My God Cares About Hearts, Not Crotches

This post is included in my book UNFAIR: Why the “Christian” View of Gays Doesn’t Work.

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About John Shore

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

  • http://www.terracecrawford.com Terrace Crawford

    Hi John,

    Read your post. While I appreciated your honesty here, I'm confused by some of the things you said. They seemed almost contradictory. You seem to say that you are a Christian, yet in the very last line you state that you could care less about God. Did I read this wrong?

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

      Sigh.

      Yes, you read that wrong.

    • http://www.shanecrash.com Shane Crash

      I believe John is saying that he and he alone is responsible for his individual relation to God. I think he's making the point that he doesn't need any one to tell him how his relation to God should look, or how it should feel. He's learned to see what looks like Jesus and what looks like a persons personal prejudice.

    • Max Andrews

      Basically John, I love everything you write. Ever.

      Don't know why people read your masterpieces and then tell you they suck…

      It's confusing. Your blog posts are amazing. Love them. That is all.

  • http://kenreads.wordpress.com wken

    Terrace, if I may …

    John isn't saying that God doesn't interest him. Rather, it's the god that's obsessed with genitals that doesn't interest him. I think that the "your" is important in that sentence.

    • PCH

      There are many people who are obsessed with their own genitals –who are atttempting to change the definition of marriage– and those peoples claims have to be answered. If their claims had been addressed and challenged 25 years ago when they started making them ("we born this way!") with no evidence offered to back those claims up, then we wouldnt have so many people who simply believed what they kept hearing reapeated over and over. Anyone who thinks God wants people to turn a blind eye to this, especially when churches are contradicting what God teaches on this, are sadly mistaken

      • http://kenreads.wordpress.com wken

        The definition of marriage?

        You're quoting nice talking points, but did you know that there is no real Biblical definition of marriage? Go ahead, look it up. I'll wait.

        The passage that's usually cited in Genesis, remember, was written at a time when polygamy was perfectly acceptable.

        How many wives did King David, the man after God's own heart, have?

        Or Solomon, the one who was good enough to build the Temple?

        If we, as Christians, spent more time looking after the planks in our own eyes and less time looking for specks in other people's, we'd be better off.

        I read that somewhere. ; – )

  • Kara

    Love this post. Makes me super-happy. Sometimes being a Christian gets tiring for me, so thanks for reminding me that it can be better than all that mess it's been made into by some.

    I would love to see a post, or just people's thoughts, on whether the God fundamentalists worship is the same God liberal Christians worship. How different do two entities have to be before they cease to be different versions of the same thing?

  • Jeremy

    the church of Jesus Christ on earth is in the throes of its second great and terrible reformation, and it’s over this single issue. '

    _________

    So true. John Shore will be our Martin Luther. :)

    • http://www.visionapp.com Paul Ardoin

      He might have to fight Jim Wallis to the church door.

      • Mindy

        But the big difference is that Jim Wallis wants it. Christians want John Shore. Seems like a no-brainer.

        Says she, the unrepentant agnostic . . . . who just read John's post on when he became a Christian in the broom closet, and would very much appreciate something that clear every happening to me to make sense of, well, ANYTHING!

        :)

  • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

    John, I can't help but feel especially friendly to anyone who has read Donne and writes his name with an exclamation. The finest of the metaphysical poets, IMHO… but Pope comes in a close second.

    You have hit the nail on the head with your comment about defining people on the content of their character. This approach dramatically undermines the usual biases, stereotypes, and lazy discriminations that are oh so easy to use. I hope others give this point some serious reflection, put it into practice to give it a spin, and be far richer for it.

    • http://www.shanecrash.com Shane Crash

      I couldn't agree more tildeb.

    • http://www.nathantaylor.net.au/ Rabid_Womble

      Once again a great post.

      Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the bible suggest somewhere that you would know the followers of Christ by their fruits? That seems like a very strong biblical injunction for homosexuality (or at least that christians should seek gay friends) if you ask me.

      • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

        Actually, it's a call to eat more musli. They just left out the nuts and flakes in the translation.

        • Soulmentor

          Delightful. LOL

          • Don Whitt

            It's actually "by their flutes", but was mistranslated as fruits. God digs a woodwind. Everyone else just blows. That's why he isn't looking at your crotch, he's staring at your sax.

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Thanks, Don. Now I got orange juice in my nose and all down the front of my shirt. °_°

  • Deana

    Thanks for sharing John. I couldn't agree with you more. I would like to add that I believe that gay Christians will have a HUGE impact on the world for Christ in the years to come. I mean if gay people can find love and acceptance in Christ, then ANYONE can, right? If we who are deemed unloveable and bound for hell can find hope and JOY in Christ, people will be forced to rethink their image of a the dictatorial-big-stick-carrying God they have always rejected.

    What saddens me is seeing people become agnostic because they cannot reconcile their faith with their sexuality. I'm so thankful for affirming churches such as Crossroads Community Church in Dallas, TX. Many ex-pastors, music ministers, Sunday School teachers, and dedicated Christ followers who were ousted by the "church" find peace here in the midst of a storm that rages outside those doors. Nothing like learning from a pastor who ministered along side Oral Roberts one day, came out, and was forced to disappear the next.

