anita as she begins her fall backward into hell, we won’t be releasing just a ‘lesbian.’ We’ll be releasing into hell a sister.

One of our own.

It better hurt us like that.

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 founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • http://matthew-david.com Matt

    Wow, up until the last 3 paragraphs, I was going to comment how my life as a gay man is far more exciting than any straight person's ;)

    Actually, the last 3 are hard to swallow, especially "releasing into hell a sister". Way to knock the wind out of your readers. I hope it hurt [us] like that.

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

    Now if she had sent you shellfish cookies, I can see why the conservatives would have reason to be outraged… I mean shellfish and lesbians are clearly double-trouble.

    Plus I can't imagine shellfish cookies would be nearly as delicious as the ones Anita sent you.

  • http://www.thetaiwandrift.blogspot.com Chase

    I need to start blogging about lesbians.

    I want cookies, too. And conservative Christian readers, other than my mom…

  • http://annaldavis.wordpress.com annaldavis

    Absolutely fantastic post. Good comments here too. I haven't given much thought lately to the gay/lesbian issue, being in my Christian motherhood cocoon and all. But the other day an old friend found me on Facebook and now I'm forced to confront my feelings. If you hadn't guessed, he's gay. Not *just* gay, but a politically active gay rights advocate. Why is it so difficult to see past the lifestyle choice to the person behind it?

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

    You didn't really say that being gay is a "lifestyle choice" did you?

  • http://annaldavis.wordpress.com annaldavis

    No I meant being a lobbyist (that part is indeed a lifestyle choice)– taking it beyond personhood into the political arena, to bring about the change that many conservative Christians fear.

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

    Thanks for the clarification, Anna. I think fear is precisely the right word for it.

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

    All right, you two. Get a room.

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

    I know. See, I was being funny. The JOKE, see, was that you two guys were flirting with each other, see, and were getting so into it that the time was upon you to move your dalience from this public forum to, see, an actual ROOM somewhere.

    "Get a room." It's quite a common phrase. You'll find that many English-speaking people use it, all the time, in a humorous vein. Now that you've learned it, try it on your friends! You will have hours of fun strategically interjecting this fun phrase into the midst of exchanges being had by others. Can't wait to hear how using this new term works out for you!

  • http://lamponahill.com daniel the stalker

    John, get a room!

  • http://animbilivens.blogspot.com Casey

    Okay, I've written this comment at least 3 times Anita, and none of the rewrites sounded good. I had no idea that was the typical fantasy…. considering how it sounds pretty tame as far as fantasies go. But if that's the case I would love to get a couple of 60's style dressed girls together just to photograph that.

    you almost had me speechless!

  • http://www.internet-bard.com KatFrench

    I was going to post something poignant and pithy, but Brian's comment about shellfish cookies has me all distracted thinking about shrimp puffs.

    Mmmmm…shrimp puffs….

    What were we talking about again?

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita

    I'm just thinking…it's such a shame that John doesn't attract more people to his blog with a pithy sense of humor.

  • http://ramblingsofaspiritualidiot.blogspot.com/ Julia

    John, great post. It highlights one of the more annoying hangups (for lack of a better word) I've see in some Christians. Way too many Christians probably. If you changed 'lesibians' and 'gay' to 'Wiccan' or 'Pagan' or 'Islamic' or 'Native American' or Muslim' or 'Jew' or the catchall catagory of 'non-Christian' your post would still rock. And more than likely way too many Christians would still be hungup over it.

    To put your post; and especially the last 3 paragraphs in a slightly different light; I have been told to my face several times by different Christians that my 3 deceased younger brothers are all in hell, and that I will be joining them for never being a Christian.

    It used to hurt. it used to piss me off. How dare they?? They have no idea what people my brothers were, nor do they know me. They have no idea how my brothers lived and died. They werent there for their first steps, their first bike , thier first booboos. They were not there when we played and fought like brothers and sister. They didnt cry with them when our pets died. They didnt hold their hands when walked to the busstop, or help them with homework. They were not there when they we hit by a car and killed in front of my eyes. They did not got to thier funerals. So who are they to tell me ANYTHING so hatefull and cruel as to tell me they are in now in hell??

    I just dont get it. People are people for goodness sakes. Gay, lesibian, non-Christian; who cares. In the grand scheme of things I think its the quality of HOW we live our lives and treat each other and not the WHAT the hell we are born as that matters. It's the love we share, the compassion we have and give, the struggles we strive to understand and overcome and help others through their trials and tribulations that make us who we are.

