It’s not about the gay issue; it’s about restoring our devastated mountaintop

“If you’re not with us you’re against us.”

“What you call the middle ground I call a sinkhole.”

“You wouldn’t know the Bible from a Hello Kitty autograph book, you insufferably sanctimonious simp.”

Okay, I never said that last one. Or the other two, actually. But I know they all sound like things I might have said.

For when it comes to Certain Causes, I know I can seem like a bit of a maniac.

And by “Certain Causes,” I think we all know what I mean. That’s right: creative capitalization.

I’m so tired of not being able to capitalize whatever words I want. No More!

No, but seriously: I write quite a bit about the relationship between gay people and Christianity.

So here’s the thing: I don’t like writing on that issue. I don’t do it because I think it’s cool, or attention-getting, or enjoy having fundies buzz my site like fume-spewing Nazi Luftwaffters.

I write on that matter for one reason, and one reason only: I love Christianity. Love it. Christianity is the most awesome thing to happen to mankind since a few freak chimps went, “Whoa, check it out. Thumbs!”

There is no question of the mind or soul for which Christianity does not provide an outstanding answer. Christ is everything real and important that God has to say to mankind; he is the final proof of the depth of God’s love for us. Christianity is unutterably sublime, enthrallingly mystical, and philosophically complete. It’s perfect.

But people have so thoroughly trashed it that at this point Christianity is like the site of a mountaintop removal. Its whole crown has been so perniciously razed that its organic, abounding, life-supporting beauty is all but gone. What was originally majestically inspiring has been reduced to nothing so much as an appalling testament to man’s selfishness and arrogance.

I don’t write about gay people because I love them so much. I don’t love gay people any more than I do anyone else. They’re just people. But they’re an entire class of people who are every day being cruelly maligned, denigrated, bullied to death, and in every way dehumanized—by Christians. People representing the faith to which I ascribe are, in the name of that faith, purposefully, consciously, and even gleefully tending to the destruction of people whose only “crime” is that they love in a way that’s barely different from the way the majority of people love.

How can I live with that? It’s so wrong. It’s so hideous. It’s so inexcusable. It’s the crudest, most damaging kind of transgression.

It needs to stop.

And as surely as one day follows the next, it will.

First we got rid of the atrocious idea that the Bible justifies slavery. Then we (coughmostlycough) got rid of the idea that the Bible justifies the subjugation of women. And now this final, ugly wall will also tumble down.

Writing on the gay issue is how I swing my pen-shaped sledge hammer against that wall. I, my friends on this site, and increasing numbers of Christians every day aren’t fighting against anything, so much as we’re fighting for something.

We’re fighting for what we know Christianity could and should be.

Can you imagine what Christianity would be if it weren’t for the reprehensible anti-gay nonsense that clings to it like dog crap you can’t get off your shoe? Can you imagine if Christianity wasn’t so easy to associate with ignorance and bigotry? Can you imagine a Christianity that immediately sparks thoughts of honor, respect, inspiration, compassion, patience, and joy?

Can you imagine a Christianity that evokes the light of love instead of the darkness that is love’s opposite?

I can. And if you can, too, then together we can usher onto center stage this new Christianity, and relegate to the wings the posturing, bellowing, utterly unconvincing old Christianity that for much too long now has been hogging the spotlight.

Anyway, just wanted to take a moment to say that I’m not obsessed with the gay issue. What I am obsessed with is restoring that mountaintop to its glorious natural state.

About John Shore

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

  • Jana Harrison Currier via Facebook

    Very nice, John! I would love to see the day when sexaul orientation is no longer an issue – a day when people can just be people.

  • http://rindle.blogspot.com/ Lyn

    Amen!

    Being a fan of science fiction and fantasy literature, movies, and gaming, fascinated by science, and devoted to scientific literacy, I’d also love to see Christianity slough off its anti-science, young-earth-creationism-only, and satanic panic coatings of fecal matter.

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

      I have GOT to put together a post of nothing but highlights o’ Lyn. I could do twenty such posts …

      • http://rindle.blogspot.com/ Lyn

        You probably could. I suppose I should blog more and comment less, but I like the interaction.

        • http://thethreews.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

          I don’t even pretend to be a blogger anymore, really. I’m a blog-commenter.

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

            Thank GOD you comment on this blog, Ken. What a blessing you are to us here.

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

      I’ve long decided that if my fantasy work ever gets known outside the few people I know on the Internet willing to comment on it…

      I’m going to SOOOO look forward to being accused of being a “Satanist” by the anti-book fundie-crowd. It’s happened to all the great modern fantasy authors, it would seem. I’ll really know I’ve gotten somewhere if it happens.

      • http://rindle.blogspot.com/ Lyn

        It’s amazing how many fantasy authors are Christians, yet somehow satanists.

      • Leslie Marbach

        I was just having a conversation about this yesterday. I even have friends who think JK Rowling is totally evil and wouldn’t let their kids watch any of the HP movies. I think they explain the truth of the gospel better than most preachers do on Sunday mornings.

      • http://thethreews.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

        Yeah, I know what you mean. I dabble at writing, and more than a few of my stories would likely have me branded a heretic.

        Of course, I’m reminded of a sermon I heard once about why no Christian should see “Star Wars” because it was really a New Age fable. I really thought that that pastor needed to rethink his life. He’d be a much happier person if he’d lighten up.

        • Christelle

          Thank you Ken and Thank you Lyn…

        • Josh B

          Ohhh believe me, I’ve heard plenty of reasons why Star Wars is “evil” and “satanic.” Yeah, about as satanic as this water I’m drinking right now.

          And concerning all these fantasy authors being branded as heretics, oy vey! Well, one day when I become a fantasy author and get labeled such I will go public and say what I think, which will then get me labeled as something else! What fun!

        • n.

          Only in the sense that bad writing and melodramatic acting are satanic….

  • Jennifer Winters

    Oh. My. Goodness. This is your best yet. Sad and anger-provoking, yet also inspiring.

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

      Thanks very much, Jennifer Winters.

  • Leslie Marbach

    That’s absolutely beautiful, John. Beautiful. I too like Creative Capitalization. But more importantly, I like imagining that brand of Christianity that “sparks thoughts of honor, respect, inspiration, compassion, patience, and joy.” That’s the way it should be. I’m with you. <3

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

      Thanks, Leslie! (Friends: Leslie is the wonderful woman about whom I wrote in The Frost and Freedom of Death.)

      • Leslie Marbach

        Love you, John!

  • Ogrebeast SixtyFour via Facebook

    Excellent article! Concise and straight to the point. Anyone that disagrees with what you wrote is part of the problem, and they don’t realize it.

  • Brian Orrock McHugh via Facebook

    John: was there ever a time when Christianity was as you would like it to be restored to??

    • http://thethreews.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

      It’s possible that you’ve missed the function of the metaphor.

  • Blake

    Fine, but if you call the miners names (no matter how close to the truth you are) they’re not going to listen & they’re just going to ignore you and then go and blow up another mountain. Approach does matter. In your zeal you might alienate allies that are not as morally pure as you but are still opposed to mountain-top-removal. Eventually they’ll see the truth in what you’re saying, but not if you belittle and make them feel dirty.

    Look if I’m trying to convince people of the need to restore the mountaintop I’m going to take them to a mountaintop; not yell at them from the top about how immoral they are. That approach reminds me an awful lot of the anti-gay preachers who come to pride: “I’m right you’re wrong… wait come back… you’re not listening… I’m right”

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

      Yes, Blake, we know you’re a fan of Andrew Marin’s. Let it go.

      • Blake

        No. I was more offended that you struck out at Warren Throckmorton. Andrew Marin is a waste of time. He’s pretty indefensible.

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

          You were defending WT all that time? Yowzer. Well … well, first of all, you need to learn the difference between “striking out” at a person, and reasonably responding to criticism. Throckmorton said that what I had written was “irresponsible,” “unhelpful,” and an “oft-used debate tactic designed to win the debate by shutting it down.” I’d hardly call my response to that “striking out.”

          Also, I’ve known WT’s work for years and years now, Blake. I think he does at least as much damage as Marin: I really don’t like the niche he’s constructed for himself. I’m gonna hope you know squat about WT’s work. If you do know what MT does, and you’d like to write a defense of it, by all means give it a go. Best of luck with that. (That said, I do appreciate the work WT has done to bring attention to the problem of gays in Uganda.)

          • Blake

            Right now Dr. WT is focused on refuting David Barton. That w0rk doesn’t need defending. Before that, as you pointed out, he was working to stop state sponsored violence against gays Uganda. Again, no need to defend. But its not just Uganda. He also helped publicize efforts to outlaw gay in Liberia and Malawi. Before that he worked to discredit the false promises of repairitive therapy. No need to defend that, either.

            His answer to the day of silence/day of bullying controversy was the Golden Rule Pledge. No need to defend that. He’s written more to discredit Scott Lively than anyone I can think of. No need to defend that. He debunked Kurt Cameron’s propaganda movie. No need to defend that. He frequently calls shenanigans on WND & other evangelical news sources. Especially when they refuse to cover the latest science on sexual orientation. No need to defend that.

