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In the Mennonite Church USA, congregations realign on sexuality

Pastor Isaac Villegas, of Chapel Hill (N.C.) Mennonite Fellowship, officiates the wedding of Kate Dembinski and Kate Flynn on May 21, 2016. Photo courtesy of Dan Scheirer

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (RNS)  — The 80 or so people who gather on Sunday at the Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship, like many other members of the Mennonite Church USA, are accustomed to singing hymns a cappella in four-part harmony and making decisions by consensus.

It was by consensus more than two years ago that the congregation decided, after a year of study, to welcome LGBTQ people into the full life of the church — a decision that led its pastor perform a same-sex wedding between two women. That wedding tested core Mennonite tenets about sexuality and hastened a growing realignment in this denomination that traces its roots to the 16th-century Anabaptists.

The response from Chapel Hill’s regional body was swift: The Virginia Mennonite Conference immediately suspended pastor Isaac Villegas’ ordination credentials and put off any review or resolution.

In response, the congregation transferred its membership this summer to a conference of Midwestern churches in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. The Central District, with its headquarters in Goshen, Ind., not only admitted the North Carolina congregation into full membership; last month it also restored Villegas’ ordination credentials.

Chapel Hill Mennonite is not the first church to transfer its membership due to its theological views, though Villegas is the first Mennonite pastor to have his credentials reinstated in the process.

Nor is it the first time an American denomination has realigned over social issues: In the 19th century, Baptists, among others, split over slavery, creating the Southern Baptist Convention; in the 20th century denominations fractured over women’s ordination.

In the 21st century, sexuality has by far provided the most turbulence. In 2003 the Episcopal Church elected Gene Robinson as its first openly gay bishop, and conservative Episcopalians responded by aligning with dioceses in Africa or forming new Anglican bodies in the U.S., divorcing themselves from the church altogether.

The Presbyterian Church USA, the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ have also suffered from breakaways and reconfigurations.

Chapel Hill’s move offers a vivid example of the dramatic reshaping that even the smallest of denominations as changing beliefs on sexuality and gender threaten to pull them apart.

“There’s a shift toward more affinity-based conferences, based on theological convictions as opposed to geography,” said Michael Danner, associate executive director for church vitality at the Mennonite Church USA.

Members of Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship sing hymns in four-part harmony with no instrumental accompaniment during a service on Sept. 23, 2018. RNS photo by Yonat Shimron

The Mennonite realignment — at least on the issue of LGBTQ inclusion — cuts both ways: Conservative as well as liberal congregations are breaking away and coming together in new ways.

Since its creation in 2002 as the merger of two older denominations, the Mennonite Church USA has seen significant changes. Three of its 21 regional conferences have left the denomination, including the largest and most traditional, the Lancaster (Pa.) Conference. The national body now has 69,000 members in 625 churches and remains the largest Mennonite organization.

But the realignment is far from over. Several of its LGBTQ-welcoming churches are clustering in three conferences that have declared themselves affirming of LGBTQ Christians. The Central District Conference, to which the Chapel Hill church now belongs, already includes churches from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. Meanwhile, the conservative Southeast Conference is considering leaving.

Article 19 of the Mennonites’ “Confession of Faith” states: “We believe that God intends marriage to be a covenant between one man and one woman for life.” But the church also passed a resolution in 2015 on “forbearance in the midst of differences” in which it vowed “to offer grace, love and forbearance toward conferences, congregations and pastors in our body who, in different ways, seek to be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ on matters related to same-sex covenanted unions.”

For the Chapel Hill congregation, made up  largely of professionals in their 30s with small children,  the process started in 2015 when a member stood up at a church meeting and proposed that the congregation welcome gays and lesbians. After a yearlong study that included adult Sunday school classes and Saturday morning workshops, the church voted unanimously to extend full rights to LGBTQ members.

Then, on May 21, 2016, Villegas officiated at a wedding of a couple, both named Kate. Two days later he resigned his seat on the denomination’s national Executive Board.

In an open letter, he wrote, “I hope … that soon we will no longer teach that queer desire is sinful; that soon we will let our churches bless those who wish to marry, whether gay or straight.”

In the Mennonite Church USA, the conference is the body that credentials pastors —  not the church or the denomination — and the Virginia Conference immediately suspended Villegas’ credentials.

Pastor Isaac Villegas speaks to his North Carolina congregation on Sept. 23, 2018. Villegas’ ordination credentials were suspended after he conducted a same-sex marriage in 2016. But after the Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship switched to another conference his credentials were restored. RNS photo by Yonat Shimron

But the congregation and many other Mennonites across the country rallied to his side. The suspension came on the 10th anniversary of Villegas’ pastorate, so the church threw him a party. It also started a “We Stand with Isaac” social media campaign in which churches across the country took photos and signed letters of support.

Then the discussion turned to whether to stay in the Virginia Conference. Since Villegas lost none of his salary or benefits as a result of the suspension the decision came down to sentiment: Many in the church did not want to walk away from the fellowship and ties to other local Mennonite congregations.

“In some ways, it was an easier decision to decide to become a welcoming congregation,” said Rebecca Rich, the church moderator. “It was more challenging to get to a unanimous place where we all agreed to leave the Virginia Mennonite Conference.”

But after it became clear that the Virginia Conference was in no rush to resolve the suspension, the church applied to the Central District Conference. Chapel Hill documented all the steps it had taken to try to reconcile its differences with the Virginia Conference but also acknowledged it was not about to give up the principles it had agreed to about LGBTQ people. In fact, during his suspension, Villegas performed two more same-sex weddings.

“This congregation has been a gift to me in my spiritual journey,” said Sarah Jacoby Murphy, who was married to her partner, Sally, shortly after joining the church. “Being able to come into that group of people and not have any questions about the limits of what they were going to do to support me as a fellow member, that’s huge, and something most queer people don’t get to experience.”

For many in the congregation, the story of the Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship has a happy ending. But Villegas noted that in a denomination that values peace — its logo is a beak of a dove clutching an olive branch— a commitment to living together with differences may have suffered.

“I worry that in terms of the health of our denomination, that this kind of realignment may mean that congregations that disagree with one another are no longer going to be bound together in intimate conversations or networks of relationships, so that hard conversations are no longer going to happen,” said Villegas. “We have a denominational commitment to agree and disagree in love. I worry about how we can continue that commitment the way things are going.”

 

About the author

Yonat Shimron

Yonat Shimron is an RNS National Reporter and Senior Editor.

108 Comments

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  • “We have a denominational commitment to agree and disagree in love. I worry about how we can continue that commitment the way things are going.”

    He has a strong point.

  • It helps that Mennonites are bitterly opposed to the entanglement of church and state (as are all Anabaptist sects). Even if they oppose gay marriage, they are not seeking to have their ideas given color of law with a privilege to discriminate. It makes it far easier to agree to disagree without being obnoxious about it.

  • Everyone has a right to have their ideas given color of law unless specifically prohibited by the Constitution as amended.

  • “The Presbyterian Church USA, the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ have also suffered from breakaways and reconfigurations.”

    The Episcopal Church USA, like the United Church of Christ, and the Anglican Communion as a whole have suffered drastic membership losses and multiple schisms since the mid-1970s.

    http://www.anglicansonline.org/communion/nic.html

  • Marriage is supposed to be about friendship and commitment. There is no better “place” for queer people (not a word I usually choose, but one used in this article twice so I will too) than inside the same level of friendship and commitment as provided by tradition for the supposedly-not-queer people. If your church is in a twit about all this, ditch it. You do not need to be there to be in Jesus. to be kind, to have sense, or to have friends. It’s really awful for some groups of people to decide they just can’t approve of others’ love stories. Why marinate one’s self in junk like that?

