Introducing The Not All Like That (NALT) Christians Project

Introducing The Not All Like That (NALT) Christians Project September 4, 2013

Along with Dan Savage (founder, It Gets Better), and Wayne Besen and Evan Hurst of Truth Wins Out, I’m proud to this morning announce the launch of The Not All Like That (NALT) Christians Project. Inspired by and modeled upon It Gets Better, The NALT Christians Project is a platform from which LGBT-affirming Christians can proclaim to the world their belief and conviction that there is nothing anti-biblical or at all inherently sinful about being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

We are deeply pleased that so many Christians have already made their own NALT Christians video, and by the number and quality of Christian organizations who have stepped up to partner with us on this project.

As an example of what this is all about, here’s a NALT video that came in last night. This, ladies and gentleman, is the inestimable blogger Slacktivist, in the very first YouTube video he’s ever made:

The NALT Christians Project is like a massive orchestra consisting of players who simply walk in, take a seat, and begin adding to a symphony so insanely beautiful that to hear any isolated strain within it—any solo instrument, any solitary voice—is to be heartened and uplifted, no matter who you are. This is the infinitely rich music that LGBT-affirming Christians have been yearning to make and hear ever since anti-gay Christian “leaders” bullied their way onto center stage, ordered the spotlight shined upon themselves, and began their braying chorus of sour, over-amped, painfully off-key bigotry.

If you’re an LGBT-affirming Christian, there is a seat waiting for you in the orchestra of The NALT Christians Project. If you’re a Christian who either believes that God condemns homosexuality, or has not yet decided where you stand on the gay issue, please give our NALT Christians song a listen. It is a song—it is a movement—inspired by Christ’s Great Commandment that all of his followers—that all of us—love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Like The NALT Christians Project’s Facebook page; follow us on Twitter. Learn how to make and upload your own NALT Christians video here.

"6 Bible results for "be kind":2 Chronicles 10:7They replied, “If you will be kind to ..."

Seven ways Christians blow it
"GOd came to save us from eternal separation from God by dying on a cross?Do ..."

Did Jesus speak more about Hell ..."
"Eternal separation from God"

Did Jesus speak more about Hell ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Thanks John! This is a great idea and the video was excellent. I will consider how I might help in this endeavor.

  • skyblue

    This is great! I love the It Gets Better videos and what they represent – strangers reaching out on the internet to people going through bad times, and the classic concept of “what do you wish you could tell your younger self?”.
    I hope this will be a very powerful message, both to the gay-bashing folks claiming to speak for Christianity, but much more importantly to the people suffering as a result.

    I hope it takes off, and that many voices join in support!

  • Dave
    • Oswald Carnes

      Fortunately, it’s a lot easier for a gay person not to be a christian than it is for a gay person not to be gay. You, of course, are welcome to join whatever circle jerk you wish.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      At 2:50 – he distinguishes between an idea (racism) and discrimination against homosexuals (a person). He suggests that her question is not phrased equivalently (a slight of hand move). And, in an effort to make them “equivalent” he simply restates the issue, unequally claiming that ethnicity (not a specific one, but all ethnicities) is sacred as is sexuality, but instead of saying all sexualities are sacred, he says that only one type of sexuality is sacred (heterosexuality) and that homosexuality is desacralizing sexuality – a false equivalency, missing the equivalency point entirely making his response sophistric.

      While it may be fine to affirm a belief that sex is a sacred gift of God, it is legalism to then hone down that gift to only being done a very particular way (some sects being more particular than others), something missionaries are legendary for having taught Native Peoples.

      • Dave

        You are truly very intelligent and I know whatever I say you will have a rebuttal against. I do not come seeking to be right but to share the Gospel as best as I know how. I did attempt to read the essay you linked to, but one was broken, another in a foreign language, and the other was to Huffington Post main page.
        When it comes to homosexuality the issue is obviously very personal to some and tensions are generally raised. That being said I think it is important (if we want to follow God and do His will) to know what His will would be in all facets of life. There is only one source for that which would be Scripture. One of the arguments you gave was a false equivalency in justifying homosexuality to adultery. I would agree in a worldly view that would be correct. We are not discussing these actions in the worldly realm however; we are discussing them as God would see them. In the light of that, our source for what He views as sin has to be Scripture, otherwise where else would it come from?
        In God’s eyes sin is sin. No matter if it is adultery or lying, our sin separates us from God. Yes the consequences for the sin may be different, but in an eternal view all sin is the same if we are not declared redeemed by our faith in Jesus Christ. All sin leads to death. The Bible is very clear on the matter of any sex outside of marriage and the Bible is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. That is God’s design, for it is written, A man will leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife. When we violate God’s design in anything, we are boasting in our own pride and claim our own independence apart from Him. We basically state that we know better than Him.
        Christians should love homosexuals (and the things said by many on the right are mean spirited) but showing love is not condoning behavior. Showing love is telling all people that there is a just and holy God that is love, but He is also holy and cannot tolerate sin. He can’t be in the presence of it. Christ’s righteousness is imputed on believers when they submit to Him and declare Him savior and Lord. Outside of that there is no redemption which brings about eternal damnation. That is love and compassion.
        I once heard a Pastor tell a story about his conversation with a college student and he said to her that the whole problem with God is that He is good, to which she replied, “What is so bad about that?” His answer, “you’re not”. (He did later tell her none of us are) His point is the same as the apostle Paul’s, we have all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.
        I know you will disagree, but I truly hope and pray that you take this issue before the Father in prayer, read the Scriptures pertaining to this and ask Him to reveal Himself. I will read your reply (if you choose to, none is obviously required!) but forgive me for not responding unless there is a question that you want me to answer, because I don’t want this to become a long debate.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Thank you for letting me know about the problem with the links. I’m sorry about that. I have gone back and fixed them.

          Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

          I once stood where you are, Dave. The theology that you describe ran through my veins since birth as I was reared in Fundamentalism, educated in a private Christian school, born again in elementary school, and baptized by full immersion by 12. And, yet, it was through the leading of the Holy Spirit later on that I had a metanoia (repentance: a turning and going in a new direction) that has been undeniably Spirit-led. It has been through careful and attentive study of the scriptures and prayer and consideration and the moving of the Holy Spirit that I have changed my mind.

          We both look to Scripture for insight. We read it differently with different eyes and lenses and with having had different exposure to other interpretations and doctrines and insights. We both take it seriously, though I no longer take it literally.

          Not all of Christianity interprets God, sin, Jesus, salvation, faith, creation, grace… in the same way. I understand that there are those who are sure their particular interpretation is right and the only true and correct one, which, for them, necessitates believing that everyone else’s wrong. I was there once too. Moral certainty is bright and shiny and tempting and the largest stumbling stone I ever tripped over. In my faith journey I have come to a place where I see far more grace and humility and awe in the mystery of God and the Divine than there is in certainty. It has deepened my faith. Doubt and questioning drew me closer to God, rather than away from God as I was warned that it would by the teachings of my early life.

          The Holy Spirit led me to no longer see things through that lens, but rather revealed things that I had been missing despite them being right in front of me all along. This was my Spiritual Awakening.

          Thank you again for your thoughtful exchange.

          I wish you every blessing on your faith journey.

          • Dave

            I thank you for this delightful dialogue as well. I wholeheartedly agree with you that many on the fundamentalist side worry more about finding heretics than actually exhibiting grace. In fact one of my favorite radio pastors, Charles Swindoll, once stated, “wouldn’t it be nice to meet a fundamentalist that didn’t act like one”. We have a long way to go in making our passion for doctrine meet our passion for others. I think we should always be searching for truth and some of it will no be revealed in this life. I will take a look at those links you sent me. Until we talk again my friend,

        • So Dave…what if there is no hell? what if the condemnation and damnation that pervades Christianity is not from God, but from how we treat and perceive others? What if we aren’t supposed to look at other’s faults, but just accept and love them as they are, instead recognizing that how we look at the word, at others is imperfect and highly limited? What if we shouldn’t worry about who is good or not? What if the gospel isn’t about turning others into Christians but simply speaking and acting in a revolutionary form of love that doesn’t care about status, profit or membership?

          • Herro

            “So Dave…what if there is no hell? what if the condemnation and damnation that pervades Christianity is not from God, but from how we treat and perceive others? ”

            Good luck trying to fit that with the stuff Jesus says about angels throwing people into a furnace of fire and all that!

          • Curious where Jesus states that. Its not in Amy of the translations I’ve read.

            Besides those questions I posed were to have people consider faith without gleefully wishing eternal torment on someone. Can you? Is is love to consider that of anyone? I don’t think it is

          • Herro

            It’s in Matthew 13:42 and 50. What translations are you using?

            allegro, the idea of hell (eternal or temporal) is of course horrid. But it’s there on the lips of Jesus. And if you want to get rid of it (which I think you should), I think you should admit that you disagree with those words of Jesus.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            In fairness and context this comes from a chapter all about parables, full of metaphor and hidden meaning.

          • Herro

            Atalanta, in these verses Jesus is actually explaining what some of his parables mean.

            And besides, what part of “at the end of the world angels will throw wicked people into the furnace of fire” (quoted from memory). Granted it might not be a “furnace”, but he’s clearly talking about a fiery hell, a popular idea at the time.

          • I was thinking there were two schools of thoughts about the afterlife in Jewish theology…yes there was a hell…no there was not. The yeses, tended to be descendants of Babylonian exiles..where Zoroastrianism was found. Their ideas of the afterlife are quite interesting…and is quite possibly where our modern thoughts on the matter originated.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Luke 10:25-37
            The Parable of the Good Samaritan

            25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
            26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
            27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
            28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

            What part of “do this and you will live” isn’t clear?

          • Herro

            What has that do to with anything I said? :S

          • Here’s the thing. Jesus was still speaking figuratively, not necessarily literally. Then you get to the fact that many scholars believe that Matthew was written no earlier than 70 CE, a good forty years after the death and resurrection. Then we consider that actual quotes were unlikely to have been written down when they happened, as we were a couple of thousand years from sound recording and literacy rates in ancient Palestine was only about 20% of the population and even that most would not pass for literate in modern terms. The likelihood that Jesus had a roving reporter, writing down his every word is quite improbable.

            Do we know that Jesus said all the things the Bible claims? Of course not. Could some of the quotes be pretty close to accurate? Sure. Could they be paraphrases, or even statements cobbled together of others that bring importance and meaning to who and what Jesus was and is? Sure. Does it devalue what we can glean in importance or meaning? Not really. Is Matthew 13 widely interpreted? You betcha.

            Which is why I ask those silly questions. I don’t have to base my faith on just the Bible. It to me is only a tool.

          • Herro

            allegro, OK, so maybe Jesus didn’t say any of the stuff about hell. (I bet you don’t say the same things about the *nice* things that are attributed to Jesus).

            “Is Matthew 13 widely interpreted? You betcha.”

            What does that mean?

          • That there is more way to interpret the passage. Simple as that.

          • Herro

            allegro, the passage is rather clear. It’s talking about angels throwing people into hell (the furnace of fire) at the end of the world, ideas that are we know that were common at that time and in early Christianity. What do you think it could possibly mean?

          • Suzanne Spiers

            You may consider the Bible to be just a tool, but if you think it is just that, on what do you base your faith? Who is God to you and who do you think Jesus is? Is your faith simply an intellectual exercise where you get to debate whether this author or that is accurate, or whether this part of Scripture is true or something that someone just decided to add in?

