573

yet another cartoon on this subject. something annoyed me today and this is in response. christianity is not some club based on our sexuality, but ‘a way’ which we are all welcome to travel on irrespective of how we are. i come to christ just as i am… that’s all i have… and i don’t expect it to be different for anyone else. so i say ‘damn prejudice’ and ‘death to the almighty red herring!’

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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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122 Responses to 573

  1. Dorian says:

    It’s obviously an belief that you hold apriori the Bible. Which is fine as long as you call it what it is. It’s just annoying when people try to pass this off as Biblical.

  2. Carole says:

    Aww! Do I have to join in? I’m OK with the ‘Y’ and ‘M’ but I’m never quite sure which way the ‘C’ goes and it gets embarrassing… :-(

  3. anita says:

    Jon, I just used one of your images on a recent blog post as I’ve done several times in the past. I appreciate how you capture the big stuff in simple imagery and particularly in this one, where you took your frustration over something you saw or heard and channeled it creatively. Your images aren’t just thought-provoking but they express what people’s words often fail to express and in that they find healing. tOkay, this is way too serious of a comment for an asbojesus version of Village People!

  4. JF says:

    Isn’t the bible just an aid to different beliefs that people hold, though, Dorian? It doesn’t actually prescribe anyone’s belief, does it? Else you would need to explain how you choose which bits to follow and which to pass off as “oh yeah, well that was in the Old Testament and well, y’know…”.

  5. Rob says:

    well said Jon – and of course it’s Biblical!

  6. jonbirch says:

    anita… i am a big admirer of what you do with your site. what you write is so often very insightful and thoughtful. would that there were more places like yours on the internet. jesus christ is alive and well on your site, of that i have no doubt. :-)

    carole… i can never coordinate it either!!! i found it easier to draw than to actually do! :-) akin to rubbing tummy and patting head methinks! :-)

    dorian… i think the only biblical ‘principle’ appropriate to this particular subject is that ‘we love one another as christ has loved us’… period. i believe that with all my heart. love, love, love.

  7. jonbirch says:

    yep jf… for example, women do not need to wear head gear in a western church. why not?… when it can clearly be argued from scripture that they must! i think it’s a daft way of reading the scriptures… memorising a sentence and thinking you understand it based on your own life experience with no regard for historical and cultural context always leads to trouble. when anything stands in the way of christ’s message of love i believe it ceases to be christian or ‘christlike’ at least. but that’s just me. :-)

    cheers rob. i agree. :-) unsurprisingly. :-)

  8. Dorian says:

    JF: Nope, I’d have to disagree, although it’s to big of an argument to go into on a thread like this. It is possible thought to follow the whole Bible, even the Old Testament. The OT must be interpreted by the NT and vice versa. I don’t need to offer sacrifices to atone for my sins because Christ was the perfect sacrifice for them, We don’t have prophets like Isaiah and Ezekiel any more because Christ has come and spoken as the perfect prophet, and the perfect revelation of God, etc etc.

    Jon, so what do we do with the passages that say homosexuality (and sexual immorality in general) is a sin? And if it is a sin, how do we reconcile it with the passages that say if we are to continue on this journey with Christ, we must forsake our sins (“flesh” “old man” etc)?

  9. Linus says:

    Dorian i don’t think its quite as cut and dried as all that.

    I think you need to clarify exactly what belief you are presuming Jon is holding here. Look at the tag line. Is it the belief that Jesus is alive and well that is unbiblical? Or is it that Jesus is present and active in our circumstances and our lives (whether we acknowledge Him or not) – is that unbiblical? Or is being attracted to people who have vaguely similar genitals to you unbiblical? Or is it engaging in some kind of sex act* with such a person that is unbiblical? or is it doing the YMCA that’s unbiblical? =]

    Lets have a look at the actual Biblical texts and see what they say. I think a lot of people on this site and in this debate in general have conflicting ideas of what is “Biblical” on this issue and no one ever actually discusses the text, or justifies their idea of what is Biblical from the Bible.

    Don’t know if anyone is up for that but if so i’d like to suggest one caveat to stop everyone’s blood pressure going through the roof – please when we do this discussion lets assume that we are speaking directly to someone who is gay and is either already trying to work out what it means to follow Jesus, or is considering the implications of taking that step. Cos chances are you will be – in that some of the people who read your comments will fall into those categories. Lets act with gentleness and respect here.

    Also – Jon didn’t mention “Biblical” or the Bible in the cartoon. What exactly is he trying to pass off as biblical and why do you get the impression that’s what he’s trying to do?

    And if Jon has genuinely advocated something that is not entirely in accordance with the text of this book… why does that matter? please try and provide evidence or a supporting argument for any assertions you make in answering that question.

    *what’s the biblical definition of a sex act?

  10. Tim says:

    The world is full of people who want to make the Bible and God say only what they want it to – not take the Bible for what it says straight up. The Pharisees are one example of this. “God has not said homosexuality is wrong” sounds much like what the serpent said to Eve in the first deception. Don’t be suckers for deception, even if it feels good and looks good. The road that leads to destruction is wide and many will find that road. Jesus said that not me.

  11. Linus says:

    Tim thats an argument by analogy. And therefore holds no weight.

    And in any case the cartoon doesn’t say what you’ve put in speech marks.

  12. Linus says:

    And neither did Jesus, actually.

    And i’d really like you to define what you mean by “homosexuality”

  13. Mike Arthur says:

    How about we love the homosexuals the same as we love the jealous, the lustful, the angry and the sinners? Last I checked we all sin and we all keep sinning and if someone is gay or not is between them and God.

    I have several Christian gay friends (some celibate, some not) and they ALL find themselves the result of prejudice and judgement.

    It’s between them and God. Leave it at that and feel free to explain your opinion if asked and otherwise shut up and love them as we are called to do.

  14. John Ferguson says:

    I read in Pop-up Video ‘or somewhere’ that only the American Indian was gay

  15. John Ferguson says:

    i’m not sure why I put those quotes in

  16. Dorian says:

    Ok, now I’m not quite what to do with the rest of this thread. Here’s the sich:

    Jesus is alive and well in the gay community. Yes, but in what sense? How is he alive and well? That is the frustrating thing about some of your cartoons, Jon, some of them are so vague. Nothing wrong with that and I’m sure you do it on purpose, but it does make discussion hard sometimes (I’m a long time reader who has only now decided to start commenting, and I’ve noticed this a lot before). So yes, Jesus is alive and well, he is the “power of God unto Salvation.” But are you saying that Christ affirms homosexuality, that homosexuality is not sinful (DISCLAIMER: I am not saying that I am inherently better than anyone, I invite any one to open their Bibles, look for descriptions of sin, and heap them on me, and stamp me “guilty.” I am the chief of sinners, I have fallen short of God’s glory, I am in full dependence on Christ “who is faithful to cleanse from all unrighteousness)? I am inclined to think you are, and that is what I object too, and think is unbiblical. And, Linus, I guess it doesn’t really matter if it isn’t biblical, just call it what it is.