  • The Father of the House is the Constitution, the White Horse. The Written Word is the Pale Horse because He has clear title on earth and in Heaven. God is not a trinity; He is a quaternion; the four Powers of the Four Horses.

  • “Marriage is supposed to be about friendship and commitment.”

    Perhaps. But Christian marriage is supposed to be about much more than that. Christian marriage involves the love (not mere friendship) and commitment of three persons: the love and commitment of the husband and the wife, and the love and commitment of both of them to Christ who unites them. The latter part is absent when they spurn God’s will and pursue homosexual relations.

  • No. The article is about gay people and their place and participation in a particular denomination, not about their “place and participation in society” as a whole.

  • Floyd Lee provided a great quote from Bishop Gilbert Thompson:

    “Just as it is distorting to press race (racial restrictions) into
    marriage, it is distorting to subtract (one) gender from marriage.”

  • You are asking us to stipulate that God and God’s will can be discerned from ancient religious writings (presumably the Bible in this discussion, it seems, although other religions might like to weigh in too). The PROBLEM is that no one should EVER stipulate that. Christians simply DO NOT have the right, the intellectual capability or any evidence-based authority to TELL other (OTHER) people what the Will of God is for THEM.

    I’m an old church guy who now understands that just everything you can find in the Bible is not the “authority” you wish to ascribe to it. Church which spends more time worshipping the book than reaching out to other people in kindness is a waste of time and energy. You’re telling me that two men or two women cannot (CAN NOT) invite Christ into a marriage? You believe that you or I have a real (REAL) justification for pressing that view on other people?

  • If you think that that’s what it is, then I’m sure, since you are heterosexual male who I am equally sure knows the place of gay people in society because god old you, you are right.

  • You’ll have to excuse me if I find the testimony of the Bible and the unanimous witness of 2000 years of Christian tradition more compelling than what “an old church guy” “understands” about this topic.

    If two men or two women in a homosexual marriage invite Christ into their lives, they would be compelled -by their love for, and obedience to God – to repent, fast and pray, renounce their sinful marriage, separate, and seek sound spiritual guidance. At that point they can be readmitted to the Communion of the Church.

    And, no, I do not believe anyone should press that view on others. All are free to choose whether they wish to repent and follow Christ, or remain in sin.

  • The issue is the place of gay people in the Church (about which God is indeed clear), not about gay people outside of it (“in society”). Society has already sanctioned gay marriage; they are debating whether the church should do so.

    “For what have I to do with outsiders? Is it not those inside the Church whom you are to judge?” (1 Corinthians 5:12)

  • Problem solved. I have two simple solutions, guaranteed to work.

    The 1st is for my dear LGBT friends: If where you are is a Welcoming Church but not an Affirming Church, LEAVE.

    And my 2nd advice goes to my Bible Christian friends: If where you are is a Welcoming Church plus an Affirming Church, LEAVE.

    Source: (1) Sam Brinton, “The Difference Between a Welcoming Church and an Affirming One Is Huge”, Advocate, April 3, 2018. (2) Mark Jennings, “‘Welcoming, but not affirming’: being gay and Christian”, The Conversation, August 29, 2016.

  • If you do not believe “anyone should press that view on others”, then why are you here writing these kinds of replies to my original comment? I actually don’t have to “excuse you” for butting in with what you overconfidently find “more compelling”. My opinion is as good as yours. This is the thing about the “every word of this Bible is true” crowd. You are convinced of some authority you actually don’t possess. That’s what an old church guy learned from too much church.

  • You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, so you can keep it between yourself and God if you want…

    …’Blessed’ are those who don’t condemn themselves for doing or being something they have decided is best for themselves….Romans 14:22

    Those are worthy attitudes to have and are good and easy to follow.

  • ” Church which spends more time worshipping the book than reaching out to other people in kindness is a waste of time and energy. ”

    Believing in Jesus without expressing loving attitudes, works and deeds towards others is not going to be useful and meaningful……..James 2:17

  • There is no “butting in”, Sport.

