April 25, 2014

Review: Does Jesus Really Love Me?

ChuEditor’s note: I am always after Adam Palmer to write for us, as he has insights I seldom hear from any other. Unfortunately, AP is a freelance writer who is in great demand, so I don’t often get him to write for free for us. A few days ago he approached me to ask if he could review a book he thought was worth reading. I agreed. (This was before Jason Collins came out as a gay player in the NBA.) Read Adam’s quick review of Jeff Chu’s book, and then decide if it is something you will want to invest time in reading yourself. JD

I first came across Jeff Chu’s marvelous oddity through an infrequent perusal of Salon.com, where they posted an excerpt of the author’s visit to the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. After reading a setup that explained that Chu was both gay and a devout Christian, I began to expect some sort of Dan Savage-style shock-jockery, some explosive reality-TV shouting match between our hero Chu and the easy villain of Fred Phelps.

Nevertheless, I was intrigued and, as the book unfolded, I began to be drawn in by Chu’s literate, immediate, and honest style. There’s nary a raised voice to be found. Instead, Chu keeps the tone respectful and reflective (though he does allow himself the occasional wry, droll observation), which allows the reader to focus on the task at hand: can someone be both gay and a Christian?

Tangentially a memoir, Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America spends most of its word count in conversation with people from across the United States, many of them of same-sex orientation, many of those who often spent a lifetime growing up in the evangelical church. And then they came out and were told, “We don’t have a place for you here.”

Growing up an evangelical but accepting his sexuality in adulthood, Chu can correctly pronounce the shibboleths to gain insider access to both church leaders and LGBT activists. It allows him to  write like an insider but think like an outsider, bringing his journalistic ethos (in his other life, he is a writer for Fast Company) and a bloodhound’s nose for truth to conversations about faith, homosexuality, and the convergence of the two.

Peppered throughout, more liberally toward the end, are Chu’s own observations on what he’s uncovered about faith in general and Christianity in particular. For example, there’s this passage, the ending of a two-paragraph rumination on Chu’s favorite part of the “full armor of God,” the “shield of faith.”

There’s something appealing in the notion of carrying this picture of who you are into war. Then when, God willing, you come home, it comes too, changed, as you are, by the dings and scars of the journey and the battle. Your faith can’t emerge unscathed or untouched—not if you’ve really fought.

The more I read, the more fascinated I became not with just the picture that developed of the evangelical church’s treatment of homosexuals, but with the way we’re treating the non-Christian world in general. More and more of us are walking around with un-dinged, unscarred shields. Or perhaps we’re using them in the wrong battle. If nothing else, Does Jesus Really Love Me? is an indictment on many American churches’ insistence on joining the front lines of the culture war.

The oft-repeated mantra evangelicals love to give regarding homosexuality is “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” But as Does Jesus Really Love Me? shows, while we don’t yet really know what the loving part looks like, we have the hating part down pat.

 

Comments

  1. uuuhhmmm, I am left with a question haunting me…. am I compromising my faith to be politically correct in the church? There are a myriad of opinions on both sides. Sound doctrine=truth devoid of human opinion. So, what does a Jesus shaped response look like? Still looking for it….

    • That Other Jean says:

      Is there truth devoid of human opinion in religion? There are a few shreds of possibility, but apart from the Bible, there is precious little actual evidence for belief in the divinity, or even the existence, of Jesus–or Moses, Zeus, Osiris, or Shiva. There is little except belief, and beliefs may be wrong. Are matters of faith not matters of human opinion?

      • As may your beliefs also be wrong.

        Just because the scientific method works very well in determining religious truth claims doesn’t mean that there aren’t other epistemologies that can winnow truth form falsehood.

        • Klasie Kraalogies says:

          Mule – just to stir: I often hear about other epistemologies. But I have yet to see a successful demonstration / explanation of any. Care to comment?

          • I would recommend seeking out a saintly person.
            Spend time with this person, and observe them closely.
            The source of their saintliness will eventually manifest.

            You don’t even have to choose a saintly Christian. The first task is to get you out of the naturalistic corral.

          • Klasie Kraalogies says:

            Mule, I’ve spent the last 38 and a bit years among “saintly” people. I’m still not buying….

          • Well, it’s your money.

            The quotation marks speak volumes, though.

          • Klasie Kraalogies says:

            Mule, instead of cryptic answers, can you say what you mean? Depending on one’s experience with others – I’ve been around pietists (sectarian, reformed), Calvinists, Evangelicals, Orthodox, Lutherans, even Eastern mystics. Everyone is deeply complex, with flaws and greatness, with some really great characters. But their saintliness is not epistemological. They do the best they can. But their behaviour does not prove a different epistemology. So please elaborate!

          • Klasie -

            I am glad you have had such a wide experience of so many different people. Knowing people is different than empirical knowledge, and most of the faith I have in God is predicated upon the remarkable personalities of the people I have known. People whose actions pointed to source outside themselves, an invisible source who helped them endure when many other people, some much more intelligent and integrated, were crushed. Of course, God is inferred, but there are epistemologies that allow for inferential knowledge, such as the existence of other minds from the proper use of language.

            What you you mean by epistemology? How limited are you by empiricism?

          • Klasie Kraalogies says:

            Mule: Reason, Evidence. I will even take the first on its own if it is sound and not countered by existing evidence. But for well over 3 decades I travelled the road of accepting, well everything. I accepted non-empirical, non-rational epistemology because I believed that is what one had to do as a Christian. I became all mystic, I took a plunge into the radical subjectivist pool, and I tasted postmodernism. But because I wouldn’t stop there, because I had to know, and because I refuse to arm wave evidence and reason away, I had to lift up the curtain in all these fields – and realised that not only was there no might wizard – there was no wizard at all! I realised that my mystic experiences, my subjectivism, even my experience of divinity even were self-manufactured highs originating in sehnsucht, partially derived from the loneliness imposed by exclusivist religiosity, partly from the natural wanderings of a sensitive, inquiring mind, and mostly the natural flow of a multitude of memes playing on the strings of an instrument that has become self-aware. In my experience, self-doubt, and the ability to laugh at the intricacies of ones’ own follies (including this one ? ) frees one from these cycles of subjectivist, non-evidential and sometimes irrational flights of fancy.

            So once again, if you have something to say, say it.

        • Mule, you say, “Just because the scientific method works very well in determining religious truth claims . . ..” I am having a hard time figuring out if you are saying this tongue in cheek or if you, or anyone else, could possibly believe this. Perhaps we are just at an impasse here or perhaps I don’t understand what you mean by scientific method or religious truth claims. Both seem quite plain to me and both seem totally incompatible.

          • Im sorry. I meant to put a negative in that sentence.

            “Just because the scientific method doesn’t work very well in determining religious truth claims…

      • There are tons of evidence for faith throughout history. Hardcore evidence in the historical records. To put faith in something with no evidence is utterlt crazy.

        • Klasie Kraalogies says:

          Henry, apart from archaeological evidence that point to the fact that some of the events in the Bible happened within the framework of historical knowledge (ie, Babylonian expansion, a destructive event at Jericho etc), what are the tons of proof for faith you are talking about? I mean, none but the most ignorant non-theists deny archaeological evidence. But archaeological evidence points to a historical framework, not actual “faith”. So what would you point to then as the evidence for faith?

  2. Michael Z says:

    Sounds like a book worth reading. My gay Christian friends are some of the most faith-filled people I know. They’ve had to be, to survive in the world and in the church without abandoning Christianity. When I hear their stories and their passion for following Jesus, it does indeed feel a little like talking to a battle-scarred veteran while I myself am wearing shiny, untouched armor. I’m often just left in awe of the sort of faith that can keep loving Jesus after suffering so much abuse in his name.

    It’s such a powerful story and such a powerful witness to the grace and love of God, that I feel sorry for churches where that story can’t be heard and appreciated. My own faith in God’s reality and goodness and unconditional love for me has grown immensely through having gay Christian friends and through the writings of others (like Justin Lee).

    • I heard a preacher talking about the armor listed in scripture, and he pointed out that there is nothing to cover our back sides because we are made to stand and fight, not run and hide.
      I tried to run and hide, but where can I run from His Presence? If I make my bed in hell, He is there. I turn 49 this year, and I came out when I was 20. I’m getting tired, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter, and I no longer have fears that it’s another train. Praise God, and thank Him for never letting me go from His hand.

      • will f. says:

        Hi Debra, thank you, that is very beautiful. Oh yes, he is with you always. Pray for me a big sinner.

  3. Of course Jesus really loves you (us).

    “Go and sin no more.”

    He loves us so much that He wants what best for us…often in contrast to what we want for ourselves that is not good for ourselves, or for society.

