If you read my blog much you know that I’m far from a right-wing Christian fundamentalist, but I also don’t espouse Liberal theology, nor am I a card-carrying member of the increasingly “progressive” branch of Christianity. I never liked cards anyway.
I see the whole of fundamentalism and “progressive” Christianity as two extremes—both missing the mark. Let me explain.
I grew up within a mild form of Fundamentalist Christianity, and I’m still surrounded by it here in Texas. It is known for being dogmatic, legalistic, obsessed with biblical inerrancy, militant in defending creationism, escapist in eschatology, and committed to nationalism and the Republican party.
For all its flaws, I do think that fundamentalism has been very forthright about the person and saving work of Jesus, even if that message is often a bit muddled with poor atonement theories and hell-fire, pulpit-pounding.
Nevertheless, a clarity about the person and work of Jesus is refreshing after you’ve been bombarded by many competing voices in the culture that wish to turn Jesus into a gnostic guru, a civil rights leader, or reduce him down to a social revolutionary, and nothing more. Liberalism at its finest.
Liberal Christianity today is really just a post-enlightenment version of Thomas Jefferson’s sanitized Jesus—a Jesus stripped of his divinity, his miracle-making, and muzzled from making exclusive truth claims.
If a person comes to believe in such things, they shouldn’t even call themselves a “Christian” anymore. If you can’t affirm Christ’s divinity, his saving power by the cross, and his literal resurrection… you’re not a Christian in any historical sense of the term. If you want to start the Church of Jefferson, fine. But please leave historic Christianity to us Christians.
Progressive Christianity has much to say in response to pop-culture evangelicalism. Progressives like Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Tony Campolo, Shane Claiborne, and many others need to be heard.
I can see and hear Jesus in these guys. I’ve benefited from them.
For example, I agree that the teachings of Jesus have been neglected and that doctrine (orthodoxy) has been emphasized over Christ-like living (orthopraxy). I believe that salvation begins in the here and now, that social justice is integral to discipleship, and that evangelicalism needs a more responsible biblical interpretive method.
I’m passionate about those things!
But I must say that I particularly take issue with how “progressives” have created a synthetic fog over a handful of biblical passages dealing with homosexuality, and seem to be using a “join-us-or-you’re-a-bigot” approach to responding to evangelicalism’s overall failure to love our gay neighbors.
Progressives appear to want nothing less than full support of the LGBT community, meaning that you agree that homosexuality is an acceptable way of being human, and that Jesus would approve of gay “marriage” (going beyond civil unions to the church blessing the relationship), or you’re “homophobic” and an enemy of all that’s good.
Let’s be honest. If this is the way progressives are going to frame the issue, reflecting the typical polarities of hot-button issues within politics, they are only going to perpetuate the vitriolic climate in society—a climate they say that they lament. But I do wonder if they’re not being just as divisive and dishonest as the folks over at Westboro Baptist.
Is it “bigotry” to disagree with someone on a moral/religious issue? Is it “hate” to believe another person’s life choices are destructive to that person and to society? Is it “homophobic” to believe that homosexuality is a sin like adultery, greed, or idolatry, and oppose elevating it to normal human behavior, as if it were an obvious evolution of mankind? Is it “intolerant” to want to maintain laws (church & state) that support a historical, time-tested institution (heterosexual monogamous marriage) for the good of society?
As many of you know, all of this has been leveled at those who disagree in any way with the LGBT community and her “progressive” supporters. I see a constant stream of this stuff on social networking and online magazines, especially in light of Rob Bell’s recent affirmation of gay marriage.
This is the message I’m getting: You’re either a supporter of LGBT or you’re likely an intolerant bigot who hates gay people.
I think this is unfair and dishonest. It leaves no room for a third way of responding to the LGBT community and those in our local communities that have embraced a gay identity. It claims that in order to love your gay neighbor you must accept their lifestyle.
Why must this be the case? Do I have to accept the violence, greed, and idolatry of my neighbor and enemies in order to love them? Of course not. So why should it be any different with gay folks in our communities? One extreme (fundamentalism) doesn’t justify another (liberalism).
If you consider yourself a “progressive” Christian, I want to encourage you to consider how LGBT supporters can be more honest and fair in their treatment toward those of us who disagree with you, but at the same time want to love their gay neighbor and accept them as created in God’s image.
Listen to Tim Keller represent a third way with grace and truth.
What do you think? Do you believe there is a third way that’s being overlooked? Please share your thoughts and experiences.
D.D. Flowers, 2013.
March 26th, 2013 at 2:36 am
Interesting that you should post this today. I expressed these very sentiments yesterday (briefly) in a response to Jennifer Knapp’s Huffpost Gay Voices article (24 03 – her response to Michelle Shocked’s rant ) and been thinking about it ever since. I think this perspective is vital as many young Christians who adore Bell, McClaren etc. are uncertain whether they’ll be guilty of bigotry by believing that homosexuality is sin.
March 26th, 2013 at 4:56 am
David, thank you again for not shying away from the controversial issues. I find even myself being asked more and more about this very topic. My sons have used this question over the years to justify why they see Christianity as being bigoted. As a personal note, I have seen myself “evolve” on this issue over the years as well. I still think what the church needs to do is see how they group or categorize certain sins. To me the best example is how the church has become virtually mute about divorce. This sin is now completely accepted (for the most part) in most churches. If only we could see that it is not because of a list on individual sins, rather a fallen sinful nature, that damns us, and required Christ supreme sacrifice, we would reach so many more for Him.
