THE BEST OF RNS: Gil Caldwell, civil rights leader, turns his eye to LGBT rights

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(As 2015 draws to a close, we are republishing some of our favorite stories from the past year. This story by Adelle M. Banks was first published May 5.)

DURHAM, N.C. (RNS) The Rev. Gil Caldwell walked onto the campus of Duke Divinity School, leaning on a cane, alongside thousands of Duke alumni arriving for a reunion. But unlike the others, he wasn’t returning for a stroll down memory lane.

He had come here for a glimpse of what might have been.

Some 60 years ago, Caldwell says, Duke rejected his application because of his race. But now he had arrived, at age 81, after a lifetime of civil rights activism, to finally check Duke off his bucket list.

Rev. Gil Caldwell, an 81-year-old retired United Methodist pastor who is supportive of LGBT rights, poses for a portrait on Monday, April 18, 2015, during the Jack Crum Conference, a social justice gathering of the North Carolina Chapter of United Methodists for Social Action at Epworth United Methodist Church in Durham. For use with RNS-CALDWELL-PROFILE, transmitted on May 4, 2015, Religion News Service photo by Travis Long

The Rev. Gil Caldwell, an 81-year-old retired United Methodist pastor who is supportive of LGBT rights, poses for a portrait on April 18, 2015, during the Jack Crum Conference, a social justice gathering of the North Carolina chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action at Epworth United Methodist Church in Durham. Religion News Service photo by Travis Long

Instead of Duke, Caldwell headed to Boston University School of Theology, where an up-and-coming preacher named Martin Luther King Jr. earned his doctorate in 1955. Caldwell marched with King to protest school segregation in Boston, and followed him to Washington in 1963 for his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.

Caldwell was a “foot soldier” in King’s civil rights army, and he finally made it to Durham, where he closed out a social justice conference focused on a newer movement — the effort to secure full inclusion of LGBT people in the United Methodist Church.

“In some ways there is a possibility that on gay rights and marriage equality, God is speaking more through the judiciary than God is speaking through the United Methodist Church,” Caldwell said in his sermon at a gay-friendly United Methodist church just three miles away from the seminary he said denied him admission.

As he walked through the campus, he introduced himself to students to let them know his personal history of segregation — the first African-American students weren’t admitted to Duke until 1962, school officials said — and inquired about whether LGBT issues are discussed on campus.

Left to right, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Rev. Virgil Wood, and the Rev. Gil Caldwell at Patrick Campbell Elementary School in the Roxbury section of Boston in April 1965. Photo courtesy of the Caldwell family collection

Left to right, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the Rev. Virgil Wood and the Rev. Gil Caldwell at a school in the Roxbury section of Boston in April 1965. Photo courtesy of the Caldwell Family Collection

Unlike some of his peers who bristle at the comparison, Caldwell sees parallels between the civil rights and gay rights movements and isn’t shy about saying so. He was a founder of both Black Methodists for Church Renewal and United Methodists of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church.

He had to confront his own views on tolerance when Malcolm Boyd, an Episcopal priest and activist whose writings he had admired, came out as gay in 1977.

“Do you deny the impact he’s had on your life? Do you burn his books?” he asked himself. “How foolish that would be. And that, of course, was clearly an awakening for me.”

Caldwell said that “epiphany moment” led him to protest the official United Methodist policy that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” He was arrested, along with gay members of his denomination, after disrupting its quadrennial General Conference in 2000. A decade and a half later, he officiated at the wedding of two black gay men — “a beautiful ceremony that I will always remember.”

The Rev. Gil Caldwell visits chapel of Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C., on April 17, 2015. He said he was denied admission to the school in the 1950s. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

The Rev. Gil Caldwell visits the chapel of Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C., on April 17, 2015. He said he was denied admission to the school in the 1950s. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

He contributes to the Truth in Progress website with Marilyn Bennett, a white lesbian who joined him in the 2000 act of civil disobedience. They are co-producing a documentary called “From Selma to Stonewall: Are We There Yet?” The duo, who fondly call each other “Elder Brother” and “Younger Sister,” have visited sites that are key to civil and gay rights history.

Bennett, too, sees parallels in their twin fights for justice. They visited Selma, Ala., where Caldwell marched with King 50 years ago this spring and where the Rev. James Reeb, a Unitarian Universalist minister, was fatally attacked in 1965.

