Who Would Dare Argue This Gay Man Isn’t Christian?

(In my book about LGBT Christians I’ll be including this letter, which I got in last week. If you can come away from reading this still believing that it’s impossible for a person to be both fully gay and fully Christian, then all I can say is that I hope your lobotomy didn’t leave behind too unsightly a scar.)

Dear Mr. Shore,

I was once a proud African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion) Christian, the evangelical son of an AME Zion preacher, ready to answer the call of a life in ministry. Once I claimed the faith of my father as my own, I felt a denominational identity was too constricting. I simply called myself an evangelical Christian. This, despite the fact that I was tremendously hurt and confused by the near daily abuse I suffered at the hands of Christian school classmates, who taunted me with “faggot,” “girly,” “gay-gay,” etc.

Clearly, everyone else had figured out my sexual orientation before I had. When I thought about the fact that, unlike my 13-year-old counterparts, I didn’t seem to be interested in girls, that in fact I longed to be close to and have sex with boys, I immediately reasoned, “But I can’t be gay, because Christians aren’t gay, and I’m a Christian!”

It was just a phase. I couldn’t be gay.

This “phase” lasted several years (despite desperate pleas to an almighty God who would no doubt free me of this “sin” that I wanted no part of anymore than He did).  After struggling with a four-year addiction to gay porn, in my senior year of college I was forced to acknowledge that this must be more than a mere phase. I did what any good evangelical Christian would: I sought help. After a night of binging on porn, I tapped out the words “gay and Christian” on the keyboard, and came across Exodus International, a ministry dedicated to helping men and women overcome “unwanted same-sex attractions.”

Initially, discovering Exodus gave me hope and encouragement. I went along under the notion that this was no phase, but that it was manageable, and conquerable. I dove into ministry: Bible study founder/leader in college, president of the Christian group at pharmacy school, volunteering with the youth ministry at my local Assembly of God church.

Yet the more I explored my sexual attractions, the more dismayed I became. I fervently desired a Godly relationship with a woman, to be a dad; I yearned to live the evangelical, American dream.

What I could not shake, though, was the debilitating loneliness that overshadowed every aspect of my life—despite a loving family, a wonderful girlfriend, a supportive ex-gay community, an adept counselor, great accountability partners, service to others, leadership in ministry, a local church community, incessant prayer, indomitable determination, and innumerable ex-gay resources. As I became increasingly aware of my unchanging orientation, the insufficient satisfaction of opposite gender intimacy, and the idea that this meant a lifetime of misery without true companionship, my depression and anxiety grew, until I was ready for God to just take me home.

I simply did not want to exist anymore, and begged God to have mercy on me by ending this.

I wish I could say that my Christian community responded in Christ-like ways to me when I revealed my “struggles with same-sex attraction.” And there surely were those who incarnated Christ to me. But more commonly the responses ranged from indifference to muted disgust (and everything in between).

In one pivotal encounter, I had lunch with the youth pastor at my Assembly of God church. I was sharing with him my disappointment with the way in which my revelation was received by the other young adults in the church with whom I was desperate to bond (after all, the ex-gay mantra was that “healing comes by forging healthy, same-sex relationships”). I bemoaned the fact that some of those in whom I had confided were nonplussed, some cool but silent (leaving me to wonder where I actually stood with them), and yet others took it upon themselves to preach to me, thinking that an “encouragement.”

What was my pastor’s response to my discouragement? He spent ninety minutes chiding me for being upset, and preaching to me about the evils of homosexuality. The obvious offense (treating me in a manner expressly as I had just complained about being treated by others) was only magnified by the fact that he was well aware of my dad’s ordination in ministry, my years spent in Bible classes at Christian schools, and my extensive knowledge of scripture. Perhaps most damaging of all was his insistence that I no longer serve with our church youth group (which he had originally mandated prior to our lunch date). I cannot express how belittled and useless I felt. My love for God, my gifts, my talents counted for naught so long as I had difficulties dealing with my sexuality. I left lunch that day feeling more disparaged than when we started.

I was never an evangelical after that. In fact, here I stand, six years later, and there are times when it is difficult for me to associate myself with Christianity at all. After hearing my protracted story, religious and irreligious people alike often ask me in befuddled exasperation: “How are you still a Christian? Why do you still go to church?!” And frankly, I have yet to articulate a satisfactory answer. As best I can tell though, it is rooted in my abiding love for Jesus. I am compelled by the life and teachings of Jesus. I strive to live The Way of Jesus, and to bring the Kingdom of Peace and Love here to earth. And yet every day it is a struggle to hold onto that shred of faith, when so many other self-proclaimed Christians adamantly declare my apostasy and condemnation to hell for daring to love in the way that comes naturally to me. (The more enlightened folks are civil enough to quietly suggest I’m “not in God’s will,” and to let me know that they are praying for me to see the light and truly know Him.)

I profusely thank God for the emerging church I discovered around the time of that fateful lunch with my pastor. Up until that point, I had a subtle but nagging twist in my gut at every church I had ever attended. It was from experiencing such love and comfort at this new church that I was finally able to verbalize what I felt all those years: that I was not safe and accepted as I was. At last, I was blessed to have been led to a community of believers who would walk alongside me, instead of ahead of me; who would ask questions with me, instead of dictating beliefs to me. It was within this community that I was able to salve the wounds of bitterness and jadedness that had pervaded my soul.

I don’t know that I’ll ever be an evangelical again. I’m not sure if I can even maintain the identity “Christian,” given all the baggage that seems to accompany the word. All I know is that I hope for the day when I can be seen by the Church as being equal to all others in the Body of Christ, and worthy of sharing my gifts in faithful service—not despite my sexuality, but because I am a gay Christian, beloved of God.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

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

    Wow! What a fantastic story. Thanks so much for sharing. And you are right, being a Christian has nothing to do with how one looks at others in regards to sexuality. It is about the fact that Jesus loves us all, and wants us to demonstrate his love of us by loving others, by being kind, and patient, and generous, and respectful, and understanding. We all have the ability and the opportunities do demonstrate that love in so many wonderful and unique ways.

    I too hope for the day when the church stops putting caveats for “acceptance into the club” and recognize that God made a diverse species in humanity and that diversity enhances the church, not hinders it.

  • http://www.canyonwalkerconnections.com Kathy Baldock

    A relationship with Jesus is a matter of the heart, unless of course you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, Then it is a flesh relationship and it becomes pivotal for your eternal status what you do with what is in your underpants.That sure sounds like the heart of God.

    I get these letters all the time. The rejection of the glbt community is not about their relationship with God. If I cannot fully love unconditionally, it is about MY relationship with God. Tell someone that and watch them squirm.

    To quote from you

    “trying the churches patience since 2006″

    Kathy Baldock

    Canyonwalker Connections

    • Tim Torres

      “If I cannot fully love unconditionally, it is about MY relationship with God.”

      Profound. In a general sense, our hangups say more about us than they do about the objects of our hangups. But this is wonderfully put … simple, clear, concise.

    • A’isha

      You hit the nail on the head, Kathy. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve directed to your site. Love you and thank you!

  • Reed

    I was especially struck by “How are you still a Christian? Why do you still go to church?!” And frankly, I have yet to articulate a satisfactory answer. As best I can tell though, it is rooted in my abiding love for Jesus.”

    Amen. And, the answer to ‘how are you still a Christian?” is: “I follow Jesus. All others can go stuff themselves.”

    • Diana A.

      “…the answer to ‘how are you still a Christian?” is: ‘I follow Jesus. All others can go stuff themselves.’”

      Preach it, Brother Reed!

  • http://ragarambler.blogspot.com Steve F.

    John, he’s telling MY story as well – except my experience was in the mainline Lutheran denomination. Bible study leader, prayer warrior, even went to seminary for a while (until the money ran out). I prayed, had prayer vigils over me, Promise Keepers conferences, nights without count of weeping, demanding, begging God to change me.

    It took a long time for me to claim “follower of Christ” – I rarely refer to myself as Christian, any more. Especially here in Springfield, MO (headquarters of the Evangel Temple and Assemblies of God movements) it can be hard to hear the hateful language. Even harder is the contemptuous attitude that some people take – that they somehow “know me and my sin” just because I tell them I’m gay. Nothing could be further from the truth….

    My partner and I have found a Disciples of Christ congregation where we can be out and accepted – and it feels good. And I have found many, many welcoming and accepting individual Christians who treat my faith and belief as real. It’s just hard, sometimes, here in the heart of Jesusland, to know that revealing my true self can be an invitation to verbal abuse, beating or worse.

    You can ready my coming out story here: http://ragarambler.blogspot.com/2006/10/way-i-was-made_29.html , and my article “What I Wish Straight Christians Knew” over here: http://ragarambler.blogspot.com/2007/06/what-i-wish-straight-christians-knew.html.

    For what it’s worth…

  • Daphne

    When a child is born does the mother say to her newborn “I love you because you are heterosexual. If you one day tell me you are gay that changes things.” Of course the answer is no, a mother in most cases loves her infant unconditionally. It is my belief that the same is true of God, we are loved unconditionally. Our struggles do not take that love away or make us any less deserving of love than if we had no cross to bear.

    • Julie

      Hadn’t thought of this before. It seems to me that the parent that loves his child unconditionally is superior to the God that rejects the same child because of his homosexuality. That’s mind boggling and obviously a misunderstanding of the nature of God.

    • cat rennolds

      actually? Humans being what they are, I know moms with newborns who have SAID, oh God, please don’t let him/her be gay like my sister/cousin/uncle. and you can feel them being afraid to attach. it’s really sad and painful to watch.

      • Dirk

        I could post several serious discussions among conservative Christians on the topic of whether aborting a fetus when one knows ‘it’ shall be gay is not OK with God.

        One of the greatest shocks gay me experienced when my family moved here from Europe in my early teens was to discover that gay kids were routinely placed in the juvenile delinquent ‘home’ by their conservative Christian parents. Happened to two boys in our junior high who were ‘caught’.

        They were raped, beaten and eventually both killed themselves.

        That is how conservative Christians treat their gay children.

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

          See, Dirk, you make a lot of wonderful points. I would just like to very humbly suggest that instead of saying things such as, “That is how conservative Christians treat their gay children,” you instead say things like, “That is how SOME conservative Christians treat their gay children,” or “That is how TOO MANY conservative Christians treat their gay children.” Your passion is wonderful; your experience and insights very valuable indeed. That’s why I hate to see you making yourself so readily dismissible by so stridently issuing the kinds of blanket condemnations that you do. A great many leftist Christians have known conservative Christians open to changing their positions on homosexuality; just today I’ve spoken with three very conservative Christians who are now completely and carefully rethinking their core inherited assumptions about homosexuality. I get letters from such people all the time. When you so roundly condemn all, you make of yourself a person too unreasonable to be taken as seriously as I believe you deserve to be. Just a well-meant suggestion.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Its always the conservative Christians fault with Dirk.

          • DR

            Brian,

            I think John’s advice to Dirk is sound. But for me, I’m getting tired of you continually asserting that the comservative Christian element is not responsible for promoting the Biblical belief that homosexuality is against God’s plan and that same sex marriage does not fit Gods definition of marriage. Focus on the Family and National Family Council are two such conservative Christian organizations that promote what I’ve just offered.

            If it’s your intention to say that these messages are coming from any other Christian source other than conservative Christian sources, please list those out for us. I’m not aware of any liberal/moderate Christian organization (other than Sojourners) who actively make this a part of their stated beliefs. Thanks.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            DR,

            Your response is rational and is probably true, Dirk’s rants take it to an absurd extreme like ALL conservative Christians are directly or indirectly responsible for all the murder, hate, torture blah, blah, blah in the world in general and to the GLBT community specifically, no other group but conservative Christians. When gays tell their stories of how they were teased growing up, the only kids that teased them were the brain-washed kids of conservative Christian parents no one else.

            Everyone in the entire world affirms that same gender sexual relations is natural and normal and supports same sex marriage, everyone EXCEPT the conservative Christians, because they hate GLBT people. That is basically Dirk’s rhetoric on almost all his posts…..

          • DR

            This has nothing to do with Dirk, would you please stop fixating on him for at least one comment and actually answer a question I ask of you? Which is – and I’ll repeat – what groups within Christianity other than conservative christian groups are promoting the message that being gay = being sinful and that same-sex marriage is not a marriage that is in accordance with what God intended to be? Please – for once, just answer a question that is asked of you. Please list the groups. Thank you.

          • Brian W

            Ok I’ll start with the group D “I am a Catholic” R associates with, the Catholic Church.

          • DR

            Brian said:

            “Ok I’ll start with the group D “I am a Catholic” R associates with, the Catholic Church.”

            Wait, I thought you just told all of us that you consider Catholics to be Christians. Is that not true any longer? Do you believe that Catholics are Christians?

          • DR

            Meaning, Roman Catholics are clearly conservative christian with respect to their theology regarding homosexuality, that’s obvious.

            What I’m asking you since you don’t seem to understand – what groups other than conservative christians embrace the theology that homosexuality is against God’s plan? You keep implying that conservative Christians (like many Roman Catholics) are being unfairly targeted by Dirk – so please, let us know what other groups are supporting the theology he’s letting us all know has wounded him and impacted he and his husband’s life so much.

          • Brian W

            I don’t really think of Catholics as conservative Christians, I think of them as a branch of Christianity all their own, but not conservative, just my opinion

          • Brian W

            Ok how about Muslims, do they count?

          • DR

            No, Muslims don’t count since I asked about Christians.

          • cat rennolds

            Brian, help us LOVE and not polarize here, okay? Dirk has legitimate reasons to be angry, even if we don’t all agree with the way he expresses it. If it doesn’t apply to you, don’t respond as if it does. see if you can find some way to grieve with him and for him for the hurt that was done him.

            see if you can be a peacemaker and a healer. see if you can find Christ in your heart for him. this is EXACTLY what He meant by turn the other cheek. if you hit back, you close the door for change.

          • cat rennolds

            Oh, yeah, Dirk, ditto. We can’t change people’s minds by making them defend themselves, only close their ears.

          • Mindy

            Cat, this is perfect. Thanks for pointing it out.

          • Brian W

            Sounds good, if he quits accusing conservative Christians for all the pain the GLBT community has and is still experiencing, I’ll quit ebbing him on. Sorry Dirk if I’ve pissed you off, so forgive me, I’m not perfect and I get pissed off too, truce?

          • DR

            Brian, what other Christians besides conservative christians (Roman Catholics included) support the theology that has caused he and his partner and the GLBT community pain? Who else is he supposed to accuse? Please be specific.

          • Brian W

            DR,

            I think that is a trick question because any group or denomination that doesn’t affirim that same gender sex is natural and normal and support same sex marriage you will automatically label them conservative since that is the measuring stick for liberal/progressive and conservative. NO liberal / progressive Christian is against same-sex marriage because if you are you can’t be a progressive / liberal Christian. In other words to be a “real” progressive / liberal / emergent Christian you MUST affirm that same gender sex is natural and normal and support same sex marriage, if you don’t, you’re not a progressive/liberal/emergent Christian. You’re a hate filled conservative Christian.

          • Brian W

            Here’s one, Joel Osteen is a liberal but isn’t for same sex marriage nor affirms same gender sex as natural and normal, the guy is a liberal for sure.

          • DR

            It’s actually not a trick question and I’m not labeling anyone. Dirk is, he has identified conservative christians as the group who’s hurt he, his husband and the GLBT community as a result of their theology about homosexuality and you keep telling him he’s wrong. So I’m asking you what other Christian group is using the Bible to tell him homosexuality is wrong other than the ones he has identified. You’re the one who is debating him so come up with your side of the facts.

            There are denominations that clearly outline their tenants of faith. Baptists are against homosexuality which is a conservative sect of Christianity. The Roman Catholic church is against Christianity – also conservative. There are Christian organizations like Focus on the Family and the Christian Values Network – they are all proudly conservative and anti-gay marriage. They state that regardless of how people feel about them. So prove Dirk wrong, tell us which non-conservative christian group is offering him what the Bible believes about homosexuality in the same way conservative christians are.

            You keep throwing yourself in the conversation telling him he’s wrong – so prove it.

          • DR

            Joel Osteen has made his stance on homosexuality quite clear, both on the view and numerous interviews. Here is a direct quote (he believes it is not within God’s plan):

            http://www.christianpost.com/news/joel-osteen-maintains-homosexuality-as-sin-32351/

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            I wouldn’t call Joel Osteen a liberal. I would call him a prosperity gospel guy and that kinda puts him in a whole different category.

          • Brian W

            DR

            Some conservative Christians may very well have hurt him, but to then associate all conservatives hate, kill, torture, etc. is just not true, SOME perhaps, but ALL? Just an unwarranted guilt by association.

        • Diana A.

          “One of the greatest shocks gay me experienced when my family moved here from Europe in my early teens was to discover that gay kids were routinely placed in the juvenile delinquent ‘home’ by their conservative Christian parents.” Yes. This is sad.

  • Diane D’Angelo

    Going to church makes you a Christian like going to McDonalds makes you a hamburger. If you read James Fowler’s work on the stages of spiritual development, you see that the deepest faith comes from enduring these dark nights of the soul and emerging with the knowing that worshipping God and worshipping a church are often two different things. In fact, it’s when most people actually start walking the path of the Christ himself, who ultimately endured death for chalenging the religious mores of his day.

    • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

      Diane,

      Very astute observation, how true…..

  • Amy Buttery

    This is the best piece on the subject I have read in a long time. I will be sharing this with so many people, in my church and elsewhere. THANK YOU. I wish I had had this to share before the Annual Conference of our state’s Methodist Church a few months ago, where we voted on matters of human sexuality. Your rejection of the term “evangelical” interests me most, because my church (an interdenominational mostly liberal church in a college town) maintains the word “evangelical” in its mission statement, but they seem unaware (or even worse, comfortable) with the negative baggage it has–of intolerance, of rigid bliblical literalness, etc. I waver between being embarrassed to be associated with today’s “Christianity” and feeling like I must stay involved or the intolerants have won–and taken from me one more thing I value so profoundly. THANK YOU again. I’ll be checking out other stuff on your blog as well.

    • Diana A.

      “I waver between being embarrassed to be associated with today’s ‘Christianity’ and feeling like I must stay involved or the intolerants have won–and taken from me one more thing I value so profoundly.” Welcome to the club!

  • Susan Turner Pohlmann

    Further proof that religion is a flawed – though arguably necessary – human construction. Religion is to God what Fanta is to an orange: that is, a rough approximation of perfection. Give me the orange any day, it’s better for me!

    We don’t need to throw out religion, but we do need to understand that it’s human, not Divine. What we in our limitedness call God loves variation: variation and creation is what God does. We humans are part of God’s body a.k.a. the ‘body of Christ’ and even as an atom on our body can’t envision the whole, neither can we understand what God is: we don’t have the tools in our tool-belt! If God was human, there would be one color, one tree, one race, one sexual expression and one religion! We do our best, but sometimes that’s pretty pitiful. So carry on John, and if you ever come to NYC, stop by SPSA United Methodist Church where you will fit right in!

    • Mindy

      “Religion is to God what Fanta is to an orange.” I’m stealing this quote.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/donhildenbrand Don Hildenbrand

    I’m sorry.

    You simply can’t be gay… and a Christian.

    It’s not possible.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to make sure my lobotomy incision is healing properly.

