Singing Songs With Unicorns: My Weekend With LGBTQ Christians

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There are moments when you’re absolutely sure that you’re standing on holy ground, times when you feel the awe of something so big and so real, that you’re driven to your knees and moved to tears.

The Portland Convention Center became such sacred space for me this weekend.

As a pastor, walking into Christian conferences and into large rooms with people singing songs of praise to God is nothing new. In fact if I’m honest, over the years I’ve become somewhat jaded and apathetic and tired by gatherings that have so often felt like showy bits of religious entertainment, with Jesus being used simply to push product and manipulate people and build buildings.

This time was different. This was no show. This was The Church, as true and raw and desperate for God as I’ve ever experienced it.

The massive conference room was filled with 1,500 people, most of them LGBTQ Christians, along with their children, parents and friends, as well as pastors, ministers, and activists who love and support them, or are seeking to learn how to.

I went to the conference as a straight learner, wanting to hear firsthand what it was to be gay and to follow Jesus; to talk to LGBTQ people, not just talk about them. I came simply to meet them and listen to their stories as believers.

To many religious people who feel that being both gay and Christian is an oxymoron, I may as well have been searching for unicorns.

Well friends, I found them, and they’re more beautiful than you know.

The second I stood in the midst of the that first night’s worship gathering, I was nearly knocked over by a swirling flood of humility and sadness and gratitude; gripped by a palpable sense of shame for the way these brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ have been so horribly wounded and mischaracterized and left out by their own. I was overwhelmed by the joy that radiated in their praise. I was sad that so many who choose to condemn from a distance, could not or would not care to witness it in person.

But perhaps the most powerful part of that moment, was realizing how much stronger they are than those who have mistreated them.

I actually felt sorry for heterosexual Christians in America, many of whom will never have the faith that gay Christians do, simply because they’ve never had to.

Without yet knowing the names or ever hearing the stories of any of those standing alongside of me, I instantly knew something true about all of them that makes them different: Their faith has really cost them something different.

Their songs have come with a tremendous price, one that as a straight Christian, I’ll never have to pay; one that I’m not sure I’d be faithful and committed enough to pay.

Their passionate pursuit of Christ is one horribly marked, not only by the valleys and difficulties and doubts that life brings to all who seek faith, but by the violence and shunning and silence of their own family in that faith.

For their entire lives, they’ve often had to overcome Christians just to try to get to Jesus.

As these brave men and women quietly entered their worship session, The infamous Westboro Baptist Church (a group that admittedly doesn’t represent most Christians), was there with their hateful signs and loud, violent preaching, while a group of Portland area churches and residents lined the walkway, serving as a human shield “wall of love” between them and the picketers, with smiles and signs of welcome.

A local new story captured the odd dynamic perfectly: Christians, protecting Christians from other Christians.

While not always as starkly illustrated, this is nothing new for the LGBTQ Christian community and those who love them. This is the daily toll of simply living and believing.

I’m more than willing to be a human shield for them if I can from now on.

Ironically, one of the most profound things about the gathering this weekend was how very “normal” it all felt, (which incidentally, is how normal it actually was). Whatever silly, graphic, frightening images of decadence or hedonism so many fire-and-brimstone preachers would want to paint of a “homosexual” Christian event, simply dissolved in the presence of the sweet warmth of kind, loving, imperfect people, living lives oriented toward Jesus; striving and stumbling and striving again together. It was a time filled with honest prayer, deep theological discussions, local service projects, wonderful times of story-sharing, heartfelt worship, and life-giving community. It was family; not by blood, but by something greater.

That’s what The Church at its best, is.

The most tragic thing about this weekend, is the reality that few heterosexual Christians, (especially pastors and church leaders), would ever step foot into that space at all to see or listen, or to experience what God did there; how eloquently the Spirit spoke through the lives of those gathered.

I have no doubt that if they did; if they were brave enough and caring enough and tough enough to do that, it would radically challenge whatever tidy theology they came in with. It would shatter the convenient stereotypes and tear down the flimsy rhetoric that so often dominates our conversations. It would put them shoulder to shoulder with flesh and blood brothers and sisters on the same path as they are on, and they might find a humility and compassion that protected pulpits, bullhorn picket lines, and anonymous blog comments never require.

Since so many of you straight Christians weren’t there, let me help you understand something my dear friends: The passionate, faithful, beautiful souls I had the fortune to worship alongside and serve this weekend; they are in your church right now, or at least they should be. They deserve to be. Their families do. Their children do. Your community would be blessed by this.

So this Sunday, when you gather in the places where you sing joyful, grateful, desperate songs to God, look around and realize that the place where you are standing is indeed holy ground.

And realize too, that you are quite likely sharing that space with LGBTQ people who love God in ways you’ll never imagine.

May you learn to make Church as diverse as God’s creation is.

May you step into the difficult, complex stories of those whose road is different from your own.

May you choose to gladly sing songs with unicorns.

I have, and will.


211 thoughts on “Singing Songs With Unicorns: My Weekend With LGBTQ Christians

  1. Thanks John for your article and you advocating for those on the margins. More people need to speak up! I was a Pastor for 18 years and came out to my wife, family, friends and church in October of 2013.

  2. John, this is a beautiful post. I’m straight and passionately pro-humanity. One of the main reasons I resist Christianity is its (seemingly pervasive) horribly judgmental and un-Christlike view of people who identify as LGBT. Didn’t Jesus say there were basically two main commandments? Not seeing a whole lot of “love thy neighbor” in some of the replies here, and that makes me sad. Keep blogging. I’ll keep reading and seeking.

  3. Pastor John,

    Remember me? 🙂 I don’t know how you do it, responding and dealing with homophobes who call themselves Christian. Your relentless spirit is awe-inspiring. It is exactly what Christ wanted. You are a pillar of strength and hope. I really don’t know how you do it. I would have had a heart attack by now.

    Thank you so much for continuing your truly passionate discourse for justice 🙂

    And this: “There are moments when you’re absolutely sure that you’re standing on holy ground, times when you feel the awe of something so big and so real, that you’re driven to your knees and moved to tears.”

    I am very, very familiar with such moments. Truly breathless and incredibly meaningful moments. There are no words to describe them. Language fails.

    Big hugs,
    Pat from Toronto

  4. John, great article, I so appreciated it. It is unfortunate that some have commented as “trolls” and with serious hateful comments; regardless, again, thank you for sharing Christ’s love.

  5. Dear John, I see a gray area. I truly believe that God can move on the hearts of anyone, but I am confused by your blog. I know that there are LGBT people who won’t to know Christ, and struggle with things that I don’t understand as a heterosexual.

    YET, didn’t Jesus call us to die daily to ourselves, and for each one to take up their own “cross?” (in Luke 9:23)

    So, how can a “gay” Christian not consider restraining themselves for the sake of Christ; the LORD whom they may sincerely want to serve? I am glad to see people worship Jesus. However, He said that we must worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

    I realize that each person in different places in the walk and journey of Faith, but I think you are compromising truth in the name of love. The context of this verse is a wonderful conversation. In this chapter, Jesus did NOT tell the woman at Jacob’s Well (a lady who was cohabiting before marriage with almost every man she liked) to simply carry on in her lifestyle… as long as she was SINCERE and romantically “LOVED” her boyfriend/lover. Instead he totally transformed her life and spoke prophetically into her situation.

    Also, there was another time with a woman caught in adultery and Jesus DID NOT CONDEMN HER, yet He DID NOT COMPRISE EITHER. He told her, “go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

    Conclusion, I am happy to see people seek Jesus, but doesn’t following Him come with counting the cost?

    – Brandon

    • “Dying to oneself”, doesn’t mean giving up a lifetime of affection, intimacy, companionship, family, and love, which you are implying they must.

      As they pursue their faith, some LGBT people come to the conclusion that celibacy is part of that walk (just as straight people may), but many do not.

      Again, as often is the case, I think you’re deciding what God will or won’t convict someone of; the work He will or won’t do. You want a behavior modification on His behalf, yet you’re not trusting Him to make that clear to another person.

      Jesus did not tell the woman at the well to repent and didn’t require an altar call or conversion. He didn’t do anything but let her know that she was known and loved. The Scriptures never tell us that she repented either. It simply says that she went and told everyone of a “man who told me everything I ever did.”

      I think the problem here is, you may say that you’re “happy that people seek Jesus”, but honestly, you want to judge for yourself whether or not they’ve actually found Him.

