613

sandra

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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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92 Responses to 613

  1. Hurtful Goat says:

    Oooooh, this will offend a fundy somewhere. :D :P Very good work, keep it up!

  2. ED... says:

    It’s the flock of goats leaping down the slopes of Gilead that does it, isn’t it?

    ED…

    http://caughtnottaught.blogspot.com/2008/11/song-of-songs-1-9.html

  3. zefi says:

    Oh, to the glee of a lib.

  4. ED... says:

    This is definitely one to file under

    “It was late and Jon was tired.”

  5. jonbirch says:

    jon was wide awake and knew what he was doing… and makes no excuses. :-)

  6. jonbirch says:

    btw. i’m not a lib. theologically anyhow.

  7. becky says:

    Ah but is she turned on by scripture or the fact that in a bubble bath, she has all she needs to take care of herself?

  8. soniamain says:

    Loving this one :) I love song of song. I’m sure God would be smiling and chuckiling away to him/herself about this cartoon.

  9. will t says:

    Like a moment from plesentville. Suddenly everything becomes colour.

  10. miriworm says:

    It takes more than being turned on by the Songs of Songs to become a Lesbian I think!

  11. will t says:

    I don’t think she became a lesbian from Reading song of songs rather realised that was who she was? Maybe?

  12. Carole says:

    What makes the Song of Songs titillating is the fact that it is in the Bible alongside all those boring genealogies and inventories. Not that I think the Bible is short on sex and violence generally. It is the idea of it being there as a steamy embarrassment to all those stiff, starchy, Victorian elders – a whole book of it – dry that one up with your fire and brimstone, ha! ;)

    That said, you wouldn’t really notice it in the standard canon of love poetry.

  13. Arukiyomi says:

    i think what troubles me more than the cartoon is the comment after it. If the whole together implies that realising you are a lesbian is being set free, I’m troubled. I did realise, as did Paul that I was a sinner from reading the Law but, again like Paul, that knowledge did not set me free.

  14. jonbirch says:

    i imagine if you’ve felt different all your life, that moment of revelation could bring amazing freedom and relief. it could also bring turmoil and conflict, eg. others judging you for who you are, or you judging yourself harshly for who you are. i just hate the way some people see someone in pain and seem to want to make it worse, all in the guise that they want to make it better… and i just hate the way some people would see something different and want to kill it dead because it doesn’t fit their worldview.
    there is far more that is of comfort in the bible for the loving homosexual than there is for the judging heterosexual, that’s for sure.

  15. jonbirch says:

    yes will, that’s it. although it’s rather a simplistic and daft cartoon! :-) in my ham-fisted way i was trying to make two points. 1. song of songs is an erotic love poem, with very sexy metaphors for a beautiful female body. 2. it’s okay to be gay. (you know the old chestnut i bring up from time to time. :-) )

  16. davidlrattigan says:

    Please, please, please send this cartoon as a Christmas greeting to Anglican Mainstream.

  17. zefi says:

    How about bisexuals?

  18. subo says:

    reading scripture in the tub’s a great idea, a way of letting your faith seep into every pore

  19. David T. says:

    I Corinthians 6:9
    This is not referring to prostitutes- see: http://www.dtl.org/ethics/article/homosexuals.htm
    Another verse that uses the same greek word: I Tim 1:10.
    See also http://www.kencollins.com/bible-i9.htm
    Why do you expect me to read into the Bible modern sensitivities? Did God say it or not?
    I don’t hate homosexuals, and I don’t even support restricting their civil rights.
    But what you can’t do is twist the Bible to support homosexual activity, or even be silent on the matter.
    Yes, I am greatly offended by this comic, if you want to label-and-dispense by calling me a fundy you can. I just exhort you to take Scripture at face value.

  20. Forrest says:

    It is freeing, whatever the subject, to finally be able to say to one’s self, Yes, I am.
    There is great burden and self-oppression in rejecting, denying, covering up, what’s inside. It drains energy.

    Same is also true on the flip side of that with “No, I’m not”, things.

    Again, whatever the matter is, owning and accepting you as you are is relief and freedom.

    Which is kind of the whole Gospel thing, actually.

    As long as there’s non self-acceptance, you’re bogged in a swamp.
    Once you accept you as you are, then you can go places with that, with you.

  21. David T. says:

    BTW I recognize the two articles I gave are contradictory. But there you go, you have both sides. Let the discussion begin!

  22. will says:

    the most significant thing for me here is that she is so involved in the bible that she has forgotten to turn the tap off. Very Deep.

    bath that is!

  23. jonbirch says:

    absolutely forrest. :-)

  24. jonbirch says:

    hi david t… i wouldn’t call you anything and i know there are many who disagree with my standpoint… not just fundies. but i disagree with theirs (most likely yours too) to the extent that i feel the deep need to do a cartoon on the subject.
    face value… i hope i don’t judge anything at face value. there’s many a book i’d not have read if i’d judged it by its cover. the bible is written in a context that needs understanding often to get at the real meaning. i don’t believe god wrote the bible, i believe blokes did. blokes who lived at a point in history that needs understanding. otherwise all christian women would wear head gear and cover up the beautiful hair god gave them.

  25. David T. says:

    Well if you believe the Bible to be a purely human production then it makes sense that you think the way you do. I understand that.
    I do happen to believe in Divine inspiration and inerrancy in the autographs. This doesn’t preclude me from putting Scriptural admonitions in a cultural context (such as head coverings). However, God’s decrees against homosexuality stretch from Sodom to the Law to the Apostles.
    It would be easy if I could believe that Scripture was a purely human thing, but I can’t. (II Tim 3:16, also see the examples of Christ’s use of Scripture)

  26. drew says:

    David,

    Surely you do pick and choose. For instance you chose to use a selection of greek dictionary things that are all written from one opinion. Why not use a few that are not influenced by any Christian agenda at all but are written by ‘non believers’, those who have an interest in language and not in supporting their own point of view?

