I’m Christian, gay, and too angry to even read the Bible anymore

Got this letter in. My answer follows it:

Dear John,

I love your blog. I’ve been out as a lesbian for several months now, and both before and after the coming out process, I have found your words comforting and challenging.

I’m having some trouble with my faith. I know that you must get so many requests for advice and people just pouring their issues out to you, and I hope that this is not draining for you. But I often find your answers make me think of things in a new way, so I’m going to add my own question.

I’ve been a Christian for most of my life and my faith has been an integral part of who I am since I was a teenager. It took me until the age of 29 to figure out and be honest about the fact that I am gay. I had internalized the belief that Christians couldn’t be gay, and since I was a Christian, clearly I was just confused. I thought that whatever other people had inside of them that allowed them to fall deeply, ridiculously in love was somehow left out of me. Until I did feel those feelings myself—for a woman. Once that happened, my denial fought hard and ugly, but its days were numbered. I couldn’t even honestly try to “pray away the gay.” The words would stick in my throat; I didn’t want it to go away. This was love. It was one of the purest, most beautiful things I’d ever felt. It felt like an insult to God to pretend that I thought it was anything other than a gift.

So now I’m out and I’m blessed with loving friends and family. I have found a wonderful, affirming church community. I really should not be complaining. But I’m still struggling with a lot of internalized homophobia, and with the fact that I feel that I can’t love God the way he deserves to be loved.

I don’t know if the homophobia and faith issues are related to each other, but I know that I can’t read my Bible. I try sometimes, but I feel my stomach tighten and my heart heart rate increase, and I feel like a trapped animal. I used to spend hours reading that book, and now I want nothing to do with it. It doesn’t feel safe for me. I wish that it did.

I had trouble praying for a while, but I’m doing that again. And I’ve been having dreams in which God, who is good and loving and gentle, beckons me to return to him. This God is so good. He deserves so much love. But I still have so much anger over the years spent denying who I was: over the books I read in an effort to love God which told me that the best of who I am is inherently broken and disordered, over the sermons and seminars I attended where speakers would talk about being “healed” and “delivered” from homosexuality—all of that, which I swallowed uncritically, even though that every instinct I had was screaming at me to run from this teaching.

I know that anger and love are not mutually exclusive things. But I don’t know how to separate out what is God and what is my religion. And even within my religion, I don’t know how to save what is good, and let go of the stuff that is harmful. I love Jesus, but some days I’d like nothing better than to turn my back on Christianity.

Any advice that you can give me on how let go of the bad and hold on to the good, and on how to love God like he deserves to be loved, would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

Dear woman who wrote me this:

Remarkable. This is just … unbelievable. You spend twenty-nine years immersed in a system that from the most impressionable years of your life onward was forever telling you that you’re essentially garbage—disgusting to God, an abomination to nature, an affront to dignity and honor—and now, despite all of that—despite the harm done to your psyche, the endless blows to your self-esteem, the ongoing negation of the very core of who you are—you are still moved toward, and compelled by, the love of God.

You still want God. You still want Jesus. You still believe in the divine love to which you have always been told you have no right.

Your heart just … kept its truth. It kept its vision. It continued listening to God. You continued to believe in the strength, power, and righteousness of God, when everyone around you speaking for God told you that God was ashamed of you.

The Holy Spirit within you was stronger than the hatred outside of you. That’s remarkable. What a testimony to people’s … innate and inviolate knowledge or God, basically.

Anyway, it sounds like you’re experiencing stuff quite new to you—that you’ve only been out for a few months. So, in coming out, you have claimed yourself in a way that you haven’t before. In a sense, and in the most positive way, coming out means objectifying yourself: it means presenting yourself to yourself, and by extension to the world, as a fully independent, fully integrated, fully whole person. It means bringing to the fore, for the first time ever, a fully realized you.

Yay!

But then of course it’s also only natural—and a sign of just how powerful coming out is—that you then question everything that has ever attempted to define you for you. You’re fully on deck now: finally, you are the captain of your own ship. And as splendid as that is, it’s also bound to be a bit unmooring. It’s not particularly easy to have your entire identity reshaped. You’ve experienced a revolution. And in revolutions all kinds of stuff happens. Things fall and crumble everywhere. In real revolutions, a lot of babies get thrown out with a lot of bathwater.

So I say: Wait. Feel your way into the truths of what you’re going through. There’s no rush. If you’re angry with God, be angry with God. I think it’s safe to say that s/he will understand. If you are angry with God, think how angry God must be with the people who made you feel that way. (If you’re ever around any of those people, be sure to always remain a few feet back from them. Why should you get your clothes singed when lightning strikes them?) If you don’t feel safe reading the Bible, put your Bible away. I imagine you’ve had enough of the Bible in your life to last you awhile. If you’ve found a church that nurtures and affirms you, go to that church. (And please give my love to anyone at that church who is treating you right.) If praying is bringing you peace, pray.

I’ll tell you one thing: if I were Jesus, I can’t imagine anything that would bring me more pleasure than to have someone say, “I love Jesus, but some days I’d like nothing better than to turn my back on Christianity.” Because I’d know that’s a person who actually gets me, who hears me, who knows what I’m about, who received the message I gave so much to send. That person I would know to be a true friend of mine.

You asked how you can let go of the bad and hold on to the good. I don’t think that’s a concern. Because I think that, as it always has, the good is holding onto you. And that means the bad, all on its own, will continue to fall away from you.

Bless you, girl. Write us every once in a while as you continue down your road, and let us know how you’re doing.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • Tim Conard

    great answer.

  • Sue Austin Harper

    What about 1 Corinthians 6:9? Homosexuality is demonic brainwashing. It is not of God, and not Christian. Jesus Christ can deliver you from the demonic, brainwashing lies of satan. You have to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, go to a good Christian church were the spirit of God is moving, and eventually you will change and grow and get delivered from this demonic sin.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore
      • Sue Austin Harper

        I’m sorry, John, but you are incorrect. 1 Corinthians Chapter 6, verse 9, specifically says that all homosexuals will not enter the Kingdom of God.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          What if the kingdom of god is not a place but a people. What if the kingdom of god is all people who look at one another as neighbor, beloved of god, friend, family? Why would anyone want to keep anyone out?

          • Cathy Sims

            you all forget one thing, It is not just Jesus words that are the Word of God. God chose each one that has written in His Word the Bible to write what they wrote. You cannot say that this part of the Bible is true and then turn around and say ok you can omit this part of it. Do not add nor take away from the Word of God. Also the Bible has forbidden homosexuality period! One cannot serve God and practice that life style at the same time. And for those that want to dispute it with me, I refuse to do so because all they have to do is read about it in Gods Word and His Word stands!

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Balderdash

            Can you serve god and be a murderer? Samson, david, Moses and Elijah all apparently did. Can you serve God and be a liar? Abraham Rahab and david did.
            Can you serve god and be a temple prostitute? Rahab again. So to say someone who is gay cannot serve god is just ludicrous… especially as they are no more sinful than you or I, being who they prefer to sleep with being the least of their issues.

            As for this whole word of god thing…absolutely we pick which verses to uphold and which to discard. Are you married? Do you have to seperate yourself from your spouse once a month and then do a purification ritual before he allows you back in his bed? Its in the bible. What about being ritual unclean if you touch a dead body? That’s there too. Or stoning someone accused of adultery? How often does that occur in your church? Obviously you disregard those supposed words of god as irrelevant… so why not an interpretation gleaned fr multiple translations of what some people think the bible is saying about gay people?

          • Tobias

            Every single example you use is of one who converts to God’s direction and leaves aside the sins that he or she has been committing, or suffers in the end for the sin they would not leave aside. That doesn’t really support the idea that God happily and “compassionately” uses people who continue in their sin.

            As for the cherry-picking scripture. Again, the fact that some rules become defunct does not mean that all the rules of the Bible are subject to change. So how are you able to convince yourself that because some rules serve a certain time-period and a certain people, that means that all scriptural rules pass away; that somehow or another cherrypicking becomes perfectly justified? Or to ask it another way: how can you convince us that the Bible does NOT have a hierarchy of values like literally every other book/instruction manual/poem/pamphlet in existence? Or can you really not see the difference between verses that speak of minor dietary laws or societal punishment, on the one hand, and those scriptures that talk about the very nature of man and woman, on the other? Can you really not see why one law would change and another would not? If nothing else, your free-for-all assumption erodes any grounds for which you could possibly insist that any X is right and any Y is wrong and legitimately base it in scripture of any sort. I could easily use your cherrypicking argument to say that “love” and “compassion” served one time period in salvation history and now “evolution” or “progress” or whatever it is that guides us is now leading us into justified war and hatred.

            Finally, it’s simply not possible to “glean” an acceptance of homosexuality from the Bible unless you ignore those parts of Scripture that do not talk merely about what man and woman are supposed to do or not do, but who and what they are in their very natures. If married couples actually did take up the “marital cleansing” laws it would have no impact on society at all. But supporting homosexuality has proven to be quite “effective” at changing society. Look around you: because of the equation of gay marriage to heterosexual marriage, there is now no place in society in which heterosexuality, which is responsible for the existence of literally everything that is human–including gays themselves–may be celebrated as unique. How could it be unique? It’s now nothing more nor less than what homosexuals do. The birth of children is now nothing more nor less than an accident that only tangentially relates to heterosexuality. The root of humanity now no longer matters, and it will matter less and less the more and more we forget–out of “love” of all things–that heterosexuality is preeminent among all other human “orientations”–precisely because no “orientation” could possibly exist without it. You were looking for a reason for why the anti-homosexuality law should stay while other laws pass away. Now you know. But like everybody else who’ll gleefully saw away at the branch on which love so clearly depends, all in the name of “love,” you’ll probably pretend that you don’t.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            huh??

