An Open Apology From Christians to Gay People

Last night I dreamed that I was standing in the sanctuary of an immense empty church. Broad beams of jewel colored light cut across the air above me, coming to land upon a high and majestic pulpit. I climbed up the many broad stairs to the great platform. Before taking the final step onto it I paused; elevated above the pews is no place for me. Where the pastor would set the text of his sermon I saw a sheaf of papers. I stepped into the pulpit and crossed it. There I read, neatly written by hand, these words:

To All Gay Persons:

We write you from down upon our knees, our hearts so filled with contrition they are like stones whose weight we cannot bear.

For a grievously long time we have treated gay people in a way that we now understand brings nothing but shame upon the God we purport to emulate. With bilious fury have we systematically maligned, denigrated, condemned, cursed, shamed, and bullied you literally to death.

For no reason beyond animal ignorance we have tried to obliterate you: to rob you of your identity, crush your self-worth, destroy your hopes, turn you against yourself. We have harnessed our almost unimaginable power to bring to you the singular, unceasing message that God finds you reprehensible.

Shamefully, we have turned the way you love into the way we hate.

And for that we now know that it is we, and not you, who deserve hell.

Over and again we have asked ourselves how we could have been so wrong. How, in the name of a loving God, could we have perpetrated, encouraged, and spread the reprehensible evil we did? We now look at the Bible’s six or seven fleeting mentions of homosexuality, and are astounded that we ever dared claim them as evidence that God cannot abide the gay and lesbian people that He so lovingly created and sustains.

How could we have ever done such a thing? What, in the name of God, were we thinking?

Why were we moved to with such ferocious vigor supplant God’s healing light with our own wretched darkness?

Our repentance demanded of us that we tirelessly ask ourselves that question—and keep on asking it, until we arrived at its answer.

And so we did.

The reason that we have so hated you is because we have so feared you. We feared you because we fear our own sexuality. We fear our own sexuality because its power is so far beyond what we are capable of controlling: so utterly, quickly, and inevitably does our sexual lust transform us from pious, composed believers into fevered, bucking animals.

Like all people (we now see, praise God), there are two natural phenomena that, in the overwhelming magnitude of their power, finally render us insensible of ourselves: the awesome presence of the divine infinite, and sex. We have always believed those two to be in competition, to be mutually exclusive. Traditionally our conviction has been that where God is, sex cannot be. And so we have always, if grimly, shunned our sexuality, and clung fast to God.

And there you are, out and proud.

There you are, embracing that within you which we can barely acknowledge in ourselves.

There you are, consciously, purposefully, and wisely integrating your sexuality into the whole of your identity.

There you are, with an audacity we now find inspiring and humbling, daring to believe that you, just as you are, are worthy of the most supreme love.

You joyously claimed the rainbow; while we, mired in our stubbornness, insisted on seeing only blacks and whites.

But now! Now has the terrible veil been mercifully lifted from our eyes! And therefore do we come before you today—repentant, ashamed, mortified to behold our transgressions against you—seeking not your forgiveness (for we would not dare), but only the slightest chance of proving to you that we have changed.

God can, after all, change hearts. And he has most certainly changed ours.

It might take a year for you to consider us your true brothers and sisters. It might take five years, or ten. It might take generations. But however long it takes, we promise you one thing: as of this day, the Christian church has renounced—and will forever, and with utmost vigor, continue to renounce—that wicked, vile, and manifestly false theology which holds you as anything but our equal and friend.

With God as our witness, we will reconcile ourselves to you. That bright new day, so long in coming, has finally dawned.

With all that we are and hope to become,

Christians of the World

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About John Shore

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

  • Tricia Sturgeon

    John, once again you illustrated what true christian love and compassion should be about! Every Christian should read this! God is LOVE and we should strive to emulate LOVE more than hate, ignorance, and bigotry! Well written John this is why I love you and love your work!

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

      Thank you so much for this, Tricia.

      • Tricia Sturgeon

        Your very welcome John. Thank YOU for being who you are and for showing everyone what love is all about! :)

  • Anon

    [crude comment finally deleted after much discussion]

    • Diana A.

      I think this comment should be removed. It adds nothing to the conversation.

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

        As you know, I always delete this kind of nonsense. (Which, of course, is ALWAYS anonymous, cowards being … so cowardly and all.) But this one so cracked up my wife that I think I’ll acquiesce to her pleas to, “Keep it! Keep it!)

        Thank you, Diana A. I so value you here.

        • Leslie

          It did have something very funny about it. Being the visual person I am–as well as the slightly perverse–well, you can only imagine visions of cigars and such. :)

        • Diana A.

          You’re welcome. And yes, if it cracks up your wife, then it’s definitely a keeper.

      • Kristi

        Actually, I think the comment should stay. It clearly demonstrates what gay people, and those who don’t support them, face. It is ignorance and hate squared.

        • Kristi

          Ack, those who DO support gay people. Blasted typo.

          • Allie

            It illustrates what those who don’t support them face, too… can you imagine caring enough about something that doesn’t effect you in the slightest to be that creatively nasty about it? Would you want to live in that brain?

          • Diana A.

            Agreed.

      • kimberly

        maybe not. it serves to show the reason this very blog that john posted so needs to happen in reality, so poweful in it’s desperate truth for the church. how far can it run before it crumbles further from decay, from the sheer numbers of those who see the light and turn from the hatred and toward the brightness of inclusive love, leaving the buildings and moving into the circles of arms linked in the presence of divine peace.

      • Jody Samuels Coaston

        Diana’s right; that comment is one of those that subtract from the total of human intelligence.

    • http://thesewingexperiment.wordpress.com/ Sensible Seamstress

      I agree with Diana. This is not a reasonable, rational argument, it’s just hate-filled spewing, and is hurtful.

    • Inacat

      boy, are YOU gonna be disappointed when the only people you have to hang out with in hell are other members of your mean-spirited little tribe.

      • Dennis

        At least, by the wording of “Anon”s own post, they realize they will be there in Hell to greet any who may join them. There’s something to be said to have full awareness and acceptance of one’s own damnation.

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Exactly! hahaha. Oh man, mean people are so dumb.

    • Sheri

      Won’t it be funny when he/she turns around and is reading the letter aloud, with tears running from his face and pleading for forgiveness from those he’s wounded with that attitude?

      • Sheri

        Well… funny may have been the wrong word…but, you know what I mean. ;)

    • Kerry Ballard

      @Anon – You are a coward. You are the one that yells from inside a crowd and then melts away. You throw stones from the darkness and then run. You attack from behind, not showing your face. When you do your deeds in the dark, your actions do not bring any honor to whatever God you worship. You are a coward.

    • Jeannie B.

      If John is the sort of person God would consign to hell, you can give me a ticket, too!

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      That really should be hyphenated.

      • LSS

        You just gave me a much better image, of a rooster with a cigarette. In the non-hyphenated version, of course.

    • Jill

      Ah, the anonymous comment, inanely pathetic, but the responses– genius! Worthy of the re-read! Just kept getting better…

  • Anna Murray via Facebook

    Thank you <3

  • http://pastorbecca.wordpress.com Becca

    How I wish this were true and we as people of faith as a whole had come to this place of healing. One day, I pray. Until then, one person at a time, we seek wisdom and peace and transformation. The world is full of fearful (sometimes anonymous) people who will resist the grace and beauty of God’s all-inclusive Shalom, but the Holy does change hearts and minds, and our ignorance and fear will not win forever.

    Deep peace to you, and thank you for this holy vision.

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

      Thank you, Becca.

  • http://stitchinguptheseams.wordpress.com Stitching Seams

    Wow. I’m doing my utmost not to weep. You totally nailed it with this (and I hope I’m formatting this correctly):

    The reason that we have so hated you is because we have so feared you. We feared you because we fear our own sexuality. We fear our own sexuality because its power is so far beyond what we’re capable of controlling: so utterly, quickly, and inevitably does our sexual lust transform us from pious, composed believers into fevered, bucking animals.

    Like all people (we now see, praise God), there are two natural phenomena that, in the overwhelming magnitude of their power, finally render us insensible of ourselves: the awesome presence of the divine infinite, and sex. We have always believed those two to be in competition, to be mutually exclusive: traditionally our conviction has been that where God is, sex cannot be. And so we have always, if grimly, shunned our sexuality, and clung fast to God.

    And then there you are, out and proud.

    There you are, embracing that within you which we can barely acknowledge in ourselves.

    There you are, consciously, purposefully, and wisely integrating your sexuality into the whole of your identity.

    There you are, with an audacity we now find inspiring and humbling, daring to believe that you, just as you are, are worthy of the most supreme love.

    You joyously claimed the rainbow; while we, mired in our stubbornness, continued to insist on seeing only blacks and whites.

    </blockquote

  • kimberly

    may it come to pass.

  • Leslie

    John, you’ve done it again. One day I hope that every Christian will be able to see the truth you’ve written here. When a group that claims to love everyone comes after an entire group of the population with such vileness, such hatred, something is incredibly wrong. My prayer is that what you’ve written in this post will speak to everyone who reads it—showing many Christians the error of their ways and showing LGBT people the truth that God loves us just the way we are and that he made us this way for a beautiful, miraculous purpose.

  • Diana Avery via Facebook

    This post has attracted its first troll of the day. I’ve recommended that one comment be removed as it adds nothing to the conversation. Thanks John!

  • http://www.ncnewthoughtminister.net Michele Sevacko

    Ditto on what Tricia said – except that I would change ” …more than….” to “instead of”.

    I also think it would be wonderful if churches would consider having services of reconciliation – using this letter, in part – or something similar. It could (would be my hope) that by “Christians” standing there, holding hands and looking into the eyes of our LGBTQ brothers & sisters that some healing & forgiveness would take place.

  • Joyce Bremer Glover via Facebook

    Outstanding. Thank you for writing this.

  • http://thesewingexperiment.wordpress.com/ Sensible Seamstress

    You give me hope, John, that we really can use our intentions to create the world as it should be. This is a powerful piece of writing, and I know it will do magic.

  • Michele Sevacko via Facebook

    I gasped when I saw “the” comment that I think Diana is speaking of – but, it does give a pretty good representation of what our gay brothers & sisters have to deal with – often on a daily basis… <3

  • Eric Malanoski

    I do not believe in God. Not because I feel he has left me or turned against me, bit because I simply don’t. That being said, I have read the bible and find religion very interesting. I always wondered why Christians weren’t trying to be more “Christ like”. I now have read evidence that there are Christians who are aspiring to be. Thank you.

  • http://www.myfriendteresa.com Teresa Porter

    Tears in my eyes. You’ve said in a few paragraphs what I’ve never been able to say so succinctly. You nailed it. And because you’ve synthesized this so well – its almost like you’ve put the words right in my mouth to share as well. I’m both speechless … and empowered to speak. Thank you.

  • https://www.facebook.com/BigBadJohnUSA John J. Mason

    Okay, so you made me cry after stumbling upon your web site. Catharsis is always wonderful. I am wondering if you familiar with the Affirmation Declaration? It makes me cry too. It is a declaration, and yours is an amazing prayer. Together they can change Christianity.

    Thank you, John Shore, whoever you are. I plan to discover that, as I now peruse your web site.

    Your New Friend,

    John

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ina-Plassa-travis/100000989743025 Ina Plassa-travis via Facebook

    thank you, thank you, thank you – may this go so viral it disrupts the primary up in NH today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tyjduncan Ty Duncan via Facebook

    Excellent John!

  • Queen of Maine

    As I read, I found myself saying to myself…”I’m not afraid of my sexuality…what is he talking about…?” Then, bam, it hit me…I am not homophobic either. I am a straight person who has many homosexual friends of both genders whom I love deeply. It is impossible to relate to those who hide their hate in a pseudo-christian garb. I love Jesus and want everyone else to love Him too. That being said, I am ever cognizant of the fact that God gives each of us the power of choice. He has a plan for each of us, but we are not forced to follow that plan. Does he love us less if we don’t follow? No he does not. His word is clear on that point. Do we emulate Christ by hating anyone? No way. It would be a beautiful thing to see the hate melt away in the light of His love. Thank you John.

    • Valerie

      Amen

  • Jess Abel Wright via Facebook

    YES YES YES

  • Chris Gillespie via Facebook

    Like very, VERY much!

  • Bob

    with so much talk in politics of religion it is hard to find how any office seeker who throws jesus’s name around actually believes in the teachings of christ. jesus talked of healing the sick and caring for the poor and forgiving and love yet we have politicians who talk of their faith and then use their office to protect the rich. i may be wrong but i don’t think jesus ever spoke of protecting the rich. it is so discouraging to think that everyone who says they are a believer is nothing but a hypocrite. it is so sickening to see christ used as a reason for hate. that is why it was so good to find this website. i have searched a few of the pages and i will be searching out more because you write with wisdom and grace and with the love of god. you write the true spirit of christ. this world needs compassion and you deliver it. it is so refreshing to see someone actually use the words of christ to make people feel they are loved and are not condemned. you are someone who has jesus in your soul. and you are doing god’s work and i thank you for that

  • Stefanie

    This is sooo beautiful!! I am at a loss for words. Absolutely wonderful!

  • Harry

    What an amazing missive. And what a pity and shame that many bigots who purport to be Christians have never bothered for a minute to seriously reflect on Christ’s saying, that “the truth sets us free.” When gay people stand up for their sexuality, they are actually standing up for their innermost truth, for one of the most intrinsic parts of their own being, as opposed to following a “ligestyle.” I strongly recommend a powerful paper, now turned into book, by Greek theologian John Zizioulas, aptly titled “Communion & Otherness.” The book is not available on the net, but the original paper is, and it pretty much gives a solid justification of all forms of otherness from a Christian-Eucharistic perspective. Thank you for this beautifully provocative reflection, John!

  • Valerie

    I so wish that I lived near you and could attend the church that you do. What a ministry to my soul that would be. I so enjoy reading your blog and the comments from your other readers, it helps to know that I am not the only one with these inclinations! My hubby and I both support and love what you are doing, please, please, please don’t stop! Blessings and Peace to all who read it.

  • Judy Volkar

    Thank you so much for this posting. It says so eloquently what I feel. I was so guilty of accepting what my fundamentalist, conservative church preached about homosexuality, never questioning, never thinking that I was contributing to someone’s pain. No, I was never overtly anti -gay, but I never spoke up when someone else was. And my sin omission is no less than the sin of commission. By my silence, I contributed to someone’s pain. That is inexcusable, although thanks be to God, it is divinely forgiveable. I am so grateful that He had the power to smack me upside my little head and tell me to change my idiotic thoughts.

    How much does an ad in USA today cost? Can the folks that read your blog gather up enough money to place a full page copy of this ? Just a thought……..

    God bless you.

    • jodi

      I like your idea!

  • http://jesterpilgrim.wordpress.com Jesse

    This is amazing. May I copy it (with credit of course) for my own blog? I would very much like to have it on the record as being my own position.

  • http://www.facebook.com/valeriebarlowhorton Valerie Barlow Horton via Facebook

    Once more a truly inspired piece. Thank you John.

  • Michael Geisler via Facebook

    pipe dream, but nice read

    • HJ

      Michael, you said it best!

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      That’s what people said about a black man being president of the US 25 years ago. Your cynicism – while well-deserved and earned – is misplaced in the minds and hearts of those emboldened by God and every good virtue that exists to not live this apology and by living it, make it over and over again, everyday.

  • Craig

    As a gay person, reared in an evangelical home and who left the church thinking there is no way God could love me, I thank you. While I’m not so convinced being gay is all about sexuality (I think it more of affectional orientation), this letter and other bridges being built to reach out to the gay community is a step toward healing. Last year my partner of 27 years and I returned to church. We came back to a church that had (re)discovered grace. Thank God for the Lutherans (ELCA) and their boldness in extending a radical welcome to all. Slowly, I am also trusting God again. Full healing will take time, but I know that, just for today, I’m okay with God and God is okay with me…scars and all.

    • LSS

      If that’s what was meant, i disagree, too. Being straight is not all about sex, so why would being gay be all about sex? I kinda thought he was talking about how the christian and anti-gay groups and influences (the kind you hear in the politics a lot lately?) are all emphasizing about sex. In fact they seem kind of obsessed about it, even as nearly all of what they say about gays and sex is inaccurate.

  • Gary

    Wow – Powerful stuff.

    Though this letter might not yet come from the whole of the Christian church (I sure wish it did) it certainly represents me as one reformed Christian. There was a time in my life I sounded more like that coward “anon”. But today…your letter captures my heart very well.

    Thank You John, and don’t stop doing what you do. You really are making a difference.

  • http://facebook Lee Ann Calhoun

    I have come upon your writings only recently – well, three or so months ago, and I find them so enlightening and meaninful to me, especially in this age of division within our society. I feel you are a voice of sanity in the screaming voices of craziness! Just this week, I learned that my own minister is going to a meeting to help prevent gays and lesbians from being ordained in our denomination (Presbyterian) – breaks my heart. I left one church after many years because of the divisive messages coming from the pulpit and I hope and pray that our pastor will refrain from this divisive rhetoric in his sermons. (First church was on the east coast, currently we live in the southwest.) We spoke with the former pastor and it did no good, so are reluctant to put ourselves out there again. My husband and I have already talked about looking elsewhere again, but we live in a small community and I am a life long Presbyterian. I feel that God will lead us where we need to be or have us stay! My minister knows I am “liberal” and he and I get along fine, but we rarely discuss issues – he is diplomatic in that way! I have many conservative friends, but cling to those relationships where I am not ridiculed for my support of liberal causes: mission work; peace and justice; and supporting gay and lesbian relationships and their struggles for equality in their relationships. Thank you for putting into eloquent words what I often cannot.

    • Soulmentor

      I urge you to stay where you are and work within your church community to make a difference and maybe that will mean standing in your pew and contradicting your minister next time he sermonizes against gays, then sit down and remain quietly in place and leave a response to him. The following silence would be interesting. You’ll find out within days, perhaps hours if you want to stay in that church.

  • http://www.facebook.com/justinroberge1975 Justin Roberge via Facebook

    Awesome!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kvinsel Ken Vinsel via Facebook

    Beautiful

  • http://www.facebook.com/emilys.harvest Karen Olson via Facebook

    Amazing!

  • Thomas Spencer via Facebook

    Awesome is right! I’ve shared this on my FB page. Hope folks will take the time to read it.

  • William Prince via Facebook

    Oh, so powerful!

  • http://www.facebook.com/msamerican3.14 Elizabeth Walker via Facebook

    This made me cry. Please, Lord, let there be a day when we all have the humility, the courage, and the grace. Thank you, John, for once again putting into words something so important, profound, and moving.

  • Jeannie B.

    One of the happiest times of my life was the hour I spent in a chat room with a gay man and 3 self-described “Christians”. My “brethren” were viciously hate-bombing the poor guy who seemed to truly want to understand why God hates him (and, by extension, all homosexuals).

    My addition to the conversation was to assure the gay guy that God loves him just the way he is, and to chide the haters for their comments. I hope all of them listened.

  • Anne Reid Oppermann via Facebook

    This is spot-on! I have always struggled with the haters’ rationale against gay people and this seems very plausible. Sex is indeed a powerful force and it was created by God. Here’s hoping we can reconcile our spiritual selves with our sexual selves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fyrecreek Kaede Fyrecreek via Facebook

    Beautifully written. I hope for the day this becomes the thought of the majority and not just the rational few.

  • http://www.facebook.com/strangething Thomas John Stearns via Facebook

    i was talking to a friend last night. about faith, about judging, and about compassion. i told my friend about you and your writing. and how you gave voice to some of my concerns with grace and dignity. and then today you write this… well done sir

  • https://www.createspace.com/3436853 floyd knight

    This has always been the third option and middle path for Christians. It’s not “Open and Affirming” versus “Closed and Condemning,” but LOVING, OPEN AND TRANSFORMING. This is the Jesus Way, the Christian Way, and the Biblical Way. See https://www.createspace.com/3436853 the web page for “Loving, Open and Transforming.”

    Shalom!

  • Mark

    This was beautiful. There is so much in that statement “…the awesome presence of the divine infinite, and sex. We have always believed those two to be in competition, to be mutually exclusive: traditionally our conviction has been that where God is, sex cannot be. And so we have always, if grimly, shunned our sexuality, and clung fast to God.”

    I would love to see this expounded on…even affirming churches seem to struggle with where to draw the line in hetero-normative comformity…remove gay&lesbian u still have the impure nature of premarital sex, adulterous thoughts, etc…how does one embrace sexuality outside of the confines of marriage and still effectively lead others to Christ, without condemnation from their peers of their unworthiness..”he’s leading praise and worship on Sunday but I know what he was doing Saturday night”

  • Ketutar

    “We feared you because we fear our own sexuality. ” Bull.

    The Christians fear “sinners” because they are afraid God isn’t kind, loving and merciful, but will punish everyone for the sins of the few. That’s what you get with scaring tactics, hell and “God is going to JUDGE you and PUNISH you and you can do NOTHING about it!!!” -theology. After all, according to the Christian theology, EVERYONE is a sinner. Besides, as every man and his dog has their own interpretation of what is “sin”, and what is a “sin” “worse” than another “sin”, how could anyone be sure?

    • http://benhusmann.com Ben

      As one of these “The Christians” I can say that i’m not afraid that God isn’t kind, loving, and merciful. I’m not afraid that God will punish everyone for the sins of the few. I am not interested in scare tactics or speculations about hell.

      I really truly do believe that God is kind and merciful and loving. Just saying.

    • Gary

      Yeah I have to 2nd Ben’s comment here. I don’t fit your stereotype.

      • http://erinsspiritualquest.blogspot.com Erin

        same here. God is merciful and kind to all His children, and so should we be. As a lifelong Christian, I’ve never believed that God hates anyone.

        However, I do believe that He won’t go back on His word, and that all sinners must repent, and that all of us are sinners.

    • Sarah

      Fanatics and zealots preach fear. This Christian believes God is loving and kind…to all.

      I don’t fit the sterotype either.

    • LSS

      seriously? wow.

      OK i guess i know some people that think God is going to punish USA like He did the Roman Empire, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.

      (“There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”)

  • Brian Erickson via Facebook

    Amazing yet again. Thank you John. Here’s to Hope! (and yes, I raised my glass of kick-ass jesus wine!)

  • Lymis

    Was there a date on the letter? Because, it sure won’t be coming from all Christians any time soon.

    On the other hand, it doesn’t need to be, since, wherever two or more are gathered in His name, there is Christ in the midst of them, so you don’t need a quorum to issue it.

    The single biggest thing that Christians can do for gay people is take away the power of the haters to speak with a single voice in the name of God and the Church. You won’t be able to get all Christians speaking the words in that letter, but by speaking up and encouraging others to do so, you change the hate from being “what Christians believe” to “what some Christians believe” – and that change is huge beyond all understanding. Not only does it give gay people something to hold to, it gives other Christians the chance to speak out in agreement.

    Thanks for this, John. We’ve had dreamers change the world before. You’re in good company!

    • Diana A.

      I agree with you 100%.

      • Gordon

        Me too.

  • http://erinsspiritualquest.blogspot.com Erin

    “…as of this day, the Christian church has renounced—and will forever, and with utmost vigor, continue to renounce—that wicked, vile, and manifestly false theology which holds you as anything but our equal and friend.”

    This part, I love. Those who have said that God hate gays are not true Christians. Jesus’ very theme was Love Everyone! LOVE LOVE LOVE. I don’t believe God is capable of hating one of His children. Indeed, what parent can ever hate his or her child? We are all imperfect and some parents, I would imagine, DO hate their children, but those parents are few. And God is perfect. A perfect parent could never hate his child.

    That being said, the Bible says that fornication is a sin. No amount of love could make fornication a non-sin. God doesn’t go back on His Word. Fornication is sex before marriage. And it applies to everyone.

    That said, we have Jesus so that we can be forgiven of all our sins. All of us.

    • Melissa

      I am proud to say I am a Christian. You expressed your views beautifully! I agree with you 100%.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        But how do you reconcile this with the decision we – as a Christian voting community – have made to prevent gay men and women from marrying? It’s an awfully convenient box that a lot of Christians who want to look like they support gay rights while maintaining “What the Bible says” rely upon so they get to walk both sides of the fence, and you can’t.

        Gay men and women can’t get married because of our collective Church’s efforts to block it. Period. That they have to wait “until marriage” to have sex becomes a requirement that simply does not apply to them.

    • LSS

      well, the solution to that is universally legalize same-sex marriage as far as US policy. additionally, on the religious side, all the churches should really get behind the decrease in fornication that would be produced when they all agree to perform same-sex marriages.

      • Gomora

        can’t remember what whas the punishment of Sodoma & Gomora for!

        • LSS

          It was for being stingy, and mean to immigrants.

          • Donald Rappe

            Well said!

    • http://www.exilemusings.blog.com Amaranth

      Problem is, LGTB people who are Christian find themselves in the position of being forced to choose between fornication and complete celibacy in most states. I don’t think it’s fair to make same sex couples wait years and years for their particular state to legalize their marriage before they can be physically intimate with one another.

      I think if two people are forbidden by the government to marry, but still live monogamously in a relationship that is marriage in all but official name, that shouldn’t count as fornication in the eyes of God or anyone else.

    • Gary

      The modern definition of fornication (sex before or outside of marriage) is not an accurate translation. This notion flows from the same sex negative bias that drives much of the homosexual hysteria. But in truth it is not a scripturally accurate translation.

      Anyway…I love the main gist of your post.

      • Erin

        Certainly the Bible is filled with additions and definitions that weren’t supposed to be there. It never occurred to be that “fornication” would be mis-translated.

        My beliefs are ever-evolving as I grow closer to God, and have changed completely in several areas- except that God loves us and His gospel is love. I don’t think my opinion/belief on that will EVER change.

        And so, I wonder what is your source, that fornication is an inaccurate translation? What is the accurate one?

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      The absolutely impossible box you place the GLBT community within who are obviously, not allowed to be married is just as cruel as those who would say they are condemned to hell. Seriously. You need to understand that while well-intentioned, this is the same argument the anti-gay crowd uses, just different words.

    • Allie

      I absolutely do not agree that creating children outside a stable relationship which could care for them and deserting loved ones for other partners – what fornication meant to the people of biblical times – is the same as having sex before marriage today. We have a yardstick for deciding what’s sin and what’s not sin, a yardstick Jesus gave to us, the Great Commandment. In biblical times, fornication was absolutely hurting someone else. Today it’s absolutely not. It’s possible to hurt someone in the context of fornication today, but then it’s possible to hurt someone in the context of marriage today. The act itself is not intrinsically hurtful.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        THIS.

    • Gordon

      It is 2012 and you’re talking about fornication, Erin? Really?

      I met the man of my dreams in 1991. We dated, we met each other’s friends, we eventually met each other’s parents and then we decided to spend the rest of our lives together. We had a private commitment ceremony in February 1992, moved in together and have loved and lived together ever since. When California permitted same sex marriage in 2008, we became LEGALLY married. That was the event we shared with family and friends and they were all there to celebrate with us. BUT, our real union was in that little cottage at Sea Ranch, California in the winter of 1992. I will never forget the words we spoke to each other there. Were we committing fornication until the state of California allowed us a marriage license?

      I am serious. I think discussion of fornication in this day and age is as stupid as insisting that a woman caught in adultery should be stoned to death. Or believing shellfish are an abomination.

      I am offended that someone would tell me I’m actually committing a sin because I refused to remain celibate because the great state of California or the United States of America wouldn’t give me an f-ing marriage license! There is no logic that I can see in this. In fact, it is an obvious sanctimonious trap and I reject it. I’ve seen that movie. I didn’t like the ending. Me. Alone. No thank you.

      • LSS

        Earlier, i was being sarcastic to make a point. But in reference to actual literal stuff that happens to people, i agree with you. I consider my parents married when they decided to live together in a committed relationship, not when they actually got married nearly 10yrs later. They didn’t used to celebrate their anniversary… partly because of it being so inconveniently located in relation to my birthday and my age… Which is funny now but it wasn’t then. But also because they didn’t date their marriage from the civil ceremony, but from the actual time they decided to be together.

    • Erin

      Here’s how I see it. I’m going against the grain here, and I’m probably in the wrong forum to be disagreeable. Honestly, there are few (indeed, I’ve found none) forums where I can safely express my opinions and feelings on the matter. However, I think I’m “safer” here than in an ultra-conservative gay-hater forum. Here it is.

      I see homosexuality as a weakness. I know, I know, I can just hear the roars and complaints. But my beliefs are not based in hatred, and please allow me to explain further.

      I believe that we’re all given specific weaknesses. Some of us are prone to anger and violence. Some of us are especially attracted to drugs. Some of us are inclined to sexual behaviors that aren’t acceptable to God. I believe that we are supposed to overcome these natural tendencies. I do not agree with one common Christian theme- that homosexuality is a choice. I don’t believe that people wake up one morning and decide to be gay. The idea is absurd. I am grateful that homosexuality is not my weakness. I do believe that all weaknesses can be overcome with the help of Jesus Christ, even weaknesses we are born with, even weaknesses that are woven inside of us.

      I don’t believe that fornication is a sin of the past. I think that, perhaps, it’s not as bad as it used to be, now that we have so many forms of birth control, and now that women can easily enough support their children. Sex is a gift, a gift of God, but it’s a gift that should be used at the right time (after marriage). Kind of like an inheritance that Johnny can’t have access to until he’s 21. It’s a gift, he knows it’s there, and he’ll get it when the time is right. And for Johnny to want the money, look forward to it, before he’s 21– well, that’s okay. Nothing wrong with that. However, if he were to somehow steal the money before he’s 21– that’s not okay.

      I don’t believe that homosexuality alone is a sin. Attraction to the same gender is not sinful. It’s the sexual behavior with the same sex (or opposite sex outside of marriage) that I believe is unacceptable to God.

      This life is so short, and so important. It’s a minuscule portion of eternity, and some of us may not marry in this life. Some straight people may not ever have the chance to marry, and I believe those unlucky people should not have sex. However, I believe that marriage and sex will be available to them, and all of us, after this life. I was only married four years. I’ve been divorced for nearly five years and it’s starting to look like I’ll be celibate until death. That sucks a LOT but I’m happy enough, and I believe that this life is not the end of living. I think I’ll have the chance to be married again, even after this life, and you BET I believe that resurrected, married souls will be having out-of-this-world sex with their spouse. And it’ll be better there than it is here. It just makes sense to me.

      I believe marriage should be between a man and woman.

      That said, I do NOT believe that gay people should be denied certain privileges (like married insurance benefits). I mean, if they’re living together and will be living together as a couple for a while, they ought to be allowed benefits like tax breaks, etc., similar to a married couple. I just think that marriage itself is one thing- between a man and a woman. Marriage is God’s law.

      I do wish Christians and gays could all get along and accept each other, without fear of judgement and condemnation, from either side. When one of my gay friends discovered my religion, he was at first upset, and he didn’t want to be my friend. I admit that I didn’t tell him my religion because I so valued his friendship. I wasn’t ashamed of my beliefs, but I didn’t want him to judge me for my beliefs. After a short while, he realized that even though we believe differently, we can still be friends.

      I hope that, similarly, my beliefs, which differ from most of yours, can be respected here. I GET your side. But because of my beliefs of God (which are based on study and meditation), I can’t agree that homosexuality is acceptable to Him. Also, because of my beliefs of God and His attributes (which are based on study and meditation), I cannot believe that He would condemn a gay person to hell for eternity, simply because that person is attracted to the same gender. He loves us all with the same love. In the book of Acts (10:34), Peter says God is not a respecter of persons, meaning He doesn’t differentiate, doesn’t play favorites, doesn’t love any one of us more or less than anyone else.

      His love is without boundaries, and so should our love be, to the best of our finite and mortal abilities.

      • Gordon

        Hmmm. A “weakness” huh? Just like being prone to anger, violence or using drugs. But, you say it’s not a choice. I think I can guess the answer to this, but is having blue eyes a weakness? People with blue eyes tend to need glasses more than those lucky folks with brown eyes. Is being left-handed a weakness?

        I appreciate the thoughtful and gentle tone of your post. I really do. But, I don’t appreciate my sexual orientation being listed along with anger, violence or drug abuse as either a weakness OR a choice. It reminds me of the time a former Senate Majority Leader, on the floor of the United States Senate, equated being gay with pedophilia and kleptomania. I think you’re clinging to something you have been taught, which is that same-sex attraction is sinful and you’re trying to justify that fundamental belief with some modern, possibly politically and socially correct language like “weakness”. Someday, maybe you can let that go.

        I can also understand your gay friend having a rather knee-jerk reaction to learning about your faith. That has happened to me before because of the deep mistrust I have of so many Christian churches and ministries who keep telling me how much they REALLY love me. Then they usually say something about choice, or weakness or sin. And we’re right back to where we started.

      • Lyn

        I’d like to get your thoughts about my breakdown of the scriptural passages used to support anti-gay biases in the more recent comments. I used to have beliefs similar to yours, but when I investigated what the scriptures said, I came to the conclusion that my beliefs were insupportable.

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

    I almost want there to be a section in there thanking those among the gay community who, instead of shooting first and asking questions later, spent a little time with Christians gently sharing their stories and leading them out of their ignorance. Some are hard heads to crack and have to be shown the same testimonies over and over again, but once in a while it gets through.

    I think a lot of the root of the problem has been an “us. vs. them” mentality. I seem to remember pastors at my old church talking about how gay was a “rebellion against God/the way God made them” – and thus “gay” was more than just a sexuality-thing, but, it was thought of as a complete rejection of God/Christ and any Christian who was gay had to “struggle” with it.

    So those people who tried to tell me over and over again (on the Internets) that “No, I really was born like this” — well, all those who could do so without writing young me off in frustration were saintly in thier paitience. That deserves thanks.

  • Carl Sansoucy via Facebook

    Thank you , John!

