Mo wants to know – how can I be a lesbian and a Christian?

The good news is – more people are reading my blog. The challenging news is – more people are reading my blog :)

A new friend has found our little corner of the blogospehre and lifted up some concerns and questions. Mo seems genuinely perplexed about a couple of topics so I thought I would light a few candles in the darkness of confusion.

Here is one of Mo’s recent comments/question:

“Regardless of who was mommy and who was daddy, what I lived was balance that provided all we need in many different aspects. And that can and does happen regardless of the gender make-up of a relationship.”
No, it cannot. The reason it cannot is that only a man can best teach a little boy how to become a man, and only a woman can best teach a little girl how to become a woman. That’s part of the reason why gender is not irrelevant to marriage and especially to parenting children.
The bizarre thing is you start off by saying how you had a mother and a father and they were both loving/involved in your life. Yet the rest of your article is an attempt to deny the importance of these gender roles, even to the point of whether such distinctions do or should exist.
“Why must there be a submission of one to another? ”
The short answer is because the Bible commands it. There are reasons for it, but I’m not going to waste time and effort writing an involved answer when I know it will simply be ignored. I will happily look up the verses if you are going to thoughtfully consider them. But something tells me you have no interest in doing that. Your bio says you were a pastor at some point, so I should not even have to be telling you any of this.
Again, why do you insist on calling yourself a follower of Christ/Christian when you not only disregard but proudly and openly deny His teachings? It truly is mind boggling.”

My answers to Mo’s questions have outgrown a mere comment and turned into a full blown post. I do hope you will forgive me for trying to cover so much ground in this one reply.  I invite y’all to offer loving responses to Mo as well.

 Mo,

I appreciate your continued questions and hope that you are truly seeking understanding. I am honored that you have chosen this blog to share your confusion – it takes such courage to expose yourself in this way. I hope my following thoughts will be as candles for illumination on your journey.

Candle one: Becoming a good man or woman (or just good humans).

First of all, you are beginning from a premise that there is only one correct way to be a boy or girl, man or woman in the world. While that may have been the case in centuries previous to this one the reality is that there are a myriad of ways to be a man or woman in the world today.   And while I am one who was raised by mixed gender parents I do not believe it is from our gender that our parenting gifts arise.

Rainbow Candles

A woman can teach a little boy how to grow up to be a strong, intelligent leader AND kind & respectful toward others. A man can teach a little girl how to be a self-assured, bold hard worker AND how to bake a damn fine cake. A woman can teach her son how to strive for a life beyond the limitations society would impose and a man can teach his daughter how to be gentle and confident in the face of hatred and bigotry. These lessons are not bound by gender but spring from the content of the character of each individual. The roles we play in our family and in the world are not defined or constrained by our genitalia.

In our own household of two female parents we each embody a wide array of traits that have been traditionally sorted according to gender, traits that are an inherent fibers of our being and have nothing to do with gender.  We offer our children and each other gifts of love, strength, compassion, discipline, tenderness, service and joy. If we were to use the overly simplistic rending of men and women I can say without a doubt that my partner, a woman I assure you, is from Mars and I am from Venus :)

I invite you to look around the world we share and consider the many ways women and men are role models for what it means to be good humans.


Candle two: Biblical understanding (or Christ is the Word)

I sense that you are one who reads the Bible in a literal/factual way but maybe inconsistently so. Please know that the language you are using points me toward a form of idolatry, the very type of blind, un-compassionate, single-minded reading of holy texts that Jesus spoke against (which ultimately contributed to his death). I call myself a Christian because Christ is my center but, as I often remind folks, my boundaries are permeable.

I believe that Jesus is the Word.  I do not regard as infallible or inerrant the collection of books written by men as they struggled to understand and articulate their relationship with That Which Cannot Be Understood. I believe the Bible is a holy rendering of faithfully inspired struggle to connect with God but I do not, nor do many Christians, believe it is the Word breathed directly from God and I do not worship it as such.

