Guest Post by Dr. Tony Campolo

On Monday October 11th (also not coincidentally that is also National Coming Out Day), Dr. Tony Campolo will be speaking at The Marin Foundation’s Living in the Tension Gathering on Faith, Sexuality and Politics. Our event will be held at Roscoes, the historic gay bar in Boystown (Starting at 7:30pm CST). Here is the link to the free event. Leading up to the event, Tony has written a guest post for us. Here you go…

“Anyone reading the New Testament will become aware that Jesus broke from conventional religion in order to connect with and love people who lived on society’s margins.  He was well received by those in the synagogue and even appreciated until He made it clear that He wanted to include in the household of faith those people who had been pushed aside by the religious establishment.  In Luke 4:16-31, we read how, in His inaugural sermon at the synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus was greatly honored and appreciated until He pointed out that His message would be more likely accepted by those who were generally considered unacceptable in the household of faith.  He specifically mentioned the widow who lived in Sidon and a Syrian named Naaman, along with lepers.  Neither of these people were proper Jews who fit the requirements of what would be deemed “godly people.” 
 
Elsewhere in scripture, we recognize that Jesus made a special effort to extend the invitation for inclusion in His Kingdom to the maimed, the blind, and the halt.  According to the laws of the Torah and Talmud, such persons were to be excluded from the Temple, and were considered “unclean.”  Yet Jesus makes a special effort to extend His invitation and love to these marginalized persons.
 
In our own day and age, the Evangelical community has marginalized our gay and lesbian and transsexual brothers and sisters.  It doesn’t take much imagination to conclude that the Jesus who was always reaching out to the marginalized would be making a special effort in our contemporary society to express His love and to extend His invitation for fellowship to our modern day brothers and sisters who are estranged from our churches.
 
To reach out to the LGBT communities and join them in their cry for justice, and to champion their efforts for inclusion in our churches, is to simply imitate Christ. Being  followers of Jesus requires this.
 
I often hear my fellow Evangelical brothers and sisters talk about loving gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons in the name of Christ, but then they turn around and stand opposed to these oppressed brothers and sisters enjoying all the same rights that the heterosexual community enjoys.  It is obvious to any thinking person that you cannot tell people that you love them if you do not stand up for justice on their behalf.  Justice is nothing more than love translated into social policies. 
 
To not affirm the LGBT community as being people loved of God and, hence, loved by those of us who are straight, is to deny them any awareness that the love we talk about is real.  When, at the end of an evangelistic service, we sing the old gospel hymn, “Just As I Am,” we have to really mean it.  One of my homosexual friends said, “But Evangelicals do mean it when they sing, ‘Just As I am,’ but they ought to complete the sentence by saying, ‘but not as you are” which is what they really mean when referring to those who have different sexual orientations.
 
Responding to those Evangelicals who like to say, “I love the sinner, but I hate his sin,” a homosexual friend of mine said, “That just the opposite of what Jesus said.  Jesus said, “Hate your own sin, before you look for sin in your brother’s eye.”
 
Even if there is not agreement about whether certain forms of erotic behavior are acceptable, there should be agreement among Christians that we are to plead for justice for all children of God; and when we say “all,” we must mean ALL!”
 
Tony Campolo

Eastern University

I’m personally looking forward to having Tony with us on Monday night. Can’t wait! Hope you can join us.

Much love.

www.themarinfoundation.org

About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation (www.themarinfoundation.org). He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).

  • http://benlemery.com Ben

    Well Tony, let’s not stretch scripture to simply fit your argument. “To reach out to the LGBT communities and join them in their cry for justice, and to champion their efforts for inclusion in our churches, is to simply imitate Christ.” That is quite subjective in determining what is “justice.” The lack of defining that leaves it open to a great deal of interpretation.
    I really think you are trying to state that Biblical justice is the same as governmental justice which could hardly be the case. If you are arguing that gay couples deserve the same rights as straight couples from a governmental standing, then that is one thing; if you are trying to mix Biblical prowess with it, then that is a little misguided.
    I do agree that being standoffish doesn’t accomplish anything and that the church does need to reassess their approach in this area. I am maybe not seeing your points in the way you hoped to define them.

