October 31, 2014

Saturday Ramblings 5.11.13

RamblerHorrific kidnappings in Cleveland. Arguing over the body of a bomber. A teen who hits and kills a soccer ref for giving the teen a yellow card. Someone named Jodi Arias being found guilty of killing her boyfriend in a horrendous manner. [Loud sigh ... ] Does anyone else feel the need for some good news right about now? If not exactly good news, perhaps at least something that doesn’t include death and dismemberment. Something to make us grimace a little less. Maybe even a fun tune to get us humming. If that is you, you’ve come to the wrong place. I have stories about the Boston Marathon bombs, about the death of a great man, Christians doing and saying stupid things, Pope Francis tellings nuns to become mothers, and … well, you’ll just have to read for yourself, iMonks. (I will try to find a fun tune to hum … ) It’s time to ramble.

Evangelical Christians feel they (we?) are becoming a “hated minority” because of their stance on homosexuality. Let me ask this: Could it be that evangelicals are correct in what they are saying, but are very wrong in how they are saying it? Discuss.

Meanwhile, we continue to hear of bias against Christians in the military. Here is a case where Christians protesting against a wrong that doesn’t exist could cause harm. Would it be asking too much for those who are protesting to, perhaps in their spare time, bone up on the facts? Or did I miss something in the Great Commission? “Go and make disciples of all soldiers, whether they want to become disciples of Mine or not … ”

There are things you can and cannot do in Texas. You can come up with blueprints for a print-it-yourself gun that fires very real and very deadly bullets, post these blueprints on line, and see them downloaded more than 100,000 times before you are told you are most likely in violation of federal laws and are advised to remove the blueprints. What you cannot do is lift one finger into the air as a way of celebrating your victory in a relay race at a high school track meet. Someone has some ‘splainin’ to do …

Pope Francis apparently is serious about those who have official functions within the Catholic Church focusing on that business and nothing else. And his definition of “business” is “creating disciples of Jesus.” He says nuns are to become spiritual mothers and not spinsters. Have I mentioned how much I love this pope? Martha, what would it take for you, Chaplain Mike and me to get an audience with Pope Francis? Do you think he might become one of our writers?

We saw the passing this week of Dallas Willard, another man who took seriously Jesus’ call to make disciples. Richard Foster talks of Willard’s influence on his life as a pastor and teacher.

Rick Joyner, self-styled prophet and friend of the Punching Preacher, Todd Bentley, weighs in on the Boston Marathon bombers and who really is to blame. Perhaps we’ve made a mistake in taking Joyner for a preacher. Obviously he should be head of the CIA. (The Good Lord invented duct tape for situations like these … )

The daughter of the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke openly of her struggle with depression and the church’s lack of help to those who struggle with this disease. Oh how right she is. The good news (See? I did manage to work in some good news …) is that, because of two Baptist pastors’ tragedies, there is now movement to begin ministering to those who struggle with mental illness. Please, encourage those in need of help to get help now. And let that help begin with you.

Someone complained there might be some mention of religion at an Arkansas elementary school’s sixth grade graduation ceremony. Dust arose. The ceremony was unceremoniously cancelled. Why, you ask, do they have ceremonies for wee lads and lassies graduating from sixth grade in Arkansas? Well, in most all other states, schooling doesn’t end with sixth grade …

Happy birthday candles were blown out this last week by Audrey Hepburn; Dick Dale; Erin Andrews; Tammy Wynette; John Rhys-Davies; Orson Welles; Bob Seger; Tony Blair; Gary Cooper; Johnny Unitas; Harry S. Truman; Don Rickles; Peter Benchley; Hank Snow; Mike Wallace; Richie Furay; Billy Joel; Philip Bailey; Fred Astaire; and Donovan.

Dick Dale’s Miserlou is certainly worthy of being our bonus video today. It is, after all, the greatest rock and roll instrumental of all time. But there is one Billy Joel tune that ranks in my top-20 songs of all time. A brilliant composition that is performed here in with breathtaking energy and force. Enjoy.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au74rR9lIYQ']

 

Comments

  1. Dan from Georgia says:

    As one who is very close to one with mental illness, it saddens me that those who should be the most compassionate towards the mentally ill (Christians), instead it is my fellow believers who judge and condemn the suffering. “Just suck it up and get right with God.” “You must repent of your sins to find healing.” “You probably have a demon of depression.” And of course the all-time favorite…”if you just read your Bible more/pray more, you would find healing.” All lies that hurt those who are suffering. Where is the compassion and grace?

    • Michael says:

      It’s just ignorance. But the problem is that people don’t know what they don’t know. For someone who doesn’t have clinical depression, “being depressed” just means you’re feeling kinda grumpy and down. If that’s all it is, well then of course it isn’t hard to pull yourself out of that–just get over yourself and exert a little willpower to stop being a grump. But to someone with actual, clinical depression, that’s no good. To quote Hyperbole and a Half,

      …trying to use willpower to overcome the apathetic sort of sadness that accompanies depression is like a person with no arms trying to punch themselves until their hands grow back. A fundamental component of the plan is missing and it isn’t going to work.

      So it ends up just blaming the victim, and crushing the bruised reed.

      • Robert F says:

        There is clinical depression; there is grumpiness; and then there are life-circumstances that lead to persistent sadness that cannot be changed by either medication or a change in attitude, although medication and/or change in attitude might be helpful to some extent in addressing those life-circumstances. What needs to be avoided are simplistic answers to problems that are complex and perhaps to a degree even insoluble. We are culturally prone to believe that there are readily accessible, simple answers to problems that only involve application of willpower or good choices to be applied; but many problems are bigger than our answers, or any one answer, and require a kind of humility and uncertainty that our culture, and we by extension, are loathe to exhibit or acknowledge. And given that reality, compassion, empathy and patience (patience is something our cultures sorely lacks) become even more essential in how we deal with those who are depressed.

    • Rick Ro. says:

      We talked about derpression in my church’s Men’s Fellowship this morning. I said, “The last thing a depressed person wants to hear is, ‘Why aren’t you joyful in The Lord right now?'” Unfortunately, that’s the trite Christian pick-me-up that most Christians spout. It’s definitely out of ignorance, but can be very damaging.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      “Just suck it up and get right with God.” “You must repent of your sins to find healing.” “You probably have a demon of depression.”

      Tell anyone who hands you that last line “And you definintely have a demon of Spiritual Pride.”

  2. Marcus Johnson says:

    As someone who wholly supports marriage equality in the US, I find the looseness with which we throw around terms like “racist,” “bigot,” and “sexist” very disturbing. The way the LGBT-affirming crowd leapt on Broussard for a single statement was more than uncalled for; it was also unnecessary. Seriously, I challenge anyone to remember Broussard’s name by August, or what he said, or what the context was in which that statement was rendered…anyone…

    That is a digression. But, back to the original concern, I worry that this knee-jerk reaction to every single microaggression–from the person who says “that’s so gay” to the radio announcer who goes on a silly rant about gay people just to fill air time–serves more to distract the LGBT-affirming community from opening a real dialogue about sexual orientation and its acceptance within faith-based communities. Is it possible that there are folks who would like to come to the table with their misconceptions about sexual orientation based on bad theology, but our PC-to-the-max crowd refuses to let them in the door before we label them as bigots, homophobes, gay-bashers, and hate speechers (and I’m sure these folks are out there, scattered somewhere on the continuum between Fred Phelps and Lady Gaga)? If so, how is that PC-to-the-max crowd any different from church communities that refuse to entertain discussions with those who identify as LGBT or as allies, or would only attempt to do so after making sure those folks know that they are sinners, deviants, condemned to hell, and part of a massive “gay agenda” to destroy the institution of marriage?

    Shouldn’t there be some distinction between those who really don’t understand and those who are really inspired by hate?

    • Unfortunately, name calling and labeling are ways of shutting down real discussion. Don’t want to hear things that may make you think? Then call your opponent a bigot. That categorizes his/her arguments as unreasonable, ridiculous or just plain mean, therefore you don’t even have to consider them or their implications. Steamrolling flattens your opponent before they have a chance to speak.

      Of course, Christians can do this too when they pull out the “the bible says it is wrong” card, meaning “I don’t care what you think or say, I believe the bible!” End of discussion. We ALL need to ramp down our histrionics and preconceived arguments and begin listening to each other. It may not change minds or prove anyone’s point but it may lessen the tension and could foster some compassion and understanding of each other.

      • Michael says:

        Yep. WAY too often, “I’m offended” is just code for “I don’t like what you’re saying, and I’m too lazy to think about why I don’t like it, so I’m going to guilt you into not saying things that I don’t like.” Because I should never have to be in the presence of a thought that bothers me!

        It happens all the time, on both sides of the aisle.

        • Christiane says:

          that is a good analysis of how some people can defensive about their own inabilities to dialogue effective . . . now, how can they be helped? There has to be a way to help them and to do it constructively while respecting that they may have demonstrated some limits, but that they have also a potential for growth

    • Robert F says:

      The difference between the “PC-to-the-max crowd” and the “church communities that refuse to entertain discussions with those who identify as LGBT or as allies” in their mutual intolerance of open debate is that the “PC-to-the-max crowd” is culturally ascendant and is gaining more and more political clout and demographic popularity to enforce their viewpoint without tolerating discussion; and since so much discussion on every side of any issue is a form of convincing rather than dialoguing, a leveraging of soft power rather than engagement in understanding, it’s unrealistic to expect them to surrender that power for the sake of dialogue. It cuts against the grain of human nature to surrender power for true dialogue, because true dialogue involves the risk of change, and people don’t want to change.

      • Marcus Johnson says:

        Don’t get me wrong; I love that the LGBT movement is culturally ascendant, that they are gaining more and more political clout and a demographic popularity. Now, people who are struggling with their sexual orientation can explore that personal identity with less fear of discrimination, or ostracism, or violence (note I said less fear, not no fear). However, there are instances in which that movement steamrolls over people whose intolerance is not threatening anyone; they just don’t understand. I’m thinking of Tracy Morgan, Isaiah Washington and, yes, even Broussard. It’s the policy of “ready, fire, aim,” and the change it invokes will always be flawed.

        • Robert F says:

          I don’t disagree; but I don’t expect most people to refrain from the unfair use of power, whatever side their on. I can, however, refrain from the unfair exercise of power in my own life, and try to lovingly engage in dialogue with those who differ from me not just in regard to specific issues, but also with regard to the meaning and purposes and methods of dialogue.

