No, Christian—People are Not “Struggling With Same-Sex Attraction”

“He/she struggles with same-sex attraction.”

I’d never heard this phrase until I started working at a church.

Come to think of it I still rarely hear it outside of the Church or Church folk.

The people who say this about others are almost always Christians.

They lazily attach the words to others without giving it a second thought.

I often share with them, the fact that in my twenty years of ministering to people, the most profound “struggle” most LGBTQ people I’ve met ever have—is with the hatred, condemnation, rejection, and isolation they face from Christians—many their family members, close friends, and church community. The greatest inner conflict they often face is ultimately over whether to be an authentic orphan or a welcomed liar in the Church. They realize they can get inclusive love—but it will cost them their real voices.

Whatever internal turmoil a man or woman experiences, it’s almost always about the reality of what they know their gender identity and sexual orientation would expose them to if it were known. That is to say, they aren’t so much struggling with their truest truth, but with the fear of what others might do to them if they ever dare live that truth fully.

Many Christians use the phrase “struggling with same-sex attraction” as a self-fulfilling prophecy for the LGBTQ community.

They speak these words, while simultaneously creating a culture that is openly hostile to them.
They spew hateful rhetoric and give incendiary sermons and dispense damnation.
They support political candidates and legislation that specifically target these men and women and their families.
They question their motives and resist their involvement and contest their humanity and assail their character.
They make it almost impossible for these men and women to feel loved and welcomed and their midst—and then have the gall to blame their depression and despair and their rejection of religion on some inner battle with “God’s natural order.”

No, they’re battling fearful religious people who are treating them terribly and acting as if Jesus compels them to. They aren’t as much struggling with themselves or even with God—but with God’s people.

Homophobic Christians desperately need to believe that these people inherently struggle, because without that they may have to claim some culpability for the fact that LGBTQ youth are 4 to 6 times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers.

They might be forced to consider how much violence the Church has done and is still doing to people, simply because of the gender identity or sexual orientation—and confess that there is nothing resembling Jesus in it.

And if they lost the narrative of people having an internal battle, Christians might have to admit that the only thing conversion therapy does, is convert someone to a less authentic, less open, less joyful version of themselves—one who learns to change behavior to avoid being ostracized and to gain acceptance.

I definitely don’t want to speak for any LGBTQ person, and I welcome their personal stories and insights here. I certainly may be wrong in my understanding. But as a fully affirming minister and someone who encourages people be the most authentic version of who they are—I’ve seldom (if ever) met a man or woman, who once freed up from the pressure of a God they’d been told hated them and from Christians who terrorized them—didn’t come to find joy and lightness living their truth. Any struggle that remains is usually to try and quiet the voices they got used to hearing in their heads about God’s disgust with them and about their eternal damnation.

Once unfettered by the guilt heaped upon them by family members and pastors and strangers all claiming they speak for Jesus, they can breathe and feel loved and finally live. In that place, many of them finally find Jesus there too.

More Christians need to stop telling LGBTQ what their stories are and what their battles are and how their hearts work—and actually listen to them. If so, their platitudes might be far less easy to toss around and their own actions might come with some new scrutiny.

Love is love, and hatred is hatred—and wrapping the latter in religion doesn’t magically transform it into the former.

This isn’t difficult to understand: If someone told you your gender identity and sexual orientation were enough to get you condemned to hell, kicked out of your church, and disconnected from your family; if they told you from the day you were born that who you were and how you loved made you despised by God—I bet you’d “struggle” too.

297 thoughts on “No, Christian—People are Not “Struggling With Same-Sex Attraction”

  1. Here is a list of some of the medical, psychological, counseling and educational organizations which publicly attest that there is no valid evidence to suggest that being attracted to members of the same sex is a condition indicative of the need for or amenable to treatment of any sort:

    American Counseling Association
    American Medical Association
    American Psychological Association
    American Psychiatric Association
    American Anthropological Association
    American Academy of Pediatrics
    American College of Physicians
    Child Welfare League of America
    National Association of Social Workers
    National Education Association
    North American Council on Adoptable Children
    American Psychoanalytic Association
    American Academy of Family Physicians
    American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
    American School Counselor Association
    American Federation of Teachers
    Council on Child and Adolescent Health
    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
    American Sociological Association
    American School Health Association
    National Association of School Psychologists
    World Health Organization/Pan-American Health Organization

    • The only reason that a lot of these organizations changed their opinions on the subject is POLITICAL, not “scientific”. The now classic case is the back story behind how/ why homosexuality was DROPPED from the DSM (in the days of DSM-III) to be replaced by LESS DEFINABLE “disorders”. It was a “gay lobby”– the same type of gay lobby responsible for the Stonewall Inn riots– that led to the American Psychological Association COWERING IN FEAR OF THE “QUEERS”…. Is that REALLY the way to discern “truth”? I hope not — if so, it might explain the prevalence of “alternative facts” these days…..

      • So, you imagine there was a powerful and influential “gay lobby” in the late 60’s and early 70’s, a time when there were still anti-sodomy laws in most the states. That’s a rather incredible claim. Who were the specific people involved in this alleged gay lobby? What specific individuals did they influence and how? Please note that I am asking for verifiable evidence, not rumors and hysteria.

        Also note that I specifically said that the organizations I cited found no valid evidence to support the idea that being gay is, in and of itself, a mental health related condition. You seem to be suggesting that there is recent, valid, peer-reviewed evidence to the contrary. If so, please cite this alleged evidence.

        • I place place no value in Mr. Cohan’s remarks. The same arguments were used to attack racial equality and interracial marriage. Haters of any variety defend their opinions attacking science that disagrees with their beliefs. They used scripture to prove God made black people to be slaves. And to support the belief that God never intended for people of different skin color to live together in marriage. Its no different now with gender identity or sexual orientation.

          Well, I can state clearly that I never struggled with my sexuality. I always felt different that other boys. I was late coming out to myself, but not because I was uncomfortable with myself. I had low self esteem because of my disability requiring a wheelchair and felt that no one would find me attractive. As a result I never gave my sexual identity much consideration. Looking back over my childhood I can see that I was always watching TV shows including young teenage children close in age to me and focusing on boys more than girls. I always thought I was looking for TV friends to replace the isolation from boys I had in school.

          One thing I never feared was rejection for my sexuality or disability. Not from anyone close to me.

          • First of all, my name is “Cohen.” Your misspelling speaks volumes about how inattentively you read what I wrote. This is born out by the rest of your response.

            “The same arguments were used to attack racial equality and interracial marriage. ”
            – Which arguments are you referring to? I cited a list of medical, psychological, counseling and educational organizations which have affirmed that there is no valid evidence available to suggest that being being attracted to members of the same sex is indicative of a need for nor amenable to treatment. This assertion was disputed by Shawn Fahrer, but not countered with any peer-reviewed citations. You seem to be agreeing with my point, despite saying that “place place no value on (my) remarks.”

            “They used scripture to prove God made black people to be slaves. And to support the belief that God never intended for people of different skin color to live together in marriage. Its no different now with gender identity or sexual orientation.”
            – I do not dispute this. Where did I say that I was affirming this?

      • Shawn Fahrer, please cite peer-reviewed studies which support your theory that to be gay is a mental disorder.

        I have already cited peer-reviewed studies that inform us that sexual preference is formed in utero.

        I realize scientific evidence is painful to people dedicated to homophobia, but evidence is evidence, facts are facts, and your fears are just fears and can be resolved,

        • Still waiting for the peer-reviewed studies which support Shawn’s theory that to be gay is a mental disorder.

      • That is not what my Ph.D. clinical psychologist friend tells me. He is not the kind of person to be intimidated by the various associations listed in the response above or any so called “fear of queers.” I asked him once—straight-up—if homosexuality was a psychological disorder or disease—and he told me the whole notion that it is a psychological disease/disorder is pure BS that is not supported by any credible research within the field of clinical psychology. That was his personal opinion at about age 65 after a full lifetime of treating literally 1,000s of patients with real psychological diseases/disorders.

        Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals DESPERATELY NEED homosexuality to be a psychological disorder/disease just like they desperately need alcoholism and drug addiction to be a personal moral failure rather than the genetics-based disease that medical researchers have discovered it to be because 15 percent of all people who use alcohol and drugs are pretty much guaranteed to become addicted because they have the unique genes that pretty much guarantee addiction. Addiction is largely genetic. I have seen it up close with my own father-in-law—a highly respected deacon and thoroughly moral man in his Christian fundamentalist church. He tried desperately to quit smoking cigarettes, and to this day I remember the pitiful sight of him and his cancer-eaten lungs—sitting on the toilet in the bathroom—just days from death—coughing profusely—and puffing a cigarette because he was a member of that 15 percent with the wrong genes and the nicotine OWNED HIM 100 percent right at the doorway of death itself.

      • Shawn Fahrer: Good grief!
        I have questions for you. First, why did you place quote marks around the word scientific? Second, what is the power you think this “gay lobby” possesses that could cause the APA to cower in fear?
        I am pleased to see that “alternative facts” is properly placed inside quotation marks, though the other uses are at best questionable.

    • David Cohen, Who decides what is good and bad for human beings? Who is the ‘Standard and Reference’ for justice, love etc? Of course not you or me or none of the organisations you mentioned above, but Jehovah God who made you and your forefathers Cohen to Him! Remember that always!

      Vayikra 18:22Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)
      22 Thou shalt not lie with zachar, as with isha: it is to’evah (abomination, detestable)

      Leviticus 18:22New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
      22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

      • Leviticus 18:19: Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.

        Leviticus 20:9 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.

        Leviticus 20:10 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.

        Unless you’re also willing to strand by these verses, please do better than using a Leviticus verse to justify destroying LGBTQ people’s lives. Do better.

        • Yes, thank you. It always mystifies me that some people will insist that some verses in the Holiness Code are applicable for all time and others are just a product of the times.

          Don’t all of us wear blended fabrics? Do Christian feel incumbent to keep a kosher kitchen?

          Based on the stuff I’ve read, the Levitical verses that seem to discuss homosexuality actually address the sin of worshiping idols in a temple prostitution setting where a worshipper goes to adore the idol through the services of a temple prostitute and worshipper would get the next one in line, regardless of the gender of either the worshipper or the prostitute. So sometimes a male worshipper would get a female, sometimes a male prostitute. So sometimes a female worshipper would get a male prostitute, sometimes a female.

          As for the verses in the Pauline corpus, my reading has convinced me that Paul is talking about heterosexual men who get it on with other heterosexual men for perverse kicks.

          Not to mention that the word “homosexuality” is never mentioned in the Bible and is itself a relatively recent linguistic development.

          And before Certain People go screaming, prove it, prove it, I, unlike some people who make assertions here without backing them up, provide you with my sources. I am certain these books are available from online retailers if you don’t want to be seen checking them out from the public library:

          Reasonable and Holy: Engaging Same-Sexuality by Tobias Stanislas Haller

          God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships
          by Matthew Vines

          Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell

          Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century by John Boswell

          Gay Unions:In the light of Scripture, Tradition and Reason. Rev. Gray Temple (Jr.)

          Gay and Christian? Yes! by Rev. William H. Carey

          Hounded by God: A Gay Man’s Journey to Self-Acceptance, Love , and Relationship, by Joseph Gentilini

          Confessions of a Gay Married Priest: A Spiritual Journey by Maurice Monette,

          Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships by James V. Brownson

        • Even better, let’s let go of the law and embrace grace. It is what Jesus died for, after all. Why waste such a priceless gift?

        • Bravo! A Catholic priest once said that the Bible is a religious text, but also an historical document, and as such, should be read and interpreted accordingly. If our society (or even a segment of our society) took every line of the bible literally, it would cause utter chaos and break a LOT of laws.

      • You are demonstrating the same kind of vapid fideism which lies behind so-called “creation science” (i.e. God said it, I believe it, that settles it.) Reason will not counter it, because the person professing it was not reasoned into their position in the first place. Similar efforts were invoked to “prove” that women were inferior to men and that laws requiring legal separation between people based on skin tone were required by God.

        The organizations I listed, as well as others, are not making moral judgements on sexual activity between people of the same sex. They are merely acknowledging that there appears to be no rational basis for calling such predilections disordered, nor is there any evidence that such predilections can be erased with some sort of beneficial treatment. If you wish to suggest that they are missing part of a larger picture, you are free to do so. Please understand though that vapid fideism is exactly the kind of thing which drives people away from the very notion of faith.

        • David Cohen, please read

          Reasonable and Holy: Engaging Same-Sexuality by Tobias Stanislas Haller

          God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships
          by Matthew Vines

          Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell

          Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century by John Boswell

          Gay Unions:In the light of Scripture, Tradition and Reason. Rev. Gray Temple (Jr.)

          Gay and Christian? Yes! by Rev. William H. Carey

          Hounded by God: A Gay Man’s Journey to Self-Acceptance, Love , and Relationship, by Joseph Gentilini

          Confessions of a Gay Married Priest: A Spiritual Journey by Maurice Monette,

          Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships by James V. Brownson

    • I am a gay man, a practicing Christian and from this gay man I can assure you, I never made this choice. I can remember even pre-adolescence, not feeling the same way about girls as the other guys did.

      I am also a social worker and have worked extensively in the LGBTQ community and the biggest issue I came across from my clients was how they were being rejected, not by just society, but by the church. Many had grown up Christian but the “biblical bashing” they would get from their churches often led them away from Christ and felt He was not a God of love, but a God of hate. What God hates and what separates us from Him is sin. If you choose to be eisogetic, in how you read the bible, then you choose to live with what is called “Respectable Sins” i.e judging others, while condemning those who you feel have “bigger sins”. Sin is sin and as I’ve previously said, sin separates us from God. As Christians, Respectable Sins seem to be coming more and more normalized while we place ourselves on this pedestal that makes our behavior (sin) acceptable.

      I appreciate David Cohen for what he has written here and the organizations mentioned. I am not mentally ill and I certainly don’t need to be cured. God molds and creates us all in His image. I thank God for who I am and that I am able to practice my faith and walk this journey with Him. Thank you David….

    • Thank you John for your message – it ministered to me so much. Your blog post was sent to me by a friend who said that they thought of me when they read it.

      I am still on a long journey of reconciling the Bible and my own sexuality. A couple of books that have helped me recently are: “God Vs. Gay?” by Jay Michaelson and “Space At The Table” written by both a father and his gay son. The father is a professor at the same Bible College and Seminary where my wife and I earned our first graduate degrees in Theology back in 1984. (It is now named “Multnomah University” in Portland, Oregon)

      I can only tell my own story.

      Raised in a loving, conservative home, I don’t remember being told that I was supposed to graduate from high school, go to college, get a job, get married, have children, and buy a beautiful home in the suburbs – yet I knew that this was what was expected of me. I found out that I had an uncle who was never mentioned in our family. There was something shameful about him and I had so many questions, but it was clear that any questions were off limits. I found out later in life that he was gay and was dishonorably discharged from the military for being gay. I met him on only two occasions – my sister’s wedding and my grandfather’s funeral. Again, he was never spoken of.

      My church taught me that homosexuality was a choice and that “these people” were abominations. I knew there was something different about me – something terribly wrong – from a very early age. I used to sit in youth group at my huge fundamental church (a mega church in Northern California with over 5,000 people in attendance each Sunday. Our Pastor was on the board of directors for Jerry Falwell’s “Moral Majority.” He spoke at our church on a couple of occasions) and hear the Youth Pastor preach on guys having lustful thoughts toward girls. I used to ask Jesus if He would give me lustful thoughts toward girls so that I wouldn’t be a secret abomination.

      My Mom used to correct me constantly for not sitting correctly, talking/walking correctly, and that I needed to lower the tone of my voice to sound more “masculine.” I loved my parents so much and wanted to be the son that they desired me to be.

      I married my high school sweetheart whom I have known since she was a sophomore. We weren’t allowed to “date” in our church, but we courted as soon as we were both in college. She asked me at one point why I didn’t hold her hand, put my arm around her, and hadn’t proposed yet, and I told her about my unwanted same sex attraction. She reminded me of how much we both loved each other, of how many miracles we had seen God do in our lives, and that we could “pray the gay away.”

      Anyway, we were married a month after she turned 19 years old. She is a professional pianist and I was a full-time Music Pastor for 21 years. We were married for 33 years, have 3 wonderful children and 4 grandchildren. She is, and will always be, my soul mate and my best friend in the world. We literally grew up together.

      For 16 years of our marriage I was involved in reparative/conversion therapy. I was one of the success stories. Until an e-mail was found on my laptop at church of a gay nature and I immediately lost my job/profession and was excommunicated from my church. I went through a year process of working with a restoration team from the church, but was never restored or welcomed back into fellowship. I reinvented myself as an elementary teacher and continue in that new career to this day.

      In 2002 I was moments away from successfully killing myself. I spent weeks in the hospital. At one point, I was transferred (in a straight jacket) to a mental hospital and placed on a four doctor hold. It was a horrible time for my wife and our 3 adolescent kids. I honestly thought that the world, and specifically my family, would be better off if I were no longer alive. It was not the selfish act that suicide is often described as – for me it was one of the most selfless things I thought that I could do for those I loved.

      I am now 57 years old – still teaching kindergarten – and have my very first boyfriend (whom my wife encouraged me to start seeing. He is also a pianist and is 18 years older than me. The three of us get together all the time and share holidays together each year. My partner and I have been together for over three and a half years now)

      One of my sons is still very involved in the church and has not wanted to have any contact with me for the past three and a half years. I feel horrible about this.

      I love the Lord. I feel like He has never stopped loving me – has heard all of my prayers over these many years – knows me intimately and still loves me with His whole heart. I have a closer relationship with Him now than ever before. I am finally able to hear Him say that I am dearly loved and am not the abomination that I thought that I was for most of my life.

      This is not a theological discourse, it is just my story.

    • I agree completely! I will only add that once I accepted who I was, the Peace which John describes enveloped me. The inner war was over and I realized that God had loved me all along my journey and kept quietly urging me to accept myself. I realized that society’s and the Church’s opinions/beliefs – not God – led me to believe that no matter how much good I did, I was doomed for hell. Once I accepted that I was Gay, my life changed for the better.

  2. John, I really admire some of the courage you’ve demonstrated I’m standing up to cultural, inauthentic Christianity. However, I disagree with you here. I’m curious, how do you deal with the new testament instruction to avoid any kind of sexual immorality, both straight and non-straight? Does your approach mean that it’s not sinful for me to have sex with anyone I want whenever I want? I’m asking genuinely—I’ve been wrestling to reconcile what the Bible says about sex and what the world says about sex.

    • The struggle of LGBTQ people is not to have sex with anyone anytime that they want, but to to be able to love who they love and to be who they know themselves to be. It is the same for heterosexual cisgender folks.
      Not recognizing that this is about love for another, which the church celebrates, is a rectifiable myopia.

    • Personally I’ve been thinking for a long time that the church ought to keep its dirty paws out of peoples’ bedrooms until it can put its own house in order. The bible can be manipulated to say anything you want it to say.

    • Sex and love are two different things, QC. All anyone asks for is to be themselves and be able to love whomever they fall in love with. Having indiscriminate sex with whomever is another situation. I would widen my understanding of life…

    • QuestionFromCleveland:
      You said: “…how do you deal with the new testament instruction to avoid any kind of sexual immorality…”
      First, you would need to actually define what constitutes “sexual immorality”. I offer this definition: Sexual immorality is any behavior that is not mutually agreed upon, that is inherently dangerous physically or mentally, that is going to lead to a trip to hospital.
      In other words, Safe/Sane/Consensual. This is how I, and many others, define sexual immorality.
      You’ll notice that I didn’t say a word about gender, sexual orientation or marriage. Marriage is a man-made ritual created to ensure the “purity” of the woman so that the man would not be supporting (using resources for) a child that was not his. And to put it bluntly, God doesn’t care if you have a wedding, if you are married or not.
      No, God doesn’t care about man-made rituals. C’mon, he is WAY beyond that. And when talking about the deity of Christianity, I prefer to talk about Jesus. “God” to me always mean Old Testament — angry, violent, jealous, vindictive. These are not attributes I would honor in a human; I’m certainly not going to choose to worship a god that has them. Jesus, on the other hand, is New Testament. His purpose was to show the world that God loves them. LOVE is the central theme in Jesus’ teachings. He replaces the 600+ laws of the Mosaic commandments with just two: Love your God and Love your neighbor. And in Matthew 25:31-46, he specifically gives six tasks for his followers; doing or failing to do these tasks is what he uses to determine who will be going into Paradise and who will be cast into eternal damnation.
      Six small tasks with enormous responsibility and every bit of effort you can make towards doing them. Guess what? Not one, not a single solitary one, says anything about sexual identity or orientation nor asks about marital status nor even if the person considers themselves to be a Christian. No, he consistently tells his followers to be like him, to do the things that he does. His six tasks are simple: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked; welcome the stranger, comfort the sick and visit those in prison.
      We understand these tasks to be a guide to living the life of someone who is following Jesus. Each task has many possible opportunities for us as we understand that each task is an allegory. Feeding the hungry may mean food, or it may mean education or offering guidance; and so on, with the others.
      Jesus IS Love. That was THE single driving force for him. And he gave it freely to ALL–even those who would persecute him. So if humans actually followed his two commandments (Love God, Love your neighbor), those tasks would be done as a natural part of that love.
      Love. Love your neighbor–by which he meant every other person on this planet, because they are ALL your neighbors. No restrictions, no refusals, no denying Love to anyone. Again, there is no sexual identity or orientation mentioned. From a purely scientific standpoint, about 10% of the population is gay/otherwise not cisgender/binary. So Jesus had 12 disciples; at least one of them, statistically, would be gay/etc. He taught thousands of people in his 3 years of ministry; hundreds would be LGBTQ+. (Free fact: this ration is also consistent across animals, birds and fish. Except for the fruit bats, where it’s 30%. So one can then surmise that homosexuality is Natural. )
      And in answer to the specific question about sex whenever with whomever: I believe that the answer to that is “yes”–as long as it meets the test of “Safe/Sane/Consensual”. But of course there are layers of that particular test; example, you have met a person who you would really like to have sex with–but they are married and to have sex with you will be a secret from their spouse. I do not agree with that because when you choose to marry, you also make some promises to each other and if fidelity is one of them, having sex outside of that relationship is wrong. On the other hand, if this married person has what we call an “open marriage”–where their spouse KNOWS that they are having sex with other/s, and AGREES to that–that’s part of the “Consensual” and it passes the test.
      From a practical standpoint, having sex with anyone you want, whenever you want…is probably not going to happen. Because what you are talking about with that kind of phrasing is … well, dangerous. “Anyone” doesn’t allow for “Safe” because you don’t know them, you don’t know if they are kind or not, if they will respect your requests/limitations/etc, and so on. I suggest that the idea of anyone/any when…is fantastic–aka, a fantasy but not something that most people would do.
      Sex is fun, no argument about that. But sex without intimacy is just (excuse the term) f**king — and if that’s the only or predominant sexual activity you’re having, you will probably not be a happy person (eventually, maybe not at the beginning times of it).
      As a practical piece of advice, I can tell you that people who are intimate with their emotions and thoughts as well as their bodies are a better choice as a sexual partner. And if this is someone you have repeated sexual encounters with, the “fun” aspect of sex can only increase as you each discover what the other likes, what really drives each other crazy, what specific positions/motions/naughty words intensifies the act. If you are only having a series of “first time”, you miss out on familiarity breeding content-ment.
      This is my opinion of the matter; I do not demand that you agree with me. In fact, I’m perfectly willing for you to disagree. BUT remember: We were created as sexual beings; it is a primary urge, as it is for every other animal on this planet. Humans are one of the few species that have sex just for fun. Jesus never said, “Do not have sexual intercourse (except for what is now the normative breeding pair).” Jesus’ love had no boundaries, no limits. Anything done with love is something done with compassion and thoughtfulness. I believe that includes sex. I also believe that we make the call on “sinful” or not; “sinful” means that your belief system has limits, has clearly defined “dos” and don’ts”. It’s up to you to make that assessment and adjust your behavior accordingly.
      Jesus is Love. Love will always win. Love should be your sole motivating guide. Make your decisions with love and you cannot go wrong. (BTW: “Love” in this context is NOT limited to romantic love. It is entirely possible to feel love for another person we do not know (well). In this context, we are talking about love in recognition of their life, their presence in the world. It means that we make our choices (including sex) with lovingkindness, with respect for ourselves, for them, and the whole world; we make those choices thoughtfully and honestly, and even beyond sex, we make them safe, sane, and consensual.)
      Peace and blessings.