    So: should I provide the biblical evidence and support that Linus says I should give? Or should I just let the cartoon be vague and affirm that yes, we should love the gossipers, jealous, heterosexually immoral, and all sinful people alike? After all, Christ came not to save the righteous, but to heal the sick. Right?

  17. janetp says:

    Jon: Hilarious cartoon! :lol:
    YMCA in church – wonder if the kids would go for it? Wonder if any of the adults would join in ‘for the kids’? :)

    Linus (9): you expressed that so beautifully and respectfully. Thank you.

    Dorian: I get the impression this topic really stirs you up, but I think you are right that Jon often leaves his cartoons very open (in your word “vague”) to provoke / allow discussion on a number of levels. As a long time ‘lurker’ I’m guessing that, on the whole, you appreciate this quality, even while it sometimes frustrates you, and I’m glad that Jon’s finally managed to provoke you into joining us. ;)

    Welcome :)

  18. janetp says:

    On a completely different topic, I just wanted to share with all my fellow ASBOers the news that at last, after 7 months, I’ve got a new job :)

    I start on 10 Nov, but I’m taking a much needed week off first. Yay!

  19. Laura says:

    Yay Janetp!!
    Congratulations!!

  20. Linus says:

    hooray! well done Janetp =]

    Thanks for your kind words.

    Dorian welcome! Keep swimming =]

  21. Caroline Too says:

    I really Like Mike Arthur’s point (#13) about linking in to loving all of us sinners…

    I remember a key moment for me was when someone said that God loved ‘latent’ gays but not the practice…

    and then I started wondering about whether we’d say the same about latent selfish people or latent avaricious people or… you get the gist. It was just a daft idea…

    Dorian, I don’t know what the bible says about Gays…

    I know that Leviticus condemns the use of homosexual acts in the context of shrine worship

    and

    I’m aware that Paul had a real go at those people who’s sexual relations with their own sex was part of the general promiscuity of Rome under Tiberius and Caligula..

    yes, it seems to me clear that those kinds of homosexuality are wrong (as would be all acts linked to worshiping pagan deities and all kinds of promiscuity that used others’ bodies for our own pleasure.)

    Unfortunately, we don’t have a solid consideration of faithful, longterm same sex relations in the bible, so we can’t be 100% sure of what God thinks of those. What we do have are some hints, and some highly context specific comments, which we have to interpret.

    Now, at this stage, it seems to me that it is possible, honestly and biblcally, to come to different points of view. So, what are we to do? is there any guidance to be had?

    As I said earlier we don’t have a considered argument, free from 1st century Rome, about sames sex relations. But Paul does give us some pretty carefully thought through arguments about another subject where it was possible to hold different points of view; eating meat offered to idols. Here, he quite specifically gave space for different practices. He laid down where he stood on the matter but then gave space for others to hold alternative view

    and

    now, this is the key point for me

    he said that the arbiter of our actions should be a care for others’ spiritual growth; NOT some sense of what was technically correct. Paul subordinated his right to be theologically correct, so that he could give space for those, who he thought wrong, to grow in their faith.

    I am not fully sure what the bible says about gay sexual relations. I have a point of view but I would never share it until I knew that my listener was 100% sure of my ongoing love and support (be they gay or rabidly antigay). I’m just not sure, so I’ll be hesitant in my judgements..

    I am sure about how the bible requires me to behave towards others in the church family; and that is to love, support and help build them up some are easier to do that for than others….

  22. Caroline Too says:

    Janetp whooooohooooo! :-)

  23. Carole says:

    Janetp – I am thrilled for you, congratulations! Here’s to fresh beginnings! :)

  24. Dorian says:

    Well, after months of lurking, and the last few hours of reflecting, I think that the way I had planned on commenting in this thread just doesn’t fit with the directions these threads take.

    I was going to give full biblical explanation of my views with proof texts and everything, but I ditched in a few hours ago.

    Caroline: I think you are mistaking a detail about the context for the context itself. The context of Leviticus is God’s condescending revelation of his Holiness to man in the form of the Law, which never passes away, according to Jesus. Indeed, even though Paul was talking to the Roman citizens in Romans 1, he is talking about things that have happened in the past in the narrative of redemptive history.

    Which brings me to the main reason why I shouldn’t just launch out in a biblical analysis of homosexuality: the main disagreement I seem to have with most commenters here concerns the nature of Scripture and Revelation and truth, and those debates simply cannot be fleshed out well in this medium.

    That said, Jon, I love this blog, even though I am of very, very, different persuasions (I’m Complimentarian for crying out loud).

    Peace.

  25. Pingback: Let’s be clear about this issue. Homosexuality.

  26. subo says:

    top stuff Janetp, you deserve it

  27. Hj says:

    Jesus is alive and well everywhere. He was alive and well with the lepers and the prostitutes and the tax collectors 2000 years ago, and he certainly doesn’t love homosexuals any less than heterosexuals. I mean, we’re all sinners, all of us. And we are all loved by Jesus regardless. (hallelujah!!!)

    Hmm, is what I say to the comment about prophets. Have you not heard of Spiritual gifts?

  28. subo says:

    how do we find the space to ‘wonder’, to loose ourselves in the mystery of God’s love for us, and to relate to each other with the awe of realising God has made us all, in all our diversity. if we imprison our sensitivity in a framework that denies so much human experience, as the black and white condemnation of gay sexuality?

    I guess I should say that I think the slavish addiction to sexualising everything, is equally imprisoning, and numbing to the potential of opening ourselves to each other freely, liberating us to understand each others experiences

    If we are followers of Jesus, then maybe his openness, and lack of condemnation – except in the area of religious superiority and pomp – might spur us to follow him in his desire to meet with people, and to invite them to enjoy their place within the Kingdom of God

    I think this faithful following in his path, building peace and hope, is incompatible with the exclusion of people for whatever reason

  29. sarah says:

    Of course he is. He’s alive and well in every community.

    He knows people’s hearts.

  30. Dorian says:

    Hj, the spiritual gift of prophecy and the “Prophets” are very different, distinct kinds of prophetic function.

  31. Mark says:

    In the spirit of throwing out vague comments that don’t explain themselves;

    re HJ: “And we are all loved by Jesus regardless”

    you hate all who do wrong.

    Psalm 5:5(b)

  32. MikeB says:

    Jon, 7 and Mike, 13, I agree with you both completely.

    I’m bisexual and some of my Christian friends have had problems with it, which I’ve always had a hard time dealing with.

    My Christianity is a faith of love and acceptance, why can’t theirs be?