    So let me get this straight, God can use fat people, liars, cheats, adulterers, smokers, drinkers, but he can't use gay people? Keep speaking the truth, John! We , the minority, need your voice!

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

      Thank you, Deana, very much.

    • Mindy

      Wow, Deana, what a wonderful thought. You are so right!

      • Don Whitt

        Ousted by the church. Isn't that an interesting thought? That God could be claimed by a single group, as if God is some debutante at a charity ball giving dances to the highest bidder. Why do we put-up with that crap for one second?

    • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

      God, I hope you are right, Deana. I hope there will be a positive, constructive solution. Cuz right now, from my p.o.v. it mostly feels like a death match.

  • Mary

    Amen, John. Amen.

  • Gina Powers

    Awesomeness once again, hoss…..will repost on my FB in a bit.

  • Mindy

    First, John, to my knowledge, you can't conjugate verbs in Chinese. Regular or not.

    Second, I want to sing along with the Lithuanian council. I might even join in the beachball fun, altho' I'm with you on the no-nakey thing.

    Third, you are an inspiration, as always. Keep fighting the good fight!

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

      Do you know, I actually know that about Chinese verbs? But I figured … most people wouldn't. (And I'm still not fully clear on how that works.) Way to blow it for me, Mindy. Man. Why can't you ever write any good comments?

      • Mindy

        Yeah, well, you know how snarky I can get . . . .

        I know just enough about the Chinese language to know that my brain is not big enough to learn it. My girls know just enough to say stuff to each other and laugh because I can't understand them. I'm fairly sure I've been insulted on a regular basis.

        • http://kenreads.wordpress.com wken

          What I know about Chinese is that if I knew the right dialect, the show "Firefly" would be a very different experience.

          Nothing to contribute, but I felt the need to say that.

          Please, carry on …

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Bee-jway, neen hen boo-tee-tyeh duh nan-shung! Dong-ma? ^_^

          • Mindy

            How dare you! Potty mouth.

            Actually, I know only a few words in Chinese beyond counting and the niceties like please, hello, etc. I can say water, beer and butt.

            Not sure what that would get me on the streets of Beijing, but it makes little kids laugh. :)

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

            What are you talking about? In bars I all the time say, "Gimme a watery beer, butt." Once you know the Chinese for "gimme," you're all set!

          • Mindy

            Is that in regular bars or gay bars? And do you SEE them water the beer? And do they ever ask you to address them as Ms. Butt, or Mr. Butt?

            I'll ask around about 'gimme' – all these cultural idiosyncrasies one must learn before one travels . . .

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Gimme = 给我 = Gěi wǒ

            Beer = 啤酒 = Píjiǔ

            I'm afraid for the grammar you're on your own, Mindy.

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Watery might be 含水 or Hánshuǐ, but I don't know how trustworthy that is.

      • http://none Don Rappe

        I thought you knew it.

  • Scott

    If I'd known Christians like you back when I was one, I might still be one.

    • jes

      True words

    • Devi

      Was just thinking that. :)

  • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

    Thank you, Mr. Shore!

    Um, you know, I thought. What if, I mean, just as a scientific hypothesis, it really isn't us queers who are sick, but those so appalled by queers. Not evil, or morally bankrupt or anything, but what if they really are somehow ill in the head. So they need to keep us from marrying, and so they need to keep bullying us, and need to hunt for and cling to those bible verses that prove them right and feel so relieved that they are not faggots and all. Is there some research testing such an hypothesis? Some real theories on what maybe makes these people sick that way? Not the usual pseudo-religious or they-are-all-queer-themselves superficial brush-off, but real science? I mean, look at how much money is spent on suppressing gay rights. Somebody must be curious WHY they keep spending it, mustn't there?

    My venues of research are a bit limited where I live these days, and so far sources like google or wikipedia have proven pretty weak there. There is so many theories around what makes a person queer, but really none convincing that explain what makes a person loath it so. With such an abiding, deep seated, passionate revulsion and hatred and fervour. Do you or anyone else here have an answer or can direct me to someone who has?

    • http://kenreads.wordpress.com wken

      I would say that anyone as obsessed with other people's sex lives as the anti-gay people you're describing is sick.

      • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

        But what the **** makes them sick that way? Yeah, there is a million idiots and wackos out there, but why do so many of them agree on this one topic? Why can they leave us alone? I know now they say we are pushing our agenda down their throat, and yeah, we do. I want to anyway. But only because I got theirs pushed down my throat for so long when I just want to live my life, fall in love, be happy. But they couldn't let it go. And I want to understand WHY they can't. What is driving them?

        Maybe I need to know to be able to forgive them. Maybe I need to understand to be able to let them go. To go on, grow up, forget about the pain and humiliation. I dunno. But I really, really would like to know.

        Alas, nobody seems to…

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

          I do.

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Can I read it somewhere?

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

            I haven't written that post yet.

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Ah. Well. Count my breath bated. ^_^

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            From what little I have read about you, I am convinced you wont tell us that it is because the bible says so. It may say so, but it certainly doesn't press the point. So maybe you can include why they insist on blowing that bit of scripture so out of proportion.

