What would Jesus do if invited to a gay wedding?

jtuxI’ve recently been invited to a couple of gay weddings. So—what with being Christian and all—I asked myself the famous question, “What would Jesus do?” (Which I don’t too often ask myself, actually, since Jesus could, for instance, raise people from the dead and turn water into wine, whereas I can barely drag myself out of bed in the morning and/or turn water into coffee. Safe to say many of His options are none of mine.)

Wondering what Jesus would do if he were invited to a gay wedding naturally led me to the New Testament. And therein I found these quotes from Jesus himself:

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. [Matthew 23:23-24]

and

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. [Matthew 23:13]

and

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. [Matthew 23:15]

and

Love your neighbor as yourself. [Mark 12:31]

When I next went looking for anywhere in the Bible where Jesus says anything—and I mean anything—about homosexuality, I learned that Jesus spent about as much time talking about gay people as I do talking about the belly-buttons of seahorses. Of course, it’s entirely possible that Jesus did say many crucially informative things about gay people, but that when he did so no one around him happened to have handy an ostrich feather, sappy stick, or whatever it was they used for pens back then. Which would make sense, actually. If you’ve spent any time at all reading the New Testament, you know that Jesus’ disciples weren’t exactly Johnnies-on-the-spot. They were just normal, everyday guys.

Which I think is kind of the whole point. Jesus sure did love him some everyday people.

Throughout the New Testament, the only kind of people with whom Jesus consistently takes frightful exception are the very “teachers of the law and Pharisees” whom we see him dressing down in the passages above. One thing that often gets lost in our ideas about Jesus is the degree to which he is exactly the wrong person to piss off. And you don’t have to spend a lot of time in the New Testament before you understand that the only kind of people who seem to ever truly anger Jesus are those who put religious dogma above what he most clearly stood for, which was God’s love.

Around Jesus you can whine, lie, shift your loyalties, be late, be greedy, be too ambitious, be stupid, be a coward, be a hypochondriac, constantly complain, fall asleep at every wrong moment—you can do nothing right, and it won’t in the slightest way seem to offend him.

But you put dogma ahead of love? You transmogrify God’s law into a justification for denying God’s love?

Then yikes, man. Then you’ve got yourself a problem no one in this world wants.

I’m not sure how exactly we came to so often consider Jesus the soft and dreamy, namby-pamby type. (Not that there’s anything wrong with being namby-pamby! I have an uncle who’s namby-pamby!) But it’s hard to believe that it came from the accounts of Jesus we have in the Gospels. That’s just not the guy on those pages.

Jesus is scary when he’s riled. And the only people who rile him are those who, in his own name (what with him being God and all), set themselves up as sanctimonious judges of others.

I think I better go to the weddings of my gay friends. I’m scared not to. While it’s certainly true that in many of his parables it’s unclear what exactly Jesus was saying or meant, he didn’t even almost waffle about his “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In conjunction with “Love the Lord your God with [everything you've got],” he very explicitly declared that to be the greatest commandment, the one upon which hangs “all the law and the prophets.”

How in the world am I supposed to argue with that? Talk about having God eliminate your options.

So I’ll attend my gay friends’ weddings, in the exact same spirit gay friends of mine once attended my wedding. And if it happens that in the course of either of my friends’ weddings or receptions I find myself wondering if I’m doing the morally correct thing, I’ll be sure to remember the first miracle of Jesus’ recorded in the Bible. I’ll remember what he did do.

I’ll remember that Jesus turned water into wine.

At a wedding.

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.

  • Susa

    AMEN!

    I just love it – so entirely made of win!

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

      “Entirely made of win.” I am so getting a T-shirt that says that.

  • Michael

    I could add Luke 11:46 — “He said, ‘Woe to you lawyers also! For you load others with burdens that are difficult to carry, and you yourselves won’t even lift one finger to help carry those burdens!’”

  • http://hausdorffbb.blogspot.com Hausdorff

    Given that he spent most of his free time with 12 dudes, I imagine Jesus would have been fine with a gay wedding.

  • mike moore

    Jesus, love, God, and watch out Pharisees … Got it.

    Now on to the important matters: what heck are you wearing? Beach wedding? Black tie? Dude, we need details, and we need them now … dare I say it? I do. IT’S MAKEOVER TIME!!

    Gay Groom-zillas are the worst, and your outfit can make or break their wedding video.

    • Elizabeth

      My gay BFF picks my wardrobe for any major event. Down to the shoes. I upload photos of my options to a secret FB group named Stilettos.

  • http://bornintobecoming.blogspot.com Ramón

    First, I found you through a friend’s posting on Facebook, and I loved the post. Too often we Christians seem to let the doctrines and dogmas we’ve used to define ourselves stand in the way of the law of love that Jesus said should define his disciples.

    Second, not sure if this is the kind of proofreading suggestion you’re looking for, but Jesus does not refer to “love your neighbor as yourself” as the first and greatest commandment. That refers to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart”, etc. He does however refer to “love your neighbor” as the second greatest commandment that is like the first and that all the Law and the Prophets hang on both commandments.

    • Elizabeth

      Welcome, Ramón. I like your attention to detail.

  • Michelle M

    Can I just say? Jesus cleans up real nice in that photo.

    • http://frenchizal.blogspot.com Jenni

      That’s exactly what I thought – “Jesus in a tux FTW!” :D

      • Rachel

        I have yet to meet a man who didn’t look great in a tux. And I’m in a community choir where all of the men wear ‘em for concerts. The scenery is most pleasant to view on concert days.

        I see no reason why the same wouldn’t apply to Jesus.

  • Radical Grace

    I love it!! So simple. So full of grace. Acceptance of everyone, everywhere as we are all worthy. Now…enjoy celebrating love with your friends!

  • Bevie

    Love this post. I was invited to a gay wedding and since they are illegal in Australia, it was a same sex commitment ceremony. I went along and didn’t tear up too much (not that I am a sentimental romantic or anything) I didn’t really know anyone at the reception so I sat quietly and a few people came up to chat. At one point in time, a couple of ladies were talking and one was worried how she was going to get home as her husband had dropped her at the wedding. I offered her a lift home as I sort of knew where she lived. However, when she asked how I knew that area, I said I worked for a church there. After that, she never said a word to me and totally ignored me. Maybe she was worried that I was going to try to ‘convert’ her or give her a lecture on the evils of homosexuality. I have no idea. But it shows that some people are scared by just the thought of a Christian in their mist, they don’t know what to say or react.

    • Elizabeth

      Hi Bevie. It’s the worst, moving in artistic and gay circles, knowing if you admit you’re Christian you’ll be perceived as ignorant, prejudiced, and out-of-touch.

      • Bevie

        Thank you Elizabeth. It think Christians are also seen as weak and feeble minded. I remember talking with a guy who is a very proud pagan. He shared his faith and I shared mine and I commented where some of his beliefs and teachings were similar to the ones of Jesus. He then confessed to me that some of our mutual friends had warned him not to speak of his faith to me in case it upset me as I am Christian. I was more hurt by this than anything. In the end, we had a grown up conversation that lasted more than two hours and both of us walked away wiser but no less sure of our faith.

        • anakin mcfly

          Oddly enough I find that I do get upset by paganism, while being fine with – or even fascinated by – just about any other religion.

          • Jill

            You may not ever develop a taste for paganism, anakin (not that you should or should not), but you might be pleasantly surprised by meeting a few pagans. There are many genuinely heart-felt, warm, activist pagans that might put your mind at ease. :)

          • mike moore

            I know what you mean … pagans rock, and I love dancing naked under the moon during summer solstice (winter solstice, not so much … too much shrinkage, if you catch my drift.)

        • Elizabeth

          It’s very hurtful. I’ve had friends for twenty years assume I read the Bible academically but don’t believe. I’ve been lucky, as well, to have cultivated friendships with Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Pagans, Wiccans, Rastafarians, Atheists, and even a couple of Satanists. LaVey’s The Satanic Bible creeped me out so much I left it outside the dorm until someone stole it, but The Compleat Witch is worth reading. And, yes, all of them informed my faith. We have a lot more in common than not.

          • Jill

            I’ve been dying to befriend some Pastafarians, if only they’d feed me well. :)

          • James

            may the FSM touch you with His Noodly Appendage and your stomach be ever filled with His Meaty Sauce. ;)

          • Jill

            WOOHOO! My prayers have been answered! Thanks James!

      • mike moore

        ‘m glad you wrote this. I needed to hear it, so thank you.

        I’m just realized I find myself, upon meeting a person in the course of my work or social life, throwing up my rather chilly personal force field of protection when someone makes a reference to their church or Christian faith. At this stage in my life, it’s an auto-response.

        I’ll be more aware of that from now on. Imagine if I snubbed you or Jill or Jill or John or Black-tie Jesus …

        • http://www.thegreatfulmom.wordpress.com Keshia W

          Yeah. . .I recently applied for a job as an ally for LGBT youth, and what is on my resume? The fact that I currently work at a church. There was effectively no chance of me getting that job.

          • Elizabeth

            Hi Keshia. It’s been a little while! Clearly, that’s wrong, and LGBT misunderstanding of ‘Christian’ is part of John’s mission as well as LGBT equality. This strikes a chord with me only because I’m in the midst of my own job search: you know you can (and ) tweak your resume to fit the position? Unless you’ve been there so long the gap it leaves is ginormous, I’d just leave it off.

          • Elizabeth

            OK. Proper use of itals still not ready for listing under ‘Special skills’.

          • vj

            My sympathies… I once made such a mess of the italics closing tag, it turned the whole rest of the PAGE into italics :-( John was very gracious about fixing it up though ;-)

          • Elizabeth

            Ha ha ha! John is very gracious. He also knows I can take a pratfall.

        • Jill

          How could you resist me? Many have tried. I’m infectious.

          • mike moore

            a strong course of anti-biotics can usually take care of that.

          • Matt

            Not garamycin, nor sulfa, nor penicillin, nor zithromyacin or cefadroxil! This one’s super-resistant!

          • Jill

            I’m trying to find the compliment in there somewhere…
            ;) (Yes, I’m just like MRSA.)

      • Diane U.

        Yes, Elizabeth, it’s almost as if, in certain circles, Christians feel that we must keep ourselves “in the closet”! Or I’ll admit to being Christian, but feel that I must add, “…but a progressive Episcopalian”!

        • Elizabeth

          Hear, hear on the Episcopalian clause.

  • Atrue Christian

    [Typically toxic Christian fundy bigotry deleted.]

    • DR

      Nothing like a little hostility steaming out of the love from someone who calls him/herself “a true Christian”. Though I’m sure I’m about to hear how calling that out is victimizing this “true” Christian (as opposed to all of us fake ones), even though all any of us are going on is the manmade Scriptural interpretations we all are relying upon. The cognitive dissonance of a comment like this is so deeply creepy to me but I suppose it’s important for people to understand that people like this do exist and we still have a lot of work in making sure they don’t damage anyone – particularly gay kids – in the name of Jesus. Because as Christians ourselves, we can’t do that any longer, we can’t be paralyzed by the filth in this comment. We have to keep acting, keep speaking out, and keep taking our Church back from people like this. And it’s working, thank God that over 50% of Christians now believe in the legalization of gay marriage and are waking up to the total insanity of this biblical interpretation we’ve called “truth”. But this is such an excellent reminder that we can’t stop, we have to keep going and we have to get stronger and louder. And we will.

    • Lymis

      But somewhere around 10% of Adam and Eve’s kids were gay. So even if Adam and Eve weren’t – though you certainly can’t prove they weren’t bisexual and simply didn’t have any other options – it’s pretty obvious that God created them with the genes for having gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender kids – just as so many completely heterosexual people still do today.

      That’s exactly what God intended, as is manifestly clear by the reality of the world around us.

      To claim otherwise is to do exactly what you claim you disapprove of – simply making stuff up and injecting made up philosophies to fit your own prejudices. There is exactly as much Biblical proof that Adam and Eve had some gay kids as there is that all of them were straight. And even that just moves the question to the grandkids. None of my grandparents, aunts or uncles were gay, but at least four of us in my generation are.

      And before you shout “Original Sin!” the only hint about how their having children was affected by the fall is that childbirth hurts, not a word about how the kids would turn out.

      Of course Jesus would go to such a wedding.

    • Johnny Parker

      “He did not hang out with those who could care less about what his Father liked or didn’t like.”

      Er, that’ll be ‘True Christians’ then. Or people who play fast and loose with their gerunds, abuse their personal pronouns, and plain old murder their conjunctions. And have a STICKY caps lock key. A nasty complaint.

      • Johnny Parker

        Wow! A few words of gentle satire and BLAM! Fundie go phut! Hussah!

      • Jill

        Oh bummer. I missed the regular dose of fundy spew. It does so warm the cockles of my heart.

  • Busdriver

    Of two things I am certain:

    1) He would go.

    2) He would speak Truth

    (whether or not people would have ‘ears to hear’ that truth…of that I am no certain. Not at all.)

    • Elizabeth

      I’m certain Jesus would be a quiet, gracious guest until asked. “Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

      • Jill

        At least not until the dance floor is jumping.

        • Elizabeth

          Go Jesus, it’s your birthday!

          • Jill

            Elizab, y0u and I should wedding crash and dance the night away.

          • mike moore

            May I come? I dance like an Episcopalian white boy … although I do have a startling move or two left over from my Studio 54 days … but I am awesome at remembering the nuances of every cocktail you and Elizab may want to order.

          • Jill

            Was hoping you would. I picture you dancing just like this

          • mike moore

            you’re right and wrong. You’ve found my (high school era) stoned/drunk-bonfire-on-the-beach-with-buddies moves.

            In more formal settings, my moves are much more akin to Molly’s moves.

          • Elizabeth

            Mine are more like Ally Sheedy.

          • Jill

            Bingo. Me too. Although I put my lipstick on like Molly.

            (Thank you, John for your embed skills.)

      • Luke H

        That is one of my favorite gospel readings. The dynamic between Jesus and his mother is priceless. He’s all not-my-problem and she completely ignores him and assumes he is going to do it anyway. Which he does, because nobody crosses a mother when she’s in take-charge mode!

  • Matt

    I have to agree with some others here: Jesus needs to wear black tie more often. [Matt: I got your suggested correction. Thank you! - John]

    • Jill

      I was thinking the very same. Quite dapper.

  • Karen Reynolds Hager

    My favorite line…… “Jesus sure did love him some everyday people.” <3

  • Jennifer Vance

    Perfect!!!

  • Chris CG

    Fantastic .. I especially like “I learned that Jesus spent about as much time talking about gay people as I do talking about the belly-buttons of seahorses”

    • anakin mcfly

      Well technically, John did just talk about the belly-buttons of seahorses…

      • James

        well… wrote about them… we don’t know if John speaks his essays aloud and makes poor Cat transcribe everything onto the blog… ;)

        • Elizabeth

          Cat has a real job.

          • Nicole

            Har!

    • Luke H

      Come to think of it, it is the male seahorses who give birth. Oh, the wonderful diversity of life!

      (Is anyone out there a biologist? Do critters that come from eggs have bellybuttons, or is that a placental feature?)

  • Maria Arno Sorensen

    Nailed it.

  • Gordon Wilson

    Exactly! READ your bible and STOP hitting people over the head with it!

  • Bonita Kennedy

    I feel that Jesus was present–singing the songs,dancing the dances, at our wedding celebration in Feb. Gay?–Yes we were all pretty happy.

    • Lymis

      Inquiring minds. Does Jesus do the Chicken Dance or the Macarena, or just wait for something more dignified?