      • QuestionFromCleveland ~
        You asked, “Does your approach mean that it’s not sinful for me to have sex with anyone I want whenever I want?” I’d like to suggest that this question is loaded with problems. It is never okay to have sex with anyone you want, whenever you want. Sex must be a consensual act, between two adults. If you want to have extra morals around those two necessities, that’s fine, too. This question exposes the extreme divide many Christians fabricate between Christians and non-Christians. The fact is, having “sex with anyone you want” is not a reality, even for folks who choose to have sex frequently, and “whenever you want” makes that combo even more unrealistic. Please help to stop these fabricated ideas and ways of describing folks who aren’t Christians. We really aren’t selfish monsters.

        • MamaK, you make some very good points, but it seems to me that you are trying to have your cake and eat it too when you make such a distinction between “God” (of the Old Testament) and Jesus. They are the SAME GUY!

          According to Christianity and it’s doctrine of the Trinity, God the father, son and sacred ghost are all one and the same.

          And if you really pay attention, you’ll see that Jesus, along with all the good he is said to have done, also did some rather bad things. First, he endorsed the Old Testament fully, and the OT God (which is both himself and his father). Then look at some of his comments and actions. Those were pretty strong—and straightforward—words about demanding we hate our parents and families for his sake. And what’s this about animal cruelty (and destroying someone’s livestock) when he drove “demons” into a heard of pigs. And when he got angry because a tree was out of season for fruit when he was hungry—so he cursed it. There are a number of instances like this in the NT, done by the same person that committed atrocities in the OT.

          These are just a tiny few of the reasons that I gave up Christianity. I don’t bemoan others who find Christianity to be a wonderful, soothing thing, and I just love John Pavlovitz’s extraordinary ministry—he seems so Christlike and I’m glad we have a few mitigating voices in a religion that’s often terrorizing its fundamentalist form. But I do find it amusing to see how Christians manage to rationalize what doesn’t honestly make sense. (I used to do it myself.)

          Jesus IS the God of the Old Testament—if you believe his word.

      • MamaK – These sentences together: “‘God’ to me always mean Old Testament — angry, violent, jealous, vindictive. These are not attributes I would honor in a human; I’m certainly not going to choose to worship a god that has them. Jesus, on the other hand, is New Testament. His purpose was to show the world that God loves them” are so interesting. It sounds like a classic abusive relationship. Beat up on someone, and then tell them you love them. Better yet, tell them through your son, and then kill him. I just don’t get it. But it does help me understand how so many Christians are supporting Donald Trump right now. Classic thrashing, abusive language and behavior “for the good of the country.” The Christian myth is as harmful as the Islamic myth. I wish this were more obvious to Christians; sadly, characters in stories will always believe the story – until they don’t. There are the few.

      • If you don’t mind, I will summarised your post, very poorly, for those who do not have the energy or time to read it (TL:DR version)

        Jesus said to love your God and love your neighbor. Jesus told us to feed the hungry, quench the thirsty, invite the stranger, clothe the needy, tend to the sick, and visit the prisoner. We are to love one another as Jesus did. Making sure everyone is cool and safe with what is happening and is not you then, be cool, m’kay? Mind your business.

        Please let me know if I am waaaaay off.

      • I don’t disagree with everything you say here. But there is one point in your response that stands out for me. You say that marriage is a “man-made” institution. First, I think your definition of marriage remains a bit narrow. It discounts the sacred position it in the Judeo-Christian tradition. And it certainly misses the symbolic force it definitely held for the Biblical writers. Take away the idea of marriage and we lose something of the way in which the ancient writers understood and talked about God. It’s not the only picture they use to describe the God-Human relationship, but it is a primary one.

        However, most notable is how quickly you return to a moral conditioning of the marriage relationship you deconstructed earlier in your post. Fidelity, commitment and the promise of the marriage vows clearly means something to you, something important enough to cause you to recognize it as a boundary. So marriage, by nature, appears to be “more” than just a man-made construct in your natural predisposition. There is an element of sacred in it.

        Perhaps we might disagree on how sacred it actually is, but certainly, this could be a possible place to start with considering that maybe marriage, and sex as a defining component of the full marriage relationship, might be more sacred than you are allowing it to be.

        • Dave Courtney, the witness of the Bible is that marriage is a man-made institution regarding property etc. Polygamy was practiced among Christians into the Middle Ages in Europe and is still practiced in Africa and the Middle East.

          There are eight types of marriages mentioned in the Bible:

          The standard nuclear family: Genesis 2:24 describes how a man leaves his family of origin, joins with a woman, consummates the marriage and lives as a couple. There were quite a few differences between the customs and laws of contemporary North Americans and of ancient Israelites. In ancient Israel:
          Inter-faith marriages were theoretically forbidden. However, they were sometimes formed.
          Children of inter-faith marriages were considered illegitimate.
          Marriages were generally arranged by family or friends; they did not result from a gradually evolving, loving relationship that developed during a period of courtship.
          A bride who had been presented as a virgin and who could not be proven to be one was stoned to death by the men of her village. (Deuteronomy 22:13-21) There appears to have been no similar penalty for men who engaged in consensual pre-marital sexual activity.
          Polygamous marriage: A man would leave his family of origin and join with his first wife. Then, as finances allowed, he would marry as many additional women as he desired. The new wives would join the man and his other wives in an already established household. Polygamy was practiced by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons, until the practice was suspended, a least temporarily, in the late nineteenth century. It is still practiced by separated fundamentalist Mormon groups which have left and been excommunicated from the main church.

          There are many references to polygamous marriages in the Bible:
          Lamech, in Genesis 4:19, became the first known polygynist. He had two wives.
          Subsequent men in polygamous relationships included:
          Esau with 3 wives;
          Jacob: 2;
          Ashur: 2;
          Gideon: many;
          Elkanah: 2;
          David: many;
          Solomon had 700 wives of royal birth;
          Rehaboam: 3;
          Abijah: 14.
          Jehoram, Joash, Ahab, Jeholachin and Belshazzar also had multiple wives.
          From the historical record, it is known that Herod the Great had nine wives.
          We have been unable to find references to polyandrous marriages in the Bible — unions involving one woman and more than one man. It is unlikely that many existed because of the distinctly inferior status given to women; they were often treated as property in the Hebrew Scriptures.

          Levirate Marriage: The name of this type of marriage is derived from the Latin word “levir,” which means “brother-in-law.” This involved a woman who was widowed without having borne a son. She would be required to leave her home, marry her brother-in-law, live with him, and engage in sexual relations. If there were feelings of attraction and love between the woman and her new husband, this arrangement could be quite agreeable to both. Otherwise, the woman would have to endure what was essentially serial rapes with her former brother-in-law as perpetrator. Their first-born son was considered to be sired by the deceased husband. In Genesis 38:6-10, Tamar’s husband Er was killed by God for unspecified sinful behavior. Er’s brother, Onan, was then required by custom to marry Tamar. Not wanting to have a child who would not be considered his, he engaged in an elementary (and quite unreliable) method of birth control: coitus interruptus. God appears to have given a very high priority to the levirate marriage obligation. Being very displeased with Onan’s behavior, God killed him as well. Ruth 4 reveals that a man would be required to enter into a levirate marriage not only with his late brother’s widow, but with a widow to whom he was the closest living relative.
          A man, a woman and her property — a female slave: As described in Genesis 16, Sarah and Abram were infertile. Sarah owned Hagar, a female slave who apparently had been purchased earlier in Egypt. Because Hagar was Sarah’s property, she could dispose of her as she wished. Sarah gave Hagar to Abram as a type of wife, so that Abram would have an heir. Presumably, the arrangement to marry and engage in sexual activity was done without the consent of Hagar, who had such a low status in the society of the day that she was required to submit to what she probably felt were serial rapes by Abram. Hagar conceived and bore a son, Ishmael. This type of marriage had some points of similarity to polygamous marriage, as described above. However, Hagar’s status as a human slave in a plural marriage with two free individuals makes it sufficiently different to warrant separate treatment here.
          A man, one or more wives, and some concubines: A man could keep numerous concubines, in addition to one or more wives. These women held an even lower status than a wife. As implied in Genesis 21:10, a concubine could be dismissed when no longer wanted. According to Smith’s Bible Dictionary, “A concubine would generally be either (1) a Hebrew girl bought…[from] her father; (2) a Gentile captive taken in war; (3) a foreign slave bought; or (4) a Canaanitish woman, bond or free.” They would probably be brought into an already-established household. Abraham had two concubines; Gideon: at least 1; Nahor: 1; Jacob: 1; Eliphaz: 1; Gideon: 1; Caleb: 2; Manassah: 1; Saul: 1; David: at least 10; Rehoboam: 60; Solomon: 300!; an unidentified Levite: 1; Belshazzar: more than 1.
          A male soldier and a female prisoner of war: Numbers 31:1-18 describes how the army of the ancient Israelites killed every adult Midianite male in battle. Moses then ordered the slaughter in cold blood of most of the captives, including all of the male children who numbered about 32,000. Only the lives of 32,000 women – all virgins — were spared. Some of the latter were given to the priests as slaves. Most were taken by the Israeli soldiers as captives of war. Deuteronomy 21:11-14 describes how each captive woman would shave her head, pare her nails, be left alone to mourn the loss of her families, friends, and freedom. After a full month had passed, they would be required to submit to their owners sexually, as a wife. It is conceivable that in a few cases, a love bond might have formed between the soldier and his captive(s). However, in most cases we can assume that the woman had to submit sexually against her will; that is, she was raped.
          A male rapist and his victim: Deuteronomy 22:28-29 requires that a female virgin who is not engaged to be married and who has been raped must marry her attacker, no matter what her feelings were towards the rapist. A man could become married by simply sexually attacking a woman that appealed to him, and paying his father-in-law 50 shekels of silver. There is one disadvantage of this approach: he was not allowed to subsequently divorce her.
          A male and female slave: Exodus 21:4 indicates that a slave owner could assign one of his female slaves to one of his male slaves as a wife. There is no indication that women were consulted during this type of transaction. The arrangement would probably involve rape in most cases. In the times of the Hebrew Scriptures, Israelite women who were sold into slavery by their fathers were slaves forever. Men, and women who became slaves by another route, were limited to serving as slaves for seven years. When a male slave left his owner, the marriage would normally be terminated; his wife would stay behind, with any children that she had. He could elect to stay a slave if he wished.

          • Thanks for your reply.

            It is hard to know where to begin with responding to your examples above.

            First off, I don’t think any of what you mention necessarily addresses my main point about marriage as a moral (or spiritually moral) question. I was mostly commenting on what I felt were contradicting (not necessarily intentional) values in the previous comment. Marriage is either given a moral status or it is not, and while the initial commentator deconstructed the idea of marriage (or perhaps more fairly, the “traditional” or nuclear form), when the subject was readdressed later on, there seemed to be an assumed value given to it that felt contradictory or at adds.

            In other words, if, as you suggest, there is no such thing as a singular, spiritually moral image of a marriage relationship, we have no basis for suggesting any kind of intimacy is moral (outside of the one given caveat, something done outside of the realm of consent). The original commentator I think ends up blurring that line.

            I can not tell from your comments above whether you would consider yourself a literalist when it comes to your approach to scripture. You make reference to broad cultural forms that surround a given scripture, but it also feels like you could be assuming (and this purely speculative, I recognize) that because “this” or “that” is mentioned in the Bible it says something about our ability to establish a Judeo-Christian moral.

            If this is true, I would likely push back on this.
            Your comment borrows from the example of scripture, but think it doesn’t leave room for a discussion on “how” one should approach the ancient context out of which scripture was derived and functioned. The study of scripture, of course, is a multi-faceted discipline, and simply showing that, here is the way it was in ancient Israel, doesn’t really speak to what this means for looking at it critically, specifically for one who is avoiding the trappings of literalist approaches.

            With that as a preamble (sorry, I do ramble), Lisa Cahill is one who has done a lot of work in the are of family, sex and marriage on a scholarly level. I would point to her “Family a Christian Social Pers”.

            Other great authors on modern Biblical scholarship- Peter Enns, N.T. Wright, Phillip J. King all have good things to say about how we approach scripture (as do Leslie Newbigan, Gerald Bray, Cornel West, Christopher Beely, R.T. France, Craig Keener all would be scholars I get excited about and have something to say about the multi-faceted approach to true Biblical scholarship).

            But if I could pull a few important things from all of these authors in terms of forming my own view, it would be the following:

            The ancient Israelite culture (or scripture itself) is not synonymous to the voice (or theology) of God. They “lived” in an ancient culture. They intermarried, they were full of an array of customs, systems, influences. What this does not necessarily negate is an awareness of a recognizable theology that persisted throughout the Judeo-Christian scriptures, and my personal opinion is that all of the verses you pull out above do not necessarily negate marriage as a moral and symbolic force in Ancient Israel. The same scriptures you pull from are awash with conversation about the messiness of their choices, their relationships, their systems. This is not hidden from sight either, and whether you recognize all these forms of marriages present in the Israelite culture does not hide the fact that marriage was seen as something sacred as well.

            The laws that people often quote out of the Israelite culture (and which Jesus himself spoke of) are a part of a complex, mutli layered discussion as well. They were civil laws, nation laws (and laws of a nation that understood themselves as the people of God), and they are moral laws. And all of these laws come in and out of the conversation, and a part of disciplined scholarship also must be concerned with how their understanding and experience of God speaks into this mix as well. Just to say that verses, and what they tell us about cultural practices, is a limited discussion.

            And it should be pointed out that I don’t disagree with the original commentator. There is a lot of what he has to say that I do agree with. The one thing that I was pushing back on was his ability to view marriage as a part of a moral (or godly) understanding.

            • Dave, your response is all over the place.

              I get the sense you are asking me something but there are no actual questions with question marks.

              I have no idea who you are referring to when you constantly refer to “the original commentator.”

              No, I don’t think the institution of marriage is a particularly sacred or moral one. It is a legal construct with which to deal with property and progeny. For millennia it has been used to keep women from ever being responsible for themselves because it was assumed we couldn’t.

              Many people assert that marriage has a moral and sacred aspect and I suppose that when the church blesses the union, it can then be considered a moral and sacred relationship between the couple.

              The reason I listed all those forms of marriage which are found in the Bible and in plenty of places among Christians living today is because when people want to say marriage is moral and sacred, they start off by claiming that Giod ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman even though the Bible doesn’t say that.

              Apparently St. Paul expected Christians to engage in polygamous marriages because he says that he wants a bishop to be the husband of only one wife.

              I do however believe that God’s grace can imbue a marriage when the couple allows that. I’ve known many relationships which are so blessed even though the legal construct has not been enacted between the couple.

              • Just to clear up the “original commentator”, my response above was a response to someone else’s response to the article. That is the commentator I was referring to. Hopefully that makes sense.

                I can agree with you on the reach of God’s grace.

                Sorry. I thought my response was noted enough to follow.

                If I can narrow it down, I was essentially trying to say the following.

                1. I am not a literalist when it comes to understanding the Biblical text (just so you knew where I was coming from). The way you used the Biblical text in your original response caused me to wonder if you thought I was. Not really a question, just a note.

                2. I thought your response missed the point of what I was saying. My main point was that I felt the original commentator was contradicting themselves when it came to both deconstructing marriage and than proceeding to give it a moral force.

                3. Coming to terms with “marriage” in the Bible insists on a multi faceted approach. I think it is far too simplistic to suggest that “they (Christians arguing for a traditional form of marriage) start off by claiming that God ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman even though the Bible doesn’t say that.”

                I don’t think it is necessary to suggest “God said this, therefore it is the law”. Rather, I think it is fair to say that we do find in Scripture and early Christian witness a concept of marriage that is being used to help us understand our relationship to God. And that concept of marriage, in my view and research, is centred on the idea of “one man and one woman”.

                4. Polygamy is best understood, again in my opinion and research, as a common cultural force. It is the product of existing in the world, not of the law of God. And it is an idea that we can see in scripture and the early Christian witness, rather consistently, being pushed back against and challenged. It is almost “always” presented in the light of a incomplete, fallen, or broken picture of the God-Human relationship.

                And the books I presented by good scholars and scholarship would each suggest as much.

                Hope that says it better.

                • Dave wrote “Just to clear up the “original commentator”, my response above was a response to someone else’s response to the article. That is the commentator I was referring to. Hopefully that makes sense.”

                  Nope, not to me. I still have no idea who you identify as “original commentator” and since that person’s points are so germane to your remarkes, I can’t make head or tails of your issues.

                  “The way you used the Biblical text in your original response caused me to wonder if you thought I was. Not really a question, just a note.”

                  I had no idea where you were going with your remarks except they seemed to indicate that marriage is something more than a legal construct over property and progeny.

                  “My main point was that I felt the original commentator was contradicting themselves when it came to both deconstructing marriage and than proceeding to give it a moral force.”

                  If you aren;t going to provide exact quotations of what it is you are talking about, then it is all too easy for anyone to miss your point.
                  “Rather, I think it is fair to say that we do find in Scripture and early Christian witness a concept of marriage that is being used to help us understand our relationship to God. And that concept of marriage, in my view and research, is centred on the idea of “one man and one woman”.

                  No. We don’t find that in thge Bible and I supplied you with the seven other forms of marriage found in the Bible and the witness of history that polygamy is common even today among Christians.

                  Your points about polygamy contradict the witness of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Christian Scriptures and the witness of history.

    • “Does your approach mean that it’s not sinful for me to have sex with anyone I want whenever I want?

      Does your concern troll mean that you seriously believe all gay people have sex with anyone we want whenever we want? We don’t. I’m celibate. Describe my sexual sin IN DETAIL. Or shut the hell up about “sexual immorality” and clean up your own damn house.

    • Looking at other countries like Sweden & Denmark & Netherlands where the Culture does not discriminate against LGBTQ, and Christians arent speaking against them, there still seems to be a ‘struggle’.

      Life span is shorter (especially for Lesbians), mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, anxiety, depression, STDs, AIDS, suicide, tobacco use, early-age sex, multiple sex partners, obesity & cancer rates are higher. (this is from a 30 year study of 6.5 million people.*)

      *(Of course I know that studies & statistics do not prove anything. And I also know that the numbers are getting closer together. Which is a good thing! I think the positive trend will continue. )

      NOTE: anyone interested can look up studies re this issue. there are many different perspectives.

      • There is not state-sponsored discrimination against LGBTQ people in Sweden , Denmark, and the Netherlands as there is in the US, UK, Germany, and other countries, but cultural discrimination and stigma still persist. If you are LGBTQ, your family can still reject you, even in these “Progressive” countries, and you will experience dysphoria as a consequence. Research indicates that the primary factor affecting LGBTQ young persons’ health and well being is family acceptance. Since societal structures are underpinned by the family unit, incomplete acceptance at the family level translates into incomplete acceptance at the societal level and compensatory or self-soothing behavior by the affected LGBTQ individual, unfortunately with the outcomes you’ve listed.

        We met several LGBTQ individuals and couples in Scandinavia, and though they appreciated the equanimity with which the state serves them, they all related similar stories of familial and community rejection.

        Bottom line, it is not the individual that is intriniscally infirm, as your question seems to imply, but the effects of the negative environment that that person experiences that are the causes. The statistics are far worse in the US and other less accepting societies.

        • Just a few points on your statement: “If you are LGBTQ*, your family** can still reject you, even in these “Progressive” countries, and you will experience dysphoria as a consequence***.”
          * Should read ‘non-Christian’; I’ll explain why in a moment.
          ** I will shock you with the proper Christian definition of “family”, straight out of Jesus’ own mouth, in a moment.
          *** Why should ‘gender dysphoria’ be SOLELY a consequence of ‘familial (and social) rejection’? There is clearly SOME psychological AND biological component (%ages unknown, but clearly above zero) to this as well. This is NOT as simple as you’re making it. (And you’ll see why by the end of this post.)
          —————————————————
          Back to the first note: see 2 Corinthians 6:14 in which Paul is saying that Christians are NOT to have “fellowship” with non-Christians (since, as he elaborates in verse 15, “what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?”). This lack of fellowship with unbelievers IMPLIES separation from such people. (Such ‘shunning’ seems to be carried out ONLY among some Amish groups nowadays, but should actually be more common for those who fall away from the faith. It might be good for both the one being shunned and the community at large.)
          As long as an LGBTQ person can be seen as “non-Christian” for engaging in homosexual conduct (see Leviticus 18:22; note that such conduct can be seen as a result of falling away from God per Romans 1:24, 26 – 28 ), such a familial rejection actually makes sense.

          Now to the second note: Jesus said (Matthew 23:9) that believers are NOT to “…call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you (or they) have (ONLY) one Father, and He is in heaven.” He also said (Mark 3:35) that “…whoever does the will of God is My brother and sister and mother.” in other words, the ‘Christian Family” IS NOT one’s biological family (contrary to what most ‘Christians’ will tell you). In fact, Jesus also said that if one does NOT reject his (original) biological family, he or she can NOT become a follower of His (see Mark 10:29, Luke 14:26 and Matthew 19:19)… This implies that would be Christians MUST OVERCOME the ‘familial dysphoria’ (I use the term deliberately as one might use the term ‘gender dysphoria’) they should have toward their biological family (and if necessary, reject THEM permanently) if we are to truly accept Jesus Christ (for we are to be BORN AGAIN of the Spirit– see John 3:5)!
          —————————————————
          To summarize:
          1) To be born again, WE are to reject our biological family. Those who do not HATE their biological relatives can NOT love Jesus (Like 14:26). BTW, the Fifth Commandment (“honor thy father and thy mother”– Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 5:16) is really referring to honoring GOD as your true mother (the Holy Spirit, for ‘spirit’ is a feminine noun in Hebrew) and father (as in ‘God the Father’). The real “secret” to understanding this ‘hidden truth’ comes from looking at the two tablets that Moses brought down from Mt Sinai to the Israelites: Commandments 1 – 5 refer to relationship between the believer and GOD [tablet 1], whereas commandments 6 – 10 refer to relationships BETWEEN BELIEVERS [tablet 2]. Check it out for yourself!
          2) Sexual conduct in a non- male/female dyadic (marriage-type) relationship appears to be a consequence of an improper relationship with God, and is clearly frowned upon in both the Old and New Testaments. This includes LGBTQ sexual behavior as well as being sexually involved with prostitutes. It would be better for such people to be totally celibate than to engage in such behavior (see Matthew 19:12 — since those that do “…live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven”), and to “flee sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18 – 7:1) by staying celibate.
          3) ‘Dysphoria’ (be it of one’s gender OR of one’s religious role) is actually to be ENCOURAGED, leading to a ‘born again’ experience (be it in regards to an understanding of one’s ‘proper’ gender role [static OR fluid] or of one’s role in relationship to God [which ideally should be more static than fluid]). I am NOT encouraging a “cold turkey” approach here towards people in either situation — sometimes folks need (lots of) help making that “leap of faith” to recognize their ‘proper’ gender role OR their proper religious role.

          • One problem with your way of interpreting scripture is that the Jesus Way, Truth, and Life which leads us to the Father is so radically different. His love was inclusive. His grace embraced others and helped them understand that God didn’t send him to condemn but to save.

            • So… Jesus died for our sins. But Jesus didn’t exactly stay dead, did He? So what did He actually sacrifice?

              His weekend.

              Jesus gave up His weekend for our sins.

              I think that makes sin much less important than love, so let’s work on the loving our neighbors as ourselves as God first loved us and stop worrying about who manages to find a loving partner in this world where that is hard to find.

          • Shawn Fahrer, Whenever I am confronted with homophobia, I wonder which of the following applies:

            1) Is the homophobic man afraid of being raped by a gay man even though there is no evidence that gay men go around raping straight men.

            If this is the case, it is difficult for me to garner any sympathy as we women are afraid of being raped since we are about twelve and in all of the millennia of human existence, heterosexual men have yet to cease to rape women.

            2) How deep in the closet is the homophobe? How terrified is he to admit he is gay?

            Let the light of God’s truth about you pierce the darkness that binds you and allow it to set you free.

            If we believe God doesn’t make mistakes and that God it is love and that God made humanity in God’s image, then it stands to reason that if God created someone to be homosexual, then it must have been because it delighted God to do so.

            God is love and God wants us to love our neighbors for the person it delighted God to create. We are to love all as ourselves exactly as God first loved us. When Jesus commands us to love this way, He does not have a list of exceptions, footnotes, or a list of appendices to justify denying love to someone. He commands us to love all.