          • Tobias

            In short, the obvious.

          • cajaquarius

            “Finally, it’s simply not possible to “glean” an acceptance of homosexuality from the Bible unless you ignore those parts of Scripture that do not talk merely about what man and woman are supposed to do or not do, but who and what they are in their very natures.”

            Hmmm science or a three thousand nine hundred year old collection of stories… Which is more valid? Sorry, champ, but nature arguments have been defeated so many times just by pointing out the animal kingdom and pre-Christian history it isn’t worth even bringing back up. You are wrong on this point. Stick to morality in this regard and avoid using nature arguments.

            “But supporting homosexuality has proven to be quite “effective” at changing society. Look around you: because of the equation of gay marriage to heterosexual marriage, there is now no place in society in which heterosexuality, which is responsible for the existence of literally everything that is human–including gays themselves–may be celebrated as unique. How could it be unique?”

            Aw boo hoo! The evil homosexuals are doing what I am doing and it makes me feel less special! Boo hoo hoo! Grow up. I will not stand idly by while you call me names and push me back into the closet just because your ego is so pathetic that you need to feel special compared to another group of people. My fantasies of cuddling up to another man are not wicked; if by some Lovecraftian twist of fate your evil God is the God of the world then to hell with Him: I choose Oblivion or Hell. I will choose it just to show I am more powerful than He.

            “[More of Tobias being a big cry baby about not feeling superior to another group of people because his ego is pathetic and fragile]”

            Have you considered being a white supremist? They have science and things to back up their views (IQ rates of blacks as compared to whites, crime statistics, etc), incorporate theology into their belief systems (eg the Curse of Ham), and you could feel as superior as you like to a whole slew of different people! I think it would be a good fit for you.

            “You were looking for a reason for why the anti-homosexuality law should stay while other laws pass away. Now you know. But like everybody else who’ll gleefully saw away at the branch on which love so clearly depends, all in the name of “love,” you’ll probably pretend that you don’t.”

            This is why people like Tobias hate people like me, in a nutshell. I must thank him, because this is a perfect, quotable example to show to others when they ask why I don’t just “ignore it” when some insane evangelical uses his pathetic lack of ego (due largely to a lack of real accomplishments in life, I’d wager) to justify making me a second class citizen. Sure, Tobias, I will climb back into my closet and suffer so you can feel like a big, important man. Alternately, I could live my life openly, be respectful in person, continue writing and publishing gay romantic short stories that earn many straight fans who like seeing into the world of a monogamous gay man (a softer romantic side to oppose the media portrayal of us as sex fiends), and winning your kids over by being me.

            He says it right there; heterosexuals deserve first class treatment because they can crank out kids. What kind of man makes having kids the greatest highlight of his life? The type with nothing else to boast for. The type that blames women for wearing the wrong thing when they get sexually assaulted. The kind that bloviates, endlessly, as if someone isn’t willing to come along and embarrass him like I just did here. Thanks for being honest about your hate, Tobias.

            Men like myself didn’t start this fight but, I assure you, we will finish it. Be thankful we are more loving and Christ-like than you. At least we won’t be using violence to achieve it.

            (Again, I don’t really think of you as evil and am being facetious about you being a white supremist, hateful, and so on, for the most part. I just wanted you to experience the sour fire in your belly that comes when someone comes at you and mischaracterizes you. That is how we feel when you do it to us)

          • Tobias

            You’re confusing two definitions of nature. I’m referring to nature as “essence” (i.e., the essence of man) and not merely mother nature or empirical reality.

            As for feeling the “sour fire” in my belly. It is not my fault that you take objective delineations of solid factual statements about the Bible (or anything else) personally. But be assured: everyone you know or have ever heard of has or will suffer as much as you. Including the “stuck up prigs” and the “white supremicists.” Consider the fact that in order for you to engage me, you had to set aside what I actually said and cast me as something truly evil, rather than simply disagreeing with me. We all have to die, after all, and it seems to me a greater kindness in the meantime to speak the truth rather than the cruelty of greasing and placating and thereby humiliating insecurities. The real question in all of our lives is not whether we feel better or less than others; it is whether we know the truth–the real truth.

            To answer your question: science versus stories (as you call them). Well, I’m going to go with the one that allows for an objective reality to the idea of Truth, rather than the one that claims to have proven that all truth (including the very idea of evolution itself) is nothing more than neurons firing in the middle of a long and goal-less biochemical reaction. Call me crazy.

          • cajaquarius

            “You’re confusing two definitions of nature. I’m referring to nature as “essence” (i.e., the essence of man) and not merely mother nature or empirical reality.”

            Ah, so your definition of nature here is empty, philosophical clap trap. Good to know. The essence of man seems to be whatever we feel it is, deep down, or what we can measure. All others are fiction unless they can be proven.

            “…solid factual statements about the Bible…”

            The solid, factual statements about the bible spoken of in books like The Bible Unearthed tell of a warmongering hill tribe which was once kicked out of the Hyksos Valley by their own slaves for mistreating them so terribly. Of course, you would know this from their perspective, when they attempted to cast themselves as the real victims and changed those that chased them away from their own mistreated slaves to Egypt. Or maybe we can ponder why God predicted the destruction of the city of Tyre and, yet, lo and behold Tyre still stands in Lebanon today long after this supposedly infallible entity breathed these infallible prophecies into his infallible book. So many *solid, factual statements* about the bible to discuss, wherever shall we begin?~

            I am sure there are some slick apologetics (aka excuses) to explain all that away, though. Geez, this supposedly infallible entity sure does leave his underlings twisting in the wind with these infallible words of his. You’d think he would have written them better~

            “Consider the fact that in order for you to engage me, you had to set aside what I actually said and cast me as something truly evil, rather than simply disagreeing with me.”

            You said that my own love is a direct attack on love, generally, and that my existence as a gay man is a direct attack on key foundations in all of society. You cast yourself as the bad guy by making me out to be one with a bunch of statements that mischaracterize me and what I am as evil. This isn’t me casting you as anything; I am making a simple observation.

            “To answer your question: science versus stories (as you call them). Well, I’m going to go with the one that allows for an objective reality to the idea of Truth, rather than the one that claims to have proven that all truth (including the very idea of evolution itself) is nothing more than neurons firing in the middle of a long and goal-less biochemical reaction. Call me crazy.”

            Crazy, no. Intellectually lazy and morally a coward, yes. You just went with the easiest answer you could and shut all other information out. Hey, some people are lazy; I can’t judge you for it. It is easier to just follow a book or rules handed down by your parents than actually reason out and feel why things are moral or immoral. Living in a world where you have to admit you don’t know everything is hard and doesn’t feed the Right Wing Christian egotistical need to be right about everything all of the time. Whatever floats your boat.

          • Tobias

            1) I’m sorry, my good man, but essence is not “philosophical claptrap” and the nature of man is something considerably more than the relativistic fuzzies he feels deep down in his widdle tummy. C’mon.

            2) Nice try, but when the Bible says “x is y” or “such-and-such is thus” those are factual statements that must be measured both on their own terms and according to objective standards–not because it’s the Bible, but because there is literally no way of knowing what anybody or anything says unless you grant them the autonomy to speak for themselves. You can’t even reject something or somebody unless there is something “factual” about them to reject. You’ve bought into the same modern idea as the article, that in order to deny the statements you don’t like, you merely pretend you didn’t hear what they said and redefine them to reflect you. And sorry, but Tyre has fallen many times through the past. The destruction of Jerusalem was also prophesied and it also fell several times. As with Tyre, some of it (not all) still stands today. But you must be right, since some of it’s still there, there can’t possibly have been any take-overs or wars or destruction there. God almighty. In case you missed your cue, here’s where you take pointing out the obvious and dismiss it not with argument, but with rhetorical masturbation.

            3) By wanting clarity I think what you mean is, why is there anything or anybody in the world (including God) besides you and what reflects you to yourself. At any rate, you demand of God what you haven’t yet begun to ask of yourself.

            4) Heterosexuality is responsible for the existence of literally everything that is human. We know this because without it, there wouldn’t be any human beings about. (If you’ll excuse the “philosophical claptrap”.) As of now, in the interests of “equality” there will soon be no place in society whereby (whether via ceremony or even by mere mention of it) the uniqueness of heterosexuality will be recognized. Yeah, I’d call negating one of the roots of our existence a threat to society. But what do you care if it is? There’s got to be you and whatever that costs society.

            5) Not to point out the obvious or anything, but the argument I presented–believing in something that cherishes the idea of “truth” over something that negates the very possibility of “truth”–didn’t come from the Bible. Maybe one of the anti-Bible books you could quote would be so good as to point out chapter and verse for where I would have gotten that from the Bible. But here’s the real kicker: how in the world did you convince yourself that my using an argument that’s NOT in the Bible mean that I’m a mental slave? You base your view of yourself and your intellectual integrity on an intellectual system that states categorically that you don’t have a self (you are nothing but a biochemical history) and which states categorically that every ounce of your integrity is at the whim of your biochemistry. Who’s really the slave here? I’m not the one kissing ass to the intellectual systems that would deny me things like “truth,” “self,” “person,” and “other”–none of which can possibly exist if evolution is the full truth. But don’t fret yourself too much–you’ll keep structuring the argument (presumably out of “openmindedness”) in such a way that your opponents must play the role that you designed for them. You’ll find plenty of fodder to keep you at it for the rest of your life, if you so desire.