      I trust God in an LGBT person’s life as much as I trust Him in yours. Who am I to determine whether your faith is authentic, or your repentance is sufficient. How arrogant would that be?

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • I respect you, though I heartily disagree. Yet, I appreciate you taking my comments seriously; as opposed to the people who you seem upset you by quoting Scripture without explaining their thoughts on what those Scriptures mean. I almost posted Scriptures instead just to prove a point.

        Anyway, I have some responses to your analysis of my comments. I have listed them below to keep my thoughts in order. Not to debate or be overly analytical… just to converse more effectively. Note: Please bare with my brutal honesty as I am simply matching yours, and it makes dialogue easier (as you probably know). Also, my use of CAPS is not me yelling. Rather, I use it as “italics.”

        -First, celibacy is not the lack of every good thing or demeaning to anyone.
        I respect you’re willingness to talk genuinely about celibacy even though it wasn’t my only implication. However, you seem to exhibit a similar error in logic as many who champion gay-marriage do when they hear, “deny yourself and take up your cross.” You assume that it’s the worst thing ever to ask of someone. I am NOT trying to put you in a box or judge you, being a humble servant of Christ myself. I am just saying that your response is not valid.

        How I can say that? Well, the assertion that celibacy is quote, “giving up a lifetime of affection, intimacy, companionship, family, and love” is completely and utterly exaggeratory, and only encourages others to say the same thing out of guilt and misguided sympathy. Genuine compassion is one thing, but exaggerating is another. I know that you only say these things because you want to help and empathize with your LGBT friends and neighbors. I too have compassion and sympathy for others, even (earnestly) considering celibacy for myself (before I married).

        What about Jesus?
        Also, Jesus was celibate and so was Paul… and their earthly lives were NOT void of some measure of meaningful “affection, intimacy, companionship, family, and love.” I’m sorry, but the more people say this, I just shake my head.
        OF COURSE GOD IS NOT asking people to live without love and fellowship and companionship etc. Sex and romance are NOT the only way to find love and companionship. By saying these things you limit people to sexual acts of so called affection and almost idolize “romance.”

        Marriage and Family:
        You and I both know that some conservatives tend to idolize “family” and “marriage,” right? Yet, you are encouraging liberal Christians to do the same just in a different way. I am NOT limiting gay people by saying, “let God transform your life, even if it means nailing homosexuality to the Cross.” rather, people limit themselves acting as if God doesn’t understand their sexual frustrations. On the contrary, God has obviously made pure love and meaningful fellowship and friendship available and transcendent to “romance.”

        -Second, “Judge Not” go both ways.
        I hear you on the “not judging part;” but just because I doubt someone’s lifestyle doesn’t mean that I have necessarily tried to judge their heart. I personally ask the Lord all the time how to love and care for people who used to make me uncomfortable and especially who are unloved and outcast. Remember in your own words of love that I am not the stereotype, for I am an individual; having my own thoughts, regardless of how you view those with a more conservative theology and practices. Therefore, shouldn’t you also be careful NOT TO JUDGE people like me as well, implying that I may be “arrogant” by reading into my words a “holier-than-thou” attitude that wasn’t there? I APPRECIATE the warning, but you assumed a lot about me. And also assumed that I had a problem. “I think the problem here is.”

        My problem isn’t my belief or a lack of compassion and love, it’s that I can’t figure out how you, a self proclaimed “loving” and “accepting” person, can be so condescending and almost jaded towards those you are less liberal in their theology.

        -Thirdly, “Repent” is not a bad word.
        I don’t to be hostile; but I think it is counterproductive say that, “Scriptures never tell us that she repented.” You’re not wrong. But some people write whole books on what “isn’t” mentioned in the Scriptures. Her life was transformed, it would be odd or disappointing if she didn’t repent. SAME AS IF I DON’T for my sins as well. Maybe she didn’t, but obviously the woman caught in adultery WAS told to change her life and seek God.

        Please remember that “western-protestant-baptist-street-preachers” DID NOT invented the word, “REPENT,” and that Jesus used this very word to kickoff His ministry. God Bless

        – Brandon

      • John,

        Do you plan to address Brandon’s reply? I thought it was respectful and portrayed some things I too was thinking about your reply. Your first sentence:

        –> Dying to oneself”, doesn’t mean giving up a lifetime of affection, intimacy, companionship, family, and love, which you are implying they must.

        …contains fallacious reasoning and is not Biblical, as Brandon pointed out.

        It would be helpful for you to address this.

        • My post, and my comment to Brandon speak for themselves. I don’t have time to get into detailed discussions with all the comments on all the threads.

          We simply disagree on what is “Biblical” as well as what the sacrifice Jesus asks for looks like. (Denying of “self” is the key here. You and I don’t get to decide that for anyone else, though you and Brandon seem to disagree).

          Paul was straight and celibate, yet you and Brandon form your entire theology regarding homosexuality, based on his apparent words regarding gay people. (Not even things Paul claims God is saying, mind you; just stuff Paul is saying). I find that curious and rather reckless, especially given what the verses actually refer to.

          A few last notes:

          I never claimed celibacy was a bad thing at all, just that it is a personal choice. (See the theme in Brandon’s rebuttal?) Some people whether gay or straight choose it, but it that doesn’t mean it is mandated. Again you and Brandon want to make the rules for all people. You don’t get to do that.

          As far as repentance: again, you’ll know you’ve reached a new level of spiritual maturity when you no longer try to define what repentance looks like in another’s life.

          Thanks.

    • Yes Brandon. But He did not say that “denying self” means to turn life on this Earth into a miserable Hell to do it. As many people have said, the mission of fundies in this life is to run across the Earth, identify someone who is having fun, laughing, enjoyment—and snuff it out as quickly as possible—and you wonder why 88 percent of the children in your churches leave your faith tradition at age 18 and never come back to it. Well, duh!!!! It is because your whole faith experience requires living life miserable and embittered. You may have life—but you do not have it more abundantly.

      • John,

        You said ” (Denying of “self” is the key here. You and I don’t get to decide that for anyone else”

        and then you said:

        “As far as repentance: again, you’ll know you’ve reached a new level of spiritual maturity when you no longer try to define what repentance looks like in another’s life.”

        Do you see the contradiction in these two things? You are deciding for me what my repentance looks like in order for me to get to a new level of maturity.

        Regarding your view on what Paul says/means – have you laid it out yet? It seems it is just lurking in the background. It seems from your reply you don’t think Paul’s words are the inspired word of God, as Peter did.

        And of course you know that those who take all of the Scriptures seriously and read them at face value, can have an interpretation of it that would make the most loving thing to do to explain their sincerely held belief to others so they can make their own decision on what they think it means. Do you believe the prophets in the Old Testament were trying to define what repentance looks like in other people’s lives or is it possible for some people to really have God’s word (like Jesus or Paul), and warn people out of love? You don’t seem to, in grace, allow for or have empathy for such a situation or possibility. On this point you seem to be quite legalistic and your rule is not to allow it. Your rules seem to be, “don’t have any convictions from what you believe the Scriptures teach on subjects you and I disagree on and if you do, keep them to yourselves or else I will define repentance for you as one who “wants” to make rules for others while scolding you about defining repentance for others.

        What did Israel do with the prophets? And Jesus? These prophets expressed a defined repentance that came from God. They were not merely wanting to do that as you claim others want to (without really knowing them). Some of the prophets were quite reluctant. You are equating this situation with the person themselves making up a rule because they “want to” and not leaving any room in your explanation for such a distinction, pretending it doesn’t exist.

        What you have done here is posit false dichotomies as certain and claiming your contrived second and only choice is false (people want to make rules for others), while at the same time saying you don’t know if “certainty is ever part of the deal” while be certain of what spiritual maturity looks like in others.

        • Ken, you as well as a couple others, seem determined to stray completely off the blog post topic itself (my experience after being with, worshiping alongside, and learning the stories of, flesh and blood LGBT Christians). Sadly I know that you will probably never allow yourself such experience, but I will unite and challenge you to.

          If you did, then you might worry less about long, scattered, theological debates with another straight person about gay people, and more about how your words are doing incredible damage to those people; people who are seeking to know a God that you and others are determined to make almost impossible to get close to.

          This post speaks for itself, and if you can’t simply acknowledge the content, which speaks to the strength and adversity of lGBT people who have a deep faith in Jesus (one you don’t get to define or approve), I see no need to continue these conversations.

