Church vs. Homosexuality

Why do so many Christians want to keep homosexuals out of their church?

The first time I ever wrote a post about homosexuality in the church, it was in response to a feeling that had been growing.  A feeling that this “church versus the world” mentality was self defeating.  And I was angry- really and truly angry- that the people who were getting sliced down in the friendly fire were some of the people the church needed the most.  I was tired of seeing confused and desperate kids be the ones who carried the heaviest burden in this war of ideas.  It was ideas being debated but kids being cut to the heart.  It was wrong.

But one of the questions I ask the least is “why?”

Why are so many Christians so bitterly against embracing gay believers?  It’s really worth learning what the reasoning is.  (And small note to my dear gay readers: the next segment may be incredibly painful for you to read- but if you can bring yourself to read it and leave the thoughtful, emotional, beautiful comments you so often do you may really help someone.)

  1. The belief that embracing sin means rejecting salvation:  Therefore, the logic says, if a gay person wants to be saved, they need to stop being gay.  And if they won’t stop being gay that means they are not saved, and our “Christian” duty is to convince them of their sinfulness so that they can truly be saved.
  2. The belief that sin breeds sin: Therefore, the logic follows, if gay people are by their very nature leading a “lifestyle of sin” then having them around means we will only be breeding more sin, and we can’t have that.
  3. The belief, based loosely off of Romans One, that in order for someone to be gay that they have already turned entirely from God: I set this one apart from reason one purposefully, because they are different.  Not leaving ones sexuality being a rejection of salvation is different from saying that you only got that sexuality in the first place because you have fully turned from God.  This logic reads that at some point the gay person made a “choice” to reject God and all of the goodness of God completely and lead a lifestyle of fleshly temptation alone, and to allow such a person in the midst of your congregation is just begging for trouble.
  4. The belief that gay people are harmful to Children: be it that they will sexually abuse your children, encourage your children to seek sinful gratification, or “recruit” your children for their causes- the logic follows that you cannot possibly allow them to be near young ones, especially in a context that would lead your little folk to believe that being gay is a-okay.
  5. The belief that the only reason a gay person would want to be around Christians is that the enemy sent them to spread confusion: and, to be honest, I’ve never fully grasped this one.  Is it implying that all homosexuals work for Satan?  Um…

All of these things hold a common thread- that being gay means being openly sinful, and that being gay means that you have in some way chosen not to follow a path of salvation.  The retorts to almost all of these also hold a common theme: a sexuality in and of itself cannot be sinful (it’s the heart of the person that matters), and a path to salvation isn’t like a transporter in a sci-fi flick.  You don’t stand on point A, hit a button, and magically appear at p0int Z.  You go through the journey, sometimes in confusing and mind-bendy order, and if you wait for people to get “holy enough” to join your church, you’re going to be passing judgment on pretty well the entire world.  Which is wrong.

I could write forever, but that’s not what I want to do right now.  No, right now I want to ask everyone who is reading this post who ISN’T gay to stick around long enough to read the comments from my gay readers.  See what kind of reaction this logic gets from the people it rejects.

Ask yourself if that’s really the “good news” your church wants to be spreading.

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35 thoughts on “Church vs. Homosexuality

  1. John 3:17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” Did you catch that? God DID NOT SEND HIS SON TO CONDEMN… condemning is easy. But loving is the standard of Jesus. “The accuser of the brethren” (satan) would love it if we took on his character and started to condemn and accuse homosexuals. Not me, no thanks! I don’t pretend to understand the “what’s”, “how’s” and “why’s” of homosexuality and I may never understand. But I choose not to condemn.

  2. Thanks for this elegant (and yes, painful) summary, Shush. I can say– if nothing else– that excluding the gays from the church is extremely painful.

    Maybe a lot of Christians don’t know this– or they don’t care– but to many gays, their sexuality is part of their identity, just as much as their personality or their family, because it is different. From the get-go, being gay is setting oneself apart. You can either tear yourself up for it or accept it. When a Christian tells a gay person that they have to stop being gay to attend church, they’re asking them to strip away part of their identity, and quite often to give up their friends and organizations. Yes, you can replace those friends and organizations with church ones, but they’re not the same people and it’s not the same thing. A lot of times you don’t want to change.

    I’m not very practiced as refuting arguments or anything, but here’s what I have to say about those points.

    Therefore, the logic says, if a gay person wants to be saved, they need to stop being gay.

    But if we can’t get into church or spend time with Christians without utter rejection of our self, then why should we be there? How can we know that it’s right to give up being gay if we can’t be in church and meet God there, or meet God through Christians? If a Christian isn’t giving us the time of day, are we going to think very much of their God?

    Therefore, the logic follows, if gay people are by their very nature leading a “lifestyle of sin” then having them around means we will only be breeding more sin, and we can’t have that.

    If the members of the church really believe that being gay is wrong, then looking at or talking to a gay person won’t make them become gay. And how can gayness be related to drunkenness or lying or other sins like that? Being gay does not make you a liar or a drunk, and looking at a gay person generally does not provoke someone else to start drinking. If you add someone to your congregation who gossips, then does that make more sins suddenly crop up among your congregation? You wouldn’t try this argument with any other sins, and if gayness is just a normal sin, and not special, then why try it for this one?

    This logic reads that at some point the gay person made a “choice” to reject God[…]

    I can tell you right off that I didn’t make any sort of choice to be gay, and neither did any of the people that I know. In fact, it would be easier on us not to be gay– so why would we choose to be? Being gay (well, bisexual in my case) lost me a boyfriend, my boyfriend’s family, a church family, and my church. All of these things I loved very much. Why would I choose to give them up? I love God. I didn’t chose to reject God, but the church chose to reject me.

    The belief that gay people are harmful to Children[…]

    Being gay does not make you a pedophile. This is an old, old myth that has scientifically been proven untrue. The most likely pedophiles are white heterosexual males. Please kick them out of the church now. (Just kidding…) Gay people do not recruit children either. How can you recruit a child? I always wonder this. Do you show up at playgrounds and say, “Hey, try being gay! It’s a lot of fun! I’ll give you candy!” …Gay people come (obviously) from straight parents. Straight people can come from gay parents. But there was never anyone who called me up and encouraged me to be gay, I can tell you that.

    The belief that the only reason a gay person would want to be around Christians is that the enemy sent them to spread confusion.

    What sort of confusion? I’m sort of thinking it’s the sort of confusion that the gays seem to be cool people and so the Christians can’t quite figure out what to condemn about them. Oops… I watched Milk this weekend, and this quote stuck with me. “People need to know one of us and, if by so knowing, they still hate gay people, they hate us for who we are and not for who they imagine us to be.” I want to be around Christians because I am a Christian– and even if you think I’m a backslidden one, I still have the right to be in your church. God did not come to condemn; He reserves judgment as His own task. If you are being godly, then you should remember this.

    I feel, still, like I could do apologetics like this all day and still there will be dissenters. It’s depressing. It’s why I don’t go to church anymore. I’m tired of encountering the same sad things over and over. I shouldn’t have to re-justify myself everytime a new person enters the fold.

    Maybe this jumbled comment will help someone, anyway. God bless.

  3. I’m not gay nor am I a Christian so this comment is from the outside looking in, as it were.

    My impression of many parts of the Church is that it generally has a hard time with any intimate or sexual expression beyond that strictly limited to procreation.

    My guess is that part of what determined what found it’s way into scripture and teaching was a desire have some control over us and not always much to do our with spiritual realisation. Controlling one of our basic drivers is one way to do that and in doing so it pretty much condemned any sexual exploration (beyond the basic act needed to keep the babies coming).

    I guess homosexual activity was a pretty easy target.

    Given some of the recent scandals in the Catholic church the Church is pretty sensitive about the whole issue of homosexuality and maybe have tried to close ranks.

    This is in no way an attempt to excuse it … just to try to understand as a first step to change it.

    I live in Poland which, for several reasons of recent history, is a society without much diversity (basically, white, Catholic and slavic) and not a great deal of acceptance of anyone who departs from the norm. I have several African friends and a couple of gay friends and they have a really hard time here.

    One day we’ll have a world where everyone is accepted and loved for who they are and not discriminated for their sexual preference, skin colour or any other reason. It’ll take a long time though!

  4. So gay people CAN breed!

    Sorry, I totally had to get that out of the way before I tried to be serious. This is a discussion I’ve half-had several times before with some of my more religious friends (really, only two of my friends are regular church-goers, and one of them doesn’t speak to me anymore while the other has come to distrust the church). They were usually short, and went like this.

    “Ok, seriously… why are you against gay people?”
    “*quoting of bible passages*”
    “Well, yeah, but the bible says a lot of things that make about as much sense as running your car on spaghetti, especially 1600 to 2000 years later. The Church changed it’s policy on heliocentrism, why can’t they change their policy on this?”
    “*quotes about inappropriate behavior and molestation*”
    “So you think gay people have no self control and live purely to do naughty, naughty things to eachother 24/7?”
    “*quotes about why they don’t want to change their beliefs just because of someone’s sexual orientation*”
    “So you want them to change their sexual orientation to suit your beliefs?”

    Anyways, skipping ahead, every conversation I’ve ever had where the other person was even slightly coherent always ended with them saying something akin to “Personally, I’m fine with it, but the Church isn’t.”