    • David C. says:

      Please read the article on archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.com We are just being bullied and intimidated by a tiny minority of people.

      • Marcus Johnson says:

        I’m not sure who “we” is; besides, both sides of this debate have folks who claim that they are being bullied and intimidated, and both sides are right.

        And, as is usually the case with most bullies, it really is usually only a single person, or a small minority of people, who are doing the bullying. The rest are merely in various stages of trying–and usually failing–to understand. There is no massive gay agenda plotting to persecute the Christian church, nor is there a massive coalition of Christians who hate gays to the point of discrimination or violence (at least, not anymore).

        • Christiane says:

          if there is no group out there of ‘hateful’ Christians (a la Westboro), then we have to redefine what ‘hateful’ is, and some Christian groups have actually done that . . . it’s called ‘truth in love’ and it can be VERY judgmental and extremely focused on their pet sins that they like to attack, but the public doesn’t understand the difference between their vision of ‘truth in love’ and ‘hatred’.

          I don’t think the public buys a lot of the ‘tough love’ argument at all. I’m not sure I think that it really is a kind of ‘love’ either. Perhaps some people are well-meaning in their confrontational ways, but it doesn’t come across as ‘well-meaning’.

          The KICKER is that these same people complain when the public calls them hateful. They take the stance that THEY are ‘highly offended’ that anyone would call them ‘hateful’. That is a red light. Why? Because in Christianity, those who serve Christ, in humility, would never take offense if they were wrongly judged.

          I suppose the prideful find it easier to be judgmental but they also conversely find it harder to endure criticism from others.

          ?

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          Seriously, Christiane, read the full post before responding. I never suggested that there were no groups of hateful Christians, only that they were not some massive coalition (i.e., they are not a majority).

          As I stated before, I fully support marriage equality and LGBT rights, but I’m also smart enough to know the difference between the Westboro Baptist Church and all the millions of other professed Christians who are stuck trying to affirm an ideology about homosexuality that just doesn’t fit anymore. Granted, there are some folks who are very oblivious as to why the LGBT community fears them, but that is a separate discussion from the way we label people with terms like “bigot” and “homophobe” when the terms don’t apply.

          • Christiane says:

            I am speaking about the extremists at the farther end of the spectrum . . . perhaps the problem is a bit more subtle among some of them, but that to me is even worse in ways . . .

            True ‘evangelical’ faith does NOT involve ‘the pointing of the finger’ in self-righteous ways, no . . . and I have seen many examples of evangelical people who were not extremists, thank God. But for the more extreme fundamentalists, the finger pointing is blatant and very open, often getting hoots and hollers from the congregation . . . and sometimes involving children in their efforts, which is so very sad.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          There is no massive gay agenda plotting to persecute the Christian church, nor is there a massive coalition of Christians who hate gays to the point of discrimination or violence (at least, not anymore).

          But the Loud Crazies have this way of defining a group (at least it’s public face). Until they become funhouse-mirror reflections of each other like Josef Stalin and Ayn Rand.

        • I have to completely disagree. If there is no gay agenda, as you say, then why are kindergardners being taught in school that if their best friend is of the same gender, then they are gay?

          Beyond that, I’ll have to go back and find the link, but I read recently an account in which the gay agenda stated “the oppressed shall become the oppressor”. Why is a photography business in New Mexico being targeted by the state, all because they declined to take the business of a lesbian couple to photograph their wedding?

          I could go on and on for days with more examples. The fact is, the line of “we just want equal rights and to be left alone to live as we please” was always a lie. It’s become plainly obvious that the goal is not to be left alone, but rather to force their views on all of society and not rest until all accept and affirm their views. Odd that those who are screaming the loudest about tolerance seem to be the most intolerant of the views of others. further proof that tolerance was never the goal.

          I follow many, little known pages on Facebook. I’m refering to Christian pages. I noticed a trend a while back. Whenever these little known sites would post using the word “homosexuality” in the title of the post, inevitably a pro-gay person would have tons of hate filled comments, bullying everyone else who commented. It finally occured to me how odd it was that these pages, that rarely get comments on their posts, were somehow “being followed” by anti-Christian gay folk. Doesn’t that seem odd? It seems apparant to me that the gay agenda is scouring FB, looking for any and all posts that speak against homosexulaity and then posting on them in a bullying type of manner.

          I can’t fathom how anyone believes there’s no gay agenda.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            I’m not sure what kindergarten class you’re referring to, but that example makes absolutely no sense. I would strongly recommend getting some clarification from that kindergarten teacher; I can guarantee that you’ve missed something in translation.

            So far, you’ve only been able to identify isolated incidents. Unless you can demonstrate that the blog commenters, and the Facebook posters, and the creepy kindergarten teacher somehow come together and plot on how to eliminate heterosexuality, then you cannot claim a “gay agenda,” which inherently assumes a collective, deliberate, conspiracy. Let’s leave the tin foil hats for the alien conspiracies and the “Obama is a Muslim from Kenya” cause, where they belong.

