The Church Will Be Queer (My Weekend With LGBTQ Christians and Friends)

gay-flag

Queer /kwir/ adjective
differing in some odd way from what is usual or normal
strange, odd, peculiar

This past weekend I traveled to the Gay Christian Network Conference in Houston. Attendees there ranged from Christians who identify as LGBTQ, to family members who love and support them, to equality activists from all walks of life, to straight friends and allies and faith leaders like myself seeking to learn from and walk alongside the gay community.

It was my second time attending this gathering, and even more than during my initial world-rocking experience I found myself humbled and challenged and lifted in ways that defy adequate description; ways I haven’t experienced in my two decades as a local church pastor.

As with so many of our most meaningful moments words fail, but I am burdened to find some because those words are our beginning, a way of orienting ourselves around one another and communicating the gorgeous greater-than-words truths of this life.

As I reflected on the weekend on my plane ride back home, what struck me over and over about this weekend was its startling normalcy; how in so many ways it looked and felt so very ordinary, and yet this is not to imply that it was at all unexceptional. 

Quite the contrary, it was glorious.

Over those four days I witnessed a nondescript hotel conference center being supernaturally transformed in real-time. Its meeting rooms became sacred spaces, their institutional carpet holy ground upon which tread fragile, flawed, bruised, beautiful sinner-saints, all stumbling, crawling, and dancing their way in faith together—and I was simply one of them.

Across food court tables, during parkside walks, in packed worship spaces, and through late night hotel lobby sofa conversations we showed our scars and shared our stories. We listened to each other’s angry psalms, tended to one another’s wounds, and celebrated the once-in-history, God-breathed miracles we each are.

We sang songs, we prayed together, we talked about our families, we laughed explosively, we wrestled with theology, and we did it all fully believing in the other’s inherent value and goodness without exception or condition. That is what happens when the Spirit is truly present.

This weekend was far more than a Christian conference made of general sessions and workshops and swag bags. This was the Church; as real and meaningful and joyful and messy and merciful as it will ever be experienced, and that is the real story here, the one so many Christians outside need to see and hear and embrace, for their sake and for the sake of the Church itself.

Followers of Jesus who consider themselves non-LGBT affirming need to be brave enough to come and sit in a space like this long enough to be cleansed of the persistent, damaging, seductive lie that they are morally superior or closer to God or somehow entitled to be gatekeepers of the faith for anyone else.

As a straight Christian, when you are finally freed of the crushing weight of your own subtle but real inflated sense of worth, and when you begin to have an inkling of the privilege you have been unknowingly sequestered in, you can rightly embrace the worth of everyone else and you can begin to move toward something more just and righteous and equal (which not coincidentally will reflect Christ most accurately). 

When you can fully see the God in the eyes of every person you meet, you get a little closer to that great, elusive truth that sets you free.

I imagine the greatest misconceptions many straight Christians have regarding the queer community are about place and posture. They believe because they have historically been treated with greater respect and given more power, that these things are deserved or that they are of God; that to engage with gay believers that they are somehow ministering down to them, but that would be a tragic error.

The straight Church doesn’t need to tolerate or pacify or throw scraps to the Christian  LGBTQ community, it needs the LGBTQ community, for the same reason it needs all those seeking and walking in faith regardless of their gender or skin color or sexual orientation—because these folks are breathing sanctuaries of the Spirit of God and because without them any version of the Church is still inferior and incomplete.

Until the queer Christian community is received fully and welcomed and included without caveat or restraint by the institutional Church, it will continue to be less grace-filled, less rich in its complexity, and less in the image of Christ than it should be.

This weekend I saw The Church being the very best of its diverse self, and the fact that it so rarely looks like that in most local faith communities around the world means we are not yet where we need to be, in matters of sexuality and race and gender equality. As a straight, white man, I am committed to learning and listening, and to participating in this work in whatever way I am able.

In life there is a truth you come to know; an experience of it that once you do, you cannot be argued out of or coerced into giving up, and over the past few days I was reminded once again of that truth:

The Church I want to be a part of; that one perseveres and grows and gives God glory, will be different, it will be odd, it will be peculiar.

And it will be queer.

 

 

 

0 thoughts on “The Church Will Be Queer (My Weekend With LGBTQ Christians and Friends)

  1. Love this! What a weekend it was! Ordinary – spectacular – overwhelming – not enough adjectives to describe the experience. Thank you for what you do!!

  2. John Pavlovitz, do you believe Christ made a mistake when He said this?

    4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
    Matthew 19

    • Of course it’s not a mistake. It’s also not relevant. Jesus was answering a question on divorce, in the specific context of a man divorcing his wife. He answered the question in that context. His quote from Genesis was intended to show the origin or marriage, not define or limit it, so that that His reply that marriage should not be ended by divorce except in the case of adultery would make sense.
      It’s very poor biblical scholarship to pull that quote out of context and try to turn it into something Jesus wasn’t saying. He was not asked to, nor did He, define or limit marriage here.

      • Doesn’t matter because you reject heteronormative marriage to begin with. The ONLY relationships your kind accept are queer.

      • Yes, He was responding to a question about divorce, but He very clearly addresses the definition of marriage. That is of one man and one woman coming together and becoming one. I am not making of His comments anything He did not say. You are, however, forcing the definition of marriage beyond His definition.

        There is more I could have pulled, but didn’t have time. Do you believe that marriage between a man and woman reflects the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church, as He describes?

    • Do you believe it is a mistake where it is written in John 1:

      1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life,[a] and the life was the light of all people.
      Now to my understanding that means ALL THINGS. He means what he says here. Jesus created my two young adult children, not only their amazing intelligence, their devotion and love for their Savior that is humbling and brings me to my knees, their creativity, talent, inate kindness and determination, stubbornness, my daughter’s curly hair and eyes as blue as blue jeans, my son’s sturdy strong legs, his cerebral palsy and Asperger’s, his public speaking and poetry skills, and his hazel eyes that invite you from behind his crooked glasses to discus any topic at all in great depth, because the welcome and love are shining right there in them. Jesus created all these things in them, right along with the characteristic of who they are attracted to, who they are going to fall in love with, a man or a woman, and have a covented, marriage in our church and then spend their lives with them. My daughter will choose a woman, she is a lesbian, and my son may choose either a man or a woman, he is bisexual, but they are both devoted members of our Mennonite congregation that happens to have chosen this summer to be officially welcoming and affirming, so when and if they choose a spouse they will be married in our church. The point being, Jesus created them, all the parts of them, knowing all the parts of them and then never spoke, himself, about homosexuality being a sin. He did, however speak of being wecoming, loving, and feeding his sheep, of not judging, that the judging is His job not ours. that loving our neighbor and loving God with all of our heart and soul and might are the most important things. Sitting in judgement of others, and hurting them with our words and attitudes and by excluding them from our church families where they could be going and learning and receiving His love…..well ask yourself if that is what Jesus wants, if that is what He meant when He said those words. Or maybe those words were a mistake????

      • Do you intend to claim that God is responsible for every wicked and broken aspect of this world? So you are saying that He created cancer, and alcoholism, mental illness and hate? Because when you claim He is responsible for the “all things”, you have to include all things. Every sexual inclination, every cruelty, every form of illness. Yet, in His Word, He has told us what is responsible for all of the brokenness in the world. He did provide us will free will, and we have certainly freely used that will, to reject Him and His wisdom, and live according to our lusts and desires. But, He knew we would not be able to handle that free will without help. So He sent His Son to help us live in His healthly and wise will. Or we can choose to twist and stretch His Word in order to fit it to our desires instead. That seems clearly to be what you’re doing.