    NOW that I go that out of the way, THANK YOU for an awesome, excellent post. Unfortunately, too many of the old friends I went to Seminary with would read it, and say exactly what I began this comment with. For one thing, they’re simply too indoctrinated in their theological tradition, “religiously” and politically, to actually change, and for a second thing,… you can’t fix stupid.

    Thank you. ;-)

  • Lee Walker

    This was such a huge blessing to read. For all of us gay Christians it is so important to share our stories with each other. When another kindred spirit puts words to the things we’ve felt and thought, it binds us even closer to each other, and to Jesus, whom we love so dearly.

    I cannot WAIT for this book to “come out!”

    • jennifer

      please scroll up to read my poem, I want to share it with you! <3

  • Xander

    From listening to both sides of the argument, I wonder what makes one a Christian.

    • http://www.reverbnation.com/donhildenbrand Don Hildenbrand

      It’s simple, really. Following “Christ”. What does that mean? Doing what he taught. What did he teach? Love.

      • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

        Don for the win.

    • Don Rappe

      I think your question is important. The word Christian, like the words liberal and conservative, are so ambiguous as to be almost devoid of meaning in our time. They are usually used as labels to which people may glue their prejudices. (Or is it my understanding and your prejudice?) I think it is the book of Acts (volume 2 of Luke) which refers to a time and place where followers of the way were first called Christians. It does not tell us whether or not the label was pejorative as with Hussite, Lutheran or Papist. There is no relation to a religion mentioned unless one chooses to understand “the way” as a religion. A theologian might tell me it referred to someone who confesses Jesus as the Christ. A Jew might tell me it was a person who organizes or follows along with pogroms. A secular Norwegian might use the term to refer to a white person with certain ethnic characteristics. In Europe the lutherans liked to be called Evangelicals because this means proclaiming the Gospel. The papists liked to be called Catholics because they believed in the universality of the Church. (The calvinists called themselves Reformed.) Now the Evangelicals confessed belief in the Church catholic at each mass and the Catholics proclaim from the Gospels at each mass. If a person is feels free to understand new truths and values, he is liberal. If a person treasures the tried and true ways and values, she is conservative. Whenever I hear someone say of these things “It’s all very simple”, I suspect them of being not so well informed. Muslims call themselves that because it means “One who surrenders to God.” Religious Jews are sons and daughters of the commandment and have entered into a covenant with God. Clearly, we can interpret beliefs as not in conflict or we can go to war because we do not like the way the other people look and smell.

      • Brian W

        Very good post

  • Dirk

    “In fact, here I stand six years later, and there are times when it is difficult for me to associate myself with Christianity at all. After hearing my protracted story, religious and irreligious people alike often ask me in befuddled exasperation: “How are you still a Christian? Why do you still go to church?!” And frankly, I have yet to articulate a satisfactory answer. ”

    I suspect that there is no satisfactory answer.

    For myself, ‘follower of Christ’ is the only solution. The day I saw my parents threatened because I, a homosexual, dared to return to my home town to help the orphans, elderly and widowed (any resemblance to Biblical commands intended) recover from the devastation of severe storms and a tornado was the day I realized that there is no place in American Christianity for gays.

    Those who are not haters let the haters attack us for too long.

    I’m glad you published this, John. Anyone who is brilliant enough to study pharmacy should be taken seriously, these are the losses Christian communities are inflicting upon themselves through their hatred of us.

    • Sean

      Unfortunately, there is definitely room in American Christianity for the lgbt community, as recent votes by the Presbyterian Church USA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Episcopal Church, and the United Church of Christ show. All of these denominations have affirmed (and some, repeatedly affirmed) the full participation of lgbt people in their respective settings, and I hope that more gays and lesbians find a home in a local congregation of one of these denominations.

      Now, you might say, that not all congregations in these denominations are indeed welcoming, and that is true- but enough are that they have made pronouncements and decisions on a national level to open their doors to gays and lesbians, and I’m sure that there is a congregation that is welcoming not too far from you.

  • DR

    Wow. This is powerful.

  • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

    Testimonies like this are important because they dispell black and white thinking. Reading things like this online were (along with some peoples’ “alternate” interpretations on important scriptures) were what kicked me out of some of the prejudices my old church *gave* me.

    I contend that the main problem with mankind is a lack of imagination. It’s easy to think in black and white – harder for some to think in many facets. For some of us, this comes naturually. Some of us must be trained and must train ourselves. Sometimes the “black” is more white than people think and sometimes the “white” is more black than people think. And some people are orange. Imagination breeds empathy and there is a derth of both in the world.

    • Beri

      “And some people are orange.” Love that. I think I’ll add the last line of your post to my list of favorite quotes. May we all be people of imagination and empathy.

      • Diana A.

        Amen and amen!

      • DR

        “May we all be people of imagination and empathy.”

        How odd, this is the phrase I use with my team at work about our work. Love it, so beautiful!!

    • http://www.blogspot.com/djfree DJ

      You know, I’ve always wondered why the very people who claim to know God most are often the ones promulgating that the God who made the world in full COLOR has limited “truth” to just 2 of them…

    • Diana A.

      I agree with you and so does/would Andrew Greeley and George Bernard Shaw. Andrew Greeley has frequently quoted/paraphrased George Bernard Shaw who said “Must Christ be crucified in every generation for the benefit of those who lack imagination?” In fact, Andrew Greeley wrote a book with this quotation as one of the primary themes (The Cardinal Virtues.)

  • Kt

    Maybe as Christians, we should put our faith in God, as opposed to The church.

    • Mindy

      Ding, ding, ding – we have a winner!!! Well put, Kt.

    • Don Rappe

      The church, the thing the Kyrios is doing, should be our fellowship. “The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord.”

  • Debbie

    Awe filled stuff! As I was reading it I noticed the parallels Jesus suffered from the religious elite who were always all over His butt for not ministering the way ‘God’ commanded. Jesus doesn’t need a church building to get His work done, He only asks for our earthly bodies to be His heart in the land of the broken hearted. May those of us outside ‘the building camp’ be always able to find others to break bread and drink of the new wine. Blessed to hear your story and grateful for the place and space John has created for all to share their journeys through the bitchest of dark times through to the rest of His Love :)

  • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

    What a letter, truly heart wrenching indeed. One statement stood out to me, when he was asked why he’s still a Christian:

    “…….. it is rooted in my abiding love for Jesus. I am compelled by the life and teachings of Jesus. I strive to live The Way of Jesus, and bring the Kingdom of Peace and Love here to earth….”

    That about sums it up, it is all about Christ. No one has suffered as much as Christ did for His people. Any pain and suffering any human ever as endured, does not compare to what Christ did for all His sheep. The writer of this letter clearly see’s this and though he has suffered greatly, this mans abiding love for his Saviour clealy shines. He is a fine example of a Christian

    • Annie

      Yes, he is. That was beautifully said Brian.

      • Annie

        But I didn’t see where you were mocking me earlier, Brian. Now I do. It’s a good thing God loves you because you sure aren’t making any friends here. So you said something I thought was genuine but now I see you are being sarcastic. My bad. I give up.

        • Brian W

          No I wasn’t being sarcastic, I was being honest and truthful, the writer of the letter is an example of a fine Christian that through all they have suffered kept their eyes and heart on their Lord and Savior,Jesus Christ

          • Don Rappe

            So you see the serious communication problem caused by your frequent sarcasm? I seriously hope you will turn and be healed.

  • http://scarred-seeker.blogspot.com Shanyn

    Colossians 3 tells us to ‘put on love’ over everything else we wear as children of God. LOVE. 1 Thessalonians tells us not to put out the Spirit’s fire in someone, to hold on to good and pray continually (among other things).

    This letter comes from the heart of someone who has a relationship with his Savior, Jesus. It is that relationship is more important than any man-made trappings of religion. In the end we all answer to Him, and I would be honoured to have a church where people who love Jesus first, care for each other as they would be cared for and share that love are present.

    A church-burn can happen to anyone who doesn’t fit the current ‘human standard’ for a member. I’ve been burned many times and am proudly denominationally challenged. I have online community, I have the glory and wonder of God right out my back door and I have friends who love their relationship with God and we love each other. We don’t worry about the silvers in each other’s eyes because our own planks keep us quite busy, thank you.

    John, you shake things up like a 007 martini and that totally rocks my friend!

    • vj

      “We don’t worry about the silvers in each other’s eyes because our own planks keep us quite busy, thank you. ”

      Exactly!

  • Jan Gregg-Kelm

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Jesus = Equal Opportunity Savior.

    • A’isha

      Wish we had “like” buttons on here!

      • Diana A.

        Me too!

        • Scott

          I wish we had “block” buttons here. Not naming any names…Brian…

          • cat rennolds

            Love. Please, try it.

  • A’isha

    This letter is amazing and brings home so much of what I deal with as well, although honestly, most people just don’t talk to me about it. I think there are many that don’t know, well they might if they read my fb posts or read the comments here when I link to John’s blog! But they’re quiet. Only a couple people have confronted me telling me I’m not right with God because I’m a lesbian. Even after I told them I had been celibate since coming back to Christ! This just proves that their belief isn’t our actions will condemn us, but we are condemned for being who God created us as. I can’t understand that logic. I want more than anything for people to understand that being LGBT is not a choice; following Christ is. So when they (Christians) tell people you can’t be both the only obvious decision is to deny Christ. How sad is that? I spent so many years denying him because I thought he condemned me. His followers sure did. Now I know that just because someone is trying to follow Christ it doesn’t mean Christ is following them! I go to the source, not to other believers. I know that during all my years trying to hide from God he was always there. When he said “I will never leave you or forsake you” he meant it!

    • Patrice Wassmann

      I don’t know whether God created people to be gay , or whether it is the result of the fall ( I pretty much think being gay is a normal variant of the human race, but what the bleep do I know)…but I do know that God loves all his children, no matter what their orientation. I love Jan’s comment below…Jesus=Equal Opportunity Savior. I believe God loves his gay children whether they are celibate, in a committed relationship or fornicating all over the place! Just the way he still loves his straight children even when they are doing any of those things!

    • Dirk

      It is far easier to hate us than to actually focus on the tough things which Christ asked of us.

      That is why conservative Christians dump such hatred on you.

      It’s the policy the Nazis followed against the Jews. It’s the policy which the Republicans follow against the poor Mexican undocumented immigrants.

      Hate sells. It is easy and cheap and gives one a sense of righteousness. Especially when one can couch it in terms of practicing God’s ‘love’.

      We have been together for nearly 30 years, married since it became legal in our home country in Europe. That’s three decades of faithful, true, exclusive, loyal monogamy yet the hateful filth conservative Christians pour out upon us is lifted straight out of the Nazi playbook.

      The only Christian churches worth considering are the gay, lesbian and transgender churches. The rest are viper’s pits.

      • Brian W

        Just gotta jab at all those hateful conservative Christians…

        • DR

          Brian, I asked you a question about which christian groups outside of conservative christian groups are working against same sex marriage as a result of their belief that the Bible says homosexuality is against God’s plan and as a result, marriage is only between a man and a woman. Were you planning on answering that or just deflecting the question by your obsession with Dirk’s anger? Please let me know. Thanks.

        • vj

          Brian, I fail to see how your comment above is kind, edifying or necessary. We are called to ‘speak the truth in LOVE’, but you are making no effort to engage constructively with Dirk as a brother in Christ, and it’s getting really annoying.

          Please. Stop. It.

          • Brian W

            A brother in Christ? Really?

          • DR

            He’s identified that he is a Christian. of course he is.

          • Brian W

            I didn’t know, I haven’t met a Christian with such anger and hostility to other fellow Christians. Which he seems to display towards conservative Christians. I also have never met a Christian that holds the Bible is such low regard. I guess I’m wrong, my mistake

          • DR

            Thata quite a passive aggressive attack. Whoa.

          • Mindy

            Oh, Brian there are LOTS of Christians out there filled with anger at the treatment of LGBTs. Lots. I know many of them. I know they have gathered to create churches that actively fight the hatred. I know they have turned churches that once espoused the bigoted views of conservative Christianity into safe havens of God’s love for ALL.

            And I don’t believe for moment that Dirk holds the Bible in low regard. Correct me if I’m wrong, Dirk, but I believe you hold how the Bible is used as a weapon in low regard. As do many. That, Brian, is not “using the Bible correctly.”

          • vj

            Brian, I’m not sure if you’re aware of it, but many of your ‘comebacks’ seem to be based around YOU ‘not knowing’ or ‘having never met’ people who do/say/think XYZ. You must surely realize that just because you *personally* do not know a particular type of person, that it does not automatically follow that such a type of person does not exist? There are nearly 7 billion people on the planet….

            Maybe you could take the testimony of *others* at face value?

    • http://www.blogspot.com/djfree DJ

      A’isha,

      {{{{HUG}}} to you, sister. I find that most times, people are silent because they love. The love you, but because their beliefs dictate bad things for you, they don’t quite know what to do with it. Of course, most of us LBGT folks would simply prefer that they speak their minds, because SILENCE is often worse than ANYTHING that could conjure up with their “gays are going to hell” absurdity. I just keep loving them. Sometimes I challenge them to speak. Sometimes I let them be to wallow in their own cowardice. And sometimes I just get mad and I provoke them. I don’t necessary suggest others do the latter. But we can’t be mature ALL the time, can we? ;)

  • http://www.barnmaven.com Mary @Barnmaven.com

    John continues to bring examples of the church’s failure when it comes to loving our LGBT brothers and sisters, and my soul is brimming over with tears for thsoe who are still struggling with this issue, still being shamed and cornered and accused.

    I can’t remember how old I was when I met the first “out” lesbian in my life – maybe college? I am grateful to those early LGBT friends of mine who allowed me into their lives and trusted me as their friend and fellow human being. I’ve learned since then of classmates in elementary and secondary school who have come out to their friends and families, and I hope that I was never one of the people who made them feel any sense of rejection or condemnation for what must have been a difficult struggle. If ever I said anything ignorant or stupid, I apologize with all of my heart.

    Keep these letters coming, the world needs to know what so many good followers of Christ already do: being gay is NOT a sin. I love Jan’s quote, and I hope that any LGBT Christian who is still struggling with this issue can know the peace of heart that comes with believing that there is NOTHING wrong with being who they are.

  • Jake

    For what it’s worth, even my straight friends who fit the “textbook definition” of “evangelical” don’t like to use that term. Ugly people the world over keep ruining it for the rest of us!

  • Brandon

    I understand completely how he feels and hope that he keeps his faith in his heart. I was raised torn between several versions of Christianity, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist… Quite an interesting ride it was. In the end I learned that the Church, no matter the denomination is simply a place to gather and worship. I learned to forge a personal relationship with God and Jesus, and the word of the Bible. I hold to my faith in the face of all struggles, condemnation by others, and hate received from the “Organization.”

    I applaud his resilience and determination to remain faithful! He is a true inspiration and should be held in all of our prayers as he forges ahead on his path to God. As a gay man, who has been in a loving and caring and fulfilling relationship with a partner for the last seven years and who is about to get Married, I say to all of you out there, trust in yourself, trust in God, his plan has not yet been revealed, and will not be revealed to man until judgment day comes. Keep your faith close, love as the bible teaches you, and know that you are loved, not just by us fellow Gay Christians, but by God, he created you to be who you are and to spread his love on this Earth, that is the true lesson.

    With Love and Blessings to you all!

    Brandon

  • Annie

    “Beloved of God” says it all. That’s it. God loves everybody.

    To believe differently, to parse this with some notions of what the word of God is, or what the Bible says is a waste of time. I am sorry, but God loves everybody. Any person or church who says otherwise is just plain wrong. People are who they are, God didn’t make any mistakes, and God loves everybody. Do I sound unschooled or naive? Simple-minded or lacking in knowledge of the Bible? I don’t think it matters; to argue that our friends in the GLBT community are any less than, or different than, misses the whole point of what I understand Jesus of Nazereth lived and died for.

    I am so very sorry so many of our friends suffer at the hands of the Church, any church. I have dear friends who have struggled for years with their Catholic upbringing,and their rejection by the church they love dearly, and the pain of leaving their church is truly heartbreaking to watch.

    I guess I can’t keep up with the technicalities and nuances of these discussions because I regect the very idea that there should be a discussion. That is not in anyway to say that John’s book is not absolutely necessary, it is, because the discussion exists, and common sense must enter into it. Compassion must eventually reign, because that is what makes us Christians.

    Maybe I missed something, but I never understood this, and I never will.

    • Brian W

      God loved Hitler?

      • DR

        Would you please provide a list of the people God didn’t or doesn’t love? You’re making all sorts of decisions for people this evening, might as well keep going with it.

        • Brian W

          I was just wondering since “God loves everyone”, I was wondering if God loved Hitler. I think it is a valid question.

          • DR

            Do you believe God loved Hitler?

          • Annie

            Well I have to believe God loves you too, even though you are playing the nasty “Hitler” card, a cheesy tactic at best, pulled out when you or anyone else doesn’t have anything reasonable to say. So, Yes, God must have, still does, love Hitler, and you, and everyone else. Oh! Do we love the children of others as we do our own? I don’t know, I am human, I am not God. I probably favor my own son, inspite of his faults, but God does not play favorites, God favors EVERYONE. GET IT? “Eager to learn”, my butt.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            The Bible doesn’t support the “God loves everyone” statement or “all of humanity are God children”, but you’re free to believe it.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Brian, here is one interpretation that explains the context of the Jacob and Esau text that you quoted.

            http://www.gotquestions.org/Jacob-Esau-love-hate.html

            Brian, what of the concept of God never stops drawing all of creation back to God’s self?

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Yes God does draw “all men” but all men won’t believe, we have a will to believe or not. We are fully culpible for our response to the Gospel call so we are without excuse if someday we are for ever seperated from the Love of God.

          • DR

            Wow.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            wow what? That you are held culpible at Judgement Day for your response to the Gospel call?

          • DR

            “wow” at your ability to be so blind to what you are actually communicating to others and how little you seem invested in it, and them. Just…..wow.

          • Mindy

            And it’s culpable. But I reiterate – Wow.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            So: free will, belief in order to receive salvation (the grace of God), last judgement, eternal hell for unbelievers. Got it. And this is different from Evangelical Christianity how? The only thing I’m still lacking in fully understanding your doctrinal slant is how one becomes a believer? Would you share, in your view of the Bible, how one becomes a believer?

          • DR

            Brian you keep substituting the word “draw” for “love”. Stop doing that and answer the question. Does God love all of the human beings made in His image, yes or no? Simple question.

          • Brian W

            I’m not God so I can’t speak with authority on whom zgod loves and doesn’t love, but there are verses in the Bible that states there are things God hates. Just one thing is “hands that shed innocent blood”. I don’t take that literally, just the hands is what God hates, its the person behind those hands. Anyway, there are many verses in the Bible that mentions God hating. I don’t know how God can hate and love at the same time. Central to the Bible is we can not receive the fullness of Gods love aside from Christ. There is a general blessing from God to all his creation since he gives “the rain to the just and the unjust”. The love of God is personified in Jesus Christ.

          • Mindy

            Brian, isn’t it possible that passage does not mean that God “hates” the person, but hates the person’s actions? Hates anything that victimizes another? Kind of like when my beloved daughter acts like a total bitch, because she is 16. I couldn’t love that child more than I do, but I do hate it when she acts that way. I hate it when she treats her little sister badly, even though little sis did nothing to deserve the teenaged, hormonal venom. I get angry, and impose consequences for said action.

            But I don’t hate HER. And even as I’m hating her action, I am also feeling sympathy for the confusion and angst that causes the behavior. I remember being her age and feeling rage I didn’t understand and not knowing what to do with it. I do my parental job by enforcing a consequence for the behavior and then being empathetic and trying to help her feel better and also help her find other ways to deal with those feelings when they arise.

            I’m thinking when the Bible talks about God hating anything, it’s talking about God hating the action of hurting another, especially in His name. But as a God of love, no, I don’t believe for a single moment that he is capable of hating one of his creations.

          • Brian W

            Mindy,

            Yes that could very well be true

          • DR

            Brian,

            I’ve been thinking a lot about you. I’ve in certain comments, been just awful and I want to apologize. I let me anger get the best of me and I got very personal and I regret it.

            Don’t give up on us. You’ve had a rough go of it here. You’re a valuable part of the conversation and don’t doubt that a lot of us here are learning things we need to learn as a result of talking to you too.

          • Brian W

            DR

            Don’t sweat it girl, no problem, apology accepted and

            I apologize to you too , cuzz my posts haven’t been in the best spirit either. I really have learned alot, I really have. An old childhood friend of mine (the first black kid in an all white neighborhood) reconnected with me on Facebook just before last Christmas. One of the top news items in his life he had to tell me was he was gay. That was about 9 months ago. We exchange many emails, phone calls and a few lunches. These last 9 months have been a real experience – between my old best friend and this blog!! Be

            patient with me too, please.

          • cat rennolds

            I think about you every day, too, Brian, and I hope you know I believe in you. I know God does.

            Love.

          • Mindy

            Brian, if I could hug you, I would. Very cool of you to be a friend to this guy and learn from him. Very cool of you to stick around here, even as harsh as many of us have been. Me included, and I’ll add my apology. You could have turned tail and run, but you stayed and kept reading. I’m impressed.

      • Diana A.

        Yes, God loved and loves Hitler. God loved him into existence, didn’t he? Was he dreadfully disappointed in Hitler’s behavior? More than likely. Did that disappointment stop God from loving him? No. Human parents continue to love their children when they behave badly. Do you think God’s ability to love is less than that of a human being?

        • Brian W

          “Jacob I loved and Esau I hated” that’s what the Bible says, can you interpret that passage based on the premise that God lovers everyone which I suppose by default means all people are Gods children. Also Jesus called some Jewish leaders that they were of their father, the devil, were they Gods children and the children of the devil at the same time? All through the Bible there are people that are said to not be the children of God. All these verses state there are the people (children) of God and those that are not the children of God. Do you love other children as much as your own? Do you discipline other children? Just wondering and eager to learn

          • DR

            You’re not eager to learn, you’re making a comment in the form of a question. You don’t believe that God loved Hitler equally and you’re using a question to make that statement. Which is a very manipulative way of talking to people.

          • Brian W

            Once again a question not asked of you but true to your colors, you just gotta answer, didn’t you say you were leaving for awhile? Can you stop answering questions not asked of you? That is very rude and childish.

          • DR

            I did leave and I’m feeling great about re-engaging you now. I trust John and he was right to remind me and all of us you’re someone who has feelings and we should consider those. That being said, we’re all adults. We’re here to debate and to counter one another, challenge one another and call one another into better conduct. I find your way of communicating at times, very manipulative and unbecoming for a man of God and I’m saying so. You find me rude and childish at times. I think we’ll both live, criticism is not the same as being attacked. :)

            These are not private conversations we’re having. It’s the internet.

          • DR

            And please don’t use the tone argument to not answer the questions put in front of you by myself and others. If we are pursuing the Truth that is offered to us through Christ, we will bypass someone’s tone because they have the emotional maturity to do so and continue answering the questions that are offered to us. Jesus didn’t walk away from a conversation because His feelings got hurt when the Pharisees were rude. He stayed in it because He wasn’t ruled by His emotions.

          • DR

            (that should read “because *we* have the emotional maturity to do so).

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Brian, here is one interpretation that explains the context of the Jacob and Esau text that you quoted.

            http://www.gotquestions.org/Jacob-Esau-love-hate.html

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Yes a very sound interpretation

          • DR

            …which contradicts what you’ve said about the passage.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            no it doesn’t I didn’t state an interpreetation of that text

          • DR

            I see. So you’re taking it literally? God actually hated someone? Is that what you’re saying?

          • Diana A.

            36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

            39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

            40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

            “Tell me, teacher,” he said.

            41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[c] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

            43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

            “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

            44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” –Luke 7:36-47, NIV

            I quote this passage not because it has anything to do with your question but because I see you as being very much like Simon the Pharisee–loving little because you have been (or perceive yourself as having been) forgiven little. You believe yourself to be “in” with God because you have the “right” beliefs concerning him. You consider others to be “out” with God because they have the “wrong” beliefs concerning him.

            Simon, too, believed that he was “in” with God while the sinful woman was “out.” He despised Jesus in his heart because “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

            And yet Jesus said “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

            Simon didn’t think he needed forgiveness. Afterall, he wasn’t “a sinner.” The woman, well aware of her sinfulness, loved much because she had been forgiven much.

            And so, reminded of the love of God, the love that would forgive even Hitler, you immediately jump to those passages that seem to indicate that God is not love, that God does not love everyone (or at least that God does not love everyone equally), demanding to know “‘Jacob I loved and Esau I hated’ that’s what the Bible says, can you interpret that passage based on the premise that God loves everyone which I suppose by default means all people are Gods children….”

            Brian, perceiving yourself of having been forgiven little, you love little.

            You are Simon the Pharisee.

            You are the oldest son standing outside sulking while everybody else celebrates the homecoming of your sinful little brother.

            You are the other Pharisee standing in the temple praying “God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this homosexual. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            In your kind and loving way, Diana…..thank you.

          • Brian W

            To be forgiven by God, one must ask for forgiveness. It is not automatic, since every example in the Bible of a person being forgiven by God was because they sought forgiveness in their heart from God and that forgiveness was followed by a change of heart, a change of mind and a change of action (repentance) and all by faith.

          • Mindy

            Brian, try not to respond every time. Try to just listen.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Brian, Mindy has a great point.

            You also said, “since every example in the Bible of a person being forgiven by God was because they sought forgiveness…”

            This may well be what we’ve been told about forgiveness in some of our churches, but it just is not so. The thief on the cross comes immediately to mind. And the Lord’s Prayer actually says that we will be forgiven by God in kind in how we forgive others. That’s just off the top of my head. Perhaps a reread of Luke 10 will help too: What must I do to inherit eternal life? Love God. Love your neighbor. That’s it.

            It also reminds me of the Truth that lives in the Prayer of St. Francis – the paradox of reality: to be forgiven, we must forgive; to be loved, we must be loving; to have friends, we must show ourselves friendly.

            The Prayer says:

            Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

            Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

            Where there is injury, pardon.

            Where there is doubt, faith.

            Where there is despair, hope.

            Where there is darkness, light.

            Where there is sadness, joy.

            O Divine Master,

            grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;

            to be understood, as to understand;

            to be loved, as to love.

            For it is in giving that we receive.

            It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

            and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

            Amen.

      • Don Rappe

        Are you trying to be a smart ass Brian? I know you’re familiar with the passage “God so loved the world …”. Yes, Brian, that’s a statement of universality.

        • DR

          Perhaps there is a version of the Bible that states, “For God so loved the world (with exception of those we use the Old Testament to justify despising) that He gave…..

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Yes God so loved the world that WHOSOEVER believes, shall not perish. It doesn’t say God so loved the world that no one will perish, it says BELIEVERS won’t perish, but have everlasting life. We must believe, that Jesus is the ONLY and UNIQUE way, the truth and the life…..there is none other and no other way and no other “truth”. There are not different paths or roads all leading to the “Divine” there ONE and only one and unique way – Jesus Christ.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            You’ve made your point clear, Brian. We are familiar with this gospel. It’s very popular.

          • DR

            Brian, you’ve just outed yourself. You don’t believe – as a result of how you interpret the Bible – that God loves everyone (even though he has created every human being in His image and His beloved Son also died for every human being on this earth). That was a rather shocking revelation to offer so casually.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            I don’t consider the Bible shocking, but some do I suppose. If Christ died for all the sin of all the people, then all people are going to heaven since all sin is paid for, right? So you beleive in universalism then. God loves everyone, every human is God’s child all are going to heaven some day, so might was well live as you want since there are no eternal consequences for your sin and rejection of the Gospel.

          • DR

            No, this doesn’t resemble what I believe at all. Wow you really are on the aggressive-offensive track today!

          • Brian W

            Well then what do you believe about who goes to heaven and for whom did Christ die. Did he actually atone for the sins of his people or did his death just make everyone “savable”?

          • DR

            Brian, I’ve asked you several questions that you’ve ignored, the first of which is which christian groups outside of conservative groups are aligned with your beliefs about same-sex marriage as well as your Biblical views that homosexuality is against God’s plan. It’s polite conversation to actually answer a question prior to asking questions. So I’m going to hold you accountable to being polite.

          • Brian W

            DR

            Well if you want answer now, then I don’t know, but I’ll research the question if you like. I think however that if there is a liberal/conservative Christian group / denomination that doesn’t affirm same gender sex as natural and normal and support same sex marriage you will claim they’re not liberal/conservative, they’re something else. I mentioned Joel Osteen and it what claimed he wasnt liberal. You see by default if you don’t support same sex marriage then you’re a conservative.

            Also I have never claimed homosexuality is against Gods plan or His will. Nothing occurs outside of Gods perfect plan and His sovereign will.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Brian, the Liberal Christians I know find the prosperity gospel of Joel Osteen and the like to be one of the worst bastardizations of the Gospel of Jesus outside of and irrelevant to his views on any other issue, homosexuality included. He is not Liberal, nor Progressive because of that. If you don’t want to claim him as a Conservative, that’s fine too, which is why I think he falls into his own category. But he is not Liberal.

            Perhaps, at some point, it would be fruitful for each of us to define those two groups as we understand them.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            That being said, several of the reasons many put Osteen closer to the conservative end of the spectrum is his belief in:

            1) The inerrancy of scripture with a literal leaning

            2) The Divinity of Christ

            3) Substitutional Atonement

            4) Salvation through faith

            and his charismatic ties as well as his self-taught religious education.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            You have an evangelical Christian view of the gospel, Brian. We understand. Thanks for making that clear.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            I have the Bible view of the Gospel

          • DR

            You’ve already acknowledged that there are “Catholic” views of the Bible and “Liberal” views of the Bible – is there not also room for an evangelistic christian view of the Bible? Or are you and those who believe like you just pure Bible?

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            you lost me on that one

          • DR

            Brian in several other threads you’ve said very plainly that “Liberals” interpret the Bible in a specific way. You’ve also said the same thing about Catholics. Evangelicals like yourself – in that same vein – also have their own interpretation of the Bible. Just as Christy said.

            Also looking forward to those non-conservative Christian denominations/groups/organizations that are aligned with you as a conservative christian when it comes to same sex marriage and the Bible not supporting homosexuality. Sojourners is one group, I’ll even give that one to you. Are there others? You are very aggressive in denying the blame others lay at conservative christians’ collective feet for the theology that alienates gay men and women so I’m curious as to who is actually declaring that theology other than conservative christians so we can hold them accountable. Let me know who that is please. Thanks.

          • Brian W

            Ok let me get this straight if only conservative Christians are “preaching” this hateful homophobic doctrine, when no one else is, then why would homosexuals care what those hateful homophobes preach since they’re in the minority anyway?

          • DR

            Ok let me get this straight if only conservative Christians are “preaching” this hateful homophobic doctrine, when no one else is, then why would homosexuals care what those hateful homophobes preach since they’re in the minority anyway?>>>

            Wait – are you suggesting that conservative christianity is the “minority” group of Americans? If so, you’re just completely wrong, conservative christians represent approximately 55% of the christians in our nation based on the latest data from Christianity Today. They are the majority and as such, have enjoyed influencing the law, our educational system, our entertainment – everything.

            And even if they were the minority, the fact that you think that diminishes the harm done is so bizarre, I don’t even know how to respond to that. It’s like telling a rape victim, “Hey the people who think you asked for it are the minority so why don’t you just get over it.”

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Because those Conservative Christians, Brian, own the most radio and TV time (of religious programming). They lobby Congress. They oppose days in school where anti-bullying messages are promoted. They buy commercial time on TV to oppose gay marriage legislation. They write books used as guides in youth groups to teach against everything from kissing to masturbation. They are our Dentist, our Doctor, our coaches. Our minister, our Sunday School teacher, our youth group leaders. Our friends, our friends parents, our neighbors, our relatives. They are our parents.

            Those messages come through loud and clear. As a kid I had no doubt where my parents stood on issues of dating.

            1) “I’d rather you brought home a black boy than a boy with an earring.” 2) “You can’t doodle the names of your friends, your grandmother, your favorite teachers, [or basically anyone you happen to care about] on your folder because someone will think you are a lesbian.” ` age 13

            I didn’t know what being a lesbian really meant. But, suddenly, I knew it was very bad.

            That’s why kids are suicidal. That’s why kids want to kill themselves. Because you see, Brian, kids are born loving unconditionally. They want the love and attention and approval of their parents and others they look up to more than anything else in the world. They have to be taught to hate. And, sadly, they are so very often taught to hate themselves.

          • Don Rappe

            What contemptible idolatry.

          • Brian W

            Christy,

            Boy I see the opposite. Most religious programing I see is feel good emotionalism. In movies conservative Christians are all hateful homophobes and stupid idiots. The media in general is very anti-Christian.

            Both sides of an issue buy commercial time and print literature, that will always occur. My youngest kid public school has anti-bullying messages all the time.

            Yes conservative Christians are in all walks of life as are atheists, Muslims, Jews etc. What is your point with that?

            I agree, hate is a learned response, but opposing views on an issue does not equate to hate. I do get the feeling from people who blog on here that if someone disagrees with the status quo, that means you hate and are homophobic. Tolerance is acknowledging and respecting other people’s beliefs while still allowing for disagreement.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Yes, Don. There’s that.

          • DR

            I agree, hate is a learned response, but opposing views on an issue does not equate to hate.>>>

            Your “opposing views” fuel the bullying, suicides, lack of equality in marriage and the on average, the 14 violent crimes a day that occur in this nation alone. Your “opposing views” were brought to Uganda where the church there that holds your “opposing views” has taken it a step further and offered legislation that would make being gay – and those who hid the fact that someone was gay that they knew – punishable by death.

            This is a lot different than you not believing in Purgatory or a theological disagreement on how much money Christians should have. Your “opposing views” on homosexuality and same-sex marriage actually fuel violence, regardless of whether or not you want to believe it or acknowledge it. You’re in total denial of how much, so much so that you’d actually point to the .008% of our Muslim-American population as being able to promote their “opposing views” – in America – for decades – in a way that’s gotten so pervasive, our kids have to go to anti-bullying classes to leave gay kids alone because the suicide rate is so high.

            You just don’t want to see it. It has to be devastating to the gay men and women reading this that you don’t, even after so many have invested hours trying to teach you.

          • Brian W

            I know there is violence to gay kids in school. I know that, I don’t ever recall saying it never happens. It happens to fat kids, non athletic kids, not so physically attractive kids, the “geeky” kids, bullying happens not just to gay kids, lots of kids get bullied and it is mean and cruel. This horrible treatment is not because of some conservative Christian agenda, it is because of sin and our nature. It is tragic that teens commit suicide yet straight and gay teens are and it is sad. I’ll admit perhaps I am blind. The actual violence committed to the GLBT community is literally committed by conservative Christians? I know of no Christian that would condone any type of violence to a homosexual. I know some pretty homophobic people and I know none that condone. Those religious people in Uganda bring shame and disgust to the word Christianity, I dispose what they say and do, it is beyond appalling.

            I admit perhaps I am blind,

          • DR

            I know there is violence to gay kids in school. I know that, I don’t ever recall saying it never happens. It happens to fat kids, non athletic kids, not so physically attractive kids, the “geeky” kids, bullying happens not just to gay kids, lots of kids get bullied and it is mean and cruel. >>>

            It actually happens to gay kids at 4x the rate of those other kids, Brian. That’s often the reason I suspect, behind the angry reaction you get when you keep trying to equate the severity of what’s happening to children to all of the other children when it is 4x worse. Suicide among gay kids is 4x worse than any other group of kids.

            It’s not suggesting that the other bullying is bad – for example, men get raped too and it’s just as bad as women getting raped – it just happens to women the most. That’s why people get upset with you when you attempt to equate it with the other things happening, it’s like talking about the horrific crime of rape toward women and you chime in with “But it happens to men too”. That might be a reason why you’re getting the reactions you are getting, or one of them.

            As for bullying and being gay, sadly it’s directly traced to kids who believe that they are “bad”. No other group is teaching that gay people are somehow “bad” or “sinful” in our culture as a result of their sexuality other than conservative christians as well as the other groups mentioned. Are christians actually committing the violence? Sadly, yes, some are. many who identify as “christian” are. Clearly there’s huge issues with their faith and are they in name only? Yes, I would suspect so.

            But the larger responsibility is in fact, the theology being preached from the pulpit and on the internet and within the stated theology of the denominations and groups that do it. Michele Bachman is in a very close race for the nomination to the Presidency, she has thousands of backers. Here are just a few quotes on what she’s said about homosexuality, there’s just no one else saying this kind of thing. http://www.thebachmannrecord.com/thebachmannrecod.html

            This isn’t an attack on you personally – it’s just the primary that’s offering this into the public discourse and why conservative christians are responsible for the damage done by those kinds of quotes. These are the people being voted in and they speak for “the christian point of view”. Many of us are angry about that and are saying so.

            And what people might be reacting is This horrible treatment is not because of some conservative Christian agenda, it is because of sin and our nature.>>>

            Sure, that’s part of it. But the *fuel* to that sin nature is the beliefs out there that being gay=being against God’s plan.

            It is tragic that teens commit suicide yet straight and gay teens are and it is sad. I’ll admit perhaps I am blind. The actual violence committed to the GLBT community is literally committed by conservative Christians?>>>

            Yes, there is a lot of data on that, in the south in particular a number of hate crimes are committed by those who regularly attend church. Google “gay hate crimes” for more information. It’s not non-Christians who are hurting gay people for the most part – they don’t have any kind of righteous anger toward them.

          • cat rennolds
          • Diana A.

            “I know of no Christian that would condone any type of violence to a homosexual. I know some pretty homophobic people and I know none that condone. Those religious people in Uganda bring shame and disgust to the word Christianity, I dispose what they say and do, it is beyond appalling.”

            But here’s the thing. Anybody can call themselves a Christian and then claim that what they are doing is in the name of Christ. And over the centuries, much evil has been done “in the name of Christ” and is still being done “in the name of Christ.” Even the Ugandan thing–anti-homosexual “Christians” in the United States encouraged that legislation “in the name of Jesus.” Can you understand now how some people could look at these behaviors and think that this is what Christianity is all about?

            Even you and I have come away from the Bible with very different views of what it means to be a Christian–not to mention a whole host of other stuff. (I was appalled that you could question whether God loved/loves Hitler. You take it for granted that of course God hates some people/things. And that’s just one issue on which we disagree and you and I are only two people who call ourselves Christians–out of how many billions?)

  • Maria

    It is people like the man who wrote this letter who are far more Christ like than the rest of us. Christ was chastised by the leaders of his “church”; Christ was told that he wasn’t “right” in the church’s eyes; Christ was “given” over by his fellow Jews to be tortured and tormented by those in power. I’d say that the “Christians” who treat others like this man was treated are not Christians and are in fact Pharisees and Sadducees. The people Jesus actually preached against.

    Paraphrasing the Bible: “Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many [gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people] came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the {Evangelicals] saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with [gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people?]” When Jesus heard that, He said to [the Evangelicals], “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick [do].” But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the [self-]righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:10-13 NKJV).

  • Nance Demattos

    This is similar to my story so I want to share something that has given that tiny bit of me that is still Christian some comfort. Many years ago a friend of my family, who was (now retired) a doctorate tenured professor of Greek language and author of text books on Greek language, told me something that the churches would never admit to. Mathew 8:5 to Mathew 8:13 is the story of Jesus healing the “servant” of a centurion from a distance. Jesus praises his faith and heals his servant. Well according to my professor of Greek friend, the word that was used for servant, “pais”, in that context CAN be translated as ” Beloved boy.” Given what is known about centurions in Roman history, that they were not allowed to marry, were sexually impartial, and had many slaves who were disposable, it rings very true to me that this centurion clearly had a deep affection for this particular “servant” which very likely included a sexual relationship. Research it for yourself, but be aware that scientific/linguistic/ historical sites will include definitions of “pais” that mention a sexual relationship and sites with religious leanings such as concordances will not.

    • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

      Nance,

      You are correct about how the Greek word can be translated and in its historical context. The Centurion had such faith he knew that all Jesus had to do was speak the word, he didn’t even need to touch or see the sick slave, just say the word. The central point of the story is the Centurions FAITH. But these are all make believe stories anyway, you can’t take it literally, if you interpreted this story as literal fact that would be frowned upon by many readers of this blog (like Dirk for example).

      Now the slave, yes it could have been a boy, just don’t know, most likely an older teenager at the youngest because a soldier would want a slave that is strong and useful. As to there being a sexual relationship between the two, it just can’t be said so with certianty. What is true from the text is the Centurion called Jesus Lord, he had a sense of utter humility in his presence becasue he said he wasn’t worthy for Jesus to come under his roof and finally, he had great faith. Based on these 3 points it appears the man was a believer (by calling Jesus Lord, his humilty before Jesus and his faith in Jesus) so it is also safe to assume that this Cemturion probably had the same care and love for all his slaves as he did this sick one, but you can’t assume it was sexual, but again, you can’t say it wasn’t either. The Bible is simply silent on whether their relationship was sexual in nature.

      Again the most important point in the story is the Centurion’s great faith IN CHRIST, not his relationship (whether sexual or not) with his slave.

      • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

        Brian, may I point out how you have chosen to make an argument against what Nance has so vulnerably shared with us was “something that has given that tiny bit of me that is still Christian some comfort.”

        A more compassionate response might have been to abstain from responding here. Instead you have told him that the something which has given him some comfort was not the point of the story and not important to the point. You have chosen to assume that the Centurion loved all of his slaves equally while in the next breath claiming one cannot assume that the relationship was sexual. If it is your position that the Bible was silent on this issue, perhaps it may behoove you in like situations to be silent as well.

        • DR

          The homophobic urge to distance homosexuality from any positive scriptural interpretation at all runs quite deeply, it would appear.

          • Brian W

            No I just don’t read something into Scripture that’s just not there, I wasn’t arguing with him. It is a basic premise of Bible interpretation not to read into Scripture what is not there or to assume. Like to assume that there was “very likely” a homosexual relationship between the Centurion and his slave solely because of what an acceptable translation of a Greek word could be. Again there could have been a sexual relationship, we don’t know and can’t assume because there is no Scriptural support for it. It’s not homophobic or an attempt to “distance” some positive homosexual interpretation. The central point of the story is the Centurions faith, not what the sexual relationship was between the sick slave and the Centurion. I didn’t assume he loved all his slaves/servants the same, I said based on the Scriptural evidence the Centurion was a believer and because he was a believer, he would love all his slaves / servants the same because that’s a mark of a Christian, you will know them by their love. The point is what victories can be won by faith in Christ. Look what Christ did for this man because of his faith -THAT is the point of the story, Jesus is the focus, not someones sexual orientation. Is everything about homosexuality?

          • Dirk

            Speaking of interpreting things into the story which aren’t there, Jesus was a Rabbi and the centurio was, thus, not a ‘Christian’.

            Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi, by the by.

            And, yes, it is quite relevant that the servant is spoken of in these terms as opposed to others which would definitely exclude a romantic love.

            Had the relationship you so desperately desire to read into the text held, the word would have been ‘sclavus’ or ‘servus’ or, were your abominably poor translations to witness the slightest bit of accuracy, ‘lakai’, perhaps.

            Brian, you do know that lying is forbidden, both in commission and omission, no?

          • Brian W

            Pais does not automatically mean a hom

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            You are right. It doesn’t. But it automatically doesn’t rule it out either.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Good points, Dirk.

          • DR

            No I just don’t read something into Scripture that’s just not there,>>>

            It’s none of your business how the Holy Spirit uses a scripture in someone else’s life.

            Again there could have been a sexual relationship, we don’t know.>>>

            You should have just stopped there. No. We don’t know. Period. Stop there. If interpreting the scripture in this way created a pathway back to Jesus after years of abuse and shame as a result of being told that gay = abomination, then your opinion doesn’t mean anything.

            The point is what victories can be won by faith in Christ. Look what Christ did for this man because of his faith -THAT is the point of the story, Jesus is the focus, not someones sexual orientation. Is everything about homosexuality?>>>

            Deep breath. I’m taking a deep breath and channeling Christy.

            OK. I’m back.

            Brian, Nance has just told you she was alienated from Jesus – her Savior – our Savior – as a result of Christians. She just told you that the way this scripture was interpreted was the slim connection to Jesus she’s retained, the Jesus you keep saying is the point of this thread. You seem quite comfortable with the idea of that being severed so you get to be right about homosexuality not showing up in this verse. Are you at all emotionally connecting to Nance in this moment? is there any part of her story you actually felt? Or did your compulsion to correct her interpretation rule this moment for you?

            Stay out of peoples’ experience of Jesus, you’re treading in some seriously dangerous spiritual waters as you attempt to clarify and modify someone else’s testimony.

        • Mindy

          Christy, I don’t think Brian can help himself. He just can’t let there be a possible positive reference to homosexuality in the Bible. I’m fairly certain that Nance is aware of the non-literal aspect of the Bible; otherwise, she’d not likely have shared this point. As someone distancing herself from Christianity, how else could she view the Bible?

          Brian just can’t leave it alone. Sad, that.

          • Brian W

            There was no “positive” reference to homosexuality in the text, there was no reference to it in the text. What is the spiritual truth being taught by the Apostle? The answer is simple – what victories can be seen by faith in Jesus Christ. From Genesis to Revelation faith is near and dear to the heart of God. I just can’t believe how you can miss such a clear truth in the story and the focus of Christ and instead make a possible homosexual relationship of the Centurion and his slave / servant the point that is important. Christ is the important truth of the story.

          • DR

            What you fail to see is the harmlessness in identifying the possible (if not probable) sexual connection between the two. You had to call it out, as though the suggestion of a sexual relationship between the two was somehow overshadowing the points about Jesus that were also clearly being made and the hope, relief and experience of Jesus it brought to Nance. Instead , you had to rush in and cut that off in your urgency to move Nance off of that, you had to make sure that *your* version of the “spiritual truth” was the one that was being taught.

            You have absolutely, not one clue of what the Holy Spirit was doing in Nance’s life by illuminating that possibility of romantic love in this passage. Nance talked about the interpretation of the passage in this way moving him/her slightly closer to opening his/her heart back up to Christ. But you just had to rush in and make sure that your position on what the Bible says about homosexuality got to be the real point of this conversation, not this person’s actual faith in Christ being restored as a result of how this passage was explained to him. Ugh.

          • Brian W

            Well if someone is trying to find biblical affirmation of same gender sex as the impitus to “find Jesus”, they’re completely missing the purpose of Christs earthly mission and death on the cross. It’s not about sexual orientation it is about Jesus and the Gospel.

          • DR

            Wow.

            I can’t believe you just put quotes around someone’s experience of Christ.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Brian. Your certainty, my friend, is getting in the way here. You are not a spiritual traffic director. God speaks to each of us in God’s own way and it is not up to you or me or anyone else to dictate how God does or does not reach out to us. You unnecessarily limit God and God’s access to each of us when you make assertions such as this and it is a stumbling block to others. Please stop doing this.

            You and I had a positive exchange within the past few days where we agreed that it was Religion that often gets in the way of God. Yes. It does. And this is what I am saying is happening here. Can you see how this is so?

          • Mindy

            Brian? Stop it. Please. I am fairly certain that if Jesus were here, he would walk right and take away your keyboard. You are the one who has missed the point completely. NO ONE is taking away from the Christ-centered point of the story. NO ONE.

            Nance was focused on that, finding joy in the fact that Christ’s love touched upon these two men, regardless of what their relationship might be. Which is what the LGBT Christian community keeps telling us they would like to feel from other Christians – you know, that non-judgmental, you’re-OK-because-God-made-you-and-Jesus-loves-you, kind of love. And when other Christians are dead set on pointing out to them that this is not true, it is a relief and joy to find a Biblical passage that might point to the fact that these close-minded dolts are flat-out wrong.

            You don’t know what it’s like to be gay and suffer at the hands of holier-than-thou Christians any more than you know, with certainty, God’s intent. So stop trying to act like you understand more than everyone else.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            I know I’m no spiritual director and God does speak to us as He deems fit, but he will not contradict His written word, since God is not the author of confusion. What we know as certain is the Word of God and if God speaks to you that contradicts His written word then there is a problem.

            You’re right I don’t know what its like to be gay and suffer for it, I don’t. I also am in no way being judgemental in. I agreed that there could have been a gay relationship between the Centurian and his “beloved boy”, perhaps so, I don’t deny that, but to insist there was is not supported contextualy, that’s all, it is possible but not certain. I look at what is certian in that story, namely that with great faith in Christ believers can see and experience great victories, no matter what the sexual orientation. Am I wrong?

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            No one insisted that the relationship was undeniably a sexual one. You built that straw man pre-emptively so you could tear it down. You look at the story and see what you see. Nance looks at the story and sees what she sees and you are both right…. without insisting that the other relate to the story in the way that you yourselves do. This is the point. This is the freedom that exists in your faith.

            What I said was lacking in compassion about what you said was that you felt it necessary to qualify her statement so no one potentially misunderstood what she and the text and the Greek professor were saying. You needed to make that point crystal clear that the text is not clear. You did this at the expense of being critical of the way the Spirit had worked in her life through this scripture, the very thing that she said was what had held her by a thread to the faith.

          • Mindy

            Exactly, Christy. And he just can’t seem to stop himself from doing this, over and over. You put it beautifully.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Yes, this. Exactly. This is how ego blocks compassion: In the need to share one’s own perspective and scriptural interpretation as correct and superior to someone else’s. (Please see my comment below about the Spirit). Our relationship with the Divine, or God, is inherently individual.

            There are times when clarification for accuracy or in light of context or academic or historical insight does enlighten and contribute to the conversation, particularly when discussing things in a non-emotional setting. Nance’s statement was not factually in error and Brian’s need to redirect the focus of it stepped all over Nance’s emotional connection to the text. This is the lack of compassion of which I speak.

            In the lexicon of clergy terms we could put this into the “pastoral care” category. Or from the wonderful children’s book, “The Three Questions” by John Muth, Who is the most important one? When is the most important time? What is the most important thing to do? (Hint: it’s always in addressing the needs of the other).

            This is how compassion dethrones our ego and allows us to put the needs of another in place of our own.

          • Mindy

            I will quote you – “This is how ego blocks compassion: In the need to share one’s own perspective and scriptural interpretation as correct and superior to someone else’s.”

            That is a powerful, powerful statement. The dreaded need to BE RIGHT. Brian insisted in one of his comments that God would not author confusion, and I actually laughed out loud when I read it. If one truly believes that – and I do – one has to admit that the Bible does little toward that end. God made it so simple. He is love. The rest, it’s all nonsense.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Thanks, Mindy. Yes, it is simple. We make it hard.

            Even Jesus reminded us over and over again how simple it is. Like in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 which Jesus told in order to answer the lawyer’s question about what he must do to inherit eternal life.

            “Which of these was the neighbor to this man?” Jesus asked the lawyer. “The one who showed mercy” was his reply. Yes. “Go and do likewise” was Jesus answer.

            Our minister pointed out on Sunday that the first two religious leaders who passed by the beaten man on the side of the road likely did so to avoid breaking the purity laws of the day – to not touch an unclean thing (a dead person, blood, etc.). But as is so often worth noting in the parables of Jesus, he chose to make the hero of the story the marginalized person – a Samaritan, someone despised by the people of the day. These are details in the story that are important and do matter and were purposely included.

            Love God. Love each other – everyone – even those you despise. Do this and you will inherit eternal life.

            Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church….

            Thanks be to God.

            http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+10%3A25-37&version=NIV

        • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

          I’m sorry, Nance….her. This is my brain on kids.

          It is my experience with my Conservative Christian family that it is more important for them to be right than it is for them to be compassionate. This fits that bill. Brian is aware of the role I perceive compassion to hold in following the way of Jesus.

          I think what is important about what Nance said is that this part of the story had significance and meaning to *her*. And that it *is* relevant and important that the text uses the word pais and therefore it is not silent at all. What is also significant is that Jesus *is* silent in the story about the relationship. He says nothing. There is no “go and sin no more” phrase that we frequently see in encounters he has with others.

          The hubris of religion is that it insists on telling us what is important about the text and what the text means, whereas the beauty of the Spirit is that it speaks to us in ways that enlighten, and enrich, and comfort, that others may not always be able to see.

          Bless you Nance as you hold onto that tiny bit of you that still finds comfort in the faith.

          • Brian W

            What is important is we handle and understand the Bible correctly. To assume that just because the Greek pais is used to then believe unequivocally it means there was a homosexual relationship between the Centurion and his servent is not supported by the text itself. The reasoning is not sound. Pais could be translated “beloved boy” and because Centurions don’t marry and Romans were sexually liberated and because he cared so much for his boy servant to ask Jesus to heal him, means well, they were gay lovers. What kind of scholarly interpretation is that? They could have been homosexual lovers, it is possible, the text is silent on it, but to say they were with absolute certainty is unsupported by the text. I said it is possible and they could have been, but the text doesn’t say they were with

            certainty. Once again the focus of the story was missed – faith in Christ can result in great victories and instead the focus is a possible homosexual relationship between the Centurion and his “beloved boy”, Christ is pushed off to the side and homosexuality is the focus. It’s all about homosexuality and same sex marriage isn’t it? Jesus is just an afterthought…..

          • DR

            Nance wasn’t proving anything was “certain” – you’re trying to do that. What seems most important to ou Brian is making sure that there is no trace of the Bible being used to justify homosexuality being anything other than sinful.

            You don’t corner the market on “handling and understanding the Bible correctly”. What you just did was put your version of what the Bible says – as well as your discomfort in seeing a passage interpreted in ways that you believe is incorrect – over Nance’s experience of Christ via how the Holy Spirit provided insight into this passage.

            You keep saying that in the end, it’s all about Jesus. And experience of Jesus. You keep saying that gay people can be and are Christian. Yet in this instance, you demonstrate your need to control how people like Nance actually *experience* Jesus via this scripture. If it doesn’t fit into your “scholarly interpretation” then you’re somehow giving yourself the license to question the actual experience. Of someone who’s already admitted to almost tubing Jesus all-together. Stunning.

          • Diana A.

            I agree with DR. If John’s blog still had a “like” button, I’d be pressing it.

          • DR

            I truly don’t understand. If the goal is Jesus, then who cares how a scripture is interpreted if in the end, Jesus is discovered and experienced? Perhaps Brian has some kind of last word on who the real Jesus is and how people actually get to Him. I’ve always assumed the Holy Spirit was in charge of that.

          • Brian W

            Yes I suppose I’m saying some things that are certain and some things that are not certain, what is not certain is the relationship between the Centurion and his servant was sexual, we don’t know that for certain, the Greek word “pais” in and of itself doesn’t mean a sexual relationship. There are numerous acceptable translations, CONTEXT determines meaning and there is no indication contextually it was without a doubt and 100% certainty, it was sexual. You can not say their relationship was sexual, you just can’t, based on the text. It is POSSIBLE but not certain.

            What is certain, the Centurian called Jesus Lord, he was humbled

            to the point that he said he wasn’t worthy for Jesus to come under his roof and he had great faith, so great than in all of Israel Jesus couldn’t find such faith. Jesus never said that of an unbeliever and no unbeliever behaved towards Jesus as this man nor said he wasn’t worthy. So based on the mans actions and words and what Jesus said of the man, he was a believer or using a New Testament word, he was a Christian. This is supported contextually and Scripturally, this we know for certain.

            Finally what is the focus of the story, the Centurians great faith in Jesus and the miraculous healing of his beloved servant at just the very word of Jesus. What do you and others want focus on? O because the Greek word “pais” was used, they were homosexuals. The Centurians faith, non-issue, Jesus healing, so what, what matters is Jesus healed a homosexual, that’s what matters the Centurian and his servants were gay, that is the important issue. They were gay because the word “pais” was used.

          • DR

            What is certain is that Jesus invites us all into a relationship with Him and the Word of God is alive. The Holy Spirit uses it to bring us to the Father through Christ. That is what you’ve offered as the only thing that matters, yet you continue to try to control how others experience this passage – even though an interpretation that is different from yours leads them to Jesus.

            This is not a matter of people attacking you, Brian, as much as you believe I and others are doing that and I know it feels that way. This is your need to have the last word on what is “certain” in the Bible and what is not. How people like Nance are experiencing Jesus and how they are not. You actually put her experience of Jesus via this scripture in quotes, as though you had some ultimate authority in questioning it. Which is why – when you say you’re here to learn – I question it. Because that is the action of someone who believes they truly know best. And if you really can’t give the last word on what the Bible says to people who are gay and lesbian, then I’m not sure much you can learn. Learning is letting go of what we know, and that’s tough.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            I agree with DR. Especially the first part.

            Brian, do you see how you are trying to control Nance’s experience of the scripture? Do you see how you are insisting what you see as important in the text is the only thing that is important? Can you see how this verse spoke to Nance, and that Nance isn’t using it to try prove something, but is sharing how this verse gave her comfort and *kept* her in a relationship with Jesus? How she is not making a categorical academic statement of certitude about what the passagemeans for everyone and for all time, but rather is stating how it made her FEEL? Can you see how Nance, as a person who stated she identified with the letter writer and has likely felt marginalized within the church because of her sexual orientation, would find comfort in this story if read in the light that the Centurion and his servant *might* have had a romantic relationship and Jesus, being all knowing, would have known this, and despite all of the negative information the Church and Religion has told us about homosexuality, Jesus showed compassion to the Centurion, who was not a Jew but who showed faith and trust in Jesus’s ability to heal, and yet Jesus made no mention of the relationship? Do you see how a person’s individual experience shapes what they see in scripture and how God uses scripture to speak to each of us individually? Can you see any of these things? And if you can’t……are you willing to try?

