Should I Feel Remorse Over My Pre-Christian Sinning?

Lately I’ve been getting some advice to the effect that I should condemn and repent of the sinning that I did before I was a Christian. That’s never before occurred to me as something about which I should be even vaguely concerned.

In my teenage-to-early-adulthood years, I smoked a lot of weed, had sex with (not very many) girls to whom I wasn’t married, and for a year or so lived with a girlfriend to whom I was also not married. And later I also lived with my now-wife for about three years before we got married.

Sin-wise, I think that about covers my main, pre-Christian offenses.

Wait, no it doesn’t. In my early twenties I did a little cocaine and a lot of LSD. Plus I drank.

Also—and I don’t think this counts as an Official Sin, but just in case you’re the kind of Christian who thinks it does or should—when young I also had very close friends who were gay. At the time I left my high school, in fact, my best friend was gay; it’s with him that I lived in my first apartment. A couple of years after that I lived with another great friend of mine who was also gay.

But the important point, I guess—again, if you’re a particular kind of Christian—is that I never had sex with any of my gay friends. Sure, that was always a tragedy for them. But I guess you’ll think that at least it gets me off the hook with God.

Anyway, I definitely used to get high; and, to me back then, needing to be married before you could have sex was like needing to own a car factory before you could drive a car. It didn’t even almost register as sane.

So, sin-wise, I guess my past two Big Offenses are getting high and having premarital sex.

Pffft. How do I not already qualify for sainthood?

“God hates John’s fornication!” commented one of the readers of my post, How I Lost My Virginity to My High School Teacher.

“Repent of your past sins, or be condemned in the eyes of God!” wrote another.

“If you don’t want to eat pork, just come out and say so!” wrote another, bafflingly.

Man, if there’s one thing you can say about my readers, it’s that they are definitely stoners intense.

Anyway, should I feel remorse for the sins I committed before I was a Christian? No. I don’t even know what that question means. We all should feel regret for the times in our past when we hurt others, when we put our own needs and interests ahead of the well-being of someone else. For all the times in my life I’ve done that, whether before or after I became a Christian, I do indeed feel remorse. But that’s it, remorse-wise, for me.

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.

  • Nathan

    I think when Terry Jones and Fred Phelps repent of their sins, you should follow suit. Just as an act of artistic unity.

    Until then, I don't think it is out of bounds to tell people to suck it. In love, of course.

    • Tim

      Has anyone found out if that story I heard was true about how if Jones cancels his Qu’ran burning, the Imam will relocate the Islam Cultural Center? Or was that just media hype?

  • Kara

    John,

    We all know I'm a terrible liberal heathen, but if you still want my opinion…

    "Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God."

    I don't take your premarital sex or drug use to (necessarily) violate those. Even if they did, I don't see why you'd be required to be bent out of frame about it now.

    The only stuff I regret is stuff that made me unhappy or hurt people. If it doesn't fit those… Screw that.

    Kara

  • Freda

    Mike Crowl and Susan's response are quite interesting. And of course Lisa is correct.

    But HERE is a question that I'm not sure is covered here: If you repented of all your sins generically, but don't consider certain sins to be "sins", then are you truly saved (as you haven't repented of ALL your sins)?

    Hmmmm.

    • Diana A.

      But HERE is a question that I’m not sure is covered here: If you repented of all your sins generically, but don’t consider certain sins to be “sins”, then are you truly saved (as you haven’t repented of ALL your sins)?

      My personal opinion–part of growing in Christ is coming to understand what is sin and why. We are changed from the inside out and the decisions we make now are different from those we made before. I don't think God is looking for us to beat our breasts over our pasts–rather, what Mike quoted Paul as saying about "forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,"–this is what we are to do.

      Of course, I could be wrong.

      • Freda

        Diana, nicely said. Thank you!

        • Susan

          What Freda wrote!

          • Diana A.

            Thanks!

    • DonP

      Salvation does not depend on one “knowing” the description of every possible sin. The notion is exemplified in Romans 14. The whole chapter is relevant and fleshes out the relevance of knowing what sin is. But for me starting with verse 14 seems to capture the idea most simply : “14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

      I believe by this that we are to trust that God in His timing will convict each of us what needs to be dealt with in our own lives. John’s “sin” is between him and God. That is all he needs to be concerned about.

      Just a thought here but, I suppose when you get right down to it, sin is anything that separates us from and takes our mind of Godly things. For me, that list would encompass about 99.9 percent of my life. Living without sin is impossible as a corporeal being unless your name is Jesus.

      • Freda

        Don, oh so very true!

        • Susan

          Again…what Freda wrote!

        • Susan

          Ditto to Freda's comment!

  • Mindy

    Another tragic heathen weighing in – but as I understand it, once forgiven, forgotten. Let 'em go. If you really believe your actions were wrong, then you've already been forgiven. If you don't believe they were wrong, well, that's a conversation between you and your Big Guy.

    Until one day one of those women comes to you with the 35 yr. old "kid" you conceived with her during a particularly colorful acid trip, one she didn't tell you about because, well, she couldn't remember your name and had no idea where you lived. But dang, he does look an awfully lot like you . . . .

    Then you might have to revisit said sin.

    I'm just sayin' . . . .

  • A'isha

    Are you implying that there are big sins like sex outside of marriage and using drugs and small sins like, what, lying? Just wondering because if I'm not mistaken, if you've broken one commandment you've broken them all.

    Whew, got that out of the way. Now, I'll reiterate what many others have said: your sins are forgiven so there isn't a need to deal with them in any way, unless of course you got busted and have several felonies under your belt that you're not sharing with us. :)

  • David Barach

    I'm a little confused about why getting high is a sin against god. It may be ilegal, but how is it a sin? Is there a verse about not getting high? I'm seriously asking here.

    • deb

      Getting high/drunk, etc., is in essence a matter of treating your body, which is a gift from God and is referred to as a "temple" of the Holy Spirit, disrespectfully. I think gluttony falls into this same category as something that is simply an affront to God, who made us in His image. If I give someone a gift, especially one that I created with my own hands, and they treat it with disdain, I'm going to be pretty disappointed.

      1 Corinthians 6:19 – "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

      Paul is referring to sexual sin here, but, I think it applies to other areas of our lives that are unhealthy and do harm to our bodies.

      That said, I am currently enjoying a nice glass of Cabernet…in moderation of course!

    • Tim

      Let's set aside the getting high part. Smoking dope is a misdemeanor. Even if it's a smaller infraction of the law, Jesus said that the government, courts, constabularies, etc. are ordained by God. If we buck any law, we are bucking d'Lord. I used to justify it by saying if God didn't want me to toke up, he wouldn't let the stuff grow so easy. That coming from a guy with five 4ft. piles of assorted porn growing tall in my back room.

      • DR

        There is now medicinal marijuana, so does something cease to be a sin when we slap a contextual law upon it?

        • Ace

          There are things which are sins, things which are harmful and the two are often but not always the same.

          Drugs are something that can be helpful or harmful depending on how they are used. Abused, they can damage body, mind and soul, but they can also heal if used correctly.

          I don't think smoking a joint now and then, illegal is it is, necessarily is a *sin* but anything which interferes in your ability to live your life fruitfully, and anything that interferes with your relationship with God and your neighbors, may not be the best thing for you.

          My 2 cents anyway…

        • http://www.whitenoisemetal.com Brian Shields

          If you're in California, Vote Yes on 19. Put the Drug Cartels out of business and let John start smoking pot again!

          • Tim

            Do you think legalizing weed will put the cartels out of business? I don’t. They gotsta pay the bills. They’ll peddle whatever is illegal and profitable. Besides, once the crap goes commercial, it’ll be like facebook. Grandma and Aunt Flora will be donning dreads and posting pics of their first pot party online and make the hip people shudder at the thought of ever smoking weed again. Uuuuhhhhhh…..

          • DR

            But your point was that sin is connected to the law. What happens when pot is legal? Is it a sin or not?

          • http://www.whitenoisemetal.com Brian Shields

            When prohibition was repealed, Al Capone was out of the alcohol business. Yes, his organization still conducted other criminal enterprises like racketeering but their chief source of income was gone. There’s no reason why having a legitimate marijuana industry won’t do the same thing and lead to fewer deaths along the border. Voting against legalization is a vote for the status quo and for organized crime.

            And I don’t smoke pot because I’m hip. I smoke pot because it’s a far better (for me) alternative to alcohol.

        • Tim

          Maybe. Though something may be legal, that thing may not be expedient. If it’s legal by the rule of law, I wouldn’t think it’s anymore sinful than having a glass of wine or a jigger of rum. The sin comes in when we allow it to stumble a weaker fellow in Christ, or becomes too high a priority.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        I'm not sure where Jesus anything like that, Tim. The closest He came was I think to come out in support of secular taxation. St. Paul however wrote more than once about how our founding fathers were such wicked men, e.g. Romans 13:2: "Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."

        • Tim

          You're right. It was Paul. But I still hold that laws are to be upheld or changed according to the rule of law.

  • AboundingJoy

    First off, your line "needing to be married before you could have sex was like needing to own a car factory before you could drive a car" is completely priceless. Thanks for continuing not to disappoint.

    Regarding repenting for past sins, I believe that Christ died so that we don't have to suffer the penalty of our sins. That doesn't mean that we aren't responsible for them or that we should act as though we didn't commit them. At the same time, that doesn't mean walking around flogging ourselves about them for all of eternity either.

    The more I grow in Christ, the more I feel the pain that my sin causes God, which I care far more about than pain that it causes other people. The people part is important, don't get me wrong, but trying to make people happy all the time is like trying to nail Jell-o to the wall…pointless and messy. If you view your past life through God's eyes and feel like you and He have an understanding of your less than grand choices compared to your current walk with him, then that's all that matters.

    People who try to insist that you should feel something or follow some cookie cutter path to their idea of true repentance need a hobby that is less self-righteous and more gracious,,,basically, more Christlike.

  • Ellie Boylan

    Are you saying that, if you had a gay friend who needed a place to stay now and you had an extra room, that you'd turn him/her away because it's supposedly a sin to offer to share your home with them? Are you really sorry for doing all those things or are you thinking about condemning your past sins because that's what you're supposed to do, or expected to do, as a Christian?

    • Mel

      I’m not sure why he included that in his list of sins that he might want to repent of. Being friends with a homosexual is in no way a sin. Turning someone away because they are a homosexual would be. Jesus said whatever you do to the least of these, you did to me. He ate with tax collectors, and adulterers. Not being friends with somebody because they are a homosexual would be like not being friends with somebody because they lied, or thought about something bad. Everybody sins, including us, so we can’t judge people and say that their sin is worse. When it comes to homosexuality, we should hate what the person does, but not the person themselves.

      • http://www.whitenoisemetal.com Brian Shields

        Do you really feel compelled to “hate” anything at all?

        • Mel

          Psalms 45:6 Your throne, O God, [is] forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness [is] the scepter of Your kingdom. 7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness.

          Amos 6:8 The Lord God has sworn by Himself, The Lord God of hosts says: “I abhor the pride of Jacob, And hate his palaces; Therefore I will deliver up [the] city And all that is in it.

          Psalms 97:10 Let those who love the LORD hate evil.

          The first two verses are just examples of what God hates. The last examples is why yes, I feel compelled to hate some things. I hate sin, as God does.

          • http://www.whitenoisemetal.com Brian Shields

            Or more precisely, as the hateful humans who thought they were channeling a god when they wrote this dreck thought.

          • Mel

            I don’t really see how bashing the Bible is going to get you anywhere….but clearly there’s not point in having a conversation with you about this.

  • Mary

    At the moment you became a Christian, your past — including your sins — was wiped away. You don't need to think about it anymore.

  • http://friendlymama.blogspot.com Mary Linda

    The way I see it, sin is what stands between you and God. My question is: How attached are you to those BS actions (BS=Before Salvation)? I don't really believe in salvation, come to think of it. I don't think saying any combination of "magic" words saves anyone from anything. What I think is that grace allows us to become aware of God speaking to our hearts (true selves). As we learn to listen, we understand God encouraging us in certain ways. When we listen and obey, we're living according to God's will for us. When we ignore it for whatever reason, we're out of alignment. So, if you got an ego boost from remembering and frequently revisiting the memories of those actions, I wouldn't say you should condemn them but that you should maybe question what they mean to you and what they're doing for you now. As it is, we are made up of all our experiences. You wouldn't be you without having done those things.

  • http://www.whitenoisemetal.com Brian Shields

    Didn’t Jesus say, “He who is without sin sure did get stoned a lot?”

    • Diana A.

      Too funny!

    • Leslie

      Ow. That made my head hurt.

      • Gina Powers

        @Brian: Big LOL!! Damn, buddy!! :)

    • Tim

      Brian, would you just accept Christ, already!? I'd hate to possibly be without your sick humor in heaven.

      • http://www.whitenoisemetal.com Brian Shields

        I've already warned John, I fully intend to pester him in heaven without developing a belief in anything between now and then. I'll be happy to do the same for you, Tim.

        • Tim

          Now and then. Except…when is then? I've missed then so many times. That's about as close to the vest as you can get, mon frere Brian.

  • http://mikecrowlsscribblepad.blogspot.com/ Mike Crowl

    I’ve always understood that once you’d come to Christ your sins were wiped away (as far as the east is from the west, according to one Psalm). Why would you want to keep on going on about them? Presumably you left your past behind when you became a new man in Christ. Certainly they sometimes come to mind and you feel remorse about having indulged in stuff that you now realise was rubbish, but beyond that….they’re gone! St Paul writes about ‘forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.’ Some people just want to keep playing in the mud of the past, I think. Perhaps it makes them feel better.

    • Susan

      Mike,

      What if one doesn’t feel particularly remorseful about a previous transgression, but has made a decision not to indulge in the transgression again and has no desire to do so? Does that mean one is unrepentant? Must one feel remorse?

      • http://mikecrowlsscribblepad.blogspot.com/ Mike Crowl

        I don't know that feeling remorse is the issue, Susan. You 'may' feel it, but remorse and repentance are different things. The decision not to do something sinful is far more important – and to the point – than remorse. Lots of people feel remorse but nothing else, and continue sinning. (I can say this from experience!) Repentance is an act of the will; remorse is a feeling, and not always very reliable!

        • Ace

          Every thing I’ve read about repentance indicates that it is a “turning around” – i.e. you turn from your old (bad) ways to new (good) ways.

          I realize things like self-flagellation and hair shirts and such were popular in the past, but I’ve never gotten the impression that Jesus really wanted us to go marching down the street chanting while banging ourselves in the head with a wood board or whatever.

          Remorse is a useful emotion in that it can lead to repentance, but I don’t think feeling a particular emotion is a requirement. Feelings are just feelings. They don’t really mean anything if you don’t act upon them.

          I don’t personally know John Shore and can’t say wether or not he still spends his time dropping acid and fornicating (though his wife might), but if he’s not doing either of those things anymore, it’s at least some physical evidence that he has “turned around” from his old habits.

          In any rate, I don’t think any of us, Christian or non-Christian, has any business trying to judge the contents of another person’s heart – that is God’s privelege and purview, not humanity’s. The “YER GOIN TA HEEEEEELLLLL” contingent of Christianity really isn’t helping anyone.

  • http://facebook Lisa

    When we decide to accept Jesus into our lives as our Lord and Savior, we ask for forgiveness. That includes ALL sin that we did up to that point in our lives. So if you were born again, saved by the blood of Jesus, you are already forgiven.

  • Marie

    I vote: really sort of basically NOT!

  • Don Gollahon

    Here’s the way I put it to others, John: You don’t have to repent of every sin you can remember. You just repent of sin, realize you are a sinner. First John 1:9 “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” God always goes farther than we do, Thank God! Confess what you know is sin and God takes care everything, what we remember and what we don’t remember or never even knew was sin to begin with. The slate is wiped clean. That is the kind of God we serve.

    My favorite chapter is Romans 5, the “How Much More” chapter. Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. God never does “just enough”, his grace goes much further than our sin ever did. To help explain the riches of God’s grace I sometimes use the idea of Donald Trump going out to eat for dinner. Do you think he ever questions if he has enough money in the bank to do that? He has abundant riches. He could buy the stinking restaurant if he wanted to. God is the same way. Your sins are abundantly covered by the riches of God’s grace. You never have to worry if God has enough grace for you!

    I’ll quit preaching now.

    • http://spiritualmeanderings.wordpress.com/ Sentinel

      Aw, but the preaching was good!

      Also, John, it’s possible that the “big deal” sins in your head are not the ones which God is most concerned about. Extra-marital sex, drugs and abuse of alcohol – sure, they’re issues, but it’s perhaps God is more concerned with on things which may still be a part of your life.

  • http://none Don Rappe

    You have confessed them. Not continuing or repeating them indicates repentance. Turn to God and be healed. Isn’t that what Jesus is for? You aren’t recommending recreational drug use to others are you? This leaves you with the ambiguity of having made lemonade of your statutory rape by your high school teacher. Thank you for that story.

    .

  • robin

    The sins God hates most aren’t on your list. But like the woman He saved from stoning, go and sin no more.

  • http://www.virushead.net Heidi

    As a christian, aren’t you are now by grace forgiven? Unless you became a Christian simply to run from yourself, I fail to see the value of dragging yourself back there.

    Repentance is for NOW. TODAY. The past is to be meditated upon, understood, and absorbed. You are already forgiven – so why not turn your insight into humility so that you might better follow the Christ?

    It might save you from slipping into that anti-christian arrogance and judgment from those who blow their religious trumpets to hurt others. Oh wait! I think it already has.

    Can you somehow pass that along as a homepathic dose to your brethren? At this point, the neopagan movement has more christian insight and behavior than most of the pseudochristians.

    When I left the Jehovah’s Witnesses, I really didn’t expect to see that poisonous legalism and cruelty spread out to the rest of christendom.

    So glad that god/dess is beyond all that – and loves us all.

  • http://luwandi.wordpress.com Beth Luwandi

    I reread your title

    Are you asking should you go around condemning premarital sex and getting high? Really?

    Is that, in fact, the job of the Christian after conversion, to go around condemning sin? Self-righteous Bastard, then.

    The more interesting question you suggest is should you not tell these stories

    or should you necessarily always add some qualifier…. “that was back when I was in the world…” for instance. Which for some reason is a phrase that so completely grates on my nerves.

    I say, tell the stories. Tell the truth.

    And tell the whole truth

    in the same way.

    You’ve got the Mod Squad watching what you’re writing. And you’ve got a bigger, deeper, and smarter audience than the rest of us. Pay attention to the big HS, He’ll tell ya.

    Although I understand you are playing with us here too…. :)

    • Mel

      I think it’s in the *way* he tells the stories. After reading this, I went and read his post about losing his virginity to his teacher. He didn’t seem like he regretted it, or thought of it as a bad thing….actually it seemed like quite the opposite. When I read it, it sounded more like he was bragging about it. So, I believe that once you have repented of your sins, they are washed away. However, if you truly repented of them, that means that you recognized that what you did was wrong. So going and writing blogs about it, making it sound like you were really cool to do such a thing is proving that you really didn’t think it was wrong in the first place. Also, John, I don’t think that you should be asking your readers if you should repent of your past sins. If the only reason you do or don’t repent is because of what your readers say to do, then it means nothing. This is something that should be between you and God.

  • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

    I don’t know about other people, but I’m constantly asking God for forgiveness. The matter is between Him and me. AA & other 12-step programs require members to take a personal inventory, accept responsibility for & atone for any wrongs they have done UNLESS doing so would cause more harm.

    Being honest about one’s past =/= condoning it.

    • http://luwandi.wordpress.com Beth Luwandi

      I was seriously going to mention the 12-Steps– making a fearless and searching moral inventory…

      becoming willing to make amends… love the tenth step of maintenance.

      We don’t take other people’s inventories– one of the main things to stop doing in fact since it grants people the same dignity God gives us when we turn our will and our lives over to his care- space to do their own inventory and to walk it out according to principle.

      I have gotten annoyed sitting in meetings where the talk is centered on exploits which seen in a certain light don’t really seem to help anyone listening since the point is to share our experience, strength, and hope but then I remember I’ve sounded like a dork in meetings too.

      I have had moments of concern when my husband has told stories to our children about things he did while high– and depending on their age at the time, I think my concerns were legit- as a boundary issue etc. But I’ve also discovered he does a good job demonstrating– no matter how he tells a story–what an idiot he was sometimes. He doesn’t need my help hammering home the point.

      And I made my comment above BEFORE reading all the comments on the Sex with my HIgh School teacher entry… so I see now the genesis of the issue……

      very interesting

  • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

    I guess I just can't get into the kind of over analyzing that makes folks go dig up bible verses to prove that you are or aren't doing the right thing by posting about your past.

    I read your blog for a lot of reasons, not all of them spiritual. I think I'm an adult, easily able to separate my own life and relationship with Christ from yours. You don't know me from Adam; all I know of you is what you share on your blog, but that doesn't mean we are good enough friends for me to start taking your inventory. I apply the 12 step rule to blog reading: Take what you like and leave the rest. I tend to comment when something strikes me in a positive way or when I sense the author is seeking support that I feel qualified to give; otherwise I try to refrain from commenting.

    I don't always follow those guidelines perfectly, but they suit me.

    I'm not qualified to judge or condemn your sins, and that's not why I'm here.

