To Christians Who Still Believe That Homosexuality is a Sin

One December day, when I was seven years old, and alone in our house, I sneaked into my parents’ bedroom, hauled open their closet door, and found, fresh from the department store, just about every toy I had asked Santa to bring me that upcoming Christmas.

Aghast and transfixed, I then knew the brutal truth: far from being way up in the North Pole, Santa Claus was in the closet.

Har!

No, but seriously: I didn’t like my new reality. I liked my old reality, the reality in which I had believed for my entire life—the more imaginative reality. But what could I do? Try to somehow reconcile the unwrapped purchases in my parent’s closet with the whole idea of elves working away in their North Pole workshop?

Love the Santa, but hate the sales receipts? Try to pray away the pay?

Forget it. It was over. Adulthood had scored another knockout.

Perhaps you see where I am going with the metaphor.

That’s right: one day, when you’re home alone, and in no way prepared to deal with it, gay people are going to jump out of the closet and beat you up.

No, but just like the time was then upon me to accept that gift-giving Santa Claus doesn’t really exist, the time is now upon you to accept that gay-bashing Jesus Christ doesn’t really exist. But at least with your new understanding of the way things are, you get to keep Jesus Christ. I had to totally ditch Santa Claus: all of a sudden Smokey the Bear was more real. But you get to totally change your entire understanding of gay people, and still remain 100% Christian. Christianity will actually get better for you, because fully accepting gay people will decrease the amount of anger and stress, and increase the amount of love in your life.

Pffft. Upon learning there was no Santa Claus, I immediately dropped out of Little League and started smoking cigarettes. So. You know.

Here’s the thing: in days gone by, it was reasonable for Christians not to question conventional wisdom about the Bible. Because everyone used the Bible to justify slavery, for instance, Christians were okay with believing that some of their fellow human beings were just another species of farm animal they rightfully owned. Later, we Christians were entirely comfortable using the Bible to justify the atrocious idea that women are second-class citizens too simple-minded to be trusted with the vote.

And up until the Internet made readily available all kinds of previously inaccessible knowledge and information, we could be excused for believing that the Bible indisputably states that God considers homosexual love a moral abomination.

Today, however, anyone who can read, or simply watch YouTube videos, is forced to acknowledge the absolute credibility of the universe of scholarship, and the reasoning based upon it (here’s mine), which unequivocally proves that the Bible does not, in fact, oblige Christians to believe that homosexual love, in and of itself, is necessarily any less moral than is heterosexual love.

That closet door is now swung wide open. The truth of the matter is now there for anyone to behold.

Christians today who take seriously the search for truth must admit that the old axiom that homosexuality is a sin has been forever reduced in status from objective truth to subjective opinion. From fact to belief. From beyond question to unquestionably dubious.

Believing that homosexual love is a condemnable sin, in other words, is now a choice one must make.

And what Christian—what person at all?—would choose ignorant condemnation over enlightened love?

So what if there’s no Santa Claus? We still receive all the gifts. And we still get to hold hands, gather around the Christmas tree, sing all the beautiful songs, and feel all the beautiful love.

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About John Shore

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

  • Gordon

    If you are obviously not funny, then why am I laughing so hard?

  • Larry Petry via Facebook

    interesting, interesting. I appreciate that you challenge those Christians who are openly malicious towards gays. That’s needed. My concern is that, by highlighting “those” Christians, you’re minimizing those who don’t agree with you, yet still remain gracious, searching, conversant (if that’s a word), and intellectually honest. We may be in the majority, but there are some of us out there. Again, thanks for stirring the waters, John.

    • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

      Larry, I think part of the problem is that you don’t have to be openly malicious to hurt someone. Teaching that being gay is a sin harms gay people, even if you do it without any malice in your heart. It leads, provably, to ostracism, to discrimination, and to suicides.

      A gracious, searching, intellectually honest person who signs a petition to overturn same-sex marriage out of an honest desire to follow the Bible does just as much real tangible harm to LGBT people as a hateful bigot does with the same signature. That’s not to say that the bigot probably isn’t doing more harm in other areas and that the good person isn’t doing other good—just that intent doesn’t magically absolve anyone of the consequences of their actions.

      It’s not just that Christianity needs to stop being hateful and openly malicious toward gay people. It’s that Christianity needs to stop *harming* gay people. Respectfully and politely continuing to harm people isn’t enough.

      • Andy

        Kelly teaching someone that being gay is not a sin harms them much, much more.

        • Melody

          Andy, your real name is Frank, right? You.have the same superiority complex and make the same insipid, unproven statements, with no source but the Bible. You can’t prove the Bible is the definitive source for morality, especially when you don’t understand the historical and cultural contexts in which it was written. The original Greek was NOT homosexual. Ignorance does not excuse bigotry.

        • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

          Because teaching them to despair and kill themselves is working out so well.

        • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

          “Kelly teaching someone that being gay is not a sin harms them much, much more.”

          And that differs from “teaching someone that being black / female / mentally disabled is not a sin harms them much, much more” exactly how?

          • Andy

            Sexual choice is not the same thing as race or physical characteristics. It foolish of you to try and suggest that.

          • DR

            Andy, when did you choose to be straight? Was it when you were a little or did you choose to prefer women over men in high school?

          • Gary

            I’ve noticed that Andy has yet to answer even ONE of these questions. Obviously when he has no answers he simply ignores the question. Very transparent strategy…but I guess if that’s the best ya got and are unwilling to learn anything…ya go with what ya got.

            LOL

          • Luke

            Oh, now there is an interesting point about people who harp about the sinfulness of homosexuality. Either they enjoy taking a cheap shot at a vice to which they are not tempted, or maybe they are tempted. Gay vs. Straight are not binary opposites, but a continuum. (There are several axes of sexuality.) The majority of people are pretty straight. Some people are pretty gay. These folks have no experience of having a choice about their sexuality. I certainly don’t, so I have a hard time seeing what is so threatening about the idea that other people’s sexuality might be different. However, some people, maybe many people, are on that continuum. I am aware that some, in fact, do experience a choice about how they are going to manifest their sexuality. I can see how someone like that, if they were brought up believing that you were either straight or one of those awful sinful Other People, might be terrified by being in the middle. They might want to have all kinds of strict rules and laws, held with great certainty, to shield themselves from an uncomfortable truth. Or they may have something else that drives them toward a legalistic certainty. But this is just conjecture. The truth is between them and God.

          • Bible Jim

            To love is a choice and who you love is a choice, saying anything otherwise would be going against God’s nature. We have a choice and its very simple, you can either choose to live or die. If you choose to live then you will die, if choose to die then you live.

          • DR

            Jim, when did you choose to be straight? Was it when you were a little boy or later on in high school? What did it feel like to make a choice of preferring women over men? Was it a relief?

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Indeed. And if you choose to love, you will live.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            (because you will die.)

          • lulu

            if im a gay man blind folded and a woman is performing fellatio on me and i have no other way to determine her gender besides to look at her in the face im going to enjoy it regardless is the fact that im gay going to stop me from ejaculating while being pleased by a woman if i dont kno its a woman NO ! now if i open my eyes and see its a woman i might be upset and disturbed AFTER i realize what just happen and that it wasnt a man proving homosexuality is a preference not race or gender or anything else like that your not born with it and to suggest that is sick race disabilities from birth and your GENDER!!!! is immediately determined homosexuality is developed doesn’t matter how young it start its still developed

          • Diana A.

            What about pheromones? What about the fact that women probably give a different physical sensation than men do? And even if you’re right that a gay man couldn’t tell the difference if he was blind-folded (and I notice you make no mention of gay women), why are you reducing sex and romance to mere stimulation of the sex organs? Is that all that sex and romance mean to you? What makes you think everyone is like you?

          • DR

            This example is ridiculous, your’e simply confirming what a nerve ending is. Even children can orgasm having no idea it is about “sex” – it’s because their physical parts work. Sex is all about attraction and desire – sexual pleasure and subsequent behavior starts, continues and ends in the mind.

          • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

            Anything a person has no control over is not a sin. No one has ever produced evidence that sexual orientation is a choice (what one does w/that orientation is a choice).

            You used the term “being gay” in the sense of an innate condition being a moral failing. I gave examples of other innate conditions. The ball is now in your court to explain why the state of being gay is a moral failing but the state of being black / female /mentally disabled is not.

          • Mindy

            This made me laugh. And then filled me with disgust. We are not talking about “sexual choice” here. And that, dear Andy, is what this whole thing boils down to.

            Are you married? Have you ever had sex? As Lymis mentioned, your spiritual immaturity is really showing here, so I’m wondering if you are actually old enough to understand what you are talking about here.

  • Theresa Rayfield via Facebook

    what a great article!

  • http://inklingsofreality.blogspot.com Chris Coppenbarger

    How do you explain the Corinthians having once committed homosexual acts, but have now been washed and cleansed by Christ?

    • vj

      They were not in the kinds of same-sex relationships that we find in a modern context, where persons of equal socio-legal status *choose* to commit themselves to one another. They engaged in idolatrous temple prostitution and/or licentious orgies (there’s a *reason* the Roman Empire is pretty synonymous with orgies). They used and abused slaves and captured enemies, who had no legal standing to refuse. When they turned to Christ, they would quite naturally be expected to give up whatever they had previously being doing in the context of worshipping idols.

      The closest equivalent now would be the sexual abuse that occurs in prison. I think we can all agree that there is world of difference, morally speaking, between what happens in prison, and two adults of the same gender wanting to spend their lives together?

    • Gary

      Hey Chris, I see from your blog you support Ken Ham and the Creation Museum. Is this correct?

      • http://inklingsofreality.blogspot.com Chris Coppenbarger

        Correct.

        • Gary

          Just wanted to be sure.

          Hate to say it but I won’t be attempting to reason with you. By supporting the quackery of this man and his organization you demonstrate that you are willing to completely disregard all reason, scientific knowledge, and revelation from God Himself through His creation, in favor of your dogma. Not much hope of productive discourse with one who so willingly embraces profound ignorance.

          • DR

            Good call.

          • http://inklingsofreality.blogspot.com Chris Coppenbarger

            Nice try at attempting to bait me. Not falling for it. Should you wish to discuss your off-topic baiting somewhere else, feel free to do so. Thanks.

          • DR

            LOL!

          • Gary

            No baiting…merely stating the obvious…LOL

          • http://inklingsofreality.blogspot.com Chris Coppenbarger

            You asked me a question and and I answered simply. This is not the thread to debate such a topic. Do you know how much I may or may not agree with him? No, you don’t. You commit an error by assuming that just because I write a post or two about him from a recent conference that I wholly support him or not. You’ve made your mind up about me without even exploring what I may or may not believe. The whole guilty by association thing, I guess. Why don’t you go ahead and associate me with Westboro while you’re at it? Since I obviously believe that homosexuality is a sin, I may as well be in the same bed as them, right?

          • Gary

            Nope…that pig won’t fly…lol.

            You have already stated you believe in a literal 6 day creation…which likely means you also believe it happened somewhere around 6000 years ago.

            Nuff said.

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            I think there was a point in there where I believed in a six day creation AND that homosexual sex was a gift from God…

            Yup, definitely some overlap in there. And it even made sense in the internally coherent fasion.

            Maybe not a lost cause after all…?

          • http://inklingsofreality.blogspot.com Chris Coppenbarger

            No, it’s not enough said. You’ve judged me to be someone based on one association. Therefore because you assume I may be an unreasonable person and refuse to have any discussion at all. Really? Who’s being unreasonable here? Basically, you have sought to paint me into a category in order to shame me so that nobody would want to have any discussion with me.

          • Gary

            Spin it how you want.

          • Diana A.

            “Why don’t you go ahead and associate me with Westboro while you’re at it?” Okay, we will!

          • Melody

            Agreed. If the shoe fits…

          • Mindy

            Chris, how stupid do you think we are? I’ve read your nonsense before this, enough times to know that Gary is spot on, totally nailing it in his assumptions of you based on that one word answer. You are an arrogant pip who, if you support even the existence of the Creation “Museum,” thumbs his nose at proven science. Someone like that hardly qualifies as one worth arguing, since, in fact, you refuse to listen, consider or accept anything that flies in the face of your very narrow worldview, regardless of how often it is proven wrong.

            You fling insults, twist words, and insist that you are right and everyone else here is an obvious moron, touting yourself as somehow superior in YOUR relationship with the Almighty than any of us. People like you, people who spew your vile, hateful bigotry, regardless of how you pretty it up, make my skin crawl. I’ve tried civilly “discussing” with you before – no more. I will call a spade and spade and move on. You, sir, are that spade.

          • http://inklingsofreality.blogspot.com Chris Coppenbarger

            Give me one example where I’ve insulted someone, twisted someone’s words, touted myself as superior to everyone else. Just one. You accuse and slander me of a lot! Hateful bigotry? Narrow worldview? Really? When I take God’s Word at what it is? Really?

            Stop the accusations and address the issues. Gary asked me a question to bait me just to attempt to discredit anything I may have to say right off the bat. Proven science? Does science outweigh God?

          • Gary

            You certainly seem to believe that your ability to reason and understand outweighs God. And yet if you support even 1 theory, just 1 of the creation museum’s pitifully ignorant and false (resoundingly proven time and again as false) shams which they attempt to pass off as scientific theory, then you reveal yourself as one who willfully embraces profound ignorance, just as I stated before.

            Since God created the laws of physics and everything in the universe…science is a great way to understand God. It is in fact one of His methods of revelation to us.

          • http://inklingsofreality.blogspot.com Chris Coppenbarger

            Science is a great way to understand God, when it doesn’t disagree with the Bible.

          • Gary

            You must be right. After all…all of our great men of faith believed the bible when it contradicted science.

            Let’s see…the great Martin Luther agreed with you. He said this…

            “People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool [or 'man'] wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.”

            And of course great bible scholar agreed with you as well…these are the words of John Calvin…

            “”Those who assert that ‘the earth moves and turns’…[are] motivated by ‘a spirit of bitterness, contradiction, and faultfinding;’ possessed by the devil, they aimed ‘to pervert the order of nature.’”

            These men of God also thought their understanding of scripture was absolutely correct and used it to further profound ignorance and to shame and discredit those who merely studied God’s creation and reported what they found. Whatever you think about these men’s contributions to history and the church, one thing is certain. They were profoundly ignorant in their understanding of scripture as it pertained to God’s created order…as are you.

          • Gary

            Now to tie this all back to the purpose of this particular blog entry.

            It is this very same allegiance to scriptural dogma, which is just as certainly based on a false understanding of scripture as Ken Ham’s, that leads to the gospel of Jesus Christ being used for a weapon of hate and bigotry against homosexuals.

          • Mindy

            Talk about baiting. No, Chris, I’m not going to wade back through your responses to other posts here OR on FB to find examples of what I’m saying. They are there, you know they are, and regular readers of John’s blog know they are.

            And the question is not “Does science outweigh God?” because science IS God, it is us, His creations, using the intellect and curiosity with which He blessed us to help us better understand HOW our world began, how He has done all He has done. They are never contradictory.

            The question is, “Does science outweigh the Bible?” And the answer is YES, it does. Because over the centuries since it was written, we have learned with that intellect. We have come to understand far more than humans did then – by USING OUR GIFTS FROM GOD, our brains, our growing understanding. So when we figure out that something in the Bible is myth rather than fact, we don’t throw the entire Bible away, we simply appreciate it differently. We understand now that it explained the world in terms people understood THEN. And when everything that has been proven wrong or no longer applies in this day and age is stripped away, the central message of God’s LOVE, of loving your neighbor – those hold true for always.

          • Melody

            You don’t take God’s word as it is. You take it as you want it to be so you can justify your privilege and self-righteousness. You are unbelievably delusional if you think we should trust a myth over what’s been proven.

          • Diana A.

            (rolls eyes)

    • Lymis

      First of all, if you read it, they were heterosexuals who sinned, and as a result of that sin, God gave them over to unnatural passions, with they acted out in idolatrous disregard of God’s plan for them.

      That doesn’t describe the reality of people who have a natural homosexual or bisexual orientation. For gay people, heterosexual activities would be the unnatural passions and actions.

      • http://inklingsofreality.blogspot.com Chris Coppenbarger

        You’re referring to Romans 1 and not 1 Corinthians 6.

        1 Corinthians 6 is referring to the fact that they were liars, murderers, adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals, etc and that those engaged in such as a way of life would not inherit the kingdom of God.

        He goes on to explain how the grace of God had saved them from that life of sin.

        If one discounts one part of that list such as the homosexual part by trying to excuse it as one cultural incident, then one has to discount all of it. So, it’s okay to murder? Okay to lie? Okay to cheat on your spouse? Okay to have pre-marital sex? All of that is okay? What about pedophilia? Bigamy? Where does one draw the line?

        God instituted marriage in Genesis when he says that a man will leave father and mother to be united with a wife (a woman). Be fruitful and multiply, God says. Homosexuals can’t follow God’s commands in that regard, can they?

        Who says that homosexuality is natural? Science? Hah! Culture? Hah! Nothing has proven that homosexuality is a natural part of being human other than the sin that is within each one of us. Sin causes us to act against God’s will.

        • DR

          I’m confused, below, Nathan (who is aligned with your belief) says that sin at its core doesn’t hurt anyone. It would be great if you guys got your story straight on sin given the “Truth” of it is so objective and so clear (or so you all keep saying).

        • Lymis

          Okay, my bad. I don’t pretend to play chapter and verse. I prefer to focus on content, context and actual meaning.

          No, you don’t have to pitch the whole list if you disagree with part of it, any more than you have to pitch the whole Bible if you don’t believe in a 6 day creation myth or that women should be quiet in church, the simple little dears.

          What you have to do is have some sort of other standard by which to evaluate which parts of any given list apply, and in what ways.

          It is not okay to murder, because the other person doesn’t consent to being murdered, and someone is actually being harmed. Pedophilia is wrong, because children cannot meaningfully consent to adult sexual activities, and are often enough harmed by it that it’s appropriate to ban it in all cases.

          Cheating on one’s spouse isn’t okay because you’re breaking solemn agreements that you made with another person – and having sex with someone else with their full consent and enthusiastic support isn’t wrong at all. Bigamy is illegal, but it isn’t immoral, again, if everyone involved happily consents.

          Premarital sex is morally neutral. Sometimes and in some expressions of it, it’s dehumanizing. At other times and in other expressions of it, it’s a positive good.

          Lying is general bad, but there are times when it is morally acceptable or even morally required. Letting the Nazis know who has Jews in the attic, even when they ask nicely, would definitely count as A Bad Thing.

          Same sex sexual behavior occurs in nature in all species of primates, most species of birds, and the whole range of canine and feline species. That sort of counts as “natural” by any rational definition.

          Your “sin causes us to act against God’s will, which is for us to be heterosexual, because homosexuality sin” is circular, if not actually spiral, logic.

          • http://inklingsofreality.blogspot.com Chris Coppenbarger

            No, you’re viewing scripture as interpreted by culture today, not in how or when it was written. Context is king, as they say, and you’re attempting, as John has to place the context in today’s society. Homosexuality is okay in today’s society, so, it must be okay in the Bible.

            You suggest that culture dictates what is moral and isn’t moral. Really? Is that in the Bible somewhere? You suggest that the 6 day creation is a myth.

            In other words, you don’t believe even the first words of the Bible. If you don’t believe part of the Bible, how can you believe any of it?

            That’s where apostasy starts…remove parts you don’t agree with or assume or myth or culture says can’t be right, and the next thing you know, you’re believing a lie.

          • Gary

            Well actually yeah…much of the “morality” expressed by Paul was very culturally specific and no longer applies today. You know…that whole intent of the law thing rather than the letter of the law that Jesus spoke of.

            And don’t patronize with the nonsense about not believing the first words of the bible. It only requires a little wisdom to recognize the difference between metaphor and science.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Recognizing that it is a myth does not preclude acknowledging that it is true, Chris.

            It is a story of the Creation; creation stories are a category of mythology; period.

            There are many mythologies among the many peoples of the earth, many of which appear to contradict each other. It is possible, of course, that none of them is true; it is possible that exactly one of them is true; and it is possible that fundamental elements of truth may be found in more than one (for example, if Genesis is true, then the Creation story happens to be true in both Christian mythology and Jewish mythology).

            And yes, the big bang and the evolution of species constitute part of modern scientific mythology.

          • Melody

            Well I don’t know what to think now. Here you make perfect sense. On the other thread you’re a totally different person who thinks being gay is wrong because the Bible says so and should never be questioned!

          • AMA

            Actually, I think if you read what John has written on the subject carefully, you will see that he puts it all in the context of when it was written and that is exactly why we can’t take it “literally” as it appears in our Bibles today.

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

            ahhhhh. thank you, AMA.

          • Andy

            John certainly gave it a good old college try but it falls way short. Even the best efforts will not change the meaning to what you would like it to be.

          • Melody

            Same goes for you, Andy.

          • Andy

            I am not the one trying to change the meaning. As much as I would like there to be a different meaning there is not. Practicing homosexual are sinning. No way to get around that no matter how hard you try.

          • Christy

            Have you tried? Have you read the exegesis on those scriptures from the other point of view? Have you read John’s book? Have you talked to gay people who explain they didn’t choose who they fell in love with? Have you tried, Andy? Have you tried to walk in someone else’s shoes, to see what the mountain looks from a different angle, the way Jesus taught us to put others first before ourselves?

          • Melody

            The original meaning is not the English translation. You just want it to be so you can deprive gays of their rights.

          • contextualist

            andy, i very much doubt that you obey all the commands and observe all the prohibitions of the bible. a convenient list of some items clearly labeled as sin in the bible was made in the humorous [but serious] ‘letter to dr laura’ a decade or so ago — easily found on the internet, e.g. at

            http://www.humanistsofutah.org/2002/WhyCantIOwnACanadian_10-02.html

            and please don’t try to dodge those injunctions because they come from the hebrew scriptures rather than the NT. if it’s god’s word, it’s ALL god’s word, and you are bound by every jot and tittle. or — if you can pick and choose which injunctions to observe — so can non-heterosexuals.

            in any case, NT documents implicitly condone slavery, and explicitly condone monarchy and the subjugation [and silencing and veiling] of women — so the same standards would, by such a theology, apply under both covenants [or dispensations, if you are dispensationalist].

            the point might be made, as one pastor i heard made it succinctly, is that all the bible is written FOR us; not all of it is written TO us. which is perhaps another way of saying what john shore has written here.

          • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

            All of the Bible is written FOR us. Not all of it is written TO us. I love that!

          • Andy

            Christy I have. I wish I could say that the bible says homosexuality in any form is not a sin. It would make things easier. But it says it is a sin. I have read all the arguments against that truth. All the verses and all the reinterpretations. They fail miserably.

            Contex those are red herrings and straw man that have been knocked down repeatedly. Maybe you all should expand your horizons a bit.

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

            I’m curious Andy, what does your enlightened view think of those of us who are no longer practising homosexuality? I’m pretty sure I’ve graduated by now. Ask my wife…

          • Gary

            LMAO Cindy. This is an awesome comment.

          • Mindy

            “Contex those are red herrings and straw man that have been knocked down repeatedly. Maybe you all should expand your horizons a bit.”

            Huh? C’mon, Andy, really? That’s all you’ve got? Do you even know what the red herring and straw man fallacies mean? Because the exegesis of which Christy speaks has actually NOT been “knocked down repeatedly.” I’m sure fundamentalists have continued to disagree with them, insist they are wrong – but that means nothing, because they are bringing no evidence to the table. And more and more Christian leaders are beginning to understand and accept that what is defined as sin is NOT homosexuality. You are not only in the minority here, you are on the losing side of this argument. You are missing the bus, and you’ll be disappointed, because God is driving.

          • DR

            Cindy for the win!

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Good points in that last comment of yours there, Andy!

            (It might be good though, if, for the sake of others, you demonstrated how and why contextualist’s arguments strike you as insufficiently rigorous or invalid.)

            I’ll grant that, taking the Bible at face value, it does seem to clearly indicate homosexual sex to be sinful.

            But have you considered that that may have been revealed at stage in human history to early to have any way of distinguishing in the text what today we call straight people and gay people? Indeed, it’s probably good that Greco-Roman institutions of pederasty or involving ritual orgies, etc., fell by wayside of history as Christianity rose to prominence in the world. But these have little to nothing to do with LGBT identity, gay rights, etc.

            If the scriptures do presuppose a concept of committed homosexual relationships, then they notably decline to condemn them specifically. However, if, as it seems, the New Testament does not presuppose such a concept, then it is erroneous to understand the scriptures as condemning these relationships, except perhaps for those who believe such relationships to be wrong for *them* (and such people ought to be only heterosexuals, if we consider the crime of going against one’s nature a wicked perversion).

            Moreover, in general, none of the commandments given, in any interpretation that men might make of them (considering that the minds of a men cannot fully grasp the complexities of, for instance, true love), are traditionally taken to apply in an absolute sense like this. The Bible clearly indicates that we are not to kill. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. Yet somehow we go to war. And in war, we occupy cities, though we are not to steal. And in love, we fuck, even though sex is naughty and nasty and animalistic. But it’s not wrong: all is fair in love and war.

            And if there is this possibility that same-sex love-making isn’t always sinful, then, well, like John Shore’s article here says.

          • DR

            You know what Andy? Just because you’re saying this kind of thing all over the blog is all I need to change my mind. I don’t need specifics. I don’t even need you to be clear. Just saying “John bad. Wrong. False Christian” has opened my eyes. Thanks, brother.

          • Andy

            DR you are so far into deception nothing I say will make any difference to you, that’s clear. That’s why I feel sorry for you.

          • DR

            You don’t feel sorry for me. You are terrified of me. :)

          • Melody

            The only deceived one here is you and anyone else who cares more about a legalistic reading of the Bible than what Jesus actually taught. You don’t feel sorry for anyone here, you filthy hypocrite. You just love to tout your uninformed bigotry as truth.

          • Lymis

            “No, you’re viewing scripture as interpreted by culture today, not in how or when it was written. Context is king, as they say, and you’re attempting, as John has to place the context in today’s society. ”

            You appear to have missed my point exactly. You asked me about lying, cheating, murdering, and child abuse, not about Scripture.

            I’m not viewing Scripture according to today’s culture. I’m viewing lying, cheating, murdering, and child abuse as moral issues in the world in which I live. Since you appear to want to discuss them in terms of Scriptural language, I’m willing to meet you there and discuss them, at least in part, on those terms.

            But the morality of something does not lie in whether or not the BIble supports or condemns it, even though in a lot of cases, the Bible can help us clarify our reasoning. There are a lot of things the Bible got completely wrong. I have no obligation to support my views with specific Biblical quotes.

            I don’t live in the 4th century BC, nor in the 1st century AD. I don’t have the option of making my moral choices in those times or in those cultures. I live in this time, in this culture, and (with all that omniscience and omnipotence and all) that seems to be God’s intention for me.

            Of course I make my moral choices informed by the culture in which I live. Not entirely, and not exclusively, but let’s not pretend that modern Christianity is somehow distinct from modern culture, or that you get to skim off everything good and put that under “Christian” and take everything bad and put that under “Modern culture.”

            And I make my moral choices as a man who has been on this planet making moral choices for a half century. I don’t need a chapter and verse citation to justify every moral choice I make.

            The map is not the territory. The travel guide is not the destination. And a facility with quoting Scripture is not a relationship with the Living God.

          • Andy

            Perfect. I love this statement because it so perfectly defines you and why your views really don’t make much of a difference in regard to truth. Thanks for sharing!

            “There are a lot of things the Bible got completely wrong. I have no obligation to support my views with specific Biblical quotes”

          • DR

            I’m sure that Lymis is even *more* open to this Truth of Christ you’re allegedly claiming you have after a hostile comment like this.

            There are so many well-intended people out there who want us to love Andy and treat him with kindness. And I love them, I love the purity of their heart and their earnestness. I love that they believe in the best for him.

            What I think they miss is Andy is truly, encased in fear. He is terrified to the point that his entire mind and heart are closed to entertaining any idea that would shake the world he has constructed for himself. It’s not that he *won’t* consider something different – he can’t. It’s too terrifying for him to consider that he’s wrong because he’d lose too much (or that’s what his brain is telling him).

