Born This Way? How the Church Can Respond to Lady Gaga, and Homosexuality

Posted: February 26, 2011 in Faith/Christianity, Youth Culture & Trends
Tags: , , , , , ,

For those that have their ear to the ground…or on the airwaves…you’ll know that Lady Gaga‘s newest song, Born This Way, is on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for the 2nd consecutive week.  Gaga’s (Stefani Germanotta) newest song (video to debut Feb. 28th) has been highly anticipated for months, and is sure to be just as highly debated.  If you don’t feel like watching the video, the gist of the song is this;  God made you (and in particular, ‘Lady Gaga’) just the way you are…there’s nothing you can do about it because God doesn’t make mistakes…so just celebrate your uniqueness and be you (my paraphrased version).  Now there’s a couple truths within Gaga’s assertions…1. God does not make mistakes…2. God made each of us, and gave us each uniqueness.  But that’s about where I would end the truth similarities between Gaga’s philosophy, and reality.

As a youth pastor, I’m sure many other pastors will be scrambling to come up with answers and sermon/talk ideas to the assertions in Gaga’s Born This Way, and churches have been scrambling over the past 20 years trying to come up with responses to homosexuality.  Teens and parents will undoubtably be bombarded with questions stemming from philosophical views within the song…but really…Lady Gaga isn’t saying anything new here.  Oprah has been peddling this kind of message for years…believe in yourself…do good to others…celebrate you…all roads lead to the same place…there are many ways to God, not just one…blah-blah-blah. 

So why the hot debate from Gaga’s Born This Way?   I think part of it has to do with our culture’s propensity to want to create controversy.  But I think the biggest reason is that truth and deception are always in conflict…and when issues like this hit the cultural ‘airwaves’, there’s a ripple effect as truth seeks to expose the lies…and deception fights to defend itself…ultimately in vain!  Let’s face it, our society celebrated diversity, individualism and relativism.  There’s always going to be tension between Christian & secular worldviews…plain and simple.  But as much as I believe in the church’s mission as God’s agent of living hope to the world, we’ve also really messed up a lot of things, with the issue of homosexuality being one of those.  Very few churches have been able to speak a message of both truth, and love to the issue.  And unfortunately, most church leaders either run away from the issue…or end up putting their foot, and by association, ours, in our collective mouths.

What do I think?  I fully believe;

  • homosexuality is wrong, and contrary to God’s design for sexuality (Rom.1:26-27; Lev. 18:22)
  • God loves homosexuals…the same way He loves gossips, liars, cheaters/adulterers, bigots, slanderers, muderers…but that God also hates the sins they commit…all the sins…not just what we tag as the “big sins”
  • I believe there is hope for anyone caught in any sinful lifestyle, and forgiveness available (1 Cor. 6:11; Phil. 4:13; Rom. 8)
  • people should stop using the “love the sinner, hate the sin” cliche, which is not even a biblical phrase…and instead I think we should, as Tony Campolo says; “love the sinner, and hate our own sin…”

One of the youth ministry/culture sites I subscribe to is Jonathan McKee’s Source 4 Youth Ministry.  In an earlier edition this month, Jonathan and David R. Smith sent out 2 articles I want to share with you.  One is a direct response to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way song, and her personal philosophy contained within.  The other is a challenge and encouragement to Christians and churches, to respond with love, conviction, intelligence and tact to the issue of homosexuality in our culture.  Go ahead and check them out…I’d love to hear your thoughts as we all process this cultural minefield together in Christ.

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Comments
  1. Christina says:

    Thanks for this enlightening post Shawn… Oprah decades-long search to find herself has misled millions along the way – hypnotized, confused followers have replaced Jesus and the cross with Eckert Tolle and the Harpo symbol.

  2. Anonymus says:

    So what does one do if they really are attracted to the same sex, and have no “feelings” for the opposite sex?

    • that’s a very good question, and the answer depends on a couple variables. First, if you are not approaching this from a Christian worldview standpoint, then your choices and convictions are based primarily on what works/feels good for you (post modernism/relativism).

      There’s been documented scientific proof that has dispelled the “gay gene”, which basically was a belief that a person can be born ‘homosexual’, without any ‘way out’…try as they might, they are just born ‘gay’…is what many have believed. The findings have proven, medically and clinically, that no one is born with a ‘gay gene’, but rather some people are indeed born with a predispotion to be attracted to the same sex…for males to display femine characteristics/qualities…and vice versa. So one can be born with homosexual tendancies (sexual attraction to opposite gender), but does not mean you are born ‘gay’. You can view a great work done on this study here- http://www.trueorigin.org/gaygene01.asp

      So then back to your question…what if someone is genuinely attracted to, and has feelings for the opposite sex. Our society tells us that it would be cruel and unatural to deny our own feelings/impulses. But I would ask you…what if someone has a predisposition towards stealing, gambling, adultry, child pornography, murder, lying, disrespect, violence…what is our response in those cases? Would we simply admit that they are born that way…cannot help it…and not only dismiss the behavior, but celebrate it?

      I know it’s not a politcally correct answer, but the bible and Christianity aren’t exactly politcally correct either! Jesus was pretty radical, and if he constantly went against the grain and challenged the ‘norms of society’…yet spoke against homosexuality…what can we conclude? The apostle Paul as well, through the New Testament, spoke strongly against homosexuality and sexual perversion…but let’s not get hung up on one area…sin is sin, and there’s no ‘bullseye’ or ‘great’ sin that supercedes all others (although we can debate Proverbs 6:16-19!).

      It all comes down to choice…we have choices in life in our we conduct ourselves…what we believe…who/what we follow…how we act…how/what influences us. So the second variable would be our response to the bible. If you believe the bible to be true…that Jesus is who he said he was/is…and your desire is to be a Christian/Christ follower…then it comes down to choice. God’s holy spirit can certainly help in these areas…to guide us in righteousness and holy living, but it also comes from a genuine faith and belief in the One we are following. So for the Christian, or anyone, who may struggle with homosexual impulses, it would require acknowledging that those impules are not in line with God’s sexual plan for mankind. And a genuine believer would have a desire to not acting on those impulses…not that they wouldn’t struggle with those temptations, but knowing that it is wrong and sinful, they would desire to flee from that impulse, and allow God to give them deliverance…or in some cases…simply an escape. There are many Christians who struggle with these impulses, but choose not to act on them, with the help of Holy Spirit, and to honor God with thier body (1 Cor. 6).

      I would encourage you to check out the story of Brian Pengally…he is a Christian from Ontario who has been speaking on this for years. You can view his ministry site here- http://www.newdirection.ca/content.xjp?id=230

      It’s not a nice and clean answer that fits neatly into a box…but I do know that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle, but will provide a way of freedom, through his strength…not just our own will and determination (1 Cor. 10:13).

      I hope this brought some kind of clarity…I’d love to hear back from you…and sorry about the loooong answer!!

      • Anonymus says:

        Hey, thanks for the reply… Argh, it’s just so hard. I definitely am a believer, and so I struggle with this. Being that we were made in such a way that we do ‘fall in love’ and enjoy close relationships with others, not being able to have that is tough. I wonder though, just what is considered an “unnatural relation” – does that just pertain to actual intercourse, or is that any form of affection. For me, I do not have any desire at all to engage in intercourse with either sex, but I love to be close to and cuddle up with the people I have ‘feelings for’ who always seem to be of the same sex. I don’t like to label myself as gay or straight – I’m just a person, and I don’t decide to be attracted to or fall in love with a particular sex, it just happens naturally, like it does for heterosexuals. I just never seem to be able to connect with those of the opposite sex, I don’t know why…. I just want to love people and be loved back in a way that I can feel, yet I don’t want to ignore what God says….. Ahhhh – I’m so confused.

      • Jude Hirman says:

        Here is an interesting documentary. Lisa Ling’s opinion is very clear, however she very intelligently and respectfully interviews people and presents the documentary unbiased.

        http://www.oprah.com/own-our-america-lisa-ling/Our-America-with-Lisa-Ling-Pray-the-Gay-Away-FULL-EPISODE

        Also more food for thought: Living in the closet and pretending to be straight is lying; a sin the bible talks about MUCH more than being gay. Jesus never actually says anything about being gay, its always one of the apostles (in the New Testament anyways).

        We have choice- I agree. We can choose to live a lie, or come to accept who we are and choose to accept the way God created each of us. We can ask God to change us, but then we are saying “God I dont like the way you made me, I think you messed up, you didnt make me good enough, can you change me?” You dont ask God to change your huge nose that you were born with, or your skin colour.

        Choosing to drink when you have the gene that predisposes you to alcoholism is not the same as falling in love with the same gender. Please let me know if you don’t see why, I dont mind clarifying or further explaining anything.

    • Anonymus says:

      Thank you so much for the link Jude. I mean, of course it doesn’t make things “suddenly clear” but it is a bit of a comfort. There is so much controversy about everything in this world that it’s so hard to know what’s “right and what’s wrong.”

      • Jude Hirman says:

        Shawn: Please clarify…because I have the predisposition to sin, but that doesn’t give me license to do it. You nailed it though…it is a choice, and not a genetic phenom. Sin is a conscious choice to either abide in Christ, or deny Him and do our own thing…and we’ve struggled with it ever since the garden incident.

        Jude: yet we all sin whether or not we have the license to do it. I think I mentioned numerous times that it is not a choice so I’m not sure where this claim came from…? Sometimes we sin by accident, sometimes by choice, sometimes we don’t realize its a sin until later, there are many forms of sin. Back to my original point: Falling in love is not something that we can control. If we can choose to fall in love with certain people the world would be a very different place. Love is not something that can be forced or ‘controlled’ thus its not a choice. Alcoholism is something that happens over a period of time and it is not sinful to have a drink. However, an abundance on a very frequent basis will cause addiction. Substance abuse and loving someone- very different. I’m not sure i can simplify it any further.

        I have further thoughts regarding your other (longer) post which I will post as soon as I get through all of it.

        I also want to make sure you (Shawn) know that my intention is not at all to argue its to have an open discussion and to challenge beliefs. With a discussion like this one of two things can happen: 1. one of us changes our minds (doubt this will happen) or 2. hopefully we will have stronger beliefs because we both believe our reasons are better and more logical than the other persons. My intention is not to make you change your mind. My intention is to provide people with a source whom they can ask questions and talk to about this regardless of what faith they follow. I know very well what it’s like to grow up in an environment where the people who are supposed to be your biggest support group have turned their backs and said “people who are like this and that are going to hell and deserve to die.” I know what it’s like to turn your back on God not because of him but because of all those who speak for him. I know what it’s like to have absolutely noone to talk to about this because everyone has preconceived notions and irrational fears/hate towards gay people. So this is my intention, to provide some potentially confused and unsupported teens with resources and support so that they can better equip themselves with reason and text from the bible.

        My God and I are cool. He doesn’t have a denomination or one sect of christianity that he thinks is better than the next. He happens to be ok with the way I am and loves me because he said he made me in his image.

      • Hey ‘anonymus’ friend…just wondering how you were doing…there’s been some further comments and lots to digest here so far in this conversation over the weeks. Have you come to any new insight into how you feel, and how you’ve processed the conversation here…or other streams of conversation, reading, learning?

    • Jon says:

      They say there’s help…we have to pray that god will lead us to a woman, LMFAO! I’d rather die than touch a woman sexually..eww eww eww. I do love women though – so don’t take that the wrong way ladies.

      • Anonymus says:

        I’m doing alright. Things are still completely confusing for me as I continue my search for what is “right,” as there seems to be good solid supporting evidence on either side no matter where you look. I am really seeking God himself and asking that he reveal His desires for me to me in a way that I can truly grasp. I would love if you would pray that God would reveal this to me. What I am feeling right now about the whole issue, is that there is no clear cut “law” per say, but that the issue is more a matter of the heart…. kind of like what was the case with the laws that the pharisees (spelling??) were following and when Jesus healed someone on the Sabbath. The pharisees got angry with him, but Jesus said it is not about the laws themselves…. more a matter of the heart and their relationship with God…..

  3. Jude Hirman says:

    Hi Shawn,

    Here is my response to your blog; I also took the liberty to respond to some of Jonathan McKee’s/David Smith’s views. I tried to keep it somewhat short, though it was hard because McKee/Smith makes so many statements that are straight up flawed that it was hard to leave some of the arguments he makes untouched.

    Response to your blog:

    There are elements of the bible I believe were lost in translation and punctuation and ‘altered’ by the early church to suit specific needs. Up until 800 AD punctuation or spaces between words, letters, and sentences did not exist. Having said this, if you want to assume the Bible to be the literal word of God, even though it was ‘dictated’ by God and written out by man, who is imperfect and makes mistakes, then here are some verses of interest:

    – Leviticus 19: 13b also says “Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight” but most of us get paid bimonthly, is this a sin?
    – Leviticus 19: 27 “Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard,” is this a sin?
    – 1 Chorinthians 11:5 “And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head–it is just as though her head were shaved.”
    – 1 Corinthians 11:13 “Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?” So, God will only accept my prayers if I am wearing a toque? … or can I wear a fedora?
    – 1 Timothy 2:12 “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” All women pastors, professors, teachers, etc are sinning because they are teaching men?
    – Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”
    – 1 John 4: 8 “God is love.” All love? Or just love between straight people.

    Is it maybe possible that the bible is outdated in some aspects? Including the part about haircuts, women and gay people?

