Methodists reject alternative format for divisive LGBT discussions

Delegates to the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore., consider their hopes and dreams for the legislative meeting. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

(RNS) Delegates to the United Methodist Church General Conference shot down a strategy that would have allowed them to discuss contentious legislation in small groups.

The vote on the group discernment process, nicknamed “Rule 44,” stretched over three days and hinted at the tone that will follow at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore., where the quadrennial denominational conference is meeting until May 20.

The small-group discernment process had been proposed after delegates to the 2012 General Conference reported instances of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people being bullied and asked for a new way to discuss potentially divisive issues. Had the process been approved, it likely would have been suggested for use at this year’s conference to discuss the inclusion of LGBT people in the church.

The United Methodist Church does not ordain LGBT clergy or allow its clergy to perform same-sex weddings. More than 100 of the 1,043 petitions delegates will consider at the conference have to do with human sexuality.

Bishop Elaine Stanovsky (left foreground) receives Holy Communion from Sue Laurie (right) and Julie Bruno during opening worship at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. Laurie and Bruno, prominent activists for greater inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life of The United Methodist Church, were married outside the 2008 General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

Bishop Elaine Stanovsky (left foreground) receives Holy Communion from Sue Laurie (right) and Julie Bruno during opening worship at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. Laurie and Bruno, prominent activists for greater inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life of the United Methodist Church, were married outside the 2008 General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

“I think Rule 44 is the best chance we have for an honest conversation and to move past this fear of talking about LGBTQ people,” said delegate Dorothee Benz, a layperson from the New York Annual Conference.

Several delegates shared how their perceptions had been challenged by the kind of discussions Rule 44 would have allowed. Egmedio Equila, a clergyperson from the South Nueva Ecija Philippines Annual Conference, said those small-group, face-to-face meetings were familiar to his culture.

But opponents argued that delegates weren’t ready to implement such discussions and that they hadn’t been tested at any of the denomination’s regional groupings known as annual conferences.

Rule 44 was voted on Thursday (May 12) after so many motions and points of order were called that delegate Margie Briggs, a layperson from the Missouri Annual Conference, said, “I believe we’re confusing God at this point.”

It failed, with 57 percent of the 864 delegates voting against it.

The tension over LGBT inclusion during the meeting, which draws delegates from across the globe, was evident from the beginning. In a sermon at the conference’s opening worship, Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr., president of the Council of Bishops, reminded delegates: “As we discuss our different opinions about same-gender relationships, may we remember our dueling points of view are anchored in our desire to be faithful.

“We hold our respective positions as firmly as our conscience and experience dictates, but can we not also seek the path of unity among Christians with different views on this issue as we have on other disputed matters?”

During Communion, members of a group called Love Prevails held banners reading “Remember Me” and set up stations where worshippers could receive the bread and wine from Methodists who were openly LGBT.

And the Rev. Vicki Flippin of Church of the Village in New York City, part of Methodists in New Directions, said she was denied participation in the service if she did not omit a reference to LGBT people in a greeting she had planned to give. Representatives of the General Conference said the issue was naming a specific group, the issue was naming any specific group, not specifically naming LGBT people.

“As soon as you name one group, you need to name every group,” said the Rev. Laura Jaquith Bartlett, director of music and worship. “Otherwise, it takes away the power of the gospel message, which is that Jesus’ love is available to everyone.”

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.


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  • God also calls homosexual people to ordained ministry, there is nothing that can be done to stop it.

    God blesses two people who are in committed love and want to spend their lives together in peace, even if some churches don’t get it.

  • All of us “do theology” on a daily basis; even those who do not claim to believe in anyone or anything. I see here that you have made two significant theological claims in your post: to know who God calls, and to know what God blesses. Honestly, this is a tremendously significant claim which needs the backing of something more than opinions, preferences, and feelings. If you are referring to the Christian faith then such claims must rest in the word of God (Scripture). According to the clear testimony of God’s word and two thousand years of church tradition (including John Wesley – the founder of the Methodist Movement) God indeed does a lot of “calling”; He calls all people to repentance…He calls sinners to Himself to receive new life and transforming grace. So yes, according to Scripture, God does call homosexual men and women….He calls them along with all of us sinners to receive new birth by faith in Christ and renewal by the Holy Spirit who redeems the human heart from all unrighteousness. Afterward, God then calls men and women to the ministry, but not before.
    Similarly, God “blesses” those who place their faith in Him and who walk in loving obedience to Him. God blesses repentance, faith, and obedience but never blesses sin, rebellion, or anything He has defined as unrighteousness. For God to bless homosexuality would make God to be completely inconsistent and contradictory within Himself and His very nature. We must be very careful to not claim to speak for the God of the Bible but to hear him speak for Himself; otherwise the need arises to clarify what other faith or “God” is being explained or spoken of. We are living in confusing times, and the truth of Christ is needed above all else.

  • Well, there’s that assumption that God can deal with people continuing their sin of self-righteousness and arrogance (of which Jesus criticizes many, many times) along with the assumption that God cannot possibly deal with gays continuing their “sin” of embracing their homosexuality (of which Jesus NEVER mentions.) Maybe when Jesus said “you without sin throw the first stone” he was saying: will you stop worrying about everyone ELSE’s sins, and just start worrying about your own? He’s VERY clear on judgmentalism, i.e. leave that up to God. Oh, and btw, Josh, quoting you from above: “For God to bless homosexuality…” / “and to know what God blesses.” YOU’RE CLAIMING TO KNOW WHAT GOD BLESSES. I can’t think of anything more self-righteous or arrogant!! And you seem QUITE happy not to repent on that point. Just sayin…

  • Ok, Mikey, make your scriptural case for blessing homosexual unions. We’re listening.

  • Well done, Joshua B. Folks are always wanting to quote Jesus about “not throwing the first stone,” but they never ever remember Him saying, “Go and sin no more!”

  • Matthew 5:17. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or Prophets: I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
    The Old Testament law still exists, but Jesus took the penalty for violating it. Is God going to bless something that He said is sin? You tell me.
    We are called to repentance of sin, the OT law says what sin is. Sexual sin is a whole different level than wearing mixed fabrics or eating shrimp. 1 Co 6:18″Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”
    This is a body of Christ matter, Scripture has to be final authority. Please back your views with Scripture.

  • My friend, look carefully at Romans chapter 6 regarding “continuing” in sin of any kind. “Don’t judge” is the banner many wave today even within the Church. The truth is however, that it I have not judged anyone; the word of God (Scriptire; the Bible) has already judged and spoken on this matter sexual immorality.
    It is not loving to make people believe that we can ignore God’s word and be safe in our sin. It is actually loving and compassionate for a doctor to diagnose a disease, or a highway worker to stop and block cars which are speeding toward a washed out bridge and destruction, is it not? Jesus Christ most definitely did not condone, bless, affirm, or ordain the sin of anyone and loved the woman caught in adultery while clearly instructing the woman to go and not sin in this way any more. If she had not obeyed after an encounter with Jesus where He said “Neither do I condemn you” but had disregarded the word, then yes, she would receive condemnation before the throne on the day of Judgement. We must be grounded in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and familiar with the word otherwise we will be liable to believe that anything is acceptable, good, or of God.

  • Theology and social construct. As we all sit on the sidelines discussing what the United Methodist Church should do with the GLBT issue, Methodist GLBT congregants look on with hope that they have a home in a Christian church that loves them and supports them. At the end of the day, I know with certainty that all that is hoped for is that the church will be more open and accepting. “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors” is an amazing credo, but it is only six words if it is not put into action. And no, saying that the GLBT community can walk through the door and sit in the pew is not a demonstration of that credo in action. The theology we follow as Christians, as Methodists, allows for much more support than providing a place to sit in worship. Our theology provides opportunities for GLBT individuals to be fully engaged in worship. However, social construct stands in the way. Many Christians have biases and discernments founded in a prideful understanding of God’s will–based on the words written by men in a book that has not been changed in almost 2000 years. We can sit around and argue the point about the bible being “inspired by God” and I have no doubt that there is truth to that claim. However, what we always fail to account for in this discussion is the complete framing of the words, the messages, and the expected moral teachings of those passages. Instead, we will use outdated models of discussion, outdated understandings of the words and translations, and outdated motives to frame (incorrectly) our understanding of what we are to learn from the allegory, hyperbole, or parable as it is told to us. If you doubt this statement, look no further than the very learned individuals who now discuss what passages in the bible mean. You will find amazing educated and discerning people on opposite sides of the table of understanding in interpreting passages. However, at the end of the day, the bible provides a model we should follow. In the bible, there are examples of how God, and then Christ, changed how we are expected to react to individuals who do wrong unto us. Early on in the bible, the reaction was retribution with a factor of 7. Then it changed to an equal exchange, “eye for an eye” as it were. Then, in Christ’s time, it became “turn the other cheek”. That change occurred over the some 1700 years of writings that the bible encompasses. How can you, then, rightfully argue, that there would not have been a change in how GLBT theists would be treated? Especially given that being a homosexual did not even make the top ten (commandments), nor the list of deadly sins.
    Having written this, I know it changes nothing. People will choose to believe as they choose. I simply choose to believe in a God that allows people to be themselves, fully recognized. And I believe that those of us who have accepted Christ as our personal savior, and strive to lead Christ-like lives, will find our reward in heaven, irrespective of our sexual orientation. God bless!

  • Romans ch 1, closing verses, condemns homosexuality and places it in the same class of sinning as adultery, fornication and hating God. Additionally, the clergy are to be “above reproach” from other verses. Clearly, the Romans verses do not permit Christian homosexual behavior or marriages and clergy cannot be homosexual or perform homosexual marriages without going against the Word of God. To go against His Word, is to go against God Himself.
    Excuses and rationalizations do not let you wiggle out of sin. Sin is sin.
    Rather than being concerned if UMC is going to let you in the door, perhaps you should be considering whether God is going to let you in His “door”.

  • Funny. In the Catholic Church, you cannot be a priest without a vocation, a literal calling from God, a charisma, or gift from God.

    The church has its ways to determine that a vocation is real, because many are not.

    Yet God calls gay men to the priesthood, according to the church. Hard to figure that out. Such a contradiction.

    Or maybe, as I always like to point out, you so called Christians who think they understand an ancient book, and that it agrees with their prejudices, are the ones who are wrong. God has been trying to tell you this for at least 50 years, but your hearts are hardened, and you are doing the usual– mistaking your beliefs for God, and presuming to know the relationship of your God with any other soul on the planet,

    Nah. Couldn’t be as obvious as that.

  • Ok. I asked you before. You claim it is harmful behavior. Let’s have the harm, a documentable list.

    I am gay. I have always been gay. I have a great a husband, a wonderful life, a wonderful family, a huge circle of friends, peace, prosperity, health, and happiness.

    So what exactly is the harm?

  • No it doesn’t. Romans is talking about idolatry, not homosexuality.

    But sure. Believe what you need to.

  • It is amazing how LGBT want to be Christians, but do not want to obey the Bible. Paul, to Timothy repeats his condemnation of homosexual behavior.

  • It’s amazing how many Christians want to be Christians, but do not want to obey the bible. Jesus and Paul condemn this behavior.

  • I would never cite a text that made it into the Bible under false pretenses as a moral authority on anything. Both 1 Tim and 2 Tim start off by dishonestly claiming to have been written by Paul. They are both forgeries under Paul’s name.

  • Jesus does not say one thing about homosexuality in the Bible. What difference does it make if Paul has hangups about it?

  • Reminds me of the folks who for years said that theology would not allow women to be ministers. God kept calling women to ministry anyway.

    Finally, people were able to get past their theology and ordain women anyway.


  • There is nothing sexually immoral about a homosexual marriage.

    Not a thing. Scripture is not the final authority, God is.


  • Those who use Romans 1 to condemn other folks have obviously never bothered to read Romans 2.

    Besides, Romans 1 is about heterosexual folks participating in Pagan Fertility Worship, not love and marriage.


  • Actually Timothy never mentions homosexual behavior.

    True, the Bible was changed in the 1940’s to add the word “homosexual” in some translations, but we all know what happens to folks who add or subtract from the Bible.

  • Just like those who could not discern that women were being calling to Ordained ministry?

  • Jesus never said that… In fact, the passage that contains those words were added to the Bible hundreds of years after it was written.

    They are not in any of our original manuscripts.


  • Just because your ears and eyes are closed to God’s call, don’t assume everyone else is. Thank God Paul was not like you.

  • Bottom line is that there many Christian denomination who are ordaining homosexual Pastors and are performing homosexual marriage. They have heard God’s call, discerned it, and are moving forward in love with Christ and with full Biblical authority.

  • Apparently a few of you have been told that the Bible condemns what we currently understand as homosexual love and affection.

    That is NOT true… It doesn’t.

    Passages that are misinterpreted as homosexuality in the Bible are in reality references to practices which involve either male rape or fertility-cult pagan rites.

    Biblical interpretations that reject homosexual people are NOT of God and they never have been.

  • No, they have ignored your opinion and have listened to God’s love and God’s Will and God’s Word instead.

    It’s you who is lost. Not them…. Clearly.

  • Scripture is God’s revealed will. Nothing that is truly from God will go against that. We know from the Gospel of John that Jesus is the Word made flesh.

