Homosexuality: Towards Compassion. We Need Your Questions!

The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.' — C.S. Lewis

Justin Lee-Founder of Gay Christian Network

A Story

Michael is growing up in an evangelical church. His parents are devoted and loving parents. At the age of 11, when his soccer buddies are beginning to talk about the cute girls, Michael is secretly finding out that he is attracted to the other boys. But, he goes to a “good” church which has taken a stand against the evils of homosexuality.

Michael understands that what he feels is wrong so he tries to overcome it. The last thing he will do is tell his youth leader or parents because they preach regularly on the evils of homosexuality. So, Michael hides his secret. He hears about pastors who believe that people who feel the way that he does should be rounded up and jailed. One pastor even said to beat the homosexuality out of any kid who has that tendency.

Michael becomes depressed and feels life is hopeless. He considers suicide or just turning his back on God.

Michael is fictional-his story is not. It is replayed over and over again in many churches. What do we do and how do we do it? And I mean we. We are a community of believers and no one person should ever be  a lone ranger.

My Plan

I fully expect to irritate everyone with my plan. I’ll probably even be mad at myself by the time I am finished. I am going to shamelessly rip of Rachel Held Evans’ idea.  Here is a link to Ask a Gay Christian. I urge you to read it because, on Thursday, I will be interviewing Justin Lee of the Gay Christian network here.

I discussed Justin’s interview with Evans with some dear friends. They were excited and said they knew him and that he lived here in Raleigh! Their son played with Justin when they were young and, lo and behold, we all attended the same Baptist church! They urged me to give him a call because they knew he would be willing to dialog with me.

I do not believe in coincidences. So, once again believing that God is directing my path, I gave him a call. I was just informed he has granted my request for an interview this coming Thursday, right here in Raleigh!

So, instead of giving up blogging and sitting on my back deck staring at my bluebirds, I once again throw myself into the melee. I am sure that some of you are picking yourselves off the floor, wondering if Dee just went off the deep end after last week’s rather intense “pedophile” incident.

It is important to realize that I am a bit more conservative than Evans. However, several weeks ago, on another well-known blog, a reader brought up a question about how people who consider themselves gay were treated by a certain family of churches. The blog editor shut down the dialog and said that “homosexuality” would NOT be discussed on that blog.

Why, I wondered? Is the subject so painful that Christians of good will cannot discuss it without ending up mad at each other? And then it hit me right between the eyes! We don’t talk about it because it is so hard. We muddle on, trying to figure it on our own. We see protests at Chick Fil A or hear quiet whispers of little Michael who just came out of the closet. We blow it off  but are vaguely disquieted. We simply say “Homosexuality is wrong” and promptly forget that there are hurting people, real parents and kids, friends and family, confused, quietly trying to figure it out on their own. This is a painful topic.

We ignore the issue and tell out children not to call someone “gay”, silently relieved that it wasn’t our kid who was so named because, of course, we are all wonderful parents who knew how to prevent this.

Unlike Rachel Held Evans, however, I am more conservative. This makes the discussion all the more difficult. How do I do this in such a way that shows love and kindness while at the same time accepting my own understanding of the Scripture surrounding this issue? It seems nigh on impossible. But, if I can’t do it, how will others?  Are we to remain silent, like ships passing in the night, or do we lay it out on the table, trusting our Father to smooth the way?

I have approached this issue, desperately seeking a way out for me. I think I have an action plan. However, for you dear readers, as this series goes on, please refer back to this sentence if you start getting antsy. Anyone who tries to say I believe otherwise is lying. I wish I could find a way around the Scripture in this matter but, alas, I cannot. 

I believe that the homosexual act is sin. (Repeat x3)

However, I want to invent a new sub-category for our Prime Directive. I want us to be able to understand and empathize with the struggles of those who have Same Sex Attraction(SSA).  In fact, that will be my focus in next week. In other words, how does the church minister to and support those who have SSA? Frankly, it is far easier to go rebuild houses in new Orleans or volunteer at an orphanage than to face this issue. It is messy and causes much tension. But, it is a major issue for this generation.

Let me make an observation. It seems to me that some in the church handle pedophiles with more compassion than homosexuals.

How many people with SSA are there?

There are many numbers floating around out there. However, one of the more conservative estimates is found here

“Gates is demographer-in-residence at the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy, a think tank based at the University of California, Los Angeles."

Please note the following categories.

“4 million adults identify as being gay or lesbian, representing 1.7 percent of the 18-and-over population.”
“Another 1.8 percent of the adult population, or a little more than 4 million Americans, identifies as bisexual.”
“19 million people, or 8.2 percent of the population, have engaged in sex with a partner of the same sex. (These people do not self identify as being gay).”
“700,000 people (0.3% of the population) identify as transgendered. “

If today’s population in the US is about 314 million, that means approximately 27.5 million fit these categories. This constitutes about 8.8% of the population.

Folks, that means we all probably have contact, on a daily basis, with those who have some form of SSA. In my own life, I have one uncle who is gay and have had several friends who fit this category.

Justin Lee and the Gay Christian Network

I have received permission to reprint the Great Debate from the Gay Christian Network. This debate pits a celibate homosexual against Justin who takes the perspective that a gay Christian must be celibate until marriage and monogamous thereafter. Both use Scripture to back up their point of view.

Before you start writing me frantic emails, let me explain my reasons for doing this. Many people do not understand how someone can make the argument for monogamous gay marriage. I think our readers might find his thoughts informative. This does not mean I agree with him. (Reread this 3 times).

Justin is a kind man who is very patient and will not come off as strident. That is not the case for many proponents on either side of the argument. Also, unlike some homosexuals, Justin takes a more nuanced approach and does not support a culture of multiple hookups.

I would ask that people treat him like a guest in our home. Also, it is imperative to take into consideration that he has fully considered the Scriptures pertaining to this subject. So, it would be great if we can up the level of the discussion and not talk down to him. I am startled he would be willing to take me on!

In order to facilitate the discussion, I will first present the Great Debate which will take 2 days. We will begin it either on Friday or Monday. Then, I will present our discussion along with your questions and answers. Finally, I will tackle some of the loose ends. If I am not fatally wounded at this juncture, we will move on to new topics.

However, I want to go in a bit of a different direction with him. I am more concerned about how he felt growing up, how his parents and fellow Christians treated him prior to and after “coming out.” I am hoping he will be able to articulate the assistance he received (or did not receive).

Submit questions

I am also asking our readers to submit questions in the comment section of this post. I will try to get as many answers as possible. Is there something you have always wanted to ask a gay Christian but have felt insecure and uncomfortable. Here is your chance.

Lots and lots of questions

On my part, I wanted to list some thoughts and questions that I have about this subject, entirely separate from my coming conversation with Justin.

  • Traditional Marriage: What is it? Is the definition merely the relationship between one man and one woman –totally defined via gender?
  • If we believe that God treats marriage within the faith differently, why do evangelicals have a higher divorce rate than atheists? Is God a failure in this area?
  • Why do Christians who believe in “traditional marriage” not protest and introduce legislation to ban couples living together? Why aren’t Christians down at their local courts, protesting when marriages are dissolved by the state?
  • If sexual expression is necessary for personal fulfillment, does this mean that Jesus, Paul and every single person throughout the ages were unfulfilled?
  • Since Christians believe that marriage is a sacred act, can we expect those outside the faith to have the same view?Is marriage sacred outside of Christian vows?
  • Does God, via the Holy Spirit, join in the marriage of two people who are not believers?
  • Corollary question: If we want prayer back in the schools, are we demanding that it be a Christian prayer? Will we accept Islamic prayer and Wiccan blessings?
  • If gay marriage becomes the law of the land in our lifetime (I think it will) how does this change things for Christians?
  • Is there data to support that reparative therapy is not widely successful? If reparative therapy is not widely successful, does that mean it should never be attempted?
  • What happens to the baby born with both female and male characteristics? What if the parents choose a gender and find out 12 years later that they made a mistake? This question is based on a true situation.
  • Is the SS attraction the sin or is the SS act the sin or both?
  • If it is discovered that homosexuality has a biological component, does it make homosexual activity any less sinful?
  • How many evangelical churches have support groups for those who have SSA-both for teens and adults?
  • Do we want to convert people to heterosexuality or to Christ?
  • Will a homosexual who becomes a Christian become heterosexual?
  • Should a Christian who struggles with SSA be thrown out of a church because he still has occasional “homosexual” thoughts but has not acted on them? A TWW reader in England was thrown out of an SGM church for this reason.
  • If a person is thrown out for “homosexual” thoughts, why aren’t people thrown out for heterosexual thoughts?
  • How should the church respond when a kid in the ministry is being taunted because he “acts gay?”
  • How do we help our children to express to us their private concerns in this area? What do we do if 10 year old Jimmy tells us he likes boys?
  • What should we say to a fellow church member when they tell us, with a great big grin, ”Did you hear? Jimmy just came out of the closet?  I always knew it.”
  • There are many families in which some children are heterosexual and one is homosexual so why is it the parents’ fault?
  • How do some gay Christians justify promiscuous relationships?
  • Are homosexuals more promiscuous on average than heterosexuals?
  • What do I do if my beloved child tells me he is gay and rejects what I believe to be Biblical standards? Can I attend his marriage even if I disagree with him? How do I love him?
  • Is heterosexuality morally superior and homosexuality morally inferior or is this the wrong question?

Recently, Jonathan Merritt, a well-known Christian culture writer and son of prominent SBC President, James Merritt was outed by a blogger with whom he had a one night stand. He admitted to the encounter here.

“Merritt told Stetzer that he does not identify himself as gay “because “I believe there can be a difference between what one experiences and the life that God offers.” He said he remains “committed to living the life God demands for those who follow him,” including “the Bible's unambiguous standards for sexuality.”

Is he just another Christian hypocrite or could he be the key to beginning to think through how the church approaches this painful subject?

Once again, please leave questions for Justin in the comment section under this post.

CS Lewis on marriage:
Please ponder the following quote from CS Lewis over the next week until we pick up this hot potato once again.

Mere Christianity, Book 3 Chapter 6 Link

Before leaving the question of divorce, I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is the quite different question — how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws.
A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mahommedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives.

There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.”

Lydia’s CornerGenesis 24:52-26:16 Matthew 8:18-34 Psalm 10:1-15 Proverbs 3:7-8


Homosexuality: Towards Compassion. We Need Your Questions! — 388 Comments

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    Deep waters; Very deep waters.

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    Excellent. I am definitely looking forward to this.

    I am, like you, a “conservative” on this issue. But I also see how the actions of the church have (and continue to) hurt those with SSAs.

    One book that is on my reading list is this:

    As far a marriage, I agree with Lewis entirely. It’s high time that we in North America (both Canada and the USA) start to separate the state’s definition of marriage (mainly contractual in nature) with that of God’s as practiced by the church. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that those getting married should have their wedding blessed in the church of their choice (if they so choose) and then formalized legally as well (if they so choose).

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    I am delighted you are doing this! It is a huge issue for me right now as I’d love to be utterly gay-affirming (as affirming of same-sex relationships as I am of heterosexual ones, I already am utterly affirming of the human worth, dignity & beauty of those with SSA) , but am not sure that I can be. And it could cost me my career if things carry on as they are. Many of my colleagues are gay & I’m about to meet an internet buddy who is not only bi-sexual but halfway through a male to female gender transition….I also love Justin & think he is one of the most gracious and earnest voices in this conversation.

    I will think on what questions I have…actually a lot of them are probably about gender dysphoria rather than SSA right now.

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    Dee and Deb,

    You never disappoint! Thanks for having the guts to tackle these big issues…they are SO important.

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    “As far a marriage, I agree with Lewis entirely. It’s high time that we in North America (both Canada and the USA) start to separate the state’s definition of marriage (mainly contractual in nature) with that of God’s as practiced by the church.”

    Amen, E.G

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    I’m not comfortable with the term ‘SSA’. Initials never sound good. I understand why it’s possibly an appropriate term when debating about Christianity and gays, but it sounds horrible, like something they treat in a VD clinic. Most gay people are happy enough to be called gay, more than would happily say ‘I’m a sufferer of SSA’.

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    …plus in my head I always hear ‘unwanted SSA’, like someone from NARTH is talking to me.

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    “Should a Christian who struggles with SSA be thrown out of a church because he still has occasional “homosexual” thoughts but has not acted on them? A TWW reader in England was thrown out of an SGM church for this reason.”

    That’s awful.

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    As a Canadian Christian and a straight ally of GLBT folks, and as a supporter of SSM, I watch the political and cultural struggles around marriage rights and GLBT acceptance in the US with interest.

    I’ve been kicked off some fine Christian blogs for supporting same sex marriage and for saying homosexuality is not a sin.

    I recommend a look at Bridging the Gap – (Justin Lee had Wendy down for the conference where Alan Chambers started coming out against reparative therapy) http://btgproject.blogspot.ca/
    I recommend CanyonWalker Connections – Kathy is an articulate GLBT straight ally in the US. http://canyonwalkerconnections.com/magazine/

    Wendy Gritter and Kathy Baldock are not afraid to tackle the questions you are asking.

    The site Religious Tolerance takes a look at the different belief paradigms about sexual identity etc. Christians fall into.

    No questions for Justin – good on you for snagging him for an interview, looking forward to reading it.

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    Thanks Deb and Dee–I appreciate Justin and his heart and voice. For Justin–Do you have any advice for how my husband and I can dialogue about this in a fruitful, God-honoring way? I have changed some of my views about gay people while maintaining my faith. I voted “no” on Amendment One, and clearly disappointed him (due to theological/societal views).

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    Sorry for all the comments. But I have one last thing to add.

    “How do some gay Christians justify promiscuous relationships?
    Are homosexuals more promiscuous on average than heterosexuals?”

    Some would argue that if gays are more promiscuous than straights, that means that they are depraved in their nature, lack self-control, etc, and that just goes to show that gayness is bad.

    However, sexual confusion leads to sexual promiscuity. And if you are constantly being told in overt and subtle ways that you have something to be ashamed of, you are sexually deviant and it’s not OK, you need to keep your true self hidden, etc etc, then you are more likely to be sexually confused and therefore promiscuous. I think maybe the church drives some gay people to promiscuity through shaming them, and then says ‘See? We told you gay people are sexually immoral’.

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    I don’t have a question at the moment, but just to say that when it comes to being honesty and courageous, Justin Lee is a shining star.

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    Bene Diction

    You will not be thrown off this blog for your opinions. If we can’t talk to one another, how do we talk to those who aren’t in our “club.” 

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    Loving your thoughts. Comment all you wish.

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    Jimmy is right of course, these are very deep waters!

    Echoing Sophie’s comments, I think sexual promiscuity among some heterosexuals is also confusion or emotional hurting, particularly from those who have been hurt in the past or abused. Of course it doesn’t make it right, especially if the hurting person is themselves using other people to try to assauge their own problems.

    Perhaps a wider issue is also that Western popular culture often seems to suggest that eros-style love relationships will cure all your problems.

    Dee, do you mind me asking if our English friend was thrown out of an SGM church in the UK? Was it an SGM denominational church or one belonging to a different denomination that had taken on SGM teachings?

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    He said it was an SGM church in the UK. I do not know the nuances of that The scenario: he admits that he is a celibate homosexual to the pastor. Church member claims to have seen him in a gay bar (no one seems to wonder why reporting member was in a gay bar). He said it was not true, vehemently.

    Pastor then asks him if he ever has any thoughts. He admits that he does, from time to time.
    Pastor then “turns him over to Satan” (his words) and throws him out of the church. Very, very painful.

    I told him that I would like to put said pastor’s thoughts on display for the world to see. What do you want to bet there would be some questionable thoughts.

    He still checks in with us from time to time. I bet he will see this post. He is a wonderfully kind guy who was deeply hurt by SGM-surprise, surprise. Does anyone ever get out of an SGM church without pain??

    I swear I do not get these SGM types.

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    Eagle Update:
    Eagle is quite sick and is going back to the hospital. he has a high fever. Please pray for him.

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    If people are going to be thrown out of church for sinful thoughts, then surely all our churches will be empty? (and sinful thoughts, in my understanding, includes not just lust, but hatred, malice jealousy etc etc)

    I was asked to help one of the Bible Study groups at our church figure this stuff out last year, and after much thought and prayer (and not a little trepidation) I approached it from the viewpoint of ‘brokenness’ — in this fallen world we are all broken, but in different ways. SSA is one possible manifestation of brokenness — that means it is sinful, but so are lots of other things sinful.

    I do have a couple of questions (or observations I would like to hear responses to):

    1. Should we make a distinction between church membership and leadership? (I come from traditions like Anglicanism that do not have rigid measures of membership) In my personal opinion, anyone can come to church (providing they are not endangering others by their presence), but only those whose lives measure up to biblical standards should be in any kind of leadership roles. to me those biblical standards in the realm of sexuality mean either (heterosexual) marriage or celibacy.

    2. Reparative therapy. I have known a few people who have had experiences with this, and my observation (which is completely anecdotal and unscientific) is that it seems to work for some people only — and those seem to be the ones who can trace back their SSA to specific sexual or emotional abuse. Deal with the abuse wound and the problem is significantly dealt with. For the rest, who have no such sense of woundedness, it does nothing. Has anyone else seen this, or am I on the wrong track?

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    will be praying for eagle

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    Lynne, you echoed my thoughts precisely, certainly in point 1.

    Re 2., there seems to be some debate over the efficacy of reparative therapy.

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    If you're reading here, you are in my thoughts and prayers. I am looking forward to your getting past this infection.

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    Praying for you, Eagle!

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    Hmm…good for you, Dee, for taking this on.

    My views on this have changed over the years. I grew up in a conservative church and homosexuality was uncategorically a sin and frankly, we were all kind of afraid of them….

    Then I left the church…and went to college…and had a gay boss. And had some conversations with God about it. And experienced some things…I haven’t done a deep biblical study of it for various reasons (mainly, it doesn’t matter to me much, anymore), but I have looked up the meaning of the words used in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and it seems to me they are more talking about male cult prostitutes and pedophiles. Interesting…. it has caused me to ponder and talk to God about the whole doctrinal paradigm – for me, if they have some much of it wrong (and the church I grew up in did), then why could they not have this wrong? Hmm…and if that is the case (concerning the translation) then isn’t it ironic that churches are treating pedophiles with much more leniency and grace than gays?

    …I haven’t decided yet, but I am open to discussion and in the end, why is this so much more a big deal than all the other things listed in the Bible for which the church screams, “Grace, Grace!”?

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    Moral to scenario: Do Not Admit to Any Thoughts! Lie! At all costs!
    The UK man and Jonathan Merritt reminded me of my closest Christian friend back in the 70’s . Naive, conservative, naieve, straight, naive guy that I was, I never dreamt that my best friend had “SSA” until we’d been housemates for a year. He only confessed his struggles to me after he’d been caught engaging in something with someone on a church choir trip. For my part, I did not confess to him my “homophobia”, which, like “complementarianism” had not yet been invented. I will confess to it now, understanding phobia to mean fear, not hatred. The church did ask him to repent of his deeds and get counseling, but brought no condemnation for his thoughts, and never threatened dismembership. He had a profound conversion story prior to this, but Christ did not, that I know of, “straighten” out his feelings. He didnt think of himself as “gay”. Around this same time, my friend had also been denied his lifelong dream of becoming a Police Officer due to confessing under polygraph to homosexual acts. Even then, this seemed outrageously unfair to me, while he only felt guilt and shame.

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    My question for Justin: Do you identify more as Christian or gay? Does it make a difference which one you “feel” more?

    Second, how do you respond to people who say “I love you but I hate what you do.”? In your mind, is there any separation between you as a Christian and your homosexuality?

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    I have a question for Justin. My nephew and his partner recently had a baby boy by a surrogate mother. They are very good parents, and I’m happy for them. My question is, do children of gay parents experience any difficult consequences (other than prejudice) as a result of their unusual upbringing?

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    Hmm….a friend’s son was going to a Christian university and working at a charismatic/fundamental church. His father was gay. He was 20 years old. He got caught ‘crossing the line’ with his roommate – a one time incident and the church ‘counseled’ him….he felt trapped, a failure, unworthy to live and went out one morning and jumped off a cliff. And it took over a year for his mother to get any straight (no pun intended) answers out of the church as to what had led up to this. It took over a year to find his body. No matter what you believe about the sin-ness of homosexuality, there is no way that this is the right way to handle it.

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    My question for Justin:

    Among Christians who believe that homosexuality behavior is sinful, one often hears the assertion that the most loving thing one can do for a gay person is to call their behavior what it is–sin–and to call them to repentence.

    How do you respond to that reasoning? Can you accept it from someone who firmly believes that homosexuality is a sin? Would that make them, in the popular contemporary parlance, a “hater?” Can you share with the readers some of your personal experience with believers who have called you to repentence? Are some of those believers among your (current) friends and family?


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    I don’t know if anyone has posted this before, but Exodus International Rejects Reparative Therapy for Gays.


    “Instead of encouraging churches to offer special support groups that appeal only to a certain niche, Exodus is now encouraging them to instead invite those who are tempted by same-sex attractions into the church community as a whole. Chambers says Christians need to treat SSA like they would other temptations too, and shouldn’t assume that it can be gotten rid of completely.”

    Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/exodus-international-rejects-reparative-therapy-for-gays-77413/#5OISsbVymW0QbWpt.99
    Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/exodus-international-rejects-reparative-therapy-for-gays-77413/#5OISsbVymW0QbWpt.99

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    Moderation can occur when there are two links together. It is a function of the spam filter and nothing personal. I keep trying to remember to check the pending comments

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    i planned to discuss the Exodus controversy.Thank you for the two links.

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    Thanks, dee. I didn’t take it personally; just thought it was unusual. I kinda figured the double links caused a problem and didn’t mean to post it twice.

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    Eagle is having such a battle – may God touch him.

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    What a wonderful and creative idea! 🙂 Wishing you the best.

    Here is my question:

    “Jimmy, what is your definition of sin?”

    No prejudgments. Just waiting for an answer. 🙂

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    I will offer a Menominee tribal prayer for your healing in the tradition of my Native American heritage. If there are those here who feel this goes too far into the realm of pagan syncretism please forgive the offense. The Jesuits were the first Christians in contact with my tribe and were far more tolerant that way than the Calvinist missionaries who came much later.

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    Muff Potter-

    🙂 Menominee! I have a good friend that lives there.

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    @ Bene Diction,
    If old Muff doesn’t get booted, I scarcely expect you will.
    ===> (smiley face goes here)

    @ Dee,
    Lewis definately shows the legacy of the Enlightenment. His thinking (with regard to religion & the secular state) is Jeffersonian to be sure.

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    I am looking so forward to this discussion. I find myself seeing both sides on this because by nature, I am very accepting of homosexuality and I was not raised with any big anti-gay attitude. My concerns with it all stem from my desire to have as right an understanding of God’s thinking as is humanly possible.

    I do think many people find it easy to condemn this sin due to their own revulsion toward it.Though I totally support Mr. Cathey in the Chick-fil-et uproar- from a free speech and freedom of religion standpoint- I wonder why this same pageant is never played out about other sexual sins?

    There are many kind and moral people who are homosexual. I don’t think that the promiscuous and vulgar subculture of the gay community represents the average,any more than we heteros would identify with the culture of Hugh Hefner or Larry Flynt.

    But that is beside the point, really. The difficult thing for me is not being accepting of them, but rather, how to think it through and respond to gay people in a Christlike manner. That’s why I am so glad to see this topic.

    Sometimes I wonder if, when God lists sexual sins, He doesn’t expect that we will all struggle with one or the other? Is this where the blood of Christ is needed? I don’t believe that most gay people have a choice in their sexual preference. How can I expect them to lead a celibate life when I know that I could not? I am being honest here- if I were to find myself suddenly single, and I entered into a serious relationship, I would have a lot of trouble not being intimate before marriage. Is that not as much “sin” as homosexuality?

    I pray for wisdom and compassion here!

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    Sophie: Thanks. Good point on the SSA acronym. I will watch my usage in the future.

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    Eagle – I am praying.


    Dee… i commend you for taking on these issues, though I do wonder exactly what you mean whn you refer to “the homosexual act”? I find that confusing, as it seems to limit gay men to one specific sexual act – or is it about putting on an act for all the straight people around you? (J/k on that 2nd thing, but not entirely…)

    More seriously, there are lots of gay men who do *not* engage in anal sex. As with straight people, there’s more than one way to get to the goal of emotional – and sexual -closeness.

    Now – *not* a question for Justin, but a proposal:

    Most people – in certain conservative xtian circles, at least – seem to make sexual orientation all about sexual acts and not at all about emotional and romantic affinities.

    Gay people aren’t gay (or lesbian or bi) because their 1st thought is “I’ve gotta have sex with people of the same gender as me.”


    It is so much about the same kinds of things that are involved in the romantic lives of straight people – LGBT people get crushes, fall in love, feel romantic and sexual attraction, etc. etc. in the same ways that straight people do.

    But… their orientation is toward others of the same gender rather than those of another gender.

    And (surprise!) gay people want to be able to get married for the same reasons as straight people do.

    Having said that, let me throw something else onto the table…

    Imagine that someone (me, perhaps) asked you how you know you are straight.

    What would your answer be?

    And then, the follow-up question: How long have you known you were straight?

    And another: Is being straight (i.e., having a heterosexual orientation) a choice? Or is it something that’s just part of who you are, like eye color, gender, height, birthplace, etc.?

    And now… imagine if all of the kinds of negative remarks that are commonly made in conservative xtian circles were made of and to you – a straight woman – instead. (Though obviously, those making the remarks would see you as straight and call you that.)

    How hard do you think it would be to continually hear that your sexual orientation is a sin? And not just the 1st time, but the 1,000th+?

    I am, of course, asking these questions in a friendly way – though definitely *not* in a rhetorical sense, if only because it takes some (how to say this?) almost-“parallel universe” thinking in order to be able to put ourselves in the shoes of those whom we see as very alien, different – and *sinfully* different.

    I have an extremely strong conviction that God does not exactly have “sexual orientation” at the top of his list of flaws in human beings. In fact, I don’t think “orientation” is on that list at all (the list being hypothetical, and probably the most felicitous way of putting this).

    If there were to be a list of some kind, I have a strong suspicion that it would be all about what Jesus called the two “greatest” commandments:

    1. Have you loved the Lord with all your heart… etc.?

    2. Have you loved your neighbor as yourself? – Keeping in mind Jesus’ extremely radical interpretation of the word “neighbor.” : )

    OK, this is long and rambling and I really need to sign off and get some sleep!

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    “… probably not the most felicitous way…”

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    I have some questions… Sort of… They’re based on a thought that has been on my mind for quite a while now.

    In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Paul says that he has “become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” To the Jews, he became like a Jew; to the Gentiles, like a Gentile… All for the sake of the Gospel.

    And then it made me wonder, what if he were facing the gay community that we have now and wasn’t back then? Would he say, “to the gay community, like one member of the gay community” or anything like that?

    I don’t think, from what he says, that he would consciously participate in any type of activities he’d find within those communities he encountered and that he’d consider sinful… But he certainly showed quite an ability to be flexible in the ways he acted, trying not to offend others so he could reach people wherever they were.

    So, I guess that my question to Jimmy would be something in the line of: as a member of the gay community, but one that -it seems to me- does not share all the same values as others within that community… In the light of that text from Paul, what would be the best approach to reach and share Christ within that community of people, all for the sake of the Gospel?

    Also, not sure how to express this, but let’s try: what would be, in your opinion, the advantages and challenges that the gay community offers for this purpose of spreading the Gospel? That is the “yes, you can do that” and “that’s a big no-no” that the culture puts in place and that should be taken in account. I’ve heard discussions about this in the context of international missions, but not much in these different cultural contexts.

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    Numo,I loved your comment.

    I think one of the big difficulties I have with the idea of homosexuality being sinful is that our sexuality encompasses so much more than just whether or not we kiss, or touch, or have sex with another person. It colours how we interact with people and I don’t believe it’s something that can just be separated out from a person. It’s part of a person. I remember a woman who had a gay son saying that she couldn’t ‘love the sinnner and hate the sin’ because his sexuality was part of who he was, so she had to accept it as good in order to love the whole person.

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    CLARIFICATION: There is “Jimmy,” the subject of the scenario in Dee’s post.

    And then there’s me – Jimmy.

    TWO different individuals.

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    This is such a difficult topic, and one that I’m not an expert on.

    But one of the most tragic stories I have ever heard was of a young man who was a christian and a homosexual. He ended up committing suicide because he was unable to reconcile the two. There was a TV programme about it, but it was years ago and I can’t remember any more details. It really hit home to me that the traditional evangelical position on homosexuality carries serious risks, for some people at least.

    By the way, there is only one SGM church in the UK – see http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/churches/grace-church-bristol-england.aspx

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    Ian, that programme was on years ago but I remember seeing a bit of it.

