What took you so long or PTL?

Today Hilary Clinton announced her support for gay marriage by saying that gays and lesbians are “full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes marriage,” she says, adding that she backs gay marriage both “personally and as a matter of policy and law.”

This past weekend Rob Bell spoke, in a church, in support of same-sex marriage “I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs — I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”

Last week Republican Senator Rob Portman came out in support of gay marriage – “I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married.”

Last month prominent Republicans — some really powerful folks, signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry.

The times they are a’changin’ – PTL!!

 

Now I could be cynical and say:

What the hell took y’all so long to wake up to love, oh and equality?
What took you so long to muster the courage to actually represent all your local constituents?
Why did it take so freakin’  long to live up to “liberty and justice for all”?

But I’m not feelin’ it that way.

Rather than take a cynical (certainly realistic) view I want to believe that hearts and minds truly are evolving. Today I’m choosing a posture of gratitude that looks at what is and can be rather than what was.

For some it is now deeply personal. Sure, it is Senator Portman’s job lead beyond his personal desires and beliefs to create good for all – to represent – but the reality is we all lead in our own spheres from our personal contexts and through the lenses we wear. And in the last couple of years his lenses have changed from dim and narrow spectacles to lovely Elton John rainbow tinted lenses. Even if his progress comes from initially selfish motives I still want to celebrate the opening of a new heart.

For some, changes like this only occur when it is deeply personal – I know, apart from idealistic notions of how leadership should happen, that hearts and minds are messy tumbles of stones that sometimes crack and break in the river of life. But more often than not I believe that our conflicted thoughts, desires and beliefs tumble around and smooth one another into supple hearts of compassion and grace. Today, and last week, and last month, my gut reaction is gratitude – and hope. With that impulse I am choosing not to jump into the “nothing is ever good enough” or “why now, why not two decades ago” critique campaign. I just want to believe that one step and a time, one heart at a time compassion and justice are seeping into every corner of our beautiful and broken world.

Ok, to be a little less squishy and more matter-of-fact, these powerful men and women hold the key to the equality of many, so at the end of the day I guess I don’t care so much why or when they’ve changed official positions, just that they are. Either way I’m believe that the end result is the same and that the arc is bending before our very eyes.

Yep, these are dark and muddy waters we are still wading through, and we have a long way yet to go.  Sure, some of the shift we are seeing is about personal gain, political posturing and professional longevity – no argument with that.   And there will be harsh, dangerous and likely deadly backlash as these changes pick up speed, with God’s love careening through the highways and the hedges.

Thanks be to God for where we have been, what we can see now and what is coming into view just on the other side.

 

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 addiction 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.

  • Kimberley

    Interesting discussion. Thanks for hosting this. A couple of points on the discussion.

    1) I thnk most of us do believe in absolute truth. Therefore on the goodness of equality in marriage one group is right on this issue and one group has to be wrong.

    2) Christians need to stop excommunicating each other. Using phrases like “you are not a Christian” adds nothing to a discussion. If a person believes that Jesus is God, beleives that he suffered for us and was resurrected then that person is a Christian. One may believe a fellow Christian to be a poor example of a Christian but if you call on the name of Jesus you are a Christian.

    3) Christians on each side of the marriage equality issue need to look hard at their fellow Christians on the other side. Those for marriage equality are asking Christians on the other side to forsake 2,000 of tradition and a consistent reading of the bible. Christians against marriage equality are asking our LGBT brothers and sister to forsake and turn aside an intrinsic part of their being. So equating our LGBT brothers and sisters with murderers and thieves is not Christian. And calling our traditional brothers and sisters bigots is also not Christian. If Christians can’t act like Christians with each other how can we convert the non-Christian among us?

    Prayers to all.

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

      Thank you other Kimberly for encouraging us to be loving and more careful with out words. At the end of the day I care less about how other Christians believe as long as they are not trying to set laws for all Americans based on their particular interpretation of one religion out of the many that make up our land. Do I hope and pray for more hearts and minds to be opened to a still speaking God that I believeis calling us into an evolution, a revolution of radical love and hospitality? Yes. Do I believe that I have heard much out of the mouths of self proclaimed Christians that is anything by Christ like? Yes. Am I guilty of speaking in anger and fear myself (fear of losing my family, my humanity and anger when I see people using Jesus and the bible as a weapon). Yes

      My absolute truth is that God is love and anything, anything, anything that is abusive or contrary to love is not of God.

  • Ron

    In full disclosure here I must start by saying that I do view the Bible as an authoritative Word of God, in contrast to many of you on this site. I don’t write out of that perspective with as much emotion and accusation as some others who comment here but I start my reasoning where my reasoning starts. So, my comment is, I wish that somehow the word “marriage” could remain a description of the union between a man and a woman. I wish there would be some other term given and allowed to those of the same sex wherein they would be given the same benefits and consideration as any in a hetereosexual marriage. I believe the word “marriage” is a sacred word within the christian faithand has always been for the entire history of the christian church. I believe that throughout its teaching the Bible speaks of the “otherness” of one another in marriage. It speaks of an “other”, God,who has relationship with his people in a way illustrated by the word “marriage”. I believe the entire arc of scripture, (or some would say its redemptive thread) stretches from God’s creation of a man and a woman throughout all of its record, to the book of revelation, where history is said to reach its culmination in the marriage supper of the Lamb when Christ and his bride are united. I guess my point in this comment is to ask the question, why force the christian church to change the meaning of the word? And to also ask my fellow “Bible believing” commenters here, why all the anger and condemnation? none of you, nor me are better than anyone else who comments here. If you can’t “love your neighbor” in this discussion or at least show some respect to Kimberly, then go somewhere else.

    • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

      Ron . . .

      Thanks for commenting, and for your reasonableness. It’s much appreciated (speaking for myself, of course).

      I often meet Christians who say they believe the Bible is the Word of God (and by “Bible” most Christians I speak to mean the Protestant collection). I typically ask them if they know it, or if they believe it. There’s a difference. If they say they “know” it, I ask them how (because most Bible-believers never honestly ask themselves “how” they know). I ask them if they can offer evidence, incontrovertible proof of so-called divine authorship or inspiration. In all cases, evidence can never be offered because it cannot be proven. The only fact of authorship when it comes to the writings in the Bible is that they were thought-up and penned by people.

      This doesn’t make the Bible less sacred. It simply affirms the truth of its actual authorship.

      As for people who “believe by faith” that the Bible is divinely inspired or authored by God, that isn’t the same thing as “knowing.” Belief is not knowledge. Believing by faith simply means choosing to believe because one wants to believe. And in many, many cases, people believe in something because they were taught to — or conditioned to — as a result of recurring reinforcement of an idea over time. And too many such people, sadly, are never taught to consider things critically. And in many cases, people are actually encouraged not to consider things critically. “Just believe” is the all too well known call.

      I’m not criticizing “believers.” I used to be a hardcore Bible-believer. Super hardcore. What I am criticizing is “belief” masquerading as “knowledge.” Even worse is belief that masquerades as divine knowledge.

      But here’s where I take issue with your position on the word “marriage.” You want it to remain the distinctive term solely for male-female couples. Here’s how you explained why you feel this way: “I believe the word ‘marriage’ is a sacred word within the christian faithand has always been for the entire history of the christian church.”

      For starters, no one is trying to “force” churches to change the meaning of the word marriage. It is actually the opposite. People like me who stand for equal marital rights for gay and non-gay people actually affirm the sacredness of marriage as an institution, and the meaning of the word. The only difference is we are working to ensure that the institution of marriage includes everyone. Why? Because it actually does. Ours is a fight for affirming the human right of inclusion, rather than demanding exclusion on narrow and limiting religious grounds.

      And “everyone” happens to include non-Christian Americans (such as Jews, Unitarian Universalists, Hindus, atheists, etc.) who do not subscribe to either your religious ideology, or mine, or Kimberly’s, etc.

      Anyway, that’s how people like me, Kimberly, and others strive to love our neighbors as ourselves. And we remember that the “Samaritan” — the “other” whose religion is different than ours — is also our neighbor, not just people who see, think, or believe as we do.

      • ron

        R.Jay: Thanks for your response. While I hope to not dodge the questions you have about Bible believers such as me and others, I’d rather not spend a lot of time on it. I’m not sure I am clear on the distinction you make between the word know and the word believe. I may say the same things as the other people have said to you before but my thinking goes this way: I believe the internal evidence of scripture gives proof to its writings being the Word of God and the books contained within the canon of the christian scripture bearing witness to one another as a unified witness to the revelation of a Triune God accomplishing a redemptive work of salvation on behalf of humankind in the person of Jesus Christ. I trust and do believe also that the work and decisions of the early church councils were faithful and diligent work in regard to the authorship and gathering of what has been recognized throughout church history as the canon of holy scripture. Therefore I do believe evidence is there. I chose to believe what I just said and therefore I reason from that system of thought. But its not just my thoughts, it is the entire body of work in regard to christian church history for two thousand years. Admittedly my reasoning goes round and round based on my aforementioned belief systems. But everyone’s reasoning is circular, we just start at different places. I spoke of the word “marriage” as being a sacred word in the christian church and you responded that you and others are trying to affirm the sacredness of marriage (I’m assuming you mean in the context of the christian church) “the only difference is that we are working to ensure that it includes everyone.Why? Because it actually does.” But it doesn’t. I cannot find anywhere in the history of the christian church where the meaning of the institution of marriage spoke to the union of two people of the same sex. I’m not trying to exclude Jews, Hindus or atheists of opposite sexes from being married. That’s not the point here at all. I’m trying to argue for keeping the word marriage in the context and language of the christian church what it has been. A union between a man and a woman. Your point about my use of the word “force” is well taken. Maybe it would be better to say that I’m left with the feeling that the meaning of the word marriage has been hijacked by some and is being reinserted into the context of the christian church with a meaning it has never had before. Well, I’m going on and on here and not sure how much sense I am making by this time. R.J. I sure appreciate your pushing back on this. Believe me, you and Kimberly are sure helping me not be as close-minded as I think I used to be on this issue…I see that smile…as you probably think I haven’t made too much progress on the closeminded part.God bless you.

      • ron

        R.Jay: Now its morning and I have my tax work done. I wrote the other entry while doing taxes. Now I realize I didn’t respond to the last sentence of your response to my use of the word “force”. You said,”Ours is a fight for the human right of inclusion, rather than demanding exclusion on narrow and religious grounds.” R.Jay, my point would be that yes, we all have the “right” to be included with those who are treated with respect, genuine love and compassion, because we are “human”. I believe that in regard to all people, regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion etc. I not only believe that, I speak out publicly in regard to these issues and in the context of the “evangelical church” community I am part of, that does not win you a lot of friends. I am ostracized and/or marginalized by most. I do not believe though, that we have a “human right” to change the theological teaching of a religious group and say “this” is now what is meant by the term “christian marriage”. We don’t have the “right” to do that biblically nor do we have the “right” in america to do that constitutionally.

        • ron

          None of this, by the way, has anything to do with my views about Hillary Clinton. I think she would make a pretty good president. OK…I’ll stop now.

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

            Thank you both Ron and R Jay for the thoughtful, compassionate and intelligent way you have been in conversation with one another.

            Ron I especially appreciate the tone and manner in which you have articulated your questions and concerns. There is a HUGE difference in how you challenge us (with grace and integrity) and you are so welcome at this table!

            R.Jay has done a wonderful job of addressing some of your questions and concerns but allow me to add this – there ARE Christians who do affirm my partnership as a marriage, who see my partner as my wife. I do not believe that one group has the right to determine the theological trajectory of any other group (and yes, that goes both ways I know). I was married by one. I worship in a whole community of others. More importantly – I believe that evangelical Christians should NOT be the one religious group to set the laws of the land for all Christians, all citizens regardless of faith tradition.

            The word marriage matters to me because it matters to our society and it matter to me because that is what my relationship is. As a Christian woman, I understand my commitment to my wife as a covenant between she, I, God and our community grounded in faithful love, devotion forsaking all others, in sickness and health, til death do us part. My relationship, my family, my children should not be relegated to second class citizens because some Christians do not believe it to be real. To sound like a snarky bumper sticker for a moment – For those who do not believe in “gay marriage”, don’t have one. But less snarky, when can evangelicals and fundamentalists let go and let God (also a bumper sticker)? The overwhelming urge to control others is nothing more than saying God can’t handle it so we have to be in control – and as far as I can tell that is pert nearly blasphemous eh?

            • ron

              “that is pert nearly blasphemous,eh?” yes, except up here in Illinois, we say “pretty near blasphemous” . God bless you sister.

  • Jessica

    I haven’t commented here much, but Sandra Lee, and Selah you have both stated things in the comments that I would like to address. This will probably be a lengthy response since I like to be thorough. Sandra Lee “brothers and sisters, etc. can be allowed to marry because they express a covenant of love like you say?” There was an experiment conducted to find out if women found men’s scent attractive. The men exercised for an hour or so on a tread mill then gave their sweaty clothes to the scientists. The scientists then had women smell the clothes and then rate whether they found the smell pleasing or not. They found that it depended upon where a woman was at in her cycle whether she found it attractive or not. During ovulation a woman will find the scent arousing. However, when she is not she will find a man’s scent unappealing. Well, the scientists ran this same test again except some of women’s fathers and/or brothers participated. No matter what point a woman was at in her cycle she always ranked the scent of her male relatives as extremely unpleasant. The scientists realized that in order to increase the odds of producing healthy offspring and to decrease the odds of passing genetic disorders the brain analyzed the men’s scent then sent signals of being repugnant or pleasing based on whether that male offered a greater genetic diversity or not. This study and others show that not being attracted to your sibling or other closely related relative has a basis in biology and nature. It’s not just social conditioning. So, your question implied what makes gay marriage/relationships different from an incestuous one. The answer to this is also a critique of Selah’s comment. “Do you really believe that a Holy and Righteous God would give a blessing to an unnatural union between a man and a man or a woman with a woman and put His blessing on it?” (Emphasis mine.) Well, to quote the article Are we born gay? Science suggests yes by Tom Bestor. “Recent studies have found that when one identical twin is gay, there is a 52 percent chance the other is also gay; if one fraternal twin is gay, the probability the other twin is gay drops to 22 percent; and if one separate-birth sibling is gay, there is only a 6 percent to 10 percent chance another sibling will be gay. This indicates both heritability and that something environmental (probably hormone levels in utero) is at play. This is reinforced by the fact that more recent studies have indicated that when identical twins share an amniotic sack, they nearly always have the same orientation, gay or straight. Look also at studies on fraternal birth order. Ray Blanchard and colleagues discovered accidentally that each time a woman gives birth to a son, the chance that the boy will be gay increases by about 30 percent. Older sisters do not affect the probability, only older brothers. Blanchard argues that this indicates an immunoresponse by the mother to the presence of a male child.” Also according to the article, “Gay brains structured like those of the opposite sex” by Andy Coghlan. “Brain scans have provided the most compelling evidence yet that being gay or straight is a biologically fixed trait. The scans reveal that in gay people, key structures of the brain governing emotion, mood, anxiety and aggressiveness resemble those in straight people of the opposite sex. The differences are likely to have been forged in the womb or in early infancy, says Ivanka Savic, who conducted the study at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. “This is the most robust measure so far of cerebral differences between homosexual and heterosexual subjects,” she says.” If by unnatural union Selah, you meant people aren’t gay and weren’t created to desire gay relationships the above shows this is not the case. So Sandra Lee the following those are the justifications as to the secular answer to your question. The difference between incestuous relationships and gay relationships is that a tremendous amount of societal pressure to be straight is required for a gays to suppress their nature. While a tremendous amount of societal pressure and usually extreme circumstances is required for siblings to go against their nature and find each other attractive. Now from a biblical perspective, the answer is much simpler. I am not aware of any scripture linking homosexuality to incest. Considering that in the bible incestuous relationships are-as far as I know- also hetero relationships. So if you were trying to claim something you believe the God of bible deems sinful will lead to incest, the most biblical case would be to argue that heterosexual sins leads to incest. But, the reason that wouldn’t work is for similar reasons linking homosexuality to incest didn’t work. Being hetero is something you’re born as and is natural, incest you have to go against your nature.
    Now for the response to the first part of your question about what would keep society from accepting polygamy, if we accept gay marriage. Well, to borrow the quote Selah used, “Are you serious”? First off, there are two major types of polygamy. The one most often mention is polygyny where one man marries more than one woman. The second is polyandry one woman marries more than one man. Both of these are heterosexual relationships. So how on earth does gay marriage= allow straight people to marry more than one spouse? Seriously, polygyny generally arises in very patriarchal societies where homophobia is rampant, so, yeah, not seeing a connection between the two. Polyandry arises typically in more matriarchal societies. Both polyandry and polygyny do arise after a war, famine, plague or natural disaster leaves a significant gap between the male to female ratio. I’m not seeing a connection between the two from a historical or cultural standpoint. If you believe gay marriage and the forms of polygamy goes against the will of God, you have to admit that the bible doesn’t link the two in scripture. And the way they both play out in various cultures one really doesn’t lead to the other.

  • Laura

    always thankful for your voice Kim, especially amidst the tiring work of prophetic truth telling and having to justify your queerdom and sense of being for the sake of giving voice to people and perspectives that society often wants to silence. proud of you, thankful for you, praying for you

    • Kimberly Knight

      Thank you so much Laura, that means a great deal to me. Peace be with you sister in your ministry.

  • DonaldKosloff

    Kimberly,
    I have a duty to point out that which is fraudulent. What is clearly fraudulent by rational deduction does not require any authority to be noted to be fraudulent.
    I don’t hate anybody, so yor quote doesn’t apply to me.

    • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

      Interesting, Donald: “I have a duty,” you say. In almost every single case of individuals I’ve encountered who’ve said this, they for whatever reason feel themselves to be “chosen” or somehow specially “ordained” — by “God” or whatever force or deity they believe in — as if they were some kind of modern-day prophet or messenger. And in this, they always possess an attitude of superiority, and almost always expressed with the mock humility of “Oh, it’s not my superiority but God’s.” Yet in saying this very thing, they make themselves the spokesperson of “God” and whatever his/its so-called superior message is.

      And there is nothing more satisfying to the pathologically insecure than to imagine they are the spokesperson of God ordained with a divine “duty.”

      But I sincerely pity such people, because they are typically very lonely, very afraid, and possess empty belief rather than fulfilling and authentic faith. They are ultimately captives to a religious culture wherein they have been starved and left thirsty, their inner selves decaying from spiritual malnourishment and dogmatic poisoning.

      I don’t need you to think like I do, Donald. I don’t need to convince you of the validity of my faith-life. But what I will do — not out of duty, but out of heartfelt desire and compassion — is love you as I wish to be loved. And to bear witness to the truth that you are beloved of God — equally as every single one of us — not because of what you do, or have failed to do, or what you do or do not believe in, but because of who God is. And God is bigger than our beliefs, unbeliefs, certainties, and uncertainties. And you are beloved of God. Just know that.

      In the spirit of Matthew 25:35-36, I see you hungry, thirsty, a stranger, and naked and sick in the prison of empty faith. And so in my prayers and with my words, you have my love, and through it my sincere desire that you be fed, given drink, embraced, clothed, made well, and set free.

      • Sandra Lee

        Mr. Pearson, I’m sorry to say this but you obviously misinterpret and don’t know the Bible :( Did Donald imply that He was God’s spokesperson? Wow!! As Christians, we are called to uphold each other. Isn’t that the same Bible you read?? If you want to strangle yourself, should I not call for help, or try to stop you?? I’m totally shocked with this discussion but I now understand that the word Christian is a very loose word.

        • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

          Sandra, here’s a translation: you’re shocked because you can’t fathom a conversation proceeding in a manner that does not match your own viewpoint. If it doesn’t look like what’s in your head, you react with “total shock.” As you did in your comment here.

          You just cannot fathom how people can call themselves Christians and not see things the way you see them, or not believe as you believe. That’s exactly how you’re coming across. Just like the intolerant disciples at Mark 9:38-41.

          As a Christian, my aim is not to have a faith identical to yours, or Donald’s. Nor do I demand that your faith or Donald’s — or anyone’s for that matter — be identical to mine. My aim is to live a life of unmitigated Love as Jesus expressed it in the Greatest Commandment (Mark 12:28-31). If that shocks you, then perhaps you need to start seeing things with better eyes.

          God bless.

  • DonaldKosloff

    Hadhufag,
    Just because diversity is pleasing to you and me does not mean that it is pleasing to God. It probably is, but you have no authority to unilaterally declare what is pleasing to God. Of course, diversity exists without introducing a practice fraudulently referred to as “gay marriage”.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Donald you have no authority to declare what is fraudulent for all OR for God. “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”
      ~ Anne Lamott

      • Sandra Lee

        Kimberly, as a Christian, you state some VERY scary and questionable things. The Bible is a guide for us all, except you reject some of its teachings which you obviously do. I’m entirely appalled and you have no right to call yourself a Christian but I guess you sadly can. Spiritual perhaps, but not Christian because you mislead and confuse others who are trying to figure out what true Christianity is. People that agree with you won’t tell you because they either ignore the basic principles in the Bible or don’t love you (with Christ’s love and you may disagree). I understand that Christians can be in a bad place, but from this discussion I can see that some of us don’t understand the contexts of the old and new testaments, hence we are mixing our worldviews with the Bible. Diversity is pleasing to God but not sin. Also, can you please answer my question about polygamists getting married?? or bestiality?? or necrophilia?? since these people love who they have sex with.

        • Kimberly Knight

          Sandra, this is the only warning you will get. If you compare homosexuality to bestiality or necrophilia again I will ban you from this site. Your hateful ignorance needs to be “shared” elsewhere. Perhaps you need a blog of your own.

        • Kimberly Knight

          Actually, never mind, you’ve unfortunately become an obsessive troll and I am afraid it is evidence of a sexual obsession or dysfuntion of your own. I feel pity for you Sandra, truly I do, because your vision is so limited and twisted. If this is how you are choosing to spend your faithful energy it is already time to un-invite you to this table.

          But a last word from me – you seem to think (or at least you imply) you follow the bible literally but I wonder if that is true in 100% of your life. Bacon much? How about shrimp, or blended fabrics, own any slaves (which are permissible according to the bible)? And as it turns out, polygamy is a version of family life that is evident in MUCH of the bible or any number of other laws that many “fundamentalist” “Christians” have no problems discarding. It is only that which you do not understand, that which is feared or personally revolting (as revolting as mixed gender sex is to me) that is easy to hyperfocus and claim biblical authority is “clear” and all humans must follow it without any variation.

          All that said, you are clearly not present on this blog to have a conversation which requires active listening. So it is here that we must part ways. I can not allow you to harass or harm readers who come here for healing, grace and liberation from the type of religiosity that Christ came to free us from.

          I will keep you in my prayers though.

  • hadhufang

    I am fascinated by the use of the Hebrew and Greek scriptures as some kind of absolute. They say nothing against marriage between two men or two women, and they have a great deal to say against heterosexual practices. Of course, they also forbid the wearing of clothing made from different source fibres and the eating of seafood and pork. The scriptures are guides, written by people, in and for the time of their origin, and they have may great concepts and precepts to offer. To insist that they be used in some absolute way sometimes but not in others is a little twisted, isn’t it? Jesus says the two most important parts of the scriptures are Dt. 6:5 and Lev. 19:18b. Show me where those two scriptures allow anyone to use any text as a weapon to control the lives of others in the name of any god anywhere. Then we can talk. Meanwhile, I remember that the point of Lev 19:18 is that loving your neighbor is harder than we think; our neighbors compete with us for resources in the world. Hence the need for a special reminder to love those who share the world with us but don’t do it our way. Scripture supports variety and difference. Diversity is pleasing to God.

  • ATL Doug

    I am glad to be part of a faith that no longer enforce all of the pieces of the bible that reduce and oppress those who are different than the men who wrote the books. I believe women are my equal, and often better then I at being a loving child of God. I do not require my wife to be subservient, I do not kill my child when he is disrespectful, I do not kill my neighbor for adultery, and I do not accept slavery as part of God’s will. I do not consider my gay friends to be an abomination, and I do not picket Popeye’s for their abomination of eating shrimp. So I reject much biblical teaching. I believe that God’s message remains the same: “Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor.” The authors of the bible, like every man since Cain and Able, were flawed. Like all of us, they frequently managed to screw up in following that simple message. It may be I am wrong, but I am betting my soul on the idea that love should be at the center of my faith, and I am comfortable with that. As for those who think I am going to hell, I will not be bullied into accepting their fear and hate.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Thank you ATL Doug for lifting your voice of love and affirmation :)

  • Melissa

    “Affirming the works and deceptions of Satan”? Specifically homosexuality I assume Donald means? What about all other types of “sin”? How about the this BIG one? Refusing to love thy neighbor as thyself! Jesus said that to gain the kingdom of heaven we must first love God and THEN love our neighbor as ourselves. What part of loving his neighbor is Donald exhibiting? Oh yes. I’m certain he “loves his homosexual neighbor yet hates their sin”. We’ve all heard that tired cliche ad nauseum. Well, I love Donald, but I hate his sin too. And my own. And that of everyone else. We are all broken. We are all “sinners”. We all stand in need of grace. Even perfect Christians like Donald. I am a long married heterosexual woman. I stand with my gay neighbors and love you as I love myself. Enough said.