          • My faith is not something to be pigeonholed into a particular set of parameters, Nor it that easy to define. It is more intellectual and mystical than literal. I can take passages of The Bible as well as the writings of other religious and philosophical thinkers throughout human history and see that they were trying to define something not quite definable.

            As to who God is….How can anyone honestly say they know the definitive answer to that? How can think anyone honestly say that The Bible is the only written work that describes him/her? I won’t pretend to know the answer to the riddle of God, but that’s half the fun. Discovering clues, pondering over them wondering, asking questions

            Who Jesus was? What one concludes is a matter of religious teaching. Was he truly divine? I think so, but then again, I don’t know for sure. He was of course a very important person, and some of his teachings resonate with me, as with his final act of love and self sacrifice. (Which, if he was divine shows love on an incomprehensible scale, if he wasn’t then he seriously got screwed)

            I am perfectly content with the not knowing for sure. That I can be skeptical of religious dogma works for me. I am not the only Christian who operates their faith that way.

          • Dave

            First none of us are good. Jesus even states that. Jesus also talks about paradise and hell in His story of the rich man and Lazarus. If we want to follow Jesus then a fundamental doctrine would be the existence of hell as a real place. I would ask if it is all about love then why did God pour out His wrath on His only Son?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “I would ask if it is all about love then why did God pour out His wrath on His only Son?

            How else might we understand the story of the execution of Jesus that does not necessitate that it was the result of “God pouring out His wrath on Jesus?”

            Along with that consideration would also be the origins of the (anthropologic – not biblical) history of animal and human sacrifice to deities as well as the Jewish use (and the origin of) the scapegoat.

            Karen Armstrong’s books, “The History of God” and “The Case for God,” cover some of these topics.

          • Dave

            Another way could be religous leaders of the day wanting Him crucified for blasphemy, but Paul writes that Jesus was sent to the cross as a propitation by His blood to demonstrate His righteousness. What are your thoughts on this?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            I suppose in that moment I was reconsidering whether the death of Jesus was an expression of God’s wrath, or – if we believe Jesus was God himself – an act of mercy and love. God incarnates God’s self in human form to teach us how to live and fulfill his own requirement on our behalf. That is an expression of selfless love and true compassion.


            In looking at what Jesus is to have said in John 10: 17-18

            “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.” And also his statement that “No greater love hath a man than this than to lay down his life for his friends.”

            Whether this was in an act of substitutional atonement to appease an angry God or whether this was in an act of human compassion to protect the threat to his friends and followers from the authorities who wanted his insurrection to cease – it was an act of love and compassion – freely given, rather than God pouring out God’s wrath. Taking the fall to protect his followers is an act of compassion – the kind about which Jesus had been preaching. To carry out this selfless act despite his unjust charges and innocence, is why the Father loves him: Jesus is divine love embodied and lived out. He has kept the Greatest Commandment.

            If that makes sense.

            Some of Paul’s writing predates the gospels. He would not have been privy to them. It would be within the cultural context of the era and the region to offer a blood sacrifice to appease an angry deity. There are many analogies to Jesus as the Paschal lamb – but also as the scapegoat, an ancient atonement ritual. Many within Christianity question the necessity of substitutional atonement – heresy for others within Christianity, I know.


          • Dave

            I definitely see your point and I really see the cross as both God’s wrath and His unconditional love for us meeting in one place. I look at my own son and can’t fathom allowing him to go through the physical suffering of what Jesus endured. So for God to give His only Son definitely shows His love, no question about that! What just popped into my head was Jesus praying in the garden. The cup that He is referring to is the wrath of God since it is often referred as such in Old Testament manuscripts; at least that is what some scholars believe. His anguish was being separated from the Father and having that wrath poured on Him. You are exactly right though that this is a definite act of amazing love and compassion. I know there is some uncertainty around to the Gospels date of writing. In my study Bible they give different set of dates, but some point to writings as early as 50 AD or so. Don’t have that information handy at the moment.
            I had another thought while I was out doing some work and I really think these discussions are healthy even if we are on opposite sides, because it is not about trying to be right but what God means in these Scriptures. One thing that I have been convicted of in the last few days is being involved more. I am filling my head with knowledge but it is not translating into action. It feels that sometimes many of my brothers and sisters in a more reformed type theology almost don’t want to discuss God’s love because it is too soft (which I am not 100% believer in all of reformed theology, but enjoy many of the Bible teachings. I am not a Calvinist, just to clarify!). Just as I think on the other side it can’t be all about God’s love, but also His justness and holiness. It is definitely a dividing point among Christians and I really appreciate our dialogue.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “What just popped into my head was Jesus praying in the garden. The cup that He is referring to is the wrath of God since it is often referred as such in Old Testament manuscripts; at least that is what some scholars believe. His anguish was being separated from the Father and having that wrath poured on Him.”

            Was it? Or was his anguish a result of the fact that he knew he was about to be tortured and murdered in a brutal way?

          • Dave

            The problem with Jesus shedding tears of blood over His upcoming torture is many of His followers went to their execution rejoicing. So their Lord had anguished to the point of asking to be spared , but they gleefully go to their death ?

          • Suzanne Spiers

            God poured out His wrath on His only Son, and this was done with the full agreement of Jesus as we learn when we read about Him praying to His Father the night He was betrayed. He prayed that ‘this cup be taken from me if possible, but not my will but yours be done’. Jesus was the only one able to take the wrath of God upon Himself and come through His death and resurrection, because He was sinless; wholly God and wholly human and in His life He did not sin. None of us is without sin. Sin is not really the behaviours we enact, but the behaviours are symptoms of a deeper problem; our human nature, which, when not governed by the power of the Holy Spirit, has no power to redeem itself. All of us are subject to the power of sin that leads to death. The only hope we have is in Jesus who died for us. It is His sacrifice and death and resurrection that allows us to have hope. No matter how hard we try, we cannot deal with our sinful nature on our own and we do not go to heaven or receive salvation through works. We cannot earn the right to go to Heaven. Salvation is a gift from God and good works are the outworking of the Holy Spirit working in our hearts and lives, not the other way around.

        • The Gospel doesn’t have anything to do with one’s sexual orientation.

          • Dave

            Dan, I would disagree. It has everything to do with the Gospel. What is your definition of the Gospel if I may ask?

          • My definition? I don’t have a personal, idiosyncratic definition. Paul says that the Gospel is the Good News that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died, rose again and now reigns as our Lord.

          • Dave

            Why is it good news?

          • You don’t think God sending his Son to die, rise and be our Lord is Good News?

          • Dave

            I do think its good news, but why did He have to die? And why is it considered good news?

          • So…you’re moving beyond the Gospel itself and wanting to discuss the need for it and the results of it. Which is fine, but that’s not the Gospel per se. The Gospel is Good News because it’s a decisive declaration by God, through Jesus, that God’s love, peace and justice have come into the word.

          • Dave

            Two things came to mind. First is there not a need to know why its good news? Also how do we reconcile peace in this world with Jesus statement that He didn’t come to bring peace but a sword?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Reading: “I did not come to bring peace but a sword” as: Jesus didn’t come to bring peace – would be a shallow reading of that text.

            Confronting selfishness (sin) and hierarchy and tribalism and in-group loyalty and Empire and the status quo with the good news of Jesus that preaches good news to the oppressed and sets the captive free is sure to upset a few apple carts.

          • Dave

            Preach the good news to the oppressed? In verse 36 He says a man’s enemies will be members oh his household. Would not members of the same house be equally oppressed? Jesus divides. If there are unbelievers and believers co-mingled there will be division. The peace is made between God and sinners.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “Would not members of the same house be equally oppressed?”

            When I speak about the oppressed and the marginalized (women, the LGBT community, immigrants, Muslims, African Americans, the poor, children, the homeless) and what Jesus had to say about the status quo and the religious leaders of his day, who were among those doing the oppressing, at Thanksgiving Dinner among my family – you can be sure it causes division.

            Following the radical way of Jesus causes divisions in families.

          • Suzanne Spiers

            Have you not heard that there is a sword of the Spirit that is sharper than a two-edged sword that penetrates to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Jesus informed His adversaries when He was on Earth that His kingdom was not an earthly one and neither is this sword of the Spirit a sword made of metal. When people follow Jesus and do what He commands, it divides people and this is also mentioned in Scripture. People do their deeds of darkness in the dark and do not want them exposed to the light. However, when what is in your heart is exposed to the light of God, then you have to wrestle with your spiritual nature and come into alignment with God’s nature. It is a messy and dirty business cleaning out one’s heart and soul, like gold being refined. In that case, the dross rises to the surface to be discarded, leaving the pure gold underneath. That is what happens to us on our journey with God and it is a walk, not a run. It is a journey, not a destination. If you decide to follow Jesus, then you also must submit to what He wants as He did on the night before His death as He prayed to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane; not my will be done, but yours.

          • It’s Good News because Jesus has become the Son-of-God-in-Power. He is the King that was promised and that humanity was waiting for. Jesus didn’t come into the world to merely get along with everyone — to “bring peace” that would quietly maintain the status quo. Rather, his assumption as King was in direct opposition to the powers and priories of the world, and because of that he suffered and died and his followers would (and will) suffer and die. But it is only through our recognition of his Lordship and our following his example that true and lasting peace will ultimately be realized.

          • Suzanne Spiers

            Jesus had to die because God is holy and cannot look upon sin. The only one who could die on our behalf is Jesus who is wholly man and wholly God. He is the one true sacrifice for our sin. He died, was buried and rose again on the third day and is now seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding on our behalf. So when God looks at us, He does not see us with our sinful nature that is abhorrent to Him. He loves us but cannot look upon sin and if we looked at Him, His light would kill us. We could not bear that light. When a person accepts Christ as saviour, the blood of Jesus which is the true blood sacrifice (demonstrated in the animal sacrifices by the children of Israel in the Old Testament), covers us. The Holy Spirit says in Philippians 1:6 that He who began a good work in you will continue it until the day of Christ Jesus and in all things give thanks. In ourselves, we have no power over our sinful nature and the deeds of the sinful nature are many. They are symptoms of the human condition. Many try to do something about this sinful nature through willpower and it is ineffective. It takes the power of Jesus with the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives to change us over time. It requires honesty and a willingness to change and to name and own what we are doing and a commitment to the self to make those changes. We need God’s help to do this through the power of His Son, Jesus Christ, who loved us enough to die an agonising death on the cross. It is not through works that we get salvation, but through faith and faith comes through the Word of God. Who is the Word of God? His Son, Jesus Christ.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “It requires honesty and a willingness to change and to name and own what we are doing and a commitment to the self to make those changes.”

            This I agree with. This is how people – religious and non- can and do change.

            Re: “It is not through works that we get salvation, but through faith”

            Is not faith a form of works?

          • “Jesus had to die because God is holy and cannot look upon sin. ”

            If that were true, then God has a major weakness, and is highly limited. If that were true then he purposely made us imperfect, so imperfect than God cannot even stand to look at us. If that were true, then God’s love is conditional, impotent and insufficient.

            That is why I cannot, for one second, believe such a concept is true.

          • Suzanne Spiers

            It is good news because each of us has a nature that is inclined to be anything but godly and we have no power within ourselves to control this nature. It is the human condition. St Paul talks about this when he says that the good he tries to do, he cannot do no matter how hard he tries and it is the same for us all. Without Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross, that only He could do because He is both fully God and fully man, we have no hope of dealing with our sinful nature. None of us escapes. It is true that the wages of sin is death; spiritual and physical. That is why this nature needs to be dealt with and Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit who comes to live within us when we come to Christ, transforms us. How do we become transformed? We are transformed by the renewing of our minds. It is only through Jesus that we have hope for a beautiful, pure and joyous life that is pleasing to God. That is why the Gospel is good news.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “we have no power within ourselves to control this nature.”

            Yes. We do.

          • Notquite Archimedes


          • Suzanne Spiers

            If you hold to this belief, then surely you must hold with what else is said in Scripture about what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Jesus died for each one of us and said that the Holy Spirit would come and live in us as a result of believing that Jesus came in the flesh, is God, that he died and rose again. There is a biblical definition of what it means to be a Christian and if you do not believe what Scripture says about this, what makes you think you are a Christian?

          • Suzanne Spiers

            I am wondering where you arrived at your conclusion. What is your definition of what it means to be a Christian and what is your idea about the validity of Scripture. The New Testament has a lot to say about how we should conduct our sexuality.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “The New Testament has a lot to say about how we should conduct our sexuality.”

            Including what Paul seems to suggest as the ideal being that all Christians remain celibate for the cause of Christ, including heterosexuals. And yet, the Church allows heterosexuals to marry, acknowledging that not all are called to celibacy.

          • Suzanne Spiers

            St Paul did not say that. What he said is that it was really difficult to be available to carry out Christ’s work on Earth if one was married, because the person who is married is divided between Christian service and attention to the family. He intimated that should one burn with sexual desire then he should take a wife. Paul suggested that it would be ideal for all to be celibate as he was, but it was better to be married than to be focussed on unsatisfied sexual desire. Not all are called to celibacy.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Isn’t that what I said?

          • Suzanne Spiers

            I am not sure. There is a difference between acting out one’s sexuality with people of the same sex and being celibate and able to give one’s full attention to Christian service.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            I’m having trouble seeing a difference in the scenario where a person falls in love with another person and chooses to be with them for the rest of their life because they do not feel God is calling them to celibacy.

          • Suzanne Spiers

            Ok. Let’s talk about love. Real uconditional love is something that comes from within the abundance within the human heart. It is what we have to give out of ourselves to another, whether that other is human, animal or plant. It is nurturing and serves the other’s best interest and is not self-seeking. Sometimes it can look harsh because truth can initially hurt. However, truth causes the one being given it, to look more deeply at an issue and once what it has sought to reveal is dealt with, it brings freedom from what caused the need to speak truth in love, in the first place. What generally passes for love is really not that at all. It is self-seeking and disguised as love in order to get something. It is not true loving. True love is accepting of the other. Sometimes, in accepting the other, one does not accept the behaviour, continues to love the other person and moves away via the setting of a boundary to keep the self safe. It never attacks; just keeps the self out of harm’s way. We could see this in situations where there is drug abuse, emotional abuse, domestic violence, alcoholism, bullying; the list could continue to include many unsafe situations. Christianity never advocates the use of force or damaging of other human beings. The difference in a situation such as homosexuality, is that the homosexual person is also a human who somehow has erotic leanings towards others of the same sex. That is apparent. However, there is nowhere in Scripture that allows this type of relationship. We each of us have an inner masculine side if we are women and an inner feminine side if we are male. Both of these sides need to be balanced within the individual in order for an individual to reach full maturity as a human adult. Some people enact what is internal, in the external world instead of working on these inner aspects within the self. Most people are not called to celibacy and we are relational beings. Some people prefer to be celibate and that is their choice. So, say a person who is purportedly gay, falls in love with another person of the same sex. It is not the feelings that are wrong; feelings are simply feelings. They often have a deeper meaning that requires exploration and healing. They reveal something deeper about that person and should not necessarily be followed through on. In New Testament Scripture, it is made very clear that sexual relationships are to be conducted within the context of a relationship between a man and a woman within marriage. Nowhere does it condone the sexual relationship between two men or two women. So, a person may choose to conduct a sexual relationship with a person of the same sex. However, it is not scriptural and is not part of a Christian experience. Any Christian who has the Holy Spirit dwelling within, who reads his or her scriptures, will read that it is not acceptable for a Christian to engage in sexual behaviour in this manner. It is perfectly acceptable to love the other person if he or she is homosexual, but just not to relate sexually to that person.

          • So Paul was telling men to get married, and how you just read it, it seems he was saying that men are just hopeless lust-fill slobs, so they need to marry someone to slake their lust on.

            There are times I would love to go back in time and punch that man in the nose.

          • Suzanne Spiers

            From your answer, I get the impression that you have not been able to read Paul’s comments with an unbiased view. He was a man, so obviously, he was coming from that viewpoint. He was also in a culture that was very patriarchal. There seems to be a lot of negative energy on your part to his comment, whereas on mine, I do not have that negative charge. I can relate to negative charges though and a long time ago, I am sure that I made a lot of comments about what Paul had to say, similarly to yours. I am a free woman and understand that although there are men who still come from that stance in Christian circles, there is another way to read what Paul is saying. Have you thought that perhaps it might apply to women as well. Having been in situations where I have been partnered in my life and situations like now where I am on my own, there is value in both being partnered and not being partnered. I am a professional woman and enjoy the freedom of being able to go and do what I need to go and do without having to consider the needs of family and husband. Those years when my daughter was growing up, meant that a lot of energy was taken by raising her in the way that I felt that she needed to be cared for and I loved those years. When in a marriage, there is energy going in many directions. I think it is possible to retain one’s power as an individual, either man or woman, and still be in relationship. Relationships allow us to go deeper into ourselves and to heal past woundings. So, I see that a lot of what Paul teaches is related to his time. As a Christian woman living in 2013, I am not troubled by what he is saying and also know from intimate knowledge, that the truth contained in Scripture works in day to day life. As regards male and female, when we have an imbalance in our internal masculine and feminine, then we see the deep wounding and painful hidden inner belief systems that need to be healed.

          • Paul’s confirmed writings are the opinions of a man. I seriously doubt that he considered anything he wrote as directly from the lips of God. I think he would be appalled if he were here today that people consider his letters thus. I sharply disagree with quite a bit that Paul has to say, but I also know he was a product of his culture. Several of his opinions have actually hurt people because people have tried to make first century culture apply 2000 years later. I can easily reject them as applicable for anyone and would never consider trying to force anyone to adhere

            There are things Paul has to say that I really like, as they are universal concepts that are timeless. Those concepts I can apply in my own life…yet I would never try to force anyone else to adhere to them.

          • Suzanne Spiers

            I assume by your reply that you do not see Scripture as the inspired Word of God. I can understand that you might disagree with a lot of what Paul has to say and it is true that he was a product of his culture. We all are. However, what he has written is there in Scripture and is there to be reckoned with. If you consider yourself a Christian, then you would have to wrestle with what Paul has to say and somehow come to terms with what he has written in all of his letters.

          • I see the Bible as an inspired work…meaning that people drew on inspiration to write what they did…much like people have been doing for as long as writing or composing, or sculpting, or painting has been a medium from which we can express ourselves, or to convey an idea, an or an image.

            I think that is one of the things that God has granted us…inspiration. The Bible is just one such example. Its a wonderful piece of work, richly layered, mythical, mystical, practical at times, with glimpses into the world of a people far in the past.

            I can consider myself a Christian and never pick up or read a single passage of scripture. For most of human history, that has been the norm. I can consider myself a Christian, and be critical, of what the writers have to say, or find certain stories as very distasteful and violent. I can look at some of those stories and see them as stories of a violent people living in a violent time, and see a parallel in more modern history of how people have used the excuse of “god commanded” to justify atrocity. I can do all of that and more and consider myself a Christian.

          • I know that I am a Christian because I believe and declare that Jesus is my Lord and Savior.

          • Suzanne Spiers

            You may have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, but when you are a Christian, the New Testament is full of how to recognise if the Holy Spirit resides within your heart. If you are engaging in sexual acts with a person who is of the same sex, then this is something that you might want to read more about, because Scripture has a lot to say about our sexuality and how it should be expressed. I find it interesting how many people read a part of Scripture and take just that one part in isolation and assume that they are acting in accordance with God’s will. In the New Testament, there are passages relating to sexual activity and they expressly say that it is to be engaged in between a man and a woman within the context of marriage. Have you read what the New Testament says about having sexual relationships with members of the same sex?

          • You seem to think that accepting Christ as Lord doesn’t actually make one a Christian. Maybe your Bible has a lot of extra conditions on being a Christian, but mine makes things pretty clear in Acts 16.29-31 and Rom 10.9.

          • Christine

            Also, the New Testament makes it clear that slavery is a righteous practice.

            Many modern Christians, myself included, have concluded that this is not so, and our source of authority on the matter is Jesus Christ. Therefore, as a follower of Him, I look to Him for moral guidance on sexuality and other issues. And He said many, many words about loving your neighbor as yourself and loving your enemies, and even judging not, but not one word on homosexuality.

          • Actually, Suzanne, the New Testament has a number of letters which were written to people in specific contexts, and contained some Apostles’ thoughts about a number of things. It’s important to put them in their historical contexts.

            There is, in fact, no reason to believe that references to certain sexual acts are actually general commands to all. Or else, perhaps, it might have been appropriate to let everyone know them, rather than just pass them along in letters to particular churches.

            You see, the Epistles were not put into a Bible for everyone the way we see it when they were first written. They were sent to churches in a particular time and place.

            The sexual commands are greatly misunderstood because people (1) assume that references to same-sex acts relate in any way to homosexuality as we understand it today. They don’t. There was no concept of homosexuality in the first century AD. Rather, there were various forms of exploitation and proscriptions against them sent to the churches. This is where knowing history comes in handy.

            (2) Seem to think that the Bible was written in English. It wasn’t.

            (3) Fail to understand that a letter to the Romans was sent to the Romans. It wasn’t given as Scripture to everyone until centuries later when we canonized the Bible as we know it, collecting some letters and discarding others.

        • Notquite Archimedes

          Inciting RITUAL murder against gays, as the authors of the Bible did, is worse than ANY sexual sin. Accepting that as divine makes you EVIL.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      4:10 False equivalency No. 2: Justifying Homosexuality between two loving committed mutually monogamous people = Justifying Adultery – the breaking of a contract and covenant in which one party harms the other and violates trust

      These couldn’t be more disparate.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      4:13 If temptation stalks men every day, they need better hobbies and a good couples therapist.

      4:25 False equivalency No. 3: He conflates a normal sexual response in human kind to visual stimuli and hormones (arousal and a desire for sexual release) and the self-imposed limitations we put on ourselves as a matter of commitment to a spouse (and to civil society not to have sex with everything that moves – willing or not – just because it might relieve our sexual tension) as a reason to deny all homosexuals any sexual intimacy at all even within the bounds of a committed relationship.

      It also cheapens and reduces gay people to being merely self-satisfying sex-seekers, rather than people who desire love, commitment, relationship and intimacy just like everyone else.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      5:20 Complementarianism is a Patriarchal fabrication.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      6:53 Makes that case that because Henri Nouwen chose celibacy for himself all homosexuals should.

      It would seem if we take a similar reading of St. Paul, ALL heterosexual believers should also forsake marriage for the cause of Christ.

      “It has to be tough. It has to be tough. But sometimes we renounce our dispositions for the cause of Christ and wait and hope and trust for the possibility that he would give us that resistance.”


      We could affirm, as we do for heterosexual people, that not all are called to celibacy.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      7:10 He describes creedalism not faith and a community of believers who practice a bookkeeping religion of weights and measures rather than grace.

      He never gets to the heart of the matter of the question the young man asked: How members of the LGBT community can and do live as faithful members of a Christian community – fully committed to the cause of Christ – while also being not only celibate by choice, but in loving committed relationships and how this would fall outside God’s grace, conference of spiritual gifts, and the fellowship of the saints rather than outside of Church dogma.

    • AtalantaBethulia
    • mindy

      Dave, there are so many things wrong with this that I don’t know where to begin. AtlantaBethulia has done a good job of deconstruction, and you should, seriously, read and consider all of it.

      • Dave

        He did a nice job of providing a response, to which i could counter. Not sure it is necessary to as i provided a rebuttal to one already.

  • I’ve given here several theological arguments for gay marriage:

    which should be read according to the order defined by the date of publication.

    I genuinely hope this will be useful for someone struggling with such issues.

    Lovely greetings from Europe.
    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

  • eMatters2

    NALT (“Not All Like That”) Christians = Not Christians

    Here’s a must read in response to this collection of fakes:

    • A must read? Is there anything new there, but the same ancient, over-used rhetoric, touted again and again to give an excuse for Christians to hate and condemn others?
      Considering how you’ve introduced the blog posting, I doubt it. Considering what I saw in just the first two paragraphs, I am convinced.

      • eMatters2

        Yeah, you wouldn’t want to read anything that addressed the Bible verses in context. The Bible couldn’t be more clear. Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) can see these truths:

        100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.

        100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.

        100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).

        0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind.

        * The three general types of pro-gay theology people: 1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God” (obviously non-Christians) 2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling theological Liberals” (only about 10 things wrong with that) 3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

        • buzzdixon

          “0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind.”

          “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
          you were very dear to me.
          Your love for me was wonderful,
          more wonderful than that of women.”
          — 2 Samuel 1:26 (NIV)

          Christ, while he was teaching, quoted Rabbi Hillel by saying the two great commandments were to love God and to love one’s neighbor as one love’s oneself.

          Later, in John 13:34, he taught: “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

          Later still, Peter has the “take and eat” vision in which God reaffirms that all the old Levitical laws were done away with by Christ’s death on the cross (“Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matthew 5:18 + “It is finished” [i.e., the OT covenant had been fulfilled] John 19:30)

          So you can’t deny gays their rights claiming “Ve vere just followink orders” by citing the OT; that contract has been fulfilled and is no more. The new contract calls us to love one another. Period.

      • eMatters2

        Here are the first two paragraphs that allegedly convinced you not to read more:

        “It doesn’t really surprise me that there would arise a movement in the professing Christian community who would side with anti-God, anti-Christian, anti-Bible activists. How should we interpret a professing Christian organization who would align themselves with someone like LGBT activist Dan Savage, a man barely distinguished from the flip-side of the Westboro Baptists?

        I realize there’s a desire to not offend or hurt anyone’s feelings or tell anyone they’re sinners, but despite the linguistic gymnastics, the Bible is pretty clear on what God believes about homosexual sexual relationships. Some people don’t want to pass judgment and others don’t want to appear mean or hateful. I sympathize, but all that is irrelevant to what the Bible has to say about homosexual sexual relationships.”

        I can see how open-minded you are.

        • Notquite Archimedes

          So your are a Biblical literalist. Would you murder your own son if you thought God asked you to? Abraham tried. Much of your Bible is deranged murderous filth written by psychotic fanatics like you.

          • eMatters2

            I believe that the original writings of the Bible turned out exactly as God desired and that they have been accurately transmitted to us. I encourage you to read them thoroughly for yourself and accept God’s indescribably gracious offer of forgiveness. While it is literally the word of God, I don’t read them all literally. I read them as they were intended by the others: Poetry, history, teaching, parables, etc. You’ve been hanging around false Christians too long and are just repeating their sound bites.

        • buzzdixon

          The Bible is pretty clear on what Moses said God said, or what Paul thought, but the only time God spoke out loud to a large group of people (when He offered the Covenant [i.e., the Decalogue] to the nation of Israel at Mt Sinai) He never brought up the matter of same sex relations.

          Ditto Jesus, in all his teachings, never found it to be a vital enough topic to address.

      • Guest

        It’s not hate just because we disagree. Because you disagree with Biblical Christians, it doesn’t mean you hate us. I’m not saying that you’re doing this, but what’s common in these days of political correctness, using terms like hate and racist are just a way of trying to guilt people out of having an honest conversation. I don’t condemn anyone because “but by the grace of God there go I.”

        • I think you have it backwards. I can understand why people are against people who happen to be gay. I’ve heard the argument for the past 20 years when the Moral Majority first reared its ugly head. I have also heard and witnessed personally very hateful, hurtful things, while in the presence of a person who is gay, not caring if he heard it or not. Those who said those things were dedicated Christians, and from at least one pastor.

          I find it quite sad that people will use religion to belittle, condemn and diminish the value of another human being.

    • What’s your definition of Christian and how do you determine whether or not someone is a Christian?

      • Good question Dan.

      • eMatters2

        Those who repent and trust in the real Jesus, as revealed by scripture. They affirm his divinity and that He is the only way to salvation. They accept the Bible as the word of God (1 Thess 2:13). They affirm the physical resurrection. They don’t mock God and sit in judgment of the Bible because they love the world more than they love God. They don’t encourage people to indulge in physically, emotionally and spiritually destructive behavior. And so on.

        I judge them by their fruits, as Jesus said to.

        • Notquite Archimedes

          YOU NEED TO REPENT. Jesus said people who call others Racha (connotation “faggot”) are murderers. You are damned by your Savior.

          • eMatters2

            Sigh. Where do you make things like that up? Rhaka means empty or foolish.

          • Notquite Archimedes

            Raca also Racha: Linked to words like ‘soft’ like Malakos, or Rachas, a ‘wicked, worthless man.’ It is mentioned in some writings from ancient Greece. These writings describe some of the ‘Rachas’ as ‘kinaidoi’ or ‘effeminate male’. Because of the links to these words, and some ancient Greeks usage of kinaidoi to describe a feminine homosexual, the true meaning of Raca could be closely linked to our modern derogatory word ‘****’. Jesus implies that a person who calls his brother (by blood or by mankind in general) Raca, will be punished my the court. This could mean that if some one calls a person ‘a sexually passive or soft homosexual’–‘fag’–then he is to be tried by the court. (Matt 5:22)

        • Christine

          What I remember Jesus saying is “judge not lest ye be judged”. (Matt 7:1)

          Oh, He went on a few sentences later to say that you shall KNOW them or RECOGNIZE them by their fruits. Knowing isn’t judging, however. Neither is recognizing. Considering He had JUST instructed his disciples a few minutes prior not to judge, it’s sparklingly clear that your interpretation is absolutely not what He meant, but rather, in the opposite spirit of His lesson that day. Choosing to change that verse, if done willfully and with full knowledge of the text, is sacrelige.

          If you mean to follow Jesus, you *must* commit to not judging. Those who choose judgement defy Jesus’ express command to His followers. You can choose to do as you please. We have free will, after all, as a gift from God. It’s not for me or any other humans to judge you for it.

          As for me, though, I’ll follow Him.

          May you enjoy God’s blessings and mercy.

        • buzzdixon

          I agree w/all those points & I believe we are following Christ’s Golden Rule of treating others the way we want to be treated when we affirm loving committed same sex couples the same rights as loving committed opposite sex couples.

      • eMatters2

        Wow, you can’t make things like this up. This “Christian” leader uses two quotes to plug himself. One is from an affirmed Christ-hating bully, Dan Savage. Because he’s your go-to guy for recommendations on true Christianity! The other is from false teacher Rob Bell. That makes it pretty easy to identify whether this movement is from God.

        • Notquite Archimedes

          Dan Savage criticized old testament law which incites RITUAL MURDER against him. He didn’t criticize Christ.

          I’m glad to see that some Christians are dissociating themselves from right-wing psychopaths who would murder their own children for their religion.

        • mindy

          Your definition of Christianity, eMatters2, is rife with interpretations with which hundreds of thousands of Christians around the world do not agree. You are entitled to whatever belief system you like, but you are not entitled to define Christianity for anyone but yourself. EVERYONE who follows the teachings of Christ, regardless of whether you agree with them or not, has every right to call themselves Christians. You do not get to decide if they Christian or not. NO ONE does. So, while I personally disagree strongly with your interpretation of God’s message, I cannot say that you are not a Christian. I can list all the ways in which I believe you do not act like a Christian, as I understand Jesus’ teachings, but that is based on my interpretation, so would mean nothing, I imagine, to you.

          Herein lies the problem. No matter how you frame it, you are judging people based on your personal interpretation. Judging, I’m pretty sure, is a big no-no in your Book, and imposing your version of theology on others is bullying. Plain and simple. So stop it. Please.

    • Notquite Archimedes

      Not all Christians are sadistically self-righteous perverts who incite murder against gays.

      • eMatters2

        I know countless authentic Christians and not one incites murder against gays. That is an evil straw man / ad hominem argument on your part. Your problem is with Jesus, not his true followers.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          ematters2, While your point is well-taken, there are many NALT Christians in America who are aware that conservative Christians have supported Ugandan legislation and leaders who DO support the death penalty and imprisonment for homosexuals.

          Let’s not throw out your own straw man. His problem is with Jesus’ followers not Jesus – kind of like Gandhi: I like your Christ; it’s your Christians I have problems with.

          • eMatters2

            Here’s a bit about the Ugandan situation — click here for more —

            A common tactic of the LGBTQ lobby is to demonize people who dare to point out the truth. They also love to distort events, knowing that most people don’t have access to the other side – or don’t want it. The issue of homosexuals in Uganda is a perfect illustration of both. Don’t believe the lies.

            “1. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill (AHB) which triggered the leftist propaganda attack on Uganda, was proposed but never actually voted on and is thus NOT a law in Uganda. It was proposed to combat “gay” sex tourism targeting desperately poor Ugandan boys and teenagers, a persistent problem across Africa. The unfortunate capital punishment provision (which neither I nor any other American missionary ever supported) was in a section of the bill targeting pedophilia, sexual abuse of the disabled, and the intentional spreading of AIDS, not simple homosexuality. Unreported in the media is that African criminal law is typically extremely harsh in the letter but very lenient in the application, so western fear-mongering about the bill was seriously overblown.

            2. Suggestions that American missionaries “exported” disapproval of homosexuality to Uganda are untrue. Uganda is, in fact, the only country in the world with a national holiday that celebrates the rejection of homosexual sodomy. It is Martyr’s Day, June 3rd, the anniversary of the barbaric 1886 murder of Charles Lwanga and 21 other young men and boys who refused to submit to sodomy by the pederast King Mwanga, whose will was law in Uganda. When they repeated their refusal to engage in homosexual acts with the King, even after being torturously bound and marched 37 miles, they were roasted alive on a bonfire. These 22 Christian martyrs are the only Ugandans ever executed for violating any Ugandan law on homosexuality.”

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: ” The Anti-Homosexuality Bill (AHB) which triggered the leftist propaganda attack on Uganda, was proposed but never actually voted on and is thus NOT a law in Uganda.”

            I’m well aware of this.

            Re: “The unfortunate capital punishment provision (which neither I nor any other American missionary ever supported)”

            I didn’t indicate you nor missionaries did.

          • eMatters2

            “Let’s not throw out your own straw man. His problem is with Jesus’ followers not Jesus – kind of like Gandhi: I like your Christ; it’s your Christians I have problems with.”