      • karenjewel, there is a difference between sexual “inclinations”, which yes, are controlled by free will and result in adultery and even worse, and sexual orientation which is a natural born part of who we are, and can not be changed, it is a part of us. And no, it can not be equated with cancer or alcoholism, because there is no reason to change it, in fact trying to deny it’s beautiful existence causes the LBGTQ person extreme emotional harm, scarring them for the rest of their lives, scarring made worse when the pain is driven deeper by rejection from family, church, friends, school peers, etc. This I know first hand from my own two children’s life experience. Thankfully they are both brave and strong and are standing up for themselves, with the love of our family and our church. There has been Biblical scholars who have gone into the verses in Romans and elsewhere as well, you can reference them by looking up John Shore or Matthew Vine or here or Rachel Held Evans or the Other Sheep’s website. It is 2am as I write this or I would get into it myself, but you don’t seem like your heart is open to listening anyway. I am praying that this will change. Hopefully you will come in contact with beautiful, devoted, brave followers of Christ, like my two amazing young adult children, that take up their cross daily, part of which is dealing with the bigotry of other Christians.

  3. I understand, or at least think i understand the point that as society as a whole accepts the LGBT community the “odd man out” becomes the church. That being said i find the word Queer too long associated with negative, too drenched in hate, to be reclaimed in a positive light.

    I know this is an active debate within the lgbt community but for as much as i love and enjoy your blog as a gay man i feel the point could easily have been made without using the “Q” word in what many within the church itself will view as inflammatory which means they may not get past that to see the real message.

    • I understand your point, but I also gently point out that there are many Christians who simply identify as Queer, that they feel this is the word that right now best describes them so this is what they identify as. To leave off the Q is simply to exclude them, and that is not really fair either.

    • Too bad LGBTQ love is conditional- be queer or you should not be allowed to live is the message of the LGBTQ community

      • What evidence do you have that the LGBT community believes, supports or condones that the ONLY allowable relationship is that of a same sex couple?

        As member of the LGBT community i for one can tell you that i have often asked the question of others “would you wish others you love or care about to also be gay” the answer universally is NO. we would not want anyone we care about to be subjected to the bigotry, intolerance or hatred we face on a daily basis from folks just like you who clearly feel threatened by someone else being happy and content with who they are and who they love

  4. Yep, the homonormative imperative at work. Forget heterosexuals, the only people allowed to be Christian will be Queer.

    I don’t know why your wife trusts you around those folks.

    • You comment about his wife clearly indicates that you think being gay is a choice.. Again why would anyone choose to subject themselves to the hate and bigotry from intolerant folks exactly like you.

      AND if it’s just a choice as you think then at what point in your life did you choose via a conscious decision to be straight and how much sexual exploring with men did you do before deciding to choose to be straight?

      • I’d like to know at what point he chose to become a bigot. He wasn’t born that way. Being LGBT isn’t a choice. Being a jerk, (in place of a better euphemism), is not. It’s his free choice to be hateful.

    • Do NOT act so dumb. No one in the LGBTQ community want to exclude anyone from the church or marriage or any aspect of society. It is you and your hetero-exclusive community that want to exclude us from full inclusion in life. For the record, not all of us here that love and respect John are people of faith. How typical of you Theodore Michael Seeber to assume that everyone is Christian or of any God belief. Also please remember the USA was created as a secular nation with Freedom to worship a God or several Gods or none at all.

      “The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” Thomas Jefferson

      Thus in the spirit of the Enlightenment, he made the following recommendation to his nephew Peter Carr in 1787: “Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”

  5. I don’t believe that God’s perfect plan for lovers includes queer couples, but I DO believe that God rejoices in ANY loving couple. It’s a lesson to us all that LGBTQ couples know that love is so important that they will defy anything to hold tight to love. Bless all that love.

  6. The amazing thing about the GCN conference is how it creates a compassionate and positive space in which some very difficult questions about faith and one’s orientation and identity can be discussed in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Last year’s conference in Portland, OR was our first and opened our eyes to the real struggles going on within the Christian community. The beauty of that weekend was that everyone attended came willing to hold these questions open and be willing to learn from others’ experiences so as to understand their own faith better. I am sure that some came away changed, others affirmed. That is the nature of true reflection.

    The word “Queer”, however, is one that us cisgender folks need to use with caution – really, only with approval, and in the right circumstances – for the reasons given in an earlier comment…it’s a reclaimed word, still freighted with judgement. Younger people will use it to describe themselves, particularly amongst themselves, but the search for better terms goes on. John used “Queer” as a headline for two reasons that I see: one, that the future of the Church is in its youth, who have very different attitudes towards individual orientation and identity, and second, to attract eyeballs. I fully support the proposition of the first reason…I don’t think it’s my place to use the word, and particularly for the second reason.

    The next generation is searching for words that describe themselves as persons and children of a loving God, if they believe. A fascinating result of that search are terms that replace labels of specific identities and orientations – LGBTQ, for example – with words that express the continuum of identity and orientation. Every individual is…individual…we deny the strengthening diversity of human existence by constraining that existence to a dot on a line rather than the vast space that that line is but one aspect of.

    Love thy neighbor as thyself. Everything else is just commentary. Everlasting life is not a reward to be granted but a Heaven that we create with our compassion and service. The attendees of GCN exemplify that.

  7. Thank you John, that was so beautiful tears came like a flood in graditude.
    My heart grieves terribly for the most misunderstood sin of our time in this season. As a straight christian woman having experienced a same sex relationship in my preteens for two years, it has created an urgency to pray for Homosexuals where hate grows and bashes it’s ugliness from both sides.
    Falling in love with another soul, who is of the same sex, is not a sin. Let me say that again, Falling in love with another soul, who is of the same sex, is not a sin.
    Falling in Love is associated with intimacy of a sexual nature, but it wasn’t intended for it to always be that way. It is the depths of One’s discovery for another in the pureness of unconditionally selfless love. Love is an action Word.
    Love has no boundaries, limits, reatraints nor is it discriminative. The fleshly desires and sexually interactions acted upon in the flesh accompanied by its nature of passions………. is a sin.
    David and Jothathon in the bible were extremely close, maybe even closer than brothers, David So loved Jonathan and i believe David’s relationship with Jothathan gives us a hidden nugget of truth, of one after God’s own heart.
    If the passions override in wrong desires, lust of the eyes, impure thoughts and is led by the flesh to express these desires, that is when it becomes a sin, as the flesh profitteth nothing. Sowing to the flesh is death. Love sows to the spirit which is life.
    God is Lord of All souls, and shows no partiality. God shows us the depth of His love by sending His Son to bare His Wrath and death for All sins. Sin is black. One sin isn’t lighter because it is more commonly accepted and spirits have not conquered it and see the uglyness in it yet to overcome it.
    All sin is ugly and the Cross is where Jesus paid it all, it is finished. Jesus said, if you love me, you will obey me, this is a choice when following Jesus on all points of the flesh. 7 deadly sins and all the in between hidden heart sins that can manifest. This may very well be their life long journey to conquer the desire…….some will, some won’t…….but it isn’t for us to condemn anyone in the body of Christ. It is the Holy Spirits job too. And i believe our Heavenly Father is big enough to handle What He is molding. How can we love our Savior any less?
    Some of the most flavorful, beautiful , wonderful, living creative souls are gay, and who are the most tortured, tormented, insecure and persecuted people I know.
    The Church God is building will be Glorious and Magnificently Magesitic. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.
    All will be Welcomed. None will be despised. Creativity of Worship will be breathtaking, Dancing for Our Father above in all holiness will be awe inspiring in immeasurable flavors of colorful souls expressed through Christ , I can only imagine how Glorified and Honored Jesus would be when we are One in unity an expression of His Heart.