            And this is a good example of why it is so important to note that historically women were categorically denied the right to translate and interpret scripture and to be church leaders – because we see with different eyes and different life experience. And yet, within this diversity of seeing lies the beauty of scripture – it can speak to each of us in ways that transforms our lives and draws us closer to the One in whom we live and breathe and move and have our being.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Brian: “What is important is we handle and understand the Bible correctly.”

            You presume that there is only one correct way to understand the Bible, a common complaint among Progressive Christians of their Conservative counterparts. Do you see how there is room within scripture to interpret some passages differently or do you feel there is a rigidness to scriptural interpretation and only one “right” way?

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Sure there are different interpretations on vaious passages or subjects, I don’t deny that. I don’t presume there is only one correct way to understand the Bible, but to understand it correctly, one starts with what is certain in the text and go from there. God is not the author of confusion. If there are diametrically different interpretations of a text or passage one or perhpas even both must be wrong. “A” can not equal “non-A”.

            For the text we have been discussing all I said was we can’t affirm with certainty that the Centurian and his “beloved boy” were gay, it is possible, but not certain and to attest they were gay unquestionably is not supported by the text, possible but not certain. That’s all I’ve said

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            You have built your own straw man to tear down as no one here including Nance attested they were gay unquestionably. Nance said, ” it rings very true to me” that it was “very likely”. Everyone else has affirmed maybe yes, maybe no – it doesn’t say – but it is within the realm of possibility.

            But, with all due respect, Brian, you continue to miss the point of our criticism of your response.

            It never was about the accuracy of the translation or interpretation. This was your issue. The criticism was about the lack of compassion embedded within your statement, of which you continue to fail to acknowledge.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Lack of compassion really? How have I been uncompassionate? All I want for Nance is to focus on Christ and His Gospel, He suffered far more than Nance ever has or ever will. Everyone forsook him and he suffered the most painful death that a human body could ever endure. The “Passion of the Christ” movie didn’t come close Then at His most needful time, God the Father “turned his back” on his son as all the sins of his people were laid upon him and God the Father could not look upon His only son as he bore ALL the sins of His people ‘ My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” Jesus all alone even from the Father then gave up the ghost…….No ones pain and suffering ever, Ever EVER will compare to that and no Love is greater than what Christ did for his people on that cross on Mt. Calvary.

          • DR

            Please just listen to Christy.

          • DR

            All I want for Nance is to focus on Christ and His Gospel, He suffered far more than Nance ever has or ever will.>>.

            For the love of God. What she just told you is the reason a slim part of her DOES focus on Christ is a result of the way she interpreted that passage. So who cares what your opinion is if she is still connected to Christ? What part of that do you not get?

          • DR

            This has all been explained to you so carefully – by so many – most of them artful, gracious and articulate. But it’s as though you just refuse to actually read with the intent of understanding. Listening. You’re just defending.

      • Dirk

        Brian,

        You just keep proving my point that conservative Christians are hateful.

        I don’t doubt for one picosecond that the Centurio loved his slave romantically and that they were lovers.

        Nor do I doubt that Jesus healed his pais.

        Stop putting words in my mouth. Oh, what the heck. The vile filth spilling forth from your keyborad probably harms your cause more than it hurts the cause of justice and freedom from violence and abuse for gays, lesbians and the transgender.

        Carry on, please, do.

        • Brian W

          Yes the Gospel of Jesus Christ is vile filth, a Gospel given freely to all is hateful.

          • Don Rappe

            Brian please don’t identify the vile filth that spills from your keyboard with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s blasphemy. Your claim that the centurion was a “believer” in the sense you mean is not so much a mistake as a lie. There is no way this centurion keeps his commission without being a practicing pagan. The point of the story is that the faith of this pagan is being praised above the faith found in Israel (i.e. the Church). It is praised because of its humility and strength. (You have the humility part completely correct.) There is nothing in the story to indicate he knew Hebrew scripture or had any understanding of what Christ or Messiah might mean. The centurion was a commander of much that was seen and so is a lord. He understood that Jesus was likewise a commander of things that are unseen and is likewise a lord in a greater realm. Your claim that Nance said that the text absolutely showed a gay relationship is a filthy lie about what she said. She used the term “very likely” about the relationship with the beloved boy and I see no reason to argue with her. Many times these stories were aimed at the Sadducees who were legalistic nit pickers.

          • Dirk

            Very well said, Don.

            There is a great deal to be learned from the way conservative Christians focus their energies exclusively on hatred of the other.

            Whether that other be self-actualized women, gays, lesbians or the transgender, they hate us with all their hearts.

            And they have the nerve to call it ‘love’.

            The Nazis could have learned a thing or two from the conservative Christians on how to disguise hatred as loving concern.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Lets look at the text itself in Matthew and Luke, that fully support the conclusion he was a believer:

            He is called the friend to the Jews, by the Jews and funded the construction of a synagogue. That relationship didn’t form over night, since he was a Gentile AND a Roman officer. Not too well liked by the Jews. Sounds like a pagen alright

            He sent for Jesus through the Jews, so he knew their customs as a Gentile – yup gotta be a pagen

            When Jesus came to him, he called him Lord, not lord. A word acknowledging his Divine authority- yup thats what pagens do

            He, as a Roman military officer, was so humbled at the presence of Christ he was overwhelmed with unworthiness for Jesus to even come under his roof – pagens do that?

            Then his incredible faith, he believed that all Jesus had to do was speak and his “beloved boy” would be healed. Such great faith not to be found in all of Israel. Reads like a pagen response, does it?

            There is no account anywhere in Scripture where a pagen /unbeliever said such things or behaved in such a way to Jesus or Old Testament Prophets. Jesus never heaped such praise on an unbeleiver either.

            But just because he was a Roman officer, he MUST be pagen, with no biblical support., right?

            The Roman practice was to draft people into the army from the local area so they knew the customes, terrain etc. Again based on biblical evidence the Centurion knew Jewish custom, he even had a home in and around Jesus’ ministry. He was right in the heart of it. Now, we can surmise that he may have known some the people Jesus healed before and after. He may have talked with one or more of the Apostles. The story takes place AFTER the Sermon on the Mount, he very well may have heard Jesus preach his most powerful recorded sermon. We don’t know, but the Scriptural evidence is he was a believer. The evidence is beyond any reasonable doubt, unless of course you’re a pagen.

            Finally I didn’t say Nance said they were absolutely gay, I said you can’t say for certian they were and since you can’t, we shouldn’t assume or even go as far as say “very likely”, possible is about as far as the text and historic culture will allow.

            The focus of the Scriptures is Jesus and the “good news” of the Gospel, to all people, no matter what your sexual orientation.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            You say pagan like it’s a bad thing. Ever heard of Celtic Christians or Christian mystics? Or panantheism?

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Don also alluded to pagan in teh negative sense, not a positive one. Not familiar with the beliefs of “Celtic Christians” or “Christian mystics” (seems oxymoronic) can you share what they beleive? I suspect they’re pagans?

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Pagan is often used as a catch all term. In Roman times it meant country dweller and distinguished the religious practices from those of the city dwellers. There might be more Celtic Christians and Christian mystics today if they had not been maligned as Pagans and decimated by the Church. I’ll let you do your own research on them. Julain of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, more modern times Richard Rohr, John Phillip Newell are a few names to start with. Marcus Borg touches on it in his “The God We Never Knew.”

          • DR

            Finally I didn’t say Nance said they were absolutely gay>>>

            Do you even read what you post? Above, this is what you said:

            What is important is we handle and understand the Bible correctly. To assume that just because the Greek pais

            :::::::is used to then believe unequivocally::::::

            it means there was a homosexual relationship between the Centurion and his servent is not supported by the text itself. ”

            What does the word “unequivocally” mean?

          • Mindy

            He can’t answer you, because then he’d have to admit he was wrong. I am stupified, truly, at Brian’s lack of understanding here. You, Christy, Dirk, Don R., me and many others have explained to him what is wrong here, and as Dirk says, he continues to prove the hatefulness of conservative Christians time and again with his ramblings. That he cannot see how what he said to Nance was utterly unnecessary and smacked of not only a lack of compassion but a holier-than-thou attitude makes me wonder why we continue to engage with him at all. He is willfully refusing to see it, and I don’t believe it could be more eloquently explained to him than it already has. He’s choosing to be obdurate; if he gives up his stance he will have to admit a truth he, so far, cannot.

          • DR

            You’re right. I know you’re right! (guess what movie?)

          • Brian W

            What truth I’ll finally have to admit? What am I missing? Explaining a text was utterly unnecessary? You speak for Nance but have they said anything? I’ve been hateful, really come on, if I don’t agree with you 100%, that makes me hateful and homophobic. Since you disagree with me on almost every post, does that make you Christophobic? I’m getting it now, if anyone doesn’t affirm that same gender sex is natural and normal, support same sex marriage, disdain conservative / fundamental / orthodox Christianity and interpret the Bible just like you, then they’re hateful and homophobic, you’re acting exactly like what you accuse the conservative Christians of doing. You don’t tolerate everyone or accept everyone “just as they are”, you accept people and heap accolades on them IF and only IF they have the same beliefs on homosexuality as you. You’re all (most anyway) as intolerant and unaccepting as the self-righteous conservatives…..yuk

          • DR

            Brian,

            You consistently tell everyone that you’re here to learn. That you’re open to changing and growing, both of which are very difficult things. Yet when you’ve had opportunities to learn from people who’ve actually been very kind to you – very patient – you just keep questioning what they have to offer or you go on the defensive. I guess I’ve just come to accept that you aren’t ready to learn yet. Or perhaps you’re incapable. You’re too invested in not just what you believe, but who that makes Brian. This is all too scary for you to accept, it represents too much change.

            Who knows why you’re here? While I don’t believe it is to learn, I’ll be honest about that, you do seem quite motivated in defending this apparent persecution of conservative christians everywhere. You confuse criticism with being attacked so thoroughly that it’s impossible to keep the conversation on track with your self-pity. And your aggression against Dirk is feels almost creepy. So responding to you at this point is just an interesting intellectual exercise.

            That may be hard to read and I’m sorry if it hurts you unnecessarily. But someone needs to tell you the truth, you are marinating in this self-pity and this notion that you are being persecuted. Gay men and women – dozens of them – have actually told you that *you* as a result of your beliefs are the aggressor and you just dismiss them outright. You just refuse to learn. I guess we don’t learn as much as we could when we limit who are teachers are.

          • DR

            Explaining a text was utterly unnecessary?>>>

            Whoa.

            Brian, *you* believe that text is “totally unnecessary”. Nance offered that it was the *lifeline* to Jesus for her. How dare you actually state that a verse – a verse in the Word of God – is “unnecessary” for someone else? Are you actually the Holy Spirit now? Do you claim to have that authority to know Nance’s heart and prioritize that scripture for her?

            Imagine a woman in front of your church giving her testimony. She just talked about the passage about the woman at the well and offered a perspective on it as a woman, that was important to her. But more importantly, how that perspective caused her to consider Jesus. Then imagine you standing up and shouting “The way that you just interpreted that verse is completely unnecessary and you’re missing the point about JESUS! What about Jesus!”

            and she looks at you, bewildered because she was just telling you and everyone else in church how the passage helped her experience Jesus.

            That is exactly what you did and continue to do here. Regardless of what you are *trying* to do, that is what you did. And are doing. Stop trying to make your intended action your actual impact. Listen to the people you are impacting.

          • Brian W

            DR,

            You told me explaining the passage about the Centurion was unnecessary on my part, I didn’t say that, you said that of me. I’m not wallowing in self-pity because my ego has been hurt or damaged. I have learned much since coming in here, I do want to clarify that not all conservative Christians are hateful homophobes and if some believe that the covenant of marriage is between a man and a woman, doesn’t mean they hate people in the GLBT community and not all conservative Christians believe gays can not be strong and faithful Christians. Some are very vocal and hurtful in their beliefs towards the GLBT community, yes there are, I don’t deny that. Not all conservative Christians are represented by those morons. Is Dirk’s hate towards conservative Christianity indicative of how all the GLBT community feel towards conservative Christians?

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            DR’s example of the woman in church is spot on. Brian this was my point. DR sees it very easily, as does Mindy. Though, Mindy, I’m not sure how willful his not seeing is.

            When we are deeply rooted in our ego, our ego goes to great lengths to protect our sense of self…..so much so that it will not let us see ourselves as others see us. People say things and we miss what they are saying completely, because our ego directed sense of self only hears criticism and it’s a natural response to defend and deflect and turn the argument around. It takes a reasonable amount of self-awareness to be able to see ourselves as others see us. This is what I have been talking about when referring to dethroning our ego from the king position in our lives and allowing compassion to lead us instead…..where we are not the most important one – someone else is. Where we take a step back before responding and assess where is the other person coming from? How will what I’ve said be received by them? When our sense of self feels threatened, whether physically (like Dirk) or intellectually (like Brian), our ego fights back to protect our long cherished, deeply ingrained sense of self. It is why change is so difficult for so many people. Any of us here who have read about human psychology or who have been through the healing, but painful, process of therapy understands.

            Brian, I had a feeling you didn’t understand what I meant by compassionate. You said: “I’ve been hateful, really come on,”

            I never said you were hateful, nor unkind, nor even implied it in your response to Nance. I said it lacked compassion. Someone can be the sweetest, kindest, calmest, sincerest person talking about Jesus and what he did for us and how he can change our lives and still be completely lacking in compassion. At its heart this is what is at issue with the complaint about the “love the sinner hate the sin mantra.” It actually isn’t loving. Telling people they need to convert or they will burn in hell isn’t loving. It is fear inducing. It is manipulative. But it is not loving – no matter how the words come out of our mouth in the most loving tone of voice. No matter the intent of the person. It is not loving and it is not compassionate.

            Compassion isn’t being nice to someone. It isn’t even feeling sorry for someone. Compassion is making room for someone and putting their needs above our own. Accepting where they are and letting go of our agenda in order to interact with them in the way that is best for them. Not what is best for us. It is not merely listening to someone ; it is making the effort to *hear* them. *THIS is WHAT you FAILED to DO with NANCE.* I can’t say it any plainer than that.

            Your ego felt the need to 1) show your Greek knowledge 2) Dispel the possible assumption someone might possibly make that the the relationship between the Centurion and his slave was sexual 3)Be “right”. These became your primary concern rather than the feelings of Nance who expressed her vulnerability in admitting that this verse in the way it spoke to her was the tiny thin thread of hanging onto her faith that had provided her some comfort. You came along and cut that tiny thin thread with your “I need to make sure people don’t misinterpret scripture” scissors.

            Compassion is seeing from the place of the other and adjusting our behavior accordingly. I know that it is difficult to hear this. It is difficult to receive criticism. It always is. It’s not because YOU are wrong. In the scheme of academia regarding communication style this has been a good example of what is categorized as “unproductive” or “unhealthy.” In the common vernacular what we’ve been asking you to do is called “owning your shit.” A person with a healthy sense of self would say: You’re right. I don’t know why I didn’t see that. I’m so sorry. I messed up. Thanks for pointing that out. And then offer support to the person whom we wronged.

            Her need for us to affirm her hanging onto her faith is more important than your need to make sure everyone who reads John’s blog doesn’t think the Centurion had a sexual relationship with his slave. And you could have even gone on to make this point, perhaps, in a way that didn’t negate her connection to the text and without making your understanding of it “the right ” way of understanding the scripture.

            You are very knowledgeable about scripture, Brian. You have clearly done a great deal of self-study and reflection. You are intelligent, and I commend you for sticking with your conversations here though they have been challenging and, I am sure, at times, painful. I have been in your place of certainty before. I have fought the good fight you believe you are fighting now…..and then God showed me love and compassion like I never knew – Divine love, perfect love, unconditional love – and I realized that all I had ever known about God and love and people and relationships and communication was not right. And that I had hurt a lot of people. A lot of people had hurt me. And I was hurting myself…..and I owned my shit and saw with new eyes…..and for the first time I knew that the second miracle of Easter was the transforming power of unconditional love – a love that will lay down it’s life for it’s friends – and how if we live like Jesus taught us to – if we walk that narrow path of loving our neighbor as ourselves and our enemies too, if we show grace to each other as God showed grace to us – we and the world can be transformed….. for good.

            I care about your life and your journey, Brian. I understand your certainty. I hope you can understand my compassion. I hope too that you can find this Divine love and the peace that it brings…. to give you the courage to put down the hurts that we carry around – often unknown – that keep us from loving ourselves and others as we all so desperately want and need to be loved. Blessings, C

          • Mindy

            I wish I could be as kind as Christy. This comment of hers, Brian – read and re-read it. Until you really and truly understand it. Because it is flawless truth.

            You said this: “I’m getting it now, if anyone doesn’t affirm that same gender sex is natural and normal, support same sex marriage, disdain conservative / fundamental / orthodox Christianity and interpret the Bible just like you, then they’re hateful and homophobic, you’re acting exactly like what you accuse the conservative Christians of doing.”

            And I would say: No, you are reacting overly defensively because you are afraid. You are afraid that you might be wrong, that you might be part of an organization that has wronged a whole segment of the population you profess to accept and love, and that feels awful.

            This is more what I believe: “If anyone doesn’t affirm that same gender sex is natural and normal [and] support same sex marriage, then they are indeed homophobic and not hateful necessarily, but ignorant.” Ignorance is curable – you learn from those who walk that path. And when you learn, you open your mind and let your understanding expand, rather than hang on for dear life to your need to be right. You said learning is why you came to this blog in the first place. But every time someone has tried to teach you anything, you hold your Bible up like a shield, protecting you from the knowledge that might force you to question what you’ve always believed. So you don’t learn. And we get frustrated. Hopefully, time will remedy that – and I will try not to be so bitchy.

          • Mindy

            Here, Brian, is a perfect example of what DR explained about the difference between “intended impact” and the “actual impact” of your pontification in these blog comments.

            You said this: “if some believe that the covenant of marriage is between a man and a woman, doesn’t mean they hate people in the GLBT community.”

            The intended impact is not hate. I believe you. But the actual impact? Hate. The GLBT community, as has been explained to you in every way from Sunday, feels hated, persecuted, belittled and discriminated against when they are told that their monogamous love is not worthy of marriage like the monogamous love of straight people.

            Period. It simply doesn’t matter that the conservative Christians don’t believe they hate anyone. The result of their dogma is the persecution of an entire population. That is hate. None of the rest of it matters, Brian. A few tiny passages from a massive historical text that has been translated and re-translated over hundreds of years are being used to justify not only discrimination, but bullying on all levels. Until conservative Christians can let it go, can understand that what God intended, because He is a God of love, cannot be the “rulebook” they have tried to paint the Bible as being, they spread hate. And any conservative Christian who does not believe with them but does not speak out against them is complicit.

          • Brian W

            Christy,

            You’re right on many points, I admit I must have been blind about some words and posts. The intent of my heart in my posts can’t be seen and I have never intended to come across as I obviously have. Sorry to anyone that my posts have hurt in anyway.

