Making Room: A Shift Toward Compassion

Cross posting this article from the Exodus International blog and Alan Chambers’ blog.

(Read note from Matt at the end)

Making Room: A Shift Toward Compassion

by Julie Rodgers

As a passionate follower of Jesus Christ, I’ve spent the past decade of my life trying to change my homosexual orientation.  When I attended my first Exodus conference ten years ago, I heard story after story of people who had experienced substantial shifts in their sexual attractions.  Countless men and women, who had previously been involved in intimate homosexual relationships, were sharing compelling testimonies about their transformation from homosexual to heterosexual.

Thrilled with the prospect that I too would experience a similar transformation in my attractions, I committed myself whole-heartedly to the process.  About seven years into that season—the non-stop support groups, ongoing counseling, healthy friendships with heterosexual women, abstaining from homosexual behavior, and praying with all my heart for the Lord to change my desires—I realized I was as passionately attracted to women as I had ever been.  I felt more alive, with a more vibrant relationship with Christ and His people, but I was still almost exclusively attracted to other women.  When I watched a romantic comedy, I dreamed of snuggling with a girl rather than a man holding me tight.

In an attempt to fit the hetero mold, I gave dating men my best shot.  I enjoyed spending time with them and often imagined we could be happy together—holding hands and giggling with our Starbucks Christmas cups in hand.  Yet the moment it moved beyond the get-to-know-you stage, I knew I was missing the “it” factor (romantic attraction).  I distinctly remember the night one boyfriend tried to work up the courage to sneak the first kiss, and I dodged the bullets only to rush home and break up with him on Facebook (real mature).

It was clear to me that something wasn’t adding up: either the “ex-gay” people I met were lying, or I was defunct and doing the process wrong.  Many of my homosexual friends were becoming disenchanted as well, and we were all forced to make a decision: walk away from the Lord altogether, shift to a more progressive interpretation of Scripture, or remain in this endeavor to change our orientation and drown in the discouragement of always feeling like misfits.

What a relief it was to hear Alan Chambers say Exodus was making some changes:  the circle was becoming wide enough for people like me!  I began hearing him say the goal was a more intimate relationship with Christ, not heterosexual attraction.  While many people do experience some shift in their attractions, a significant percentage of us don’t.  And that’s okay.  Jesus never promised that our temptations or desires would be removed when we began to follow Him.  We can be sure that we’ll be more conformed to His image, exude more of the Fruit of the Spirit, and experience a softening of our hearts as we lose ourselves in His great story of restoration.  But I might be solely attracted to women until I meet Him face to face.  Luckily heterosexual attractions are not a prerequisite for passionately loving Jesus, serving the marginalized, using my gifts in the church, and living a vibrant life full of adventure and laughter.

I’ve embraced this (and am thrilled that Exodus has as well), yet I fear that many in conservative Christian circles have not.  Too many people are still pressuring those with a homosexual orientation to either morph into a model heterosexual or remain silent.  We have the power to change our behaviors, but we can’t change our attractions.  It grieves me to see young people walking away from churches because—despite their hearts and lives being aligned with the Scriptures—they’re not embraced in the Body as celibate men and women with homosexual orientations.  While you might think you’re pointing them toward God’s best by encouraging them to pursue change, you’re often contributing to their shame and alienation.  The church must become a safe place for the young people who are asking these questions, a place where they can let their guards down and simply exhale.  They don’t need to hear that you love them “if” or you love them “but”—they need to hear you love them.  And I can assure you that if you don’t embrace them right where they are, they’ll find others who will.

Julie Rodgers is the High School Mentor Coordinator for Mercy Street Ministries, a mentoring program for inner city youth in West Dallas. She is also privileged to serve on the leadership team of Living Hope Ministries in Arlington, TX where she is given the opportunity to walk with those who are seeking sexual and relational wholeness in Jesus Christ. She is a frequent speaker at Exodus events.

A note from Matt: I know there has been much debate and confusion over Alan Chambers’ current understanding of repentance in the Christian life. I know from personal conversation with Alan that he firmly believes homosexual behavior to be sin and firmly believes Jesus commands repentance in regard to this sin, along with all other sin. Unfortunately, some of his statements have been ambiguously stated. Although I do not agree on everything Alan believes or says, I know that his ultimate desire is for sinners to see that there is grace found in the Cross of Christ. Grace that exceeds all of our abilities to comprehend. Of course, this grace always enables a sinner to repent—which Alan knows and I’m sure he will in the future communicate more clearly to avoid confusion. I say all this to make sure all of the readers understand that in this guest article he posted, Julie is not condoning homosexual behavior, but rather is expressing the truth that pursuing Christ is not meant to be a means to changing sexual preference. Many who pursue Christ do experience healthy change in their sexual preferences, but many do not. Julie, Alan and I would all agree that success in the Christian life is not defined by the elimination of temptation, but rather the godliness exemplified in resisting temptation and living a life of love, motivated by a devout love for Christ. 

 

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156 thoughts on “Making Room: A Shift Toward Compassion

  1. Thank you for sharing Julie’s article! This is outstanding and is a fair treatment of Alan and where Exodus is heading. I’ve never been more excited about being a part of Exodus than I am now.

    Blessings!

    Richard Holloman

    The Sight Ministry

    PO Box 140808

    Nashville, TN 37214

    615-509-0782

    http://www.thesightministry.org

    “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” – John Piper

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  2. Matt,

    Thank you for posting this…well done!!! I don’t know but I think homosexuals and those who identify as LGBT can find Christendom a very welcoming place but there have been failures among Christian congregations. I think it’s important that Christian congregations don’t patronize these folks with a water down version of the Gospel, as if Good Friday never took place

    Anyways good stuff

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  3. So what I’m hearing is that the *only* option for people like Julie is lifelong, perpetual celibacy. They are expected to live alone, grow old alone and die alone. Even a rare meaningless and random sexual encounter (that one immediately feels guilt over) is supposedly more tolerable to conservative fundamentalists than a committed, monogamous gay relationship that endures for years.

    This celibacy thing might last for a few years, maybe even a decade … but will it last for the remainder of these peoples’ lives? I have to wonder.

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    • Life here is but a vapor. Relationships here are temporary. Eternity is the reality we should be focused on—the reality we should live for, and even sacrifice for. Celibacy is hard, and will be lonely at times, no doubt. But Christ is worth it.

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      • What if “hell” is what we are enduring right now on this earth? What a waste to let a few verses from Paul destroy any kind of meaningful connection here on this Earth.

        I’m with the other James, the idea that miserable, life-long celibacy is god’s solution for us gay folks results from the lack of critical thinking. It is miserable. I know some of you have tried your best to substitute your physical needs with your “jesus high”, but it won’t last.

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      • I’m going to assume that you are not a believer. Until you are filled with the holy spirit it’s hard to understand the things that you can get through. Obviously like anything else, if you loose hope and let the enemy creep in, then you will be back at it again. Just like a porn addict allowing him or herself to go back to watching porn. But you can make this “Jesus High” as you call it (offensive by the way) a lifestyle by surrounding yourself with the right people and so forth. What I’m saying is, if you want to continue that life, go at it, we’ll pray for you. But don’t bring everyone down just because you choose to continue in that life of acting on the desires of the flesh. Instead encourage those who believe that abstenance is the way, if you care for them.

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      • Alberto,

        I’ve already posted this article a couple of times, but I think what my friend says in this article pretty much explains my thoughts on a christianity that tells someone their HARD WIRED sexuality is wrong. There is too much unnecessary suffering and pain from gay christians over something that doesn’t need changed and doesn’t need fixing. The only thing that needs to happen is self acceptance.

        http://bjunity.org/modeling-compassion/about-that-lifestyle-choice-part-2/

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    • I think that if anybody has room to talk about this, it’s Matt. He’s speaking from experience. I’m sure he completely understands where Julie is coming from, and so will many others. For all he knows, he might be one of those celibate people who’s attractions are never changed, and I can imagine he has his days of doubt. But personally, I deeply admire him and I am ecstatic to have him as a brother in Christ because of how passionate and devoted he is to following Jesus. Even if I never meet him on earth, I totally look forward to being able to say “Hey” in heaven. I’m not even homosexual and both he and Julie have encouraged me immensely.

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      • I love my brother in Christ regardless of his sexual partners, but if what he’s doing is against scripture (homosexual relationships) then I can’t condone it or encourage it. That would be like admiring the relationship between a man and a woman who had never married, but were having sex and living together. That’s also against scripture.

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      • “there are at least two ways to see the world, to make sense of it and find meaningfulness in life: by seeing how everything in the world is related to everything else, or by always trying to find how each thing in the world is different from every other thing. In other words, where do we want to spend most of our life energy: trying to understand our world by embracing similarities and accepting differences, or do we want to live our lives focused on the things that separate us from others–that make us and “them” different? The latter serves as a wedge that drives people apart. The former brings us together in community.” – Dr. Tim Tyson

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      • “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” -John 15:19
        “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” – 1 John 2:15-17

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      • Mark 12:31: And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

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      • Since when does “love” mean to disregard the things in the Bible that disagree with our human minds? To love someone is to tell them the truth. However, be humble and gracious in doing so. Go read Acts 8. Peter’s response to Simon’s sin is not, “Bro, you’re fine doing what you’re doing.” It’s more along the lines of, “You’re doing what God says is wrong and your heart isn’t right. Go repent and pray.” Simon just says okay.

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      • Revolutionary,

        We look at the bible differently. I do not turn it into an Idol that tells me everything I could possible know about god. God also gave me a brain. He gave me intelligence to not follow things blindly (like the bible) without some serious thought. Many have pointed out the inconsistencies in scripture, so I won’t go into that here. If you are trying to tell me that god would find it sinful for Matt to find someone to share the rest of his life with and would rather him live a lonely existence …. because god made him gay (most of the staunchest conservative christians now agree that sexuality can not be changed)….. then I say you are crazy or your god is evil. You choose.

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      • Jeremiah 10:23
        “I know, O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.”

        James you are totally off the mark when you call reverence to God’s word “idolatry”. Men are dreamers. When they turn their talents to writing, the result can be a great fiction. When they turn their talents to technology, the result can be a great leap forward in the living standards of mankind. But when men turn their talents of innovation to the field of religion, the result is apostasy and antagonizing God. God has spoken; His will is plain. When He has spoken no mortal man has the right to alter His law. God expects things to be done the way He has ordained them to be done and neither eliminated, altered, nor added to. Not one thing more and not one thing less will please God. When a person is reverent and respectful to the word of God, that person is seeking God in the way God, Himself, has instructed. All of the incongruous reasons you make need specific clarification.. such as “God also gave me a brain. He gave me intelligence to not follow things blindly (like the bible) without some serious thought. Many have pointed out the inconsistencies in scripture, so I won’t go into that here.” is a huge claim against cultivating a faith in God altogether. You DO need to go there if your intent is to discredit scripture and the use of it.

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      • Gene,

        You write: “But when men turn their talents of innovation to the field of religion, the result is apostasy and antagonizing God. God has spoken; His will is plain. When He has spoken no mortal man has the right to alter His law. God expects things to be done the way He has ordained them to be done and neither eliminated, altered, nor added to.”

        How can you say such a thing? There are so many different branches of Christianity that all essentially follow the Bible, yet they have very conflicting theology. Was god not clear? Or are you somehow a better interpreter of scripture than others? Why would god allow so much “apostasy” come from the interpretation of his own book?

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      • James, what is conflicting is the HUMAN theology which has been ADDED to original intent of holy and complete scripture…much like what is being done in trying to push Godly acceptance of SSA in religion. Humans have tendency to group together when there are common issues that are shared and it’s not unusual for them to do the same when in regards to religion. God allows apostasy because He allows free will. We are free to study the scriptures and be open for them to change us OR we will study the scripture seeking God’s acceptance of us “as we are”. It doesn’t take a degree in biblical theology to see the difference and know that God’s message is one of transformation. It’s the “take me as I am” attitudes that have led to the divisions that we now have.

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    • I don’t believe God will abandon them in their loneliness. I mean a “lifetime” is a long time to not find love. I believe God works in us throughout our lives. “Keep pressing on towards the goal and let faith complete its work in you.”

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    • A lot of people, mostly heterosexuals, have chosen to live celebate lives to follow Jesus. I think we should encourage that kind of courage and commitment instead of playing devil’s advocate to it. We should pray that they keep strong in their path with Christ. Besides, we never know what changes might develope in a person through that experience, she might not have to wait a decade and maybe find that one man that deserves a woman with such a heart for Jesus. God bless.

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      • Sometimes I feel like I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. It’s acceptable to have a relationship with a girl, but since I have absolutely no attraction towards girls, that’s hardly an option for me. On the other hand it’s unacceptable to have a relationship with a guy, even though I am attracted to them. It’s like celibacy is the only choice I’m given. There are moments when it seems like a joke it being played on me. Like, why is everything backwards? I just hope now that I’m going to counseling I’ll be able to sort these issues out.

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      • Michael,

        You have been brainwashed by well meaning “men of god”. I grew up in conservative Christianity. I understand how it works. That kind of Christianity is based on fear. Fear that if you don’t say the right prayer and live the right way you will go to hell. Fear that falling in love with someone is somehow going to put you out of favor with god. Fear that a same sex relationship will lead to a life of sin and death. It is all a lie Michael. My friend, Dr. Tim Tyson wrote the article below. Anyone can learn something from this article. I recommend that everyone read it. If you consider yourself a conservative Christian, I suggest you read it several times.

        http://bjunity.org/modeling-compassion/about-that-lifestyle-choice-part-2/

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      • Michael,

        I am praying for you and God’s wisdom on the counselor.

        There is an article that I have been trying to post but I dont understand why it is not showing up.
        If you like, google “On Homosexuality: It is okay to fight. It is a very good article and I think it is something that could give you some encouragement. I think you could relate with what the author went through in her prime.

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      • I also want to suggest a book to you. Lee Strobels “The Case for Christ” This talks about an athiest’s journey to Christ. It is very informative, you can find it cheap online.

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      • james- The guy who wrote that article had absorbed some unchristian things in his Christian upbringing: “I had mastered the fundamentalists’ art of dismissive condemnation. It goes something like this: bad things only happen to those who make bad choices and therefore get what they deserve. The only solution is repentance (compliance–turning from those wicked ways), and the best way to get repentance is with punishment” The whole point of Christianity is that we DON”T get what we deserve and we escape punishment though Christ’s death. Bad things happen to those who don’t deserve it all the time, like babies who are scraped out of their mother’s wombs. What did they do?

        As an agnostic turned Christian, I’d say my journey is the complete opposite of this guy’s. One of the things I like most about my faith is that it challenges me to think and to grow.

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    • This approach to homosexual attraction seems much more in line with the Catholic perspective presented by groups like Courage, where living a chaste life is one of the major goals. It is the relationship with Christ that is the key. Fellowship with other like minded believers is another goal to help manage the potential loneliness.

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  4. A very good post! Thanks for sharing it, Matt, and thanks for your insightful introduction. As far as the church is concerend, sometimes it is a difficult place for any single, mature adult. I know from experience with friends of mine, that it can also be a place that is difficult for married couples who are not able to or who choose not to have children. The Church is not a museum for saints who are married with 2.5 children. It is a hospital for sinners. All kinds of sinners! When it functions that way, the Church is an amzaing place to be!!!

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  5. Hi Matt

    Thanks for posting this important message. I have have had same sex attractions as long as I can remember. When I came out as a Lesbian I spent eight years being celibate because I didn’t believe in promiscuity. Celibacy is healthy. I loved my independance and had a lot of fun in life. In my committed relationship with a woman we got along well and it worked just like you would imagine a reslationship would work.

    But, as a believer I was challeged recently through prayer and Bible study that I was living in sin. I began to realize my gay lifestyle was blocking me from have a ‘real’ relationship with Jesus. So I gave up living as a lesbian and was born again. It’s important for Christians to accept God’s opinion on homosexuality and to have faith in Him.

    Jesus said in Matthew 19:11 “Not everyone can accept this statement…For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

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  6. Matt writes: “Relationships here are temporary”

    Some are. True love endures. If God is going to punish those who love someone merely because that someone happens to be of the same gender (while refusing to do change that form of love into something He supposedly would approve of despite the constant pleas of His faithful), He’s not good. At least not according to any coherent definition of “good”.

    Such a god can only be feared, like a monstrous beast who can only be placated with blood and pain … for a time.

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      • Davide, that is a seriously inappropriate comment. Apparently the use of the internet with its de-personalization of social interactions has destroyed your ability to hold your tongue.

        James, that is not how God operates. He does not want to punish people, and those who receive the ultimate wages for their sin – and all deliberate decisions to live in sin, regardless of the behavior in question, are treated the same way – do so literally over his dead body. He fights for us, pursues us, but he will not force us, for he wants us to love him, and forced love is not love at all.

        Think about the ant. In an ant colony, every ant has one of two jobs: work or reproduction. There is no ant without a job, and there is no leisure time. If ants were intelligent enough to speak and to analyze humans according to their standards, they would say that human civilization is failing miserably. We have humans that do not work, some because they cannot or will not and others because their position does not require physical labor. We do not have any humans who work constantly. It has been that way for as long as humans have existed. It is what we are as a species, and the ant has no right to judge us. Why? Because we can destroy them, and if they invade our space, we do. By the ant’s logic, all humans are evil, vicious, destructive, lazy, vile creatures. We know that not all humans fit that description, but an ant cannot possibly understand that because they cannot know our minds.

        Although God created us to look like him, and everything good in us is a reflection of him, we cannot subject God to our morality anymore than the ant could subject us to theirs. It is foolish to do so. He is superior to us in every way, and we are not capable of fully understanding who he is or why he does what he does. However, God did not choose to remain separate from us. He once communicated with us directly, but as we matured, we began to do terrible things. The more evil we did, the more rules God subjected us to, until we had the extremely oppressive law still adhered to by orthodox Jews. Those Jews, as well as anyone who rejects God because of that law, entirely missed the point. While some of us are trying to make God fit our mold, he was trying to show us what would be required for us to fit his. He, as God, has the ultimate right to define right and wrong, whether or not it fits our reality. The point of the law is to show us that we are incapable of perfection according to God’s definition. That is why we need help, and it is why God, first through the prophets, then Jesus, and now the Holy Spirit, seeks to help us, if only we would accept his help.

        Every relationship as we know it is temporary. Every relationship ends at some point, even if that point is death. Love may continue beyond the grave, but the relationship is over. Jesus said that in heaven, we will not be married. We may know the same people in heaven, but our relationships with them will be different. However, the relationship we build with God is eternal. It does not end when we die, which is why Christians – true Christians, not the kind who go through the motions on Sunday and forget about God for the rest of the week, and not the kind who reduce God to something humans will find more acceptable – cling to that relationship above all else.

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    • James,

      Matt is simply pointing out that we should not worship human relationships above God because we will never find the truest and most lasting satisfaction apart from him. I have come to this same realization after years of chasing relationships. I did not know the deepest and greatest love until now and now all relationships pale in comparison to the greatness of Christ. No wonder Paul made this his passion and ultimate goal. Those who have never experience this love cannot grasp what we are saying and will probably consider us fools. I am now blessed with a great wife and daughter but God is the most amazing person in my life and has enable to love them in way that puts them first since I don’t depended on them for love but that my aim is to give them love as Christ did for us.

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    • So do you think it is inherently more difficult for homosexuals to be celibate than single heterosexuals? Or for people of any orientation in a “committed” relationship whose partner cannot participate in sexual activity for example? Is it a special burden that only homosexuals bear? Or really should God just not have anything to say about sex?

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      • @Dana: I’m not aware of any heterosexuals (outside of some Catholic priests) who have vowed to remain celibate for their entire lives. Do you?

        I’m not sure how many priests are keeping those vows, however. Sadly, the number of Catholic priests dying of AIDS is four times that of the general population.

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      • Dana,
        In general, celibacy for heterosexuals is only a temporary situation until they enter into a sexual relationship (marriage). They have the hope and expectation that the single life will come to an end at some point. But for homosexuals celibacy will be a life long thing. In that way I think it is more difficult for homosexuals to deal with. At least that is how it seems to be in my personal experience.

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      • The big point here that everyone seems to be missing is that sex is a very small and minor element of a marriage or relationship.

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      • The big point here that everyone seems to be missing is that sex is a very small and minor element of a marriage or relationship.

        A relation ship, however, can lead to sex.

        Perhaps there are homosexuals who can be in homosexual relationships while avoiding buggery. But a relationship presents many occasions for temptation.

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      • Buggery? Can we evolve a little bit as a society?

        God created this one sex act that is somehow sinful…. ONLY if it is between two people of the same sex…. regardless if they are living a life-long committed relationship? You worship a very small minded and cruel god.

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      • God created this one sex act that is somehow sinful…. ONLY if it is between two people of the same sex…. regardless if they are living a life-long committed relationship? You worship a very small minded and cruel god.

        I do not really care. All I know is that I do not condone buggery. Those who engage in buggery will be destroyed by HaShem unless they repent.

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      • ONLY if it is between two people of the same sex

        Wait a minute… how can anal sex be wrong between two guys but right between a guy and girl? Or even oral sex for that matter? It doesn’t make sense. That’s like saying it’s wrong for a woman to have premarital sex but okay for a man to do it. Shouldn’t everyone be held to the SAME standards?

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    • hi James,

      you say …….”Such a god can only be feared, like a monstrous beast who can only be placated with blood and pain … for a time.” …….

      You have hit the nail on the head yet missed the point completely.

      God our Father is satisfied with the ‘one and only’ blood sacrafice of Jesus His son, who is God. So in essence God suffered the pain, and shed His blood for us so that we could avoid the punishment that our sins required.

      All God asks of us in this life, which is but a vapour, is to give up our self centered wants and ambitions and set our sights on what He has planned for us.

      If I were investing in my future I would be ‘ALL IN’ for God! I’m sure the return would be worth it.

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      • Moxie, I’m not suggesting one live a life of wanton promiscuity and selfishness. Rather, I think it’s possible to live a Christian life of self-sacrifice and decency *as* a gay person in a relationship as part of one’s faith (just as it is possible to live as a remarried heterosexual Christian despite Scripture’s seemingly clear condemnation of divorce and remarriage in most cases).