          • cajaquarius

            “Heterosexuality is responsible for the existence of literally everything that is human. We know this because without it, there wouldn’t be any human beings about. (If you’ll excuse the ‘philosophical claptrap’.)”

            No one is denying or arguing this. These statements are pointless. Nice try, by the way, trying to make statements of facts out to be the same as the Truth decreed by King Tobias. You’ll have to do better than that. Playing homosexuality as if it were the polar opposite of heterosexuality is a false dichotomy. Homosexuals make up a minority of the population and do not threaten heterosexuality at all.

            “As of now, in the interests of “equality” there will soon be no place in society whereby (whether via ceremony or even by mere mention of it) the uniqueness of heterosexuality will be recognized.”

            In places where gay marriage has been legal for awhile like Holland it seems that people can still tell the difference between homosexual relationships and heterosexual ones. So, what is the problem? Seriously, worst case scenario, let’s say that gay love is seen as the equivalent of straight love minus the kids: what happens then? Do you operate under the delusion that I am like cadmium where I reduce sperm count and bone density of heterosexuals nearby simply by merit of my orientation?

            “Yeah, I’d call negating one of the roots of our existence a threat to society.”

            How does my meeting a special someone and linking myself to him in a lifelong partnership built on love negate heterosexuality? Please, I want to hear specifics. This is hate speech and you are a bigot, as it stands now. This statement alone proves that.

            “But what do you care if it is? There’s got to be you and whatever that costs society.”

            If I was a danger to society, I would care greatly, but fortunately only in the minds of wicked people like yourself is this connection ever made. If the fruits are foul then so is the tree. Here you use projection and misdirection against me to make me into the bad guy.

            Your side continuously dehumanizes us and claims we threaten all of society and then, when called upon to answer for this and explain yourselves, you do little more than dance in circles (rhetorical masturbation, I think you called it). Yet you have the audacity to claim we are just selfish bullies who are victimizing you.

          • Tobias

            “No one is denying or arguing this. These statements are pointless. Nice
            try, by the way, trying to make statements of facts out to be the same
            as the Truth decreed by King Tobias. You’ll have to do better than that.
            Playing homosexuality as if it were the polar opposite of
            heterosexuality is a false dichotomy. Homosexuals make up a minority of
            the population and do not threaten heterosexuality at all.”

            You’re dead wrong. Remember, gays are not fighting merely for the right to love and marry other gays; they are fighting for the right to EQUATE their marriages with heterosexual marriages, which is absurd. That’s why gays absolutely refuse to accept civil unions; they want, you want, your marriage and love to be understood as equal to precisely that form of marriage which gives birth to every human being. How does the apple become equal to the tree on which it relies for its existence? And how is it possible for that not to be a threat to the tree, if the apple succeeds and redefines the tree as no better than the apple?

            “In places where gay marriage has been legal for awhile like Holland it seems that people can still tell the difference between homosexual
            relationships and heterosexual ones. So, what is the problem? Seriously, worst case scenario, let’s say that gay love is seen as the equivalent of straight love minus the kids: what happens then? Do you operate under
            the delusion that I am like cadmium where I reduce sperm count and bone density of heterosexuals nearby simply by merit of my orientation?”

            But gay love is NOT seen just as “straight love minus the kids.” It is seen–by the majority of proponents of “marriage equality” at any rate–as effectively the same thing as straight love, when the fruits of the two could not possibly distinguish them more obviously. But say that “marriage equality” proponents still appreciated the massive differences between gay and straight love, their plain and obvious fruits. There’s still no denying that there is now no place left in the US at least (or soon won’t be) where that union that brings forth all of humanity can be celebrated as unique and vital. It isn’t because of some lazy bigotry that we say the two or unequal. Heterosexuality is THE primary orientation because without it, you cannot possibly have any orientations at all.

            And don’t give me some crap about how “unbigoted” gay-marriage proponents are. If heterosexuals were to find some way to celebrate hetero marriage as unique (which it is), “marriage equality” proponents would shout them down and get all pissed off that they had the gumption to think they were better than homosexuals. Ideas have consequences; one of the consequences of this absurd equality idea is the arbitrary revision of one of the most fundamental bedrocks of life, even of every homosexual’s life. The union of heterosexuals (even infertile heterosexuals) is special. It has no equal. You cannot possibly deny that without having serious and devastating repercussions throughout society.

            It’s interesting that you bring up Holland. As abortion has taught children (and children are quick to learn such things) that their existence is not of eternal value, but rather the arbitrary fiat of another human being, so the fake equality of gay marriage to hetero marriage will teach them that even when they have been allowed to be born their birth is nothing more than a quirk of humanity, a kind of accident to love. One wonders why so many of Holland’s kids are addicted to brothels and drugs; why so many Scandinavian kids jump off of bridges. You don’t see the effects of these “obvious” and “just” equations because you’d deny them even if you saw them.

            “How does my meeting a special someone and linking myself to him in a lifelong partnership built on love negate heterosexuality? Please, I want to hear specifics. This is hate speech and you are a bigot, as it stands now. This statement alone proves that.”

            The predictable slippery slope of you and your kind (and I’m not referring to gays, but something far more fundamental to modernity). You say you just want a partnership built on love, and yet all you “marriage equality” proponents require is that the heterosexual union on which you (and whomever you love and/or marry) rely for existence be redefined so as to be “equal” to–nothing more than–that which cannot possibly produce another human being. Even if you adopted children you’d still have to rely on heterosexuality to do it. And yet you refuse to acknowledge how there can’t be anything equal to heterosexual marriage. If bigotry is an irrational bias against people as they are, then why this laissez-faire attitude to a key aspect of heterosexuals? Who’s the bigot now? I’ve just delineated the “specifics” you desire in the previous three paragraphs. (And re the bigotry: why are there so many gays who oppose gay marriage on much the same grounds as straight people? Can they be called bigots, too? Gay or straight, everybody is capable of seeing that equating X with Y, when X relies on Y for its existence and not the other way around, must inevitably end in something bad.)

            “Yet you have the audacity to claim we are just selfish bullies who are victimizing you.”

            Not at all. I don’t think there’s the slightest ill-will in your intent or the intent of any other gay-marriage proponents. I just don’t think you have the slightest idea what you’re doing or what sort of impact it is having and will increasingly have. I don’t accuse the gay-marriage proponents of evil or a will to destruction; I accuse them of weapons-grade incompetence that is undeniably destructive. The apples are now eating away at the tree; the tree still stands (or at least wobbles), and so you gibber nonsense about how eating away at it won’t hurt it. Supply those apples with the most golden and sincere motives that you can–hell, I could probably do that just as well as you–but the result will still be the same. You were right before; you will succeed. Far better than you are willing to grasp.

            The last word, my good man, is yours.

          • cajaquarius

            “You’re dead wrong. Remember, gays are not fighting merely for the right to love and marry other gays; they are fighting for the right to EQUATE their marriages with heterosexual marriages, which is absurd. That’s why gays absolutely refuse to accept civil unions; they want, you want, your marriage and love to be understood as equal to precisely that form of marriage which gives birth to every human being. How does the apple become equal to the tree on which it relies for its existence? And how is it possible for that not to be a threat to the tree, if the apple succeeds and redefines the tree as no better than the apple?”

            You are making the claim here that if we all woke up tomorrow and wrote to Webster’s Dictionary demanding that they refer to Apples as Apple Trees and the entire planet started to refer to mere apples as apple trees then apple trees would cease to exist (or at least be in grave danger). The trees existed long before we gave them names. So did the apples.

            And, for the record, I would be fine with a federally recognized marriage that carried all the same rights as a religious one. I can get religiously married in an Episcopal Church just fine. Note that the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Church ask their members to oppose enhancing Civil Unions to the same level as marriage legally. Another case of “We didn’t pick this fight but looks like we will be ending it because we have to”

            “It’s interesting that you bring up Holland. As abortion has taught children (and children are quick to learn such things) that their existence is not of eternal value, but rather the arbitrary fiat of another human being…”

            Homosexuality has nothing to do with abortion, outside of being on the same side of the political fence in most cases. I am also on the same side of the political fence as PETA – that doesn’t stop me from eating meat. Believe it or not, I even believe in Objective Morality. Not all Liberals are the same.

            “…so the fake equality of gay marriage to hetero marriage will teach them that even when they have been allowed to be born their birth is nothing more than a quirk of humanity, a kind of accident to love.”

            Why would they see their own birth as an accident just because they see my relationship to another man as a valid one? I simply can’t understand the workings of your mind or how you are making these connections. My attempts to step into your shoes to debate this are maddening. Not in the sense that they make me angry but in the sense that they confuse me.

            “One wonders why so many of Holland’s kids are addicted to brothels and drugs; why so many Scandinavian kids jump off of bridges. You don’t see the effects of these “obvious” and “just” equations because you’d deny them even if you saw them.”

            The United States has higher rates of addiction than Holland does. Also higher rates than Scandinavia. Suicide rates are higher in Japan than anywhere else in the developed world yet the Japanese still hold a dim view of homosexuality (mainly due to the birthing shortage and homosexuality being viewed as frivolous and out of the ordinary there; this may seem odd to Americans who pride themselves on “standing out in a crowd” but in Japan standing out in a crowd is not something you go brag about).

            I don’t see the effects of these equations because they are correlations drawn without causal links. Can’t you see how hurtful you trying to tie me to causing these problems in the world is to me?

            “You say you just want a partnership built on love, and yet all you “marriage equality” proponents require is that the heterosexual union on which you (and whomever you love and/or marry) rely for existence be redefined so as to be “equal” to–nothing more than–that which cannot possibly produce another human being.”