  • Ray

    John: You have, as usual, put things into moving words. And you are right- but wrong. Yes, people are reacting because of the classic Christian ambivalence toward physicality in general and sexuality in particular. But it is more than merely their resistance to the flesh which drives them. It is their fear that they might have some of the homosexual within themselves. (This over-reaction is known in my field as Homosexual panic.)

    See, we all have some of the opposite sex in our make-up: men have a feminine component, women a masculine. (Jung called these the Animus and the Anima: Animus=masculine, Anima=feminine.)This does not mean we are intrinsically gay. It just means that it is next to impossible to be only one or the other.

    Years ago, when the Methodists were struggling with gays in the congregations, I upset people by changing the question. It was not whether homosexuals are Christian, but might Christians be homosexual?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Beeson/530994390 Michael Beeson via Facebook

    Keep letting that Christian spirit flow through you John my friend. The Word is getting out, and once it takes hold of a heart they are changed forever!

  • mike moore

    I love that you have dreams I can’t begin to imagine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/donaldhildenbrand Don Hildenbrand via Facebook

    Last night I dreamed I was leading an armed insurrection against outer space aliens. Not as theologically compelling, but interesting, nonetheless. But, your post was more awesome than my dream. Rock on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-Hatcher/100000028591751 Sue Hatcher via Facebook

    amazing!

  • http://skippingtothepiccolo.com David W. Shelton

    Thank you, John. Thank you.

  • Tammy Watson via Facebook

    …loved it!!! I guess drawing on people’s fears is a great tactic that has worked since the beginning of time. I’m just curious how folks can reconcile infidelity, promiscuity, pornography, and the harming of the innocent young without question, and yet find realtionships that are built on respect and commitment “irrehensible.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/lois.craven Lois Healy Craven via Facebook

    Real Christianity is about love. I as one who tries to live as a Christian daily and fails many times ..loves this article! Thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/dwshelton1 David W. Shelton via Facebook

    I’m so sharing this… you should be getting some pingbacks, John.

  • Cynthia Haug-West via Facebook

    Beautiful vision, John. I pray that it may also be prophetic.

  • Soulmentor

    You had me in tears again, John. I’m sure it works for many Christians now days, but not yet for most.

    There is much fear of even thinking that spiritual ecstasy can be experienced during sexual activity because of the traditional attitude of equating sex with sinfulness. That tradition thru almost the entire history of Christianity makes sex and spiritual holiness anathema to each other. But has it been wrong all along? Why should sex NOT be part of the avenues to God?

    I can only speak from my own experiences and I SAY, I PRONOUNCE, I SCREAM if necessary that I have touched God with my gay sexual experiences….several times in my life and yes, with different men. I have known such ecstasy that has made me weep and cry out with a man I loved while he laughed, LAUGHED histerically with the sheer joy of it as well. I’ve known amazingly, powerfully passionate sex with a man; the kind I never knew with my former wife. And also yes, one can love, really ecstatically LOVE more than one person. We have that capacity if we permit it to ourselves but we are socially (religiously) conditioned against it. I suggest the fear of that is part of how we divide ourselves against each other. If we allowed ourselves to love more freely, we could….well, LOVE more freely. That’s one thing that gay men do that makes us appear promiscuous, and maybe it’s a part of what makes us so predominantly caregivers and good in other professional and artistic endeavors where spiritual sensitivity is required.

    I think sex for many Christians is viewed as a necessary evil and as such, is more perfunctory. We gays do not deny ourselves the JOY of sex. It’s FUN!!! Dare I say GAY!!! Perhaps in that, we are closer to God than fundy Christians would want to admit…. and maybe there’s a wee bit o envy involved as well?

    Why fear it? Yes, it does indeed get to the point of being uncontrollable, wondrously, almost frighteningly so, and there is a danger of careless addiction that many fall into, but with someone you love it’s not like an uncontrollable, physically damaging drug high (tho I wouldn’t really know, never having done drugs). I go into it with eyes wide open WANTING it, hoping for it, disappointed when it doesn’t happen ( but enjoy it nevertheless). Not carelessly impulsive but consciously deliberate. Yes, it’s relatively rare but once experienced, nothing else in life measures up to it. It’s a kind of glorious madness of two spirits coming together in a splendid flash of otherness. The subject always brings to my mind the wonderful Bernini sculpture of THE ECSTASY OF ST TERESA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecstasy_of_Saint_Teresa that many suspect is a depiction of sexual ecstasy.

    I do not fear it. I want it again so deeply my very soul aches for it. THAT is MY “gay agenda”. Peace and Love.

    • Allie

      The thing about multiple partners is this: indeed it’s possible to profoundly love more than one person. But almost always that one person doesn’t care for the competition. No one wants to be second on anybody’s list, and the nature of being alive and only in one place at one time means that when there are two priorities, one of them will have to be second. The question to ask is not how many people you would like to have sex with, but how many people you would like the person you’re madly in love with to have sex with.

      • vj

        That’s a great way to put it. What with it being January and all, I have started reading the One Year Bible (am hoping that having it on my Kindle now will keep me at it past February, which is about where I have stopped in the past!) – and have been struck, again, by how much the early OT WIVES were *not* enamored of their husbands having multiple wives/concubines. Even Sarah was jealous of Hagar – and it was her idea to give her to Abraham…

      • Soulmentor

        I should have been more clear about my “multiple partner” thing. It was serial. My three partners all left me. The first after a year due to his own insecurities and inability to commit. The second after 8 years when he “got religion” and left me for the Catholic Church and retreated back to the safe, suffering relishing, guilt ridden dark hole he came from. The third after three years for a younger, richer man which I encouraged because he turned out to be ….how shall I put it…..Marilyn Manson to my Andrea Boccelli.

        The first was a chain smoker struggling with alcohol and his sense of social ostracism. The second was raised Catholic, alter boy, the whole shebang and never could get over it and he crawled back into orthodoxy and the “joys” of voluntary, “christ-like” suffering and for two years after wanted me to crawl in there with him….non sexually!!! The third was loaded with the baggage of “fatherly” sexual and physical abuse and life on the streets to whom I offered a new life but who I ultimately couldn’t afford. He still struggles but, under my influence, he got his GED, started college and is now a student of Psychology at a prestigious local university and we remain best friends.

        I loved them all devotedly, but often love isn’t enuf and I found myself flat on my face in agony with the first two who both told me that my love saved them from suicide. God knows where the third would be now if I hadn’t pulled him out of life eating out of dumpsters.

        Unlike what most fundy “christians” seem to want to believe about gays, none of them were primarily about sex tho with the first two it was great as I related. The third not so much because of his abuse baggage but I loved him enuf to respect that.

        And as for sexual jealousy….it never was and is not now a hang up on my part.

        I gave and gave and gave at great cost to my own life which my sons think was very noble if not particularly wise for my own welfare. True enuf, but I’m proud to say my epitaph will be “I have loved”.

  • Dave Bowling

    John: Awesome! Oh, let it be so! I look forward to the day when this is not just a vision, but reality for all who believe … my brothers in Christ, my sisters in Christ, and most of all – my own immediate family members.

  • Sam W. Hightower via Facebook

    Wowza.

  • Reva

    It’s the “people” that proclaim over and over “I am a Christian” that are the most UNGOD LIKE”. True Christians are nonjudgemental, caring, nice, and helpful. “When your physical life on earth ends, you too shall be judged!”

  • Schuyler Ford via Facebook

    You are a blessing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/phil.brucato Satyros Phil Brucato via Facebook

    Nicely done, John. Now if only the right people read it and take it to heart…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Layne-Sanders/1128154534 Layne Sanders via Facebook

    So glad I found your blog… :)

  • Nicole Gregory-Johnson via Facebook

    At first I thought (hoped) that your post was in response to this interview with Joel Osteen:

    http://news.yahoo.com/pastor-joel-osteen-oprah-homosexuality-sin-gay-people-185334950.html

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

    In part it was.

  • Brian W

    Superb Bro. John, simply superb. Thanks

  • Dianne M

    This letter comes much too late for my dear friend who shot herself after years of being denied by her church and her community. She sought in vain for acceptance and when she did not find it in the church or family or friends, turned to drugs and alcohol and ultimately gave up. God forgive us all for not reaching out to her and wrapping our arms around her tightly and giving her unconditional love and support.

  • http://supercrayons64.blogspot.com/ Blake

    I like how this letter connects Christians’ problem with being gay and with their own sexuality. I also like the contrast between gay people choosing the rainbow and Christians choosing black and white.

    Closed minds do not lead to joy.

    Rainbows are for everyone. Individuality is for everyone. Freedom is for everyone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jodiLSweeney Jodi Lynn Sweeney via Facebook

    Some christians feel this way.. I know a few. I am a Christian that never thought being Gay was a sin.. however I do feel strongly God said Judge least ye be judged. And just because someone says they are a Christian doesn’t make you one. Sincerely, those Christians that live with love in their heart shouldn’t be but in the same catagory as those “Christians” the judge and belittle..

  • Curt Naeve

    Brilliantly said John, thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/shelley.english Shelley English via Facebook

    Wow… I never thought of it that way. That Christian hate for gays is fueled by the fact they embrace a part of the self that we’ve all been taught is shameful and evil except under the most minimal circumstance and should be hidden away until the proper time. I’m thinking that translates into envy. Nicely done, John!

  • Susan in NY

    This gave me goosebumps. Thank you, again, John.

  • Wayne Miller

    Wow. Beautifully written!

    I can’t remember where I saw the cartoon (was it here?) where a father was talking to his son about how when he got married everyone thought what he was doing was immoral, perverted, and wrong. Of course you were led to believe that he was describing a same sex relationship, when really he was describing marrying a woman of a different race. It’s amazing what we have done in the name of religion that we are later brought to our knees about…

  • Evy Brescia

    thank you so much! I hope you have enlightened people and have caused many to open their hearts, accept us all, and leave the loving to us! The people that shun and hate are the ones with the problem! I pray for us all to be one…..stripped of our colors, our religions, our gender…..and when you come right down to it….we all have the same organs, the same color blood, and a soul…..and it is the soul that we can use to love or to hate…..and so, there is our free will. I hope we make God smile in the end!

    • Lea Walters

      John, this is so brilliant and sane, thank you so much for seeing and spreading the light! Christians are waking up to the true meaning of God’s love and repenting for their blindness. So cool!

  • alan scott

    a beautiful and heartful statement coming from the depth of love that we all share and that’s get obscured out of fear taking some perverse form. Bless you or the many who worked on this and wrote it for all of us

  • http://www.facebook.com/kentspeedway Kent Grimes via Facebook

    I just reposted this on my Facebook page.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maryterry17 Mary Knox via Facebook

    PERFECT!! (now if it would only happen….)

  • Eric Jones

    Remind me again why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah…

    • javi aguilar

      nobody knew what the sins of the sodomites were. when the coup went to “know” the angels, it included women, as well. there are more abominations towards heterosexuals than there are for homosexuals. read your book, correctly. many scholars mentions the true lesson Sodom and Gomorrah was of hospitality. after all, it was Lot that offered his virgin daughters which, afterwards, drunk him and seduced him.

      • Eric Jones

        Lot offered his daughter, a lawful relation between a man and woman instead of their demands for a man that they may have homosexual relations with (unlawful).

        • http://www.exilemusings.blog.com Amaranth

          Waitwaitwait…offering up a woman to be gang-raped is LAWFUL?? Since when?

          • Diana A.

            Ya’ know?

        • Diana A.

          There were two daughters and yeah, that crowd had rape on its mind. They wanted to rape the male-appearing angels, not for sexual pleasure but to dominate and humiliate the strangers (a common practice back then and even in some places today.) Lot offered up his daughters in the hope that doing so would appease the crowd–but it only made them madder.

          “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” (Ezekiel 16:49-50)

        • javi aguilar

          there over 430 more abominations towards heterosexuals and two for homosexuals in the bible. it’s not that God hates heterosexuals. it just means they need more guidance.

    • Gary

      Seriously Eric? Because if you would read your bible you would find that their sins were specifically listed several times. Guess what? Homosexuality was NEVER listed. Perhaps you think God just sort of FORGOT why He wiped them out when He listed their transgressions?

      Seriously dude…you need to study up!!

      • Allie

        Guys, come on. Give references, he might learn something.

        Ezekiel 16:49 (God is speaking to the people of Israel)

        Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

        So, the sins of Sodom:

        1) pride

        2) having too much money – see 4

        3) laziness

        4) refusing to help the poor – see 2

        Sex is not mentioned.

        • Gary

          He might…but I doubt it. But hey thanks for trying. I hope I am wrong about him.

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      To give you something to focus your life on because he knew you’d not be able to do much more than that.

      • Eric Jones

        Mature DR, real mature. When faced with facts just make personal attacks.

        • Gary

          What facts exactly do you believe DR was faced with?

          This I gotta hear…

          Waiting….

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Eric, I’m actually serious. The fact that you’d actually offer what you have as “fact” is simply people who don’t have a lot of capacity to think critically. Unfortunately it’s really dangerous and your theology is responsible for driving gay kids to kill themselves and that blood on your hands isn’t something I’d wish on my worst enemy but I’m beginning to realize that for many who are drawn to your particular kind of faith (that’s not Christian), you don’t have much going on. I’m sorry if that’s hard to read, I’m sure in your own ways you’re quite content with your life. Any kind of power you’ve ever had with this kind of “witness” is over, of course – this horrifying treatment of scripture being used to justify homophobia is almost a closed chapter on our christian history and in a few decades, you’ll just be a faint, embarrassing memory. For now, our only job is to just talk louder and longer than you do so we can minimize the damage that you do and the harm you cause to the GLBT community. And it’s working.

          • Erin D.

            DR, I think I love every single one of your posts in this thread!

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            woohoo!

  • Line Merrette Vincent via Facebook

    And yet some fundamentalists wear polyester and cotton, eat shellfish and rabbit and cheat on their wives. Reposted.

  • Line Merrette Vincent via Facebook

    And they also say abolishing slavery was a good thing (the smartest of’em… not like you know who).

  • Line Merrette Vincent via Facebook

    Nowhere in the Bible does it say that airplanes are ok. Or that slavery should asbolished. But of course it makes perfect sense to me… if you apply the Bible to today. Why interpret the world with a Bible transslated in the 1500s with all the errors?

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.maly Kevin Maly via Facebook

    Thanks from an out, gay Lutheran pastor!! Sometimes it feels so lonely . . . . . this helps.

    • Erin D.

      Paul, I just looked up your name & found your church website. How does that work–blending ELCA and Catholicism? Being raised Catholic and now worshipping in an ELCA church, that is fascinating to me. I am really curious! Are there gaps being bridged between these two traditions? It sounds encouraging.

    • Erin D.

      Ack, I mean Kevin. So embarrassing!

  • Shelley Krasean Flavell via Facebook

    Did you really have a dream that inspired you to write this?

  • Shelley

    Brilliant. Enlightening. Bless you…..

  • Eric Jones

    What errors? Reference the Dead Sea Scrolls and all other archeological finds including clay pottery with inscriptions found and they coincide with the Bible, not conflict.

  • Drew

    John…

    Sometimes I can’t believe you’re straight because you sooo “get it.” It’s sort of like this wall of misunderstanding that normally exists between gays and straights (even those straights with the best of intentions) doesn’t exist for you.

    I don’t know if this is something that you’ve hard to work through or not. From what I’ve read it sounds like you’ve always been pretty open. Anyway, bottom line…it’s cool to feel this kind of love.

    Thanks, man.

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

      Thanks, Drew. And no, I never had to “work through” anything in this regard. The whole idea that anyone would is completely foreign to me. It’s just … beyond alien. (Oh–and yes, I’m straight, in your most basic … werewolfish kind of way.)

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

    I really did, yes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lonnie-Cavenee/1282031245 Lonnie Cavenee via Facebook

    “I’m thinking that translates into envy.” I am inclined to agree with you Shelley.

  • Brian Horne via Facebook

    You rock John!

  • Erica

    Amen to that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kandy.sansom Kandy Williams Sansom via Facebook

    “we’ve turned the way you love, into the way we hate..” Epic. I’m straight..a Christian for 45 yrs..have struggled with these ideas/issues, but the final test is Love isnt it??

  • Catherine

    Should be a mandatory church bulletin insert!!

    • http://thesewingexperiment.wordpress.com/ Sensible Seamstress

      I’d pay good money to see people in fundy churches all over our country open up their Sunday morning bulletin and have that letter staring them in the face!

  • Colin

    Beautiful, beautiful letter. I’m tearing up after having read it. Thank you, John Shore. :-)

  • Mr. Widemouth

    Whoever wrote the letter sure took a lot of liberties to say it was on behalf of all Christians. They were obviously wacked out to begin with since they admit to treating them as less than any person should be treated and its good that they repented of it. Too bad they go way to far in their letter and completely lose sight of the Christian principles taught in the Bible which teaches in the new testament that anyone that engages and continues in any sexual activity outside of marriage without repentance (stopping | turning away) cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven. And I quote:

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

    Not trying to be a jerk here but the bible is the bible and people that call themselves Christians should actually read it and stick to it or keep quiet. I certainly don’t think that people that practice a homosexual lifestyle should be treated poorly for it but when they choose that lifestyle they leave a Christian lifestyle just as fornicators and adulterers do. Everybody want their cake and eat it too. I want to be a homosexual and get married in a Christian church – give me a break! And finally – active homosexual clergy are not Christians. Just sayin!

    • vj

      So, in your opinion, what would happen to a ‘drunkard’ who receives Christ as their Savior, repents and stops drinking to excess and lives a long and productive ‘Christian’ lifestyle (showing evidence of spiritual growth in their lives), caring for the poor/sick/downtrodden, etc – and then has one bad day and gets drunk again; goes off to bed in a drunken state and expires during the night. Being in an unrepentant state, does this person no longer qualify for the Kingdom of God?

      Is the blood of Jesus, who died ONCE for ALL, sufficient to declare this person blameless in the sight of God, justified by faith in Jesus – or is the free gift of salvation inadequate against the foibles of humanity in a fallen world? One could ask similar questions about believers who suffer from idolatry (placing family/nation/wealth in a position that should belong only to God) or covetousness (allowing the desire to possess something to overwhelm them). What about adultery? There seems to be a lot of that going around in ‘Christian’ circles – are divorced Christians irredeemably excluded from the Kingdom of God? Are we justified ONCE for ALL, or must every transgression be itemized before we can be washed clean?

      • Mr. Widemouth

        If the rich young ruler gave all his money away to follow Jesus then went around and took it all back just before he died what do you think would happen to him? The blood of Jesus delivers us from drunkenness and homosexuality, drug abuse, thievery, lying , cheating, fornicating it doesn’t give us licence to practice them without consequence. Judas forsook the Lord and couldn’t find a place of repentance – should we be surprised if this happened to others who forsake the Lord?

        1Pe 4:17 For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God?

        1Pe 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? We are washed clean and we must continue in being cleaned by the blood and by the word. Salvation is instant and progressive, even Paul worried about being lost. Work out your salvation in fear and trembling

        Phl 2:12Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

        • vj

          You are confusing salvation/justification (immediate, eternal state of Christ-righteousness) with sanctification (ongoing, progressive, transformation by degrees into the image of Christ). We are not yet perfect, but are already adopted into the family of God. The blood of Jesus washes us from all unrighteousness, even while we struggle to live fully in His righteousness. We have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness, even as we struggle to live fully in the light.

    • Gary

      “Not trying to be a jerk here…”

      Then don’t be.

      Your understanding of scripture follows the fundy interpretation well. But you are frankly…clueless.

      • Mr. Widemouth

        Wow, excellent use of scripture Gary!

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Mr. Widemouth,

          Here’s some scripture for you. The heart of the stubborn will never find rest.

          You’re welcome.

    • Ric Booth

      Mr. Widemouth,

      Everything in your comment is wacked, save your handle.

      • Mr. Widemouth

        Too bad you aren’t able to mount a rebuttal or quote scripture?

        • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

          That’s really what’s important to you? Mounting rebuttals and quoting scripture?

          Mr. Widemouth, Jesus is about love. Jesus could care less about quoting scriptures or mounting rebuttals. If that is where your priorities lie, then I’d say you have some real soul searching to do along your spiritual journey.

          If you want to mount rebuttals, go join the debate team. If you want to be a Christian and walk with God, then LOVE. Because God is love.

        • Gary

          You either are not the slightest bit interested in a rebuttal scriptural or otherwise (troll’s aren’t after all) or you are so incredibly lazy you can’t be bothered to read any of the countless ones that have been presented to your types, not a bad one of which was presented in John’s latest book.

          Why should your laziness be our problem. Do yourself a favor and actually read any of the excellent rebuttals available to you on this site and all over the Internet. Otherwise…you simply make yourself the fool.

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Oh good Lord. You have zero interest in or curiosity about a “rebuttal”. You just can’t have a conversation about this that’s not on your own exclusive terms because you can’t control it. That’s what is really going on here. You can’t really talk about this issue.

        • http://www.ncnewthoughtminister.net Michele Sevacko

          Mr Widemouth – Anyone with access to the web or a Bible in the house can quote scripture. But, here’s one for you…. “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6). In other words, stop being so stuck on what you think you’re reading – and tune into Spirit… Spirit, which is love. Jesus told us to Love God & love our neighbors as ourselves – not love your neighbors – but, only if they do certain things, act a certain way, etc… He didn’t qualify his commandment – and, if you’re a true follower of Christ, you won’t either.

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

      Interesting screen name for a guy intent upon letting the world know how wrong and sinful gay sex is.

      • Gary

        LMAO

      • jodi

        oh my! hahahahahahaha

      • Erin D.

        John, you are so “wack.” LOLOLOLOL!!!!

      • Mr. Widemouth

        John, It’s the Bible that lets people know about sin. I guess this means you don’t really have a convincing response so you have resorted to personal attacks.

        • Gordon

          You sir, are a troll. Oh there I go again…stating the obvious.

          • Mr. Widemouth

            Gordon – you can apply the comment directed to John and just change the name to your own.

          • Gordon

            Where in the heck did I leave my electric troll prod?

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Mr. Widemouth has got a Big Job in front of him, convincing all of us that we’re wrong.

        I hope he has a pack of cigarettes.

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      “Not trying to be a jerk here”.

      Sorry, but you don’t get a pass because you typed some words on a screen. Too late.

      I’d type up the same old stuff but here’s the deal. The great thing is that your 15 minutes of christian fame is over. It’s just over. Those of you who insist on trying to mask your own homophobia and wrap Scripture around it have been outed. It doesn’t add up. And collective christianity is getting it, particularly the younger generation, the most recent gallup poll reflected 53% of people don’t care about gay men and women getting married, they are for it. You’ve lost this generation of kids who think you’re kind of crazy. It’s just over and in 30 years we’ll look back and wonder how in the world we gave people like you so much power and it will be our horrifying regret.

      So you don’t really matter in the long-term. In the short term, our goal is to make sure you hurt as few people as possible by just shutting you up and shutting you down because you’re so obnoxious, you’d actually come into a conversation with this kind of arrogance and you don’t even see it. You can’t help yourself and we know that. So we’re just going to talk over you and we won’t stop so yours is no longer, the only christian voice at the table. Because guess what? We’re not allowing *you* to speak for Christianity anymore. So look in a mirror and re-read your own comment.

      • Mr. Widemouth

        I’ll reread my comment, you should read the new testament.

        • Lyn

          The current anti-gay mistranslations of the Bible have been thoroughly rebutted numerous times by Christian scholars throughout the world. While some are more than willing to educate the misinformed, it is not our job to take time from our lives, families, and ministries every time a misinformed troll drops by a blog we follow and makes holier-than-thou pronouncements from on high based on their poor exegesis (truly eisegesis) of scripture. The resources are out there for those who would study to make themselves acceptable. If you are unwilling to do so, you will answer for your stubbornness and hatred. It is our job to seek justice, oppose the oppressors, and speak out for the poor and oppressed. Given the political power wielded by those who would hate in the name of Jesus compared to the oppression experienced by those who do not fall within the narrow categories of straight and cisgendered, we know where our energies are to be directed and it is to helping them and opposing you.

          • Gordon

            Like. A lot.

        • Ashdawn

          Tell you what. I’ll re-read the New Testament if you’ll learn Greek, Latin, and Aramaic, then read all the books of the New Testament in their original languages (heck, go for broke, read the OLD TESTAMENT ones too!). Then we can meet for sodas and compare notes. Whaddaya say?

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          I love the smell of victim-based hostility in the morning. Goodness, the love of all of you Bible-based Christians – the example you’re setting for all of us emergent, scary Christians – is….well, it’s something!

    • JK

      Last three sentences…

      1. Read instead, I have been created by God and want to share my life with whom he has decreed I love, so let me love and marry and be true to His creative power.

      2. Active homosexual clergy have more understanding of Christ’s message than others. They have been dragged through the depths of despair and hatred and have still held on to their belief in God’s power and authority over their lives. They get what it means to be down and out per others power and they can teach God’s truth from that place. I have experienced their powers of equality and peace first-hand as a straight parishioner….

      3. Just sayin!

      • Diana A.

        “Active homosexual clergy have more understanding of Christ’s message than others. They have been dragged through the depths of despair and hatred and have still held on to their belief in God’s power and authority over their lives. They get what it means to be down and out per others power and they can teach God’s truth from that place. I have experienced their powers of equality and peace first-hand as a straight parishioner….”

        Agreed! Their faith has made them whole. The rest of us can learn a lot from them.

      • Mr. Widemouth

        JK – can you support your 2nd point with scripture?

        • http://www.exilemusings.blog.com Amaranth

          Isaiah 53:3-4: “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”

          Galatians 2:20-21: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

          Put shortly, active homosexual clergy have experienced what it means to be crucified by the world, and yet they are still willing to dedicate themselves to God and to others. Like Christ, a devout Jew who was hated by the legalistic Jews of his time, homosexual Christian clergy are hated by the legalistic Christians now…and yet they serve, and love, as Christ did.

          And there’s even scripture to “support it”, if you must have it, as though a comparison between the persecution and character of Christ with the persecution and character of a Christian can be “proved” by quoting random lines out of the long, sprawling narrative between God and people that is the Bible. Scripture is not a collection of “gotcha!” quotes to stump opponents in the never-ending legalistic debate on who’s right and who isn’t.

    • ting

      It’s funny how often someone calls me a fornicator because I’m having sex outside of marriage. So just let me and my partner (of almost 19 years now) get legally married. Simple. We would be happy to give up this sinful existence outside of what the world calls marriage.

      I probably don’t need to add that we consider ourselves married whether anyone else thinks so or not. But each time I read or hear of an opinion like this one, I’m one step closer to moving to a country where the law acknowledges us as equal citizens and where I don’t have to put up with these people living in the Dark Ages.

      • Diana A.

        I think you’re married too. Marriage takes place in the heart long before it takes place in the outer world. And God cares about the heart above all else.

      • Lyn

        The state doesn’t have the capacity to make a marriage, only to recognize one. That the state fails to recognize yours does not reflect on the genuineness of the relationship, but only the myopia of the state.

      • LSS

        you’re totally married.

        reality is not up for referendum.

  • Barbara J. Olson via Facebook

    I am in a class at my MCC church studying Gay meets Christian and using The Children Are Free as our study guide. I can not wait to share this with all.

  • http://sillama1.xanga.com Sil in Corea

    Love IS the Answer! Jesus taught and practiced it; we need to teach and practice Love…totally and unconditionally.

  • Shannan

    I dont issue with the idea here. I do however disagree with the authors assuming he can speak for the heart of all Christians. Exactly what gives the faith a bad name. Perhaps if this is the way the author felt and walked through it would have been more appropriate to say its a letter from him personalleto those he has offended. I…..do not share the same views on sex as he has assumed all christians do…and yet I get the dubious pleasure of being lumped in. Booooo to this one. God is Love, and Love is blind. Period.

    • Lymis

      If all the people who disapprove of homosexuality can speak for all Christians, why can’t someone who doesn’t?

      And why would love and inclusion give the faith a bad name, when all the hatred, division, and exclusion isn’t?

      • Diana A.

        Thank you!

      • jodi

        Yes!

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      What in the world are you talking about?

      • Angie

        Wondering the same thing…

    • LSS

      he literally had a dream of this (repentance and attempt at reconciliation by christians towards gays) happening in the future. obviously most of us are at this blog because we agree and wish/pray/hope the same thing. but no way is he saying it’s 100% real now. if it were, 80% of this blog wouldn’t have to be written.

      • LSS

        please excuse my guessed percentages. they are probably wrong, as i have pretty bad instincts for math.

  • me

    As far as we can reason it, the fundamental problem with homosexual relationships is as follows:

    What’s the difference between deep platonic love and friendship between two members of the same sex, and homosexual love? Lust. Plain and simple, desire for the other’s flesh and the desire to delight in that (even if they don’t partake in the act). Therefore, on a fundamental basis, homosexual relationships cannot be given up to his holiness to honor GOD, because all the nicities of a “loving caring relationship” are already possible, without homosexual desire.

    On a different level, the male and female homosexual acts are both perversions of the wonderful and holy act-of-union GOD gave us in sex, and since desire for this kind of perversion is the separating factor from an otherwise holy and just brotherly/sisterly communion, how GOD-glorifying is a homosexual relationship status and identity.

    Then on the highest level, kickass doxology Romans 11:33-36:

    “Doxology

    33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and[i] knowledge of God!

    How unsearchable his judgments,

    and his paths beyond tracing out!

    34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?

    Or who has been his counselor?”[j]

    35 “Who has ever given to God,

    that God should repay them?”[k]

    36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.

    To him be the glory forever! Amen.”

    Who are we to perfectly reason all the was homosexuality pleases/displeases GOD almighty? He is our Almighty, all-knowing creator, he knows the human mind and heart like no other, he KNOWS it through and through. We most likely will never know all the ways homosexual desires influence and affect a person and their mind, but I trust in GOD that if he has said it’s not the way he wants us to live, he know what he’s talking about much more than man does.

    Please discuss

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

      Oh, great. The crazy train has pulled in.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Jesus, take the wheel!

        • Diana A.

          Like!

        • http://thesewingexperiment.wordpress.com/ Sensible Seamstress

          LOL for real, DR!

    • Erin D.

      Man, you must have a REALLY boring sex life. I commit at least 37 perversions against God every time I do the deed with my spouse of 10 years, and that’s on an ordinary Tuesday night when we’re trying to squeeze it in between putting the baby to bed and watching Community on NBC. It takes WORK to do it the holy way.

      • Gordon

        I am laughing out loud so hard that I may actually have to REALLY roll on the floor! Thanks, Erin.

      • Angie

        Awesome. <3 lmao

      • LSS

        but, do you also believe at least 6 impossible things before breakfast the next morning? (~_^)

    • http://www.cindymurphythinkingoutloud.blogspot.com Cindy

      Seriously, this is one of the most pathetic things I’ve read in a while: “What’s the difference between deep platonic love and friendship between two members of the same sex, and homosexual love? Lust. Plain and simple, desire for the other’s flesh and the desire to delight in that (even if they don’t partake in the act). Therefore, on a fundamental basis, homosexual relationships cannot be given up to his holiness to honor GOD, because all the nicities of a ‘loving caring relationship’ are already possible, without homosexual desire.”

      Please tell me you are single. Because if you are married, I feel a great deal of sympathy for your mate. If you think the only difference between a close friendship and the love one feels for ones spouse/partner is the sexual aspect then you should remain forever single as you will otherwise eventually make someone very miserable.

      By the way, read your bible again. Where does it say lust is ok as long as it is between a man and a woman? I missed that part. Why don’t you just rewrite your question/answer as follows: “What’s the difference between deep platonic love and friendship between two members of the opposite sex, and heterosexual love? Lust.” Then you can c0nclude that romantic love and lust are one and the same thing and therefore neither can ever be condoned by God, therefore marriages must go back to being business arrangements and sex must only be used for procreation. In this day and age of course, that conclusion will likely result in you being single for the rest of your life. But given your screwed up view of love that can only be good for whomever you may have otherwise married.

      • LSS

        at first i thought it almost made sense, that “the only difference between being great friends and wanting to be married, is lust”. but really, the other thing that my husband and i have, that you wouldn’t necessarily have between friends (although you should among family), is the whole “convivencia”, ummm, i think of it in spanish because we started out learning it in spanish… but in english it’s like the whole quality of living together… not just sharing a space, but the process of learning to coexist and take care of each other, i guess? and really, even though enjoying sex is really important, the covivencia part is in many ways a bigger part of being married than sex is… if only just because couples spend more of their time at it. and that applies just as much for whatever couples … same-race couples live that process just like mixed-race couples (like us). neurologically average couples, same as autistic couples (like us). gender-average hetero couples, same as same-sex couples. etc.

        • LSS

          (typos, sorry)

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      “Please discuss”.

      You’re emotionally and morally bankrupt and a very dangerous presence to the GLBT community. And as a fellow Christian you no longer speak for God on this issue. I hope to God you are not raising children that are gay or that you never come into contact with a gay man or woman so they don’t have to deal with your abuse. And if you do? I pray that the Holy Spirit – if you are completely closed to the idea of changing – will just cause you to be quiet. Amen.

      Discussion over.

  • Hilary

    Sorry people but I am in complete agreement with widemouth. The Bible is the Bible and although there are only six verses as the letter puts it, they are still in there. Tolerance is not the same thing as love. In tolerating someones sin and letting them believe it’s OK we may be sending them to hell. Sending someone to hell is not love. Revealing truth, even if it hurts, is love.

    to vj – That drunken man had repented. He wasn’t living a lifestyle in sin. He made a mistake but he also, in the way he lived normally, admitted that he was wrong.

    I don’t hate homosexuals. I have friends who are. But I will not endorse their lifestyle or this letter.