          • Classic Marcus. Just use the old “I don’t believe you” line. How many “isolated incidents” would you like me to mention? As I said, I could go on for days. Let’s go back to the case in New Mexico. Doesn’t any business have the right to refuse service to anyone? Yes, they do. The photography company can choose not to do a wedding any any couple they choose not to do business with, gay or straight. Of course, the state goes after this business when they choose not to photograph the lesbian wedding.

            In the great state of Mass recently, a primary grade school had a day to promote homosexuality. One Evangelical couple with a child in the class simply asked to have their child excused that day. Nope, the state said no, all children had to attend.

            See the article that I posted near the end of the comments below. Nothing that would paint gays in a negative light is allowed to be reported by the mainstream media. Of course everyone knows the Matthew Shepherd case. Everyone knows it because that’s all the media wanted to talk about (even though the murdered stated that robbery was the motive). Funny, about that same time, in Northwest Arkansas, two gay men sexually abused and murdered a teenage boy. There was an almost total media blackout on the case. I only knew of it because I lived in the area at the time.

            But hey, keep pretending to believe whatever you choose. Others in this thread have posted cases as well.

          • Furthermore Marcus, this blog itself proves my point. I’ve followed this blog for years and never seen you post until this post. Same goes for about 5 others in this thread. Gee, what a coincidence that all of you decided to post on the IM for the first time on this particular thread.

            Lastly, I’ve learned that when someone throws out the charge of “tinfoil hat” it typically means that they have no other answer to give.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            First, I’ve been commenting on this site for more than a year. A quick walk back through the archives would demonstrate that.

            And trust me, if I and these others who you’re referring to were part of a global, gay conspiracy to undermine your faith, posting on a blog that gives you ample space to refute and discuss our claims would be a pretty lame move. I would at least try to slip Jeff Dunn and Chaplain Mike a few bucks to edit your comments so that I could mount an effective straw man campaign.

            I’m not sure where you’re coming from, but it has been my personal observation that most folks who believe that there is a massive conspiracy by gays, or liberals, or atheists, or the media, or Christians, or (insert your group of choice here) are dealing with some serious insecurities about their self-worth, and creating a big bad character against which they can fight gives them some meaning for being. Of course, I wouldn’t presume to mean that you fall in that category…

            Again, isolated incidents do not, in and of themselves, indicate patterns. I would not assume that Matthew Shepard’s murder is grounds for the belief that all heterosexuals who do not support LGBT identity are part of a global conspiracy to persecute and kill off the entire LGBT community. There was no wider agenda there, just a bunch of drunk homophobes who were threatened enough by Shepard’s sexual orientation to kill him. Likewise, unless you can demonstrate to me that all of these incidents that you describe were orchestrated by a single governing body, intent on suppressing the traditional “Biblical” view of marriage, then I cannot conclude that a “gay agenda” exists. There might be certain advocacy groups and special interest organizations that initiate change in a specific area, but that is no more evidence of a “gay agenda” than an off-hand comment made by a politician.

            See, I did have more to say. And the “tin foil hat” label sticks.

        • You’re right. Both sides have people who are being bullied. The difference though is that when one side gets bullied, CBS/NBC/ABC lead with it as their main story. When the other side gets bullied…..nothing but the sound of crickets chirping.

  3. Adrienne says:

    I think Pope Francis might just accept the offer to write for the IMonk gang. Wouldn’t that be interesting!! Does he have Twitter or Email or FB?

  4. melissatheragamuffin says:

    Catholics have a stance against homosexual behavior as well. Do they get to be part of the hated minority? Oh wait. They were already hated and slandered by…. well, largely by Evangelicals.

    I was talking to my husband recently and told him, “Like them or not, the Catholic Church doesn’t change their doctrine according to what is in fashion. They have consistently proclaimed that ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’ for 2000 years – which is more than a lot of other denominations seem capable of. Any organization that has been rocked by as many scandals as the RCC has just in my life time should have ceased to exist. Yet, the gates of hell have not prevailed against it.”

    • Christiane says:

      the key here is that the Catholic Church asks for people with same sex attraction to remain celibate . . . but the Catholic Church doesn’t see those people as ‘sinners’ because they are tempted in ways most of us are not tempted.

      ‘behavior’ is what is frowned upon as sin . . . not the way anyone is born as far as sexual preferences

      The Church asks everyone who is not married to remain celibate, and the Church only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman, because of the ‘natural law’ (ability to procreate).
      This stance of the Church doesn’t take into consideration the number of people who marry later in life who are beyond child-bearing age, who marry for love and companionship . . . but at least the Church does not point the finger at those who were born with same-sex attraction who do not act on those tendencies . . .

      the Church has the history of honoring celibacy, so for people who are not Catholic it may seem difficult to comprehend how anyone could remain in a celibate state . . . but for Catholics, it is not something that is beyond what they understand to be a valid life choice for some.

      • MelissatheRagamuffin says:

        I’ve heard evangelicals say that it is the act of homosexual behavior that is the sin, not necessarily the desire.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          That IS the historic position of the Church. Though it’s not that common among Evangelicals, especially Culture Warrior Evangelicals — too Romish, perhaps?

    • The Catholic Church doesn’t change their doctrine accoring to what’s in fashion? Have you ever heard of Vatican II ?

      Aside from V2, there’s also the whole issue of the C Church “looking the other way.” I’ve known more couples than I can count who were living together while not married, yet somehow were still in good standing with the C Church. Keep in mind, this is against the official teaching of the C Church. So, even if the official teachings don’t change (which they have), what does it matter if you decide that the official teachings don’t even matter?

      Please know this, as a Protestant, I have a great fondness for the C Church and admire much about it. But, I can’t accept your one statement.

  5. Not to switch subjects too much, but the Financial Times across the pond has a both funny and thought provoking article about an unremarkable lunch with our new head guy – Archbishop Justin Welby.

    Between telling stories about getting bankers drunk and putting them in a helicopter (pre-priest days) and stating that Mary was a Virgin and Jesus actually rose without crossing his fingers (right now). It looks like we, Anglicans, might be in for some fun in our leaking boat.

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/eab099ce-b729-11e2-a249-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2SzVqB4AP

    • Christiane says:

      it will be good to see him get together eventually with Pope Francis . . . I bet they will get along well

  6. Something always rubs me the wrong way when any group who has never been discriminated against (e.g. Evangelicals in the U.S., straight, white males in the U.S., etc.) complain about being “hated” because of their stance on minority groups who have historically been violently discriminated against (e.g. African-Americans, Natives, LGBT community, women, etc., etc.)

    Here are my thoughts: hey evangelicals who think it’s wrong to be gay: please either shut your mouth or start apologizing for how Christians have and still are treating the LGBT community. The least you could do is to stop acting like it’s SO hard for you to be an evangelical in the U.S.!

    • Thanks. I was going to write a comment that said basically this and now I don’t have to.

    • First off, what do you mean when you say “it’s wrong to be gay”? Do you mean to actively participate in HS behavior, or to be gay, but celibate?

      Secondly, so the fact that some Christians have treated gays badly makes it OK for gays to do evil things to Christians? Nice logic.

  7. Ah, Rick Joyner, please continue writing, that my joy may be made complete!

    • Joseph (the original) says:

      as a former participant in the ‘Prophetic Movement’ & a post-charismatic saint that is quite comfortable in the Evangelical Wilderness, it is interesting to note the comments made on Charisma Magazine’s articles under the category of ‘Prophecy’.

      when i used to read those articles as a way to measure if there was anything positive to be gained from doing so, it only reinforced the sad reality; the so-called prophecies were silly really. useless. empty. and many sounded like they were forced. the people writing them had to keep coming up with the ‘stuff’ because, well, they were prophets’ & writing for the poor un-gifted masses that needed to get a clearer message from the Throne of God!

      but the comments were always the more ‘prophetic’ in tone. they stated the obvious things that contained more wisdom than whatever topic the article was addressing.

      Joyner & his ilk spew forth inane spiritual ‘stuff’ with the hopes that they gain a hearing from repetition & the shear number of words spoken+written. i am surprised this ‘prophetic’ trend is still being tolerated. who reads+follows this stuff nowadays? who cares really? and why does Charisma Magazine keep printing it? they include some very goofy-things-of-God that used to make me wince. now i avoid anything that has either spooky-spiritual or supra-natural elements to it since it has been so misused, contorted, twisted & ego-driven…

      Lord…have mercy… :(

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Joyner & his ilk spew forth inane spiritual ‘stuff’ with the hopes that they gain a hearing from repetition & the shear number of words spoken+written.

        Didn’t this itinerant Rabbi from Nazareth have something to say about “Vain Repetitions”?

  8. Susan Paxton says:

    “Could it be that evangelicals are correct in what they are saying, but are very wrong in how they are saying it? Discuss”

    Or, could you be just wrong? Discuss. At least think about it. For example:

    Jesus explicitly forbade divorce. How many here are divorced?

    Paul forbade women to be in church without head coverings. How many women here wear a veil to church?

    Jesus prescribed the Lord’s Supper. How many attend churches that rarely or never hold Communion?

    How many here literally believe in a 6000 year old Earth?

    Of course there are many more possible examples.

    Many of you will claim “It’s not the SAME!” But it is. Evangelicals pick and chose from the Bible as much as their mainstream brethren.

    And yes, I’m gay. Am I a sinner? Of course. Am I a sinner because I’m gay? Many of you would say yes. I disagree.

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      If by “many of you,” you refer to the commenters on this blog, you are wrong. Many folks here (myself included) are very affirming.

      Before you start throwing out the generalizations, make sure they at least have some validity.

    • In Susan’s defense, I’ve gotten the feeling especially on Saturday Ramblings that Jeff just takes for granted that most people are in agreement with him that it’s wrong to be gay. For example, the way he worded this section of the post. And I doubt Jeff intends it to come across this way, but ending the completely loaded question with “Discuss.”, just seems callous.

      • Marcus Johnson says:

        a) Jeff is one person, not “many of you.”

        b) If his posts are any indication, he is much more accommodating (although not affirming) than Susan makes him out to be.

        c) He ends a lot of Saturday ramblings with the statement “Discuss.” The fact that you read that as callous is a personal slight.

        d) Jeff has been making these posts long enough to not take it for granted that IMonk respondents do not agree.