            Someone in one of your comments (when I asked that questiono before) suggested that it is Christians holding onto the safety blanket of blind faith, and that any attack on the faith is an attack on their hidey hole, so they have to retailate with overblown aggressiveness. While that may be a little part of the problem, there is too many violations of Christian faith they happily ignore or even violate themselves in the pursuit of making the lives of queers miserable. So, that doesn't hold water either.

            I hope you also won't fall back onto the "self-loathing closeted homophobe" theory, because that doesn't answer why they self-loath to begin with. Or that buggery is too icky… no public campains against str8 anal sex… or that is seems biologically unnatural… because so is wearing clothes and driving cars…

            The most convincing theory I've heard so far has to do with gender roles, that somehow two blokes or two girls snogging makes them doubt their manly-man or wifey-wife role in life, but even that seems, I dunno… is it really that much more threatening than all the other commonplace changes of women wokring and men staying home, male nurses, female cops, etc?

            Well, I suppose I'll have to wait now, huh? ^_^

          • Ace

            "Or that buggery is too icky… no public campains against str8 anal sex…"

            There are a lot of cultures where only the "recieveing" partner in such an act (if both are men) is considered a homosexual, because being the recipient of any sort of penetration is seen as "female".

            I really do think a lot of homophobia is directly rooted in a larger misogynistic culture. Even little boys are taught that anything girls do, they must not do (i.e. wear pink, play with dolls, etc). Their identity as "boy" is on a very basic level defined as "not-girl" and anything "girl" is undesirable if you want to be "boy".

            It's not really surprising that Christian *culture* (though maybe not so much the actual teachings of the bible depending on how you interpret the passages in question) is extremely anti-homosexuality (especially male homosexuality) given that it is rooted in two patriarchal, male-oriented cultures (Roman particularly, and Jewish culture to a lesser extent)

          • Ace

            (Also, the women's lib movement has done a lot to break down the constructs of female gender identity in Western culture, but much less has been done to deconstruct the cultural prescripts of masculinity, for whatever reasons. Rigid gender roles restrict people of both sexes in the long run, but for whatever reason, most men I've spoken to about it don't recognize it as a problem. This: http://thehathorlegacy.com/the-cult-of-masculinit… is a good treatment of the subject though, for a starting place)

          • Soulmentor

            I'm convinced the reason for the disproportionate noise by "Christians" against homosexuality is, indeed, a matter of protecting their blind faith. The Christian religion has made such a huge matter of sex in general and homo sex in particular that it has been traditional dogma for centuries and to rethink that is tantamount to shattering their entire faith structure. You know, it they are so wrong about that, how can they believe anything else about their "faith"?

            Thus, blind "faith" has entrapped them in fear, not faith.

          • http://none Don Rappe

            I'm convinced there is room in the explanation for the "icky" factor. I recall one or two of my children puzzling that we continued with something "so gross" even when we might have been satisfied with one or two less children.

          • Mindy

            @John – And you are waiting for . . . ? Because I'm with Freefox, I want to know. Why the passionate interest in this? Why? I have my own theories, but none of them explain it completely. None of them really make sense of it at the core.

            I, too, will wait with bated breath.

          • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

            I am absolutely breathless with anticipation. BREATHLESS, I tell you!

            This is going to be a book soon, please?

          • jes

            You tease!

    • http://www.shadsie.deviantart.com Shadsie

      In reading this, there's something semi-random I thought about… I take a lot of life-lessons from fiction.

      I remember a while back, I was reading Douglas Addams' books – I remember one of them ("So Long, and Thanks for the All the Fish" I think) featuring the greatest threat to the universe – a genocidal culture that were… actually pretty nice people if you sat down and talk to them. Krikitt. (Correct me if I'm getting any of this wrong, it's been a while since I've read the HGTTG series).

      Anyway, the planet of Krikitt was cloaked in a dark cloud (something created by an evil supercomputer or something, if I recall correctly) so that its inhabitants had no moon and no stars by night and were quite isolated. It was a rather nice little planet, full of old fashioned family values with a focus on the agrarian lifestyle. That is, until someone built an experimental spaceship, and with a friend, broke free of the atmosphere. Seeing all the stars blanketing the universe scared the everloving poo outta them and they turned to each other and said "It's gotta go." Ever since, Krikitt had been trying to *destroy* everything "non-Krikitt" to put the universe the way they wanted it/"back" to the way they'd always "known."

      I tend to think that a lot of people with prejudices are the same way – they grow up in one kind of environment and are shown and told a certain set of ways the world is supposed to work. I think growing up, more often than not, is a process of learning to "think in grays" because once out from under the wings of your parents, when you start exploring the world on your own, you find out that the world just isn't the same one you knew when you were a kid. Some people, when they see people acting in ways they didn't grow up knowing much or anything about, or they meet people who don't fit the sterotypes they were fed — they don't accept it and move on, they get angry, and want to destroy the thing that's messing up their safe mental landscape.

      I don't know, just some random thoughts.

      • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

        Again, the Krikkit theory could have something to do with it, but it, too, doesn't explain why being queer so incredibly worse than mobile phones were when they were new, or why there wasn't a massive Christian drive to prevent travel to the moon, or why only the Amish think that the internal combustion engine is an abomination unto God (well, I don't want to wrong any Amish, I'm not familiar with their theology, but I understand they have some scriptural problem with gasoline powered cars). Why is a bloke kissing a bloke so much worse? (It isn't even NEW, after all, think Plato, think Alexander the Great, think Tony Curtis in Spartakus.)

  • http://kenreads.wordpress.com wken

    Nice new title there, John. Subtle. Real subtle.

    Kind of like a chainsaw.

    I like it.

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

      Thanks. I changed the ending, too. I like this one better.

  • Marie

    I can't type…. I'm too busy clapping my hands!!!!!

  • Ace

    I know a lot of people who might not have given up on church and Jesus if the Christians they grew up in the midst of had brains more like yours.

    :|

  • http://allegro63.blogspot.com/ Sylvie Galloway

    Oh, I totally agree with this article, every word, except I don't know any lithuanian, and my dexterity skills are woefully lacking, keeping me out of the beachball kicking part of things.

    it is interesting to notice, as I think you are subtly pointing out, repeatedly over the past several weeks, is that people seem think they know what God wants for his "club" called Christianity. The truth is obvious that people can be utterly clueless, having figured out a particular criteria for enrollment, and that people either have to be a certain way to become a member or to go through certain steps to obtain membership. Then they go to church and sing "Come just as you Are."

    Those they feel had snuck past the membership committee without passing all the re-reqs they quickly revoke the membership, then teach the kids "Jesus loves the little children."

    The reality is that God's membership requirements are much more expansive. He welcomes the sick, the poor, the genius, the idiot, the gay, the straight, the in between, the democrat, the republican, the independent, the single mother, the dead beat dad, the drug addict, the mouthy teenager, the great grandfather with a checkered past. He welcomes us all, having loved us from our beginning, being delighted when we recognize His love for us, and try, ineptly, to tell others how awesome His love is.

    I feel that God is very delighted with our willingness to share His love with others no matter who they are, and recognizing that without His guidance we will utterly suck at that task. It is the willingness to keep trying that matters.

    • http://none Don Rappe

      It's not a "club", is it? Thank goodness they let in great grandfathers with checkered pasts.

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

    Around 12 years ago when I suddenly became a Christian, I quietly joined in the naked-beach-ball-chorus thingy, although I never really mastered it. I have only one LGBT friend and one friend who has a gay son. As I've grown I've quietly slipped out of the chorus. Some have noticed, some have not. Bloggers like yourself, John, and Anita have helped me to understand my reservations and ultimately, objections to our bizarre emphasis.

    This morning I checked on biblegateway.com and did you know that the word Love occurs 700 times in the bible, while homosexual occurs just 4 times. Ask 100 Christians what God's Love looks like in this world and you'll get about 200 different answers. Ask the same group about homosexuality and viola, unity. clarity. It's as though we've translated the verse that says, "we are one in Christ Jesus" into "we are one if only we all condemn homosexuality." It is kind of bizarre.

    • Mindy

      Well. Now there's some food for thought, Ric.

      Interesting. And why??? That seems to be the big question of the day.

      • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

        I'm dying to see what John writes about this, but I personally suspect the answer has something to do with the need to feel morally superior. We all have it…I even have it. Its just that my need to be morally superior has to do in how much more loving I am than the people that are all busy with the hating.

        Oh, that and oxytocin. Hateful people just need some Oxytocin added to their water supply. Dr. Google tells me so.

        • Ace

          You can get more oxytocin by more hugs!

          WE NEED MORE HUGS, THAT'S WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE WORLD.

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            GROUP-HUG! EVERYBODY! ^_^

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

            Okay, but hands above waists, Ric Booth.

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

            haha! You're such a legalist.

          • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

            Hey, that was my bewb, Ric…

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

            bewb?

          • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

            I was facetiously using lolspeak. Its my middle-aged attempt at appearing young and hip.

        • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

          But why do they all have to feel morally superiour to me? On grounds of me snogging boys, to boot. I can see how someone would feel morally superiour to me on grounds that I am an ex-thief, and an ex-con (or whatever you call someone who spent half a year in juvie hall), that I drank too much or that I smoke, or that I regularely got into fights. Even that I am a bloody redhead, if they absolut need something. Peeps mighthave been pissed off at me for stealing or lying or fighting, but they hardly ever despised me for it. But see me kiss a boy, and they'd all be all grossed out.

          It must be more than JUST the need to be morally superiour. There must be some reason why THIS makes them feel that way.

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

        I vote: Fear. We do and say some bizarre things out of fear. I think some are afraid of their own sexual desires. This isn't the only fear, though. Fear of change is huge. Changing one's view and interpretation of scripture is likened to changing God (to be something more to our liking), which is (technically) blasphemy and/or heresy. No one "wants" to be labeled a blasphemer or heretic (well, almost no one). The flip side is this: to disallow different interpretations, is to claim to have God all figured out.

        • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

          Yeah, fear does seem to cover a large patch of it. Fear of their own sexuality, hm, why does that make them loath queers? If they aren't queer, why would a different sexuality scare them? Even though they seem to obsess about it, we really ren't out to recruit or "inject" anyone with our "lyfestyle" any more than any str8 bloke is out to rape every woman he encounters. And if they are queer themselves… why does THAT scare so much? Unless there is already some reason to fear hot, sweaty, man-on-man sex… rawr ^_^ … (or grrl-on-grrl), and so I wonder: What is that original fear? As for "change", again, yeah but see my answer to the Krikkit argument about "newness". Lot's of things change. Being queer isn't new by a long stretch. So I still have to ask, WHY do they fear it so much? What exactly is so fear inspiring in dudes snogging? It's a bit silly, it's a bit scratchy, and if he hasn't brushed his teeth or is a big smoker it can be a bit, well, let's say mints can improve the experience… but scary? Why?

          (Sorry if I get repetitive, but it has been bothering me for a long time… ever since my own big brother slammed me against the wall of his room and told me to never, ever tell anyone what I was as long as we lived together, or he'd break every bone in body. I really want to know what exactly is so scary about me.)

    • Soulmentor

      Homosexual occurs so rarely in the Bible because the word wasn't even coined until the late 1800's. Until then, the word in the Bible most closely thought to refer to homosexuals was "effeminate", which everyone knows does not necessarily refer to homosexuals and to change effeminate to homosexual in the Bible is a blatantly dishonest distortion. The fact is, that in the many cultures that influenced the Biblical writers (as opposed to the mind boggling number of interpreters since) there was no particular distinction, let alone word, for men who sexually loved other men. It just was and no one thot much of it, apparently not even Jesus, who never mentioned it.

  • Audra

    I've been reading your blogs for a few months and I've grown to like you more and more for your stand on this issue. As a newbie Christian I've had some conservatives tell me how God "changes your heart". As someone who identifies as straight but believes that God loves us all and doesn't see the sin in homosexuality because it also is love, not to mention God made them too, I didn't see why God would need to change my heart. Your blogs are wonderful! Not just for the LGBT community that need to know Christians support them and love them as they are but also for newbies like me, who also has LGBT friends but is following her heart in faith knowing that just as God would not forsake me he would never forsake my friends even when those who have been at this God stuff a lot longer then I have speak louder. Thank you.

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

    (Thanks for these excellent, heart-warming, very encouraging comments. I've read each, and taken each to heart. Oh–and, for what it's worth–I've written another new ending for this piece. [What IS it with this piece? This'll be the last one, for sure---or my name isn't Tinker McTinkerston.])

  • http://www.youtube.com/epistomolus Dennis Dawson

    An electrical engineer, a mechanical engineer, and a civil engineer are having a beer together and speculating on which of their professions is most God-like.

    "God must be an electrical engineer! Look at the nervous system and it's intricate network of synapses!"

    "God must be a mechanical engineer! Look at the skeletal and muscular systems!"

    The civil engineer chuckles: "Fellas, he's got to be a civil engineer. Only a civil engineer would put a waste treatment facility in the middle of a major recreational area."

    I now return you to your serious and thoughtful discussion, already in progress.

    ~D

    • Soulmentor

      ROFLMAO!!!!

  • Woody

    Thank you, as you give me hope that there Christians who do not use Gays and Lesbians as a religious and political punching bag.

  • http://www.facebook.com/unholyblackdeath William Ely

    Great post John! I was just a little curious: how do bisexuals fit into this whole thing from the Christian perspective? We are often overlooked by both the bigots and the defenders.

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

      Clearly, Mr. Ely, there is no single "Christian perspective." So the answer to your question would of course depend upon what sort of Christian you asked. I think you know what the fundamentalist would answer. And I'm sure you know what I would.

      • http://www.facebook.com/unholyblackdeath William Ely

        Yeah, I guess you are right. I don't really see much bigotry around where I live, so I have no standard by which to judge such things. People always trash talk Texas has being a bunch of rednecks, but people in the Dallas / Fort Worth area are amazingly supportive of gay and lesbians. Just never any mention of bisexuals at all. I will just be glad about that and move on.

        • Vicky

          Being Bi myself and having looked into this particular "sub-culture" of the gay community, a lot of times we're overlooked simply because we're not one or the other. We're both, which in and of itself is a hard concept to grasp (something that I find hard to understand.). Straight folks see us as straight until we're dating the same sex, and then we're gay. Gay folks see us as gay until we're dating the opposite sex, and then call us traders (on the harsher end of the spectrum). Both often see us as confused, or just "promiscous", which is rediculous. Just because we like both genders, doesn't mean we want to be with both at the same time. That'd be like calling an avid dog lover someone that's into beastiality.

          Anywho, we're mostly left out cause we're not understood. A lot of times, to be seen, you have to actively work on it. Instead of wearing a rainbow bracelet, wear a Bi-pride one (colors are pink, blue, and purple). Look for bi-centric items, and if you're bold enough, ones that will strike up conversations so that you can explain what it is. I've even seen some Bisexual groups with their own little spots in Pride Parades, waving flags and what not. Same with Transfolk and Bears (the big hairy dudes. They need lovin too lol).