    This confused me, but I thought it was a fairly universal theme. LOTS of Americans disagree with what the country as an abstract whole does, but they don’t leave. LOTS of people works in companies that do horrible things as an abstract whole, but they don’t quit. And lots of people disagree with what their Church does as an abstract whole, but keep going.

    I’m not sure where I was going with this, but you all make good points, so I figured I’d try to be pointy, too.

  5. I think there is a misunderstanding here. There is a difference between being gay and committing the homosexual act. I think what the Church condemns the act, and not the individual.

    Can the gay individual be “himself” without engaging in sexual relations with people of the same sex? I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but it can be done.

  6. The Bible blatantly says no to Homosexuals…
    like in Romans “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” (Romans 1:26-27). Or in the old testament If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” (Leviticus 20:13). An abomination…how can you justify Homosexuality saying that its alright..they were born that way or didn’t choose that way…you always choose

  7. Blah Blah Blah.

    Lets just make it easy for people to keep in their sin.

    The problem is not the act of homosexuality, it is the unrepentant act of sin. All Christians sin, the thing is that as we become aware of our sins we are to repent (turn from them). No matter what the sin is. Sexual or otherwise. Gossip, Laziness, etc. You cannot embrace sin and Christ at the same time. We can not, we must not embrace sin. The practicing homosexual needs to stop as well as anyone who participates in any sexual sins outside of marriage.

    I was in my 20 when I accepted Jesus Christ. I had been a very sexuality active heterosexual for many years. It was difficult to stop having sex but I did through the strength of Jesus Christ. The same way I quit drinking alcohol. I did not try to justify sin and think “Jesus would just understand.”

    It’s not about church anyway, it is about a personal relationship with Christ. When one has that, nothing is impossible. Embrace the Power of Christ and not the bond of Sin.

  8. Another homerun, Lindsay.

    @Carmen~ It’s amazing to me how many conservative, evangelical churches can spend so much time quoting John 3:16 and completely miss the next verse. Thanks for reminding us.

    @Needle~ you say you’re not very practiced at refuting arguments, but you did a great job! God Bless

    @ianpeaty~ I love your perspective. Thanks for sharing a view from the outside, as it were. I don’t believe the early church fathers (and mothers) chose the scriptures in order to control people, but I believe the scriptures have been used in that way for MANY generations. We will have that world you described, but it may take the return of our Lord Jesus Christ to make it happen.

    @Topper~ thanks for sharing your heart on this matter with us. Good job being “pointy”. I get a little sad when people talk about “the Church” when they mean a specific group of people who are part of the whole body of Christ. 8 times out of 10 or so, they mean the Roman Catholic church, or the “Focus on the Family” or “700 Club” crowd… I am personally an Episcopalian and we tend to disagree with those other groups a lot. Don’t assume that just because someone claims to speak for God, that they actually do 😉

    Grace and Peace to all,
    Matty

  9. ** homophobia just another ugly face of paternalism **

    It’s common to all of the Big-3 monotheisms — they condemn any form of sex not directed to reproduction.

    Heterosexual intercourse during infertile periods, anal sex, and the ever dicey coitus interruptus are forbidden.

    Homosexual sexuality simply fails to be reproductive. On this basis alone, it is forbidden. The special puritanical horror associated with it is common to paternalistic groups struggling to grow through reproduction as well as conversion, during the hard, early days of the sect.

    That xianity and islam are now enormous cultural cancers should not overshadow their beginnings as small bands of fanatics drawn from the dregs of their originating cultures. In the US, Mormonism presents just such a growth totally within well documented world history.

    The so-called pro-life view (really just pro-birth) also arises within grow-grow subcultures. Paternalism, prudery, and pro-natalism. There’s nothing moral about them.

  10. Carmen, Needle, Topper: Thank you all for your comments! Needle, you did a great job, and Topper was oh so pointy! I (heart) my regular readers!

    Everyone who disagreed with me: Way to, um, not exactly address my post? You simply reiterated the point of view I outlined, you did very little (if anything) to actually progress the discussion. I’d love to hear what you REALLY think, if it goes beyond simply “gay people sin”. Does it? And to the question of if a gay person can not engage in sex- of course they can simply not do the act. They aren’t animals.

  11. Hi Lindsey. I’ve been reading you a long time, and greatly enjoy your thoughtful, gentle blog postings. In that spirit, I hope you don’t mind if I throw in my two cents… (And if you do mind, I can just hush and go back to being a reader. 🙂 )

    I often see a divide here with church teaching and being gay. Is it a behavior or is it an orientation? Is the problem just gay sex? Because if a gay person were to stop having sex — much like the gentleman above who is abstaining from straight sex before marriage — that person is still gay. Much like that gentleman above is still straight, even though he isn’t having sex right now. Sure, we could all be celibate. That’s not exactly the issue. The question is, are we asking a small, yet significant, part of the population never to love? Ever? (And though I understand that sounds corny, for those of you in relationships, think of a life where you are forever forbidden from knowing that sort of love. I mean, really think of it. So much of society is based on an assumption of marriage, family, growing old with a partner, that it may be hard to think of a life where, even if one were lucky to find it, one could not partake because that love is evil.)