    Falling in love with someone is a gift, regardless of sexuality. Jer. 29:11 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Who has the right to judge whether the love between a man and a man is lesser, greater, better or worse than the love between a man and a woman? If your answer is God alone is to be the judge, then perhaps making statements like “homosexuality is wrong” should be left to God. If God is love and all good things come from God, surely it was not against God’s will that two people of the same gender have fallen in love with one another. Aside from this, as God is to be the final judge of all things, I seriously think he has more important and greater things to worry about than who falls in love with someone of the same gender. In the end, everyone strives to achieve happiness; everyone searches in their own way and often times people find happiness through different means. Some find it in the reassurance that they will go to heaven if they follow a set of rules and accept certain beliefs, others find it by accepting oneself as a bisexual and encouraging others to love and accept themselves regardless of their sexuality.
    Stating “Homosexuality is wrong” is a judgement. If you truly believe what Tony Campolo says about homosexuality, you would easily see the discrepancy between your statements and those that he makes. He never once makes that judgement, instead he leaves that sort of responsibility to God. I’m very thankful that you shared this video clip because he makes an excellent point about seeing beyond sexuality and ‘falling in love with the person’ rather than the genitalia (about 2.35 min)- something many will agree with. I also strongly agree with his statement that we need to “connect [with people] in a way that transcends categories,” without judgmental prejudices. Once people do this, they more often than not realize how unnatural it is for some people to be with the opposite gender. What exactly is God’s sexual plan for us? Is it to reproduce? Or to only have sex for pleasure with a wife/husband? There are plenty of couples who cannot have children, does this mean that they are sinning by going against God’s sexual plan? And there are plenty of children that need to be adopted to a loving and caring family, whether it be gay or straight.
    Personally, my greatest issue with both your and McKee/Smith’s is that though you claim to ‘accept’ gay people and love them the same way, you are convinced that sexuality is a choice and that with enough prayer, the gay will go away, that Jesus will ‘cure’ homosexuality. This is simply wrong. Asking a gay person to try and be straight is asking someone to live a loveless and lonely lie. Put yourself in this position, if someone said you had to try really really hard and pray to be attracted and in love with men, you’d say something along the lines of “there is no way this is possible for me.” At what point do straight people choose their sexuality? For a faith that encourages love, and mainly love, it’s ironic that there is such an uproar about a song that is about loving who you are and how God made you and about not letting society make you feel like a freak for being different.
    I am very passionate about this subject and have spent much time thinking about alternate sexualities can fit into Christianity. The only justification I can find is that parts of the bible are clearly outdated and should not be weighed equally as the parts about love and doing good unto others as you’d have them do unto you. We only get one chance at this life, and to waste it hating yourself because you are attracted to the same sex (emotionally, mentally, physically, etc) seems like a lot of energy, time and effort going to waste. It is a life wasted. After all, we are meant to love!

    ______________________________________________________________

    My response to Jonathan McKee:

    Jonathan McKee/David Smith missed the entire point of Lady Gaga’s song “Born this way” and created a manipulated version to suit their beliefs. Not only is he making a ridiculous comparison between sexual preference and crime, he also dismisses sexuality as a tendency. Sexuality is much more complex than he gives it credit as seen in his naïve and poorly researched statements. McKee/Smith take Lady Gaga’s lyrics very literally and accuse her of making assertions on subjects she is not educated on, then they do the same thing but try to gain credibility by explaining that they’ve read an article or two on the subject and use this to strengthen their argument. McKee’s/Smith’s cynical dismissal of arguments on the gay gene is one sided and not fully explored. The entire argument is convoluted and contradictory.
    Putting gay people into the same category as murderers and drug addicts is ignorant and insulting. Gay people do not harm anyone, they simply want to be able to show love and affection to their partners the same way straight people do. Drug addicts and murderers harm themselves, their families, other peoples families, and on a larger scale cause fear amongst individuals in society. Gay people are not breaking any laws by loving someone of the same sex. Drug addicts and murderers—I think it’s self-explanatory. Drug addicts and murderers have a choice, being gay is NOT a choice. Why would anyone choose to be despised by the general population? Why would anyone choose to be targeted on a daily basis by heterosexism, not to mention homophobia? Why would gay teens across North America come out only to be teased and bullied by not only their classmates, but often times their families too, to the point of resorting to suicide as the only solution they can find. If this was a choice, the options are very easy, be straight and ‘normal’ according to society’s standards or be gay and be marginalized for the rest of your life. Whether or not you are ‘born this way’ or that, the fact is you have no control of who you fall in love with; plans don’t always go the way you want them to. For McKee/Smith to judge gay people and place them in the same category as criminals and addicts is ‘intrinsically wrong and internally incongruent.’
    McKee/Smith challenge Lady Gaga to use “sin” in the same context God did, though in their argument they do not do the same. The article brings up a taboo example of not acting on a desire for a ‘voluptuous’ 14 year old female, which apparently is a realistic desire for a man of God. Not acting on desire does not equal sinless. In face take this verse:

    “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. (From the NIV Bible, Matthew 5:28-30)”

    McKee/Smith are only humans. Of course they will see women (or heaven forbid, men) and they will feel attractions because that’s what human beings do, we are attracted to people and we desire them. Yet, neither of them have gouged out their eyes. The point is, if they harp on Gaga for not using ‘sin’ the same way God did, they should probably ensure that they’re ducks are all in order- in this case they are not.
    Desires are only a small fraction of what sexuality is. Ask any gay person and he/she will tell you that being gay is not just a physical desire, it is much more emotional. Its not about having ‘tendencies,’ it’s about discovering who you are and once you’ve discovered it accepting yourself and learning to love yourself, this is one part of Gaga’s main message. Although, many people have gay tendencies not all are gay, some are bicurious and their tendencies only go as far as a sexual fantasy. Others, however, discover that they are gay, probably around the same time straight people discover that they are straight. Again being gay is not a choice and so I’m a bit confused about what McKee/Smith mean by ‘give up hope, give in, and go fully gay.’ What hope are gay people giving up? The hope that they might be what society wants them to be? And what does it mean to “go” fully gay? Can someone “go” fully straight? Sexuality is so much more complex than what McKee/Smith claim it to be, perhaps because simplifying it is the only way they can understand such a complicated aspect of human nature. Their cynicism does not stop there.
    If McKee/Smith suggests that Lady Gaga’s song lyrics “born this way” are scientific assertions because he chooses to take them in the most literal way then should we take Worship song lyrics literally as well? “Mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of your name,” last time I said “Jesus” to the Atlantic ocean, nothing really happened, and the Rocky’s also stayed put. These lyrics, just like many worship songs are not meant to be taken literally. The lyrics are meant to be creative and poetic. Lady Gaga’s message is to love and accept oneself. In a world where there is so much hate, Gaga is asking people to stop judging one another and to be who you are. If you can’t accept and love yourself, how do you expect others to love and accept you? Gaga is also not making a spiritual assertion, she is just saying that God made us the way he did. Perhaps God made queers to teach closed minded Christians about tolerance and acceptance? Maybe that has been God’s plan for gays all along.

    Sure, being born gay has never been proven. Does it need to be? Will the church then accept homosexuality? I refuse to waste much time and effort going into the nature vs. nurture debate, although, I will say this; even if it is the environment that you are in that shapes your sexuality, children from a young age cannot choose the environment they are in; even adults don’t have control of their surroundings. I don’t believe that having feelings for someone is a conscious effort, if it is then it is forced and not genuine. The bible does make it clear that homosexuality is wrong, it also makes it clear that men should not eat shellfish, have sex with their wives while on their menstrual cycle and that women are to remain silent in churches and allow the men to do the speaking. I know some of these laws have been revoked in the New Testament, but not all. Secondly, have they found a straight gene? Heterosexuality has also not been scientifically proven, yet there is a rather large number of people who believe its real and it exists. McKee’s/Smith’s cynically disclaim Lady Gaga’s knowledge on the subject of the gay gene, however, having ‘read and researched’ the gay gene does not make him more knowledgeable than Lady Gaga, who also may have read an article or two on the subject. The ‘straight’ gene is just as important to find as the ‘gay’ gene in the argument for and against being ‘born’ with one sexuality over another. Furthermore, there has been overwhelming evidence disproving creationism. I guess McKee and Smith decided to pick and choose parts of scientific findings to support their beliefs, just like they pick and choose parts of the bible (by the way- I’m not criticizing that they pick and choose parts of the bible since there is so much contradiction in the entire book, one would have to pick and choose since it is impossible for ALL of it to be true).
    On a side and personal note, it has always troubled me when people in leadership positions feed the minds of the young with dogmatic narrow minded views without exploring any other sides of an issue. McKee/Smith are some of these leaders. I wonder if McKee/Smith even know what “intrinsically wrong and internally incongruent” mean, because I think if they did, they would see how their arguments are lacking substance and are partial. Throwing big words on a subject does not give credibility to an author.

    To sum it up for those that do not wish to read this entire response:
    • choosing to shoot people/do drugs/gamble is not the same as being attracted to and loving someone of the same sex (it’s a little ridiculous that I even have to make this statement).
    • Lady Gaga, Jonathan McKee and David Smith all don’t use ‘sin’ the same way God does in the bible.
    • Sexuality is more than tendencies and desires
    • Lyrics to this song are meant to be creative/poetic just like worship songs, taking them literally is unintelligent.
    • Gay gene has not been proven. Straight gene has not been proven. God has not been proven. Scientific evidence has disproven creationism.

    Finally, the message of this song is acceptance and love and I think that when Jesus comes back for the rapture, there will be a lot of very disappointed Christians that will likely be left behind with all the homos because Jesus will turn to them and say “THAT’S NOT WHAT I FRIGGIN MEANT.”

    • Audra says:

      Could not agree more with Jude Hirman. I hate ignorant Christians.

    • Vanessa says:

      Thank you!! I couldn’t agree more.

    • Hey Judith, thanks for the obvious time and attention you’ve taken to lend your comments and thoughts. I’ve centered out certain portions of your comments that I’ve decided to give feedback on, so here we go…it’s a bit of a lengthy ride!

      Jude: There are elements of the bible I believe were lost in translation… if you want to assume the Bible to be the literal word of God, even though it was ‘dictated’ by God and written out by man, who is imperfect and makes mistakes, then here are some verses of interest:

      Shawn: This is likely where we would disagree the most…we either believe the bible is the complete, infallible word of God (absolute truth), or we don’t at all…there is no middle ground. It’s like saying you absolutely believe 2+2=4, except in certain circumstances where, if you stretch a little here, and convolute a little there, you can get a different equation.

      – Leviticus 19: 13b also says “Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight” but most of us get paid bimonthly, is this a sin?

      Shawn: Wage payment worked a little differently ‘back in the day’…this verse is talking about not taking advantage of a worker by holding back his wages…if he works for the day…he gets paid before the evening so he can buy food for his family (people didn’t have storage capacity like we have today, so most went to the market on a daily basis.

      – Leviticus 19: 27 “Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard,” is this a sin?

      Shawn: This was due to Egyptian idolatry and pagan worship…God did not want His people to get mixed into the ritualistic practices of this time.

      – 1 Chorinthians 11:5 “And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head–it is just as though her head were shaved.”

      Shawn: The real issue Paul is getting at here is not about shaved heads or a full head of hair…he is referring to the subject of submission to authority! Under the creation narrative, there is a chain of authority. A woman is subject to her husband, who is subject to Christ, who is subject to God the Father (Ephesians 5:22-24)

      – 1 Corinthians 11:13 “Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?” So, God will only accept my prayers if I am wearing a toque? … or can I wear a fedora?

      Shawn: see 11:5 comments

      – 1 Timothy 2:12 “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” All women pastors, professors, teachers, etc are sinning because they are teaching men?

      Shawn: This verse needs to be taken into context of what Paul was addressing in the church @ Ephesus…there was false preaching going around, even among some elders, and women (new Christians) were the targets due to their lack of scriptural knowledge (because they were women, they would not have had access to the Pentateuch- 1st 5 books of Hebrew bible, and this no training to interpret scripture like what was available to every man.

      – Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”

      Shawn:Again, part of the Genesis account and creation narrative…woman came out of man, and man had dominion and leadership over the garden, and everything in it (animals, plants…and yes…over Eve).

      – 1 John 4: 8 “God is love.” All love? Or just love between straight people.

      Shawn: This verse was an exhortation (challenge and encouragement) to believers to show the love of God to anyone and everyone…this was how believers could be indentified and sifted out from pretenders…and there’s a difference between showing truth within love…and just being a jerk!

      Jer. 29:11 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

      Shawn: You actually quoted James 1:17…Jer.29:11 is “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” James is contrasting God’s nature with our nature in the previous verses of chapter 1. Whereas we are fickle, God never changes. God does not make mistakes…but sin does distort our image and reflection of who we are created to be…and sin taints our ability to be holy, as God is holy.

      Jude: Who has the right to judge whether the love between a man and a man is lesser, greater, better or worse than the love between a man and a woman? If your answer is God alone is to be the judge, then perhaps making statements like “homosexuality is wrong” should be left to God.

      Shawn: Okay…2 Tim. 3:16 says all scripture is God-breathed, and useful for teaching, correcting and rebuking (calling out). If you believe the bible is true, then you believe that God wrote the bible through the pens of humans, through the inspiration of Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:19-21). And God makes it abundantly clear how he feels about homosexuality (you can refer to the 6 bible passages in the Lisa Ling video)…as He feels about ALL sin.

      Jude: If God is love and all good things come from God, surely it was not against God’s will that two people of the same gender have fallen in love with one another.

      Shawn: See above…there’s lots of things we do on a daily basis that are against God’s will for us…which is a whole other issue…what is God’s will for us? Short version…God has two wills…His moral will (defined in scripture), and His sovereign will (plans for the future, our lives…no one knows but God, and faith and Holy Spirit help make this clear to those found in Christ).

      Jude: Stating “Homosexuality is wrong” is a judgement. If you truly believe what Tony Campolo says about homosexuality, you would easily see the discrepancy between your statements and those that he makes. He never once makes that judgement, instead he leaves that sort of responsibility to God.

      Shawn: I can speak to this because I spoke with Tony in November at a conference in Nashville. He is not saying homosexuality is okay, and to just accept it and show love. What Tony was saying is that homosexuality is like any other sin…it’s less than God’s original design…it’s missing the mark He set for us. Tony was asking the question of why we treat homosexuality like ‘the sin of all sins’? We show love to bank robbers, murderers, cheats, liars, adulterers…but why the hatred towards gays?

      Jude: What exactly is God’s sexual plan for us?

