Was I Rude to the Author of “A Christlike Response to Homosexuality”? Hell, Yes.

I’ve been pretty rude to W.P. “Bill” Campbell. First, in Judging By Its Cover the New Book, “Turning Controversy into Church Ministry: A Christlike Response to Homosexuality,” I wrote that his book has “a better chance of sprouting wings and flying to Mongolia than it has of saying one single new, bold, or even vaguely interesting thing about homosexuality.” I also said it was typical of why Christian book publishing is continuing to “sink into the morass of its own mediocrity.”

Sure, I’ve been honest. But since when is honesty the best friend of civility?

In one of his comments to my post about his book, Bill wrote, “When I describe ‘brokenness,’ I do so around the contention that we are a broken people in a broken world. I call church members and leaders to realize that they are on a level playing field with gays and lesbians. We each have our weaknesses and struggles.”

To which all I can say say is, aaaarrrrrrrggggggghhhhhh.

After chastising me for not taking seriously enough the relationship between LGBTers and Christians, Bill (inexplicably) said that he had read each my posts at Love Jesus? Hate Bigotry? I assume that means he read the first post listed there, How is Being Gay Like Gluing Wings on a Pig?

I’m sure Bill’s a very busy guy. (At the very least I imagine he’s now spending more time vetting bloggers to whom he makes overtures to review his book.) So perhaps he so quickly read “How is Being Gay Like Gluing Wings on a Pig?” that he missed its entire point.

So, to recap that post: Saying that being gay is just like any other condition of “brokenness”—that it’s just like any of the “weaknesses and struggles” with which everyone contends—is a failure of logic so profound, egregious, and ridiculously obvious that it could only be asserted by a person who has long ago surrendered rationale (not to mention compassion) to dogma.

One more time, Bill: Homosexuality is no more like every other sin than a seahorse is like Seabiscuit. Every other sin—every other sort of “brokenness”—doesn’t deliver its perpetrator into a condition of having to live without love. Adultery, drunkenness, thievery, wife abuse, child molestation, murder … you can commit any of those sins, and still no one would claim that you’ve lost your natural right to fully love and be loved by your spouse.

But if you’re gay? Then you’re supposed to live never knowing any love more intimate than platonic love. (Cue Soup Nazi voice): No spouse for you! No holding hands, no cuddling, no sleeping together, no physical intimacy of any sort. (Unless it’s with someone to whom you’re not actually physically attracted. Sure, you won’t like it much—but at least it’ll be some contact.)

If you’re gay, you’re supposed to live your life alone. Isolated. Cold. Separate.

You know: just like Jesus hoped everyone would live.

Bill also wrote on my blog, “I challenge each of you to make sure that you aren’t helping to foster the polarization that has a lock hold on our country.”

I say, polarize away. Let all of us who understand who Christ really was do everything in our power to create so much space between ourselves and those who, in Christ’s name, create real polarization, that, God willing, eventually we won’t be able to see or hear them at all.

****

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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 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. 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://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

    “No spouse for you” Brilliant!

    Of course, Mr. Campbell would have to make a huge paradigm shift in thinking to accept that being gay was anything other then what he insists it is. I am suspecting that his book, which I also will not be bothering to read is more of the same, that has been being said for awhile now, and is even gaining more teeth in some areas. Such as in my home state. http://www.foxcarolina.com/community/25833122/detail.html

    What is so sad is that SC has much bigger issues, unemployment, very high rates of physical and sexual abuse to women and children, drug addiction, poverty, and they want to fixate on the “problem of homosexuality”. Makes me really sad.

    • Anonymous

      Me, too. I’m sure it saddens anyone who is … sane. (And thanks for the link, Allegro.)

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        wow! I am sane? Whoopee!! And you are welcome for the link John.

  • Anonymous

    I read a good blog post very recently (can’t remember where–I read too many) that was about “who will bury us (gays) when we die?” The church wants them to have no spouse, no children. So…if they live their lives exactly the way the church prescribes, they *will* have no one to bury them when they die. Rarely do we think about a gay person at the end of his/her life and how they would have no family to visit them at the nursing home, no family to pray with them before they die, no one to cry over their grave—if they really did live how many Christians tell them they should live. Any Christian who thinks that is “just the way God wants them to live and die” should be ashamed.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, what a terribly strong point that is, Erin. Thanks for raising it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-W-Lukens-Goodson/100000194585042 Mary W. Lukens Goodson

      Maybe that’s where all the “rich old uncle I didn’t know I had” came from? Men (or women) who were rejected by their families for being different, lived alone, nothing better to do than earn money but no loved ones to spend it on. Sad.. heartbreakingly sad.

  • Marcelo

    Well, John, even if you might have been a little harsh, you were, as the British like to say, “Let me pay you the compliment of being blunt…” to our author friend.

    Why go around and around on that track? The Ignorance 500? We usually know how the race is going to end.

    As I enter my middle-age years I’m finding myself less and less patient for poor reasoning, an inflexible and dogmatic attitude, and a timid, cold heart. (Or else I’m finally growing into my natural curmudgeonliness.)

    I agree. Polarize away. Let’s start a polarization bear club. Time for Polaripalooza. As much of a moderate kind of guy I am, I can’t help but feel that sometimes you have to break a little furniture to clear the house.

    Boy, I’m mixing too many metaphors this morning. Either I need more coffee…or less. More. Be right back.

    Cheers, mate. Keep fighting the good fight….

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, friend Marcelo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Nirakia Karin Kloppers

    Love you, John!

    • Anonymous

      Love you too, Karin Kloppers of Pretoria, South Africa!

      • http://www.facebook.com/Nirakia Karin Kloppers

        Thanks for the shout out to South Africa. Silly man!

        • Anonymous

          “John Shore: doing shout-outs to entire countries since 2010.” I like it!

  • StaceyB

    John, as heartbreaking as this is, you aren’t surprised by his view are you? This is the stance of most conservative christians..”we should all love one another..even gays, but that doesn’t mean we should condone their behavior, etc.” All sin is sin, even homosexuality, God will judge,” etc. Anyway, yeah it’s sad, but it’s not out of the realm of normal views held by Christians, you know?

    • Anonymous

      Stacy: No, of course I’m not surprised by his views. What I’m surprised at—and what the original post on this matter was about—is that, at a time when the entire Christian publishing business is collapsing, a Christian publisher of Zondervan’s size and clout would publish his book. That’s just astounding to me (though, again, depressingly unsurprising).

  • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

    John, I haven’t read or seen the book but it would appear that his book is based on the assumption that homosexuality is a sin, and the approach he prescribes both through church ministry and Christ-likeness in dealing with the “controversy of homosexuality” is based on this assumption. Does he lay this groundwork in the introduction?

    When he says, “I challenge each of you to make sure that you aren’t helping to foster the polarization that has a lock hold on our country,” it would seem that the degree to which we foster the polarization meets an impass when we acknowledge that there are two polar positions: Homosexuality is a sin, and Homosexuality is not a sin.

    And BTW, I love this: “—is a failure of logic so profound, egregious, and ridiculously obvious that it could only be asserted by a person who has long ago surrendered rationale (not to mention compassion) to dogma.” Bravo!

    Part of overcoming that dogma is being able to do one of two things: take the Bible seriously but not literally or admit that perhaps our own interpretation of scripture is flawed. This hard work of self-reflection is Christ-like, focussing our spiritual energy on how “I” have wronged my neighbor rather than on how my neighbor has wronged me.

    Blessings on your day, John.

    • Anonymous

      And on yours, Christie. Thanks for all of this.

  • John FD Hintze

    John, I dunno. How are we ever going to know what you think if you keep pussyfooting around? What a blessing from your words!
    Be well, and keep it up!

    • Anonymous

      I appreciate that encouragement (and humor), friend John. Thank you.

  • Plefevre

    J, As always, very much enjoy your posts. I would only join with you in saying arrrrggghh when reading Mr.Campbell’s insight– “bla bla brokenness, yadda yadda, strrengths and weaknesses, bla bla, etc.”

    More than bad theology, it is the linguistic equivalent of a microwaved burrito. Of the color beige. Of the Milwaukee Brewers. Dull, uninspired, uninspiring. Well-meaning and wrong. I don’t blame him. He is simply parroting the party line in as mild and inoffensive language as possible. And I’m sure he was expecting a bland endorsement from others who hold the party line, and maybe a few “Gee, maybe they don’t hate us THAT much” comments from those he writes about so misguidedly. We are moving beyond the party line, though.

