Sharing the Link-Love

Here some interesting posts that I would like to pass along to you. The basic theme is people of faith wrestling with some very difficult questions. I admire that.

First of all, my friend who also is a part of our congregation at Rothesay Vineyard, Joni, runs a blog called Got Authenticity? where she writes openly about the fact that, as she says, “I am a Christian who struggles with same sex attraction.” She is a brave woman struggling to find herself and her way in an adversarial world.

Also, I finally was pointed to another blogger, Jamie Arpin Ricci, who runs Canada’s number one religious blog of last year, Emergent Voyageurs . Read his latest and courageous post on “Homosexuality: A Personal Reflection”, in which he admits his homosexual attractions while being married to a woman. I think he is courageous to write such a post. His conclusion is: “I believe that practicing homosexuality is inconsistent with Christianity.” He takes a position that is accepted by some of Christianity, that while it is tolerable to be homosexual in orientation, it is sinful to practice it. This for me has problems, because Jesus taught that how we think in our heart is how we truly are. It doesn’t need to be “practiced”. This position can cause, I believe, a harmful fracture between the sensual and the spiritual.

John over at Microclesia, is a new online acquaintance of mine. We seem to be very much on the same page. He reads Wilbur, Anthony de Mello, Brueggeman, the poetry of Denise Levertov, is into music, etc. etc.. I’m glad to have met him. His recent post on The Complex Christ is worth a read if you have a few minutes.

Steve over at Stupid Church People has written an interesting post on “The Authority Prayer” which exposes the sorcery Christians can be tempted to use. Steve and Josh are ex-pastors who blog about the stupidity of church life that they don’t miss. I like reading it because I’ve been “ex-pastor” before, may be again, and their honesty is, well, incisive.

Bene Diction, has posted an interesting write-up on the Church of England’s attempt to use YouTube to be more relevant to today’s culture. You can read about it here. To me, it sounds 20 years ago. I agree with Bene Diction: I won’t use it. I don’t listen to sermons online or podcasts (unless it is humour).

The cartoon is from Hugh over at gapingvoid, a cartoonist/blogger who I check out every day. Thought it was funny!

That’s enough for now. Some good reading.

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • Fred

    We all have an “attraction” to sin of some kind. It’s not “incongruous” to deny the flesh. Are you really suggesting that whatever temptation we experience we just “go with it” out of “integrity”?

  • joni

    Sounds like a great conversation is in the works.

    I wasn’t reading what David said to mean that we just go with whatever temptation we experience at all. I was thinking.. does simply not “acting on it” mean that it isn’t there?? Cause let me tell you, I am attracted to women and whether or not I am in a relationship that doesn’t change. Does the fact that I choose to remain single at this time in my life because of the struggle, mean that somehow the attraction is any different? Am I exempt somehow because I don’t act on what some deam as sin?? Hmmm… Is sin sin only when acted on?? Doesn’t the bible say that the heart is deceitfully wicked above all else? As a man thinks in his heart so is he. I can stay single til Jesus returns.. it doesn’t change the fact that the desire within me is the same. Hmmmm… so if my heart continues to desire and be attracted to women.. am I not fooling myself to simply justify it all away because I’m not acting on it??

    Hope that made sense.

  • Heidi

    That made perfect sense Joni. It really brings home the fact that most sin in our lives is the stuff that you cannot see, the acts without evidence, the hidden things. I’m convicted of way more things that I think in my mind/heart, than for acts I do or do not do.

    Thanks for pointing this reality out!

  • Fred

    An intentional thought could well be deemed a “passive action.” Thinking can change your body physically (e.g., think about a nice Tim Horton’s French Vanilla Cappucino. Were you salivating before you were thinking about it? Now KEEP thinking about it and see if you are motivated to physically act on those thoughts. You likely weren’t motivated to act on it before I even mentioned it.).