          Read the post again and feel free to comment on the words and ideas there, instead of writing your own post. I’d love your thoughts on what I shared.

          Thanks again for reading.

    • John, I was replying to your comments which I assumed your comments were within the rules of your blog. This is your blog and you can define the rules as you wish and throw a yellow flag whenever you want. It seems when you are shown the inconsistencies in your responses to others, you want to begin following rules rather than engaging on the thoughts you had just shared and we as the readers assumed were relevant because you wrote them. That’s your prerogative as the blog owner and I respect that but it is a little frustrating, to be honest with you.

      As far as I can tell my comments are relevant. Honest people interpret the Scriptures differently than you do, and then act as best they know how in loving others in light of those interpretations. Instead of accepting those believers in grace, you judge them, then rather than engaging in open dialogue, you want to follow the rules at the point you are called on the very thing you claim others are doing.

      Your view of what the Scriptures teach on this topic seems relevant since you call yourself a Christian and a pastor. What the Scriptures say on a topic should always be relevant to the topic. Otherwise our authority goes only as high as our thoughts. According to the Scriptures, that is when the yellow flag should come out, not when we ask for Scriptural support for a position.

      • Here’s the problem, Ken.

        From what I can see, few of your comments actually speak to the post content in any meaningful or direct way. That I find very “frustrating”, as you say.

        The post made no theological claims, it simply offered a reflection on a group of people I spent time with; on an experience I had. This was a pastor reporting and reflecting, not a pastor teaching a theology class or giving a sermon on Romans 1.

        The heart of the piece was the mistreatment of LGBT people seeking to follow Jesus, and the strength of the faith of those individuals to practice such faith in the face of tremendous adversity.

        With yourself and a couple of others, I have seen very little if any response to those ideas. Debating verses about homosexuality really serves no purpose here, other than to deflect from the original conversation, and allows you and others to avoid responding in a personal way to the human beings I reference in the piece.

        This isn’t about an interpretation of Scripture. It’s about my experience talking to, worshiping with, and hearing from LGBT followers of Jesus.

        Your comments are relevant to the rabbit hole that some have tried to lead us down here, instead of talking directly about the post content. I think that’s a shame.

        • John,

          If there is something ambiguous to a reader of your original post, are we allowed to ask questions to you about that for clarification or are we only allowed to comment on what we think you are saying? The reason I am asking is because I thought my comments to your blog responses were directly relevant to what you wrote in the response. But in this case, if I ask a question for clarification, you reply and then I reply, the same thing can happen. I will have “strayed off topic” because I am replying to your reply.

            • I am going to directly quote your post so you can see I am sticking to the topic and it has to do with your invitation for people to join you. You said there were “deep theological discussions”. If someone participated in one of those discussions and had a different view than you (about Romans 1 for example) and was sharing their sincerely held belief in a gentle and respectful manner, and you were in that group, would you consider that to be trying to “shun” others and unloving because the view is different?

              In other words, if a straight Christian visited that event as you have encouraged, does believing something different than you do about Romans 1 and speaking from that place (assuming it is not disrespectful and done in a gentle manner) for you automatically qualify as lack of love and shunning?

              I have seen in your responses to gentle, respectful posts that disagree with you a black and white conclusion (despite your claim that you don’t think we can be certain about anything) that such a person is leading people further away from God by expressing their (in your mind) wrong opinion. Paul said:

              Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak 2Co 4:13

              Could a person of a different belief participate in such a discussion without being judged that they are leading people away from God simply for speaking what they believe is most helpful? It is not too big of a leap that such judgment could be construed by some as a form of shunning in return.

  6. John. In between the lines of that response, I think Brandon just inadvertently hurled the greatest insult a fundie can dish out to a nonbeliever or a hopeless apostate such as yourself: “I will pray for you.” This may loosely be interpreted in nearly all cases to mean: “You are so disgusting, so wrong, and so evil that normal measures will not work on you—so prayer is the only way to fix someone so far gone. ” And just in case you were not aware of it already Brandon, people outside of your particular church circle do indeed take the “I will pray for you” as an insult—the fundie equivalent of saying “FU.” Just sayin’. It does not win you friends and it does not influence people to follow your fundie cause.

    Also Brandon, on the “denying self to follow Jesus” issue that you mentioned. You fundies have done very destructive work in this world with this—destruction almost equal to that achieved with your misunderstanding of “lean not on your own understanding” in the Book of Proverbs.

    For example, Mozart and Beethoven had great natural gifts from God in the area of composing music. God would not have given them such gifts unless he had intended them to use them in this world for the maximum benefit of Himself and mankind. To you guys, “denying yourself” is usually taught to mean that Mozart and Beethoven should be saved and then prove it by giving up their interest in music (because if you are really gifted at something and really love it, that is part of the self—and all self must be denied—even down to the last threads of one’s personality. Any clinical psychologist worth his salt will tell you that this notion of “denying self” is mentally and emotionally destructive and will lead to severe emotional problems. One cannot purge their unique personality, temperaments, talents, and gifts to please God because God gave us those things to use and make life richer for everyone, including God. “Denying self” in the Bible means to cease being selfish and evil in ways that hurt God, hurt other people, and hurt ourselves.

    This is the fundie view of DENYING SELF:

    Deny and give up this that God gifted you to do on this Earth for Himself and all mankind:

    And instead Mr. Beethoven—go down to Podunk Holler and do this to show that you have truly denied self and that you truly love Jesus:

    • Dear Dover, I actually don’t think that I said “I’ll pray for you” to John P. So, it’s strange that you got all bent out of shape over something I didn’t even say. I understand your point but I really don’t think I said that. But I also did NOT say that anyone on this blog was a “disgusting human being” or whatever…etc etc. Also, you seem pretty bitter. I am honestly not bitter at John P. or practicing homosexuals and don’t think that I am better than them. I am earnest and sincere in my prayers and conversation. I was being bold and blunt because John P seems to be blunt and straightforward and commenting on the web sometimes requires being blunt.

      Also, I totally agree with your statement here, “God gave us those things to use and make life richer for everyone, including God. “Denying self” in the Bible means to cease being selfish and evil in ways that hurt God, hurt other people, and hurt ourselves.” (dover1952)”

      Where did I say to not have personality and talents, or to only be in Christian southern gospel bands who only play at potluck dinners etc….or that Mozart didn’t glorify God? You sir are mistaking me with another “fundie.” But I don’t want to pick a fight with you, just was curious how you can reference psychology and famous historical figures all over something that was not even said and maybe not even implied. I hope John didn’t take my comments the way you did. Well, at least you got my name right. And honestly, you revealed a big chip on your shoulder in regards to fundamentals as if all Christian are like your perception of them.

      Personally, I like Mozart and Beethoven. And for the record; Asking someone to devote their life and sexuality to God, is NOT the like asking them to forsake the gifts of God in their lives.

      And please note that I no longer have a “particular church circle” as you implied. I myself have had people say that to me implying, “Brandon, you’re wrong even though you love Jesus just as much as I do… so, I’m going to have to pray for you cause you are in rebellion by not going to my church group etc.” What is it to you If I dared to pray for another person’s soul with the same reverence that I would pray for myself?

      I too am considered an outcast to some because I know that God can also do mighty things in home churches and is not going to smite me if I don’t officially join a local “denomination” or independent church organization. Even so, most of them are not as bad as you seem to think. Most Christians I know are pretty reasonable and genuine and caring. I may be a fundie, but I still get razed by others for not being religious enough and tithing the traditional way, don’t think their should be so many paid-pastorate-types, or not dressing nice when I am invited to a time of worship, etc.

      Also, notice that I did not imply anything towards you that you didn’t volunteer about yourself. So, not judging on my part, you made your pain and bitterness quite clear without my help. Feel free to reply with brutal honesty again as well, I am not too proud and don’t have t have the last word if you want to have an genuine conversation with hurling insults. Just please tone down the assumptions and anger when I wasn’t angry just blunt. For example: I didn’t tell John to repent, just told him that the word “repent” is in the Bible and not a bad thing to say. that’s all. Can I say God Bless without you assuming that I mean something else? I hope so… God Bless. – Brandon

      • I’m not against you personally Brandon. I am against the “ism” that you have selected to be defined by. You cannot be a member of an “ism” and then claim that you are against the “ism” or that that “ism” does not define you.