    I am sure that you do not stone cheeky teenagers to death or force women who have been raped and captured as part of the spoils of battle to remain as the wife of the offender. Maybe, if the scripture is indeed inerrant and inspired the fact that paul uses the same greek word for men with long hair being an abomination (as well as others who I am sure you will be familiar with) means that any guys with long hair should be hunted down and shorn!

    You cannot pick and choose what you like here.

    If the scripture is inerrant then that would explain why Luther and others at the time when Copernicus and Gallileo rather awkwardly pointed out that the earth is round were right to condemn and torture them to recant – using various scriptures to support the obvious fact that the earth is indeed flat. Silly Silly whoever thought that the earth was a ball – not me!

    And what about sodom – Amos, Ezekial and three other OT prophets all refer to the sins of Sodom as being ‘basically nasty people’ (incredible paraphrase here!) there is no mention of any kind of sexual act from any of them. It was for being inhospitable and ‘nasty’ folk that Sodom was condemned. Whoever hijacked the phrase to mean anything to do with sex had obviously never read the passage!

    How about the famous walls of Jericho inside the rubble of which – and as an act of worship to and following a command from God – Joshua and the good men of Israel committed Genocide – yes that rather uncomfortably means they killed the innocent children as an act of worship – there is a word for that…..

    However if you take the story as an account of the story from Joshuas perspective, then its obvious he would dedicate the victory to God – so would the folk from Jericho had they have won.

    Now please don’t try to weasel out the old and new covenant line as the never changing nature of god is stated in both the OT and the NT, that rather carries the day. If it does not then the scripture is not inerrant – O dear seem to be going round in circles here – whoops.

    I also know that there are many who disagree with my standpoint. They tend to be the ones who are certain I am wrong but not certain why….

    My deep need was to have a wee rant about it –

    sorry!

    Jon you go boy!

  27. jonbirch says:

    i think i’ve said this before… in fact i know i have. but i once heard a sermon from a c of e vicar who literally said…’it’s not what i think that’s important. it’s not what you think that’s important. it’s what god thinks that’s important.’ he then went on to preach an anti-gay sermon based on the text of sodom and gomorrah. not only did he completely misread and convey the text, what he preached was nasty, hate filled bile. you know i’m not even sure if he meant it to be. but confusing hateful, nasty, evil, murdering filthy people with gays is about as outrageous as it gets… actually it is as outrageous as it gets. jesus is my example for how to relate to people and he never behaved in this appalling manner. ‘he who is without sin…’

  28. David T. says:

    “Surely you do pick and choose. For instance you chose to use a selection of greek dictionary things that are all written from one opinion. Why not use a few that are not influenced by any Christian agenda at all but are written by ‘non believers’, those who have an interest in language and not in supporting their own point of view?”

    There is always the unfortunate potential to play “battle of the lexicons.” I would be interested in your take on the greek word arsenokoites and any lexical authorities you would cite.

    “I am sure that you do not stone cheeky teenagers to death…”

    No, Christ replaced the law. I don’t need the OT to show where God condemns homosexuality.

    “or force women who have been raped and captured as part of the spoils of battle to remain as the wife of the offender.”

    Never an explicit command in Scripture to do so, at most perhaps an allowance. Women in ME cultures are property and taking them as spoils fit into that, and also gave the woman a protector in a day and age where women had no rights, as opposed to leaving them to wander, or killing them outright.

    “Maybe, if the scripture is indeed inerrant and inspired the fact that paul uses the same greek word for men with long hair being an abomination (as well as others who I am sure you will be familiar with) means that any guys with long hair should be hunted down and shorn!”

    The greek word atimia has a wide semantic range and is as useless for you as it is for me. Contrast Rom 9:21 with Rom 1:26. Not all greek words have such a wide range.

    “If the scripture is inerrant then that would explain why Luther and others at the time when Copernicus and Gallileo rather awkwardly pointed out that the earth is round were right to condemn and torture them to recant – using various scriptures to support the obvious fact that the earth is indeed flat. Silly Silly whoever thought that the earth was a ball – not me!”

    Interpretation. Many of these Scriptures are perspectives rather than scientific statements and in their context have no direct bearing on any moral command.

    “And what about sodom – Amos, Ezekial and three other OT prophets all refer to the sins of Sodom as being ‘basically nasty people’ (incredible paraphrase here!) there is no mention of any kind of sexual act from any of them. It was for being inhospitable and ‘nasty’ folk that Sodom was condemned. Whoever hijacked the phrase to mean anything to do with sex had obviously never read the passage!”

    How about Jude 7?

    “How about the famous walls of Jericho inside the rubble of which – and as an act of worship to and following a command from God – Joshua and the good men of Israel committed Genocide – yes that rather uncomfortably means they killed the innocent children as an act of worship – there is a word for that…..”

    God has the authority and right to order the death and destruction of whomever He wishes. The conquest of Canaan by the Israelites was a fulfillment of the curse on Ham’s descendants in Genesis.

    “However if you take the story as an account of the story from Joshuas perspective, then its obvious he would dedicate the victory to God – so would the folk from Jericho had they have won.”

    But they didn’t.

    “Now please don’t try to weasel out the old and new covenant line as the never changing nature of god is stated in both the OT and the NT, that rather carries the day. If it does not then the scripture is not inerrant – O dear seem to be going round in circles here – whoops.”