    There are “spontaneous thoughts” and there are “deliberate thoughts.” Are we “guilty” for spontaneous thoughts? I don’t think so. But if we engage in imaginative fantasies about someone else’s wife–well, that’s what I think Jesus is talking about.

  • Brianmpei

    So if I think about telling a lie but choose not to I’m still guilty of lying? Finding someone of the same sex attractive means I’ve already had sex with them? I’m confused. I know Jesus said something about lust and adultery but lust IS sin, finding someone of the same sex attractive, as far as I can tell, is never defined as such.

    Help me out here.

  • Fred

    No, Brianmpei, your’re right. Thinking about something isn’t a sin. But there’s a difference between “thinking about lusting” and “lusting.” Fine line? Maybe, but a line nonetheless.

  • Brianmpei

    Agreed Fred, I’m still trying to imagine what ‘thinking about lusting’ looks like though!

    I was mostly reacting to Joni’s thoughts about thoughts and whether ‘as a man thinks in his heart…’ really applies to, as you say, spontaneous or deliberate thoughts.

    I’m heterosexual, as far as I can tell, but that doesn’t make me monogamous. That’s my choice (or some might argue it’s not up to me…). I choose how I practice my natural attractions. My attractions aren’t a sin nor are they reason or license to act.

    At least that’s what I think tonight…

  • nakedpastor

    Hey everyone. Cool conversation. I’m mindful of the fact that we can cooly discuss this issue, but that there are some friends of mine for whom this is an extremely painful reality. The question whether a thought is a sin, or a consideration is a sin, is a good one. When I mentioned the fracture that can occur between the spiritual and the sensual, I think the fracture is most pronounced when what someone IS is divorced from what they DO. In other words, when my BEING is disconnected my DOING, that is the fracture. But for some gays I know, their BEING is not allowed to have a connection with their DOING. Which leads me to say that we all experience this fracture at all kinds of levels. Romans 7 comes to mind. We are, I do believe, all “sinners” and that our fallenness is pervasive throughout the human being and experience. Even monogamy is shot through with sin. Just some thoughts.

  • BrianM

    So would you agree that an alcoholic should be encouraged to connect their BEING and their DOING?

    Let me just add that my understanding of homosexuality is in process but what I know and what will never change is that God does not love anyone less because of their sexuality (or more for that matter!) My question above is an honest one and not intended to be argumentative or hurtful.

    I find that most of my Christian friends who talk about homosexuality are either determined to not think about the issue because of tradition and fear or are on the other end and choose not to think about the issue because the pressure of contemporary culture (in our part of the world) is to equate my sexuality with the colour of my skin which is, in light of history, a silly equation but we should just adjust our understanding to accomodate.

    Personally I’m all for the radical middle. I just haven’t found it yet.

  • nakedpastor

    There are some who would argue that it is wrong to say you are an alcoholic, just as there are some who would argue that it is wrong to say you are a homosexual. This discussion began with me commenting on the sense that there is something, I’m not sure what, problematic about the position that those with homosexual desires are not to practice, and that makes everything okay. The fracture runs through the whole of human experience, this experience included.

  • joni

    Hey.. great conversation, I love it. It’s hard to find people willing to discuss different ideas and opinions without the judgement and arguing.. so this is nice.

    Brian, I think I was basically thinking/processing some different thoughts.. putting out a challenge to here some feedback. So much has been said to me from “christians” in this area.. everyone really likes to give me their opinion in how I should live… that often end up contradicting each other.

    I, for a couple months now, have made the decision to live as a single person. Sure I desperately desire a relationship again with a woman… but I cannot reconcile that in my walk with the Lord. So have decided for now the best thing to do is to be single. Suddenly that makes me acceptable to those who had previously rejected me. That causes confusion for me. So then I get so thot focused that I end up not able to make head nor tails of anything. Does my simply staying single some how remove the “sin” if that is what it is? because let me tell you, my thots are filled with what I miss having and what I want… so it seems no different for me.

    Fred, I like what you said about spontaneous and deliberate thots.. thanks. You gave me something to think about.