  4. Adam, having read the book, do you think Jeff’s impression of “we don’t have a place for you here” based on his being gay as an orientation, or is it based on an impasse regarding being celibate outside of heterosexual marriage?

    For example, I know straight singles who get the the same impression of “we don’t have a place for you here”, simply because so many churches have a culture that focuses on marriage and child-rearing (tapering off post-college). They are confronted for fornication, but even if they are celibate, they may still be exiled into an adult singles ministry, as sort of a “failure to launch” in the evangelical church’s focus on the family.

    So, is the issue of rejection primarily a disagreement over the morality of fornication (gay or straight), or is it unique to gay sexual preference, regardless of celibacy?
    (I suppose the comparison between gay and straight singles is not identical, because for the straight single, there is always the option they might find a church-approvable marriage partner, whereas the gay Christian may only have lifetime celibacy.)

    • Steve, I think that you have noted the bottom line issue. The Catholic Church is very clear that having a homosexual orientation is NOT sin or sinful in any way. It is the ACTING on those impulses that is a problem, the same way acting on heterosexual desires outside of marriage is a sin.

      The ESPN commentator that explained the Christian view of homosexuality did a spot-on job of explaining that there is not ill-will directed at homosexual person, but that they are held to the standard of being celebite outside of a valid covent marriage the same way single hetrosexual are.

      Of course, the RCC has plenty of places for single, celebite adults, with a long history of such people as admirable, whether or not they have taken vows in Holy Orders (priest, brother/monk or sister/nun).

      • Jonathan says:

        If having a homosexual orientation is NOT sin or sinful in any way, as you say, and I agree, then acting on it would seem to be not sinful as well. When I steal, I’m acting on a sinful orientation to do so. I try to keep it in check. But if the orientiation is not sinful, then the desires that arise from it, and the deeds that fulfill the desires, should not, per se, be sinful either.

        I’m sort of talking out loud here, but I think that Christians are more consistent (yet, apparently, wrong) by denouncing homosexuality as intrinsically and altogether evil. To even try to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals. Let me be clear: consisent, but not right. Because to concede that homosexual orientation is not sinful is to put it on par with heterosexuality, and the next logical step should be to recognize marriage, so that normal desires can be fulfilled in a loving relationship. What I’m trying to say is, if homosexuality is in itself not sinful, then forcing people with such an orientation into celabacy seems cruel.

        • Homosexual feelings, orientation, what have you, are not sinful, but they are not normal, any more than autism is. I don’t know if you are aware of it, but there is a small and growing movement demanding acceptance of Autism from fascistic “nuero-normals” intent on surpressing “Asperger’s culture”.

          • Jonathan says:

            Can you elaborate? What parallels do you see between homosexuality and autism, from a legal or ecclesiastical standpoint?

          • As far as I know, it’s legal to be both homosexual and autistic.

            I was thinking along the lines of a deterministic etiology that didn’t excuse behavior. Nobody blames autistic people for being the way they are. It appears that both autism and homosexuality are due to a prenatal chemical imbalance, and could be “normalized” by an injection in the womb at the proper time.

          • If by ‘not normal’, we mean ‘contrary to the norm’, then yes, it seems that homosexuality is not normal (historically and currently in western culture at least.)
            But the assumption is often that heterosexuality is the ‘natural’, ‘god-ordained’, ‘right’ form of sexuality, both in terms of orientation, and behavior. This is something I’ve wanted to get off my chest for a long while – why is heterosexual marriage ‘right’ and ‘natural’? What evidence do we have for this? In my evangelical tradition, the proof text is genesis 2:24 – ‘That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.’

            First, there is the problem of whether Genesis 1-3 (in my opinion ancient near east creation accounts) are qualified to speak as the sole authority on human sexuality, with jurisdiction over all cultures, in every age, everywhere. Second, this passage, and it’s surrounding context, do not seem to about homosexuality in any direct way. They put forward an archetypal pattern of sexuality – one that is monogamous, and instigates a bond between two people, but do not exclude the possibility of homosexual relationships. The passage, to me, just does not seem to be about which kinds of sexuality are ‘right’ (other than monogamous relationships). If this were the normal standard for human behavior, where does celibacy fit?

            Third, the narrative of which Genesis 2:24 concludes comes about through God’s pronouncement that ‘it is not good for a man to be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him.’ Why is this verse so little used in debates about sexuality and marriage? Are we to assume that a certain group of people, due to their sexuality, are in fact to be alone (in this sense), even though they may have no desire to live a celibate life?