            We can only pray for Andy and protect gay men and women from him. That’s truly all we can do. Our common goal needs to be being louder than Andy and literally where we can, limit his impact on this community. We can do that by voting the right people in, by participating on this blog and by never allowing him to have the last word. We can do it by staying here longer than he does and having the courage to face the Andys in our church, even if it means losing some friends. It’s super scary and I know one thing, I know that Jesus can change Andy if and when Andy ever finds the courage to open his heart. And we can pray for that Grace. It’s truly our only hope for people like this (and it should be).

          • Andy

            I have no fear regarding standing up for biblical truth and calling out false teachers.

          • DR

            I know that’s what you believe about yourself, Andy. I know that’s what you believe you are doing. You’re in twice as much darkness because you believe what you are doing is motivated by righteousness. So you can’t see it.

          • Mindy

            But you ARE a false teacher, Andy. And that’s the painful truth you simply can’t see. You can continue to disagree with and denigrate John Shore and every one of us commenting here, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are wrong on this topic. That literal Bible inerrancy is not ever what God intended, and that even if it was, that literal reading (by definition, even!) MUST be done in the historical and cultural context of the time in which it was written.

            Homophobia has been shown to be strongest amongst those who fear those feelings within themselves. I don’t know if that is your story, and you are terrified of being your true self for fear of losing God and your church and family – if so, I pray for you to find a way to be true to yourself.

            What I imagine is more likely is that you fear letting go of this interpretation of Scripture because, oh my God, if THIS is fact, if homosexuality is not, in fact, abhorrent to God, then what ELSE is not carved in stone? What other pieces of your foundation will begin to shake and crumble? And the truth is, none of them will. None of them that are based on the primary premise of a LOVING God. You will free yourself up to think for yourself -and that doesn’t mean doing anything “wrong.” It means losing the hate, losing the judgment, focusing on seeing and doing what is good in this world. I hope one day you are brave enough to find God’s love and free yourself from such fear.

          • Melody

            That’s because, as Mindy said, you are a false teacher. You are nothing but a liar and a coward who plays the martyr when we call out your hypocritical, self-righteous behavior.

          • DR

            The sheer pleasure you’re clearly taking in your quick 1-2 liners is chilling. If one who truly desires those who are gay to come to Christ, you’d invest time and energy in explaining your beliefs, doing so carefully with great precision. You are revealing a lot more about yourself than I think you intend to.

          • Lymis

            Well, it’s clear you’ve decided to dismiss me for one reason or another, whatever it took.

            So if this post serves for you as the perfect definition of why my views make no difference to you, I can live with that, because I think they do express my views on the subject.

            Slavery is wrong, and we can’t use the Bible itself as the sole authority for making that claim, because the Bible sends very mixed messages on it, clearly and explicitly approving of it in places and clearly upholding the dignity of all people in Christ in others. We need an outside compass for that evaluation.

            Eating pork or shrimp is not wrong, but we can’t use the Bible itself as the sole authority for that, either. Nor for not forcing a woman to marry her rapist, nor for not stoning non-virgins, nor for favoring monogamy over polygamy.

            I’ll stand by that conviction. And if that is the basis for you dismissing my views, it’s certainly not going to make me lose sleep.

            It does affect my opinion of your spiritual maturity, not only that you’d hold the view in the face of everything arrayed against it, but that you seem to take such glee in doing so. On the other hand, immaturity is usually easier to overcome than obstinacy. It’s pretty clear that you don’t know what you know, and that’s a pretty big opening for the Holy Spirit.

          • Mindy

            Yes. This.

        • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

          If the word is TRANSLATED wrong, then the list isn’t being thrown out, we’re just learning homosexuality was never IN the list.

          So, in all the cultures where women leave their families to be married (not men, which is extrodinarlity uncommon), they are all getting it wrong? And I can procreate, by the way… Not to mention Paul’s celibacy and his calling other people to it. Encouraging other to disobey those commands. The evil celibacy agenda.

          And please, will people finally get it together to decide if gay sex is sinful because it is natural or because it is unnatural. You can’t all have it both ways.

        • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

          “So, it’s okay to murder? Okay to lie? Okay to cheat on your spouse? Okay to have pre-marital sex? All of that is okay? What about pedophilia? Bigamy? Where does one draw the line?” I’ve tackled most of those items above. The stronger taking advantage of the weak b/c the weak can’t defend themselves is always wrong. Lying is wrong when it is used to take advantage of someone. It’s okay when it’s being used to preserve life or genuinely help a person.

          My father died of Alzheimer’s; like most Alzheimer’s patients he suffered from “sundowning” (i.e., a condition that as night falls, the Alzheimer patient believes they have to leave the premises and “go home” even though they may actually be in their own home). To keep him from getting hostile until it was time for him to take his nightly sleeping pill, we would tell him we’d take him home “as soon as the kids come back with the car”. That would satisfy him for a few minutes, then he’d ask to leave again, and we’d lie to him again. It kept him from becoming agitated and being a threat to mom, so I have no qualms about having done it. If you think I’ve done wrong, take it up with God. If you like, I can pass along some suggestions on how to arrange a meeting.

          There’s nothing in the Decalogue (a.k.a. The 10 Commandments) prohibiting premarital intimacy. Moses proscribed it, but then Moses proscribed a lot of things. If you’re wearing a cotton / polyester blend right now, then you’re a worthless sack of human excrement in Moses’ eyes.

          “Who says that homosexuality is natural?” Well, it’s been observed in all mammalian species, several species of birds, and some reptiles (frankly, people don’t want to get close enough to crocodiles and rattlesnakes to find out). If animals do it, then pretty much by definition it’s natural. Unless you’re saying animals have a sin nature (i.e., an ability to tell the difference between right and wrong). That would imply a soul, and what kind of God would create souls that were incapable to repentance? If animals engaging in homosexual mating (and some of them do mate for like with partners of the same sex) and they have no souls to be endangered by sinful acts, it follows the actual act of homosexual relations is therefore not sinful in and of itself (there may be various behaviors leading up to it that are sinful, but then those behaviors would apply equally to heterosexual relations).

          “Be fruitful and multiply, God says. Homosexuals can’t follow God’s commands in that regard, can they?” I dunno, Chris; I’ve met some pretty fruity homosexuals and several of them had kids…

          • Lymis

            Well said! Thank you.

          • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

            Back on that whole “all for us but not all to us” bit, “be fruitful and multiply” was a direction to the only 2 people on the planet. There are now 7 billion. I think it’s been covered.

          • Lymis

            I’m gay, and I have a degree in mathematics. So, does that mean I’m both fruitful and can multiply?

            I also have two wonderful stepdaughters by my (entirely gay and always new it) husband’s first marriage. Gay doesn’t mean infertile.

  • Danielle McCollum-Tucker via Facebook

    Love you John! So much : ) you’re the best friend I have that I’ve never met!

  • Jono

    I heard someone (not giving a name as this is a paraphrase) report asking a colleague why he and his parish had such difficulty with accepting homosexuality, even when presented with biblical basis for such. The response he got was that people were scared that if this thing that they had been taught forever was false, what else might turn out also to be false.

    • DR

      That’s such an honest response. Good for that person. That’s someone finally getting to the truth of all of this.

    • Christy

      Yes. Important insight. How fear holds us back. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Lisa

    Yes, you are funny. I love reading your posts.

    That being said, I have a concern. I live in the middle of the Bible belt, and I am a Christian. I have numerous ‘religious’ people, including pastors and their wives, on my FB friends list.

    I am trying so hard to get people to change their way of thinking, as you are. They are so entrenched in their beliefs. I like to share your words of wisdom, to help sway the the people that read my posts.

    Unfortunately, the people that I am trying to sway, will no longer read a word that I say, should I post this article to my wall. I find the sarcasm funny, but they will close their minds as soon as they read that they are a dick.

    I am not sure if you are wanting to help change the world, and make it a better place (I think that you are trying to do that), but sometimes the way you say things turn off someone that you want to change. Sometimes getting a laugh, has the opposite effect on those that you are wanting to ‘listen’ to you.

    • DR

      Lisa, if people on your Facebook wall aren’t dedicated to pursuing the Truth of Christ enough to look past tone and style, then nothing anyone would say – even if John had chosen to write this in lovely, gentle haiku – would listen.

      People who are truly pursuing Christ are able to – via the Grace and discernment provided via the Holy Spirit – to look past anger and sarcasm and see what they are, pain and grief over how unrepentant sin ravages the vulnerable. Many Christians are feeling “under attack” right now regarding this issue because those of us who do hold these beliefs are being held accountable to their impact. And those of us who do not are being held accountable for why we are staying silent or passive, not organizing ourselves (like John has here) to become a louder voice over this abuse.

      Consider that. Anger is quite often, an activating agent. It stirs people in their deepest, most unconscious place. Sometimes the Holy Spirit is going to disturb the waters and He is going to use anger to do that. If you’re feeling led to post this, then do it and let your friends start being accountable to the truth in these words and facing their choice of distancing themselves from the truth (if that’s what they do) because it’s not packaged in the specific way they prefer. That’s one thought! :)

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

      If you love reading my posts, but have friends who would shun you if you so much as posted what you love to read on your own wall, then it seems to me you need to make some new friends.

      • Lisa

        John, really? Find new friends. I did not expect that response at all.

        I am trying to help make the world a better place, which is what I thought was your objective also. How does one make changes, when they drop the friends that they have, and only be friends with those that have the same opinions that they have.

        I prefer showing people a different way of looking at things. Things that most wont even dare to speak of, for fear of going against the Bible.

        • DR

          Lisa, I understand your intent. I believe that you want to change the world and you’re in a tough place. But please – notice where you’re spending your energy here. You’re putting the burden on people like John to censor himself so the message can be “served up” to those who have so far, refused to listen to anything. You’re placing the burden on those who have been wounded their by our Church (and your friends) – as well as their advocates – to speak a specific way. Christians have somehow found a way to be OK with demanding that people move toward *us* – in this instance, use the language we prefer – instead of us meeting them exactly where they are and starting there. Even when it’s when they think we’re a dick.

          When Jesus pursued the one lost sheep, He didn’t demand that the sheep walk halfway up the hill and run at a specific pace. He just went to where that sheep was and got him.

        • vj

          Maybe it’s not so much that you should get new friends, but that the friends you have should develop slightly thicker skins? The world is full of evil that rightly causes offense, but there so many worse things to get offended about than a few expletives (if ‘dick’ even rises to that level). You could always give your friends a ‘cuss-word alert’ along with the link, or, if you really don’t want to share John’s own words you could always paraphrase….

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

          meanie part gone.

    • Cari

      Lisa,

      You make a good point. This post seems to be more for “us” and not for “them”.

      I do think John’s essay (the last chapter of his new book) is written in a way that it can be shared. It is long though so sharing parts might be the way to go. And I think for things like this, it is best to talk “one on one” vs. on your wall. I had a heavy debate break out on my wall and it was extremely uncomfortable for me and I’m sure others reading it. I don’t know if you will get a message when someone comments under your comment but if you do and would like to talk about this more, please send me a fb message.

      http://www.facebook.com/caring.heart.5

      Best to you

  • Caring Heart via Facebook

    I wish you could post this to these “Christians” – they just delete anything that is not something they post though no matter how nicely you try and say it.
    http://www.onemillionmoms.com/IssueDetail.asp?id=453

    • Leslie Marbach

      Heck, I’ll post it. It’ll get deleted but maybe some people will see it. :)

  • Joan Kahres

    I love this article. But I have a problem. I read the article, but only after I got over wanting to close it because your statement, “And no wonder, what with recent polls showing that approximately fifty-two percent of Americans now think that you’re a complete dick.” seriously sent me to a bad place.

    You are a grown and mature man that could make much more of an impact by leaving the “trash talk” in the can where it belongs. I work in a NYC public high school, and I know the “talk”, however, as a Christian, I try and instill the fact that speaking above trash raises you to new places.

    I also do not think people are “dicks” by believing what they do. I believe they are fearful and afraid of change and openness in relationship. Calling those who are fearful and afraid “dicks” certainly won’t help their eyes open. It will shut them tighter and have them hang on to their fears that people are going to hurt them. If I’m called a dick, I am being dismissed, insulted and unlistened to… trust me, I know this personally because of the job description above!

    Just saying… won’t repost this because of the statement, but it’s a shame because it is a great article.

    Thanks for listening and keep up your hard work!

    • DR

      Joan,

      I appreciate people who make an effort to cater to the ways I prefer being spoken to (particularly when I ask for it). I think that’s a reasonable thing that good people do for one another, it’s good to set boundaries, particularly when we’re talking about the things that all connect us together.

      I’m not sure for many of you where this guideline became ok to apply – insist, even – on those who have been deeply wounded by Christianity. Or when the Holy Spirit made us so incredibly touchy that we actually focus on the slight bits of sarcasm and even name-calling that is lobbed over by those who are furious with us for really excellent reasons.

      From where I’m standing, those who make an issue of “dick” and “pansy ass” are missing this massive opportunity to build character and to advance a few levels within your emotional maturity. To understand what is behind those words. To actually face the raw, unedited and uncensored anger from those we’re wounded so terribly in the GLBT community (or anywhere) instead of demanding that someone our community has endangered and abused via our theology is trusting enough to let us have it to our face. And those like John who are such advocates for them are doing the same. Consider that, please.

      • Lisa

        DR,

        I appreciate your comments.

        As Joan and I were trying to point out, a lot of people will simply stop listening to a word you say, once you add profanity. It doesn’t matter if it was the best sermon ever spoken. They hear nothing after the ‘dick’ or after you insult them.

        • DR

          As I said, that is their choice to *allow* a name to prevent them from pursuing the Truth. We choose what keeps us from pursuing the Truth of Christ. For Christians, it would appear that will only hear the truth from someone if it is packaged in a very specific way. That does not represent anything but our inability to handle anger and grief that we have caused.

          • Lisa

            If one can not be respectful to others, when trying to make a point, they will not listen. Using the ‘F’ word, or calling someone names, prior to trying to change someone’s opinion, is useless.

            Will your banker appreciate it, and give you a loan, if you sprinkle your business plan with profanity, or while calling the bankers names?

          • DR

            There is no comparison inless the banker is punching my gay kid in the face as I politely ask him to consider stopping.

          • DR

            ( while I’m asking for the loan)

        • Diana A.

          Yes. This is true.

      • Joan Kahres

        Sorry, but I don’t use pansy ass and dick as communication usually. If you say it’s because I’m emotionally immature, I disagree. But hey! I see emotionally immature every day. I do understand what is behind those words — but the raw, uncensored anger will not help us convince others of the truth. That is what I was stressing. To send this to someone who believes differently from I would put a bigger wedge between us than cause any actual conversation.

        I do consider John Shore a wonderful man working for equality. And I often share what I feel will help my “fb friends” better understand the truth. But this didn’t make my sharing ONLY because calling them dicks before teaching them isn’t worthwhile.

        • Lisa

          I agree Joan. Well said.

        • DR

          Raw anger in many of our faced is exactly what it took to wake us up.

        • Allie

          I find your way of speaking artificial and forced. I have to use it sometimes when I visit my mother-in-law, who feels as you do. And having observed her, I would say that calling someone “dick” in a nice, straightforward manner, is a lot more pleasant for me to be around than the pussyfooting elisions she uses to avoid it. I don’t think the only place for “trash talk” is in the gutter, and not only do I prefer George Carlin to the Church Lady, I think he’s more Christian in spirit. Which is to say, not everyone has the same tastes you have, and you are arguing a matter of taste.

          • DR

            Perhaps there’s a version of the Bible where “viper” has been taken out.

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

      So I removed the meanie part.

      • DR

        Christians are exhausting. You are a saint.

        • Valerie

          You are right DR we are pretty exhausting. :)

          • DR

            I’m sick of us. This petulant, demanding tone where we actually think it’s fine to ask people to censor themselves so their rage at being wounded by our choices is more “palatable” is nauseating. I think we’re the most infantile, self-absorbed group of people on the planet when it comes to dealing with the ways we hurt people and are too prideful and stubborn to face.

    • Lymis

      Really? For that you won’t pass it on? Not even by starting at the “Anyhoots” and saying that it is a quote from a recent John Shore essay?

      Not even when he apologizes in the very next line?

      Not even as a response to the people who say in explicit (but often, the oh, so polite terms you seem to prefer) that all gay people, by definition, are a threat to marriage, a thread to civilization, have an explicit agenda to corrupt kids, are all actively working to destroy Christianity, and are by definition eternally damned to hell?

      Not even because gay kids are killing themselves because they think nobody understands and support them?

      Yeah, I can see how ensuring polite discourse is way more important than any of that. Gotta have some standards, after all.

      • DR

        Sanity.

    • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

      I strongly defended the meanie stuff in the letter to the death-to-you pastor. I think anger and what comes of it are appropriate in displaying a strong defense of vulnerable groups and that feeling the force of anger can sometimes shock offenders into reflecting on what they are doing.

      But here, I think I might agree it was counterproductive. Didn’t get to read the original, though, so hard to tell.

      The difference seems to be two-fold:

      1. Here, John is writing first. It isn’t a direct response to anything. It’s to all those who hold a particular belief – a wide a diverse group – whether they have said or done anything about it or not.

      2. It really seems to be for them. The other letter, while addressed to the pastor, seemed more for the benefit of those hurt by him (as open letters often are). Here, John seems to be trying to really connect with the people he is writing to, and so it isn’t censorship but an awareness of audience and purpose.

      There’s a time and a place for calling people dicks. This just might not have been it. I probably would have shared it anyways, but I can’t know what that would mean in your place. Anyways, problem solved. Just hope it doesn’t mean the meannie bits are gone for good.

      • DR

        The tone police is in full force today. The finger-wagging of those of you offering “good advice” is exhausting. Well intended. And exhausting.

        • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

          Disagreeing is not always policing. Just suggesting. No finger-wagging. I don’t have any problems with calling people dicks, as I think I made clear.

        • http://www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

          Actually got to read the original intro. I take it all back.

          • DR

            Smooch!

  • Suz

    “So what if there’s no Santa Claus? We still receive all the gifts.”

    You can let go of the myth, step off of the cliff. Faith will hold you up. It really will.

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdgalloway

    I keep thinking over and over about passages in scripture that encourage us to be concerned first about our own state of mind, pathway of faith, attitude, and relationship with God. It is repeated enough throughout the New Testament, that I gather it is an important thing we should be doing…so important that maybe looking at other’s state of minds, pathways of faith, etc. are of much less importance.

    Because of that I find myself continually dismayed by those of religious ilk, who demand that we conform to them, instead of simply their and we “working out our own faith…” When I see people of faith attempting to mandate their brand of morality, to the point that it causes more harm, more division, more strife, more distrust, I just gotta wonder what the hell they are thinking…But then I remember. I need to be concentrating on simply doing what God tells me to do, which was summed up in two simple sentences that discussed loving God and neighbor.

    (ok, rant done, sorta feel better)

    • Leslie Marbach

      I’ve said this so many times I almost get sick of saying it: Too many people care more about being right than being compassionate.

      They’re so convinced *they* are right that they don’t leave their minds open to the possibility that others may have some truth to bring to the table.

      • Andy

        Compassion cannot exist without truth and love. It’s not truthful or loving to let someone live in sin.

        • Gary

          “It’s not truthful or loving to let someone live in sin.”

          OK my bullshit-o-meter went through the roof on that one.

          You just threw out the entire foundation of not standing in judgment of others in large part because it is impossible to know what is sin in their lives. In fact…it is usually the weaker brother (by Paul’s definition) who deems it necessary to rebuke and stand in judgment of the stronger brother for “sins” which they do not have the maturity to recognize as freedoms.

        • DR

          A compassionate loving God does not call something “sin” when it is impossible to repent from it and have the Holy Spirit change it. The days of you masking your homophobia and need to control what sexuality is and is not are over.

          • Andy

            People do change. Sexuality has been found to be fluid not necessarily fixed according to the latest science.

            Therefore no one is calling anyone to change the unchangeable.

          • Lymis

            That’s about as wrong as things can get. In fact, it’s even more wrong right now than it was recently, because the author of the single most widely quoted study that indicated change was possible has flatly retracted his claims, apologized to everyone who was hurt by it, and asked for it to stop being quoted, because both the methodology and the conclusions were deeply flawed:

            http://www.truthwinsout.org/blog/2012/04/24187/

            The other thing that people are starting to actually deal with is the actual existence of bisexual people, as opposed to their theoretical existence as mere footnotes.

            Someone who exclusively had sexual behavior with people of the same sex and then chose to change that and has exclusive sexual behavior with someone of the opposite sex isn’t someone who was “cured” or whose sexual orientation “changed.” What’s far more likely, if in fact they are telling the truth about their experience, is that the are and always have been bisexual and shifted the focus of their activities within the unchanged range of their natural attractions.

            Of course, nearly every leader of nearly every ex-gay group that has ever been formed has subsequently come out, said they were lying all along, and that their heterosexuality was a sham that they desperately wanted to have be true.

            Any “cure” where a significant percentage of the relatively small number of success stories later say they were lying is deeply suspect, especially when every reputable medical and psychological body say that change is not possible.

            And of course, the most important refutation of your comment is that even if there is some small percentage of highly motivated people who are able to, through great personal effort, achieve a change, it doesn’t follow that change is possible for everyone.

            There are so very, very, very many people who tried so hard and so long to change that blithely announcing it’s no big deal and everyone should just shut up and change is, frankly, unhinged, staggeringly insensitive, and, well, unChristian.

          • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

            Andy is correct to this limited degree: It has been observed that some people who were exclusively same sex oriented in their adolescence / young adult years do broaden their range in their late middle age years, becoming bisexual to one degree or another. They do not lose interest in their own gender but gain something of an interest in the opposite gender.

            And it happens with or w/o prayer, so that doesn’t seem to be a factor.

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            I pretty sure that happens to straight people, too, though – women get more interested in other women as they age. Seems natural either way, but the degree of shift is small. Essentially negliable in this context.

          • Lymis

            Again, though, the equation of sexual behavior with sexual orientation. People are not straight, gay, or bi because of who their sexual partners are.

            There is clear and obvious proof that people’s sexual behavior is fluid, especially over a lifetime. There is no clear or obvious proof, and a great deal of proof to the contrary, that sexual orientation is not.

          • Gary

            Tell that to Ray Boltz.

            And of course if you really believe this…then you have to believe that you can be attracted to and fall completely head over heels romantically in love with a guy. Otherwise…you are just bullshitting here.

          • Mindy

            Oh, Andy, for heaven’s sake. That has been so refuted as to be almost laughable. Yes, human sexuality is fluid. Over the entire body of humanity, not within one person. I am middle-aged. If I suddenly decided to give a relationship with a woman a try, that wouldn’t mean that I suddenly “became” gay. It would mean that all along I’ve been bisexual and have just never allowed myself to consider it. Because human sexuality happens along a continuum. Some people are very straight, some very gay, some bi, some in between. That’s NORMAL.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdgalloway

          For some reason I am thinking of 1 Corinthians 13 as I have been reading your comments…as well as wondering about the imagined scenario if Jesus would be sandles to the ground today (personally I think he’d be wearing Nikes)

          Who did Jesus keep company with? Lepers. people with deadly communicable diseases and social outcasts. Shepherds, poor, often uneducated, and also social outcasts for cultural reasons, prostitutes…easy to see why they got the short end of the social ladder. Tax collectors, politicians, people of other faiths, theological scholars, people with mental disorders, people with personal political axes to grind, people Jesus knew were only hanging around to get something from him….

          Sorta like the people Jesus would be hanging around with today. Which is why I can’t figure out where the idea that we only keep company with those just like us in every way has persisted in Christianity.

          Jesus shared meals and homes with them, talked with the, listened, laughed and cried, had compassion and love for them…despite that every last one of them lived in sin…as do we all.

          Compassion exists because of love, because one’s version of trust matters less then the person we are interacting with. God’s version of love is so far more advanced then ours could ever be, because God’s love doesn’t look at the petty crap we tend to get fixated on. All he asks of us…and yeah its just an itty bitty impossible task…is to try love with as close a capacity to God’s as we can. And trust me, compared to God’s is diddly squat, and half the time we don’t even use that much!

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdgalloway

            To be clear, this was directed specifically at Andy.

        • danielle

          As if you aren’t a sinner yourself.

          • danielle

            (Also directed at Andy.)

          • Andy

            I most certainly am a sinner. I don’t try and change scripture to avoid that though like the here.

  • Nathan

    I guess I view this issue much like Paul views eating food that was sacrificed to idols. Paul didn’t care one bit whether or not food was sacrificed to idols. (1st Corinthians chapt 8 and 10) But he was sensitive to those that believed that it was sinful. Evidently, this was a common debate in the early church. Some thought it was a sin, others didn’t.

    Paul clearly fell into the camp of believing that it was NOT a sin. But, he was gracious and understanding towards those who felt otherwise. He “agreed to disagree” about it. He even agreed to abstain from it while in the presence of those who felt it was sinful.

    Why can’t (both sides) in the church “agree to disagree” about this issue today? Obviously Paul condemned any hatred, divisions, or quarrels that arose from this disagreement. But he didn’t condemn the disagreement itself. I believe that we should try to do likewise in the church today. Let’s love each other. Let’s worship God together. Let’s be respectful of each other’s views. But let us not try to convince others to give up their convictions.

    • Nathan

      By the way- I am *well* aware that the evangelical church today is doing a very poor job at the harmony I am proposing. But I am also becoming aware (from this website) that the more “liberal” Christian community is perhaps equally doing a poor job at promoting harmony and understanding about this issue.

      • DR

        When a child is in danger and CPS is called, the first priority is getting children away from the abuser and into a safe place. Harmony and understanding comes later – the first priority is protecting those who are vulnerable. That is how urgent this issue is – those who’ve engaged in this have a sense of urgency that is less about making sure you feel good about yourself and more about the emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing of the GLBT community (particularly the children). That you and others who believe like you do (and teach your kids the same) don’t see yourselves as harming this community is nothing that anyone can do if you refuse to acknowledge it. The only thing left is intervention.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdgalloway

        Maybe, as finding a voice that is perfect in any situation is rather difficult, especially as the dissenters can be anything but harmonious and understanding themselves.

        Most who think like I do are peaceable people, yet know that we need to at least say something to counter the hatred, attempts at dictating hurtful dogma, and silencing real discourse that is aimed towards those who are trying to speak or don’t have the means to speak for themselves.

        We ain’t gonna always get it right, and sometimes, just calling a kettle a kettle serves the purpose of helping people to remember that it is a kettle. That can be “fun” when people insist that “NO! Its a pail! How dare you call it a kettle!”

    • Allie

      Agree to disagree about whether or not it’s right to judge one’s brother unjustly? I don’t think so. That’s sin, buddy, and a sin the Bible isn’t ambiguous about at all.

      • Allie

        I need to walk away from this one before I lose my temper. You honestly don’t see a difference between hurting innocent people and a trivial disagreement over scruples? Look, in my church, the Episcopalian, there are people who cross themselves and bow towards the cross when entering the church as a sign of respect, and there are those who feel that crossing oneself is a form of idolatry. That’s a disagreement of the variety you’re referencing. Although there may be uncharitable thoughts, unspoken, more often than there ought to be, we respect each other’s beliefs, and we get along, because it’s truly not important how others choose to glorify God.

        You honestly don’t see the difference between this and saying that someone ought to live and die loveless and alone?

      • Nathan

        Please read 1st Corinthians chapters 8 and 10. Then let me know if you think that there are any parallels to our present situation. Please don’t judge me until you’ve read it. As fellow believers in Christ (I assume?) we owe it to each other to at least investigate whether we can get along without compromising what each of us seems to be equally convinced is true.

        Not being judgmental is NOT the same as abolishing any belief in right and wrong. I’m not trying to convince you that homosexuality is a sin. I’m trying to convince you that it is Ok for me to be a Christian and believe that it is – provided it is not accompanied by the multitude of other sins that are often associated with this belief (hatred, slander, etc).

        • Allie

          See above. You are saying that you believe God wants 10% of the population to live and die loveless and alone. I don’t think that’s an okay belief for you to hold. These aren’t theoretical points of dogma you’re arguing – these are real human beings who are really being hurt.

          Re: 1 Corinthians 8 and 10. Again see above, but having read them just now I see another and larger problem, which is that the situation isn’t parallel at all. Paul makes the argument that eating meat offered to idols is clearly wrong, but there are those who know that an idol isn’t a thing and can eat that meat without in any way participating in the ritual of eating meat sacrificed to an idol. He’s not saying that it’s OKAY to participate in pagan rites of worship, and some people disagree about whether or not it’s wrong. It is wrong to worship idols, period – but some people are capable of eating food sacrificed to an idol without worshiping the idol.

          What makes this different from the situation about homosexuality is that being gay isn’t wrong, on any level. Period. No need to have scruples about it. No need to abstain for the sake of one’s weaker brothers, because there’s no way to harm them by being gay.

          • Andy

            All sin is harmful and an affront to God. Not to mention the social and psychological damage it causes.

          • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

            Sin is falling short of the glory of God. Specific acts aren’t sins, attitudes behind the acts are. Jesus said the devil could quote scripture for his own purposes; are you therefore saying that quoting scripture is a sin?

          • Diana A.

            Scripture quoting isn’t a just a sin. It’s a heinous sin! Down! Down with scripture quoters I say!

        • Natalie Jones

          You keep saying ‘agree to disagree’ and with all due respect sir, PRACTICE what you PREACH!

          • Nathan

            I’m trying to! But people on this website are telling me again and again that my beliefs are hateful and even sinful. I’m not telling you to change your beliefs about homosexuality. I’m asking for you to respect my beliefs. But don’t tolerate any bigotry, hatred, or slander from me. (I hope you’ll notice that I have tried my best to refrain from those sins during this debate!)

            I’m asking you (again and again) if there is any hope for a unified church body without compromising our respective beliefs. Again and again, the answer you (and others) are giving me is “NO”. There’s no room for respectful disagreement on this issue.

            Well, I respectfully disagree. I think there is a 3rd path here.

          • Natalie Jones

            Actually, having read some of the comments, i’d have to disagree. These replies seem (to me at least) to be very respectful.

          • DR

            Dude. It is not peoples’ “opinions” that your beliefs are harmful!! There is *proof* that it is harmful!

          • Lymis

            In all seriousness, is there a similar hope for a unified church body that includes the Ku Klux Klan? Can you all just agree to disagree over whether black people are human beings that should be allowed free access in society?

            Is there room for respectful disagreement on the issue?

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            I was thinking exactly the same thing…

          • DR

            Brilliant.

    • Leslie Marbach

      I can see your point in wanting harmony and unity within the Church (body of believers, not individual churches.) That, I believe, is a noble pursuit. But comparing this issue to eating sacrificed food is a poor, illogical choice. They are in no way equal. Choosing to eat sacrificed food does not mean you’re condemning those who don’t. Likewise, choosing to not eat that food isn’t telling those who do eat the food that they are sinners.

      If we were to truly apply this section of Scripture to the issue of homosexuality, those who believe it to be a sin would merely not engage in same-sex relationships. You and I both know that’s not what happens. They tell LGBT people that they’re not in “right relationship with God,” that they’re going to hell, that they’re not allowed to participate in the church, etc.

      So let’s love each other, let’s worship God together. I do that *only* because I’ve found a community of faith that accepts the fullness of who I am, including my sexual orientation. I was NOT allowed to worship and was not respected at a previous church. They are the ones that caused disharmony, not me being gay.

    • Lymis

      Think about just what “agree to disagree” would look like.

      I think it’s reasonable to say that Christians and Jews can agree to disagree that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God.

      But that is in large part because Christians are, for the most part, no longer claiming that their view should be the basis of civil law, including the often severe discrimination and the justification for bullying, child abuse, gay bashing, anti-trans violence, and a systematic exclusion from equal civil rights and secular participation in society that the “disagreement” over homosexuality currently involves.

      Show me the Christian people who disapprove of homosexuality and are still working vocally and tirelessly for civil justice and equal treatment of LGBT people, chastising other Christians for their hateful words and actions, and advocating total civil equality, and I’ll talk to them about agreeing to disagree, while sincerely thanking them for their efforts. But somehow, there’s a shortage of them. The best we can get from all but a tiny, nearly invisible minority of anti-gay Christians is silence, and often, active participation and vocal support of civil prohibitions of gay equality. (This is, of course, completely distinct from the efforts of pro-gay Christians.)

      “Let’s worship God together” is rich, when one of the most common results of the disapproval of homosexuality is banning LGBT people from the communities who disapprove. What you are saying, in practice, is “you go over there and do whatever the heck it is that you people do, and leave us good Christians to worship in peace.”

      Please don’t pretend that is is a purely theological discussion with no real-world consequences, or that gay people and straight people have equal agency in all this, and that anti-gay views don’t translate into anti-gay laws and actions.

      Because as things stand, “let’s agree to disagree and just love each other” is, in real world consequences, far, far less a call to Christian mutual love and tolerance than it is a call for “fags, dykes and trannies to shut up and know your place.”

      I know you wouldn’t use that language, but the underlying idea is there in all it’s hurtful clarity. And if you think the defining criteria for moral judgements is the vocabulary used, you need to rethink more than a few things.

      And of course, the biggest flaw with your argument is that the way Paul came down on that debate was “if it works for you, then there is nothing wrong with it, but if it doesn’t work for you, you should avoid it.”

      It was most definitely not, “if it works for you, at least agree with the others that it’s still a sin and they are right to condemn you, and if it doesn’t work for you, condemn the ones who do it and work to pass laws that apply even to the people for whom it isn’t a religious prohibition in the first place.”

      Your post has a warm and fuzzy tone, but it doesn’t work the way you think it does.

      Once the majority view among Christians is “I wouldn’t do it, but I don’t have a problem with you doing it if it works for you, and if you find that it doesn’t, feel free to come talk to me for advice, otherwise I’ll keep quiet over here and leave you alone” then we can start talking about “agreeing to disagree.”

      • Leslie Marbach

        Bravo! Can you hear me clapping?

      • Andy

        That’s an unbiblical view. One unbiblical view follows another here it seems. Live and let live is not biblical and not what we are called to do as Chrustians.

        • Lisa

          I guess if you disagree so much with everything, everyone has said, you are welcome to troll a page where you actually have common interest.

        • Diana A.

          You’re free to leave the blog at any time. Or stay here, spit in the wind, and see where it gets you.

        • Lymis

          You seem to think that “unbiblical” is some sort of meaningful accusation.

          Even the Bible makes it clear that the Holy Spirit was sent to us to continue God’s revelations about things that we as a people were not ready to know during Jesus’s life.

          That doesn’t mean that each and every subsequent interpretation or new idea is automatically valid or godly, but it’s certainly about as clear as things can be that the Bible is not going to be the final word on things. So “unbiblical” can only at best be a morally neutral term, not a trump card.

          Pardon the snark, but you are aware that Jesus rose and is still around, aren’t you? Is He on some sort of enforced vacation, or is He still allowed to influence His Church and individual believers if He wants to?

          Given that “Love your neighbor as yourself” is “like unto” the Greatest Commandment, seems to me that anything that increases Christian love among Christians and their neighbors can’t be just dismissed out of hand.

          See also, sheep and goats, and what following Scripture at the expense of caring for the oppressed and in pain can get you.

          • Mindy

            Lymis, you are remarkable. Amazing. Patient. Eloquent. I am honored to be posting on the same blog site. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your beautiful written thoughts.

          • Lymis

            Well, right back atcha and to more than a few other posters. And thank you.

        • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

          “Live and let live is not biblical.”

          =koff-koff= “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” =koff-koff=

          • Andy

            Yes and I would want others to tell me the truth and to tell me if I am sinning not lie to me.

          • Mindy

            Andy, you are sinning. Everything you are saying here is loaded with sin. The sin of judgment, the sin of taking God’s name in vain – speaking for Him and assuming you KNOW how God feels about gay people. There. I feel so much better for having pointed out your flaws. I hope you feel relieved to know that this piousness you feel so very good about in your personality is actually a grievous sin against the very nature of God. You are an abomination for so cruelly hurting so many of His creations, and are, sir, doomed for all eternity. Have a nice day!

          • Andy

            Yeah sure whatever you say. You demonstrate yet again an ignorance of the meaning of scripture. We are called to call out false teachers and false teachings. This place is loaded with it. What’s tragic is that you don’t even realize it or don’t want to.

          • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

            Sounds like some people are calling YOU out as a false teacher w/false teachings. Whatcha gonna do ’bout dat? You hold your Bible in one hand & say, “It means THIS!” they hold their Bibles in their other hand & say “No, it means THAT!” so you are both at stalemate.

            The thing to do is to jettison everything except the central core teachings, which Rabbi Hillel came up with 100 years before Christ (although Christ quoted him in the NT): “Love God, love your neighbor. All else is commentary.”

          • Gary

            Andy the way to call out false teachers is to confront them with truth. You state that we are ignorant of the meaning of scripture…very well. Show us your refutation to our understanding of scripture. Lay some exegesis on us demonstrating you have studied the issue and have something of substance to bring to the conversation.

            All you have done thus far is stand on the sidelines of the debate screaming accusations and insults at those engaged in honest dialogue about one of the most important issues of our time.

          • Mindy

            Yeah, Gary, I asked for that, too. Specifics regarding why our understanding of incorrect translations, etc. is wrong. Specific reasons that your logic he called flawed is, in fact, flawed. I got nothin’ in response. I’m not really surprised.

          • Christy

            You are sinning if you treat people poorly or differently or think they are less than if they are gay. By not supporting Justice and Equality for gay people society discriminates against them. This is a sin.

        • Leslie Marbach

          What seems to be a common theme with you, Andy, is anytime someone disagrees with you *they’re* the ones with unbiblical views or faulty theology or faulty logic. So basically anything that goes against what you think is true is outright false. You’re the only one that’s right. Honestly, it gets old. The people on here commenting (DR, Lymis, etc) are extremely intelligent, Christ-like people who have used their God-given intellect and reason to come to conclusions about the Bible. I don’t see any evidence that you’ve done the same. You spout what you’ve heard or what you were raised to believe. Either bring something new to the table…some original thought…or go back under your bridge.

        • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

          Does “unbiblical” mean “a view you don’t like”? Because here are a couple examples of very “live and let live” Bible verses.

          1 Thessalonians 4:11

          Matthew 7:1-5

          Romans 14:4

          1 Corinthians 10:29-31

          If you want to actually have a discussion, explain why you think something is unbiblical. Otherwise, all you’re doing is running around yelling “You’re wrong! You’re wrong you’re wrong you’re wrong!” I’m sure that’s fun, but I’m not seeing how it’s useful to anyone, you included.

      • Lisa

        Awesome!

    • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

      I’m familiar with the passage and idea behind it. Paul does likewise elsewhere. Posed as the question “is this a Romans 14 issue” as a shorthand. I can say definitely that, for neither say of this issue, does that approach apply.

      The only applies in instances where no sin is being committeed. So, for those who think homosexuality is a sin, they would not acept this approach, and likewise for those who see the terrible harm that comes solely from the view that homosexuality is a sin. The issue is of such gravity, one way or another, that we have to get it right. Whoever is correct, “agreeing to disagree” would be a compromise too far.

      Here’s where I see you going with this: Just like one wouldn’t eat meat sacrificed to idol in front of those thinking it sinful, gay Christians everywhere would hide their orientation and their relationships and families in any setting where anyone believed homosexuality to be sinful. As if not eating that particular peice of meat instead of the other one was the same as denying myself, my wife and my future children to my dearest community. No one is harmed by abstaining from eating meat sacrificed to idols, but grave harm is done my hiding one’s sexual orientation.

      That’s the parallel. But maybe it isn’t what you meant. Maybe you just meant that I don’t have to insist that everyone agree with me. Fair enough. I’m not. I’m insisting that my orientation not be a barrier to my full civil rights and full membership in the church. When someone is willing to have a married lesbian pastor in their own church, and doesn’t in any way negatively affect others struggling with their sexual identity, they can have whatever misguided personal misgivings about themselves partaking in same-sex acts as they want. I won’t force them.

      • Nathan

        To be fair, I haven’t really thought through the details of what such a church body would “look like” or “feel like”. But I’m just becoming convinced that there has to be some sort of middle ground where we both can affirm each other as Christians without being hateful towards each other and without compromising our own beliefs.

        I have Christian friends and family who think drinking, dancing, and gambling are sinful. I don’t agree with them. I don’t hide my drinking from them. But I don’t invite them to a bar to go drinking with me or to a club to go dancing. We still respect each other’s beliefs.

        • DR

          That’s because your friends and your family aren’t putting you in harm’s way or telling you that you’re going to hell because of your “beliefs”.

          Secondly, these are behaviors you’ve listed. You want to keep moving the focus to “gay behaviors” – meaning sex – because it’s easier to justify your point of view. But it doesn’t apply consistently. Your marriage is not defined by you and your wife having sex. That doesn’t define the love you have for her (at least I hope not).

          You simply don’t get the last word here on what this is all about and I think yore having a difficult time with that.

        • Lisa

          Exactly Nathan!

          • DR

            Lisa, it’s very simple. here’s the difference.

            You and others like Nathan really do see this as some kind of theological discussion that you can have and just walk away from peacefully if there is a conflict. Free speech is what we talk about, making sure everyone is listened to and heard. Agreeing to disagree because in the end, it’s just all about the “idea”. The “interpretation” of the Scriptural words.

            Others have finally acknowledged the fact that this is emotional abuse that is sanctioned by those of us who are Christian. It’s not theoretical. It’s not just about bouncing around concepts and ideas, speculating about what God thinks or doesn’t think. It’s very simple, our hearts have been broken by gay men and women. We have allowed them to have the last word on how our “ideas” about what God thinks about them are driving them into despair and driving them away from any experience with Jesus. We’re not in “idea” mode. We’re in “intervention” mode where peoples’ feelings and being polite are secondary.

            In short, the Nathans of the world want to keep talking about this burning building and make sure he’s respected if he doesn’t see himself as lighting the match so of course he’s going to prioritize being spoken to with kindness. We’re trying to put the fire out. It’s time to decide which lane you’re going to pick.

        • Lymis

          “But I’m just becoming convinced that there has to be some sort of middle ground where we both can affirm each other as Christians without being hateful towards each other”

          There is, and that comes in honoring the fact that God can and does speak to each of us as individual creations as well as in a body as Church.

          The middle ground is “I don’t get it, but I am willing to trust that you know what you are talking about with regards your own life, your own experience, and your own walk with God.”

          The middle ground is that if you don’t feel that homosexual activity is a part of what God wants for you, you should not be forced into participating in it. Which is convenient, because pretty much nobody advocates making it mandatory for anyone.

          The middle ground is acknowledging that moral judgements have to be on a case by case, person by person basis, not on a sweeping condemnation of something that is outside your own personal experience. Feel free to judge individual gay people as moral or immoral based on their actual lives and the fruits of their actual spiritual path. If you are condemning people you haven’t actually met for actions you assume they are taking based on rules you don’t understand, don’t pretend that isn’t anything other than prejudice.

          Golly, wouldn’t all this be so much simpler if Jesus had just given us the example of spending time with people that were assumed to be sinners, or worked his miracles without checking first to make sure that the recipients were Christians in good standards according to the rules of the Southern Baptist Convention or Papal Decrees. Gosh, maybe if he had even gone out among the people rather than spending all his time preaching to church-going folks in the comfort of approved church buildings.

          Or heck, maybe if he’d healed a Roman or two, or said something nice about Samaritans.

          Sigh. I guess we’ll never know.

          • Mindy

            OK, Lymis, I’m going to start a fan club. I’m at my part-time shopkeeper job, and as I was reading your description of “the middle ground,” I gave a resounding “YES!” and then had to look around real quickly to make sure no one was in the shop. I am going to use this definition of middle ground. Thank you again.

          • Andy

            So murder is ok sometimes?

            Lying is ok sometimes?

            Child abuse is ok sometimes?

            Rape is ok sometimes?

            Is that your moral middle ground? If so keep it!

          • Melody

            How DARE you compare homosexuality to those atrocities! You are unequivocally homophobic and are everything John describes in this post. God have mercy on you and your soul.

          • Andy

            Sin is sin. I understand how you might be upset. It’s not fun hearing the truth about our own sins.

          • Melody

            Don’t even try to pull the wool over my eyes with your passive-aggressive tone. First of all, I’m not a lesbian, so you fail there if you think you’re calling out sin on my part. You’re the one who can’t handle being called out on your sin of being a self-righteous, judgmental pharisee. Jesus was talking about people like you when he spoke of hypocrites, because you care more about holding on to your bigoted, outdated views of the law than you do about love and humility. Stop projecting your own issues onto the rest of us. Take a dose of your own medicine.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            As for me, I will confess to projecting my own issues right here…

            Jesus was talking about *us*. All of us. Whosoever we are who tell others our interpretation of Scriptures, we are the teachers of the law. Whosoever we are who believe the Jewish mythology (which is included in our Old Testament) of the sect which professes a resurrection on the Last Day, we are the Pharisees.

            Whosoever we are, save Him who is perfect, we indeed are the hypocrites.

            Even if it’s your brother who has the plank in his eye, it is only by your judgment that you see this as more significant than the speck, if that is all it is, in your own. Where indeed is the line between a speck and a splinter, a splinter and a stick, a stick and a plank? What ruler can measure them, but the Ruler of all? He holds the standard of weights and measures for such things as justice, truth, and love.

            So let us not judge. For it is possible that if I only knew the magnitude of my own transgression, I would be far less hasty in assessing that which I see in my neighbor as something we should even call a speck at all!

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

            Are you honestly suggesting that God sees no difference between lying and child abuse? That’s just sick.

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

            Wait…so these things are only wrong because your particular interpretation of the Bible (most of the time) says they are?? You’re saying that your adherence to a particular set of teachings found in a particular book is the ONLY THING keeping you from thinking these things are just find and dandy?

            Good God. Keep your rigid belief in your particular interpretation of Scripture. Apparently you need it.

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            Awesome. Will steal in future.

          • Mindy

            Yes. Yes. No. No. I’m answering for me. I can easily come up with scenarios in which murder would be justified and and God would undoubtedly forgive. Same with lying. Murder in self-defense, murder in defense of another, yep, I can see that. Lying, sure. I don’t imagine you walk around telling everyone to whom you speak the flat-out truth about everything, do you? Of course not.

            Regardless, none of those have a single thing to do with being gay! Those are choices, actions, behaviors. Conscious decisions take place, leading to those choices, some of which are indeed, indefensible. Raping is never, ever OK. Child abuse of any kind, never OK. Victimizing innocents, using power to victimize – the worst of the worst. Again, has NOTHING to do with being gay.

            Gay people who commit heinous crimes are as guilty of sin as straight people, of course. Duh. Regardless of the crime.

            And still, none of this has a single thing to do with being gay, OR with the finding of middle ground in the “debate” over “gay as sin.”

            That you would even bring this into the conversation shows how little you understand, how desperately far you have to go before you can be forgiven of your own sins of judgment, hate and bigotry. How sad your life must be that you must hold so tightly to something that is so clearly borne of ignorance and fear. That you cannot allow yourself to THINK with the brain with which God blessed you, rather than parrot what you’ve heard and read. That you can’t quiet those fearful, angry voices in your head long enough to let yourself be filled the Holy Spirit , who is trying so hard to show you how you got it so very wrong. Shhhhh. Just . . . listen.

          • DR

            Dear Christians who are so obsessed with making sure everyone knows you’re one of the good guys,

            Our fellow Christian pal Andy just compared two men or two women who are in love, are raising kids and totally devoted to one another to rape and murder.

            Thousands of people just read that. And thousands of people just watched only a few of us stand up against him. And thousands of people just made a decision that people who follow Jesus are spineless, passive and don’t care enough about this to try to do something about it.

            Until we grow a collective backbone, snap out of making sure everyone knows we’re ok way over here away from Andy and find a way of being louder than he is together- of staying longer than he does together- we will simply never earn the title of being “good” from those he hurts so terribly. We’ll get there, there’s more of us all the time. But until then, please – stop asking people to pay attention to us instead of Andy. It’s our responsibility to make sure they have a choice.

          • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

            Murder is the deliberate and unlawful taking of a human life. Now admittedly that gets to be a sticky issue since there are times & cultures that value some human lives less than others (Jews in Nazi Germany, f’r instance, or African-Americans in the antebellum South). There are times when it is considered reasonable to use lethal force to defend one’s self or others against attack. So, assuming all human lives are held to be equally valid, and no reason exists to assume one is in immediate danger sufficient to warrant a lethal defense, no, murder is not okay.

            Lying is absolutely okay under certain circumstances. If the aforementioned Nazis want to know where Anne Frank is, it’s perfectly okay to say she skipped town weeks ago even though you know she’s hiding in your attic.

            It’s never okay to abuse anyone, regardless of age. Abuse is when one person or group enjoys such power over another person or group that the victim is virtually defenseless.

            Rape is often a form of abuse or, in the cases of statutory rape, committed under conditions of fraud (which, technically, are a form of abuse insofar as the victim is defenseless due to lack of truly informed consent).

            So, bottom line:

            It is never ok for the stronger to take advantage of the weaker.

            Whatever occurs between two people as an act of informed consent is no one else’s business unless it adversely affects a third party. (F’r instance, if Mr. & Mrs. Smith like listen to loud polka music, it’s no concern to their neighbors unless the music is so loud as to disturb their privacy.)

          • Nathan

            Lymis, I agree 100% with you. I would never (EVER) tell an adult homosexual that I thought they were living a sinful lifestyle. That’s between him and God to work out. The difficulty comes with my kids. I feel the need to guide my kids’ moral development the best I know how. As such, I feel that I have to instruct them that I view homosexual behavior as sinful. (just like I instruct them on so many other areas of life) When they are old enough to do grapple with scripture on their own, then, of course, I will let them make that judgement call. (and I would hope that I will never second-guess their decision)

          • http://www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            And have you considered the harm you could be doing to your children if you are wrong? If they are gay, they are gay. You can’t change that. Do you want to risk them feeling despicable and unlovable, hiding themselves out of shame or fear from those they care about? And gay or not, do you want them passing those messages on to gay kids they undoubtedly know (whether they realize it or not)?

          • Mindy

            Nathan, don’t you understand that by telling your children that, *should* one of them be gay, you are killing that child inside with your words? Literally, killing their very spirits. Your saying that you believe it is sinful will not make them not gay. It will only make them believe that you will never be able to truly love them, make them believe that they must, forever, live in secret from you in order to preserve the facade of love they have. You may think you show your children unconditional love, but those words belie that message, those words tell them that there ARE conditions. “I love you, unless you happen to be gay. Then, kiddo, you’re going to have to become someone else, or lose my AND go to hell!” Yeah, that’s what you want them to take away from your “guidance.” And trust me, that’s what they’ll hear. And if it’s not themselves they have to hide from you, it might be a friend. Or worse, your teachings will turn them into bullies – unintentionally, I’m sure, but yep, that’s what ‘ll happen. Because they’ll parrot what they hear from you, and that classmate who is just coming to terms with his or her own sexual identity will hear YOUR words come out of your child’s mouth and be reminded, once again, that they are wrong, bad, less than. I speak as someone who doubted parental love her whole childhood, although for different reasons, and I promise you that you are doing more damage than you can possibly imagine.

          • DR

            Your kids will grow up with the same beliefs you do and hurt the same people you do as a result of you transferring this to them.

          • DR

            But you think it, right? Why do you think that’s any less painful?

          • Lymis

            “Lymis, I agree 100% with you. I would never (EVER) tell an adult homosexual that I thought they were living a sinful lifestyle. ”

            You have already done that, repeatedly, right here, and you did it again right in this post, specifically aimed directly at me. On a blog read by a huge number of people. I am an adult homosexual, and you just told me, in a note specifically addressed to me, that you are compelled to instruct your children that homosexual behavior is sinful.

            So, you’re either telling me that my love and marriage is sinful, or that you intend to lie to your children.

            You might not walk up to a random gay couple and spit on them, but I’m not going to give you credit for Christian restraint because of that.

            You cannot have it both ways, and you are not allowed to be on a moral high horse and pretend that you aren’t condemning me, and millions of other gay people, with just about every post you write.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            I hope Nathan and others are paying attention: That’s some really sound reasoning right there. You can’t deny logic. (Well, technically, Andy apparently can, when the logical contradiction is scriptural.)

          • DR

            This needs to be its own post. Whoa.

        • Mindy

          Nathan, please read very carefully the comments right here from both Lymis and Diana. Carefully, thoroughly, and with as open a heart and mind as you can muster.

          So many of those of you quick to dismiss homosexuality as sin truly don’t understand what you are asking. You truly believe it is all about sex. That gay people only care about sexual hook-ups, and as long as their “urges” are satisfied, they go about life just like you and me. But that isn’t it, not by a long shot. Of course there is a promiscuous percentage of the gay population – there are certainly a lot of promiscuous straight folk out here, a culture of people who don’t believe marriage is forever, those who use prostitutes, cheat on spouses, etc – but those “naughty” gay people don’t define the LGBT community any more than the “16 and pregnant” casts define all straight young American women. That’s just stupid to assume.

          This has been said a gazillion times on this blog, but it apparently needs repeating again: Just like you didn’t choose to be straight, they didn’t choose their sexuality. They didn’t wake up one day and “decide” to be gay. And my apologies for speaking in such general terms here, but generalizations seem to be what fundamentalists best understand.

          Nathan, Andy, you guys developed, I’m sure, crushes on girls at some point in your childhood, right? You found yourself inexplicably drawn to Susie or Debbie or whomever it was that made your little prepubescent heart swoon. You may not have ever acted upon it, never said a word about it, but you knew from that moment on that girls were special – and some girls were just, well, inexplicably extraordinary. You probably had a girlfriend or two along the way to meeting your wife, fell in various stages of puppy love til eventually you found the real thing, real grown-up love, and decided to spend your lives together. Yay for you. God smiles upon you, and you are free to share that wonderful union with everyone, whether you know them or not. You publicly claim each other, you wear rings, you sign documents, you hold hands, you are, in every way, two halves of a whole, real, recognized relationship. And if you aren’t to that point in your lives yet, then I assume you’re on that path. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

          All of the joy and heartache and wonder and intensity of those special relationships in your life, from the first crush til your wife – not the sex, but the EMOTIONAL CONNECTION and COMMITMENT – that’s what you are asking LGBT people to live without. Forever. A gay man CAN’T feel any of that for a woman. A lesbian CAN’T feel that for a man. They may have strong feelings of platonic love for someone of the opposite sex, just like I love and adore my best women friends, but that is not the same as that special, intimate connection with THE ONE. And you can feel that, know it’s real and believe it will last forever without ever having sex – EVEN IF YOU’RE GAY. You don’t have to have sex to know you’re gay, any more than you had to have sex to know you were straight. You just WERE.

          Think about all of this, and while you are doing so, learn more about what those Biblical passages really meant when they were written – please. Read John Shore’s book, UNFAIR. I implore you (and you, Lisa) to do that. Read all of it, every story, and especially the part at the end about what the Bible really says.

          And really think about everything you are asking a whole portion of our population to live without. Really think about the fact that “agreeing to disagree” isn’t really that at all – and Lymis explains it far better than I ever could. Not when you would look away at the two men holding hands in the park, or the two women snuggled together to watch a movie. Because they’ll see the look of disgust on your face, even if it’s fleeting, even if you try to look away fast enough to hide it. And they’ll know that even if you aren’t publicly shaming them, you’ve done nothing to support them, nothing to help ensure that they are protected under the law and by the same rights as you.

          I have gay and lesbian friends and neighbors and fellow parents at our schools. They are wonderful people and I would not DARE to assume I know what God has in store for them, and especially would never assume that their love is any less, on any level, than mine is. How utterly sanctimonious that would be!!

          My teenaged daughters have gay and lesbian friends. They are some of the most delightful kids I know. Smart, funny, and incredibly kind – generous and compassionate and wise beyond their years. Two are in a serious relationship, most of them are just beginning to think about dating. They haven’t come close to having sex, but they have no doubt about who they are. They are gay, they are lesbian.

          Fortunately, to their generation, in our chosen communities, it is no big deal. These are kids whose parents have made conscious decisions to find schools and church communities that are welcoming and affirming for their kids, and I admire those parents so much. To them, it was a natural decision – you do what is best for your children to keep them safe and healthy. I look at these kids, who are being accepted into great colleges, who have lots of friends, are confident and strong – and I SO wish that all LGBT kids had families like theirs. I compare them to the kids who feel they have to hide who they are from their families for fear of being ostracized, and all the pain and trauma that creates, and I know how blessed my girls’ friends are.

          And I pray, every single day, to my God whom I *know* cherishes love above all else, that people like you will someday come to understand that these kids and every single one like them is as deserving of a life lived in the light of honesty and integrity and love as you are.

          • Lymis

            While we are forming fan clubs….

            Well said.

          • Lisa

            I hope you were talking to someone other than me. I agree with John’s opinions. I have friends and family that are gay, and have stood by them every step of the way. So, by including me, I have no idea what you are talking about. My only statement was, that I like to try to change peoples opinions, and I like to share John’s material. However, I thought that abusing some one by calling then profane names, prior to trying to change their mind, was not the way to do it.

          • Melody

            Lisa, Jesus called the religious leaders snakes. How do you justify that? He wasn’t nice to them, because they deserved to be humiliated and humbled.

          • Lisa

            Once again, what Did I do, that you all have decided to jump on me? Melody, what does that have to do with anything? I have said nothing wrong, I am not saying that the Bible thumpers are right, instead, I have said the opposite. I agreed with Nathan in as much as him stating that Christians can love everyone, as that is what Jesus says to do. So we can all get along, because that is what Jesus told us to do.

            “where we both can affirm each other as Christians without being hateful towards each other and without compromising our own beliefs.

            I have Christian friends and family who think drinking, dancing, and gambling are sinful. I don’t agree with them. I don’t hide my drinking from them. But I don’t invite them to a bar to go drinking with me or to a club to go dancing. We still respect each other’s beliefs.” This is what I agreed with. I believe it. If you are gonna jump me, at least have a reason to do so. Waiting for someone to come along, just so you can throw a fit with them is silly.

          • Melody

            Okay, Lisa, calm down. I wasn’t jumping on you. I’m just saying that nice words don’t necessarily do the trick and that sometimes need to call a spade a spade. And if Jesus was harsh with the religious leaders, why shouldn’t we put people in their place as well?

          • Lymis

            Lisa, for what it’s worth, I can certainly understand what appears to be your point of view on this, and that yes, you’re a supporter and ally.

            And I can understand, and in many ways absolutely agree with the desire to try to have this sort of conversation in calm and rational language, with a shared dedication to coming together in love to find a solution.

            The answer to “what did I do” may or may not be fair, and sounds like it isn’t accurate, but here’s what it was: the way in which you responded felt to many of us like the kind of answer that the kind of people who value conciliation over compassion often give – an answer that many of us have heard far more often than you’d imagine.

            Those people – the ones it felt like you sounded like – often, quite literally tell gay people that being upset is “just as bad” as being a bully. That, yes, we’re right to disagree with being fired from our jobs, kept from marrying, having our spouses deported, not being able to insure our children, being assaulted, having our youth kill themselves in vastly greater numbers than straight kids, but we should at least have the common courtesy to disagree nicely. After all, we’re dealing with Christians.

            I won’t deny the knee-jerk aspects of it, but I also won’t apologize for the fact that in literally decades of doing this, I’ve very rarely been wrong to see that attitude as a cover for something far darker.

            And, as several of us have said, it may seem natural to compare this to choosing not to drink or dance in front of someone who might be offended by it. But I suspect you can only think that because you may not have given serious thought to what “not being gay in front of someone who might be offended by it” means. Very few of us make out in front of even our most supportive friends, much less actually have sex. So you can’t be talking about that.

            That leaves us with the idea that I have some sort of moral responsibility to keep someone from even knowing I am gay if it might offend them. Not to be with my husband, not to call him my husband even though we have the legal paperwork to prove it. Not to discuss issues of importance to me, like, say, my civil rights.

            And, if you scrape the surface even a little, you’ll find that “agree to disagree” in practice doesn’t ever even mean “You tone down your gayness and I won’t express any disapproval and we can get through this together.” In practice, somehow it always means, “I get to say whatever I want about the matter, and you agree to shut up about it.” That’s when it doesn’t mean “Let’s compromise. I’ll call you a pervert and you agree with me.”

            Sometimes the reaction splashes onto innocent, well-intentioned people. And that’s wrong when it happens. But it isn’t unreasoned, and it isn’t unjustified, and it isn’t completely out of the blue. It’s in direct response to the fact that the vast majority of the people who use that sort of tone truly only want to have us shut up and go away and stop demanding to be treated like people, so that they can go on with things in peace and not have to worry about them.

            Seeming to side with someone who has said some of the things that Nathan said really did make you sound like that kind of person. It’s wonderful to know you aren’t. But it might be important for you to pay attention to how it happened.

            Some of these things are like the nice little old lady who just can’t seem to understand why all the “coloreds” don’t understand how nice she is, and how she really tolerates “race mixing.” The very words she uses to make her point prove that she’s missing the point.

            Nothing you’ve done rises to that level, of course, but that’s at least part of the reason for the reaction you’re getting.

          • Lisa

            Lymis,

            I was only agreeing with a piece of what he had said, the piece that I had commented on. I did not go back through everything he had said, to justify my stance. I will try to do better in the future though.

            I agree you you 100%. It is completely wrong, to have people treat you the way they have. It is not right to have your liberties ignored. It is not right that your spouse or partner (in states that do not recognize your marriage) can not be considered family, in a hospital, even when you are lying in bed, possibly dying. Not being able to be by your side. Not being able to get insurance for your spouse. I am one millions percent behind you!

            As I was reading your post, I had the vision of the little old lady. The same vision of the lady that you did in the end. I will admit, that there are situations that I might say something wrong. But I seriously believe that it would be that I have not lived your life, so I am ignorant as to some generalizations that people make, or say to you. I would NEVER intentionally be degrading.

            So please, tell me if I say something that makes you angry, and explain why you say it. I want to learn. I want to know how to be a better person.

            As painful as yesterday was, I am glad that I stuck it out, and didn’t leave because I felt attacked. Thank you to you and the others, that have reached out, and taken a second look at me, to see that I am truly not trying to be negative.

          • Lymis

            You’re welcome, and part of the point of all this is to give people who do care, and who do want to learn, some of the tools and perspectives they need.

            Since you got me with the metaphor about the nice old lady, let me belabor it a little and point out that somewhere, someone failed her by not sitting her down and saying “Grandma, I need you to listen carefully……”

            And sometimes, we need to phrase things a dozen different ways, or tell a dozen different stories, or get out of the way and let someone else tell the same story in a way that someone might hear just a little better and make that breakthrough.

            And some of it has to come from the other side, just as you did, asking a serious question in a genuine way as to how what you thought was clear could be so misunderstood.

            Part of the frustration a lot of us have is that when we are nice, when we do explain, people waggle their fingers and shout “Satan! Satan!” It’s hard to make a point that way, just as it is with people who keep saying, “Wait, let’s all back up a step. You know you’re all perverts, right?”

            It gets old, and we can be testy about it. Because meanwhile, people are dying.

          • Mindy

            I included you because of the agreement with Nathan about comparing being gay with “the sins” of drinking or gambling and the whole “agreeing to disagree” concept. If I misunderstood you, I apologize for putting your name in my comment.

          • DR

            Hi Lisa,

            I think some people have a very gentle and loving spirit and conflict is just really hard for you. Which is just who you are and there are a lot of really beautiful gifts that come with that. Thanks for letting me know how you feel and I’m glad you’re here. It’s really good to have people with different perspectives and sensibilities. xoxoxo

          • Lisa

            DR,

            Thank you for writing that. You are a very perceptive person. I really had not thought about it that way. But you are right. I don’t handle conflict very well.

            As a child that was told that I could not have my own opinion, I could not argue, and imagination was stupid, I have not formed a way to cope with this in my life. At 47, you would think that I would by now. Basically, I have retreated from the highly ‘religious’ and bigoted people that I live around.

            I am doing what I can, in my small way, to try to make things better in the world. I know that I can’t even barely scratch the surface, but, it is what I can do.

            After sharing so many of John’s posts, I finally wandered in yesterday, and whoa! I was reduced to tears, and almost swore off ever coming in here again. So, again, thank you for you kind words.

          • DR

            I know exactly how you feel! This may be difficult to believe, but conflict is hard for me too (as much as I get into it here on the blog). It’s never the ideal. I guess I’ve grown in that area a lot after I realized that being liked and approved of (which was my motivation for avoiding conflict) was less important than pursuing what’s true. But it’s scary! It’s scary every time and it hurts my heart every time too. Though I’m a lot more comfortable with it now (obviously) and I’m realizing how people being honest with me, especially when they are mad and how I’m hurting someone and say so (even unkindly) was the mirror I needed to see myself within.

            I’m glad you’re here and while I’m sure you’ll learn some stuff from those here, I’m sure we’ll learn from your gentleness and plea for kindness too.

          • DR

            And I don’t think *anyone* deals with conflict well, no matter what age. I think we just get through it, though it definitely bothers some more and others less.

          • K

            I just wanted to back up Lisa. I too do not handle conflict well. I do not want people to feel hurt and I probably worry too much about what people think.

            I like reading John’s posts. I have sent them in message form to specific friends as well as the petition but do not feel comfortable posting them on my own wall (at least not yet).

            That does not mean I need to get new friends. Not everyone is ready yet. I think that most of my friends agree with me but would be more comfortable saying so in person. I have at least one relative and probably several that I would worry about.

            The bottom line is, “it’s personal” – what you put out here on this blog/fb is permanent so you have to be comfortable with that. People can get pretty “fired up” or at least sound that way in the comments and those of us who are more sensitive have a tendency to take it personally. I feel like Lisa got dragged into some of the comments and really shouldn’t have been included. I hope she feels comfortable posting again sometime since this was her first time commenting on the blog. I am new at this too and I could not keep up with it all yesterday. To be honest, trying to go back and read it all now seems like too daunting a task but perhaps this weekend I will try. Peace everyone!

          • Gary

            Wonderful. Absolutely love this comment.

          • http://www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            Indeed. Comment quality here is off the charts today. Thanks esp. to Lymis and Mindy.

        • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

          You haven’t even thought it through? Are you kidding? We have to live this EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES? We think about how we can possibly live within Christianity all the time. And you want to make a suggestion when you haven’t even thought about how or if it could even work? And seem to be getting upset wheother people insist it won’t. Well, we’ve had years to learn from experience why “agreeing to disagree” is not going to cut it here.

          I have people in my life that I disagree with. Drinking, gambling – unless it’s an addiction, who cares?! That is nothing like having people in my life who believe that my relationship with MY WIFE is inherently evil.! Who don’t think I (and just me, not them) shouldn’t have a family. Who view the best parts of me, my greatest capacity to love on the same scale as their worst sins.

          But I’m not sure what you want is even to agree to disagree, as I read what it is you want. The middle ground you want can be right here:

          I affirm you as a Christian. I do not at all hate you. I have not been and will not be hateful to you. As part of that, I will not even for a moment want for you anything less than full equal rights and full membership in the church. I will defend your right to these things. If you are oppressed, I will come and stand by your side against injustice. You will not need to change to earn any of these things. I will accept you as God created you, and until you hurt someone I will accept that as what you believe it to be and respect the decisions you make for your own life with the humility of knowing that I will know less about what is best for you than you do.

          Your turn.

          • Mindy

            This is beautiful, Christine. I hope one of them will take that turn.

          • DR

            Amazing.

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            Thanks, you guys.

            Simple things is, my beliefs don’t require any compromise to love Nathan wholly and fully. And to show that love, back it up with action, show him he is loved.

            Love does not compromise what I believe – it is what I believe.

    • Diana A.

      “Paul clearly fell into the camp of believing that (eating food that had been previously sacrificed to idols) was NOT a sin. But, he was gracious and understanding towards those who felt otherwise. He ‘agreed to disagree’ about it. He even agreed to abstain from it while in the presence of those who felt it was sinful.”

      When my friends are dieting, I try to avoid eating things in front of them that might tempt them away from their diets. This does not mean that I avoid those things altogether. I just don’t eat them in front of my friends who are trying to lose weight.

      What you are asking of gay people is very different. You’re asking them to live in the closet. You’re asking them pretend to be something that they’re not. You’re asking them to hide the commitments they’ve made to the people they love. Would you like it if you couldn’t kiss your wife in public? Weren’t allowed to hold her hand or hug her? Sit next to her in church? Introduce her to someone else as your wife? Had to refrain from giving her the look from across the room–you know, the “I can’t wait to get you home alone” look? Had to treat her like a mere friend, or even pretend not to care about her at all? Would that be even slightly acceptable to you? Because this is what you’re asking/demanding of gay people in the name of “agreeing to disagree.”

      Gee Nathan, you don’t ask for much, do you?

    • danielle

      I’m pretty sure Paul would taken swift action if these people weren’t merely upset by this but had taken it upon themselves to demean and persecute those for believing differently.

  • Andy

    This post so clearly outlines the delusion of thought and belief found here. What a shame!

    • vj

      Could you be specific?

      • Andy

        Read the post, aside from the personal experience that is shared, there is not one factual element. Even the poll results are misleading.

        • Lymis

          So you believe in Santa Claus?

          • Andy

            Santa is more believable than the “theology” presented that’s for sure.

          • Leslie Marbach

            So because John Shore, and many many others I might add, disagrees with *your* theology, he’s delusional? Is that what you’re saying?

          • DR

            Let’s all make sure that we speak kindly and gently to Andy as he calls someone delusional. Let’s make sure that Andy’s feelings are prioritized because if we don’t, it’s our fault that he doesn’t change his mind.

          • Leslie Marbach

            Gotcha!

            My sarcasm aside, kind words are always good, and even though I believe Andy’s on the wrong track here, he’s still a child of God.

          • DR

            He is an abuser who perpetuates lies that are so deeply damaging that they scar people permanently.

          • DR

            We should just ignore all those gay kids killing themselves as a result of this sound Christian doctrine.

          • Lisa

            And let’s not forget the bullying of those kids.

          • Andy

            I am saying that there is no scriptural basis for those views and therefore must come from somwhere else.

            The choice of suicide is a tragic one but placing the blame on Christianity or what the bible teaches is quite ridiculous and a shameful display of coopting tragedy for gain.

          • Christy

            Where do you think depression comes from, Andy?

          • Andy

            Everyone has feelings of depression from time to time due o life circumstances. Depression as a condition is biochemical in nature.

          • Diana A.

            “Depression as a condition is biochemical in nature.” So, you’re willing to buy science on some things (like that depression is or can be biochemical in nature) but not on others (like that homosexuality is a normal variation on the sexuality continuum, just as blue eyes are a normal variation on eye color.) Really?

          • Andy

            Normal is the condition of a fallen world where sin rules. So being normal is not what God call us to. He calls us to holiness.

            Not to mention that science has no conclusive answers regarding homosexuality. No genetic links have been found so it is incorrect to group eye color with sexual orientation.

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            Um, yes science. Part genes, part in utero environment. Where have you been? even that’s on YouTube!

          • Christy

            So life circumstances can make someone depressed. Ok. Good. We agree.

            And what of rejection? Withholding affection, ostracism?

            You might recall harry Harlow’s wire monkey experiments and how those turned out.

            Being made to feel worthless, evil, an abomination, not accepted. Not loved unconditionally. Not love at all. These are life circumstances, yes? That lead to depression that leads to kids feeling hopeless and unloved…..and killing themselves.

            Whatever we say, we are told, kids are listening. How is it that we worry about the violence and images in movies and video games when it comes to this age group, but not what they hear about themselves from their peers, teachers, family, friends, clergy, and parents?

          • Leslie Marbach

            I’d say there’s no scriptural basis for the view that homosexuality is a sin. Seriously, I’m not being snide here.

          • Andy

            Well ok. Not sure how to respond or what bible you read but it’s pretty clear despite the attempts to rewrite it that the practice of homosexuality is sinful.

          • Leslie Marbach

            Hmm, so what I’m hearing from you is you’ve never studied the issue. Okay. Well at least now we know you get your beliefs from culture. Thanks for explaining.

          • Andy

            Actually I have studied quite extensively and am happy to flood this blog with biblical truth. Say the word and I will begin.

          • Gary

            Andy you said – “Actually I have studied quite extensively and am happy to flood this blog with biblical truth. Say the word and I will begin.”

            Time to back up your bravado here big boy. You have been called out on your lack of substance at least 3 or 4 times now and every time you have responded with silence. Seems to me like it is way past time for you to either put up or shut up!!

          • Diana A.

            So don’t practice homosexuality. But it’s not your place to judge whether someone else has sinned or not. Eyes on your own paper! Leave judging to the only one who can do it right–the Lord.

          • Valerie

            Hear hear!

          • Andy

            I am just pointing out that the theolgy here around this issue is not from the bible.

          • Leslie Marbach

            Amen!

          • Natalie Jones

            OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS!! LOL! Game Over, try again next time.

          • Mom of newly out child

            Trolls belong under bridges, not on here :-)

          • Luke

            I know you wont agree, but shared personal experience is far more authoritative than scripture to one who endeavors to live in love, grace, and truth. You can no more encapsulate the spirit of God in a book than to contain it in a shoebox.

          • Andy

            Truth in personal experience is relative truth. Everyone has a story but that doesn’t means there is universal truths in every story. Therefore there really is no authority in personal stories.

          • DR

            (Except Andy’s interpretation of Scripture which is by nature, subjective.)

          • Diana A.

            Thank you!

          • Leslie Marbach

            Experience plays a huge role in how we know and understand God and Scripture. John Wesley came up with what is now known as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. He pointed out 4 things we keep in mind: Scripture, Reason, Experience, and Tradition. You have to use all 4.

          • Andy

            Agreed but if something contradicts scripture it’s not from God.

          • Gary

            Psssst, Hey Andy…

            Scripture contradicts scripture in a great many instances…so by your definition scripture itself must not be from God.

          • Andy

            Gary much of the contradictions that a cursory reading brings are not contradictions at all. Real contradictions simply mean we do not yet have a full understanding of.

            Anyways if God chose to contradict Himself He can but we cannot contradict God.

          • Christy

            That’s a cool trick, right there, that.

          • Christy

            What happens when scripture contradicts science, which is also of God? You said, “Real contradictions simply mean we do not yet have a full understanding…”

            Like with science.

            So, as we have seen in the great battle between Science and Religion and Religion’s deification of scripture down through the age…the Church has historically (and continues to do so) thumbed its nose at science, despite very convincing evidence that the Church has been in error…a number of times …about very significant things based on a simple reading of the text.

            I found this passage today to be enlightening, where Jesus, in my view, is admonishing against literalism. Matthew 16:5-12. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+16%3A5-12&version=NIV

            What is, is. We can’t change it. But it doesn’t mean when we see it, or read it, we are interpreting or understanding it correctly. We should strive always for open eyes and ears that can hear what is, not what we want to see and hear and do the hard and difficult work of traveling down the path of, what if I’m wrong.

          • Andy

            I see no conflict between faith and science.

          • Lymis

            I’d say that “love your neighbor” is a pretty good scriptural basis, as is the part about going to hell for not taking care of your neighbor when they are oppressed, since how you treat them is how you treat Jesus.

            I’ll agree there is no scriptural basis for Santa Claus.

            Or the Internet, for that matter, and yet, here you are.

          • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

            What exactly do you think people are “gaining” from calling out the bullying, hatred, and abuse that goes along with that teaching?

            It’s not “ridiculous” to say that the hatred toward LGBT people that’s preached as “Christian truth” (like from Pastor Harris a couple posts back) leads to teen suicides. DR has posted time and time again about teenagers kicked out of their homes for being gay, about kids desperately praying for God to make them straight so their parents will let them come home.

            For Christians to act like LGBT teen suicides have nothing to do with mainstream Christianity’s teachings about homosexuality is so ridiculous as to be willfully ignorant. It’s like screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater and saying that, while of course it’s tragic that people were trampled to death running out, that was a choice they made that has nothing to do with what you said.

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

            I love your analogy! Very well put.

          • Lisa

            Andy, here is an excerpt from an article about grace (please give it a serious read):

            So, within a few clicks of the mouse I found some pictures that drew my interest. I looked a little more; then all of a sudden my heart SANK! “Oh, my God, what have I done? I just crossed over the bridge into forbidden land. I have broken a place in my life that I have never strayed into before—NEVER!”

            My mind began to rush into all of the years of instruction, of challenges for others, and into fears of “What do I do now?” My mind was scrambling, and anxiety filled my heart. Then all of a sudden, something came to me that would become a life-changing, life-transforming experience with Jesus.

            “John, what is the deepest thing you know about Me?” Jesus spoke through my anxious heart. I replied, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” He said, “Apply that right now.” I began a whole new process of prayer with Jesus. I began to unravel the last few minutes as I have never done before. “Lord, You have not condemned me, so I will not receive any condemnation from You for what I have chosen to do.”

            Then the Lord said, “John, why are you here? What has brought you to look at those pictures?” I began a dialogue with Him about all of that, realizing that a lot of it was motivated by my own curiosity. After pondering the questions that brought me to search the internet, I heard Jesus say: “John, do you have any more questions?” In my own amazement with this conversation I said, “No, no I don’t think so.” Then He said, “Well, then, I guess we are done with this for now, aren’t we.”

            Oh—I just experienced something about grace that I have never experienced before in my entire life! At a point where I felt as though I had just committed the “unpardonable sin,” Jesus came into my heart with such calmness. He didn’t yell, He didn’t shame me, He didn’t scold me or embarrass me. He just acknowledged where I was at, listened to my heart, and in many ways, brought me into a teaching moment with Him right there.

            I realized—duh!—that Jesus was beside me the whole time. This wasn’t a surprise to Him. But even more, He also put all of this into perspective. It wasn’t so much about the pictures I ventured into. My relationship with Him was far more important to Him than the clicking of my mouse while I looked to satisfy my own curiosity.

            God became man, right inside my own heart, and dwelt with me! He showed me a personal side of our relationship that was one of the most significant experiences with Him I have ever had! He revealed to me just how close He is and how much He loves me.

            I found a new revelation of the life-transforming power of grace. I learned something about humankind that had never crossed my mind before. All of the challenges, confrontations, “preaching the truth” I had done in the past didn’t hold a candle to meeting with Jesus and finding His love and incredible ability to show me the truth that there is no condemnation from His heart to mine, if I am in Him.

            Link to the article about grace: http://skippingtothepiccolo.com/2012/04/29/stories-of-reconciliation-i-found-grace/

          • Lisa

            Reading that article, made me think of my son, when he became a teenager, and the choices he made. We caught him with books and photos, which we confiscated. We did not be mean or condescending, as we knew it was natural for a young man to look at these things. (Who knows what all I would have done, should there been internet when I was a teenager.)

            And as Jesus loves us, we loved our son, without condemnation. We answered his questions. When he got older, and we again found materials, we again confiscated them, and we again, continued to love him. Jesus will continue to love us, no matter how many times we do things he doesn’t like. No matter how we sin, we are still his children, and he died for us.

        • vj

          Yes, it’s personal. John is sharing his insight into a cultural phenomenon. Elsewhere in his writing he has gone to some lengths to explain how this phenomenon is consistent with the teachings of Jesus. Since you characterize this piece as representing delusional thought and belief, I was wondering what *specific* beliefs/thoughts you think are delusional. (Really, I’m pretty sure you’re going to say that “real Christians can’t be gay”, or some such, but I thought you might at least put some effort into *explaining* why you *believe/think* that).

          • Andy

            At least you admit that you are taking your beliefs from culture not God’s word. I have read his writings on the subject. The fallacies are simply piled on top of each other.

          • Leslie Marbach

            Re-read what vj said. NOT that their beliefs are taken from culture but that John has previously explained how his beliefs are consistent with the teachings of Jesus.

            He asked you a question, Andy. Why do you believe what you believe? We’re all waiting.

          • Andy

            My belief is based on the bible and life experience.

          • Leslie Marbach

            Okay, so what exactly in the Bible makes you say that? Because, and this may shock you, I take my beliefs from the Bible as well. I’ve studied using the NIV, ESV, NRSV, along with my Greek and Hebrew Lexicons for over 6 years.

            I guess what I’m saying is get a little specific. Tell me how come you think the Bible says homosexuality is a sin. If asked I can give a detailed account of the various verses (AKA clobber passages) and why I think they don’t actually speak about committed, monogamous homosexual relationships. I hazard to guess you don’t even know what verses are used to condemn me.

          • Valerie

            Wait your beliefs are based on the Bible (big B btw) and “life experience”? Would you please explain what “life experience” taught you that being gay or anything else for that matter is wrong?

          • Nick

            God’s word has to be interpreted so that it is internally consistent. God is rational. Teachings against homosexuality are rational in the contexts they are presented in Scripture, when we understand scripture for what it is – man’s evolving understanding of the incomprehensible. However, contexts change, and our understanding of God grows, (hopefully), though remains forever imperfect.

            The contention that consensual physical affection between married (sacramentally if not legally) people is inconsistent with any notion of God, sacramental theology, sexual theology, and human theology.

          • Andy

            Agreed. And since God has told us, and Jesus affirmed, the marriage bond is between God, man and woman, homosexual unions are inconsistent with any notion of God, sacramental theology, sexual theology and human theology.

          • Lymis

            No, he didn’t. He went to a wedding, and he said nice things about straight married couples.

            He also said a loving Father feeds his child bread when that child is hungry. That is not a condemnation of foods other than bread.

            There is real scriptural support for the concept of straight marriage. It does not follow that gay marriage is condemned, especially when “in Christ there is neither male nor female” – so anything that is good in Jesus’s eyes between a man and a woman would by definition apply to two men or two women as well.

          • Andy

            What a perfect example of extremely flawed reasoning, not to mention flawed theology. Your position is built on shifting sands.

          • Diana A.

            You’re not God. You therefore are incapable of seeing anything and anyone for what s/he is, including yourself. So quit judging others.

          • Gary

            What a perfect example of a completely worthless comment.

            Not only is Lymis absolutely correct…but you made no effort to attempt to even present anything to challenge the statement.

          • Mindy

            Andy, if you really believe the reasoning is flawed (which it is not, btw), from a logical/philosophical/theological standpoint, please explain. Do not say it is wrong. Tell us WHY it is wrong. Specifically.

            First, explain how this logic is flawed – which tenet of logic does it violate? How is YOUR logic valid instead (as in, which laws of logic does it honor that Gary’s does not).

            Second, explain how this is flawed theology. State the verses you believe show this to wrong, and then tell us how and why they show it. Tell us why not based on a 2012 English translation of the Bible, but tell us how you KNOW the passages, in their original languages and forms, were discussing homosexual relationships rather than promiscuous, stress-relieving or alcohol-induced sexual activity between straight guys. Especially since the concept of “sexual orientation” didn’t exist at the time, so the presumption was, of course, that all human beings were straight. What we now call gay sex existed, yes. But they did not differentiate between gay and straight. They presumed that “gay sex” was happening between straight dudes. Puts a whole different spin on things. But please, explain how you are absolutely right and I am clueless.

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

    Okay, I took the meanie part out.

    • Lisa

      Thank you!

    • Andy

      You also seemed to have taken the bible out too.

      • DR

        Andy? You’re a dick.

        • Andy

          Interesting given your advice below on how you should treat me. Kind of disqualifies everything you say doesn’t it?

          • DR

            Learn to read.. I have zero issues with name calling. Bring it.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdgalloway

          Isn’t Andy Dick some actor?

          • Diana A.

            :-)

      • Matthew Tweedell

        Attention class! Now, I want you all to take a look at this right there: this is a troll.

        Why? Is it simply because it elicits an emotional response? No, DR, among many others, plays highly effectively on emotion, but she’s not trolling, is she?

        Why? Is it because she happens to agree with your viewpoint, whereas this guy doesn’t? No, that’s entirely subjective.

        The thing is, Andy here makes comments like this one that have no relevant substance *except* that which is emotional! Noting what is absent from a post can hardly be thought to add to the conversation, unless there anything *interesting* to be said about it. Any one of us could sit here all day listing the things John might have taken out of this post: maybe he was about to include a really hilarious one liner about an elf, a fairy, and a long hard North Pole but decided it was inappropriate for younger readers. But that’s just a waste of comment space.

        However, to see the true substance in an argument the apparent conclusion of which you dismiss out of hand can be at times difficult to do. You actually have to bother reading it, for one; if you don’t, then you can’t really tell a troll from a long hard North Pole. (Speaking of which, DR is right to recognize that trolls can in fact be classified as a subclass of dicks; however, it must be remembered that not all dicks are trolls.)

        So, such a comment as Andy’s here is known as a troll, and Andy is trolling when he makes such a comment. If Andy *never* makes a substantive comment relevant to the item he is posting the comment in reply to, then Andy himself—that is, this very persona—is a troll. Is that the case here? Is Andy a troll or does he just troll too much? Does it even matter?

        Either way, he would need to be gotten rid of: a true troll is just a waste of time, emotions, and the electrons of cyberspace, and a person who trolls too much is equally futile to engage with, having a personal agenda they’re unwilling to let off of, and so is not interested in, and must to be kept from disrupting, reasoned discussion and legitimate debate.

        Most Silly Putty people are one of those two sorts.

        On the other hand, one who trolls, who perhaps even is a Silly Putty person, while not so much as to become an unbearable burden, likely has some sort of issues—some unresolved psycho-spiritual troubles rooted deep in their emotional being, from which they hijack the rational being—relating to whatever the subject of their comments is, that they’re working through, and it seems to me, first, that such will typically leave soon enough of their own volition (if not, then they eventually become who trolls to much and, consequently, must be booted), and, second, that if there are folks available and willing in the meantime to patiently counter, calling them on misdirected and/or emotion-driven arguments, it may well do them some good in the end actually (though those involved with them may never know it).

        In any case, I think we might need to be a bit more discerning of this: we seem to be evaluating equally substantive and equally emotive arguments with iniquity which depends on whether they lean the same direction as our own opinion or appear contrary to it. And this directly and—by increasing the apparent bias around here—indirectly drives away people we might actually be able to effectively engage and potentially make useful allies of. Not to mention: basic principles like fairness, progress towards the goals of peaceful harmony, etc.

        I’m suggest we look closer at who others are and engage them more appropriately (even perhaps additionally according to their own manners, regarding forms of address and use of slang and/or vulgarisms, and according to their apparent education, trying neither to talk down to them nor over their heads). When we ourselves choose to just lash out, whether in a bit of pride or a fit of passion, it helps us to commiserate with one another, which is good. But a surfeit of the same is to our detriment, both in our capacity for and in our carrying out the promotion our views and advancement of our causes. So I suggest we take not to get too immoderate. Soulmentor, for instance, recently pointed out, that we were throwing about accusations of “hate” where it wasn’t really apt and didn’t really help. It is the temptation to do such things that I’m calling upon each of you and upon us all to resist. Moreover more I’m calling on us publically to point out, as a group, when we, as a group, transgress, just as Soulmentor did and as I do now (though hopefully not is so many words :) ).

        So, here’s your homework assignment:

        As an exercise aimed at making more nearly complete our understanding of such things, let us answer the following questions:

        1) Do you think Andy trolled too much, and is Andy a troll? Why or why not?

        2) Was I trolling earlier today in the previous two articles on this site?

        BONUS) Are either, both, or neither of Andy and me Silly Putty people?

        • Andy

          Calling someone a troll is the easy way to dismiss a position that is contrary. It only shows weakness.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Hi Andy,

            I haven’t said you are a troll. I have asked that as question. Would you like to give us the correct answer now?

            I did say that this comment is a troll. I understand why you might be confused: I’m going with one of the less common—but, of a term the meaning of which is still evolving, I believe increasingly met—understanding of the word. This is chosen, besides for its being something near what the general understanding may likely be in a few short years, particularly so as to allow application of it in the most straightforward objective fashion I could come up with.

            I look at your comment above and I ask, does it say something substantive and relevant to what it purports to respond to?

            Noting that something seems not to there (regardless that I find the Bible mentioned by name 5 times there), and—and this is key—saying no about it than that (not telling us why you think that is, or what the possible implications of that are), is only saying anything at all really if it is a response to an implication or assertion that such a thing in fact were there. Yet John was not making such an assertion, from what I can see, and moreover the ostensible relevance of your remark itself is a connection with his assertion to have taken something out. Nevertheless, you neither support, nor deny, nor share how you or anyone else think or feel about, this. Rather, you connect it to something that, as I mentioned, isn’t really anything at all: For what you are saying is not that John actually has removed this, but that it seems all the same as it were so when you find the text devoid of it.

            Do you deny this? Surely if you had meant something like that you’d seen that it was there in some earlier draft, you would certainly want to clear that up, unless you are laying bait—or under the definitions set out above, trolling. Either way, you are, in that particular instance, just saying things to evoke a response, not really to communicate anything! And that is wasteful the time and efforts of people reading it, repeatedly scrolling past it, potentially wanting to respond to it, even thinking about it—not to mention those of yourself.

        • vj

          THIS is the MT that we know and love ;-)

          FWIW, I do find that, *sometimes*, engaging with a troll (whether a comment or a person) can be a useful exercise in putting together a coherent explanation of my own thoughts and understandings. Even if this is wasted on a particular troll, it could still be of benefit to someone else, or to myself at a later point in time….

    • Lymis

      Good for you, John. It does improve the piece.

      And now, it’s safe for Facebook!

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

        thanks, L.

    • Joan Kahres

      Thank you… and happy to post it! Wonderful example for people to understand… I may get into yet another conversation with someone over their harmful beliefs! It has happened before.

      By the way… I heard a wonderful sermon about tolerance recently. It’s wrong and keeps any of the tolerated issues under wraps. Conversation, examples, openness about who we are, and voicing our beliefs where ever we are (church, work, facebook, and out in public) will further the path to equality faster than any tolerant attitude. If you believe something is wrong state it, share it, talk about it!

      Thanks for your cheering voice amidst the darkness of the world John. Keep up the great work. And thank you again for reconsidering. Much appreciated.

  • Kimberly Moser Musci Phillips via Facebook

    Amazing, the comment thread on your blog, worrying that mean-spirited and willfully ignorant, self-righteous and sanctimonious, rabid gay-bashers might get their feelings hurt because you called them a not-nice name. Waah. Somebody please give those poor widdle d!@#s a hanky.

    Because THAT is the textbook bully, one who can name-call, condone violence, lead the charge to publicly denigrate/dehumanize and condemn others…and then whimper and cry foul when confronted w/ just a small taste of their own medicine.

  • Kimberly Moser Musci Phillips via Facebook

    LOL. And btw, the Pharisees got their feelings hurt alot, when Jesus called them names. Didn’t mean He wasn’t telling them the truth, just that they were so blinded by their religion that they didn’t recognize God when they were looking right @ Him.

    • Lymis

      I guess that calling someone “whited sepulchers” and “blind guides” and “brood of vipers” isn’t as bad as calling them a dick.

      I’ve learned something.

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

        thanks, you guys.

    • Lisa

      “Didn’t mean He wasn’t telling them the truth, just that they were so blinded by their religion that they didn’t recognize God when they were looking right @ Him.”

      You hit the nail on the head.

  • Luke

    It seems to me that if homosexuality is a sin, then it should be possible to identify which of the 2 commandments is being broken, and which of the 10. I discount the 1st and greatest commandment, offense against God, because we can’t really speak for God and God can deal with such in her own time and way. So what offense is there against a neighbor? Then, among the 10 commandments, it is only adultery when there is infidelity, and that clearly is an offense against a neighbor, but it is separate from homosexuality. Then I found it: failure to honor father and mother. I have a dream of my son someday coming home for the holidays with his wife and new baby. If he were to take up with a man, that dream would have to die and I would grieve for it. Of course, the folks who wrote that commandment down would have seen producing grandchildren as an obligation. We don’t. I could replace that dream with a different one, especially as I know gay couples with children. Of course, my son isn’t gay, but he isn’t showing much signs of settling down with a women and having kids. So I may still have to let that dream die. I would be disappointed. My sons have disappointed me before. I love them anyway, and they honor me in different ways.

    So what if it is a sin? We have a grace for that.

    • Lymis

      Is it still a sin if our parents approve? My translation seems to be that I am supposed to honor my parents, not agree with them, and not live my deepest truths by their standards if I see things differently.

      • Luke

        Lymis, the short answer is no, or at least not anymore. Love, grace, and forgiveness bring healing.

        I don’t think approve is the right word. I can’t come up with the right word. Something like see-through-the-eyes-of-love. If the parent rejects the child or if the child will not give the parent the chance to work through it, then there is a breach in the relationship. That is sad and wrong and, yes, sinful.

        No, I don’t think that loving, caring relationships are sinful. I know that some don’t believe same-sex relationships can be that way. I can’t look into people’s hearts, but I see some such relationships that sure seem to qualify. Too, I’ve talked to people recently who don’t believe that truly loving, caring relationships exist between men and women, and that is really tragic!

        • Lymis

          I’m sorry. I think I missed your point. You are still saying that being gay breaks one of the 10 Commandments because some people’s parents might object?

          • Luke

            I’m saying that’s the best I could come up with, and it is really weak. I don’t even buy it, though our family relationships do affect our families. My connection of same-sex relationships to that commandment was more than a little facetious.

            Why is it important to analyze sinfulness? Why should I care what rule it breaks rather than what relationship it breaks? How does whether something is a sin change how you relate to someone? Who is without sin? I see those trite signs “love the sinner, hate the sin” and wonder if those folks think that is easy, what they think it means to love. Love is hard, it is expensive, it will transform you. Love is picking up the cross. You love FIRST. When you know someone, when you have made it clear in word and action that you care about them, that you will defend them from harm and oppression, when their pain is your own, when you have their back, THEN you can start to talk about sin. When you can speak to them one-on-one as beloved children of God, when you know who they love and love who they love, THEN you can start talking about their relationships. Loving someone by bullying them, passing laws against them, rejecting them, excluding them, berating them? No Way!

          • Lymis

            Gotcha. I always got more mileage out of the command not to covet my neighbor’s ass, but everyone has their own perspective on these things.

    • Allie

      I have a family friend whose two daughters both are lesbians. And he was disappointed for exactly the reason you describe. But then his daughter came home for the holidays one year with her wife and his grandchild, and they seem pretty happy now.

      We’re in a transitional period. Things are messed up. But in the future I hope parents will dream of and imagine the future with gay kids as much as they now do the ones with straight kids. It’s certainly not the kid’s fault nor a sin that they weren’t born an entirely different child than the parent hoped for, any more than it’s a daughter’s fault if her father wished for a son to play baseball with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/natalie.jones.3348 Natalie Jones via Facebook

    @Kimberly Moser Musci Phillips What about that Nathen guy who keeps saying ‘agree to disagree?’

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

    OMGosh you mean there’s no Santa!!

  • Matthew Tweedell

    But Santa Claus *does* exist! Seriously, every bit as much as Jesus Christ at least. (There should have been no reason you ever had to stop believing in him, John. I’m sorry. Your parents probably just didn’t understand it themselves. How wide was the chimney [if any] of that house, relative to the amount of toys you were getting? It seems reasonable to me to conclude that Santa’s helpers had stashed them there in advance, as they weren’t gonna fit down the chimney Christmas Eve.)

  • Kimberly Moser Musci Phillips via Facebook

    @Natalie: Agree to disagree is fine. Except when one of the “-gree-”ers chooses to step beyond passively having their view. The moral thing to do is stand up to bullies, and call them out for what they are(n’t). Esp so, when they relentlessly attempt to use God’s name as a shield for their bullying. (That bit about using His name in vain, it doesn’t mean just don’t ever say goddammit. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bert-Gagnon/731901646 Bert Gagnon via Facebook

    already shared – and very awesome!

  • Mom of newly out child

    You know, I’m not a biblical scholar, but I’ve done my fair share of reading and researching from multiple sources. People like Andy can play the “holier than thou” card all they want. It won’t change the fact that Jesus taught love, acceptance and tolerance.

    • Lisa

      Amen!

    • Andrew Raymond

      Bravo!

      • Allie

        Lulu, I want you to go and get your Bible and look something up. Ezekiel Chapter 16, verse 49. This is what it says, but I want you to see it for yourself.

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

        That’s the King James version. So what the Bible says is not that Sodom was destroyed because of gay sex, but that it was destroyed because of pride, greed, and laziness, and not caring for the poor. Don’t you believe what the Bible says? If you don’t, what is it you do believe and why?

    • Paul

      Jesus’s message was not “love, acceptance, and tolerance.” Yes, that would be nice if it was, but that was not what he taught. Jesus’ message was, “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). Yes, Jesus did hang out with the “sinners” and the outcasts of society, but he did not condone any of their actions. He did however, forgive them of their sins! He never taught acceptance of others’ sins, but of other sinners and he never taught tolerance of sin, but to be loving towards those who are lost in sin. Jesus said it himself, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17). We were already condemned before he came because, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), hence the need for the world to be saved. We are told to “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). So, yes!, we shouldn’t be full of ignorant condemnation. We should be full of love and treat those who are sinning with the same love and respect that we’d like to be treated with. That, however, does not make whatever sins someone is committing okay. We are called to love others and call them to Jesus who will forgive them for their sins.

      Be blessed!

      • Mindy

        Paul, you’re still judging. You can wrap it up in whatever pretty paper you like. Bottom line is that Jesus never said word one about homosexuality or loving LGBT relationships, so calling them “sin” – however you choose to respond to sin aside – is judgmental and hypocritical and playing God by a human not qualified to do so.

        God doesn’t speak TODAY only through an ancient text. What, you think He told some guys back then to write stuff down and then disappeared? That makes about as much sense as you or anyone else determining which faulty translation of which ancient verse to cherry-pick when determining someone else’s sin. You need to spend some time here, Paul – reading John’s blog posts on this subject and the many, many comments of people far wiser than I.

        This subject, as far as most folks regularly here, has been put to rest. Don’t “love” our LGBT brethren by telling them how Jesus will forgive them for being true the way God made them. That’s just insulting – to them, to God, to all who believe.

        • Jill H

          Hi Mindy. You’re awesome.

  • Brena Easterday via Facebook

    The meanie opening was not keeping Believe Out Loud and Bring Your Gay Teen to Church from loving it. (Me neither, but I totally get the change.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/nwbuckeye Pat Hux via Facebook

    @Caring Heart….. when the student is ready, the teacher will come. Those ppl at one million moms are not ready….

  • Brena Easterday via Facebook

    Yes. I have been posting it and the petition to a lot of LGBT pages and not all “Christian” ones (Gay Marines, etc.)
    I wanted them to know that they have the right to keep their faith in spite of what they hear and give them the opportunity to sign the petition.
    GLAAD South Africa was a page I put the petition on!
    Surely there are one million people who are Christian and accepting to sign that petition.

  • Vernon O’Reilly Ramesar via Facebook

    Shared it and love it. Just one slight thing “That’s right: one day, when you home alone” – typo on ‘you’re’

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

      Yes! Thank you. good eyes.

  • Andrew Raymond

    Great post, John, but BOY it’s troll city in the comments. DR, Lymis, Gary, I wish I had your patience to attempt engage in intelligent debate. But boy, it sure looks hopeless!

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

      I’ve been really busy this morning: was at the dentist, for one. Now in Starbucks from which I must soon cut out. Usually I control this stuff better. I’ll see what I can do real quick here before I leave. In the meantime, I apologize for that mess, and can only beg your indulgence and patience.

      • Andrew Raymond

        No apology needed. You’re doing great. Peace.

  • Kirk C

    unfortunately, there are all too many folks who willingly “choose ignorant condemnation over enlightened love?”

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

    Thanks, you guys.

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

    Oh, you got it all wrong, John. The elves don’t *make* the toys anymore, they haven’t since Santa got deals with Mattel, Hasbro, Nintendo, and etc. Instead, they do assistance-work, wrapping… and all those mall-Santas are helpers, they even buy toys while they’re there as purchasing-agents… which explains the price stickers that sometimes still get left on the plastic packaging…

    I was a very imaginative child, which led to me being a very imaginative adult.

    Maybe it was my imaginative ability to understand how a person can “hold two seemingly contradictory views at once” that led me to listening to people on the Internet when they spoke of things that broke preconcieved notions and sterotypes. I dunno.

    Hmm. All I know is that Santa’s elves are less homey toy makers and are corporate. Also, the Easter Bunnies are a mafia. And I need to get cracking and writing twisted children’s books.

    • Lymis

      I don’t think you’re right that the Easter Bunny Cartel is a mafia. I believe the technical term is “fluffia.”

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdgalloway

        And I guess that makes the Tooth fairy some kind of heinous enamel cartel??

        • Lymis

          I think they’re a pyramid scheme, like Amway. I could be wrong. There’s still something creepy about breaking into children’s rooms at night and feeling around under their pillows.

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

            The Easter Bunny Mafia thing – was created by my guy and I and is detailed here: http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com/2012/04/easter-bunny-mafia.html

            The Tooth Fairy works for the American Dental Association or something. Kids’ teeth are a precious rescource that fairies harvest because they get ground up and made into dentures for old people.

          • Valerie

            wow this thread is great! I say write those books! I’d buy em!

          • Lymis

            That’s a delicious concept! Don Carrotleone lives!

  • Larry Petry via Facebook

    i thought your intro was edgy, but funny. those are tough calls to make, particularly when making an important point. I prefer to comment on FB more so than on the blog comments. (sorry John. ) feels mildly more productive.

  • Diana Horel via Facebook

    I would have liked to have seen the other intro.

  • Mindy

    I dunno, John. You might still be a serious nutjob. I have to think about this . . . .

    ;->

    Sorry. Responding to posts on Breitbart the other day skewed my reality for a moment, and made me feel like most people really are crazy and hateful. Then I stopped looking for new responses to my comments, and I got better. I was reminded that it is utterly pointless to engage in discussion on a site like that, because “civil discourse” is not a concept with which most of them are familiar.

    I try to be civil, get little civility in return, and am told repeatedly that everything I believe – EVERYTHING – is part of a gay leftwing agenda plan to suck God and the Bible and everything that is good and holy in this world though a black hole of drug-addled, dangerous, promiscuous DOOM straight into the fires of Hell. Which is REAL, dammit!! And I am a sucker and an idiot who will go down with ‘em all for believing it.

    There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to “discuss” with them, but I’m sure the fact that I stopped posting left them with a great sense of victorious glee.

    You, on the other hand, NAILED IT.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      Perhaps sadly, that’s not too much worse than what should be expected here, given the current state of it, if one of them comes to us and defends likewise their dissenting viewpoint with civility but passion.

      Perhaps it is spoiled for all of us by the likes of.. oh, idk.. Andy. (Because I’m sure they find themselves wasting time arguing with equivalent sorts of provocateurs simply substituting right-wing religious catchphrases with catchphrases of either a left-wing atheists or pseudo-New-Age “Christ-follower” or whatever.)

      • Mindy

        Agreed, Matthew. I would much rather discuss with Nathan than Andy, but I remind myself of how mired in fear Andy must be to hold so tight to something that I really believe he must know is wrong – as in, doesn’t fit with the rest of God’s message.

        I wouldn’t mind continuing the “debate” at Breitbart, but honestly, don’t have the time. It doesn’t feel productive, doesn’t feel like I’m making sense to anyone who reads there.

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

    Here’s the original opening, which drew such objection:

    Hello, Christians who still believe that homosexuality is a sin! How are you? Feeling a little entrenched and put-upon these days, I would imagine. And no wonder, what with recent polls showing that approximately fifty-two percent of Americans now think that you’re a complete dick.

    Kidding! Sorry. That was rude. No excuse. I totally apologize. I have no idea why I think I’m funny. I’m obviously not.

    Anyhoots, about the changing perception of homosexuality currently happening throughout our culture.

    • Donald Rappe

      s/b “you are complete dicks” There. Now that’s funny.

    • http://www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

      Shit, that’s awesome! No way you should have taken it down. I got the impression you just said, essentially, “believe that? then you’re a dick”. But that was beautiful. The intro gives it a whole different spin. If the complaints were that bad, could you just have used a different word? It takes away so much. And much that could actually spark interest or even be relate-able in a weird way.

      Thanks for at least putting it up in the comments so us slow-pokes could still read it.

    • Valerie

      ok yeah that was funny!

  • Diana Horel via Facebook

    You’ve written better ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashley.cohea.1 Ashley Cohea via Facebook

    I have to admit, I kind of love it.

  • Lisa

    I spirals into a ‘let’s debate everything’ page. Is this typical of what your daily posts conjure up? I normally don’t come in, I just post to my wall, for others to glean what they can from your words. It’s kind of sad that people can not seem to agree on anything.

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

      I usually control the page better than I have today, Lisa. I’ve just been busy. But … obviously, feel free to cut out if you find it too whatever.

      • Lisa

        I don’t want to cut out, just wondered if this is what normally goes on behind the scenes. ;D

      • DR

        I’m just one person but I like that the Andys of the world show up. I think it gives us a great opportunity to show those who read here that there are Christians willing to stand up against that mindset and for them. At least I hope that’s what happens.

        • Gary

          I agree.

    • DR

      Lisa, do you think agreeing is the only fruit of peace?

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

    I LOVED it. I honed the timing necessary to properly land on the “dick” for about a half hour. I hate to lose funny. But … whatever. People complained. After awhile you learn not to fight it. But … LOST THE FUNNY!

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

    wrong. just wrong. (but I get it.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashley.cohea.1 Ashley Cohea via Facebook

    So sad, but I understand. Sometimes you’ve gotta lose the funny to keep from losing the audience.

  • Diana Horel via Facebook

    They say you should never get to attached to something in your writing. I thought your diatribe about the preacher who told his friend she deserved to die was much funnier and better composed. JMHO.

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

    Show me a writer who’s not attached to what he or she writes and I’ll show you a liar. Or a TERRIBLE writer. (And, for what it’s worth, I don’t agree with your assessment of the relative merits of those two pieces. But that’s why they have horse races.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashley.cohea.1 Ashley Cohea via Facebook

    Okay, am I seriously the only one who was laughing out loud at this piece? Don’t get me wrong, I often find John’s stuff quite funny, but this one is one of the funniest in recent memory to me, even without the controversial intro (though that makes it flat out hilarious, IMHO).

    • KimJ

      I agree. It’s very funny and quite wonderful. I’m thankful for straight allies.

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

    (That said, I very rarely–only if I have to, for some reason–go back and read anything I’ve written. And I TOTALLY forget something once I’ve written it. I have ZERO idea what’s on my blog from this week, for instance. Zero. I have no idea what I put up there yesterday, much less the day before. Tomorrow I’ll have completely forgotten the piece I put up today. It’s the absolute weirdest thing.)

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

    Ashley: No, this one is really funny.

  • Diana Horel via Facebook

    I really didn’t like the piece at all; i found the entire thing kind of limp. Different things resonate with different people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashley.cohea.1 Ashley Cohea via Facebook

    Okay, just making sure. I hadn’t seen anyone else mention the funny much, and I was starting to wonder if I’d accidentally ingested drugs or something. Not that that sort of thing happens to me. Much.

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

    people rang in with the funny love right when it was published. then the conversation took its … usual turn.

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

    Diana: pleasant of you. thanks.

  • Diana Horel via Facebook

    Ah well, love your stuff as a rule and am grateful for your voice.

  • Martha Jean-Prunier via Facebook

    loverly, John

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

    WOW, Awesome John! Thanks for that! :)

  • Nathan

    Here’s an article that opened my eyes quite a bit. Maybe you guys have a good point.

    Here are two evangelicals (a married couple) who “agree to disagree” about this issue. But perhaps not quite in the way you would expect. It’s well worth the 10-15 minutes that it takes to read this.

    http://www.bridges-across.org/ba/campolo.htm

    • DR

      Nathan, I’ve never met anyone on this blog who is so committed to distancing himself from the realities of this conflict and the severity of impact this “difference in theology” has had on the GLBT community. It’s like you’re obsessed with those of us here “agreeing to disagree” with you here. I’ve not seen you actually address any gay man or women in any kind of honest way. You talk *about* them and when they point out your inaccuracies, you stop responding and go back to talking about we should all just be at peace with one another.

      I imagine you in a fight with your wife when she tells you, “What you said devastated me and it actually caused me to think that God doesn’t love me anymore.” and you reply to her “No – that’s not what you’re really experiencing because I didn’t mean it that way. Let’s just agree to disagree.”

      You’re need for “agreeing to disagree” is all about you not being able to face that you’re deeply disrespected by many of us as a result of your impact on this community that we love and you refuse to do anything about or take responsibility for. That many of us are actually afraid of you (gay men and women for obviously different reasons). That’s not going to change unless you demonstrate a willingness to give gay men and women the last word on what you’re doing to them.

      • Nathan

        DR, did you read the article before posting?

        You aren’t going to change attitudes in the conservative Christian community overnight. You may not agree with Tony Campolo’s attitude, but it is a step in the right direction. His candid conversation with his wife about this issue is clearly a model that the church can use in facing this issue today. You (and others) compare this issue to segregation. I think you are right. And it is just wishful thinking to believe that such deeply held beliefs will vanish overnight. It’s a process that will take an entire generation of Christians to accomplish. How about you celebrate the small victories from time to time rather than focusing whining the fact that everyone doesn’t see life from exactly your perspective?

        What exactly would you like from the conservative Christian community? Attitudes and beliefs that have been ingrained since childhood are not going to change overnight. Perhaps you haven’t noticed it, but my thinking on this issue has changed over the past 48 hours or so. It hasn’t come around to the place where you want it to be yet. But has taken a step or two in your direction. Read the article and I think you’ll figure that out.

      • Nathan

        By the way, DR:

        I posted this article on my FB page. (the Tony Campolo interview) Now, based on your brief knowledge of me, think about who you think my friends and family are. (I grew up in a Southern Baptist church) I’m not quite where you want me to be – but I’m taking a few steps in your direction. You (or actually the others on this website, not you) have convinced me that the church has failed miserably on this issue. I’m not quite ready to say that I have no problem with homosexuality. But I am ready to say that “we’ve really screwed on this issue – what should we do next?”

        I don’t know what the right answer is. But I’m thinking about it and I’m thinking about how it impacts my decisions and attitudes.

        • Nathan

          (sorry, should have said “screwed up” in that last statement)

          • Christy

            We’re ok with screwed up here, Nathan. No biggie. Thank you for thinking about all this. I know how difficult it can be to wrestle with things we once were so certain of or at least those things all of our friends and family would not be happy to learn we are thinking about. I have found the process of asking questions the thing, that if any, has drawn me closer to God. It seems, perhaps, rather,that the seeking is itself an act of God pulling us closer. Being open to finding…has lead to being found.

            Thank you for coming here and sticking with this.

        • DR

          I think it ‘s great that you’re here willing to talk about this. I know I’m being hard on you but just know it’s rooted in my love for Christ and *His* love for gay men and women. It takes so much courage to look at all of this and to face how we’ve failed is something when I was where you are now, rocked me to my validation core.

          I’m a huge fan of Tony, I think he’s woken our Church up to a lot of really important things. But again – these people are straight and Christians who are straight have been given the exclusive privilege (by all of us) to define, ultimately, what is “God’s Truth”. There is no one in that conversation who is gay who gets to have the last word on who they are. Just straight people speaking as a result of having spoken to them. This is what we do as Christians, we distance ourselves from them and speak about them. Not to them. We have too much to lose if we do that.

          There needs to be a point where we to let gay men and women tell us the truth. Not just about them but about ourselves. What we’ve done, why we believe what we do. I believe they are at this point, one of the most purifying agents we have. I’ve read some of their comments to you offered with such love and such Grace. Listen to them. That’s all I ask. xoxo

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com DR

            And yes, I expect a ton from conservative Christians and I will continue to because there are lots of thoughtful, loving people within that group who care a lot about people and are steadfastly committed to Christ. I have high expectations for them – you – because I know your intent would to never hurt anyone, that it is probably devastating to hear that you do. I get it because I was you! But. I expect big things because I ultimately respect a lot of you and you currently hold a ton of power in our world right now. I need you to use that power for good things. We need you! So you nailed it, I expect big things from good people.