    Read Hebrews! Christ fulfilled the law, therefore it was able to be done away with. Read Romans 7! This is standard Christian theology going back to the Apostles.

    “My deep need was to have a wee rant about it -”

    That’s ok! I don’t mind.

  29. David T. says:

    “what he preached was nasty, hate filled bile. you know i’m not even sure if he meant it to be. but confusing hateful, nasty, evil, murdering filthy people with gays is about as outrageous as it gets… actually it is as outrageous as it gets. jesus is my example for how to relate to people and he never behaved in this appalling manner. ‘he who is without sin…’”

    Jon, I am sorry for the hate. But I am sick of the way our society has designated anyone and everyone who is not for homosexuality as hateful, fearful, and bigoted. May I not believe this and at the same time treat a gay or lesbian with human kindness and respect? A person will only leave homosexuality if God causes them to.

  30. shelly says:

    Neither “arsenokoites” nor “malakoi” could translate to “homosexuals”. Why? The English term did not exist when the King James Bible was written! It wasn’t first used until the late 1800s and didn’t appear in an English translation/interpretation of the Bible until the mid-1950s (Amplified version).

    IMO, you have to consider the historical contexts here, too. (And what of Verse 11…which brings a great message of hope?)

    And what about sodom – Amos, Ezekial and three other OT prophets all refer to the sins of Sodom as being ‘basically nasty people’ (incredible paraphrase here!) there is no mention of any kind of sexual act from any of them. It was for being inhospitable and ‘nasty’ folk that Sodom was condemned. Whoever hijacked the phrase to mean anything to do with sex had obviously never read the passage! (drew)

    Even Jesus himself said Sodom’s biggest sin was the fact they were “nasty” folk. (Basically, they were very wealthy but did nothing to help the poor.)

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibl.htm

  31. David T. says:

    Shelly- The Geneva 1599 has “buggerers” at I Cor 6:9, which means a person who engages in buggery, which Miriam-Webster’s defines as sodomy.

    Again, I would point you to Jude 7.

  32. David T. says:

    Correction: “Miriam” should be spelled “Merriam”

  33. Forrest says:

    Re: #28 by jon “’it’s not what i think that’s important. it’s not what you think that’s important. it’s what god thinks that’s important.’”

    And there’s the whole lifetime thing – finding out what God thinks, actually.

    (probably best to ask Him directly, no middlemen to muck things up)

  34. jonbirch says:

    homosexuals are not loved, welcomed, and respected as the people they are in our churches as a general rule. shame on us. we are a disgrace in this respect.
    our job is love… love, love, love. period.
    we disagree profoundly david t on our understanding of what is a biblical view on homosexuality. i’m always concerned by the hate the sin – love the sinner type route, because it is often used as an excuse to not love fully. and in any case, i do not believe ones orientation is either sin or not sin… it is what it is, stark reality. how we behave is what makes all the difference. that’s the bible’s view i think… it is certainly my view.

  35. David T. says:

    Let me pose a question- purely for the sake of discussion:
    What is the difference between:
    Sexual orientation
    Sexual perversion

  36. jonbirch says:

    websters says…

    ‘perversion… an aberrant sexual practice or interest especially when habitual.’
    (by this definition homosexuality in itself is certainly not a perversion… as it is not a ‘practice’, it is an orientation. my heterosexuality isn’t a practise, nor is that of many celebate heterosexuals either. to call homosexuality an ‘interest’ is simply funny (makes it sound like amateur ornithology)… and it certainly cannot be described as a ‘habit’ any more than my heterosexuality can. now, masturbation… that’s a habit – or can be.

    ‘orientation… a person’s self-identification as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual.’
    so there we go. nice and simple.

    i’ll check some more dictionaries at some point… but these are pretty much what i thought the definitions were.

  37. becky says:

    What I love about the Song of Songs is that it’s one of the few places in the Old Testament where a woman is truly valued and loved as an equal – the women like Debra and Ester are rare indeed.

    Jon – for what it’s worth (and I’ve said this before), I seek out affirming churches meaning EVERYONE is welcome. Here’s a test someone did with me in divinity school – take EVERY question asked of gay people, change the word to straight and then ask how you’d feel if someone asked you those Qs.

    f Jesus was “offended” by homosexuality per se, he would have said so. But i do think if Jesus went into a queer friendly church where ones sexuality has become the defining agenda, I think he’d get kinda ticked. And I wonder how he’d respond to those sermons I’ve heard from the extreme left that Paul was gay, disciples were having sex with each other, Jesus is married, etc.

    I hate how this issue divides us so quickly – seldom do I see this issue discussed in the spirit of Christ’s love.

  38. David T. says:

    An attempt at looking this up in a much older dictionary, Webster’s 1828, failed, because the phrase “sexual orientation” is fairly new. Dictionary.com gives it’s time of origin about 1990-95. If human heterosexuality were the only acceptable form of human sexuality, there would be no need to have different “orientations.” Thus the absence of this term before that time.
    Who decides what is an acceptable orientation? This begs the question of how the term was formulated. Was it applied to those sexual practices that were independently determined to be normal, or were those practices normalized by becoming “orientations?” If the former, who decided they were normal and under what authority? If the latter, the term is its own authority and loses its legitimacy.
    Bottom line: the identification of sexual orientation as human homo-, hetero-, and bi-sexuality is arbitrary. Who are we to determine what is perversion and what is merely an orientation? If I am being too restrictive, perhaps you are too? Is all human sexual contact between any two adults acceptable at any time? You open a Pandora’s box here.

  39. David T. says:

    Becky – I am sorry that you feel that the only loving response to this issue is full acceptance of homosexuality.
    In re: Jesus & homosexuality, let me quote http://www.cwfa.org/articles/5618/CFI/family/index.htm :

    Consider these facts:

    1. Jesus also never said anything directly about rape, incest or domestic violence. Are those things okay, too?

    2. Many teachings and deeds of Christ are not included in the Gospel accounts, as John writes in John 21:25.

    3. Christ did say that God created people “in the beginning” as male and female, and that marriage is the union of one man and one woman joined together as “one flesh” (Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-9). Nothing is said about any other type of union.

    4. When He discussed sexual morality, Christ had a very high standard, clearly affirming long-standing Jewish law. He told the woman caught in adultery to “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). He warned people not only that the act of adultery was wrong, but even adulterous thoughts (Matthew 5:28). And he confronted the woman at the well (John 4:18) by pointing out to her that he knew she was living with a man who was not her husband. If he had intended to change this longtime understanding of God’s requirements for human sexuality, He would have said so.

    5. Christ used the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as an example of God’s wrath (Matthew 10:15, Mark 6:11, Luke 10:12 and Luke 17:29). Throughout the Old Testament, prophets clearly described these cities as being notorious for the practice of homosexuality (Genesis 18:20, Genesis 19:4-5, Isaiah 3:9, Jeremiah 23:14, Ezekiel 16:46-59). Jesus certainly knew that this was how the comparison would be understood.

    6. Christ was God incarnate (in the flesh) here on earth. He was the long-expected Messiah, which was revealed in Matthew 16:13-20, Matthew 17:5-9, Mark 8:27-30, Luke 4:16-30, Luke 9:18-21, John 4:25-26, John 8:57-59 and elsewhere. As one with God, He was present from the beginning (John 1:1-13; Colossians 1:15-17; Ephesians 3:9 and elsewhere). So, Jesus was part of the Godhead as the laws were handed down through Moses to Israel and eventually to the whole world. This Old Testament law clearly prohibited homosexuality (Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:17 and elsewhere). The apostles understood this also, as shown by Paul’s writing in Romans 1:24-27, Peter’s in 2 Peter 2:4-22, and John’s in Revelation 22:15.

    So — the apostles, who were taught by Christ, clearly understood that homosexuality was a sin as it has always been. When people say, “Jesus said nothing about homosexuality,” they reveal that they really haven’t understood Scripture, or Who Christ is. Maybe some of these points can help them toward a clearer understanding.

  40. jonbirch says:

    “Is all human sexual contact between any two adults acceptable at any time?” no… i don’t believe it is necessarily. it ‘can’ all be sin. i don’t believe for a moment that a sexual encounter with someone you do not know because you’re drunk and you can is good… i believe that’s using someone, an abuse, even if it is abuse my mutual consent. that is something i think we’d agree on. but that’s not what the cartoon is about.
    i do find your views on s and g way off from how i understand it. in short, s and g was a place with no love, with hard, ruthless, selfish, depraved and in the gutter folk living there. i certainly wouldn’t want them living near me. s and g really is nothing like what i’m talking about.
    must go to sleep now. night night. :-)

  41. becky says:

    40 I didn’t say full acceptance of homosexuality – I said full acceptance of all of us as human beings warts and all. I’m asking us to follow the way of Jesus and that means we “try” to show forth his radical love. Jesus broke forth every rabbinical law under the sun to shine forth his father’s love. And in doing so, he transformed lives.

    I am not about to let the liberal “anything goes” wing of the church off the hook – in my comments I asked how Jesus would respond if he went into an uber liberal church where one’s sexuality becomes the defining topic. As a straight single woman I feel just as uncomfortable there as I do in a conservative church where everyone is married with kids.

  42. drew says:

    Ok so I ranted and did what i really appreciate this site for not doing. – sorry to all.

    So I will go back to making conversation rather than trying to make myself feel better by appearing to be cleverer than anyone else, there are too many blog sites where christians intellectually argue with one another over the correct interpretation of this or that.

    I am resisting the urge to comment and further discussion David. However I simply do not believe it would be helpful. The phrase flogging a dead horse comes to mind, as to discuss you must approach the topic from a conciliatory position not one that is completely assured of its correctness – and in this discussion its righteousness. – to do otherwise is to bludgeon!

    I am, thankfully, not prepared to make absolute statements about what Scripture means any more. As like a large number of other Christians, I also do not believe they are a dictate from God but rather mans attempt to interpret a being so impossible to comprehend that their (and our) agendas got in the way and continue to do so. So throwing scripture about means nothing in any discussion as I’m not sure it means as much as you do to start with!

    Having said that -No I’ll resist the temptation.

    Drew

  43. Arukiyomi says:

    “there is far more that is of comfort in the bible for the loving homosexual than there is for the judging heterosexual, that’s for sure.”
    oh no… absolutely not. That’s the point. There’s just as much comfort for both. That’s why it’s called Good News! :-D

    the union of a woman and a man, as David points out, was absolutely intended by God to fulfil a number of different criteria both temporal and eternal. I don’t often hear anyone from the gay community recognise that nor consider the implication for their orientation.

    just out of interest, which bits of Song of Songs do you think might indicate homosexual love?

  44. subo says:

    wow, hot debate going on, but hey it’s Christmas, so can’t be bothered to get too stuck in

    I do think however, that we tend to box things in an absurd way, and fail to notice when things don’t fit in the boxes we’ve neatly made up

    for instance, it’s reported that Jesus first miraculous act was to turn water into wine – and by all accounts there was plenty of it. what shall we do with this?

    A/ use wine like Jesus did, to show love and hospitality to his friends?