  • Only folks of little faith think God communicates only in an audible form….

    Anyone who has truly experienced the presence and love of God knows better.

    God is not that limited… Human are…. God is not.

  • which describes theology, god’s message to the world, and what god wants precisely. Someone won the vote. And the ones that lost the vote get to hold up a quivering index finger, shake it, and claim, “You’re going against the express word of god.”

    Until it is no longer the word of god. That’s why we don’t burn witches any more.

  • I know that. You know that.
    Antigay religious people, mistaking the clanging cymbals in their heads for the word of god, have to wait a while.

  • You know that and I know that. But there are Christians who follow Jesus, and then there are Paulists who follow whatever they believe Paul is talking about that they agree with.

  • Scripture is not God’s revealed Will, life is.

    The Bible is a book, with words.

    Jesus is God’s Word, according to the Bible. Jesus is life.

    Open your mind, your hearts, and your doors…


  • Well, first off, Jesus is our saviour, whom we named our religion after. Not Paul. And I don’t understand this concept of “inerrancy” that you’re obviously pushing. The Bible is a *story*, not a lawyer’s manual. And surely, if the intent was EVER to be inerrant, maybe SOMEONE in the Bible would have mentioned that. Somewhere? Anywhere?

    And Jesus is pretty clear, in word and action, about loving people, no matter what Jewish law stipulated. The aforementioned woman about to be stoned, Samaritans, Gentiles, eunuchs, lepers, oh, how about women in general, even? Half of society, who were considered so impure so that they could never enter the temple, and yet He appears to them FIRST after He rises.

    And if you guys are so invested in “ranking” sins, then why aren’t you invested in “ranking” religious law?? Matthew 22:35-40. “All the law and prophets hang on these two commandments”. Straight from the mouth of our Saviour. How exactly are you “loving” your LGBTQ children, who CANNOT CHANGE, by telling them in church that they are evil and going to hell and that it’s better for them to just commit suicide? How are you loving your neighbor by denying them the gift of spousal love, “for their own good”? Better yet, how are you loving God by denigrating some of His children — btw, whom He ALSO created in His own image?

    Do you think you’re Abraham with Isaac or something? You’re not. God is not *testing* you to see if you’ll let the evil gays win. If anything, he’s shown you, by the almost miraculous speed and world-wide acceptance and grace of so many people, to the understanding of LGBTQ orientation, that gays are not a mistake. If anything, he is testing us to see if we can even RECOGNIZE the miracle. Man didn’t cause this revolutionary change of heart. The Holy Spirit did.

    And I find it very hard to look at the central themes of the Gospels – which are RADICAL, and brilliant, and hard to live by (e.g. turn the other cheek, blessed are the poor, love your neighbor, when you do this for the least of these) and think that condemning a group of people for how God created them — something that’s REALLY easy to do since it’s been done by humans since the beginning of time — is living true to the Gospels. Acting as judge and jury for gay people is NOT living by the Gospels. I seriously cannot even grasp how you guys think it is.

  • The latter folks don’t seem to realize that referring to their own interpretation of the Bible (whether original or adopted from another) is seldom anything more than confirmation bias at its worst. I’d go so far as to say that what a person says they see in the Bible tells us more about that person than it ever will about God. – the Bible is a great “ink blot” test.

  • Actually he did on 3 occasions, and so did Jude:

    Rom. 1:26–27, 1 Cor. 6:9–10, 1 Tim.
    1:8–11 and Jude 1:7

  • Well, if scriptures are in whole or in part forgeries, then the Christian church is, so why are LGBTQI person so set on joining?

  • Actually others did not hear what Paul heard on the road to Damascus, only Paul heard the words.

    It says so in the Bible.

    Is the Bible a false prophet to you?

  • It’s quite possible to love God and follow Jesus without believing a single word the Bible says or ever opening one to read. The most divinely inspired aspect of the Bible just might be that enough falsehood managed to sneak into it will always give those of us who oppose idolizing man-made texts like the Pharisees did plenty of ammunition to debunk the claim that the Bible is “the Word of God”.

  • Romans 1 is clearly about Pagan Fertility Worship… 10 people, men and women… That’s not marriage.

    The Word “Homosexual” was added to 1 Cor. 6:9–10, 1 Tim.
    1:8–11 in the 1940’s in some translations…. The Greek word’s meaning is unclear, it was interpreted as “masturbation” for over 1,000 years, until the 1940’s when it was changed to homosexual, mostly due to modern homophobia.

    Jude mentions Sodom and Gomorrah, a story about gang rape of two angels and the offer of a virgin to rape instead…. That’s not about homosexual marriage in any way.

  • As I considered this issue, among other things, I looked at the fruit of “all things homosexual are a sin” teaching. It doesn’t take long to see that the fruit of the teaching is consistently rotten – drives people away from God. Once you see that, it’s easy to see that it’s a false teaching driven by the prejudices of men.

  • (Acts 22:9, KJV)–“And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard NOT the voice of him that spake to me.”

    (Acts 22:9, NASB)–“And those who were with me beheld the light, to be sure, but did NOT understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me.”

    (Acts 22:9, NIV)–“My companions saw the light, but they did NOT understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.”

  • “Well, first off, Jesus is our saviour, whom we named our religion after. Not Paul”
    While I affirm that we are saved by our faith alone in Christ alone, your comment begs the question as to whether you also believe that all scripture is inspired of God, that it is theopneustos, or God breathed? And that what is written in the Book of Romans carries the same authority as what is written in the Book of Matthew, or Joel, or Genesis? While Jesus didn’t lay down any new proscriptions regarding homosexuality, He instead reaffirmed what right looks like in God’s eye, that being man and woman being joined in marriage.

  • What you are saying is also outside the bounds of orthodox Christian belief being it stands against what the Bible teaches. Congratulations, you have joined the ranks of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the LDS

  • That must be it. A conspiracy. Let me save you the trouble.
    14% of gay men in this country are HIV+. That means 86% are not. I’m not. Very few of my friends are. None of my friends have venereal diseases. But that’s because we’re not promiscuous. But if you are using widely used medical dictionaries, you would know that it is not homosexuality that causes HIV, or any other disease, but a virus. It’s fairly easy to avoid.
    Worldwide, especially in Africa and Asia, AIDS is primarily a heterosexual problem. Black women in this country are the second largest group with HIV after gay men. Meanwhile, such widely used medical resources would also tell you that lesbians have far lower rates of STD’s then heterosexuals. By your logic, they must be god’s chosen people.

  • Rom 1 is about Pagan Fertility Worship, not homosexuality…. The people in Romans 1 are heterosexuals. Read Romans 2, before using Romans 1 to judge others.

    The word or concept “homosexual” is not in my version of the Bible in any of those places.

    Jude, is a reference to Sodom, a story about the gang rape of two angels… That’s not homosexual marriage either.

  • The Greek says: “they did not hear the sound.”

    So you would say that Paul’s experience was an opinion but not Jesus ?

  • By the way, I’m talking about Orthodox Christianity…

    Orthodox are not book worshipers in any way, shape, or form.

  • Strictly speaking, the vast majority of scholars think that Jude is referring to angelic flesh when he speaks of strange flesh.

    It’s just one more example of the fine art of getting your bible to say whatever you need it ot. The “you” is a generic you, not you personally.
    Martin Luther thought that Corinthians referred to masturbation. It always strikes me as fairly amusing that the people who refer to Corinthians when condemning ALL gay people frequently revile and slander when they are doing it.

  • Of course Jude is speaking of Angel flesh.

    There is nothing strange about man or woman flesh at all. Not a thing.

  • Ummmmm… I’m not allowed to even enter a Hasidic Jew’s house. And if non-Orthodox Jews eat at a Hasidic house, they must destroy the plates afterwards. Jesus BROKE BREAD with many people with whom he was forbidden to interact, much less eat with. Tell me again how OT law still exists? And I thought the whole point of Him dying was to absolve us to live in His truth? I’m confused, are you Christian or Hasidic?

  • Thank you JA. I can see the love you have for people on both sides of this debate. (I’m trying to get better at the “love your enemy” thing, but I have some growth left to do in that arena!)

  • And I was speaking of little o orthodox. Christians worship God, of whom it has pleased Him to reveal Himself through the
    Bible. We worship the object of the Bible not the book.

  • Christianity pre-dates the Bible. The Church wrote the Bible, the Bible did not create the church. Amen and Amen

  • As I said, HIV affects a small minority of gay men. If you were actually concerned about it, you’d support gay marriage.

    Gay bowel syndrome doesn’t exist. 37% of heterosexuals engage in anal sex, according to the CDC. Funny how there is no heterosexual bowel syndrome.

    The spiritual consequences only exist in the minds of Antigay religious people. Nowhere else..

    No matter how you spin it, And you are trying very hard, There is nothing in homosexuality that is inherently harmful. Antigay propaganda and antigay bigotry are demonstrably harmful.

  • The church did not “write” the Bible. God has written His scriptures through the Holy Spirit and men for whom He inspired. Christianity does predate the New Testament however.

  • The law defines what sin is. While those who follow Christ are forgiven their sins. Jesus said that he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. He took the penalty for sin. We know that all have sinned and fallen short. There has to be something that objectively defines what sin is.

    Yes, Jesus ate with hookers and tax collectors and other people who were the “lowlifes” of those times. He knew what they were and did not whitewash it. He ministered to them, he did not tell them it was ok to continue doing those things.

    I am a follower of Christ.

  • “In answer to a question about divorce”
    Jesus? Answer a question about divorce? Yes he did. What is your context, are you answering something I Wrote with regard to that?

  • Please, please, correct your style. We are not “Methodists.” We are “United Methodists.” To leave out “United” is to confuse the UMC with other denominations, and is an insult to our Evangelical United Brethren heritage. SECOND REQUEST!

  • Jesus’s love was for everyone… who accept Him. And what does that mean? Maybe… obedience to God, and God’s standards of living?

    God is a God of love, yes, and a God of mercy. But also a God who is righteous. A God who hold’s people accountable for their actions. He is also a God who hates sin.

    So… how do you identify what is sin and what is not? If there is an unrepentant murderer, who continues to murder, will he be embraced by God? an adulterer that continues to cheat? A thief that continues to steal? Or a person that continues to commit immoral sexual acts?

    So then it comes down to what is an immoral sexual act, according to God. I’m thinking it’s pretty much addressed throughout the old and new testaments that anything outside of a monogamous man-woman relationship is condemned. Whether it is fornication, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality – neither is more offensive than the other – sin is sin to God, and it appears that those who practice these things most probably won’t be received by God. So the running thread is… turn away from your sin, and serve God

    Don’t kid yourself. There is a way to live that God approves of. Committing sexual sin (or any unrighteousness) and saying it ain’t nothin’, and that God loves a sinner, and misleading others into tolerating or accepting that sin, is a guaranteed separation from God. Instead, know God’s nature, seek his face, glorify Him, and put your sinful nature to death daily by rejecting those things that are not of the nature of God.

    I’m thinking homosexuality is just one of many things that are not of God’s nature.

  • We know from Josephus that Herod Antipas loved his brother’s ex-wife Herodias. And yet John the Baptist, the first martyr of the messianic age and according to Jesus the greatest of all men ever born up until Himself, lost his life for telling Herod honestly that it was not lawful for him to have her.

    Try again. Oh, and “Amen.”

  • The teaching of the Church, as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is that homosexual persons, including priests, “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity”, and that “every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided”.[1] Regarding gay sexual activity, however, the Catechism states that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”, and that “under no circumstances can they be approved”.[2] These prohibitions apply especially to priests, as the canon law of the Catholic Church requires that clerics “observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven”.[3] For this reason, priests in Latin Catholic dioceses make vows of celibacy at their ordination, thereby agreeing to remain unmarried and abstinent throughout their lives.

  • There is nothing in the Torah that prohibits Jews from eating with non-Jews. What you are referring to is a completely man-made tradition that often had the effect of nullifying the Torah itself, which is one of the things Jesus had a huge problem with.

    And of course, here is the UMC still trying to replace God’s commands with man-made notions borrowed from pop culture. And so it goes….

  • You’re completely right, Thomas. The operative word is not “homosexuals.” It is “man-bedders.” Your point?

  • Everything you know about Jesus comes from those scriptures that you’re fine with throwing out to get your way.

    The biggest “Bible-idolizer” was Jesus Himself. Over 25 times in the gospels alone “It is written” or “Haven’t you read the scripture?”

  • Actually, everything I know about Jesus does NOT come from those scriptures. I became a Christian in spite of the Bible / not because of it.

    It’s one thing to cite scripture to illustrate a point (although I must concede that it’s overdone by some) . It’s quite another thing to claim that every word in the whole mess is “God’s Word” or “Inerrant”.

  • Well since the NT was written well after Jesus passed on his way to glory, he was obviously referring to the OT. So, I guess that is still good?

  • And every single heterosexual man that looks at a woman with lust in his heart– in other words, every single one of them, every day, all day– is committing adultery with them in his heart.
    Guaranteed separation from god, since they obviously aren’t repenting– much.,
    more silliness.