    • Nicole

      Thanks for posting that article…that presentation was in 1996?! Wow. I’m very impressed with Peggy Campolo.

    • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

      I think that if every Christian who believed same-sex sexual relationships were a sin was like Tony Campolo, it wouldn’t be a problem. It would be just a calm, reasoned theological debate with people who care about each other and accept that they’re all brothers and sisters in Christ (and that those who aren’t Christians are their brothers and sisters too).

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com DR

        I’m confused by this comment.

        • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

          Probably what I get for posting pre-coffee. Let me try to clarify.

          Tony Campolo thinks that same-sex relationships are a sin and that LGBT people are “called to celibacy.” But he argues that the church should treat gay Christians the same way it treats divorced Christians: “If the church is so gracious in accepting people who are divorced and remarried, i.e., accepting people who according to Jesus are living in a sexual sin that he specifically condemns, then why can’t they be at least that gracious to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters?”

          If he were a representative example of the Christians who hold to that interpretation of Scripture, then Nathan’s “agree to disagree” might be possible. Because there’d be an overall climate of love and acceptance, rather than a bunch of hateful bullying and discrimination masquerading as “tough love” and “just doing what the Bible tells us to.”

          That’s not to say that it wouldn’t *still* mess LGBT kids up to grow up in Christian houses and be told that they don’t get to fall in love and have a family like other people do. It’s also not to say that I agree with his take. More that Nathan’s using that dialogue as an example of “Let’s all get along and agree to disagree,” and part of the reason it doesn’t work is that there seem to be a lot more Sean Harrises than Tony Campolos, or at least they get more attention and more amens.

          Does that help?

          You already hit on the other reason why it doesn’t work, probably the bigger one—that there’s a difference between two straight people “agreeing to disagree” about something that doesn’t affect them directly and asking a gay person to “agree to disagree” with judgments about their life and their relationships.

          • DR

            ahhh. Got it. Thank you for taking the time to clarify. :D

          • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

            No problem. I reread it, and what I was trying to get across was *really* murky.

    • Lymis

      Nathan, I read the link. I agree that it is impressive. There is a fundamental problem, though, with using this link to make the point you think you are trying to make.

      This is a discussion about homosexuality between two heterosexual people. It may well be a wonderful, touching, and beautiful reflection about how two loving people came to terms with a disagreement between themselves about how they are supposed to judge other people in how they live their own lives.

      But it leaves gay people absolutely and utterly out of the discussion about our own love, our own experiences, our own spirituality, and our own lives.

      Using this as some sort of example in your argument that Christians and Christian churches and traditions need to set aside their differences and agree to disagree only works if you make the assumption that all Christians are straight, and that the churches are disagreeing about how “we Christians” should treat “those homosexuals.” As though gay people are some sort of exotic species to be studied like chimps and you are in search of the right Jane Goodall to live amongst them and report back.

      I suspect you think that the fact that the husband in your example “talked to over 300 homosexuals” makes him an expert on gay people. Gay people are the experts on being gay people, and if you want to understand what being a gay Christian is like, talk to gay Christians, not people who’ve just met them. And if you really want to learn something, talk to gay people who tried to be gay Christians, and were treated so abysmally by Christians that they had to walk away from it.

      Far too many straight Christians think that they are actually “engaging the issue of homosexuality” by talking amongst themselves about it. Is there any other issue, particularly one this important and controversial, where the actual people who are having the experience in question are cut entirely out of the discussion?

      Yes, there is a question for LGBT people faced with the call to Christianity and a relationship with Christ – for those LGBT people, the primary question is “how do I reconcile the truths I know about myself and my own lived experience with what I find God to be calling me to be?” For those LGBT people, all other question are essentially secondary, even when the answers are critical in defining how and where they live out their personal relationship with Jesus.

      But far too many straight people act as though the primary concern for them, as straight Christians, is whether or not it is okay for gay people to be gay. It isn’t, and never has been. For straight Christians, the primary questions are, and always have to be, “Here is my neighbor, who says she is lesbian. How does Jesus say I should treat my neighbor, even when we disagree?” And, “Here is a gay man who says I am his enemy because I am Christian. How does Jesus say I should treat those who see me as an enemy?” And “Here is a transgendered person who is being brutally discriminated against, in the workplace, in housing, in society – down to not even being allowed to use many public restrooms. How does Jesus want me to treat the poor and oppressed?”

      Placing the question of whether or not to condemn LGBT people, and how to maintain Christian unity over the question as a higher priority than loving your neighbor has got to be one of the most fundamental violations of Jesus’s teachings that you can come up with. Ignoring the needs of the poor and victimized when they are in need is one of the only things that Jesus himself is recorded as saying will send you to hell.

      Whether or not you believe that literally, there can be no question that Jesus himself is recorded as feeling that strongly about the issue.

      Imagine yourself standing before Jesus when he says, “Your salvation is dependent on how you treated the least of your brothers and sisters. For I was gay. I was lesbian. I was bisexual. I was transgendered. I was a high school teen in despair because my church condemned my orientation. I was the family who couldn’t get insurance. I was the widow who was thrown out of my house because the law didn’t recognize my marriage. And this is how you treated me.”

      You really want your answer to be “I didn’t do anything to help you, but I did work tirelessly to make sure that Christians were free to discriminate against you without being called names, and making sure that there were at least some denominations where people could be comfortable doing so”?

      Because that’s what you are telling us your answer is.

      Really?

      • Christelle

        Thank you, Lymis. You and DR are my favorite commentors- I glean as much from you two as I do John (sorry John!)… THIS comment should be it’s own blog post…

        • Allie

          I think John gets a lot of credit for creating a space where comments like this arise on a regular basis, too!

          • Christelle

            absolutely!

      • Mindy

        This is important, Nathan, I hope you are reading it all in the spirit in which is being presented – and I will add that I appreciate your willingness to read and think about it, rather than getting defensive and hateful like some others. This tells me that you are open to God’s love, to understanding. And as a proud ally of my gay friends, I do understand that change comes slowly. It is a lot to wrap your brain around – a new understanding of a lifelong-held belief. But I have a feeling you can do this.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com DR

        This is incredible.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        It is very true that we must, first and foremost, love our neighbor as ourselves. But this doesn’t mean we should act as we were out of our minds.

        If we’re to come any general consensus in regards to what things are in fact the most loving things to do, then we are to come to believe in the same love, which requires a certain unity of faith.

        And the theology of faith as regards sin is of common interest, even where it might not concern us personally, because, although we are indeed called to treat our neighbor in many ways the same regardless, there are indeed some ways in which an unrepentant sinner should not be afforded the same status as a person who more or less tries at least to follow in the paths of righteousness as revealed to us.

        For instance, when a person shows a clear disregard for the law, whether the law of mankind or, where it really counts, the fundamental moral law of God, why should we fully—indeed how can we even—trust the lawless? I would sooner leave my wife alone with a philanthropist than a drug dealer. I should sooner lease a large house to a group of nuns than a group of known prostitutes.

        • Lymis

          Any rational evaluation of what counts as loving has to include the effect it has on the recipient.

          An approach that causes teens to try to kill themselves and drives large numbers of people out of the church and away from God cannot by any rational standard be considered loving behavior.

          “Hey, those of us who don’t even share a temptation towards, much less an experience of, what all the experts in the field as well as all the people in the group under discussion have decided to classify your central life experience as sin. Luv ya!” is unhinged.

          • Lymis

            Let me try that last paragraph again:

            “Hey, those of us who don’t even share a temptation towards, much less an experience of, what all the experts in the field as well as all the people in the group under discussion acknowledge as central to your identity and life experience have decided to classify it as sin, regardless of how it actually affects your life and the lives of others. Luv ya!” That’s unhinged.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            I understand, but this still doesn’t mean that heterosexual Christians don’t have any substantial interest in increasing awareness of the answer among themselves. However, if this is really how you feel, go tell John, Mindy, DR, etc. to knock it off.

          • DR

            Matthew, sometimes the argumentative quality of your comments creates a perception (to me at least) that you argue for the sake of arguing. But then having posted with you here for a while, that doesn’t seem like something you’d care about.

            It’s been difficult to discern the meaning and intent of some of your comments lately. I actually like it that you’re not in lock-step agreement with the regulars here, you have a very specific point of view that isn’t bent easily. I like it. I’m trying to get a handle on where you’re coming from because I sense I could learn something from it. I’m just having a hard time tracking (it’s probably my own issue). I’ll keep reading and seeing if I can put it together.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Love the phrase “argumentative quality”—just the right kind of fuzziness in meaning here, in my opinion!

            You always have to ask the really hard questions, don’t you? :) Wait, looking at it again, you didn’t even use a single question mark to do so! Anyway, I want to thank for this, DR.

            I wanted to answer this for a while, but didn’t know how. You make me really struggle with how to put such complex things in words.

            To begin with, let me tell you, there is nothing really to be learned from me. I know nothing. I think I know, but I really don’t. All I do is to learn. That is a part of why I question so many ideas. Another part is that I think I know, and I test myself. So in all this, I’m just educating myself. I am unequipped to be actually teaching anybody to think or to be anyhow better than they currently do or are (which is not, however, to say I don’t like to play school sometimes). What I say that I’m informing people of, I’m proofing my own confidence in and my own approach to, while learning others’ response to, as well as their take on, all of the above.

            Yet—again—I think I know. I think that I know where a thing is going—that I see where a line of reasoning leads, taken to logical conclusions. And if I don’t like the looks of that, I will put up roadblocks. Perhaps if only someone long ago had noted the inconsistency—purely theoretical of course—in thinking that men having sex with men must everywhere and always be outside of a matrimonial covenant….

            Well, I tend to be such as will note such things. Or at least I think I do.

          • Mindy

            Matthew, why do you think Lymis would want to tell us to knock it off? I didn’t get that from him at all. I don’t think any of us claims, ever, to be an expert on the experience of being gay. But the fact is that we do KNOW gay people. We’ve talked to them about deep issues like religion. We’ve learned from them. We have enough personal experience to know that while we can certainly never speak for them, we can see without any doubt at all that they are deserving of no less that 100% equality in this country, and are no less deserving of God’s love than anyone else. So we say that. In as many ways as we can, trying to get through to the Andys and Nathans and Chrises and Jims of the world.

            We don’t treat our LGBT brethren as if they are children and we are the grown-ups who “know what’s best for them.” We allow that they are fully human, exactly as they are, no different than we are. Those who would say otherwise, who claim to know God better and thus know what “is best” for gay people – that is with whom Lymis takes issue, or at least that’s how it appears to me.

            I never got the feeling that Lymis resents us speaking from our own experiences – but he does resent (as do I) those with NO experience with gay people at all insisting they know what’s true about them, right for them, etc. Lymis – feel free to correct me here if I’m missing something.

            I know I’ve mentioned in the past here that I am an adoptive parent, yes? I have no problem with other people discussing adoption. But I would have serious problems with someone who is not a part of the adoption triad or, at the very least, not a studied adoption professional, telling me what is best for my family.

            Adoptive parenting is different than ‘regular’ parenting. We have issues that have to be addressed that don’t come up in typical biologically-related families. Unless you’ve LIVED it, you really can’t get it, not on the primal, emotional level. That our family is built on loss, and that we have to address that loss and work through it – each of us – to be emotionally healthy. That we have to help our children deal with it continually as they grow up, because each developmental stage brings with it a new level of understanding and with that, often a new intensity of grief. or anger. Or confusion. Or not – it depends on the kid. People who know us well are better-versed to speak on the subject, because they’ve been there as we’ve gone through some of that. So I do understand, I think, what it feels like to be second-guessed by someone who has no business doing so, and I do try not to do that in this situation.

          • Lymis

            Mindy, I will not only agree with you, I don’t think you take it far enough.

            I honestly haven’t a clue what it is that Matthew is inviting me to tell you all to knock off. Given that my point was that being gay (and yes, even being “a practicing homosexual,” though I like to think I’ve had enough practice to feel I’m good at it by now) simply isn’t a sin, and all of you seem to agree to that general concept, nothing to object to there.

            As you’ve made clear, discussing LGBT issues among straight people, while making real efforts to include LGBT in the discussion and in the community, and being willing to keep space in your considerations for the shared experiences that LGBT have is deeply different from treating us like some sort of alien creature to be kept at arm’s length, or a problem to be solved.

            In short, you guys rock. Keep it up.

            And, though I think it’s implicit in what you wrote, it’s worth being explicit about.

            There are a number of things, even about how gay people should live our lives (and how straight people should live their lives, for that matter) that I disagree with John on, and, I assume, that would be true of many others here if we had cause to dig deep enough.

            And yet, being adults, we can see each other as fellow children of God, and trust that God is holding each of us in His hands and guiding each of us along our own unique paths. As I see it, on a lot of issues, it isn’t “agreeing to disagree” about what it right or what God wants all of us to do, but often, rather, it is agreeing that what is right for me may not be right for you, and that God can be okay with different people being on different paths.

            There are basics that we will agree and disagree on, but we don’t have to have a unified theology or a unified philosophy to honor each other as fellow children of the same God.

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

            (For what it’s worth, I don’t think I’ve ever in my life written anything about how gay people should live their lives.)

          • Mindy

            Ah, c’mon, sure you have. They should live openly, they should sit their families down and tell them the truth about who they are . . . . you know, live honestly and all that. You implore them not to accept second-class status.
            :)

            The nerve of ya . . . .

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

            Well, now, see, I have given specific advice to specific people who have written with specific problems. But that’s not the same as making any sort of general proclamation about how gay people (or anyone else) should live their lives. Sometimes I recommend talking to families. Sometimes I recommend lying low, keeping quiet, and getting out ASAP.

            But I know what you mean. And I appreciate it.

          • Lymis

            I agree with Mindy, and I’ll add that you’ve also written plenty of things about how gay people should live our lives. You just haven’t separated us out from non-gay people when you do. Since you consider gay people to be people, all the advice you give to everyone applies to LGBT people as well.

            A lot of people act like gay people are entirely different species, to whom the normal rules of human life don’t apply. You don’t. Good for you. So, for example, when you say that sexual activities should be reserved to a committed relationship, you don’t put that asterisk on it that so many others seem to -as in *unless you’re gay, in which case you should be celibate.

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

            (I said Actual Coitus [as opposed to "sexual activities"] is best reserved for committed relationships—but let’s not again open that can of worms. But, yes, again, I do [as ever] appreciate what you’re saying, very much. Thank you!)

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

            You and Mindy both are such invaluable presencessessesses on this blog.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            “I never got the feeling that Lymis resents us speaking from our own experiences – but he does resent (as do I) those with NO experience with gay people at all insisting they know what’s true about them, right for them, etc. ”

            Then that’s what he should have said, because I am still convinces there’s nothing wrong in general with straight Christians discussing with other straight Christians about it. The problem, it seems to me, is when it goes undiscussed, unmentioned, presumed on the basis of prejudices institutionalized in such things as marriage.

          • DR

            He’s never *said* that there is anything worn in general with straight Christians discussing this with one another. We don’t get the *last word* on it, Matthew. That’s the difference.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            “This is a discussion about homosexuality between two heterosexual people.”

            “But it leaves gay people absolutely and utterly out of the discussion about our own love, our own experiences, our own spirituality, and our own lives.”

            “I suspect you think that the fact that the husband in your example ‘talked to over 300 homosexuals’ makes him an expert on gay people.”

            “Far too many straight Christians think that they are actually ‘engaging the issue of homosexuality’ by talking amongst themselves about it.”

            Well, I was one of them (and so are you). I did “suspect” that I had heard from enough gay people to have some idea of what they’re telling us about themselves (though I wouldn’t call myself an expert). Lymis’s saying that in effect I shouldn’t have that discussion without sending him a special invite (though no one ever said gays couldn’t join the conversation) is confusing to say the least, as other gays had actually been encouraging of my “engaging the issue” with straight Christians.

            “For straight Christians, the primary questions are, and always have to be, ‘Here is my neighbor, who says she is lesbian. How does Jesus say I should treat my neighbor, even when we disagree?’ And, ‘Here is a gay man who says I am his enemy because I am Christian. How does Jesus say I should treat those who see me as an enemy?’ And ‘Here is a transgendered person who is being brutally discriminated against, in the workplace, in housing, in society – down to not even being allowed to use many public restrooms. How does Jesus want me to treat the poor and oppressed?’”

            You, DR, certainly do not seem to redirect the conversations to these “primary questions” much. I take it they are not, in fact, the limit of the extent of what you know are primary questions of concern. Likewise I disagree that these are always those. And Lymis doesn’t get the “last word” on what the primary questions of concern to straight Christians are or ought to be.

          • DR

            Of course gay men and women get the last word on what God’s Word says about their sexuality – you resisting that says more about your need for control than anything else.

            Why do you need to have the last word on what the Scriptures say about being gay? That’s the question for you to pose to yourself, not anyone else. And if you answer it, perhaps you’ll see why you quoted these phrases from Lymis and removed the context in which he offered them.

          • DR

            Here’s the difference between you and I, Matthew. If a gay man or woman told me I was wrong about something – if they preferred that I not speak a specific way in terms of tone, manner or content? I’d not do it because they know better than I do. I can only speak *about* their experience and as a result, I know my boundaries. I know I can never speak as accurately as someone who is gay. It’s arrogant to think that I could. So stop using me as your example, please. You and I do not share the same perspective and I don’t appreciate it. I find it really distracting to the good that’s happening here. Stop referencing me in the points you’re making to Lymis, it’s offensive to me personally. I do not share your story here. Thanks in advance.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Ok, WTF?

            Who says I need to have the last word on what the Scriptures say about being gay?

            Where have I “resisted” that gay men and women get the last word on what God’s Word says about their sexuality?

            And what of essense to their meaning have I removed these phrases from the context of, DR?

          • Matthew Tweedell

            As to your last comment, which hadn’t appeared before my last reply:

            First, the way you describe it, it would seem our perspectives are not so different after all. I don’t know why you feel you have to insist that they are.

            Second, I will continue to reference whatsoever appears of greatest utility to the points I wish to make.

          • DR

            Matthew if you can’t follow a basic courtesy – leaving me out of whatever argument you’re posing to Lymis – that says a lot more about your character and maturity than the actual comments you’re making. It’s a little shocking that you’d not provide that simple bit of civility but perhaps I’ve misjudged you as someone who’d respond to that.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            You are aware I’m a straight Christian, right? Then why were you debating with me the matter of how we are to interact with gays and how we’re to respond to what, if anything, God’s Word might have to say about that when Lymis has told us this is not to be our question of concern? It is a matter of content, and remember, they know better than you do.

            But I frankly don’t care what they know, but what is best for me to believe.

            I told a gay man once (at least—I actually think twice, but not entirely sure about the second, and it is possible even others) that I thought it *wasn’t* a sin to be gay. It was he who directed conversation to the topic. But yes, I dared to tell him what I thought God’s Word says about this.

            I thought I was helping him with own understanding regarding the matter, just as someone else might either ask whether, or claim, in contradiction to my understanding, that, for instance, masturbation is condemned by the scriptures (or, if it really has to be something I wouldn’t be tempted with, perhaps polyandry or something).

            Now, I had thought that look in his eyes was thanks. But I guess you’re saying it was resentment (which figures, considering subsequent events, but I’m amazed at how you can know this without being there or knowing him personally).

            I’m sorry I don’t know my boundaries, DR. And I’m so glad that you do.

            But I frankly don’t care what you do, but what is best for me to do.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Honestly, I’m just pretty confused at this point. I hear some people telling me I shouldn’t do something, whereas I’ve heard others encouraging me to do it, And both I hear from both straights and gays. My aim is to discern what is right. I had thought Mindy’s explanation of what she took Lymis as meaning to say, together with my injunction against drawing certain conclusions from what he had said, had cleared everything up. Yet your continuing debate tells me I was wrong. By the way, I do apologize to Mindy and Lymis if it is offensive to them that I mention them in a discussion I’m having with DR, but I find it unavoidable in making the points that I think are necessary here (unless I were to substitute their proper names with the even less polite, IMO, “someone”).

          • DR

            Matthew, it’s very simple. Please leave me out of any kind of example you’re offering in your current conversation with Lymis or anyone else, please. It’s a simple request which requires no context. Do it or don’t. If you don’t choose to do that then you’re a bit of a jerk IMO and making it way more complicated than it has to be but no sweat off my back if that’s the way you want to roll.

            I’m going to go back to the actual conversation now. Later!

          • Matthew Tweedell

            I am not the one who’s making it way more complicated than it has to be, DR.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            If it is really no sweat off your back, then why would you make such a request? The real truth: this exchange says more about you than it does about me. Yet I am not so cold-hearted as not to be genuinely concerned about this. If it’s important to you, it’s important to me. But saying so has no meaning to me until you let us know how it’s important to us.

        • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

          there are indeed some ways in which an unrepentant sinner should not be afforded the same status as a person who more or less tries at least to follow in the paths of righteousness as revealed to us.

          Okay, that’s fair enough. But it’s not appropriate to conflate sins (or things you personally think are sins, which sincere Christians honestly disagree on).

          Everyone sins. I would also argue that everyone is an unrepentant sinner in at least one area of their lives. No one has a perfect moral compass, and people are very good at justifying things to themselves.

          So, based on that, we could choose not to trust anyone at all. If we assume we shouldn’t rent a house to an unrepentant sinner, and we’re honest about that definition, it’s going to sit empty until angels of God show up looking for rental properties.

          Because we can’t actually live like that, it makes much more sense to limit our assumptions about people to ones that are actually related to their actions. If I know someone cheats on his taxes, I’m not going to leave money lying around where he might pocket it. It’s a reasonable assumption that if he’s willing to steal from the government, he might steal from me too. He also might not. Maybe he sees tax fraud as a victimless crime. But the two things are related enough that it seems a reasonable precaution to take.

          I’m not going to assume, however, that because he cheats on his taxes, he’s likely to rape me and I should never be alone with him. The two things aren’t related other than that they fall under the big sweeping category of “sin.”

          It gets even murkier when you consider that people have sincere disagreements about what constitutes sin or immorality. If someone is living in a way that goes against what you believe, are they an unrepentant sinner with a “clear disregard for the law”, or do they just have a different understanding or emphasis than you do? Is it possible, even, that your interpretation is wrong? I don’t think we know the answer to that question because we can’t see anyone else’s heart; I think only God does.

        • Allie

          There’s a certain backformation you’re ignoring.

          No, I probably wouldn’t leave my child with a sociopath. But I would leave my child with a gay person, because gay people are lovely. That’s a generalization, of course; gay people are all different ways, just like straight people, but gay people are at least as likely to be wonderful people as straight people, and that’s not based on theology but on personal experience with many kind and wonderful people.

          So these “sinners” are great folks. Given your line of questioning, doesn’t it follow that they must not be such blackhearted and lawless sinners as you suppose?

          • Matthew Tweedell

            I suppose your last question is addressed to me, but in that case, which “sinners” were you talking about? I wasn’t specifically judging any sinners. In fact, I know, for instance, some rather principled drug dealers, who I wouldn’t say are necessarily unrepentant sinners; nevertheless, one does have to take sufficient precautions, before, for instance, loaning one the use of your car. Now I’ve got no “personal experience” to suggest they are anything but the wonderful lessees of cars, but I do have some personal principles of my own (for instance, in regards to what they might do with that car).

          • Matthew Tweedell

            (Ignore “the” in between “anything but” and “wonderful lessees”.)

    • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

      Hi Nathan,

      Yeah, I think most of us know all about the Campolo’s. Pretty hard not to. And the organizations, almost entirely run by straight people, who try to take their agree to disagree approach. (You’ll still see these groups inviting Tony to speak without Peggy, though.) The Gay Christian Network tries that, too (might be the only time gay people are in one it), which ended very badly at their last conference it appears (PTSD triggered by giving Exodus a microphone in a room full of ex-gay ministry survivors…)… But even before that, the site just feels like black people agreeing to disagree on whether they should voluntarily segragate themselves for Jesus. Kinda disgusting really.

      I think the truth of it is that until we actually feel safe and welcome, what’s there to agree about? Only our marginalization. There are not two equal groups fighting out a disagreement that doesn’t impact them day to day (as it is with the Campolos and the denominations who are their target audience). There is one big powerful group and one smaller, vulnerable and marginalized group. Agreeing to disagree is just a way of accepting our second-class status.

  • contextualist

    an issue that is related to, but distinct from, the THEOLOGICAL one is the LEGAL/POLITICAL one. christians in america often make a point of agitating to change the laws of the land to conform with what *they* think god wants for america — or, in the case of sexual orientation, even agitating for a constitutional amendment that would make non-hetero marriage illegal.

    part of why it’s important to try and understand the meaning, the context, and the theological underpinnings of the biblical texts on sexuality is because the changes that some christians propose to make to our civil liberties in america would affect the lives [a] of other christians who disagree with their interpretation of scripture, or/and [b] of non-christians who see the bible as irrelevant and unhelpful. [some christians feel that people in both these categories should be *forced* to live by *their* interpretations of the bible; such christians should consider how they themselves would feel if, e.g., american muslims wanted to force *them* to live by the qur'an -- i.e., by those muslims' particular *interpretation of* the qur'an. it could happen, and via fully legal/constitutional processes! and it would be done by deeply pious people, on the grounds of honoring god. but those christians would probably not like it.]

    so it’s important for christians to have a clear understanding of what they take the bible to mean when it speaks to sexual behavior or orientation. but it’s also important, in a different way, to *everyone* — christians and non-christians alike — that christians understand [a] the nature of their own *methods* of interpreting the bible, and [b] the limitations of what being an american grants each of us over the beliefs and activities of other citizens.

    my last point [for the moment] is implicit in everything i’ve said above, but i should spell it out as explicitly as i can: no written or oral communication is immediate, i.e. instantly and incontrovertibly obvious, in its meaning. every text in the world *has to be interpreted* by its recipient, in order to be used or applied; and the history of the judaeo-christian tradition — from the aramaic targum and the septuagint version, to the early ecumenical councils, to the protestant reformation, to the rise of higher criticism in the 19th century, right down to these current arguments about sexuality — is marked by an enormous disparity among the interpretations of the bible, both of the hebrew scriptures and of the NT. and i’m not just talking about the opinions of private individuals posting offhanded comments on a blog: i’m referring to the fixed public pronouncements of the most influential leaders and authorities of these traditions. whole movements are begun, or are quashed or die out, because of these various interpretations. each one of those leaders and authorities is apparently quite convinced that his/her interpretation is not ‘just some interpretation’ but the *true and authentic meaning* of the word of god.

    so are their followers, who have been known to act on that conviction with such zeal that they sometimes imprison, sometimes hang, and sometimes literally set fire to the bodies of those who disagree with them. they always say they do this, of course, ‘for your own good’: i am punishing your body for the sake of your soul. but such coercive behavior [to describe it in minimalist terms] effaces the fact that they are acting, not simply ‘upon the word of god,’ but actually upon *their interpretation of* the word of god. or, as a non-christian would say: upon their interpretation of *what they consider to be* the word of god.

    in legal and ethical terms, this is the crux of the matter — when person A decides to restrict the civil liberties of person B, alleging that *his/her interpretation of* a religious text gives him/her license [or a mandate] to do so. for person A, the fact that person B may take that same religious text very seriously — but interpret it, in good faith, vastly differently — is meaningless. the fact that person B might reject the authority of that religious text altogether is meaningless.

    but i contend that such facts should NOT be meaningless. for many americans, they represent one of the most important and precious aspects of american LIBERTY.

    freedom from religious coercion, freedom to live in peace with their own conception of the nature and precepts of god, was precisely what drove the pilgrims out of england in search of a new home. those who prize such ethical, political, and spiritual values as these — which are at the very core of american history and culture — should refrain from applying religious coercion to others. they should also refrain from characterizing as ‘patriotic’ such behaviors as these, which go against the historic grain of our nation and our constitution. [that is, of *my interpretation of* the constitution! sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander; see above, again, re: interpretation. but if you chafe at my interpretation of the constitution, or of the bible, consider how those who disagree with *your* interpretations feel -- especially when you propose to restrict their civil liberties in such fundamental respects as whom they may marry, whom they may love and copulate with, whether they may raise children, whether they may file joint income tax returns, etc etc etc.]

    • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

      freedom from religious coercion, freedom to live in peace with their own conception of the nature and precepts of god, was precisely what drove the pilgrims out of england in search of a new home. those who prize such ethical, political, and spiritual values as these — which are at the very core of american history and culture — should refrain from applying religious coercion to others.

      Egg. Flipping. Zactly.

      Regardless of your reading of scripture, the US is a country that is supposed to prize freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. I find it baffling and frustrating when people who say they’re patriots want to use the US legislatures and courts and constitution to deny religious freedom to gay people and LGBT-affirming churches.

      For the “agree to disagree” folks, if you want to prove you’re sincere about *not* trampling on the rights of LGBT folks, an excellent way to put your money (or at least your time and eff0rt) where your mouth is is to help campaign for marriage equality and work on convincing religious people you interact with that they should be doing the same, regardless of their thoughts on the sinfulness of gay sex.

      • Andy

        Why would anyone work FOR something that they beleive is a sin? That would make them a hypocrite with no integrity.

        • Valerie

          but you see it isn’t a sin. You are working on the misconception that the folks that have commented on this blog haven’t read and prayed and consulted God on this issue. I know I have and I came to my own conclusions (with His help) long before I started reading John’s blog. God doesn’t hate anyone even when they sin which is good for all those out there judging gays. Have a blessed day Andy.

          • Andy

            Well I am so happy for you that you feel you can override Gods word and determine what is and is not a sin. That’s in itself is a sin.

          • Gary

            Andy people have been way too nice to you so far. frankly your an arrogant jerk. No one is seeking to “override God’s word”. (Unless of course you consider your repeated insistence on determining you are free to judge others in direct contradiction to the very words of Jesus) Your continued false characterization is not just offensive…it is patently dishonest and you know it.

            The fact is…Christians are waking up and realizing the complete corruption in the way our bibles have been translated on this issue and seeing the truth of the matter. That truth is that your bigotry is in complete defiance of everything Jesus taught.

          • http://inklingsofreality.blogspot.com Chris Coppenbarger

            This coming from a guy who refuses to “reason” with someone just because he associates with an organization he disagrees with. Won’t even take the time to even find out what a person believes before judging them…

            Who’s doing the judging here?

          • Gary

            As I said before…spin it any way you like.

          • http://inklingsofreality.blogspot.com Chris Coppenbarger

            You already have.

          • Gary

            These are your words…

            “You suggest that the 6 day creation is a myth.

            In other words, you don’t believe even the first words of the Bible. If you don’t believe part of the Bible, how can you believe any of it?”

            To state that someone who does not believe creation was a literal 6 day even does not “believe even the first words of the bible” is not just falsely characterizing, it is outright demagoguery.

          • DR

            Chris, it’s really simple. If I was in a dialogue with someone about politics and I discovered that she organizes Tea Party rallies across the nation, I’d disengage. What one associates oneself with is a representation of their overall perspective. Historically it’s really easy to do the success math of making any kind of potential connection based on the other things that inform their world view. It’s not “judging”, it is simply being a grown up who doesn’t have a lot of time who can draw some reasonable conclusions on where to invest energy.

        • Lymis

          No.

          What you work for is justice. If you actually believe that Christianity is the right path and that God leads sinners to your version of it, then what you do isn’t work to shun sinners, pass laws against immoral behavior purely because of a Biblical condemnation of it, and generally make being Christian look like the most hateful, loveless, vindictive, and rigid thing going.

          You work to make sure that people’s human needs are met. You love people. You correct others who are not loving. You serve as that light on the hill. You feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort those in pain – which in this context, would include ending anti-gay discrimination.

          Then, when people look at you in awe, and say “How do you do it? What is the foundation of this outpouring of love you have for everyone? How can I get some of that for myself?” you share your truth about Jesus, and your truth about the Bible, and your advice on how they should live.

          If your way is in fact the right way, and is in fact the way that God wants things, then bringing people to God by being so loving that they cannot help but experience God through you cannot help but put them on the right path.

          On the other hand, leading with condemnation, leading with bigotry, leading with a closed heart and mind, weaponizing the Bible, tossing gay people out of your church community, and threatening them with hell for not accepting something you’ve presented as intolerable will be actions that can only have the effect of driving them away from you, and possibly from the Church and from God as well.

          Luckily, God’s more powerful than that, and can often find other ways to work in people’s lives. But you aren’t doing anyone any favors by putting up unnecessary roadblocks in His way.

          When she was asked, as an influential Christian speaker, to speak in support of Anita Bryant’s condemnation of homosexuals in the 70′s, Dale Evans is reported to have replied, “I’m so busy loving everybody, I don’t have any time to hate anybody.”

          If you are not FOR loving your neighbor, and still claim to follow Jesus, you might want to rethink the way you sling around the word “hypocrite.”

          • Mindy

            Lymis, you’ve done it again. LOVE, do everything you do with love in your heart, and let people find God through you. If they reach God through you and HE really finds homosexuality a sin, then HE will let them know. He doesn’t need you to do that for him. You go out there and love, Andy. Hold tight to your rigid beliefs, but fight for justice for all, gay or straight. Do it with love, do it with gentleness, a kind smile, and when someone specifically asks for your opinion on whether being gay is a sin, you can say “that is what I’ve been taught and always believed, but it is not for me to judge another. Even as I see it as sin, I do believe in equal rights for all in our wonderful country. Now, back to loving people.” You’d be amazed how far you’d get. And how much you’d learn. And how much more seriously we’d take your position to “agree to disagree.”

          • Matthew Tweedell

            EXCELENT work, both of you, Lymis & Mindy!!!

          • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

            Lymis, that was fantastic.

          • Linnea

            Wow, Lymis, you’ve beaten me to it again! I was going to say much the same thing, but you took the words right out of my mouth and did a much better job than I ever could. Thank you.

          • Jill H

            I want to know what you eat for breakfast each morning.

            Seriously Lymis you blow my mind. If church communities learned what you naturally understand, this world would be a much brighter place.

        • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

          If you won’t fight for someone’s legal right to live by their conscience and religious beliefs, then you’re not “agreeing to disagree.” You’re trying to control them. Personally, I’m a fan of religious freedom, and not of theocracies.

          • otter

            I like this, Kelly!

        • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

          The “sin” is happening either way. Gay people aren’t going to stop having sex. You would be working FOR compassion and justice. And for a political and legal system that practices the freedoms it claims to value.

  • David

    You seem quite certain that yours is the final word on the subject. I wonder if that prerogative belongs to you or God. Just asking, if that’s OK.

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

      I don’t know what you mean by “final word.” I know it’s the right word. It’s not hard to tell when you’re aligned with love. And God, as you know, is love. THAT we have in the Bible.

      • Andy

        Love is truth. Therefore your position has noting to do with love.

        • Valerie

          You’re right Andy, Love is truth and John has absolutely stated the truth.

          • Andy

            I’ll stick with Gods truth thank you.

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            It’s meaningless to say that God is loving or God is justice is love and justice have no correlation to their meaning in any other context.

            If we say something would be unloveing, accept I know it is true, therefore it must be loving, then love itself loses all meaning and saying God is loving is without substance.

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            should have been “just if love”

          • Lymis

            Good for you. In all seriousness, though I know that what I am about to say will sound snarky, while you are sticking with God’s truth, be sure to regularly and sincerely actually ask God to help you know God’s truth.

            A lot of people forget that step, and stop thinking once they’ve decided they have all the answers. If you actually love and trust God, you’ll be willing to include in your prayers that if you are misguided about anything that He will correct you.

          • Andy

            Now that’s the first thing you have said that is completely grounded in truth. I hope everyone else does the same. If we actually love and trust God, we follow his word even if it does not make logical or emotional sense or causes us to sacrifice some things of this world that we may value.

          • Lymis

            Well, your response certainly makes me so very glad that I went to the effort of being gracious to you.

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            And you assume people aren’t doing this beause…? Just because people disgaree with you doesn’t mean they aren’t sincere or willing to make meaningful sacrifices.

            You are assuming things about people you can’t possibly know.

          • Diana A.

            God’s truth as interpreted by you. Not everyone agrees with your interpretation.

            But I guess it’s more fun to be a sanctimonious di–weeb than it is to consider the possibility that you might be wrong.

          • Valerie

            And exactly what about “God is love” do you not get? That is the absolute truth. Get over yourself and your self righteous condemnation of something you don’t really understand.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Andy, why do you repeatedly target John, when he’s clearly not interested, with remarks that aim only at provocation? I’ve been here long enough to vouch that, although you might see John “rant” in a post or two against individual fundamentalists whom he deems worthy of comment, he’s actually a very emotionally centered person, and no little misquito landing on his side is going to knock him off balance. If you were note-worthy or anybody particularly cared, he might write about you; if you were pleasant, he might find time to respond to you; but as you are, you’re just a parasite, and when you won’t stop bothering him when its clear he’s not willing to feed you, no one will blame him for squashing you, which is to say that all you might succeed in doing is simply getting blocked from the site.

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

            score

        • Soulmentor

          Love is Truth? Sounds like a quote. From what source?

          If it’s not ;a quote, then it must be something YOU invented. An extrapolation maybe……from something……somewhere ……?

          • Jill H

            Funny, and I thought it was “love is real…

            real is love…”.

    • Mindy

      What a wonderfully passive-aggressive question, David. Did you *really* want an answer??

    • DR

      The passive-aggressive, thin veil hostility that drives those of you who are wanting to pick a fight here and “stay Christian-nice” while you do it is transparent. It really is. It makes me embarrassed for you and I’m serious. Just be yourself instead of trying to put some kind of respectful front out there instead of manufacturing some kind of fake civility that falls apart when *you* fall apart after a few comments where you’re successfully countered.

      I’ve never met a group of people who are so terrified of being honest in my life.

  • Nicole

    John, this was great. Thank you! *hug*

  • Lymis

    John, let me take the opportunity to praise you for your consistently spot-on pictures accompanying your posts. You have a gift not only for writing, but for choosing visuals of apparent simplicity and yet astounding symbolic depth.

    Just this one – you could have chosen a picture of nearly any kind of closet, but choosing one with mirror doors in an otherwise empty room is the perfect image for this piece – no matter what people think they see in the scary closet, it’s purely a reflection of what they bring to the question, not about anything true about what’s actually inside. And choosing a picture of that closet in an otherwise barren room – reflecting that the ONLY consideration is the reflection of the person facing the closet, in an otherwise symbolically empty experience…. priceless.

    • Mindy

      I agree, Lymis! When I first came to this post, I found myself staring at that photo – like I often do when I arrive at John’s blog. Incredibly deep images, sometimes so damned funny I nearly hurt myself giggling! But always, always meaningful. I don’t know how he does it, but I love that he does.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kay-Arthur/1405868997 Kay Arthur via Facebook

    A lot of Christians believe it’s only a sin if it is acted upon.

    • Lymis

      A lot of people think that about some versions of Christianity, too.

      • Bible Jim

        This is ridiculous! The Bible puts homosexuality on the same level as adulterers, liars, theives and fornicators none of which can inhert the kingdom. Quit trying to mold christianity to your theology and mold your theology to true christianity.

        • Melody

          Wow. That comment is every bit as pathetic as your screen name. You should especially take the “liars” part seriously.

        • DR

          Bible Jim, your theology drives gay kids to suicide. Quit molding Jesus to fit your terror of homosexuality.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Hi, Bible Jim!

          I understand that you are passionate about this, and the Bible is certainly a great thing for you to be passionate about, Jim! But what do you say we talk this out like rational adults. I’ll promise not to insinuate that you are anyhow sinful, or to dismiss what you say as having no real merit, if you can promise the same to me. Then perhaps you could begin to explain for me how you are so certain that you’ve understood the Bible correctly about this.

          What do you say, Bible Jim?

          • Bible Jim

            I’d tell you that i’m a sinner too, that I need Jesus just as much as you. When Paul wrote that he had everyone in mind. We all need Jesus for we have all sinned and all have fallen short of the glory of God. And i’m sorry if the truth hurts, but that’s the Bible.

          • Bible Jim

            (Keep in mind that Paul was probably the biggest hypocrite at the time, he hunted and KILLED Christians before he was converted as Saul)

          • Matthew Tweedell

            I’m not aware of any solid Biblical or other contemporary evidence that Saul personally participated in (although I believe we can safely conclude that he had supported) the killing of Christians (although perhaps persecution more generally: running them out of the synagogues, etc.—you know, like your theology does to gays), and the hagiography is somewhat vague and often not to be taken in a literal, historical sense.

          • Bible Jim

            Stephen, the first martyr, Saul was there and approved his death. He also “intensely persecuted” the early church.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            However, the Holy Bible neglects to say anything to directly connect this “young man named Saul” to the Apostle Paul (though Luke could easily have simply added “who was later called Paul” here, or something like this—but perhaps the Holy Spirit, in his infinite prudence and foresight, was economizing on paper and ink for environmental reasons; who knows?).

            There is the similar case of “a certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus” (Mark 15:31)—most likely a reference to someone who was known to some of the original audience, but forgotten to later history except in connection with this single biblical event. And this man’s son, Rufus—is this the same Rufus as in Romans 16:13? It’s possible, but somewhat doubtful, given how common typical first names tend to be, and that the Rufus in Romans was with his mother in Rome while the other’s father was from Cyrene (Libya).

            Plus, we know that Paul “studied at the feet of Gamaliel” (Acts 22:3), and that Gamaliel’s view–which he was very courageously defended before the Sanhedrin when the rest all wanted to put Christians to death–was “Leave these men alone!” (Acts 5:38).

            We can be fairly certain that this Gamaliel is the same one, since it’s unlikely there were any other prominent Pharisee rabbis with that same name in Jerusalem during the same time. But generic young men named Saul would have been rather more frequent, as it was a short name from a prominent figure of their history and Scripture, and this perhaps is part of why Saul became Paul, just as Simon (whose name in the New Testament alone is shared with at least five other people, one of whom was another of the Twelve) became Peter, in no small part simply so others can refer to them, like I’m doing right here, by a single first name.

          • Bible Jim

            … Really? You really believe that the Saul referred to in the book of Acts 21 times are all different men??? Wow what a useless book then.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            You see, that’s the sort of conversational tone that I hoping to avoid, Bible Jim.

            I am not saying that every time a Saul is mentioned in Acts it’s a different person. In fact, I happen to *believe* that the one mentioned in connection with Stephen’s martyrdom is indeed the same Saul as Paul! But in the absence of proof, we shouldn’t rush to judgment. Guilt in the slaying of someone is a very serious accusation, Jim. I wouldn’t want to slander his good name, so I allow a certain presumption of innocence until there’s prove of guilt. And I should hope no court of law at least finds someone guilty on the basis of nothing but having the same first name and political association and being from the same general area. I mean, if you can’t see that there’s reasonable doubt in this case, well, I just hope you’re not on the jury if I should ever happen to be accused of anything! :)

            Furthermore (and I suppose I was being lazy not to mention it before, thinking that the reasonable doubt was enough) I’m sure I agree that he is party to the slaying, at whose feet the cloaks of the witnesses are laid, perhaps in part due to a difference of interpretation of what that really means. You likely interpret it in some “literal” sense, based on your experiences in the world, while I let the Bible define its own terms for me, notably giving a somewhat peculiar understanding of what a witnesses’ cloak is.

            In any case, the Bible does say Saul approved of it—this one, who approved but didn’t necessarily participate, and whose mentioning is traditionally divided from the other by the start of new chapter, he is more likely the same one as Paul. From here on there’s a much clearly link: two verses later he’s destroying churches (putting people in prison, but for some reason *not* being said to have killed any), and in the chapter after this Saul is “still” threatening—though again, for some reason, no indication of complicity in committing—murder, until he is converted and becomes Paul.

          • Bible Jim

            “I wouldn’t want to slander his good name”

            Paul’s name isn’t good, he himself calls himself the chief of sinners, the biggest hypocrite he knows (Probably why he changed it). There is a point to the bible, while all names aren’t always connected, Luke was trying to show the conversion of Saul to Paul, a sinner who wanted Christians dead to a man of God that will be talked about for over 2000 years and revered as one of the mightiest men of God to walk on this planet.

            Anywhosil,

            Its been swell.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Fair enough.

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            His name isn’t good, he’s only revered as one of the mightiest men of God to walk this planet…… hmmm.

          • Allie

            Why is there a quibble about this? Paul himself mentions that he was a Pharisee and persecuted Christians. Paul is that Saul, and as far as I know, no one in the entire history of Christianity has really disputed it.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com DR

            People like BibleJim always seem to disappear when they realize they aren’t going to be able to have this conversation on their own specific terms. I wonder why they get scared to have a different kind of conversation about this topic?

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

            all bullies are the same: they flee upon any show of strength.

          • Lymis

            DR,

            I can’t speak for Bible Jim, but one thing I have noticed over the years is that a lot of people, especially the ones who come swooping in with “Oh, yeah, but have any of you read Leviticus!? Gotcha!” or the similar “See those lists in Corinthians? Since they are absolutely clear and need no interpretation, all I have to do is mention them and everyone will skulk off defeated!”

            I’ve come to realize that first, most of these people take for granted that anyone who has a pro-gay or even gay-neutral view must themselves be gay (why would anyone else support us?) and that nobody on the pro-gay side would even recognize a Bible if they got whacked with one, much less have read it, cherished it, and interpreted it for themselves.

            Many of them are prepared for the idea of what the assume (often wrongly) an atheist would look and sound like, but they simply aren’t prepared to get intelligent discussion from people who take the religious and spiritual aspects of these things seriously.

            Many of them are so used to having a searchable Bible concordance handy that it has never occurred to them to be prepared to actually discuss the underlying concepts. That has to be disorienting.

            I find the same thing happens when I actually have discussions with the people who show up at the door asking if I have found their version of Jesus. It’s like nobody ever told them what to do when the door doesn’t get slammed in their face.

          • Bible Jim

            I do have a job and have to sleep you know. What kind of conversation do you want to have? I have an open mind with the understanding of the holy spirit and this isn’t just an “unclean meats” issue, but an inheritance issue. I don’t want you guys to be lead astray because some wolf who figured out how to put on some sheeps clothes pulled you away.

          • DR

            I’d like you to answer my question, Jim. When did you choose to be straight? Gives us the year of life that was for you.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            @Allie

            His persecution of Christians, indeed, is not disputed, but no one I’m aware of prior to the Reformation ever unambiguously suggests that Paul (as Saul) was party to killing someone. That’s just not the tradition of the Christian faith, sorry.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            The truth never hurts me at all, Bible Jim!

            Now, while I recognize that we are both sinners in need of God’s grace, I just didn’t think that’s what this discussion should be about. That just seems a little narrowly focused—self-centered even (I would say selfish, but I don’t think vying for the position of chief among sinners—to which, by the way, I believe I am Paul’s rightful heir—is particularly prideful). I don’t think it would make for a very productive conversation either, and moreover, it just doesn’t seem topical here, Jim.

        • Gary

          No bible Jim…it really doesn’t. But then, as is so often the case, you have to commit to a little exegesis to understand scripture. So many are simply unwilling to invest any effort and would rather take their understanding from those as ill equipped at discernment as themselves.

        • Lymis

          Please quit assuming that the modern English translations of the condemnations of homosexuality are accurate translations of the original text.

        • Mindy

          Well, if using “Bible” as YOUR NAME isn’t the height of idolatry, I don’t know what is. So if we are going to start a conversation by defining what is ridiculous, I vote for your screenname.

          Good heavens, Jim. That’s just plain embarrassing, and not just because it’s awfully similar to taking God’s name in vain. It’s embarrassing because you are insisting something (about the text you apparently love so much as to name yourself after it) that is patently incorrect.

          The Bible does not speak of homosexuality. At all. The behaviors of which the Bible speaks are actually assumed to have been carried out by straight men (they had no concept of homosexuality as an orientation at that time in history) and the specific behaviors were those predatory in nature – NOT committed relationships between mutually consenting adults. Your certainty and willingness to pop in immediately with insults is quite telling.

          • Bible Jim

            Source Mindy?

          • Mindy

            Start with John’s book, UNFAIR. Read just the last chapter. He has all kinds of good info there. If that’s not enough, this is an interesting read:

            http://www.amazon.com/What-Bible-Really-about-Homosexuality/dp/188636009X. And yes, I know, I know – it’s been “refuted.” But no, it really hasn’t. Olliff and Hodges, who wrote the oft-quoted “refutation” are not scholars. I can find NO information about them or their bodies of work anywhere, except this one writing. And all you have to do is look at the sources they use to “refute” him to see that they did not research the linguistic, cultural or historical context of the Bible for their piece.

            This is a good piece, taking it verse by verse: http://squashed.tumblr.com/post/105119719/does-the-bible-condemn-homosexuality

            That’s just a blog, but it makes the argument pretty well. The point is, that enough doubt is raised that it seems any decent Christian, any true follower of Christ, would err on the side of NOT condemning people, not judging, not deciding that the modern translations insisting gay people are doomed MUST be the correct one. So there, end of story, go to Hell. That is not how Jesus implored his followers to live, and that is the bottom line.

          • Bible Jim

            But anywho…

            So a biased book and a blog? Get me some scholars, people that actually know the greek, maybe even a respectable pastor that knows Jesus and is in the word and have him admonish me.

            God IS MADLY IN LOVE WITH YOU, he loved you first and still does love you. As a follower of Christ I’m called to proclaim truth and love the ones that blatantly reject it by rewording the Bible to fit their lifestyle. When I was doing my crap I knew I was wrong, I didn’t have to justify what I was doing, because I was dead wrong. Despite all this, I find it more loving for me to sit here and type my heart out to you in this foolish medium so that there might be an inch of a chance for you to know who Jesus is rather than just sit back and not say anything.

            Jesus said simply that you have a choice to live or die, if you choose to live then you die, but if you choose to die then you will live. The choice is yours to make.

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            Plenty of scholars hold that view. I agree John isn’t going to be an expert in Greek etymology, but have you looked for one. Daniel Helmeniak was the first to brings such research into widespread popular discourse many years ago. A good place to start. You may complain he has a bias, but the work is sound. Others are available, though, who can’t be accused of a personal agenda. On”t have my list with me, but have a good book or two in mind I could share later.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            You hit upon an important point right here, Jim:

            “When I was doing my crap I knew I was wrong, I didn’t have to justify what I was doing, because I was dead wrong.”

            Exactly. Whereas loving, committed, homosexual relationships are a whole other matter. God gave us a conscience, whereby the Holy Spirit convicts us when we have sinned, if our hearts are not hard. And the heart of child, this is the key to the kingdom. Yet in the hearts of innocent children a peculiar thing takes place: we develop our first crush. Usually, girls fall for boys and boys fall for girls. But some girls and boys, through no fault of their own, are different. Some girls like girls, and some boys like boys. Now, boys who strictly like girls will surely know in their hearts that it is wrong for them to like boys. But it is an error of projecting to assume that that makes it wrong for another boy. And when we start to have sex, it is perverse to deny ones nature—for a girl who really just likes guys, for instance, to mess around with girls because guys will think its hot, but likewise for a man who’s interested in men to be with a woman because of somebody else’s claim that this is what God wants him to do. You don’t want to be that somebody. You don’t want to cause your brother to fall into sin. Or worse: to provide the words that are hurled at some adolescent kid—sometimes by there own family even, as well as by schoolmates and others—until they so destroy the true Word which lives in him, so shatter the very the image of God in him, that the very spirit of life in him, is extinguished, like a tea light in a gale.

            The survivors—many more are they, thank God, but no thanks to that theology—indeed they have to justify what they’re doing, since people like you refuse to let it go. People only justify when someone is judging. If they’re justifying something to you, it means you’re judging them, which I’m pretty sure Christ, with all his saints in chorus, keeps telling us not to do.

            And why not? Because God gave us a conscience: yours to judge you, mine to judge mine, and Elton John’s to judge him.

            That doesn’t mean our consciences don’t err: We must strive to align our hearts, or preserve and strengthen their alignment, with the Holy Spirit. But where people’s hearts are hardened, we have the criminal and civil courts of this world, and God’s perfect Justice in the world to come.

            If we follow our hearts to love and follow our minds to truth, and deal equitably in our dealings with the world, then gay or straight, Christian or Muslim, SpongeBob or Bible Jim, I’m pretty sure, if God is good, He won’t have a problem with it. You see, God is no respecter of persons’ labels; neither is there male nor female in Christ!

            For more, see my recent comment 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

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            Awesome.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Thanks, Christine!

          • Mindy

            John may not be a scholar, but he bases that chapter on work by scholars. The blog as well. I was hurrying and didn’t have time to find everything – the book I mentioned was most DEFINITELY written by a scholar – a Catholic priest with a Ph.D.

            I don’t need you to help me find Jesus, Jim. And I’m not gay, altho’ I find in interesting that you assumed as much simply because I am an ally of my gay and lesbian friends. Nothing you are doing is loving. I know you think it is, but that is ever so wrong. You live in fear of something you don’t understand, and rather than try to understand it, you bash it and pretend it’s OK because *you* think the Bible says you can. I pity you, Jim, and I pity those you will hurt with your “loving” words. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

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

            Um … I did also write, for Bethany House (which I’m sure is a publisher of which you’d approve), the book Being Christian, which has much to do with the history and development of Christianity. I’d certainly be interested in seeing your contribution to the furthering of the Christian cause in the world, or to the field of Christian scholarship generally, “Bible Jim.”

          • Bible Jim

            And i’m sure its an awesome read and has helped tons of Christians connect with God, but even someone like Rob Bell who has tons of good stuff out there (nooma(sp?) vids, even his sermon on everything is spiritual brought me closer to God) can write a book spouting off blasphemous lies (a loving God would never send you to Hell, so don’t worry you son’t have to feel bad about what you’re doing , you don’t have towork toward progressing the kingdom, because even if you don’t accept Jesus and die to yourself in this life surely a loving God would give you a second chance) and lead hundreds of thousands astray!

          • Mindy

            Well, fortunately we have you to save us from the likes of Mr. Shore and Mr. Bell. Scary blokes, though they are. Whew.

            You really and truly need to wander out into the real world some time, Jim (I’m sorry, I just can’t call you “Bible” Jim – that is too disrespectful for words). Get to know new people outside your tiny comfort zone. Have a conversation, in person, with a gay Christian. Look them in the eye, and then do us all a favor and LISTEN. With your heart.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Have you actually read Love Wins, Jim? I do believe you are mischaracterizing Rob Bell’s arguments somewhat.

          • Diana A.

            “…but even someone like Rob Bell who has tons of good stuff out there (nooma(sp?) vids, even his sermon on everything is spiritual brought me closer to God) can write a book spouting off blasphemous lies…”

            Okay. So, you’re willing to concede that Rob Bell “has tons of good stuff out there” even though he’s written “a book spouting off blasphemous lies.” This is a start.

            Jim, you have your own conscience and your own brain and you have come to your own conclusions accordingly. Why not let us do the same thing?

            The only person you can change is yourself. The rest of us are not under your control.

          • Bible Jim

            @Matt yes I have, and so have my friends unfortunately. I say unfortunately because one friend (my roommate) decided to read it and she then believed that she was lied to all her life, that there really wasn’t a hell and she could do whatever the crap she wanted to. Needless to say she got addicted to pot and stuck me with 2 months of rent payments on my own and now is somewhere on the streets connecting to Jesus with controlled substances.

            @Diana, I can sure as hell try. I know in the end I’m going to be held accountable for what I did do and for what I didn’t do and for some reason or another I don’t know how or when to keep my mouth shut and won’t give in unless I’m given substantial proof that what Jesus has said and what he is telling me is blatantly wrong.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            I can definitely understand now how you got that impression of Bell’s book then! Thank you for explaining that, Bible Jim.

            All I can say is that that’s not how Rob Bell intended it to be taken, and also, I consider it likely that the former roommate was simply looking for an excuse for such a way of life and would have justified it somehow else anyway if not for that book.

            I don’t blame you though for seeing his book that way in that case, and perhaps Bell should have been more careful to make it clear that Jesus certainly did not condone lawlessness!

