Straight, gay, good, bad: we’re all just people out here

So, you know what’s weird for me, is this whole deal with me being “pro” LGBTQ people.

I’m not pro LGBTQ people. I’m pro people.

I’m barely even that, actually.

I mean … some people are awesome. Some people are consistent disappointments. Some people are smart. Some people are … talented in other ways.

Whatever. We all know how varied we all are. We all know how within any given day we’re everything from geniuses to idiots, from the best we can be, to animals we’d rather not be.

We’re all just people out here.

LGBTQ people are just people. They’re not a class of people who for some reason are stuck being deviant. They’re not any sort of abomination before God. They’re not defective in any way. A gay man gets sexually turned on by other men more than he does women. A lesbian is designed to lust after women more than men.

What the [bleep] does that have to do with who they are morally?

What idiot would claim that the fact that someone is straight is an indicator of how moral they are?

What idiot would claim that the fact that someone is gay is an indicator of how moral they are?

Can we please please please please please please please just grow up already?

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • HJ

    (I think you have a typo in your first sentence. ;))

  • Bible Don Rappe

    sentence 1: bring=being

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

      Bible Don! I love it. Thank you.

  • Dave Bowling

    Thank you John … I agree completely with this post. I often get caught up in the morality of who “this” or “that” one is (fundy background/raising, I guess), but soon come back to earth and realize that who we each are (in our identities) has nothing to do with our morality. Or whether we are ‘worthy’ of some form of grace … I like your perspective and grateful you are pro-people! Thank you for keeping it real.

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

      Thank you, Dave. It’s always so good to hear from you.

  • Linnea

    Short, sweet, and well-said, John.

  • Don Rappe

    It may be instinctive for us to fear the other. Of course, growing up involves coming to grips with some of our fears. But I am grateful if I have a tranquilizer to help me with my irrational fear when they slide me into an MRI tube so tight I can’t use my arms. My claustrophobia stays pretty strong.

    • Lymis

      It may be instinctive to fear the other, but it’s a choice who to see as other enough to be feared.

      “Who is my neighbor?”

      • LSS

        what i’ve noticed in my spanish classes, and iirc Don Rappe we have a similar intercultural experience here, the students quickest to realize that “woh, mexicans are really people” are the ones who have made friends with some hispanics at work or at soccer, or have dated hispanics or whatever. so the other becomes not-other when you make friends. i think that way is more fun than just facing one’s fears by a sort of brute force. although maybe that’s what it takes to start… I can’t remember a time when foreigners were more frightening than my own fellow americans… but i can remember being homophobic because it wasn’t long ago. it was mostly my lesbian christian friends that turned my heart and let me see them as just regular people.

  • Caring Heart via Facebook

    Thanks John, well said.

  • Melody

    Beautiful, John. Too often, even those of us with the best intentions sometimes inadvertently refer to LGBT people as somehow “other.” While they may be different in regards to sexual preference, we are all the same. We all feel, love, emote, and have hopes and dreams, no matter who our lovers are. Thanks for this.

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

      Thanks for all you do, Melody, which is really saying something.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sara.michaels.39 Sara Michaels via Facebook

    I just love it when you get a good rant going John!

  • Iyam Leq via Facebook

    i like to think in the end, we’re all just fuckbuddies

  • Matthew Tweedell

    “Can we please [...] please just grow up already?”

    But how much fun would that be?

    Very well put, though, John.

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

      It’d be fun enough for me.

      • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

        If we grow up about the important stuff, that leaves us much more free time to be immature in fun ways. I mean, think how much time you’d have to run around with bubble gum splattered all over your face. :)

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

          another extremely fine point!

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Of course, then somebody else—who’s jealous of John having all the fun with his bubble gum, which he never offered to share with me by the way—will come along and call him “gumface!”

          And we’d all have so much more time to run around speculating about what’s wrong with all you unnatural gumfaces running around these days, and you too who support their silly gumfaced nonesense! And then we’d pretty much be right back where we started… :(

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

          Or dancing and jumping around your living room with a motion-videogame contoller pretending you’re in a heated swordfight with a digital demon.

          Well, that’s how I spent my afternoon before it was time to go to work.

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

    Nice.

  • Matt

    I’m an LGBTQ person.

    But I also have a job, and go to school, and have a family that I love, and go to church, and pay taxes, and put my pants on one leg at a time :p. Also, the vast majority of my friends/family/acquaintances are straight, and I love them all! Especially one named John Shore, who writes so well and is so amazing :).

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

      Thank you, Matt.

  • Allie

    Thanks, John. Needed to be said.

  • charles m

    this is very reminscent of Morgan Freeman’s comments to Mike Wallace on Black History month….

    great piece John…

  • Lymis

    I agree with the absurdity of being pro or anti gay, which is like being pro or anti left-handedness or blue-eyedness.

    That’s annoying enough, but let me add the special frustration of being told we don’t exist, and that “my theoretical pre-judgment of something I don’t personally experience overrides your actual life and experience of yourself.”

    Sorry, but I exist. Really. I have pictures.

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

      ha! excellent.

    • DR

      LOVE.

    • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

      Yes, you do. And the world is a better place for it.

  • http://parentingatrans.blogspot.com Gretchen

    Yesterday my trans-son and I were talking about labels. He said something very poignant. “I’m a guy. No one needs to know any different. If they suspect that I’m something other than a guy, then they can entertain themselves by chewing on that in their heads.”

  • http://www.poesies.com Gina Cirelli

    Also, “to animals we’d we’d sure rather not be.” :)

  • Ann

    Reminds me of this:

    I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    To me, content of character is an indication of morality.

  • DR

    This – in my opinion – is one of the best things you’ve ever written on this subject and reflects a true freedom from the christian construct that is so anti-gay and transgendered.

    I know straight people who are lovely and gay people who are lovely. I know both who are jerks. People both gay and straight are of high or low character. Being gay doesn’t mean you can’t be an a-hole. Morality and character have zero to do with one’s sexuality.

