Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: How the Bible says it's OK to be gay.


He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. Isaiah 40:11

Status: Offline
Posts: 4330
Date:
How the Bible says it's OK to be gay.
 


This was taken from a post on GCN.  I think it is beautifully written. Lisa

How the bible says it's OK to be gay.
by Matt Fitzgerald

A few years ago a member of the church I then served asked me to preach a sermon addressing the question, How the Bible Says it is Okay to be Gay. I was stumped. The Bible says things are beautiful or idolatrous, sinful or wondrous, evil or holy. Terrible is a biblical category. So is wonderful. But okay isnt a biblical category. Fair-to-middling doesnt make an appearance in scripture.

The common assumption is that in the debate over homosexuality, the Christian Right have the rules on their side, a Bible that says homosexuality violates Gods will. And liberal America has a political philosophy which holds that the autonomous, self sufficient, free person is able to do whatever he or she pleases. Okay is a liberal word. It refuses to pass judgment. Im okay and youre okay. It is okay to be gay. It is okay to be straight. You do your thing and Ill do mine and so long as no one gets hurt, whats the difference?

The theologians I love have taught me to be suspicious of this kind of liberalism. Not because I am conservative, but because I am a Christian. And any ideology whose bedrock assumption is that people should be free to do as they please flies directly in the face of the Christian doctrine of sin. A doctrine which holds that we are flawed creatures who, when set free to do as we please, will do the selfish thing, subjecting ourselves to what Stanley Hauerwas of Duke Divinity School calls the tyranny of our own desires.1

But youre not reading this blog for a civics lesson or to agree or disagree with my politics. You are here, I hope, to listen for Gods word.

Which speaks a wonderful truth to my parishioners question. For while liberalism makes a good argument for the fact that homosexuality is acceptable, the Bible goes one step further to say quite clearly that gay people are good. Not all right, but beautiful. Not tolerable, passable, okay. But wonderful, beloved, glorious.

This might sound absurd, even to those who wish it were true. For despite the fact that Jesus mentions homosexuality as often as he mentions frequent flier miles, organic food and diesel engines (which is to say, not once) if conservative Christianity has taught America anything it is this: the Bible opposes gay people.

Lets move quickly to prove them wrong. Unlike a previous generations psychology which followed Freud to believe that homosexuality was some sort of disorder (and in a toxic combination of both misogyny and homophobia often blamed it on a gay persons mother) todays thought accepts that a persons sexual orientation is an essential, ingrained dimension of who you are. Homosexuality is no more a choice than is heterosexuality. If youre a straight man, ask yourself, when did I first decide I would be attracted to women? It is a ridiculous question.

But in the Bibles most infamous comment on same-sex activity, Paul presumes that those who engage in gay sex engage in isolated acts of deviation from a universally shared heterosexual norm. Women, Paul says in the first chapter of Romans giving up natural intercourse exchanged it for unnatural . . . And men, giving up natural intercourse with women were consumed with passion for one another. In this understanding, homosexual activity is a choice heterosexuals make. Like a truth-teller deviating from honesty in order to tell a lie, a person engaged in same sex activity momentarily departs from the morally preferable universal standard.

This was Pauls first-century Jewish worldview, and it is one adopted by contemporary Christians who label homosexuality a lifestyle and try to convert gays and lesbians back into heterosexuality (as if they ever left in the first place). To my mind, subscribing to a first-century sexual anthropology that modern understandings of human sexuality have refuted makes as much sense as believing the earth is flat because the ancient Hebrew cosmology assumed it so. The earth is round. You dont learn to be gay. Youre created that way. Neither of these realizations diminish our appreciation for the Bible. In fact, both can enhance it.

I like this metaphor. Life is a long road trip. You dont have your CD collection or your i-pod. Just a broken radio. The only station you can find is playing the most amazing piece of music you have ever heard. It soars, it ebbs, it reaches crescendos that make you want to floor the pedal and race through the beauty, it affirms you, it convicts you, it makes sense of existence.

But your radio is broken. And while the music is occasionally clear, there are interludes of pure, unlistenable static. Much of the time you hear both at once, this wonderful song, slightly obscured by the hiss and the fuzz of a broken receiver.

The stories of Israel and Jesus are this piece of music. A piece that God composed. And the authors of the Bible are our broken radio. Sometimes they give us the story in its pure form. Other times Gods beauty is hidden in the static of ancient politics or prejudice. And sometimes as is the case with this unfortunate reading from Romans, the signal is lost altogether all we get is an ugly hiss.

The question before us is this: Are we going to listen to the Bible carefully, straining to hear the gorgeous melody of a nonviolent lamb who conquers by giving his life for ALL people, or are we going to listen indiscriminately, confusing the static for the symphony itself?

Let me take a brief detour here. If blog entries had footnotes this would be one. The approach I just suggested opens itself to the charge of selective literalism whereby we accept those aspects of scripture that we agree with as the word of God, and reject the rest.

Now, on some level I think everyone reads the Bible this way. Neither Ralph Reed nor James Dobson has taken a public vow swearing that never again will they eat shrimp scampi.

But, I dont think the accusation applies in this instance. There are Biblical themes that I dont like. The second coming for instance. The claim that God will conclude history totally violates my modern perspective. But, this belief is shot right through the New Testament. Jesus mentions it frequently and it pervades Pauls thought. So, I place my questions and my doubt and my dislike underneath the doctrines pressure. I try to believe it, or at least accept it. I hope it shapes me. I dont ignore it.

Homophobia is not one of the Bibles major themes. Sure, it makes the occasional appearance. But so does the justification of slavery. So does the demand that women wear hats to church. Even on 100 degree days! Most every Christian in America has rejected these latter two teachings as absolutely opposed to scriptures primary theme: the truth of God revealed in Christ.

Back to my main point: we need to be clear in stating that our belief that homosexuality is natural, is not primarily a negative response to the Christian right. Instead, first and foremost, it is a positive theological conviction. God creates some people gay, and because God declares creation good, homosexual people must therefore be good.
Genesis doesnt say that God made straight people on the sixth day and gay people two weeks later. We are all children of the same creation, same creator.

Paul picks up this theme from Genesis in First Timothy when he says, everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected. The true meaning of the Greek word used in this context is beautiful. The meaning here, Karl Barth argues, is that everything created by God is good, [in that it] is right, is well-ordered and therefore is beneficial.

Barth suggests that when Paul says humanity is beautiful he means something other than the Genesis claim that we reflect the image of God in its pure power. For of course Paul believes that we need to be saved, and we need to be saved because we have fallen, and in the fall, Paul thinks, the image of God was wiped from us. We are broken and imperfect creatures, not God-like, but human in desperate need of salvation.

So, how can we say that we are beautiful, beneficial even? Creation is the most important act in the Bible. But after creation, comes the Fall and our ensuing radical distance from God. This makes the redemption of creation, the salvation of creation, the work of Jesus Christ, the most beautiful act in the Bible.

Barth wants to argue, and I love this argument, that while we no longer reflect Gods perfection, we are called to reflect the work of the one through whom we were created. We are beautiful not because we reflect Gods power, but because we reflect Gods mercy. We were all born through Christ to do the work of Christ: to love God, and to save each other. And we all have a role to play in salvation.

This means then, that by rejecting gay men and lesbian women the church has stymied the work of Christ. For if Paul is right, and all are a part of Gods salvation drama, gay people must have a unique role to play in that story. What could that role be?

Well on one level (the most important level) the answers to that question are countless. For every gay individual brings a distinct and personal self to the church. The next time youre in church ask yourself, who here has helped save me? Who helped me move? Who held me up? Who has modeled good parenting, committed love, joyful singing, a commitment to peace, an active faith? Who helped save me? My guess is the answer has almost nothing to do with that persons sexual orientation. Before we fall into any category, we are individuals crafted and created by God with individual gifts that no one else has.

But, of course we also fall into categories. And if you worship in a church faithful enough to fly directly in the face of dominant Christianity, a church Christ-like enough to unapologetically welcome gay and lesbian people, you are blessed to be saved by the beautiful category of homosexuality.

How?

Well, we all have doubt. We all have reasons (good reasons!) to stay away from church, to abandon our childhood faith. To write the church off as a disappointing institution, and Christianity off as an ancient and confusing myth. We all have hurdles to clear in order to worship on a Sunday morning. But, not all of us have heard the Church say you are not welcome here. Not all of us need to ask their pastor to preach a sermon in order to challenge two-thousand years of liars who twist the truth and smile as they tell us we are not okay. Not all of us have been told we are beyond the pale of salvation.

It is only gay and lesbian Christians who have to clear those hurdles in order to sing a hymn, teach Sunday School, feed the hungry at a Christian soup kitchen, share a cup of coffee in the church basement and praise the God who made them. And in leaping into Gods embrace over the obstacles our religion has placed in their path, our gay sisters and brothers teach the rest of us how petty our excuses are, and just what it means to be faithful. In their brave response to grace, we see faith that has the power to save. And so we learn to be faithful. And in our faith we are saved. And so I thank God for my gay brothers and lesbian sisters in the church.



