David Gushee: Christians, Conflict and Change Faith Opinion

Disinvited again: You, sir, are simply intolerable

Stumbling blocks catch most people by surprise.

(RNS) A few weeks ago I was disinvited again.

To be disinvited is (or ought to be) a rather rare privilege. It happens when first you are eagerly invited to do something, like give a speech or write a book chapter. You say yes. You hold the date on the calendar, do some preparation, decline other invitations.

Then, some time later the invitation is suddenly withdrawn. The event will go on, but it turns out that you are no longer welcome. Something has shifted about you, or about whoever invited you, and now your presence is a problem.

To not be invited somewhere in the first place, that’s no problem. No one has a right to a speaking or writing invitation.

To be invited and then disinvited by the same group, that’s special.

This particular disinvitation was not the first I have received. But it was one of the most surprising.

Here’s the backstory:

From 1994 to 2014, I was one of the go-to ethicists in the evangelical Christian world. If there was a statement to sign (or write), I was usually invited. If there was a major conference on ethics, I was often featured. If there was a book project, I might well be asked to participate. It was a good run.

"Changing Our Mind" by David Gushee

“Changing Our Mind” by David Gushee

But then I made a mistake, at least from one perspective. In October 2014, I wrote a book called “Changing Our Mind.” In it, I gingerly explored the possibility that LGBT people should no longer be treated differently from others in the church. They should be welcome on equal terms, not more, not less. I tried to show it might be possible to get to this conclusion without compromising core Christian moral commitments.

From a certain liberal perspective the book was too little, too late. After all, it was 2014. But from a certain evangelical perspective the book was too much, too soon. I had crossed a bright red line that separates evangelical Christians from others of lesser orthodoxy.

The hailstorm of rejection I received after publishing that book will be described more fully in my memoir, which Westminster John Knox Press will be publishing this fall. It will be called “Still Christian,” a claim about myself that my fundamentalist and evangelical Christian enemies might well reject.

In it, I will describe what my life was like from 2014 to 2016. It included a bunch of disinvitations (and worse). Numerous events that were on the calendar were blown right off.

By fall 2016, I had imagined that the wall of rejections, attacks, criticisms, and exclusions had finally come to an end. While I came to understand that there was not a chance in any universe that I would ever again be invited to perform any kind of service for any evangelical body, I had thought the time of disinvitations was finally over.

But there was one last chance to make me pay for my sins.

I was scheduled to speak this coming April to the Protestant Church-Owned Publishers Association. This is a trade group of about three dozen Protestant denominational book publishers. In 2016, their representative invited me to be the keynote speaker at their annual trade meeting in Nashville, Tenn. I put the date on my calendar.

But then the other shoe dropped.

I received a note about a month ago from the same person who had invited me. I was now being disinvited to this event. The reason? One of the publishers from a conservative denomination had threatened to resign from the organization if I was allowed to speak to it.

This publisher also suggested that other conservative publishers might join them in walking away if I gave a speech. They wouldn’t just boycott that meeting; they would take their ball and go home. Forever. And ever. Amen.

This was apparently too much pressure for the organization to bear, and so they folded like a tent. I was disinvited.

Later I learned two of the more progressive publishers resigned in protest over the disinvitation to me.

So there you have it. The possibility of my presence at a podium for an after-dinner talk is now enough to cause an entire organization to split.

This was not how I thought my story would ever go. Not when I committed my life to Christ 40 years ago. Not when I was ordained 30 years ago. Not when I got my doctorate almost 25 years ago. Not when I wrote my book — one of over 20 on a wide variety of topics.

Any lessons here?

We live in a society in which our polarities drive each other crazy. I walk into a house with a certain TV station on and I want to howl in anguish.

Why can’t we all just get along?

Because we are convinced that so much is at stake, that the other is not just wrong but dangerous, that being subjected to the sound of their voice is intolerable.

When this happens to you personally, it gets really, really old.

When it happens to a society, it gets really, really dangerous.

(David Gushee is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University in Georgia. He writes the “Christians, Conflict and Change” column for RNS)

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  • Christians fighting among themselves over whether, how, and how much to abuse others. How moral.

    This is an excellent example of what I mean when I say that, in the event of an apocalyptic “Armageddon”-like beliefs-based battle, I believe it won’t be between These-believers and Those-believers, but between Respecters of others’ lives, rights, freedoms, metaphysical boundaries, and sacred property; and Trespassers who decry others’ lives, defy their rights, deny their freedoms, invade their metaphysical boundaries, and savage their sacred property. It will be a contest between humanity and inhumanity, compassion and contempt, mercy and malice, coexistence and conquest. In short, it will be a man-made Holey War between Equality and Ego.

    The song says, “What the world needs now is love”, and I certainly agree. But let’s not forget humility.

  • Much of the promotion of religion relies, overtly and/or covertly, upon fear. Fear of hell, fear of unending pain, fear of eternal, known separation from loved ones, fear of poverty/pain/loneliness/rejection in this life etc. etc..

    As with any product if you get people frightened of something, however irrational that fear may be, and then offer a solution that they see as good value you make a sale. Start with a low entry price that can be ramped up. Once the initial sale is made the aim becomes repeat income; that requires ongoing, and more extreme, reinforcement of the purchase driver.

    One way of retaining buyers is to get them to band together, a them-and-us situation, call it a trade association, a mutual support organisation, a “defence” body, a family, a klan or a church. Then get those “members” to adopt separating markers; badges, clothing, association/behaviour patterns so that, eventually, they are repelling those who are not “one-of-us”. Find minor differences with similar groups and magnify, through spurious argument, the importance of that difference until it becomes a line-in-the-sand-that-cannot-be-crossed. Tell those “on the inside” that the separation proves they are right, that they alone have the “knowledge” and all the time increase their investment (sunk cost is not just financial) by further draining their resources; time, effort and money. Reap the benefits of that escalated fear.

    Then introduce the conviction that non-members are somehow “not real humans beings”. Most people try to avoid hurting other people but that resistance is lowered when the others are not “real people”.

    Congratulations – ” the Other is not just wrong but dangerous”. You have a sacred(scared?) duty to avoid, attack, ignore, belittle, harm, destroy, reject compromise, escalate pain (it’s for their good in the long run).

    “We live in a society in which our polarities drive each other crazy” – because, behind the polarities are people who are benefiting from, and seeking to escalate for personal short-term gain, the craziness of not-me others.

  • Yes, hard times have come for all of us American Christians, especially over the issues of homosexual behavior, gay marriage mess, transsexualism, etc. Gay Goliath has divided us.

    The most high-profile “disinviting” of all, was the 2013 “disinvitation” that was given to the evangelical “Passion Conference” leader, the Rev. Louis Giglio. The Obama White House invited him to Obama’s Inauguration, but then they found that he’d preached ONE sermon, 15 years prior, in agreement with the New Testament position against homosexual behavior. Hence, a big public “disinvitation.”