  33. jonbirch says:

    mikeb… thank you… for your honesty and for your question, which is really my question too. i can only begin to imagine how it must be to feel the weight of this kind of condemnation. i can only think that it must feel awful. but do know that there are those who won’t condemn you. :-)

    thank you all for being frank and honest. nice to meet you dorian… thanks for being brave and plunging in… and thank you for sticking in there when we disagree… respect. :-)

    there have been some beautiful and interesting comments so far. for my part, i can only reiterate what i have already said… that when anything… anything at all, gets in the way of our mandate to love (even if it be our interpretation of the scriptures themselves), we are not behaving as christ would have us behave… and we do more damage to lives already damaged… that is not how christ behaved, so neither should we.
    please know that i am not, and would not condone one person’s use of another in any way for their own self gratification and no more. these abuses, which exist within the whole spectrum of sexuality are really not good. we are called to love one another, not abuse one another.

    in some ways, i apologise for raising the debate, because i know that for all the ‘ideas, theories and understandings’ that the rest of us hold, for many people this is an everyday reality we are talking about… but without discourse there will never be understanding. that is a painful truth. maybe i hope for too much, but wouldn’t it be great if upon the return of the king he found us all to be loving towards one another… warts, differences, opinions, prejudices set aside. for him to see that entrusting us with his kingdom was a good idea after all.

    well done janetp! :-) :-) :-)

  34. dadube says:

    John (14) – lol. You also read my mind as really when I looked at this all I could think of was Jesus trying on the Indian headdress to funk up his version of the dance!!!!

    Mr Birch I love this one :) I am going to print it out and send it to Ben :)
    And I’m off to downlaod some Village People for my daily boogie around the front room with my daughter (don’t laugh, Village People is better than some of our other selections – especially as Skippy has downloaded Def Lepard for us to listen to in the car!!)

  35. What was that about getting the beam out of our own eyes before pointing the finger at the speck in others’? It’s not an issue of his sin is bigger than my sin and therefore right is on my side; nor are we at liberty to take sections of scripture to back up our condemnation. We are commanded to love, regardless of how we feel personally. End of.

  36. Linus says:

    Dorian. I am trying to believe in and follow Jesus, and so are you. We both want to put our trust in Him to save us. This fact alone makes us family. We have more important things in common than we could ever have apart.

    I may be unsure about the nature of scripture, i may be tentative and doubtful in my faith (so be gentle with your weak brother =] ) but i am trying to seek God in the midst of all that.

    Which is not to say that anything goes in terms of our personal choices, or that God is any less Holy or passionate or loving than He’s ever been.

    I think more people here than you probably suspect are coming from a conservative and/or evangelical point of view.

    As for whether this community is or isn’t a suitable medium for these debates… well my posts are generally far too long already! So perhaps you are wise to hold back just for now at least… But those are important questions you allude to. Please don’t be afraid to say what you think – honesty is always welcome here i reckon, and so are you – you have much to add to the richness of our community if you’d like to.

    Peace.

  37. Caz says:

    I feel like I only comment on the “gay cartoons” here… oh well. :roll:

    Dorian, it sounds to me like you are basing your whole argument on this on what Leviticus has to say on the subject.

    But what about all the other things that Leviticus says that we all choose to ignore? (Men’s beards, mixing two types of cloth, and eating shellfish etc..??)

  38. Kim says:

    I am so blessed by the way in which this debate is conducted, so many thoughtful and kind people are seeking Jesus together.

    All I could say to this is that I think it is an issue that is helped by looking at the two great commandments Jesus gave, rather than looking at the many separate passages in the Bible.

    If we love our God with all our heart and strength, and our neighbour as ourselves, we won’t have the perspective of second guessing God’s view of our brothers and sisters’ lives and lifestyles. We’ll just be worshipping him and grateful for our inclusion in his plan, and loving others.

    I know this could be seen as a simplistic view – but it ain’t that simple when you start to try and live it I find!

  39. Steve Lancaster says:

    39. I’m with Kim

  40. JF says:

    So as long as you don’t covet your neighbour’s ass, it’s OK, right?

  41. janetp says:

    Laura, Linus, Caroline, Carole, Subo, Jon: Thank you :)

    Everyone: This has been an interesting and generous discussion. On balance, I’m with Kim at 39, but I’ve enjoyed the conversation. It’s a priviledge to be part of it. :)

  42. jonbirch says:

    i too am with kim! :-)

    jf… i have noticed my neighbours ass… it is a fine ass… but i do not covet it… i hope that is okay. :-)

  43. beckyw says:

    Hi. I’ve been standing on the edge looking in for a few weeks now and here I jump with my first comment :-)

    Maybe by loving and accepting people so much that it takes as much of our effort as possible, Jesus will convict them of any things they need to change in their lives – however small or however big. It’s tough to take rebuke from anyone, but when it’s God somehow it’s a smidgen easier (well, at least you know He’s got it right). Or maybe a smidgen harder because you know He’s got it right! Why don’t we try letting people ask us if they want help figuring out if something is OK or not, and in our reply, why don’t we sit down and read the Bible together (and I mean together – let’s ask each other what we think rather than just telling them what we think)?

  44. zefi says:

    jf… i have noticed my neighbours ass… it is a fine ass… but i do not covet it… i hope that is okay. :-)

    You better not! :P

    But even if you do or if you don’t think it’s wrong, I’ll tell you that it’s wrong, and I’d still love you the same.

    Uh wait, from what someone said, if I love you, I’m supposed to shut up eventhough I think that’s not right! So, is that fella right or not???

    HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW…….????!!!
    :P

  45. zefi says:

    jf… i have noticed my neighbours ass… it is a fine ass… but i do not covet it… i hope that is okay. :-)

    You better not! :P

    But even if you do or if you don’t think it’s wrong, I’ll tell you that it’s wrong, and I’d still love you the same.

    Uh wait, from what someone said, if I love you, I’m supposed to shut up eventhough I think that’s not right! So, is that fella right or not???

    HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW…….????!!!
    :P

  46. Joel says:

    I always find it interesting that when people are looking to say “Jesus loves this particular subgroup or subculture,” they always compare it to “Jesus also loved tax collecters and prostitutes.” Funny how we never compare these subcultures to the Pharisees. Did Jesus love them? Did he rebuke them? Did he affirm their lifestyles? What was it about them that made him rebuke them while sharing meals with tax collecters?

    I’d venture to say it wasn’t specific acts of sin. We’re all guilty of specific acts of sin. Jesus had mercy on those considered “unclean” because they were REPENTANT. They recognized their depravity. The Pharisees denied it and acted as if they were righteous, despite being “white-washed tombs.” They were quite likely “less sinful,” if we’re adding up sinful acts, than many that Jesus showed more mercy to. But it was their stubborn unrepentance that incurred Jesus’ wrath and rebuke.

    So how does this apply to the homosexuals you know? Are they repentant, or do they consider themselves righteous and not in need of forgiveness? Whether they are the objects of Christ’s mercy or his wrath rests upon this razor’s edge.

  47. I don’t ask ANYBODY I know whether they repent of anything. It aint my business and I’d deserve a slap upside the head for asking….just like they’d get a slap upside the head for asking me about my drinking and smoking. God thankfully doesn’t look at the cover of the book like us pitiful humans do. He sees what we can’t, and it’s up to HIM what He does about that…..hmmmmm there I go…fence sitting AGAIN.

  48. zefi says:

    Don’t worry about it.

    You know that verse about not warning someone about their sin, and thus having their blood on our hands or something?

    Most of the time, people like me just go around telling people that something is sin if we’re convinced that it is, not that we actually care so much whether you’d change; it’s so that if we ever get questioned about it during judgement day, we can beat on our chest and proudly say “it ain’t my fault, I told them so!”

    We also do not want to be in control of your life. Such responsibility sucks! All we care about is our shares in heaven. Nothing is allowed to reduce our heavenly riches, not even your mistakes!
    :P

  49. will says:

    man looks at the outside – God looks at the heart – i don’t have much more to say really

  50. doctor ruth says:

    All I can say is that in my experience, I could get neither a good meal, nor myself clean, at the YMCA. What a bitter disappointment.

  51. Steve Lancaster says:

    Just to say, the ‘gay community’ is my community. So is the ‘straight community’. So is the ‘christian community’ and the ‘non-christian community’. Hey, so are the ‘non-human’ and the ‘human’ communities, the ‘living’ and, dare I say it, the ‘non-living’ communities… We’re all one big community!

    So come on everything
    Y
    M
    C
    A…da,da,da,da,da,da,da…

  52. Kim says:

    Has anyone read The Shack lately? I am almost finished it, and it does shed some interesting light on this.

    I think the issue here is its relatively easy to look at someone’s lifestyle and label/judge it. But no-one except God knows what things he is dealing with us about at any time.

    So you could look at me and think you could tell where I am sinning and what I am doing wrong, when really God might be really teaching me/refining me on a completely different point, that is more important to him.

  53. Becky says:

    I take considerable heat because one of the churches I choose to attend is seen as pro-gay – here’s my response. This church welcomes all sinners – you have prostitutes and professors at this church. To me this is the kingdom of God.

    Unlike some US Episcopal churches, this church is not pro-gay in the sense that our sexuality doesn’t become the defining issue that joins us together – Christ is. As a straight single female I have visited largely homosexual AND pro-family churches and I felt I was excluded because of one group couldn’t handle the fact I was straight and other didn’t know how to deal with the fact i wasn’t a godly married women with kids.

  54. Carole says:

    Yeah, Kim, I am just coming to the end of it and have enjoyed it more than anything I’ve read in a while. I was prompted to read it by someone who comments here who actually didn’t give it a glowing report but left me sufficiently intrigued to give it a try. Forgotten who it was, now, but well…er, thanks! :)

  55. jonbirch says:

    joel… how does one repent of a sexual orientation? i can see how one can repent for certain bad actions, behaviours, or deeds… but homosexuality is none of these. it is an orientation… nothing nasty or horrible, just an orientation…

    nicely put steve lancaster! :-)

    i guess you can only be part of a community if those in that community will allow you to be part of it. the fear of the sexuality of others, or the fear that god may be angry if we are fully accepting of our brothers and sisters who have a different orientation really does bring out the worst in the church. sad because it should hold a key to what is best about life.

  56. rebecca says:

    The heat seems to have risen on this discussion more than any of the others I’ve seen. So I might as well make it rise even further.

    I’ve quoted Richard Holloway before; this is something else from him: we should automatically be suspicious of any use of scripture to punish or devalue people. I think that’s a very useful principle to follow; certainly if everyone in the Church followed it many morally repugnant practices would be eliminated. (I’m prepared to accept the possibility that God may punish people, but that is God’s prerogative, not anyone else’s).

    And if anyone thinks that homosexuals have something wrong with them, I would like to introduce them to two of my friends — actually I wouldn’t, because I don’t want to make a spectacle of them, but that’s not the point. They are two of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, and anyone who thinks there is something wrong with them is off their trolley.

    I’d better stop there before I get burnt.

  57. Forrest says:

    You are who you are and that’s where Jesus meets you.

    One can not be met at where he or she is not.

    Where Jesus meets you is where He is alive and well; and moving in your life.

    Only you and He know where He has met you in deep and secret places of your soul.

    Only you and He know where He wants you to be to meet and reach troubled lonely souls.

    You give your love to those who surround you where you are at.
    That is why you are there and you are not elsewhere.

    In the end it matters not the most to God where they are and what they do: what matters the most is that come into His love to be with Him for all eternity.

  58. Forrest says:

    It just hit that it seems a funny thing with what actions I have done in the present and the past to be exhorting others to listen to God.

    Perhaps it comes because, as a result, I now am so much more dependent upon His mercies.

    And thankful beyond description for them. He has done and is doing most amazing, earthly logic defying, merciful, grace-full, things for this fallen soul.

  59. Forrest says:

    It does not seem the He wishes specifics be told, just that there is action, movement, grace, and mercy freely given to any who would recklessly abandon their self to Him.
    Scary to do that.
    Nevertheless, it is, it just simply “is”.

  60. subo says:

    I could be wrong, but I thought Jesus got wound up with the Pharisees because he felt they were excluding people from the Kingdom, by laying heavy burdens on people that they could never manage.

    I guess I’d get wound up, if I got round to putting on a party, (will do one day) posted the invites, and then found the doors were barred because people were wearing trainers or some other dubious item of clothing

    it’s just a theory, what do you think? is it completely implausible?

  61. subo says:

    oh by the way, I hate action songs, I hate feeling pressurised to concentrate and do the actions for the kids, leave me alone – please, just stop telling me what to do, I like being grumpy, and actions songs are gross

  62. drew says:

    Just depends on the actions required subo.
    i’d rather do the one that follows the crazies of the children than the other two faves in church.

    -The wave the hands, shut the eyes, grin like a nutter and fall over action song.

    - or the look like someones died when singing about something happy one.

    As for the blog – I for years rested on someone elses opinion on this one and worse than that took it as truth. It was only when I was bothered and decided to read for myself with a genuinely enquiring and open mind (and heart) that I ever knew for myself.
    I was shamed into realising that I had for years been rather bitter and judgmental over something I had taken as truth. I repent and wish to join the YMCA action song group!

    Oh and hey beckyw. I agree actually reading the Bible together, exploring together, laughing and all that jazz is a good place to start.

  63. jonbirch says:

    what a wonderful bunch of people you lot are. i have been very moved by some of the comments here… very moved indeed. thank you.

    forrest, what you said was beautiful. thank you. :-)

    rebecca, thank you… i too have beautiful friends who i would not want judged by others. :-)

    bless your heart drew. again, beautiful. thank you. :-)

    subo… can i come to your party?.. i’ll wear trainers if that’s alright. i agree with your jesus/ pharisee take. nicely put. thank you too. :-)

    i’m having a busy night tonight… it is amazing to do a quick blog check and see many of these comments. i’m humbled that you all turn up here to talk… a big thanks to you all… i feel kinda small and i like it. :-)

  64. Linus says:

    zefi you legend! good to see you here – was gettin worried ’bout you.

