“The enemy is deceiving you that homosexuality is alright [sic].”

I get these all the time. I have no idea why I thought I’d share this one, but … this just in!

John, I read your post on homosexuality. It was truely painful reading your words. I do sense that the Spirit of the Lord is convicting you but you won’t surrender to the unction of the Holy Spirit. I say this out of love, repent so you can receive the fullness of God. The Holy Spirit sent Charlie here and you shut him down. Now he is sending me here. I don’t know you from Adam. I didn’t even know this post existed. I thought it was by accident that I found this blog but it is clear the Holy Spirit was directing me. The Holy Spirit is reaching out to you, don’t reject him. Repent and receive the comforter in your life. He will guide you and direct your path. I don’t know what God has in store for your life but I sense in the Spirit that it’s mighty big. You are fighting a war inside yourself. The enemy is deceiving you that homosexuality is alright. He is a liar and the father of lies. He is very cunning. The Holy Spirit is the comforter & your friend. He loves you with all of his might. Be a testament to the Glory of God. A believer in Christ Jesus

PS. John, would you email me and let me know what Christ does in your life? I sure want to know. God is awesome in all of his wonders!

I have zero idea who Charlie is, how/when I “shut him down,” or what post of mine on homosexuality this person’s referring to.

And yet I sense that, somehow, I’ll manage to sleep tonight.

What a world.

G’night, my friends. Thanks for all the love these past few … well, years, for some of you. The comments lately have been superb. What we’re doing here matters.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Oh my goodness . There are no words .

  • Michelle Henley Matthews via Facebook

    That hit too close to home. Glad that part of my life is over….rest well tonight John…

  • erika

    i am gunna sleep tonight also.

  • Erika Beseda-Allen via Facebook

    well, bless his heart

  • Perry

    Sigh. And you what what the tragic thing is? There are tons of people like this person who sound like they sincerely mean well — it sounds like something I bet my family’s well-meaning church friends might say, and I don’t sense any overt evil coming from this message to you, John — but they are just soooooooo on the wrong side of history right now And these folks are just blind to it all. It’s not a vindictive kind of blindness that I sense, but still. Sigh.

  • peet

    Is it too much to expect that God’s prophets would also be blessed with a capacity to spell and punctuate correctly?

  • I get that sort of thing all the time, especially from one of my aunts. And there are only some many ways you can nod politely, smile, and say “Thank you for your concern…”

  • Jeannie

    I still get these kinds of messages about a variety of things once in a while. They still keep me awake. I guess I have more healing to do on my journey. In spite of all the deprogramming I have tried to do that Hell doesn’t exist, being gay is just fine and that I can’t imagine why a devil would ever be the slightest bit interested in me, this still hits me somewhere deep. I think you missed being so programmed by fundementalism in your Christianity, John. I am kinda jealous of you.

  • Mike

    So, beyond the fact that this person clearly didn’t use spell check before sending off their email, I was wondering who “Charlie” was and how he pertained to everything. Moreover, I have to wonder if this individual ever considered that the reason the Holy Spirit guided them to your website was to perhaps open their eyes to a perspective different than their own. That perhaps instead of trying to “fix” you, the Holy Spirit was trying to get them to see beyond their already limited scope.

    I believe that God places people, experiences, and obstacles in our paths to help us learn and grow. How we approach these things is largely dependent on us. We could choose to open our eyes, minds, and hearts to new ideas and different perspectives, or we can choose to close ourselves off to alternative points of view based on fear, arrogance, or shame. Those choices are God’s gift to us…however, if we close our minds and our hearts, I believe God keeps trying to present similar situations to us over the course of our lives in the hope that we might change our minds – kind of like, “Are you sure this is the right solution?”

    John, thank you for always teaching and reminding folks that Christianity, in its true form, is about love and inclusivity rather than fear, hatred, and exclusivity. You really are a shining star in this world. God bless!

  • danielle

    Did this person ever stop to think that maybe the Holy Spirit guided him to this site so that his heart and mind may be opened? (Just sayin’…)

  • Liza Chigos via Facebook

    Why does it never occur to these folks that God is working in THEIR lives to bring THEM to a different way of thinking? Such arrogance to believe that they alone are the emissaries of God’s intent…and yet they apparently are so perfect themselves that God never puts a lesson in love, acceptance, and His amazing diversity right in their path. That is what I find so unbelievable!

  • Another example of why Christians need to take a break from social issues!

  • I was assuming the “Charlie” whom he refers to was Pastor Charles Worley and that he’s shilling for him. Perhaps his poor choice of words were meant to be taken as, “Charlie’s message came to you and you shut him down” – which you (and the rest of us) did or helped do, via our attempts to contact him.

    I’m probably wrong but thought I’d throw it out there.

  • Barbara Rice

    I think you should email her (I suspect this is a her) and tell her of the wonders God has done in your life.

    You have opened up the love of God to people who were rejected by people like Charlie and who were terribly hurt by The Church. You are giving voice and hope to those who need to know that God loves them just as they are, not as The Church wishes they were. You have been an enormous blessing to many. You’re using the intelligence and gifts God gave you to help people heal from their spiritual and emotional wounds.

    Can she say the same?

  • Wow… This is all to familiar… and sickening… I have had family members and church members say and do exactly the same thing to me and my wife… It is heartbreaking to experience people who “believe” they are acting in love and actually act in such arrogant, bigoted, and hurtful ways. I actually remember coming home to a voicemail from a family member saying… “Well… you know your an abomination…” Yea… that was a phone call I longed to return!

  • Christelle

    Approximately 5 years ago, when I stumbled across your site (much like this person) I was of the ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ mind-frame. Today, I am of the: love the sinner, hate the sin – is absolutely ridiculous mind-frame – Thanks to you and your commentors. Perhaps this person will stay around long enough to learn what true love is. You, John, and your commentors are making a world of difference.

  • Aliyah Aldridge via Facebook

    Awww, he’s lovingly telling you to lovingly hate the people he lovingly hates so you don’t get lovingly tortured for eternity. Feel the love.

  • Nicole

    I hear you. It’s hard to ignore all you were taught and it takes time. I keep hearing “you’re just following the wide path to destruction and don’t even know it!” kind of crap. But it does hit something primal inside of you. I just keep taking these fears to Jesus and talking them out with him. He always brings me peace and comfort.

  • I have no doubt that all of us have had the experience of trying to have a (written) dialogue with people like this guy. You can tell when they’re paying attention because they will take up points in what you’ve written, counter them, reflect…every once in a while, and because most of us hold on to our opinions and beliefs very tightly, you or the person you’re having the dialogue with with acquiesce on a point or two.

    Then – and I know I’ve encountered this dozens and dozens of times (and with family members!) you’ll run into the person who obviously doesn’t read *anything* you’ve written. They don’t have the attention span and in some cases, the reading comprehension, to follow anything you’ve said in writing. They will write something like, “All those words you wrote – you think that the more words you write the more “right” you are!”, generally a pretty good indication that they haven’t been able to follow a thing you’ve written. As far as when the person with whom you’re having that written dialogue also happens to be a friend or family member, my experience is that in person, they are shrill, talk over top of you, and believe repeating the same thing over and over again, raising their voices for emphasis makes “them” seem “right”. Another indication is, “ALL I’M SAYING IS…rinse, repeat”.

    I find it very difficult that anyone could, as the writer above indicates, read all that John has posted on homosexuality and not have a few pertinent questions if in fact they tend to conservative Christian views that are exclusive of gay folk or gay folk who happen also to be Christian or who are otherwise searching for answers. In short, this guy read bupkis.

    I’ve read, time allowing, probably a good 2/3 of this site’s blog posts and threaded comments to same. Unless I just haven’t stumbled upon it, I haven’t seen a competent conservative Christian who really “knows their stuff” come in here yet who could debate the *very* competent folks here including the blog’s author and editor, John Shore, without resorting to trollery or douchebaggery (insults, invective, etc.).

    Another observation: Does anyone know of any Christian denominations other than RC, Episcopal or Lutheran who might use the term “unction” in regards to “The Holy Spirit”, as this person did? Just curious.

  • Nicole


  • I probably *am* wrong here. As I noted in my other post, this person uses the term “unction” in regards to “The Holy Spirit”. I’m reasonably certain that “unction” isn’t a part of Charles Worley’s congregation’s lexicon.

  • Michelle Par

    I think one reason this could happen when people get off track, and start focusing on “the Enemy” (Really? A title and everything? Someone is sure handing over the power to a pathetic external manifestation) instead of Jesus, He who came in the name of Love.

    I have a family member who does just that, focus on how everyone is wrong, and he is the only ‘right’ one. No one in the family wants to be around him and he rationalizes it as, “The Holy Spirit is convicting them all whenever they’re around me,” as if this family member is a lightening rod for the Holy Spirit. It is really depressing.

  • Jeannie

    Yup, wide is the path to Hell, etc., and I do take it to God – a lot. It’s hard. I keep thinking that the kinder, gentler, Christianity/God that I belive in now is a deception and I am going to run smack dab into the hard ass/mean/angry God of my childhood. It’s harder still when I get scared that I am not raising my children to fear God. Talk about guilt – throw the parent thing in. The only thing that bothers me more than the thought of going to Hell for all of eternity is thinking that my children are going there to. Not a nice thought. Anyway, I can’t go back to what I used to believe so I guess I have to keep pushing through. Of course, I can choose to not believe in anything. I tried that already too. But it didn’t stop the fear/guilt cycle. I hate fundamentalism. It messes with so many.

  • Michelle Par

    Some really good points, Mike. I don’t know about the unction term, but the rest of the e-mail has, to me, the tone of fundamentalism that some of my family has sought out. It raises the hackles on the back of my neck, frankly. Creepy, arrogant stuff masquerading as the love of Jesus. I just don’t get it.

  • Christelle

    I SO get this Jeannie and Nicole… deprogramming takes time! UGH!

  • Allie

    John, I’m going to be perfectly honest with you. I sometimes find you abrasive and I don’t always agree with your theology. And yet I am absolutely and completely convinced that the Holy Spirit HAS found you, and is working through you, and that’s one of the major reasons I hang out here. I’m not worried you will be swayed by dumbass letters like this person’s, just thought it might be nice to have a voice on the other side as well. Faith, to me, means more than anything else hanging on to the truth you know. Because you have met truth, you speak truth, and nothing can shake you.

  • Jeannie

    Unction is a fairly common phrase in pentecostal circles too.

  • A few years back, I worked with a guy who was a member of one of those “Restored/New Convenant” Christian churches. He was very controlling, a pain in the ass to manage and each and every single day, shared too much information about his relationship with his children. It became apparent after awhile that he tolerated no questioning from them and no “misbehavior” and that either was a direct usurpation of his biblical authority as a parent…in short, he came off as a coward and bully who hid behind his scripture instead of taking any real responsibility as a parent or as a fallible human being. The “Bible” justified each and every one of his actions. And, oh yeah, one of his favorite things to say at work upon hearing someone “cuss” was, “do you kiss your (spouse) with that mouth?”.

  • Jeannie – thanks, I was wondering.

  • Christelle

    Sometimes truth has to hit us upside the head… until we finally get it…

  • See Jeannie’s reply up the chain. “Unction” is used apparently, in Pentacostal circles. Damn – another theory shot to hell!

  • Thanks for making me smile, Aliyah!

  • Jana Harrison Currier via Facebook

    Amen, John! Maybe one day this fine person will realize that the Holy Spirit is really reaching out to him or her to help him or her find the self awareness he or she is so obviously lacking!

  • “Kiss her AND [redacted] her [redacted]!” is the only appropriate response.

  • Lorelei

    John, as one who has been told, “You have the devil in you – and you’re fat!” (actually, for offering to pay a person’s phone bill…) I wouldn’t be too concerned. There are a bunch of us who thank God every day that SHe made you just the way you are! 🙂

  • This reeks of self-righteousness. They focus so much on how the Holy Spirit led THEM to YOU. That’s my impression anyway.