      I’d like to think he’d join in.

      • Anne

        I’m confident he’d do the Hokey Pokey.

        • Lymis

          That’s what it’s all about….

  • Shannon Barger

    I just love the picture. ;-)

  • Mike Barnhart

    It depends on whose wedding it was. The Torah (which Jesus followed) is very specific in that Jews are not allowed to engage in homosexual activities. So if it was a Jewish wedding, Jesus would not have approved. As for a Gentile wedding, I think He would have gone to it. Gentiles were and still are not bound by The Law, and Jesus (knowing this) would not have applied it to them. If the wedding were to have taken place in the Land of Israel, He would not have gone, though, since it was against the National Law portion of the Torah. But outside of those constraints, I think He would have gone.

    • anakin mcfly

      Regarding the Torah being specific about homosexuality – it’s not, though, at least in the original Hebrew texts. English translations don’t count, given that English wasn’t around in Jesus’ time.

    • Allie

      On the other hand, Jesus wasn’t at all worried about obeying the letter of the law according to the local enforcers. He was more concerned about the spirit of the law. Thus, he got in trouble for letting his people pick food to eat on the Sabbath, and healing a sick man on the Sabbath. I am absolutely certain Jesus would not allow obeying a local law, religious or otherwise, to force him to be mean to someone.

      • vj

        LOVE this!

    • Lymis

      So, Jesus only healed Gentiles on the Sabbath, and made everyone else come back Sunday morning? Gosh. I learn something new every day.

      • Hannah Grace

        Great response, Lymis – convinced! :)

      • vj

        :-)

  • Kelly Withee

    Excellent.

  • Valerie Barlow Horton

    “Jesus is scary when he’s riled. And the only people who rile him are those who, in his own name (what with him being God and all), set themselves up as sanctimonious judges of others.” I think that is my favorite line from this whole essay!! Thank you John!

  • Lois Markiewicz

    Well said. Thanks and shared

  • Marilynn Baker

    Excellent commentary. Well done!

  • theresa

    When same-sex marriage became legal in Washington state, the local Unitarian church announced that it would be open and available for weddings for anyone with a license, on the first possible day. I told a friend who is the music director that, because I have been a church musician for years and years and have played for maybe a million weddings (rough estimate), I would be glad to donate my time to play for anyone who showed up. Two couples took them up on the offer, and we held two lovely weddings that afternoon. I, uh, didn’t mention this activity at the Catholic church to which I belong. But I did tell the Presbyterians, at whose church I also work. Some of them were pleased!

    Anyway. No doubt in my mind, Jesus was there.

    • Matt

      Wow, that is an amazing story! What a cool thing for you to do.

  • Jos Reyn

    Sorry but isn’t that Russel Brand?

    • Lymis

      I thought it was Ashton Kutcher at first glance.

  • mike smith

    Great essay. You asked for corrections. Technically “Love thy neighbor as thyself” Jesus listed as the second great commandment, like unto the first, loving God with heart might, soul, and strength.

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

      Yeah, that’s a really tough one to wrangle down into a quick, graceful encapsulation. But I gave it another go. Check the revision, and thanks for the prompt.

      • Lymis

        I like the revision. I’d put the “with” into the brackets with the rest of its clause. It looks lonely outside them, and is correct in either position.

  • Shayes

    ” Love your neighbor as yourself.” God said, “A fool hates correction.” I love been corrected when I’m on the wrong path, straying from God’s design. I’d probably go BUT Jesus did say, “husbands love your wives.” He did not say, “husbands love your husbands.”

    • Jim North of Seattle

      Actually, that wasn’t Jesus, that was Paul, speaking in cultural context to the church in Ephesus. In that entire section, Paul speaks of the obligation of slaves to masters, wives to husbands, children to parents. These are instructions from a reformed Levite to the mostly Gentile Church in a vibrant city with lots of distractions.

      These are not the words of Christ in the commandment to love one an other. Let us not confuse the all to human apostle with God who became human, Christ.

      Also, proof texts? Really?

      • Jim North of Seattle

        “Also, proof texts? Really?”

        Well, that came off snarkier than intended. And maybe a conversation killer. I imagine most here get the many positive meanings I implied in that comment. I hope. I also hope it doesn’t detract from the first part of my arguement, which is supposed to point out the full context of Shayes citation.

        Sigh.

        • Shayes

          I realized the actual quote didn’t come out of Jesus’ mouth after I submitted my comment. But, everything I’ve said is still in direct context of God’s intention. Thanks!

          • Elizabeth

            Cool! Glad someone around here knows exactly what God’s thinking. Let me know when you get crucified.

          • Lymis

            Sorry, but I have it on very good authority that God is perfectly happy with my marriage to my husband. So your context is flawed at best.

          • mae

            If you want to take Paul’s words literally, women cannot braid their hair, wear jewelry, speak at church, cut their hair, and must wear a head covering at all time.

            I’m fairly certain even most of the Mennonites I know break some of those rules, possibly the Amish and the Muslims do not.

            Trying to take suggestions of conduct from a society we’re so far removed from is like trying to follow a cookbook from the cavemen era. It’ll probably make you sick and you’re not going to be able to do it right at this point anyways.

    • DR

      Shayes, when did you choose to be straight?

    • Lymis

      Isn’t it odd that people seem to keep this quote on speed dial and yet completely forget that “in Christ there is neither male nor female.” (Or, for that matter, that Jesus is explicitly quoted as saying that there were truths he had to share that people were not then ready for, and that the Holy Spirit would continue to teach us.)

      Of course, Shayes, maybe God felt the need to remind straight men that they had to love their wives, but took it for granted that gay men would remember to love their husbands without the need for the reminder.

  • Jim North of Seattle

    Another great post! Thank you John.

    Friends of my beloved have me on tap as their officiant, as soon as whatever remaining foo-faraw surrounding Washington Marriage Equality calms itself. I am very much looking forward to it.

  • Maranda

    I found your website through a friend on facebook, and I enjoy your posts.

    I absolutely think Jesus would go to any wedding of two people wanting to commit their lives to one another, and give his full blessing. Whatever gender the two people are and however they express that gender, they are worthy of love and respect.

  • Luke H

    There is just so much I love about this post! But especially this:

    Around Jesus you can whine, lie, shift your loyalties, be late, be greedy, be too ambitious, be stupid, be a coward, be a hypochondriac, constantly complain, fall asleep at every wrong moment—you can do nothing right, and it won’t in the slightest way seem to offend him.

    So this! You can even nail him to a tree and he’ll keep on loving! You don’t have to be afraid around Jesus! You don’t need to follow all the right rules, believe all the right things, have the right politics. You can be your clumsy, stupid self, wrong six times an hour. Just give it your best shot, and aspire to be like that, just a little. That is so important for those of us for whom grace is like oxygen.

    (I also like the turning the water into coffee thing. I have trouble with that too, until I’ve had my coffee.)

    • Elizabeth

      Oh, the trouble I get into because I check this site before my Diet Coke.

  • Hannah Grace

    That picture of Jesus looks a lot like Tarzan in a suit

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

      I thought he looks like Ashton Kutcher.

      • Hannah Grace

        Omg Ashton Kutcher looks like Tarzan. NAILED IT! :P

  • http://earthbound-spirit.blogspot.com Earthbound Spirit

    Jesus would totally be at a same-gender wedding. In my ministerial role, I perform a lot of weddings. Some of them are for same-gender couples, even though their marriages aren’t “legal” in my state. My denomination was one of the first to affirm same-gender marriage. When couples look for readings, many go to the old standby of I Corinthians – all about love. But I recommend this: “Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God, and whoever loves is born of God and knows God. And whoever does not love, does not know God. For God is love and they who abide in love abide in God. There is no fear in love for perfect love casts out all fear forever more.” -I John 4:7-8, 16-18

    I also work in something about the marriage being entered into by the two people is considered just as sacred and its bonds as holy, as the marriages which also currently enjoy the blessing of the state.