            I made no straw man argument. And Gandhi better have repented before he died. His prideful, judgmental attitude in thinking he was better than others and didn’t need Jesus was not going to save him.

        • Notquite Archimedes

          I don’t recall anyone telling me a disclaimer when I heard Leviticus 20:13 read in Church. I was a gay Christian virgin at 13. It is an incitement to ritual murder. It is obscene. No decent human being can call that FILTH the world of a loving God.

      • AtalantaBethulia

        Notquite, while we appreaciate your support of NALT, let’s try to tone down the over the top hyperbole.

        • Notquite Archimedes

          A literalist interpretation of Leviticus 20:13 is an incitement to ritual murder. I don’t support NALT. I don’t think Christians should so easily wash blood from their hands.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Two comments ago you acknowledged: “Not all Christians are sadistically self-righteous perverts who incite murder against gays.”

            We’re not all those kinds of Christians and are trying to right the wrongs of injustice.
            So. What gives?

  • Agni Ashwin

    Will Christians sign a NALT Treaty? The Soviets are against it.

  • billwald

    There is nothing wrong or sinful with being. Sin and wrong involves doing.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Unless, by that, you mean all gay people should forever remain celibate.

  • AtalantaBethulia

    Note: Deleting and Blacklisting happen because of how things are said more so than what is said.

  • Suzanne Spiers

    I am curious about where you get the idea from Scripture that it is ok to practice homosexuality by engaging in sexual acts with people of the same gender. If you got this idea from Scripture, I am wondering where in the New Testament you have found this information. From what I have read, homosexual acts are classed in the same way as cheating on one’s spouse, excessive drinking, carousing, and several other behaviours that God suggests are not honouring to Him. I am interested in why you consider yourselves Christians if you engage in homosexual behaviour. Christians are challenged to live lives that honour God and if one is homosexual, then celibacy would be the way to handle one’s sexuality. I notice that there is a push for gay marriage to be accepted. However, it is not scriptural for marriage to be anything other than a relationship engaged in by a woman and a man. It seems that some people take Scripture out of context and ignore the parts that do not fit with what one wants to do. We are told that all Scripture needs to be considered, not just the parts that fit with our version of Christianity.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Hi, Suzanne. Thank you for your questions. There is quite a lot of scholarship available on the matter. Here are a few resources.

      • Suzanne Spiers

        Thank you. I shall make sure to read the resources that you have given, and then I shall respond.

      • Suzanne Spiers

        I have read the first reference that you gave and it has some compelling information. However, I would like to point out that acts that people do are symptomatic of human nature and the sinful nature is just that and we all possess it. Homosexual acts would be considered sinful from a biblical perspective along with all other acts such as murder, stealing, gossip, addictions. In ourselves with our human nature we have no power over anything that we wish to change unless we have the power of the Holy Spirit within us. In Scripture we are commanded to have compassion and love for all. There is no problem with that. However, there is a problem with behaviours that we seek to engage in that Scripture seems to suggest, such as homosexual acts, drunkenness, orgies, adultery, amongst others. I understand what the authors of the document that you referred me to are trying to say. However, Scripture tells us that marriage is to be between a man and a woman. The authors of the document to which you referred me, suggested that in the time of Jesus, there was no such precendence for marriage between same-sex people. This is true. There were also no cars or computers in those days either. However, my question would be to do with how a person can say that marriage between two consenting adults of the same sex is correct for Christians. If two gay people decide that they want to engage in a form of what they consider to be a marriage, how can they reconcile this with what is in Scripture? In regards to human rights, Jesus made a distinction between the State and the Kingdom of God. All people should have the same rights in a culture; food, water, shelter, and other things for all people. However, when it comes to the Kingdom of God, perhaps it is as Jesus says; “Render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and render to God, that which is God’s’. For the Christian, we are to follow the laws of the land in which we live. However, as Christians we are also challenged to live pure lives, full of light as would honour God. Gossip is still gossip 2000 years later and murder is still murder 2000 years later, stealing is still stealing and adultery is still adultery.

        • Would you be so kind as to tell me where in Scripture there is a command that says marriage is to be between one man and one woman?

          If you really want to follow Biblical models of marriage, then you’re headed straight for polygamy. Don’t blame the progressives for it.

          • Suzanne Spiers

            Ephesians Chapter 5 discusses marriage and speaks of marriage as between one man and one woman. Collossians Chapter 3:18, Titus 2:4, 1Peter 3:7, Hebrews 13:4, 1 Corinthians 7. These are just a few of the passages that discuss marriage. There is no mention of marriage being between anyone other than a man and a woman anywhere in Scripture. All Christians are under the new covenant that was ushered in with the death and resurrection of Jesus and the old covenant no longer applies. In Jesus, the whole law is fulfilled. There is no allowance for polygamy in Christian life.

          • You do realize that the practice of polygamy as well as keep concubines or having sex with slaves was practiced…and quite possibly by a few Christians who were a very small cross section of a very diverse culture

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Re: “However, my question would be to do with how a person can say that marriage between two consenting adults of the same sex is correct for Christians.”

          Because the texts commonly referenced by folks who interpret Scripture as saying all homosexual contact is sinful fail to see that what is referenced in scripture is: male rape, pederastery, sexual slavery, temple worship/prostitution, sexual orgies but definitely does not refer to two people of the same gender in a loving committed mutually monogamous life-long relationship.

          And context matters as does the Spirit of the law taught by Jesus.

    • “We are told that all Scripture needs to be considered, not just the parts that fit with our version of Christianity.”

      Exactly. what you are against here just doesn’t fit within your version of Christianity. Does that mean that we are wrong? Or maybe what is happening, is that we look at scripture through a different set of parameters? It how one considers the text that will determine one’s take away. As there are so many varieties of opinions on all of The Bible…well, you are going to have different conclusions. One is not necessarily wrong…just different.

      • Suzanne Spiers

        So what is your version of Christianity and what authority do you use to tell you what is Christian and what is not? I am not against anything but rather ‘for’ something. I know what Scripture has to say about a lot of things, So I am wondering what your thoughts are about Scripture and what the New Testament has to say about human sexuality. Instead of looking at opinions about Scripture, perhaps it is wise to read exactly what it says, cross-reference the verses about the matter about which you are interested and arrive at a conclusion based upon what you have read. If we are talking Christianity, surely what is written in scripture should not be discounted.

        • If someone says they are a Christian, then I take their statement as valid. As Christianity is a very diverse faith, it allows for a broad spectrum of mindsets, practices and beliefs.

          If we are talking about Christianity, you will find that almost everyone utterly ignores or dismisses large segments as irrelevant for them or for people at large. We all read scripture and draw conclusions based on several things. I look at what the culture was when these passage were written in the 120 or so years of the first century, if it is applicable for me as a modern 21 century person, if it lines up to where I think I should be in mindset and practice, as well as what I understand about humans, in a biological, social entity.

          As a 21st century person, I don’t wear a veil or expect anyone to wear one, although I can respect cultures where that is the norm. I don’t live in a monarchy, and in an occupied land, I have rights, living in a republic that were not available to most during that time. I live as a part of a religious majority as well. All of that would have been quite foreign concepts to the people of Paul’s day.

          One thing though..the people of that time did not have the New Testament, That was still a couple of centuries in the future. Few even had access to the Old Testament, as written texts were highly limited, as was literacy. So why is it assumed that we need to adhere to the thoughts and practices of things that people of that time did not?

          • Suzanne Spiers

            We do not have to adhere to practices that have come from the OT and it is true that there is a cultural bias from the NT because people lived in that culture at that time. No longer do we dress similarly or have issues with food being offered to idols amongst other things. However, human nature has never altered over time. Adultery is still adultery, stealing is still stealing, promiscuity is still promiscuity, murder is still murder, slander is still slander etc. etc. When it comes to issues such as marriage and homosexuality, I read in Scripture that continuing to engage in homosexual practices is not acceptable if one wishes to be a Christian. If a person wishes to engage in homosexual practices and live with another person of the same sex, then that is his or her choice. God has given each of us free will to do whatever we choose and we reap the consequences of our actions, either positive or negative. In Scripture, the only type of marriage that is sanctioned is that between a man and a woman. I also read that if one continues to engage in behaviours that are not godly, then that has eternal consequences. If a person has issues with any sort of ungodly behaviour (Scripture actually lists many, many behaviours that are considered ungodly and godly), then we are asked to see the assistance of the Holy Spirit to deal with these behaviours. I have had many struggles in my life to deal with deep-seated patterns of behaviour that have caused me a great deal of angst and personal cost at times. I have done the internal work to deal with the behaviours by getting to the underlying roots of the belief system, usually originating in early childhood. The work to remove my projections and withdraw them back into myself, has been long, difficult and once done, the external beahviours disappear; they were just symptoms. So, people should go and live their lives the way that they see fit. However, if they are saying that they are Christians, then their behaviours also should reflect what God has to say about godliness and behaviours that are honouring to Him. That includes learning to love others and forgive them, to learn how not to gossip and steal, to learn to find other ways to deal with substance abuse and the list goes on. We are all works in progress. If a person says that he or she is a Christian, then the Bible and what it contains, is the standard for the Christian’s life. Parts of it that we don’t like are still there to come to terms with and are not going to be taken out of Scripture any time soon.

          • buzzdixon

            I’ll give you a nickel if you can point out in the Decalogue where God said anything about homosexual relationships

          • If out actions have “eternal consequences” then the concept of salvation from our sins on the cross is a lie and some poor Jewish rabbi got screwed.

            And making being gay as a sin outside the forgiveness of god makes god a tyrant.

          • Suzanne Spiers

            If people who say that they are Christians and understand the theological basis for their faith, then they would understand that it hinges on the character of God and on the fact that Jesus Christ died for our sin, rose again from the dead on the third day following His death. Since He is wholly God and wholly human, and sinless, only He had the capacity to be the one true sacrifice for our sin. It is on this basis that a person accepts Christ’s sacrifice on his/her behalf and decides to embrace Christianity. Once a person accepts that the gift of salvation is based on faith and not on works, then following salvation, it is assumed that the new Christian will grow in his/her faith and will eventually grow into the likeness of Christ. Scripture declares that Christ will return to usher in the new heaven and the new Earth at His Second Coming. God does not want anyone to perish but all to enjoy eternal life. Christians are forgiven. If Jesus is not God and if He did not die and rise from the dead, then all Christians have no basis for their faith. Gay people are no different to any other human being. All of us have a human nature that causes us to do the things that we wish we would not do and this is called the sinful nature. Sin is something that God, being holy, cannot look upon and that is why Jesus had to die for us. We are forgiven. Being gay is not the problem here. What is at issue here is homosexual behaviour. For the Christian who is heterosexual it is no different. sex is something that is to be enjoyed within the context of marriage. Marriage, according to Scripture is to be between a man and a woman. There is nothing in Scripture to indicate otherwise, no matter what one would prefer that it say. God is no respecter of persons, whether gay or heterosexual. We can all be forgiven. However, forgiveness also implies repentance and not continuing in the behaviour. Christ’s sacrifice would be made a mockery if people do not truly ask for forgiveness and learn how to behave in a different manner. People can choose to behave however they wish because God has given each of us, free will. What I object to is when people try to make God into some sort of being who accepts any behaviour we choose to engage in and still call ourselves followers of Christ. Either people accept what it means to be a Christian with all that it implies, or decide not to be one. Simple!

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “Once a person accepts that the gift of salvation is based on faith and not on works,”

            This is a form of a false dilemma: either this or that.