      • To say that discrimination does not exist in Scandinavia or Holland is terribly naïve. It does, just not to the degree it generally does in the US. Nevertheless, your point could be made about blacks living there. Does this mean they “struggle” with their blackness? There is no question all minority groups are marginalized by mainstream society and there are resulting health impacts from it. Native Americans have some of the worst health statistics in America, yet you wouldn’t blame this on their “struggling” with thei morality of their race.

      • And yet, all three are on the list of the top LGBTQ-friendly destinations …

        “Homosexuality is broadly accepted in the Netherlands, which is still one of the most lgbt-tolerant countries in Europe. Nonetheless, there are sections of the population
        where the social acceptance is lower. The survey carried out in 2012 shows that across the piece, 4% of the Dutch population aged 16 years and older disapprove of homosexuality. The proportion who disapprove is especially high among followers of orthodox religions (people who attend a religious gathering at least once a week), at 26%. A relatively high proportion of non-Western migrants also have difficulty with homosexuality, something that is closely associated with their religion. Socioeconomic factors explain some of the differences between non-Western migrants and Dutch natives in the acceptance of homosexuality.”

        http://www.scp.nl/dsresource?objectid=54d8b43a-a916-453a-a199-d92e77eeb086

      • Leslie M is the definition of ‘concern trolling.’ Notice how LM puts all those statistics out there as if somehow being LGBTQIA is the CAUSE of these problems for LGBTQIA people. Of course, Leslie M does not actually claim that directly, which is Leslie M’s overt cowardice. That’s what makes this ‘concern trolling’ – pretending to be concerned while gaslighting, deflecting, etc.
        Yes, those statistics exist and are real, but not the way that Leslie M hatefully implies. These negative mental and physical health indicators associated with LGBTQIA are the result of SOCIETAL OPPRESSION of LGBTQIA people. They do not result from BEING LGBTQIA. This is a well-known and, over the last 15-20 years, well-studied effect known as ‘the public health effect of oppression.’ Look it up and learn – especially you, Leslie M. And see if you can find a heart in yourself somewhere.

        • Yes Cyndi, it is not just leslie m herself but her religion. She ( like I was) is a follower of a fundamentalist church.

          I have empathy for her because fundamentalist suffer from cognitive dissonance and a breakdown of reality in their minds. John Piper talked about this once when he said Calvinism is so scary and brutal a belief that he cried himself to sleep at night when he was in seminary– and almost left the faith over it.

          Fundamentalists can only see the world through the lens of their religion. Everything outside their church is painted as Satanic and the cause of all bad things. This fear makes them stay in the shelter of the church and perpetuates a fear of the outside world (even though their churches also have sins and problems being swept under the carpet)

          I say this because I was in a fundamentalist church for eight years. I am recovering from the trauma caused by the mental and spiritual abuse I experienced at that church.

      • I am blown away – STD, AIDs really? Because in Africa AIDs and STDs are primary a Hetrosexual diseases. So how is your privilege working out for you?

    • QuestionFromCleveland ~
      You asked, “Does your approach mean that it’s not sinful for me to have sex with anyone I want whenever I want?” I’d like to suggest that this question is loaded with problems. It is never okay to have sex with anyone you want, whenever you want. Sex must be a consensual act, between two adults. If you want to have extra morals around those two necessities, that’s fine, too. This question exposes the extreme divide many Christians fabricate between Christians and non-Christians. The fact is, having “sex with anyone you want” is not a reality, even for folks who choose to have sex frequently, and “whenever you want” makes that combo even more unrealistic. Please help to stop these fabricated ideas and ways of describing folks who aren’t Christians. We really aren’t selfish monsters.

    • Show me one place in the Bible where Jesus says it is OK to harrass, discriminate against and hate LGBTQ people. Where in the Bible does Jesus even mention Homosexuality? NOWHERE!

    • Cleveland. John does not respond to posts on his blog in most cases, so you will probably get no answer. Your question sounds like a typical fundie set-up question to me. Why not jut say what you think?

    • This is a very good question. I believe one of the biggest sins, we as a Christian group have committed against others is to somehow make homosexuality a BIGGER sin than others. Sin is all the same in that it separates us from God. I sin daily, but I believe it is my heart and my desire to live for Christ that God considers.

    • You are assuming the Bible is clear about sex and sexual immorality, which it is not. You may be assuming that all of the books of the Bible, and all of the writers and characters, are equal, which they are not. Many Christians seem to think our church’s current understanding of the morality of sex has been set exactly like it is for thousands of years when that is clearly not the case.

      What Jesus was clear on is in the Sermon of the Mount. The Messiah himself has given his followers the primary mandate in this sermon. I don’t see the Sermon on the Mount specifically speak out against people being homosexual or those in a same-sex committed relationship, in practical marriage in all but name.

      Today’s clear brick wall dividing heterosexuals and homosexuals, apparently in Roman and Greek worlds, didn’t really exist as it does today so the laser focus on two same-sex people in a committed relationship is dishonest of the church to propagate. Throwing people out of families and churches for simply being a homosexual, having done no sexual sin, this the most anti-Christian thing people can do.

      We are created by the same G-d you were. We are not mistakes. We are not born abominations. We do not chose this. It is not “against nature” since many other mammal species have homosexuality persist in their lines. Stop “struggling” with clobber quotes of the Bible, taken out of context of the time, and realize that many churches are justifying their prejudice, and pulling in more money with this prejudice against LGBTQ people, with the Bible like they did for opposing interracial marriage, or support white supremacy, or supporting slavery.

      • The Church’s teaching regarding sexual morality has been constant. It has always been and always will be the teaching of the Church that premarital sex is a sin, masturbation is a sin, abortion is a grave injustice and a sin, adultery is a sin, men having sex with each other is a sin, lust is a sin, etc. etc. etc.

        • Prove it. Solomon had how many wives and how many concubines? His affair with the Queen of Sheba is well-documented. Jesus healed the centurion’s lover without any comment except to praise the centurion’s faith.

          Because a very large number of gay people have been canonized as saints. The church blessed same-sex relationships.

          All this is documented in books I recommended to you that you chose to spurn.

          John, “Joe Catholic” is he of the Many Aliases who has stolen my identity more than once, doxed me, stalked me. He has written filth to this blog.

          I hope you have gotten him to agree to appropriate behavior

          • Solomon’s sin is presented as a sin, and the 2,000 year old Catholic Church does not deny that is is a sin and neither has she changed her position regarding the other sexual sins I previously listed.

            The Catholic Church does not and never has and never will perform for same-sex marriages. The Catholic Church has not and never will condone any form of sexual contact outside of a legitimate marriage. The Catholic Church has been constant in it’s opposition to the use of contraception and in the grave injustice of abortion.

            I don’t know if there are any canonized saints who had a same-sex attraction, but if there were, they certainly did not have lovers or at least at some point they turned away from that and remained chaste and became saintly, otherwise they would not have been canonized.

            The Catholic Church does not “bless” same-sex relationships. The Catholic Church calls all Catholics who have a same-sex attraction to be celibate.

            If you want to have a civil conversation with me, please be respectful going forward and please cease making your false accusations. I am posting with permission. If you don’t want me to respond to your posts, then please don’t respond to mine.

            • Here’s the problem:

              To many people, the idea of canonized saints is fairly unbiblical.
              So is praying to Mary.
              So is praying to individual saints.
              So is the infallibility and function of the Pope.
              So is needing to confess to priests.
              So is forbidding ministers to marry.

              These things are all the product of a tradition and up for debate. They aren’t inarguable decrees from God. I grew-up in the Catholic faith and there is much about it that it beautiful, but I know enough about it not to deify the religion itself. The Catholic Church is not God. It’s gotten a lot wrong.

              You should really stop and consider whether you really want to talk about The Bible as if being Catholic somehow makes someone else’s perspective invalid.

              • Mr. Pavlovitz, I am wondering what your point was for the above post. Was someone arguing Biblical points? I thought this was the place where we are free to express our own path towards God. Isn’t the whole point supposed to be freedom of religion for everyone, not just a few. Shouldn’t each person’s faith or beliefs be of equal value? I though that is what we are standing up for.

                You have said everyone is welcome here. You have said to me when speaking of comments/tactics by people on all sides that “unless they are or specifically targeting people, I usually leave them up.” So are there exceptions to those statements? Is it up to the person accused to prove innocence here? What exactly is your definition of “targeting” people? It is your blog and you set the rules. I am just trying to understand them.

                I have trouble with gray areas. I try to take people at their word. When I speak out against , let us say Trump, I try to stick to things I have actually seen or heard him say. Words are important to me, they mean something to me.

                • Joanne, I got from the statement, and correct me if I total screw this up, John, but these actions in the Roman Catholic Church are not directly Biblical and are from Tradition. A lot of Catholics don’t understand that. I believe their positions on birth control, abortion, women in leadership, and anti-LGBTQ bias is more traditional than based anything in the Gospel.

                  Gloriamarie can better state how the Roman Catholic Church became more anti-LGBTQ during the years. She has forgotten far more on the subject than I will ever know.

                  • Robin, the whole time I was a practicing Catholic no one ever mentioned homosexuality. It was not discussed by my parents. I am old and I know I forget things so I asked my friend who also attended Catechism classes through High School. I also attended Catechism classes with my children.

                    We were taught humility, prayers and to follow the 10 Commandments. Therefore, I feel lucky I had no prejudices to follow me through adulthood. When I finally met a co-worker in the late 60’s who was gay, I didn’t understand why he felt he had to pretend to be something other than he was.

                    We became good friends and spent time together outside of work. He is gone now but even my children remember him fondly from his visits to our home. His life was filed with so many highs and even more lows. He did not deserve the lows.

                    I believe there are more than 2 reasons people are homophobic. Some are just repeating the dogma of their church which is part of their faith. Others have been raised by hearing disparaging things about people they will never even try to understand. It is wrong, unfair and sad in so many ways.

                    In my time women “knew their place”. I grew up thinking I would marry, have children and live happily ever after. That is not how it turned out.

                    Many of us know what it is like to feel “lesser than” just not to the same degree. When I look back at my life, the crosses I thought were so heavy are but toothpicks compared to others.

                    I will always stand up for those I feel unjustly wronged. I am truly sorry for all the undeserved pain you and others have received in your life. I will always pray for humankind to actually be kind.

                    I hope your day today is a good one.

                    Peace, happiness, and rock and roll Robin

                  • Robin, what is ironic is that just as the RCC became increasingly homophobic, it is also true that for centuries, gay men were ordained into the priesthood because, since they could not serve God through marriage, they did so as priests, regardless of whether they had the vocation to do so.

                    A celibate priesthood is a relatively modern thing. For most of the church’s history, priests were allow to marry. It was only as recent as the 13th century that the RCC imposed celibacy upon all priests.

                    I have an annotated bibliography on homosexuality. PM me on Facebook with your email address and I will send it to anyone who requests it.

                    • I will later Gloriamarie. Unfortunately the one that needs to read it most had closed his mind to anything that might endanger the integrity his views.

                      Also, unfortunately, I must deal with the RCC as it is today, meaning I won’t go back.

                  • The Catholic Church is not “anti-LGBT.” The Catholic Church is for all people for all time. The Catholic Church is anti-sin.

                    The New Testament came from within the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church did just fine for three centuries without it. The Bible is part of Catholic Tradition.

                    These things you call “tradition” were not man-made add-ons. They have been there from the beginning. They seem to be added on probably because of the schism created by Luther and Protestants being denied the rich tradition and teaching authority of the Catholic Church.

                    Remember that Jesus told the Apostles the Holy Spirit would “teach them all things” yet Christ did and said no many things that there was not enough room in the scriptures or all the books in the world to contain it all, and their knowledge was passed down through sacred Tradition as well as through the scriptures.

                    Tell me why you even accept the Bible as an authority. Tell me why it makes sense to you that there are 20,000 Protestant denominations (all of them relatively new) yet one Catholic Church that has been here since the beginning and which has maintained her doctrine and apostolic succession. There is an unbroken line of popes and bishops going all the way back to Peter and the Apostles.

                    Do you reject the Catholic Church based on sound reasoning, or because the Church forbids doing things you want to do?

              • By saying “UNbiblical” do you mean CONTRARY to the Bible or do you mean not clearly stated in the Bible?

                The Catholic Church is not “sola sciptura” but neither does it contradict the scriptures. In fact, the scriptures point to the Catholic Church and her authority. The Bible belongs in the Catholic Church. You have the New Testament courtesy of the Catholic Church.

                The Catholic Church (and Catholics) not only should be talking about the Bible, but have the authority and obligation to talk about it because it is our book.

                “Praying to Mary” is no different than asking a friend to pray for us, except that she as the Mother of God is the greatest of saints and Christians. We pray to her as an intercessor and not as to God. Who better to ask to pray for us than the Mother of God? (Though of course we pray to God the Father, to Christ, and to the Holy Spirit too).

                I won’t fill a post with a lengthy copy and paste, but this is one of many resources explaining how the Bible affirms Peter as the first Pope and that the Pope and Bishops today are their rightful successors:
                http://lifeteen.com/blog/why-do-we-need-a-pope/

                But the Catholic Church was not built on the New Testament. The Catholic Church birthed the New Testament.

                Yes I really do want to talk about the Bible. I go to Church every Sunday and often daily, and hear it read to me each time, besides my own personal reading. Why would I be unqualified to talk about it? (Though I by no means claim to be an expert or scholar. I’m just an “average joe”).

                Why do you accept the 66 books of the Bible anyway? Why do you reject the books of Tobit and Wisdom among others which are in the Catholic Bible and not in Protestant Bibles? The point of this question is that you see the Bible as an authority, but by what authority can you claim the Bible is inspired and which books belong and which don’t?

                Lastly, isn’t it just common sense that God would not leave us without any guidance and that instead each of us would be our own authority or “pope” interpreting the Bible as we see fit (or as we would like things to be)? We were not meant to to have the confusion of thousands of different Christian Churches teaching different and sometimes contradicting doctrines.

                • You keep repeating “not Solo Scriptura” as a defense against things that clearly are inventions of a tradition. There’s nothing wrong with the if you enjoy them, but they’re not any more authoritative than anything else.

                  • I knew I should have waited to read all the comments because you do so much better and yet I suspect you can read my mind. My lesson for the day is wait before commenting. Peace and Love,

                • Joe, this was not an attack on your beloved church. John is simply stating what I have known about my church, the Roman Catholic Church. None of these things are directly from the Gospel or New Testament. Even the founding of the Roman Catholic Church fits this.

                  It is not to say these things are wrong but many other Christian Churches do function quite well without these things.

                  • Thank you for the voice of reason. I can attest that other churches have survived quite will without them. I do think that Joe in truth does not accept other churches. I suspect that he sees them as the fallen. I think that is the part that drives me crazy, I am happy that he has found something that speaks to him but he can’t be happy that the rest of us have found something different that speaks to our spirit. In his comments he makes it quite clear that he alone is right and the rest of us are wrong and lost. My take, Peace and Love,

                    • You have my permission to ask me what I believe. You don’t have my permission to speak for me, but there’s not much I can do about that.

                      I do not think other Christian churches are “fallen.” I do believe that the Catholic Church has the fullness of Christianity and that the other Christian churches are missing some things besides having added some errors.

                      Christ built his Church upon a rock and said nothing about churchES.

                      However, we as Catholics see other Christians as brothers and sisters in the faith and appreciate the very important common beliefs we embrace.

                      But if someone is going to tell me that Catholic beliefs are not “biblical,” then I will state why I believe it is, and that might involve discussing what I believe are errors in other Christian churches. Nobody is too shy to tell me that it’s not biblical to pray to Mary or confess to a priest, and I don’t expect them to be, and likewise I expect in a forum where different ideas may be expressed, that I may express my ideas as facts as well.

                    • Lastly but not leastly, it’s my hope that others might read my comments and investigate the Catholic Church for themselves. I’m sharing my faith so that others might enjoy the same benefits that I have.

              • Mr. Pavlovitz, the more I thought about this post the more upsetting this is. Did you mean to slap 1 Catholic or ALL Catholics. You took me right back to when John Kennedy was running for President. Back then the religious right were not called evangelicals – they were white protestants. They used those same things in their rhetoric to persuade people not to vote for him. They said they didn’t want the Pope in the government. Kennedy won and never brought the Pope into the government.

                Now those same people are called evangelicals and they are in BED with the Republicans. They have made overtures – pretending abortion, birth control, etc. pulls these religions together. But I will wager that when push comes to shove Catholics, Mormons, etc.(anyone not them) will all be thrown under the bus because their God is the only one.

                My large extended family are Catholics. Many are Democrats. Other Catholics have posted here.

                You told me that I showed a potential bias that I may want to reconsider. I
                probably have many biases but I know one is when I see injustice.

                From your words, I don’t think I am the only one with a bias.

                • Actually Joanne, John Pavlovitz is correct. I’m a former Roman Catholic I should know. There is nothing in the Gospel or New Testament, the foundation of Christianity, that supports praying to Mary, praying to the saints, the need for a Pope, or even an organized church, nor confession to a Priest in the Roman Catholic Church. It doesn’t automatically make it wrong, and it is not a slam on the Roman Catholic Church, but, again, these are not directly supported by the Gospel nor New Testament. Many other churches do fine without them.

                  • Robin, I reread my comments and I do not see the words about anyone being wrong. That was not the point I was trying to make.

                    As I stated it was the same points used by the religious right to convince voters to vote against JFK. I hadn’t heard anyone makes those references since the 1960’s until I read John’s words. Back then those words were used as arrows against a man’s religion and ability to be President of the people.

                    Nowadays, it is usual to hear people equate priests with pedophilia just like in 2008 when California passed Prop 8. The Mormon church spent a lot of money to pass that bill here in California. Somehow being gay was linked to being a pedophile and people believed it. It affected many lives especially teachers and others who worked with children.

                    Thank goodness sanity prevailed and most people understand the difference.

                    I also grew up as a Catholic. I was a practicing Catholic over half my life. I still believe in the same God I learned about in Catechism. The Church did not fail me. I feel some of the powerful men in the church failed their followers and some continue to do so. God did not fail them.

                    I respect other people’s faith. I just expect the same in return. All churches have their scandals because they are made up of humans. I respect those whose belief is to have no belief.

                    Peace Robin

                  • Some of these things are directly supported by scriptures, others indirectly.

                    The greatest point of contention that has been overlooked is the Holy Eucharist and that when Jesus said “you must eat my flesh and drink my blood,” that he meant that literally, and that when he commanded the Apostles to “do this in memory of me,” that when they and their successors pronounced the words of consecration “This is my body…” etc. that it became the actual Body of Christ.

                    There is much to support this concept in the Scriptures including from Paul.

                    I believe that Christ meant what he said, and once this is believed, everything else falls into place.

                    If you’re interested in this from a biblical and Catholic perspective, please see this article:
                    https://www.catholic.com/tract/christ-in-the-eucharist

                  • Robin, from where did the New Testament come and why do you see it as an authority?

                    How could it have been the foundation of Christianity when it the individual books were not written until many years after Christ’s death, and the New Testament not in use for at least two centuries?

                    I disagree that the other churches “do just fine” without all that Christ intended for the Church. Is it “just fine” that they can’t agree regarding important aspects of doctrine or that they have no Apostolic Succession or the Real Presence of Christ in Holy Communion?

                    Whatever good the other Christian churches had is based on aspects of Catholicism. The New Testament came from within the Catholic Church.

                    But since you think beliefs must be proven by the Bible, please demonstrate that progressive church doctrine regarding the right to abort is “biblical.”

                    • You need to see “life” as bigger than this issue Joe. It’s undermining your entire argument when you ignore the Bible when it flies in the face of your faith tradition.

                    • “and the New Testament not in use for at least two centuries?”

                      This is not supported by the evidence of Church History. ***All*** of the documents that we call the New Testament were in use as soon as they were written and being copied and distributed all over the Mediterranean Basin and into Ireland and Britain to the west, Odessa and points east.

                      Please read The Formation of the Christian Bible for details.

                      “Is it “just fine” that they can’t agree regarding important aspects of doctrine or that they have no Apostolic Succession or the Real Presence of Christ in Holy Communion?”

                      First of all the only churches whoch do not acknowledge apostolic succession and Real Presence are those of the Anabaptist movement, evangelicals, and fundamentalists.

                      All other churches such as the EO, RCC, OC, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Methodists all hold to Apostolic Succession and Real Presence.

                • Hey Joanne this is a tricky area to navigate when people’s faith is all wrapped up in their denomination for sure.

                  The Catholic church is the church that grew out of the New Testament church and is actually itself split into two major bodies– Eastern Orthodox headed up by a Pope like leader, The Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew and the Roman Catholic church headed by Pope Francis. They worship in slightly different ways. Not all catholics pray to Mary or the saints, although they do look to them and make icons of them– and many catholics want to see reform in the church about the issues that John brought up in his comment.

                  The scandals of sexual immorality of priests and corruption of wealth and power has been a huge problem in the catholic church and calls in to question their traditions and authority about topics such as sexual immorality. At least this is what I think and because of those crimes committed by priests and allowed to go on people are more are of how religion can be corrupted.

                  The Catholic church is a massive complicated body of believers with many organized groups within it ( for example Jesuits, Opus Dei …) and many different perspectives (for example conservative, liberal) so any critics of the catholic church is not a critic of one of it’s believer because in addition to the corruption in the catholic church there are the faithful.

                  • correction

                    and because of those crimes committed by priests were allowed to go on people are more aware of how religion can be corrupt.

                    • Beamer, I agree that we can find corruption in any religion because mankind has done awful things using the name of God – even killing.

                      As I have said before the only thing I am an authority on is my own life.
                      I see things through the eyes of my life as that has been my only compass.

                      The words John spoke regarding Catholics I interpreted as only certain people are allowed to speak to the Bible. If I took it wrong that is on me. The only other reference I had to those words were connected to campaign against JFK’s bid for the Presidency.

                      My personal opinion is that every war of dueling Bible verses soon becomes tedious and pointless. But I am obviously not a Bible scholar.

                      My personal opinion is that if I want my views acknowledged and allowed I should extend the same behavior to those who I disagree with. I have learned many things here. I also acknowledge that no one here has changed anyone else’s heart. I see this blog as a place to exchange views.

                      I see a lot of anger, pain, and vitriol on both sides and it saddens me so much that I try to step back often before I let it overwhelm who I am. Of course I blame Trump and the wealthy and powerful. Ha

                      I try to look for something good in everyone because I feel that is what God wants me to do. I feel I have been blessed for that effort by finding a good and rewarding connection to someone new.

                      l am no longer a practicing Catholic because of my differing views on women’s issues, LGBTQ issues, divorce/annulment and what I have seen over the decades as a disturbing lack of humility by the powerful men of the Church.

                      All the above is between me and the God I believe in. I also see those traits I disagree with in other organized religions, government and many, many other places. I am not God so I have no right to judge.

                      But, I do feel I have the right to speak up if I see what I feel as unjust behavior. No one is expected to agree with me.

                      Peace Beamer

                    • Joanne, thanks for clarifying. I like that you are fair-minded we need that in this cynical world.

                      The whole process of dialogue will involve people having their toes stepped on, of misunderstandings being aired and at some point we will arrive at an understanding in which we will either be edified and changed or stubbornly persist in our old habits of thinking and behaving.

                      One thing I disagree with is the idea that no one can influence another. My understanding of the very purpose– of Jesus– is to influence us of God’s love for and mercy towards humanity. If the catholic church is failing in this they need to know about it and in addition we need to know if we are failing to do the same.

                      I am glad you have the courage to speak up.

                      Peace to you as well !

                    • Beamer, I agree that there are many people who can change hearts, I just haven’t seen anyone here admit to a change of heart. I don’t read every post so maybe I missed it.

                      My father was very disappointed in me – to the point of tears – because I didn’t want to be a teacher. He thought that was a perfect career for a woman. I could not imagine me keeping a classroom of children awake let alone impart knowledge to them. Maybe I was projecting my insecurities about changing other’s hearts.

                      Recently a friend who is very religious and very involved in her church told me that the granddaughter who she and her husband raised and who was now in college had a friend who was gay. She said that she now had to change her thinking about homosexuality. I won’t tell you what I thought but I did praise her granddaughter for actually living the words of being open to love others as we love ourselves.

                      I know it is baby steps but I bet there have been a lot of children and grandchildren out there who have changed hearts.

