Monthly Archives: August 2012

They will know we are Christians by our…

I enjoy reading the Friendly Atheist but I don’t have much call to quote him around here. He really nails this one about marriage equality though:

You can’t say I love my black friends, but I don’t think they should be allowed to marry white people… without simultaneously being a racist.

It doesn’t matter how big of a smile you put on your face, or how many gay friends you (think you) have, or how often you’ve gone to a gay pride parade.

If you’re voting against marriage equality, you’re a bigot. … There’s not a single, credible, non-religious reason to deny equal rights to gay people.

via If You Oppose Marriage Equality, What Else Am I Supposed to Call You?.

People Will Be Hurt

I’ve not read Janet Oberholtzer until today, but she has the best summation I’ve read of the Chick-fil-A gay-marriage controversy.

With freedom of speech it’s a given that sometimes people will be hurt by what others say. And that’s what happened and there’s been a big reaction.

via Thinking about Chick-fil-A, Wounds and Kindness | Janet Oberholtzer.

She’s nailed it. Freedom of speech issue? It’s in there. Angry reaction to being denied a civil right? It’s in there!

So now that she’s got a controversy, where does she take it? I like that part too.

Love is kind. So since a large portion of this reaction is coming from a place of injury, wouldn’t love and kindness … be more beneficial than ignoring or dismissing the concerns? After all, it is kind to recognize and acknowledge the pain others feel.

Turn It Over

“You can’t plow a field by turning it over in your mind.”

(Old Irish proverb)

via Bright And Keen, Christian Blog, Christian Blogs, ChristianBlog.Com.

Ignoring Doctrine in Love

Sometimes this [tendency to go soft on doctrine] is frustrating, as in a recent confirmation class I attended where a classmate intimated that she wasn’t sure she believed in sin. The old evangelical in me wanted to shake her shoulders and suggest she leave. But mostly this means that we journey together, each at different places and constantly extending grace to one another. This is not a great growth model, but it sure looks a lot like the kingdom Jesus describes.

via My Liberal Christian Church is Not Dying | Patrol – A review of religion and the modern world.

Passions and Psychology

A small tangent from something that occurred to me while writing my previous post. What do we moderns think motivates homosexual behavior, and is that still the same motivation that our ancient Christian counterparts would have named? In short, I think that the Bible explains homosexuality as a failure to control one’s sexual passions while we moderns understand it as an “orientation” preceding any sexual passions. It’s been relocated in our modern understanding, much like Heaven and Hell, and our reaction to those passages that mention it should be reverently reevaluated just like the ones that mention heaven being “up”.

While Heaven and Hell were once thought to exist in physical locations that one could point to — up and down respectively — we now think of them residing in other dimensions or outside of our physical universe or some such. We don’t know where they are but they’re not up in space or under the crust of the Earth. In contrast to that, when the apostle Paul wrote about every knee in the universe bowing to Jesus (Phil 2:10) he knew that some of those knees were “up” in heaven with God, some were on the Earth with us, and some where under the Earth in hell.

I think a similar relocation should occur with respect to homosexuality.

Since adulthood I’ve understood homosexuality as something that originates in someone’s brain; it’s a sexual “orientation” in the mind. That is the modern understanding: a person doesn’t act like a homosexual, one is a homosexual. My question is whether an ancient man like the Apostle Paul would have seen people in these modern categories of “gay” and “straight”. Was he condemning “gay men” as we understand them, or was he condemning a particular sexual activity and referring to those who practiced that activity as “homosexuals”?

Frankly, I can’t imagine that Paul was using the categories of gay and straight the way we use them. I think he saw homosexuality as an act. An action. Or maybe as an indication of a cluster of other spiritual failings like a rapacious sexual appetite, moral depravity, and cruelty to others. Those are not the fruits of the Spirit, and certainly deserve to be condemned. But they’re also not any more necessary to a homosexual orientation than they are to a heterosexual one.

So I guess that my understanding of homosexuality has been relocated, just like Heaven and Hell. I see homosexuality as something personal that happens in your mind; Paul saw it as something that involved others and happens under your tunic. In light of that relocation, the next question would be exactly what was Paul prohibiting? And is that prohibition different than “everything anyone at any time” might broadly refer to as homosexuality?

Where does this come from?

I like this take on Christian tradition because it expects us to be able to defend why certain ideas and actions have become traditions in the first place.

It should go without saying that not everyone who questions tradition is right.  But when we do question tradition, we need to be able to ask “why”:  Why does this tradition exist?  What is the point of this rule?  Where does this belief come from?

via Homosexuality and Christianity: Does God bless same-sex marriage?.

That “why” surprised me the first time I read this because the “why” being asked wasn’t “Why would you question this tradition?” but instead “Why is this a tradition in the first place?” What a wonderful turning of the tables!

I come from a very doctrinal church that teaches each generation why these doctrines exist. The idea that a doctrine stands merely because it is “tradition” wouldn’t hold much weight with a group who see themselves as direct descendants of the Reformation. Doctrines only have acceptance as long as they accurately represent what the Bible teaches. Each generation has a responsibility to question and understand those doctrines — and even perhaps to modify them if a powerful argument can be made that a certain doctrine may represent a “traditional view” of a subject but that it isn’t in fact what the Bible is teaching.

Who did the Apostle Paul mean when he wrote about the sinfulness of homosexuals? Who would have popped into his mind? Do today’s homosexual Christians stand out from that group of people or blend into it?  I think the author’s position as a gay Christian is greatly helped by asking that question.

The Word Homophobia

I hate the word homophobia.

It is not a phobia.

You are not scared.

You are just an asshole.

via Punks is Kittehs, I hate the word homophobia. It is not a phobia. ….

So there’s that.