            I’m no expert, but these are my concerns with the position that marriage is union of man and a woman, as opposed to two, loving, committed individuals of any sexuality.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            I’m really concerned about the use of the term “normal,” as it marginalizes those who fall outside of the norm. It really doesn’t matter whether we are discussing nonheterosexual orientation or autism; they are both naturally occurring phenomena. The shot to which you refer, if it actually exists (and, seeing as how no credible scientific community vouches for its efficacy, I doubt it), would interrupt a naturally occurring phenomenon, and would thus create an unnatural heterosexual or non-autistic person.

        • uuuhhhmm, Christians denounce it as wrong? Could it be ’cause God does too?

        • warthog says:

          Jonathan, I’m intrigued by your way of thinking. I’m not sure I agree with it yet, but by the sound of things you’re the kind of person I might be able to have a sensible discussion with, even if we don’t end up seeing eye-to-eye.

          I consider myself to be a non-conventionally heterosexual male; I have an orientation that I know that I must never act on. I can’t choose to change my orientation (trust me, I’d love to). I think that I have no choice but to be what I am, and therefore I don’t think that by simply *being* it is sinful. However, I have no doubt whatsoever that to act on it would be utterly sinful.

          I’d consider these points in the context of original sin versus actual sin.

          To use the theft analogy, I think it’s human to want to own things. I’d suggest its base driver is the desire everyone has to create, make, explore, and develop things (which I believe is part of our nature as creations in the image of God). It’s beyond human capability to not want to have things, however modest, because *having* in itself is not at all wrong.

          Within the context of sin, everything changes. The human focus shifts from God to the Self. Therefore things as wonderful as creativity, exploration, and development become twisted into destruction, exploitation, and want without need. That’s where the sin of theft comes from.

          So yes, I’d concede then that homosexuality is sinful in the context of the world being warped from an original perfect model, focused on God, to a relatively colourless imitation of the original, focused on Self. I feel from my own experience that simply to *be* isn’t any more or less sinful than anything else, although the realities of my existence are affected by the pervasiveness of sin, just as the desire to have things is affected by the pervasiveness of sin.

          However, I would frame any sexuality in the context of original sin, as sexuality is yet one more part of the reality of being human. Being a human is being a sinner. That’s why we follow Christ.

          • Jonathan says:

            warthog, hello.

            Your circumstances complicate the matter a bit for me. Like you, I concede that certain orientations simply should not be acted on, should even be made illegal to act on, but I suggest that’s in order to protect the natural recipients of such actions. And protection is called for because the exchange (relationship?) can never be an equal one, whether the orientation is a non-conventional version of hetero- or homosexuality. But if the circumstances are equally balanced and consented to, then they can be regulated for the common good, but not banned outright.

            My earlier comment attempted to judge the consistency of the opinion that there’s nothing wrong with how the person is, only with what he does. But he does because he is, right? In fact, he does what he is. He’s compelled to. Given the complexity of our beings, some behavior is still wrong, even if what the person so behaving can’t be faulted for who he is.

            Is that true for homosexuals? Can our understanding of sin change?

            I’ve got more questions than answers.

          • Hi warthog,

            I’m really intrigued by the way you self-identify. It sounds, from your disclosure thus far, like you are living out a real life experience that most of us only talk about in the realm of the hypothetical, for the sake of pushing one agenda or another in these debates.

            Would you perhaps consider disclosing a little more specifically, to the degree that you are comfortable? I am convinced that Christians of all kinds need to hear directly from those who are living out real-life, non-conventional circumstances. Everyone’s voice needs to be heard.

            Even if these discussion boards are not the right venue, you might consider the unique perspective you have to offer and those who could benefit from hearing it. I am not presupposing in any way that your circumstances are easy or comfortable for you to speak about. At the very least I hope you have a caring and trusted community that you are free to be your true self in front of.

            Blessings to you.

          • warthog says:

            This looks like a reply to myself, but it seems that the “reply” button disappears after a few layers…

            Jonathan,

            I’m not sure that I agree with the assertion that someone does what one is. I think it’s true on some levels (for example, on an extremely superficial level I would suggest that I will consume food and drink because I am human and have no choice) , but apart from very elemental realities of being human, rarely is one is *compelled* to act in a particular way. Maybe this dredges the depths of arguments for or against free will, but at the end of the day, responsibility for an action lays with the person who does it.

            Also: “Can our understanding of sin change?” I have never thought of that. Can God’s understanding of sin change? I don’t think so, but humans have been incredibly arrogant in determining what the will of God is in the past, so I’d have to be incredibly careful/humble before determining where the lines *really* lay in regard to what sin is or isn’t.

            Sean,

            Thanks for your kind words and sentiments.

            In terms of sexuality (and there’s a lot more to life than that), I identify as a paedophile. I am not proud of it, but I cannot deny that reality. I can assure you that through God’s grace and power that no one has ever been harmed because of me.

            In response to your hope for “a caring and trusted community that will allow me to be my true self in front of”, in honesty, at this point I’m not prepared to trust anyone with that information outside of an anonymous forum.

            I don’t want or seek anyone to validate the reality of my sexual orientation. I’m not looking for anyone to tell me that being a paedophile is all OK, because it isn’t.

            I do get the sense that many people on this site are able to reflect Christ’s love toward me. I’m sure that you’d understand me when I say that I have no hope outside of Christ’s sacrifice and God’s mercy, grace, and power.

            What I do find sad is that for someone like myself, it *seems* so much easier to find groups of individuals who’ll allow me to embrace sin, than those who’ll help me to embrace grace.

            And to others who might feel that I’m equating homosexuality with paedophilia, that’s not my intent. As Witten and Jonathan have stated, there’s a difference between “having sex” and “having consensual sex.” I suppose I’m trying (perhaps clumsily) to articulate that the reality of life is that all humanity needs the grace of God, and that as followers of Christ we have more responsibility than any to love, share, forgive, and to show the reality of that grace in Jesus’ name.

          • Interesting discussion. I just want to throw into the mix for critique a rather simple reduction of the issue. I do not think that it follows that if being homosexual in orientation is ok, then acting on said orientation is legitimately ethical. Who we are does determine what we do, but I do not believe it justifies it. All men are sinners, that is why we sin. But that doesn’t make sin right. Homosexuality is just one variation of it. I’m not sure how an action being or feeling natural makes it right: virtue, by it’s very nature, is not the product of following instinctive desire, but of overcoming it.

          • WH, allow me to recommend a book: My Song Is of Mercy by Matthew Kelty. He was a Trappist monk who was contemporary with Thomas Merton and was instructed by him for a time. He was almost incidentally homosexual in orientation and apparently comfortable enough in his celibacy to be a life long monk. His writings are more an exploration of what it means to be human than anything else.

            Apparently still in print and I see a used copy for a penny. If push came to shove, I have an extra copy I would send you if the logistics could be overcome.

        • Witten says:

          I don’t know johnathan, that second paragraph sounds about right to me.

          • Jonathan says:

            Witten, warthog’s second paragraph? I agree with you.
            For what it’s worth, my sentence above that starts with “Given the complexity,” should have read: “Given the complexity of our beings, some behavior is still wrong, even if the person so behaving can’t be faulted for who he is.”

          • Witten says:

            Sorry threading… No your second paragraph that starts “I’m sort of talking out loud here”, way back up top there.

            As to the warthog issue, I think that it is important to distinguish between “having sex with” someone, and “sexually assaulting” someone, and that these two things are not similar at all.

        • Pattie says:

          @Jonathan~

          I am afraid you are chasing straw men, my brother. Homosexual tendencies are not sinful, acting on them is. Wanting to have my neighbor’s Lexus is a normal transient thought; obsessing about it or stealing it is a sin. Wanting to slap someone upside the head is a thought, albeit an uncharitable one. Doing so is both a sin and a crime. Admiring my friend’s buff and attentive husband is human nature; trying to seduce him is a sin.

          Thoughts and inclinations are one thing, action is another. Sorry, this argument of yours does not hold water for a second.

          • Yet, Jesus said if you even THINK on such or such a thing you have sinned. Let God be true and everyman a liar.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            Actually, Pattie, Jesus’ teachings would contradict you. Before I bring in that Scripture, remember that the tenth commandment prohibits coveting one’s neighbor’s possessions, which seems to fall squarely within thoughts and inclinations.

            Fast forward to Matthew 5, in which Jesus challenged his listeners to go deeper in their understanding of the Law. For instance, killing (the action) was a sin, but being angry at one’s brother put someone in danger of the judgment. Adultery was wrong, but looking at another woman with lust was a sin, as well.