          Hope that helps. :)

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

            Wrong. The problem straight and gay people have with bi-sexual people is that we/they are stone-cold jealous of you. Hello? Twice as many people potential sex partners! Totally unfair!

          • http://www.facebook.com/unholyblackdeath William Ely

            That's how I see too! More options makes for better choices. On several occasions, I have chosen a guy over a girl because the guy was simply better looking and/or more interesting than the available girls.

            Although, 80% of the time, I go with a chick.

            I have found that I usually have to stick with female friends however, because straight males fear me and gay males are angry at me. lol, such a silly situation I have gotten myself into!

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

            80% of the Time I Went With a Chick: The Autobiography of William Ely. I could see that selling.

          • http://www.facebook.com/unholyblackdeath William Ely

            Great title! I need to wait a decade or two before writing that however. I feel like the best parts of the story are yet to happen.

          • http://www.facebook.com/unholyblackdeath William Ely

            Yeah, I have had gay guys get PISSED when they see me with a girl because they just assumed that I was gay, lol. I think it's funny. I actually don't know any other bisexual guys, just girls.

            This one girl tried to tell me that there is no such thing as bisexual. She told me I am heterosexual because I like women or I'm gay because I like men, there is no in between. I was shocked that she would say that after knowing me for years, lol.

            For me, it is mainly about freedom, like everything else I do. I do not feel a need to commit one way or the other. This does cause problems when it comes to serious relationships, which is one reason I tend to avoid them like the plague.

            I'm glad the bigots mostly leave Bis alone, but it would be nice for the general population to at least admit that we exist.

          • Don Whitt

            I'm sorry, but I can't resist:

            Guy #1: I think my roommate's gay.

            Guy#2: Really? Why?

            Guy#1: His penis tastes like shit.

            Thank you. I'll be here all week, unfortunately for all of you.

            Personally, I think Bisexuals should call themselves Ambisextrous. Way better marketing.

          • http://www.facebook.com/unholyblackdeath William Ely

            Haha! Good one!

            I like your marketing idea as well! It does have a nice ring to it.

          • jes

            One of my gay friends dubbed me "omnivorous" for my bisexuality. I prefer to think of myself as an equal opportunity employer. ;)

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            You could tell that girl that you are straight because you like girls AND you are queer because you like blokes. Two for the price of one. The more's the better.

            Hey, how do you experience it: Is it a "I-don't-care-about-their-dangly-bits-I-just-love-the-person" deal or more a "yummy-man-dangly-bits-yummy-girl-well-quivering-bits-ooh-they're-both-so-delicious" thing? I mean, do you not care if it's a guy or a gal, or do they just both have so much, if different, goodiness to offer? (Did that question in any way make sense?)

          • http://www.facebook.com/unholyblackdeath William Ely

            lol, yeah, I think I understand what you are asking.

            I generally choose first by pure physical attraction. Secondly I prefer interesting personalities. Boring people are a huge turn off.

            All my serious relationships have been with females. With guys, it is always just about having a good time. There are less emotional needs in that sort of arrangement.

            And yes, they do both offer a lot of "goodiness" but in different ways.

            Overall, I tend to keep it on a "friends with benefits" level. Keeping my relationships casual frees up a lot of time and effort for me to spend on meeting my goals.

          • jes

            For relationship material, personality is the main thing, and I don't care what package it comes in. Maybe that makes me God-like in that I'm looking at the person's heart before their crotch? Thanks, John, now I'm gonna get an ego problem!

            For watching people, girls are totally prettier. I mean no offense here, but penises are just, well, funny looking. Guys are easier (for me) to get the attention of though, what with being female, so just on odds of who's interested in me, most of my relationships have been with men.

  • Soulmentor

    It's interesting to note that the reference that popped into my email and alerted me to this article was headlined like this: "About LGBT people I'll listen to my God, thanks."

    Now, nowhere in the article does John write "my God", but there is a point here I want to make. I think we each do, indeed, have our own God in our minds. God, after all, is an abstract concept. No one can get around that fact because God cannot be defined, therefore It (God) HAS to be abstract, an abstract that, in our minds, demands definition, which is made by each of us. Even the Bible does not define God in any way we can all agree on. Therefore, we each create in our minds, our own definition of God. God, therefore, is made in OUR image thereby, in effect, becoming our own God replete with self-righteousness.

    Jesus resolved that conundrum but illustrating God to us in his human form. Anyone who spouts what "God says" should stop, rethink, re-reference, and THINK JESUS. The world would be so blessedly different.

    • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

      @Soulmentor: I *think* I pretty much agree with what you mean, but I would phrase it differently. "Abstract" and "in our minds" sounds so dry and cerebral. While, technically, of course we use our brains/minds for emotions as much as for reason, that which can be called GOD is for us humans less a rational construct and more a spiritual experience (what those that don't share it usually think of to as delusional craziness).