    You are so fantastic for saying this.

  • Nathan

    John (or anyone else who I conversed with recently),

    I’ve been continuing to think about the Christian LGBT community and the poor way that traditional evangelical churches have dealt with this issue over the past decades. (I lump myself in this category) But I’m struggling a bit with one issue. Perhaps you could address it or point me to a place where you have previously addressed it.

    I’m struggling with the “B” part of LGBT. I’m (almost) ready to accept that there is nothing inherently wrong with homosexuality from a Biblical perspective. But what about bisexuality? It seems to me that the Bible DOES pretty clearly teach lifelong-monogamous relationships. How does this fit with bisexuality? Are there ANY sexual behaviors between two (or more) consenting adults that you consider to be prohibited based on scripture? Please take me in all seriousness when I ask this – I’m not trying to be accusatory or attacking. But this is clearly a question that is tied up very tightly with the relationship of the church to the LGBT community. Again, not based on the CONSEQUENCES of such behaviors – but based on scripture.

    Thanks for any insight or opinions. Surely it is something that many of you have thought about.

    • Allie

      A few weeks back there was a long discussion about polyamory. Reading the comments on those posts is probably easier than getting into it all over again here. But polyamory and being bisexual are not the same thing. Straight people participate in polyamory and bisexual people can be monogamous.

      Seems to me like bisexual people aren’t any more entitled to hurt their loved ones by cheating on them than straight or gay people. Most of us are capable of desiring more than one type of person, and part of a committed relationship is giving up all of those possible lovers for a single love. Bisexual people may have a larger variety to pick from, but it seems to me, as a straight person looking at the situation from the outside, that it’s still essentially the same decision.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        Well said, Allie!

      • http://manalive7@blogspot.com Allen

        What about a loving “open marriage”? I sincerely wonder what others think of such an arrangement.

        • Allie

          I think it’s very tricky to be fair to all parties in such a situation, but I wouldn’t want to say it’s impossible. There are people posting here who claim to have poly relationships that work for them (although of course you’re never hearing more than one side.)

          I suspect like most things it’s a bad idea to speak in absolutes. But it’s probably fair to say that every possible thing that can go wrong in a relationship between two people becomes exponentially more likely to happen in a relationship with more than two people, and that’s not counting the problems unique to poly relationships. If you want a Biblical perspective, look at Rachel and Leah and what a mess THAT was, and that’s held up as an example of a GOOD multiple marriage.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            An open relationship and a poly relationship are two different concepts.

            Poly relationships are often closed, but involve more than two members, all commonly in love (though not always sexually expressed between any given two of the poly) with one another. An open relationship can be either a couple or a poly, and is a relationship to the communion of which sex and/or other expressions of intimacy commonly restricted within monogamous relationship are not restricted.

          • http://manalive7@blogspot.com Allen

            Yeah–very tricky indeed. I guess the question I had in mind was, if it works for all the parties involved, is there any biblical prohibition against having such a relationship–an “open” marriage? Actually, it seems from what I’ve read in the bible that polygamous relationships are OK, but I wonder: would “swinging” would be out of bounds?

        • Matthew Tweedell

          What do I think?

          I think it requires a great amount of trust, which necessitates a foundation of a great amount of openness and communication within a relationship, as well as a certain lack of possessiveness and competitiveness from the members of a relationship. And, of course, it requires that serious attention be given the prevention of STDs.

          What does the Bible have to say about it?

          Clearly, the Biblical worldview presumed that sex was appropriate only under conditions of matrimony or concubinage. But whether God says that it is necessarily sinful otherwise is not mine to judge. I will, however, observe that lawlessness, in any of man’s (incl. woman’s) affairs (no pun intended), is wholly contrary to being a follower of Jesus Christ.

    • Lymis

      Nathan,

      The most important thing to understand is that bisexuality has nothing to do with an inability to be monogamous.

      Remember that being heterosexual means that the people you are going to be attracted to will be of the opposite sex. It doesn’t mean you are helplessly attracted to every single member of the opposite sex, nor that you will be unable to make a commitment in love to a single member of the opposite sex.

      Being bisexual simply means that the people someone is going to be attracted to may be male or they may be female. It doesn’t mean that they are helplessly attracted to everyone, nor that they can’t choose someone and settle down, either.

      Whether or not they should have to is a different question, but it’s different in the same way and for the same reason that whether straight people should be monogamous is a different question.

      Remember, too, that no sexual orientation is defined purely by who one has sex with. Someone who is attracted to both men and women is bisexual, even if they confine their sexual activities to someone of a single sex, or to a single person. But they would still be bisexual.

      You can (and many people do) make a reasonable case that traditional Christian morality would require a bisexual person to choose a single partner and make a monogamous commitment to them. You can also make a reasonable case that it isn’t a Christian’s place to condemn those who make a different choice, as long as it is done honestly, openly, and with full consent of all involved.

      It’s also worth noting that you are, in your everyday life, encountering bisexual people who have made the commitment to be in monogamous relationships and are simply not going out of their way to identify as bisexual. You are likely joining most other people in simply assuming anyone in a monogamous opposite sex relationship is straight, or anyone openly in a relationship with someone of the same sex is gay. They may well not be.

      But you owe it to yourself to get past the inaccurate belief that bisexual people are incapable of monogamy.

      • Nathan

        Thanks, that makes sense. I hadn’t really thought of it that way before.

        It isn’t that I want to “judge” people. I think (I hope) that I’m willing to accept anyone into the church as a fellow-Christian / seeker. But I’m unsure of how to deal with this issue when it comes to church leadership and church teachers (pastors, spiritual leaders). While we are certainly called not judge our fellow Christians, we are given clear instruction in scripture to select leaders that are morally upright. As such we have to “make judgements” about the morality of others. How does this fit in with the LGBT issue? That’s what I’m struggling with. What DOES the scripture say about sexual ethics? It seems to me we can’t just say that everything is Ok.