    B/ seek solace at the bottom of a bottle, thinking it is our best friend, will never let us down, and we can avoid engaging in reality – because who needs people when there’s ‘love’ to be had ready packed in a bottle? (ps, I have a lot of empathy for people who find they are hurting so much, that a bottle of wine feels more like a friend, than a person could ever be)

    C/ ban the stuff, it’s toxic, it’s anti-social, it’s causing more harm to society than any other drug

    I think there are similarities with how we look at sex, gender and sexual orientation. are men and women totally different? is sex only ok for procreation? is God male or female?

    and by the way, I think the party on the New Earth, will be wild, we will get so many surprises

  45. subo says:

    oh, I forgot, I meant to say I think we can make an idol out of most of God’s gifts to us

    including sex and theology

  46. jonbirch says:

    arukiyomi. you kinda missed the joke. i’m not saying any part of the song of songs advocates or indicates homosexual love. i was just (probably childishly) amused by the idea of a lesbian coming to the book and finding herself just as excited by the female as solomon was. i was using this situation to once again raise a subject that i feel strongly about.

    hey drew, no worries. it was a fine rant. rants can be cathartic. some of my cartoons are drawn for my own catharsis, so why shouldn’t some of the comments be cathartic in the same way?

    subo… thank you for the wisdom.

  47. Carole says:

    Flamin’ Norah! What a difference a day makes, eh? There was hardly anything here last time I checked in. I can’t really contribute anything to this very erudite discussion. Sadly, I’m not very well-read and tend to rely far too much on my gut instincts in my dealings. Speaking honestly, I do feel awkward and embarrassed if 2 blokes or 2 women snog in my presence…then again, if I am at a bus stop and the only two other people there are a pair of heterosexual, snogging teenagers, I also find that rather rude behaviour. And, of course, I have never done anything like that…in my entire life (hmm…) Certain things should only be done in private. I feel uncomfortable hearing anybody talking about things of a deeply sexual nature…unless they are joking about it (why did God make sex so funny?) and even then there are boundaries.

    But I think my issue is more about social offence than linked to anything biblical. I do wonder sometimes if Christians (generally speaking) can spend an unhealthy amount of time engrossed in the evaluation of others’ sexual activities.

    In this, as in other moral dilemmas, I have found that personal experience has muddied the waters for me. When someone fairly close to you ‘comes out’ it clouds all of the absolutes that we hang on to for comfort. It is not the person who has changed, merely your perception of who they are. But sometimes it is OK for them to take responsibility of their own life’s path, and sometimes it is OK for us to delegate any judgement to God as is appropriate for all of us. Anyway, I have far too many planks in my eye to effectively sit (aaagh! split infinitive!) in judgement on anybody else. Once I lay my gavel down, I can concentrate on my relationship with a person…and guess what? When I talk with gay/lesbian friends, we talk about the same trivia, the same everyday preoccupations, we have the same occasional moments of profundity, clarity and laughter as anybody else. Relationship, relationship, relationship, it’s all about relationship. That goes for all marginalised groups. People are people. That’s my simplistic view of it, anyway…

    PS, I’m not saying I always successfully live up to my own ideals but I do try! :)

  48. Bo says:

    Not wanting to go into the huge discussion on hetero-/homo-/bi-/(insert descriptor here)-sexuality, let me just make one statement:
    “Sandra realised that she was a lesbian” – this implies that she from now on base her identity on that fact.

    I do not see how the identification by sexual preference could set anyone free.
    Ever.

    It’s a sad gospel you present…

    That said, you’re doing a brilliant job with the comics, and all the brilliance is well worth the occational “this is not useful at all”-comic.
    And the last kind often lead to interresting discussions anyway.

    God bless

  49. subo says:

    I’m pretty uncomfortable too, Carol on show off out door snoggin’ – (yea, ok, so someone loves you, so what!), maybe I’m just getting old

    I have occasionally seen a couple of girls strolling along hand in hand, which was very cute

    anyway, here’s to celebrating our humanity, however embarrassing and awkward, here’s to a quick kiss, a huge cuddle and a warm smile, here’s to love, and here’s to learning how to love and relate to each other

  50. David T. says:

    Thank you all for the discussion! I am in need of humility as much and probably more than any of you as I try to seek Him and His truth.

  51. jonbirch says:

    “Relationship, relationship, relationship, it’s all about relationship.” yes, yes and again yes! exactly my view. exactly. thanks carole. :-)

    thanks bo. :-)

    david t. thank you for presenting your views as you have. we may not agree on everything, but you have my respect as i have felt respected by you. much love friend. :-)

    “here’s to celebrating our humanity, however embarrassing and awkward, here’s to a quick kiss, a huge cuddle and a warm smile, here’s to love, and here’s to learning how to love and relate to each other.” i’ll raise a glass to that subo. :-)

  52. becky says:

    I entered divinity school VERY convinced re: my ideas on homosexuality – as a theater major most of my contact with gays (and straights) were people who acted out their sexuality in some very unhealthy ways.

    Living with a range of people for four years including gays and lesbians had me refocus my thinking considerably – yes there were some liberal lunacies and acting out – the Q posed to me “Why can’t I be promiscuous and be a priest?” still floors me as did my roommate who had three lovers in the course of a year and some other acting out both gay and straight. But I also met many more folks who really struggled with how they dealt with their sexuality both as Christians and as religious leaders and I got to see how it’s not black and white.

    The challenge for me is to have the discussion you raised in #41 without coming off as a judging bitch – the few times I’ve told religious leaders that it might not be a good idea while on church biz to go hang out in gay bars, go drinking with cute young things late at night, send facebook messages that are pretty provocative, etc. I’ve gotten my ass chewed out.

  53. Jonathan says:

    Reading and implimenting the Bible at face value is a great idea David T.

    I’ll see you down the local market where we can sell everything we have and give the money to the poor. Wonderful.

