My testimony at the Colorado Senate Judiciary hearing on civil unions


I was asked by the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado to testify in front of the senate judiciary committee on the issue of civil unions for GLBTQ couples.  Here it is.

Thank you Madam Chair and members of the committee.

My name is Pastor Nadia Bolz-weber.  I am ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and serve a congregation here in Denver called House for All Sinners and Saints.

I’d like to start by saying that people of good faith dis-agree on this issue but I speak in favor of civil unions.

I’m not an activist.

But I am a preacher and a public theologian. So here’s what I feel is mine to say.

Much of the early church were convinced that gentiles could only become Christians if they changed into being Jews first (which, for the record, involved a rather unpleasant process), and much like our first century brothers and sisters there is a segment of the church today who thinks that if we extend the roof of the tent to include “the gays” then the whole thing will come crashing down around us.

And some will say that if we allow gay couples to have equal status under the law, the institution of marriage will come crashing down.

So there are some who see it as their job to stalwartly guard the boundaries of the tent to keep it from crashing, and some who think it our job to be bravely inclusive and stretch the tent.

Either way, it’s misguided because …it’s not our tent.  It’s God’s tent. The wideness of the tent be it the church or society, should only concern me insofar as it points to the great mercy and love of a God who welcomes us all as friends. And of Jesus who welcomes all to his table.

You think I like that?  You think I want to sit at the heavenly banquet next to Ann Coulter?  Not so much.

But that’s what I’m stuck with because I’m in the Jesus business.  And in the Jesus business there is not male or female, jew or greek, slave or free, gay or straight, there is only one category of people: children of God. Which means nobody gets to be special and everybody gets to be loved.

People born in this country aren’t special.

Men aren’t special.

Christians aren’t special.

Straight people aren’t special.

And if the laws of our great land make it seem so, then SHAME.  ON. US.

Thank you Madam Chair.

A Sermon on Addiction and the Problem With Our Me-based Solutions
A devastating Good Friday sermon from my friend Sara Miles
Do you have questions about the cross?
Sincere Apologies
About Nadia Bolz Weber

I am the founding Pastor at House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. We are an urban liturgical community with a progressive yet deeply rooted theological imagination. Learn more at www.houseforall.org

  • Shanna

    I was listening via the live stream. Although I am an agnostic Jew, your testimony was the first to move me to tears. Thank you for standing up for all beings.

  • http:revtodd.blogspot.com todd seelau

    This is extremely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing love today!

  • Rick Strandlof

    BOOM.

  • Ruth Woodruff

    Brave and excellent! Very clearly enunciated gospel truth: all means all!

    • Jeremy

      What could this mean for Christ’s ministry? What could this mean for Paul’s ministry as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 6? If all means all then the Gospel is pointless, and Jesus is a sham.

      • Launa

        Jeremy, why do you say that?
        To me, the good news is that we all are welcomed to be in intimate relationship with God and God’s people. How is it bad to welcome all as God’s children? Does there have to be a group of people condemned by God in order for the group who is in relationship with God to be overjoyed or find purpose in their relationship with God? What if God’s desire was to invite us all into the family and Jesus was the son who did the inviting and then we picked up on the agenda, and we helped host the feast that God was putting on? How is that pointless or make Jesus a sham?

      • James

        I think it’s telling that you ask what this means for “Paul’s ministry.” But remember, for all of his theological insight, such as his concept of salvation by faith, he was just a man, with human opinions and human prejudices. Even though 1 Corinthians 6 has a list of things that can keep people from entering the kingdom, it is just Paul’s list; a human list.*

        Christ Jesus, too, has a list of things that will keep one from the kingdom. It’s in Matthew, Chapter 25:31-46. Here’s Christ’s list of things that will keep one from entering the kingdom:

        Not feeding the hungry
        Not giving drink to the thirsty
        Not giving shelter to the stranger
        Not clothing the naked
        Not caring for the sick
        Not visiting people in prison.

        He also mentions one thing that makes it very hard to enter the kingdom:

        Being rich (Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25).

        So that’s it. Do you see anywhere there in Jesus’ own list–Jesus, the Christ, God incarnate, the second Person in the Holy Trinity, our Lord and Savior–about homosexuality being an obstacle? Do you? Don’t you think that if homosexuality was important to the Christ, he’d have mentioned it? He does stress, over and over in the Gospels, social justice and social welfare, not valuing material goods and wealth, non-violence and non-judgmentalism. Many Christians would do well to keep Matthew 25:31 ff in mind when condemning homosexuality, “Obamacare” and food-stamps. Many Christians would do well to keep “the least of these” in mind when they go to the voting booth.