    You’re posting in a public forum.

    What you apparently learned is to be prickly.

  • You state “My opinion is as good as yours.”. True. And I should likewise be given an opportunity to state my own opinion without you getting your knickers all in a twist. It would seem you believe you should be able to state your opinion without anyone being able to respond with a different one. That ain’t how these comment boards work, buddy. Such an attitude befits an immature college freshman, not an “old man” as you claim to be. Maybe you should join those students in one of their safe spaces, complete with coloring books and comfort animals.

    As for “authority”, I don’t believe I have any. But I believe the Christian tradition (which is not the same as the “every word of the Bible is true” crowd) possesses more authority than you do.

  • I see I mean Billysees he’s rambling, so I’ll ramble with you. With this:

    If “there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing … [why] keep it between yourself and God”?

    What if it’s because you don’t wanna “keep it between yourself and God” in the first place, that “you … believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing”?

    What if, then, as Romans 1 demonstrates, God & Jesus leave you be to your very natural inclinations of the flesh (be they homo-, or bi-, or a-, or hetero-sexual), which Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche correctly called Desire? But leave only because you tell Them to?

    Ever think of that?

  • God so loved the world, that he sent his son to warn the world, to fear God. Thanks for calling and sharing.

  • Sorry, but I wasn’t much interested in the first part of Rom 14:22 so I really don’t know what significance is being said there. I didn’t pay any attention to it. It was the second part that I was interested in. I think I paraphrased it pretty well. The original verse reads — blessed are they who do not condemn themselves for the things they allow. How else should we take that? Perhaps it is tied into — all things are allowable, lawful and permissible for me…

    We all must make decisions on our own all the time. We hope we’re being led or influenced to make the right ones.

  • You are absolutely free to refute my thoughts here instead of writing your own from scratch. But doing it that way makes your world view look outwardly aggressive. Am I really your “buddy”? Should I be drawn to Christ by your suggestion that I am a college freshman needing a safe space with coloring books? Or should I conclude that you think the Bible entitles you to be bully boy?

  • Except that it’s not a jingle. It”s actually a direct-hit summary of why Gay Goliath cannot rationally justify gay marriage by appealing to interracial marriage.

    Thompson’s statement is both brilliant and biblical. The indispensable, God-given Male-Female Gender Complementarity gig, in one brief step.

    Racists distort marriage by **adding** race (restrictions). Gay activists distort marriage by **subtracting** either of the genders from marriage. Gotta fight both distortions.

  • I’m not gay but I’m a part of this thing called the church so you and I have honestly different perscetives. Just being different doesn’t make someone, or a group, difference makers. How this church came to a decision, how they probably answered some questions where there was some disagreements internally to me makes the point of the quote.

  • Po’ gay activist Ben. Such a victim.

    All these Hip-Hop Bigots around here, trying to pick an OG Beef with him by dropping all the nasty Diss Tracks in his direction.

    As for me, I been working on some New Shade to throw at Ben myself. Gonna be dope for sure !!

  • That’s one way of looking at it, but if a church sees its role in the world as being bitterly opposed to entanglement of church and state it miss its calling. It will miss just as much as the church that sees entanglement with state as a primary means to meet its calling.

    I think the quote is speaking to a question that might be-What should the church look like inside the church? The story is about what this individual church looked like on the inside as they processed this decision.

  • There is a command in the Bible. Honor your father and mother. There is also a question asked in the Bible, who are my mother and brothers?

  • He gave you a perfectly sound response regarding how a homosexual marriage would be handled by the RCC.
    I am not sure if RB is catholic, but he appears to be.
    On that note, the RCC believes that both the Bible and traditions of the church are equal parts of the faith. Catholics do not take all parts of the Bible literally; but believe in totality it encompasses the word of God revealed to man.
    The fact is; you don’t like his position on homosexuality so you try to refute it with the old, “ the Bible ain’t real” argument. In this case, that line doesn’t work with RB.

