Lonnie Frisbee, the Church, and Being Gay

A few weeks ago I ordered Lonnie Frisbee: The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher. It arrived yesterday and I watched it last night. I don’t want to discuss the technical aspects of the film at all. I want to address its message.

Beginning in the Jesus Movement in the early 60’s, Lonnie became very influential in the beginning success of Chuck Smith’s Calvary Chapel movement, as well as John Wimber’s Vineyard movement, of which I am a part. After a long season with a powerful impact on the church, he was exposed as gay. Then he was methodically removed from visibility. He was eventually fired. Then rejected and ostracized. And now he is effectively written out of the histories of both of these movements. He died of AIDS in 1993 at the age of 43.

What more can be said? I realize that this documentary in many ways is sympathetic to Lonnie Frisbee and critical of those who rejected him. However, this has been my observation about the church as well. It is no surprise. It is disturbing but predictable. What more can be said? The documentary provoked today’s cartoon.

But one of the things this video left me with was the very real fact that even though the Vineyard has written him out of our history, he is a part of our foundational roots. The issue of being gay in the church is a very real issue today, one I wish to address and deal with, and this video suggested to me that the Vineyard might be one of the places to do this well.

You may also like...

184 Responses

  1. ( | o )====::: says:

    DH,
    Glad you are keeping Lonnie’s memory alive. Vineyard could do better than Calvary Chapel in how it chooses to love those on our cultural margins.
    Best,
    ( | o )====:::

  2. June Melanson says:

    It is one thing to accept them and love them and of course. I have gay friends whom I love dearly, yet they know that though I love them, I certainly do not agree with their lifestyle. That being said, I also don’t condemn them. That’s not my job. But it is my belief…and I could be wrong, but it is my belief that they, along with many others who have never grown in their Christian walk, that they have never had a true revelation of who they are in Christ and all that was accomplished for them at the cross. This doesn’t just refer to those who struggle with homosexuality. It could be anywhere from Drug addiction, alcoholism, pornography, and the list goes on, including those who have been baby Christians for 20 years or more. There is no spiritual growth and a true lack of understanding of who they really are. The churches don’t teach that today. They preach everything but Jesus. That is sad. No wonder the church is in the state it is in.

  3. Savvy says:

    *Deep sigh*

    Junes comment is so typical and so deeply aggravating and sadden to me at this stage.

    You can’t know they haven’t grown June. You can’t and it’s arrogant to even make the blanketing suggestion.

    Also I suspect it would be easier to grow if people would stop forming their safe world hypothesis of why they are gay and leave them the hell alone about something as deeply private as their sexual orientation and let them get on with their faith.

    @ Original post, thanks for blogging about this. I had no idea the man existed even though I went to a Calvary Chapel church previously.

    <3

  4. Trey says:

    June, your post deeply disturbs me. Please see my blog entry to understand why.

    http://nevereathefamilydog.blogspot.com/2009/12/six-months-since-my-last-post.html

  5. Carla says:

    I don’t mind people like June and heterosexuals. I accept them and I don’t judge them. I just don’t want them teaching in my schools or being demonstrative in public with their husbands. You know, that kind of thing. 😉

  6. Wendy Jameson says:

    “The issue of being gay in the church is a very real issue today,”

    The issue of being a sinner, period, in the church is a very real issue today. It is how we each deal with being sinners, and how we treat sin, that defines how the issue is dealt with. Sin is sin. Each of us has to choose to walk away from it and embrace grace and forgiveness.

  7. fishon says:

    he is a part of our foundational roots
    —–so was judas–and that can’t be denied.
    fishon

  8. Lydia says:

    Never heard of this man, but now I have – thanks to you – and I encourage you to plant him back into the foundation of the church.
    He sure had a sensitive face, one of a man searching to be understood.

  9. Trey says:

    Wendy…being gay is not a sin…THAT is the issue. Just like a woman teaching in the church is not a sin and owning a slave is. When we say “love the sinner, hate the sin” we are attacking the gay person at their very core by calling them sinful for just “being”.

    The Bible’s 6-7 admonishments often used to condemn homosexuals refer to homosexual rape, lustful or loveless sexual acts, pederasty (men taking boy prostitutes), etc… There were NO examples of loving, monogamous homosexual relationships in Hebrew, Greek, or Roman culture for Biblical writers to draw upon…it was foreign to them. How could they possibly adequately address the subject? You can’t say “we accept you” but we reject the fact that you are in a loving, monogamous relationship with someone of the same sex. That type of love is a farce.

    The horrible thing is…the rejection of homosexuality is what forces the gay person into shame and guilt…which results in suppression of their natural feelings…which results in unhealthy, sinful expressions of those feelings. Ironically, it is religious condemnation that drives the gay person into committing the very acts that are then used to condemn their lifestyle. Most of “gay pride” is just a rebellion against a lifetime of shame and guilt forced upon the gay person since childhood.

    “In reality, there are no biblical literalists, only selective literalists. By abolishing slavery and ordaining women, millions of Protestants have gone far beyond biblical literalism. It’s time we did the same for homophobia.” – William Sloane Coffin

  10. Trey says:

    Thanks, NP, for the post on Lonnie. I’d heard of him for years and several years ago I heard my own pastor preach a message on him condemning homosexuality…saying that his death from AIDS was God’s punishment for his “abomination” and “backsliding”. I’ve been meaning to learn more about him.

  11. Savvy says:

    Thank you Trey
    <3

  12. kls says:

    This is what Wikipedia wrote about his death:

    “At his funeral, Calvary Chapel’s Chuck Smith eulogized Frisbee as a Samson-like figure; that being a man through whom God did many great works, but was the victim of his own struggles and temptations.”

    … and I totally agree. I have sins of my own. And it’s not only about being gay, but also leading a sexually promiscuous lifestyle, if you can give wikipedia any credit. But as I said – others get into tax fraud. I’d like to avoid both. Since I’m not really attracted to my sex, tax fraud will remain the bigger temptation for me from the two. And I have to say, taxes are huge, and it IS a temptation.

  13. Glad you finally saw that film David, I really enjoyed it as well. I ran into Lonnie through Quest for the Radical Middle. There has been an effort, for some time now, to wrestle with Lonnie’s role in the formative years of our movement. I think the whole Jesus movement owes this guy some consideration. I can’t help thinking of how culturally bound he was too – for Lonnie being openly gay was not an option. I have seen close friends go through that struggle too – trying to live in the church and not really having a place to come to grips with who they are.

    This is not an easy issue. There are a lot of factors to consider. But whatever God’s response is going to be to homosexuals our response is clear – Jesus never had a closed table. So why do we? Also Jesus never told people to pretend to be something they were not to be accepted – in fact he went to their tables and ate with them (as if we could imagine Jesus thinking in terms of us and them). I’m with you on the journey bro, my hope too is that the Vineyard will be a place where we can do this well.

  14. Cecilia says:

    I add my sighs to those already expressed here. How long, Oh Lord, how long?

    Thanks David. You are a friend and an ally.

  15. Titfortat says:

    so was judas–and that can’t be denied(fishon)

    No need for denial, you should be thanking Judas. Because if he doesnt betray Jesus, you dont get your saviour. Remember he needs to die for you to live. Its how the story goes. So the bad guy is really a good guy. Get it. 🙂

    Now back to the exclusion of the gay man. Typical hyperbol, his sin is soooo bad they gotta get him out of the church so as not to affect the minor sinners. You know those ones….Hypocrites, gossipers, alcoholics and the list goes on.

  16. Trey says:

    kls said:
    “And it’s not only about being gay, but also leading a sexually promiscuous lifestyle”

    No doubt…promiscuity hurts people…it hurts other children of God and it hurts yourself…it is sinful. BUT, what pushed him into a lifestyle of promiscuity? As Frank put it “I can’t help thinking of how culturally bound he was too – for Lonnie being openly gay was not an option.” The church didn’t give Lonnie the opportunity to express his sexuality in a healthy manner. Repression leads to guilt which leads to sin (in this case promiscuity) which leads to shame and more repression…it’s a viscous cycle. Accepting people as they are and for who they are will break this cycle. When the church lets people know that it’s ok to be authentic…to be gay in this case…then they can encourage healthy expression of their sexuality through loving, monogamous relationships.

  17. preacherlady says:

    To think of how the church treats homosexuals hurts me…in many instances they are barred from even coming in the door. Even if you believe that they are in sin, how are they going to change if they aren’t allowed to enter and be treated with the same dignity that any one else is? But…those who are truly gay and not sexual addicts aren’t going to change…thats the way they are wired and no amount of rehab, programming etc. is going to change them. In fact, I’ve seen someone come out as a result of their spiritual growth. What the church needs to look past is the promiscuous life style that some homosexuals live, just as some heterosexuals do, and look at committed same sex relationships. They are just as solid as the hetero ones…their children are just as well taken care of…and God uses them just as well as He does heterosexuals. If this were such a grave sin, the anointing of God could not work through them…they would not bear the fruit of the spirit and their ministry would bear no fruit. And this is not the case. And to think that being a practicing homosexual is the criteria, Jesus changed that…so it can’t be used as an argument.

  18. kat says:

    This is fascinating… I spent sometime in leadership at a Vineyard church and I never heard a word of this guy. Thanks for enlightenment.

  19. nakedpastor says:

    Hi Everyone. Thanks for the comments. Any gay person can go to any church, as long as they remain in their closet. Some gays can go to some churches not in the closet, but definitely not practicing. Some gays can go to some churches not in the closet and practicing. But very few gays can go to a church not in the closet and practicing and totally participate and contribute meaningfully to the life of the community. This is more the issue I was addressing in the cartoon.

  20. nakedpastor says:

    kls: I didn’t appreciate the comparison to Sampson. Neither did his ex-wife and many of his friends. They felt, as I do, that it was an unfair comparison and judgment call. Watch the interviews in the documentary. Telling!

  21. bob says:

    Trey, thank you for taking the time. I appreciate your thoughts.

  22. Amy says:

    Certainly a tough topic. My Uncle who is 84 years old, just lost his partner (a man) about 3 years ago. They were together for 59 years. There aren’t too many marriages that make it that far. I didn’t even know they were gay until my mom told me when I was in my twenties and they were both believers. If we heterosexuals had to constantly walk in shame I wonder how solid our relationships would be? Don’t you think that plays a part in the promiscous behaivor? If they are not healthy with themselves how can they be healthy with another or each other? I lived with a gay man for a year and a half when I was 25. He had many visitors and I was so curious that I interviewed all of them and I asked them questions that were very bold, I even asked to see body parts and some complied, there was no question off limits and all of the men complied with the interviews I conducted. I wanted to understand them. About 20% of the men I interviewed were acutally gay (meaning they were wired that way and there wasn’t no changing their behaivor and a few “parts” were irregular as well), 30% of the men had some major trauma in their young lives and were confused with who they were and were trying to belong somewhere when it became hip to be gay in the 90’s and 50% of the men (to my surprise) were married men looking for nasty sex. I spoke with over 150 men. It was a very interesting and eye opening time in my life. All I know, is that I am grateful that I do not have to suffer with such an incredible struggle and I don’t think that we who do not have that struggle can even begin to imagine what it is like (for those who the struggle is a geniune one) and so I have compassion and love for them. It’s something that I will never be able to understand no matter how hard I try, cuz I’m not gay.

  23. ( | o )====::: says:

    A comment was made that most churches don’t preach Jesus… I find that frustrating because in most churches we hear all day long about Paul, what he has to say about “Christ”, all feeling one step removed from Jesus by name, preferring to speak of Him by His title. We hear very little about the 4 gospels. We have endless conferences on bible prophecy speculation, political action (here in the right wing of the US). The “Jesus People Movement” was about Jesus and it became just another moralistic end times evangelical movement. Frank Schaeffer documents much of his awakening about how the movement was co-opted. Vineyard was also booted from conservative Calvary Chapel. All a tragic history of a once vibrant concept becoming increasingly institutionalized. Now the contemplative church and the emergent conversation are vilified by ODM’s like Lighthouse Trails when those 2 streams within the life of the church can bring the most vitality. I believe there is hope but we must remain in love with Jesus.

  24. nakedpastor says:

    amy: wow. now that’s an education!

  25. preacherlady says:

    Amy…and I thought I’d heard it all through counselling people! But it fits…most of the people in the gay community aren’t psychologically gay, but sexually attracted through some means or another and are just in it for the sex. People like your uncle, however, are examples of how love overcomes everything. It was illegal to have a gay relationship for at least the first 20 years they were together.
    ( | o )====::….my biggest gripe about the church at large is that it teaches about Jesus but omits the teachings of Jesus. How can we claim to follow someone we know through the words of someone who never met him and who didn’t even have the benefit of the things written about him?

  26. fishon says:

    preacherlady said, on February 4th, 2010 at 8:26 pm
    Fishon says: ———Alice, you say so much that is just politically correct junk and pop psychology.

    What the church needs to look past is the promiscuous life style that some homosexuals live, just as some heterosexuals do, and look at committed same sex relationships.
    ——That is absolutely preposterous.
    Look past sin {promiscuous life style}? I don’t recall that in the Bible. I do remember Gal. 6:1, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” I seem to recall Jesus telling someone to “go and sin no more.”

    They are just as solid as the hetero ones…their children are just as well taken care of…and God uses them just as well as He does heterosexuals.
    ———-You got any independent studies to prove that statement?

    If this were such a grave sin, the anointing of God could not work through them…they would not bear the fruit of the spirit and their ministry would bear no fruit. And this is not the case.
    ———That is ludicrous. Alice, there are preachers out there who have huge, what appears by all standards outstanding, fruitful ministries. They are stealing millions from their churches and TV audiences——cheating on their wife/husband, and etc.

    By the way, using your logic, churches and pastors that turn gays away at the door would not be showing or bearing fruit of the spirit, but many are. Of course you may have the power to tell us which ones are not really bearing fruit, but phony fruit?
    fishon

  27. preacherlady says:

    Jerry…we’ve been through this before…you have a big thing about gays and I pray that none go to your church. Before you start criticizing what others say, how about your statement that gay people choose to be gay? Thats the biggest bunch of crap I’ve heard in a long time. Its no more a choice than to be hetero. I really don’t want to discuss this with you…nothing…no set of statistics…nothing will change your mind. You’re set in an unloving mind set against homosexuals and its from this mind set in general that gays are discriminated against. In some places they are flat out told they are not welcome in church, and there are different rules for them. Until you’ve sat with a couple of dozen or so men who have wept because they didn’t want to be gay, I think you’ld better change your tune. And your definition of a fruitful ministry and mine seem to be different…it isn’t who has the most people or who makes the most money…its the ones you don’t hear about and if they are cheating…on their spouse or bilking money from anyone they are not displaying the fruit of the spirit.

  28. fishon says:

    preacherlady said, on February 5th, 2010 at 12:55 am
    Jerry…we’ve been through this before
    ——-Yea, but I didn’t bring it up–AGAIN–seems our illustrust leader continues to bring it up over and over.

    …you have a big thing about gays and I pray that none go to your church.
    ——–Hum, at least they will hear the truth–they can repent of their sin and be saved. You love them into hell, Alice, I will love them into heaven.

    Before you start criticizing what others say, how about your statement that gay people choose to be gay? Thats the biggest bunch of crap I’ve heard in a long time. Its no more a choice than to be hetero. I really don’t want to discuss this with you
    ——Then why say anything?
    …nothing…no set of statistics…nothing will change your mind.
    ——-Oh, God could——–and by the way, I still am waithing for that scientific proof.
    You’re set in an unloving mind set against homosexuals and its from this mind set in general that gays are discriminated against.
    ——The old, old ploy, Alice. I don’t believe like you; I don’t think like you; off course I don’t have your experience; therefore——–I am unloving.

    In some places they are flat out told they are not welcome in church, and there are different rules for them. Until you’ve sat with a couple of dozen or so men who have wept because they didn’t want to be gay, I think you’ld better change your tune.
    ———-That, Alice is up to the Holy Spirit, not you.

    And your definition of a fruitful ministry and mine seem to be different…it isn’t who has the most people or who makes the most money…its the ones you don’t hear about and if they are cheating…on their spouse or bilking money from anyone they are not displaying the fruit of the spirit.
    ———-Oh, Alice, there no doubt, many pastors you would define as displaying the fruit of the Spirit, but if you knew what is going on behind the the doors, you would declare them not annointed of God in spite of what looks like fruit. Just because a preach appears in your eyes as displaying the fruit of the spirit does not mean that evil is not their companion. Gee, Alice, I think I remember a North Caroline TV pastor who was hailed as a wonderful man of God, full of the Spirit and displayed the fruits and reaped the fruit———by all appearances——-a holy man————NOT. 40-50 years of fake.

    ———By the way, you got it wrong. I have a big thing about sin—–dang, that is a surprise, I am a pastor—of all things to have a big thing about. The practice of homosexuality is a sin, and when David writes or makes cartoons about it, saying or intimating it isn’t, I will react. When he starts writing or drawing with the intent of portraying adultry as not sin————I will react the very same way. He is the one that picked this subject, Alice, not me. In fact, let me quote the NP::”The issue of being gay in the church is a very real issue today, one I wish to address and deal with,”
    ——And so, when you say to me::: “you have a big thing about gays…,” David’s words say it all——–”…being gay in the church is a very real issue today.” Seems to be a big deal to him——take him on for bringing it up so much. ——-Why heck, no. You agree with him, so….

    And since you said, “I really don’t want to discuss this with you…”, I won’t be looking for a reply.
    jerry

  29. preacherlady says:

    Jerry….perhaps David brings it up because those of us in the mainstream have to deal with it on a daily basis. No, you don’t have my experience nor I yours. I wouldn’t think of criticizing the problems you have to deal with regularly. There is no cut and dry answer to the gay issue…each case is different…however…each individual has the right to hear the gospel and to have the Holy Spirit convict them…or not…rather than having a person or group of persons deny them the right to go to church like anyone else or having a preacher or a church member condemn them from day one and that is what David is addressing. The gay issue is probably the most pressing issue in the church at large at this present time, so of course it will come up often. I think I’ve said before, I’ve seen a church burnt down over it. Alice

  30. Baruch60610 says:

    I find this topic perplexing. Personally, I feel that any church that hates homosexuals can exclude them if they want. If they simply feel they’re “sinners” (the practicing ones), then they still have the perfect right to exclude them. Maybe not a right given by God, but some churches apparently think God is too lenient.

    I don’t understand why, of all the many sins we can commit, practicing homosexuality is considered worthy of special censure. No one worries too much about a Sabbath-breaker or an adulterer. A practicing adulterer or Sabbath-breaker would be welcomed almost anywhere. And yet, these crimes required the death penalty, just as did homosexual activity. A practicing homosexual is shunned (and often, a non-practicing one).

    I have a problem with the selective use of scripture to justify unconscionable bigotry, while glossing over or completely ignoring other scripture that is clearly similar. Why are homosexuals chased out of churches, while adulterers are allowed to remain? Is one worse than the other?

    I’m not even going to suggest that homosexuality *isn’t* a sin. I’m just asking, why is it any worse than any other sin we commit? And well all commit sins, every last one of us, if the Bible is to be believed. Many of us persist in our sins, even knowing they’re sins. We’re welcome in church – unless we’re homosexuals. I don’t get it.

  31. Caroline says:

    The timing of these discussions is very interesting for me this week. Just last Sunday a visiting preacher proclaimed in my church that homosexuality is a “problem”. A lot of people in my church know that I am gay and I felt dozens of eyes looking at me at that moment. I could not help but be obviously, physically hurt by his comments and not one person approached me after the service had ended.

    The very evening before that I had an in depth discussion with my girlfriend who is struggling with this issue so much so that she is losing her faith. I found myself agreeing with a lot of things that she said, lost for words, and it’s triggered me to begin to question things aswell.

    It’s so difficult for gay people sometimes to remember to focus on God, and not what men think. To remember that God is bigger than it all.

    Trey, you’ve reminded me of this. Thankyou.

  32. nakedpastor says:

    Caroline: Thanks for sharing your story. I struggle with my faith, but my community helps me keep it. I hope you two can find a community that can help you keeps yours.

  33. Caroline says:

    Thanks David. The painful part is that I’ve been attending my church for over 20 years. I grew up there.

    However, I may not comment much, but this community helps. I should thank you more often 🙂

  34. nakedpastor says:

    Ya, that would be extremely difficult.

  35. Trey says:

    Caroline, I’m sorry you’re experiencing that at your home church. But, like fishon, some folks just don’t get it and some never will. I had to move on to an “open and affirming” congregation where I could be encouraged in my faith instead of steadily dealing with ignorant, hurtful comments made by selective-literalist pastors.

    A lot of gay people feel a deep disconnect from religion because what we hear from the pulpit and what we hear in “the secret place” don’t line up. When we quiet down enough to find God and listen, there is a voice that tells us that we’re ok. But sometimes the voice of pastors like fishon, your pastor, my old pastor, etc… are so loud that they overpower the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It results in many gay people just throwing God out with the bathwater, so to speak….and sometimes morality, too.

    I hope that you and your partner are able to find a loving, open and affirming congregation in your area.

  36. Dan says:

    Fishion,

    You said you would let the Holy Spirt change you… maybe you should listen to Him on this one rather than making your own mind up.

    Maybe if we all listened, and didn’t all shout we have the answer before we realsie that we don’t, then we might get the real answer. Maybe we don’t need to know the answer as it isn’t the deel breaker…

    Just some thoughts…

  37. larry p says:

    @nakedpastor said, on February 4th, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Hi Everyone. Thanks for the comments. Any gay person can go to any church, as long as they remain in their closet. Some gays can go to some churches not in the closet, but definitely not practicing. Some gays can go to some churches not in the closet and practicing. But very few gays can go to a church not in the closet and practicing and totally participate and contribute meaningfully to the life of the community. This is more the issue I was addressing in the cartoon.
    ————————————

    Um, David, could you choose different words here? What exactly is a “practicing” gay person? When you answer that, please also tell me what will make one a “practicing” heterosexual. The word “practicing” brings up to me the whole false witness thing of the so-called “homosexual lifestyle”, whatever that might be. While we’re on it, can anyone tell me what the “heterosexual lifestyle” is?

  38. nakedpastor says:

    larry: sorry. trying to say too much in too little words. what i mean by “practicing”, and i admit it is an insufficient word, is someone who lives according to their sexual orientation. that would apply to hetero as well. does that help?

  39. Trey says:

    There’s a lot of misinformation and misunderstandings in some of these posts. Fishon’s are blatant, obvious, and easy to ignore…but I would like to address some of the comments made by some of the more enlightened and accepting folks.

    Amy…where to start. I know you have conducted your own “study” of gay men but let me assure you that 50% of the men having sex with your male roommate were not straight. Married ? straight. Believe me. Those men were in denial…I know because I lived in a perpetual state of denial for 30 years…and a lot of people got hurt because of it. The other men who were abused…also gay. Straight men don’t want to have sex with other men. Yes, there is the issue of bisexuality, but pretty much everyone falls either left or right of center. BTW, I found the story of your uncle to be very touching 🙂 …and the fact that your roommate was with over 150 men to be very disturbing. Also…irregular body parts…disturbing…and confusing, too I might add…not sure how to respond to that, lol 🙂

    Preacherlady…people aren’t “psychologically” gay….they’re biologically gay. Of course, I know that’s up for debate. Because gay people are taught from a young age that being gay is wrong and that having feelings for someone of the same sex is queer, they suppress those feelings and (with men especially) those feelings often get expressed through random sex acts with other men. Again, ironically, the church is creating the very environment that nurtures promiscuity in gay men.