                    • Joanne– thanks for telling me about that. I wish I had the words to tell you that you don’t have to be a teacher to influence people. Just being yourself, kind, fair minded and good has an impact. Some people keep others form going over the edge. We all need a change in direction sometimes 🙂 Perhaps this topic is more complex than the comment section has room for and you got me thinking more about it.

                      One thing that happened to me on a blog (not this one) was a gay man changed my mind about same sex marriage. Although, I am gay I used to think marriage, according to the Bible, was only between a man and a woman and I was supposed to be obedient to that– even though I I thought it was unfair because of who I am. But, he was able to, with long-suffering and kindness, have a dialogue with me that changed my mind completely. So I came to this blog already having gone through that process.

                      I think it was a change of heart because I was aloof and detached from the issue thinking of it only in terms of law. Oftentimes I witnessed anti-gay and ex-gay christians who are against same sex marriage as cold, distant, close minded and even cruel to LGBT people. I have seen it behind closed doors. I came to an understanding I was hanging on to a belief based on fear and loathing of myself and people like me.

                      I think some things are worth changing our minds about and some things we should not changed about ourselves either.

                      Thanks for sharing, Joanne, your thoughts and voice are important to me.

                    • Beamer, I am so happy you have opened your heart and gave yourself permission to make a commitment that is between you and another. God is all about love. I wish you the best always.

                      I chose to be a bookkeeper – just me, numbers and “keeping things in balance”. Ha I think humans are at their best when they are true to who they are.

                      Peace Beamer

            • “If you want to have a civil conversation with me, please be respectful going forward and please cease making your false accusations.”

              Ummm… several people have caught you posting under several names. Several people have called you out for stealing my identity, doxing me, making fun of my name, stalking me and trolling me. So please, don’t be disingenuous.

              The very least you could do, if you really want a courteous discussion is to apologize for the way you have treated me and promise not to do it again. Please take responsibility for your behavior otherwise several of us will continue to out you.

              I note that Solomen’s sin did not prevent him from making a significant contribution to the Hebrew Scriptures or from being granted the gift of wisdom as he requested.

              Please stop mentioning the Catholic Church as if it has existed since the Year Dot. The Roman Catholic Church has only existed since 1054 when the Bishop of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople mutually and unedifyingly excommunicated each other.

              You also misquote me in an attempt to set me up as a straw man. I did not say “does,” I said that the church did bless same-sex unions and I referred to the books that discuss this in a previous comment some time ago which you summarily dismissed.

              However, here they are again, tracing the history of same-sex unions in Europe and the in the church.

              Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe
              by John Boswell
              Both highly praised and intensely controversial, this brilliant book produces dramatic evidence that at one time the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches not only sanctioned unions between partners of the same sex, but sanctified them–in ceremonies strikingly similar to heterosexual marriage ceremonies.

              Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century
              by John Boswell
              John Boswell’s National Book Award–winning study of the history of attitudes toward homosexuality in the early Christian West was a groundbreaking work that challenged preconceptions about the Church’s past relationship to its gay members—among them priests, bishops, and even saints—when it was first published thirty-five years ago. The historical breadth of Boswell’s research (from the Greeks to Aquinas) and the variety of sources consulted make this one of the most extensive treatments of any single aspect of Western social history.

              Now in this thirty-fifth anniversary edition with a new foreword by leading queer and religious studies scholar Mark D. Jordan, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality is still fiercely relevant. This landmark book helped form the disciplines of gay and gender studies, and it continues to illuminate the origins and operations of intolerance as a social force.

            • Disingenuous, Joe. Solomon’s sin was marriage of a non-Jewish women, not his many wives that were Jewish. If G-d intended for marriage to be “one man and one woman only” he sure turned a blind eye in this regard and also in the case of Jacob, Gideon, and David, among others.

              Don’t forget the marriage of Abraham to Hagar, Sarah’s slave, as a second wife.

              Also what did you think happened to women who were POWs of the Israelites?

              Even in more recent times European Kings were allowed to marry multiple wives, at least in Beowulf’s time. I don’t know when that changed but Gloriamarie should know.

              Also any same sex lovers of gay Saints will likely not be recorded as such, but I do know that saints were not clones of Christ, pure and 100% holy. They were people just like us, messy and sinful. What made them saints are their dedication to their faith through sacrifice.

              I’m sorry that this doesn’t fit your mindset, but remember it is the powerful and the foolish who refuse to alter their views to fit that facts and instead insist on altering the facts to fit their views. Unfortunately many of us in this forum are deemed to be facts that need altering, which is an uncomfortable position to be in.

  3. Your words are comforting, loving and affirming. I dream that one day everyone will see that love is love is love is love.

    Countless thank you’s.

  4. I say Thank you for my friends and family members who have struggled with the issue of Christian condemnation and rewriting what a Christian believes their struggle is. Having had heart to hearts with them this is spot on, so continue your insightful posting, we can all learn from it, whatever our sexual attraction is if, and this is the biggee if we have ears to hear and an open heart. Peace and Love,

  5. My Christian, gay, aged, on and on, self struggled to get out of bed this morning.

    This ” great cloud of (hateful) witnesses”, that I’ll surely interact with today, needs to get off my head and go elsewhere.

    Don’t rain on my Love parade today. Oh, okaaaaaaay, I’ll love you too. Ha! It was a struggle but I got my praise on! 👍

  6. No Matter How you size this up.
    Justify this issue
    Comfort others for what they do.
    It is extremely critical that you and others do NOT mislead others in your views
    The Bible is clear
    Friendship is one thing
    Love for others is one thing
    Lust, Passion, sexual behavior with the same sex is forbidden by God the Maker ,
    God will Have NO sin before him.
    LUST is NOT Love
    I have many very close friends who i am extremely attracted to , because we have a close relationship.
    NOT sex, NOT lust, NOT physical
    Just Great Relating
    MY comfort is in Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit which comforts me.
    God is Just
    He , God , will Judge Rebellion
    Sex with the same sex is Forbidden by God.
    Sex with animals is Forbidden by God
    Sex out of a relationship of commitment is Forbidden by God
    Sex From Lust is forbidden by God
    YOU an all who support this other side of the Wrong Fence will be Judged By God.
    This is not My Will , NOT my view
    It is Written in the past historical records of time.
    and the Bible.
    Do what you will , But Dont Blame God for YOUR Actions or Consequences
    Fear God and Repent, Turn From ungodly Lust ,
    Passions of Flesh

      • John, your question presuppose a neutral state from which you choose to be gay, straight, transgender, bisexual, a fornicator, an adulterer, etc. The question doesn’t align with reality. God made us male and female and designed us for heterosexual activity within the bounds of marriage (Genesis 2:18–25).

        I did not choose to be straight; God made me straight. All people are born within the male and female order of creation. If I choose any other possibility (e.g., LGBTQ, an adulterer, a fornicator, etc.), I am choosing a perversion of God’s good design.

        I am willingly choosing to act on sexual desires that God has called sinful rather than embracing what God has commanded. So, in summary, What we decide to do sexually is a choice. And since men and women are naturally sexual compliments, that makes homosexuality an aberration. It is God who sets the moral standards for human sexuality, not mankind.

        • Alas, it isn’t so tidy. God made, and still makes, more than just two types of humans. Consider those born intersex. Somewhere around 0.5% of the population is born this way. We used to, and still do in many areas, perform surgery on those infants based on the size and shape of their genitalia to “make them” male or female. God didn’t tell us to do that…we do that.
          Differences in the area of the brain that determines gender identity (yes, there appears to be one) show that that of a transgender woman (i.e, a person whose affirmed gender is female) is identical to that of a cisgender woman. The list goes on. God created us on a spectrum, a messy, non binary, gloriously diverse creation for us to celebrate.
          And what do we do with it? Truncate it, edit it, repaint it, fit it in to a box of our own design because it’s easier that way. And in the process make God in our own image, for our own purposes.
          God is far more clever than we. Perhaps a little humility, wonder, and celebration is in order.

          • What they fail to recognize is that God is so much bigger than anything our tiny human brains can imagine. So they make God so much smaller than he/she is. Peace,

        • From my observation and understanding God did not command the moral standards for sexuality people did. How did you explain “God” going along with Davids standards, and saying nothing about Abraham and Sarah ‘s standards or Solomon, or Samson ect…. Any explanation would be an apologetic gymnastics of epic performance.

          The truth is much more simple– love God with all your heart mind and soul and love your neighbour as yourself even unbelievers realize this.

        • Laralyn, no one chhoses to be homosexual. Why would they when there are too many abusive people liek you in the world? Why would they when they are being murdered?

          Also, there is the issue that we now know that sexual preference is formed in utereo which proves my point that God chooses to create people as homosexual and clearly God is delighted to do so.

          Homosexuality May Start in the Womb
          By Elizabeth NortonDec. 11, 2012 , 4:45 PM
          From a strictly Darwinian viewpoint, homosexuality shouldn’t still be around. It isn’t the best way to pass along one’s genes, and to complicate the picture further, no “gay genes” have even been identified. According to a newly released hypothesis, the explanation may not lie in DNA itself. Instead, as an embryo develops, sex-related genes are turned on and off in response to fluctuating levels of hormones in the womb, produced by both mother and child. This tug of war benefits the unborn child, keeping male or female development on a steady course even amid spikes in hormones. But if these so-called epigenetic changes persist once the child is born and has children of its own, some of those offspring may be homosexual, the study proposes.

          Evolutionary geneticist William Rice of the University of California, Santa Barbara, felt there had to be a reason why homosexuality didn’t just fade away down the generations. Research estimates that about 8% of the population is gay, and homosexuality is known to run in families. If one of a set of identical twins is gay, there’s a 20% probability that the other will be, too.

          Furthermore, Rice notes, “homosexuality isn’t just a human thing.” Among California gulls, which he watches from his office window, about 14% of pairs are female-female. In Australian black swans, some 6% of pairs are male-male, and 8% of male sheep are attracted exclusively to male partners.

          But many genetic screens have failed to turn up genes that are responsible for sexual orientation. So to find out what makes homosexuality persist, Rice and colleagues began a comprehensive survey of the literature.

          According to conventional wisdom, an embryo becomes a boy when a gene on the Y chromosome triggers the development of testes, which then begin to produce male sex hormones, including testosterone, at about the 8th week of gestation. With no Y chromosome and hence no testosterone, the embryo becomes a girl.

          But testosterone doesn’t explain everything, the researchers found. For one thing, female fetuses are exposed to small amounts of the hormone from their adrenal glands, the placenta, and the mother’s endocrine system. At many key points of gestation, male and female fetuses are often exposed to similar amounts of testosterone. Levels of the hormone can even be higher than normal in females and lower than normal in males without any effect on genital or brain structure.

          The remainder of this article may be read here: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2012/12/homosexuality-may-start-womb

          • Sexual Orientation is Developed in the Womb
            Posted on September 4, 2012 by apeene
            It all begins here.Despite societal discrimination and religious persecution, homosexuality and bi-sexuality, like heterosexuality, are inborn traits that cannot be changed and are not a choice. Attempted suppression does not work. It always pushes through. Human sexuality is very complex. It is not simply one moment or one single dividing cell, that affects one’s sexuality but a series of changes and combinations of androgens released prenatally at specific times (or not) which establish a person’s sexual orientation.

            Many years ago it was believed by some that sexual orientation could be changed or molded based on training and conditioning a child to identify as a male or female, and that they would then be attracted to the opposite gender. However, this has been proven to be false.

            Brian S. Mustanski, reports on a case study in, A Critical Review Of Recent Biological Research On Human Sexual Orientation. In 36 boys surgically made into girls due to injury or malformed penis, only one patient maintained a female identity and reported sexual attraction toward males. Although these patients had sex reassignment surgery at birth, [including female hormone treatment throughout their lives, being influenced as girls and raised as girls], the sexual attraction toward females seems to have been determined from male typical hormone levels en utero. Prenatal androgen activity, or absence of the activity, is extremely indicative that sexual orientation comes from prenatal neurohormonal effects (Mustanksi).

            The remainder of this article, including bibliography may be read here:

            https://evolequals.com/2012/09/04/sexual-orientation-is-developed-in-the-womb/

          • Gloriamarie, I’ve heard just about every argument that people make for why people are homosexual. The simple truth is no one is born a homosexual. Just last year, the very respected medical center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, conducted a serious study to answer that very question, and they came away with no scientific or biological answers, to no one surprise.

            http://www.christianpost.com/news/no-scientific-evidence-that-people-are-born-gay-or-transgender-johns-hopkins-researchers-say-168263/
            People are not born gay. They’re born Male or Female. In short, all human beings are born fallen sinners, and have the capacity to sin in a myriad of ways, and that includes sexually as well.

            As stated by gay activist and history professor John D’Emilio, “‘Born gay’ is an idea with a large constituency, LGBT and otherwise. It’s an idea designed to allay the ingrained fears of a homophobic society and the internalized fears of gays, lesbians and bisexuals. What’s most amazing to me about the ‘born gay’ phenomenon is that the scientific evidence for it is thin as a reed, yet it doesn’t matter. It’s an idea with such social utility that one doesn’t need much evidence in order to make it attractive and credible.”

            He goes on to say, “because the ‘born gay’ idea has proved so useful, the fact that there’s virtually no scientific support for the theory hardly matters. It’s an idea that has worked wonders for gay activists and their allies.

            According to lesbian researcher Lisa Diamond, “The queer community has been obsessed with cultivating the idea that we all have fixed sexual identities. We’ve crafted terrific narratives and political platforms based on the notions that all gays are ‘born that way.’ But what if sexuality is more complex? What if biology actually intersects with environment, time, culture and context? Could we possibly be more fluid than we’ve supposed?”

            What I know is God has declared homosexuality to be against His will, and He has warned all unrepentant people that they will incur His divine judgment if they die without having received Christ as Savior and Redeemer!

            • Uh? Laralynn. I am so sorry to inform you that everyone is up for judgement—including you one day. It is not a judgement reserved for only the people you happen to hate in the name of Jesus. I would also remind you that you are not the Holy Judge in any such proceedings and that you do not get to say what the end result of the judging will be for any one soul or any group of souls. Only God gets to do that, and he may show unwarranted mercy and grace to anyone He so desires. You are a Ph.D. student in religion and theology— and you do not know simple things about the Bible like this? What is your undergraduate degree in? I know it is not English language arts—so what is it? I would really like to know. Are you American or British? “Ize gots to know.”

            • Laralyn, the more I read the unscientific things you say, the more I wonder how deep in the closet you really are.

              For instance, this makes no sense.”People are not born gay. They’re born Male or Female. ”

              It may not have occurred to you but LGBTQ people are also born male or female. They are also born with their sexual preferences already intact having formed them in the womb.

              If you are going to cite a study, please cite one that is peer-reviewed from an accredited source, not a clearly biased one.

              You claim to be studying for advanced degrees yet you demonstrate a lack of familiarity with basic academic research techniques.

        • As a Father of a bi-sexual Daughter I can say ~ “You are wrong. ”

          Given the same parenting and social situation (we have lived in the same house their entire lives so they’ve gone to the same schools), my Daughter felt comfortable seeing both genders as attractive from around the age of 8 and was sure she was bi-sexual shortly after her 11th birthday.

          My Son is confident in his heterosexuality. With no pressure to be anything except what he was comfortable with, he realized he was what the VAST majority are – heterosexual. Like his sister, it wasn’t a choice. He was attracted to certain things and not attracted to others … which is sort of how it works, ya know?

          It IS NOT A CHOICE.

          They realize they are different because LGBTQI+ people make up roughly 4% of the population so teenage kids quickly figure out what sexually interests them is different from what interests most of their gender classmates.

          Sure, they can be STRUGGLING with it. What they are struggling with is the rejection of their family and other members of their close community. They may be struggling with self-loathing because they are denying who they truly are because they are attempting to live up to a false ideal. They may be struggling with the idea God doesn’t love them because some idiot has told them God can only love them if they are a specific way.

          Oh yeah, and they are struggling with the meat-grinder which is our teenage social hierarchy, hormonal cyclones, plus the regular host teenage psychological and physiological changes … so let’s tack on another burden for them to bear.

          Or we can trust them to know their souls.

          • Mr. Dosher, I commend you for being a father who says “Or we can trust them to know their souls.”

            Thank you on behalf of all of us whose fathers could not bring themselves to believe this.

        • Huh. I didn’t choose to be trans – God made me trans. And as far as I can see, since He made me trans, why wouldn’t He make others gay? And if He made them gay, then wouldn’t it be a sin for them to have sex with members of the opposite sex? Read the whole Bible – it includes verses like Isa. 56:3-5, and Rom. 2:1, and Micah 6:8.

        • Right on , Sex is choice , Not Born identity
          YOU are born male or female
          why would you or any other no accept the way you are.
          this is choice , not born identity
          Animals in nature don’t change their identity , why does mankind Try, it is because they don’t accept the way they are.

    • My dear Mr. Freedman,

      I would like to focus on a very specific part of your comment. You so eloquently declare that love and lust are not the same, and you are absolutely correct! They are completely different.

      Now that we have a common starting place, let us talk about the differences in our views. I am a gay Catholic in a relationship with a man. You appear to be acting on the assumption that homosexual relationships are founded on lust, which is understandable as you are not a gay man and everyone you know has told you that this is the case. I assure you it is not. I love my boyfriend. He’s a good, kind man with a lot of talent and intelligence. Lust is not what brought us together. I find him somewhat attractive, yes, but there are many more attractive men in my life. If lust were my guide, he and I would not be dating.

      It is a common myth among evangelical Christians that homosexuality is a choice, which is what Mr. Pavlovitz references in his comment. I promise you that being attracted to another man (i.e., being homosexual–defined as someone who is attracted to the same sex) was not a choice. If I could choose otherwise, I probably would have. Indeed, there was a time I tried seek out intimate relationships with women in my life. In those circumstances, I chose to ignore my natural inclination towards men. I chose to lie to myself and to my female friends. Trust me, it did not work.

      One can choose to refrain from acting on lust and one can choose to lie. Loving is not a choice. Jesus mandates us to love. To withhold love is not love. In the words of many a frustrated homosexual, please stop comparing your lust to my love. As you said yourself, lust is not love.

      Do you understand what I am saying?

  7. The oxymoran of this issue is
    YOU cannot love God , Follow Him, Be a True Christian, That is right Christian
    if You Do not follow Him, His ways, His views, His way of life.
    Dont Decieve YOUR self
    Dont Be Decieved , What a person Sow, Plants, they also reap , get in return later in life.
    Forgiveness is always there for you
    Love is always there for You
    God is always extending out the hand of acceptance for you
    But YOU have to accept Him, Accept his ways, his laws, his views.
    The Bible makes it very clear
    Gods ways are not mans ways.

    • Slightly off-topic, but I’d like to point out that “get in return later in life” isn’t exactly what “that which you sow you will also reap” means. There’s no promise of blessings on earth. It sounds like you’re advocating karma. It’s important to this discussion because you’re inferring that LGBTQ people will get in this life what they have sown. That theory has been used to justify many injustices against them including things like AIDS being a scourge brought about as a punishment or treating your neighbor/co-worker/fellow Christian in a “love the sinner hate the sin” sort of way because of what God did to Sodom. It’s funny because heterosexual Christians don’t often feel that way about their own sin; a simple example would be not blaming gluttony for the many health problems that come with being overweight.

  8. I think it would be wonderful if people stopped paying attention to other people’s sex lives, minded their own business, and got busy examining their own lives and how well their lives match up to Jesus.

  9. Yes, John, Christians talk differently than non-Christians. You see, we’re supposed to be different, by Christ’s explicit instructions. Did you miss that part?

      • No, for instance, they should not claim that our scriptures affirm things they clearly deny, such as the idea that homosexual behavior (or for that matter heterosexual sex outside of marriage) is healthy and approved of by God.

    • Many Names, the part ***you*** repeatedly demonstrate that you miss is the part about loving your neighbor as yourself as God first loved you.

          • we should not be horrible people , but we as true believer s have to take a stand or God will judge Us the same , and when that happens .
            our whole way of life will pay the price.
            Matter of time.
            God is not stupid, or slow, or dumb or will not stop what mankind has done to himself.
            He commands us to take a stand, stand for what is right, Truth, right, in accordance with his Word the bible.
            Love People , Hate sin, Love people , Not their actions. Forgive people , Teach to live as God commanded us, not mankind’s choice.

        • Your neighbor’s sin is none of your business. It is hubris to avoid the plank in your own eye to pick at the splinter in the eye of your neighbor.

          God loves you unconditionally despite your sins. God commands you to love your neighbor unconditionally in the exact same way.

          Whenever I am confronted with homophobia, I wonder which of the following applies:

          1) Is the homophobic man afraid of being raped by a gay man even though there is no evidence that gay men go around raping straight men.

          If this is the case, it is difficult for me to garner any sympathy as we women are afraid of being raped since we are about twelve and in all of the millennia of human existence, heterosexual men have yet to cease to rape women.

          2) How deep in the closet is the homophobe? How terrified is he to admit he is gay?

          Let the light of God’s truth about you pierce the darkness that binds you and allow it to set you free.

          If we believe God doesn’t make mistakes and that God it is love and that God made humanity in God’s image, then it stands to reason that if God created someone to be homosexual, then it must have been because it delighted God to do so.

          God is love and God wants us to love our neighbors for the person it delighted God to create. We are to love all as ourselves exactly as God first loved us. When Jesus commands us to love this way, He does not have a list of exceptions, footnotes, or a list of appendices to justify denying love to someone. He commands us to love all.

          • Gloriamarie, I wanted to address your view about when people disagree about homosexuality, or to use your term, “homophobic”, and to shed some truth to the issue.

            First, people that disagree with homosexuality in principle, are not homophobic anymore than people that don’t believe in God are “Christophobic”.

            You say that if a person finds homosexuality to be wrong, that it means that they are in the closet. Are you really serious?

            I have been married to the same Man for nearly 27 years, and I can tell you that I have never had any “closet feelings” of being attracted to other women! And I can assure you that that is true of multiple of millions of people around the world.

            I could easily take the opposite position. So if a man goes out of his way to embrace homosexuality, fight for it, make it his priority, and even light up the White House in the Gay colors, perhaps that means that he himself is gay! After all, why invest so much effort into that agenda when you’re the President of the United States?

            See, that’s what people are saying about our former Pre President. Is he a gay man hiding behind the façade of being in a heterosexual marriage? I honestly don’t know……but it is very possible!

            So, I think you need to re-think your false theory that if someone disagrees with a person’s lifestyle, that that means they are a “secret agent” of the same lifestyle. I close with a beautiful and power quote by well-known Pastor, Rick Warren:

            “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

            AMEN!

  10. I struggle with same-sex attraction. Your words undermining the genuine, Biblical faith of those who truly do struggle against same-sex attraction (among other sins!) are very hurtful to those who are seeking to live after Christ. It seems your attempts to make Christianity more inclusive are actually an attempt to destroy Christianity. The LGBTQIA+ community has won the culture wars. Now please, leave Christians alone – including those who seek after holiness, bearing their cross with humility – lest you add weight to our burden.

    • {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Nolan}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

      It saddens me that you struggle with same-sex attraction. You don’t have to. Be the person God created you to be.

      If we believe God is love, if we believe God doesn’t make mistakes, if we claim that each of us is uniquely created by God, then if you are gay, it is God’s desire that you be gay.

      • Like this man, I also struggled with same sex attraction for a very long time, which this comment as well as post seems to ignore. I do not agree that there should be no struggling and that if gods will is for you to be gay, you must be gay. That is exactly the point of my struggle – fitting into gay and straight boxes. I know as a “bisexual unicorn”, both sides may not understand me, but telling someone what they should feel and do is unhelpful to say the least.

        It is obviously for the best to live ones truth, but there should not be one certain destination (whether gay or straight) and if one struggles with where they lie and how they feel about it, it is only up to them to work through the journey.

    • So you believe the attraction is a sin ? That’s something that’s never gonna go away you know. Also what you say undermines the genuine faith of those on the opposite end of your spectrum. Now please, don’t disgard those who embraced what makes them unique, and live their lives faithfully and accordingly.

      Also about “Leaving Christians alone”, besides the fact you probably don’t consider us true Christians anyways, have you not noticed that despite “winning” the cutlure wars, it is the Christian Right that are trying to take away that victory, and pushing legsistative attacks on the LGBT community, whether it’s denying them their rights, services or just strait up trying to criminalize it in some states and even pushed for it in Uganda to the point of it being punishable by death, and considering that 97% precent of attacks on the LGBT community in America stems from Christians, are you sure its YOU who need to be left alone ?