The Rev. Gil Caldwell, an 81-year-old retired United Methodist pastor who is supportive of LGBT rights, speaks on Monday, April 18, 2015 during the Jack Crum Conference, a social justice gathering of the North Carolina Chapter of United Methodists for Social Action at Epworth United Methodist Church in Durham. Religion News Service photo by Travis Long

The Rev. Gil Caldwell, an 81-year-old retired United Methodist pastor who is supportive of LGBT rights, speaks on April 18, 2015, during the Jack Crum Conference, a social justice gathering of the North Carolina chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action at Epworth United Methodist Church in Durham. Religion News Service photo by Travis Long

“When he was there at the Reeb memorial, he was comparing how here was this white man who had come to Selma,” said Bennett, 53, the former executive director of the Reconciling Ministries Network. “Gil, as a black man, as a straight man, is an ally for gays and lesbians.”

Caldwell, who likes to quote King saying “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” is always looking for ways to build bridges between different groups of activists seeking justice. Gay organizations should be more inclusive of black leaders, he says, and black groups need to be more welcoming of gay leaders.

After listening to a panel here of three white gay former United Methodists, he spontaneously asked attendees to sing “There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place.” He gathered black attendees over lunch to discuss the treatment of gays at historically black colleges and universities.

Not everyone welcomes his perspective, including the Coalition of African American Pastors, a conservative group that he denounced in an open letter after the group criticized President Obama’s support of gay marriage.

“There is an ‘ugliness’ to using the Bible to deny some members of ‘God’s family’ the right to legally marry their same-sex partner,” he wrote in the 2012 open letter that appeared in the Washington Blade, a gay publication.

The Rev. Bill Owens, the coalition’s president and a civil rights activist who protested to desegregate lunch counters in Nashville, Tenn., said he doesn’t see the parallels that Caldwell does between African-American and gay rights.  

“We did not march for same-sex marriage,” Owens said flatly.

The Rev. Thomas Lambrecht, vice president of the conservative Good News movement within the United Methodist Church, said he applauds Caldwell’s decades of racial reconciliation work, but “at the same time, I don’t believe that LGBTQ rights are in the same category as racial civil rights.”

The Rev. Gil Caldwell, center, joins a protest of the United Methodist Church’s stance that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” at the denomination’s 2000 General Conference in Cleveland. He was among those arrested for disrupting the quadrennial meeting. Photo courtesy of TruthinProgress.com

The Rev. Gil Caldwell, center, joins a protest of the United Methodist Church’s stance that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” at the denomination’s 2000 General Conference in Cleveland. He was among those arrested for disrupting the quadrennial meeting. Photo courtesy of TruthinProgress.com

The Rev. Eboni Marshall Turman, director of Duke Divinity School’s Office of Black Church Studies, said that even as the United Methodist Church grapples with next steps in its decades-long fight over homosexuality, no historically black denomination has issued a formal statement of inclusion for openly LGBT people, either.

“In the African-American Christian tradition, he certainly is a pioneer,” she said of Caldwell.

That’s exactly why Jimmy Creech recommended Caldwell to preach at the mid-April Durham conference.

Rev. Gil Caldwell, left, an 81-year-old retired United Methodist pastor who is supportive of LGBT rights, and Jimmy Creech who was defrocked by the Methodist Church for performing a gay marriage, speak on Monday, April 18, 2015 during the Jack Crum Conference, a social justice gathering of the North Carolina Chapter of United Methodists for Social Action at Epworth United Methodist Church in Durham. Religion News Service photo by Travis Long

The Rev. Gil Caldwell, left, an 81-year-old retired United Methodist pastor who is supportive of LGBT rights, and Jimmy Creech, who was defrocked by the United Methodist Church for presiding at gay marriages, speak on April 18, 2015, during the Jack Crum Conference, a social justice gathering of the North Carolina chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action at Epworth United Methodist Church in Durham. Religion News Service photo by Travis Long

“I wanted North Carolinians to know that there’s a United Methodist pastor who is African-American who is very strongly in support of this,” said Creech, who was defrocked as a United Methodist minister more than a decade ago after being found guilty of presiding at gay weddings. “And he’s not just some young guy. He’s someone who’s been in the trenches for a long time.”