    His Greatest Expression of Himself- US, His greatest Glory-US in Him as One, For Him. Heaven.

    • So much for your support of gay folk. You wipe out much of your comments by insisting on a Side B take. It would be better to leave that out as it is opinion again. Even GCN refuses to take one side on this and you would do well in a public forum of debate to do the same. Sorry, but just saying!

  8. John, you described my church! We have gay, hetero, young, very old, different ethnic backgrounds, transgender, high school dropouts, post-doctoral professors, business owners, etc. etc., yet we are just one, big human family that gets along exceptionally well. I feel sorry for the modern-day Pharisees that can’t find this true joy in their church due to their judgmentalism and condemnation of others.

  9. Thank you John. Please continue to share your words. As I watch life play itself out in the comments posted, I become even more aware of the need for men like you.

  10. For the literalists who insist upon the Bible’s pronouncement: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28).

    • I would add to that the fact that there will be no sexes in heaven—no need for them—meaning that the spirits of gay people will love each other in a world where that love is the prime directive. No functional penises or vaginas there—where everything is spirit alone. So, if two spirits there love each other, and one of those spirits was once a female on Earth and the other spirit was also a female on Earth, do they sin in Heaven by loving each other in Heaven?

      Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done. On Earth as in Heaven. Jesus was clear that the Kingdom began on Earth nearly 2,000 years ago. The message I get from Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals is: Even though one female spirit will love another female spirit in Heaven one day—and that is just great with God—it is nonetheless wrong for that love to begin here on Earth at the beginning of the Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven. Anyone have any thoughts on that?

  11. This blog has really challenged me to search for the truth. I have been challenged to really find the truth, For that I am grateful.
    I am saddened by cruel words from either side, there is no need. But truth spoken is essential.
    I must say that I have come to a different conclusion through my study research and challenge from this community.
    Thank yo Rev. W.H. Carey and I can’t remember the other ladies name who challenged me from a few weeks ago, sorry. for sharing your understanding of the Bible with me.

    I believe that the Bible is very clear in its condemnation of all sin and our need for a savior that will cleanse us from all of our unrighteousness if we confess, repent and turn away from it. That God does have guidelines found in HIs revealed word, the Bible, that He gives to His people.

    I am sure I will get those who disagree with me, I ask that as you make your statements pin point what you are focusing on. Do not respond to my entire post but rather go through it piece by piece, I work better that way.

    After looking at Leviticus 18:1-23 God is very clearly calling His people to be different than the pagan nations around them. They practiced all kinds of sexual acts, which God wholly condemns. The fact the homosexual act is listed drives fits well within His guidelines. Though there were many types of homosexual relationships in the ancient world, many were accepted, including monogamous ones. What makes Leviticus so unique is that God did not pick out which ones were not accepted, sex with kids, sex with slaves, etc. but prohibited all types of homosexaulity. He didn’t use a single word to describe the homosexual act he was speaking about but rather said that a man should not lay with a women as with a man. Pretty clear. In english if I say that item is cool, it could have various meanings, but it if say it is frozen with ice, then cool becomes defined. When God says a man should not lay with a man as he does a woman, there isn’t a single word that is being used but rather a whole phrase to it clear. Anytime a man lays with a man as with a women it is an abomination. This goes against the creation account of man with women and being fruitful and multiplying. Homesexuality cannot lead to children it goes against the very nature of nature.

    We don’t challenge that a you are not to have sex with an animal, and a woman is not to present herself to mate with an animal. That is pretty clear as well.

    Leviticus 20:1-13 reinforces that a man should not sleep with another man as he would a woman, then adds the punishment for both. No distinction between why type of homosexual relationship, just homosexuality period.
    When we jump into Romans Paul does the same thing, he doesn’t use a single word to describe the act rather he says that God gave them over to degrading passions and exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural and then goes on to explain what he means, they were inflamed with lust for one another. Males committed shameless acts with the males.

    Paul isn’t using a single word to describe the act but rather explaining it clearly.

    With that said, the gospel is given in such a powerful way that those who are trapped in their sin can have victory over it. THe Good News is that God can forgive us, cleanse us and lead us int he way we are to go. We do not need to be controlled or trapped by our physical, emotional, or mental desires, we can obey HIs word.

    I am still working on I Corinthians and other NT passages.

    May I suggest this website as an example who those who have decided to submit all they are to Christ all they are and come broken and become healed.

    http://desertstream.org/living-waters/

    Ok. dover1952 I know you will have some comments, I am open just keep it in a spirit of openness and civility.
    Rev. W.H. Carey I appreciate your previous comments to me and would like to hear your thoughts

    The others on this web you have spoken to me in kindness and i look forward to hearing your thoughts as well as we all continue to grow in God’s Love, truth and word.

    • Kirk, thank you for your comments.
      Leviticus in Hebrew not only does not condemn homosexuality, it doesn’t even mention it.
      Lev. 18:22
      ואת זכר לא תשכב משכבי אשה תועבה הוא
      V’et zachar lo tishkav mishkvei ishah to’evah hi
      And with a male thou shalt not lie down in a woman’s bed; it is an abomination.

      Lev. 20:13
      ואיש אשר ישכב את זכר משכבי אשה תועבה עשו שניהם מות יומתו דמיהם בם
      V’ish asher yishkav et zachar mishkvei ishah to’evah asu shneihem mot yumatu d’meihem bam
      And a man who will lie down with a male in a woman’s bed, both of them have done an abomination, they will surely be put to death, their blood is on them.

      Like other verses in Leviticus, these two are about proper vs. improper use of a woman’s bed. A woman’s bed was her own. Other than the woman herself, only her husband was allowed in her bed, and there were even times when he wasn’t allowed in there. In addition, Hebrew uses the same word for woman and wife, so this verse could also be seen as a prohibition of two men lying down in the bed of the wife of one of the men. The verses say nothing about sex… they forbid lying down for any reason. It’s the location that’s the issue, not what they may or may not be doing there.

      Homosexuality cannot be said to be unnatural. It exists throughout nature and serves useful functions. Waterfowl mate for life. Same-sex pairs are common. Obviously, they don’t reproduce. This helps prevent strain on resources and overpopulation. But at the same time, these same pairs will almost always adopt and raise orphaned young, thus helping to preserve the species. A very functional system. And Who designed it? The same God who looked at His creation and called it “good.”

      • LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! Good for real estate and homosexuality. Rev. Carey, that is the silliest translation I’ve ever heard for Leviticus. The stipulation that two men playing hanky-panky is OK everywhere but in a woman’s bed? Really??? That’s laughable.

        I don’t know Hebrew, but I do know what manure smells like sh*t, and I didn’t have to be educated to know that. I’m gonna have to call BS on your “translation”. It smells funny.

        You are also misguided about what God calls good. God made everything, and called it good. Evil is not a thing but a condition, much like homosexuality, a condition of man’s heart.

      • Hi thanks for your thoughts, I have not been able to locate any scholars, commentaries, reviewed publications that back up what you are saying. Could you please validate your understanding outside of your own interpretation? Thanks for your time

    • @Kirk

      Have you considered the possibility that the passages are referring to heterosexual men who became inflamed with lust for other men? These men are not homosexual, they are heterosexual men who use other heterosexual men’s bodies for sexual pleasure or release. A homosexual man looks for a relationship with another man, falls in love, and may eventual come to see that person as a life partner. Perhaps the ‘sin’ being exposed in the passages you present is uncontrollable inflamed lust found in heterosexual men which leads them to have sex with, well, anything that has a pulse. Now that to me would make more sense.

      • HI Sean, yes I have heard of that interpretation, I have been silent for a while doing a lot of research, not done yet, but from I have found is that Paul is very clearly speaking to the Nature of Male and Female, he is not referring to individual sexual behavior and whether or not a hetero man goes awol and seeks out another man just for pleasure. Paul is very clear it is the nature of males to be with women and the nature of women to be with men. Anything other goes against the nature of creation and how men and women are made.
        May I suggest a book I have been reading Can you be Gay and Christian by Micheal L. Brown another book recommended one Robert Gagnon “The BIble and Homosexual practice, text and hermeneutics. Both of these men are academic scholars with much research and knowledge of the Bible and ancient languages.
        In fact there are some debates on you tube with Robert Gagnon, here is one

        • Paul used the word φυσιν in Romans, stating that what the Romans were doing was outside of it. φυσιν is generally translated as nature, but does not refer to creation or the natural order of things. It doesn’t have the wide range of meanings that the English word nature has. It refers only to a person’s own native disposition, their own nature. When we speak of a person’s own nature in regard to their sexuality, we are speaking of their sexual orientation. If the people being intimate with members of their own sex were acting outside of their own sexual orientation, then they could not have been homosexual.

          I am not familiar with Michael Brown, but will research him. I am, however, familiar with Gagnon. His work is flawed, and his knowledge of the subject isn’t what he claims it is. His knowledge of Hebrew and Greek is lacking.

          OK… just did some research on Brown. Despite being Jewish, I know he doesn’t understand Hebrew. I know this because I just read his writing on Deut. 6:4. He buys into the commonly repeated fiction that the Hebrew word echad doesn’t mean one, but a plural unity. No Hebrew scholar believes that. That nonsense first appeared in a book called Hebrew Honey, by an author who gave treatises on several important Hebrew words. The vast majority of the book was garbage. The author couldn’t read a word of Hebrew. That was evidenced by the cover of the book, where the title appeared in English, superimposed on Hebrew. But since the author couldn’t read Hebrew, and couldn’t distinguish between the letters ע and צ, the Hebrew words were completely wrong. It went to print that way as a testament to the fact that the author was ignorant of Hebrew. Unfortunately, the misinformation contained in the book was eagerly accepted by other Christians. And clearly, Brown is one of those. Any man who does not know that echad is the Hebrew word for one, and only means one, not a plurality, is not qualified to discuss what the Old Testament teaches on anything, no matter what degrees he holds.

          • HI again, I would like you to respond to this please

            Deuteronomy 6:4, known as the Shema, has always been Israel’s great confession. It is this verse more than any other that is used to affirm the fact that God is one and is often used to contradict the concept of plurality in the Godhead. But is it a valid use of this verse?

            On one hand, it should be noted that the very words “our God” are in the plural in the Hebrew text and literally mean “our Gods.” However, the main argument lies in the word “one,” which is a Hebrew word, echad. A glance through the Hebrew text where the word is used elsewhere can quickly show that the word echad does not mean an absolute “one” but a compound “one.” For instance, in Genesis 1:5, the combination of evening and morning comprise one (echad) day. In Genesis 2:24, a man and a woman come together in marriage and the two “shall become one (echad) flesh.” In Ezra 2:64, we are told that the whole assembly was as one (echad), though of course, it was composed of numerous people. Ezekiel 37:17 provides a rather striking example where two sticks are combined to become one (echad). The use of the word echad in Scripture shows it to be a compound and not an absolute unity.

            There is a Hebrew word that does mean an absolute unity and that is yachid, which is found in many Scripture passages,2 the emphasis being on the meaning of “only.” If Moses intended to teach God’s absolute oneness as over against a compound unity, this would have been a far more appropriate word. In fact, Maimonides noted the strength of “yachid” and chose to use that word in his “Thirteen Articles of Faith” in place of echad. However, Deuteronomy 6:4 (the Shema) does not use “yachid” in reference to God.

            • Part of the same misinformation is to try to substitute yachid for echad as meaning one. That’s impossible. Yachid doesn’t mean one, but rather single, solitary, or even alone or lonely. It’s an adjective, not a number.

              Does the English word one mean a plural unity? If so, then where is our word for an absolute one? The whole point of saying things like the evening and the morning are one day… actually, wait, that’s not a good example. In that verse, it’s best understood as “day one,” rather than one day. If we go on to the next day, it’s called yom sheni, the second day. So echad here is being used to number, in the sense of first. The other examples are more accurate: Man and woman were originally created from the same one flesh, that of Adam. In marriage, what was made two becomes one again. If the word doesn’t mean an absolute one, then the whole meaning is lost… they aren’t really one at all.
              In Ezra 2:64, the word k’echad, while literally meaning “as one,” isn’t translated that way… it is a way of saying “together.” Nevertheless, they were one congregation. If it doesn’t mean an absolute one, then they weren’t one congregation at all.
              Ezek. 37:17 is indeed striking, but not in the way you think. I’m guessing you haven’t read it in Hebrew. “And join them echad to echad for echad stick and they will be for achadim in your hand.” So “join them one to one to make one stick, and they will be ones in your hand.” This is an excellent example of how plural is used in Hebrew. When two sticks are combined into one stick, they are no longer two sticks. They are one stick, but the text called them “ones.” This doesn’t mean they are still two, anymore than Elohim means there are multiple gods. Hebrew doesn’t only use plural to indicate number. It also uses plural to indicate importance or greatness. There are some Hebrew nouns that don’t even have singular forms because they are considered that important: life, face and water are ALWAYS plural in Hebrew, even if only one is being spoken of. God is usually plural when speaking of the true God. Lest anyone think that’s a reference to plurality, the word elohim was also applied to the golden calf (even though there was only one), to the spirit of Samuel (even though he was only one), and to Moses, as he would appear in Pharaoh’s eyes. So how do we know when it really means more than one? By looking at the verb. If the verb is plural, so is the subject. (Or adjectives or pronouns is no verb. Example is Jer. 2:11. It uses the word elohim, but we know it means gods rather than God because it is used with the word hemmah, which means they. (They are not gods…)
              When speakers of Hebrew learn to count, they have always begun with echad (or its feminine form achat). They do not start with yachid. And from the dawn of the Hebrew language right up until the second half of the 20th century, echad was always understood to mean an absolute one. Only when a Christian writer, ignorant of Hebrew, decided to write a work of fiction about it did anyone believe otherwise. But no one who actually speaks Hebrew or understands the grammar of the language is going to believe that fiction for a minute.
              By the way, it would be grammatically incorrect to translate Elohim as gods in Deut. 6:4, even lacking any theological knowledge to the contrary. The word is joined by an unwritten copula to a single subject, YHVH. Since that word is singular, a copula used, if written, would also have to be singular. (This would be the Hebrew word hoveh, but hoveh, with the other present tense forms of the verb “to be” are almost never used, but rather understood.) This corresponds to our word “is” when used with a third person subject, and that is how it is always translated in this verse: YHVH IS our God. If we translated Elohim as Gods, then grammar would be thrown off: YHVH is our Gods is bad grammar. If we substitute another proper name and position, we can see this: John is our mailman makes sense. John is our mailmen does not. So even if mailmen had been written as a plural word in Hebrew, the grammar of the rest of the sentence tells us it’s singular in number, written plural only to emphasize importance or greatness.

              • Good evening, still working through your reply, while I am doing that,could you share again your background and mentoring in your language development of Greek and Hebrew, who did you sit under? I would like to see how you developed your language skills You pretty bluntly put it that you felt the last two men I shared about were wrong. So I am curious as to the reason why you believe such, I do believe you touched on it briefly. Thanks
                Kirk

                • Sure, Kirk. I think one of the biggest differences beside the fact that those other two are clearly not able to understand either language with any fluency, is where I learned. I did not study either language in a religious setting. It’s a sad fact that for generations Christians schools of higher learning have been seriously mangling both languages. The versions of Hebrew and Greek they teach tend to match what is found in the dictionaries at the back of Strong’s Concordance, with a few exceptions. And those versions are wrong. I use a few litmus tests to tell whether people have been taught the languages correctly. One has to do with names of the letters of the alphabets and their sound values. I can ask the name of the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet and what sound(s) it can have, and the same for the second letter of the Greek alphabet. Someone who has been taught incorrect versions of those languages will usually give answers like this:
                  Hebrew: Beth – sound B
                  Greek: Beta – sound B
                  The only part of those answers that is right is the Hebrew sound value, and it is only half right.
                  The second letter in Hebrew is actually beyt, and is generally a B, BUT… it has an alternate form, sometimes called veyt, which is a V. (Strong’s Concordance is blissfully unaware of this, and as a result renders common Hebrew words like tov (which means ‘good’) as ‘towb.’)
                  The second letter in Greek is Vita (say “veeta”), and is a V sound. (Words like Beta, Zeta, Mu, etc., are fine for naming fraternities, but there is not a Greek in the world who would recognize those words as the names of the letters of his alphabet.)
                  I learned Hebrew and Greek from native speakers, native teachers. My first Greek tutor was named Nikki Makrinikolas. She was born and raised in Greece, and emigrated to the US as an adult. My Hebrew teacher was Brachah Koser, a professionally Israel language teacher. (Brachah means ‘blessing,’ and believe me, to me, she was a blessing!) Brachah taught me modern Hebrew first, but knowing that my goal was eventually to study scripture, helped me to transition to biblical, and even helped me when I was ready to begin teaching the language myself.
                  My Greek proficiency was good enough that I was able to publish a modern English translation of the Westcott & Hort manuscript of the New Testament. As I mentioned, I taught Hebrew, for a number of years. I used an interesting method to help my students learn. Once I had taught them the basics of how to read, the grammar, and some simple vocabulary, we would together read through Hebrew translations of John’s Gospel and the Book of Acts. I have published in Hebrew, a short book called כמה הוא אלהים, which is on the nature of the Godhead. (There’s actually a question mark in the title, but I can’t put it here, because it keeps getting moved to the wrong end of the sentence… this page is set up for left-to-right languages.)
                  What I find generally among writers attempting to address homosexuality from a scripture perspective (pro or con) is that they almost invariably work from English translations, “assuming” them to be correct, and attempt to make their case from there. That’s one of the ways I can tell some of these writers don’t know Hebrew and Greek, because if they did, and had taken the time to look at scripture as originally written, they would see that it frequently hasn’t been translated properly. In relationship to to homosexuality, this is true in Genesis 19 in newer versions, in Leviticus in all versions, in 1 Samuel in most versions, in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy in all versions (with the newer one being far worse), and Jude in many versions. What is shocking about some of the newer Bibles in regard to Genesis 19 isn’t so much that they don’t match the Hebrew text as to what was going on outside Lot’s house, but that they do very closely line up with the Koran’s account of it!

  12. Very insightful post, John, as always. I’ve read a lot of good things about GCN. I’ve never been to a conference myself, since I’m not in the US. One question: in your encounters, were there many people there from the LGBTQ+ community that weren’t gay? For example, bisexual, questioning, pansexual or asexual? Just curious.

  13. Thank you, John, for your comments on this conference. I have long been a GCN follower/participater but live in another country too, so attendance at a conference is not possible at this time. What is so beautiful is your heart and spirit which takes the positive of it all and makes it into such a beautiful and inspiring picture of what the church should be. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It is a much needed affirmation for me.

  14. Had not the Roman government permitted free enquiry, Christianity could never have been introduced. Had not free enquiry been indulged, at the aera of the reformation, the corruptions of Christianity could not have been purged away. If it be restrained now, the present corruptions will be protected, and new ones encouraged. Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. Thus in France the emetic was once forbidden as a medicine, and the potatoe as an article of food. Government is just as infallible too when it fixes systems in physics. Galileo was sent to the inquisition for affirming that the earth was a sphere: the government had declared it to be as flat as a trencher, and Galileo was obliged to abjure his error. This error however at length prevailed, the earth became a globe, and Descartes declared it was whirled round its axis by a vortex. The government in which he lived was wise enough to see that this was no question of civil jurisdiction, or we should all have been involved by authority in vortices. In fact, the vortices have been exploded, and the Newtonian principle of gravitation is now more firmly established, on the basis of reason, than it would be were the government to step in, and to make it an article of necessary faith. Reason and experiment have been indulged, and error has fled before them. It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors? Fallible men; men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons. And why subject it to coercion? To produce uniformity. But is uniformity of opinion desireable? No more than of face and stature.

    Thomas Jefferson

  15. Love should not have limits? Marriage Should not have limits? Really? I’m indescribably disappointed with this article. If I were to follow the logic here then I should be allowed to go re-write my vows to allow my marriage to be much more “open” and “free” and “non-limiting.”

    Maybe I will create a new club called PFC (Polygamists for Christ). We will tell monogamists that they should not impose their “limiting” type of love on us. We will feel sorry for all the husbands and wives who have just one spouse because they just don’t get “it.” I have no doubt I could get a rather large following, especially if I preach that God allows for polygamy throughout the Old Testament. I mean since he allowed it and even blessed people that lived that lifestyle, then he should be okay with me living it now, right? As long as I love both women…

    I look forward to hearing comments about how ridiculous I am in thinking this. Or maybe I’ll have a following – who knows.

    • What limits should marriage and love have, Pastor? Is there some reason that two unrelated, consenting adults who are in love shouldn’t be able to get married?
      How about we use the biblical definition of marriage? Two people made a covenant with each other.
      And no, biblically, it didn’t matter if one of them was already married to someone else. Scripture forbids polygamy to Jewish priests, and Christian bishops and deacons, not to everyone. (I’m not a fan of polygamy, personally… I think one spouse is enough for anyone. But I also know there is no biblical reason to oppose it.) In some parts of the world, polygamy is the most common form of marriage. (It was the most common recorded in detail in scripture.) In some places on earth, the only form of marriage known is polyandry (one woman with more than one husband). That has worked for their society for thousands of years.
      There is even biblical precedent for two people of the same sex marrying. The Hebrew text of the Old Testament records two such marriages. God didn’t condemn either one, and is actually credited as having put one of the couples into their relationship.

  16. Kirk, my own book on the subject was one of the first to show the errors in translation. The research for the book began in 1979. The material is also available on the Hope Remains website (http://hoperemains.webs.com), and has been available in one form or another since the early 80s. Since that time, it has been read by hundreds, if not thousands, of people, including numerous Bible scholars and people fluent in Hebrew, including native Israelis. Did everyone agree? No. But the important thing is that none could disprove it. Those who disagreed didn’t disagree because they thought they could prove something else, but because it went against their grain, and they were unwilling to challenge their own beliefs, even if the evidence was right in front of them.

    I’ve encountered various sources that attempt to rectify the translation problems with these two verses in Leviticus, as well as countless sources that either just quote them, or attempt to support the common translations. Unfortunately, all seem to have one thing in common: they are created by people with little or no ability to read Hebrew. That cannot help but skew any results they come up with. Nevertheless, there are some sites online that do cite the work I have done. Not sure how to offer any support for my abilities with Hebrew and Greek other than this: When the Contemporary English Version of the Bible was first published, the publisher sent me two free copies for evaluation purposes, because I was recognized as someone who had the ability and resources to ascertain its accuracy and usefulness. (As an aside, while the CEV bills itself as a faithful translation, it is neither. It’s a paraphrase, and a bad one at that. I sent the publisher pages of notes showing where the translators completely ignored the Hebrew and Greek and just put in their own beliefs. But that book was their “baby,” so they ignored my comments, as well, no doubt, as those of many other scholars, and just kept it as it was… a mess.)

    The Hope Remains site goes through both verses, word by word, along with grammatical information. That, with any good, reliable Hebrew-English dictionary, should be enough to verify the translation. (In case you are interested in learning it, Hebrew is NOT a difficult language. It is MUCH easier than Greek. The only real challenge is really the alphabet. At first, every letter looks like a 7, a W, or a backwards C. But once you get past that, the grammar is no more complex than Spanish, in my experience. I’ve studied many, many languages, as they are my hobby. I count Hebrew among the easier ones. Besides, since English is one of the hardest, I always say, if you can learn English, you can learn almost anything! One caveat: If you decide to learn Hebrew, learn from a Jewish source, like a Jewish community center. They will teach you modern Hebrew, which provides an excellent foundation for advancing to biblical Hebrew. The reason I say to go with a Jewish source is because, unfortunately, for generations, Christian schools seem to have been transmitting a lot of misinformation on both Hebrew and Greek. For example, just look at the dictionaries in the back of Strong’s Concordance: while most of the definitions are OK, the pronunciations are a nightmare. Even the names of the letters of the alphabets are wrong, as well as their sound values. But that’s the standard usually taught in Christian schools. (Beta, Mu, Nu, etc., may be fine for naming fraternities, but there’s not a Greek alive who would recognize those words as the names of letters of his alphabet!)

    For EDWARD – can’t find a way to reply directly. By your own admission, you can’t read Hebrew. In other words, you don’t know what you are talking about. When you’ve learned to read the language, come back. Until then, you are nothing more than hot air.

    • Carey – I don’t have to be able to read Hebrew to have the level of “knowledge” you seem to have placed on everyone in order to feel superior. If I had a math problem that was above my abilities, I’d take it to someone who had the ability to help and get me the correct answer. Same goes true with translations. In this case though, the problem has already been solved for me. My only course in this is to determine if the answers I’m given are correct. Luckily, there are many who have had the skill of translation in the past, besides yourself, and my diligence comes from analyzing the similarities between the answers. Your “answer” doesn’t match the other translations. The Bible says that wisdom comes from a counsel of many and not just one, and I’m applying that here. I’ve read and studied the history on the different bible translations and they all agree to a degree. Yours does not. I’m just throwing out the odd-ball answer.

      • It is difficult to find wisdom in a multitude of counselors when they can’t agree. Here’s an exercise for you. You can use BibleGateway.com to help with this. With each verse below, look it up in any translation. Underneath the verse, you have a link where you can see the verse in all commonly available English translations.
        Deut. 6:4 – Based on all the versions, what do you think the Hebrew text actually says if properly translated?
        Deut. 23:17 – Looking at all the translations, can you tell exactly what it was the sons and daughters of Israel were being told not to be?
        1 Samuel 18:21 – The translations don’t agree on exactly what Saul said to David. Which do you think is correct, and why?
        John 1:1-2 – All the translations agree that the Word “was with God.” But none of the Greek words that could mean “with” is found in those verses. Do you know what’s going on here?
        John 18:5 – What, exactly, did Jesus answer the soldiers here? The translators seem torn on whether He said, “I am he,” “I am Jesus,” or “I AM.”
        Col. 1:19 – The translators can’t agree on who was pleased in this verse. What do you think?
        1 John 5:7 – Some versions contain only a very few words, others far more. Which ones are correct?

        In a sense, Edward, these are all “trick” questions. The reason why is that comparing English translations will never answer any of them for you. When you have half the translations claiming one thing, and the rest claiming something very different, the ONLY way to find the truth is to look at the original text.
        This needn’t be difficult or complicated. For example, if you could read the Hebrew alphabet, and knew just a very few simple grammar rules, you could easily look at 1 Sam. 18:21 in the Hebrew text (readily available online), look up the words in any Hebrew-English translation, and know exactly what Saul told David. (There are a handful of the translations on Bible Gateway that agree with my translation. Why do so many of the others disagree? Because if it is translated correctly, it doesn’t take a lot of thought to realize that it contradicts the beliefs of most churches. So most translations add words to change the meaning, or else rearrange words to make it mean something else.)

        Likewise, you could, even without learning much grammar, look up John 18:5 in any Greek manuscript, look up the words in any dictionary of koine Greek, and know exactly what Jesus’ response to the soldiers was. (Does it matter what His exact words were? Yes, because doctrinal beliefs could hinge on it, just as in John 8:58.)

        Edward, I’m not in this to promote myself. I don’t care if you or anyone else knows who I am. My only goal is the truth. The information I published in my book has been available in one form or another, whether pamphlets, cassette tape, CDs, website, etc., since the very early 1980s. In all those years, it has been seen by many, many people, including Bible scholars and native speakers of Hebrew and Greek. Did everyone agree? No. Could anyone disprove it? No. Those who didn’t agree didn’t disagree because they could prove otherwise, but because they were so set in their views that evidence wasn’t going to change their mind. One actually told me as much, stating that even if I could prove to him beyond any shadow of a doubt that I was correct, he would never accept it. To that man, truth had no value whatsoever. He cared only about his own comfort and opinions.

        A few months ago, I had occasion to telephone an Israeli friend for help with something. Another friend of mine was trying to put together a treatise on Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 to present to some Israeli rabbinical scholars. He had presented it to them in English, and they expressed interest in the topic, but had trouble understanding it because it was in English. They asked him to translate it to Hebrew and resubmit it. He asked me to help him by translating it. I did so. But my expertise is biblical Hebrew, and these scholars were needing modern Hebrew, their everyday language. So I translated as best I could, then sent a copy to my Israeli friend, and then called her so we could go through it together on the phone. We were working through the translation, which, she said, wasn’t too bad. But she was puzzled as to the purpose of the article. What was his point? What was he trying to prove? I had explained to the author that I thought the article wasn’t needed, but he didn’t understand. What was the problem? The problem was that the author had assumed that Jewish scholars were understanding those verses in Leviticus in the way they are commonly translated in Christian Bibles. I had tried to tell him that wasn’t the case, because they read the original Hebrew, and most probably hadn’t ever read a Christian translation of the verses. But he felt it was important, so I proceeded.
        My Israeli friend didn’t understand the point he was trying to make, so I had to explain to her how those two verses are traditionally translated in English Christian Bibles. She was absolutely astonished. Her education had required her, with her class, to read through the entire Tanakh (Old Testament) three times, studying and understanding it. While she knew Christians had different beliefs, she never dreamed that there had been deliberate dishonesty in translation. When I read Lev. 18:22 to her from an English version, she replied, in disbelief, “But… that’s not what it says!” I told her I knew that, and the author of this article knew that. And while I knew the rabbis knew that, my friend who wrote it did not understand that. He mistakenly assumed that when the rabbis read those verses, they were seeing the equivalent of what English translations say.
        Jewish opposition to homosexuality throughout the past thousand years has been focused primarily on two things: late portions of the Talmud, and the command to be fruitful and multiply, which they took as being applicable to all people. At no time did they ever buy into the idea of Sodom being destroyed because of homosexuality. (Early portions of the Torah, the Mishnah, go into great detail on the sins of Sodom. Homosexuality is not mentioned.) They also won’t mention sodomites, because there is no such word in the Tanakh. As for Leviticus, most never saw it as forbidding homosexuality. A small minority mistook those verses as a prohibition of anal sex ONLY, but not of homosexuality. Today, only Orthodox and Chassidic Jews remain opposed, and that opposition is still mostly based on late portions of the Talmud… and the rabbis who wrote those portions of the Torah were directly influenced by the laws of Christian Europe. But even in those two branches of Judaism, change is evident. There are openly gay Orthodox rabbis. The video “Trembling Before G-d” examines the issue among Chassidic Jews, and shows Chassidic rabbis reexamining the issue.
        The number of Christian denominations that fully accept LGBT people and which perform same-sex weddings is growing. While perhaps it is no surprise that liberal theology churches are on the list, how do you explain the fact that there are also evangelical, fundamentalist churches on the list? These are not denominations that bow to social or political pressure, or which discount scripture as irrelevant. These are churches that believe the Bible is the word of God, inspired by Him. And they believe He accepts and blesses same-sex couples. Why? Is it perhaps because they decided to stop trusting the multitude of counselors who couldn’t come close to agreeing with each other and to go back to the source, the original languages, and find out for themselves what was originally written, and then discovered that their earlier position was not the word of God but medieval prejudice?