  • Pam McGrath

    Thank you Kimberly. I, too, long for quicker action—and am thankful to God that we are moving toward equality. Your words always inspire and enlighten me. Keep it coming! You are a blessing!

    • Kimberly Knight

      Thank you Pam :)

      My. Petty is right, the waiting is the hardest part but we are almost there!

  • Theodore Seeber

    I believe in love and equality. But I also believe in two, and only two, genders to the human species being successfully able to procreate. And I’m not for subsidizing non procreative marriages- not for the infertile, not for the contracepting, and yes, not for the homosexuals. I don’t see why I should pay extra taxes to fund YOUR lifestyle choice.

    • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

      Theodore . . . the issue of same-gendered marriage has nothing to do with procreation, obviously. But like a majority of marriages (a vast majority, in our culture), it does have to do with the covenant of love. And very often it has to do with parenting (which, in the case of adoption, does not require the adopting couple to procreate).

      So where your issue with “subsidies” is concerned, the societal interest in marriage is not necessarily in “procreative marriages” but in potential parenting (emphasis on potential). I can only hope you understand the difference, especially in these modern times.

      As for procreation, it is but one of the potential fruits of heterosexual marriage, but is not the impetus nor the reason for it. Because clearly marriage is not required for procreation.

      • Sandra Lee

        Mr. Pearson,
        Like I stated earlier, polygamists, brothers and sisters, etc. can be allowed to marry because they express a covenant of love like you say? By the way, what is your Biblical foundation for what you state? I would never have commented if we were atheists, but to call ourselves Christians is quite appalling to be honest.

        • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

          Sandra, I do not idolize the Bible. It informs my faith, but it is not the standard of it. Nor is it an authority.

          • Sandra Lee

            Mr. Pearson, I am so glad you stated that. From your statement, we have two different worldviews which I now understand. I believe the Bible is a standard and authority, as well as it informs my faith. I’m glad both of us don’t idolize the Bible because idolatry is sin.

    • Kimberly Knight

      LOL, don’t need you to pay more taxes, that is propaganda you have swallowed my friend. I just want, and deserve as a tax paying citizen of this country, to be afforded every right and protection under the law. I don’t need your religious approval (for I have a loving and faithful Christian community who affirms my family and our walk with God), I do need our nation to live up to a few little things like liberty and justice for all and separation of church and state.

    • Monimonika

      Theodore,

      I assume by your comment that you want tax benefits to only go to those couples that have children, and I honestly think that is the only convincing secular argument that the anti-same-sex-marriage side has. The problem is that, almost no one wants to follow through on the logic and insist on denying current non-procreative heterosexual couples of the benefits of marriage as well.

      I’m sure you agree that it doesn’t matter if heterosexual couples have the “potential” to procreate. Benefits can just be applied once pregnancy/birth is confirmed, so there’s no reason to privilege only and all heterosexual marriages with such benefits beforehand. And since we surely do not want to discriminate against adoptive children, adoption should also trigger the application of these benefits as well. Oh, and children of single parents shouldn’t be left out, so these benefits really can’t be applied to only couples…

      Huh, it seems basing these things on whether or not children are actually involved would streamline things a bit more, and, ironically (for the religious bigot types) make gay adoptive/biological parents have just as much rights as heterosexual parents. Of course, this would all be in exchange for lots and lots and lots of heterosexual “married” couples losing out on many benefits that they are currently taking for granted before they have even had their first potential child.

  • Steve

    Kimberly, thank you for your gift of words and vulnerability. I hope you will continue to share your faith and your passion for loving and grace-filled body of Christ! You are awesome!

  • DonaldKosloff

    Barb
    My heart was opened long ago and remains open. But encouraging people to act sinfully is not an expression of love.

  • DonaldKosloff

    R. Jay
    Affirming the works and deceptions of Satan is not a part of any Christian tradition.

    • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

      I agree wholeheartedly Donald.

  • Bill Sahlman

    ” Today, and last week, and last month, my gut reaction is gratitude – and hope.” beautiful. all I can say is … YES. When I think of how different I thought just five/ten years back, based on my small religious window, I have hope . too.

  • http://gracerules.wordpress.com/ Liz

    I understand why some people are angry that it took so long or because the timing makes it look like it comes from a selfish motive but like you I am not angry. I’ am happy and grateful too – and all of these supportive statements give me hope that the world is becoming a better and safer place for lgbt people.

  • Cindy

    Thank you Kim, for your always thoughtful and loving words. It seems to me that Sandra Lee, Selah and Donald have a lot to learn about following Jesus’s teachings, especially about being non-judgmental and loving our fellow man. God created ALL his children. I remember when people used the Bible to oppose interracial marriage too.

    • Sandra Lee

      Cindy, to be called judgmental is very funny because Christ Himself was not always pleasant in scripture regarding sin. And trying to compare gay marriage to interracial marriage is disrespectful to those that went through crazy times. I agree that people can use the Bible for crazy stuff which is why we must be careful. As I asked someone in this discussion, what’s your foundation? If it’s not based solely on the Bible, then we can’t have Christian conversation.

  • http://patheos Lynette Vann

    Well said Kimberly !! I see your point of view completely . We should all as Christians love each other unconditionally as Christ does us!! After all , nobody but the Lord is perfect !!! You are such a positive role model for women (both straight & lesbian ) !! Thanks for your honest opinions!!

  • DonaldKosloff

    There is nothing progressive, moral or right about a church encouraging actions that are abominations. Homosexuals have always had equal rights with respect to marriage; they could always marry in the same manner as the vast majority of people.

    • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

      You’re right, Donald. There is nothing progressive, moral, or right about a church encouraging actions that are abominations. Such as the action of ignorance, which is the foremost encouraged abomination among traditionalist Christian churches and the biblical literalists who populate them. Ignorance about the actual nature of Scripture, ignorance about the primacy of Love as the sole Christian ethic, and ignorance about our common humanity.

      Your brand of Christianity is spoiled and useless, like milk that has been polluted with vinegar. Yours is a tradition that has been infected with the spiritual pathogen of fear and intolerance. Yours is a tradition whose foul approach is, “Do you think like I do, sinner?”

      Conversely, there are Christians today who are rising above the canopy of your old and dying tradition, Christians whose approach is “I will love you, child of God.”

      You can have your dead tradition, Donald. And you can keep it, continuing in taking pleasure in its graceless regulations and the fickle god you worship, both of which reinforce the sick notion that you are tall only when you knock others down.

      In the mean time, we Christians who choose abundant love will continue to love. Love our neighbor. Love our enemy. And we will continue to affirm the goodness and blessing of intimate love between same-gendered couples, equally as we affirm the goodness and blessing of intimate love between opposite-gendered couples.

      And in doing so, we bear witness to the boundless Love of the God of Life who cannot be captive to man-made writings, but whose presence and grace pervade all Creation.

      God happens when love happens.

  • paul

    Message to (conservative) church and political leaders: Please don’t claim to be “inspired by god” when you lag so very far behind the curve on social issues that are central to human progress and dignity, whether this involves race, gender or sexual orientation. Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way – and, once in a while, take a look at the evidence: for instance, the current sorry state of HETEROSEXUAL marriage, before casting apersions on other groups or tossing out red herrings like 4th of July parade candy.

  • Selah

    Kimberly ,
    What don’t you understand about : A man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh.Ands the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed in each other’s presence. Gen. 2:24,25

    • Ian Lynch

      She understands, as many of us do, that the verse is about the unity of two people in marriage, that the two become one and just because the verse only mentions the dominant paradigm of heterosexuality it in no way prohibits the same blessing on homosexual union. I would never want to deny the blessing of such a union for my sister. In fact, I have and do bless her marriage. I hope that you can open to the beauty of love that surrounds and fills you from our God who is love.

      • Selah

        Ian ,
        In the words of the great John MacEnroe : ” Can you be serious ? “. Do you really believe that a Holy and Righteous God would give a blessing to an unnatural union between a man and a man or a woman with a woman and put His blessing on it ?. The last time I looked at Lev. 18 :22
        it said : You shall not lie with a man as with a woman: it is an abomination. ”
        Oh dear Lord , have pity on those who try to re-define what marriage was really intended by You: A man and a woman . Dear Lord , open their eyes to the error of their ways and their thinking that refutes your innerrant solid, as a Rock truth , that many are trying to twist around for their own satisfaction. Your Word is truth !!!!

  • Sandra Lee

    Great! When polygamists start to pressure society to get married, I hope we can all join the bandwagon. Or if a brother wants to marry his sister, let’s fight for that too. Rob Bell and whoever calls themselves a Christian should be ashamed. Stop trying to “change” the Bible to make it fit your worldview. Christ calls for grace and repentance which is why he told the adulterous woman: Go and sin no more. I’d rather people practice these behaviors and not call themselves Christians, than trying to confuse the world on what Christianity truly is!

    • Barb V.

      Your argument is an example of “reductio ad absurdum”. In addition, you’ve missed the point that Christianity is about love: God’s love which welcomes, enfolds, and sustains all God’s children. All. No one is excluded. All are included. Even in our sinfulness – which you seem to have narrowly defined. Just as God loves us, we are love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds. And second to that, we are love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Love. Love makes room. Love cares for others.
      I am the first to admit that I don’t like everybody and I certainly don’t love everybody. But I still try to see the spark of divinity in each one of us. That glimmer that says, “I, too, am a child of God.”
      I pray that God will open your heart to the possibilities and the miracle of love.