    • Nate

      I read your response to this and I’m blessed. There are so many problems with this post from Campolo; many times I am concerned that too many people will follow the false prophets. I am encouraged to see that the first response is a thought provoking, truthful, and Scripturally sound rebuttal. Jesus encountered sinners and said, “I forgive you, now go and sin no more.”

  • http://existentialpunk.com Existential Punk

    READ THIS EXCELLENT POST REGARDING HOMOPHOBIA AND THE RECENT SUICIDE OF TYLER CLEMENTI:

    http://godisnotelsewhere.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/tyler-clementi-and-you/

    • Mrs T

      Of course there is homophobia in this case, primarily by the roommate, who thought it was so funny. But, even if the encounter was hetero, it still may cause suicide. Can you imagine something so personal being broadcast all over & then planned to be repeated!?? This situation is soooo complex. We have been given this wonderful tool of the intenet & all the things to go with it & we have to learn to be good stewards of this invention!! The fact that the guy was gay highlights many facets of our life: disrespect for privacy to the extent of broadcasting it all over the world; homophobia; cruelty; immaturity, etc.
      I don’t know if I am making sense, but we have to have basic respect for our fellow humans. I think militant Islam is wicked, but I treat Muslims with respect & cringe when they are all lumped together & mistreated.
      So, if you think being GLBTQAI is wicked/wrong, at least treat fellow people with respect & dignity. You will be amazed!

      • Eugene

        “But, even if the encounter was hetero, it still may cause suicide. Can you imagine something so personal being broadcast all over & then planned to be repeated!??”

        Please…

        He wouldn’t have killed himself over a heterosexual encounter. I think it was either extreme shame caused by the society’s homophobia or just a tipping point. That’s why we probably shouldn’t blame it all on the roommates – they aren’t responsible for the society’s homophobia or the young man’s issues. From their point of view, it probably was just a stupid prank.

  • Jeremiah K. Garrett

    It is about time someone stands up and argues this from a Biblical standpoint, not simply a political one on whether or not the Church should govern the State. While I do not agree with the practice, I fully agree that the LGBT community deserves the same rights as straight individuals, whether that be insurance, marriage, ability to join the military, or any other right the rest of us enjoy. That is a political statement; but I also believe that there were tax collectors, the scum of the Roman world in the Jewish eyes, who were leaders within the early Christian Church. If the scum of the Earth can be accepted into the Church, even as a leader, shouldn’t a person be accepted regardless of whom they decide to love?

  • http://www.hillsideslide.blogspot.com TinaC

    I am supportive of bridge-building.

    Tony Campolo is a voice w/in the Evangelical Community that does call for equality & justice for LGBTs. For that, I’m thankful.

    At the same time…

    “To not affirm the LGBT community as being people loved of God and, hence, loved by those of us who are straight, is to deny them any awareness that the love we talk about is real.”

    Here’s the thing. If we are not loved by our straight brothers and sisters in Christ, in our home churches, in our families; if LGBTs are seen as “other” (I grew up in the church… from a long line of clergy), then the reality is- that love is not real. Not from them anyway.

    “…to deny them any awareness that the love we talk about is real?” I see it as calling a spade a spade.

    And after all of the lies and misrepresentations that many (not all) Christian leaders have repeated about LGBTs, after their failure to stand with, let alone minister to LGBTs, they have undercut their credibility as authority figures on God’s Love.

    I mourn that loss daily, as I reel from the damage that’s been and is still inflicted in Jesus’ name.

  • Bruce

    There is a mixture of issues here…
    The real issue that many of us have here, is not about reaching out to sinners of any stripe or kind, showing unconditional love with acceptance and speaking the unconditional truth…. that is basic “loving the world as Jesus did”, and in that we agree.