    Also, I hate how this person and many others assume people like you and I know their “truth” and are just trying to ignore it. Blah.

  • 🙂 haha

  • Carol

    This was a familiar theme for me growing up…whenever I questioned or challenged anything regarding tradidional belief, it was OF THE DEVIL and did you know that the DEVIL can be beaten out of a child, the same as homosexuality? When someone can convince themselves that they’re piously fighting “God’s fight” against a faceless “Enemy” then all bets are off….sometimes I think that God must just shudder at the sheer hate and pain that’s “Lovingly shared” in His name…..

  • Carol

    PS…Neither one was beaten out of me…I’m still bi and I’m still questioning……

  • I so totally get this!! I was raised Catholic but as a teen I became a Southern Baptist, and now I’m a Methodist with a little Buddhist sprinkled on top. Please continue to listen to your inner voice that tells you about love and compassion, and not the external voice that speaks of judgement and wrath. Please continue to pray. God will manifest Himself in your life in ways so powerful as to remove all of that anxiety. I now look at my religious upbringing and background as vital parts of my spiritual journey and I thank God for them, and I can no longer judge even those whose journey hasn’t taken them beyond that point. God does not teach us to fear, but to be fearless. And if you’re faced with two different life choices, one that is fire and brimstone and one that is kindness and compassion, as yourself this: What did Jesus speak most about? And if you’re going to make a mistake, would you rather make a mistake that enriches someone else’s life and brings comfort, or one that alienates and divides? Be encouraged, be joyful, God wants you happy. I will say a prayer for each of you today.

  • Driftwood2K11

    This answer is best answer.

  • It seems to me that there are people out there, who *plan* – who *want* to have children. And then bring them into the world with the express purpose of beating the “Hell” out of them as a means of teaching “right and wrong”.

    I stumbled across this. Christian “Booty” Camp training for kids. I’ve seen similar. What joyless parenting! Your child, basically, is a dog. Or a horse that one has to “break”. And the the Bible says to “train up your child”. WARNING: the “training” lesson in the link is mind-numbing.


    Off-topic, Carol – I know. I’m sincerely sorry that you had parents whom, it seems, thought you were a horse, not a child. “Bitter” doesn’t begin to describe how I’d feel.

  • If only people such as that writer got as upset about real problems in the church, like gossip, or dissension, or self-righteousness.

  • I grew up with these kinds of people too. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis:

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

    ‘Nuff, said.

  • Lymis

    Historically, it was often too much to expect that God’s prophets would even bathe, so I’m guessing, yes.

    However, this unfortunate person is not one of God’s prophets, except in the general sense that we all are, unless God is sending prophets to indict the current state of education and literacy in the country.

  • Lymis

    I once had someone, in all apparent seriousness, explain that since Satan is the Father of Lies and can quote Scripture to his own purpose, and because God is mysterious and rewards faith, that the more sense an argument makes, the more likely is it that it is of Satan, since if you believe something that makes sense, that’s easy, but if you believe something that doesn’t, it’s proof of your trust in God.

    So, the more logic, common sense, accurate science and history, and comprehensive use of Scripture you use when you make an argument that traditional theology is wrong, the more it is proof that you are from Satan and are to be resisted at all costs. The more compelling your argument is, the more you need to be shunned or suppressed.

    The thing I found the most frightening about that was that it’s an almost impervious approach.

  • If the Holy Spirit sent him to this blog, maybe it was so that he could learn something, rather than to teach?

    Funny how so few people ever entertain the notion that they’re the ones who need help.

    If nothing else, I’m sure that we could help him with his writing.

  • Yes, well, if you go after things like that, then you might have to examine some of your own behavior. That’s a lot less fun, and a lot more work, than focusing on external boogeymen.

  • Christy

    He’s pretty sure of himself. Oh, Certainty, so blinding.

    I hazard a guess the Holy Spirit isn ‘t male. I imagine if we talked about the Divine Feminine in the nature of God, the whole multi-gender thing might crash this guy’s systems.

  • otter

    Good One!

  • otter

    Lymis….you crack me up…thanks.

  • Rev. Cynthia Wood

    Dear John, I received a similar message from a young lady I’ve known for twenty years. She questioned my ability to lead my flock away from hell because I post gay rights messages on Facebook. It broke my heart.

    I suggested that she read some of your writing on the subject, and she claimed she did, though she was not swayed by your arguments.

    There is a great deal of hate in the Church. Sometimes, I despair……

  • Lymis

    “Repent and receive the comforter in your life.”

    I know what he meant, or at least thought he meant, but I couldn’t help but think “… and if you repent before midnight tonight, you’ll receive these matching sheets and pillow shams along with the comforter.”

  • Mindy

    I’m assuming “Charlie” to be Charles Worley, no?

    Good grief. The conviction with which some people hold onto their hate is chilling . . . .

  • Lymis

    I hazard a guess that God isn’t male either.

  • Carolyn Allen via Facebook

    Hate covered in syrupy sweetness–my least favorite kind of hate!

  • Lymis

    Umm… that came out wrong, what with the “either” implying that God is distinct from the Holy Spirit. I hazard a guess that no aspect of the Divine is wholly male or wholly female, or wholly any other purely human attribute.

  • n.

    I think it still made sense. Language is a terrible thing sometimes.

  • n.

    The contrarian in me wants to say “well that’s probably why the use it: they’re Not Stupid!” i think our instinct is to think that anti-intellectualism is connected with stupidity, but it’s not. It’s clever, at least in the mouths of leaders.

  • n.

    There’s families like that.

  • Courtney

    Sadly, this sounds so familiar…

  • Melissa Mosher via Facebook

    Honestly, I wasn’t nearly as offended by this as I have been by some of the other messages I have read. Granted, the person totally missed the boat on the issue, but they are telling you their misguided crazy viewpoints with kindness and concern, I think. At least they didn’t outright tell you that you were going to burst into flames. I still believe zero of what they are saying, but I think they believe they are saying it with good intentions.