    You mentioning it reminds me how big the issue of homosexuality is. I became a Christian on my own in my room as a teenager and I didn’t go to church for several months or longer afterwards. So I read a lot of the Bible on my own. And I was pretty horrified by the verses that talked about homosexuality. And women. I remember wondering why this Paul character had it in for gays and women.

    Years later my Mum came to church one Sunday and although she considered becoming a Christian for a while, she was really turned off by what the minister had to say about gay people. There had been no fiery rhetoric or anything, just a mention in passing that homosexual activities were sinful. But for my Mum that was a big deal.

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    “Grace Church”. Oh the irony.

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    I am so glad that you’re taking on this subject, Dee and Deb. I look forward to the upcoming posts.

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    Eagle…sorry to hear your not doing well! Please be encouraged by the prayers and thoughts coming your way! You TWW church family loves you!!

    Am looking forward to the next several posts. But to be honest…I’m sorry that you and so many Christians are so terrified of maybe being misunderstood that one has to say things like (read 3 times). Don’t get me wrong…I respect, and may I say, I’ve come to love your Christ-like heart. But to me(read that 3 times), the far right/neo-conservatives have made it such a terrible sin to even having an open minded discussion, debate, or a plain ol’ conversation about the issue of gender identification. Many people are terrified to even interact with or engage people who might hold a some what different understanding than what’s currently ‘correct thinking’ among evangelicals. And I’m sad about that. I’m so proud to know you, and be under your pastoral care!! And in the end, no matter the outcome of your interview, or the debate that will likely ensue, JESUS is pleased with you as you reach out with HIS love and grace!

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    I spent 2 years on the Navajo reservation and heard many beautiful prayers. I also attended a church that was over 50% Navajo. Many Native Americans show great respect for the beauty of the earth and the Creator who made it all.

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    Lewis had the ability to see turth byond our manmade traditions. He saw the essence of the faith and taught me, as a new Christian with virtually no Chrisitans in her life, how to think. So did Johnny Cash but that is another story.

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    Justin, thank you for being willing to do this. You are mighty brave. 🙂 Do you believe that God’s design for man and woman was both heterosexuality and homosexuality? My take on it is that God’s design was hetero, but that homosexual orientation is something that, because we live in a fallen world, some people are just born with–a deviation from original design that is not God’s best. I sure don’t think it’s a choice. Where I struggle is that if someone is born with homosexual orientation, is it kind to insist they remain celibate their entire life while the rest of us can pair up with an intimate partner because we got lucky in the genetic lottery. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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    Thank you for your honesty. That is where we need to go. We must move beyond sloganeering and into the heart.

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    Oops! I just realised that I confused the name… Where I said “Jimmy” in my question, it should be “Justin”.

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    I did not mean any specific act. I was using a euphemism for sex. Sorry for any confusion. I wanted to diffferentiate it, rather strongly I might add, from being or feeling homosexual.

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    You did bring up the issue of suicide. Why?

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    I liked your comment.  A question: I deeply love myadult  kids. Let’s say one of them called someone with SSA a terrible name and was consistently derogatory towards gays and people of color. That would not be the way I raised them. Do I need to accept this as good in order to love them?

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    I briefly touched on this subject awhile ago. It really irritated me when I was accused of being a lliberal, not faithful to Scriptures, etc. Phillip Yancey, an author who has deeply touched my life, has been the subject of severe criticisms, calling in to question his faith, when he saidthat  he has stepped out of the debate on this issue. He aid that the condemnation of the Christian community is so widespread that he believes the central themes of Scripture are being lost. He said something to the effect that he wanted to bring grace and kindness to the situation.

    You have no idea what is going on out there. Thankfully he lives in the mountains of Colorado and cannot be easily accessed by a lynch mob because they are out there. I plan to mention this situation at some point. And in case scouts for the lynch mob are reading this, I am going to say this loud and clear. I love Phillip Yancey. It was his book Disappointment with God that got me through my daughter’s brain tumor. He pointed me clearly to the God of suffering and I will be forever grateful.

    And yes, this is a hard subject to deal with, especially since I run the risk of alienating everyone. Each step down any one path brings me further away from one group. I want to make this a safe subject for people who have only heard one narrative. I want to break into the complacency and make them a bit like me. Always asking questions and not fully content on this, as well as other, issues.

    I think and pray for your often, BTW, as a good “midroad” reverend should!

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    Love the question and the background. I, too, believe that sexual orientation is going to be shown to have a strong biological component. In fact, i think we should debate from this possibility. Things have changed over the last 20 years and certain “cures” have been shown to be less than successful. Please note-I am not saying “never successful.”

    I know this is going to sound less than kind but i do not mean it in this way. I am glad that Jonathan Merritt got outed as well as George Rekers (the guy who touts the successes of reparative therapy, mind you). We wrote about that as well. Also, there have been many leaders of groups like Exodus who have been found to be still having serious issues and certainly not “cured.”

    As a community we must deal with the realities of the situation and not pretend that we have all of the answers because it is evident that we do not.

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    To our readers

    I am changing the name in the scenario to Michael. We have too many JImmys and other names with J’s. Sorry for any confusion. Michael is meant to be a compostie of a number of stories of which I am acquainted. I am hoping to use Michael as a springboard to get under the skin of this issue. Sorry for any confusion.

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    I have a question but I’m not sure I can articulate it in a clear manner. I’ll try.

    When I first became a Christian, my husband and I attended a very small (40 people at most) church called the Church of Philadelphia. Most were seniors and we were in our 30’s. The only other members our age was a couple who were gay. She and her husband were both gay and for whatever the reason had married and were trying to live as a heterosexual couple. I invited her to my house for lunch and fellowship. She came but was visibly uncomfortable and a little “off-ish” while at the same time friendly. I wondered if she didn’t like me (or the lunch perhaps) but nothing was said and our time left me wondering what I might have done to make her feel uncomfortable.

    She later told me she thought maybe I had invited her because I was gay. I was shocked and we both got a good laugh about that. But it left me feeling sad and wondering if gays might perceive friendship with straight people as having an ulterior motive.

    So I guess my question is just that. Might some Christian gays perceive friendly outreach as a threat or an ulterior motive thereby putting up a barrier based on an assumption?

    Hope that’s clear….:)

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    Its my fault for the confusion. I know what you meant. I have now changed the name in the scenario to Micahel. You are one of many who confused it which means its my fault!

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    interesting question.

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    I live in a town with many gay and transgender people, and we need to keep categories straight.

    Being born biologically both male and female happens, and those folks are not gay.

    We don’t have a scientific answer yet for how homosexuallity happens.

    BUT–the scripture makes it clear the act is a sin.

    That pretty much closes the door to being affirming.

    Of course, scripture is strict as to when divorce is allowed (with remarriage) and makes clear that fornication is sin. We need to be addressing those issues also.

    But let’s be clear: just because straights sin sexually that does not give gays a free pass to do so also.

    There really isn’t all this need to hand hold and ponder how we can be so cruel as to label gay sex as sin.

    Can you imagine a whole discussion given over to lying, or coveting, or any other sin with the purpose of trying to understand and commiserate with the poor sinner, wondering how we could be so cruel as to label them sinners?

    As my gay friend up north used to say, call sin sin just don’t camp on any one.

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    My problem is that I don’t really see how we can say ‘homosexual acts are ***always*** sinful’ while acknowledging the acceptability of a gay person’s core being (I think our sexuality is part of our core being). For example, to take something we agree is a sexual sin: we could say ‘love the rapist, not the rape’. This would acknowledge that the rapist’s sexuality (ie, their inborn tendency toward sexual impulses and procreation with women) is not a bad, destructive thing by nature, but their application of that tendency is sinful and destructive. And we have made a distinction between that person’s core being and their acts.

    But if we say all gay sex is ***always*** wrong, under any circumstances, then – unlike with the rapist – have we rejected the person’s sexuality (part of their core being) as something that can ***never*** be a good impulse or pure or healthy, and is always sinful and destructive. At least I think that’s what the mother of the gay boy meant when she said that she could not agree with ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ in reference to her gay son.

    If I say ‘all race hate is ***always*** wrong’, then I don’t think I’ve rejected anybody’s core being, because I don’t think anyone is innately hateful of other races in their core being.

    And as I said earlier, I think our sexuality influences our daily lives much more than just who we have a crush on. I think it influences us subconsciously, too. I don’t see it as just something you consciously choose to act upon or not act upon.

    For me it looks a bit like the comp/egal issue. If you say to me ‘you can’t preach this Sunday because you’re not qualified and you’re a bit of a loose canon, theologically’, I’d say, ‘sure, no problem, I wouldn’t let me preach either’. If you say ‘it is ***always*** going to be wrong for you to preach, even if you spend a hundred years at seminary and become a saint and raise your IQ by 100 points, because your core being is feminine’ – well, then there’s an issue; I have been rejected for who I am, not what I make of who I am.

    I hope that makes sense to you even if you don’t agree with it. It’s such a complicated and difficult issue that even I don’t know exactly what I think.

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    I have a question that I’d love to hear Justin address.

    Most of the gay Christians I know ended up leaving the faith. The one or two who stayed ended up embracing homosexuality as not sinful. My question is: Is it really possible for a gay Christian who believes homosexual acts are sinful to live a happy, fulfilled, celibate lifestyle?

    The reason I ask is that secular culture presents gay orientation as a sort of inevitable destiny. The rhetoric goes that you can’t deny your longings to live a gay lifestyle forever, and you will either end up living that way or be a stunted, miserable human being….or commit suicide.

    I do not advocate forcing homosexuals to be celibate if they, like Justin, have embraced homosexuality as okay. But I’m frustrated by the idea that gay Christians who genuinely believe it is sin do not have very many allies who can come alongside them and affirm that it’s okay to choose celibacy.

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    I believe that homosexuality is not the same thing as lying.  Homsexuality is an orientation and not something you choose.

    You are blessed. You do not struggle with your orientation. But it is not because you chose to be good. It is a natural feeling. It was cute when you were a teen to like boys. Imagine if someone told you you caoul not have a crush in a boy. That it was wrong and a sin? That you would need NOT to feel in such a way? 

    That is why we are exploring this subject. We need to bring some humanity and compassion to the subject.

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    Thank you for sharing youir thoughts. They certainly make sense to me. However, as you will see, some choose to be celibate and have been successful. Now, they are still homosexual in orientation and that colors many things in their lives. Is that sinful? i would think not.  

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    “…what would be, in your opinion, the advantages and challenges that the gay community offers for this purpose of spreading the Gospel?” -Martin Romero

    Just a comment on this… my personal experience with gay Christians (and many of their Christian allies) is that they often do a better job following Jesus’ instructions to love and care for others than Christians who claim to “love homosexuals but hate their sin”. The gay Christians (and allies) I know are the least judgmental and some of the most loving Christians I know. In fact, I’ve often been puzzled about how they tolerate the hateful rhetoric around them and STILL love those who hate them or are afraid of them or throw them away.

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    I believe that Justin is a great example of a loving, kind and thoughtful person. I look forward to meeting with him.

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    There are issues as well of living and sharing with someone who has similar values and ideas. Most marriages, as they mature, become less and less about sex (and surely much less about reproduction, that being finished) and more about non-sexual intimacy and sharing. In a good marriage, sex becomes less about satisfying one’s own biological drive and more about the gift of providing pleasure to one’s life partner. My question for Justin is, does a similar change occur in same gender relationships, and is it different for women than for men.

    Note that I have chosen to create a word that does not expressly relate to sex as to gender, which may reduce some of the heat on this issue.

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    One other point. I am not the perfect person to do this post. In fact, I think I have more questions than answers. I know I will not say or convey the right things at times.

    But, I care about this subject. I hurt for those who struggle. So, in my imperfection, I want to discuss this in the best way that I know how.I am hoping this will help others to begin to be brave and to figure things out as well.

    I apologize in advance for the many things I might say or convey that do not ring the right tone for our readers. I promise that I am trying to be merciful. Our Father knows how much I want that.

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    OOPS, edited out the word. “Homogender” as in a relationship between people of the same gender.

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    PS I fully expect to learn more from our readers and Justin than you/they all will learn from me. I am a person in process.

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    Not sure if this question is completely on-topic – and it’s just an open question, not intended for Justin or really anybody in particular – but has anyone ever pinpointed the exact reason why gay sex is singled out as sinful in Scripture? The verse I have in mind is this:

    You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. -Leviticus 18:22

    On its face, that seems like a pretty clear verse (and I think it is in terms of the act being sinful). However, the reasoning behind it is potentially less clear, because it seems to me there are two possible reasons why the act is deemed sinful. The problem could be 1) two people of the same gender are engaging in any kind of sexual activity, or 2) God’s design of the human body is being violated by this particular sex act. Based solely on the verse in Leviticus, either or both of these could be true.

    My main point is that, if option 1 is the reason, then the only thing being forbidden in this verse is same-gender sexual activity. However, if 2 is the reason, then this verse could place very tight restrictions even on heterosexual sex, as any act that goes against the natural function of a particular organ would be unacceptable. This would eliminate oral sex, anal sex, etc. It would certainly cramp Mark Driscoll’s style!

    Note that I’m not advocating for either of these two options. I’m just pointing out that those of us who believe gay sex is sinful should know WHY we think that (beyond “the Bible says so”), and be honest about the possible ramifications of our reasoning. I hope I’m making sense here.

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    “Homsexuality is an orientation and not something you choose.”

    This brings up an interesting question as I do see lying as an orientation when it comes to such things as NPD. It is ingrained. The very few with NPD who seek therapy have to deal with this orientation and make a conscious effort not to lie about even little things. The research on NPD says it is usually formed by around age 7. That might even be earlier than understanding a sexual orientation? Not sure.

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    I think one of the struggles that I have with this conversation regards the proper place and use of the scriptures in the argumentation.

    On the one hand, I feel the tendency to take scripture at face value. “The Bible means what it says.” Its truth is literal, inerrant, infallible, in all things. But I find that this position has a tendency to bread a sense of certainty, inflexibility, and lack of humility that makes the conversation take on an aggressive quality. It leads to a lack of empathy.

    But I also have trouble with that approach to scripture. I still recognize its truth, but grapple with the fact that it was written by human hands (although divinely inspired), interpreted and re-interpreted in various and sundry ways across a long historical record, and in the end must be filtered through the imperfect, fallible, error-prone, limited, fully human mind of the reader – me.

    So when I get to one of these thorny issues, my caution to myself is to recognize my own limited-ness and proceed as if I could very well be wrong: wrong in my understanding of the issues, wrong in my understanding of the meaning of the scriptures, wrong in my application of what ever truth they provide to the real-world situation I am in. I try to force myself to deal head on with the epistemological question “How can you be sure you are right?”

    It’s easy to feel right in our convictions. And that only gets stronger when we have others rise to defend ideas we share. But the diversity of opinion here (and everywhere) takes the wind out of that sail if we bother to look.

    It tends to make me move from arguing about what is right or true (in an ultimate sense) to what is fair. Given that we all could be wrong, given that we’re all flawed and imperfect, what is the fair thing to do?

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    @ Anon 1:

    “This brings up an interesting question as I do see lying as an orientation when it comes to such things as NPD. It is ingrained. The very few with NPD who seek therapy have to deal with this orientation and make a conscious effort not to lie about even little things.”

    …And there have been studies done on high-functioning autistic/Asperger’s/autism spectrum children that show they often have an ingrained AVERSION to lying. The neurotypical “control” children in these studies plotted how they would lie and had fun doing it, while the autistic children showed distress at the very idea. As someone who is possibly “on the spectrum,” I can testify from personal experience that I cannot remember ever telling an outright lie as a child. Even now, as an adult, I still think that, besides being sinful, lying is just too hard. Too many variables, too hard to keep the story straight, too much potential fallout. Just too much d*** work.

    The human mind is a very complicated and mysterious thing.

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    Thank you for bringing that up. I had not thought of it that way. Now, there are many NPD in certain leadership positions in the church. Hmmm…

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    Double J

    I like the fairenss question. Which brings up the point-is fairness a virtue that is stressed in Scripture? I see things that seem to point to both yes and no.

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    “How do I do this in such a way that shows love and kindness while at the same time accepting my own understanding of the Scripture surrounding this issue?”

    Perhaps by remembering that it your own understanding of scripture?

    You are to be commended for braving this topic. It desperately needs to be civilly discussed in the Church.

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    If only you new how frequently my understanding of certain Scripture verses has changed over the years. That is why I always make it a point to read lots and lots of teaching and opinions from all sides. I am constantly a person in process.

    Thanks for the encouragement. I need it.

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    This reminds me of this website I recently stumbled upon which has challenged my thinking: http://www.joshweed.com

    As much as it would be more comfortable for us conservative evangelicals to live in a black and white, easy answer world, it just isn’t so.

    I’ve sort of “gentled” my opinions recently about homosexuality. I see it as one of many sexual sins that humanity struggles with continually. And yet, I deplore far more the hateful and judgmental stance I see fellow Christians take when discussing this issue.

    I long for a day when grace and love is what the church is known for, not self-righteousness and hypocrisy.

    Thank you for taking on a painful, confusing conversation with understanding, honesty and grace. How refreshing.

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    Here is why I struggle with having these discussions at all:

    1. There are usually far too many “straight” people trying to have a discussion and speculate and speak on how or why a person is gay. It’s almost simply impossible to do that when you, yourself are NOT gay. I am African-American and I often find it difficult when white-Americans try to tell me how I should feel about issues that affect my culture; or about how I should feel when there is inequality or injustice. It is almost impossible to convey to a person what that is like when it is inherent in the history of your culture in a particular country. As far as I can remember, I have been black. I will never EVER know what it is like to be white. I can only imagine but there simply is no point of reference. But when I am around others who are not like me, I notice that I think differently, I respond differently, I take things in differently. My experience is remarkably different than theirs in many ways, although, it is not uncommon for us to have a shared experience. Yet, there was a time a person was to blame for simply bearing brown skin, and yet, what fault of theirs was that? Didn’t God foreknow that black people would be murdered and killed for this genetic makeup? That they would be hated and ridiculed, and oppressed for it? Yet, he never stopped making black people. I honestly think some day, in the same way that Scripture was used to enslave blacks in this country and now we see that as a terrible mockery of the character of God, I feel that we will come to that same understanding when it comes to people who are gay.

    2. I can recall my earliest memories of being attracted to little boys. I can even recall as a child feeling “something” that I couldn’t identify when I was around boys. I cannot honestly ever say that I CHOSE those feelings. I only could recognize that I had them and that the response was autonomic. When I hear gay people talk about their experiences with attraction, it is very much the same as my own. That same excitement I felt as a pubescent teen towards men is the same excitement and instant reaction that many feel towards the same-sex.

    3. Because I believe in the inherent and in-born nature of sexual attraction, then I have to wonder: If God so hates homosexuality and homoseuxal acts, then why did he make people with these attractions? Why also would God make such people, but then require that they experience a LIFETIME of extreme lonliness, unmet needs, lack of sexual fulfillment, intimacy, family and all other gifts given to mankind to accompany us on this journey of life? Why would God be so cruel? Does God take pleasure in making people with a certain sexual/physicological chemistry, and then forbidding them the option to be loved, touched, or even made love too? Wouldn’t it have been better for God to have taken away the sexual desire of such precious ones if that is his desire that they not ever know intimacy in a loving and consentual context?

    4. Does God have a habit of making people broken and choosing to allow such great suffering just so that he can be glorified?

    5. If God doesn’t make people born with brains wired in this way, then how can we see that God makes people born with both sexual organs, and a host of other things that may not occur often in nature, but simply does occur, and say that he can make one but not the other? Reason would tell me that if God allows children to be born bearing both sex organs, then God would also allow children to be born who are going to be wired to desire intimacy from someone of the same sex. There are far too many stories with people who have a penis or vagina on the outside, but have completely different parts on the inside. Why should we look at the brain any differently? Or hormonal makeup?

    6. For some reason, I feel very deeply that it is not my place to try and figure out if people are born gay or not (although it appears that they are), because I can never know firsthand that any conclusion I come to is true or not. I have to really trust their personal experiences and respect that. And I believe if God disapproved of gay sex, then he simply wouldn’t have made gay people. It cannot be both ways: he cannot have made gay people, but then forbid their orientation in one of the most profound areas of life.

    Lonliness and lack of intimacy and a felt love are so profound that people who have access to it never EVER can understand a lifetime spent in such a way. And I’m sorry, but friends, family and church members can’t make up for that experience. And I even say this as someone who has been a virgin for 34 years and have truly longed for most of my adult life for the love, intimacy and things that go on privately between lovers. There has been no one or anything that has fulfilled those needs, and yes, not even Jesus. I really hate it when Christians say that Jesus is enough; or that God fills those areas, because speaking from personal experience that still continues, I can tell you that it is not true. And there is no try harder, or your’e not praying enough, or doing this enough or that enough. It makes one wonder really what is fornication, if premarital sex is wrong, what is marriage, what is commitment, what is permissible and what isn’t. And when you compare older versions of Scripture and the arguments about different words like fornication not referring to the original situations and context in which they were forbidden, it does make one wonder and question when and where does that apply.

    Scripture is NOT clear on many things, and the things we are so sure that Scripture is clear on are usually things that don’t affect us in very deep and profound ways.

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    Taking Scripture at face value and as absolute truth and instruction for life requires that one first believe that the words have never been changed; that all interpretations retain the original meanings; that the audience completely understands the original cultures and issues it addresses and would then believe that regardless of changes in cultures and issues, every commandment is for all times; and that there were never any lost words, meanings, contextual clues and literary styles; or wars, political, cultural and religious corruption and grasps for control that never changed any of it.

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    I’ll be curious to see your thoughts on this issue. I’m really unsure of how you can have any sort of compassionate Christian response?

    The typical response is love the sinner hate the sin. Which to Gays translates as “love homosexuals but hate the homosexuality”. Which to most gays, means just hate.

    Put blogger in place of homosexual and then see what they mean…saying you hate something that they are is the same as just hating them personally.

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    I have been “hanging” with Dee for over a year now. If there is one thing her readers should know about her that I can surely vouch for is that she will always allow her heart to seek compassion for others, to be molded, ripped, torn apart and put together again regardless if she understands or not. She will always allow the Lord to work in her heart and change ideals, thoughts, and beliefs most especially when necessary.

    And BTW, I agree with your stance: I can’t see that there can be a separation between love the homosexual but hate the act as I don’t believe they can be separate. I, too, will be curious to see how this works out over time as the ladies here work through that and what conclusions they come to. One of the beautiful things is to see how people change and grow in understanding. They have nutured, watched and have seen the same in me.

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    I am from Austria and the situation of marriage here is as follows:
    In my church, the Lutheran Church in Austria, you can’t get married in church without first getting married at the registry office. The reasons for this are twofold:
    1) Obviously, in order to be officially married, with all the legal consequences (rights and obligations) that entails, you must have a civic wedding.
    2) The church does not want to declare you married if you are not willing to be officially and legally married.

    Anybody can be legally married – except same-sec couples. Due to resistance by the conservative People’s Party, there are only civic unions for same-sex couples. Couples consisting of a man and a woman can only be married legally, but can’t have a civic union.

    This is obviously discriminatory. Legally, marriage should be open to all, m/f, f/f and m/m couples. The government should keep out of regulating this. Whether churches then are willing to perform church weddings for same-sex couples is another story.

    Having grown up as an evangelical (I would no longer consider myself one, for many reasons, not the least the “fundamentalist follies” that continue to amaze me from afar), I shared the feelings of many here: Maybe same-sex attraction is not something that homosexuals can change, but then they must remain celibate.

    Now I do no longer think so. Actually, I think that Christian and society’s attitudes in the past were an inescapable trap, a catch-22, for homosexuals:
    1) Society: “We do not agree with what you do, you are perverts. If we catch you, we’ll punish you.”
    2) So homosexuals got married to escape from the shame, often hoping that having a loving spouse would cure them of their desires, only to find release in “illegal” encounters in restrooms, parks, clubs. This in turn entailed promiscuity.
    3) Society: “Look at you and your promiscuous lifestyle. You are disgusting!”

    This situation made many people really unhappy, not just homosexuals, but also their families, their wives and husbands, their children. Promiscuity is definitely not a very healthy lifestyle, but how else could they live their orientation?

    Many Christian leaders often justify their opposition to homosexuals and gay marriage with statistics: higher incidence of suicide and unhappiness among homosexuals, promiscuity, STDs.

    What if – if homosexuals can be accepted by society – it turns out that they are very average in terms of happy or unhappy marriages, etc., even boringly so?

    It’s not as if all heterosexual marriages are happy, all heterosexual spouses faithful, etc.

    What’s more: the terms used in Paul’s letters that are commonly translated as “homosexuals” seem to me – but I’m no Greek scholar – more to indicate “given to debauchery” – people who have sex with anyone or anything that keeps still long enough.

    So, as a married heterosexual man with 2 children, I propose that churches should

    a) see civil marriage and church marriage as 2 completely different things, where the civil marriage is none of their business, and church marriage is none of the government’s business.

    b) take a long hard look at scripture, without the filter of their long-held opinions and interpretations. They might find out that marriage is also about sex, yes, indeed. But love, solidarity, living and laughing and weeping together, faithfully supporting each other in good and bad days, play at least as important a role.

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    I should add that my reasoning for saying so is that I cannot honestly say that I can separate my inherent sexuality from expression from my sexuality. Part of being a woman, for me, is expressing my seuxality through many ways(that are quite traditional, but dont have to be and often aren’t for many women): whether I am nurturing a child, starry-eyed and goo-goo over a good-looking fella, admiring my own body and figure, or doing exceptionally traditional girly stuff that I love to do. Following through physically, mentally or otherwise on that aspect of me is just an outward expression of what I feel as natural as breathing, eating or loving another. I cant imagine the mental effery (excuse my lang) it would take to accomplish that separation.

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    Uh…. I should correct my anglish. That last sentence either makes me privately exciting (haha) or a cannibal. It should read: …just an outward expression of what I feel that is as natural as breathing, or eating, or as natural as the act of loving another.


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    Trina and Sophie – Standing O here!!! [:applause applause applause:]

    Brava! Bravissima!!! to you both!!! 🙂

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    Good comment…I totally get where you are on the issue. As for Dee, I wasn’t meaning to imply that she’s not compassionate (she is). I just don’t know how you can reconcile the Bible with an affirmation of gays.

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    Hello Dee & Deb,
    We have been reading the comments concerning homosexals. Here are
    are are couple newspaper articles about concerning the spread of aids
    in the Carolinas.
    This old newspaper from The Charlotte Observer Sunday August 18,1985.
    AIDS BRINGS ITS THEAT TO CAROLINAS. North Carolina has 100 counties.
    35 counties reported aid cases in their counties. Most only one or
    two cases but Mecklenburg County had 8 cases and Wake County had 3 cases.


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    a thought, in response to your comment to Jack:

    The “liberal” accusation is a non-thinking, unintelligent reflex that people blurt out who are either low in IQ or too lazy to actually reason and analyze. You are above this. You’re better than this. You are in the pursuit of truth and understanding, which completely transcends the liberal / conservative caveman talk.

    If I can get really metaphorical here, this reminds me of the Nova episode “The Elegant Universe”. If my inner poet can summarize with all clumsiness, the Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are in conflict with each other. They are both true, yet they contradict each other. Ok, i’ve reached my limit of explaining this myself, so I’m quoting Brian Greene from the episode now:

    “To see the conflict, we need to shrink way, way down in size. And as we leave the world of large, large objects behind, and approach the microscopic realm…. the familiar picture of space in which everything behaves predictably begins to be replaced with a world with a structure that is far less certain.”

    (shrinking down, down smaller than all matter)

    “Down here space and time are so twisted and distorted that the conventional ideas of left and right, up and down, ….even before and after …. break down.”

    (as “liberal” and “conservative” might do?)

    So, what I’m seeing is that truth is bigger and more microscopic than black and white boxes that are easy and convenient to hold and embrace (because of their rigid, limited boundaries). Just as in physics, truth (on some issues, at least) is a billion times more than what it may seem on the surface.

    That is why loving your neighbor as yourself is the heart of the matter. (the definition of love is for another time)

    …and why the “liberal” insult means absolutely nothing.

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    Doubtful… maybe we need to re-examine some Scriptures while laying aside (as much as we can) our current ideas about what the texts say, as well as the context for those texts?

    Just a suggestion… because we seem to be *extremely* selective about many things in. re. interpretation of Scripture, and not just where sexual acts are concerned.

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    P.S.: I am including myself in the “we” of my last comment, because I’m human and fallible, just like everyone else. 😉

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    So, what I’m seeing is that truth is bigger and more microscopic than black and white boxes that are easy and convenient to hold and embrace (because of their rigid, limited boundaries). Just as in physics, truth (on some issues, at least) is a billion times more than what it may seem on the surface.