Caldwell, who declared at the conference that “God is not finished with me yet,” said he sees no immediate end to his work.

As Baltimore grappled with protests that turned violent over the death of a black man in police custody and the Supreme Court heard arguments on the national legalization of same-sex marriage, he blogged about the need for “justice multi-tasking.”

““Black and Gay Lives Matter;’” he wrote on the Truth in Progress website. “It is not either/or, but both/and.”

KRE/MG END BANKS

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  • Greg

    What is this guy going to do when he stands before Jesus in Judgment? My goodness, talk about missing the point. He will probably never understand it, but the Gospel is about changing yourself, and your life, to conform with God Almighty and his established order, not conforming the Gospel to fit your life. Matthew 7:14-16 says, “ …narrow is the gate and how constricted is the road that leads to life, and there aren’t many people who find it! ”Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are savage wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruit. Grapes aren’t gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles, are they?”

  • John Thomas

    well, I can’t speak for Rev. Caldwell, but on the Day of Judgement, I’ll say “I saw the pain of LGBT persons, the high rate of homelessness of LGBT youth, poverty, HIV+, I saw Trans* women of color being killed, LGBT persons being fired for being LGBT, I saw the discriminatory legislation here and in Africa– done in the name of Christ, and I was moved. Lord, I aired on the side of grace and love, judge me how you will.”

  • Greg

    The duty of the Christian is to feed the hungry regardless of their sexual orientation. But first and foremost, it is to lead people from their lives of sin, and into freedom. Freedom in Christ means being freed from the bondage of sin, which shackles and chains us. That, however, can only happen by speaking Truth, not accepting lies. John 8:33: “[Jesus said] “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”

  • Barry the Baptist

    It is notoriously difficult to “free” people who are dead or gone because their church never thought to wonder whether they belonged or deserved protection.

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  • Greg

    Did Jesus soften the Truth when speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well: (John 4)?? No, not at all; it is the Truth that frees, and makes all things possible (Matt 19:26). Man has twisted all that God has given us.

  • James Carr

    A false teacher, a liar, a man placing himself above God. Thank God Pilate never asked this clown, “what is truth?…”

  • Larry

    Ooooh scary.

    Do as I say and believe as I do or you are going to hell!!!!!!!!

    Does that ever work on people? To me it looks like a Christian passive-aggressive way to lob insults and aggrandize one’s self.
    “He is going to hell but I am not!!!!”

    I think the good Reverend Caldwell has probably heard the same sort of statements lobbed at him for most of his life. His actions and record show that he has spent a good deal of his time ignoring such admonishments to follow the dictates of conscience.

  • Ted

    So you’d better stop eating shellfish and start killing women who disobey their husbands.

  • Ted

    Fortunately, your weak and bigoted exegesis has been exposed by scholars, and the 6 supposedly gay-bashing Bible passages are now understood – by those who care to read with the intelligence and compassion God gave us – as dismissing lust as sinful, not love. The Bible says the same, and worse, about all the daily lusts in your own heart. So, look to that plank, Pharisee.

  • Sara V

    I’m sorry Greg, but what part of God’s established order are you even talking about, and in what way do you take this to be the gospel’s central message?

    The ministry of Jesus was based on him caring and reaching out to marginalized groups of people that society had rejected, which is something I would hope Christians aspire to.

    It sounds like Caldwell is doing his best to follow Jesus’ example.

    As for judgment day, you should probably worry about where you stand instead of other people. It’s frankly none of your concern.

  • shawnie5

    ” and in what way do you take this to be the gospel’s central message?”

    All of the synoptic gospels identify the central message of Jesus’s ministry as “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Google let the phrase for the references.

  • Sara V

    Nah, I’m good. I’ve read the bible before.

  • Larry

    That is if you ignore Matthew 22:37-40. But they are so inconvenient for people who want to aggrandize themselves and act holier than thou.

    “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    Somehow “repent or else” seemed to go right past Jesus when he was talking about what God commands as the most important.

    “That which is unpleasant to you, do not to your neighbor. That is the whole law and the rest but it’s exposition.”
    -Rabbi Hillel (30 BCE-10CE)

  • David

    God bless brother Gil. What a dear and wonderful man! A faithful and determined justice seeker.

  • Sara V

    Thank you Larry. I was out driving and didn’t have the time or energy to make that point, but yes! What you said!

  • Jim

    Wow! The Christ I know teaches love! To love your neighbor as yourself. I never heard that love he spoke of only applied to certain people. Yet here on these postings, I read about judgment and hate. That is not the Christ I know!
    I don’t care if you are white, black, pink, blue or green; I don’t care if you are straight or LGBTQI or anything else. You are loved by Christ! End of story.
    I applaud Gil for his openness, and the love he has poured out throughout his long life.

  • Ben in oakland

    Except it turned out not to be. The gospel writers fully expected Jesus to return within their lifetimes, and Jesus told them he would.

    Of course, he didn’t. No one ever has. Or he did, but he decided not to show up ever again .

  • Ben in oakland

    Jesus commanded you to be concerned what YOU would be doing, not what “this guy” would be doing.

    It is something that continually escapes you.

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  • Shawnie5

    No He didn’t. He actually told them they would be martyred, and that the end would not come until the gospel had been taken to the entire world, which clearly could not have happened within their lifetimes. It has not even happened yet. The destruction of Jerusalem, however, would be witnessed the same generation that crucified Him.

    The Kingdom of Heaven arrived the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem as Messiah on Palm Sunday ca. AD 32. It has existed ever since and will exist in its fullness when the church age comes to an end.

  • Shawnie5

    I’m afraid one can not read the gospels in their entirety and miss the central message of them, the Kingdom of God.

  • Shawnie5

    “6 supposedly gay-bashing Bible passages are now understood”

    Indeed they are, but they’re not what you claim. Boswell never made his case — except to those who wanted his case to be true and did not have the scriptural and historical background to evaluate it.

  • Shawnie5

    BTW, you might want to read the entirety of Matthew 22, concerning the ultimate outcome of ignoring the call.

  • Shawnie5

    Larry, not loving God above all else, or neighbor as self, is what we are called to repent of. None of us are loving God or others sufficiently, which is why the cross was necessary.

    You also seem to forget that love of neighbor is secondary to, and the outgrowth of, love for God and all His commands and designs and purposes. You can not truly love neighbor without seeking the face of God first.

  • Charles

    Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. If it were as important as people are making it, he would have said something. Instead, he said to love your neighbor and God – this above all else. Oh, and he said not to judge. What else are we doing here when we say “turn from sin” but judging. Christians are meant to lead by example. Believe what you want to believe, but Jesus was friends with what we would consider the lowest forms of humans (on a social level) and he led by example not by preaching what he himself did not practice.

  • shawnie5

    “What else are we doing here when we say “turn from sin” but judging.”

    Charles, “turn from sin” is the very definition of “repent,” which was preached by Jesus and all the disciples after Him.

    “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Luke 13:3

  • Billysees

    John Thomas,

    “…done in the name of Christ, and I was moved. Lord, I aired on the side of grace and love, judge me how you will. ”

    An excellent and mature response. Modernity at its best.

    From Paul’s own hand he writes —
    1. …our knowledge is partial and incomplete…
    2. …we see things imperfectly…
    3. All that I know now is partial and incomplete…
    (1 Corinthians 13:9,12)

    Considering that honest self appraisal about his own knowledge and understanding, I think that the ‘worthiness’ of his advice and admonishment needs to be reasoned out and the applicability of other things in scripture also.

    Obviously then, we always need to discover or uncover new and better ways of understanding an issue than rely solely on scripture, which is too partial, incomplete and imperfect.

    …we are serving in a new spiritual way, not in an old way dictated by written words………Romans 7:6

  • Billysees

    shawnie5,

    I recall from Acts, that the word repent simply means to ‘believe and turn to the Lord’. Sin is not referred to in that meaning.

    It may have other definitions though but I don’t what they are.

  • Robert Dewitt

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11
    “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality,10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
    To equate discrimination of race with morality is mixing apples and oranges. We are to love the sinner but hate the sin. The Bible is clear on the subject, either follow the scriptural teaching of the Bible or remove reverend from behind you name.

  • Larry

    You equate love of God with excuses to ignore love thy neighbor.