            What do you want from me? To admit that only men and women can have kids together? Fine, done. If you want to feel you are superior to me then go ahead – I don’t give a damn. I want to know that, if I meet someone and fall in love, I can always be by his side and that I will be protected from his family should they misguided people like yourself. I want to know when he gets sick I can be at his side in the hospital. I want to know that if he dies his family can’t block me from seeing him before he is interred. I want to know we can build something stable in the eyes of the law should we ever decide to adopt a child.

            “Even if you adopted children you’d still have to rely on heterosexuality to do it. And yet you refuse to acknowledge how there can’t be anything equal to heterosexual marriage.”

            Not equal in terms of creating children, but certainly equal in capacity for love and basic humanity. You have to admit that, at least.

            “If bigotry is an irrational bias against people as they are, then why this laissez-faire attitude to a key aspect of heterosexuals? Who’s the bigot now? I’ve just delineated the “specifics” you desire in the previous three paragraphs.”

            You made the bizarre claim that renaming apples to apple trees would cause apple trees to cease existing, you claimed that people seeing my love as valid would cause them to question their purpose and existence, you insinuated that people like me are part of why there is so much addiction and suicide in Europe, and then proceeded to act in revulsion to the prospect of my marriage being at all equated to yours because it would reduce you to *my* level. Jesus, you really believe this stuff, don’t you? I originally thought you were just making flippant comments to push an agenda in the hopes that nobody would call you on it but now I am beginning to think you aren’t a bigot: you are sick.

            “(And re the bigotry: why are there so many gays who oppose gay marriage on much the same grounds as straight people? Can they be called bigots, too? Gay or straight, everybody is capable of seeing that equating X with Y, when X relies on Y for its existence and not the other way around, must inevitably end in something bad.)”

            Opposing gay marriage in and of itself isn’t the part that makes someone a bigot; it is the abject hatred of people like me. When the FRC ties me to pedophilia, that is bigotry. When someone opposes gay marriage because they hate homosexuals and feel disgusted by anything giving them validation, that is bigotry. And, yes, some of homosexuals are bigots against homosexuals too. Depends, again, on why they are against it. As for your equation, let’s test it:

            X is the equivalent of Y because both X and Y are letters.

            …No explosions. No raining blood. No plague. No brimstone. It seems the world is still there. Nothing bad at all. Glad I could help you test that hypothesis out.

            “Not at all. I don’t think there’s the slightest ill-will in your intent or the intent of any other gay-marriage proponents. I just don’t think you have the slightest idea what you’re doing or what sort of impact it is having and will increasingly have. I don’t accuse the gay-marriage proponents of evil or a will to destruction; I accuse them of weapons-grade incompetence that is undeniably destructive.”

            If these insane arguments you have been making are simply tactics and obfuscations then I would most certainly call you evil. If you honestly believe these things you have wrote then I wouldn’t call you willfully evil, just a mad man whose insanity is causing harm. Unwitting though it may be, your words are hurtful and, in quantity can lead to hurtful actions (thus, they need to be fought and answered).

            “The apples are now eating away at the tree; the tree still stands (or at least wobbles), and so you gibber nonsense about how eating away at it won’t hurt it. Supply those apples with the most golden and sincere motives that you can–hell, I could probably do that just as well as you–but the result will still be the same. You were right before; you will succeed. Far better than you are willing to grasp.”

            Apples without seeds are still just apples. Nothing eats at the trunk of the tree. The wobbling that has driven you to panic and see these phantoms eating away the support beneath you is just the ever changing wind. The wind has always blown. Sometimes it blows hard and sometimes soft but it has always blown. If it didn’t, the seeds would never go anywhere; they’d just die, choked in the shade of old growth. Can’t you see it has always been this way?

            I will pray for you, Tobias. I hope someday when this change does come we can show you that you had nothing to fear from us. That we are just like you.

          • SueTX

            double balderdash (great word allegro!)

            The English Bible (and which version are you reading?) has been translated, mistranslated, picked through, misunderstood, edited and whole sections carved up and left out by MEN. It has been used for good and evil for millennia.
            Is there wisdom to be found in it? Absolutely.
            Can God use the Bible to reach us and teach us? Sure.
            Is it the inerrant BREATH of GOD?
            Balderdash.

          • Elizabeth Cox

            “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets,
            though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy
            Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:20-21 This part sometimes makes people think that every word is therefore the word of God and to be worshiped, but if we were to worship the words on the page, and not God himself, than the bible would be an idol… But my reasoning isn’t all there is to know. After that passage there, then we get a warning of what is to come: “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will
            be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive
            heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing
            swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.” 2 Peter 2:1-2

            So, on the one hand, the prophesies are right, but on the other, God has allowed a certain amount of distortion to take place, and has warned us ahead of time with a prophecy. Destructive heresies that deny him have been allowed in- why? So only those with the Holy Spirit can get into the kingdom? So we’re not worshiping the words instead of God? So we can try out the tools that Jesus told us to use on our enemies, and see how God has a much better way than that of the world?

            We know that in different centuries, the word of God has been used to torture people and to kill “witches” and has been used to decide that left handed people are in league with the devil- these policies are evil, and we know that now, what’s to say this particularly recent reinterpretation isn’t just the latest of the tricks to get the supposedly peaceful sheep of God to throw themselves off of God’s temple? If you are turning the other cheek and going the extra mile, then you aren’t catching innocent people on fire. But Hitler used Jesus for his own purposes, and he managed to convince people to do great evil. Humans are much more eager to hate their neighbor than love them. In fact, in my own state, there is a group that goes out of their way to share the hatred of God with everyone! (The line is not that God so hated the world that He sent His only begotten son!) I would prevent you from falling into that trap if it were up to me. Why else would I bother to cut and paste and type so much? Please, pray for the Holy Spirit to lead you to the truth, for a whole lot of Heresy has slipped in. Otherwise, our “Christians” wouldn’t have so much in common with the Pharisees.

            Even the name we use is not the right one. Yeshua, but we say Jesus. Yes, He knows what we mean, but if you are looking for evidence of the historical changes in information, you will find it. We say the Sabbath is Sunday, but the people who have to keep it the same day for their religion will tell you it’s Friday night to Saturday night, as it has always been. (Go on, call a synagogue, you’ll find out.) If you are 100% sure you know all about God, you’ll likely be fooled, as the Pharisees were. Everyone was so sure it couldn’t be Jesus because they knew where He came from- or thought they did, and the verses said that no one would know where he came from. Also please consider this exchange between Nicodemus, a Pharisee who visited him at night and Jesus.

            “He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a
            teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you
            are doing if God were not with him.”” John 3:2 (Yeah, he understands that Jesus is from God but he’s still afraid of his fellows or he’d come during the day)

            “Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”” John 3:3

            “”How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely
            they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”” John 3:4 (Graphically illustrating that Nicodemus here is taking Jesus’ words literally- and how that doesn’t work out very well- you have to interpret scripture spiritually, therefore with the Holy Spirit leading you!)

            “Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot
            tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone
            born of the Spirit.”” John 3:5-8

            “”How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.” John 3:9

            “”You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what
            we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?” John 3:10-12 (Jesus often used whatever starting point someone was at to walk them towards Him- in some cases, using just the books of Moses to show that resurrection from the dead was real, so spiritual truth can be communicated even when people refuse to acknowledge whole books of the bible, Jesus could even convey spiritual truth without using the scriptures directly, here he’s using the earthly phenomena of the wind to explain how people can’t see the Spirit but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.)

            But as for me, I see far more arrogance in the people claiming to be Christians on that side of the issue, and arrogance is not associated with God. I’ll pray for you, and I don’t mean that condescendingly.

          • Ellen Polzien

            Jesus Christ is the Word of God (see the Gospel of John) — not the Bible. As Martin Luther noted, many centuries ago, the Bible is the cradle that holds Christ, but parts of it are “right straw-y.”

          • Lyuba Allenivna Marchenko

            Cathy, your bible wasn’t written by God; it was written by fallible humans. I’ve hurt no one by being bisexual and it is not a lifestyle. LGBT aren’t like the Borg; we all dont live in the same way.

        • bnelson333

          LOL, you do realize that was written by Paul right? So you are saying Paul has divine authority? Last I checked it was Jesus and God… and neither ever said anything about GSM folks. At all.

        • Elizabeth

          Hi Sue. Paul wasn’t Jesus. God liked him all right. He did bring Christianity to a whole new audience. But ultimately? A PR man who fell off a horse. Couldn’t get crucified if he tried. When someone crucifies PAUL, I’ll worry about Corinthians superseding, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.”

          The mind part is why we read with context.

        • Susan Paxton

          Sue, you need to read Sarah Ruden’s book “Paul Among the People.” It will really open your eyes to the 1st century milieu he was addressing.

        • Kathy Isaacs

          The bible also condemns anger. And lying. And lawsuits. And greed. And tattoos. And “meddling”. And calling your neighbour a fool. And cheeseburgers, if you accept the orthodox interpretation of some of the old testament rules. And most importantly (1 Cor
          13:13), lack of love. “Love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
          You *do* need to take context into account. Jesus “did not come to abolish the law”, but he changed many things that were clearly commanded or condemned in the OT, as did the apostles after him.

        • LGOC_Lisa

          to Sue Harper: The bible was NOT originally written in English, something we English speaking Christians seem to forget with great regularity.
          Not only that, the word “homosexual” NEVER appeared in any English translation of the bible until 1946. Prior to that the word was translated instead as “effeminate.”