            Hell or no hell (which, by the way, I believe Bell didn’t explicitly rule out the possibility of, actually, but rather questions our interpretations regarding this), Jesus is the Way, and Jesus did not do as she did, for sure!

          • DR

            It’s so deeply creepy that you’re actually operating under the belief that you think you can accurately discern someone’s state before the Living God on the Internet. Those are some really dangerous spiritual waters you’ve just waded into. I’m shocked at those of you who provide such a quick and casual assessment on who on the Internet is a sheep or a goat. It’s crazy.

          • Gary

            Unbelievably ignorant of what Rob Bell teaches. The view of eternal damnation was what was considered “blasphemous lies” for about the first 500 years of the church or so. Eventually we got far enough removed from the direct teaching of Christ however reintroduce the corruption of human thinking and go back to law and guilt focused gospel…which is really no gospel at all,

          • Mindy

            Jim, just because you have one friend who decided to act like an ass because she “found out” there is no hell does not, in any reasonable way, make your argument.

            What it does, actually, is show that all those years of fundamental religion that she felt “lied” to her did nothing to instill a moral compass in her heart. If she was only “being good” out of fear of hell, then she had no real concept of right and wrong, of compassion, generosity or kindness – all the traits Jesus wanted his followers to develop most.

            Now, since I know nothing about this woman, I don’t know what prompted her smoke pot or leave you without the rent. Maybe she was just so angry at the church for “lying” to her, she acted out. I don’t know. What it does tell me, though, is that she has a hard time thinking for herself. She has a hard time using her intellect to discern right and wrong for herself, and needs to be told what to do. That is NOT a good quality for an adult human, but is far too often what is found in fundamental churches – followers who blindly do what they are told, who are too afraid to use their God-given gifts to think about the the repercussions of the teachings they hear. It’s very, very sad, Jim.

          • DR

            Jiim it sounds like your friend is making some really bad choices that a lot of the same people who do believe in hell make as well. Your math that this is somehow a direct correlation doesn’t add up.

          • DR

            I find it so odd when those of you call something others are clearly devoted to “foolish” – to those whom many are *already* Christian – and then saying you’re doing it out of love. At worst, you lack the basic communication skills to know how to deliver your message with respect.

            I’m sure you’re well-intended and I’m fine if you think I’m a false Christian, it’s only your opinion. I know Jesus is my Savior and how I’ve surrendered my life to Him. I’d probably suggest another tactic, respectfully – insulting an environment in the name of being honest isn’t going to get you much traction with reasonable people. :)

          • Bible Jim

            Because you may think you’re saved, but in reality you could be far from it and I’m not going to let some joker who wants to post incorrectly on controversial topics drag you away from the kingdom all because he wants a higher view count on his blog, because as we all know controversy sells while the bland truth that we’ve heard a million times just sits on the shelf.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Bible Jim, I going to be pretty blunt with you now.

            It is not our place to question anyone else’s salvation. We are each to focus on our own. Who are you, o man, that you separate the sheep from the goats? (the sense in which you implicated John as a “joker” = Biblical sense of “goat”.)

            Oh, I know my Master when I see Him, and you are not Him. But who am I to say that you do not know Him? Or to question your intentions. I do not. You may understand Him differently, yes: for all I know He may even be directly telling you things that contradict what He is telling me. But who are we to judge between ourselves? When you do so, Jim, with the measure you use, it *will* be measured to you, and I’m not so sure you’re seeing the full measure of your own deviation from the Will and the Way of God!

            Let’s keep focused: look into your own eyes—your own heart and soul—perhaps even let your brother help you remove any speck, any splinter, any plank, you should happen to find there. We are to work out our own salvation, Bible Jim, in fear and trembling!

          • Bible Jim

            @Matthew

            The chapter that talks about separating sheep from goats, Matthew 31 25-46, about the Final Judgement. That the goats were cast out not because of what they did do, but what they didn’t do. They didn’t feed the hungry or give water to the thirsty. The same words used for hunger and thirst in this chapter are the same words he used to refer to himself as the bread and water of life later recorded by John in chapters 4, 6 and 7. So it can be inferred that Jesus told the goats to depart from him because of not sharing what was given to us both physically and spiritually.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Precisely, and John is quite serious about doing those things. He’s not just playing at being religious (as are the goats, for they will not say, “How can we be expected to have believed…”—but rather, “When did we see…”). Rather, John is living the true religion.

          • DR

            You’re not *Jesus*, Jim. Only Jesus knows the hearts of men. You need to check yourself and you need to do it quickly.

            I think you should be banned now, there’s only so much hostility and disrespect you can demonstrate to the author of this blog and it’s really creepy. It’s borderline nuts. You’ve come in and within a few hours, you’ve accused John of being a false prophet and now? Writing what he does to drive people to his blog for the money. You’ve moved from someone who was interesting to spar with to an overly-emotional spiritually arrogant jerk who has zero self-control and clearly, no ability to really communicate his counter view without taking below the belt punches at the person wit whom he is disagreeing. And what’s worse, you feel like you’re nastiness is justified out of some zeal for God.

            News flash – you’re not under a spiritual attack and you’re not engaged in a Holy War. You’re just another Christian who can’t manage his hostility very well.

          • Soulmentor

            ******** Get me some scholars, people that actually know the greek, maybe even a respectable pastor that knows Jesus and is in the word and have him admonish me. ********

            “In the case of the Bible and homosexuality in contemporary American culture, the tragic dimensions of this biblically sanctioned prejudice among the most devout and sincere people of religious conviction are all the greater because NO CREDIBLE CASE AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY OR HOMOSEXUALS CAN BE MADE FROM THE BIBLE UNLESS ONE CHOOSES TO READ SCRIPTURE IN A WAY THAT SIMPLY SUSTAINS THE EXISTING PREJUDICE AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY AND HOMOSEXUALS. (emphasis mine) The combination of ignorance and prejudice under the guise of morality makes the religious community, and the abuse of scripture in this regard, itself is morally culpable.” Peter Gomes, now deceased, Minister in the Memorial Church and Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard University, in his book, THE GOOD BOOK. http://www.amazon.com/The-Good-Book-Reading-Bible/dp/0380723239

            Jim. I think it would be safe to suspect that Prof Gomes, a Harvard Theologian would know something about the Bible AND the Greek.

            I also think that your request for “some scholars” is disingenuous. Your caveat about a “respectable” Pastor who “knows Jesus and is in the Word” is a loaded indicator that you wouldn’t believe such a man if he didn’t agree with your preconceived prejudice, which eminent scholar and theologian Gomes, clearly does not. Your use of “respectable” obviously depends entirely upon YOUR definition of respectable which you make abundantly clear depends upon agreement with what you believe to be truth. Circular reasoning at it finest.

            So what would be the point of providing you with the scholars you requested?

          • Bible Jim
          • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

            So, one negative review is unassailable proof. Sure, if you’re already predisposed to agree with it.

          • Bible Jim

            a negative review? He refuted him with biblical backing!

          • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

            No, he tossed out some Scripture quotes to support his own pre-defined viewpoint. The fact that you can throw around some Bible verses doesn’t make you right.

          • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

            Oh, and for real irony, he uses the suicides that “Christian” alienation and condemnation drive people to, as a reason to condemn homosexuality.

          • Gary

            He refuted nothing…he only stated his obvious prejudice.

          • http://www.facebook.com/divadarya Darya

            Why are these “scholars” sites always in little tiny type in black and white. Is HTML the work of Satan too?

          • DR

            Jim, again – when did you choose to be straight? Why won’t you answer this?

          • Bible Jim

            God doesn’t make gay babies.

          • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

            So, they’re brought by the gay stork?

          • Bible Jim

            /facedesk

            WE HAVE A CHOICE! We always do. Just because you feel a certain way about something doesn’t mean you have to act on it. I have the urge to run back to how I used to live all the time, go back and look up old girl friends, get with back to my boys and hang out like old times, but I don’t want to go back to that! I saw the destruction in my life and came to a realization that I can’t do this without Christ. That under my own will and desires I will never be able to satisfy my life like Jesus can. Its only been a year and a half since I’ve really talked to Jesus and its the best thing you can ever do.

          • DR

            You keep saying people have a choice! So when did you choose to be attracted to the female gender, assuming you are? Or are you attracted to males and are choosing to be chaste? It’s so odd to watch you dance around this answer. When did you choose? God would not create a scenario where it’s one way for straight people and another way for gay people.

          • Melody

            I love the way you completely evaded the question. You obviously don’t know and/or don’t want to think about the possibility that sexual preference can’t be changed. So you give a non-answer. Classy.

          • Bible Jim

            And what I’m telling you is that if you feel like you are so attracted to the same sex that you don’t have any willpower to resist then that’s not freewill. Freewill is a gift God gave to every man and woman and its simply to do whatever you please. Thus the argument for being born gay is completely against the will and intent of God’s will. Satan is called the great deceiver for a reason. Seek the truth.

          • DR

            I think you don’t have the capacity for understanding the inconsistency of your own thoughts, Jim. I’m sure it’s too frightening for you right now but there’s a reason you’re evading the actual answer to the question. And that’s because you *didn’t* choose. You *always* knew you desired women. It was never a choice. You had the desires which your brain and body can’t help but respond to.

            God would never – ever – create a situation where someone has a *desire* that leads to sinful behavior that cannot be cut off at the root. You want to believe that gay people choose to be gay because it fits your theology. But it’s not consistent with how God has designed us. Maybe you’ll understand with time.

          • Diana A.

            “Just because you feel a certain way about something doesn’t mean you have to act on it. I have the urge to run back to how I used to live all the time, go back and look up old girl friends, get with back to my boys and hang out like old times, but I don’t want to go back to that!”

            You’re right. Just because gay people are attracted to people of their own gender doesn’t mean they have to act upon that attraction. But you assume that even having the attraction is wrong and that’s where the problem comes in.

            You say from the outside looking in “Gay people should talk to Jesus. Then they won’t be gay anymore.” (correct me if I’m misreading you here.)

            Gay people do talk to Jesus. Many of them have begged to have God take away their desires. God, for whatever reason, has chosen not to do so. Do you think they’re not praying hard enough? That they just don’t have enough faith? Or is it possible that God has missions in this world that require a homosexual outlook?

            In the end, it’s not your place to judge the life of another. You have your path to walk, others have theirs. Rather than judging someone else’s walk, walk your own path. If God is calling you to abstain from old (girl) friends and other things from your past, than you should do so. But understand that just because you are called to a given path, doesn’t mean that other people are called to that same path. God is more than capable of communicating with other people. He does not need your help with that.

          • Bible Jim

            @DR and Diana

            You do realize that Paul had a “thorn”, he prayed 3 times for God to take it away, but it remained. Now this thorn could have been physical, spiritual or even emotional, we don’t know. But I do know that God left it there to humble Paul and to remind him that he needed a savior.

            @Diana

            “God is more than capable of communicating with other people. He does not need your help with that.”

            So why send his son to die for us and then have that son tell us to go tell the world? Why not just have Jesus appear to all 7 billion of us right now, at this second and then *poof* the whole wide world would know Jesus. God is certainly capable of doing such a thing.

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            But some of us are gay and, when we came out, things actually got better! Imagine that. And I don’t mean more enjoyable, I mean better. Happier, more productive, loving. A stronger faith and better relationship with God. All round, things improved. Hard to call that a thorn in the side. Hard to think God would want to undo that.

            The bible talks about judging things by their fruits, going what’s beneficial, meditatting on the good. I’m doing just that.

          • DR

            The “thorn” was sin. The only thing being gay does is cause people to fall in love, stay devoted to one another for decades and raise the babies that most Christians refuse to adopt. There is no “wages of death” that anyone can tie sin to which is another inconsistency – any sin that Scripture references over and over again has proven damage to the one sinning and those around him or her.

            You continue to evade the question as to when you *chose* preferring women over men. You just won’t do it. And your evasion says a lot more than any of your comments.

          • Allie

            BibleJim, you’re right that gay people have a choice to live alone and loveless. Why would God want them to do that? Why would he think that stifling natural attractions or, as so many Conservative pastors have done, pretending to be attracted to some poor innocent woman in a hetero marriage, is better and less sinful than living naturally and purely with a loved partner? It seems to me like you think God is an asshole, and I don’t understand why you need to believe such a thing.

          • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

            Since you’re insisting on sources, please show me an actual study that shows gay people can choose to change their orientation. Saying “With God all things are possible,” doesn’t cut it. If people are praying and praying for a thing to happen and it doesn’t happen, that seems like a hint that it might not be God’s will. And asking God to change something that he seems to have refused to change seems like claiming you know better than God. (Much the way you’re claiming that you know better than the LGBT people on this blog what choices are actually possible for them.)

            Absolutely, yes, people have choices with their actions. The problem with your analogy about old girlfriends is that you’re talking about choices that are within how you’re naturally wired. You talk about choosing between healthy relationship *with a woman* (or no relationship until the right woman comes along) or unhealthy relationships *with a bunch of women.* If having sex with a guy isn’t a choice you can see yourself making, that just means you’re straight.

            The choice you’re proposing to gay people is:

            -Try to pretend that the desires of your heart don’t actually exist, and that you’re something you’re not. Not just the physical desires, but all the desire for love and companionship too.

            -Choose between dying alone and defrauding someone of the opposite sex into a sham marriage with you, and pray they don’t find out that you have no actual romantic feelings toward them. Accept the risk that when the truth comes out (as truth tends to do), it will do irreparable damage to you and them both.

            Those are choices people can make. And do make. They cause tremendous harm. (And it should probably be apparent from words like “pretend,” “pray they don’t find out,” “defraud,” and “sham” that they’re not choices that are in accordance with what Christ, who is called the Way, THE TRUTH, and the Life, wants for people’s lives.

            You state things as absolute truth like “God doesn’t make gay babies” and “There’s always a choice” as if you know them for a fact. (You don’t. If you don’t have the experience of being gay, you have no clue what that’s like.) But then when people talk to you about their actual experiences, you say “No, no, I want to see an objective, expert source.”

            So, I want to see an expert source for what you claim. Show me either a sentence straight from the Bible itself that says “God doesn’t make gay babies,” or a scientific study on a large group of infants showing how they’re all wired to be straight.

          • Mindy

            Jim, you were, what, an alcoholic, an addict? Or just a misbehaving dude with no real direction in his life? OK. GREAT that religion has helped you straighten out. But you choosing to embrace fundamentalism and not drink or party IS NOT THE SAME THING as a being gay. A gay person cannot choose not to be gay. Can’t happen, is being proven over and over to be an impossibility. We are who we are. You may be an alcoholic for life. You choosing not to drink is a wise choice – because drinking causes you bodily harm, causes you to do stupid, bad things when you are drunk, etc. etc. You drink away your income or you lose your job, you get into fights and hurt people, you make a complete drunken ass of yourself and lose friends, you wreck cars, break stuff, and your liver fails. Being a sober alcoholic is much, much better – because you remain in your “right mind,” you can function and grow and make up for any harm you’ve caused. You can stay employed, you can learn to think clearly and you can get and stay healthy.

            NONE of that applies to being gay. A gay person who pretends not to be – because that is what you are asking – does not “do better” in life. Does not leave behind dangerous, damaging behavior. Does not stop hurting others or making a fool of him/herself. All they do is cut themselves off from relationships and love. That’s it. That’s what you are asking them to do. It is absolutely not the same thing and you have to stop insisting that it is. SOME gay people choose to live celibate lives, sure. So do some straight people. But that is a choice that they should be able to make for their own personal reasons. And *most* LGBT people don’t choose that – for all the same reasons most straight people don’t. Because as humans, we are hardwired to love.

          • DR

            Mindy fan club. First in line.

          • Mindy

            Jim, I would like to share one more thing. I used to be just like you say you used to be. When I was in college the first time around, I started partying and couldn’t stop. I wasted a good portion of my twenties drinking, doing drugs and sleeping with the wrong men. Eventually it all caught up with me and I had to choose between jail and rehab. This was in the ’80s, before rehab was so very common. I chose rehab. Afterward, I went to regular AA and NA meetings for awhile. And while I have nothing bad to say about them, what I started to notice was that a lot of people turned from one addiction to another – they just traded their bongs and beer coolers for Bibles. And they held on to those Bibles for dear life. I understood, those first clean and sober months are precarious times.

            Problem was, most of their new-found religion never felt or sounded genuine. It felt desperate, as if they were standing on the edge of the cliff and those Bibles were the only things keeping them from going over. Instead of truly opening up and relying on God, they were trying hard to convince themselves that somewhere in that book they’d find a cure, they’d find the thing that would fix them and then they could get back to their lives.

            Maybe some of them eventually learned to stand on their own, away from the edge, I don’t know. Maybe they eventually allowed God far enough into their hearts that they didn’t have to hold on to their Bibles quite so tightly. It all just felt so disengenous. They didn’t trust God, and they weren’t learning to trust God. They didn’t *really* believe the Holy Spirit would fill them up. They believed that they were supposed to believe that, and that maybe if they read and quoted the Bible enough, magic would happen. They couldn’t trust themselves – which, if they’d just trusted God, they’d probably have been able to do. But they couldn’t. They just kept looking for Him in their Bibles.

            It’s been 25 years since I left everything about that life behind me. In those years, I married, adopted two daughters, graduated with with a BA and an MA. I’ve also divorced, survived cancer, lost my job and my house. And I never went back to drugs, not once. Because I believe in God. Not the Bible, God. I don’t sweat the details of stories written centuries ago, but I do listen for God’s voice – speaking through my children, through the return smiles from strangers on the street, through the relieved voices of friends when I can help them out. I hear Him a million different ways, if I stay focused on love. On being kind. On doing what is right simply because it is right. And of course I fail almost as many times as I succeed, but I don’t give up. I don’t give up on God, so I ask forgiveness and try again. Try not to scowl, not to lose my temper, not judge, not take the easy way when the more difficult path will mean more and accomplish more in the long run.

            You are immature in your relationship with God, Jim – that much is obvious. You’re like the young teenager who calls out his dad for going 3 mph over the speed limit, not because he is being dangerous, but simply because he is technically breaking a rule. Kids do that all the time. It doesn’t matter if you follow the spirit of the law, if your kid catches you breaking the letter of the law, beware – they will yell, “Gotcha!” with much glee. Because they don’t have the maturity to discern what matters and what doesn’t.

            You’re like that here. You are taking such in glee in saying, “Gotcha, sinner!” that you completely miss the point of God’s message – which is to love each other. One pure directive.

            And like those recovering alcoholics I used to know, it’s because you don’t truly trust God. If you did, you wouldn’t need to hold on so tightly to the handbook that you can’t reach out to your fellow wanderers on this miraculous path. I send my prayers up for you, that one day you will find that trust. You will reach out, connect with someone different from yourself, and realize that God is right there with both of you, and has been, the whole time.

          • Allie

            Can I be second in line for the Mindy fan club?

            Mindy, just wanted to say I’m so happy for you, reading your history.

          • Mindy

            Well, since I’m one of the founding members of the DR Fan Club, I’m really happy to see she’s starting one for me. ;->

            Thanks, Allie. I treasure what we learn and share here, truly I do.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Ooh, me too! I’m third in line!

            Thanks so much for taking the time to share this, Mindy! And it’s so well written too!

            Here’s hoping it does someone some good!

            I have faith that it will (though not necessarily for Bible Jim, though I do hope so).

          • Diana A.

            LOL!

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            Hilarious!

          • DR

            Yes, I understand it is your belief that being gay is a choice. I’m asking when you chose to be straight, obviously God would not design something as essential to a human being as sexuality and not make it consistent.

            So again – this seems like such a simple question, I’m confused why you’re struggling with the response – when did you *choose* to be straight?

          • Melody

            And you know this how? And no, the answer is NOT in Romans 1.

          • Lymis

            Umm… yes, God does.

          • Kathleen

            We suspected our son might be gay when he was only 4 years old and we were right. I assure you that God most certainly does make gay babies and we ‘re very thankful to have been blessed with one.

          • Diana A.

            Ah, the voice of experience! Thank you Kathleen!

          • Kathleen

            You are welcome!

          • http://www.facebook.com/divadarya Darya

            He doesn’t make heterosexual ones, either.

        • Bible Don

          You are ridiculous. Quit trying to mold Christianity to your theology and mold your theology to true Christianity. True religion is this: going to the aid of those who are vulnerable and in distress. You can count on this Jim, because I am Bible Don!

          • Matthew Tweedell

            This is good, Don! And I like the new name!

          • Melody

            WIN. You are awesome.

          • Bible Jim

            read the rest of the verse…

            and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

            The word for “unstained” there breaks down into

            1) spotless

            2) metaph.

            a) free from censure, irreproachable

            b) free from vice, unsullied

            Under the great commission, you know Jesus’ last words before he ascended into heaven, calls us to teach and instruct” all things whatsoever I have commanded you”

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            Great. Why don’t you do that?

      • otter

        Lymis…this was droll, dry and devastating….please carry on!

        • otter

          this belonged up after your crack about ‘A lot of people think that about some versions of Christianity, too.”

  • jesse

    Lymis – You are by far my favourite commenter here. You use words like an artist uses ink and brush to create a lush, vivid landscape of thought.

    John – God bless you! Keep up the awesome work! Btw, i just ordered “Unfair” today! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/fritz.keppler Fritz Keppler via Facebook

    Or if they know their place.

  • http://www.gingesnotes.blogspot.co.uk John

    As usual, priceless. Thanks John.

  • Obe

    What do you make of evangelica,l new earth, literal-Bible-believing Christians who speak out strongly against abuse/in support of secular legal equality for homosexuals but still believe that, while no more wrong than failings ALL humans share, homosexuality is still wrong and that anyone who becomes close enough to God will give it up?

    I have come across some; for instance, many of those holding the “We are sorry” signs at Gay Pride events. This seems so dishonest and sneaky that it annoys me probably far more than it should. I would really love to hear your thoughts, and perhaps it would help me get a handle on this.

    Thanks

  • Chelse Lang via Facebook

    One of my favorites. Thanks, John! :)

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

    Absolutely love this line: the time is now upon you to accept that gay-bashing Jesus Christ doesn’t really exist

  • http://www.facebook.com/edward.broker Edward Broker via Facebook

    Great read John. What gets me about the anti-gay mentality is the narrowness. Statements like this, “Leviticus 20:13 is a ‘clearly stated directive’ to hate and kill gays” just stop there without continuing onward with ALL THE OTHER SINS IN THE BIBLE, and there are over 600 sins mentioned! Adultery requires the death penalty—and Jesus calls remarried divorcees adulterers! Brides who aren’t virgins on their wedding day—yep—death. Lying, spreading discord among brethren, and more, are abominations too. So, which are sins and which are not? Does knowing what is a sin mean we should therefore not commit that “sin”? Good luck! Perhaps God just wants us to know we are hopeless in our sins, whatever types they might be. His plan of grace for us and our faith in what Jesus did for us upon the cross are fully sufficient. Perhaps He just wants us to abandon personal, ego-flared pride and take on humility, love, and an identification of equality with all fellow sinners. For those who have not yet Googled to read about the clinical study conducted by the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, backed by the American Psychological Association, on homophobic men and why they act the way they do, please read that and get some insight into those people who call themselves “Christians” and then hurl hatred. So not Christ like! One of my favorites by Rebecca Wells, “Pride covers a multitude of sins…. You can see what they’re trying to hide by the way they’re trying to hide it.” —Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. I so identify with Paul’s struggle in
    Rom.7:15-23; After reading Romans ch. 1, tell the homophobe to open his Bible again and now read Romans ch. 2, especially verses 18-24. “Which is worse, my love, or your hate? Gay marriage or straight divorce?” My partner and I have truly loved and cared for each other over 41 years. That’s got to count for something! And “one man/one woman” divorce is legal? God hates divorce! If I can’t marry, you can’t divorce.

  • Friend

    Do you also think incest is OK?

    • Mindy

      Why would you ask that? The two things have nothing to do with one another. Incest creates genetic anomalies – it is dangerous should a pregnancy result.

      In addition, incest rarely happens between two family members of equal status, but is more likely to be forced on a younger family member by an older one. That is wrong not only because of the genetic risk, but because someone is VICTIMIZED.

      Which is another way in which it has nothing whatsoever in common with committed homosexual relationships between adults.

      Duh.

      • Friend

        I’m trying to understand on what basis some people who support homosexual relationships would discriminate against adults in a loving committed incestuous relationship. The arguments seem to be based on the same type of stereotypical generalizations that people had against homosexuals in the old days. The appeals to a possible genetic abnormality that could occur in a pregnancy that could result in an incestuous relationship are echos of the cries about how you would catch AIDS if you were gay back in the 80′s. It’s also reminiscent of the old mantra about how being gay was evidence that you were abused sexually as a child. If we leave behind all of our preconceived stereotypes about incest and focus on the moral question, we can come to a better understanding of the situation.

        So, would it be a sin, for instance, for a man and his adult son, having later in life discovered that they had a sexual attraction and genuine love for one another, to consensually enter into a committed sexual relationship with one another as father and son? And if it would be sinful, why?

        • Mindy

          A parent and child, even if both adults, can never, in my way of thinking, be peers. Which, therefore, puts the “equal partners” concept right out of the picture.

          I have no idea if it is considered sinful, honestly. But to me, personally, a parent/child relationship that becomes romantic is just . . . psychologically, emotionally? . . . . wrong. I am only speaking of parent/child. Beyond that, well, consenting adults can do what they will.

          • Friend

            Thanks for responding. Maybe it would be easier for you to consider the same scenario, except instead of involving a father and adult son, it would involve two adult biological brothers entering consensually into a committed sexual relationship.

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

      Are you hiding you name, “friend,” because you’re finding yourself attracted to someone in your family?

      • Friend

        Perhaps. Or perhaps I’m just trying to get to the bottom of an important question concerning religion and modern society by drawing a parallel that many people are very uncomfortable thinking about.

        • http://www.justjohnboy.com JustJohn

          i’m intrigued by Friend’s query. i’ve considered this question as a logical extension of freedom-to-love, and in the absense of the obvious issues Mindy brought up. that in a perfect scenario (such as the two grown siblings) i see no basis for sin if the love between them is authentic. the gigantic question therein can only be answered by those involved.

          with due respect to biblical comics, incest is taboo to JEWS per the old levitcus silliness, but then again Lot was still hailed as a Holy Man despite the obvious double incest **for the purpose of creating heirs** just hours after Sodom was (supposedly) destroyed for wickedness and his wife was (supposedly) magically turned to salt for daring to sneek a peek.

          so there you have it. i have no real answer other than it is truly none of my damned business as a member of society until someone is either obviously victimized or (even meekly) indicates such. i love the whole person, as the great teacher commanded. and that includes everything that uniquely makes up that person.

  • adam

    I just want to throw something out there. Jesus preached that above all, we were to love our neighbor as ourselves. whether or not it is a sin to be homosexual seems a valid topic of discussion but keep in mind that discussion doesn’t have to lead to arguing and hate speech. if you disagree with homosexuality, fine. just remember to love the person and not the choices the person makes.

  • http://www.4simpsons.wordpress.com eMatters

    “Christians today who take seriously the search for truth must admit that the old axiom that homosexuality is a sin has been forever reduced in status from objective truth to subjective opinion.”

    That is false. Just because some people hold the opposite view doesn’t mean it is up for debate. The Bible couldn’t be more clear. Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) can see these truths:

    100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.

    100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.

    100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).

    0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind.

    * The three general types of pro-gay theology people: 1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God” (obviously non-Christians) 2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling theological Liberals” (only about 10 things wrong with that) 3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

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

      Or: Taking God at His Word: The Bible and Homosexuality. There’s a better Christianity waiting for you, friend.

    • Lymis

      “100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.”

      Well, that’s utter fertilizer. You simply cannot ignore the huge body of support for polygamy. Claiming that the Bible only supports two-person marriage is simply untrue. Once you’re willing to make that false claim, anything else you have to say is suspect at best.

      You’re just making stuff up. It doesn’t work any more.

      “0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind.”

      Once again, untrue. David and Jonathan as one example. The centurion and his bodyslave for another. It’s certainly not central to the text, but it’s not 0%.


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