Monday, July 20, 2009

Leaving Homosexuality: A Rant

Although I know you expect much better, dear reader, this post will be a bit of a rant. I'm pushed for time but I just wanted to say a few things that have been bugging me about the ex-gay/SSA-struggling world.

Recently, Patrick Fitzgerald of XGW wrote a lengthy piece reviewing Alan Chambers' new book Leaving Homosexuality. I have read a few chapters of the book, and found it to pretty much be the typical Exodus routine all over again. Now, obviously, Fitzgerald and I come from very different worldviews when it comes to homosexuality. I believe active homosexual behavior is a sin, and he does not. At the same time, I pretty much have all the same problems with the book that he does.

There is a lot of double speak among ex-gay ministries, and it simply bothers me. One day, homosexual refers to an orientation. The next day, it's referred to as a behavior (even though that's a rather ridiculous definition since a gay virgin is still gay and a straight one is still straight -- Battling Christian recently wrote about this). The focus on emotional dependency is also just very bizarre. I dislike it very greatly when ex-gay ministries put out so many warning signs about "codependency" to men and women who struggle with same-sex attractions. I certainly understand that some people can become obsessive and idolatrous about their friendships. At the same time, as Fitzgerald pointed out, a lot of the "warning signs" of emotional dependency that Exodus puts out are, well, just typical loving thoughts.

What kind of friend would I be if I didn't depend on my friends? If I just said, "Well, I could take your or leave you. Your presence in my life doesn't really change anything" I would be a jerk. It seems sometimes that Exodus just doesn't allow people to have actual emotional intimacy with anyone (unless it's with a woman), and that simply bothers me. They also, despite what they say, really do see a deletion of SSA as a sign of holiness. If you're 50, chaste as a monk, but have never married and have no desires for women, you're essentially told you're settling for "second best," no matter what kind of blessings God has put into your life. It's horrendously patronizing and I really think that attitude is what leads so many guys to pursue dangerous things like reparative therapy.

I don't necessarily have time to write about all the things that are wrong with reparative therapy, but even staunch conservatives and ex-gays are starting to realize the problems with it. Here have been some good posts about the issue by Peter Ould, Warren Throckmorton, and TAG.

So, to me, that's the frustrating thing about Exodus and Leaving Homosexuality. The focus is so scattered. Politics, psychology, marriage, heterosexuality, and sex are talked about way more than Christ. The Chambers book barely had any Scriptural references. It relied on anecdotes and studies that weren't even named or referenced (frankly, there weren't even footnotes or annotations, and it was meant to be taken seriously?) Obviously, I'm not saying that these things aren't important. If someone has psychological wounds that need healing, they should get therapy. But don't assume that all SSA guys have them. If someone wants to vote Republican, let them. But don't make Proposition 8 the Gospel. If someone meets a girl and wants to get married, and is totally honest about his past and his current situation, awesome! But make sure that he knows he'll be considered a strong Christian man no matter what his marital status is. This, however, is where Exodus seems to fail. There is little nuance or recognition of the amazing diverstiy that exists among SSA people.

By making this issue so monolithic, they essentially cast aside Christians who don't fit into the mold. And those Christians aren't a fringe. There are lots of us, but when books like Leaving Homosexuality come out, it's pretty much shown that we aren't welcome. They think they have it all figured out and have no more to learn. And that, I think, is why Exodus often falls so short of their potential to actually proclaim the Gospel.

65 comments:

Pomoprophet said...

good post!

Richard said...

I have long appreciated your blog, and that of Battling Christian, in stimulating searching and probing questions about our struggle with the sin nature remaining within us as Christians.

I too share a mixed reaction to Exodus ministries with their double speak or more pointedly their reparative therapy model sanctified by the occasional Bible verse. It reminds me we can almost completely identify with our sin nature so as to find meaning and significance in this inner focus. We deceive ourselves thinking we are tormented, noble sufferers, always requiring repair.

Truth is we are Christians who have been justified and sanctified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ regardless of what sin previously dominated our life. We have been called to live a life of freedom, joy and peace moderated by self-control and over-flowing with patience, kindness and goodness.

Jay said...

Pomoprophet: Thanks!

Richard: Well, you certainly said exactly what I wish I had said in the post. I totally agree. Thanks, bro!

RikFleming said...

Mondays seem to be particularly appropriate for having a rant. I don't know why...

Hopefully the ex-gay movement (or whatever you want to call it) will undergo a theological transformation one day, not to change its views on morality but to improve its doctrine of Biblical anthropology (Doctrine of man) and Harmatiology (Doctrine of Sin) as well as the means of grace by which Scripture calls us to deal with the various effects of the original sin (the effects of the fall) on the human psyche.

But even more so, I hope and pray that the CHURCH will become more Biblically transformed in how it deals not just with sin, but sinners and the battles we Christians go through in our pursuit of holiness.

But before I can expect the church, Exodus International and the Christian culture at large to change I need to change.

May reformation and transformation begin with me

Erik

MR said...

Jay,

Yes, the focus among some ex-gays on emotional dependence goes too far when it forbids expressions of deeply felt love. I don’t like to use that phrase, partly because people abbreviate it ED, which shares the same initials with a different affliction…

Anyway, as I have shared before, as a Christian man there actually is a line I should not cross in expressing affection to guys. I believe it becomes unhealthy if I become obsessed, demand an exclusive relationship with my friend, or become jealous.

There is nothing wrong with hugging, crying together, saying “I love you”, sacrificing for him, displaying loyalty, or telling him the beauty I see in his character.

About reparative therapy… I just don’t see it as something the Bible would recommend. I see commandments that forbid gay sex, but the New Testament also clearly teaches that celibacy is just as valid a way of life as heterosexual marriage.

Brandon said...

I think it's sad that churches in general (or, the church at large) still haven't got their fingers around the issue of homosexuality. What's more, it does bother me that Exodus--the loudest Christian organization attempting to gets its finger around the issue--is doing it wrong in so many regards, confusing and frustrating more people than anything.

I agree with you that Exodus seems to have a problem defining and explaining itself. And it certainly outrages me whenever they suggest, or just say flat out, that you're not where you should be if you're not married or working towards becoming attracted to women. Where exactly is that mandated in the bible?

Anyway, to keep things short, I agree with you. I do think Exodus is, at least, a good start. It's better than nothing, and they have brought about a lot of good for a lot of people that I don't think can be disregarded. But Exodus certainly does need to work on itself.

TRiG said...

Well, my opinion of Exodus probably isn't fit to be expressed in polite company, but that's another issue.

Uganda, anyone?

TRiG.

kurt_t said...

Excellent rant, Jay. You've really outdone yourself.

A lot of the rhetoric that I've seen coming out of Exodus sounds so incoherent to me that I question the mental health of the people saying it. "The opposite of homosexuality is holiness." is an example of that. That just doesn't make any sense. I don't care where you stand on the issue of gays or Jesus or anything else, the opposite of homosexuality is not holiness, and the opposite of holiness is not homosexuality. If you think the opposite of homosexuality is holiness, you're living in some alternate reality.

Also, the expression "playing house" gets thrown around a lot in ex gay propaganda. If a gay couple has been together a long time and they're leading a fairly conventional life, they're "playing house" or maybe they're "playing house in their parents' clothes."

Well, what kind of reality are you living in where you think that two adults who go to work and pay taxes, walk the dog, change out the air filters once a year, drop off the kids at football practice and get their tires rotated and their oil changed regularly are "playing house?" How is that "playing house?" I hear somebody characterize a same-sex couple's life as "playing house" and that sounds like mental illness to me. That sounds like a schizophrenic delusion.

Pity4Um said...

I totally agree with what you said here. Because you live in NC I am taking the time to write here, as I don't blog as a rule. We need bodies. You might be a welcome guest at Charlotte Pride this weekend to demonstrate against homosexuality and put practicing sinners in their place. Like you I am physically celibate and feel the joy I give God by pleasing him so. I still use pornography (alot, eeeks) but I am not physically having gay sex and God tells me it's cool because I'm watching and not doing, I am really quite relieved with that.

But with you, maybe you could make a sign and come with us. Mine reads, "God kills sexually practicing homos, repent sinner!" That pretty much sums it up right out of Leviticus. What would your sign say? Anyway, it would be great knowing you might consider coming.

Thanks for your constant uplifting reminders of those gay infidels that sin, and how perfect we are for not doing so, at least sexually. I think we will definitely reach heaven for doing God's work and smiting where smite is needed. We are after all, God's "warriors".
I noticed in your writings that you like porn, have you watched any lately? It's really alright y'know. When we do make it to Heaven, I dibs top bunk with the LCD tv and DVD player. The built-in type, thank you God. ; )

I really do appreciate being able to come here and read supportive candor and feel refreshed in the spirit. Any words of wisdom for me oh wise one? You seem to have a great grip on scripture and I'm always open to learning.

Hope you can make it this weekend!

Jay said...

Rik, MR, and Brandon: Thanks for your thoughts.

TRiG: Oh, don't get me started on Uganda. In the best case scenario, Exodus was absolutely ignorant of the climate towards gays over there, and were completely ignorant of Scott Lively and his track record. That, or they were totally knowledgeable, and they see the gay witch hunt currently going on over there as a good thing. Either way, whoever was responsible for that circus is reprehensible.

Kurt T.: I agree. I may disagree with someone's relationship, but I try my best to be respectful about it, and to remember the things that you pointed out. I believe the concept is called "putting yourself in another person's shoes," and many conservatives aren't very good at it.

Pity4Um: Two things are going on here -- you're either a sarcastic troll, or you're serious and need some serious teaching about what the Bible actually says. You need to give me some proof that you aren't the former.

TRiG said...

Pity4Um is ... interesting.

He could be trying to make some sort of point (i.e., trolling with a purpose) but I'm not sure what that point might be.

I'd say he's just, erm, having fun.

TRiG.

Rachael Starke said...

Jay,

This was really well written, and made me think of two things:

1. When you have parachurch organizations trying to fill the gaps the actual church should be working on, it doesn't ever seem to work. When the church is the church and the Gospel is proclaimed and lived, that works.

2. What you're describing is I think part of a larger problem of the church not properly respecting and advocating the essential role single people as an entire group have in the life of a church. Our identity as the body of Christ is defined by our collective relationship with Him, not by the presence or absence of a ring on our left hand.

Jay said...

Hey Rachael!

Your post reminded me of some of the good things Exodus does. Several online contacts and friends of mine recently went to the national Exodus conference near Chicago. Even though some of them disagreed with some of the political or psychology talk like I do, they still had an amazing time.

The main reason is because many of these guys and gals come from very traditional church backgrounds where they are either completely closeted or only reveal their struggles to a few people (and aren't always received well). Exodus provided them an opportunity to be in a room where they could be completely safe and honest, where no one was going to judge them if they held their wrist a certain way -- and certainly no one was going to look down upon them based on their past sins or current struggles.

It was, I think, an extremely uplifting and encouraging experience for a lot of guys. At the same time, it made me a little sad. I don't like the idea that the only place SSA Christians can feel 100% comfortable is in a room full of other SSA Christians.

There's a reason that SSA is a fairly rare issue -- that there will only be a handful of struggling people per congregation. It's because, I think, we're meant to integrate into the church as a whole. To share our unique struggles just like everyone else. There shouldn't be a community for SSA folks and a community for alcoholics and a community for gossips... we should all be in there together.

RealityChk said...