    So, I would argue with both of you that most (not all) of the men who are “just in it for the sex” are as gay as those in long-term relationships…they’re just in a different state of self-acceptance. I believe that it is the church’s responsibility to love, accept, and affirm gay men and women and thereby create a positive environment where their sexuality can be expressed in healthy, monogamous, loving relationships (i.e. marriage or civil partnership).

    I think that our children’s children will look back at history and see the cause of the AIDS epidemic in America for what it was…not just the result of unprotected sex between promiscuous gay men…but the result of religious and social persecution of gay people that pushed them into unhealthy lifestyles and expression of their sexuality.

  40. i really agree with you david…this is part of our history and not a minor point at all. i also utterly agree with frank emmanuel’s comment that Jesus welcomed all to the table, and so should we…that – to me – is a hell of a starting point…

  41. Societyvs says:

    I agree with Trey on this issue – which for me has been quite the road to discovery…I didn’t land at this some years ago…a slow chipping away at the stone of disbelief and becoming more open to the dialogue helped.

    I think Christians, in general, don’t know jack squat about the gay lifestyle/community nor do they really take the time to understand…their scripture says this and that’s all they need (blatant ignorance – but that’s life)…even those scriptures are up for contention as noted earlier by Trey.

    I guess my problem is the ethical connundrum this bigotry towards gay people creates within the Christian consciousness. On one hand, we are called to love all people (like God loves us); on the other hand, we dislike this sin so much we break our other hand. People need to know Christians are really wrestling with this issue, for some their is acceptance, for others they choose ignorance. This issue is far from over.

    As for Fishon, he thinks being gay is a sin…I wonder if he would allow an openly gay person to teach Sunday school or even lead service once in a while? I mean, think about it…it’s a sin that is either covered or not covered by Jesus’ sacrifice (if you believe in the atonement). If we say it is not, we judge God. If we say it is, why can’t we let that person work in our church?

  42. Trey says:

    NP, and anyone else, if you haven’t seen “For The Bible Tells Me So”…you really should watch it. Here’s a link to see the trailer on youtube:

    You can also purchase it on Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/Bible-Tells-Me-So/dp/B000YHQNCI

  43. fishon says:

    preacherlady said, on February 5th, 2010 at 3:30 am
    Jerry….perhaps David brings it up because those of us in the mainstream have to deal with it on a daily basis.
    ———–perhaps it makes for good traffic.
    And Alice, David, you and others bring the debate and argument to the issue of some churches not allowing gays to enter—-ok, that is a given that that happens. However, probably not nearly as much as you like to say. There are 8 very small, rural churches in the County I live in. We would be called ‘rednecks.’ Not a one of us, let me repeat, not a one of us would turn a gay away. Would we talk to them about their sin? Yes. Why? Because we love them just like the drunk of drug deal who we talk to about their sin. There are thousands of churches just like us—and you take the relatively few in portortion to the rest of us and scream to high heaven. However, bigger question is: Is the practice of same sex sex sinful? Is it Alice??? And if you say “No,” it is not, then your focus is quite different than mine. You are looking for them to just be accepted in this life, mine would be to get them saved and out of their sin——-just like the couple that have attended the church I pastor who are living together in sexual sin. No, Alice, I believe you major on the secondary issues, not the eternal issues when it comes to gays. You may protest my take of you, but I pick up that belief from what you write.
    jerry

  44. fishon says:

    Baruch60610 said, on February 5th, 2010 at 4:34 am
    I find this topic perplexing. Personally, I feel that any church that hates homosexuals can exclude them if they want. If they simply feel they’re “sinners” (the practicing ones), then they still have the perfect right to exclude them. Maybe not a right given by God, but some churches apparently think God is too lenient.
    ———–I couldn’t agree with you more.

    I don’t understand why, of all the many sins we can commit, practicing homosexuality is considered worthy of special censure.
    ———–I think, now only my take, but I think it is because we can see it influencing our whole culture and society. It is trying to redefine what a family is. It is sin that is thrown in the faces of we who do not endorse it. It is sin that the government, courts, Hollywood, and now much of our educational system are forcing on Christians to embrace.

    No one worries too much about a Sabbath-breaker or an adulterer. A practicing adulterer or Sabbath-breaker would be welcomed almost anywhere. And yet, these crimes required the death penalty, just as did homosexual activity. A practicing homosexual is shunned (and often, a non-practicing one).
    ————Like it or not, Baruch, there are several sins, when practiced, that cause Christians and non-chrisitans alike to shun. Homosexuality is one of them.

    I have a problem with the selective use of scripture to justify unconscionable bigotry, while glossing over or completely ignoring other scripture that is clearly similar. Why are homosexuals chased out of churches, while adulterers are allowed to remain? Is one worse than the other?
    ———–Nope.

    I’m not even going to suggest that homosexuality *isn’t* a sin. I’m just asking, why is it any worse than any other sin we commit? And well all commit sins, every last one of us, if the Bible is to be believed. Many of us persist in our sins, even knowing they’re sins. We’re welcome in church – unless we’re homosexuals. I don’t get it.
    ———-Now I am guessing that you and for sure others on here will not agree, but I will give you and answer. Read Romans 1:18-33 again.
    fishon

  45. fishon says:

    Caroline said, on February 5th, 2010 at 7:26 am
    The timing of these discussions is very interesting for me this week. Just last Sunday a visiting preacher proclaimed in my church that homosexuality is a “problem”. A lot of people in my church know that I am gay and I felt dozens of eyes looking at me at that moment. I could not help but be obviously, physically hurt by his comments and not one person approached me after the service had ended.

    ——-If you have read much of what I write, you know that we do not agree on this subject. However, I would be the first one to you after the sermon. I would give you a hug and tell you I loved you. If you wanted to talk about things, we talk, if you want to go home, you go home. However, if you are looking for affirmation of your lifestyle, that you would not get. But would you expect it? QUESTION: Were you disappointed that no one came and spoke with you, or were you disappointed that your lifestyle was not affirmed?
    fishon

  46. fishon says:

    Dan said, on February 5th, 2010 at 10:24 am
    Fishion,

    You said you would let the Holy Spirt change you… maybe you should listen to Him on this one rather than making your own mind up.
    ———–And you know I don’t listen, how??????? I bet it is because I don’t agree with you!

  47. fishon says:

    Trey said, on February 5th, 2010 at 10:43 am
    There’s a lot of misinformation and misunderstandings in some of these posts. Fishon’s are blatant, obvious, and easy to ignore…but I would like to address some of the comments made by some of the more enlightened and accepting folks.
    ———–Easy to say that, Trey. Point out the misinformation, please. Not our differencies of opinion, but my giving of misinformation that is false. I wait expectantly for you reply.

    Preacherlady…people aren’t “psychologically” gay….they’re biologically gay.
    ———Hehehe. Have at him, Alice.
    fishon

  48. fishon says:

    Societyvs said, on February 5th, 2010 at 11:57 am
    even those scriptures are up for contention as noted earlier by Trey.
    ———–Only by a few, Societyvs, and most of those are gay. I know, I know, a few aren’t by very few. Heck, as to whether a man really landed on the moon is up for contention.

    Societyvs asked:As for Fishon, he thinks being gay is a sin…I wonder if he would allow an openly gay person to teach Sunday school or even lead service once in a while? I mean, think about it…it’s a sin that is either covered or not covered by Jesus’ sacrifice (if you believe in the atonement). If we say it is not, we judge God. If we say it is, why can’t we let that person work in our church?
    ———Aha. A little trickery, Societyvs. So I will answer your question and stab at a worm hole you try to put me in, this way.

    First, you asked the question based upon my believe that being [practicing] gay is a sin. So we stay with the principle. My answer is a question to you, and I truely look forward to your answer:;;;;;;;;;;;;How about we say you live in Nevada and so question:::::::::::::::: I wonder if Society would allow an openly working prostitute person to teach Sunday school or even lead service once in a while? I mean, think about it…it’s a sin that is either covered or not covered by Jesus’ sacrifice (if you believe in the atonement). If we say it is not, we judge God. If we say it is, why can’t we let that person work in our church?——————
    fishon

  49. Trey says:

    Fishon…you know how when you get older and you look back at pictures of when you were in high school and you think, “OMG, I can’t believe I wore that and did my hair that way. What was I thinking?!” That’s going to be a little bit like you when you get to heaven and look back on the way you thought and believed 🙂

    So, fishon, why exactly do you think that a loving, monogamous relationship between two people of the same sex is sin? Oh, what the heck, I know the scriptures used to condemn us…I’ll just go ahead and cut out the jib jab and prove you wrong.

    1) Gen 19 (the Sodom story) condemns homosexual rape. Men wanted to gang rape two angels…yeah, that’s a little far removed from loving gay relationships.

    2) Lev 18 & 20 (the holiness code) calls “men lying with men as with women” an abomination. A couple chapters later it also calls eating shrimp an abomination and that a man having sex with a woman during her period should be put to death…along with the woman. Hmmm, maybe God established this set of rules for a particular group of people at a particular time and it isn’t meant to be taken literally by us today.

    3) Romans 1 calls gay sex unnatural. No argument here…I think that having sex with a man would have been quite unnatural for Paul…along with about 90% of the rest of the world. However just because something isn’t normal, doesn’t make it a sin. Tell me, is an autistic kid sinful just for being autistic? Autism is unnatural…that’s not how God originally intended us to be…yet he just can’t help it. This passage also says these people gave up heterosexual passions for homosexual passions…again…doesn’t accurately describe gay folk today. And remember the context in which Paul was exposed to homosexuality…as he was writing Romans, he had just returned from one of his missionary journeys where he witnessed pagan priests and priestesses engaging in some odd sexual behaviors — including castrating themselves, carrying on drunken sexual orgies, and even having sex with young temple prostitutes (male and female) — all to honor the gods of sex and pleasure. No gay Christian I know is going to condone this type of morality either.

    4) 1 Cor 6 and 1 Tim 1. These are interesting passages and are probably the most used to condemn homosexuals today. The two words used to describe homosexuals in these passages, in the Greek are “malokois” and “arsenokoitai.” Malokois is most accurately translated male prostitutes…and no one is condoning that here. The other word is the most controversial. Arsenokoitai is a word not common in Greek literature of the time…in fact, the only known appearance of the word is in these two NT passages. Some have translated it sodomite, which is silly, because it obviously doesn’t mean “resident of Sodom”. So that word in and of itself is a misnomer. The most commonly accepted belief is that Paul was using this word to describe those who call on male prostitutes. Again…not condoning that. The word “arsenokoitai” was not first translated “homosexual” until 1958.

    The fact of the matter is, Paul nor any other Biblical writer had any concept of responsible, monogamous, loving gay relationships as we do today. Just as we apply cultural context to hundreds of other passages in the Bible we should do the same for these.

    “Responsible homosexuals would join Paul in condemning anyone who uses children for sex, just as we would join anyone else in condemning the threatened gang rape in Sodom or the behavior of the sex-crazed priests and priestesses in Rome. So, once again, I am convinced that this passage says a lot about God, but nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.” -Mel White

  50. Darrin says:

    NP… Thanks for the posting on Lonnie. I remember John Wimber telling the story vaguely but I have never seen a photo. Can you fill in the history a little for those of us outside the Vineyard? Wasn’t Lonnie the Mother’s Day preacher when the Holy Spirit explosion occured at Wimber’s church and the beginning of the Vineyard renewal movement was born? I would like to hear more details.

    I wonder too if the facts and the facts only about Lonnie and what he did and accomplished and what his own personal struggles were, would be helpful. I wonder what it would look like if there were 45 replies to your post that spoke only of the facts and absolutely NO opinion one way or the other. I would like to reflect on the FACTS of Lonnie’s contribution since he is an unknown to me and I wonder what that would be like if opinion stayed out of it anywhere but in my own mind…. Perhaps impossible for us Christians to do.

  51. fishon says:

    Trey said, on February 5th, 2010 at 1:57 pm
    Fishon…you know how when you get older and you look back at pictures of when you were in high school and you think, “OMG, I can’t believe I wore that and did my hair that way. What was I thinking?!” That’s going to be a little bit like you when you get to heaven and look back on the way you thought and believed

    So, fishon, why exactly do you think that a loving, monogamous relationship between two people of the same sex is sin? Oh, what the heck, I know the scriptures used to condemn us…I’ll just go ahead and cut out the jib jab and prove you wrong.
    ———-Trey, I am very aware of you arguments, and capable of counter points. But you know then already. I am not going to waste my or your time with them—you obviously discount them and scripture, so I will not point–counter point. And yea, use Mel White as an authority I should consider. That’s like me using Jerry Falwell as a source to prove my point to you. Come on, Trey.
    fishon

  52. Trey says:

    Fishon…I shall happily oblige to not waste my time. And my use of the phrase “prove you wrong” was off-colored and inaccurate. I didn’t prove anything by expressing my understanding of Scripture, just as you don’t prove anything by expressing yours. Just don’t use your understanding of Scripture as a tool to persecute and perpetuate social injustice against others 🙂

  53. nakedpastor says:

    fishon: “perhaps it makes for good traffic”… That’s a rather cynical view of my motives. I personally think it is arrogant to assume someone’s motives. Especially when no one really knows their own motives. The bible says only God knows the motives of our hearts and will expose and reveal them on the last day. The gay issue is a real live issue for me. I am a pastor of a community with gays attending and taking part. This isn’t a theoretical exercise for me. I’ll confess I am concerned about traffic on nakedpastor. But I can also confess that it isn’t my primary concern.

  54. fishon says:

    nakedpastor said, on February 5th, 2010 at 5:22 pm
    fishon: “perhaps it makes for good traffic”… That’s a rather cynical view of my motives. I personally think it is arrogant to assume someone’s motives.
    —-My motives have been questions so many times on here, I have run out of numbers. ah, get over it. I’ve had to.

    ———-I have a rather cynical view you say. But wait, you said: ” I’ll confess I am concerned about traffic on nakedpastor. Hum, does that mean I was cynically right? And I didn’t say it was your primary concern, but it ALWAYS brings in big traffic.

    The gay issue is a real live issue for me. I am a pastor of a community with gays attending and taking part. This isn’t a theoretical exercise for me.
    ———–So are you assuming that it is not a ‘real live issue” for me?
    Ain’t theoretical for me, either. I have friends that are gay.
    fishon

  55. ( | o )====::: says:

    David,
    I will do everything possible to flood your gatherings with the hurting and seekers so they could avoid the toxic religion of fishon. The mere reading of this thread demonstrates the tangible difference between him and your heart which resonates with the engagement and brokenness of Jesus’ love, mercy and patience.

    Don’t be discouraged by the loud ones, just outlast them.

  56. Societyvs says:

    “I wonder if Society would allow an openly working prostitute person to teach Sunday school or even lead service once in a while? I mean, think about it…it’s a sin that is either covered or not covered by Jesus’ sacrifice (if you believe in the atonement). If we say it is not, we judge God. If we say it is, why can’t we let that person work in our church?” (Fishon)

    I will answer that – no problems…after I hear you tell me if you would or wouldn’t allow a gay person to teach in your church? You dodged the question, I don’t mind the way you did it, I just want to see if someone gay has equal rights by you (in the church)?

    As for prostitution, that’s an easy one…no. It is illegal in Canada (where I am) and the actual degridation of something beautiful – a person’s body for money. Aside from that, I have hung out with former prostitutes – they seem like all around good people that hit a tough, ignorant stretch in their life.

    As for being gay, well it’s not illegal where I am – nor is it actually a problem in any late night streets I might walk down. I would sya ‘yes’ to them teaching and being a part of some program at the local church.

  57. berciXcore says:

    When I saw this movie I physically felt that it’s a story is a burden. Not his gay personality, but the way he was excluded from community then written out of two denominations’ history.
    For me, I found Lonnie to be arespectable person, probably I would call him a hero too.
    The movie is a must see along with “For The Bible Tells Me So”.
    Won’t leave anyone without painful thoughts.

  58. fishon says:

    Societyvs said, on February 5th, 2010 at 6:29 pm
    “I wonder if Society would allow an openly working prostitute person to teach Sunday school or even lead service once in a while? I mean, think about it…it’s a sin that is either covered or not covered by Jesus’ sacrifice (if you believe in the atonement). If we say it is not, we judge God. If we say it is, why can’t we let that person work in our church?” (Fishon)

    I will answer that – no problems…after I hear you tell me if you would or wouldn’t allow a gay person to teach in your church? You dodged the question, I don’t mind the way you did it, I just want to see if someone gay has equal rights by you (in the church)?
    ——Not really dodging. Like I said, you set a worm hole in your question, but I will answer and see if you spring it, then deal with that.

    If the person is not a practicing gay, why yes, if that person is qualified to teach. Not everyone has the gift of teaching, but we will assume this person does, so yes, if we are doctrinally compatable.—————However, if that person is a practicing gay, no, he/she would not be allowed to teach.

    As for prostitution, that’s an easy one…no. It is illegal in Canada (where I am)
    ———That is why I put you in Nevada, Societyvs.

    and the actual degridation of something beautiful – a person’s body for money.
    ———–So, if it is not illegal, you would still make the personal judgment to not let a practicing prostitute teach?

    Let’s get this straight: Societyvs says, “No, Betty, you can not teach in our church though you are doing nothing illegal. I just think you are degrigating your body for money.” So if the sin of prostitution doesn’t negate her from teaching–if it is not illegal, but she still is barred by you——-and you bar her for your stated reason—-you have become an intolerant, judgmental, bigot. Oops, that sounds like I have been called.

    Aside from that, I have hung out with former prostitutes – they seem like all around good people that hit a tough, ignorant stretch in their life.
    ———–That has nothing to do with the discussion.

    As for being gay, well it’s not illegal where I am – nor is it actually a problem in any late night streets I might walk down. I would sya ‘yes’ to them teaching and being a part of some program at the local church.

    You are a piece of work. You will let a gay teach, but not a prositute. Not because prostitution is a sin, but because of your own judgmental opinion of it being degradation to the prostitute.

    Ok, I won’t let a gay teach in the church I pastor because of it being a degradation to something beautiful. The sharing of sexual intimacy between a man and women as shown in the Bible. Can’t find it discribed as a beautiful thing between man and man, woman and woman. Just using your reasoning.
    fishon

  59. berciXcore says:

    Preachers should stay the fluff out of others’ bedrooms. And not only them, but everyone else in the congregation, if they are not asked personally to _help_, if the cuple has some problems. Many preachers and people are so much interested in others’ bedroom secrets, especially when it comes to gay people, that some would even think they are perverts playing the Big Brother.
    The sanctity of sexuality is preserved for each and every monogamous, loving and honest couple that shares the bed. It’s a private area, not open for the public, not even a preacher.
    If the couple wants to talk about their sexual topics, be it hetero or homo, they will do that, and they must be treated with real, humble love and compassion, and not with brimstones and fire, and not making scapegoats out of them in front of the congregation.

    My question is: Shouldn’t the preachers’ brainstorming on homosexual activity in more and more disrespectful details be considered as perversion and a sin? Or is it ok to do a sermon filled with spoken homoerotic pornography?
    The most ferocious preachers are actually doing this. They just don’t admit it. They talk about it more fervently than those whom they are addressing.

  60. preacherlady says:

    Trey…yes people are biologically gay and yet there is a whole subset of people who are simply sex addicts and aren’t particular as to where they find it. The baths and bookstores are filled with them. They will have same sex sex but wouldn’t think of having a same sex relationship.
    jerry…your whole criteria seems to be based on whether people are having sex or not. If someone is abstinent does that make them not gay? How about the fact that lesbian relationships are quite often not sexual or become nonsexual in a short time? does this make the relationships non gay? How about the older male couple for whom sex is just a fond memory? You don’t seem to realize that a same sex relationship isn’t about sex any more than a hetero relationship is…sex is/can be part of it, but there is so much more. We’re talking about love relationships not the titillation of nerve endings
    As to who can or can not hold a leadership position or who can or cannot teach in a church, I think it comes down to morals not legality. Strip clubs and pornography are legal but not necessarily moral. I wouldn’t want a working prostitute, a man who spent all his leisure watching porn, or a gay guy who spent his time at the baths to teach in church…those things are a matter of morals not orientation. Rather than focus on damning the gay population, perhaps you need to be talking to your straight men and see how many hours a day they’re logging on to a porn site.

  61. nakedpastor says:

    sometimes when we think we are being gracious, in relation to how others are it might appear so, but when compared to God’s grace is shamefully deficient. i think we need to consider that.

  62. Baruch60610 says:

    @Fishon, I reread Romans 1:18-33. I am still perplexed. This verse clearly refers to the practice of homosexuality, but it seems to be talking about those who then become murderers and so on (“Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, …”) and so on.

    Lots of gay people remain decent, civilized human beings, despite their practicing homosexuality. If they didn’t, then there wouldn’t be any problem with gays in the church – they wouldn’t come.

    I don’t see that the gay influence on society is as powerful or as harmful as the straight influence. A huge part of our culture is focused on (straight) sex – sex as a means of advertising, sex as entertainment, sex everywhere you look. Not pure pornographic sex, but the use of sexually attractive models for ads, men and women wearing provocative clothing who sing (or who can’t sing, but no one cares), Songs and movies that portray sexual issues without the love that should be the focus, and so on. Very few of these have anything to do with homosexuality. Yes, we had Brokeback Mountain, which I understand had a gay theme or something, but that’s one movie out of how many?

    The erosion of what people call family values has little to do with homosexuals. It probably has much to do with the glorification of sex over love, instant gratification over commitment. These shortcomings are shared by all.

    Fishon, you are probably right about the numbers of churches that specifically ban gay people. I think where I was mistaken was to fall for the biased samples. The news reports about some church that bans gays; but never mentions the many churches that welcome them. It’s just like crime in a city. If you judged by the news, you’d be afraid to ever leave the house. You’d think it was a war zone, listening to the news. Same with churches – a handful make the news, and you conclude they’re all like that. Oops; my bad.

    I hope we can *all* step back from the attitude of, “I know the truth; why can’t that other person see the light?” If we hold to it, we are just a bunch of zealots, each hammering on our particular belief, unwilling and unable to learn. No one benefits from that.

    The biggest obstacle to learning is the belief that we already know. Whatever the source of our knowledge, our understanding of it is imperfect. We can always make progress, but we aren’t ever going to reach perfection in this life.

  63. preacherlady says:

    Baruch60610…the difference is that I’ve never had to counsel someone because they were accepted in a church.Those which turned people away stand out because they are represented by someone who has landed in my lap, so to speak. The damage done is incredible. The worst one was a man who had been publically asked to leave a church…and no, he wasn’t propositioning anyone or acting improperly, he was just honest about who he was. This man came to me for help. At that time I had a friend who was planting a church and he invited the man to come to his new church. Before the service he was talking to the 2nd year bible school student who was a greeter that day and told her that he was excited to be invited and he related his experience. Her reply was “We won’t tolerate it either.” Two months of counselling ,by two of us, down the drain. I eventually found him a church, but it wasn’t contemporary worship and was inhabited by a bunch of stodgy people even though they were a welcoming congregation. He moved away and the last I knew he was invoved in a New Thought “anything goes” type congregation.