        So who do you follow, Christ or Paul? Are you a Christian or a Paulian? Are you a Christian or a Republican?

        *Even if you believe that Paul’s letters are the inerrant word of God, scholars disagree about the meanings of μαλακοί and ἀρσενοκοῖται in the original Greek of 1 Cor 6:9 and many respected biblical scholars argue that, in context, the terms refer to male-male prostitution and to men forcing men and boys to be sex-slaves. Moreover, the terms unequivocally refer only to men–common English translations notwithstanding–and nowhere in the New Testament is anything said about lesbianism. So Paul’s issue is probably not with homosexuality per se; Paul seems to have an issue with men abusing other men and boys sexually and that’s not the same thing as a mutually consensual, loving, gay relationship.

  • http://www.Charismanglican.com The Charismanglican

    Right on, Nadia. Thank you.

  • http://www.ellenharoutunian.com Ellen H.

    Pure gospel. Amen.

  • Dennis Kohl

    Thanks, Nadia, for your words and the clear understanding that equality before law is for all people. Otherwise we have to find a new word for unequal equality…whatever that might mean!c

  • http://emm-in-sem.tumblr.com Emmy

    This is perhaps one of the best ways I have seen religion speak to politics — out of the great and terrifying truth of the horrifically welcoming love of Christ.

    Thank you.

  • Steve Horwatt

    Nailed it!

  • Janice Hill

    Couldn’t agree more!

  • http://daelcarev.wordpress.com Rob Moss

    Wow. Thank you. Most concise explanation of inclusivity in the gospel I’ve read.

  • Roxie

    You have said it in the most fantastic way! I wish EVERYONE would read this so this crazy world could just try to be a better place for all of God’s children. I am honored to have met you. Bless you!

  • http://www.inclusivecelticchurch.com Rusty Clyma

    Thank you. I don’t live in Colorado, but I and my husband will be moving from San Francisco (where we are a part of the 18,000 couples who remain legally married here) to Oklahoma where we will not be even legally recognized as domestic partners, let alone married. Fortunately we have our family, friends and l/g/b/t community and straight friends as well who believe otherwise and in whom we will find much love and support. As a member of the clergy (albeit of one of those small Inclusive Sacramental Movement Types read as “independent”) I particularly appreciate how you framed your testimony, the “all” does mean the “all.” Good for you and again, thank you!

  • Nancy Cronk

    Blown away by your powerful testimony. Thank you.

  • Tammy

    I am also an ordained pastor in the ELCA. Thank-you for your testimony and for your willingness to allow the spirit of God speak through you.

  • LeeAnn

    from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  • http://www.questingparson.org Questing Parson

    Wonderfully and succinctly stated. Well done! Thank you.

  • Bill

    Well-said.

  • Jeremy

    This is only one-half of the gospel. All are welcome, but we are called to repent. Homosexuality is a sin. The Scripture is clear on this. Jesus welcomes sinners, but is clear on the implications of sin and homosexuality explicitly. Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1Timothy 1:8-11, etc..

    • Elaine

      Right up there with a woman cutting her hair and eating fish with milk. We’re all doomed. “A fifth grade understanding of scripture is OK, as long as you’re a fifth grader.” — from “The Bible Tells Me So” DVD. A great watch.

      • Jeremy

        I don’t think eating fish with milk and women cutting their hair was mentioned at all in the context of those verses that I stated. So is your argument that the “older we get the more convoluted, pedantic, and nebulous the Gospel gets?”

        • H. A. Riggs

          Why do you follow this blog, when you so clearly disagree? Do you really think that you are protecting God by spreading your hate?
          I don’t have time to waste reading right wing propaganda that just makes me angry. Do you really have so much time to spend reading stuff that makes you mad?

          • Jeremy

            Is the purpose of following any blog blind obedience? Should not something you agree with or disagree with be scrutinized for stability and/or truth? I’m not calling names am I? I’m trying to be clear with scripture.