    On the other hand, if simply the state of being gay is an affront to god, I personally don’t know why any gay person would try to know god at all. It would be completely pointless. And if that’s the case, I can completely see why (some?) Christians would not want gay people to be in their midst, because having a gay person in your church would be, by definition, offensive to god. And being gay isn’t like wearing too much makeup or being a liar, which are behaviors that can be stopped. Being gay is a situation where a person, by virtue of merely existing, is offensive to god and all the church stands for. There is no remedy for that.

    It’s a tough question and it makes me very sad. I applaud those who find a middle ground, or those who may reach out to gays, as fellow human beings, and let god sort it all out once we’re all dead and gone.

  12. Hey Lindsey:

    Excellent post on this topic, as usual. Thought provoking and meaningful. I especially appreciate the distinction that Jade wonders about in the previous comments: are we being rejected from some groups of church folks just based on who we are as gay persons? Or, is it all about the sexual act? Thing is, being gay is not my active choice; who I am with is; who my social connections are is; but my orientation, my deep soulful connection to the love of my life of the same gender; that soul connection and feeling is not a choice, any more than any person that anyone falls in love with totally is a conscious choice, not entirely anyway. Beyond that, I guess groups could debate about the sexual acts of us as gay persons being sinful; but I believe that issue could be resolved if we were legally allowed to marry our beloveds; then, our intimacy could be within the domain of legal marriage. Sure, we would not be intimate for the purpose of procreation, and we won’t ever be able to logically debate you on that one. But the argument about what the bible says on this has been beaten over our heads, literally and figuratively, all of our lives. And once again, I will say that there are SEVERAL things in the bible that we are told in old and new Testament that are not okay; yet many good, church going Christians do them.

    Why are we always the ones singled out? Do we sicken those of you that view us as sinners that much? I am a beloved child of God, I worship in church, I feel connected to my congregation, and I hope that they will continue to embrace me and my family. If not, we need to find another church. Have you ever had to seek another church in your life for being rejected? Let me just say, it simply stinks, and it wounds our souls……

  13. When we think about sin and condeming people based on the bible, maybe the people who don’t do the following should not be allowed in church!

    Matthew 25:31-46 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth [his] sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

    Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed [thee]? or thirsty, and gave [thee] drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took [thee] in? or naked, and clothed [thee]? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me
    “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. “

  14. lots of thoughts can spring from this line. thank you for being so blunt. here’s a great rebuttal… if no sinners were allowed in the church, for fear of spreading sin, then who would be in the church? i know i certainly couldn’t walk through the door, and i think that is why so many people never do walk through the doors. this is not to say that sin, of any sort, is a-okay. i love how you put it that salvation is not a transportation machine. i think too many times people in general, in this society of immediate gratification, expect instant results. there are so many people who identify their sins as part of their identity, in a short response to needle’s comment (i didn’t read it all). i get alot of flack with this statement, but even beautiful and wonderful things can be sin – if sin is defined as something that gets in the way of your relationship with God. a parent-child relationship, or spouse-spouse relationship, if it gets in the way of your relationship with God first, can be a sin. (Matt 11:37-42) Christ calls us to deny ourself (Matt 16:24-25) not just the parts of ourselves that our outside of our identity… i don’t believe it would be much of a cross to bear if it wasn’t painful to deny. denial of self is a very hard concept. i don’t believe it is possible, in this life, to achieve. we can try – we are called to try. and that trying is a process, not instant gratification, instant results. we are clay to be molded, to be refined. it takes our own effort, to open ourselves, to break ourselves down. if we spend our time breaking others down, no work can be done on us…
    i think too often we spend too much time fearing sin from the outside, when it is the sin from inside that is much much more damaging.

  15. Thank you again for another fantastic post, I’m not gay or christian, but I still love reading your posts, you are very open minded and people like you remind us atheists that not all christians are tarred with the same brush. You should start a gay christian magazine!

  16. Wow, reading a list of all those reasons that the church puts forth for rejecting gay people like myself really hits a nerve.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the Bible does NOT say “No” to homosexuals and the church should not either. I know that I’m just one of those nefarious gays, but I’ll ask anyone who disagrees with the above statement to hear me out. First, I’ll define “a homosexual”. A homosexual, as it often seems to be used, is a person who experiences sexual or romantic attraction to members of their own gender. This does not mean that by their very nature a homosexual person is leading a “lifestyle of sin”. This means that a homosexual person simply has a lust which is just like any other lust. There is no such thing as a “righteous lust”. But it would appear that the church wants to treat heterosexual lust in such a manner. Homosexual lust is no different than heterosexual lust, bi-sexual lust, greed, gluttony or any other matter where a person covets something. To be tempted by anything in and of itself IS NOT sinful.

    Were homosexuals born that way? Quite possibly, yes. As human beings, we are created imperfect and every single one of us is born with a propensity for certain temptations. A heterosexual man does not choose to be tempted by the vivacious women walking down the street any more than a homosexual man chooses to be tempted by the man working out next to him in the gym. Homosexuals DO NOT choose to be attracted to their own sex. No one would choose a lust that would cause them to be ostracized from their family, friends and church. The only choices a homosexual person has are 1)whether or not to ackowledge and accept that they are tempted by their own gender or to deny it and 2) the theological beliefs they will have toward their homosexuality and how they will live out these beliefs in their daily life.

    Next, should the church require that a homosexually-attracted person attempt to become a heterosexually-attracted person for acceptance into the congregation? Of course not. God does not require that a person rid themselves of temptation in order to be accepted by him. And if the church were to require that a homosexual rid themselves of their temptation, they would have to require that every person in their congregation exorcise themselves of all of their temptations. That is just impossible. And we all know that just because a person is “saved” or a believer this does not mean that God will remove their temptations from them, which explains why gay christians still have homosexual-attractions, and will likely always have these temptations no matter how much we pray to be free of them, long after being converted.

    So should the church be rejecting homosexuals purely on the basis of them being tempted by the same-sex? No. The only legitimate reason I can think of for a church rejecting a homosexual (or any other person for their congregation) would be an incongruency in any major theological beliefs and/or statement of faith between the church and the party who wished to join the congregation… and that seems perfectly fair.

  17. Jade: Thanks for commenting! I really appreciated your thoughts. You phrase the question in a way a lot of people neglect: are we really asking gay people to never experience the fullness of love? It’s not nearly so easy as simply flipping a switch and making a gay man like breasts. If it were so easy, there would be a lot less gay people. I’ve seen several young people struggle with their sexuality and PRAY for a different set of attractions and PLEAD to like the genitalia of the opposite sex- and it doesn’t work.

    Vanessa: You ask a lot of good questions- I wish it were within my power to answer them!

    Jamie: Hear, hear!

    Christam: You touched on a lot of important things. I think part of why many Christians focus on eradicating other people’s sins is because on some level it seems to make our own problems okay. Like: “Well, sure, I may get drunk from time to time, but I helped my friend overcome his porn addiction, so I’m a good person…” Only in areas where our rejection of “obvious” sin becomes a stumbling block to people having faith, I don’t think it makes us any better. It makes us far, far worse.

    Pinnythewu: Thank you so much! I’m thinking a magazine like that wouldn’t make it into the Christian bookstores- although wouldn’t it look cute, right up beside Youth Worker Magazine and Christian Women? 😀

    Katherine: Well said! Very well said!

  18. hey, i actually haven’t read all the way through this post, but i’ve read your past entries and know that you always address this issue with thoughtfulness and compassion.

    i just want to say thanks for offering this dialogue. my GF is one of those kids who were cut to the heart by a church that claimed to love her. they convinced her parents to throw their 17 year old daughter out in the street with no resources and she, understandably, still hasn’t recovered from that betrayal at the age of 36.

    it’s true, for most of us who have left the church, regardless of our beliefs, the reason we stay away is not the message. it’s the messengers. i know several really awesome Christians, but i know a lot more hypocritical “Christianists” who drive wedges between family members and call foul when we simply ask them for explanations of their stances and for biblical basis that isn’t self-contradictory.

    i didn’t mean for this to get so long, but it’s a topic particularly close to my heart and it’s so refreshing to see a conversation about it that isn’t laden with half-truths and misinformation. thanks again.

  19. Lindsey, I have been watching this post with interest for the last few days. You know I appreciate your love and understanding and this is an important conversation that needs to happen again and again. So thank you for opening up the dialogue.

    I think a lot of Christians do not like to admit that their spiritual beliefs are not only based on biblical teachings but in society as well.

    It is so easy to say that the Bible condemns homosexuality and God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. But they fail to see that the interpretation of that same book has changed over time as well.

    People were married for political gain or social standing. Sex was meant for procreation only. In our country’s history we went from family decision to marrying for love. We have gone from sex through a hole in the sheet, to freer expressions of love.