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

      and they’re carrying the same old tired, worn, broken luggage …

    • Lymis

      So, you still support slavery, polygamy, and forcing women to marry their rapists?

      How do you feel about that “women should shut up in church” thing?

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      You have blood on your hands for the suicides of gay kids, the children who were drove to take their lives as a result of this theology.

      You are responsible for the rape and exploitation of gay kids who have nowhere to live because they have parents who believe this way.

      You. Are. Responsible.

      God have mercy on you for the impact of your beliefs you refuse to acknowledge and take responsibility for, you have a lot more to worry about than a few people on an internet blog. I suspect you don’t have the intellectual or moral capacity to absorb what I’m telling you but I’m a witness to it. And I will keep reminding those of you who write this kind of thing until you either shut up or learn. But learn it on this side of heaven, things will go much better for you, I suspect.

    • http://www.worthingtonpost.wordpress.com Aliza Worthington

      Tolerance is a floor, not a ceiling.

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

        Wow.

        I think this is one of the coolest things I’ve seen anyone ever say. Simple and elegant.

        • http://www.worthingtonpost.wordpress.com Aliza Worthington

          Thanks – I wish I could take credit. :-) From the premise of a sermon a friend posted from her church about 6 months ago.

    • Erin D.

      Hilary? Hilary? Where did you go, darlin’? We have questions.

    • Gordon

      Hilary: I would love to hear what your “gay friends” think of your lack of hate and endorsement.

      I have spent more than 53 years on this earth and have been aware that I was homosexual since before puberty. I have learned and know for a certainty that being gay is not a choice, it’s not a lifestyle and, most importantly, it is not a sin. I also learned in my years at Oral Roberts University that the Bible is an extremely flawed collection of documents and to consider it the unadulterated word of God is foolish at best and dangerous at worst.

      I was raised in the Baptist faith and was active in the church for many years. But, I met just one too many people like you. You are so sanctimonious in your persistence that you don’t hate us. Your proof is your gay friends? Many of you, like my own brothers, tolerate us, park your feet under our table during holiday dinners, attend our fabulous cocktail and dinner parties and tell us you love us. Then, you cluck your disapproval at church, with your straight friends, family and forums like this one. But, you tell yourself all is well. Because you don’t hate us. And then you go to the polls and vote for people who absolutely DO hate us.

      You know what? I don’t approve of YOU. I don’t endorse YOUR lifestyle. Your beliefs and actions have driven millions of loving, energetic and truly Christian people from your churches and the Christian faith has been harmed deeply by it. You have a lot to answer for. That’s what I believe was the point that John Shore’s letter was making and I endorse THAT wholeheartedly.

      • jodi

        Gordon I LOVE your last paragraph!

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Oh my gosh – that last paragraph is brilliant. Co-signed.

      • Diana A.

        Thank you, Gordon.

      • Diana A.

        “I also learned in my years at Oral Roberts University that the Bible is an extremely flawed collection of documents and to consider it the unadulterated word of God is foolish at best and dangerous at worst.”

        You learned that at Oral Roberts University? Wow. I thought they were more fundamentalist than that.

      • http://www.worthingtonpost.wordpress.com Aliza Worthington

        haha! Co-signed as well!!!

  • Merry

    Sin is sin. I can be a glutton or a gossip, I can be gay or a drunkard. It is still sin. I am a Christian, and I love sex. I have no problem with sex. We can talk about it all day and I am not going to get my knickers in an up roar. I have an old best from from birth, he is gay, and my hair dresser, he is gay. I love them. I don’t love there sin. I don’t tell them about my sin and I don’t want to hear about theres. This letter is bull, in that it tries to talk for all Christians and to say all Christians have issues with sex. There are hateful Christians out there, there are hateful people out there. I don’t hate anyone, I hate sin. Big difference. Why is it that sinners want acceptance, they want to hear they are ok. Maybe they (people who are sinners, which is everyone but I digress) need love. I love you man but I don’t want to know who you were having sex with or how. So you are gay and I am a glutton. I don’t go up to people and say, hello, my name is merry and I am a glutton, gossip. Understand man?

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

      Maybe there was some kind of carbon monoxide leak inside the train cars …

    • Gary

      I wish you understood the true nature of sin.

      I wish the church in general understood it.

      sigh

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

        Double sigh. There’s the problem of misquoting Jesus, but there is also the trouble of misunderstanding Jesus:

        Mark 7: 14 -15

        Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      The arrogance and ignorance that can be so prominent in comments like these reflects the lack of education that so many of us as Christians have *chosen* to not get in these essential matters of faith is tragic. But it’s good to remember that for many, they just don’t have the capacity to handle this, they have too much to lose and too little interest in stepping outside of a faith that’s really, nothing more than a dysfunctional parent.

      I think we all know at this point that this person’s son in question is probably devastated by his mother’s rejection and condemnation of his “sin”. God have mercy on all of you who are parents who place your own ego-driven excuse of a “faith” in front of your child. But now the rest of us are here to clean up the mess that you cause, the emotional wreckage you’re blinded to and these kids NEVER show you. We’re going to be here for them and help them heal for growing up with you.

      • jodi

        “they have too much to lose”…….you hit the nail on the head

        Terrified that taking a stand or changing their mind will cost too much……

    • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

      No, I don’t understand. I don’t understand at all. I don’t understand why people like you fail to grasp the concept – the ONE concept that is paramount above all others in the Bible – which is to LOVE.

      And, like Gary, I also wish you understood the true nature of sin. Clearly, you do not.

      See also: http://www.learnyourdamnhomophones.com (just sayin’)

    • Erin D.

      *I* don’t love there (sic) sin.

      *I* don’t want to hear about theres (sic).

      *I* hate sin.

      *I*…don’t want to know who you were having sex with.

      Me, me, I, I, me, me, me…I, I, I, me, me, meeeeee!

      So Christian. :-)

    • Merry

      Maybe, but are you all not doing exactly what you despise in Christians? Pushing your beliefs on them. Did I say one offensive thing? Was I hateful or spiteful? But yet who is attacking who? I am all in to love, hence the I love not hate. Don’t read between my lines man, just listen to my words and see my actions. I have been to bible school, I didn’t hit anyone over the head with theology. I am not dragging out the big words, I was just stating my opinion. Don’t get so defensive, please.

      • Lyn

        Yes, you did say something offensive. You implied that someone telling you anything about the person they are attracted to, in love with, or committed to, if that person is the same sex, is telling you about their sin. Do you make the same assumption of your straight acquaintances? You place the non-straight, non-cisgendered person into an untenable position– live a life of dishonesty (a sin) or live a life of supposed sexual sin. And that, my friend, is offensive in the extreme. “I don’t want to hear about it,” is not a loving approach to people. You see, the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s apathy. And you are apathetic to gays. You don’t want to share their lives. That’s unloving.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Merry, the freedom of expression means you are free to *express* yourself. That is protected. Protected speech doesn’t mean that everyone has to like you or be kind to you when you say something horribly offensive. Stop being such a victim – I’m serious – you are the one who chose to enter into this conversation and this odd demand that Christians have that people *must* be kind to them after you state something that is both horribly offensive and has been PROVEN to drive gay kids to suicide? It’s delusional. People are *angry* with you. Your expressed opinions have done massive damage to the GLBT community. How about you wake up – grow up – and start accepting that instead of demanding that everyone be kind to you. This isn’t a spiritual attack, Merry – you’re facing the consequence of your beliefs. Period.

    • Soulmentor

      Your writing style betrays your lazy intellect. Did you not learn in elementary school the difference between there, their, and they’re? And the rest of your screed is simply incoherent.

      • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

        Thanks for commenting on that. I was going to myself, but you said it so much more succinctly, and made a really good point. I’ve been trying to put my finger on it for some time, and you just summed it up so well with two words: lazy intellect. It’s totally true.

        • Merry

          Soulmentor and Rhys,

          I can be as lazy as I want to be in my typing. Seems to me you both are filled with hatred. But, then English is not my first or second language. I am trilinguel and I do struggle with English. Thank you for pointing that out for me, I will work on it. Education, yes, I have a Masters. Thank you for hating on me.

          Lyn,

          Actually, I am a very private person and I do not share information with others as most do. They do not know about my personal life, because it is personal.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Merry, spend a day as a gay man or woman in a Christian community, then you’ll know what it’s like to be really “hated”. People countering you, disagreeing with you and being honest about how angry you make them – how deeply you hurt them – isn’t “hating” you. You’re just framing it that way because you can’t handle the conflict – the conflict, by the way, that *you* started.

          • Lyn

            Sharing your personal life with others is up to you. You rejecting others sharing theirs with you is unloving.

          • Ozzie

            Merry, They call themselves gay christians, but you cannot have a discussion with them. They just want to junp all over anything you say. They are just trying to justify their actions. Sounds to me like some of them carry a lot of guilt.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Oh for goodness sake, consider acting like a man. You’ve entered a forum where you’re clearly the opposing view and you led with some incredibly offensive things and now you’re actually claiming that you’ve been “jumped on”? I’m not going to allow you to be victimized – you’re the aggressor here and it’s time someone told you that. With what you’ve offered I’m amazed by the restraint others showed.

            Why would we be carrying guilt? We’re not the ones who are alienating the gay community from Jesus. I realize you’ve probably never been in a position where you are actually being held accountable to your actions by people who are sick to death of cleaning up your homophobic mess but you may not be able to handle this dialogue if you’re really going to choose to enter into a conversation and then claim you’re being attacked.

          • http://www.ncnewthoughtminister.net Michele Sevacko

            I don’t know who you’re calling “They”. I’m not gay (although I am happy) & I’ve been married for almost 30 yrs. One of our closest friends, on the other hand, have been together for over 25 yrs. and have not been able to have a legal marriage that would be recognized in every state. And, it took 25 yrs. for one of their families to accept their committment – because of the misuse, misunderstanding & just plain narrowmindedness of the teachings of some ministers/denominations. They, other friends…(and the many that we don’t know) that are effected, are who I speak up for – even though people like you are generally so close-minded & close-hearted. (That’s not a judgement, it’s an assessment).

          • Drew

            Guilt? Give me a break. “They” (we) are just trying to figure out how to how to have meaningful and life giving relationships just like everybody else, in an often confusing and scary world. So when all you can trot out is essentially “Just grit yer teeth and wait for Jesus” I hope you’ll understand if your missives are not always warmly received.

          • Merry

            I am not trying to be a “victim”. Just stating what I believe, and if that is the case about free speech and everyone not having to agree then remember that the next time you state your sexual orientation or your beliefs. And if you want to see victims, look at the Jews, American Indians, and African Americans.

  • Kathleen Hellington

    I totally get why this letter needed to be written. Sure, it doesn’t represent ALL Christians, but just like a bad little kid who refuses or doesn’t see that it’s being bad, sometimes it’s mom or dad apologizes FOR it.

    Above whether or not you believe homosexuality is sin, this letter does something necessary. It holds us Christians accountable for all the horrible things we have done- on God’s name, to gay people. There isn’t anyone protesting funerals with signs that say “God hates fat people”, or “God hates gossips”.

    Anyways, yeah, I think some Christians DO need to apologize to gay people, and if they can’t do it, maybe someone more mature can do it for them. Amen.

    • http://www.ncnewthoughtminister.net Michele Sevacko

      Kathleen –

      I agree…and, that’s why in my comment yesterday I suggested that maybe it’s time to do some services of “reconciliation”. It’s not because I’ve ever done – or even stood by and watched/listened, as someone I knew was being mean or hurtful – but, for the reasons you mentioned.

      I’ve been involved in a path for decades that affirms & welcomes all people (as a New Thought Christian) and have just recently ventured back into the “mainstream”. I’ve been so pleasantly surprised at the number of open & accepting Christians I’m meeting (I’m not gay but, have many, many gay friends) – Christians that want to focus on the message & example of Love. It really gives me a new hope, as the voices get louder that in time it will drown out those that are intolerant & judgemental.

      Bles-sings, to you…

  • J. A. Smith

    I noticed that you made no attempt to answer the serious questions from Scripture that were raised bythose whohave left comments. Is that because you have no answer other than some snide comment on the person who challeged you?

    No one sin needs to be elevated over another as some sins are worse than others. Nontheless, they are still sin. An inspired apostle (Paul) made it quite clear that homosexuality would keep one out of the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6).

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

      OR it’s because I already completely answered the Bible’s statements on homosexuality—including most certainly Paul’s—in “Taking God at His Word: The Bible and Homosexuality,” which is the concluding essay of my book, UNFAIR: Why the “Christian” View of Gays Doesn’t Work. Which I’m sure you’ll be reading soon.

    • Gary

      No…he really didn’t. The fundy interpretation of his words you espouse is very inaccurate and has caused whole generations of believers to embrace bigotry and hate. Seriously…study up on it a bit and “show yourself approved”.

      We (I am not gay…I simply stand with them) are fighting back. It is long past time to reclaim the true gospel from those who have polluted it so badly.

      • Erin D.

        Hear, hear!

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      Or perhaps, because that’s been exhaustively covered and if you didn’t enter a conversation with a massive hostility chip on your shoulder with something to prove (in reality my friend, something to defend in yourself that is indefensible and harms children) then you’d know that.

  • Ashley

    I would like to point out, as a lesbian and a Christian myself, that the single biggest misunderstanding and hate-filled ideology involved in this ever-constant debate is that gay = sex, (the act, and only the act by itself). The term “gay”, however, is simply a label of sexual orientation, much like “straight”. Those types of labels only denote who you have sexual relations with, but for some reason what is never questioned with the “straight” label is the possibility of LOVE involved in those sexual relations. There are all forms and variances of love and intimacy within all orientations, straight, gay, bisexual – and not all of them have to be “kinky” or “dirty” or “impure”. When I look at two “straight” people, I don’t immediately think of them sleeping together, nor do I even picture them in bed together at all. I look at them as two people who are more than capable of having a complete and loving relationship, which yes, does usually include the act of sex. The God I give my life to does not see me only for who I sleep with, but who I purely and wholly love. And for all those who seem to have forgotten, the Bible does not forbid SEX; it forbids the impurification of it. Sex within the context of a loving, monogamous relationship – straight , gay, or bisexually oriented one – is never wrong. And the amount of love that I could ever feel for another human being, albeit another female, will never be wrong either in God’s eyes. And I’m pretty sure that either way, regardless of how loud my point is or yours, it won’t be you (the collective You) who decides which of us goes to hell and which gets the other ticket. So that alone should be good enough reason for you make sure your own house is order and not worry about mine.

    • Valerie

      Well said.

    • Alissa

      Thank you for writing this. I have so often questioned why what one does in the bedroom (between two consenting adults) is nobody’s business is you are “straight,” and everyone’s business if you are “gay.” Promiscuity in any form, using/devaluing another human being for sexual needs is the part that is “wrong.” That can just as easily happen in a government ordained marriage between heterosexuals. Does the “church” at large make you fill out a questionnaire about whether you fantasize about someone other than your spouse/ watch pornography/ push sex on your partner/lust after the woman/man down the street/ etc.? For that matter, how about eat too much, take something that isn’t yours, tell “white lies”? How about judge?

      If any behavior is impeding one’s relationship with God and others, then a CLOSE FRIEND may want to talk that person lovingly. Other than that, it is between the person and God to figure out.

      • Alissa

        BTW, I am not equating homosexual orientation with any of the above “sins.” I am merely making a comment on the general attitude of many “Christians.” I do belive in Christ but often wish there was another succinct title for what I believe that did not have so many un-Christlike connotations.

    • Lyn

      It doesn’t even denote who you have sexual relations with, merely to whom you are attracted on a relational or sexual level. There have been largely gay men and women in heterosexual marriages probably since the world began. There have been gays (and straights) called to lives of celibacy from time immemorial. There have been straights in same-sex situations who have developed relationships with persons of the same sex when an opposite-sex relationship was impossible. None of those situations change the person’s innate sexual orientation. It’s time the church and society at large recognized that.

  • Brian Presgrove via Facebook

    I’m Christian and completely disagree with the gay and lesbian life style. Why are we Christians suppose to change our views? Why if Christians who believe like I do have to accept a life style that is in my view completely opposed to what God created? Why doesn’t the Gay and lesbian community put as much effort into trying to influence the Muslim religion, or Hindus, or budist, or any other religion?

    • Gary

      Because there are some views that are simply morally wrong and incredibly damaging to others. The fact that so-called Christians believed slavery was God’s plan did not mean we needed to accept bigotry in the name of religion.

      Some wrongs simply MUST be corrected.

      BTW – I AM A CHRISTIAN!!! Why should I allow you to pollute the message of my Lord?

    • Valerie

      I am a Christian as well Brian and we are not being asked to change our views but to simply accept gays and lesbians as people and love them. After all the greatest commandment is love. You have heard the saying hate the sin but love the sinner? Well we apply it to others why not gays and lesbians? Personally I don’t see it as a sin because they are made by God that way and God doesn’t make mistakes does he? Peace and love to you.

    • Ashdawn

      Because, in this country at least, it’s not Budhists or Hindus who are leading the charge to force their beliefs on others and deny them basic freedoms because of it.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Exactly.

    • Bill

      I think you subscribe to a very narrow view of what it means to be a Christian. I am a member of a mainstream church with over 2000 members, 90% of whom are gay. Let me say there are ministers who have no issue with being gay and Christian, gay marriage or full inclusion of the gay community in the Christian church. Science supports the view that I was born this way, i.e. God created me gay. How do you dare contradict God? Do you know why young people are abandoning the church? Because the radical religious right has coopted Christianity and preaches love, but practices hate and discrimination. And for your information, there are those working to influence Muslims, Hindus and other religions. But here in the US, those aren’t the religions preaching repression and intolerance of the gay community, it’s the radical right Christians.

      • Gary

        Well said Bill!

        • Anne

          Amen, brother!

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

        I’ll third that.

      • LSS

        can i ask where is this church? sounds like a pretty cool place.

        • http://www.ncnewthoughtminister.net Michele Sevacko

          LSS – do a web search for affirming and/or welcoming churches. I did that in NC awhile back and pulled up a list of churches of all sorts of denominations by city. They included Baptist, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ and many more…

    • Lyn

      What gay and lesbian lifestyle is that? My daughter is genderqueer and pansexual. She’s also a celibate college student. She doesn’t eat gay breakfast, have gay homework, drive a gay car, buy gay gasoline, hang out on gay Facebook, attend gay church, read a gay Bible, believe in a gay God, clean a gay kitty litter box, eat gay pizza, watch a gay television set, own a gay computer, sit on a gay couch, wear gay clothes, mow gay grass, harvest gay vegetables, shovel gay snow with a gay shovel, go to gay university classes, or use gay anti-acne products on her gay face. But I’ve had people tell me she’s going to Hell because of her “gay lifestyle”. I happen to think those people and their opinions are full of shit, thankyouverymuch. And, FYI, the only people who’ve expressed disapproval of her so-called “gay lifestyle” have been Christians, not Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, or members of any other religion. Maybe when they start threatening her life and liberty, we’ll address the threat. Until then, we’re dealing with the ACTUAL threat. And that’s conservative “Christians”.

      • http://www.ncnewthoughtminister.net Michele Sevacko

        Preach it, Lyn – the sound you hear is my applause….

        • Lyn

          Thank you.

      • Ashdawn

        Lyn, would it be alright if I quoted your comment on my FB wall? That is one of the best-phrased arguments I’ve ever seen.

        • Lyn

          You may! I repeated the comment on John’s fb post so Brian would see it. If it’s easier, you can quote it from there.

      • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

        I just want to hug you, Lyn. What an amazing mom you are.

        • Lyn

          Thanks. My daughter AND her gender and sexuality are a profound gift from God. Every once in a while, my momma bear instincts come out.

          • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

            Absolutely they are! I’m a transgender-identified individual myself. And I’m thankful for moms like you.

          • Lyn

            I think being trans* is tougher than being gay, lesbian, or bi sometimes because people don’t really understand it. For her, it’s really tough because it isn’t that she feels she’s the opposite gender to her physical sex. She just feels like she’s not entirely either, which freaks people out a great deal because they need those boxes and she doesn’t fit in one.

            My church this past Sunday passed out sign-up cards to join lifegroups (kinda like bible study groups, but with more of an emphasis on sharing life). The choices offered on the card were Couples, Men, and Women. I pointed out to the minister that it left out people who were single (or might join a lifegroup without their partner) but didn’t want to attend a gender-specific group, and he assured me that they were working on one for college-aged folks that would be for either gender so my daughter would have a group. Great for her. Not so great for anyone not college aged.

            The more i look, the more I see that cisgender and married privilege are so common, they’re practically invisible.

      • Lymis

        That’s wonderful and well said. Your daughter has a treasure in you (and, I suspect, vice versa!)

        But you should really try that gay pizza. It’s fabulous!

        • Lyn

          Thanks. Vice-versa is definitely true. I was going to make pizza tonight. Maybe I’ll have to see if a straight woman can make gay pizza… ;)

        • LSS

          i make a pretty great OCD pizza. seriously.

          • Lyn

            LOL! My son has some OCD tendencies. I’d see if he would make good pizza, but first I’d have to find non-latex, food-handling-grade gloves for him to use to knead the dough and lay on the toppings without getting things on his hands.

            God must love me a great deal to give me such kids.

          • LSS

            oh yeah. i’m that way about eggs. i buy the low-cholesterol ones that come in the little plastic cups, because then i don’t have to break eggs.

            also i buy the pizza crust in the store already made, and i distribute the toppings with a spoon. BUT nobody will ever find them unfairly distributed, nor do they fall off the edges!!

          • Lyn

            I approve evenly distributed toppings. Nothing annoys me more than pizzas (or burgers) where the toppings are plopped together leaving big gaps of nothingness. I will guarantee the pizza I fixed last night was quite evenly topped. I do not know, however, if I achieved pizza gayness.

    • Lymis

      “Why are we Christians suppose to change our views?”

      Umm… because Jesus told you to? Remember that bit about loving your neighbor?

    • http://www.exilemusings.blog.com Amaranth

      “Why are we Christians suppose to change our views?”

      Yeah, obviously it’s *those* people who need to change the orientation they were born with, stop falling in love with the “wrong” people, and stop enjoying lives and families that we don’t approve of. Or maybe they should all go back in the closet so we can keep pretending they don’t exist. Because actual peoples’ lives aren’t nearly as important as us Christians never having to change our minds about anything. How dare they have the audacity to, gasp, ask us to look at the world from another person’s point of view!

  • Diane Re via Facebook

    Brian, you’ve enjoyed the majority view on this issue for years and simply put, your reign has ended and sanity is replacing it. Your positions are rooted in fear and homophobia and your entitled view that you get to demand how people treat you because you want to live this belief and express it without consequences is what children believe, it’s called magical thinking. You *hurt* this community with your beliefs and people just aren’t giving you a pass for it anymore, they’e making sure you know the impact. So just handle it instead of having a temper tantrum.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ashley-Cohea/100000024967834 Ashley Cohea via Facebook

    Brian, no one is asking you to ‘accept’ anything. Just to have the human decency to not voice your opinion on things that are none of your business and do not affect you in any way. Why is that so hard for fundamentalists?

  • Diane Re via Facebook

    Brian, which Muslim groups have organized to specifically block gay marriage? So far I’m only seeing Christian groups in the national media who have done that but perhaps you’ll point us all to those specific groups that you’d like gay men and women to start reacting to. The Buddhist groups would also be helpful. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jen-Sidlo-Henley/100001122887039 Jen Sidlo Henley via Facebook

    There are some days I think if Jesus were here in person he’d say “Why are you still reading this book? I told you how to live — now go out and do it!”

    • Erin D.

      “Like”

    • Gordon

      I was just thinking about this today too, Ms. Henley. There was no New Testament when Jesus walked the earth. He WAS the New Testament and he was pretty clear about how he felt about the Old Testament. I’m just tired of being beat up with the dusty old thing!

    • Lymis

      Ah, if only Jesus had promised to send his Spirit to continue living in our hearts and teaching us throughout the ages. Imagine what a difference that might have made.

      Oh, wait….

      • vj

        :-)

  • Michele Sevacko via Facebook

    Brian P – One of the beliefs that Buddhists live by is “do no harm” (which essentially to me is the same as the commandment to love). There isn’t any explicit reference by Buddha to homosexuality or to homosexual acts. This has been taken to mean that the Buddha did not consider that one’s sexual orientation was relevant to his message. And, Buddhist texts contain many examples of deeply affectionate relationships between members of the same sex.

    • Ozzie

      Buddah is still in his grave!! My Savior is not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Try following the actual conversation, Ozzie. Brian accused people who are Buddhists of having an anti-gay agenda – they clearly don’t, the only people who’ve organized groups that are fighting gay rights are christians. Catch up.

    • LSS

      i’m glad somebody answered the Buddhist ‘question’. i know there are probably areas where Buddhism is used as a religion, where antiquated gender rules remain in use. but i didn’t think it was in agreement with the actual teachings, and definitely not with the principles of Buddhism as a philosophy. but on the other hand i am not an expert or even an actual Buddhist, i just like it but i am not committed to it and may never be.

      • http://www.ncnewthoughtminister.net Michele Sevacko

        The thing about Buddhism is that it is considered a philosophy – not a religion – (although “we” call it a religion). Buddhism (according to what I’ve studied) isn’t considered a religion because it is neither a system of faith or worship. There is no “Almighty God” that’s either loved or feared. And Buddha doesn’t grant favors to those who pray to him. It’s a system that looks into life, has a code of conduct and basically gives tools to live serenely.

        While I consider myself to be a Practical/Progressive (New Thought) Christian, I’ve still explored/studied other wisdom paths/traditions/religions – mostly to find those points that we are in agreement on (rather than what separates us) and because with us living in a global village now, it’s important to have an understanding of other cultures, etc.. in order to be able to dialog…

        • LSS

          in some parts of Asia they seem to use it as a religion… with statues to pray to and many rituals… which always seemed odd to me because it was maybe supposed to be a reformation (to use our western terminology) of hinduism with all those gods and rituals.

          • LSS

            which i guess just goes to show that human stuff happens to any system, if you have it long enough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Reed-Boyer/1019995702 Reed Boyer via Facebook

    . . . “ass-hats?”

  • Anna

    Alright, I am a Christian and I embrace the Gay and Lesbian community, I am Straight against Hate! Being a homosexual is not a disease or a condition or a “lifestyle”, it is a way of life. They did not contract this and there is no “cure” for it. Remember straight people make gay babies. So to all the Bible thumpers and all the haters, do you not realize God is viewing your behavior and seeing all the hate your heart is filled with for the homosexual communities? God made these people, just like he made you and Hitler.

  • arlia

    Deep bow. Thank you for sharing this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kimberly-J-Edwards/1248096635 Kimberly J Edwards via Facebook

    @brian, your ‘view’ hurts. jesus never espoused, condoned, preached, suggested, encouraged, nor instructed the ‘view’ you have embraced. it goes against the very meaning of the life of the Savior you and others like you claim to worship, the Son this Chritianity is named for never walked, talked or acted out the version of this bible view you choose to call your own. He embraced ALL in society, ALL those the wealthy, pious, religous, arrogant and publicly self-proclaiming cleaner, more deserving rejected. you have no leverage or advantage over those of us who know that Savior and His works and words and the way He instructed us to love ALL as HE did and does. He makes no distinctions, draws no ridiculous legalistic lines. the fact that you and your kind of christian completely miss His message no longer restricts those of us who know to love and embrace our brothers and sisters as our brothers and sisters for that is what we all are. you have no power over the true Love in this world. go away.

  • Michele Sevacko via Facebook

    Kimberly- preach it sister!! <3

  • http://walk2connect.com Jonathon

    Incredible.

    Bridging the gap – relevant – healthy …truth

    Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kimberly-J-Edwards/1248096635 Kimberly J Edwards via Facebook

    sometimes my patience with the ignorance just gets the best of me… spreading it just makes no sense. when it hurts our brothers and sisters, our human family, and it does!!, i cannot be still or quiet. sorry John Shore, there are times i just find it hard to be too good… especially the typos…;-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Joseph-Reid/1543600847 John Joseph Reid via Facebook

    can i use it in my blog, giving you credit?????

  • kmd

    Would be nice if you didn’t set up “Christian” and “gay people” as separate categories. Just requires that you actually locate and name your own identity. “A letter from a heterosexual Christian to gay people,” for example.

    • Lymis

      Who says the categories are separate? There’s plenty of harm been done to gay people by closeted, self-hating gay people (themselves often victims of the same hatred they pass on because they’ve turned it in upon themselves).

      After all, heterosexuals have been known to do hurtful things to other heterosexuals as well.

      Nope, asking for this separation is the error. Keep the gay Christians lumped in with all the other Christians, please. John got it right.

      • vj

        I think maybe kmd was saying that gay people should be included as Christians and that the title of this post *could* be taken to imply that [John thinks] there are no gay Christians, and is suggesting that the modifier ‘heterosexual’ leaves more room for including gays in the Christian tent? Perhaps those of us who are more familiar with John’s work just didn’t pick up on this, because we already know that this interpretation of the title is not a reflection of John’s thoughts on the matter?

  • Malenky Koshka

    Two things that confuse me:

    1. Why certain readers take offense that Shore wrote this on behalf of Christians. John Shore IS a Christian. So I’m pretty sure that grants him the so called right to write on behalf of Christians. Plus it’s his blog. But I read it more as an ideal letter that *should* come from the mouth of all Christians. Obviously, not every single Christian in the world has signed off on this, but wouldn’t it be nice?

    2. Why so many Christians still believe that God’s favor is to be earned. Wasn’t that the point of Jesus dying on the cross? So that we didn’t have to earn our way into eternity with Him? We didn’t have to sacrifice animals or pay dues for our sins. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There isn’t a single person born who deserves Heaven, who makes all the correct decisions, or who never falters. But because of Jesus, all has been forgiven: what was, is and will be.

    God’s greatest, most important commandment is to love. That’s all we have to worry about now. And when did Jesus EVER show love by excluding someone or telling them they were not worthy of His friendship? When did Jesus ever say, “Sorry, you’re much too sinful for me right now. Come back when you’ve said your Hail Mary’s.”

    • no fan

      do you love your child if you fail to let them know they are headed in the wrong direction? Study Biblical love. And BTW Jesus doesnt sanction prayng to his mother. She was a human being not prayer asnwering god

      • Gary

        Perhaps a study of biblical love would do YOU a great deal of good.

        (Not to mention a most basic study on this issue)

        • no fan

          Jesus told the woman caught in adultery don’t do it anymore. Did he hate her for saying that?

          • Gary

            Did He? Are you sure?

            Of course this passage has been admitted by nearly ALL NT scholars as having been inserted into the text centuries later. This makes sense when one considers that this is the ONLY time in the bible Jesus made a statement like this and it was so out of character with His teachings.

            You got a lot of work to do man…better have an energy drink…you’re going to need it.

      • Diana A.

        Gay people are gay whether they act on their feelings or not. Gay people are not “headed in the wrong direction.” We cannot stop people from being gay because God created them gay to begin with. Rather than despising what God has created, why not love and bless them? Let them be who they are. If God wants them to change, he will change them. And given that many gay people have prayed to be changed over and over again–and God has not done so–maybe God actually likes them the way they are.

        Take care of your own sins. It is not up to you to judge the (perceived) sins of others.

        • no fan

          Utterly PC notion you are putting forth. Based on the Bible, the wisdom from God, your stance is utterly false. You are a person that admits there is such a thing as sin (whihc is defined by the Bible) so based on your ocmment, why do you not pay attention to what the Bible says in Genesis, Leviticus, Judges, Romans etc on this topic?–and btw this IS THE topic of discussion of this thread so don’t fault me for discussing it.

          • Gary

            “Utterly PC notion”

            Hmm…kind of like racial equality once was, or gender equality used to be huh?

            You keep spouting how the bible is clear in so many different locations. I agree it IS CLEAR. It clearly declares that you are wrong.

          • Diana A.

            The problem is, you’re way too interested in the (perceived) sins of others and not nearly interested enough in your own sins. Or do you regard yourself as being sin-free?

            Take care of your own sins. Whether other people are sinning and how is not your concern. God has that well under control and does not need your help.

          • Jeff

            My dear “no fan”, you keep falling back to your same misunderstood verses. It is obvious you have not done any of your own research, but are propagating someone else’s misunderstandings. Most Biblical Scholars will agree that there is absolutely NO negative reference to homosexuality in the Old Testament. The Sodom and Gomorrah story in Genesis has been proven to show that the sin was inhospitality, wherein the locals would rape anyone from outside the city to prove their dominance and keep them from attacking the city. This topic reappears again in Judges 19.

            Leviticus is strictly a “Do Not” list for the tribes but more so for the Levites of things the local Pagans were doing that they should avoid in order to remain pure for the Priesthood. The two verses that are continually misinterpreted from the original Hebrew literally read; “If a man lies with a “male-child” as he lies with a woman…” This refers solely to the idolatrous cult prostitution that was taking place around them where adult males would have ritual sex with the temple boys to please the “Love Goddess”. This topic reappears in Deuteronomy 23, in 1st and 2nd Kings and again in Romans 1.

            While I admire the work translators perform, they are not infallible; especially when translating to a language they are/were still learning themselves. I have yet to find anyone that has found the Greek word for homosexual – androkoitēs anywhere in the original Greek New Testament. In fact, the English word homosexual wasn’t even in even any Bible translation/version until the 1950’s when some fearful bigoted translator decided to add it.

          • Diana A.

            So the clobber verse in Leviticus actually refers to pedophilia, not homosexuality. Cool. Thanks for sharing that.

          • Mindy

            “Utterly PC notion.” As if that is necessarily a bad thing. Some things become “politically correct” because they just ARE correct.

            I fully understand that being politically correct can be taken to an extreme, as in “domestic engineers” rather than “housewives,” etc. I also understand that many labels and phrases in our language change over time because we come to understand the negativity in the old labels. Or we simply learn that we were wrong, admit it, and try to better ourselves by accepting a new understanding.

            As in – being gay is not an abomination either to God OR nature – it is a natural and normal percentage of most species and it was never mentioned in the New Testament, not once. Just because the NT has been translated as if it had been does not make it so. So we open our minds, accept a new reality through our new understanding with love and grace, and move forward.

            Or, we stay stuck and stagnant where you are, wrapped in sanctimonious hate and the fear of anything that is not exactly like us.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Oh good Lord. This is so silly and none of this would be worth a response except for the incredible damage you do to the GLBT community with this kind of insanity.

            With all due respect, and I’m sorry if this hurts your feelings but someone has to tell you this – you just don’t matter anymore. You’re extinct. The majority of Christians believe gay marriage should exist. In the states that gay marriage does exist, your rather hysterical diatribes of it corrupting children and ruining straight marriage hasn’t shown up. People are beginning to just dismiss you and thank God for that.

            This kind of thing is exactly what those who tried to keep black kids out of white schools did, they used the Bible – the Old Testament specifically – exactly as you’re doing now. You’re someone who has undoubtedly, experienced a dysfunctional family and you’re hiding some emotional issues and unresolved stuff in Christianity. We’re just not letting you hide anymore, it’s not good for you and it’s certainly not good for the people you attack as a result. This is just over for you. You can shout all of this stuff as loud as you want to – but the tide has turned. Your 15 minutes is up.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Ah, got it. Jehovah’s Witness. You’re all coming from that guy Eric Wood who posted here! It all makes sense now.

  • Libby

    …Would that this were true! I would rejoice if Christians all over the world could actually move from hatred and acts of aggression & oppression toward our homosexual brothers and sisters to a place of peace. For those of you who have said “the Bible is the Bible,” all I can say is “the Bible is a book, a tool, a manual…” but this particular manual hasn’t had an update in over 2000 years… It is no longer culturally relevant to use to apply to today’s issues. That took a lot of courage and reflection for me to say. I grew up in the church, and still consider myself a Christian, but in no way do I believe the Bible is infallible. It was written by men, and each time it is “translated” or a new version is published, it is humans who decide what should and should not be included therein. Ergo, I cannot say – for me – that I believe it is infallible.

    • Angie

      It hasn’t had an update in over 2000 years, you are right about that. There is also the bottom line fact that the Bible, however great a guideline it might be, -was written by Man-. God may have put the words into Man’s hearts, but He puts words into -our- hearts every day. Do we always get it right? No. Do we get it right -most- of the time? Well, I’m honest enough to say nope.

      Then there is the simple fact that even if it was originally written as God’s word, somehow magically unmistaken in any way… it was changed around. By Man. Man who hates, Man who feels fear, and jealous, and piousness. Man who saw the power of this one, simple book over the stupid Masses and decided to make that power say what he wanted it to say.

      I refuse to trust the Word of Man as the Word of God. I read the Bible for some things, but never to hear God’s Word. I’d sooner trust my own foolish heart for that. I think my chances for truth and accuracy are much better.

      • Elizabeth

        Amen!

    • Erin D.

      Libby, you hit the nail on the head. People want easy answers to everything in life. Way easier to cling to the Bible as infallible than to…I dunno….THINK once in a while using that amazing brain (which was given to us by God as well.)

      • Gary

        I agree Erin.

        In fact I believe it was God’s plan all along to give us a bible that was imperfect just like we were. Otherwise we would have whole minions of people running around worshiping it like some sort of 4th member of the trinity. Then of course they would have to argue endlessly over exactly what every jot and tittle of their bibles means precisely. And of course since it is supposed to be literally divine, they would attack and hate on everyone who does not agree with what they think each jot and tittle means. (Oh wait…we DO have that?)

        I am so glad that God in all His wisdom knew that a perfect bible would become our golden calf and chose instead to work with and through our imperfections.

        How sad that so many Christians have made it one anyway.

  • no fan

    You (John Shore) just will not submit yourself lay aside your PC ideas in order to conform yourself to what the word of God says so clearly from Genesis to Revelation on this issue, will you? Talk about stubborn.

    • Gary

      @no fan

      You said…”what the word of God says so clearly from Genesis to Revelation on this issue…”

      Surely you jest. You are not only stubborn…but clueless as well.

      • no fan

        Cluel;ess? Really? Genesis has the account of Sodom and Gomorrah, Leviticus speaks to it, as does Judges, Romans, Peters letter, Revelation–all speak on this – as well as any other books in the Bble (many) that talk about sexaul activity outside the marriage between a man and woman as being sin is also speaking indiectly against homosexual acts. Do your homework.

        • http://leftcheek.blogspot.com jasdye

          Sodom and Gomorrah is about hospitality.

          Leviticus warns us not to eat shellfish.

          Romans is descriptive.

          Solomon had several concubines and very little in the bible actually refers to sexual sin.

          I’ve done MY homework.

          • CJ

            @Jasdye: since you mentioned Leviticus, and Romans..here are a couple verses for you. Just sayin :)

            Leviticus 20:13 – “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

            Romans 1:26-27 – “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”

          • Gary

            You’re really going to throw a couple clobber passages at us and just assume we have either a) not read them, or b) have never studied them at length?

            Seriously? This is the best ya got?

            You better put your floaties on…you’re swimming in the deep end of the pool now.

          • Roger

            The Bible also says not to eat shelfish and pork, and to stone children when they misbehave. Yet “Christians” conveniently ignore those passages.

          • Mr. Widemouth

            Roger, you need to recognize that there is a distinction between the old and new testament. The Old Testament shows religion and the new testament shows relationship. Many of the rules and ways of the old testament do not transfer to the new testament. When Jesus came he changed all that – freeing us from the old system and introducing the new.

          • Brian W

            Mr. W,

            Actually not entirely correct because Jesus did not violate the Law of Moses, in fact the LAw of Moses IS the Law of Christ. We are not “free” from the Law of God any more than we are “free” from the laws of God’s physical universe. Christ fullfiled the Law in all points, so we can have that same righteousness in Christ Jesus, the Law was and is embodied in Jesus Christ and as we become more like him, we comform to the Law of God as it was originally intended. We are no longer bound by the cerimonial Law, but Jesus never abrogated the moral aspects of the Law of Moses. I agree it is the relationship that is at the core (our relationship with God and our relation to our fellow man)

          • Roger

            You are right. But many Christians quickly use the Old Testament to justify their hatred. In addition, Jesus never once condemned anyone including gays, unlike many “Christians”.

          • Brian W

            Roger,

            You’re right on all accounts, fundies in perticular are guilty of “selective literalization” of specific out of context Old Testament verses to support their biased presuppositions.

          • Lymis

            You mean like the part where in Christ there is neither male nor female? Or the part where anyone who loves is born of God and knows God? Or even the part where nothing that enters a man’s mouth makes him unclean (always one of my faves)?

            Or maybe that pesky no throwing stones until you’re sinless one, or the one where the people who bash others with the Scripture when they should be feeding, clothing, or healing them get to go to Hell for not doing unto Jesus?

            You’re right, a lot of the Old Testament rules are changed in Christ. Like the narrowminded misunderstandings about gay people.

          • Brian W

            Lymis,

            yup, sounds about right

          • Lyn

            My fave is “You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.” Galatians 5:4

          • vj

            “Romans 1:26-27 – “Because of this…”

            What do you suppose the ‘because’ tells us? It tells us that because of IDOLATRY, people ended up doing all sorts of things that were sin. Idolatry is a violation of the commandment to have no other gods but God. People who turn away from God are in sin.

            How is this applicable to people who love God, accept Christ as their Lord and Savior – and who also happen to be gay?

            Philippians 4: “The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

            John’s recent book ‘Unfair’ details the stories of many gay Christians who tried very hard to change their orientation because they believed that God required this of them. If God has chosen to give them peace about being gay, who is anyone else to deny them the peace that they find in Christ Jesus?

          • Erin D.

            CJ = Amateur.

        • Gary

          Oh come no fan get a clue will ya? The bible is very clear (in multiple places) on what the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were and homosexuality is not listed among them even once. You can extrapolate (incorrectly) that homosexuality is wrong out the bible’s sexual ethic till you are blue in the face and you will still be as ignorant as you are now.

          Do MY homework? You have no clue how much homework I have done on this issue because I used to be a clueless fundy like you who spouted the same ignorant drivel.

          Wake up man…or at least SHUT UP. People are hurting (and many are dying) because of your bigoted ignorance.

      • http://leftcheek.blogspot.com jasdye

        No Fan MUST be referring to the Law of Love. Of which against there are no laws.

        Love your neighbor. Love your God. Love your enemies. Love the gays.

        No? That’s NOT what he’s referring to?

        Dang it all!

  • CJ

    Leviticus 20:13 – “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

    Romans 1:26-27 – “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”

    I don’t judge, nor look down on gay people. This is merely a few scriptures on homosexuality.

    • Loki

      A few scriptures you purposefully took out of context. You do realize that your Romans passage literally begins “Because of this?” Anywho, your passage from Romans was about pagan idolatry, specifically fertility rituals which often involved orgies. That is clear from that whole bit before the “Because of this” that you conveniently cut out. So it has nothing to do with this discussion.

      About Corinthians, neither “male prostitutes” nor “homosexual offenders” is anything close to an accurate translation. The word that was translated as “male prostitutes” is actually just the Greek word for “soft” and actually refers to the kind of people who sit back and enjoy the benefits of Christianity without doing any of the hard work and sacrifice that Christianity is supposed to entail, AKA almost all American Christians. The word that is translated as “homosexual offenders” is actually a word that no one knows the meaning of. During the reformation it was translated as “masturbation.”

      And Leviticus is, of course, referring to the priesthood and the temples. Even at its most broad usage, it still only refers to two Jewish males in a vaguely public place. A Jewish male and a gentile male could have all the sex they wanted to, and two Jewish males could have all the sex they wanted to in private.

      • Lyn

        “In fact, many men even commit the sin of arsenokoitia with their wives.” — Penitential by St. John the Faster. Arsenokoites is the word that gets translated “homosexuals” or “homosexual offenders” but, given this usage, it’s obvious the early church did not hold this definition of the word.

    • Elizabeth

      Deuteronomy 21:10-14: “When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her [i.e. rape her or engage in consensual sex], and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.”

      This scripture seems to imply that god doesn’t mind if you rape a woman as long as she’s pretty and foreign. And that the marriage covenant isn’t sacred if she’s foreign and not good in bed.

      Exodus 21:1-4: “If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself.”

      This scripture seems to imply that god doesn’t hold the marriage covenant to be as sacred as the rights of the owner to the slave-woman and her children.

      Judges 19:11–28 tells the story of a Levite who throws his concubine out the door to be gang-raped. When he opens the door the next day, she’s died from her injuries.

      The scripture doesn’t say anything about god being displeased by the man’s callous treatment of the concubine who is, after all, a human being.

      Judges 11 tells the story of Jephthah, who offers to sacrifice a human in exchange for a military victory. It turns out that his beloved daughter gets to be the sacrifice. Verse 39 implies that he actually went through with her murder, after he allows her to spend time with her friends feeling sad that she’s apparently going to die a virgin. While it is possible that he didn’t actually go through with it, but gave her to the tabernacle to be a slave, god didn’t express displeasure at either possibility, even though he struck dead Uzzah, who reached out and touched the Ark of the Covenant with his hand to keep it from falling off a wagon, when King David wrongly insisted on its being carried in a wagon.

      John 3:16 says “for god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…” but it’s obvious he cared more about the box carrying the 10 commandments than he did a man who was trying to keep it from spilling onto the ground.

      This is merely a few scriptures on some things other than homosexuality that have helped make me completely discount pretty much anything the bible says.

      • Gordon

        Ever wonder what poor old Uzzah said when he reached the pearly gates? I imagine something like, “Jeez! I was just trying to help….”

        This is very interesting stuff, Elizabeth. I wonder if you agree with me that the only constructive way to read and study the bible is to do it in the proper context, which is complex. That context is historical, social, religious and political. The blasted thing is a collection of various documents, spanning many centuries and subject to translation. The translation process continues to evolve and (hopefully) improve. I just wish Christians would stop calling it the “unadulterated Word of God.” I just cannot believe that.

        • Allie

          The bit I like is where David gets hopping mad and says to God, basically, WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?”

          Anyway the Jephthah tale is a widely spread tale type in all parts of the world. Usually the person who has promised to sacrifice the first living thing that meets them arranges for a dog to be released, but there’s a mess up and his daughter runs out instead. Not to mention that the whole “mourning her virginity on the mountain” and the description of Jewish women doing the same in remembrance of her is pretty obviously an excuse for them to follow the rites of virgins mourning Adonis on the mountain which their neighbors followed.

        • Lyn

          See, I’ve always seen the story of Uzzah as being a revelation of the holiness of God. A lot of people will say God cannot be in the presence of sin, but I think that’s wrong. I think it’s that sin cannot be in the full presence of God. That God is so holy that a sinful thing in his full presence would just be utterly and completely obliterated. I think of… I think it was Elijah that God placed in he cleft of the rock and covered before His spirit passed by as another example.

          I don’t think this was some intentional punishment to Uzzah for his presumptuousness, but simply a natural consequence. If you step into the path of a semi, your motives for doing so don’t prevent you from being turned to a smear on the pavement. If you touch the Ark of the Covenant while ritually unclean, God’s utter holiness is just simply going to kill you, regardless of your motives in much the same fashion. It’s magical thinking to suppose that our motives are somehow going to allay the natural consequences of our actions.

          • Diana A.

            I like this. Thank you, Lyn!

          • Lyn

            Welcome!

    • Lymis

      Golly! Thanks for pointing those out! I never knew about those texts before.

      I guess in the 12 years of Catholic school, the decades of being a regular churchgoer, and the countless hours in prayer and reading, it never occurred to me that there might be something in the Bible about all this.

      Gosh, if only I’d known that reading a few paragraphs posted by a self-important …well, let’s just go with “person” for now … could change the most fundamental parts of my entire being, the way I see the world, and the source of my love and connection with others, it would have saved all that pain and heartache.

      It will be a bit of a shock to my husband and our kids, but I’ll just have them read the same things you posted, and I’m sure they’ll be fine with it.

      Yeah, let’s go with “person” again, for now. Because what I’d like to call you might not be Christian.

    • Christine

      I note that not one of the quoted scripture was reportedly spoken by Jesus. These are the writings of ancient people or MEN who were writing to other communities within the new Christian movement. You have to consider the times and the culture with which these men lived, for example their attitude to women, their ways of punishment for crimes etc. Should we still stone people for committing adultery, because it is written in the bible. We are talking about ‘Christianity’ which I presumed was a religion based on the teaching of Christ, not men who just happened to be in on a new religion in the beginning and therefore were influenced by their own background and the culture and religion of the times.

      • Erin D.

        EEEEXXX….ACTLY.

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      I don’t judge conservative Christians either, I really don’t. I think you should be free to be who you are because God loves you. He loves you and Jesus died for you.

      But it’s clear that scripture calls us to a very specific lifestyle. There is behavior that is clearly God-inspired as well as Christian conduct that is reflective of someone who has a relationship with God. And it would be wrong of me to not tell you that some of your behavior as a Christian – refusing to pay for more taxes for the poor via who you vote in for office, homeschooling your kids and not supporting the public schools – none of that is scriptural.

      Again, I have nothing against you personally! I really don’t. But I don’t believe that children should be raised in Christian homes, I think you support greed and a lack of value for the poor, two things Jesus talked a lot about. It’s nothing personal, I just think your behavior – your lifestyle, really – is dangerous to kids. Our country needs to have laws that limit your ability to parent.

      • Bobbi

        I loved this DR. Might I add that I have friends that are conservative Christians and I love them, but I just can’t support their lifestyle and I too worry about their children and how their parents lifestyle will harm them.

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          I do as well. If the chance to vote on this comes up I’ll support it. But I really do love them and hope they seek God’s wisdom and can change.

  • jodi

    Thank you sooooo much for this! I reposted on my FB!

    • jodi

      Well my reply sure went to the wrong place! It was supposed to be for John’s new work! Sorry.

  • denus

    Mr Shore, I am very grateful for your sympathy and understanding for gay people. I truly wish more Christians could be like you.

  • D

    No Fan

    I’m just wondering what your objective is in posting on this blog. I mean you are free to do so, but it seems as though your “audience” has already read and dissected the verses you use to condemn a group of people whom God clearly calls you to love. Even IF a state of being can be a “sin,” I don’t read anywhere in the New Covenant (post Jesus’ fulfillment of the law Scripture) where He calls Christians to point out each others oversights, shortcomings, or differences. He especially didn’t FULFILL the law and then ask His followers to dredge it up to control people. I’d be hard pressed to find Scriptire to support your place on this thread. Further, do you suggest that Jesus was not PC? He coined the term when he died on the cross to bridge the gap between God and ALL humankind. That was afterall the politically correct thing to do rather than let us all “burn” based on cultural laws man created in their limited understanding of his desires for purity. Political correctness is subjective at best.

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

      ???? Who are you talking to?

      • Caleb

        This is the correct response.

      • Diana A.

        It’s addressed to “No Fan”. I think it was supposed to fall under that person’s post.

  • Deana Minard-Rivera via Facebook

    @Brian It’s not about what any of us believe or don’t believe about homosexuality. It is about us believing God enough to trust Him and His word. Under the New Covenant after Jesus FULFILLED the law, we were/are ALL called to love as He loves. He doesn’t call us to agree or to change each other.

  • Josh

    This was eloquently stated and much appreciated.

    As an atheist who respects all people’s beliefs and looks forward to a future in which spirituality is not corrupted in an attempt to deprive others of their rights…thank you.

  • http://facebook jeanne werner

    I am a Christian and the letter reflects that all Christians feel the same way or have acted or related as a group the same way. The one who wrote it does not nor should he speak for all. Our faith journey is our own. Christ does speak to all who care to listen but most certainly a personal relationship with him accounts to how we will respond.

    There is enough sin in this world for each of us. We are called to love one another as Christ loves the church. He will do the judging in the end.

    There is just one question that I have. Why is it necessary if you are gay to insist that those around you who aren’t except your lifestyle? If your gay your gay so go live your life…..Yes, I think you should be protected in the courts and a civil union if you feel necessary but not marriage. If you feel you are right in the way you chose to live, why should anything else matter………and for those of us who chose life as a Christian, why do we pick and chose what laws we want to follow?

    • Loki

      I’m sorry, but this shows the remarkable blindness of the privileged. No gay people care at all that anyone/everyone accept them (the use of “lifestyle” here is a functionally inaccurate usage, for the purposes of demeaning gay people). Gay people care about being left alone and allowed to make their own choices like every other adult in our society. Oh, and marriage is a right in our society, and unless you can present a very strong case that stands up to the strictest scrutiny as to why that right should be denied (something that so far has been absolutely impossible every time it has been tested), you have a moral obligation to ensure that gay people are allowed to get civil marriage.

    • Gary

      jeanne, to present a civil union as a a perfectly acceptable alternative to marriage is bigotry…period. Let me give you an example.

      Not all that many years ago in the country our schools had water fountains in pairs…side by side. One fountain was designated as the “colored” fountain and all “colored” kids were told they were not allowed to drink from the “white” fountain. They were not denied the right to clean water, just like the white kids, therefore the justification was that it was not discrimination. Now I am not a “colored” person and did not live in that era…but I am outraged that anyone professing to be Christian ever considered this equal treatment. I can guarantee that the kids who were denied access to the “white” fountains felt very discriminated against. In fact…it would be impossible to argue that they did not feel like they were being told they were inferior in every way…simply because of their state of being black.

      Let me ask you one question. Why is it necessary if you are black to insist that those around you who aren’t except your lifestyle? (You know…the lifestyle of being black) After all, you have a perfectly good water fountain (civil union) that provides the same benefits.

    • marc murrey

      Once again, someone who thinks a gay person ‘chooses’ to be gay. If gay people could chose to be one or the other, the majority would certainly NOT choose to be gay. God made gay people, dogs and birds, gay, just as he made heteresexual people, dogs and birds, heterosexual.

      But people CAN chose what religion they follow, and nowhere in the ‘New Testament’ does the word ‘hate’ appear.

      • Lymis

        Umm, that just makes being gay into a birth defect, and I kinda resent that.

        The main reason gay people might prefer not to be gay is because it would get the bigots off our backs – I have never met a gay person who would prefer not to be gay because they didn’t like the part about being gay. It’s always about the part where we wouldn’t be hated, bullied, and marginalized.

        We don’t deserve equalit because it’s not our fault. We deserve equality because we’re people.

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      You need to kind of snap into the reality of what is happening here and also consider cultivating a bit more of an awareness of how incredibly rude this kind of comment is. I’m sure you’re not even aware of it and you’ve not had to really be aware of it because until recently, you’ve enjoyed having the last word on who gay people are in the eyes of God and as a result, who gets to be married and who doesn’t. And you simply don’t have that privilege anymore – you’ve lost the last word on both of these things. People have woken up to the incredible, horrific emotional and spiritual damage we have done in the name of “Jesus” to the GLBT community and thousands upon thousands of Christians like John are now moving into active repentance for and repair of it.

      That you choose to continue express your hostility and homophobia via the Scriptures is certainly something you can do. The audacity of actually saying that people are “insisting” you accept anything is so ridiculous – you’re such a victim – that I’m not even going to dignify it with much of a response. What’s really happening here is that you are losing control. I’d encourage you to adopt the real meaning of freedom of speech – you are certainly free to *express* your views, that right is protected. But you are not protected from other people countering you or holding you accountable for the impact of you doing so. You can call that an attack on you, or that people are trying to somehow insist you *do* something but that’s just manipulative. You’re simply being held accountable for your expressed speech. And those of us who are no longer allowing you to speak for my Church? For my Savior? We’re shouting you down now. And believe me, I’ll be here way, way after you’re gone. I will never allow you to have the last word on what marriage is again. Those days are gone.

      • Lymis

        DR, well said. Thank you.

    • Caleb

      Imagine for a second that Christians were permitted to have civil unions, but not marriages. Same functionality, same economic import, same tangible advantages… but different. And when you asked if you could get married, someone said it was unacceptable, because God thinks you are an abomination (newsflash: people who think this way about cherished living beings might be viewed that way by a loving creator), and letting you get married is a threat to the very foundation of society. So you are entitled to separate but equal establishments.

      It’s called empathy. Jesus talked a lot about this kind of thing.

      • Christie L.

        Somewhat off-topic:

        I actually think civil unions for all – for legal purposes – is a great idea. Or marriage for all. So many seem to equate legal marriage with religious marriage. They are not the same. Legal marriage is a legal contract, which if broken, is adjudicated by a family court judge or something. Religious marriage is a spiritual contract, which if broken, well, that’s between those married persons and God.

        FWIW – I think consenting adults should be able to have both legal and spiritual marriage or one or the other. No biggie.

        • Lyn

          Yeah, my thinking is that the state should only grant civil unions to anyone, which creates a legal contract with all the rights and responsibilities granted by a marriage license today. Marriage would then be a religious and/or social covenant. A couple could have one or the other or both, but the state shouldn’t be involved in sanctifying marriage any more than it would be acceptable for them to list your expected eternal destination on your death certificate.

          • Lymis

            The state isn’t involved in sanctifying marriage. And clergy aren’t creating civil marriages by performing a sacrament – it’s filling out and returning the state forms that does that.

            If the church wants a new name for what they create with their sacrament, they’re welcome to come up with one, but the civil marriage has been around longer than Christian involvement in it.

          • Lyn

            You’ll note I didn’t say marriage was a religious rite but was a religious and/or SOCIAL covenant. Society and religion as a reflection of that society have owned the term marriage long before any government decided to interfere in it. Marriage as a social and religious institution has been around longer than the governmentally-sanctioned legal contract with its tax benefits and legal shortcuts.

  • Brian Presgrove via Facebook

    Hhhmm very good and interesting comments. Being that I have travelled in Muslim nations and have seen first hand what they do to criminals, Christians, and yes homosexuals I can tell you its is barbaric don’t let anyone tell you different. Secondly I agree with you all that Christ did fulfil the law but Christ Himself said the law did not pass away. Read Romans and James. I’m not a homophone as someone mentioned I work with a few and they are normal decent men, and yes we have these discussions but non of them are in anger nor do we yell. If God condoned homosexuality and lesbianism why are so many people repulsed by it as they are any other perversions?

    • Loki

      You’ve been to a Muslim nation? Have you been to Morocco? Did you know that if you went to Morocco and ate with your left hand, the Moroccans would be repulsed and disgusted by it? That’s because Morocco has very poor sanitary facilities, and traditionally the Moroccan people use their left hands for certain sanitary activities. Therefore the use of the left hand while eating is considered repulsive and disgusting. Are you will to concede that the use of the left hand to eat is a perversion? Because otherwise you will have to admit that the “repulsion” you note is merely a cultural artifact created out of a sexually repressed and homophobic culture.

    • Lyn

      I’m repulsed by the thought of old people having sex. I’m pretty repulsed by the thought of my parents having sex, for that matter. And even though I’m quite overweight, I’m kinda repulsed by the idea of other overweight people having sex. Ugly people? Yeah, I don’t like to think about them having sex. People missing limbs or badly scarred? Pretty repulsive. Honestly, John Shore here and his wife? I don’t want to think about them having sex.

      You know what? My take on that is that it’s God’s will that I NOT THINK ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE HAVING SEX since I’m so repulsed by it. It’s *my* problem, not those other people’s problem. I’m what the Apostle Paul referred to as the weaker brother and people should respect me by not, you know, showing me adult videos with old people or amputees in them or discussing the intimate details of their sexual lives with me. It’s not my right to insist that those people are not free to indulge in what I consider repulsive if they do not. Which is a good thing, because once we start surveying people, there wouldn’t be much left that someone didn’t consider repulsive.

      So, you know, I think God’s calling you to not think about gay sex and not to have gay sex. Just stay out of other people’s lives and stop thinking about them only in relation to sex.

      • Ozzie

        The thing is then, just keep it to yourself. You don’t see straight people marching in a straight pride parade. Why do they have gay pride parades? Keep it to yourselves then!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Drew

          Ozzie, I’m frankly not a fan of gay pride parades either. But, tell you what, when you stop wearing your wedding ring, introducing your wife, holding her hand in public, talking about your kids, etc. then maybe we can talk. Until then, I’d appreciate it if you’d stop shoving your heterosexuality in my face. Keep it to yourself then!

          • Ozzie

            You are not here because of a homosexual relationship but because of a heterosexual one.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Congratulations, you read the children’s book on how babies are born. The purpose of marriage being exclusively about procreation has already been disproven by the most conservative of christians. Try again.

          • Diana A.

            Too funny!

          • Drew

            Of course, I’m not being serious. You’re entirely missing the point.

            It seems all that your ilk can do is say “no.” It’s easy to set up sanctions. It’s quite another thing to invest heavily into others’ lives, filling in the gaps that your “no’s” create.

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Oh my god. What would you call every single parade that occurs during the year? It’s all about celebrating someone. You are embarrassing yourself.

        • Gary

          Hmm…when a group of people is systematically and legally denied rights because of who they are…then they need to march.

          Guess what…I got a news flash for ya. If we all simply accepted them and treated them as equals (because they are) then they would no longer need to march.

          Cool huh?

          • Erin D.

            That…is brilliant!

        • Lyn

          They have gay pride parades because people like you insist they are non-persons without full human rights and they disagree. Also, they aren’t having sex at those parades. So if you think those parades are about gay sex, it’s because YOU are sex-obsessed. Stop obsessing about gay sex!

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Seriously, it’s so creepy.

        • Elizabeth

          Sure you do. It’s called the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

        • Lymis

          Because every freaking day in this country is straight pride day, and every single business, church, legislature, television station, rock star and advertising campaign celebrates heterosexuality every single day of the year.

          You don’t need a straight pride parade any more than you need Oxygen Day. You can’t get away from it, and it’s constantly celebrated, normalized, and reinforced in every storybook, every movie, every love song ever written, with so few exceptions that when someone DOES do something where being gay isn’t condemned, it makes national news, usually with idiots claiming that sex has no business in modern polite culture, when’s Baywatch on, do we have time to make it to Hooters for carryout?

          Do you have any conception of what it would mean to keep heterosexuality to yourself? You obviously don’t just want people to be private or low-key, you want us to be invisible. Try it.

    • Allie

      Many gay people are just as repulsed by the thought of straight sex.

      • vj

        And, really, if you think about it too closely, the mechanics of ANY kind of sex (even sex within marriage, for those who care about such distinctions) can seem pretty gross – all that exchange of body fluids? Yuk!

  • Loki

    Since so many people here are saying the phrase “hate the sin, love the sinner” I feel I must tell you that is impossible. Further more, all of you who are saying it, know it is impossible. If you hate the sin, you hate the sinner, there’s just no way around it.

    Being gay is not like theft. Theft is a behavior, gay is a state of being. You can hate behavior without hating the person, you can’t do that for a state of being. You know this is true. If being gay was just a behavior, then a person would only be considered gay while they were actually engaging in sex with a member of the same sex. There could be no such thing as a gay virgin or a celibate gay person. We know that a person who is gay, is gay every moment of their lives. It is not a behavior, it is a distinctive and important aspect of who they are as a person.

    Anyone who claims to “hate the sin, love the sinner” is as hateful of the sinner as any other bigot. They’ve just chosen to phrase it in a way that allows them to lie to themselves.

    • Gary

      Excellent!! Couldn’t agree more!!

    • Brian W

      Loki,

      I beg to differ, since every human being is a sinner and under sins condemnation, we indeed can “hate” sin but love the person ( the “sinner”) For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God…The first great commandment is this, love God with all your soul, all your strenght, all your mind and the second is like it, love your neighbor (a sinner) as your self. We are to hate sin as God hates sin.

      • Gary

        Did you even read what she posted or just respond from emotion alone? Because if you actually read her point then you have a severe reading comprehension problem.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Brian, you’re not addressing the specifics of her comment. The specific context she is speaking to addresses something very different than what you are addressing. In this context, “love the sin hate the sinner” Does. Not. Work. because being gay is not a sin.

        • Brian W

          She said “to love the sinner and hate the sin” is impossible. That means we can’t hate the sin of adultery but still love the adulterer (especially one that repents). She goes on to say “if you hate sin you hate the sinner there is no way around that”. I’m saying you can hate sin and still love the sinner. Am I missing something? Did she say it is impossible “to hate homosexuality and still love the homosexual”. She didn’t use such specific terms, she used sinner and sin and since we are all sinners and there are many different types of sin, I’m saying we can hate sin and love the sinner.

          I’ll admit sometimes I just don’t get it, or Im jumping in mid-stream.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Well I think you’re just very, very invested in what it means to be loved by God! But yeah, perhaps on this one you might want to slow down and make sure the point that’s being made is something you’re getting, it’s hard to comprehend some of this stuff.

          • Loki

            In a three paragraph post, it might behoove you to read more than the first paragraph.

          • Brian W

            Loki,

            Agreed, but your 3rd paragraph said, “Anyone who claims to “hate the sin, love the sinner” is as hateful of the sinner as any other bigot.” I just don’t agree with that overly generalized statement, that’s all. You really can hate the sin of adultery but love the repentant adulterer.

          • Loki

            “Hate the sin, love the sinner” is, in contemporary culture, only used in connection with homosexuality. If you doubt that, a simple google search will confirm that the phrase almost only refers back to itself, or to gay people. And the reason it is used is clear. It was repurposed as a sales tool in order to counter-act the claim that Christians are hateful bigots.

          • Brian W

            Loki,

            Again, not true it is used many times in context to homosexuality, but not exlusively as you claim. I also take offense how you lump all Christians into one inclusive group (which means John too) of hateful bigots, another one of your inaccurate claims. Hate and bigotry knows no bounds, straights and gays, believers and unbelievers.

          • http://www.ncnewthoughtminister.net Michele Sevacko

            The point you totally & consistantly seem to be missing is that being gay is not a sin!! So, there is no sin to hate.

            If you can’t just love for the sake of loving – because it’s what we were created to do then please take some time to read what Biblical scholars say about the subject.

            Your comment about loving God and neighbor is not consistant with God hating sinners so we have to hate, too. It clearly says that it’s not up to us to judge. If there is any judging to be done God will do that, when the time comes.

          • Brian W

            Michele,

            Agreed, we are not to hate the sinner, on the contrary, we should love the sinner, but just as God hates sin, we should too.

          • Diana A.

            Brian, maybe I’m wrong, but I think it’s our own sin we’re supposed to hate, not that of others. If we hate our own sin, we will be motivated to turn from it and seek a new way. If we hate the (perceived) sins of others, we set ourselves up to be frustrated when they do not change.

          • vj

            Oh, this is an excellent way to look at it!

          • Brian W

            Diana,

            Yes, that is a great clarification, sin in ourselves. Paul did write however about how to deal with brothers and sisters in the Lord that are over taken by sin, but with an intent to restore them, not condemn them.

          • Lymis

            Being. Gay. Is. Not. A. Sin.

            Your discussion is meaningless in the context of sexual orientation, just as it would be if you were claiming it was okay to hate left-handedness but not left-handed people. Since being left handed is not inherently sinful, it’s a pointless comment.

            Yes, gay people are sinners just like straight people are. And, just like straight people, any sin comes in how we live our orientation and how we interact with others, not because we’re gay.

          • http://www.exilemusings.blog.com Amaranth

            “That means we can’t hate the sin of adultery but still love the adulterer (especially one that repents).”

            Read that again. “Especially one that repents.” You have deliberately set up a hierarchy of love, where “repentant” sinners are more deserving of love than just plain ol’ sinners. Where you only have to show “love” to a sinner proportional to the degree in which that sinner “repents” to your satisfaction.