    I suspect that doesn't answer the question that was posed, but that's my answer nonetheless.

  • ManimalX

    I see lots of folks here firing off lots of good one liners and cliches: “forgiven and forgotten,” “sins are wiped away,” “your past is behind you” (or your behind is in your past? I forget). But… that isn’t really what this is all about. It is about being PROUD of your past sins and BRAGGING to the world about how great they were. That is what you did in your post about losing your virginity to a teacher. No remorse, no good point at the end. Just a presentation of how damned happy proud you are about banging some slutty teacher when you were 17.

    It really isn’t about always walking around feeling GUILTY about past sins, but don’t you think there is something wrong with walking around proud and happy and bragging of past sins?

    And something ESPECIALLY wrong with someone bragging about how proud they are of their past sins who is supposed to be a “mature” Christian, an “elder” in the faith, someone who is essentially a teacher who reaches (potentially) millions of people with his message?

    Like it or not, John, you are a teacher. You can dismiss yourself as “just a blogger,” but that doesn’t change the fact that thousands and thousands of people look to your teachings for some sort of guidance. Is bragging up past sin as no big deal really sending the right message?

    Can you find any good examples throughout Christian history of anyone being really happy and proud of their sinful life before they came to Christ?

    Can you imagine archaeologists finding a lost Pauline epistle in which Paul brags about how great it was and how much fun he had killing Christians before he converted? About how IDEAL it was for him to persecute Christians?

    NO! What we DO find however, are things Paul wrote about the “old self”, like Ephesians 4:20-24, “But that is not the way you learned Christ!- assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness,”

    and Colossians 3:5-10, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”

    Can you imagine Matthew bragging to Jesus and the other disciples one night around the campfire about how much fun it it had being a tax collector and how much pleasure he had gotten out of robbing people?

    NO! Of course not!

    Because “REPENTANCE” means turning from and rejecting all of that garbage that separated you from God. The stuff that Jesus Christ DIED to pay for! Why do you want to brag about how fun it was to do the stuff that put Jesus Christ up on the cross?

    If you don’t feel remorse or sorrow over your sin, then fine. If you think it was all good fun, fine. But don’t get upset when you share it with the world and have Christian folks begin pointing out the error of such a position.

    • DonP

      John is just a guy. As is true with most of us, he is just feeling his way through the dark with a very tiny candle. Give him a break. And while you're working on that one, try to see yourself in what he writes. Might want to look up that chapter in in Romans that I mentioned above also.

    • Mindy

      Judgmental much, Max? How sad for you that you choose to see the worst of it.

      Everything that John (or any of us) did before this moment brings us to who we are right now. The experiences of his whole life, good and bad, sinful and not, make John the phenomenal writer he is, give him his sense of humor and biting wit, his enormous compassion for his fellow human beings, his sense of empathy for those who are searching for their own "right" path.

      I don't believe that John's "sins" are nearly as awful as you would like him to feel. His teacher is the one who was in the wrong – John was a kid, she took advantage. The experience, however, does not seem to have ruined him for life, fortunately. He "sinned" against his own body-as-temple by getting high. He did, indeed, break laws in the process, which I'm sure you'll add to his sin list. But (arguably, I realize) he didn't hurt anyone else in the process.

      He shared those "sins" in a thought-provoking manner – which is how a good teacher teaches. He shared them so that we could see them through the eyes of his younger self – the one who didn't regret the actions, because he was a kid, because he was human, because he enjoyed them all at the time. Does he regret them now? Probably not. That would be pointless, and probably a lie. What I'm guessing he does know now is that he wasn't caring for himself the way God wants him to, so, like all decent people, he'll continually try to do better. (Feel free to correct me if I'm making wrong assumptions, John).

      And, you might consider this, Max. He's proud of it. Proud that even someone as flawed as all that, even someone who committed (what those who judge consider) BIG sins, he still became a Christian. He was still welcomed into the fold, received God's grace and rejoices in his faith. He doesn't have to beat the proverbial crap out of himself. Self-flagellation not required. To me, the bigger "sin" would be NOT to share, to lie-by-omission about how he came to be exactly who is he is.

      Fortunately, your job is not to keep track of anyone's sins but your own. And judging others, if I recall my long-ago Biblical education, is one God doesn't like one tiny bit.

    • Kara

      Your examples all involve hurting someone else. And until you can find me the verse where “sexual immorality” is defined, I have no idea how you can claim that we have anything to go off of in that regard other than making sure our sex lives don’t hurt others and acting as we feel convicted.

      You’re not the one who decides what sin is for other people. And before you say, “No, the Bible is,” you’re also not the one who gets to interpret the Bible for everyone else, no matter how clear you may think it is. I appreciate that your heart is in the right place, based on what you believe. But you’re coming across as very self-righteous to me, and it’s worse because it’s clothed in the language of humility, if not the spirit of it.

      Other Christians will have different ideas about Christianity, sin, love, sex, grace, the afterlife, etc. differently than you do. And the thing about theology is, by its nature, you can’t make a provable truth claim about it. None of us can. It’s not a science. So please stop jumping on anyone who happens to disagree with you, because it’s really not cool.

      • Ace

        Kara, that's pretty much ManimalX's modus operandi though, as well as being rather male-chauvinistic and generally dismissive of anyone else's ideas or opinions or knowlege.

        You might as well ask pig to grow wings and fly trying to convince him to act with an ounce of humility.

        Waste of breath (or keyboard strokes here I guess).

        • ManimalX

          @ Ace

          In other words, you either don't understand a word of what I wrote, or you can't come up with any kind of intelligent response to my fairly simple points. So, instead of just keeping quiet, you resort to juvenile name-calling just for the sake of…. being mean, I guess?

          Just a reminder of the issues at hand, which are those I addressed above (and I didn't even have to resort to calling people names!): what is "repenting" in the Christian faith? Does the Bible give us any idea of what it should look like? Should we brag about the sins we did before we repented of them? What DOES repentance look like in the life of a believer?

          So, get back to me if you ever want to leave the kiddie table and join the adults for an intelligent conversation. Okthxbai.

          • DR

            "So, get back to me if you ever want to leave the kiddie table and join the adults for an intelligent conversation. Okthxbai." — ManimalX

            "Can anyone show me where I get personal? You are all so mean and gosh, you just misunderstand me. Now let's get back to talking about the real a-hole which is John Shore for having a fairly positive sexual experience when he was 17 that wasn't horribly traumatic and damaging even though I say it was!!" – ManimalX

      • Matthew Tweedell

        Leviticus 18:6-23

        "No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the LORD.

        "Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.

        "Do not have sexual relations with your father's wife; that would dishonor your father.

        "Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father's daughter or your mother's daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.

        "Do not have sexual relations with your son's daughter or your daughter's daughter; that would dishonor you.

        "Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father's wife, born to your father; she is your sister.

        "Do not have sexual relations with your father's sister; she is your father's close relative.

        "Do not have sexual relations with your mother's sister, because she is your mother's close relative.

        "Do not dishonor your father's brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt.

        "Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son's wife; do not have relations with her.

        "Do not have sexual relations with your brother's wife; that would dishonor your brother.

        "Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relations with either her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness.

        "Do not take your wife's sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.

        "Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.

        "Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor's wife and defile yourself with her.

        "Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.

        "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

        "Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion."

        They don't need to be explicitly repeated when held in the New Testament to be binding upon Gentiles as well, because "[t]he acts of the sinful nature are obvious…." (Gal. 5:19)

        So, it was written: "You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell." (Acts 15:29)

      • Argy-bargy

        Kara:

        I was about to respond ManimalX, then I saw you just posted and…I couldn’t have said it better myself! Well done.

        Maybe others can correct me, but I believe that the only time Jesus specified anything as sexual immorality was mentioning adultery. If we go farther back, the other examples in the Old Testament are sleeping with your stepmother and homosexual sex. And to the latter (and maybe both, I can’t recall), the acceptable punishment was death.

        Now, yes, maybe I am arguing backwards to then question the authority of the Bible, but I consider punishing someone for homosexuality not only evil for a secular society to perpetrate, but even evil for a religiously moral society to tolerate. I’m sorry, I have to question the authority of the Bible when it exhorts me to carry out such heinous deeds. Therefore, although I would be interested in knowing whether I’m correct about Biblical definitions of sexual immorality, do NOT try and use the Bible to supplant what my God-given conscience is telling me to do.

        In fact, I think it is a weak exercise of our God-given conscience to allow the Bible to tell us what we should judge to be immoral without considering what our hearts are telling us is or isn’t “sinful.”

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Jesus never specified what sexual immorality was. When he mentioned it, it is given in a list of evils along with but separate from adultery. I suppose this is because in adultery it is not that the sex itself, physically, biologically, is perverse necessarily; rather this is unfaithfulness, a violation of trust and covenant, and a sort of theft.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        Kara, please consider that some are bound to be upset by your unsubstantiated claims revealing a lack of understanding—not just of Truth—but of others.

        • Kara

          What unsubstantiated claims? That people have different opinions? That one poster doesn't get to define truth for the rest of us? Which ones, specifically, would you like me to back up?

    • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

      Using the word “bragging” as someone relates to how they lost their virginity and the impact it had on him and his experience of it says far more about you than it does the teller of the tale.

      I know a lot of really wonderful, devout (Conservative) Christians who had sex prior to marriage and don’t hate the experience, they don’t regret the experience and it has not caused harm in their current marriage. It seems that for you, this is very black and white and is perhaps, akin to very grave sin. Though you are simply up against people who don’t agree with you, have no need for you to define what a “teacher” is and is supposed to do.

      Teachers are simply those people who people choose to learn from – having years of time logged as a Christian has no bearing in maturity at times. I’d hope their length of time as a Christian makes them wiser and more loving and simply, more like Christ. It’s clear that people learn a lot from this blog. And some will reject what they do learn as a result of what they read, if it doesn’t align with what they believe is “godly”. So OK. They’ll move on. None of us will be the perfect teacher of the other, nor the ideal role model according to *your* terms. For someone who has agonized over their sexual behavior in the past? John’s lack of regret over how he lost his virginity might be exactly what they need.

      So again – your anger and righteous indignation, I suspect, has a lot more to do with your own needs of John and your own disappointment rather than him.

      • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

        (Oh and I say this as someone who is a fan of not having sex before marriage which sucks for me, but you should know that's where I'm coming from).

      • ManimalX

        @ DR

        Thank you for actually addressing some of the points I made!

        We seem to have at least 2 fundamental disagreements. Let me see if I have this right:

        1) We disagree over whether John's story was bragging or not. You think it wasn't, I think it was.

        2) We disagree over whether or not John is a "teacher" and whether or not I should be holding him to the biblical standard for a "teacher."

        Does that seem like a fair analysis?