    Yeah if we genuinely see a dearly loved family member damaging themselves or others, then we need to be prepared to meet them where they’re at and, out of love and concern plead with them to make a change, and offer them support.

    You’re right that we’d have blood on our hands otherwise (because it would demonstrate a lack of love), but your stab at understanding why God wants us to sometimes rebuke sounds quite like an attempt at self – righteousness to me… None of us are gonna be able to proudly say anything on judgement day, much less claim to be white as snow, but God has promised to wash the blood away.

    To take an individual you know and love deeply to one side and discuss your concerns about their actions is one thing. To make sweeping pronouncements about the law in such a way that it condemns people… is pharisaical.

    Joel. Did Jesus love the pharisees? yes. Did he rebuke them? yes, but he also rebuked the prostitutes (although in a very different way because they needed to hear the message in a way that was sensitive to how their society treated them). He ate with the pharisees as well as the tax collectors. He met everyone where they were at, as Forrest so beautifully put it. He left no-one there. As representatives of the kingdom He established, we should try to do the same: There are no pre-qualifications for God’s love, but if God’s love doesn’t transform you, it ain’t the real deal.

    Joel what about people who are generally attracted to people of the same sex as themselves who are humble, depend on grace entirely and choose to be celibate based on their interpretation of scripture? Do they need to repent for being homosexual? And what about people whose interpretation of scripture is such that, after careful study, they conclude that certain actions are not sinful and engage in them. How can you be repentant about something you genuinely don’t think is sinful?

    Drew, DrRuth, thanks for makin me laugh out loud =D

  65. Robb says:

    Didn’t Dave Walker illustrate “Childrens Worship” with an action song not too dissimilar to this one :D

    Dr Ruth – If I remember rightly they wouldn’t let us do whatever we feel either. Gutted!!

    For some reason my heart is strangely warmed by the hugely stereotypical karaoke that we attended recently which descended through the application of gin into renditions of YMCA and all things Abba. Unfortunately this did not appear to be ironic in any way.

    It was just not metal and I was unable to partake fully! I did however love the rendition of “like a virgin”. I may have raised a titter or two!!

  66. Joel says:

    @jonbirch: “joel… how does one repent of a sexual orientation? i can see how one can repent for certain bad actions, behaviours, or deeds… but homosexuality is none of these. it is an orientation.”

    How does one repent of being a kleptomaniac? It’s a disease, they are addicted, blah blah blah. The tendency to desire to steal things may just be an unfortunate result of being a part of a fallen human race; ACTUALLY STEALING THINGS, though, is a sin.

    @Linus:
    “Joel what about people who are generally attracted to people of the same sex as themselves who are humble, depend on grace entirely and choose to be celibate based on their interpretation of scripture? Do they need to repent for being homosexual?”

    Same basic point as above: tendencies/attractions/desires are not sin. They’re a result of sinfulness perhaps, but not in and of themselves sin. Even Christ was tempted. But he did not sin. If a person is tempted to participate in a sinful activity yet abstains, then that’s spectacular. The sin is in the action, not in the temptation.

    Now, if some of you want to say “my interpretation of the Bible says that homosexuality is not a sin”….well, as Dorian said, that’s a much longer discussion than this forum permits. But I guess I find it convenient that people choose to interpret the Bible in such a way that it allows them to participate in activities that Christianity has considered sinful for centuries.

  67. jonbirch says:

    it’s funny joel… the church establishment in most of it’s guises has indeed proclaimed homosexuality a sin over the centuries. it tortured, murdered and all sorts over this issue, at the same time it had many prominent people who were themselves homosexual… i’d be willing to bet millions of pounds on that, if i had it! in one way you’ve simply pointed out that prejudice is an ancient practice. inventing legalisms that people can’t live up to has been one of the churches less than shining fortes over the centuries. yep, it’s ingrained alright! :-( i don’t see how theft and sexual orientation have anything in common at all. it is true that broken behaviour can come from broken pasts and this is true in all of us. but homosexuality (and i make no apology for saying it again) is not a behaviour, it is an orientation… some men make ‘manliness’ a sin, heterosexual though they may be… their sexuality is their idol.
    thanks for coming back on this. we will agree to differ for the moment. best go to bed now… it is far too late.
    night night. :-)

  68. dennis says:

    Since I became a follower I have always been astonished at peoples fascination and obsession with what they call “others” sin. I have enough issues of my own to sort out with God to be interested in anyone else’s, incidently I think the issue is that others don’t want to look at their own lives and so project their “issues” onto others.

    I’ve always took things simple when it comes to God and for the last 19 years I’ve spent focusing on sorting myself out because that’s what really matters and if I ever get the chance to sort myself out maybe I can start throwing stones at other people, until then……

    YMCA its fun to stay at the YMCA..

  69. doctor ruth says:

    It’s interesting that the sexuality debate always centres around homosexuality. I’m quite curious to know how people apply biblical knowledge/tradition/ moral and ethical values etc to other aspects of sexuality such as S&M, pornography, fetishism, bestiality, etc etc – particularly as at various points in history these have been seen as culturally normal, or as part of a spectrum of sexuality, or as something entirely unacceptable. One area that immediately comes to mind is how it has been very common practice for older men to marry 13 year old girls (e.g. in 1st Century Palestine) whereas today many would describe this as paedophilia and entirely unacceptable.

  70. Kim says:

    IS homosexuality a sin?

    I come from an African culture where homosexuality is perceived as abnormal. The Penal Code criminalises “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. These terms are understood to describe consensual homosexual conduct.

    Since I’ve moved to the ‘West’, it’s been a culture shock to encounter people who are openly gay. I spoke recently with a 16 year old, who said he didn’t think there was anything wrong with being gay, because
    “You can’t help who you fancy… you know how people have a ‘type’… some prefer blondes… I think with homosexuality it’s the same thing”

    If it natural instinct, how come I’ve never seen gay animals. Isn’t there an element of choice involved? Also how come all the gay people I’ve met, have had a history of sexual abuse or poor relations with members of the opposite sex that seem to have steered them in that direction (Okay I’ve only met 4 so not a fair conclusion… but you see why I’m confused about homosexuality being natural sexual orientation?)

    The Anglican Church, of which I’m a member, is divided on this issue. The ‘party line’ in my congregation is to welcome gay people, but they should abstain from sex.
    Isn’t this a paradox? If it is acknowledging that homosexual orientation is natural and not sinful, why then not embrace everything about that person, including sex?
    Why not treat homosexual couples in the same way as heterosexual couples and wed them?