  • I won’t get into my religious affiliation, but I do adhere to what has been called the “great catholic [little “c”] tradition.

    Also, I would prefer to say that the Bible is a part of Tradition, rather than their being two separate parts of the faith.

  • You miss the point.

    When a church is trying to entangle itself with the state, it seeks to promote sectarian discrimination. It seeks to attack people under color of law using religious belief as a pretext. Meaning it not only has its beliefs, but demands others to abide by them through coercion.

    So there is no room for polite discussion or disagreement. A difference in dogma between churches becomes a direct attack upon the lives of others. Such churches show no regard for the lives of those outside it. If the inside of a church is seeking to control the outside world around it, it takes on a political and sociological tenor which falls outside of a church simply examining its beliefs.

    Now when a church is opposed to entanglement with the state, it does not seek sectarian discrimination. It is willing to respect the lives of others, even when there is a sharp division with the church’s beliefs. It becomes a purer examination of beliefs inside without the political baggage a more theocratic minded one would have.

  • You are a fake black person.

    It should be a no-brainer for actual black people to understand that discrimination against minorities is wrong.

  • No I get your point, especially your point about entanglement with state. My point is, this church has become a sect within its own denomination. The denomination has said you can no longer be a part of us.

  • Clearly, you don’t know your bible. Don’t you even get what Romans 14 is about and its irrelevancy to the sexual subject matter at hand? Or do you just ad lib as you go your way in and out of Sunday School, with an occasional pitstop at St. RNS? Look at Romans 14:4, 6 again: It’s all about a person having faith who by observing the day, observes it for the Lord; and a 2nd person who by eating, does so for the Lord and gives thanks to God; and a 3rd person who by not eating for the Lord, does not eat, yet still gives thanks to God. And look at Romans 14:22-23 one more time: Again it’s all about the faith possessed by either one of those people working out their own faith-driven conviction before God. For if truly faithful, such a person is blessed because there’s no self-condemnation experienced in what’s being approved in the eating. But the doubting one is self-condemned if such a person eats. Why? Because the eating isn’t an act of faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

    Now, what all that has to do with “the Mennonite Church USA congregations aligning along sexuality axis”, can only make sense to people like you who don’t know your bible.

  • 6 centuries have passed and there’s not a single “anabaptist” left remaining on planet Earth. I wish they’re still around.

  • “Us” meaning whom?

    As far as I can tell, unless the Mennonites have a central authority for all related sects, they make their own rules as they see fit within their faith and sect.

    Being that you are not the living embodiment of Jesus on Earth, you have no say as to whether this sect is Christian.

    So if you are trying to say if they accept gays, they are no longer Christian, then I would simply chalk that up to fundamentalist egomania.

  • I don’t have a gay marriage and I presume you don’t. Everything else about criticizing that topic is none of our business—-and it was none of Paul’s business as well.

  • As a Christian I believe the Bible and we defend it as Truth. As for your attack on Paul, you have simply just proved you are not a Christian and do not base your life on Scripture. We will never agree.

  • Probably not, but you are so far out of sensible behavior by pronouncing who is or is not a Christian that it’s hard for me to put much stock in your claims about anything. This is the problem I have noticed again and again with the “every word of this Bible is true” crowd. You are not permitted to substitute scripture for logic outside of the church walls. We would not let Muslims do that with the sayings of Muhammad, and—–for the same reason—–we do not collapse and crumble public policy in response to someone who tries to do it with the sayings of Paul.

  • Funny …. same sex marriage was nowhere to be seen at the nation’s founding and since.

    Perhaps what you meant to write was “When a pagan cult is trying to entangle itself with the state, it seeks succor for oddities from the courts.”

  • Being that you are an avowed enemy of religions in general, and Christianity in particular, you have no say as to whether anyone has a say on whether any sect is Christian.

  • Oh phooey. Your opinion is just that. You are not the arbiter of what is sensible. Further you always have the right to be wrong. I would not deny you choice but you want to deny me the right of disagreeing with you. This is a religious discussion. What logic says the Bible has no relevance? That is illogical.