          • Don Rappe

            I’m glad to see that what I said to you was in simple enough terms to catch your attention. I have no idea why you would refer to two different Gospel witnesses. Were you trying to “harmonize” them? Are your methods of interpretation so primitive you don’t understand the problem with that? Why do you suppose DR and I can so easily see the lie you told as you built your straw man and you can’t see it? Do you suppose for a minute I would make a detailed response to Biblical interpretation to a man whose critical understanding is so limited he can’t read his own posts? Can you see how idolatrous and blasphemous it is for a man who can’t read his own posts to refer to his interpretation of scripture as “The Word of God”? Others here have addressed sufficiently the distinction between your heart and the Way of Jesus. My intention was to call your attention to something different. My point is simply that you frequently speak out of ignorance and that your sarcastic assumption of being a teacher to us is preposterous. And tiresome. Here’s a translation of a verse introduced into this pericope in Mathew. “Many I tell you, will come from east and west to feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven. But those who are born to the kingdom will be driven out into the dark, the place of wailing and grinding of teeth.” Here Jesus affirms the universality of the kingdom, but, if you read it carefully, you may also find a message for yourself.

          • Brian W

            I used two Gospel accounts of the same event because through both of them, you can read the complete story. There are many events that are mentioned in two, three or all four of the Gospels so you must study all recorded “viewpoints” to determine all the facts. That is not a problem, that is simple logic, read all the witnesses testimonies.

            I didn’t refer to my interpretation as the “Word of God” the Bible is the Word of God, not my interrelation, I won’t call you a liar, so I’ll say you were mistaken.

            Others have addressed the distinction between my heart and they way of Jesus and you accuse me of playing the Holy Spirit but these others are not?

            I claimed to be a teacher? You’re mistaken again

            Rabi, when you use the term “universality of the Kingdom” what does that mean? It is universal in the sense that it is universally available to all and just being born in the kingdom (Jewish) doesn’t automatically get you in, or does it mean all will universally be in the Kingdom?

  • M

    “And yet, every day it is a struggle to hold onto that shred of faith when so many other self-proclaimed Christians adamantly declare my apostasy and condemnation to hell for daring to love in the way that comes naturally to me.”

    This spoke to me. But I want to point out that the phrase “daring to love in the way that comes naturally to me” is dangerous. Sin comes naturally to everyone. Choosing not to take a second glance at the shirtless man at the beach or watch a pornography flick is not easy. In fact, some may say our biology is reason to give in. They say it’s OK because we “naturally” want those things. Some people may have a desire to hurt others. It may come “naturally to them” to do those things. Some people may have a desire to steal. It may come “naturally” to them. The thing is, sin comes naturally. Hence, why it ensnares so many people. But we can chose to abstain from sin. We can chose not to look at the porn movie or not to take a second glance at the woman in a bikini. We can chose to walk out of a store without shoplifting. We can chose to not hit our significant other in the face, even if we have natural inclinations to do so. We can chose not to spend a couple thousand dollars on a dangerously high credit card while our partner is out working hard. We can chose not to take the next drink in a bar. We can chose not to drive home after we’ve had too much to drink. We can chose not to shoot up the heroin that makes us feel so good. The world tells us “do what comes naturally to you.” So long as you don’t really hurt anyone else, do it. But it’s a lie.

    Even if science one day is able to point to a sin gene, it is our choice to act on our genes, our desires, and our sinful natures. Many in the science community say man and woman are not meant to be faithful. We’re meant to pro-create with as many people as possible. So why do we stay faithful to our partner or spouse? Because we love them, we love God, and we know we do not have to be a slave to sin.

    I am an avid proponent of LGBTQI rights. It was difficult for me to write this, as many of my friends are LGBTQI. But, sin is tempting, I love the letter writer and I hope he remains firm in Yeshua and God. May God Bless You All.

    • DR

      The simple point – you as someone who is straight has “natural desires” that aren’t sinful. So do gay men and women, the urge to love someone, share a life with someone and have sex with that person. Neither is sinful. The end.

    • Mindy

      Mary, I don’t believe for one second that God will mind if you take a second look at the sculpted abs of the guy on the beach. Really.

      If you love someone, being faithful comes naturally. You may be tempted, but your love and respect for your spouse or significant other gives you the strength not to give in to that temptation. Admiring another’s physical form is not giving in, it’s not even necessarily lusting. I can look at another human’s beautiful form and not wish I was having sex with them, just appreciate it’s beauty, male or female.

      I understand your point, but what this man says comes naturally to him is not sin. If you truly believe in LGBT rights, you have to believe that.

    • Annie

      Are you comparing being gay to shoplifting? People are born to be shoplifters? That’s a new one.

      • Annie

        And you think science will discover a “sin gene” ? So all our friends in the GLBT community, and all the shoplifters, and ME (I admit to checking out a few guys on the beach, I didn’t even know THAT was a sin) will be cured ? Now I am totally confused.

        • DR

          If me checking out men on the beach – on the train – in their car – on the street – is the result of a sin gene, I’m one walking sin gene. It’s amazing that any gene remains uninterrupted. If the non sin genes in my body could talk they’d say “Hey sin gene, how about you give it a rest.”

          • Brian W

            There is no sin gene, but there is a sin nature that all of humanity possess.

    • jennifer

      please read my poem posted in comments above <3

    • jennifer

      I am in huge agreement with you on this, but what speaks to me first and foremost, is our greatest command…LOVE. We are commanded to LOVE everyone so many times that it boggles me that many spend a lifetime studying the Bible and still don’t get it. So with that being said, I ‘choose’ to accept EVERYONE for who they are and let God work out the rest. In fact, I only recall one instance in the Bible where God proclaims his hate. Its somewhere in Zecharia and goes something like “Do not imagine evil against thy neighbor, nor love no false oath, for these are the things I hate, saith the Lord.” yep, look it up! God doesn’t hate the gays, He hates the ones who hate them!!

      • vj

        “I ‘choose’ to accept EVERYONE for who they are and let God work out the rest. ”

        THIS is just lovely :-)

        We all need to remember that we can only control ourselves, and trust God to lead everyone else to work on themselves. It is NOT my job to try and control others – even my kids (although, as a parent, I do have *some* responsibility for leading/teaching/training – but mostly just loving them as unique individuals).

        • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

          Wonderful insight, VJ. We and God are responsible for change for ourselves. God and others are responsible for change for them. Our role is not to try to change anyone else, and trying to change others or wanting others to change actually creates a great deal of unhappiness in our lives and relationships. There is a great deal of wisdom in the serenity prayer. Thanks for sharing this.

        • Mindy

          Hear, hear, VJ. I couldn’t agree more.

  • jennifer

    PLEASE READ POEM: My name is Jennifer and in recent events I was engaged in a lengthy debate between my gay brother and my Christian friend. Of course like most Christians her feelings were not swayed and she stood firmly only on the ground that God said it is wrong, therefore, it is. Feeling completely helpless myself and sensing my brothers agonizing frustration, I wrote a poem. I have very little knowledge of the Bible but I have always felt a great sense of Christianity <3 It is my true belief that my rhyming words that day were sent to me from a special place, because I have never written poetry before, nor even wanted to. The poem was written in about 20 minutes so it is no award winner but very heartfelt. My heart goes out to anyone who ever has to face the struggles that come with homosexuality. I wish someday that I am able to share my words with the whole world!!! We don't have to hate anybody, in order to love ourselves. <3 Title of my poem is….'They Tell Me' … I have a special love that I hold so deep within, they tell me to express it would only be a sin, I hear You love me for me, but they tell me that's not true. They tell me that to be myself would be a disgrace to You. I want so bad to love and to love the man I choose, but they tell me that my love is hate and I feel so confused. You died upon the Cross so that we could all be saved, but they tell me that my love is not the reason for Your grave. I want so bad to do whats right and to someday be Your friend, but they tell me that my hearts desire will be my burning end. I have this special love to give and its raging in my heart, but the things that they tell me are tearing me apart. I'm asking You Dear Jesus, for You are the One who holds my trust, is my love a beautiful love or is it sinful lust?…..Dear son I tell you this and I tell you loud and clear. I want you to listen, I want you to hear. My Fathers' love is Mighty, it will never stumble nor will it fall. He loves us all emensely, yes, He loves us all. so share your love completely and share without regret, for this love is a beautiful gift from the One we have not met. He sent Me for redemption, yes, this much is true. He sent Me here to let you know He loves you just for you. …<3 God Bless <3

    • jennifer

      please read my poem posted in the comments <3

      • DR

        Hi Jennifer,

        your brother is certainly blessed to have you in his corner.

        • jennifer

          thank you, but I feel that I am blessed to have him <3 and I am soooo thankful that God chose me to be the one to comfort him that day ;)

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            The relationships we have with those we love and whom we hold dear and who love us in return are the source of some of life’s greatest meaning. Your love shows; when you are filled with love it can’t help but overflow onto those around you. Bless you and thank you for sharing your love here.

    • Dirk

      Your brother is in luck to have you, in deed.

      One of the greatest weaknesses of the legalistic, literalistic, ‘my way or the highway’ mindset is that it sets one up for one of the worst transgressions possible, the conviction that one knows the Mind of God.

    • Don Rappe

      I like your poem Jennifer.

    • http://djfree@blogspot.com DJ

      Jennifer, that poem was beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing :)

  • http://www.theevangelicalnetwork.net Ed Ness

    To the letter writer I want you to know that I am a gay man and yes an evangelical Christian. I am so sorry that the evangelical Christians you have encountered have come across as judgmental. That is the opposite of Jesus’ teachings. Evangelical from the “Greek ” means “Good news.” It was never meant to be dogmatic. Evangelical Christians are simply “supposed” to be enthusiastic about tell others about the good news of Jesus’ teachings, life, death, and resurrection. Please do not give up your passion for telling others about the good news. If you would like to learn more about lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender evangelica Christians and their straight allies please visit http://www.theevangelicalnetwork.net .

  • http://www.pinkisforboys.com Sophia Cairn

    I can’t thank you enough for posting this letter, and I am so sorry for all its author went though. As the parent of an assumed-to-be-gay child (long story… more on my blog if anyone is interested), I have also struggled with the church and the term Christian… and yet, also feel compelled by Jesus. We switched denominations for our son when he was still very young and displaying signs of gender variance and are now fortunate to have many gay Christian friends. Right now, the church is the one place (outside of our house) where he can truly be himself. I dread the day when my son realizes that all Christians aren’t like the ones in our church, but this letter reminds me of all we can be grateful our son won’t have to experience as he grows.

    • http://blueberrypancakesfordinner.wordpress.com/ erika

      what great parents you are.

    • Don Rappe

      Your post gives me great hope!

    • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

      Bless you, Sophia. Oh, that we could all have such tuned in and unconditionally loving parents.

  • http://www.rainbowsoffaith.wordpress.com rainbowsoffaith

    What an article. I think a lot of believers feels its cut and dry with someone going from gay to straight. I think they don’t see that its not for lack of wanting to change. For gay people who do love God and have a relationship with Him to have fellow believers discredit soomeones faith because they have a particular struggle makes me sick. I wish Christians could be more real regarding their struggles and not act like being gay is worse than any other sin/struggle.

    • Dirk

      Being gay is neither a sin nor a struggle.

      Sexual orientation is immutable.

      Your position is based on a false assumption.

      • n.

        actually from what i have heard from first-person accounts … some people’s sexuality evolves over time and some people’s changes according to hormones produced by their body. but a LOT of people are either Straight or Gay and that’s it and they were never and will never be anything else.

      • J

        Well put Dirk.

    • DR

      Being gay is not a sin and it is a struggle, only because Christians believe it is a sin.

      • Dirk

        Only conservative Christians, DR. Non-hateful Christians don’t believe such lies, created to justify the rape, beating, torture and murder of gays, lesbians and the transgender.

        And, yes, you are very right – they do make it a struggle. That hateful, vile, loathsome piece of vermin, Michele Bachmann has the highest level of gay teen suicide in her school district of the entire country.

        No surprise, there.

        • Mindy

          Which she refuses to comment on, by the way. Vile is right.

        • cat rennolds

          Michelle Bachman is indeed a natural rallying point for the haters and she makes the most of it.

          However, there are non-hateful Christians who believe such lies, unless and until they have reason to believe otherwise. I’ve met ‘em, talked to ‘em, even watched some of them learn and grow and change.

  • Mindy

    The whole concept of only one narrow path leading to God is simply beyond the pale. If reading this man’s journey doesn’t open your mind, even the teeniest bit, then I fear yours is rusted shut.

    • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

      Mindy,

      The writer of this letter seems to concur that Jesus is the only path to God

      • DR

        The writer identifies as a Christian – a lot of Christians believe what Mindy offered, it’s not a foregone conclusion. Where does the OP actually anything that would lead you to that impression?

      • Mindy

        Actually, Brian, I don’t believe he said that anywhere, but since I wasn’t talking about Jesus vs. not Jesus, your comment is irrelevant.

        My point was that the writer is surrounded by so many self-proclaimed Christians who are really haters that he cannot live his life as a loving, proud, GAY Christian in their eyes. They have so narrowed the supposed path to God that only a few self-aggrandizing bigots are allowed to walk it.

        Personally, I know in my heart of hearts that God can be reached by many paths. But I was not in any way assigning that to the writer, nor did the writer opine on that matter.

        • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

          OK now I see what you mean when you said the “narrow path”, so when Jesus said there is ONE way and ONE path through ONLY him, you don’t believe that then?

          • Mindy

            Nope. I don’t. I don’t take it literally, Brian. I believe that anyone can find their way to God, by living a life of compassion and honesty and love and work. Like Jesus lived. I think anyone who lives through Jesus’ example, even if they learn those ways from Mohammed or Buddha or Mother Nature or their parents or friends or by trial and error through life, will find eternal peace and contentment. I do not believe that Christianity is the only path to God. Sorry, never have, don’t now. That doesn’t mean I don’t respect it as a valid path, when lived as Jesus taught. Just not the only one.

            I also believe in reincarnation of the soul, so obviously, I follow a different path.

          • Brian W

            Ok, thanks for sharing your beliefs

          • Don Whitt

            The path is so broad that it is like a plane and that plane extends through all places where love and understanding reside. There is one way, but it is a way, not a gateway and it is inclusive, not exclusive.

            I wish that Christ’s message could be broadcast directly to the heart like a radio wave instead of through canon like the Bible. Perhaps then it would resonate with the love intended instead of the judgmental poison so many extract from it.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Thanks for clarifying, Don. I appreciate it. Namaste.

          • Brian W

            Don,

            Christ’s message is directly to the heart, via the Holy Spirit. The unconverted man doesn’t receive spiritual things and looks at the Bible as contradictory fables from a bunch of dead Jews. When the Holy Spirit enters a persons heart through the Gospel the love of Christ does takes hold and their heart, mind and actions change (repentance).

          • cat rennolds

            Christ’s message can ONLY be broadcast through the heart, Brian’s right about that.

            But since it’s not in language to begin with, the translation varies from person to person, place to place and time to time. Sometimes it sounds like the wind in the trees. Sometimes it sounds like a baby. “Christ” is only one WORD for it. Another one is “love.”

          • http://www.the-truth-shall-make-you-free.com Linmayu

            I love this, Don, and actually, Christ’s message IS broadcast directly to the heart like a radio wave. This is even referred to in Scripture. Deuteronomy 30:11-14: “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. ”

            Even before Christ was born, God’s Word was broadcast directly into every human heart, and it lives there. When Christ came, He underscored that message by giving the commandments “Love the lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” In our hearts, we all already know what love is, what it’s like to receive it. The Law calls for us to give to others that which we would like to receive. The rest of the Bible is useful too, but nowhere near as important as that one command from Jesus.

          • Don Rappe

            I do believe this. The final redactor of the 4′th Gospel is quite clear about who the Jesus speaking in it is. The meaning of Jesus in this quote is almost identical to that of Lao Tzu in the Tao Te Ching saying “There are many ways but only ONE way (tao).

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Thanks, for this Don. Would it be fair to say One Way by many names?

          • Don Rappe

            Yes.

          • cat rennolds

            woot:) My mom used to say it was a great diamond with many facets. Or the blind men and the elephant.

            A Rose by any other name becometh not a skunk cabbage.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            =) Love the blind men and the elephant!

          • Allie

            Romans 2:12-16

            For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

            (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

            For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

            Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

            In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

    • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

      Love this, Mindy.

  • grannydebs

    I love you, John!

  • Rob B

    Test comment…

  • Rob B

    Seems to be working fine from here John!

  • Suzy

    Great letter; thanks to the author for writing this enlightening letter, and thanks, John, for posting this. I hope the letter writer has found a truly loving Christian church that he/she can be fully comfortable in to share his walk with Christ. I’m still just astounded about why so many people who adhere to the fundamentalist/evangelical way of practicing Christianity are so quick to believe what they are told by others in that group that there is something wrong with anyone who isn’t heterosexual! They are missing the whole basic tenet of Christ;s teaching of his new commandment to LOVE ONE ANOTHER! Where’s the love in this whole discussion when they are involved?

    Keep up the good work, John. I can only hope that putting out posts like this can help chip away the hate and allow more room for love.

  • HJ

    What a wonderful read. I can’t imagine how deep the hurt goes here. I was raised mainline protestant and its tough enough.

  • histrogeek

    So long as you love God in Christ and love your neighbor, you are a Christian in God’s eyes. However, it’s not hard to see why this man would want to distance himself from the hateful “regional managers” that claim the copyright on the word Christian.

    • n.

      i like that, “regional managers”. that’s a clever way of explaining it!

  • http://mysticbluerosegarden.blogspot.com/ Debra Masters

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry that your life has been such a struggle. I am sorry that the narrowness of some people’s Christianity has made your life (and the life of gay people in general) so difficult. I do pray that that is changing as more and more of Christianity moves away from the narrow, right-wing that it was couched in for so long in America. Know that GOD loves you just the way you are. That you are an amazing creation of GOD and that your story will touch lives and hearts and show that there is a better, more loving, way.

    Debra

  • charles

    great post John- it really shows how complicated life can be.

  • Jean

    I have a really hard time with people who believe that being gay is a choice. I always say that when I hit puberty, I never questioned whether I would like boys or grils. The heterosexual impulse was hard-wired in me. So why isn’t the homosexual impulse also hard-wired? Gays are not “defective” creations of God.

  • http://www.constitutionalwarrior.com Dan Clements

    Someone needs to explain Romans 1:22-28.

    • http://www.hillsideslide.blogspot.com TinaC

      It seems to me that passage is about idolotry. “..changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator… For this cause God gave them up… And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over…”

      I see no comparison between those who have no interest in GOD & those who love GOD very much & want to serve Him, and happen to be gay. Like the man who wrote this letter.

      The Bible starts right off with “it is not good for man to be alone.” If that’s how you’re wired to love & form relationships, then best wishes to you… it’s not good to be alone.

    • cat rennolds

      In Romans 1:22-28, Paul is describing the sexual RELIGIOUS practices of the pagans of that time. He’s not talking about same sex LOVE or RELATIONSHIP. Which wasn’t anything he knew anything about, anyway, gay OR straight, because he was celibate and single.

  • http://sinnerviewer.blogspot.com/ Sinnerviewer

    God bless you, dear man. Jesus loves you and so do I.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2011 Kay

    Actually, there is no scientific evidence that one is born gay OR that it is chosen. Some day we can hope that the answer will be discovered. BUT, until then, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? Why should it matter what one’s sexual orientation is? It’s NO ONE’S BUSINESS what you do with a consenting adult when the doors and closed and the lights are off!!!

    John, come to a Unitarian Universalist church and stay a Christian AND be accepted for exactly who you are! Sound too good to be true? It’s true!

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

      Thanks! But I didn’t write this letter.

    • Brian W

      What, you’re not born gay!! Dirk, you’re not going to chime in here?

      • Mindy

        Brian? Shut up.