            He never waits to refute the claims of the Family Research Council or P-Fox or NARTH or any other anti-gay organization which peddles in falsehoods. Does that need defending? He called out MN Parents Action Committee motivations in the Anoka-Hennepin controversy. Further, he supports inclusive non-bullying policies. I think that stands on its own, don’t you?

            What am I missing… oh you must mean this: http://wthrockmorton.com/i-do-exist-faqs/ and this: http://www.drthrockmorton.com/oped.asp

            Well, we all start somewhere. So he’s a little too baptist for our tastes. That does not make him an enemy. At least in my opinion. Especially weighed against his more recent writings, interviews, conferences, speaking engagements, lectures, etc. I’ve only scratched the surface on what he has done for the benefit of the gay community.

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

            Wow. So, listen, I’m just going to let all this go. Please don’t respond to my … non-response here. We’re done talking about WT.

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

            Fuck, Blake, are you for real??? Someone tries to reopen the issue of whether social factors cause being gay or whether orientation can and in some cases should be changed and the gay community should be *thanking* him. Are you OUT OF YOUR MIND?

            Yes, he doesn’t want people to be tortured and killed for being gay and took an opportunity to do something about it and somewhat maybe contributed to something that wasn’t complete failure. John can add that to the Godly tips of the day, along with not killing families.

            It’s this shit I HATE: “Clients who desire assistance and support to live in accord with their religious views…”

            FUCK YOU, WT.

            “Clients who desire assistance and support to live in accord with their religious views…” should be directed immediately to johnshore.com to learn that not all Christians are mindless bigots. End of story.

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

            Yeah, yeah, teeling people to f*ck off, not cool. Yes, crossed a line…

            But how that bs, that is SO infuriating, can be dismissed as just “a little too baptist for our tastes”(!) is beyond me. It’s just plain insulting! It’s a horrifying way to speak about your gay brothers and sisters.

            Enough so that you, Blake, are no longer counted among the helpful, either.

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

            Ok, so I expected some response to this – or to get censored. I was way out of line. I’ve been away for awhile taking a self-enforced time-out as a result. It wasn’t WT who angered me… I just have trouble dealing with the so-called allies and their bridge-building. My problem and I totally vomited it here.

            So, I want to formally apologize (because the first one wasn’t quite sufficiently sincere) to WT – so very sorry, completely uncalled for – and to John – I lowered the level of conversation on that one and I want to be contributed to want your doing, not degrading it.

            I apologize to you both.

            *deep breath*

            Now returning to commenting. I’ll try to be proactive with my time-outs in future.

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

            You don’t have to apologize to me. I LIKED what you said.

          • DR

            I think you are fabulous and have nothing for which to apologize.

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

            Thanks, guys.

    • http://thethreews.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

      I guess that some of us are more concerned about the feelings of the victims than of those who are in control and using their power to oppress.

      Funny thing is, I think that Jesus was and is like that, too.

      If you’d rather coddle the Pharisees than love the oppressed, then that’s your business.

      • http://www.unchainedfaith.com Amy

        “If you’d rather coddle the Pharisees than love the oppressed, then that’s your business.”

        I love this. So true.

        • http://thethreews.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

          Thanks. I’m really tired of the “Be nice to the oppressors”-type argument.

          Now that someone is starting to move the shoe to the other foot, and people are recognizing that gay people are … wow! … people, now we have to stop talking about it because it makes mean people feel bad.

          That never stopped them from throwing around words like “deviant,” “degenerate,” or “abomination,” though.

          Maybe, just maybe, when I see a sermon or a blog post that calls homophobia an abomination before the Lord I’ll start to worry about their feelings.

          Nah … not even then. That’s just calling a spade a spade.

          • Don Rappe

            Ok, I’ll bite. Homo-baiters blaspheme the God who gives us all our sexual gifts. And all blasphemy is an abomination. Now I feel better. I hate to leave something like that undone. Of course, as always, if they repent their blasphemy and repent of it, they may well be rescued from their abominable character.

        • Blake

          It’s not about coddling it’s about leading people to enlightenment. That’s the goal right? Very few straight people start out with a values neutral opinion of us much less religious folks. It’s fine to be justifiably sanctimonious but it’s not really helpful when you are attempting to change people’s opinions.

          • http://thethreews.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

            FYI, I’m not “less religious folk.” You can find me every Sunday at my local Evangelical church.

            I don’t think that you’re going to win this argument. You see, my thought on this subject is that if you call people sub-human, then you lose the right to complain that your feelings get hurt in the conversation.

            I see your point about civility, but I don’t think that John has crossed any lines here. If you feel that he has, then my suggestion is to move on to something else. You’ve said your piece, I’ve said mine … and I don’t care a whit for the little fragile feelings of the bullies. If they don’t like being compared to dog manure, then they should stop treating people like such.

          • DR

            People are not led to enlightenment. We seek it. The obstacles to enlightenment are ego and fear. People who hold privilege have an enormous amount to lose when they are “wrong” and they don’t seek enlightenment when it means they are going to lose something that validates them, that they are afraid of losing (which is often losing the ability to be “right”).

          • DR

            Blake, you’re not suggesting that anger over abuse is sanctimonious, are you?

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

            Blake, I wish to God someone had gotten angry at me earlier, had really, truly chewed me out for my view on this issue. Because I was ready for a change of mind if only someone had beaten it into me how much harm that view was doing, how truly offensive it was. And I would have been miles better off in my life had that happened earlier than it actually did. I was TOO coddled. The wonderful gay people in my life were too nice and let me off the hook too easy, if anything. Sometimes a harsh word, understanding the depth of our trangression, is th beat thing for us.

          • DR

            My god, exactly this! This was my exact experience. I’m so glad my friend didn’t give me a pass. He changed my life.

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

            In my case, my dear friends were so used to being treated like shit by Christians, and were so afraid I’d disown them when they got together, that they were nothing but relieved that I still loved them and supported them, and put them up (together) when their parents were less than, that they let my “but I need you to know that I don’t agree with it” bit slide as just “where I was at the time”.

            They couldn’t know, of course, that I was closeted myself, that I was holding myself to a “higher” standard I felt called to as a Christian. They couldn’t know that it was really ME who needed to be loved and rescued by THEM, and not the other way around.

            Had they really challenged me – not disowned me, but got angry, let me know that, while (to them) surprisingly tame, my judgement was still judgement, still wrong, still prejudiced – I may have faced it sooner.

            As it was, I was one of those who felt like all those attracted to the same sex could just choose to walk away from it and not accept being gay – because I did. I somehow thought that I was bi, and probably so was everyone else generally, and that we could chose what to follow and what not to. And I got mad at myself for having a harder time resisting it than most.

            Honestly, I didn’t know most of the clobber passages. I didn’t thonk the bible said aweful things about gay people, just that it wasn’t ideal. The truth was, I was afraid to research it for myself, because if anyone caught me – found a book, got a glance at a website I was reading, heard me discuss anything I found – I thought they would know. I thought that would be enough for anyone else to put the peices together and figure I was looking so I could find a way to let myself be gay, and my secret would be out. I couldn’t risk even looking for fear of outing myself. And that’s all it was.

            I needed the push.

          • Don Rappe

            I believe it’s not always about enlightenment. First it may be necessary just to get people’s attention.

      • Christy

        “If you’d rather coddle the Pharisees than love the oppressed, then that’s your business.”

        I loved this too. And remember how Jesus politely and respectfully asked the merchants and money changers to remove their livestock and tables from the temple? Oh wait…

        • http://thethreews.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

          Christy, great point!

          The only people for whom Jesus had harsh words were the religious leaders who acted out of interests other than love. And He seemed to have very little patience for them, sometimes.

          An adulteress about to be stoned? He was nice to her. The woman at the well, who was apparently not highly-esteemed? Downright sweet!

          Pharisees? A little less than generous at times …

      • Leslie Marbach

        Ken, I don’t know why what you said finally made something new click in my brain but it sure did. Thank you.

        I’ve been defending Marin and those other “middle-grounders” because I thought I needed to extend grace to them, even though they would gladly oppress, well, me. Yes, we have to give grace, but maybe the best way to do that is to let them know that where they’re at is not helping anyone except the oppressors.

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

          *ahem*

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

            I’m sure you contributed, too, John. :) But it case the “ahem” isn’t noticed…

            THANK YOU.

          • Leslie Marbach

            Haha….Oh definitely, John, you started the ball rolling! I still am struggling with this. I mean, really, grace is what the whole gospel is about. God gives us grace and out of that we extend it to others…to everyone is our goal. I guess I’m wondering what it looks like to extend grace to people that oppose so many of my brothers and sisters. The process has been aloud (er, as aloud as can be in a blog comment!) for all of you to see. :) Basically it’s me trying to find the best way to emulate Jesus Christ and follow his commandment to love everyone as I love myself. So there you go. You can “ahem” me, though. I deserved it!