    “… We should note that Pastor Giglio’s sermon was, as we would expect and hope, filled with grace and the promise of the Gospel. Giglio did not just state that homosexuals are sinners — he made clear that every single human being is a sinner, in need of the redemption that is found only in Jesus Christ. ‘We’ve got to say to the homosexuals, the same thing that I say to you and that you would say to me … It’s not easy to change, but it’s possible to change,’ he preached. He pointed his congregation, gay and straight, to ‘the healing power of Jesus.’ He called his entire congregation to repent and come to Christ by faith.

    “That is the quintessential Christian Gospel. That is undiluted biblical truth.” — Dr. Albert Mohler.

  • There is something familiar about this process of fragmentation. Oh yes, it’s what happened to progressive groups in the 1970s. After much drama and and humiliation, it would eventually lead first to powerlessness and then to soul-searching, and finally to recovery. We can hope that a similar process takes place in the Christian community over the next 40 years.

  • I feel rather certain (please correct me if I am wrong Dr. Gushee) that you knew, as you were writing “Changing Our Mind” that a complete change of attitude towards you would quickly follow the publication of that book. I applaud you for having the courage to publish it but to then complain about the obvious consequences seems disingenuous.

  • Good point. I would have liked the author to have discussed what in particular his book proposed that caused all the disinvites. Then of course, I hope the author reflects, as you alluded in your comment, what is his high water mark for disavowing a group, individual, he will associate with.

    I guess we can all come to the conclusion that our society has reinstalled the process of publicly shunning people. I would not be surprised either if it gets to the point where the ghost of Hester Prynne comes back to haunt our current society that thought it had moved passed such behavior.

  • Thank you for writing about your experience, Dr. Gushee. You are not “complaining”, you are thinking deeply about this experience and sharing these thoughts with others. I hope others will learn a thing or two from you about courage. People who will try to have it both ways, acting like they have no problem with LGTB people, while demanding that they become straight and cis gendered. (“Hey, it’s not me, it’s God talking!” Such hubris!)

    I publicly supported a young person in our church who came out as male and started to pursue steps to assume a male identity. I am the wife of the pastor, who, by the way, did not take an affirming position. Some members of our little church left because of my position. I feel bad about these people, whom I love, hitting the door. But they can and will go to another church and suffer no wounds because of their experience. On the other hand, the young trans man also left and came close to suffering a total nervous breakdown. He will never go to a church again, baring a miracle of God. He has a deep fear and aversion to evangelical Christians now.

    Our former pastor used to actually boast from the pulpit that people would walk out mid sermon when he would “preach the truth” about how disgusting homosexuality is. This was to him evidence that God is using him, I guess. How does that make sense?? Does God love these strugglers who left in great pain any less than “important” members who leave full of self righteous indignation?

    I think not…. Maybe the contrary is even true.

  • Welcome to the world of gay people, Mr. Gushee. But you knew that.

    All that this really shows in that the fundamentalist obsession with gay people has so little to do with the word of god, and everything to do with the word of god being used to justify an ancient, vicious, durable, and culturally infused prejudice, so deeep in our psyches that fathers cannot be affectionate with their sons lest someone denounce them for being “that way.”

    I suspect that if you were Jewish, Muslim, or Sikh, and had been invited to give a speech about how your faith rejects every single last central tenet of fundelibangelical Christianity, you would have received a nice coffee cup as a token of their esteem.

  • God was using him, of course.

    God was trying to point out his unlhealthy obsessions with “disgusting” homosexuality. God was trying to tell him to stop exercising his own real demons under the pretense of exorcising the imaginary ones of a complete stranger.

  • Thing like this happen when one embraces apostasy. While homosexuals should be welcomed, they need the truth of scripture, they should not be allowed to work or be members until they become Christians,

  • In their attempt to make everyone “tolerant” of their immorality, they have neglected that it is easier done when they grant the same respect, and have a leg to stand on.

  • He is if he is endorsing homosexuality. He is leading people to death and perdition, amongst other things – not a sign of Christian love at all.

  • I think if you spent time read, meeting with, and listening to gay Christians you may be surprised the the fruit of what your saying is death. Death to their souls, their spirit and in many cases the end to their very life. How is that fruit Christian?

    But in some ways this conversation misses the point entirely. If the answer is “gay people go to hell” before the conversation even happens then we are, as Christians, in a very dangerous place because we are so convinced we can’t be wrong one way or the other.

  • Ellen can do whatever she wants, she hasn’t claimed to be a Christian or to try and hold herself to those standards. When we publicly take on the label of Christian we are espousing that we choose to die to self, take up our cross, and follow in his teaching of enemy love, love of the poor, the widow, the orphan, the marginalized. The fruit of that “love” will show if we are following Christ or not I think.

  • I see. You have one rule for immoral liberals, and another for Christians. Loving someone is also not endorsing those who endorse death for homosexuals.

  • I have no rule for liberals or conservatives or anarchist beyond consistency to what they say they believe. So do I expect Ellen to act Christian and get upset she doesn’t? no. Do I expect Christians to act Christ like and get upset when they don’t? yes.

  • Seems you don’t expect anyone, except Christians to show integrity? I didn’t realize it is solely a Christian value.

  • If the person said integrity was important to them I would. But their display of integrity would be in relation to their believes and values, not mine. I don’t own what integrity looks like.

  • nope, never said I did. I said I can’t expect people to hold to or be upset they don’t hold to a value they never claimed was one of their own. I also can’t say “intergirty means you value X”

  • Sandi is just being her usual sandimonious self. she frankly doesn’t care– not about gay Christians, not about gay people, and not about Christians in general unless they are her type of Christian.

  • You assume you are forgiven. You assume I am not.

    You presume to know the status of the relationship of god with any other soul on the planet. You assume to know exactly how god feels about you.

    Sandimoniously, of course.

  • Given her penchant for disdain, hostility, hubris, otherizing, outrageousness, and distraction, I wonder if “Sandi” is a pseudonym for “Donald”.

  • I was just wondering if the threat of a publishing superstructure leaving an association because of one individual is a sign of their strength or weakness?

  • You poor thing Floyd. You’re so picked on. Tell me, what part of government is there that you and the rest of the rightwingers don’t own? All I can think of is (maybe?) SCOTUS. Your boy will soon put someone there who will bend the constitution to your religious desires.

    I’d hate to think of what you’d be saying or doing if you were not in a country where your religion didn’t control government and the law making and enforcing apparatus.

  • how would you know? What I hear you saying when you say “I don’t need to b intimate with sin to teach against it” is that you’re not close to or around those whom your teaching against. How would you know the fruit it bears in their life?

  • If Christ said it is a sin, I don’t need to know the sinner intimately for them to prove it. Christ’s word is enough.

  • That’s why Christ shunned the woman he saved from stoning by the righteou/s.

    “Willful ignorance”: the most hypocritical tactic ever invented to sustain delusion.