March 26th, 2013 at 10:04 pm
Excellent point, John. Thanks for sharing, brother.
March 26th, 2013 at 8:34 am
You’re giving voice to my consternation. I’m a church planter in an urban context. My conservative friends think I’m a liberal and my liberal friends think I’m a fundamentalists. But, increasingly over the last 2 years the hatred and bigot language has heated up from my progressive “Christian” friends. They are making no room for conversation or let alone unity. This polarization saddens me.
Honestly, I think some progressive christian bloggers are fueling this heat. I just read recently from a very popular one “if you are not advocating for the LGBT then you are perpetuating injustice”. This type of “framing” sounds just like the conservative fundamentalism of my youth. All this to say, this makes being a missional church much more complicated. In many ways I feel like our church is walking a tightrope when it comes to our perceived identity. Many real-time people don’t know how to inhabit a third way space/community. This is becoming a wedge issue.
March 26th, 2013 at 9:36 am
I assure all that it will not be patriotism or fundamentalism or liberalism in culture or religion that will bring God’s harshest judgement. These things will certainly be in the mix of those that bring judgement. It will be sexual perversion, which is a sin that is different from all sins.1 Cor 6: 18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
Notice vs 18 “…all other sins…” There is something God realizes that is awful about sexual perversion – homosexuality being chief among them, but including other types of perversion. It’s different than all other sins. It’s affect on the person goes deep within to their core as a destructive power that affects even their spirit. It sickens a person. It sickens a culture; it sickens a nation. A putrid, depraved sickness.
It is my opinion that many other sins emanate from this core sin of sexual deviation. Think about it. If a person is sickened in his body and soul and mind from sexual deviation, then all other decisions in his life are affected. A sickened mind and core disrupts a person’s – and may I add – a nations decision making capabilities. Decisions on family, finances, and many other aspects of ethics in practical daily living. Read about Sodom and Gomorrah. Read ch 5 and 6 of I Corinthians. Read Romans ch 1.
In the context of the above scripture in 1 Cor 6, God speaks of the body being the temple of the Holy Spirit. Homosexuality – sexual perversion – is like an invading army that in its last move wrecks and defiles the temple of God destroying and stealing all the precious things. This is the place where He dwells. Wrecking His temple is a judgement bringer. Sexual perversion brings an assault against the person and an assault against God Himself.
So fundamental, liberal, progressive… When sexual perversion creeps in, all bets are off. The downward spiral begins. In the end, the person, or the nation is “given over” to the perversion in most sad of ways. Rom 1:18-32
March 26th, 2013 at 6:05 pm
49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.
Overfed and unconcerned…
My question to you is this: What are you willing to do?
The argument surrounding Homosexuality could go on forever: Is it a sin?- Is it ‘the ‘worst’ sin?- Do Homosexuals go to hell or not?
etc… etc… etc…
I believe these questions are a distraction. The question for Christians is: Are we willing to stand with our intercessor, Jesus, or will we stand with the Accuser. This is the question we need to answer, because we are not ‘off the hook’ when it comes to God’s will for His people to love and to heal and to build.
Do you have any Homosexual friends? Do have family who are Gay and can you connect with them in a meaningful way?
I ask because I can see you care deeply about this issue- and I am of the opinion that we cannot bring God’s love to people we despise. ‘Hate the sin- love the sinner’ is something Christ does perfectly, we do not.
I believe our focus should be on how WE are thinking and behaving toward the people He adores.
March 26th, 2013 at 6:59 pm
I care about the issue. I don’t think I espoused any hatred in my posts. At least I hope so. I am always stuck somewhere between practical and “Just the facts Ma’am.”
Way a time back, I visited my brother who had aids and was dying. During the visit he started feeling bad and had to lay down. It came time for me to leave, and in my goodbyes I bent over and kissed his forehead. He looked up at me with a connection, for whatever that is worth. Our eyes met and peered deeply. I never saw him alive again. He died two weeks later. I saw this. I knew his friends, as they were even my acquaintances.
Being drawn to spiritual matters all my life, I determined to find out about homosexuality. Growing up with my brother I no doubt saw that he had certain proclivities toward the softer, or maybe the feminine. I fist fought for him a couple of times against bullies who bullied him. It never occurred to me that he had turned homosexual sometime in his late
teens. Unknowingly, I went to visit him once when we were both around 20 or so. He lived with a house full of guys, guys I knew. I guess I was Mr. naive, but had not a clue they were all homosexuals.
When my visit was over, brother decided he should break the news to me. He told me he was homosexual. I nodded and said ok and we had our parting gestures. As I walked out of his yard, I began to be in more and more shock. I walked down the street and sat down on a curb and sobbed heavily. He never knew this. It broke my heart. I really didn’t understand homosexuality then. I didn’t understand why it broke my heart so much for my brother. All I can tell you is that it did. I wasn’t angry, and I didn’t hate. There just seemed to be an intrinsic heart throbbing wrongness to it.
I have found out things. I have made it a point to. My conclusions are Biblical, and I refer to the Bible over homosexuality. It is the best reference, and it is the last word on it, and it has plenty to say about it. What it says about it is very alarming. Romans ch 1 is harsh. I’m not, I hope. The Bible is harsh on the subject. I’m just a simple messenger. The Bible is the message. And yes, grace, mercy and compassion are found in Jesus. They are in the same Bible. My brother and I were saved and baptized in the same church, the same baptismal.