            I am not mad, just frustrated. The Gospel is grace, but grace given for change. If it is “just grace” then it loses its edge. Grace is half of the truth. I can give you scripture that supports this is need be. If the Gospel loses its edge then Christ died for nothing. It calls people to conform, not to remain the same.

        • SD

          Amen Brother!!!

          • Dale

            Thank you!! Jeremy for sticking to God’s word and not “our feelings”. Scripture IS quite clear. There is Law and there is Gospel. Both are important!! The Law shows us why we need the Gospel…we ALL do. God’s grace is open to all and inclusive to all. Sin (have not seen that word mentioned anywhere in this blog) is also inclusive. Either way, God’s word, in scripture, is the true test. Homosexualitiy is wrong. All scripure is inspired by God. It is an all or nothing thing with the Bible.

      • Robin Andress

        I agree.

        • jIM

          I’m afraid a definition of grace as “grace for change” is not grace at all. There is no cost to grace. That’s why it’s called grace.

    • tricksterson

      Note that none of those passages you list are actually the word of Jesus who said nothing on the subject. Ever. And it’s doubtful that Corinthians and Timothy were actually written by Paul Of course to me the selection of what books were “right and proper” was all political anyway so it doesn’t really matter.

      • Brennen

        Where did Jesus say that all things not said by him were false?

    • Donn

      Jeremy: regardless your elementary understanding of those scripture references, welcome to the table of Christ. I know that if you earnestly pay attention you will learn and grow. We’re praying for you.

    • Frank

      Well said Jeremy! Keep up the good work putting the truth out there to counter these deceivers.

    • Geri

      Yeah, okay, I read those scriptures… but I thought the writer’s were referring to violent acts of rape.

  • Dick Bruesehoff

    Thanks for your bold proclamation, Nadia.

  • Lynette

    Sometimes the truth hurts. The Scriptures are clear. There is nothing hateful about telling the truth of God’s word, but unfortunately many people do not want to hear it and are intolerant of those who believe it and know the truth. Thank you, Jeremy. It’s the truth that will set you free and that’s for “everyone inside or outside the tent,” not just for fifth graders.

  • Brian

    That was great until she clearly inserted her own beliefs into scripture. You don’t have to twist scripture to communicate the point that everyone is included in Christ’s love.

  • Cheryl

    Thank you. Our faith group is in conversation and your perspective is helpful.

  • Maryann

    Thank you , Thank you, Thank you. I have never heard it said better. So glad that you agreed to testify at the hearing. Now I must admit ALL includes this Jeremy too. I might not be too comfortable with that but as you said ALL is ALL.

  • http://labmonkey.wordpress.com Seth Novak

    Nothing else to say except: “w00t”

  • Bob

    Thank you for speaking up,,, your words are powerful,,,, so true that people of good faith disagree on this issue,,,,,

    My family is presently experiencing this disagreement,,, in Canada,, most attend the LCC,,, which wants to exclude me and gaurd the tent,,, my one sister who was attending the ELCA went screaming to the LCC, because she couldn’t bear the thought of sharing the bread and wine with me,,,,

    I see this as confirmation that God is at work and my standing firm in the fullnes of how I was knit in my mothers womb, and becoming that,,, at the very least has caused one sister to take action on her faith,,,, the LCC is convinced they are doing the right thing,,,, but some am I,,, and aren’t we all,,, funny isn’t it,,,,, really,,,, I told my sister I’m glad to help her get her ass in the right pew,,, but cautioned sitting in church no more makes you a christian than standig in a garage makes you a car….. thank you for honoring your truth