        In fact, even long-term same-sex relationships will provide some challenges that will test our devotion and faith that living a celibate life cannot: we may have to sacrifice some material goods for the other, maybe our time and attention. Ironically, these challenges that elicit charity from us are also partially what “fulfills” us just as much as the other person’s companionship does.

        So you see, I’m not talking about “doing whatever feels good”. Quite the contrary.

        I’ll also be the first to admit that if more gay men attempted to live this way, perhaps this conversation wouldn’t be such an uphill battle for folks like me (and there are many gay couples who, like myself, have been partnered for years).

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      • James, as much as your arguement makes sense in a certain canonical human interpretation, for you to be able to have widespread acceptance you’d have to provide contextual scriptural proof, as well. Are you able to provide this additional support to your debate?

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      • James, lets think this through. You suggest a person should follow the examples of Jesus and how He lived and treated others yet give no explanation as to how this is accomplished. Do you know of any other God-inspired writings which hold equal credibility to holy scriptue? As we think further, it makes me wonder what you have read in the Bible which is so disagreeable to you so as to lead you to this attempt in breaking apart Jesus from the very words and actions which He, Himself, orchestrated. It is ultimately impossible to be a follower of Jesus and cast His words and actions to the wind simply because they were in a book in which you seem to have little or no respect. The Bible is not a book among many, it is not a newspaper of the times in which it was written nor was it conceived from man. Each and every word was set in order from God through inspired men… not men who were mere reporters who happened to live at the right time and place who happened to catch the news about an outstanding character who lived at the same time they did. It is by far MUCH more! If you don’t agree with it and the writings within, I’d suggest for YOU to be honest about that and not be professing to anyone to “follow Jesus, but not the Bible” or the words of a man (Paul) who said a few negative words in which you obviously disagree.

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      • Based on my observations of the dialog, professing Christians who are supportive of homosexual relationships do so in the context of a committed relationship (i.e. committing sexual sin outside of that life-long relationship is not acceptable). Is that fair? While other professing Christians are stating celibacy or a pursuit of a heterosexual relationship is the answer. The arguments supportive of same-sex relationships do not stress the teaching of the whole Bible but focus on fulfilling the greatest commandments, love God and love your neighbor as yourself, as well as emphasizing experience in that celibacy does not provide a satisfactory lifestyle. I’ll add in that this view often reminds us also that the popular thought of “oh just change your feelings and ask God to make you straight” is neither effective nor sensitive (although some do experience a change in attraction, it seems most do not). The arguments in support of celibacy stress the broader context of the Bible and that heterosexual marriage is God’s divine nature representative in the human race of His relationship with the Church. Also it is on this side that some encourage seeking a change in attraction, although many do not share this conviction.

        I came across this article that may provide some good fodder for the conversation. You can also find a link through this to the opposing view. What are your thoughts on this? Anyone?

        http://www.gaychristian.net/rons_view.php

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  7. Thank you for sharing this. It’s extremely encouraging. We cannot ignore the parts of the Bible that say homosexual behavior is a sin, but we also cannot ignore the parts that say “Love your neighbor.” I am so glad that this young woman is reaching out to people. Her testimony is powerful.(:

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  8. Excellent posting, Matt. I agree with Julie wholeheartedly. (For some reason wordpress is allowing me to “like” the postings.) It’s a hopeful message for SSA Christians, and a needed word for all hetero Believers.

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  9. Awesome. There is a real need in the Church for teaching along these lines. We throw the words “gay” and “homosexual” around, leaving people to interpret the words for themselves.

    And they usually get it wrong.

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  10. I thought I was the only person beginning to feel like this. My attraction towards women grows stronger everyday despite the fact that I’m actually trying to do my part in my walk with God. I find men attractive as far as looks, but beyond the friend phase I’m not interested and I find myself wanting a girlfriend. Being 19 and in college dealing with this is not easy. I get sad because I’m alone often. Any advice on how to deal?

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  11. This perspective is just what alot of people needed. Thanks to Julie for sharing her personal experience..though I have through Christ been able to continually develop heterosexual attraction, it doesn’t mean temptation doesn’t still exist but we as believers have Christ as an alternative. It is my prayer that all of us who have struggled may simply grow deeper and deeper in our love relationships with the Lord!

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  12. So many comments concerning celibacy and it being such a horrible choice (“live alone, grow old alone and die alone.” Being on ones’ own is not only healthy and fulfilling, it is also preferential as mentioned in scripture (1 Corinthians 7:8-9). If you find your lot in life is as a single person and celibate, consider it a valuable way of life and an opportunity to live your life in the way you want at every moment, especially when following the direction of God and the opportunities to do so! Be the one God wants you to be without having to lean upon anyone else! This is not only a Godly principle but one that is also atune to current psycological studies, as well.

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    • Gene,

      Your point about singleness is right. It was a amazing time in my life and I only wished that I had seen the blessing that I had during that time. The world puts an emphasis on worshiping relationships so they cannot understand the privilege of living for Christ as a single. I had given up being married and was very content when I met the girl who later became my wife. It actually took some prodding from others to get seriously consider pursuing her. God did some amazing ministry during my single years in my twenties and I had some of the greatest times just talking to God. The revelation about his character was deep and most fulfilling event in my whole life and nothing compares to it. Paul was right in saying that being single was better but God will also blessed married life even it diverts our attention some. We are conditioned to see life as single as terrible because our books, movies and culture creates romance as the must event in our lives.

      Like

  13. Gene writes: “you’d have to provide contextual scriptural proof”

    I’m appealing to Scriptural values that transcend the letter of the Law. This is difficult to explain, but I’d suggest that real love transcends the Law and, in rare cases, may appear to render the Law invalid. What’s permissible may no longer be permissible. What’s impermissible may become permissible.

    There is precedent for this: take the moral issue of human slavery. What does Scripture say about it? Don’t take my word, take John MacArthur’s:

    “Although slavery was carefully regulated under Mosaic law, neither the Old nor New Testaments condemns slavery as such. Social strata are recognized and even designed by God for man’s good. Some people will be served and some will serve others. That is the nature of human society”

    Yet, we have come to the conclusion in our society that buying and selling human beings for profit (oftentimes against their will) is an affront to their God-given human dignity. The spirit of the Law negates the very Law that permits the institution of slavery. In fact, the spirit of the Law may move us to fight against God-ordained authorities to protect the freedoms that we feel others are entitled to.

    Again, I’m not arguing for personal licentiousness or even that people who feel moral hesitation about entering into a same-sex relationship should be encouraged to do so. I’m suggesting that intentions matter: if our lives are grounded in a desire to live the two commandments (“love God and love others”) insofar as we understand them, God will, I think, overlook or forgive us when we error in the manner in which we live it out.

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    • James,

      I would agree with Gene that we need to “provide contextual scriptural proof” since even good teachers like John MacArthur can be wrong at times. We need to be the Bereans in the book of Acts who went home and check the scriptures to see if Paul was telling the truth. God hates slavery and it is a result of sin. God includes slave traders as one of the sins as the following verse in Timothy 1:10, “for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine” So your point is out of context being used in framework based on human reasoning not “contextual scriptural proof” God never wanted sin or slavery but we are born slaves to sin due to the fall of Adam and Eve unfortunately their sin brought us slavery too. Christ has called to love others as ourselves so mistreating or enslaving others goes against his will. James in James Chapter 5 states the following warning from God about mistreating others and oppressing them. ” Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.”

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      • thanks, freedomcampus, for your imput! Couldn’t have replied any more accurately than you have done. My only other thought which came to mind is that we, having been bought with a price, are servants of God. Throughout the history of the Bible there are example after example of peoples who lived in some form of slavery. God used the examples of these not to encourage its existance, but to demonstrate how horrible it is to be enslaved. Sin, by its very nature, can be a powerful master to whom we, on our own, give willing service not realizing we are relinquishing Godly freedom for being in the worst kind of bondage. The desire to be absolutely free, without the guidance and restraint of God, is disastrous. Man was not designed by the Creator to so live. If he attempts to do so, he becomes like a runaway car without a driver. Christ came to free us from sin (John 8:32), but when freed from sin, we immediately become His servants (Romans. 6:5-7, 15-18). A servant of righteousness is the same as a servant of Christ. Paul and Peter both described themselves as servants of Christ (Romans 1:1; 2 Peter. 1:1). Peter said in 1 Peter. 2:15, 16, “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as servants of God.”

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      • I seriously suggest you folks read this article. I would overlook the idea of going to a greek orthodox church and get his larger point.

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frankschaeffer/2012/11/why-evangelical-bible-idolatry-sucks-and-why-i-go-to-a-greek-orthodox-church-even-though-its-a-mess-too/

        Some very important parts of the article:

        “Having elevated the Bible — or at least the nicer bits that they like — to the status of a magic book evangelicals have demoted God. Their “god” is trapped in a book and kept somewhat like a tame rat inside the cage of “biblical inerrancy.”

        Since the evangelical/fundamentalists worship a book rather than God they can’t admit that the Bible has flaws and is just plain crazy in places. So they spend lifetimes working to make “sense” of something nonsensical, mean and stupid.

        Why Bible idolatry is a particularly evangelical/fundamentalist blind spot is that, unlike earlier Christianity—at least in the more enlightened non-retributive threads of church history, evangelical/fundamentalist Protestants have forgotten and/or banished the idea that an oral tradition coexisted with the Bible within the life of the Church. They also have forgotten that some of the earliest Christians wrote that God is not to be defined or hedged in by Bible-derived “theology,” even by descriptions about him in the Bible. And evangelicals have subverted the teaching and life of Jesus because the idea that love trumps theology makes them nervous.”

        “What the evangelical/fundamentalists (of the kind I used to be myself) rarely seem to admit is that by necessity fundamentalists also pick and choose what they believe. In that sense everyone is a liberal. Fundamentalists’ commitment to truth is as fluid as anyone’s. They just lie about it. Their claim of consistent belief in the Bible is two-faced. If fundamentalists didn’t pick and choose by omission if not by commission, they’d all be in jail— literally. Seen any adulterers stoned to death in a church lately? And if they all “believed in the Bible” there would be no denominational splits because the Holy Spirit” doesn’t lie (they say) and so all sincere Christians would be guided to the truth and agree on what the Bible “says.”

        Above all the Bible-worshiping evangelicals have ignored the fact that – ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN THEOLOGY — there is a supreme lens through which to edit the meaner stupider bits of the Bible. Jesus is the lens.”

        “Jesus attacked the idea of salvation through correct belief. He attacked the idea that only Jews were “saved.” Jesus said that the Good Samaritan, today’s equivalent of a gay Hindu outsider crashing a Southern Baptist church supper, was the only one in his story doing God’s will thus “saved.” He broke the biblical Sabbath laws. He thumbed his nose at the church of his day and the keepers of the Law. In another instance Jesus said that “The Law says… but rather I say…” and then repudiated the Law in in favor of the woman “taken in sin.” On the cross Jesus said “forgive them,” thus doing away with hell for evildoers”

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    • James wrote.. “I’m appealing to Scriptural values that transcend the letter of the Law. This is difficult to explain, but I’d suggest that real love transcends the Law and, in rare cases, may appear to render the Law invalid.”

      But, Jesus said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.“ John 14:21

      Jesus came to magnify the law to show the world that we must obey the law and that the law is spiritual not a stone tablet with ten ‘easy to remember’ commands. Jesus expanded, expounded and gave the law more power to convict the heart. Jesus said, “ Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. “ Matthew 5: 17,18

      Jesus goes on to expound the law, for example “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. “ Matthew 5: 21,22.

      “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:9,10.

      The law is the same today as it was to Noah and Abraham before Moses and to Paul and Peter after Christ. The only difference today is that the whole world can come to God through Jesus not just Israel through bull sacrifices (this is what Jesus did away with)

      Jesus did away with ceremonial laws but his laws about sexual immorality have not changed one bit. God does not allow us to judge, or stone people for disobeying the law anymore. God did away with the priests and judges of Israel, because, it is God who sits in judgement of the whole world and He is waiting patiently for us to turn to Him.

      Christians are told to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to witness to people the truth about sin. Jesus died to save us from our sin. This is the focus of God’s message.

      We can’t get the definition of sin wrong or it would cost us dearly “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” Revelations 22: 14

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      • James,

        Do we now used scripture when it is convenient for prooftexting and toss it out when it is used in a manner that undermines our subjective perspective on morality? God’s truth trumps our traditions of man. How many time did Jesus criticized the religious leaders of his time that they had replace God’s word with their traditions? If the scriptures have no authority since it is a idolatry to have it as the basis for discerning God’s will than what does? Majority vote of the human population or our personal reasoning that suit us? We need a firm trustworthy basis or foundation as a measurement for making critical decisions that affect our eternal destiny. The scriptures have passed the test of time and have been validated by several thousand years of miracles as recorded by the many authors of the bible.

        Psalms 138:2 states the following about God’s word: “For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.” God takes his word seriously. How many times are we called to be discerning and rightly understand the scriptures. We have a real enemy who would prefer that we treat him like a mythical creature so he can continue his subtle deception to warp our minds to either reject God or create a god according to our own preferences. I don’t say this things to argue but to wake up us to this angel of light who is a liar who has come to steal, destroy and kill us. The weapon against HIM is the word of God as stated in Ephesians 6:17.

        Hebrews 4:12 states the purpose of God’s word in our lives with the following “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

        God’s word is the tool that helps us sort our subjective soulish thinking and what actually God is speaking to us. It shows our true conditions and expose the hidden thoughts and desires that lead us away from God.

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  14. James Columbus.

    Buon giorno!!! 

    I think Freedom and Gene are correct…..

    Why is it many who identify as “LGBT” disagree with the moral teachings of the Church and sacred Scripture sometimes attempt to equate homosexuality to slavery? 

    Seriously, why? 

    Isn’t it so there is a tendency to look at slavery as something of the past?  But isn’t it true millions today are subject to slavery?: forced labor, sex trade, homosexuality, pornography, child trafficking, fornication, habitual masturbation and other sexual fetishes, abortion, chronic adultery, greed, sloth, multiple divorces, some government entitlements and welfare (socialism), relativism, etc. 

    Slavery in the OT was not like slavery in recent past based on race. People sold themselves as slaves when they couldn’t pay their debts or provide for their families. Even in NT times people actually chose to be slaves to have all their needs provided. 

    Sacred Scripture does in FACT condemn slavery based on race! Look at the Hebrews experienced in Egypt. They were slaves because they were Hebrew. And God poured out plagues on Egypt cause that’s how wicked it was.

    And both the OT and NT condemn “stealing men” which happened in Africa in 18th and 19th centuries. They were rounded up by other Africans and sold to slave traders. This is crime against Mosaic Law see Exodus 21:16. In the NT slave traders were called “ungodly and sinful” see 1 Timothy 1-8-10.