As a bit of an aside, what is interesting (but not really baffling) to me is how much time people spend obsessing over some odd drive to control other people’s sexuality and so little time worrying about other parts of the bible they claim to hold so dear. For example – how many folks are out there calling for an end to banking as we know it today? I mean some folks are all keen on Levitical laws regarding sexual codes but seem to ignore this one (just to name one of many ignored “laws”)

35 ‘ If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.36 ‘Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you.
37 ‘You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit.
(Leviticus 25:35-37)

And one can not say that it is merely an OT notion that Christ came to set aside. If we do that with this pericope then every last one is up for grabs. Secondly, money/wealth/greed were confronted directly by Jesus where homosexuality was most certainly not.  In the canon as we now have it there is not one word, not a single “red letter” attributed to Jesus that speaks of homosexuality.  But his words (as we have them all these years later) about how we relate to our possessions vs. how we relate to one another and God are plentiful.  As I recall (and read), beyond Jesus’ teachings there are a couple of words offered by Paul et al. about Christian community and commonly held (not privately owned) wealth.  I do wish there were more far more Christians questioning the culture of Mammon worship thumping and oozing in our society.

Perhaps this quote from Walter Wink can more succinctly say what I am trying to say

“The fact is that there is, behind the legal tenor of Scripture, an even deeper tenor, articulated by Israel out of the experience of the Exodus and brought to sublime embodiment in Jesus’ identification with harlots, tax collectors, the diseased and maimed and outcast and poor. It is that God sides with the powerless, God liberates the oppressed, God suffers with the suffering and groans toward the reconciliation of all things. In the light of that supernal compassion, whatever our position on gays, the gospel’s imperative to love, care for, and be identified with their sufferings is unmistakably clear.”

I cling to the hope and faith found in that empty tomb. A faith that believes love, grace and forgiveness will triumph over the depth of our hatred and evil that can put a man to death for healing on the sabbath, overturning the false idols of money and confronting the religious elite for their hard hearted, death-grip on laws written by men who we know could only see darkly though as through a clouded glass.

So to answer your question, the one that matters most to me – I claim to be a Christian because I believe in a meta narrative of Love, Grace, Forgiveness and Peace.  I even hang onto those words we both know so well… “whosoever believeth in him”.  And I am a whosoever who believes in an Incarnation of God that reveals to us God’s heart.  I believe we responded and continue to repsond to that Incarnation with seething, blind devotion to power that takes God’s name in vain.  And I believe that the empty tomb is evidence that God is loving and not vengeful.   That is the sort of Christian this lesbian is.

Mo, I understand if this is a little scary since it can tilt one’s worldview on a new axis but know that you will not be alone in your searching and discernment.

Peace be with you,

Kimberly

About Kimberly Knight

Kimberly has a long history of back-pew sitting, Wednesday night supper eatin' and generally trying God’s patience since 1969. She's lucky enough to have made her technology addition a career and serves as both the Director of Digital Strategy as a southern liberal arts college and Minister of Digital community with Extravagance UCC.

  • Ando

    Kimberly-
    I know I am very late in writing this comment (a month after the article? Yeesh), but I wanted to say that you continue to be an inspiration to me.
    I went into a rather lengthy background in my first comment on one of your posts a few months back, so I won’t go into it again, but suffice to say that for the past few years, I have been – painfully – starting to finally question some of the beliefs I grew up just shrugging and going along with. It’s not an easy thing, and at times I think I was much like Mo, so I sympathize.
    But I can see from articles like the ones you post that there is room within God’s love for wiggling around and finding the cool spot on the pillow, getting comfortable in my faith, even if it’s begun to drift away from what I grew up with.
    The hardest part is the knowledge that my parents, who have indeed grown by leaps and bounds too, would still probably be disappointed if they knew the deep-down differences that have started to grow between my faith and theirs, and that makes it hard to want to be honest that I disagree with some things they’d probably consider very important.
    So with all of that being said, I thank you for giving some of us out here hope! Keep it up!

  • Sarah

    God & homosexuality-there is a book that explains in detail all the religious hype that to be gay is sinful, and points out the REAL meaning of words/expressions.
    It is entitled: “God vs. Gay
    http://www.jaymichaelson.net/godvsgay/

  • Sarah

    Gay & Christian go together because it is who a person is; it is the opposing person/people’s difficulty in accepting anything beyond biblical inerrancy. There is an excellent book on God & gay:
    http://www.jaymichaelson.net/godvsgay/
    This book explains and refutes the common arguements that homosexuality is sinful.

  • K C Thomas

    All kinds of thoughts come to the mind of people. Some yeild to some thoughts which are contrary to accepted laws or faith or principles. Bible specially Old Testament can be interpreted in any fashion one likes. Same sex activities are for pleasures based on temporary thoughts and desires. If some believe that sex is mainly for pleasure, can go for any combination to gain that pleasure No one can say a particular style is good or bad. The phylosophy of RIGHT and WRONG has been abandoned by these moderns and goes by relativism… which is easy or better for the present. For example if one thinks incest is alright or sex with animal is alright, he or she pursues that path Yes FREEDOM takes us to destruction that is all I think. may God bless Kimberly and all her ilk with more wisdom

    • Niccc

      You seem to judge all gays based on our sexual activities but you fail to see that the love between two people also consist of our emotional commitment with each other. I can never relate to any man emotionally like I relate to my partner of 12 years. I am confident to say that even without the sex, I will still choose to be with her for as long as I live. Sex really has becoming less important as our relationship matures into one of respect, sacrifice and companionship to each other, so I do not agree that our relationship or any loving relationships based on this life long commitment will ever lead to destruction as it does absolutely no harm to anyone, unlike incest or sex with animal which does great harm psychologically to the person committing the acts.

      As I commented on another blog, I believe God will ultimately judge us based on our fruits, not on whom we choose to spend the rest of our lives with.

    • Kimberly Knight

      K C –

      My dear, if you are living the entire bible 100% literal then you have room for such narrow vision and blatant judgement. My instincts and life-long experience tell me you likely are not.

      The love I have for my wife, and the physical attraction I have for her (and not men) is not merely a thought in my head – it is my biological orientation. God created me this way. My love for my wife is not a temporary thought or desire. It began from desire, as many relationships do, and evolved into a convenant of love and interdependance. I am sorry if sex for you is merely a temporary thought or desire but please do not project the way you engage in sex onto my relationship or any other relationship of which you are not a part.

      There IS right and wrong, and it is good and right to live into the body and life that God has given me. It is wrong to deny me basic civil right in America based on one religion’s narrow interpretation of a compilation of books written by men thousands of years ago.

      Note: ff you equate loving, consensual, same-sex relationships to pedofilia, incest or bestiality on this blog again you will be blocked from further commenting.

      Kimberly

  • Niccc

    Hi Kimberly,

    Thank you for an excellent post. Like you I am a Lesbian and only recently found the courage to come out to my Christian friends. The reception was better than I would hope for but I am bothered by one of their comments. While she accepted that I didn’t choose to be gay, she claimed that because God created a man and a woman in the beginning, it is always His original intention for marriage to be of the opposite sex. Any deviation from that is a result of the fallen human nature. Even if there’s a gay gene, it’s also a result of our ancestor’s sins that caused the deviation for their future generations. I am afraid there’s some truth to that statement. How can I respond to her?

    • Kimberly Knight

      Niccc,

      This is really a har done to answer (plus I was sick for a few days so please forgive my tardiness). I find this so utterly homophobic that this person can do such acrobatics to be sure that God did not create people to be same gender loving. My gut reaction is to wonder if this person believes in evolution. I would hazard a guess and say not. But this argument is evolutionary.

      Wikipedia gives us this as the beginning definition for evolution:

      “Evolution is the change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations.”

      So to argue that our “sinful behavior” has altered our biology is to argue in favor of evolution. I do believe in evolution. I do not believe that because of “sin’ our biology has altered to make us “more sinful”.

      But I must be very clear here – I am NOT a biblical literalist because I know that it simply can not and is not read that way consistently. Yes, God created the male form and female form. But if we are to begin asking questions about the beginning of creation I ask (as I did in Sunday school which is why the ladies always frowned at me) – where did Cain’s wives come from? See, it really begins to unravel from the beginning if we try to be literal/factual. I can still claim the Bible is true and holy without it being literal/factual.

      http://www.amazon.com/Reading-Bible-Again-First-Time/dp/0060609192

  • CG

    I have a quick questions Kimberly

    Do you get more “how can you be gay and Christian?” questions from Christians or non -Christians?

    With that asked, I am a black, and though it rarely comes up I do get questioned by non-Christians with some form of “how can black people accept Christianity, it was something that was historically forced upon them by oppressors”

    They are actually perplexed by that. To be honest there are times when this does make me pause, but I find that I still believe in God and Christ for reasons some emotional and some rational (though I’m sure others will disagree with this lol)

    I wonder if that experience is similar to yours (though I’ll not say exactly the same) when the “gay and Christian” befuddlement comes up.

    • Kimberly Knight

      That is a fantastic question CG! I actually DO get that question a little more often from folks who are not CHristian than I do who are Christian. I am fortunate to run in Christian circles that are radically open and affirming so the day-to-day of my faith journey is surrounded with loving and active folks. I also run in secular academic and activist circles and even know a yummy hedonist or two. My LGBT friends who are not on an organized religion path do often wonder how I can be a part of a system that works so hard to oppress me. I can only say that I just am because of the journey I have had and how I have experienced God in my life. I also answer with a little bit of faux snark and say that this time around the universe I happened to be born as a white female in the south at the end of the 1960′s. Christianity has been both a wounding and healing experience for me. Plus I am really convinced by liberation theologies and process theology that spring from Christian boards. And yeah, me too on the emotional level. There is something about the feelings of it all, and the memories of the sights, sounds and smells of my youth that I still hold dear. Cool thing is with my work in seminary and along side many wise companions I have learned that I do not have to check my reason at the door :)

      —- CG – I think this may end up a whole blog post! Thanks for being here and lifting up this important question. —-

      Kimberly

  • plutosdad

    Of course, even if we assume the commenter is correct and only a (“traditional”) male can raise his son to be a “traditional” male with those attributes, etc, it still doesn’t mean anything. There are so many children in far worse circumstances, he is effectively saying the only parenting styles that should be allowed are “only the BEST case or the WORST case” which is an unethical and harmful position. Certainly “second best” is good enough.

    Otherwise, what the commenter is saying is all the unadopted children languishing in foster care (or in orphanages in some countries) are better off than being adopted by one person, or by two people of the same sex. That argument is practically self-evidently false. But it is indeed what these people are saying.

    And what’s funny about what you said, my wife is a trial attorney and much more like Mars and I am more like Venus in most respects. All my life my father, the church, etc, has been telling me I’m “not a real man”, and Mo is here basically espousing the same viewpoint: that there is only one type of “right” way to be a good person. While I need to grow in some areas, to become a better communicator, be more assertive, etc, I simply cannot change my core personality. Should people like me, or my wife, or others who don’t fit a stereotype, also not be allowed to have children? And if not, if we are an exception and “Second best”, then why not 2 same sex partners?

    It seems Mo and the rest make exceptions for all other types of parenting than his idea “best”, except for gay couples. Then suddenly no exception can be made.

    • plutosdad

      I am not saying he’s right, of course. Just pointing out even if he is, his conclusion is still wrong.

    • Kimberly Knight

      You are right on friend but I would like to gently challenge your use of “second best”. Neither the way you live in the world or the family I have with two biological daughters raised by two lesbians is “second best”. Both are myths created by a culture who must define reality in hierarchies rather than graced-filled, interdependent realities.

      Of course, there is also the reality that Mo (and others who challenge this notion) totally disregard – that many mixed gender parent households are horrible places of deprivation and abuse. Many hetero men and women leave their families, their children with no regard for their physical, emotional or mental well being. I can say without a doubt that what I am offer my family is a best, not a second best, if we are to compare our same gender marriage to some mixed gender marriages that I have known (and even encountered in the NICU while serving as a chaplain in a children’s hospital). I promise my wife has encountered MANY children in her line of work who have been thrown into the outer darkness by mixed gender parents.

      • Gin

        Hello Kimberly,

        I couldn’t agree with you more! It is unfortunate that the Church at large would rather a “traditional” family stay together, even when there is abuse, adultery, and terrible brokenness, than for a gay or lesbian couple to raise healthy and well adjusted children. I came from a straight home that was severely dysfunctional and abusive. My step-daughter moved out of her father’s house into mine and my wife’s home after she had had enough abuse. My step-daughter finally knows what it is to live in a safe and loving home. She finally sees what REAL love looks like. I am not putting down any straight home that raises happy and healthy children. I am merely saddened by the fact that the Church would rather a family stay together and continue in such abusive and dysfunctional behavior than to separate and divorce–or even accept a healthy relationship between lesbians or gays. My heart breaks because God never intended for the letter of the Law 6000 years ago to be enforced today—to those whom it was never intended for—and completely out of context of its original meaning of idolatry.

  • http://www.sgamovie.com Daneen Akers

    Thanks so much for this great piece. I really appreciate how you articulate this along with the grace with which you do so. I get a lot of comments from people like Mo on our Facebook page for our documentary about the experiences and spiritual journeys of gay and lesbian Seventh-day Adventists, and I sometimes find extending grace and compassion for where there are in their journey and worldview to be a challenge. Thanks for modeling that here.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Thanks Daneen, it is good to have you here in the conversation! It is indeed hard at times to extend grace when we know that we will only have our hands slapped for the effort but then again we are all gonna fall short eh? All we can do is get up, “turn around” and try again even when the effort is painful.

      <3

  • http://brokenheadsojourn.blogspot.com Marcus Rempel

    Kimberly,

    I was intrigued with your comment about yourself being from Venus and your partner being from Mars. As I make more gay friends, it seems to me that in every relationship, a certain balance of masculine and feminine qualities needs to be struck. Sometimes the balance is more between two individuals, and sometimes the balance is more within individuals. That is, a really “butch” woman will prefer to pair with a very femine female partner. Or two men who are more or less equally “two-spirited” will make a good match. I would apply this same pattern to my own hetero-marriage – there are ways in which I embody more feminine traits which complement certain more masculine traits of my wife. In other areas, our tendencies are very traditionally divided. What’s seems important is a balance.

    Would you corroborate this pattern from your experience? If so, could the positive value of masculine-feminine balance within and or between partners be a way in which gay and gay-affirming folks could re-affirm the goodness of “male and female God created them”?

    I ask because I sometimes feel there is something wonderful about gender and gender roles that I am being asked to give up to make space for gay friends. I’d like to think I can celebrate variations on a beautiful natural pattern without having to deny the pattern.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Marcus,

      I think you raise some great questions here. I do actually think about this a lot and have written one blog about it (well, you might find the ways I am different from my partner sprinkled through many posts) http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight/2013/02/complementarianism-can-be-so-queer/

      Here is the best way I can answer at this point. It is not my experience 100% of the time, but I know many same gender couples where one partner is more masculine by our traditional understanding of what it means to be a man and one is more feminine according to our traditional understanding of what it means to be a feminine woman. There are couples I know where both are “butch” or both are “femme” but I do not entirely accept (or reject) those labels because they are steeped in cultural programming.

      That being said, I do not think you or anyone needs to give up the ways you live into being a man or relating to your wife. Your way of understanding and living into those realities, as long as you are not locked in or locking your partner in to categories that parts of their innate personality may transcend. And sure, God created male and female – that is not ever to be denied, but God did not proclaim for all time that only man can fly a fighter jet and that only women can wash dishes – ya know? But if your gay friends do not honor the way you both live into who God created you to be then that is not much better than if you expect them to live contrary to the way God created them.

      Furthermore – I tend to believe that relationships grounded is difference are pretty dern important. If I married someone who hates to do laundry as much as I do we would be in a pickle to be sure. And I am perfectly content living with and loving someone who is the gun-toting, Aikido practicing, fast car driving cop that she is while I am all hippy rainbows, girl scout patches, and church small group a’goin.

      My main point is that we should not be (and in our case are not) limited to specific gifts or roles based on the body in which our incredibly complex hearts, minds and souls inhabit. If a visual helps, our souls can fit together like a Yin-Yang even if for some it might seem like our bodies do not.

      Long reply I know, but I appreciate your questions and the kind and gentle way you lifted them up.