        • DR

          It’s the hostility framed within that sugary-sweet christian coating that is so deeply unsettling. But there may not be the capacity there to understand.

          • Mindy

            True, DR, so true. And I apologize for my rudeness.

            Wait. No, I don’t. Brian needs to stop that kind of childish nonsense, and the only way he can stop it, it appears, is to stop talking altogether. I love that he tried to call a truce with Dirk, then pulls this crap. Sorry, but his tired justification of his brand of Christianity’s hatred is getting very, very old.

          • DR

            No need to apologize, sister. I see all the same stuff.

          • Don Rappe

            Your response was not rude at all compared to the sarcastic comment.

          • Brian W

            It is so funny how you can dish out all manner of insulting words to me and I get just the slightest bit sarcastic and I’m told to shut-up, I’m rude and childish. I tried for a truce with Dirk and apologized but he didn’t respond in the affirmative. Fine, his true colors shine.

          • Don Whitt

            Brian, I think they expect more love, compassion and understanding and less judgment from Christians. Just a guess.

          • Mindy

            Brian, I shall continue to “dish out insulting words” as long as you continue your holier-than-thou deconstruction of other people’s personal spiritual journeys. You don’t get to decide how others interpret Scripture. You just don’t.

            I don’t even care if you never acknowledge that you might be wrong – but one day you’re going to have to lose the certainty that you are absolutely correct.

          • Dirk

            A truce in the sense that the Nazis pretended to offer the Germans who were Jews that they would relocated them in Palistine?

            Here’s a better idea. You conservative Christians stop beating, raping, torturing, murdering and making life hell on earth in every way you can for gays, lesbians and the transgender.

          • DR

            Brian, The beliefs you hold are contributing to a mindset out there that hurts gay men and women – we’ve all shown you this a thousand different ways a thousand different times and you just refuse to listen to it. You refuse to consider any of it in any meaningful way. And as a result, the ways that you’ve spoken and continued to speak to Dirk – who’s a victim of your beliefs – is reprehensible. Yet all you can do is continue to focus on your feelings.

            The truth Brian is that there are a lot of people who are quite angry with you and others like you who believe in the ways that you do and are simply saying so. You have to be able to take the heat if you’re going to believe that same -sex marriage, for example, is wrong – that hurts people. Be willing to face the consequences of your belief from those who are dealing with that hurt. Or most importantly like Dirk, feeling it. I’m kind of bewildered that you don’t get this.

          • DR

            But one more thing – John has earned my trust and my respect. It’s clear to me that he believes in you and wants the best for you and I’m glad you continue to stay in this. It takes a lot of guts. I’m going to trust the Holy Spirit has you here for a reason and I really do pray for the Grace to hear what you are here to learn. And I also hope and pray that our anger over the hurt that your views (on homosexuality) have caused wouldn’t detract you from the message.

            Please remember that I know what you’re going through on this forum, I’ve been where you are, on the other side of rage – even hatred and certainly contempt. I was held responsible for the actions of others, for not doing enough to stop them. I was hostile and defensive with the suggestion that I was hurting anyone – I just wanted good things for people! I was furious and sick to my stomach and being so misunderstood.

            For me, it was shocking and painful but it did wake me up in ways that being kind to me did not. I really am rooting the same will be for you. You seem like a man who really does love Jesus and you want to serve him.

      • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

        Brian, John’s page attracts people who want to have a legitimate discourse, a safe place where they can tell their story, and discuss difficult and important issues…not see who can score the most snarky points and best zingers. There are plenty of other pages out there if that is what you seek. While I, and others who have spoken to Dirk, find the frequent anger in his comments also less than helpful and the broad brush strokes less than accurate, I understand why his angry. Your approach with Dirk, if it is your intent to point him to the Christ you claim or show him that you aren’t like the people with whom he is angry, is counter productive. You have only worked to reinforce the stereotypical view of Conservative Christians. The passive aggressive stuff has no place here.

        • Brian W

          Christy,

          I was hoping that was the case, but this blog for most people is a place to share stories, thoughts, ideas from like minded people and if people post a thought, idea or opinion that is different, they’re hateful and homophobic. If I had made a post and claimed there was no scientific evidence one is born gay, I would have been on the receiving end of one Dirk’s or others tirade for sure and you all know it.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            I attempted to engage Dirk about his rage, anger, and broad generality making, as has John and VJ and others. He’s not been open to receiving what we had to offer and so I think we accept where he is and have moved on.

          • DR

            Brian there are a lot of people who’ve been really generous to you. And a lot of us who’ve been angry with you and you’ve also been angry – you’re angry at those who support “Obamacare” for example, you feel angry with a lot of what is happening in this country right now. And there’s an added layer of anger to those who’ve seen firsthand, what your beliefs about homosexuality do to kids in particular, but also our family and friends. And that anger can actually be an education if you want it to, not all of our beliefs are going to be welcome certainly and persecution for our faith actually does exist. Is it persecution in this circumstance? I’d say it’s more the consequences of what you believe about same-sex marriage, etc. But I’m confident we’re all going to work through it, I really am.

      • Dirk

        The reason John permits us free reign here is to encourage productive discussion.

        You, Brian, have done more to support my position that conservative Christians are hateful, deceitful people who desire nothing more than to make life for gays, lesbians and the transgender quite literally a hell on earth.

        What further response is needed, else to note Q.E.D. (that means quod erat demonstrandum, as you so obviously regard everyone here who disagrees with you as either stupid or illiterate or both.)

        • Brian W

          Dirk,

          No I don’t make such claims about people who have different opinions than I do. How am I hateful Dirk, I apologized to you asked for a truce and you blew it off and I’m the hateful one? My desire for all people – regardless of sexual orientation – is to point them to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With you most of your posts is your anger to conservative Christians in general, name calling to me in particular and claiming all conservative Christians are homophobic, hateful, murderous, commit torture, deceitful with a primary goal to make life to the GLBT community a hell on earth. If it wasn’t for these hateful nazi-like conservative Christians everyone in America would affirm that same gender sex is natural and normal and support same sex marriage. Conservative Christians are what’s wrong with America.

          • Mindy

            Brian, it’s really extremely simple. You insist that you want all people to find Jesus. That is lovely (aside from the fact that many people have no desire to change the path of their own faith, but that’s a different conversation.).

            You then insist on adherence to your one particular interpretation of the Bible. You say you don’t, that it’s open to different interpretations, but then turn around and remind us that the must interpret it “correctly.” When you discuss the “liberal interpretation of the Bible,” your insinuation is that it is wrong. You bristle when someone points out how other Christians believe that *your* interpretation, the conservative, evangelical interpretation, might be the one that is wrong. Oh, no. That can’t be.

            But in that version, gay people are broken sinners without access to God unless they denounce and ignore that core piece of their very being. And every time someone points to a different way of interpreting a verse or passage that might point to acceptance, you “correct” them.

            Yet you can’t figure out for the life of you why you keep getting called out. I’m not sure anyone can help you understand, until you pull the blinders off yourself.

          • cat rennolds

            Mostly. But Brian hasn’t said we don’t have access to God. Unlike most of the conservative Christians I know, he’s said repeatedly that God’s love is for everyone who sincerely seeks it, regardless of orientation. That you CAN be gay and Christian. It’s nice that he hasn’t run screaming yet. It’s nice that I’m not an abomination before the Lord. It’s a start. It’s way more than a lot of them are doing.

          • DR

            Cat, you have so much integrity and I love the way you are in everyone’s corner, you help me get myself in check. Thank you. xoxo

          • cat rennolds

            wow, really? Okay…..total side note, but thank you!! I thought I was just a wuss. My husband calls me a waffle. I never thought about ALWAYS being in everyone’s corner as being integral in and of itself…….Of course, he’s also the one who taught me that bigots deserve our tolerance too.

          • DR

            I don’t experience wanting the best for everyone as being a wuss. You remind us of the love we’ve been given at our absolute worst and how that can translate into love for people who harm us and the world. I’m a big Harry Potter nerd (hello, I am a grown up, scary) but one of my favorite quotes is: “It takes tremendous courage to stand up to our enemies. But even more courage to stand up to our friends.”

          • Mindy

            You are right about Cat, totally, DR. I don’t see her as a wuss at all, but as a someone with a kinder heart than my own. :)

            My hope for Brian is that he will finally be able to see the disconnect in continually saying that God loves everyone, but only the ones who follow one particular interpretation of the Bible get to know Him. To him, that seems to make sense.

            And I’m also a total HP nerd, btw – there are many quotes from those books that describe a life of courage and grace – I can only hope to live up to a few of them, in my own little Muggle way . . .

          • cat rennolds

            Blushing madly. Also an HP fan, but the books, not the movies. I actually don’t much like favorite books being turned into movies, it infringes on my imagination. Plus with the new special effects, they give me migraines and make me motion-sick. sniff.

          • Jack

            Even assuming that the homosexual orientation is a sin, all this means is that some people are subjected to temptations that heterosexuals are not.

            Does this mean that heterosexuals are some how spiritually superior because they are spared some temptations?

          • Dirk

            Or, to ring the corollary, were we to assume that being gay is a sin, then are heterosexuals so weak, they can not be permitted to even try to grapple with it?

            I like that, Jack.

          • DR

            With all due respect Brian, I honestly can’t think of another prominent part of our culture here in America that’s promoting these messages with such financial backing and organization and conservative christians. Muslims are, certainly, they do believe that homosexuality is wrong. So do very conservative Jews. Do they have groups that are lobbying congress and raising millions of dollars? Not that I’m aware of, they’re pretty small in population.

            I’ve tried in the spirit of trying to be objective to come up with other groups but I just can’t think of anyone else beyond conservative christianity that activitely promotes the messages that homosexuality is against God’s plan, it’s bad for kids to hear about it in public schools and getting married should not be legal.

        • cat rennolds

          And you, Dirk, have done more to get Brian on the defensive and keep him there than anybody else on this blog. It makes it look like you don’t WANT him to ever have a change of heart. Like you’ve picked him to be the poster boy for “Conservative Christian of the Year” just because none of the rest of them will stick around for you to holler at.

          Brian’s not basically a hater. He does get snarky when he feels like he, personally, is being picked on. I don’t AGREE with him about gay marriage, and I get that he is missing the point. He’s also performed some remarkable mental contortions so he can keep missing the point. Stop helping him do it.

          • Dirk

            cat,

            I truly appreciate your ability to see the good in even the devil. For over 30 years, I tried to work with conservative Christians.

            The day this spring they threatened my parents was the day I realized that they hate us because they want to hate us.

            With every new suicide of a child or teen, with every new statement by any of the leading Republican candidates for president, with ever new affirmation of their goal to lead Uganda into murdering our brothers and sisters there who can’t just hop on a plane and leave, my belief that they do this out of sheer hatred grows.

            I had an experience yesterday. My husband and I are visiting some relations out in the Rocky Mountain West. A pleasant time, though the signs that this is a depression and not simply a recession are showing up even out West. We stopped to have lunch at a truck stop in very conservative Wyoming.

            There, just over lunch, we encountered two cases of people begging.

            Begging.

            In America.

            In one case, it was three kids and their dog. The other, a family whose truck had broken down, couldn’t afford to eat but asked if they could come in out of the sun (another scorcher, yesterday) while they waited for help.

            This is the reality for which we all have to answer. The roots are to be found in the greed of all of us, even if so much of the worst damage has been done by conservative Christians, the Tea Party, who now hold the Republican party hostage.

            I don’t ‘rage’ at Brian for being one of those people on such issues – true, I disagree with him and, sadly, capitalism is proving that he was wrong and us thar’ kenyan-socialist-fascist-commie-pinko-Democrats were right. The root is the greed of all of us in America, not just conservative Christians.

            The murder, rape, beating, torture and persecution of gays, lesbians and the transgender, however, lies directly, and all but exclusively at the doorstep of the conservative Christians. The situation is identical in its potential for exploding into mass-murder with Germany in the late 1920s.

            Bad things happen when good people turn away. Brian is not a good person, he is hateful and has found a way to couch his hatred in language which makes him seem as though this is all just a pleasant, academic discussion.

            It isn’t. This link is a good example of just what Brian is supporting.

            http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2011/07/frothy-mix-attacks-tim-gill.html

          • cat rennolds

            I just want to hug you and make it all go away…..I KNOW what the conservative church is doing. Daily I deal with IRL friends and family who cope with this. I follow this in the larger world, for obvious reasons, not wanting to wake up one morning in a concentration camp for sexual, religious or political purification. I am outraged and I am terrifed, and I don’t like to think what happens if they get the support they’re after. I am not arguing that “They” are haters; by which I mean, the haters.

            But I don’t have the evidence that Brian is one. Now, obviously I can’t tell for certain online if Brian believes what he’s saying, or is playing everybody. But firstly, Brian’s rhetoric departs in several specifics from the party line. Secondly, his writing skill doesn’t seem to indicate he’s capable of perpetrating that level of deceit. I’m not saying it can’t be done, or that it isn’t done, I’m saying HE isn’t doing it.

            What I am saying is, the leaders of this group are playing on the natural tendency of human beings to demonize what they don’t understand. To be afraid of the Other. They’re deliberately whipping up the mob by making GLBT the big, scary enemy. And they’re deliberately whipping YOU into a frenzy so you’ll behave in ways that ordinary people shrink away from.

            It’s hard for people to let go of what they have been taught, and the persons who have taught them. And if you want the decent, quiet Christians whose misfortune it is to belong to the wrong church, who are trying to love but aren’t good at it, have never had reason to question their leaders before, to turn AWAY from hate, you’re not going to do it by BEING the big, scary, ugly, unreasonable gay. By making them the object of hate.

            Whether Brian is who he says he is or not, the rest of them don’t know us, and you’re not giving them a very good picture of people they might want change enough to defend.

            When two groups are screaming “NO, YOU,” at each other, regardless of which one is right, people tend to stick with the one they already know. Be an ambassador or be a warrior, Dirk, but if you’re going to be a warrior, take it to the top and let the ambassadors deal with the masses.

            (If you’re wondering, btw, what I do IRL is make a safehouse for teens, especially GLBT but also other victims of abuse, in my tiny Southern town. My two teens find ‘em and bring ‘em home, so they know there’s a place they can be safe and loved for who they are, and then they bring THEIR friends here. I haven’t had to stand up to a parent yet, (well, okay, maybe once or twice) but they know I will.)

          • Mindy

            Cat, I just love you. Truly. I do the same in my little ‘burb – my kids bring their gay friends here, we make sure they know they are safe and loved. I am in the middle of writing a program (and looking for grant money – if anyone has a lead!) to deal with LGBT bullying specifically in urban schools. My younger daughter goes to a brand-new charter school, focused on the arts. As such, we have many students who are gay. They are also young – some of them may not even realize it yet – but those of us who are actually familiar with the gay community are well aware of them. We have at least two gay teachers, but they are not, as of yet, comfortable outing themselves. I only know because I have become friends with them. I want them to be comfortable being open about who they are (one is married and should be able to mention his husband without fear of reprisal) because they are wonderful role models for the kids. What I’ve learned in the year that this school has been in existence is that the urban minority population we serve is not nearly as comfortable with LGBT people as the other school communities in which I’ve been involved. I am working with the administration to make changes – but I know it will be an uphill battle. And yet – I’m going to fight it. For my kid, and and for all her friends who are “Other” – whatever that might be.

            I love your comment about warriors and ambassadors and the different roles they play. I find myself wanting to be a warrior at school, but needing to be an ambassador. It is a hard line not to cross sometimes!!

          • cat rennolds

            ;)*blush*

            Yeah, I want to be a warrior too. With a great big FLAMING sword. Put the wrath of God on ‘em. Make them as afraid as they make us. BUT…..even if I didn’t have a very young child in a very small town, it would just backfire. Here, at least. Because fear is the reason they are acting the way they are to begin with.

            For grant funding for anti-bullying programs, try the CDC. Also talk to the Social Justice program at your nearest UU church, or UU on line.. May or may not have the resources to help you but ought to have some leads.

          • cat rennolds

            I was also trying to BECOME a teacher this year, now that my two eldest are getting out of the school system, but there isn’t funding for the teach-to-get-certified program while certified teachers are out of work. And if I were outed as bi, or just non-Christian (or have been and don’t know it) that would never, never happen. Never get hired at all.

            Right now I’m settling for making friendships with some of the local teachers.

          • Mindy

            Thanks for the leads, Cat – I’ll check them out. Good luck with the local teachers – just keep pluggin’ – - – !

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            This is awesome, Cat. Bless you and your important work.

          • Allie

            Forgive me for going off topic, but goodness gracious, you were surprised to see people begging in America?

            I guess Memphis, where I live, does tend to top the charts for things like “hungriest city in America.” But here, even back before the economy tanked, I knew dozens of homeless in my neighborhood. And mine is not all that bad a neighborhood.

            One time several years ago a dude asked my husband for some money and my husband asked if he could do anything for him, and found out that the dude was one of ten living in the car wash behind the gas station. This was the dead of winter, nights well below freezing. But he was optimistic because there was an electrical outlet in the car wash and they owned a shared hot plate so at least they could heat up food. Since that time I’ve been more aware of the homeless – the mattresses and fire pit under the Nonconnah bridge, the camps out by Callis cutoff.

            I’m up Christmas Eve reading while my husband dusts. Don’t ask, he just suddenly decided he needed to dust everything before morning. And someone bumped this blog post, and it struck me, being Christmas, that it’s a good time to remember to look behind the gas station and under the overpass and if you see anybody, just ask what you can do.

      • gaetano

        Well, it’s my turn to comment. I will start off withThere is no proof as to gay people being born gay. That is a fact. Gods first words were to go out and multiply. Now every one knows that 2 men or 3 women cannot do this. God gave us his rules ,and knew that we would not obey all his rules.He made us sinners and that is the truth.Now , Iam not gay but I am a sinner and I do love God and I never want him to be away from me.So, I confess my sins to him daily,knowing that deep in my heart he will forgive me.Masterbating is a sin,and to spil the seed is a sin,and most people do it.I do it, knowing that is a sin. But, I am also sorry for this sin that I made against God. I admit it. That, my gay friends is the difference between you and me. You have looked for excuses to meet your approval and not Gods approval. I live with my sins ,and I try to do better to correct myself from sinning against God, even tho I find myself not so good at correcting my self because I continue to do the same things over and over again.Homosexuality IS against Gods law, and there is nothing that you could do to convince yourself or others that it is not. So, Live with your sins and confess to God and do your best to ask fot his forgiveness. At least face the facts of your sins and don’t try to change Gods words to convince your self that you are right . Always remember these words from the son of God,” FATHER,FORFORGIVE THEM,

        FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO” and just maybe you will see that God is a, forgiving God and someday he will end your sinful life in piece, to be with him in heaven.

        • DR

          This is an ignorant and antiquated perspective, not to mention dangerous. You are harming gay men and women – particularly children – with this belief system and as a fellow Christian I will no longer allow you to speak for God or for me. Your claim on “God’s view of homosexual is over. You are not better than those who use the Bible to justify the lack of support for interracial marriage.

          So take your scripture asking he Father to forgive for they mnow not what they do, ask for the grace of humility to see thst sho Jesus was talking about – at least in this context – is you. You don’t see what you are doing and God have mercy for the blood on your hands as a result.