      Shawn: The plan is for the gift of sex to be enjoyed in mutual pleasure between a man and woman in the confines of a marriage covenant. If you stand a naked man next to a naked woman…it’s not very difficult to figure out what goes where! God had a design, and homosexuality is not part of that…for obvious physical reasons (two men and two women cannot naturally give birth to a child), as well as health…we all know the risk that homosexual relationships carry with AIDS and HIV…not to mention that it is well documented that homosexual relationships are much likely to break down before heterosexual ones. (http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS04C02)

      Jude: Personally, my greatest issue with both your and McKee/Smith’s is that though you claim to ‘accept’ gay people and love them the same way, you are convinced that sexuality is a choice and that with enough prayer, the gay will go away, that Jesus will ‘cure’ homosexuality. This is simply wrong. Asking a gay person to try and be straight is asking someone to live a loveless and lonely lie.

      Shawn: I agree…this is a difficult thing to ask…if you try to do it in your own strength and sure-fire will power…but let’s not underestimate the power of God. It’s also like asking any of us to try hard not to sin…we just can’t do it without the help and power of God’s holy spirit.

      Jude: Put yourself in this position, if someone said you had to try really really hard and pray to be attracted and in love with men, you’d say something along the lines of “there is no way this is possible for me.”

      Shawn: see above…

      Jude: The only justification I can find is that parts of the bible are clearly outdated and should not be weighed equally as the parts about love and doing good unto others as you’d have them do unto you.

      Shawn: Again, the argument is based on your opinion that the parts of the bible you agree with are good, but the parts you don’t agree (or don’t make sense), you write off as irrelevant and outdated. It’s like trying to fight a traffic ticket because you got caught going 70km in a 60km zone…you say “everyone else was doing the same speed…why centre me out?” “this is a dumb law…there’s a hill and it makes it tough to slow down…you should change the speed limit here” Just because you have reason to dispute the law, doesn’t change the law from being…law…and there are consequences to breaking that law. Now we can get into the grace of God (which there is plenty of), but I don’t have the time…it’s already 12:30am! In the end, like it or not, God made the rules (if you believe in the bible…if not, then these points, and this discussion, is probably a mute point!)…and they all have merit and relevancy for yesterday, today and tomorrow.
      ______________________________________________________________
      Jude: My response to Jonathan McKee:

      Putting gay people into the same category as murderers and drug addicts is ignorant and insulting.

      Shawn: Don’t stop there…please include liars, adulterers, gossips, thieves, idolaters, those who promote disunity, and every other sin

      Jude: Drug addicts and murderers harm themselves, their families, other peoples families, and on a larger scale cause fear amongst individuals in society.

      Shawn: As mentioned in an above point, there are some pretty harsh consequences to homosexual relationships (physical, emotional, psychological)

      Jude: For McKee/Smith to judge gay people and place them in the same category as criminals and addicts is ‘intrinsically wrong and internally incongruent.’

      Shawn: I think we covered this…or at least I made my opinion known

      Jude: McKee/Smith challenge Lady Gaga to use “sin” in the same context God did, though in their argument they do not do the same. The article brings up a taboo example of not acting on a desire for a ‘voluptuous’ 14 year old female, which apparently is a realistic desire for a man of God. Not acting on desire does not equal sinless. In face take this verse:

      “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. (From the NIV Bible, Matthew 5:28-30)”

      Shawn: there is a distinct difference between being tempted, and acting out on your temptation. Jesus was tempted for 40 days in his wilderness encounter with satan, yet he never sinned. I was tempted to punch someone in the face in anger during a meeting in October…but I asked God to fill me with peace…repented of the anger (sin) and asked God to help me see my brother in Christ with the love that can only come from God.

      Jude: The bible does make it clear that homosexuality is wrong, it also makes it clear that men should not eat shellfish, have sex with their wives while on their menstrual cycle and that women are to remain silent in churches and allow the men to do the speaking. I know some of these laws have been revoked in the New Testament, but not all.

      Shawn: Nothing has been revoked in the NT…the older testament rules were fulfilled in Christ. In OT times, relationship with God was based on ritual and rules to keep men in a standard of holiness, since that original standard had been broken in the garden. Jesus came to fulfill all those rules because no longer was ritual, sacrifice (of animals) and ‘protocol’ the access point to holiness and relationship with God…it was through the death and resurrection of Christ…the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.

      Jude: Secondly, have they found a straight gene? Heterosexuality has also not been scientifically proven, yet there is a rather large number of people who believe its real and it exists.

      Shawn: Yes they found a ‘straight gene’…it was originally designed in the garden of Eden, and discovered in the pages of Genesis 2:20b-25…that man was designed for woman, and woman for man.

      Jude: Furthermore, there has been overwhelming evidence disproving creationism.

      Shawn: Really?? I’d love to hear about this, because my studies have found that there is OVERWHELMING evidence lifting creation and intelligent design, over evolution/spontaneous design. In fact, you’ll find (just do a google search) many evolution theories that have been disproved because of the literary, archeological, historical, geographical, and anthropological accuracy of scripture. Don’t forget too that evolution is based on science…a manmade formula that is often correct, but also many times proven false (classical elemental theory, flat earth hypothesis, Phlogiston theory, etc…)

      Jude: (by the way- I’m not criticizing that they pick and choose parts of the bible since there is so much contradiction in the entire book, one would have to pick and choose since it is impossible for ALL of it to be true).

      Shawn: Again, without re-hashing what I’ve already stated…it’s easy to stand back and pick and choose what we want to be true, yet deny other parts that don’t line up with our personal convictions and philosophy. Just because I don’t believe something to be true, doesn’t mean it isn’t in fact true. We often want to play the part of God…define what is right/wrong…decide how to morally judge (or lack of)…and to make the rules…but as soon as of hell breaks loose and everything falls apart on us, we either ask God to help us get out of the mess we created…or we just blame him for the mess we created.

      Jude: Finally, the message of this song is acceptance and love and I think that when Jesus comes back for the rapture, there will be a lot of very disappointed Christians that will likely be left behind with all the homos because Jesus will turn to them and say “THAT’S NOT WHAT I FRIGGIN MEANT.”

      Shawn: There will indeed be many people who claim to be Christians (followers of Christ, or followers of the Way) that will be left behind (Matt. 7:15-23). There will also, unfortunately, be many others who denied God, that will be in for a rude awakening on that day (Psalm 14:1; 53;1; Romans 1:18-25).

      Jude: Here is an interesting documentary. Lisa Ling’s opinion is very clear, however she very intelligently and respectfully interviews people and presents the documentary unbiased.
      http://www.oprah.com/own-our-america-lisa-ling/Our-America-with-Lisa-Ling-Pray-the-Gay-Away-FULL-EPISODE

      Shawn: good story…well done…interesting perspective, especially the ‘gay camp’…I would lean much more towards the Exodus ministry ‘line’, than I would to the ‘camp guys’ doctrinal philosophy. But even the Exodus viewpoint is a little void in orthodox Christian doctrine/theology…that you can be fully gay and still go to Heaven (if they mean by fully gay in that they both struggle with, and act on their desires, without any recognition of it being sin towards God…which is what I gathered he implied at the end of the video)

      Jude: Jesus never actually says anything about being gay, its always one of the apostles (in the New Testament anyways).

      Shawn: Hmmmm….if Jesus and God were one-in-the-same, then yes he did condemn this sin, as did he condemn all other sins. It’s true that the NT is somewhat obscure about anyone other than Paul really addressing homosexuality, but a careful observation of scripture reveals Jesus did speak on the issue. For greater articulation and clarity, I’ll refer you to an article from Mike Benton- http://thebible.net/modules.php?name=Read&itemid=81&cat=9 on the matter at hand.

      Jude: Choosing to drink when you have the gene that predisposes you to alcoholism is not the same as falling in love with the same gender. Please let me know if you don’t see why, I dont mind clarifying or further explaining anything.

      Shawn: Please clarify…because I have the predisposition to sin, but that doesn’t give me license to do it. You nailed it though…it is a choice, and not a genetic phenom. Sin is a conscious choice to either abide in Christ, or deny Him and do our own thing…and we’ve struggled with it ever since the garden incident.

      Shawn’s conclusion: The bottom line is, again, if you believe the bible to be the inspired word of God, then it’s a clear-cut, slam dunk matter. If you don’t, then nothing I just wrote about matters. I can’t speak on behalf of Jonathan McKee or David Smith, but these are seminary trained, professional speakers, authors and students of scripture…and to say they don’t use interpretation of scripture correctly is pretty presumptuous coming from someone without that very knowledge and background. In fact, it pretty much reverses the accusations you toss at them, and turns it back on you.

      But I want to thank you again for taking the time to articulate your thoughts, and my intention is not to argue with you, but to engage in conversation. We obviously share different opinions, and that was evident when I was your pastor…but I always admired you’re honesty to call things into question that just didn’t make sense to you, and to not simply hop on the wagon because everyone else was. What I would ask you…even go so far as to dare you to do, is to ask God that if he is really real, and if his word is really true (all of it), that he would begin to reveal himself to you.

      If you ask that with open honesty, I guarantee you He will answer you (and anyone else who asks). No agenda, no preconceptions…just ask; “God if you’re real, and your autobiography is real…would you reveal your truth of who you are…who I am…and the truths of your word to me? I want to believe, but I need to hear from you…so…here I am…waiting for you Lord!”

      Cheers and blessings to ya Jude…and Amy says ‘hey soldier!”
      All 4 His Call;
      Shawn

      • Vanessa says:

        Shawn,

        In theory…What would you do, if one day one of your kids turned to you and said “Dad, I am gay”. Would you tell them to pray about it, would you send them to some brainwashing camp, would you tell them they are going to hell, throw bible verses at them? Their worst fear is disappointing you, but they couldn’t hold it in any longer. Obviously you have taught them what you believe is right, the godly way. They don’t want to disappoint you, so clearly it wouldn’t be a choice, they were born that way. What would you do?

        -V

  4. Jude Hirman says:

    Hi Shawn,

    Thanks for your timely response.

    Shawn: This is likely where we would disagree the most…we either believe the bible is the complete, infallible word of God (absolute truth), or we don’t at all…there is no middle ground…

    Jude: Fair. However, over several thousands of years and many different languages, clerics, monks, etc. would copy out the bible by hand without any literary skills. Eventually these religious individuals gained some literary skills but for much of the time the probability of HUMAN ERROR in the translations and ‘updated’ editions is very likely. I am not saying God’s word is not the absolute truth, I’m saying, as human beings we mess up. Also God is so much more complex than any person can possibly attempt to understand. If we are to assume that with our tiny little human minds we have full understanding of what God meant in all parts of the Bible, well I think we are giving ourselves way too much credit.

    Shawn: Wage payment worked a little differently ‘back in the day’…

    Jude: interesting that you agree that some parts of the Bible apply only to certain era’s. This goes along with my main point of some parts of the bible being outdated. If you don’t believe in a middle ground then what exactly is this?

    Shawn: This was due to Egyptian idolatry and pagan worship…God did not want His people to get mixed into the ritualistic practices of this time.

    Jude: same as above.

    Shawn: The real issue Paul is getting at here is not about shaved heads or a full head of hair…he is referring to the subject of submission to authority! Under the creation narrative, there is a chain of authority. A woman is subject to her husband, who is subject to Christ, who is subject to God the Father (Ephesians 5:22-24)

    Jude: I have a hard time accepting your belief that a woman is subject to her husband. What about a woman who does not marry? Either way, this is very belittling, insulting and again a little outdated. One gay relationships have in common is equality in this sense, one party is not ‘subject’ to another party.

    Shawn: sin does distort our image and reflection of who we are created to be…and sin taints our ability to be holy, as God is holy.

    Jude: We are all created in a unique way and if we are created to be gay/straight/bi/etc yet we have a clear image and reflection of who we are, could it be that sin distorts others views and ideas of how WE should be? Considering my personal relationship with God is between me and God, not between me, God, and a third party who will tell me something is wrong after God and I have already talked about it. My relationship with him comes from a deep part from within, pure and raw and this is the God I want, not the God that has been convoluted with all the different ‘types’ of Christianity where every denomination believes they’re more right then the next. THIS is a choice I have made, to separate God from the people who give him a bad name.

    Shawn: The plan is for the gift of sex to be enjoyed in mutual pleasure between a man and woman in the confines of a marriage covenant. If you stand a naked man next to a naked woman…it’s not very difficult to figure out what goes where! God had a design, and homosexuality is not part of that…for obvious physical reasons (two men and two women cannot naturally give birth to a child), as well as health…we all know the risk that homosexual relationships carry with AIDS and HIV…not to mention that it is well documented that homosexual relationships are much likely to break down before heterosexual ones. (http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS04C02)

    Jude: I hope you are not suggesting that married couples only have vaginal intercourse. There are also many many women who can’t get pregnant and men who can’t impregnate women. Certainly this doesn’t mean that those men and women are to remain celibate.
    As for AIDS/HIV: this is not a disease caused by homosexuality. This disease is caused by having unprotected sex with someone who has the disease or by sharing needles (most often used for intravenous drugs). This disease is very real for everyone and anyone having unprotected sex, not just gay, otherwise the statistics for how many women have AIDS and how many men should be equal and it is not.

    Gay vs. Straight relationships: Certainly suggesting a website that is sponsored by a very right wing group will suggest that homosexual relationship are unhealthy and don’t last vs. heterosexual relationship- doesn’t take a genius to figure out they would advertise this. What I’m wondering is how many gay relationships you know of? And of those relationships, how many are unhealthy? Now compare them to the straight relationships you know of that are unhealthy. You can show me a hundred different sites that will point to the same ‘evidence’ (not really evidence, just conclusions based on one sided claims) and I will still stand by that sexual orientation has nothing to do with how healthy a relationship is. I have seen healthy gay and straight relationships, I have also seen unhealthy relationships- it has everything to do with the people and nothing to do with sexual orientation. Lets look at the divorce rate, more than 50% and most of those are straight couples. Even if we don’t factor in the fact that in the other less than 50% there is still infidelity, spousal abuse, and just loveless marriages, this is a very high rate for healthy heterosexual relationships. Because laws, and its fairly recent changes, most gay couples live as common law spouses rather than married couples. (I wrote more about this a few paragraphs down).

    Shawn: I agree…this is a difficult thing to ask…if you try to do it in your own strength and sure-fire will power…but let’s not underestimate the power of God. It’s also like asking any of us to try hard not to sin…we just can’t do it without the help and power of God’s holy spirit.

    Jude: It isn’t about asking someone to try not to sin. Its about asking someone to not love or seek companionship just because of Gender. What if someone is born with both male and female parts? This happens more often than you’d think (1/1000 approximately). Who are these people supposed to fall in love with? Do they get to choose and will the church make an exception? God doesn’t make mistakes.

    I have prayed for many many years until I realized that I’m wasting my life in unhappiness, hating myself, and being angry about being gay. Then one day I had an epiphany, and this day changed my life forever. I have never been happier in my life, and with every passing day, just when I think I can’t get happier, I do and I know that it is because I’ve come to fully accept and love myself. Like I said, we only get one shot at this life and I refuse to waste any more time praying for a ‘man’ to fall for, instead all that energy could be spent praying for more important things like curing diseases, natural disasters, intolerance, hate crimes, etc.

    Shawn: Again, the argument is based on your opinion that the parts of the bible you agree with are good, but the parts you don’t agree (or don’t make sense), you write off as irrelevant and outdated. It’s like trying to fight a traffic ticket because you got caught going 70km in a 60km zone…you say “everyone else was doing the same speed…why centre me out?” “this is a dumb law…there’s a hill and it makes it tough to slow down…you should change the speed limit here” Just because you have reason to dispute the law, doesn’t change the law from being…law…and there are consequences to breaking that law. Now we can get into the grace of God (which there is plenty of), but I don’t have the time…it’s already 12:30am! In the end, like it or not, God made the rules (if you believe in the bible…if not, then these points, and this discussion, is probably a mute point!)…and they all have merit and relevancy for yesterday, today and tomorrow.


    Jude: They all have relevancy except for the verses you mentioned were out of date? I have to cringe at this a little bit because this could very well go both ways. “Stop judging others, and you will not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1) and of course the golden rule: “Do for others what you would like them to do for you. This is a summary of all that is taught in the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12). I think diverting our energy into things like helping the homeless or furthering ‘good’ in society is a much more godly way of exerting energy rather than picking apart peoples love lives.

    Shawn: Don’t stop there…please include liars, adulterers, gossips, thieves, idolaters, those who promote disunity, and every other sin

    Jude: I have no comment for this other than my original (ignorant and insulting) and maybe that its very disrespectful.

    Shawn: As mentioned in an above point, there are some pretty harsh consequences to homosexual relationships (physical, emotional, psychological)

    Jude: from personal experience, I have seen much more negative and damaging physical, emotional and psychological consequences from heterosexual relationships than gay ones. I’m not implying that its unhealthy because the people in it are straight, I’m just explaining that giving me a bunch of sites that say gay people have unhealthy relationships doesn’t prove a thing. Straight relationships are easier in the sense that everyone expects you to be heterosexual. Negative side effects happen in relationships regardless of sexual orientation. Additional negative side effects in gay relationships are those that society causes for us, ex-gay ‘treatments’ inclusive. Bullying, heterosexism, homophobia, not to mention hate crimes, all come in many forms starting from kindergarden all the way through university, at home, at youth group, sports teams (I don’t envy gay male athletes with what they have to put up with in the locker rooms at all), are all struggles gay people endure because those around them have issues with alternate sexualities. The psychological/emotional consequences that occur to closeted gays are also because sometimes the people we care for the most hate gays and we don’t want to disappoint them, make them upset, angry, violent, etc. Perhaps this is not something you could ever really understand because you have never been in this situation, but I can tell you from my experience, self-hate in myself originated because I realized there’s nothing I can do to change my sexuality and I was scared to death to tell the most important people around me because I knew they would not accept me for who I am.

    Shawn: there is a distinct difference between being tempted, and acting out on your temptation. Jesus was tempted for 40 days in his wilderness encounter with satan, yet he never sinned. I was tempted to punch someone in the face in anger during a meeting in October…but I asked God to fill me with peace…repented of the anger (sin) and asked God to help me see my brother in Christ with the love that can only come from God.

    Jude: The point I was making is that we do not follow each and every bit the bible tells us to. For example, we don’t cut off our right hand if it makes us sin. We don’t gouge out our eyes when we look at someone lustfully. (Matthew 5:28-30) This non-existent middle ground is kinda confusing.

    Shawn: Yes they found a ‘straight gene’…it was originally designed in the garden of Eden, and discovered in the pages of Genesis 2:20b-25…that man was designed for woman, and woman for man.

    Jude: That’s not a straight gene. That’s an assumption that if man and woman coexist they ought to be together. A patriarchal assumption we call heterosexism.

    And where is the gene that teaches us to love? It doesn’t exist. Love does not make sense in human nature. Survival of the fittest? Our innate human nature is to reproduce and to kill each other for food, just like all animals. Yet we love one another on many different levels.

    Shawn: Really?? I’d love to hear about this, because my studies have found that there is OVERWHELMING evidence lifting creation and intelligent design, over evolution/spontaneous design. In fact, you’ll find (just do a google search) many evolution theories that have been disproved because of the literary, archeological, historical, geographical, and anthropological accuracy of scripture. Don’t forget too that evolution is based on science…a manmade formula that is often correct, but also many times proven false (classical elemental theory, flat earth hypothesis, Phlogiston theory, etc…)

    Jude: Debating over this is pointless. Studying a subject from sources of only one side will not give you a full perspective. Books have been written on the subject. So I will not get into it. I think evidence against creationism is stronger than evidence for some other theories. You disagree. Ok.

    Shawn: Hmmmm….if Jesus and God were one-in-the-same, then yes he did condemn this sin, as did he condemn all other sins. It’s true that the NT is somewhat obscure about anyone other than Paul really addressing homosexuality, but a careful observation of scripture reveals Jesus did speak on the issue. For greater articulation and clarity, I’ll refer you to an article from Mike Benton- http://thebible.net/modules.php?name=Read&itemid=81&cat=9 on the matter at hand.

    Jude: I actually couldn’t get through this entire article because its extremely convoluted and twisted. With this kind of ‘reasoning’ anyone can really prove anything.

    Jude’s conclusion: I think I have given enough examples (and I can give even more) of how the bible is very contradictory at times. I have provided enough evidence to show how the bible, God-inspired, can still have flaws not because of God but because of the men who wrote it and other cultural reasons (literacy). Like I said I don’t plan on changing your mind, I’m just trying to provide some reasoning behind a different perspective so that others reading this can have more than just one opinion to base their beliefs on.
    Even Seminary trained authors and students of scripture disagree. There are pastors and religious leaders who accept Queer individuals (without trying to change them). I’m not being presumptuous- however, I did take numerous courses on these subjects at a university that encouraged difference in opinion rather than driving one uniform agenda. I disagree with their interpretation, so do many other religious leaders who have much more credentials then they do (http://www.soulforce.org/pdf/whatthebiblesays.pdf — some great resources at the end of this page), I don’t think this makes me presumptuous. I was for the most part pointing out that their attempt to use cynicism and belittlement to strengthen their arguments because it’s a very weak method of debating; and this is something I have quite a bit of experience with considering I completed 2 degrees (using evidence to prove a point is mostly what my studies were based on).

    As I mentioned before, I have prayed, and cried and prayed and cried and then I gave up on God because ‘clearly he wasn’t listening’. Little did I know that he was listening to my prayers but his purpose for me is to be the way I am. I would not trade my life for anyone else’s. I’m happier than I’ve ever been before and there is NO DOUBT in my mind that this is part of God’s plan for me.

    Thanks for allowing an open forum for discussion.

    Jude

    “Test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21

    • Response to Jude’s comments on March 22nd

      Jude: Fair. However, over several thousands of years and many different languages, clerics, monks, etc. would copy out the bible by hand without any literary skills. Eventually these religious individuals gained some literary skills but for much of the time the probability of HUMAN ERROR in the translations and ‘updated’ editions is very likely. I am not saying God’s word is not the absolute truth, I’m saying, as human beings we mess up. Also God is so much more complex than any person can possibly attempt to understand. If we are to assume that with our tiny little human minds we have full understanding of what God meant in all parts of the Bible, well I think we are giving ourselves way too much credit.

      Shawn: I can agree with you in a sense here, but I’m pretty confident that if I’m reading between the lines correctly, what you’re saying (and pretty much anyone else who uses this language/reasoning of argument) is that the bible and God’s word is true…just not the parts you don’t agree with. It’s also important to remember that, although many OT & NT were seemingly ‘simple’ folk, those that did not have literary skills would have used scribes to write their accounts as they dictated them. These scribes would be more than adept at correctly using literary function. This is actually a weaker point of debate among skeptics, as the bible has proven beyond doubt to be the most accurate record of historical, archeological, geographical accounts ever known.

      Jude: interesting that you agree that some parts of the Bible apply only to certain era’s. This goes along with my main point of some parts of the bible being outdated. If you don’t believe in a middle ground then what exactly is this?

      Shawn: This is not what I’m saying at all…in fact you’re implying the author is saying something he really isn’t. He is not implying a moral law to be handed down…he is simply stating an obligation for employers to do what is right…and not hold back wages overnight (catchy rap rhyme!), as some were doing. Whenever you read scripture, you have to read it in context…who is speaking?…who are they speaking to?…what are they speaking about? …what did it mean then?…what does it mean now? Many Older Testament observances are no longer held to today…not because they were relevant then, and not now…but because they were fulfilled in Christ.

      Jude: I have a hard time accepting your belief that a woman is subject to her husband. What about a woman who does not marry? Either way, this is very belittling, insulting and again a little outdated. One gay relationships have in common is equality in this sense, one party is not ‘subject’ to another party.

      Shawn: Paul is not implying that women bow down to men…what he is saying is that, in the creative narrative, God choose to create man first…gave him rule over everything…created woman out of him, and also gave him rule in their relationship. 1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22-24 instructs women to submit to their husbands, and husbands to their wives…not as slaves, but equal desire to support and encourage one another (Eph. 5:28-29). But in the end, in the spiritual direction, man carries the mantle of leadership in his family, and the church. It’s not about authoritarian (“it’s this way because I said so…”), it’s about authoritative leadership (“this is the decision I’m making, and this is why I feel this way…we can talk about it, and I may bend with you…but in the end, you need to trust me, as I am ultimately responsible to God). Men and women are equal in their relationship and standing with Christ, but when it comes to spiritual leadership, for whatever reason, God chose men to lead.

      Jude: We are all created in a unique way and if we are created to be gay/straight/bi/etc yet we have a clear image and reflection of who we are, could it be that sin distorts others views and ideas of how WE should be? Considering my personal relationship with God is between me and God, not between me, God, and a third party who will tell me something is wrong after God and I have already talked about it. My relationship with him comes from a deep part from within, pure and raw and this is the God I want, not the God that has been convoluted with all the different ‘types’ of Christianity where every denomination believes they’re more right then the next. THIS is a choice I have made, to separate God from the people who give him a bad name.

      Shawn: I would challenge you, and anyone else Judith, to find me a verse in scripture (correctly), that would support your theory that God created people to live out a homosexual/same-sex lifestyle…or any kind of sinful lifestyle (gossips, adulterers, liars, etc…). I’m not saying people are not born with a same-sex attraction (pre-disposition), but what I am saying is that nowhere in scripture can you find any evidence that God would ordain/approve of that lifestyle. We all sin (Romans 3:23; 5:12) and are born into a world of sin…but when we put our faith and trust in Christ Jesus, we are no longer seen as sinners by God, but as saints who occasionally sin. God calls us to flee a life of sin, which comes very naturally to us, and to pursue holiness (1 Timothy 6:11).

      Jude: I hope you are not suggesting that married couples only have vaginal intercourse. There are also many many women who can’t get pregnant and men who can’t impregnate women. Certainly this doesn’t mean that those men and women are to remain celibate.

      Shawn: Married couples enjoy many expressions of healthy sexual intimacy…beyond intercourse. I’m not really sure what you’re alluding to here…unless you think I’m saying sex was ONLY created for procreation…which is not what I said…but it is ONE of the blessings and functions that ‘sex’ was created for…between husband and wife.

      Jude: As for AIDS/HIV: this is not a disease caused by homosexuality. This disease is caused by having unprotected sex with someone who has the disease or by sharing needles (most often used for intravenous drugs). This disease is very real for everyone and anyone having unprotected sex, not just gay, otherwise the statistics for how many women have AIDS and how many men should be equal and it is not.

      Shawn” Absolutely…but you can also read any stat from any source you want, and outside of poverty stricken third-world tribes, and homeless, drug afflicted areas, AIDS runs much more rampantly throughout the LGBT community. But certainly anyone having unprotected sex is at rick.
      Gay vs. Straight relationships: Certainly suggesting a website that is sponsored by a very right wing group will suggest that homosexual relationship are unhealthy and don’t last vs. heterosexual relationship- doesn’t take a genius to figure out they would advertise this.

      Shawn:Although the stats were posted on a ‘right wing” Christian site…the stats were compiled by the US Census Bureau…hardly a ‘right wing’ Christian attachement!

      Jude: What I’m wondering is how many gay relationships you know of?

      Shawn: In my lifetime…8…that I know of and have had personal connection with.

      Jude: And of those relationships, how many are unhealthy?

      Shawn: All of them…this is like saying “out of all the liars you know, how many are living untrue/unhealthy?”…or “out of all the compulsive gamblers, sex addicts, emotional/physical abusers you know of, how many are not living right?”
      Now compare them to the straight relationships you know of that are unhealthy. You can show me a hundred different sites that will point to the same ‘evidence’ (not really evidence, just conclusions based on one sided claims) and I will still stand by that sexual orientation has nothing to do with how healthy a relationship is.

      Jude: I have seen healthy gay and straight relationships, I have also seen unhealthy relationships- it has everything to do with the people and nothing to do with sexual orientation. Lets look at the divorce rate, more than 50% and most of those are straight couples. Even if we don’t factor in the fact that in the other less than 50% there is still infidelity, spousal abuse, and just loveless marriages, this is a very high rate for healthy heterosexual relationships. Because laws, and its fairly recent changes, most gay couples live as common law spouses rather than married couples. (I wrote more about this a few paragraphs down).

      Shawn: I can’t really argue with an opinion…opinions are based on what you feel/think is right…and it’s tough to tell someone their opinion is wrong, because it comes from how they process things. Now the facts behind an opinion can often be false. Most people I know of, are living in some sort of dysfunction (relational, social, physical, family-related, emotional, etc…)…so should we just chalk it up to “well….that’s just the way things are, and I guess that’s how God made them…so let them just live the way they want…because after all…it’s all about being happy!”

      Jude: It isn’t about asking someone to try not to sin. Its about asking someone to not love or seek companionship just because of Gender. What if someone is born with both male and female parts? This happens more often than you’d think (1/1000 approximately). Who are these people supposed to fall in love with? Do they get to choose and will the church make an exception? God doesn’t make mistakes.

      Shawn: I do agree some people are born with a same-sex attraction, but I will continually say again and again…and again and again…that God’s plan is not for them to pursue that lifestyle…just like people who are born with a predisposition to gamble, drink excessively, abuse/anger, etc…are not encouraged to just live that lifestyle out. It doesn’t mean God made a mistake…it means that we can be affected by the results of a world that is infected with sin…babies are born without life…people die too young…12 year olds develop cancer…people are born without limbs…with disorders…it’s all consequences of the fall in the garden. We can’t choose the ‘card’ we’ve been dealt…but we can choose how we’ll play it out.

      Jude: I have prayed for many many years until I realized that I’m wasting my life in unhappiness, hating myself, and being angry about being gay. Then one day I had an epiphany, and this day changed my life forever. I have never been happier in my life, and with every passing day, just when I think I can’t get happier, I do and I know that it is because I’ve come to fully accept and love myself. Like I said, we only get one shot at this life and I refuse to waste any more time praying for a ‘man’ to fall for, instead all that energy could be spent praying for more important things like curing diseases, natural disasters, intolerance, hate crimes, etc.

      Shawn: There is nothing you could think of praying about that God wouldn’t be interested in hearing! Maybe instead of praying about ‘a man to fall for’, what if you asked God to reveal anything in your belief system that is untrue…not aligned with His truth…and to ask that question with complete openness and without agenda?

      Shawn: Again, the argument is based on your opinion that the parts of the bible you agree with are good, but the parts you don’t agree (or don’t make sense), you write off as irrelevant and outdated. It’s like trying to fight a traffic ticket because you got caught going 70km in a 60km zone…you say “everyone else was doing the same speed…why centre me out?” “this is a dumb law…there’s a hill and it makes it tough to slow down…you should change the speed limit here” Just because you have reason to dispute the law, doesn’t change the law from being…law…and there are consequences to breaking that law. Now we can get into the grace of God (which there is plenty of), but I don’t have the time…it’s already 12:30am! In the end, like it or not, God made the rules (if you believe in the bible…if not, then these points, and this discussion, is probably a mute point!)…and they all have merit and relevancy for yesterday, today and tomorrow.


      Jude: They all have relevancy except for the verses you mentioned were out of date? I have to cringe at this a little bit because this could very well go both ways. “Stop judging others, and you will not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1) and of course the golden rule: “Do for others what you would like them to do for you. This is a summary of all that is taught in the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12). I think diverting our energy into things like helping the homeless or furthering ‘good’ in society is a much more godly way of exerting energy rather than picking apart peoples love lives.

      Shawn: Is this not what you were saying….that the bible is true, expect for the parts that aren’t relevant anymore? If this was not your implication, I apologize for misinterpreting. If it was, then was I not just pointing out what you were saying, and then coming alongside a sister and addressing it? Christians often get accused of being ‘judgemental” from your above mention of Matthew 7. However, that’s not what Jesus is referring to…He was saying “don’t be a hypocrite in your judgement.” Christian are supposed to exercise careful discernment in addressing sin in others (John 7:24). In Matthew 7:2-5, Jesus says “when you’re focusing on the speck in someone else’s eye, make sure the plank in your eye isn’t obstructing your view!

      He was condemning a hypocritical, self-righteous attitude in the judgment of others (He was speaking to the Pharisees). If you are a professed believer in Christ, and I see a blatant opposition to godly living (as backed by scripture), then it is my Christian duty to lovingly and respectfully confront that person with his sin (Matthew 18:15-17)…and vice versa. There is a difference between judging someone out of condemnation, and pointing out the truth in the hope that repentance will follow. It’s about addressing/’judging’ the sin, and not attacking the person

      Shawn: Don’t stop there…please include liars, adulterers, gossips, thieves, idolaters, those who promote disunity, and every other sin

      Jude: I have no comment for this other than my original (ignorant and insulting) and maybe that its very disrespectful.

      Shawn: There’s no intent here to be insulting…I’m simply stating that God does not elevate one sin above any others, like some Christians would insinuate (certain sins are more ‘bad’ than others). What I was saying is God does not see sin in categories…sin is anything that rebels against His holiness, truth and character.

      Jude: from personal experience, I have seen much more negative and damaging physical, emotional and psychological consequences from heterosexual relationships than gay ones. I’m not implying that its unhealthy because the people in it are straight, I’m just explaining that giving me a bunch of sites that say gay people have unhealthy relationships doesn’t prove a thing. Straight relationships are easier in the sense that everyone expects you to be heterosexual. Negative side effects happen in relationships regardless of sexual orientation. Additional negative side effects in gay relationships are those that society causes for us, ex-gay ‘treatments’ inclusive. Bullying, heterosexism, homophobia, not to mention hate crimes, all come in many forms starting from kindergarden all the way through university, at home, at youth group, sports teams (I don’t envy gay male athletes with what they have to put up with in the locker rooms at all), are all struggles gay people endure because those around them have issues with alternate sexualities. The psychological/emotional consequences that occur to closeted gays are also because sometimes the people we care for the most hate gays and we don’t want to disappoint them, make them upset, angry, violent, etc. Perhaps this is not something you could ever really understand because you have never been in this situation, but I can tell you from my experience, self-hate in myself originated because I realized there’s nothing I can do to change my sexuality and I was scared to death to tell the most important people around me because I knew they would not accept me for who I am.

      Shawn: I am truly sorry that you, and many others, have felt and experienced this
      kind of emotional and social tension.

      Jude: The point I was making is that we do not follow each and every bit the bible tells us to. For example, we don’t cut off our right hand if it makes us sin. We don’t gouge out our eyes when we look at someone lustfully. (Matthew 5:28-30) This non-existent middle ground is kinda confusing.

      Shawn: Again, I have to point to context…Jesus was using a hyperbole to make a point about the consequences of sin…”if you’re going to continuing sinning, you may as well cut loose the part that is causing you to sin…because it would be better to lose one part, than your whole life (eternal separation from God).”

      Jude: That’s not a straight gene. That’s an assumption that if man and woman coexist they ought to be together. A patriarchal assumption we call heterosexism.
      And where is the gene that teaches us to love? It doesn’t exist. Love does not make sense in human nature. Survival of the fittest? Our innate human nature is to reproduce and to kill each other for food, just like all animals. Yet we love one another on many different levels.

      Shawn: Our innate human nature propels us to love…we all love extravagantly…some love others, nature, pets, material things…others love themselves, success, knowledge…and others love impurity, greed, lust, etc… Sin is what causes wars, and the survival of the fittest mentality. We’ve battled this ever since the garden rebellion.

      Jude: I’m happier than I’ve ever been before and there is NO DOUBT in my mind that this is part of God’s plan for me.

      Shawn: This is dangerous reasoning…does that mean that anything that makes you happy (thank you Sheryl Crow!) is ‘good’? Because I can think of many things that made people ‘happy’, that ended up breaking laws, ending/wrecking lives…and causing collateral damage…all in the name of ‘happiness.’ In other words…if I’m happy it must be right…if I’m not happy…it can’t be right…because God wants me to be happy…not sad and confused. Absolutely God desires for us to live ‘happy’ (Eccl. 2:24; 3:12-13; 22; 5:18-19; 9:9; 1 Pet. 3:10; 3 John 1:2). I’m not debating that God wants us to enjoy life and to be happy…but I am saying His primary purpose for us is not happiness, but holiness (2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 1:3-4; Heb. 12:10; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; 1 Pet. 2:5,9; 2 Pet. 3:11). God doesn’t want us to be ‘happy’ if that happiness involves sin, false doctrine, causing others to stumble, and pursuit of personal lusts. True happiness is a bi-product of living a holy and righteous life…and living in sin (any sin) affects our emotional, physical, spiritual state of well-being (1 Pet. 3:8-12).

      Jude: Thanks for allowing an open forum for discussion.

      Shawn: I really care about this topic, otherwise I would not have written on it…and certainly would have shut down the conversation by now if I was not passionate about the truth of God’s word, and the seriousness of sin and false doctrine.

      Jude: “Test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21

      Shawn: an oft quoted text that people tend to use for the “if it feels right, it must be right…and if it doesn’t feel right…it must be wrong’ mindset. In Thess 5:21-22, Paul is addressing the issue of false prophets coming to town and preaching false or half truth doctrine…he’s issuing a warning to be on guard against their teaching…and the language Paul uses wording to reference currency, as a simile.
      So 1 Thess. 5:21-22 might more accurately be translated as; “Test all things (coinage); keep what is good/pure, but stay away from everything that is false/counterfeit coinage.” In other words, Christian believers ought to stay away from anything that is false or counterfeit (i.e. false doctrines), and hold onto the true word of God…to make sure they know what they believe, why the believe it…and why it’s a big deal! Just thought I’d throw that in there because you ended with the above scripture quote, but didn’t use the scripture verse in its entire sentence structure and context 🙂

      FYI…did you know the meaning of the name Jude? It means praise or thanks to God! Amy and I are thankful for you Judith…it’s too bad we don’t live closer anymore, otherwise we would sit and chat over a coffee (or strawberry smoothie), instead of going back and forth on the web…but I guess technology has its benefits of keeping in touch over the distance barrier!

      • Jude Hirman says:

        A little overdo… but here it is:

        Shawn: I can agree with you in a sense here, but I’m pretty confident that if I’m reading between the lines correctly, what you’re saying (and pretty much anyone else who uses this language/reasoning of argument) is that the bible and God’s word is true…just not the parts you don’t agree with. It’s also important to remember that, although many OT & NT were seemingly ‘simple’ folk, those that did not have literary skills would have used scribes to write their accounts as they dictated them. These scribes would be more than adept at correctly using literary function. This is actually a weaker point of debate among skeptics, as the bible has proven beyond doubt to be the most accurate record of historical, archeological, geographical accounts ever known.

        Jude: ok this is becoming a very circular argument, so this will be my last response to this point since I feel I’ve beat it to the ground a few times and your responses simply don’t address my argument. Firstly, there is more reasoning and logic in this argument than the one you’re making. I’ve come up with several different bible verses that we (you or I) don’t follow. I’m not sure why you don’t follow them, but I don’t because I realize that some of these verses are speaking figuratively or they are outdated. Like I’ve mentioned, God gave us rationale, he gave us a brain that can reason and think, but he is still more complex than we can ever understand and what I’m saying is that there are parts of the bible we will never understand fully and know EXACTLY what he meant by EVERY verse. You accuse me of picking and choosing, but I’m using what God gave me (my mind and conscience) to realize that the bible has been used to justify anti-Semitism, rape, murder, racism, sexism, etc. Homophobia will just be another tick in the box. What I believe is that the word of God is true, HOWEVER, the Bible is not the same as the original scripture and thus one needs to learn the spirit of the Bible rather than the rigidity of it, which is partly manmade. The spirit of the bible is ageless, cultureless, etc it applies to everyone at all times, however verses like the ones which we don’t follow are not timeless and many of the verses are only applicable to specific cultures- these verses do not encompass the spirit of the Bible. I refuse to be a mindless Christian who will take a few verses that are controversial and believe there is no gray area, whereas there are hundreds of other verses which because they are not as controversial in our society today we ‘choose’ to ignore. Secondly, what you say about who translated and wrote out the bible is simply false. I’d like to know where you’ve received this information from because while researching this a few years ago for my Middle Ages class I never found anything about this, in fact I found tons against it. I’m interested in reading about it if you could send me a link or something. Lastly, how has the bible proven to be beyond doubt the most accurate record of historical, archeological, geographical, accounts ever known? And to whom has this been proven? This is a fairly large claim to make especially when you’ve provided no supporting evidence.

        Shawn: This is not what I’m saying at all…in fact you’re implying the author is saying something he really isn’t. He is not implying a moral law to be handed down…he is simply stating an obligation for employers to do what is right…and not hold back wages overnight (catchy rap rhyme!), as some were doing. Whenever you read scripture, you have to read it in context…who is speaking?…who are they speaking to?…what are they speaking about? …what did it mean then?…what does it mean now? Many Older Testament observances are no longer held to today…not because they were relevant then, and not now…but because they were fulfilled in Christ.

        Jude: This is more or less what I’m talking about- reading the scripture in context and ALSO taking translations into context. The term “homosexual” only came into existence just over 100 years ago. Prior to this there was no term for it, so to even have this word in the bible suggests a very clear problem. The translation in the original text actually translates into “male prostitute”. The Bible never mentions anything about queer individuals who are in long term and committed relationships, it only talks about lustful and promiscuous acts.

        Shawn: Paul is not implying that women bow down to men…what he is saying is that, in the creative narrative, God choose to create man first…gave him rule over everything…created woman out of him, and also gave him rule in their relationship.

        Jude: So by creative narrative are you implying that the verses are not supposed to be taken as ‘literally’ as it is written?

        Shawn: I would challenge you, and anyone else Judith, to find me a verse in scripture (correctly), that would support your theory that God created people to live out a homosexual/same-sex lifestyle…or any kind of sinful lifestyle (gossips, adulterers, liars, etc…).

        Jude: Of course there is no verse in the Bible that will say this. There is also no Bible verse that says racism is wrong or that black people can marry white people. If you really want to look at the context, you can see that the verses about homosexuality are not saying that it is wrong because of the homosexual acts, but rather they are saying its wrong either because of impurities, or abusive relations, uncleanliness, idolatrous, lustful, social unacceptability, prostitution- again, not talking about same sex committed relationships.

        Shawn” Absolutely…but you can also read any stat from any source you want, and outside of poverty stricken third-world tribes, and homeless, drug afflicted areas, AIDS runs much more rampantly throughout the LGBT community.

        Shawn:Although the stats were posted on a ‘right wing” Christian site…the stats were compiled by the US Census Bureau…hardly a ‘right wing’ Christian attachement!

        Jude: I think if this is what you really want to argue with you need to look at stats which equally cover lesbians and gays. These stats mention lesbians but for the most part compare same sex male couples to heterosexual couples. Males tend to be more promiscuous than females, this has nothing to do with their sexuality. Furthermore, the US census bureau does not ask about sexual orientation or gender identity. When they ask about living arrangements, a man can check off “husband” for his partner or a straight couple can check off “unmarried partnership.” Transgendered individuals may tick off either male or female not both or “other” which means there is a likelihood that the stats you’re looking at have some trans folks under the ‘straight’ section.

        Shawn: All of them…this is like saying “out of all the liars you know, how many are living untrue/unhealthy?”…or “out of all the compulsive gamblers, sex addicts, emotional/physical abusers you know of, how many are not living right?”


        Jude: By healthy relationship I meant the way they interact and treat each other, I wasn’t asking for an opinion that deems ALL gay couples as unhealthy. Do they treat each other with respect, do they trust and care for each other, etc? And I’m not sure how else I can explain how different loving someone is from having a drug addiction.

        Shawn: I can’t really argue with an opinion…opinions are based on what you feel/think is right…and it’s tough to tell someone their opinion is wrong, because it comes from how they process things.

        Jude: A wrong opinion is when it is simply a belief without good reason to believe it. What’s important is to be open to criticism and the flipside of the argument to understand ones opinion/belief and to learn how to strengthen it.

        Shawn: There is nothing you could think of praying about that God wouldn’t be interested in hearing! Maybe instead of praying about ‘a man to fall for’, what if you asked God to reveal anything in your belief system that is untrue…not aligned with His truth…and to ask that question with complete openness and without agenda?

        Jude: Ok you got me. I thought exaggeration may translate well into written dialogue, apparently it doesn’t. What I meant is that I prayed for all sorts of ways for God to change the fact that I connect with women emotionally. Once I began praying for God to reveal his plan for me TO me, I have finally learned how I was to live my life, in love with people, to love them and allow to be loved in return. When God wants me to change my lifestyle, he will let me know. You have a right to your opinion and interpretation of the Bible, as do I, but I don’t think its right to push those opinions on others. God will judge us and I don’t think its up to you to tell me (or anyone else) how wrongly I’m living my life when really, you have no idea how my relationship is with God and what my heart is like. This worries me because of what you may say or encourage the members of your youth group to do if one of them ever came to you and told you they’re gay. It does not sound like it would be a very supportive encounter.

        Shawn: He was condemning a hypocritical, self-righteous attitude in the judgment of others (He was speaking to the Pharisees). If you are a professed believer in Christ, and I see a blatant opposition to godly living (as backed by scripture), then it is my Christian duty to lovingly and respectfully confront that person with his sin (Matthew 18:15-17)…and vice versa.

        Jude: This is an assumption that God chose you (and perhaps a select few) over everyone else to point out faults and ungodliness in people and that he chose you to understand and interpret the Bible better than anyone else (I’m not talking about me, but about other religious/spiritual leaders and teachers who disagree with your opinion). Forgive me for pointing out that this sounds a little bit self-righteous. Its too easy to dismiss anything you don’t agree with as false prophesy. I’m not here to prophesy, that is not my purpose, my goal here is to try and express how ridiculous it is to demand someone to turn their back on love because of a few verses in the bible that contradict the main message of the bible.

  5. Response to Vanessa’s question- “In theory…What would you do, if one day one of your kids turned to you and said “Dad, I am gay”. Would you tell them to pray about it, would you send them to some brainwashing camp, would you tell them they are going to hell, throw bible verses at them? Their worst fear is disappointing you, but they couldn’t hold it in any longer. Obviously you have taught them what you believe is right, the godly way. They don’t want to disappoint you, so clearly it wouldn’t be a choice, they were born that way. What would you do?

    Interesting question Vanessa, because I just listened to a father’s story of how his son informed the family of his gay sexual orientation. I’ve asked for permission to post the audio of the message, so hopefully I’ll have that available soon…if not…I can post my notes/thoughts. If either of my kids approached us and revealed the above scenario to us, my love for them would never change…just as it would not change if they were a convicted and admitted murderer, child molestor, adulterer, compulsive liar, gambler, cheat, etc… My convictions, based on scripture, would not change…but I would express my unconditional love and acceptance for my son/daughter. I’m not saying I would embrace their decision/lifestyle…but I would need to come to the point of accepting that this is where they were at, and what they were dealing with. I would want them to know I would be there with them every step of the journey.

    I would certainly pray with them, and for them…so yes I would bring scripture into it…but depending on their faith level, I would walk carefully. If they had a commited relationship with Jesus, and were professing Christians…we would certainly enter into some in-depth study of what the bible teaches on sexuality…but if they were not in a ‘faith space’, I’m ot going to try shoving something down their throats that they have no interest in ‘tasting.’ I think my opinions on same-sex attraction as being a slam-dunk choice are changing…and what I mean by that is I believe the feelings you develop for the same or opposite sex (sexual orientation) are less about choice, and more about how you’re wired. But living out the life of heterosexual or same-sex orientation is more about choice. So that’s what I would want to chat about with them…how they’ve come about to this point in how they feel, and what choices they’ve come to own. Not many people choose to face disappointment, resentment, discrimination…so, again, this is an area I am being challenged with.

    Ultimately my belief is that the hope of the gospel can break down any barrier, and that hope can (and does) bring transformation, both radical and gradual, in people’s lives. I would try to put to rest any fears of disappointing me, because my love would not change. I would obviously be in a place of uncomfort…but the love for my kids will never fade…even if they walked away and said fu%$ you dad! So there’d be no ‘brain wash’ camp…unless its something they wanted to check out…there’d be no condemning (Lord knows the church has done too much damage with that)…but I would be clear in what the bible says…not what I say or think…or what a church or denomination says…but what the bible says about our present, and future standing with God.

    Hopefully I’ve been clear in this response…if not, let me know and I’ll do my best to re-clarify anything…and Jude…I haven’t forgotten you…its spring break here and we’ve been doing day trips with the kids…I’m working on a reponse!

  6. Rebecca says:

    Hi Shawn,

    I’ve been following your “Born this Way” blog and would like to share a few thoughts/questions I have.

    You’ll notice that I use the word “believe” and “feel” a lot, and that’s because I believe, while on Earth, God is first and foremost a feeling in our heart. He is what brings us joy, happiness, peace, understanding, kindness and, most of all, love.

    I’ve noticed that much of what you have said in this blog is based on scriptures and what you believe from reading them. What I would like to tell you is how I feel God has spoken to me, and not what I have read or been taught to think.

    First, I’d like the start with the what you said about God viewing all sin as equal in it’s immorality because sin is sin. I have trouble believing stealing a pack of Hubba Bubba gum from Joe’s corner store is equally as bad as brutally murdering someone. This isn’t simply because the act or stealing gum is not as bad as murdering, but the malice you have to have in your heart to murder someone is far greater than that required to steal a pack of gum. I believe God looks at what is in our heart and judges the sin accordingly.

    I have stolen before, I’ve lied, I’ve disobeyed my parents, I’ve been jealous and greedy, I’ve taken the Lord’s name in vain, and countless other things I can’t even begin to list. However, I recognize when I do these things, because in my heart I know it was wrong. I feel worse about myself and regretful.

    Being gay is different. It’s something so many people hide inside them because they are told it is wrong and perverted. They try to live a “natural” life according to the Bible, and is doing so lie to themselves and to the opposite-sex individuals who may become interested in a relationship with them.

    I understand your comparison of a person being prone to gambling, violence, lying, stealing, etc., as well as a person being prone to same-sex attraction, and that in the end, according to your interpretation of the Bible, they are all sinful behaviors. My literal understanding of this, however, does not coincide with what I feel in my heart is true. I believe the only thing that holds many people back from accepting homosexuality is because of scriptures such as Lev. 18:22 and Romans 1:26-27, and not what they truly feel is right or wrong.

    I truly believe stealing, murdering, lying, adultery, etc. are wrong. I don’t need the Bible to tell me that. I know it in my heart because that is how God reveals himself to people. Would people believe homosexuality was wrong if it wasn’t in the Bible?

    I do believe in staying away from sexual immorality. I don’t agree with doing what ever feels good. I know that, just like the “straight community,” there are many things against God’s plan and what is right in the “gay community.” I don’t, however, believe that when a same-sex coupe is in a committed and loving relationship it is against what God had planned for them.

    I try to live as open-minded as possible, but at the same time always having God in mind. In doing so, I have never truly felt that the love same-sex couples have is wrong or against God’s plan for human beings.

    Should I pray to God to show me that homosexuality is wrong? Should I read the Bible and believe something simply because it is written? Or should I keep doing what I’m doing and ask God to reveal to my heart what is true?

    To be honest, I believe he already has.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this,

    Rebecca

  7. Rithi says:

    So what? I’m religious, and yet I believe in homosexuality. No it isn’t natural. But it’s what they want to do, and if it makes them happy, then God should be happy too.

    • Response to Jude’s April 24th comments…

      Jude: ok this is becoming a very circular argument, so this will be my last response to this point since I feel I’ve beat it to the ground a few times and your responses simply don’t address my argument.

      Shawn: Have my responses not addressed your argument because they lack fact/substance, or is it because you are unwilling to part from your stance because this same-sex attraction has become a personal and emotional issue for you due to your own personal life-style choice? When you argue something from an emotional and experience-based level, you can have all the facts presented to you…but because there is the emotional investment, departing from one side is not an easy journey.

      Jude: Firstly, there is more reasoning and logic in this argument than the one you’re making. I’ve come up with several different bible verses that we (you or I) don’t follow. I’m not sure why you don’t follow them, but I don’t because I realize that some of these verses are speaking figuratively or they are outdated.

      Shawn: the verses you gave to me (Leviticus 19: 13b; 19:27; 1 Cor. 11:5; 13; 1 Tim. 2:12; Eph. 5:22) are less than compelling arguments. Old Testament ‘rules’ aren’t necessarily out-dated today, but have been fulfilled in Christ…thus they are no longer required for holiness…but it doesn’t mean they are non-relevant. The Corinthian passages are difficult to understand today, and were addressed to cultures within a culture (Corinth was comprised of many different cultures). Paul is simply talking about authority, submission and using imagery (not a popular notion for the women’s lib movement, but that’s what Paul is addressing…spiritual submission of men to God…and women to men…and ultimately to God). Eph. 5 is also talking about that. They apply the same way today that they did when written…only the head covering was an image used to bring home the spiritual point…not the physical use of a hat, yamaka, beanie or toque! Obviously, this passage has also been a struggling point for you, as your understanding translates that women are subservient to men…this is not the intended meaning.

      Jude: Like I’ve mentioned, God gave us rationale, he gave us a brain that can reason and think, but he is still more complex than we can ever understand and what I’m saying is that there are parts of the bible we will never understand fully and know EXACTLY what he meant by EVERY verse. You accuse me of picking and choosing, but I’m using what God gave me (my mind and conscience) to realize that the bible has been used to justify anti-Semitism, rape, murder, racism, sexism, etc. Homophobia will just be another tick in the box. What I believe is that the word of God is true, HOWEVER, the Bible is not the same as the original scripture and thus one needs to learn the spirit of the Bible rather than the rigidity of it, which is partly manmade. The spirit of the bible is ageless, cultureless, etc it applies to everyone at all times, however verses like the ones which we don’t follow are not timeless and many of the verses are only applicable to specific cultures- these verses do not encompass the spirit of the Bible. I refuse to be a mindless Christian who will take a few verses that are controversial and believe there is no gray area, whereas there are hundreds of other verses which because they are not as controversial in our society today we ‘choose’ to ignore.

      Shawn: okay…so now you’re talking moral relativism vs. Christian absolutism…which means everything is relative to culture, expression, experience, feeling…vs. having defined, absolute truths…which you appear to feel do not exist. If we can simply reason everything with our mind/brain/rationale…then how can we possibly ever accuse the Nazi’s of war crimes? They had cultural reasons…intellectual reasons…and it felt right to not only a select group, but an entire nation followed along (not everyone with their hearts, but many Germans still blindly adopted ‘policy’). Did the rest of the world simply not understand Hitler’s intended message? I know you’re rebuttal will be along the lines of “homosexuality has nothing to do with the Nazi regime’…but I’m confronting your ‘moral and intellectual reasoning’ theory.

      Jude: Secondly, what you say about who translated and wrote out the bible is simply false. I’d like to know where you’ve received this information from because while researching this a few years ago for my Middle Ages class I never found anything about this, in fact I found tons against it. I’m interested in reading about it if you could send me a link or something. Lastly, how has the bible proven to be beyond doubt the most accurate record of historical, archeological, geographical, accounts ever known? And to whom has this been proven? This is a fairly large claim to make especially when you’ve provided no supporting evidence.