    We are not Humans DO-ings. We are Humans BE- ings. We are learning to BE human.

    What is so wrong with that?

    As to when I'm told my brothers are in hell and I'm going with there to join them , well, It doenst bother me as much any more. Mostly now I just feel sorry for the one telling me that. For its clear to me that they truly havent learned to live yet, that they are more focused on DO-ing than BE-ing.

    Sorry to hijack your post, John. But it struck a nerve. A good one though, I hope. I dont think I quite got across what I was trying to convey, but, well, I think some will get it….

    And Anita, it is more than a pleasure to have met you. You ROCK. And dont let anyone tell you otherwise.

    Even if you didnt send me cookies. ;)

    Be The Peace, ~julia

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

    All right, now. Been out of the house for the evening (went to San Diego Magazine's Woman of the Year awards thingy; I didn't win). I see you guys have been busy. So lemme see what's up…

    Wrote Matt a personal note thanking him for his comment …. Brian being sweet and/but talking about shellfish and lesbians…Daniel who stalks me putting down his binoculars to chime in with a great comment … Chase shared his blogging plans with us…. Loved Anna's comment … Brian jumps to the defense of the GLBT crowd …. Anna makes a nice response … I be hilarious … Brian doesn't get joke … I be hilarious again… Daniel be's TRULY hilarious (good one, Stalker Boy!) … ANITA pops in! ….starts off winningly, tries to be funny at my expense but fails embarassingly … WHOA she's linked to a whole blog she wrote that I haven't read yet but I'm sure reveals the magnitude of her secret crush on me …. Michael drops in with his typical hilarious insightful awesomness … Anita responds with respectful panache … Casey gets in a couple of great observations …. Whoa: Wickle stops the show with an utterly blog-worthy comment, proving yet again that he is Master of the Excellent Comment … Anita shows a disturbingly keen sense of the hetero male sexual psyche … Anita calls Wickle's comment a "masterpiece!" which really puts the pressure on Wickle from now on every time he comments here … CASEY! AT THE BAT! …. KatFrench pops in with a gut-buster … Anita once again tries flirting with me online … Ahhh, Julia shares with us some deeply personal stuff, and then sends some love to Anita.

    WOW! It was like going to the movies. I love it all. You guys kill me. Amazing.

    You're all freaks, of course. So you're my kind of people.

  • http://lamponahill.com daniel the stalker

    of course, when the whole gay marriage thing went to the polls, Anita’s afterlife was everyone’s business… and it still will be as long as both sides want to use this opportunity to force their beliefs on the opposing group….. i’m just sayin’

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

    I thought that was a civil exchange John. I asked for a clarification and Anna provided a perfectly valid one. She’s right, becoming a political activist for whatever cause is a choice and she didn’t mean that being gay was one. No room needed.

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita

    Dear People,

    No amount of kindness will merit you cookies. This lesbian has taken off her apron (please note the sassy denim button-up jeans and flannel shirt underneath), but if you need your tires rotated or oil changed…..

    And John, when you have to say “I was being funny”…..well….that either says something about you or your faithful readers and since Brian and Anna seem intelligent enough, it gives one pause.

    You, by the way, are killing me with this attention. Really. Killing me. I always sort of hoped it would be my tango dancing that would draw me such attention but alas….

    http://www.sisterfriends-together.org/box-of-cookies/

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

    Hey Anita, maybe John just likes to write about people who have sex with women.

    So John, I’m in that group too. Or at least, I used to be. Since my wife just had a baby, I won’t be able to “get a room” again until October 19th. Approximately.

    I’ve heard it mentioned that Christianity today is primarily defined by its positions on two issues — homosexuality and abortion. Perfect, since we all know Jesus’ life focused on two principles:

    1) Positions are more important than actions

    2) God hates teh gayness

    The Nazarene is surely watching with pride.

    (I think that comment just broke my all-time record for sarcasm)

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita

    Michael,

    I think you’re on to something….people who have sex with women AND send him cookies. That seals the deal apparently.

    Oh, and thank you for summing up the Gospel in a two-point nutshell. You could have saved me years of Sunday School by sharing that a little sooner :)

  • http://animbilivens.blogspot.com Casey

    Anita, if you’re going to hell- I’m coming too. Cause I think you’d be much more entertaining with the tango dancing. Can’t believe i’m almost 21 and have never seen tango-ers? tangoing? the tango performed….

    Don’t worry John, I got the joke. That must mean you’re still young and hip. lol.

    Personally I think that John’s interest in lesbianism stems from he’s a guy and they find that hot. But i could be wrong.

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita

    I have been told to my face several times by different Christians that my 3 deceased younger brothers are all in hell, and that I will be joining them for never being a Christian.

    It used to hurt. it used to piss me off. How dare they?? They have no idea what people my brothers were, nor do they know me. They have no idea how my brothers lived and died. They werent there for their first steps, their first bike , their first booboos. They were not there when we played and fought like brothers and sister. They didnt cry with them when our pets died. They didnt hold their hands when walked to the busstop, or help them with homework. They were not there when they we hit by a car and killed in front of my eyes. They did not got to thier funerals. So who are they to tell me ANYTHING so hatefull and cruel as to tell me they are in now in hell??

    Julia, as someone who has come to feel more comfortable self-identifying as a follower of Christ rather than a Christian for such reasons such as your experience attests, I can't help but comment that your anger and hurt are more than understandable and justified. Any Christian who has dared to put them into a position to cast judgment on you or your beloved brothers rather than extending themselves to you in compassion and grace have missed the entire point of the Gospels and Christ's message.

    I just dont get it. People are people for goodness sakes. Gay, lesbian, non-Christian; who cares. In the grand scheme of things I think its the quality of HOW we live our lives and treat each other and not the WHAT the hell we are born as that matters. It’s the love we share, the compassion we have and give, the struggles we strive to understand and overcome and help others through their trials and tribulations that make us who we are.

    What you said Julia is at the center of Christ's life; that what we believe is to directly impact the way we live. Paul said the same thing when he wrote "If we have all knowledge….have the gift of prophecy…and our faith is so great it can move mountains but we lack in love, all the rest means nothing." And while some Christians would pass such condemning words as you've heard under the guise of speaking it with love they would be forgetting (or ignoring) the point that perfect love, God's love, is patient and kind, is not rude, keeps no record of wrong, always protects, always hopes, always perseveres.

    And Anita, it is more than a pleasure to have met you. You ROCK. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

    A tip of my little lesbian baseball cap to you Julia.

    Even if you didn't send me cookies.

    What? I sent a note along with John's cookies telling him to send half of them on to you. Are you telling me he didn't? John. You got some 'splaining to do!

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita

    John,

    It's true. I'm totally crushed out on you. I didn't realize I was so transparent.

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

    Chase,

    “I want cookies, too. And conservative Christian readers, other than my mom”

    I’ll add you to my Google Reader. That’s good enough, right? I’m at least sort of a conservative Christian. I thought I was conservative a year ago, anyway. The term seems not to mean what I thought it did.

    Anyway … Part of the problem here is that it’s a lot easier to point to someone else and say how bad they are compared to me. Generally, the hierarchy of sins works this way:

    (Absolute worst) Stuff I would never do and find icky

    (Next worst) Stuff I would never do

    (A little better but still pretty bad) Stuff I might have done but didn’t, and the chance is past; also, things done by people that I know and don’t want to have to deal with

    (Not that bad) Stuff I might do sometime

    (Really not that bad at all and/or not my fault) Stuff that I do

    Therefore … I have no interest whatsoever in being gay. The idea of having sex with a man is pretty icky to me. (Thankfully, my wife doesn’t see it that way …) This makes it in the “Worst” category.

    I’m not inclined toward cheating on my wife at all, so I’ll put that in “next worst.”

    I could understand how a guy might have sex before he got married … I didn’t, and since I’m married, that’s not a big issue for me anymore. I’ll put that in the middle, so that I can

    But looking at sexy pictures online? You know, it’s a possibility that I might do that sometime … the potential is there. So it must not be as bad, right?

    And of course, it’s hardly my fault … you can’t blame me if someone catches my eye inappropriately, right? I mean … it’s probably her fault for wearing something inappropriate and tempting me.

    That way, everyone is worse than I am. Ain’t that great?

    And since I’m trying for the prize for longest and most-rambling comment:

    Michael, you said, “Since my wife just had a baby, I won’t be able to “get a room” again until October 19th. Approximately.”

    As the father of five, I don’t see any advantage to trying to know that date exactly. I’ve found that even thinking about a date in particular only causes stress.

    Of course, if you’re a father of even more than five, feel free to dismiss anything that I say.

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita

    Personally I think that John’s interest in lesbianism stems from he’s a guy and they find that hot. But i could be wrong

    Casey, if that’s the case it could be from the myth men seem to have that lesbians wear a string of pearls and black stilettos every time they kiss. But I could be wrong.

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita

    Wickle,

    I’m now rushing to your blog after that spectacular analysis of the hierarchy of sin….a masterpiece.

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

    Well, for the record … my comment is actually the condensed version of a post I put up last December:

    http://1truebeliever.wordpress.com/2008/12/30/hie

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

    Wickle: So? It's still your thoughts!

  • RogerC

    John- You wrote two sentences toward the end of your blog that have me confused (which is not a great accomplishment- don't pat yourself on the back!). "That's really none of my business." and "It better hurt us like that." -seem almost contradictory. What do you think?

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

    Who does and doesn't go to hell is none of my business, in that I can't effect it. By "it better hurt us like that," I did a fairly sloppy job of referring to the idea that now, in this life, we too often fail to take full responsibility for what exactly we're doing when we so zealously and even enthusiastically condemn an entire class of people to hell. It's too easy for too many of us to too readily forget the simple truth that, one by one, it's individuals we condemn.

  • RogerC

    Thanks, I agree with most of what you said. Could I have permission to use your last two sentences in my Sunday School class- they are great! However (wait for it…), it is discouraging to think "I can't effect it".

    By the way, I very much enjoy your blog. And yes, most would label me as a "conservative Christian".

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

    Roger: You're discouraged to think you can't effect the ultimate judgment that God exacts on any given person. Did you think you COULD effect that? That YOU could inform God's mind about one of his decisions?

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

    Yeah, the picture thing is weird. I think you have to sign up for a wordpress.com account (which is free, if you care, and they don't hassle you, or whatever) for your little avatar photo to show up.

    And yes, I did figure that, about effecting God, you meant just as you've said here. And of course you're right to want to in whatever way possible HELP anyone avoid hell. No doubt about that.

    Hey, and thanks for compliment re: my blog. I appreciate that.

    You mentioned that you're a conservative Christian. In some extremely important ways so am I. I think Christ's sacrifice was salvific, for instance. With Paul I have an issue or two, but not with the story of Christ.

    Anyhooo…. thanks for commenting.

  • RogerC

    Thanks for you time, it's been a lot of fun. Gotta do the "real job" thing for a while. I pray that God will bless you and your readers.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    Alright Roger and John, get a room.

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

    I still don't get John's humor… ;)

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

    Ric: Thanks for ruining my keyboard. MAN that was funny. You owe me a MacBook, of course. But FUNNY! Classic.

  • http://fvthinker.blogspot.com Mike (FVThinker) Bur

    Sorry to jump in late. If one sees someone about to walk in front of an oncoming care, are we not morally obliged to act (assuming we are in a position to do so).

    Isn't the standard Christian position that homosexuals don't get to sit at the head table? It seems to me that is you think homosexuality will get that person a ticket to Satan's guest house, then you are are morally obliged to help them get their hetero on.

    Conversely; if you simply think homosexuality is NOT a sin, then you can enjoy their company without fretting.

    I don't get the middle of road position where one thinks God will judge them harshly but elects to not do anything about it.

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

    Yeah, Ric.

  • http://sharpiron.org Christian Beyer

    Wickle's hierarchy of sin really disturbed me. So true. You might say they really struck me close to home, especially this one:

    "(Absolute worst) Stuff I would never do and find icky"

    For the longest time I've been worried that my parents might be going to hell. I'm pretty sure that they are having sex. Maybe not regularly, but still, that's so….icky!

  • RogerC

    No, I certainly don’t think I can inform God how to judge others. I misunderstood what you meant. My hope is to help others develop a relationship with God if they don’t have one, thereby effecting “it”.

    By the way, it’s not fair that you have a cool picture while I only have a little blue square.

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

    (And I mostly LOVE Paul, by the way. His genius is just … overwhelming.)

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

    When I was 10 I actually walked in on my parents having sex. But if you've read my stuff at all, you know it had absolutely no effect on me whatsoever.

  • http://danielgurtner.com daniel the stalker

    you mean, that's not why you're so funny?