Telling someone as Alan Chambers has, that change is not complete until the SSA thoughts are gone and you have gone str8, is about as realistic and coersive as telling someone they have to be celibate to be in favor with God Eunich style. Neither stance is Biblical. Both come from the same negative judgemental sector of religion, and both produce a role model that is damaging and abusive to the gay community and the world community as a whole.
If you really want to make an impact, have positive role models like Ellen, Rachel, Elton types who have great loving long term relationships, come speak at your church or events you might create. We don't need a whole new breed of people showing how disowning ones sex drive out of tyranny is somehow "Godly". We need more input from the positive sector of gay sex love and relationships that truly teach unconditional love to the masses, creating acceptance.
Unfortunately, Alan and all of you with this twisted perception of gay sex are suffering and "struggling" from ongoing religious sexual abuse and could really use a good dose of good quality secular therapy. But then you seem to go to a str8s-only based religion for solace, the very place you received your destructive sexual wound at the onset, which simply sustains the resulting pain. Hmm, now that just makes a whole lot of sense now doesn't it.
As a straight male, I have much more respect for someone who owns their sex drive and educates me in their way of life, than the disowning opposite. Disowning looks rather dweebish. Either way, your negative celibacy example is discounting acceptance of gays worldwide, as is Alan's stance.
As I would say to Alan, take a look at the effects you are having on society as a whole and see if you are really helping by disowning your sex drive out of polarizing beliefs. Maybe there is another way where you will garnish more self respect and respect from others by not being quite so sexually rebellious and grand-standing.
Learn to manage your sex drive instead of it managing you, and that doesn't mean cutting it off or overdoing it. Find your sexual balance,and if you can't,find a good therapist to help clear up your inner sexual mess.
Maybe then you could actually help the sexual confusion that abounds within this cultural situation, rather than offering one more diversion. Because currently, I see your sexually disowning celibacy stance as part of the acceptance problem, rather than part of the solution.

Jay said...

RealityChk,

Thanks for your comment. However, maybe you're a little confused about what the goal is for people who struggle with SSA. This isn't an "acceptance problem." I believe that homosexual sex, like premarital or extramarital sex, is a sinful behavior. Because I am a Christian, I want to avoid sin, because I love God and want to please Him.

The goal of the Gospel isn't to create this happy little world where everyone feels accepted and secure. The Gospel tells us that we all are sinners -- straight or gay, healthy or sick, rich or poor -- and we're all cut off from God eternally without the intervention and substitution of Jesus Christ, in whom we must have faith.

Religion isn't some social construct that helps us all get along in some "world community." Christianity is true, and I believe that the Bible is true, and thus I want to live by it no matter what kind of struggles that gives me.

RealityChk said...

"Religion isn't some social construct that helps us all get along in some "world community."

And therein lies the problem.

In your "religion" you choose to separate and negatively judge others and each other as Christians, this is why you war within, amongst yourselves and with the world, trying so hard to be the "perfect" example. So if the focus is to not get along, well you have definitely hit the mark on that goal. This is why you constantly get swatted down by civil law, because your judgemental thinking is harmful to others, Christian and secular. You just can't make a case for good common sense.

Warring is not the answer, as produced by your polarizing "beliefs" along with Alan Chambers.

Tell your happy dog to not fetch, as you throw the ball across the yard, and watch his confusion. That is where you are at.
If that is your metaphor on gay sex, then heave ho. But it is not real. It's forced imbalanced and unnatural. This is why you will keep warring. And if your goal is suffering instead of happiness, then you are in the right place, as you truly have created the perfect storm.

Even perfect storms end, and in the end, you and your "angle", will never gain full footing, as we are already seeing by passing laws against your odd and irrational thinking. You are losing voice everyday. You will fully fail. Not because you don't have good intentions, but because by belittling the world sexual community causing alienation, you went about attaining your goals, badly.

As you watch and get more years knowledge and experience under your belt, you will see said failure fully come to pass.

Judgement and love make not a happy couple.

RealityChk said...

PS Unfortunately for the rest of us, yours and Alan's stances smack of superstition and creative confusion, of which sane Christians will always throw water on.
As in The Wizard of Oz, we all know who got the water toss. ; )

Jay said...


In your "religion" you choose to separate and negatively judge others and each other as Christians
.

And aren't you negatively judging me?

So if the focus is to not get along, well you have definitely hit the mark on that goal.

I didn't say the focus is to not get along. I just said that the focus isn't to get along. World peace would be a great thing, but not if the Gospel had to be sacrificed to attain it. The world will pass away. Eternity is forever, and it's what's at stake.

This is why you constantly get swatted down by civil law, because your judgemental thinking is harmful to others.

And I could say that your judgmental thinking is harmful to me. I wouldn't dream of making a law against it, though, because that flies in the face of everything this country was founded upon. The cornerstone of human rights is freedom of expression.

...but because by belittling the world sexual community causing alienation...

I really can't think of a single person I've ever alienated. Disagreeing with someone isn't the same as belittling them.

Judgement and love make not a happy couple.

Nor do poor spelling and thoughtless accusations.

Jay said...

PS Unfortunately for the rest of us, yours and Alan's stances smack of superstition and creative confusion, of which sane Christians will always throw water on.

You're acting like the Bible doesn't say anything about sexual ethics. I'm simply doing my best to follow what I think the Bible says.

Are you a Christian? Do you even know what the Gospel is? Have you even read the Bible?

A. Friend said...

Thanks Jay.

I think I might get the reference to "Charlotte" in one of the comments. I listen to Dr. Michael Brown a lot on the internet and he is based in Charlotte.

He has a program called "Love has a Better Way" which he describes as an event where church members "surround" Charlotte's gay pride celebrations with love and worship and reach out in love and compassion.

Judging from what I have heard only, I think it's not your run-of-the-mill "anti-gay protest". When he speak about homosexuality he has a very different demeanor than what you'd expect (in a very, very good way).

I think the event is coming up soon. You might want to go see for yourself (assuming you're nearby and are interested and have time). I'd love to hear what kind of event it was.

A. Friend said...

" Jay said...
Hey Rachael!

Your post reminded me of some of the good things Exodus does. Several online contacts and friends of mine recently went to the national Exodus conference near Chicago. Even though some of them disagreed with some of the political or psychology talk like I do, they still had an amazing time.

The main reason is because many of these guys and gals come from very traditional church backgrounds where they are either completely closeted or only reveal their struggles to a few people (and aren't always received well). Exodus provided them an opportunity to be in a room where they could be completely safe and honest, where no one was going to judge them if they held their wrist a certain way -- and certainly no one was going to look down upon them based on their past sins or current struggles.

It was, I think, an extremely uplifting and encouraging experience for a lot of guys. At the same time, it made me a little sad. I don't like the idea that the only place SSA Christians can feel 100% comfortable is in a room full of other SSA Christians.

There's a reason that SSA is a fairly rare issue -- that there will only be a handful of struggling people per congregation. It's because, I think, we're meant to integrate into the church as a whole. To share our unique struggles just like everyone else. There shouldn't be a community for SSA folks and a community for alcoholics and a community for gossips... we should all be in there together.

10:41 AM"

---------------------------

Amen!

TRiG said...

World peace would be a great thing, but not if the Gospel had to be sacrificed to attain it.

It's statements like this which make me think of Christianity as immoral.

TRiG.

Jay said...

Let me clarify what I meant. I didn't mean World Peace in terms of global economic prosperity, widespread democracy, and lack of military conflict. I think that type of peace -- the purely political and economic kind -- is totally congruent with the Gospel and is something we all should work towards.

What I meant is that World Peace as RealityChk defines it -- where everyone agrees on everything and no one is offended by anything -- is not possible with the Gospel. Heck, I don't think it's possible with any worldview.

TRiG said...

It seems you're not saying what I thought you were saying, Jay.

One of us, at least, is confused.

World peace would be a great thing, but not if the Gospel had to be sacrificed to attain it. The world will pass away. Eternity is forever, and it's what's at stake.

What you're saying, as I understand you, is that the imaginary world is more important than the real world. This would put you firmly in the same camp as the immams who opposed a polio vacceine because it contained antibodies derived from pig serum, and the Catholics who preach against condom use in sub-Saharan Africa. This is the camp of moral pontificators who don't have the first clue about morality, and it's not a healthy place to be.

Once you've said that morality is about God rather than people, once you've made that fundamental disconnect, you are no longer a moral being. You can allow for anything. You can rationalise the Holocaust and the Inquisition, not to mention the slave trade, because people no longer matter to you. Hurting people is no longer an a priori immoral act. If it's immoral at all, it is immoral only because God says so, for God is the sole arbitor of morality.

That's a dangerous road, and it's the one I thought you were going down.

Perhaps I'm wrong. I certainly hope so.

TRiG.

donsands said...

Quite an intellectual post for me. I've never been the good learner, nor student. I dropped out of Towson State College in the fall of 1971, and I wish I could do it all over again, because I was an idiot.

Great thoughts just the same Jay; and nice comments to read.

As I reflected on the thoughts of this post and comments it seems the problem will always be truth.

I believe God has given us His truth in the Bible. There are simple truths for even a child to recognize and know:

"Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
Thou hast bled and died for me,
I will henceforth live for Thee."

And many more simple truths as well. And yet, there are deep truths, and difficult truths (2 Peter 3:15-16).

The Bible is the foundation, and Jesus is the Cornerstone. He died, and rose from the dead, and so the Holy Scriptures are testified to by the Lord Himself!

have a great weekend Jay, and a blessed Lord's Day.

Chris said...

hey dude. did you see this situation?
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,534614,00.html?test=latestnews

RealityChk said...

I have read the Bible, I am an avid follower of Jesus, and I refer to Jesus as the best therapist that ever walked the planet. I have been asked by Jesus to let this current conversation go. However, I will recommend you watch the movie "Agnes of God". It is hypnotically engaging and you may find it has compelling archetypes. You may find you want to post about it.
As I have intimated before, I think anyone with sexual dysfunction has severe sexual emotional wounds that need attention, and that is the responsibility of each of us once recognized. Or we continue down a path of emotional destruction.
My focus is not to judge you. However, when there are lives at stake and you continue to push negative anecdotes from "the bubble" out into the world about homosexuality, it is quite frustrating to those of us who are trying to normalize the world sexual template with honesty integrity love and acceptance regarding human sexual expression. This focus makes it safe and peaceful for you and yours to walk the streets at night. This will never occur by negatively cutting off an entire minority at the belt line in an un unified attempt to "please God", which is what you and Alan represent.
There is good reason Jesus said nothing about homosexuality in the Bible. Though I feel it had to do with timing, I will leave that for you to ascertain for yourself.
I ask you if you so desire, to listen and glean from Jesus on this subject, as there is much learning for us all.
Thanks for listening.

Jay said...

TRiG: You're dead wrong. If that's the kind of person you think I am, then you know next to nothing about what I believe, but you've already connected me to all of these atrocities based off my belief in Christ.

Frankly, you're just getting to be a very dull commenter. I'm getting very tired of you saying the same old thing, and I'm wondering when you're going to take a hint.

Don Sands: Never too late to go back to school. :) Thanks for the thoughts.

Chris: I have heard about it. I think if he has been coerced into that by his parents, then that's wrong. People should be allowed to make decisions without fearing for their safety or financial security.

RealityChk: Did you know that my ex-boyfriend is still one of my best friends? That my best friend is a lesbian? That they know my beliefs and have read this blog? That I'm seen as a part of the gay community on my college campus? People disagree with my beliefs but they know I'm not attacking them, so I'm not in some kind of "bubble." I know both sides, and I've made my choice based on what I think Christ wants for me, as revealed through Scripture.

RealityChk said...

Would you vote "yes" for gay marriage? Would you vote "no" to re-instate sodomy laws?

Jay said...

I support gay marriage and I think sodomy laws are an absolutely ridiculous thing to have. The law has no right to pry into a person's bedroom.

Honestly, even a casual reading of my blog can give you a clue about my political philosophy. Just look at my "About Me." I'm a minarchist, and if you don't know what that means, look it up.

TRiG said...

RealityChk, Jay certainly confuses me sometimes, but he does seem to be a basically good person.

I had planned to use this weekend to write a few interesting essays on my own blog and on Box Turtle Bulletin, but in fact I've only just turned my computer on now, on Sunday evening. I spent most of the time reading His Dark Materials.

I think I'll go back to h2g2, where I talk about a greater variety of subjects than I do here, and therefore am not generally perceived as boring (I hope).

Or perhaps I'll go to bed.

TRiG.

Jay said...

It's not that you're boring as a person, TRiG. It's just that drive-by comments insulting religion get old after awhile. You already seem to have your mind made up, and you certainly aren't going to change my mind with your attitude, nor do you seem really interested in sustaining a successful, prolonged dialogue, since you aren't often respectful.

I'm fine with having frequent comments from folks who disagree with me, but not if they don't even seem to try to find any common ground or respect.

RealityChk said...

Then that begs the question; how do you marry such opposite conditions? On the one hand you are a gay conservative Christian who takes a celibate stance believing gay sex is a sin for everyone doing it, then on the other, you support gay marriage which includes gay sex and you would not legally ban gay sex. I get the Minarchist part however, that hasn't stopped Christians, though you could be different.
If a confused gay person came to you about how to reconcile being gay, actively sexual and Christian, how in the world would you council that situation and still honor their Christianity? Would you sway more in one direction than the other?

Jay said...

RealityChk: It's not the government's place to enforce religious practices. Christian sexual ethics are precisely that: Christian. There are certainly things that are abusive or wrong: polygamy, pederasty, bestiality, etc.

But relationships between consenting adults aren't the law's business. There are supposedly secular arguments against gay marriage, but none of them really seem to have much weight, and they essentially usually fall back on "the Bible says it's wrong," which can't be used in a legal argument.

Now, if a gay person came to me and asked what they thought about Christianity and gay sex, I'd tell them. If they didn't agree, then I wouldn't judge their hearts. That's not my place, either. I would still consider them Christian friends; just Christian friends with whom I disagree.

I can't say I don't have an opinion and wouldn't try to persuade them. But people try to persuade me towards more gay-affirming theology, or away from Christianity altogether. I don't think they're being disrespectful if they do it appropriately, and I try to be as appropriate an nuanced as I can be when talking to friends about this issue.

Anonymous said...

As you have said, "all sins are equal". With this in mind, and the fact the Bible clumps homosexuality along with murderers prostitutes and thieves, how can you allow the law to accept homosexual marriage and vote in support of it, and suppress the others? Are you somehow letting homosexuality off the hook and not the others? It would seem all are potentially punishable by death via Hebrew biblical law, why not gay sex and gay marriage if all sins are "equal"?

Jay said...

Easy, some sins directly affect the human rights of others. Stealing takes away someone's property. Murder takes away someone's life. Prostitution, well, I'll have to get back to you on that.

I mean, if a Christian made laws solely based on what is sin, they would ask that we live in a theocracy. Because unbelief in Christ is a sin. But the vast majority of Christians wouldn't want that, because they recognize the human rights of people to believe what they want. Likewise, I respect the rights of people to have relationships with whom they want, so long as we're talking about consenting adults.

donsands said...

Jay, have you seen those Christians who are reconstructionists?

"The social structure advocated by Christian Reconstructionism would have the clergy, laity and government, individually and corporately, to be in ultimate submission to the moral principles of the Bible, including the Old Testament, while retaining their separate jurisdictional spheres of authority and roles in society as inferred from principles of biblical law, both Old and New Testaments."

They want to see the whole law of God held to for the Church.

I disagree, but they do make a good debate of it.

The one thing we shall always contend with, even in the Church, is the depravity of mankind. Evene the best local church is full of sinners, though they are new creations in Christ.

But, the New Earth will be fully, and 100% pure and righteous, where we will have to no longer deal with sin.

Christ, has fulfilled the law, and has sent His Holy Spirit to be a guarantee for each Christian, as He abides in us, and spreads His holiness, truth, and love within our hearts and minds.

What a Savior and God we have! He is worthy of all our devotion, adoration, and love.

have a blessed evening.

Jay said...

In my view, political philosophy is like medicine. It is logical and uses real, evidence-based methods to help something function properly. While medicine helps the body function properly, political philosophy helps society function properly.

The fact is that, due to humanity's flawed state, Christian Reconstructionalism would be absolutely horrible for both society and for true Christians. Democracy, with as limited government as possible to keep order, is -- I believe -- the most efficient way for society to function smoothly and for Christians (like all people) to practice our beliefs authentically.

e2c said...

If anything, Exodus has left whatever basis in reality it had at one time - it's so politicized now, and the things that Chambers says (as in, being gay and celibate is wrong) no longer make any sense to me personally.

The template (dependent relationships, etc.) just doesn't fit well anymore, either.

Fwiw, I'm straight but used to support a particular Exodus affiliate. I can no longer do so and live with myself. The contradictions are too many, too obvious - and always dodged.

Somehow, it seems more honest for people to just say "I'm LGBTQ" (whichever terms fit best) and choose to follow God. (No matter whether "Side A" or "Side B.")

donsands said...

"..due to humanity's flawed state, Christian Reconstructionalism would be absolutely horrible for both society and for true Christians."

I agree with you there Jay.

And yet the brothers in Christ who go with this teaching are fine Christians.

I suppose when it comes to the Law of the Lord, we will always have controversies.

Law and Grace don't mix, as Matin Luther said. But we need to understand both Law and Grace. We better had, for the Lord demands we go to His Word and read, study, and ponder it, so we can understand it.

The Law is good, holy, and spiritual. Mankind is carnal, and full of sin.
The Law exposes our sin. Our hearts are then touched by God's grace. The Lord quickens our dead spirits, and the soul is convicted, penitent, and see the goodness of the Gospel, and so asks for God's forgiveness and mercy. And it's this fertile heart where the Word is planted, and so then bears fruit for the glory of the Father.