    I am no theologian, and have not studied bible history to understand the context of the sections that appear to condemn homosexuality. When I read the bible, I more often than not interpret it through my own ‘cultural glasses’ and acknowledge that my cultural interpretation is not always right. I’ve tried to put this bias aside in my approach to the issue of homosexuality. I have read books & articles, and attended discussions on homosexuality, the bible and christianity. I’m no nearer to a clear answer. The people who write these books also process information through their own ‘cultural glasses’. Is there a possibility that they may be twisting Scripture to justify and accommodate the prevailing secular culture? After all, the Christian church has a track record of interpreting scripture to perpetuate atrocities such as slavery (Gen 9:25 -27)

    Maybe I’ll never find the answer to my questions

  71. dennis says:

    Just a question in response to no.71 How would you know if an animal was gay or not?

  72. Robb says:

    Too many jokes…. must not be innapropriate….. but hold head together…..

  73. Kim says:

    Just to clarify, there are 2 Kim’s! Hi to Kim.

    I love reading the comments after have been away for a day or so. The great thing is there is a genuine attempt to discover together on the journey, and real kindness. That matters so much more than the view or conclusion to me, as love is being expressed between God’s children here, in all our fallen-ness.

  74. Forrest says:

    Okay, let’s look at this as is:

    “Jesus Christ is alive . . .”
    Yep, He’s resurrected
    “. . . and well . . .”
    Yep, He’s resurrected in a from free of a body affected by ills of the fallen world
    “. . . in the gay community.”
    Yep, Jesus Christ is one with the Father who is omnipresent.

    Any questions?

  75. zefi says:

    Isn’t this a paradox? If it is acknowledging that homosexual orientation is natural and not sinful, why then not embrace everything about that person, including sex?
    Why not treat homosexual couples in the same way as heterosexual couples and wed them?

    Are we what we do? I think it is a mistake to conclude who the person is by what that person do.

    I know someone who is a PITA, and have this urge/tendency to voice out things rudely, most of the time, because by nature, that’s who/how he is. By your logic, are you saying that I should actually ask him, or even encourage him to actually be rude? But before that, is having the tendency of behaving rudely a sin? I hope not.

  76. Caroline Too says:

    ah, Kim #74

    so there are two Kims…

    there always are two Carolines wherever I go, that’s why I’m Caroline Too
    (The Other One

  77. zefi says:

    After all, the Christian church has a track record of interpreting scripture to perpetuate atrocities such as slavery.

    Seems like an argumentative fallacy utilizing presentism here.

    Anyway, for the sake of the discussion, I’ll ignore that.

    Yes, the Church did do all that you said, but it was also the Church who lifted up their swords to strike their own Christian brethren to free those slaves.

  78. Caz says:

    I am also a Caroline, Caroline Too! Very confusing :lol:

    Kim (71), I can accept your reasons for thinking this way. It must be very difficult to understand a different culture, much as I find it difficult to understand yours.

    Just to answer a few of your questions (from a gay persons point of view)…

    1. I have never been abused, sexually or otherwise.

    2. In my life I have seen with my own eyes, at least four gay giraffes! :lol:

    3. It is a completely natural instinct for me, I fully believe that God made me the way I am. There is absolutely no element of choice involved, believe me. A few years ago I would have given anything to change the way I am because it made me so miserable. Thankfully now though I am at a point in my life where I have become comfortable with who I am. And I am unashamed of it.

    I know that God loves me
    intrinsically, just the way I am and I will not be convinced otherwise.

  79. zefi says:

    zefi you legend! good to see you here – was gettin worried ’bout you.

    Thanks for your concern, you made my day. :)
    I was busy being a PITA somewhere else. :P

    Am training in an IT firm now. The amount of self-study and exams I have to go through is insane. It’s even worse than when I was in university. Thank God I was cultured to “learn how to learn” in uni. :D

    You’re right that we’d have blood on our hands otherwise (because it would demonstrate a lack of love), but your stab at understanding why God wants us to sometimes rebuke sounds quite like an attempt at self – righteousness to me… None of us are gonna be able to proudly say anything on judgement day, much less claim to be white as snow, but God has promised to wash the blood away.

    What I said was sarcasm, and at the same time, not sarcasm. It was a poke (or stab if you prefer) at those who think that the people who voice out are just trying to control their lives and are some self-righteous busybodies, and also at people who voice out because “they think” they care and are without sin.

    To take an individual you know and love deeply to one side and discuss your concerns about their actions is one thing. To make sweeping pronouncements about the law in such a way that it condemns people… is pharisaical.

    Too many bad things has been said about these Pharisees, yea? According to history, they’re not such a bad bunch of fellas, as their intention was to honour God by living a righteous life. I do not think that Jesus was condemning their messages, but rather because they don’t live up to what they say. Well, they did add extra stuff to the law, but that’s another story.

    Hmm… Making pronouncement about the law that people felt condemned… I’m still thinking about this. Is the law not meant to condemn?

  80. Robb says:

    I find the Pharisees such an interesting bunch. We sit and listen to the readings of Jesus rebuking the Pharisees and we all nod in agreement. Why wouldn’t we? We can see the Phariseical groups around us and we understand Jesus frustration.

    Not once have I seen someone leave church saying “Shit Jesus was talking about me”.

  81. jonbirch says:

    hey zefi… i think i was missing at the same time as you… glad you’re okay… you’re a brave lad doing all that study… sounds hard! :-)

    caz… you’re honesty and vulnerability is much appreciated.

    hi kim from africa… welcome! :-)

    below paragraph is from livescience.com… it’s scant on detail to say the least, but it does confirm what i’ve read before…
    Homosexuality has been documented in almost 500 species of animals, signaling that sexual preference is predetermined. Considered the closest living relative to humans, bonobos are not shy about seeking sexual pleasure. Nearly all of these peace-loving apes are bisexual and often resolve conflict by the “make love, not war” principle. They copulate frequently, scream out in delight while doing so, and often engage in homosexual activities. About two thirds of the homosexual activities are amongst females.

    i have no idea what the scientists consider to be homosexual activity… maybe the monkeys are generous with their bananas! :-) sorry… believe it or not (and you probably won’t) that wasn’t supposed to be rude… and then i read it back! :-)

    what’s even more amazing is that at least one species that i know of actually changes sex to restore a community balance, thus protecting it’s survival… i know that’s off topic, but it is amazing. jurassic park based it’s whole story on this interesting little factoid.

    sooo many carolines and kims in the world… and not one the same! god has certainly created diversity.

    robb… haha! i applaud your discipline mate. it appears i lost mine above. never mind… i’ve recaptured it now and promise not to say anything else naughty. :-)

    dr.ruth… interesting topics… future asbo fodder perhaps. :-)

  82. Jon-

    Interesting stuff! You’ve boiled it down to its rubber meets the road essence:

    “i come to Christ just as i am.”

    Jesus does the saving, Jesus does the cleansing, Jesus does the remodeling of our lives and focus, according to His plan, not ours.

    Rick Brentlinger
    GayChristian101.com

  83. Robb says:

    Sorry Jon, that wasn’t a dig at anyone, merely a reminder to myself about how I hear what is said in church and how I apply it. I am guilty of this particular trait!!