    The thing that is erroneous in my estimation, is that once anyone has made the decision to enter by the narrow Gate, Jesus, then it is expected that they walk on the narrow path. Once being born again by faith in Jesus, we begin to be transformed by the Spirit into His image, which means that all traces of the sinful man will be done away with, albeit through a lifelong process. Any sinner who comes to Him should have no expectation that they can continue blatantly in sin and remain on the path of life.
    Our job as fellow believers is clear: “My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”James 5:19-20
    THAT is an expression of true love towards the believer…

    The real question here: “Is homosexuality practiced in the mind or body, sin.”

    You must obviously think it is not. If you don’t believe it is sin, then what grounds can we find agreement on? Not in the Spirit or the scriptures…. for they explicitly will oppose you.
    There is so much to say on this from both scripture and nature, but time and space would fail us. This position you hold has been cut off from the dock and has drifted far from the truth. If you do not receive a love for the truth, than you will believe the lie… and drift off into a no-man’s land of relativity.

  • Bruce

    One more quick point….
    I know that the process of being transformed includes letting the Holy Spirit and the Word bring conviction to the individual, and that someone in a particular sin may not be convicted of it for a time after conversion… in that, we are to be accepting and loving towards them as brothers and sisters…. that never changes, but here you are advocating the behavior and sin as acceptable in the church as a norm.
    “Gay Christian” is an oxymoron…

    • Ty

      If “Gay Christian” is an oxymoron what about “Adulterer Christian”, “Lying Christian”, “Masterbating Christian”, “Cussing Christian”, “Alcoholic Christian”, “Divorced Christian”, “Pornographer Christian”, etc.
      If a gay person cannot be a Christian, then neither can any of the above. Which means that Pastor Charles Stanely is not a Christian since he is divorced, Chuck Colson is not a Christian because he lied. Just as the Jews in the book of Galatians did not want there to be such a thing as “Gentile Christian” and tried to get them all to be circumsized, which Paul rebuked.
      If your statement is true then there would be many people who were not Christian, then became Christian and before the day was up they became a non Christian again because they sinned. Then the death of Jesus did not really matter.

      • Bruce

        I suppose that you didn’t read my post but just got jazzed at my last comment?
        What if I was a “Gay-murderer Christian” (one who murders gays), how about me continuing my practice in the church and demanding equal acceptance because of the grace and forgiveness of Christ?
        Absurd, but equal to what you say….
        One must struggle against sin, even if they fail seventy times seven a day…. they are calling sin, sin, and setting the direction of their life to oppose it. We repent…. and are forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness.

        The title of “Gay Christian” as it is used widely, means that the person has come to a belief of their homosexuality as being acceptable in God’s sight…. I believe that is a lie…. as with the rest of the ones you mentioned. It is a matter of our position and intended actions towards those sins, and how we deal with them. You must call sin, sin and turn away from it. God is judge, not any of us…. but He knows the heart.

        We may struggle with these things… but they are NOT our identity.
        “Such WERE some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” 1 Cor 6:11
        WERE…. not ARE….

        • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

          Bruce – ‘Gay Christian’ is not an oxymoron, and let me tell you why I understand that to be true:

          You said: “The title of “Gay Christian” as it is used widely, means that the person has come to a belief of their homosexuality as being acceptable in God’s sight.”

          That is using a cultural definition of gay Christian. A really good friend of mine puts it great. He is a self-proclaimed gay Christian man, who is an elder at one of the most well known conservative churches in America. All of the other elders get mad at him for calling himself a gay Christian, because he has chosen to live a celibate life. They say to him: “You’re not a gay Christian because you are not like those OTHER gay Christians.”

          His response: “If by gay you mean that I am sexually attracted to people of the same sex. Then yes, I am gay. If by Christian you mean that I chose to accept Jesus into my life as my Lord and Savior; then yes, I am Christian. At one point I chose to be Christian and over a period of time I discovered I’m gay. Just because I choose to not be sexaully involved with other men doesn’t mean that I’m not gay, or Christian. I am a gay Christian.”