      God isn't as much abstract as transcendent. It isn't as much deducted as experienced. God's presence goes beyond – transcends – rational thought, or selfish emotion. It connects us to something larger, to everything, really, the entirety of awe-inspiring creation. Of course anybody can make up any old definition of "god" that he wants, but I would argue that if it doesn't fill you with Awe (according to thefreedictionary.com awe [ô], n., describes a mixed emotion of reverence, respect, dread, and wonder inspired by authority, genius, great beauty, sublimity, or might) – with the greatest possible of awes, really, it doesn't really deserve the name "God".

      But yes, by it's very nature this experience can never be fully understood, or explained, or described to someone else, and is intensely subjective, i.e. very, very different for anyone who experiences it. Not because God is different, but because each human life can only experience such a tiny, subjective fragment of it, filtered by culture, personality, and circumstances. It is exactly feeling that this unimaginable, unexperiencable *More* is out there that makes the experience, well, God. Even the bible is just a helpless attempt to frame as much as possible of this experience into human language.

      I probably disagree with you very much on the subject of Jesus, but we can agree that anyone claiming to KNOW God's will, or who even thinks that God's will is so small that it could at all be framed into a single purpose sentence in human language, obviously doesn't know what they are talking about.

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    Still reading…still enjoying…still wrangling kiddos instead of engaging in discussion.

    Just wanted you to know I'm still here. I enjoyed this post.

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    Oh, and just the word 'crotch' makes me blush, so…thanks a lot, John!

    • http://none Don Rappe

      I don't know if the word crotch appears in scripture anywhere. It may be that the word feet is a euphemism for what the angel in Isaiah's vision was covering with two of his wings. While it cried: Holy! Holy!

      • Vicky

        lol, well it does mention the Loins. ;)

  • Gina Powers

    I forgot to mention– LOVED the sentence "delicious Gaga bacon"….as a friend of mine likes to intone, "Tis crunchy & dandy"….;).

  • jes

    There was a study recently that found a higher rateof teen pregnancies by boys who later identified as gay than by straight boys–the theory, I guess, being that what better way to prove you're straight than by getting a girl pregnant?

  • http://paithanTX.blogspot.com Steve

    Good job! when your memoir comes out I will definitely read it!

  • Chellee

    My darling little Bella Rose, who is 4 years old, told me today she cannot wait to go to school. I asked her what she was going to do in school once she got there. She got so excited and told me that "you go to school to learn how to make noises and draw honey bees. Oh….and learn your letters." :) I love the wisdom of children.

    God does, too…..enough to say, "Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it." Mark 10:15. One of the words that strikes me here, is RECEIVE. As a child. I was thinking of how Bella receives others…..whether in a wheel chair or of different skin color, or deaf (like her Aunt)……she cannot see their differences. She simply embraces them readily. She seems to love them all. I was thinking that prejudices need to be taught to children because otherwise they would never know how to snub people that are different than themselves.

    Another key word is kingdom. I don't think we understand what that word means, exactly. But I would hazard a guess…..it's anyone who loves God. Clearly…..just being a liar, or a thief, or a gossip, or even a murderer is not enough to keep us out of heaven. Could it POSSIBLY be true that also being…….g…..g……g…..gay is not enough to keep us out of the kingdom either???? *dripping sarcasm*

    Methinks it may be time to drop this issue and return to loving others as little children do. With open arms and great acceptance. The next verse says, "And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them." WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the Jesus I've come to know and love. I'd love to learn to be just like him when I grow up! ;) And like Bella Rose! :D

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2010/10/06/about-lgbt-folk-ill-listen-to-my-god-thanks/#comments slick

    Awesome, AWESOME post Barnmaven!

  • PCH

    TO JOHN SHORE–

    In your article you state you have watched countless pastors on TV, you have read countless church ‘fathers’ and tons of Bible commentaries. You conclude by saying that based on all this, you’ve “Got” Christianity–you understand it. You left one book out. The Bible. Why have you neglected the source? Why do you leave it out. when you make a case for your knowlege of the Christain faith? Its an amazing ommision and it shows why you think as you do.

    The point of Christianity is not to know ‘about it’, Its to KNOW Jesus through his words–for Him to speak to you personally– just Him to you, through his word. Then its to find out what pleases him and do it, what displeases him and avoid it, and to help others to do the same. Thats what a Chrstian is called to do.

    All you have recieved you have recieved second hand, by your own admission. Thats not where God tells his children they shold spend the majority of their study or meditation. He says you should “study (the word) to show yourself approved, …one who can correctly divide the word of truth.”–2 timothy

    You have to study the SOURCE–the Bible

    So then you may have a lot of head knowlege ABOUT Christianity but it appears you are not in a relationship with Jesus one to one or know HIS heart on this issue., through his word. And you are making a lot of biblical mistakes one being advocating that homosexualuty is ok. or God doesnt care if you are sexually immoral or not.

    I have had so many gay friends before I became a Christian., I know such people can be nice, kind, smart, talented etc,–just like those who dont engage in that kind of sex can be. I learned that 30 years ago. my saying that gay sex is wrong is not a bigotted statement or is it based on a lack of biblical study. God is interested in the heart as you said, and the heart of those in the Christian church who persist stubbornly — insisting that gay sex is ok because they are engaging in it, or those who pat them on the back and tell them its ok because they have a NON blbical idea of what it is to be a friend to such people, show their hearts are not first and foremost toward God and that they do not know him very well if at all. If their hearts were for God, they would be doing all they could to be set free by God trom this sin, and/or not encouraging those who are in bodnage to it, to keep doing it. Read the Psalms David was so pro obedience toward God,a dn he was called the apple of Gods eye and he constantly extoled meditation on GODS WORD (Not what OTHERS said about it,.)