          • no fan

            It’s not ignorant, its biblical and the guy was honest. Everyone struggles with sinful desires to one degree of the other. But it seems those who have desires towards gay sex don’t want to struggle not to engage in that so they excuse themselves from the struggle that other Christians who have other types of sinful sexual desires struggle with, such as masturbation, or lustful thoughts, etc. We struggle and in time God can give a full victory over lust so its no longer a struggle or hard to resist. But if you don’t admit that these things are sins in the first place and then engage in the struggle to NOT commit them as God expects us to and commands us to,( seeking his help with it) , then you end up with this idea that there is a God-given homosexual identity and God is fine with that type of sexual activity–which is completely against what the word of God says.

        • http://bleachbrulee.tumblr.com Elizabeth

          Hey everyone, this is my first post here. My name is Elizabeth. I hope this is coherent. I’m in my first week of class as a Senior in college and I’m a little bit burned out from all the reading I’ve been doing.

          I’d like to focus on your progression of thought here in particular: ‘He made us sinners and that is the truth.”

          This is indeed an antiquated view of God, as well as highly illogical. God did not ‘know’ that we would sin, he simply gave us the free will to make that choice. To suggest that God knew that and then proceeded anyway is to paint a portrait of a sociopathic God who deliberately made us so sinful that we would need him, as if he is enacting Stockholm Syndrome rather than agape.

          As far as the emphasis on ‘go out and multiply’… Please consider the fact that Adam and Eve were not conceived through sexual reproduction. Also, that some people choose to remain celibate, some people are afraid of sex, and that that is a quite invasive attitude about the complexities of the female body and the experience of pregnancy. Some men and some women are sterile. Some couples find themselves ill-equipped to parent and thus do not become parents. This does not mean that people should view those who do not reproduce or have children in other forms should be maligned. There is a Judeo-Christian-inspired stigma toward people and couples who are childless, as if they have not followed through on their Christian duty to reproduce, or as if there is something so wrong with them that God would not bless them with children. There are over 40 places in the Bible that command us to take care of orphans (and widows). Maybe it’s time to start taking care of the children who are in need and already exist rather than pumping more out in accordance with a vague moral platitude that should by no means be normative any longer.

          • Ed

            This is my first post here, and have been reading with interest, everyone’s comments. I plan to comment further down the line when I have read what everyone has to say, but just wanted to reply to something Elizabeth said about God. I believe God is, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, even though I can’t totally fathom all that those qualities imply. Believing these things about him, I have to disagree with the statement you made about God’s not knowing that we would sin. Of course He did. He knows and always has known, the ending from the very beginning of everything. That’s what I believe, and that’s all I have to say about that.

    • Dirk

      Kay,

      There is a preponderance of scientifically valid evidence indicating that male homosexuality is both immutable and determined by factors incapable of postpartum influence.

      The onus is upon you to disprove the validity of these independently repeated and verified findings, not us.

      Hormones have no relevance to ones sexual orientation as an adult.

      Because sexual orientation is immutable, anyone who claims to have ‘changed’ their sexual orientation is either lying or is bisexual. Or both.

      Goodness, what do they teach in these schools today?!

    • cat rennolds

      Kay? While I appreciate the positive, welcoming tone, your data’s incorrect. Some of the studies may be open to interpretation, but there is definitely solid, reputable scientific evidence out there.

      • Rob McClelland

        Cat,

        I am not trying to start an argument, but could you please point me to those studies of solid, reputable, scientific evidence. I have been reading study after study and would love some advice of where to turn to find this information. Thanks in advance. Sorry – I know that this probably does not belong on this thread, but really needed to ask. Thanks.

        • Allie

          Merry Christmas!

          Here, try this:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prenatal_hormones_and_sexual_orientation

          There’s also some evidence for a genetic component, since identical twins are more likely to share sexual orientation than fraternal twins. Obviously if orientation were entirely genetically determined, then ALL identical twins would share sexual orientation. But there are many traits which are partly genetic and partly environmental, such as height. I went to school with a pair of identical twins who were three inches different in height because one had an illness during a growth spurt.

  • http://donnasmaldone.com Donna Smaldone

    I love the heart this author has and am so thankful you shared it with us, John. Nowadays when someone asks me if I’m a Christian, my first response is, “it depends on what you mean by Christian” – because the truth is, if the asker bills himself a ‘Christian’ and behaves like a self-righteous, arrogant, judgmental buffoon, I am most certainly not going to say, “yes, I’m like you.” I love Jesus and am humbled to have Him in my life. I don’t need to be labeled in order to love Him — or for someone else to deem that I do. I’m glad this author has found a similar peace. I, too am a blogger, writing about The You Evolution™ in and through your relationships. I’d love to share a 3-part blog series I did entitled, “When being gay isn’t always so gay”. Parts I & II were written by me, a heterosexual female, married to the same man for 18 years. Part III was written by a wonderful guest author, who is a gay male, in a committed relationship with the same man for 19 years: http://www.donnasmaldone.com/category/gay-relationships/ “To Love!!”

  • Kiwi

    Speaking from an Agnostic point of view, the hypocrisy seen in the comments almost makes the letter not even worth reading.

    Not trying to be mean here, just honest.

    • Don Whitt

      Kiwi, for examples?

    • Nate the Great

      Romans 1:24-32, 1 Cor. 6:9, 1 Tim. 1:8-10, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13 I’m telling you if you just read these scriptures you’ll see why homosexual activities are just a sin. It’s like making the claim that an alcoholic is a Christian. It doesn’t work.

      • DJT

        Wait…now an alcoholic can’t be a Christian?

      • Mindy

        Nate, you need to spend a whole bunch of time reading here on John’s blog before you start up with that tire argument yet again. Please? There is sooo much to be said about it, from various perspectives, and you need to learn about a topic before you start speaking publicly about it. Your comment about alcoholics shows how ignorant of the real meaning about Christianity you are. Spend a few hours here – or a lot of hours here – reading both John’s posts and the comments that follow.

        THEN join the conversation. Deal?

      • DR

        I have a strong suspicion that these people are fake – there’s just no way these people are real who do these kind of drive-by comments and then turn tail running, which is kind of awesome because comments like Nate’s represent what actual people do believe. So the mindset that some do hold and vote out of and parent their children out of with such abuse get put into the public dialogue (of which John’s blog is a huge part). So it’s awesome.

        But Nate, by chance if you’re serious? Your theology is responsible for gay children getting kicked out of their homes as well as gay kids killing themselves at 4x more the rate than other kids. Good luck living with that.

        • Ben

          To read this letter, look past all the problems and discrimination the author has been through and to add to it, that is simply unchristian and embarrasses me. Did you not read the part where the author said they studied the Bible thoroughly? These verses are no surprise and neither is your stupid comment.

          • DR

            Did you mean to direct your comment to me?

          • Ben

            No, sorry for not being specific. I meant it to be for Mr. The Great.

    • Josiah

      Kiwi, I understand you completely. Two things that have immensely bothered me of late, is the religious arrogance of Western Christians (“I’ve got it all together, and your a dirty rotten sinner” type of outlook) and the loose and lazy approach to interpreting the Bible, which you have just seen, as evidenced by your post. These are actually opposite sides of a spectrum.

      Christianity as a religion comes in many different forms and varieties and opinion, and I’d prefer to not talk about it. I, for one, do not want to be closely associated with religious Christianity (although I will love those who are, as well as those like you, who are willing to say, “I don’t know what is true, but I’m willing to question proposed truth.”)

      What you see, is the Bible. And if I am going to believe anything, I want a foundation. The Bible is one foundation. The Bible is a final authority. If it is not, everything is open to interpretation and the whims and preferences of culture and people. It then loses significance and transcendence.

      Based on the assumption that the Bible is the authoritative word of the Living God, above all other authorities and ideas (which takes faith, but not blind faith), we can then allow the Bible to interpret and explain itself. We then submit ourselves under its authority (and under God’s authority).

      It would appear that many of those commenting on this site are actually not speaking from this point of view. It would appear that the Word of God is not their final authority, and Jesus is not their supreme treasure. I may be wrong, but the comments simply appear that way.

      The Bible clearly says that we are all corrupt and have rebelled against the living God. He, in turn, has chosen to let us continue in rebellion against Him. This rebellion has brought about many bad and broken things in this world. In other words, we live in a broken world.

      God has also given us desires, and these desires are good. However, we have rebelled against God, and turned our desires toward lesser things. Thus, some of our desires are corrupted.

      Christ has come and bridged this broken gap. He has made a way for the broken to be made whole. He has made a way for His enemies to be made His friends. He has made a way for the rebels to sit at the table of the King.

      As I said earlier, there are to extremes to the “Christian” perspective. The middle ground is this: I am a rebellious, unloving, ungrateful, hateful sinner, enslaved by sin. Christ has set me free from my bondage, opened my eyes, and showed me the loveliness of Himself. I have believed and accepted His offer of forgiveness. Now, despite my rebellion, God has accepted me. He looks on Christ Jesus, the perfect Image of the Invisible God, and Christ Jesus says, “He’s mine. He’s clothed in my righteousness.” Thus, God when God looks at me, he sees Christ, because Christ has covered me.

      That being said, I have no grounds to brag and be arrogant. We are all as broken as the next person. I have been shown mercy by a loving God who doesn’t want me to continue in destructive rebellion against Himself. I want to extend Christ’s offer of Mercy and forgiveness to you. I am not perfect. I am still sadly broken. But I want to know Christ, and I want to walk as a new man.

      For your supreme and eternal joy in Jesus,

      Josiah

      • Allie

        It’s kind of important which foundation. There’s even a parable about it.

        In this case, you’re choosing to base your entire life around the infallibility of the Bible. The Bible contradicts itself so manifestly and often that it’s not possible to honorably hold an educated belief that it’s the perfect repository of God’s word. The only possibilities are to refuse to consider the evidence and remain willfully ignorant, or to ignore the evidence, and thus live a lie.

        Forcing yourself to believe something you know not to be true breaks you all through until there is no truth left in you.

        God, not the Bible, is the true foundation. God revealed himself to human beings on earth. Some of them wrote about it. They wrote as human beings, inspired by God yes, but nevertheless they wrote with ink that fades, on paper that rots, in the best words they could find with their flawed brains. The trick is to know God, the true and unchanging, from these words. It’s like listening to evidence at a trial – some people are believable, some are not, but despite everything, most of the time it’s possible to see through the distortions to the truth of what happened.

        In fact that’s why it’s a “Testament.” Like testimony.

  • Javajunki

    I dont believe we have to identify ourselves as “Christian” to prove to anyone, even God, where we stand. How we love and treat others is whats important

    @ Cat Rennolds. Love your “Christs Message” comment.

  • Jennifer Pekrul

    No joke, I don’t feel so strange now, it’s like we shared a life. I was raised a Mormon, told I could not be much of anything but a house wife. I never realized my attraction towards women until after being called a lesbian most of my young life, even by my family, my family did this because I showed no interest in men.

    • Jennifer Pekrul

      I am a bi-sexual woman married to a bi-sexual man and we are Christian…not Mormon, thank God.

  • stephanie

    Hello everyone=) I am a 30 year old lesbian liveing with my life partner of 4 years. I was raised in the christian faith and went to christian school for most of my life. So of course i was raised to beleive that this was a disgusting sin against God. Although I have always been girly and enjoy being girly and was raised to be prim and proper. I have had a attraction to woman since i was 7 years old. For me it wasnt a attraction based on lust although I did experement sexualy with the same sex in my teens. For me it is more about the connection I have with the same sex that i do not have for men. I offten wounder If all children are innocent then how could they have these feelings at a early age? But then I realize that children are tempted with many of the same things adults are tempted with like greed, jelousy,ect… Then could it be possible we are tempted with homosexuality at a early age??? And that I have failed Gods test? I have so many questions and its as if not one of them can be answered. For many years I have turned away from my faith in God because of the shame I felt for being gay. Now the older I become the more i have a need for God in my life. Their are scriptures in the Bible that condem same sex but yet their is nothing about if loveing gay relationships are wrong. Why is this?? Am I just justifing the way I live because I dont want to change? Are we in danger about feeling at peace with our sexuality because we can not over come it? Or could it truily be that Love is never wrong?? Im terrified and take my soul very seriously!(As do most people) I do not want to be wrong in this life and be tortured in the next….. I LOVE my girlfreind sooo very much and couldnt imagine my life without her but if it is Gods will for me to choose him above all others then wouldnt it be wrong to continue something that could possible jepordise my relationship with Jesus Christ?? Some one with insight into the Bible please help me with this…………..Thanx=)

    • DR

      stephanie,

      I’m not gay but I don’t believe for a moment that a loving God would put you into a situation where you experienced a “sin” that you couldn’t escape. It’s not logical.

      A lot of gay men and women have pointed to a resource called Gay Christian alliance where you have people going through the exact things you’ve experienced and sounds like you are continuing to experience. It sounds like they are enormously helpful (so are people on this blog as well).

      http://www.gaychristian.net/index.php?

      You can be gay and have a relationship with Jesus. You can still be “saved” and be in love with your wife/girlfriend. There just isn’t any way God would exclude you. He is not cruel, this isn’t one of those “It’s just a mystery of God” kind of thing. He wouldn’t risk you knowing Him and loving Him and giving your life to Him. You’re profoundly OK. Much love to you.

      • stephanie

        Thank you for your kind comments DR. =) I soo want to beleive everything you said because it brings me comfort but still I feel I need to be sure of this through his word. I wish their was something in the Bible that gave me comfort as well with who I am. Thank you for the website info i will definetly check it out…… Much LOVE to You as well………………………….

        • DR

          I will pray pray pray that the Holy Spirit leads you, will you let us know? I think He will. :)

  • Katie Caliente

    That’s a sad story far too much like my own, although I really dont have much of a spiritual life left. Id advise people like myself, the transgendered, to get away from Christians.

    I’ve been invited to several affirming churches, and I had a dream after the first invite that told me NEVER to go under any circumstance!

    Not sure what the danger was…maybe the coke they snort will kill u?

    March on!

  • http://www.accepted.co.nz Lisa Michelle

    You are created, you are loved, you are accepted. Check out our website aimed at sharing God’s agape love with the GLBTQI community. God adores every one of us :)

    http://www.accepted.co.nz

  • Driftwood2K11

    When I was a devout Christian, and in high school, there were several guys that I liked, and had an attraction toward. See, I’m male and for some reason, this desire to like girls AND guys apparently made me an enemy of Jesus™, Morality™, and Righteousness™. I had never told a soul, and the reason I knew I was wrong(!) was thanks to the many pastors who condemned the very idea, as I sat in the church pew, they’d rail against the degradation of morality and humanity because we weren’t castigating “the gays”.

    I was torn, because I really, truly, with all my heart, loved Jesus, and the idea that I could be the one holding the whip and driving the nails into his hands because of my attraction toward people of the same sex just broke my heart and tore down my spirit. I couldn’t imagine how that hurt Jesus, but all I knew was that there was a consensus and I was on the wrong side.

    I even started believing it to the point where I figured that if I were extra good, extra forward in my service to Christ, I could make up for the sin I couldn’t get rid of, no matter how hard I prayed. I listened to Christian music, attended prayer meetings, started prayer services in school (before the day began), and become UltraChristian, the guy who could answer any question you had about faith. I studied the Bible until I wore down the gilded edges of the pages.

    During this time, I kept reading about the passages where it was supposed to be wrong to be gay, supposed to be a sin, an affront to god, and I simply couldn’t find it. Oh, I found the “clobber” verses, but contextually, they didn’t make sense. See, I was an avid reader, and I could read anything you put in front of me. I had been able to do so since I was a very small child. Reading fascinated me, and so I took to it like a duck to water.

    As I said, the context of the verses didn’t make sense. The preachers quoting the verses never went into the surrounding passages, and it didn’t take long for me to figure out why: the passages weren’t about moral living or sinful behavior. They were referencing specific contexts; situations where certain rules had to be laid down to effect some kind of change on a community or social level. I found that 99% of those passages didn’t apply to any modern person, because the cultures (and even the landscape!) surrounding them had changed.

    It was no coincidence that shortly after that, I stopped believing in the accepted definition of Hell, and even the Rapture fell under my studied eye, and I ended up disregarding it’s validity as well. What was I doing differently? I was applying critical thought and informed weight to each passage. The more I studied the history of the Bible, the more I realized that the modern Evangelical church had made a serious miscalculation. I started explaining (not coercing or forcing) this to my Evangelical conservative friends, and one by one they stopped talking to me.

    The more I studied and found new evidences that something in the modern accepted Ecumenism of the Evangelical community had gone sour somewhere, the more isolated I became. It got to the point where I started consulting with Rabbis instead of pastors, because they would be the only ones willing to give me the time of day. The church was wrong, so very wrong, on so many things that they held dear, and I finally, FINALLY, broke free of the clawing guilt that my orientation somehow made me evil or wrong. I wasn’t a sinner, it wasn’t a sin, and THAT took some doing, because even in the back of my mind that vicious cycle of “you’re disobeying God in the name of your own flesh!” kept shouting. See, kids, it is a vicious cycle, and it’s perfect for making you doubt yourselves, making you hate yourselves.

    Apparently, if you ask too many questions or “the wrong” questions, you’re letting satan get into your mind. What a sure fire way to make sure you stay scared and submissive to the authority of your church, don’t you think? Well, I decided that the God of the New Testament wasn’t a God of fear and retribution, but a God of faith and mercy. I felt that if such a God would hate me for being who I was, that God made the mistake, not me. What kind of Father hates his child for being human? It just didn’t make sense.

    Of course, now I’m an atheist, so it holds no weight at all for me anymore, but I do understand, completely, what some of you are going through, and I wish you the very best in coming to terms with your heart, your mind, and your faith. You can have all of these things and they not conflict. Don’t worship the false god of close minded bigotry. Realize that a God of love can’t possibly hate you, or he’s not a God of love. It really is that simple. “Unconditional” means just that. Jesus never said “I died for the straight folks”. Jesus was supposed to save all of mankind, not just the pious and judgmental, though they do indeed need saving, if from nothing else, than at least from their own arrogance.

    All my love,

    Dk211

  • no fan

    The Bible calls sodomy between 2 men a sin from begining to end, (and sins are to be repented of – ‘turned away from’ — meaning its possible to do so or God woudn’t command it in the first place). However some people come along, want to make the practice of that particular type of sex the centerpiece of their life and wear it as an identity so they can insist its not something that CAN be repented of thus absolve themselvels of all responsibilityy for choosing to act on those desires. (Desires that God can extinguish). And this blog spends half is space as a cheering section for that.

  • amanda mckim

    I read the letter and all comments… Is it really anyone business? This is the authors walk with Christ and his walk with Christ alone. Being gay is not a sickness or a disease that it’s going to rub off on us. I thought we are supposed to be a community, brothers and sisters praising God together, loving one another per Jesus Creed. I’ve talked to a few of my fellow brothers and sisters about how they feel about homosexuality and being gay. It saddens me that 99% of homosexuals feel shunded from the church. That because of sexual orientation they are labeled homosexuals and not just people. I’m sorry honey. You are not a homosexual Christian. You are my brother in Christ. You are a proud Christian. A true Christian. A true Christian loves Christ, teaches the word, lives by the word, and repents when they sin, does everything they can to stop the sin. I’m not talking about homosexuality unless you consider it a sin. The rest of you can quote scripture and try your hardest to prove to the reasonable that God hates this man. It’s not going to work. I know that God did not make trash, he made us beautiful unique people with many awesome gifts. To shund this man for something that is none of our business is not Christ like and you should be ashamed of yourselves!!!


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