March 28th, 2013 at 2:04 am
Thank you sharing your story Barry, that’s not an easy road. I can relate. My brother also died of A.I.D.S. He was gay. It was painful to watch. I think I probably misjudged you- and for that, I am sorry. Harsh words and a lack of empathy toward gay people is what I’ve come to expect – that’s not good. I shouldn’t let my experiences get in the way of really hearing people.
I’m sorry for your loss. Blessings to you and yours.
March 29th, 2013 at 2:41 pm
It’s ok Mary. Thank you, and I’m sorry too for your loss. It really makes you think.
March 26th, 2013 at 11:37 am
David, we agree on most theology, but here I have some concerns. You seem to disagree that “homosexuality is an acceptable way of being human.” Yet what is the alternative for a person who finds themselves attracted to the same sex? To cease being human? Did you know that LGBTQ teens are four times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual teens? I can understand a legitimate debate about whether the ACT of homosexual sex is sinful, but science and personal friends have pointed towards a biological disposition towards same-sex orientation.
Also, is sin “missing the mark” of what is advantageous for societal growth (as Keller surmises), or is the “mark” self-sacrificial love? If it is the former, how does the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to remain single fit into that? Would love to hear your thoughts, thanks.
March 26th, 2013 at 12:12 pm
Hi Jessica… Barry here. Thanks for your input on David’s blog. If you look at my post from this morning, it speaks toward what I believe is the reason behind the struggles homosexuals have. Elevated suicide attempts are only one of the markers or indicators of how they struggle. The incidents of higher drug abuse, alcoholism and other mental dysfunctions are also on the list for their demographic. Statistics bear this out. Bless their souls over this. This is not an attempt to disparage them. See my post from earlier, and I think the answer is because the spiritual assault against their whole person has sickened them into these types of dysfunctions. The key is found in the text of 1 Cor 6:18-20. To become well, they must turn away from the assault against their persons and let Jesus heal themselves. They must turn away from this sin and let Jesus heal them.
March 26th, 2013 at 12:04 pm
Hi David, Sorry to be a bother but I can’t get the comment button to work on the posts. Do you have any idea of why I am not able to comment? Thanks for your time.
March 26th, 2013 at 1:42 pm
Jessica, your questions are important ones. I’ll briefly address them here. I may respond more in-depth in an upcoming video blog.
I’m not going to deny that there may be some genetic predisposition toward same-sex attraction. There seems to be to some extent, but the evidence is not conclusive.
However, even if it becomes established as scientific fact, it doesn’t change God’s original intentions for creation (Matt 19:4-6). It doesn’t make it normal. It’s an abnormality of human genetics and/or behavior. As Paul said, some things are plain to see in creation (Rom 1:18-32).
The fact of the matter is that some things should be accepted and other things rejected as not being a part of our God-given humanness. None of us are guilty for feelings or genetic dispositions. Instead it’s how we respond to God’s loving order in creation, and his intentions for the world that makes all the difference. We’re in this thing together.
It doesn’t surprise me that the suicide rate is so high among gay teens. Our society, especially the church, has done a terrible job of handling the issues and helping people with a “gay” identity. Is the answer to affirm their homosexuality? Whether it’s genetic, a result of father-less homes, and/or other external factors that are fueling the abnormalities in nature, this community of folks need our love and attention with truth intact. That must be the way we help burdened-down, bullied teens.
All of us have dispositions toward sin (warring against what is loving and good for all of creation) though we don’t all share the same struggles. We’re all in the same boat. Nobody gets a pass. That’s why I advocate a third way. Truth in love.
March 26th, 2013 at 6:19 pm
Thanks, David for the feedback. And thanks for addressing controversial issues, I know how vulnerable it is to share your thoughts in public. As I wrestle with this issue, can you help me understand some things on a practical level? Let’s say a future congregant comes to your office in tears because despite how hard he’s prayed and how diligently he’s spent time in the word, God hasn’t removed his same-sex attraction. How does this play out in the context of the church? If he chooses to remain celibate, is he permitted membership? How about a place in church leadership? Is he allowed to partake in communion? I don’t mean to pester, truly curious about the practical implications here. Thanks in advance 🙂
March 26th, 2013 at 10:01 pm
Thanks, Jessica. This is an issue I hesitate to discuss, but I feel I must if I’m going to be honest and true to my calling.
Please notice that the only two times I’ve written on the topic is to respond to the two extremes, arguing for a third way. I really despise the way Christians often accept the way things are framed for us in theology, politics, social issues, etc.
Your scenario isn’t far from what I’ve actually experienced. I have personally known several people that have struggled with homosexuality. In fact, the “best man” in my wedding has done the very thing you describe, praying diligently for removal of the desire, yet it remains. Unfortunately, his experience with rural churches hasn’t been pleasant. To my knowledge, he hasn’t found a loving community of disciples.
(I should also say that those praying for the removal of same-sex attraction are not alone in these type of prayers. Plenty of believers pray for and against other desires, addictions, and struggles, but the “thorn” remains.)
I think that anyone who is stumbling forward in Christ (all being sinners, but striving for holiness) is a candidate for church membership, and leadership as well. However, any person who is periodically having a “relapse” or falling away is not fit for leadership, no matter the sin. It would be irresponsible to place them in leadership.
I hope that helps. Good questions, Jessica.
March 26th, 2013 at 3:33 pm
Just from observation it does seem to me that at least some homosexual people are not homosexual by choice. I wonder whether there might not be a hormonal issue at play in some or even many cases. The homosexual lifestyle is not something most people would voluntarily choose. I have known people who insist they would NOT have chosen it and wish they could be other than they are.