  64. larry p says:

    @NakedPastor: larry: sorry. trying to say too much in too little words. what i mean by “practicing”, and i admit it is an insufficient word, is someone who lives according to their sexual orientation. that would apply to hetero as well. does that help?
    ————————

    Sorry that doesn’t help much. If I understand your definition, a “practicing” heterosexual could be many things, from essentially uninterested in sex to celibate to profligate. Indeed, a “practicing” heterosexual could well be a child molester, since most child molesters identify as being heterosexual.

    You can’t really define a heterosexual by anything more than as someone whose natural attraction is to members of the opposite sex. To presume they all behave like Tiger Woods or Wilt Chamberlain is presuming too much. From what I’ve read, somewhere between 10 and 20 per cent of married couples are celibate. So how does that make them “practicing” heterosexuals in the same way that Wilt Chamberlain was one?

    My guess is that you mean a practicing homosexual is someone who admits in public that his or her natural attractions are toward the same sex. For the most part, however, you have no idea what, if anything, they might or might not be doing in the privacy of their bedroom. The problem I’m having is that when you use the word “practicing” you are implying people are “doing” something which is most likely something many church people were taught to condemn without question. I don’t think that’s fair.

  65. Baruch60610 says:

    @Preaherlady, no doubt what you say is true. However, that still offers you a biased sample. As you say, you don’t have to counsel those who were accepted. Since you don’t see them, they can’t figure into your equation. You just get to see the broken people who were hurt by the very churches who were supposed to help heal them.

    The devastation caused by an unloving church, no matter how intense, doesn’t mean such churches are common. They *may* be common, but not for that reason.

    How much press did Jerry Falwell get, or Pat Robertson, when they made their hateful comments? How much press does David Hayward get?

    If it weren’t for people like you and Naked Pastor, many folks – myself included – would have said to hell with the churches, they’re all a bunch of hypocritical, self-righteous bigots. Viewed through the eyes of the media, that’s exactly what you see most of the time.

    And that’s pretty much all I was saying. My view on the actual number of churches that ban homosexuals was warped because those churches get far more attention.

  66. preacherlady says:

    Baruch…one church that hurts people is one too many.And when it comes to churches being burnt down rather than ministering to gays or pastors being persecuted because they do its a blight on the Christian church.

  67. fishon says:

    preacherlady said, on February 5th, 2010 at 8:58 pm
    jerry…your whole criteria seems to be based on whether people are having sex or not. If someone is abstinent does that make them not gay? How about the fact that lesbian relationships are quite often not sexual or become nonsexual in a short time? does this make the relationships non gay? How about the older male couple for whom sex is just a fond memory? You don’t seem to realize that a same sex relationship isn’t about sex any more than a hetero relationship is…sex is/can be part of it, but there is so much more. We’re talking about love relationships not the titillation of nerve endings
    ———–I notice you weren’t really interested in my answer as giving me your take. Frankly, Alice, you don’t know what I seem to realize. I may be harsh at times, but you can be quite condescending. The fact is, if there is sex involved in a gay relationship:sin—————-If sex is involved in a non-married heterolsexual relationship:sin.

    YOU:As to who can or can not hold a leadership position or who can or cannot teach in a church, I think it comes down to morals not legality.
    ————–No kidding.
    Strip clubs and pornography are legal but not necessarily moral. I wouldn’t want a working prostitute, a man who spent all his leisure watching porn, or a gay guy who spent his time at the baths to teach in church…those things are a matter of morals not orientation.
    ————Give me a break, Alice. I have a chemical orientation to booze—–so if I am a drunk, you going let me teach? I think not. Say as your so-called gay orientation—you practice it, no teach.

    And no one answers about the orientation of hundreds of thousands of men for little girls. If it was legal to have sex with them, you mean to tell me you would let him teach???????? In order for you to stay true to your assumptions and conclusions about gays——-you have to.

    YOU: Rather than focus on damning the gay population, perhaps you need to be talking to your straight men and see how many hours a day they’re logging on to a porn site.
    ———Enough of this. You want to tell me where I have damn the gays, Alice? Is it because I call homosexuality a sin, and if not repented of, hell awaits???????? If that is your criteria, then are you not in the same club as me? You damn child molesters—serial rapist—murderers—-etc, or don’t you????????

    You want to say I am damning people, ok, I can’t do nothing about it. But if that is how you feel, then I guess we don’t have anything else to say. I am a preacher of the gospel of Christ—-so you tell me I am damning people——enough. I can handle it coming from gays, but not from a supposed preacher.

    I thank you for helping me in the past—but I will not take you telling me I damn people. I have nothing else to say.
    jerry

  68. fishon says:

    Baruch60610
    —–Then I guess you would classify me as a zealot.
    fishon

  69. preacherlady says:

    Jerry…your job is to preach the good news of the Kingdom of God…NOT to condemn people to hell. Judgement is God’;s job and God’s alone. And no I don’t damn murderers, and serial killers and rapists. Its not my job. My job, if I encounter them, is to bring them to repentance and that only if they come to me for help. My job is to love them and to show them God’s love for them. The love of God is the only thing that will change them. We need to have a righteousness consciousness, not a sin consciousness…the more we oppose something the more we attract it. You seem to be on a mission to stamp out sin….and to stamp it out with a vengeance. My mission is to let everyone know that they are made in the image and likeness of God and at the central core of their being they are perfect, whole, and complete and that if rather than conforming to the ways of the world they allow the spirit of God to renew their minds they will be transformed. I have never once in 30 odd years told anyone they were going to hell and iI never will…that isn’t my decision to make.

  70. preacherlady says:

    I was just thinking…according to fishon there is nothing wrong with homosexuality or same sex love…its only when sexual expression enters into it that it becomes sin. So the lesbian couple who left sex far behind them aren’t in sin even though they’re in a long term committed love relationship and the two elderly gentlemen who no longer have sex are also not in sin, and yet these are homosexual relationships between people who choose to share their lives.

  71. Baruch60610 says:

    @Fishon: My motives have been questions so many times on here, I have run out of numbers. ah, get over it. I’ve had to.

    Are you saying, then, that since others do wrong, it’s OK for you to do wrong? Surely, you are not really saying this. I agree that you get jumped on more than anyone else. Just a quick glance through the comments shows this clearly. I can understand the difficulties this causes you, trying to be civil while being hammered. I know the temptation to get in there and hammer back. I’ve lost patience and done it before; chances are it will happen again, even though I would prefer I not do that. But… I wonder – I doubt – that you are saying that it’s OK to respond in kind to being hammered. Of course, I could be wrong… happens all the time.

    Yes, in my opinion you are a zealot. A “fervent and often militant proponent of something”. I am not saying this to be insulting. And from your view, I may appear to be someone lacking in conviction. I suppose we’re both right or wrong.

  72. fishon says:

    Baruch60610 said, on February 8th, 2010 at 1:06 am
    @Fishon: My motives have been questions so many times on here, I have run out of numbers. ah, get over it. I’ve had to.

    Are you saying, then, that since others do wrong, it’s OK for you to do wrong?
    ———–Did I do wrong?

    Surely, you are not really saying this. I agree that you get jumped on more than anyone else. Just a quick glance through the comments shows this clearly.
    ———–I expect it. I generally take opposite positions. And some of the SO CALLED TOLERANT don’t tolerate differences. So they go to name calling: Bigot, hater, intolerant, fundy, etc. They are what they claim to dislike.

    I doubt – that you are saying that it’s OK to respond in kind to being hammered
    ———-You know, Baruch, what some people call hammering is just a difference of opinion. But there are several on here who are soooo sensitive that to take a different stance is to them being hammered. Yes, I get hammered from time to time, but much of what some would say is hammering really isn’t to me. Societyvs and me have gone at it pretty good, but I don’t see him as hammering me. He just has as strong opinions as me and defends them. Ah, from time to time we both get snarky with each other, but no biggy.

    Yes, in my opinion you are a zealot.
    ———–Didn’t Jesus pick a zealot to be one of the boys?
    Fervent, yes———militant, well I would need a little more info to agree with that
    one.

    And from your view, I may appear to be someone lacking in conviction.
    ———–Haven’t made my mind up yet——but does it really matter to you what I think? Probably shouldn’t——that has to be earne.
    However I do think you like several on here; you generalize to the extreme: Example of what you said: Why are homosexuals chased out of churches, while adulterers are allowed to remain? How many churches do you PERSONALLY know that have done that?

    And when you say, ‘chased out of the churches,’ what do you mean? How many gays have you PERSONALLY seen CHASED out of churches? Or were they upset because they may have heard from the pulpit that homosexuality was a sin, so they left and named it being chased out?

    And are you saying that the adulterers continued in their adultry and they were not taken to task? They were NOT confronted? Oh, Yes, I have heard a story or two about that happening, but to generalize as you have, well, those are the things that bother me.

    Enough. Time to go to the hay and have sweet dreams.
    MAKE IT a great tomorrow.
    fishon

  73. preacherlady says:

    Anyone who lives in a city and who knows gay people personally know gay people who have been run out of churches …..anything from subtlties from being told flat out they had to leave. Jerry, I think you don’t really know whats happening out here, particularly in the cities. If you saw how some of these people are being treated by supposed Christians you’ld be sick .Fred Phelps is only the extreme end of a continuum…churches have had to put signs up letting gay people know they were welcome to come…not necessarily to condone the behavior, but to let people know they won’t be turned away or treated badly if they come in.

  74. Baruch60610 says:

    Fishon: You know, Baruch, what some people call hammering is just a difference of opinion.

    Me: Well, if it’s OK with you, it’s OK with me. For some reason I got the notion that you were upset about it. My mistake.

    I agree – some of the most intolerant people I have met are those who are supposed to be tolerant. It’s all sweetness and light, until you disagree. My pet peeve is the Political Correctness Nazis who jump on me if I dare say something not quite PC. Which I do a lot, because I have a sense of humor. My answer to them is, I’m Politically Challenged, so they have to make an accommodation for me. Works for me.

    Preacherlady: Good point about the signs. I do think that things in the cities are different from how it may be in the Bible belt. I don’t know how they do things out there.

  75. Luke says:

    “so was judas–and that can’t be denied(fishon)”

    wow! yet it was the Vineyard who was Judas to Frisbee, betraying him and hanging him out to dry… dying alone and outcast.

    NP: good discussion here, you generate a ton of convo’s like these!

  76. fishon says:

    Baruch,
    Bible belt.
    ———Not the Bible Belt where I live. Till 2008, we were the most unchurches State in USA.
    fishon

  77. fishon says:

    Luke said, on February 8th, 2010 at 11:11 am
    “so was judas–and that can’t be denied(fishon)”

    wow! yet it was the Vineyard who was Judas to Frisbee, betraying him and hanging him out to dry… dying alone and outcast.
    ——-Of course, if they did that, and the story is not blown up like so many are, I would agree with you.
    fishon

  78. Societyvs says:

    “So, if it is not illegal, you would still make the personal judgment to not let a practicing prostitute teach?” (Fishon)

    Good question…Iwould still have to say ‘no’ to the prostitution thing. Now Nevada and Amsterdam may have approved it as legal…but that’s quite a small % of places that find it ‘okay. In fact here are the numbers:

    Since Nevada is 1 state in all of the USA – it would seem 2% of America has allowed it as legal…98% (the side I fall into) say ‘otherwise’.

    Amsterdam is one country of the world – since Nevada is a state it cannot be used in this example. There are 195 countries in the world. If Amsterdam is the only one allowing the percentage of approval is only 0.005% (1/2 of 1%). However, let’s say I am wrong and there are like 10 countries that aprrove of the practice…that number is 5%. So on the conservative estimate 99.5% disagree with it’s legalization and on the more liberal side – 95% of the world doesn’t like the practice.

    It seems to me, based on the personal legislation of this issue worldwide, prostitution is not something with much favor as being ‘okay’ or even ‘ethicial’. I fall into the side that deems prostitution as a practice this is not legal – and a detriment to society.

    So no, based on the fact prostitution is not (a) accepted globally or (b) seems ethically horrible for the person doing it – I would say ‘no’ to them teaching in the church. I personally have seen the damage prostitution does to people’s physical, emotional, and mental states – it’s not a very healthy pathway to take.

    “So if the sin of prostitution doesn’t negate her from teaching–if it is not illegal, but she still is barred by you——-and you bar her for your stated reason—-you have become an intolerant, judgmental, bigot. Oops, that sounds like I have been called.” (Fishon)

    I would say if someone saw me as intolerant for pointing out a practice that does come complete with societal problems attached to it – then so be it. I would say the honus would be on them to prove otherwise that this practice is (a) safe and healthy for the individual and (b) productive for all aspects of society. I would actually label prostitution as a ‘sin’ in the type of category that actually can ruin relationships – internally and externally.

    “You are a piece of work. You will let a gay teach, but not a prositute. Not because prostitution is a sin, but because of your own judgmental opinion of it being degradation to the prostitute” (Fishon)

    I never said prostitution was not a ‘sin’ (this was your personal assumption being made). I think I have explained I the paragraph prior fairly well…won’t re-hash it again.

    “Ok, I won’t let a gay teach in the church I pastor because of it being a degradation to something beautiful” (Fishon)

    Now I went onto actually in pretty good detail by what degradation I thought was happening (personal health and societal)….the person is affected adversely and other relationships can be effected adversely. I stand opposed to prostituion because it’s also not an ethic 95% – 98% of the world accept as legal (or good/productive for their societies/communities). I am also aware that one does not have to choose to be a prostitute…and one can quit such a profession (in some senses this area is sold as a job).

    As for gay people – the only thing you think they are destroying is the sanctity of marriage – and they don’t even need to be involved in that conversation – straight people are doing a good enough job in that department (50% divorce rate)…marriage is taking a hit in the respectability department…but it’s not because of gay people.

    As for being gay, is that a choice for them? I find it hard to fathom this is something they choose to do. The reason I find that line of reasoning hard to believe is because people don’t willingly choose to be ousted from their families, jobs, local congregations, shamed by society in general, hated and even killed for their lifestyle, live a life of denial, etc. People are rather uncomfortable with outright dislike of them – specially by those closest to them. Psychologically, can you explain to me why someone would choose a path like that?

    I think for you it’s this easy ‘the bible says so’ :. It is a sin (with not much research backing your point). But I am game to hear how you defend such a position of being anti-gay rights in the church (and it seems in society as well – ie: marriage). I think you tread on ground that is dangerous…and it’s dangerous for 2 reasons:

    (a) God loves everyone – even gay people. What if it at the end of the day when you meet God that it was not the case that He did not like gay people? How can you justify your exclusion of them – via His word?

    (b) Societally, I am not sure your position is based on the best evidence available. This means, you hear evidence contrary to your opinion – and no matter how good and verified it is – you still deny it as ‘the best evidence out there’. I think this may actually leave you in the class of bigot more than the class of ignorant.

  79. fishon says:

    Societyvs,
    As for gay people – the only thing you think they are destroying is the sanctity of marriage –
    ———-Oh no, they are destroying themselves and the moral fabric of my nation, too.

    As for being gay, is that a choice for them?
    ———-Yes. And you nor no one else will address the hundreds of thousands if not millions of men who have attactions to little girls. Is them having that attaction a choice?

    As for being gay, is that a choice for them? I find it hard to fathom this is something they choose to do. The reason I find that line of reasoning hard to believe is because people don’t willingly choose to be ousted from their families, jobs, local congregations, shamed by society in general, hated and even killed for their lifestyle, live a life of denial, etc. People are rather uncomfortable with outright dislike of them – specially by those closest to them.
    ————Oh, I don’t know. Lots of druggies and drunks who choose that. Tiger Woods and John Edwards chose too. Lots more examples of people choosing to ruin their life and harming people around them.

    Psychologically, can you explain to me why someone would choose a path like that?
    ————Yea, but you won’t accept it.

    I think for you it’s this easy ‘the bible says so’ :. It is a sin (with not much research backing your point).
    ————How much research is there to back up that drunkedness is a sin????
    How much RESEARCH is there to back up the rape is a sin????
    How much research is there to back up the adultry is a sin????
    How much research is there to back up that gossip is a sin????
    So Societyvs———–name me a sin and then supply the research that it is a sin—–but don’t use the Bible——-I wait. By the way—is there anything in the NT about rape????

    (a) God loves everyone – even gay people. What if it at the end of the day when you meet God that it was not the case that He did not like gay people? How can you justify your exclusion of them – via His word?
    ————–I might ask you the same thing, only the reverse.
    You will be sorely tested to find where I have ever said that God didn’t love the gay. But then, if God loves everyone, that means He loves the pedophile. So if a pedophile dies when he is abusing a child, will he/she go to heaven?????? Of course the easy way out is to say, “I [you] don’t make that decision.” And, if God loves everyone, does that mean everyone will make it to heaven??

    Societally, I am not sure your position is based on the best evidence available. This means, you hear evidence contrary to your opinion – and no matter how good and verified it is – you still deny it as ‘the best evidence out there’.
    —————And your evidence is? Not hardly. You are making a strawman argument. You have no evidence—-only theory. Hehhe, kinda like the Algore evidence/theory is starting come unravelled. —————-“Class of bigot.” If believing what the Word says makes me a bigot in your eyes, I can handle that.
    fishon

  80. Luke says:

    Fishon,

    “they are destroying themselves and the moral fabric of my nation, too.”

    yeah, by all those kids they’re adopting and raising well, all that acceptance, and all that mission work they do on behalf of Christ. sounds like you’re letting a minority of irresponsible people color the whole group. i’m concerned with sin as well but i’m worried about the log in my own eye before i start throwing around ugly steretypes and comparing my neighbors to rapists and pedophiles (who are also my neighbors but that’s beside the point).

  81. fishon says:

    Ok, Luke,
    I”ll take on the pornographers [who are also my neighbors] with my same language——you going tell me the same thing? You gonna give me the log thing on that, too?

    I’ll take on the drug dealers [who are also my neighbors] of America——-you going take me on for that? You gonna give me the log thing on that, too?
    I wait to hear you take me to task for that.
    fishon

  82. Luke says:

    Fishon:

    i love your slippery slope arguments, your red herrings, and circular reasoning. i am just wondering where the Good News is in your “speck pointing.” I really don’t see anything redeeming or Christ-like in any of your posts. just stereotypes and rage. it’s sad. now i will say i sin a great deal and i have my blind spots and own prejudices too, so i’m in the same boat with you are… good thing is I’m looking for the one who calms the storm and walks on the water… and i’m going to try to get out of the boat and join him even though i know i’m gonna sink.

    join me won’t you?

  83. fishon says:

    Luke,
    You don’t have to sink.
    fishon

  84. fishon says:

    And Luke,
    You didn’t address my questions. Duck and dive, Luke, duck and dive.

    So Luke, let me ask you this way.
    A drunk comes to the church I pastor. He/she comes for 4 weeks. The last week he/she asks me if we can talk. “You bet,” I say. We meet. The drunks says, “I am a drunk, if I die in this state will I go to heaven, and if not why?” [Had that happen, Luke]. So I say, “If you die in the state of being a drunk, and you have not repented and not been ‘Born Again,’ you will not see the kingdom of God.”
    —-So Luke——give me your take on that.
    fishon

  85. Luke says:

    “You don’t have to sink” -fishon

    wow! grace! that’s a nice response.. but all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. if Peter couldn’t stay up, neither will I. i’ll sink like a stone! But i know Jesus will be there to help keep my head above the waters (much more than that!).

    duck and dive? i’m sorry, i guess i didn’t understand the question.

    what you’re putting up is an ‘apples and oranges’ argument. they don’t compare exactly in my mind. i think in your mind,that being drunk equates to being actively LGBTQ, correct? actively LGBTQ means a non-committed, multiple partner, sexually active lifestyle correct?

    so in your rubric both the drunk and LGBTQ member must repent as they are both guilty of going against the Bible’s prohibition on excess and exploitation. (1 Cor. 6:9-11 is but one example). but what if the LGBTQ member is like the majority, meaning that they are in a committed one partner relationship? Could we equate them to the drunk? I don’t think so, we would equate them with someone who has a beer or two on occasion, at least i would. And since some 40% of scripture regarding alcohol has a positive view on drinking it, then i don’t see a problem here (as opposed to the 10% that is against drinking and the 50% that is neutral).

    I think you’re right on your response to the drunk given how your rubric also has no concept of Apokatastasis within it. i think you’re right within your tradition. the follow up though, i wonder, is how would you help that drunk to repent and be born again? how would you welcome them into your congregation and make for them a home in your congregation and a home for them in “my Father’s house, that has many rooms.” (John 14). same thing with an LGBTQ member.

    my answer would be “your salvation has been secured for you through Christ crucified and risen and while you can’t attain salvation through your actions, you can show you’re salvations through your actions. the Gospel is about how to live in the here and now with the “gathered assembly of God.” being drunk won’t help you live with others.. and to love others you must love yourself first. let’s work on getting you sober. our AA meets at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, i’ll tell them to expect you.”

    i hope that isn’t a duck or dive but an honest and direct approach to answering. i have actually had this happen to in my internship and the person is still a member of the congregation i was at! sober for a year now. but not because of me, i only welcomed them and showed them the door, they had to walk through it.

  86. fishon says:

    Luke,
    No ducking and diving. You coming through loud and clear.

    YOU: “You don’t have to sink” -fishon
    wow! grace! that’s a nice response.. but all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. if Peter couldn’t stay up, neither will I. i’ll sink like a stone! But i know Jesus will be there to help keep my head above the waters (much more than that!).
    ———-Don’t you think Peter could have stayed up after Jesus assended to heaven? Peter was not the same man after the day of Pentecost as his was in the courtyard denying Christ. He more than once put his live on the line for Christ and finally gave it up for the cause of Christ. Before the cross, after the cross. You don’t think the Peter who did miracles and gave his live for Christ had not gained the faith to stay up?

    YOU: what you’re putting up is an ‘apples and oranges’ argument. they don’t compare exactly in my mind.
    ——-Not so. I believe practicing homosexuality is a sin. That’s why it is the same to me.

    i think in your mind,that being drunk equates to being actively LGBTQ, correct? actively LGBTQ means a non-committed, multiple partner, sexually active lifestyle correct?
    ——–Committed partners too. Includes hetros.

    YOU: so in your rubric both the drunk and LGBTQ member must repent as they are both guilty of going against the Bible’s prohibition on excess and exploitation. (1 Cor. 6:9-11 is but one example). but what if the LGBTQ member is like the majority, meaning that they are in a committed one partner relationship?
    ———Still the same.

    YOU:Could we equate them to the drunk? I don’t think so, we would equate them with someone who has a beer or two on occasion, at least i would.
    ——-On that, we disagree.

    And since some 40% of scripture regarding alcohol has a positive view on drinking it, then i don’t see a problem here (as opposed to the 10% that is against drinking and the 50% that is neutral).
    ———–I will just believe Gal. 5:19–21 “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious:…I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will NOT [caps mine] inherit the kingdom of God.” —— if you can find some NT scripture to contradict that, tell me where it is and I will read it. Luke, that takes no interpretation; it is straightforward.