      Your comment reminds me of a comment on this particlar blog; http://samanthapfield.com/2016/06/15/yes-you-hate-me-christian-homophobia-orlando/

    • That is a great comic. Thank you. The Bible was written by men. There are tons of inconsistencies in the Bible (says one thing in place and the exact opposite in another place). . Also, when the Bible was written, people believed (per the Bible) that the earth was the center of the universe. We know that is not true.
      When the Bible was written, it was believed that only women could be infertile. That is not true.
      There are many other examples where science has proven that what was written in the Bible is not true.
      We now know through scientific research that people are born with their sexual orientation. If you talk to people who are LGBTQ, they will tell you that they knew at a very young age (3-4 yrs old) that they were “different”. How can a child that young “choose” their sexual orientation? We have DNA and other means to prove that it is NOT a choice. So if you believe in God then you must believe that he made LGBTQ people to be who and what they are.

  11. Perfect! John is exactly right and the uneducated folks that create that struggle are really the sufferers of ignorance, boxed into beliefs that serve no redeeming value and they miss out on some of life’s greatest joy.
    Anyone want to live with ease and grace? Learn to love every walk of life that is part of the matrix of life. Why struggle in an attempt to mold the world into something it will never be? Then create self rage against something that will never change.

  12. John,

    This is too long for a tweet, I hope you see this. Thank you for tending to the wounds of those of us in the LGBTQ community with so much love and care. Thank you for being the face of Christ to so many. For many of us, you and a few others like you are the only Jesus we see. Thank you for being a voice for those of us who cannot speak. With every loving and affirming post you bring Christ to so many people and give them hope. You save lives.

    <3

  13. Dear John Pavlovitz:

    I struggle to recognize Jesus in a crumbling, decadent empire and associated cult which far less resembles the kingdom of God that the hideous order depicted by Saint John under the imagery of the beast, whore and false prophet.

    Blessings!

  14. Don’t forget the other church-ism: “we don’t support people living the gay lifestyle.” I always want to ask exactly what makes a “gay lifestyle,” especially when this is used as an argument against affirming marriage equality (like, if the “lifestyle” implies partying/hookups, wouldn’t you want to support people in making a public declaration of a commitment to a relationship??).

  15. I am fond of saying that I do have an unwanted same-sex attraction. Thing is, **I** am not the one who doesn’t want it.

    I love these two statements:

    “More Christians need to stop telling LGBTQ what their stories are and what their battles are and how their hearts work—and actually listen to them.”

    and

    “This isn’t difficult to understand: If someone told you your gender identity and sexual orientation were enough to get you condemned to hell, kicked out of your church, and disconnected from your family; if they told you from the day you were born that who you were and how you loved made you despised by God—I bet you’d “struggle” too.”

    Thank you for these, John. And thank you for speaking to the audience that I’m too triggered to approach.

    • This isn’t difficult to understand: If someone told you your gender identity and sexual orientation were enough to get you condemned to hell, kicked out of your church, and disconnected from your family; if they told you from the day you were born that who you were and how you loved made you despised by God—I bet you’d “struggle” too.

      Gee, it’s a good thing this isn’t what most Christians who disagree with you teach, isn’t it?

      Why must you and your friends so constantly lie about us? Are you just following your father’s example?

      • How about because it IS exactly what you are teaching. The nightmare of family and community rejection I went through AS A DIRECT CONSEQUENCE of your version of “Christian love” is not a lie. You speak of “love” – delude yourself that your cruelty is “loving” – but what you are actually doing is tormenting the LGBTQ to suicidal despair. Yet you accuse US of lying.

        May you some day be the recipient of the “Christian love” you so blithely dispense.

  16. Thanks for this John I think you understand very well what our struggle is.

    I remember my first real crush on a girl. It wasn’t about sex as much as a desire to be around her and to do anything to make her laugh or be happy. It did awaken a desire in me to touch or kiss her– or to lean against her shoulder when she sat next to me– I was still innocent and more interested in holding her hand than having sex. It wasn’t something I felt I needed to express either because most boys and girls my age were talking about their crushes and no one was like me— so I didn’t say anything because I knew I was different. I didn’t feel shame at the time, instead, I was extremely shy so I was waiting for someone like me to come along to see if anyone else existed… like me.

    When I went to high school. There was a girl who dressed like Stevie Nicks. Some people would call out “Lesbo!” when she walked down the hall. She would smile at them and wave. I asked someone about her and they said “she is a lesbian.”, I asked “what is a lesbian?”. She laughed and said ” girls who like girls. gross eh?” I said, ” how do people know?” She said. ” she tried to kiss another girl” I was both thrilled and terrified at the same time. Did she really like girls ? Was I going to be taunted if I told people I wanted to kiss a girl?

    She was senior and I was a junior and I got to meet her once at an after school get together where we listened to music and chilled at someone’s house. She acted normal and had a girlfriend. No one talked about it directly or seemed to notice she was holding a girls hand. We were teenagers hanging out and I could see she was free to be who she was with her group of friends.

    The thing she said that stood out in my mind was that she couldn’t wait to graduate and get away from the hell at school. We all knew what she meant. Perhaps the world after school would be better. She was the only person I met who was out and I didn’t hang around with that group of friends because they were older and all graduated at the same time. She was lucky because she had people who stuck with her. Once she graduated I slipped into a protective mode and spent all my energy avoiding dating and romance and focused on school, playing sports and filling up my life with distractions. It did get unbearable at times and I wanted to die because I couldn’t see a future for myself but a few things happened to help me along the way and told me to keep going even though I didn’t want to at times.

    This is what a hateful intolerant culture produces. It makes young people feel isolated and desperate. The people making that culture and perpetuating it are, in my opinion, responsible AND have done a great harm to a great number of LGBT kids.

    • Beamer, Thank you for sharing that. I hope you realize that you are helping us straight folk to understand better. I thought I knew, spent a lot of time talking to my cousin but since reading the comments here I am a baby when it comes to understanding, so thank you for helping me become a grownup in my understanding. I have never understood the Christians who have such issues and I understand them less and less and perhaps that is a good thing. They have caused enormous harm when they are supposed to be loving. Anyway, thanks again, Peace and Love,

      • We have come a long way and still have a way to go, thanks to all those who fight for social justice 🙂

        I am grateful to you Kathleen ((hugs))

    • Beamer, Thank you for your words. I am sorry for every pain you have endured. It is a failing of humankind that we cannot learn from our mistakes and sins of treating any other human as lesser than. When will we ever learn of each other’s value in this world.

      On a happy note it is great to see you as a woman who speaks beautiful words. There are wonderful people in this world. I am pretty sure there are even angels among us. I admit I am not one of them but I think that is ok too.

      Peace Beamer

      • Joanne as far as I am concerned you have been an angel to me and others on this blog– I am far from perfect but I am trying to get in there and do something. We can be angles with dirty hands because doing something means we are going to clean up messes and sometimes makes mistakes.

        I read a funny quote the other day–

        ” Learning from your mistakes makes you wiser. Make mistakes quicker” so whenever I meet a wise person I know they have many mistakes, 😀

  17. I totally agree! I came to terms with my homosexuality and Christianity years ago. I was raised a Southern Baptist, but luckily I had a few good teachers, that not only taught me about Southern Baptist theology and the “Baptist Faith and Message”, but also truly believed in the priesthood of the believer and taught me to have a personal relationship with God. That has been so much more important to me, than the organized religion I used belonged to. I am no longer welcome in the church of my childhood…and while people have been able to steal my religion from me….they could never steal God from my heart.

    So yeah, the struggle for most of us, is not with our relationship with God and our spirituality and sexuality….it is with our religion that tells us we can’t be members, we can’t be good people, and we can’t be Christian because we are gay….all the while knowing God still resides in our heart, regardless of what people say.

    Unfortunately, there are some whose spirituality is so closely tied to their religion… they never learned about a personal relationship with God, or the priesthood of the believer….so, when they lost their religion, they also lost their idea of God. Sad….so yeah, the struggle I believe, is mostly outward….and attributed to the way Christians treat gay people.

  18. Thank you for expressing so eloquently what we go through. As one who bought into the ex-gay lie and identified for a time as “struggling with same-sex attraction,” (ugh- I actually said that), but have long since found freedom, I am so grateful for your insight and empathy.

  19. How about open marriage? Do you have the courage to tackle that one? Are you struggling yet? Hope to hear your POV and no making fun. Just honest oppinion. Most Churches want to kick you out. May i be welcome at yours with no judgementalism?

  20. We all have struggles. We all have crosses to bear.

    The married heterosexual Christian must deny themselves a sexual relationship with anyone other then their spouse. The single heterosexual Christian must deny themselves until they find a spouse. Those with same-sex attractions must deny themselves a same-sex sexual relationship. That’s where the struggle is. It’s a cross they must bear, but it’s not necessarily any greater than heterosexuals might be bearing for other reasons.

    The Church and the Scriptures are clear about this.

    The Christian with a same-sex attraction must seek the help of God and he or she can find peace and the strength to bear their cross. There is so much more to life than being a homosexual or a heterosexual.

    • The Church and the Scriptures were also “clear” about stoning adulterers, physical illnesses having moral causes, and menstruation making women spiritually unclean. Fortunately we evolved because it was clear the writers of the Bible knew very little about how bodies or brains worked. That’s simply the truth. We don’t use 2,000 year old medical journals to guide surgeons today for a reason.

      We don’t get to police people’s gender identity or sexual orientation. The writers of the Bible had no concept of such things. The word homosexual is a modern word. The only references to what you call “homosexuality” referred to a specific sex act—and a sex act isn’t a sexual orientation. A straight person’s sex act doesn’t encapsulate their heterosexuality. You can’t use such references to refer to the entire LGBTQ community. You can’t use those references to speak to both gender identity and sexual orientation. It’s not possible—so your entire premise is fully flawed.

      Again, a “same-sex attraction” is not an identity/orientation any more than your desire for affection from or attraction to women is. This isn’t hard to understand, unless you want to make different rules for yourself—which most homophobic people do.

      You’re welcome to fear or dislike LGBTQ people or be grossed out or intimidated, but the Bible doesn’t speak to them. It simply doesn’t.

      • Whenever I am confronted with homophobia, I wonder which of the following applies:

        1) Is the homophobic man afraid of being raped by a gay man even though there is no evidence that gay men go around raping straight men.

        If this is the case, it is difficult for me to garner any sympathy as we women are afraid of being raped since we are about twelve and in all of the millennia of human existence, heterosexual men have yet to cease to rape women.

        2) How deep in the closet is the homophobe? How terrified is he to admit he is gay?

        Let the light of God’s truth about the person pierce the darkness that binds one and allow it to set one free.

        If we believe God doesn’t make mistakes and that God it is love and that God made humanity in God’s image, then it stands to reason that if God created someone to be homosexual, then it must have been because it delighted God to do so.

        God is love and God wants us to love our neighbors for the person it delighted God to create. We are to love all as ourselves exactly as God first loved us. When Jesus commands us to love this way, He does not have a list of exceptions, footnotes, or a list of appendices to justify denying love to someone. He commands us to love all.

      • I think Paul makes it clear, but being a Catholic, I’m not “sola scriptura.” The New Testament is our book. We wrote it. All that God intended to reveal to man subsists in the Catholic Church. Some of the other Christian Churches have adopted our scriptures and have added their own thinking and their own errors. Some are closer to the truth than others, but none of them have the fullness of the truth and none are without errors. Without a Church authority you are a ship without a rudder and it’s too easy to adopt doctrines that are easy or popular and avoid those that cause self-denial or might ruffle feathers. If I were left to my own thinking, I might very well come up with some sound reasoning as to why a Christian man could have three wives, but that thinking would not be grounded in reason, and I should yield to what the Apostles and their successors, guided by the Holy Spirit, have to say about it.

        I don’t fear homosexuals and I don’t condemn them. Neither do I fear or condemn adulterers or fornicators or masturbaters. But I cannot say that what they do is not a sin. I cannot say that my own sins are not sins. I cannot chase after the neighbor lady no matter how appealing she is to me or even if we are “in love.” This is not something I made up or some kind of yoke I desire to put on other people. It comes from my Church which comes from Christ.

        All of us have disordered inclinations and desires. There are no exceptions. We’re fallen. But it’s not good to to call our disorders natural or healthy and if they lead us into sin, they must be denied.

        The person with a same-sex attraction who is chaste is not committing a sin, and is not at fault for their feelings or attractions, and should be treated respectfully, as should those heterosexuals or homosexuals who are involved in immoral relationships. But we don’t do them any favors by condoning what they do.

        As far as “gender identity” is concerned…that one’s above m pay grade. I’d have to defer to posting what others say, but I’ll refrain from that for now.

        If I missed the point, let me know.

        I understand that not all Christians agree with the Catholic Church or accept the Catholic Church as an authority, but with your permission, I would like to express the Catholic perspective as best I can, since the Catholic Church is by no means small or irrelevant, and I think their perspective is worthy of consideration.

        • The Bible isn’t a book. It’s 66 books written by dozens of authors over thousands of years, of all types of writing.

          When anyone says “the Church and Bible are clear” they are lying or misinformed. The statement is a desire to make one’s perspective above discussion. That’s simply not reality.

          The Church and the Bible aren’t clear on anything, which is why the billions of believers and those outside faith who have read it still disagree. You can debate that all you want—it doesn’t change reality. It just doesn’t.

          I’m okay admitting this. You should learn to be. It helps you be less pompous when referring to stranger’s “disordered inclination and desires”. That kind of hubris is dangerous.

          • Perhaps what Joe Catholic could have said that we all can agree on is “the Catholic Church has over the years decided that the Church and Bible are clear on XYZ topics…”.

            Personally, I believe the bible is not clear, at first glance, on some topics. There is a benefit to trusting those in authority in your church to make decisions about what the scriptures mean, since many of us lay people do not know much about hermeneutics.

            I go to a non-denominational church, which actually does not have a comprehensive list of beliefs/stances on issues. However, when I read the bible (and I hope all do this as well), I pray that I would understand and be convicted by what God means, not what I personally want to hear. It’s a problem if we take our own (or society’s) perspective and try to convince ourselves that scripture is in alignment with that, rather than letting scripture dictate our worldview.

            Joe Catholic and John Pavlovitz – I appreciate hearing your perspectives.

          • Thank you John for taking the time to make some comments it’s been helpful to me. I don’t know how anyone can read the bible and not be left with some questions or concerns.

          • The Bible is very clear about what it desires to communicate to mankind and to Believers in particular. The Holy Spirit, the true author of the Word of God, is more than able of communicating the mind of God and Christ, and He has, and that is why the Christian Church has flourished down through the centuries, and will continue to flourish even in spite of persecution.

            The Bible was written over a 1600 years period, on three different continents (Africa, Asia, Europe), with 40 human pen-men, and most of them did not know each other, nor did they live during the same time, yet the unity of the message, the power of the Scriptures, is amazing, and that is why no other Library of Books in the world commands the kind of respect and authority that the Bible does!

            • Laralyn, your understanding of the Bible is based on a relatively modern theology that would never be recognized by the writers of the early church.

              No one, until well after the Reformation ever dared say the Holy Spirit dictated the words of the 66 texts that are the library we call the Bible.

              I graduated from an evangelical college and seminary and we were never taught that the Holy Spirit dictated the words.

              You cited some academic credentials but with this comment, you have demonstrated that they are not ones I can respect.

              • Another thought…

                Laralyn evidently believes the Holy Spirit controlled the hands and minds of the people who wrote the various texts of Scripture.

                Aside from the fact that she ignores the evidence of text criticism, many evangelicals and fundamentalists have told me over the years that automatic writing is demonic in origin.

                Automatic writing occurs when a demon possesses a person’s mind and hand to make the person write what the demon wants. I have been told the only time that happens is with a demonic agency.

            • Laralyn, the only unifying message of the Bible is God’s love for us– yet the Bible does not unify people– it divides us which is why we have so many denominations.

              I would go further to suggest that if we loved each other as lavishly as God does we would be unified today.

            • That’s the myth that you have to keep believing in order to perpetuate your idea of what The Bible is.

              There are fingerprints of many more than “40 Pen-men” in the current canon. And aside from the fact that not all Christians have settled on the same canon, those fingerprints show us how they all were at times very clear about how they each twisted and shaped the message they wanted folks to read. And they may not have known one another, but it is very apparent that the younger ones had the writings of those dead & gone in front of them often when they took up their pens. They weren’t each writing in sealed rooms with no outside sources over those 1600 years, it was an open book test!

              And because of all those hands twisting and shaping their different messages, there is plenty of error and contradiction in the book.

              And still, my approach to scripture allows me to still value The Bible, but I haven’t turned it into the Idol that you have.

              • That is an excellent comment. I agree with your take that some have made the Bible an idol, not something for guidance and reflection. Peace,

          • Hi John. This is Charles. I am on vacation and have rarely been able to read your blog posts except when I make it to another hotel room in another town along my vacation course across the southeast. I am at a hotel in Valdosta, Georgia right now. Every response I try to write is marked “for moderation” and does not get posted—or at least that is what comes up on the screen here. It was all okay at another hotel in Atlanta last week. Do I need to know something that I have not been told—like maybe I have been blacklisted, the subject of numerous private complaints from the rogue troll we all know here. What’s the deal with all these moderation tags?

            Thanks!!!

      • Dear John Pavlovitz:

        I would add that while homosexuality was certainly known in antiquity, the idea of orientation was unknown to Biblical authors. A good hermeneutic doesn’t extend the claims of inspiration beyond the author’s intent. Since orientation [who gave us that — Freud?] was unknown to the ancients, they could hardly have intended to address it.

        This looks like the age-old problem of needing to fill in perceived gaps in the canon to fortify the faith of doubters.

        Blessings!

      • John, actually your response to Joe Catholic is what is deeply flawed. First, God Almighty knows how the human brain works and functions because He alone designed it.

        As it relates to the Leviticus order concerning certain rituals, laws, and traditions, those practices were for a purpose, they were specifically to the Jewish people, and they were under the Law of Moses, which Jesus affirmed and upheld.

        However, the ceremonial and civil aspects to the Law is no longer applicable under the New Covenant of Grace, but the Moral aspect of the Law is for all times and for all people!

        The gay community always make the very weak assumption that because the word “homosexual” isn’t used as such, that that means the writers didn’t know what homosexuality was. Are you serious? Again, God is all-knowing, and surely He has always known what homosexuality is.

        God through Moses addressed homosexuality and other sexual perversions, and He even addressed with Abram when He sent him to warn his Nephew, Lot, of impending judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah due to homosexuality!

        The Holy Spirit also used the apostle Paul to address homosexuality in the following passages of Scripture, 1 Timothy 1:8-10; Jude 1:7; Romans 1:24-28; 1 Cor. 6:9-10.

        Paul used a couple of Greek words that clearly refers to “soft men” and “men that sleep with men”. Lesbianism is also addressed in the Romans passage, so this notion that the Biblical writers didn’t know anything about homosexuality, is completely false! The Holy Spirit is the author of the Scripture, and HE is God! He knows what sexual sin is as HE is the One who sets the moral standards for human sexuality, and the Bible clearly condemns the practice of homosexuality.

        In fact, Paul describes homosexuality in chilling words in the Romans passage: “unnatural”, “against nature”, “shameful”, “degrading”, “an error”, and that it “has a penalty: the judgment of God”.

        For the record, I neither fear of hate gay people, as they, like myself, are created in the image and likeness of Almighty God. That being said, God will judge all unrepentant sexually immoral people, and you do the LGBT community no favors by trying to normalize and legitimize their sin!

        • You are absolutely right when you say God will judge. Personally I think you have every right to feel like you do. That is on you and your personal feelings for yourself and yourself only. But, I also think “Love your neighbor as yourself” is what brings us closer to God and is much more powerful than our judgement of others which the Bible condemns often and very clearly.

          It is good to call out when you see injustice or someone hurting another but how and who people truly love hurts no one and absolutely no one should be judged on how they show their love. I am speaking about actual love not empty words.

          • Thank you, Joanne, I agree. I wish some would give us the luxury to believe what we believe and let it be on us. Peace,

        • Oh my gosh. Laralynn?

          “But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”
          Genesis 19:4‭-‬5 ESV

          These men, young and old, were using a sex act, RAPE BY SODOMY, to intimidate and humiliate these visitors. Please, tell me, what are the odds that every last man, young and old, were ALL homosexuals? Obviously they were procreating to produce offspring. These passage most definitely speak of perversion, intimidation by rape. Not speaking of a person’s orientation. Please stop abusing his word.

          “the NHIS reported in July 2014 that 1.6 percent of Americans identify as gay or lesbian”. Please tell me where on earth you may find a city, town, or village of people who are all gay? I’ll move there.

          And while you’re at it, please fix your megaphone because I can’t hear you from here.

        • Laralynn, I am glad your true colours are showing because it demonstrates I was not assuming anything about you. When I read your comment I saw a hateful and ugly Westboro Baptist sign holder.

          • Thank you Beamer, you said it far better than anything I could come up with and believe me I was trying. By the way, I keep thinking sunbeam, like “I want to be a sunbeam for you”, from sunday school. Peace and Love,

            • Ha! You are sweet Kathleen.

              I have a big imagination so I did see a Westboro Baptist sign holder in Laralyn’s comment and it frightened me.

              I wonder about christians sometimes. Just how close are they to the Westboro Baptist types?

              According to what comes out the mouths of certain christians these days not too far off, I reckon.

              • I wonder also. There have been people I thought I knew and boy, I didn’t know them at all. This past year has gotten me out of my comfort zone and opened my eyes. I was going down this path anyway but it hurried me along. Actually this blog and a lot of the comments have encouraged me and let me know that there are more of us than I knew. Perhaps they have been flushed out of their comfort zone also. I realize now there is no going back.
                By the way, I meant to explain the significance that the sunbeam song has to me. My youngest son, a long time ago, when he learned this song thought it said “I want to be a son a beam for him” so I have a special feeling for that song and to this day still sing it that way. It gives me the warm fuzzies as opposed the the cold pricklies and that phrase comes from one of my husbands sermons. Just know that that kind of thinking happens when you get really old as am I. Peace and Love,

          • Beamer, what are my true colors? You mean that if a person speaks the truth, then they are showing their “true colors?” Well, if that is the acid test, then you and other gay persons always show your true colors because whenever someone disagrees with you about your ungodly lifestyle, then you become violent, insolent, and crazy. Here is a wonderful and powerful quote by Pastor Rick Warren that I think speaks volumes.
            “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

            AMEN!

            • Thank you for your thoughtful post. You did not deserve to be attacked as a “Westboro” type of Christian. You spoke the truth with reason and compassion. There was nothing “hateful” or “ugly” about it. It behooves the name-callers to instead of making a personal attack, demonstrate why you are wrong.

            • Laralyn not all disagreements are equal– so when I read what you wrote I pictured a Westboro Baptist sign holder– that is what you made me think of.

              You don’t come off as loving towards LGBT people even though you claim to. I guess I just don’t trust you.

              • It’s not very loving to condone someone’s sins and therefore encourage them to be worse. How loving would it be for an auto mechanic to say your car is fine, when one of the main belts is about to fail?

                How loving is it of you that you will not allow a different belief to be expressed without vilifying that person for holding and expressing such a belief?

                BTW, Westboro Baptist people are not ideologues. They are instigators seeking to profit from lawsuits.

                • “How loving is it of you that you will not allow a different belief to be expressed without vilifying that person for holding and expressing such a belief?”

                  How much more loving would it be for you to cease your prurient voyeurism and obsessions with what other people do in private?

                  You have zero business talking about the sins of other people as long as you yourself remain a sinner. Jesus tells us this over and over.

                  • I agree. And I practice that. I don’t question people regarding their sins, including those that are obvious. I am well aware of my own sins and my need to worry about them and not those of others.

                    However, the dispute is when a sin is presented a virtue or a legitimate choice that a Christian can or should accept as legitimate Christian behavior, and that if not accepted, they are bad people, homophobes, or not really Christians, etc.

                    • But you still refuse to give me the courtesy of perhaps being right. You are not God, the church is not God, therefore all you have is “this is my opinion” and God knows you could be wrong.

                    • “However, the dispute is when a sin is presented a virtue or a legitimate choice that a Christian can or should accept as legitimate Christian behavior, and that if not accepted, they are bad people, homophobes, or not really Christians, etc.”