    • Anonymous

      I’m a Milwaukeean born and bred. We love our boring Brewers!! ;-)

  • Marsha B/

    Christians in general want gay people to stop being gay. You won’t die alone if you cut out this nonsense and force yourself to be attracted to the opposite sex. These are the same folks that see couples who can’t get pregnant, and think the woman is being punished, because in the Bible, infertility was ALWAYS the woman’s fault. We have to see that the Bible contains cultural paradigms from a Middle Eastern society of several thousand years ago.
    Does the sun actually rise and set because it is described that way in scripture? No, of course not. The Earth spins on it’s axis and rotate around the sun.
    Fact is, some folks use a literal interpretation of small bits of the Bible to force their personal pet peeves as being God’s commands.
    Sadly, few pew sitters are willing to take a stand and say so.

    • Marsha B.

      Another point: How many gay people are welcomed into churches? I mean welcomed as pretty much everyone else who walks through the door are welcomed? Adulterers, thieves, corporate criminals, etc. get a hand shake and an invite to the nearest all you can eat buffet after the service, but not the gay couple.
      http://marshabrockman.blogspot.com/

      • Plefevre

        Easy question to answer. How many gays are welcomed at church? Just count how many out-of-the-closet gays you see at church. I’ve been wandering through sanctuaries of one stripe or another for 25 years. I have yet to see one gay who has come back Sunday after Sunday as a welcomed and loved part of the church family. I have met more than a few closeted gays who came out and felt like they had to LEAVE church because of it. We are doing something WRONG when people feel like they have to LEAVE church in order to feel loved.

        • Diana A.

          We have a few out of the closet gays at our church, but not many. We have a few more whom I would describe as being private–that is, most people know they’re gay but they don’t talk about it so we don’t either. As to how many others who are (almost) completely closeted–well, if I knew that, they wouldn’t be closeted, now would they?
          I’m looking forward to the day when a gay couple (perhaps complete with children) can stand in front of the church and light the candles on the Advent wreath–and no one will think anything of it, except how adorable their children are. Or the day when gays in church leadership will be able to casually bring their spouses to church events, openly acknowledging them, and no one will think anything of it. This may take a while.

      • Anonymous

        Try attending one with a gay priest.

  • Alan

    Longtime reader, first time commenter…. Haven’t read the book and I never review a book I haven’t read. But I did read this comment from Mr. Campbell quoted above:

    “I call church members and leaders to realize that they are on a level playing field with gays and lesbians.”

    That statement is, to paraphrase someone else, “is so egregious and ridiculous that it could only be asserted by a person who has long ago surrendered rationale (not to mention compassion) to dogma.”

    No, Mr. Campbell, we are not on a level playing field. Church leaders can be church leaders in their churches. In most of the churches in this country (mine is not, I am proud to say, one of them) LGBT people are forbidden to be church leaders. Church leaders can marry. In most churches and most states in this country it is religiously and legally forbidden for LGBT people to marry. Church leaders can avail themselves of the over 1000 special rights granted to straight people by the federal government on the basis of their particular lifestyle choice to get married.

    Church leaders are rarely the targets of baseball-bat-wielding, Bible-quoting members of their own congregations.

    It is one thing to publish an awful book. That happens all the time. I expect some editor somewhere thinks there’s a market out there for the same ol’ pablum masquerading as something different under awesomely awful cover art (was Thomas Kinkade not available?!) But it is quite another thing to be so dim to the range of human experience in this country that one cannot admit nor even recognize the position of prestige one enjoys while simultaneously ignoring the savage inequalities others experience.

    I, quite simply, do not believe anyone who would make the statement that church leaders and LGBT people are on a level playing field has ever left their house, opened a book, or watched TV. So, though I haven’t read the book, I find it hard to believe that I, who have done all those things, could possibly learn from anyone who is so obtuse.

    We are not on a level playing field. Some church leaders clearly have no idea what they’re talking about. I do. I’ve lived it.

    But if perhaps “church leaders” like Mr. Campbell would move from talking *about* LGBT people, and talking *at* LGBT, to talking *with* LGBT people, they may, one day, learn something worthy of publication.

    • Marcelo

      This is so well-written, reasoned, and perceptive that it has achieved awesomeness in my estimation. Blessings, mate.

    • Anonymous

      Whoa. Um. Comment again sometime, Alan. Ever. About anything. This is terrific.

    • Meloney

      Thank you for this wonderful comment. Your advice to stop talking at and start talking with is advice to be taken to heart and used with EVERY HUMAN that we come across in life !

  • http://www.facebook.com/metalphil Phillip Yanda

    Maybe I’m missing something, but how are LGBT not on an equal playing field? As in, when it comes to sin? I mean, I assume this is what the author is talking about right? I don’t think he’s saying, “Hey! Their sin has the same repercussions as every other! They’re on the same playing field as everyone else!”

    That seems to be what y’all are insinuating and if that is true, I’d agree he’s not being truthful or fair. But I don’t have any context for what he’s talking about and seeing as he’s a believer I don’t know why he’d try and argue for something that the Bible didn’t say.

    It lists homosexuality in like 3 of Paul’s lists on “these are really bad sins!” but they’re up there with everything else. Murder. Theft. Witchcraft. Yada yada. Ya know.

    Okay, so I just read a few more of your posts John, and I think it’s starting to make a bit more sense. I’m just trying to understand the issue.

    Why is it wrong to say homosexuality is a sin? I mean, is it offensive? Maybe. But it’s what God says in His Word about it. I’m not pulling stuff out of my butt. I’m reading the Bible literally and saying “Yeah that behavior is a sin”. Right. So, the point of issue, I think, and what all of you are getting at is… So what do we do next? How do we respond to that person?

    The stereotypical Christian today would be truthful but not loving to a gay person. Like most of y’all have said it’d be something like “Stop it! You’re an abomination to God!” That’s clearly not the correct response. But when we understand love as “the commitment of the heart to the true good of another person”, we can’t start dismissing sins because giving LGBT’s what they want (in that moment- love, as you keep bringing up John) would only further their true displeasure and lead them down a pit of despair. Love, defined by LGBT isn’t what the Bible defines as love anyway. I hope y’all know that. To allow them that love wouldn’t be truthful or loving. Lust–> Sin–> Death (James 1:13-15)

    Alright, so here’s my conclusion. Homosexuality is a sin because God says so in His Word. To say I’m a believer and I don’t believe that would be to say God doesn’t know how to write a consistent book that’s interpreted with normal thoughts and principles of language. But we can’t just leave it there. And we can’t leave it at “Hey, stop sinning.” We have to present other alternatives (read, real help). They need to put off the sin, but also put on something that works as a competency for them to do in place of the sin. Ie, when Paul tells the thief to stop stealing and instead do something with his hands (get a job). We need to give people that kind of practical theology because otherwise it’s just one way and the cycle of sin just begins all over again.

    Now, if the major problem here for y’all is that this is a biological function; I don’t have a problem saying homosexuality is biological, but I do have a problem saying that this now means that a person can’t help their sin. Why? Because God holds that person responsible for it. Because this denies the Holy Spirit’s ministry to restore a person and cause him to live righteously. Because then the issue is physical manipulation and not Christ. And the stuff in the Scriptures about putting off/putting on/confessing sin, etc is essentially useless to our daily lives. I think a better way to look at homosexuality is to see it as a snowball effect:

    So and so, at 9 has a tendency to an attraction to the opposite sex. By 13, they’ve acted on that so many times it’s habitual. At least, in their thought life. By 20, they’ve slept around and are still doing the very thing they hate (and can’t ever get enough of) but seemingly “can’t help” because this is essentially all they know. You see?

    We all have certain sinful tendencies. They start off small but become massive if we don’t put an end to them (which is what Christ did for believers in Gal 2:20!).

    And Alan, essentially what you’re saying is God should be fair and also deny His very nature as God and His Holiness and start accepting the very things he hates and that were caused by man’s disobedience in Eden (Gen 3) that result in death. Would you encourage God to have a harem in heaven so He can have this pleasure too? It’s not inconsistent to say that such and such is a sin, but it is inconsistent to say that so and so is evil and we should all hate him. But saying that he should have the same capabilities of others as it pertains to the Church would be to piss on the Word of the LORD. God is clear on these things. I don’t mean to come across so harsh, but I don’t understand how people can say they’re a Christian but then start doing cartwheels around the Bible insinuating God is a horrible author and doesn’t actually mean what he says. I mean, what alternative is there if God says “_____” is sin (and needs to be dealt with in Christ, confessing sin, putting off, putting on), but then we allow people who habitually make that sin a life style our pastors, teachers, and so on and so forth?