            Please point out in the Bible where we are commanded to love repentant neighbors more than unrepentant ones. Also, echoing others here, I must have missed the Bible’s two minute hate…why do I have to hate things, again?

      • Caleb

        I’m trying very hard to love you, while hating what appears to be your ignorance, hatred, and blatant self-righteousness that blasphemes the work of Christ.

        So like that, then?

      • Lyn

        Please, provide a scriptural reference to our calling to hate the sin of OTHERS (no verses referencing hating our own sin, please, as those would be irrelevant).

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      Exactly. Thank you.

    • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

      So well said. Thank you, Loki.

  • Diane Re via Facebook

    Brian don’t be ridiculous. We’re talking about the experience of the GLBT community in America and the impact that the majority of Americans – who are christians – have had on these tax-paying citizens who are not operating under our religious beliefs. What occurs in other countries has absolutely nothing to do with this conversation and only serves as a distraction to talking about the real issues.

  • Ozzie

    I have heard all of these arguements over and over again in my lifetime. There are the people who think it is ok to have many wives. They say,” It is there religion that makes it ok”. There are those who like having sex with animals. They say “God made me this way”. There are those who like to have sex with babies. They say, “I can’t help myself, God made me this way”. In each one of these incidecnces, I believe that they believe that that is who they are, but the truth is, it is a lie!!!! Sin is sin and wrong is wrong. The fact is that humans are the only creatures on earth that act this way. You don’t see dogs having sex with cats or cows having sex with horses. Why is that? it is because God made all things in a certain order. It is man who He gave free will to. We will always have an excuse for our actions. That does not make it right.

    • http://www.ncnewthoughtminister.net Michele Sevacko

      Your “fact” that humans are the only ones that “act this way” is not actually accurate. According to “Medical News” (and I’m sure other sources) some 1,500 animal species practice homosexuality (among them lions & chimpanzees) . And, it’s especially practiced among herding animals. Many animals also solve conflicts by practicing same gender sex.

      How do you come up with the comparison of dogs with cats, etc..? We’re not talking about going outside of our species here.

      And, how can you compare a relationship between two consenting adults with having sex with babies or animals?

      • Gary

        Because Ozzie is disgustingly vile and a disgrace to us all…that’s how!!

    • Gary

      sigh

      I think we are seeing a coordinated attack on John’s work here. This level of ignorance exists…but to see so much of it on display in such a short period of time clearly leads me to believe some bigoted fundy group is behind it.

    • Lymis

      Neither does pronouncing what other people’s personal experience is make it wrong, no matter how often you repeat it.

      The fact that God made me gay doesn’t carry a moral value one way or the other. It doesn’t excuse bad behavior, but it doesn’t create it either. Just like my right-handedness – it isn’t THAT I’m right handed, it’s what use I put my hands to.

      Yes, sin is sin, and wrong is wrong. And being gay is neither.

      You don’t see me having sex with cats or cows either. But you sure do see same-sex couplings among animals in just about every observed species. Did God get all them wrong too?

      Being gay isn’t a sin, but condemning your neighbor unjustly pretty much is.

    • Allie

      I’m thinking you don’t live on a farm.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        This literally made me spit out my water, I laughed so hard. Allie for president!

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

        Perfect.

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      Ozzie, you are making the very tragic mistake of believing that your opinion = fact. It does not and your days of believing that you have any kind of last word on what gay means is over. Particularly because you don’t seem to be equipped with the moral or intellectual capacity to understand how repulsive it is to boil down being gay to just having sex – and you would even compare it to having sex with animals. I know this is going to hurt your feelings but it simply must be said without mincing words – it’s stupid. And those of you who actually believe this kind of thing are willfully choosing to be ignorant. And none of us can control that but we can attempt to minimize the damage you do as you do so.

      • Ozzie

        All I was saying is there has to be a moral compass somewhere. Just because I think it is right, does’nt make it so.

        • DR

          Yes, exactly. Because you -Ozzie – have some silly and sick views on what being gay means – that you’d only boil it down to sex – is not right. We agree.

        • Diana A.

          You are in charge of living according to your own morals. You do not have the right to judge other people, nor do you have the right to impose your morals on other human beings.

    • http://Facebook johnnyB

      By the way it is “their” and not “there”! Read a grammar book before you go on spurting your hate!

      • Ozzie

        Oooooo that hurt.

        • http://www.ncnewthoughtminister.net Michele Sevacko

          Ozzie – I think when the moral compass is used, all directions point to “love”. If it’s hurting you or someone else – if you’re forcing someone to do something – then it’s not love.

          Regarding “sin” – like so many other words, the definition has been distorted & misused. Did you know that sin is actually an archery term that means missing the mark?

          Although you and I don’t agree on many things, I’m not going to compound the problem by calling you names and fueling the fire of intolerance & hatred. I am simply praying that you will be willing to come to discussions, like these, with an open mind & heart and someday realize that in order to love God, you have to love your “neighbor” and yourself – because we are connected in The Spirit…

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Ozzie, here’s the deal. It’s really simple. Lying? that’s a sin it leads to broken relationships, failure – all sorts of horrible things. Addiction? That’s a sin too it leads to destruction. gambling? Adultery? Greed? All of it leads to destruction.

          Guess what being gay leads to? Long-term relationships where same-sex couples adopt the orphans that you – commanded by Scripture to take care of – don’t (Christians have the highest IVF rate of all Americans). So this is when I’d stop talking right about now.

    • Loki

      Wow! Have you seriously never heard of a “mule” before? It’s what happens when a donkey has sex with a horse. If you are going to make a theological argument, it should not be refutable by the most basic knowledge of the world.

      • Diana A.

        There is this!

    • Lyn

      Being attracted romantically and exclusively to members of your own gender does not in any way, shape, or form compare to committing rape on persons or animals that cannot legitimately consent. Stop conflating homosexuality with rape. It is bigoted, ignorant, hateful, and harmful and makes light of the abuse suffered by thousands of innocents a year merely to make a wrongheaded debate point. Have some empathy. And if you are incapable of empathy, then shut up.

    • Gordon

      Ozzie…you have a really dirty mind.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lynette-Cowper/100000495679777 Lynette Cowper via Facebook

    What gay and lesbian lifestyle is that? My daughter is genderqueer and pansexual. She’s also a celibate college student. She doesn’t eat gay breakfast, have gay homework, drive a gay car, buy gay gasoline, hang out on gay Facebook, attend gay church, read a gay Bible, believe in a gay God, clean a gay kitty litter box, eat gay pizza, watch a gay television set, own a gay computer, sit on a gay couch, wear gay clothes, mow gay grass, harvest gay vegetables, shovel gay snow with a gay shovel, go to gay university classes, or use gay anti-acne products on her gay face. But I’ve had people tell me she’s going to Hell because of her “gay lifestyle”. I happen to think those people and their opinions are full of shit, thankyouverymuch. And, FYI, the only people who’ve expressed disapproval of her so-called “gay lifestyle” have been Christians, not Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, or members of any other religion. Maybe when they start threatening her life and liberty, we’ll address the threat. Until then, we’re dealing with the ACTUAL threat. And that’s conservative “Christians”.

    • Catherine McHenry

      Ms. Cowper…

      Thanks for supporting your daughter so thoroughly. When I came out 20 plus years ago, I quickly learned to ask the question .. “Why is it that I only get a lifestyle when everyone else gets a life?” Good on you for defending us. We appreciate it. Alot.

      • Lyn

        You are more than welcome, though I don’t feel I’m owed any thanks for simple, basic human decency. I apologise that so many in the church have made basic human decency a notable accomplishment.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        that is such a profound way of putting it.

        As for me Catherine, I’m so sorry that more of us liberal, educated Christians didn’t fight against this insanity harder and earlier. We just let it all happen around us and as a result, we allowed our beautiful faith to be taken over by what can only be called a hysterical, illogical approach to who you are. We’re responsible for the damage we caused. I know we can’t go back and fix it. I’d do anything to do just that.

  • Brian Presgrove via Facebook

    Lynette, what in the world is a genderqueer and pansexual? I’m sorry you think I am some sort of threat to you. I would never cause harm to another person, but I do strongly disagree with a group of people that want me to accept them based soley on who he or she has sex with.

    • http://www.ncnewthoughtminister.net Michele Sevacko

      “Accept them soley on who he or she has sex with”??? They/WE want you to NOT CARE who they’re having sex with, anymore than you care who I’m having sex with – and accept them because they are people just like you…with needs, wants & desires just like you! Not just because we were “commanded” to love – but, because we were created by love and that’s what we should naturally be expressing! Open your heart……please…..

    • Maggie

      Brian,

      In case you weren’t aware, being gay is not just about who you have sex with. Just like being heterosexual is about more than just sex. Keep that in mind.

    • Kai

      Genderqueer is an umbrella term for people who do not fit neatly into the little “girl” and “boy” gender boxes. Pansexual is attraction to people of all genders and non-genders.

      Additionally, I have no desire for you to accept me based on who I have sex with. For one, I don’t have sex. For another, you shouldn’t care who I have sex with. It isn’t any of your business. And as long as my partner isn’t you, is not being forced or coerced in some way into sex with me, and we are participating in safe sex, then my sexual partner(s) have no impact whatsoever on you. It isn’t that I want you to accept me because of who I have sex with, it’s that I want you to accept that it’s none of your concern. In fact, what it really is is that I want you to accept me without qualifying WHY you accept me. “I’ll accept you as long as you meet all of my criteria for being a human” is not acceptance. LGBT+ people aren’t asking you anything particularly special or difficult. Just to leave them alone to be whoever they are and do whatever they please.

      Also, defining LGBT+ people solely on what kind of sex you think they are having is, let me be quite frank, stupid. It’s idiotic. You don’t know what kind of sex any given person is having unless you are participating in that sex. The identifying factor for a gay person is that they are attracted to people of the same gender, not that they have sex with them. You can be gay and never have had sex and STILL BE GAY. Orientation is an intrinsic part of a person, it is not a certain behavior or set of behaviors. In fact, not all who are romantically attracted to people of the same gender are SEXUALLY attracted to people of the same gender. And that’s a key distinction. For instance, I am panromantic and demisexual (my mother simplified, as I often do). I only experience sexual attraction to people who I am already romantically attached to in some way. So guess what? I don’t have sex. You know what else? I am still attracted to people of all genders. If you met me in person, though, you wouldn’t know that unless I told you. Therefore, to discriminate against me based on the sex that you think I have would be a failing on your part. Don’t worry about the kind of sex people have, it tells you remarkably little about them. It is short-sighted to assume that it does.

  • Wendy Young Callaway via Facebook

    Thanks John, you never fail to bless me.

  • Marjanna

    Beautiful and touching. Thanks, again, for writing this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brena.easterday Brena Easterday via Facebook

    Trolls wearing ass-hats.

  • Tyler Simonds via Facebook

    So this is how the future begins.

  • Edwin Ashurst via Facebook

    unfortunately it’s just the choir opening their hymbooks

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nancy-Richardson/100000199025893 Nancy Richardson via Facebook

    I shared it on my page!!!! Was a great article, but I must say I was picking my jaw up off the ground as I read it!!!!! All I have to say is ABOUT TIME!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/brena.easterday Brena Easterday via Facebook

    These prophesies and this knowledge will pass away but love will make all things perfect. Maybe they don’t think that part could affect ancient rules about slaves, homosexuals, incense, etc.
    1Cr 13:8 Love never fails. But whether [there are] prophecies, they will fail; whether [there are] tongues, they will cease; whether [there is] knowledge, it will vanish away.
    1Cr 13:9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part.
    1Cr 13:10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

  • Carl Johnson via Facebook

    The tide turning? I can only hope and pray…and be more proactive.

  • denny

    You DO NOT speak for all Christians sir. I do agree that those who are gay and lesbian are just as deserving of Gods Love as I am. And I am very sorry for the way SOME Christians have and still are treating them but I am not inspired nor humbled by their prideful sinful actions. I sin as does everyone but I am repentant of those sins not proud of them. Oh my gosh what the heck are you saying man. Lord help!!

    • Shannon

      If the Bible said it was sinful to have green eyes, would wearing blue contacts make them sinless? I can no sooner will the change of my eye color than I can my sexuality so I don’t think that your sexuality makes you sinful.

      Now many people will say, “Fine. You are gay. But you don’t have to have sex.” What? So the only way that I would be acceptable to God is if I live a life of loneliness and isolation and never see a loving relationship to it’s physical manifestation? I do not believe that this would be God’s best for me.

      The (small) verses that relate to being gay in the Bible are absolutely taken outside of their cultural and historical context. In fact, the word “homosexual” is less than 200 years old. I highly recommend that you read “What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality” by Dr. Daniel Helminiak instead of continuing to parrot your pastor.

      Two people who love each other = always good.

      Those two people enjoying satisfying physical expression of their love = even better!

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      Denny? You’re the one who needs some help. You’re days of hiding your homophobia behind our beloved Scriptures are over. We’re not allowing you to do that and get away with it anymore. It’s over.

    • Loki

      No, you are just sick with envy that gay people get to have fun while you have focused your entire spiritual life on deprivation.

      • Erin D.

        HA!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lynette-Cowper/100000495679777 Lynette Cowper via Facebook

    Brian: Google is your friend. If you’re going to address this issue, you need to educate yourself on this issue. And you are a threat to my daughter because your rhetoric and focus on sex– whether the lgbtqi person you are condemning has even had sex or not– engenders a culture of death that has led to lgbtqi people being beaten to death, raped, driven to attempt suicide, driven from the church and their faith, denied employment, denied housing, and denied parental rights. 25% of all gay teens in the US, many of whom have never had sex of any kind, are homeless, driven from their homes to live on the streets, subjected to the elements, to abuse, to committing theft or prostitution or drug dealing just to live. Gay teens comprise 41% of all homeless teens in the US. Over half of all gay teens report being physically assaulted or seriously threatened with physical assault at school in the past year. 91% report they do not feel safe at school. These are teenagers who may not even be having sex. Some of these kids report that they started being bullied for being gay as early as the first grade. That’s the fruit of your rhetoric and attitude. You get to own that. Don’t talk to me about how you haven’t harmed anyone until you understand the consequences of your speech, actions, and political choices.

    • NKVM

      Word, Sista!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Derrick-Perry/742229193 Derrick Perry via Facebook

    It would be great to meet these kind of forward thinking Christians in my daily life instead of only on the interweb. But at least the tide is turning somewhere.

    • http://www.ncnewthoughtminister.net Michele Sevacko

      Derrick – I don’t know where you live – but, in the state I live I was able to go to the web and pull up a list of churches that are affirming/welcoming. They include Baptist, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ & more…. It may not mean that you will have forward thinking Christians in your daily life – in terms of the people you work with, or your neighbors. But, it will give the opp to fellowship & worship, etc.. in a church based on love.

  • DNA

    So you think god spoke to you and now you can speak for an entire group of people… That’s called a “psychotic delusion” Get some help.

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      I find it incredibly awesome that so many of you are showing up and whipping yourselves up into a complete emotional breakdown about someone who holds the counter view regarding homosexuality and is speaking on behalf of Christians – particularly gay Christians. I really do, I think it’s about time that you were on the other side of this coin.

      For decades, those of you with your strident,fundamentalist, conservative christian beliefs about gay men and women have actually believed you defined what the Bible says about just about everything. You were aggressive and manipulative, you held hell over peoples’ heads. And you gained some traction over the last few decades, you got wealthy, you built your huge mega churches and then believed that all of that was a sign of God’s blessing.

      But it’s over. 53% of Christians believe that gay men and women should get married. Your kids – your teenagers – think you’re crazy (and they should). You’ve lost control, simply because you believe you didn’t have to convince anyone that you’re right. You just “were” right. And you shamed everyone who didn’t believe just like you did – you either shamed them or you shunned them.

      But it’s a new day, a new Church. We’ve left you behind and the fact that you’re all here freaking out at his post proves it. This new generation is ours. I hope some of you have the moral and emotional capacity left to join us – I really do – but I think you’re so spiritually bankrupt and SO angry that your privileged way of life is over that you may not be able to do it. And God knows that, I believe he knows that your capacity for understanding any of this is so limited that none of us should even expect it. So I have hope for you but mostly, it’s just a relief that in a few decades, you and your beliefs will just be a horrible memory. Praise God.

    • Christy

      He’s a writer, DNA. We use something called creative license and metaphor. Most atheists and agnostics get that, but I know it’s harder for the religious literalist crowd to understand. The reality is, he might not have even really had a “dream” in the “I was asleep and my subconscious had this narrative playing in my head then I woke up and remembered it and wrote it down here for you to read” way, but it might have been in the MLK Jr. “I have a dream” way, or it might have been in the “I thought of a good way to introduce my next blog post” way, or it might really have been a dream in the sleeping kind of way. None of this means he’s delusional. At no point did John say: “God told me to write this.” And even if John did have a gnostic experience – it’s his. <- that's a period. His, because generally when people do genuinely feel Divinely compelled to do something it's usually for the benefit of others out of compassion, or to learn a great lesson, not for glorifying themselves, like, oh say, maybe running for president or asking for money so they won't die. So, how bout we reel back in the psychotically delusional epithet and move along because there's no narcissism to see here.

  • Diane Re via Facebook

    @Brian Presgrove: were you going to point us to the Muslim and Buddhist groups in America who have an organized agenda to prevent gay marriage from being legalized? There are Christian organizations doing that but you indicated that Muslims and Buddhists promoted the same anti-gay agenda so I’m wondering when you’re going to provide us the specifics of that. Please do, clearly someone with such confidence in expressing his views has surely backed those views up with real data. Traveling to other countries and equating that to America doesn’t make any sense.

  • Some guy

    Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sharon.chrust Sharon Dolson Chrust via Facebook

    yep, we know.

    • Yve

      RE: The Open Letter from Christians…..Thanks for this letter. If I may make a suggestion —if we really want to be inclusive can we please call God “God” rather than “he.” Thanks very much.

  • Catherine McHenry

    Mr. Shore (and friends),

    Thanks for writing that letter. I am a daughter of an evangelical pastor and his missionary/teacher wife. They were not thrilled to discover that their firstborn chose women as an affectional preference. Furthermore, despite some many years of attempting to be an honest Christian and an honest woman who happens to kiss girls, I decided it was easier to give up the Christian Ecclesia. The churches I met all wanted me to check my sexuality at the church door and I never could manage to do that.

    I figured that if it was true that I was a child of G-d and that my salvation was a thing given by God and not earned, then upon my death, my Maker would still accept me … just as I was created. That was 20 years ago. I still believe that about God. And I still am wary of Christians and their hate speech. Today, though, it was nice to hear a bit of support from a Christian mouth.

    Thank you.

    • Christine McQueen

      Catherine,

      Please believe me when I say that there are many Christians in this world who support you and support the rights of the LGBT community in general. It just seems most of the time that the “other kind of Christian” is the most outspoken and the loudest.

      Take a look at John’s blog posting from October 17, 2011, about the Methodist churches in New York and Connecticut. (I didn’t see the entry itself, but read it last night in his book, “Unfair – Why the Christian view of gays Doesn’t Work”.) And that’s only one example of churches revising their thinking on how they treat LGBTs. I don’t have a list in front of me right now, but I have read of other churches that either never have discriminated (Metropolitan Community Church) or are looking now at the discrimination they’ve dealt out over the years, decades and even centuries and finding their theology to be defective.

      As John’s letter states so well, God loves His entire creation and that includes gays, lesbians, transgenders, bisexuals, transsexuals. If God can love such as I (who makes mistakes every day), then how can I ever believe there is anyone He doesn’t love?

    • Diana A.

      We’re learning, Catherine. Slowly, oh so slowly, but we are learning.

  • Julia

    As a gay Christian who has been rejected and oppressed by fellow Christians, thank you. Your letter brought tears to my eyes. While a straight person may read this and think, “That’s truly a nice letter,” I can honestly say that apology spoke deeply to my heart. I don’t think I deserve an apology by any means, but knowing that people understand the pain they have caused me to go through is so meaningful, I can’t even explain how much it means to me. Even if you were the only Christian in the world to feel this way, I would be just as touched.

    Thank you.

    • Gary

      John is not the only one Julia. I am a former fundy who is at least in part responsible for your pain.

      I am sorry.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Me too.

        • jodi

          and me

  • http://www.facebook.com/rene.pasquier René Pasquier via Facebook

    U R making a difference. Smile and look up!

  • Jackson Hearn via Facebook

    When I came out 15-16 years ago, you could never see or read anything like this. Now I am reading more and more things. The tide is turning, even if just slowly.

    • Soulmentor

      Not EVEN slowly, relatively speaking, when you consider the changes of the last 10 years. The social change has been almost bewilderingly rapid even from the last govt administration to this one. It’s like a dam broke with the electoral change.

  • Phoenix Walters

    I don’t really understand this letter. Is it saying that we as Christians no longer condemn the act of homosexuality? That we now accept it and find nothing morally or spiritually wrong with it? I sure hope not. Bear in mind that I have many homosexual friends, and I love them as deeply and as wholly as I can, but I still do not accept homosexuality. When many people say “Ugh, homosexuals are evil and are going to burn in Hell”, they show their distrust in humanity and frankly, they show how UN-Christian like they are, and how much they do not understand God or His love. God does not hate homosexuals, nor does he condemn them. What he does condemn is any sexual act between two people of the same gender. People are people, and Christians should not be against the person for that is NOT showing the grace or mercy shown to us by Christ. What Christians should not condone is the ACTIONS that are immoral and unholy. Sex was created as a blessing, a holy act of culmination between a man and a woman AFTER marriage. Not before, and not with someone of the same gender. Unfortunately Christians have fallen to either end of the spectrum when it comes to immorality. Either we are over-accepting and do not care about anybody around us, or we judge overtly in places that are not our place to judge in. Some go so far as to say that a (wo)man who swears is going to burn in Hell with the devil. That is not entirely true… I wonder how many people have actually gotten to this point in my comment, but I hope that people do not take offense and stop reading it near the beginning. I would like to say that although I myself have never EVER bullied someone due to race, gender, sexual orientation, etc, I am sorry on behalf of those who have been the bully. I have been the victim of bullying most of my life and I completely understand the pain anyone who is bullied goes through. What people need to realize is that people have their own free will. People will do what they want, what makes them happy, what satisfies their desires. We cannot change anybody but ourselves, and I know that I have struggled with that fact for many years. If someone wants to change, we should be ready, willing, and able to give them a helping hand.

    The point of this, is that we as Christians can not sit back and say that sexual interactions between people of the same gender is not wrong. It is and we know that, but to go out and persecute people because of that.. is unacceptable. As very wise woman once said in light of her own persecution, “I do not forgive people, God forgives people and I have to come to terms with that”. I do not want to sound like a typical Christian, because I am anything but, yet I want to say that you cannot call yourself gay and Christian in the same sentence. In many arguments, here is where you would here the typical “being gay is blasphemous” or “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” or something of that nature. I am not going to say anything of the sort, because those comments are what hurt people the most I believe. God is all loving, all forgiving, all mercy, all grace… We should be also. In defense to the comment ‘You cannot choose who you fall in love with”, no, but God sure can. ” ‘I have plans for you’ says the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11). God wants you to be happy, to fall in love, to live a full God-centered life!! And He does everything within His power to help us succeed. Without Him we are nothing, therefore, if we really want to please God and be the best children we can be, we need to give up our lives to Him. We need to live the radical, uncomfortable, selfless Christian life like God wants us to. The world has nothing for us, has nothing to offer us. Whatever our earthly desires may be, the are NOTHING in comparison to what God offers us, to what He has in store for us.. I am so excited to be able to live with passion and on fire for God and to go where He leads us. Wow, rabbit trail much.. What I am saying is that being gay is succumbing to earthly desires. And like I said, nothing in comparison… I hope that maybe I have offered you a different perspective, our touched on something in you.. Have stirred something that may bring you closer to Jesus.

    Would you be surprised to know I am 17? Would you be surprised to understand how on fire I am for God? You shouldn’t be. Age is nothing in the Kingdom of God. Cheers!

    • http://www.ncnewthoughtminister.net Michele Sevacko

      I wasn’t surprised at your age, at all. Your letter showed me that you weren’t old enough to have had the opportunity to really study the work of Bible scholars that have shed light on interpretations – and what the translations really are.

      If you’re on fire for God, in the future I hope you’ll show that passion by being an expression of love – the kind of love that’s caring, compassionate & empathic – and don’t worry about who is having sex with whom.

      Btw, my recollection is that the word homosexual didn’t even appear in the American Bible until around 1970.

      • Soulmentor

        Yes, many of the VARIOUS Bibles we see today have words that have been changed from the King James…which had words changed from whatever sources the King’s commission used. It’s called REVISION and RE-INTERPRETATION.

        One of the most egregious of those “revisions” was changing the KJ word “effeminate” to, as you allude, the word “homosexual” when they simply do not mean the same thing. Such a change is a blatant lie. Effeminate men are not necessarily homosexual and MOST homosexuals are not effeminate but quite masculine. The relatively few effeminate homosexuals are those that are most readily seen and therefore the false stereotype.

        Anyone who reads and interprets the Bible literally is a fool.

      • I concur

        Michael,

        What a sad response to an articulate and truthful letter. I am well past my 40′s and am very comfortable with my biblical knowledge. You have not researched if 1970 is the farthest back you can trace it. I agree that God is love. That does not, however, condone all acts the humans ‘feel’ are out of love.

        • Lyn

          Considering you didn’t even get the name of the person you were addressing right, nor did you show ANY comprehension at all of the comment made but merely rushed to judgement, I don’t see why your assertion that you are comfortable with your level of biblical knowledge should be seen as a good, positive, or constructive thing.

        • http://www.ncnewthoughtminister.net Michele Sevacko

          To “I concur” – I’m into my 60s, and, pretty comfortable with my knowledge (as at least some degree of knowledge was a requirement, in order to be a minister) – however, I do remain open and admit that I don’t know the entire mind of God. I actually have researched the word, (some time ago) and found that according to The Oxford English Dictionary, it wasn’t until 1912 that the word was first used in English. Further, the earliest use of the word “homosexual” in a bible was in 1946 with the publication of the first edition of the Revised Standard Version. The Bible I was referring to is The American Standard. In my hurrying to type I left out Standard. Btw, the name is Michele… and in spite of our differences of opinions & beliefs I still feel compassion for you.

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Good Lord, your little drive by comments that contain an armchair critique are baseless and really distracting. If you’re going to disagree with something then do it but please consider putting some actual substance on the table for others to consider instead of comments like these. In short? Nobody cares if you’re sad, your emotional hysteria regarding homosexuality is what landed the church in this sick place we’re in now.

      • Lyn

        Amplified version included “those who participate in homosexuality” in its 1958 translation. New English in 1970 followed suit with “guilty of homosexual perversion”. Prior to 1958, no translation equated the terms malakos or arsenokoites with the scientific terminology. Note that taking the specifically masculine terms of the original Greek and translating them to a term that applies to both genders is an obvious translation issue right there.

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      OK first, please consider breaking up this massive wall of text in the future. And second, yes of course that’s exactly what we’re saying – the beliefs that you are simply regurgitating are clearly not consistent at all with the whole of God’s Word.

      You – despite having a lot of “gay friends” (sure you do) – do tremendous harm to the GLBT community despite you refusing to either consider that or acknowledge that. If you were as “on passion and on fire for God” as you claim to be, you’d actually open your mind and heart to the total devastation that your beliefs have caused. People have barely survived you and I use that phrase with intention – gay kids are the #1 group to commit suicide and they do it because your beliefs have created a culture where they grow up feeling that they are bad and wrong and despite those that are Christian BEGGING God to change them? It doesn’t happen. So they go into despair.

      There’s a whole lot of us Christians who are acknowledging this because you won’t or can’t, I suspect most of you don’t have the capacity to. But someone has to clean up your mess and it starts with apologies like this one. I’d feel sorry for you – and I do, actually – except posts like this remind me of how incredibly thankful I am that the insane rhetoric you’ve just offered is something you could actually *choose* to challenge yourself on and you don’t because it’s easier to just not think about it. It’s easier to just hang around the people who won’t connect the “Wow, I guess it’s weird that gay people can’t really change yet…I tell them that they have to in order to be OK through Jesus Christ. hmmm” Most people like you don’t have the courage to let your specific christian cage get too rattled – you need it too much and you have way, way too much to lose. But Jesus was right:

      “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

      Your house of cards is falling. And God have mercy on you for the damage you cause to gay men and women, and God have mercy on me for not standing up to you and shutting you down a long, long time ago. Because believe me dear, I’ll be here long after you’re gone. Your days of spouting this kind of vile crap unchallenged are over. I dare you to test me.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        autofail!

        how incredibly thankful I am = how incredibly *angry* I am.

        • Lymis

          Actually, I read it as thankful, and while I admit I did bump over it a bit, with some thought, it still worked.

          It makes me angry, too, but I’m also thankful, because this sort of knee-jerk anti-gay crap is not central to the Christian message. It IS something that people can examine for themselves and find that just dropping it not only doesn’t shake the foundations of their faith, but actually reinforces it, by reinforcing the ideas of loving your neighbor even when you don’t understand (or even like) them, and that we need to put our trust in God’s ability to work in each person’s heart rather than on our ability to condemn everyone else.

          I think it’s something be thankful for that the only thing keeping them from seeing this for the evil that it is really is their unwillingness to intelligently and faithfully question it – because inevitably, life is going to force them to do exactly that, and at any moment they choose, they can choose love, choose God, choose peace, and all the rest of it will fall into place.

          As you say, they’ll have some mess to clean up and will have left some serious damage in their wake, and I don’t mean to minimize it (especially not having been on the receiving end of so much of it myself.)

          This is the defining spiritual crisis of this generation, and it’s a really basic, straightforward and, in a lot of ways, easy one – far easier than trying to understand how God can allow millions to die of the Black Plague, or even than trying to come to terms with rethinking gender roles or racial supremacy.

          Because, for most straight people, not only is overcoming homophobia perfectly in line with a deeply held Christianity, it’s also pretty much none of their business to be worrying about in the first place. When the best and clearest answer to a moral crisis is to step aside and let the people who are involved sort it out, it’s pretty easy to buy into the right answer.

          I’m thankful for that – because this one is going to solve itself far faster than many of the big historical moral crises.

          There’s something delightfully ironic about someone identifying as “Phoenix” saying that his homophobia is because he is “on fire for God” – with any luck, it will flame out, and a new, real Christian will rise from those ashes.

          TO Phoenix – God’s call to be a light to the world is not a call to be a fire for book burnings or the execution of heretics. It is to a a source of illumination, warmth, and safety, and a call for others to come to God.

          You’re doing it wrong.

    • Diana A.

      “…yet I want to say that you cannot call yourself gay and Christian in the same sentence.” I know lots of gay Christians. In fact, I know lots of gay people who are exemplary Christians, people I would consider to be Christian role-models.

      Even if homosexuality is a sin (and I don’t believe it is), all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There is not one of us who has the right to barr anyone from the Kingdom of God. In fact, we should treat all people as members of the Kingdom of God, regardless of how far they seem to be from God (in other words, a flat out atheist should be treated as a member of the Kingdom of God. Even a sociopath should be treated as a member of the Kingdom of God.)

      It is God who decides who belongs to him. Not you or I.

    • Amy

      I, too, was unsurprised by your age. It was fairly clear. I hope that as you continue to grow into an adult, that you take the time to speak with an open mind to your gay friends, and come to include them under the same category as the rest of your friends: Friends.

      I hope you keep this comment for posterity. Please read it again when you are 27, and have grown up a bit.

      You claim to not be a bully, but what you don’t realize is that by spouting these beliefs like this, you ARE bullying. YOU are telling people they are less than human. You say it multiple times in your post. Please stop misrepresenting my faith.

    • Lyn

      You need to provide support for your thesis that God condemns “any sexual act between two people of the same gender.” Until you can provide unassailable proof of that, your entire argument is moot.

      Allow me to nip some likely arguments you might have in the bud as being the inadequate arguments they are.

      Adam and Eve were a man and a woman because they needed to populate the world. The world could do with a few billion fewer people than it has now, so there is no need for every single fertile adult human being to breed anymore.

      The Biblical model of marriage is not one man and one woman. It is one man and as many women as he can afford, including women married to him against their will, slaves, rape victims, and prisoners of war. Many of the model marriages in scripture were between persons we would consider now to be too closely related– for instance, Abraham and Sarah were half siblings (same mother). Moses’ parents were also an incestuous relationship that the Law of Moses actually made illegal.

      The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was one of extreme inhospitality. Even if the intent of all the men in the town in seeking to “know” the strangers was homosexual rape, that has no bearing whatsoever on consensual, monogamous relationships. The story only shows that God, as well as almost every human being who ever lived, disapproves of rape.

      The Levitical passages state that men having sex with “males” as with women or in the beds of a woman rendered them ritually impure. Other things that would render one ritually impure included planting a field with more than one crop, eating pork or shellfish, making clothing of more than one fiber, a man remarrying a woman he had previously divorced, or being a woman in the midst of her menstrual cycle or being a man who has had contact with a woman during her menstrual cycle. There’s also strong evidence that gay men were not considered “male” but were regarded as being in a third gender category, saris, which gets translated eunuch or sometimes palace official, because translators have mistakenly approached the text from their own cultural context rather than investigating the cultural context of the time period. Ritual uncleanliness was not an indication of sinfulness. There was nothing innately sinful or evil in eating pork or being on your menstrual flow. The church today does not regard any of the other ritual impurities to be sins. Yet the conservative church feels the need to mistranslate the word “to’ebah” in order to render male-male sex sinful. But the Levitical passage in context cannot be so rendered.

      [Letting dog out. Will continue in next comment.]