    I [believe] the point of sacred Scripture is point the way to salvation not to reform social injustices. The Bible at times approaches things from the inside out. If a soul searches out God’s love, mercy, and grace God reforms his soul. Then the person can help transform society. 

    Blessed Saint Paul deals defacto with slavery which in the Roman empire was quite different than more recent race slavery…and almost always more humane but not always. Many slaves were freed when their masters died. Slaves even had slaves. Many slaves were skilled like educators and doctors. 

    Anyways Saint Paul believed the free and slaved were equal in the Church. 

    If you have a bible you might want to read 1 Tim 6:1-2, 1 Cor. 7: 21-23, Eph 6: 5-9. 

    In short I think you are mistaken  and so is “John MacArthur” dude. BTW isn’t he a Calvinist? Maybe I am thinking of someone else. Regardless he’s wrong. 

    Devo andare adesso :) 

    Hey! Do you live in Columbus Ohio? My older brother Gio used to live in Bexley.  

    Davide

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    • Davide, another thing which totally perplexes me is the tendancy by some (even of the black race) who want to compare themselves equally within the netative social acceptability dilemma of homosexuality. If I were of a race where there were those who made such an unjust and viscous analogy about me, I’d be completely insulted. I realize that it stems from the basic reasoning of feeling akin to another minority who desires being freed to be “who they are” however I have yet to see any black person who successfully decided to change their skin color unlike the many I know who did successfully stop their homosexual activities.

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      • Gene,
        I don’t get that either. I mean gay people never had to drink from separate fountains, go to separate schools, or were denied the right to vote. And black people don’t know what living in the closet is like – fearing that your family will disown you and your friends reject you. Or being branded mentally ill. It’s different situations. Although I have noticed that a lot of times when people have racial prejudices it’s not based on skin color at all. But on negative experiences they had with members of another race or bad/criminal behavior they witnessed a lot. And they’ll point out how drugs, violence and crime rates are higher among non-white people than whites to justify their prejudices.

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  15. @Davide, yes Columbus, Ohio. Bexley is a nice area with some lovely homes, some of them in the millions. Columbus is, IMO, one of the best-kept secrets of the Midwest. It has a very youthful population (due to OSU and other universities), a thriving economy and culture (lots of banking headquarters here) and a relatively low cost of living.

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  16. @james, ya Columbus is cool. Three of my sibs attended college up there. Gio got his law degree there. When i go visit we attended Mass in Whitehall on the corner of yearling and hamilton? Ya think that correct. I liked the Easton area. Never notice much culture there…maybe because i’m from Italy (Milan) lol. To me America seems to be Culture lacking. Unless of course strip malls are count as culture. ;)

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    • I’m assuming your sibling went to Ohio State? When was he there? I got my MBA at Ohio State back in the 90s. The Law school was right next the business school back then.

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  17. @James – I’m interested in learning more of your perspective. You seem like a really open person and are not getting upset just because people in this forum have a view that is different than your own. I respect that, cuz I’ve in my past been pretty narrow-sighted with regards to this topic. I’m straight and married, but have recently been blessed with friendships with a lesbian and a gay man, and needless to say i’m learning a lot. I realize that the “church” has for a long time marginalized and ostracized those who struggle with a same-sex attraction. Do you think its offensive if a Christian encourages you or anyone with a same-sex attraction to “fight” against the temptation, based on their understanding of scripture and the natural/moral law of God? What are the things that Christians do/say that hurt you?

    Any others can chip in on this too, I just thought James might have the best perspective on this.

    Eager to learn and share the love of God, who first loved me while I was yet in sin!

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    • We are called to inspect all words by the truth not just accept anything especially if it is based on subjectivity since satan works as an angel of light whispering the same lie that his ways are better and that we need to open our minds beyond the scope of what God has clearly given us by his word. He did with Eve promising her enlightenment and she would be like God calling the shots. Same old message and tactic but now in new wording. Christ called us to a narrow road that would not be popular. He clearly warned us that many would walk the wide road the more open-minded road. What is true love? Encouraging someone to stay in path that leads them over a cliff or earnestly warn them in hopes that they will wake from their daydream before they go over the cliff.

      Proverbs 27:6 “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”

      James 5:19-20 “My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

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    • Hey Blake

      I understand your sympathy towards people like me with same sex attractions but it is through the acceptance and friendship of Christians that I have been able to feel comfortable in church. I think that some people bear false witness against the Christian community by painting them as judgemental.

      Christians know more than anyone what it means to repent and turn from a sinful life. So they are very welcoming and sensitive to those struggling with sin or addictions.

      I can tell that you are one of those Christians who is compassionate as well.

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  18. @ freedom on campus – sorry but I don’t understand how your answer relates to my question. i’m not disagreeing with your points but can you explain what you mean? i’m trying to learn what Christians do that ostracize homosexuals and push them away, probably things that i’ve done. I’m not condoning but I desperately want to learn not to condemn either. I just want to learn and love like Jesus. thanks :)

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    • Sorry Blake. I misunderstood. I am going thru the same process. Constantly reminded of God’s grace in my life and how I want to demonstrate towards others. Sadly some will reject Grace even in the most loving terms because they loved their sin more than anything else. Christ himself was rejected even by his own people.

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    • Blake, I’m not gay so I’m probably not qualified to speak, but I’m going to do it anyway and I’ll deserve whatever is thrown at me. How I have observed is that we Christians sometimes treat gay people like they are some outside group and not us. Also, we’ve been hoodwinked by psychology and make gay people feel like they are under an obligation to change their desires to fit in. We don’t do this to others. For example, my husband struggles with porn but I don’t expect him to ever not find it attractive, although I am so happy he resists its temptations. Finally, we have elevated marriage above singlehood and haven’t contradicted the message of society that only undesirable people are celibate and single. I’m sure other people will have more to add.

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  19. @ Moxie – thanks for your encouragement. it is my prayer to be compassionate and empathetic while also listening to my Shepherd’s voice and being His vessel of grace and truth. when you first began to feel comfortable in a “church” setting due to the friendship offered, did they also make their position clear, Biblically, that they believed acting on homosexual desires was sin? Or did they simply not even address that topic? i guess i’m just really desiring to learn people’s perspectives, particularly those whose shoes I have not walked in.

    any others please share your experiences when revealing your same-sex attraction to a Christian or a church community.

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  20. Hi Blake

    As I would think you would already know, And it is my experience, and, the proper custom of a church to accept and welcome anyone who enters through the door, without making any positions or presumptions towards them except to offer support to a repentant sinner.

    I chose to be transparent and open about my confession of faith and turning from homosexuality. No one confronted me or pursued me. I have attended several churches and heard many stories and witnessed the fellowship of people who lived as single, and later revealed their same sex orientation, but have chosen to live Christian lives of faith. There are many such examples within congregations everywhere. No one pestered them about why they were single and not dating. They were never ostracized or marginalized. They live productive lives as Christians.

    Sin and repentance is a between you and God. No one needs to lay it all out for everyone to see. However, many of us are now becoming vocal and open in order to defend our faith. We are not going to water down the truth about sin.

    We can’t get the definition of sin wrong or it would cost us dearly “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” Revelations 22: 14

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  21. Blake asks: ” Do you think its offensive if a Christian encourages you or anyone with a same-sex attraction to “fight” against the temptation”

    I don’t offend easily, especially if the person has good intentions.

    Also, in a sense I might agree with them: I don’t think that every impulse should be acted upon. One simply cannot indulge in every licit and illicit desire without becoming a caricature of a human being.

    The person should be consistent in terms of heterosexual marriage and divorce as well. I simply cannot understand the willingness of some to discard Luke 16:18, Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9 by sanctioning remarriages of heterosexuals who have been divorced for unbiblical reasons while taking at face value all the proscriptions against homosexuality. It’s intellectually dishonest and hypocritical. In such an instance, it’s not that I’m offended so much as I just give little weight to anything they say.

    Honestly, the only reason I’d take offense is if someone were to try to negatively impact my partner, my reputation or my livelihood because of their beliefs.

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    • James, your comment: “The person should be consistent in terms of heterosexual marriage and divorce as well.” Is absolutely correct! The main thing is to “get it right” all the way around, so to speak. There is much by way of fallacious teaching on the subject of marriage-remarriage in many a group who claim to be following the correct teachings of scripture. It is within points like this which can illustrate a persons’ desire for accurate truth from the non-truths of those who are more interested in personal wants and desires over Godly instruction.

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    • I agree too, James. And I’ve watched people in my church struggle with the issue of divorce just like remarriage. I actually know a member of our church who was about to remarry until another christian had the guts to tell her what she was doing was aganist the teachings of Jesus and she called off the wedding!

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  22. thanks everyone for your honest feedback. i’m learning and agree totally with you guys, there has been lots of hypocrisy in the double standards the church has set…denouncing and abhorring one sin while looking the other way at another. may we privately and corporately seek the Truth, obey the Truth and allow the Truth to set us free. Jesus is the only way. Be blessed!

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  23. Hey Blake

    thanks for being so humble and true. It’s not so much the churches as it is the induviduals who cause the hypocrisy.

    I am wondering if my experiences are different because I am Canadian? We don’t have half the issues you have in the States. For example our Baptist church culture is much different, more sedate. We don’t have tele-evangelists, that I know of . We have some Christians shows.

    The American culture is powerful. There always seems to be people in conflict over something.

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    • Davide,

      There are four canonical gospels in your Douay-Rheims translation and in my NIV and KJV (I read the Douay-Rheims, too, but that is beside the point). So you tell me where Jesus said one word about sex.

      Jesus gave us a new commandment (the Mandatum). That commandment is to “love one another as I have loved you.” It wasn’t “be celibate as I have been celibate for you.” It wasn’t “get married as I have gotten married for you.” It was simply “love one another.” Now, Jesus did talk about marriage, but he did not talk about sex.

      In fact, when he healed the Centurion’s pais (most Greek scholars acknowledge this word has a sexual connotation), he said he had not seen greater faith in all of Israel.

      If you believe you are called to celibacy, then God bless you on that road. To insist that everyone else who is gay, lesbian or bisexual (and that is what you are if you are “same sex attracted”) must adhere to your own personal rule, however, is to put words in God’s mouth that even Paul the Apostle says he did not have the authority to say.

      I hope that those who are following along this thread who realize that they cannot change who they are, who GOD made them to be, will also understand that the law of love, Jesus’s Mandatum, is the law that applies to every ethical question that faces the Christian. And how that ethic plays out in your life may be very different from the way it plays out in another person’s life. God is bigger than your rules.

      Jeffrey

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  24. @Jeffery,

    The gay Centurion thing again? 

    Really?  As far as I am aware sacred Scripture is NOT homosexual erotic literature.

    Why does it have to be a homosexual relationship in Matthew and Luke? 

    Is it possible two males can have a deep loving relationship without involving Captain Winky and the sewer pipe or homoerotic rape? 

    The word “pais” is almost always translated and understood to be a reference to a child servant (slave) or a servant who is younger than adult. Surely you don’t think Jesus would approve of homosexual child molestation and rape? Do you? 

    Okay I will play devil’s advocate and pretend without admitting the  Centurion was ‘queer’ and had a thing for raping boys. You state most Greek scholars agree this word pais in this circumstance should be translated this way.   Oh ya? What “most Greek scholars”? Can you provide their names? Or standard references for that? Better yet is this Catholic teaching on this Scripture passage? Keeping in mind I am Catholic not Protestant. 

    Anyways, I think we should be a little more honest here Jeffery, perhaps you should have stated ‘LGBT affirming folk’ AKA known as “Greek Scholars”, pais should be translated with the “sexual connotation”.  

    I know there are some LGBT affirming websites, a book or two published, and LGBT affirming “Christian” ministries pushing this thing-but it’s junk theology. The misuse of the centurion story is so far-fetched only a moron would believe it…or someone who had a particular social agenda to push. 

    Basically your argument probably goes something like this: 

    A. Sex between Gentile Masters and [boy] slaves was a commonplace. 

    B. Jesus didn’t tell the Centurion to stop having sex with the [boy] slave.

    C.  Therefore Jesus didn’t have a problem with sodomy or any other homosexual act (including rape). 

    First of all male sex slaves were not a commonplace a universal phenomenon. Not every Roman officer was having sex with boy slaves or men slaves. Jesus could hardly assume their were doing the bump and grind. In fact in Luke the centurion being portrayed as “God-fearer”. Personally I have never met a active homosexual person who feared God…just saying. 

    If your hypotheses is true wouldn’t it have Jesus endorsing homosexual rape????

    We know that the master-slave homoeroticism took in Greco-Roman world included not only coerced sexual activity but also FORCED FEMINIZATION including castration. So to put your pro-homosex spin on this story I must conclude that you think Jesus had no problem homosexual      rape. Or either you have little knowledge of Greco-Roman history and culture..

    What of the Jewish leaders Jeffery?  Luke tells us Jewish elders interceded on his behalf, so should I conclude these Jewish leaders had no problem with homosexuality?  Really? 

    Even If your hypothesis were true (not possible considering how Jews felt about homosexuality, rape and pederasty) Jesus would not have to give any sort of approval on any such relationship in order to heal the centurion’s servant.  God loves everyone, remember? Also there is no hint whatsoever that homosexual rape and pederasty relation existed and praised the centurion for his faith. If homosexuality existed between these two, Christ would have corrected it straight-up (no pun). This was a beloved younger servant not a homosexual child sex-slave, nor a teenage lover to an older man…as far as I am aware sacred Scripture is NOT homosexual eroticism literature. 

    Have you never seen Ben-Hur? How the Roman took him in and adopted him as a son. Let me guess you think Ben-Hur was also gay? 

    Additionally, Luke uses the word pais to describe Israel as God’s servant in Luke 1:54 and David being the Lord’s servant in Luke 1:69, surely you don’t think a pedophilia homosexual relationship existed between God and Israel and David do you? 

    Also early Christian literature commonly refer to Christ as God’s pais, always translated to servant or son. Now should I take that it to mean that Jesus was God’s homosexual slave? 

    Just how far shall we go with this  silliness? 

    This is hardly the first attempt to add to the bible through assumptions and outright intellectual dishonesty in order to justify one’s own lifestyle. 

    Matthew 19:4-6, where Christ reaffirms Genesis 1:27 From the beginning He made male and female, and the male shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one.–> Can’t get anymore explicit than that. 

    In Matthew 10:15 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgement than for that town”. Also Matt 11:23ff; Luke 10:12; Luke 17:29. Jesus was well aware the sin of sodom was homosexuality. Certainly pro-gay theologians and radical Protestants attempt to argue the sin of Sodom was inhospitably. Obviously they are right! If homosexual gang rape isn’t inhospitable than nothing is. 

    Jesus never said anything about homosexuality? Umm.. It’s not even a stretch to accept this explanation only ones pride and being stepped in that sin will harden their hearts to accepting this fact. Regardless I don’t expect a round of applause and a conversion from whatever homosexual I explain this to-like dyed wool far left liberal, they ignore the proof, explanations, well reasoned debate. 