  • Oh really? So you decided to follow Christ based on…what? A passing reference by Tacitus to a Judean who was executed during the prefecture of Pontius Pilate? Or Josephus mentioning a Jesus who did some interesting things and acquired some followers during the early 1st century? How did you deduce that this obscure character stood for anything worth following?

  • “I simply choose to believe in a God that allows people to be themselves, fully recognized.” Fine. And others will choose to believe in the God who called us to DENY ourselves and follow. Because that is what a Christ-like life is all about–the self dead and buried, replaced with HIS life living through us.

  • You claim Romans 1 is about pagan worship. What evidence do you have to support that statement?

  • Personal experience. If you haven’t had it, words don’t even begin to describe. If you have, words are not necessary. Thanks for playing.

  • I notice that you are focused on how happy YOU are and what a good Life YOU have… we will never see what God’s message is until we stop looking inward and start looking at God.

  • I don’t adhere to Christian belief. I gave that up nearly 50 years ago.
    I don’t believe in sin. Nor do I believe that being gay is a sin. So there is nothing to admit to.
    However, I will give it a bit of thought when I hear a certain class of so-called Christian admitting to their 2000 years of sin against gay people– turning a minor offense into the Worst Sin Ever. This Christian sin has resulted in murders, executions, jails, suicides, destroyed lives, destroyed families, and destroyed careers. You don’t offer that kind of treatment to any other sin.
    When those so-called Christians admit to their more grievous sins against us, I will be happy to believe that they believe in sin. Until then,. there is on reason for me to when they don’t.
    Or you don’t.

  • This article is not about LGBT but changing rules of how things are done at conference. I see it as one more way not to convince and work together but to change the ways we do things until you get what you want.

  • And so you are a non Christian injecting your views into a denominations discussion on how we are going to work through this topic. Your willing to sit on the outside and shoot into something you have nothing invested in. This article is about voting procedures.

  • Indeed. I never know whether to be more amused or irritated by how the irreligious who claim to “not care about religion” routinely swarm religious sites trying to mind business they don’t understand , while there is virtually no Christian presence at all on atheist sites.

    Walking in the counsel of the ungodly is what has gotten us in this mess (Ps.1:1). The last thing we need is more of it.

  • There are over 40,000 Christian denominations in the world. Do have a list of which denominations allow into membership LGBTQI? It is obvious when you go down such a list you will see the trend is against LGBTQI.

  • Your response doesn’t surprise me. Anything far enough outside our own experiences and understanding almost always sound like it doesn’t make sense. Believe it or not (It won’t surprise me if you can’t), there are people for whom what I said makes perfect sense. Breathe Peace 🙂

  • More absolute nonsense disguised as “I care.” Ive been listening to this nonsense for 45 years. Medical facts? LEt’s have some citations, real citations, not right wing citations. The family research council simply is not a credible source. Nor is thecEagle forum.

    Gay bowel syndrome is a myth, and always has been. Auto-immunity? Learn to finish your terms, or don’t use them. A host of diseases? The Same ones promiscuous heterosexuals get. Except that heterosexual women get pregnant.

    And excessive psychological illness rate? How about citations. Or a little bit of sociology. Most of the people I know and have known my entire life simply don’t have them. I certainly don’t.

    The most disgusting thing about this you really don’t care– this is just your diseased pariah paradigm in full operation. Most people would exhibit compassion. For you, it’s vindication.

    You know nothing about me, my behavior or my life. All you know is the story you tell yourself to justify your opinions. But you presume the superiority to inform of what’s wrong with it any way.

    At 66, Im in better shape then most men 20 years younger. I’ve had a successful career, a great circle of friends, and no diseases except for what comes with age. And you presume to tell me that you care when you explain that my life is that of a diseased pariah?

    because of people who think like you do, and hide behind their religion to justify it, people have been killed, jailed, and ostracized. Beautiful gay kids kill themselves because they see no hope or love in the world you show them. You routinely blame us for the sicknesses of child molesters, thereby scapegoating the innocent and failing the victims, while you do nothing about the failures of heterosexual society, especially among the Bristol Palins and molesting fathers of the world. Idiots like George bush are elected, causing untold suffering throughout the world, because republican strategy was based upon the exploitation of the lies you just told.

    Plead, don’t tell me you love me or care about me. That’s another story you tell yourself. I have never seen this so called love coming from the people who profess it.

    We don’t hate you. we love you. We really really love you. We just hate your grievous, grievous sin, and…

    your child molesting, disease spreading, freedom endangering, sin delighting, morality despising, nature rebelling, god defying, Chrstianity insulting, promiscuity loving, Rome declining, sexuality perverting, faith hating, religion denigrating, marriage destroying, military endangering, free-speech curbing, on-Jesus crapping, society undermining, innocent recruiting, marriage attacking, holiness oppressing, family eroding, sacred institution destroying, god’s-messengers-victimizing, speech denying, future-of-humanity threatening, perversion flaunting, Scouts infiltrating, priesthood undermining, virtue despising, muslim loving, and chicken-sandwich abhorring…


    And really, how could anyone find hate in that?

  • How can one quote Paul’s words as if they’re ‘the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’ or the final word of divine facts?

    Paul, who authored most of the NT and most of the negativity about homosexuality, makes these very revealing statements about his own knowledge and understanding —

    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)

    Those are excellent illustrations that ‘teach us’ that Paul’s writings and other scripture as well are too partial, too incomplete and too imperfect to be meaningful and useful for everybody in every situation.

    We should therefore ‘reason out’ or ‘better understand’ anything and everything in scripture. That will help us to judge and evaluate a matter or people (namely LGBTs) based on all reasonable, current or modern attitudes, experiences and knowledge.

  • A lot of those start “You have heard it was written…” then continue “But I say to you…” followed by a dramatic reinterpretation or refutation of what “is written.”

  • I’m am extremely invested in this. Because of 2000 years of so called Christians turning their love of social prejudice into god’s holy word, and turning homosexuality into the worst sin ever.

    As we talk, African countries are upping the penalty for gay people. Saudi Arabia is murdering them. Silly kern is comparing us to terrorists in the name of Jesus. Gay kids kill themselves. Gay kids get kicked out of their homes. States pass laws which allow discrimination on the basis of religious belief in just this case only.russia stifles free speech. Grifters like Tony Perkins earn their livings demonizing us.

    As far as I am concerned, your denominational squabbles are generally your own. But when you use your religious beliefs to harm my people, expect a fight. The conservatives have made it clear that their beliefs about homosexuality as far more important than church unity. It is time that thinking, compassionate people put the welfare of actual humans ahead of mythical church unity.

  • I saw god’s so called message. Believe or burn. I rejected it.

    Why should t I focus on the happiness in my life? That’s what life is about.

    2/3 of the world thinks your version of God is either a quaint myth, or just one god among many gods. 1/2 of those who claim to believe are called heretics by the other half. I think I’ll go with the majority opinion.

    I’m not an atheist. I’m an it doesn’t matterist. I no more need your version of God in my life than I need a Hindu version, a Buddhist version, a Sikh version, or an Ancient Greek version. It simply doesn’t matter, except when the religious try to use civil law as a weapon against people they disapprove of and who do not share their religious belief.

  • Shawnie5, thank you for inaccurately interpreting my statement. Neither God nor Christ calls us to deny ourselves. He calls us to fulfill our potential based on the gifts and traits he has gifted to us. We are not to deny ourselves, we are meant to deny those things that take us further from our God and Father. Our goal is that we be more Christlike in our lives, and He never once denied himself. He simply realized his goal…to save us all so that we can sit around and have inane discussions and hair-splitting interpretations about His Words, while completely missing His message. Love, with all your soul, mind, body, and strength. Blessings.

  • I have read it many times, in my 3 years of schooling for a Masters of Divinity in seminary. I have studied scripture from many view points.

  • Billy, come on now. The knowledge we’ve been given may be incomplete, but what we HAVE been given is not in error. Which is why Paul went on to say that all scripture is to be used for instruction, for encouragement, for reproof, and most importantly for TESTING of whatever notions people come along demanding that we accept– often claiming new “revelation” (for this trick is nothing new). It’s also why Jesus, when asked a question, usually turned the question back on the asker with a reference to scripture.

    Our knowledge is incomplete in that we often don’t understand all the WHYS (Paul often spoke of “mysteries”)…but course our human children don’t fully understand all of our parental whys, either, until they reach the fullness of adulthood, and so it is with the children of God.

  • Then surely, you understand the context is idolatry. That’s what the word WHEREFORE, or FOR THIS REASON, means.

  • “He calls us to fulfill our potential based on the gifts and traits he has gifted to us” Yet He did not give us sinful tendencies. He came to free us from their power over us.

    “…we are meant to deny those things that take us further from our God and Father. ” Precisely.

  • Not a dramatic reinterpretation, but a raising of the bar — meant to shake up those who expected to approach God’s holiness by means of law alone, and point to the need for a Savior. This was the entire meaning of the Sermon on the Mount which you’re referencing.

    He certainly never LOWERED the bar.

  • in other words, you have no citations except for the Family research Council and other grifting, antigay, right wing websites.
    Gay bowel syndrome does not exist. It NEVER existed.
    i’m not a child or a teenager. I don’t require your guidance, especially when it is based upon ignorance. Very few gay people I have known in my entire life do. Are some gay peole a mess? Absolutely. Does the promiscuity of some gay men affect the health of other people? Absolutely. But your blanket statements are false, always have been, and always will be.

  • You seem to think that those in same-sex relationships are not basing that relationship on love, THE VERY GIFT from God. You seem to believe that committed same-sex relationships are somehow less covenant based than heterosexual relationships. Nice judgment there, declaring others less than yourself. You seem to have the inside track on what others’ relationships are with their God. I wish I were so omniscient. Oh wait, only God knows that, which is why we are called to humility, not judgment. And, by the way, “love the sinner, hate the sin” is not a biblical principle. So, before you go there, just know, love the sinner, hate the sin is simply hate. We all sin, it is a lifelong affliction from which only Christ can rescue us. Also, please note that, not at any time, have I chosen to put your possible foibles under a biblical lens. We all fall short when that is done, and our only hope is Christ. Stop implying or stating that Christ is not there for everyone, because He is…EVERYONE.

  • Yeah right, Ben. No women shall enter the Kingdom of God. That’s a sensible interpretation entirely consistent with the rest of scripture. Is there any argument too silly to make inthe 2000 year old campaign to shoehorn sexual immorality into the church?

  • Love does not turn wrong into right, JA. As I pointed out to someone just the other day, we know from Josephus that Herod Antipas loved his brother’s ex-wife Herodias–and had a new “covenant” with her as well. And yet John the Baptist the first known martyr of the messianic age and according to Jesus the greatest man ever born up until Himself, lost his life for shooting straight with him and telling him outright that it was not lawful for him to have her. No rancor, no hate, just scripturally-grounded honesty. We desperately need that today.

    Jesus called most remarriage adultery –and yet every one who contracts one is sure that their “love” makes it all OK. I once was tempted to make the same excuse when considering a relationship and possible marriage with an unscripturally divorced man whom I loved very much, until simple honesty forced me to admit to myself that all the arguments nullifying Jesus’ words on the subject were BS.

    Christ is there for everyone, indeed. And His central message is still the same: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

  • No, I was merely commenting on your translation of arsenokoitai. And it may well be referring to women who spend their time chasing after men. We don’t really know, do we? Luther thought it referred to masturbation.

  • Ben, do you still not understand that every time we place ANYTHING before God and His ways, that IS idolatry? That is the entire problem with the human condition! It certainly did not go away when the pagan temples closed because graven images were only one symptom of this fundamental problem. Failing to give due honor and glory to God places the focus where it should not be — on the created rather than the Creator, and above all the SELF.

    I can think of no better example of idolatry and its consequences than this mess that the UMC is wrangling with right now. Do we give glory to God and serve His ways, or do we cater to men’s demands instead? Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

  • Of course we do. It is the combination of the two operative words found side by side in the Septuagint version of Leviticus 20:13. Gonna find even one Torah commentary that argues this passage is about women, maybe?

    Nor is it the only Koine Greek word so constructed and translated. In the writings if antiquity we may also find metrokoite (mother-bedder), doulokoite (slave-bedder) and deuterokoite (two-bedder). Perhaps you’d like to explain why we should switch to a different translation pattern for arsenokoite (other than that you don’t like the outcome)?

  • Go argue politics, then. You might have a legitimate position there. You can not counsel Methodists about how to be Methodists, or any Christian about how to be Christian.

  • Exactly. However, the sin a heterosexual man is no greater than a homosexual man, or less. Both lead to separation. Saying it’s ok to be gay is a great as sin as any other, including a hetero lusting in his heart.

    Funny how us lowly, corrupt, sinful, broken, messed up people make a sliding scale of which sin is greater than others. If christians (small c) were consistant, anyone who’d ever cheated on their spouse would be as unfit for politics and church leadership as a homosexual.

    “I’m glad I’m not like that sinner like that tax collector…” Said the Pharisee.

  • When the so called Christians stop trying to legislate their purely theological concerns into civil law, at that point, you might have a point.

    As for not being able to counsel Christians on how to be Christians? I don’t see that a certain class of so called Christian is doing a bang up job themselves on that issue, what with their constant flinging of “you’re not a true Christian like me.”