    • David S

      My husband and I got married in a religious ceremony three years before it was legally recognized. The covenant relationship we entered into that day, blessed by clergy and witnessed by family and friends, was no less of a marriage because it was not recognized by the state at the time. We were thrilled to “make it legal” later; but, to us, it was the religious ceremony that made us “married”.

      I was pretty naive about the risk the Presbyterian minister was taking at the time. I’m even more grateful to him now. I’m not sure if your denomination allows for the blessing of same sex relationships, but I admire the courage of so many clergy today who are taking a moral stand and engaging in denominational disobedience. There was a great article on this topic in the NY Times this week.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/06/nyregion/caught-in-methodisms-split-over-same-sex-marriage.html?pagewanted=all

      • David S

        Oops – sorry…just reread your comment and this sentence “My denomination was one of the first to affirm same-gender marriage. ” Good on ya’!

      • http://earthbound-spirit.blogspot.com Earthbound Spirit

        I’m happy for you and your husband, David!

        I was in a seminary class (Christian ethics!) with some Presbyterians who were all over the map on marriage equality – and whether/how to challenge their denomination. The barriers in some denominations are going to be pulled down, brick by brick, by people like Tom Ogletree (the article you reference) and Brian McLaren, and the minister who married you and your husband, who engage in denominational disobedience. The threat Ogletree faces is real – the Methodists have convened church trials over this issue fairly recently.

        Amongst my colleagues, there’s some debate over whether we clergy should act as agents of the state at all. A few of my colleagues have chosen to refuse to sign the legal paperwork for any couples, citing separation of church and state. They still do the religious ceremony, but the couple has to get someone at the courthouse to sign their marriage licenses. It’s very individual – it’s a very small minority who have chosen this, but it is discussed.

  • Robert Thomas

    Jesus also got pissed off at Jewish businessmen. But that’s another story.

  • Melissa

    I’m pretty sure the only difference would be instead of wine, he’d turn that water into Midori sours.

  • Sara F.

    “When I next went looking for anywhere in the Bible where Jesus says anything—and I mean anything—I learned that Jesus spent about as much time talking about gay people as I do talking about the belly-buttons of seahorses.”

    I’m pretty sure you’re missing a phrase after the second dash. In the interests of helping you proofread. (and yes, I am a professional writer).

    • Lymis

      I had to read it a couple of times myself, but it really does work.

      I was expecting an “about” – “…. where Jesus says anything about….” and that threw me on the other side of the dash. When I realized he actually meant what he wrote – looking for anything Jesus is quoted as saying, the sentence comes together.

      That is a possibility for a tweak, though:

      ““When I next went looking for the times in the Bible where Jesus is quoted as saying anything—and I mean anything—I learned that Jesus spent about as much time…”

  • http://www.lifewalk.info David Foreman

    Jesus would, and does, attend gay weddings (or, as I like to call them, WEDDINGS).

    The real question is, would Jesus attend a right-wing, Republican, evangelical wedding!

    • David S

      Exactly. My husband I have a marriage, not a gay marriage. At the reception, we had a first dance, not a first gay dance.

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

      Sweet job there, David.

    • Lymis

      Wherever two or more are gathered…there is Jesus in their midst. Doesn’t seem to have a “except if there are gay people present, because, ick” clause. Maybe that got dropped in translation from the original.

  • Shawn Bashor

    Thank You John!!! This is worthy of a side hug at a minimum.

  • Mary

    Jesus also says in Galatians and elsewhere to gently correct your neighbor when he falls off the right path. I think that going to a gay wedding is doing the exact opposite of that – you’re celebrating them falling off of the path.

    • A

      That is awful. To hear someone put the love of another two humans down to “falling off the path”.

      It’s not your place to judge how the path moves for some- I was suicidal and further away from God when I “tried not to be gay” than I ever was when I accepted the queerness within me. Is it God’s will that I kill myself? That was the only alternative. You can not know my life.

      If God wants to correct my sexuality, I have prayed for many opportunities. God’s worked on so many parts- patience, tolerance, open-mindedness, my mental health. Not once has it ever been a concern of his what my sexuality is- it’s only ever been a concern of the Church who pick and choose which passages to follow (Your mixed-fibre clothing, when you go shopping, that’s a celebration of YOU falling off the path.)

      God loves me just the way I am. Attending a gay wedding is showing your friend you love them for who they are.

    • mike moore

      Mary, I believe you’ve lost sight of Jesus, and I suspect that neither are you following Paul’s writings in a literal way when it comes to your hair, your clothing, etc etc etc.

      consider yourself gently corrected …

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

        *snerkft!*

        • Bevie

          Weddings are so expensive these days that you only invite the people who love and support you to celebrate with you. Anyone who wasn’t truly happy for you wouldn’t get an invite so I doubt Mary and/or those who agree with her would get invited to any same sex weddings. Ergo….dilemma solved.

          • Elizabeth

            If I weren’t a Christian, I’d posit no one invites Mary anywhere. That’s why she’s misquoting Paul as Jesus here.

      • mae

        ZING!

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

      You ought to attend one Mary. I went to one of a friend of mine, in a state that doesn’t recognize its legality. I did like I do at all weddings. I cried for joy, that these two people, who decided to spend their lives together, despite one having a debilitating illness, and to announce their intent in front of witnesses, with prayer and scripture. Their devotion to one another is simply beautiful, and a beautiful example for all couples, gay or straight.

    • DR

      Mary, you are telling us that gay people have *chosen* their path. Please share with us the moment in your life when you chose to be straight. Was it in high school? Younger? When did you choose the straight lifestyle? God would not design your sexuality one way that is inherent and then provide a second path for another that is rooted in choice. So please share. Thank you!

    • Lymis

      Feel free to express exactly that sentiment to your gay friends and acquaintances, and I’d imagine the question of how to respond to the ensuing wedding invitations is unlikely to arise.

    • Gordon

      Big day! Both Jesus and Mary have blessed with appearances. If Joseph shows up I will buy the next round!

  • nick

    In the words of Jesus….

    Matthew 19:4-6 KJV

    And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

    Matthew 19:11-12 KJV

    But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

    • vj

      We might be more inclined to understand the point of your de-contextualized versifying if you could be bothered to use a TRANSLATION that was just a wee bit less Ye Olde Englisshe-y…

      • Nick

        19 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went down to the region of Judea east of the Jordan River. 2 Large crowds followed him there, and he healed their sick.3 Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?”4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’[a]” 5 And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’[b] 6 Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”7 “Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?”[c] they asked.8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. 9 And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful.[d]”10 Jesus’ disciples then said to him, “If this is the case, it is better not to marry!”11 “Not everyone can accept this statement,” Jesus said. “Only those whom God helps. 12 Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made eunuchs by others, and some choose not to marry[e] for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.

        • Nick

          The thing about Jesus was that he railed against those who used God’s law to break God’s law.. not only the scribes and Pharisees but even everyday people… I recall Jesus rebuking parents for a tradition they had of making their kids give honor to God in everything they did.. why? Because it was being used as I loophole in God’s law… because God told kids to honor their parents.. and the parents where afraid dishonor would fall onto them through their kids.. Jesus didn’t case about what a persons position was in life.. rich poor scribe Pharisees.. it didn’t matter.. they were all equal in his eyes.. what mattered was How they behaved.. if ya wanna know what Jesus would do if would probably say go forth and sin no more.. like if did to the woman if saved from stoning..

    • Lymis

      So straight people sometimes get married.

      Those quotes really have nothing to do with gay couples. The fact that God made some people heterosexual means that they’re going to tend to do their cleaving with someone of the opposite sex.

      If you bothered to, you know, read it in context, like ONE verse earlier, you would see that this quote was specifically in relation to a question about a man who was already married to a woman and whether it was okay for him to divorce her. For the answer to be specifically about what straight people get up to is therefore rather unsurprising.

      The second quote is like unto the first – when asked whether, if it’s so hard for a man to be married to a woman, should people get married, he answered with the eunuch thing. Again, in the context specifically of straight people.

      You’re welcome to imagine what Jesus would have said about loving gay couples in the context of a 21st century society, but you can’t use these quotes to justify it.

      • Nick

        You act like being gay is a new thing…. and in what context of the Bible do you believe Jesus would use the Scripture to answer a Pharisee in the context of gay marriage? Where is it written? Or like the parents are you looking for a loophole? Isn’t invoking the name of God in a ritual he did not define taking his name in vain? Nothing in the word of God says marriage is to be anything about gay marriage… so How can we rightfully say it’s his will if the whole Bible speaks in the context of straight marriage.. as you put it? That doesn’t make a bit of sense… and what’s up with only quoting Jesus directly? He did not abolish the old testament.. he fulfilled it.. he pays the price now for the sins listed in it.. Just as all other sins.. but that doesn’t mean they are no longer sins..

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

          If the Old Testament is still valid and we need to keep from the “sins” listed there…pray tell, how often do you forgive someone else’s debts or return land you bought from them? If your brother dies and he and his wife hadn’t had a chance to have kids, have you married her yet, so she can bear an heir for her dead husband?

          The bible doesn’t define marriage, it merely mentions several variations of marriage or non-marital relationships. It doesn’t condemn any of those variations, but seems to list them as matter of fact, a commonality of the culture of the time when the books contained in the bible were written.

          • Nick

            Why on earth do you think we keep the old testament? Have you not thought this through? Does that make taking acid Okay because it’s not specifically mentioned in the Bible? Is there anything you could use the Bible to justify based on this selective reading? Why does the Bible only refer to male and female marriage? If it’s a catch all arrangement wouldn’t it be referred to as such? Or does you’re interpretation suggest that God’s will is to place such regulation on straight couples and to let sanctify all other marriage on the terms of the parties involved.. if so that’s ridiculous… man serves God, God doesn’t serve man…. else we would be saying commands in church rather than prayers..

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

            this will be fun…

            “Why on earth do you think we keep the old testament?” Because it offers insight into an ancient people, and shows that in many ways we are not any different then they were…well except for science, technology, ethics, and longer commute times.

            “Have you not thought this through?” I have thought a lot of things through, including this. Have you?

            “Does that make taking acid Okay because it’s not specifically mentioned in the Bible?” What kind of acid are you discussing here? There are lots of acids, and considering that science had yet to develop to the point that acids and alkalines were understood, we don’t know what people may have used to get a little trippy. Who knows sheep dung, may well have been the drug of choice then.

            “Is there anything you could use the Bible to justify based on this selective reading?” Is there anyone who doesn’t use selective reading when it comes to the Bible? Who sits and reads it in one seating anyway? Who doesn’t have their favorite sections, and others they pretty much ignore?

            “Why does the Bible only refer to male and female marriage?” Actually the configurations are varied, with the most common being recorded as one male and as many females he could get, or one female and the brothers or relatives of her former dead husband, no marriage at all. As I said, it isn’t an exhaustive treatsie on human sexuality or all the variations we can come up with.

            “If it’s a catch all arrangement wouldn’t it be referred to as such? ” Based on what? what are you trying to catch? Is it contagious?

            The last part isn’t a question, just a silly statement…oh for the record God doesn’t require church or prayers of us.

          • Nick

            Again your not being reasonable… you basically implied it’s Biblical to do acid but not Biblical to get drunk.. you stated the Bible mentions all kinds of marriages but listed only ones that involve males and females.. but let’s be fair.. Jesus gave a Biblical reason why God created straight marriage.. what Biblical reason would if give for gay marriage? In other words not why he would support gay marriage.. but since marriage is an act done out of obedience to God.. why would he tell a gay man to marry another man for it would be Good in the eyes of the lord? Where is the have you not read where it is written for that course of action?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

            I have no problems with a gay couple marrying. I have no problems with a straight couple marrying. I don’t have real issues with a couple deciding to skip on the wedding all together and just commit to each other as long as the see fit. I just feel that God wants us to be happy and healthy, in relationship that help to foster both.

            I also feel that going around judging others based on what we think is right is a effort in futility. Why? Because we don’t have a fucking clue how to keep our own selves from mucking up the works, so how in the hell do we think we are qualified to de-muck any one else’s works, or even see the muck to begin with?

            Jesus only talked about divorce…why? Because in that culture..if you study culture…men would divorce their wives, keep the dowries and get a new one, often leaving women in the street, hoping family would take her back in. Men did that For reasons such as, she’s getting old, she just keeps giving me girls, oh well no kids at all, she’s barren…As Jewish women in that culture had zero voice, Jesus told men that it was wrong, that infidelity was a valid reason, like married Jewish women really had lots of opportunities for such endeavors, they had little value in that culture, something Jesus repeatedly demonstrated against. He had that one brief discourse and that was the end of it. Essentially he told men. “play fair.” How people read so much more into that mystifies me.

            Marriage really has nothing to do about obedience to God. That’s a silly idea, as pairings and groupings have been happening for thousands of years, in religious and secular settings. Its about people making commitments for a variety of reasons. Hopefully for most its about love, and respect and longevity.

          • nick

            [comment deleted because life's just too short]

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

            We all try to follow God in our own ways. I don’t really care what people think the bible says, because I don’t think God is limited to the bible. I don’t think how I live my life is limited to the bible, or what you think about how others should lead their lives. If you think its wrong, then don’t do it. But trying to dictate your beliefs on others is just going to frustrate you.

            Why?

            Because people aren’t going to conform just because you say so, or you think the bible says.

          • DR

            I know of no biblical reason as to why a homosexual couple ought to get married>>>

            The same reason he gives a Biblical reason for straight marriage, Nick. People fall in love, want to devote their lives together and raise children together. That’s what gay couples do all of the time, perhaps you’re not paying attention. They’re actually adopting all of the orphans that us Christians can’t be bothered to adopt and instead, spend millions of dollars on IVF trying to have kids of our own. Even though we were given an explicit commandment to take care of the widows and the orphans. Even Paul Ryan is behind gay men and women adopting orphans – you might want to catch up.

          • nick

            [comment deleted]

          • nick

            Not even paul ryan

          • DR

            It takes a lot to get deleted around here and I’m awfully glad I didn’t have to see it. Ugh.

          • Gordon

            Some of us don’t keep the Old Testament. And we laugh, and giggle and make fun of the poor suckers who do.

          • Elizabeth

            I talked to God plenty on acid back in the day. He said I could still go to church.

  • Robert

    When I was 23, my sister got married. I was an avoid atheist at the time and it was going to be a Roman Catholic Wedding with a Mass. I was an usher. All of a sudden, I realized that I was expected to “take communion” which I knew was a “no-no”. I was going to be “good” Atheist, so I made the mistake of telling my sister that I couldn’t “take communion” the night before the wedding….

    She burst into tears.

    She was blubbering, I was explaining and my mother was irrated. Mom pulled me aside and said. “So, you’re an atheist now, right.” I nodded. She continued. “So, it is just a piece of bread, right.” I nodded. She continued. “So eat it.”

    At its best… A wedding is about family, love, sisters, brothers, parents, lovers, freinds, cousing and that one drunk uncle slipping under the table… Everyone all celebrating and enjoying two people embarking on a life long romance.

    You bettcha… Jesus would be there… because love is there.

    Have a fab time.

    • Elizabeth

      “So eat it.” I love it. Families can break it down, can’t they?

    • mike moore

      “So, it is just a piece of bread, right.” I nodded. She continued. “So eat it.”

      I think I just heard the sound of heads spontaneously exploding in Vatican City.

      • Jill

        We can hope.

    • Lymis

      Of course, the more traditional way of dealing with that is to warn the priest ahead of time, go to the altar rail along with everyone else, and simply not take communion. The priest generally gives a blessing instead. The Church is generally totally down with that, unless the priest has an unusually large stick lodged somewhere uncomfortable.

      How Jesus would feel about the matter isn’t recorded.

      • Luke H

        I’ll let my heresy show a little. Reading Jesus words with a little different emphasis in the context of a recent visit to the temple can produce a meaning along the lines of “the sign of my covenant is not the flesh and blood of sacrificial animals and priestly spectacle, but the simple grace of bread and wine shared in love among friends”.

        • Lymis

          Oh, I agree, and I’ve never seen the issue, even if one believes in the True Presence, in getting Jesus inside any given heathen in the first place, as long as they behave themselves decorously while in church.

          So many of these rules seem to me to reflect a belief in an incredibly fragile God.

      • Elizabeth

        That’s also what you do if you’re an alcoholic and don’t want to sip the wine. It’s very common.

        • Robert

          It later turned out that my mom… a practicing catholic for like forever… chruch every sunday… sent us all to catholic school… etc… never really bought into the magical thinking part of christianity… she is a very down-to-earth, practical lady… and has recently left the church over the priest abuse issues and is now attending an episcopalian chruch.

  • Robert

    Mary… The great thing about being an American is… I am free from your religious tenants and you are free from mine… if this were not the case, then you would be dancing in the moon light and consorting with fairies.

    • Blind Boy Belvedere

      Religious tenants are the nice Jehovah’s Witness couple you are renting your house to while you take that 18 month assignment in Singapore. You mean tenets.

      • Kathy in KC

        I did rent my house in Vermont to a Jehovah’s Witness couple in the mid 2000′s. Their younger son was my foster son and their older son was gay. The two sons were close, and that bothered them. They were good tenants, though very weird people. They eventually moved out, I think because they didn’t like me and my “liberation theology.” I didn’t care. I knew there were thousands of other places like mine around the country. However, I lost both young men in the passage of time. I miss them. They were terrific young men and I often wonder what has become of them. I know that the older man has become a successful upper level manager in a major U.S. retail chain. The younger man has struggled with substance abuse and incarceration and has had at least five children with as many women, while never quite getting ahead of the game. He’s still a loving, sweet and caring guy and I wouldn’t hesitate to give him a great review if asked, for anything. Bottom line, I watched the JW faith destroy the lives of multiple people in this family: both sons, the younger son’s first child, and the relationship the younger son had with the mother of his first son. It was awful to watch it go down. Terrible, terrible. No faith should have this kind of control over anyone. It is bad, wrong, and Jesus would be ashamed.

        • Jill

          Yup. It is a shaming religion.

  • Jesus

    Jesus would hate the sin but love the sinner…

    • Bevie

      Oh my…that statement is the most religious and unbiblical thing that ever comes out of the mouth of anyone who claims to be a Christian.

      Jesus – the real one – would say, “I love you and my biggest desire is for you to love me but even if you don’t, it will never stop me loving you”

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

      Right. Because Jesus was a complete dipshit. Good call.

      • Bevie

        I think my reply came out wrong. Today has been a huge sucky day for me. What I meant to say was Jesus never said anything in the Bible about loving the sinner and hating the sin. That statement alone is the biggest load of bull crap in the history of big loads of bull crap. Its nothing more than a something people throw around to make it sound like they aren’t bigoted and they are only hating on gays because the Bible tells them to. Usually, those who say it have never read the Bible.

        • vj

          I think your reply came out just fine!

        • Allie

          Actually loving the sinner but hating the sin makes a lot of sense when discussing actual SINS. Like murder. Jesus loves everyone, even murderers, but he doesn’t love murder. Murder is completely, in all ways, different from loving someone who also loves you. One is a sin and the other is not.

          • Bevie

            I am positive that everyone who is here abhors murder and cannot find any reason to justify killing another. We have all cried buckets of tears whenever we see news reports of innocents who have been killed and I am not going to try to justify that. However, in light of your comment, I think its also appropriate to ask ‘What is a sin?’ I still hate the statement, “Love the sinner, hate the sin” Jesus never said it and it isn’t anywhere in the Bible.

          • Kerry

            Bevie,

            I do believe John was not replying to your comment but the ‘Jesus’ one above you. Maybe you know that but just in case I wanted to point that out.

            I hope you have a better day today.

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

          No, Bevie, I wasn’t responding to you, but rather to “Jesus.”

    • mike moore

      Dear Jesus, I think Jesus would pop you upside yo’ head.

    • Lymis

      Jesus would be far more likely to love the sinner and understand any sin that might be going on. Being gay, loving someone else, and desiring to make a public commitment to and statement of that love are not sins.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

      Jesus likely hates the phrase “hate the sin, love the sinner” and has been giving St. Augustine grief for centuries about it for dreaming that crap up.

      • Elizabeth

        It goes Paul > Augustine > Petrarch > straight into the Renaissance. I know this because my sophomore year I traced it back. I also took nonfiction writing that year, or, as I like to think of it, that year I majored in Confessions.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

          I took non-fiction writing a couple years ago. I enjoyed it, and find the genre a bit easier than fiction writing.

    • Jesus

      Ignore the previous guy. He’s a liar straight from hell.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

        What? They have a new high speed by-pass from hell now? That’s gonna make trips much shorter now. No more red-lights

      • Gordon

        Great. A split personality. Just what we needed around here.

  • Peter

    Being gay is the next best thing to having sex with yourself, same parts…. Its a vanity thing.. Ever notice how hardcore gay couples look like a version of themselves? Is it population control?

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

      I’m trying to imagine what it would be like to have a mind that would say/write that. For the life of me, I can’t do it. Would you please tell us a bit about yourself? I’m totally curious. (Oh, I see you’re the same dinkwad who just below used the screen name “Jesus.” So never mind. That’s all I need to know about you.)

      • Elizabeth

        Shucks. I hate it when I miss the ones who don’t know you can trace their IP addresses.

        • vj

          ;-)

      • DR

        And once again, the “real Christians” lie about who they are and post under multiple names in order to drum up fake support for their position. Do you think it’s because deep down inside, they know they’re wrong? What kind of reprobate mind is at play to actually FAKE different people in the name of God? It’s so creepy.

    • DR

      What kind of vile mind would suggest something like this. Wow.

      • Matt

        I’m kind of curious as to their next handle. Mark, Luke, James? Let’s go through all of the apostles! I vote for Judas Iscariot next.

    • Brad

      Tiny discussion of Peter’s mildly-homophobic remark.

      Homosexuality is a sexual orientation just like heterosexuality – it is definitely not a ‘vanity thing.’ I’m not at all sure what you mean by ‘hardcore gay couples’ – maybe you mean circuit-party types?? I might buy that, actually – muscly guys with shaved heads and tattoos, often. Anyway, yes, you have a point there – many gay couples DO resemble each other quite closely, especially circuit-party types.

      But consider this – straight couples tend to be made up of people from similar background, ages, parts of the country, education/intelligence, and, indeed attractiveness-level. Straight couples TOO are going to be very similar to each other. It’s basically just the sex-difference (and the fact that straight people tend to be more likely to dress and groom themselves in self-consciously ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ ways than many gay people) that keeps straight couples from looking like each other. Or consider THIS: straight same-sex FRIENDS also tend – greatly – to resemble each other. Men and women, across the board – dress, weight, attractiveness-level, hairstyles in women (sometimes – and often in men, too!)…. I don’t think it’s terribly surprising, or interesting, that gay people in couples sometimes strongly resemble each other.

      “Population control?” isn’t automatically a homophobic remark – I think it’s one of the suggestions offered by evolutionary biologists. I mean, there probably has to be SOME evolutionary reason for homosexual people and animals. OR it might fall under the same category as men’s nipples – an evolutionary side-effect of some sort that Natural Selection saw no ‘reason’ to do away with.