  • Actually, ALL logic demands that there is no reason in the 21sr century for you or I to diss the queer people or their marriages on the basis of what some miscellaneous men wrote thousands of years ago.

    As for you disagreeing with me, you have every right to do that. I hope you will understand that I have an equivalent right to not cave in. There is a reason why I brought up Muslims and Islam. Neither you nor I (for different reasons) have any intention of allowing the sayings of Muhammad to rule our lives or civic affairs—–even though more than a billion people in the world think that would be okey-dokey. The same principle applies for people who know they are not required by any logic to confine their modern freedoms within Genesis, Revelation or Paul’s opinions.

  • Again, you are in the middle of a religious discussion when you are not a Christian. Your opinion counts in secular society only. I wouldn’t engage in a Muslim debate of their theology, so why do you feel it is your place to debate what you clearly do not associate with, Christianity.

  • I was in church for 40 years, Sue. My wife and I even committed to putting our one son through all 13 years of K-12 evangelical Christian school. We are sick and tired of the church people having gone demonstrably nuts on every subject, enriching the rich, slapping the poor, whacking the minorities and mouthing around with Trump worship as though none of them had a lick of sense. You cannot tell me what I am or am not. Do you go down to Walmart and play this shtick on random people in the checkout line, or just in the comment section?

  • Funny,,, a woman’s or a black person’s right to vote was nowhere to be seen at the nation’s founding… until it was changed.

    If we stuck to the way things were when this nation was founded, we’d still have slavery and women would still be the property of her husband. Of course, I realize Evangelicals would love to go back to that if they could.

  • A big part of the problem here is the 2002 merger that formed Mennonite Church USA. The Mennonite Church was a top down denomination that acted as a central authority, while the General Conference Mennonite Church tended to be more of a fellowship of congregations that allowed more freedom for local churches. I submit that these two differing visions of what church is is the fuel that is sustaining the fire, and the same sex marriage issue is merely the spark.

  • It’s quaint watching Christians debate whether gay people are human beings or not. Many Christians want gay people treated as vermin, told that their lives are of no human value, treated as total social and legal outcasts, kicked out of their churches and their families, bullied and beaten up in school, denied employment, denied access to businesses, denied medical care, and denigrated and hated on.

    Other Christians recognize gay people as fully human and worthy of being treated so, welcomed in their churches, loved by their family members, not subjected to abuse, mistreatment, or hate, not denied jobs or medical care, and their legal and civil rights fully protected. It remains to be seen which side will win among Christians.

    Of course, gay people (and their families) have walked away from Christianity, tired of them fighting over whether they’re human beings or not. Christianity is a day late and a dollar short.

  • Obviously you are bitter and angry. I don’t know your circumstances but not everyone is guilty because of your experience and I am sorry for your experience. I am sure you don’t mean to come across that way.

    I am not ashamed to be called a Christian, but I do not stand at Walmart and hold personal conversations. This particular article did catch my attention because my great++ grandfather migrated from Germany when his Anabaptist congregation fled persecution. His father was martyred for his faith. This was new info for me when I researched my DNA and heritage. I say that just to say I also believe the Bible is truth. It doesn’t go out of date even if you run into some wicked goats along the way. I am sorry you experienced some wicked people.

  • So answer me this. Be careful, these are are all trick questions, as they will prove you wrong, or your original comment “13 hours ago” irrelevant.

    (1) Did the Anabaptists first come to existence on “January 21, 1525, when Conrad Grebel baptized George Blaurock, and Blaurock in turn baptized several others immediately”; or on “February 24, 1527 [when] the Swiss Brethren wrote a declaration of belief called the Schleitheim Confession”?

    (2) At the time, were inspirationists and rationalists co-spearheading the original Radical Reformation movement Anabaptists, too?