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

    It's why I'm not so anything at all nothing I'm nothing at all I don't know what your'e talking about I saw nothing it was just something that was nothing is all it was just something that was nothing that I hate that made me blind for four months you don't know please make it stop

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    Isn't the "standard" Christian position missionary? Christian?

    I know. Groan.

    yeah, ric…gets me every time.

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

    Isn't the missionary "position" to make the recipient, who should remain as passive as possible, exclaim "Thank you, Lord!" for any little thing you give them?

  • http://danielgurtner.com daniel the stalker

    get a room, you guys!

    wait.. what's this post about?

  • Tamara

    I consider myself extremely conservative as a Christian and was conservative long before I was a Christian….but I had to tell you…you have made this point very well…

    We should be far more concerned about where EACH of our souls ends up..and be in prayer for each other..and looking hard at ourselves daily..because there is not ONE of us who is fit or worthy of the pearly white robes of Heaven…if in fact there truly are robes and I no longer get to wear my Cookie Monster shirt ….(what?? you thought you were the only one obsessed with those delectable goodies? puhleeezeee ..) but I digress….

    Your point was made..loud and clear ..and for anyone to not see the compassion, kindness, love and concern you show in this post..for ANYone's and EVERYone's eternal well-being….then..um..I have to say perhaps they've been eating the raw cookie dough a bit too long and perhaps in too large quantities

    Great blog..great post!!!

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

      Tamara: Wow. What a thoughtful, great comment. Thank you so much for taking the time and care to write it.

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

    Wouldn't it be false advertising to have a heaven where you can't wear a cookie monster shirt?

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

      And there we have it. Two thousand years of Christian theology obliterated with one thought.

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

    Wouldn't it be false advertising to let Jerry Falwell into heaven?

  • Tamara

    Brian…I am so glad you concur with me on this…I was worried I might be a bit ‘out there’…but now I will sleep much better tonight ( in the Cookie Monster shirt of course ..what else is there?)

    Bet you don’t have the matching chocolate chip shaped slippers…

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

      Oh, I’m sorry. I misspoke. In heaven you can wear a shirt that says Cookie Monster. What you can’t do is wear a shirt that says Nookie Monster. That’s not doable. Sorry, Brian.

  • http://fvthinker.blogspot.com Mike (FVThinker) Bur

    If Falwell were there, then God would have incredibly low standards.

  • flayed Hypatia

    If Fallwell were there, then we'd know God is love.

    That's the point I think John is making. I don't respect Falwell. I don't appreciate the hate he's showered on people like me. But, you see, I'm not God. When you look it up in the dictionary, it doesn't say "Bon is love." I'm petty sometimes (no, really!).

    So maybe God does have low standards?

    I grew up in a really strict home. We'd get into trouble for practically anything. Cannot count the number of times I was spanked for something or other. The effect of this was that all of us kids entered into adulthood terribly concerned about doing the right thing. And wondering what mom would think if she knew. Forget WWJD, the operative question is WWMT?

    I'm in my 40s. I still worry about what mom thinks. About meeting her very high standards. But you know, mom is stricter than God. And when it comes down to it, I think we all are. We judge people by what they do, and mentally relegate them to heaven or hell, based on whether we approve of their actions. We love to hate. We love to judge. We love to feel superior to (fill in the blank with whatever category of person that you find evil, disturbing, or otherwise unacceptable).

    We make "us" lists and "them" lists and promptly relegate "them" to damnation. But who are we to mete out judgment? God loves the whole world. God looks on the heart, not the outward appearance. Behavior, any philosopher or psychologist will agree, is outward. Words are behavior. Outward appearance. I have no idea where Falwell's heart stood. Or where Robertson's is. Or where Mother Teresa's was. Doesn't matter if I highly respect or really dislike somebody, I still can't get past outward appearances. I, thankfully, cannot get into anyone else's head (or heart).

    The challenge, then, seems to be to love all people, fundy or liberal, Christian or atheist, gay or straight, tall or short, nice or mean, spiritual or secular, Democrat or Republican, and so on. God loves us all. To paraphrase Rob Bell, there are some who think God only loves them and those who meet their standards, and God loves them, too.

    And that makes it quite the challenge for us to be known by our love, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. So maybe God is, in deep heart ways, stricter than mom (and anyone) who judges by word and deed: I have to love (inwardly) those whom I really want to discard, judge, or hate). The kindom of heaven isn't for those who set up levels of acceptability (those who "lord it over others"), says Jesus. But then again, God loves even those of us who do.