  17. I have a gay relative. He worked for a company that offered benefits to his partner (long before so-called marriage was legalized). They live together. They love each other. Big deal…But that isn’t enough, is it? Love isn’t “enough.” I was never “enough.” Now, they are part of a “community.” A community that insists it be treated “equal,” but singles itself out and parades around seeking special attention. I saw the NY gay pride parade with my own eyes a few years ago in June. It was deliberately explicit, lewd, crude and vile. I “tolerated” it until I was sprayed with a penis shaped super soaker by a transvestite. That was it. “I’m done,” I said. I was told by my cousin and all his friends to “lighten up.” Lighten up? If there was ever a heterosexual pride parade that resembled what took place, it would be pure pornography. But heterosexual parades don’t take place. And parades that are exclusively heterosexual are not all about sexuality. Why is that? Hmmmm?
    I asked my cousin why the gay “community” is so explicit, especially in the public eye. He said since the Stonewall riots, it was an effort to desensitize the general public into accepting the lifestyle as normal. Well, it’s obviously working. I would encourage anyone who does not believe me to go to NYC the last week of June and experience this for yourself. Heck, go to any bar in the East Village and see for yourself what I am talking about. Don’t listen to the media, or believe the propaganda being shoveled out. Just go and see for yourself.
    Well, now a segment of the population that once kept their sexual preferences private has managed to penetrate western culture, convince this western culture they are perfectly normal (via the media and television shows like Modern Family), and now are infiltrating the Church. It’s one thing to show up drunk or high to Church and identify as a Christian. It’s not right, but if you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, you came to the right place. It’s another thing to make drugs or alcohol your identity, and expect the congregation around you to celebrate your lifestyle as an addict. You see, I can love you for who you are, not what you do….BUT, when you celebrate those things, make them your identity and expect the Church to conform to them, this is where we will have to disagree. I have a few too many beers once in awhile. I think about other women besides my wife, and even dabbled in porn. I am in no way proud of that, believe me, and it’s only by God’s Grace that may be with my Savior in Heaven some day, but if you asked me to celebrate drunkenness or pornography as a lifestyle, march in a parade or give a sermon on why it’s okay to do these things, absolutely not.
    But you say, being gay is not a choice. Okay, fair enough…for argument’s sake, let’s say that is true. It doesn’t explain the bizarre phenomenon of cultural acceptance of transgenders. These are people who are in serious need of help. They are suffering deeply with a complicated mental disorder that needs treatment. Why do we enable and encourage this as a “lifestyle choice?” People with severe eating disorders are given medical treatment. When they want their ribs surgically removed so they can look skinnier, they don’t go under the knife. Any doctor who goes through with such a surgery would lose their license. Why do we enable and encourage people who are severely confused about their gender and sexuality to have their genitals surgically mutilated? Does God make mistakes with our sexuality? The same God who knows us before we are stitched together in the womb? This is anything but Christian. Our society is so upside down, it’s frightening. There is no sense in trying to argue Scripture with you, because you will do somersaults to spin it in your favor. You are either blind to the Truth, or deceitful. I hope it’s the first. Does a day go by that you don’t mention Jesus without mentioning your sexual orientation? Stop with the gay Christian crap. Is your identity in Christ? Then leave it at that. Something tells me you have a bigger agenda in mind here.

    • Wow, a lot of confusion and misinformation about transgender people in your post. Also, apparently some confusion about exactly what role God plays in the birth of each person. Here are some facts. I’d like you to read them, and then tell me how you think these things happen. Does God do them intentionally, or do they just happen?
      1. Some children are born intersex, that is, having organs of both sexes.
      2. Some children are born with no clearly distinguishable sex.
      3. All humans do not fit neatly into little XX and XY chromosome boxes. People are also born with the following chromosomes:
      47,XXX
      48, XXXX
      49 XXXXY
      49, XXXXX
      XXY
      X
      XX gonadal dysgenesis
      XX male
      XXYY
      XYY

      So if you can admit that these things occur (and they do, so there is no point denying it), why is it such a stretch to understand that sometimes children are born with a gender identity that doesn’t match their physical sex? Medical science understands that it happens. You insist transgender people need treatment. But exactly what do you expect anyone to do for them? We do not have any means to alter a person’s gender identity. We don’t know if that will ever even be possible. Being transgender isn’t something a person can be talked out of, medicated out of, or hypnotized out of. Many transgender people know from earliest childhood that there is a mismatch. Medical science has only one possible solution for those people at this time: transitioning physically to match the gender identity. And it works fairly well, particularly in male to female. This isn’t a lifestyle choice… it’s neither a lifestyle nor a choice. Yes, it’s a medical condition, not a moral condition, and yes, it is being treated… in the only way we know how with our level of medical technology. Transgender people have been dealt a very difficult hand in life. Why must you make it harder for them by judging them without taking the time to understand them?

      Here’s the thing about LGBT Christians… sexual orientation and gender identity would absolutely be a non-issue for them… if it weren’t for large numbers of very vocal and ill-informed Christians trying to tell LGBT individuals that they cannot be Christian… or that they cannot be Christian unless they somehow accomplish the impossible and are no longer LGBT.
      You see, Hiliar, LGBT Christians aren’t the problem. Your own complete misunderstanding of transgender, as well as your simplistic approach to it (Does God make mistakes with our sexuality?), as well as your clear animosity toward LGBT people in general, is the problem.
      To answer your question, no, God doesn’t make mistakes with our sexuality. And gender identity isn’t about sexuality. Sexual orientation is about sexuality. And sexually, we are generally born as we are meant to be: heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual. As for our gender, mistakes do occur. But it isn’t God making them. God does not sit down and create each new human from the dust as He did with Adam. He created Adam that way, and Eve from Adam’s side. But every single human since that time has been born the natural way, and genetics, including genetic mistakes, happen all the time. If someone is born with a cleft palate, do you go into denial, insisting God doesn’t make mistakes? So why get so worked up about it when someone is born with a gender/sex mismatch?