          In addition, Paul invented the word “arsenokoites”, now translated as “homosexual.” The word never appears before in the Greek language and only
          a scant few times post Paul’s letter. This creates enormous difficulties when attempting to ascertain absolute meaning and intention. Why? Because we use language in context to understand language much as we use scripture to help us understand scripture. Moreover, its meaning, usage and context has been up for much debate with theologically sound arguments presented numerous times against its use in condemning what we know today as orientation and monogamous, same-gendered
          relationships (as opposed to lust-filled sexual promiscuity, same-sex idol practices,
          pederasty and the like – all common in Paul’s time and with the audience to which his letter was directed). Such viable, scholastic doubt can only lead us to err on the side of grace and trust in God to lead each of us to truth.

          With that said, your response may absolve you of further responsibility (i.e. I told them the “truth” and exercised due diligence) yet the words were not shared with any sense of grace or desire to enter into relationship with the writer of the letter, even via a forum. As such, it’s likely that even if your intentions contained grace, none was
          conveyed. A chance for real dialogue and relationship disappeared amidst the perceived shouting of what essentially amounts to, “Gays must repent or go to hell.”

          • Tobias

            You reduce your opponent’s points to an oversimplification and then caricature them as “shouting” like a violent moron–all while lamenting that their lack of “grace” is what’s bringing the conversation down. Lulz.

          • Guest

            Tobias – describing Ms. Harper as an “opponent” raises a concern that many struggle with in these types of conversations and debates. We are not opponents but rather fellow human beings and brothers & sisters in Christ. I also have no desire whatsoever to change anyone’s viewpoints or beliefs. I strive to foster religious and intellectual curiosity in my own life and that pertains to this touchy issue as well. I also believe we Christians should examine our own level of understanding and knowledge. We often blindly accept the things we’ve been taught or the things we are being taught with little examination or deeper study. I myself lived this way for nearly two decades as I was raised in one denomination my entire life and simply accepted what I was told despite many lingering questions inside. I don’t espouse and attitude of skepticism, but merely an approach that keeps growth alive and spiritual curiosity flourishing regarding our chosen faith.

            My response regarding 1 Corinthians was intended to be simple as the comment section of a blog isn’t really the ideal place to present a theological essay on a particular subject.

            As to my perception (and others) that Ms. Harper exhibited a somewhat clinical approach – well, I stand by that. I didn’t insult her personhood, and as a lesbian Christian I’ve engaged in these conversations before (numerous times) involving well meaning folks wanting to ensure that I don’t end up in hell. While I truly appreciate the concern, their approach (not dissimilar to Ms. Harper’s) leaves little room for deeper conversation or understanding. It’s almost like a drive-by spiritual sermon with zero relationship whatsoever. Perhaps it’s simply too much to desire more in this formant, but I can hope.

            Blessings and peace to you.

          • Tobias

            But those are all equivocations built on a style of “togetherness,” rather than substance. You yourself caricature your “opposition” (call it what you will) by suggesting that they think what they do because their beliefs are unexamined and inherited. That caricature may be comforting, but it is ultimately untrue. Nobody, not even you, has ever believed in anything simply because he was told to believe it. You spent two decades believing in it because you believed in it. If other people got in your way from seeing something outside of what they were willing to teach you, that is because you let them get in your way. Ultimate responsibility for our beliefs is our own, always. And be assured, those who oppose homosexuality do so not merely because they’re automatons, but because they also have reflected and sought and inquired. The question is not–as you would have it–who has met this or that standard of inquiry, but rather, who is right? That is a standard to which all have to answer, all do answer to whether they will or no, and to which no other standard can compare. You believe your are right, your “opponents” wrong, and you should simply own up to that belief. Don’t pretend to a unity which has any other standard but that of truth.

      • Herro

        From that article:

        >While continuing to be spiritually inspired and influenced by the Old Testament, Christians were specifically instructed by Paul not to follow the law of the Old Testament,…

        Well, Christians were specifically instructed by **Jesus** (Mt 5:17-19) to follow the law of the Old Testament. So does Paul trump Jesus?

        • Sue Austin Harper

          Christians incorporate both the Old Testament and the New Testament. They work together as a whole. There are scriptures in the OT that are also talked about in the NT.

      • Guest

        That is a very poorly written article, for at least two reasons. First,
        it is shamelessly arbitrary. To give one of many examples: “The fact
        that homosexuality is
        so rarely mentioned in the Bible should be an indication to us of the
        lack of importance ascribed it by the authors of the Bible.” In other
        words, homosexuality is condemned several times in the Bible, sure, but
        because it wasn’t condemned a minimum of 10 times (or 100, or whatever
        the “standard” is supposed to be), we can all safely assume the
        condemnation was just the opposite of condemnation. What the Bible
        REALLY meant, in condemning homosexuality seven times, was that
        homosexuality is just fine. Presumably a proper understanding of the
        Bible has nothing to do with grasping what it says; counting is really
        all one has to do. Shall we list all of the things that are rarely
        mentioned in the Bible which God nonetheless obviously thought were
        incredibly important? And this isn’t some arbitrarily chosen part of the
        article that I picked on because it’s easy. The crux of their argument
        is that there is one principle spoken of in the BIble–compassion,
        defined arbitrarily–which they believe either cannot or should not be
        defined by the Bible itself. How do we know that? Because they
        arbitrarily jettison those parts of the Bible (based on mere number of
        repetition) that would define compassion as something other than total
        “acceptance.” You can’t reason this poorly when filling out a McDonald’s
        application and expect to get a job. How do they expect to get away
        with it while defining terms in the Bible?

        Second, having gotten
        rid of all those instances in which compassion oftentimes goes
        hand-in-hand with judgment, they make the assumption that compassion is
        always expressed by Jesus (or anyone else) in the Bible with acceptance
        of everything about the person to whom He is being compassionate. That’s
        nonsense. Does anybody really think that Jesus did not love Peter when
        He called him “Satan?” Or that Jesus was just a cruel hypocrite when he
        threw over the money changers tables? Their livelihoods, their ability
        to feed their own children, depended on those tables, after all. Who,
        then, has the right to say that the Bible even remotely suggests that
        compassion is completely identical with acceptance? There are too many
        examples of where that’s clearly not the case. But, for the sake of
        argument, let’s say that the article is right that compassion means full
        acceptance: why, then, can they not–or will they not–”accept” and be
        “compassionate” towards those Christians who oppose homosexuality? Why
        the flagrant double standard?

        Contrary to that article’s
        portrayal of Jesus’s clear ideas of love judgment, at no point are the
        two necessarily in conflict with one another. Why not just be honest and
        say what you and the writers of that article really believe: there ARE
        people you are justified in hating and being disgusted with. But they
        are, so far as you can tell, the RIGHT people to hate and be disgusted
        with. Enough with your hypocritical preaching of acceptance, which you
        have no intention of practicing consistently. That false “acceptance”
        crowd is as much a members-only judgmental clique as any
        right-wing-morality church.

      • Tobias

        That is a very poorly written article, for at least two reasons. First, it is shamelessly arbitrary. To give one of many examples: “The fact that homosexuality is so rarely mentioned in the Bible should be an indication to us of the lack of importance ascribed it by the authors of the Bible.” In other words, homosexuality is condemned several times in the Bible, sure, but because it wasn’t condemned a minimum of 10 times (or 100, or whatever the “standard” is supposed to be), we can all safely assume the condemnation was just the opposite of condemnation. What the Bible REALLY meant, in condemning homosexuality seven times, was that homosexuality is just fine. Presumably a proper understanding of the Bible has nothing to do with grasping what it says; counting is really all one has to do. Shall we list all of the things that are rarely mentioned in the Bible which God nonetheless obviously thought were incredibly important? And this isn’t some arbitrarily chosen part of the article that I picked on because it’s easy. The crux of their argument is that there is one principle spoken of in the BIble–compassion, defined arbitrarily–which they believe either cannot or should not be defined by the Bible itself. How do we know that? Because they arbitrarily jettison those parts of the Bible (based on mere number of repetition) that would define compassion as something other than total “acceptance.” You can’t reason this poorly when filling out a McDonald’s application and expect to get a job. How do they expect to get away with it while defining terms in the Bible?

        Second, having gotten rid of all those instances in which compassion oftentimes goes hand-in-hand with judgment, they make the assumption that compassion is always expressed by Jesus (or anyone else) in the Bible with acceptance of everything about the person to whom He is being compassionate. That’s nonsense. Does anybody really think that Jesus did not love Peter when He called him “Satan?” Or that Jesus was just a cruel hypocrite when he threw over the money changers tables? Their livelihoods, their ability to feed their own children, depended on those tables, after all. Who, then, has the right to say that the Bible even remotely suggests that compassion is completely identical with acceptance? There are too many examples of where that’s clearly not the case. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say that the article is right that compassion means full acceptance: why, then, can they not–or will they not–”accept” and be “compassionate” towards those Christians who oppose homosexuality? Why the flagrant double standard?

        Contrary to that article’s portrayal of Jesus’s clear ideas of love judgment, at no point are the two necessarily in conflict with one another. Why not just be honest and say what you and the writers of that article really believe: there ARE people you are justified in hating and being disgusted with. But they are, so far as you can tell, the RIGHT people to hate and be disgusted with. Enough with your preaching of acceptance, which you have no intention of practicing consistently. That false “acceptance” crowd is as much a members-only judgmental clique as any right-wing-morality church.

        • cajaquarius

          [Paragraph One Summary: "The fact that homosexuality is mentioned rarely does not mean it isn't a sin."]

          Yet reading it within the context of the age calls to question whether it really is a sin or not. Many smart scholars have questioned this for a long time and without a very specific view of Scripture (eg the Bible is an infallible record of actual historical events all the way back to Adam and Eve) you can’t come to these conclusions.