    YOU:I think you’re right on your response to the drunk given how your rubric also has no concept of Apokatastasis within it. i think you’re right within your tradition.
    ——I will have to look up that big word.
    But Luke, it is not my ‘tradition,’ I am just believing scripture: i.e., Gal. 5

    i wonder, is how would you help that drunk to repent and be born again? how would you welcome them into your congregation and make for them a home in your congregation and a home for them in “my Father’s house, that has many rooms.” (John 14). same thing with an LGBTQ member.
    ————–Excellent follow-up question, Luke. I will answer as to how I was welcome into the church I was ‘born again’ in WHEN I WAS A DRUNK. And a side note: I grew up in an atheistic house as a youth.

    It was in a bowling alley while half snooker that I asked a man I knew went to church about this thing that was going on inside of me about someone named Jesus. Long story, short, I studied with him for about 5 weeks, went to his church and found myself accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. In all of that study time, the man never once brought up me being a well know town drunk. He just loved me and invited me to church. After I became a Christian, I dove right into study and being active in the church. NOT ONCE, NOT ONCE, did anyone bring up me being a drunk. As I studied and listened to lessons and preaching, I understood about being a drunk.

    How would I help that drunk? The same way I was helped. Love, love, love, and if and when [it has happened both ways] one of them asks me a straightforward question, I give them the straightforward scriptures. Whether a drunk, gossip, gay walks into the church I pastor, I love them. And after a period of time listening to me, reading the scriptures, they will come upon the truth of scripture and then make their decision. Never has failed yet. Some get it, some don’t.

    YOU:our AA meets at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays
    ———-Well ours started at 7:00 on tuesdays in the church basement, until they moved
    to a bigger town—385 in my town.

    Good converstation, Luke.
    fishon

  87. Trey says:

    Fishon…what tradition do you belong to where if a believer dies (before he can say “forgive me, God, I repent”) yet struggling with sin, he goes to hell?

  88. Trey says:

    Well before I accepted the fact that I was gay, I was getting ready to leave for a year of mission work among the indigenous of Central Mexico. A woman who worked with me at the restaurant I worked at talked to me often because she saw me as a fellow spirit-filled believer and she felt somewhat like an outcast because she always wore skirts below her knees, her hair in a bun, and no makeup. One day before I left, I began to talk to her about legalism and I asked what church she went to. She went to the “Apostolic Pentecostal” congregation in town. I knew what they believed, so I said, wait a minute, I was baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…you guys believe that in order to go to heaven you must be baptized as it is in Acts…in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. I’m about to go preach the Gospel to indigenous people in Mexico, I love Jesus with all my heart and believe that He died for my sins as the Son of God…you think I’m going to hell?!? To which she replied ‘yes’. I do not understand cult thinking like that or like fishon’s. It flies in the face of what Chrisitanity is…I just don’t get it.

  89. fishon says:

    Trey said, on February 9th, 2010 at 2:39 pm
    Fishon…what tradition do you belong to where if a believer dies (before he can say “forgive me, God, I repent”) yet struggling with sin, he goes to hell?
    ————since you are an ex-associate pastor, I”ll leave it up to you to figure out.
    fishon

  90. Luke says:

    “You don’t think the Peter who did miracles and gave his live for Christ had not gained the faith to stay up?”

    nope, once a sinner, always a sinner. perfection is not in my rubric. might work for methodists and baptists, but not for me.

    “Not so. I believe practicing homosexuality is a sin. That’s why it is the same to me.”

    i picked up on that… but what about your comment “Committed partners too. Includes hetros. still the same”? so does that mean committed hetero’s are also sinful and thus stricken from the Lambs Book of Life?

    ““The acts of the sinful nature are obvious:…I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will NOT [caps mine] inherit the kingdom of God.””

    great scripture! I agree with you! i think where we disagree is what makes up a sinful nature, and that’s why i put in 1 Cor. 6:9-11.

    ” am just believing scripture: i.e., Gal. 5″

    but where’s the grace? salvation? where’s the God which is the father of the prodigal son? that’s where i’m confused and seeking your thoughts.

    i love your story of the “town drunk” it is beautiful and ripe with the Good News of Christ. i think many of the readers here miss this in many of your day to day comments and i hope this story will help them understand you. grace is a powerful thing we are all dependent on, whether gay or straight. Love is the answer in any situation and upon that we can agree even if we disagree on the causality, genetics, and fancy theological words and scripture passages we can cite back and forth. Love is key.

    this has been a good conversation Fishon. thank you for your time!

  91. fishon says:

    Luke said, on February 9th, 2010 at 4:57 pm
    “You don’t think the Peter who did miracles and gave his live for Christ had not gained the faith to stay up?”

    nope, once a sinner, always a sinner. perfection is not in my rubric. might work for methodists and baptists, but not for me.
    ———-But Luke, Jesus makes it clear that Peter’s dive wasn’t because he wasn’t perfect, but because, “You of little faith” he said, “why did you doubt?’
    Peter was NEVER perfect, but he raised Dorcas from the dead. Hum, I wonder which one is harder?
    And why would you say that about methodists and baptists? Have you personally heard one calm perfection?

    YOU:

  92. Luke says:

    Peter raised Dorcas, or God working through Peter? Big difference!

    and yes, i’ve heard more than one claim perfection. a very misunderstood doctrine that I feel has no value for today because it has been so corrupted and co-opted.

  93. fishon says:

    luke,
    Oops, hit submit.

    YOU:i picked up on that… but what about your comment “Committed partners too. Includes hetros. still the same”? so does that mean committed hetero’s are also sinful and thus stricken from the Lambs Book of Life
    ————-Yes.

    YOU:but where’s the grace? salvation? where’s the God which is the father of the prodigal son? that’s where i’m confused and seeking your thoughts.
    ———–It was always available to the prodigal, but the prodigal had to return to receive it, or he would have continued to wallow with the pigs.

    YOU:i love your story of the “town drunk” it is beautiful and ripe with the Good News of Christ. i think many of the readers here miss this in many of your day to day comments and i hope this story will help them understand you.
    ———-Probably not, Luke. There is that one sin, that if I call it sin, that turns on the furry of some. Luke, I think what is hard for me to understand is why loving someone enough to point the way from sin and to God causes people to go ballistic. Before I became a Christian, some of my Christian friends would plead for me to “turn or burn,” so to speak. More than one told me that if I didn’t stop being a drunk and get right with God, I was going to hell. You know, that never made me mad. I knew they cared for me. Yea, they took a chance on our friendship and physical confrontation to try and point me in the direction of Christ. Of course, the idiot screaming on the street corner, I just laught at him. He isn’t worth getting mad at. Why give that one the time of day? Walk on by–but to many stop and fight. Why???

    Yep, love is the key.
    fishon

  94. fishon says:

    Luke said, on February 9th, 2010 at 5:29 pm
    !and yes, i’ve heard more than one claim perfection. a very misunderstood doctrine that I feel has no value for today because it has been so corrupted and co-opted.
    ————-What doctrine is that? I am serious, I have never heard the methodist and baptist I know say that.
    fishon

  95. Societyvs says:

    Luke nailed it – in this debate about ‘sin’ and ‘comparison’…

    “what you’re putting up is an ‘apples and oranges’ argument. they don’t compare exactly in my mind. i think in your mind,that being drunk equates to being actively LGBTQ, correct?” (Luke)

    So when Fishon see’s a convicted pedophile, a convicted rapist, a convicted murderer…he also see’s them as equals to a gay person…at least this is the crux of his debate (all sin is equal to him).

    What fishon fails to realize is the teachings of the NT (synoptics for sure) are based on teachings of the Torah (5 books of the law)…he does not understand law and the debating of law for the formation of understanding the idea better. For him law is non-debateable…it just is and remains so.

    He cannot actually explain how being in a gay monagamous relationship is a ‘sin’ (or transgression of the standard of the law). But why would he know – he cannot comprehend the accumalation of the texts and history after them on the debate of Torahnic law…which Jesus himself participated in (this banter back n forth on what the Torah means in certain sections – or interpretation of how the law is used in daily life).

    Example. The law may start with a high standard that is to be accepted – like ‘do not murder’…this is the law at it’s best (it’s best intention). However, what if someone dies accidently when someone pushes a boulder off their house and someone just happens to be below it? Well, we don’t really have intention to murder – but it is a death at the hands of another…judges can see involuntary manslaughter in that. What about calls to war to defend one’s country? We know in that process of shooting a gun aimed at another’s eyeballs we are intending to kill that person (which is basically murder).

    Now although the standard is essentially and always true (do not murder) we admit that the law needs to be looked at from a variety of angles – and sometimes we have to step aside from the absolute and subject ourselves to ‘grey areas’…and the standard can still remain in tact. I will explain more if someone else doesn’t quite get where this is going.

    And I tend to view homosexuality in this lense also. Sure it was prohibited in the Torah – we all can read those verses for ourselves. However, how does homosexuality actually break the law? What if one cannot choose to be gay – can they break a law?

  96. fishon says:

    Societyvs said, on February 9th, 2010 at 8:04 pm
    YOU: He cannot actually explain how being in a gay monagamous relationship is a ’sin’ (or transgression of the standard of the law).
    ———Oh, there are lots of things I can’t explain. Doesn’t mean they are not so.
    But good to know you can tell me that, and I can be secure that you have all the answers.
    But I really don’t need to explain it when the Bible makes it clear.

    YOU:Example. The law may start with a high standard that is to be accepted – like ‘do not murder’…this is the law at it’s best (it’s best intention). However, what if someone dies accidently when someone pushes a boulder off their house and someone just happens to be below it? Well, we don’t really have intention to murder – but it is a death at the hands of another…judges can see involuntary manslaughter in that.
    ———-Let me see here, you just moved from God’s law to “judges” [man’s law].

    YOU:And I tend to view homosexuality in this lense also. Sure it was prohibited in the Torah – we all can read those verses for ourselves. However, how does homosexuality actually break the law? What if one cannot choose to be gay – can they break a law?
    Sure they can.
    fishon

  97. Trey says:

    Societyvs, thanks for making sense. 🙂

  98. fishon says:

    Societyvs,
    If I make sense, great.
    But if you are being sarcastic, then I really don’t expect you to want to dialogue with me anymore.
    fishon

  99. preacherlady says:

    Societyvs…spot on….unless we seek to understand the Hebrew thought of the day we can’t really begin to understand what the N.T. is saying. Jesus was a Jew…so was Paul…and so were the writers of the gospels. What we are getting is the attempt to express the Hebrew thought in the Greek language and Greek thought which is totally different from the Hebrew. A close friend is writing his doctoral dissertation on the Kingdom of God and in doing so he is discovering that a lot of his theology is iffy. The Hebrew concepts of heaven and hell are so different from what we are taught and the concept of the Kingdom is radically different. Once we look at the NT writings through Hebrew eyes things look a little different.

  100. Societyvs says:

    “But good to know you can tell me that, and I can be secure that you have all the answers. But I really don’t need to explain it when the Bible makes it clear” (Fishon)

    Well I can say that same thing back Fishon, the bible makes it adamantly and totally clear that being in a gay, monogamous relationship is not the best standard of the law (but neither is divorce and we live with that pretty well)…but neither is it breaking it (ie: neither is divorce).

    For you, the bible makes it ‘clear’ – for me I don’t quite see it being that easy an issue. Then again, you don’t understand Torahnic law and interpretation procedures being used in rabbinic studies – which again I will let people know the disciples and Paul were clearly involved in (or the writer’s of the texts).

    I have explained the use of the law and the way it needs to be looked at from a variety of frames – not just from one spot – or we condemn people for doing nothing intentionally wrong (ie: boulder and murder example). This is being debated amongst Jewish rabbi’s in various streams of their faith (Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox) based around the question ‘can it be a transgression of the law if one cannot choose otherwise’? They know one simple thing, the law is about choice (or ‘choose this say…’ scriptures in Torah).

    2 of the 3 have started to allow gay people into their congregations and the orthodox is also considering concessing on the issue. These are the same Judaic groups that have the harshest scriptures Christians use against Gay people…the Leviticus passages. Yet, they are starting from a point we are unfamiliar with – the Torahnic law (and in Christianity this is not our forte – we have disdain for this biblical process more or less).

    Regardless, we are not even under the law according to Judaism – we follow the Noahide ideals…and there is no Noahide law about homosexuality (we may use the Torahnic ideals as a guide – which is basically what I am doing above).

    I understand it is not ideal that people are ‘gay’ – it seems abnormal to us straight people – I understand that. I guess what I want to personally avoid is condemning someone for what is not their choice. I also see this dis-repsect we give to gay people as a breaking away from the idea ‘treat others how you want to be treated’ (I know I wouldn’t want to be shunned for something I cannot choose to change).

  101. Societyvs says:

    “Let me see here, you just moved from God’s law to “judges” [man’s law].” (Fishon)

    You might need to do some further studying, God appointed judges it would seem (over Israel). What did these judges do? They made judgements based on the law. Later on, this idea is also carried forward in rabbinic studies (judgement according to the law). This is the frame of thinking that Jesus himself seems to be embroiled in in debates with people in the Pharisee and Saducee’s sects (even the Herodians and other scribes of the law).

    That all being said, you claim is that ‘I’ am using ‘man’s law’. I would have to ask ‘O mighty One fishon’ – what law are you using that ‘I’ am not aware of that so differentiates you from me? As far as I can tell, you have a biblical perspective absolutely accurate with the denomination and geographical area you belong to (ie: America). Don’t speak to me of ‘man’s law’ – I am interpreting the Torah not America’s ‘don’t ask, dont tell’ military laws (for example).

    I just think as Christians we should have a higher standard than what we are portraying in the media concerning this issue…I cannot find the reason why gay people cannot be our equals in our churches – if they can be my neighbors then they can also be my friends – and if friends – then they shoud have all the access to whatever it is I do. Yet this is not the case…in this case we have backwards people (in America – not Israel per se) holding these people out because they are ‘different’ (and that is what it actually boils down to).

  102. Luke says:

    “so does that mean committed hetero’s are also sinful and thus stricken from the Lambs Book of Life
    ————-Yes.”

    ahh.. i should have been more clear. Let’s say there is a hetero and same sex couple, both equal in every way, both born-again Christians, they do all the same things are are the type of congregants pastors dream about; are they all going to heaven or is one going to hell or are they both going to hell, why or why not? i mean, they are both prodigals in that sense.

    ” Luke, I think what is hard for me to understand is why loving someone enough to point the way from sin and to God causes people to go ballistic. ”

    yeah, Fishon, before seminary talk like yours did drive my ballistic. that’s before i learned about the Theological Worlds. you are definitely in the world of the Sinner and that’s how you speak and what parts of the bible speak to you. just your reliance on being born again is evident in that. i’m not sure where i am any more, i used to be an Adventurer, but now prolly more Wounded Healer (like Henri Nouwen and Karl Barth). I am not a born-again, i never had the chance to be. I am more like the older brother in the prodigal story. i am what Moltmonn calls the “Once Born.” I am UCC and my forebears were the Puritans. They believed in the born-again experience and wanted everyone to have it, the problem though is that they were so scriptural and regulated their everyday life so much that their children never strayed and thus never had the born again experience. they started out “being born from above.” that isn’t to say that i don’t have a wonder and awe at Christ, i have about 5 to 10 epiphanies a day!

    so there’s a difference in our personal relationship with Christ, and our starting points for that relationship. this isn’t a bad thing! God is a God of great bounty and diversity. I don’t see this as a bad thing.

    “What doctrine is that? I am serious, I have never heard the methodist and baptist I know say that.”

    Christian perfection is a Christian doctrine which holds that the soul of the baptised Christian may attain a high degree of virtue and holiness and become entirely sanctified with the help of divine grace of Jesus. Wesley’s understanding of sanctifying grace is that perfection can either define the journey to perfection or the state of perfection. Christian perfection is commonly referred to as “going on to perfection”. This was picked up by the various “Holiness Movements” and is prevalent largely in conservative Christian circles like the Assemblies of God, Southern Baptists and such.

    Scripturally, this stems from Romans and from “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”–Matthew v. 48. As well as many others. A key sermon is from the great evangelist Charles Finney in his 1837 sermon <a href="http://www.gospeltruth.net/1837LTPC/ltpc08_christian_perfectio.htm""Christian Perfection."

    i love Christian History and diverse theologies. sorry if i am completely geek’n out. Plus i want to state for the record that I am UCC and a progressive Christian who is for the O&A movement (open and affirming). I have many LGBTQ friends and i support them as i support any couple who is committed to one another. You can read about my progress to becoming an ally in my post called “Liar”. I am happy we are having this conversation without getting too polemic about this. i am interested in hearing your concerns and your thoughts.

    peace!

  103. Societyvs says:

    “If I make sense, great. But if you are being sarcastic, then I really don’t expect you to want to dialogue with me anymore.” (fishon)

    Sarcastic? Huh? Why would you think that?

    Fishon you make sense and I get where you are coming from on this issue – I held your exact same views for at least 10 years…I even debated gay people about it being a ‘choice’. I get it…I understand what you are saying and why…I have been on your side foe an extended enough period of time to know the arguments.

    However, I don’t agree with that interpretation anymore because it’s just not dealing with the facts – it’s actually pretty blind to the facts and any external study done outside the biblical scriptures. I have read a lot on this issue (and am going to be doing some more) and have interacted with many gay people (many friends that are gay)…these interactions all helped me to learn a lot I was not told in that version of the faith.

    I had to change my thoughts on this issue, many great people were writing on the issue and were not coming to the same conclusion my self-centered (small) worldview was at. If I was going to be perfectly honest with myself and with God – I needed to examine all the evidence out there and take an honest look at what was being said about these scriptures and about the gay community in general. I took on that challenge. This was to search for the ‘truth’ in this issue – and I did not hold all the answers (humility).

    So I am asking you fishon to take a close look at this issue – read outside your usual world-view.

  104. Societyvs says:

    In the end it really all comes down to something simple ‘do I love the gay person as my equal or is my version of the faith going to always limit them’? I find the problem isn’t biblical – it’s internal.

  105. fishon says:

    Societyvs said, on February 10th, 2010 at 11:13 am
    “But good to know you can tell me that, and I can be secure that you have all the answers. But I really don’t need to explain it when the Bible makes it clear” (Fishon)

    Well I can say that same thing back Fishon, the bible makes it adamantly and totally clear that being in a gay, monogamous relationship is not the best standard of the law (but neither is divorce and we live with that pretty well)…but neither is it breaking it (ie: neither is divorce).
    ————Where does that make it clear in the Bible????

    For you, the bible makes it ‘clear’ – for me I don’t quite see it being that easy an issue. Then again, you don’t understand Torahnic law and interpretation procedures being used in rabbinic studies – which again I will let people know the disciples and Paul were clearly involved in (or the writer’s of the texts).
    ———–Well, I guess I am in great company. I won’t bore you with a list of names, all of whom you have heard of, and respected biblical scolars at that. Notice I didn’t say you don’t have a list——-But you will seem a little silly saying that those on my list ‘don’t understand Torahnic law….”

    YOU:I have explained the use of the law and the way it needs to be looked at from a variety of frames – not just from one spot – or we condemn people for doing nothing intentionally wrong (ie: boulder and murder example). This is being debated amongst Jewish rabbi’s in various streams of their faith
    ————–If your Jewish rabbis’ don’t follow THE JEWISH RABBI, I could care not one wiff what they have to say. Kind of like a Communist/Socialist professor trying to teach what the US Consitution says——-I won’t even listen. Close minded? Yep!
    fishon

  106. Trey says:

    Societyvs, I would expect fishon to bow out of this dialogue since you are adequately exposing that it is his personal bias against gays that is influencing his interpretation of Scripture. No one needs to show me biological or developmental studies to prove that I was either born gay or developed the orientation during the first years of life…I know it. And no one can prove to me that God doesn’t accept exactly the way I am…I know He does.

    Fishon and those like him will often use the alcoholic comparison to justify their blanket condemnation of homosexuals. Alcoholics, they point out, are most likely born with a genetic predisposition to be susceptible to addiction. And most conservative Christians would say that doesn’t make it ok for them to be drunks. Of course, they’re ignoring the fact that an alcoholic is destroying themselves and hurting those around them by being addicted to alcohol and that a gay person is doing neither (remember we’re talking about those involved in or seeking out loving, committed, monogamous relationships…not promiscuous behavior which can be physically and emotionally damaging).

    Fishon has filled this blog entry with misinformation that shows his fear and prejudice towards gays. He has compared us to drunks, “child molesters—serial rapist—murderers,” prostitutes, etc… . He has said gays are “destroying…the moral fabric of my nation” (FEAR) and “Like it or not …there are several sins, when practiced, that cause Christians and non-chrisitans alike to shun. Homosexuality is one of them.”(PREJUDICE).

    What is sad is that he thinks by saying and/or believing these things he is showing love to the homosexual. But perfect love casts out fear…if he perfectly loved, there would be no reason for him fear that we are destroying America…no fear for us to teach sunday school…and no fear of the future when homosexuals are accepted as equals, even in Alabama (where I live) or in whatever southern state fishon is in. Yes, the government will most likely eventually force you to accept us at some level, fishon, just as the South has been forced to accept other minorities. But just as your generation and mine have become more enlightened regarding racism and as a result have found it easier to accept racial minorites, your children and grandchildren will be more enlightened towards homosexuality and find it easier to accept than you do…and it won’t be as horrible as you imagine it to be. And then when we get to heaven and you’re surprised to see some of us gays there worshiping God right along with you, well all this will be forgotten and we can join hands and thank God he was gracious enough to accept sinners like us. I can only wish that you and others like you who actively participate in and perpetuate the religious persecution of my gay brothers and sisters might possibly grab a hold of this concept here in this life…and give us a break. 🙂

  107. fishon says:

    Societyvs said, on February 10th, 2010 at 11:21 am
    …in this case we have backwards people (in America – not Israel per se)
    —————Israel, no kidding! Like Israel is a good example——–The vast majority of Jews [especially native born] reject Messiah. They don’t even have that right.
    fishon

  108. fishon says:

    Luke said, on February 10th, 2010 at 11:30 am
    “so does that mean committed hetero’s are also sinful and thus stricken from the Lambs Book of Life
    ————-Yes.”

    ahh.. i should have been more clear. Let’s say there is a hetero and same sex couple, both equal in every way, both born-again Christians, they do all the same things are are the type of congregants pastors dream about; are they all going to heaven or is one going to hell or are they both going to hell, why or why not? i mean, they are both prodigals in that sense.
    ———Luke, I will take it that you are still wanting a good dialogue, so I will answer; however, I will answer knowing what is coming. I will dialogue with you about this, no one else, cause what we talk about will get lost, and it will turn to a mud fight with others. I would prefer to be face to face, because what you have asked me and the answers can be complicated to express, especially in this venue. However, I will try. Please give grace with my attempts; not necessarily my answers.
    *********First, you assume that I would call them “Born again.” Oh, by the way, I am meeting with a couple tonight that are living together. They have been attending church for 3 months. She claims to be ‘born again,’ he is searching.