God used His holy Law in Israel, in order to set them apart from the ungodly, and perverse world of foreign deities, and to exalt Yahweh as the One true God of the world.
And so Israel was to be a light, but they were not. They became as the world, and worse.

The Church today is to be that light. And much of the Church in America, conservative, and liberal, have no light to shine.
I do believe there will be a great awakening though. May the Lord glorify Himself like never before. Amen.

RealityChk said...

Interesting take . . . though any suggestion that would incur guilt, well therein lies the problem, as unfortunately it is skillfully taught and an all too eagerly learned trait brought on through the younger teaching years of life.
Have you ever read A Course in Miracles? This entire sexual cultural debacle is settled in the Preface, the first 13 pages. The Course is written in Christic terminology with the Crucifixion being fully explained in it's correct entirety in the first 30 pages of the text - - - in "first person". Some have called it The Second Coming, though the course explicitly explains that this is not true.
You have mentioned that God would probably still love you even if you were an actively sexual gay male. You are right. This is true. In fact, he would not love you any more or any less whether celibate or otherwise, as His love is constant and unchangeable. God's love is the definition of "Reality". This world cut off, is the definition of "Insanity", things unconstant and changeable or as E2C said "contradictory".
With this in mind, you might find a dove-tail for your insights by giving it a bit of a read. It was "scribed" in 1978 by a non-practicing Jewish woman, which when read, slowly becomes quite fitting. I will say it is not an easy read, but you are quite articulate in your knowledge of words, so you might find it easier than most.
Either way be well on your journey. With all our dramas on this planet, there surely is no shortage of interesting actors and directors keeping us forever entertained.

donsands said...

"..as His love is constant and unchangeable." -Chk

For His own. But what about those who are not Christ's?

If a genuine believer in Christ is living in sin, then this child will be disciplined by His loving Father in heaven.
No discipline, then the sinner isn't a child of God.
Surely God is loving to all mankind; even the unthankful rebels He gives rain to.

But His perfect love for His Son, and that's a perfect holy love without any taintedness whatsoever, is something only believers can experience, never unbelievers.
And when God brings one of His lost children, who has been living for himself, and in sin, to the Cross, and this sinner humbly repents, and trusts in the Savior, then all heaven rejoices.

Before this sinner came to Christ, all heaven was storing up wrath and judgment for this same sinner, and that was me.

What a merciful and gracious Lord we have.

I also believe the Bible teaches that God freely loves, even more so then we do.

I love Christ frist, my wife second, and my family third. These are diffent loves.
I no way love any other woman as I love my wife.

If my wife was on a ship and I saw that ship sinking, and there were hundreds of women drowning, but I could only save one, I would without question save my wife, though I would hope I could have saved them all.

Thanks for letting me share. God bless

TRiG said...

Democracy, with as limited government as possible to keep order, is -- I believe -- the most efficient way for society to function smoothly.

I disagree, actually, but I'd like to read a blog post of yours on political philosophy. It might lead somewhere interesting. And my political beliefs aren't at all fixed yet, so you'd have an opportunity to influence me.

TRiG.

RealityChk said...

donsands, you bring up some interesting points . . . my viewpoints are a bit different but hopefully you are open to listening . . .

You said . . . "For His own. But what about those who are not Christ's?"

Taken from A Course In Miracles, this may answer your question much better than I.

"When the Atonement has been completed, all talents will be shared by all the Sons of God. God is not partial. All His children have His total Love, and all His gifts are freely given to everyone alike. "Except ye become as little children" means that unless you fully recognize your complete dependence on God you cannot know the real power of the Son in his true relationship with the Father. The specialness of God's Sons does not stem from exclusion but from inclusion. All my brothers are special. If they believe they are deprived of anything, their perception becomes distorted. When this occurs the whole family of God, or the Sonship, is impaired in its relationships" ACIM Text Chapter 1 Pg 12 Verse 3.

You also said . . . "Before this sinner came to Christ, all heaven was storing up wrath and judgment for this same sinner, and that was me."

Again, better than I could state, from ACIM:

"The statement "Vengeance is mine saith the Lord" is a misperception by which one assigns his own "evil" past to God. The "evil " past has nothing to do with God. He did not create it and He does not maintain it. God does not believe in retribution. His Mind does not create that way. He does not hold your "evil" deeds against you. Is it likely that He would hold them against Me? Be very sure that you recognize how utterly impossible this assumption is, and how entirely it arises from projection of the ego. This kind of error is responsible for a host of related errors, including the belief that God rejected Adam and forced him out of the Garden of Eden. It is also why you may believe from time to time that I am misdirecting you. I have made every effort to use words that are almost impossible to distort, but it is always possible to twist symbols around if you wish." ACIM Chapter 3 Pg 36 Verse 3.

I know this may throw a bit of a monkey wrench in your current belief system however, regardless of "beliefs" which are tenable, I like to think it is our responsibility and privilage as Teachers of God to protect the truth, which is constant and unwavering. Your own decision to release yourself from fear is what set you free to the miraculous love of Jesus and God, as you have free will to do so at any time. That is the "Miracle". A Miracle is nothing less and nothing more than a shift from the ascertion of fear to the deep realization and application of love which abolished your fear, and that is what all of creation compliments you for. Love in and of itself, is the Miracle, and is all there "really" is. Any action that is free from fear, is of love. All else is useless drama.

Thank you also for listening.

Jeff S. said...

I'm going to have to come back and absorb this post and all the comments in a little more detail, but I appreciated your exchange with RealityChk in regard to bblical morality vs. civil law and positions on gay marriage and sodomy laws. Many Christians have a hard time understanding the place of civil law, believing that if the Bible says something is sinful that it should be legislated and apply to everyone. If that were the case, then we'd have to go back to the days of making adultery illegal and other such sins. I have grown to the point of being able to accept, even support gay marriage in civil law. But that does not translate for me to supporting gay marriage within the Body of Christ. Equal rights under the law is a different thing than being joined in the eyes of God and within the Body of Christ.