                      A person’s sexual preference is NOT a choice. It is formed in utereo. Please be informed by modern day science and not the misunderstandings of the Middle Ages.

                      And when you rant about how wrong homnosexuality is, you are engaging in prurient voyeurism because what people do in private is none of your business.

                      Practice custody of the senses.

                    • I have to agree with Kathleen here, Joe, you give more respect to unrepentant liar Trump than you do to everyone else

                      …and you give more respect to unrepentant liar Trump that you door a christian truthful LGBT person.

                      I find that hypocritical.

                      Sorry for being personal but I really want to know, how you can say that, Trump, who lies without any shred of regret or repentance, over and over again– deserves more respect ?

                    • It is beyond ludicrous to claim anyone is presenting sin as a virtue. But even if you consider homosexuality a sin, you should have the sense to know that sin, as a choice has been “legitimate” since the days of Jesus and there is no ranking.

                      No one needs a single Christian, Muslim, or Jew to “accept” homosexuality is not a sin. But we do insist, and it will happen, that you stop treating homosexuality as some especial sin that needs punishment.

                      YOU do not get to decide who is a child of God, who can worship God, who can walk with God, serve God or participate in Communion because not a damned one of us is any less a sinner in the eyes of God!

                      Get that through your brain because it will come to pass. Just as so many other heinous Catholic practices stopped (or at least now see the light of day) this one will too.

                • Joe, I didn’t know that about the Westboro Baptist church what I do know about them is in my opinion the same as what you and Laralyn preach.

                • Whines the man who is the first to burst a gasket when anyone mentions the sins of his beloved Catholic Church. You love pointing fingers, not so much on having the favor returned.

                  Hint: You are not without sin, so stop throwing your “loving” stones.

                • Its not very loving to try to take away civil rights of “sinful” people either. To laser focus on something that is ambiguously “sinful” as opposed to the disobedience to the sermon on the mount is baffling to me. If the belt is worn it is not because it is bad, it is because something has been eating on it. That something is the prejudice of others.

                  • Robin, as we all know, the Christian Right wants to destroy the separation of Church and State and make this country over into their heretical prosperity gospel version of Christianity.

                    The Toddler in Chief has already issued an executive order that erodes this separation.

                  • I’m just saying we need to call a spade a spade and a sin a sin. I didn’t say anything about removing anyone’s rights, or singling out a particular sinful behavior, though it is astonishing to me that you are so concerned about rights, but deny the basic right to live beginning at conception.

                    Yes I know I have sinned and am a sinner. I’m not “throwing stones.” I don’t want anyone telling me my sins are not sins either.

                    • Please tell me, Joe Catholic, where in the Bible does it say “I’m just saying we need to call a spade a spade and a sin a sin. ”

                      It seems to me Jesus is pretty danged clear that we are not pay attention to anyone’s sin except one’s own.

                      Your own church teaches custody of the senses and I suggest you pay attention to everything your church teaches, not solely the bits you like.

                    • Where does it say in the Bible that the Bible is sufficient? It doesn’t. We had the Bible and Sacred Tradition for all Christians until the Protestant Reformation which went the way of “sola scriptura” but the original version of Christianity is still intact in the Catholic Church, and the Church speaks with moral authority, and makes it VERY CLEAR which things are sins, whether we like it or not.

                      So what does it mean if the bible “isn’t clear”? It seems that becomes an excuse to do whatever you hope or want to be true instead of what is objectively so.

                      If a young single man thinks “it’s not clear” regarding fornication, he will rationalize why God is ok with fornication. Another will rationalize that Jesus didn’t say abortion is bad, so therefore abortion is ok. Another will say that because it’s “not clear” that homosexual acts are sins, then therefore they are not, or even that they are virtuous.

                      The “bible alone” and our own thinking can turn Christianity into anything we want it to be, but it was not meant to be that, and further, somebody has to be right and somebody has to be wrong, as it cannot be both that it is a sin and it is not a sin for a same sex couple to have sexual contact.

                      In the fullness of Christianity which consists of the Holy Scriptures and Sacred Tradition, many things are crystal clear.

            • Laralyn wrote “Well, if that is the acid test, then you and other gay persons always show your true colors because whenever someone disagrees with you about your ungodly lifestyle, then you become violent, insolent, and crazy. ”

              No, Laralyn, you have just described yourself because you have demonstrated violence, insolence, and craziness in your posts.

              People here have responded to you with a courtesy that you did not return once you knew a poster is gay.

              You couldn’t reflect the values of Westboro Baptist any more deeply than you already do.

              • This is exactly why I have stopped discussing this subject to the people around me. I don’t have the courage to be a willful target of this anymore. I don’t have the courage to stand up to the willful ignorance of some of my co-workers. In an office where both the men and women have wives and I’m the only one somewhat attracted to men, we have some willfully ignorant Christian co-workers who keep insisting that we are somehow “more sinful” in someway.

                We LGBTQ people in our office are done with this “official acceptance but nonacceptance” stuff. We are looking for other opportunities. We are so done.

                I know I’m complaining and venting. Except for this things are great and we support each other. When an emergency happens, which happens often in disaster recovery, we leave our differences at the door and get the job done. We will work around the clock and be deployed around the country until the credit union or bank is recovered and can lend cash during a disaster. I knew this was one of the dangers of the job which I gladly accepted.

                It is the LGBTQ versus Conservative Christian mess I didn’t sign up for. It is petty, irksome, and baffling to me. I was secretly hoping that if Trump was elected that “their” side will declare victory and be magnanimous to us, but the opposite has happened. We don’t dare contact HR because being LGBTQ is a legal reason to be fired here.

                I know I have it much better than others. I know I have an awesome life with an awesome wife. I know I will always have the basics and more than enough to give. It is more of an chronic low-level irritation, day after day after day. It is surprisingly exhausting, much like being in the closet was exhausting.

                I said too much already. G-d bless everyone.

                • Robin, first I send you my hugs, my love and my acceptance. That is from a very old, very straight, follower of Christ. Just want you to know that not all followers are so blind and unloving . Also there are those of us who have joined the fight for equal rights for everyone. Peace and Love,

                  • I don’t understand your problem, Robin. You have a wife. Don’t you at least agree with the concept of monogamy?

                    I have a wife too, but I don’t get to have a boyfriend or girlfriend on the side without going against my Christian beliefs and committing a very serious sin.

                    Nobody is saying that your attraction to men is a sin. It’s only a sin if you act on it.

                    • Joe Catholic, I often wonder how much attention you pay when you read something posted here.

                      You wrote “Nobody is saying that your attraction to men is a sin. It’s only a sin if you act on it.”

                      And yet Robin CLEARLY stated some of his fellow co-workers believe Robin to be a sinner because Robin is bi-sexual.

                      There are many people who have posted here who have said it is sinful to be LBGTQ. They don’t limit the sin to acting on the attraction.

                    • I’ve made it clear a million times that I do not believe it is a sin to have the attraction or orientation, and that it’s only a sin to act on it, but that perspective is not respected and I’m just as much of a “homophobe” to them as those who say the attraction alone is a sin, though I don’t believe there are many who really believe that or preach that.

                • Robin wrote “It is the LGBTQ versus Conservative Christian mess I didn’t sign up for. ”

                  And you should not have to. In a country where discrimination is illegal, where sexual harassment is illegal, you should not have to endure either.

                  Seems to me that management and/or h
                  HR need to discipline the bigots.

                  Of course, there is nothing they can do about the attitudes of the bigots, but they can take steps to protect people from abuse by the bigots. That should not be allowed in the workplace.

                  • But that is the point, Gloriamarie. Discrimination against LGBTQ people in private businesses IS LEGAL where I work. Our rights to jobs and housing is subject to the whims of the localities in this state. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, legislation proposed in the United States Congress that would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by employers with at least 15 employees, is NOT law and, at this rate, won’t be law for quite a while, possibly never.

                    For now we are tolerated but not considered somehow not Christians.

                    • And that, my friend, makes me sad. No one should be considered less than or unworthy. Also makes me mad. Peace and Love,

                    • Robin, that is the crux of the problem. Let them believe whatever floats your boat, even if it is not living the command to love, but when you cross the line into discrimination in the workplace, in housing, in marriage, in property, etc. backed by the force of law, that is unAmerican, dangerous bigotry that cannot stand. And this we will fight.

                      Oddly, that fight is also what will eventually change the church. Just as it did when we ended slavery and Jim Crow laws and gained equal rights for black people. The arc of justice may not be swift, but it is still alive. And we all have to push!

                    • Oh, Robin, I must be more naive than I thought. I was truly under the impression that discrimination in the workplace is illegal.

                      If employers can’t discriminate due to race, creed, color, gender, disability or handicapped, why oh why oh why would it have to be spelled out in so many letters that one also doesn’t discriminate on the basis of sexual preference?

                      It makes no sense to me. Basic principles apply. Discrimination is discrimination is discrimination>

                      {{{{{{{{{{{{{Robin}}}}}}}}}} I am truly so very sad that you have to put up with sucj blockheaded stupidity where you work.

        • Really, Laralyn? ” but the Moral aspect of the Law is for all times and for all people!”

          Then you are fine with any of these forms of marriage as part of the Moral aspect of the Law?

          Polygynous Marriage
          Probably the most common form of marriage in the bible, it is where a man has more than one wife.
          Levirate Marriage
          When a woman was widowed without a son, it became the responsibility of the brother-in-law or a close male relative to take her in and impregnate her. If the resulting child was a son, he would be considered the heir of her late husband. See Ruth, and the story of Onan (Gen. 38:6-10).
          A man, a woman and her property — a female slave
          The famous “handmaiden” sketch, as preformed by Abraham (Gen. 16:1-6) and Jacob (Gen. 30:4-5).
          A man, one or more wives, and some concubines
          The definition of a concubine varies from culture to culture, but they tended to be live-in mistresses. Concubines were tied to their “husband,” but had a lower status than a wife. Their children were not usually heirs, so they were safe outlets for sex without risking the line of succession. To see how badly a concubine could be treated, see the famous story of the Levite and his concubine (Judges 19:1-30).
          A male soldier and a female prisoner of war
          Women could be taken as booty from a successful campaign and forced to become wives or concubines. Deuteronomy 21:11-14 describes the process.
          A male rapist and his victim
          Deuteronomy 22:28-29 describes how an unmarried woman who had been raped must marry her attacker.
          A male and female slave
          A female slave could be married to a male slave without consent, presumably to produce more slaves.
          and of course …
          Monogamous, heterosexual marriage
          What you might think of as the standard form of marriage, provided you think of arranged marriages as the standard. Also remember that inter-faith or cross-ethnic marriage were forbidden for large chunks of biblical history.
          The important thing to realize here is that none of these models are described as better than any other. All appear to have been accepted.
          So there you go. The next time someone says that we need to stick with biblical marriage in this country, you can ask them which of the eight kinds they would prefer, and why.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unreasonablefaith/2009/04/the-varieties-of-biblical-marriage/

            • Sorry Laralynn. The Bible/seminary graduate just deep-sixed your charade as a seminary student. Biblically, she was right on the money. Excellent job Gloriamarie.

              • Thanks, Charles.

                Laralyn commented in an earlier post that the Holy Spirit used the hands of the authors’ of the Biblical texts in a form of automatic writing, which many evangelicals have told me is demonic in origin.

                In my evangelical seminary, we studed textual criticism, source criticism, JEDP, and how the rabbis in Babylonia edited various texts to create and codify their Scriptures.

                Humans using their God-given brains created Scripture, inspired by the Holy Spirit fershure, but humans wrote. Even my evangelical seminary taught us that.

        • Laralynn, using your own parameters why would God be so sure, certain and clear to us on the “problem” of homosexuality and not on say slavery, having babies with your slave, forcing a woman to marry her rapist, selling your daughters into “marriage”, and little inconsequential moral aspects like that which affected (even then) a thousand times more people than homosexuality?

          • Sandi, “straw men” arguments doesn’t work with me. Nothing you’ve presented nullifies the truth of the Scripture concerning homosexuality and other sinful practice. Have a wonderful 4th of July celebration!

            • It is “straw man” arguments (singular), and the proper contraction is “don’t.” These are grade school English errors—and you expect us to believe you are a seminary student at the University of Manchester in the UK? They let people with a 5th grade understanding of the English language into seminary at a major university in the UK?

              I am also interested in this method of operation where you say something snotty to a person and then wish them a happy day or a happy Fourth of July? Is that any way to treat people nice, or is it just some form of cognitive dissonance reverberating in your heart?

        • And Laralynn, speaking of some thought being “deeply flawed”, I ask you to ponder this: Yes indeed, “God Almighty knows”, the rest of us are just interpreting, and in many cases speculating. Your hubris may come from being full of the Holy Spirit or it may come from being full of something else. We cannot determine, but yes, God Almighty knows and will decide who to punish and who to welcome. We will not.

        • Excuse me please. I would like to ask you a question. Are you seriously a seminary student at the University of Manchester in, I assume, the UK. I ask because if I were a faculty member there or at Cambridge, Oxford, Durham, or any other well-known university in the UK, where the Church of England is the official church, I would never allow you into a seminary or religious studies program of mine. From what you have written on this blog thread so far, your use of the English language is appalling, particularly your inability to make verbs agree with their subject in number—something I find unacceptable in any person living in an academic setting in the UK—especially if you were born and raised there. Furthermore, your knowledge of the Bible is far worse than appalling and far less than I would expect of even a novice seminary student. Therefore, by what you have said so far, I can only conclude in my own mind that you are lying to us in some manner about being a seminary student.

      • John, I believe you are exactly right. The authors of the Bible and most people into the 18th century believed that the Baby was inside the man’s sperm and that the woman’s womb was the appropriate “hot-house” in which to grow the man’s baby. If the woman did not bear children, it was because God closed the womb. If the woman bore only females – it was her fault that her womb wouldn’t grow the male that the man put in there.
        The Bible is not a science book. It is a book about faith. About people’s relationships with God. The “science” that the Bible contains about sex is not science at all. It is pre-scientific observation. It is not true. The earth is not flat with four corners. The Sun does not travel from East to West each day with the earth as the stable point in the Universe. Women have eggs and are fertile once per month – and they are not “unclean”, nor should they be relegated to “outside the camp” for uncleanness. The world as we know it has evolved over millions of years. It was not created in 6 days with 7th day Divine rest. The creation has in it surprises differences of all kinds, new species and patterns tucked into the folds of an ongoing creation. Like it or not- we glbtq folks are part of that unfolding creation which has limitless possibilities. The biggest enemies of the church are not gay people. But the biggest enemies of gay people are those who treat sacred documents as divine science books – and who see themselves as protecting God by adhering-and forcing others to adhere to literal interpretations. Remember, that when blood transfusions became possible it was Christians and other religious folks who fought vigorously against them. The same went for inoculations against small pox. With each new scientific discovery there were always a very few religious folks who had to convince the religious many that the new discoveries had always been there waiting to be found- and that includes the 5-10% of all species who are glbtq. We are not struggling with our sexuality – but with those who miss the point that we are our best when we are the LGBTQ who God called us to be. Doctrines have evolved over time. Marriage is NOT what it was in the Biblical period- thank God! And GLBTQ people know they are who they are – and many of us follow Jesus, in spite of how badly we are treated by others who claim they are following him, and who claim to love God whom they cannot see, even as they persecute those of us who are different from themselves, but still in the same image of God as they are. We are who God made us – we did not “choose a lifestyle”. Sexuality is a vocation – a calling to be discovered.

  21. As a gay man AND god called, seminary trained, and church ordained minister, I can unequivocally say that you have hit the proverbial nail squarely on the head! Well well spoken and conveyed!

  22. Thank you for another insightful and empathetic article. As per my comment above, the Bible is full of inconsistencies and things that we now know are not true due to scientific discoveries and also as you mentioned, some things are now considered downright barbaric. Why some people decide to concentrate their Biblical beliefs on one or two such subjects and use them to spread hate is beyond my understanding.
    But thankfully we have some Christians like you who truly try to live what Jesus teaches as truth.

    • Ellen, as a PhD student in “Religion and Theology” from the University of Manchester, I challenge you to cite one “contradiction” and “inconsistency in the Scripture.

        • Contradictions in Scripture… lessee… of the many where to begin?

          The Bible starts off with a contradiction. There is Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. Then if the only human beings alive were Adam, Eve, and their children, where did Cain find a wife?

          Or.. how many times did that rooster crow? Three or nine?

          Which women came to the tomb? Matthew 28:1 says that at the resurrection, Mary Magdalene and another Mary are at the tomb when it begins to dawn. And Mark tells us in chapter 16, that Mary Magdalene, the mother of Jesus, and Salome was there. And John, not to be outdone, says Mary Magdalene was there. He doesn’t say only Mary Magdalene was there, but he does say Mary Magdalene was there but doesn’t mention anyone else. But then says that when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb it was still dark.

          Or, 2 Samuel 24 says God provoked David to number the people. But Chronicles says Satan did it.

          GE 2:17 Adam was to die the very day that he ate the forbidden fruit.
          GE 5:5 Adam lived 930 years.

          GE 2:15-17, 3:4-6 It is wrong to want to be able to tell good from evil.
          HE 5:13-14 It is immature to be unable to tell good from evil.

          GE 4:15, DT 32:19-27, IS 34:8 God is a vengeful god.
          EX 15:3, IS 42:13, HE 12:29 God is a warrior. God is a consuming fire.
          EX 20:5, 34:14, DT 4:24, 5:9, 6:15, 29:20, 32:21 God is a jealous god.
          LE 26:7-8, NU 31:17-18, DT 20:16-17, JS 10:40, JG 14:19, EZ 9:5-7 The Spirit of God is (sometimes) murder and killing.
          NU 25:3-4, DT 6:15, 9:7-8, 29:20, 32:21, PS 7:11, 78:49, JE 4:8, 17:4, 32:30-31, ZP 2:2 God is angry. His anger is sometimes fierce.
          2SA 22:7-8 (KJV) “I called to the Lord; … he heard my voice; … The earth trembled and quaked, … because he was angry. Smoke came from his nostrils. Consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.”
          EZ 6:12, NA 1:2, 6 God is jealous and furious. He reserves wrath for, and takes revenge on, his enemies. “… who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and rocks are thrown down by him.”
          2CO 13:11, 14, 1JN 4:8, 16 God is love.
          GA 5:22-23 The fruit of the Spirit of God is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
          GE 7:1 Noah was righteous.
          JB 1:1,8, JB 2:3 Job was righteous.
          LK 1:6 Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous.
          JA 5:16 Some men are righteous, (which makes their prayers effective).
          1JN 3:6-9 Christians become righteous (or else they are not really Christians).
          RO 3:10, 3:23, 1JN 1:8-10 No one was or is righteous.

          GE 11:7-9 God sows discord.
          PR 6:16-19 God hates anyone who sows discord.

          GE 11:9 At Babel, the Lord confused the language of the whole world.
          1CO 14:33 Paul says that God is not the author of confusion.

          GE 11:12 Arpachshad [Arphaxad] was the father of Shelah.
          LK 3:35-36 Cainan was the father of Shelah. Arpachshad was the grandfather of Shelah.

          GE 11:26 Terah was 70 years old when his son Abram was born.
          GE 11:32 Terah was 205 years old when he died (making Abram 135 at the time).
          GE 12:4, AC 7:4 Abram was 75 when he left Haran. This was after Terah died. Thus, Terah could have been no more than 145 when he died; or Abram was only 75 years old after he had lived 135 years.

          GE 12:7, 17:1, 18:1, 26:2, 32:30, EX 3:16, 6:2-3, 24:9-11, 33:11, NU 12:7-8, 14:14, JB 42:5, AM 7:7-8, 9:1 God is seen.
          EX 33:20, JN 1:18, 1JN 4:12 God is not seen. No one can see God’s face and live. No one has ever seen him.

          GE 16:15, 21:1-3, GA 4:22 Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac.
          HE 11:17 Abraham had only one son.

          GE 17:15-16, 20:11-12, 22:17 Abraham and his half sister, Sarai, are married and receive God’s blessings.
          LE 20:17, DT 27:20-23 Incest is wrong.

          GE 22:1-12, DT 8:2 God tempts (tests) Abraham and Moses.
          JG 2:22 God himself says that he does test (tempt).
          1CO 10:13 Paul says that God controls the extent of our temptations.
          JA 1:13 God tests (tempts) no one.

          GE 49:2-28 The fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel are: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph, and Benjamin.
          RE 7:4-8 (Leaves out the tribe of Dan, but adds Manasseh.)

          I could go on…

  23. I sin, my friends sin, and I allow God to work on their heart instead of me. But, I don’t condone sin in me or them and I wouldn’t expect that anyone would try to say that living in open sin is OK as a Christian. As Christian. If you don’t claim Christ then you aren’t held to his teachings. If you do, you are, and what the author is saying does not line up with Christian teaching. Jesus called people to repent. He called out the “teachers of the law” severely, but he didn’t tell anyone else he dealt with to continue to live in sin as long it makes you happy.

    • He never said anything about homosexuality either, besides affirming the faith of a gay centurion and healing his lover.

    • And so this sad, self-hating person’s belief out ways the millions of us who know this to not be the case for ourselves?

  24. (A bit of Amateur Hour Dinner Theater)

    #1 “I’ve had a problem with sexual attraction since puberty.”
    #2 “Same-sex attraction?”

    #1 “No. Opposite-sex attraction.”
    #2 “Oh. That’s okay then.”

    #1 “Why is it different?”
    #2 “Because … that is how God made us.”

    #1 “But God made us all.”
    #2 “How ‘they’ feel is wrong. It is unnatural.”

    #1 “Yet they feel the same way about the same sex how I feel about the opposite sex. They have been secure in their sexual attraction as long as I’ve been confident about my sexual direction. It is natural to them. It is how God made us both.”
    #2 “No, it isn’t.”

    #1 “How would you know this?”
    #2 “Because … God doesn’t make homosexuals.”

    #1 “But God makes EVERYTHING ~ so, by default, he makes homosexuals too.”
    #2 “No. Homosexuality is unnatural.”

    #1 “Just because you keep claiming God doesn’t do something, or its unnatural, doesn’t make it so. It means you have no other justification than some irrational reaction to something YOU don’t like. That’s not God talking – that is you taking out your personal bias on someone who happens to be different.”
    #2 “You … you are a pervert!”

    #1 “You make that sound like its a bad thing.” 😉
    #2 “I’m not going to talk to you anymore.”

    #1 “Hey. Knock yourself out. It’s a free country.”
    #2 {mutter, mutter, mutter}

    **

    I don’t believe in LGBTQI+ Rights. I believe in Human Rights. Unless we are all considered Human, none of us truly are. Unless we are all willing to fight for the Rights of each and every one of us, none of us should ever consider our own Rights secure. You can do worse in life than trusting in God’s love and judgement for each of us in our time, so trust in God, treat each person the way you wish to be treated and go from there.

    • Mr. Dosher wrote “I don’t believe in LGBTQI+ Rights. I believe in Human Rights. Unless we are all considered Human, none of us truly are. Unless we are all willing to fight for the Rights of each and every one of us, none of us should ever consider our own Rights secure. You can do worse in life than trusting in God’s love and judgement for each of us in our time, so trust in God, treat each person the way you wish to be treated and go from there.”

      I remember coming to the same conclusion around the time of the Civil Rights Act. I wished with all my heart that we could appreciate each person for the unique individual God created each of us to be.

      I thought the same thing when we spoke of women’s liberation because it was quite clear to me that men needed liberation too from the kinds of things that result in the oppression of women.

      For a while, there the women’s movement and the LGBT movement worked for hand in hand to liberate all humans from the various oppressions until the women’s movement through the LGBT movement under the bus in the attempt to get the ERA passed. I feel thaa this was a HUGE mistake, but I can’t change history.

      But I can say this. God created us to be unique individuals. When we embrace God’s intention for us and realize it within our lives, we are liberated.

      Over the centuries, the Bible has been interpreted with an agenda and it is still being interpreted that way. There is what the Bible says in the original languages and then there is what the Bible has been interpreted to say.

  25. As someone who identifies as SSA, I think the author’s intents are golden, and some of his points indeed on the money. However I think too that there is a movement afoot to strike the entire concept of SSA from the archives of LGBT Christians and non-Christians alike. And that is where I step off of the bus. For whatever reason the assumption is that those of us who use that term primarily rather than identifying as gay or lesbian etc. are doing so because we hate ourselves. At least for this “struggler” that is not the case.