    That is why loving your neighbor as yourself is the heart of the matter. (the definition of love is for another time)

    …and why the “liberal” insult means absolutely nothing.

    Amen, elastigirl! (Love your examples, too.)

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    Please don’t type in all CAPS. It is considered the same as shouting and is also hard to read.


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    It is evident from the nature of the topics discussed and the manner in which they are discussed on this site, that you are open minded and well read. It is the mark of maturity to be willing to examine all sides of an issue and to be open to changing one’s position. You might find John Shore’s blog a helpful resource.

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    H&M HIV is easily spread from men to women. Women are more easily infected during heterosexual activity than men. When HIV first came to awareness in this country and was mistakenly treated as a homosexual problem, people in Africa could not believe it, because HIV there is almost strictly a heterosexually transmitted disease. BTW, a couple who only have sex with each other will not suffer from nor transmit HIV, regardless of the genders of the two partners.

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    Perhaps it would be worthwhile to identify the passages in the Bible, then get open-minded scholars of ancient Hebrew and Greek to parse the language for us, so that we can understand what the passages would have meant in the context of the time, religious, social, etc., in the language of that day. I am willing to see if I can recruit some from the local seminary here, and you live near one there. It may help us to better deal with the scripture.

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    H&M, have you got any stats on the spread of AIDS among lesbians?

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    Linda said: “But let’s be clear: just because straights sin sexually that does not give gays a free pass to do so also.”

    But actually, Linda, it does. Because if straight people sin sexually and are forgiven, then so are gay people.
    So yes, they do get a “pass”. Because forgiveness is no respector of persons. All sin is forgiven. And you are not the one who can determine who is forgiven or not, who gets a pass or not, for you have not made sacrifice for anyone.

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    I have a question for Justin: In today’s climate of hatred and polarization, do you and other LGBT folks in your locale take steps to ensure your safety when out and about? Let’s face it, there are rabid cretins both religious and non who delight in physical violence toward LGBT folk. It would be nice if straight people both religious and non would stand in solidarity with LGBT folk against the violence directed at them. It’s the right thing to do regardless of one’s Biblical persuasion on the issue because it addresses an even more pressing issue in Scripture ~ “Who is my neighbor?” ~

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    Some practical comments:
    1)You wanted to rename the boy who finds he is gay in the fictional story from Jimmy to Michael. He is still called Jimmy twice between the Michaels (see the “A story” paragraphs), and twice in the later questions. For the sake of clarity, please change it to one name.

    2) You ask why the divorce percentage among church goers is higher. The same reason there are more men than women who have ever lost a rugby match: Men are not worse rugby players, they play more rugby. And Christians are not worse marriage partners: They just marry more.

    Divorce as a percentage of marriage is less among believers. Only divorcees as a percentage of all adults – never married included – is higher among believers. More about that here: http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com/christian-myths-on-gender-and-gender-roles/myth-christians-divorce-more-than-unbelievers/

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    The HIV virus can also be transmitted by means such as:

    – the use of surgical instruments that have not been properly sterilized – which happens more often than we might think

    – IV drug users sharing of needles that have not been sterilized

    – needle sticks (as in hospital settings)

    – unhealed wounds (this happens a *lot* with women who contract HIV from men with whom they have sex).

    HIV has mutated into more than one strain… there’s HIV-II, which has been spread almost entirely via heterosexual transmission.

    See http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/ for more info. And there’s lots out there on the terrible spread of HIV in Africa… AIDS orphans in S. Africa, for example. Such a terrible tragedy for all concerned!

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    Those percentages could very well be true that divorce is less among believers. That is why I always consider the “quality” or “state” of the union of those marriages. It’s easy to say we, as Christians, divorce less. But it is sure hard to ignore all the crappy marriages that people have committed to forever because they believe there is no way out. I”m sorry, but many marriages, no matter how hard they work, pray, ask God to heal, won’t be healed this side of heaven. Many people marry people they should never have married, and it’s hard to think that as a Christian, marriage is the one decision I can make in my entire life of which there is no recourse for my bad deicsion, unless someone cheats on me or dies. That’s very tough that God cares so much about marriage that he doesn’t care about the mental, emotional and physical state of those within the marriage. (end sarcasm).

    I honestly think that God cares more about the individual than an institution he created that was supposed to provide indivdiuals with love, comfort, partnership and family.

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    The data in the study Retha referred to are messed up. The numbers add to 100%, so divorced and remarried are counted how, as divorced or as married? If as married, under represents those who are divorced. Perhaps Christians tend to remarry more — and I think there are data to support that.

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    This topic is valuable. Loving our neighbour mean something, and we have to think how we treat others, the messages we as Christians send.

    My question is.I know that SSA people have higher rates of depression, drug use, promiscuity, etc. Are there any countries where homosexuals are pretty much accepted, and do they have higher rates of depression, drug use, promiscuity, etc. in those countries?

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    An Attorney–

    It kinda reminds me of the abortion data. But having had friends who worked in abortion clinics, they would tell me that more often than not, the women who got abortions THE MOST were married Christian women, or single Christian women. I was floored. And yes, often husband did NOT know.

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    “Higher rates” in my previous question refers to “higher than heterosexuals have.”

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    “It’s easy to feel right in our convictions. And that only gets stronger when we have others rise to defend ideas we share.” -Double J

    I agree. It’s easy to feel right in our convictions, especially when the issue is not something that we desire or something that tempts us in our own lives. When I say tempt, I don’t mean to say that homosexuality is a temptation or even a sin. I know innumerable anti-gay folks, most of whom say they “love the homosexual but hate the sin”. Obviously, most of them (probably none of them) have an attraction to their gender.

    As I saw the scores of people lined up outside Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t help but wonder if there would have been a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day if Dan Cathy had spoken out against greed or materialism or the many Christians and churches who give little to nothing to the poor. Instead of pledging to “Eat Mor Chikin” and creating songs about Chick-fil-A and standing in line for two hours to take a stand against homosexuality and the definition of marriage, I wonder if people would have pledged to sell their possessions and give more to the poor, to buy less for themselves and give more to the poor, to be content with just what we need instead of accumulating the nicest home, the nicest cars, the nicest clothes, great vacations, the best of everything for our children, and as much wealth as we can accumulate. Maybe some fast food company with Christian principles will speak out against greed and see how many Christians line up in support of the poor, anti-greed and anti-materialism and free speech and all that.

    Speaking of greed and materialism, the bible has much more to say about those sins than about homosexuality.

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    Says who though? I hate statistics. They don’t mean much. The news is always saying that black people have higher rates of this and that. I really get tired of hearing that crap. As a black person, I often can look at the people around me that I know don’t fit those molds or stereotypes. We often look at each other and are like, who the hell are they talking about?

    A friend said to me recently: black men have higher rates of not caring for their kids. First, I was offended. But I chose to open a perspective. Think about this: most people in my parents generation grew up in a two-parent Christian/spritual household with a stay-at-home mom. Both of my parents grew up in a household that I, myself, didn’t grow up in. Most of my parents friends grew up in households like theirs irrespective of social and economical standing. Most black men I know, know of, and am surrounded by daily are well-eduated, very metropolitan and take damn good care of their kids and wives. And I firmly believe that the average black family not only desires, but is trying to live the same American dream that most white families are. These dads are busting their asses to please their wives and care for their kids.

    But I had to get my friend to think about what qualifies as “taking care” of your kids? Are you telling me that the young black dude who has kids by three women and does not provide for them is worse than the educated, successful white man who works 80 hours a week and NEVER sees his kids who are cared for by nannies their entire lives? How is he any better a father? Just because he makes good provision for them financially? Yet, he ignores their spiritual and emotional well-being. I think he is just a dog and loser as the black guy who is in a poverty-stricken situation that doesn’t provide financially for his kids. And don’t get it wrong, there are plenty of dads in the ghetto or poor situations that are THERE for their kids, even IF they cannot provide for them financially.

    So we must first define what caring for actually means.

    In the same way, I believe most gay people are looking for the same thing. I do not believe stats that more gay people are more promiscuous than straight people. I see straight people sleeping with all kinds of people all of the time. I see straight married people cheating all of hte time. I see Chritian men and women sleeping around just as much as non-Christian men and women. So then we must realize how we define promiscuity and how we are prejudiced in our thinking towards gays when it comes to that.

    I think we live in a day and age where many people, gay, straight, old and young, simply screw around. It’s a growing world issue. I think it’s irrespective of sexual orientation. And as I type this, I sit across from a gay married man at work who has been with his partner for over 15 years, all the while I can think of at least three married men here who have asked me out.

    What do you think of that?

    Statistics really aren’t helpful, and honestly, I dont think they are a reliable indicator of what the truth is. That’s like trusting the statistics of drug companies for the drug they sell, rather than listening to an unbiased party who is no stakeholder or has no interest in the matter.

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    Trina – once again, Brava!

    You know how to bring it, sis.

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    Also, I hear you on the workaholic dad thing, since I saw that SO much while living in the D.C. area. It’s scary… I often felt like many people I knew were so invested in spending their waking hours at work that they didn’t really take the time to live their own lives. (Which is a whole ‘nother subject.)

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    I have missed you, girl. I love your post near the top. I forgot to say that. It was really good!

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    For everyone – a link to John Shore’s posts on LGBT people and the church:


    I know this material is challenging… and it’s meant to be. But I think there are a lot of posts there that might help clarify many of the issues under discussion here.

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    Trina – I’ve missed you, too! It’s so good to see you back here, and I am just loving your comments.

    And hey, thanks. (Aww shucks.)

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    Yeah, and needless to say how much those dudes are “hittin’ it” on business trips with other chicks they work with. See, they all cheat too! Nobody gets away with saying some do it more than others. EVERYBODY (as in sexual orientation and/or marital status) does it. And to say who does more is to even forget about the people who will never ever admit that they do. Adults like to say teenagers are more promiscuous. But yet, my friend’s mom works at a nursing home and said that the amount of STDs the elderly are contracting while in senior living is unreal. They are seriously getting it on in the nursing homes and senior living situations. I’m like darn! Even the old people???! Jesus!

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    I am very interested in this whole discussion and was planning on waiting to make any comments, but the comment thread has been simply to interesting to pass up. Just a couple thoughts to throw out there:

    1. Dee, while I don’t agree with you on many things (which is why I read here) I do appreciate your clear desire to demonstrate compassion to folks. I think that is very commendable, and something I can continue to learn from you.

    2. I think two things complicate this issue. One is the extreme self righteousness of some folks that has contributed to the strident nature of any dialogue on the issue. The other is the opposite end of the spectrum (I believe) which is to treat homosexuality as a special class of sin that is not really all that sinful.

    3. If the Bible isn’t clear about homosexuality being a sin, then it isn’t be clear about very much at all. This doesn’t mean this is an “easy” issue, because it is not. The nuance between SSA and actual acts etc, are distinctions that can legitimately be made. But to argue that homosexual acts are not sinful would require hermeneutical gymnastics that are not comparable to some of the other issues (race, for example) that it is sometimes tossed in with.

    4. We had better be able to love the sinner and hate the sin, no matter how close to the core of ones being a particular sin may be, or else we are in trouble, and not just on this issue. Loving the sinner and hating the sin might be too flippant a phrase many times, but the idea behind it (that loving someone means we relate to them them according to who they are in Christ, not the sins they commit) is exactly right.

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    Let me clarify… They don’t all cheat. I meant to say, many men/women do that. And is a person promiscuous if they’ve only slept with one person? Say they’re not married to that person, does that make them promiscuous? Is a person promiscuous who’s slept with say, five people? What about 10? What about thoughts? Can one be faithful in action but promiscuous in thought?

    For most people, promiscuity means “more people than I have slept with, or at least am willing to admit.”

    What if a majority of gay people may have kissed a lot of people, but only have had sex with one or two people? How is that differen than the many stragith people who have done the same? Shoot, my friends used to kiss EVERYBODY! Maybe there are many gays who’ve only been with one person, two people, NOBODY??

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    While personality disorders and homosexuality may be ingrained into the personality from birth or a young age, I see a major difference. To be diagnosed with a personality disorder, it must negatively impact the person’s relationships and his day-to-day functioning.

    This is not the case with homosexuality. Folks with personality disorders deliberately hurt others. Although their disorders are who they are/become, they know what they’re doing. They know how to hurt others, and they are very manipulative and malicious in carrying out their plans. When necessary, though, they can put on their sweet, kind, wholesome mask and refrain from doing the horrible things they do.

    Homosexuality doesn’t deliberately hurt others. I’ve seen it hurt parents and others, but only because of deep religious beliefs and embarrassment, not because the homosexual was trying to hurt them.

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    I believe the most important question here (as with all matters in our relationship to God)is what we do honoring to Him? Its not about how we want to see things or even what we feel/ So much in the churchis about what WE WANT and then taking scripture and using it to support that. With homosexuality its not about what feelings we have, but what we do with those feelings. For those who have strong sexual desires for the same sex and call themselves a follower of Jesus they may never be free from those feelings. But they should remain celibate to honor God, because any sexual behavior (whether hetero or homo)doesn’t honor Him. We put so much weight on our feelings, but can they be trusted. It makes me cringe to hear that God gives everyone their feelings. Thus they should act those feelings out.

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    You’d be surprised that outside of debating the homosexual issue, how many hermeneutical gymnastics theologians, preachers and teachers of the word make each and every day. It’s why we have so many denominations, because as you guessed, Scripture is hardly clear in many areas. But it seems that many of those gymnastics get a pass while that of SSA doesn’t.

    Sometimes I think as Christians, we want to settle the sex debate and have a firm yes or no so that we can point out how wrong others are. I just wished we cared more to settle debates on other topics that Christ really made more issue and mentioned a lot more in Scripture.

    I’d love to debate each and every Sunday with many churchgoers the same issues that someone brought up above about Chick-fil-A? How do we think that would go over in many churches?

    I’d love to slam the podium with my Bible and settle that debate once and for all. But for the most part, I cannot because I am female. And the second is because people would storm out and leave the church. Most Christians dont want to settle the debate on greed, gluttony, materialism, etc… because it would make us all counterfeit.

    Does anyone think it’s fair that we make sex and sexuality the most grandiose of sin issues than anything in the life of a believer? Why didn’t Christ do that? Was he not aware that this debate would happen?

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    I should have added, “But they should remain celibate because acting out sexual behavior outside the covenant relationship between and man or woman is not scriptural.

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    I am 33 years, almost 34 years faithful in marriage to my wife of equal date. We did not do sex before marriage, even though we shared a townhouse for three weeks before getting to the pastor’s office, two bedrooms, two beds. We waited for marriage and are still married and faithful.

    But I have traveled and have had invitations, and have seen people who were obviously intent on cheating on their spouse at home. My favorite was a conference at a religiously affiliated university on ethics, where most of the speakers were sharing the night with someone not their wife while at the conference!

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    T – I so agree with you on the issue of condemning people to live without emotional and sexual closeness, without having a loving partnership with another human being and being able to build a family and a life together.

    To add: people are NOT “cured” by marrying a person of the opposite sex. The gay people who do seem to adapt well to that are, usually, bi – and when one spouse truly is gay, the straight spouse suffers a LOT, even when there is no cheating or ill intentions. I know there are more than a few gay men out there who feel terrible about how this went (not being able to love their wives as they truly deserved to be loved – ad equally attracted lovers) in their own marriages to women.

    I have come to the conclusion that there is really *not* a proscription against loving, committed relationships for people of any orientation – regardless of how some parts of the Bible appear to read, and how they are interpreted by many today. (Quick factoid: one of the early church fathers, John Chrysostom, interpreted the bit in Romans about women exchanging “natural” for “unnatural” to mean that women willingly participated in anal sex with their husbands. Take that, Mark Driscoll!!! :))

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    An Attorney–

    OMG! That reminds me of a post I read recently on pr0n. (have to type it that way or the filters will catch it). But it stated that most of the Christian conferences geared towards men, that the hotels have record purchases of adult media during these conferences. It is probably also a possibility that a few of these men might be keeping each other company as I woudln’t doubt it.

    And An Attorney– I really like the type of husband that you are and the marriage that you have. You are blessed to have found that. I think, too, that many others have found such a love and have given themselves to faithfulness even if they weren’t each other’s first, and even if they did live together before marriage.

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    Tag on my last post: I am not a fan of Chrysostom, who was openly anti-semitic and anti-woman, but I think he got a few things right. 😉

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    Trina – on the pr0n issue, I think that which is forbidden is bound to attract people who might not otherwise go near it.

    There clearly weren’t any “accountability” filters on that hotel’s network.

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    Elsewhere in this blog you will find a comment where I describe how God brought my spouse into my life as a result of prayer and my resistance to believing when it happened. She is the delight of my life, a gift of grace from God, and a partner I could only have wished and prayed for, and did not expect.

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    My extended singlenesss, although initally and mostly a painful expereince, has caused me to really consider what these prohibitons mean, if the words are as they were, and if they are prescriptive for all situations for all time.

    There are many people in this world and in the history of humankind who will never marry. There are many Christians who will never marry and not because they dont want to be. Does God really expect and desire that a person live their entire lives without such intimacy, yet experience intense emotional, psychological and physical pain because of it?

    Many people, especially married Chrsitians, cannot speak to this experience because it will never be theirs. And although I have never been with anyone, I do know women who have when they were younger and then committed their lives to celibacy because of religious conviction who experience the same pain I had.

    These days, while I dont experience the pain of singleness much, there are times where I do experience lonliness or longing. I dont desire as much anymore to be married and many of my ideals and beliefs have changed. I still, though, remain open to that possiblity. But honestly, in the meantime, I’m just living my life. I dont necessarily believe anymore that sex and physical intimacy is specifically and only limited to a Christian marriage. I do believe, though, that person should be wise, careful and thoughtful about how they spend their private time with another and who they spend it with. I cannot say that the couple who has been together for 30 years, unmarried and faithful, with no kids is worse than the couple who is married but yet unfaithful and treats their kids like crap.

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    Emotional/sexual/etc. closeness redux: I am in my mid-50s and straight.

    And I’ve gotta say that sticking to the path (celibacy + not having someone to just build a life with) has been HARD.

    Though it is much easier now that I’m no longer involved in any church that treats me as “different” or strange for being unmarried; that does not idolize marriage and family.

    Nor am I desperate to rush into marriage. I probably could have married a guy who wanted me to stay home and be submissive and bake cookies and all that, but it wasn’t/isn’t for me.

    Now that I’m a bit older (ditto for potential partners), I think things are different – people have grown children, and there’s no way I can have a baby, so… it really is about building a life together.

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    I do believe that if we set aside male homosexuality and focused on females, the conversation might go a bit differently, because of some societal hangups over the idea of male-male sex in one particular form.

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    An Attorney–

    That is beautiful. I am glad that God did answer your prayer and in that way. There are just many singles, especially Christian singles, who have prayed many MANY prayers for many MANY years that have NEVER been answered. Soemtimes, I can’t say that situations like yours are a result of prayer in the same way I cannot answer why God wouldn’t answer prayers like yours of those who are just like you were–pure and waiting. Regardless, I AM happy for you ; )

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    So we’re in a situation where:

    1) the moral status of homosexuality is ambiguous, with science, history, and religion often in conflict over time. Attitudes are definitely a’ changin’.
    2) the debate isn’t so much about the facts (although there is a lot of ignorance and dis-information out there), but about how to weight, measure, and assess the facts
    3) the debate isn’t just about sexuality alone, it’s also about gender roles within the family and is very much tied to the issue of marriage complementarianism that is a popular topic on this blog. It’s hard to maintain the argument that men are the only legitimate heads of households if both spouses are men (or women). It’s hard to maintain the privilege of “manly men” on home, church, the workplace and society when men and women all come in manly and girly varieties.
    4) the issue is emotionally charged not so much because it’s about right/wrong or truth/error but because it involves power and privilege. It becomes a hot-button issue for lots of evangelical folks in part because in the past they could take for granted that their position would be the law of the land. Now that’s threatened, and the reaction is to protect their power and play the victim because someone is challenging their monopoly on legal and public morality.

    That’s partly where my interest in fairness comes from. It focuses the discussion on the fact that while we may all individually “feel” relatively powerless, many of us belong to groups and organizations that wield substantial political power in our name. What would we want to see if we were in the minority, we were harassed, demonized, and in some cases murdered for our sexual orientation?

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    Trina – amen, my sister!!!

    We’re cross-posting – but y’know, I’m at pretty much the same place as you, albeit older.

    I *do* get lonely, but I have learned to actually like myself, so being on my own a lot doesn’t bother me like it used to when I was younger and thought that there was something *wrong* with me for not being married. (As if being married was somehow a statement of a person’s innate worth… that *cannot* be what it’s about!)

    Like you, I no longer think that long-term committed relationships tplehat don’t have a legal stamp of approval are wrong – and if anyone does some reading on the history of marriage ceremonies/marriage in Western history, it’ll soon become clear that things haven’t always been as they are now. (For one thing, church marriage ceremonies were very often conducted *after* a couple had become a couple…. with no statement of blame attached.)

    Another off-topic thing: I’ve never understood why people idolize marriage ceremonies. Is it really necessary to spend a fortune on clothes and setting and food and get SO stressed about planning a wedding? It’s always seemed a little nuts to me.

    One more thought (apropos of the gent above who wrote from Austria): in Canada, there is a point during *any* marriage ceremony (regardless of religion) where the signing of the public records register takes place. Marriage is not legal in Canada as a solely religious thing – the legal formalities must take place.

    I find that quite interesting… I mean, who ultimately decides what “marriage” actually means? Is it possible to be married – in heart and mind – to someone when there hasn’t been a ceremony (yet, or maybe eve ever)?

    All the enslaved people in the US who were not permitted to legally marry – does that mean that couples’ commitments to one another were any less real or valid that those of people who were able to legally marry? (Us white folks, that is.)


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    I feel you. And I think my situation is why I can relate, at least some, to being told you cannot have intimacy unless… These are impossible situations for some people. I learned one time of this sex service that provided “intimacy” for the disabled. It was nothing that had ever crossed my mind, EVER, that disabled people who have certain disabilities long for such a relationship yet NEVER will have it.

    I think, in this world, you’re lucky when you’re born and living in all the right situations that make your life a Christian’s ideal. For everyone else, well, it sucks to be them.

    In my singleness, I have experience pain so deep that there were times I literally wanted to end my life. Now that I am gone from the church, I dont have those thoughts anymore. Neither do I idolize and think so highly of marriage anymore. I simply just think much higher of God. Period. It seems the very environment and teachings that was supposed to help me live a good life were the ones that were making me want to quit and give up on life. How can it be that this distance that has allowed me to question my beliefs, which have led to a better understanding, IMO, of grace, love and forgiveness have drawn me closer to God and have allowed me to relax and live my life as best I can. I have never been happier and more hopeful for a good life.

    Honestly, if someone felt as I did or even worse, I’d be like listen, dude, just go have sex. Find someone you care about or are comfortable with, who is safe and be with them. I can no longer encourage people to suffer in this way when I know the damage and absolute torture is has brought upon me at times. If that type of suffering we are supposed to do for the Gospel, well, I only see a select few doing it, and I honestly dont think I could be one of them. Count me out. Sorry.

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    Trina a very, very big AMEN to your most recent post on sex, singleness, etc.

    It was torture for me as well, and though I didn’t get to the point of suicidal thoughts, I was very deeply unhappy – and talking to people who tried to be helpful only made that worse, as they’d all gotten married quite young and din’t have a clue what people who were single and adult went through. There’s more that I could say, but I’d rather do it off-list… 😉

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    Double J–

    Wow! You hit the nail on the head with a lot there. Well done.

    Regarding your question 3, regarding complimentarianism. So then could one argue that if complimentarianism is deemed unscriptural (men being the head and all), and combine that with two people of the same-sex being in a household, then yes, who is the head? And then if we come to the conclusion that same-sex households are bibilically acceptable, then does that force us to throw away the issues about male over female headship and women preaching and teaching?

    I hope this is not confusing.

    An Attorney–

    Yes, I think we should bring up the topic of women in SSA, because yes, it really does make the issue difficult for many when anal sex is really the clincher for them.

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    Yes, let’s. I only bring up the singleness issue because I think there is some commonality in suffering when you speak of Christians and people who are forbidden intimacy, sex and a private love with another.

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    Also… for me, being treated by the church as (at best!) a superannuated teenager was horrible.

    I can’t even begin to imagine how much worse it is for LGBT people.

    (And I also can’t help thinking of Loving v. Virginia and the final overturning of anti-“miscegenation laws.” Not only that – the treatment that Mildred and Richard Loving were subject to by the legal authorities of VA was SO horrific, in so many ways…)

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    An Attorney – totally agreed.

    People are fixated on a sexual act that is also part of many straight couples’ sex lives – and that many gay men aren’t crazy about.

    It’s so easy to stay with that one thing, and not go past it and look at people as, well, people.

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    I only bring up the singleness issue because I think there is some commonality in suffering when you speak of Christians and people who are forbidden intimacy, sex and a private love with another.


    How much worse for people to continually tell you that you have no right to this, ever, unless you somehow are able to “un-gay” yourself.

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    I love your knowledge of history. I forget that slaves weren’t permitted to marry. Yes,then, how do we define marriage? I do think two people can be married in service and spirit to one another. But I think the issue for many gays is how can the law and government determine who I can take care of with my own money? How can an insurance company say that you cannot share benefits with this person because you aren’t married to them, and yet you CANT be married to them because the law says you cant. It’s a catch 22. I feel that people should be able to give their benefits and money to whomever they want. Shoot! If people can leave money to a dog or cat then why not a person, actual human, one loves. And if a spouse is a spouse and supporting you, and you’re working and paying benefits, then that spouse, whether samesex or not, should be able to benefit from that labor.

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    Re. Loving v. VA: I bring that up because I think that it has more than a little to do with the suffering that LGBT people have endured, and continue to endure, especially when they are not only told that they have no right to closeness, but are actually *legislated against.*

    I do think that the evangelical church is going to be horrified by its own closed-mindedness and cruelty (deliberate and otherwise) before too much more time goes by. For me, it’s not unlike the condemnation of Galileo, which was not repealed until the late 20th century.

    let’s hope and pray that the American church comes to its senses sooner than that!

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    Yes, true! At least if I ever do meet mister right, my “mysery” could end if and only if I maintain a “biblical” requirement for intimacy. So even my suffering has potential relief that theirs never would.

    I loved this post I saw in a forum before. A guy said when was the last time the Christian couple across the street got a divorce because of the gay couple living next to them?

    My response: When her husband was creeping across the street to try and be with the other couple because he, himself, was gay. That’s about probably only when that happened.

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    Yes, that’s it exactly. Part of the reaction to gay marriage and the defense of “traditional” marriage is actually a defense of male privilege in “traditional” marriage.


    Thanks for pointing out the slavery example. I’m also reminded that throughout a lot of judeo-christian history all it took to be considered “married” was to declare that you were and live as such. Legal recognition and registration of a marriage was spotty at best.

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    I think that one of the great, albeit unacknowledged, shocks that a lot of people are experiencing in states and countries (like Canada) where same-sex marriage is legal is simply that same-sex couples are getting married… and society hasn’t fallen apart, now has it?

    Oh that the day will come – and the legal rights that are part of marriage as well.

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    I’m also reminded that throughout a lot of judeo-christian history all it took to be considered “married” was to declare that you were and live as such. Legal recognition and registration of a marriage was spotty at best.

    Yep!! It’s not as if there are any descriptions of wedding ceremonies re. Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and his wives, etc. etc. etc.

    Even now, lots of married couples around the world are married only because of their commitment to each other; there is little opportunity for legal acknowledgement or registration of their relationships.

    I need to go back and dig up some of the material I was reading a few years back re. how things typically went in Western culture up to the 19th century re. marriage ceremonies, etc.

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    You said “Most Christians dont want to settle the debate on greed, gluttony, materialism, etc… because it would make us all counterfeit.”

    But that’s just the thing, I don’t see anyone arguing that greed, or gluttony, or materialism are not sinful. I don’t hear sermons on whether the Bible really calls greed a sin or not. I don’t know if any Christian books talking about how gluttony is a very nuanced issue and needs to be handled carefully because we’re not sure if we are interpreting what the Bible says about gluttony accurately or not. So I am not sure what you mean about the debate on those issues.

    You also said:

    “It’s why we have so many denominations, because as you guessed, Scripture is hardly clear in many areas.”

    This, I think, is the biggest danger of this debate. In our attempt to be compassionate, and to distance ourselves from the hate mongers, we end up having to concede the clarity of Scripture. The Bible leaves plenty of room for diversity of views on some issues (polity being one, hence one of the main reasons for all those denominations you mention), but that does’t mean it is unclear about other things, including being against some things…gluttony, greed, pride, fornication…and for other things…humility, self control, generosity, and purity…to mention just a few.