    • mike moore

      1) gay guys have sex with look-a-likes because rarely can we find another who is as awesomely handsome, and as generally awesome, as we.

      2) when we do resort to mirrors, we like three-way mirrors … sort of a orgy, but you don’t have to worry about running out of cocktails and canape’s.

      3) when you, dear Peter, look in the mirror, do you see Mark Driscoll looking back at you? I bet you do, you sneaky gay devil!!

      • Brad

        Hmmm – I must be going to the wrong orgies. Seldom a cocktail, and never a canapes. :-(

        • Jill

          Boring straight girl, missing out on all the fun. :(

          • Gordon

            You poor girl. Yes, it’s a mad mad mad mad world in Gayland. We never stop having sex. The more mirrors the better. And we dance! We all love to dance. We dance our asses off. Every single one of us. And we’re all in our late 20′s, have washboard abs and march in parades every time we get the chance, hopefully in skimpy outfits with lots of TV cameras around. It’s a wonder we find the time to eat, drink, work, pay our taxes, buy insurance, call our parents on their birthdays, mow the lawn or take chicken soup to our sick neighbor. But we do and this is why: We are superheroes.

          • Jill

            HA! Exactly! :)

            My stereotype: bespectacled librarian. It’s too bad very little of that actually describes me. Except maybe for my book fetish.

    • Lymis

      Yikes.

      Actually, though, people who’ve actually studied gay relationships have in fact noticed that there is a dynamic in some gay couples where in fact, what they find attractive in a partner is things they find attractive in themselves – looking for a twin, and intimate brother, a close friend, someone “just like me” who loves me for who I am, and so on.

      There’s a very similar dynamic in straight couples, but it’s rarely discussed or a part of popular consciousness because people are so conditioned to think of men and women as so radically different that it doesn’t occur to them to look for such similarities. But you do see it in the fact that people pick up mannerisms and even dialects to match their partner, and the idea that “old married couples start to look alike.”

      Gay couples who are attracted to someone similar in nature to themselves don’t have to wait until old age erases common gender cues to start to look alike.

      That’s only something to be snarky and judgmental about if you assume that being gay is a bad thing in the first place, or that healthy people aren’t allowed to like themselves.

      But it’s not the ONLY dynamic in gay relationships, and that’s where your prejudiced snark breaks down. There are butch/femme couples, there are couples who are drawn to each other because they see a mentor or role model in the other, and as many gay couples who are drawn to the differences in their partner and the complementarity of “finding someone who fills in your gaps” (ahem).

      As for the idea the people are gay for population control – while there may well be some deeply encoded human genome issue that relates to that, I’ve never met an individual who gave it a thought in terms of their own personal relationships – “Gosh, I love me some Playboy Bunnies, but I don’t want kids, so where are the hot dudes?” – have you ever actually met live people – any live people?

      As for the vanity idea, well. again, you must not know any actual people – I know plenty of vain straight people who somehow haven’t tipped over into homosexuality.

      But hey, if being gay is vain, well, like the hair color ads, I’m worth it.

      • mae

        I read somewhere once, that deep deep down inside we all find ourselves attractive. And we tend to hook up with people that resemble ourselves or our family features.

      • Elizabeth

        Yes, I’m one of those drawn to opposite and often mentor types. Freud calls it an Electra complex. Then again, he may have been Bloom’s epitome of postmodern poetry, but talk about a guy with issues.

      • anakin mcfly

        I’m reminded of this study where straight people were asked to rank the faces of the opposite sex, and consistently gave higher scores to anonymously masculinised/feminised versions of their own faces.

        Also, genetic sexual attraction is a thing, and how (straight) people tend to choose partners who resemble their opposite-sexed parent (and thence themselves), and how siblings separated at birth often find each other very attractive when they meet for the first time as adults.

    • anakin mcfly

      …as opposed to softcore gay couples?

      • Elizabeth

        If you’re lesbian, this phenomenon actually exists. It’s called “lesbian bed death”. It’s widely criticized, but I’ve been told and observed otherwise.

  • Brad

    I learned that only nouns in foreign languages have ‘gender’ but that PEOPLE have (ahem) sex. I mean, yes people have sex as opposed to being celibate, but they also have sex as opposed to having gender. Am I correct here, you various proofreaders??

    And while we’re proofreading, I disagree that this sentence works as written: <>

    I need it to be this:

    When I next went looking for anywhere in the Bible where Jesus says anything—and I mean anything— about homosexuality, I learned that Jesus spent about as much time talking about gay people as I do talking about the belly-buttons of seahorses.

    In my own ‘dialect’ I’d change homosexuality to ‘queer-folks’ for its slangy charm, but I don’t know if you’d agree.

    PS – Love Robert’s mother’s “so eat it.” I read it aloud to myself, with a Long Island accent. Very affective.

    • Brad

      (Hmmmm – my first quote vanished into the ether. hat ether must be a crowded place! Anyway, it’s clear just below which sentence I was talking about – the same one which has troubled others.)

    • Matt

      “I mean, yes people have sex as opposed to being celibate, but they also have sex as opposed to having gender. Am I correct here, you various proofreaders??”

      I could be reading you wrong, but people have both: A sex and a gender. In very simple terms, sex is a person’s biological makeup–their hormones, physical body parts and so on. Gender is psychological–their self- and body-image, how they experience and express themselves as a gendered being. They are often (but not always) in alignment with each other.

      • Brad

        Ah! And indeed they do. I actually hadn’t had that gender definition so clearly spelled out for me before, but now you have (seconded by Wikipedia) – so thanks!

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

      Oh my god: I can’t believe I didn’t have the “about homosexuality” in that sentence: I thought it did read exactly as you have it here. YIKES! Thank you! Changed.

  • mike moore

    John, don’t think with all this intelligent commentary that I’m letting your wedding outfit and potential makeover slide … don’t make us call your wife.

  • RCW

    I asked my husband (yep we are gay and married) what would Jesus do if he were invited to a Gay wedding? Without missing a beat, he said “Bring the Wine.”

    Most Biblical answer I’ve heard from my non-theologian all day.

    • Gordon

      I asked my gay-married husband the same question and he said, “Great! We won’t have to buy any wine. We’ll just need to have lots of water.”

    • Jill

      And it would an excellent vintage too, an old vine zin with hints of strawberry and black pepper.

  • Kerry

    This is one of the first chapters I read when I bought your book “Unfair” and I just want to share, at first read, I got the impression that you felt you “should” attend gay weddings but weren’t necessarily embracing the idea. I felt a bit disappointed. The other things I had read made me think you would say things differently.

    Now that I’ve read a lot more by you, I think I get the tone of your writing better and think you had less supportive readers in mind when you chose your words. That way they could read your words and “try them on” as their own.

    Because for me, I would love to go to a “gay” wedding. Or as we really want to evolve to say, a wedding. My cousin had a wedding ceremony in an accepting church over 20 years ago and my dad and the rest of us were not invited. (They were afraid that kind of invite would not have been well received.) To this day, I’m sad that I missed it. My dad is no longer living so I can’t ask him about it now, but I honestly think he would have gone to support his brother and niece. Family was always very important to him. If they ever have another one (like after it is finally officially legal in their state) I am so there! Family, especially family that has felt marginalized for years and years , needs to see all the love and support they missed seeing before.

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

      Yes, you’re exactly right. This was written, at core, for a MUCH more conservative audience than the one I have here on my blog. (For years I wrote for Crosswalk.com, and this first appeared there.)

      • stv

        3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’[a] and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[b] 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:8 “‘These people honor me with their lips,    but their hearts are far from me.9 They worship me in vain;    their teachings are merely human rules.’[c]”10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said,“Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them,but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides.[d] If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”(from Matthew 15)

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

          You first.

