Tag Archives: homosexuality

Debate this for my amusement! A What the Faith Quickie

Alright, folks, I’m on a break at work and I have five minutes so OHMYGODREADTHISARTICLEVERYFAST!

Hurry!

Hurryhurryhurry!

Okay, now pause. Catch your breath. You did well, padawans.

Is a Christian’s spoken/written opposition to homosexuality, based on their interpretation of the bible, reason enough to accuse them of hate speech?

GO!


Look ma – I’m re-blogging!

(Much thanks to my friend DB Beem for bringing this to my attention. He’s got an awesome blog. If you don’t read it, you should. It’s here.)

At this point, my feelings on homosexuality are probably known by anyone who reads this blog regularly. In short, I’m cool with it. In my ever-growing number of conversations I’ve had with people of faith on this subject, I’ve heard many different takes on homosexuality and the church. Obviously, some people are against it. Nobody I speak to is vehemently against it, but that may be because the vehemence would need to be fueled by a hatred of the people in the GLBT community, and I just don’t hang out with people like that. Other people I’ve spoken too share my conviction that God just isn’t really all that interested in what two consenting, human adults do with their genitals.

“You want to dip those in WHAT? Well, okay. . . it’s your junk, I guess.”

But something I’m noticing more and more these days is people saying that their stance on homosexuality is evolving. Much like President Obama (until very recently), they hesitate to say that they support homosexuality, but just aren’t sure that it’s as big a deal as maybe they once thought. A friend of mine whom I greatly respect works for a church (not mine). She told me that there was a time when she was convinced that if that church hired an openly homosexuality person and put them in a place of leadership, she’d leave. But now, she doesn’t think she would. Her position, it would seem, is evolving.

I’m all for this.

In fact, this seems like textbook “Holy Spirit” to me – a subtle guiding toward change, a gradual shift in perspective, encouraged by love and growing understanding. I’m glad I’m hearing more stories like my friend’s.

And then there’s this one.

Chad Estes wrote a blog post about a man named Timothy Kurek that he met on Twitter. They had several online conversations, and they even Skype’d occasionally. In his blog post Chad said that, from what he could tell, “[Timothy] was outgoing, funny, Christian, and gay.” Timothy had just come out of the closet a few months prior to meeting Chad, and he told Chadof the troubles he’d gone through since coming out of the closet. They became buddies.

Then one day, while talking on Skype, Timothy dropped a truth-bomb on Chad.

Spoiler alert for those who didn’t clicky the link – Timothy isn’t gay. Timothy had been pretending to be gay, had faked an “outing” to his family, his church, and most of his friends. And after reading his reasoning for doing this, I can agree with his motivation.

“Well, you see, I knew I had some prejudices in my life toward the homosexual community and when I was praying about it I felt like God told me I should try walking in their shoes… So I am, literally, for a year. I’ve come out of the closet so I can personally understand the pain my brothers and sisters face when they are brave enough to be real about their lives, knowing the rejection they will face.”

If I make a joke about walking in “fabulous” shoes for a year, am I supporting a stereotype, or pointing out a misuse of the word “literally”?

Now Timothy has started an Indiegogo account to help fund a book about his experience, awesome entitled Jesus in Drag. And while I wish him the best, I share a concern that was mentioned by my friend DB – whom I hope will forgive me for quoting something he said in an email to me.

“Someone in your small group, tells you that they are gay. What do you do? You support them, you pray with/for them, you even get in arguments defending them to your mutual friends. Then at the end of the year, they tell you that it was all a lie and that this was part of their really cool idea for a book. In short, I would be really pissed off. I would feel manipulated and betrayed.”

. . . yeah, I think I would, too.

But then again, as I mentioned to DB, an argument might be made in support of pragmatism over idealism – in other words, the story is important enough that hurting the feelings of a few people along the way is not such a big deal. I’m pretty sure that investigative journalism wouldn’t exist with the adoption of this viewpoint. Still, a church (or a small group, which is even more intimate than a church) should be a place of safety, security, and trust.

Plus, I would have gone to bat for that guy! I might have lost friends in the church! I’d gladly take slings and arrows for someone who came out, but if I found out afterward that it wasn’t the truth, I would probably be pretty upset. Especially when I found out there was going to be a book – it’s one thing to put yourself in the shoes of the oppressed to understand them better, but it might be another thing to profit from that.

“Dude, the WHOLE TIME he was just PRETENDING to be a bear so he could get put on our worship CD!”

Here’s a question for you guys. How do you feel about what Timothy Kurek did? Was it the right thing to do, to help expose the challenges faced by those in the GLBT community when they come out? Or was it just deceitful opportunism?


Yeah, today’s the day.

I’ve said before that I would someday comment on my stance on homosexuality. And since North Carolina’s proposed Amendment One has made the news – an amendment that would ban gay marriage, as well as domestic partnerships, in that state – I think it’s time for me to man up and share my opinion, such as it is.

Yeah, so. I’mma do that right now. But first – check it out! A pastor in North Caroline “didn’t say” it was okay to punch your kids when they’re acting “gay!”  In case my quotes made that confusing, Pastor Sean Harris  totally said that parents should hit their kids when they’re “dropping that limp wrist.” He says that he doesn’t endorse beating kids, but hey, some people lie. It happens. Either way, I haven’t seen someone backpedal so furiously since that one time I got super drunk on the “Pedal Pub” in Minneapolis.

“You. . . you shu’ up. . . it’s righ’y tigh’y, leffy. . . leffy. . . SHUT UP you’re not the boss of ME!” – Me, before vomiting, that one time.

What a relief, man. I was afraid that the bible did not support abusing my children when they act fruitier than Carmen Miranda’s hat.

Anyway, my stance – the Bible does not take any clearer a position on homosexuality than it does internet usage. Anyone who says that the Bible is “crystal clear” on the subject of homosexuality is, in my humble opinion, not researching this shit. I use the word “research” deliberately, because many people do not know that there is an argument against the sin nature of homosexuality. But there is.

Now, I have, in the past, mentioned that Jay Bakker got flack for taking a “radically inclusive” stance  that basically states that homosexuality is not a sin.Well, much of Jay Bakker’s position on  homosexuality is influenced by Rev. Mel White, who wrote this extremely helpful pamphlet about it. And while I do not feel that White has definitively answered the “gay” question once and for all, I think he presents data sufficient to cast doubt on the traditionally-iron-clad assumption that homosexuality is a sin.

Some people don’t see it that way, of course. The day after the article about the North Carolina “go ahead and beat your young flamers” pastor came out, Billy Graham made the news by publicly supporting Amendment One. Because he loves me, and he loves giving me things to poke fun at, Mr. Graham used my all time favorite catch phrase about the scripture.

“The Bible is clear — God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman.”

“You guys BETTER be about to say grace or something. I’m just sayin’.”

What I find so funny about the phrase “the Bible is clear” is that it is never used about things that are actually clear. Nobody ever says, “Dude, stop murdering people, the Bible is clear on that.” Idolatry – that is a sin the Bible is crystal clear on. Not taking care of the poor is definitely poo-poo’d. These are things for which the above statement can be appropriately used.

But how clear is the Bible on the definition of marriage, Mr. Graham?

Okay, cool. That straightens it out, I guess.

Now, I’ve been accused of being a cynic, and I want to own up to that. In my cynical mind, I think the problem that most people (not just Christians) have with homosexuals is that the idea of two guys kissing is something that many people (not me) find gross. That image I put up, of the two guys holding hands? I almost put up an image of two men kissing. I didn’t because even while I’m putting a post that I know could generate controversy (among my literally dozens of readers) I didn’t want to include an image that might be too “offensive” to people.

But you know what? I really don’t care. Being “grossed out” is no excuse, and we should be grown-up enough to get over it. People’s lives can be broken by a hateful response to their sexual orientation, and no single organization in human history should be more responsible for loving and caring for people than the body of Christ. When that guy in North Carolina talks about punching your sons if they act in an effeminate manner, I’m not upset because he’s just some asshole. I’m upset because he’s an asshole pastor.

“I’m gonna set back the church fer decades, YEEEEE-HAWWW!!”

Honestly, it’s time like this that I wish I had a mega-blog – not because I have an ego (although God knows) but because I wish I could be a loud voice in speaking out against this kind of anachronistic nonsense. I wish that anyone cared how I feel about Sean Harris’s hate-filled sermon. I wish more people knew that there is good, solid room for doubt about how the Bible addresses homosexuality. If you don’t know why that is, and you didn’t read the link I put up about Mel White’s pamphlet, seriously, read his pamphlet.  Maybe you won’t agree with it one hundred percent, but it can’t hurt to see an opposing viewpoint, right? At least it could start a positive conversation.

And for the record, I don’t think that it’s as easy to get into Hell as some people believe it is – so I don’t think being on the wrong side of a theological argument is going to get anyone damned. But that being said, the Bible is important. If there is any possibility that you have understood something inaccurately, is there a good reason not to explore that further, maybe hear out the other side’s argument?

Even if you think it’s gross?

Just man up, it’s not that bad.

One last thought.

Yes, we’re all human. I know that to be human is to be broken. As Brandi often tells me, the Bible is the story of imperfect, finite human beings trying to relate to a perfect, infinite God. And I know that Sean Harris isn’t really a bad guy. Neither is Billy Graham. Both of them are people who have dedicated their lives to doing a very difficult job, and they are my brothers in the Body of Christ.

But here’s the thing – part of a brother’s job is to tell people when they are being an asshole. It’s especially important now, because all those little kids who might get their wrist “cracked” because it was “limp”, they’re my brothers and sisters, too. And I love them just as much.

So, Pastor Sean Harris – I love you, brother, but you have some reading to do.

You can start right here.