The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Bible vs. homosexuality? Handle with care!

with 43 comments

UPDATE (June 4, 2009):  The 40-some page paper from the late 1990’s by Nazarene scholar/theologial J. Kenneth Grider, which is mentioned in the comments after this post, is now available here:  Wesleyans and Homosexuality by J. Kenneth Grider.  Grider, who died in 2006, taught at Nazarene Theological Seminary for 38 years, served on the translation committe of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, and wrote the 1994 book A Wesleyan-Holiness Theology. Many thanks to Lin Wells, who gave me a copy of the paper.

Further, my nephew Amos Patrick unearthed the link to Real Live Preacher’s exposition of the scriptures mentioned below: A Look at the Bible and Homosexuality. Thanks, Amos!


Caution Lights

Just how strong are those Bible arguments against gay marriage—and homosexuality in general—that we hear about?

It’s a critically important question.  Given  Jesus’ inclusion of despised people, seems like we’d want to stand on solid ground if we are to justify becoming ex-clusive.

In all the Bible, homosexuality is mentioned only six times—three in the Old Testament and three in the New.  And surprisingly, all of the six comments include tough challenges for Bible students.

Real Live Preacher sketches the problem in a challenge thrown down to those who would be judgmental:

Sit down Christian. You cannot wave your unread Bible and scare me because I know the larger story that runs through it beginning to end. [...] I am your worst nightmare, a Texas preacher who knows the good book better than you do. Show me your scriptures. Show me how you justify condemning homosexual people.

Show me what you got, Christian. The Sodom story? That story is about people who wanted to commit a brutal rape. Let’s all say it together, “God doesn’t like rape”. You could have listened to your heart and learned that, Christian. Move on. What else you got?

A passage from Leviticus? Are you kidding me? Are you prepared to adhere to the whole Levitical code of behavior? No? Then why would you expect others to? Move on. What else?

Two passages – two verses from Romans and one from I Corinthians. There you stand, your justification for a worldwide campaign of hatred written on two limp pieces of paper. Have you looked closely at these passages? Do you understand their context and original language? I could show you why you don’t have much, but there is something more important you need to see.

Though few I know are involved in a “world-wide campaign of hatred,” RLP has, in a few quick strokes, revealed the dicey-ness of Bible verses often proclaimed as open-and-shut cases.

Have we done the work required to truly understand?  Do we risk over-ruling the example of Jesus—and driving away millions—by interpreting a tiny set of difficult verses through cultural preference rather than Bible context?

Those are mighty high stakes. Gonna take a lot of love to work this through. What’s your thought?

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43 Responses

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  1. Hi Monte

    No, I am South African. I know Lin very well,(my other Mom) and have personally met our late Dr. Grider or (my other Dad), when they vist South Africa a few years ago. God has use Lin to be my personal spiritual Physician in my personal walk with Christ Jesus. Thank you.

    Sherein

    Sherein Naude

    July 24, 2009 at 3:56 am

    • Thanks very much – wonderful to connect with you, and to hear of these connections!
      By the way, you might enjoy a blog that’s a favorite of mine, written by an expat South African who lives in England. Check out his story in the “about.” He writes the most useful commentary on the lectionary texts that I have found on the web, and they are keenly attuned to the issues of our day. Disclosing New Worlds

      Monte

      July 24, 2009 at 11:29 am

  2. Hi Lin

    Just want to say, Well Done, and thank you.

    sherein

    Sherein Naude

    July 23, 2009 at 10:00 am

    • Many thanks, Sherein! – Monte
      Are you Zambian? Great to have you visit!

      Monte

      July 23, 2009 at 11:57 am

  3. Lots of great thoughts on here everyone! Love it when people can discuss a hot topic with respect for all. Monte – I pulled a quote from you and posted it on my fb status. :)

    Brenda

    June 10, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    • Thanks, Brenda – truly outstanding reply to Joe’s good thoughts, down below. I left a few there of my own after yours. I think you’ve touched the beauty of the gospel, there, and the nature of Jesus’ love. Way to go!

      Monte

      June 11, 2009 at 1:31 pm

  4. Lin-

    You are correct! I got Grider and Dunning mixed up. Hmmm…now what. This has been a lot to think about.

    Derin Beechner

    June 3, 2009 at 7:57 am

  5. Hi M,
    The topic is sometimes not the only thing that is on the table.
    I see thoughtful folks, discussing with kindness and courtesy a topic that has often led to every kind of violence. Yet I see willingness to self observe and evaluate, not just opinions but the manner in which they are expressed.
    M you are ever subversive!
    Personally I am glad to be able to relax into my garden variety of relating. Judging and then figuring out how to fix it… well my time and energy are better spent elsewhere. I am glad for the reminder that the pasture is still level at the foot to the cross, and that passion still has a place.
    Sharon

    Sharon

    June 2, 2009 at 2:22 pm

  6. While I believe reading and struggling with the Bible is rewarding and helpful to my understanding of Christianity, I don’t believe it’s the end-all-be-all authority with regard to either God’s Will, Christ’s message or a Christian way of being (much less how we ought to organize our civil society!).

    This perspective I’m sure comes from my study of Christianity and other religions from a secular, academic, historical point of view and by my esoteric, Catholic spiritual roots spiritually.

    That said. . . while Romans 1 does seem to clearly condemn homosexuality it could be argued that the condemnation is actually more narrowly focused on a particularly Roman style of hedonism that has little to do with committed relationships. I think it’s more important to continue reading Romans 2 which begins:

    1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?

    If one reads even further into Romans 2 I think it’s clear that Paul is REJECTING the kind of public condemnation I think we here all find repulsive and counterproductive.

    “You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: ‘God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.'” (Romans 2:24, Isaiah 52:5; Ezek. 36:22)

    Paul calls for PERSONAL repentance and adherence to the Law.

    Re: “The Law”, the intro to the parable of the Good Samaritan (a parable about “the Other” as “neighbor” which could be just as easily called The Good Muslim or the Good homosexual) follows:

    On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he (Jesus) replied. “How do you read it?” He (the expert) 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.'” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

    Sorry this post was so long and rambling. Thanks, Monte for the discussion.

    Patrick Finney

    June 1, 2009 at 10:37 am

    • Good points, my friend!

      You say it well: “a particular style of Roman hedonism.” Paul writes of people who have, he says, “exchanged … God for images,” “worshiped created things,” shifted from heterosexuality to homosexuality, and are full of “wickedness, evil, greed, depravity … envy, murder, strife, deceit” – and the list goes on.

      I’ve never met a person who resembles that description, among either straight or gay people. Laying those words on the gay people I have known would be such a stretch as to be not only insulting, but false to the point of absurdity.

      And as you point out, doing so would hardly qualify for that commandment of Jesus that towers over every other but one: loving my neighbor.

      Monte

      June 1, 2009 at 4:15 pm

  7. Monte: “Given the fact that Jesus’ inclusion of oft-despised people … it seems like we’d want to be on very solid ground before we became ex-clusive.”

    Yeah. WWJD?

    Steve Roth

    June 1, 2009 at 12:13 am

    • OK, I’ll be the voice of the traditional conservative Nazarene…I hope this to be a conversation.

      What I hear you saying is that “non-included” people should be included just because they feel, are treated or are excluded. I do not think this is what you mean.

      And here is a question…although I agree that anyone, everyone, all are ACCEPTED…I would argue that not all are adopted. Not because of their position (they’re state), but because of their choice, their willingness to change, to be transformed, to enter into the deeper relationship of obedience. I mean isn’t there a process to salvation, sanctification and righteousness and relationship?

      Derin

      Derin Beechner

      June 1, 2009 at 9:09 am

      • Derin – I think you’d be hard-pressed to watch Jesus interact with people in the gospels and find evidence to support your point about “non-included” people.

        Though offensive to say, here in the supposedly egalitarian USA, Jesus treats excluded people VERY differently than he treats insiders – this is unabashed affirmative action! He says “Woe to you rich!” – never “Woe to you poor.” He insists that the gentile nations will be judged (in the parable of the sheep and the goats) not on the basis of their orthodoxy, but on how their societies provided for “the least among you.” He chooses incarnation as an excluded backwater preacher traveling among scorned backwater towns. He seeks out the rejected, but he merely endures – and sometimes confronts – the powerful, credible, and wealthy.

        How different – and how controversial – would the church be today if it followed his example, challenging wealth and power and defending and befriending the powerless and rejected. Instead, we see still riches and power as a sign of God’s blessing, rather than a sign of dwelling in very risky place.

        How hard it is for the rich one (or perhaps the people of a rich nation) to enter the Kingdom of God! How foreign-sounding is the gospel to our culturally numbed ears!

        Monte

        June 1, 2009 at 9:33 pm

  8. I have in my possession a paper titled “Wesleyans and Homosexuality”, by J. Kenneth Grider, Distinguished Visiting Prof. of Theol., Olivet Nazarene Univ. and Prof. of Theology Emeritus, Nazarene Theological Seminary, 25833 South Hollygreen, Sun Lakes, AZ 85248

    The end note on this paper says: “This article was prepared to be given at the March 5-6, 1999 Wesleyan Theological Society meeting. But I asked not to, so as not to be an embarrassment to my university, Olivet Nazarene, where I am retained as distinguished visiting oprvfessor of religion and where they were to inaugurate, less than a month later, an annual Holiness lectureship in my name. yet because of certain developments, I have initiated its publication in 2000. I am confident that, although some complaint may come in from so conservative a constituency, ONU will in the main greatly benefit from this research.”

    This paper is a complete and total take down of the Nazarene, or Wesleyan position of homosexuality. I suspect that the only Nazarene response would be something like a knowing smile a mumbled sentence referring to “quirky old Grider”. Bowling, Leth, and Quonstrom, however, are advancing Griders position in an attack on Oord and Co. in the latest round of the sanctification wars, so that means Grider is not quirky at all, at least at Olivet.

    It would not be possible for me to be a part of a church that engages in hate mongering and the wholesale dismissal of the civil rights of a group. I guess I am just not “christian” enough for that.

    The church I attend has at least 10% of it’s membership as GLBT. They have positions on the board, Religious Education, and committees. They are the most decent loving people I know. They are mostly Christians who grieve over being tossed out of their churches. I have met GLBT Nazarenes who had to leave the church and it wasn’t what they wanted to do. Statistics alone tell you that several hundred young Nazarenes have to leave the church every year.

    This is not only unconscionable, it is a sin.

    Btw, keep sending them. We are the church of all souls, not just some souls. They are excellent pledge units, hard workers, and truly a kind and decent people. We like the way they and their partners look in our photo directory. It’s called love.

    Lin Wells

    May 31, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    • Lin, I had a class with Dr. Grider at ONU (during his final years, on his way out), and I’d be interested in reading that paper. Do you know if it’s available online anywhere? It looks like it didn’t get published in the Wesleyan Theological Journal.

      BTW, I did find a very short summary of the paper in some blog comments at The Parish blog… and it sounds like he was basically raising questions, not reaching conclusions. Is that the case?

      Rich Schmidt

      May 31, 2009 at 11:49 pm

      • I’m sure you are right. I read the paper from a different and highly irritated perspective, with hope against hope that Evangelicals will practice the love at the heart of the gospel. I also watched Dobson turn my kind and gentle father who cared nothing of the issue into a vocal homophobe.

        It’s 44 pages and the concluding graph: “And in the light of this meeting’s theme, if we know about the scientific DNA linkage of homosexuality to a biological cause of the proclivity, and still do nothing, or agree with the Southern Baptists and others in even denying their partner rights (after gays have become much less promiscuous than they tended to be prior to AIDS) are we still medieval, or Victorian, because of three OT passages and three NT references to the same gender matter interpreted, still, as negative to gayness, long after we came to disregard the clear teachings opposed to such matters as to receiving money on interest loans, the abolition of slavery , and the ordination of woman?”

        On second reading, it does sound like “raising questions” and once again hope fails and my conclusions about the church are validated

        I’ve looked and never seen it on the web. I would be happy to scan my copy into a pdf and send it to you.

        Lin Wells

        June 1, 2009 at 12:34 am

        • “Raising questions” seems like progress, to me. In so many issues, scripture does not carefully define “correct” behavior. And it’s in the very questioning – the admission that we simply do not know – that we might just find the humility needed to let love take precedence over poorly-supported cultural preference.

          Monte

          June 1, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    • Grider has always had a (Nazarene) following that has viewed his theology as extremely liberal at best and borderline heresy at worst. As well as followers that embrace his thoughts. Yeah, I am an MNU grad.

      Here’s the thing. We can fight for civil rights, equal marriage rights, etc. We can campaign to change the bigoted mindset! We can open the church doors and our arms to the homosexual. But then what?

      We have done such a fine job with the drug addict, the alcoholic, etc. We usher them in, we befriend them, we become friends. We fall in love with them on a very intimate ans spiritual scale. And all the while we don’t need to point out the sin! It is there, the sinner knows and eventually they change and ask for accountability.

      Will the homosexual see the sin and ask for accountability?

      Of course my assumption is that homosexuality is indeed a sin. But let’s be very clear, at the very least promiscuous homosexual sex (outside of marriage formal or otherwise) IS a sin. Is it not?

      Derin Beechner

      June 1, 2009 at 9:21 am

      • One of the startling things about hanging out with gay and lesbian men and women is how very ordinary they are. They are you and me in every way, except sexual orientation. Indeed, I wince to describe them as “them,” as if they are some category apart from the rest of us. They aren’t.

        What business is it of mine how God chooses to speak with my brother? My hands are pretty full figuring out how next he will speak to me. How can I obsess over what another does, and whether this or this or this is right and this or this or this is wrong? Isn’t God’s Spirit convictor enough? Isn’t my task to excel in loving my God and my neighbor? Isn’t God big enough to work out the path in any individual’s life?

        Monte

        June 1, 2009 at 9:08 pm

        • One of the startling things about hanging out with gay and lesbian men and women is how very ordinary they are.

          Monte,
          You know I love you so don’t take offense to this…I just have to spot-light the fact that you said it was “startling” to see how ordinary gay men and women are. This is what is tragic. That it WAS startling to you. That our culture is so profoundly ignorant that gay people are thought to be different then the rest of us…

          and that it startles you is sobering indeed, as you are a man of great love and compassion. But I’m certainly glad you’ve discovered this.

          I spent 6 years in service to the gay community as a social worker. Most of my coworkers too were gay. I feel like an adoptee into the gay community—the importance of their rights as human beings were so deeply imprinted on me while my life was filled with many more gay human beings than straight.

          it was the most delightful time of my life in so many ways.

          bless you. and know that this is not to criticize you but only to make a point that needs making.

          as long as gays and lesbians are “other” we are dealing with a profoundly serious problem.

          there is nothing startling about accepting another human being for being a human being and that is all our gay brothers and sisters are.

          giannakali

          June 2, 2009 at 7:21 am

          • Thanks, dear friend – I appreciate your gentle rejoinder, and cannot imagine finding your thoughts offensive.

            I have known gay and lesbian people all my adult life, and I personally have not been startled (except, perhaps, by the unusually high levels of tender hearts and gracious manners found there). I have observed this surprise, though, in my evangelical friends, who sometimes expect GLBT people to be startlingly different from everyone else.

            In my comment, I was referring to that evangelical experience.

            Nonetheless, your comment is exactly, exactly correct: “as long as gays and lesbians are “other” we are dealing with a profoundly serious problem.”

            It’s especially true in the Christian context, where our hero Jesus Christ surrendered every privilege to become like us. “Other” is a category that Jesus does away with – not by demanding that others resemble him, but by taking the initiative to gently become one with them.

            A white friend of mine was a missionary in S. Africa during the most vicious apartheid years. A black friend of hers would assure other black people they encountered, “Oh, she’s not white.” What a compliment it was to the love she had shown!

            I doubt that the church will have anything too credible to say to GLBT people until church men and women have similarly paid the price to be trusted – the price of incarnation-among.

            Oh, oh, oh, how has the church come to be so very far away from the example of its Jesus? How has it become the rejecting-of Pharisee rather than the identifying-with Jesus? How can we be so far wrong on this basic of Christ-likeness?

            Monte

            June 2, 2009 at 8:27 am

      • Derin.
        I do not know as much about it as you do, but I am interested in what way Grider was a liberal. To me, there’s not that many issues. To me, most Wesleyans are not biblical innerents, or Hal Lindsey rapturists, and a large percentage of them are not penal substitutionary.

        To me the central issue in the Nazarene church is Holiness and there are two schools. The American Holiness Movement idea of holiness is the conservative position and Grider was the leading proponent in his time. The liberal position is the “Relational Holiness” concept of holiness and H.Ray Dunning was the leading proponent of this position, during Grider’s time.

        The key question is whether Homosexuality is a sin, and how you answer that question determines where you go. A lot of evangelicals think they can liberalize an affirmative answer by saying, “love the sinner, love the sin”. GLBT not only find this laughable, they find it insulting. It’s tantamount to saying, during the black civil rights battles, “Love the Negro, hate the skin color”

        Lin Wells

        June 2, 2009 at 6:04 am

        • Lin – well said. If one sees homosexuality as a part of what he or she is, “hate the sin” will surely seem the same as hatred of him or her personally.

          Monte

          June 2, 2009 at 1:30 pm

      • Of course my assumption is that homosexuality is indeed a sin. But let’s be very clear, at the very least promiscuous homosexual sex (outside of marriage formal or otherwise) IS a sin. Is it not?

        I think what you’ve said here, Derin, is that promiscuity is a bad thing. I doubt you’ll find much argument with that from gay or straight communities.

        Regarding homosexuality itself, test your assumption in your Bible. And I’d encourage you to ask a few questions as you go:
        1. Does the Bible have much to say about homosexuality? Does Jesus?
        2. Is each passage that mentions homosexuality about sexual orientation or sexual acts?
        3. Does each passage relate to monogamous, loving relationships, or to abusive or selfish ones?
        4. Is the passage didactic? Is it written for the purpose of guiding us about homosexuality itself, or is its core about something else, while including a mention of homosexuality or homosexual acts as a secondary issue? Is something about homosexuality or homosexual acts the main point that the Spirit seeks to make through that passage?
        5. In application to modern life, am I applying all the elements of the passage and its context in the same manner and giving them all an equal degree of importance?

        6. Now – Beth and Mary are in love, in a monogamous relationship, and want to be married. What are you ready to say with certainty that the Bible says regarding their relationship?

        Monte

        June 2, 2009 at 1:13 pm

        • I’ve found William Webb’s book, “Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis” to be helpful in this regard. Have you read it, Monte?

          Rich Schmidt

          June 2, 2009 at 3:17 pm

          • I haven’t – thanks for the tip, though – I’ll be eager to do so.

            Monte

            June 3, 2009 at 10:46 am

    • Lin – I’d very much like to read Dr. Grider’s paper. Do you know how I can get a copy? And, if you’d care to share it in an e-mail, I’d like to learn more about your church. I have an email link in the sidebar, under “Pages.” If your church has a website, I’d enjoy learning more about it.
      Many thanks,
      Monte

      Monte

      June 1, 2009 at 9:37 pm

      • Monte, I look at my two posts and conclude that they are too inflammatory and full of the absolutist language that I find so objectionable. I apologize.

        My church is a Unitarian Universalist church. From a evangelical perspective it is absolutely beyond the pale. I would never suggest that this church had anything constructive to say to the Nazarene church, nor would I ever defend it against the Nazarene church. There is a great deal to admire in Wesleyanism. I actually think Wesleyanism can do a great deal to save the world-specifically with holiness expressed in a social application. I think you model this idea better than any Nazarene I’ve seen.

        I will scan Grider’s paper to a pdf and email it to you.

        Lin Wells

        June 2, 2009 at 5:40 am

  9. Hey Monte, I really liked this blog. After reading the clip I wanted to know more about his interpretation of the scriptures. It took a little digging but I found his follow article and thought I would share the link in case anyone else was interested.

    http://www.reallivepreacher.com/rlparchive/node/633

    Amos

    May 31, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    • Thanks! Thought provoking stuff, and a valuable link! I’ve bookmarked it!

      Monte

      June 1, 2009 at 8:24 pm

  10. Of course, if we’re following Jesus, we should be better known for “loving the sinner” than we are for “hating the sin.” (In fact, I wrote something on that theme recently on my blog.)

    However… it seems to me that “the larger story” that runs through the Bible, and the particular stories of Jesus’ life, all speak of a God who wants to rescue us, not condemn us… but this also means not leaving us in slavery to sin.

    I know it’s not in the earliest manuscripts, but the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery from John 8 seems like the clearest picture of this. Jesus rescues her from the condemnation of others, refuses to condemn her himself, AND tells her to leave her life of sin.

    Unfortunately, in today’s American church, we’ve been only too happy to condemn.

    So while I believe that a closer look at the Scriptures does, in fact, leave homosexual behavior in the “sin” category, I also believe that those same Scriptures call us to a scandalous level of love for our homosexual neighbors.

    Rich Schmidt

    May 31, 2009 at 7:00 am

    • VERY, VERY well stated Rich! Reform the way that we approach the homosexual community! Radically change the way we love them! Always dive into scripture. But when something is sin, we enter into the struggle to turn away from it and kill the spiritual side that embraces it. Transformation. Freedom from the bonds of sin-slavery. Regeneration. Healing. Complete salvation, deeper sanctification. Whatever you wish to call it. We change…for the better…so that we can love…for the better.

      Derin Beechner

      June 1, 2009 at 9:32 am

      • But it seems to me that if Jesus Christ is to be attractive to gay and lesbian people through us, we will need to know gay and lesbian people on the basis of who they really are not on the basis of whether homosexuality is a sin or not. These are people; they are not “them.”

        And if we do it to recruit them to our cause, or to make their behavior like ours, our friendship is manipulative, fraudulent and highly conditional – exactly the opposite of the love of God.

        This is grace, friends: everything is free here, including (when I get it right) my love for all. Another’s sexuality is none of my business.

        Monte

        June 1, 2009 at 9:19 pm

        • Great thread and conversation.

          The two comments that I would add:
          1 – Breathing is a choice too, until you’ve held your breath for about 50 seconds. At some point, ya’ just can’t fight biology. I don’t mean to overly minimize free will, but there are COMPELLED choices.

          2 – I don’t believe in one size fits all solutions when it comes to human beings. The medicine you take to alleviate your rash may worsen mine and even send me into shock. While we are deeply and profoundly the same, we are also deeply and profoundly different, and must each work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

          The reason, Derin, that i feel it’s important to call sin a sin in my own life and refuse to comment on the life of others is because I simply don’t have that level of insight into their make-up, their place within their own spiritual journey, nor God’s specific desires for them. Say it with me – I am not God.

          What I DO know is this, if I had an attraction to men that were as powerful as my attraction is to women (particularly as it was in my younger days), it would require a miracle indeed for me to not live in sin. Imagine being faced with that, and then just try to tell a homosexual anything but “hey, I’m pullin’ for ya’, buddy. Good luck and God speed.”

          As always, Monte, thanks for the great blog.