        • Lymis

          Do you really have to make judgements about what personal characteristics, physical traits, and individual histories someone brings into a situation, or are you called to evaluate what they do in that situation, and what the fruits of their involvement are? Is someone’s “moral uprightness” a matter of their biology and history, or their character and integrity?

          Basing your evaluation of someone’s morality on things like their sexual orientation, race, height, handedness, hair color, or shoe size rather than their actions is pretty much the definition of prejudice.

          Sexual orientation is not sexual ethics. How someone acts coming from the fact of their sexual orientation is sexual ethics. Are they truthful, compassionate, chaste, committed, and loving?

          Even if you cannot see your way toward extending those standards to gay people or same sex relationships (though you certainly should), why in the world would you NOT extend them to a bisexual person in a faithful monogamous opposite sex relationship?

          Or would you rather, as so many others seem to do, have someone lie about who they are so you can be more comfortable with who you can then imagine them to be?

        • DR

          I *love* this comment and totally agree with the need to wrestle with it. For me, sexual ethics are essential. They are essential! Sex is so powerful, it is almost sacred in its ability to bond two people together and when used selfishly, one of the most corruptive and destructive things on the planet. It’s a HUGE deal.

          For me, being gay is just another characteristic (like having blue eyes or in my case, being attracted to men). The ethics come in when I’m deciding what to do with sex. As a woman, if I’m using sex to get a man to take care of me or to love me? I’m using it. I’m using him. It’s not Love. It’s not grounded in love, trust or respect. It’s selfish. So from my perspective, the ethics come in when we are discussing the use of sex in its most highest, purposeful form without a trace of greed.

        • vj

          With regard to *leaders*, there is a Biblical precedent to choose those with just one spouse – because, as has already been pointed out, extending a relationship beyond two committed individuals is going to multiply the potential for conflict etc. A poly situation may be morally upright (if all parties are consenting, cared for etc), but the sheer complexity of the relationship dynamics would seem to ‘disqualify’ any of the participants from a leadership position – not on moral grounds, but out of practical consideration. Leadership in the church requires a commitment of time and energy that a person with more than one partner may find impossible to give, which would likely end up with either their ‘flock’ or their family being short-changed.

          • http://rindle.blogspot.com Lyn

            Yup, that’s always been my take. A marriage between two involves one relationship– spouse A and spouse B. A marriage between three people involves four relationships– spouse A and spouse B, spouse A and spouse C, spouse B and spouse C, and all three together. A marriage between four people involves… a dozen or so relationships (I’d have to chart it out). Even aside from any morality questions, a poly relationship is just a lot more work, which is why it’s not a good idea with those in church leadership positions.

            My church long ago softened its position on divorced and remarried lay leaders, but I do think even there it needs to be taken on an individual basis. If there are kids from the previous marriage and there’s a lot of involvement still (especially if things are acrimonious, even if the lay leader is being fair and is merely the target), then there’s still a lot of distraction going on and you need to consider that. Not that that always disqualifies someone, but I think it’s good to maybe let the dust settle before letting people throw themselves into church work.

          • Diana A.

            In fact, that’s also the reason that Paul thought people shouldn’t get married at all. Marriage itself, in Paul’s opinion, was a distraction to working for the Kingdom.

        • Gary

          Hi Nathan, I have really enjoyed reading your comments and seeing your progression these past few days. It is so refreshing to see people ask sincere questions and grapple with these issues with maturity and reason.

          I like your question above…”What DOES the scripture say about sexual ethics? It seems to me we can’t just say that everything is Ok.”

          I totally agree with some of the other posters here who have stated that sexuality is very special (almost spiritual even) and needs to be handled with great care. It is a wonderful gift from God that can bring so much pleasure and satisfaction to a relationship, but also cause so much harm when abused. But figuring out what the scripture actually DOES say about it can be very confusing. There are many passages in the bible that talk about avoiding sexual immorality, fornication, adultery, etc. But just what does the bible mean by these terms when used in their context? If you pick a particular passage dealing with sexuality and ask 5 people for their opinion of it, you are likely to get 5 different interpretations as to what is actually meant. The prospect of figuring out a “Christian” sexual ethic can be very daunting.

          I do try to evaluate scripture with a wholistic mindset. In other words…if I am reading a passage that refers to “sexual immorality”, I do not accept a definition for the term that would call something immoral that God has clearly allowed in other places. It simply cannot mean such or God is very forgetful. There is a huge variety of sexual behavior in the bible which was both allowed and even condoned by God. But What I have never found to be acceptable to God is sexual behavior that involves deception, abuse, self indulgence, etc. In other words…it is not the what with who that concerns God…but the how.

          Now when we move to the teaching of Christ this makes perfect sense. Jesus said that if we keep the law of love we have not sinned. It is this principle that was in play when King David was found guilty of adultery when he took another man’s wife and had sex with her (Bathsheeba) and lied and murdered to try to cover it up…but the same man was NOT guilty of any sin when he took multiple wives and OTHER lovers when no deception or abuse was involved. The difference was not the sex act…but the heart.

          Many in the church today repeat over and over that God declared sex was to be between one man and one woman for life. But the truth is…such a statement is nowhere to be found in the bible. Oh there are passages where they tell you this is what is meant, but they have to choose to interpret them that way because it is not stated as such…and to do so violates the wholistic approach of understanding scripture I spoke of earlier.

          In fact the bible does have a sexual ethic. It is the same ethical guide we have for every other area of our lives…the law of love. If we are following this we will not be cheating on our spouse or other committed partner; we will not be selfish in our sexual behavior; we will not be causing another harm; we will not be abusive; we will always consider their feelings and needs above our own. We will be agreeing together what is right and appropriate for the relationship and seeking to honor that covenant.

          For my wife (of nearly 29 years) and I; for several years our covenant has included another couple who themselves have been married for nearly 20 years. We are in a poly relationship that is exclusive and closed. We are not swingers or players in any sense…we each simply are totally in love with and committed to two spouses. Most churches would declare our relationship to be sinful. But after much prayer and bible study we have come to realize that God does not. All the principles of the law of love are embraced in our marriages. We do not declare as sinful or evil that which God has not.