I am also pondering your statement about being considered part of the gay community on your campus. I think people like Andy Marin are probably being considerd similarly. It made me think of how the Pharisees probably regarded Jesus, as a friend to the tax collectors and prositutes. May more of us evangelical Christians be seen as friends within our LGBT communities.

Friend742 said...

Jay, Thanks for your great blog. I usually don't type on these blogs but I really like yours.

I am particularly impressed with commenter mention of A Course n Miracles. That along with the Bible was what caused me NOT to commit suicide and figure out my sexuality and faith. Now it is no longer an issue, like at all. Anything you can do to help in all ways will help our gay bros and sisters. (I'll be glad to share my insights if you like)
It very well could be Jesus talking in the ACIM text as the doc seems just too profound for the common mind. Hey, with the condition of the world today, I think I'd pick this way of communicating rather than get mobbed and possibly crucified again.
Anyway, interesting yours is the only blog around that mentions it. Have you read it or interested at all?
RealityChk --- The Crucifixion is mentioned in the first 50 pages rather than the first 30.
PS. Alan Chambers was a major hurdle I had to get through in my process. He seems to offer up one confusion after another.

Jay said...

TRiG: A blog post about politics should happen eventually. :)

RealityChk: When you're quoting a pseudo-science/pseud-spiritualist book like A Course In Miracles to argue your case, rather than the Bible, don't expect orthodox Christians to agree with you.

Jeff: I like Andy Marin's approach, even though we have some different conclusions. Always great to have you stop by the blog, Jeff!

Friend742: I am glad that you avoided suicide. I really am. Still, I can't get behind A Course In Miracles, and I think it's offensive to say that Jesus has spoken through a book such as that, since, if RealityChk is representing it correctly, it contradicts nearly everything that Jesus stood for and did as the savior of mankind. It perverts the Gospel in the most horrible ways.

donsands said...

"God does not believe in retribution. His Mind does not create that way. He does not hold your "evil" deeds against you."

Did he just make this up or something?

The Holy Writ is very clear that God holds mankind accountable for each and every sin, and on J-Day will reveal even the secret sins.

And yet, God is merciful beyond all compare, and sent His Son to become a curse, for us the cursed and damned.
Jesus lived a perfect sinless life and then died as the Lamb of God, who took away the sins of all who would come to the Cross for mercy and forgiveness.

How does a man, or woman, come to the Cross.

Simply by crying out to the sovereign Savior of the universe, and asking Him to forgive you, and believing in your heart that He rose from the dead on the third day, and now Jesus Christ lives and reigns over all heaven and earth.

So, I would urge you Reality to go to the Cross, and cry out to the Savior who died and absorbed the full fury of God's wrath against our sins, and so your sins can be blotted out forever, and forgiveness for your sins will be granted.
And God will also sanctify you as you abide in Him and His Word, the Holy Scriptures.

The Bible is truth. There are a bunch of false teachers and authors out there. Beware of phonies.

TRiG said...

In the meantime, have some socialist cake.

TRiG.

RealtyChk said...

I think the word "perverts" and "pseudo" are randomly used inaccurately. One must take into consideration that most if not all of current day Christianity is derived from Paganism to subvert natural law for patriarchal control and remove women from potential priesthood.

Paganism focused most of it's attention on the celestial bodies. The Jewish worship day is based on the Pagan God Saturn and translates into their present worship day Saturday. The marriage ring is taken from the ring around Saturn signifying the ring of God. Sunday was the Egyptian day of worship honoring the Sun God, currently used today by Christianity.

Isis was the goddess of wisdom, Pharaoh Amenem-Ra proclaimed himself the Sun God, the Cannonites worshiped the Saturn God El. The compilation of these three names make up the name Is Ra El, Israel. Whenever you use the word Amen at the end of a prayer, it is in reference to honoring the Pharaoh Sun God Amenem-Ra. The Golden Calf honored by the Israelites while Moses visited Mt Sinai was the astrological symbol of Taurus, the bull. Currently we are in the age of Pisces, signified by two fishes commonly used today to signify Christianity. The twelve deciples are taken from the 12 astrological signs, with Jesus representing the "Son of God", the sun dying at the shortest day of winter, and rising 3 days later. There are several more items too long to list.
So when you use the words "perverts" the Gospel or "pseudo" with regard to the correction of Biblical text through ACIM, know that the two commandments of lying and stealing were paramount in the destruction of the natural laws of Paganism for the creation of man made patriarchal laws and the Christian religion.
With this shortlist of analogies in mind, it makes any Christian attempt to control homosexuality through subversion, in a knowledgeable and rational mind, moot. Knowledge is power. You might just do well to judge less, and study more.

Jay said...

Present those theories to any modern day Egyptologist, historian, or scholar of Greek and Roman mythology and you will find yourself laughed out of their presence.

You're merely taking a lot of coincidences in naming and presenting them as having some kind of sacred meaning. It's absolutely ridiculous, and not worth any more space on my blog. Please refrain from commenting again.

Blaze450 said...

Jay,

In looking at those comms, you are looking weak. RealityChk is stating his case clearly. You however seem to be taking everything he and Friend742 say personally and emotionally.

There are some horrendous things Christians have done in the past. Own it. You're looking like you are throwing a good ol fashion gay boy hissy fit.

I think you are better than that and have the capacity to squarely answer questions in a reasonable tone as they come up so as to come off respectable and reputable.

Best Always

Jay said...

Blaze450: With all due respect to RealityChk, I'm not taking anything personally. However, A Course In Miracles is essentially a piece of cult propaganda. It's like RealityChk came in here and wanted me to engage seriously with the claims of Scientology, or with UFO or Bigfoot sightings. I have little time for that level of foolishness.

And I'm sorry, but nothing that RealityChk has said really stands out as "clear." I'm not doubting that Christianity has done horrendous things. I will not, however, give credence to someone who thinks that some New Age spiritualist book that was written in 1976 was inspired by Jesus Christ.

Blaze450 said...