    It was not only the message of this that made me roll my eyes, but the grammar and spelling errors made my head hurt. Lots of people are spoon fed stuff, and if their brains lack the critical thinking “box,” they just go around spewing it as fact. We don’t know the sender. Maybe his or her mama drank liquor while she was pregnant. Maybe he or she was on crack when the email was sent. You just never know.

  • Lyn

    Haven’t read all the comments, but I believe the Charlie s/he refers to is this guy– http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2012/04/02/the-best-case-for-the-bible-not-condemning-homosexuality/#comment-140629

  • Susan

    Poor guy. Did he ever consider the Spirit revealed your blog so he would have a change of heart? I never cease to be amazed how people can interpret the “movings” of the Spirit to suit them.

  • Lyn

    But… they reached that conclusion through logical deduction, so doesn’t that mean their argument is Satanic?

  • Amy

    Well, isn’t that special.

    I am thinking that letter writer is confused about the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is unquestionably present in the community that has grown here. Last week, I poured my heart out here about a church issue I was having. To total strangers! But people poured out love, and I felt the peace and comfort of the Spirit. If that’s a bad thing, I don’t care. I’ll take it any day over hateful words and ignorance.

  • Paula

    I wonder what John does with these letters. Perhaps there is not enough time in the world to reply to them all. But on the other hand, John may be the only person he “knows” — who holds an opinion different than his own. In which case, it might be right to engage him.

    Here’s a version:

    “Thank you for writing. I hope you’ll understand that I receive (200?) comments or letters each week, so I can’t take the time to start a long conversation with every reader. But I realize this may be frustrating. And because I think you may be right, that the Holy Spirit may have sent you here — although not for the reasons you think, I’ll just take a couple of minutes to say,

    Here is where you’ll find the essence of my thinking about this. . .. Here is where you’ll find the history of how I got there. . . . Here are several places in which I talk about what God has done in my life (I think your family stories, and stories of healing may be germane. . . . ) And here are some people who claim that God has used me to help them out. …..I don’t mean to brag, but if they are true, they are precious to me. If your questions are sincere, I hope you’ll take the time to read the above.

    And finally, if you are interested in engaging this further, I have readers in cities all over the country and I would be glad to refer you to one of them. A pastor, perhaps, who has done the same work I have, thinking through the scriptures, and the work of the spirit in our own lives.

    I have to say that even if Mr. Worley and I found we never could agree on this, and parted from one another peacefully, I would never be able to understand such hatred. If Jesus didn’t offer to round up prostituties and tax collectors, really, who does that man think he is? If “by their fruits you shall know them” then that man has said quite enough for me to wonder what in the world has warped him so.

    I must apologize in advance, but due to my own time constraints, I will not be able to reply further. But once again, if you would identify the city you are in, I can find a pastor at a church who might be willing to talk with you further. (A quick online search should find a gay friendly church in any major city.) ”

    Just, you know, my 2 cents. Because I’m all for helping people out of their echo chambers. If all they ever hear is their own views on the tv, radio, and in their churches — there’s no hope. But I changed my mind, when I realized there were other opinions out there, held by many, many Christians I admired.

  • Amy

    I’m not sure whether it’s truly not reading what’s been written/hearing what’s been said. Sometimes it’s reading it but ignoring it because one chooses to cling to the opposing viewpoint out of fear/disgust.

    Our senior pastor is one of those. He has read and heard all the arguments, but he clings to “love the sinner but stamp out the gay” at all costs. This is because he genuinely believes that what gay people do in bed together is frightening, disturbing, and disgusting. In fact, he preached a sermon once in which he linked sexual kinks (such as BDSM and fetishes) exclusively to homosexuality. He’s read some books that spread lies about the “origins” of homosexuality and calls it “current psychological understanding.” He has said that HIV is God’s punishment on the gay community. No amount of explaining how the real world works has had any effect. He takes every point and says things like, “That may have been your experience, but it’s a rare exception.” Thankfully, the rest of the church staff is a lot kinder. We only stay there because we don’t want this pastor to be the only voice people hear. Lots of the people in the church are fed up with his claims of “love” while demonstrating the opposite. But the minute one of our kids comes out, we will leave before this pastor tries to convince us to “cure” them.

  • chera

    “whose journey hasn’t taken them beyond that point”

    I like they way you put that!

    I also have to deal with the guilt cycle….especially since I am a parent. I see what some of the people from my fundie past are doing with their families and a have to go through a few seconds of worry…Are my kids ok? Should i be doing things differently? Am I not going to church enough? Am I not praying with them enough? etc. etc….. Then I look at my amazing kids and know they will be just fine. They are full of life, they love people, they are not afraid to ask questions, they are not afraid to challenge things and ideas. They are being raised with a freedom in their spirit that I didn’t have.

  • chera


  • Lyn: Yes (as I later learned), that is that very Charlie, you super-sleuth, you. And you see how I shut him down by … oh, wait. Never mind. I totally let his comments remain on the site. Hmm. Maybe “shut him down” doesn’t mean the same in fundie talk as it does in regular English.

  • sdgalloway

    but…but…but… I don’t wanna do that!

    Even though I am pretty sure that is exactly what we should be doing. Less on the other guy more on me, less on that piece of lint hindering that other guy’s vision and more on the 37 story building keeping my perfect view of the ocean impaired.

    That would take so much of my all important time, leaving less to point out their so obvious faults!

    Sigh..someone get me a wrecking ball. I have a building to demolish.

  • sdgalloway

    Good Lord! Just reading that confused the hell out of me! I must be on the right track, or that argument just runs counter to my brain that craves logic and common sense.

  • To take a slightly different perspective on this, let’s say that you, John, are entirely and completely wrong about homosexuality (which of course you aren’t, but let’s pretend for a moment). How on earth would that preclude you from being “a believer in Christ Jesus”? Why would that necessarily mean that you are “rejecting the Holy Spirit”? Being a Christian doesn’t mean for a second that you will be right on every issue or have a perfect understanding of God or never make mistakes or never sin. The idea that in order to be truly Christian you must have correct doctrine on every issue is deeply misguided and is a far more dangerous deception than an incorrect stance on homosexuality. To equate the acceptance of homosexuality with a wholesale rejection of God is theologically untenable and is antithetical to all that Christianity stands for.