            So, either homosexual orientation is a sin, the same as homosexual activity (in which case, the church has made some serious compromises that fall outside of their God-given authority), or homosexual orientation is not a sin, and we need to revisit our interpretation of Scripture. I should point out that this whole “the orientation is okay, but the activity is a sin” business is not really addressed in the Bible; it is a license which the church has taken, one which has some serious flaws.

  5. I wish we didn’t have to be “at war” with them. With anybody.

    We have war enough with the Devil and his minions. In the long run, it doesn’t matter one fig what the etiology of homosexuality is. Anybody who has been a follower of Christ longer than 15 minutes knows there are certain sins against which you have as much power as a kitten over a mounted knight. That’s OK. Jesus died for those sins as well. Even the ones you know are sinful but can’t stop committing. Even if you had a squadron of YRRs quoting Scripture at you on your way into the porn shop.

    Dividing the world up between “good” “respectable” people and “bad” “perverted” people doesn’t work.

    • Exactly.

      But we shouldn’t excuse or be advocating those sins that we have no control over.

      We constantly turn to Christ Jesus and the forgiveness of sins.

      • The western world has moved past excusing or tolerating homosexual behavior to a place where it MUST be celebrated, endorced, supported, embraced and spread to the four corners of the earth. And we all know what we are if we dare to disagree because we believe in the Word of God…homophombic bigots and haters who should be put on an ice floe and leave the happy progressive nice people alone.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          All that shows is the “Fundamentalist Activists” ended up dominating Political Homosexuality. It’s a funhouse mirror version of Culture War Without End, Amen, rammed through by funhouse mirror reflections of Fred Phelps.

          • Donalbain says:

            As usual, HUG talks nonsense.
            If you can point to the large group of people who want to deny peoplewho do not “celebrate” (Whatever the hell that means) homosexuality basic fundamental human rights, then you might well have a point. If you can point to the major political figures who advocate that people who do not “celebrate” (whatever the hell that means) homosexuality should be treated as criminals by the law.

            Your “both sides are as bad as each other” schtick is dishonest and pathetic. They are not.

        • Pattie, you are spot on in your observation !!!!!!!

        • Lester Pangs says:

          More Christian whining about being persecuted.

          No one cares if you “celebrate” homosexuality or not. Most of us out here just want you to

          1) treat gay people like they have as much right to express their sexuality as you do when you hold your husband (or wife’s) hand, and wear his or her ring.

          and

          2) keep your threats of damnation to your damn selves.

    • Even if you had a squadron of YRRs quoting Scripture at you on your way into the porn shop.

      Now THAT is a comical image to conjure, if you dare!

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Crazy enough that it’s probably happened for real, somewhere, somewhen.

    • But evangelical Christiasn need war. They need confrontation. They like war and confrontation because its a distraction from their own sins. Then they need war becuase they always MUST have an enemy. Look at the history. Women, science, education, government, pornograghy, sex, alcohol, etc… Fighting a war while driving a lot of people away is what makes Christianity Christian for a lot of people. I wonder if Christianity is kind of like a “spiritual Afghnaistan” that is nothing but war becuase that’s all many Christians know what to do.

      The modern reformed crowd has made this worse becuase they have their own culture wars, witchhunts, sin sniffing techniques all while mastubrating to your leader – the John Pipers or Mark Driscolls at the same time.

      • You’re just kidding, right? Becuase this is just a tad over the top, don’t you think?

      • Final Anonymous says:

        +1.

        Might be hopeless to think we can ever get folks as a group out of the “winning!” mindset. Maybe the secret is to proactively influence the redirection of the war, before they pick another hapless victim themselves.

  6. If there is a heterosexual precedent in scripture to “you’re not welcome here”, it’s Ezra 10. The Jewish exiles have returned, the families come to the assembly, ready celebrate and hear the word of God that they’ve been missing all those years. The word from The Lord is: “put away your foreign wives”. It doesn’t matter that they’ve been in loving, stable relationships, or even that they’ve had children together.
    I imagine a kid, tugging at his dad’s sleeve: what’s Mr. Ezra saying, daddy? Why are you crying?

    • They were not to marry foreign wives to begin with. They sinned. They had to pay for it. That’s what sin produces pain.

      • Lester Pangs says:

        Wrong. It’s the person enforcing that rule that created the pain.

        • Jonathan says:

          Steve, the chapter throws a rock at our idolotry of the nuclear family, doesn’t it? I happened to read it a month ago and was struck by Ezra’s unflinching hardness. Solomon married a lot of foreign women; Ruth was herself a foreign woman. But I guess when the Israelites returned from captivity, they tightened up quite a bit.

        • Ezra was doing what God wanted him to do. Ruth converted: “Your God is my God” .Polygyny or adultery committed by Patrarch’s or Kings always ended badly. Yes, there are, from our point of view, some very hard things in the Scriptures. I have found myself question God about these things. I don’t have any answers, except to say that the Scriptures (Creation?) teach and inform us of God’s goodness and that His thoughts, ways are beyond our comprehension. I prefer to love God and trust in his good judgements. At times this not an easy thing to do, but I think it is the right thing to do.The alternative is hopelessness. I do agree that Christians should not be damning people. That’s up to the Judge, Jesus. he earned that right. His judgements will be perfect.

          • Lester Pangs says:

            “Ezra was doing what God wanted him to do.”

            If so, then that particular “god” can get stuffed.

  7. Christiane says:

    I remember reading USCCB’s letter “Always Our Children” which stated the following:

    ” God loves every person as a unique individual. Sexual identity helps to define the unique persons we are, and one component of our sexual identity is sexual orientation. Thus, our total personhood is more encompassing than sexual orientation. Human beings see the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart (cf. 1 Sm 16:7).

    God does not love someone any less simply because he or she is homosexual. God’s love is always and everywhere offered to those who are open to receiving it. St. Paul’s words offer great hope:

    For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:38-39)”

    Some parts of the letter are difficult to understand, but the part I quoted seems to address this post and I thought I would share it as meaningful to Catholics.

  8. Gerald says:

    How about making these articles on gays come out the same day each week, like the other features? You could call it “GLBTQ-WWJD Thursdays” or some such. That way the people who wanted to argue about gays wouldn’t have to slosh through a bunch of articles about less exciting topics like prayer, or the Trinity.

  9. Robert F says:

    Two men or women who have been in a loving and committed relationship to each other for years should not be excluded like strangers from the deathbed exigencies, decisions and deliberations of their beloved partner because society prohibits them from possessing the intimate rights that married couples and families possess; such a prohibition is cruel and callous, and the law should be amended everywhere to either allow legal domestic partnerships with the full rights of family or same-sex marriage. It’s as simple as that when it comes to GLBT rights.

    • I don’t understand where the whole “can’t legally visit my loved one’s deathbed” thing comes from. Can anyone point out any laws that limit visitation rights in hospitals?

      • Robert F says:

        Mere friends do not have the same legal rights in the context of end-of-life decisions and input as family does, because they do not have legally recognized relationships equivalent to family; so it’s not terribly unusual for biological family who disagree with a family member’s homosexuality to cut a homosexual partner off from the deathbed of their partner, even though the relationship is one of longstanding. A legal domestic partnership or same-sex marriage would prevent this from occurring; and that would also apply to other medical emergencies before the end-of-life, as well as make the partner a legal companion equal to family in myriad other ways that the law does not allow now where legal domestic partnerships or same-sex marriage do not exist.

  10. DaisyFlower says:

    How is it they want to be loved, are homosexuals looking for something specific from Christians? I have been a Christian since I was a kid (though lately having doubts about the faith).

    Anyway, I’ve met homosexuals before, ones who let every one know what their orientation was, or else it was obvious (e.g., male co worker shows up to office party with his boyfriend), and I didn’t treat them any differently than anyone else.

    If I go to a church, and a homosexual guy shows up and announces he’s homosexual (why would anyone announce their sexual orientation to people they just met, by the way? I’m single, not married, but I don’t announce all over the place when I go into a church that I’m a hetero sexual female), I would be as friendly to him as I would be anyone else I meet.

    If that guy tells me he’s homosexual, I’d still remain friendly, but what do most homosexuals want me to do with the information, hand the guy a complimentary toaster for telling me he’s homosexual?

    • Your first sentence is most confusing….how do we want to be loved?! How do you want to be loved DaisyFlower? Why not listen to the words of Jesus when He said we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves…and yes, the gays are your neighbors. Also, the Golden Rule is a good one to follow….do to others as you would have done to you. Easy as pie, right?
      I wonder if you will come back here to see if there is a reply to your strange comments. I really am curious to know what it is you are trying to say.