        • Marcus,
          Why are you being so defensive? I have been in more than one heated discussion here at IMonk. I am a lesbian who has heard love the sinner hate the sin more than I care to recall. It’s no secret a large number of christians still have a problem with gays in their midst, and they occasionally drop by here for a chat. If you have doubts on that, take a stroll through the archives and have a read.
          On the flip side, I have been affirmed here by a number of big-hearted christians, and have been defended by them. People are across the spectrum here at IMonk on this subject. It’s no big deal. Let it all be from love. Peace.

      • Grant, Jeff takes it for granted because, last I checked, this is a CHRISTIAN blog. Look, if you’re not a Christian, then I have no comment on what you do or think. And as a non-Christian, I would assume you don’t care two bits about what the Bible has to say. But if you’re a Christian, you have to abide by what the Bible has to say. You don’t get to come to Christ on your terms.

        Wow, if you want proof that the Bible is true, just read Romans 1. It’s fulfilled in our current day in age, and sadly, on this blog now.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Romans 1 as a Jewish-style Decline Narrative (“For these are the things which the Goyim do”) or Romans 1 as a way to point the finger and scream “FAAAAG! FAAAAAAAAG! FAAAAAAAAAAG!”?

    • “Jesus explicitly forbade divorce. How many here are divorced?”

      No, he did not specifically forbid divorce. That view gets old. The same God who hates divorce threatened to divorce Israel.

      You may want to check out some Instone Brewer. A scholar who has done yeoman’s work on this very issue.

      • MelissatheRagamuffin says:

        Jesus did forbid divorce except in cases of sexual immorality which in His time/place/culture would have included homosexual behavior.

        Though, I agree that many Protestant groups and especially Evangelicals are waaaaayyyy to lax about divorce/remarriage.

  9. Ahh, Jeff …now you are a marked man in Arkansas, too. I understand there is already a movement afoot to hang you in Effigy …that’d be a small town just outside Little Rock.

    All things considered, I would have gone with Dick Dale so I could have understood the lyrics. Plus it would have been good exposure for a left-handed guitar player. I’m still mezmerized by the memory of that blue guitar he played in one or another of those beach movies. I want one. Gee, I wonder if there might be a YouTube of that scene? :)

  10. “Evangelical Christians feel they (we?) are becoming a “hated minority” because of their stance on homosexuality. Let me ask this: Could it be that evangelicals are correct in what they are saying, but are very wrong in how they are saying it? Discuss.”

    Yep, that is it exactly. Their own worst enemies.

    On the other hand, there are problems with the gay lobby using coercive tactics. I have too many friends who are business owners who have been held hostage by them. One example is a friend who owns a car dealership in a large city who is NOT a Christian and could care less about this issue (has a live and let live attitude) but was told he either sponsored their event or would be boycotted and anti homosexual. Of course, he signed on as a sponsor. And he is not the only one I know who had this happen their business.

    Then I know of a resort city that hosted the gay pride a few years ago parade which has a certain noise ordinance that is strictly enforced. Except, the city council caved to pressure from the gay lobby and extended it for the parties after the parade. First time ever done.

    The new PC is being afraid to say no to the gay lobby or they will accuse you of hating homosexuals. And it works. Why does it work? Because Evangelicals have been ridiculous on this issue.

    • melissatheragamuffin says:

      I’ve been asked my views on homosexuality in a job interview. I was like, “Isn’t that a round about way of asking my religion which is illegal?” I didn’t get the job.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      On the other hand, there are problems with the gay lobby using coercive tactics. I have too many friends who are business owners who have been held hostage by them. One example is a friend who owns a car dealership in a large city who is NOT a Christian and could care less about this issue (has a live and let live attitude) but was told he either sponsored their event or would be boycotted and anti homosexual. Of course, he signed on as a sponsor. And he is not the only one I know who had this happen their business.

      It’s called “playing the Homophobia card off the bottom of the deck.”

      And when LGBTs (i.e. The Unpronounceables) feel they’re on top, they are every bit as capable of throwing their weight around and stomping on the Straights as anybody else in a one-up position over the Other. I saw that pattern a lot in Furry Fandom.

  11. “Could it be that evangelicals are correct in what they are saying, but are very wrong in how they are saying it? Discuss.”

    I believe that it is wrong to practice homosexuality. Please don’t hate me for that, I do not hate you for believing differently. Assuming for a moment that evangelicals are correct, I would have to say they are very wrong in how they say it.

    Having spent my whole life in evangelicalism, I can bear witness to the fact that we have largely ignored the words of the apostle, “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”

    It was the kindness of God that brought me to faith and repentance. The utterly unique grace and kindness that is found in the gospel account, the kindness of Christian people who I had sinned against, the kindness that is borne of love generated by the Holy Spirit.

    For whatever dark reason, evangelicals have been rude, condescending, and arrogant toward homosexuals (and a host of other sinners). We have forgotten that we were forgiven and brought into the Kingdom by grace. We are very wrong in “how we say it” because when we do speak on the subject, it simply does not have the same tone of Jesus, or the apostles. However terrible sexual immorality may be, arrogance toward others is worse. My only comfort in this situation is that if we should ever realize how arrogant we have been, God is more than kind enough to forgive us.

    • MelissatheRagamuffin says:

      In Corinthians Paul also said, “What do I care how people outside the church act?” So, I don’t see why people have their panties in a twist about civil rights for gays outside of the church.