  • http://Facebook Barbara

    I, too get exhausted by the people that continue to use”The Dogma” of Religion to quote “God’s Intentions!” “NO one has proof except a book claimed to be of “God”s Rules written by “MEN!” There are the Religious books in many Religions, “I accept there is History within these books to an extent! Each has its’ Prophets, its’
    “God”s rules and God’s exceptions to the rules!” As, one may kill people even children and babies as long as “God told them to!” Some History was changed for Religious enhancement ( like in movies and books, Authors/ Screen Writers change the excitement of the movie or book). As in Egypt the Ruler threw the Jews out , only the troublemakers and there were not that many that left! (Religious fanatics will never check that) ( there was a Woman Pope once) ( Popes, especially the one now, actually believes he is God, makes all the decisions for God, makes new Saints, Fires old Saints, Protects Child Molesters and Supports Hatred, Intolerance) Is God Incapable of doing the job alone or would God be Disagreeable or Incompetent to Decide? If God is LOVE ( as I Believe) Why does Hate, Intolerance equate into LOVE by so called Faithful of God? Jesus was not killed by the Ruler of Rome! The (Jews, as in “Money Changers” had the Ruler Crucify Jesus, Under Roman Law, all Jesus was guilty of was Civil Disorder. Jesus would get a fine and time in Jail for that! It was the Powerful Jews with money that had Jesus killed, as today, Power and Money can do bad things!So much Emotion and Denial, along with ignorance, rejection of facts is caught up in Religious Zealots and Dogma! God Bless the weak of mind, who sees them self as the “keepers/the Judges of God!” Ignoring their own Dogma that states many times, “Judge not, lest ye be judged!” Oh my, does that say, only God can Judge? Hmm, I think so! Okay, here it is, if you want to be a Religious, Faithful Follower of any “Son Of God,” “Of any Prophet and Prophet’s Writings,
    at least be wise enough to READ, Study History, not only the History you want to prove yourself RIGHT! Do not “Spread Hate nor Speak for God, Do Not JUDGE OTHERS!” I Believe Strongly in God, I read a great deal, always have! I trust God to Judge not me! I research in places that compare History, knowing certain Historical ( so called Facts) Facts are all written by people, with their own convictions, conceptions they make due to influences in their physical, mental and emotional times in their life! Be KInd, be fair, be tolerant, be a “LOVING” example to others! Spread Faith in A god Of Love, a God others might want to be with someday! “I know, I do not want to be with a Mean, Hateful, Scary, Cruel, Intolerant, Wishy-Washy, Unloving God! Amen! In God I TRUST!!

    • Brennen

      When did of command someone to kill a baby?

  • Brennen

    Pure gospel? Have you read the bible if anything JC made rules more strict not lose. Homosexuality is condemned multiple times through the bible Nt and OT. Sure JC said EveryOne is a child of god but do children not sometimes disobey their parents, all this means is that anyone can follow Christ but doesn’t mean they are free from his rules.

  • Matthew T

    Tricksterson,

    If you want to know what Jesus said, here you go. Jesus didn’t recount the entire law, but made reference to it.

    “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22 ESV)

    “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:18, 19 ESV)

    Jesus’s teachings are the Gospel. You can’t take parts and pieces of the Gospel — we have to take the whole thing at once. So:

    1. Jesus establishes the law as relevant
    2. The law establishes homosexuality as sin.
    3. Jesus loves us, but requires you to repent of (turn from) your sins before welcoming you into his kingdom.

    So, in the Jesus business, there is only straight.

    Grace and Peace,

    Matthew

    • Steve Horwatt

      Then for your sake, I hope you’ve never eaten any meat with blood in it, because God is going to set his face against you (Leviticus 17: 10-14), or had sex with a woman during her period (Leviticus 18:19), or planted a field with two kinds of seed or worn clothes woven from two kinds of material (Leviticus 19:19), or cut the hair at the sides of your head or clipped your beard (Leviticus 19:27), or gotten a tattoo (Leviticus 19:28).

      Also, I hope you’re standing up out of respect for the elderly (Leviticus 19:32) and I hope you’re treating the foreigners among us as if they were native-born (Leviticus 19:34).

      I could go on to talk about what kind of systems we’re going to put in place to make sure women who are menstruating don’t go to church, as well as anyone in their family who may have touched them, but I’m late for work.

      • Brennen

        There are differs types of laws in liviticus including society destroyers(homo) and basic cleansing laws for example don’t re use wooden bowls. This was said because they couldnt be properly cleansed in biblical times. There are also laws like don’t leave your oxen and ass untied so they can go bother your neighbor, this can be put into modern day terms as don’t forget to put you car in park so it doesnt roll down the hill into your neighbors yard. And then there are society destroyers would you agree with beastility and child sacrifice, because they surround the homo verse?

        • Brennen

          And as for the period one most bible scholars interperite that as rape for the original wording indicates it so it basically states don’t rape a virgin. It later talks about how to cleans while having sex with a woman on her period

          • Steve Horwatt

            “Most scholars”? I’ve taken a quick look and all the commentaries I have ready access to interpret this as women who are menstruating, and none mention raping a virgin. http://bible.cc/leviticus/18-19.htm

          • Steve Horwatt

            No, I’m not really a big fan of bestiality, but then again animals can’t really give consent, can they? I wouldn’t support homosexual rape, either (just like I don’t support heterosexual rape), but consenting relationships are another story.

            The child sacrifice issue (which is a big problem in my neighborhood that I’ve been meaning to address with my Homeowner’s Association) brings up another point, which is that these are instructions that God is giving to the Israelites with respect to practices by the Canaanites that he does not wanting them picking up.

          • Brennen

            It talks about how to Propertius clean after intercourse with woman on period so it is obviously not about consential sex. And also child sacrifice could be seen as rape in context how come none of the other verse mention sacrife they are all about sexual impurity. And how could you be fruitful and multiply if you were homosexual.

    • Steve Horwatt

      In a less snarky and argumentative tone than I’ve taken in my previous response, Jesus also said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12. So I think when Jesus talks about how he came, not to change the Law, but to fulfill it, what he means is that the the Law is not a list of rules; it is a way of relating to God and one another, and Jesus came to show us how that is done.
      The gospels mention repeatedly that Jesus ate with people that the religious leaders of his day thought were sinners. It doesn’t mention that he required them to stop being sinners BEFORE he sat down with them.

      So, to the point of the blogger’s testimony, it’s God’s tent. Everyone is welcome. Part of my problem with the arguments about whether homosexuality is a sin is that they miss the point. We’re all sinners, and even if homosexuality is a sin, I don’t think it’s some kind of super sin that is a million times worse than any other. It’s not a deal breaker for God. And straight people aren’t called to be the bouncers at God’s banquet.

      • Suzy

        Excellent response, Steve.

      • jIM

        Bravo! What is the fixation on homosexuality really about? Why is this “sin” (not my belief) so much more important to the anti-gay everything crowd than other sin?

        • Frank

          The bible says sexual sins are worse because it’s a sin against our own bodies which are temples of the Spirit. Sexual sins are uniquely singled out.

      • Brennen

        Correct, except it is considered a society destroyer and yes god does let us come to him as diners but he expects us to try to change and to resist temptation as Jc did . Isn’t it pointless to repent if we won’t even try to reist temptation?

      • AAS

        Well said!

      • AAS

        I meant … Well said, Steve!

      • JR

        Thanks Steve

  • mitchell

    nadia,

    that punching motion in the picture looks intimidating. who you swinging at?

    love, your old intern.

  • http://www.accende.org Francisco Herrera

    WOW. Hier stehst du – du kannst nicht anders. Bravo pastor, bra-VO!

  • chrystal

    If you are really a follower of Jesus then you would know that God is against gay and lesbian relations amongst other sinful behaviors and so as a pastor I would think you would know what Scripture says and follow it.

  • Jim

    Nadia: I too am an ELCA pastor. Thank you for your smart, direct and compassionate testimony. All I really can say is, Amen!! Blessings, Jim

  • Launa

    Chrystal, I don’t find your reasoning “if you really are a follower of Christ” to be very convincing or helpful…

    Years ago, good Christians disagreed with each other about whether slavery was sinful or not. Either group could have said “if you really are a follower of Jesus, then you would agree with my point of view”. Long before that, people told Galileo “if you really are a follower of Jesus you wouldn’t say that the earth revolves around the sun.” [I don't understand why that was upsetting, but indeed it was] Today, we still disagree with each other about lots of important ideas, like whether it’s sinful to kill people (as in go to war) or under what circumstances is it ok to kill. There are a large number of interpretations held, all by people who are deeply devoted to Christ. You’ve got to give other people the benefit of the doubt that they may have thought deeply, cared deeply, prayed deeply and still not come to the same conclusion as you. yes?

    • Brennen

      Homosexuality is not open for interpretation it is clearly stated multupile times (ie liviticus 18) and doesn’t god say be fruitfull and multiply? And antabellem slavery was wrong it was not like bibilical slavery where it was illegal to beat slave where you would be imprisoned , slaves knew how to read, had citizenship and put themselves into slavery.

      • Kate

        Brennen, You are not wrong in your interpretation of the bible. Neither are you right. That is the beauty of the bible. It is not a text book, nor was it intended to be. There is no answer key. So being fruitful and multiplying does not necessarily mean procreating. Although, in the day that it was written, a man was measured by his progeny – who, along with his wife (s), were a form of currency, or at least property. And we all know what the bible says about greed and wealth. But if what you assert is biblically accurate (which could be an oxymoron in some circles) Who else is defined as a “society destroyer”? How about virgin priests (even the ones who are not pedaphiles)?