  84. Robb says:

    (If I’m honest, I saw the word pharisee and thought the thought without really reading how they were being used – I’m really tired!! I guess that’s why I’m not making a particularly useful addition to the discussion.)

  85. jonbirch says:

    hey robb… i was responding to your earlier point about sooo many jokes… don’t you start apologising for sayin’ stuff! :-)

  86. Linus says:

    yay for diversity. Yes it is easy to be a pharisee and not realise it. been there and done that. yuk. God forgive me =]

    Zefi sorry i missed at least some of the sarcasm. didn’t mean to be po-faced. Just see it as me poking back =]

    yep the pharisees get a raw deal because we lump them in altogether and judge them as a faceless group based on our prejudices*. Whereas Nicodemus, for example, and Joseph of Arimathea (not sure if he was pharisee or saducee, but point stands either way) are heroes.

    It wasn’t just hypocrisy and pride that Jesus rebuked, it was those that wanted rules, not relationship – this is what Jesus says to them in John 5:

    “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

    You don’t get life by knowing the right answers or doing the right things. You get life from Jesus.

    “isn’t the law meant to condemn?” rats – you’ve got me thinking now, too!

    Hope the training goes well.

    *Yes, that is ironic, isn’t it.

  87. Robb says:

    Jon – but now they have to come out………………

    Check out the CD collection for abba

    or

    elton john

    or

    like a virgin

    erm……… shit…………

    You know what, I have friends who look like will and grace and I am unapologetic for the stereotypes. Hell I am about to make a big statement in my life – yes, it’s ok!

    Glad you were all present!!

  88. Graham says:

    I am a long time reader as well..

    Is this a record for the web – diverse views on the issue of homosexuality/Christianity, with views shared honestly without people slagging each other off? I think it is & that makes me so happy about Christianity’s future. Thanks Jon, for hosting such a forum where this can take place. I have learnt a lot. Thanks everybody- especially Dorian for sticking your head above the parapet and sharing a divergent view with grace.

    I read this in Rob Bell this week ‘This is why it is so toxic for the gospel when Christians pickett and boycott and complain how bad the world is…why blame the drak for being dark? It is far more helpful to ask why the light isn’t as bright as it could be’

  89. subo says:

    I’m very much of the view that God created all of us to be the way we are, and that the determining factor for being Gay occurs before birth (i.e. some people think they’ve found a gene, others a biological cause). For me that means God wants some of us to be Gay, and has a role for homosexuality within community’s

    having lived and worked along side gay people, I very much feel I’ve benefited from their presence within the community, it’s a elusive quality to pin down, but have really gained something from the gay friendships I’ve had over the years. perhaps it’s just that I’m happier in a diverse group, I know I get fidgety when the ‘group norm’ sinks to pointing out people’s differences and taking stock of star signs

  90. sarah says:

    Echo what Graham said.

  91. Robb says:

    I echo the sentiments Jon.

    I will publicly admit that this is something I am… erm…

    I struggle.

    Erm I struggle about so much that is important but people try to make me struggle over this.

    I DO care!! but I dont think it is important. I weap over the who thing and yet…. if I question myself deeply I don’t think it is a gospel issue *BUT PEOPLE MAKE IT THEIR OVERRIDING THEOLOGY AND ANYTHING ELSE COMES SECOND!!*

    Dr Ruth picked me up in the car today and said I “came out” last night.

    That stung because it means so many things for me as a person within ministry.

    You know what, I don’t even kow why I care! All I care about is Jesus!!

    But this is where I….. move from my roots……… but not too much……..

    …..over time Jesus reveals himself to me. Crap burger… that is my experience! I know people who could state experience in a totally opposite direction.

    As an addendum – I’m not sure if I should post this rambling! It could potentially harm me. But I will anyway as I think it may be good for my relationship with Him!

  92. Robb says:

    Well I pressed send now so it is too late!

  93. jonbirch says:

    robb… you have my love and respect. :-) i don’t think for one moment that sexuality is black and white. for goodness sake, rock hudson was gay… i never saw that coming! sexuality seems as broad as people are… i think one of the biggest problems with church and this issue is people’s unwillingness to see the truth about it. gets me mad that! i’m with subo and others… i love diversity… i just wish people weren’t put on guilt trips because of how things are.

    graham, sarah, robb et al… thanks. :-)

    i would also like to add my thanks to everyone who has commented here respectfully and thoughtfully. treasures all of you. :-)

  94. dave says:

    Hi,im new and never afraid to jump right in! What makes me wonder is if homosexuality is a result of a discrepency between the psychological development and the gender development at the point of hormonal release at embryonic stage then is that not part of Gods creation and not a choice to “sin” by the individual? This theoretical framework is also interesting to apply to transgender individuals, just a thought!

  95. jonbirch says:

    dave… brave man… welcome! :-) as we learn more about human beings, it does certainly seem that ones sexuality is indeed not just a simple case of nurture. nature at some point does seem to have a mammoth role to play. i do believe most certainly, (all the evidence points this way) that a big part of who we are is shaped in the womb, from psychology to physiology… i do believe that nurture has a big role to play too, but let’s not pretend that it is that simple. i wonder what else genetic research will throw up in the future. it’s all fascinating stuff.
    however, fascinating or not, i am mindful never to forget that for many, the reality of their is experience is very different from my own… and my response to others is everything.

  96. chaino says:

    being gay isnt the same as practicing homosexuality.
    do we accept practicing homosexuals into our churches? i think the bible says no. (1 Corinthians 5 or 6). Do we accept practicing adulterers into church? if so, than maybe we need to review what Paul says about sexual immorality etc.

  97. jonbirch says:

    being part of the church… i have to say that i have no problems accepting practicing homosexuals.

  98. Laura says:

    Yahoooo!
    I get to be #100. I’ve been waiting for days. :mrgreen:

  99. Caroline says:

    I don’t get it…is the meaning that God meets us right where we are? or is the meaning that the homosexual lifestyle is acceptable to christians? No one sin is greater than any other, but should we promote anything that is unpleasing to God? (yes, including passing judgment, gossiping etc.) I have homosexual friends that I love dearly, but that doesn’t mean I don’t pray for them to give their life over to Christ. Just because someone believes something is true, it doesn’t make it true. Maybe I need ASBO to make it clearer…or is the point for me to guess?

  100. Caroline says:

    PS Most of my homosexual friends hate Christianity-but who can blame them? That is why I pray for them and for me to show the Love of God, especially when I am with them

  101. Robb says:

    (sorry guys, you are my place of speculation…)

    I think I may have made conversational words ambiguous by the written text! Dr Ruth jokingly likened my words about it being OK to be gay with ‘coming out’ because I have never made that statement before – ever. I have managed to present all of the arguments without ever staking a claim…… sorry for those of you on all sides I have let down by my fence sitting.

    Ruth and I have talked about this long and hard over the last few days. We have been both jocular and – less so at times – with each other. It is something that comes to the fro very much so where I am at the moment (actual location with many gay christians).

    I come from a…. erm 10 years ago I told an elder he was wrong. 6 Days isn’t where it’s at! Needless to say I have wended my way through a phenomenalogical multifaith theology degree since then…… but them’s me roots!

    I guess what I am saying is that it is hard to shift a theological position. I am currently living in a place where it is vilified to be opposed to the ordination of a homosexual *but you can be openly hostile towards a woman*! Previously you would be beaten with a stick for either.

    I guess what I would like to share is my theological shift. I would also like to share how hard it is to make it. The other night when I wrote “It’s OK to be gay” it was a really hard thing to write. Mostly because I will possibly lose friends over it.

    That saddens me. But I can understand it! Let me make an analogy

    … a real one…..

    I know a Bishop who is “oposed to the ordination of women”. Yet he has been ove the recent years the most pastoral person to femal clergy anyone for miles around knows. Here is the dilemma. If he changes his official position he will lose most of his friends.

    I guess this is where I am. I could potentially lose friends over this.

    I hope they will hold me in higher esteem and love me more than that – and respect my opinion more then that!

    Sorry if I made Ruth look strange. Her comment was a small off the cuff remark that made me think – much like any ASBO!!

    (I love her and will fight any of you to the death before her ;)

    [Please tell me you all know that the last bit was humour!!]

  102. Linus says:

    chaino and Jon. I can understand both points of view. i think the challenge for all of us is to acknowledge the fact that some people honestly have a different opinion on this than our own.

    and to acknowledge that “i might be wrong”,
    that none of us have a perfect understanding of God,
    that we are all saved by grace – not by our actions or our opinions
    that God looks to the heart,
    that the greatest commandment is love, and that we are primarily responsible for our own behaviour in that regard, not other peoples.

    Chaino thank you so much for making the distinction between orientation and action. I think thats an important thing to be clear on. I don’t see any reference to homosexuality in 1 cor 5. In chapter 6 i’d like to know a lot more about the greek word that’s sometimes translated as homosexual here: i want to know for sure exactly what it means before i comment. And i don’t. So i won’t.

    Joel @ 67 – sorry for not replying specifically to this before. The first thing to say is that your comment here reads differently to the way you originally expressed your view and i’d respectfully ask you consider carefully how you can make the distinction between tendencies and temptations and actions clear whenever you give your opinion (whatever the issue).

    Also, who is “Christianity”? =P
    And what evidence do you have that Homosexuality has been considered sinful for centuries? Is that just an assumption?
    In any case, i’m surprised you are making an arguement from church history rather than scripture. I’d be surprised if you tell me you believe that Luther, Tynedale, Wilberforce and King jr were all wrong, yet they all interpreted the Bible in ways that went against the prevailing view at the time, which i bet hadn’t formed overnight.

  103. Robb says:

    Wow Linus – I wish I could think as clearly as you!!

    You make some really brilliant points!

  104. Laura says:

    Robb- I’m glad you came back and clarified. I admit I was a bit confused.

  105. Robb says:

    Sorry Laura – often I talk having spent a lot of time wrestling and come to a conclusion. When I am in mid-thought – I often don’t make much sense!! This is a topic I think about particularly at the moment. I often forget that the inflection of my voice is not evident. Sometimes “oh no what a personal disaster” isn’t the same thing as “Oh no what a personal disaster“.

    I promise to always be clear in the future and to use comedy clips to make my points ;)

  106. jonbirch says:

    robb, you are right. what a clever man linus is! :-)

  107. Laura says:

    No worries Robb…I just couldn’t figure out who it was that came out and where they came out of exactly, is all. ;-)

  108. Linus says:

    Robb, Jon you are both too kind. Thank you. I will try and believe you.

    Robb, thanks for your honesty and bravery. This really is one that seems to mess with the head and the heart so much more than most – even for people it doesn’t affect directly… don’t really understand why. I pray that your friends surprise you. If they walk away they will have lost a lot.

    Dorian, Dave, Graham, Caroline, Joel welcome! Joel hope my last post didn’t come over harshly – sorry if it did, not the intention.

    Caroline @102 yes and amen! That’s my prayer too… both the lament that people have felt condemnation over love – regardless of your POV, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” – and the request for God’s love to work through me to counteract that condemnation. As for your prior questions – i think Jon would say yes to both, but not everyone here would and a range of answers to those questions have been put forward in the comments… i guess the point is to help you think and pray it through so you can decide what God thinks – and wants you to do – about this.

  109. Robb says:

    Cheers Linus, you know that whilst I may be opinionated I also know when something is outside of my experience and when to say I know little about something. This is something that the world/church are forcing me to grapple with and I am doing my best.

    I don’t think I’ll lose any friends I need to worry about. I suspect that all of my friends are comfortable with the tension.

    Lets hope the church can be comfortable with the tension a little while longer!

  110. Linus says:

    opinionated and usually right =]

    how long oh lord?

  111. Robb says:

    :lol:

    It’s the best compliment I have ever had!

    I don’t get out much..

  112. jonbirch says:

    aaaaaw… group hug! :-)

  113. jonbirch says:

    hi caroline… agree… keep on loving! :-)

  114. Stephanie says:

    LOL! LOL! LOL!

    Too funny.

    This rocks Jon and so do you!!

  115. James says:

    chaino – so do we welcome the person who was a bit greedy at dinner into our churches. What about the man who committed adultery in his mind. Or the woman at the back who made a nasty comment to her brother before coming to church. Do we accept all of these people in our churches?

    Yes of course we do. We welcome all sinners into the church, including ourselves.

    So whether being a practicing homosexual is a sin or not of course we welcome them into the church. How else would they be able to turn to Christ, to feel his love. To be able to turn away from their sin – if it is.

    Our very excellent vicar talked to use about communion this past Sunday. Talking about the passover, and moving on to what Christ did exactly at the last supper. She talked about the word forget and how it is not a perfect direct translation from Hebrew and how we miss the exact meaning of not forgetting.

    This makes me wonder about how much more we miss or misinterprete through imperfect translation.

    I know I have read in the past that homosexuality in the bible may be a mistranslation from male prostitute.

  116. jonbirch says:

    cheers stephanie! i do like to rock occasionally! :lol:

    james… ooh the old mistranslation of a mistranslation theme. it’s a biggy, but a dead relevant and pertinent point. i guess as well as welcoming sinners into our churches we could get out and party with them too. i do. i like it. :-)

  117. James says:

    The problem with it is, I don’t know what to believe sometimes. And if there are these mistranslations what else may we be reading wrong?

  118. kat says:

    Well, for starters…..too many folk misinterpret the Sodom and Gomorrah issue. Read more closely and you’ll find that Sodom and Gomorrah’s downfall had nothing to do with homosexuality!

  119. Robb says:

    Kat – not even the most conservative academics make that mistake.

  120. Abaco says:

    Thanks for share this really usefull article and nice forum

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