        Numerous people in your “ism” believe that it is wrong for the government to help poor people buy health insurance—and if they get sick and have no insurance—well that is just tough darts—they need to go ahead and die. I know an Episcopalian here in my area that operates his life on the fundie “ism” model. He is an accountant. Somewhere along the line in this world, the line between red and black on a piece of paper came to dominate his soul and spirit to the point where he is very comfortable in saying, “Well, if there is not enough money for her operation, then your 10 year old daughter has to die.” That is what the bottom line says. The daughter is in the red, and the accounting numbers alone declare that she must die—and he can just walk away with a personal sense of having served God with the numbers on his paper. In fact, he believes that adhering to the numbers defines Biblical righteousness—and directs the way he and all others should behave in the world. This same attitude towards people, money, and righteousness pervades your “ism” on the world stage today. While you might not personally feel this way, the mere fact that you proudly stand within the circle of that “ism” is—in and of itself—tacit approval of that sort of behavior and belief system.

        Do you think Jesus Christ would have said, “I’m sorry little Linda. The accounting numbers on this piece of paper say you have to die this afternoon. Tough darts baby—and walk away?” The Jesus I know would have been in the hospital manager’s office laying out a set of disturbing facts that would make the man beg for an opportunity to give little Linda an operation free of charge. In fact, He might say, “I want you to go and sell everything you own this morning to cover the operation. Then come and follow me.”

        I wonder how many fundies would voluntarily sell their Mercedes and choose to drive a Chevrolet instead so the difference in cost could be used for Linda’s operation?

        • Wow, I see your point;

          For Jesus said, “I desire mercy not sacrifice (from Hosea 6).”

          BUT AGAIN, you assume that I am a conservative-republican or don’t wonder myself why people drive Mercedes and wear $500 suits to church services with flashy haircuts and flashy jewelry and vote strictly republican. I just told you in another comment that I am more independent and less dependent of religious institutions and especially political parties.

          The woman in the hospital: Jesus would probably heal her and money would not be the issue.

          But for the sake of the analogy, I don’t know how you can make such intriguing and thought provoking statements like,

          “He might say, “I want you to go and sell everything you own this morning to cover the operation. Then come and follow me,”

          …and yet be so hostile towards people, assuming that they are all like your accountant friend. –

          • Do you ever read anything carefully? And why do you put yourself at the center of whatever you read? My problem is with the evil in the “ism” and with people who have sold out to the “ism.” I am hostile because the “ism” is evil and needs to be dismantled before it destroys more lives and spirits. If you are not part of the “ism” and are not defined by it—then go in peace.

            • Thank you for being reasonable. I am just trying to be fair. And I know that your’e not bitter at me personally. To be clear, I am upset with this: the assumption that anyone unwilling to add “homosexual-monogamy” to the Scriptures, must be part of a “ism.” That was on of my points. This assumption is wrong. God Bless – Brandon

  7. Pingback: GCN Conference 2015: Learning to love better. « This is what I see.

  8. It’s amazing the number of people here who worship their own desires rather than Jesus.

    And for those of you trying to debate with those who are ignoring the fact that homosexual activity is clearly defined as a sin in Scriptures, know that they simply don’t care about God’s word. They want what they want and they’ll twist and spin to make it happen.

    That’s why you see so many posts accusing those who follow Scripture of hating people or not being loving or judging others, etc. They know that they can’t back up their positions through Scripture, so they attack personally and use ad hominem attacks that are emotion based rather than Scripturally based. They also like to use the “well, the Bible never explicitly says…” or “the Bible never uses the word homosexual…” or “well, these two people could be gay…” because they want to muddy the water from the simple fact that they’re endorsing sin and claiming to follow Jesus while not repenting of anything.

    The Bible says there will be false teachers who claim to be followers of Christ; if there would not be the Bible would not give such warning. John Pavlovitz, based on what you see in this post of his, is clearly one of those people. So for those who know the truth of Scripture and are not deceived in this area like the some of those commenting, just pray for them, pray for John to stop being a deceiver and pray for those to whom he’s leading away from God with his false idol of the world’s definitions of acceptable.

    • You may want to actually get to know some LGBT people; talk to them, ask about their lives, treat them like human beings instead of reducing complex human beings, made by God, in the image of God, to a few out-of-context lines of text.

      If you think Paul is referencing people who are born gay, (as we understand now), or people desiring lifelong monogamous relationships, good for you, but I believe you are irresponsibly and incorrectly twisting Scripture to reinforce your fear-ruled bias, and it’s damaging and dangerous, and it’s a lousy testimony of Jesus in the world.

      Save your condescending prayers, Jason. They’re showy and insincere. (Jesus preaches against such public displays. Be careful, or you may be sinning as you condemn others).

      Enjoy destroying people’s lives in the name of Jesus. I’ll choose to love them in his name.

      Peace.

      • ” who are born gay, (as we understand now)”

        Referencing myths and propaganda does not help your reasoning skills.

        • You’re right, just Science.

          Just what are you basing your understanding of sexuality on, other than a few 2,000 year-old lines from a straight, celibate pastor?

        • Right, so not a lot of “they’re choosing to be gay” here.

          Agreed.

          I’m not going to argue these points with you anymore, Theodore. You think LGBT people (despite what they tell you about themselves), are somehow choosing a sexuality that is counter to what their nature is. (an idea which, unless you yourself could ever be convinced to be attracted to, aroused by, and desire affection from, another man, is ridiculous).

          You’re personally offended by LGBT, I get that. And you’ll work very hard (and post over and over) in an attempt to justify your bias to yourself.

          Just own it. Stop trying to distract and defend, and simply admit you find LGBT people sinful, distasteful, digusting; whatever.

          I won’t respond to your comments any longer. My original blog post (one you continually choose not to refer to or engage with in any meaningful way) speaks for itself.

          Thanks again.

  9. Im asking a legit question and honestly not trying to be combative. I see homosexuality as forbidden in scripture, as well as heterosexual fornication, beastiality, adultery and such. Would you find it okay for a gathering of “swingers” to gather, embracing their identity as openly adulterous people and yet being lovers of Jesus and gathering to worship Christ – saying, I have no desire to change my sexual activities, I want to be a Christ follower and embraced and appreciated as such regardless of my sexual activity preference. And of course apply that same activity to any of the above mention “sexual sins”. I’m sincerely curious as to you take on this. Please reply. Blessings. Tracy

    • Tracy, if you as an educated adult, can equate two adults who mutually find companionship, affection, and love in a committed relationship with one another; with someone cheating on a spouse, or having sex with a child or animal, I’m not going to argue with you.

      I will simply say that I find such reasoning ridiculous and demeaning to LGBT people, and an irresponsible application of a few lines of text.

      If you can sit across from an LGBT person who loves Jesus and who desires to share life with another person of the same sex, and tell them they’re the same as someone wanting to have intercourse with a dog, you’re a better person than I am.

      I appreciate you reading and commenting.

      • John. I have to tell you. Each time I see one of these people coming to you with questions like this, I see the Scribes and Pharisees coming to Jesus and saying: “Now what would you say about this situation?” Okay. Okay. Well, if not that one, then what about this other situation? Let me lay it out for you.”

        This is not discussion. This is people playing games just like the people who played the same games with Jesus—trying to lay traps—in hopes of being able to cry out “Gotcha this times!!!”

      • I guess I must have communicated poorly, please forgive me. I have several friends how are of the LGBT community and I think everyone of them will tell you that we are more than acquaintances, we are friends. They treat me and I treat them with dignity and respect. I am also heavily dipped in mercy and grace and compassion. I told my wife one time on this topic, “if someone came to me and said, ‘you can’t like women any more, you have to start liking men romantically tomorrow’, I couldn’t do it”, so I feel their pain in that arena.
        So maybe I can articulate my question better. Everyone I know, regardless of their sexual desires, states that they are born that way. I’m not arguing against that. I have a close friend who told me they remember having same sex attraction at age 5, and never having opposite sex attraction, I believe they are telling me the truth. Bottom line – are we saying, God’s word is not true, or we misunderstand it concerning homosexuality. Are we saying – the Lord homosexuality is okay and we should embrace it as okay. And I do find a serious hypocrisy among my gay friends who will not give any mercy or grace to someone who would say that they have never been a “one woman man” or who struggle with beastiality or pedophilia. I find that very odd. They say – we don’t want to be looked down up, but loved and accepted and embraced, but we have no problem at all looking down on folks who say they were born with adulterous tendencies. In fact, I think monogamy is “unnatural”.
        So I would not be so quick to judge and say – We monogamous heterosexual are good and we monogamous homosexual are good, but everyone who deviates from those two things are disgusting to us and undeserving of being accepted as they are. And we would never worship with Christ seeking, Christ loving folks who vary from those two categories. Upon where to we draw our “moral high road” for treating people like that. Okay – I know no one is looking for a pen pal. If you have insights please reply and I’ll drop it on this subject. Thanks – Tracy
        PS – Swingers, I think are loving couples who consent to have adulterous relationship with other “swinging” couples, they don’t consider themselves to be “cheating” they are open about their adultery, they find that way of life fulfilling and desirable. Even if God Word says it’s not proper.

    • You’ve embraced a category error here. Fornication, beastiality [sic], adultery, swinging, etc. DO HARM to other people. Fornication and “swinging” objectify and use other people for sexual pleasure while showing no concern for their humanity. Adultery betrays commitments and pledges you’ve made in public to another person, the community and (often) innocent children and robs them of their trust in your. Bestiality forces sex onto a being that cannot give consent. All of these things harm others.

      How does being in a monogamous gay or lesbian relationship cause harm? It doesn’t betray the trust of a third party like adultery. It doesn’t use people as objects purely for pleasure without concern to their inner needs. It doesn’t force yourself on a being that can’t give informed consent (like an animal). Where is the harm?

      St Paul said that as long as we truly love neighbour as self we are following the law.

      Romans 13 8-10 says:

      Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

      So the burden is on you to show how a monogamous, committed lesbian or gay relationship harms others.

      • Gay relationships harm the human nature and dignity of the homosexuals involved in such relationships directly. No other parties need be involved.

        • So, you get to police the sin of other people on behalf of God’s sensibilities? You get to play God with others?

          No, actually, you don’t.

          Plank eye, Theodore… Plank eye.

          Have a nice day.

      • How do they do harm? I know you give some examples in your post, but they are weak opinions. Two young couples on a date this weekend having sex, how can you say they are harming each other, based upon what? They are two consenting young people with high sex drives and no, they probably are not worried about each others “inner needs” and they would laugh and scoff at such a statement. Beastiality – not sure how that harms people and the animal, I’m sure a dog, if not consensual, will bite a hunk out of you, so, if it’s not resisting and fighting, clawing and biting, it’s giving you it’s consent. Adultery – YES, unless they are “swingers”, swingers agree, as a couple to commit adultery with other consenting adulterers – there is no “cheating”, how does that hurt anyone.
        I find a high level of hypocrisy in people on this subject. It’s us heterosexual and homosexual monogamous people go “love” each other that are okay – but you better not deviate from those two ways or man – the judgement, rejection and disgust start flying. The very things we say we hate when done to our homosexual friends and family. And of course we will try to take some kind of moral high ground, based off our opinions to reject those who truly “love” in a way that doesn’t fit the above two mentioned way. If I try to get people to open up to MORE ways of being accepting, loving, caring, including, I tend to get a lot of “lash back” – odd. Okay, enough said, thanks for you thoughts. Have a GREAT week. Tracy

      • Dan Sloan and Tracy,
        The Hippocratic oath rightly says, “do no harm.” But this phrase does not sum every moral issue under the sun, especially human sexuality. Please see if you can relate to these examples.

        Example 1: Holiness.
        Does directly rebelling against God count are “harm?” If your body is supposed to be “a temple for the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 6:19), than defiling your body through unholy acts of sexual immorality or impurity (even consensual) is not exactly embracing the will of God for your life or setting yourself apart as a vessel for His glory. This defilement dishonors God’s image and turns both body and soul into an unwelcoming place for the Presence of God. Thus, defiling your body is defiling a temple that God has intended to “dwell by His Spirit (1 Cor 3:16).” I thought that welcoming God into our hearts and lives meant embracing His Will over our own, forsaking even what our own bodies desire out of their sinful and corrupt state of being. How can we welcome God if we don’t revere Him and His Word? How then can we be a temple for Him to dwell? Are we made for Him or ourselves? I say, for Him.

        “Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.” 1 Cor 6:13

        Example 2: One Flesh.
        The Biblical mandate (as quoted by Christ Himself) of a man and wife becoming “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, Mark10:8) can not be plausibly fulfilled via a same-sex relationship. The union and oneness of a married heterosexual couple is appropriately expressed by two very different personalities and bodies being joined and fitted together in sexual union. The differences between male and female are not only celebrated but also joined together through sexual intercourse within the marriage bed. I believe that “One flesh” is not merely a shared attraction, or simply an act of affection within a committed relationship.

        It celebration of the unique qualities and characteristics of both individuals appropriately merging together as pieces to a puzzle design for physical unity (as in Song of Song/Song of Solomon). This connection is a physical manifestation of their inner unity of spirit and soul. The physical gratification of this union merely culminates the deeper connection and mutual affection to be discovered within the bounds of their relationship.

        Example 3: Homosexuality
        I also believe that companionship, love, and affection among two same sex friends is not the identical to becoming “one flesh.” Homosexual companions may share deep and mutual love and respect for one another, but if sexual activity develops, than their friendship is tainted. A form of sexual perversion occurs when same sex companions violate their own design and the sacred nature of this ‘male to male’ or ‘female to female’ companionship by engaging in sexual immorality. Relating to the same gender has it’s own sacred purposes like fellowship and mentoring. It is not designed to be a sexual relationship. This is why sexual intercourse is reserved for heterosexual married couples. For the nature of relating to those like yourself is not ideal for sexual intimacy. This sounds harsh, but human anatomy reflects this truth; that male and female can join together appropriately “because of ” not “in spite of” their differences. Mysteriously, their differences are designed to join them together physically rather than push them away. It is their differences that allow them to be close in a way that they cannot be with their same sex peers. Consequently, is also through this mysterious bond that children are created and allowed to enter the world.

        Thus, engaging in odd situations of sexual experiments between same sex companions is a misuse of one’s body and inappropriate. For a sexual union is more than merely showing affection (as some say), and also more than a means by which to procreate (as others claim). Rather, it is a SACRED picture and representation of something more. Anyone can attempt to quote, “exchange bodily fluids” with another consenting adult, or even be intimately affectionate towards a companion, but not everyone can become “one flesh” as the Bible teaches. When committed homosexuals attempt to imitate this reality, their relationship remains inherently distinct from the phenomenon of actual sexual intercourse between a man and wife who meet together in appropriate unity by their very design.
        – Brandon

        “And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” Matt 11:6

    • Jesus Christ (1st Century Radical):

      “That time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.”

      “And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.”

    • Apparently John isn’t comfortable reading the Bible to people. God didn’t mind having these words in this order, addressing adultery, child sacrifice, homosexual behavior and bestiality. Using John’s logic, it would be ridiculous and demeaning to read this to an adulterer as well.

      Leviticus 18:20–23 And you shall not lie sexually with your neighbor’s wife and so make yourself unclean with her. You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion.

      • Leviticus 20:9-10: Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head. If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.

        Yeah, those random, out of context Bible verses certainly are helpful, aren’t they eMatters?

        I look forward to your long, footnoted dissertation in support of the stoning to death of disrespectful teens and unfaithful spouses.

  10. Lots of Baal- and Molech-followers may have had a good time with their “worship.” That proves nothing. If you really love people you won’t encourage their rebellion against God.

    http://wp.me/p1wGU-3P7 The Bible couldn’t be more clear. Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) can see these truths:

    – 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
    – 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
    – 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
    – 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind. There are no exceptions for “committed” relationships.
    – 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to LGBT couples parenting children.

    * The three general types of pro-gay theology people:

    1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God.” (Obviously non-Christians)
    2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling the theological Left.” (Only about 10 things wrong with that.)
    3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

    • Actually you don’t get to decide whether someone else’s worship is worthy or true.

      All you numbers and “facts” simply reflect your opinion; one no more or less valid than another’s.

      You don’t seem to have a particularly kind or compassionate heart. That may be something to pray on.

      You’ve also seemingly never actually had a conversation with or gotten to know an LGBT Christian. Again, good prayer staff to take to God.