  • Lymis

    You let the mean people talk to him like grownups who’ve actually thought about these issues and have their own opinions, rather than shutting us down like the godless perverts we are.

    Special Snowflake melted in the heat of actually being called out on his views. You shut him down by not deleting what everyone else responded to him.

    “They used logic! That’s not fair! Nobody told me I had to be ready for logic!

  • Brilliant, Dan. Exactly right (and extremely well said).

  • Whoa! That’s soooo much better than my response to this particular writer, which consisted entirely of “Who’s Charlie?” I think I might TOTALLY use this, Paula. Thank you for it, very much.

  • Beautiful, Amy. Love it. Thank you.

  • HAR!!

  • John (not McCain)

    “No. I kiss YOUR spouse with that mouth.”

  • No, this wasn’t particularly offensive at all. Not like, say, THIS, which I also got in yesterday: “How can you call yourself a Christian? You are an evil false prophet who is sure to BURN IN HELL!! Repent now you vile deciever of men!!!” And so on.

    So … yeah. I thought the letter I published above was actually at moments kind of poetic. I mean, you know: relatively speaking and all.

  • Paul in Canada

    Good point! I think this is more an issue of ‘projection’!

  • Paul in Canada


  • “The enemy is deceiving us all, including himself (themselves), that heterosexual adultery is all right (learn to spell dude!), that deadbeat dads are all right, that divorce is all right, that…” I’m running out of space here and the dirt swept under their church carpet is making it look like the whitewashed tomb Jesus called them!

  • K (aka Caring Heart)

    John and fans,

    I’m newer here but from what I’ve read debates have broken out plenty of times on here before but this made me think….

    What if John hosted the “mother of all debates” – invited pastors, people like the letter writer, invite them ALL, especially the pastors (because they influence whole churches of people like the letter). Let’s “talk it out” for as long as everyone is willing to come to the table. We would have to contact pastors and get them to come here. (hard part) They don’t even have to identify themselves as such but I think we need to get them here too for it to have a much larger impact. Just thinking out loud here…with some planning and foot work it just might be possible…

  • K (aka Caring Heart)

    meant to say ” like the letter *writer* “

  • Mary B

    It’s this line that I find very interesting: “I do sense that the Spirit of the Lord is convicting you but you won’t surrender to the unction of the Holy Spirit.” (Not sure if the Lord is convicting, convincing etc. you, John.) But bad spelling aside, how can the Spirit of the Lord be any different than the ‘unction of the Holy Spirit’? I thought (from all that christian schooling/church I had) that the Trinity is one in the same……

  • DR

    Dear Letter Writer,

    Charlie ran out of steam and left on his own accord. I’m sure you think he was victimized ( you probably are Charlie given how many of you demonstrate your willingness to make up names and lie about your identity in the name of Jesus), but let’s keep the facts straight.

  • Lymis

    I sort of got the feeling that the Spirit of the Lord was referring to that member of the Trinity, but that the unction was a sort of spiritual ooze or holy lubricant that got left behind after an encounter with said Spirit.

    Sort of like John being a rusty screw and the Holy Spirit arriving with Divine Penetrating Oil to work him loose. Which is probably appropriate, because it seems to me that the letter writer is quite familiar with having some screws loose.

  • Lymis

    So…. women see right through you?

  • vj

    I don’t think this is the sort of thing that can be ‘sorted out’ in one go – people need time to let go of ingrained thoughts, to digest/absorb different strands of information – textual analysis, historical/archaeological research, neuro-biology, arguments from Scripture, testimonies of people who have been transformed in their thinking by the Holy Spirit. It’s a process that takes longer for some people than for others – so, it’s important to keep the dialogue open, to keep building resources and sharing stories that people can refer to as often as they need to, to keep answering questions (without unnecessarily feeding trolls)…

  • Al

    I’d like to ask this letter writer how he/she reconciles friend and mentor “Charlie” Worley’s desire to cage and kill gays and lesbians with the Bible’s commandment that, “Thou shalt not kill”? I should point out that “men sleeping with men” wasn’t considered a big enough transgression to make it into the Top Ten and that “women sleeping with women” doesn’t even get mentioned in the Bible.

    The letter writer might want to consider too, that “the devil made me do it” isn’t accepted as a defence in any Western society because we expect people to take responsibility for their actions. This letter writer should do the same instead of speaking about how “cunning” the “father of lies” is.

  • John,

    I have to tell you that I think that hateful deceit abounds in small minded people, and as we’ve seen in the last few weeks, they are literally coming out of the woodwork!

    I hope you never stop believing the way you do, because I, for one, know you have helped me to strengthen my spiritual awareness, and you helped me feel that I’m o.k. to be me, and be spiritual, in ways that not too many can! For that, I thank you!

    Acceptance is something that people like this can not grasp! I know that you, even though you do not know me, accept me for who I am, like the 100’s of others that I have had the pleasure of reading on your page. That means a lot! You and the most of your followers have a way of striking a chord that enters my heart and brings on a smile! You alone have given me and shown me hope, just by knowing that all people are NOT like the “letter writer”.

    I grew up not being accepted for who I am, I’ve come to terms with it psychologically but I was always questioning my spirituality. I searched and found words of encouragement and I found friends that saw no fault in who I am. Then, I found your page! I was overwhelmed! Someone who doesn’t know me, is talking to me! WOW! I read your posts every day, without fail! I have Kindled all of your books! I feel like I found a gold mine, to me! And still, all I can say, is Thank You! I wish I could do more!

    JUST CONTINUE is all I can ask of you, because the love you express and the hope you install is one of the GREATEST gifts I have ever known! One day, hateful and twisted thinking on the part of “fundies” will stop, because after all, LOVE is a force to be reckoned with, and people like you have shown me it does exist, STRONGLY! My partner and I love reading your posts, we have passed your words onto lots of others, and enlightened a lot of people! AMAZING!

    Again, Thank You!


  • Lymis


  • Exactly. Morgan Guyton wrote about this gatekeeper mentality on Red Letter Christians yesterday.