          • KarenAtFOH

            I think grace, as a Christian term, comes loaded with all sorts of meanings. In that sense, I’m not sure grace is mine to extend to anyone. It feels more like a God thing. But as an abuse survivor with tons of therapy behind me, I have some experience with the grief process and forgiveness. I think when we are deeply hurt, it can be a mistake to forgive too quickly, that is, before we have fully embraced and worked through the grief process. In grieving, love brings healing and makes extending love possible again. When abuse is ongoing, love (or grace, if you prefer) says, “You are hurting me. Stop it now.” When abuse has stopped, but lacks acknowledgement, love says, “You have hurt me. Claim it.” When abuse is claimed and forgiveness asked, love says, “I was hurt. I forgive you.” When abuse is never claimed, love says, “You have hurt me. I love and protect myself. I forgive you anyway.” Abusers do not get a pass for their hurt. They get feedback, consequences, and forgiveness when the time is right for the injured. Those who fail to renounce their sin of discrimination are causing direct and immediate injury, their protestations of love not withstanding. Grace is available and forgiveness may come, but abusers will not stop hurting until someone, the injured or an ally, steps up and sets a boundary.

    • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

      The internet is the great equalizer, Blake. John has every right to speak as he wants to speak. There are so many voices out there SCREAMING that homosexuality is wrong that I am fine with John coming against that with righteous anger. He doesn’t have to court anyone. When people are ready, they will listen to what he has to say. People flocked to John the Baptist…and he sure didn’t speak softly or gently to them. He spoke the truth.

      And it’s snowballing at this point. More and more people need less and less time to come to this understanding. And that’s thanks to the frankness of people like John Shore.

      • Blake

        Indeed. Frankness has it’s place and is valuable. That is one of the reasons I like this blog so much. Mr. Shore does not talk around issues he talks right at them. So what was the issue with Marin? He’s peddling in a false middle ground and profiting off of it handsomely. But John didn’t address that until his comments after the fact. Instead he went at him for not living up to the high standards of dogmatic morality which John thinks all people should have. Trust me, I agree. All people should not have a problem with gay folks. All people should not think that gay is inherently immoral. But I disagree with his methods. You cannot setup a new standard of dogma and expect everyone to fall in line because the premises are self-evident. You have to show people. You have to take them to the mountaintop. Most of John Shores’ articles on this website do that. And usually he’s really good at making grey moral distinctions — like say between Dr. Thorckmorton & Crazy Anti-Gay Preacher A.

        But dismissing someone as prominent and as helpful to our cause as Dr. Warren Throckmorton just because he can’t/won’t/is cognitively unable to make that last leap of faith is terribly intolerant, not helpful and mirrors the failing strategies of the crazy anti-gays. It was a rare miss for Shore & NOW I can let it go and move on. Sorry for harping.

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

          Yeah, Blake. I’m all about being dogmatic.

          You do need to let this go and move on. You, friend, are on my last freakin’ nerve.

          • Blake

            The hazards of long posts. I missed your comment above. I will always defend WT. Again sorry for harping. Thank you for what you do. I’m really, truly a huge fan.

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

            Thanks. As I stated somewhere below, let’s not anymore talk about WT. Seriously.

        • DR

          What in the world are you talking about? Did you even read the post?

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

          John did NOT set up a new standard. They care called FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS.

          That’s a minimum. If people can’t get on board with those, they’ve already missed the boat.

          • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

            Yes. That.

  • http://thethreews.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

    Capitalize as you will. If e. e. cummings could do it, why not you?

    As to the rest, I agree. I was reminded of the Andrew Peterson song “Come Lord Jesus,” in which he laments “It feels like the Church isn’t anything more/Than the Second Coming of the Pharisees/Scrubbing each other ’til our tombs are white/We chisel epitaphs of piety”

    Our brothers and sisters are being abused and maligned. By, I’m afraid, more of our brothers and sisters.

  • vj

    Wonderful!

  • http://exclusionandembrace.blogspot.com rob g

    I too can imagine what that kind of Christianity would be like, as I’ve seen it here and there, in some friendships, some homes, some churches, some bars. It is amazing, and worth — I want to say fighting for, but there’s too much fighting between people and especially those who call themselves Christians — worth striving for, worth giving one’s life for.

    I hear and read and see how our lgbt brothers and sisters are dying on the inside (and on outside too — even today news of Thapelo Makutle, a gay man beheaded in South Africa). Followers of Jesus could make a world of difference and it wouldn’t be that difficult to do if we all got past the hatred and the othering.

    Thanks for continuing to talk and write about this, and for the Right Reasons.

  • Scott Amundsen

    Anyone ever tell you that you are amazing?

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

      Well, that’s lovely to say. Thanks, Scott Amundsen.

  • Christy

    On the matter of: “First we got rid of the atrocious idea that the Bible justifies slavery. Then we got rid of the idea that the Bible justifies the subjugation of women. And now this final, ugly wall will also tumble down.”

    It occurs to me that the same group of Christians who most vehemently disagrees with point number three are still stuck on point number two.

    • Diana A.

      And possibly even point number 1.

      • Christy

        Yes, human equality is the overarching issue, and some are still stuck on point number one. National origin, race, gender, sexual orientation/identity…it’s all about human equality. If that shoe hasn’t dropped yet…they aren’t going to take their shoes off.

      • Christy

        Shoot: religion, creed, denomination. It’s all rooted in a tribal mentality of dualist zero sum gain. Human evolution and spiritual growth depend on moving beyond tribalism into the beloved community of thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven of the kingdom of heaven here and now. We know what is just. We know how to do it. We continue to choose the wide way. The way of love is through the narrow gate.

      • n.

        ohyeah.

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

      I know. I originally had an “(almost)” right after the “we” in that sentence, but decided it was too distracting from my main point. But, yes, just as you say.

      • Christy

        I know you know this.

        • Christy

          You’re smart like that.

    • http://thethreews.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

      I think a lot of us hesitated there.

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

        Okay, I’ll go put back in the SECOND thing I had there.

        • http://thethreews.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

          Hmmmm … I hit “Submit” before I finished. I meant to say “But I see John’s point about it bringing up other things not relating to this post.”

          Oh, well …

          I do think that, at least, almost no one is left who would openly say that women should be treated as property. I think that paying dowry is more or less out.

          Of course, those chastity pledges are creepy, and I know people who were shocked that I didn’t ask Amy’s father for permission before proposing to her. My thought on this: She was in her mid-30′s, had a master’s degree and her own career and life. She had long outgrown the need for a patriarch to gate-keep her relationships.

          So, ummm … speaking of getting off-topic …

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

            I could totally have seen myself saying “no” to a proposal solely on the basis of the person having asked my father’s permission, especially if it was *before* asking me. Something along e lines of, “when you’re ready to view me as a partner, equal and human being, then we’ll talk” and I probably would have been damn stubborn about it to, really making a point. You did good, Ken.

  • Warren Adams-Ockrassa via Facebook

    Brian – have you read the gospels?

  • Lucas Roeschley

    Great post. This really resonates with me. My wife and I are currently pursuing some youth ministry positions and have been unceremoniously dismissed from consideration from several because we put in our cover letter that we will only serve in an open and affirming church. When discussing it with some friends, they asked why that was our one hold-out (it’s not, btw), why above all else we would stick on this one “hot-button issue.” I said that it speaks to the entire heart of faith and Christianity for me. How a church stands on the issue of homosexuality speaks to their overall doctrines of love, justice, and the nature of God. And I will not align myself with a body that maligns the name of Christ by showing hatred toward any of his wonderful creations. Thanks for your post and for your ongoing advocacy.

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

      Thank you, Lucas. Love what you’ve written. Let us know how your search goes for a suitable church home. (Hey, I had to remove the link you had to your website: it was broken.)

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

    “Can you imagine if Christianity wasn’t so easy to associate with ignorance and bigotry? Can you imagine a Christianity that immediately sparks thoughts of honor, respect, inspiration, compassion, patience, and joy?

    Can you imagine a Christianity that evokes the light of love instead of the darkness that is love’s opposite?”

    I can. I’ve seen glimpses of it. I’ve seen such Christianity in action, and its a beautiful thing. It is just not something people get to experience nearly often enough. And of course it is something we all can certainly try to express ourselves more often. The fact that we can recognize the need, and have the desire to put back the lost topsoil, rebuild the brooks and the springs and resow the flora so the mountain can offer all that it can, is to me wonderfully hopeful. That the tools, and the resources are already in place tells me that God desires it as well, and I so want to be a part of that project.

  • http://www.unchainedfaith.com Amy

    The more time I spend here reading these posts and the replies, the happier I am that I found this site.

    Another excellent post!

  • Steve Flower

    A gentle reply to Brian Orrock McHugh: I have seen Christianity as br’er Shore has visualized it. It does exist; it just doesn’t make the papers or Faux News much.

    The first time was when I started my coming out – at 48, after a dozen years hiding in church closets – and some of the first people to welcome me and encourage me were a number of Christian bloggers. Admittedly, none in the evangelical vein, but nonetheless a significant group of Jesus-following, loving-God-and-loving-God’s-kids, feeding-the-hungry kind of Christians. They loved and welcomed me when I was not quite able to love myself, and gave me hope that other Christians might be able to do that.

    Most recently, it has been as a member of a More Light Presbyterian congregation for two years, and then moving to the Ozarks and finding a welcoming, accepting and affirming Disciples of Christ church. These folks have been LGBT inclusive for so long, our first visit was “no big deal” to a degree it’s difficult to describe to someone. To us, it felt like my partner and I each had two heads, and the greeters just said, “Welcome! Glad to have all four of you with us today – come on in!” What so many congregations see as strange and outre’ – a committed same-sex couple – was just another day in God’s kingdom for them. It may sound strange, but getting the feeling of not-being-weird-or-different was an incredible relief.

    To be fair and honest, I now live just a few miles from the world headquarters of the Assemblies of God *and* the Evangel Temple denominations. I live a couple blocks from a Methodist church that clearly believes that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” None of them will change their stance any time soon; I understand that. It ain’t all sunshine and roses.

    But there is light and beauty, and hope, among the clouds and thorns.

    • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

      This is lovely. :)

  • Jeannie

    The other day I met with one of the pastors at my church. I wanted to get his opinion on marriage equality and whether or not homosexuality is a sin. He gave me some middle of the road stuff about not judging, etc. Of course, after hearing some of my rather unorthodox opinions on matters he also couldn’t confirm that I was indeed saved or not. So tired of trying to find a local house of Christianity that isn’t full of junk. Thanks for articulating my thoughts, John. Acceptance of gay people isn’t not a side issue. It’s more like a beginning diagnositc. Oddly enough, I am straight but not accepted by most of the church either. And somehow after reading some of the things you have written this week, I am okay with it.

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

      Wow. That’s very affecting, Jeannie.

    • mae

      I’ve recently discovered a local Methodist church in my area that is accepting, and even has a political discussion class where all opinions are respectfully welcome and debated and everyone walks out friends despite disagreeing for an hour about the current culture.

      My new favorite church ever!

      Not sure where you are, but you might try out Methodists. I’ve never done Methodist before. Grew up in Baptist and non-denominational Evangelical churches, so this is a new thing for me.

  • Michael C

    A few years ago, Minneapolis lost a queer-relevant theater company. I was so impressed with the quote from the director of the company.

    “Our world is starting to shift,” says Jeffry Lusiak, 32, artistic director of the disbanding Outward Spiral. “These very queer-specific spaces aren’t needed anymore — we felt our mission had been fulfilled.” If Outward Spiral began with the intention of filling a gap in theater, today mainstream theaters are doing queer shows regularly, such as the Guthrie’s current production of “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures.” “Our stories are being told,” Lusiak says.

    John, I believe there is a future that you will just have to find other things to talk about, and I think that will be great

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

      What an interesting/telling/hopeful perspective. Thank for sharing it, Michael C. (For the record, or whatever, not 20% of what I’ve written on this blog has anything at all to do with the gay issue–and only one of the twelve book I’ve written does.)

      • Michael C

        HA! I didn’t mean to imply that all you ever talk about is gay gay gay. Sorry ’bout that =)

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

          No, no worries, of course. (But thanks.) Given my blog for the last month or so, how could anyone think anything else?

  • http://laughingpastor.blogspot.com blake spencer

    Dear John,

    You and others like you have paved the way for ones like me. Your brave voice of clarity has provided fertile ground on which I can plant seeds of honesty and freedom. Thank you. Over at my blog (laughing pastor) I am busy telling my story of coming out. Thank you for speaking and writing!

  • Kristi

    “Can you imagine what Christianity would be if it weren’t for the reprehensible anti-gay nonsense that clings to it like dog crap you can’t get off your shoe? Can you imagine if Christianity wasn’t so easy to associate with ignorance and bigotry? Can you imagine a Christianity that immediately sparks thoughts of honor, respect, inspiration, compassion, patience, and joy?

    Can you imagine a Christianity that evokes the light of love instead of the darkness that is love’s opposite?”

    No I can’t. Now, don’t get me wrong. While I’ve seen plenty of darkness in my life, I’ve also seen a whole lot of life and love. I’ve seen it from people, not a religion, most particularly, not Christianity. I have to be Negative Nelly here. Most of what I’ve experienced at the hands of professing Christians has little to do with light or love. Is Christianity to blame for that? I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that there are few statements I can hear from an individual that make me more uncomfortable, suspicious of motives and leery of interaction than “I am a Christian.” Sorry, John, but that’s the stone truth for me. While you and a few other folks are showing me that is not always the case, it is still true that the majority of my interactions with Christians now and in my past have had little to do with light or love. I guess that’s what you are railing against, isn’t it?

    • DR

      It’s what he’s railing against for sure. xoxo

    • John (not McCain)

      Indeed. I spent the first 30 years of my life more-Baptist-than thou, and now I can’t imagine what it would take for me to have an actual relationship with an actual Christian. With ANY Christian, for example the lonely old Baptist bigot in Birmingham who’s been wondering for a couple of months now why her son hasn’t called.

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

      Personally, I’m looking for a new name to call myself. I mean, it’s not like I’ve even been in church for years, you know?

      A couple of weeks ago, I had to go have a minor medical procedure done and the receptionist at the front desk asked me what my “religious preference” was (maybe it was because it involved general anesthesia and just in case somebody screwed up and I died or something). I went “Um… uh!” and staggered over it.

      I wound up blurting out something like “Chrsitian but liberal and weird about it and stuff!” and the receptionist apologized saying that it was a legal requirment that she ask me that question. I didn’t know quite how to class myself and was honestly *ashamed* to. I used to be proud to be a “Christian” (though that was in my more conservative and stupid-teenager days).

      I feel lately like I’m more comfortable saying “I’m bipolar” than “I’m Christian” sometimes. It depends upon the company, but yeah, sometimes, I feel better, in real life, to identify myself by my SERIOUS MENTAL DISORDER than by the cultural baggage attatched to some things I still believe in (perhaps becuase I have a serious mental disorder?)

      I should just start saying “I’m an artist” or “I’m a writer” though I’ve not had much sucess at it.

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

        I went through a similar hospital thing a few years ago. I had stomach virus and was apparently seriously dehydrated. When they asked my religion, I parroted “Catholic” just because that’s the church in which I was baptized. At that point I had maybe attended ten Catholic masses in my life.

        I realized later how serious my condition had been when I realized that during my first night the nurse had asked me if I wanted a priest. I declined, not clue-ing in at all, but just because I had never opened up to a priest in my life. Why the heck would I want a priest?

        When this whole situation became clear for me about a year later, I decided that I didn’t want to be Catholic anymore. This led to a string of doubt about Christianity, and then some research about other religions. Did I want to be Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Zoroastrian? I never had any doubt that God was with them all, and that’s what was important to me. I floundered for quite awhile.

        Anyway, eventually, I found the Episcopalian church. As Robin Williams said, “all of the pageantry – none of the guilt,” but mostly it was because I was living in Washington, D.C. at the time and the National Cathedral has a Darth Vader gargoyle. Then when I learned more about the church, I found that it suited me in many ways, and I’ve decided that’s what I’ll say next time I’m in a hospital.

        So, I guess what I want to say is, if you’re thinking about religions and denominations, follow the nagging thoughts in your head and search. Eventually you will find.

      • n.

        I went with “christian but not religious” as a parody (?) of SBNR… Not sure if it means what i want it to, though.

    • n.

      I’m still christian and i agree with your feeling here. Not even sure why i’m still christian, except i guess i am used to it and i don’t Actually want to stop believing in God.

      • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

        You don’t have to stop believing in God or Jesus in order to mature in your Christian beliefs. Lean always toward love and you won’t wander from the path. :)

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

    “…the most awesome thing to happen to mankind since a few freak chimps went, “Whoa, check it out. Thumbs!”

    Don’t forget bacon. Whoever discovered bacon deserves a fabulous reward – like bacon!

    I think what may have gone awry is not just issues with translation and interpretation, but with power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and before this issue was the issue of the place of women (it STILL is), racism and slavery… All muddled up with people in power defining the culture and claiming that God gives them the power and excuse to abuse it.

    It’s to the point that when I hear people go on about persecution of Christians (in America), I’m almost ready to *welcome* it. I mean, I hate being discriminated against as much as anyone (and have experienced the real thing in being a bit mentally off-kilter. Trust me, you don’t want my life). At the same time, I have to wonder if being booted out of power and even being persecuted will bring out the best in us. Those who are serious Jesus-ists will stick and those who were only in it for the cultural power will seek whatever is the new cultural power thing. I honestly wonder if all of the best work in the world is the work that’s done in the dark – if the power of the powerless is truly what shapes the world.

    Or if I should stop being crazy and go seek out some bacon.

    • Kristi

      BACON!!!!

      Uh…I’m sorry, what were we talking about?

  • otter

    John…. I am riding through the mountains of pennsylvania as I write this comment looking at beautiful mountains tops. All i can say is “bravo”. THANK YOU for a powerful honest uncompromising statement. If Christianity can be saved this is what it will take to do it.

  • Deanna Rendel

    love the dog crap analogy! and sending a shout out to United Church of Christ and the others who are open and affirming. I stopped going to church until I found them, because I love my gay friends and family members…and so does Jesus!

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

    I’ve been to Mt St Helens. It’s ghastly. It aweful. Yes, aweful. And some of it will smoke for decades. But some of it is reforested, thanks to Weyerhaeuser. But 31 yrs later, it is looking good. There are trout in the river that flows down from it, right where all the debris covered it all with yards of ash and rock.

    Like destroyed mountains, there is restoration and renewal. It can’t be stopped really. I’m excited to see what will be regrown in our faith.

    • David S

      Like! If I have faith that God is working in all of our lives, then I must have faith that He is restoring the kingdom. I have to and I do. And that knwledge brings great comfort.

  • InaCat

    I’ve seen about the best that can come of walking with Christ, and while I have not seen the worst churches can do, I have seen enough.

    I have seen pastors organize visitors for a lad dying of AIDS where his parents thought that dying alone was meant to be part of his ‘eternal damnation’

    I have been taken in by blessed strangers, and been told that Jews shouldn’t bother converting, because our souls are inherently flawed.

    both my best, and my worst bosses have been devout and active in their church community.

    churches that discriminate? tend to discriminate against many different sorts.

    churches that practice compassion? tend to find some way to show it to everyone.

    • Christelle

      oh, wow… sigh… the boy dieing of aids… that made me really just sigh… no words… God is bigger than all of this…

      • Christelle

        and yet… mere words to what you posted are so meaningless… I have hope for a better tomorrow…

  • Zach Stowers via Facebook

    John Shore… I love you.

  • Allen

    Uh, I’m a gay Christian, and really have a lot of problems with literal mountaintop removal. It’s a powerful metaphor, John, and another excellent post. But I gotta say, from the photo and the subject, I thought you were going to say something like “I’m not a single-issue Christian blogger here, look at what they’r doing to West Virginia! Even homophobic communities don’t deserve to have their drinking water poisoned so someone else makes a buck, Jesus would be appalled!”

    But back to your post — the dogshit-on-shoe metaphor is something everyone can relate to. And if it’s your favorite shoes — or your only shoes! — and you have rough terrain / a special occasion / a double shift coming up, your shoes can’t work like they should. No wonder so many people are going barefoot. Hmm, okay, I see why this was a secondary metaphor and not your main focus. :.)

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

      I chose moutaintop removal because it’s (obviously) one of the worst things we do to our planet.

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

        Exactly my words when I saw Climax Colorado the first time! :)

      • Allie

        The whole Moses/MLK tie-in was just lagniappe :)

        Very powerful post, John. Beautiful.

      • n.

        I wish all the stuff that’s obvious in California were also obvious over here in the other side of the country.

        For the mountains, for the glbtq folks, for the muslims, for the atheists… i wish that.

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

    I never cried so much from anything you have written, as much as I did on this blog! What an amazing man you are John! Again, as always, Thank You!! Tears of Joy, I assure you!

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

      Thanks for this, Keith.

  • Mindy

    John Shore, this took my breath away. I so hope for this. Every day. Thank you.

  • Christelle

    When I first read the title of this post, I immediately thought of Dr. MLK Jr’s speech ‘I’ve been to the Mountaintop’… perhaps my favorite of all…

    “Well, I don’t know what will happen now.

    We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now,

    because I’ve been to the mountaintop.

    And I don’t mind.

    Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place.

    But I’m not concerned about that now.

    I just want to do God’s will.

    And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over.

    And I’ve seen the Promised Land.

    I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight,

    that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

    And so I’m happy, tonight.

    I’m not worried about anything.

    I’m not fearing any man!

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!”

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    Of course, as with all of his speeches, this is best when hearing MLK’s voice speaking it! Such passion, such hope…

  • http://grant.w.mcneil.com Grant

    Amen!!

    p. s. loved the line “fundies buzz my site like fume-spewing Nazi Luftwaffters.”

    p. s. s. you really don’t love us more? Ahh. We’re so cool and fashionable. And apparently we recruit! ;)

    • Matt

      Of course we recruit! Didn’t you get your marching orders when you signed up?

      I recall mine being trimmed in glitter and lipstick, along with a Certificate of Manhood enclosed :D.

    • n.

      Yeah i thought he did love gays more because gay friends had rescued him (and not hit on him) when he was young and desperate. Which would be only right.

      Maybe just not More in the sense of loving anybody else Less.

  • Blake

    Truly a beautiful post. Well said. Always be givin me goosebumps, son.

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

      Thanks, Blake. I do appreciate that.

  • DR

    This is magnificent. Thank you.

  • Anna Joy

    AMEN.

    Just…AMEN.

  • David S

    Wow. Yes, yes and yes. I can imagine this Christianity. And I know God is in control – so how can it *not* be so? I’m soooo tired and weary. John, thanks for creating the space to catch my breath.

    • David S

      And I think we know your not obsessed with the gay issue. I first read a post of yours that was on the Christian Post (of all unholy places!). It was about the need to pause and allow the Holy Spirit to enter. It was an amazing reminder that has embedded itself with me. God is certainly working through you. Thanks! And if I didn’t say it before – thanks again! You’re awesome.

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

        Oh, wow. Thanks, David S. What a lovely thing to say.

      • David S

        Typing from my phone – damn you auto complete! First sentence – “your” is supposed to be “you’re”. Just didn’t want you to think I’m agin’ grammar. ;-)

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

          Har! I’ll let you know if my personality ever degenerates so far that I find myself actually giving a rat’s ass about punctuation and grammar in BLOG COMMENTS, Facebook, etc.

          • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

            Gawd…anyone who uses “Har!” gets such a gold star in my book. :D

  • Jeff Scott via Facebook

    I sometimes wish I could believe like you do John.

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

      For what it’s worth, I don’t so much as “believe” as I do accept a system that makes perfect sense.

  • n.

    OK i really like this post and it really makes sense. It’s like protesting about US policies not because one is an anti-american traitor, but because America should and can do Better than That. (which i think is also useful)

    but a couple of questions…

    1) if christianity is the best, the greatest, etc… Why do you believe that it’s perfectly ok to be non-christian, too? (seriously still struggling with this bit, which i would like to believe)

    2) … actually, maybe that was it. It’s kind of late here. My other idea may have escaped.

    • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

      For me, Christianity is the best…the clearest representation of God’s love as revealed to humanity. But that is only as my mind can conceive it. I can’t see the world literally through someone else’s mind. So I can’t understand why Christianity might not make sense to, for instance, one of my best friends who is an athiest. But that doesn’t mean God isn’t in her life as fully and presently as he is in mine. I guess…I no longer see being a Christian as a sort of funnel for Jesus’s love. His love is given as he chooses to give it. And he gives it to everyone, whether they believe in him or not.

      I don’t know if that made sense. I guess it boils down to the fact that it’s not up to me to decide that what I believe is the only path of belief for everyone else. John’s book on the subject of hell was very interesting, too, in this vein.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

        Nicole, you made perfect sense.

        I also think that we tend to put God into a little box with presets and can’t figure out why God doesn’t fit, or work the way we want, or that others have other boxes and are miffed that their box isn’t working for us.

        I gave my self the complete freedom to choose which faith path I’d follow, and I still settled on Christianity, because my conclusions were similar to yours. I also decided to chuck that damned box along the way.

  • Lee Walker

    Thank you, John. You are using your god-given gifts for His kingdom. Thank you for being willing to put yourself on the line like this and give voice to those who don’t have the words.

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

      Lee! How are you?!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ericathemeyer Erica Meyer via Facebook

    You are so awesome and give Christian’s a good name. Keep it up. Your religion desperately needs more leaders like you.

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

    For whomever might read this: the comments to this post have largely been to me a balm. If you are one of the ones who posted something here that was encouraging and affirming, thank you. I felt it to my bones. And so, I know, have others.

    Together we row toward the shore, and all that. Thank you.

    • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

      You are a precious man, John Shore, and your honesty and love for Christ is a beautiful thing to behold. Please just keep being yourself. God truly used your writing to bring me to a place of understanding and deeper relationship with him that allowed me to fully love and support my gay friends. Blessings.

      • vj

        ditto!

      • Mindy

        Yes. What Nicole said. From the bottom of my heart.

      • DR

        I don’t say it enough but this is how I feel as well. Thank you.

    • Christelle

      John, wow, I have no words… other than… your words, have changed my life. Thank you.

  • Lindsay Canham via Facebook

    Yea, what he said ^^^ <3

  • http://lovehasnoboundariestw.blogspot.tw Fang-yi

    Dear John, this post touched me.