    My grandmother used to quote the Bible condemning those who shaved their legs, had sex for enjoyment purposes only, and women who dared to have an orgasm. But I really doubt if any one in my denomination would condemn on those same issues today.

    It is scary for some to admit that what they believe today isn’t exactly the same as what was believed a thousand years ago. And every denomination has undergone some change since its creation. And yes denominations were created by people, not God.

    It may just be that for some to admit that maybe God really doesn’t hate fags, that admission is a threat to their whole belief systems. Personally I believe that the Bible is a great tool, a good place to start, but by never looking past that starting point, you miss what God is saying and doing today. In our time and culture.

  20. Oh weee… here I am commenting again on your blog, we all know nothing good can come of this but here’s my take. As always this is from my perspective which is as a man who sees religion as a means of interpreting the metaphysical rather than the literal stated words of the great cosmic marshmallow.

    Here’s some basic assumptions that we’ll go off of.

    • Yes there is a god. Yes he gives a crap about us humans insomuch as a god can.
    • As stupid humans we cannot fully understand the nature of god, so we are forced to translate him into concepts we can relate to.
    • We stupid humans do not know what comes after death, that unknown is deeply frightening and we seek solace and some sort of reassurance that there is *something* after this life which gives our existence some meaning.
    • God knows what’s going on after death, and being the only being we can conceive of to shelter us through that great unknown we humans want to buddy up with god as best we can.

    From those basic principles we have the universal reason for religions. They are in-essence human businesses peddling a product. That product is a reassurance that there is meaning to life, in return they do a bit of social engineering. They dictate morality and codes of behavior, it’s like a user-agreement really, you want their product you abide by the terms of use. One of those terms of use is “don’t do the nasty with people that have the same parts as you”. It’s that simple really.

    Now user agreements can be revised, even in religions. History is full of people rewriting the bible to suit their lifestyles, and for the most part this is tolerated. People have re-written the bible to say people with colored skin are bad, that getting divorced is ok, or that the afterlife has a user-limit. This is done with only slightly more trouble than one goes through switching from Windows XP to Linux or OSX. So under that logic it is very possible to revise some of the bible’s tenants to say that gay sex isn’t a sin, so why don’t they?

    Competition.

    People buy specific products because they believe that one brand is superior to another. That the iphone is better than the blackberry, that Toyota’s run longer than Ford’s or that charmin wipes the bum more thoroughly than purex. All religions peddle the security of an afterlife, so the differences have to be in the user agreements and since the user agreements are based on moral superiority that means that the different religions have to say what’s good and what’s bad, and gayness is a very colorful and definitive issue on that front.

    The fact is that when a person chooses a religion that person needs to feel somewhat morally superior for doing so, otherwise they’ve chosen an inferior brand. In order to feel morally superior they have to be superior to something or someone specific. It’s easiest to be morally superior to gay folks, because upon first examination the things they do don’t seem to conform with nature.

    That’s the balance you see, for every service there is a cost. To have good you must have a bad for that good to stand against. You stand against bigotry and intolerance, that’s what allows you to feel morally superior. It’s a good thing I suppose that bigotry and intolerance are going to be around for a long while yet, because otherwise you and many of your readers would have to find something else to stand against, and who knows what that will be…

  21. …not to be *too* mischievous, but hey – what about straight-identified people who have the occasional crush on someone of the same sex?

    (Yeah, right – let’s not go there; the concept is too head-spinning… 😉 )

  22. this isn’t going to make sas much sense as i’d like b.c i have a one year old and a five year old under my feet and on my keyboard… but here goes.
    i wonder how many christians really go to church out of a desire to feel morally superior. the potential truth of this concept frightens me. i’d like to stand out in the minority of that label, but perhaps being in the minority is just part and parcel to feeling morally superior. i wouldn’t identify my reason for attending church as a need to feel morally superior. i don’t go to church to feel better about myself in the strict sense that being in church and following someone’s set of rules makes me feel superior to anyone else. i go because i feel so inferior to everyone else, to the standards of goodness/success, that i am scared of being lost in this world. i go because i want desperately to plug into the message, to feel Love, not of people, but of the definition of Love found in God. i go in a desire to become part of that love, to learn how i can be a step closer to that love. sometimes, the other followers make that very difficult. so does everyone else in this world, including myself, but that’s just because we are beings broken by sin. i go because while i sometimes dislike the people of this world, of the church, i sense that Love is the only real thing there is. a lot of people say that’s a crock – it’s just chemical, hormonal, whatever. they can say what they believe, it still lifts my heart and makes me feel alive to love. i go to be a part of something larger than myself.
    i won’t argue that anything that humans handle becomes a marketable affair. but i don’t go to buy into something. or maybe i do – it’s a comfort, spiritually, even if my mind is full of the doubt of this world.
    as someone who identifies themselves as a christian, i don’t feel morally superior to anyone, certainly not homosexuals. maybe i’m in the minority there. i’m in agreement with alot of katherine’s comment. we are ALL sinful, and many sins are much more spiritually deadening than the sins of the flesh.

  23. Topper: Snort!
    InfamousQbert: You’re welcome. It really is an incredible honor for me to be able to see so many people being challenged and sometimes being changed, or finding healing. The message is a good one. What could be bad in, “find life, live in love, be a better person?” Sometimes it’s just downright horrifying how that gets twisted into such a horrible and divisive weapon. But things CAN be different. I believe that firmly.
    wvhillcountry: I can remember one time, quite a while ago, when my mother was harangued for being a “painted jezebel” with “anemic blood on her fingernails” because she had the temerity to wear make-up and nail polish. And so many of these laws ARE about society and control! The Bible has almost nothing to say on the subject, compared to the long passages about other kinds of behaviors that are so often ignored. (Idle chatter, anyone?) My biggest prayer right now is to be able to create a church that isn’t about the doctrine so much as the duty. Love your neighbors, that sort of thing. 🙂
    Tony: Personally, I think that my brand of faith is better than everyone else’s because it lets me have a wine cooler from time to time. How’s THAT for competition? (Of course you do make many good points, but it’s early and the caffeine hasn’t kicked in yet.)
    e2c: HI E! *claps* And you’re right, of course, nothing is as hard and fast as we’d like it to be. I think that’s why we so often just, uh, brush the odd bits under the rug and try to pretend nothings wrong.
    christam: Oh, I hear you on the little ones. I myself often blog with two year old and four year old pulling on my hair. It makes thinking so hard sometimes! But I think I understood much of what you were trying to say. We do like to compare ourselves to others, to feel as if we’ve gotten it better, we’ve gone further, we’re simply SUPERIOR. And I don’t like to think that I’M that way either, but then I read myself writing about Christianity and I see that I’m (in such an internal contradiction) doing the exact same thing when I say I’m superior to all of those judgmental types. *sigh* But there is hope. There is love. There is something that surpasses our human understanding. There is something that can drive us to serve each other, to truly live outside ourselves. There is HOPE. We just need to accept it.

  24. And I don’t like to think that I’M that way either, but then I read myself writing about Christianity and I see that I’m (in such an internal contradiction) doing the exact same thing when I say I’m superior to all of those judgmental types. *sigh*

    one thing that can help to remember is that you CAN say “i’m better than so-and-so at X”. so, the jones family goes to church more than i do. they’re better at church attendance. and you do a better job at not outright judging people than some do. the key is to not let your accomplishments in any particular area turn into the conclusion that this makes you a better person than they are. whatever you believe about God, i don’t think a loving one will judge anyone based on any particular aspect, or checklist of “good things”. i think there’s got to be a much more comprehensive and nuanced way of determining who has met the expectations given to us.

  25. Homosexuality is wrong, plain and simple.

    First off, there is no such thing as a gay person in the sense that the world thinks of it. No one is born with the natural tendency to lust after their own gender. If they were born with it it would have to be genetic and if its genetic it obviously would not be passed on.

    second, Loosly based of romans 1? Romans 1 makes it clear that homosexuality is wrong, there is no lack of clarity in the text. and its not like the law does not concur, see Leviticus. The problem is liberal christians like you are man-pleasers. It makes you look humane and popular to accept gays.

    There is a difference between hate and standards. I am not saying I would shoo a homosexual out of my church, but I am saying I would not let him be a member unless he renounces his homosexuality. What association does light have with darkness? If a man has sin like that in his life that he is not willing to surrender than he should not be a memeber of the Body of Christ, because it is a choice not a genetic trait, and the Bible makes that clear. And if you do not follow the Bible as the standard of what is write and wrong you are only Christian because that’s what you call yourself. You do not follow Christ if you do not follow the Bible.

    • Amen to your post.
      The bible is very clear about homosexuality. It is an abomination in the eyes of God, which is something he detest.
      I applaud you and anyone else that takes a stand and doesnt become tolerant to the debauchery that is happening in our country.

    • Sorry I hit reply before I was finished.
      God does not hate the person, but the sin. If a person continues to live in a sin such as the homosexual act and not give it to God are living in sin.
      If you continue to live in sin then the bible is clear as to what the consequece will be.

  26. jcapinc: My first contention would be with the idea that sexual preferences are not genetic- my mother and father both have dark hair and brown eyes, and I am blond haired and blue eyed. There are dominant and recessive genes. Not that I’m saying it IS fully genetic- there may be a great deal of conditioning involved. The only thing I am absolutely sure of is that WE DON’T KNOW. We don’t know why homosexuality exists.

    Talk to any gay person, and they will tell you that they feel they had no conscious choice in the matter of their sexuality. I know that the fact that I simply was not attracted to anyone, period, for the greater part of my teenage years wasn’t a conscious choice. Was it genetic? No, but it wasn’t a choice, either. It was a psychological response to a traumatic experience, and one I had absolutely no conscious control over. I WANTED to be different, but I couldn’t MAKE myself different. I tell you that just to demonstrate the fact that sexuality isn’t something we really create inside ourselves. It is something we can work to exercise our authority over, and it’s something that can and often does change over time, but no one ever says, “hey, I WANT to be attracted to that person.” It’s not a decision we make.

    Compassion is necessary.

    Now, please, do not tell me I am a man-pleaser. Do not say that I write this blog to look “humane and popular”. You do NOT know me, you do not know my life history or the kind of life I now live. You do not know what I am like, at all. I am a wife and stay at home mother, I garden and sew a lot of my own clothes. I was raised in the Mennonite tradition and I have Amish relatives. I know a lot of liberals that would be appalled at me and my lifestyle because of how conservative I am in my day to day life.

    I write this blog because I know of a lot of people who have left the church when they realized their sexuality isn’t normal. The way the issue is being approached right now is divisive and cruel. Is it wholly possible that God wants everyone to have the kind of life that I have- a man and a woman, the woman governing the home and bearing children? I’m open to that idea. But reality is that people rarely, if ever, live up to ideals. We need to make room for humans to make bad choices, and good ones.

    The choice to lead a heterosexual will only be fully lived out when made willingly, not under the hammer of rejection. Too many people try and fail because it is man calling them to it and not God.

    And as for the scriptures, I’m well versed in them.

    You and I simply have a difference of opinion.

    I never, ever say on this blog whether or not I think that God calls people to a heterosexual lifestyle.
    Read all my posts, you’ll never find me say one way or the other.
    Even if it IS sin, even if God DOES want something else for people’s lives- we still MUST show love first, we MUST embrace, we MUST exhibit compassion, we MUST listen and learn.

  27. jcapinc-

    “You do not follow Christ if you do not follow the Bible.”

    Perhaps you could pick up the book “The year of living biblically”, read it, try it out for yourself and then make a comment such a that.

    None of us could “follow the bible” and “follow Christ” at the same time.

  28. You don’t get rid of your sin before being saved, but you can’t just decide that being gay is okay because it is such a natural tendency. I am a Christian, and I do struggle with being gay. As an non-Christian even somewhat while a Christian, your fleshly, natural desire is to sin. As a finite human, we are going to sin. To say that a natural inclination is what we should cling to is opposed to the entire ideal of Christianity which is, through Christ, putting off the old self and embracing the new self in Christ. That new self is, again through Christ, beginning to purify itself for a life and eternity of worship.

  29. Matt: I agree with you.

    You’ll notice that I don’t argue that being gay is awesome, just that we need to practice compassion, empathy, and friendship. Acceptance and agreement are NOT the same thing.

  30. To answer the questions quickly, as I forgot to do: many churches misunderstand the idea of homosexuality. It is a natural tendency, but so is every other sin. Christians should “embrace” unbelievers in preaching the gospel, but that doesn’t mean we condone sin just because it is extremely hard to overcome. Many Christian churches push sinners, specifically gays, out of the church because they are scared of sin in its raw and private forms. They have been taught a wrong way of approaching sin. With a believer, the approach must be rebuke, but with an unbeliever, the church must explain to them why it is sin, and how they too used to walk in the “old flesh.” Then after explaining sin and need to turn from it (because of its offense to God), the Christian should explain the availability of salvation that God has provided through Christ to quench the wrathful justice that is necessary to be poured out on sin. In summary, Christians shouldn’t be condemning believers or unbelievers, the presentation of a holy God and his divine nature is what condemns. This is why Christ did not need to come to condemn. Condemnation had been present since the beginning (as detailed all throughout the old testament). Christ came to save, but he also calls those saved to turn and be separate and different from the world putting off all ungodliness, unrighteousness, and sin. This means constantly examining and making no provision nor taking those opportunities to sin.

  31. Being a Christian is not about “feeling good” about yourself. It just isn’t. Jesus Christ tells us to “take up our Cross and deny ourselves”. It does not say, believe in me and I will make your lives easy. Let’s be honest. Sexual immorality is a sin, whether it is heterosexual or homosexual. If you expect God to accept your sin, then you are mistaken. He will not. The scripture clearly indicates this. Stop trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole. Repent of your sin and your sexual immorality. Then, and only then, will you be accepted by your father. Repent means to take a new path, not just to ask for forgiveness. God bless you.

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