          I think that puts it great. There are cultural understandings of gay Christian and actual definitions of gay Chrisitan. The choice to sexual involve oneself based on their attractions is a different matter than the definition of what a gay Christian actually is.

          • Bruce

            Hi Andrew,
            I do not consider same-sex attraction to be a sin. But if I am a murderer, and don’t act on it…. am I a Murdering Christian? Why the identifier?
            One can label themselves as they want… but even to look on another to lust for them is outrightly condemned (by Jesus) and we are exhorted to be radical in our dealing with it…. with dire consequences for neglecting to. (Matt 5)

            This is really all about truth. His word is truth and He is True, and the indictment of all men, is that they exchange the truth of God for the lie. I am guilty as the next… but that excuses none of us. The results of believing that lie are legion, so to me this is not even about homosexuality… though it is ONE of the fruits of the lie that needs to be destroyed by belief in the truth.

            We cannot allow any lie or sin to become a part of accepted practice in the church. Emphasize “accepted practice”.
            Love covers a multitude of SINS…. if you don’t call it sin, how will it be covered? If we say we have no sin, we lie and do not practice the truth. If we confess our sins… He is faithful and will forgive…

            We must divide this line rightly….

            • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

              I hear what you’re saying Bruce. I really do hear the honesty in your question. In my eyes, the term Gay Christian has nothing to do with the topic of sin or not sin. It is a socially constructed description.

              I have no idea why there is an identifyer specifically with this one topic. I don’t see other labels out there for ____Christian. But I feel that all of this came from the Church being the first one to label qualifyers with the gay community. If we go back far enough, it is the conservative church who first placed said labels on a variety of different things (hence, why we still have the acceptable terminology of the “Black Church” today).

              Sexuality is indeed a unique topic; one of baseline orientation, which is different than other individual acts (and what would be considered by conservatives as an independent action of sin). I’m not saying such qualifying is correct, it’s just a part of the world we live in where that stuff is now the acceptable medium of engagement; adapted over time from an ‘insult’ to ‘proud ownership’.

            • Andrew A

              Bruce –
              The exact case Andrew was making about the elder is someone who has committed themselves to celibacy. They obviously view their lust as sin, but their attraction at its basic level it not a sin. Just as your attraction to someone of the opposite sex is not a sin. The lustful thoughts and “adultery of the heart” are surely sinful, but no one is debating that here.

              • Andrew A

                Just saw that Andrew responded himself – and much better than I did :-)

              • Bruce

                Hi Andrew A
                I wrote above that i don’t consider same sex attraction to be a sin… I agree with your assesment of the elder Andrew mentioned.

              • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

                Bruce – One other thing that might be of assistance in this situation:

                Sociologist say that minority populations of people define themselves around the common minority theme they all have in common. And when just one of those people from the minority group get taken out of their population and are put in the middle of the majority, the minority person will still inherently have their minority mindset, even admist or belonging in, the majoirty population.

                This I believe, is the reason for my friend’s qualifier as still Gay Christian.

                The confusing part then comes when the minority person/language/culture becomes the majority – or is at least fully normalized as acceptable within the majority. That is when these current problems with labels/qualifiers/etc become issues in both communities.

              • Andrew A

                I had never thought of that before, Andrew, but it really does make sense.

                Bruce, I’m sorry for not catching your full post earlier when I responded.

                Grace and Peace.

              • http://www.hillsideslide.blogspot.com TinaC

                I identify as Gay Christian.

                I’ve heard it said that when you experience rejection or prejudice b/c of a trait you exhibit (race, religion, sexual orientation, etc), you will identify with that trait in proportion to the amout of rejection you’ve experienced. There is a direct correlation.

                Additionally, when a label is used by the majority to derogatorily define a minority, and you are stuck with that label, you WANT to have a hand in shaping that label.

                I’ve heard bad stuff about gays all my life. I don’t identify with that. It’s not my experience. So, I want to challenge that negative mental image that many people still have when it comes to LGBTs.