          Now with regards to church leadership…I would also agree with what others have posted. The husband of one spouse restriction was not a moral requirement at all but rather a practical one. Quality relationships take time and effort and it would be tough to balance the demands of church leadership with multiple healthy and loving personal relationships. One or the other would suffer. This is good practical advice. Indeed if it was meant to be a moral guideline it would have been given to ALL men…not just those in positions of leadership.

          Law of love Nathan. According to Jesus we really need no other guideline.

          • Lymis

            Gary, as an aside, based on my own hesitance to share some of the specifics of my own personal relationship and my life, and how vulnerable I feel when a topic here (or anywhere) makes it important to do so, I imagine that this post took a great deal and felt very risky.

            If so, thank you so much for sharing this. (Well, either way, thank you for sharing this!)

            Law of love, indeed.

          • Gary

            We wish we could be so open with our relationship with those we know. Oh I have a couple of close friends who know the truth…and a couple family members have figured it out, but to everyone else we are simply best friends. For us to “come out” as it were…we would suffer much. And at present we feel no need. We do not all live together (hope to one day) so it is only the rumors in our small town when there is the extra car in the drive all night to contend with. ;-) And pretty much all the neighbors go by a live and let live philosophy so we are very fortunate. But to be totally open would cost us some family relationships and certainly some professional ones as well. So for now we simply heed the Apostle Paul’s advice and keep these freedoms between ourselves and God.

        • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

          Other than “what Lymis said” (which I could make into a sig line because it always applies), I think the two big things are caring more about reality than appearances and applying standards of sexual ethics equally.

          I think whatever ethics a church holds its leaders to, based on whatever Scriptural basis you get them from, need to be tested with some questions. Would you hold a straight person to the same standard you hold a gay or bi person to? Would you hold a man to the same standard you hold a woman to? Do you hold people to other, similar standards that have the same Biblical basis? Are the standards based either on a sincere application of Biblical principles or a reasonable examination of the situation, or are they based on stereotypes or prejudices?

          I don’t have any hard, fast rules, because I think a lot of sexual ethics is very culture-specific and case-by-case. Divorce, for example, was a much worse thing when Jesus spoke against it. That’s not to say it’s sunshine and roses now, but a woman whose husband decides to treat her as an object to be discarded for a younger model has options other than prostitution and starvation (and in most cases was earning a living of her own to begin with). I mean, I believe God hates divorce because what God has joined *shouldn’t* be broken (and because God hates to see us suffer period). But that doesn’t mean that if I were ever in a position of, say, choosing Sunday school teachers, that I’d tell someone who’d left an abusive relationship that their divorce barred them from that position.

          That’s probably not what you’re looking for as far as specifics.

    • http://rindle.blogspot.com Lyn

      Bisexual (and pansexual) is an orientation– and indication of the kinds of people you’re attracted to. It doesn’t speak at all to behaviour. I was just discussing this last night with a bisexual friend who has been in a committed, monogamous relationship with a member of the opposite sex for many years. She has people tell her that because she is in a “straight” relationship, she is straight, but she isn’t.

      Let me give you a thought experiment. Many people are essentially attracted to only a subset of appearances. They may only be attracted to blonds or only to black people or only to east Asians or only to overweight people or only to guys with big muscles or only to women who are well-endowed or only to people with a very androgynous appearance. You get the idea. Other people find themselves attracted to a larger range of appearances. Would you assume that someone who has the capacity to be attracted to any skin/eye/hair color, any build, etc. has, therefore, had more sexual partners or a need to have multiple partners of different races or builds or other characteristics?

      Being bisexual or pansexual is no different than being someone who finds themselves attracted to a larger range of appearances. It is no indication of behaviour st all.

      • W

        I’m a woman, a Christian and Bisexual. I’m also married and our relationship is monogamous. Just because I’m attracted to women, doesn’t mean I’m going to cheat on my husband with a woman any more than I would cheat on him with a man.

        • Andy

          Thanks for putting forth the truthful view that people do not have to act on their sexual preferences. It means that someone can have homosexual feelings and not act on them. In other words its a choice.

          • Melody

            What a perverse, twisted comment. She didn’t choose to be attracted and ultimately fall in love with her husband. She might have fallen in love and married a woman. How dare your protect your bigoted opinions onto this happy woman’s relationship. You are a sick, evil man.

          • Lymis

            Really a one-trick pony, there, aren’t you, Andy?

            Who are you trying to convince?

          • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

            Andy, you need to stop hatefully, maliciously, and deceitfully twisting people’s words.

            You are LYING if you say that anyone here has argued that people can’t have same-sex attractions and not act on them. What they have said (and what you have ignored because it doesn’t fit with your bigoted preconceptions) is that people DON’T CHOOSE whether they are attracted to men, women, or both. No one decides to be gay. No one decides to be straight. No one decides to be bi.

            A BISEXUAL person could choose to have only a relationship with the opposite sex or only the same sex. But no one can create an attraction that they weren’t already born with. (A bisexual person also doesn’t stop being bisexual because they’re in an opposite sex relationship.) A gay person can’t just decide, “Hey, I think I’ll be straight today” and manufacture romantic feelings toward someone of the opposite sex, any more than you can decide, “Hey, I’ll be a parakeet today,” and sprout wings through force of will.

            The “choice” that you keep trumpeting for gay people is TO REJECT LOVE AND DIE ALONE. God said that it isn’t good for the man to be alone, but since you don’t give a crap what’s actually good for people, you don’t care about that. You don’t care what sort of heartbreak or pain your words drive people to—just about the smug assurance that you’re right and you’re better than them.

            You are not, and we will not stand for your bullying BS around here.

          • Mindy

            Kelly, there was a time when my youngest daughter would’ve been devastated to learn that sprouting wings was not actually an option. Thank goodness she outgrew that. :)

          • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

            Hehe. It’d be cool if it were. :)

        • http://rindle.blogspot.com Lyn

          Yeah, my friend and I talked a bit about bisexual invisibility– if you’re monogamous with the opposite sex, everyone assumes you’re straight; if you’re monogamous with a member of the same sex, everyone assumes you’re gay. The only way to be visibly recognized as bisexual is to either have two (or more) partners of both sexes at once or a series of relationships with both sexes.

          And, of course, because the only publicly visible bisexuals are those who have been in multiple relationships, the assumption then gets made that “bisexual” incorporates “non-monogamous” in the orientation, as Nathan did above.

    • Mindy

      Try looking at it this way, Nathan. Think of it as “or” instead of “and.” I just read an interview with Anna Paquin, an young actress who came out as bisexual awhile ago, and is now married to a man and pregnant. She said that she is still attracted to women as well as men, but fell in love with a man and is happy in that relationship. She has no intention of acting on her attraction to women, any more than I acted upon my attraction to other men when I was married to my husband. I still found certain men very appealing, I was still attracted to some men, but I didn’t act upon it.

      I think in Ms. Paquin’s situation, she happened to find her soul mate in a man – but because she is attracted to both sexes, she might also have found her soulmate in a woman.

      Does that make sense? I mean, just because straight people get married, their eyes don’t stop seeing other attractive people, right? They don’t act upon those attractions, though, because they’ve made a commitment to a spouse. Or, they cheat, which happens in relationships regardless of orientation. It is the cheating that is the sin because of the broken vows, the betrayal – doesn’t really matter whether you cheated with a male or female.

      And, FWIW, I’m really proud of you.

    • DR

      You’re a champ for staying engaged and this is a great question. From what I understand, bisexual men and women can develop a romantic attachment to either man or woman. But once they are in a relationship, the monogamy rules apply ( if it is exclusive). Then being monogamous becomes a choice just like it is for all of us who are straight (or gay ).

  • http://castlerockbear.tumblr.com Keith Walsh

    Thank You, John!…As always, a clear bright light in the darkness of insanity! If more people thought this way, then we’d be a much happier world! I hope that just one person reading this, will have feelings to better the way they treat anyone!

  • Bob

    This is a problem that has to be addressed and you did it well. But it is just one of many that is making me lose my faith in humanity. Our politicians are making laws against same sex marriage and trying to define life as happening two weeks before conception and trying to cut benefits to the poor and defending the rich and making laws to make them richer. It seems like a world gone mad. There are good people like you who realize that Jesus had many so called liberal viewpoints. I tend to think he was just a human being that cared about other human beings and didn’t have a leaning to the left or right in politics. But he is being used by these politicians as an example of the reason why they must make laws against same sex marriage and defining life as beginning two weeks before conception and etc….

    What is happening to the world. There are those who want to go to war with Iran when we haven’t even pulled out of Afghanistan. The toll on our veterans in horrible and Mitt Romney made sure he didn’t fight in Vietnam but he’s willing to send our troops to Iran. Why has the world gone crazy like this? Where is man’s compassion for their fellow man? Are we not our brothers keepers? Why is everyone willing to cast the first stone? And wasn’t Christ a man of peace?

    • Lisa

      Very well said Bob!

  • Lisa

    “What idiot would claim that the fact that someone is gay is an indicator of how moral they are?

    Can we please please please please please please please just grow up already?”

    Agreed John!

  • Mindy

    Oh, John Shore. There you go again, saying EXACTLY what needs to be said, getting the point and making it completely clear.

    Now what’re we gonna talk about?

  • LSS

    or even animals we’d *rather* BE. our cats don’t have to worry about morality. they just exist.

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

      Okay, THIS was the comment that a cat video a friend just showed me had me thinking of!

      Warning: It’s a song about a cat and the song contains lots of adult language (but it is hilarious as poo). Enjoy, footage of a cat just existing set to someone’s song about it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpl5mOAXNl4

  • http://manalive7@blogspot.com Allen

    “We’re all built from the crooked timber of humanity” –author unknown

  • otter

    Just watched this earnest young man make his points refuting scriptural anti=gay interpretations and wondered what folks who hang out here would have to say as on the scholarly work he did….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ezQjNJUSraY#!

    • Diana A.

      Yes. This is wonderful!

    • Andy

      Scholarly work based on fallacies is ultimately meaningless. Good try though.

    • Lymis

      For those who prefer to read a transcript, in the comments to the video there is a link to this transcript: http://matthewvines.tumblr.com/

      I read it, and it’s a beautiful piece of both scholarship and testimony, and does a beautiful job of summarizing it.

      One point that particularly caught my attention because I’ve not noticed it raised quite that way before is the point that there is more complexity to the story of the creation of Eve than is usually noted by the “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” people. Which is that God didn’t just make Eve so that Adam could breed. God created Adam and specifically stated that it is not good for Man to be alone, and then created a series of possible companions for Adam, but none of them were suitable because they weren’t of the same nature and could not be suitable helpers. Eve isn’t just created as the other half of a breeding pair, she is created specifically to keep Adam from being alone, and it is their shared nature that makes her the idea partner.

      Matthew Vines says that therefore, by the same principle, it would be wrong for a gay man or lesbian woman to be forced to be alone, and that the “suitable” partner for them would be someone who shares their nature, and that would be a person of the same sex who also has an attraction for them.

      My take has always been that the Genesis story can’t be used to condemn same sex relationships, because all you can take away from it is that heterosexuals should marry each other – there isn’t the slightest indication whatsoever about the orientation of their children or grandchildren, beyond the logical implication that at least some of them had children with each other and can be presumed to be straight.

      This, however points out that God’s own stated logic in the the reasons he created Eve would lead you to both acknowledge the sacredness of same-sex relationships for gay people and that God’s primary motivation for marriage is companionship, not procreation. That is certainly going to be a significant addition to my own discussion points on the matter.

      • Andy

        And here we have the twisting of scripture that’s needed to come to Lymis ‘ conclusion. There is no need for acrobatics to see Gods intent here: man plus woman equals a unique, valued and God intended companionship. We see different pairings after the fall due to sin.