    • DR

      Dear Phillip,

      “Maybe I’m missing something, but how are LGBT not on an equal playing field?”

      I had to take a very deep breath upon reading this. Now that I have and I have a nice cup of tea right next to me (OK it’s a bag of popcorn), I’ll answer your question.

      Here’s what an “equal playing field” would look like according to current Evangelical christian principles.

      1. Straight people are sinning if they have sex before marriage.
      2. When straight people get married, they get to have sex and it’s not a sin.
      3. Gay people can’t ever get married. So that means *any* kind of intimacy they share is never going to be ok according to God.
      4. Taking #3 to it’s logical conclusion, gay people can only conclude that Their Very Being is intrinsically evil.

      5, Because of #4, if they continue to be this way – meaning, gay – they are not able to express it without sinning. Which doesn’t enable them to have any kind of relationship to God.

      You really need to think about this. Sex is much, much more than simple behaviors. You are making this something utterly different than what it really is. It’s an incredibly serious problem, Christians are no longer able to reconcile “love the sinner not the sin” because many of us who are Christians are beginning to understand that regardless of what you tell us the BIble says? Being gay is not sinful. And you contributing to the message that it is, is actually killing gay kids, they are committing suicide and being kicked out of christian homes as a result of this message you have bought into. That millions of us have bought into.

      So that’s the answer.

    • http://gooseberrybush.wordpress.com Gooseberrybush

      How is it that you “know” that God hates homosexuality? I think you’re either stupid or insane.

    • Anonymous

      Phillip,

      God says he hates homosexuality in the Bible…does he? Or does your interpretation imply that he does?

      If it is that black and white, as it seems to be to you, tell me this…what does God say about intersexed people – hermaphrodites – those born with genitalia of both sexes, but who are usually surgically modified based on the attending doctor’s decision as to what sex this child will *be*?

      It seems that the majority of conservative CHRISTians concentrate on two issues: abortion and homosexuality. How many times did Christ specifically address homosexuality? Zero. Why would a follower of Christ place higher values on scriptures that are NOT of Christ?

      If Christ was so against it, why did he not mention it? Who are you to elevate other words above His?

      Furthermore, to this statement…

      but then we allow people who habitually make that sin a life style

      It is not up to you to *allow* or disallow someone’s free will and civil right. You are in no way superior to those whom you condemn.

      Just a thought for your consideration…I don’t know your heart, however, I don’t think your intent is evil. That said, I believe the Pharisees felt justified in their actions, too. This is a line we all cross sometimes because we are human. It’s worth taking the time to look for our proximity to that line…is it in front of us or in our rear view mirror?

      • Anonymous

        Wow, Susan. Extremely good.

      • Braswellfamily

        Susan,

        Respectfully I have to remind you that Christ didn’t have to mention homosexuality – it was already confirmed as against God’s law. One of the reasons Jesus came was to show us how to love and what love really is…we already had God’s law to show us God’s holiness and our sinfulness (which homosexuality is mentioned as against God’s law in the Old Testament and Paul had to remind the church in Corinth. The Greek word used in 1 Cor. 6:9 is Arsenokoites – which refers to a sex act between males). Jesus reminded those who were around Him that, “I have come, not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it…”, meaning that He wasn’t dismissing God’s standards but showing us how to live in the Truth of them with Love towards others with the intent of restoration in right relationship with God.

        Please understand that I have no hate, malice or disgust towards homosexuals despite my being a conservative Christian. I do not condemn anyone as you and so many seem to believe – God has already condemned our sin but Christ came to redeem us so that we were not condemned but could be set free from our sin. I believe our society has so corrupted our thinking and our willingness to see God’s truth, that we are sold out to lower standards because we might offend or hurt someone’s feelings.

        As far as homosexuals living without love, how absurd! I absolutely am SICK of hearing John say that! No conservative Christian has ever asked that of anyone. That’s like saying that if God placed a call on someone’s life to remain single, that they couldn’t ever be loved. No, they may never be able to feel sexual intimacy but that isn’t all there is! There are intimacies far greater than any physical act.

        In Isaiah 61:1 it says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
        because the LORD has anointed me
        to proclaim good news to the poor.
        He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
        to proclaim freedom for the captives
        and release from darkness for the prisoners

        The very nature with which we are born is broken. We come into this world broken. We are all BROKEN! No one is saying that homosexuals are the only ones who are broken though many homosexuals hear that. What we are doing, as conservative Christians, is begging a lost and dying world to recognize that they are broken and that Christ is the ONLY ONE who can mend them, restore them, heal them and save them!

        And, John, I’m not missing anything…

        • Anonymous

          What? Did I say you were? Sheesh: at least WAIT till I’ve gone after you.

          • Braswellfamily

            Lol. John, I was actually just stating that because you had said that to Phillip. Sorry! I should’ve waited. :)

        • http://www.facebook.com/cat.rennolds Cat Rennolds

          I’ll say it: You’re missing something. And if you were listening to God instead of clinging in fear to the letter of the law, you’d know what it is. I pray by grace one day you hear it.

          You were given these commandments for the hardness of your hearts.

          • Braswellfamily

            And I pray that God will remove the scales from your eyes and open your eyes and heart to the truth of His Word. I pray by grace one day you will see…

          • DR

            As far as homosexuals living without love, how absurd! I absolutely am SICK of hearing John say that! No conservative Christian has ever asked that of anyone. That’s like saying that if God placed a call on someone’s life to remain single, that they couldn’t ever be loved.>>>

            As a 43-year old single Christian woman, I’m well-qualified to tell you that you’re absolutely wrong. I actually *have* the capacity and legal right to be intimate and in love with a partner which is the desire of my heart. Gay men and women do not. That you can’t understand this is no one’s fault but your own decision not to really listen. But thankfully you’re point of view is becoming the minority, we’re evolving as a Church and a society (if the repeal of the DODT legislation is any indication of that) and you’ll soon see how silly all of this is, and how much you need to learn.

          • Anonymous

            You are always on target, DR. But I wonder, are we just wasting time?

            I asked below of the Braswell Family how successful the Conservative Christian plan has been…how many homosexuals have they drawn closer to Christ through their messages? We know the answer. They know the answer yet they continue to beat the same drum as if it has any bearing on reality.

            I suppose the best we can hope for is that others will read this and learn that Christ’s love supercedes a man-made representation of His love.

            Peace to you.

          • Diana A.

            “I suppose the best we can hope for is that others will read this and learn that Christ’s love supercedes a man-made representation of His love.”

            It makes me wonder how much of Christ’s love some of these people have experienced if they feel so compelled to spread hate to others–especially when they then turn around and say “Oh no! We’re not hating. We’re just spreading God’s word.”

        • guildhall

          And no disrespect to you, as you are free to your opinion and your interpretation. IMO, You convey your belief system with such certainty, it’s like you are stating “fact.” But there are many interpretations. Look at how many denominations and branches of denominations exist. Man has created such an array of belief systems, usually based upon scriptural interpretation that align with his/her existing theologic perspective. In essence he/she is placing man-made value judgements on select scriptures as a means to support their world view, at least that is my opinion.

          There is nothing wrong with belief statements as long as they are not forced on those who differ.

          Peace.

          • Anonymous

            P.S. Just a thought…maybe you’ll revisit all of the OT laws and see how applicable they are. And while you say that Jesus didn’t mention homosexuality b/c it is implicit based on OT laws, then whey does he mention other OT laws at all?

          • Braswellfamily

            Thanks for your questions, Susan. Just because you think they are not applicable laws for today’s world doesn’t mean that they don’t still serve a very real purpose – showing God’s high and holy standard and that we can’t meet it on our own without Jesus because of our innate sinfulness. I think He mentioned other OT laws probably because they were being so misinterpreted and so abused by the Pharisees…they had hardened hearts and were twisting the Laws to benefit from them.

        • guildhall

          And no disrespect to you, as you are free to your opinion and your interpretation. IMO, You convey your belief system with such certainty, it’s like you are stating “fact.” But there are many interpretations. Look at how many denominations and branches of denominations exist. Man has created such an array of belief systems, usually based upon scriptural interpretation that align with his/her existing theologic perspective. In essence he/she is placing man-made value judgements on select scriptures as a means to support their world view, at least that is my opinion.