__________________

Grace is the acceptance of that which is rejected.
                                                                       ~Paul Tillich



He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. Isaiah 40:11

Status: Offline
Posts: 4330
Date:
 

Did anybody read this?

__________________

Grace is the acceptance of that which is rejected.
                                                                       ~Paul Tillich



Live long and prosper.

Status: Offline
Posts: 2667
Date:
 

Weez sposed to reed?........

I read this Monday,....sorry I didn't comment.....

I love the way Matt wrote about God's love and our beauty and goodness in His sight, all of us, gay, straight, etc......

A very well thought out work.....very thought invoking......

And I agree with every word!!!!!!



-- Edited by 24 fan tim at 23:21, 2007-09-06

__________________
Be yourself!!!  Don't try to fit into someone else's mold, you won't fit!!!  And that just leads to utter misery!!!  Live life to it's fullest in Christ's love every day!!!


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 86
Date:
 

24 fan tim wrote:

Weez sposed to reed?........

I read this Monday,....sorry I didn't comment.....

I love the way Matt wrote about God's love and our beauty and goodness in His sight, all of us, gay, straight, etc......

A very well thought out work.....very thought invoking......

And I agree with every word!!!!!!



-- Edited by 24 fan tim at 23:21, 2007-09-06



Whillly... I am with Tim... Izze skimmed it... but I didn't have time to read it with the time and attention it requires... I would like someone to read it to me... I am an audible learner... I like books on CD... or books on tape... but yeah, I thin it looks pretty good... but it would take more time than I have right now to read it all, process it and form intelligent thoughts...my head can barely form a few sentences or a paragraph at a time... Good thing I will be reading from a script at my presentation I am doing Wednesday evening.

Hugs,
Jerry



__________________
Big Hugs!Blessings of Love, Joy, Peace & Health-Physical, Mental & Spiritual,
jerry

"Who walks a road with love, will never walk that road alone."
-Charles Thomas Davis


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 5
Date:
 

It's very well written, but I personally feels it goes against scripture.


Romans 1 18-28

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible manand birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[c] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[d] unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."





1 Corinthians 5

1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife. 2And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? 3Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. 4When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature[a] may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

6Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeastas you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

9I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people 10not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."

__________________


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 1
Date:
 

Okay.. this is my first time on this site...so, Forgive me if I say something, or am incorrect about something... It seems theres not too much positivity towards homosexuality in the bible... I really liked how this was written... It picked me up a little.

I just got dumped by my girlfriend... cause she said the bible says its wrong. and If I truly wanted a life through god with her, we couldn't be together... Im so heartbroken right now... I've been crying all day... I just hate arguing... especially about god. Cause i feel, that love is love regardless of gender. Why would god give me this feeling of such love and happiness for a woman, if it was bad? I know its not the enemy, cause it makes me SO happy, and it makes me want to just sing of everything good in life.

She admits her attraction to woman, but says she can't be in a relationship, because the bible says it's not right... I was wondering, if there was any quotes in the bible, that relates to what im saying...  

 

It would be much appreciated  

 



__________________
"Love takes up where knowledge leaves off."


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 1
Date:
 

This was a well written thesis on the homosexual discussion. There is however a major flaw in the reasoning. It says that homosexuality is okay because those people simply did not choose it, and therefore God must have somehow created them homosexual. If we used that same logic then I could argue that it is okay for people to be prideful. Children don't choose to be prideful - they just simply are. When I was young I didn't make the decision to not want to share (that would be ridiculous) I just simply didn't want to.

I could make he argument that having sex with as many woman as I want, when I want. I mean I am attracted to more than just one - God must have made me that way and therefore it is okay. You can see where this extremely slippery slope can lead.

In other words there are many desires of the flesh that we have that we didn't sit down and choose to want or not want. Desires for lust, desires for greed, desires for self. However the theme of the scripture is completely opposite of those things. That is why we pick up our cross daily. We must deny ourselves and our desires and place Gods first. There are many things I would not choose to do (and others I would do) if God did not want me to.

While the Church has been very wrong on our treatment of homosexuals. And I too thank God for all those He created. I have to disagree with the logic of the argument. I feel that I needed to say these words in order that I could show the other side of the coin and hopefully add something to this ongoing discussion.



__________________
Page 1 of 1  sorted by
 
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to Del.icio.us


Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard