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3/30/2006

NO LGBT OPPRESSION AT BETHEL COLLEGE

Bethel College apparently hosts an American Idol styled talent competition for its students called Bethel Idol. And the most recent winner, I was told, won by singing my song "Welcome Home." I'm honored. How'd those high notes treat ya? Me too.

Anyway, the Bethel Idol Champion - whose name I never got - opened for me on my visit to Bethel's chapel service a few days ago...sort of.

He and a small herd of Bethel men danced the tango together while wearing knickers, leggings, frilly shirts and long curly wigs. They said it was to promote their upcoming performance of Peter Pan, but needless to say I'm a tad skeptical.

Bethel obviously has no ban on students' public transgendered behavior. Heck, they even make time in chapel for it. Perhaps this kind of transgender acceptance is the reason Bethel College hasn't yet made Equality Ride's hit list.

Equality Ride: A group of young lesbian, gay, transgendered and bisexual twenty-somethings who see the religion based policies and views of various colleges and universities regarding LGTB students as discriminatory and unbiblical, calling it "religion based oppression." The Equality Riders compare the discrimination against LGTB students at these colleges to the discrimination against racial minorities that took place in America before the civil rights movement of the sixties in America. The Equality Ride is a collection of LGTBs (some Christian) riding in a bus, donned with their slogans and images of Martin Luther King Jr and Ghandi, to institutions of higher learning he riders deem discriminatory - a ride they compare to the freedom rides of the civil rights movement and to King's march on Washington.

Among the nineteen schools being visited over the 51 day ride against oppression are Christian campuses Liberty University and Wheaton and military school West Point.

So far the riders have been very unwelcomed by Pat Roberton's Regent University and Jerry Falwell's Liberty University - all of which arrested riders for trespassing or other minor offenses. While at Wheaton last week I learned a great deal about Wheaton's more thoughtful, constructive, kind and educational approach to the visiting riders. The riders demanded time to address students without rebuttal or discussion by faculty or campus representatives. Wheaton refused kindly and countered with a generous proposal for open discussions and a handful of public question and answer sessions, as well as meetings with administrators to discuss the riders' specific problems with Wheaton policies regarding sexuality. At these public discussions, to be held on Wheaton's campus April 20th, Equality Ride representatives will be allowed to speak their minds, show two videos of their own making and will be given more stage time than those rebutting on behalf of Wheaton. Wheaton professors are also encouraged to use the visit as a teaching tool - encouraged to invite riders to their classes for further philosophical, religious and social discussion.

Stanton L. Jones, provost at Wheaton, wrote these words to the student body after deciding to welcome the Equality Riders to campus:

“He (God) commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves” and concluded that “we will extend to our visitors courtesy and hospitality as an extension of our commitment to live as Jesus lived...We would be failing you, our students, if we did not view this visit as an opportunity for each of us to grow in our understanding of the many complex issues surrounding the morality of homosexual conduct. We hope this visit will be an educational opportunity for our entire community that will bear fruit for the Church, the Church you will soon be called to lead. We will seek to ensure that the Equality Ride visit is a learning opportunity for students in keeping with our mission as a Christian liberal arts institution."

A welcome is a reasonable thing to ask for. And a welcome, we Christians would do well to remember, is not an adoption of our visitors' views anymore than dressing in knickers and tights is an adoption of...Well, but you get the point.

41 Comments:

Blogger GrovesFan said...

I will be praying for this welcoming. I urge all the Wheaton staff, students, etc. to be wearing the full armor of Christ during this meeting. Do not be tempted to be drawn into any intellectual discussions or debates. Rather speak to individuals, laying out the 10 commandments and pressing them upon their conscience. Let the Holy Spirit convict, that's not our job. Do not judge or condemn, just place the law on their conscience and resist all attempts to be drawn away from God's truth. Satan is very cleaver and deceptive.

Beth

3/30/2006  
Blogger hal. said...

Good.

3/31/2006  
Anonymous c long said...

Wow...now that's Christ centered education. Please post a call to prayer reminder. I want to be a part of that day! The lost don't stand a chance (figure of speech. no need for Calvanist rebuttal) if they never come face to face with the life changing love of Christ in the faces of those who are called be His name.

3/31/2006  
Blogger methy said...

That's awesome. Three cheers for Wheaton.

3/31/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's wrong with intellectual discussion and debate?

3/31/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

Nice pix, Shaun...I'm glad our school made SUCH an impression on you ;p

I think we should treat the Equality Ride students with respect, dignity and whatever else, but I don't think they should be let on campus, for several reasons, but I'll shut up :)
Thanks for coming to see us! We LOVE you!
-Amb

3/31/2006  
Blogger Amy said...

I read about this elsewhere and found it interesting. This is such a difficult issue. I hope that it's a productive time for all.

3/31/2006  
Blogger Mrs.B said...

They resently visited Abilene Christian University in Texas. Here is the article about that visit (the article comes from the Christian Chronicle). http://www.christianchronicle.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=248
you may have to copy and paste it into your browser. I was impressed with how ACU handled the visit.

3/31/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

betheltrauman, this isn't a place where people with opinions have to or should shut up...ever. What's on your mind? Why do you think the Equality Ride folks shouldn't be let onto campus?

Speak your mind.

SG

3/31/2006  
Blogger Mark said...

I'm hurt. They are visiting BIOLA, Azua, and CA Baptist, but not Master's. We're (I work here after graduating several years ago) certainly as conservative if not more so then these others. Could it be because we're so small?

That's descrimination!

Said with tongue only partially in cheek.

3/31/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

aww, thanks Shaun :)

I'm normally not quiet at all about what I think (ask my friends :P), but I sometimes just don't think it's the best thing for me to open my big mouth...Since you insist, I guess I'll go for it. PS, I might forget some of my problems with it, but I think I remember for the most part.

I actually talked to Dennis (what is he, our vice president??) about Equality Ride when he first brought it up in chapel last semester. I was really really concerned BC was even considering letting them on campus. BC has the correct standing on homosexuality, so I was glad about that. The thing that worried me were:
1)Not all students on campus are 'strong' Christians. Some of them might not know where they are supposed to stand on homosexuality & what if these Equality Ride people lead them astray? What if what they say sounds so Biblical and right and acceptable, the 'weaker' students buy it?

2) Some students could also be struggling with the idea of homosexuality for themselves, like maybe they think they're gay or whatever. What if these people came onto campus and taught them that God (according to them) says it's ok for them to be gay, and even maybe, that He MADE them that way? I think the students could have accepted their feelings and perhaps lived them out. They'd hear lies before they heard truth.

3)Bethel has an OUTSTANDING reputation with the community. We do a lot of community service (I'm sure you heard about workday ;p)and are just quite involved with other people, seemingly especially the Nursing division as we're in hospitals and such doing clinicals.
Anyways, what would it say to the community if we let these Equality Ride members on campus and 'teach' our kids? I mean, here is a college that says (maybe not outright but I bet people would assume this, at least.) 'we're against homosexuality. We love the people involved in it, but we do not approve of the sin' and then we let people on campus who say "God says it's ok to be gay" I think that would confuse people. Like, which side of the fence are those crazy Bethel people on??

I'm sure I had more, (cos I was with Dennis for about half an hour..poor guy, I tortured him!) but that's what I remember.
Ok, I'm done. I'll shut up and sit back and let you people say whatever :)
Luv ya'll
Amb PS, Shaun, you can call me Amb or Amberle or whatever. BCTraumaRN (my future job :) is cool too, but feel free to use the real name :)

3/31/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

Sorry!
I was gonna hit 'edit' but there is no 'edit' button...GRR
I promise I'm done after this.

I guess if I had to sum up my rambling, I'd say my main concern is/was for the students on BC's campus (and others) who aren't as strong as some here are, and what could happen to their spiritual growth and beliefs as a result of Equality Ride visiting like they have been. If Christ calls us to give up our freedom so that someone else doesn't stumble, doesn't this kind of sort of count? I don't know...I'm done.

3/31/2006  
Anonymous Loren said...

One of my friends, David, is on that ride, he sat behind me in Choir at our Christian College (North Central University, which sadly, did not engage them as wheaton did/will) Homosexuality and abortion seem to be flashpoints in our christian culture...I don't know how to dialogue within this issue, My heart aches over this issue, reaching out to marginalized poeple is what Jesus did, how come it's so hard for me?

3/31/2006  
Anonymous Mark said...

I find it curious that open discussion should be avoided because weak folks may succumb. If we take that stance then almost nothing is open for discussion or debate - not a society I want to live in (and frankly it's where we're already headed).

While I agree that discussion and research and such exposes varied points of view - it is just those varied viewpoints that are needed. How else do we grow and learn - and if that involves mistakes so be it. We learn more from mistakes than we do successes.

3/31/2006  
Blogger Amy said...

Does anyone know about the defense that homosexual Christians use, to say that living a homosexual lifestyle does not go against Scripture? I've recently been trying to get a full understanding of the topic, and I know a lot of it has to do with the original language words, but I can't seem to get a clear explanation. I want and feel I need to know. i'd appreciate anyone's insight.

3/31/2006  
Anonymous Rachel said...

Amy,
I think there are a few ways to justify it: The first is that where Christians get that homosexuality is an "abomination" is found in the OT law...the same law that says if a man rapes a virgin he is to marry her and that we can't eat pigs and that if a girl is on her period she can't be touched for a few weeks (roughly paraphrased). Those justifying homosexuality claim that there is no basis for believing hs is still prohibited if these other laws hold little weight with us.
I think the other statement regarding hs is found in Romans 1. Here, the Bible states something like, "God gave them over to shameful lust, etc. etc. committing indecent acts with other men" (again, rough paraphrase) I think this justification is that the lust is the shameful and perverse thing, and that hs with loving partners do not fall into this category (i.e. at the time it was very common and even looked well upon to have a male "hooker" (catamite)This would be what was probited as it was done out of lust.

I don't know that this is the full justification of the issue, or even the correct; but maybe this will help you start to get a better understanding.

3/31/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like how you used "hs" for homosexuality. clever.

3/31/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

PS-
In Bethel's defence, we always have previews of plays in chapel, so that more kids will come. Our presentation of Peter Pan was basically the same thing as the 'live version' with the chick who did Peter Pan..Her name was Mary something...Anyways, that's why we did that.
Secondly, we don't condone homosexuality, transgender or whatever else at all, & this play is not a represntation of our condonence to anything of such,it's an innocent cute little play that our drama kids put on.
So yeah, I'm sure I just opened a can of worms, but I just wanted you to know that.

3/31/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Seriously? Did anyone actually think I was being serious??

Sarcasm is a burdensome gift sometimes.

Anyway, a small correction on the mentioning of homosexuality in the bible: It's in the old AND new testaments. BUT its listed along side sins we never ban people from campuses for: gossip, for instance. Anyone's school rulebook cover gossip? Ever see anyone on the side of the road with a sign reading, "GOD HATES GOSSIPERS"? How many churches would be nearing empty if gossipers were taken to task like homosexuals are? Sin is sin is sin. No levels of the stuff. In the supermarket of sin every item costs the same amount: death. Why the greater focus on homosexuality? What do you think?

SG

3/31/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

Wait, what were you being sarcastic about? I'm a blonde & I don't catch on that quick ;p

Ummm....you bring a good point, and I do believe that sin is sin, and homosexuality is no different than gossiping or taking God's name in vain.
I think a big light is drawn on homosexuality cos it's so 'popular' in America. Like everyone talks about it, and the world is challanging the Church (Christians, whatever) on it, and we are kind of forced to take a position and make it known.
It is also a sin that is really hard to get out of once you're in and I think that Christians want people to be aware of it so that they don't get into it in the first place.

I dunno...does that make sense in anyone else's head but mine? It's 11:20 at night & I have no function in my brain at all :)

Luv to all
Amb

3/31/2006  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

While it's true that sin is sin is sin, gossip isn't as politically charged as homosexuality and that's why there's so much "sign carrying" concerning them. Many who practice the gay/lesbian lifestyle and even those who don't, but support their "right" to do so think that homosexuals are the way they are because they are "born with those feelings." They are absolutely right! Just as I am born with feelings of lust, greed, idolatry, theivery, etc., they are born with these feelings too. It's called sin and every human is born with a sinful nature. The only two humans that weren't that way, weren't BORN at all, but created in the perfect image of God. Adam and Eve introduced sin into the nature of humans, and we've paid the price ever since. Sin is a part of the nature of all humans and as such, we will all continue to sin. The only way out is to repent, turn from our sin, and accept the grace of salvation though Jesus Christ. If we do not press sin (any and all sin) into the conscience of the unsaved, then we are guilty of walking them to the gates of hell!

While gossip is horrible and it grows like a weed out of control, it doesn't usually result in the same fallout. AIDS is just one factor and look at the countless lives it effects and ends every day all over the world. It's now not confined to the "gay community" anymore. If homosexuality is accepted as just another lifestyle and same-sex marriages become legal, then where will it end? Next, prostitution will be legalized because afterall, it makes the solicitor happy; the polygimists will say they have a right to take more than one wife (that's what makes them happy after all, and it's their "right."), pedophiles will say it's OK to have sex with children because it's their right to persue happiness. I know there are those who think I'm nuts for even speculating such things, but those who thought that same-sex marriage would never even be a concern for the government, aren't thinking that any more.

I see the valid concerns in keeping this "Equality Ride" off the campus, but I think it's worth the risk. Pray, pray, pray, and get the students grounded in the Word. Do some research on the things likely to be brought up by them and learn how to disprove them. Most of all, it's not about winning an arguement, or holding some lofty debate. It's about using the Law to show them their sins, let the guilt that will accompany the revelation work on their conscience, and let the Holy Spirit do His job. It's a tough one to be sure, but I don't remember reading anything in the Bible about the Christian life being easy.

Beth

3/31/2006  
Anonymous Loren said...

Another thing that makes th HS issue even harder is that there is love involved... It is hard to tell someone that their love for the other is sinful...now to flip the coin...Say someone is divorced for un-biblical reasons, is their love for a new spouse sinful, or has it been accepted in our church culture?

Read Mark 10, howcome we don't ban people who were divorced/remarried into North Central University, or church membership?

4/01/2006  
Anonymous Mark said...

I'm glad to read that you think the risk of the discussion is worth it - but is it much of a discussion if one comes loaded with responses and rebuttals? Will an almost scripted session really foster discussion or learning?

And the "Let the guilt work on their conscience" - that's a friendly and loving approach. Is there not some middle ground where education and discovery are allowed as tools. Those who share your beliefs will know the answer. Those that question your beliefs will either learn the error of their ways and return (after repenting) and indeed others may alter their thinking. The third group shouldn't be shamed or made to feel outside the norm - every religion at one time required its followers to reject their original notions (at least some of them).

4/01/2006  
Blogger Mark said...

My favorite verse about this is from I Cor. (or is it second) where Paul says "Be not deceived, neither adulterors nor homosexuals not idoloters will enter the kingdom of Heaven. And such WERE some of you."

Ok, so I probably should take the time to look it up. For one thing, he lists lots of other sins. Basically, he makes sure that everyone is covered by his list.

But he goes on to say we have all been forgiven. No matter what our sin is.

4/01/2006  
Blogger Amy said...

i agree that sin is sin. but some sins seem to have more consequenses than others. i think having homosexual sex and living a homosexual lifestyle are two different things. one could be a one time instance, the other could is a commitment to a lifestyle.
the thing is...it's not easy. it grieves me that the church has spoken so harshly against it, at the same time, I cannot reconcile my understanding of Scripture (and not just the verses that specifically mention it) with homosexuality. Yet, if someone is truly "homosexual" the only real option for them seems to be celibacy. it just seems like it's a lot more complex than it appears to be at first.

4/01/2006  
Blogger Seth Ward said...

I have a few Homosexual friends, one is a non-practicing HS Christian and goes to church and loves Christ with a passion. Many Christians are realizing that Homosexuality is something that is deeply rooted and finally the church is figuring out that it is not something that a Homosexual can just wish away. One thing I try to remember is that Homosexuals need exactly what everyone else needs. Love, and Love is very often mistaken for sexuality in Heterosexuality and Homosexualiy. Some (Christian and non-Christian) shrinks say that those tendencies come from a lack or absence of Love from a parent from the same sex. Just like sometimes girls will make poor decisions because they feel like that is the way that they will feel loved.

Anyway, not trying to get into causes, effects or assumptions but understanding what it is and where it comes from is vital for Christians to engage in spreading the Love of God- which is exactly what I think Wheaton is doing by allowing this forum. very cool.

4/01/2006  
Anonymous mandy (bethel student) said...

Wow. You've stirred up quite an interesting discussion. Maybe I'll throw in my own two cents, but I don't have time right now. My roommates and I are getting ready to go usher for tonight's performance of oh, what do you know, Peter Pan :)

4/01/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

haha! Mandy way to go girl :)

So, does no one else see a potential danger in letting Equality Ride onto a college campus? (especially Christian)
I mean I'm not asking for agreement, but just wondering...Mkay, back to Anatomy.

OH, that's what I was going to say...sorry! Um, so I'm getting the vibe that a lot of ya'll think that letting Equality Ride on a campus is a learning experiance, or maybe even 'growing' experiance. What kind of learing/growing are you talking about? Like to see something from someone else's perspective or to better understand why we stand against homosexuality? I'm just wondering cos that was the postion of some other students I talked to about E. Ride from BC's campus. I personally disagree with it, but I just wanted to know what ya'll thought.

4/01/2006  
Blogger Clare said...

I've just come accross this site by accident and I'm quite frightened. With the exception of a few intellegent and sensitive comments (mainly from Amy) there doesn't seem to be any open debate going on in this comment board. Just a lot of self righteous comments about you must save the poor deluded homosexuals who don't realise what they are doing and the weak Christians who might catch it or something, because you know what sin is and they don't.

There are open, sensible, thought provoking discussions going on within Christianity about these issues, I encourage you to go and find them.

The Church of England has been discussing it and
ship-of-fools.com has a section about it on the Dead Horses Bulletin Board for starters.

4/01/2006  
Anonymous Nick said...

Thank you Clare for restoring a sense of balance. There has also been thoughtful discussion on the topic in the past by Dr. Tony Campolo and his wife, as well as from from Dr. Hunsinger at Princeton Seminary.

Despite whatever personal convictions we have, we should also never assume that our brothers and sisters are so weak and co-dependent in their faith that they must be protected from ideas by suppressing their right to hear and discern! It's scary when institutions of Christian higher education start to look like the state-controlled media in China. I'm sad to see anyone in support of quashing conversation.

4/02/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

:( Where'd our comments go??

4/02/2006  
Blogger Andrew said...

I think it is good to have open discussion and debate, however, we need to make sure that we are discussing based on a standard. Meaning, I can take my ideas and thoughts and go up against your ideas and thoughts, but we will never get anywhere. We need to take our viewpoint from God's position. If I am relying on my interpretation or some other human's interpretation of the Bible, then I have a problem...all humans have one thing in common. We are all imperfect and have err. So I have to go to the one source I know doesn't err and that is God.

Now, I have discussed the issue of homosexuality with several practicing "Christian" hs. They all have given me the rebuttal that the Bible is not to be interpreted on a literal basis. They have said that the Genesis account of Creation and the Revalation are all theoretical not literal, therefore, the Bible is not meant to be interpreted literally. The passages that discuss hs, therefore cannot be taken literally, and as mentioned before aren't talking about "loving" and "pure" relationships.

Personally, I cannot take that approach. There needs to be a standard, and if I cannot accept the Bible as innerrant, then I cannot believe what it says about salvation, God's existence, or Christ's conquering death and sin. Basically, all issues boil down to a matter of faith. Somewhere along the line, I have to put my faith in something. I know that I err, so, if I cannot start at the beginning and have the faith that everything God has given to me in his Word is true and literal, then I am relying somewhere on my finite and errant mind.

I know that I am going to get the argument that I should still live by Levitical and OT Law, but further study reveals that most of those laws were changed/not applicable in the NT. (Ex.. Peter's vision with the unclean meat)

I guess I can sum up by saying that somewhere along the line we have to use our "judgement" in areas, but we need to be very careful and methodically and honestly check those thoughts and ideas. To me, man has taken the Bible and bent it what he wants it to mean. This is done from the most conservative to the most liberal. We are all at fault. This has led to lots of bad feelings and relationships and also all our denominations and forms of Christianity from people who are on the "same team." There is a need to get back to what God says and true, inclusive studys of the Bible. Not what our fathers and denominations have told us, but what God tells us.

Sorry, if this isn't really discussing the issue, but I think it belongs (again using my errant mind to do that) :-)

4/03/2006  
Anonymous Mark said...

Given that there is an old and a new testament in existence speaks volumes that debate, discussion, and change are necessary. If you accpet that premise then it is an easy next step to agree that not everything in the Bible is intended as literal nor is everything figurative - there are stories of both types. One cannot live by just one of those extremes (pure literal or pure figurative). And as the world changes and we reach towards an openess not found in centuries past it is only natural to continue to discuss, grow and adapt.

4/03/2006  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

The Old and New Testaments both being present have nothing to do with adaptation, discussion and growth or change in the way I think you're meaning here (feel free to correct me if I'm reading this the wrong way). God was, is, and will always be and HE NEVER CHANGES. He has never changed the laws we as believers are required to live under. The Ten Commandments are still there, still applicable and Christ taught on them many times. The only "change" that occurred was how believers are to justified under God's law.

In the Old Testament, sacrifices were the way atonement was made. The sacrifice was according to the sin and the "weatlth" of the sinner in some circumstances. They were offered as burnt offerings, foods, first fruits, etc. The best and unblemished only were acceptable offerings. In the New Testament, Christ became that sacrifice for all sinners. He was the only perfect, unblemished, sinless one that was good enough to atone for our sins according to the Father. There was no discussion between God and His Son to determine whether or not Christ would be good enough, Christ didn't adapt or change Himself in order to be in keeping with the times as it were.

As Christians, we are free from the OT laws (613 of them) requiring animal sacrifices, etc. to show our repentant heart to God because Christ has done that for us. That doesn't mean that we are free to live an unrepentant live of sin! Sin is still sin and we must pay the price for being unrepentant.

It's great to tell people about God's live, his mercy, his grace, the joyful life, etc. that we obviously gain from our acceptance of Christ as our Lord and Savior. However, if they don't know WHY they need it, why would they accept it and continue in the Christian walk?

Here's an example from Ray Comfort's book "Hell's Best Kept Secret."

A man is on an airplane and the stewardess brings him a parachute and tells him to put it on. He asks why he needs it and she tells him that it will make his flight more enjoyable. So he puts the parachute on. It is heavy and really weighing down his shoulders. He can't sit in his seat properly because it's bulky. He decides he'll keep it on for awhile though because it's supossed to make his flight more enjoyable. Pretty soon, the other passengers begin to stare and snicker at him because he's the only one wearing this parachute on the plane. Finally, he becomes very angry, throws the parachute to the ground, and chews out the stewardess for lying to him about this parachute making the ride more enjoyable. He is bitter and disillusioned.

Another man is on the plane and the stewardess brings him a parachute too and tells him to put it on. When he asks why, she tells him that the plane is having engine trouble and he will have to jump at any moment and they are at 25,000 feet. He gladly accepts the parchute and puts it on. He doesn't even feel the weight on his shoulders, and it doesn't matter how funny it makes him sit in the seat. When the other passengers begin to stare and snicker, he simply reminds himself of how he would certainly fare if he jumped out the plane without the parachute! He know he would surely die and even though he's being ridiculed and may become uncomfortable, he gladly accepts the parachute because he knows he's doomed without it.

It's the same way with the gospel. If we tell people that Jesus can save them from their sins without telling them a) what sin is (the 10 Commandments) and b) where they will go when they die if they don't repent, and turn from their sin, then we are falling well short of our duty as Christian witnesses! Until we genuinely feel the pain of a lost soul, and really own the fact that our not telling them is aiding in pronouncing their sentence as it were, we are guilty and we will be judged for that. We must love the lost enough to be tough as it were and tell them THE TRUTH. GOD'S TRUTH is all that counts. Yes God loves us with a love that surpasses all understanding. He has a great plan for our eternal lives. Our lives will be filled with joy (and temptation, and suffering, and trials) in Him. None of that matters until we are shown the law, see our sin for what it is, and turn from it. Only God can change our hearts. To tell anyone that they don't have to turn from their sin, or that their "lifestyle" is not sin, is a lie, pure and simple. Homosexuality was a sin in the Old Testament, it was a sin in the New Testament and is still a sin today. The Bible is complete, innerrant, perfect and unchanging. Sin is NOT open to interpretation, adaptation or discussion. It's tough to be sure, but it's a lot easier to deal with the TRUTH while here on earth than it will be on judgement day. It's called Judgement Day for a reason.

Beth

4/03/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Clare, I agree with your insinuation that this post's comments are pretty one dimension right now and I'd like to see some more variety in the thinking as well. And if I'm understanding you to want the same thing why don't you start things in the right direction for us? What are your thoughts - not on how this topic is being discussed here but on the topic itself. Be the change you want to see in this discussion.

Talk to us.

And I read much of the ship-of-fools.com stuff you pointed us to. Thanks for that. Interesting stuff. But it's 60 pages long and in the first few comments even over there the discussion was lacking. Stuff like "God doesn't care about how you get your orgasms" was passing for depth even on that thread for a while. UNTIL someone turned it around - a few someones. Now it's your turn. If you have something "sensible and thought provoking" to contribute here we're listening.

And glad you found us...even if it was an accident.

SG

4/03/2006  
Blogger Amy said...

Clare,

I want to thank you also for the ship-of-fools website. It's a lot to read, but I appreciate that there is a lot of discussion going on over there on a variety of topics. I feel it will help me to understand the Biblical support that homosexual Christians give for their position.

4/04/2006  
Blogger Clare said...

Shaun,

Ship of fools is quite 'no holds barred' I admit, but most of the time its good, challenging stuff.

As for my views. Well, I start from a fairly liberal standpoint (not quite as liberal as John Selby Spong but not too far away from him to give you an idea) so I don't have a problem with saying that the Bible is not infallible, which affects my interpretation of the biblical references to homosexulality:

Biblically
I think the Lev reference is only valid if you also accept all the other rules in Lev. which I'm not prepared to accept.
The Soddom and Gommorah reference includes the offering of virgin daughters to male angels to encourage them to have sex with the girls rather than male visitors. I doubt many people, Christian or otherwise would advocate that. It must have had a cultural reference at the time, but now it seems an awful suggestion.
And the reference from Paul doesn't hold much weight for me either as it was written at a different time, in a different culture, with a very different (and I believe incorrect) view of homosexuality as choice not orientation. And anyway, Paul also claims women should cover their heads in Church (1 Cor 11ish I think). Few churches or Christian Unions insist on that nowadays!

Spiritually - It's not as if people wake up in the morning and say 'you know what I think I'm going to be gay today'. It is (for most people at least) an orientation not a impulse decision. An orientation that in some cases can be very hard for an individual to accept, hence all the agonising people face over 'coming out'. I doubt many people would be prepared to face the abuse and exclusion that many face on 'coming out' if they did not feel that they were genuinely attracted to their own sex. In light of that I don't see how it can be deemed sinful. You choose to sin, and orientation is not choice.

Unless of course you deem the act to be a sin but the orientation not to be sinful. But that doesn't sit well with me either a)because Jesus talks about sinful thought and looking upon people with lust as sinful as well as action. The NT doesn't seem to make a thought v action distinction and...
b)(more importantly for me) because it means celibacy for homosexuals, whilst heterosexuals are allowed to act upon their orientation. This seems cruel if you accept, as I do, that people do not choose orientation. I am not willing to attribute to God anything I view as cruel. If sex is meant to be a gift from God why would he deny that gift to committed life long gay partners?

Science is now suggesting that something as simple as high exposure to testosterone in the womb may lead to homosexuality. In that case it is either an effect of nature or an effect of God (depending on your view of how God interacts with nature) and as such cannot be seen as a sin. Homosexuality has been observed in animals, possibly in as high levels as 10% of the population of sheep (although the figures vary - that figure comes from Stephen Law-Philosophy Gym). Therefore it seems to be a natural sexual orientation for a minority of the population of any species animal or human.

So to sum up...the Biblical references do not seem to stand up under critical analysis and homosexuality appears to be a natural (if minority) orientation and as such is not a sin.

Amy - you're more than welcome, glad you liked Ship of Fools. If you want deep discussion on other topics Purgatory is the best board on SOF.

Sorry that was a really long post.

4/04/2006  
Anonymous suzie said...

This is really interesting. I've christian friends with various sexual preference. However, they prefer that their preference is not announced throughout the church. I've told my friends...sin is sin, they are no worse than the liars, backstabbers, gossipers in the church. Their arguements is simply...the church memebers aren't ready to mingle with their fellow church members who are gay.

I know this might stir a farm of ants, but my thoughts...upbringing (childhood abuse, etc.), parenting, phychological, and emotion has a lot to do with it. Someone mentioned it in an earlier post...everyone just wants to be loved.

However....is it not selfish?? I'm single, and I just want to be loved...is that not selfish of me? Humans are incredibly benile and stupid. God sacrificed himself...went through all the pains and suffering..more than any of us...yet He did not stumble. He paid the price for us so that we may join Him in heaven without following impossible rules of sacrifice and whatnot. Yet here we are...complaining about not being happy....does this not sound familiar...Moses and all the Hebrews wandering in the desert for 40 years. Hmmm...I wonder how long we've been stuck in this tranch.

Anyway...I tend to jump points, and change perspectives. I love debate and discussions. Please feel free to critisice or question or comment or whatever.

Someone also mentioned that adultery and sinners will not enter the gates of heaven. Again, that includes smokers, drinkers, all the sins listed....that applies to everyone not just gays. It's only through Jesus that we are graced to go to heaven.

But the point....I cannot find where the bible explicitly states that homosexuality is a sin. The Bible, esp the Old Testament, is a history book. Are men and women still suppose to sit on opposite sides of the church? Are married women still supposed to wear hats on their heads if they are married to symbolize their submission to their husbands? Those laws are not in practice today.

Does it matter who you love and show your love to as long as it is true love? (True love...that's a whole different discussion for me.) Sex is something that is suppose to shared between two people in marriage. Some people would argue that the sole purpose of sex is to reporduce and popullate. Well now that the world is overflowing and population is even being controlled... sex has more freedom????

Biologically, I'd say...it's obvious that humans aren't suppose to be with the same sex. That's solid proof right there. God wrote the Bible to guide christians and intruct how to live....to protect us and glorify Him. When we step out of those boundaries....we suffer the consquences...std, aids, hiv, etc.

Okay, that's it for now. any thoughts???

4/09/2006  
Anonymous suzie said...

Oh, this whole thing started with the group visiting the college....I say hurrah! Just like the Muslims ban Christians out of their countries...we accept them into America. Christians are suppose to welcome everyone...we are servants. We do not judge nor condemn people, but simply (yeah, it's not quite so simple is it?) die to ourselves, and let the Holy Spirit work through us.

Are we supposed to isolate and 'protect' ourselves from all evil? Why do you think God gave us his 'body of armor'? "Behold, I send you as sheep among wolves". It's through tests and trials that we grow closer to God. (If we pass that is) god will not make us endure trials which surpasses our strength.......and where do we get that strength....only with Him.

So yay!!!

4/09/2006  
Blogger Amy said...

At the end of the day, I think if someone is truly seeking to know the Lord, to serve and follow Him in every aspect of their lives, well that is most important. If they have offered up this part of their lives to Him, if they have honestly sought out godly counsel and the Scripture, and still come to the conclusion that it's blessed by the Lord, well, what can I say to that?
There's enough greyness here for me to say that I'm just not sure. And as so many people have pointed out..Jesus didn't even talk about it, so it must not have been an issue that was really troubling Him.
but, I would like to say, there is evidence that homosexual partnerships were in existence during His time, so I'm not sure that "it wouldn't have made sense culturally" is a great argument, in addition to the fact that so much of what Jesus said didn't make sense at the time.

4/10/2006  
Blogger Clare said...

"Just like the Muslims ban Christians out of their countries...we accept them into America." - Suzie

Sorry, I know this thread has pretty much finished now but I just had to point out the sweeping generalisation in that comment.

I doubt 'the Muslims' would be able to act en masse any more than 'the Chrisitians' would, being a huge group of individuals, of vaious races and nationalities.

4/26/2006  

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