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    Double J–

    Wow! I never thought about this: Yes, that’s it exactly. Part of the reaction to gay marriage and the defense of “traditional” marriage is actually a defense of male privilege in “traditional” marriage.

    Thank you for opening that up for me. In addition, isn’t that the case with any desire for power? The freedom of others are infringed upon in order to maintain power to a concentrated few? So then, this could also be about power?


    One thing that opened my eyes was when I went to Europe. I saw so many gay couples with kids and pushing strollers. I was the one walking around like WTFreak, is this real? Not because I was grossed out, but because I was surprised how normal life was for everyone. The kids of the straigth couples weren’t freaking out. People weren’t covering their kids eyes. The kids weren’t asking questions. They were just playing and being kids.

    As Americans, we are spoiled. We have a government that backs up our religious ideologies. And we want to not have to do the work or be uncomforable about anything. I hear so many people yelling “I shouldn’t have to explain this or that to my child”, and I’m like the hell you dont. Yes, you do! And the fact that you DONT is actually a priviledge. Stop being such a wuss! We are such wusses.

    I dont think there are many places in the world like this, except for maybe muslim countries. .

    I read on FB today a letter that this couple wrote to their “friend” who had introduced them to Mars Hill. This couple was now getting married,but the friend who introduced them had left Mars Hill because of many of hte issues we agree upon here about Driscoll and high-demand control groups. So this disinvited this dude to their wedding in order to “ensure and guard” their relationship, the wedding ceremony, and focus on what God had done in their lives.

    It was the most selfish, cowardly BS I have ever read. But it is common amongst these types of churches to hurt people’s feelings and shun them in the name of “guarding” and “ensuring”. When it all boils down to is that many American Chritians cannot defend their own beliefs, and/or are not strong enough to consider all that they believe under a microscope and stand strong if it doesn’t hold up to scrutinty. We need everything to be protected so that we dont have to consider if what we believe really is true or not. We also need everything to be protected because we are not used to having to flex those muscles. It’s all catered to us for the most part. (Us, meaning Christians).

    “There is a war on our way of life!” Really? When? By whom? Who is cheating on your wife/husband other than you?

    Religious freedom has to be for everyone if it is truly free. And this is all different than the gov saying that we are no longer free to worship our God. Now THAT is a battle worth fighting.

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    Sorry for the confusion. I should have said that I dont see people arguing over these things because we fail to recognize them. We are unfair in how we attack the debate over sexuality and ignore how many people sit in our congregations that violate all the commands against materialism, greed, gluttony, pride and so forth. Do you not agree that we are surrounded in the church by people committing these sins? Some of us more than one of them? So why dont we make a big deal about THAT? Doesn’t that grieve God as much? Or is sin not really sin? Does sin have its hierarchy with sexual sin being the worst?

    That’s the point I wanted to make. Christians are allowed to be greedy materialistic gluttons and not as much get an eye batted at them, but JUST DONT BE GAY, okay. You hear me, JUST. DONT.BE.GAY. Because although it was mentioned less than five times, it really is the biggest issue God could have EVER addressed. That’s why he talked about it so little. (end sarcasm)

    While you think that there is clarity in Scripture in verses that say DO NOT, YOU SHALL NOT, NO this or NO that, I think maybe you are unaware that those things have meant different things across cultures. And thats’ why someone posted above that there needed to be historical accounts and studies based on the original greek and Hebrew words, their original context and meaning, and whether prohibitions were proscriptive for all times or missional, or specific for a group of people?

    For example, off the topic of sex: There is huge debate between comps and egals regarding the meaning of the word hypokuo (hope I spelled that right). This word and many others are pivotal in determining whether or not men have authority over women; which leads to many other changes that we’d have to make in our beliefs about Christian living.

    So my hope is that although people come about to say that Scripture is clear, they should be mindful that what we currently have isn’t very clear at all. How do you know the words have not been changed? Do you understand there are great debates about the legitimacy of certain verses in the King James because of the idea that this version had been changed to support a monarchial rule. Why would that be hard to believe?

    Do we think that the Bible has escaped political, religious and economic wars over the centuries and civiliations? Do we not think that the ruling authorities of those times have not sought control over people through religion and by controlling dissemination of information, as well as the veracity of that information?

    If any of that be true, we cannot simply conclude that a woman must “submit” to a man’s “authority” when it is arguable and verifiable that those words were not the original words used when speaking of hte relationship between a man and his wife; which also in some sects of Christianity is prescriptive for all men over all women.

    In the same way, thinking about words like fornication, debauchery, homosexuality, etc… and prohibitions against them requires the same considerations. There is a huge argument of whether same-sex sex is wrong when there is consent, or if it is only wrong because there was rape involved and the disenfranchisement and abuse of others, i.e. young boys, male prostitutes. That’s why it’s so important to consider why, what, who, where, etc…

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    T – Getting into the historical end of things means that we end up having to confront some truly awful things… about economic status (some people have *always* been more equal than others, due to their money), social class 9take the British class system as an example – it *still* has a hold on lots of people), extreme prejudice against women, discrimination and persecution of people who have a different skin color and/or different religion (the latter = the horrendous and ongoing anti-semitism in Western society, which became obvious just a couple of hundred years into A.D. time), the free pass given to the wealthy re. slavery and serfdom (it was a given – in Romania, Rom [gypsy] people were enslaved for 500 years!), and on and on….

    I’m *not* saying that there haven’t been people who were loving, giving and Christ-like throughout the last 2 millenia [sp?] – there certainly have been.

    But there is a bad – and pervasive – human tendency to want to have someone that you can beat up on (physically, emotionally, verbally – whatever) *and* make lower than ourselves.

    I think LGBT people are the evangelical church’s pet minority – that we love to have someone to put in “their place” and that gay people are bearing the brunt of it at this time. (So are lots of other folks, but hatred/fear/ignorance toward LGBT people is in the spotlight right now.)

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    I would like to ask Justin about children. Homosexuality is so open anymore that now children are asking questions earlier. Is he offended that some believers might teach their children that Romans 1 teaches it is unnatural relations? It puts parents who believe that in a tough situation because many want their children to be loving and respectful to all no matter what. Does he consider it hateful to teach that interpretation of Romans 1?

    Everyone is so afraid to be called hateful these days for what they believe even though they can believe it and still have great love for all mankind.

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    That is clearer, and I absolutely agree that we need to avoid the hypocrisy of railing against one sin, while being perfectly ok committing other sins that we think are no big deal. I misunderstood you on that point.

    As to the clarity issue, I think the documentation of the preservation of the Scripture is immense. There are certainly controversial passages that scholars dispute the legitimacy of, like John 8 and the end of Mark etc. But even then, the excellence of the documentation and history of the cannon is what allows for intelligent disagreement on those particular passages. And it isn’t just one or two disputed passages that speak to this issue, it is several (not seriously disputed) passages specifically addressing homosexual acts, combined with the entire teaching of the Scriptures on sex. Like I said, if this issue is unclear, then just about everything is. I think that is an unnecessary concession.

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    “Because although it was mentioned less than five times, it really is the biggest issue God could have EVER addressed. That’s why he talked about it so little. (end sarcasm)”

    Trina, I might be wrong but it could be that it made the top sin hits list because of the story of Sodom and Gomorah? I know that city was totally perverted in many ways and all kinds of sexual sin but we had a situatio where people were demanding they offer up their male visitor for sex. They even offered the daughters but no, they demanded the new guy. I think that story freaks a lot of people out because God dealt with it in the manner He did. Just thinking outloud. That is not to say that it was not bad other places, too, it is just the one we have record of early on.

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    I do think the same. I think LGBT is the wicked step-child thrown into the cellar.

    I remember being at church when I was about 12 and the female pastor yelling “Sex is a choice and I CHOOOOOSE to be straight! You ain’t gay! Don’t believe what the devil tells you!” Then her husband getting up beside her and hugging her saying “this is how I get in touch with my feminine side.” I was disgusted. First, because dude acted like he might have been in the closet himself and second, because of their bragging about their straightness. I had a gay uncle, I loved him. So I found it offensive.

    I can’t tell you how many of my married and non-married youth pastors have come out of the closet. I’ve always been intuitive when folks. I watch where their eyes go. What they focus on. Feel them out. I’ve never been wrong when I knew deep down inside that someone was gay. I didn’t really care either. But young people can’t always articulate things they feel or sense about others. They rely heavily on discernment and intuition. I just never stopped being that way. I still am.

    The other thing is my uncle who is gay tried to get the gay prayed out of him so many times. I dont know how much he has told us that he wasn’t gay anymore. My family believed him. I never did. I knew he was still gay. I could see the shame, confusion and sadness in his eyes. He is now dying and my father, who has a hard time with my uncle’s gayness, won’t really go visit him. My mom is like THAT is your BROTHER! Yet, if I shared the details of my father’s past that I know about, let alone what I dont know, and then his “activities” while married to my mother, I cant really concede how he thinks he’s any better than my uncle…but he does. And that’s the common hypocrisy of being a Christian. It’s rather sickening.

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    Yes, that is what I meant. You said it a little better ; ) I do understand where you’re going when you say if something is unclear, then just about everything is. But there are those of us who believe that and are comfortable with that. There are people who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture and Cannon and so forth. There are others who believe in the overall themes of the Bible, while they have the understanding that it is not a perfect preservation and neither a perfect interpretation. Tehre are more groups than that, but for classification, I’m part of the latter group.

    I dont think there has been perfect preservation or interpretation. But for me, it doesn’t affect whether I believe in God and the overarching story of salvation. And while the specific details can differ, I believe overall that God loves his Creation and has a plan to restore us to perfection; and I do believe in Christ’s sacrifice. But I am completely okay that the Bible is not inerrant. Overall, the Bible doesn’t have to be perfectly complete for me to be a believer.



    Yes, I’m sure that really does have a lot to do with it. There is a link to the first Q&A session that Justin did and I read all of the comments. There were some really great discussions there as well and thisissue was brought up stating that the debate has been over whether or not it was because of the male desire for the other man, or was it about their desire to rape this man and emasculate him, which was a method of conquering a people or culture.

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    RE: Eagle

    For when visitors (and I suspect this blog will get a lot over this topic) drop in over time this note is for them.

    Eagle is in the hospital recovering from an infected leg. He has no issues that I know of with the topic of this post and its related subject matter.

    Get well soon.

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    Oh and Joey–

    Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in right and wrong. I think those things are listed well in the 10 commandments. But if we all loved our neighbor as ourselves, that realy takes care of that, doesn’t it?

    I can see how murder harms. I can see how lying harms. I can see how cheating and stealing harm. I CANNOT see how two people who love each other consentually harms.

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    I know people in the homeschooling community who are “literally” afraid of gay people. Gays have been thoroughly “other-ized” in what I believe to be a very dangerous way, historically. Typically unable to articulate the precise “danger” homosexuals pose, I have nonetheless seen people visibly shudder in revulsion at the mention of someone’s homosexual orientation. This creates a fertile ground for tragedy, both on an individual and national basis.

    This fear is in sharp contrast to my own experience. As someone who works in the classical music industry, I have been around gay men for most of my life, including gay teachers of youth (the horror!). To me, gay people are no different than the straight people with whom I work. They are sinners, in need of God’s grace. (btw, every case of inappropriate or creepy conduct towards a student I have ever heard (and I have heard many) was between middle-aged+ male teachers and h.s. or college-aged girls).

    I am utterly unconvinced by arguments attempting to justify homosexuality as a Scripturally defensible behavior. However, I regard it as no different from any other sexual sin. I confess to having no personal understanding of same-sex attraction, but I can see how it would be a heavy burden to bear. However, we expect people with opposite-sex attraction to bear that burden except within the confines of marriage, and even then things can happen that leave us with an enforced celibacy (like long-term illness, disability, or depression of a spouse). Also, getting married doesn’t mean you won’t experience temptations to fulfill that desire outside of your marriage, and we expect people to not do that.

    One thing gay apologists are quite correct about is that the Sodom and Gomorrah account is not about monogamous homosexual relationships, but about a society that had fallen to unthinkably base levels of human depravity.

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    Oh I have a question for Justin:

    Is it common for churches that accept gay couples focus too much on social justice issues, like marriage equality and things, at the expense of actually just being Christian and worshipping God?

    I’m asking because I don’t go to church anymore. But I’m planning on going back to church sometime in the future. In fact I was thinking maybe this weekend depending on how much time I have.

    Anyway, there is one church I want to go to that I know to hold to the traditional view that homosexual activity is unacceptable under any circumstances. What I like about it, though, is the way that all the sermons I’ve heard there have been about the grace of God, and that’s all. Nothing more.

    It’s a good church but I don’t want it to be the only church I go to because its worship style and doctrinal stances etc remind me a bit of my old church and I don’t want to get sucked into the old, harmful ways of thinking.

    So I was also thinking of going to this church I know of that is gay-relationship-affirming and has a lesbian pastor.

    I particularly chose the gay-affirmative church because I suspect that gay people will know what it’s like to not really fit in in a mainstream church, so they might understand me a bit better than the other church.

    I’ve chosen these churches because I think that they will both edify and annoy me in equal measure, but in different ways.

    However, if the gay church is all about politics then it’s really no better than a conservative church with a preacher who rails against ‘liberals’ from the pulpit.

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    The demand re. raping strangers: rape is about power and control. Those men were trying to use rape as a weapon (just as it’s used by soldiers in many parts of the world today – Congo is a very painful example of that, but we can find it *much* closer to home).

    I do not think it was about sex per se. It was about using rape to (awful words here) “teach a lesson” to those uppity foreigners.

    And Trina, I hear you!!!

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    My cousin has been married to his partner for over 20 years.
    I love my cousin…and enjoy spending time with them.

    I don’t care who is gay and who is not because it is between them and the Lord.

    I used to care when I was more legalistic but now I know that God takes care of it all and I don’t have to.

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    An aside: I was a visual arts major in undergrad and an art history major in grad school, so… I spent time with a *lot* of gay men. And I honestly didn’t think anything was “wrong” about them.

    Then I ended up getting involved in very hardcore evangelical/charismatic churches that were … bigoted. I just can’t think of any other word that adequately describes how gay people were perceived and preached about.

    ?And I, thinking that this *was* Christianity (that it could not be found outside these circles) began taking on certain attitudes and beliefs as a kind of protective coloration, even though I questioned them at the same time, due to my own experience. (But when that questioning voice came up inside me, I stifled it.)

    I was afraid to say what I really believed, and – unfortunately – persuaded by some of the things that these bigoted “pastors” and churches kept hammering on. (Even though I also saw a lot of weird doctrine and other abuses and questioned it…)

    At any rate, it’s been almost 10 years since That Church gave me the boot, and finally I feel able to think freely… again.

    So in some ways, I’m back where I started, in terms of beliefs and ideas about social justice, sexual ethics and morality.

    While I do not agree with some interpretations that are out there in the larger gay Christian community, I am pretty convinced that we really *don’t* have a clear understanding of many important passages in Scripture – and that we, as human beings, are consistently inconsistent in our emphases on certain things (like sexual acts) to the exclusion of all else – something I think Trina has nailed in her comments.

    And T- check yer email, girl!

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    I have been thinking a lot about this topic lately. I keep going back to John 8 where the religious leaders bring a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. According to the law, they were to stone her. This is Jesus’ response…”Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Slowly they all went away and Jesus was left standing alone with the woman. He said to her “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” and she said “no one, Lord.” Jesus said “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” He later says “I judge no one.” I think as Christians we are called to love others and point them to Christ. He alone has the power to forgive sins and He alone has the power to keep us from sinning. We read the scriptures one of two ways…to see what Jesus did or to see what we are supposed to be doing. I think about how Jesus liked to disrupt things. According to the law, it was a sin to work on the Sabbath. However that didn’t stop Jesus. Why? Because the Sabbath rest was meant to be a picture to point to him. He is the Sabbath. He is our rest. However, the religious leaders missed it. They missed Him. They were so concerned with how they should be living that they missed the Savior. Jesus didn’t oppose the law, he fulfilled it. Without the law there was no sin. No need for Him. It too was a picture. Likewise, with marriage. I believe that marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church. It is to point us to him. Also, according to scripture it was unlawful for the Jews to associate with other nations. However, in Acts, Peter had a vision and the voice said “Rise, Peter, kill and eat.” Peter had never eaten anything unclean. He would have viewed it as sin. However the voice said “What God has made clean, do not call common.” It was then that they began to take the gospel to the gentiles. According to law, the males were required to be circumcised. However, that too was a picture. It all points to Christ. Sin can be spoken of in terms of single acts or sin can be viewed as what we are. We are all sin. We are all looking for life and happiness and joy and satisfaction in so many things besides Christ (same sex attractions/opposite sex attractions, sex before marriage/sex after marriage, money, drugs, homeschooling, our churches) whether good or bad anything that we give our heart and trust to is sin. Jesus, Himself, summed up it up when He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second it like it; you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” So I guess my point is that we are all way worse than we think. We are looking to be loved unconditionally and that is the hope that we find in the gospel of Christ. It is about Christ and His kingdom. There is no marriage in heaven. Why? Because it is a picture. Pictures will no longer be needed when we are with the Savior. So may we not get hung up on how the picture looks and miss the Savior Himself.

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    This has been a long but interesting thread 😉

    A few thoughts came to my mind:

    1. Re the spread of HIV/AIDS, while there seems to have been (at least in popular perception) a promiscuous gay culture in some parts of the world 3-4 decades ago, it is true of course that this is not the only, or now even main, vector of the virus. A guy I knew who went to Kenya for a while was warned that most of the (female) prostitutes there had AIDS, and promiscuous heterosexuality is probably the biggest vector of it on the continent. In countries like Russia and China which have, shall we say, a more traditional attitude to homosexuality, AIDS is probably spread more by heterosexual infidelity and also drug users sharing needles or poor hospital screening of blood.

    2. Sodom and Gomorrah – Genesis 19 did of course give rise to the old term “sodomite”. But while I don’t want to minimise the story, if you read the OT prophets you find that God lifted Sodom and Gomorrah up for examples of other sinful situations, including treatment of the poor. As an earlier poster put it, they were a society that had sunk to the basest levels. (After all, God couldn’t even find a handful of people so that he could spare the cities). It’s also interesting that there is a similar story towards the end of Judges which is equally horrifying in its callousness, the only difference really being that the mob gang-rape a Levite’s concubine so badly that she dies. In fact the whole story is used as a highlight of how far Israelite society had fallen in that period.

    3. At the risk of being prurient or scatological, I don’t know about the incidence of anal sex between either heterosexual or homosexual lovers, but from a strictly biological point of view I’m not convinced of its rightness, whatever one’s orientation. A lady I know also spent some time on the Indian subcontinent and talked about injuries inflicted by this sort of sexual behaviour (I won’t go any further than that).

    4. The transgender issue in some ways clouds the debate, since it is rather separate. Most people wanting to have gender reassignment do so because they have a psychological conviction that they are actually in the wrong sex, not because they have an attraction to the same biological sex and hence want to make themselves attractive to them. Some transgender people actually have quite low sex drives, and again are not to be confused with drag queens or transvestites (I know most people here probably know that already, but….).

    5. In the ancient world there seem to have been varying degrees of acceptance of homosexual behaviour, notably (or at least most reported) among the Greeks, but also among the Romans if Suetonious’s racy history of the Caesars is to be believed. Some parts of Plato’s Socratic dialogues are quite open, almost embarrassingly so. I wonder if this was part of the reason that early Christianity was seen as somewhat puritanical or strange, with its insistence on monogamy or celibacy but nothing else?

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    Kolya – good points, all of them!

    I don’t feel comfortable with the whole notion of anal sex myself, for the reasons you state, but I also feel uncomfortable with telling others what to do.

    As for being trans, I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to feel trapped in the wrong kind of body. It’s not an illness – it’s a very real thing for trans people, and I think that it’s important to listen to – and learn from – them. (I have an online blogging friend who is going through their own transition now – F to m. It’s *not* about sexual attractions, as you’ve said, it’s about their own identity and the fact that they have always felt like they were male, not female.)

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    To An Attorney: re. the AIDS transmission thing. I’m sure you meant to say that couples who have only ever had sex with each other cannot pass the virus to each other as long as they are not carrying the virus from another source. Then it could be passed between them via unprotected sexual contact. I’m sure you know this, but others may not. I come from a family with haemophilia in & at least one person has died an AIDS related death from infected factor 8.

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    I find it incredibly hypocritical that so many Christians seem to think gay marriage somehow threatens their own marriage, or heterosexual marriage in general … but they don’t spend any time talking about the high rates of divorce in the Christian community.

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    BTW, a couple who only have sex with each other will not suffer from nor transmit HIV, regardless of the genders of the two partners.

    Sorry. HIV/AIDS is basically a disease that is carried in the blood and other body fluids. So anything that allows blood from someone else into your system can transmit the disease. Which is why you can get it from blood transfusions, dirty needles, surgical procedures (doctor and/or patient), etc… and sex. So if you see someone with aids, you cannot assume they hav been with “others” or even that they have ever had sex. It’s just the most likely way it was transmitted but by far not the only way.

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    Wow so much said, so many thoughts . . . big sigh . . . it’s a bit overwhelming.

    I had a long blogging dialogue on this subject a while back. It was very good and we were both able, to the best of our ability (I think), to express our thoughts and perspectives without any nonesense. We didn’t agree on everything. We didn’t disagree on everything 🙂

    I don’t know if I can add anything to the dialogue. Many good questions have been put forth. I will be anticipating the response. I did read some of Justin’s responses over at the RHE blog.

    I would disagree with the concept that we can’t dislike and/or disagree with an action, but still love the person. As a mother, I have seen this at work many times with my children. I’m sure I have sinned against others, yet they still love me. There are times my husband sins against me. It does not make me stop loving him. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God — yet He loves us. Jesus loved, even as he was put to death.

    The homosexuality issue is very polarizing. If I am convinced by scripture that it is wrong then I am characterized as a hater by certain people. No matter if I would never hate nor harm a person in any way. I would be friends and have had friends that are homosexual. On the other hand, if I befriend homosexuals and treat them as I believe Christ would do, then my walk with the Lord is called into question by some Christians. (Not that I worry too much anymore what people think of me.) 😉

    I guess I had more to say than I thought.

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    I do not disagree about the other modes of transmission. I was referring only to sexual transmission. And again, where sexual transmission is the issue, if both partners never have sex outside of their relationship (and don’t get it in one of the other, somewhat rarer manners) then they will not transmit the disease. Both partners being faithful to each other is a great way to avoid STDs. And I had a good friend who lost her daughter and grandson to AIDS, daughter by transfusion due to excessive bleeding postpartum, grandson because he was breast fed by that daughter. Dad was an associate pastor of a church and the whole family was given the boot, coldly, because of AIDS. In my view, that church lost the right to call themselves a Christian institution, cause they surely did not behave like one.

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    @ Bad Dog:

    “I know people in the homeschooling community who are ‘literally’ afraid of gay people.”

    Oh, yeah. I’ve met these people too. I think I’ve said before that they fit the dictionary definition of “homophobia” to a T, since they have an irrational fear (-phobia) of gay people (homo-).

    For instance, this summer my family went to the house of a guy in my handbell choir for a cookout. He’s gay and lives with his life partner. They are actually married as it’s legal in CT (their wedding photos were on the piano), and neither of them acts anything like the stereotypical effeminate gay man you see on TV. But when we told this to some homeschool friends, they got really nervous and were astonished/horrified that we actually set foot in their house.

    Now I do believe that homosexual acts are sinful. But you gotta admit, it’s pretty hard to claim you love someone when you:

    – Refuse to enter their house.
    – Refuse to eat with them.
    – Discourage your children from making friends with other people like them.
    – Display a distaste for works of art/music/literature authored by people like them (even when the content of said work has nothing to do with sex or sexuality).
    – Talk about them only as “evangelism targets” and never as people.
    – Are unable to interact with them normally because “the thing” is nibbling at your psyche and making you anxious.

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    And speaking of AIDS and homeschoolers: Abeka’s (joke of a) health curriculum took time out to mention that AIDS began in gay men (not even really true), while relegating transmission via transfusion to a tiny afterthought after a discussion about how most people get STDs because they disobey God.

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    I wonder if these homeschoolers would have been irritated with Jesus who ate with all osrts of people.

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    I sometimes wonder if the best position to be in is when everyone disagrees with you. It means you empathize issues on all sides. Bridegt, if that happens, I promise to still be your friend, especially since I will be in the same position.

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    An Attorney

    The story of the pastor and his family makes me so mad. How could people call themselves Christians and do that? Have you heard how the family is doing?

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    I have actually only met a couple of homeschoolers like this (several homeschooling mothers I know ARE gay). A man I met at an education conference this past June expressed his surprise and horror when it came up in conversation that we have dear friends who identify as gay — that, even though we hold orthodox Christian views of human sexuality. Many Christians seem to have trouble with nuance — that you can love and be deeply involved with people with whom you have differences. It’s so much easier to draw our lines in the sand.

    I am very grateful for this post and the sane and largely kind conversation which have issued from it. My husband and I are struggling with how to respond to our church’s (Episcopalian) desision to bless gay unions. It is especially complicated because two of our dear friends are gay — people we have known and cared about over decades. We have done a LOT of reading and study and prayer and tried to be open — but at this time we can’t see affirming same sex relationships as God’s will… We remain prayerful that if God so wills that he will change our minds, but at present our understanding remains orthodox. We are looking forward to reading more of this great discussion.

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    I also hold orthodox Christian views on sexuality. Recently, I’ve read some articles about Eve Tushnet and Leah Libresco, both former atheists who have become Christians (specifically Catholic). Eve Tushnet identifies herself as gay an Leah Libresco as bi-sexual. Both have blogs and I believe there are a number of articles floating around about them.

    My impression is that in the Catholic church there is much less of an issue with people identifying themselves as gay or having same sex attraction. However, the Catholic position remains very orthodox with regard to sexuality. So it is easily understood that you may in fact be gay or have ssa (and that may very well be a part of your identity), but that you should strive to live a chaste life.

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    child and mom died, Dad is in ministry in another denomination, granddad has since passed, grandmom was still living at last knowledge, and working to help education Christians about the truth of AIDS/HIV

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    I once knew two male guys who were gay and were friends with two gay females, so they made a foursome for a lot of things. They were all society type people and hobnobbed with the powerful. But when sundown came, they were paired guys together and gals together.

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    @ Dee:

    Yes. They would be. I think they lose sight of (or just don’t know) what it meant, culturally, to eat with someone in those times. Namely, a big huge deal.

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    “”Many Christians seem to have trouble with nuance — that you can love and be deeply involved with people with whom you have differences. It’s so much easier to draw our lines in the sand.”


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    Having worked for years with many gay people, I had a lot to think about. When I compare the Greco Romans to ourselves their view of marriage is so different from ours it Paul makes much more sense. I also lived in South Asia for a year and most of the marriages I knew of were arranged. In Paul’s world, marriages were also arranged. So, when a person went and engaged in homosexual activities, he looks at it as cheating, just like someone going to a prostitute, mistress, etc. because it was all cheating on a spouse, so to speak. Not that any man in the Greco Roman world thought of it as “cheating” they saw wives as methods to procreate, mistresses for company, and prostitutes for pleasure. Paul comes along and says, “no” love your wives and care for them – they weren’t just baby making machines. He basically puts a jewish view of marriage above the Roman view and, subsequently, calls anything beyond that wrong.

    The thing to remember is: In Paul’s world people who married weren’t in love, or, necessarily attracted to each other. Men usually had children with their mistresses as well as their wives (mistresses were often slave women). Men often slept with whomever they wanted, so, if they were attracted to men, then they also slept with them, but all men were still expected to marry women – like her or not.

    Paul comes onto the scene and begins to apply more devout jewish laws to these early Christians (many who were jewish). For those who were formerly jewish, his teachings would have been familiar – although likely not strictly practiced by many Roman Jews – for the newer converts, this would have been radical. Still, radical or not, no one pined for romance, or fairy-tale love stories with their spouses. Marriages were not lavish affairs in the Roman world- as in the east. The woman was given a dowry and sent off to live with her new spouse. She probably had only met him a few times in the company of her father’s household, if at all before she was married to him. Love was not expected.

    So Paul is basically telling men: it is better not to marry, but if you can’t control yourselves, marry and stay faithful. He is not “Focusing on the Nuclear Family”, or telling men to become romantic lovers – he is just telling them to treat their wives better than a brood mare. He is not concerned if anyone feels attracted to their spouse – and would never tell woman to remain as attractive as they were at 14 (bridal age back then) – since marriages weren’t about lust or the promise of hot sex. And, and this is the kicker, he would have probably thought someone with only same sex attractions were better off, because they wouldn’t be tempted to take a wife and could dedicate their lives to the Lord (think about Paul’s comments about Peter taking a wife or his recommendation it was better to remain single).