      You know, I am no longer surprised at the level of fear, superstition and ignorance some Christians can demonstrate whenever an issue even remotely involves sex or gender. About 35 years ago, a child was born in Texas to a devout Christian family. The child was born with no clear physical sex. The medical community advised some type of surgery to at least allow the child to grow up male or female. (The jury is still out on whether this is the best course of action.) But when the parents’ church learned this, they told the parents that any attempt to do anything medically for the child would be a sin. They insisted that God doesn’t “make mistakes” in regard to things like this. The child in question was given a gender neutral name, but grew up not only not having any clearly evident sex, but also not having a clear gender identity. The parents gave the child no clues about whether she/he/it was male or female, since they didn’t have a clue themselves. As a result, this poor kid grew up very confused, and very angry, mostly at the church. In early adulthood, this person pulled a knife on me and another pastor who was trying to help. Thankfully, no one was hurt. But we could understand the anger. Had the child been born with a cleft palate, the church would not have objected to medical intervention. But because it involved the child’s sex, all they could see was sin. That’s pure, unadulterated ignorance, and that kind of willful ignorance hurts and kills.

      • Carey – Don’t lead the topic astray. Most LBGT folks are not born with indiscriminate gender issues. You are confusing the issue here. I think your story is great but should be used in a different manner. Instead of forcing the issue to what you are advocating, it should be stated that a parent should guide their children onto their determined sexuality. Even though boys are born with male parts, they still need to be taught how to be a man. Same goes for a young lady. In the case you mentioned, one where the gender is not determinate, the same rule of thumb should still be applied, given the prevailing circumstances.

        I wonder how many caught in the turmoil of the LBGT lifestyle have not had good parental guidance as to how a real man or woman should be? Maybe that should be our advocacy.

      • Hi Mr. Carey can you again please site your evidence for your statements. I appreciate your input but as I see your Hebrew credentials from reading your other posts I am starting to question some of your conclusions. Just as I am limited in many areas and need to rely on the expertise of those who really know the stuff I am seeing the need to really dig into this stuff. Thank you again

        • I’d be happy to, Kirk… but can you be specific? I am constantly making statements (no shutting me up sometimes). If you could point out specific statements I’ve made, that is, quote the ones you are concerned with, I’d be more than happy to show my evidence for making them.

          • Hi, just wanted to get back to you, I will ask more specifics, but entering a busy time of year so it may be a while, didn’t want you to think that ignored your last remark.
            Have a good night

            • No problem, Kirk. 99% of the time, replies to me here are forwarded to my email. (For some reason, replies from certain people are not.) Whenever you post specifics, I will be happy to answer. Be well!

              • HI found our last interaction but don’t remember what I wanted to ask. Sorry, but I did reply to you on another blog with a question there.
                thanks

  18. Edward, who decides what a man or woman should be? Shouldn’t that be for the individual to decide? I can remember growing up in a church with rigid gender roles. The husband was the boss. He made all the decisions for the family and handled the finances. The wife was in charge of cooking and cleaning and looking after the children. Whether either partner actually had a talent for those things was not considered. Let’s face it: some men are lousy with finances and can’t do arithmetic even with a calculator. (I always struggled in that regard.) So if a man can’t handle finances, but has a wife who can, doesn’t it make sense that she should be the one to handle them? And if the wife can’t boil water without burning down the house, but the husband knows how to cook, shouldn’t he do so?

    In the 70’s I read a book by a very ignorant Baptist minister. It was about raising children. He refused to allow his sons to learn how to cook, clean, sew, or do anything that was traditionally “women’s work.” He was sure that if his sons did any of those things, they would grow up to be homosexuals. Likewise, his daughters were forbidden to learn how to do anything but those things. They were not allowed to do any maintenance on the house, mow the lawn, wash the car or learn how to change a tire. They weren’t allowed to learn how to handle a checkbook. He was convinced they would grow up to be lesbians otherwise. What that ignorant man accomplished, and I can say this without even knowing his children, was to raise boys who would be totally helpless without their mother or future wives, who couldn’t even feed themselves if they had to live on their own, or sew on a button. And he raised daughters who were equally helpless, unable to take care of a car, a bank account, hold a job or even mow the lawn. He crippled his children to keep them from becoming gay. And would that accomplish what he wanted? No. Because if any of his kids were gay, they were that way long before he taught them anything at all, and there isn’t a thing he could do about it. Parents have absolutely no influence on their child’s sexual orientation. If they did, given the level of animosity shown by some parents in the past, and even today, we wouldn’t see many gay people at all. But even in the most rigidly households, with strict expectations according to sex, and the most faithful Christian upbringing, a steady percentage of those kids will be gay anyway. Because it’s not about environment, nor about choice. Did you know that identical twins are far more likely to share the same sexual orientation, whichever orientation that might be, than fraternal twins or other siblings? And that that remains true even if the twins were separated at birth and adopted by different families? No question, it’s genetic.

    Gender identity, of course, is a different issue. But that can’t be taught, either. It just is. You can teach someone who is physically male from day one what it means to be a boy, that he is a boy, what boys do, etc., and if that boy has a female gender identity, he is never going to accept that he is a boy. And believe me, trans people know from an early age that something isn’t right. Case in point: my friend Laura, now passed away: She was born male. Her name was Tom. Tom as the father’s pride and joy, his only son. And the father did everything he could to make sure he had a happy, healthy son. But from earliest childhood, there was a problem. Tom insisted he was not a boy, but a girl. That didn’t make sense to his father, since, obviously, the kid was physically male. He hoped Tom would outgrow that, and put a lot of effort into making Tom feel like a boy and do boy’s things. And as Tom got older, puberty pushed that agenda too: Tom grew to be over six feet tall and had very heavy beard growth… and still did not have a male gender identity. Feeling an attraction to other boys, Tom assumed he was just gay…. until he got older and met gay men and found out none of them believed they were female. At the age of 18, finally free from his father’s rule, Tom went to see a professional and was diagnosed as transgender. After transitioning to Laura, for the fist time in her life she felt happy and complete. She met a wonderful man who had no problem at all with her story, they were married, and lived together until she died in an automobile accident. There was nothing in the world Laura’s father could have done to convince her she was a boy… because she wasn’t. Gender identity is independent of physical sex. For the vast majority of people, the two match. But for a few people, they don’t match. And parents can’t change that. They can’t guide a child into a different gender identity, just as they can’t guide a child into a different sexual orientation. Parents can’t pick and choose exactly who their children will be. If they truly love their children, they will want them to be happy, and will accept and support them as they are.

  19. If you are following the news you will see that Europe is literally self destructing.
    The immigrants that are pouring into Europe are not there to assimilate. They are there to conquer. Native Europeans are going extinct.
    Google birth dearth or birth rates and you will see what I’m talking about.
    The three main factors I believe that caused this to happen are: the spread of godless selfishness People just don’t want to be bothered with children. Secondly, the rise of abortion rates. And thirdly, the increase in acceptance of gays. I shouldn’t have to explain that gays don’t have kids, at least not in any great number.

    So the Bible in its infinite wisdom condemns homosexuality. It helps cause the extinction of a entire civilizations, case in point.
    Extinction is not a definition of success.
    But on top of all that, after the Europeans have been reduced in numbers the Muslims will be the new majority and they will then vote Muslim leaders into office and homosexuality will become illegal and punishable by death, as it is already in all Muslim countries.

    Thus the end result of a country being gay friendly is the country ends up having being gay punishable by death.

    I realize that being logical and crunching numbers isn’t a lot of fun, but the above information is 10% opinion and 90% cold hard facts.

  20. As a European-American, Baptized, Confirmed and lifelong member of the UMC, I feel so close to God and Jesus when I attend our gloriously diverse, reconciling UMC with my African-American husband, our kids and grandkids.. Finally mainstream US Christians are waking up to counter the awful image Christianity has in this country as intolerant, narrow-minded and hateful. Keep it up, Rev. John!!!!!.

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