          Hypothesis: The Bible is clearly against all forms of Homosexuality.
          Burden of Proof: Unmet.

          [Paragraph Two Summary: "Compassion is not the same as acceptance."]

          This I would agree with. Oftentimes I find that some more liberal Christians tend to treat the focus on compassion as a call to stop bettering themselves.

          “Well, I can do what I like because Jesus will love me anyways.”

          True, perhaps, but I think Jesus would want you to love your neighbors and strive for good too. And before you retort with that “not saved by good deeds” canard I would remind you to look at the context of the Pharisees and to realize that Good or “Tov” in the Jewish language means “Functional” and in no way implies moral good as we understand it. Giving to charity to get a tax break and look good or feel good is Tov. Giving charity because you honestly love those you give to and want what is truly Good for them is following Christ.

          [Paragraph Three Summary: Reiterates Paragraph Two then goes on to essentially say, "Liberal accepting sects still practice a degree of judgementalness against those they disagree with"]

          I would agree again. I often find myself defending conservative Christians whenever Godwin’s Law rears its head. Not what you say, mind you. I think you are completely wrong. That said, I don’t think of your ilk as evil, just misguided. I will use pointed language because I am gay and this conversation effects me. My life depends on me being able to be open about who I am. I don’t think your view of Scripture is correct. That said, the liberal side has a lot to learn and you have made good points here. I am not unreasonable and I absolutely do believe in objective morality – even if some of my fellows on the left don’t.

          • Tobias

            The article in question itself goes so far as to admit that there are at least seven mentions of homosexuality in the Bible, and that all of them are condemnation of homosexuality. They aren’t arguing that the Bible condones homosexuality wherever it is mentioned; they are arguing that because it was not condemned a minimum number of times, that therefore the condemnation is not condemnation. There is simply no way that you could look at those seven mentions of homosexuality and think they were or anything like them was viewed favorably by the Bible.

          • cajaquarius

            But you could think they referred, specifically, to pagan practices or heterosexuals engaging in homosexual sex. That is kind of the point – that is the whole reason you have people like Pete Enns and John Shore who exist with any appreciable base of fans and scholars who follow them. If it was that clear cut then nobody would believe anything any of these men said.

          • Tobias

            The Bible is excruciatingly clear when it is rejecting pagan practices, and it does so many, many times. We therefore must assume that if condemnation of homosexuality is not paired with a “pagan” qualifier, that is because whoever wrote the Bible didn’t care if the homosexuality was “pagan” or not: of all books on the planet, the Bible would have been only too happy to condemn “pagan homosexuality” if that was it’s goal. If you condemn red on Monday and green on Tuesday and apples on Wednesday, I can’t turn around and say, “But you didn’t say whether red or green apples! Therefore you must be saying apples are okay!” Doesn’t make a bit of sense.

            What does it mean to condemn a sexual practice in which the sex in question is not practiced? And Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, the Psalms, and the New Testament further qualify the idea of “practicing” something by saying that practicing something in your heart is still practicing it.

          • cajaquarius

            Bible Scholars who rely on the Historical Critical Method of Biblical interpretation would disagree with you (those are the ones who use history, culture, and archaeology – aka actual facts – to determine what the text of Scripture is saying). You are taking laws and reading them outside of their context in the age they were written (and doing so with flimsy justification, I assume, that they are infallible and the bible would be clear about it being about paganism if not).

            Case in point, when skeptics bring up that Leviticus also outlaws wearing two different cloths, the Christian excuse makers will often counter that Jesus came and fulfilled the ceremonial laws like that. Not included in the ceremonial laws are things like homosexuality (because Christianity is about taking the easy road, it would never ask anything of it’s practitioners that was actually hard like accepting those icky gays, thus this interpretation is fully expected) but also included is not sacrificing children to the god Molech. So, if God is so clear and in his Infinite Wisdom he knew that the Canaanite gods were going to be destroyed by His Israelites, why does this law still stand? Why was this specified when the ten commandments already cover it? The most rational answer is that these and every bit of text in the Bible was written in the context of a specific age in time (I could point out that Paul, oft quoted by the antigay crowd, did his writing in Ephesus whose primary faith was the Cult of Diana; a Cult known for, among other things, fertility rituals involving men dressing as women and being penetrated with wooden dongs worn by actual women).

      • lookingup

        YES IT DOES GOD DESTROYED SODOM AND GOMORA FOR IT

        • buzzdixon

          “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant,overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” — Ezekiel 16:49 (NIV)

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      So in other words, your advice is to be dishonest, to live a lie, to assume that god just delights in making someone who can never measure up, that by being gay, their very existence is an affront to the very entity who supposedly lovingly created them?

      Tell me, is your version of god that harsh to the gossip, the liar, the self righteious, the bigot, or is your version of god just not loving and merciful enough to be enamoured with all of us?

      • Sue Austin Harper

        I have to tell the truth, allegro63, so that souls can be saved. Loving someone is telling them the truth of God. Yes, God loves all of us. It’s our sin that he hates. He gave us a free will. It is up to us to come to Him, bow our knee and repent of our sins.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Telling someone they are demonically brainwashed is loving? I fail to see how.

          • Hrothgir Ó Dómhnaill

            Never argue with people who think Paul was speaking for Jesus.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Oh not arguing, just expressing my views of disagreement with the theory in question.

            I also think that Paul, even with his ego, would be horrified at the deification of his letters.

          • Susan Paxton

            Yes, people forget he wrote his letters to respond to particular events in particular congregations, and he wrote as a man of the 1st century, not as a man of today.

        • Lyuba Allenivna Marchenko

          Your belief and opinion is NOT truth. You are not representing your god in a good way.

    • Brandi K

      Jesus hung out with sinners and showed love to them, while admonishing those who spoke ill of them. Let he who is without sin, and all….

      And since we’re talking about Jesus, please note that Jesus himself never said word one about homosexuality…unless he was mentioning them in that comment about marriage when he said it was a message _only_ meant for some people, but not eunuchs of various kinds… in which case he may have been specifically giving them an “out” when it came to following that particular message.

      Also, let us not forget that Jesus himself was unmarried, and the Bible acknowledges multiple times that he loved another man, even going so far as to ask his own mother to recognize that man as her son, before he was crucified. So in all honesty, there is nothing to indicate that Jesus wasn’t gay himself.

      I don’t know about you, but to me, the word “Christian” means “one who follows Christ.” If we were supposed to follow the Bible over what Christ said, surely we’d be called Biblians instead.

      Jesus gave but two commands: I am your God, and Love one another as I love you. They supersede the Biblical commandments, and anything anyone else ever said. Yes, even Paul (an asexual man who had no business giving advice on something he had no firsthand knowledge of at all). Jesus was Christ, God’s son, for goodness’ sake. The rest is noise; just listen to him, if you call yourself a Christian. Love and peace to you. <3

      • MissiB

        Well said, Brandi K

    • Alan

      Sue…The Bible also says that a woman should not instruct a man. If you’re going to use the Bible as a rule book, then you’ve just sinned by commenting here where males might read your comment.

      So you should apologize to John and every other male here for presuming to teach us in clear violation of the Scripture you say you follow, sinner.

      And then apologize to Jesus for breaking his heart by sinning against us by presuming to teach us.

      And then turn off your computer and walk away so that such a transgression never happens again. ;)

      • Sue Austin Harper

        Alan, a woman can witness and tell the truth of God’s word. No, I can’t preach the word of God as a pastor or a minister, but I can witness.

        I can’t apologize for the truth. I would be hating and lying if I didn’t tell the truth. Christians love the homosexual by telling them the truth of God.

        I’m not breaking Jesus’s heart; he’s applauding me for telling y’all His Word. And I sincerely mean this with a humble and loving heart.

        See, I came back to my computer! LOL! :)

        • DR

          I find it so distasteful that Sue heels adding “LOL” to such a serious topic.

          • Alan

            It adds the vaguely hysterical & creepy sense of the inappropriate laughter from someone who really doesn’t understand either the topic or its importance, doesn’t it?

            And of course, her obvious rationalizations about Scripture were exactly what my question was designed to elicit. You’d think she’d at least *try* to not look like a hypocrite. I’m guessing she’s no chess player that one.

    • Oswald Carnes

      You are a demon. Get back to hell where you belong.

      • Sue Austin Harper

        Thank you, Oswald! LOL!

      • Lyuba Allenivna Marchenko

        That doesn’t help the situation at all.

      • Lyuba Allenivna Marchenko

        Your statement is illogical. Learn and discover why it is..

    • Robert

      Sue, what is demonic is being brainwashed by “christians” like yourself into thinking that I am a mistake or an abomination in God’s eyes. I spent 30 years of my life in “a good Christian church”. I was fully involved and also attended a “change therapy” ministry. The result after 30 years? I couldn’t love myself and wondered why I couldn’t change! The ones who are brainwashed by Satan are you and those like you who prevent others from knowing the love of God in Christ. I am saved. I am washed by the blood of Christ. I am a Child of God and he loves me AS IS! Be careful because on the last day, you may find yourself with the goats and asked to leave His presence. If God wants me to change, He, AND ONLY HE, will instruct me to. As it stands, He has given me no such command and has only instructed me to love Him and share His love and message of love to those who do not know Him.