    In Paul’s world, gays wouldn’t be outcast from the church, but invited to go preach the gospel far and wide, unburdened by the need for wives.

    The early church shows how much celibacy was valued with their dessert fathers/mother (celibate mystics), monastic orders and nuns. To only have same sex attraction may have been considered something more blessed, not a problem like the modern evangelical church does.

    Of course, it is pretty hypocritical for a married pastor to preach celibacy to a young man or woman with same sex attraction when he got married at 20 himself. We don’t hold celibacy to much value in Evangelical circles (Driscoll’s comments on priests for example are pretty reflective of the North American church). I, of course, mean true celibacy, not Luther’s “priestly” celibacy (10 kids before posting the 95 points). Or occupationally-forced celibacy which just results in priests sneaking around more stealthily.

    My biggest issue is: unless we start to honour celibacy, stop idolizing romantic love as somehow “God’s plan for us” – which then ends up hurting those who don’t find Mr. Right (or Mrs.) or get divorced from Mr./Mrs. Right – and quit acting like real Christians are not complete unless they are in a committed heterosexual (complementarian) marriage they are somehow not complete. We can hardly say anything Spirit-filled to someone who doesn’t want what we idolize or idealize or who knows what. I wonder if a church would hire a single man as a senior pastor? Somehow, I think, his not getting married would make them question his commitment to Christ (as if Christ got married, or Paul).

    Sorry it was so long. Just trying to make my point clearly.

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    Paul comes along and says, “no” love your wives and care for them – they weren’t just baby making machines. He basically puts a jewish view of marriage above the Roman view…

    And/or the Complementarian/Quiverfull/Penetrate-Colonize-Conquer view?

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    We can hardly say anything Spirit-filled to someone who doesn’t want what we idolize or idealize or who knows what. I wonder if a church would hire a single man as a senior pastor? — Val

    That exact subject came up on Internet Monk one-two years ago. And the answer — at least for most Evangelical churches — was NO.

    Too Romish? Two-fer (i.e. Two for the price of one)? Who knows.

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    Sorry, so many grammatical errors above, I did some cut and paste but didn’t re-read – my bad.

    Just to add: I wish ppl would stop trying to pray gay ppl straight -as if heterosexual marriages are the key to salvation. And, anyone who preaches celibacy to a gay youth better be living a celibate life themselves – with no plans to marry. If not, it would be wise for our church to ditch the ideal of heterosexual marriages. Start raising celibacy to a place of honour (true celibacy) and then let celibate members preach to youth – not “smug married” pastors.

    Problem is, that ideal is so foreign to our Romance-saturated, “God has the perfect man/woman picked out for me” christian culture, what I say sounds awful. Sorry Dee/Deb, I used to be, but am no longer convinced everything “happens for a reason”. I think too many young people imagine their futures as God preparing the perfect spouse for them. God’s call is much greater than fairy-tale weddings and suburban homes. I think this is because that is all the church has given them as a glimpse of God’s Kingdom. Meanwhile in China… young christians walk miles to hear 2 pages of smuggled scripture read, they memorize it, then lead churches, get thrown in jail, get beaten, released, and go back and do it again. Spouses are a luxury, family is a burden and some peasants pastor 22 million people – making certain US mega pastors look kind of “big fish in a teeny weeny pond” by comparison.

    Maybe this is all too radical for the average christian (it is for me), but it would be good if my kids could grow up knowing that is also the Kingdom of God – missions, martyrdom, celibacy, etc. If it scares the comfort seekers away, then it would be a fun church to be a part of. I’d be hiding under my church chair most sermons, though. But I bet gay youth wouldn’t feel any less called.

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    Val – just curious as to your source re. Luther having 10 kids while he was still a monk?

    afaik, he had no children at all until after he got married. I have a feeling that the “10 kids” thing might be slander/libel from his time, much like the English view that Joan of Arc was some sort of with or prostitute because she inspired French military victories against the English…

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    This was exhausting to read through all the comments (time zone differences!) so I think my brain needs a break before I could contribute anything in the way of questions or discussion.
    Oh, except for one thing – Justin, do you have any advice on how to talk to those whose comments about anything to do with homosexuality are all about ‘the gay agenda’ or other terminology that acts to shut down debate? I know a few people who use those sorts of terms, and I’ve never known how or what to say in response.

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    LOL H.U.G. Yes, the jewish view or the quiver-ful view or the… I love how all these movements don’t realize neither Paul, nor the early church, viewed marriage as any kind of attainment. Paul almost seems to allow it to some people as a concession for their weakness. Sure, if the convert was already married Paul had some pro-marriage advice, but if they weren’t he doesn’t seem to think it is the best choice for a young man. He almost seems a little annoyed at Peter for having a wife, even though I thought Peter was married before he became a disciple of Jesus’.

    Oh, and I am not saying we should just preach celibacy to young gay christians, I am saying I think that is what Paul is saying to all young (not yet married) Christians. He (Paul) is certainly not saying become straight, get married so you can be a “real” man/true Christian or whatever it is they say.

    Can’t wait till the ‘colonize-conquor’ crowd blames homosexuality on lack of wifely submission. I wonder if it isn’t already in the works?

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    numo – I think you could be right, from Wikipedia it also seems unlikely he posted his theses to any church door. Funny what common thought can do to historical accuracy.

    My teenage experience in northern Canada was that priests fathered illegitimate children – often. So, when I heard that about Luther, I just took it as fact. It wasn’t scandalous in the NWT, just considered the norm up there. I, being a evangelical, rolled my eyes at that, and used it as another reason to be critical of Catholics. I am not that way now. I see strengths and weaknesses in all denominations, but as a teen it felt like us vs. them.

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    Trina –

    I haven’t time to read all the comments now but just have to say I am SO happy to hear your voice again! Your first comment moved me to tears. I learn so much from you, thank you!

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    @ Val:

    I’ve never heard that about Luther. No historian, scholar or Luther biographer I’ve read seems to know about it, and trust me, if it WAS true, the Luther-haters (there’s a ton – just Google the phrase “Lutheran lies” or something like it and you’ll get a slough of historically misinformed IFB dispensationalist websites) would have splashed it everywhere by now. Where did you hear it?

    BTW, I’m a huge fan of Wikipedia, but when it comes to Luther and Lutherans, don’t even try. There’s Lutherans who don’t understand their own founder and doctrine, so Wikipedia doesn’t stand a chance. It’s funny to read actually – I love it when it says “Lutherans practice or believe X” and this Lutheran has never even heard of it.

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    Trina and numo –

    Thanks for sharing your perspectives. I loved reading your conversation.

    You both seem like the kind of people I’d enjoy chatting with over coffee. (Does that make me sound like a stalker? Because really, I’m not 😉 Just a single gal in her twenties who appreciated what you shared!)

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    Huh. When did Paul discuss Peter having a wife? I don’t remember that.

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    As a first time commentor, I am intrigued by the topic, and look forward to reading the posts. I’ve been a follower of this topic on Rachel Held Evans, The Gospel Coalition, etc.

    As you say above, though, this topic is a minefield, and (I am afraid) there is no way out alive 🙂 ….

    For those who want very much to insist that they can “love the sinner, and hate the sin”–or some variation on that–including “I know I am a nice, loving person, so why are those Gays saying such mean things about people like me (clearly they are the ones who are intolerant/hateful/etc.)?” I recommend this read:


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    I do not believe that God has one person picked out for another person. There reason is quite simple. If only one person messes up and does not marry the “correct” person then the entire things falls apart. Think about it.  If Sally doesn’t marry John and marries Fred then John has to marry someone else who was not his intedned. 

    I believe that God is in the business of redeeming circumstances. So, when something bad happnes, He works in and through up to help us walk through the Valley of the Shadow. When my daughter was so sick with her tumor, I did not blame God for causing it. But I prayed He would help me walk through it and help me to be the best mother a child with cancer could have.

    But I also believe that God ordains circumstances in our lives for us to grow and to see HIm more clearly. If anything, a number of things that have happeded in, and through this blog bear testimony to that fact.,

    I think many churches deningrate celibacu because they rarely, if ever, have single people in major leadership positions except for the occasional “youth pastor.” I doubt any of these churches would have hired Paul. After all, he was not a husband of one wife. 


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    An Attorney

    I do not know why that story made me cry. To be rejected by the church, if it really is a church, is beyond imagining.

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    Great comment! I have read of both Eve Tushnet and Leah Libresco.  I know one them describes herself as a joyous gay woman who is celibate.  I think the key for one aspect of this issue lies in people who have found joy in that single life.  I was planning on getting more information on them. Thank you so much.

    Also, if we are a church, should any single feel as it they are alone? Are they not part of a bigger thing and do we married people not get it? Are we too, not part of something bigger? Remember, in heaven we shall not be married but we will be part of an intimate community.

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    This point is going to be the most difficult mountain to climb.  I get it. It would be like saying to a person of color-look, you are inferior and should be segregated with your own kind but I do not get why you think I don’t care about you. In fact, it was precisely this issue that almost prevented me from discussing this issue.

    Last night I had trouble falling asleep as I thought about this. But, I shall forge ahead. I am your average Joe Christian. My struggles are the struggles of many people. So, onwards, knowing full well that we walk into the middle of a line of fire coming from both sides. But the discussion is worth it. God is in it.

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    On the AIDS transmission thing

    As a former public health nurse, I have seen many things that cause terrible diseases, not the least of which is STDs.  Then there is overeating leading to an obesity epidemic, couch potatoes who develop cardiac disease, drug addiction and on and on. I have seen little children with HIV and kids born with difficulties due to the STDs on the part of the parents. I have seen fetal alcohol syndrome and little babies born addicted to cocaine. There is plenty of blame to spread around everyone, regardless of gender, in these areas. That is why I pin my hope of the eventual redemption of this world when Jesus finally makes all things new.

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    It is good to have you back. 

    I think the real problem lies in a misunderstanding of the role of the church fr its members an tis role in the community. For some reason, i do not think that Paul spent much time protesting Roman lifestyles. He had bigger fish to fry. I am wondering if we all may be frying the wrong fish.

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    First, thanks for the reply.

    Second, good luck.

    Third, with regard to your very last sentence, there is another conclusion possible (one that the topic at hand, specifically, led me to). And one that I reached after a lot of thinking, praying, loving, and living.

    God isn’t in the discussion–just people are.

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    Dee said “For some reason, i do not think that Paul spent much time protesting Roman lifestyles. He had bigger fish to fry.”

    I think you are right about that. It seems to me that the biggest concern that Paul had and that he addressed in most of his letters to the NT churches was the misguided attempt to return to the Law for justification, abandoning the gospel of grace.

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    I think too many young people imagine their futures as God preparing the perfect spouse for them. God’s call is much greater than fairy-tale weddings and suburban homes. — Val

    It’s called “Salvation by Marriage Alone”.

    I would like to see a study as to whether “Bridezilla Syndrome” is more common among Born-Agains than the general population. It seems logical fallout from the emphasis on Salvation by Marriage Alone — out of desperation, if nothing else.

    And this might also be a factor in the Christianese divorce rate — when you’ve been Planning My Perfect Royal Wedding since age 5, you’ve probably put so much energy into The Wedding Day that you have none left for the long haul of the marriage afterwards.

    I do not believe that God has one person picked out for another person. — Dee

    You haven’t been listening to ALL those How-I-Met-My-Wife testimonies, have you?

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    LOL H.U.G. Yes, the jewish view or the quiver-ful view or the… — Val

    I just found it interesting that your description of the pagan view of marriage in NT times correlated so well with the Godly(TM) Quiverfull/Colonize-Conquer-Plant view of marriage.

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    Also, if we are a church, should any single feel as it they are alone? Are they not part of a bigger thing and do we married people not get it? Are we too, not part of something bigger? — Dee

    In a lot of churches, Singles have Cooties. So they’re quarantined in their own special Singles Ministry until they marry. At which point God miraculously takes away their Cooties and they can sit at the table with the other grown-ups.

    As a commenter on Internet Monk put it: “Christian or Heathen, it’s all the same — if you’re not doing somebody, you’re a Nobody.” Only difference is if you’re Christian, “doing somebody” involves a ring and a wedding. “Married” is often just Christianese for “finally getting laid”, with all the accompanying baggage.

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    I do believe that God chose my wife for me and vice versa. After family and friends started praying about me being single, she, at the last minute, was offered and accepted a graduate teaching assistantship, responded late but was accepted nonetheless. I was offered a position with a political campaign in the same town for that fall. Both of us ended up at the same church, she about five weeks after me, and in the same single adult class. We went on a date three weeks later and less than a week later she proposed and I accepted. That was over 30 years ago.

    I still believe that God brought her into my life and I try to always treat her as a precious gift of grace from God.

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    “Huh. When did Paul discuss Peter having a wife? I don’t remember that.”

    M, it’s in I Corinthians 9:5–“Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas (i.e., Peter)? “

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    Then, Arce, you must explain to the rest of us who didn’t have God choose our wife for us. Those of us who wanted to find someone and marry but were never able to.

    Something like when someone survives a disaster that killed so many others and goes on the media talking about how God miraculously spared their life — what about all the others? The others who weren’t spared because they weren’t God’s Speshul Pets or must have had some Secret Sin or didn’t have enough Faith Faith Faith?

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    I must admit, I agree with you. This is how I think regarding that line of thinking: I dont think it is impossible for God to do so, but I do think more often that it is about choice. Many people say this about their spouses, and often, many people marry ridiculous people. And I’mtalking about within the church. The thing is, you have to give these marriages sometime to be able to even say that. If it works out well, then you can say that. But what if it doesnt? Does the person still believe that?

    It always appears that when we pray for something and it happens immediately that it was God’s intervention on our behalf. I am not sure that God intervenes in everything like that. Not that he doesn’t order our lives or assist us. But sometimes I believe it’s both. Could it sometimes be that two peoplpe enter the same social sphere, recognize one another as something good and make that choice? I mean, it’sgreat that you just prayed that prayer and poof! the person appears in your life and you get married. But unfortunately, when I look at the many stories of people who prayed as Arce did and I’ve seen men and women who were possibly good marriage mates for each other make serious bonehead moves, then I am not so convinced.

    In my humble opinion, I’d like to believe that is what God did for Arce and his wife, but my gut tells me that many things happened that made this available for them, and it didn’t necessarily have to do with God answering a prayer for them.

    I mean, couldn’t you apply that to where we are and what we have access to? For example: If I had born at least 150 years ago, in this same country, my life would be completely different as a black person. What is available to me would completely change. But the fact that I was born in another century, under other circumstances, what is available to me is completely different and an AWESOME blessing. But did someone have to pray for me to be born in this century so that I could have those advantages?

    I think depending on what’s around you determines what is available to you. If you’re in a specific place and someone good is there and you recognize each other, both of you can make that decision, which in turn will bless you tremendously.

    At my old church, I knew so many men who would not choose women who were AMAZING simply becuase they were older. At the end of the day we all make choices depending on what’s available to us, and I feel some people are blessed when the choices they have made are good ones.

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    I was convinced that I would be single for the rest of my life and I had communicated my acceptance of that in prayer. It was not my prayers so much as those of family and long time friends. My wife has said that she planned to be single and never marry. Both of us traveled 1/2 way across the country to be in the same town at the same time, on thin and improbable circumstances. I took a job that paid lunch money and provided bed and breakfast and that had a termination date less than three months after I started, for the contacts and the experience. Others may consider it accident, fate or whatever. I choose to call it grace.

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    Thanks for the Bible reference re:Peter’s being married. I’ll admit I don’t see how Paul is mentioning it in a negative way at all… ?

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    Just because people do stupid things when they’re married and end up hurting each other and it doesn’t work out well, doesn’t mean that God didn’t assist with the matchmaking. I think it just means that God put the effort in but somebody dropped the ball. I think everything in life is a joint effort between a person and God. I don’t believe in the idea that there is something that God always wants a person to do in every circumstance. I read a story about a monk who had been in love, and he had the choice to either marry this person or join the monastic order. When asked if God told him to do it, he said ‘No, we made the decision together’. God brought Arce and his wife together; that won’t retroactively be changed if she cheats on him tomorrow and the marriage falls apart (not to cast aspersions on your wife, Arce!)

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    Re: Peter having a wife – I had a short argument with my pastor’s son about this once. He had missed or forgotten 1 Corinthians 9:5 and insisted to me that none of the Apostles were married, because they were called by God to lead a higher life, give that stuff up, etc. (or something like that). When I pointed him to that verse he looked kinda disturbed, like I’d just shattered his entire picture of the Apostles.

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    That’s not really what I meant. It’s obvious that people get a great thing and mess it up. But I’ll let my overall argument stand.

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    I can’t say that a married person couldn’t understand because there are some who didn’t get married until very late in age. And so they are accustomed to the suffering involved with being alone and no intimacy if they had, in fact, decided to live by a “biblical” standard. But I find that most people who have access to affection, or who are married, are the ones usually just cut and dry stating that they believe homosexuals should remain celibate.

    It’s easy for people to say they dont believe something, enforce something on someone else that they have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA the amount of pain involved that can barely be endured by most. Forced celibacy is not to be taken lightly. In fact, there are few who are designed to live such lives. So we take an entire group of people and tell them all that they are to endure a life of celibacy and forgo intimacy because we think that’s what God calls them to? That’s a pretty heavy sword to shove through someone. It seems loving by many, but IMO it is just cruel. And I would bet my entire livelihood that most Christians making this statement wouldn’t survive half their adulthood with such a forced prohibition. For me, it does boil down to a “sucks to be you” kinda gospel. I’m sorry, but it does.

    Can you imagine never being held by your lover? Never being touched? Never having your skin next to someone else’s who loves you? Who desires you? People have no idea what kind of value that adds to life, especially if it is in the context of a healthy and good relationship. It means something tremendous to come home at the end of the day and fall into someone else who will embrace you; someone with whom you have a special bond and share private things that both of you enjoy and only the two of you know of. The value that adds to one’s life cannot be measured. When you have access to that daily, it very well may be something one takes for granted.

    For Christians, everyone is declined the right to sexual intimacy or even sexual release (masturbation and/or fantasy) but married people. Think about the magnitude of that statement. I repeat, NO ONE outside of a married couple is permitted sexual release and sexual intimacy with another, except for a married couple. That should make people’s hearts heavy. Please do as best you can to imagine that being you.


    I would encourage everyone to read the link you posted on Patheos. It really drives the issue home. Thank you for sharing that.


    Thank you for your warm welcome home ; ) I really appreciate it. Work has been VERY busy.

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    Dee & Deb, this is a great idea. I look forward to reading the results.

    My questions for Justin:

    First, thank you Justin for all of the work that you do. I admire your commitment to the Gospel and to loving people.

    1) What do you think of Josh Weed?
    2) I am a woman married to a man who experiences SSA. I knew this before we were engaged. I knew it was a risk but felt called by God to my his helpmate. We both firmly believe that homosexual acts are a sin and that the power of the cross allows us to live the lives God calls us to. We wouldn’t counsel every person who experiences SSA to just marry straight but we believed that it would work for us. We’ve been married for nearly a decade and have wonderful kids. We are both very happy. (I asked about Josh Weed above because we are a lot like him–only WAY less public. Only select friends know because we feel it to be a private matter.) There have been times that I’ve wondered if I made a mistake by marrying this man but we have always worked through our issues, including his SSA. (Which pales in comparison to my sins. Believe me, I’m no peach to live with sometimes.) These issues, including the SSA, have only served to bring us closer together. We have a great, regular, and even adventurous sex life. Only time will tell if our marriage “lasts” but so far we have no regrets.

    My question is, do you think my husband has sinned by marrying contrary to his “nature?” He is not at all attracted to women. I’m not even sure if he was sure he was attracted to me until we married. Thank God that wasn’t a problem in the end. But I’ve heard many advocaates of your position interpret Romans 1 and other scriptures to limit the condemnation of homosexuality to the fact that it’s contrary to the nature of the sinner in question. So did my husband (or perhaps even me) sin by marrying a woman?

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    Trina – thank you so much for your most recent post. You articulate the pain of many *so* well.

    So… bring it!

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    Honest question that may not be able to answered: I do wonder how one can separate the act of sex from the attraction that it usually requires. It’s hard to imagine that two people desire sex, do it with each other, but one is really not attracted to the physicality of the other. If two people have sex (love each other) but aren’t attracted, then is that just mutual masturbation?

    Also, do we marry to avoid sin?

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    RE: Joey on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 05:12 PM,

    you wrote:

    “…And it isn’t just one or two disputed passages that speak to this issue, it is several (not seriously disputed) passages specifically addressing homosexual acts, combined with the entire teaching of the Scriptures on sex. Like I said, if this issue is unclear, then just about everything is. I think that is an unnecessary concession…”

    If it’s unclear whether or not Aaron Rodgers converted (pass to Donald Driver) on 3rd and long late in the 3rd quarter, does that also mean the Packers lost the Superbowl?

    In my opinion, the Bible defies linearization in terms of discrete packets of black & white text. Even the much vaunted Luther ran up against this when he argued that the epistle of St. James was “an epistle of straw” and at odds with St. Paul’s doctrines (Romans) of grace as he saw them.

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    We have an English translation, politically motivated and badly done 400 years ago, with subsequent translations maintaining some of the choices made then whenever there is less that a preponderance of evidence for an alternative meaning. We have the chapter and verse divisions, which are not in the original. For most of the OT, we have an oral tradition converted to text during the the Babylonian exile.

    Much of the NT was written by non-native speakers of Greek, and at least some of it may have written originally in Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke. The all of the above was hand copied by scribes, some of whom may have added additional materials (e.g., snake handling) or omitted some, or used a different word, or wrote some words illegibly. And none of our translators lived in the day when these words were written and therefore, there are debates about what some words actually mean.

    So we must all be very careful about telling anyone that “the plain text of the Bible says” whatever. There is no such thing as a “plain text of the Bible” and we should approach understanding it and exposition of it with great trepidation and humility.

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    56 Years–

    I wished I could have quoted you just a day ago when I tried to argue this very point with a friend. It is most excellent!

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    numo & Trina,

    You two might enjoy Jennifer Knust’s ~ Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire ~
    Knust teaches at Boston U.

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    We are parents both through adoption and birth.

    One of our adopted kids was born with several brain issues, and a genetic predisposure to criminal activity.

    Blood tests revealed it, and we understand a very high percentage of people with this verifiable genetic issue wind up in jail.

    And yet, that gives him no free pass to show up at your house and rob you blind, or rape your daughter, or set the house on fire with you in it.

    It is extremely unpleasant to him to hold in those feelings.

    But yes, we expect him not to do those things or to face the consequences.

    I have another relative with reliably blood tested very high testosterone levels. That leaves him with the physical urging to constant sexual activity. But, scripture still confines him to either celebacy or fidelity in marriage.

    Hard as it is to admit, yes, sometimes obedience to scripture DOES mean not being able to be touched or loved physically in the way we might desire.

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    Hey! Nice to hear from you. I will check out Jennifer’s book.

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    We are talking about normal desire here within consensual adult relationships. And it is normal for a gay or a straight person to want to be touched or loved by another. Period. The two examples you give are extreme and out of the ordinary, and therefore, if we argue around that, then we are arguing around a straw man here.

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    In addition, we must be careful not to give examples of disabilities and compare that to homosexuality and the desires for intimacy and relationship that homosexuals have. Homosexuality is not a disability, mental disorder or handicap.

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    Calvista Church Member,

    Your comment at 2:03 p.m. fascinates me. Your questions are profound.

    When I read something and think, “That person GETS it!” I want to meet the one who wrote what inspired me. If you are ever in or near OKC, I would love to meet you and your husband. You could help thousands of people in the world with your balance of truth, transparency, and wisdom.

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    Trina –
    I’m not so sure that’s an argument around a straw man as it is taking the case of people born with tendencies the Church believes are sinful to act out…the life of celibacy calling is certainly a hard walk – I did it from 18 (when I became a Christian)-36, when I got married, so I don’t think that it’s true that heterosexuals can know nothing worthwhile about this. This involved, for me, not marrying the non-christian guy I fell in love with, & with whom I would probabaly have had a happier marriage than the one I’m in now. I understand that you’ll counter with, ‘but at least you knew you could marry if you met someone, that not all of your potential choices would be considered wrong’, & I’ll give you that. But I had absolutely no guarantee I would ever meet anyone when I was single & celibate, & I had to get up & live out each day as the day God gave me, with no knowledge things would ever be different. When I made it into my 30’s I had accepted I’d be single forever, despite a healthy libido. And looking back, I sacrificed innumerable chances to be with a man/men I had feelings for, but considered it what I needed to do to please God.
    I would absolutely love to change my mind on this subject & say that committed, consensual adult relationships, whether hetero- or homo are equal….but I can’t…yet.

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    Calvinista Church Member – Josh Weed is adorable and hilarious. Anyone here who hasn’t read his blog should go do it. I have so much respect for him, and the fact that although he has made such a sacrificial decision, he isn’t trying to push a religious agenda on any other gay people.

    When I was reading his blog I thought of a question that I’d like to ask him, but since you’re in a similar situation as him and his wife, I wonder if you wouldn’t mind answering.

    I was just wondering if you consider your husband’s homosexuality to be a blessing in any way? Do you feel that anything good has come to your marriage due to marrying a gay man? I mean, other than becoming a more loving person due to the trials it has brought to the two of you, is there anything that’s uniquely a blessing in him having this sexual orientation?

    And if you could wish your husband straight tomorrow, would you do it?

    Hope you don’t mind me asking. I don’t have any expectations of how you might reply; the questions are genuine questions.

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    Thank you. If we ever find ourselves in your area, we’ll look you up!

    As a spouse of someone with SSA, I have to say that the church pretty much has zero support for people like us. Now, partly that is not a fair statement because as I said we are pretty “in the closet” about my husband’s SSA. But for good reason. I shudder to think about how people might treat us differently if they knew. Would he still be welcome at men’s group, or would some of the guys not want to meet him alone for coffee? Would they want to ride alone in a car with him? (it’s standard here that a married man will not drive along with a woman not his wife–which generally I think is wise, if a bit over-the-top.) Would they feel uncomfortable with him serving in the nursery, changing their son’s diaper? Would they suspect that he molests our sons? (I can vouch 100% that this is not happening. He is not a pedophile. SSA is not pedophilia.) What would they think of me? It’s also true that I’m the one in the family who does some of the “handyman” stuff…would they see that as a manifestation of his “gayness”? And so we keep it quiet. There is one couple who knows, one elder, and one former pastor who is at another church. I once reached out to them after my husband confessed to some gay porn use. They kept accounts with him, but really didn’t seem to know how to deal with me. Just standard “when a spouse uses porn” advice. But I feel 1000 times more insecure when I think of him looking at another man instead of another woman. Other than the internet I have never met another wife like me. The former paster was of the most help, but alas another church scooped him up to be senior pastor so now there is no one. On the upside, all of this has forced me to just go directly to my husband with my insecurities and concerns, which draws us closer. I’ve had to learn how to truly forgive and how to truly love someone who struggles with his sin.

    The world says to me “You can’t pray away the gay, Your marriage is destined to fail.” The church says “Of course you can have a happy marriage” but practically has little to offer in real support.

    I truly admire Josh Weed. I think he and his wife are helping others–I just don’t have the bravery to do what they’ve done and go public. So we sit in silence. Someday I’d love to find a church where we could talk about our issue and serve others with our story. But that day is not today.

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    I would be happy to answer your questions. I’ll take 1-2 at a time for length.

    First–a note about terminology. My husband and I don’t use the term “gay” describe him. We feel like “gay is as gay does”. He *experiences* same sex attraction. He has *used* homosexual porn. But he has never been with a man. He responds sexually to his woman. But yet I think if he were not married he would not be looking at women at all…so we say he has SSA. or that he struggles with SSA. You are free to say gay but know that is not what we consider him to be. His identity is not in his sexual desires but in Christ. (different from Josh Weed who uses them interchangeably)

    One blessing: I don’t every worry about other women. Low cut tops? Beautiful teenage babysitters? Bring ’em on. LOL On the downside I found myself, while watching the olympics, um, noticing Michael Phelp’s physique. Then I looked over at the husband and wondered if he was too. AWKWARD. 🙂

    Got to get back to my kids. I’ll answer others later.

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    Muff Potter,

    You said:

    “If it’s unclear whether or not Aaron Rodgers converted (pass to Donald Driver) on 3rd and long late in the 3rd quarter, does that also mean the Packers lost the Superbowl?

    In my opinion, the Bible defies linearization in terms of discrete packets of black & white text. Even the much vaunted Luther ran up against this when he argued that the epistle of St. James was “an epistle of straw” and at odds with St. Paul’s doctrines (Romans) of grace as he saw them.”

    I hate the Packers first of all, so I have to conclude that your opinion is wrong.