          Joe Hayes

          June 9, 2009 at 1:13 am

          • Joe, that is excellent thinking! You have tried to identify with the agony of the individual, rather than stand aside and declare right and wrong.

            As Jesus says (in the verse after “For God so loved the world”), “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

            Is not identification-with the essence of Jesus’ work? Yet where do we see it in the church, many of whose members are simply so grossed out and angered by homosexuality that they have not pursued honest friendship and careful listening among GLBT people.

            Have we any right to suggest GLBT people (or anyone, for that matter) should join with us until and unless they know us and ask “the reason for the hope that is within you,” the question to which we are to answer “with gentleness and respect, that the gospel be not maligned?” Gentleness and respect are hardly the characteristics that most GLBT people would use to describe the followers of Christ.

            When our churches are flagships of uncritical love, men and women of all orientations will be magnetized toward our Savior. And he will take care of whatever needs to happen next. “He will in no wise cast out one who comes to him.”

            Monte

            June 10, 2009 at 11:18 am

          • Great thoughts Joe! Much I agree with and have come to the same conclusions. I would add though — that many heterosexuals are faced with a the exact situation you say would take a miracle — with a strong attraction to the opposite sex that you are unable to act on… If you are single and Christian that is the exact position you are in. Most of my Christian friends have never experienced this for themselves as they became Christians after they were married and so most engaged in pre-marital sex.

            I have however, personally been in that position twice in my life and know how very difficult a place it is to be in. But it IS possible to have sexual desire and not act on it and I wouldn’t say it took a miracle but certainly a heavy dose of trusting & relying on God. … although after several months or in some cases, years — it can get to the “miracle” category! LOL

            A close friend of mine went through ten years of celibacy between being born-again and getting married. I think she’ll have a special crown in heaven for that one!

            Now, where my deep compassion and understanding comes in is here: I had the hope of one day marrying and enjoying God’s blessing over a sexual relationship with my spouse. A homosexual in most states in the US does not have that hope. There is no option for them for an accepted life long relationship committed to
            God. And I can only imagine the agony and hopelessness that leaves them with.

            Studying the issue, I have not come to any hard and fast conclusions except one: My personal choice is to major in what Jesus majored in and leave alone what he left alone. He spoke much about what we are to do about the poor, the destitute, and the outcasts and nothing about defending the institution of marriage. He spoke much about loving God and loving others. He spoke about being honest with myself and God about my own sin. All of that is enough to fill a lifetime and then some, so I’ve decided I should spend my life focusing on the things Jesus said to focus on and not worry about the things he didn’t address. :)

            Brenda

            June 10, 2009 at 5:50 pm

            • Oooh, good one, Brenda. I like it a lot, especially your attempt to identify with “the agony and hopelessness” of those who are afforded few options in most situations. Thank you so very much.

              It is so like Jesus, who was always “looking around with compassion.” He wasn’t interested in knowing who was getting away with something, but rather in who was “harassed and hopeless.”

              How very radical he is! Small wonder the Pharisees saw him as a spineless liberal compromiser. What a hero.

              Monte

              June 11, 2009 at 1:29 pm

  11. yeah, I have never been able to figure out how anyone in their right mind can use the Leviticus passages…

    giannakali

    May 30, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    • Your insights always astonish me, GK! You see so clearly, yet millions have yet to have that light go on. Much admiration … Monte

      Monte

      May 30, 2009 at 9:07 pm

  12. It’s sad to what extent the church has gone to in order to drive people away. The Barna group, an evangelical research group, has found that 91% of younger people outside the church have a negative view of Christianity and think that Christians are judgmental, anti-homosexual, hypocritical, too political and sheltered. And this is the demographic we are called to reach to grow the church of our wonderful Lord. What have we done???

    Brad

    May 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    • Brad, good point. I’ve often thought about how Jesus confronted the hyper-religious and comforted the outsider; we comfort the hyper-religious and confront the outsider!

      Monte

      May 30, 2009 at 9:03 pm


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