      • Lester Pangs says:

        “I believe that it is wrong to practice homosexuality. Please don’t hate me for that, I do not hate you for believing differently”

        Here’s the deal: maybe no one is going to hate you for it. But we are going to think you are a jerk for beliving that.

        Why should anyone like you if you spend your days going on about how you think something that is a very deep part of who they are is a gross moral error?

        Really, what do you think someone’s reaction to having their love life condemned by you should be?

        • Lester Pangs says:

          apologies to MelissaTheRagamuffin, as that reply was for “Chill”

        • Sin is a very deep part of all of us. I make every effort not to “go on” about any particular issue save Christ, His work, and His Kingdom. But sin is the very issue that makes Christ, His work, and His Kingdom such good news.

          I know liars, thieves, adulterers, and entrenched Pharisees who identify deeply with their sin. When confronted with such things (no matter how kindly) they tend to be offended, and often hateful. I have ceased being surprised.

          I believe that you have judged me unfairly. I do not “go on” about homosexuals and their activity. In my personal life, the one sin I probably spend more time addressing is evangelical arrogance . . . not on a blogroll, but in the actual presence of evangelicals themselves. They think I am a jerk, because as you said, it is a “very deep part of who they are.” I have suffered the loss of career, finances, and self-respect for taking this course of action. Depression and confusion hound me. I would have a fine standing in life and in the church if I “went on” about the sins that evangelicals DON”t commit.

        • So let me get this straight. You says that “evangelicals say “it’s not the same”, but it is”. So I should just take your word for that? Perhaps you would like to expound and provide some sort of actual argument. The fact of the matter is that those things are different. I’ll have to go back and find the link, but a while back the Gospel Coaltion had a great article on the fallacy of this argument that “well Christians still each shrimp, so they just pick and choose.”

          The fact that many so called Christians get divorced has nothing to do with the issue of homosexuality. Divorce is still wrong. A man and a woman who have sex before they get married are still wrong and in sin. You’re right though (even though you didn’t mention this issue), the church too often looks the other way on that issue. But that doesn’t change the fact that sin is sin.

    • Josh in FW says:

      well said, Chill

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      First, I think that you come to the issue of homosexuality with the best of intentions. More importantly, you recognize the need for a sense of grace among evangelicals when delivering this message, a grace that has never been traded for a passionate ignorance that has hurt, scarred, ostracized, and done emotional, physical, and spiritual violence to an undeserving population. This is a very sensitive subject, and the way in which that message is conveyed might make a difference in whether or not you can continue a dialogue with someone.

      That being stated, you can still expect to stay on the receiving end of the animosity of many people in the LGBT community. Here’s why: for all the love and grace with which you try to convey this message, the problem isn’t just with the delivery of the message; it’s the message itself. The doctrine that claims homosexual practice is a sin has a lot of inherent problems. You’ve probably heard many of them before, but just to recap:

      a) Those who formed and continue to affirm this doctrine fail to acknowledge that they bring years of socialization about gender roles and sexual orientation identity to their interpretation of the relevant parts of Scripture.

      b) This doctrine doesn’t properly acknowledge the past forty years of research that has been done on sexual orientation identity.

      c) This doctrine doesn’t accurately depict the lives of people who identify as LGBT.

      There are probably more qualms that folk have which I have not mentioned, but if you just combine those three, you have a doctrine that, even though it may be delivered with love and the best of intentions, treats the identity and nature of LGBT people very flippantly. Theories based on decades of research are dismissed in favor of adherence to an interpretation of the Scriptures that doesn’t work anymore, and as years go by, those errors are becoming more and more evident.

      So, while your acknowledgment of the need for evangelicals to re-examine their approach is greatly appreciated, and you seem to be a nice person, until you can really start to question the way that you read Scripture, read the research on sexual orientation identity, and examine some possible stereotypes that you might still hold against the LGBT community, you’re going to be on the receiving end of their mistrust and fear.

      And, contrary to what you believe, you would have earned that judgment.

      • Final Anonymous says:

        +1.

        Might I add that associating the “sin” of LGBTs with that of murderers, thieves, and adulterers will not endear you to audiences, either. Yes, they are all “sin” (if one believes that) in the eyes of God; no they are not comparable in harm, scope, or earthly consequence.

      • Marcus I could probably argue the same 3 points for almost any sin. I certainly could for alcohol and drug abuse.

        Your arguments:

        a) You have your hermeneutic wrong, and now, with modern wisdom we have it right.
        I would say look at the long tradition of Jewish/Christian thought, weigh out their perspectives. The cultural winds are blowing in a certain direction, and it is easy to be blown along by them. Maybe those from the past actually have something that can speak into our situation

        b) Modern research shops we have been wrong all along. This is a card that gets often played. It is chronological snobbery. We were all ignorant before someone more enlightened came along to fill us in.

        c) The doctrine doesn’t accurately depict their lives. And how is that? It sounds like a variant on ‘you just don’t understand…’

        As I have said, I can make these same arguments on other issues and I do not find them satisfying. What your argument ignores is the pervasive power of sin in our lives, whatever the sin is. We can become so entrenched in habits that we identify them as who we are and can take great umbrage and feel outraged when someone dares mention it as being wrong.

        It is almost as if we can trade truth for a lie. And that becomes our defining reality.

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          Really? You could use my argument for any sin? Is there 40 years of progressive research in criminology that shows that child abuse is normal and can lead to healthy relationships? No, there isn’t? Oh, well…

          1) Hate to sound like a kid on a playground, but my hermeneutics can kick your hermeneutics’ butt on any playground. Meet us at a flagpole at three this afternoon. My interpretation is shaped by the acknowledgement that we bring tons of socialization about gender roles to our interpretive process–schoolyard games, blue for boys and pink for girls, dads telling sons that they can’t cry, etiquette lessons for girls. We have ignored that for years, and pretended like it doesn’t shape how we apply Paul’s messages to the church, or Moses’ law, to present-day morals and values, preferring instead to believe that we are simply interpreting Scripture literally. Talk about the pervasive power of sin; the cloud of ignorance that folks continue to use as a shield from confronting their own prejudices is the real sin.

          2) I have high-speed internet. That doesn’t mean that I was an idiot for using dial-up twenty years ago; I was just using the best technology that I had available at the time. Using modern research and updated knowledge to inform on our interpretation of Scripture is not chronological snobbery (which sounds like a band formed by the cast of Downton Abbey); it’s basic common sense. Paul did it with the churches regarding food offered to idols, polygamy, etc. Abolitionists did it with slavery. Many Protestant denominations did it with the concept of women leadership in the church. That paradigm shift doesn’t mean that our predecessors were stupid or ignorant. Now, if you want to use dial-up internet, that’s fine, just don’t call me a chronological snob for claiming that there is a better method of Internet access.

          3) When I state that the doctrine doesn’t accurately depict the lives of LGBT folks, I mean that that doctrine has been used to claim that gay men are predisposed to pedophilia; that is not true. It has been used to claim that same-sex couples raise maladaptive children; that is not true. It has been used to claim that, because of their sexual orientation and not because they are ostracized or discriminated against or lacking a support network, LGBT folks are more likely to commit suicide or use drugs; that is not true. That list could go on and on–and will most likely continue to go on and on, if you check the research that explores sexual orientation identity.

          Now, you actually could make some of these arguments for other issues. Some of them would work; some of them would fail miserably. That’s going to have to be done on a case-by-case basis, so there is no point in addressing them here.

          What your argument ignores is the pervasive power of sin in our lives (and, in this case, that sin is willful ignorance and dismissal of verifiable evidence). We have become so entrenched in such habits that we have identified them as who we are and can take great umbrage and feel outraged when someone dares mention it as being wrong (so, marriage equality would threaten the sanctity of marriage among straight, Christian folks).

          It is not almost as if we can trade truth for a lie; we just have a notice on our screens for a Windows update, and we refuse to acknowledge it’s there. And that becomes our defining reality.

    • Christiane says:

      problem is, in the ‘stridency’ of the religious right’s voice, I hear only their preaching to the choir . . . they re-inforce one another . . . they entertain one another . . . they play to their own base

      they need to speak in a voice to the rest of us that WE can comprehend without misunderstanding them . . . their stridency doesn’t belong in the tragedy of sadness that surrounds how Christian people with same-sex orientation have had to live . . .

      they need a voice that possesses less judgment and more concern . . .

  12. Gerry from Arkansas says:

    “Why, you ask, do they have ceremonies for wee lads and lassies graduating from sixth grade in Arkansas? Well, in most all other states, schooling doesn’t end with sixth grade …”

    Ouch, from a proud Arkansas HS and college graduate. Funny though.

    Q: Know what a tornado and a divorce have in common in Arkansas?
    A: Either way, somebody’s losing a trailer.

  13. I believe a particular Irish prophet by the name of Bono also celebrated his birthday this week (May 10)…

  14. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Rick Joyner, self-styled prophet and friend of the Punching Preacher, Todd Bentley, weighs in on the Boston Marathon bombers and who really is to blame.

    i.e. “CONSPIRACY! CONSPIRACY! CONSPIRACY! SHEEKA-BOOM-BAH! BAM!”

  15. From Tim Keller on the charge that Christians pick and choose which parts of the Bible they believe:

    http://www.redeemer.com/news_and_events/newsletter/?aid=363

    Great article, I love this quote in particular:
    “So where does this leave us? There are only two possibilities. If Christ is God, then this way of reading the Bible makes sense and is perfectly consistent with its premise. The other possibility is that you reject Christianity’s basic thesis—you don’t believe Jesus was the resurrected Son of God—and then the Bible is no sure guide for you about much of anything. But the one thing you can’t really say in fairness is that Christians are being inconsistent with their beliefs to accept the moral statements in the Old Testament while not practicing other ones.”

  16. Read this, and then try to tell me there’s no gay agenda:

    http://politicaloutcast.com/2013/05/why-havent-these-homosexual-stories-been-reported/

  17. Again, more proof of the radical agenda (although I’m sure this is just another “isolated incident”….LOL)

    http://americanvisionnews.com/6067/military-tolerance-consultant-christian-monsters-die-hard-enemies-of-the-united-states-constitution/

    • If you read it on the internet it must be true. Lies are not permitted on the internets.
      ***sigh***

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