        Regarding #1: If there would have been some sort of point to the story, I wouldn't see it as bragging at all. As it stands, however, it was merely a glowing review of a one night stand that came across as a promotion of said event. In fact, John later replied that it was "great" for him, "the ideal way to lose his virginity." If that isn't a brag, please tell me what it is!

        Regarding #2: John promotes himself as a Christian. All of the time. He regularly mentions it, and makes frequent references to the amount of time he has been so. I mean, go read his "about me" section. He has written books that are for TEACHING Christians about Christian stuff! Like it or not, John Shore is a Christian teacher.

        DR, you seem to think that it is the "student's" problem if they stick around and listen to a bad "teacher." And you are right. The Bible gives all SORTS of warnings to believers to practice discernment and test everything teachers say. But that is just one side of the coin. The other side deals with the TEACHER'S responsibility, a la James 3:1 – "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness."

        Since I was originally addressing John, I was addressing him as the teacher. A whole different conversation could be had about folks around here practicing better discernment, but that wasn't the main issue and can be saved for another time.

        Finally, I hate to spoil your caricature of me, but I'm not the least bit angry, and only mildly indignant. All I'm trying to do is hold a Christian teacher accountable according to Scripture.

        • DR

          Way to lead the conversation with a passive-aggressive attack, you are quite the piece of work. Anyway, moving on.

          If you want to make John a "teacher" I guess you can do that. But he's not an ordained pastor which is what the Scripture regarding teachers was addressing. If anyone on the internet who writes about being a Christian is a "teacher", then the world just became a much scarier place.

    • Susan

      @ManimalX

      John is an author who uses his talent for writing to blog and to facilitate discussions, usually with regard to religious topics. He shares his experiences, opines, asks questions, and engages readers to do likewise. He has claimed to be a Christian, but he has never referred to himself as a preacher, teacher or an authority.

      In fact, his tagline is: “John Shore: trying God’s patience since 1968.”

      So he’s represented himself honestly as an opinionated, unconventional, human who is a Christian.

      “Can you imagine Matthew bragging to Jesus and the other disciples one night around the campfire about how much fun it had being a tax collector and how much pleasure he had gotten out of robbing people?”

      Bragging, no. But, but I’d like to think the disciples and Jesus sometimes just sat around a campfire, laughed, told stories, had fun…like us, and that they weren’t boring, stick-in-the-muds who talked only of serious matters.

      John did not tell people to go have sex. He relayed his story honestly. You pointed out the scripture says “do not lie to one another.” John didn’t lie about anything. You say of his story…“no remorse, no good point at the end.” But, he doesn’t behave that way now as indicated by the title of this blog and in the comments he made in the string of comments (in other blog.)

      Would it have been more acceptable if he’d described his encounters like you did – “banging some slutty teacher when he was 17”?

      Jesus was neither an a-hole nor some uptight, easily offended prude. He couldn’t have been. He hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors all the time.

      If he returned, how many would not recognize him b/c of what we assume him to be like?

  • Leslie

    I may be misreading your posts, but I get the feeling that you are more amused than horrified by the drugs and sex in your past. Drugs and sex always struck me as being sinful more because of their capacity to lead to really bad outcomes (overdose death, car accidents, unwanted pregnancies, hurt feelings, addiction, std's, jail sentences, etc.) than because they are innately bad by themselves. Drugs, sex, and alcohol can lead to some awful things, but they can also be great fun, and I suspect it is hard to be remorseful about something you really enjoyed, that, as far as I can tell, did not cause damage to you or anyone else. So my recommendation, be exceedingly grateful you had no bad consequences to your youthful misbehavior and don't worry too much about trying to repent, because I don't think you can do it completely honestly. (Again, I may be misreading, but that is my guess.) I don't feel these were sins in quite the same way that holding up a liquor store or hitting your sister would have been, because you didn't realize why they were sins. However, if you were to do these in the future, you would do so knowing they were sins, and then I think you would need to repent.

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

      Right onneth!

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

    To the tired canard expressed by Mel above that, "When it comes to homosexuality, we should hate what the person does, but not the person themselves" :

    Christians: When It Comes to Homosexuality, Man Up.

    • Mel

      I read your article, and I don’t see how that would change what I said. You said in the article that if you took the Bible out of the equation….WAIT!! I’m a Christian and taking the Bible out of the equation isn’t an option. You can’t prove to me that homosexuality is okay, or whatever it was you were trying to prove with that blog by taking the Bible out of the equation. It’s wrong, and there’s nothing you can say to change that. However, just like all other sins, (I will stick to what I originally said) you should hate the sin, but not the sinner.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        "Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph." (Amos 5:15)

      • Mindy

        Oh, Mel, good grief. In this day and age, if you are still unable to understand that homosexuality is a physiological part of being human – some are, some aren't and it is all part of the continuum that is human sexuality – then you simply aren't paying attention. Evolutionarily speaking, it is part of nearly every species. It covers everything (scientifically speaking) from socialization to population control.

        It was thought to be evil back in ancient times because every population wanted to grow. Being a good citizen meant procreating as many times as possible. That's all those OT laws were about, I have no doubt.

        The "ick" factor that some people can't get past is their own problem. The fact that you hate something that is an absolute integral part of a good portion of the human population says more about you than it does about what you hate.

        Personally, if I have to pick something to hate, it's bigotry, and those who practice it. Where homosexuality is concerned, Mel, "hating the sin, not the sinner" is as hypocritical as it gets.

        FWIW, you pointed me to a post by, of all people, ManimalX in another conversation we had, and no, he didn't make your point or enhance my understanding of your point, because all I read was more judging. That attitude comes across loud and clear in most of his posts, as it does in yours. You might treat people who are different with respect, but that does NOT mean that you actually respect them. That is the key difference in our other disagreement, and is the same thing here. I find it sad that so many adamantly practice the bigotry of hatred. My married lesbian friends, who have been together, monogamously, for 20+ years and are raising two of the most amazing kids I know – do not deserve to be "hated" on any level. And you cannot hate a core piece of who they are and profess not to hate them. You can say it, but the reality jist don't work that way, kiddo . . .

        • http://www.whitenoisemetal.com Brian Shields

          @MIndy You go! Hooray!

        • Mel

          I don’t care about the “day and age”. In this “day and age” people are becoming more and more accepting of that which is wrong….that doesn’t suddenly make it right. This conversation, as the other one, isn’t going to go anywhere because you don’t believe the Bible to be true and I do. Therefore, whatever the Bible says, I agree with, and you may or may not.

          I am not a bigot either. Knowing what is right, and disagreeing with things that are wrong is not bigotry. Just like you don’t accept my POV on things, I don’t always accept yours, that doesn’t make me a bigot.

          And I don’t understand how hating the sin and not the sinner is hypocritical? I hate lying, but I don’t hate people who lie. If that was the case, I would hate everybody, which I don’t. I don’t think it’s fair to say that judgment comes across loud and clear in my comments…I am not being judgmental at all. As I said, I know what I believe but I don’t think that’s being judgmental. As ManimalX said, confidence is not the same as being judgmental. Which is what I was trying to show when I referred to a post of his, but I guess it wasn’t as clear to you as I thought it would be.

          And you say that your friends don’t deserve to be hated on any level. I completely agree. You won’t believe me, because you’ve already made up your mind that I can say something even though it isn’t possible, but I don’t hate THEM. I hate homosexuality, I hate sin in general. Just like I would expect other Christians, or anybody for that matter, to hate when I sin but not hate me as a person because of it. That’s why I also don’t understand you calling me hypocritical. It’s not as if I’m saying that I can hate their sin, but they can’t hate mine. Like I just said, I expect them to hate mine, just as I hate theirs. Does anybody else see what I’m saying??

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Are you implying that I'm a liar?

          • Mel

            What are you talking about? My comment was directed at Mindy.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            "I hate lying, but I don’t hate people who lie. If that was the case, I would hate everybody, which I don’t."

            That is an example of a personal attack as opposed to a grown up discussion.

          • Mel

            that doesn't make any sense….I didn't say anybody's name, I'm just saying that everybody sins, but that doesn't mean I hate the person. I don't know how that involved you personally, but w/e.

          • Mindy

            So apparently I am the liar, not you, Matthew. And Mel, as far as the hypocrisy goes, I stand firmly by what I said. If you can actually read John's post about homosexuality, to which he linked earlier, and not understand it, not agree with what he is saying there, I am baffled as to how to begin to explain my point to you.

            You are calling something a sin as if it is simply a chosen activity. Homosexuality is not an activity, it is a state of being. It's like saying that having black skin is a sin. Being left-handed is a sin. Or, if you must see it as a "bad thing," it would be like saying being born with albinism is a sin, being born deaf is a sin. A genetic difference, nothing more or less.

            How many gay and lesbian people do you know well? As in, have them over to your home or visit theirs? Have coffee together and chat, go out for lunch? Any? If you do, how can you not see what I am talking about? How can you look at those people you know and NOT THINK FOR YOURSELF?????? I don't give a flying fig what your Bible says. I know, I know, how disrespectful of me. In this case, I believe with my heart of hearts that it is WRONG. And Christians the world over who allow the loving spirit of their fellow human beings, AND the intellect God gave them, to help formulate their ideals, along with their Bibles, know that it is wrong. They know that their gay brethren are not sinning, but are simply different, in that one way, from their straight selves.

            Gay people can be promiscuous, and you can call that a sin. Gay people can take sexual advantage of another, and you can call that a sin. Just like you would when straight people do the same things. Gay people are no more inclined to do those things than straight people, and many straight people are actually more inclined to experiment in the gay world than vice versa – you might call such experimenting sinful, in the promiscuous category.

            But BEING gay is not a sin – there is absolutely no choice involved in it. The only choice is whether to be true to themselves, the selves God created in His image, and find love, the one thing that embodies God on this earth – or to deny their own spirits and remain alone for life, because of bigoted homophobes like you.

            I feel sorry for you, Mel, truly I do. I know, I know, you don't want my pity or sympathy, and I'm sure you feel sorry for me being so sadly misguided. But this one topic gets under my skin more than just about any other, because not only do I have many gay friends, my daughter has a gay best friend – who is 15 years old and has yet to even have his first kiss, let alone sex – but he KNOWS this about himself. And he's been raised Catholic. He is a dear, sweet kid, who knows exactly who he is, and he's trekked no easy road being true to himself.