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

    Hypatia: Very good. What a great comment.

  • http://danielgurtner.com daniel the stalker

    yeah! wow, what a great comment! Mom would approve :-)

  • http://unseendisciple.wordpress.com flayed Hypatia

    …except for maybe that little part about mom being stricter than God! She'd be embarassed.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    But I think the serious theological question this post poses is, “Will we see Jerry Falwell wearing a Tinky-Winky t-shirt in Heaven?”

  • Donatello

    Yeah! Hypatia: "to paraphrase Rob Bell, there are some who think God only loves them and those who meet their standards, and God loves them, too"

    A good verse says: "He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."

  • http://sharpiron.org Christian Beyer

    I like this line that is in a book called "Being Presbyterian in the Bible Belt"written by two Presbyterian ministers; Ted V. Foote Jr. and P. Alex Thornburg. They are talking about the neo-evangelical fixation on heaven and hell and who goes where and why.

    "Obviously, there are a number of problems with this view of the world, or the afterworld. Not the least is the prevailing attitude that it’s always “our people” who get into heaven and the bad guys, usually anyone who doesn’t quite believe and act the way we think they should, who end up being cast into hell. Heaven becomes an exclusive country club for the beautiful people who can look down at those sinners in the ghetto of hell and feel sorry for them".

    An exclusive country club for the saved and a ghetto for the sinners. It's interesting how our theology ends up shaping the way things are on the ground. Or is it the other way around?

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

      Christian: Great comment. And great ending question, the answer to which I know I, for one, will not be speculating.

  • Leonardo

    Hey John, What happen with my post?

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

      Leo: I'm sorry, but I had to delete your post just because—to be frank, and I certainly don't mean to hurt your feelings or anything—it wasn't written in a way that really made too clear what exactly it was you were trying to say. English isn't your first language, right? (I mean, I'm guessing that.) I'm afraid that post was just maybe a tad too … well, unclear. Try again, maybe?

  • michelle

    Wow, John, quite a few responses to this blog. I enjoyed learning about Anita and reading your ode to her cookies. It was refreshing to read words written to honor Anita's spirit and her living love and honoring her as a whole person.

    Personally, I do not think God would want any of us to go to hell. Creating the world as he did, going through great lengths through Jesus to restore us back to him and the involvement He chooses to have in our everyday lives through Holy Spirit and angels affirms to me that he wants the best for us all. However the question lies there in how to rectify that not every one will inherit the kingdom of heaven? It is the choices that we make. If anyone of us goes to hell it should be a schock and painful to us all. Enough to re examine our own lives to live as Father God would have us live.

    Anita seems to be living a surrendered life and making such changes that would bring her closer to God on a daily basis. Those areas that the Bible says are not of God well that is between her and God. We all have something in our lives not of God that stops us from receiving His best. God is merciful the rain and the sunshine are distributed to us all. Moreover as long as each of us our breathing life is happening to us all.

    Got to say the cookies looked mighty delicious. Would Anita like to share any of the recipies?

  • Leonardo

    Ok let me tell you in this way. You say: "That’s really none of my business. None of what happens to anybody beyond the grave is my business" But it is your business as a christian if you really care. Quote (without Chapter:verse): "And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh." It is a duty.

    • Katie D.

      i’d really like chapter and verse on this one…

  • http://fvthinker.blogspot.com Mike (FVThinker) Bur

    Leonardo also make my point. I don't get the middle-of-the road position on anything Christian.

  • http://ramblingsofaspiritualidiot.blogspot.com/ Julia

    Anita, I thank you for your kind words. They mean much.

    Thank you.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    So this thread ended with the conservative (evangelical?) Christian and the staunch atheist in complete agreement?!

    Only on John Shore's blog.

  • http://fvthinker.blogspot.com Mike (FVThinker) Bur

    Leo merely shows that there are some pretty darn clear edicts in the bible (some surprisingly non-ambiguous). It the bible is true then, gosh-darn it, you better obey…you don't want to see God when he is in 'one of his moods'. If the bible is not true then you can ignore the whole thing and sleep in on Sunday with not a tad of mental dissonance.

    I just find it hard to contemplate those that claim Christianity, but can disregard clear biblical edicts. Don't get me wrong; those Christians that DO discard those bits are a MUCH more pleasant group to be around and I am not promoting literalism. It just seems there must be a H-U-G-E amount of cognitive dissonance.

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