            I believe the passage says: For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

            Within the wide spectrum of Christianity there is disagreement over how to interpret this verse. Many believe we are saved by grace alone – not faith alone. Reformed theology holds that to say we are saved by our faith is a form of works and puts the salvific power with us in our act of faith and not with God’s grace where it belongs. To say we are saved by our faith in God is to make God’s grace transactional rather than free. This is an important point to understanding a very common disagreement within Christian doctrine.

            Re: “If Jesus is not God and if He did not die and rise from the dead, then all Christians have no basis for their faith.”

            What you have shared, Suzzane, is common evangelical/conservative Christian theology. This theology is not held by all of Christianity. Not all of Christianity ascribes to substitutional atonement in the same way and yet Jesus as the incarnation of the truth of God is still the basis of their faith.

    • Matt Davis

      So basically you’re saying that people who are unlucky enough to be gay have to be celibate, but people who are straight don’t have this problem and are allowed to get married and have relations? That’s fundamentally unfair, and I don’t blame people for rejecting that line of thought.

      • Suzanne Spiers

        No, I am aware that we all engage in behaviours that are not ideal because we have inherited the human condition. You can also include poor self-esteem, addictions to substances and people, adultery, promiscuity, gossip, excessive drinking or eating amongst many other behaviours. It takes a lot of work within oneself to withdraw projections from the outside world and bring them home to heal. We often act out our unresolved conflicts with objects or people in the world until we withdraw these projections. If a person is not gay, they still have a responsibility in regard to their expression of their sexuality. If i follow your argument, then I could also say that because I am heterosexual, should I decide to relate sexually, i am free to engage with whomever and whenever, including another person’s spouse or indiscriminately, if I was that way inclined. If a person is gay, say for instance that I was, then I would still have to consider what Scripture has to say on the matter. In Scripture, I read that marriage is to be between a man and a woman. There is no mention of marriage between two same-sex people. Likewise, I also have to consider other behaviours such as addictions, indiscriminate sexual activity, excessive drinking, slander, gossip and the list goes on. They are all behaviours where I actually DO something with my body. When I realise that I do not have a choice in whether I enact that behaviour or not, I get pretty scared at times. I have had to work very hard to get to the underlying belief systems that have caused me to enact some of these behaviours at times and the journey has been extremely painful. LIFE IS UNFAIR as you have pointed out and there is no free ride. You are free to do whatever you want in life because God has given you free will. It is His gift to you. However, when I hear people use Scripture to say that they are Christians and yet their behaviour is not what is suggested is Christian through what is actually written about holy behaviour, then I feel led to say something and express my own opinion.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          RE: “In Scripture, I read that marriage is to be between a man and a woman. There is no mention of marriage between two same-sex people.”

          There are many things that are not mentioned in the Bible – antibiotics for one. Air travel for another. In vitro fertilization. C-sections. Are C-sections sinful because they are not mentioned in the Bible?

          Just because it isn’t mentioned, it does not follow that it is automatically wrong.

          Meanwhile: polygamy, genocide, rape, slavery, justice by deception (Tamar), premarital sex (Ruth and Boaz), and human sacrifice (The binding of Isaac, Jesus as a substitutionary atonement) are mentioned in the Bible without condemnation. Even Ken Hamm from Answers in Genesis makes no bones about asserting that if we read scripture literally, we must take from the story of the Garden of Eden that God’s initial plan for humankind – sexually – included incest, or else none of us would be here today. Once the population had grown large enough, Hamm suggests, then God changed the laws about incest because it was no longer necessary.

          So I’m unconvinced that this line of reasoning and scriptural interpretation is sound.

          Re: “Likewise, I also have to consider other behaviours such as addictions, indiscriminate sexual activity, excessive drinking, slander, gossip and the list goes on. They are all behaviours where I actually DO something with my body. When I realise that I do not have a choice in whether I enact that behaviour or not, I get pretty scared at times. I have had to work very hard to get to the underlying belief systems that have caused me to enact some of these behaviours at times and the journey has been extremely painful.”

          If this is representative of your life’s journey and are difficulties with which you have struggled, I am very sorry you have had to go through this. These are truly difficult and can affect one’s life in significant ways.

          However, these are not equivalent in nature with being LGBT.

          Addictions are chemical dependencies that left untreated lead to negative consequences and which often require intervention by licensed professionals to help a person detox from their substance of choice and then initiate a recovery program to abstain from using any additive substances. Why? Because they cause harm. Harm to one’s health, employment, trouble with the law, and loss of relationships. Addictions are inheritable and treatable.

          But use of addictive substances or behaviors, indiscriminate sexual activity, excessive drinking, slander, and gossip ARE choices. They are all choices which often can and do cause harm to oneself and to others.

          This stands in sharp contrast to homosexuality – a state of being, not simply something you do with your body and not a choice for those with SSA. And in the case of two people who fall in love and share a healthy, positive, mutually loving relationship with commitment – it is not harmful – to themselves nor to others. Every other sin in the ten commandments regarding human interaction causes harm to oneself or someone else.

          Jesus spent a great deal of time preaching about what character traits are representative of good fruit. How we have sex wasn’t one of them. He also spent a lot of time making the distinction between the Letter of the Law practiced by the Pharisees and the Spirit of the Law which he was attempting to convey in both his word and deed.

          When I hear people use Scripture to say they are Christians, yet they seem to miss the very essence of the teachings of the One whom they claim to follow, I too feel led to say something. Nalt Christians take Scripture very seriously and hold it dear. We are the Christians that we are because of Scripture and the love and grace of God, not in spite of it.

          It is wonderful that your understanding of scripture nourishes and enriches your life. If it draws you closer to God and helps you treat others with kindness and compassion, then you have found a healthy faith. We will have to agree to disagree on this particular matter and unite to serve in love.

          Blessings to you on your spiritual journey.

  • Guest

    St. Paul writes in Galations 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The logical conclusion following this principle is there is neither gay nor straight. The Biblical Doctrine of Identification is that we identify with Jesus Christ, not with the World and its labels.

    The model God has given us is He created man and woman not for the purpose of sex, or for a man and woman to simply be a couple, but to reflect His concept of creation. We are creators as is He, able to procreate to reflect His image. Throughout Scripture He proclaims the marriage between Christ and the Church. He describes Himself as the Bridegroom and the Church as the bride. His Holy Spirit “creates” through believers as they share the Gospel to bring others to a new birth. The Church is a family born out of the relationship between God the Bridegroom and the Church the bride. Marriage is a reflection of His marriage to the Church.

    Yes, there are people who are gay and they should not be condemned. The Church shouldn’t single them out. We all need Christ and His saving grace. But He does call us to separate from the World, to repent and be sanctified. Even some gay Christians I’ve had the opportunity to converse with find it to be a dilemna for the Christian gay movement that it’s common for Christian gays to be promiscuous, to practice serial monogamy, to break commitments over and over again. Generally the “gay church” is pro-abortion and don’t object to the concept of multiple partners in marriage. These practices are also wrong for heterosexual Christians.

    Two men or two women cannot fulfill natural law when it comes to the body and creation. If God creates people gay, then He has failed to give them the natural ability to procreate. Scripture tells us that He is not a respector of persons. He wouldn’t create some with the ability to create and others without. That would conflict with His character.

    So, outside of the “clobber passages” there is the theme all through Scripture of God’s marriage with His people. There’s no where in Scripture where someone was born out of homosexuality. If God wanted to tells us that homosexuality is a gift, He certainly had the opportunity to do so in His Word. For Him not to be explicit and provide the message that gay is okay would certainly be cruel.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Re: “Even some gay Christians I’ve had the opportunity to converse with find it to be a dilemna for the Christian gay movement that it’s common for Christian gays to be promiscuous, to practice serial monogamy, to break commitments over and over again. Generally the “gay church” is pro-abortion and don’t object to the concept of multiple partners in marriage. These practices are also wrong for heterosexual Christians.”

      This seems like a non sequitur when it comes to considering an equal comparison of a faithfully married gay couple and a faithfully married heterosexual couple.

      Re: “He wouldn’t create some with the ability to create and others without. That would conflict with His character.”

      This seems to overlook the millions of people who are infertile.

      Re: “For Him not to be explicit and provide the message that gay is okay would certainly be cruel.”

      For Him not to be explicit and provide the message that slavery is a violation of God’s plan for humanity is certainly cruel.

      I understand the doctrine of being co-creators with God. I simply disagree that childbirth is a necessary nor sole way that we as humans can participate in creation.

      • Guest

        Re: “This seems like a non sequitur when it comes to considering an equal comparison of a faithfully married gay couple and a faithfully married heterosexual couple.”

        Answer: To follow the logic of accepting a faithfully married gay couple, will you accept a faithfully married bi-sexual “trouple?” Where do you obtain your standard of morality in this issue? Will the Government require that the Church marry trouples? Google “polyamory.” Newsweek, the Advocate and The Daily Beast predict that it’s the next sexual revolution. How does this fall into God’s design?

        Re: “This seems to overlook the millions of people who are infertile.”

        God doesn’t intend for anyone to be infertile, ill, in pain, or even to die. The Doctrine of Sin explains that we are fallen and were cursed in the Garden of Eden. The curse brought about a continual degeneration in our physically being which is why our bodies breakdown and even die. Same sex attraction (SSA) is an objective disorder. God doesn’t condemn anyone with SSA, but He does call everyone to submit his or her sexuality to Him.

        Re: “For Him not to be explicit and provide the message that slavery is a violation of God’s plan for humanity is certainly cruel.”

        “A myth propped up by secular skeptics is that Scripture sanctions slavery. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

        First, it should be noted that far from extolling the virtues of slavery, the Bible denounces slavery as sin. The New Testament goes so far as to put slave traders in the same category as murderers, adulterers, perverts, and liars (1 Timothy 1:10).

        Furthermore, slavery within the Old Testament context was sanctioned due to economic realities rather than racial or sexual prejudices. Because bankruptcy laws did not exist, people would voluntarily sell themselves into slavery. A craftsman could thus use his skills in servitude to discharge a debt. Even a convicted thief could make restitution by serving as a slave (Exodus 22:3).

        Finally, while the Bible as a whole recognizes the reality of slavery, it never promotes the practice of slavery. **In fact, it was the application of biblical principles that ultimately led to the overthrow of slavery, both in ancient Israel and in the United States of America.** Israel’s liberation from slavery in Egypt became the model for the liberation of slaves in general.**

        Read the book of Exodus and you’ll see that God’s intent was deliver the Israelites from slavery. Deliverance from slavery is why Jesus died. He died to set us free from the law of sin and death. We just need to accept His free gift on His terms. “

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Non-sequiturs: It doesn’t follow.

          In the third paragraph of your OP you mention a lot things other than two faithful, married people. You omitted this.

          You said: “The Church shouldn’t single [homosexuals] out. We all need Christ and His saving grace. But He does call us to separate from the World, to repent and be sanctified. Even some gay Christians I’ve had the opportunity to converse with find it to be a dilemna for the Christian gay movement that it’s common for Christian gays to be promiscuous, to practice serial monogamy, to break commitments over and over again. Generally the “gay church” is pro-abortion and don’t object to the concept of multiple partners in marriage. These practices are also wrong for heterosexual Christians.”

          And I said (not in so many words) that promiscuity, serial monogamy, divorce, abortion, and open marriage have nothing to do with comparing apples to apples: life-long, faithful married couples. It also doesn’t follow that making this equitable comparison applies to polygamous and polyamorous relationships in the church or under the law. The government isn’t forcing churches to marry anyone.