      Peace,
      Kimberly

      • http://brokenheadsojourn.blogspot.ca Marcus Rempel

        And thank you for the gentleness in your reply. These are big cultural innovations we are working through here. Honesty and gentleness are really important disciplines as we find our way.

        I want to be clear that I have not experienced any of my gay friends to not honor the way I live into being a male. Certainly not directly. It’s more like progressive liberal culture no longer has a vocabulary to honor maleness and femaleness.

        A couple of years ago I was led through a sweat by a wonderful aboriginal elder (a woman, by the way). It was really a liturgy of thanksgiving that took us through the four directions, honouring particular types of animals, humans and teachings associated with each of the four directions. East for children, South for women, West for men, North for the elders, I believe it was. In the West she led us in thanksgiving for the men in our lives. She named certain traits and roles of her husband and gave such sincere thanks for these. I wept, realizing that in my progressive liberal context, we no longer have language for affirming men as men. What can we say that is special and valuable about men? Anything we draw attention to would violate the new cardinal rule that “anything boys can do, girls can do as well.”

        And so we see a generation of boys coming up who are confused and insecure about their identities. Their testosterone makes them more boisterous, more physical, more assertive, more interested in certain kinds of problems and pursuits, and they encounter a culture that is beginning to treat their biology as more of a problem than a gift.

        Can we find a language that again values maleness and femaleness, even while it is comfortable with recognizing divergence and diversity? We don’t want the categories to become a stranglehold on us again; We want to be able to affirm the possibility and goodness of masculinity among women and femininity among men. We need to receive the special gift of persons who straddle male and female worlds and identities. But part of making peace with ourselves as biological creatures has to look at human sexual dimorphism and be able to say “It is good.”

        And oh yes, great post on complementarianism.

        • Kimberly Knight

          Marcus,

          Thank you for sharing this intimate and important story in your life. I recognize your pain in wrestling with how to live into this new world of shifting gender roles and I appreciate you sharing your journey here with us.

          I do agree at some level that we keep watering down our language and that it can be problematic for many. But I want to gently push back on a few of your thoughts with a few questions – none that I really have answers for…

          How can we affirm the “masculine” qualities of an individual without generalizing and implying that all men “should” or do exhibit those characteristics?

          How can we teach all children, regardless of gender, to live into the gifts with which they are born and to work of the challenges that have been given?

          How can we nurture little boys (as well as little girls) to grow into loving, strong, compassionate, bold, tender *humans* – regardless of the genitalia they have? Regardless of the hormones on board?

          How can we affirm both the boisterous boys brimming with testosterone (while teaching them self-control) AND affirm boys who are not like that – the quiet, “nerdy” “delicate” ones who sometimes end up bullied by the boisterous ones for not conforming to the still normative “boyhood”?

          I do not mean these questions to be or sound aggressive so I hope you will not read them that way. I do understand your longing for clearer lines of demarcation by which we can call a boy a boy and a girl a girl, but I wonder if we can find language instead that calls us into being more fully human.

          Peace,
          KK

          • Marcus Rempel

            No, Kimberly, I’m not longing for clearer lines of demarcation. It’s that I see general patterns that I think it is dishonest and disrespectful not to recognize and validate, just as I see exceptions to the pattern that it is also dishonest and disrespectful not to recognize and validate.

            Maybe it’s because I live on a farm and work with animals. If you want a male animal that will be calm, easy to handle and will quickly put on weight, you castrate him. If you need to keep an intact male animal for breeding purposes, you have to reckon with heightened aggressiveness and territoriality, and well, horniness. I recognize something about myself in those non-human males. Something that needs to be properly contained and channelled, but something that can and should be a gift.

            Thankfully, my brain:testes ratio is a lot higher than it is for those other males, and so I have a lot more behavioural and thought pattern options than those boys do. But still, there is a characteristic maleness that I share with them.

            I think it is interesting and wonderful that there are boys who love to play with dolls and girls that want to ride the tractor; that there are women who like to talk politics and theology for hours and men who are comfortable weeping openly, or being primary care-givers; that there are boys who fall in love with boys and girls who fall in love with girls, and that they feel much the same craziness this boy felt when he met his girl, and that we are all equally and magnificently human.