    Why, you yourself said it was my job to lead weak, gullible, unitellectual christians astray with my false doctrines pointing out your hypocrisies and inconsistencies.

    I’m just doing what you want so that you can correct me, thereby illustrating your truths and my falsehoods.


  • And their opinion is to treat people with humanity and compassion. Frankly of your version of belief forgoes such things, why bother? You aren’t going to do anything worthwhile. You aren’t helping your fellow person. You are just feeding ego and malice.

  • I don’t know whether to thank you guys for sequestering yourselves away from decent Christian people with your false teaching or tell you that it’s becoming embarrassing to be identified as a Christian because someone might mistake me for being like you.

  • Does that include bibliolatry?

    Personally, I think the entire problem with the human condition is the failure of so many people to live up to three simple dictums:

    Treat others as you would like to be treated.

    Leave everyone the hell alone.

    If it’s not yours, keep your hands off.

    But I’m an atheist. I don’t have a god to justify my bad behavior towards others, so I have to make sure I don’t commit it. And if I do, then make restitution or a,ends.

  • “Does that include bibliolatry?”

    Scripture reveals God’s self in a form we’re able to understand…as does Jesus, the greatest “bibliolator,” so to speak.

  • ““As soon as you name one group, you need to name every group,” said the
    Rev. Laura Jaquith Bartlett, director of music and worship. “Otherwise,
    it takes away the power of the gospel message, which is that Jesus’ love
    is available to everyone.””

    I guess that tells us why master debater Ted Cruz is so popular on the religious right. Logic choppers gotta chop, but it must make them feel good to know they have a political star to guide their camels…


  • Homosexuality remains a psychological disorder. The APA changed the facts to suit the modern-day political correct theory: Stigmatization of homosexuality is the root cause of their “problems”.

    Champagne is a legally protected term for a certain type of sparkling wine. Marriage should also be a protected term – reserved for the union of a man and a woman.

  • If you only go by what you read and what others teach you and have no internal dialog where God teaches you, then you have missed something about that “personal relationship” with Jesus thing. Mr G is right. So sorry for you!

  • I respect the umc. However I joined the ucc. Have never looked back since. Being gay is tough. Following Jesus is what I try to the best of my ability. I let those rocks go out of my hand years ago. Now I feed the poor. Feels so much better.

  • Later this morning, I will attend Sunday School at my United Methodist church. We are currently engaged in a study called “Confronting the Controversies” and this week’s topic is homosexuality. To this point, our experience with this study has been that we are learning to express our own views without rancor and actually listing to viewpoints that differ from our own and, rather than quickly racing to judgments as to whether what another has to say is “right” or “wrong”, we try to consider what the impact would be if that view that differs from our own is true.

    Bottom line: I am a Christian attending a UM church who agrees with Ben in Oakland that, even though he is an atheist, his life has an investment in the outcome of this bickering about voting procedures by some Methodists.

  • Now all those of us who will be attending a United Methodist church later this morning have to do is figure out who’s ACTUALLY “walking in the counsel of the ungodly”. I heartily agree that the last thing we need is more of that.

  • “Homosexuality remains a psychological disorder.”

    To put that into perspective, let’s create two detailed side-by-side lists to compare . . . 1) the suffering that homosexuality has inflicted on humanity through the centuries, and 2) the suffering that religions, including Christianity, have inflicted on humanity through the centuries.

    While the homo list would probably be just a blank sheet of paper, it’s a certainty that reams of paper would be required to print out the religion list, plus the additions to it that occur daily. Thus, the obvious conclusion would be that society should do everything possible to discourage Christianity (and most other religions, especially Islam).

  • Except that we clearly don’t understand it.

    Man-bedders, for example. ABomination. Contradictory accounts. And Jesus himself saying what the entirety of the law reduces to: love God and love your neighbor. Sounds like he was indeed the original bibliolator, except for rejecting it.

    Oh, wait! There I go again, leading the gullible astray. Thank the God I don’t believe in that you are here to interpret and straighten everyone out.

  • Sin leveling. no thanks. You don’t believe it yourself.

    When you treat all of the other sins like you treat homosexuality, let me know.

  • I don’t care about him. We are never Going to reach the people irretrievably poisoned by whatever stories they are telling themselves, or whatever completely imaginary superiority they have convinced themselves is real.

    I don’t write for HIM. I write for the people who don’t comment.

  • “Man-bedders” isn’t the least bit hard to UNDERSTAND. It is simply hard to accept, for some. All of us have some scriptural principle–sometimes many– that is hard for us to accept. It’s part of our fallen sin nature that still resides in our flesh.

    Jesus didn’t “reject” the moral law at all. Sexual purity is part and parcel of loving God and His creative design and purposes.

  • That’s not what Mr. G was saying. Of course we have an internal dialogue where God teaches us, but He doesn’t contradict what He has revealed to us in Scripture. What Mr. G is proposing to do is throw out scripture altogether — the scriptures that Jesus said testified of Him, the scriptures with which he opened and closed His ministry and saturated everything He did and said in between — in favor of whatever his “internal dialogue” tells him. That is a very dangerous thing to do, as not every spirit is of God and we are instructed to test everything against the word of God to make sure it is sound. As has ever been, there is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is death.

  • Really who cares what Paul write or said! He had no contact with Jesus, never spoke to him, never consulted or was advised by him. So, I ask, respectfully, why do you put such stock in hearsay within hearsay? Remember the child’s game Telephone? The phrase starts out ” Gay is good” and it ends, “Jay is good.” Really?

  • Also, to my LGBTI brothers and sisters : why would you want to join a club that despises you? Is that not the quintessential form of self-loathing?

  • And to all of you self-righteous members, do you really believe you have a pipeline to the divine? We call that delusional and I would add the height of arrogance. Shameful.???

  • Why, Ben. I do believe it myself. And I do treat all sin the same, sin is sin – and in this case, I don’t think twice about any sins other than my own. (Not claiming I always did, but it is a learned process. One that starts with not judging, and then continuously chainsawing that log outta my own eye). And my own sins are difficult to keep under control, and multitude. But I put in the effort. Sometimes, mostimes, it works. Which is living that kind of life happens to be: if you know something in your life is unrighteous, or sinful that separates you from God- stop doing it. You’re only here for a short time, anyhow. Not like you’ll miss it in a thousand years.

    I guess I was trying to point out if someone truly wants to serve God, and not simply ‘sit at the table’, they should probably be trying to find out what God’s standards are. And if they want to call themselves a Christian (big C) they should probably be consistent, or they’ll end up being a christian (little c) which is more like attending a feel good club.

    It looks pretty clear that God (Judeo-Christian) has got some standards to be able to reconnect with Him. It’s certain that practicing homosexuality is one of *many* things that will keep you separate, by any fair methodistical (heh… methodical… Methodist…. get it?) reading of the old and new testaments. If you believe in what’s written, anyway.

    And, Ben – when or whether you decide to treat all sin as sin, or not… I’m not the guy who needs to know. That’s between you and whoever you want to hang with when this life is done.

  • Thank you. But you understand, your idea that you try to find what God wants and live according to that means that all of the Christians, gay or straight,vthough believe that God Has told them that he has no issue with gay people living their lives as they are made, are just as correct or incorrect as antigay Christians are. Plenty of people have prayed on the subject, read their bibles, and made their decisions not despite what their bibles say, but because of it. not despite what God has said to you (for example), but because what God has said to them.

  • I have to disagree. I’ve seen evidence that a person can accept wisdom from the Spirit of God without even knowing its origin. Godly wisdom does not require religious words.

  • “Every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and is already in the world.” 1 John 4:2

  • Oh? Then let’s break it down a little more into easily grasped elements:

    A. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” (Prov.14:1)

    B. “Leave the presence of a fool, for you will not discern words of knowledge” (Prov.14:7).

    Nuff said.

  • You quote the Bible as if it has some sort of authority that backs up your claims. While that may be so for you, it is not the case for everyone. Your B. is a funny one though. I’m often amused by the poor discernment exhibited by those who fling that verse around not realizing that the fool in the room might be them.

  • This is not in response to anyone in particular… BUT, Christians, Satan is smack dab on the middle of this argument laughing his “tail” off. Those who are open to hearing will listen, those who aren’t won’t hear anything you say. Don’t get drawn into a pit of anger. Stay calm and know the truth will be evident in time, maybe not on this side of heaven. I have been so wrapped up in this argument, and it was killing me. I let it go (until I started reading this again) and it was such a relief to let go, even if brief.

  • The UMC is the only large, mainline church to disallow full inclusion of those who are LBGTQA. What does this say to the UMC? It says that you will continue to lose members, as many of us have friends and relatives, whom we love and respect, who are disenfranchised by the UMC.
    I was disappointed that the GC of the UMC voted down, but by a narrow margin, the Rule 44, that would have enhanced conversation and discussion of an important topic. However, it was a topic that some wished to sweep under the carpet, close their eyes and hope that it would go away.
    Fifty years ago, during the Civil Rights struggle, new words were put to Onward Christian Soldiers. They are apropos today. Like a mighty tortoise moves the church of God. Brothers we are treading where we’ve always trod. We are not united. Not one body we. Some lack hope, and some lack love and all lack charity.

  • Please consult someone who has been to seminary and learned that the Gospels were written by men, and years after the death of Christ. None of the writers ever met, spoke with or knew Christ. They are repeating stories told to them by parents, grandparents or much older friends, as Christ died thirty to forty years before the Gospels were written. You do know what happens to stories that are handed down, don’t you? They are expanded upon and embroidered.

  • Well, said, as church leaders have chosen which parts of the Bible to believe. I know that most Christians eat shellfish, unless they are allergic to shellfish. I had clam chowder and a salad for dinner tonight, and it was delicious. All Christians, whom I know, wear clothing of two or more different fabrics, and none have taken their disobedient children to the gates of the city for stoning. I am surely glad that my parents didn’t, I am sure that you feel the same way, as would most of us. Most of us consume pork, it is delicious, but 2000 years ago, when trichinosis was prevalent it was dangerous to eat. So, you get the picture.

  • The gospels were of course written by men, two of whom did not meet Christ. But as for the other two, no one has ever demonstrated any evidence that they were NOT written by the two disciples to whom they are unanimously attributed. I know exactly what UMC pastors learn on the subject in seminary and it consists entirely of assumption and guesswork. So save this tired line of argument for someone else. Thanks.

  • The definition of a fool is given in A.

    And you’d be hard-pressed to find a more intensive Bible-quoter than Jesus. He opened His ministry with scripture, closed it with scripture, taught the scriptures, discussed the scriptures, fulfilled scriptures, used scripture to answer almost every question posed to Him, and upbraided the people for not knowing scripture. If said scripture has no authority for you, it’s time to pray for some “discernment” to figure out exactly which Jesus you’re claiming to follow.

  • You seem willing and able to argue scripture with the diligence and fervor of a scribe or pharisee of Jesus’ day. It is, however, all in the realm of judgement. Part of what Jesus came to do was to remind us (and He must have grown weary of it) that GOD JUDGES not humans. Not only that but the EASIEST WAY to RISK OUR OWN SALVATION is to JUDGE. We repeat it to ourselves, all the time, as we ask God to only “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” …meaning if we do not forgive those who offend our senses of what is right and wrong, do us harm, steal from us… we also will not be forgiven. What you bind on earth is bound in heaven. Have you bound yourself? They may free themselves by forgiving you but what about you? Connundrum. Those sticky little things. Just make sure you have them in mind, eh? I am much more concerned with keeping myself clear than ANYTHING someone else might be doing, unless they are HARMING someone else for that reason. This is a freebee, since you were, IMHO being rude and childish to someone trying to have a civil discussion.

  • There are a couple of things about Jesus’ quoting of the Bible that we can be pretty certain of:
    1) Jesus never quoted even one verse from the New Testament.
    2) It appears likely that Jesus’ frequent upbraiding of the religious conservatives of his day for their literal, legalistic interpretation of scripture that completely missed the real point was a significant factor (if not THE most significant factor) leading to why those religious conservatives had him killed.

  • I have no problem with forgiving. However, no one is harming me directly, nor asking me for any forgiveness, so forgiveness is not relevant here.

    Judgment, however is another matter. Jesus condemned HYPOCRITICAL judgment, and superficial judgment, and condemnation that writes another person off as unworthy and unsaveable. However, He not only suggested but COMMANDED us to “judge not according to appearances, but with righteous judgment” (John 7:24) prepared to submit to the same standard. If one can not judge what is wrong from what is right, one is helpless to obey Christ’s command to “be on guard that none deceive you, for many will come in My name and deceive many.”

    And as far as Pharisees go, you need to go back and re-read what Jesus’ beef with them was. It wasn’t that they were too fervent about scripture but that they added so much man-made extra-biblical clutter to it (which they considered on par with scripture itself) that it had the practical effect of nullifying much of the actual God-given Torah. That, and they didn’t believe they were sinful themselves — just like most people today, even some within the church who should know better.

  • Jesus said exactly why He was killed: “But Me it [the world] hates, because I testify of it that its works are evil” ( John 7:7).

    Go back and re-read the gospels. The problem with Pharisees and scripture wasn’t that they were too literal about scripture but that they added so much extra-biblical clutter to it that it had the practical effect of nullifying God’s actual commands. Even worse, they considered all this man-made tradition to be on par with God’s word.