    And by the way John, the bible states were are not supposed to be ‘unequally yoked” which means our friends are to be other believers in Christ and our friendly OUTREACH to those who are not believers. Do you understand the difference?

    • PCH

      I mader a typo above

      I mistakenly said God doesnt care if you are sexually immoral.

      CORRECTION: God DOES care if you are sexually immoral–he spends a lot of time stating that from first to last

      • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

        Define sexual immorality.

        • jes

          Any sort of fun that PCH doesn't want you to have.

    • Ace

      So I take it you have no friends outside of those you have personally judged to be "real" Christians and deemed worthy of your time?

      What a shrunken world you must live in.

    • Ace

      (Also I'm pretty sure John Shore has read the bible, as well as all those other sources. You haven't read much of his other posts, have you?)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Good point about me not listing the Bible. It was so obvious I assumed I didn't have to mention it. But … yes, people like you definitely need things to be very, very clear. So I'll go make that change. Thanks again.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        I can't even find a place to shoehorn that in. It's too … completely implied. Did you really think I was reading Bible commentaries without reading the Bible?

        • Chellee

          Ya know, you should really TRY HARDER, John…..so people don't have to judge you as harshly. ;)

          But seriously……..THANKS FOR THE HEARTY LAUGH just now! hahahahahahaha

        • jes

          Well, since PCH apparently didn't actually read most of your post (or any other posts/comments on your page) it might just be natural for him/her to assume that your reading/research depth is the same?

        • Ace

          PCH probably just figures that, since you have come to different conclusions than he/she has, you MUST be reading the Bible wrong.

          I mean, there's NO possible way two people reading the same book could have totally different interpretations of it unless one of them is just absolutely crazy and flat wrong, no matter how ambiguous the text, amirite?

          And, being the infallible divine voice-piece of God on Earth, PCH is clearly the right one here. *kof*

          • Don Whitt

            I only refer to Jesus' brother's brief notes – I believe his name was Cliff. Makes quick work of all that boring biblical stuff.

    • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

      Jesus gave two great commandments. Love God. Love others as He loved us. He didn't command us to judge one another, to dictate terms of salvation to one another, to spew messages of hate and divsion at one another or to be overly concerned with what other people might or might not be doing in their bedrooms. Jesus was concerned with healing us, both physically and metaphorically. He decried those who spent their time doing nothing but enforcing the Law and didn't spend their time lovingly tending the garden of humankind.

      God loves us. All of us. Christ died so that not one single of us would have to live our lives separated from that love. The central point of the message He gave us was "LOVE."

      Other people's salvation is not yours to judge or to deem worthy. Their relationship with God is between them and God. Not you.

      I'd like to see morally superior, judgmental Christians spend more time worrying about their own life and relationships than those of others.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2010/10/06/about-lgbt-folk-ill-listen-to-my-god-thanks/#comments slick

        Awesome, AWESOME post Barnmaven! God is love and he loves all his children.

    • jes

      "I can read the Bible on my own. I don’t need anyone to tell me what it says, or means, or means by what it says. I can do my own research. I got it."

      Pretty clearly says that he is reading the Bible for himself, and listening to what the words mean in his head and his heart, rather than thoughtlessly swallowing what someone else is feeding him.

      Jesus preached acceptance, love, and humility; your words ring with judgment and intolerance. Why, pray tell, should we listen to you, PCH, instead of Jesus? Because frankly, attitude and words like yours are exactly why I do not feel welcome in church. Good job.

  • Reading God’s Word Literally

    I agree that God cares about the heart. <3

  • http://whocares Not perfect

    I find that bit of information difficult to believe; you see the heart is within and the crotch is not…Let’s not put the two together in one sentence. You can change the heart, but the crotch is what it is..You might want to entertain the idea of finding a Bible, which is God breathed, & puruse what He says about homosexuality and other “flavors” of sexual orientation. It’s very clear in that it’s a sin and that although you are loved, your ACTIONS do not relfect that of a God that approves of it! So, I say, repent, turn away from your evil ways and accept Christ into your life today! God created Adam & Eve, not Adam & Robert!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      “Robert”?

    • TuesdayBlu

      The Bible makes more than a few statements about two men together, but nothing about two women….. So, if we’re going off the Bible, it okay so long as it involves two vaginas, not two penises!?? Yup that sounds about right, it’s only wrong if the Kristjans don’t like it….. Give me a break, get over yourself, get some hobbies and stop wasting your time worrying about what plumbing people are attracted to. With all of the truly terrible things going on in this world-genocide, genital mutilation, famine, war-shouldn’t you be using your time and energy to deal with those issues!? On that note, if God hasn’t wiped His hands of us and all of the atrocious acts we perpetrate on one another, I don’t believe He would give two shits about what plumbing we’re attracted to either!