When Courtney and I were married by Doug Pagitt at Solomon’s Porch in July, 2011, there were no legal documents signed. The State of Minnesota and Hennepin County were not invited to our wedding. Our parents, my kids, other family and friends all celebrated just as joyously as any other wedding (maybe even moreso), and no one asked when we were going to sign the legal contracts required by the state for our marriage to be sanctioned by the government.
I’m guessing that no one thought twice about that because we could get legally married any time we wanted. Many of our friends, however, could not. That meant that their marriage ceremonies, while sacred, did not have the potential to be legal. It was for this reason that Courtney and I decided to forego legal marriage until such time as our GLBT friends were afforded all of the benefits that accrue with a legal marriage. (In Minnesota alone, that was estimated to be 515 benefits.) [Read more...]
At Leadership Journal, part of the shrinking stable at Christianity Today International, there’s an article by Stanton Jones, the provost of Wheaton College. Well, it’s not really an article, it’s an interview Stan had with a gay parishioner. Well, it’s not really an interview, but a made-up interview that Stan didn’t actually have, but is instead a “composite” of many conversations he’s had with gay men.
In the “interview,” a young, gay man asks Stan for some pastoral help in getting through the Bible verses (aka, clobber verses) about homosexuality. Stan toes the evangelical party line, saying that the Bible is clear on this matter and should not be questioned, but that doesn’t make “Todd” a bad person. Traditional hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner stuff.
There’s some other stuff, too, about how he carried out a “study” — which he admits wasn’t scientific, but he authoritatively quotes anyway — of gay persons who wanted to change their orientation. He also trots out the usual evangelical tropes about “society today” and how it says that sex is the only thing that matters, etc. (He’s clearly never seen Pompeiian wall paintings.)
But it really gets cray-cray when he insinuates that gays struggle with depression and suicide, not because they are marginalized and persecuted, but because it’s inherent to their immoral predilection:
A California Christian college has asked a professor who was once its chair of theology and philosophy to leave Azusa Pacific University after he came out as transgender.
Heather Clements taught theology at the school for 15 years, but this past year, he has begun referring to himself as H. Adam Ackley.
H. Adam Ackley says, “As I continued my social transition at the end of my sabbatical before coming back to campus, I sought compromise: I cut but continued to die [sic] my hair.”
Questions That Haunt Christianity came back with a vengeance this week. Wow. I’m especially grateful to William Birch, who asked the question, for being so engaged in the comment section — you should go read them all.
William’s question was:
If God hates homosexuality so much, then why won’t He deliver me from it?
Many commenters took exception to the way that William posed the question. They didn’t like the “If…then…” formula, because if you reject the conditional clause at the beginning, then there’s nothing else to talk about. But everyone worked through that, since this is obviously a personal and haunting question for William (and many others).
For beginners, I’m going to agree with premises that William stated in the comment section. Even though I don’t necessarily wholeheartedly affirm these premises, they’re essential to answering the question in the way that William intends it:
With those as background, here’s my response:
Today, John Shore, Dan Savage, Wayne Besen, and Evan Hurst launched the Not All Like That Christians Project. Modeled after and inspired by It Gets Better, NALT is a place for Christians to tell the media and the world that the homophobic, fear-mongering Christian leaders who get the most press aren’t the only Christians out there. In fact, in my contribution to NALT, I make the claim that they aren’t even in the majority anymore. A young, open, progressive generation of Christians is rising, and we are the future of the faith in the West:
After a summer vacation, the Questions That Haunt Christianity series is back. Readers pose questions – you can submit your questions here – I post the the question on Tuesday, readers comment throughout the week, and I take my crack at an answer on Friday. Nothing I’ve undertaken in my career has so sharpened my skills as a practical theologian, so I’m excited (and daunted) by a new season of QTH.
To start the new season of QTH, we’ve got a brief, but anguished and personal question, from William:
The Obama administration is bringing the power of the federal government to bear in supporting gay marriage. First, the attorney general’s office refused to enforce DOMA, then they repealed DADT in the military, and now the IRS will afford marital tax benefits to all legally married couples, regardless of what state they reside in:
WASHINGTON — All same-sex couples who are legally married will be recognized as such for federal tax purposes, even if the state where they live does not recognize their union, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday.
It is the broadest federal rule change to come out of the landmark Supreme Court decision in June that struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and a sign of how quickly the government is moving to treat gay couples in the same way that it does straight couples.
Years ago, back when it still happened, I spoke at the Cornerstone Festival. I did a couple gigs there with Phyllis Tickle, and a couple on my own. Then I was on a panel discussion on gays and the church. On the panel with me were Rich Amesbury, a professor of ethics at Claremont School of Theology, Andrew Marin of the Marin Foundation, Christine Sneeringer from Worthy Creations Ministry, and Frank Carrasco of Exodus International. The panel was intriguing, but what happened after was really formative for me.
I met an intersexed person.
I’ve gotten to know that person fairly well, and we talk on the phone regularly. What getting to know an intersexed person has convinced me of is the deep complexity of gender.
As a theologian, it’s often the exceptions to the norm that I need to pay attention to. For example, if you think that the imago dei is rationality, I’ll ask you if a person whose rationality has been damaged — say the victim of a diving accident — is no longer a creature made in the image of God. That might make you rethink your definition of the imago dei.
There’s been a lot of talk on the internet over the last week after Southern Baptist spokesman Russell Moore wrote about how Christians should respond to the “transgender question.” Moore says that transgendered persons are not freaks, but then he goes on to write this:
Thabiti Anyabwile, a Cayman pastor and board member of the Gospel Coalition, has got everyone’s undies in a bunch with his hamfisted post saying that if you find anal sex gross, that must be the Holy Spirit. He then goes on to give his army marching orders to describe gay sex in disgusting terms as often as possible, in order to fight the gay lobby. (He seems to think that describing sex is a turn off; I think most people experience it as a turn on.)
It’s a terrible post, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Nevertheless, the progressive theoblogosphere is PISSED! For example: