Homosexuality–Sometimes It Really Is About Right Vs. Wrong

I was in seminary, focused on the skull cracking material of our Constructive Theology class, when I felt something bounce lightly off my head and land on my open book. It was a peanut. I already knew who did it because this was a regular occurrence. I turned to see a woman giggling quietly and it made the whole room a little lighter. Later, she laughed more loudly while she told everyone, “I am throwing peanuts at this BEAUTIFUL man….”

She’s cheerful, kind, and calls me “dear” with her lovely Colombian accent. Everyone loves her and feels better around her. She radiates grace.

One time in another class, a fellow student had a medical emergency, and she was the first to respond. She put her arms around the woman and said softly, “Don’t worry. I will take care of you.” And she helped our friend find the medicine she needed.

She is a minister to her core and I am proud she is my colleague. Yet she is not qualified to be ordained in most denominations. Being a woman disqualifies her in many, but even in my more progressive United Methodist denomination she is not accepted because she is a lesbian. She is, however, a minister for another organization which is to their benefit.

There really aren’t that many kind, uplifting ministers out there, and any church that wouldn’t want her is making a mistake from which they will not recover. I’m serious about that—they will not recover.

My denomination teeters on the edge of a devastating split over how we regard members of the GLBT. There’s a great deal of nuanced discussion as well as bellicose arguing. Frankly, I’ve become sick of it. I’m also ashamed that I haven’t spoken up enough on behalf of my GLBT friends.

I moved from a conservative evangelical community to the more progressive United Methodists because they were kind to me and because they were open and more welcoming than other Christians I had known. They taught me to think more clearly and to care about social justice issues. And yet they have not been able to move forward to resolve this discussion.

They are not going to find an honorable compromise because this is an issue of right and wrong. And the majority of the UMC is wrong. The majority thinks any kind of sex other than hetero is sinful. They won’t allow them ordination or provide wedding ceremonies for them.

I want to be respectful, so I’ll say it softly with no exclamation points at the end of the sentence:

If you discriminate, judge against, exclude, or hurt people because they are in the GLBT community, I respectfully say that you are wrong. And you should change. Not only should you change your thinking but you need to focus on healing those who are in pain.

Last week, I began to volunteer some time to The Center in Orlando. It exists to promote the well being of GLBT community of Central Florida. There’s a great deal of healing that needs to occur and I intend to be a part of that.

What are you going to do?

22 thoughts on “Homosexuality–Sometimes It Really Is About Right Vs. Wrong

  1. What did Jesus say about Homosexuality? From a perspective of survival it makes sense to me that in a subsistence agrarian existence that anything that threatens the ability of the family to produce as many males as possible would be perceived negatively. Males provide the manual labor and protection for the family that a subsistence agrarian life would require. In looking at Holy Scripture Adam Hamilton’s questions I think are appropriate. I’ll paraphrase from my inadequate memory. Does the text represent the eternal will of God or is does the text represent a cultural bias of the times. Our Holy Scripture as passed down to us through our ancestors is made up of all different kinds of literature. hymns, prose, poems, narrative history, etc. In my opinion, not all of it was meant to be taken literally yet it is sufficient. The texts referring to homosexuality can be interpreted in many different ways. We understand the Bible in whole, not in parts. Every part is connected together as the inspired word of God. Jesus Christ the Living Word is superior to Holy Scripture.
    http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/our-christian-roots-the-bible

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    1. Hi Kenneth, yes, I wanted to say that the most one can say about the 6 scriptural references to homosexuality is that it recorded what someone thought of it, not necessarily God’s definitive view of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is why I’ve left religion behind entirely. I used to be a church-going atheist — I liked the music and people at my church — but I cannot support in any way an organization that feels I’m not worthy of full inclusion. “Christians,” as a whole, will never stop using the Bible as a weapon to oppress those they don’t like. I now spend my time and energy doing what I can to end religion in the world. It’s time humanity grows up and stops believing in Santa Claus.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope the day will come when you reconsider. I find nonbelievers no more tolerant than others–just more arbitrary about what they choose to be tolerant/intolerant about. And the weapons are different–often more scathing. Childish myths must pass; St. Nicholas, the real-life inspiration for the Santa Claus image, probably did more good in his life than you and I combined.

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      1. If the weapons of nonbelievers seem more scathing, it may be because they’re reacting against the manipulative, bullying, controlling religious communities in which they grew up. Where we see anger, perhaps we should see wounds. We should ask ourselves as a religious community, how can we change the way we raise up our sheep.

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  3. Thank you David. Thank you so much.

    I think the doctrinal questions which have been long considered and long debated need to give way to the human questions: How do we really love our neighbor?

    The problem with doctrine is this. Even though Jesus never directly spoke on homosexuality, the arguments in one direction or the other get raised anyway. He WOULD have spoken against it, some people claim, because he DID affirm the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Or, he WOULD have spoken in favor of it, others claim, based on the story of the Ethiopian eunuch. And off we go. Debating questions of doctrine, and debating, and debating, when people’s lives are literally on the line.

    The important questions, in my opinion are: How do we, in community, build and affirm healthy relationships for all? Are same sex relationships truly unhealthy? Or is it fear of the different that seems to make them so?

    I started my own journey toward acceptance of my LGBT friends, and ultimately of myself as a gay man, when I honestly asked if there was any real difference between an opposite sex marriage, and a same sex marriage. And I do not mean a difference in >theoryfact<. A difference observable in real lives.

    And life experience has taught me that such differences do not exist. The human heart is capable of expressing genuine love, trust, vulnerability, honesty to another human regardless of whether the two humans are of the opposite sex or of the same sex. I have seen it in others enough to convince me it is real.

    And those who ignore, or judge, or condemn that very love, trust and vulnerability, definitely are wrong. They need to repent. They need to start working their own part to repairs the hurts of the world.

    Thank you David, for that reminder.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Obviously, as an open transsexual and believer in Christ, I have a bias.

    However, I struggled with all my soul against transsexualism for some time. I am also a Bible-believing person that is still a follower of Christ.

    I would offer the following insights that helped calm my own mind, and allowed me to continue as a Christian and yet transsexual:

    1. The mind-blowing fact that Jesus used a Samaritan Man as the hero of the ‘Parable of the Good Samaritan’. Don’t we get it? Wrong genetics, unclean untouchable semi-humans, wrong religion (or at least heretics), and wrong system of marriage (see John 4)…. yet, when the worst-of-the-unclean show love to their neighbor, they mean more to God’s economy than a Priest/Pastor or Elder with perfect doctrine, beliefs, and life-style.

    2. Jesus’ words in Matt 25, that show the portfolio that matters to Him on judgment day: what you did to the hungry, thirsty, sick, prisoner, unclothed*, and homeless. [*unclothed – clothing protects from the scorching sun and the killing cold. I would offer that in America, these are those that have no heat or cooling.] WAIT! On that Judgement Day, there is no doctrinal test by the Great Teacher? WAIT! There is no church attendance register by the One that we worship? What about all that time I spent in choir, youth group, as a deacon, as an elder, as a young lay pastor, as someone that interpreted doctrine and taught it and stood by it and …… yet, the time I spent as a cook in the middle of the homeless camp hidden in the woods will probably be my greatest investment, ever.

    In God’s economy, the heart that has compassion-in-real-life is what matters to Him. Correct doctrine is a distant second place finisher in this marathon… about 24 hours behind the first place runner.

    Some days… I still feel unclean. Like I struck out. Like I did not make the Pro-team, but played College damn well. But one more story calms me, and gives me peace:

    3. Peter’s vision, and salvation with the Spirit Falling on the Centurion. Don’t we get it? “Do not call ‘unclean’ what God has cleansed”. This is incredibly profound! Unclean, wrong culture, conquerors of God’s people. This is like our country being conquered by Russia, and a Russian Colonel and wife believing in Christ and being filled with the Spirit beyond doubt… and us being told, “Do not call them unclean. I have fully accepted them.” But Lord, your Shekinah belongs to us Best-Doctrine American Christians! “Too late, I poured my Spirit out on them…. too.”

    All the world can call me ‘unclean’. But my Heavenly Father will not do so.

    The very Bible I thought, and believed, should condemn me gave me hope. I can still be the hero of God’s story. I can still have a Portfolio that truly matters on the Day of Judgment to Jesus. God still defends me – He will not call me unclean.

    I no longer care what the church institution may say — The Son of God, and His Dad, have spoken.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Your entire comment soothes my soul, but this sentence is the undergirding of it all: “In God’s economy, the heart that has compassion-in-real-life is what matters to Him. Correct doctrine is a distant second place finisher in this marathon… about 24 hours behind the first place runner.” As mom to 2 young adults in the LGBT community (and a former life-long member of the UMC), I needed this today. Thank you, Caryn AND David.

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  5. In Matthew 8 and Luke 7 (if you go in for that kind of thing) the story has Jesus healing the centurion’s gay lover. He commends the gay centurion for having more faith than any Jew he had ever met, and I bet he met a bunch. That’s what JC thinks of gays.

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      1. It’s not definitive, but what is? The words can be taken different ways and, considering the translator’s notorious penchant for euphemism, I take it in view of the most “extreme” reading.

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  6. I appreciate your thoughts so much, David. I’m wondering if you’re familiar with the Rev. Steven Chalke and his research on Pompeii and its sexual practices during the time of the Apostle Paul? He simply makes sense, and this lecture should be required watching for all who follow take Scripture seriously. Again, thank you for your open support of our LGBT brothers and sisters.

    http://openchurch.network/content/‘ancient-porn’-sheds-new-light-bible-verses

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