    • DR

      The carelessness with which you toss around the sacred scripture and condemn people to hell based on *one* scripture is chilling and for me? A sign of someone who is deeply disturbed. I hope you get the help you need (I really mean that) because the devastation you are causing in peoples’ lives – the damage you cause to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the work He came to do in this world, send your fellow Christians into total despair and I’m so tired of cleaning up the mess you leave in peoples’ lives. You’re like an emotional tornado that believes you’re fueled by “God’s Truth” as you whip in, drop this on the tender hearts, minds and souls of the Beloved Jesus came to save, and then take off in a righteous huff leaving the rest of us to clean up your mess (f that’s possible). God have mercy on you for how you push people away from His sacrifice on the Cross as a result of your need to find certain verses to justify what it is you prefer to believe the Bible says about homosexuality (which in truth, is what *you* are more comfortable believing).

      • Sue Austin Harper

        Yes, it is chilling…and very real. You have to tell the truth. God commands it in His scriptures. Otherwise, people are not going to know the truth. I’m not justifying anything. Homosexuality is as old as time. It started way back in the Old Testament with Sodom and Gomorrah, and has continued on for 8,000 years.

        I don’t mean to whip in and drop the bomb. Just tell the truth.

        • DR

          Sue, I say this with as much compassion as I can because I know you have no idea what you’re doing and I suspect you’re a lovely woman who has not an ounce of desire to hurt anyone. I think you’d be shocked to hear that you hurt people in some really horrifying ways with the choices you make to interpret the Bible a certain way. But someone has to tell you this and it needs to come from a fellow Christian. I have no doubts at all that you are very sincere in your attempt to “tell the truth”. What you don’t seem to understand is your interpretation of what the Bible says (and it really is only an interpretation) is actually driving gay kids toward suicide, especially those from Christian homes. It’s causing Christians who are also gay to become alienated from Jesus Christ. That’s not God, that’s not the Holy Spirit, that’s not spiritual warfare, these people aren’t “running from the Truth (I know you believe they are). I also know you believe that you are not responsible at all for gay kids who believe that they are condemned to hell for something they absolutely, cannot change. I get that. I used to be you, I believed that any resistance I received from comments just like yours was people reacting to the Holy Spirit in me. I know you believe that too.

          But here’s the thing. This isn’t God. speaking to the gay community This is *you*. *You* do not speak for God in this instance and there’s something that I suspect is totally terrified and is reacting quite defensively when I tell you that your “telling the truth” is what causes gay kids to kill themselves. I suspect that’s too scary to even contemplate, you’re going to find a way of dismissing that, and me. Being wrong about this is too scary for you – I totally get it. So honestly? I don’t expect you to change, I as a Christian (a straight one) am with these kids, I’m in the homeless shelters volunteering (most of the gay kids who are homeless get kicked out of their ‘loving Christian homes’). I’m here to hold them as they sob, begging God to somehow change them so they can go back home. So their parents will love them again. I have to sit there and hold them while they cry, knowing that you aren’t going to ever step foot into one of these shelters to see what your belief system is done. Because in the end, Sue? You care more about being right than you do these kids. But we’re here – we love them – we’re doing the best we can to repair the damage you d. I wish you’d change. I wish we didn’t have to fix what you break. I wish with all my heart the Holy Spirit would open your eyes and I pray for that. I never expect it but the tide in this country is changing and I have hope. Take care of yourself. Think about what I said if you have the courage to and spend some time on John’s site actually talking to gay Christians. They might be of some help.

          • Felicia

            Thank you.

          • Lyuba Allenivna Marchenko

            DR, as a Heathen I must say this: The gods have blessed you with compassion, wisdom and patience. The world needs more Christians like yourself.

        • Lyuba Allenivna Marchenko

          BELIEF AND OPINION == TRUTH!

    • Dedangelo

      Is this something that you’ve struggled with, Sue?

      • Sue Austin Harper

        No. I’ve been happily married for 11 years.

        • Dedangelo

          Thanks for responding. Do you take the Bible, literally?

        • cajaquarius

          “No. I’ve been happily married for 11 years.”

          So, as a heterosexual, it is fair to say you have no idea what you are talking about then, correct? I thought as much. I am a homoromantic man who would like to meet someone special and settle down. I would like to live a Godly life. That said, I don’t feel being romantically attracted to other men is wrong. I used to but then I realized that it wasn’t on me – if God wants me to be straight he get off His lazy butt and do it. I washed my hands of it long ago though – if I do go to hell, I will go there free of any guilt of wrong doing; the failure will be God’s and not mine to bear.

    • Lyuba Allenivna Marchenko

      If you’re not gay, how can you say what homosexuality is? I wasn’t brainwashed, but I was terrorised by so-called Apostolic Pentecostal Christians as a child/teen. Judgemental hypocrites who lacked compassion, but had hearts full of superstition, fear and arrogance.

      I’ve harmed no one by being bisexual and I didn’t choose it. It is a part of who I am. Stay in your lane, Sue; speak of things which you know about. Churches have HURT gay people more than helped.

      • lookingup

        maybe the terror was the denial of gods written word. It does say there is a way unto man that seems right but to god it is evil. It is so very true that we must work out our own salvation in fear and trembling

        • Lyuba Allenivna Marchenko

          Lookingup the terror was child abuse, isolation, hypocrisy, lack of empathy and self-righteousness. You have zero idea about my life.

  • Janelle Gilbert

    Regarding closets. They are not good for any of us.https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kSR4xuU07sc

  • disqus_SNrSdAcOfQ

    disqus_SNrSdAcOfQ

  • disqus_SNrSdAcOfQ

    How do i change this assigned user name?

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      You have to log in either through disqus or through something like Facebook.

  • C. Gomes

    Sue, that Corinthians verse also says drunkards won’t inherit the kingdom. With that in mind, should we assume that everyone who drinks alcohol is a drunkard and therefore won’t inherit the kingdom? Where does the bible say anything about not loving (not sex or lust) a person of the same sex? Let the righteous judge decide on matters behind closed doors.

    • Sue Austin Harper

      You are correct. Drunkards won’t inherit the Kingdom. God is talking about abusing our bodies with strong drink. (alcohol) Sin is sin in God’s eyes. From the murderer, to the homosexual, to the rebellious teenager, it doesn’t matter. It’s all the same to Him. This isn’t righteous judgment, it’s the truth of God. God says, “That we are all sinners, and fall short of His glory.” You can judge on matters behind closed doors, but it isn’t gonna be pretty in God’s eyes.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        With this line of reasoning, this kingdom is quite empty, the barriers impossible to cross, and the so called promise of salvation and entrance to that kingdom a lie.

        Which is why I have no problem whatsoever utterly rejecting the concept, that certain people just can’t jump through enough hoops to please God.

  • LC912

    What I would say is that maybe she needs to walk away from all faith for awhile. Give it a rest. When she’s ready and she hears God calling, *then* return, and on her terms, consistent with the God she comes to believe in. That’s what I had to do at one point, when the fundamentalist crap I’d been immersed in for a long time got to be too much. When I did return, I had the hard work ahead of me of figuring out what *I* believed and was comfortable with. I’m still working on it, and it’ll probably be a lifelong project… but at least now I know what I *don’t* want! And that’s OK. Sometimes you have to figure out what DOESN’T work for you in order to find what does.

    • Celeste Rothstein

      “I have found a wonderful, affirming church community.” I hear what you’re saying, but why on earth would she want to walk away from that?

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        I would guess, because its so new, so different from what she’s used to in a church community. Maybe she’s still expecting that preverbal shoe to drop, even though it won’t, one sorta gets used to it.
        Besides a church community that one feels comfortable in is not the same as being comfortable with a book that has been so abusively used against someone. It can also be tough to separate the two, as church and the Bible are usually strongly connected. It usually takes awhile to sort out all that new way of looking at things.
        Which is why the advice of wait is so sound.

  • http://www.jeromyj.com/mendingshift Jeromy

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing, John. There are a lot more stories of Gay Christians out there. Here is one spot to read more: http://www.fashionedofgod.com/

  • SueTX

    I love you John Shore. The depth of kindness and truth in your heart is a joy. Thank you for seeing the miracle of God’s love in this woman’s life and sharing it with us.

  • Michael Brian Woywood

    Bless you, John Shore. I am not gay, but I have been driven away from the church recently (partly) by all the nasty, anti-LGBT rhetoric coming out of several corners. 25 years of faith, and I almost lost it all. Like the author of this letter, something drew me back… your response to the author of this letter could have almost been directly to me. Thank you.

    • singingsoprano

      I’m with you.

    • Angia Macomber

      Me too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/LostInSpaceMan Steve Armstrong

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your reply!

  • Amber Lawson

    God bless I am gay and your story touch me. when I came out a lot of people in my old church told me I would go to hell, but I found a new church and learn that we all are GOD’S children if we just trust in his love.

  • Stu Smith

    I understand exactly what the young woman is feeling. She seems to have come to a healthy self identity much sooner than I did. I rejoice in her strength. I also found great comfort in your reply. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Summer Lynn Smith

    I’m not gay, but reading that reminds me all too much of how I feel standing in the gap for my LGBT brothers and sisters!

  • Kristi Outler Byrd

    The best advice in John’s piece is contained in the single word “Wait.” For those whom the church has hurt, sometimes it just takes time to feel safe. It’s okay to put down your Bible for a while, to refrain from attending church services, to experience anger, etc. Sometimes a person HAS to do that to recover from misquided messages and the subsequent pain.

  • Daniel Lee Fee

    Thanks loads to the woman question writer, for being honest/vulnerable. Thanks loads to you for your reply. I deeply resonate with her story. I was immersed in talk about God’s love growing up in a deeply religious extended family in a USA Bible Belt state; however, nearly everybody acted like they were more afraid of God than soaked in divine love, so now all that God talk irks me while I split and fall off into fear and hellfire regions.

    Fifty years after the adolescent and young adult facts, I was hit with three years of PTSD-like stress injury flash backs (and the rest of the stress injury nine yards); thanks to a lot of difficult life things, including (sadly) nine years of church life/counseling exgay commitments. I won’t chew on the carpet in this post, but …. for example, in our extended family’s Pentecostal church phase, I had more exorcisms in the pastor’s living room than I can count or remember. Nothing like hearing, prayerfully with full tilt Pentecostal fervor, how many demons you probably have still inside you at age sixteen-seventeen, despite the ten or twenty exorcisms that went on before.

    A part of me feels/is split off, cast into outer and inner darkness, a sort of personal Chernobyl if you will.

    How all this will pan out is anybody’s guess. I would imagine a whole lot of USA Bible Belt queer kids from my dinosaur generation are faced or have faced these excruciating dilemmas. Oy vey. drdanfee

  • charlesmaynes

    great stuff John, I think we have a long way to go with how we fit all of humanity into the “God construct”. We have no explanation as to the “why” of our different wirings, and thats a huge issue- and it distracts from the more important issue of the yearning for closeness to our creator. as Lady Gaga said so directly, God doesnt make junk, and just because we might have different perspectives, that doesnt mean we lose that yearning. I think someone also said once that Jesus is less concerned with what goes into us, vs what comes out of us- and goodness should never be minimized due to these different things abut us.

    • Abide Vine

      it wasn’t somebody that said that – Jesus said it himself in today’s Gospel reading from the lectionary (Mt. 15:1-20).

      Thanks for your statement of ‘fitting all of humanity into the “God construct.” To most straight people, for example, and to the media/public narrative, it looks like the Mainline churches are simply pushing a liberal social agenda in opening to include members of the LGBT community in the full life of the church. However, what might this look like if we theologically frame it as a paradigm shift from fitting God into a human construct to fitting humanity into God? This coincides with the necessary shift we are undergoing from starting with law and fitting grace in where we can, to starting with grace and fitting in law where we must. It also coincides with filtering law through the Gospel, instead of filtering the Gospel through the law (Luther’s Law and Gospel doctrine).

  • Kelly Anderson

    Thank you John for your compassionate spirit and ministry to so many.

    I am a Christian married heterosexual, and I feel such a sense of rage and anger at the “other side” that continues to torture people for years and call it “God’s will”. I had tears in my eyes as you told her Jesus understands when she cannot read her Bible….I believe that as well. She has been abused.

    We have adopted and/or had guardianship of 5 abused/neglected children over the past 12 years. They were denied the belief that they were “worth it”. This woman is no different and that healing takes a long time. We are in the midst of it now with two of ours. God protects these children for having that false belief told to them, God protects this woman from the same thing. It takes a long time for these kids to recover from their PTSD of their former “system” life, Jesus knows and understand that her “God” PTSD will take a while as well.

    That abuse takes a long time to get through and I am thankful God is comforting her in her dreams, It just shows the amazing Christ we serve. it seems the majority of church evangelical leaders are just clueless at the real message of Jesus.

    Take heart to your beautiful reader, Jesus understands…completely.

  • David Finley

    Paul is more than a PR man; he is our earliest source for Christian doctrine. The Gospels are younger than Paul’s oldest epistles. That said, there are three other reasons besides his human fallibility that undermine the claim that homosexuality is a sin. First, in Deuteronomy, homosexual acts are condemned in the context of idolatry. The ancient Hebrews knew that ritualistic sex was part of the fertility cults of their neighbors. Second, Paul would have been primarily familiar with the typical same-sex relations of the Hellenistic/Roman world, relations that were more about power and dominance than about love. He was not talking about romantic love between men or between women. He might not even have thought it possible given his experience of the world. Third, Biblical criticism has discovered that Paul did not write the most condemnatory or empire-affirming passages in the canonical epistles, e.g., “your women should keep silent in the churches.” I refer you to the work of Borg and Crossan.

    • Abide Vine

      all talking points. let me play devil’s advocate: how do you explain away Jesus upholding marriage between one man and one woman in Matthew 19? The human infallibility argument can sound convincing for Paul (and I go along with your talking points, btw), but it doesn’t work for Jesus. Unless, of course, you aren’t a Christian and want to dismiss his divinity, aka “high Christology.”

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Jesus wasn’t upholding marriage between one man and woman…especially as polygamy was still practiced, in his day, but rather he was tasking people for ditching wives, for any reason to get a new one, usually because she couldn’t bear sons, or not children at all, or he found a more well dowried woman, and needed the funds, or she was getting a few years on her, and he prefered his wives young. She’d be out in the streets, or dependent on her father, or siblings, having no legal rights or funds of her own. Even though the law stated she’d get her dowry back, there was no guarantee, her ex-spouse would do so. Plus Jesus’ statement was more against the men than the woman, as it was them that were more likely to have a mistress or to visit a prostitute than their wives.

        • Abide Vine

          ok, I can buy that; particularly the fact that he likely knew things about the Pharisees, who he was responding to. At the end of the day, though, one could could make a strong case, as many do, that Jesus was indeed upholding marriage as between one man and one woman. I think you overstate that he wasn’t, when the point is that the definition was not really his point. That point is well-taken. No matter how we cut it, on these issues related to the gay community’s full inclusion in the church, one believes the faith and practices it as one wants to from the depths of what is in us. Spirit or letter? Life or death? This is the church’s test today. Today’s reading includes a question Jesus posed about forsaking the command of God for the sake of tradition. Were he here in the flesh, he’d likely ask the same question today. So, we’ll have to ask it of one another.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I think Jesus would simply ask us to love one another…no loopholes, no caveats, no hoops to jump through, no saying “you must first do or be this first…., simply loving one another, recognizing in each other beauty, value, potential, friendship, kinship, God’s handiwork.

          • Abide Vine

            No doubt. We’re on the same page, I just want to let the text be what the text is, whether I like it or not, in effort to interpret it responsibly without my interpretation being affected by any preconceived bias or agenda. I’m not inferring that you are, btw, I’m just being open about myself.

  • Thomas Schumacher

    John is being Jesus to others, a Christian. Holy Spirit is moving.

    Regardless
    of what we may believe the Canon of Scripture to express or withhold,
    the fact of the matter is that human beings experience Same-Sex
    Orientation. It is intrinsic to the whole person who experiences it. The
    ability to love includes, yet also transcends the ability to share a
    consenting sexual experience. This is something we all experience. We
    listen to outside voices and information in regard to our own experience
    and try to navigate through the obvious plethora of an offered
    meaningful direction. In the process, we fail each other in the most
    miserable ways.

    If we embrace a scriptural translation that condemns a specific behavior, we must always remember that there is a profound difference between Admonishment and Punishment. Until this difference is absolutely clear, we will continue to see very damaged, injured and dead Same-Sex Oriented people.

    It is no accident that the beaten body and soul of young Matthew Shepherd was tied to a fence in the same position as the beaten body and soul of our Dear Lord
    Jesus on His Cross.

  • Dedangelo

    One of the blessings of being gay is that it forces you to deepen your faith journey. You simply cannot afford the luxury of maintaining the same beliefs you’ve had since childhood. If you do, you’ll either go mad, or be driven mad by other people who also remain at a primary school level of faith. I would encourage you to read James Fowler’s work on Stages of Spiritual Development for more on this. Secondly, start reading work by Christian contemplatives and Buddhists. Learn about the mind and ego. I promise if you do this, your perspective will change when reading the Bible. You will be a better person for it, and a better witness to others.

  • Abide Vine

    “if I were Jesus, I can’t imagine anything that would bring me more
    pleasure than to have someone say, “I love Jesus, but some days I’d like
    nothing better than to turn my back on Christianity.” Because I’d know that’s
    a person who actually gets me, who hears me, who knows what I’m about,
    who received the message I gave so much to send. That person I would
    know to be a true friend of mine.”

    Dude! Seriously?!? You don’t have to be gay and struggling with how much of the church community treats gay people to be frustrated with the monument to religion and want to turn your back on it.

    We all have “stuff” to overcome from childhood, and if one grew up in church, the stuff is unique – gay or straight. The details are just details. What we have in common, and what utterly, fundamentally, and intrinsically relates to discipleship is the process we go through. It’s pretty much the same and psychology calls it reprogramming. It’s got to be the most arduous thing in life. Only the Holy Spirit can work it and it takes A LOT of time.

  • melissia

    I admit… I cried a bit reading this. Out of sympathy for her pain… and a bit of joy, that she found someone she loves. I hope they remain happy together, beyond the end of their days.

  • Erwin

    As Christians who believe in Christ and are filled and led by His Holy Spirit our stuggle with our flesh is different from those who do not believe.Romans 7 speaks of this struggle, you may want to reread that chapter, keeping verses 24-25 in mind the whole time, ” Oh wretched man that I am ! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; ( ‘let this mind be in you , which was also in Christ Jesus,… ‘ Philippians 2:5). ” But with the flesh( I serve) the law of sin.” Also , Romans 7 :14-20 ( that which I want to do, I dont do, and that which I dont want to do , I do- describes a Christian; vs. the antecedent’that which I want to do, I do, and that which I dont want to do, I don’t do ‘- describes everyone else, for as Christians, we now have two natures, not one , that struggle against each other; we are joined to Christ (who doesn’t desire sin) but we still have our fallen nature( which desires sin) , whereas non believers have but one nature, their fallen flesh( which only can desire sin). As long as that struggle persists, we do well. It’s when we give up the fight and give in to our old nature entirely that we are no different from a non believer. Keep up the good fight, by the grace of God.


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