  • Well, from all the people I know who are on the receiving end of this type of approach, it bears bad fruit to tell people you refuse to associate with they are sinners. They can’t understand why a someone who claims to follow a Jesus who focused on loving the marginalized and the other, one who ate with and fellowshiped with the most outcast, won’t even consider them a person worth their time.

    It’s bad fruit that kills.

  • tell Christ.

    2 Timothy 3:16-17English Standard Version (ESV)
    16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[a] may be complete, equipped for every good work.

  • I’m sorry I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make here. I don’t disagree with this verse. I just fail to see how it relates.

    If we are to claim to be a Christian we are to be like Christ, in my understanding. It then for me follows I should act like him and in so doing the fruit my actions bare will be similar to his. So I should be near those on the margins, showing them his love and grace, and that will bring life to them.

    If what I share with them brings death, it’s not from Christ. And the only way to know that fruit is to be with them.

  • If you believe Christ’s word brings death, why do you want to be a Christian. In emulating Him, we are allowed to use what He taught.

  • we can quote scripture at each other all day. I’ve got loads and I’m sure you do to. I’ll say my final thought and leave the last comment to you.

    I believe Christs teaching bring life. A deep, rich, life. What you are advocating brings death to people. That’s not an opinion or a some thought but a fact that is etched on countless lives. Now you know, you cannot say you don’t any longer. If you can find a way to reconcile teaching something that brings death to people as being Christ like, there’s nothing more to be said here. If you however think that showing people Christ, living and teaching Him and his scriptures should bring life, then you need to seriously consider the glaring inconsistency here. Because make no mistake, your teaching brings death.

    So its left to you. This teaching brings death, full stop. So the question is yours to ponder now. Does Jesus teaching bring life or death?

  • As I told Ben a few weeks ago, I am not persecuted. And regarding today’s thread, I’ve never been “disinvited” from a Presidential Inauguration for a 15-year-old sermon that expressed full agreement with the New Testament regarding the homosexual gig.

    No, that’s not me. That’s the Rev. Louis Giglio. He really didn’t deserve what you libbies did to him. But his response was fully Christian, fully servant, fully humility. He swallowed the national-level insult with true meekness and grace. Check it:

    “Neither I, nor our team, feel it best serves the core message and goals we are seeking to accomplish to be in a fight on an issue not of our choosing, thus I respectfully withdraw my acceptance of the President’s invitation. I will continue to pray regularly for the President, and urge the nation to do so. I will most certainly pray for him on Inauguration Day.” — Rev. Louis Giglio

    Meanwhile, I’m reading your post, I’m trying to listen, but you’re FULLY ducking the specifics of what I posted. You don’t always do that, but you’re doing it now.

  • The point is, he knew her. He sat down and talked with her. And not just her. He said the Beatitudes about the downtrodden, the oppressed, the outcasts like her. He exemplified the virtue of “Getting to Know You” — a virtue you deny yourself.

    But you know that.

    Yet you spit on strangers from the safe and comfortable distance of your keyboard, proclaiming your ignorance to be enlightenment, your viciousness to be virtue. Unlike Christ, you exemplify trespass and cruelty, full of ego, devoid of empathy.

    And your readers know that.

  • Not at all, but thanks. Homosexuality is a sin. Say anything otherwise, and you are responsible for their death.

    Ezekiel 3:18-19English Standard Version (ESV)

    18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for[a] his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.
    2 Timothy 3:16-17English Standard Version (ESV)

    16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[a] may be complete, equipped for every good work.

  • Isaiah 55:11 – New International Version
    so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

    Ezekiel 3:18-19English Standard Version (ESV)

    18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for[a] his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.

  • No, he didn’t sit and talk with her G. I would suggest you learn what you are trying to discuss.
    John 8:1-11

  • As I said, hard times have come upon us Christians (I wasn’t joking about it), and the Gay Goliath has seriously divided us.

    This post from Ms. Gilmartin, a pastor’s wife (and I respect her office), is full of poignancy and pain. You can see the hard times, you can see the division and the pain.

    A pastor, forced to make a decision on a female member who is somehow snagged into transsexualism, ultimately chooses to uphold the Scriptures ABOVE the transsexualism. But the pastor’s wife, equally forced to decide, ultimately chooses to uphold the transsexualism ABOVE the Scriptures. No attacks, no diss, no judging, but Lord God what a horror of public division.

    Every time I try to visualize the overall situation (as Gilmartin described it), it makes me shudder and forget to breathe. Not only does the transsexual victim NOT receive a full healing & deliverance by the invincible power of Christ (Matt. 9:35, 1 Cor. 6:9-11), but the church itself gets hurt & partially split. A real bad situation, the kind that puts us on our knees in prayer.

  • Why stop at the 11th verse? Because it contradicts your post to Her Leftness, i.e., “You are aware that Christ taught that they should listen to the Pharisees?”? For the convenience of all, here is John 8:1-11 plus a few more verses relevant to this RNS article and conversation:

    “But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.” Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me.”

  • Once again (sigh)… Five Simple Questions About Religious Liberty and Civil Rights:

    1.) Is it virtuous to claim offense for what “They” do in their private lives?

    2.) Do they get say-so over your life, your rights, your freedoms, your body, your bedroom, your spouse?

    3.) Do they get to hold you to their metaphysical beliefs, regulations, requirements, and restrictions?

    4.) What of their religious liberty?

    5.) Why is it that none of the Brimstone Bullies ever(!) answer these simple questions?

  • Dr. Gushee speaks of “LGBT people”; but do “LGBT people,” (who are born “gay” and cannot change) really exist? Dr. Lisa Diamond, a lesbian psychologist, has received awards from the American
    Psychological Association for her work on “sexual orientation”. Even the gay “Division 44″ of the APA honors and lauds Dr. Diamond:

    “… her exceptional research has challenged prevailing notions of sexual
    orientation.”

    http://www.apadivisions.org/division-44/membership/fellows/honored-fellows.aspx

    Diamond’s research has shown that “sexual fluidity” exists: “’It’s possible…for someone who is
    homosexual to fall in love with someone of a different gender…It appears to be something EVERYBODY is capable of…’”

    http://www.apa.org/monitor/feb07/lovesnot.aspx

    Dr. Diamond’s original research involved 90+ women who showed “fluidity” by becoming attracted to both men and women, even when they thought they were exclusively “lesbian”. But she wondered whether men might be “fluid” too, as she relates in her new video.

    (6:24) “…over the years I’ve come to sort of think about this more deeply…and…we simply haven’t had the kinds of samples and the kinds of studies that would actually allow us to rigorously answer the question of whether women and men are equally fluid.”

    Now, studies with huge samples, numbering in the thousands, are available to study both male
    and female fluidity. Dr. Diamond adds her own new study with a substantial sample of “159
    women and 179 men”. All these studies show that men have “fluidity,” too.

    Dr. Diamond’s conclusions are striking: Everyone can change; there is no such thing as a “distinct, immutable group” of “LGBT”.

    (37:27)” So what are the implications of all this? I’ve started to now come to see fluidity NOT as
    something that’s just specific to women, but as a general feature of human sexuality.” She adds:

    “We have advocated for the civil rights of LGBT people on the basis of them being LGBT, right…And that really, really tricky now that we know that it’s not true.”

    http://www.cornell.edu/video/lisa-diamond-on-sexual-fluidity-of-men-and-women

  • Based on what I have read, you didn’t get it quite right. She did find sexual fluidity for many women and men over an extended period of time but also noted there was a group who exhibited no such sexual fluidity over time.

    In a more recent paper she concludes that “The present study makes an important contribution to contemporary research on female sexuality by providing the first empirical evidence that differences between consistent versus variable histories of sexual identification and behavior have biological correlates..” and believes that differences in other biological variables will be found in future research.

  • Answered and asked.

    But if you are interested in better understanding my “problem” — and if you would like me to better understand your perspective regarding strangers and their private lives — then you might find it informative, rewarding, and mutually beneficial to consider and answer “Five Simple Questions About Religious Liberty and Civil Rights”, which I posted to the main thread 2 hours ago. These questions reflect my interests and motivations in contributing to RNS-hosted discussions such as this.

  • You can always count on antigay Christians to defend the indefensible,

    Sexual fluidity means that some people are sexually fluid. They are called bisexuals. it doesn’t mean that everyone is, nor does it mean that anyone can change at will.

    I had sex with two women forty odd years ago, it doesn’t mean I’m bisexual. it doesn’t mean I am sexually fluid. It just means I had sex with two women forty odd years ago.

    You’ve set up a straw man about rigidity. I don’t know anyone who would claim that sexual orientation is not fluid– except for Christian fundamentalists and antigay bigots–at least for some people. Perhaps many, but not all. And fluidity does not mean that volition is a part of the matter.

    People who don’t know me or anything about me, but will tell me all about my life, are the ones who are extreme. And who lack humility. When you choose to have sex with a man you can tell me all about sexual fluidity. people like Peterson Toscano spent twenty years and untold thousands to become heterosexual. But never did. Perhaps you can explain to him about sexual fluidity.

    Or perhaps you can just stop taking things, whether your bible or science, out of context.

  • Sorry, I looked at your questions and decided protecting homosexuals was much more important. blessings to you.

  • Except that the Bible says nothing about transgendered persons, nor about persons who are intersex (having genitalia and/or chromosomes of both male and female). I could say more, but I can see that the assumption floydlee has is that that God favors the physically visible sexual identity over the person’s experienced gender identity. It is ironic, actually. In insisting that there is a horror in a person trying to live as a gender that they are not, many Christians are actually promoting exactly that.

  • But He also reinterpreted it rather than taking it literally. He also gave us a different lens to understand scripture by. Also please note that in the New Testament, only Paul said homosexuality is a sin (which I think also has some context to it).

  • Linda, homosexuality is classified as “immorality”, along with adultery, incest, bestiality, pedophilia. In the NT Christ was not specific about any sexual sin, including bestiality, but you wouldn’t say that He endorses that either. When He spoke about immorality, he was speaking to Jews who knew the Law.

    Matthew 15:19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.20 These are what defile you.

    Revelation 2:20 International Standard Version (ISV)

    20 But I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet and who teaches and leads my servants to practice immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.

    Revelation 21:8 ESV

    But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

    Revelation 22: 14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

    That is what Christ taught about sexual sin in the NT.

    Also…Paul was extremely relevant:

    “That was Paul: if you cannot hear Paul you cannot hear Christ, John 13: 20.” Rev Robert West

  • Christ himself did not call homosexuality a sin. If you consider what defiles a person in the cited Matthew passage, the list is about sins that hurt other people in some way. This is consistent with Christ’s teachings to love God and to love others.

  • And the leaders so hated Jesus’ message of love, that they fell on His church like wild beasts and tore it to pieces rather than attempt to live by His words.

    And He wept.

  • Dr. Gushee,

    I bear no ill will towards you whatsoever. What I expect is disheartening to those who have disinvited you has to do with how you abandoned the position you previously articulated in your book, Kingdom Ethics, which you co-authored with Glen Stassen. Whereas you previously held to an objective ethical foundation, your current position appears to be derived from relativism and personal loyalties. The fact that many strongly disagree with this shift has nothing to do with your infinite value as a child of God. It simply means you lost your voice with those who hold to the traditional-biblical view. And yes, the new and novel interpretations are acknowledged but not convincing.

  • Though I have certain disagreements and qualifications with respect the issue being discussed by Dr. Gushee and his position, the decision to disinvite him lacked graciousness and tact. I would think that he should be allowed to speak, and at the same time challenged on some of his conclusions in a free and open forum.

  • If any of the people commenting have not read Dr. Gushee’s book, Changing our Minds, (particularly those who are so sure this is a simple matter, and using the Bible to try to bash gays is God’s work), they should read it ASAP.

  • I think that you are wrongly equating transsexualism with homosexuality. Interestingly, I can’t think of anything in the Bible that addresses transsexuals. Plenty for the judgmental though!

  • Thank you Dr. Gushee. Twenty-two years ago I spent three weeks in your class “The Christian Response to the Holocaust.” Those three weeks changed me and gave me theological frame-work that has been my guide ever since. The starting point is God’s love. God created and creates out of his love. God saves because of his love. God sustains by his love. Beginning at any other point can send us into some very dark places that are filled with fear, hate and hypocrisy.

  • “If we are to claim to be a Christian we are to be like Christ”

    There is your mistake when dealing with Sandi. She doesn’t want to be like Christ. She wants to pretend Christ was like her. So she claims the Bible supports her ignorance, malice and bigotry and has no other meaning.

    It’s the old spineless, “I am not really a hateful malicious person, I am just following Biblical orders….as interpreted in a self serving way”

  • If that is what the Lord chooses, yes. Otherwise, until they have renounced their sin and become Christians.

  • linda if you look at John 1, Jesus is the Word. He spoke the Leviticus admonitions about homosexuality.
    Let’s go back to Sodom and Gomorrah – He found none righteous there – righteous meaning “right with God”
    Paul, speaking for Jesus condemned the sin several times.
    Homosexuals are also idolators, in that they place their sin before the teachings of Christ. That is another reason why they are not Christians.

    Revelation 21:8 ESV
    But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

    Revelation 22: 14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

  • But Edward! IF they did THAT, they couldn’t scream “heretic” at him, and wallow in the mud of self righteousness!

  • It all depends on whether you want to be convinced.

    I would suggest that pro-gay Christians are not advocating their positions despite what their bibles say, but because of it. I would suggest that how one reads the Bible is dependent on what kind of a person one is, and not the other way around. I would suggest that antigay prejudice has little to do with what the Bible says, and is not dependent on it. Rather, one is prejudiced against gay people in Dr. Gushee’s sense because that is how one is; the biblical quotation simply justifies that.

    Not the other way around.

  • The author of this article (being an American Evangelical) may see this as a “fundamentalist” vs. “liberal issue”, but in the end it is a historic, Christian one. Historic Orthodox believing and living looks like something, and no one individual decides what transcendent, scriptural truth/ethics is or is not. The informing traditions of our many influences and sub-cultures tell us individual conscience, our experience in our time and space, and our own individual viewpoints trump everything. It doesn’t. We make eternal decisions as historically connected and informed communions, having been born into what God has been doing before we arrive. Lasting changes are to be made in Community past, present, and future. But it is we Moderns that are so very enlightened so as to throw off four-thousand years of basic ethics in one generation. These are the blind spots of conservatives and liberals alike.

  • ” She doesn’t want to be like Christ. She wants to pretend Christ was like her.”
    ONE THOUSAND UPVOTES.

  • Paul, SPEAKING FOR JESUS…
    Just a few weeks ago, you were claiming it was Jesus speaking.
    Sodomand Gomorrah? Righteousness, by your own admission. Hot heterosexual.

  • Oh I do know. I also know that your mind is as rigid as concrete and not open to any information that contradicts the things you’ve chosen to believe. I know that when you’re challenged you respond with more of the same or, more often, with rudeness, sarcasm, belittling, and attempts to shame.

    Most of all, I know it grieves me and others here that you hold yourself up as a representative of “True Christianity” and that you’re immune to pleas to moderate your tone and words.

  • “People who don’t know me or anything about me, but will tell me all about my life, are the ones who are extreme And who lack humility.”

    Perfect!

  • It saddens me that every time you see scripture, with your lack of discernment, you see it as an attack.
    You got angry and offended because I would not set scripture aside to agree with your views. I still won’t.

  • Nope, not angry at you. Disappointed and grieved as I said. Your replies here are true to form.

    I pointed out what is actually in your comments. It’s extremely rare that you ask for further explanation, agree to consider further information, admit that you have anything to learn. Several commenters from a variety of theological positions have made similar statements but you have apparently decided you have sole control of truth and anyone who disagrees with you is wrong.

    I guess it will surprise you that there are many smart people among both the writers and commenter at RNS. Rather than attacking them, listen. Follow the links they post. Do some reading outside your comfort zone.

  • Jesus never directly spoke to the Leviticus admonitions about homosexuality – you are adding meaning not there to John 1 – 1-5 one of my favorite pieces of scripture – to suit your assertion. Jesus in fact reframed the meanings of some admonitions – the sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath or is it lawful to do good or evil on the Sabbath or to save a live or destroy it.

    You appear to have redefined idolatry in making false equivalencies with the two being the same. Pretty sure that idolatry means worshiping something other than God.

    Sodom – see Ezekiel 16: 48-50.

  • I’m not sure where you’re going, but I’ll say this:

    Dr. Gushee should not have been disinvited. Neither should that crazy wingnut have been disinvited from Berkeley a few weeks ago. I think it’s good for people to be challenged in their thinking. It’s good for anyone to admit they have more to learn. That doesn’t mean they should agree, but they should listen.

    Exceptions are if a potential speaker incites violence or, . . . There are certainly other exceptions but I haven’t thought about that extensively yet. Have you?

    There Floyd. Have I responded to the issue? I didn’t intend not to, but I find the idea that Christians, being by far the dominant group in American civic life and culture, are persecuted or mistreated here is simply ludicrous. So I got distracted.

  • Sandy keeps trying make the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament full of Jesus quotes. It’s not ,as any halfway decent scholar will tell you. Christianity, Judaism and Islam all honor Jesus Christ. The latter 2 see him as a greatly honored and powerful prophet. Christianity teaches that he was the Messiah. Only a relatively small slice of American Christians try to claim Jesus is quoted in the Old Testament. There is only one place in the entirety of the Protestant or Roman Catholic bible where Jesus’ words are recorded: the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. BTW, several of those quotes are inaccurate.

    I recognize that you won’t stop making that claimnSandy. Even if it was true it still wouldn’t support your anti-LBTG crusade due to the errors in translation which I’ve explained at length before.

  • Honey, Jesus is the Word of God. The Bible was created through Him. I’m not adding anything.
    (Also, Jesus said that He did not come to destroy the Law but fulfill it.)
    Jesus expanded upon some admonitions certainly.
    Idolatry is anything you put between you and) God. These people are putting their sin between they and the Lord, turning to an idol rather than the Lord for their direction. ( Romans 1)
    Christ would not contradict Himself. He is the Word of the Bible. The Bible is inspired by Him. (John 1)
    Homosexuality is a sin, and idolatry is a sin, and the scripture is in reference to both.
    Also, Paul spoke extensively about it. :” if you cannot hear Paul you cannot hear Christ, John 13: 20.” Rev Robert West
    Ezekiel describes perfectly what they did wrong:
    49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride – they expected strangers to engage in immoral sex with them.
    , excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. – rather than help the men (angels) they did nothing as the homosexuals were attempting to resort to rape the men
    50 They were haughty and did an abomination before me. “abomination” – “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.”
    So I removed them, when I saw it.”

    You may also be interested in:

    Jude 1:7 – In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire
    and:
    2 Peter 2:6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);”
    blessings, and happy Valentines day, Linda.

  • I don’t need your opinion on the Bible. You have no idea about it, as proven by your next comment to me elsewhere on this thread. Sorry hon – Bible scholar, you are not.

  • You and I both recognize the main truth claim on the table — “God favors the physically visible sexual identity over the person’s experienced gender identity” — but that’s no mere assumption. That statement is indeed straight outta the Bible. God purposefully created humanity “male and female”, Jesus said.

    We should allow that non-negotiable biblical truth about the nature of humanity, to totally inform and direct our view of today’s controversies.

    We live in a broken, sin-affected world, and Gender Identity Disorder is one of the many manifestations of that brokenness. It’s a psychological and spiritual infirmity. (Hermaphroditism is a physical infirmity, a genetic issue.) The first step to dealing with it is to NOT say “God made a mistake” or “The Bible is wrong”, for we accept the Bible’s words on the nature of humanity and ALSO why sin, infirmities, brokenness, and death came into this world.

    But there’s a LOT of secular pressure on Christians these days to abandon the biblical explanation of God and humanity, and likewise for us to abandon biblical concepts of repentance, salvation, healing and deliverance in Christ.

  • You’ve heard of the “T” in the acronym “LGBT”, right? Well, we both know what it stands for.

    The gay activists take advantage of the Gender Identity Disordered people to boost their own movement’s capital, and the people experiencing GID, in turn, sell themselves to the gay-activist movement.

    All four letters agree to “scratch each other’s back” for the sake of wielding a measure of sociopolitical-power and media-power in the larger society. All four letters understand that there’s a huge disconnect between each letter as it is marketed today, and biblical Christianity with its unique offer not only of salvation, but of healing and deliverance from sexual sins.

    But no, I don’t equate transsexualism with homosexuality. Indeed, the “Born That Way” genetic argument that’s marketed by the gay activists, directly conflicts with the situation that’s given by transgenderism. (But don’t look for the liberals or the media to ask too many questions in THAT direction.)

  • And neither should the Rev. Louis Giglio have been disinvited by the Obama White House, for that matter.
    But the reality IS that Rev. Giglio got disinvited, just as Dr. Gushee with the publishing group got disinvited.

    And the reality IS that the gay conservative guy Milo did get disinvited by all those liberal free-speechers (and part-time arsonists) at Berkeley.

    Of course, Gospel singer and preacher Kim Burrell shouldn’t have been disinvited from Lesbian Ellen’s big daytime show. But the reality IS that she did.

    (And also disinvited from the music giant BMI, and disinvited from her Texas college radio program that she never had any problems with, and disinvited from….Oh you get the picture. Just for ONE little section of one sermon, mind you. Dr. Gushee better not be complainin’ too much, till he’s talked to Ms. Burrell.)

    It’s just a fact of life now, Ms. Leftness.

  • What you said, Edward. It was, sadly, a missed opportunity to require Dr. Gushee to defend his conclusions in a manner that very few are willing to undertake.

  • Yes, you DO need a variety of other information about the bible. You know nothing about the variety of bible scholars who comment here. But your response is fully in line with what I described earlier. Your Theology of Fear and Condemnation is inaccurate. I don’t expect you to belive me or anyone who has more to offer. I do expect you to get the last word, so have at it. I’m done with this particular conversation.

  • When they are confronted with definitive scientific research which destroys the myth of “LGBT persons,” it is sad to see how people who identify as LGBT react to the sting of cognitive dissonance.

    When the identity to which they have deeply, emotionally, committed is undercut, they strike out at these facts by misrepresenting the new evidence. There is also the desperate hope that no one will actually watch Dr. Diamond’s October 2013 video about her “recently done” research, or read the transcript, or actually read Diamond’s 2009 study which used only 5 lesbians and 7 current, and 8 “former” lesbian or bisexual women (who have changed) to determine whether desire “for same-sex sexual contact was related to mid-cycle peaks in estrogen levels” during a woman’s “monthly periods”.

    The fact of sexual fluidity has been known and hidden in the “gay” community for many years. Lesbian historian, Dr. Lillian Faderman, in 1982 talked about fluidity among formerly heterosexual “lesbian-feminists” in her book “Surpassing the Love of Men,” then in another award winner, “Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers” (1992). She has also written several articles on this subject in the gay magazine, “The Advocate”.

    “The Advocate” also did a review of “Sister and Brother,” a book which includes factual details of gay-lesbian sexual relationships.

    “These tales are as unpredictable as the range of gay-lesbian relationships. Bernard Cooper’s story ‘Truth Serum” is a knockout. A selection from his forth-coming memoirs (and winner of 1995’s O. Henry Award), it portrays his long-lasting heterosexual love affair [with a lesbian] which began in the heat of sexual passion and thrives years later as a lifelong friendship. (The Advocate, 11-29-1994, pg. 75)

    https://books.google.com/books?id=yWQEAAAAMBAJ&q=%22Sister#v=snippet&q=%22Sister&f=false

    “Gays” are desperate to keep this knowledge from the public.

  • A private individual’s tv show is a different matter from the public venues. Just as a private individual can invite and disinvite from her living room, she can do the same from her tv show stage.

    As for your last sentence Floyd, I hope there are people who will work to change that. I am, and I know I’m not alone. I hope you and others on the right do the same. Invite Rachel Maddow to your venue. I’ll invite George Will to mine.

  • There we go, typical Sandy arrogance, hubris and pettiness. “Sandimoniousness” is an appropriate new word.

  • Ben: I would humbly suggest you and other pro-gay Christians read your Bibles and offer up a single verse affirming homosexual behavior.

  • “You know nothing about the variety of bible scholars who comment here.”

    In all honesty, Her Leftness, I’ve yet to see even one bible “scholar” comment here. All I’ve heard are assertions that these “scholars” are out there, somewhere, but their substantive arguments are conspicuous by their absence.

  • Anything that even approaches the humanization, dignity, and worth of gay people is anathema to Evangelicals. Evangelicalism requires that gay people be treated as legal and social outcasts, and told that their lives are of no value.

    To choose to treat LGBT people (and ALL people) as human beings, with all the dignity and respect that goes with that, is, as Mr. Spock would say, thoroughly human. Thank you Dr. Gushee for choosing to be thoroughly human.

  • Basically, the world says that God doesn’t make mistakes when it comes to gay feelings, but He does make mistakes when it comes to gender. Matt Moore.

  • Shamelessness is not a virtue. And don’t call yourself a Christian while your behavior is among the worst in RNS comments sections.

  • Not the Rev West from the UK though as your additional reference though?

    Truly sorry that you can’t feel/experience the meaning of the words at the beginning of John.

    I choose to try to understand scripture trusting that the construction of chapters and sections is intentional and is what gives meaning to specific verses. I also look at different versions – so for instance, I see despicable practices instead of abomination. But i did not see pride rephrased as immoral sex, the word was arrogance. So I guess we have to disagree.

  • Christ taught *divorce* was a sin. And yet how many “Christians” voted for the serial adulterer for president? Not to mention bearing false witness . . . .

    It’s this kind of hypocrisy that driven people away from Christ. Peter equated gossip with murder. No one has a “my sins are less than yours” leg to stand on.

  • You can find any excuse you want to drive yourself away from Christ, and Christians will supply you with the reasons because we are just as fallible as you are. Are you as perfect as you expect Christians to be?

  • Actually, if you knew anything about Christianity, Her, you would know that you are blessing me. Blessings to you also.

  • And MDouglas, I would suggest that you and other anti-gay Christians read your bibles and offer up a single verse affirming treating gay people any differently than all of the other people you believe are going to burn in hell forever, condemned by your loving god. While you’re at it, you can perhaps produce other verses saying that affirm:

    1) “thou shalt not bake a cake for the people you despise if you want to be a true Christian (TM).”

    2) discrimination on the basis of religious belief, something that is definitely ‘that which is Caesar’s’, to be acceptable for gay people, and gay people only.

    3) That the lies routinely told about gay people by so-called Christians when the truth is easily available to anyone. Including the myths that “it’s a choice” and that gay men routinely molest underage boys– just for a starter.

    4) justification for labeling our very existence a threat to everything good and holy, morality, faith, freedom, children, marriage, family, heterosexuality and western civilization itself.

    5) Sodomy laws, making my way of loving a crime to be punished by the state, or don’t-ask-don’t-tell, forbidding me to serve my country because of more lies.

    6) That justifies the religious freedom we enjoy in the west.

    Then, when you are done with that, you might read exactly how much an ancient, vicious, durable, and deeply engrained prejudice as received the thinnest possible veneer of respectability by calling it “sincere religious belief.”

    And if you are really in an enquiring mood, you can research how often “God’s holy word” has been used ot justify the malicious and vicious treatment of a great many people besides gay people…

    things that could not be justified by any other means, INCLUDING GOD’S HOLY WORD.

  • All you have demonstrated is htat you are as willing to cherry pick research as you are ot cherry pick your bible…
    and that you know nothing about the subject. Bisexuals actually exist. People who maintained a façade of heterosexuality for decades before finally admitting their true selves actually exist,.
    We’re not “desperate to keep this knowledge from the public.” Your knowledge is simply wishful thinking, an attempt to use science ot bolster your attacks on other people.

  • And while we’re at it, perhaps you can find a passage that affirms the multiple marriage and divorces cum adultery of Grabby McPussy, fornicating Newtie’s, blowhard rush’s, and a host of other people whose sins you have no trouble ignoring.

  • Ben, it appears you’ve made many assumptions about what I actually think and believe. I have gay friends and relatives whom I dearly love. And I am fiercely protective of them. I simply do not see scriptural affirmation for gay sex, and so I challenged you to demonstrate otherwise. Please don’t equate this with hate. We love and respect others not because we agree on everything, but because each person is precious to God. Further, we are all equally in need of his grace! As for those who wrongly use scripture to justify their hate, violence, slander, mistreatment, or sexual abuse of others–I share your anger.

  • ” I simply do not see scriptural affirmation for gay sex, and so I challenged you to demonstrate otherwise.” Prepare for a very long wait. Going on two years now, for me.

  • You and I have had this conversation before. I understand that you are caught between the hammer and the anvil. But that is a choice that you are making, and that choice is entirely your responsibility.

    The first thing to note is that I didn’t use the word “hate”. You did. I try to avoid it, myself, though I WILL use it as appropriate. The second thing to note is that the Bible may– and I use that word despite the certainty of anti-gay Christians that “may” is actually “definitely”– condemn some sexual acts between people of the same sex. But what the Bible does not condemn is loving same sex relationships, which may or may not include actual sex of the type actually indicated. It cannot condemn what it obviously knows nothing about.

    The third thing to note is this: you are obviously troubled by the uses to which your Bible is put. That is a good thing. But what you are not questioning is the why of it. That is what I tried to make explicit in my comment. But hold that thought.

    I am going to make a little detour for the benefit of you and Shawnie below, since she has despaired of ever convincing me of how unbiblical I am. (There’s no one, not even Shawnie, who is actually biblical of course, but that is another story, because whenever the Bible clearly says something inconvenient, it is equally clear that it must mean something else entirely.)

    Let’s talk about the sodom story. It is clearly one of the oldest stories in the Bible, so old that God walks to Sodom and has dinner with Abraham. It has always been used as the justification for anti-gay attitudes – God destroyed Sodom for the sins of homosexuality, despite the obvious age and absurdity of the story. Dinner with Abraham? But any objective reading of the story indicates that it is not about homosexuality at all, but about rape, and by extension, inhospitality to strangers. Even Shawnie — I’d hate to leave you out, dear– has admitted that. And yet, for centuries it is been used as the justification for murders, executions, beatings, torture, prisons, vilification, and blaming gay people, especially gay men, for every possible social ill, especially the ones that we could have had absolutely nothing to do with, like the fall of Rome and the fall of western civilization, which incidentally, is still here. And Rome is also where it always was.

    Let me repeat something. Even Shawnie has admitted it has nothing to do with homosexuality, but she also insists that even without sodom, the biblical position on homosexuality is clear.

    My point is simply this: NO, IT IS NOT. and the conflation of the sodom story with same sex sexuality is a good indication as to why it is not. If the sodom story could be twisted and perveretd into saying something it clearly does not, then why not the rest of the rather vague proscriptions? The same thing is obviously true about the quotation from Jude about the sins of Sodom: the vast majority of biblical scholars say that it is about going after “strange flesh”, which means actually angelic flesh, not homosexuality AT ALL. Yet somehow, this obvious passage was once again been conflated with homosexuality, and used to condemn our lives, our loves, and our very worthiness as human beings.

    Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Because I certainly am.

    Let’s get off the detour, and get back to what I said: “Then, when you are done with that, you might read exactly how much an ancient, vicious, durable, and deeply engrained prejudice as received the thinnest possible veneer of respectability by calling it “sincere religious belief.” I’ve given you just TWO examples of that– The Bible being used to justify bad behavior towards others, twisting and perverting scripture to say something it clearly does not say.

    Or, to put it another way, how one reads the Bible very much depends on the kind of person that one is. If you — and by you I mean both you personally and you generically – want to read the suppose it anti-gay passages as anti-gay, you are certainly well within tradition. But it’s an anti-gay tradition, not a biblical one, not in the sense of “the Bible actually says…”

    Anti-gay, so-called religious people use the passages in the Bible to justify all of their malicious attitudes and behavior towards gay people. The fact that they do so in all of the ways I listed in my previous posting ought to indicate to you that the biblical interpretation of homosexuality may in fact be heavily influenced by the prejudices that have existed for the last 2000 years, and not by what the Bible actually says. Again, how one reads the Bible very much depends on what kind of person that one is, and not what the Bible says. This “biblical” interpretation is clearly justified by the prejudice, and not the other way around.

    And in fact, that is exactly the religious revolution that has been going on for the past 60 years or so. Christians, including individuals, ministers, churches, and entire denominations have stopped condemning gay people for a simple reason: not despite what their Bibles say, but because of what their Bibles say about truth, justice, love, fairness, and treating other people as you would like to be treated. Anti-gay Christians, on the other hand, have taken what little the Bible allegedly does have to say on the subject and turned it into a major political ideology, which says “get the gays” and any harm you wreak upon our lives is justified by the Bible. And, not surprisingly, all of the sins committed against us– the lies, the slanders, the reviling, the bearing false witness, the attacking of Christians for not being your sort of Christian– all of these SINS are justified, and excused, and ignored, and promptly forgotten about…

    …by BIBLE BELIEVING CHRISTIANS.

    Here is your hammer and your anvil: which Bible, which Holy Spirit, are you going to believe? What kind of person are you going to be?

    My position is this: you cannot love and support your gay neighbors, family members, and friends– people who live their lives in the open, proudly and authentically, as they are made– as you claim, and simultaneously subscribe to the antigay interpretations of vague passages in the Bible. Well, you can, but you are going to be subject to the cognitive and emotional dissonance you’ve already indicated that you feel. The days where you can straddle the fence are long gone. But that’s what you are trying to do– simultaneously love and condemn the people in your life, demanding a biblical justification for THEIR lives, but only circumstantially and within your comfort levels demanding one for yourself, and NOT demanding one for antigay Christians and their political enablers.

    Let’s put in the biblical terms you can understand: rotten theology produces rotten fruit. And anti gay theology is some of the rottennest, most putrid fruit out there. It has done incalculable harm to innocent people over centuries, people whose only crime was to be different in a way that makes some people very unhappy. And everyone, gay or straight, Christian or not, has paid the price for that. Shrub and his two undeclared wars were enabled by it. It’s why we have Grabby McPussy as our current leader, the most unqualified and probably the most dangerous person ever to hold the office.

    And frankly, those people in your life that you claim to love, if they have any sense or pride in themselves and their lives at all, are going to see your ambivalence, and gauge their relationships with you based upon that. I have a lifetime of experience with people, both religious and not, that says that this is true. With my own parents 40 years ago, it was certainly the case. Their antigay attitudes, justified by their upbringing and religion, told me that their beliefs about homosexuality and what it means to be gay were far more important to them than their relationship with their son. Their anti-gay attitudes and beliefs never made me sorry that I was gay; it just made me sorry that they were my parents.

    And isn’t that just too sad?

  • Here you “go” all right, but not anywhere in particular. You were asked for a single instance of scriptural affirmation of same sex activity and you offered none, as expected. All you offered was speculation that MAYBE what the Bible says about same sex acts has been twisted, but of course no suggestion of how nor when nor by whom. Particularly interesting is your insistence that “prejudice” against homosexuality influenced the interpretation of Jewish scripture when it was with Jewish scripture itself (and we know exactly how it was viewed 2000 years ago when there were no terrible, terrible Christians to blame everything on) that repudiation of homosexuality originated. Other ancient cultures had no problem with it. Cart and horse, Ben.

  • And I knew this would be your response! amazing how well we both know each other. You prefer the fluff instead of the substance.

    “Particularly interesting is your insistence that “prejudice” against homosexuality influenced the interpretation of Jewish scripture when it was with Jewish scripture itself (and we know exactly how it was viewed 2000 years ago when there were no terrible, terrible Christians to blame everything on) that repudiation of homosexuality originated.”
    Talking about carts and horses, dear. Was it a repudiation, or was it translated into that, 500 years AFTER the fact. You yourself took all that crap about mishkap (mishkrap?) in Leviticus and turned it into a condemnation of modern gay people. And there is a long tradition behind you for doing just that, which was one of my points.
    but of course, that wasn’t really my point, was it. As I have said to you too many times to count, I really don’t give a small damn (ha-ha-ha! did you see what I did?) about what anyone’s religious beliefs are. What I care about is how they are used, especially when they are used as a weapon in service to prejudice.
    for YOU, it’s enough that in your opinion, “The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it.’ But for decent, thinking, caring people, maybe it’s no longer enough, especially when it conflicts with all of the other things in the bible that decent, thinking, caring people actually believe. But I also know that at heart you are a good Calvinist, convinced that only the purest and the best will be going to heaven, and to HELL with everyone– did you see what I did again?– with your blessing. (You will shed one, briny tear for them, however. But just the one).
    well, we will see what MDouglas has ot say. Or not.
    Until next time.

  • You were asked for one instance of scriptural affirmation of gay sex. Still no answer, huh?

    I’ve waited two years, I guess I can go on waiting.

  • And I’ve been waiting two years– nice of you to observe our anniversary– for any acknowledgement that sola-scriptorium is not the only approach to scripture, especially since most so-called Christians don’t believe in it themselves, regardless of what they say they believe.
    I’ve been waiting two years for you to acknowledge the evil purposes to which your particular beliefs are applied. I’ve been waiting two years for you to condemn the regular reviling and slandering– show me the scriptural justification for that, willya– that so many so-called Christians regularly engage in on these pages, whether they are attacking gay people or other Christians. I’ve been waiting two years for you to address most of what I have had to say and to acknowledge your own highly unwarranted belief in an otherwise imaginary superiority as a heterosexual, a Christian, and a human being.
    I guess we can both go on waiting.
    Until next time.

  • If you’re waiting for me to say that you’re reading my mind correctly, pal, you can certainly keep on waiting.

    You were asked. You claimed to have an answer. You don’t. Just another day in the land of “There-are-other-interpretations-Wish-I-knew-what-they-were.”

  • Actually the world has no opinion on God.

    Most of the people in the world do not believe in the existence of God [god(s) maybe – but not God].

    Your insularity is obvious in almost all your posts – “my version of the god myth is right and everybody agrees with me except those who are wrong”.

  • No Sandi

    The world is not restricted to people who share your version of superstitious belief.

    The world is an inanimate object, formed from coalescing dust some 4.54bn years ago, which does not have the capacity to know anything.

    If you choose to think that whether people honour a figment of their imagination is “the question” then fine – for you it is the question. For the rest of us it’s as relevant as asking if adult purple unicorns’ farts carry the aroma of music.

  • You know He exists, or you wouldn’t fight so hard against Him. Why fight something that you don’t believe is there to begin with?

  • Why? – because without opposition enquiring minds may think, by default, that irrational superstition is valid.

    Your “He” is a logical impossibility, My efforts are not directed at him anymore than they are directed at you; I hope that they may encourage reason and critical thinking in anyone at risk of vulnerability to the ideas you promulgate.

  • Sorry to hear about all the disinvitations.

    On the bright side, though, no one is suing you and cleaning out your IRA to satisfy their attorneys’ fees.

  • There are scholars here. It’s not really possible in a comment section to give substantial answers or responses because real scholarship is not suited to a few catchy lines. Also, it’s often difficult to translate complex research into lay language.

  • You do realise, don’t you, that suggesting Jesus is the slightest bit interested in my arse is going to cause some of our commenting associates to reach for the smelling salts.

  • Nice try, but no. We have many long-winded commenters and no comment limit. If there were a significant case to be made, somebody would have produced it long ago. Poor Spuddie literally BEGS for some progressive Christian to make an argument that he can cut and paste when he runs out of gas (which is always very quickly) but is always disappointed. Just like I am when I ask for a substantive argument and all I get is easily refuted nonsense about the centurion’s servant from Riding The Line.

    The problem is, real scholarship is not “suited” to the case everybody here is wanting to make.

  • Shawnie, I’m talking about a lengthy essay at the least, and digging into minutae of language, culture, and literacy.

    Go to this link to a scholarly book about rhetorical criticism by a highly respected expert in the field. It’s been around awhile, but if you try to read a few pages, I think you’ll see what I mean. Decoding a dead language is laborious, painstaking tedious work.

    https://goo.gl/YuBkG9

  • I should have thought of that before I spoketh. I think Jehovah might smite me if I post one more comment claiming Jesus is a myth, a totally non-historical character for whom there isn’t a single shred of evidence outside religious sources. Interpolations and fake ossuaries need not apply…

  • Floyd, I believeth you doth protesteth too much. Do you have something you’d like to tell us about yourself? Get it off your chest? It’s ok, buddy. Really.

  • “so they folded like a tent.”

    Kind of like what’s happening throughout the church today, except that churches are folding to the tsunami that is the moral revolution as Drs. Albert Mohler and James White have put it that is sweeping throughout Evangelical churches.

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