      • Sandra Lee

        Barb, you forget that Jesus is a God of love AND justice. It’s the same Jesus that got angry when people were using His Father’s house to sell items. It’s the same Jesus that called the Pharisees a brood of vipers. Should I say more?? While He exhibits grace, God calls out sin for what it is. And that’s a God of love. If no one is excluded, why did He create hell? I’m not sure why people like you only see one side of God than His total character. That’s an absolute disrespect to His character! Obviously, you read a different Bible which is not God’s word so my heart goes out to you and will pray for you.

        • Barb V.

          Justice? How is exclusion and denial of rights justice? I hardly think that a loving couple who is raising children is the equivalent of the money changers in the temple. Pharisees were unable to see the love and grace of God because they were so focused on Levitical laws created by their forbears. Hence the Apostle Paul’s insistence on love and grace found in our Christ Jesus than single minded adherence to the law of the temple or the customs of pagans.
          I don’t believe in hell. It means nothing. And I’m sure that my concept of heaven and God’s grace and justice is nothing like yours. And while my bible contains the same texts as yours, I’m certain I interpret it much differently than you do since I use a lens of historical context, love, and an understanding of God’s love for all people.
          You, of course are entitled to your beliefs. I simply hope that your God of love and justice will open your heart one day as God has opened mine. I welcome and celebrate my friends and family who are a part of the LGBT community – for I see them as they truly are: people who love and respect others and only want to be loved and respected in return.

          • Sandra Lee

            Barb, what are rights? And where do they come from? That’s the first thing we need to ask ourselves. I’m glad you see a problem with the Pharisees, money changers, etc. We follow Christ because we love Him right? Not because we are adhering to a law. If that’s the case, then that’s not a relationship with God. You don’t believe in hell? Interesting! Everything now makes sense because you choose to interpret the Bible to fit your worldview. I’m glad you use the term “historical text” because the same God showed anger in the Bible although His anger was pure and completely justified. I hope your texts do not only include love because you are missing the big picture. The God of the Bible includes love, justice, grace, repentance, etc. He is love and more!! In conclusion, I welcome people that are struggling with sin because I’m a sinner myself and we should all grow in grace together. But I don’t want to love my sin and force my Christian family to accept me especially when it contradicts God’s word. But, you obviously ignore and don’t believe that part of scripture. The sad thing is you pick and choose what fits your worldview instead of changing your worldview to fit God’s.

        • Niccc

          Jesus defended the woman and make all the pharisees drop their stones. They all walk away when they realize there are sins they have to deal with first. Not one of them stayed behind to insist that the woman is a sinner. You are right that God calls out sin for what it is, but it is not our job. Do not judge for you will be judged.

          • Sandra Lee

            Nicc, nobody is judging. If you say I’m judging, then you are judging me by trying to make me believe your views. God calls us to live in community and you should check out what “iron sharpens iron” in the Bible mean. Sometime, love is stopping someone when they go astray…because they care about the other person.

            • Niccc

              You said, “Obviously, you read a different Bible which is not God’s word so my heart goes out to you and will pray for you. ”

              I may be wrong, but by telling other people that they are not reading the same Bible just because one of their interpretations is different than yours sounds a lot like judging to me. You are questioning other christians’ devotion to the Bible and God. That really shows how ‘righteous’ you are.

              • Sandra Lee

                Nicc, it goes both ways because I’ve been “called out” too. I guess we are “judging” each other right? Christians are righteous in God’s standing although anyone can claim to be a Christian nowadays and reject His teachings. The Bible even says that.

  • James Jarvis

    Somehow I can’t help thinking about the parable of the prodigal son. Too many progressive Christians are acting like the older brother who is angry with his father and brother because the prodigal son received such a warm welcome when he returns to his father’s house. Rather than welcoming Rob Bell, Hilary Clinton and Rob Portman by running down the lane-way to greet them and throwing a party to celebrate them coming home, all too often they stand on the porch wag a finger and say what took you so long. I know that all too often I have acted the part of the older brother but this time I am running down the lane-way with open arms.
    Sound Track: Nomads, Indians, Saints by The Indigo Girls. For some reason I just wanted to listen Amy and Emily’s music after reading your thoughtful blog today.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Thank you, thank you, thank you for the blessing of drawing our attention to how this story, our story, is interwoven with the Gospel.

      Now I’m gonna go listen to TIG!

  • http://refractionsandreflections.blogspot.com Melody

    Beautifully worded. I agree – it is hopeful. It is hard for people to change their position extremely – even if they are completely wrong and it is obvious. And just as a sidenote, I really hope Hillary runs for President in 2016. She will have my vote!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimgerlyknight Kimberly Knight

      Thank you Melody – and me too!

  • http://www.progressivechristiantybook.com Roger Wolsey

    Agreed. As a United Methodist, it sure would’ve been nice if she’d come out with that in April, 2012; i.e., before the General Conference of the UMC. Well, better late than never. Welcome to the good ship The Radical Inclusivity and Hospitality of Jesus” sister Hillary and brother Rob!

    • http://www.butnotyet.com Joel Rieves

      Do you really think that would’ve have a made a difference, Roger?


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