    Just wanna let you know you have the true courage in my eyes. Sometimes I read your blog and thought, ‘what a bold essay, but everything he said is SO TRUE. I am grateful that somebody wrote it!!!’ And that’s you!!

    I admire your honesty, and you must know that you show me the love of Christ: unconditional, just and kind.

    Your words always encouraged me, show me what Christianity really is. And you literally changed my life– after 10, 20, 30 yrs I believe I will still say so.

    You have my love.

  • Josh B

    John, thank you so much for this blog. As a gay Christian myself, I definitely identify with many of the things you touch on in this blog. It’s shocking to see how many people cannot realize the ultimate truth of Love, and then wonder why people aren’t coming to the Lord. I think if they saw how they were on video…they’d realize they ARE the same hatred they supposedly preach against.

  • Lymis

    John, you are a light on the mountaintop, whatever state others may have left that mountaintop in. Thanks for all you do!

  • Lisa Crawford via Facebook

    “We’re fighting for what we know Christianity could and should be.

    Can you imagine what Christianity would be if it weren’t for the reprehensible anti-gay nonsense that clings to it like dog crap you can’t get off your shoe? Can you imagine if Christianity wasn’t so easy to associate with ignorance and bigotry? Can you imagine a Christianity that immediately sparks thoughts of honor, respect, inspiration, compassion, patience, and joy?

    Can you imagine a Christianity that evokes the light of love instead of the darkness that is love’s opposite?

    I can. And if you can, too, then together we can usher onto center stage this new Christianity, and relegate to the wings the posturing, bellowing, utterly unconvincing old Christianity that for much too long now has been hogging the spotlight.”

    THank you! Just, thank you. I can imagine.

  • http://icarusalways.blogspot.com/ daemon

    John,

    I wish I could eloquently express my thanks and appreciation for the words and work you do here on your blog. It continues to be an inspiration to myself and an amazing tool that I share with my friends and family to help express the change that I wish to see in my world. Your light shines bright and for that I thank you.

    daemon

  • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

    As always, John, you manage to blog with humor, truth, love and anger and tie it all together with a masterful turn of phrase. Sometimes reading your blog is like eating a sandwich where when you first see all the stuff in it you think “gosh, that’s not going to work!” and then you take a few bites and by the end of the sandwich you are writing down the ingredients just so you can make it again.

    I agree, it is a fight FOR inclusion, not against dogma and turpitude. In the time-honored traditional meaning of the word fight, there are only winners and losers. For someone to win, someone else has to lose. But we don’t want Christianity – or anyone, really – to LOSE. We want the entire church to experience transformational change that can only be brought about by opening everyone’s hearts in love.

  • Amy

    Never have I read ANYTHING that spoke what was in my heart so clearly and verbatim as this. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you.

  • charles

    just lovely John.

    I cannot believe how devisive this is in the world….

  • Holiday Longing

    John: I’ve been thinking a lot about what you wrote and decided to comment, though I am not sure I’m ready for the retribution.

    I believe the Bible does not address slavery, women’s rights, and gay rights the same way. The Bible assumed slavery and regulated it. It never outright condemned it, but neither did it condone the practice. It did however condone the barbarity with which slavery was often practiced in America… The church was absolutely right do fight against slavery (as we are right for the same reasons to fight abortion). Those with high view of Scripture don’t agree on women’s role in the church. It’s not so clear whether the Bible assumes men in the role of preaching/leading elder or commands it. In both cases – slavery then and women’s roles now – many people take a legalistic and unBiblical stance – far more conservative than the Bible. I know. I’m a woman and I’ve seen it.

    But the issue of sex outside of a marriage between a man and a woman is pretty clear. Jesus himself defines marriage as between a man and a woman. He does so because practices outside of this mandate are assumed (and were practiced in the Old Testament) so Jesus went to the trouble of making a point about marriage, of saying “this is where sex belongs”. I am just as appalled as you how horrifically the church has treated gays. Jesus died out of love, not hate (well, hate of sin). But He also established marriage in a very specific way. If Jesus or this take on the Bible discriminates against gays, it also discriminates against singles, against anyone who wants to have sex with another partner after certain types of divorce, against polygamists, against folks who want multiple partners, against adulterers, etc. etc. This restriction on the practice of sex, on the unity of marriage is not against gays solely!! I know. I was single and sexless for 37 years. Moreover, it’s a restriction that Jesus only commands to those who wish to follow Him. We Christians have no right to tell others how to live We have a command to tell ourselves how to live. The US enshrined the religious practice of marriage in the law. So we are stuck with this issue where something that is very meaningful to Christian believers is being redefined because it’s part of secular law. But within Christianity, we still need to know what the Bible says and do it. Not out of legalism, but because we believe that Jesus has our best interests in mind and for some transcendent and loving reason restricted sex to between a man and a woman in marriage.

    • Melody

      Sigh…another quote of Jesus taken out of context. When he was quoting Genesis, he was applying it specifically to a question the Pharisees asked him about divorce. He was NOT saying that marriage should be limited to “one man, one woman.”

    • Frank

      Exactly Jesus defines and affirms God created order for sexual and marriage expression as one man and one woman. Funny how even the plainest texts get scoffed at by those who work against Gods will in this area. They just keep exposing themselves don’t they?

      Don’t fear Holiday there is nothing to worry about for speaking the truth. The fact that the scoffers come out and attack you means you are on the right track.

      • Melody

        You don’t even know what the hell you’re talking about. Where is John when robot-minded trolls like Frank come around, spouting the same old drivel ad nauseum? Anyway, I’m done trying to try to reason with Frank/Thomas/Andy/his next alias. His brain has been hijacked by fundamentalist theology, and he’s just another sheep who uses a script the church gave him instead of thinking for himself. Not to mention his superior, “I’m-right-everyone-else-is-wrong” syndrome. Trying to get a fundy to think is futile. Farewell, Frank. Hope you develop a brain in this life.

        • Frank

          Oh the irony.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

          What I don’t get is the whole “the bible says one man one woman only” mantra as being the only God sanctioned marriage/sexual relationship there, then utterly ignore all the OT examples of Man+wives,+non-wives (concubines) that were not only common, but not forbidden. OR that women could be passed on from husband to respective brothers in hopes that someone would impregnate her so that the first husband (who had died) could have an heir. Apparently that wasn’t spoken against either.

          Then there is the curious passage in 1 Timothy, when it talks about church leaders. Many translations say they should have one wife…Why mention that? Why be certain of that the leader would only have one? Could it be that polygamy was still practiced in Palestine during that time?

          But then, I’m probably “wrong” for even considering asking such questions/ponderings, at least according to some. But I’ve learned not to ask permission.

      • Holiday Longing

        I realize now there was no point in posting. There’s really no room for discussion. I do wince at some of the phrases thrown at me, some of the names I’m called for probably too quickly and not thoroughly or accurately enough explaining my beliefs. What’s tough is that though I’ve never knowingly been a bigot, in fact have close friends who are gay, have studied the Bible for 40 years to come to these positions, am not and have never been considered a “fundy,” etc., etc., it seems that me and to those who share my views of how we believe the Bible calls Christians to live, we are treated as if there is no possibility that anything we believe can have any merit at all. I guess this is not the place for civil discourse unless we agree.

        • Diana A.

          To my way of thinking, the answer is very simple. You, as a Christian, have the right to tell yourself what to do and to believe what you choose to believe. You do not have the right to tell other people what to do and you do not have the right to tell other people what to believe. You believe that homosexuality is wrong. Fine. Don’t be a homosexual. But when you take it upon yourself to tell the other person, Christian or otherwise, not to be a homosexual, you are crossing the line.

          Moreover, you are responsible for how you treat your neighbor. Is the homosexual your neighbor? Yes, s/he is. How are you going to treat this person based on the fact that s/he is your neighbor?

          • DR

            (technically, someone doesn’t choose to be a homosexual. They’re born that way).

          • Diana A.

            Yeah, I know that and you know that. But I figure that Holiday Longing doesn’t know or believe that. So I’m telling him/her that even if it is a choice, it’s not for him/her to make that “choice” for someone else–only for his/herself.

          • DR

            Got it, thanks for clarifying.

          • Ben Masters

            Similar, but unrelated: if you believe that the medium of television is immoral for you because of sexuality and violence, you have that right and prerogative not to look at it. You do not have the right to come in on someone who is looking at it and freely enjoying it and say that such person is going to hell simply for looking at it, let alone doing anything wrong. This, in my view, is the province of those who say that “Mission: Impossible” was as immoral as “2 1/2 Men,” who say that Super Bowl XV was as immoral as SBXXXVIII (the one with the “wardrobe malfunction”), etc.

        • Melody

          Just so you know, I wasn’t referring to you as the fundy or a bigot. That was to Frank, the Christian blogosphere’s resident anti-gay/anti-liberal troll. I do think you need to reevaluate your interpretation of that passage and your understanding of the Bible. I also agree with Diana. I don’t necessarily think you’re a bad person (you don’t come across as really bigoted to me). But I think it would help if you took more time to understand what Jesus was really talking about and the context of the Bible regarding sexuality. People here are certainly willing to discuss this with you, if you show a teachable spirit. If you’ve already made your mind up like Frank and other trolls, then we can’t help you. But I hope you’re better then the aforementioned.

        • DR

          This is discussion! It’s discussion that’s uncomfortable for you because people are holding you accountable to the impact of your beliefs. That’s it. You have to start living in the world where people are holding you accountable for your *impact* of what you believe, you need to stop giving yourself permission to leave a conversation if people are angry with you.

          You need to start listening to why they are angry.

        • Allie

          How do your close friends who are gay feel about your belief that God wants them to live alone and miserable?

        • DR

          And frankly no, what you believe holds no merit. It is abusive and oppressive and totally contradicts the entirety of Scripture. You’re asking people to be “civil” as you ask for permission to state your beliefs which cause spiritual, emotional and physical harm to the gay community. Why would you expect that you would receive it? You’re like a father who just beat his kid with a hammer who expects to be treated “with civility” as people are screaming at him and trying to take the hammer away while he’s insisting that all of this is just a disagreement of how Scripture encourages us to “spare the rod, spoil the child”.

      • Lymis

        Actually, I don’t think it says what you claim it says, unless you enter the text with that assumption.

        And, of course, the Bible isn’t the only source either or moral authority or of interaction with God, and even the Bible says that the Holy Spirit will teach us new truths that the people of the time weren’t ready for. So claiming that the Bible is the only source of God’s word is actually unBiblical.

        But saying that since God didn’t want people to be alone, and that is what a man leaves his mother and takes a wife is no more saying that this is only acceptable or moral option than saying “we need to care for our bodies, and that’s why we prepare a meal and share it with our friends” is a condemnation of eating in restaurants or standing up to eat a sandwich at a lunch counter.

        Jesus also said that a loving father wouldn’t give his child a stone when he asked for bread. That doesn’t mean that a loving father would only give their child a bread and water diet. We’d call the authorities on him if he did.

        And, of course, any reference to Adam and Eve needs to be treated as the metaphor and myth that it is, not a scientific truth, but even if God actually did only make one man and one woman, we have no idea how many of their children were gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual. Sort of absurd to say that Adam and Eve reflect God’s creation but the first generation of their kids doesn’t. And you cannot point to any indication that a noticeable percentage of their kids weren’t straight. You have to make stuff up to claim otherwise.

        For that matter, you have no way of knowing whether Adam and Eve weren’t both bisexual, but given the lack of other partners, happily settled down with each other. Just because Eve was “perfect for Adam” doesn’t mean either of them were straight. Again, you have take your own prejudices into the text to declare otherwise.

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

          Yay Lymis! (And thanks for you kind words re: my mountaintop piece, btw. I really appreciated that.)

        • Leslie Marbach

          Brilliant, Lymis! I particularly like that you added this:

          “And, of course, the Bible isn’t the only source either or moral authority or of interaction with God, and even the Bible says that the Holy Spirit will teach us new truths that the people of the time weren’t ready for. So claiming that the Bible is the only source of God’s word is actually unBiblical.”

          So many people–especially Biblical literalists–act as if God never said anything after the words of Revelations were written. God speaks still today, through the Holy Spirit. What’s the point in prayer if he doesn’t??

      • DR

        Hey Frank, how do you feel about that text regarding God hating divorce? How many Christians do you currently worship with that are not only divorced, but remarried? Are you divorced? God says He hates it and that getting remarried is adultery which is condemned several times throughout the old and new testaments.

        I guess for guys like you, that’s when these “straightforward texts” get all….complicated.

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

          From what I gather, people like “Frank” and “Holiday Longing” are trolls dispatched by right-wing conservative interests who actually ASSIGN such people to certain blogs: their job is to do NOTHING but disrupt, argue, Scripture-bait, and so on. The best thing to do, by far, is simply not engage with them. They’re not listening anyway.

          • DR

            It’s so hard not to! But if this is what you prefer I’ll try harder to resist.

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

            No, I don’t prefer one way or another, honestly. If no one’s answered them, I just delete them and put them on moderation. (But they use these spammer’s software thing, which allows them to change their IP address with every post: it’s like playing Wack-a-Mole, but … it’s more like Whack-a-Rat). But if you guys have answered them, then I just delete their garbage, and in its place put, you know, “[fundy troll garbage taken out"], or whatever. I just wanted you to know that if you DO answer them … well…you already know: they’re not listening. I hate to see talent/passion wasted. But who knows? Maybe when you guys respond to those trolls, they ARE in some way hearing you. I just hate to see passion and articulation wasted, is all. But maybe it’s not wasted. Anyway, of course do your thing. I’ll continue facilitating as I can, and being grateful you and the others are here. I’d be so BORED without you guys.

          • vj

            I don’t think it’s *always* wasted to respond to these sorts of ‘questions’ – to be sure, the people who post them are probably not interested in what is said, but there are probably lots of ‘on-the-fence’ readers who don’t want to stir up trouble by posting themselves, but are willing and eager to learn from the well-reasoned explanations/answers so often posted by your regular commenters…

          • Jill

            And for what it’s worth, what is said in response and how it is said makes a fairly measurable impact on my heart when I hear Christians defending the marginalized, the polarized, the presumed-upon ‘sinners’ of the day.

            I know it may sound ridiculous, but I learned over a few decades that Christians were judgmental (and always right), and it was the Others who defend and stand for justice.

            As you can tell, these days I am learning something very new.

          • Diana A.

            Okay. Thank you John!

          • Diana A.

            BTW: Congratulations on being important enough so that right-wing conservative interests are actually assigning people to troll your blog. Clearly, you’re having an impact!

          • Melody

            Exactly. People (I use the term lightly) like Frank have got their heads so far up their asses, there’s no point trying to make them see reason. DR is right; their bait is extremely tempting. But it does nothing but make us angry and frustrated. Let the conservatrolls have their heads in their asses. They know they’re losing in their war against human rights, so they’re just screaming louder and acting like martyrs. “Hey, everyone is disagreeing with me, so being persecuted. Therefore I must be right!” Well, Frank shares his flawed logic with the members of the Westboro cult; they think they’re right because everyone hates them. Yeah, it’s tough with these losers, but we will win this war!

          • DR

            The challenge for me is making sure that the GLBT folks who do come across this site see this kind of thinking being confronted and challenged, that’s my intent. I never want them to feel like those of us who are educated and just – sane, I guess – aren’t fighting those within the Christian tent who’ve made their lives such hell. Frank will never change, he has no intention to, there’s way too much for him to lose. He doesn’t have the capacity. So I engage these people to demonstrate that they will no longer be able to voice their rhetoric unchallenged.

            But how much attention do you give them? Does that work? Which is more important? It’s a tough question and ultimately, I want John’ corner of the internet to reflect the conversation quality he’s trying to establish.

            So John, truly – if you don’t want us to engage these people anymore, I won’t do it. It’s tough to know when to draw the line so maybe you can help me do that. xoxo

          • Leslie Marbach

            You’re a true warrior, DR! Thanks. I get weary even reading their crap.

          • Jill

            DR & Melody & Diana A, because you make your responses about and for those whom are well deserving of allies, it works. You remind me that we’ve all got skin in this game, in one way or another.

            And Christianity is bigger than the limitations put upon it.

          • http://thethreews.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

            Wow. That ‘s a pretty sad existence.

            Can you imagine telling people at parties what you do for a living? “Yeah, I troll websites and make obnoxious comments to try to stir things up. Some losers do that just because they’re losers. Me? I get paid that way.”

            Suddenly, everyone finds something interesting to do on the other side of the room.

            Maybe you just stay home in your parents’ basement and never go to parties …

        • Frank

          Great question! The church should stand by Gods word regarding divorce. The failure in this area in no way affirms other sins. Are you suggesting that we affirm all sin so some people can comfortably live they way they want to?

          That being said God makes some allowances for divorce yet God make no allowances for homosexual behavior.

          And to John are you that paranoid or think that you have that much influence that someone would assign someone to call you out on your bad theology? Your bad theology stands on its own and there is no need for some kind of campaign to debunk it. It debunks itself to those who are open to the Spirit.

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

            Frank: Why are you here, then? To help set us all straight, to teach or demonstrate for us everything that we clearly don’t comprehend about God and God’s love? To edify us, improve our theology, share with us the kind, loving, benevolent, forgiving, infinitely generous God whom you imagine we imagine keeps you convicted, motivated, fulfilled? Are you here in the hopes of inspiring us to become the sort of Christian whom you believe yourself to be? Is that effort really worth it for you? Do you feel that anyone here is being persuaded by the magnanimity of your compassion, the clarity of your conviction, the force of your reasoning, the manifest depth of your empathy? That people here don’t think it extremely and even painfully obvious that in truth you’re simply yet another sanctimonious, caustic, small-minded, arrogant bigot who, in his apparently limitless dim-bulbedness, dares to claim that his own anger and frustration is an intrinsic quality of God, whom (I believe) wants nothing more than for every single person on this earth to know with what unqualified passion he/she accepts and loves them, exactly as they are?

            Dude. Why not find a place online that’s more in accord with your own ideas about God and man? Why troll this place?

          • Melody

            Not to steal your thunder here, John (you’re just so much more articulate and expressive than I am), but I think he likes feeling like a martyr. So he can tell everyone, “See? Look how persecuted I am!” He probably sits in his mom’s basement all day trolling blogs to see where his views will get the most hostile. For losers like him, it’s just no fun when most people in a setting agree with you. For him, it’s much more fun when he’s the persecuted one, or when he’s cheering on another with his.views, saying “Don’t let these evil, deluded, misguided liberals get you down. Gawd is on our side.” (I think the more I write about this, the more steam I let off than when I’m lashing out at trolls!)

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

            “Sits in his mom’s basement.” Nice detail!

          • vj

            ;-)

    • DR

      I was single and sexless for 37 years.>>>

      There is zero comparison. You as a straight person still get to have the *option* of having “God-sanctioned” sex and your desire for the opposite sex doesn’t have to be somehow magically purged in order for you to be fit for a relationship with God. What you’re suggesting has zero to do with what you’ve brought up, those of you who want to maintain your belief make being gay only about “gay sex” so you can maintain your belief system. You refuse to deal with the total illogic of God not removing the *desire* someone gay has for their own gender. You just won’t deal with it.

      We Christians have no right to tell others how to live We have a command to tell ourselves how to live. The US enshrined the religious practice of marriage in the law. So we are stuck with this issue where something that is very meaningful to Christian believers is being redefined because it’s part of secular law. >>>

      Which entitles Christians to actually believe that as American citizens, we are somehow entitled to believe that our religion gets to get tangled up in the law. If it was the Muslim faith that directed legal discussions, Christians would be in absolute mutiny.

      But within Christianity, we still need to know what the Bible says and do it.>>>

      How about you start with divorce? Christians are so focused on the gays being the ones destroying marriage when in fact, we’re doing a fine job of that ourselves. Christians enjoy a 57% divorce rate which is 3% higher than non-Christians. We shatter families, we devastate kids. The Bible is very clear about God hating divorce. Yet silence, silence when Christians want an excuse to do something.

      I’m sick to death with this insistence that the Bible directs those of you who believe gay sex is wrong. When will you stop picking and choosing what is convenient to believe when it suits you?

    • DR

      and honestly, those of you who think it is “so scary” to post and that you fear “retribution”, how about you grow up a little bit? We’re not the devil. If people are angry with you here or if they are direct and counter you, I assume you’re a grown up who understands the nature of conflict. Don’t choose to engage while wincing at what you’re going to get back, you’re already putting yourself in the position of being the victim.

    • Allie

      So… how do you get from Jesus saying that a man couldn’t abandon his wife to starve to death on the street as an unmarriageable outcast unless she committed adultery, to the belief that Jesus said one man must marry one woman?

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

        Or the fact that Jesus didn’t even begin to condemn the Samarian women who’d been married several times and was just living with her current partner? He just pointed out the he was aware of the fact, then continued on with the conversation. He obviously impressed her so much she went and got her friends to come hear what he had so say.

    • Don Rappe

      I don’t believe Jesus has given or come to give sexual restrictions, Holiday.

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

      Yeah, there’s a much better case in there for slavery and women-subjugation than there ever was against gay sex or gay marriage. When you admit to needing balance and context on the first two, but are just so sure on the last one, you just end up looking completely prejudiced.

    • TheIntellectualGerbil

      you do realize that marriage 2000 years ago hat nothing to to with religion in the way we associate it now, do you? (it became a sacrament in 1139ad). at the time of jesus marriage basically was a contract – one man buying a woman from her father (a crude but accurate description). sex was not restricted to those two persons either, the bible lists numerous exeptions (for men).

      basically what i want to say is:

      i am sorry to burst your shiny bubble but the idea of marriage being for one man and one woman joined in love for all eterinty is in fact less than 200 years old. for the better part of history it was a contract to ensure economic survival and women were a commodity to be aquired as needed.

      also throughout history in many cultures (even our own – european that is) there are many excamples of religious rites joining two people together. these rites often where not restricted to opposite sex partners.

      in fact, in the middle ages there existed a christian rite (practised by both the catholic and orthodox church) for “brother bonding”. this right was virtually identical to the marriage rituals of that time, but it was held for same sex couples (men only, you know that thing about women = commodities).

      here is the ritual described:

      * The couple stands in front of the lectern, on which are placed the Gospel

      and a cross. The older of the brothers stands to the right.

      * The ceremony starts off with prayers and litanies celebrating earlier

      examples of same-sex couples or friends in the early Church.

      ” The couple is girded with a single belt, signifying their union as one,

      and they place their hands on the Gospel and receive lit candles.

      * The priest reads from one of Paul’s epistles (1st Corinthians 12:27) and

      the Gospel (John 17: 18-16), followed by more prayers and litanies.

      * The assembled are led in the Lord’s Prayer, followed by Holy Communion,

      the Eucharist, for the couple.

      * The priest leads the couple around, the lectern, each holding the hand

      of the other, while the assembled sing a hymn.

      * The couple exchange a kiss, and the service concludes with the singing

      of Psalm 132:1 (“Behold how good and sweet it is for brothers to live

      as one.”).

      this was taken directly from a “history of same sex marriage” references and more excamples can be found there.

      fact of the matter is, same sex couples recieved blessings in christian churches hundrets of years ago in rites citing verses from the bible. so i suggest a readup on the real history of marriage, and stop accepting plane statemnts like “marriage always was only for one man and one woman”. you will be very suprised.

      another note:

      you said: “The US enshrined the religious practice of marriage in the law.”

      this passage is typical for many people. you confuse the legal instrument “marriage” with the religious sacrament “marriage”. one has nothing whatsoever to do with the other (also named identically), that is why you are not legally married by law if you only go to a church and you are not married in a religious sence if you only register.

      legal marriage is a set of laws that basically grants people a number of benefits and legally obligates them to look after one another. the rights include thinks like access to your partner in the hospital, the right to get information on his/her situantion, the right to decide in his/her place should he/she be incapacitated, special rights to inherit property, along with the obligation to care for your partner, … this is what people in favor of marriage equality want for all couples.

      an interesting fact about legal marriage is that statistics in europe have shown that couples – gay and straight alike – with access to legal marriage, tax the welfare and health-care systems a lot less than couples without these benefits, becaues they tend to take care of their sick/disabled partner, something they are simply legally not allowed to in many cases as “strangers before the law”. this of course are statistics you won’t find on conservative sites …

      but i am wandering off topic and start to rambel so i will stop here …

  • Don Rappe

    An excellent article. I think superstitious understanding of the faith is the glue that holds most of the dogshit to it. But it can be a problem to praise the great faith of children while not praising that level of understanding. One thing that is definitely not good enough for me is that old time religion. I need that new time religion that can confidently affirm: “More scientific knowledge? Good! More knowledge of God!”

  • mike moore

    I love Radiohead.

    I have a best friend who is also huge fan of Radiohead. She has no interest in religion. When asked about faith and god, she says,

    “I don’t believe in God, I believe in Radiohead.”

    If you knew her as I do, you’d understand it’s a fairly profound statement about Christianity and religion in general.

    John, you and people like you, with your amazing love, may one day change Christianity, but until then, I’d like to coattail on my friend’s words.

    I don’t believe in Christianity, I believe in Jesus.

    • mike moore

      PS – to Holiday Longing: tell us of your happiness to learn that after 20 years together, my husband and I were finally able to have a legal “secular” marriage.

      If you expect a civil discourse, I first want to know that you’re not one of those Christians who feel they have the right to codify their specific religious beliefs in laws that harm my non-Christian family, in very real ways.

      • DR

        preach!

  • Josh

    Great post, John! I agree with what you have to say here.

  • http://juliehiggins.co Julie Higgins

    I’ve been listening to this type of discussion since I was a teenager. The discussion itself, not particular views, has pretty much driven me from identifying as a Christian. That said, my relationship with God, and living that in my daily life, is vitally important, the reason I still live. I am also a trans-woman and support same-sex and poly type relationships.

    I will not add to debate which will be ad nauseum, nauseous, because no person, even Biblical authors, can infallibly know the thoughts of any god/goddess/deity, perhaps with one exception, the thought of love. Love in all its simplicity and complexity and incomprehensibleness. I think it’s love which explains the totality of the Biblical narrative (OT to NT), love which draws us not to agree but to forbear, to have ploughshares – not swords.

    It is attitudes I look for now, not debate. Where I see, smell and taste the fruits of the spirit I strongly suspect an echo of the tree of life, of The Deity, regardless of what the particular variety of tree looks like.


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