    So those people who you show malicious unloving behavior towards is out of your love of God or to admonish them for not loving God as you do? What excuse do you feel like using today? 🙂

    I am not seeing how one’s expectation to love God and show kind, unhateful behavior can be turned into excuses to engage in hateful behavior. The fact that you constantly claim hateful behavior to be the only option for “real” Christians to conduct themselves really requires torture of the text I cited.

    As those two commandments Jesus spoke of state, love of God is not license to attack others. Quite the opposite. They are a charge, a duty to treat others well as an expression of it.

    That is my $0.02 on the subject. You have your own opinions. The only difference being, I am not delusional enough to speak for an entire faith the way you do.

  • Elicia Hopkins

    This is one of the most perfect responses I have seen. Awesome.

  • Susan

    Ted, I assume that you are using Pharisee as an insult. It is not. You don’t understand who the Pharisees were. I have written about this on other posts and I won’t repeat those comments here. You should read an article by Amy Jill Levine in Sojourners Magazine called “Quit Picking on the Pharisees. It is in the March issue.

  • Shawnie5

    Billy, if you go to a standard dictionary the definitions all express the idea of remorse, regret, or penitence

    The Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines the original Greek word “metanoeo” as a change of mind: as it appears in one who repents of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done. Which is why, of course, Jesus said He came not to call the righteous, but sinners (which includes everyone), to repentance (Luke 5:32).

    Repentance is inseparable from belief in the gospel — for there is little point in turning to Christ for salvation if you see recognize nothing that you need to be saved from.

  • Shawnie5

    Larry, the love and knowledge of God changes the way we love each other. If I believed that the material world is all that exists and ultimately has no real meaning, then I suppose one might call it “loving” to simply pat everyone on the head and assure them that whatever they do is just fine as long as they’re having fun and not bothering anyone else. However, since I believe that the world and everyone and everything in it is the work of a supreme being with a discernible creative purpose, which we will all be held accountable for serving or not serving, then it is not loving to approve or condone the flouting of that purpose, much less participate in it, knowing the consequences of it.

    Not that I will try to stop you. Knock yourself out. But nobody is going to be able to look at me on that day Greg mentioned and ask why I lied to them about it all.

  • Larry

    I guess anything which can rationalize bad behavior towards others will be used. Especially if you can invoke religion and absolve yourself of personal responsibility. “Its not me, its Jesus”.

    “then I suppose one might call it “loving” to simply pat everyone on the head and assure them that whatever they do is just fine as long as they’re having fun and not bothering anyone else. “

    YES, ABSOLUTELY SO!!!

    Especially since your version of “loving” and “concern for sin” looks awfully like what people do to those they despise and seek harm to.

    What passes for “Christian love” by people like yourself is disgusting hypocrisy, dishonesty and malice. You will claim any harmful, vile act to others as “concern for their souls”. Anything to avoid love of thy neighbor.

  • Greg

    Let’s pick one of the Six: Lev. 18:22 ‘You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” Doesn’t get much clearer than that.

  • Greg

    Larry, it’s both. Matthew 18:15-17, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

  • Greg

    Charles Jesus preached the Gospel to the Jews; He empowered the Church to preach to the Gentiles after his Death, Resurrection, and Ascension. The Jews had the Law, which forbade homosexuality, so why would he reiterate what they already knew. It is only when Paul, Thomas, and the others went out into the Pagan world did they see how far from God those people had become, and that is when homosexuality was formally addressed.

  • shawnie5u

    @Larry:

    “YES, ABSOLUTELY SO!!!”

    Well, of course you proved my point. The material man can not perceive the things of God. According to Jesus he can not even SEE the kingdom of God–IOW, you would not know the kingdom, and the kind of love it operates on, if it were right front of your face.

    Not that much has changed on this point in 2000 years. Tacitus called us haters of mankind, and God-haters still accuse us of hatred. And Jesus warned us about all of it ahead of time–that the world hated Him because He testified that it’s works were evil, and His followers would be hated for the same reason. But Love didn’t pat our heads and leave us in filth; it came and bore witness to the Truth, and provided us a way to be cleansed.

  • Larry

    Yes I proved the point that people like yourself choose not to understand the concept of “love thy neighbor” or its equivalent “That which is unpleasant to you, do not to your neighbor.”

    That self-righteous excuses are substitutes for actual concern for others and mask maliciousness. You may call it “Christian love”, but the deeds demonstrate otherwise. Hate claiming to be concern. Phony dishonest pretenses for prejudice and mean spirited behavior.

    For you guys its all simply checking off passages to find excuses for behavior instead of trying to understand meaning and context. Typical fundamentalist rationalizing.

  • Larry

    @Greg

    Do you expect me to honestly believe your bile and malice expressed is somehow concern for people or their soul? Of course not. You just claim you are expressing “christian love” when saying nasty things about others to feel better about it.

    “treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

    A pagan or a tax collector is still accorded a measure of civility and respect. He is still your neighbor. Someone you are charged with showing love to. Even if it is not returned.

  • Greg

    Matthew 24:36: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

  • Greg

    Yes, Larry, believe it or not, my only hope is that by the end of your lives, all here will give Jesus their love, and not their despisableness. You must admit, if you died today, and were suddenly standing before our Lord in Judgment, you’d have to be saying, “uh-oh!”

  • Paul W.

    Wow, Billysees. You have just provided a textbook example on why cherrypicking random phrases and verses that support your own opinion is a truly horrid form of Biblical exegesis. You have managed to twist the Apostle Paul’s words to arrive at exactly the opposite of his real views.

    1 Cor, 13 says only that we do not fully comprehend God’s plans and the spiritual realm. In Romans 7:6, Paul is referring to the new covenant as opposed to the old (the law). None of this provides any support for your argument that the Scriptures are “partial, incomplete, and unclear” requiring us to look elsewhere for answers.

    “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17)

    “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” (Gal 1:8)

  • Billysees

    Paul W,
    “1 Cor, 13 says only that we do not fully comprehend God’s plans and the spiritual realm.”

    I was only using Paul’s exact words, that to me described his own ‘personal’ knowledge and understanding. I don’t feel convinced that he was expressing a more general opinion about ‘God’s plans and the spiritual realm.’

    “None of this provides any support for your argument that the Scriptures are “partial, incomplete, and unclear”…”
    Again, I was only using Paul’s own words as written.

    “…requiring us to look elsewhere for answers.”
    That was only my thought about what we could/should do when confronted with the words partial, incomplete or unclear.

    Agree with 2 Tim 3:16-17. But still think that ‘all scripture’ is not enough. I’ve been interested in ‘Scout Law’ recently. Was never a Scout. Now realize that all 12 of the laws are ‘better’ than anything the scripture has to offer for all folks and Christians too. They’re in ‘The Boy Scout Handbook’.

  • Billysees

    Ben in oakland,

    “Jesus commanded you to be concerned what YOU would be doing, not what “this guy” would be doing.”

    That’s an important reminder for all to consider.

  • Shawnie5

    @Larry: Whatever is “unpleasant” to me? I can tell you exactly what would be “unpleasant” to me. It would be unpleasant to think that I bullied someone into participating in an activity that violated their conscience. In fact, I would find it hard to live with myself if I did that, although I realize that for many people, some of whom I’ve encountered on these boards, that is part of the fun. So, I do not bully others in this way.

    It would also be unpleasant to me for someone to blatantly lie to me about the nature and consequences of some action of mine that they knew would lead to my destruction. So, I do not lie in this manner.

    These two things make up the complete list of the “malicious” and “unloving” actions that you and your attribute to us. Forgive me for not seeing the problem presented by the two greatest commandments.

    And as for “meaning and context,” Larry…you have to actually read the texts first.

  • Greg

    Sarah, Anyone who uses Jesus Christ to promote things immoral, will be Judged accordingly. The moral law, is the moral law. Read 2Peter Chapter 2. Men who teach favorably of the things God has deemed immoral are far from God, and should be kept far from our families.

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  • Larry

    @Shawnie

    As usual, you deliberately miss the point. Why is straight forward honest discussion so difficult for you. That which is unpleasant to you would be acts towards you which would be unpleasant. Like if you were being discriminated against.

    And yet for all of your phony concern for the souls and “consequences of one’s actions” winds up as support for discriminatory conduct. A malicious, hateful, act you would not want done to yourself. “You will know a Christian by their deeds”. Despite your self-serving justifications, your deeds, the acts which you are expecting to be judged upon, are rather pleasant if visited upon yourself.

    You support discriminatory uncivil behavior towards others. You can pretend it has some personal justification. But in the end it is not really love of thy neighbor or avoiding what would be unpleasant to you. Your version of “Christian love” and concern is worthless except to rationalize bad behavior.

  • Shawnie5

    Straightforward discussion is not difficult for me, as I think everyone here can agree. What you’re doing is wearing yourself out looking for evil ulterior motives underlying my comments and those of others. Why do you, rather, have such difficulty addressing people’s actual statements instead of trying to tell us what we really mean?

  • Shawnie5

    Having someone refuse to participate in some objectionable action of mine (what you call “discrimination” in the present circumstances) is not even NEARLY as “unpleasant” to me as the idea of forcing a conscience violation on the person doing the refusing. In fact, in my case it would not actually be “unpleasant” at all; if someone were to suggest that my marriage is not valid and refuse to help celebrate it, my only response would be a smile, a shrug, and a have-a-nice-day as I went about my business. Of course, I do have moral confidence on the matter, which obviously some people do not as their actions evidence.

    I am sorry indeed that others find such violation of another more “pleasant” than their own personal inconvenience, but then again that just demonstrates how the observation of the greatest commandment affects the observation of the second greatest.

  • Shawnie5

    That comment was to Larry. Not sure why it posted under Ben.

  • Gregory Peterson

    I kind of doubt, Mr. Greg, that a Gay man sleeps with a man as with a woman, so Lev. 18:22 doesn’t really apply. But I guess that a straight man might under some unusual circumstances. So, don’t.

    In any case, Lev. 18 is about not doing as the ancient Egyptians and Canaanites did with their fertility cult/Baal/Moloch worship rituals.

    Since there isn’t a Moloch cult out on a hill near town, it’s not like Lev. 18 has much relevance for today, beyond using verse 22 to abuse your minority neighbors..

  • Gregory Peterson

    “Homosexuality” is a much abused, modern era social construct with a lot of long discredited scientific baggage…much like “race,”

    (“Race” is the older of the two, “homosexuality” not being conceptualized until the late 1860s).)

    The ancients had their own social constructs, usually sexist, patriarchy defending social constructs.

  • Gregory Peterson

    You might also be interested in (Sorry about the profanity, but it’s necessary within the context)

    Gays Are the New Niggers
    by Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou

    40 years after the Stonewall riots, what Bayard Rustin means for American democracy.

    http://killingthebuddha.com/mag/damnation/gays-are-the-new-niggers/

  • Billysees

    Robert,

    ” Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God?…none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. ”

    I sincerely believe that Paul simply cannot make that call. The ‘spirit’ can save, touch, lead, etc…anyone it wants. That same ‘spirit’ is not bound by what is written down. Sexual sin has no clear definition. A good example is the very definition of fornication, which is made out to be a no-no of some kind. It’s just not realistic.

    Another example — would someone who gets a divorce outside of any biblically allowed reason be committing a sin? Of course not, else their new marriage (assuming they remarry) would be tainted by that sin.

    Anyway, let’s not forget this — ABOVE ALL, LOVE EACH OTHER DEEPLY, because love covers over a multitude of sins……1 Peter 4:8

  • Sara V

    You spelled my name wrong and it was literally spelled out for you.

    Also, again, I’ve read the bible before, don’t need to be instructed on what to read as though I’ve never given any sort of thought to this subject, so you can take that attitude out of here. Thanks.

  • “There is an ‘ugliness’ to using the Bible to deny some members of ‘God’s family’ the right to legally marry their same-sex partner,” – The concept of God is misunderstood and creates all confusions.

    At one time Vedas were known all over the world. Its influences can be found in all religions including Christianity and Judaism. Yoga, Yogic Power, Reincarnations, Destiny, Eternal recurrences are all Vedic concepts and are clearly visible in all religions including Christianity and Judaism. Thus Vedas should be considered as foundation of all religions.

    There is no God, as the creator of the universe, in Vedas. Veda says you are created by your soul and I am created by my soul. There are thousands of examples form reincarnations, yogic powers, destiny theory to prove that all objects in the universe are created by their individual souls.

    Take a look at https://theoryofsouls.wordpress.com/ If you replace God in Bible by your soul, you will not find any contradictions and…

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