      • http://www.ncnewthoughtminister.net Michele Sevacko

        Not to mention that the Bible was written/assembled in a time when the earth was thought to be flat, that “we” were the center of the universe and so much more. As our knowledge – through science & discovery (and sometimes just a more mature understanding/common sense) increases we make changes – and we adapt. And, yet, for some reason this gay/sex issue continues to be a focus for so many… (Sigh)….

        • Lyn

          I find the dismissal of the scriptures as outdated to be unhelpful in these discussions. It’s more relevant to approach the texts with respect, as those quoting the texts respect them. It’s important, crucial even, to find common ground if we wish to reach those who are misinformed. While I understand and sympathise with those who have been so bludgeoned by the use of scripture against them that their response is simply to state that the Bible is outdated, unscientific, flawed, or a fairy tale, such approaches will rarely convince anyone of anything beyond that lgbtqi folks and their allies are anti-scripture.

          • http://www.ncnewthoughtminister.net Michele Sevacko

            Lyn – I’m not dismissing the scriptures as outdated. I’m also not gay and have never been bludgeoned by them. I’m actually a (straight) minister – who uses scriptures constantly. Just as you are pointing out that there has been misuse & misunderstanding…so am I. It’s their understanding that I believe is out-dated… Their understanding is based on being mis-informed. That’s not to say that I am 100% accurate. I also realize that I’m communicating at my level of awareness & understanding. And, my intention and input isn’t meant to convince – it’s to try to help inform, educate and just maybe in the process someone’s heart & mind will open a little more…

          • Lyn

            Okay. I’m sorry. My encounters with argumentation that includes things like “The writers of the Bible thought the earth was flat” and so on is that they usually lead to an argument for a flawed or non-divine scripture, which results in people just talking past each other rather than to each other. I apologize for my assumptions.

          • http://www.ncnewthoughtminister.net Michele Sevacko

            Apology accepted…with love.

          • Gordon

            Lyn, you are obviously a scholar of the Bible and your knowledge is impressive. In your experience have you actually been able to change the hearts and minds of fundamental Christians who believe the Bible to be the unassailable word of God and therefore firmly state, as we have seen here, that homosexuality is a sin? I sure haven’t, and I have been respectful enough not to tell them what I really think of the Bible, especially the old testament. Anyway…just curious about your experiences. Thanks.

          • Lyn

            Gordon, it is a long road and not always a successful one. Much depends on the person to whom I am speaking. Some people are more engaged in eisegesis than exegesis and will not be budged because their understanding is based on what they want the scriptures to say, not what they do say. More often than not, what I find is that the person to whom I’ve spoken goes away and sulks and may or may not, through their own investigation later, come to a wider interpretation, but that a third party to the conversation did hear and change because of the conversation. So, I believe the conversation is profitable, just not always in the manner I expected.

          • Soulmentor

            I take issue with your “common ground” comment. There can be no common ground between “gay friendly” Christians and homosexuals, and those so called “religious” who condemn them based on erroneous Biblical interpretations. THEY ARE WRONG AND HAVE BEEN SO FOR CENTURIES. Period. We know that now.

            That said, it does no good to be self-righteously confrontational toward those who are anti-gay. They will just feel the need to defend themselves more strongly, never mind that they have no defense. So….. no effort toward common ground save that of Christian Love, BUT do confront intelligently, with compassion for their ignorance and a generous spirit of interpretive correction and providing a truly Christ-like understanding of the Spirit of Love.

          • Lyn

            They may be wrong, but they are also persons created in God’s image. They are also, like it or not, a part of our national character and the faster we bring them to a true understanding of scripture, the faster anti-lgbtqi laws and cultural institutions will crumble, the fewer of their children will be raised in ignorance, the fewer lgbtqi children will be bullied to death, the sooner lgbtqi people’s rights will be recognized. I believe that’s a worthy goal. It may not be your particular calling, but for some of us, it is. Change doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Those who are mistaken are responsible for the consequences of their actions, but that doesn’t mean we can’t step in and correct their misunderstandings rather than standing idly by and letting them continue to wreak havoc.

          • Gary

            Why do you assume that the common ground she was referring to has anything to do with their views on homosexuality?

            In order to reason with someone you must begin at a place you can mutually agree upon. The existence of God for instance. This represents common ground. Our redeemed status in Christ is common ground. I assure you that back in the day when I believed those “erroneous Biblical interpretations” I was very much a born again Christian. (albeit sorely mislead by my church)

            All believers have common ground. This is where truth begins.

      • Lyn

        There are also some Old Testament passages related to pagan ritual prostitution, including male ritual prostitution which may have involved the male prostitute servicing male or female worshippers or both. We simply do not know. Nonetheless, a commandment against ritual prostitution has no bearing on the sorts of same sex relationships we have today, but we can certainly all agree that ritual prostitution in the service of false gods would be something Christians should no be involved in.

        That leads us to the New Testament and the letters of Paul. First, we have the Romans bit, which is the only passage in scripture that EVER mentions women together at all (which means all those translations using the words homosexual or homosexuals or homosexuality are incorrect, as all other passages relate only to men). But when you go back and look in context, you will notice something. Paul is talking about ritual prostitution and he’s also talking about people who have abandoned their natural sexuality to pursue sexual encounters with members of the same sex. Given that gays and lesbians have a same-sex orientation rather than an opposite-sex orientation, they are not abandoning their natural orientation in seeking romantic relationships with those of the same sex. Nor are they partaking in ritual prostitution, which we’ve all agreed already is unchristian.

        This leaves us with the passages where Paul says that malakos and arsenokoites shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven.

        Malakos is usually mistranslated effeminate or sometimes inferred to be male homosexual passives. The word merely means “soft” and was used frequently in that day and age to refer to those who were morally soft and given to licentiousness. That isn’t a specifically same-sex sexual sin or even, in all cases, sexual sin at all.

        Arsenokoites is one of those words it appears Paul may have made up or something used only by a small segment of the population at the time as his is the first usage of the word and many uses of the term are merely references to Paul. Until very recently, many translations into English chose to translate the term as a reference to masturbation. It was only when that became a more acceptable act and translators were casting about for some other more socially unacceptable act to pin to the word that they decided to go with the homosexuality reference. I’ll note many non-English translations translated it as referring to those who engage in sexual slavery or child molestors. So, there’s no particularly strong reason to suppose it’s a reference to homosexuality. While there wasn’t a specific Greek term that encompassed all of male homosexuality, there were terms in common use for male sexual passives and for men who preferred male passive sexual partners to the exclusion of women. If that was what Paul meant, he needn’t have made up his own terminology. But, the biggest blow to translating arsenokoites as a reference to homosexuality comes from an early church text by St. John the Faster where he states that “Some men commit the sin of arsenokoitia with their wives.” Given this early church text associating this term with a heterosexual relationship, it’s simply impossible and irresponsible to accept a homosexual meaning for the passage.

        And that’s it. Those are the only passages taken to reference some form of same-sex sex. None of them by themselves or taken as a whole give a blanket condemnation of all same-sex sexual relations. It’s simply not there. In reverence for the revealed Word of God and the true calling of Jesus the Messiah, Christians cannot condemn lgbtqi persons or deny them full fellowship in the church. One can, indeed, be both gay and Christian.

        • Gary

          Well written summary Lyn. And I agree with you that simply dismissing the bible as irrelevant will not win this battle. I am quite comfortable with the notion that there is much in the bible that God did not intend to be there. He chose to work with us to compile it after all. But to the biblical fundamentalist this is nigh unto blasphemy and will result in not just a dismissal of the truth…but a hardening of their hearts towards it as well.

          • Lyn

            Indeed, it often does. Too often, I’ve entered into a conversation where someone has already made the “Bible is irrelevant” argument and I get dismissed out of hand as just being another one of *those* people. I understand the frustration, but it makes any sort of open dialogue so hard!

            Which isn’t to say there aren’t times where “the Bible is irrelevant” isn’t an appropriate argument. For instance, on the question of marriage equality, the Bible truly is irrelevant to the question, since the law shouldn’t favor one religion or sect of a religion over another or over those of no religious persuasion at all. Arguments from any holy text are irrelevant to the question. And, as a Christian, I believe quite strongly that secular laws that favor one religion over another– even if the favored religion is my own– pose a real threat to my religious freedom and, therefore, are worth opposing for purely selfish reasons beyond any biblical call to seek justice and oppose oppression. I often find myself in the minority on that issue, though. It’s very strange.

          • Gary

            Yes it has been quite frustrating to me when someone determines incorrectly they know what I believe, and then dismisses my point without making any effort to listen. I was raised a fundamentalist, I used to be a fundamentalist, I know how their minds work. There are certain areas of the faith that are simply off limits for any kind of questioning, and biblical inerrancy is one of them.

            For me personally this has always been a troubling stance though due to some of what I find within the bible’s pages. However once I let go of my hard line stance on it I found a much more honest faith; one that did not require maintaining a house of cards. I have found that I love God even more since I stopped attributing man’s failures to His divine nature. If Jesus is truly the embodiment of God’s nature…then I found out I could disagree with Paul where he contradicts Jesus. (That was a watershed day in my faith) In the OT God supposedly ordered the indiscriminate slaughter of countless innocents and apparently took great delight in their destruction. Jesus made it clear that this does not represent God’s nature…so I accept that whatever God’s command was to the children of Israel, it was polluted and blended with their own blood lust either by the prophets, or by those who preserved the texts in an effort to justify such horrific events.

            We still see this happening today. That bunch of swine from Westboro Baptist Church that run all over the country protesting at the funerals of our fallen heroes with incendiary hate speech against homosexuals is a great example. To claim “God told me to” to justify an action that is directly contrary to the very nature of God is one of the worst kinds of self deception. I believe most of the world atrocities (including those in the bible) are the result of this kind of deception.

            I can’t even begin to tell you what an incredible change to my faith took place the day I removed the bible from the status of the divine. I love my bible so much more knowing what it is meant to be (and not meant to be); I love God so much more once I stopped assigning the very worst of human nature to Him; I began loving others so much more once I understood more clearly how much God really does love them, and me.

          • Lyn

            Hm. I’m a bit complicated in my take on scripture, but it would be something like this:

            Scripture is living and active, is the inspired word of God who is the creator of the universe and who exists simultaneously in the past, present, and future and speaks to all peoples at all times and in all places. As such, the scripture has to be comprehensible to those who wrote it, to its first audience, and to all audiences since. That means some phrases and words that were taken literally in the past– such as the days in Genesis chapter 1, the description of the sun rising and setting, or the description of the four corners of the earth– are going to be revealed to be from a certain perspective or viewpoint or poetic or metaphorical as science marches on. It would have made no sense for a writer in Old Testament times to describe the sphere of the earth or the earth rotating or revolving, as they wouldn’t have understood it. However, there are “Easter eggs” in there for us folks who look up at the stars and don’t see a static universe but rather know that we are looking back in time upon God’s expanding creation. For us, verses like the one describing God stretching out the heavens as a tent are no longer merely poetic, but speak to that expanding universe the original writers knew nothing of.

            The very best and brightest Jewish scholars were still surprised by the fulfillment of prophecy in Jesus. They looked at a passage like Psalm 22:16 and saw a reference to “lions at my hands and feet” and only later was it noted that the verse could as easily say “They pierced my hands and feet.”

            Just as the fullness of God’s word wasn’t fully revealed at the time of Christ, I don’t believe it is fully revealed now. Just as we continue to refine our understanding of science and the laws of nature, we continue to discover new revelations in scripture. The problem comes with those who, like the Pharisees, insist that the traditional understanding is the ONLY understanding, that each and every passage has one and only one meaning for all eternity.

            That isn’t to say there aren’t difficult passages in scripture where God does things that for a human to do would be sin, such as commanding the wholesale slaughter of entire cities. I have to keep a few things in mind when reading those. 1) Things are often sinful for me because they presume to place me in the position of God, such as deciding who lives and who dies. 2) God’s perspective is eternal while mine is finite, therefore, I cannot know all of God’s purposes for doing or commanding certain things for Israel. 3) Not all of the actions of people in scripture, even those who are recorded as being loving of and beloved by God, are moral actions. David was a man after God’s own heart. He was also an adulterer and murderer. To hold ALL of David’s actions up as if the Bible claims them to be laudable, as some people who attack scripture would do, is quite silly. 4) Many of the commands God gave to Israel involved creating and nurturing a people who would carry the knowledge and message of God, as well as the seed of the eventual salvation of all mankind, into the future. This involved creating a distinctive people, set apart from the peoples around them. Sometimes this involved wars that from my perspective seem pretty unjustified. Sometimes it involved removing an enemy outright. I don’t always know why. I will note that the king, Agag, whose life was spared by Saul in defiance of God’s command was the ancestor to Haman who tried to completely wipe out the people of Israel in the time of Queen Esther. My actions may have repercussions many generations down the line that I cannot foresee, but that God can and does. 5) God’s goal is the salvation of all for eternity rather than long life this side of eternity. I have no reason to suppose that when Christ descended to Hell and preached to the captives that the peoples targeted by Israel’s expansion into the Promised Land were not offered salvation at that time. Christ died once for all, that includes for the Egyptian soldiers drowned in the Red Sea, the citizens of Jericho, the Phillistines who opposed David and imprisoned Samson, and many, many others. Which of them Christ will claim as his own on judgement day, I do not know, but I will not be surprised to be sharing Heaven with some.

        • Lyn

          I will note that I ordinarily would not fill up John’s blog with such a lengthy exegesis nor give so much time out of my life to a Christian who has obviously not studied to make themselves acceptable before entering into a conversation about an issue. I made an exception due to your age and because I felt an inkling that you might be open to a change of heart once faced with the truth. In the future, I’d advise you to be more conversant with the topic or approach the conversation with more humility and more questions in cases where you are not conversant with the issue. It does your witness no favors to enter into a conversation with certainty and ignorance about an issue involving real people who have come to real harm by the certainty and ignorance of others. I say this not as an attack, but as one Christian encouraging and uplifting another. God is truth. God is love. As Christians, our words need to be full of truth and love, first, most, always.

          • sumeria

            For what it’s worth, when I was thirteen, I was desperate to find someone who could tell me the things you’ve laid out here. I could not reconcile my understanding of the bible with my understanding of the nature of God, and the reality of the people I knew, but the thought of substituting what I took to be my own judgment for the word of God filled me with terror.

            I prayed– well, not every night, but quite often, and for years to find some way to reconcile what I’d been taught about the “Biblical prohibitions against homosexuality” with my understanding both of God and with my experience of gay people.

            Which I guess is to say: thank you so much for saying these things, on behalf of thirteen-year-old me, and other kids like her who badly need and want to hear them.

          • Lyn

            For whatever reason, God put this issue on my heart as a young woman, though I knew no one who was lgbtqi (or at least didn’t know that anyone I knew was). What you see above is a summary of 30 years of personal evolution on the issue. In that time, God has brought many lgbtqi people into my life, including my own daughter. I can only think he was preparing me.

            Unfortunately, I’ve stepped down from a position of leadership with the youth in my church because the youth minister didn’t want me “confusing” the kids. I’ve taken that as a sign to be more open in my opposition to the spiritual abuse visited on lgbtqi people by the church. It frees me up to spend Sunday nights with the kids who won’t step into a youth meeting at our church or any other church, but who are endlessly curious about Christianity and faith and the Bible. I’ve had several interesting conversations in my kitchen as I cook and have my brains picked. It feels more genuine, somehow.

            I just pray there aren’t kids at my church being left in the dark by my absence.

          • Lyn

            Oh, and for the record, I wasn’t “confusing” the kids because of anything I said at church to the youth, but because I defended my daughter from three very much adult churchmembers who decided to drop by a discussion on my own Facebook page to inform me that by virtue of her orientation my daughter was obviously sexually loose, in sin, and in danger of the loss of her salvation. One churchmember was so well-informed that she wasn’t sure which of my kids was the lgbtqi one and accused my son (who is 13) rather than my daughter of being out of God’s grace. The youth minister felt that confirming that lgbtqi people are welcome in church and just as qualified for salvation as anyone else was “unprofitable”. Needless to say, the youth minister and those three churchmembers have all been unfriended, as I concluded that any further conversations with any of them is obviously unprofitable and they are no longer worth my time.

          • vj

            Lyn, I, for one, am extremely grateful that you have ‘filled up’ John’s blog, particularly this thread – I have found your comments here to be informative, well-written, astoundingly comprehensive and utterly compelling, and I doubly appreciate that your attitude throughout has been full of grace and compassion. There is so much depth here to absorb – THANK YOU so much for what you have presented.

          • Donald Rappe

            I second this thanks.

          • Lyn

            You’re welcome. As I said, this has been an issue on my heart for a long time.

        • Wayne Johnson

          Lyn, regarding “arsenokoites” – I know that we always say “it appears Paul may have made up” but this is not true.

          It is the literal text in the Septuagint (Greek translation) of the two passages in Leviticus (18:22 and 20:13).

          It means “male bed.” I’m not yet certain, but I think the implication of Paul’s using this term is that he fell victim to his own culture’s misreading of this phrase.

          As you and others have noted here, the verse says “zakhar mishkevei ishah” which means “male bed woman.” This phrase gets translated as “with a man as with a woman,” (maybe that means being the insertive partner in man-to-man sex) but that is clearly not what it means.

          It could mean “with a man like a woman does” (maybe that means being the receptive partner). But as has been noted here, a more literal (an interesting) translation is “with a man in a woman’s bed.”

          In that case, Paul’s “arsenokoites” or “malebed” means “a man who has sex with a male in a woman’s bed.” Well, okay, seems kinda nitpicky but fine.

      • Gary

        “Who let the dogs…Who, Who, Who Who?”

        I am so sorry…I just couldn’t help myself…grin.

        • Lyn

          Ahhhh! Earworm!

    • Mindy

      Of course you’re only 17. Which means, hopefully, that you have years of learning left in you. Years of coming to understand what “God is Love” actually means. Years to shed the discrimination you’ve been spoon-fed since you were but a pup, badly disguised as “the word of God.” Years to come to terms with the beautiful diversity, the enormous breadth and depth of the the human experience, the incredible aspects of humanity that are more different from you than you can imagine, and yet are still perfect creations of God, children in whom He delights – just as He will in seeing your heart expand as you grow up.

    • http://plantsarethestrangestpeople.blogspot.com/ mr_subjunctive

      Would you be surprised to know I am 17? Would you be surprised to understand how on fire I am for God? You shouldn’t be. Age is nothing in the Kingdom of God. Cheers!

      Indeed. What really shines through is your humility. Veeeeeery Christ-like.

  • http://www.annedinkelspiel.com Anne

    Yes, this is the God I know! This is the God who is not separate from human experience, who is truly incarnate. This is the divine who is present in our sexuality, who we touch when we touch someone we love with tenderness and passion. Thank you so much for this wonderful letter. So healing to read these words.

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

    Wow, this thread done kerploded since I left it last. Skimming the commentary, I’m left wanting to say this to some of the commentators:

    “But I have gay friends!” isn’t an excuse – it’s so tired it’s a freakin’ trope: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SomeOfMyBestFriendsAreX

    Yes, I looked it up on the Time Sink. It’s that common – and used to denote/make fun of and generally red-flag bigots in fiction, so using it in real life just digs you deeper.

    • Lymis

      I’ve always felt that the real test isn’t whether a bigot can claim they have gay friends, but whether the bigot can produce any gay people who will seriously claim that they feel the bigot is their friend.

      My guess is those numbers are far, far smaller.

      • Erin D.

        SO true!!!

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

        I wouldn’t doubt that some people do, though, as there are some people in this world who are very forgiving sorts who can tolerate an awful lot. Maybe it’s my own cold introvert’s life, but I’ve found that sometimes – a lot of relationships in life are essentially utiliatarian. “I know they don’t respect me in this one area, but they’re so much fun to talk to, to shop with, we like the same TV series, etc.”

        However, I’ve also found that relationships that try to go deep but aren’t built upon respect, and in fact, have the two people fundamentally dis-respecting each other in an area – *will* fall apart, sometimes with a lot of anger, hurt and spectactular crap-flinging in the end. Come to places where you friends don’t see your rhretoric all you want, but once you show your teeth to them, expect that you’ll be less “friends” and more at each others’ throats.

    • LSS

      For me that was what actually changed my heart about these matters (and my heart changed my mind). I wanted to be a better friend to my 2 close friends that are lesbians and i realized i couldn’t do that while i still had these wrongheaded ideas about part of their identity. It wasn’t loving and it wasn’t respectful. And those are necessarily a big part of friendship.

  • Reminder

    To all of the Christians who are against gay people.

    Jesus said: “Judge not least you be judged.”

    Also he said: Love your neighbor as you would love yourself.”

  • anonymous

    You christians say that you’re “sorry.” But do you release your “sorries” won’t bring back those who you WILLINGLY MURDERED. Yes, it may not of been you who killed so many young innocent people, but you backed them into a corner,made them feel less then human. So it is their blood on YOUR hands. You might as well have plunged the knife into their hearts. you might as well have pulled the triggers that ended their lives, you might as well have pushed them off a building, you “christians” need to realize that words can be more powerful then actions.

    You “christians” are hypocrites (then again, it makes sense, because so is god) If someone tries to say someone is guilty of something and should be punished for it, you stick up for the person and say “who are we to judge, we should not judge, for the only judge is god.” Then you turn to the gay people, and you JUDGE them! As for my comment about god being a hypocrite, well lets take a look at the 7 deadly sins, or whatever the bible itself refers to them. One of them is jealousy. There’s a piece in the bible where god himself say’s ” Thou shelt not worship any other god, for I am a Jealous god.” Lead by example right, yet god can commit sin and we cannot? No matter, your apology comes to late, you have caused pain,suffering,death,murder,and prejudice laws.

    Bring back the young lives that were lost, and maybe then the gay community and gay supporters, will forgive you. Until then, see you in hell.

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      You’re right. Saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t bring anyone back. It doesn’t fix a thing. It is reasonable to expect that a lot of people both gay and straight who have been devastated by the acts as well as the inaction of those of us who are Christian will not entertain an apology. No one could blame them. A lot of lives have been both lost and ruined and you can see even on this thread, the Christians who simply don’t care about that and continue to regurgitate their agenda. So this – while very difficult to read – is an important perspective.

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

        This is actually why I want to believe in a “Heaven” of some sort – there is much injustice in this world and even if Humanity (Christians included) gets our collective heads out of our asses and create a world of perfect justice – it still can’t bring back and comfort the already-dead.

        Sometimes, apologies cannot be accepted. The only way to “make things right” would be if the forbidden spell in one of my novels actually existed (a spell that can erase people from existance/from ever having existed) – the problem with it is that there is no way to know if it works.

        I wanted to make a correction about the 7 Deadly Sins – they aren’t Biblical – they’re something made up in Medeival times if I’m not mistaken, and one of them (the one translated “Sloth” today) was originally “Sadness” or “Depression” which leaves a whole lot of innocent people with brain chemistry imbalances screwed, and probably Jesus himself, when you get down to it. Wasn’t about to touch the rant directly – seeing as someone’s hurt and just has a rant in them that needs to get out. All I know is that I cannot apologize enough to the hurt person for past careless words – even my dying wouldn’t “take them back and make things right.”

        • LSS

          Oh wow i need to go tell my depressive (and culturally catholic) husband about Sloth. That is so interesting.

    • Gary

      It is true that hypocrisy seems to run rampant in the Christian faith. But it seems to me that your anger is directed at the wrong Christians. Those of us who are trying to correct the wrongs, and certainly God, are not being hypocrites.

      “WILLINGLY MURDERED”?? (Your screaming CAPS…not mine)

      No…this type of rhetoric is not helpful, and will drive those who still cling to their bigotry to defend it even more.

    • Lymis

      Sorry, but you seem to be trying to speak for all gay people. You don’t speak for me.

      If your point is that people who have done harm to those who didn’t harm them, who through deliberate or passive actions have helped create pain and suffering, and created such an environment of despair that people were crushed under it and took their lives don’t get to just say “Oops, my bad. We okay?” then I’ll agree. It takes much more than simply saying that you’re sorry.

      But knowing you’ve participated in doing harm and standing up to say so is a necessary first step. You have to know that you’ve hurt people to stop hurting them any further. And while it would be wonderful if it extends past that to helping actively heal and support LGBT people, just getting everyone to stop hurting us would be a delightful development.

      Forgiveness is not, and never has been, pretending that the wrong never happened. It isn’t painting over the hurt and pretending it isn’t there or was no big deal. Forgiveness is not rewriting the past. It is acknowledging that the past IS past, and pain and damage and guilt and all, agreeing to move forward from this moment with a fresh start. And we forgive, not as a favor to the other, but as a gift to ourselves – because hating those who hurt us hurts us further, especially when they have stopped adding to the hurt.

      And the gift we get from God when we forgive is that very often, once the offense has stopped and forgiveness has been granted, we can gain new meaning, strength, and deep personal value from our experience of the pain in our past. If nothing else, it can make us more compassionate.

      Yes, it’s arrogant and sanctimonious and mean-spirited to demand forgiveness while you are still continuing to cause the harm that you are demanding forgiveness for. Stopping the hurt you are causing, including a genuine willingness to see the ways in which you may not have realized you were hurting someone, is a fundamental prerequisite for asking for forgiveness, and a pretty minimum condition for granting it. Don’t ask me to forgive you while you are still hitting me.

      And, I guarantee, John isn’t blind to the fact that many, many people who claim to be Christian continue to deliberately and intentionally hurt gay people, and to take great pride and pleasure in doing so. And that he can’t put that request for forgiveness into their mouths and expect us to honor it the way we would if they stopped doing the harm and asked us themselves.

      In some ways, that’s why casting this letter as something he saw in a dream – imagining a future time or sacred event where such an apology DID come from all Christians speaking with one voice is more powerful than it would be if he pretended he was speaking, today, for all Christians everywhere. And, to me, it’s more powerful as notes left in a pulpit – implying that if the day ever came when words like that WERE meant by all Christians, it would be time to then set them aside and move on to whatever the Spirit next calls us to do, and leave them to get dusty, because once the wound is truly healed, we don’t need to consider it any more.

      No, the young LGBT lives that were lost, and the lives that weren’t lost but were so badly damaged that they were lived in hell because of the hurtfulness of others can’t be returned, any more than the lives lost to slavery or to mistreatment of Native Americans or native peoples in other parts of the world can be returned, or the lives of the poor and sick, or the promise of the lives of women constrained by sexism or any other past horror can be recovered. We can’t change the past, but we can promise to each other that it will not be repeated, and step into a new future together.

      Not being willing to forgive, dwelling on the unrecoverable past, and refusing to help craft a new, better, brighter future with those who are willing to do so, is, in fact, condemning yourself to a form of hell. Please don’t. Because then, the haters really do win.

    • I concur

      Haha. I am sorry but this is all emotional and no research.

      • Gary

        This is a very randomly odd statement that serves no purpose other than to insult it seems.

        • Lyn

          I agree. It is hurtful and belittles someone for being human enough to have emotions, insinuating that our God-given capacity to experience emotions is less noble than our capacity to reason. It’s quite apparent that “I concur” is emotionally challenged when it comes to empathy.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Well thanks for clearing all that up.

      • Mindy

        Yeah, because everything you’ve said here is based on careful, peer-reviewed scientific research. No emotion involved, of course. You only out yourself as both ignorant and a bit vindictive when you post this sort of thing, so if you are trying to promote a cause or make a real point, you missed.

      • LSS

        In the disability rights community we have the term “experts by experience” which means that if you have lived something you automatically know as much about it as -or probably more than- people who have just studied it. I hope my point is clear. If not, then “life = research”

    • LSS

      If you read the rest of this website, a straight christian guy is telling the same account as you are. There are even posts about how it’s the church’s fault that kids are killing themselves and how their blood is on our hands. So, i’d never say your anger is misplaced… Just that some are on your side.

  • http://thealisonandbeckystory.tumblr.com Alison

    Hey John,

    Thank you for this letter. It made me smile :)

    I’m not going to use this space to respond directly to the rest of the conversation, but I’m a gay Christian in a same-sex relationship, and I recently created a website to share my story about being gay and being a Christian. If anybody’s interested, you can read it at http://thealisonandbeckystory.tumblr.com. My wife is also in the process of writing her story to add the site soon. We are hoping that it can be a bridge-building resource, in the same way that your letter is being.

    Many thanks again,

    Alison

  • Jools

    If sex was created to be between a “man” and a “woman” why are animals allowed to fuck…. apparently according to christians they don’t even have a soul.

    • I concur

      Such a strange parallel. Procreation has to happen, the emotional, mental, and logical capacity and plan for animals has nothing to do with humans. If that were the case, animals would be owning homes, going to work, running for office.

      • Mindy

        And how, exactly, does accepting that God loves his gay children just as much as all the rest of us, in anyway limit human procreation?

        Less than 10% of the human population is LGBT. When we finally acknowledge, as an entire culture, that yes, being gay is normal, and yes, everyone is entitled to marry the one they love, regardless of sex or gender – how will that, in any way, limit procreation?

        Do you believe that suddenly the other 90% of the population will decide to try out this whole gay thing, and humans will ultimately just forget how to have the kind of sex that makes babies?? Good grief. Can you not see how ridiculous that whole argument really is?

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        I don’t think you understood the point.

      • Melody

        So what about hetero couples who are incapable of procreation? Should they abstain from sexual relations because anything other than procreative sex is sinful? Haven’t thought that one through, huh?

  • The Word.

    I’m a Christian, I strive towards becoming Christ like in all aspects of my life. But I fail, I fail miserably and am no where near perfect. I have sinned, I should go to hell. So have you, and you, and you as well. Humanity is imperfect, and we do not deserve anything, but that being said, you have to bring God into this. He loves us. He loves us so much he sent his one and only son to die for us on the Cross. Jesus died for our sins. All of them. Every time we’ve lied, every time we’ve cheated, looked at someone with hatred. Every sin is equal in Gods eyes. If you have ever looked at a woman with lust, to God you have committed adultery. If you have ever looked upon someone with hate, you have murdered them in His eyes. None of us are deserving of heaven. But for some reason God has chosen to pour out his love, his mercy, and his forgiveness. He’s given us a way out. And all we need to do is believe, and every sin has been washed away. That being said, I still say that homosexuality is a sin. In the same way that my own sexuality is a sin. I (Like so many other men in the world) look at porn. I am not proud of it, I do not like it, and it makes me feel so much worse for the rest of the day. I do it, I am deserving of hell. But in the same way that Jesus forgives me, he forgives anyone of the homosexual orientation. I have confessed my sin, but I still live in it, wallow in it, and stink with it’s stench. But I am free, by the love of Christ I am free. I believe that someone living in homosexuality is capable of going to heaven for that reason. Because Jesus Christ, Son of the Most High, died for that person. And if that person were to recognize him, then he would set them free. I love all people, as God does. And I do not view anyone as less than I do. I accept that homosexuality is not a choice, it is very hard to get rid of, almost impossible. I cannot just ask God to make me not attracted to women. It doesn’t work like that. I can try and control it, but I cannot hope for perfection. I think that I am ineligible to become a pastor, because of my sin life. I think that many people are not eligible, even people that currently reside over churches. We’ve let our guard drop so much, we’ve let sin into our lives so much. In the same way as I wouldn’t want someone who watches porn, or drinks, or smokes cigarettes to be a pastor, I don’t want a homosexual to be a pastor. Sin is sin. I love people, I reach out, I befriend. I have never belittled anyone based on their sexuality, nor will I. I am truly sorry for those of us who reject Christs notion of love, and choose to hate. That is not God. Do not view God through those lenses.

    • Gary

      You have a lot of emotional baggage about both God and Sex that seems to really have a hold on you. (One of the hazards of being raised fundy…I know)

      The notion you expressed so many times in terms like “I should go to hell” or “I deserve hell” have totally distorted your understanding of God and His love. In spite of the popular teaching otherwise…He really is not some sick bastard waiting to smite you for failing. He created you and knows you will fail. He loves you anyway…really…He does.

      Truth. God is Love…period.

      Another truth. God gave us the gift of sexuality. It is beautiful, it is good, and we need feel no shame for having the desires and attractions He gave us. Sexual desire is not sin, having sex is not sin, and neither is being homosexual. These are all part of the way God made us.

    • Lyn

      You have a very twisted and unbiblical understanding of God, my friend. Our sexuality is a gift.

      “I can’t for the life of me imagine that God will say, ‘I will punish you because you are black, you should have been white; I will punish you because you are a woman, you should have been a man; I will punish you because you are homosexual, you ought to have been heterosexual.’ I can’t for the life of me believe that is how God sees things.” –The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, Archbishop of Cape Town

    • Loki

      Sorry, but this entire post is predicated upon something untrue. You say homosexuality is a sin the way your sexuality is a sin. But you do not actually believe that your sexuality is a sin, note that you don’t compare it to your attraction to women, but instead to your viewing of porn. That’s because you do not have a philosophical basis for the claim that homosexuality is a sin. If you actually attempted to define what a sin was, in a non-tautological way, you couldn’t figure out a way to include homosexuality in that definition. So you have to analogize it with something like watching porn in order to have it actually be a sin. Please discuss gay people on their own terms, not these bizarre analogies.

      • Gary

        I found the whole thing ugly. Such overly dramatic feigned humility always strikes me as quite prideful. And if he genuinely believes what he wrote about God and sex…then he is very messed up.

    • I concur

      The Word: Absolutely well said. I have very mixed emotions here.

      I can safely say it’s a little unsettling to sign this letter ‘the christians’, because I am christian and don’t believe you are well researched on your sound or doctrine on some issues.

      HOWEVER- you have hit the nail on the head about love. No matter how you interpret the verses regarding homosexuality, they do not negate and overrride our command to LOVE. Hate is not love, judgment is not love. Christians need to wake up and acknowledge that they can stay in line with truth while opening their arms to all sexual orientations.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        I love that those of you believe letters like these aren’t “well researched on sound doctrine” when in fact, you base your entire, sweeping conclusions about homosexuality on some random verses in Leviticus. It’s like the entire fishing industry calling a ban on lobster because of the scriptures regarding the prevention of eating shell fish.

        What people will do to maintain their homophobia in the name of God is really, really astounding. You all must be so terrified.

    • http://writingtowellness.wordpress.com/ Jan

      Interesting that you would chose such a title to hide behind as “The Word.” But you have more important issues to deal with, such as dealing with the sexuality that God gave you.

      You are probably ineligble to become a pastor because you are clueless about the love of God. And, you have no idea how to think rationally – comparing homosexuality to pornography. You are in need of help, seriously.

    • The Word.

      I direct these comments at Gary, Lyn, Loki, DR and Jan.

      I carry no emotional baggage whatsoever. God is love. Without God there would be hell for all. You really didn’t read a bit of what I said. How I act upon my sexuality towards women is a sin. In the same way that acting upon your sexuality towards the same sex would be a sin. God doesn’t hate anyone. We all deserve Hell, which is why we NEED God. You really don’t get it. We are all prone to sin, and we all fall, that’s not the point. God loves us, he forgives us, regardless of how much we sin, as long as we believe that through him and his love there is salvation. To sin is to deviate from Gods will. I reference the entire bible. There are 6 references to throughout, go and find them, you will be surprised I’m sure. 6. Why on Earth would God reference homosexuality 6 times if it wasn’t a sin? Sure, if you look at the one in Leviticus, which is filled with laws only commanded to certain people groups, then I can see how you don’t view it as sin. But if you combine it with the 5 other times, it becomes solid fact. The number of times he talks about a man becoming one with his -wife- should clue you in.

      You seem to misunderstand me, I do not look at sexuality as a sin. I look at acting in a way that dishonors God within that sexuality as a sin. Just as I would frown upon two people out of wedlock fornicating, looking upon each other with lust, or doing other wholly Ungodly things. We can conquer our nature, our sin nature through God. I don’t have to always look at women with lust, in fact I’ve nearly eliminated it outside of my deep perversion of pornography addiction. God loves me, even through my addiction. And he loves homosexuals. We’re a broken people, and we’re not all broken in the same way. But every single human is broken, and God wants all of those broken people in heaven. We brought this brokenness upon ourselves, the whole of humanity, by choosing to eat the Fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God gave us free will, because without that free will, there can be no love. He wanted us to choose the right thing. We didn’t, we are not perfect. And he loves us regardless.

      I have love for all of Gods people. Regardless of their sexuality, I understand that them, as I, are broken. And I understand that God has commanded us to love.

      • Lyn

        I’ve already addressed all 6 clobber passages people use to condemn homosexuality. Hundreds and thousands of web pages, books, magazine articles, scholarly papers, and other publications have dismissed every single passage as inapplicable to monogamous, committed, consensual same-sex relationships between those whose natures are to be attracted to same-sex persons. You are repeating arguments without having studied to prove yourself acceptable. Please, do so before making further argumentation on the matter.

        • DR

          Ps- everyone has emotional baggage. Start being honest with yourself please.

          • DR

            Sort this is to the Word, wrong place!

      • DR

        This has all been addressed. If you have found peace in your personal journey with Christ then more power to you.

        That being said you are wrong about homosexuality being something that dishonors God and your world view has done tremendous damage to this community. They have barely survived your theology. That damage trumps your personal story as well as your opinion on what the Bible says. And you are responsible for that damage.

      • Loki

        No, you do not deserve hell. No one deserves hell. A god who would consign anyone to the fundamentalist paradigm of hell is a god who is evil and unworthy of being worshiped. Your argument starts from a false premise.

        Frankly I find it doubtful that looking a pornography is sinful according to any definition of sin that would be workable. Nevertheless, you still fall afoul of the fact that you certainly do not believe that being gay is a sin. Being gay is not an action, it is a state of being. Comparing being gay to your viewing of pornography is a false analogy, and the only reason why you would make such a false analogy is because there is no philosophical basis for the idea that being gay is a sin.

        We’ve already discussed your six clobber passages here. Needless to say, they are the result of mistranslations, outright lies, or the occasional random guess. You know what is mentioned a lot more than those six times? Why how awful the charging of interest is. So I hope you are protesting in front of your local bank, because that is really abhorrent to your god.

        Oh, and pornography is not addictive. Whoever told you it was is lying to you.

    • Mindy

      Oh, Word. Word, Word, Word. I truly wish I had the patience to pick through your sanctimonious, falsely humble, bigoted diatribe, but I don’t believe I do on this particular evening. Not the patience OR the time. All I can say is that I feel truly sorry for you, sorry that you have such a sad, skewed view of human sexuality. God gave us the ability to enjoy our bodies as a gift, not as a way to tempt then punish us

      I hope you find something more worthwhile to do with your life than the holier-than-thou self-flagellation and judgmental rants.

      • The Word.

        It is neither self flagellation, nor holier than thou ramblings. I am just as broken as the rest of us. God does not punish us for our sin. He loves us. Why do you insist on saying that? Heaven is where the sinners go. Not where the holy go. I have done no damage, nor does my theology do more damage. I spread love, peace, and acceptance to the world. Not hate, anger, or intolerance. I have done my research, I have studied. Did you not even see that I have said that someone living in sin can obtain eternal life? You view my speech through closed eyes. I pray that your eyes are open, and you stop attacking your own faith, falling for the lies of the great deceiver. Sexuality is a gift, the greatest gift, and we should treat the greatest gift with the utmost respect. Out of reverence to our high and almighty God. God does not tempt, the flesh tempts. God does not punish. Hell is simply absence from God, from his most eternal love. I doubt it is what we like to depict it as. It is just a world without God. An entirely human, and entirely broken world. The Truth shall reign through. The Word is with me.

        • Lyn

          “That being said, I still say that homosexuality is a sin. In the same way that my own sexuality is a sin.”

          “Sexuality is a gift, the greatest gift, and we should treat the greatest gift with the utmost respect.”

          Please, pick a side.

          • The Word.

            You take things out of context and use Red Herrings. How I behave in my sexuality is a sin. You are lost and confused, looking to attack any discrepancies without using context. What do I go on to talk about? Pornography. Please refrain from bringing silly useless points into this. It’s detrimental to the whole thing.

          • Lyn

            Words have meanings. If you wish to communicate, you have to use them with their commonly understood meanings. If I am talking about a floor and keep calling it a ceiling, I cannot accuse other people of using red herrings or being obtuse when they point out that my understanding of ceilings is ill-informed.

            So, answer me. Is sexuality a sin or a gift? And does that answer only apply to heterosexuality, or does it also apply to homosexuality, bisexuality, pansexuality, and asexuality?

          • The Word.

            You chose to take a sentence out of context, and point at it with gleeful disregard for context. Which is a huge part of communication.

            God created Adam and Eve in the beginning, in the perfect garden, in the perfect place. All was right, all was as it was intended to be. That is God’s plan. That is how God designed it. When we chose to refuse that, to eat the Fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, we chose to forsake that. And everything became tainted. Everything became broken. With that brokenness became sin of all form, not brought on us by God. But by ourselves. That sin includes homosexuality and bisexuality. Sexuality in it’s purest form, in what God designed it to be, when everything was perfect, is a gift. But with that gift there comes a curse, a curse brought upon ourselves. Jesus sent his son down to free us from that curse. I am susceptible to lust, as others are susceptible to anger, jealousy, greed, hate, slothfulness, and gluttony. We all have an area in our life that we struggle the most in. That we will fall in. But just because 99.9% of men look at porn, have lust in their hearts, and sleep with reckless abandon, does not mean that it is what God intended. Just because there is a growing population of GLBT, does not mean it is what God intended. I am within sin just as much as every man. I do not judge anyone based on their sin. I condemn all sin equally. I will not “support” sin. I will love everyone equally, spread acceptance, love, and peace to the world.

          • The Word.

            I will add onto that. I will, and do treat all humans equally. We are all equal, regardless of skin color, sexuality, gender, any of that. We are all human, we are all broken. I will never condone discrimination. I will never allow bullying, and I will never stand by and watch Christians hurt the LGBT community with hatred and anger. I have love for all.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            But you don’t treat people equally though I am sure you believe that as well as want to! You don’t understand that as you express these beliefs of yours, you place gay men and women into a category that has absolutely *nothing* to do with them and *everything* to do with you. You immediately downgrade their sexuality into “behavior” when no one’s relationship is ever just about the sex. You’re doing that because you need to reconcile your current understanding of what Scripture says with the reality of love, sex and relationship but the math does not add up.

          • The Word.

            *God sent his son. Please do not nitpick as I know you will.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            You’re not being attacked or “nitpicked”. You’re choosing to be here in this conversation and you’re being countered. Don’t make the difficulty in this dialogue about style or tone in order to distract from what is really being offered to you.

          • Lyn

            Okay, so I would take it, though you refuse to say it outright, that YOUR sexuality is a gift because your sexuality is heterosexuality, but lgb persons’ sexuality is a sin because their sexuality is NOT heterosexuality. And you believe that God gifted you with your sexuality, but gave nothing but curses to non-heterosexuals with their sexuality, that there is no way for them to act upon their sexuality in a God-honoring way.

            If this is your stance, please justify it with scriptures, keeping in mind the biblical scholarship that I have summarized on this page already that negates applying any of the six common clobber passages to consensual, committed same sex acts as part of a monogamous covenant relationship.

            If this is NOT your stance, then stop weaseling around and please answer my question above and, furthermore, justify your stance without using the six clobber passages inappropriately.

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          You have encased yourself in your religiosity so you can escape the fact that you are a gay woman. And I’m sure that a lot of people understand that – truly – the Christian church has made it impossible to be who you are and reconciled with God. It must be a terrifying place to be. We’re the ones who’ve forced you to create this reality for yourself. I pray you find peace.

        • FT

          The Word, how can I contact you?

          Thank you for your input on this site. It’s refreshing to see Christians that do not sway into extremism (= hatred) nor complete permissiveness ( = everything is ok). You seem to have a very sound biblical approach. Thank you.

          I am in a very difficult situation, though a very different one than the one this website is dedicated to. If you could have a minute to listen and tell me what you think, from a Christian view, and from a male view, I think it would have helped me a lot. Blessings.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Goodness, the ways that some of you choose to reframe the counter point of view regarding homosexuality is so creepy! It’s like you don’t know how to engage people who simply disagree with you and have compelling reasons why, you get hostile and reframe us as “permissive”. It’s so odd!

          • The Word.

            Hi FT, I have an email adress, nathanzulauf@yahoo.com that you can contact me at. I would love to listen to you, I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. DR, he has a good point. We have become lax, and using “love” to get out of everything. Sinned? Oh don’t worry, love will cover it. We treat it as an excuse to do whatever we want. Becoming textbook christians with no meat, with no fire.

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

            Re: “We treat it as an excuse to do whatever we want. Becoming textbook christians with no meat, with no fire.”

            You have no idea the passion some of us have. Ask us how we feel about the love of God. Ask us if we think it gives us free pass. It doesn’t. But it does teach us to see with new eyes and be new creations. I hope you’ll begin to ask more questions rather than continuing to make assumptions.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            I’m a woman, you might want to pay attention to who you’re actually talking to.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            PS – I sense you rarely use love to “get out of” anything. Thankfully, Jesus via dying on the Cross used love to help us “get out of” our sin. I hope you have an encounter with Him it will change your life.

          • The Word.

            At no point did I mention your Gender DR. I have no idea what you are saying.

            I attack no person. I am just saying that as a whole, Christians in the United States are soft. Which is why I’m leaving to Africa, to serve and grow and become one with God.

            Jesus Christ died on the cross, fulfilling “The law” Which are the ten commandments, the need for sacrifice, the need for the holy of holies to be in place. Never did it mention that it made our sin okay. We’re forgiven, but sin is still sin.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            I don’t think you have the capacity to receive what others have offered you here. Generally people who believe others are “too soft” are having a terribly difficult time with their own broken-heartedness, their own need and feeling both.

            I pray in the name of Jesus that those in Africa would be protected from the hostility, anger and homophobia that you are unconscious of but don’t seem willing or able to face yet. And I pray and hope that will be your wilderness where that will happen.

      • Gary

        Perfect Mindy…Spot on!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Denise-Burke/100002304043714 Denise Burke via Facebook

    I immediately shared it. As a trans-woman and former pastor who has recently found herself again spiritually, I wanted others to know. It doesn’t fix everything, but I know it helps me heal.

  • Your Brother’s Keeper ;)

    You made me cry, man. This Christian love of gays should have been in full force decades ago. Right after the straight Hippies had their sexual revolution and made all their Gen X babies, they shouldn’t have sold out but raised their slackers to be GLBTq lovers. They never should have let the world sink back into the dark ages. Hint: It’s not too late to leave this Earth with a real legacy. I’m lucky. My friends are very Christian and very loving. I can’t imagine kids or anyone living in any other kind of atmosphere. I guess that’s why some GLBTqs are raging on here. Lot of hurt going on and a lot of paranoia. My friends and family has ordained and lay ministers who want to be open to GLBTqs and are rejected by them. We tour in the GLBTq hot spots around the world and they’re rejected. Just like good men like John Shore. The world’s a harsh and evil place.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ashley-Cohea/100000024967834 Ashley Cohea via Facebook

    I have never met a single person who wanted me to accept them ‘based solely on who they have sex with’. They want me to accept them for who they are as a PERSON, be it a salon stylist, construction worker, college professor, football lover, amatuer painter, etc. They don’t WANT the focus to be on who they have ses with. And yet that sole fact seems to be more than enough to condemn them.

  • Michael

    Bottom Line. If your not a Christian when you die or when the rapture happens, your going to hell. Pretty basic stuff there.

    • Gary

      Really?? Hmm.

      Gonna have to disagree with you there…as do MANY Christians.

      • Gary

        You wanna know what really happens to people (I believe all people eventually) when they die Michael? I’ll tell ya…LOVE WINS!!

    • Lymis

      I’ll agree with you that the opinion is “stuff” – though I’d use a stronger word. It sure isn’t pretty.

    • Christy

      Michael, your marketing team needs a new approach.

      If the bottom line of Christianity is to avoid hell (in the way in which you mean it), how deeply then we have missed Jesus’ message. His heart must truly be grieved.

      Bottom line. If you’re idea of Christianity’s purpose is that of an apocalyptic escape hatch out of hell in the afterlife to a reward of a gold watch for a lifetime of “right belief” – you’re in hell already.

      • Danielle

        Thunderous applause, Christy.

      • Drew

        Beautiful, Christy, just beautiful.

      • http://www.cindymurphythinkingoutloud.blogspot.com Cindy

        Very well said. I must confess now that I will likely end up quoting you in numerous situations in the future :o)

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

          Woo-hoo! Confessions all around because I cut and pasted your brilliant exposition on Genesis for future reference!

    • mike moore

      you’re quick to Damn good men, women, and children who will never, in their lives, hear the word “Jesus” …

      Michael, have you ever heard the expression, “better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt”? Think about it.

    • http://www.exilemusings.blog.com Amaranth

      Wow, your God sounds like someone I’d *love* to get to know better.

      Or not.

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

      Your = “you’re”

      As for your words: I hope it makes you sad. I hope believing that makes you sad. When those were my beliefs, it made me sad.

      When someone turned me onto sound arguments for beliefs one might call “universalist” – arguments from scripture, the old languages, I was… suspicious… the cautiously-optomistic, then overjoyed. I cannot say that I don’t have a niggling fear that said arguments are wrong and there really is a hell that carries no hope of escape for the “un-saved” or “un-saved-enough,” but the fact that people can argue against it makes me happy.

      Because the idea of the traditional forever-hell makes me sad. Like it always did. I like to think the fact that it made me sad meant I had a heart.

      As for the Rapture – yeah, I read the Left Behind series, too. Got about halfway in before even seeing who was going to die next among the main characters bored me. On one hand, I lament my wasted reading-time, on the other hand, I’m glad I can now go to the Slacktivist and be “in” on what he’s talking about when he does his deconstructions, and that’s fun.

      Sincerely – I am not going to call you “evil” for what you said, I understand where you’re coming from, wholly – I just hope”the hard fact” makes you as sad as it made me.

      • LSS

        Right with you on this. Except i’m still at the stage somewhere between suspicious and relieved about univeralist ideas.

  • Davina

    Thank you! This is an amazing article. I cannot express in words how it touched me. As a former catholic lesbian, it has really touched a cord with me. I consider myself a Unitarian Universalist now. I love the “good” in all religions, but I have of late not taken too much of the Christian beliefs into my beliefs or views – mainly because of all the negative stuff we see in the news. But, this article has made me question that.

    Thank you again,

    Davina

  • Nick Griffin Miller via Facebook

    I discovered it on an friend’s FB page…and read the whole thread-and then posted it on my own as well! I just found it amazing to hear intelligent, cogent, thinking & writing coming out of self-professed Christians…so unlike daily life!

  • http://orangetaffy@sbcglobal.net Jim

    What a beautiful dream that is, but it is just a dream. Because of the power that religion holds over people’s minds Christians as a whole will not renounce their false theologies UNTIL Christ returns and sets things right. Now that will be a glorious day.

    • LSS

      But some people are becoming affirming of all the Other type folks in their lives (or better yet, not seeing anybody as Other) precisely *because* of what we believe about what God wants from us. if religion can evolve/progress, it can help people progress.

  • Brian W

    I can see this post already making John’s Top 10 for 2012, will we see 600 commnets?

  • Hannah

    I’m straight, and I adore this letter! That being said, I think the reason why we’re so afraid of our sexuality is that we don’t want to explore it. We want to keep our heteronormative expectations (don’t want to be gay or transsexual, have biological kids with our spouse, etc.) for ourselves that we have as a result of society at large. I’d say that society needs to abolish our concepts of sexuality and gender, but I’m busy stuffing my ideal future for myself in my heteronormative box. :O)

  • Yasmine

    Wow, I wish this could have been written for dark-skinned persons in America !!

    • LSS

      Dr. King had that dream. We’re working on it. As a caucasian married to a nonwhite guy, i do regret that it’s taking us so long and as a college teacher i try to do better in my part of making awareness that racism is still a big deal in this country.

      • Yas

        Hi LSS,

        I must seek forgiveness for my dissertation, especially since I’m writing about a topic that has nothing to do with the Letter to the Gay Community (my apologies Mr. Shore!). But then I figured, it’s almost Martin L. King Day so why not? :)

        OK, thanks for responding and good to know you are a socially conscious teacher. I actually sent an e-mail to Mr. Shore earlier this evening (who knows if he will see it!) requesting that we discuss prejudice, segregation, etc., amongst so-called christians in/out of the church. I’m not from America but most people here would identify me as “afro-american.” I also do not subscribe to “race” (you can blame God and my mother who is a sociologist), and so I don’t view the issue of “race” or “racism” like the majority of the individuals I’ve come into contact with.

        My views on this subject are extremely different from the status quo due to my international upbringing (I was raised in a country where most citizens resembled me if you will). When I arrived in the US, let me say that I experienced some degrading comments and actions, as well as very uncomfortable situations directly linked to my pigment by christians and non-christians alike. I am never one to say someone treated me in a discriminatory way unless it is highly obvious due to a verbal comment referencing my hue (trust me when I say, there are people who are not afraid to state what is on their minds when it comes to color).

        Side note in reference to your marriage comment: It amazes me that over 20 males (several of whom were self-professed christians) told me bluntly they could not date me or bring me home because of my dark skin – this was from 1998 – 2009 (I lived in the South during this time frame). The hardest blow came from an ivory-skinned man I loved and his mother – another hardcore christian woman – flat out told her son that he is to steer clear of “dangerous women like me..God only created us to be slaves, servants and nannies).” This comment was made in 2007. I laugh now (instead of getting depressed) when people – especially those who claim to love God/Christ – pretend that they disagree with “inter colorful” dating/relationships/marriages or pretend that they are not consciously staying clear of that. Needless to say I had a horrible self-image/self-esteem from the moment I came to America until two years ago. [End side note]

        The funny thing is – I’m not saying this to brag, just to prove a point – I come from a wealthy family (my father is a doctor), I attended an elite christian private school, I speak French fluently (it was my first language and I learned English at 12 years old), I know how to treat everyone with respect because I’ve been placed in situations (political and non-political affairs) where I’ve had to be “cross-class,” I’ve never had sexual intercourse (I’m 31 and have decided that God did not mean for me to date or get married…maybe it’s a good thing my skin color makes men run away from me), and I currently attend a prestigious university in the US. I’ve met men from Asia, Latin America, Africa and Europe who find me very attractive (those men have bluntly stated this in my face), but sadly those men were not christians (I stopped chasing non-believers at a point). Men who were born-and-bred in America were always the ones who seemed to be extremely sensitive to my pigment when it’s not something I noticed about myself and it’s not something that defines me as a human (again, God and my mother are to blame) though sadly for me, most people love to play the game of identity politics. By human standards, I would be considered to be from a “well to do background.” Though by God’s standards, I’m from a sinner’s background (I accept with a sigh). And despite these superficial credentials, my pigment trumps all of that in America to the point where ivory-skinned men – especially christian ivory-skinned men – are afraid to tell their parent(s)/guardian(s)/grandparent(s)/friends that they are dating a dark-skinned woman.

        Let’s not even get into the sociological research which shows the extremely low stats for women in my category dating ivory-skinned males, and the historical/biological context that contributed to this. It is a ramification of slavery and colonization, and it’s still a major issue in the 21st century (even in New York City of all places…then again, it’s one of the most segregated cities in the US) and especially in church (who claim that God created all persons equal and in God’s image) and other houses of worships such as synagogues and the like (my mother’s side is comprised of Jews and I have some stories from my cousins who’ve had to deal with hell when it came to dating because of pigment politics).

        I understand that many people were sociologically sheltered and were taught to assign values or assumptions to strangers based on pigment but I find that extremely irrational. Then again, as my best friend told me, “Yas, you have to understand that most people did not grow up with a mother who was a sociologist and raised you as a sociologist, you have to understand why dark skin is seen as negation around the world, and you have to understand this country’s history when it came to relationships between folks of different hues – it was illegal amongst other things even in the 20th century.” This is one of the main issues I do not want to have children because it hurts me deeply to know that they may have to undergo the treatment I did in this country. Though let me state for the record that I am conscious that my treatment is minor compared to what folks suffered in the civil rights movement and during the slave trade. My experiences here pale to those from the past and to people who are still experiencing much atrocities around the world due to their God-given hue (be it ivory, chocolate, caramel, etc.) – something they could not have controlled at birth.

        Anyhow LSS, thanks for briefly noting this issue and if you wish to further continue this topic, I’d be glad to share my e-mail.

        Best,

        Yas

  • Davis Fox via Facebook

    Look, John, some of these are good points. Yes, as Christians, we should show love to all people of all sexual orientations, whether we believe homosexuality is a sin or not. However, don’t you DARE address this from “Christians.” I am a God-fearing, Bible-believing, people-loving Christian, and I find some truly incorrect theology here. Like I said, you have some good points, but some of this is just way off. I’m not going to go into detail about it because that isn’t the point of this post. My point is, you are attempting to speak for a HUGE people group that may not agree with everything (or very much at all, for that matter) that you say, so please don’t address it from them, proclaiming your beliefs as theirs. That’s not fair or just for anyone. In fact, frankly, that’s no different from a Christian stating that Christians hate homosexuals. Obviously, that is less acceptable, and a more extreme situation, but the principle is there. It’s one person trying to speak for everyone when his opinion may not be anyone else’s. Thanks for your input, but this letter is not from me.

    • http://blog.mattalgren.com Matt Algren

      Interesting how violently folks react when the shoe is put on the other foot. After generations of gathering up all gay people into one big easily-classified (and most certainly Evil) group, look at the violent fit being pitched when someone dares to suggest that all Christians of all creeds and all nations should have a singular (and most certainly Godly) attitude toward gay people.

      It’s downright instructive, isn’t it?

      (And I say that as a God-fearingloving, Bible-believing, people-loving, gay Christian.)

    • LSS

      Dude, he literally wrote that he had a dream about this. Obviously also implied is the hope that this will come true one day, or something similar. But nowhere implied that it’s true now (or it wouldn’t need to be written and neither would so much of his and others’ work lately along these lines. And on fb he said it wasn’t a literary conceit (if that’s the term?) that, rather, he actually had a dream about this when he was sleeping and then wrote about it.

      I don’t know you or anything, but i am gonna ask you, as a fellow christian, to please chill and let (us) have (our) dream.

    • Mindy

      Hey, Davis? Read Matt’s reply below. Read it again. Digest it. Let it percolate, then let it simmer a little longer. Think on it for awhile. Then read it one more time, carefully.

      I guarantee that you will find no rebuttal for that comment anywhere in your soul, if you are honest with yourself. The entirety of Christian theology over the last many decades has harmed LGBT people, whether you, yourself, have been a big meanie or not. THAT is his point.

      One of these days, a brave, nationally known pastor is going to step forward, take a deep, calming breath, and state what John has stated here. I’d hoped Joel Osteen would take that step on Oprah – but that was just silly of me. He’s too invested in the ugly side of the rhetoric – don’t want to turn off any of those generous offering fonts!! But one day, before too long, one will. John has, and his followers have embraced it but refuses to see himself as a pastor – which is fine. Some pastor, someone well-known and liked on the national Christian stage, will make this leap of faith. He will lose followers, to be sure – but he will gain even more. And when that happens, and he begins to talk about it, he is going to have to encourage his flock and all who hear him to make up for the ugliness that has been perpetuated in Christ’s name. The cruelty, the pain, the loss – all of it.

      So read Matt’s response again, as a reminder of WHY a statement like this has to come from all Christians if it is to mean anything great.

      And, as LSS said, this letter was from a dream, a HOPE that John has – not some official proclamation he is sending to the Leader of All Gays, as the Leader of All Christians. Context, anyone??

  • http://www.facebook.com/anomalous4 Ccw Occupytheworld Sparks via Facebook

    Wow, that was powerful. I saved a copy, hope you don’t mind.

  • http://www.facebook.com/buddy.rasberry Buddy Rasberry via Facebook

    So much for the insufferables moving on. Sheesh. Thanks for the prophetic letter that will hopefully ring true for all Christians, assuming some day the actually start following the teachings of Christ.

  • http://www.facebook.com/buddy.rasberry Buddy Rasberry via Facebook

    *they

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bethany-McFarlin-Cook/645709607 Bethany McFarlin- Cook via Facebook

    I was going to respond to Davis but then I realized that there is no point. I wish this letter was from everyone. I have never been one to be anything but supportive of gay rights but I would still consider this letter from me as well in the same way that I apologize to people who have been hurt by church. I’d rather they get an apology from someone and find the love God has for them than to haughtily remark that I hadn’t done anything wrong.

  • Diane Re via Facebook

    Davis, take the hostility chip off your shoulder for a moment and realize that for decades, many of you have been “speaking for Christians” on this issue and believing you have the last word on what God thinks about gay people. You don’t. Your anger is inappropriate, not everything is all about you, there are millions of Christians who feel and believe just as John does and would offer the same exact apology. Perhaps you’d consider not being so self-absorbed and realize that you are simply one person in a sea of Christians – that’s it.

  • Diane Re via Facebook

    I just find it so deeply unsettling that people like Davis would actually disown themselves from an apology to people who’ve been damaged by Christianity. It’s so creepy to me that there is so much homophobia that exists in the church that he’d actually feel proud about doing that. It’s frightening and very sad.

  • Don Whitt via Facebook

    Crazy like a fox!

  • Amanda

    Im trying to understand why so many Christians believe that marriage is theirs and theirs only. There are so many different religions all around the world that people are legally bound together through marriage. In fact, my family is Native American and we have records of marriage ceremonies going back for pretty much forever. Nobody owns marriage. Nobody should be able to say who can or cannot be married. Marriage belongs to people, not to religion!

    • LSS

      That is a really good and useful point that we tend to forget in USA culture. I hope everybody notices it!!

  • otter

    Thank you for a magnificent gesture.

    I hope your words inspire many other Clergy to speak out against these wrongs.

    I hope your words shame the politicians who misuse Jesus and gays for votes and cash.

    I hope your words reach every struggling insecure gay teen.

    I hope your words shelter every homeless young gay adult.

    I hope your words cherish every loving gay couple,.

    Most or all:

    I hope your words gently transform the illusion of immorality of love in the hearts of your critics.

  • Raphael Nora Rose via Facebook

    Well, I for one find it sort of mind-altering. I’m not a Christian (I’m Jewish) but I’ve heard from most folks over the years that I’m a better Christian than the ones those folks share pews with. (And I’m gay to boot.)

  • Raphael Nora Rose via Facebook

    Well, I for one find it sort of mind-altering. I’m not a Christian (I’m Jewish) but I’ve heard from most folks over the years that I’m a better Christian than the ones those folks share pews with. (And I’m gay to boot.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kim-Thompson/100001261450082 Kim Thompson via Facebook

    I believe in Christ and the words he preached, but have never been much of a joiner, so I dont identify as “Christian.” I don’t get the need to claim it – I’d prefer to act on it as much as I’m able. “God-fearing?” What does that mean, exactly?

    • LSS

      “fear” is supposed to mean respect in that context. So a God-fearing person does what God says we should do.

      I think it got a little twisted in cultural interpretations, though.

      I have heard people with maybe a similar philosophy to yours call themselves “Christ-followers” instead of Christians. I just use christian because i’m used to it. … Or i say i believe in God. … I donno. It’s a good thing to think about, though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Reed-Boyer/1019995702 Reed Boyer via Facebook

    Oh, give poor little Davis a break. The lad is all of perhaps 22, tops. Besides, he’s “Bible-believing,” and Bibliolators tend to be a wee bit set in their ways. Cut the kid some slack. Clearly, he wandered in to “The Christian Left” out of curiosity, and now, having found it not to his taste, he will either not return or bloom into a full-fledged troll, replete with loads of ossified righteous arrogance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wackywilliams Phinneas David Israel Williams via Facebook

    I hate to ask but if there’s a way & someone wouldn’t mind could please share this with Ben Ritz, he’s on my friend list & is my pastor, I am on a phone so it wont let me share & I don’t get net again till Tue & I don’t want to risk loosing this post, I have told him about it but he hasn’t seen it thanks in advance

  • Diana Avery via Facebook

    Hi Phinneas! I’m not able to access Ben Ritz’s plank, otherwise I would. Sorry.

  • Brin

    I work and support those of different ethnicities, ages, genders, gender identities, sexualities, religions, spiritual beliefs or lack of beliefs to help them coincide and see the other people for what they are – Human. This letter shows to me others are willing to look from the other side of the issue and see the people and try to understand what they don’t. To put aside there differences and join together to make amends in any reasonable way they can and apologies. That is what this letter is to me – Hope that our work in these issues is not in vain. My sincerest thanks and hope see the greatness of what you have accomplished here today.

  • Jef

    My Christian roots have never blinded me of the message Jesus brought,wich was love every one as I loved you. That’s all I need to know.

  • colette

    For me as someone who loves Christ and who therefore also loves people, I see no problems in this. Jesus has said to the Phariseeh that wanted to trick Him that along with loving Godn the second commandmend is equally as importanr as the first which is loving ir neighbour as u love urself. That all laws and scriptures were contained in these 2 commandmends. GOD is LOVE and GOD is all about love. So stop fcking it all up now!

    • Gary

      LOL – Well said Collette, Especially your concluding remark.

  • Michael

    Spouting bullshit does not support your point, Christian or not.

    • Michael

      My last comment was directed at the person who posted that John and jesus were lovers and that daVinci somehow had the knowledge that John was transexual. It was not directed at John Shore’s post, which I agree with.

  • Holly

    You know nothing of the Word of God. For if you did, you would never write something so against the nature of God. Yes, we’re to love sinners– all of them. Why? Because we are all sinners. But we’re not to condone the wrong they do. Every human being was born with this intuition about what’s right and what’s wrong. We all know homosexuality is wrong; some just try to justify it through different means. Please do not include all Christians in your writings because not all of us believe the same way you do. In fact, I would say you’re in the minority. True Christians read their Bible and interpret it through the Holy Spirit– not through their own means. Thanks for writing this though… you have strengthened my faith. I am yet again 100% positive that homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God. And I am reminded yet again to love homosexuals with Christ’s love to try to lead them OUT of their sin.

    • Lindsey C.

      I feel very sorry for you that you are so blinded by self righteousness that you cannot learn to accept people as they are and feel that you must spend all your energy turning someone to God instead of living your life with faith and love as an example that others would actually want to follow.

    • http://rindle.blogspot.com Lyn

      Holly, please, study IN CONTEXT the handful of scriptures that appear to support the anti-gay agenda before you come join a conversation on an issue about which you are obviously not well-educated. The Internet is a wonderful resource, but you will find a brief summary of some of the difficulties of a blanket condemnation of homosexuality on this very blog post if you take the time to read down through instead of doing a flyby post.

      There are thousands of scholarly, biblical articles and books on the subject, including John’s book Unfair.

      Please, do yourself and the GLBTQIA people you are hurting a favor and do some research before you offer blanket condemnation of a small and oppressed segment of God’s beloved creation.

      • Tara

        Beautifully put, Lyn.

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      Holly be as “positive” as you want to, ironically as you spew one of the most hostility-laced comments I’ve seen here in a while. But I guess that’s how a lot of you who believe that your opinion of what the Bible says (and really, it’s just an opinion) is actually “God’s Word”. Thankfully, over 50% of America will now vote for Gay marriage if given the opportunity. And in the states that do consider it legal? None of the “corruption” you and your little band of arrogant, misguided believers has occured – no one is marrying their animals as you’ve all suggested, etc. Nope, all of us straight people are continuing to corrupt the sacred sacrament of marriage just fine on our own without your hysterical nonsense about the gay men and women being “abominations” doing it. God have mercy for the damage – the abuse – that you do in the name of Jesus. Truly – God have mercy on the ways that you hurt kids and the witness of Jesus Christ.

    • otter

      Holly,

      Another dead gay teen in Tennessee, and the body count is mounting. Every gay person that has parents who believe as you do is growing up to hate who they are. Is it any wonder they die? Your views are destructive beyond belief. Your opinion, multiplied and amplified by your kind of church is a hateful force. It is tied to , it leads to, oppression and death. The people in this blog who encourage you to grow in love and learning, are the true followers of Christ. Listen to them……….

    • http://blog.mattalgren.com Matt Algren

      Holly, if you’re going with that interpretation of the Bible, you aren’t supposed to “love” gay people. You’re very specifically supposed to kill us. As otter pointed out, you’re doing a really good job so far.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdgalloway

      Please tell us how to “lead them out of their sin” Holly? How can you ensure that love is part of the equation, that you really know what you are doing, that you are not swayed by your own infractions and limitations, that bias and ignorance is not a part of the package, that sin isn’t very much a part of your own life?

      The answer, if you, and of course all of must admit, is you can’t. That is unless you know something the rest of us do not.

      Which is why I believe we have that wonderful parable of the mote and the beam. How on earth can we lead another out of sin with that damned beam in our visual way? Its there you know, we all got one, and it sure takes a heck of a lot more effort to extract a hunk of wood then a speck of dust from an eye socket. (its usually a lot messier too.)

      The point of that parable is to,I think, work on what makes us less then ideal as a follower of that former Jewish Carpenter. Pay attention to what makes us less loving, compassionate, respectful, patient, generous and all those other things that demonstrate authentic love. If you manage to get it all figured out, which often takes us just slightly longer then the average life span, THEN can we worry about attacking dust motes. Just use tweezers, not that just removed 2×4,

    • Matt

      Holly.

      You know nothing of the Nature of Love. For if you did, you would never claim to love homosexuals yet condemn them in the same sentence.

      As a homosexual, I can affirm that the statement “we all know homosexuality is wrong” is completely false. For me, and millions like me, homosexuality is completely right and is God-gifted. Who are you to judge what God has created? Who are you to judge how different people interpret the Bible or experience the Holy Spirit? Who are you to judge what a “True Christian” is? I can tell you this with certainty… a “True Christian” is one who strives to live a life that honors the teachings of Christ – not the antiquated proscriptions of Leviticus. A “True Christian” is one who exhibits compassion, humility, kindness, forgiveness and love. Sanctimony and self-righteousness will not bring you closer to God – it will only keep you separate from “him.” For your own spiritual sake, may I recommend cultivating a more gentle and loving spirit? There is no harm, and certainly much good that will come to the world and to yourself through doing so.

      • Jill H

        Matt, you just hit on it– for me, what you said about the Nature of Love… it’s exactly it. I knew little of loving-kindness as a kid, except all the scripture verses sh0ved down my throat– God is loving-kindness itself, etc. etc. and yet, in the next breath, God is jealous and angry and all about punishing sinners.

        Before I had a working knowledge of Love, I said things like homosexuality was ‘wrong’. I said a lot of things were ‘wrong’. I was a stupid jerk. Hopefully my karma is in better shape now, having found out the Nature of Love in time.

        The Nature of Love changes a person– for me, it transformed me into a real, live, actual human being instead of an ignorant automaton who spouted rhetoric as knowledge. Maybe I can’t say exactly how that shows up in someone’s life, but I think you have to want to be schooled by it. It’s a fucking humbling event, finally figuring out what love is, and mostly IS NOT. You have to be willing to be wrong a whole hell of lot, and you have to be willing to feel like God has told you must tie yourself at the ankles to your worst enemy and go run a 10K– because that’s what it sorta feels like when you’re letting go of bigotry. Because no one wants to be wrong– no one wants to realize they’ve been rewarded by mainstream mediocrity to stay wrong. Finding that out sucks hard. You feel hardcore betrayed (well I did anyway).

        Thankfully I was just pissed off enough at Jehovah to walk away in all my fear and self-doubt. Which was what gave me the internal space to later encounter the Nature of Love for realsies. And not the phony, strings-attached kind that nearly crushed my soul. But when you encounter it, you know it, no question.

    • Allie

      Holly, what an astonishing lack of empathy. Because you are instinctively attracted to the opposite sex and not attracted to the same sex, you assume that everyone else must feel as you do. But for gay people, those feelings are reversed. They feel instinctively that gay sex is right. Which it is, for them.

    • Tanner McDonald

      You rock Holly!

      • http://T otter

        No, Trevor. Holly is a misguided zealot spouting a destrucive and spirit-numbing denial of Christ’s message of love. People who believe as she does disrespect the central teaching of his ministry.

        And to what end? Do you think Jesus needs your help to judge us? Do you think he can’t handle it himself? Do you think your interpretation of scripture is so infallible as to be justification for denying us civil and equal treatment before the law? Now that is a prideful attitude if ever I heard one. History is full of who tyrants used the bible to inflict oppression, pain and death. Guess you are choosing to be follow them instead of the Master… good luck with that. …..

        • Jill H

          Thank you otter for bringing back sense.

    • n.

      Wow. Out of all the things in the Bible, THAT is where your *faith* is?! And Jesus didn’t even talk about it. Priorities….

  • http://www.bagnuolo.blogspot.com Ray Bagnuolo

    This is what we work toward in our community. Not to win, but to be who we were meant to be. Thanks, John.

    Rev. Ray Bagnuolo PC(USA)

    New York City

  • Paul

    Holly, you have no love in your heart, for gay people or for God. If you truly loved God you would stop spouting hatred in His name. Hating the sin but loving the sinner? No such thing. Just admit you’re full of fear for something you don’t understand and stop blaming it on God. As for “God-fearing” you can’t love something and fear it at the same time. Jesus said “our Father”. Fearing my Father creates a sick and codependent relationship rather than a fully joyful and safe trust.

    • Diana A.

      “As for ‘God-fearing’ you can’t love something and fear it at the same time. Jesus said ‘our Father’. Fearing my Father creates a sick and codependent relationship rather than a fully joyful and safe trust.”

      This is so true. Thank you for saying it.

      • Rick S

        Can we just call like it is and simply state that “Holly” is a neurotic basket-case who masks her anxieties with religion? I mean, it is not a question of whether she is pious or not, or loves God or not, rather, like all Fundies and Holy Rollers, she has some serious personal issues. She needs an effective therapist, not an epiphany.

        • DR

          YES.

  • Rick S

    What. Ever. We “get” that there are “liberal” Christians out there, but we don’t need self-congratulatory apologies from them — rather, we need them to talk — loudly and forcefully — not to US, but to the Fundies and Holy Rollers who claim to represent the “true” religion, and make it an effort to get Christianity back. The question is — why aren’t the John Shores of the world doing precisely that?

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

      Another question is why in the world you think you have any idea to whom I speak about what–or when, or how?

      • Rick S.

        Um, could you reword the question?

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Rick if you spent oh, I don’t know – 30 seconds perusing the massive amount of archived files on this topic that John has written, you’d see the “loud and forceful” dialogue that you’ve whined about here is indeed, not only present in almost everything he’s written but also encouraged and validated in the thousands of comments.

          Additionally, there have also been hundreds of people in the GLBT community who’ve expressed how healing and restorative an “apology” is for them.

          In other words, you’re pre-drawn conclusion is totally inappropriate and makes you look stupid. I doubt you are stupid because you’re right about this. But there’s more to the story here and you’re not seeing it because you’re not looking.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            This is how the Ricks of the world run away from demonstrating a little humility. They use the comments that are more personal as an excuse to not deal with the reality of admitting “Hey you know I was premature – I read more of what you have to offer and can see now that your dialog about this issue is pointed directly at Fundamentalists and takes them head on and so do your commenters.”

            But no. Rick just chose to ignore this and instead, respond with “Wah, someone called me stupid” comment instead. How illuminating.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Perhaps my assessment on Rick not being stupid was….premature.

        • Rick S

          Oh well, DR, whoever you are. That you resorted to ad hominem insults doesn’t say much about the depth of your spiritual enlightenment, or your presumed noetic brilliance, now, does it?

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            You were a dick in your comment because you drew some conclusions that were wrong. If you can’t take being corrected as well as some of the same “tough talk” that you led with? Then clearly gay rights isn’t your priority here.

          • Gary

            That SHE resorted to ad hominem insults?? Seriously?

            Why not just simply admit you made a silly mistake in your haste?

            Otherwise you might want to simply close your mouth and not reveal the fool.

    • Will

      Rick, I see what you are saying. I can’t say I blame you for your defensivness or your impatience. With religious types it seems that the ignorant are the loudest. But…

      This whole blog is about putting the christian back in Christian.

      As a supporter of all human rights, I am here to say that John Shore and johnshore.com are bringing love and reason together with faith and belief.

      As far as talking to the Fundies and the Holy Rollers….Who can talk sense to them? They call themselves “Christian” while ignoring/perverting everything Jesus the Christ said. Would it be helpful to try to explain to Osama that God prefers skyscrapers be unmolested by aircraft? Or to try to persuade the Grande Inquisidor that torturing people in the name of God isn’t a christian thing to do?

      A fundie, is a fundie, is a rabid dog without reason.

      Let’s get the conversation started with people who have hearts and minds and aren’t afraid to use them. Will you join us in that conversation? I hope you do.

  • http://www.ActLikeYouBelieve.com Aaron

    Fascinating comments and I’ve enjoyed reading them as much as the article itself. Finally a spattering of intellectual Christians who understand what it truly means to follow the lead of Our Christ who lived life by serving as an example of grace, redemption and empathy – not one of judgment and condemnation of others.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.baker.1272 John Baker via Facebook

    Thanks, John.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gordon.herzog Gordon Herzog via Facebook

    Thank you. Thank you SO much.

  • Connie Gillis via Facebook

    Wish it was true. Unfortunately, it seems “they” (I hate saying that, but I do feel there’s a HUGE divide) are so taken with holding up “righteousness” they are willing to do and say things that seem unloving, to say the least.

  • Stephen McBride

    Could someone do me a favour bere and e-mail me a link to where the biologoial scientific proof for being gay being genetic is? The school where I work has a huge issue of homophobia and today one student said to me “Sir, isn’t it true that you can’t be born gay?” They weren’t happy when I challenged their view.

    Alas out Science Dept don’t cover such things in the syllabus, and I am a total scientific illiterate. Ifsomeone could point me to something scientifically correct but in layman’s language, I’d be eternally grateful.

    • Stephen McBride

      My apologies for my appalling typing. I can actually spell!

    • Lisa

      Mr. McBride, I do not have the kind of link you are looking for. However, there is a book called ‘Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity’ by Bruce Bagemihl, copyright 1999, St. Martin’s Press. It consists of two parts: the first discussing the fact that the natural world has been observed to be one with much variation in gender and sexual activity (causing some degree of confusion and consternation for the all-too-human scientists doing the observing); the second part (about 400 pages in length) details the actual scientific observations of sexual variations in a wide variety of species.

      While it does not hold the “proof” you seek, it is very hard to explain away the naturalness of bisexuality and homosexuality in the animal kingdom, of which humans are a part.

      One warning, however: this argument will hold no weight with the kind of Christian that believes the entirety of the world was “tainted” by the “fall from grace.”

  • Jean Ehrman via Facebook

    Masterful! I am sharing this today, particularly for those in North Carolina who must feel dismay beyond imagining.

  • Warren Ockrassa via Facebook

    John, speaking as a bisexual Buddhist atheist, thank you.

  • Kristyn Whitaker Hood via Facebook

    Thanks for this piece. I just posted it over on the National Organization for Marriage’s FB page, just to rain on their stupid little parade, and I got this reply from one reader:” Kristyn Whitaker Hood; Thank you for that. It begins to restore a bit of my faith in the Christian religion! :)” I think we should bombard their page with our apologies!

  • http://www.facebook.com/maryterry17 Mary Knox via Facebook

    John Shore – I can’t believe we both posted this today! I was reading your most recent post on the BIOLA underground, when I ran across the APOLOGY piece, which I hadn’t read before. Not to make too much of the coincidence, but i can’t help but feel that I was supposed to share it. You have a very POWERFUL gift, John; I am a huge fan of yours because you speck the truth!

  • http://www.facebook.com/maryterry17 Mary Knox via Facebook

    Sorry…. SPEAK the truth….. sometimes my mind goes ahed of my fingers!

    • n.

      He also planks the truth LOL

      (as in the symbolism of the speck in one eye and the plank in the other)

  • Danielle

    I can’t even begin to tell you how much Ive struggled with this issue, and how much healing this has brought to me tonight. As a gay person, its so hard, to want a relationship with God, and feel like you can’t have one. And just knowing that someone gets it is just so powerful for me. Im so happy to have found this.Thank you.

  • Tanner McDonald

    I dont understand how you can sit here and say that being gay is not a sin. Im not saying that they are worse sinners than the rest of us, but fact of the matter is, being gay is a sin. In order to say that being gay is completely okay with God, you have to absolutely get ride of everything the bible says about marriage. Im not saying God doesnt love gays, cause he does. But he also hates them. God hates sinners, but loves them enough to go to the cross and die a sinners death, to lower himself to our level and die so that we may have life through him. Dont under-mind the sacrifice he made.

    • Jill H

      I’m really very sorry to hear that you believe ‘God hates sinners’. This must be a painful and lonely life for someone to feel that way.

      It would be in your best interest to do your own research and study the entirety of scripture, not to mention opening up your life to allow gay people to melt your frozen heart.

      This is cold, what you just said, and your words cause pain to those whom you yourself have judged. Assuming your thought that we’re all sinners, does God hate all of his creation? Does God hate you too? Because I just don’t see God as hateful. I will continue to honor his many sacrifices by loving everyone for who they are–God’s children.

      Seriously Tanner, I say this with kindness–think about your words and the actions you put into the world you live. God can take care of his own business just fine while we have the power to love ourselves and our neighbors.

      What is the intent of God’s sacrifice– to tear down in judgment or to build up in love and respect?

      • Tanner McDonald

        In order to love one thing you must hate the other. For instance, if you love Jews, you hate the holocaust. If you love babies, you hate abortion clinics. God loves the world he created, so he has to hate what the enemy has come in a taken control of. There is no neutrality in this. If God loves all that is holy, all that is upright, all that is honest, and all that is righteous, then he must hate all that is evil, all that is dark, all that goes against His great name. Read Psalms 5:5 it says “The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.” You cannot ignore it. To say that God doesn’t hate sinners completely goes against the cross. Jesus came to die to save us from Gods perfect and just wrath. Jesus did not come to save those whom God was indifferent about, or for those who God saw as completely righteous. But now that Jesus came and died we are all seen as righteous and Holy in His eyes. But we are all still filled with sin because we live in a fallen world.

        I am not saying that gays cannot be Christian. Because they can. I am just saying that being gay is a sin. It goes against numerous Scriptures, which by the way, is God breathed and perfect in every sense. Please argue against 1 Corinthians 6:9 which says plain as day, “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality… will inherit the kingdom of God” It goes on to say that these kinds of men were washed clean, which they were. But it does not change the fact that homosexuality is a sin against God and he hates it. Just like he hates all other sin.

        I live a very exciting Jill. I will not lie, I do get lonely sometimes, but don’t we all? Jesus Christ is the only constant that anyone of us can have in this life, so I am working on the moments when I feel lonely, that I would seek acceptance in Him, my eternal Savior.

        • Will

          In order to love and obey what Jesus of Nazareth (CHRIST) said, Christians must forgive the pompous, arrogant, hypocrisy of Tanner McDonald, the phony pick&choose biblical moron who will use any part of the Bible to condemn the splinter in another’s eyes, but who wouldn’t recognize Jesus if He kissed him on his cheek.

          Hey Tanner. Have you ever read these?

          7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

          3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

          Matthew 7

          “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

          Matthew 6:5

          “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

          Matthew 22:37-40

          And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

          Luke 23:34

          21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

          Matthew 7:21-23

          Tanner, why don’t you stop trying to play God. You suck at it.

          Why is it that you have to go all over the Bible EXCEPT the words of Christ!

          Because you are not a Christian.

          You don’t follow Christ’s teaching.

          You appear completely clueless as to what Jesus said.

          Are you a Jew? (Psalms)

          Are you a Paulian? (Corinthians)

          Christians back up their ideas with Christ’s teachings.

          To be a Christian you must love people.

          ALL people are the children of God.

          You, Tanner McDonald are nothing but a hateful bigot who uses the Bible as a weapon.

          You are a Pharisee. A phony. A clown. But you are no Christian.

          Why don’t you beg Christ’s forgiveness and then get back to us on the meaning of His Love and how He would have His children treated.

          Until then your bleatings are as welcome as a fart in an elevator.

          • Tanner

            Hahaha now who is judging?

          • Tanner

            Go listen to a sermon by Paul Washer and David Platt, men who know their bibles and know the love of Christ.

          • Will

            You have no rebuttal?

            You have no quotes from Christ?

            You got nothing.

            You come here to condemn and bully.

            Is that what you think Jesus taught?

            Is that what you think being a Christian is? A biblical bully?

            Why should I listen to those guys?

            If they taught you then they are also blasphemers.

            “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”

            Matthew 7:16

            Hahaha. How about you go somewhere?

            Go back to your cosy little cult where you condemn everybody that isn’t just like you and pretend that you are Christians.

            This place is not for phonies.

          • Tanner

            Well I’m actually busy right now. Email me separately and we can chat. I love having my mind opened to new things, but lets talk about this privately so no one else gets offended by anything. After all, we are all the body of Christ, no sense in being angry at each other. But I would love to keep this conversation going if it can be done in a loving way and not an angry way. And if that angers you that I said that and you don’t think that I am a loving person, email me about it and let’s talk it through

          • Jill H

            Will, just catching up on this now, I become too impatient with people like Tanner. He drops his vitriolic judgments as ‘just sharing the Word of God’ and takes no culpability for his actions.

            I read his comment as a young person, lost and confused. Apparently, young or not, Tanner is of the self-righteous type who has no clue how lost he is. Kudos to you for setting the record straight (and gay…). People like this guy are a dime a dozen.

          • Tanner

            Will the two of you please email me privately so we can chat? I would really appreciate it. Tannermcdonald17@yahoo.com

          • Jill H

            You started this here as a guest on this blog, and I, also a guest, am ending it. You can take your lack of empathy, closed-mindedness, and bigoted ideas away from here. The people who post here follow rules of decency, and I am not causing harm to you by stopping you from causing harm to those whom I care about and respect.

            Tanner, my discussion with you is closed.

          • Maria

            Will, just wanted to thank you for speaking out for “the least amongst us” and for fighting blind hatred and intolerance.

          • Tanner McDonald

            Okay this is the end of it, but I will defend myself and my salvation cause apparently Im not saved according to some of you guys.

            In reference to the things that Will said about me being a Pharisee, how can that be? The Pharisees judged the gentiles based on the way that not only their life was lived but also just the mere fact that they arent Jewish. They claimed that they could not inherit the kingdom because they did not perform enough good works. I never once claimed that anyone does not earn salvation. I never once said that gays were an abomination to this world. I never once said that I was anti-gay. This were all defensive attacks by you who feel judged by me simply saying it is a sin. I sin. You sin. We all sin. By me simply pointing out a sin in ones life does not make me better than anyone, not did I say that I was better than anyone. If you actually knew me, you would know that I am the opposite of self-righteous, in fact my biggest struggle in my life is wondering why God loves me and accepts me. I know he does, but I am such a rotten human being, as are all of us, that His love in unfathomable.

            On the note of me playing God? That can hardly be true, as I neither condemned anyone or implied that anyone will be condemned. I stated the homosexuality is a sin. The end. There is nothing I said regarding salvation due to this.

            As far as me not quoting Jesus on this topic and quoting David and Paul. As a believer, your right, I do hold true to Christ’s words and follow them as best I can. But seeing as all scripture is God Breathed, meaning that Paul and David were writing through the inspiration of Gods own words and own thoughts, all Scripture is relevant, just because Christ did not tackle this topic head on doesn’t mean that it not an issue. He also doesn’t talk about incest. So do I not have an argument against incest?

            Now I will address Christ’s love and how he would want his children treated. Obviously Christ loves us all. But he did not say that he came to bring harmony to this earth. He rather said he came to bring division. Where division is, there must be a conflicting of ideas. He does love everyone, but if you read Scripture inductively, meaning like the first time you read it, no reading it to prove any current thoughts, but actually read it and see what it says; Christ was a crazy dude. He was insanely bold in his teachings and wowed everyone with his miracles. He cause a huge division on this earth. He came, not loving on every who walked, but condemning those who were walking in sin. He came into the temple turning over tables and yelling at men preaching to them that they have made his church a den of robbers! If someone did that today, people would throw that up to judgment and hatred. He does love us all. He endured the entire wrath of God for us all. We can not fathom the love that he has for us. It is uncanny the love that he has for us. It is unmeasurable.

            Love your neighbor as yourself. What is the latter part of that?All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. I quoted David as saying that God hates evil doers. David was a prophet. So though it is hard to wrap our tiny little minds around it, lets. Jesus’ words do not contradict any part of scripture. There is nothing contradictory in the Scriptures. So when something is stated, it is 100% true. There is not argument.

            As for me not using Christ words, here you go. Matthew 15:18-20, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the hears, and this defiles a person.” first of all, I never, from my mouth said that I hate or wish evil upon any gay people. I never said I didn’t like gay people. I have gay friends and I love them. Continued, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defiles a person.”

            The Greek word used here is ‘porneia’, which is talking about everything that could be considered immoral. It talks about pre marital sex, same sex marriage, rape, incest, the abuse of sex, and so on.

            Referring me to the Pharisee who boats in his prayer is a joke, right? I did not claim to have all the answers as the Pharisees did. I did not put myself above anyone. I said that I am not against believing that homosexuals go to heaven. I am not against that! So why is this turning into the biggest deal ever.

            I use my bible as a weapon. Good. You got something right. According to Ephesians 6, the bible and the words that God speaks to us personally are the only weapons we have. We have authority in Christ, yes, but that can not be displayed in this setting and is irrelevant at this point. I do use my bible as a weapon because it is an ultimate source of truth and I will stick to it. But you were wrong in the fact that I am attacking anyone. I agree my first comment was probably not written out of love, but because I was having a hard day, I am sorry for that. But I still did not attack anyone. I said it was a sin! Just like me in my everyday life when I covet someone is a sin. We all sin. Thats the end of the story.

            And Will, I appreciate your steadfastness regarding this topic, and it is no doubt to me that you love the Lord and know the Scriptures. But do not question my salvation. That is not yours to question. You say that I am a judgmental Pharisee, I never questioned anyone Salvation or the fact that they love the Lord with all their heart. I would say that you crossed the line there, but I don’t know if that even needs to be stated. My salvation is my own, you are in no right to question it. This is not even a debate on salvation, so the fact that you would throw this in here as a dig on me shows a severe lack of understanding. God is the one who determines who has salvation, not you, not me. A person playing God is a person who tries to condemn those around them to hell, not someone who points out a sin in another mans life. I believe that being gay is a sin, I am in no higher of a stance than any of you because I say that. Nor do I claim to be. My hypocrisy is not evident in these postings. I never condemn anyone, and never claim to have it all figured out. There is a plank in my eye, but guess what, there is a plank in everyones eye. WE ARE ALL SINNERS UNDESERVING OF THE SALVATION THAT WAS GIVEN TO US AT THE CROSS. For anyone on this earth to say to another that they are going to hell, is saying, I don’t care about what Jesus did, I will make preemptive thoughts about you and claim that I am God and send you straight to hell. You saw me do no such thing.

            Sorry that was long, but unfortunately I felt like I should defend myself.

          • Will

            Tanner, instead of trying (and failing) to defend yourself, you just keep revealing how twisted and indefensible your ravings really are.

            How sad that, although you may believe God gave you a brain, you appear only willing to use the reptilian part of it. That part of the brain that is entirely fear-based and is commonly found motivating lynch mobs and race riots.

            Not a single one of your points was anything but lies, distortions, fallacies, obfuscations, and plain old insanity.

            You are wrong and in complete opposition to the words and teachings of Jesus.

            One day I may take the time to demolish each point at length with truth, logic and biblical scholarship, but until then we will consider them unworthy of discussion.

            In closing, I will say that you are no more a Christian, no more a “follower of Christ’s teachings” than the guy who wrote this;

            “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of

            the Almighty Creator.”

            (Mein Kampf, pp. 46)

            Hahaha, nothing personal. ;)

            Just ask me and I’ll tell you how I really feel.

            Are you seriously looking for fellowship among the mourners while brandishing a “God Hates Fags” placard at the funeral of a teenage gay suicide?

            Seriously?

            You make Jesus weep.

            Seriously.

          • mike moore

            John, I know this may be inappropriate for your blog, so feel free to delete.

            Tanner, you represent everything I hate about Christianity, and as a guy who used to be a Christian, I’d like to tell you why.

            Whenever I see, in all caps, something along the line of “WE ARE ALL SINNERS UNDESERVING OF THE SALVATION THAT WAS GIVEN TO US AT THE CROSS,” I can only wonder why anyone would want to worship the small petty God you believe in.

            Every person is entirely deserving of spiritual salvation, or a route to spiritual enlightenment, as I prefer to think of it. And, frankly, given that this experiment called humanity is God’s creation, He has a certain obligation to assist us on our spiritual path.

            And the cross? Why? So people could spend the next 2000 years arguing and killing each other over its meaning? It doesn’t seem like a very well thought-out plan, does it? Nor has it been a particularly effective plan. Blood sacrifice? What kind of Dick kills His own Son?

            And speaking as guy who tears up when he stumps his toe, I have to say, out loud, that while no one deserves the horrific death of a cross, we can’t forget that Christians – people who profess to follow Jesus – have developed, in Jesus’ name, manners of torture and death that would make Jesus’ time on the cross seem like a picnic. Jesus is not alone in this world of martyrs, this world full of people willing to die for those they love and even for those they don’t.

            In other words, climb down off your cross, someone else could use the wood. Pull the plank out of your eye before someone else does it for you and then bonks you over the head for being a pious jerk. And when you next decide to use your Bible as a weapon, remember that, for 2000 years, using the Bible as a weapon has managed to heap pain and misery on this world.

            Your “Biblical” Jesus did a great job of fucking up this world. My Jesus, the real guy, came to fix it and was murdered for his efforts. Get over yourself.

          • http://T otter

            Love this response!

            Betcha Tanner can’t hear it becuase of WHERE his head is … LOL!

            Agree, anyone who sits in judgement of another based on the Bible is attempting to do God’s job for him……and that is just a ridiculous notion ! Not to mention arrogant to an unbelievable degree.

          • Jill H

            I do worship you. Well, in theory. Deal with it.

          • mike moore

            well, we can work absolutely something out here … how much are you willing to tithe?

          • Jill H

            Theoretical tithe? ;)

          • mike moore

            unmarked small bills were more what I had in mind, but I’m open to negotiation.

          • vj

            Jesus DID NOT condemn those who were walking in sin – He LOVED them! The ONLY people He got shouty with were those who were distorting the message of God’s love and placing obstacles in the way of those who wanted to worship God. He rebuked arrogant hypocrites unrelentingly, but He was gentle and compassionate to humble sinners.

          • Gordon

            Sinning, which is a moveable target, is something you DO. Not something you ARE.

        • http://blog.mattalgren.com Matt Algren

          “Please argue against 1 Corinthians 6:9 which says plain as day, “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality… will inherit the kingdom of God””

          Okay.

          1. The word translated as ‘men who practice homosexuality’ does not mean homosexuality. It’s a term Paul made up, and people have been disagreeing about what it means for centuries. It’s possible it means male prostitutes outside pagan temples, but there are other possibilities, too. Not that long ago, and for a very long time, it was translated as ‘masturbator.’ Earlier, it was used to mean ‘men with soft morals.’

          Basically, any time you want to suggest that the Bible says something “plain as day,” you should probably think again.

          2. If you’re right (which you’re not, but let’s pretend), the verse specifically mentions only men, so… I guess God doesn’t hate lesbians’ existence like he hates gay men’s existence, right?

      • Maria

        Thank you Jill for your words of kindness. The love of Christ shines through you.

    • Gordon

      God loves gays and he hates them too? That sort of circular thinking is really out there, Tanner. In another post you say that in order to love one thing you have to hate the other. Is your world really that black and white?

      One thing you need to understand. If you believe being gay is a sin then you believe sexuality is a choice. In spite of overwhelming scientific and medical consensus to the contrary, you believe that one day I said to myself, “I’m horny and it’s time for me to decide if I want to have sex with a woman or a man. Hmmm. What’ll it be???” Do you remember that day for yourself? Do you remember the day that you decided to be straight and pursue a sexual relationship with a woman? Of course you don’t. Because sexuality isn’t a choice. It’s not caused by external factors or experiences. It is a genetic variant like eye color or handedness. Until you understand that you will never be able to have a productive conversation with someone who does understand it. That’s why you encounter some pretty strong statements from people like Will.

      One other thing you need to understand. The Bible is NOT the unadulterated word of anyone, least of all God. Actually, it is probably the MOST adulterated book in history. In addition to being ancient and subject to multiple attempts at translation, it has also been manipulated and twisted to serve various leaders at various times in the history of the Jewish and Christian faiths. If God is as powerful as Christians say He is, He can speak for Himself. He doesn’t need us to take dictation. So, don’t come at me with pronouncements about sin based on a flawed book and a rejection of science. Just grow up and admit that you hate gays and you really don’t have any honest way to justify it. And most of all, please don’t profess to speak for God. He does not hate me. He never has and He never will.

      I agree with Will. You are no Christian and saying you are is an affront to loving Christians everywhere.

      • Maria

        Very well put, Gordon. I shall pray for Tanner, that through your words and those of Will and Jill his hardened heart might have a conversion and allow the love Of Christ to enter his life, so that he might share such love with all of God’s children, gay or straight, and so that Tanner might be able to forego his dark depressed passion for hatred.

        • Jill H

          What a kind way to put an end to it, Maria. I continue working on my patience.

      • otter

        Bravo…..well said..

        creative troll slaying……

  • Matt

    Just popping in to say thank you again for this letter, John.

    Although I know in my heart and mind that who I am is not wrong, sometimes the hate just gets to you. Sometimes a tiny niggling part of you just says in a small voice: “What if they’re right? How can so many people be so wrong? I must be wrong, I must be bad…” and it spirals down from there.

    When that happens, I just bring up all the profound, unspeakable joy and satisfaction I feel living a life that’s truly mine. The future I saw while pretending to be female and straight was happy, but distant, artificial and based wholly on others’ expectations and paths of least resistance.

    It’s hard to explain to people that yes, I could have had moments of happiness in that future. Maybe I could even have been content. That is, if I hadn’t known of the alternative. Now I know what I have to lose. What I have to regret.

    The future I have now is more than happy. It’s deep, vibrant colors and a constant thrum of “This is right, this is right, this is right, this is right….” The future I see now makes me want to weep with sweet disbelief, that such joy could be mine.

    Still though, I am human, and humans want to belong. Sometimes I feel alone. But this letter instantly lets me know I’m not. Thanks, John.

    • Jill H

      *How can so many people be wrong?*

      As if I need to tell you because you’re way smart, but we’ve been wrong because of fear. I don’t know why a section of straight people need to be afraid of homosexuality, but they do. I’m probably rolling down a treacherous road saying this, but I’ve thought about the emotional honesty and integrity my gay and lesbian friends have, and I’ve seen in contrast the avoidance of such in a fair few of the straights.

      My straight friends are emotionally honest because that’s how I roll, and oh, how shocking!–they don’t take issue with anyone’s sexuality or gender either.

      When my heart was not properly wired into my soul in the days of indoctrination, there was always someone to fear. Something out to get you. Must find someone to blame, I guess. Judgment and intolerance hides fear. Fear feeds more fear. Love must be pursued or fear wins. I don’t think it’s meant to be more complicated than that. You’re on the love side, so you’re in good company.

      • Matt

        You’re right, Jill. It’s hard for me to remember about the fear sometimes. I wish I could just flow all of my thoughts and feelings into them, show them just how little there is to fear. It must not be easy for them, being so terrified all the time of some doom and gloom.

        • Jill H

          Ah, this is where I’m fairly skilled– trying so desperately hard to shock people I’ve loved with a burst of truth, a hearty dose of honest love. And failing beautifully.

          I say beautifully if only because I had to learn (apparently the HARD way) that it is not up to me to interfere with someone else’s path. I cannot shape it, change it, ‘fix’ it– but that’s what we try to do when we’re asking for acceptance from people who just aren’t there yet. We’re asking them to catch up to us when they may be miles behind us.

          I have come to believe fear is an addiction, or at least an addictive space. There’s possibly science behind this that I’m not aware of. But the known is less scary than the unknown, and we like our inertia. It’s much easier to go along with the fear crowd and be supported than stand for what is just and loving and be ostracized.

          What I can control– I can offer gifts of love, education, information, I can say I forgive, I accept, I ask to share respect.

          What I can’t control– if they choose to spit on my offering.

          What I can control– how I react, if I need to walk away in understanding, what my prayers will be about that night, how deeply I love and honor those who stick by me come hell or highwater.

          • mike moore

            Hi Jill, I’ve been in an acidic and terrible mood, on and off, for the last month.

            Reading this is really uplifting, and I didn’t know how much I needed that until I read your post, so thank you. xo.

          • Jill H

            If I can share what I’ve gained and find that it lands somewhere very important, then I get to thank you for receiving it. xo back.

            Hope your mood feels a little less terrible today.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ezbssw11724

          • mike moore

            I really like Alexander’s idea of moving to Australia, totally works for me :-)

  • George Waite

    Who cares? There is no god anyway. Why do you waste your time and money and effort on this crap?


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