          There is nothing wrong with belief statements as long as they are not forced on those who differ.

          Peace.

        • Anonymous

          Braswell family:

          We come into this world broken. We are all BROKEN! No one is saying that homosexuals are the only ones who are broken though many homosexuals hear that

          Why do you think they hear that? Because the reality is that you seem to be, like many conservative Christians, implying that your “brokenness” is more acceptable and thereby gives you more equality than homosexuals. Because homosexuality is not a choice, I don’t even understand how you can call it brokenness. When did you decide to be a heterosexual instead of a homosexual?

          What we are doing, as conservative Christians, is begging a lost and dying world to recognize that they are broken and that Christ is the ONLY ONE who can mend them, restore them, heal them and save them!

          With all due respect, how well has that conservative Christian plan worked out? How many homosexuals have been drawn to a closer relationship with Jesus Christ via THAT message?

          Seriously, I beg of you, please learn more about what the medical community says about homosexuality and learn about scripture and greek interpretations other than what you’ve been spoon-fed before you try to spread your brand of love.

          If you choose to do neither of the above, then I beg of you, stop interfering with their legal rights and please, please stop the part you play in pushing homosexuals away from Christ.

    • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

      Being gay is not a “sinful life style” Phillip. Being gay is the state that people who are gay are born in. Gay people aren’t broken because they’re gay, they’re broken like everyone else because we live in a human condition in a terribly difficult world. The sin that YOU think gay people need to be saved from is not sin at all, it is the way they were made BY GOD.

      And just in case you weren’t paying attention, GOD DIDN’T AUTHOR THE BIBLE. People did. And told everyone that GOD TOLD THEM TO PUT IT TOGETHER THAT WAY. Its not even slightly suspicious to you that the people who originally decided what would and wouldn’t go in the bible was a council of men trying to determine how to best get the people they were the rulers of to start doing what they wanted?

      I guess that’s the real thing that bothers me about “Christians” like Phillip. No ability to think or discern save what their church leaders tell them, even if its simply hateful and wrong.

      • Braswellfamily

        God actually did author the Bible…through people. And I am completely able to think and discern apart from any of the church leaders or authors or speakers or anyone else…God gave me a brain and the Holy Spirit to guide me…I’m really not trying to be hateful at all. Just because I happened to believe God’s Word and then state what I believe and why I believe it, doesn’t make me hateful…you may disagree with what I believe, but please don’t call me hateful just because you disagree. We can agree to disagree and we should be okay with that and go on without any malice between us. I’m willing. How about you?

        • Anonymous

          It’s interesting that you confuse what you believe with God’s Word. May the Spirit give you the insight and critical judgment to see the difference. On the other hand, it’s really nice to read someone who can express these opinions in whole clear sentences. I agree that the term “hateful” usually degenerates into name calling and generates more heat than light.

  • Anonymous

    Phillip: read the first four words of your comment here, over and over and over again. Cuz yikes, man, you really are.

  • Alan

    Phillip wrote, “And Alan, essentially what you’re saying….”

    Phillip, my father taught me that manners make the man [sic]. While I don’t follow his advice nearly often enough, I do believe that putting words into other people’s mouths doesn’t show one to be either polite, nor a man. A real man (or woman) doesn’t need to rely on such cheaply constructed straw-men in order to try to make a point. Actually, straw man is an overestimate of such rhetorical flourishes. A question like “Would you encourage God to have a harem….” is, at best, chaff.

    You cannot in the same paragraph state something as ludicrous as, “Would you encourage God to have a harem …?”or so vivid as suggesting that I “piss on the Word of the LORD” and then state “I don’t mean to come across so harsh.” Phony attempts at politesse do not cover blatant disingenuousness. At least be man enough to admit that you do indeed mean to come across exactly as harsh as you did or you wouldn’t make such blatantly, absolutely, completely, and pathetically silly efforts to intentionally misinterpret what I said in my first comment.

    You believe being gay is a sin. I do not. You believe you have Biblical support to justify your position. I am justified by Christ, by grace, through faith. I do not need, nor do I desire your agreement. I do not need, nor do I desire your acceptance (of either me or my beliefs.) I do not need nor do I desire your tolerance. I do not need, nor do I desire to argue with you.

    I used to argue with the likes of you. I did so many of the nearly 20 years since I first came out. As I am not the brightest bulb in the box, it took a good long time, but I eventually found out that arguing doesn’t work. In my experience, no one has ever changed their mind about anything as the result of an argument. Ever. People change their minds through relationships. Two random, complete strangers such as the two of us do not have the relationship (nor obviously do you have enough respect for me) to actually interact in a way that might change my mind or yours.

    That’s fine, though, because I’m not interested in arguing with you. I simply desire to be left alone. I believe many of these arguments would go away if the busybodies, fusspots, tattletales and scolds of the world would simply mind their own business. You’re meddlesome. And you haven’t got the right.

    CS Lewis wrote, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    You want to argue, and I suspect argue without end. I will not argue with you. As my father also says, “This fish don’t rise to cheap bait.”

    • Anonymous

      Exactly. You see the extent of my response to Mr. Yanda. You could spend your whole life riding that not-very-merry-go-’round.

    • LuvJustice

      Now I wish I was a gay man, because I think I’m in love with Alan.

      • Anonymous

        Hands off, bitch! He’s MINE!!!

        Oh, wait. I’m straight. And married since 1981.

        Wow. The written word really IS powerful!

      • Anonymous

        Hands off, bitch! He’s MINE!!!

        Oh, wait. I’m straight. And married since 1981.

        Wow. The written word really IS powerful!

      • Anonymous

        Hands off, bitch! He’s MINE!!!

        Oh, wait. I’m straight. And married since 1981.

        Wow. The written word really IS powerful!

      • Alan

        “Now I wish I was a gay man…”

        Of course you do. Who wouldn’t? I mean, the discounts alone are worth ….

        Damn. Um…nothing. Shouldn’t have said that. Should NOT have said that.

        *ahem* Carry on.

      • Scott

        Well, I AM gay, Alan, and after reading your comments, I want to have your babies! :-)

        • Alan

          Well, no babies yet. We keep trying at our house but it doesn’t seem to take. I guess that’s why they call us “practicing” homosexuals.

          There’s a line from “Raising Arizona” I’d quote here if it weren’t a little over the top.

      • Amelia Kilometere

        I was just about to say the same thing til I read your comment :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-W-Lukens-Goodson/100000194585042 Mary W. Lukens Goodson

      Oh. My. Goodness. Alan, may I please quote you? This statement is so darned profound it stopped me in my tracks: “…arguing doesn’t work. In my experience, no one has ever changed their mind about anything as the result of an argument. Ever. People change their minds through relationships.”

      That is so simple, and so amazing. I want it on my wall, on a card by my bed, as a bookmark in my scriptural readings (sometimes the Bible, sometimes other religions).

      • Alan

        :) Thanks.

        I’m not sure it’s that profound. Just an observation. I reckon that if people changed their minds as a result of evidence and argument, there would be no overweight physicians who smoke.

  • Laurelhedge

    I wonder of those who hate and fear homosexuals are focusing on the SEX, while homosexuals (and everybody else) are focusing on relationships; the need for them, the beauty of them, the difficulty of loving and being loved in a hard lonely world.

    Love takes so many different forms. As a Christian, I am challenged to reach out in love to people like W.P. “Bill” Campbell, in spite of their fear and hatred. I challenge Bill right back: ““… to make sure that you aren’t helping to foster the polarization that has a lock hold on our country.”

    Bill, I don’t know how to reach you. I don’t know how to reach others locked into fear and hatred and hardness of heart. I believe Jesus does. I’ll keep asking Him for guidance, and the strength to act on it.

    John, Christ’s Grace working in you is a thing of beauty and wonder. I am grateful for the Light.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-W-Lukens-Goodson/100000194585042 Mary W. Lukens Goodson

      Indeed, Laurelhedge! At one time in my life I was pretty firmly anti-LBGT (and to be honest, I still have some issues with the B and T), solely based on my personal revulsion at the idea of two people of the same sex interacting sexually.

      Then a few years ago, I had occasion to “visualize” a heterosexual couple having marital relations, and realized that I experienced the same sort of feelings of revulsion at the thought of ANY one having sex (can you tell I’m not a porn fan? LOL), and came to understand that my reason for rejecting L/G’s was ridiculous.

      I certainly enjoy my own marital relations, I just can’t deal with thinking about other people’s, unless it was someone I found attractive. DUH. Since I don’t find other women attractive, the idea of it was not pleasant for me.

      At the same time, I don’t like boiled okra either… nor can I bear to watch anyone else eat it! LOLOL.

      The clincher for me was when my niece met and fell in love with her darling partner. For several years I thought they were just roommates (she’d had quite a few), but as time went on, I noticed that Jen was becoming a better person, largely due to Andi’s influence. I also came to dearly love Andi, and when I realized she wasn’t JUST a roommate, but had become a member of the family, I was so overjoyed! Now, isn’t THAT the sort of love Jesus would find worthy of approval?

  • Richard Lee Jones

    I have a question for you, John. This question may have been asked and answered before, and if so, just point me to it. You mention in this article and in the gluing wings on pigs article that it is incorrect to say that the temptation to homosexuality is just like the temptation to any other sin. Am I understanding you correctly then that you think homosexuality or homosexual sexual activity is a sin?

    • Anonymous

      Hi, Richard. About why I often address that question in this particular way/context, I just this morning posted this in a comment thread on my FB fan page thing:

      “If you say homosexuality is not a sin at all, then you hand the Christian an out: he can just point to his Bible, and say, “Yes, it is, and here’s proof.” Then with that person you’ve got nowhere left… to go. So what I try to do, instead, is to get Christians who cleave to the idea that homosexuality is a sin to be honest about what they’re REALLY saying there: to understand and admit that what they’re prescribing when they proscribe homosexuality is that a gay person should live their whole life devoid of the physical intimacy straight people understand as foundational to a loving relationship with a spouse. If you can get the Christian to at least acknowledge that IS the life to which he (and, presumably, the Bible) is condemning the homosexual, THEN you’ve opened the door to a conversation about how something so manifestly inhumane could be Biblical.”

      Make sense?

    • Anonymous

      Hi, Richard. About why I often address that question in this particular way/context, I just this morning posted this in a comment thread on my FB fan page thing:

      “If you say homosexuality is not a sin at all, then you hand the Christian an out: he can just point to his Bible, and say, “Yes, it is, and here’s proof.” Then with that person you’ve got nowhere left… to go. So what I try to do, instead, is to get Christians who cleave to the idea that homosexuality is a sin to be honest about what they’re REALLY saying there: to understand and admit that what they’re prescribing when they proscribe homosexuality is that a gay person should live their whole life devoid of the physical intimacy straight people understand as foundational to a loving relationship with a spouse. If you can get the Christian to at least acknowledge that IS the life to which he (and, presumably, the Bible) is condemning the homosexual, THEN you’ve opened the door to a conversation about how something so manifestly inhumane could be Biblical.”

      Make sense?

  • http://www.facebook.com/metalphil Phillip Yanda

    I apologize for my harsh words. I don’t think saying what I did gets to the point anyway- it just creates rabbit trails and causes the other person to be put on the defensive rather than to really answer what I’m saying anyway. I was being harsh, but my motivation is not to ostracize anyone. It’s just to ask where the Word of God has place in these sorts of discussions. (Though I need to watch my word choice.) My desire is for His glorification, His Word to be read rightly and treated rightly (2 Tim. 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:21).

    Anyway, my sincerest apologies Alan. I don’t mean to be a jerk, but that’s what it comes across as when I start carrying what I read to it’s logical conclusions and start saying stuff like “pissing on the Word of the LORD”. My bad dude. I know better. Forgive me.

    Also, I agree that relationships not arguments really cause people to change.

    Forgive me too John. My intention was to understand where you were coming from, but what came out wasn’t fully what I intended.

    Sorry other readers!

    • Alan

      Apology accepted, Phillip.

    • Alan

      Apology accepted, Phillip.

      • http://www.facebook.com/metalphil Phillip Yanda

        Thank you sir!

      • Anonymous

        Ditto, PY. Gracious of you.

    • Alan

      Apology accepted, Phillip.

    • Anonymous

      I need no apology. In reply to your actual point I would distinguish between reading scriptures rightly and reading them your way, which I take to be the real significance of your statement. When I read the books of the old testament, I find thousands of prohibitions against all sorts of things and yet never a word against female homosexual acts. Do you think this may have been an oversight? My point is that calling the sacred scriptures the Word of God does not turn them into a special message from God just for you whose meaning need not be examined critically. There are some things that most who study them critically can agree on. At the time the texts of the Bible were written, there was no such concept or thing as “The Bible”. Therefore you will not find any passages referring to it. There appears no reason to think that the concept of homosexuality as a state of being or in any other way known. Hence no commentary on it. From the texts of scripture, there is no way to make any judgment pro or con as to whether Jesus was homosexual. This is true of many other writers and characters in scripture, both male and female. I raise these points not because they are of special importance in themselves, but because I think you may not have seriously considered them. So if I am asked if I read the Word “rightly” I need to wonder about how the person asking reads it.

  • Marie

    “I say, polarize away. Let all of us who understand who Christ really was do everything in our power to create so much space between ourselves and those who, in Christ’s name, create real polarization, that, God willing, eventually we won’t be able to see or hear them at all.”

    Dude you are so smarticle!! BRAVO!
    And thank you. I will be sharing this. Awesome as always!!

    • Anonymous

      You’re right. I’m always awesome.

      Ark, ark. Thank you, Marie, for these very kind words.

  • Suz

    May be a little naive here, and oversimplified, but: I truly don’t believe that homosexuality is a sin. We discount the words of the prophets all the time, as did Jesus when he told us that following the old laws does not make us worthy. In my opinion, anything that causes harm is a sin. Is that not the basis for how we define “right and wrong?” Homosexuality causes no harm whatsoever. Condemning it does. Jesus did not condemn it, and he was the most moral man ever to walk on this earth. How can anyone call himself a Christian if he puts the teachings of the Old Testament prophets above the teachings of Christ? There are plenty of sins in this world that can be expressed sexually, but sexuality itself is not sinful. It’s a gift, and a big part of who we are as individuals. I can’t think of a single consensual, loving sexual act that is a sin. Call me narrow-minded, but I cannot convince myself otherwise.

    • Anonymous

      Very nicely said, Suz.

  • Richard Lee Jones

    Yes, thanks. Respectfully, I would say that showing fundamentalists/literalists the logical fallacy or logical result of their positions probably won’t work (with them) either. As long as fundamentalists and progressives disagree on the nature of the Bible there will never be agreement on issues rising out of Biblical interpretation. Thankfully, I would say that the tide is turning away from fundamentalism/literalism, although most people will have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from the simplistic “because the Bible tells me so” to a more reasoned approach. Lets consult Wesley’s quadrilateral.

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

      What I find really sad that most “progressivess” don’t want you even if you’re a “progressive Chrstian” because they find that “Christian” part problematic. I get the feeling from most “progressives” that you have to be an atheist to be a True Progressive and if you believe in a higher power at all, you suck and should go back to being a Fundamental. Maybe some people just would rather make enemies than friends. *Shrug.*

      • Alan

        I wouldn’t want to paint with quite that broad of a brush, but I do have to say that, in my own experience, it has been much easier to come out as gay among Christians than it is to come out as a Christian in the LGBT community.

        Now, of course, there are all sorts of good reasons why LGBT people would, based on personal experiences, be suspicious of and even hostile toward Christians. It is also true that I live in a happy snow-covered liberal wonderland where being gay is no big deal to anyone — 20 square miles surrounded by reality — so my experiences aren’t going to reflect most others’ experiences.

        And, it is also true that progressive Christians have generally done a spectacularly abysmal job of loudly and clearly pointing out the differences between themselves and the talking head, blow-dried fundies on CNN. As columnist Dan Savage rightly says out when someone criticizes him for painting all Christians as rabid fundies, “Don’t tell me! Tell everyone else.” But we don’t, at least not effectively in the mass media and general culture.

        So, even though there may be some reasons for it, I agree that the situation you describe is disappointing to say the least and we progressive Christians share some of the blame for it too.

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

          Whenever anyone says that I need to go and “talk to my own people” or “do more,” I don’t know what to do, honestly. I can’t go and demand my church to change because, frankly, I don’t have a church. I can’t yelp at the tv preachers to stop becuase… what am I? I’m not rich, nor famous, I’m just a bipolar freak who works at a barn and comes home smelling like manure every day.

          People online bemoan “Where *are* the progressive/non-fundie/loving/intllegent/whatever Christians?” All I can say is “Um, right here, on the Internet?”

          It’s kind of like all those people who whine about how moderate Muslims aren’t doing enough to stop terrorism when… what are they to do? When they decry terrorism, they maybe get a few blurbs in the news, but mostly, the media isn’t listening because they’d rather pay attention to conflict and chaos. Accentuate the negative and all that.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

    Well, maybe we should rename the title to “Bill and Tom’s Cabin.” Although I still like Steve and Tom because of that Adam and Steve joke. Anyway, I do think you might be the Harriet Beecher Stowe of this century. And I don’t mean that in simply a cross-dressing context.

  • http://gooseberrybush.wordpress.com Gooseberrybush

    AMEN, John! Those people who insist on making homosexuality between two loving and consenting adults into a “sin” are those people who are going to execute the church. They insist on making homosexuality not only a “sin” but a greater “sin” than any other. Their prejudices and bigotry really bely their comments of “Love the sinner, not the sin.” This is especially true since I have never attended a church that welcomes the gay, in relationship or not, as well as they welcome any other kind of “sinner,” especially divorced people and adulterers and criminals, etc. Interesting.

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

      Even when I was more conservative (back before I was *aware* that gay Christians *existed* and various “alernate” ways to interpret certain scripture verses), I wondered why the churches (particularly the televangelists) seemed to act like gay sex or being gay was worse than murder. Actually, I’ve wondered why “sexual sin” in general was treated worse than the violent-sins, which I think would have greater address.

      I feel totally forgiven for that psychotic episode I had with a samurai sword (I am completely serious here, no one was hurt, but I’ve got a story). I don’t see why, say, a teen girl who got pregnant by her boyfriend is suddenly “worse” than I am. I haven’t been in church for a while, but I have a feeling if I shared myself, a lot of the folks would be more worried about my “living in sin” with my fiance’ (even though we aren’t really “living in sin” due to my aesexualityand would be married if we could afford it, but people I’ve known still seem to worry about “temptation” I don’t even have) than about helping or “de-sinning” me on my bipolar anger-managment issues. It’s weird, is all. Priorities.

  • Greg

    John,

    Thanks for your post. The parts that you have written here, and in previous posts, about gay people having to live in isolation strikes a chord in me.

    That’s exactly it.

    I am gay. I went to a Christian college, I work for a Christian organization, and I’m involved in my (decidedly) Christian church. I haven’t told anyone. Anyone. I can share any of my other sins, any “struggles,” except for this.

    Because if I reveal this “struggle,” and embrace it, it means that I’ll lose my job. I’ll lose my friends. I’ll lose my community. I’ll lose my family.

    And if I decide it’s a “struggle,” and want to keep all of the above, realizing that this is my “burden” and “struggle,”, it means that I’ll have to lose any opportunity to have someone that I love and cherish–that I snuggle with.

    In our world today, being gay is relatively easy. Being Christian is relatively easy. Being both? It’s one of the hardest things that someone has to go through.

    To anyone who shouts “Love the sinner, hate the sin” to a Christian who is gay needs to stop. They need to reconsider how they are showing love. And they need to realize that they are driving people like me who love the Lord into isolation and depression.

    I loved your line: “No spouse for you.” I even laughed, but then had a moment of quiet reflection at the implications of a life lived alone.

    • Anonymous

      Greg,

      It’s heart-wrenching to read your post, but thank you for sharing. People need to hear the damage they unknowingly cause.

      It took courage for you to share this. I hope one day you will find the courage to be true to yourself and embrace who you are, just as God made you.

      Peace.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, Greg. God bless you, brother.

    • http://www.facebook.com/metalphil Phillip Yanda

      Bro, keep seeking His Face! He can break these chains of sin! I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it. And it isn’t easy. It’s unnatural really. But we have to rely on Him to take these sinful desires from us because they’re not going away any other way.

      • Anonymous

        Phillip, are you saying that you yourself struggle with homosexual tendencies?

        • http://www.facebook.com/metalphil Phillip Yanda

          No. But I do struggle with other things like lust, procrastination, anger, etc etc… And each of them I can deal with in Christ because of what He’s done, who He is, and what that means for me (Gal. 2:20).

          • Anonymous

            Gotcha. Thanks.

          • http://www.facebook.com/metalphil Phillip Yanda

            Not a problem sir!

    • Suz

      The depth of your conflict is overwhelming. Scary as it is, would it be any harder to try to find a new job, new friends, a new community (and if your family can’t love who you are, they don’t think of you as family) than it is to live a divided life? It’s very easy for a happily married straight mom with a great family, to suggest this, and I don’t do so lightly. You can’t change who you are. I hope you find a place where you no longer have to deny your essential self.

      • Greg

        “The depth of your conflict is overwhelming.”

        Yes. Yes, it is. It is hard to live a divided life, and that’s something that I’m dealing with as I grow up–I’m 23, and still trying to figure the world, and my faith, out. I think that I ultimately will, but this is going to be a long process, which will no doubt bring pain (and reward too).

        • Anonymous

          You’re TWENTY-THREE?! Dang, dude. You’re already about forty years ahead of the game, smarts-wise. Yowzer. You’ve got a bright future ahead of you, mate.

        • Suz

          WOW! I’m with John, you are much older than your years! You have great leadership potential; if you can find a way to lead within the church, you will do a lot of good in your life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/metalphil Phillip Yanda

    Alright guys, well, I’m back. I just got on here and realized a few of you responded to me so I’m going to do that now. Without the sarcasm and assumptions this time. =) For those of you who didn’t see, I apologized for the harsh things I said and I still feel bad about them. I take the Word seriously, but that doesn’t mean I can start talking to people I don’t know like that. Anyway…

    So, let me clarify a few things:

    1.) This homosexuality business isn’t my opinion. I wouldn’t say what I do if the Bible didn’t say this was a sin and needs to be dealt with (and is possible to be dealt with in Christ alone (Romans 6:1-14; Gal. 2:20)!).

    First off, let me establish why we even turn here. The Word says some pretty serious things about itself, and I believe if we take any of it seriously at all, we should take it all the same way. The Truth. His Truth. Truth from the Creator. Truth from our redeemer! He presented it to mankind, I didn’t get this out of the wisest man. It comes from Him…:

    2 Peter 1:20, 21, “But know that first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation (origin), for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (emphasis, mine; also, this is the NASB and I’ll use it throughout).”

    2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequately equipped for every good work.”

    I feel like I need to write a lot more than I am to explain this and what I’ll post later, but I’ll do what I can. This will be an extensive response as it is. The Bible is the Word of the LORD but that doesn’t mean it can be delivered in microwave time to him who wants to hear it. I attend a Bible College and have spent the past 4 years of my life in this. I don’t think I’m really cool or something, I’m just saying it takes time to understand it. And I can’t really do that here. It’s a blog. It’s impersonal. I don’t know you people. lol. But I’ll do what I can. =)
    Here are a few places God calls homosexuality a sin:

    Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”

    Leviticus 20:13, “If there is a man who lies with a man as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.”

    Now, these past couple verses are in the old Mosaic Law/Covenant… Which believers in Christ are no longer under (Rom. 6:14); HOWEVER, because these commands are repeated in the NT, it’s clear that all of the moral commands (they’re repeated elsewhere) of the Law cross over to the NT. Essentially, Love God and others. The ten commandments. Here is where we see the crossover in the NT:

    Romans 1:18-32,
    “18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
    19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
    20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
    21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
    22Professing to be wise, they became fools,
    23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
    24Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
    25For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
    26For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,
    27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
    28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,
    29being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,
    30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
    31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;
    32and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.”

    There’s way too much to explain there than I have space for. But recognize that the wrath is “being revealed”. As in, it’s still happening. As people reject the Lord and He gives them what they desire over Him. 26-27 is clear on homosexuality. And it includes both male and female which the Law didn’t, but probably implied. But, it doesn’t stop there. It’s any sin we commit that transgresses his nature, character, and very being.

    1 Cor 6:9-11, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, not adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

    “Such as some of you were…” Clearly Paul starts with justification (faith/regeneration/salvation), but expects believers to move on past that and not have habitual sins such as these. I don’t believe we can ever lose our salvation (Rom 8, etc), but I would neither encourage believers in Christ to continue in any of these things listed above.

    Jude 1:7, “…just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.”

    Clearly, the Bible doesn’t speak highly of homosexuality. In fact, some of it’s denouncements are even scary! No kingdom? Eternal fire? Yeah. That’s what it says. It’s talking about the same thing we see today. Men having sexual/romantic relationships with men. Women having the same with women. It’s a defilement of God’s original design, and outside of His good for man. So, I’m not foisting this upon any of you. If you disagree, take issue with Paul and these other authors and with God who had them write it, but I’m just copying and pasting and explaining that homosexuality is a sin. Not because I really want it to be or because I read the Bible a certain way. I read it literally. I means what it says.

