Gay – Not the Happy Kind

imagesMany years ago I was homophobic, then I began to meet people who were gay. It was easy for me to be a bigot when everything remained at a theoretical level, never placing myself in a position where I could be impacted by friends and work colleagues who were homosexual.

Once I observed up close the heartbreak people experienced from isolation and misunderstanding, I couldn’t do anything but let the discussion grip my soul and mess with me. I was the product of strict evangelical teaching that encouraged people to see things as black and white, not the colours of the rainbow – pardon the pun. These days it isn’t as simple for me anymore, some of my friends may still prefer to say there is no more to discuss and wave the bible as their last piece of commentary. I think the discussion deserves more, I respect the gay community enough to converse beyond only one view of the holy bible – I think we need to consider the humanity as well.

I know this will irritate some conservatives but I can’t see how we can really offer a constructive addition to the conversation unless we are in the lives of those who are gay. We need to be close enough to really appreciate the isolation a gay person experiences for long enough to elicit compassion. If you are anything like me, you will most likely lose the desire to proselytise a militant view and be appropriately humbled.

Currently at my place of work we are collating information from staff to hone down behaviours and beliefs in order to influence a value structure that will shape the next season. We have facilitated many group discussions to capture stories that staff recount to describe their view in order to bring the values down to short sound bytes. My place of work is 50% Christian and 50% everything else from atheist to Muslim. One story from these discussions has greatly impacted me, it was from a person anonymously sharing they are gay but were frightened to let any work mate know because they feared being sidelined or shunned by the Christian contingent. Sigh…The truth is I know most of the Christians where I work are contemporary thinkers and would welcome the friendship.

I shared in a previous blog that I once experienced a surreal moment where I heard a clergy person in a small group setting attempt to explain that gay relationships can lead to bestiality. Honestly, I wish we didn’t treat people this way! To suggest a same sex loving relationship can evolve to bestiality is fuelled by a significant deficit in understanding and supported by ignorance. It reminds me of medieval history where superstition claimed the innocent lives of people thought to be witches. It’s horrific, but sadly, it made complete sense hundreds of years ago.

I am not going to try and argue my way through this discussion because I don’t see the point… but I do feel compelled to ask my Christian community to refrain from exercising its desire to be the moral compass to the world. We lost that privilege a long time ago in the eyes of many – our toxicity of hypocrisy did a splendid job. If we ever have influence again it will be because of who Jesus is despite our past behaviour.

I don’t know why so much venom from Christians gets directed towards the gay community, yet disturbingly, we are slow to act in so many other moral issues particularly when it comes to our own behaviour. I will finish with this; Jesus never once addressed the issue of gay relationships but he was militant when it came to injustice and the poor. I think that nicely sums up our directive.

14 thoughts on “Gay – Not the Happy Kind

  1. Amen! Amen! Christ spent time getting to know all people. Even those he wasn’t supposed to know. It’s no wonder why is it? To be gracious, to be self- sacrificing for another person you first have to recognize their humanity. Christ spent his time advocating for outsiders and railing against the church and it’s sins.

    I think the same idea can be applied to Muslims and people of other religions too. Find yourself intolerant and thinking black and white, get to know someone in that group as a friend.

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  2. Here’s the bit which confuses me.

    Assuming for a minute the Christian God is the one true real god.
    Also assuming it’s true he was responsible for creating a universe trillions of light years across and it’s hard to convey how big that is considering a light year is a measurement of speed not time where travelling to our moon takes 1.3 seconds. So I’ll say it again…it would take trillions of years travelling at the speed of light to make it across the universe God created to make this one little planet to house his creation or pet project called “man”…..Overkill at best but that’s not my gripe.

    A god capable of creating something on such a super massive scale would have no trouble with the simple day to day things like being an all hearing, all knowing God who is watching all 7 billion of us simultaneously.

    You’d also have to assume his knowledge of all things is far greater than we could ever comprehend and with this assumption it would be reasonable to say God doesn’t get it wrong.

    So, God places man on the earth and a while later commissions a hand book with his list of do’s and don’t and some good tips on how he wants things done and how you can pass the test and make it to heaven. Enter The Old Testament.

    Then things get messy and sin is a bit out of control so rather than wipe us all out again he decides to take a different approach and send his son Jesus down to straighten everyone out. Jesus delivers the message a bit differently, spreads the love and from this the New Testament and Christianity is born. To my way of thinking the New Testament isn’t the revised edition of the Old Testament, it’s the Sequel. The rules still stand and to my knowledge Jesus never said stop following my father’s rules.

    Old or new testament …it’s exactly the same God and God doesn’t make mistakes or get things wrong or change his mind to suit society.. He’s God not a democracy.

    Are you with me so far?

    So, when it clearly states in the Old Testament “a man who lies with another man as he would a women is an abomination unto god and should be put to death” it was not a sentence which could be misinterpreted. He want’s homosexuals put to death.

    On every occasion when a Christian has quoted this passage to me, all of them leave out the last sentence and I ask….Ok, so do you believe homosexuals should be put to death? the answers range from complete silence. .to “ I follow the new testament” or “I hate the sin not the person” or “I think society has moved on from that” or “ I don’t interpret Gods word like that” .Personally what I think they’re saying is…. I’m homophobic and I’ll cherry pick what I want to back that up but I’m not saying anything that may portray me as a psychopathic fundamentalist or that society no longer accepts.

    Could it be any clearer? GOD said they are an abomination and should be put to death.

    Obvious I’m not a fan but here’s the bit that confuses me. How do modern Christians reconcile their more liberal belief?

    Do they honestly, truly believe God is watching, listening and judging everything they say and do? Do they truly believe what god sees makes the difference between going to heaven and going to hell? How could they possibly believe this yet still go against what God clearly said in the bible?

    Or, do they believe he’s a loving forgiving God and It’s ok not to follow hi wishes because you’re a nice person and he’ll see that. There where lots of nice people on earth when he decided to flood it and start again, so I don’t like their chances on this one

    Or, do they believe God changes his perspective along with society? Because if you strip it back to the basics in the Old Testament it’s not possible. If he’s an omnipotent being with a pre destined personal plan for all 7 billion of us. Do you think he sits up there thinking.”Damn .I got that one wrong; I’ve changed my mind…start again..” Not likely.

    What makes a liberal thinking Christian risk their place in heaven by going against what god so clearly stated?

    So here’s my question and you can’t say… I’d like to think God wouldn’t put me in that position”.

    If you’re a Christian and God said to you.. ”This man or women is a homosexual, I want you to kill him” Would you do it? If not, why? .how can you dedicate your life to a God who has different moral values? If God says kill him it must be ok to do so because he clearly says so in the bible. It may be Old Testament but it’s the same God.

    Or do they not take the bible as gospel? They believe something’s and not others. Can you half believe in God? Can you ignore god’s wishes?

    If the answer “no” answer is because it’s no longer acceptable in society, Does that mean you would kill a homosexual if society was different? Would you want it to be like that? If not, how do you praise a god who wants a different society to what you find acceptable

    If the “no” answer is, I’d wouldn’t want go to jail” would you still expect to go to heaven refusing Gods will?

    And if it’s a yes answer.”I would kill a homosexual if God asked”, at what stage do these people slip over the edge and realise God did ask.. he told me to do it in the bible? How acceptable would these people be to a modern Christians? Or modern society. Yet it’s still a society norm and perfectly ok for Christians to live by and quote a book which states exactly that….. put the homosexuals to death..

    To me, the inconsistencies, and constant redefining and retranslating going on in people’s minds to still somehow reconcile the bible to modern society is crazy. When so much doesn’t fit you need to make some tough choices as to what beliefs you let go.

    I just don’t get it? ….which is why I’m an atheist I guess. I’d love to know how Christians justify the thinking on it though.. just purely out of personal curiosity

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    • Hey Donna…OK, the purpose of my blog was to slow the conversation down to remind us (me) that there are real people behind the argument. Many want to live in the absolute (including Christians) which is the enemy to understanding. I do not want to politicise this conversation for that reason or force people to be black and white, in fact I want to encourage a more humble posture.

      This blog was intended for my friends of which many share a Christian faith, but I don’t want to force a resolve just to relieve tension – we have to be more sophisticated than that. My thoughts on the biblical threads you highlight is you are tracking in the right direction but I can assure you, from a scientific view (and there is one particularly with secular historians), it is a lot more complicated than you describe.

      Atheist are similar to evangelical Christians when it comes to insisting on a ‘definitive’ view. Of the points you raise many theologians will have a different perspective, so a deductive approach to the old testament with the intention of ‘landing’ is pretty unhelpful. Much of the bible was never intended for literal interpretation and many theologians acknowledge the flaws.

      In contrast, the life of Jesus is a lot easier to understand.

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    • Hi Donna,
      I’d never presume to speak on behalf of Christians particularly in the shady area of “apologetics”, so that’s not the purpose of this replay at all. But you make a really, really good point, and one I’d like to respond to from my own experience and perspective.
      I want to clear one point before I get stared on my reasoning proper. You’ve made the statement, “So, God places man on the earth and a while later commissions a hand book with his list of do’s and don’t and some good tips on how he wants things done and how you can pass the test and make it to heaven. Enter The Old Testament.” I know this is the most common misconception of the Old Testament there ever was, and is the popularly accepted premise of it. But It is erroneous, in the sense that the Old Testament is often seen as “How to please God” manual. This is far from the reality of it. That reasoning is akin to assuming that a Harry Potter novel is a book primarily about how to cast spells. Of course it isn’t, The inclusion of spells in the narrative is essential for us to gain understanding of the character of Harry Potter, who is the actual topic of the novel. So it is with the Torah and associated scripture. It is exactly the conundrum that occurs in our thinking about the justice of an event such as that recounted in the narrative of the Great Flood, which causes us to miss the point of the compilation of the scriptures since the time of Moses.
      Now, more to the point of this reply. It is easy to presume that the Jews wrote (inspired or otherwise) about God. But no. The Jews wrote (inspired or otherwise) about the Jews, in the sense that they wrote about their own experience. The Levitical law reflects the way in which the Jews understood the required justice of God had to be enacted. You are correct, Leviticus Chapter 20 is all about the boundaries of sexual conduct for the Jews. You’ll note – for the Jews (note the inclusion of the phrase “among you” when discussing immorality) – because the Jews’ desire was to please God before any other nation or collective of people. And there is no doubt, verse 13 translates as something like, “If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense.” You’re right, there’s not a lot of ambiguity about this.
      Neither is there much ambiguity about a lot of “stoning to death” passages in Deuteronomy and such, and this became an accepted part of Jewish Law, in the pursuit of moving from a nomadic people to a society. Jesus was, of course, well versed in all the Jewish law, but also in the purposes of God, which much of the nation of Judah had missed somewhere along the line. So lets examine the scene recorded in John Chapter 8, verses from 2 to 11…
      “But early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” ”
      Here we see that Jesus demonstrates that although the Law requires the just reward for certain behaviour, so in the same way there is nobody who is righteously qualified to carry out that act of condemnation. In this manner there is no discrepancy in any way between the Old and New testaments. They, in fact, support each other. The Law has the purpose of showing how strict (or indeed unattainable) the requirement for being “Righteous” is, and Jesus explained how, as nobody can ever attain the “right” to judge another, there is also graciousness from God, as the Cosmos continues to provide what we need to exist everyday, although nobody can claim to deserve the favour of life.
      I hope that makes some sense Donna. You see, it’s not for me to judge what God may or not accept. That’s entirely his call. It’s up to me to be in good conscience about my own behavior, not to scrutinise others.
      Apologies for the length of this reply, and kind regards.

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    • I’ve been down this path myself.

      “Old or new testament …it’s exactly the same God”
      No. A usurper is present in the OT.

      “When so much doesn’t fit you need to make some tough choices as to what beliefs you let go.”
      YES!!! But, I’d caution you NOT to abandon Jesus…along with Jehovah. 😉

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  3. Well written Jay, I read this after you fb post and can say you have not said anything people can argue. All you have done is highlight the issues you have found at work and indicated a person lives in fear for being humiliated by Christians… In Matthew 15:19 Jesus talks of sexual immorality along with other things that defile a person, my understanding is that ‘sexual immorality’ in context covers homosexual acts along with other sexual acts explained in the OT as a sin or defilement. But also in that list is slander and false testimony. Seeing that sin is sin regardless of its form and knowing that we all have sinned and still do (falling short), it is wrong to judge anyone’s motivations for sinning. No homosexuals I know have said that are homosexual just to stick it to God, if that is their reason then sure judge away (careful that you are 100% right in that judgement holding no fault of your own). Rather do what Jesus spoke and showed time and time again, love the prostitute at the well, the tax collector in the tree, the friend that denied your friendship when it counted or the people that hung him on the cross. Grace, love and mercy shows more than words and church attendance will. Alienating and casting out people goes entirely against what Jesus did and I find Christians are the best at arguing among each other rather than working together. I see it in social media all the time, Christians abusing Christians in forms that make ‘baby Jesus cry’ and atheists laugh at us.

    Clearly I could go for hours on this but you are far from wrong Jay in the things u have noted and been challenged by 🙂

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  4. Hi Jay. Brave man for raising the issues. I wrote out a lengthy reply/comment outlining similar issues I face with many of my ‘clients’ but I accidentally deleted it. Must be a God thing? I was about to conclude with, I try and relate to everyone I meet in a positive, uplifting way despite their lifestyle choices which challenge my beliefs and sensibilities. (for those who don’t know me, I work with high risk/high need offenders including sex, violence, drugs etc)

    This side of heaven, I’m not confident I will be able to understand lots of ‘right and wrong’ issues. Keep up the thinking and challenging of yourself and others.
    Regards, Stuart.

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  5. I recently posted this status on FaceBook:

    To my gay sibling & gay friends:

    If the Church is hatin’ on ya…
    …skip them and go straight to the Source (Jesus), who loves you unconditionally.

    From my experience: The Church & Jesus don’t always agree on certain issues. Especially the important ones. 😉

    Then, a few days later I posted this one:

    When you mention Jesus (out in the world)…
    ..and people have a bad attitude about it…
    …it’s NOT because of Jesus. 😉

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  6. Hey Jay – thanks for this post. Incredibly sane and redeeming when it began to appear that there were far too many people standing for love who were in actual fact acting in hate. This rises above, and stands upon the shoulders of a truth that really matters: love one another as you love yourself. Or even, love one another as Christ has loved you. I suspect that is with complete acceptance, kindness and mercy.

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