      “The Bible couldn’t be more clear” is about as useless as phrase as we can have here, unless you want to justify the polygamy practiced by the pillars of the Jewish faith; one the Bible never condemns.

      Your “iron clad” statements here are simply the kind of case the Pharisees made to Jesus repeatedly, while constantly missing the heart of God. They had the “theological truths”, and they blew it with their self-righteousness. You’re blowing it to, I’m afraid, as you condescendingly write-off a whole people group God created.

      LGBT people love Jesus as much as you do, and God loves them as much as He loves you. I’m sorry you can’t accept that. That’s a you problem.

    • I’m sorry you don’t love God, eMatters. I pray one day you will.

      (That would be insulting, ignorant, and uninformed to say to you, wouldn’t it? Might be something to think about, as you tell LGBT people that their “worship means nothing”.)

      • “I’m sorry you don’t love God, eMatters.”

        Haha! If I disagreed with God on all sorts of matters then that would be completely legitimate to say.

        Churchgoers who support “same-sex marriage” have nearly identical views to the world. It shows who their real father is. http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/churchgoers-who-support-same-sex-marriage-are-identical-to-the-world/

        1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.

        Jude 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

        • News flash: Christian heterosexual marriages have the same divorce rates, and infidelity and abuse as non-Christian marriages. Enough with all this, “identical views to the world” nonsense. It’s not helping you here. I guess half of married Christians are “showing who their real Father is” too… Silly.

          I’m sorry to inform you, that copying and pasting a random quote from the Bible doesn’t really answer anything, and it doesn’t prove any point, other than you have a Bible and Internet access.

          You can choose to deflect and avoid responding to the original post in any meaningful way if you want. I’m sorry you feel the need to do that, instead of addressing the piece itself.

  11. Okay, John, I know this is lengthy, so sorry, but I find that the exact criticisms you give to others about their un-embracing attitudes apply to you 100%. If after reading this, you can explain to me that I am wrong, that you are embracing all the folks I see you rejecting, then I apologize.
    I have been very disappointed with those of you who claim to be Jesus loving and including. I have found nothing but the exact, EXACT same attitude, arrogance and holier than thou attitude among those on here that what to embrace the LGBT folks in the Lord, but stop there.
    It is as if you asked, “monogamous heterosexuals, will you widen the circle to include and embrace monogamous LBGT folks” (not sure how the bisexual works that out unless those in this group demand that they forsake the way they were born, wanting intimacy with both same sex and opposite sex, and you make them choose one way or the other and in so doing ask them to betray the way he/she was born, or if you allow them to have one monogamous same sex relationship and one monogamous opposite sex relationship and consider that okay).
    By the way, why is a monogamous homosexual relationship seen as so beautiful. Who died and left you guys the boss of making monogamy a thing of beauty, it’s unnatural and the two greatest kings in Old Testament history were anything but monogamous.
    I say, widen the circle of love and acceptance to the pedophile, no, not the 30 year old that rapes a 6 year old, but the 30 year old that has a homosexual or heterosexual relationship with a consenting 12, 13 or 14 year old (marrying age in biblical times). In fact, they say – we were born this way. Widen the circle to the swingers – those who both husband and wife agree to that lifestyle and share that kind of love with others who consensually share that lifestyle, I say widen the circle of acceptance to those who embrace beastiality – in fact, they will tell you they were born that way, they didn’t come to a place in life where they said “hmm, do I want to like people or animals”, no, they were born liking animals. But those who claim to be inclusive on this site say – “No, homosexuals who say they were born homosexual, they are honest, godly people”. Which I don’t doubt, but then you say that “Consensual pedophiles who say they were born that way are liars”. Those involved in beastiality who say they were born that way, they are perverted, disgusting, sick liars.
    You have drawn your line on who is worthy, monogamous heterosexuals, monogamous homosexuals and you have drawn your line with Bible verses YOU WANT to accept and social and philosophical and psychological and cultural arguments that ostracize those who don’t fit into your circle – exactly what the unaccepting LGBT group does. Talk about Plank Eye. Wow.
    I offer the same advise you dispense. Get to know these folks, hang with them, love on them, get to know their hearts or admit that they disgust you and you want nothing to do with them.
    There are only two choices. Either the Bible is to be believed and embraced, and it says that Homosexuality, Fornication, Adultery, Beastiality, cross dressing is all wrong and sinful and not acceptable. Yes, love and treat with respect, dignity and honor all people everywhere, but teach that that behavior is not Christian any more than stealing is acceptable even if one is born a kleptomaniac.
    OR – quit picking and choosing which sexual passions and patterns that you, the all wise purveyor of moral, biblical, cultural and social mores and norms you will permit and allow everyone to be loved, accepted and embraced in the kingdom community. Quit rebuking those who don’t accept the LGBT folks, when you do the same thing to those who love the way they want to love, and stop the arm chair psychology that their “inner needs” aren’t being met, that’s exactly what the non accepting LGBT people say and when they say it, it’s not a legit argument, nor should it be when you say it towards a different group. I see hypocrisy everywhere in LGBT group when it won’t widen the circle to let others in and want them to feel the same pain and rejection that they have been battling for years to eliminate. Where’s the love? Sad.

  12. I think it is really interesting that all of these LGBT people attended this conference and were clearly the church at the conference. That must be truly frightening to Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical haters of LGBT people—and they are haters—not just of the sin but of both the sin and the sinner—as a matter of practice in venues like this and on the street.

    Because LGBT people are clearly being rejected by so many fundies, I would not be surprised to see LGBT churches springing up all over the United States—along with the already existing churches that already accept LGBT people in their congregations.

    And again, I think a number of the fundie people who have visited this blog have missed the whole point—just as one would expect of our own, modern-day scribes and Pharisees. The issue is not whether LGBT people are sinners or not sinners from a Biblical perspective. We all stand within the circle of sin. The question is how we treat LGBT people as men and women on the American street. The fundies have made it crystal clear that they would treat them like the Jews were treated on the streets of Berlin or Hamburg in 1938.

    I cannot do that because Jesus teaches me to love LGBT people as my neighbors and as myself. This requirement came straight from the lips of Jesus, and I do not believe He would have said it unless He really meant it and meant for us to do it. That is crystal clear to me.

    Shunning them, taking away their jobs, reducing their civil rights, refusing to sell them a Milky Way bar, and going out of our way to make the lives of LGBT people as hurtful and miserable as possible is not in any form or fashion a way of loving these people—even if you are so naive as to think inflicting unbearable pain will lead to true repentance and a change in a “chosen” behavior. I am convinced that any repentance extracted under torture would be “faux repentance” at best, and if the LGBT people were not killed in the process, it would only lead to deeper LGBT resentment and even greater resistance to the pressure—even violent resistance if the pain became unbearable. Every person, every nation, and every people have a final breaking point where the abuse is so bad that they feel compelled to take up arms against the King George III at the center of their lives.

    Little old ladies used to tell me what would happen to Christian fundamentalism when it is found out that the Bible is not inerrant. Their phrase of response was always the same four words—THEN ALL IS LOST. I would just like to end by saying that the Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical quest to put the LGBT genie back into his lamp (or closet) is already a lost cause. All of the vicious hatred—which has been particularly strong in Texas—has failed and is failing in one state after another across the nation. The U.S. Supreme Court will most likely rule in favor of LGBT people or produce a limited ruling that will allow lower courts (within certain guidelines) to continue along the current path where one state after another is falling in line with giving LGBT people their civil rights. All is lost.

    • What you say is so foreign to me and to what I have seen and experienced. I have never seen, in my community, “fundies” treat LGBT folks like, to quote you, “The fundies have made it crystal clear that they would treat them like the Jews were treated on the streets of Berlin or Hamburg in 1938”. I have seen them reject their belief that homosexuality is a biblically acceptable practice, but like “Berlin or Hamburg in 1938”, not even close. They have been treated with respect and dignity. Just as fornicators have been treat, told that that behavior was not biblical, but they were loved and accepted. But I suppose each community is different, that would be sad to see.

  13. Finally, and I know this is none of my business, but I would like to point out something that has happened in this blog thread. All of the people who have supported John’s position (except me) have quit posting. Have you noticed that? This is part of a common Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical strategy to deal with those who oppose them on the Internet at various websites and blogspots. Rush in with numbers, overwhelm the conversation, and win by shutting down participation from people in favor of the prime post who do not want to be attacked. It should be noted that Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals (for the most part) do not tolerate dissenting posts on their websites and blogspots because they do not want anyone to pull the same strategy on them.