        • Melody

          You’re the one twisting scripture. The Bible says God is love. You obviously have no idea what love is, or you wouldn’t make such hateful comments.

          • Andy

            There is no love without truth. It’s hateful to encourage others to sin. It’s hateful to twist Gods word and present it as truth. It’s hateful to tell anyone that God is too small to overcome your sin. The real hate comes from your side on this issue not mine.

          • Melody

            No, you ignored me again. YOU twisted the scripture. YOU can’t handle the truth. You are a liar and a bigot who blinded by your misinterpretation of the Bible.

          • vj

            I’m not engaging Andy here, but I do want to add something here for the benefit of others who may come upon this thread in future:

            One only has to read some of the letters John has received from gay Christians (shared in blog posts and in his book “UNFAIR”) to know that a great many of them, having grown up in non-gay-affirming church cultures/families, have jumped through all the ‘pray the gay away’ hoops thrown at them. Instead of God changing their orientation though, they have encountered a God who loves and accepts them.

            Since God is most certainly not “too small to overcome your sin”, the fact that God does not change a person’s orientation, no matter how hard they pray/fast/beg/try in their own strength, must surely indicate that, whatever homosexuality is, it is NOT in itself a barrier to entry into the Kingdom of God.

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

          “There is no need for acrobatics to see Gods intent here: man plus woman equals a unique, valued and God intended companionship.”

          However, it does not logically follow that therefore, no other kind of relationship is permissible. Yes, God set up marriage for the purpose of companionship. That does not mean that he therefore forbids any and all other forms of companionship. If that were true, then platonic friendships would be as much an abomination as homosexual marriage, because OBVIOUSLY the only *proper* companionship human beings are permitted to participate in is a man and a woman joined together in heterosexual marriage.

          Really, how is this “acrobatics”? God made Eve so Adam wouldn’t have to be alone. That’s what the text *says*. He then established marriage so that people, again, wouldn’t have to be alone. The uniqueness, special-ness, set-apart-by-God-ness of the marriage bond is not what makes it fulfill its stated purpose in Genesis. The uniqueness of any given relationship does not make you less lonely. The PERMANENCE of a given relationship may, if it stays that way and it’s a healthy relationship to start with.

          Why assume that the author of Genesis was stressing the uniqueness of heterosexual marriage and the implied improper-ness of any other arrangement, when the *text itself* only talks about the importance of alleviating loneliness? Who’s twisting the scriptures and reading things into the text that simply aren’t there?

          • Lymis

            What Amaranth said.

            It is as justified to say that since God created only a single man and a single woman that every couple is required by God to move into solitary confinement and never interact with any other human beings as it is to claim that no other forms of relationship are possible. Heck, even God allowed, supported, and blessed polygamous relationships all through the Old Testament, so even literal Biblical interpretation puts the lie to your “one man one woman” silliness.

          • Mindy

            Andy’s world is black and white. No shades of gray. He couldn’t handle the confusion that would bring. I pity the poor boy, really I do.

            Actually, my guess is that Andy is either gay or bi himself, and has lived with such intense shame all his life that he can’t even bring it to a conscious level. He so despises those feelings in himself that he cannot even begin to have a reasonable discussion about the topic.

            The whole topic pushes his buttons so intensely that all he can do is flail out here at the Internet, repeating the same nothing over and over. He has nothing of value to say and can’t hear any of us – the shame blocks out all possibility.

            Maybe I’m wrong – but it seems to be the only logical reason he’s here – a bit of self-flagellation at our expense.

          • Andy

            Yes God made the only suitable helper for a man, a woman. It’s a cobeneficial relationship. God could have easily created another man if loneliness was the only issue but we all know it was not. God could have gave Adam a choice between a male or a female companion. He did not. So keep up the acrobatics it’s all you have.

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

            God could have created several females and allowed Adam to choose one. God could have created a bunch of couples instead of putting the onus of populating the planet onto the shoulders of a single couple. God could have done A LOT of things, but he didn’t. He did it the way he did it, and the only commentary we have about it is: “it is not good for the man to be alone”. Speculation based purely on what God DIDN’T do is just that: speculation.

            I never said loneliness was the only issue. I said it was the only issue explicitly stated in the text. Of course we can infer others, using principles and commands found elsewhere in the text. We cannot, however, elevate our inferences above the actual words that are on the page. We certainly do not have the right to use those inferences to condemn an entire subset of people to be forever sinners, liars, or eunuchs in the eyes of God’s people.

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

            The “be fruitful and multiply” command is given in a completely different context, that of God giving humans stewardship over the land. Obviously God intended for humans to reproduce, but per the text he did not create Eve solely for that purpose. Plus, per that definition only unions between fertile people are “valid”. Next!

            Actually, I’m only continuing this discussion because 1. it continues to expose your apparent inability to speak in anything other than tired old soundbites everyone here has heard a thousand times before and 2. I’m hoping in time you will actually pull some actual examples from the actual text in question to back up your position, instead of the proof-texts and fragments and “but this is the way it’s always been so any questioning of that position is automatically wrong” bullshit you’ve offered so far.

          • Andy

            [arrogant snarkiness deleted]

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

            Alas, another soundbite. I had such hopes.

      • LSS

        THANK YOU! i have a really hard time watching a whole hour of video online due to technical and life circumstances. reading it is much more efficient.

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

      Didn’t have time to watch it all, but skimmed ahead to a couple of places. A good point to be made on the “abomination” thing – a modern example:

      Watch the Travel Channel… particularly those food-oriented shows. The host, while in France or Italy might partake of horse-meat. While a common food abroad, horse is considered an “abomination” to American culture because of how our culture developed. Mostly, it’s because to us, horses are “noble” animals, “friends, not food.” Dog, on the other hand (also eaten in some countries), is both this: “friend” and also what some might consider unsanitary.

      I suppose if someone were doing a modern sermon on ancient national/cultural abombinations – those would be good examples.