          Re: Infertility

          You said in your OP: “If God creates people gay, then He has failed to give them the natural ability to procreate. Scripture tells us that He is not a respector of persons. He wouldn’t create some with the ability to create and others without. That would conflict with His character.”

          I’m simply holding you to the standard that you set for God’s character and asking that you apply it equally to all people, not just to gay people.

          On the matter of slavery: It’s not a myth. For more on this please see the following:

        • Matt Davis

          It’s not a free gift if you have to accept terms. There’s nothing free about it. Most missionaries come in with this “free gift” line, then expect everyone to go to church regularly, pray regularly, even tithe. Stop calling it a free gift.

          Your entire line of reasoning is flawed, because the bible is complete fiction and god doesn’t exist. There, it needed to be said. Sorry to offend others, but this person just offended me.

          Also, as for morality, if it doesn’t harm others, it’s not immoral. Why should it be? I don’t care if three people love each other!

          EDIT: Finally, I can’t help but notice you’re guilty of special pleading. So you say that original sin is the reason for infertility, but same sex attraction is an objective disorder – a special case? You’re twisting the theology to fit your personal views. That’s special pleading, and you’re not helping your case.

          The whole point of the NALT movement is to show people that not all Christians are judgemental and hate LGBT people. If you want to drive people away from Christianity, please carry on as you are. Why do you think so many people are atheists these days? Apart from the fact that religion doesn’t make any sense, the attitude of some self-proclaimed religious leaders is pushing people away. Please, carry on as you are and accelerate Christianity’s inevitable demise!

          Your slavery point is also special pleading, because if people mention homosexuality the same way slavery is mentioned in the bible, they’re accused of condoning it. This is fact – gay people’s families have been thrown out of churches for “condoning” their relative’s sexuality when the only thing they’ve done is stood by their relatives.

    • If God wanted us to use birth control, wear choir robes, recite the Lord’s Prayer over and over and over and over, spay or neuter our pets, or euthanize unwanted ones, use weapons of mass destruction in wars, allow women in the military..and all sorts of things…then surely God would have put it in “His Word”.

      But you see The Bible is not a magical “all the answers you will ever need”. It was never intended to be an exhaustive treatise on humanity or God’s “tell all book. In fact many do not think that the collection of works is literally God’s word, but inspired, imperfectly, by people who were trying as best they could to describe God and God’s interaction with a particular group of people, through stories, myths, ideas, poetry and historical renderings much after the fact.

      That it doesn’t really address things like gay marriage is no surprise. But you can’t use that as an excuse when it does mention other sexuall matters, with no condemnation, like inscest, multiple sexual partners, even to the point of harems and stoning new brides….never the grooms…who are determined not to be virgins on their wedding nights.

    • buzzdixon

      “If God creates people gay, then He has failed to give them the natural ability to procreate. Scripture tells us that He is not a respector of persons. He wouldn’t create some with the ability to create and others without. That would conflict with His character.”

      Really? Let’s ask Jesus hizzownsef what he taught on this matter:

      “For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”
      Matthew 19:12 (ESV)

  • Christine

    I have mixed feelings. I am grateful there is this project going on, but I also despair at just how little cultural competency about or concern for transgender people there is in these videos. When I watched John Shore’s, expressing concern for gay youth but not showing any interest in transgender people with his words, my heart sank, and it reminded me that even in congregations that are gay affirming, transgender people are on the outside and often not welcome. It’s a good attempt, but overall I find these videos depressing. For so many, there is no call to include transgender people or bringing us in from the cold. Kudos and gratitude for the exceptions. I wish you weren’t so few.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Hi, Christine. Thank you for your comment.

      Several of the people in the videos are transgendered, including Lisa Salazar who is an activist for transgender issues. ( ) John’s work includes affirming transgendered people and bringing light to the discrimination they face.

    • Christine,
      The video AtalantaBethulia referenced is here:

      NALT has also partnered with Transfaith in order to better connect with transgender people. We very much believe that transgender people deserve the full love and acceptance of the Church … and yes, that message doesn’t always come through as loudly as it should in the videos. But, to that end, we’d love for you to make a video for the NALT Christians Project. Will you?

    • Suzanne Spiers

      You mention slaves. In the time of the early church there were many who became believers who were slaves. Paul exhorts them to gain their freedom if they can 1 Corinthians 7:17-24. He tells the slaves to serve Christ if they must remain slaves but to remain free in spirit and not spiritually enslaved to human beings. A person may be imprisoned in body, but no-one has the power to make a person think, feel or respond in any way. All people have power over their thoughts, actions and emotions. Slavery was a part of the culture and many slaves did not have the ability to become free.

      • AtalantaBethulia

        What Paul doesn’t say is that slavery is wrong and that it should be abolished.

        • Suzanne Spiers

          He was merely talking to the believers of that time and talking about how they should respond as believers to their life situation. Slavery was a part of the culture at that time and there was very little that a slave could do. Paul was more concerned with their spiritual lives and how they should be expressed and outworked. He goes on to say in that same passage how all believers should conduct their lives and continue in the life situations in which they were placed at the time of their conversions.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Right. Which is why many modern Christians feel he did not well-represent God and Jesus’ sense of Justice as a necessary expression of the faith as members of the Kingdom of heaven, which is here and now (at hand), and in this reading of this passage missed Jesus’ and the Hebrew Prophets’ calls for Justice in this world. Micah 6:8 is one of many examples: “He hath shown thee, O man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

            For clarity: the term Justice is not due punishment for a crime, but rather “getting what one deserves.” If we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, those being Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and that these rights are universal and timeless, being an Absolute Truth – then slavery is outside of the will of God and should never be tolerated as a matter of understanding God’s love of Justice.

            And this is why many Christians believe the teachings of Jesus trump those attributed (sometimes wrongly) to Paul, but unfortunately among some groups within the faith we see the opposite: the teachings of Paul used to justify oppression and trump the teachings of Jesus — as was the case with slavery and as is the case with homosexuality and likewise with the limitations put on women in society and in the church where patriarchal hierarchy does not “permit a woman to teach a man.” Many Christians feel that scripture is being misused to oppress and cause unnecessary harm as is the case with denying equal rights to any people group and limiting gay and lesbian Christians’ participation in the full life and ministry of the church and that none of these comport with the teachings of Jesus.

          • Suzanne Spiers

            I don’t think that this is about Jesus versus Paul. All Scripture is in the Bible and if people really took the time and trouble to diligently study the theology contained in Paul’s writings, they might be surprised at what they discover. Jesus understood marriage as as being between a man and a woman Matthew 5:27-32, Matthew 19:4-11. Jesus, in Mark 7:17-23, names behaviours that defile the human being. These behaviours are to do with what is in the heart of a person. They are evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. In Mark 10:4-12 Jesus speaks of divorce and again it is in the context of the relationship between a man and a woman. He states that marriage is ordained by God and is to be between a male and a female. In Mark 12:18-27 there is the question of marriage occurring at the Resurrection. Again, Jesus discusses this and confirms that marriage is something that is between a man and a woman but there will be no marriage at the Resurrection when Jesus comes again. John’s Gospel mainly deals with the deity of Christ. People often want to take out bits of Scripture to further their arguments. Might I humbly suggest that it is preferable to read what is actually written and cross-reference each passage and study what Scripture says. No-one would suggest that any human, either heterosexual or homosexual should be denied basic human rights. All people should be entitled to the same rights. However, when we are discussing rights in the light of what Scripture is saying, matters of the Kingdom are an entirely different matter. When Jesus was handed a coin with caesar’s head on it and was asked about this very question, His answer was simple. “Render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and render to God that which is God’s”. The kingdom of Earth is a temporal one. The Kingdom of God is eternal and functions under an entirely different paradigm.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “matters of the Kingdom are an entirely different matter… The Kingdom of God is eternal and functions under an entirely different paradigm.”

            Help me understand.

            Do you not believe that Jesus taught us – his followers -how we are to behave as members of the Kingdom and that that behavior is applicable to how we are to live here and now as Christians in how we are to treat others?

          • Suzanne Spiers

            We are meant to love others and to live holy lives as God’s representatives on Earth. The Kingdom of God is not like earthly kingdoms and is spiritual. We are to live in the world but not be of the world. We are to live holy lives that honour God and are not defiled. We are to treat others with respect and love and forgive them when they wrong us. However, we are also to set boundaries when confronted by those who live ungodly lives and the list of behaviours that are mentioned in the New Testament, that are behaviours not pleasing to God and which are to be avoided are those that defile the body such as drunkenness, adultery, sexual immorality, lewdness, greed, deceit, envy, debauchery, stealing, murder and so on. If we encounter those who do not live lives that honour God, we are to stay separate from them lest they corrupt us. It does not mean that we do not love them, but that we need to set firm boundaries so that their behaviours do not damage us. Many behaviours that those people who are in the world and who are not Christians accept as their right to engage in, are not holy or pleasing to God. Those people have free will and can choose to act in any way that they please, but their way is not what Jesus wants and is not pleasing or honouring of God or the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf when He died for us on the cross. It is not for everyone, but those who choose to be Christians make that choice.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            I see.
            I was afraid of that.

            This is the kind of Christianity I grew up in – a separatist sect of Fundamentalism.

            I call it living the Thou Shalt Nots. It completely ignores living the Thou Shalts which Jesus taught us to do. But that’s what gets preached in a lot of churches today. Matthew 5: 19-20 explains how Jesus was teaching that the holiness of the Pharisees was insufficient and wrongheaded. That true holiness wasn’t about purity codes (keeping the outside of the cup clean) but about a spiritual transformation of our inner selves, of our hearts, of becoming new creatures where old things are passed away, of walking a new path of selflessness and compassion in how we live, here and now, in how we interact with the world and treat everyone we encounter – not by avoiding them – this is what it means to have cup that is clean on the inside. This is what it means to be a new creature in Christ Jesus – to have the mind of Christ.

            Being a Christian is more than avoiding sin and praising God (Amos 5:9-14). I disagree with the separatism you describe. Jesus didn’t live this way. His example was quite the opposite. His teachings were quite the opposite. He associated with the outcasts of society. He made the marginalized the heroes of his parables: the poor, the oppressed, the untouchables. His harshest criticisms were for the pious (Luke 18:9-14, Matthew 5: 43-48, Matthew 23:1-36, Luke14: 7-14, Matthew 6:1-16)

            We are not called to be separate. We are called to be transformed – different. And then, transformed having turned from our old selfish ways, we live out the Greatest Commandment by not simply not sinning but by **doing unto others** proactively. (Matthew 5:13-16) Being filled with God’s unconditional grace and love to the point of overflowing we are to carry this love and grace out into the world and spill it onto others. Jesus taught us that faith is a verb (James 2: 14-26) we are to heal, visit, feed, clothe, quench, walk, carry, forgive, give, house, love – the stranger, the prisoner, the widow, the orphan, the infirm, the desperate, the prostitute, the AIDS patient, the foreigner… our neighbors. All of them. And our enemies.
            And it is not the doing itself, it is because it springs forth from a life transformed from a heart of love (I Corinthians 13) such that we are compelled by our lives filled with God’s grace to live this love toward others.

            The pithy quote some pastors use is that church is meant to be a hospital for sinners, but has become too often a museum for saints.

            I love the Message version of Matthew 5: 48

            48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

            Luke 17: 20-21 Jesus tells us that Kingdom of God is within us (or at hand) not merely a heavenly paradise reserved for the afterlife. Jesus taught us that the kingdom has already begun, here and now and we are to live like it as kingdom subjects and that we are co-creators of bringing about the kingdom here on earth.