    (3) Were charismatic manifestations (dancing, falling under the power of the Holy Spirit, prophetic processions, speaking in tongues, mass hypnosis, experienced healings, contortions) characteristic of an Anabaptist meeting at the time?

    (4) Are today’s Neo-Anabaptists Anabaptists, too (such as Ron Sider, John Howard Yoder, Stanley Hauerwas, Scot McKnight, Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Jim Wallis, and Shane Claiborne)?

    Good luck with your answers.

  • … whereas atheism is 2 days late and USD $2 short. LGBT movement, though? It’s like your library books & magazines: 3 weeks overdue & $345.75 in arrears.

  • Perhaps you did not read what Spuddie wrote:

    “When a church is trying to entangle itself with the state, it seeks to promote sectarian discrimination.”

    In his usual anti-religious zeal he posits a condition of non-discrimination changed to one of discrimination by religious zealots.

    The situation the article describes is the REVERSE.

    1. We have NEVER had same sex “marriage” since the founding.

    2. The imposition of it on an unwilling populace was accomplished by judicial fiat.

    3. That imposition was accomplished by a carefully planned implemented and expensive LGBT lobby.

    There is no similarity at all between racial discrimination and resistance to the LGBT lobby.

    A black two-year-old child was discriminated against.

    A two-year-old child who will grow up and someday join you and your friends in the Castro District is not discriminated against.

    The black child is discriminated against because of skin pigmentation.

    The adult in the Castro District is discriminated against because of behavior, just like the kleptomaniac is.

    So, back you go to JoeMyGod where you and your friends can chew on “religionists” and “Christianists” and bemoan the “poh me” treatment by the “Evangelikals”.

  • Well Greg, interesting question there. Honestly, Gay Marriage crashes into both Bible items.

    “Honor your father and mother” points NOT to a same-sex or homosexual relationship, but instead honors a gender-complementarian, male-and-female relationship (“father and mother.”) No wiggle room for same-sex stuff. Plus — and this is a sensitive issue — mothers and fathers get deeply hurt on the inside when their kids announce they’re into homosexual behavior or gay marriage. Mom & Dad don’t feel very honored at all.

    On your second item, Jesus says in Mark 3:33-35, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother & sister & mother.” But are Gay-Self-Identity and Gay Marriage, the will of God? That’s a giant “No” in both the Old and New Testaments.

  • — all things are allowable, lawful and permissible for me…

    Why would you offer an argument that Paul quotes in order to refute it?

  • Both of those changes to the right to vote were accomplished via constitutional amendment. As our social compact directs,

  • Blacks have no business hating queers. You people should have figured out by now that discrimination against minorities is wrong, yet for some reason you have not.

  • I didn’t ask you or your ancestors to be ashamed of being called Christians. My “experience” is that of wishing that our Bible Believers would be the “good guys” of America and finding out over several decades that they, as a group, have decided not to be. My “experience” is discovering that the more people insist that “every word of this Bible is true”, the more they are not trustworthy about other civic matters and are given to making fun of human rights, environmental concerns, collective bargaining, worker safety, consumer protection, public education, realities of health care financing, the growing wealth divide, and making fun of any people who do not agree with them. Today, most of them have volunteered to be devoted Trumpies —– being schooled by him daily on how to be offensive. That is not the personality of the Jesus I learned about, accepted and know. It is just a bunch of people getting meaner without a clue that they were called to be the kind and honest ones.

    What should be catching your attention in this article is that there are some Mennonites refusing to persecute a different social minority population. Why aren’t you glad about that?

  • Spirit of Anti-Christ = Cultural Marxist Mind Virus
    “The Culture of Critique” by Kevin McDonald
    “The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit” by E. Michael Jones

  • The more I look at the photo of the two girls, the more beautiful it becomes. The best to them and their future together. Same sex marriage is Holy and undefiled and great blessing to the LGBT Community.

  • I’m glad you referenced Mark chapter 3, you found the question. Floyd as I read that and try to get a sense of the scene I don’t get a vision of Jesus’s brothers escorting their mother to Jesus so he can hand deliver a mother’s day card to her. It would seem as if maybe the feeling amongst the family is, Jesus is dishonoring his mother.
    What do you see going on here? Sorry if I’m slow to reply but I’m not on here all the time, but would like to know your thoughts.
    Thanks for replying.

  • Yeah, but the Anabaptists are already damned for not being Catholics…or maybe Lutherans? No, maybe Calvinists?

    Anyway a lot of people from wrong denominations will be joining these LGBT scripture-departers in Hell !!

  • Whites are not a minority. Women and LGBTQ+ people are. I shouldn’t have to explain this to black people, but apparently I do.

  • Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.” 1 Corinthians 7

  • Billyseethes, more like.

    As “Mennonite Church USA congregations align along sexuality axis”, but because the poor guy doesn’t know his bible (since “2 days ago”), Billyseethes, bubbling up as a result of being boiled. As in, “the brew foamed and Billyseethed”.

    Not knowing his bible, Billyseethes, boiling, bubbling, simmering, frothing, fizzing, effervescing.

    Not knowing his bible, Billyseethes, cooking food-for-thought by boiling it in a liquid.

    Not knowing his bible, Billyseethes, filled with intense but unexpressed anger. As in, “inwardly Billyseethes at the slight to his authority”.

    Not knowing his bible, Billyseethes gets angry, furious, enraged, incensed, wild; and is beside himself, raging, ranting, raving, storming, fuming, smoldering, steaming up; and is hot under the collar. As in, “Billyseethes at the injustice of it all”.

  • Someone who takes pleasure in the suffering of others on the internet, such as LGBTQ+ people.

    I guess you never dreamed in a million years that we would ever troll you back.

  • According to your definition, I am not a troll.
    I don’t delight in the suffering of one person on this planet.
    I thought a Troll was someone who interjects himself/herself into a conversation in which is either completely off topic; or that the person has no “skin in the game” etc., etc.
    I admit….I did ‘troll’ your specific comment. It was “off topic” to a certain degree………..but I was making a poignant ‘point’ that I believe is related.
    But to call me a Troll on Religion News is quite ridiculous. I am “religious” and this is a Religious forum.
    What is your “Religion”?

  • Charlotte — I looked at your facebook page. Do you have a blog or a website in which you describe your abuse — “Ritual Abuse” I believe you called it. I’m very sorry this happened to you. I’d be interested in hearing your story if you have it available to read.

  • Pat yourself on the back. You used big words and showed off. Trouble is, I have no desire to play games with you. Have a nice day.

  • I don’t understand what you’re saying here. You and I discussed this ‘all things are allowable, lawful and permissible for me’ some time ago. I accepted that it meant whatever good or decent thing I would want it to apply to. We would’nt want it to include ‘robbing banks’ for example.

  • ” Clearly, you don’t know your bible. ” “…people like you who don’t know your bible. ”

    You’re correct here in the sense that I posess no biblical scholarship whatsoever. I prefer becoming involved in technical matters where my education and work experience would be useful.

    But I have this confidense that I can interpret and paraphrase some ‘spiritual’ things making them easier to accept and understand. Is it a gift of sorts from above?……..I don’t know…….I don’t know where it comes from.

    Maybe it has to do with this —
    Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden certain things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to childlike minds……….Matthew 11:25

    And maybe this —
    For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:………1 Cor 1:26

  • Paul was not talking about “good or decent” things. He was quoting the arguments of people who, then just like now, sought to turn the freedom from Mosaic law into a license to indulge in sin. They argued that “all things are lawful for me,” but in turn Paul pointed out all things do not honor God, and our bodies are not for fornication but for His creation design as described by Christ.

  • Fine: “interpret and paraphrase many ‘spiritual’ things making them easier to accept and understand.” Just don’t do that to the Christ Jesus and His 1st apostles and disciples. They don’t need your help, much less your subversion, thank you very much.

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