I think you are missing the point. A gay brother's life was saved by Jesus Christ.

Do you think you are in some position of authority to judge how Jesus might administer those means? Would you be so arrogant?

For all we know, Friend742 could be having a rough time again due to your bashing of ACIM which he says helped save his life through Jesus. I don't care if someone reads a fake line signed by a fake Jesus on a bus station bathroom wall, if it saves a life and brings him to Jesus. That may be how Jesus set it up. I'd just be glad he's saved.

Friend742 and RealityChk are both "believers" and have accepted JC into their hearts. Infighting in the Church is causing gays to be beaten like baby seals, and you would stand in the way of progress out of that condition? Appalling. I'd apologize like, stat.

A good friend of mine once said "Conservatives are taught what to think. Progressives are taught how to think". Where do you fit in? At this point you're looking like any typical Evangelical Right Wing "my-way-or-the-highway" anger bomb.

Very frustrating as I thought you stood for more.

Jay said...

I am very glad that Friend742 got over his depression and decided not to end his life. I think that's amazing, and I apologize if anything I said brought any distress to him.

At the same time, I can't in good conscience say that someone who believe what A Course In Miracles has to say has accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts. That book says that there is no such thing as sin, that there is no need for atonement, that God will not punish those who are in error, etc. If you don't believe that you are a sinner who needs to be saved from God's wrath by Christ, then you don't actually believe in Christ, because that's who Christ is.

Naming something "Jesus Christ" and then believing in it is not the same as believing in the true Jesus of the Bible, who died for our sins so that we would not be punished for them.

This has nothing to do with the gay issue at the moment, and everything to do with the Gospel issue. It's great that someone's life was saved. It really is. But that doesn't change what the truth of the Gospel is.

It's not "my way or the highway." I'll admit I am foolish and have watered down the truth of the Gospel before. But that doesn't make it less true.

donsands said...

"my-way-or-the-highway" anger bomb." -Blaze

That's the pot calling the kettle black methinks.

"Naming something "Jesus Christ" and then believing in it is not the same as believing in the true Jesus of the Bible, who died for our sins so that we would not be punished for them." _jay

You're spot on there.

The Bible tells us there are many false gospels, and false Jesus'. The Mormons have a fasle Jesus.
Philips, Craig, & Dean have a fasle Jesus, as does TD Jakes, who has the same false Jesus.
The Catholic Church has a works-righteous gospel, and false, as do some Protestants.

Satan is a beautiful angelic being of light, and he lies like a rug. He also is more subtle than any man or woman, though he uses men and women to express his half truths and lies.

The religious leaders of Jesus' day said that thye believe in God and that God was their Father. Jesus said, "Your father is the devil."
They looked alright on the outside in word and deed, but inside their hearts were full of self-goodness, and deceit.

Jay is a humble man of God. You are judging him wrongly.

E L R o i said...

I am learning a lot from your blog! Keep it up and God bless!

P said...

This is one of the most entertaining comment threads ever. Reality Check and Blaze - I'm trying to figure out if you actually believe the stuff you are saying or if all of this is some kind of elaborate joke. If so, you guys are brilliant. Keep up the great work. Also, if I may make a suggestion, you should go cyberbully Peterson Tuscano (www.petersontoscano.wordpress.com) next. He'd make a super easy target.

Joshua Cookingham said...

Wow....just wow.
I'm getting like...seven different Gospels here....lol.

Okay first off, Great post Jay! Indeed, politics are not the Gospel, and even though we may disagree on the nature of laws passed, I agree that the focus has been off in many Christian groups.

Secondly, well done for holding your own in this debate. Indeed, Holding hands and singing kumbaya, is not the Gospel, and it is actually MORE immoral to think so. Thanks for standing for Christ.

It's always interesting to read your posts Jay, keep it up bro.

D45 said...

I see some interesting traits in the above last comments.

For me it was important to realize that though there are "children of God", there are also "adults of God". Children lack knowledge and can judge minimize and express tunnel vision. Adults of God discern, study all the facts, and see a larger spectrum than the "children of God".
As with typical adult/child relationships, the adult raises the child. However, in this case of religious semantics, neither are age dependant.

ewe said...

I think your interpretation of christ himself is twisted and damaging to you. I don't mean that in an insulting way but you have issues man. Cut it out. It's annoying. You are a gay man. Get over it already. You make an issue out of a nonissue. You do. yeah you.

ewe said...

I do not know how i came upon your blog. I was surfing around and may not find it again. Please stay clear of Alan Chambers, Warren Throckmorton and that crotch staring Randy Thomas. They are all disturbed gay men who will not accept themselves.
They will be of no help to your physical, emotional or spiritual evolution. And please stop defining god. God does not judge you for loving another man or sleeping with one either. God is bigger than that. Give god some credit for being bigger than all of us. Your self imposed struggle is unnecessarily exhausting.

Jay said...

Ewe: I am a gay man. Congrats on noticing that. How long did it take you to figure it out? And exactly what part of this post didn't you read? In my estimation, it's a pretty harsh review of Chambers, Thomas, and the rest of Exodus.

As for my struggle being "unnecessarily exhausting," I have to say I'm actually feeling quite well-rested and peaceful this morning (though I do have to study for the upcoming GRE and take care of some financial aid business). Thanks for the concern, though.

ewe said...

You are smug and comfortably willing to remain in denial. What you want is to convince yourself that you are loving while you lash out on your orientation like it is an infected wound. Then you reinforce it with other people who are so misguided by a bible that you all have become nothing more than codependent enablers.

ewe said...

If you switched every word "gay" with "straight" in your own postings, you would see your childish rant for what it is. STUCK in shame best describes you. And don't get overreactive with people who already know exactly where you are. Just how long do you plan on sitting in this position of being gay and never acting on your natural inclinations? You are twisted to keep addressing those expressions as sin. Start really thinking on your own. Before you get all uppity with me again you may want to be conscious of the fact that when you stoically defend yourself you are putting down others. So much for all your golden rule propaganda.