        • James

          so, my first thought (and yes, I read through ALL of your posts below this one as well) was: really? you couldn’t just refer to the passages in question, digest down your salient point and ask anything you feel needs to be answered by John and/or his audience based on that?

          do you honestly believe that John hasn’t read the Bible or that members of his audience haven’t read the Bible to have at least a passing familiarity with the passages you’re quoting en masse?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

            My first thought was. “Copy/paste? That the best you can do?”

          • Elizabeth

            A troll three years ago taught me the term “copypasta”. That’s one reason I put up with them. That’s the guy with whom I first used “rhymes with hunt.”

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

            copypasta!

            Narf!

        • Aggie

          I’m not sure of the point of stv’s post exactly is here, but I think it communicates that we don’t need to refer to any aspect of the Jesus tradition to decide what to do about gay marriage. If Jesus really thought ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death,’ then I think it can be safely said that he had a moral blind spot or two. (Plus, washing hands is a good idea, even if not for the reasons the Pharisees were suggesting!) If I idealize Jesus, I’d like him to say “Of course you shouldn’t stone your children. That’s horrible. And let people love each other and get married. That stuff about stoning homosexuals is horrid too.” At any rate, I think its best not to ask what would Jesus do, but what is the kindest, most merciful, and most respectful thing to do.

          • Elizabeth

            Hi Aggie! I think it’s safe to say that Jesus would do the kindest, most merciful, most respectful thing. Even if, occasionally, it meant jerking people out of their comfort zones. He’s kind of the gold standard.

          • excluded

            Ps, the question was ‘ what do you think sexual immorality meant to the audience of the time?’

            Consider too how he doesnt define here all forms of theft, murder, adultery.

            We need to consiser many teachings and i personally dont mind explorug them, as i think we should, without fear.

            John 3:13-16

          • Elizabeth

            The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery; and making her stand there in the middle they said to Jesus, ‘Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, and in the Law Moses has ordered us to stone women of this kind. What have you got to say?’ They asked him this as a test, looking for an accusation to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. As they persisted with their question, he straightened up and said, ‘Let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Then he bent down and continued writing on the ground. When they heard this they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until the last one had gone and Jesus was left alone with the woman, who remained in the middle. Jesus again straightened up and said, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she replied. ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus. ‘Go away, and from this moment sin no more.’ —John 8:3–11.

            The New Jerusalem translation is the most poetic. It’s also the standard Catholic text so it’s extra blasphemous to fundamentalists.

          • nick

            The last part is the most important… and from this moment sin no more…. Jesus forgave her sin.. but he did not embrace her adultery… he certainly didn’t leave the impression that adultery was cool with him… we all sin.. but that doesn’t mean we should embrace the sins of others to cover our own…it simply means we should denounce sin and not sinners …I pray no one will ever embrace my sins as something right in the eyes of God…

          • Lymis

            And once again, a loving gay relationship is NOT a sin. If a gay person commits adultery, that’s an entirely different question.

  • http://pam-intheshadowofhiswings.blogspot.com Pam Manners

    206 comments. Too many for me to read. I’ll just be content to say I loved this post, I’m so happy to have found your blog (via a Facebook comment from Lori Roeleveld), and I’m looking forward to reading more from you.

    Your humor and sincerity just turned my day around. Thank you!

  • DR

    You know what always floors me in these conversations? Not the silly debates of the anti-gay Christian movement who’s immersed in their hostility and fear, that’s just getting old. I’m more embarrassed for them and by them (and afraid of them). It’s that they actually believe gay men and women who are not already Christian are just dying to be a part of Christianity. Why in the hell would any reasonable gay man or woman who’s been abused by Christians for decades even *want* to get married in a church? Dear fellow Christians, how about you pull your head out of your self-absorbed, privileged ass and realize that the sun doesn’t spin around your precious head? That gay men and women want to get AWAY from you – they don’t want to come closer to us, to Jesus, to our Church. You’ve done a great job at driving a lot of them away. You’ve made the Church – Jesus – unsafe for gay men and women and that’s your fault. So get these grandiose thoughts out of your head that you or straight marriage is going to be *tainted* by gay men and women, with an over 50% divorce rate (even higher in evangelical Christian circles) we’re doing just fine on our own.

    • Bevie

      DR, I agree with you that we who call ourselves Christians have done our best to chase away gay and women from Jesus. Its nothing less than a huge blight on our faith and our church that we have arguments on who is and who isn’t acceptable to Jesus. We point out and condemn others sins only because ‘they’ sin differently than us. I don’t blame anyone who runs away from the church because we’ve made it an exclusive club which really is the opposite of what God desires. He desires an inclusive love filled organic organisation that moves and grows in Him but instead we have made it staid and unmovable and have built it around ourselves and our egos. Its just all so sad and we really have no one to blame but ourselves. And even though a growing number of us are standing up and fighting the system, I have sneaking suspicion that its all too little and too late to undo all the damage that has been done to the glorious name of Jesus.

    • Matt

      I still hold onto hope that my partner and I will one day be able to marry in my home church, like my brother and his wife did.

      It’ll be an event, that’s for sure. Maybe some people will have been to a gay wedding by that point. But not a transsexual wedding!

      The mainstream Christians have, yes, been able to drive me out. I haven’t attended church in years. Seeing a Bible makes me a little sick to my stomach. But I’m glad I still feel like a Christian inside.

      Have I said lately? Thank you so much, DR, for standing up for folks like me. I’m sure you know how little that happens. I hope you know how much it means to me.

      • DR

        I’m just amazed that people like you and Lymis are so willing to invest your time and energy in these conversations (and grateful for it). We’re completely blessed by your willingness to engage. I’d never have the character, maturity, grace or stamina to even deal with a Christian after what we’ve put you through.

        • Matt

          Hey, there’s plenty in this for me too. I don’t come for the trolls, I come for my friends here. People say that I’m strong, but I honestly think that I would break in half eventually if not for the support that I’ve found here.

  • Elizabeth

    I agree. Those are extremely loose references. As far as fundamentalism goes, I went to high school in the south. I count many among my friends. They are not, ipso facto, bad people.

    They are (and this is a broad generalization) a brainwashed people troubled by their own weaknesses. It causes them to bully others. Jesus was the opposite of a bully. Please see above.

    If you insist on copy-pasting text, I require you to start citing translations. I have my four-version parallel Bible and that doesn’t include my KJV. Unless you speak Aramaic, Hebrew, Latin, or Greek—and I only know a little of the last two—any sort of grown up conversation needs citation.

    • Elizabeth

      Just FYI, they don’t ‘disappear’. John deletes them when he finds them offensive or distracting. It’s his blog and his right. We have a tight-knit community here, and he looks out for us. As you haven’t followed any of my above rules, I’m going to stop encouraging you now. I suggest anyone watching do the same.

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

    Hey, guys. As you may know, we’ve lately attracted a Christian fundamentalist troll. Typical of his kind—because they’re always such moral, upstanding Christians—this one is using spammer’s software to change his IP number with every “comment,” which means that for tonight there’s basically nothing I can do to stop him. (Tomorrow I’ll call in my web guru Dan, who invariably traces such fools right back to their source; we usually end up with their names and home addresses; from there it’s also very easy to get things like their Facebook account, which in the past has occasioned some fun.) For now, I’ve gone ahead and done about all I can, which is shut down comments to this post. Which at this point seems fine.

    Whenever you see toxic fundies on the site (and, generally speaking, ye shall know them by their long cut-and-pastes of usually weirdly irrelevant passages from the King James Version of the Bible, their zombie-like parroting of typical fundy tripe, and their Frankensteinian grammar skills), please don’t respond to them. (Or, actually, if you’d prefer to, by all means do; such responses often make for some of the best reading on this blog.) In due course I’ll come and do what I can to shoo the intruders away, so that we can get back to doing what we do best here, which is actually think, be kind to one another, and have some fun. Thanks!


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