Granted scripture is clear; homosexual activity is sin. Since I’m a Christian universalist, I don’t believe active homosexuals are any more or less likely to “go to hell” than anyone else. I believe they will, all of them, eventually come to freedom and share in the blessings of the Lord. BUT I DO believe that homosexual behavior is other than what the Father has planned for us. Maybe these are the people who are ‘born eunuchs’ of whom Jesus speaks. “For there are eunuchs who were born thus out of their mother’s womb . . .” (Mat 19:12a CLV)
Whatever the situation, I absolutely agree that there IS a third way. One doesn’t need to be hateful to active homosexuals nor to the greedy or idolatrous even though we abstain from their activity because we consider it to be sinful. Our job is to love.
March 26th, 2013 at 6:57 pm
Thank-you for your clearly-reasoned blog. I have been dismayed in the last few days to have the media telling me that ‘gay marriage’ is practically a done deal and even the Supreme Court is going to have to go along. It feels like, if you shout something long enough, then people will have to agree it is true. And if you can label them bigot, or whatever then their views don’t count.
If you can find it, I think you would enjoy Free Speech for Me–But Not for Thee by Nat Hentoff. The fight is moving into the free speech arena, and liberals have no better a record that conservatives!
March 26th, 2013 at 7:46 pm
We cannot see spirit, we acknowledge God Who is known through His creation that includes us.
Mat 8:13, Exd 33:18-19, Rom 12:2, Col 3:10, 2Cr 4:4, Rev 21:23, Rev 19:10, Rev 14:6
How are we Christian? We believe, know the living word and how we are become new creatures who are led by the Spirit of Christ. We believe what we heard of the word of God by the foolishness of preaching. There are many parts of this that are not comfortable yet we rely on the testimony of Jesus.
Mat 10:34-35, 1Jo 4:7
None here in this world chose to be born or the flesh that we inhabit. All are inhabited by inherently valid being. How terrible is the manner that slanders or otherwise discounts others. It is critical that love is not judgmental yet promotes the way of life, the everlasting gospel.
March 27th, 2013 at 9:09 am
This topic and one other – abortion – always brings the same ire. Try bringing these up in a Sunday School class. There always falls about 3 camps. The first pronouncing their belief that homosexuality is inherently wrong and the Bible says so and they back it up with what the Bible says. Sometimes those are loud and shrill, and sometimes they are meek and gentle. The other group is the “…judge not lest ye be judged crowd”. It is usually with those that much of what the Bible says about certain sin and behavior can’t be mentioned, because after all, it’s judgmental. The third crowd usually goes full bore in the defense of this type of sin excusing the sinner with every excuse imaginable – usually defending that God’s grace reins supreme, even to the excusement of said sin.
I know one thing – the non Christian world is driving this debate. Their intent is to make this and every other deviance as legal, common and in your face as possible. They are after your children. Homosexual men are after your own sons. Your children. Your sons. The schools are already forcing it upon our kids. The Bible says in the last days that people will not only increase in sin, but they will with joy and glee try all the more to make sure more sin happens. Christians today are being sucked into it! On guard! That is the clarion call of today. I write this with all meekness that can be mustered.
March 31st, 2013 at 12:00 pm
Barry, They are not after your sons, or your grandsons in our case. There is a difference in sin but only to Humans, not to God. He finds one as bad as the other. I loved the full bore comment and the breaking people up in to only three camps. I have always been a man that thinks for himself. My views on homosexuality are simple, 1. is it a sin-Yes of this there can be no question
2. does it effect the human body in a more negative way than external sin- YES
3. Is it a choice-some are born gay and some are perverts
4. Should they know Gods love- Yes
5. Who is going to show it to them?
I think you know who this is
Oh and yes your post are fuming with fear and hatred. They are also thoughtful, educated, insightful, compassionate and caring.
April 1st, 2013 at 12:11 pm
The reason I can say reasonably so that they are after your sons and grandsons is that homosexuals are in pursuit of the weaker more vulnerable male in which to have a sexual encounter. The weak and more vulnerable male just happens to have fathers and grandfathers. So yes, they are after your weaker, younger and more vulnerable sons and grandsons. To deny this is foolishness and places your sons and grandsons at risk
As far as sins being the same, your assignment is to read 1 Cor 6:18 about sins being different. The sin of sexual perversion is different from “All other sins…”. Sexual sin is too different as described in that text and explained why in the surrounding text. This doesn’t originale from me; 1 Cor 6 says it.
Your points 1-5 received with gladness.
As far as fuming with fear and hatred; again labeling the messenger to stop the message. I do not fear nor desire others to fear except to fear God (and Romans ch 1 I might add in this context, and yes, your other assigned reading is Rom ch 1). I do not accept the premise that taking a stand on this issue automatically makes one “phobic” “mongerous” or “hateful”. Those are disingenuous labels that allow one to dodge an insightful debate.
April 4th, 2013 at 10:22 am
Ok lets look at this you quoted the following “homosexuals are in pursuit of the weaker more vulnerable male in which to have a sexual encounter”. What do you base this opinion on? You are quoting this as a foregone conclusion but it would seem that it is no more than an opinion. It is with that in mind that I ask by what empirical data do you base this “fact” on?
March 27th, 2013 at 11:22 am
I’m for divorce prevention. The idea that “marriage” is a social contract is a fairly recent ideal in our thinking and being. If two people are MENT to be together, which I do fully believe, then no piece of paper or “rights” recognized by states or counties will STOP that love from happening. So much of our current culture is run on a “hyper reality” that says the individual is the center of the world. At some point in the future people will look back on this time so separated from the rhetoric of all this and wonder “What the hell were they thinking?” My hope is that the teaching of Jesus of “Do unto others as they would do unto you” will start taking hold. Either “straight” or “gay” deciding to enter into an everlasting relationship and staying committed to that person exclusively is the issue that should be looked at. In an age where the social marriage can be broken up because there is not forgiveness for stupid actions, not abusive one such as mental and psychical abuse, which is the ONLY way “divorce” should happen, is the major threat to the institution of marriage. I say that we need to change the debate from same sex/traditional marriage to “fight for YOUR marriage”.
March 27th, 2013 at 4:42 pm
I think divorce is a huge problem. Heterosexuals have done enough to foul up marriage. I’ve written about it here: https://daviddflowers.com/2010/12/18/marriage-the-gospel/
March 27th, 2013 at 12:06 pm
I’m a pastor in a a large group of churches who have just left the Episcopal Church. The reason given by many is that we split over the “homosexual issue”. Well you should tell that to the gay people at my church. Rev. Keller’s concise and generous explanation of sin and hell and homosexuality reflect what I preach here from our pulpit. We did not leave because homosexuality was promoted as a non-sin in the denomination, we left because idolatry and self-worship was promoted as normal and the will of God in the denomination. I am new to your blog but I look forward to more from you.
In Christ Alone
March 27th, 2013 at 12:16 pm
Gently, and with much Christian love in Jesus, I emphatically repeat my earlier post…
I know one thing – the non Christian world is driving this debate. Their intent is to make this and every other deviance as legal, common and in your face as possible. They are after your children. Homosexual men are after your own sons. Your children. Your sons. The schools are already forcing it upon our kids. The Bible says in the last days that people will not only increase in sin, but they will with joy and glee try all the more to make sure more sin happens. The Bible also says that born again Christians must watch out that they can be deceived. Christians today are being sucked into it! On guard! That is the clarion call of today. I write this with all meekness that can be mustered.
March 27th, 2013 at 3:34 pm
Barry, this is fear-mongering, pure and simple. First off, many Christians are driving this conversation – just as we did the Civil Rights Movement several decades ago. Our desire for the full inclusion and celebration of LGBT people in our societies and lives is rooted in the theological conviction that we are lovingly created in the Imago Dei, and as such, we are worthy of dignity and respect.
Second, “homosexual men are after your own sons.” To use a Pauline phrase – skubala! If the only image you have in your mind of gay men is of leather-daddy San Francisco hookup culture, then I gently, and with much Christian love in Jesus, suggest you make some gay friends.
March 27th, 2013 at 5:17 pm
scroll up and read all my posts from the beginning of this blog. Read the last post from a couple of minutes ago, and blessings to you. Remember your assigned reading. Don’t sneak around and not read Romans 1.
March 28th, 2013 at 7:52 pm
You’re not allowed to bring race into this debate when the true motive of such is to not only label those who question homosexuality bigots, but also racists. The motive, no matter the attempt to garner empathy, is not pure. These attempts are made to only silence the opposition by shaming them. Not buying it. Nice try. And did you read Romans ch 1?
March 28th, 2013 at 8:09 pm
On the contrary with the leather daddy SA hook up culture. Homosexuals are very normal looking, nicely dressed and usually middle class to upper middle class in appearance and accomplishment. Take for example those who want to be Boy Scout leaders. They will don the neatly tailored and pressed scout uniform and look as sharp as a tack. Will you send your sons into the woods with them? I’m sure you would want the Boy Scouts to be forced by law to allow this inclusion too. I’ve been around plenty of homosexuals. Most have been very nice. I wouldn’t send my son on a camp out with them. And by the way… the use of the term “fear mongering” is also labeling that is meant only to silence opposition while not engaging in an honest debate.
March 27th, 2013 at 9:45 pm
I’m not sure whether I should laugh or cry when Believers try to shift this debate to how deeply sinful we’re “suddenly” becoming and how granting gays legal rights is proof of the end times. We’re becoming increasingly sinful compared to – what time period, exactly – the 80s? I’m sure Jews would have agreed with you when they were being gassed in Nazi camps. Or slaves, owned, beaten, killed and raped on plantations. Or Native Americans when their land was taken and their villages and children raped and pillaged. And I’m just referring to modern times. A brief history lesson on previous eras, including Biblical times, will find more rape, child sacrifices, genocides and atrocities that we can’t even fathom in this day and age.
And Barry, you’re using gay men and women who want legal rights for their partnership as an example to prove increased sin and end times? And that, as a Believer, I’m being deceived by my choice to love them and refusal to judge them – and you think this actually helps prove your argument?
I shudder to think of all of the gay men and women who have turned from God because Christians have so ferociously and hypocritically taken up this cause against them.
Meanwhile, divorce – legal. Porn – legal. Cheating, lust, gluttony – legal.
The hypocrisy is embarrassing.
March 28th, 2013 at 7:53 pm
Your assignments… Read all my posts on this blog. Read Romans Ch 1. Thank you.
March 27th, 2013 at 1:59 pm
I think a lot of these comments are missing what is at the heart of this issue for the other side. It’s true that because of the heated political nature of this discussion, someone can come under fire for personal religious beliefs that homosexuality is a sin, and thus be called a “bigot.” But the reason this is such a heated debate is because laws that affect people lives are being decided, and church voices, funding, political action, etc are taking an active stance to pass laws and amendments that affect the daily lives of homosexuals and their families whether those people are Christians or not. In that kind of environment, any voice that echoes the *political* religious groups who are lobbying against homosexuals is a threat to their human rights. It would be like being a conservative Muslim in a society that was giving up Muslim values and changing laws about women’s rights, saying that it is “bigotry” to require all women of that group to wear a burqua. To those who believe it is a sin, it is harsh to call them bigots for following their beliefs, but to a wider group of varied people pushing to change laws this comes across as a real threat to them. Thats why the anger. So while it isn’t fair, and it is harsh for people to have no tolerance for the belief that homosexuality is sinful, as long as Christians are moving against homosexuals in the political forum I don’t see how its possible for those who I think are legitimately being oppressed could see the matter any otherwise.
March 27th, 2013 at 3:08 pm
Sarah, you have written an excellent observation. I couldn’t agree more. See my comment to Mike above.
March 27th, 2013 at 2:59 pm
Hey Mike, thank you for commenting. I’m seriously considering following up this post with a video blog in order to address questions and further explain myself. So I’ll try to be brief.
I think your reply proves that many “progressives” & supporters of LGBT, like fundamentalists, are too quick on the draw. It seems to me that you’re not allowing any new thoughts or challenges to your way of framing the debate. It’s evident by the assumptions you’ve made about me, which aren’t warranted by what I’ve actually written.
My post was not about opposing “gay marriage” or the rights of our neighbors. But it also wasn’t about supporting the movement either. Maybe this is why what I have written was (and will be) shoved off into the “bigot” box. I was intentionally trying to avoid that sort of conversation. My concern is about how the issue/debate is framed. The “you’re-for-us-or-against-us” defense is adding to the problem.
I don’t consider myself a theological conservative, but to a liberal it may appear that way. And as an Anabaptist thinker, I’m not very political. It’s the politics that make it almost impossible to accept a third way. Acting as if politics is the only way forward is another assumption that I want to challenge. It is necessary to question the morality and effectiveness of politics in order to discover a third way. Progressives have not touched this one.
Mike, I have purposely decided not to support or oppose gay marriage though political avenues, or through Facebook profile pics. IF I were political, I would be a libertarian and fight for equality. And then I would say that the federal government should grant civil unions and leave the blessing of “marriage” to individual churches. But I honestly can’t do that in good conscience.
This is a very complicated issue, but I think it’s just like Jesus to stay out of a debate where you’re gonna make an enemy for no good reason. I humbly confess that Jesus is the reason why I’m not vocalizing a libertarian point of view from within the realm of politics.
Jesus kept a healthy distance from politics and refused to be pigeonholed. He met the world’s questions, and their way of confronting injustice, with a radical Kingdom alternative. I’m seeking that alternative approach to bringing the Kingdom by building bridges, not burning them down through name-calling, finger-pointing, and the nasty nature of politics. I think social justice is possible by other means. We should give that some more thought.
Finally, I think the greatest “freedom” is that of conscience. It’s the greatest of all rights. I’m bound to what I understand about Jesus, the Scriptures, and what it means to speak the truth and live in love.
As much as it hurts you to feel that people are opposing the human rights of others, I am equally saddened that anyone would read my post (or this comment) as hateful bigotry. It cuts to the heart.
Thanks for the listening ear, bro.
More to come. 🙂
March 27th, 2013 at 3:38 pm
Thanks for this reply, David. I hear you, and I too have some Anabaptist and Libertarian tendencies (though not as pronounced as yours).
It could well be that I have an impoverishment of spiritual/theological imagination in this, and have fallen into progressive soundbyte culture. But right now, at the moment, calls for a “third way” and “imagination” sound (I have to be honest) like euphemisms for figuring out creative ways to say that queer folks are not welcome, as themselves, in our churches.
So yes – respecting your parameters, let’s keep this conversation to how we treat queer people as followers of Jesus, within the community of faith. I’m not saying that you need to be where I am, but after years of resistance I am now comfortably taking my stand with the queer Christians I know, who love Jesus with all their hearts and give their lives in discipleship and service.
In the meantime, I will watch for future posts on this from you with interest.
March 27th, 2013 at 4:29 pm
Thanks, Mike. I appreciate your honesty.
March 27th, 2013 at 4:35 pm
Kimberly, I apologize for my poor wording. “Way” refers to lifestyle choices, not your actual person. You are a beautiful human being created in God’s image, called to mirror Christ in the world.
I said this in a previous comment, “The fact of the matter is that some things should be accepted and other things rejected as not being a part of our God-given humanness. None of us are guilty for feelings or genetic dispositions. Instead it’s how we respond to God’s loving order in creation, and his intentions for the world that makes all the difference.”
March 27th, 2013 at 8:07 pm
Kimberly, “ignorant propaganda” is quite a claim. Says who? Would you please tell me how I am oppressing you?
I’m not sure where the LGBT community is allowed to think that loving “without question” means to approve of all the actions and life choices a person chooses. Is that how Jesus defined love? Will you help me understand?
No, you’re not a lifestyle, but you have chosen to follow in a lifestyle (homosexuality), just as all of us do. What’s in question is whether or not God intends this particular lifestyle choice. And I never said that you are an issue.
Did God “create” the mentally handicapped, the autistic, the hermaphrodite, the chemically imbalanced, those who are genetically predisposed to addictions, etc.? Would you say that God actually reached in the womb and intentionally created people this way? I hope not. I’m a theistic evolutionist, and it is quite clear that there are genetic and behavioral abnormalities in evolving nature. Not everything in the guided order of the Creator is following its proper function.
And where genetics isn’t the primary factor, human beings can all willfully make choices that are outside of the harmony of the created, life-giving order. See the theology of function in Gen 1-2, of Jesus in Matt 19:4-6, and of Paul in Rom 1:20-32. Proper function is good for all of creation.
I don’t suspect that either of us will be changing our minds anytime soon. However, I desire that we can come to an understanding about what is being said and what is not being said here. I do love you as a sister in Christ, and I hope that you will accept that much.
March 27th, 2013 at 8:49 pm
*Big heavy sigh.* This is why I feel much fear and trembling even inviting my LGBT friends to eavesdrop on these kinds of conversations – it’s so painful even for me; I can’t imagine what Kimberly or Brian Ammons or Sara Miles or Shay Kearns or many, many, MANY of the other LGBT pastors, scholars, and practitioners whom I’ve come to know, love, and trust – either vicariously through their work or in-person – will respond to rhetoric like this.
Comparing Kimberly, her partner, and her family to a genetic defect is condescending at best, David, and it is – I have to say – unfeeling hate speech at worst. And it requires verbal acrobatics that make even my word-loving mind twist up in knots to move from this comparison to say “I do love you as a sister in Christ.”
Probably the most insulting thing, though, is to equate this conversation to a ‘changing of the mind.’ For you, this is a ‘topic’ that you might lean this way or that way on. But whether you realize it or not, you’re calling Kimberly’s entire familial existence into question from your privileged analysts’ chair. If she followed your ‘pastoral’ advice here, she’d have to leave her partner and break up her family. Their kids would be without their parents. Is that what you want? Is that advice you’d give (say) a missionary going to a culture that practices polygamy, because it doesn’t square with your reading of Scripture?
I realize that, at the end of the day, it’s your fidelity to your hermeneutic – your reading of Scripture – that keeps you in your position here, and that is our main difference. You feel that the Bible forbids same-sex relationships; I do not. I used to; I was raised to; and then I came across (IMO) better New Testament scholarship. (I outline a bit of my shift here, a few years ago.)
But even beyond reading Scripture, I think that the reason why so many religious folks seem so scary and threatening to others of us – religious or not – is what feels like a basic lack of empathy or emotional intelligence. I would think, at the end of the day, if you could really see Kimberly, or Brian, or Shay, or Sara – witness them in their ministries, or cuddling their partners on the couch, or raising their children, or serving alongside them – that you’d recognize the inherent God-blessedness of their lives, and say, echoing the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, “This goes against my understanding of our Purity Codes, but it seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us to include these people in the family of faith…” That if you could look these saints in the eye, that your heart would soften, your cool logic would falter, and you’d see with another set of eyes.
The Internet is a crap shoot; it can just as easily create distance and talking points as it can friendship and intimacy. While I’d hope looking through a blog or paging through some Facebook family photos might do the trick of kindling that first ‘spark’ of empathy – of recognition of shared humanity and shared divinity – perhaps that’s not enough. Maybe you haven’t had the change to make trusted LGBT Christian friends as I have. If this is the case, I pray you get that chance.
March 27th, 2013 at 9:02 pm
Mike, I sure wish you would have responded more to the points of my last comment, instead of continuing to resort to the shock & awe campaign of LGBT supporters. There were several chances today for this to go in a different direction.
As I have said many times now, you are making so many assumptions about my motives, my relationships, my experiences, etc. I’m doing nothing more than you are with my fidelity to a biblical hermeneutic, you have even stated that yours is a “better” hermeneutic.
Mike, I deeply care about the feelings of others, and I’m very familiar with the pain, brother. You don’t get the moral high ground with these type of arguments and faulty assumptions.
I’m not sure why anyone supporting the LBGT would want to argue this sort of thing online anyway. That was never my intention. I wrote a post about how “progressives” are not being fair or honest about who loves who, and who is a so-called bigot. This conversation evolved into more confusion and misunderstanding because my original post was read through the political lenses of the “gay marriage” debate.
Once again, that was never the point. And I’ve been around long enough to know how these conversations end up. I regret that we are still so far away from real communication about our differences.
March 27th, 2013 at 4:38 pm
Evan, thank you for responding. I think you have made many assumptions here. Please know that I care for people deeply. That is also a part of my “stupid” religious belief.
March 27th, 2013 at 5:07 pm
Just as I have seen this conversation go in the past, thus the theme of the blog.
I respectfully defer to you all with assigned reading of Romans ch 1:18-32. Don’t wimp out. Read it. Then take it up with God.
Born again Christians – ON GUARD!
March 27th, 2013 at 9:16 pm
I have, for the first time, come across a subject in which I cannot simply agree with you. Let me explain:
My uncle is gay. He is in all ways a great man, very lovig, religious, raised a Catholic and a current Methodist. He insists that it would be ridiculous of a God so merciful and loving as the Christian God to condemn his creation for a genetic trait they might have. We are close to certain that homosexuality is linked to genetics, not simply a choice.
Why would someone choose to be homosexual in a time like this? Their is hate, abuse, people are pushed to extremes such as suicide because of it! It is illogical! Surely, God would not damn these people for a lifestyle that is in every way natural.
Homosexuality is on all aspects of nature, it has been observed in many species such as apes, dogs and giraffes!
Even if it were a sin, and God really not approve of it… Why can it not exist?
Pornography is wrong and it is legal.
Alcoholism is wrong and it is legal.
Divorce is sometimes wrong, and it is legal.
Why are they legal?
Because the constitution lets them be. Everyone has freedom, it is the basic principle of the United States that every citizen be equal. Why can a heterosexual couple get married and not a homosexual, are they any better? Are they worth more? No!
The constitution actually bans, I repeat BANS, the using of religion as justification for a law. It will not allow it. There is a desperation of church and state, and this things that only are backed up by a certain groups religious beliefs will not pass.. That is oppressing, no matter at which angle you tackle it.
Many years ago people supported slavery. They said blacks were inferior. They are just as human as we are.
Many years ago interracial marriage was illegal. People fought for their rights and won. They are just as in love as a couple of the same race.
Soon gay marriage will be legal, because love is love, be it man/woman, man/man, and woman/woman.
This isn’t me just chanting liberal views though, on the contrary, I’m libertarian, like you! I just stand up for equality and freedom for all, before all things.
We are all just as human as one another, we all feel the same emotions, and all live on the same planet.
God teaches love, so let it be… It won’t change your life personally in any way.
See you in class, keep up the blogs, I read every one of them!
March 27th, 2013 at 9:35 pm
Hey Javi, please read all of my comments. I address much of what you’ve expressed in them. Also, Tim Keller in the video corrects the thinking that any single sin “damns” a person. That’s not biblical.
Here is what I stated elsewhere on comparing this issue with racism:
“Here’s the problem. We’re missing each other because you accept that the “gay identity” (sexual orientation) as being on the same level as ethnicity. As I replied to your comment at my blog, you assume that I don’t support human rights, or the families of others. That’s simply not true. There are assumptions and a base from which everyone works from. Our assumptions and base is very different here. And that complicates things. Exhibit A: You plug in “African Americans” thinking you’ve made a connection that should alert me to the problem. This is what happens when you take a moral issue (sexual sin) and mix it with a race issue (color of skin), throwing them all into a political pot of human rights. While I grant they are both considered a human rights issue (esp. from a political perspective), on a moral level they are not the same. This is why the debate is so heated and folks aren’t listening to one another. There is much confusion.”
Also, separation of church and state is a pretty darn good thing. However, it is reckless to think that a sense of morality doesn’t shape votes, bills, and federal law.
Thanks for reading, Javy! We can talk more at school if you like. Keep up the critical thinking.
March 28th, 2013 at 4:20 am
Those who have the testimony of Jesus must prepare themselves. The will of men and women guides discourse and comportment where majority practice becomes codified into civil law. Civil law or firmly held practices contrary to the commandments of Jesus will eventually expect obedience. Imprisonment or execution ensures adherence.
Contentions grow strident, hearts are becoming hardened. Observe the attentions and conduct of your nations and courts, Jesus is coming. If ever there was a time for witness of the Holy Ghost it is now. Jesus loves all the dead and dying, preferring to be out of the churches and into the fields ripe for harvest for the short time remaining to us.
2 Ti 3:, 4:1-5, Act 2:, Mat 16:2-3, Jhn 9:4-5, Mar 13:32-37, Eph 5:8-14, Jud 1:20-25
March 28th, 2013 at 6:50 am
Hey! I thought this had something to do with the sudden shift from “civil unions” to “gay marriages.” Note how the fight is for ownership of language? “Gay” has been lost to traditional use, and I feel a bit of pity for a fine woman who was named Gay long before the word was shanghaied. I have no particular objection to civil unions… after all marriages have not proven especially enduring lately… but it seems that the word “marriage” has had a meaning for millennia that is now being changed by a very vocal group. I wonder which words are next in the re-definition agenda…truth…faithfulness…sin…bigot?
April 1st, 2013 at 1:04 pm
@Tom Schultz – The word “marriage” has had a very slippery meaning for millenia, meaning polygamy first, arrangements for joining of lands second, a monogamous contract between an adult man and a sometimes a shockingly young girl, third, the very rare polyandrous relationships fourth (among the Lapps, I think…), and now a consensual relationship between two adult individuals.So, it’s an evolving word in an evolving world. As a language worker (a technical editor), I’m used to words changing meaning continuously. Just read Shakespeare. And in the shorter term, read any newspaper article from a hundred years ago. And certainly “bigot” has changed meaning – a racist in 1860 was not a bigot, the were a normal, mainstream, churchgoing person. Only recently have racism, anti-semitism, and misogyny been deemed “bigot” worthy characteristics.
April 1st, 2013 at 1:06 pm
@Bob Demyanovich – Here’s how you can protect yourself from damnation AND civil punishment: don’t gay-marry. DONE!
April 2nd, 2013 at 4:59 am
Israel is the epitome for this consideration. They prefer rabbinical pronouncements and studies. The Bible must be divine direction, divinely preserved for purpose or it is no more than a culture’s mysticism and philosophy fit only for understanding a peoples’ course in history. Kabbalah studies then are woefully neglected and Paul was a genuine heretic. Semantics, or what the meaning of is, is could be more accurately recognized as deception, deceit or satanic. It is critical that our witness agrees with the witness of our savior Jesus.
April 5th, 2013 at 5:21 pm
Bygolly you’ve done it. I agree with your blog. And no, I haven’t watched the video yet. :-). Have fun at the open conference. Is Piper going to be there? Lol.
April 5th, 2013 at 7:02 pm
Ha!! Thanks, bro.
April 12th, 2013 at 3:58 pm
It was bogotry that lead to marriage being a state issue at all. I’m not anti-gay marriage, I’m anti-state marriage. http://dylanbennettraines.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/my-regards-to-marriage-equality/