    I can understand why fundie people are so anxious to shut down discussion on John’s blog. Unlike my pitiful social science blog that gets only a handful of visitors and views per day, I suspect that John’s blog gets daily views in the thousands—and probably increasing all the time. This means that his ministry and views are positively affecting an enormous number of people here at home and around the world—which would be defined in anyone’s book as a successful ministry. On the other hand, Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism are on the decline in the United States. Witness the evidence:

    http://coldcasechristianity.com/2012/are-young-people-really-leaving-christianity/

    Not only are they losing the so-called “culture wars” on the American street, they are losing their own children within the walls of their own churches. This is not at all surprising because most kids (I know because I was one years ago) are smart enough to discern bullshit when they see it—and they recognize that many elements of their parents’ faith stance are bullshit. They know the Earth is more than 5,000 years old. They see the emphasis on law and the absence of Christ-like love in their churches. They know you cannot “separate yourself” from other people and love them at the same time. They know that their churches preach hatred on the Internet, in books, and in magazines. They know the “nice guy” gay kid at school and know for sure that he is not the evil monster targeted by his church. They know those red letters in the New Testament and what Jesus said and did—and they know that the beliefs and behaviors of their own church are as far from the real Jesus as the east is from the west. The kids are fleeing, and true to the nature of the blind guides that they are, the fundie church staffs and parents are in self-denial about why the children are leaving and are willing to cite all kinds of reasons for it that are just plain not true—which simply deepens their problem.

    I have studied Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism for the past 27 years–and know their many faults and weaknesses well—as well as the few strengths that they have. For some time now, I have been considering the creation of a really nice and inviting blogspot specifically designed to encourage, facilitate, and hasten the departure of late teens and adults from Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches—a real and solid campaign to literally finish emptying their churches. The blogspot would operate at the state level rather than the national level, and it would be created as a “free package” like the classic “ABC Eyewitness News Package” that could be given to like-minded people who would like to establish and operate a similar package at the state level in the other 49 states and U.S. Territories. Given my exceptional writing abilities, journalistic talents, and coordination skills, I feel certain that this effort would draw thousands or even millions of readers and would be immensely successful. I had about decided not to do it, but the many fundies who have come here to cause trouble on John’s blog have inspired me to understand that plans for this new ministry should proceed. Many thanks to each one of you fundies for your inspiration—and good luck explaining your participation to your perpetually angry and wrathful God someday.

    This effort to hasten the flight from fundie churches would not be just a negative mission. People who flee need a place of refuge to flee to. The blog package would simultaneously encourage people to flee into the arms of Jesus, his red-letter words in the New Testament, and his many deeds—to rest in the arms of the real Jesus—and to finally feel loved by him for the first time in life on this Earth. All that “love” encouraged in the New Testament is not the “garbage-strewn dirt” that the fundie churches have made it out to be. It is the command of Jesus himself. Therefore, the blogspot would encourage those who flee to flee towards mainline Christian churches (including Roman Catholic and various Orthodox churches) that emphasize Jesus and his love, other kinds of churches with the same emphasis (like John Pavlovitz’s church), and to establish many new churches that have Jesus himself and his love at the very center of their existence—and who extend that love out deeply into their communities by helping people—and thus drawing all people to Jesus just as Jesus himself magnetically drew many people unto himself in the 1st Century.

    And thanks for the great advice fundies of America. You have led by example. The new, state-level blogspot packages will tolerate no dissent or discussion whatsoever from Christian fundamentalist or conservative evangelical visitors, thus denying you the ability to undermine the ministry in the way you do here at John’s blog. You people love falsehoods and darkness, so enjoy your time in the outer darkness to which you will be consigned. Please keep the wailing and gnashing of teeth to a minimum.

  14. Okay, John, I know this is lengthy, so sorry, but I find that the exact criticisms you give to others about their un-embracing attitudes apply to you 100%. If after reading this, you can explain to me that I am wrong, that you are embracing all the folks I see you rejecting, then I apologize.
    I have been very disappointed with those of you who claim to be Jesus loving and including. I have found nothing but the exact, EXACT same attitude, arrogance and holier than thou attitude among those on here that what to embrace the LGBT folks in the Lord, but stop there.
    It is as if you asked, “monogamous heterosexuals, will you widen the circle to include and embrace monogamous LBGT folks” (not sure how the bisexual works that out unless those in this group demand that they forsake the way they were born, wanting intimacy with both same sex and opposite sex, and you make them choose one way or the other and in so doing ask them to betray the way he/she was born, or if you allow them to have one monogamous same sex relationship and one monogamous opposite sex relationship and consider that okay).
    By the way, why is a monogamous homosexual relationship seen as so beautiful. Who died and left you guys the boss of making monogamy a thing of beauty, it’s unnatural and the two greatest kings in Old Testament history were anything but monogamous.
    I say, widen the circle of love and acceptance to the pedophile, no, not the 30 year old that rapes a 6 year old, but the 30 year old that has a homosexual or heterosexual relationship with a consenting 12, 13 or 14 year old (marrying age in biblical times). In fact, they say – we were born this way. Widen the circle to the swingers – those who both husband and wife agree to that lifestyle and share that kind of love with others who consensually share that lifestyle, I say widen the circle of acceptance to those who embrace beastiality – in fact, they will tell you they were born that way, they didn’t come to a place in life where they said “hmm, do I want to like people or animals”, no, they were born liking animals. But those who claim to be inclusive on this site say – “No, homosexuals who say they were born homosexual, they are honest, godly people”. Which I don’t doubt, but then you say that “Consensual pedophiles who say they were born that way are liars”. Those involved in beastiality who say they were born that way, they are perverted, disgusting, sick liars.
    You have drawn your line on who is worthy, monogamous heterosexuals, monogamous homosexuals and you have drawn your line with Bible verses YOU WANT to accept and social and philosophical and psychological and cultural arguments that ostracize those who don’t fit into your circle – exactly what the un-accepting LGBT group does. Talk about Plank Eye. Wow.
    I offer the same advise you dispense. Get to know these folks, hang with them, love on them, get to know their hearts or admit that they disgust you and you want nothing to do with them.
    There are only two choices. Either the Bible is to be believed and embraced, and it says that Homosexuality, Fornication, Adultery, Beastiality, cross dressing is all wrong and sinful and not acceptable. Yes, love and treat with respect, dignity and honor all people everywhere, but teach that that behavior is not Christian any more than stealing is acceptable even if one is born a kleptomaniac.
    OR – quit picking and choosing which sexual passions and patterns that you, the all wise purveyor of moral, biblical, cultural and social mores and norms you will permit and allow everyone to be loved, accepted and embraced in the kingdom community. Quit rebuking those who don’t accept the LGBT folks, when you do the same thing to those who love the way they want to love, and stop the arm chair psychology that their “inner needs” aren’t being met, that’s exactly what the non accepting LGBT people say and when they say it, it’s not a legit argument, nor should it be when you say it towards a different group. I see hypocrisy everywhere in LGBT group when it won’t widen the circle to let others in and want them to feel the same pain and rejection that they have been battling for years to eliminate. Where’s the love? Sad.

  15. NOTE FROM JOHN:

    Several people on this thread have repeatedly chosen not to respond to the blog post itself, but rather to sermonize, continually posting and reposting out of context Scriptures, while avoiding the heart of the post; that being:

    the mistreatment of LGBT people seeking to follow Jesus, and the strength of the faith of those individuals to practice this faith in the face of tremendous adversity.

    If comments do not, in some direct, meaningful way, relate to the blog topic above, they will not be allowed, as they make meaningful conversation on the topic, impossible.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • I’d like to see that same kindness that is being expressed to the LGBT group enlarged to include other disenfranchised people who were born with sexual/intimacy desires that are outside of the monogamous heterosexual and LGBT group. I’m advocating that we go past the “us four and no more” mentality and apply the exact same heart, attitude and inclusiveness to all others. I think we have agreed to not hold folks to biblical standards concerning sexual and relational issues in our modern progressive culture, so let’s embrace everyone with the Love of Christ. Blessings to all.

    • FYI: At John Pav’s request to not get sidetracked on LGBT stuff, this will be my last “unprovoked” post… unless people ask for more of my thoughts about God. Many of these discussions here have been fruitful, but there are people who are all about conservatives and liberals. Personally, I believe that discovering who God is and knowing how He wants us to worship Him are both in no way unrelated to a blog article about people “worshiping God.”