    And I think he is attempting to speak to a very right idea of being more inclusive, which I agree with, while not realizing that inclusion does not mean we have to endorse all aspects of the LGBT life and lifestyle–I separate the words because there is a part of me I do not choose–and that is the feelings–and another part I definitely choose, as does every heterosexual on the planet also–and that is the behavior. Part of the problem that muddies the waters is not separating the two.

    However I choose to identify in regards to my sexuality, my first and foremost identification must be with Christ and His Church. That does not mean I have to agree with all decisions that are made or words that are spoken (unless ex cathedra or Magisterial) but I do have to agree with that which is the universal teaching of the Church and Bible. The very term “same sex attraction” is what awakened in me the hope that there was a different way that being either “gay for life” or slowly torturing myself with futile attempts to be “ex gay.” Tried and failed that one BTW. And that is part of what kills people.

    We are often held to a standard that OSA (opposite sex attracted) Christians are not, and when we fail we are quickly placed on the chopping block. That is one of the areas where the author hits the hammer squarely on the head. But to pretend that my only struggles come from others who persecute me is not correct either. My own sinful nature does pretty well at that too. And not just in the areas of sexuality. The truth is, we are, or should be, each all on the journey towards wholeness. And we all have a long ways to go, gay or straight, SSA or OSA. We are missing the point if we think that changing the terminology is the only battle out there.

    • Richard G. Evans, you make some important points that I agree with. I don’t, however, understand the distinction you make between SSA and ifentifying as gay., No doubt this is because I am a straight woman. I would very like to understand the distinction you see. From my possibly limited POV to identify as SSA is to say one is gay or Lesbian, or bi.

      You wrote “We are often held to a standard that OSA (opposite sex attracted) Christians are not, and when we fail we are quickly placed on the chopping block. ”

      I think any of us who are not straight, white males are familiar with that chopping block. Women have been marginalized throughout history, of course white women have been less marginalized than WOC.

      “The truth is, we are, or should be, each all on the journey towards wholeness. ” AMEN. I suggest the only way we can ever approach wholeness is by the embrace our God-given identities. God chose to create each of us as it delighted God to so create us. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

      • First, to address your point of “white man privilege,” it certainly exists. But I believe it is important to note as well that those of us growing up feeling for whatever reason less “manly,” and thus being called by some ugly names or being snubbed in other ways, identify at least somewhat less with other white males than most. So at least to some extent I have felt the wrath and pain of not being quite as much a part of that privilege.

        Having said that, as to the distinction between identifying as “gay” or SSA, I do not ultimately identify as either, as I mentioned. I identify as a child/man of God–my core self is in Christ through the Church (I happen to be Roman Catholic, but know of numerous others who, as I do, find the LGBT label a true pigeon hole). I also shared that the self-identification of LGBT with a community that I have limited connections to is not great, at least for me, for a healthy sense of self-worth. The idea of SSA is meant to be something I have and not based on who I am. The LGBT tag is suggestive of that which is at the core of my being. That is why it is important to me, and why, as the author correctly states, is used in most Roman Catholic documents on the subject. What or who we are inclined to sexually does not define me, nor should it. Saying I am a “gay Christian,” as if that is somehow relevant to my walk with Christ one way or another, does define. I do not condemn or judge those who view it otherwise, and the author, who I must admit some disappointment in due to his lack of response here, very rightly gets the fact that the SSA terminology can do the very thing we are attempting to avoid by using it, and that would be again that self-identification based upon our sexuality. Where I disagree with him is that so does the LGBT and other lettered labels that some, even celibate Christians, choose to wear proudly. Neither heterosexual or homosexual feelings are a cause for pride or shame. Both can be, if misused.

        Put another way, to say I have SSA is similar in my mind to saying I have blue eyes or 5 fingers. It is a indeed part of my makeup–but it is not me. Hopefully that helps. And, again, the author truly gets the fact that the shame and attacks upon actively LGBT or SSA persons in our society, and particularly within the Church, help no one and harm many. I do not need to be “fixed” or repaired by some dubious therapy as much as to be included as part of the greater Church family. And that inclusion must reach beyond a tepid hello before or after Mass or Sunday services. That is where the true healing begins for all of us. And on that the author and I strongly agree. All in all I may see some parts differently but deeply appreciate his views and attitude. And invite his response, although I know this has been a very long thread to manage! Thanks for your thoughts, Gloriamarie!

        • Richard G Evans, thank you for taking the time out of your holiday to answer my questions.

          It oo consider my identity to be the person God created me to be. There are various ways I could tag myself. I’ve spoken in the past about certain issues and struggles and they have contributed to my autobiography and have influenced the way I see myself sitting in God’s cupped hands. But the root of my identity, the deepest core of it is that I live my life within the cupped hands of God.

  26. Thanks, John. As a transgender Christian, I think you got it exactly right. According to the 2015 National Transgender Survey, only 20% of American trans people identify as Christian. I am absolutely convinced that that is not because they’ve rejected Christ, it’s because “Christians” have rejected us. When I came out and began transition, I lost a dear friend (along with several less dear) because I was some horrible abomination unfit to be seen by her kids. My kids lost their friends (her kids). It was a difficult, extremely vulnerable time, and it was something I did to end the psychic pain I suffered and to survive. I almost lost my faith because of the way other Christians treated me after I began transition. Ultimately I came back to it, stronger than ever, because I knew that what I did, I did simply to survive, and because I found verses like Isa. 56:3-5. Now, I am much happier. My relationships with my kids improved almost immediately after I transitioned, and we are really close to this day. I’m much more available, healthier, and happier. I’m a Christian in spite of how other Christians treat me, not because of it – and because of Christians like you. Keep up the good race!

    • {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Seda}}}}}}}}}}} I am thankful that you have found this peace and happiness. The truth really does set us free to experience peace and happiness, doesn’t it?

  27. Thank the Lord, that there are those who love the truth and God enough to be honest about God’s call repent and turn away from sin (including the sin of homosexuality), and to turn to His love and truth, so that God’s love and power can not only forgive and cleanse, but also destroy the bondage in the human heart to sin, and set such a person completely free!

    The supernatural power of God cannot come to free us from sin, until we first agree with God, and confess the sin honestly before Him.

    The truth will make you free, if you embrace it completely, and fill your heart with it, to overflowing!

    • L, Whenever I am confronted with homophobia such as yours, I wonder which of the following applies:

      1) Is the homophobic man afraid of being raped by a gay man even though there is no evidence that gay men go around raping straight men.

      If this is the case, it is difficult for me to garner any sympathy as we women are afraid of being raped since we are about twelve and in all of the millennia of human existence, heterosexual men have yet to cease to rape women.

      2) How deep in the closet is the homophobe? How terrified is he to admit he is gay?

      Let the light of God’s truth about you pierce the darkness that binds you and allow it to set you free.

      If we believe God doesn’t make mistakes and that God it is love and that God made humanity in God’s image, then it stands to reason that if God created someone to be homosexual, then it must have been because it delighted God to do so.

      God is love and God wants us to love our neighbors for the person it delighted God to create. We are to love all as ourselves exactly as God first loved us. When Jesus commands us to love this way, He does not have a list of exceptions, footnotes, or a list of appendices to justify denying love to someone. He commands us to love all.

  28. Thank you for writing what many of us have thought.
    I know my struggle was not with God, but those around me. I was raised pentacostal. I was a regular church goer and worked at the family Christian bookstore. I knew I was different probably about age 6 or 7. Didn’t learn that my difference was bad until about age 13. I spent the next 4 or 5 years trying to pray away the gay. Sometimes crying myself to sleep at night begging God to change me.
    When I was about 17 and a senior in high school, one Sunday an elder began speaking in tongues. Pastor stood up to interpret. It went a little something like this. “We will over come the evils of the world. We will overcome the drunkards, and we will over come the addicts, and the murderers, and the homosexuals….”. You can insert dizzying music here, because at that moment my world stopped.
    All I could think was why do we need to “overcome” these people. Shouldn’t we be loving them and spreading the good news. That was the last service I ever attended at that church, because it hit me. God wasn’t ignoring my prayers…he had already answered them. At that moment I was filled with peace, my burden was lifted, and I accepted my true self. I was no longer going to lie to myself and others. And speaking of lying…I found out the speaking and interpreting of tongues at that church was staged, when my cousin refused a position as elder because he was told he would be required to speak tongues. For those not familiar, speaking and interpreting tongues is to be a gift that manifests when the holy spirit moves through a person….not a staged show.
    To me it reiterated the acceptance of myself, because I was no longer lying to myself and others, when the church leadership was lying to their flock constantly by staging miracles.

  29. A couple of years ago my cousin came out, shortly after his 40th birthday. I knew at the time he was having some issues in his life, but was totally surprised when he told me he was gay. We sat and chatted for an hour or so afterward, and he relayed to me his struggles. He knew from an early age he was attracted to men, but we grew up in a conservative baptist church, and therefore being gay wasn’t an option for him. He said he prayed for a long time before he finally came out, and felt God lead him to do so. He seems genuinely happy, and many of his friends congratulate him regularly on social media for living “his truth.”

    Left in the wake of his happiness, though, is the ruins of his ten year marriage, and an ex-wife who’s life was completely shattered. He gained his happiness by sacrificing hers. I find it difficult to reconcile his belief that God wanted him to be happy and true to himself, knowing that said happiness came at the expense of someone else, a loving and devoted wife who had her life suddenly pulled out from under her. While people were applauding him for living his truth with his new boyfriend, she was crying herself to self to sleep every night and trying to pick up the pieces of the life he’d turned upside down when he left her for someone else.

    You wrote a piece a few weeks back about the god you no longer believe in. Since you seem to be engaging with commenters on this post, I’m curious if you believe in a god that would tell someone to gain their happiness at someone else’s expense. I accept that there is a great deal I will never understand about God whilst I still walk the earth. We, as humans, are not created with the ability to fully grasp the motives and actions of an omnipotent, omniscient God, and I don’t intend to try to fit Him into a box that I can make sense of. I find it hard, though, and in fact nearly impossible, to believe He just wants people to be happy if it means stealing the happiness away from someone else in order to achieve it. That, to me, doesn’t square with either the Old or New Testaments. I don’t believe his coming out should be celebrated, given how deeply he wounded his wife in doing so. I think if he’d left her for a younger woman, rather than a younger man, the same people cheering him on now wouldn’t even think of offering their congratulations. Why is that?

    • Mr. Gaster, I know you addressed your questions to John but your words bring up good questions.

      As a woman whose 1st husband left her for another woman, I can assure you that I feel my hurt was just as painful as anyone else’s whose marriage ended for the same reason, man or woman. How do we measure each person’s pain? Every act of adultery causes someone else pain.

      Adultery is mentioned 80+ times in the Bible and 2 times in the 10 Commandments. I take that to mean it was very important to those who wrote those words. Yet, contrary to other Commandments like stealing or killing if there are laws against it I do not know of anyone jailed for that offense. I think some people might have lost their jobs if it was a big enough scandal. Yet I feel adultery has been met with wink and a nod for decades if not centuries. Why is that?

      Adultery does cause pain and hurt for the families and friends involved. People have even been killed because of adultery. We elect Presidents who are adulterers. Newt Gingrich and a few other Republicans were committing adultery at the same time they were throwing stones at Clinton. So are we giving a blessing to that mortal sin to everyone or just some?

      As to the other aspect of your post, this is my opinion, and my opinion only – I think what causes a person to be disordered (I am using Joe C’s word with a different meaning) is to expect them to act and feel something different than what they are meant to be. Each person is different and that is as it should be. We all have desires for different things and if they are not done in a hurtful or harmful thing we have the right to be who we are. No matter how long and hard I prayed I could not change you into someone who is attracted to other men if that is not who you are. No matter how long and hard you prayed you could not make me enjoy eating liver or other organ meats.

      Would you want someone you truly love to feel “disordered” or marginalized for who and what they are? Your words speak to me that you are a kind and thoughtful person.

      Peace Mr. Gaster

    • Okay, Mr. Gaster, I’m not Pastor John, but I’ll give this a shot.

      I don’t believe God led him to ‘come out’ as gay. He was gay and he was in a heterosexual commitment. He wanted out of that commitment so he created this metaphysical mechanism (God’s permission) with which he could forgive himself for breaking his Marriage Vows.

      I don’t fault him for acknowledging his sexual orientation. I do fault him for abandoning his wife and not carrying for the trauma she was going through. As much as any one-fault divorce, he was responsible for her emotional well-being. She did nothing wrong. She didn’t violate her vows to him. She didn’t force him to sever their bonds. She is not accountable to the societal pressures which forced him to live a lie. All the fault lays with him.

      Put it this way ~ how would his friends and family feel if he’d left his wife and immediately moved on to a new girlfriend (if this is indeed what happened)? If you hold marriage to be in some degree sacred, he abandoned his partner, violating his vows. He should be held accountable for the damage he has wrought.

      The truth is if we want to treat all sexual orientations as equal, we have to hold them all to the same standards.

    • Bruton, I feel for his wife. It must be terrible and I hope she is comforted. In my view I can’t judge if it could have been worked out differently because I don’t know the people. I agree that God hates divorce because it tears lives apart even when there is abuse, even when there is no love, even when someone is living a lie about their sexuality. Many people divorce for many reasons and not all LGBT people who come out leave their spouses right away or leave them at all. Every story is different.

      If anything the culture we live in has made strict unyielding rules about cohabitation which actually make it more difficult for people in arrangements like marriage to work things out amicably.

      I am also reminded of what it says in the Bible about sin. We are judged individually not corporately. So if you think a gay man is sinning– whatever sin that may be– it is not a reflection of all LGBT people.

    • Bruton, thank you for a very thoughtful and sincere piece. I doubt most people will not understand what you’re saying, and please don’t be surprise if they attack and denigrate you for your valid questions.

      Thomas

    • Wouldn’t there be a double standard though ? What if he was miserable having to live in a seemingly loveless marriage to keep his wife happy if he was miserable. Would you congratulate her happiness at his expense ?

    • I’m not John, but I am a seminary trained pastor and I think that you are blaming the wrong person here, I don’t think that God is involved in this scenario aside from the fact that God is there, walking beside everyone involved in the story, those walking in joy and those doubled over in deep pain.

      The folks to be “blamed” are those who made your cousin feel that he had to deny who he was all those many years and marry a woman. The culture of your family that pressured him to fit in. Such that he involved the feelings of another human being in the lie he obviously believed that he had to live.

      I also think that you are adding a bias to the story to garner favor for the “abandoned spouse.” The age of his partner shouldn’t be a matter in this, you use it to cloud the situation.

      As to the former wife, hopefully, he didn’t just abandon her and move on. If he did that is upon him and has nothing to do with his sexual orientation or “what God wanted.” I would hope that he didn’t and that all of her family, on both sides, former in-laws and her biological family have gathered around her for comfort, to love her and ease her current pain. Hopefully, this to will pass and she is able to pick up and move on, perhaps to meet someone who is choosing to marry her for all the right reasons.

    • Mr. Gaster, I forgot to mention one important thing. After my 1st husband left, it took me 3 years to get myself back together. But on the other side I found love.

      It is good that you have such compassion for the pain your cousin’s wife feels right now. But just maybe, which she gets past this, she will find a man who can love her with everything he has – someone who loves her the way she deserves to be loved.

      I have the same hope for your cousin.

      Peach

  30. I find comfort here because as swingers we have been denied membership in a church. That was wrong. I find nothing in the Bible about that. Am I right? And, I fully support LGBT!

  31. That is exactly how I described myself for most of my life. “I struggle with same-sex attraction”. Having been raised in a very conservative family and church, being gay just wasn’t an ‘option’ for me. I lived with self-hatred and depression for most of my adult life. For many, many years, I prayed for God to ‘heal me’ of my ‘abominable’ sexual desires. At 54 years old, after a 30-year marriage to a woman, I finally accepted that I was gay. I am now divorced and living in peace with myself and my God and the freedom to be my true self. Finding the Gay Christian Network and becoming involved with this wonderful organization, was life-changing. They helped me to reconcile my faith and my sexuality.

  32. I no longer care who you are, how educated, rich, popular or powerful you are, if you are using the Bible as a weapon against only “some sins” you are not worshiping God, you are just claiming God is on your side in a discussion you had with yourself. And that is NOT how it works.

    As we say in the South, “there are some Christians who are gonna bust hell wide open.” Whether that Hell is just separation from God or a literal soul roasting for eternity, those who weaponize God are gonna pay for such harmful hubris.

  33. A worthy piece of comment John. I am not going to utter a long response. All I will say is that as a gay man I have never been comfortable with organised religion and have had a life unfulfilled due to oppression in society at large, one that fails to grasp the essence of love needed by all x

  34. There seems to be a conflation of biological gender, gender identity and sexual orientation. These are three separate issues. It’s understandable that someone with a cis-heterosexual identity who is not educated in such areas would form a mental amalgamation of the 3, since the vast majority of members of our species are cis-heterosexual. I’d like to offer some evidence that they are different & they are not choices.
    First off: genetic/biological gender is NOT as simple as male/female. On a genetic level, what would you call someone with Turner’s syndrome (XO genotype), half a female? Because technically a “female” is XX. What about Klinefelter syndrome (XXY)? Jacob’s syndrome (XYY)? How about someone who is a true hermaphrodite and is a genetic mosaic of XX/XY? They have both male and female genitalia. What would you call them? These are NOT hypothetical examples. These are real people. Human beings. They could be your friend or your sibling or your child. How about someone with testicular feminization syndrome? They’re genetically male (XY), but have female bodies because they don’t make testosterone receptors (embryologically we are default females). How about a female with congenital adrenal hyperplasia? Their genitalia becomes masculinized by the excessive androgens they make due to an enzyme defect. Or how about the Guevedoce males who are born as females only to have their genitalia masculinize at puberty? Genetic/biological gender is NOT cut and dried. Sorry if that doesn’t fit the Christian narrative, but this is the case in reality. Real people. Human beings. It’s not a binary. You’re wrong if you think it is.

    Next, let’s look at gender identity. Again, most people are CIS- when it comes to their biology and their gender identity. However, there are exceptions. A disproportionate number of girls (XX genotype) with the aforementioned adrenogenital syndrome, for example, act and feel like they’re boys even after early “corrective” surgeries as babies. In fact, people born with ambiguous genitalia for whatever reason have a higher likelihood of transgender identity issues even after corrective surgeries as infants and being raised as their assigned/genetic sex. Couldn’t something more subtle also be occurring with transgender people devoid of any morphological abnormalities? Yep. Sorry if that doesn’t fit the narrative. It’s what actually happens though. Native Americans have described two spirited males and two spirited females that we would consider transgender in western culture. Other historical examples include the Hijra in Southeast Asia. Trans people were documented in Ancient Greece and Rome. So transgender identity is NOT just some modern construct. It doesn’t fit the narrative but it is what happens in reality to real human beings who are fully worthy of our love, compassion and acceptance. It’s not a choice. You’re just plain wrong if you think so.

    Finally, sexual orientation is NOT a choice. There a multiple lines of evidence that converge on that conclusion. First: ASK ANY HOMOSEXUAL WHO HASN’T BEEN BROW BEATEN AND SHAMED BY RELIGION. They’ll tell you. But if actually listening to a homosexual person won’t suffice, there are rock solid identical and fraternal twin studies verified by multi-variant regression analysis. There are neuroanatomical and neurophysiological studies showing activation of the hypothalamus (controls reproductive behaviors) by the olfactory system. In heterosexual males and homosexual females it is activated by estrogen in urine. In heterosexual females and homosexual males it is activated by testosterone in sweat. There are also size differences between heterosexuals and homosexuals in the hypothalamic nuclei involved in sexuality, namely the suprachiasmic nucleus and the interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus. There is also data that supports an epigenetic contribution to sexual orientation- for example: when a female fetus is exposed to excessive androgens or a male fetus is deprived of them, there is a higher probability of a homosexual orientation. Or boys born to mothers who were pregnant during times of severe psychological and/or physical stress, are more likely to be homosexual, due to excessive levels of maternal cortisol suppressing testosterone levels in utero. A dramatic example of this phenomenon was the statistically significant excess of homosexual males born to mothers who were pregnant in the German bombing of Great Britain during World War II. Again, I’m sorry if it doesn’t fit the narrative, BUT ITS NOT A CHOICE. You’re wrong if you think so.

    But a deeper more poignant question is, what if it WAS all a choice? (it’s not) How are YOU harmed? (You’re not). Why does it matter to you? Because of what some warrior goat herders from the Bronze Age thought? People who thought disease was caused by demons (it’s not), the sun revolved around the earth (it doesn’t) and a women’s menstrual blood tainted her spirit (it doesn’t)? Biological gender, gender identity and a homosexual orientation do not equal sexual immorality out of the shoot. How those facets are deployed is what possibly could be immoral if harm is caused. Remember, CIS-heterosexuality can also be deployed immorally too, if harm is caused. Aye chihuahua! the facts that we’re still having this conversation in 2017 & people still condemn our fellow LGBTQ brothers and sisters (and those who don’t fit in either those 2 boxes) bewilders me to no end.

    • Sexual acts are certainly choices, unless some form of rape or assault is involved.

      And what we believe, or how we act on those beliefs are certainly choices we make.
      Feelings do not determine right or wrong. For the believer in Christ, the Bible determines this.

      https://youtu.be/-3Mtgj5R2Qk

      • LP, I agree that every sexual act is a choice, but I do not agree that same sex attraction is. I can no more make myself choose to be attracted to a woman than I can make myself a zebra.

        Genetic science has proven to the satisfaction of those of us who trust the human mind and science, that homosexuality is not a choice but a genetic event, just like being left-handed or red-haired, beautiful or gifted. To say that anyone would choose something that gets them shunned, excluded, vilified and even killed, defies logic.

        The problem some religious sects have is that they rank sin and chose the ones to be persecuted and the Bible does not do that, Jesus did not do that, so where does that “authority” come from? The hubris of man. You are known as much, maybe more, for the sins you ignore as the sins you seek to punish.

        Expecting homosexuals to remain celibate for life so they will not “sin” is no more rational than asking heterosexual people to do so. AND no one even discusses punishing, excluding, or using the force of law against heterosexuals for their sexual “morality.” If you cannot see the bigotry, and still believe it is a sin to be homosexual, at least try to see the deeply unfair efforts to rank sin and punish only one kind. Because that is most assuredly a choice and it is not fulfilling the commandment to love.

        • The Church asks heterosexuals who are unmarried to remain celibate. There are many times when celibacy is force on a heterosexual, such as being unable to find a spouse, illness of a spouse, desertion by a spouse, etc.

          Heterosexual attractions outside of a marriage must be resisted.

          The Church does not “rank” sin in the sense that homosexuals have been singled out. It seems that way because this issue has been forced by those who after 2,000 years are now declaring it to be acceptable in the eyes of God.

          In my Church, which is far from being “a religious sect,” there are many heterosexual sins which must be avoided including lust, use of contraception, adultery, fornication, pornography, abortion, etc. Note that if any “ranking” is done, “abortion” is the worst of the crimes because it unjustly takes another life.

          So take heart. If a Catholic fornicates or uses contraception or commits adultery, it can send him or her to Hell just as much as it can to the Catholic man who makes love to another man. The heterosexual sinner is not left off the hook.

          I don’t see that in the other Christian churches that there is an effort to only pay attention to the homosexual sin and ignore the heterosexual sins. Once again it seems that way to you because you are forcing the issue on them and because they are being persecuted for resisting changing their doctrine in order to make friends with the world.

            • John, did you by some chance omit the word “no?”

              While Joe C may say that the church doesn’t rank sin, Joe C clearly does consider abortion and homosexuality as the worst possible sins.

          • Joe, your need to respond is so strong you miss the entire point. And you are far from being honest.

            It is just not true that heterosexual sins are treated the same as what you all see as homosexual sin. It is just not true. The people who lie, cheat, lust, use contraception, commit adultery, fornication, pornography, and even abortion are all still welcomed into the church and the church hierarchy. No Bishops are publicly denying them communion. No “Christian” has refused them a marriage license. No dogma calls for their civil rights to be ignored or denied.

            You may still be allowed here for some strange reason, but you are not one iota more honest or in touch with reality.

            • Thank you for your comments, but I have to disagree with you regarding my “honestly,” in spite of the fact that you have someone following you who loves when you criticize posters.