    I believe that a person can be ‘born again,’ and yet continue to live in particular, purposeful sin for a time. However, after study and teaching, that person[s] will come to the conclusion that they are sinning [a drunk–me]. It is at that point that they will repent of that particular sin and cease from it. Therefore, if the hetero and same sex couples are truly ‘born again’ they will eventually come to the conclusion that they are in sin, and they will make it right with God. One other thing that might help you understand, not agree, but understand my positions is, I believe a person can “lose their salvation.” Not by raking up sins, but by denying Christ. Two ways to do that. One with the mouth, and the other by live-style. Would you not agree that a rapist is denying Christ with his/her life-style, whether saved or un-saved? Don’t forget, the prodigal left the Father once, and he could do it again. So, to be plain in my answer: if both hetero and gay couple are Christians and they die living out that life-style, I believe they will NOT go to heaven. NO USE ANYONE ELSE SCREAMING AT ME—I WON’T RESPOND–ONLY TO LUKE.

    YOU: that isn’t to say that i don’t have a wonder and awe at Christ, i have about 5 to 10 epiphanies a day!
    ————-Interesting.

    YOU:Christian perfection is a Christian doctrine which holds that the soul of the baptised Christian may attain a high degree of virtue and holiness and become entirely sanctified with the help of divine grace of Jesus. Wesley’s understanding of sanctifying grace is that perfection can either define the journey to perfection or the state of perfection. Christian perfection is commonly referred to as “going on to perfection”. This was picked up by the various “Holiness Movements” and is prevalent largely in conservative Christian circles like the Assemblies of God, Southern Baptists and such.
    ————-Now that you have refreshed my mind, I remember hearing some things about that. I know many AofG and SB, but never heard that from them. Not that there aren’t pockets of those who believe that.

    YOU:i love Christian History and diverse theologies. sorry if i am completely geek’n out.
    ———–Nope, not geek’n out to me.

    YOU: UCC————-Me, I am of the Church of Christ/Christian movement. I am NOT a part of the Disciples of Christ, arm, nor the Non-instrument arm. If you know church history, you know what I am saying.

    I have already checked out your site
    peace back at you,
    fishon

  109. fishon says:

    Societyvs said, on February 10th, 2010 at 11:33 am
    So I am asking you fishon to take a close look at this issue – read outside your usual world-view.
    ————-And your reason for thinking I haven’t read outside? And one other thing, I was totally outside of the Christian world-view for years———–lots of experience.

    And as far as facts———Societyvs, you have NO facts.
    OK, I will try this one more time.
    The gay lifestyle is NOT a choice, therefore?????
    The hundreds of thousands of men who are attracted to little girls have NO choice according to the same people that say gays have no choice, therefore?????
    Surely, in alllll your studies you have run across that teaching.
    fishon

  110. fishon says:

    Trey said, on February 10th, 2010 at 12:51 pm
    Societyvs, I would expect fishon to bow out of this dialogue since you are adequately exposing that it is his personal bias against gays that is influencing his interpretation of Scripture.
    ———–Dang, trey, you will notice we are still dialoguing.

  111. Luke says:

    Fishon,

    yeah, i saw that coming, but i was interested in exactly where you stood and what theological ideas you are working with. i’d rather hear it from you than assume. we do have vast differences in our theologies and relationship with Christ. for me, you can’t lose salvation. what is done is done. it’s not whether we believe in grace it’s that grace first believed in us and “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for our sins.” that includes rapists, straights, gays, etc. now i do care about morals and ethics but i also believe in transformations, as you do and have experienced.

    yet, as i have said before and will say again, i think where we differ is what we call a sin. we also differ on how best to express love, but the fact that the core of your being is based on love, i can’t argue.

    for me a committed homosexual couple is the same as a committed heterosexual couple; not the same as a rapist, pedophile, or drunk. why? first there is no evidence for pedophilia genetics, where there is for homosexuality. then there is the given definition: Pedophilia is, according to the American Psychiatric Association, a paraphilia that involves an abnormal interest in children. A paraphilia is a disorder that is characterized by recurrent intense sexual urges and sexually arousing fantasies generally involving: nonhuman objects; the suffering or humiliation of oneself or one’s partner (not merely simulated); or animals, children, or other nonconsenting persons. The biggest thing here is CONSENT. it has to be mutual, just as it does in heterosexual relations or else it is rape. And since those under 18 have no consent, that would be pedophilia. now you can argue man’s laws vs God’s law all ya want, but a “plain reading of the text” is the only way to get to that conclusion. knowing the socio-cultural context puts a whole new layer on things and thus those “clobber passages” can’t possible be about consenting and committed homosexual unions because that wouldn’t have crossed the minds of the authors based on their context. of course this delves into the issue of how one views the Bible and on that we more than likely disagree too.

    in my experience with the Holy Spirit i can say that when i meet a new group of ppl, i, like Peter meeting Cornelius (Acts 10:10-16), can only state “I didn’t know the Spirit was working here! We are a particular people!”

    yet i do admire your valor and passion for the Gospel and your concern for ethics and the moral fabric of our society. i do too. yet on this issue, we simply will have to agree to disagree. i still consider you a brother in Christ, i hope you consider me the same. thank you for the time and patience in your response to my questions! The peace of Christ be unto you!

  112. Trey says:

    Fishon said : “The hundreds of thousands of men who are attracted to little girls have NO choice according to the same people that say gays have no choice, therefore?????”

    How horrible of you to compare gays to pedophiles. Do you have no empathy?! Do you not see how painful that is or how that hurts me, your brother in Christ? And if you even THINK the phrase “the truth hurts” in response to that…you are deceived. A gay man or woman’s love for their partner is nothing like the rape of a child…it’s disgusting that you would even insinuate that…you have believed a lie.

    Fishon, your ignorance speaks for itself. You are not dialogging with anyone but Luke because Societyvs has revealed your inadequacies as a theologian. You don’t understand much beyond the simple English interpretations of the Scriptures and when someone like Societyvs points that out, you just ignore him. It was funny that when I used Scripture to rebut your claims that ALL homosexual activity is sinful…you just said that you weren’t going to offer counter points because I “obviously discount …scripture” What a farce.

  113. preacherlady says:

    Trey…the only thing you can do is forgive fishon because he honestly doesn’t know what he’s doing. He believes he has the TRUTH…doesn’t need to learn more and expand…and can accurately tell us who is going to hell. Just remember that when someone is being this hard assed with others, they’re also being that hard on themselves. He’s been taught in a tradition that is harsh and brutal and he doesn’t know anything else. Add to that the fact that he lives in a small town where he lives life in a fish bowl…his every move is scrutinized just by the fact that he lives in such an area. God has a sense of humor and there will come a day when he meets someone who really ministers to him and they will be gay. This is the only type of thing that will change him. He’ll just argue with us, tell us we’re wrong and buy into the lies he’s been fed. God will change all that…IF he’ll listen to God rather than condemning theologians. In the meantime, live in the knowledge that you are loved by your heavenly father and there are thousands of us who know this and love you as the brother you are, not in spite of the fact that you’re gay. That doesn’t enter into it.

  114. fishon says:

    Trey said, on February 10th, 2010 at 4:23 pm
    Fishon said : “The hundreds of thousands of men who are attracted to little girls have NO choice according to the same people that say gays have no choice, therefore?????”

    How horrible of you to compare gays to pedophiles. Do you have no empathy?! Do you not see how painful that is or how that hurts me, your brother in Christ? And if you even THINK the phrase “the truth hurts” in response to that…you are deceived. A gay man or woman’s love for their partner is nothing like the rape of a child…it’s disgusting that you would even insinuate that…you have believed a lie.
    ———The debate is about “”””Choice””””, Trey. Do you/they have a choice to your/their sexual orientation. You can raise up in righteous anger——-but that does not change the argument about choice that involves both gays and men who are attracted to….
    And as far as Luke using the American Psychiatric Association he/you might check on how many times they have played around with their definition of homosexuality. And they do NOT trump the Bible anyway.

    YOU:Fishon, your ignorance speaks for itself. You are not dialogging with anyone but Luke because Societyvs has revealed your inadequacies as a theologian.
    ——-There you go——-making unproven, what is the word you used for me {ignorance}, ignorant accusations against me.
    #1. Might you site for me and this audience where I even intimated that I was a “”theologian?””———–Forget it, Trey, you can’t find it. I have never—as David—portrayed myself as anything other than an under-educated, small town, rural, pastor. You make up things about me just like your gay arguments.

    #2. You better check out and see if Societyvs and me are still in dialogue. Here you go, exaggerator::fishon said, on February 10th, 2010 at 2:26 pm——-Still waiting for his reply.

    2 untruths spoken by you in one sentence:: You are not dialogging with anyone but Luke because Societyvs has revealed your inadequacies as a theologian.
    ———–Oh yea, I have been in dialogue with you—too. It may not be to your liking, but still dialogue. ———I will await the me being a theologian thing.
    fishon

  115. Trey says:

    :’-( Thanks, Alice. As soon as I think I’m over the hurtful fundamentalist rhetoric…someone comes along and says horrible things and it still hurts. I was raised a Southern Baptist in Alabama…you think I’d be used to it by now. Sometimes, I handle it fine…sometimes not so much. Anyways…thanks.

  116. Trey says:

    Fishon…what do you want me to say? If you are not a theologian, then what are you doing arguing theology (all this gays are going to hell stuff is based on your theology, right)?

    Fishon said: “NO USE ANYONE ELSE SCREAMING AT ME—I WON’T RESPOND–ONLY TO LUKE.” I took this to mean you were only going to dialogue with Luke. Seems pretty plain to me. And when people like societyvs or myself make valid points…you ignore them. That’s why I said what I said about you dropping out of the dialogue.

    Being a pedophile is not sexual orientation, fishon…and besides, that “choice” is hurtful to children. Even if being gay was a choice…who’s being hurt in a consenting relationship between two adults? People are not born pedophiles…when you ask a pedophile what his earliest known sexual attractions were, and they answer little girls…it’s not because they were a pedophile at age 9…it’s because they were a little boy who liked little girls. For whatever reason they never sexually matured. And if they can’t help it when they get older, then they have to be removed from exposure to children and lose freedoms because they may hurt them. Pedophiles and drunks aren’t asking people to accept the fact that it’s ok to be pedophiles and drunks because most of them, like you did when you were a drunk, know that what they are doing is harmful to themselves and others. Gays acting within the confines of loving monogamous relationships are hurting neither themselves or others yet people like you compare us to criminals. That’s not fair…that’s not right….so we stand up and protest and do what we can to educate the straight majority of the true nature of homosexuality…not the stereotype.

    The fact that you compare us to criminals is ignorance, fishon…I’m sorry it just is. Loving monogamous gay relationships are not comparable to the things that you compare them to…and those who compare homosexuality to pedophilia or alcoholism are acting out of fear and ignorance. That’s not an exaggeration

  117. nakedpastor says:

    This is to no one in particular, so please don’t take this personally anybody:

    I want to say I appreciate the wide diversity of opinions expressed in these comments. It reflects the possibilities of true dialog. Although I don’t believe we have attained true dialog yet (you can read my short list of what I think dialog looks like on an earlier post: https://www.nakedpastor.com/archives/4339), I’m hoping we might be able to get there eventually.

    I realize there are some strong views being expressed here on both sides. I welcome all views. I realize that there is going to be some painful things said. I value such voices as fishon’s here because he says it as it is from his camp. There are many people who share his opinion but would never be so clear about it as he is. I mean, he lays it out! Without fishon’s voice here we might be reduced to patting each other on the back, which is of no value at all.

    I recently read Cox’s new book on the Future of Faith. I agree with his opinion that the real problem with unity isn’t between religions, but between the more liberal branches and the fundamentalists. He feels that if we can’t dialog with fundamentalists, then the whole world is doomed and will go up in smoke. I agree.

    So… as people like fishon must grit his teeth as he responds to the liberal pinko commies, so must the liberal pinko commies be willing to grit their teeth and respond to the fundamentalists. Again, I only ask that we do everything we can to avoid abusive language. Let’s not call names. Let’s fight fair. And let’s hope that the unity that has been established among us will one day be made manifest by our efforts to keep it.

    blessings to you all. and peace.
    david

  118. Carla says:

    Thank you, David. Well said and difficult. As a lesbian, I have come up against this repeatedly…in the past. Not anymore. And that is largely because I have stopped trying to reason with those who hold such rigid beliefs and assumptions. The truth is that I, also, hold rigid beliefs and assumptions. I can’t be reasoned with around those beliefs and assumptions so why would I expect to be able to reason with others who hold to rigid beliefs? What softens me is genuine connection. And that seems to be what softens others, too. So these days, I look hard for a place of connection with those who hold different beliefs and assumptions than I do. I try to be kind no matter what (I don’t always succeed, of course!), and I find that kindness and openness are more often returned than not. And when that happens, sometimes…sometimes…a deeper discussion can take place, a deeper understanding, or at least some acceptance. I hope you will take a look at my blog post tomorrow because I speak to this just a little.

    I appreciate your voice and presence out there! You are brave.

  119. Trey says:

    Well, sometimes I want to call fishon names…but I don’t 🙂 I don’t think that exposing ignorance is name-calling though. There is a huge difference between ignorance and stupidity or being dumb. For instance, I will be willing to admit that there are lots of subjects that I am ignorant on…however sexuality and faith is not one of them. I have over a decade of experience on the subject, have read tons of books on both sides of the debate, and participate in conferences, small groups, and discussion panels about faith and homosexuality.

    I know people who have ignorant attitudes like fishon’s regarding homosexuality…that doesn’t make them dumb. Some, like my brother, are a lot smarter than I am. I also know people who hold to the same beliefs regarding homosexuals as fishon but who have gone out of their way to educate themselves on both sides of the debate…and even though they still think homosexuality is a sin, they don’t resort to the language and comparasions that fishon does…because they know that homosexuality isn’t anything comparable to pedophilia or alcoholism. For instance, look at the concessions Billy Graham made regarding his earlier hurtful comments about gays.

    I’m ignorant on lots of stuff…and fishon is, too…and David, I’d bet you’d be willing to say you are, too. When we continue to dialog on subjects that we’re ignorant of without the intent to try and learn, empathize, or gain understanding from those who aren’t ignorant of the subject…we just usually end up hurting others and someone needs to tell us to shut up. I know I would want someone to call me out on it if I started trying to convince fishon how to pastor people in rural counties of the Southern US…wouldn’t even know where to begin to connect to people like that.

  120. fishon says:

    Trey said, on February 10th, 2010 at 6:02 pm
    Fishon…what do you want me to say? If you are not a theologian, then what are you doing arguing theology (all this gays are going to hell stuff is based on your theology, right)?
    ————-I did not realize that someone had to be a theologian to discuss and argue Bible things??—————Is that a new rule?????

    Fishon said: “NO USE ANYONE ELSE SCREAMING AT ME—I WON’T RESPOND–ONLY TO LUKE.” I took this to mean you were only going to dialogue with Luke. Seems pretty plain to me.
    ————Only about that one small issue Luke and I were discussing. He brought it down to a couple short questions.

    Trey, we ain’t going to agree on this. But you hang on to the know-it-alls kind words. They no doubt make you feel better.
    fishon

  121. nakedpastor says:

    trey: I want to be sure you don’t think my comment was pointed at you, but I contributed it for the general health of this community. I agree: we need, we must, challenge ideas. The most intelligent of people can be the most violent. The stupidest of people can be the most loving. I invite and welcome argument, dialog, debate… in the challenge of ideas. I agree wholeheartedly with your point here. Thanks.

  122. Societyvs says:

    I make it my sole mission, on this issue, to read as much as I can about what Judaism thinks on this issue (since this is where those Leviticus passages originate from)…and to see what is actually being theologically said on this issue from that persepctive – just to prove I am not being ignorant in my wording on this blog (and to prove I am quite studious about the issue). I plan on reading a book on this exact issue from a Jewish perspective – that can happen soon enough it appears.

    I also will check into more scientific studies on the issue and see what is coming from that realm of study. I have some clue of what is being said – but fishin would like some biological facts – and to be honest – I will oblige him…I am getting pretty sick of this cross comparison between being gay and being a pedophile (as if they are even in the same realm). So I will review the choice ideology.

    But in the end, when I present all these obvious facts to Fishon – will they then be enough? I guess, we will wait and find out?

  123. Trey says:

    Fishon said: “I did not realize that someone had to be a theologian to discuss and argue Bible things??—————Is that a new rule?????” No, that’s a really old rule. It’s not really a good idea to argue so passionately about stuff you don’t know much about…I think Solomon put it this way: “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge.” Don’t be so eager to say hurtful things and make hasty comparisons for all of NP-world to see when you really don’t know that much about being gay and Christian. I’m not saying you don’t know your KJV backwards and forwards…but do you really have any clue what it is like to be gay your entire life and to love Jesus, too? I mean, really fishon…seriously…being gay is nothing like being addicted to alcohol or wanting to have sex with people underage. Don’t say stuff like that, man. Even if you do think it’s sinful and wrong…that’s just not the way to go about it. Even James Dobson doesn’t use such hurtful language like that any more, dude. Listen, I’m calling you out on this, man. Comparing gays to pedophiles…let’s break it down…comparing me or Caroline or Bob or Carla to a pedophile…is not right or Jesus-like, man…it just isn’t. And again…keep on believing that homosexuality is sinful if you want, I don’t care, but don’t take the extreme and use that to condemn all homosexuals. I mean, I think you’re quite a bit right of center, but you’re no Fred Phelps. You’ve made it clear that you wouldn’t turn away gay people from your church, for instance. Well, that’s good. I can admit that. I’m gay and you think that’s wrong…but at least I’m not promiscuous…at least I’m committed to a loving monogamous relationship and I still go to church and I still pray and love Jesus…isn’t that good? Isn’t that better than the alternative (the stereotype)? Am I like the angry drunk who comes home from the bar and yells at his kid for no reason…or like the pedophile who ruins the life of a young person to fulfill his lusts? No, I’m not.

  124. Societyvs says:

    “Where does that make it clear in the Bible????” (Fishon)

    Good point, where is it clear rape is wrong? I believed you asked that in this comparison once. Or abortion for that matter – a subject never approached directly in scripture. The fact is we have to find the intent behind the teachings and develop from there. No doubts rape is wrong and the bible seeks to protect ‘life’…

    “But you will seem a little silly saying that those on my list ‘don’t understand Torahnic law…” (fishon)

    Firstly, I’ll say ‘try me’. I am well aware the majority of Christianity has no understanding of Torahnic law since we do not read the rabbinic studies of people like Heschel or Maimonides (RamBam). There is a long history of interpretation that has been going on about the scriptures since at least 200 years prior to Jesus (and probably longer). The problem is Christianity does not care it actually grew out of Jewish roots – it severed those ties a long time ago. However, it still does not change the fact Judaism has grown as a seperate religion with complete works of interpretation on anything in the Tanakh – and they can be found at any local library (even on-line).

    “If your Jewish rabbis’ don’t follow THE JEWISH RABBI, I could care not one wiff what they have to say” (Fishon)

    That’s too bad, I have found in studying their interpretations Jesus’ become more clearer on intent and style. But that’s not an issue for you – right pardner?

    “The gay lifestyle is NOT a choice, therefore?????” (Fishon)

    You complain about me not providing facts – I will easily oblige you – give me time. But you have the audacity to call me to the carpet for nothing and present this sentence…with no facts whatsoever to back it either. This is a presumption. Prove it.

    “Israel, no kidding! Like Israel is a good example——–The vast majority of Jews [especially native born] reject Messiah. They don’t even have that right” (Fishon)

    I have studied some pretty extensively into Jewish history and I actually find I love it. They reject our version of messiah true – since it resembles nothing of the terms of the day type messiah they were talking about for at least 150 years prior to Jesus (during the Maccabee’s). You cannot see that we have co-opted version of the original messiah version the Jews were using during Jesus’ time period – which is all clearly found in the synoptics BTW. So you they reject our new Gentile God version of the messiah – they have to – it clearly breaks a commandment.

    As for having the ‘right’…you are not the one to tell them what they can and cannot do.

  125. Trey says:

    Societyvs, I think that’s awesome, man. Make sure you check out some of the studies on identical twins…where one is gay and one is not (epigenetics). If you get a chance, click on my name and go to my blog. I posted a short National Geographic video on the subject. I’m sure if it piques your interest you can find more in-depth stuff on-line.

  126. fishon says:

    Societyvs said, on February 10th, 2010 at 7:54 pm
    But in the end, when I present all these obvious facts to Fishon – will they then be enough? I guess, we will wait and find out?
    ————Good luck and finding what will fit your doctrine. I will stick with the Bible.
    You can find out right now———–First, you are not going to find the facts—I said facts——not your opinion about what some gay scientist/theologian says. Had Alice do that once—try to prove a gay issue by giving me a gay preacher[s] to read. Hehehe.
    And so as for you not to waste your time——-“will they then be enough?” You ask. No, Societyvs, it will NOT be enough. Don’t waste you time on me. I take the scriptures over mans knowledge anytime. The Bible hasn’t been proven wrong yet.
    Just being honest with you, man. I will not be moved.
    fishon

  127. fishon says:

    Trey said, on February 10th, 2010 at 8:01 pm
    Fishon said: “I did not realize that someone had to be a theologian to discuss and argue Bible things??—————Is that a new rule?????” No, that’s a really old rule. It’s not really a good idea to argue so passionately about stuff you don’t know much about…I think Solomon put it this way: “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge.” Don’t be so eager to say hurtful things and make hasty comparisons for all of NP-world to see when you really don’t know that much about being gay and Christian.
    ————-Ok, Trey, tell you what I am going do. I will give you some info that I have not used for reasons that may be apparent to you and others after I tell you. Now if makes no difference to me if you believe me, and I suppose most won’t——nothing I can do about that. So here goes, as you say, all over NP world.
    —————Hasty am I? Zeal without knowledge?
    I was raised as a girl for the first five years of my life. You know, the most formative years in our growth. I have many strong memories of the past. I have gone through and endured things you can’t imagine, and frankly, would not have God change a thing if it were possible. Trey, all your pontifficating about me not knowing what I speak, wrong. You “calling me out?” I doubt very much you have walked in my shoes.

    Ok, there it is——–you don’t believe me, no skin off my nose.
    And now all the amateur psychologists can have at it.
    And oh yea——some will say I still don’t have any idea what I am talking about.

    Trey, I know you think me hateful. But when we are having a dialogue about this stuff, tell me how can I get my point of view across, like, I believe that being gay is a choice, and then use what many, many others use to defend their so-called choice, little girls. Am I not suppose to use that in my arguement——why?
    fishon

  128. Trey says:

    Fishon, I’m not sure what to say…except if you were raised a girl the first five years of your life yet you’re *not* gay…that says a lot about the role of genetics and development in this whole thing. I was raised a boy…and I am gay…and I can never remember being attracted to girls. Fishon, if I could have chosen to not be gay I would have…I promise. Why would I have chosen this?

    But, no, I have not walked a day where I was raised as a girl…I have been called feminine names and bullied…but I was never actually dressed as a girl or played the role of a female. And, yes, there are huge psychological implications there…of which I am ignorant…so I will shut up about that.