                When I’m in church, I want people to know they’re talking about me when they’re discussing homosexuality.

                When people say negative or threatening things about gays, I want them to know its me they’re talking about.

                When I’m at Bible Study & people say they don’t know how they feel about marriage equality, I get to ask- Would you want me to be able to marry?

                When i was younger, I didn’t know anyone who publicly identified as gay & Christian. I needed that. So now I’m there for others.

                At the same time, I am aware that there’s a delicate/impossible balancing act- if you’re “too out” (whatever that is), some people interpret that as being “in your face” with it. But, if I say nothing… how will people know I’m gay? I look just like everyone else.

                I’m looking forward to the day it’s no big deal. Then, I’ll drop the qualifier. But, we’re not there yet.

    • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

      I’m a married parent of two children who professes and practices a life committed to Christ. Most churches would welcome my family, except that I’m married to a man instead of a woman.

      “The real question here: ‘Is homosexuality practiced in the mind or body, sin.’ You must obviously think it is not. If you don’t believe it is sin, then what grounds can we find agreement on? Not in the Spirit or the scriptures…. for they explicitly will oppose you.”

      I thought that we find common ground through our shared commitment to Christ as opposed to our shared practice of penis into vagina. But that’s just me, I guess.

      Maybe I’m indeed an oxymoron. I know my faith. I love my God and I love my family. If forced to choose, I’ll worship alone and maintain the integrity of my family. Otherwise, I trust the Grace of God and the Holy Spirit to assist us as brothers and sisters of Christ to respect and honor our shared Christian journeys and to work around our differences.

      • Amy

        Well said, Jon.

    • Kevin Harris

      How is it that conversations that are not about sin as it relates homosexuality seem to very commonly turn into conversations about the morality homosexuality in the comment sections of blogs? I notice this all the time on this blog along with many others that bring up topics related to LGBT issues.
      I did not see Dr. Campolo say anywhere in the post that he did not believe that gay and lesbian sexual relationships were morally acceptable or even mention his view at all. Neither did he touch on the morality of embracing an identity based on sexuality or gender identity. Yes, these are important topics that should be addressed, but the tendency, primarily of Christians with a more conservative interpretation of scripture as it relates to homosexuality, to always gravitate back to “Is it a sin or do they have to change or can you be gay and Christian, etc.” seems to often draw attention away from other important discussions that also need to take place. In this case, the discussion is about how the Christian community should respond to the LGBT community, Christian or not. Yes, sin and identity cannot be completely separated from this discussion, but they often are used as a way to transition away from personal responsibility and owning up for what we have done wrong and seeking to figure out how to adjust our behaviors accordingly to focusing on others and what they need to do.
      I’m pretty sure the LGBT community gets fairly tired of this as they know that the broader Church believes that they are living in sin and constantly having to defend oneself gets old and often becomes a hindrance in the conversation for everyone involved.

      • Andrew A

        Thanks for saying what needed to be said, Kevin.

        Over the past couple weeks I’ve seen blog after blog have the discussion turned solely towards the sin issue when the original point of the post was about how the Christian community relates to LGBT folks.

        It’s as if conservative Christians (of which I am one) can’t even talk about the gay community and the church without focusing on that question alone. I hold a more conservative view that same-sex practice is a sin, but that should have 0 impact on a discussion about how the church can be more loving.

        • Eugene

          I think you should understand that many gays and lesbians believe that your “conservative view” is inherently hateful and harmful. That’s why your idea that it “should have 0 impact on a discussion about how the church can be more loving” may seem ridiculous to them. At best, you can (and probably should) discuss how the church can get out of their way.

          • Bruce

            Hi Eugene,
            Not sure if your are talking to me concerning “conservative views”, but I don’t have any. I just simply believe that God is who He is, and has truth that is immutable. While being loving beyond imagination, He is just without compromise. Every sin must be paid for with the life of the one who sins…. God decided that He would pay that price Himself in Jesus dying on the cross. Anyone who wishes, can receive freely that sacrifice as a replacement payment for his own debt to God. If you don’t, your blood is on your own head, if you do, then He will empower you to live a life that pleases Him, and sin will not be a part of that life as He changes you.
            Sorry if you don’t like that….

          • Andrew A

            Eugene, you really don’t know me. This is one of the rare times I’ve shared my view on here.

            I disagree that it is inherently hateful and harmful. I’m sorry if that can’t compute with you, but I don’t hate anyone. My views of the Bible don’t affect my view of the injustice that GLBT folks face. I also don’t fall prey to the horrible assumptions that many conservative Christians hold to about the gay community. In many circles that I run in, I regularly defend the gay community.

            Please don’t assume that having a conservative view of Scripture implies anything else about me other than how I view Scripture.

            • Eugene

              I don’t assume anything about you. I’m just saying that your “view that same-sex practice is a sin” may be inherently hateful – even if you don’t actively hate anyone.

              Here’s an example: if a racist believed that “the Negro” is subhuman, would it be possible for him to love black people? Would you recognize it as love?

              I’m glad that you regularly defend the gay community. But the problem is that the gay community would probably need no defenders if most people didn’t believe that homosexuality is a sin.
              Jack Harris already explained how “conservative” views can be harmful. Whether you like it or not, they have a strong impact on this issue, and it’s something that “conservative” Christians should understand. Otherwise, their attempts to “be more loving” will probably be counter-productive (e.g. the “sin like any other” talking point).

          • Jack Harris

            I just don’t think you can have it both ways Andrew A, and I know you are well meaning here. By not loving the GLBT person completely for who they are including their desire to consumate their relationships is a form of oppression. Sorry.

            • http://benlemery.com Ben

              Well if intolerance ever was defined, what you just wrote shoudl be the definition. You want grace but refuse to give it.

      • Bruce

        Hi Kevin,
        I can understand your point, and this is, if nothing else, a site trying to have a constructive discussion about relations between the LGBT community and the church. That is a constructive and useful pursuit…. that’s why I come here often to see what is going on with that pursuit.

        The reason the sin factor comes up so quickly is that it is really the foundational issue if you want to deal with the subject truthfully and effectively. As it is written: “No lie is of the truth”. If we can’t nail that down and agree upon it, everything else falls into a relative sea of thoughts and feelings and anecdotal stories etc. If God has an opinion concerning homosexuality, and He has made it known, then it would be most important to come to an understanding and agreement about that. (NOTE: It is the same with ANY sin…. I am not singling out any one sin or group.)

        If I have cancer, and well meaning doctors tell me it is just indigestion, they do me a disservice and it eventually costs me my life.
        The same with sin… it is not a side issue or a distraction…. it is central and has eternal consequences. We best get it right….

        I want to clarify one important thing… when I refer to sin in this context, it really only is an issue to me when gay “believers” are seeking to make their practice normal in the church…. get married, become leaders etc. That is when this needs to be addressed directly. Those in the world are another story completely in how to communicate with them.

      • Amy

        A hearty amen to that, Kevin!

  • Kevin Harris

    Bruce – The foundational issue is not sin or a lack thereof, but the redemptive work of God through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that made God’s forgiveness and grace available to everyone.

    As this post was about Dr. Tony Campolo’s thoughts on reaching out to the LGBT community and what that entails, if we are going to talk about sin following this particular post it would only make sense to discuss how your understanding of their sin or a lack thereof will influence how you live in relation to your brothers and sisters in Christ that are a part of the LGBT community. How sin would influence how you interact with them if you choose to do so along with how you will or will not advocate for or against them in different capacities. The morality of gay or lesbian sexual relationships cannot logically be talked about without deterring from the original intention of the post outside of discussing how that influences how you respond to/live in relation with others.

    • Bruce

      Hi Kevin,
      The place where sin comes into the discussion in Mr. Campolo’s piece, is this:

      To reach out to the LGBT communities and join them in their cry for justice, and to champion their efforts for inclusion in our churches, is to simply imitate Christ. Being followers of Jesus requires this.

      Inclusion in our churches, as practicing homosexuals, brings the sin issue right to the forefront of the discussion. All I have said in my comments have nothing to do with those on the outside of the church…. God’s grace is more than enough to atone for any sin, and any may come to Him through Jesus.

      When dealing with LGBT folks in the community of faith, it really depends on their maturity level, and at some point their position concerning the sinfulness of homosexuality. Anyone pursuing God and genuinely struggling against sin receives my full support. Not loving is not an option, but not speaking the truth in that love is also not an option. There must be a dialog, with compassion and understanding, but no compromise concerning the truth.

      What you mean by “advocating for or against them” ; I don’t really know how to answer…. If I believe that their practice is sinful, should I find ways to help support them in it? Or advocate for their freedom to continue in it?
      That answer should be clear…. what does true love do?

      • Eugene

        Perhaps true love doesn’t assume that it knows the truth.

        • Bruce

          Eugene,
          Can you apply that statement to Jesus? He is both true love itself, and the truth itself. (granted, I am not Him, but it nixes the presumption)

          We all need to tread carefully and with humility, but we are to speak the truth in love. And if it is a plain and well established scriptural reality, then we should abide in it.

          Just apply this to a group of self-confessed, unrepentant and proud of it adulterers… (only between consenting adults) and they want to find inclusion in your church? Do we just “humbly not assume that we have any right to know if it is right or wrong” ?

          • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

            Bruce: Would you have me and my husband divorce before you’d allow us to worship Christ alongside you? How about Jack and his partner? What about our sons? I understand that I’m just an oxymoronic faux Christian to you, but I’d like to know how you would instruct us to conform our family to meet your religious expectations.

            • Bruce

              Jon,
              I will admit, that the situation you speak of is the most trying…. because it is an established situation, with relationships that are committed. I have considered your situation much and have no clear answers. I don’t know…..
              But, I would not want that become an excuse for it all to become a standard in the church. I believe that honest people can come to honest and real answers by the Spirit of God… but it might not go the way either of us think.

              My concern for you, and others in your situation is that being a condemned practice, (as I believe it is) then there are serious eternal consequences for not responding to God in it.
              I have the same concern in my own life if I find an area of sin in my life that resists yielding to God. We just simply cannot make peace with sin and maintain peace with God.

              That’s my oppinion…

          • Eugene

            You aren’t Jesus, so you can’t speak “the truth” in (or out of) love. It’s that simple.

            Also, do I really have to remind you that Jesus didn’t have a problem with acknowledging the “plain and well established scriptural reality” and then doing the opposite?

            Considering that the Biblical Jesus never condemned homosexuality, I see more pride than truth in your posts.

            • Bruce

              Eugene,
              You mean DID have a problem… I think. (sorry for the CAPS… I’m not shouting, I cant put it in italics…)

              Jesus condemned EVERY sexual relationship, even in lustful looking, except for what was from the beginning…. A man shall leave his home and cleave to his wife….. That is a man and woman by the way…. explicitly.

              I repent of all pride and hypocrisy…. I judge no one. But this is plainly written… I don’t know what else I can say.

              • Eugene

                No, I mean “didn’t”:

                “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies…” (Matthew 5) etc.

                And, no, Jesus never explicitly condemned homosexual relationships. The “plainly written” verses are an answer to the question about divorce between a man and a woman, and the answer carries the message that divorce is wrong, so the verses weren’t meant to condemn gay relationships. No one asked Jesus about a man and his husband. In fact, he rejects “a plain and well established scriptural reality” yet again when he doesn’t permit divorce. (Matthew 19) He even implies that the quote about a man and his wife is a generalization.

              • Bruce

                Wow…… italics…. awesome! You’re a better man than me… Are you Italian? I hear that Italians are more adept at italics than us…. “others”… :-)

                Hey, believe what you will…. I think that it is a twisting of scripture to come to the conclusion you have, and you do not. I don’t condemn you or any other, but I have to stand on what I see as the main and plain of the Word of God…. and so do you. Unfortunately….I see little “agreement” that can be reached…. so where does that put the discussion?

                I have been seeking God over this issue for some time, and really have been trying to find the common ground…. I really want to believe you and a multitude of others in your situation. I just cannot find even ONE (sorry for the CAPS… I’m not as savvy or Italian as you…how DO you do that….) positive reference to homosexuality in the whole of scripture…. even if I bend it a little. That testimony is remarkable and undeniable, and I have to listen to it’s position.

                Sorry dude… we’ll just have to disagree…. until God comes, who will judge all men according to their deeds, motives, and intents of the heart.

              • Eugene

                “Unfortunately….I see little “agreement” that can be reached…. so where does that put the discussion?”

                In my opinion, it means that bridge-building cannot be religious in nature. We can make things better in three different ways:

                1) Secularism
                Even if you think that gay marriage is evil, you still should actively support civil marriage equality.
                2) Validation
                http://love-is-an-orientation.blogspot.com/2009/04/follow-up-to-scot-mcknights-postpart-2.html
                3) Common ground
                For example, we can try to find neutral talking points to help us end homophobic bullying (e.g. “gay relationships are no worse than premarital heterosexual dating”).

                “That testimony is remarkable and undeniable, and I have to listen to it’s position.”

                Well, you could say the same about slavery. The Bible plainly condones it. I cannot find even one negative reference to it. Why is it so, Bruce? :)

              • Bruce

                Too much to write, and time fails me for today, but in short:
                The civil union question is valid, and can be discussed for what it is… but if you are a believer, for you there is no secular/spiritual… it is all under the rule of God.

                Validation as human beings with real feelings, desires, “rights” and extreme human value and dignity…. absolutely!

                Common ground, there is tons of it, and it is good to be on it. We would probably be able to be good friends if in proximity to do so practically… I have no animosity towards homosexuals…. but I believe that it’s practice before God is not right.

                Slaves under the law were to be released after 7 years…. and treated fairly…. unheard of in the ancient world.
                Paul said it was best to be free from it and counseled a loving relationship, treating each other as brothers if you either were a slave or had one, and the book of Philemon is all about a case of Paul helping one get free.

                You are a slave…. like it or not…
                “…..you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? Rom 6:16 (read the whole section, or many others on that subject… don’t go citing Jn 15… you are still at best a bondservant (that word means slave) of Christ)
                “You are not your own… you were bought with a price”
                For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave. 1 Cor 7:22

                You really don’t have a choice in the matter…. it’s one master or the other. (Mind you one is The Loving God, and the other, a cruel taskmaster)

  • Jack Harris

    So I have been reading with interest some of the comments made in the blog. I am going to preface this by saying that I am pretty “raw” with regard to what has been happening this past month to GLBT youth–so keep that in mind.

    All of this insistence upon what is a “gay christian” and what is sin and what is NOT a sin and why gays should be celibate are ALL micro-aggressions towards GLBT folks. They are all subtle things that harm both emotionally, mentally and physcially. All of the talk about keeping GLBT folks from serving in the military and from marrying our partners are ALL slow and painful efforts (whether intended or unintended) to marginalize.

    When GLBT youth hear these things, the subtle message they receive is that they are less than their straight counterparts, that they are damaged or dysfunctional. As a gay partnered christian man, that works with a lot of college youth, what you are doing causes them to die a little each day. And people walk around shocked and saddened that some college kid would jump off a bridge…. End of rant. Jack

    • Andrew A

      Thanks for putting things into perspective, Jack.

  • Jack Harris

    I find this all a completely worthless discussion. I no longer have a stomach for this anymore. We will see you in federal court. Peace.

  • toujoursdan

    It’s comment threads like this, that are far more objectifying toward LGBTs than loving while remaining in deep denial of it all, that caused me to walk away from evangelical Christianity. Thanks for reminding me why I did so. Occasionally I glance back to see if that decision was the correct one, and each time I get the message that it was.


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