    Seriously though, I am not sure how your analogy fits. If anything I should be using it to show that just because one play (or text) is disputed doesn’t impact the outcome, or the clarity of the vast majority of plays. (Obviously there are rare exceptions, where a disputed play is the last play of the game, where it does directly effect the outcome. This would be like if we were disputing if the resurrection really happened. Core, central doctrines etc.)

    As to your larger point, I would just repeat what I said before. I am sure we could all do Derrida proud and deconstruct Scripture to the point where we don’t know anything and its all useless…but to repeat myself, I think that it is unnecessary to do so, philosophically or historiographically.

    Pardon the million commas.

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    That is fair. Your “yet” takes time. You’d be surprised what I believed just a year ago, and the different conclusions I have come to now. So as long as you are open to consider, you’d be surprised what you might learn or decide or how you might change.

    As far as the strong man argument, I have to disagree with you. To be born with a disability that causes one to behave in extreme ways is different, period. I do not believe you can group them into the same category. The church disagreeing isn’t the argument I am posing. We KNOW the church doesn’t agree. We are trying to discern and think logically about Scripture and see if the church is being fair, wise, or truthful.

    Linda said that the child has a propensity towards explosive anger because of genetic makeup. Explosive anger is obviously not good. But this child has a disability that causes him/her to behave this way. Homosexuals are not disabled and are not asking permission to rape people, beat them up, steal, cheat, lie, covet they neighbors wife, have any other gods before their God.

    In the example she used with the person with testosterone imbalance that causes one to have an unbalanced desire for sex, then that is also reasonable. This person has a disability or imbalance of hormones that is encouraging unbalanced sexual desire. These two arguments used in conjunction with homosexuality infer that homosexuality is (1) an imbalance or disability, and (2) violent, forceful, unreasonable or void of sensibility in regards to sexual activity. That simply is not true about homosexuals.

    You cannot say that a disabled person and an unbalanced person are doing something extreme, compare that to a homosexual, and then deny that they are unlike the disabled or unbalanced person.

    So my argument that a straw man is being created implies that a distortion of the true argument here has been made, or an exaggeration, and then argue around that.

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    My hat off to you. I couldn’t make the choice you have, but I do respect your decision. If that is the life you have chosen, the who is anyone else to say that it is wrong. It is good that you are honest about your insecurities, and there are other women who have or will make the choice you have and they should know or expect those particular insecurities to possibly become an issue. Regardless, any couple might fear insecure about the other having other attractions, but I can see why yours may weigh more heavily. It is a difficult burden in some ways.

    And I’d ride in the car with you both or just him ; ) And you are wise to be careful about telling others. Many have found the church to NOT be a safe place and justifiably so.

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    I refer you to what I said before. It still holds> 56 years a Baptist, mostly SBC on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 02:44 PM said: you can’t say “the plain text of the Bible says” because there is no such thing as a plain text of the Bible.

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    Calvinista (and others),

    I too was fascinated by Josh Weed and his video. Here were two blog posts that I found highly interesting/informative. The blogger is Andrew Sullivan (a gay man), if you are familiar with him (love him or hate him). I largely agreed with his conclusions:



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    I didn’t think I could make the choice I did either. But I fell in love with a man, then found out that he wasn’t “perfect”. I admit I almost broke it off. But I loved him. I felt led to be with him. I respected his view of his temptations and his belief that God would help him to do right by me.

    And I’d be happy for either one of us to give you a ride anywhere, anytime.

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    Another blessing I can think of–we have had to do a lot of thinking and discussing of the “great gay debate” because of our situation. I feel like God is going to use us to minister to people in the future. Sometimes I think I want to write a book. I think it has made us both more sympathetic to those broken by sin. It troubles us so much that the church has put homosexual acts into a separate category of sin from other sexual sin. We have been able to challenge folks around us in their prejudices without them knowing that they are talking about *him* when they talk about SSA.

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    If I could wish my husband straight, would I?

    Well, first, would I change our sex life? No. It’s fine thanks.
    Do I want him lusting after other women? Of course not.

    So in that sense, no.

    But I would give anything to see my husband freed from his “thorn in the flesh” in this life. I know that someday we will see Christ as he is and we will be utterly free from sin. But I do wish he could be released from the battle for purity he fights in this life. I know he feels shame when he has to change the channel from men’s beach volleyball. Or how he knows he hurt me when he used porn. If I could snap my fingers and end his SSA, I probably would.

    But I am a Calvinista after all 😉 so I do believe in God’s sovereignty. I have to accept as part of my theology that God has allowed him to experience all of this for his good and God’s glory. Hopefully we can use this to minster to others. It has made him a sensitive and compassionate husband. It has forced us both to be humble about our sin, sexual and otherwise.

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    Hi Trina –

    I certainly wouldn’t want to insinuate that homosexuality means that the people who have SSA are out of control or unbalanced in some kind of creepy way, but it is true, that in much orthodox Christianity, SSA is considered a consequence of the Fall. That means that if the object of a person’s sexual attraction is someone of the same sex that would be considered as a ‘damaged’ desire. All of that person’s sexual responses, both physical & psychological could be considered utterly normal, just pointing in another direction than usual, like a compass that doesn’t point to north.
    So I don’t think you can start with an argument which says a priori ‘homosexuality is in no way a ‘disability’ ‘ in this conversation about homosexuality & Christianity, when a large part of the Church has seen it as just that, a person is not ‘able’ to have sexual desires for the opposite sex, for a long time. It has been seen as a form of damage, the acting out of which is deemed sin. To leave that out of this debate is to miss something important – that the world is considered a damaged place, where not everything that is, is as it should be.
    And I would love to change what I strongly suspect I think the Bible says on this, but have to thrash these arguments out before I could do so with integrity. In fact, the orthodox Christian picture runs utterly counter to my own feelings about these issues, & my upbringing, which was very gay-affirming.

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    Sorry, there’s a really convoluted sentence in the middle of that – it’s quite late here in the UK…I hope you get the point anyway.

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    Thanks for answering my questions, Calvinista.

    I have another question if that’s OK. You say ‘I would give anything to see my husband freed from his “thorn in the flesh” in this life’. But isn’t it the case that if he was free of SSA he’d have an equally strong battle fighting lust for women? I mean, because lust is lust? Or is it harder in some ways to fight SSA?

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    I understand where you are coming from. I’m a little ashamed now that my views have changed, but I used to volunteer for Exodus International’s program called Living Waters. I understand what it means on a very personal level to believe that homosexual sex is sin. That homosexuality is a result of the Fall. That homosexuals have “damaged” or incorrect desires. Therefore, without the knowledge and understanding that I now have, I believed that if all of the past issues, even in the womb, could be healed or dealt with, that a person who was “gay” or attracted to the same sex could be “healed” and made aright conforming to the requirements of Scripture.

    Now, I read and view Scripture differently. I interpret it differently. I have spent the past two and a half years considering much, reading much, researching much and the things that I was once sure of, I am not so sure anymore. Not because I am confused, but I feel that I see more clearly now how we misuse Scripture; the overall message and purpose of Scripture; the nuances and issues that argue against it’s inerrancy and so forth. I am an ex-Calvanista myself. So I get where people are coming from about it all because that used to be me.

    Today, I’d rather be a person continually in search of truth but recognizing two things: that I may never find it completely, but also that God is just, good, love, peace, forgiving, etc… than to hold to the rigid doctrines and beliefs I once believed than honestly, made me feel that life in Christ was opposite of abundant and free.

    So at the end of the day, we will all reach different conclusions. I can’t help to say though that since we all sin, and all sin is forgiven, even though we continue to sin, then if we even come to the agreement that gay sex and attraction is sin, won’t it still be forgiven? Is it unpardonable? Why worry so much about this particular “sin” more than others?

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    Yes, lust is lust. I don’t think that freedom from SSA would necessarily mean that it would be replaced by lust for women. Maybe it would, in which case my answer would change. It’s all hypothetical though…

    I do think though that SSA is a bigger burden than DSA (different sex attraction?). It’s lonely to struggle against SSA. Gay jokes made by both strangers and close friends or family really hurt. He knows that it hurts me. And let’s face it, if my husband struggled with lust against women, his accountability partner would be saying something like “I know, bro, it’s hard in the summer when so many girls are out in shorts! Let’s pray.” instead of an awkward “Uh, ok. Thanks for sharing. How can, I, um, pray for you?”

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    Trina –

    I’m totally with you on that- all sin is forgivable & for some reason the church has obsessed over this & ignored things I consider far more important. The reason I need to get my thinking straight on this is that it has a LOT of relevance for my job & also for a lot of relationships in my life with people that I want to totally affirm, & offend in no way whatsoever. I may end up in that place someone mentioned earlier, where I offend everyone! I’m already far too liberal for the conservatives & far too conservative for the liberals.
    I never did hold to very rigid doctrines, but can honestly say I’ve never spent a day as a calvinsta in my life, nor ever will, without God supernaturally making me able 🙂 But all that was shaken by my Mother’s death & I’m in the process of rethinking everything I think about the Bible, & especially the capacity of words to carry any definitive meaning about infinite & eternal realities. I suppose I’m playing Devil’s Advocate a little bit, working from the ‘the last time I was certain of anything this is what I thought was true’,always feeling regretful about it. If you’ve ever read Christian Smith’s The Bible Made Impossible, then that’s a little porthole into my head.
    So I really respect the journey you’ve made & the work you’ve put in to figuring out your new opinions. Judging by this thread & the tone of it this is shaping up to be the best discussion on these issues I’ll have taken part in since I read Justin’s post on Rachel Held Evan’s blog & was blown away by his character. But then I’d never expect anything less from Dee…

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    @ Joey,

    The analogy was never meant to deconstruct Scripture in any way. If anything, it was meant to show that the good news of Jesus Christ is not compromised by the viewing angles applied to the Scriptures that mention sexual orientation. Viewing angles and the outright denial of Scripture as Holy Writ are two vastly different things.

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    Calvinista Church Member

    Would you be interested in telling you entire story-anonymously , of course? You may help some folks.

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    The quote my mind keeps going back to as I read through these comments is ‘The goal isn’t heterosexuality; it’s holy sexuality’. Whatever our perspective may be on homosexual relationships, that’s the one thing no one who wants to follow Jesus can deny. Gay/SSA people who put their desires secondary to finding out what God wants for them – and men like Calvinista Church Member’s husband and Justin are both included in that – challenge everyone to put God first and call straight people to fidelity and purity. And it’s a reminder that it’s a daily battle, too, for everyone. Christians love to neatly divide the world into the pure and the impure, but it’s just not so.

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    If holy sexuality is your goal (and I’m not really sure what “holy” means there) then can gay people practice holy sexuality and be faithful and pure in the same way straight people are called?

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    What makes sexuality “holy”?

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    Finding out what God wants + putting God first + purity + faithfulness = holiness.



    1.Dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred: “the Holy Bible”; “the holy month of Ramadan”.
    2.(of a person) Devoted to the service of God: “saints and holy men”.

    …applied to sex.

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    I will second Trina’s questions.

    Beaker, there was a long discussion yesterday – upthread – about many of these things, in terms of Trina’s take (and mind) and how her views have changed, and why. 9I had some responses of my own.)

    I *know* this is a very long thread and there’s a lot to wade through, but I’m wondering if you might way to check out some of that convo…

    As for the examples that were given (about the son and the man with super-high testosterone levels0, I agree that these are disabilities. but I do NOT think homosexuality, bisexuality – or asexuality, for that matter – are disabilities per se. They are orientations, to my current way of thinking, not illnesses. (I will say this for the Exodus Int’l group that I used to support: they never said that orientation was sinful.)

    Truth to tell, I have a couple of “invisible” physical disabilities to deal with myself – invisible because I look entirely healthy and normal, and, for the most part, I am that. But due to the physical problems, I ahve to manage chronic fatigue and pain. That was something my last church (which I usually refer to as “That Church” on this blog) did not understand and ultimately, they booted me – partly because they thought I had lied in order to get federally-funded disability benefits.

    I don’t know that I consider my disabilities to be a result of the Fall, though I definitely would have said that a few years back. At this point, I’m more of a “Nothing is perfect in this world, including illness and physical death” type, which most likely has a great deal to do with having to deal with illness and death in my own family over the past 7+ years.

    But enough of my rambling! 😉


    Muff, thanks so much for the book rec. – will see if I can rustle up a used copy.

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    might want, not “might way.”

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    If so, then I think a committed gay couple could do that. “Finding out what God wants” is very subjective. As Christians, we are often waiting to “hear from God” and regardless of the choices we make, if they seem seemingly good or favorable to us, then we want to attribute that to “what God wants.”. But if God never truly answers audibly, how exactly do we know? Could it be that we have to simply make good decisions as best we can, and if we fail we trust that our lives are still redeemed?

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    Trina – de nada! He is wonderful on this topic.

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    Since this is two, I will specifically comment about a hot issue. The Boy Scouts. Having been a boy scout in a troup where young leaders were gay and tried to promulgate that behavior I know the dangers here. I would no more want a young hetero guy to go camping as a leader with a bunch of unrelated 14 year old girls than have a young gay guy doing the same with 14 year old boys.

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    Me – it sounds like those people were/are pedophiles.

    there is a difference.

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    Maybe even also it has to do with repressed sexuality. Afterall, some of us here are asking gay people to NOT express their sexuality in the most natural ways one does that. So if for a minute we can put homosexuals aside and bring up a topic that has frequented this forum quite often and that is sexual repression and it’s damages, particularly in the church.

    Many of the results that we have identified are:

    1. Secret pornography addictions or usage, because use pornography doesn’t mean that one is addicted.

    2. Rushing into marriage just to have sex and disastrous consequences.
    3. Arguably, the case for early marriage and issues with that.
    4. Trying to force a view that everyone should be preparing for or seeking marriage. As a result, singles feel tremendous pressure, alienation, emotional distress, confusion about vocation and so forth. Men who stay single longer than they believe are considered stuck in adolescence and shrieking responsibility. Women who stay single longer suffer being ostracized and also hide their sexuality.
    5. An over focus on modesty. Also implying that the men are too weak to see cleavage without getting an erection right there in church. Putting a lot of the onus on women to be responsible for men’s natural sexual response.

    I could go on. But I was a part of this culture all my life and it has been VERY damaginng, not only to myself but also sisters and brothers whom I cared for deeply. I’ve seen a lot of divorce and broken marriages because of it. A lot of confusing and shame attached to sex. A lot of unreasonable expectations about what sex would be like in marriage. A lot of awkward pairings of people and REALLY fast engagements.

    Unmarked Christians, divorced or widowed struggle because the church believes that while Scripture acknowledges we are male and female and posses a sexuality, we are just not allowed to show it or even enjoy it until…or if ever… It takes some incredibly hoops, mind alteration and unnatural psychological stress to convince oneself to put to death this asset of oneself until one can biblically express it. It is cruel and I don’t believe that is what God asks of us.

    In the same way, we are asking go Lexus’s to do the same thing. Why are we surprises then, to see weird expressions of sexual behavior from those who are trying to be celibate and homosexual and repress their own natural God-given sexuality?

    Sexual repression and denial to express it can be very damaging. “Biblically”, only those who are married are allowed any sexual pleasure, masturbation included. So there are many prayers, as a result, of begging God to either find me a mate or take away my sexuality because is it tormenting me.

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    Excuse all typos please…. We aren’t asking Lexus’s… That should read homosexuals.


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    Oh and let me not forget all of the same-sex back rubs and neck massages; and mixed back rub trains I’ve witnessed as well. People will find a way to touch and be touched. (yes, I know, sounds like a Nivea commercial). I can’t also find enough brain bleach to erase all the visions of obvious erections at normal things guys should be strong enough to see: Napes of necks, feet, red scarves, wet hair and so forth.

    I remember a story about a guy asking women not to wear their hair up because Napes of necks made him struggle. Another struggled over skinny jeans. Another red nail polish. And another, any top that remotely showed the top of a woman’s breasts. And yes, they WOULD speak to your friend to ask you to not wear something because it made them struggle. I would just roll my eyes. Was told that I was selfish.

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    Dee, I’m sorry I misunderstood your comment about “things happening for a reason” – it is via meeting a spouse that I have most often heard that “happening for a reason” line and I get a little cynical about it all. You are right, things may happen for a reason and those with the Spirit of God may be made aware of them. I heard a great story about Jesus and the woman at the well and Jesus’ spiritual eyes seeing the opportunity most would have missed due to racism, sexism etc.

    About marriages being arranged (partly/fully) by God, the bible stories that I most often hear quoted as back-up are in a very different context. God did promise Abe and Sarah a son but at that time, he promised Abraham a great bio-nation (hard to do without off-spring). The Nation was going to show the surrounding nations who God was. Likewise, God told Abraham Issac was whom he would build the nation through (not Ishmael), so Isaac too would need a wife (so God arranging a wife in this contexts makes sense).

    As Christians, Jesus announced a kingdom that anyone could join (Jew or not). There is no promise of born descendants to fill this Kingdom – that can be accomplished by witnessing, the great commission, etc.

    So, my cynicism steams from listening to people turn the history of God and Israel into the ancient fertility cults that surrounded it. “God wants me to have a: spouse, child, etc.” because God did it for Sarah, Isaac, Rachel, etc. Is that really what christianity is about? A comfortable middle class, suburban life? What if God gives one a spouse, but neither can get a job? What if one gets a spouse and a job, but no child? Is getting pregnant with a child a sign of God’s blessing on a person’s life today? We are always told ‘yes’ – but the ancient Israelis viewed it this way because all around them the societies (the very first purely agricultural societies) worshipped fertility goddesses. God is showing Abraham he is not only the Creator God, but also in charge of fertility – these two were separate gods in the surrounding cultures:
    Canaanite gods Baal /Asherah (fertility goddess)
    Egyptian gods Osiris (judge of the afterlife) /Isis (worshipped for fertility)*
    Mesopotamian gods Marduke/ Ishtar (fertility goddess)

    Does God need to show Christians today he is the god to worship for fertility as he did for the early Israelis? Does God need to show Christians today he is as powerful as other gods/idols by showing his power over human fertility as he did when competing with Baal/Asherah, etc.? Is the secular western culture in danger of worshipping fertility or those goddesses, (I don’t think people realize why fertility clinics are named things like “The Isis Fertility Clinic”) No, we aren’t going to accidentally start worshipping fertility goddesses and placing Asherah poles by our crops/garden if we don’t watch it. We may worship sex, yes, but the consequences of sex – no.

    *(although Nephthys was head of all the Egyptian gods -and female – with Set they originated from older, sub-saharan African religions which were so old they were pre-agricultural so they didn’t worship fertility)

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    I have a question for Justin (or anyone here, really).

    I know several people (of the ultra-Reformed crowd) who refer to all gays as ‘sodomites.’ Though I do believe that to act on homosexual attraction is sin, this term, applied to gays today, really bothers me though I don’t know how to articulate why.

    I guess my question is (trying to think how to word it): If a Christian were to call you a sodomite, what would this be communicating to you – love or hate, invitation or alienation? How does it make you feel? Do you think they would have mislabeled you, and if so how would you try to convince them that they are wrong about you? Do you feel that this term applied to gay Christians (or monogamous gays in general) wrongly accuses them of other sins which they are not guilty of?

    In other words (anyone can answer this), what IS a sodomite? What is it NOT? Can a heterosexual be a sodomite for completely non-sexual reasons (violence, lust for domination of others, etc.)? Or even for sexual reasons (anal/oral sex between husband and wife)? What does this term entail and is it wreckless to apply it only to homosexuals specifically because of their sexual orientation?

    Forgive me if this has already been discussed or if I’m not making sense – need sleep!

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    Jan –
    I agree with you on the use of certains words and terms like sodomite – the other big one is ‘the gay agenda’. For me, the issue is (whichever side of the discussion you sit on), using those sorts of words is a way to shut down the discussion. It immediately frames it in a negative/ominous way, which means that the the ‘other side’ is immediately on the defensive, which is no way to properly discuss these really big and really personal issues.

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    I will think and pray about that. Part of me jumps at the opportunity, yet I am wary. I would have to edit out some potentially identifying info. I will let you know. Thank you.

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    This is a fabulous comment fairground, I love hanging out here, I’m learning so much.

    Just about all of my questions have been asked, I might chime in later.

    A quick question: do you believe that we are sexual beings – that it’s part of our makeup and how we are created? (I appreciate it’s probably not helpful having this discussion straight after the intense paedophilia one).

    And I feel I need to pull out Foucault’s 4 volume “History of Sex” and get my background reading up to scratch. Someone mentioned Derrida – hah !

    @Trina re guys and their turn-ons – have you watched the British comedy series “Love Soup”? There was a very tragi-funny example in series 1 episode 1 – he got total payback !

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    @ Trina,

    I couldn’t help but do a good eyeroll too! With a good healthy guffaw to boot! Struggle my arse, the guys you spoke of need to get a grip, realize that they are not street curs, and that female sexuality is not confined to the genitals.

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    As a mom of two daughters, I would not have wanted a young single man to meet with them alone and lead their high school girls’ Bible study. There is temptation there, all around. Do you think that is reasonable?

    Depending on your answer, i shall move to phase two of the question.I have always wanted to ask this question this way because something rather unique happened to my son’s all guys high school Bible study and you have finally given me a chance to walk through my thinking in this area. But, before I do, I want to see how you answer that question.

    This is not a trick question , I promise but it is something that I have thought about for a longtime. I don’t want to bias your answer because I need to see what a decent person’s gut would tell them and you are that person!

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    “Ominous.” That is a good way to put it. It is a term which is inherently all wrapped up in threatening insinuations. Can Grace be present in such a threat? I am doubtful.

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    Calvinista Church member

    Do not feel like you have to do this. I just know that you have something very special to share with all of us. Wade recognized it as soon as you posted.

    But none of us want to push you. You have been wonderful to share so transparently with all of us. Know that I am praying for you.

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    Haha! I will add that to my list. Right now I am watching The Inbetweeners. I love British comedies and liked them before they ever were popular or available anywhere else except for PBS. I am glad they are popular now as more has become available.


    Exactly. Those men didn’t want to know about a woman’s intense sexuality. It vexed them. They probably never read the Talmud on female sexuality. Quite liberating and intriguing!

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    Dee – if the young single man was openly gay, I wouldn’t see a problem.

    But I have to say that this feels like a trick question to me. (No blame; I just don’t feel comfortable with it.)

    I mean, there are male teachers in all-girl schools… I think sometimes decent people get tarred with the same brush as those who have harmed others. Which is very sad, although I don’t know what the answer is to the questions it raises.

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    Dee – I’m not being facetious in the least in my 1st response to your question.

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    One survey polled resulted of homosexuals provided some interesting insight. 65% of one sample reported some sort of sexual abuse in their youth.

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    Be careful about reports from homosexuals about abuse during their youth. For many, the abuse occurred because of their orientation, not as a cause of it. Bullying of young gay males is frequent, vicious, and often physical, including rape by “straight” males.

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    I would have commented again sooner, but it’s been an unusually hectic week. I’ve been thinking about this and wanted to ask you (and any others who want to chime in) a few questions:

    1. What does the word “liberal” mean to you?
    2. Why were you offended that others “accused” you of being liberal?
    3. Why did it bother you that you were compared to Rachel Held Evans?

    No right or wrong answers. Just curious. 🙂

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    I love these questions.
    1.What does the word “liberal” mean to you?
    2. Why were you offended that others “accused” you of being liberal?
    3. Why did it bother you that you were compared to Rachel Held Evans?

    This blog attracts a fair number of people across a broad spectrum on beliefs. In my life I have been accused of being: too conservative, too liberal and too wishy washy. This means that I don’t fit anyone’s box and that makes me happy.

    As I approach this particular issue, I am painfully aware that the vast majority of evangelicals believe that anyone who shows empathy to those with a broad spectrum of differences in sexuality is “liberal.” Liberal is defined by those as folks who are probably not “biblical” (little b on purpose). That is the underlying message in this word. it doesn’t matter how liberal is defined in the dictionary; it is how they define it that matters.

    I am about to attempt to reach into this population and get them to hear me. I address the amorphous “liberal’ up front and try to let them know that I hold to a high view of Scripture. I am desperately trying to break down a solid brick wall by saying it is ‘safe” to listen to me. I eschew labels of all kinds because I do not believe I fit well into any category.

    So, I am trying to say “Don’t worry-its OK to listen to me.” So far, most who have tried to discuss this issue (including Phillip Yancey) have been marginalized by those who use labels to shut people up.One ministry even called him a heretic! It makes my heart sick.

    I am not offended in the least by any names that people call me but I will not tolerate vulgarity on the blog. We have had a few that have used that and those comments have been deleted. But even then I was not offended, merely amused that I had touched an uncomfortable area in their lives.

    I like Rachel Held Evans. We link to her blog on our site. Evans has been rejected by the current “biblical opinion definers” as unbiblical in her viewpoints. They have written about her extensively on these sites. TWW has received a number of emails asking us to delete the link to her blog on our blog. Since the link still stands, you know our answer.

    I am hoping to move into some circles that Evans cannot.I am different than Evans on some issues. But, then again, I always enjoy it on this blog when someone says they like the blog even though they do not always agree with us. That is precisely the point. We should be thinking and disagreeing. We are not exactly the same and that is what makes out faith stronger.

    I hope this helps.

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    I know you are not being facetious. In fact I would agree with you. But, even then, we shouldn’t put people into a box. Some folks are bisexual, for example.

    Male teachers in all girls schools are rarely alone with them. There are far too many incidents in which schools, etc have been sued, etc. Remember, pedophiles target schools, sports and churches.

    I think it is prudent not to isolate a young man with some cute girls without some sort of supervision. It protects both the young man and the young girls from false accusations as well as temptations.There are many men who have driven home babysitters only to be falsely accused of improprieties. Many men will now have their wives drive home female babysitters to avoid such accusation. But even then, this is not foolproof.

    The reason I said this is the following. A group of us set up a Bible study for our sons who could not attend their church Bible study on week nights due to sports. A young teacher became their Bible study leader. We loved him, still do.He moved away but, as we found out, he has come out of the closet and is active. He has since admitted that he, at the time of his involvement, knew he was SSA.

    Our group of parents were careful and always had other adults present for retreats, etc. Before you think I am accusing of anything, I am not. He was a wonderful man and the guys still think the world of him.

    I think that it is advisable to always have two adults involved in any activity with kids . No kid should ever be alone with any adult, regardless of sex.There are just as many offenders on both sides of the aisle as my last week’s post indicates.

    But, no matter one’s orientation, one should not put themselves into a position of temptation or into a position to be misunderstood.

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    Dee –

    I agree with you — and we used to all laugh and mock at the old-fashioned idea of chaperones 😉

    Calvinista Church Member –

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It was quite brave of you on many levels.

    Be encouraged about one thing though, whether your husband admitted SSA or not, he wouldn’t change diapers or take anyone to the bathroom under age 6, nor go into the bathroom with any boys over age six as a childrens’s ministry worker in our church. All this just because he is male and no other reason. It really isn’t fair to male adults (sucks to be you) but that is the climate of the safety/legal issues now. It also makes for a very female world for boys who have no father, grandfather, or trutworthy men in their worlds. Well, I guess group outings with male and female, or multiple male, chaperones could work. But no one-on-one outings that you would have with a father, if you don’t have a father. Girls without mothers could be in the same predicament, but the statistics aren’t as high with females.

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    I will be waiting with bated breath for these articles, ladies.

    My convictions on this are very straight forward: like Dee, I still believe that homosexuality is a sin. But by the same token, I’ve struggled for years to figure out how churches can approach this without driving those struggling with homosexuality underground. How do we create churches where homosexuality is seen sin, and yet doesn’t force homosexuals to hide their struggle?

    I’d be interested in hearing from ya’ll on that one…

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    Thanks for your response. I don’t like labels either. As other commenters have discussed in this thread, labels are a way to accuse, put us in a box, and shut down important conversations.

    Actually, I think you and Rachel Held Evans have a lot in common. I believe both of you love Jesus, minister to the hurting and marginalized, ask tough questions, and seek truth. To be honest, TWW and RHE are doing more in these areas than many Christians. Both of you have admitted what you’ve stated in this thread – that you’re a “person in process”. I love that, by the way.

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    I think greed is the acceptable sin. Especially of said greedy person gives lots of money to the church. I don’t hear many sermons on greed. In fact, I hear lots of sermons on giving lots of money to build bigger churches.

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    I will be posting an argument by a gay man for celibacy. I think many Christians give a nod to this but few churches have supportive environments for one who chooses this path. Most churches love to talk about “families” and are anything but a family for those who are celibate by choice or single (by choice or not choice).

    We spend an awful lot of time and money building and planting churches that emphasize families with children. rarely do I hear more than a tip of the hat to those who live otherwise.
    Think about it-how many long term singles or celibate people do you know in leadership in positions in church?

    With my luck, you will be the one in a million who attends such a church!

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    Reformed Rebel
    What do you mean by “homosexuality is a sin?” Is it practice, feelings, both etc.? I don’t mean to be picky but i do believe that being picky in this subject is essential.

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    Dee – I am again puzzled by something you wrote… maybe you can help me out.

    What do you mean by “a high view of Scripture”?

    To me, it seems as if you are saying that a certain interpretation of passages regarding homosexual behavior is “high”; those who do not hold that same interpretation are, conversely “low” in their view of Scripture.

    That troubles me, because I don’t think that a difference in interpretation of these passages is a matter of “high” or “low,” any more than it as a matter of “orthodoxy.” (Particularly as my church tradition – and others – understand orthodoxy, which is about the doctrinal statements contained in the Apostles, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds.)

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    Reformed Rebel–

    I dont think you ever will. Firstly, Reformed churches tend to have an unhealthy focus on sin and piety, in my opinion, rather than focusing on the fact that regardless of how much, how or why we sin, we have been Redeemed and made a new creation in Christ. Therefore, I am no longer seen as a sinner, but forgiven, blessed, adored, having the righteousness of Christ. If I were gay, I’d never go to a Reformed or Calvanist church that focused on those things. Heck, I wouldn’t go and I’m hetero. Been there, done that. It did nothing to help me grow in my understanding of what it really means to have your sins remembered no more.

    But it is my belief that homosexuals aren’t struggling, therefore, it’s no business of anyone’s or the church. The church is the one struggling with homosexuals. Why need them to be so transparent about their homosexual sin all the time when no one is making YOU do the same? Do you expose every impure thought you have to most/someone most of the time? Are your sins put on display every Sunday that MOST people in your congregation know what they are?

    Why would a gay person go to a church that sees who they are, at the core of their being, as wrong AND be open about it? That is total mind effery. Sorry. It is. So you want me to not hide that I am who you disapprove of? Hmmmm… Now THAT is hard. God doesn’t even make us, ALL people who ALL sin, jump through so many hoops.

    The solution you present will never get you the result you want. You want to be able to be nice about condemning someone’s innate sexuality, while wanting them to be transparent with you AND sharing membership with you and feeling God’s love through such a congregation and Christian community.

    This is the same dilemma that women feel in these same congregations that believe in the submission of women under men’s authority. And because of the cognitive dissonance those beliefs created, I left. I can’t imagine that any homosexual would want to submit themselves to that.

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    P.S.: I am also asking for clarification because I think we can all use terms that are not intended to wound, but do… I know plenty of LGBT Christians who are orthodox (in the sense I just noted) and who have what I believe to be a high view of Scripture.

    But most of them differ with you on the context for – and interpretation of – a handful of passages.

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    It seems that the church’s idolatry regarding family is the same as Val pointed out above regarding fertility. It’s the same idolatry. It just looks differently. If the church believes there is a gay “agenda”, then I’d say the church had a “family” agenda that excludes so many people. Maybe if the church just focused on preaching the word of Christ and living it, it wouldn’t be so exclusive to people in certain stages of life. It’s why I love books like “Pagan Christianity” that give us a better glimpse of what doing and being church actually should be like. I, like Frank Viola, believe it would be far more inclusive, truly loving, and a growing community of truly compassionate people keeping the greatest commandment of them all: loving our neighbors as ourselves.

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    Who says homosexuallity is not a disability?

    Who decides that?

    Who says having sexual intimacy with whomever we desire is a right?

    These are not straw men.

    We do not know the cause of homosexuallity. For all we know it may very well be hormonal. It may indeed not be all that different from the man with a high sex drive in the straight sense. Do we give the gay man a pass and condemn the straight man?

    God’s law deals with behavior. It does NOT comdemn people for having root causes over which they have no control.

    The Bible does tell us the sin is in the flesh. Suppose it turns out all our sins have a biological tendancy at root. Do we just toss thou shalt not kill, lie, or covet if we find out they have a biological basis?

    Do we just toss out logic on this one issue, since some have very strong feelings about it?

    Simply put, either we decide each person is their own God, setting their own rules, or we go with God’s law.

    My heart goes out to those who cannot have marital intimacy with the one they love and are attracted to.

    But that happens to many folks, not just gays. How about the person with physical disabilities that preclude intimacy?

    Or to be blunt, the person so socially inept or physically unatrractive noone chooses them?

    What about the one in love with someone else’s spouse?

    It isn’t all just about everyone getting what hays their wagon.

    Apologies for typos as this site is jumpiong all around making it near impossible to post.

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    For starters, I think straight people have no right to say either way. Do you understand that there is no way that YOU could ever know that? So as far as who gets to decide, then it would be the right of a gay person to decide and not you. But that’s the problem, because you want to and you think that is fair. And for the record, as a straight person, you CAN have sexual intimacy with whomever you desire. So if we take away the rights of gay people to do so, then we’d have to take away EVERYONE’S right.

    And I thought we were no longer living under the law? Shall we post all 200+ of them and see how many you have broken? Let alone the standard is that if you’ve broken one, then you’ve broken them all.

    We are not tossing out logic, BTW, just because we reach different conclusions. And what you are labeling as “feelings” is discrediting to the very detailed and dedicated thinking processes many have done over the same Scriptures that you want to use to come to your “logical” conclusion. Just because you sense a passion and a felt compassion and sorrow that others may have for these precious ones, doesn’t mean that the feelings precluded logical thinking and a great deal of consideration about Scripture.

    I think if your heart went even further, you would realize it is not up to you to (1) qualify a person’s experiences; (2) encourage the government to enforce laws that have religious basis; and (3) realize that a matter so complex and unclear should be offered more grace than a desired legal, religious and social prohibition.

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    I should also point out that the examples you used like killing, lying, coveting, stealing and etc… hurt OTHER people. They often have serious felt consequences by either the perpetrator or person sinned against. Please give me some examples, specifically, how two gay people loving one another, being committed and sharing intimacy, and/or having a family and raising healthy sane children hurts others? Please be specific.

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    Earlier in this thread some were talking about choices and how unfair it seems to ask Christians who are homosexuals to refrain from marriage and the sexual aspect of their life. But isn’t every person (not just Christian) faced with choices that are extremely difficult at some time in their life?

    When I became a Christian, I had to make an evaluation about what Scripture said regarding sex outside of marriage and choose if I was going to continue in the relationship I was in, or walk the road that I thought Scripture pointed to. I was giving up sexual desires, emotional fulfillment from a lover, and biological children, for a lifetime. Was that harder for me than a homosexual? When I made that decision, I didn’t know if I would ever be married, or how long it might be before I was married, or if I would ever have children. Maybe there was a much better chance for these things outside of being a Christian?

    We could say that I still had a “hope” that those desires “could” be fulfill one day, but there was no surety. The disappointment of the “unfulfilled hope” was excruciating. After five or so years (and I know that there are plenty of people who go longer or even a lifetime), lots of praying and tears, and disappointments in Christian dating relationships, I made a choice (with God’s help I’m sure) that I was going to be a Christian and follow the Lord the way I saw Scripture asking me to do, married or not. Is this different then a homosexual Christian doing the same?

    These questions have nothing to do with how Christians should treat homosexuals, whether the homosexual is Christian or not. IMO most Christians do an appalling job at loving anyone who is different then themselves.

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    Bridget – the thing is, you were free to make that choice.

    Gay people really aren’t, at least not in the vast majority of charismatic/evangelical churches. They are told what they must do, and if they deviate from the party line, they are treated even worse than they were in the 1st place (by the church ordering them around).

    I know I might sound cynical; there are many comments upthread (some by me) about the pain people experience when *choosing* to stay celibate for long periods of time – in my case, decades and decades. (fwiw, I’m straight.)

    It is a very hard path to walk, and when the right kind of person *doesn’t* come along (and if they do but things don’t work out, for whatever reason), it’s even harder. That’s *very* true in the word of churches where marriage and family are all – are idolized to the point that single, widowed and divorced people are made marginal. (Which happens a lot more often than most realize, but I think you almost have to be in those shoes yourself to be able to see it clearly…)

    No blame here; just thinking aloud…

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    Trina –

    I really like Pagan Christianity as well. When I read that book I was already down the road of why do we do church like the “Reformers?” Christianity was around before the Reformers. I was already staring to think that the “Reformers” hadn’t reformed enough!

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    That is completely dependent on your interpretation of Scripture. How do you explain that many wives the patriarchs had? Was that traditional marriage as we see it today? How do you explain that the men not only have many wives, but had women that were specifically in service to “service” them and have children for them? Yet God blessed them.

    When David took Bathsheba God said to Him basically, I have given you many wives, why did you go and take the one wife of the little guy? Don’t know you know that I would have given you more than you could ask for? Why didn’t God condemn that?

    In Song of Solomon, it never says that the two lovers mentioned in that poetry were married but yet, we see a beautiful intimate relationship between the two lovers.

    In the case of Ruth going to Boaz and “uncovering his feet”, it is said in those times to uncover a man’s feet meant to uncover his genitals. Ruth did this to secure a life for herself and her mother-in-law and bear children to this man.

    There are far too many examples in Scripture that don’t show an exact disapproval from God about two people being together that were definitely not married in the traditional sense we have today. More often than not, a couple was together physically before an actual “ceremony” if there was one. And what about Queen Esther and her one night with the king? She was not married to him. How do you reconcile all of these things with the general interpretation we have today of what Scripture says about sex?

    Even in your doubt and uncertainty to follow the Lord based on your own convictions about when and where sex and children should happen, the possibility and HOPE of you being able to one day have that was still there whether you continued to have hope or not. It was still available as an option to you should it ever come your way. That is not the same for the homosexual according to your beliefs. There is no HOPE; no future possiblity, EVER. So IMHO, it IS different.

    I have been where you are, but I have always known that even though marriage seemed impossible or unavailable to me, that there could come a day where it happens. Nothing is written in the law or the Bible to tell me that should I be presented with an opportunity, that I cannot have it, EVER.

    No offense, but I think as an African-American, we tend to have a more sensitive response when it comes to the law deciding upon a person’s freedom and rights. There have been many slaves who died without the possibility and hope that their situation would EVER be changed. Now that is something to consider? In modern times, blacks in the US might/may/do still experience inequalities because of race–but it is remarkably different and there is HOPE, support from the law, etc… But when you are born into a particular situation or state where you are not the majority, and society isn’t set up to cater to you–whether that be your race, culture or sexual orientation, you understand this in a deep and personal way that those of the majority could never begin to fathom having such freedoms infringed upon.

    There is a huge difference, Bridget, between an available and possible freedom and one that will NEVER be available to you even if it were presented to you.

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    Numo –

    I totally get that church idolizes marriage and children, and I think it is wrong (if you think about the early church — short life span, war, childbirth, etc. — I think a lot more people were single than married). I think the church does a lot of things very badly. Outside of being a Christian, I don’t think the church should legislate what homosexual unions should look like. I think they should have the same rights in our society as straight people. I have to go . . . will continue later. My brain is working overtime on this . . . not to justify . . . but to have the mind of Christ (not sure that’s possible for me – working at it) 🙂

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    Bridget – I hear you; have been on the same track (trying to work things out) for a long time now.

    And hey, I think Trinia’s most recent reply to you is excellent!

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    @ Bridget– Our church has similar rules. But I still think people would feel edgy if they knew about his SSA. They compare it to pedophila I think. For instance I would not let a pedophile change my son’s diaper, even if I was right there supervising.

    @Trinia– In response t your question “Why would a gay person go to a church that sees who they are, at the core of their being, as wrong AND be open about it?” I would argue that my husband, someone who if he followed his natural inclinations, would likely be in a gay relationship instead of married to a woman, does NOT see his SSA as who he really is in the core of his being. He recognizes that it is a part of himself, but sees it as a part of the fall and not who he is in Christ. Naturally he would not expect every person with SSA to do the same, certainly not the Christians. Before he was married, he was celibate. For a time, he did not think he would find a woman to marry who would accept him, or much less even find a woman he thought he would want to marry. So he prepared himself that he might need to forgo that human intimacy but was prepared to do so because of his love for Christ. Again, I know not all feel that can live that way but it is possible. It is another viewpoint.

    I think it’s also worth noting–to everyone–that there are two different discussions: the view of SSA within the church, and the view of SSA by individual church members in the political arena. ala CS Lewis. My own views are pretty disparate. I would hold a church member to a very high standard in purity (SSA or straight) but am quite happy to vote to keep homosexual acts legal (I’m against sodomy laws) and would be happy to support some kind of federal civil marriage act that includes same sex couples. (I would also fight tooth and nail for the freedom of religion which would allow churches not to allow weddings, Christian photographers to choose not to shoot gay weddings, etc.)

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    oops I meant to say “certainly not the NON Christians” above. 🙂

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    I am still single without children, BTW. In addition, when you ask don’t we all have to make extremely difficult decisions at one time or another? The answer is probably most likely yes. But to me, that is like arguing which of her two children should an impoverished mother feed today and you getting to decide if you want to have sex or not outside of marriage.

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    (hope you dont mind me calling you that for short) Thank you for presenting that viewpoint. We could say that applies to everyone though, all sinners?…that who are are in Christ is not who we are, yet I am still straight, female, black, etc… Which means that although in Christ I am neither Jew nor Gentile, male nor female; that on this earth, in relation to other people those things do identify who I am? yes? So while it is true that your husband isn’t any of that IN CHRIST, do you think the members of a church would only see him IN CHRIST? If that were the case, I dont think we’d be having this discussion. And to further that, if the church was able to take that verse to heart, women would also not be subjected to men either. So it goes beyond sexuality to things like race, national origin, culture, gender…

    I think that’s the EXACT purpose of that verse and that is to say IN CHRIST, none of this other crap should matter.

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    Just a note on “not part of who he is in Christ”: Ex-gay ministries kind of pound that into peoples’ heads. The one I used to support (same one Trinia used to volunteer for, btw, though we’ve never met in real life) would lecture people over and over and OVER about how they weren’t gay, they were now a child of God, etc.

    As if being gay – having the orientation as part of who one is – is innately “broken,” wrong, etc. etc. etc.

    That does a terrible number on people’s minds and hearts; for those who’ve been wrestling with self-hatred (most everyone who goes to an Exodus ministry) it can just… I don’t even want to have to say it, because I think the contradictions and cognitive dissonance can lead all too easily to depression and even suicide.

    Either God made us, or he didn’t. Either each person – regardless of heir beliefs – is made in the image of God, or they aren’t.

    I really, really hate the way ex-gay ministries twist the Bible – and add a big dose of societal disapproval – to make their points.

    It hurts people, and it’s just wrong.

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    I meant to say that the amount of shaming that ex-gay ministries do is phenomenal – and not at all in a good way.

    They do teach people to be ashamed of themselves, of their sexual orientations, of their attractions.

    Tell someone repeatedly that they’re “broken,” and they’re going to start believing it, unless they somehow realize for themselves that something’s fishy and are able to escape before the indoctrination gets to them.

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    Then, to be In Christ neither male nor female, Greek nor Jew or whatever.. does that really mean that we aren’t any of those things? Or is that a spiritual explanation that God wishes to convey to us about equality? Does that, though, cancel out who we are physically, culturally, sexually on this earth? I can take back the statement I made about a person being gay or whatever they may be “at the core of their being”; but that was used to suggest an innate inborn expression of that person. I agree with CCM when she says that at the core of our being, we are in Christ, we are children of God. But I dont believe that God truly ignores that we are male or female in the sense that he doesn’t see that about us, but that in the way he treats us, responds to us, loves us, judges us, redeems us and calls us into relationship, that he is no respecter of persons; he is not partial.

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    Very much agreed!

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    But it also pains me to see how the church is using “SSA” as a euphemism for “gay.”

    In other words, there *are* gay people in the church, but please don’t use the g-word around us. (Not speaking of or to CCM, but of what I have seen and heard myself, in That Church and elsewhere.)

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    CCM is fine. 🙂

    Just for the record, neither myself nor my husband is affiliated with any Ex-gay ministry. Neither of us have sat in ex-gay counseling. We have arrived at our own conclusions through Bible study and prayer.

    So to unpack the “in Christ” a bit:

    1) I’ve said above that we believe homosexual acts to be sinful.
    2) We believe that desires to commit various sins are born as a result of the fall.
    3) We believe that without Christ, we have no choice but to succumb to many of those desires, at lease some of the time.
    4) We believe that “in Christ” we have freedom not do give into those desires, moreover, that God gradually even replaces them with godly desires through sanctification, over time.
    5) We recognize that sexual desires are deep rooted and very strong, perhaps the strongest urges there could ever be, but disagree that they necessarily are “who we really are” deep down. For instance I mentioned that I struggled with lust during the Olympics when watching men’s swimming. Some stunning hot dudes there. But is that “who I really am”? No. I reject that. I turn away from that. I am someone’s wife. YES my flesh would love a piece of Michael Phelps. But that is not who I am in Christ. I am free not to lust. So I turn away, I repent. For me that meant changing the channel and confessing my sin to God in prayer. And later making love to my husband without pretending he was an olympic swimmer.
    6) I don’t take the “in Christ” phrase just from the famous “no jew, no greek, no male and female, etc” I am actually female. My husband is male. (And we do have a loose love/submission arrangement, but that is a different debate entirely) But in Christ I am not simply a luster. Nor is my husband simple a homosexual. We are in Christ and have freedom from our own desires.

    I know many have different views, but that is our view. It is a message of hope: you are greater than your desires. It does not mean that to be straight is to be Christian. Or vice versa. It is a gospel for all kinds of sins. The church has really dropped the ball in focusing on SSA and forgetting that this formula of being in Christ applies to sins like gluttony. Gluttony. Almost no one talks about that one.

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    OK, but… are you saying that *orientation* is sinful and a result of the fall?

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    Thank you for breaking that down from me. I see where you are coming from. Yes, we think differently about that though. I agree that the church does focus too much on how, when, where, why people are having sex and not on the other things that really ARE hurting the church.

    Can we play devil’s advocate for a moment though? Can we pretend that you didn’t think a SS relationship was wrong. Now, imagine that there was a delightful, loving, committed gay couple at your church. They had two kids who were delightful, respectful, charming, and sometimes mischieveous ; ) They were generous with their time and finances. They have housed and clothed the unforutnate in your congregation. They have made their home a sanctuary for women in troubled marriages. They have worked tirelessly of telling others about the good news of Christ.

    Now, do you think that would hurt anyone? Like bring harm to; alter the lives of; bring ruin to others? We are not talking about discomfort from what is unfamiliar or what we consider immoral. I mean physically hurt or affect the livelihood of others.

    Do you think it would do the same damage that greedy pastors do to their congregations? Members who smoke? Over eat? Cheat on their spouses? Lie about their finances or manage them poorly? Use others for personal gain? Disregard others who are not in their station of life? Leadership who controls and abuse members of the congregation? Preaching that insults women? Singles?

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    and CCm, just so you know – not all that many years ago, I would have agree with all of your points. (I’m a straight woman, btw.)

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    I don’t like the term orientation. Sexual preference? I know it is semantics but words are important to me.

    I think that a desire to have sex with someone who is not your spouse is a result of having a sin nature. I don’t necessarily think it is sinful to have the desire though. I would say that having sex with someone who is not your spouse is definitely a sin. I think that repeatedly looking at someone lustfully, as Jesus says, is a sin. The best working definition of looking lustfully is to look and then use that image in your brain for your own gratification. So thinking of that person while masturbating or having sex with your spouse is lust and therefore a sin. I’ve heard people talk about the “second look” as a good guard against lust. You look at someone, notice their attractive…then you look again. and again. That is lust.

    But no, I don’t think having the initial attraction is necessarily sinful. hetero or homo. But I think that we are fallen, hormonal creatures and lust happens all. the. time. That doesn’t make it right in God’s eyes.

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    (sorry I hit enter too fast)

    Now considering those things and the effects of them, why do you think the Bible spoke at most five or six times about homosexuality (even though the original connotation is arguable) and a host of times about social and personal injustices? About abuses in the church and false teaching? I mean, if this were that big of a deal to God, why didn’t he spend most of the NT even talking about these things rather than telling us about the life of the church and believers of that time? About false teaching? About sharing the Good News of Christ?

    Maybe I am wrong to think that God would be logical and talk the most about things that meant the most to him? But Christians make this God quite trivial, so I could be wrong.

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    Sure, I can use that term. But what does sexual preference mean to you? For me, it means if there is preference, then that implies there is choice of who I am going to be attracted to; or do you mean preference in choice of whom I will have sex with? If we go with what I think preference means, then that also implies at some point I preferred to like men but I could have chosen women. That also might imply that at any point any of us can prefer to like the same sex or opposite. Can we have preference if there is no leaning or attraction in that direction? Can I prefer women even if I am not attracted to them? What comes first, the preference or the attraction?

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    Trinia–that is a great question.

    I know lots of gay couples actually. I knew one pair of dads that were raising foster kids with so much love and then those kids were moved to a hetero home and were sexually abused there. Broke my heart. Believe me when I say I really, really, wish sometimes that I didn’t believe that homosexual acts are sinful. It would make things much easier.

    On one hand, I say that the situation you present seems as if no one is getting hurt.

    But I believe from God’s word that there is some kind of harm, perhaps just to the couple themselves even. They are not living according to God’s design. As much as they try, it is ultimately not the best thing for them. I do think part of it is that children are best served by a mother and a father. Men and women are just different. My husband, even with his SSA, brings something to the table that I do not when raising our kids. And vice versa. They need both of us.

    Does this mean that kids with gay parents are messed up? No. Or that single parents can’t raise great kids? No, gosh I hope not. My own parents are divorced, remarried, you name it. But not having a married mom and dad does affect kids whether we want that to be true or not. I do believe that the ideal is to have both.

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    When I volunteered at Living Waters, fantasy and masturbation was a huge issue. One of the things that often came up was the fact that people with SSA who were married to someone of the opposite sex because of religious conviction often struggled with the fact that when with their spouse intimately, they would fantasize about being with someone of the same sex. I’m not implying that happens with your husband. But if our thoughts are lustful and sin, as you say, and a result of the fall, but we ARE going to have them, right? Then how is that any different than physically doing the same? Is there some lesser penalty for me fantasizing about sex with a woman than actually having sex with her?

    It seems that the church has a bigger problem with gay people having sex with each other, than the fact that many people, whether gay or straight, have issues with fantasy and masturbation. I should let it be known that I think both are okay. And if I were married, I’d prefer that my spouse fantasize or masturbate when thinking of me and vice versa.

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    Trinia–your second question–How many times does God have to say something before it’s true? Yes I am familiar with the 5-6 times. But all over the NT it talks about abstaining from sexual immorality. This is hetero and homo. This is the will of God for you, your sanctification, that you abstain from sexual immorality. The pattern of creation, the descriptions of marriage roles, honor your father and mother (not just “parents”). It’s over and over. It didn’t address the idea of orientation because it wasn’t an issue then. You might have committed a homosexual act but that didn’t mean you didn’t also have straight sex.

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    What does sexual preference mean to me?

    I prefer men who are not fat. I hate belly fat. It is unattractive.

    Truth be told though, if my husband got fat, I could probably still have sex with him and enjoy it.

    I prefer men over women. I do not consider myself to be bi. Truth be told, I think that if I were in a situation where a beautiful woman was available and I was not interested in honoring God’s rules for me, I could probably have a good time having sex with a woman. But may I never find this out for sure!

    I think it’s possible to be attracted to a great number of people but be able to put them in line according to which one you would prefer the most.

    I do think fantasy and mastrubation are both wrong. The penalty for both were paid on the cross for those who are in Christ. All that is left are the consequences. I believe that if I participate in mastrubation and fantasy, my sex life with my husband will suffer. My love for Christ my temporarily run colder. But I do not fear condemnation. But for the sake of Christ I try to avoid both.

    Hope that is helpful. I need to step out for a while now due to other responsibilities. (kids)

    Thanks for the discussion Trinia. I have lots of respect for you.

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    I have a lot of respect for you too! And thank you for answering such personal questions. You are very kind.

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    I didn’t have time to read all of the comments…but I wanted to say I’m thankful you’re taking this on and having this important discussion in a loving way. I, like you, hold a conservative view on what the Bible says about homosexuality. I, also, have MANY homosexual friends in my life and find these to be tricky days in which to live and love and share the gospel. Looking forward to reading…

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    I can’t also find enough brain bleach to erase all the visions of obvious erections at normal things guys should be strong enough to see: Napes of necks, feet, red scarves, wet hair and so forth.

    I remember a story about a guy asking women not to wear their hair up because Napes of necks made him struggle. Another struggled over skinny jeans. Another red nail polish. And another, any top that remotely showed the top of a woman’s breasts. And yes, they WOULD speak to your friend to ask you to not wear something because it made them struggle. — Trina

    Isn’t this the rationale in X-Treme Islam for the chadoor, the burqa, and the locked harem?

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    I can’t also find enough brain bleach to erase all the visions of obvious erections at normal things guys should be strong enough to see: Napes of necks, feet, red scarves, wet hair and so forth. — Trinia

    These are PARAPHILIAs — weird sexual-arousal triggers that go off on stimuli that are normally non-sexual. I know I’ve got a couple.

    With the sex-saturated culture we have these days (and churches just as sex-obsessed but in the other direction), I’m not sure it’s possible to grow past puberty these days WITHOUT developing some paraphilia. The best you can hope for is that your paraphilia is only embarrassing instead of genuninely destructive.

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    I simply do not have time to read all the comments; in fact, I have read none but I want to share some thoughts about this important subject:

    The Word of God says homosexuality is a sin in God’s sight. Scripture can’t be broken, God does not change His Word and that’s what I believe.

    God also says adultery, lying, cheating…are sins. The question is not homosexuality but SIN. Men and women and children, we all have a sinful nature and are sinners by nature, by choice and by practice, from my viewpoint. We got this stinky stuff from Adam’s fall. To me, homosexuality is a sexual sin, just like any other sexual sins, like adultery…and can be forgiven if the homosexual would take refuge in the blood of God’s Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for his or her sins in order that forgiveness may be given to those who believe in who Jesus is (God in the flesh) and what Jesus has done on the cross (He died for your sins and mine.)

    I worked with gays and I had no problems with them. One of my hairdressers in the past was a gay man who did a good job for me. We should not discriminate against gays or lesbians but should manifest the love of God and bring the gospel of grace to them; that said, I would never say homosexual behaviors are okay because they are not; they are sins, offenses to God…

    I think many people make a big deal out of this issue, trying to rationalize sinful behaviors by using data, science…, seeking excuses, blaming family backgrounds…instead of acknowledging their sin and call it as it is. The FUNDAMENTAL SIN is UNBELIEF, not homosexuality or any other human vices which are too many to name.

    I am a sinner save by the grace of God through Faith in Jesus Christ who accomplishes all things for me. Anybody agrees with me on this?

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    Thanks for that lesson. I didnt know that. Interesting…..

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    “The fruit of Spirit-filled living”


    Ten days after the ascension, the Bible says our Lord, now the head of the body which is the Church, sent His Spirit into and upon the body, to fill it. It was the gift that He gave, the promise of the Father was sent by the Son who had completed the work that was necessary in order that it might happen. So on the Day of Pentecost the Church was established as one unity, as the body of Christ.

    Now, let me give you a verse which will explain all this: 

    ‘For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit’ (1 Cor. 12:13). 

    This spirit does lead us in concert to bear such fruits identified below:


    The living presence of the Holy Spirit in believers leads to Christlike virtues within them, just as a living tree will bear good fruit.

    God expects his people to bear spiritual fruit. (Isa 5:4)

    (See also Mt 7:12-20 “fruit” is a term used to indicate the produce or outcome of a person’s life)

    The fruit of the Spirit leads to believers becoming Christlike. (Jn 15:8)

    The gift of the Spirit begins this lifelong process. ( 2Co 3:18)

    Christlike qualities are contrasted with sinful ones. (Gal 5:16-17)

    (See also Ro 8:5-14; 1Co 12:7; Gal 6:8; Eph 5:8-16; Col 3:1-17)

    The fruit of Spirit-filled living:

    Gal 5:22-23 “fruit” is singular, emphasising that these qualities are mutually dependent aspects of Christian living. (See also Eph 5:9)

    Examples of the fruit of the Spirit:

    Love. Ro 5:5; 1Co 13:1-13
    Joy. Php 1:18-19; 1Th 1:6
    Peace. Ro 8:6; 14:17
    Patience. Heb 6:12; Jas 5:7-11
    Kindness. 2Co 6:6; Col 3:12; 2Pe 1:7
    Goodness. Ro 15:14; 2Pe 1:5
    Faithfulness. 1Co 10:13 (God’s faithfulness is also here presented as the reason for faithfulness; 3Jn 3)
    Gentleness. (Mt 11:29-30) [Jesus Christ displays such gentleness; (1Th 2:7) ]
    Self-control. (2Ti 3:3; 2Pe 1:6)

    Other evidence of the Holy Spirit’s activity:

    Righteousness: (Ro 14:17)
    Hope: (Ro 15:13; Gal 5:5)
    Wisdom:  Eph 1:17 
    Temperance: Eph 5:18 

    Notice the evidence of the fruit of the Spirit is a result of divine activity, not of human effort. (1Co 3:9,16; Gal 2:20)

    “As I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they head these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” -The Apostle Peter. (Acts 2:15–18)

    Something to ponder & consider?

    Bearing fruit unto life,


    Dictionary Of Bible Themes, “Holy Spirit, fruit of”
    Great Doctrines Of The Bible,  volume 2. P.27

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    It seems that once a person gets beyond the fear of “what if I believe is wrong” and they go searching, its amazing what world of freedom and insight becomes open to you. You truly grow as a person in many good ways and you become strong and FEARLESS. That is a much better place to be than believing you must accept a certain orthodoxy and doctrine without considering as many sides as you want. Afterall, wht is freedom in Christ if we are not allowed to consider? If I am wrong, so what. HOw does that rob me of Salvation? If I am secure in Gods love and saving of me, then what do I have to fear? It is true that perfect love casts out all fear.

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    @ Trina
    You have added nothing to this disucssion.

    Moderation is for Dee, Deb and to some degree myself. If someone crosses the line it is up to us to scold them.

    You have expressed many views that many commenters and readers will strongly disagree with. Some that Dee, Deb, or myself will disagree with. But we have not told you your opinions are worthless. We allow almost any opinion here. As long as it isn’t a personal attack or incredibly extreme or in the gutter, and it relates to the topic.

    If you disagree with someone tell them. But don’t attack them.

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    Scolding accepted. Thank you ; )

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    Hug –

    “With the sex-saturated culture we have these days (and churches just as sex-obsessed but in the other direction), I’m not sure it’s possible to grow past puberty these days WITHOUT developing some paraphilia. The best you can hope for is that your paraphilia is only embarrassing instead of genuninely destructive.” HUG

    This made me laugh . . . don’t know if it was supposed to. Maybe I just needed a laugh at the moment. And maybe we (men and women) need to not get all out of whack over the odd sexual arousal moments that might just happen — not blame the ladies and not worry that there is something wrong with the guy because something triggered him. It just means the plumbing works as intended 🙂

    But it is so true. It’s as if sex and fulfilling our sexual desires has become the ultimate goal in life. We are bombarded with this. You end up feeling that if your sexual desires aren’t met then you haven’t arrived. Even as we are talking about sexual desire on this blog, no matter from what perspective we are coming from, we keep talking about it as if it is the most important thing about us.

    Jesus was tempted in all things, yet without sin. I would think this included sexual temptation. Was he tempted to sin with women, with men? Does all mean ALL? How did he respond? As a Christian, who is my example?

    Sorry all this rambling ended up on this comment to you HUG. The brain is rambling.

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    Are you saying homosexuality  is a sin or do you believe the act is a sin? Those can be two different things.

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    Dee –

    I have seen that question asked several times. It might have been good to define what you mean by homosexuality from the beginning. Part of communication break-down (everywhere) always seems to be around definitions of words.

    To me –

    SSA would be someone attracted to and wanting to have sexual relations with a person of the same sex, but has not done that.

    Homosexual is someone who is attracted to someone of the same sex and has had sex with someone of the same gender.

    But then do we have to define what we mean by sex . . . . giving and receiving sexual pleasure . . . could mean different things to different people.

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    I just got back from an incredible 3 1/2 hour meeting with Justin. What a great guy! I will be writing about it at length next week. But here is a tantalizing tidbit. I asked him to tell me what the polite terms are in labeling a person who is gay.

    Homosexual is no longer used by the gay community. It is like calling an African American a Negro. It is outdated and rejected since there are pejoratives attached.

    Gay means that one has same sex attraction. It does not mean that said person has had sex. Justin is currently celibate but he is gay.

    Same sex attraction is primarily a stilted term.

    There is no one term to say someone is both gay and actively engaged in sexual relationships.

    So, old Dee learned this just a few hours ago. I decided to answer your question since I asked him that very same thing. Great minds and all….

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    Obviously, the homosexual act is sin, i.e. two people of the same gender sleep together (have sex) or practice homosexuality (1 Cor 6:9)

    However, Jesus says in Matt 5:27-28 about the issue of lustful intent, which is a sin already committed in the heart – this is a principle taught by the Lord. The standard Jesus set in the New Testament is much higher than that of the Old. The act is sin, the thought is also sin.

    Along the same line, in Mark 7:21 Jesus teaches about what defiles a person “for from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery…” The thought life of His followers needs to be clean.

    I do not at all judge gays and lesbians who are unbelievers because that is God’s jurisdiction (1 Cor 5:12-13), perhaps that’s why I got along well with my gay co-workers. In the church of Christ, however, it’s a function of the church to wisely address this issue among the membership. The church is bought with Christ’s blood and belongs to Christ as His bride; she needs to be rid of sexual sins, from my viewpoint. That said, I realize this is too high a standard for these last days where everything goes and everyone does what is right in his own eyes; but God does not change and His standards does not change either. God never grades on a curve. His Word is the Standard for those who are called, chosen and faithful (Rev 17:14)

    What do you think, Dee and Deb?

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    Bridget, this made me smile

    And maybe we (men and women) need to not get all out of whack over the odd sexual arousal moments that might just happen — not blame the ladies and not worry that there is something wrong with the guy because something triggered him. It just means the plumbing works as intended 🙂

    Because it’s not only funny, but true! I do think that people get so worked up (and anxious) about having normal sexual feelings and reactions that the issue of *having normal feelings and normal physical reactions is more or less pathologized.

    Putting that on kids brings a whole landslide of guilt and shame, and I don’t think that’s one bit healthy.

    We all need to mature and learn self-control, but the fixation on normal sexual arousal just… well, I think it would be far better for people to be able to accept their own feelings, say “OK, this is happening – it’s normal” and then be able to set it aside so long as it’s not hurting anyone else.

    Some of the comments I have seen on other sites re. how a lot of young evangelical men are *so* triggered by normal (modest) womens’ clothes – and curves – makes me both angry and sad. These people seem to be stuck in early adolescence re. their emotional and sexual development … and if things continue the way they have been in terms of the way the evangelical church deals with this, nothing will change.

    That’s a very depressing thought to me.

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    There are extensive analyses of the scriptural passages that many interpret as making the act of sex between two persons of the same gender a sin. Some of those analyses conclude that nothing in the Bible applies homosexuality as we understand it today, because there was no term for it then, nor was the idea extant. What they show it that the act that was covered in the OT and NT is heterosexuals having sex with someone of the same gender, usually a slave or youth, which in modern terms we would call rape, and in violation of a marriage to a woman who was chattel.

    We must be very careful not to color our understanding of the Bible based on our culture and its differences from the culture of those who wrote the Biblical text. An example recently reported was a pastor who said that Mary was likely 14 when she was betrothed to Joseph, so young marriages are “Biblical” today. But that was in a culture where few lived past 35, and Mary at the cross, probably in her late 40’s, would have been considered a very old woman.

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    56 years,

    It is a sin for anyone to have sex with someone of the same gender for any reason.

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    Is there a difference between lust and attraction? Also, all of us on this blog are aware of people who are sinful and people who are doing what is right in their own eyes. But that is not what is being argued by us on this blog. It is also unfair to paint others that you do not know with this wide brush.
    The church needs to be rid of many sins. Why do you single out sexual sins? Sometimes we single out sins that we do not have problems with.
    Our thought life needs to be pure? Of what? Just sexual sins? All of us struggle with an impure thoughts on many levels. Can you say for sure that your thought life is pure and free from sin? Mine certainly is not. I sin in my thought life all the time.

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    I also want to push back a little. You say “The thought life of His followers needs to be clean.” I think a better statement is that Christ presented us with a standard of a clean thought life. It is something to strive for. But we will never attain it in this life. Praise God that Christ lived a perfect life for us!

    I do agree with you that the church should be particularly concerned about sexual sins. It is one of the things the apostles agreed upon when considering the rules for gentiles in acts. Wasn’t it to abstain from blood and to avoid sexual immorality? But again that is the standard, but sin is sure to come. What’s important in continuing repentance. Turning away form the sin. The reason so many in the church are hung up on sexual sins (hetero and homo) is that so many people are doing it and calling it good.

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    In light of what Dee said, how about… all those unkind thoughts we have (me, too!) toward other people?

    When we get irritated at others, or outrightly angry, even though they are doing the best they can?

    What about impatience?

    What about… passing judgment? We do not know the hearts and minds of other people in the way that God knows them.

    I really would *not* want my thoughts to be broadcast; all too often, I am uncharitable (unloving) and impatient.

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    And that is precisely the reason we need grace. That is the reason that the gospel makes sense to me. i know me and I know I can’t do it on my own.

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    Thanks for feedback from everyone. Only God knows everyone’s thoughts; I do not. I know my thoughts and they are not great all the time but there is the cleansing blood of Jesus when I confess them. No one is perfect in word, deed, thought in this life, that’s a given. There is a verse in 1 John 3:15 “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” I think the NT places great emphasis on thought life; that’s why we need a renewed mind, I need to have my mind renewed everyday.

    To 56years,

    There are things so plain in Scripture like Lev 20:13 “If a man lies with a male as if he were a woman, both men have committed an offense (something perverse, unnatural, abhorrent, and detestable) they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” -AMP version

    Lev 18:22 says the same thing, plain and simple. In some quarters, intellectual doubt is extolled as a virtue in light the plain teaching of the Bible. I understand people can interpret the Word whichever way they choose, some time to justify their own position or opinion.


    We are talking about sexual sins, that’s why I say the church should be rid of sexual sins. Of course there are many other sins that should be addressed in the church. I agree with Nicholas:

    “It is a sin for anyone to have sex with someone of the same gender for any reason.”

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    One more thing. Dee asks “is there a difference between lust and attraction?” Dee, I suggest you go to the Lord Jesus who knows all things and the deep thoughts of man. The Word, being the Sword of the Spirit, can discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. I am mere mortal and not in a position to say the difference to argue for your side (I know where you are coming from) or the other side. Something may pass as innocent but God may see it sinful and vice versa.

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    How are you going to rid the church of sexual sins?

    do you think Jesus told us to rid his church of sexual sins?

    I do not see a mandate to purge the church *anywhere* in either the Gospels or the Epistles, although I do see a lot of calls to repentance as well as to knowing the love, forgiveness, mercy and grace of God.

    Jesus ate with those who sinned sexually, with those who taxed the population unjustly, with those who did not follow every last directive of the Law perfectly. I have no doubt whatsoever that people of every kind – those who sinned visibly, as well as those who sinned in their hearts and minds but did not display those sins to the whole world – were among those with whom Jesus ate and spent time – and loved, regardless of their mistakes and wrongs.

    If the two greatest commandments are

    – to love God

    – to love our neighbors (keeping in mind that Jesus’ definition of “neighbor” is quite radical)

    where, in all of that, is there a mandate to somehow rid the church of those who sin in any way? if we did that, there’d be nobody left!

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    I have no idea what you are saying. And I would like you to spell out “where I am coming from” since you claim to know where that is.

    And yes, there is a very big difference between lust and attraction. Young girls are attracted to cute boys in their class. We do no berate them for lust. So why would be berate someone who is attracted to the same sex? Note: I said attracted, not lusted.

    Also, I do not need your suggestion to go to the Lord. I do that regularly. Just as I did not allow you to be talked down to, I would suggest that you up your game a bit and not talk down to me or others on this blog and try to answer the question.

    I asked you a direct question and you punted and tied it up in Christianese. Could you please explain your position on orientation-not sex or lust? Is it a sin to feel same sex attraction?

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    “is there a difference between lust and attraction?”

    I think so, though I might not have much company … to me, lust is when I start thinking that I would like to do thus and such with so-and-so. If I look at so-and-so and think, “Gee, that guy is really good-looking!,” that’s not lust, it’s appreciation and, possibly, attraction.

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    To add to what I just said… we all have biological responses that are mainly run by our autonomic nervous systems – the conscious mind isn’t even involved in that.

    But our *thoughts* are where the buck stops. and we can make choices there about whether we consciously and deliberately choose to lust after someone or something. (Keeping in mind that the word “lust” in the NT also refers to riches, material possessions and many other things, not just sexual desire.)

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    I had an awesoem meeting with Justin and will be writing about it next week. I think that some people focus on sins with which they do not struggle. It is easy for me to point out greed as a sin and say how bad it is since I do not struggle in this area. But, I might not be willing to discuss issues of impatience since this is something with which i struggle. i might be willing to laugh off those who are impatient because i am laughing off myself.

    This ability to point out sins in other people is a way to help me feel better about myself. “See, I am not like Bernie Madoff. I would never screw people financially.” Inside i am saying that I am a good Christian because I am not like Madoff. But, I sin in other areas and conviently overlook those.

    So, the focus on same sex attractionas a sin is an easy target for those who do not have those feelings. I think I am beginning to see this more clearly now after my meeting. 

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    You are in the companyt of Dee regarding your answer at 12:37. And 2 people can spell a movement! I learned a lot about this from Justin today.

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    Numo –

    I agree with the “lust and attraction” comment. Lust is when I want it (whatever it is). Attraction is just appreciating the beauty of something.

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    Dee –

    Thanks for passing on that tidbit. All this time I thought “homosexual” was preferred and “gay” was the slang term. Learned something new . . . hope I didn’t offend anyone who might be reading here.

    Should you change the title of this thread?

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    Numo, we do indeed purge the church of those who persist in sexual sin. The Apostle Paul commanded the Corinthian church to expel the man who had his father’s wife.

    Salvation involves genuine repentance and turning away from a lifestyle of sin. This is not the same as being sinless. Don’t confuse the issue.

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    On the lust versus attraction thing, these are my thoughts.
    I’m straight, but I think English singer Bat for Lashes (stage name of Natasha Khan) is the most gorgeous person on the face of the planet. She is just exquisitely beautiful (and talented – YouTube her). I have no problem saying here that I find her hugely attractive. But I don’t lust after her.
    So I don’t see lust and attraction as the same thing. Attraction – which I simply understand in terms of recognising beauty – is something I think is normal and healthy.

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    Dee says “And yes, there is a very big difference between lust and attraction. Young girls are attracted to cute boys in their class. We do no berate them for lust. So why would be berate someone who is attracted to the same sex? Note: I said attracted, not lusted.”

    You already have your answer; so, why did you ask? That’s why I refer you to the Lord. All I know is people look at outward appearance but God looks at the heart. Only He knows the truth that is in man.

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    Pam – agreed on Bat for Lashes! And she’s so talented as well.

    Beloved – I think the situation re. the man in Corinth was actually unusual. Remember that Paul’s surviving letters mostly address churches where there were serious problems, not those that were humming along.

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    It must be wonderfully secure and comfortable to live in a black and white bible world. For myself, I think I must take up wearing headcoverings day and night – it’s because of the angels you see (1 Corinthians 11:10).

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    I didn’t know either. I think it would be good to leave it there because next week I am going to talk about things that I learned to show that I am in process about these things. Justin says he understands when Christians use this term that they do not intend to cause discomfort. So, I may point out the title and say that will be the last time I use that term. That was just one thing of many that I learned. My only wish is that everyone could meet him face to face. 

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    i disagree that we purge the church of sexual sin. How many parents know that their teens are pushing the envelope but you never see them thrown out.Then, you do know the stats in the singles groups of churches? The majority of people in churches are engaging in premarital sex. Yet, they stay. And  then, Jesus said that if you look at a woman with lust you have committed adultery. So, how many are thrown out of the church for that?

    The church has developed a peculiar “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to the subject. In the particualr instance to which you refer, the major problem was the guy was flaunting this relationship and twisting doctrine to say that this was OK because of the freedom we have in Christ.


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    Thanks for weighing in.I think this distinction is important as we look at this subject so I am trying to ram it home in preparation ofr next week. 

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    I am asking for your opinion. You seem to ask us for our opinion in most of your comments but you do not answer mine.So, the next time you ask me what I think, shall I say “Go ask Jesus?”

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     You might look cute in headcoverings. Also, Burkas are one way to deal with a bad hair day and the fact you forgot to do the laundry and have no clean clothes.

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    Burkas could also be worn by introverts (like me) who need to be out and about but want to be “invisible” for a time while their energy is renewed! 🙂

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    If we SHOULD purge the Church foe sexual sin, we need (should) purge the Church for every sin. There would be no one left in the Church by Jesus’ standard. We are being sanctified (in the process) as we put off and put on with the help of the Holy Spirit.

    My guess is a large amount of the teenagers aren’t actually saved. Most teens are there because Mom and Dad are there, but they have not made Jesus their Lord snd Savior as yet. So what good does it do if you kick an unredeemed person out of the church. If they claim to be redeemed and continue in blatant/flaunting sin — that’s another story. If they want to be at your gatherings but are not sure about their salvation yet, why not let them stay?

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    And maybe we (men and women) need to not get all out of whack over the odd sexual arousal moments that might just happen — not blame the ladies and not worry that there is something wrong with the guy because something triggered him. It just means the plumbing works as intended 🙂 — Brigit

    Because it’s not only funny, but true! I do think that people get so worked up (and anxious) about having normal sexual feelings and reactions that the issue of *having normal feelings and normal physical reactions is more or less pathologized. — Numo

    Putting on my Brony hat, there was a short My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfic (which I can’t find a link to — all the sites index by title, and I can’t remember the title) on that exact subject. And it was hilarious.

    It regards a gawky, dorky unicorn colt named Snails, who one day in class at Ponyville School realizes that his teacher Miss Cheerilee isn’t wearing anything. And neither are the fillies in the class around him. (Ponies usually don’t wear clothes.) And Puberty hits with a BANG! (What in my high school days was called a “Rudy Renob”, i.e. spontaneous erection.)

    Even though he’s the dorkiest colt in class, Snails is still a colt, i.e. future stallion. Being equine, he’s hung like a horse. And he now has a second horn (and not the one on his forehead).

    Right in the middle of class. In front of Miss Cheerilee and every colt and filly in the room. And his efforts to hide this event cause much hilarity to ensue, until he’s called up in front of class for fidgeting and instead gallops out the side door screaming like a filly on helium. (His father finds him hiding outside of Ponyville.)

    Though sprinkled through with boner-joke (and unicorn-horn) puns, the story is actually NOT erotic at all. It’s all played for laughs as “MY MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT”.

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    I am soooo looking forward to reading about your interview with Justin and all the things you learned from him. I wish we could all meet him too.

    Regarding your question about attending a marriage ceremony even if you disagree, I can tell you this. Several years ago, before I began really researching homosexuality in the bible and started looking at things differently, my husband and I received a beautiful invitation to the marriage ceremony of a lesbian couple. I had been friends with one of them for many years and was acquainted with her partner. I was fully indoctrinated, educated by, and immersed in the Southern Baptist life, church, and culture. I felt compelled to write my lesbian friends a letter stating that I loved them but couldn’t attend the ceremony or endorse the marriage because of x, y, and z verses in the bible.

    In the short term, I thought I’d done and stood for the right thing. But for several years since then, I’ve always regretted it. It makes me sick to think about that dumb letter I wrote them.

    When I had a miscarriage, my friend was a wonderful confidant. She was constantly checking on me. Our oldest child, a daughter, was born on her birthday. They were the first visitors at the hospital the day she was born. She told me it was the best birthday present she’d ever gotten. They were genuinely estatic and happy for us. They lavished her with lovely baby gifts. Over the next several years, I had three more children. They never failed to send us a special baby gift and always sent us a Christmas card. My lesbian friend has been one of the best friends I’ve ever had. She is a Christian, and I’ve seen how she lives out her faith and is a witness for the gospel and love of Christ.

    I recently asked her to meet me for coffee. I told her that I was sorry for judging her and her wife and writing that letter and refusing to attend their marriage ceremony. I believe it was wrong for me not to go. Marrying each other was their choice and their life, whether I had agreed with them at the time or not.

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    2 days ago Dee said:
    “Think about it-how many long term singles or celibate people do you know in leadership in positions in church?”
    The only one I could think of for a long time was “The Pope”! But I don’t really know him. Then it occurred to me– I have a daughter who’s “in leadership”–they call it exactly that–in her church.

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    That story made me laugh so hard I spit coffee all over my shirt…and I don’t have another : /

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    I am afraid that you may have been right all along on the little dustup yesterday. I am about to issue an apology if things keep going the way they are. You, dear friend, are mighty perceptive.

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    I read an interesting word study before on what “to lust” actually meant. Wish I could find the link. It was insightful stating, in essence, that lust was the constant and habitual desire to have something that isn’t yours with thoughts and plans about how you could acquire it.

    That’s very different than desire or even thinking impure thoughts. It’s constant, intentional and habitual. It can have malicious intent or intent to harm.

    Every time we see someone we’d like to have sex with or encounter doesn’t exactly mean that we lust for that person. If like me, you might even forget about them five minutes later.

    Anyway, food for thought.

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    Trina –

    I think we would have to look up the specific Greek or Hebrew words used and then see how they were translated.

    Looking up “desire” in the dictionary revealed that one of the many synonyms was “covet.”

    “Lust” had a similar meaning but seemed to refer specifically to “sexual” desire for something that was not yours.

    Both the meanings above are paraphrased and abbreviated — anyone interested should look them up for themselves. I only looked in one dictionary – Merriem Webster. Other dictionaries could yield different definitions. Words and how they are defined definitely matter. Several people could use the same word but have different meanings in their mind for that word and what they think they are saying. It could be that Scripture passages were translated poorly, and/or meanings of words have changed from what translators intended. Translators could also change what the original writers intent was.

    Lot’s of opportunity for problems 🙁 Nothing is as black and white as we humans tend to want to make it.

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    @Dee, “You might look cute in headcoverings”

    I think men would look cute in them too. I hereby propose that men wear burqas, and niqabs without eyeholes. Lust problem solved, and they can proudly have a stress-free bad hair day. Think of the savings some of the YRR’s will make on their hair products. Ed Young’s ‘pastor fashion’ will have new burqa life breathed into it. And I think their ‘masculinist’ groups would give this full support, as it’s a way to stay pure of heart and right with God (and the angels). Background – I’m still traumatised by ye olde Jack Schaap and his poker. eek.

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    You say: “I am asking for your opinion. You seem to ask us for our opinion in most of your comments but you do not answer mine. So, the next time you ask me what I think, shall I say “Go ask Jesus?”

    I owe you an answer to this comment on account of to my respect to you and Deb and for the good work both of you are doing on this blog. I was told to “go to Jesus” many times before, not on this blog, but by my Pastors, Christian friends. I was not offended but I took it as a good advice. Who knows better than Jesus? So, as a small child I went to the Lord and He gave me the answer, more often than not, from His Word and through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit resident in my soul. The Lord is faithful and has never failed me. I failed Him many times over but He’s faithful and I can bank on the personal, intimate and vital relationship I have had with my Savior and Master for many years, since 1979.

    You asked me a Yes/No question for a complex issue “is there a difference between same sex attraction and lust?” A simple “yes” or “no” will not do. One has two ponder at what age? between two 5-year olds is a different matter than between two 15-year olds or 25-year old; under what circumstances? what culture? (Some culture may simply believe it’s dead wrong for two persons of the same gender to have attraction.)

    I do not have the wisdom to know for sure, that’s why I refer you to the Lord Jesus. One thing I can share is that in my daily living dealing with many unbelievers of this world, the book of James is very instructive, for example James 1:14-15. Sin may begin with a thought, a desire in the mind. God says in Genesis 6:5 “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” That’s GOd’s opinion and He sure is right. Jeremiah 17:9 echos the same thing.

    This is a gray and uncertain area and that’s why I do not give you an answer. As for me, when I ask people for feedback, I accept if they give it AND if they choose to not give it, that’s perfectly okay with me. There should be no compulsion of any kind. People have their own reason for giving or not giving an answer or they may have nothing to say about a particular issue.

    I hope this helps. I love you and Deb as my dear sisters in Christ.

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    Nicholas, Dee and others,

    In this life and in the church of Christ, one needs to accept the fact that there exists both wheat and tares in the church, as stated in Scripture. When judgment comes, it will be sorted out. No amount of purging of any kind of sins is enough. Let it be. The Lord knows who belong to His flock.

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    That study that I read was, in fact, a biblical study of original context and original language. Not a study from the dictionary. Sorry, I should have been more clear what I was talkin about.

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      The etymology of the word “gay” would suggest a negative linguistic progression from being a descriptor of prostitution, to becoming indicative of the carefree moral lifestyle of the single male in the 20th century, to “the throwing off of restraint”, now describing the inclination towards  human homosexual behavior for both the male and the female.  

       If history be our guide, we are seeing a natural progression of the biblical fallen man, to when all moral restraints are removed from society.  The progress, being sped along by those who would use it’s device. It is plain to see that since Christianity will not integrate, it’s restraining systems must be eliminated by those favoring an entirely different societal outcome.

       Your compassion, empathy, and human kindness towards those who would measure into this type of moral madness, is commendable. 

       However, if history is any indication, they are but pawns, human society tending toward moral decline is the logical conclusion with it’s dictatorial destruction unfortunately not far from it’s heels. Diablos has a well oiled machine, and we are not ignorant of his devices.

       Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and making manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place! For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish, we are the savour of death unto death. 

    Who is sufficient for these things? 

    Are we as many, which corrupt the word of God? Or rather as of those of sincerity, in the sight of God; -in the sight of God speak we in Christ?

       The twilight of American culture having been reached;
    The day is far spent.  

    “If they do this when the branch is green, what will they do when it is dry?” -Jesus of Nazereth, AD. 29. 

    Pray the Lord of harvest, the raising of laborers for the fields. The Son of man, even at the door.


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    This is the world we live in: Thirty-three years after coming to the earth, the Lord of all creation, the Lord of heaven finds himself judged a criminal, nailed upon a roman cross, one of the worst death punishment ever devised by man. Yet, He came only to save His people from their sins. 

    He says only this: “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”  

    What manner of man is this?

    Something to consider?


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    I think my story of Justin might be a bit of surprise to mnay evangelicals. In fact, it so moved me that I recognized my need to repent of something. And that is a tease for the story to come. 

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    Thank you! for the kind response. I await further installments with interest.


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    me too 🙂

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       Many are aware that the topic of homosexuality (being gay) is a controversial one that deeply affects the personal lives of many. Thus it cannot strongly stress enough that people who self-identify as gays and lesbians (and others) must be treated with courtesy, respect, compassion, and sensitivity.

    [ Q &A: Ask a gay Christian a question?  ( in moderating this discussion, you said to please submit questions in the comment section of this post. ) ]



    Q. Is there a strong need for the Christian community to reach out people who self-identify as gays and lesbians?

    Q: Is there a downside of homosexuality (being gay) ?

    Q: Is homosexuality (being gay) associated specifically with psychological problems? 

    Q: Can an active homosexual (being gay) lifestyle lead to adverse psychological consequences? 

    Q: Are there any medical illnesses associated with homosexuality (being gay) ? If so, what are the medical illnesses associated with homosexuality (gay) ?

    Q: Many professional medical groups have stopped classifying homosexuality (being gay) as abnormal behavior, and pro-homosexual (being gay) organizations actively promote it as just another option that is perfectly normal. Is this responsible from a medical point of view? 

    Q: Is Same-sex attraction (SSA) a  manifestation of serious emotional conflicts? 

    Q: Would legalizing what is considered in many Christian circles  abnormal behavior, seem to dissuade people from seeking the help they need to overcome it. Would that be a fair assessment? 

    Q: What do you think would be the long-term impact of legalized same-sex unions? How would this affect future generations? 

    Q: Do you believe adoptions by homosexual (gay) couples should be permitted? If so, how would that affect the children involved? 

    Q: Can people who self-identify as practicing gays and lesbians be considered Christians and followers of the teachings of Jesus Christ?

    Q: Is there a homosexual (gay) objective or agenda? If so, what are the psychological strategies in the homosexual (gay) objective or agenda? 



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    Haitch – you’re killing me…Please please make one of these garments & we can market it for mega bucks.

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    Addendum: (to the questions above)

    Q. The termination of “potential” life in the womb is now an action that finds both legal sanction and federal subsidy. Is the GLBT sexual orientation going to be legally sanctioned and federally subsidized, as well? If so, what effect will this have on religious organizations?


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    @Beakerj, I see a booming multinational corporation in the works. I like the idea of a plain wrestling cape (no bright colours or anything adorning it) and mask (no eyeholes naturally). Name of company is “La Vida Lust-free”. See link for Lucha Libre style !
    The angels will rejoice. Ok, I’ll stop now.

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    Uh oh, Dee. I smell trouble for you…and I KNOW you’re not scared lol! TGC is probably waiting with baited breath to have at least ten simultaneous responses….