    2.) Okay, now saying “homosexuality” is a sin does NOT mean that person is to be hated and treated like your garbage. Homosexuality being a sin DOES mean it’s an affront to God. Just like witchcraft, murder, adultery, theft, and all of those other things are.

    3.) So clearly, as I tried to emphasize in my first post, we need to really think about how we deal with this behavior. Yes, clearly I’m on the side of “confess and forsake” traditional Bible guy. Whatever. But saying that doesn’t mean I believe this sin is like the others in it’s repercussions and what not. It just means I believe (aka that the Scriptures teach) that it’s dealt with in Christ by faith by the power of the Spirit. No man can stop being homosexual in his own power. It’s no different than any other sin. Once you’re far enough into it, there’s no turning back. BUT! There is turning back with Christ. This doesn’t determine salvation/justification/going to Heaven (Eph 2:8-9). It has to do with growing in Christ (progressive sanctification). So, that also needs to be at the forefront of these discussions. The only people going to Hell are those who didn’t believe Christ (God the Son) died for their sins and rose again (1 Cor 1, aka the Gospel).

    4.) I’m sorry that modern Christianity has become a list of do’s and don’ts. I don’t support that and I wish people knew us for Christ and not for the stupid things we do or for taking a stand against abortion and homosexuality. Ya know. But I can’t do much about that as one person or now. But I want to show the love of Christ to others in all that I do. I wish the Bible was taught as it reads, but most people twist it and squeeze it to start abortion clinic bombings and to make “God hates you!” signs. That’s not what I’m saying here. Nor is that what I mean to say.

    5.) Oh, and one last thing before I close, I don’t hate gay people. God doesn’t either. You can’t make those arguments from the Scriptures. It doesn’t work. I have nothing against the LGBT community and see my sin just as disgusting as theirs- or anyone else’s- murderers, adulterers, thieves, witches. We’re all wicked.

    6.) Lets cut this short and I’ll just quote Paul and close with this. This was me. It was you. It’s you now if you’re not a believer. God’s transformation is marvelous. From death to life. From sinful and broken, to righteous and holy (all because of and in Christ, Col 3:3)!
    Ephesians 2:1-10 from the Message…:

    “1-6It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

    7-10Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.”

    Understanding this properly doesn’t undermine the grace of God or the great power of sin and death rapped up in homosexuality, but it rightly sees God as He is. Holy. Set apart. We couldn’t come to him as we were after the Fall (post Gen 3). But He sent His son who took our sins and died for us… For them. So we can have a relationship with Him now by faith that was previously impossible. And in that relationship, sins are taken care of as we yield to Him. Life is brought to all areas of our life if we just allow Him! Again, Galatians 2:20 and Romans 6:1-14 and many other verses teach this. We are in Christ. We have died with Him. We were raised with Him. Because of that, He’s not only forgiven us of all sins past/present/future, but enables us to live a Holy and righteous life now (2 Peter 1:3)! It’ll still have sin because we’re in bodies of flesh, sin, and death. But sin will naturally decrease the more we gaze upon Christ, understand who He is, who we are in Him, and what He can do for us.

    • Suz

      What did Jesus say about homosexuality? I see a lot of words spoken by fallible humans who believed they were inspired by God; Jesus IS God.

      • Anonymous

        As I posted to Susan, Jesus did seem mute on homosexuality. But then he never overtly addressed other things that we would all agree are sinful. He never mentioned incest, pedophilia, or bestiality. Jesus taught against what sins were pertinent to those locales he ministered in. Maybe Jesus had no need to teach against homosexuality because He never encountered it during His 33 years on earth. It is possible with the Old Testament mandate to stone homosexuals, anyone with same sex attractions either found it too risky to ever act on them.

        If John’s criteria,”not being sin unless it causes harm” is applied to having sex with sheep, or a 10 year-old, or a son or daughter, we all would agree that it causes harm, right? But what qualifies as harm in the case of sex with an animal? Do we take a deposition from the Collie or the fluffy little lamb that endured some puzzling groping and penetration? Or is sex with animals harmful because of bacterial transmission like salmonella, scabies, or parasites like fleas, ticks and worms? Don’t misunderstand. I personally think a person who resorts to animals as sex objects debase themselves far more than the animal of their choosing. As for sex with kids, we are probably all on the same page in regards to a child’s welfare regardless of whether they invite consensual sex with adults or not. I think it’s profoundly wrong. But is it always unequivocally harmful? I’ve heard the testimony of several adults who were sexually molested by neighbors and family. For the most part, they didn’t think it was any more dirty or wrong than when they did it behind the laundromat dumpster with a girlfriend or boyfriend their own age. In fact, some even think it helped make them more experienced. Sad…sick, I agree, but always harmful? So then, by John’s criterion, is it only sin when it causes harm one direction or the other. Personally, I think we are too twisted up in our own psychological histories to be the final word on what sin is or isn’t. Yet we do just that. The church tells the gay dude in the pew to put salt Peter on his eggs and only yank off to pictures of naked women. Yet they go home, lay out the crisco slip-n-slide and tell the kids to strip and slip while they take video. Sheesh. I have an active and sick mind. But honestly, I think most of us do. A lot of us just won’t admit it. Jesus said a lot of tough of things. He said to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. And if that wasn’t enough, he said to love our neighbor as ourself. Personally, I feel that I can love my neighbor as myself better than loving God with everything inside me. Honestly though, without loving God, I have my limits on loving my neighbor….even myself. Tuff stuff, indeed. But isn’t John an awesome guy for letting us all hang out here and talk about this stuff? Not to mention that he’s a great talent.

        Nice rambling to you, Suz. Peace 2u.

        • Suz

          Interesting points. Defining harm is a complicated business at best. I personally would say that harm includes harm to oneself, which covers bestiality – it’s physically risky AND degrading. Sometimes harm is unintentional, and sometimes intended harm is mitigated; to a degree, it can be subjective. I don’t mind though, because I’d rather deal with a little ambiguity than hide behind false absolutes. No harm in keeping an open mind as long as your brains don’t fall out!

          I’m the opposite when it comes to loving. I find it much easier to love God, because he’s never let me down, (it might help that I never felt entitled to ask him for much…) than to love my neighbor. I hold a pretty low opinion of many of my “neighbors,” and because of that, I find myself somewhat less lovable. I get a lot of comfort from knowing that God and my friends and family love me anyway. I think it’s ironic that in private, I’m most humble about my public pride, but I’m not ready to give it up. Kind of like smoking! It is Tuff Stuff.

          • Anonymous

            I hear ya. I only have a hard time relating to a being that is virtually invisible, scientifically immeasurable, and laid hold upon purely by faith. Maybe the reason I strive so hard to love my enemy, is the text that suggests that if I can’t love my brother (or neighbor) who I CAN see and touch, how can I ever possibly love God, whom I CAN’T see or touch?” Sensible words that put my focus on daily asking God to make me a vessel of His agape love, to speak the truth in that love, and not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ.

            Believers will never make people holy. We will never argue our Christian or non Christian neighbors into changing their behavior because of what we say. I wasn’t. I was changed from the inside out. Like Romans said, faith came by hearing the gospel. The simple statement that God loves me and came to make me a friend and a son…even though, at the time, I spit on his face. That is what compelled me to faith. Pure selfless and prideless acceptance.

            Instead of trying to get in peoples’ face, I try to get on my face. Instead of asking people to try going back into the closet, I try to go into my closet and pray. Prayer does change things. It doesn’t always change people, but that’s not my battle to fight. That one belongs to God. My job is to accept them just as they are and be their friend…not their judge. After all, that’s what Jesus is to me.

            Have a great Sunday and the rest of the week.

          • Suz

            I love Him because I feel his love, and I can’t define it as anything rational. After running the whole spectrum, it’s liberating to allow myself to believe in something that doesn’t physically exist – it gives me hope, knocks my cynicism (over the “real” world) for a loop. Makes me want to laugh for no good reason!

            Peace.

          • Anonymous

            That sounds great, suz. I keep praying for that kind of joy. I have hope. I have peace, but the joy is held back. I know I hold the key. I know the Lord has loaded joy for a lifetime into my account. It’s just up to me to start making withdrawals.