    Fishon said: “Trey, I know you think me hateful…” Fishon, I tried not to use the words hate or hateful in any of my posts towards you…I don’t think I did…nor did I use bigot or intolerant. I actually don’t think you’re hateful…but the things you say about gays being like pedophiles…those are hurtful…and hurtful was the h-word that I used because that is what comments like that do to your brothers and sisters in Christ…they hurt.

    I’m sorry for what you went through as a kid, I really am. It’s disturbing. And I can see why this is a touchy subject for you now. A lot of those who most adamantly oppose the acceptance of homosexuality are those who have had bad same sex or gender experiences as kids. In my childhood…while not raised as a girl…I had some horrible, disturbing things happen and I promise…I could go toe to toe with you on that…but my, God, I don’t want to re-hash that here. Going on 4 years of therapy trying to deal with it. But as a result I was extremely anti-gay up until about 2 years ago. I empathize with you…and as I have said in earlier posts…I think you’ll be surprised to see me in heaven with you, as we all will be. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying…there’ll be 3 surprises when we get to heaven: 1-some of the folks you thought wouldn’t be there, are there, 2-some of the folks you thought would be there, aren’t, and 3-that you’re there. Even if we’re really darn sure we’re going to heaven…I think we’ll still all be really surprised when we actually get there.

    Fishon, I think I’m going to bow out of this dialogue…I really don’t think there’s anything else I can say or add. Gender issues and sexuality issues are not synonymous (hence the difference drawn between gay people and transgendered people), and I really don’t know much about gender minorities or gender identity issues. Although, it seems to have come up several times over the past couple weeks…maybe it’s time I tried to learn some more about it. Anyways, I’m out (no pun intended). 🙂

  129. fishon says:

    No doubt see you around the blog site, Trey.
    peace,
    fishon

  130. preacherlady says:

    David…I agree with you wholeheartedly that we need fishon’s voice on here but I also think he needs to be held to the same standards as everyone else…this is supposed to be dialogue but if he’s backed into a corner he comes out with a barrage of questions that are sort of related but avoids answering questions himself. He also makes up his own rules as he goes along…only specified people are allowed to answer some of his posts. He now won’t talk to me because I said he was damning people when he was condemning whole groups of people to hell. The dictionary definition of the verb to damn is to condemn to hell. He’s complaining that I referred to a gay author, Jeff Miner who wrote THE CHILDREN ARE FREE (trey…if you havn’t read it, do). Jeff is a Harvard trained lawyer, which tells us he certainly knows how to research, and an MCC pastor. He researched, with another man whos name evades me, topics which affected his life and which no-one had bothered to research before, but because the research was done by a gay man it was invalid according to fishon…if he had bothered to look at any of the references…generic ones…he’d find the research spot on. He dives in head first into areas he’s not familiar with and says some pretty hurtful things to and about people. Other than that I know he’s sincere, he isn’t setting out to hurt anyone even if he does…what he says is what he knows and having come out of legalism and litteralism myself, I know that he was also taught to stick to his guns no matter what some liberal said…thats compromising your faith. Thats why I told Trey to just forgive him…he honestly doesn’t know he’s hurting people.
    Now Jerry, why did you think that anyone who visits this blog would treat your news with anything other than love and compassion? Why would anyone even want to try to analyze what horrid things it did to your head? It doesn’t have anything to do with being gay…unless there’s more you aren’t revealing. It probably would make a wonderful book to tell your entire story and show the redeeming power of Christ. Just thinking of someone doing that to a child infuriates me. I have a close friend who is transgendered. I didn’t meet her until years after her surgery…she lived as a male for 18 years but they thought she was male. It was a genetic thing in which the body becomes male but the psyche becomes female. They simply adjusted her body to fit its inner workings. I know some of the struggle she’s been through, but I think somehow to be raised female for five years and then have to switch to male is much harder.
    2Cor.3:6 “…the letter killeth but the Spirit giveth life.” Grace and mercy must be included in how we interpret scripture and look at our fellow man. We are judged by the same standard we judge others. Judgement is not ours to give…only God decides who the sheep are and who the goats are…and I think we’ll be in for some surprises. Shalom…Alice

  131. Societyvs says:

    “Good luck and finding what will fit your doctrine. I will stick with the Bible” (Fishon)

    Stick with the bible will ya? Just the selective pieces you interpret to mean what you need them to say or the whole thing? You should know as well as I do Fishon – you are using your own (plus others) knowledge to interpret God’s words – admit it. You selectively choose certain people to listen to – namely from whatever Christian sphere you are comfortable with.

    Funny thing about the bible, it’s a complilation of 39 texts (Tanakh) and another 27 added in (NT). It is used by 2 faiths, not one, 2. You choose to have those 66 books interpreted through the lens of the last 27 books and letters – more specifically – via people’s interpretation of what those last 27 books are saying about the first 39 (which is actually quite small in content).

    Problem is ‘the bible’ is used by Judaism – namely those first 39 books and have been studied for some 2200+ years plus. They have seperate interpretations of scripture that do not match Christianity per se but reveal a whole new way of looking at Torah and Prophets.

    So when you say ‘I will stick with the bible’ – you actually mean the Christian version of what the bible means – and at that – a certain select interpretation of what the bible should be viewed as.

    I love how you come up with this stuff…this ‘us’ and ‘them’ categories to justify your interpretation of the bible…dude…me and you are in the same boat here with interpretation…so quit living in da Nile.

  132. Societyvs says:

    “I take the scriptures over mans knowledge anytime. The Bible hasn’t been proven wrong yet.” (Fishon)

    I am guessing man’s knowledge is ‘science’ or ‘stats’ or ‘proof’.

    As for the bible not being proven wrong yet…that all depends on what we are looking at and for in the bible. I know for a fact the NT contains clear cut mistakes when quoting some passages from the Tanakh – changed passages or added together passages that create a ‘new passage’.

    As for the biblical record itself – scripturally it is very diverse and does not contain all the same message…we’d love to believe it does…but any average reader can pick out the diversity.

    James and Paul – those 2 letters alone – reveal a difference in focus in the early church – which is clearly attested to in Acts 15 (and Galatians 2). The 3 synoptics contain 80% of the same message – and John is very different (different message and ideas even used). We all admit there is clear distinction between the Tanakah and the NT (hence, old and new testement). Revelations reveals an idea that is not really mentioned in a single aspect of the gospels or letters – concerning Jesus. Hebrews outlines a version of the atonement that exists nowhere else in NT scripture – namely from Jesus’ own teachings.

    I know we want to see one unique and linear message in the NT – I thought there was once upon a time. Now I know how those texts were complied and included into the canon – and they are meant to reveal a diversity in Christianty that has always existed from it’s beginning (Jerusalem Council to Gentiles to East/West churches united under Rome).

  133. Luke says:

    “And as far as Luke using the American Psychiatric Association he/you might check on how many times they have played around with their definition of homosexuality. And they do NOT trump the Bible anyway.”

    awww Fish, we were having such a good discussion too! This is called a genetic fallacy. your claim of “they change the definition” tries to under-cut the argument itself “at the knees” so to speak… but let me remind you that you changed your self-definition from drunk and unsaved to “drunk with the new wine” and saved (get the Acts reference, i’m kinda proud of that one ;-)) things change and when we know better we do better. same with the APA, same with me, same with LGBTQ people, and same with you.

    take care Fishon, we’ll be chatting around this blog, i’m sure. although i wish to convert you to O&A i see that won’t happen….yet, the only thing i ask of you is make sure your love shines through first. i think you did it in our discussion, i hope you can do it in the future with those like Trey and SVS when things get heated.

  134. Luke says:

    @David,

    i think you’re absolutely right! many times i find myself having more in common with atheists and agnostics and those of other religions than i do with the more conservative brethren in my own faith. great insight, thank you for sharing… now i will steal it and act like i came up with it! 😉

  135. I am glad that the doc spawned this kind of discussion.

    Lonnie is difficult to wrestle with because his memory polarizes. On the one hand, very influential. On the other hand, he wrestled with homosexuality, and the Church is not great at dealing with sexual issues period, let alone same-sex issues.

    It is getting better, however.

    Thanks for watching.

    dd

  136. nakedpastor says:

    Hi David Di Sabatino. As the writer and director of the film, I want to personally thank you for your valuable contribution to this discussion, not just here but generally. I found it thought provoking and helpful. I just have one thought though: the film seemed to me to be more progressive than your written appendix contribution to Jackson’s The Radical Middle. Some years had passed between the two. I’m wondering what brought about the change.

  137. David Di Sabatino says:

    Hello there…

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Lonnie was a tough story for me because I was drawn to him because of the stories that were told about his spiritual power, like he was an old testament prophet. I was raised in a church setting where it was taught that extravagant faith was the key to unlocking God’s power in your own life, that you too could become a giant of spiritual power.

    Along the way, though, you get a little more information and it not only broadens your perspective, but also muddies the water. Nothing is as clear cut as it was in Sunday School.

    With Lonnie, you realized that along with perhaps being this person with a unique ability to draw and influence others, he was also a guy that struggled to the core of his being with sexual issues.

    Dealing with that issue was tough for me because I didn’t have any interest in it, nor did I have much understanding. But I asked. And I did whatever research I could. And I came to the conclusion that I didn’t much like people dismissing certain actions while winking at others. I felt that there was some hypocrisy in how the church deals with homosexuals. Whether or not they believe that homosexuality is a sin is moot. Why treat this differently than obesity or cheating on your taxes? And what I learned was that it had nothing to do with Scripture or spiritual convictions, but people were acting out of societal stigma against homosexuality.

    And I found that just plain wrong.

    As to the question of whether being a homosexual is acceptable, that is an issue that one man’s life cannot answer. I didn’t think Lonnie’s life spoke to that issue at all. So all I could say to that when asked was that Lonnie himself was convinced that it was a sin, and he never moved away from that position to one of believing that it was okay.

    It is such a charged issue…and I really feel for those who feel that they are homosexual but feel the sting of the church’s scorn. I appreciated Chuck Smith, Jr’s statements that we have to find a way for people of all situations to find solace in some part of the Church if they so desire it. I cannot imagine that God turns his face away from anyone. So why should we?

    dd

  138. nakedpastor says:

    DD: Thanks again for your response. I also appreciated Smith Jr.’s words. I wouldn’t equate homosexuality with obesity or tax-evasion. However, his point that we embrace one and not the other is taken. We are planning on having a movie-night with our community to show the film, followed by a discussion. Should be interesting!

  139. Trey says:

    DD & NP, I really appreciate your dialogue here. NP, I too don’t think we can compare homosexuality to obesity or (especially) tax-evasion. Of course, this comes from a personal conviction that sexuality is innate and not a choice. What is a choice is how it is expressed…and I would argue that this is what Lonnie struggled with. Having sex without commitment or, worse, with random strangers is indeed sinful as it causes emotional and (in the case of Lonnie) physical damage to oneself and others. But, in the 70s there was even less acceptance of homosexuality in the church and I wonder if Lonnie ever seriously considered that a loving committed homosexual relationship was an option. As a result, his sexuality was expressed in unhealthy and sinful ways which led to a sin cycle fueled by shame, guilt, and self-rejection. I wonder if he was around today (at a time where the church is becoming more and more accepting of committed gay relationships), if he might have a different mission…one that includes fighting religious persecution of gays. Any thoughts regarding this, David(s)?

    I like what DD said: “Whether or not they believe that homosexuality is a sin is moot.” Even if one can’t agree with my perspective above…unless the homosexual is going to harm you or your loved ones…what is the point in rejection? And that’s what it is…people are scared that homosexuality is going to *harm* them and their children…that it is going to “destroy the moral fabric of their nation” or “ruin the familial institution”. Amazing how quickly we tend to lose confidence in the omnipotence of God when we get scared. But yeah, it hasn’t much to do with scriptural convictions…people interpret scripture through the lens of their personal bias.

  140. nakedpastor says:

    Trey: I think it would be very very interesting if he were around today. To challenge the persecution of gays is one my priorities, and I would hope the church’s.

  141. David Di Sabatino says:

    Just for clarity’s sake, my statement about obesity and cheating on taxes was simply to point out that I am of the opinion that all sin separates from God … and thus, why are we targeting sexual abrogations, perceived or real, as more grievous.

    When I was doing the film I didn’t get many people taking me up on that either…so, not to worry. But I know that the Bible talks about gluttony in pretty stark terms. So I would trot out the question of why, if Lonnie was a fat guy per se, he wouldn’t have gotten as much grief. Nobody would have said a darn thing to him if he was pounding down burgers…but a same-sex liaison, THAT was grounds for immediate dismissal (at least in the Vineyard, not in Calvary Chapel.)

    People balked at the comparison of gluttony to homosexuality…and I guess my question was why is one so charged with guilt and emotion while the other we don’t really care so much about. My point was to suggest that it is social stigma and not scriptural belief that is driving this negative animus towards sexual stuff. And thus, this negative bias against people who commit sexual sin comes from something other than what the church claims God has said to them through the Bible.

    It is fine to believe that not all sins are created equal. I believe that myself. I think that cheating on taxes doesn’t have the same ramifications as adultery which harms innocent parties. BUT…if the Church is going to claim and treat sexual deviance (if in fact that is what they believe it is) with such force over and against all other indiscretions, how do they justify that…and how isn’t it hypocritical of them when they simply wink at other things that are clearly outlined by Jesus’ own words as grievous.

    Again, that is the forensic theologian that lives within me.

    dd

  142. nakedpastor says:

    DD: Well said, and I agree. This is what I understood you to mean. I pastor a Vineyard church, so this story strikes to the core.

  143. David Di Sabatino says:

    As to the question of Lonnie’s thoughts about homosexuality, he always believed that it was a sin. Always. I have some teaching tapes where he talks about people trying to teach that “gay is okay”…and he is nixing that. It wasn’t something he talked about a lot, though.

    Too, and I realize this rubs some the wrong way, he believed that sexual abuse had been the cause of his struggles. He was grieved by it all, and at the end of his life was finally putting his running away from his problems to an end and trying to connect the dots between what happened to him at a young age and how his life had been shaped.

    One cannot say where he would have landed. All I can tell you is what his mindset was at the time. As this story got some play, even at the highest levels of the movie business to make it into a feature (we were signed to an option by the guys who did Philadelphia and Silence of the Lambs), one of the fears we had was that someone would turn Lonnie into a homosexual hero (like Harvey Milk). But that would be unfair to who he was.

    Yes, the 1970s were a very different time. I think in dropping the ball with Lonnie there sprang up various ministries to deal with people struggling with sexual issues, especially at The Vineyard. But they are still intent on changing or curbing the homosexual urges into heterosexual ones.

    dd

  144. nakedpastor says:

    I think you are right.

  145. Trey says:

    I know all too well what it is to reject the “gay is okay” teaching…even from the pulpit. As a former missionary and minister in the evangelical church, the fact that I was a gay man terrified me. My rejection and fear of myself fueled my own sin cycle and resulted in very poor decision making and very unhealthy expressions of my sexuality. It still happens on a regular basis with thousands of gay ministers…from Ted Haggard to the Methodist youth minister I met for lunch last week. Lonnie’s story is a tragedy that is being repeated over and over in the evangelical church. When will it end?

  146. DD great to see you weighing in here!

    This is really an important point. Lonnie is a particular person from a particular context – I wonder how much of an option he would have had in terms of forming a gay-identity. Probably not much at all.

    I like to talk in terms of identity because I am confident that it is not identity that we can attribute the sin stigma to. But at the same time identity is complex and so we have room for many approaches – from views of identity transformation to identity reconciliation (meaning one reconciles oneself with one’s identity). In terms of identity then it becomes a pastoral practice of helping folks determine what is the healthiest way forward, trusting the internal wisdom of their own lives and the work of the Holy Spirit. I would suspect that from this vantage we would have legitimate work done on this from various perspectives. But the overall emotional, mental and spiritual health of individuals would be the primary target.

    I think this is a much tougher approach, it must begin with an openness to let people walk out their identities in ways we might not personally be comfortable with. But if we are looking for something comfortable then religion isn’t a good place to be looking! This approach means we love and support individuals, but we are also allowed to develop our own understandings and convictions. That is important to me – if one side foists their view on the rest then we just have endless arguments, but if we can move past our selfish desires to not be challenged – then who knows what God might do. I’m sure there are godly men and women working out the implications from both sides of this – and that they are pleasing the heart of God in the process. I think we are too quick to depersonalize this and miss that we are talking about complex individuals who are trying to figure out, like all of us, what it means to be made in the image and likeness of God and yet have a whole intact personal identity which can include same-sex attraction.

    I think that in the long term I would love to see a church where we can all, regardless of how we understand our identity, come to worship our Creator and learn to love each other. That in this place, folks convinced that healing is their best option are free to pursue that, and those who are convinced that their identity is integral to who God made them to be are likewise able to live that out fully in the same community of God. That is the utopian vision that drives me. Certainly, you find me fighting more for the rights of LGBT people to live as LGBT people in Christian community – but that is because I think they are the ones not allowed to have a voice. And this is regardless of my own personal convictions on the subject. I think that when we turn to language of sin we short circuit this vision completely.

  147. Trey says:

    Frank said: “I like to talk in terms of identity because I am confident that it is not identity that we can attribute the sin stigma to.”

    I think your post is really interesting…but some of it went over my head. Would you mind explaining this comment a bit further? Thanks 🙂

  148. Sorry about that. I was really just thinking out loud.

    When we talk in terms of sin or behaviour, then it is really easy to paint a black-and-white picture. But this is less easy when we bring it away from theological terms and into psychological terms. Meaning that maybe strict theology doesn’t help us here as much as we would like. (BTW I am a professional theologian.)

    Most of the polemics I encounter has to do with behaviour (making heteronormative folks uncomfortable) and/or an uncritical reading of several isolated texts (using the category of sin exclusively, so we are really talking about behaviour again.) So terms like a homosexual lifestyle and homosexual activity are easily painted as bad or good, with no points in between. Once you are there the arguments about comparison with other sins, ones Christians are more comfortable and therefore tolerate if not enjoy, is inevitable. I think that is a rabbit trail. I think there is a real issue in terms of sinful behaviour – but I’m not convinced that we have adequately judged in this area. (For instance I’m fairly confident that promiscuity is sinful, especially when it comes from a place of lust, but I’m less convinced that my committed same-sex friends are sinning by expressing their love physically any more than I am sinning when my wife and I express our love physically – even though I think we can be if we are acting out of lust or as a means of asserting power over one another, but that is another story).

    What I am suggesting is that instead of behaviour we begin to look at the hearts of individuals. At least try to see their hearts. Sexual orientation does not save you or preclude you from salvation. So our primary concern as Christians is the walking out of this ‘saved’ life. What we discover, pretty quickly, is that that walking out is a fairly unique (to the individual) process. God leads us through issues of identity malformation, character maturation, etc. (Often this leading doesn’t go exactly the path we would like, but God is good at it – so I happen to think we should trust God to be God.) A big part of what we bring to that adventure is our self-identity. Identity has a lot of components, some of which have to do with sexuality and gender.

    I’m proposing we look at that aspect. I think that for some our sexual identity is broken and as we grow in our relationship with God there are opportunities for that to be healed. (I have friends who would claim that part of their healing in this area was to learn to accept and embrace their homosexuality.) That is the transformation aspect I mentioned. Others would actually find that it is about accepting their core identity. (I have friends who have come to accept their homosexual identity but believe that it is a cross to bear and bring that full awareness into a heterosexual relationship.) I deliberately turned the tables on my two examples. I think we need to see it both ways. See Identity as something that is both fixed and transformable. I see this as a mirror of the tension we live in where there are moments of the world being exactly as God desires and lots of moments where we ache and yearn for that reality to come bursting into the present. What I think we need to do though is ditch our need for heteronormative comfort as if that adequately represents the heart of God on the issue of homosexuality.

    I’ve probably made is less clear. Perhaps that is because my subject is not simple. We’ve wanted it to be simple, but it is people and people are not simple. We are complex and God loves us that way, at least that is why I believe God created such a wondrous diversity of life.

  149. Trey says:

    @ Frank. I’m following. I like how you turned the tables in your examples. I have been damaged by the “ex-gay” movement which asserts that we can and should allow God to “heal” our homosexuality. Recently, I engaged one of the leaders within that movement in a lengthy dialogue that lasted three or four months. I really did believe that he had found a way to “bear his cross” and in turn enjoys a relatively happy life with his wife and children. Unlike many gays who discount the testimonies of ex-gays as “lies” or “temporary”, I think it is possible for some to re-train or re-program themselves (to an extent) and to be able to find fulfillment in a heterosexual relationship…I just think it is very rare and that most of the time a lot of people end up hurt trying to reach that goal. The fact that the testimonies of those damaged by ex-gay teaching outnumber, seemingly 10 to 1, those changed by it point to this.

    The problem is when we tell everyone that they must participate in the heteronormative (cool word 😉 ) projection of relationship or family…*or else*. That’s why I like your take on the subject. The damage is done when we try to apply a “thou shalt not” blanket condemnation to the situation and pigeonhole people into a single acceptable expression of sexuality. It’s like praying for someone to be healed and then, when they’re not healed, blaming it on their lack of faith. Some people are made whole in their disability…their abnormality…or their sickness. *Not being healed* seems to be their purpose or identity (Randy Pausch and Helen Keller come to mind). And not being healed is the norm…in life and throughout the Bible. How inspiring is it when someone with an abnormality or disability lives a successful and exceptional life?! The moral of the story: celebrate abnormality, don’t shun it.

    As a gay believer, I am quite convinced that the original plan of God was not homosexuality…that it wasn’t the original “design” (a simple inventory of body parts does well to illustrate this point). However, neither is autism or any other random birth abnormality. So, whatever the reason, there are gay people that will always be gay and the vast majority of whom are not going to be chaste and are not going to be able to successfully or happily sustain a heterosexual relationship. What then is the role of the children of God, and especially the leaders within the religious institutions (the opinion-makers), in regards to our gay brothers and sisters? And this may be where we disagree, Frank.

    It is my belief that the church has a responsibility to stand up to the teaching that proclaims that we should not be “practicing” gays…the teaching that it is sinful or disgraceful or shameful for gays and lesbians to have loving, committed relationships with same-sex partners. We should promote gay marriages or civil partnerships because they encourage monogamy, fidelity, and commitment. Saying nothing or not taking a stance against that message is promoting the alternative – shame and promiscuity. My point is, it’s great to allow others to develop and have their own “understandings and convictions” but what about when their convictions harm other people?

    One pastor may have the conviction that interracial marriage is sinful and then this pastor projects this conviction onto their congregation with the support of scripture. The interracial couple hears this message and internalizes it…feels that God has deserted them. Being unable to deny their feelings for one another, convinced that what they share is the *opposite* of sinful…they discount what they hear and throw the good out with the bad. In this case…I believe it is time to “foist” my conviction that this pastor’s conviction is wrong…in order to protect the innocent and stand up for what is right.

    What’s really difficult for me to swallow is the fact that our message…loving, monogamous, committed same-sex relationships are pleasing to God…is being drowned out by “gay pride” and the voice of those who have thrown God out with the bathwater. Why? Because we won’t speak up. Mel White can’t do it alone. In order for things to change, pastors and Christian leaders who believe that acceptance, fidelity, and monogamy are a better alternative to shame and promiscuity have got to speak up and speak out against the teaching that states *all* homosexual expression is sinful…and proclaim that message as misinformed, damaging to God’s children, and unchristian. I know that is very “black and white” but some things are just wrong. Would you disagree?