    Jonathan

  54. Joe says:

    Jon,

    I’m inclined to agree with you on the problems with “hate the sin, love the sinner…”

    however — choosing to love the sinner doesn’t mean I ignore the sin or condone it.

    I’m probably with David T. on my belief that the Bible saying homosexual acts are sin (though I don’t have anything to contribute to the exegetical discussion). That doesn’t mean I treat my gay friends any different than I treat all my other friends (who are all people who sin, the last time I checked).

    so for me it comes down to choosing not to define people by their sin. but that doesn’t mean they don’t sin… when i have a friend who steals, or overeats, or gets really drunk, or lies, or hoards up his/her wealth and doesn’t give it too the poor, I don’t have to justify/condone their sin to love them.

    Much love and respect, Jon and everyone,
    Joe

  55. subo says:

    thoughtful stuff jonathan, like it. I know the way I read texts has changed loads over the years. am a big fan of the Ignatian stuff and Lecto Divinia. Sometimes I just have to stay with a text for while – and I still don’t know exactly all it’s talking about. I have found it powerful to just take a text and say “what are you saying here God?”

  56. Mark Bennet says:

    This is a thoughtful and provocative one to which I’ve come late.

    Key is imagining how someone else might feel.

    As for ‘can all sexual contact’ etc be ‘sin’ – can any human activity be perfectly holy?

  57. jonbirch says:

    indeed, mark. good question… to which i think the answer is no. :-)

    cheers joe. :-)

    hmmm becky ‘getting your arse chewed out’ certainly sounds like a sin. :-)

  58. subo says:

    “can any human activity be perfectly holy?”, sure, thats as maybe, but I also know we need to be out there, living, it’s also a sin to live without living, not to try to make a difference

    we are called to love, and love by it’s very nature is out going, life engaging and creative

  59. Robb says:

    Drew – I challenge you to hunt me down and shear me! I will beat you to death with a copy of leviticus 19 whilst you do it :)
    :lol:

    Jon (28) – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, even the most vehemous right wing biblical scholar will tell you that sodom and gemorrah was nothing to do with homosexuality. Running down a biblical dead end there!!

    “I would be interested in your take on the greek word arsenokoites”

    Erm… snigger… can’t help it…. child inside….. must laugh at onomatopoeia at all costs…. tee hee….

    Carole – “why did God make sex so funny” – that must be a personal thing that we don’t understand :Lol:

    [sorry the inner child won - I will beat him up before the next post!!]

  60. becky says:

    58. Yes, arse chewing does fall into the sin category – but I know that it’s also wrong that I go ballistic when I see holy hipsters behaving badly while on book tours, conferences and other professional gigs. It just irks me to no end when people want all the perks that come with being a writer/speaker but none of the responsibility especially when they are functioning as a religious leader because they don’t get that their night of holy hell has long term repercussions for others in the field. I brought that up to note the problems I encounter from the ultra hip, liberal set in trying to talk about personal morals. Very sticky and rough conversation to have.

  61. Pat says:

    Mark @57 asked “can any human activity be perfectly holy?”; to which Jon replied “i think the answer is no.”. I’m not sure that I agree guys :-). Surely Jesus gives the lie to that belief? What does ‘perfectly holy’ mean??

  62. subo says:

    that’s a lot of bubbles

  63. jonbirch says:

    it sounds it , becky. :-)

    robb… i’ve missed you and the inner child. :-)

    pat… i shall rethink it. you could well be right. :-)

  64. becky says:

    65. Jon – I’ve realized the hard way that the folks I’m referencing are getting addicted to power/fame and as an adult child of an alcoholic, I am trying to rescue them from their addictions. It’s hard to see this at first because unlike alcohol, drugs or food, the addiction doesn’t have physical manifestations. But Henry Kissinger called power the ultimate aphrodisiac and I am seeing it play out here big time. My problem is that I try to intervene and I’ve come to realize you can’t – an addict always has to hit rock bottom – and holy hipsters always hit the spiritual skids because after a while, people tire of their schtick.

  65. Robb says:

    Jon – what can I say? Christmas is a busy time. But some times I’m allowed out to play!!
    :D

  66. Bo says:

    “can any human activity be perfectly holy?”
    The answer is yes.

  67. chaino says:

    but read the start of the book of romans and it clearly states…

    21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him…

    26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

    how do you see this and think “its okay to be gay?”

  68. zefi says:

    how do you see this and think “its okay to be gay?”

    I think Jon would answer, “that verse is actually addressing the issue of faithfulness to a single partner.”

    Am I right Jon, am I right???
    :P

  69. Joe says:

    I think “perfectly holy” is redundant, I think.

    Joe

  70. David T. says:

    It is enlightening to cross-reference Rom 1:26-27 with Jude 7.

    Rom 1:26-27 NRSV:
    26 For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for UNNATURAL,
    27 and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

    7 Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued UNNATURAL lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

    Since the NKJV/NASB have “strange flesh” it is instructive to review some commentators on Jude 7 to see if the NRSV translation is really warranted:

    John Wesley:
    The cities which gave themselves over to fornication – The word here means, UNNATURAL lusts.

    John Calvin:
    To go after strange flesh, is the same as to be given up to monstrous lusts;

    Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown:
    going after strange flesh–departing from the course of nature, and going after that which is UNNATURAL.

  71. Robb says:

    I think it would probably be more productive to read a translation that doesn’t have to rely upon the Latin vulgate to finish… one with a bit of scholarly input relevant to the day. Based perhaps upon manuscripts from antiquity….

    David T – all of your quotes seem to require interpretation to result in condemnation of homosexuality. I’m not opposed to your line of inquiry – I merely question its academic basis…

  72. TyTe says:

    Sexual identity is a very complex thing. I don’t find it helpful, when talking about the morality of homosexuality, to say all homosexuality is okay or all homosexuality is not okay. You might as well argue the morality of trees.

    It is clear that for some people, there is a genetic influence on their sexual identity, however, there is conclusive evidence for many people, that sexual identity is shaped by experience. (Note that I prefer to use the phrase sexual identity rather than orientation as orientation implies one or the other and comes loaded with all sorts of presuppositions).

    If your sexual identity is such that you find people of the same sex attractive, then to condemn that as sin is to say that a person – who they are – is sin. This is why phrases such as ‘hate the sin and love the sinner’ are crass, insensitive and inappropriate.

    Sin is what separates us from God, and I don’t believe that one’s sexual identity – in itself – can separate a person from God. Certainly the misuse of our sexuality can and does distance us from God, and I believe the writers of the Bible are clear about this issue.

    So, now, to be controversial, let’s look at a single, perhaps extreme, over-simplified example: Helen is a lesbian. She grew up in a sheltered environment, went to an all-girls school, was bombarded by imagery that the female form is beautiful, and when she was about 12 years old, was sexually abused by a female teacher. From an early age, Helen experienced what it felt like to be found attractive by other women. This, combined with a lack of love from her parents, drove her to seek love through sexual experience with other women – all that was available to her. Now Helen is in her mid 40s, she knows she finds other women attractive and can’t help feeling this way. It is who she is. Helen is also a Christian and feels close to God much of the time. She has had counselling and understands why she is the way she is, but it seems unlikely that her sexual identity will change. To be told that she is sin, unnatural, and degrading, hurts her deeply. She won’t tell anyone about being a lesbian because she can’t face any more rejection.

    Jesus said, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

  73. zefi says:

    Jesus said, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

    Yeah, and oh, how He loved those who were selling and buying stuff and doing money-changing at the temple.

    Uh, and don’t forget how He loved the Pharisees too!
    ;)

  74. jonbirch says:

    nicely said tyte.
    agreed robb.

  75. TyTe says:

    You don’t think he loved them zefi?

  76. becky says:

    73. Spot on – we can’t help “who” we are as children of God. The question remains how we act upon it – while Jesus was silent regarding who we sleep with, he was a major proponent of fidelity.

    Case in point – I have a friend who is bi-sexual and she shared with me her struggles in wanting to get have a family – for her that meant giving up a good chunk of who she was. But she met a man that she fell in love with and had a family with him though she easily could have fallen in love with a woman and had a family with her. The point is that she has remained faithful to her partner and her family. Now, she could make this choice and remain true to herself because she is attracted to men.

    I’m at a point in my life where I’ve seen too many instances where someone tried to deal with their homosexuality by getting married and having a family – the carnage that is caused when the marriage implodes is horrible especially on the children.

    77. Jesus was the master at exercising tough love – when I see Jesus confronting the Pharisees at the temple, he reminds me of a loving parent confronting their only child who steals from them to feed his drug habit. I don’t think he relishes that moment one bit but knows what has to be done to bring wholeness and healing.

  77. Linus says:

    Zefi: agreed love doesn’t necessarily mean anything goes, or unquestioning approval of whatever peeps wanna do, but there’s two fundamental differences between the examples you give and the scenario Tyte presents:

    1) Jesus called the Pharisees and Money Changers on their actions and heart attitude, not their desires.

    2) Jesus’ response to the very public and confident, even arrogant, actions of the pharisees/moneychangers was very different to how he acted amongst the downtrodden, the ashamed and those who society condemned… with great gentleness.

    Do you really think Jesus’ response to the person Tyte describes would be similar to the response he gives to the people in your examples?

  78. zefi says:

    You don’t think he loved them zefi?

    I hope He did!

    Do you really think Jesus’ response to the person Tyte describes would be similar to the response he gives to the people in your examples?

    You’ve said what I wanted to say. :D

  79. becky says:

    BTW-I don’t presume to know the mind of Christ but taking the Pharisee analogy further my guess is the people who would really get his goat are those who condemn homosexuals to hell, while having illicit sexual encounters on the side. Along those lines, I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been to church suppers at conservative churches where they are serving INCREDIBLY fattening food. Everyone’s stuffing their face like crazy and no one says anything about gluttony. (These tend to be the same churches that send missionaries to “convert” the heathens instead of helping them say grow crops – assistance they wouldn’t need if we hadn’t mucked up their world in the first place.)

    I just find it mind boggling how the church really suffers from missional myopia by focusing so much on this one issue that they really lose the big picture.

  80. Aubrey says:

    Well, as someone who is regrettably gay by “orientation” but not necessarily by behavior, I often get frustrated by both sides of this debate. I have seen the argument “well Leviticus also says we should *insert some crazy thing here*, and we don’t believe THAT anymore” a million times, and it is not even relevant because Paul talks about homosexuality in the NT as well. So why don’t we just skip over the OT stuff? Also, one could also point out a million ways the church has been hypocritical about this subject or about other subjects, but that does not get us anywhere either, it just establishes (once again) that we are getting it wrong. But nobody has ever presented a solution for us gay people. I get the “love the sinner” thing but I promise no amount of loving would make me stop being gay. So maybe we should go with something like “it’s okay to be gay, but that doesn’t mean you have to go around being promiscuous; you can have a God-honoring, monogamous relationship and you can wait until you’re ‘married’ to have sex and you can promise not to get divorced” or something like that, I don’t know, I’m just making stuff up but it sounds like a good enough compromise to me. It is hard to explain what I feel but I just feel like all our debates about homosexuality and stuff are completely missing the point. I want to know if there is a way to both accept (maybe even celebrate) our orientations and simultaneously honor God with that somehow. I don’t want people to look at me and say “oh she’s a good Christian DESPITE being gay.”

  81. Aubrey says:

    PS sorry for the rant I didn’t realize how long it was. Sorry if I seemed like a pretentious jerk, I am really not!!

  82. chaino says:

    ah man…i think if scripture is sayying something, it doesnt matter how culturally relevant you feel you have to be. the bible says what it says. Romans 1 cannot get any clearer. its wrong to commit homosexual acts. yeh some are oriented to sin in different ways to me and such but that doesnt mean you let sin slide and say oh God doesnt think committing homosexual acts are a big deal. i just want to ask when u say its okay to be gay…do u expect the two gay people to get married before they commit sexual acts? how would they go about doing this? can gay people marry in the bible? if so, why is it never spoken of?

  83. chaino says:

    oh yeah…my post was not a response to yours aubrey.

    how do u make a solution for being “gay”? i think its like any sin. e.g. i struggle with lust a lot, but i have to try and do my best to love God and love people. i think the time we will finally get a real solution…is when Jesus comes for his own, and raises us on the last day.

  84. Caroline Too says:

    84 posts … sorry but I didn’t get to read them all…

    “the bible says what it say”, eh Chaino? but we read it and
    we read it with 21st century eyes rather than the eyes of the first
    century readers for whom it was written.

    I dunno what God thinks about gay activity… but as i read Romans,
    it seems pretty clear to me that Paul was horrified by promiscuous
    sex as people rolled from boys to girls to their mothers etc… I
    wonder if it was that abusive promiscuity that really angered
    Paul, not the homosexuality.

    Aubrey, I rather suspect that our Heavenly Father is even more
    concerned for you as you try to work out the way to honour him in
    your sexuality. I wish I could give you a straight answer, but I
    do suspect reading your (very non jerk-like) comment, that your
    wrestling and aspiration give Him great joy… and as you seek to
    honour Him, so he’ll honour you…

    shame, though, it doesn’t make it easier or less puzzling!

  85. becky says:

    85. Paul must be put into the context of 1st century Christianity – his comments made about sex related to temple prostitution in which having sex was part of the worship process. If you are a Christian, don’t worship other gods and partake in their rituals. This basic advice still applies today.

    Re: Leviticus – unless you are an uber Orthodox Jew that follows the entire set of rules, you can’t pick them out willy-nilly. Christians tend to look at Leviticus as a set of laws that God set up to help the people of Israel during a specific historical time – given the desert conditions, the Israelites would have perished from unsanitary conditions, famine and the like if these rules were not in place.

  86. chaino says:

    Caroline Too…maybe you have gotten mixed up with 1 Corinthians? He speaks about sons having sex with step mothers then, but doesnt mention it in Romans (well at least not in the first 5 chapters.)

    What Paul is referring to is “The universal sinfulness and guilt of humanity since the fall, rendering men and women subject to God’s wrath and condemanation.” Who does this seem to relate to? It seems to relate to anyone who is a human being, not just to a certain set of people. I think the context is: to all who are human.

  87. zefi says:

    I dunno what God thinks about gay activity… but as i read Romans,
    it seems pretty clear to me that Paul was horrified by promiscuous
    sex as people rolled from boys to girls to their mothers etc… I
    wonder if it was that abusive promiscuity that really angered
    Paul, not the homosexuality.

    Now, if you think being the Jew that he is, Paul would not be horrified with faithful-to-one-partner homosexual acts, raise up your hand.

    Or if you think that he would not agree to it even now, but that it doesn’t matter what Paul thinks about the whole issue because he’s just some conservative 1st Century Jewish Christian whose thought about it would not be relevant to the 21st century, raise up your hand too.

  88. humanman says:

    This issue is so complicated….maybe because everyone gets so “in-depth” with it. Maybe if they stood back and saw the big picture then they would see what is right. I believe it is not what God wants, but I would not push them away from me or Church or God, please respect my opinion. I am worried about some of the comments on here to be honest, for instance.

    ” Oooooh, this will offend a fundy somewhere. :D :P Very good work, keep it up!”

    What is that person saying? someone who believes the whole Bible as God’s word is wrong? I don’t get that comment.
    Also if the cartoon were “Alan first realised he was a paedophile while watching the disney channel”. Paedophilia is also something some people probably can’t help, like homosexuality, does that make paedophilia okay?

    I don’t know if I’m getting my point across cos I can never say how I feel properly – especially in writing. I know in my heart how I feel and it is this in a nut shell, I believe homosexuality is sinful, but people sin, maybe me more than most people, I would still embrace a man or woman as a part of my family in Christ no matter how sinful they are, and that is that.

  89. jonbirch says:

    paedophilia is abuse of another. there is no way of practising paedophilia without damaging someone.
    rape is abuse of another. there is no way of practising rape without damaging someone.
    homosexuality is an orientation which by no means necessarily leads to the abuse of another… i suppose it could, in fact i’m sure it sometimes does, but it often leads to love.
    heterosexuality is an orientation which by no means necessarily leads to the abuse of another… i suppose it could, in fact i’m sure it sometimes does, but it often leads to love.

    there is a massive difference between one’s orientation and how one behaves.

    many homosexuals and heterosexuals abuse one another and use one another, that we know… but it is not because of their orientation, but how they choose to behave.

  90. Steve says:

    Drew:

    “at the time when Copernicus and Gallileo rather awkwardly pointed out that the earth is round”

    Me:

    LOL

  91. Steve says:

    Jon, “he who is without sin” is, according to many scholars, not even meant to be in the Bible so you shouldn’t really be using it as a teaching of Jesus.

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