      Shawn: sure…I can provide several hundred, but here are a few ones that won’t take you 4+ hours to read!
      *http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/archaeology.html
      *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gA1DWCc8ZRg (quick 2 part video from former atheist Josh McDowell)
      *http://www.newchristian.org.uk/ncbibleok.html
      *http://www.bibleprobe.org/bibauth.html (biblical authorship)

      Jude: This is more or less what I’m talking about- reading the scripture in context and ALSO taking translations into context. The term “homosexual” only came into existence just over 100 years ago. Prior to this there was no term for it, so to even have this word in the bible suggests a very clear problem. The translation in the original text actually translates into “male prostitute”. The Bible never mentions anything about queer individuals who are in long term and committed relationships, it only talks about lustful and promiscuous acts.

      Shawn: Actually the translation is quite clear as to what kind of behavior/sexual choice that is being referred to. Since I am not an expert on the topic of same-sex attraction, I am going to use some quotes from professor, speaker, debater, and philosopher, Michael Horner (www.michaelhorner.com) as responses to your understanding of linguistics used to address homosexuality, since you don’t seem to believe this was a vernacular used prior to 800 years ago.

      *”There are two particularly important sets of explicit texts. First are the prohibitions in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, which declare that for a man to “lie with a male as though lying with a woman” is “an abomination” or “detestable act”—in Hebrew, to’evah—something utterly repugnant to God.”
      *The Levitical prohibitions of same-sex intercourse are clearly picked up in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul, who emphasized that the Mosaic law had been abrogated [done away with], nevertheless saw significant continuity with the moral code of the Spirit. So, the second set of texts is the Apostle Paul’s references to same-sex intercourse, for which the key text is Romans 1:24-27. Here he treats same-sex intercourse as “exhibit B”—with idolatry as “exhibit A”—proving gross and deliberate human sin on the part of Gentiles against the truth about God accessible in creation or nature. “
      *1 Corinthians 6:9 – Paul’s reference to “males who lie with males” (arsenokoitai) and “effeminate males who play the sexual role of females” (malakoi).”
      *”The reason why not every author of Scripture explicitly comments on same-sex intercourse is that some views are treated as so obvious that very little needs to be said. The only form of consensual sexual behavior that was regarded by ancient Israel, early Judaism, and early Christianity as more egregious than same-sex intercourse was bestiality. It is no accident that bestiality receives even less attention in the Bible than same-sex intercourse-it is mentioned only in Exodus 22:19; Leviticus 18:23; 20:15-16; and Deuteronomy 27:21. Incest receives only comparable attention. Yet unequivocal opposition to bestiality and incest by every biblical author and by Jesus can hardly be doubted.
      There is no historical basis for arguing that Jesus might have been neutral or even favorable toward same-sex intercourse. All the evidence we have points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that Jesus would have strongly opposed same-sex intercourse had such behavior been a serious problem among first-century Jews. It simply was not a problem in Israel.”
      *it is time to deconstruct the myth of a sexually tolerant Jesus. Three sets of Jesus sayings make clear that, far from loosening the law’s stance on sex, Jesus intensified the ethical demand in this area: (a) Jesus´ stance on divorce and remarriage (Mark 10:1-12; also Matthew 5:32 and the parallel in Luke 16:18; and Paul’s citation of Jesus´ position in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11); (b) Jesus´ remark about adultery of the heart (Matthew 5:27-28); and (c) Jesus´ statement about removing body parts as preferable to being thrown into hell (Matthew 5:29-30 and Mark 9:43-48) which, based on the context in Matthew as well as rabbinic parallels, primarily has to do with sexual immorality.
      Author of the encyclopedic, The Bible and Homosexual Practice, Dr. Gagnon commented, “I think that the phrase “eunuchs who were born so from the womb of mother” (Matt 19:12) is probably an inclusive group consisting of any man who lacks sexual interest in women. This group would include both men who have genital abnormalities that result in impotence and men whose genitals are still capable of begetting children. It would also include both asexual persons and persons who, in time, develop exclusive same-sex attractions.”

      Regarding Jesus’ phrase “eunuchs because they were born that way,” Dr. Gagnon said, “The saying does suggest a recognition on the part of Jesus and early Christianity that some men are born in such a way that they do not develop, as adolescents and adults, other-sex attractions, for whatever reason.” Such men are not born gay, but rather, without responsiveness to the opposite sex. Attractions to the same sex may or may not develop during the formative years via a combination of temperamental and environmental factors.

      Note that Jesus does not condemn such persons for their situation.

      So do homosexual relationships have the endorsement of Jesus? Not so, says Dr. Gagnon: “The implication of Jesus’ saying is that all such ‘born eunuchs’ have no option for engaging in sexual activity outside of a man-woman bond.” Fidelity to this teaching “does not require that one become exclusively heterosexually responsive with no homosexual temptation. However, it does require abstinence from homosexual bonds.”

      Simply put, sex mattered to Jesus. Jesus did not broaden the range of acceptable sexual expression; he narrowed it. And he thought that unrepentant, repetitive deviation from this norm could get a person thrown into hell. Thus, if one supports same-sex relations or unions as sound ecclesiastical policy, one must do it with some other philosophical base than can be found in these teachings of Jesus.

      ***If you want, I can send you the complete file for Dr. Horner’s powerpoint presentation he gave to an ethics and counseling class this past winter.***

      Jude: So by creative narrative are you implying that the verses are not supposed to be taken as ‘literally’ as it is written?

      Shawn: by creative narrative I am referring to the creation account…God created man first…gave him dominion (rule) over every living thing on earth…then God created a suitable helper/partner for Adam, of which Eve was created out of Adam. Paul uses this narrative to establish his basis for authority…God is in charge…women submit to men and men submit to Christ, who is the head…in spiritual matters. This has nothing to do with working for a woman in a bank, office, company…but this is about spiritual leadership, and why Paul did not allow women to have positions of elder/sr. leadership within the church. Not because they weren’t capable (although many lacked access of manuscripts due to only Jewish men having them), but because this was the established, created order of things…thus the creation narrative 🙂

      Jude: Of course there is no verse in the Bible that will say this. There is also no Bible verse that says racism is wrong or that black people can marry white people. If you really want to look at the context, you can see that the verses about homosexuality are not saying that it is wrong because of the homosexual acts, but rather they are saying its wrong either because of impurities, or abusive relations, uncleanliness, idolatrous, lustful, social unacceptability, prostitution- again, not talking about same sex committed relationships.

      Shawn: if this is your position Jude, then you clearly do not have an accurate understanding of scripture. It would be one thing to say you don’t agree with what the bible says…but you are implying the bible says something it doesn’t…that homosexuality is totally cool with God (your viewpoint), of which I think I gave substantial biblical evidence to a couple of points above that it is not cool with God. I’m truly dumb-founded how you can defend your viewpoint from scripture.

      Jude: I think if this is what you really want to argue with you need to look at stats which equally cover lesbians and gays. These stats mention lesbians but for the most part compare same sex male couples to heterosexual couples. Males tend to be more promiscuous than females, this has nothing to do with their sexuality. Furthermore, the US census bureau does not ask about sexual orientation or gender identity. When they ask about living arrangements, a man can check off “husband” for his partner or a straight couple can check off “unmarried partnership.” Transgendered individuals may tick off either male or female not both or “other” which means there is a likelihood that the stats you’re looking at have some trans folks under the ‘straight’ section.

      Shawn:

      Jude: By healthy relationship I meant the way they interact and treat each other, I wasn’t asking for an opinion that deems ALL gay couples as unhealthy. Do they treat each other with respect, do they trust and care for each other, etc? And I’m not sure how else I can explain how different loving someone is from having a drug addiction.

      Shawn: You must be misunderstanding my intention here Judith…I’m trying not to classify sin (i.e. big vs. small sins)…sin is still sin in God’s eyes. Respect, intention, good will have nothing to do with it…there is no difference between a liar, cheat, same-sex/homosexual…it’s ALL sin…no distinctions! I can assure you that you would be offended if I termed homosexuality/same-sex attraction as more deplorable than other socially unacceptable offenses…but God does not see it that way…it’s all equal.

      Jude: A wrong opinion is when it is simply a belief without good reason to believe it. What’s important is to be open to criticism and the flipside of the argument to understand ones opinion/belief and to learn how to strengthen it.

      Shawn: an opinion is wrong when it lacks facts, truth and credibility behind it. There’s been lots of wrongful opinions out there with ‘good reasoning’…but still lacking substance. Just because you have a strong opinion/belief, doesn’t mean it’s right…unless you’re a total buy-in to post modernism! Remember the Law of Non-Contradiction…reason does not = truth…truth=truth!

      Jude: Ok you got me. I thought exaggeration may translate well into written dialogue, apparently it doesn’t. What I meant is that I prayed for all sorts of ways for God to change the fact that I connect with women emotionally. Once I began praying for God to reveal his plan for me TO me, I have finally learned how I was to live my life, in love with people, to love them and allow to be loved in return. When God wants me to change my lifestyle, he will let me know. You have a right to your opinion and interpretation of the Bible, as do I, but I don’t think its right to push those opinions on others. God will judge us and I don’t think its up to you to tell me (or anyone else) how wrongly I’m living my life when really, you have no idea how my relationship is with God and what my heart is like. This worries me because of what you may say or encourage the members of your youth group to do if one of them ever came to you and told you they’re gay. It does not sound like it would be a very supportive encounter.
      Shawn: it would be a biblical encounter…point them to Jesus…the bible…and what it says…not opinions, urges, societal pressure…but what does the Jesus you say you follow, really say!

      Jude: This is an assumption that God chose you (and perhaps a select few) over everyone else to point out faults and ungodliness in people and that he chose you to understand and interpret the Bible better than anyone else (I’m not talking about me, but about other religious/spiritual leaders and teachers who disagree with your opinion). Forgive me for pointing out that this sounds a little bit self-righteous. Its too easy to dismiss anything you don’t agree with as false prophesy. I’m not here to prophesy, that is not my purpose, my goal here is to try and express how ridiculous it is to demand someone to turn their back on love because of a few verses in the bible that contradict the main message of the bible.
      Shawn: Judith…you’ll find VERY few committed Christians out there that will agree with your reasoning. Christians are commanded to stand against false doctrine/teaching, and to come along side one another…confront sin…and point them back to Jesus and God’s word. That’s not just my role, but for every true Christian believer. NOTHING I’ve shared with you is my personal opinion, but I’ve pointed you to what God’s word says…interpreted by men and women much more intelligent than me.
      And love is certainly a key element, but it is A message in the bible, but not the MAIN message (have you been reading Rob Bell?) in the bible. The main message of the bible is this; God created man to be in perfect harmony and relationship with Him, but sin compromised that relationship as man rebelled in the garden. Jesus came to reveal the nature, attributes and characteristics of God the Father, set sinners free by His sacrificial death and resurrection, and that one day things will be returned as they were intended to be…and with that restoration will also come a judgement and separation of those who believe and acknowledge Jesus as Lord…and those who do not…one inherits eternity in heaven…the other eternity in hell.
      That my friend, is THE message of the bible…and everything else is setting the stage.
      In the end Judith, at this point it appears you have your mind made up, and from I remember about you, you’re likely not willing to give up your position easily. You have a strong stance…that is noble, but ultimately I do think, by basis of scriptural authority, that your position in wrong. The LGBT community will attack me for this, as will any other person that refutes absolute truth…but really…do you want to live in a world that is open to just sitting down over a coffee and agreeing to disagree? Do you want to press on in a world where there is no real right and wrong, but only what you feel, experience and reason is right? Or do we need black and white hard line…not to keep us in check, but because there really is moral absolute right and wrong…and consequences? What kind of world would this be without this? It would be a chaotic, do whatever you want, humanistic, naturalistic and hedonistic society where anything goes.
      Like it or not, Amy and I are praying for you to see the revealed truth of who God really is, and who you are as is His created child and daughter. But the life and perception you’re living within is not the intended design He has for you…if you believe the bible to be true, which I do…and which you say (for the most part) you do as well. This journey could take months, years or decades, but what matters is that you’re on it…and I pray you stay on it and avail yourself to hear with open ears, eyes, mind…and heart!
      Blessings to you Judith…it’s been a long time since I first came to know you…I can remember going on a youth summer trip (Wonderland or Wild Water Kingdom) and playing one-on-one basketball with you…that was one of the first outings we had with you in the youth group!
      All 4 His Call;
      Shawn

      You can see all comments on this post here:
      https://passengershawn.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/born-this-way-how-the-church-can-respond-to-lady-gaga-and-homosexuality/#comments

  8. Jude Hirman says:

    Hi Shawn,

    This will be my last response. I feel this debate has veered off topic and I think I have fulfilled my purpose in responding and sharing my view. I urge you to explore the side of this debate that you do not agree with just so you can see some of the evidence/interpretation that is out there, not to change your mind, but so you can better see for yourself what you’re opinion is up against and hopefully it will further encourage research to hopefully make your argument stronger and more informed.

    Shawn: Have my responses not addressed your argument because …

    Jude: You are right in that I am emotionally invested in this argument; this is why I have spent much time researching/reading different opinions regarding this issue. Please remember that for many years I was emotionally invested in the opposite side of this argument and I attempted with all I had in me to prove to myself and others of the very views you are trying to convince me. If through those years I had not been shown enough evidence and reason (and God knows- patience) to believe what I believe now, I would still be unhappy, angry with God, living a lie, and in the closet (amongst other things). If anything, my argument is not clouded by emotions (as you seem to imply to discredit my argument), please remember that I was even more dogmatic regarding my views when I was in the closet because I desperately did not want to accept how God has made me, and I desperately wanted to believe that sexuality can be changed. Of course my personal experience and my faith have also strengthened this stance. Most of the things you have said to me, I have heard before but here are just a few reasons as to why I don’t feel you’ve addressed my issue:

    – My sexuality is as much of a choice as yours is. Did you choose to be straight? I certainly chose to live a straight lifestyle, realized that I’d rather not lie to myself and those around me. It’s a lose-lose situation, either I will get punished for lying or I will get punished for being gay. I know the argument you’re making is that gay people should live celibate lives or pray the gay away (which does not work), but living celibate will not prevent anyone from falling in love (a gift from God). Falling in love with someone will mean thinking of that person and that would still be sinful, thus a lose/lose situation. So if it’s patient and its kind, it doesn’t boast and is not jealous but its gay…love is love and that is what I support because it comes from something much more powerful than any of us.