  150. David Di Sabatino says:

    I love the word heteronormative.

    And I found it interesting to hear someone to compare homosexuality to other things that were not in Plan A, but now are things we now have to deal with. I have a stepdaughter that has Downs Syndrome, and as much as I fully believe that she is much more developed along the lines of loving her fellow human beings, I am also not convinced that her predicament was ever Plan A.

    One of the things that I dropped along the way was any sense of literal biblical interpretation that I had left. I was raised in a very fundamentalist setting, where pointing to Bible verses ripped out of context was biblionormative (ha!). Not much discussion was ever given to really listening to the journey of the other person, and I must say that as I was researching this story I met some very nice people who looked me straight in the eye and said that when I was experiencing the first pangs of opposite sex attraction they were experiencing that for someone of the same sex.

    Does quoting Leviticus or Romans 1 really help this person?

    I really then was driven back to understanding how we interpret this Book that causes such consternation for so many in this area. Does what someone said 2000 years ago apply as a blanket statement for all? What if you aren’t interpreting it right? And, Lord knows the interpretations of verses and pericopes have warped and woofed over the years. Do we now have to interpret the homosexual in the context of a fresh 21st century reading of the Scripture?

    One of the things that helped me was something called the Wesleyan Quadrilateral; a method of interpretation that all people who interpret Scripture use, but very few admit to using. It suggests that there are four criterion by which we come to a conclusion; Scripture, reason, tradition and experience. (It always makes me laugh to hear biblical literalists shut the door on experience outright in their claims that revelation has ceased. How can you negate that experience was the manner in which the Bible came about, namely that men and possibly women were moved upon by the Holy Spirit to commit their feelings/thoughts to writing.)

    In listening to homosexuals tell their story, I became very aware that we were doing such damage to the psyche to try and shoehorn everyone in to such strict parameters. If someone tells you that their journey began without abuse or a strict father figure or domineering mother or whatever other negative stereotype that heteronormatives look for their “aha” moment of misguided pathology discovery, then maybe we should just shut up and listen to that. And incorporate it into our thinking. Isn’t experience part of the manner in which we understand our world? And doesn’t the Holy Spirit promise to “lead us” into all knowledge? Doesn’t that presume that there is more knowledge to be had?

    I don’t know what the answer is to all of these questions. I don’t really have a dog in this fight, but I am very sad that so many people are being hurt by the conservative element of the church who are so certain that we can change everyone with prayer, fasting and heteronormative porn (ha, plus encore).

    Just kidding about the porn. (Just seeing if anyone awake after all that blathering…).

    dd

  151. heteronormative comes out of gay and queer theology. I think it is a helpful word.

    Trey, I think we aren’t that far apart. I think my ultimate view is utopian – where we can live in tension of a variety of positions but still get along without resorting to a sort of relativism that makes it impossible to be critical. And certainly our hearts are that the critical element needs to come squarely on where our ideas and practices damage individuals. Unfortunately, much of what is called love in common Christian practice is really fear and posturing. And I am right there with you fighting that sort of ignorance and abuse.

    DD, I have a good friend with a downs child and we got talking about some of the research into downs and autism and there is a sense that there is a evolutionary movement in our species that is going on. Some would say it is an advance even. If they are right then maybe some of how we understand plan A is based on faulty understandings of our species. But isn’t that just the problem you are talking about – we want to institutionalize our interpretations. There is nothing wrong with institutions – provided it still serves the people/community. But when the institution is grinding people underfoot then I think it is right to raise questions. What I feel many Christians miss is the incredible ability of the Christian message to adapt over time and reach into so many different cultural/historical moments.

  152. Christine says:

    Utopian… this is the part where I would normally criticize this as an unrealistic ideal… except that I attend Frank’s church.

    I came out to our small Vineyard congregation in Ontario just over a year ago now, something that was precipitated by my realization that I was in love with my current partner. The refreshing part of this utopian approach was that I was never told what to do or think; neither that my feelings were sinful, nor that I had to reject that view and accept my sexuality. My experience was of a church that told me, “There’s a debate going on. It’s not black and white,” and gave me just enough insight into these camps that I could do my own research and draw my own conclusions. The only firm position was that, whatever I decided, I would be accepted, and so would my choice.

    They say you don’t get a choice in being gay. For the vast majority, that is likely true. Fortunately, I was one among few who got a free, genuine, pressure-free choice about my response to being gay. To get that in the church was a gift I am thankful for every day.

    My partner moved to our city a few months later and began attending the church with me. We continue to be very happy there and are full participating members of the congregation. I am involved in ministry, leading worship every other week, and have never felt that my orientation was an issue in my involvement in this loving and accepting group.

    Outside of this small group, it is, sadly, a very different story. But I believe we have an example of what acceptance could look like. Even within our congregation, there are those who believe same-sex sex is a sin, and others firmly opposed to that view, and still others in between or still undecided. I feel accepted by them all and no one has questioned whether I belonged there or challenged to what extent I could participate. I believe those with differing views also feel accepted, and do not feel ostracized or accused of intolerance for their beliefs. Sometimes we side-step the issue, but there have also been frank and honest conversations on the topics, and even some degree of understanding between those with radically different views.

    I cannot express how blessed I feel that I was a member of this group when I began to accept my orientation. For myself and my partner (who I met many years ago in a fundamentalist church), our Christian faith has been too important in our lives, and in our friendship, to have been abandoned. I do not know how we would have faced being abandoned by those with whom we shared that faith.

    I believe the Vineyard has allowed our congregation to explore this possibility. It is that freedom that I see as the Vineyard’s strength as an organization; that it can accept diversity. This may indeed make the Vineyard a place where the question of being gay in the church can be explored, and explored well.

  153. nakedpastor says:

    Christine: Thanks so much for your beautiful comment. It is a testimony to true community.

  154. Trey says:

    I really did appreciate that testimony, Christine. My question is this…and you’ll see some of my vulnerability here, but I’ll share it anyways. Since you are in love with your partner, you know that what you two share together is exceptional and beautiful. If you’re like me you may tear up a bit thinking about it…full of gratitude for what God has blessed you with. How then, knowing how beautiful what you share is…knowing it is a gift from God, are you able to effectively participate in a congregation where others view this most intimate part of you as sin?

  155. Can I jump in here.

    If community is about all of us agreeing to believe the same thing then is it really community? Christine came out long after we had gotten to know her and her heart for God. Much as I would like to think otherwise, it would probably have been harder on people if she initially came to our church in a same-sex relationship. In a sense her coming out in our congregation has been a gift to us in that it allowed us to also have our own difficult transition. We had talked about the inclusion of homosexuals before, but without someone brave enough to journey with us like that, it still remained very much theoretical. And people have a tremendous tolerance (ability to hold opposite ideas in tension) when they feel community.

    Also as pastor, I bet I hear more of the different sides of this than Christine does. But, as with all of the people in Freedom, I always try to walk through with the person sharing what are their concerns and how is it something they are struggling with and that they should not project that onto others. It is one thing to believe homosexual relationships are sinful (I’m sure though that it is really more the sexual component that has people uncomfortable) and another thing to try and project that value on another. Holding a view is not the same thing as imposing that view on others – that is the mistake we made in colonizing Africa with missionaries. One of the things I do is direct those people to prayer – pray that God will change the situation but don’t assume that how that is answered is going to be an imposition of what you think needs to happen. Give room for God to be God.

    And the frank part of it is that those who can’t live in that tension will leave. What makes my heart glad though is that we actually have a good number of people who are wrestling with this and are staying. That gives me hope. If you ask them they have no trouble articulating where they are at. No one is telling them to hide their beliefs. But often what I’m hearing is that while they have strong convictions, they also feel that they need to extend grace. I feel very blessed to be part of this community.

    Just to be clear about one things Christine said though – the Vineyard really hasn’t had a choice. I’ve only really come out recently that we are walking this out as a congregation. I think there is a lot of grace there, but I am sure it is not going to be welcomed by all the pastors. I might get away with it because folks know me, know my heart and also know that I gravitate to working with groups that most churches don’t even want to know how to walk with.

  156. Trey says:

    This is a personal struggle of mine. I’m interested in how Christine has dealt with it. I have several gay Christian friends that attend accepting churches, but where the leaders and some in the congregation still hold to a belief that they are sinful for “practicing” their sexuality. I’ve asked some of them this same question and their response for the most part has just been avoidance…they get a bit uncomfortable and just kinda sweep it under the rug. I have a difficult time doing that. My sister, for instance, a Southern Baptist, told me shortly after I came out to her that if I didn’t repent I would go to hell. I fear that her belief has done irreparable harm to our relationship. She puts on a smile around me now and says she loves me…even attended a conference on how to “love your gay friends and family without compromising your faith” (what a crock). I don’t want to spend time with her. Why would I want to hang around someone who feels that what I share with my partner is sinful? That’s hurtful to me because it is an affront to who I am at my core. I do not feel accepted by those who hold to this viewpoint because they do not accept this vital part of my identity. I’m interested in how Christine and other Christian gays and lesbians are able to feel accepted by people who believe their relationships are sinful. I admit my ignorance here…I’m not stating anything, I really want to know. Also, if there are any gay republicans reading this…please explain to me how that works, too 🙂

  157. Christine says:

    Thanks, Frank. And yes, perhaps I wasn’t so clear about the Vineyard. I think the fact that we can have such a congregation in the first place, the type of group we have, is very encouraging, and one of the clear benefits of the Vineyard. It makes this initiative possible, but the initiative itself is not necessarily accepted.

    Trey – A question I anticipated getting. Not to say that it isn’t challenging sometimes, strange and awkward even, but I think there is a lot of give and take going on.

    “How then, knowing how beautiful what you share is…knowing it is a gift from God, are you able to effectively participate in a congregation where others view this most intimate part of you as sin?”

    While I face this difficulty, I try to put myself in the shoes of those who would call my relationship sinful (given my own background, not a remarkably difficult thing to so). If (and when) I believed that, I doubt I could have accepted having someone in ministry in my congregation that I believed was living a lie, accepting something sinful as a central part of their lives and identity. I think it takes a lot of compassion for those in my church who disagree with me to accept me. In fact, I am amazed by it. How would I be any better if I could not respect them for that courage and for a position I once myself held?

    I think the difference is the way in which they (seem to) accept me:

    – Neither my relationship nor my orientation is reduced simply to a sinful behaviour. That I believe I am gay, that being gay is a real part of my experience as a person and not something I can simply walk away from, seems to be acknowledged. Opinions would vary on why this is so, and what I should do about it, but not that it is. Neither is the reality of my relationship denied, nor the love my partner and I have for each other. This in itself is very liberating.

    – There is a sense that we are all seeking God together, all trying to determine what he wants for us, and all making mistakes along the way. I’ve been told that, when I’m ready, I’ll see God’s way for me. But not in a condesending way, in a way that says “I’m waiting for my answers too, maybe those answers you’ve already received and we can learn from each other.” I don’t feel that my relationship with God or the depth of my faith is questioned because of my orientation. I do not feel condemned.

    – I don’t feel stereotyped. I am accepted for me, with being gay seen as only one aspect of who I am.

    – I am free to express my beliefs. I can say freely that I believe that my relationship is beautiful, a gift from God, that I believe I am doing the right thing. The fact that I believe it is accepted and acknowledged, even if others believe differently. My beliefs are respected.

    I should clarify that no one really says these things, and I doubt very much they make a conscious effort to project them. It is how I *feel* about how people treat me in our congregation, how their acceptance appears to me. It is more how they treat me than what they think. But it shows me their heart, how they feel about me, even if our theologies would find little common ground. They love me, genuinely, truly, and I them for their generous hearts. How then could we not want to be in community together?

    It helps though, too, that I am not alone on the issue in my congregation. There are as many who would never call my relationship sinful who have been a great source of support and are simpathetic to my frustrations.

    I marvel at the idea of “gay churches”. I actually heard the term “mixed congregation” recently to refer to a church where both gay and straight people attend. That kind of segregation seems very dangerous, isolating. Nor would I want to be cut off from the broader church community, only able to fellowship with those with whom I shared one particular belief because of my orientation. That would not be a marked improvement. It is our differences that strengthen us, and our ability to find commonalities through our differences that show us the love of God. I only wish the broader church community had the same love and acceptance for me as all of those in my congregation.

  158. David Di Sabatino says:

    I too liked Christine’s post and the ones following.

    My question has always been, why are we getting so bent on sexual stuff and making sure that we raise a voice any time we see that going on while we scuttle other things that are just as problematic. The answer, for me, is social stigma (or stigmata, as it were…).

    However…what happens when Christine wishes to teach Sunday School or become more and more involved in the life of the church in a leadership position?

    I think you will find that part of the ostracization has nothing to do with whether or not pastors or church members will allow participating homosexuals to attend their churches. I mean, what pastor is going to turn down potential offering? (Hee hee…). But they are very hesitant when those people then wish to take leadership roles.

    Part of me wants to say that every person that takes a leadership role is struggling with something, and most often those things are hidden from sight. The other part of me also knows that if you do believe by Scripture, tradition and your own internal barometer that homosexuality is a sin (let’s say), then you are not going to wish to give the thumbs up to someone being on staff who is openly living that lifestyle. The argument being, that to allow such a person who is openly advocating something that the Church has historical deemed a “sin”…you get the point.

    And thus, the great Catch-22…if you raise objections, you are perhaps guilty of non-inclusivity, stubbornness and/or intolerance. If you are too accommodating, you are perhaps guilty of compromise, moral relavitism and/or opening the door to slippery-slopeism (as much as I hate that framework).

    Oh what fun it is to ride…in the 21st century…

    dd

  159. DD, as Christine’s pastor. I have thought about this a lot. For me it is a justice issue. I don’t think we can have two classes of people in our congregation – those who can serve/lead and those who can merely attend. Actually Christine leads worship in one of our groups and is organizing a monthly pub-theology night for us. She’s as active in leadership as anyone else – probably more so than most.

    I think you are right that we have to realize all of us are dealing with something. If Christine were living a promiscuous lifestyle (straight or gay) I would hesitate on having her lead. But she is a person of good character, loves God and is growing in her ability to lead corporate worship. And personally I am not sold that homosexual love is sinful (nor a healthy sexuality in any committed relationship).

    The other side of leadership is that it is congregationally appointed. If it was a serious problem for folks, being able to worship when Christine is leading, then the group would fall apart. But in our case we have a value of all hands on deck – allowing you to participate as fully as you desire believing that God meets you in this. This is messy but it reminds me a lot of Jesus’ table fellowship. Think about who Jesus let look after the money.

    But, having said that, I would be a bit reluctant to just take Christine along to lead worship when I’m ministering in another church. Not because I don’t think she’d do a great job, but because she is going to potentially be a stumbling block. If they knew her and invited her to come with me, by all means. But I can’t impose our freedom as a stumbling block for others (didn’t Paul have similar concerns?) My one fear about coming out as a pastor with gay leaders is that folks will assume I have an agenda to make all churches like mine. While, I might dream that we will one day overcome this form of racism – that isn’t the reality we live in. Also, I am a bit protective of this couple not wanting to open them up to how hurtful well-meaning Christians can be.

    In short, I think I by-passed that catch-22 congregationally, but it still is the heternormative reality we face with the rest of the church.

  160. Trey says:

    Frank, I found your last post to be offensive, even though I know you didn’t intend it that way :-).

    “This is messy but it reminds me a lot of Jesus’ table fellowship. Think about who Jesus let look after the money.” This reads as though you are comparing the homosexual minister/leader to Judas. Not that Judas was inherently a bad person, but he didn’t fully understand the purpose of the Christ…he didn’t “get” the whole picture. There are a lot of “accepting” Christians who think, as Christine posted earlier, that eventually we gays will “see God’s way for [us]”, i.e., eventually we’ll see that God has a better way for us than to be practicing gays and lesbians. I don’t want to be a part of a community who thinks that way and I would argue that most gays and lesbians have this same viewpoint.

    “But, having said that, I would be a bit reluctant to just take Christine along to lead worship when I’m ministering in another church. Not because I don’t think she’d do a great job, but because she is going to potentially be a stumbling block. If they knew her and invited her to come with me, by all means. But I can’t impose our freedom as a stumbling block for others (didn’t Paul have similar concerns?)” A lot of gay Christians would find this very offensive. Let me explain. Christine is not sinful by being gay and people who think that *should* have a stumbling block put in their way…and you are in a unique position to do that. Why do you care if people fear you have an agenda when that agenda is peace and reconciliation? What if Jesus withheld certain actions because He feared those darn pharisees might think He has an agenda to include the gentiles into the fold of God? I know Paul said don’t let your freedom be a stumbling block to “weaker” Christians…but he was talking about eating certain foods and celebrating holidays…we’re talking about people… about rejection, exclusion, prejudice, and phobia directed towards God’s children. Stuff that leads to internalized shame, guilt, self-hatred…*suicide*. I guess I just think that some things are worth pissing folks off over. Now, this is just a perspective…I have thick skin and get over stuff quickly, so just because I say I found something offensive doesn’t mean I took it personally. You have by no means personally upset me…I just want to share this perspective with you and get your feedback.

  161. Christine says:

    I guess… I guess I’m just ready to compromise, to “accept”, for lack of a better word, positions that I would disagree with, even find offensive. Because I know I am not the only one being pushed out of my comfort zone, and I don’t expect others to take on all of the challenge and not to take on any myself.

    This is the price of living together in community. I think it’s worth it. Freedom Vineyard is my home, my community. The people there are my brothers and sisters in Christ, my dear friends. I couldn’t simply stop wanting to be with that community. They are my family. Even if positions were far more polarized, I would want to try to work it out, to come to a place where we could be together, than to sever those relationships. This will not always be possible, but where it is, I intend to take advantage.

    I think it will be far more advantageous to have the opportunity to let my life speak for itself. To have an opportunity to share my understanding of being gay and of being gay and Christian with those that would not normally have listened, because I listened to them and accepted their positions. Far more advantageous than to push my belief on others.

    I guess I’m somewhat less confrontational, less comfortable with pissing people off. I think that’s both good and bad. In the end, it will take many different approaches to allow homosexuality to be accepted within the church. I don’t think there a “right way” to do it.

    In the meantime, I do derive great personal and spiritual benefit from remaining in a community which is challenging due to its range of views and opinion. Sometimes in spite of those differences, sometimes because of them.

    But I am not recommending it. Not because it wouldn’t be beneficial to most, but because I don’t think most church congregations are at this point. Although there are those in my congregation that believe my relationship is sinful, the dynamic is a far cry from other environments I have experienced. The acceptance that allows us to hold those views and remain a community simply does not exist in the midst of most Christians. A sad fact. Although the stated beliefs might be similar, there is no comparison between what I have experienced in my current church and what I know is out there. In truth I feel sheltered from discrimination at my church.

    Hard to understand. Hard for me even to understand. That’s part of the tension. But there is something wonderful and Christian in it, that we wrestle with it together as a community. For that, I’m willing to be humble.

  162. You are right my intention isn’t to be offensive. On the first point I was really trying to get at the fact that Jesus surrounded himself with the kind of people that usually didn’t get a fair hearing, and that Jesus trusted them with important roles in the community even when they were complete douchebags. So if Jesus can do that then why do we restrict participation for things that you and I can agree are not sinful? I wasn’t trying to compare homosexuals to Judas, rather showing the extent of Christ’s open table. And the fact that we restrict it. BTW I do not endorse an attitude of homosexuals just haven’t gotten it yet, that is simply the way one individual (that I know of) has chosen to express his place in the tension. And it comes out of a frank discussion that happened within our community – I don’t think he just volunteered that out of the blue. But I could be mistaken as I walked into the middle of that conversation one night.

    I knew I was treading into hard waters with the second one. I think we disagree on the role of stumbling blocks and the role of communities. Let me compare this to the Roman Catholic Eucharist. See I believe what happens there, but out of respect for their tradition I only approach with crossed arms so as to receive a blessing. To do otherwise is an affront to their tradition. However, I am quite vocal about how this is not a good tradition. But there is a tension here that I feel a need to respect. One one hand we aren’t all there yet. And on the other hand we have to bring attention to the distance between our views if we are going to find workable solutions. I know Christine is out. I would never ask her to pretend otherwise. So I would not put her in a position where she might feel the need to pretend to be straight to avoid causing others to stumble. The reality is that many churches couldn’t handle that – it sucks and it is wrong but it is an honest starting place. If I bulldoze my way in there I lose the ability to speak creatively and restoratively into the situation. I prefer to push around the edges. I am fairly good at testing the waters and seeing if I can move it a bit further towards something healthy. It will take time. What we should be encouraged with is that it is actually starting to pick up momentum.

    You have every right to be offended. You can’t see my heart. I think it would change the way you saw my thinking on this. End of the day I might be completely wrong on this. But I might also be completely wrong about homosexuality too. I accept that risk and trust God as I try to build the best way I know how. Slowly, deliberately. Picking fights that will make a difference and trying desperately to not get into fights that I think will set us back years.

    I have often compared the struggle for homosexual emancipation to the abolition of slavery. That took people to first become aware of how their interpretation of scripture continued a practice that destroyed the lives of people. This will take the same sort of base energy. And I’m not convinced that a more frontal assault will help. I seem to read that you feel differently. I would encourage you to think long term, fight hard – but fight smart, and celebrate the victories. If this is going to change in the church it will take a lot of leaders brave enough to look at people first and willing to leave the 99 to save the 1.

  163. Cindy says:

    If I may jump in here, I’d love to share my perspective on being in community with people who believe that this incredibly beautiful relationship that I view as nothing short of a precious gift from God is or may be sinful. I’m Christine’s partner and thus the other gay member of Frank’s congregation. Largely I would echo what Christine has already said about the way in which we feel accepted within our community, but if you’ll bear with me for a little bit, I’d like to attempt to explain to Trey in particular what I see as the difference between this type of acceptance and the attitude of the many Christians who view homosexuality as sinful such as what you have encountered with your sister.

    I am in the position of living both sides of the acceptance equation. Being blessed to be a part of Freedom Vineyard, I have experienced what I would defend any day as true acceptance despite different levels of understanding and even clear disagreement on what is sinful and what is not. But I also come from a very conservative family and am all too familiar with the sting of rejection that comes with the, “I love you because you’re family but you aren’t really one of us and are heading straight to hell, do not pass go, do not collect $200 attitude.” I have long since lost count of the number of times my father has told me that I am going to hell or have spit in the face of God while my mother sits there sobbing and nodding in agreement, since I came out to them just a little over a year ago. And while my brothers and their wives tend to avoid talking about it for the most part, their feelings on the matter are clearly pretty much the same. Thus I understand your frustration of not wanting to be around your sister knowing that she does not accept you for who you are. I have struggled with this a great deal as I want very much to maintain a close relationship with my family but find myself growing increasingly distant because it is just too painful to be close to people that I love dearly but feel completely rejected by for something that I have come to recognize as a core part of who I am and how I view myself and the world around me. I have good reason to believe that this issue goes deeper than merely what is or isn’t sinful, particularly for my parents, and also includes a healthy helping of irrational prejudice. Perhaps if it were only one or the other I could maintain hope that we might one day get around this, but as it is, the one feeds off the other and I find it extremely difficult to hold out any hope that things might improve over time.