            Have a good’n

    • Anonymous

      Phillip,

      Your apology is noble and appreciated. The same goes for the thought and time dedicated to your response above.

      The questions I posed, however, are not addressed and I believe that is because the answers are found among the nether shades of grey. As such, this leads to the possibility that those areas you deem to be black or white may actually exist within that spectrum versus at two opposite points.

      As to the complexities of the Bible …If God wants us to use the Bible as a guide to Christian living, why in the world world would He create a manual that necessitates scholars like yourself to invest years of study to comprehend His principles? Why, if the words are ineffable, would he not produce a piece that can be understood by regular peeps like me? Also, you do realize that there are scholars who have parsed the various scriptures based on the supposed original language who have come to conclusions that don’t jibe with your particular interpretation, right? So now…. God’s got scholars involved who arrive at two (or more) divergent conclusions. Is his intent to be ambiguous? My point is that many people study the Bible and have diverse interpretations. They are just as passionnate as you…So what makes you “right”?

      Also, do you know how many homosexuals have prayed and submitted themselves to God so that He would change them…but He didn’t change them. I’m talking about true believers who “believed” themselves to be unholy in God’s sight and simply wanted to *Not be gay.* So…when you assert that anyone can change with God’s help…you are basically telling these people that 1) they didn’t try enough or 2) God, for what ever reason didn’t want to change them. People kill themselves because of this. Homosexuals are pushed AWAY from Jesus because of this.

      Some questions to revisit: What of hermaphrodites whose gender is determined by a surgeon? Does God pardon them? If so, what about the partners of the gender-assigned? Do they get a pass? Why, if it is such a huge sin, does Jesus not mention homosexuality once? Why, if God’s words are breathed through its authors, does Paul distinghuish his personal commands from God’s more than a couple of times?

      An example:
      1 Corinthians 7:10-12 “Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife. But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her.”

      If the Bible in its entirety God’s word, why is Paul’s personal opinion included?

      How can you have certainty that YOU have THE right message?

      I’m not trying to be critical, I’m just hoping that you will see your words from a different perspective, and perhaps concede that you may not be 100% on the mark.

      • Anonymous

        Wow. Best commenters in the blogosphere, says I (and everyone else who reads them and is always telling me that).

      • Anonymous

        Susan, I really hope Philip answers, but I would like to address a couple of those questions. I am not a Bible scholar, just a layman who has worked in Church ministry for 30 years. Actually a graphic designer, web content editor, and amateur writer.

        Regarding the inter sexed, and I may be answering someone else’s question since i recall that possibly being asked by Suz, not you….any way, I accept that we encounter biological anomalies that defy what we want to classify as normal. Roughly 1 in 100 children are born as pseudohermaphrodite and the doctors who (at the parent’s bequest) surgically decides whether the phallus or the labia (and subsequent urethral and gonadal architecture) are closer to one sex or the other. In one case in the early 1900, a person who appeared female, had both a functioning penis and vagina with the exception that this individual could neither inseminate nor conceive. From what I’ve read, the inter sexed generally lean toward variations of sexual androgyny that are probably closer to being bisexual if not asexual. I don’t know if a comprehensive scientific survey has ever been taken within this community, but it certainly would be helpful in determining if sex is actually that important to the inter sexed. I have a very low testosterone level and struggled as a teen and young adult with sexual identity, yet I had no direction in which way to go because I was generally indifferent about sex. There would be times I had a slight attraction to a particular guy friend… but not really in a sexual way. More of a affectation of my heart than anything involving my loins. After becoming a Christian, I realized how badly I wanted to have someone to share a family with and love into old age. I married later in life. I was 38 and she was 21. Our courtship was an awakening of sorts for my sexual passion. Well, without going into a history, we married, had kids, and as hit my mid 40′s my sex drive waned, and her sex drive waxed. I realize now after seeing doctors and therapists, that my problem was hormonal. I could’ve tried hormone therapy, but it would probably not be as successful on a man in his mid 50′s as it would when I was 35-45. Besides, the only woman I ever truly loved left me for a co-worker and divorced me. Ok, let me stop here, this isn’t about me. But my circumstances do give me some keen insight into what life might be like for at least some of the inter sexed.

        Paul’s words are not Jesus’ words. Jesus was mute on homosexuality….hell they didn’t even have the name in Aramaic. Jesus was pretty clear on marriage being between a man and woman. He was also clear that adultery and fornication were no good. Today’s Christian gay might have a hard time circumventing the texts in Matt 19 as far as gay marriage goes. While the Matthew texts don’t actually say fornication (which is any sex outside of marriage), it could be argued that Jesus never said anything particular to any sexual sin besides adultery.
        So for argument’s sake, let’s say premarital or sex without marriage is ok, if a gay guy or girl gets into a relationship with a same sex partner who left their marriage for that relationship, they have entered into adultery. And it appears Jesus did address adultery as being egregious.

        I hope that might shed some additional light on what Philip may add to.

        Peace to you, Susan

        • Anonymous

          Siriuslee,

          Thank you so much for sharing your insight. I’m just so sorry for the hurt and pain you’ve endured.

          The reason I even brought up intersexes is because most anti-gay people can’t square their belief system with this state of being. As such, they have two choices 1)use the mind God gave them since scripture is not readily available or 2) don’t question their beliefs, ignore the issue and forge ahead with condemnation – it’s the easy road. Consequently, this digging in of heels of heels only further spreads hate, inequality and turns people away from God. And, the ensuing *crickets* after each of my posts (save you) attests to this head-in-the-sand and unGodly approach.

          It’s interesting that your bring Matthew up. There is a site that actually uses Chapter 19 of Matthew to validate homosexuality. If you are interested, here’s the link: http://www.gaychristian101.com/Homosexual-Eunuchs.html

          Again, many thanks for taking the time to delve into such a detailed explanation.

          Peace back atcha, Seriuslee

          ,

  • Bassgenius

    I agree with phil. Jesus agrees with every thing in the law, he said so, he only quoted the old testament, Mat 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. “, and speaking out for what Jesus disagrees with is right. follow this logic, Jesus Fulfills law-> law of Moses says Homosexuality, among other things is unclean–> Jesus loves the sinner but is unafraid to speak the truth in love –>Ti 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; –> 2Pe 1:21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

    and if paul said it, its as good as Jesus saying it himself
    acts 26:15-18 “And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. ‘But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have [fn] seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

    i say all this in love.

    • Anonymous

      Bassgenius: So what does God say about the intersexed – those who are born with male & female genitalia-& assigned a gender by a surgeon? Do they get a free pass? What about their chosen partners? How do you reconcile the REALITIES that are not addressed in the Bible?

      Since you assert that Jesus agrees with all OT law, then you are saying that Jesus is against eating shellfish Leviticus 9:9-11] , considers people unclean (until nightfall) if they touch a menstruating woman Leviticus 15:19 and contends that it is wrong to wear mixed blends of clothing Leviticus 19:19?

      and if paul said it, its as good as Jesus saying it himself Then why is there even a need to differentiate Paul’s view, as done in 1 Corinthians 7:10-12 – “I command, yet not I but the Lord…But to the rest I, not the Lord, say…”

  • Textjunkie

    Somehow I only find the controversial conversations 3 days after they happened, when everyone has quit reading… ;)

    But the business about how “homosexuality is a sin because that has been the church’s teaching for 2,000 years” won’t fly.

    “Slavery is ok because that has been the church’s teaching for almost 2,000 years.”

    “Christians can’t lend money and charge interest because that has been the church’s teaching for at least 1,000 years.”

    “Marry as many women as you can afford–that was the way of the Old Testament patriarchs after all.”

    “The king who is properly consecrated by the church is the divinely appointed form of government; that has been church teaching for millenia.”

    Etc. The fact of the matter is, whenever large enough socio-political and economic forces decide they don’t go along with “traditional church teaching”, the church teaching has changed. Slowly, and with much thought and argument and theological debate, and sometimes with various burnings of humans and objects.

    But it’s changed, Bible verses on one side or the other not withstanding.

    • Anonymous

      I feel your pain about coming into the game late. I’ve tried in three or four different areas to ask conservatives their views on intersexed b/c it’s relevant to their comments/this discussion, but by the time I ask, everyone’s moved on and I am left with nothing but *crickets.*

      • http://www.facebook.com/metalphil Phillip Yanda

        Hopefully I’ll get to you soon. While I enjoy responding on here, it’s just incredibly tedious… And I’m off to see the new Narnia movie now!


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