  • “The world” that Jesus lived in and hated him was run by the personification of evil – legalistic religious conservatives who knew literal scripture like the back of their hands and forever kept missing the real point.

  • Oh baloney. The “world” was them plus everybody else. The most rigid of Talmudists that He dealt with directly, the most hedonistic of pagans to whom He would send His messengers, and everyone in between. They all stumble over the gospel because it asks repentance: “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19.

  • No one resists repentance more vigorously than religious conservatives who spend their time pointing fingers at others to deflect notice from their own evil deeds.

  • No… I don’t understand that.

    See, If I want to drive from Maine to California, I get a road map and follow the signs, and hopefully know and obey the speed limits along the way. I can get any map I want – even one of Russia, or China – and convince myself this is the right map. I could convince myself that Colorado is really California, and stop there. I could simply deny that California doesn’t exist, since I’ve never actually been there, and all those people who claim they have are either lying or making up the story of California.

    If I only have a week to get there, I need to study my route, to get there before my time runs out. If I mess around, go here and there, I run out of time. If I break the laws regarding stop signs, yields, etc I could have an collision that damages or kills me or others. If I break the law by speeding or whatever, I might get caught or I might not, and be held accountable.

    This is the same story about life. First, you pick you destination, whether it be in God’s presence or not, at the end of your life. Your road map can be whatever you want it to be, but if you believe the Judeo-Christian Bible, there is only one set of directions to get to that end. Only one map. You can hold that map in your hands, but if you don’t bother to study it, you won’t find the best route, and you may not even get there. You can pull up another map – Buddhism, Islam, Secularism, Atheism, whatever – but it’s not a map that will lead you to God. You can meander about, take side trips, or even decided to blow off the trip. You can deny God exists, or claim that another thing is God. And if all takes longer than you have, you won’t have reached the final destination.

    There’s much more to that analogy, including people giving you bad directions, intentionally or not; storms and bad whether that may delay you or drive you off the road, and the like. Running out of gas. Breaking down. Hitchhiking with strangers. Bad diner food… it’s a fun digression…

    But the bottom line is indeed this: if you are a servant of the Most High God, you’ll find what he wants in your life (your life – not someone else’s), you’ll look for the true, accurate, and unchanging road map of life (that through a series of events ended up being put together into what is commonly called the Bible), you’ll study it and have no doubt of it’s content and intent, you’ll hopefully seek God’s face and guidance, be convinced of the way you need to live your life to glorify God, and then share what you learned with others. And hopefully do this before you stop breathing.

    It’s not a battle of much God is on my side on a topic of LGBT or abortion or politics or whatever, but rather – am I on God’s side?

  • Using your analogy, is f you are going to use a 2000 year old map to get you from Maine to California, and not bother to ask directions from those you meet along the way, you’ll probably end up in Poland.

    Your last question is indeed the question. Unfortunately, those who claim to speak for God will always claim that they are on God’s side, and that he is on theirs. Those who don’t actually worry about being the best people they can, but worry about that question only, will not surprisingly, come to your conclusion.

    And denigrate the rest as being Not True Christians. (TM)

  • ” It wasn’t that they were too fervent about scripture but that they added so much man-made extra-biblical clutter to it (which they considered on par with scripture itself) that it had the practical effect of nullifying much of the actual God-given Torah. ”
    Out of the mouths of babes, as they say.

  • “The problem with Pharisees and scripture wasn’t that they were too literal about scripture but that they added so much extra-biblical clutter to it that it had the practical effect of nullifying God’s actual commands.”

    Such as turning the story of Sodom into a morality tale about the evils of homosexuality? Such as turning Romans 1:26 into a morality tale about the evils of homosexuality, when it is about idolatry? Such as turning the alleged sin of homosexuality into The Worst sin Ever?

  • That’s it. It is always a conspiracy. The obvious could never be true.
    I would suggest you read Ronald Bayer’s “Homosexuality and American Psychiatry”, rather than the bible or Breitbart. You might learn something.

  • ” Nice judgment there, declaring others less than yourself. You seem to have the inside track on what others’ relationships are with their God. ”
    Glad you caught that. It’s what Shawnie does. I called her on it a couple of times. She asked me for proof. when I presented it, she informed me that she was too superior to bother reading it.
    Well, strictly speaking, she didn’t say exactly that. But she certainly confirmed it.
    Shawnie is a “sola scriptorum” kind of a girl. No other guidance form god is allowed.

  • Please provide a citation for this claim about Hasidic Jews having non-Orthodox Jews over for meals. I’ve been to Hasidic homes and I doubt they destroyed their plates afterward. This sounds like the “hole in the sheet” stories.

  • Don’t look now, but religious “conservatives” have no corner on the market of finger-pointing, deflecting blame, and resisting repentance. Not by a long shot.

  • No, more like turning “Do not lie with a man as with a woman” into “Do not lie with a man as with a woman…unless you really really wanna.”

    These nonsense arguments for affirming ssm ALWAYS remind me of Greg Brady trying to get out of trouble with dad for disobedience: “You didn’t tell me not to drive. You told me not to drive OUR CAR.”

  • There is no absence of attribution. The traditional attributions are clear and unanimous, and entirely plausible. Even the gospels’ most virulent early attackers never questioned their authorship or suggested any alternatives. Until someone comes up with a good reason for disregarding them, they work just fine.

  • I’m proud of nothing. I have many faults and sins of my own — otherwise I would hardly have any need for a Savior. But I have no intention of going around demanding that others celebrate my faults and encourage me, and others, to continue them. Such demands are at the heart of this crisis within the UMC. John “man of one book” Wesley would be heartsick at such things going on within the church he began, whose very name is taken from an insult used by the spiritually dead of his day to mock the devoted and “methodical” way in which he and his companions approached the study of God’s word. If he could see those same mockers taking over the denomination that bears his name he’d probably say tear the whole rotting mess down and start over — just as he called for in his own day.

    We desperately need God to raise up another John Wesley today.

  • I’m doing the best I can at my UMC church to stop people from celebrating and continuing their faulty stretch of Bible verses that condemn homosexual rape, pederasty, and visiting temple prostitutes at pagan temples (in the original language texts) into a condemnation of loving same-sex relationships because of faulty translations.

  • Do you also approve of “loving” adultery, incest and bestiality as long as no “pagan temples” are involved? 😀 Because that’s the logical conclusion of the argument you’re making.

    There is nothing faulty about the translations. Every early Jewish commentary upon those key passages reveals that they mean exactly what common sense tells us they mean. God couldn’t have put it more simply. It’s almost His “baby-talk” to humanity.

  • Trying the slippery slope “argument” now? No, those are NOT the “logical conclusion” of my argument.

    The original language texts use words referring to “harlots for hire”, “prostitutes”, etc. They do NOT condemn non-adulterous, consensual loving relationships for anyone.

  • Let’s assume for a moment that I am mistaken in my understanding of scripture. Let’s say that God behaves in such a preposterous manner as to condemn or approve of non-adulterous consensual relationships based on nothing more than the gender makeup of the partnership. For my money, a god that thinks like that is utterly unworthy of worship. I have no idea how I would tell the difference between hell and a heaven controlled by a preposterous petty tyrant like that. I would rather be in hell than worship a god like that (lower case “g” is how I would describe such a god).

    Bottom line: one look at the consistently rotten fruit of “all things homo are a sin” teaching should tell you in a heartbeat that it’s not of God/false teaching. Why would you choose to believe that which drives people away from God as truth?

  • A lot of it comes from Leviticus law, where earthenware cannot be re-koshered (“kashered”) because of its porosity, so it must be broken. See Leviticus 15:12. Also, here’s a link to kashering dishes. I dated the president of Hillel in college (she practiced Reformed Judaism) and some of her ultra-Orthodox relatives went beyond having the two sets of plates (one kosher, one not, for the guests) and I suppose they considered non-kashruth-observant people as dirty enough to render the dishes non-kosher.

    I guess the point is: laws change. Jewish law changed in the time-span of the Bible. Just because we stopped writing the Bible doesn’t mean we should be stuck in time 2000 years ago. Especially with laws that deal with human sexuality, of which we have only *begun* to understand scientifically in the last 50 years.

    And who was that in Acts, who finally realized that he *could* eat with DIRTY Gentiles, because Gentiles were equal in the eyes of God? Thus, throwing out millennia of Jewish law/tradition. DON’T YOU GUYS THINK THERE’S BEEN AN AWFUL LOT OF PEOPLE having the exact same God-given revelation about Gays as Peter did about Gentiles?? You really think God and the Holy Spirit have *nothing* to do with all these modern-day Peters???

  • “For my money, a god that thinks like that is utterly unworthy of worship. I have no idea how I would tell the difference between hell and a heaven controlled by a preposterous petty tyrant like that.” Thank you for your honesty. That is the main reason why eternal death is ultimately one of God’s mercies; it would be unjust to force an unwilling person to spend an eternity in His undesired presence.

    As for your “rotten fruit” idea (which I’ve heard before from a most hapless John Boswell devotee on HuffPo long ago)… in the first place you are aware, aren’t you, that you’re quoting that awful Bible that you find so worthless? In the second place, Jesus did not say in this passage to judge the TEACHING by its fruit but to judge the TEACHER by his fruit: “Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.” A good example would be a false teacher who wears the name of Christ but practices sexual immorality and/or encourages others to do so.

    “Why would you choose to believe that which drives people away from God as truth?” The gospel is just exactly that, Mr. G, not because of any fault in the gospel but because of the fault in man. “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

    We are sent out to be faithful witnesses to God’s word. We are not authorized to alter and customize the word of God to make it appeal to the most people for we already know that most will reject it because they prefer the darkness (John 3:19) . If you monkey the scripture around to the point of winning over the whole world to a false God…what have you accomplished other than a deception of colossal and tragic proportions?

  • How can one who teaches false things be anything other than a false teacher. An example of a false teacher is one who teaches that which drives people away from God whether he’s a hypocrite or not? But since you bring it up, how long is the list of those who have preached long and loud that homosexuality is a sin and then been caught in the act themselves?

    I say again, if I am mistaken in my understanding of scripture, I would as soon be in hell as in a heaven run by such an unworthy god.

  • The original texts of the relevant NT passages use the compound word arsenokoite which quite simply means “man-bedder.” It is made up of the two operative words which appear directly next to each other in Leviticus 20:13: “Kai hos an koimethe meta arsenos koiten gunaikois (and whoever shall lie with a male as with a woman…” No mystery about it whatsoever.

    But that is really beside the main point — which is that the Bible sticks this prohibition right in the middle of list of behaviors including adultery, bestiality, and several varieties of incest. If the context is supposedly “pagan worship,” and only pagan worship, then logically all of these other activities should be ok as well if not associated with “pagan worship.”

  • “An example of a false teacher is one who teaches that which drives people away from God whether he’s a hypocrite or not?” God’s truth will always draw some people and drive away others — according to Jesus, it will probably drive away more than it draws, so that is hardly a barometer of truth or falsity. But if a teacher has condemned homosexuality while secretly practicing it, it doesn’t make homosexuality right — it means that teacher has abdicated moral responsibility and is not to be taken seriously. The same reason the pastoral epistles direct that a pastor be above reproach.

  • Just where is someone trying to deceive YOU that you need to attack and condemn others, eh? Seems you are more than a bit out of the jurisdiction you describe. An lgbt person who happens to believe differently than you but happens to agree with the church he or she serves is none of your business. How someone else believes is THEIR belief. It is not your power trip to change them. You may argue all day about “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin”, a serious theological arguement once, (yes really!) but my hope is that some day this arguement will be thought just as ridiculous as it sounds to me now! There is way too much scientific basis already turning up to make a case for genetic, enzymatic, hormonal, and possibly environmental causes of visible and also invisible intersex conditions that create Trans men and women. Homosexuality has equal discoveries. The growing proof, not only that it exists independent of mental illness or choice and can be proved to have been with us, if not in such great numbers, but for a long time, may give lie to what you condemn. God sanctified His whole creation and said that it was all good…in the New Testament. Be VERY careful. 🙂 I love God’s diverse creation.

  • If nothing else, the Bible is a good “ink blot” / personality test – what a person says they see in the Bible almost always tells us more about the reader than it does about God.

    What most English-speaking people are completely unaware of is that Koine Greek is capable of expressing much greater subtly in a single word than English is. For that matter, all languages have a context of what a writer intends to convey that is quite dependent on what the word was commonly intended to convey in that writer’s time and place. Those who use the Bible to confirm their own biases love to look up simple definitions of words in their Sunday School safe dictionaries and commentaries to further confirm their biases. An excellent example of that is the story where Jesus heals a man’s same-sex lover after praising the man’s faith without so much as a finger wag or the slightest suggestion that their relationship is sinful. Those who are convinced that all things homosexual are a sin look it up in Strongs and find a definition that matches what the English translations say – “servant” – a remain utterly ignorant that common usage at the time uses the word in question to describe a very specific sort of servant – one purchased for the express purpose of same-sex relations.

    Oh, by the way, if you’re speaking of Leviticus in Greek, you’re reading a translation from the original language.