        • Frank

          No Brennan is right! There is such a thing as absolute truth.

        • Frank

          No Brennan is right! There is such a thing as absolute truth.

  • llama lady

    Awesome, Nadia, just awesome.

  • Michael

    We all fall short of the mark. Hence, the need for God’s grace to encompass all. So, naysayers, check the logs in your own eyes before judging others for the splinters in theirs.
    And thank you, Nadia, for sharing.

  • http://www.loavesabound.blogspot.com Jenn

    You know what brings the institution of marriage down? Infidelity. Let’s make that illegal and take away Newt’s rights and every straight person who has ever cheated.

    • Brennen

      Yes the bible also says infidelity is bad, it also says promescuity is bad and homosexuals have on average more partners than heterosexuals do and statisticly shorter relationships.

      • Donn

        Brennan: Where on earth did you gain that tidbit – that “homosexuals have on average more partners than heterosexuals”? That piece of tripe has been drifting around for ages without any substantiation whatever. I’ve often wondered if it comes from straight people’s perceptions mixed with wishes they could be so lucky.

        Common insight, though, can suggest the opposite is true since the meeting places for straight people to “hook up” are far more plentiful than for gay people. (Count the bars.)

        However, the fact is that it’s a level field; there is no real difference between straights and gays in their sexual selectivity or sexually promiscuity.

  • Tony Johnson

    Hi Nadia, I am just another stranger from the other side of the world. I did want to say to you that IMHO what you did and said is a wonderful testimony to following Jesus, that is Jesus of Nazareth and not the Jesus of our various abstract theological systems. Thank you.

  • brennen

    Bible is verry straightforward on homosexuality. And what would it mean, and what verse is referring to virgin priest

  • Tony Johnson

    Brennan, obviously I have never met you and please excuse me if I am out of line. Brennan, the Bible is VERY S’TRAIGHTFORWARD on so many things. Now, I wonder how of many of these straightforward biblical injunctions you actually follow. Maybe you follow them all, I don’t know. But I do no that everyone I have ever met who says, the ‘Bible is very straightforward on homosexuality’ choose and picks which biblical injuctions they live by. Now again, you may be the exception, but I wonder.

    • Brennen

      We all sin, does that make our sins ok? Should we not try to not sin ?

  • George Erdner

    It should be noted that the Old Covenant law included, in many cases, both a description of an offense and a prescribed punishment. The New Covenant was one of forgiveness, which did away with the punishments of the Old Covenant, but not with the prohibitions. When Jesus confronted the crowd who was about to stone the adulteress, He reminded them that since none of them was without sin, none of them had the authority to punish another. When the crowd left, He said to the adulteress that her sins were forgiven. He didn’t say that what she did was no longer a sin. He didn’t remove her act of sin from the list of things God says were sins. He just said that her sins were forgiven, and (THIS IS IMPORTANT) He told her to “go and sin no more”.

    That’s what the Gospel is about. We are forgiven for our sins, but we’re also supposed to repent, and STOP ENGAGING IN THE SINS. At least, we’re expected to do our best to stop, with the support of the Holy Spirit.

    To say that God’s free gift of Grace is an excuse to wallow in our sinful habits because we’re forgiven is pure antinomianism. No ordained pastor in God’s church should preach or teach such a thing.

  • Donn

    All this talk about LAW: Jesus FULFILLED the law.

    I was going to paste some text from another site. Rather than do that, I’ll offer a link instead. If anyone wishes to read it, note the focus of my comment are these lines:

    In this sense, the law’s divine design will ever have an abiding effect. It will always accomplish the purpose for which it was given.

    If, however, the law of Moses bears the same relationship to men today, in terms of its binding status, then it was not fulfilled, and Jesus failed at what He came to do.

    For anyone still insisting that homosexuality is condemned in scripture, I challenge them to spend time digging into original texts toward learning the meanings of terms. Our most beloved translations have done an horrible job conveying those meanings. It’s enlightening when we know what our Bibles tell us.

    • Brennen

      Um actually it. Says to lay with man in Greek because they didn’t have a word for it like we do today so maby u should read the original version then post things such as this

  • Frank

    Hard to take someone seriously who misquotes scripture. “gay or straight” is not part of that verse in word or spirit.

