Friday, October 05, 2007
Coming out of the (belief) closet
Note: This post should not be taken to be Methodist doctrine.
This post has been a long time coming. I've been wanting to preach about my beliefs on the topic of homosexuality for a long time, but as they go beyond Methodist doctrine, I've held back. However, on this blog I see no reason to be shy.
The real prompt for getting down to writing this, however, was Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, one of my favourite dramas at the moment. One episode went into the topic of homosexuality in terms of an ongoing debate between two characters. One of them was giving a "sitting on the fence" answer about civil unions when the other interrupted with:
"[...] there's no way to get to the end of that sentence without saying that homosexual love is something less than heterosexual love [...]"
That, for me, says it all. I believe that homosexual love is on a par with heterosexual love. It can be as close, warm, loving, supportive, self-sacrificing and fruitful as heterosexual love. That doesn't mean I have some rose-tinted vision of every gay couple being blissfully happy, of course, any more than I would for straight couples.
What's important to me (in terms of faith) is that I can't see how God could have anything against the kind of love I see exhibited by the gay couples I'm proud to count as my friends.
That's why I support gay marriage, rather than just civil unions. To many people it may make no practical difference, but it makes a big difference in emphasis. While there are two tiers, however legally equivalent, there will always be an implied moral inferiority of civil unions - and I find that repulsive. I believe God is happy to bless any loving, informed, consensual, monogamous relationship, no matter what genders are involved.
I'm always happy to do it in person, although I don't expect to actually convince anyone to change their mind, nor should anyone else expect to be able to change my mind.
Blogs like these make it clear, you simply haven't done your homework. Which surprises me since I've gleaned so much from your pointed and insightful answers to a vast array of programming questions.
Best Regards Jon
Good for you for taking on a tough subject in an honest way.
To those who say that God's stand on homosexuality is clear in the bible, I would point out that God's stand on working on the sabbath (as well as Passover, and several other holidays. Leviticus 23 has most of it) and yet many Christians do precisely this. Why? Because it's generally accepted as a requirement in the modern world.
The Lord is pretty down on swine (Leviticus 11:3-4) as well, and yet almost every Christian I know loves bacon!
There are basically 2 ways to look at the bible:
1> The absolute unerring word of God.
2> Man's interpretation of the word of God.
The first is simply impossible. If it were the absolute unerring word of God, it wouldn't be loaded with so many contradictions. Therefore, it must be #2. QED!
You haven't understood your Bible. A thorough study of the book Romans should alleviate your confusion regarding The Law and Grace.
Option 2 is non-sensical in all respects. If a being's word is errant, then by definition, that being is NOT God.
Blogs and responses such as these are typical of our time period. There is a pervasive relativism in which everyone thinks everyone else should be able to do what they want as long is it doesn't hurt anyone. Critical thinkers will see through this fallacy immediately.
If the comments above offend you, you have too much pride and learning will prove nearly impossible.
rzim.org will get your mind right.
Why did the Apostle Paul say woman was made for man? (1 Cor 11:9)
God loves everyone and we are all sinners. It's just that sin is consumed in his presence so there won't be any homosexuals in heaven.
1 Cor 6:9
On what do you base this? A feeling - or a study of His Word, the Bible?
I think this type of thinking can lead to dangerous territory Jon, and I'm surprised you have not thought harder about this or expressed it better.
The love that you see exhibited is unlikely to be the lust or the sex - since you are watching it, I am assuming it is the non-sexual side of the relationship you are observing. I agree, God would have no problem with this.
Whether God would have a problem with the sexual side is a different question - and I am not sure what the right answer is there. But, I am not sure that you can jump to the conclusion that homosexual partnerships should be conferred the same spiritual nature as that of a heterosexual marriage - at least from a Bible believing Christian's point of view. I think the bible blesses marriage - I'm pretty sure it doesn't explicitly come out and say the same about homosexual "marriage". And if you want to start picking and choosing which bits of the bible to take on board and which bits to discard you quickly get on to shaky ground.
Whether in law in a modern society homosexual "marriage" should be granted the same legal status and rights is another question again. Maybe it should. There are plenty of other legal things which a Christian might not like or choose to partake in as they are not helpful to their lives centred on Jesus.
Whether or not homosexual sex is a sin is another question again. There are parts of the bible which come out and say it is. If I take your argument the right way, I think you are saying that judging by the character of Jesus from his life as described by the gospels, you find it hard to believe he wouldn't love the people who engage in this. That is certainly true! Jesus loves all of us and we are all sinners. Jesus forgives us our sins. A practising homosexual is no more and no less sinful than you or I, Jon. We are all sinners in the eyes of the Lord. If I so much as look at a woman other than my wife and think sexual thoughts then I have sinned and must ask for the Lord's forgiveness. If this is so, I find it hard to accept that homosexual sex - which is outside the confines of a God-blessed marriage must also be sin. BUT - IT IS NO MORE SINFUL THAN STUFF I AM GUILTY OF ALL THE TIME!
This leaves us the problem of battling with sin, forgiveness and repentance. Why am I allowed to have sex with my wife, but not anyone else when the homosexual man is not allowed to have sex with any man? God is just and will be seen to have dealt fairly with us all, but we can't pretend we know the mind of God. The Lord is infinite and beyond our understanding.
I understand your decision to decline a commitment to engage this topic. The result of engaging this debate at length would probably not be conducive to turning others to Christ anyway...
This is a "Spirit of the law" vs "letter of the law" argument or rather "Malum in se" vs "Malum prohibitum".
And I think that any "critical thinkers" out there should be reasonably required to parse such types of laws without much expense of effort.
God turns no one away who calls on Him and says "Father". We are the ones who drift away.
To that end, I believe that God will forgive those who are homosexual who make a commitment to Him to live in a celibate, monogamous relationship. This is not the typical union sought in civil litigation however, and I think that is the area of contention...
Anyway, Jon, I just found this blog and was pleased to read and consider your thoughts on faith and our Eternal Father.
Your brother in Christ,
In Eph 5, Paul talks about marriage covenant between a man and a woman and then says that it is but a sign for the relationship between Jesus and the Church. He talks of a giving part, Jesus, the husbandman, or man, and a receiving part, the Church, the bride, or woman.
All other relationships that mimic this one relationship are sin, like worshiping false gods.
God loves homosexuals, he loves adulterers, he loves pedophiles, he loves liars. He loves them on their way to hell, and all of them have the same opportunity to repent, which means to turn away from their sin and be saved.
I do not agree that if they live in a celibate same sex covenant of any sort that God will accept them - a marriage covenant is so much more than a treaty to have sex with each other and no one else. If marriage is a sign for our relationship with Jesus - there is no sex in that relationship - there must be much more to becoming one flesh than sex.
There is truth, and there are our emotions. I rather trust the word of God, as my emotions have mislead me many times.
Great work on C#, SO, and many other Christian topics, though.
The Bible consistently tells us that homosexual activity is a sin (Genesis 19:1-13; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Romans 1:26-27 teaches specifically that homosexuality is a result of denying and disobeying God. When people continue in sin and unbelief, God “gives them over” to even more wicked and depraved sin in order to show them the futility and hopelessness of life apart from God. 1 Corinthians 6:9 proclaims that homosexual “offenders” will not inherit the kingdom of God.
God does not create a person with homosexual desires. The Bible tells us that people become homosexuals because of sin (Romans 1:24-27) and ultimately because of their own choice. A person may be born with a greater susceptibility to homosexuality, just as some people are born with a tendency to violence and other sins. That does not excuse the person’s choosing to sin by giving in to sinful desires. If a person is born with a greater susceptibility to anger/rage, does that make it right for him to give into those desires? Of course not! The same is true with homosexuality.....