    I guess then, to understand how I personally am able to live comfortably in community with a group of people which includes those that would see my relationship as being sinful, it helps to understand the stark contrast between the way in which this belief plays out in our community and the way in which I have to deal with this belief within my other family if I may. Within our congregation I have never gotten a sense (much less been told directly) that I am freely rebelling against God because of my relationship. There is at least an acceptance of the sincerity of where I am at which I do not get with my family. And I think that is an important key, perhaps both ways. For me, I think it is very important that I feel that I am accepted as an honest and sincere person with a desire to please God, even if people believe I am misguided. And for them, I suspect (clearly this is pure speculation on my part) that their ability to see me as sincere allows for a degree of acceptance that would not otherwise be possible for those that believe that what I am doing is wrong. If we were to look at this acceptance on another issue not as polarizing as homosexuality, I think we would all see that to live in any sort of close community with other believers requires a certain amount of acceptance that we are each responsible for working out our own beliefs with God and coming to our own levels of understanding on so many issues that our beliefs will vary on greatly and will even vary on the importance attributed to any individual belief. I think there is a certain amount of humility demonstrated in being able to live in true community with people with beliefs and viewpoints that can be at times in stark contradiction to your own. I think that on some level that requires an admission on our part that there is at least the possibility that we may be the one that has it wrong. I personally can confidently say that I have only quite recently grown to the point where I am capable of living out that kind of community, and that kind of humility.

    It was only through a lengthy process (completely separate from the issue of my accepting that I was gay, though it eventually influenced and allowed for such acceptance) over a number of years and dealing with multiple issues where I began to realize that views that I held to quite strongly were not legitimately supportable by any reasonable standard of biblical interpretation, that formed in me the ability to truly respect other viewpoints. I can say quite honestly that I am entirely sure that had I come to Freedom a few years earlier, I would have been among those that would have been incapable of living in the tension that Frank talks about. I would not have been able to accept the kind of community that I now find myself so immensely grateful for. So I find that I have nothing but the utmost respect for those within our community that believe that my relationship is sinful and yet are capable of living in that tension and accepting me in spite of such a blatant affront to what they believe. How could I not afford them the same acceptance? I am honoured to keep company with such people and have already learned much from them and I am quite sure have much more to learn.

  164. Trey says:

    Christine, I can respect that, and I’m sure you can respect that there are those out there who are not ready to give up their seat on the bus. Maybe a little bit of our differences are explained by the fact that you are in Ontario, Canada and I am in Alabama. Not only can I not marry my partner, but I can be evicted and fired for being gay in this state and there are no hate crime laws on the books in this state protecting gays and lesbians (and until October 28, 2009 there were none on a federal level either).

    On the flip side, I am glad that there are those out there such as yourself who are affecting people in a different way…changing one heart at a time :-). Lol, it reminds me of WEB Dubois and Booker T Washington.

    “This is the price of living together in community. I think it’s worth it. Freedom Vineyard is my home, my community. The people there are my brothers and sisters in Christ, my dear friends. I couldn’t simply stop wanting to be with that community. They are my family. Even if positions were far more polarized, I would want to try to work it out, to come to a place where we could be together, than to sever those relationships” I thought this was very beautiful and it reminded me of this past Christmas with my family (the first since I had come out and faced their rejection). Thanks for sharing that.

  165. Trey says:

    “If this is going to change in the church it will take a lot of leaders brave enough to look at people first and willing to leave the 99 to save the 1.”

    Absolutely.

  166. Christine says:

    Trey – Thanks for the kind words. I think my relationship with my church is much like that of many with their families who struggle honestly with the issue.

    And I think you are absolutely right about where I live affecting my position. The church is the only place left, the only place I have ever personally, faced descrimination for being gay. I have full rights and protection, in housing, in my job, am fulling excepted in society at large, can get married and have children… The list goes on.

    If church is the only place I have to face descriminating attitudes, it makes it much easier. And easier not to feel marginalized or oppressed by those opinions, because they are not the prevailing ones in the society around me. I can end this post, and go back to the “real world” around me where no one thinks homosexuality is wrong, and would fight tooth and nail for my rights. Those who argue homosexuality is a sin honestly look absurd in my context.

    So, I’m not forced to give up by “seat on the bus.” This means I can simply brush off the person telling me to move to the back. I’m not risking anything in doing so.

    Where I am, the church is “the last frontier”, and I think that is more than enough to make our approaches different. And I am always surprised at just how bad things are in America. I think I would feel differently in your position.

  167. Trey says:

    Isn’t it too bad that traditionally the church has always been the last frontier? I think it’s sad really. I think many of us will look back decades from now and wish we had done more for the rights of gays when they were struggling for equality. I know I have dreamed about what it would have been like to stage a “sit in” or walk that walk (just an hour south of here) from Selma to Montgomery. Even today, the most segregated place in Alabama is any given church on any given Sunday.

    One time not too long ago when talking to my grandmother about church, she told me that some blacks had visited her white mega church in Tuscaloosa. “We just love ’em out” she said, (i.e. we love them so much that they want to leave). I never got that until I came out…and found myself on the opposite end of the “love the sinner, hate the sin” message. What my grandmother and her compatriots showed was anything but love…and when we say we love the gay or lesbian but yet we think that there is something sinful about their identity…well, it’s kinda like that “love” my mimi showed those black visitors.

  168. nakedpastor says:

    Hey everyone. NP here. I want to personally congratulate you all on a very fine dialog. This is what can happen when we prefer love over certainty. I’m enjoying the interchange. Sorry I can’t interject as much as I’d like. Kudos!

  169. Trey says:

    Cindy, thanks for explaining. I think that is the first time someone has answered my question in such a way where I was able to grasp it. Most of the time when people would answer that question their answer either wasn’t clear or it reflected some sort of internalized homophobia that still existed within them…something that I think all us gay ex-fundamentalists have to watch out for. I could even see myself one day coming to that place where you and Christine find yourself. However, I still think I would have a hard time attending a church where I felt uncomfortable holding my partner’s hand or where the pastor couldn’t perform a marriage or commitment ceremony. To me it is clear that believing loving committed homosexual relationships are a sin is prejudice…just as when Biblical interpretation (influenced by social stigma and prejudice) was used to discriminate against women and racial minorities. I can deal with that from a distance but since I find it degrading, I would have a hard time being in community with people who believe that way. Having said that, I do find myself in a couple of communities where there of plenty of people with differing views…just not on something as integral a part of me as my sexuality. But, I get it…I see what you’re saying and it makes sense.

    You, Christine, and Frank have all said that being part of your community means admitting that you may be wrong on the gay issue. I don’t get that. Do you think there is even the remotest possibility that what you share with Christine is sinful and rejected by God?

  170. Josh says:

    What a powerful discussion. While I commend Christine and any other person who gives their best to hold onto and live a life of faith and be involved in a Christian community, I still wonder when the straw will break the camel’s back. I am not gay but this is one of the main issues that led me to leave or what I call “wake up” from a distorted, blind faith in written words that were unfortunately twisted and labeled to be God. I think if Jesus were alive today (literally…I know to Christians he is alive) he would have so much to say and clarify about the tragedies that have unfolded out of this organized religion. Growing up a true, on fire Christian, it was only when I tearfully and joyfully realized the maginitude of the love of God (in the Bible) that I was forced to face the exclusion and contradictions that were woven into the very foundations of this faith. This isn’t even exclusively a homosexual issue, there are many topics that reach this fundamental paradox.

    I can speak for my wife of 7 years, because we have spent years searching this out…and for myself when I say that the greatest moment of our lives, was when we had a our first born son 5 years ago…and the moment we saw his eyes…we woke up. Some would refer to God, Love, our own divine self, but whatever you want to label it… it woke us up. We woke up to life free from guilt, free from exclusions, free from hypocrisy, free from hate. I am mostly referring not to what was done to us, but what we had done to others. All in the name of sincere belief. I was an almost unavoidable result of pain and the distorted self image of who we were to our creator that we would project it on others. I truly believe the most damaging thing that was taught to us through the Bible and was delivered to me at the ripe age of 5… was there is none good, no not one. That our hearts were empty of good…we had not the capability of being good…it was all about finding, chosing and believing in Jesus. That is the beginning to the slippery slope that all Christians ride. A constant struggle to now love and reflect a God, who created you with defect. This is the same God that I regretably believed actually burns people for all of eternity??? Someone a Christian holds onto “justice” and God being “perfect” to justify punishment without purpose? Punishment without purpose is madness. How in the world does one believe in this torture and it being righteous? How can one love God in that belief, and love others in that belief…How can you love anyone when you don’t love yourself?

    The real truth is you can’t. You can only attempt to do so..and sometimes in a divine intervention of LOVE…you can come close or catch a glimpse. When I see a beautiful human being express and live a life of love, selfishly giving to others without any return on the investment, when I am around that person and their presence is so strong and their love is so real that my heart and soul can’t help but cry tears of joy…and when I find out they do not “know” or “believe” in the God of the Bible and it’s exclusive nature… it’s like I am looking at my newborn son again. Untainted and pure for just a moment. I see God! I see his kingdom! I see me! I see you! I see the entire world as it really is! When you see beyond the physical, you see beyond the dream…you see home!

    I am so grateful for my upbringing, even though it was full of pain and distorted lies that resulted in more pain. I am grateful and thankful for every teacher and every pastor, for my parents and for my friends. Every sinlge one played a role in delivering what I needed to work through and overcome..to become the person I am supposed to be.

    Back to the topic, I truly hope that each Christian and non-Christian alike, will lay down the wall and fear that has been placed in your hearts and minds. Why we were taught and why some do teach that love and attraction to the same sex is a wrong and sinful is so puzzling? I don’t know why we swallow that so easily? I don’t think I will have that answer in this lifetime, but I do know without a shadow of a doubt…that this tragic lie has hurt more than it has helped by a million to one. If you think your belief of this as “sin” is helping anyone…please think again. If you want to help someone not catch a disease…help them be responsible and choose love before sex. You don’t need to tell them their attraction and identity is ugly and sinful? I don’t know what other reason people really have in holding this view? It’s always sex and disease that is brought up. What else are we afraid of…if it’s God…then you need to evaluate much more than homosexuality.

    I hope that the straight and homosexual community will realize and teach one another about the danger in promiscuity, not only the phyiscal consequences, but the mental and spiritual as well…and let that be the warning of our Love. I hope the Church and non-church will continue to teach their children and fellow people to live wisely and righteously…but to teach it in love. This is a valid issue and one to pay close attention to.

    But the next time you see a gay or lesbian person and think to yourself, “They are sinful, they are lost, they are wrong, or they are an abomination…” understand that you may very well be speaking about your own partner, your own child, your own parent or brother or sister…and you don’t even know it yet! And if that transpires in your life…you will change!

    Please know that when you belive this way, you are of a belief that produces hatred and division amongst humanity and once you wake up from this fearful belief you will experience freedom and love like no other. And you will now be prepared to process and experience the effects of your previous belief and reap what you have sown…it is hard and difficult to face the hurt you can cause, the ramifications of the hate you can spread. You didn’t even realize that it was hate that was inside of you. It wasn’t intentional…but it still was there. That’s why Jesus said, “forgive them for they know not what they do!”

    It is only once you free yourself from this limiting belief system…that you can forgive yourself and work to heal the small children that you hurt. Because all of the adults that we hurt and belittle for their orientation…it is the small child inside of them that suffers. I want to heal those wounds…I want to work with anyone else who is willing…to heal those wounds. You can’t heal those wounds unless you stop believing and telling people that their love and attraction is sinful.

    Healing the wounds I have caused and sometimes the one’s others have caused is my only religion…and it is completely void of a mythical eternity in fire, or suffering, or absolute confinement from God, love or happiness. That doesn’t work and it needs to removed from the hearts of every person. So if you want to heal wounds, stop carrying your cross and start picking up people…you are welcome to join my family. You don’t need to show up to a building once a week, or support me or anyone with tithes…just love each and every person you come into contact with…trust me… your Church will spread like wildfire.

    Peace and love to every person here!

  171. Trey, I think that we have is a healthy suspicion of certainty. However, we also have a confidence that God will lead us as we endeavor to faithfully pursue God. For me personally this comes out of my experience of God pursuing me and drawing me in. (I recently had a dream where I relived a lot of the moments where God had refused to give up on me, it was humbling.) I think there is always the possibility that I am wrong, that is the tension we are invited to live in. I think that we are the ones who elevate the issue to almost salvific proportions, I am certain that sexual orientation does not save a person. That said, it would be a petty God who required the impossible from us – that we do nothing except by certainty. For me certainty is too often a trick, an illusion, a way we manipulate ourselves because we find the other option(s) too unbearable.

    This penchant for certainty comes from the foundation of enlightenment society – we can be sure because certainty ensures we are in control of our world. Fortunately that myth has come crashing down – yet, the church that spent so much energy adapting to modernity, has a hard time giving it up. That is why, in Canada at least, the church is one of the last places for these ideas to truly be challenged. What is at stake is an entire hermeneutical framework – the way that folks navigate their reality. Challenges to that are never easy.

    Alabama cannot be easy for a GLBT person. I spent some time with an episcopal from Alabama when I was in Chicago last year. A priest turned CFO if I remember right. I found myself glad that I am able to enjoy the freedom of Canada. I think our culture is more geared towards a mosaic and the US more like a melting pot. There are pluses and negatives to both, but it might help explain why Christine and Cindy (aren’t they awesome!) are willing to live with tension.

    bless you Trey.

  172. preacherlady says:

    This thread has been a joy to read…blog commenting at its best. No-one hopped in with nastiness or sarcasm….everyone sort of let those that were directly involved have their discussion without dragging it down or into a separate agenda. Perhaps a new higher standard of commenting has been set. It will be interesting to see what the future brings.

  173. Trey says:

    Preacherlady, I agree.

    Thank you, Lonnie Frisbee.

  174. Christine says:

    preacherlady – Thanks.

    And I echo Frank’s sentiments about certainty. It’s a general admissible that none of us is infallible, we never get it all right, as opposed to a specific doubt about God’s view of our relationship and orientation. Accepting this fallibility not only makes it easier to respect a view you disagree with, but to have understanding and compassion for the person with the opposing view, since you recognized that we all make mistakes.

    Although I think I should clarify something.

    “I could even see myself one day coming to that place where you and Christine find yourself. However, I still think I would have a hard time attending a church where I felt uncomfortable holding my partner’s hand or where the pastor couldn’t perform a marriage or commitment ceremony.”

    Trey – I would have a very hard time attending a church where Cindy and I weren’t recognized as a couple, treated as a couple, and not only free, but comfortable and even encouraged, to be ourselves, just like any other couple in the church.

    And we are. I imagine it makes some others (although a minority) uncomfortable from time to time, but I don’t know for sure. No one’s ever lets me see it or has expressed it to me in any way. I can lead worship and then sit with my partner, hold her hand during the rest of the service and no one blinks an eye. If that was so because everyone believed the same thing, that would be pretty awesome. That it happens despite differences in belief on the subject I think is much more impressive. If anyone was sufficiently uncomfortable with this situation, they would likely leave our congregation. Cindy and I would not change our behaviour, and we would not be expected or asked to.

    On the subject of marriage, well, that’s a Vineyard issue, not just one for our congregation. And discrimination in the Vineyard in general is a big issue. That’s actually one of the greatest challenges for me. Our congregation is great, but I am aware that I am not really welcome in the organization to which that congregation belongs. There are things I really like about the Vineyard, too, but without this particular congregation, those things would hardly be enough. So that’s really where the tension is lived out for me. I am pretty comfortable with people disagreeing with me (even with something so personal, but likely because that is because I don’t encounter it often), but to know that my church represents an organization in which I am persecuted is very difficult.

    Not that I simply accept the situation in the Vineyard or don’t think it should change, but I haven’t let it push me out of what is a very welcoming congregation. I’d rather continue to attend, to be involved in leadership in my church, and try to contribute slowly, patiently, to change.

  175. Christine knows, or should know, that the situation with the Vineyard is also one close to my heart. For me I love the Vineyard – but one of the things I love is that there is a diversity of views. Part of this is because we are organized around a set of values and not a series of polemical statements. Those values have to do with things like worship, scripture and justice. And those values are interpreted broadly, not specifically (a great example is our commitment to culturally relevant forms of worship – i.e. popular music styles, which vary regionally, are part of how we organize our worship.)

    While I see great hope in our movement – this blog is a great example – I also have great moments of disappointment. There is a lot of discrimination that goes unchecked. I try to push around the edges where I can, but I am also careful not to manipulate the situation. David (aka NP) was there when I spoke out amongst Vineyard leaders about how much i valued having Christine and Cindy contribute to our community – for me that was a very scary moment. But one where I realized that this work is more important to me than denomination. That Christine and Cindy have a community where they can grow in their relationship with God – that is something I feel very privileged to have had a hand in.

    In terms of whether people are comfortable or not. For me church is not meant to be a place where we are comfortable. It is meant to challenge us and make us grow as human beings. I mentioned already Jesus’ indiscriminate love, I have a hard time imagining everyone around one of his tables was comfortable. In fact quite a few critical remarks are recorded in the gospels. So why should we ever expect anything different from church? Are we not coming there to Jesus’ table? I’m like Christine in that I marvel at the folks who do feel uncomfortable with their relationship – but are willing to sit with that discomfort and let God speak to them.

  176. Christine says:

    Thanks, Frank. And yes, I do know. It’s one of the things that makes it possible for me to feel completely welcome in our church, to know I’m not alone in feeling there is an injustice here, and that this is something you feel very strongly about and are working on. You make that clear and it’s much appreciated.

  177. Trey says:

    Christine (& Cindy), I continue to find the descriptions of your situation to be refreshing and enlightening. Thanks for sharing.

    I am surprised that you feel comfortable showing affection for your partner in a community where that display would remind some that you are “living in sin.” But, I think that’s mature on your part. Here in the South, in most places, you have to be on constant guard to not display affection for your partner in public. There are little respites from this, like a local gay-friendly restaurant or some gay-owned businesses…or open and affirming congregations like the one I attend.

    I attend a small group of local gay Christians on Sunday nights, most of whom attend a local accepting (but not affirming) Methodist church. They still talk about the “kissing incident” when one of the attendees, a new Christian, kissed his partner in the sanctuary after service…it was a big deal, I guess. That’s not a bad church, I’m sure…but I just don’t want to attend a place where that is frowned upon. I commend that pastor and those members for dealing with, as y’all put it, the tension. From what I gather my friends say they feel accepted there, too (but unlike y’all, they haven’t really been able to put into words why attending a place where people think that being gay is sinful is ok with them). I think, I’m starting to get it, though.

  178. Christine says:

    It’s a different world here, really. We always hold hands walking down the street, sit with my arm around her shoulders on the bus, kiss in restaurants. We take ballroom dancing classes together at the local community centre and the instructor is careful to make us comfortable saying “leads and follows” rather than “men and women”. We never wonder if a business is “gay-friendly”. Actually, we live near an area of the city with a lot of rainbow flags and banners in the windows. I thought it was strange they felt they needed to mark their businesses as gay-friendly (since they all are), until I found out that it’s actually to show solidarity with the large gay community living in that area, which is the neighbourhood adjecent to ours (we live in Chinatown). The municipal website actually calls the area the “gaybourhood” and describes it as a local initiative by independent businesses. The only place we wouldn’t feel welcome is the new Pentecostal church across the street (which we actually visited a few times, but that’s another story).

    I get the feeling some people think we’re cute (someone actually said as much on the bus the other day). Most people don’t seem to notice, we don’t look out of place.

    So it takes a conscious effort to not feel completely natural behaving this way. I don’t think about it in our congregation, although I do in any other church. Just leaving the doors of any other church I feel myself relax, back on friendly turf.

    It’s not really about being comfortable I guess. I think the point is we aren’t asked to hide who we are, to tailor our behaviour to match others’ expectations or insecurities. There are the same standards for straight and gay couples. I think that’s very important.

    We could visit that Methodist church quite comfortably I think, but would be somewhat self-conscious. It would be hard to consider it “our church” is all, because we would feel less than full members of the congregation.

  179. Cindy says:

    I don’t think we would fit in at that church Trey. There would be more than one “incident” at least :0)

    In answer to the question you asked me earlier (though it’s already been answered a couple of times) I am as sure that God not only approves of but had a hand in arranging this beautiful relationship that I have with Christine as I am of anything. I used to live in a place of absolute certainty, where I wanted more than anything to do everything right. Reflecting back on it now, I can see that while I probably didn’t do a whole lot wrong, I certainly didn’t do much right either as I rarely found enough certainty to act upon. Interestingly enough, as I have learned to let go of that need for absolute certainty, I have become more certain than ever of what really matters. I am more certain than ever that God’s love for me is not dependant upon me figuring everything out and getting everything right. There is a great deal of freedom and peace that comes with that certainty that makes everything else, even such things that reach to the core of my identity, just a little less vital. It’s not that I doubt that I am on the right path, it’s more that I’m confident that God will lead me to make the necessary course adjustments as I continue to grow in Him.

    I have to say, I am thoroughly enjoying this discussion. Thanks to everybody who has contributed.

  180. nakedpastor says:

    Hey Frank: I love your description, critique and hope of the Vineyard church. I agree with the spirit of what you are saying. Thanks for your generosity and contribution to this discussion.

  181. Christine says:

    Hey all – I’m taking a course on human rights today, and our conversation has been really on my heart.

    Thanks everyone for some great food for thought.

  182. Christine says:

    Hey all – I’m taking a course on human rights today, and our conversation has been really on my heart.

    Thanks everyone for some great food for thought

  183. American says:

    “Then he was methodically removed from visibility. He was eventually fired. Then rejected and ostracized. And now he is effectively written out of the histories of both of these movements.”

    They had a responsibility to sit him down from leadership on discovering there were gay liaisons occurring. But they also had a responsibility to strive with him toward the messy, difficult, and often long process of sanctification/recovery.

    This is because properly relating God’s moral law to love and visa versa is one of the hallmarks of Biblical theology and the Christian life.

    Two equal and opposite dangers have to be avoided:

    1. Legalism effectively ousts agape love as a dynamic of the gospel and the Christian life by reducing both to obedience or conformity to a set of external commands or rules (after the manner of the scribes and Pharisees in the gospels).

    2. Its opposite, antinomianism, ousts God’s law as a dynamic of the gospel and the Christian life. Antinomianism is heresy that tells Christians it’s OK to forget about God’s law and concentrate solely on agape love… a course which is a justification for degeneration and immoral licence, rather than promoting the true Christian liberty (i.e. freedom from sin to serve God and our fellows).

    Neither is acceptable.

    The gospel of God’s grace in Jesus Christ frees the Christian from both these erroneous tendencies but only if Christians respectfully strive to follow God’s commandments and practice agape love.

    It appears to me that they chose to do the former without the latter as I understand it and when that didn’t work (go figure) reject and ostracized him.

    Writing him out of their histories appears to be their desire not to be criticized for how they failed to apply half of God’s equation.

  184. Geoffrey says:

    Everything is very ope with a precise description of the issues.
    It was definitely informative. Yoour website is useful. Many thanks for sharing!