  • Oak Park Dave

    Not trying to be combative, but I am honestly curious. What are the limits of the no “male or female?” Would you testify against title IX? Should universities have separate sports teams for men and women or should there just be one team where the best athletes play regardless of gender? Is the regulatory sex based segregation in college athletics against the spirit of the bible?

  • http://sacredblasphemies.wordpress.com sacredblasphemies

    This is beautiful! Thank you for doing this!! God bless!

  • G Lake Dylan

    praying for the h8rs…it is sad that you find a need to be legalistic in things that are not clearly understood or even able to be clearly interpreted. i would h8 u 2 but God in Jesus said “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” so, i love you even though i would prefer 2 h8 u

    • Frank

      If you are living in sin you are not loving yourself so you can keep that fake love to yourself.

  • tryingtounderstand

    Thank you for this post. I have been reading the comments above, and have a question. It seems to me that anyone who disagrees with the original post is labeled to be a hater, ignorant, legalistic, etc. I am wondering why this is? If I were to say that in my honest opinion, as I have studied and tried to understand both the Biblical language as well as the societal implications of same-sex unions, and have come to the conclusion that they were neither God’s intention nor will result in our best society-wide…is it possible that does not come from a heart of hate? Is it possible that I do understand the Scriptures well? Is it possible that comes from a heart that wants everyone to experience the fullness of what God has for us?

    To me it feels tricky, as I do agree that many within the church at large have approached this issue with a tremendous amount of condescension and hatred. Yet I feel stuck…if I honestly believed that a young man I know very well was on a path to destruction and did not say anything…how much would I be hating him if I didn’t care enough to warn him?

    I love Jesus deeply…I love who He loves deeply. I claim neither to be perfect, nor to be perfectly following anything…though if that were to be the standard for trying to understand the above issues, I imagine there would be neither an original post nor any additional comments.

    Would love your sincere thoughts and feedback.

    Thank you.

    • Marty

      Hi Tryingtounderstand,

      I really appreciate your honesty and the tone of your comment. “Trying to understand” is where we all are when it comes to faith, I think.

      So I am gay and a Christian. I was raised in a Christian home in a good family. I was raised to believe that being gay is wrong and that the Bible teaches against it. I tried to date women but I could never feel attracted to them like my straight friends. I am just attracted to men.

      So I studied the scriptures, prayed for a long time, and did everything I could to change my orientation. I never dated anyone after my unsuccessful attempts to be attracted to women in high school and college. And after years and years of prayer at the age of 34, I came to the conclusion that God does not condemn same-sex relationships.

      Is it possible that this conclusion does not come from a desire to sin but rather from a desire to love? Is it possible that all I want is a committed relationship that will help me grow closer to God just like other Christians married to those of the opposite sex? Is it possible that I do understand the Bible well and that our modern understanding of gay people is not what Paul was referring to at all?

      So if you believe that I am on the wrong path, I humbly acknowledge your advice to remain celibate. But I have to disagree. I feel God’s presence so much more in my life after accepting myself for who I am and who I believe God made me to be.

      I am a Christian because of Jesus…because of his sacrifice…because of his teaching. I am not perfect, and I know my understanding may be as flawed as anyone else’s. But I’m doing the best that I can. It’s all any of use can do.

      • tryingtounderstand

        Marty,

        Thank you for your reply, and for understanding the heart behind my post…I appreciate that.

        I wonder if I could ask you a question or two in that same spirit?

        When you said that you came to the conclusion that our modern understanding of gay people is not what Paul was referring to, what do you mean by that? How did you come to that conclusion? Are there other things that Paul or other Biblical writers spoke of that you believe to be different today?

        Secondly, I fully trust and believe (even without meeting you) that your heart is not intent on sinning…any more than mine is. :) I don’t think that heterosexual sin is better than homosexual sin by any means. But I wonder then where we draw the line. What if I honestly felt better about myself when I lied about others to build myself up? What if I thought loving a young child (in an inappropriate way) was my way of finding love…would not society have to say that was not okay?

        Again…I hope you “hear” my heart in these questions. I am not trying to “trap” you or anyone…just looking to honestly engage on these issues.

        Thanks again for your thoughts.