            Anyone who believes in something so wholeheartedly that they actually stop thinking is in big trouble, and we have far too many people like that, running around hollering as if they know everything. You can call acceptance and the embracing of this diversity in humanity just another example of "people accepting more wrongs as right in this day and age" if you want to keep your head buried in the sand. Or you can understand the historical perspective of the times in which the Bible was written, and realize that some things simply cannot be applied literally to human beings now. I would wager that you don't believe in stoning and many of the other punishments the Bible doles out for various infractions – you know in your heart they no longer apply, no longer make sense (not that they every did, but I digress . . ) Why can you pick and choose things like that, but not something like this? That's on you – you figure out how NOT to be hypocritical.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Well, I thought she was implying that "everybody" was a liar. The point of course (besides my objection to the basis of that claim) was that the sort of standards that turn statements of one's thoughts on some matter into an implicit attack could be used against her.

            Anyway, I think you may be misinterpreting the Biblical position as regards homosexuality, Mindy (along with Mel too of course—but I direct this to you as you dismiss the Bible as being wrong here, and you're probably more open to reconsidering your conclusions).

          • Mindy

            Yes, Matthew, you're right – she was saying everyone was a liar. It was a lame attempt at sarcasm on my part.

            As for my interpreting the Bible's gay stance incorrectly, how so? I may very well be – as I mentioned, I am definitely not a Biblical scholar. I based my response on the fact that Mel and others define homosexual behavior as sinful, as if it is somehow separate from a homosexual person. I'm certainly open to understanding more about what is says. Can you tell me where to look? Or enlighten me yourself?

          • Matthew Tweedell

            @Mindy: I'm afraid not. I can tell you, given any approach at the conclusion that it is necessarily sinful, where said approach necessarily fails as it applies to some particular cases. What I cannot do is read the mind of God or state with certainty His will as it applies to anyone or anything other than myself. I can say however that I believe there are instances where heterosexual behavior is sinful and homosexual is not, just as there are (perhaps many more) instances of the opposite (and even more where either is equally sinful for a man or woman).

          • Mindy

            I get that, Matthew – as I said in one of my posts to Mel, gay people can behave promiscuously, etc. and I can certainly understand calling that sinful, etc.

            Sex is one of, if not THE most intense physical experience a human being can have. Anything that powerful can certainly be used for evil – by either sex and by either orientation.

            Or, it can be an expression of true love and affection for the one person who matters to you most. Regardless of who that one person is. As long as the feeling is mutual – how can anyone, anywhere, consider that wrong?

          • DR

            This conversation, as the other one, isn’t going to go anywhere because you don’t believe the Bible to be true and I do. Therefore, whatever the Bible says, I agree with, and you may or may not.>>>

            Wait a minute. I believe in the Bible. I love the Bible, it absolutely guides my life. And I think her assessment is dead on accurate. What now?

          • Mindy

            One of the big conundrums of life, DR. How is it that two Christians interpret the Bible differently?????

            You, I’m going to guess, understand how and why that happens. I get the feeling that for Mel, it is a matter of her interpreting it correctly and the rest of you, not so much.

            I know I am being positively bitchy about this, but she struck a big, fat nerve with this one.

          • DR

            Mindy for whatever it's worth, you're certainly someone on here who teaches me a lot about the teachings of Christ.

          • Mel

            Please don't try to speak for me. I'm not saying I always interpret things correctly, and people who disagree with me are always wrong This particular subject is something that is very black and white to me. Look at my other comment as for why.

          • Mel

            I realize that you just asked me a question. Mindy responded FOR me, and tried to say that "it is a matter of her interpreting it correctly and the rest of you, not so much." So I was asking her not to speak for me, because that is not the case.

            If you believe in he Bible, then we can have an entirely different conversation. For instance, I will ask you how you can say that homosexuality is okay when God clearly says it is a sin? An example would be Sodom and Gomorrah. You can answer however you'd like obviously, but I'm assuming it will have something to do with the Bible still. That is why we can have this conversation, and Mindy and I can't.

          • DR

            Mel, all I did was ask you a question here. You’ve claimed that Mindy’s response isn’t something you can respond to with any substance because she doesn’t believe in the Bible. I do, and I believe exactly what she does. Where do we go from there?

          • Mel

            Okay, that was a lot of reading. First of all, everybody needs to calm down. I am not a bigoted homophobe. Mindy, clearly I struck a nerve, but do you really think that the way you're reacting is the right way to deal with it? It's one thing to disagree, but you just went ballistic on me. This is a pointless discussion because you believe that homosexuality is a part of somebody, that they are born like that (as shown by your comparisons to deaf people, etc.). I on the other hand believe that it is a choice. That's fine if you disagree, but that's how I see it. You saying that you don't give a flying fig (or whatever you said) about what the Bible says…seriously that is very childish. As for DR's comment, and yours following Mindy, I understand that people have different interpretations of the Bible. I'm not saying that I'm always right, and other people are always wrong. This is a black and white thing for me. Look at Sodom and Gomorrah. God clearly detests homosexuality. I do think for myself Mindy, but God's word is what I choose to believe. So me thinking for myself, is researching what God says about it. My hands are honestly shaking after reading all of those *hateful* comments directed at me. So, if it makes you feel good to make somebody else feel that horrible, then congrats. But I really think you owe me an apology.

          • DR

            First, thank you for the reply.

            Second:

            "My hands are honestly shaking after reading all of those *hateful* comments directed at me."

            Mel, I wonder how a gay man who hears that you "hate" his sexuality that's bonded him with his partner of 23 years feels? His hands have been no doubt, shaking for his entire life as a result of your comments. Think about it. You're not the victim here. No one is attacking you. Perhaps you've been the unintentional persecutor and you've not been aware of the damage you've done. If you're hands are shaking because you are being called on the ways your kinds of comments alienate gays and lesbians from considering Jesus Christ adores them exactly as they are? Then I'll live with it.

          • Mel

            I'm not saying that Jesus doesn't love them. Of course He does. However, He hates what they do. Just as He loves me, and hates when I sin. A homosexual's hands would not be shaking because of my comments. My comments have not been hateful. I have repeated time and time again, that I don't hate the sinner, but I hate the sin. In no way have I every said that I hate homosexuals. I have not directed hateful comments at them at all. However, Mindy's hateful comments WERE directed at me, and it was hurtful. People need to learn that you can have a different opinion than somebody, and not be mean about it.

          • Mindy

            Mel, if I apologized, it would be one of those insincere political apologies, as in “I’m sorry if what I said offended anyone.”

            Because I am not at all sorry that I said it, and I’m not sorry that it upset you.

            It was not hateful. Frustrated and angry, yes. Hateful? No. I was (am) angry as hell that people like you continue to label good and wonderful people as inherently flawed for something that has nothing to do with choice – and I find it outrageous for you to say that you believe it is a choice to be gay!!! If you had any idea, any idea at ALL what a gay or lesbian person has to go through in life, you would never suggest that anyone would choose it. They have been teased, belittled, fired and discriminated against in ways you can’t fathom. The suicide rate for gay and lesbian teens is FOUR TIMES that of their straight peers. Four times!!! And that is exactly because of “preaching” like yours. They have to fight for the most basic of rights – to be with their loved one in a hospital, to share a home, to parent – and you have the gall to say it is a choice? Based on what? On what are you basing that presumption?? How do you explain my daughter’s gay friend who has never engaged in any homosexual behavior at all? He’s yet to have his first real boyfriend. But he knows who he is, and he is gay. Period. He didn’t choose to be. He just IS.

            Instead of answering my question – do you know any gay people, do you have gay or lesbian friends with whom you socialize and converse? – you chose to fall back on the “I can’t believe you’re so mean to me just because I refuse to question this part of my Bible!” response. Sorry – I don’t buy it. Perhaps part of the reason you’re so upset is not because I’m such a big meanie – perhaps it’s because a tiny part of you knows that maybe, just maybe, I’m right.

            If you are going to sit in judgment of my friends and my daughter’s friends and people I know and love, and make utterly uninformed statements about what you “know” to be true – not through any experience of your own or actual knowledge of any actual gay person – then you can damned well suffer the consequences of your bigotry -because I’m here to tell you, Mel, that that is exactly what it is, whether you think it is or not – that being the anger of people like me whose nerves you strike when you perpetuate this ridiculous myth.

          • Mel

            Okay, you're right that I don't want your apology if it is insincere. However the fact that you don't even feel bad for the way you treated me is an entirely different issue. The suicide rates being so high is definitely a very sad thing. They do have to go through a lot, and the way people treat them is wrong. However saying that homosexuality is wrong, is not wrong.

            And I didn't realize that your question actually required an answer. I thought it was rhetorical, and you were asking it to make a point. So to answer your question, no, I do not know anybody who is gay. That doesn't mean that I can't think it's wrong. I'm not judging them, I'm not saying I'm better than them, but what they do is wrong.

            And I'm not upset because I think you are right. There is absolutely no part of me that questions this. As I said, it is very black and white for me. I'm upset solely because of the fact that you were so hurtful, and now because you don't even care.

            You call me a hypocrite, and yet you can't really back that up. However you're the one walking around all like "gay people go through so much. Do you have any idea how mean people can be?" and yet, you yourself are mean to me just because I have a different opinion than you. That's hypocrisy if I've ever heard it.

            You're comments are more than just angry, and frustrated Mindy. They were hateful. And the fact that you can't even see that is really sad.

          • Mindy

            I don't know how else to explain it, Mel. I have tried, my entire life, to always engage in completely civil discussions on matters like this, and something in me has changed. This is a civil rights issue, and I people to understand that.

            You say that I can't back up calling you a hypocrite, and I've explained it as clearly as I know how. What I said, specifically, is that ON THIS ISSUE, you cannot separate the sin from the sinner, and therefore hate the sin but not the person. The "sin," as you insist on calling it, is NOT A CHOICE BUT AN DEFINING ASPECT OF WHO THEY ARE. So when you hate it, you hate them, and saying otherwise is, indeed, hypocritical.

            You say it is "a black and white issue" – for you. When the reality is that it is no issue for you at all!!!! You aren't gay and you admit to no knowing any gay people – - – Yet you are perfectly comfortable being completely unwilling to hear a word about it that doesn't fit your stance on the issue.

            You define my posts as hateful, and shame me for not seeing it. I CAN see why you would take them as hateful, Mel – I am refusing to back down, I am refusing to buy into your opinions about something you know nothing about, and I am calling it out for what it is – bigotry. Whether it is based in honest ignorance because you don't know anyone who is gay, or based solely on your very rigid Biblical interpretation, it is WRONG. And I refuse to consider it "a matter of opinion," because it is NOT.

            If you are offended by the truth, so be it. Perhaps you need to expand your world a bit, get out there and meet some people who are different from you, who've personally suffered discrimination at the hands of people who believe as you do. Perhaps then you'll understand why I'm angry on their behalf. Perhaps then you see what it really feels like to be offended – by something much, much more painful that getting your feelings hurt in a discussion on a public forum.

          • Mel

            This is seriously ridiculous. It IS a matter of opinion and you cant really argue that because you have one opinion, and I have another.

            This is another pointless conversation b/c we are just going back and forth "you can't separate the sin from the sinner" "yes you can, I do' "no you don't" "yes I do"…it could go on forever.

            You say I am unwilling to hear a word about it that doesn't fit what I believe, and that is just ignorant. I have listened to what you have to say, and I disagree, that doesn't mean I am unwilling to listen just b/c after listening I don't suddenly change my mind. You however, see my comment, and go absolutely crazy.

            I have met plenty of people who aren't like me. It is my goal to be an example of Jesus in their lives. and how dare you say that I haven't met people who have been discriminated against. How dare you say that I don't know what it's like to truly be offended by something more painful than getting my feelings hurt on this forum. HELLO!!! I'm a Christian!!! Do you honestly think that I'm not discriminated against?? I have so many friends who have been discriminated against for things that are absolutely ridiculous. I've been there while they cried and cried over something hurtful that somebody said. So don't try to tell me for a second that I don't know what that's like. And that is unfair of you to compare those things, b/c I didn't say that you hurting my feelings is the worst thing that's ever happened on this earth. I didn't say it was worse than what other people go through, I simply said it was uncalled for, and rude.

  • http://luwandi.wordpress.com Beth Luwandi

    “If you don’t feel remorse or sorrow over your sin, then fine. If you think it was all good fun, fine. But don’t get upset when you share it with the world and have Christian folks begin pointing out the error of such a position.”

    Here’s what baffles me… you aren’t pointing out that it was sin…

    you aren’t pointing out it was NOT all good fun. (which in fact several people expressed– differently. That having sex with your HS teacher is disturbing, wrong… maybe isn’t all good fun.)

    You are taking offense to the story being shared AT ALL– though honestly– by someone who calls himself a Christian… because it ?what? gives Christ a bad name?

    I do not understand how/when/why “Christian folks” seem so hot to “point out other people’s errors.”

    And I AM one!

    I did commit sexual sins WHILE a Christian and I felt guilty. Without the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I might/ would have had a very different perspective on those misdeeds. But you are not someone else’s Holy Spirit, ManimalX.

    Were you EVER helped by someone hammering you about what absolute shit you really obviously are ?! Did Jesus win Matthew, or Saul, or anyone for that matter– I mean did HE even WIN the Pharisees by telling them what dead sepulchurs, self-righteous scum, misguided power-hungry losers they really were? Even though it was true? No way. They hated Him more. They wanted to kill Him. They weren’t humbled by that.

    What are you trying to do here? Your approach is not one I see modeled in Scripture either.

    John and the rest of us knew you — or someone — would rise to this occasion exactly as you have and get that discussion going…

    But the real question is, why do you do this? I for one, read because I’m trying to understand. I find myself in others’ commentary- for good and bad– and God is teaching me things about how I represent Him…

    In some aspects, your point may be valid, but your approach is all wrong….

    Have you never, yourself, experienced the depth of God’s grace and mercy… I mean the DEPTH of it, man. And if you have, how can you possibly NOT offer that to others?

    You might consider the parable of the debtor forgiven much who turns around and demands repayment of a much smaller debt from his friend.

  • Steve

    I say “go for it, mate. What do you have to lose?” It’s worth taking a long walk with God about and asking Him. Yet, I suspect God is more concerned with where you are at now and where you are headed then where you have been. What’s that bit about mercies being new every morning? I can only speak for myself here, so I’m challenging myself to take this course of action. Peace.

  • Jeanine

    So, as a young girl I learned about how Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. Wow! The God who created those feet and created the dust that was on them; bending down to wash them. Wow, now that is a servants heart!

    Jeanine: OK Lord, so here I am and there is only one piece of my favorite cake left. All of my sisters want it. Ugh. Give it to my sister right?

    Lord: Right. Always prefer others to yourself.

    Jeanine: Got it Lord. No cake for me.

    Later on……

    Jeanine: Ok Lord, so here I am at work and it is 90 degrees outside. Somebody has to go and measure up an old abandoned, critter infested building. I really don’t want to do it; and I have a good excuse to make one of the interns go do it.

    Lord: Jeanine? Who comes fiirst? Remember my servant heart when I washed the feet of my disciples.

    Jeanine: OK Lord. I got it. I’ll go.

    Later…..

    Jeanine: Lord? I really failed you this time. I broke your command; I had sex before marriage. Are you there Lord? I can’t sence your presence. I’m so sorry, and I am so scared. What do I do? My life is such a mess. The father wants me to have an abortion. Boy would that be easier! But God, I am so sorry…..

    Lord: Remember how I washed my disciples feet? Who comes first here then Jeanine? Your career, your freedom, your fears, your shame or this baby that I have made?

    Jeanine: Yes Lord, the baby. But how will I face the shame and tell my parents and grandparents?

    Lord: Remember how I washed their feet? Who was humble?

    Jeanine: You Lord.

    Lord: Then humble yourself and go to them.

    Jeanine: Yes Lord. But how will I take care of this baby all by myself?

    Lord: Don’t you trust me Jeanine?

    Jeanine: Yes Lord.

    Later….

    Lord: OK Jeanine. Keep on going in what you have already learned, but now I want you to step back a bit and let me show you something else. Remember the story of when I washed my desciples’ feet?

    Jeanine: Yes Lord. Be humble, be a servant, do the thing nobody else wants to do. Love your friends above yourself.

    Lord: Yes Jeanine, but look at it again.

    John 13:5 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “LORD, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 “Then, LORD,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10 Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘LORD,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your LORD and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

    Lord: Peter knew that I was the Christ; and he did not want me to humble myself. But once I explained it to him; that I must become humble to make him clean; he wanted to be washed all over. I showed him how his faith in me had made him clean all over; and all he need do right now is to wash his feet. Jeanine, keep the daily dirt of life off your feet. Wash the sin of life from yourself continually. And Jeanine, do this for your brother. He has already been washed by me as well; but humble yourself and help him to keep the daily dirt of life off of his feet. In this Jeanine, you will be blessed.

    Jeanine: Thank you Lord.

    • Diana A.

      So, let me get this straight–you go through and brag about all the times you gave into God when you didn't want to (goody goody gum drops for you!) and then justify your judgmental attitude toward John and others by claiming that you're only doing it with a "servant's heart" in order to wash the dirt of sin off his metaphorical feet. Is this what's happening here?

      • Tim

        Ouch. I didn't get that out of Jeanine's post. I see a person relating a truth of how easy it is to be humble when the stakes aren't high. Bypassing cake and leading by example are far easier bullets to take than raising a child out of wedlock before the disappointed eyes of family. I honestly don't know exactly what Jeanine is expressing here, but anger only begets anger. Kind words also turn aside wrath. Some say she needs to apologize to John, some say the opposite. Maybe both should just admit they must agree to disagree (and for some reason I hate that idiom almost as much as, it is what it is). Peace 2 all, Diana A, Jeanine, and John.

      • Jeanine

        Nevermind. Here is a link to a very funny video. Treat yourself to a good laugh.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UY7pWCQxTY&fe

        • DR

          Jeanine, you're awfully patient to keep dealing with us heathens!

        • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

          Yeah, I gotta 2nd DR's comment. Way to hang in there.

    • http://luwandi.wordpress.com Beth Luwandi

      Re the long post above– feet washing et al:

      How is it you do NOT see that this entire post is the antithesis of humility?

      It really boggles my mind.

    • ManimalX

      Well done, Jeanine. Thank you very much for being brave enough to share a very intimate testimony with a mostly hostile audience. I thought your point was very clear. You can rest assured that SOMEBODY was edified by it, even if the only people who take the time to actually respond are the Angry People.

  • Tim

    If it hasn’t already been said. It is written, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” That means even the sin we commit today as Christians…providing we recognize something we’ve done as sin and have repentance for it. There are also those sins we commit without conscious thought. Kind of why David asked God to search his heart to see if there was anything that he wasn’t aware of that pained the Lord.

    I wasn’t going to say anything when I read your post. I tend to measure twice and cut once. Sometimes I measure four or five times. Sometimes I never get around to cutting at all. Guess that makes me a crummy carpenter. But if I were to weigh in on this, I would have to say we need to be ever mindful of how we affect those around us by what we say and do. You are a representative of God, John. Whether you want that title or not, by the tenor of your words, some people will assemble a representation of the most high God.

    At the time I thought that maybe it wasn’t the wisest thing to sort of revel in the memory of that moment of youthful naked carnality. But I also have to remember that you are a writer. And it’s almost impossible not to relate the honesty of your feelings AT THE TIME of your deflowering (was it?). And honestly, people need to understand that we are ALL works in progress. God doesn’t club us with His sword of the Spirit and make us all instantaneously perfect. I thought I remembered some implication (in the story or in a reply) that you weren’t necessarily proud of what happened, and I think if you did at least imply that, I’d have to maybe guess that with some people, they hate the sin(s) most that they themselves struggle(d) with most. Familiarity breeds contempt and all.

    I relate my dazed and confused decade with some measure of affection. But hell, at the time, sin is fun! I can’t lie about that. I was a sinning fool. But that only magnified the awesomeness of God adopting a ƒ#©k up like me to be one of His own. I just know if I hadn’t found grace, I would most likely be where so many of my wayward buds ended up. San Diego County Mental, Camarillo State Hospital, El Camino Cemetery. But for the grace of God, eh?

    • http://luwandi.wordpress.com Beth Luwandi

      like

  • gooseberrybush

    We all sin. We don’t quit sinning just because we become Christians. Hopefully, we sin less in an effort to please God because of all He’s done for us. The only person I’m aware of who was without sin died on a cross years ago. As far as I know, unless you’re a Catholic, sins don’t come in a hierarchy, and God is just as displeased about your lying as He is your fornicating. God is also just as displeased with those people who commit sins of omission as he is with those that commit sins of commission, but we as humans are so much more hung up on the latter, because we can fixate on them much easier than we can on the failure to do good.

    In addition, I’ve noticed that the same kinds of legalistic Pharisees who have such a problem with you sharing a story from your past, seem to have a tendency to forget that the Gospel is a message of forgiveness. Our walks with the Lord are, hopefully, continuous and progressive. God is not done with me yet. Hopefully, He’s moving me toward that goal. But I know I’ll never attain it.

  • Velvet

    Jesus did not ask the thief on the cross, nor the woman at the well for a list, but we know they were forgiven. I pray for discernment…is this memory something the enemy is bringing up as a tool for self- condemnation? Or is it from the Holy Spirit, who wants to convict me of unrepentant sin as a tool for refinement?

  • DR

    As for Matthew Tweedell, will you please not comment on anything I say? You are very immature, and I don’t want to have a conversation with you.>>>

    Ummm….it's the internet. This is a public blog. Perhaps ignoring Matthew might be the more mature response instead of, you know, trying to dictate who responds to you on a blog that's not even your own.

    • Mel

      Wow. Talk about trying to start a fight. I have been ignoring him, and he keeps commenting. So I think that I have the right to ask him not to. To make it clear that I'm not going to respond to what he says anymore. And it really has nothing to do with you, so I don't know why you are getting involved.

      • DR

        Because it's the Internet, Mel. At this point you're reading everything as an attack when in fact, you're proactively poking the bear here on a public site where we're all up in one another's comment business, asking that everyone communicate with you on your terms. Mindy doesn't believe in the Bible but I do so you'll talk to me and not her about what the Bible says re: homosexuality. Now you don't want someone to comment to you. The level of control you're trying to assert on the discussions is uncomfortable and I'm saying so.

        OK, I'm done. I don't think you're going to understand what I'm offering you. Maybe you will from someone else. I hope so!

        • Mel

          I know what you're saying. However I don't think you quite understand the situation between Mindy and I. I'm not saying that I WON'T discuss homosexuality with her. I'm saying that it's pointless, because I would use the Bible as a source, and she apparently doesn't give a "flying fig" what the Bible says. We already had a lengthy discussion on the blog about the "comfortably cursing Christian" which went nowhere. I'm just saying that this is going to be the same case, so she can chose to relive that conversation, or accept that it's just not something we can talk about and go anywhere with. As for Matthew, he's just rude. And I'm not being controlling by asking him not to comment to me anymore, I'm just asking him.

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

    Okay, guys, if you've got any last comments you'd like to make, go ahead. I'm gonna shut comments down on this post in about five.

    • Mel

      THANK-YOU!

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

    Well, if it is only 2 sins, that’s a mighty short checklist to work off. So, that’s the point, huh?

    Many in conservative Christianity teach repent and condemn all past sins. I guess if we were to actually attempt that (as opposed to *saying* that we do that), we’d never complete the task at hand. Because it’s not just 2, is it? It’s at least 3 sins in my case.

    Cool about being off the hook on that gay sex thing though. Close one. Blogging about an encounter like that could draw a firestorm.

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

      I have no idea what you’re talking about, Ric. But stop sending me pictures of yourself naked. And definitely lose the construction worker belt and hard-hat. I mean, come on.

      • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

        No idea? Stop gawking at the alleged pictures and focus on the text. I mean, come on.

        Back in Nov 2007, I wrote about you in a messy poem called Jesus is my garbage man. I'm like a prophet.

        When I look into this sin I swim, I reason it is I who must

        rid this sin from deep within.

        After all it was I who put this sin down in…

        or did I put myself within

        this flotsam bog of sin I find me in?

        No matter.

        I ponder ways that my methods might

        lift my sin from deep within.

        I begin to dig and dig and dig

        to fling out sin

        from this bog I find me in.

        I pause my works. I wipe my brow…

        I smile there imagining how

        Christ I am!

        My pride it glows and glows and grows

        within to more than fill my den of sin.

        Shovel faster than anyone can

        to cleanse the sin of prideful man.

        Yet as I dig and fling and flee

        I see my eyes are locked on…

        Me!

        Where is the One who came to win

        this wretched stinking soul of sin?

        Nowhere in sight as I fight this losing battle with sin within.

        Oh heart of passion and love for Him… traded in for worthless tin.

        I realize now sins not my problem!

        I can fight but sin will win.

        Lift my eyes from my sin within to fill my spirit with more of Him.

        I cannot fix my sin filled heart while He and I grow far apart.

        I cannot win this on my own. My pride again has cut to bone.

        It is not that I need to rid

        my sin so much as I

        Just

        Need

        Him!

        He gladly comes clean me out, this heart of stench with mildewed grout.

        But I must move my thoughts from cleansing sin

        Instead my eyes must take in Him

        and as His spirit grows deep within

        there will be little room for sin.

  • ManimalX

    So… I’M “very harsh” for responding to somebody’s PERSONAL attacks and asking them to stay on topic, but they get a free pass? But then again, I guess you just did the same thing, leveling a personal attack rather than off an intelligent response to any of the issues I have brought up.

    Lead by example, eh? ;)

    So… You’ve “outed” my Facebook page! Yay? A great bit of detective work, that! I mean, given how I post the exact same things there as I do on your FB page… ;)

    And yeah, I put Boba Fett’s picture in my FB profile because my kids and I love Star Wars and they thought it was funny. I guess that totally invalidates everything I write :(

    I joined your FB fan club because (call me crazy!) I happen to think you are a great writer with a lot of good wit, and happen to agree with you just as much as I disagree. I also happen to appreciate how you can handle someone disagreeing with you without getting all bent out of shape (this latest anomaly aside). You remind me of me in that regard.

    Cya ’round!

    • DR

      Dude. You absolutely freak out when people disagree with you, it gets creepy and very personal. It's so weird that you don't see that.

      • ManimalX

        DR:

        Can you define “freaking out” for me? Because I just don’t see it. I adamantly defend my points, if that is what you mean, but I’ve never been accused of “freaking out” before.

        What is it exactly that I am doing that is causing people to miss my very clear points and instead choose to react all emotionally?

        • ManimalX

          Also: it gets “personal”? How so?

          If you will go back and read through pretty much every post I have made here, you will see the following pattern: I make some points, several people completely ignore those points and respond with personal attacks instead, I point out how immature and lame it is to respond with personal attacks, I ask people to get back on on topic, and people never get back on topic. Lather, rinse, repeat.

          • DR

            "So, get back to me if you ever want to leave the kiddie table and join the adults for an intelligent conversation. Okthxbai."

            If you believe this kind of comment isn't personal – if you truly believe it demonstrates an aptitude for debate and discussion, then there's really not much else to say.

          • DR

            Beginning by saying “at the risk of being hated” was not a “persecution complex”. It was kind of a joke actually. >>>

            Mel, I'm sorry if I'm wrong. I really am. But after dealing with Conservative Christians for more than a decade who wander on to sites like these, shoot from the hostile hip and then get defensive when countered aggressively is far too common. I just don't believe you, even if it was a joke? There's truth in the joke. You're not a victim here and neither is Manimal. It was your choice of words, and I don't think it was an accident.

          • Mel

            I really don't think I'm a victim…well I didn't when I posted that comment. Since then, some very rude remarks have been directed at me. But seriously, it was just like I thought by agreeing with him, a whole bunch of people would comment and be like "what??!! how can you agree with that guy??" which would be fine if they did, I can handle myself and back up what I think, and have an adult conversation. But it was a joke.

          • DR

            Mel, I'll take your word for it! I know you've had a rough go of it here and I'm sorry that you feel upset. But I think you might need a bit of a thicker skin. It's not important that we're liked, ultimately. How we *feel* is secondary. Sometimes these conversations need to be less about us and our indignation and more about the heart of the points being made.

          • Mel

            I agree, but I also think that people need to be respectful of others.

          • DR

            ManimalX, you don’t seem to be asking questions to just get an answer. If you don’t want any feedback on how you come across? Then consider not asking for it, it’s a waste of time for everyone involved. But your intention to communicate a particular way is not your impact. If you want a different impact then listen. If you don’t? Then don’t. Up to you. Learn or don’t. If it’s not valuable for you, just leave it behind.

        • DR

          Take it for what it is worth, but your comments are aggressive and indignant when people disagree with you. You go from 0-60 quickly, make things personal (as you just did in an earlier comment to me) and then respond with hostility when you’re called on it. You can blame me for this all you want to, but I’m clearly not the only one who experiences you this way. I just say so.

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

            (You're definitely not the only one to say so, DR. I've gotten … I don't know … at least fifteen emails asking me to blog Mr. Manimal off my blog, because he's so aggressively hostile.)

          • ManimalX

            Again: how do I "make it personal"? As far as I remember, I have NEVER come out of the gates with personal attacks, and my response to the MANY personal attacks leveled against me is usually a request to actually address points made (and yes, those requests are at times sarcastic).

            I'm just not getting the whole "hostile" thing. I like debate. I like discussion. I guess maybe I have too high of an expectation that most people know how to debate and discuss?

            Believe me or not, but I'm about the least hostile person you could ever know. Perhaps my tone just doesn't translate well over the 'net. I don't know how to "work on that," but I'm open to suggestions.

          • Mel

            At the risk of being hated, I happen to agree with *most* of what you say ManimalX. I know what you mean when you say that some people just don't know how to debate and discuss without getting personal, or angry. For instance, earlier in the post I said something about the fact that I hate homosexuality. Brian Shields then asked why I was inclined to hate anything. I simply stated Bible verses that show why I SHOULD hate sin, as God DOES, to which he replied "Or more precisely, as the hateful humans who thought they were channeling a god when they wrote this dreck thought." That is an example of a personal attack as opposed to a grown up discussion. You might notice that Mindy and I have mentioned a post that I referred her to of yours. In case you're wondering what that's about, it was a comment you made on the blog “is it our fault that we Christians think we’re superior?” about the difference between confidence and arrogance. I happen think you worded that perfectly, and I agree with you 100%.

          • http://www.whitenoisemetal.com Brian Shields

            Pay attention here:

            You're delusional (that's a personal attack on you) if you think my calling the people who wrote the Biblical quotes you cited as "hateful" (my personal opinion and not a personal attack on anyone except those Biblical authors, and if you think that's you, see above). Calling those quotes "dreck" is not a personal attack on you (again unless you think you wrote the Bible), it's just again my opinion.

            To me, this brings up the point several people have tried to make, that some of you seem to see anyone whose opinions disagree with you as "personal." That sure seems delusional to me.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Instead of just saying why you do or don’t agree with homosexuality, you said you hate it. When somebody detests homosexuality, it IS personal. Homosexual relationships are a HUGE part of what many build their whole lives around, so not only was it immature to speak of it that way… it was personal.

          • DR

            "At the risk of being hated".

            Honestly, this is just growing both sad and annoying to see the more conservative christians on this site claim "If I tell the truth I'm going to be hated". Please consider losing the persecution complex. It's so dismissive of people who are actually countering your *point of view/belief/theology*. It's like you guys can't handle being really aggressively countered while at the same time making these rather massively aggressive "I hate homosexuality" comments.

            What is that all about? I really don't get it. You get really brave when stating that kind of thing while claiming it's not about the people but the sin, but when you're on the receiving end of it, you imply that you're going to be hated.

            With all due respect, it's incredibly self-absorbed. I don't know anyone who is going to invest the kind of energy it would take to "hate" you. We're all just debating theology here. You getting your feelings hurt or feeling like someone is going to counter you aggressively does not mean you are "hated".

          • Mindy

            DR, great comment. This happens every time, in any religious discussion in which I've ever been involved. Someone disagrees with a point because the Bible says they should. They get called out to provide a reason WHY the bible verse is valid, how it applies to the situation, etc., and their immediate response is deep offense that anyone question the words they consider holy. And it's personal. And the questioner is a hater, and of course, no one but another Christian could possibly understand.

            What they don't seem to get is that even those of us who are not Biblical scholars know that ALL Christians, or the vast majority anyway, pick and choose what parts of the Bible they believe. If they didn't, they'd be cheering on the Iranians for stoning an adulterer to death. Very Christians have leaped up to say, "YES! That is exactly what the Bible says should happen!! It's about time someone got back to that!!!" Because of course they don't believe that is right, or most of the other "punishments" decreed in the Bible. They happily ignore those.

            And somehow, many Christians have managed to pervert Jesus' teachings into believing their goal in life should be to make as much money as is humanly possible. Very few actually live as Jesus taught. An awfully lot don't give a hoot for "the least among them," that's for sure. I'm not saying any of that applies to anyone posting here, I'm just saying that it is common knowledge that the Bible is very, very rarely taken completely, word-for-word literally. Yet Mel and Max feel quite comfortable condemning that with they are not comfortable, just because the Bible says they should.

            Drives me absolutely bat-shit crazy, truly. The whole judging-gays-because-of-the-Bible thing is just more than I can stand, and the whole "loving the sinner, hating the sin" simply cannot be applied here, no matter how many times they insist that is all they are doing.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            That doesn’t make any sense. Brian didn’t say anybody’s name; he's just saying that he thinks the Bible no more divinely inspired than a collection of mediums' writings, but that doesn’t mean he hates the person. I don’t know how that involved you personally, but w/e.

          • Mel

            @Dr and @Mindy

            Beginning by saying "at the risk of being hated" was not a "persecution complex". It was kind of a joke actually. I started out that way because everybody clearly does not like ManimalX (asking that he be blocked from the site, Mandy saying that I showed her a comment by "ManimalX of all people", etc.) and I was about to say that I agreed with him. You need to lighten up. It was a joke like "haha nobody likes you, but I kind of agree with you. Hope nobody attacks me for that" (sarcasm)

          • Mel

            As for Matthew Tweedell, will you please not comment on anything I say? You are very immature, and I don't want to have a conversation with you.

          • Mel

            Also, Mindy you say that many Christians pick and choose what to believe in the Bible. You an also infer from your comment that you mean me as one of those types of Christians. However I would like you to know that that is not the case. I believe EVERYTHING in the Bible. I can also understand the difference between the Old and New Testament. Things like stoning, and death penalties were in the Old Testament. However, after Jesus came, things like that didn't need to be done anymore, because Jesus died for our sins. Just like sacrifices don't need to be given anymore because Jesus already shed the blood. So you're right that not everything is still done today. But those things have been explained in the Bible as to why they are not relevant today. Homosexuality is not one of those things which changed from the Old to the New Testament. It is a sin, and always will be.

          • Mel

            It is a personal attack because instead of just saying why you do or don’t agree with homosexuality, you bashed the Bible. When somebody makes fun of, or speaks in a rude way about, the Bible, it IS personal. The Bible is a HUGE part of what I base my whole life on, so not only was it immature to speak of it that way….it was personal.

          • DR

            Manimal, I've 've already offered you one example of you "making it personal" by in one of your earlier comments to me stating something to the effect of "Congratulations for actually addressing one of my points" or words to that effect. You were sarcastic and attacking right out of the gate.

            There are literally, 6-7 more examples I could offer you – your misogyny, your sarcastic belittling tone. Your attacks on women being "too emotional" when you're the one who is using caps every other sentence (pot, kettle, black).

            But you and I both know that you're not going to listen to them anyway. You'll blow by them like you blew my earlier example.

            I used to spend hours of my time trying to get people like you to see it. But I learned. You aren't here to be a student. And from what looks, no one is really choosing you to be their teacher.

          • Mindy

            OK, you asked. I don’t have the time, or honestly, the patience to find your comments on other posts right now, but here are just a few jewels from this thread:

            From you to John: “No remorse, no good point at the end. Just a presentation of how damned happy proud you are about banging some slutty teacher when you were 17.”

            He describes his first sexual encounter in an endearing, funny anecdote, FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF HIS 17-YR.-OLD SELF, and you twist it into the above. FYI, that is personal and offensive. I’m not defending the teacher who took advantage of him, but you rudely twisted his words. Which said to me, and perhaps others, that you are incapable of empathy, of putting yourself in those 17-yr.-old shoes, or of reminiscing as one. Sad for you, really.

            Then you say to him: “Because “REPENTANCE” means turning from and rejecting all of that garbage that separated you from God. The stuff that Jesus Christ DIED to pay for! Why do you want to brag about how fun it was to do the stuff that put Jesus Christ up on the cross?”

            Here you berate John for “bragging,” which he did not do, and speak to him as if he were a child and you were his very authoritarian father scolding him. “JUST LOOK WHAT YOU DID TO YOUR JESUS!! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF, YOU NAUGHTY, BAD BOY!” He told a story. He didn’t brag. Just because he didn’t relate the story as if he were writhing with shame the entire time, you think he’s bragging. I think he was simply sharing, in an engaging sort of way. He chose not to bash the teacher for what she did, but you made sure she got bashed, along with John.

            You end that comment with this gem: “If you don’t feel remorse or sorrow over your sin, then fine. If you think it was all good fun, fine. But don’t get upset when you share it with the world and have Christian folks begin pointing out the error of such a position.”

            SURE, JOHN, IT’S ALL FUN AND GAMES TO YOU, MISTER, TIL SOMEBODY’S EYE GETS PUT OUT. THEN WHAT HAPPENS, HUH???

            FINE, IF YOU CAN LIVE WITH THAT, WE CHRISTIANS MUST JUST CONTINUE TO CALL YOU ON YOUR MANY TRANSGRESSIONS UNTIL YOU FINALLY FALL TO YOUR KNEES!

            As if John is obviously not qualified to call himself a Christian. The REST of you Christians will continue to ram his faults down his throats, because, well, it’s your job. Maybe that’s not what you meant, but that is how it comes across.

            Then Ace said this about you – not name calling, but describing how you come across, how your writing makes you sound. “…being rather male-chauvinistic and generally dismissive of anyone else’s ideas or opinions or message….”

            To which you respond: “you either don’t understand a word of what I wrote, or you can’t come up with any kind of intelligent response to my fairly simple points. So, instead of just keeping quiet, you resort to juvenile name-calling just for the sake of…. being mean, I guess? …..get back to me if you ever want to leave the kiddie table and join the adults for an intelligent conversation.”

            No, not name-calling. But if the proverbial shoe fits . . . you ARE dismissive, and you ARE chauvinistic. Ace was being honest, not childish. Then you made it clear that you think Ace is stupid for not understanding you. Not name calling, but mean, I guess?

            You also stated: “The other side deals with the TEACHER’S responsibility, a la James 3:1 – “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”

            In other words, you shouldn’t dare consider yourself a teacher, John, for you cannot hold up to the stricter judging I am called upon by the Bible to bestow upon you. Which is just a crock of bad cheese, Max. John is a great teacher, precisely because he admits his flaws and continues to rejoice in his faith in a way that is utterly contagious – even to an agnostic like me. He RELATES to his wonderfully human audience – at least those of us who understand that humanity is a wonderfully flawed condition in which to go through life, and not every single action that we later learn was probably a bad idea has to be remembered with cumbersome regret. NO, NO, only someone as stoic and full of himself and his faith and all of his regrets, you know, like you, should be a teacher. Not flawed ol’ John, for crying out loud.

            And then, when Jeannette shares her Biblical tale, the point of which I’m still trying to figure out (quite possibly my problem rather than hers), you respond thusly: “Thank you very much for being brave enough to share a very intimate testimony with a mostly hostile audience. I thought your point was very clear. You can rest assured that SOMEBODY was edified by it, even if the only people who take the time to actually respond are the Angry People.”

            By which you bind yourself to Jeannette as two of the few HOLY PEOPLE who comment here; in the midst of this burning desert of angry heathens, you stand above us all, knowing the real Truth, while we muddle along, angry and confused.

            I’m sure that’s not what you meant. I’m just telling you how it all sounds to me, one of the angry and confused heathens.

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

            Um. Hear, hear. Thank you, Mindy, very much.

    • DR

      You are a fan of Magic-The Gathering? Wow, that's really surprising. That's an awfully occult-rooted game. Yikes.

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

      Did I say it took “detective work” to know who you were? As you say, it was nothing.

  • chris

    I think you are barking up the wrong tree. Who could possibly know? I am developing an opinion that theology is mostly divisive and of no real use. It is always a war of truths, with “mine” being superior to “yours.” Theology is not unifying, especially among believers.

  • Daniel Boots Woodward via Facebook

    I tried reading through the comments on this post. I was hoping someone would address this guy’s question. Guess I was being foolish- lots and lots of fighting back and forth. i am so sick of that.

  • Karen Miller via Facebook

    Good grief, that was certainly a clusterfuck. :/

  • http://www.facebook.com/gina.cirelli.1 Gina Cirelli via Facebook

    I don’t know what the flip happened on that page, but you have my condolences for it, John. As for what you wrote, I don’t see anything grievous there. I know that I’ve hurt a lot of people very badly due to being raised by mentally unstable parents. I’ve since come back to Jesus, and I’ve begged for forgiveness for those things I didn’t know I was doing, but I really don’t see that I’ve committed any grievous sins either. Maybe I’m “going to hell” too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnShoreFans John Shore via Facebook

    Well, that post is two years old. Commenters-wise, I’ve since then separated a LOT of wheat from chaff. So in that regard things are a whole lot saner on my blog now than they used to be.

  • Daniel Boots Woodward via Facebook

    I get so frustrated with the willfully ignorant stance that “the Bible says such-and-such in black and white why is there an argument?” The Bible was NOT written in 1611 in England, thank you very much. It has been transcribed and translated and messed with numerous times. The Bible contradicts itself, so how do the literaists deal with that?

  • Elizabeth Fullerton via Facebook

    Next blog post: we all confess our youthful indiscretions. Whoever has the most wins.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnShoreFans John Shore via Facebook

    Sure. Play a game you can’t lose. Fun for YOU. Oh, wait. No. Fun for US. Game on.

  • Elizabeth Fullerton via Facebook

    SOLID GOLD I’m giving you, John. Free-for-all comment fest with minimal effort. Write it and they will come. My exploits are approximately the same as yours. I would nix the “pre-Christian” caveat to make it more inclusive. A lot of people take a break. If it stays, I got baptized at six months and saved again at 8. No fun. You have’t been called a heretic for, like, a month, right?

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.sinclair.129 David Sinclair via Facebook

    Wow, that was fun reading;) how do you get any work done when moderating comments becomes a full time job? Betcha weren’t expecting that result from this post!


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