            But there are natural patterns that I am not interested in pretending aren’t there, or seeing entirely as oppressive social constructions to be shucked off in the Brave New World. Emasculation is a word because it means something real. Animals quickly forget and get over the injury. Men don’t.

  • http://quotablejesus.blogspot.com Dave Montrose

    Stay-at-home dad here. Don’t tell my wife this, but I’m secretly smiling inside when my 14 month old son leans to me to hold him while he’s in her arms. (I know, I shouldn’t be, but that doesn’t make it untrue). The point is, a man can be a nurterer, just like a woman can be a provider. Since we decided to switch “roles”, I’ve been able to enjoy the (stressful) company of my kids and turn what little spare time I have into work for God. I also understand how tough it was for my wife for our first two years of parenthood, when she was the one at home. She will tell you, though, I am still as awful at chores as I ever was.

    Don’t let the commenters get you down! Remember that they are products of their own cloistered worldview. You are doing a very important service of delivering the Good News here!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight Kimberly

      Dave,

      I love this comment! What a great dad and partner you are – I love that you both know how to best offer your gifts to one another and your family. It sounds like you are both living into who you are in beautiful and bold ways and that makes this mamma happy as can be :)

      KK

  • James Jarvis

    The question Mo asks presupposes that it is a sin to be a lesbian. I don’t think it is. So lets remove that from the question all together. The question then becomes a lot more profound. How can I be a Christian and yet fail to fully follow the teaching of Jesus. And lets face we all fail to be the kind of disciple that Jesus would have us be. The answer is we are saved by Grace. The hardest part of accepting God’s grace is that it available to all.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Yes James, Mo’s questions do seem to presuppose a certain world view as if it were truth with a capital T. You are right on so many levels that we all struggle each day to fully live into the example and call of Christ. And yes, it is utterly shocking and for some rather revolting to know that grace is indeed available to all – and is free.

      • ron

        But Kim, isn’t it true that everyone holds to some kind of presuppostion…about what is “true” about anything. You and all the commenters here seem so critical of Mo because Mo seems to presuppose a world view that to him is Truth with a capital “T”. But you yourself make it clear that you also presuppose certain things that are to you Truth with a capital “T”. That is, you start with the presupposition that for centuries, probably 1900 or more years, the historic christian churches teaching about sexual activity between people of the same sex as being an expression of disobedience to God’s Word is in fact wrong and now we need to correct that truth with our truth. And that truth is that all of the creedal confessions of the christian church throughout history and their statements about the inspiration of scripture are wrong and we have now moved beyond this bring about the correct or corrected view of what the Bible really is. I’m sure I’ll get bombed here from commenters about Leviticus and OT this and that. All of the abuses one can point to in heterosexual marriges etc etc. I guess my point is KIm, you write here with a very tightly defined set of presuppostions, not just Mo. But I am still trying to be friendly here even though I have different beliefs than you and your commenters.

        • Kimberly Knight

          Ron,

          First, let me say that I am totally receiving your voice as friendly and a gentle but firm push. I entirely welcome that. I do not expect or require that everyone who comes to the table be lock step with me or others who read and comment. I do expect for folks – much like you have – to lift up their differences with tender integrity.

          Second, I hope you see that I took a posture of replying to rather than criticizing Mo. I try (but sometimes fail miserably) to lead with grace and an assumption that the other person is open as well. I also often get my hands slapped for reaching out in grace.

          Lastly – you are right, it does appear as if I have a capital T truth that I hang my hat on. I guess in a way I do and please know that I do frequently question everything, even what I think I understand about God. I never mind it being pointed out when I carry myself a little too certainly. But if there is something I feel certain about that I am not afraid to claim is that anything, no matter in what era, no matter from what book, no matter how codified in church “teaching”, is up for question – certitude is specious at best. Yes, I daily question the teachings of humanly constructed institutions that claims to know the heart and mind of God for all time and all people. As a gal raised as a baptist I do carry a healthy suspicion for creeds :)

          If we look closely at Christian history (I recommend reading Diana Butler Bass’ “A People’s History of Christianity”) of all stripes, we see denominations getting it right and wrong all the time. For me this means that no matter what we may have been told for centuries we ALL, regardless of our tradition, regardless of historical teachings, see through a glass darkly.

          I hope no one here “bombs” you for leaning into OT and Levitical writings but I will push back a little and – as I said before – I have never once encountered a Christian who adheres to every single Levitical law 100%. If so they could hardly live in this country. Maybe the Amish ;)
          With those Christians (if you can show me one) I have no beef – go for it. So if we are going to have an honest discussion about living according to OT rules then we need to go one by one – otherwise, if we throw one out, then all of them are up for grabs. Every last one.

          Keep hanging around Ron. As long as you are trying to lead with grace and kindness I am all for rich dialog.

          • ron

            Thanks, you are a very cool gal.

  • patricia leach

    I think that the author of the comment is confusing being a follower of Jesus and a follower of the Bible.

    • Kimberly Knight

      That is my point exactly Patricia :)

  • http://religiousrefuse.wordpress.com Doreen A Mannion

    Thank you for such a well thought out and heartfelt, generous response.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Thank you Doreen

  • http://hermannucc.com Rick riedel

    Amazing and wonderful. So well put. Thank you.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Thank you so very much Rick :)

  • http://www.kirkwoodumc.org Jess Horsley

    Very well written and beautifully said! As the father of a 3 y.o. daughter, I love teaching my daughter how to be a kind, intelligent and fierce young lady who loves God. There’s no reason my wife – who’s expecting our son in 4 months – can’t do the same for him once he’s born too!

    • Kimberly Knight

      Indeed (and congrats!) May both of your children receive the multifaceted gifts you both bear.

  • Pastor Tommy

    Very well written, polite and succinct. Very well reasoned and thought out. May the blessings of God be given unto you and your family.

    Pastor Tommy

  • Paul S. Fraser

    Thank you for a profound, and heart-warming article, based in love, that addresses the questions so many “conservative” Christians throw at us “progressive” Christians. As a student of Walter Wink some forty years ago at Union in NYC, I deeply appreciate your bringing to mind his prophetic witness about who Jesus really meant and what “the third way,” or the Jesus Way, really is: radical, humble and unconditional love.

    • Paul S. Fraser

      …what Jesus really meant…

  • Glennyce

    I misspelled Jennifer Wright Knust name…it is Knust not Kurst…my bad

  • Glennyce

    I love it when you go all theology on us .. In preparing a sermon for this Sunday on Marriage I found this article by Jennifer Wright Kurst in the Washington Post. Jennifer is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Boston University. Professor Kurst wrote “The Bible is simply too complicated and too contradictory to serve as a guide to secular morals. Treating the Bible as a rulebook impoverishes the biblical witness and short-circuits our ability to speak honestly about sex. Since the Bible never offers anything like a straight forward set of teachings about marriage, desire or God’s perspective on the human body, the only way to pretend that it does it to refuse to read it. If we do take the time to read the Bible, we are likely to discover that the biblical writers do not agree with us, whatever version of sexual morality we are seeking to promote. Written more than 2000 years ago at a significant historical and cultural distance, the Bible gathers together a diverse collection of ancient books, edited over time, not a coherent, divinely inspired set of instructions that can easily be applied”

    As someone who has just come to the Bible after being raised a Christian, I have learned to appreciate the revelation of God’s love that I find in its reading, not in the Rules. Mo, even Jesus encouraged us to throw out the laws and the rules and concentrate on two basic precepts. love God, Love your neighbor. That is how and why I throw out all of that other stuff

    • Kimberly Knight

      Thank you Glennyce, I appreciate your support and really, really appreciate the quote you shared with us. So glad to have you on this journey with us!

    • http://www.greggdeselms.com Gregg DesElms

      Well both quoted and said, Glennyce…

      …especially the love God and love neighbor part, on which Christ, himself, said, in Matthew 22:40, depend all the law and the prophets.

      It doesn’t get any more red-lettered than that.

      Gregg L. DesElms
      Napa, California USA
      gregg at greggdeselms dot com
      http://tinyurl.com/deselms-prop-8-speech


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