              I post what I post in good faith. And regarding the “strange reason” I am allowed to post–you’ll have to contact the blog host about that. I suspect that he doesn’t have the same problem you do regarding a diversity of ideas being expressed here.

              Regarding the Catholic faith, sexual sins that heterosexual Catholics commit are not given any special consideration. All are welcome to the Catholic Church and if one is in a “state of sin” he or she is still welcome and encouraged to go to Mass and be part of the community, but to abstain from receiving Holy Communion until their situation is rectified.

              • As usual Joe, you are not being honest. I do not “criticize” all posters. In fact, I work at ignoring a good bit of what you and some others post.

                You may claim all the “good faith” you like, I know better. You lie when you claim my problem with you is merely that I do not want “a diversity of ideas being expressed here.” I have told you over and over and over that your repeated use of other identities and deliberate baiting of Gloriamarie are the reasons I do not respect your POV or your “good faith.” Too little, too late.

                You admit that “sexual sins that heterosexual Catholics commit are not given any special consideration” yet you KNOW that sexual sins of homosexuals are. Conceding my point as you deny it…brilliant.

                I never said that anyone was unwelcome to the Catholic Church, but the sin of homosexuality is treated differently at every level and we all know it. It is in many sects of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. (At least you all have that in common) So is the sin of being liberal and not condemning women who have an abortion.

                And from the Church of “storing up riches,” abuse and malignant control that is saying something.

                Do keep digging!

  35. Regardless of whether LGBTQ people are sinners or not sinners, the primary thing that concerns me is that Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches, their pastors, and their church members are not satisfied to just say: “You are a sinner and you need to repent of being LGBTQ.” It goes much, much, much farther than that. They have, in effect, declared all-out war against LGBTQ people across the United States in a clear pattern where they are at war against both the sin and the sinner. It is a war of hatred—plain and simple—and it is aimed at denying LGBTQ people basic civil rights. Moreover, it is a premeditated war of discrimination against and persecution of LGBTQ people. It is clear to me—with no doubt whatsoever in my mind and heart—that people who claim to be Christians hate LGBTQ people with a perfect hatred—and they are willing to fully embrace any method, approach, tool, or mechanism necessary to make LGBTQ people as miserable as possible and destroy both them and there lives here on this earth.

    Rarely have I ever seen such outright viciousness, and it clearly flows from the Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches, their pastors, and their parachurch minions on the so-called Religious Right in the United States. They deny such hatred up and down while their swords are openly drawn against LGBTQ people and pressing against their throats in ways that any innocent, by-standing American citizen onlooker can plainly see. I am tired of watching this non-Jesus-like hypocrisy and so are many other ordinary Americans with no particular ax to grind. So, I have a warning to the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals who are engaging in this nationwide orgy of hatred and persecution. The American people in general will not tolerate this behavior from you much longer. When you set out to overtly hurt and destroy people, which is exactly what you are doing, you are eventually going to reap what you have sown. It is a basic Bible principle, and it is a basic principle of history and revolution. The pendulum almost always swings back the other way. The infliction of persecution on LGBTQ people will result in that same level of persecution being turned on you—and when it is—Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals in this country will lose what little power they still have left, few people will take your witnessing seriously anymore, and you will find yourselves much more marginalized than you ever were before—and believe me—you people ain’t got much margin left to spare. Your failure to love your LGBTQ neighbors as much as yourselves and treat them kindly and decently SHALL come back to haunt you. Mark my word. A day of reckoning for your own evil is headed your way—and your swords and arrows will be plunged into your own hearts (Psalms 37).

    • Charles, I agree with you and I would add one small note, that as more and more LGBTQ people come out, loud and proud, every family will realize this affects them and theirs, and won’t stand for it. I know many people who were on the LGBTQ community’s side but not so vocal until a daughter, son, brother etc. came out and then they became very active and vocal. This is happening everywhere and the Religious Right are going to loose in the long term for their meanness. Peace and Love,

      • Hi Kathleen. You and your husband are two of the people I trust most on this blog. I need your help with something. I am eligible for Medicare for the first time on September 1, just a few months away, and tomorrow I begin my research on what to sign up for and what not to sign up for. I have done some very mild preliminary research, and the whole thing looks monolithic, complex, foreboding, and daunting. I have tons of insurance salesmen ringing my phone off the wall and filling my snail mail box full of Medicare Supplement Insurance offers, many of which I feel sure are scams by assorted charlatans and snake oil salesmen—problem is–I cannot tell which are scams and which are on the level. To put it mildly, I am FRIGHTENED by the prospect of signing up for Medicare and scared to death that I am going to make a “wrong move” I will end up regretting and find myself in some terrible old age bankruptcy place because of it. As a fellow United Methodist, I was wondering if I could kindly ask you and your husband some simple questions that can get me started off on the right foot. Given your ages, I know that you must be very experienced with Medicare by now. If I were to give you my e-mail address, and John Pavlovitz will kindly let me do that here, could I ask you some questions in private by e-mail about Medicare sign up and Medicare itself—one Christian to another—so I can feel on more secure ground.

        For example, one Medicare Supplement Insurance salesman told me that I need to be VERY CAREFUL about signing up for Medicare Supplement Insurance that will pay for most of the 20 percent of costs Medicare does not cover. He said that most really-for-real and on-the-level Medicare Supplement Insurance policies are usually economical, affordable for old people on fixed incomes, and specifically designed to do nothing else but cover that 20 percent—and that annual premium costs would rise very little over time. He was a private broker trying to sell me a Mutual of Omaha policy. Now. Here is the BEWARE he warned me about. He said that salesmen who work for the BIG Insurance companies like United Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Humana, Blue-Cross-Blue Shield, etc. like to SNOOKER unwary old people into buying highly expensive, full-blown insurance policies (like the ones corporations provide to their workers as part of their benefits plans) to cover that 20 percent that Medicare does not pay. So, an old person on Medicare would not be signing up for true Medicare Supplement Insurance but rather for a regular, full-blown insurance policy with very high premiums—and the premiums will skyrocket over time just like ordinary health insurance always does—because in fact— it is ordinary health insurance. He said the major health insurance companies try to “trick” old age Medicare recipients into thinking they are signing up for a Medicare Supplement Insurance policy when they are really signing up for a regular health insurance policy designed to drain a person’s life savings dry and enrich the major healthcare insurance companies.

        I have questions like that one—and far more simple questions than that one that I know you could answer for me. Would you be willing to give me some tips and answer my questions by e-mail—starting tomorrow. My e-mail address is tcbkjbbrown@comcast.net. Thanks and God bless you Kathleen–because I really am frightened right now.

        • There may be even worse in store for the elderly in the USA> I have not seen even a hint of this story in the US papers.

          “Donald Trump considers dropping heating benefit to leave low-income Americans out in the cold
          “President argues, erroneously, that utilities companies will not cut customers off in dead of winter.

          “President Donald Trump has proposed eliminating heating aid for low-income Americans, claiming it’s no longer necessary and rife with fraud. People needn’t worry about being left in the cold, he says, because utilities cannot cut off customers in the dead of winter.

          “But he is wrong on all counts.”

          You may read the rest of the article here
          http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world-0/donald-trump-heating-benefit-allowance-aid-cuts-low-income-americans-pensioners-cold-winter-a7822021.html

            • The NY Times also reported this heinous idea yesterday, Robin.

              “The increase in preventable and unnecessary deaths will be unheard of in recent times!”

              Yup. If this administration votes out these programs and votes for the AHCA in its present form, there will be a huge mortality rate. Even among the supporters of the GOP.

    • I agree with you completely, Charles, even as I beg you for the mercy of paragraph breaks. LOL

      What gets to me is the prurient voyeurism. It is simply indecent to be so obsessed with how other people live their lives.

      What gets to be is the blatant refusal to listen to Jesus who tells us to stop paying attention to what other people might be doing wrong and to pay attention to one’s own sins.

      It is the height of dysfunction to continual rub someone’s face in something the one who rubs considered nasty. It is abusive. It is violent. It is an act of hate.

      It never works. It is perhaps the most futile approach. But it is the choice of bullies who as we all know, are over-compensating for their own personal cowardice.

      The louder and more strident is the homophobia, the more convinced I became that homophobes are actually gay people terrified to come out of the closet because they know they will reap what they have sown. Their tribe will turn on them and subject them to this ugliness.

  36. Can Fr. James Martin’s bridge hold up?
    by Jamie Manson | Jul. 5, 2017 Grace on the Margins

    Book review of:
    BUILDING A BRIDGE: HOW THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE LGBT COMMUNITY CAN ENTER INTO A RELATIONSHIP OF RESPECT, COMPASSION, AND SENSITIVITY
    By James Martin

    Published by HarperOne, 160 pages, $19.99

    At first blush, Jesuit Fr. James Martin’s latest publication, Building a Bridge, looks like a storybook. If a book can be judged by its cover, the nicely-bound hardback’s brevity, compact size and magnified font certainly gives its desired impression of accessibility and welcome. Unfortunately, for some Catholics, particularly longtime LGBT activists, certain sections may also read like fiction.

    It was a real-life horror story that galvanized Martin to write this manuscript. Just weeks after the massacre of 49 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, he was offered the Bridge Building award from New Ways Ministry, a longtime Catholic advocacy and ministry organization for LGBT Catholics and their families. Building a Bridge is an expansion of his acceptance speech.

    The heart of the book is its 72 page reflection on the catechism’s teaching that gays and lesbians should be treated with “respect, compassion, and sensitivity.” Martin expands on the teaching to include transgender people. He urges church leaders to act on this doctrine, but, in an interesting twist, also exhorts members of the LGBT community to treat the hierarchy with the same respect, compassion, and sensitivity.

    Part of what motivated Martin to accept the Bridge Building Award was the inadequate response offered by Catholic bishops to the Pulse tragedy. “Although many church leaders expressed both horror and sorrow, only a handful of the more than 250 Catholic bishops used the words gay or LGBT,” Martin writes. “I found this revelatory.”

    That Martin found the bishops’ silence revelatory may say more about the excessiveness of Martin’s optimism than it does the limitations of the bishops’ pastoral capacities. After all, these church leaders were reared on the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s 1986 “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,” which instructed them to not “be surprised” when advances in gay rights led to increased anti-gay violence:

    [W]hen homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.
    Martin is hardly the first Catholic, nor the first Jesuit, to write about the LGBT experience in the church. But he may be the first to write about the topic from such a privileged position inside the institutional church. “In my life as a Jesuit, I have met many cardinals, archbishops, and bishops,” Martin writes. “Quite a few I consider friends. All the ones I’ve met are kind, hardworking, and prayerful men, many of whom have been very kind to me personally.”

    His remarkable access to church leaders prompts him to make one of the boldest claims in the book:

    Many in the institutional church want to reach out to [the LGBT] community, but seem somewhat confused about how to do so. Yes, I know it seems that there are some who don’t seem to want to reach out, but all the bishops I know are sincere in their desire for true pastoral outreach.
    There are a lot of “seems” in those two sentences, and they seem to suggest that LGBT Catholics, in their lack of access to the power center of the church, are simply ignorant of what’s really going on in the hearts of these men.

    Martin’s claim strains under the weight of evidence to the contrary. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has reaffirmed as its top priority for 2017-2020 the defense of traditional marriage and the defense of religious freedom. Both of those well-oiled, politically charged campaigns seek to deny LGBT individuals and couples rights to benefits, adoptions, and workplace protections. Catholic high schools continue to fire LGBT teachers because bishops threaten to remove the school’s canonical status if they don’t.

    In February of this year, many bishops gathered at the National Catholic Bioethics Center Conference to discuss the problem of “transgenderism” and strategies to counter its growing influence.

    Most recently, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, who famously held an exorcism in November 2013 after marriage equality was legalized in Illinois, issued a directive denying all Catholics in same-sex marriages access to the Eucharist, participation in liturgies, and even Christian burial.

    Of course, these bishops may not be friends of Martin. But in the face of these injustices, most of those other bishops remain silent, and their silence sounds a lot more like collusion than it does confusion. Even if a bishop is sympathetic to LGBT concerns, very often his superiors and largest benefactors are not, and LGBT people are simply not worth the risk of speaking out.

    There is, of course, a deeper and more personal risk at stake for many bishops and priests when faced with LGBT issues. That is, many of them are gay. Martin does his best to acknowledge this reality, but gets caught in a Catch-22.

    “There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of holy and hardworking gay clergy, and gay and lesbian members of religious orders, who live out their promises of celibacy and vows of chastity and help to build up the church,” Martin writes. Yet, just pages later, he claims that “one reason the institutional church has struggled with sensitivity is that … many church leaders still do not know many gay and lesbian people.”

    Perhaps sensing the furrowed brows of his readers, Martin then admits, “The temptation is to smile and say that church leaders do know people who are gay: priest and bishops who are not public about their homosexuality. But my point is a larger one. Many church leaders do not know on a personal level, LGBT people who are public about their sexuality.”

    Is the answer, then, for the clergy to come out? Martin does not say. But he does call LGBT Catholics to greater compassion for their clerical leaders, whom, he says, “might be homosexual men who at a younger age were tortured by the same hateful attitudes that most LGBT people experienced growing up.”

    Citing a quote from Irish writer Colm Toíbín, Martin suggests that some priests entered the seminary because the prospect of “making a vow in holiness to never have sex with a woman offered you relief.” (Ironically, in trying to excuse the internalized homophobia of some priests, Martin may have inadvertently revealed one of the root causes of systemic misogyny among the clergy.)

    Martin should be applauded for speaking so forthrightly about the prevalence of gay men among the clergy, but he doesn’t really reckon with the fact that it is precisely the clerical closet that makes the hierarchy’s oppression of LGBT people so outrageous and intolerable. So many bishops and priests lie about their own sexualities, some even carry on same-sex relationships, while sitting in judgment over LGBT people who are trying to live their lives honestly.

    LGBT Catholics have been forced to bear with a stunning lack of transparency and truth on the part of their religious leaders, and yet, Martin believes that they should work to earn the clergy’s trust. He writes, “If you sincerely want to influence the church’s perspective on LGBT matters, it helps to earn the trust of the members of the hierarchy. One way to do that is by respecting them.”

    Recognizing that “in the institutional church, it is the hierarchy that operates from a position of power,” Martin says that “LGBT Catholics are called to treat those in power with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” because “those virtues express Christian love.” This might be possible if bishops and priests were truly naive about gay life and same-sex love, but the fact that so many of them know these realities so intimately makes their unjust actions not only hypocritical, but an abuse of power.

    Martin asks the LGBT community to give bishops “the gift of time — time to know each other.” But the movement to seek justice for LGBT people in the Catholic Church is nearly as old as the 1969 Stonewall riots. In that time, thousands of LGBT Catholics and their families have held vigils, witnessed outside cathedrals, and written thousands of letters, respectfully and in good faith, to bishops pleading for dialogue. Some of those letters received a dismissive response, many simply went unanswered.

    More than 40 years of struggle should have taught us by now that compassion, respect and sensitivity are not enough to bring about a truly just relationship between bishops and LGBT Catholics. Even with these three virtues in play, bishops still have the power to judge and negatively impact the lives of LGBT Catholics, while operating in secrecy and lying about their own sexualities. And LGBT Catholics are expected to bear their souls to their religious leaders and beg to be heard, while also, ultimately, remaining voiceless and officially condemned by their church.

    In Martin’s conclusion, he envisions a bridge that one day will be smooth enough to allow everyone to encounter one another easily. To trust in that bridge, he writes, “is also to trust that God desires reconciliation.”

    But for reconciliation to take place, it would require not simply compassion, respect and sensitivity, but a mutuality of vulnerability, self-disclosure, honesty and authenticity. Though it was probably not Martin’s intention, Building a Bridge shines a spotlight on just how radical the lack of mutuality is between LGBT Catholics and the bishops. As long as that imbalance persists, it’s hard to imagine how these roads can ever truly meet and how the bridge can possibly hold.

    [Jamie L. Manson is NCR books editor. She received her Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, where she studied Catholic theology and sexual ethics.]

    https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/grace-margins/can-fr-james-martins-bridge-hold

    • Hello Gloriamarie. I hope your day is blessed.

      This was an odd read. The author talks about building bridges between the LGBTQ Catholics and the Catholic Church while it is clear that many Bishops exclude LGBTQ Catholics, fire LGBTQ instructors from their schools, and the other Bishops are mute on this issue. Yet, he lists all of the things Bishops are doing to marginalized them.

      Can we have reconciliation with victims and a bully while a bully continues to hurt victims? This is what LGBTQ Catholics are being told to do. As long Bishops continues to deny compassion, respect and sensitivity, and instead actively harm and exclude LGBTQ Catholics, there can be no bridge.

      In the meantime I suggest they walk away from this abusive relationship. No one deserves this. It is clear that changing the church inside the system, which strips power away from the parishioners, will serve little.

      • Yes, Robin, I thought it was also odd. Fr. Martin is a popular voice these days, which is one reason I shared it. I also shared it because it is indicative of the state of the conversation at the moment.

        Too many demographics are second-class citizens, in my opinion, in both the RCC and EO. There is much that attracts me in the theology of EO, but as long as there are those of us who do not get to participate in the full life of the Church, I will stay in The Episcopal Church which, in my mind, represents the best of EO, RCC, and the Reformation.

  37. Dr. Michael Brown has wonderdul, honest, and accurate insights into the Bible’s (God’s) true position on sin in general, and homosexuality in particular, including what it means to “struggle with sin (including homosexuality),” as opposed to wilfully committing sin…

    https://youtu.be/-3Mtgj5R2Qk

      • …in addition to an Everest-sized moral superiority complex. He is an empathy-challenged individual who does not understand in the slightest any part of the LGBTQ experience. And he doesn’t care that he doesn’t understand. He’s more interested in telling us what our story is (the man has no idea how to listen). He is the epitome of the toxic, heartless, self-righteous, judgmental, vindictive Christianity that has the gall to declare itself the bearers of “unconditional love.” He’s a monster.

        • I listened to parts of Michael Brown’s You Tube presentation. His overall understanding of the Bible is poor as well—or more likely—he is a willful liar. Why? He conveniently skipped over other scriptures that contradict certain things he was saying. In my book, telling people the parts of an argument and conveniently leaving out the pieces that contradict one’s argument is a form of lying—particularly when Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals do it intentionally and willfully to trick people. That is bearing false witness about a subject under discussion—plain and simple in my book.

          But hey. The Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical movement got cozy with lies long ago. Recently, I have seen fundie Christians say, “So I lied. So what. We all do it?” Did Jesus say that? Does the Bible say that? No. I have recently read that it is okay to tell lies as long as you are telling them to support Jesus. I have never read that anywhere in the Bible—because it is not there. Recently, I read another article by a fundie who reached back into the Old Testament to seriously—and I do mean seriously—to make the argument that God hates both the sin AND the sinner. Apparently, the fundie retort of “go and sin no more” has worn thin and become ineffective—so now they have to come up with some other thing to say—and of course—making that argument frees up a wide open pathway to discriminate against and persecute LGBTQ people. You know. “Punish him for his sin and then burn is house down and kill him.”

          I am warning you fundies out there. This kind of behavior comes with a price.

          • Charles wrote, “I have recently read that it is okay to tell lies as long as you are telling them to support Jesus. I have never read that anywhere in the Bible—because it is not there.”

            NO! Where did you read that, Charles?
            That is just horrible? I remember huge discussions back in the day about how for the Christian there is no such thing as situational ethics. As Christians, we are called to lead lives of holiness but the brutal fact of the matter is that few of us are willing to make the sacrifices required to live holy lives.

            Such as giving up all luxuries as long as there are hungry, sick, naked, poor, homeless, suffering people out there.

            Charles also wrote, “Recently, I read another article by a fundie who reached back into the Old Testament to seriously—and I do mean seriously—to make the argument that God hates both the sin AND the sinner.”

            Would just like to point out that nowhere in the Bible does it say that God hates the sin but loves the sinner. It is a gigantic misunderstanding of something St. Augustine of Hippo wrote. It’s from St. Augustine. His Letter 211 (c. 424) contains the phrase Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum, which translates roughly to “With love for mankind and hatred of sins.”

            And the exact phrase, “love the sinner, hate the sin” comes from the autobiography of that famous Hindu, Mahatma Gandhi.

            Personally, I am sickened by the concept of substitutionary atonement. I only ran into it years after I had left the RCC and had spent those intervening years studying the religions of the world and reading all the great philosophers. Then I went off to college and met evangelicals. A couple of them became dear friends. Eventually, I explored evangelicalism and remembered how shocked I was by the idea of substitutionary atonement and how anyone who could claim a loving father would require that of a beloved son. Abraham might as well have sacrificed Issac.

            Read this fascinating piece by an EO monastic abbot:

            “The Heresy of Penal Substitution
            Making God bound by necessity”

            “The heretical doctrine of penal substitution was completely absent from the Church for over 1,000 years, and was only introduced by Anselm of Canterbury in the eleventh century.

            “This false teaching of penal substitution was ultimately developed as seen in the West today, by 16th-century Reformers, but is a doctrine that has never been accepted by the Eastern Church, and not completely accepted by Roman Catholics.

            “The major problem with this teaching can be seen in the fact that had Christ died for our sins against God the Father, thus causing a division of God, with the doctrine of the Holy Trinity laid waste, with God pitted against God. This heretical doctrine divides God by implying that Christ isn’t fully God. It also suggests that there is a higher force than God, thus making, God Himself ruled by a “higher force”. In other words, God has no choice but to punish. By this notion, justice forces God to respond to our sin with His wrath, with love becoming secondary.

            “A close examination of the prophets and the Psalms of David, reveal that the word “justice” is linked to the concept of “mercy.” Justice is not penal in nature, but refers to a show of kindness and deliverance to those who are suffering oppression. It means that God’s justice destroys our oppressors, which in this case is sin, death, and even the power of Satan’s oppression.

            “To look upon propitiation in the classical pagan sense, we are forced to view our God as some sort of angry deity needing to be appeased by a blood sacrifice. This is completely different than the Old Testament view of a loving God whose Mercy Seat covered the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the ten commandments. While the law given to us by God demanded perfection and revealed our shortcomings, the Mercy Seat covered our failure to live up to the Ten Commandments.

            “From the viewpoint of the Ancient Church, Christ’s blood was the ultimate Mercy Seat. Christ covered and forgave our sins, and Himself showed the unconditional love that He commanded us to show one another. The Western churches would have us believe that God was angry over our sins, but the death of His Son caused Him to change His mind, and decide to love us. Yet the Scriptures tell us God is love (1 Jn 4:8, 16) from the very beginning, and is unchanging (Mal 3:6) and doesn’t change His mind (Num 23:19).

            “With love in Christ,
            Abbot Tryphon”

            https://www.facebook.com/Abbot-Tryphon-1395030584153681/?fref=nf

            This is the kind of theology that draws me to EO, this vision, this manifest loving. But then I remember too many segments of the population are second-class citizens in EO and so I remain Episcopalian.

            • I do not remember where I read those things—but I definitely did read them in the past three months. I read numerous items of “stuff” on-line every day in all sorts of different places and do not keep a formal record of every item I read and where. If I think an article is mostly BS, I am not inclined to remember where I read it.

              I have often wondered why Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals buy into the Substitutionary Theory of the Atonement when it arrived so very late in Christian theology—not part of the early church in Jerusalem or anywhere else. John Calvin in 1500s Europe was the one who clearly defined it and popularized it. I suspect the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals bite on it so hard for two reasons:

              1) Their poorly educated pastors and their church members are not aware of the fact that it is a “new kid on the block” in Christendom—and the pastors just tell them to believe it and the people in the pews just accept it without researching into it.

              2) Fundies have a long history of hating Roman Catholics and their churches. In their minds, real Christianity is defined to the first couple of centuries of the CE, died out almost completely under the Roman Catholic Church, and emerged again for the first time with Luther’s Reformation. Therefore, any idea that cropped up and was popularized after Luther’s rebellion is necessarily sacred and true. Personally, I just cannot believe that Jesus abandoned the church for 1,000+ years—which I think is an incredulous stretch of the fundie imagination.

              • Charles wrote “Substitutionary Theory of the Atonement when it arrived so very late in Christian theology—not part of the early church in Jerusalem or anywhere else. John Calvin in 1500s Europe was the one who clearly defined it and popularized it.”

                Umm.. a tiny bit earlier than Calvin… Anselm of Canterbury is the first but Calvin certainly polished it up.

                I find it a repellent doctrine. Too much eye for eye nonsense which Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount/Plain no longer applies.

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