  • vj

    So simple, to true.

  • Andy

    Yes people, do need to grow up and stop thinking they know better than God. Stop trying to rewrite scripture. Stop deceiving people by telling them that homosexual behavior is not a sin and face the truth even if it’s uncomfortable. That’s maturity.

    • Gary

      LOL – Whatever man.

      People named Andy need to grow up and stop claiming to be the mouthpiece of God.

    • Melody

      You need to stop trying to rewrite scripture. Your precious anti-gay clobber passages do NOT apply today. They were written for a specific time and to a specific people. Not for all time and not for all people. You do not speak for God. You just want God to speak for you, so you twist the scriptures to justify your homophobia.

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

      I’ve seen you a few times on here… I want to ask, What’s your motivation?

      So far, you’re striking me as “classic troll,” that is, just a picador purposefully hanging out at a place that doesn’t share your opinion poking people for fights. And you get them precisely becuase sometimes it’s fun to pick a picador back.

      But, if your motivation is something higher than that? What is it, exactly? I can guess that the idea of “truth” is a motivator, but why bother with people who’ve already considered your “reality” and “rejected it to substitue their own?” (That quote didn’t originate with MythBusters, but is still fun). Is your proclaimation of the “truth” merely to let us know what filthy, stupid people we are and how high you are?

      Are you motivated by love? If you’re motivated by love for us – an actual worry that we are on the wrong path and are toddling toward the big BBQ with our rejection of your truth, perhaps you could show it a little better, hmm? Love really isn’t the kind of thing that points fingers and shouts accusations at people.

      In fact, I daresay that a lot of us having the “non-traditional” interpretation of scripture, what you would call a rejection of “truth” are motivated by love… in general, of people, by a sense of fairness, etc.

      I know that I’m about the last person to be motivated by lust. (This carries its own prideful danger).

      • Gary

        Yeah this Andy fellow is quite the piece of work isn’t he? LOL

        Kind of strikes me as an everyday run of the mill troll though.

    • Mindy

      Andy, let it go. Really, you are accomplishing nothing at all here, except to serve as a jumping off point for the thoughtful, intelligent and spiritually mature writers who continue to patiently refute you. And those have no patience left and just need to put you in your place.

      You have given absolutely ZERO information to back up your insistent ranting that we are all wrong. You keep saying we are, accusing us of misspeaking, twisting scripture, yadda yadda yadda. But not once have you shown us that we are wrong.

      Yes, we are all quite familiar with the teensy tiny percentage of the tens of thousands of Biblical passages that are currently used to bash LGBT people. We’ve read it, heard it – AND WE DON’T BUY IT. We have taken those same passages and deeply considered them within the context of the entirety of both the Bible and what we know of Jesus’ teachings, how God has manifested in our lives, and by using the gifts of intellect, good sense and reason that God bestowed upon His human creations. In doing so, we have each heard the Holy Spirit or voice of God tell us what is right.

      We’ve all traveled different paths to the same conclusion. God loves his LGBT children just as much as He loves anyone. And nothing you or any other bigotry-spewing fundamentalist can say will change that. Many of us have been exactly where you are, and learned, first-hand, why it is wrong. We can only pray that one day, your heart will turn as well.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      Andy, if you won’t—because, as we all know, you can’t—give a serious refutation (not a hollow dismissal, but point by point) of the arguments as we’ve been making against your views on this matter (for instance, mine right here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2012/05/03/to-christians-who-still-believe-that-homosexuality-is-a-sin/comment-page-1/#comment-150777), or that John Shore has made, then you have no right but the freedom of speech (which you don’t *really* have here, because it’s a private blog, not a public forum) to continue to espouse—and with such arrogant confidence—this for-the-most-part nonsense that you do. Your doing so is nothing but base immaturity—grow up already, or at least get a life, Andy.

      And do you really think you’re going to change anyone’s mind without really engaging us in serious conversation? You really do underestimate our intelligence then. But, of course, how can I blame you, when you probably think the measure of intelligence is the extent to which one quotes from some old but Good Book (which in any case it seems I do more of around here than you)? Or is the height intelligence really the ability to cherry-pick these in support of whatever prejudices you feel inside?

      • Andy

        Actually it those who want to change the accepted meaning that have the burden of proof. The accepted interpretations are available and have been available for some time. If you hope to change it you must orovide a compelling case, it has yet to be made. Not for lack of trying the just ends up being a lack of truth in the human conclusions art are drawn. So until someone can provide a compelling case the only people who can accept it are those that must dismiss Gods truth and replace secular or humanist reasoning. A least those that admit that fact would be honest.

        • Mindy

          What more compelling case is there than our God is a God of love, Andy?

          You obviously have not followed any of the links you’ve been provided, or done one whit of research outside your very biased orbit, or you’d know your comment is ridiculous. Yes, the interpretations have been challenged, and those challenges and more enlightened understanding of those erroneous interpretations is being accepted by more and more Christians, more and more pastors, more and more theologians. Not the ones who fear losing control, of course, but it is happening, thankfully, a few at a time. I feel so sorry for you – being stuck in a vaporous world of hate must be incredibly exhausting.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Wrong. And if you would actually hear what we’ve been saying, you’d see that. It is a shame to those God gave eyes and ears that they refuse to see and perceive and to hear and understand, and I pity you.

          As I’ve argued before, no one ever accepted the interpretation you claim before there was such a social construct as sexual orientation. It was impossible, and reading such notions into the Scriptures today is an error of anachronism. Yet nearly as soon as people started seeing it this way, challenges to this reading of the scriptures were indeed already present.

          Moreover, however, popular or traditional opinions do constitute any rational kind of proof. Therefore, what commonly accepted as a truth without proof will still carry the same burden of proof as any other claim. The burden does not fall on the one who dares question a claim, but on the ones who have made and maintain such a claim in the first place. In the absence of this, the default is the neutral position, that we really know neither the righteousness in general nor the general unrighteousness of homosexuality—and you are the one supporting—though not in the rational sense—a claim contrary to it.

          By the way, I’d figured already that you were an atheist. Thanks for removing any doubts.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            *do ^not^ constitute

        • Lymis

          Bzzzzt.

          No, we don’t have the burden of proof, not as regards our own lives, our own walk with God, and our own salvation. There is no burden of proof. There is only lived and experienced truth.

          If we aren’t convincing you, so be it, but don’t pretend that failing to convince you means anything beyond failing to convince you. You aren’t the gatekeeper to some huge consensus on truth, God’s or anyone else’s.

          And it’s cute that you need to call what we are saying “secular or humanist.” Not paying much attention, are you?

      • Andy

        And if anyone is interested Gagnon destroys Johns and others assertions.

        • Mindy

          Um, no, Andy, he doesn’t. He actually sounds frightened and cornered and ridiculous. We’ve all heard him. Time to move on.

          • Andy

            Actually he does. Your focus on what you perceive to be his tics or emotions tells us a lot.

            Love requires truth and lying to and deceiving people is actually hate.

            I have done as much if not more research than you have. I have read it all and there has yet to be a compelling case. All of the fail miserably.

            And I just love the hubris of labeling your regresssive thinking as enlightened! Funny!

          • Gary

            Research? No real student of the bible demonstrates such a lack of capacity to present a reasoned or rational argument. Your “research” is nothing more than searching out opinions that match your own so you can hang on to you fear based bigotry.

          • Mindy

            Oh, and I meant to add that it was Gagnon’s disdainful, dismissive tone that gave him away. He did his very best coat his words with utter contempt for John Shore. One only does that when one is terrified that said adversary might, in fact, be correct.

          • Mindy

            Regressive?! Pot, meet Kettle. Kettle, Pot.

            I did not focus on Gagnon’s “tics” or “emotions,” Andy. I listened to his almost desperate effort to refute John, by doing nothing more than regurgitating the same tired nonsense you seem to rely on, and I knew that he felt fear.

            Just like you do. You have not answered ONE SINGLE QUESTION we have asked you. You have not shown ONE SINGLE “proof” that what any of us here have said is wrong. You’ve taught us nothing, except that you are afraid. That is the single only thing I’ve learned here, is that you are awash in fear, and have little ability to think for yourself. You say that you’ve done as much research or more than I have – and you know absolutely nothing about me! How do you know how much research I have or haven’t done?! I haven’t given any definitive description of my research – for all you know, my graduate degree is in theology or or Ancient Greek and Biblical Linguistics. You toss ‘hubris’ my way, whilst you insist that you are more knowledgeable and educated than someone whose background you know nothing about. If that ain’t hubris, dear boy, I’m not sure what is.

    • DR

      Andy, if one were to compare the way you explained the Gospel to the way Jesus consistently explained it to be people He identified did not understand it, what do you think they would find? Where are your analogies? Where are your questions, inviting people to respond, think, reflect, consider?

      Jesus saved his short and sweet condemnations for the Pharisees. If you really believe we’re not Christians here, you’re not modeling what Jesus did with others.

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

    People: PLEASE stop responding to “Andy.” He’s the same troll who used to go by the name “Thomas.” We can block him, but it’s a pain to do, because (being an honorable Christian and all), he uses spammer software, which means he uses randomly generated I.P. addresses. And that makes him tough to block; it means we have to use this whole plug-in filter thing to do it. We did it before—and it worked—and we can do it again, but, as I say, it’s a pain. So, for now, just don’t respond to him, and maybe he’ll have mercy on us and just go away. Thanks. Sorry he’s back.

    • charles m

      Matthew 10:16

      “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

      • Diana A.

        Good scripture quotation! Quite apt!

    • Matthew Tweedell

      That.. pretty much answers the last of my questions about that then.

      If only he would just have been real with us instead…

      But I guess some people are just so caught up in their delusions.

    • Diana A.

      Thanks John! Will do!

    • Melody

      Will do. His inflammatory comments are tempting, but sooner or later karma will come back to him.

      • http://rindle.blogspot.com Lyn

        A man cannot serve two masters. By using Satan’s tools, he’s revealed whom he serves.

    • http://rindle.blogspot.com Lyn

      I’ve never understood why “Christians” think using the tools of the Father of Lies is going to lead people to a deeper relationship with the Son of God.

    • Mindy

      Oh, lordy, that’s Thomas?! I am so sorry I fed the troll.

      • Melody

        Sad but true. And Frank before that. He clearly has nothing better to do and needs a life very badly.

    • Andy’s

      John just finishing up responding to those that have responded to me. Then I will go for now and I will post again occasionally and only continue to post if people respond to me.

      • DR

        You can’t even tell the truth about who you are, what a fitting last word. How embarrassing for you. Ugh.

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

      Sorry, John. Sometimes it’s worth trying to get through to someone, and sometimes it’s just not. *sigh*

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

        No, no: you’ve done a wonderful job.

    • vj

      Well, it was fun while it lasted ;-)

      I, for one, am pretty proud of both the tone and content of our many attempts to engage him…

      • Gary

        He has repeatedly proven to be a liar completely lacking any moral compass in his life. Even the Pharisees behaved better than this fellow (whoever he is) and we know how Jesus dealt with their lack of love. I am glad John gave us a heads up about who he is…because there are those who need rebuked and ignored rather than engaged.

    • DR

      Another “good Christian” who LIES about who he is!! What. In. The. Hell. is wrong with these people? How pathetic are these guys that they actually create different personas?

    • Lymis

      Will do. Thanks for the heads up.

    • DR

      Thanks John, he’s clearly unstable. Poor thing, you’ve got to be a bit of a mess to go to all that trouble. Hope he gets the help he needs, sorry you have to go through it. Ignoring him is probably the best thing for him.

      • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

        It might be a violation of his ISP’s terms of service, particularly the use of spammer software to get around being blocked. I have no idea if it is or not, or if it’s at all practical to pursue from that angle if it is.

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

          We’ve gotten rid of him.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X