  • The only deception of colossal and tragic proportions that I see here is the false teaching that loving relationships are somehow sinful if the parties to the relationship are of the same same.

    I am not afraid of God. I see nothing that convinces me that I have any reason to be.For my part, I cannot consider referring to the very human and flawed texts contained in the Bible as “God’s Word” without having the sense of committing an act of idolatry – one that will lead to both my own destruction and that of others. That would be true even if God did not exist.

  • How ironic. You claim that the pastoral epistles – each of which telling a lie in their very first sentence – have the audacity to “direct that a pastor be above reproach”. That’s just priceless. Laughing out loud at that one.

  • “Just where is someone trying to deceive YOU that you need to attack and condemn others, eh?” No one. But many ARE trying to deceive our church that we need to officially condone, encourage and celebrate behavior that God has said is wrong.

    “but my hope is that some day this arguement will be thought just as ridiculous as it sounds to me now” Yeah, well, Jefferson had no doubt our country would be overwhelmingly Unitarian within a generation or so, and he missed that by a mile.

  • It isn’t that I find the Bible worthless. It’s that I find the claim that the Bible is “God’s Word” worthless.

  • LOL! Don’t tell me you buy that “pais” nonsense??? That is one of the ssm-affirmers’ silliest arguments by far. “Pais” is used many times throughout the NT and the OT Septuagint and it is usually translated “child” or “son.” There’s another frequent poster around here whom I’ve been asking for a long time whose same-sex lover Jairus’ 12-year-old daughter (whom Jesus addressed as “pais”) was, and for some reason he always slinks away hastily. I’d also like to know how Jesus, and His ancestor David before Him, managed to become same-sex lovers of God, being that they are both called His “pais.” Not to mention the “paises” of Bethlehem slain by Herod — they were all less than 2 years old so their sexual activities require a good deal of explaining…

    The most likely situation with the centurion, given the story’s marked similarity to another story mentioned by John that was unequivocally about a son, is that the “pais” was the centurion’s own son, whether by an unofficial marriage to a slave woman (there was a whole body of Roman law dealing with the officialization of these unions after the centurion’s term was up) or by adoption, which was a very common practice. That “pais” might have been slang for a boytoy among a few Greek writers who had a penchant for sex with underage boys doesn’t change the fact that it was never used by the writers of the Bible in this way.

    Of course, if you REALLY want to imply that Jesus was fine with taking sexual advantage of powerless young boys…well then, the UMC has bigger problems than I thought.

  • OK then. But if so, I can not imagine why you would ever have chosen the Methodist Church. You have just disavowed what it was all about.

  • Which is repeatedly and consistently claimed by the Bible. Therefore, it follows that you should find the Bible worthless as well as everything that flows from it (which would include all of Judaism and Christianity, and much of western civilization itself).

  • Don’t believe everything you hear, G. The ante-Nicene fathers unanimously attributed those letters to Paul and they were in a much better position to know their origins than a few 19th century Johnny-come-latelies doing highly erudite guesswork unsupported by any particularly convincing corroborative evidence.

  • I chose the UMC as a compromise with my wife. I am, at heart, a universalist and would be more comfortable as a Christian at a Unitarian Universalist church. She was raised Southern Baptist, but while she disagrees with much of her childhood religion, she’s not comfortable going all the way to UU. I left my previous church (a non-denominational) when the pastor endorsed a letter from a homophobic local Baptist pastor requesting prayers that God would influence the Houston City Council to not pass an update to the Houston’s human rights ordinance extending protected class status in employment and housing to LGBT people. Before I affiliated with the UMC church I attend, I met with the senior pastor and asked his position on that matter. He said he rejected it. Our church recently hired an associate pastor who was offered the opportunity to endorse that letter wherever it was he was serving before he came to our church and he refused. I applaud that.

    What the UMC is all about? Let’s see. John Wesley offered 3 simple rules. Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God. Anti-homosexual theology has, in practice, become a gross violation of that first rule. The only thing in the last century that has done more harm than anti-homosexual teaching is teachings supporting segregation.

  • To me the most telling evidence that the pastoral epistle are forgeries are that they address issues in church governance that did not exist in church structure during Paul’s lifetime. Digging deeper, the language usage, vocabulary, and overall style are noticeably different from Paul’s authentic letters.

  • “God himself has condescended to teach me the way. For this very end He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! I have it: here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be homo unius libri [man of one book]. Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone; only God is here. In His presence I open, I read His book; for this end, to find the way to heaven. Is there a doubt concerning the meaning of what I read? Does anything appear dark or intricate? I lift up my heart to the Father of Lights:—“Lord, is it not Thy word, ‘if any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God?’ Thou givest liberally, and upbraidest not. Thou hast said, ‘if any be willing to do Thy will, he shall know.’ I am willing to do, let me know Thy will.” I then search after and consider parallel passages of Scripture, “comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” I meditate thereon with all the attention and earnestness of which my mind is capable. If any doubt still remains, I consult those who are experienced in the things of God: and then the writings whereby, being dead, they yet speak. And what I thus learn, that I teach.” — John Wesley, Preface to Sermons.

    Affirming homosexuality has actually violated all three of Wesley’s simple rules. It has done harm in that it has encouraged Christ’s little ones to succumb to temptation to sin as per Matt.18:7. It has not done good for it has encouraged disregard of God’s word and sought to compel the violation of the consciences of those who are trying to follow it faithfully (Romans 14:23). It has above all not “stayed in love with God” because it is a repudiation of God’s manifest design and purpose for His creation as emphasized by Jesus in Matt.9:4.

    But thank you for sharing the history behind your choice. It explains a lot.

  • Oh? How many times does the Bible say “Thus saith the Lord”? Never mind racing for the concordance — it’s 413 times.

    And Jesus is the last person you want to go to for permission to throw out scripture: “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God,” (Matt. 22:29).

  • Ayup and noyup. Using my analogy, even the 2000 year old map will get me to California, if I read it. And read it right. And I wouldn’t necessarily have to ask directions from anyone other than the person who put that complete, unchanging map together.

    I can’t defend people who would put down others. What should be done is to condemn the sin and not the sinner – sometimes used as a trite statement, but one that involves loving the individual without judgment while not loving them in a manner that enables a continuation of the unrighteous act. It’s easier (and makes people feel better) to put down someone else with their sins, rather than admit their own failings.

    Most contemporary christianity ignores the basic biblical guidance: whoever hasn’t sinned, toss the first stone.

    But this digresses from the issue, which is: should the activities of LGBT no longer be condemned as sin, should an LGBT person be allowed leadership in a church that attempts to serve God, and should the church support same-sex marriages.

    Biblically, the answer is no, regardless of anyone’s personal feelings and new re-interpretation of the Bible, which, I guess, having God decided moral boundaries should be the rulebook for Christians (big C). If you want to practice christianity (small c) you get a social organization with few man-decided moral boundaries like everyone is welcome and no one needs to change their lifestyle, everyone feels good when they leave the sanctuary because there is no sin, and everyone including non-believers are going to heaven because God is a loving God. Downside is scripture doesn’t support that.

    I mean, in the end, we believe what we choose to believe. Just don’t call it Christianity if you’re not going to Christianity’s principles and guidebook. Get enough people to shout Jesus didn’t condemn pedophilia, or spousal abuse, or drug abuse, and maybe that will be lawfully accepted someday, too. Doesn’t make any of those things the nature of a pure, righteous, moral God.

    Man can make whatever legal, and even tolerated under man’s law, but God will have the same standards of righteousness regardless.

  • My overall style is noticeably different at fifty than it was at 25. Imagine some bozo two millenia from now digging up part of my thesis and comparing it to what I’m writing today and claiming that one must be forged — mainly because he doesn’t like any of it.

    As for church governance, it’s more impressive how the structure portrayed in the pastorals differs from the 2nd century than how it differs from the 1st century. In any case, the pastorals were firmly regarded as Pauline and canonical by the middle of the 2nd century at the very latest and quoted as authoritative by church fathers who were extremely scrupulous about excluding popular but non-apostolic writings from the canon. In the absence of something more compelling, I’d say the traditional attributions work better than any other alternatives.

  • I have waited to reply until I studied the text deeper. I would say that you are partly right, but missed an important detail.
    FOR THIS REASON, is about pagan worship and idol worship… But the question is WHAT IS THE REASON? The reason that “Therefore God gave them over in the SINFUL desires” was that they turned away from God and rejected God even thought God was revealed to them. It to me is saying that since they turned their back on God he would allow them to ” God gave them over to shameful lusts.” I could argue that this could be viewed as God allowing them to continue in their own demise.

  • Or you could equally well argue, since the text is so vague, that God turned heterosexuals who operated on pure lust in their temple rituals, into homosexuals. This was their punishment, not their cause. “GOd gave them over…” Your interpretation makes sense ONLY if you ignore the next few passages.

    Romans is not a condemnation of gay people, unless like every other antigay passage of the bible, you twist it to make it so. It’s context is idolatry, and punishment for idolatry. IT talks about NATURAL uses. For gay people, being gay IS natural.

    1:28-30 makes all of this clear– or at least, as clear as anything written 2000 years ago by and for a people millennia apart from us in language, culture, understanding, and morals..

  • nb: Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox aren’t the same thing. Like a Venn diagram: all Hasidim are ultra-Orthodox, but not all ultra-Orthodox are Hasidim.
    You’re correct that earthenware is too porous to be kashered. But your supposition is getting into urban-legend territory, that’s why I mentioned the hole in the sheet. Kosher households generally have at least two sets of ceramic dishes, one for meat and one for dairy. Occasionally, a plate may have to get thrown out because dairy gets onto the meat dishes, etc. Maybe that’s what your girlfriend saw, but there’s no way her relatives would’ve thrown out the plates just because she came over. Why not just use fancy disposable plates instead?
    The rest of your comment may be meant for someone else, you’re correct that Jewish law changed within the timespan of the Bible being written, but I can’t speak to the correctness of any Christian doctrine.

  • The harm you see is imaginary. So is your allegation of failing to do good and accusation that it’s failure to stay in love with God – all because your read the Bible to confirm your own (not God’s) biases. It must be very difficult to be so miserable so much of the time.

  • IT talks about NATURAL uses. For gay people, being gay IS natural.

    “exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.”

  • That a book written by a man says, “Thus saith the Lord” does not even make it true once – no matter how many times that book says it. Neither does saying “Thus saith the Lord” once or 413 times prove or even claim that every word of the Bible is “God’s Word”.

  • The Pharisees and their rabbinical descendants well understood the plain [pshat] meaning of the Leviticus verses: to prohibit anal sex between men. Unlike Christianity, rabbinic Judaism wasn’t working with any additional, late-antique scriptures that reinforced this prohibition by introducing a witty and yet derogatory neologism like arsenokoiten. All Judaism had was the Talmudic process, which not only extended the prohibition to all male-male sex acts, but to lesbianism as well! So is this the “extra-biblical clutter” you’re complaining about? I know it isn’t: you mean the “other” kind of halachic interpretation going on today, which, for example, has held: (a) only the pshat of the Torah prohibition on male-male anal sex is still valid; (b) the Leviticus prohibitions do not apply to men who are not attracted to women, as such a concept of sexual orientation was not understood in antiquity; (c) if you use a condom you haven’t violated mishkav zachar (or to paraphrase Rashi, you haven’t truly put the applicator into the tube of mascara).

  • The statement doesn’t prove its own truth, but that wasn’t the question. You claimed that the Bible never claimed to be the word of God at all. That claim was false. Make up your mind about what you’re trying to say.

    Still, if we embrace the Christ revealed by the scriptures (which is the only Christ there really is without turning to pure imagination) then we really have no choice but to accept His affirmations of the authority and inspiration of scripture. It’s a package deal.

  • Sorry to disappoint but I’m not miserable in the least and I don’t have any biases for the Bible to “confirm.” I’d be just as happy if scripture allowed for ssm — more so, in fact, since that would be one less thing for the UMC to argue over (although Lord knows there will always be something else, for as long as fallen man continues to live upon the earth). However, there is no reasonable argument that can be made for it from the totality of scripture. All attempts to shoehorn it into Christian doctrine and practice are motivated by wishful thinking and entirely based on imagination.

  • Am I supposed to be impressed that apostate rabbis, just like apostate Christians, continue to interpret away the Torah into meaninglessness just as they did in the time of Christ?

    That last one is too funny for words — I can just imagine one of my kids telling me one day that they haven’t really had sex because they used a condom. ?

  • Really,Shawnie?

    God said it. I believe it. that settles it.

    And God hasn’t managed to speak another word on the subject in 2000 years. Maybe he’s trying to tell you something about bad translations of questionable passages, and how that has been used to harm innocent people for 2000 years.

    But, I forgot. You are a sola scriptorum person. God doesn’t speak to anyone now, not if you have anything to say about it.

  • So, we’re back to the No True Christian fallacy. Shawnie has it right, everyone else who disagrees with Shawnie has it wrong. Worse, they are apostates.

    Why is it we don’t burn witches any more, and consider the antisemitism of the NT passé?

  • Maybe he has raised up this person, and maybe this person is gay. But how would you know? IF it isn’t in the bible, then it simply isn’t true. You have said so yourself.

  • Slippery slopes, Shawnie, are not pretty. For a person who prides herself on her knowledge and intelligence, you ought to be avoiding that one like the plague.

    Adultery and incest harm people. Bestiality is animal rape,cas consent cannot be given. Putting consensual gay relationships, affirming and life giving, in the same category indicates a clear lack of moral understanding.

  • There are too many mutually exclusive (if one is true, the other cannot be true) and outright falsehoods in the Bible for me to accept it as part of an allegedly required package. If that’s all you’ve got, I suppose that’s what you feel like you have to go with. Those of us who experience the presence of God without needing to refer to the Bible tend to see it for what it is – a finger beckoning us toward experiencing God, but, just as a finger pointing toward the moon is not the moon itself, neither is a finger pointing toward the Word of God the Word of God itself.

  • Paul himself said to watch out for forged letters of his, which means either that they are around, or that letter was a forgery.

  • My Sunday School class just finished a series published by Adam Hamilton in 2005 – Confronting the Controversies. It includes a segment on homosexuality. He also has a blog where he’s made some recent comments about the conference that just wrapped up in Oregon. It’s interesting to see his evolution over the last 11 years. He’s become a bit less rigid. His latest article offers some suggestions as to an approach that might help the UMC weather this crisis. I could live with his suggestions. I don’t have to agree with others in every minute detail to be able to get along with them and work with them.

  • I didn’t put them in the same category, Ben. The Torah, which Jesus taught from, did that.

  • OK, G. I’ll leave you with the words of the apostle John: “In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God…and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”

    And in the vision of His future return that He showed John, His name was still the same: “He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God.” Rev. 19:13.

  • If he is gay and chaste, I’ll receive him gladly. There are many such.

    But we are directed not to heed a prophet or teacher whose life does not display cleansing and transforming work of the Spirit.

  • We were instructed to be on guard for this sort of thing, Ben. You weren’t, for you are not of the household of faith. That’s why it’s all noise to you, just like the scripture says.

  • Ben, there is no problem with translations, and there is no question except that willed into existence by wishful thinking. We know how the passages were understood in Christ’s time, and if the understanding was faulty He had every opportunity to clarify it but did not. If Christ didn’t revise it, He is not going to send any of us to do it, for we are sent “to make disciples of all nations and teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” That’s it — there is no heavenly “suggestion box”. You don’t like it, I understand quite well, and your dislike is duly noted. But, There. It. Is. All the whining and complaining and screaming and sniping from the sidelines is not going to change it one iota. And if you could convince the whole world otherwise, there it would still be.

  • I’m sure there were many around and were discarded. It doesn’t mean that the pastorals were among them.

  • Believe it or not, Ben, I don’t “wish” for homosexual behavior to be a sin. It would be more convenient for most of us if it were not. Nobody asked me, however. Or you.

  • Really. God sends you a prophet, the prophet is gay, and you will not recognize him if he is not chaste. I don’t hear you acknowledging gods authority to send you a prophet, just your own authority to decide. And it really sounds to me like you are throwing stones here, as if you had no sins yourself which might make people not receive you.

  • The “old” line Methodists are about as fakey as faux Christians come! May they RIP quickly so the Christian church can move on and honor all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, which IS, after all, a gift from God also!
    George M Melby, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

  • The fact is that the LGBTQI community hasn’t bastardized Christianity or the church, the religious right wing pariahs have… the ball is in YOUR court to right things!

  • You are a shining example of people who are so heavenly-minded, they’re no earthly good! I am indebted to your poor example!

  • “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:15-16)

    “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.” Matt.24:23-27

    “With lofty but empty words, they appeal to the sensual passions of the flesh and entice the ones who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves to depravity. For a man is a slave to whatever has overcome him.” 2Pet.2:18-19.

    “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” 2Cor.11:14-15.

  • A Christian telling observant Jews that they’re apostates? Oh that’s rich. But you haven’t answered my question: why is the addition of prohibitions against all male-male sexual conduct, and lesbianism, perfectly in accordance with the Torah, but my list of halachic rulings “extra-biblical clutter”? I have no objection to Christians or Jews holding that the Bible prohibits homosexual sex. For Judaism at least, there’s plenty of basis to support that ruling. My problem is with Christians on both the left and right using the “Pharisees” as a foil, without understanding the fundamental proposition in rabbinic Judaism that interpretation of the Torah IS the Torah.
    PS: no one said male-male anal sex with a condom isn’t sex, just that it doesn’t violate mishkav zachar. Cf. Gen. 2:24..

  • Oh, yes, the false prophets that look like sheep, but are wolves. BEnedict, Falwell, lively, haggard (before he got religion), Perkins, Fischer, wildmon, ostensibly, dollar, Robertson and on and on and on and on and all of the rest of so called Christians who grift their rather good livings off of the sheep, by convincing the sheep that hey are not actually dinner.

    Sensual passions of the flesh? IT always, always, ALWAYS boils down to sex, ever since Paul COULDNT get that thorn in his side removed. For the sin and sex obsessed, there is truly only one evil in the world. And of course YOU see it that way as well. The struggle for gay rights is about sex, not about ending a vicious prejudice that has destroyed countless lives for 2000 years. Nope. It’s only about getting off.

    This is such a blind spot for you. But then, you are a bible believing Christian who, by your own words, would not recognize the prophet of God unless he conformed to your expectations about him.


  • Of course, you don’t wish it to be a sin. IT JUST IS, and God is responsible, not you. And all of those Christians who have re-evaluated their bibles and claim they have heard the Holy Spirit speaking to them, are just delusional. Because all answers are to be found. A 2000 year old book, and God hasn’t spoken since.

    Like so many so called Christians, you’re not judging anyone. You’re just reporting.

  • And it doesn’t mean they weren’t either. But scholars have been able to come up with something that indicates that some of them are forgeries. But that doesn’t count, because that attacks the entirety of your world view.

  • Of course there is a problem with translations. One need only look at Leviticus to see that. As for wishful thinking, that is exactly what has been employed to turn the sodom story into a diatribe against the evils of homosexuality. To claim the same process wasn’t at work 2000 years ago is ludicrous. We need only look at the complete stretches of imagination that antigay, so called Christians employ to turn everything into an antigay screed, and use that nasty sorry to justify jails, prisons, murders, beatings, executions, and blaming gay people for every possible social I’ll, from the fall of Rome to pat robertsons Hemorrhoids.

    And again, you are the worst sort of bibliolator, of limit your God to what some badly translated passages from 2000 years ago appear to mean to you, and completely discount anything to the contrary.

    And then you wonder why people are leaving your churches. Except that you really, really like it, because it makes you feel so g-damn special. You alone are standing for gods truth in this sinful and broken world. And you cannot see exactly how much you contribute to it, any more than you can see how much you are a victim of it.

  • No, of course you were instructed to be on guard about this sort of thing. That doesn’t mean you are capable of recognizing it when it is in front of you. My neighbors dog is also always on guard, and gets into a frenzy when I am on the steps. As soon as he Sees me, the frenzy stops.

    No, it’s not noise to me at all. I fully accept other people’s’ religious impulses, even though I no longer share them. The noise to me is the bleating of the sheep about sin sin sin sin sin, and how whatever is done to the sinners is ok. The noise is about a certain political party convincing a farmer in Kansas that it’s two guys getting married in NY that’s the threat, not that party’s farm Bill. The noise is about how God loves everyone, but not you and you and you and you. The noise is about how we’re all sinners, but only some of us feel entitled to throw stones.

  • So nice. God sends YOU a prophet, and you get to decide whether the prophet meets your standards. Megalomania much?

  • Again, you slough off all personal responsibility for how you see the world, and how you act upon it. Because God hasn’t spoken in 2000 years, and the musings of Bronze Age goat herders are what’s important, not the 2000 years of progress we’ve made since.

  • Yes, and there are those who are so earthly-minded they are of little use to God. PHILIPPIANS 3:19-20 “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earth}ly things. For our conversation [deportment] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” MARK 8:36 “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

    So we have all these social programs and do no evangelism and now those that are fed, clothes, housed, etc go to Hell. Wonderful, just wonderful!

  • According to the Bible itself, the LGBTQI movement has marginalized obedience to God, just be being disobedient. Matt 19:4, Mark 10:6, Rom. 1:26-27, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, 1 Tim. 1:8-11 and Jude 1:7

  • last I knew United Methodists allowed divorce too. Pretty sure Jesus had something to say about that.

  • I thought you were far too intelligent to pilfer one of Dawkins’ lame attempts at wit — which is not only erroneous but is by now an extremely tired cliche.

    Ben, like I said, we are not working from the same premises. You believe in nothing transcendent so to you anything is fair game to be discarded. If we accept Jesus as the Christ however, we have no choice but to accept the scripture that revealed Him and which He taught as authoritative. And we may have more and better stuff today (to put it a bit too simplistically, perhaps) but in our natures we are much the same people we were when Christ walked the earth. Venture outside the west and you might completely reconsider that “progress” claim.

  • The sodom story is not in Leviticus, Ben. And I don’t even care about it. It counts for very little in the biblical perspective on sexuality and marriage.

    “And then you wonder why people are leaving your churches…” Actually I’m not wondering about it at all. Probably there are no more nominal Christians today than there ever were — it’s just more socially acceptable to leave, and ultimately that’s a good thing for the church. The entire history of Israel was a story of pruning, refining, strengthrning and restoring, and so it is with spiritual Israel as well. Why should we fret about it? The wishy-washy churches are losing the most members at the fastest pace and they keep right on doing the same wishy-washy stuff anyway, so why should WE change our game plan?

    “…you limit your God to what some badly translated passages from 2000 years ago appear to mean to you, and completely discount anything to the contrary.” I’ll answer that with the words of John the Apostle: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God…and the Word was made flesh and dwelled among us.”

  • They’ve come up with some speculation, but that doesn’t amount to much. Certainly not enough to compellingly rebut the unanimous attributions of the ante-Nicene fathers. They were not, after all, writing with a view to scoffers coming along 2000 years later calling them all liars because they don’t like the NT.

  • “Christian telling observant Jews that they’re apostates? Oh that’s rich. ” It didn’t go over well when Jesus said it either. Oh well…

    “why is the addition of prohibitions against all male-male sexual conduct, and lesbianism, perfectly in accordance with the Torah, but my list of halachic rulings “extra-biblical clutter”?” The Torah doesn’t say don’t do anal, Arbustin. It says not to lie with a man as you would with a woman. Do you really think that penetration alone is the essence of what it means to “lie with a woman?” If you do, I feel sorry for your wife.

    The essence of Leviticus 20:13 is to not lie with a man as with a woman, i.e., in a sexual manner. It’s almost like God talking baby-talk to His children, explaining homosexuality exactly as I and most of my friends had it explained to us as children: “It’s like a man with a woman, only it’s a man with a man.” And STILL the rebellious look for ways around it, and your list of caveats were exactly what Jesus was talking about when He upbraided the teachers of the law for creating man-made traditions that in effect nullify God’s commands. So much for 2000 years of “progress.”

  • BTW, I hope you think it’s just as “rich” for an ATHEIST to invade an intrachurch dialogue and purport to tell us what “God is really telling us.” ?

  • Remember that you don’t care about my opinion, Ben. You’ve been here for days, attacking the Bible one minute and attacking us for supposedly NOT following the Bible the next, telling us what God is saying one minute and telling us there is no God the next, and stamping feet and flailing and spitting in frustration until you’re reduced to parroting the embarrassingly trite “bronze age goat-herders” nonsense….but you “don’t care.”

    Breathe deeply and repeat slowly: “I don’t care what the Christians think…I don’t care what the Christians think…” Eventually, maybe it will be true.

  • Because it doesn’t say, “Do not lie with a man as you would with a woman.” It says that in English, but that’s a shorthand translation that’s all well and good but it’s not the plain meaning of the text. It says, “V’et zachar al tishkav mishkevei ishah.” (Lev. 18:22) “And male do not lie with the lyings of a woman.” “Lyings of a woman” is the key phrase. It doesn’t say, Men: don’t do anything sexual with a man that you would or could with a woman. Of course there are non-penetrative sex acts. It says stay away from her “lyings” when you yourself are “lying.” The SH-K-V word here, used as both a noun and a verb, means to lie down, horizontally. What “lying” of a woman could a male himself “lie” with. with another male?
    But this is only the plain meaning. To go beyond that, you by definition have to expand on the Bible. If you hold that the broader meaning is to prohibit all male-male sex acts, you’re in good company in the Jewish tradition. Just don’t pretend you’re doing something other than what the Pharisees did (and are still doing).

  • Projection, Shawnie.

    But you’re right, in once sense I really don’t care what Christians think, except that so called Christians have been behind nearly every incidence of antigay political activity in our country for the past 50 years, and throughout the world, for the past 2000 years. This is well documented. When this changes, perhaps you’ll have some reason to tell me to butt out. But as long as gay kids kill themselves, or their so-religious parents kick them out of their homes, or evangelical money goes to corrupt regimes in Africa in order to get the gays, or so-called NALT Christians sit it out while the Scott lively’s of the world go about their grift, don’t plan on it.

    Attacking the bible? well, I suppose you can say that, but then, I don’t share your belief in its perfection. Nor do I approve of its being used as a weapon. If you (meaning Christians of your sort, not you personally) left it at “we believe”, you might have a point. Might. But you don’t. And as long as you don’t, you can expect people like me to be around to remind you about it.

    Not that I expect to change your mind. I certainly don’t, though it would be nice. But I learned long ago that people who are antigay, especially those who use their religion as their excuse to treat other people badly, for whatever reasons they might have, are rarely interested in changing their minds. I don’t write for you. I write for all of the people who read but don’t comment. And many have let me know privately that I have reached them.

    Flailing and spitting in frustration? Neither. However, that does make me suspect that I am getting closer and closer to what upsets you.

  • People convening 300 years after Jesus died, in a world where all of the other gospels appeared, no matter how fantastic, would surely know a forgery when they saw one.

    We both know there are numerous factual and theological contradictions in the gospels. That’s all that is important.

  • I didn’t say it was in Leviticus.

    The point about be sodom story is how much the bible has been twisted to condemn homosexuality and condemn gay people, despite its obvious failure to have a thing to do with the subject. If one part of the bible was used for that purpose, and obviously do, it calls into question all of the rest of the alleged purity of the bible on this subject.

    As for Leviticus, it is yet another example of the same. ABomination refers to weather omens, not ritual uncleanliness. Shrimp are an abomination, but you would prefer to ignore that little bit of perversion. What Leviticus may prohibit could be a number of things, butbthevteisting goes on– it becomes a condemnation of all same sex activity, including gay women.

    Yes, the mainline churches are losing members faster than the fundelibangelistS, but that’s because it’s easier to leave a church that says “make nice” than it is to leave a church that says “believe or burn.” The latter have much deeper claws.

  • I wasn’t channeling Dawkins. I don’t need to. I’m channeling YOU.

    You write repeatedly of what a horrible world we live in, and how much more horrible it was 2000 years ago. And yet, we are supposed to take our notions of morality from people who believed it was a sin to eat shrimp, or that slavery was just fine, or that women were property and should keep silent, or that witches were for buRning.

    You have no idea what I believe as far as the transcendent goes, except that I don’t believe what you believe.

    I’m well aware that the world is a mess, both in the civilized world and outside of it. There has been a great deal of progress, and a great deal of the opposite. But here’s the difference between someone like me, who believes in human perfectibility on our own efforts, and someone like you, who believes we’re all fallen pustules of pustulating awfulness and sin that can only be redeemed by the unproven and unprovable supernatural:

    I believe in human perfectibility on our own efforts. You believe we’re all fallen pustules of pustulating awfulness and sin that can only be redeemed by the unproven and unprovable supernatural.

  • Homohatred is wrong and has no place in Christianity or a civilized society.
    But a certain class of so called Christian will go ahead and push for it anyway,

  • Perhaps you could explain why my comment is pathetic, and why gay people should be eliminated from society.

    But until you do, my comment stands: Homohatred is pathetic. My comment is not.

  • S’matter of fact, Paul had quite a few hangups about everything! Women weren’t his favorite subject either!

  • And you’re STILL questioning this subject? At a strong Baptist Seminary they only had to explain this to us once. Thank you, Ben in Oakland!

  • You sound more like a Christian should do than some of these other placebos of Jesus’s teachings! THANK YOU!

  • LOLOL… THANK you! Maybe you SHOULD join Christianity! We need more people like you! Be ye not hearers of the Word but DOERS also! One does not get off the hook with lip service (like Jim above!). PhD. in Bible Thumper 101!

  • The poor man can’t help it, marycat. It’s the way in which he was raised… or NOT!

  • Paul to Timothy is are both texts whose 1st sentences are a lie. Why should we pay attention to any of it?

  • Apparently you should try reading it more carefully. Romans 1 is so obviously talking about idol worship, I don’t know how anyone can miss that. Paul rambles on at some length.

  • Are hands that shed innocent blood “weather omens?” Lying lips? Both of those are called abominations in scripture.

    “Shrimp are an abomination, but you would prefer to ignore that little bit of perversion. ” We’ve discussed this before, Ben. Try to remember what I told you.

  • Oh brother. Ben, what you don’t know about what you don’t know about scripture would fill volumes. Nobody made any decisions about the canon of scripture at Nicea. They were there to decide a doctrinal question based upon the works that were already universally regarded as authoritative by all Christians. We know from the Muratorian Fragment that the pastoral epistles, which you’re attacking for God only knows what reason, were accepted as authentically apostolic and authoritative by the middle of the 2nd century AD at the very latest. As were all of the other NT writings with the exception of James, Hebrews, and the Petrine epistles.

    This myth about Nicea creating the NT is largely the product of ignorant people reading the Da Vinci Code and thinking it was based on fact.

  • Of course you’re channeling Dawkins. He was the original source of that silly canard, not me.

    Like I already said, Ben, venture outside the quilted bumpers of the west. Explore cultures with no Christian heritage, where they’ll openly laugh at your notions about man’s inherent value and the sanctity of human life. See what you think then about “human perfectability on our own efforts.”

  • Except I’m not upset in the slightest. I have no reason to be. I dialogue here because I enjoy it and often get a huge kick out of some of the characters that bumble across the stage, and being Christian it makes perfect sense for me to be here. I’ve certainly never once barged into any atheist spaces to lecture everyone there about the error of their ways to show them how much I “don’t care” about them. Who has time for that?

    “But I learned long ago that people who are antigay… are rarely interested in changing their minds. I don’t write for you. I write for all of the people who read but don’t comment.” IOW, preaching to the choir. Which you could do just as (or more) efficiently at atheist sites where your “choir” tends to congregate — if you “don’t care” what we think. Although admittedly the conversation in those places is less than stimulating so perhaps that explains your fascination with religion sites at least in part.

  • “What “lying” of a woman could a male himself “lie” with. with another male?” LOL! Try the Song of Solomon for further details.

  • Let me get this straight…evangelical churches are losing members because of their “claws.” And they are not losing members because of their claws. Meanwhile mainline churches are losing members because they have no claws. Which means, presumably, they would not lose so many members if they had claws. But churches with claws lose members. And they do not lose members because they have claws…

    Wow, Ben, I’m starting to get as dizzy as you are. It’s a good thing we don’t need to rely on you to tell us “what God is really telling us,” isn’t it? ?

  • No, Shawnie, you don’t have it straight, which is probably why you are so confused. But as long as we have you to tell us what God is really telling us, we have no need for God.

  • No Shawnie, I’m not interested in preaching to the choir, merely to people who haven’t yet decided which song they want to sing.

  • Perhaps Dawkins was channeling me. Imitation is the sincerest form of plagiarism.?

    As always, you want Christianity to accept the credit for the good things in western culture, why denying the credit for evil in western culture. That works for you. Good.

    I see Christians laughing at the notion of perfectibility. Well, your type. All the belief in Jesus in the world hasn’t perfected anyone. My reading of history sees the enlightenment as the reaction against religion, not the result of religion. That western culture has advanced in perfectibility compared to non-western cultures– a dubious proposition at best– is far more likely the result of the enlightenment than the result of conservative Christianity finally seeing some light.

    But sure. Whatever you want to believe.

  • What the world doesn’t know about scripture would also fill volumes. A chain of custody for evidence like that would get thrown out of any court.But thank the God I don’t believe in that we have you to correct them.

    Shawnie, I got are very smart, and I have no issue with the idea that you are far more knowledgeable than I am. But I also see your blindness. Your absolute belief in scripture. How much you enjoy being superior to others. How much you hug yourself, assuring yourself that you are among the saved; while the weaker branches are pruned, as you so delightfully put it. That you are god’s BFFF. You very much remind me of those medieval pictures, where the rich and the fair get to stand in heaven, looking down at the suffering in hell, and gladly sharing with each other that “thank the lord, we are not as them.” Sound familiar?

    That is all very clear about you. And you are welcome to it. As I said, I don’t write to convince you. In fact, for that matter, as YOU said as well.

    The fact remains that in the west, people are leaving the church, whether conservative or liberal. And I believe completely that it is because of the obvious.

  • I remember exactly what I told you, and what you told me. I also remember the book I read about the provenance of the KJV, where it came from, and how to’evah became “ab ominare”, where the word abomination does not mean to us what it meant to the KJV scholars, and “ab ominare” did not mean to them what to’evah meant to jews 2000 years ago.

  • Thanks, mr. Melby, but no thanks. I consider that a compliment, but my flirtation with Christianity ended nearly 50 years ago. Even if I were so inclined, those people who use their religion as a club, or as a badge of their superiority, have forever turned me away from any sort of revealed knowledge.

    But as I have often said, if faith makes your life better and you aa better person, I am all for it.

  • Exactly my point. The word “lyings” is not in the Song of Songs. It’s a grand poetic work of sexual allegory, both intercourse and non-intercourse, but has nothing to do with the matter I’m discussing, which is the pshat of the Leviticus verses.

  • Not even on purpose.
    But since you are the sola scriptorum girl, it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference to the “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” crowd…
    …Who it was. We both know that.,

  • Oh, I know all the arguments, and what their origins are. They can virtually all be traced back to Boswell, whose work was extremely popular among laypeople but mostly dismissed by his peers as advocacy scholarship. Even most gay atheists like youself have little patience for Boswell’s apologetics…they know scripture condemns homosexuality and what they advocate is the repudiation of the Bible altogether. And I have to respect their intellectual honesty about it, even while their rejection of God saddens me. This business of trying to rewrite scripture to keep it from hurting anybody’s little fee-fees is cowardly in the extreme.

    In any case, you’re wasting considerable time trying to explain away what an abomination is. You could take the word out altogether and it wouldn’t matter — the scripture would still say not to do this, because it is one of the practices for which God judged and rejected the Gentile nations that preceded Israel.

  • If you think I relish the thought of ANYBODY going to hell, your prejudices have blinded you tragically. If I wanted to see you in hell, I would gladly pat you on the head and assure you that anything you want to do is A-OK with God. Pay no attention to that sign saying something about a bridge being out…I’m sure it’s a stretch of good road ahead…keep on truckin’…

    I don’t expect to observe anyone’s suffering in the afterlife for I don’t believe hell is an eternal state. But what bothers you more — the idea of eternal death, or that some might escape it? Is hell another one of those things we have to excise from the scriptures because it’s too “discriminatory?”

  • I never said you would relish other people being in hell. That would be out of my pay grade to make that claim. But I can see how much you treasure the thought of just how special and pure you are. That part shines through.

    YOU need to believe in hell, and the kind of God you believe in. I simply don’t.

    But wait! You don’t believe hell is eternal? I could have sworn that True Christians (TM) writing on these very pages have said that Hell is eternal. Which one of you should I believe?

    As for what bothers me more? Neither of your options bother me in the slightest. As I have said repeatedly, it doesn’t matter what I believe. As you have said repeatedly, your idea of God hasn’t asked me. I prefer the third and fourth alternatives: neither I, nor you, nor anyone else that claims to know, actually knows a thing.

    But I know what I believe: that if there is a god, and if this God created the entire cosmos, in all of its glory, then it is extremely unlikely that he resembles nothing so much as a middle eastern potentate from 2000-3000 years ago, capricious in his whims, cruel in his actions, and so inconsistent that he tells you how much he loves you, right before he sends you to hell to burn forever because he failed to get you the memo about how much he loves you.

  • Your contempt once again shows through. You keep mentioning Boswell. I don’t.

    Calling people’s lives “little fee-fees”– charming.

    Atheism isn’t a statement about God, and no thoughtful atheist would make such a claim, including myself.

    It’s a statement about religion.

  • If I thought I was special or pure I would hardly have any need for a Savior, Ben. That is what the gospel is all about.

    No, I don’t believe hell is eternal. I think hell is a kind of unpleasant holding cell, so to speak, where everyone who rejects God can be free of His unwelcome presence until the last judgment. Kind of a continuation of a fallen life lived on earth but without the constraints of God’s work and intervention. Ultimately I think what John called “the second death” is exactly that. But it’s a question upon which reasonable minds may disagree for there are good arguments both ways.

  • Well, damn, I’m still your friend! LOLOL. Peace! You seem to despise the same hypocrites I do!

  • “You keep mentioning Boswell. I don’t.” It doesn’t matter whether you mention him by name or not. He created ALL of the arguments you have cited.

    “Calling people’s lives “little fee-fees”– charming.” You sexual behavior is your life? Whatever. But whatever is that important ought to be well worth honestly repudiating the scriptures, right?

    “Atheism isn’t a statement about God.” It’s a statement about His existence — and that’s all it is. A=No, Theos=God. How come you feel the need to employ sophistry like this?

    “…no thoughtful atheist would make such a claim.” I suggest you supplement your study of Boswell with Homosexuality, Intolerance, and Christianity: A Critical Examination of John Boswell’s Work, by Johansson, Dynes and Lauritsen (Gay Academic Union 1981, 1985).

  • marycat, bless your heart! Yes, we are commanded to love all people, but some try to make our job very difficult, lolol. Some days I am so ashamed to be Caucasian and Christian because of the growing number of faux christian extremists. We had a very good sermon today on jealousy and how the right wing extremies use that against true Christians. They are never satisfied with the gifts they have been given and so they stir up turmoil among the righteous, sometimes winning, most of the time, losing. Blessings and peace!
    GMMelby, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

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