            This is good news and it coincides with the Judaic teaching of Tikkun Olam – repairing the world. We live out God’s divine mercy and justice by being grace and love in the world to others. Not by being separate from the world – but by being different. This is our calling.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “Slavery was a part of the culture at that time and there was very little that a slave could do.”

            But there was a boatload that Christians could do and that a slave owner could do and a Preacher of the Gospel of Jesus could do that involved acting like Kingdom subjects (as believers) here and now to overthrow the earthly temporal bondage of the oppression and abuse of human beings, which Paul does not suggest.

          • Suzanne Spiers

            So, if you were a slave at the time when Paul was alive on Earth, how do you suggest a slave could get free from his or her owners? What methods do you suggest that early Christians could have employed to free the slaves? Since the slaves were powerless and Christians did not act in a violent, but rather non-resistant manner, how would the early Christians have freed the slaves? Slave owners had the power to free slaves. However, the fact that one was a slave owner would also imply that he had no plan to release any of his slaves, otherwise, what would have been the point of owning them in the first place.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            The focus ins’t on the slave; the focus is on the slave owner and the people of the society in which slavery was practiced to change. You bring about that kind of societal change the same way Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did it, the same way Gandhi did it, the same way Nelson Mandela did it, and the same way Jesus and The Hebrew Prophets did it before him and the way that Moses did it well before them all: You speak truth to power and you convict the hearts and the minds of the people to repent from their evil ways and to turn and go in a new direction. Social change comes by personal change. Prophets lead us in a new direction.

            The Bible does not overtly condemn slavery. In light of Scripture’s treatment of God’s love of Justice it should have, but it doesn’t.

            Philemon, Onesimus’s owner is a Christian. Paul could have entreated Philemon to let him go. He could have told Philemon that slavery was wrong. But he didn’t. He sent Onesimus back to Philemon.

            The Writer of Colossians, usually attributed to Paul, tells slaves to obey their masters for this is right. It could have said: Masters free your slaves for this is right – but it didn’t.

            This does not comport with the Justice that Jesus and the Hebrew Prophets preached. The prophets who were murdered for preaching this kind of repentance to the nation and society. Prophets tend to meet this kind of violent end when they speak truth to power just like Jesus and just like Dr. King did because people’s hearts are hardened to hearing the truth of God’s love and Justice and equality and freedom for ALL people – not just the righteous. Hardened sinful people enjoy their heirarchies their patriarchies their casts and class systems in order to insulate and protect themselves from having to love all of their neighbors as themselves – including their enemies and the outcasts. Jesus’ message is radically inclusive and egalitarian, challenging the status quo of this world and the power holders in the here and now and if this sounds foreign in some way I recommend rereading the Sermon on the Mount and the Old Testament prophets through the eyes of one who is oppressed.


            The message of Jesus is meant to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

          • Suzanne Spiers

            Thank you for your interesting response. I have always respected and admired the stance that Martin Luther King and Gandhi took within their respective cultures. Both men were very courageous and their stance caused a lot of change to occur for oppressed people. Philemon could have released his slave and Paul could have encouraged him to do this. That is true. It is also interesting that Jesus did not take that sort of action either. Jesus does not really talk about slaves but deals with the realities of people’s hearts. I have found no reference to Him discussing what owners of slaves, or slaves should do if they are believers and are in the position of owner of slaves, or slaves. As I reflect on possibilities, because truly, we may never really know, my reading of New Testament Scripture leads me to believe that perhaps this may have been because the focus was on what belonging to the Kingdom really entails. I do agree that as Christians we have to get involved in social justice. Slavery was abolished in England because of the actions of William Wilberforce who was a Christian with very influential friends in parliament. The man who wrote the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ was a man who spent a lot of his life destroying the lives of slaves who he helped capture and then brought them to be slaves. So many were cruelly treated and died terrible deaths, both on the slave ships and in their ensuing lives as slaves. He became a Christian and dedicated the rest of his life to addressing the evil that he perpetrated on all these innocent people.
            We are told in Scripture that the Christian journey is not to be confused with a search for happiness. It is not necessarily a journey of ease either. We are told that we are not exempt from trials and tribulation whilst we are on Earth and James Chapter One talks about this further. There are several other passages in Scripture that talk of the trials that Christians can expect to encounter during life on Earth. Since life is eternal and life on Earth is merely a temporary journey since it is not our real home and we are simply passing through.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “We are told in Scripture that the Christian journey is not to be confused with a search for happiness. It is not necessarily a journey of ease either. We are told that we are not exempt from trials and tribulation whilst we are on Earth and James Chapter One talks about this further. There are several other passages in Scripture that talk of the trials that Christians can expect to encounter during life on Earth. Since life is eternal and life on Earth is merely a temporary journey since it is not our real home and we are simply passing through.”

            This is meant to engender a sense of comfort and understanding of the practical (and difficult) realities of life: Life is hard; this is a great truth.

            It is not meant to be used as an excuse for complacency and inaction nor to allow ourselves to become complicit in injustice and opression. Which is what I see among my Fundamentalist/Conservative Christian brethren who preach this type of gospel: Life isn’t meant to be fair. All will be made right in the next life. Just believe this list of things about Jesus and be holy by not sinning and stay away from sinners so they don’t corrupt you, only getting close enough to try to convert them.

            ^^^That’s not love. That’s not Jesus’ good news. That’s not life lived more abundantly (John 10:10).

            Here in the United States there are many who preach a message of Christians needing to cast all their cares on Jesus and just hope and pray for his swift return.It is a passive faith. And Jesus didn’t preach a passive faith. I liken this to (Acts 1:10-11) Why do ye stand gazing up at heaven waiting for the second coming? … Meanwhile our human fellows cry out to God for mercy and food and peace and water and shelter and Justice – starving – wondering where God’s people are in flesh and bone in the form of hands and feet ready to do the work of the kingdom here and now.

            For him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not – to him it is sin. James 4:17

            Knowing that life is difficult and we will have trials is not meant as permission for us to be idle, passivley accepting our own oppression and suffering nor that of our fellows.

            Jesus taught us to go out INTO the world – not to be separate from it. He taught us to INTERACT with those we encounter, not avoid them. He lived his life as an example in word and deed interacting with and on behalf of the marginalized, the outcast, the broken, the hurting, and the oppressed. (See: The parable of the Sheep and the Goats Matthew 25: 31-46)

            Who are we – the followers of Christ – but the hands and feet of God? Manna no longer falls from heaven. God’s people are to do God’s work here and now in this life to bring about “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus taught us what the kingdom of heaven is like. He taught us how to live like members of the kingdom and he told us that the kingdom is within us and tasked us with spreading the kingdom and making it so. That’s what it means to be kingdom subjects.

            Not passively waiting to die so that we can inherit our reward in heaven for following all the rules while on earth.

          • Suzanne Spiers

            Happiness is simply a temporary state. I have found on my own journey that to be human means that I am able to experience and feel the full range of feelings that it is possible to feel. I have also learned that just because I feel something, that my mind has to work with my feeling self and be in harmony. Jesus told us to be in the world but not of it. We are to relate to others but are to be a separate people. Of course we interact with others but in order to be useful to help suffering humanity, we must first love ourselves enough and be able to set and maintain strong boundaries and a degree of separateness from others so that we are not caught up in projections that do not help anyone. In order to die to self, one must have a self that is ready to relinquish the things of childhood. Paul has quite a bit to say about this. Joy is a much deeper state than happiness, and life is simply about being able to feel what is there at a specific time. In order to love, there must be self-love first otherwise all you have is co-dependency and what often passes for love is actually not loving at all but rather giving for the sake of getting. True Christian service means that there must be enough self to have sufficient inner resources to be able to give willingly and joyfully to others without resentment. If there is any degree of resentment, then there is not sufficient self or inner resources to be able to give as Jesus intends us to give to others. It takes quite a good deal of spiritual growth to be able to give to this degree and serve others as a vocation. There should be a great deal of inner freedom and peace if a person has truly absorbed their Christian experience and it is a faith that promises freedom from guilt and fear. However, it is also a process and a journey and we are all on the way.
            We are meant to take full responsibility for all that we create in our lives and Jesus is not asking us to give over that responsibility. We must take responsibility, otherwise we make Jesus and God the Father into some sort of magical fairy people who are there to do our bidding. God has given us free will and intelligence and the gift of the Holy Spirit who will take us on to completion at the day of Christ Jesus Philippians 1:6
            In my experience it is very hard to love people well. So many of the things that they do are unlovely and in accepting others and attempting to assist them, there must be boundaries and a degree of separation. Loving is often dirty work and there is a need to become involved with the inner reality of each person who we encounter; not the person we wish was in front of us, but the real one who we seek to know at a core level.

            In saying that, it does not mean that we engage in similar behaviours to those who we seek to serve. We are to honour God with our bodies and our lives as we continue to serve Him.

      • The book of Philemon is Paul’s letter to a slave owner. He suggests freeing a runaway slave…but Paul still returned the slave owner’s property. The slave owner could do what he wished. Kill the slave, sell him or her, maim him, whatever he wished.

        Paul may have seen the problem of owning people, but slaves were still slaves having zero rights. Paul never condmed the practoce, instead using slavery as an analogy. Being a part of a new yet different, small Jewish sect may not have been all that beneficial to the average slave. And such anologies may have offered little comfort

        • Suzanne Spiers

          The Kingdom of God is not an earthly kingdom and Paul is talking to believers about how they should conduct their lives as believers. There is an earthly way of dealing with life issues and a Kingdom way. They are in no way alike. What Paul is trying to get across is the temporal nature of life on earth. We are not our bodies. We are so much more. We are spiritual beings on Earth for a short time and our focus should be on things that are eternal. We may live in uncomfortable situations that we have little power to influence, but nobody controls our thoughts, feelings and responses. They are our human rights. A slave owner might own the body and time and energy and labour of a slave, but can never own his or her spirit. It is the same today. That is the thing that each of us has power over and it is internal power, not external power such as a slave owner who has the power to do anything with a slave that he chooses. A save may not have any human rights accorded him or her, but he or she has all rights as a spiritual being. It is very powerful to be able to select your behaviours and not allow yourself to be degraded as some would want. There is still dignity in the way a human can respond to life situations as pointed out in ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, a book written by a Jewish doctor who observed the amazing way in which inmates of a concentration camp acted honourably and with great sacrifce towards their fellow man under unspeakable circumstances during the Second World War.

          • Oswald Carnes

            Interesting that you should mention concentration camps. Hitler sent gay men to concentration camps along with Jews, gypsies and others. Most of the concentration camp inmates treated the gay men like they deserved to be there. When the camps were liberated at the end of WWII, the allied troops kept the gay men locked up there to serve out whatever sentences the Nazis had imposed upon them. I don’t see a lot of difference between them and filth like you.

          • A slave owner may not own another’s “spirit” but they sure as hell can break it. Being a slave robs one of their dignity, their ability to make decisions for themselves, including behavior, or for their loved ones. Being a slave robs one of the ability to choose to be open about one’s opinions, be it religious or personal, it robs one of a voice, and a body.

            True one may not be able to completely control our thoughts or feelings, but they most certainly can control how we express those things. As a result there is control there, as the slave must restrict themselves in preference to the will of the slave owner.

            Which is why, even though it was allowed, condoned, even to the point of rules for slave owners in the Bible, it is so immoral, so so immoral.