  • n.

    i think i know why you needed to post this, at least from readers’ perspective … assuming i’m not the only one in this place … remember the person who wrote to you a while back asking if the Devil was confusing her to believe in a Liberal God? well, it’s like that. some of us are so brainwashed by the kind of christianity we were brought up in, that it’s always going to be full of doubts for us to follow the new kind, no matter how much we can tell in our consciences that it’s a better way.

    and the fact that you post this and, basically, don’t even dignify it with a response? it’s a kind of a reminder that we don’t have to, either, when that kind of message -similar to that email- pops up in the voices in our heads that are there because they were impressed on us for decades.

  • Luke

    The use of the term “convicting” is interesting, as it is not the common English usage. In my youth, I came up with a term for this kind of language: cloud-talk. At its extreme, speakers of cloud talk become completely unable to acknowledge or take responsibility for their own decisions — it is always “the Lord told me to” or “the Spirit was convicting me”. I find that really annoying.

    It is also quite common for the speaker to be completely unaware that they are using the jargon of a particular religious community that is meaningless to the uninitiated. It is rather like the protester I saw at a Pride festival last year who walked down the middle of the street blowing a shofar at intervals. I’m sure it was very meaningful to him, but he seemed not to care that most people had no idea what it signified.

  • Dennis Dawson

    It seems as though some people think of the Holy Spirit as something like a Ouija board. “I swear, it’s not me, it’s the Holy Spirit compelling me to express intolerance. Look, I’m barely touching the Holy Spirit….”

    Conviction is one thing, but certainty that you are the true agent of God on Earth leads to pride in one’s humility, hubris, and the sort of good intentions that pave the golden path to hell.


  • vj

    Indeed – we are saved by faith/grace, *not* by doctrine! Sound doctrine is, of course, helpful in living lives that abound in the love for God, ourselves and others that we are commanded to live, but it does not have the power of salvation…. Likewise, unsound doctrine, while likely leading to all sorts of misery, does not in and of itself invalidate our salvation. A fellow-believer who holds completely opposite positions on any given doctrine(s) is STILL my brother or sister in Christ – even if we can barely comprehend each other!

  • Melody

    Nah. Charles Worley doesn’t even know how to fake niceness. He says exactly what he thinks: hate and cruelty. One thing to his credit: he doesn’t hide his real intentions under passive-aggressive “concern.” I think that’s one of my trigger words: concern(ed), because I’ve had family members use that when they thought I was becoming “too liberal.”

  • And while your at it, John, quit harboring escaped slaves. Scripture is (was? used to be? still is?) pretty clear on this. Rachel wrote about this previous eternal damnation sin yesterday (http://rachelheldevans.com/huck-finn-hell). Reminded me of one of your posts from long ago. I forget the title. the one where you request going to hell with your friends.

  • Melody

    Well, maybe I’ve just had too much experience, but I didn’t see this as any kinder than the other one he mentioned. This person thinks the same things about John as the other one, only they’re being “nicer” about it to feel better about themselves (I’m not sure if it’s a man or a woman). See my comment below to Mindy.

  • Kristyn

    Amen. Particularly among Southern Baptists and Pentecostals, the Holy Spirit has become sort of like a handpuppet for hate speech.

  • Something RHE wrote that somehow reminded you of something I’d written? Gee. Hard to believe.


  • Dennis Dawson

    Oh, I love a little alliteration – Holy handpuppet of hate. Must go copyright that….

  • That was awesome. (As was your comment, Dennis. As are so many here. It’s really amazing. I just got an email from a lesbian in Taiwan who was telling me how deeply she appreciates the commmenters here. And I was like, Right?)

  • DR

    This is exactly why I get a lithe mouthy when well-meaning, well-intended commenters start lecturing you. You certainly don’t need any defending but dealing with that endless stream of creepy, hostile abuse has got to be wearing.

  • dan(chicago)

    This was the mode of communication in a church I belonged to for many years. So many inappropriate things were said, then attributed to the Holy Ghost. The best was when the speaker got with their friends later on and told of the clever things that God had put in their mouths earlier(which truthfully was the whole point). “I’m never that bold. It HAD to be the Holy Ghost!”

  • Nah. I mean, thank you. But, no. Stuff like this is like … having a gnat fly by your face. The ones that are really vile and deeply hostile are a little freaky; for a quick moment those usually make me a tad uncomfortable. Because real crazy is always scary. Those I never respond to (and they never, ever write twice, which is great!) Anyway, as I say, no: this stuff is just … passing noise that quickly fades.

  • sadly, yes.

  • Brian W

    Good point Dan

  • Hmmm. You already seem plenty comfortable enough to me. The letter-writer would seem to be the one experiencing problems with discomfort.

    Wonder if they’re a faith-newbie. I used to have trouble distinguising between “calling” and my own wildly moodswining feelings when I was a “kid.” With Time comes wisdom, hopefully.

  • Dennis Dawson

    Now there’s a serendipitously appropriate typo – moodswine would be a great euphemism for “pig-headed inconsistency,” though I certainly wouldn’t attribute that term to Shadsie now or then. Must go copyright that one, too…..

  • Or some kinds of professional-speak.

    I’ve gone on about the importance of things “saving as TIFFs” for print, “JPeG” for the Internet, CMYK, Spot-Color, Pantone, dpi and so forth only to have people say “Wait a minute, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” and me apologizing “Oops, I just lapsed into graphic design speak, there. If you have time, I’ll try to explain it.” And now that I work at a barn, I probably use horse and horsemanship related words all the time that people on the “outside” wouldn’t understand.

  • So I just put up a letter that came in moment ago. See Godly tip of the day: Don’t murder families.

  • Whoops!

    That is a fortunate typo, isn’t it? XD.

    “Moodswining – Moving swifty between one pig-headed assumption to another.”

  • Perry

    Aww, I’m sorry John. As a guy who “plays for the other team,” I think you’re awesome — not invisible to me! Yay! =)

  • K

    I’ve been thinking about it more this morning and here are a few more of my thoughts – just putting this out there for John and everyone to think about (although I’m not sure how many will see this but anyway here I go)

    Ideas for a “Debate”

    1) Set up a NEW web page for it (I’ve never set one up so I don’t know how much work that would be) – that would make it a stand alone spot which would be good for a number of reasons. This page could be closed for comments after a certain period so there would not be a long term maintenance issue. Maybe it could be opened again for another round at a later date.

    2) Plan for it way in advance. Publicize it, invite one and all. I’ve thought about how to invite pastors from churches who disagree – we probably all know of them across the country. All of us would have to take the action to e-mail one or two and tell them about the debate (time and place). Would they come? They might at least lurk (I don’t know).

    3)Because the comments can fill quickly and get hard to follow it could be broken up into distinct debate questions – different threads for each one. I don’t know whether it could work to have them all going on at once (thread traffic control could be a problem). Another option is to have one question a day or every other day.

    4) Questions could be broken down to things like

    A) Is homosexuality a choice?

    B) “Clobber Passage #1 debate”

    C) “Clobber Passage #2 debate”

    D)”Clobber Passage #3 debate”

    VJ’s right – this is not the sort of thing that can be sorted out in one go but it could start the process for people who have never taken a look.

    One last thought – maybe John could work with Dan Savage to set up this web debate to follow his dinner debate. (see link)


    I realize if it goes on You-Tube the comments section of that will probably turn into a debate itself but I think it would be better to brake things down into distinct questions – that’s why I still like the web page debate idea.

  • K

    VJ – thanks for the thoughts – good points. I posted some more of my thoughts below.

  • Soulmentor

    I don’t know John. Some of my best thinking happens as I’m trying to get to sleep. If I were you I’d have trouble sleeping nites thinking how to respond to all the UNchristian anti-gay blather that comes your way. I trust you have a discipline that allows you to turn it off.

  • K


    (sorry- I really need to check these posts better before posting)

  • Christy

    Hooray! Love it.

  • Christy

    Hooray! Love from strangers for strangers. Now that sounds like Jesus.

  • Christy

    I understood. Thanks, Lymis.

  • Diana A.

    “Indeed – we are saved by faith/grace, *not* by doctrine!”

    Thank God!

  • Diana A.

    “Convicting”, “Convicted”, etc. are fundamentalist Christian jargon–and a red flag for me. I believe there is a Bible verse that uses the phrase “convicted by the Holy Spirit,” and that this a pet verse among many fundamentalist Christians.

  • S

    I think I figured out who Charlie is… Charles Worley. Guess the writer must be best buds with him…

  • S

    should have read further down 🙁

  • Lymis

    I LOVE it.

  • My word for overly educated religious speak is “theobabble”. It annoys the hell out of me! I like what C.S. Lewis said about the person who cannot speak in the vernacular either doesn’t believe what they are saying or understand what they are saying. Something like that anyway.

  • Mark

    Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law….

    chera take heart, we all know what the “fruits of the Spirit” are. The kind of past you’re talking about doesn’t lead to peace or joy. Raising up your kids and seeing strong and happy, that’s what leads to peace. Hang in there!!

  • TFG

    the enemy isnt decieving you– your already FULLY decieved and now engaging in decieving others.

  • Lymis

    Hmmm… where to start?

    How about, “i before e except after c.”

    But thank you for sharing. Tomorrow, we’ll cover the use of apostrophes in contractions.

  • Melody

    Learn to spell before even trying to engage here. Oh wait…you don’t even know what engage means, much less how to do it. Enjoy your ignorance, my friend.

  • Don Rappe

    Well said.

  • Don Rappe

    I’m sure that is true, because the Spirit blows wherever it wills, but, I suspect the letter writer has yet received the unction into his heart. But, for God, nothing is impossible. Bless the writer’s heart with the Spirit’s warmth and enlighten it with the Light of Jesus, who enlightens the whole world.

  • OMG, so funny. Love it!

  • You’d need to confound it with an argument that makes no sense, but leads to the conclusion that sensible arguments are good without negating the validity of nonsensical arguments (because you are using one). Yup, that could take some doing.

  • Ok John, my comment is two-fold. I have always hated people saying “the devil is a liar” or any combination of that phrase. Mainly because it doesn’t give Satan enough credit for being intelligent. My mother has always said Satan starts off with a truth and then slips in just enough misinformation to trick you into believing his version. That said In my heart I believe the fundementalist are the one’s Satan is using and not the other way around, because Jesus’ message loves everyone and bars none, yet they insist on making Christianity some high-school like clique where only the people who look, act, and agree can get it. Sounds stepford-ish to me.

    My second point is this. Let’s pretend for a second (a very brief second) that the fundies are right and Jesus really does say no tothe whole LGBT community… What does that have to do with equal protection under the law? Since when have my morals dictated yours and given you the right to deny me equal rights?

    I recently heard a story that broke my heart. An older lesbian couple had lived together for years. The one had kids before the relationship and when she came out they disowned her. She lived w/ her partner for 10+ years and when she got sick no one in her family came to see about her. Well, she died. All she had was the house her partner helped her pay off and a small policy. The policy buried her, but because she couldn’t marry and died w/out a will guess who got evicted from the home she help purchase. Guess who got the house?

    As a Christian, even if you have a findemental problem with homosexuality, you srnse of right and wrong should convict you. A christian who truly loves and follows Christ should not be able to stomach that kind of injustice, yet that is the very thing fundies do when they oppose gay marriage.

  • I get the sense that there are the rare few who can hold their own on the other side… but these are rumours of the scarcest of experts writing exclusively in academia – stuff in the minutia of etymological debates, so more then competent but not necessarily relevant to many of the competent arguments presented here, things that only matter if you view the bible (as we have it today, even) as completely literal and inerrant. Maybe there aren’t any credible, non-ivory tower refutations? Or is it the calibre of debaters rather than their views? Or both? I’m really not sure.

  • Loving sinners while hating sin works, but only if you can tell what sin is. Once you confuse who people are with sin itself, your statement, unbeknownst to you, becomes exactly contradictory.

  • John, don’t you feel like this person is trying to convince you with flattery? You’re so important that God and the devil are battling it out for the future of your blog. Charlie and Letter Writer have each been directed to spend considerable time ministering to change you even as you clearly resist. You are just too important to lose! Not just your own soul, but the whole future of the gospel is at stake! God has something “mighty big” in store for your life and will do wonders for you is your resolve the v ast war being fought on the batleground of your psyche.

    That a lot to walk away from. It’s that kind of thing that makes these types of messages insidious. Considering, I think your “Who’s Charlie?” response was just perfect.

  • I DID feel that, Christine! I was, like, “That’s right. I’m prime real estate.”

  • Yes, Ingrid.

  • Nailed “engaging,” though! Pretty sweet.

  • What?

  • LOVE IT!

  • Bruce Strine


    Why Charlie is Pastor Charles Worley of the Providence Road Baptist Church.

  • Lymis

    “Let’s pretend for a second (a very brief second) that the fundies are right and Jesus really does say no tothe whole LGBT community… What does that have to do with equal protection under the law?”

    What it would actually say is that LGBT people are weeds among the wheat, and the Gospel is very clear how you deal with such a situation – you treat them all like plants until it is harvest time, rather than trying to rip out the weeds and destroying the wheat in the process.

    While I absolutely deny that there’s anything morally wrong with being gay, bi, or trans, it’s pretty clear to me that a lot of this sort of Christian really are destroying the Kingdom and the church to try to root out what they have decided are weeds, or at least their own access to the Kingdom in their own hearts and minds.

    While I wouldn’t support anti-LGBT discrimination for any reason, it just maddens me when these people don’t even follow their own rules while they are condemning others for not following them.

  • vj

    tee hee 😉

  • vj


  • n.

    so even *without* separation of church and state nobody should be bothering you guys.

  • n.

    i think they meant it must be troubling to read all that. not that it would give you a bad conscience.

    there are many things that could make it hard to sleep, including worrying about where the world is headed.

  • Shelley Van Camp

    Thank you- You put it very well.

  • So now your post of some of your material being appropriated comes to mind.

  • That seems like a hard thing to deny when even some of your detractors seem to fanticize about marrying you. 🙂

  • Michelle Par

    Mike, that really sounds like some of my family members, one in specific. *sigh*

  • Some of us on the team at the time thought about that very response. We figured it would get us fired if he reported us because our sexual harassment policy definitely covered that kind of remark. Not his, mind you. Just a response like that one.

  • Peet

    Lymis, THAT’S IT! God is sending us illiterate prophets to warn us about not spending enough time reading.

  • Betty Simpson

    John, is this guy referring to Charles Worley?? I seriously hope not.

  • Dan, I totally agree with you, but therein lies the problem with trying to have a sane or even theologically accurate discussion with people who believe like this letter writer. They are, themselves, already “convicted by the Holy Spirit,” so they’re right, you’re wrong, end of discussion.

    It is possible the letter writer is correct. Maybe the letter writer was sent here by the Holy Spirit, but it would never ever cross his mind to consider the possibility that he was sent here because he needed to hear the messages that John and the Commenters here bring to this. He would never think he might be the one with something to learn. He might be the one who God is speaking to through John’s blog. No, he/she will only consider the possibility they were sent here to “save” John.

    I have, unfortunately, found many Christians, especially of the evangelical type, to be kind of lazy. They really look for someone in authority to tell them how to think, and by God, they’ve been told for their entire lifetime that gay people are an abomination. There may be theological disagreements amongst the various denominations and even across local churches on many issues, but on that one, there has, from the perspective of lots of people, been no disagreement on that one topic. (Yes, I am generalizing here, but I grew up in the South, and one can’t fling a dead cat and not have it land in a church cemetery, but one would be hard pressed to find many progressive churches.)

    The point is, “the Preacher told me so,” and by granny, there are Bible verses that say it (the Preacher read them to me), and dagnamit the Bible is inerrant, so if you think it’s OK, I don’t care if you’re also a Preacher, you’re obviously not a “Bible-believing” preacher. This is why the people in Worley’s church gave him a standing ovation Sunday. There’s no question he (and they) are right in their views, because I’m pretty sure you can also find tons of his sermons in which he talks about those non-Bible-believing churches. You know, the one’s that don’t preach the same doctrine he preaches. And people buy that because it’s just easy. I don’t have to try to discern the Gospel message for myself. And given that the penalty for getting it wrong is eternal fire and torment…well, better to leave the interpretation to the Preacher. It’s kind of like going to attorney. Later you get to tell the judge that you were just acting on your attorney’s advice.

    The Bible’s a hard book. I’m no minister, I didn’t even stay in a Holiday Inn the night before, but I taught an adult Sunday School class series on Ecclesiastes a while back. Try to get your head wrapped around some of those images sometime. So Preachers of Worley’s ilk go around taking up the easy verses, and preaching resounding sermons on the ten commandments, the flood, Soddom and Gomorrah, and Luke once a year around Christmas. And they are smart enough to play to people’s fears. Watch the video of woman defending Worley to Anderson Cooper. She’s a frightened person with a very small view of the world. (I’m not trying to be mean here, it’s just the truth), and when things don’t go her way (or any of us for that matter) she looks for someone or something to blame. People like Worley give that to them. They know to hand up some group, or some belief on a silver platter, and blame all their problems on that group or thing.

    Maybe that woman can’t find a good job…so the Pastor explains it’s because of the illegal immigrants, or some Democratic President’s trade agreement. Her marriage sucks, and that’s all because gay people want to get married. The economy is in the tank, and it’s because God is displeased because of the secular, islamofacist, communist, satan worshipping, Wicken lesbian couple who moved into that nice house on the edge of town.

    Sorry for going on so much, but my whole point here is you just can’t reason this problem away. I’m Methodist, trust me on this one. (I was at our General Conference here in Tampa this year.) When you have a Clergy Person in that Church serving as a delegate who thinks, with the Session floor literally surrounded by Gay and Lesbian Christians, that it is OK to compare them to Animals, the battle for a reasonable discussion (holy conferencing they tried to call it) is done for.