    – You continue to accuse me of picking and choosing the scripture that I follow. I’m not picking and choosing what verses are true and which are not, I am simply agreeing with your point that these verses need to be taken in context, and just like the verses where women are to cover their heads, or men are to refrain from cutting their hair, the verses in the bible about homosexuality are also outdated. I call it ‘outdated,’ you call it ‘reading in context’. The verses in Leviticus about homosexuality are right next to verses about eating lobster, shaving, sexual relations while on menstrual cycle, and many more. How come only one of those verses are still applicable today while the others are not?

    – You say there is “no middle ground.” Then you justify how some verses no longer apply to us because of its “context.”

    – You have not addressed my questions regarding transgender/intersex individuals- they certainly are born with chromosomes that fit both male and female. Who are they meant to love?

    – My issue does not lie with the legitimacy of the Bible, it lies within the translators who have ‘chosen’ certain words to use as part of translations which are not always the best suited.

    – Your opinion seems only to be based on things you read online, with perhaps a few supporting bible verses. You don’t seem to read up on anything that might make sense on the other side of the coin.

    – I have the most respect for someone who can have a different opinion than me with valid and legitimate reason (not just because its passed on to them from family/friends/church). However, you need to realize that as soon as you start using words like “____should do this or be like this” it becomes a problem, because you don’t know what ______ is experiencing and going through and you also don’t know their heart and their spirituality.

    – To further my frustration with this unbalanced debate, you give me websites with no authors/credits/credentials/affiliations/dates of publishing (etc), send excerpts written by ‘Dr.’s who do not actually have doctorates* (Horner) and claim a 20 minute youtube video to be ‘evidence’ of “literary, archeological, historical, geographical, and anthropological accuracy of scripture,” a topic that has and will remain a heated debate with experts in the field on both sides of the coin. Claiming that the unreliable sources you’ve given me are proof of this and will answer the question of accuracy is an insult to the academic world and the academics that have dedicated their lives to finding answers for us. Furthermore, I notice much of your opinion correlates with J. McKee… how can you possibly find his arguments valid? He is not qualified to make “scientific” revelations about anything. Science requires credentials and much more schooling whereas Theology can but its not a prerequisite. Either way I don’t know how he even got through school making arguments like he does on his website (“if homosexuality were to be embraced by all people, then the logical extrapolation is that humanity would cease to exist”- obviously, but it would NEVER happen, its like saying “if we all put all our money together and split it evenly there would be no poverty”). I’ve looked at some clips of him preaching and I would encourage you to watch some of them and see for yourself how much of it is actually story telling and how much is spiritual content.

    *By the way, I searched for ‘Dr.’ Horners credentials all over the Internet and could not find a single thing until I posted it as a question on a website- then suddenly his credentials appeared. I find this a bit suspicious. Did he call himself a Dr. or was it something others called him for … maybe honorary reasons?

    My greatest issue with your reasoning is that its contradicting. There is biblical fundamentalism- the belief that the Bible is the literal word of God and each and every verse is valid today as it was when it was written. This means the Bible as we read it means exactly what it says to us today, word for word; there isn’t much room for reading in context or interpretation. And there is the historical critical reading which takes into context the era, values at the time it was written (sidenote: these two methods of interpretation are not something I came up with). Logically you can’t have both because it makes your argument contradictory and also THEN you are picking and choosing.

    Shawn: the verses you gave to me (Leviticus 19: 13b; 19:27; 1 Cor. 11:5; 13; 1 Tim. 2:12; Eph. 5:22) are less than compelling arguments….

    Jude: Again, you choose to take passages about sexuality literally while others have to be taken in context. I’m not struggling with this passage at all. I’m simply stating if you want to take one verse literally, then other verses like the ones I mentioned should also be taken literally. The verses in Corinthians are actually talking about abusive male-male relations, rape, child abuse, male prostitution, exploitation. This sort of behavior is not exclusive to gay people. Please research the words “Malakoi” and “Arsenokoitai.” These are the original words used in the passages which have since been severely mistranslated. Considering our socio/psychological understanding of sexuality has only developed in the last 120 years or so and even up until the 60’s it was considered a mental illness, it would be ridiculous for the bible to actually contain the word “homosexual,” yet its there and once again gay people are used as scapegoats and sex is used as a method to control the masses and make people feel guilty and tied to religion (not spirituality and God) for their eternal destinies- an excellent manipulative tool on behalf of the church. I didn’t say homosexuality didn’t exist 800 years ago, I’m stating that there was no word for it- so how did that word get in the bible. It was not understood as it is today, a significant and vital aspect of our nature and personality which we cannot change (look up success rates for ex-gay therapy, it is less than 1%, and also psychological/emotional/mental side effects)

    Shawn: If we can simply reason everything with our mind/brain/rationale…then how can we possibly ever accuse the Nazi’s of war crimes?…

    Jude: First of all there were many people who opposed the Nazi regime and its policy but because there was such fear for life, those who opposed were quickly silenced, which taught the rest of the opponents to oppose very silently, so silently that opposition was not seen or heard of much. There were 17 attempts to assassinate Hitler, most were planned by high-ranking military personnel who had close contact with Hitler. Those who supported were loud and radical. If out of 100 people 10 were avid, vocal and boisterous followers, while the other 90 stand in silence (or else face death), to an outsider, it appears that all 100 were for the idea. The entire nation did not follow along, a much smaller group than you realize supported it. This is a much more complex case in history than you give it credit to and also a terrible example for what you were trying to show. It is one of the most highly studied subjects in history and yet there is still much debate on it (the subject itself not how we can accuse them of warcrimes!?!?). Secondly, Hitler’s plan was to wipe out the Jewish nation because of their race, there were no intellectual or cultural reasons behind it. The reasons are about as legit as the reasons you’re giving me about the bible and homosexuality. Furthermore, anti-semitism has been a prevalent issue in history and is still often an issue in todays society, just like homophobia. Homosexuality has LOTS to do with the Nazi regime; accusations of homosexuality were used to imprison/murder just about any members of the party (and also of society) that were not Jewish but had potential to oppose the Nazi party or do something that Hitler didn’t like. “Paragraph 175” was the policy Hitler put in place in order to be able to imprison anyone with only ‘suspicions’ that they were gay. Side note: Hitler did not actually have huge issues with gay people, but it was a perfect tactic to arrest whoever he wanted, see Ernst Roehm (Hitler’s close gay friend who was murdered once he was no longer useful and suspected to overpower Hitler). Once at the concentration camps, the men/women wearing the pink triangles were getting raped and beaten not only by guards but also by other prisoners- they were at the bottom of the social food chain. These are topics I studied pretty intensely and have written several papers on for courses I took as part of my degree program.

    Shawn: …Since I am not an expert on the topic of same-sex attraction, I am going to use some quotes from professor, speaker, debater, and philosopher, Michael Horner (www.michaelhorner.com) as responses to your understanding of linguistics used to address homosexuality, since you don’t seem to believe this was a vernacular used prior to 800 years ago.

    Jude: Here are some of the things Horner chose to ignore: Firstly, his definition of “malakoi” and “arsenokoitai” are incomplete. There is much more to these words than he claims. Secondly, if you read the other laws written with this verse you will see that these laws were in place due to the Jewish religious culture and its impurity code. Sexual laws in Leviticus are punishable by death, so is cursing one’s parents. We have to ask why such harsh punishment, because there is a reason for the fact that some sins receive harsher punishments than others, even though ‘all sin is sin and thus equal.’ Cursing one’s parents was a major crime because it disrupted the social order- the father was the head of the family for as long as he lived, even though his children married and had their own families, he still remained the head of that family, next in line was his eldest son, etc. Cursing a father would have been equivalent to treason or disloyalty. Same with adultery- sex outside of marriage would have been a disgrace, only against the husband because the wife was his property and another man sleeping with his wife was in a way theft. Furthermore, sex between men was not allowed because: 1) it disrupted the social order or norms of that society (which does not make it wrong) 2) it confused gender roles in the sense that women were to be penetrated and men to penetrate so the issue wasn’t that men were penetrating other men, it was that on the receiving end, men were taking on women’s roles, deemed to be inferior, and getting penetrated by men. This sort of ‘mixing of kinds’ was considered impure according to the Holiness Code, just like mixing certain materials for clothing, or planting different types of seeds in the same field. What about women? Leviticus says nothing about women because sex between two women does not compromise the social order and it also does not compromise her virginity- again, the importance of this is that woman was man’s property and if someone else already ‘used’ her then she would be a disgrace and of no use to the man that owned her. To apply this to our culture today we would have to have strict rules of ritual purity, but we do not have this. From an early age we learn whats ‘gross’ and ‘dirty.’ Often times these things are not actually gross and dirty, they are just things that are taboo and make people uncomfortable- which does not mean its wrong. Somewhere along the way, social customs and taboos were turned into sin and bible verses were used to back that up.
    To make the assumption that some behaviour is so obviously wrong that it did not need to be mentioned much is an assumption based on nothing. It would actually be more valid to assume it wasn’t mentioned much because it was not as much of an issue as we are making it today. Personally, i think its very ‘obvious’ to treat each other with respect and love and yet the bible talks about it SO much that its almost overkill (i say almost because … well just look at our world).

    Shawn: if this is your position Jude, then you clearly do not have an accurate understanding of scripture…I’m truly dumb-founded how you can defend your viewpoint from scripture.

    Jude: You can be as dumbfounded as you’d like, it will not make much of a difference. I was dumbfounded by the sources you’ve given me, by the Nazi example you used to prove a point that wasn’t there, etc. I’ve studied the scripture regarding this topic, I’ve looked at translations, I’ve looked at context, they all lead to similar conclusions- same-sex relationships are not problematic. Lust, abuse, rape, exploitation, etc ARE problematic. My understanding of the scripture comes from the historical context in which it was written in, yours seems to come from a literal/fundamentalist approach. I also urge you to look up other Christians that agree with my stance, in fact, there are more than just a few who went back to these passages and research it in more detail. Church leaders and theological scholars of all denominations with legitimate credentials who make logical and well-researched arguments, not like McKee/Smith who make absurd statements that are simply false.

    Shawn: it’s ALL sin…no distinctions! I can assure you that you would be offended if I termed homosexuality/same-sex attraction as more deplorable than other socially unacceptable offenses…

    Jude: socially unacceptable offences do not equal sin. Just because something becomes a custom, tradition, majority viewpoint does not make it morally wrong. Shawn you can insult me all you want, you can choose to put homosexuality in the same category as rapists, child molesters, serial killers, (are these the more deplorable terms you were thinking of?) and you can tell me (and other gay people) that we’ve bought our one-way ticket to hell by ‘choosing’ to be who we are. For you to put me into a little box along with cheats, liars and whoever else is self-righteous, judgmental, demeaning and pretentious (to name a few). You are not my pastor or spiritual leader, so I don’t look to you for spiritual advice or moral support, therefore, it is not your responsibility to point out my sins to me or make statements about my afterlife. I’ve said this a few times, I’m not looking to change your point of view, I’m hoping people who read your blog will make it their responsibility to research this issue themselves, I urge them to read up on BOTH sides of the argument and not just blindly follow what you have written.

    Shawn: an opinion is wrong when it lacks facts, truth and credibility behind it…
    … because you have a strong opinion/belief, doesn’t mean it’s right…unless you’re a total buy-in to post modernism! …

    Jude: See my earlier comment regarding credibility of authors you quoted.
    I’m not a ‘buy-in’ to anything, which is maybe why I questioned much of your teachings back in the day. I don’t just believe people because they seem to tell the truth with sincerity, I look it up (if it interests me enough) and make my own informed decisions and if I have further questions I ask. I do think you believe you’re doing the right thing, I just hope your views do not make students at your church back away from you as their pastor or from God.
    You are right in that I don’t easily change my opinions once I have researched them and found evidence for all rebuttals. If someone presents new, legitimate, logical argument in this issue then I am more than happy to re-evaluate but the reasons you have given me are (in my opinion) not strong or good enough at all. In your original post you talk about how very few churches have been able to speak of this issue with truth and love. Shawn, what part of telling gay teens that if they accept themselves because God loves them, is loving? What part of telling someone who is in love with someone of the same gender that they can’t be together because only straight love is a gift from God, is loving? What part of telling someone they are going to hell because they love the ‘wrong person’ is loving? Where is the loving part in any of your message? Tough love? Is that what you’re going for? Because I think we deserve a little better and a little more than that. All I can wish for is that people look into this themselves rather than simply listening to hateful and poisonous messages.

    I appreciate your prayer and I wish you and your beautiful family well. If ever you are in the neighbourhood, I would love to get a smoothie and talk more about this, so long as we can agree not to bring big historical debates (Nazi warcrimes) into this (haha!).

    “Love never fails” 1 Chorinthians 13:8

    Jude

    PS: I have actually read “Love Wins” and though it was a fascinating and unique read I don’t agree with everything Rob Bell says, however, here are somethings he says that I could not agree with more:

    – “it is our responsibility to be extremely careful about making negative, decisive, lasting judgments about people’s eternal destinies” (pg. 160)

    – “Jesus is bigger than any one religion….. He will always transcend whatever cages and labels are created to contain and name him, especially the one called ‘Christianity’ “ (pg. 150)

    – his example with Ghandi and how we can’t know if he’s in heaven or hell because we haven’t been there to take attendance. Yes there are bible passages, which tell us who will get into heaven and hell but they are also contradicting (I’m not going to get into this- read his examples). I haven’t fully made up my mind about most things he says.

    For further ‘legitimate’ information:

    “What the Bible really says about Homosexuality” Dr. Helminiak
    – goes through each passage of the Bible people use to condemn homosexuality and examines them in the historical-critical context

    Also, any ‘Queer Theology’ books will provide plenty of views, many of which I do not agree but can appreciate.

    If someone is interested in further discussing or questioning what I believe, they can be directed to me via facebook.

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