        • Marty

          Hi Trying,

          There’s lots out there about the Bible and what it says about gay sex. Some of it is good; and some of it is pretty misinformed. A voice that I tend to agree with is Justin Lee. He did a really interesting article for the Rachel Held Evans blog several months ago. It gives a pretty good overview of why I believe what I believe about the Bible. You may not be persuaded. But I am. And when I stand before God one day, I will say, “I did the best I could with what I knew. I was never perfect but I tried to love you with my whole heart and love my neighbor as myself.”

          I think your other questions are about how I define sin. For that, I look to the words of Jesus. He said that all of the Law is summed up by the two commands love God with all your mind, heart, and soul; and love your neighbor as yourself. The actions you mention–lying and having a sexual relationship with a child–cause harm to others and are not loving our neighbor as ourselves.

          If we decide, as Christians, that we are going to use the Bible to inform our faith, we need to make decisions about what it means. And we may come to different conclusions. (Just look at how many denominations there are!) But we need to realize that our decisions are human decisions. We are all sinners and we could be wrong. So I don’t equate what I believe with the will of God. And I am very skeptical when others claim that their decisions are the will of God.

  • Kristy

    For all those who feel it their duty to condemn homosexuality, I have one question: how many gay friends do you have? How many gay people have you actually looked in the eye? held hands with? prayed with? cried with? How many of you have actually served the “society-destroyers” (I’m sorry, where on Earth did that term come from?!) the way Jesus served and befriended the outcasts of his time? Before you go proselytizing anti-gay ideology, I implore you to come to truly love your neighbor as yourself… we MUST do this FIRST as Jesus commanded. I cannot accept your narrow-minded views as they do not represent our call to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. If you believe you are called to “decide” who someone can and can’t love, I strongly encourage you to work on the latter part of Micah’s message.

    What this issue has taught me is that those who feel so compelled to “protect” society from homosexuality are simply those who are unwilling to let Jesus break their hearts and show them an entirely new level of deep, deep love and compassion. I pray we all continue to unclench our fists, open our hearts and minds, and let God make the big decisions as Jesus told us He would. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to challenge my heart to open to the things that I am afraid of, that I have questions about, that I know I cannot fully understand, that I hear Jesus asking me to consider…

    Go. And do likewise.

    • Frank

      Many actually! Love is about truth. Love is about wanting to live within the will of God. We all fail but we all must strive for that. Homosexual behavior is not living in Gods will. Lying to people, telling them ootherwise is the most hateful thing anyone can do!

    • tryingtounderstand

      Hi Kristy,

      I am not sure if your post is directed to me or not…but just in case, can you help me understand where you heard me “condemn homosexuality?”

      I think what you mention, and honestly what seems like the tone of your comment is exactly what led me to post in the first place…if I am hearing you correctly (please let me know if I’m not) it seems like you are saying that it isn’t possible to truly love someone who is gay and still come to the conclusion that their behavior is destructive to themselves first and foremost, and ultimately to others. Honestly, most of my passion, so to speak, to correct, warn, etc comes from a heart that has wept before the Lord. I promise I take no joy in “condemning” anything. Rather, I have come to the honest conclusion that this isn’t God’s best or original design…much like many of the things in my own life that I still wrestle with.

      When you say that this issue has taught you that those who feel compelled to condemn this issue have not allowed God to break their hearts…I would say that is not the case for me. I am sure you have accurately described many you have come into contact with. However, at the base of it…should it not be possible to simply engage on the issue itself without attacking those who disagree? I wonder if I had come on to this site and used similar language to yours to describe those who favor your position…how would that feel to you? If I assumed that because you hold the position you do, that you have never read the Bible or care not for holiness. (neither of which I am assuming, by the way).

      So I guess I return to my original question…is it not possible to love AND have come to a different conclusion?

      Thank you for your thoughts Kristy-I appreciate your time spent writing them, and the time it sounds like you spend loving others. You are right that that is the most important part, regardless of where you stand on this issue.

      • Frank

        The silence is your answer.

  • https://www.facebook.com/MBWinkel Matthew B. Winkel

    Beautiful! I hope to see you before the dreaded HOUSE Judiciary Committee …

    You make me think of my (United Methodist) former junior associate pastor, Jerry Herships, who has been APPOINTED to a “radical” new ministry in downtown Denver: http://www.afterhourschurch.com

  • Alison

    This is powerful. I loved every word of it. God is with you, girl!


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