      -Apology: If I have (at times) added repetitious comments about homosexuality in general, my own opinions about marriage and rules for debate to my comments that where supposed to be about worshiping God, than I apologize.

      However, I don’t need to apologize for talking about “God’s transformative work in peoples lives” and how we should make a place for His Holy Presence within their hearts (I can’t speak for the people at the conference… I simply hope that that this is what there were doing). Also, talking at length about Scripture shouldn’t be labeled as more of a “conservative” thing (if that is John Pav’s implication).

      -Middle ground: So, to Honor God and be loving towards others on this blog, I will pray about these two statements (below) from (John Pav), even though I disagree with their overall implications, as I explain (to be fair).

      -My Prayer: “Father, help me not to judge peoples hearts, because that is for You alone. Please help me understand when someone is worshiping you “in spirit and in truth” as you have said. I ask that You you give me wisdom and discernment. And help me to speak more of Your words and truth. I forgive the people on this blog if they have judged me or others. Please forgive me of my sins, especially those that only You see… that I may have a clean heart and a transparent life that honors You. I do not say these words to sound pious Lord; only to be the same person in public as I am at home…. Just you have done. Amen.”

      Scripture related to worship:
      John4:23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24″God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

      -Final thoughts: Some views on John Pav’s main points (summarized below).

      Statement 1: (John Pav) said, “Actually you don’t get to decide whether someone else’s worship is worthy or true.”

      Response 1: (Brandon) I understand that the Father gives us grace and mercy, but He does say that we “must worship in spirit and in truth” (John Chap 4). I agree with John Pav that this is not a license for people to judge other potential servants of God. Yet, this Scripture prove how singing a hymn with passion and good intentions are there necessarily the ingredients for worshipping God “in spirit and in truth.” I can’t judge, but I can’t assume either. That’s all I’m saying.

      Question 1: My first question to (John Pav) is this, How can we fulfill this calling in John 4:24 if we don’t define what “truth” is and how to recognize the “true worshipers” who Christ Himself describes and the Father willingly “seeks” out?

      Statement 2: (John Pav) gave this disclaimer, “Several people on this thread have repeatedly chosen not to respond to the blog post itself, but rather to sermonize, continually posting and reposting out of context Scriptures, while avoiding the heart of the post; that being: the heart of the post; that being: the mistreatment of LGBT people seeking to follow Jesus, and the strength of the faith of those individuals to practice this faith in the face of tremendous adversity.”

      Response 2: (Brandon) I don’t see talking about God or His requirements of us as on off topic issue from “faith” and worship conferences where people are “seeking to follow Jesus.” If people are truly “seeking to follow Jesus” as you said yourself and I sincerely I was the case, than they would be glorifying Jesus at this conference. I wasn’t there. So, I came to this blog hoping to find something to rejoice in.

      For Paul said, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice” (Phill 1:18).

      Yet, I am not going to rejoice unless people are embracing Christ “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24) and “Christ is proclaimed,” (Phill 1:18). Now, if it turns out that the people John Pav spoke are are doing so as Scripture says, than I will rejoice and be glad. I am sorry that conservatives aren’t more loving and caring towards LBGT people, but that doesn’t change how there is no truth and glory to God without repentance and the proclamation of the Gospel. I admire those who still seek Jesus even when their contemporaries tell them not to, but remain confused if I see faith without the willingness to sacrifice in areas of life such as sexuality (heterosexuals included). I am not saying that they aren’t seeking Jesus. I just know that transformation is the result of following Him.

      Question 2: Is God glorified? When being a proud LGBT person is honored more than sincere Christians desperately longing to please God in the midst of their struggles with LGBT desires and behaviors, than I have to question some things about such a conference. That’s all.

      Question 3: Define what you mean by “mistreatment” and “adversity?” Are some people beaten and shunned for being gay even when we are in a time of grace, yes. But having people disagree with you for changing the Bible is not a form of mistreatment as being made fun of and beaten up for looking different.

      4) My conclusion (Brandon): I think one reason that both John Pav and Dover1952 get so much criticism in this thread is because the fact that statements like these may sound good at first, but they leave concepts like “truth” (as in “who the true worshipers are”), and “mistreatment” as terms to be loosely defined, and they don’t seem to want to talk in detail about the Bible. – Brandon

  16. John, I led worship for groups of LGBT Christians for several years in West Los Angeles starting in 1988. They were by far the best and most passionate worshipers of the True and Living God I’ve ever encountered in my 3 decades of music ministry. In fact I would say I learned more about worship, what worship is and how to worship from those precious Saints who were desperate for and sold out for God…desiring His Presence, His touch and healing in their lives.

  17. What’s an “LGBT Christian”?

    I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who has been *supernaturally* called by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and doesn’t desire to stop sinning…whether that sin is adultery, drunkenness, fornication, lying, stealing or idolatry.

    However, I have met *many* who profess to know the Lord and their attitude towards sin hasn’t changed one iota…not even after years of supposedly “knowing” Him. Many, it seems, want to know God…but not the God of the Bible, apparently. “Inclusive”? The God of the Bible is EXclusive…unrighteousness and disobedience are rebuked by Him, and good works and being unspotted from the world are encouraged and commanded. The unsaved are sent to Hell for their sins, and those sins include LGBT behavior, as I see it. Christ came to liberate us from sin, not to comfort us in the midst of it.

    To me, there is no such thing as an “LGBT Christian community”, just like there is no “Adulterer Christian community” or “-Insert other sinful behavior- community”…IMO, the only reality is that there are those who think they are saved and are not willing to give up their old ways, and there are those who ARE saved and ARE willing to have God do the work necessary to conform them to the image of His dear Son.

    The Bible…believe it, or don’t. The same God who said this: ” For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” ( John 3:16 ) Also said this: ” The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.” ( Psalm 5:5 ) And this, ” And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. ” ( Revelation 20:15 )

    Christ is either a religion, or a relationship. If religion, then no real change will occur; If a relationship led by the Holy Spirit, then real change will occur, and it will be miraculous. To me, this article couldn’t be further from the truth of God’s word or His people. This is who genuine believers really are, as I see it:

    ” Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    11 *And such were some of you*: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. ” Skipping down to verse 18,

    ” Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 *For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.* ” ( 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 18-20 )

    Believers are changed by the power of the living God, who gave His Son so that they could be free of sin and sanctified more and more in this life, in preparation for the next…eternity with God in absolute righteousness.

    Mr. Pavlovitz, I’m not sure who you spent your time with, but I seriously doubt they were Christ’s sheep… whose every sin grieves them each and every time they stumble in them as the years go on. The way I see it, you spent time with a group of people who desired one thing…to find God on their own terms, not unlike the ones who persecute “LGBT” people, which I cannot do, considering what sins I was delivered from…what heterosexual religious people want to do is their business, from my perspective.

    However, I do want to state one thing, and quite strongly…To me, there is no such thing as a “gay Christian”…only FORMERLY gay Christians. If you’ve met people that struggle with it and yet want to be free of it for the Lord’s sake, then chances are you’ve met real believers…if you have met people who are satisfied and even “celebrate” where they are behavior-wise, and you still consider them actual, genuine believers in the risen Christ, then you are sorely mistaken, IMO.

    May God bless you in the knowledge of Him and His grace.

  18. Well, seeing as how I’m the subject of discussion, as well as my monogamous partner of 25 years who I have been married to this last 5 (thanks all you straight people of Canada who made it happen!), I might as well address some of the fire and brimstone being thrown at me from some of the posters. Let’s get down to business here. Let’s look at what PRECEDES Romans1:26 as to why there are gays: ” …and (they) exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.…” I have never worshipped anything but Christ and god, and certainly not images of them. So explain again why god made me gay. Some of you expect me to do and be what none of you will ever have to do, celibate in mind and deed. Even pastors can marry etc. But no, us gays must be celibate, and according to good ‘ol Paul, in our thinking as well. Although…. I notice a lot of religions are now watering that down and saying you can think gay, just don’t act on it, because sex. Well, the colossal error here is that by ramming it into everyone skulls that gay is just sex, a lot of rather confused gays ended up believing that, and plunged into sex as they were not only damned, but would never ever ever find true love with one another. What a lie. Being gay is all about love, just like straight, just like the love you have for a spouse.

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