    Scripture does tell us to love our neighbor.  But it doesn’t say “Facilitate your neighbors sinful lifestyles”. Twisting Scripture and out right lying to supports one’s erroneous beliefs is also sinful but not as sinful as forcing others to do the same.

    I am willing to go way out on a limb and say the Gospels does not record Christ speaking on homosexuality or LGBT lifestyle.  

    Okay first of all Jesus addressed the issues that were prevalent in his time. Homosexuality was hardly not a front-burner issue in his day. Even today in Palestinian areas with people still live and think much like earlier Palestine, the topic is too taboo and embarrassment, shock of even speaking of such things.

    Second, the Gospel writers recorded very few of Jesus’ words and deeds. See John 20: 30-31 21:25.  Heartbreaking as it might seem to you but homosexuality and the LGBT movement was not terribly important in that culture. Homosexuals in those days were not treated like a special class like they are today in some Western nations.    

    Third, we have no recorded mention that Jesus mentioned abortion (again a non-issue in 1st Century Palestine) yet we know he would have condemned it soundly. Jesus never mentioned riding donkeys slowly through intersections to avoid accidents. We have no record of him reminding people not to “drink and [donkey] drive” or to eat healthy to avoid a huge fat butt. .

    Now what we do know is the culture at that time. The religion and ethics of Jesus. He was not a first century pagan or a San Francisco homosexualist, not fascist, or a Hindu. He didn’t even have a subscription to Freshmen magazine!!!!!

    Jesus was Hebrew Jew! He obeyed the Law of Moses completely. The hypocritical leaders knew this and could never bin anything on him. Jesus being the second Person of the Most Holy Trinity who made man and woman and who gave them the Law at Mount Sinai.

    But even if you deny Christ is God you certainly cannot deny he was an observant Jew with the respect and love of the Law. 

    Please read Matthew 5: 17-19. Jesus upheld the Law and even made it more stringent… And what does the Law say about homosexuality? The pagans who offered their kids as living sacrifice practiced in homosexuality, God forbade his people to live like the rotten pagans. lev. 20:13-16.

    Interesting the Bible put homosexuality in the same category as incest and beastiality. See the next passage in Lev 20.

    No rational person would suggest Christ condoned, much less promoted homosexuality, incest, and sex with animals. I am speaking of the sex act not the attraction. 

    The only way to superimpose such “tolerance” for homosexuality we also would have to superimpose incest and sex with animals. Are you ready to do that? 

    Also would this not strip Christ from his own religion and cultural context and paint him a different color with a modern brush? Or maybe paint him a rainbow with a fairy wand?

    This new Jesus you propose is a Jesus of LGBT culture. In other words you have created God in your image. 

    Is it not true your brand of Protestantism is radical? More like practical atheism than traditional Protestant Christianity? 

    BTW you never answered my question…is homosexual sex acts sinful or not…..

    Thanks for your time.    

    Like

    • “Jesus was Hebrew Jew! He obeyed the Law of Moses completely. The hypocritical leaders knew this and could never bin anything on him. Jesus being the second Person of the Most Holy Trinity who made man and woman and who gave them the Law at Mount Sinai.”

      Funny how you claim Jesus was a Jew then have him represent an heretical idea to Judaism (the Trinity).

      Seems like Jesus wasn’t as Jewish as you want him to believe (if you follow the NT that is, which was written mostly by gentiles)

      Like

    • BTW, since you claim being Catholic:

      Is a priest having sex with a boy sinful or not?
      Is praying to images of “Saints” and Mary sinful or not?
      Is following a man and claiming he’s infallible sinful or not?
      Is lying about relics (Shroud of Turin, Virgin apparitions, etc) sinful or not?

      Like

  25. Blake,

    Hi-I am answering the comment you posted this morning—>thought it would be easier for you to find here at the bottom….And thanks for posting the link.

    I [believe] we sometimes confuse judgement with condemnation.

    Do you remember the woman who was going to be stoned because of her unfaithfulness? 

    Our Blessed Savior did not rebuke the crowd for casting judgement on the sin but he corrected their condemnation of the woman. 

    Jesus condemn the stoning not judgement of sin. He then told her to go and sin no more. The judgement was already made the sin was adultery. 

    I do suppose it is “hate the sin, love the sinner.” 
     
    I have often wondered what Our Lord was writing in the sand…maybe he was writing down the sins of the Pharisees and of the crowd?  Or maybe the names of the Pharisees in fulfillment of Jeremiah 17:13? 

    When I think of “gay” and “lesbian” youth I am deeply troubled. 

    1. We can not deny the serious health and mental risks associated with homosexuality. 

    2. SSA youth have a right to know that such behaviors could be harmful and/or deadly. I am not just taking about STDS but active homosexual men have nearly twice the rate of cancer than heterosexuals, according to Journal of Cancer. It doesn’t end there…the health tragedy goes far beyond HIV/AIDS/STDS and cancers.  

    3. Gay youth also have the right to know homosexual attractions are not caused by genetic or biological factors. 

    4. Gay youth also also have a right to know the serious emotional conflicts that DEVELOP this attraction. 

    5. Gay youth also have a right to know the extraordinary high rate of mental and physical abuse in same-sex domestic relationships especially among lesbians. 

    6. Gay youth also has the right to know the high rate of promiscuity and lack of fidelity and stability in a homosexual relationships. 

    We could be at this all day….

    The point I am trying to make absolutely NO ONE bullies SSA youth more than the LGBT political machine.  Of all progressive agendas it is the most narcissistic and self-serving.

    SSA youth deserve better. They deserve the truth!  And no amount of propaganda, outright deception and spin by the LGBT community and radical secularists can be justified in the abuse of these children. We are talking about kids here not adults. 

    To say “it gets better” is an outright fabrication. And LGBT leaders should be held accountable…sad sad sad…heartbreaking. How the angels and saints must shed a legion of tears for these kids..and we Christians and other people of Good-Will must always keep these kids in our prayers, always praying for them, and give to them the love they seek, they rightly deserve. 

    When I think of guys and gals like Matt who live with this trial and live their lives as powerful witnesses to the Truth I can’t help but feel they are the greatest among us. Matt and others like him knows exactly what it means to be a man/woman to be a Christian men and Christian women..and this is something that should humble all of us. I think each Christian who has SSA and tries to live the life God expects of them they willingly accepted martyrdom. Their sacrifice is uniquely and genuinely united to the sacrifice of Our Loving and Merciful Savior. The joy and peace that comes to them in their trials and in their search for Christian perfection is something we all should be grateful for. 

    I don’t know If my comment answered your questions or more than you asked…But I’m starving and I’m going out and grab a burger.

    Anyways I read the article and enjoyed it. Thank you Blake 

     Be well,

    Davide 

    Like

    • 1. Which are…?

      2. And why? Because of homosexuality itself, or because of having unprotected sex with multiple partners?

      3. How do you know? Are you a geneticist or a biologist? Even the Vatican suggests gays may be born that way. Are you saying your church is wrong, huh?

      4. You mean the emotional factors caused by neglect, discrimination, and abuse?

      5. Are you a psychologist?

      Looks like you are just parroting the same baseless crap you read from hate groups like FRC, AFA and NOM.

      If that is “the Truth” then this must be the world of 1984.

      Like

  26. Davide to send along a “bravo” isn’t enough in itself! …but “bravo”!! Well said and to take it up one notch, the bullying gets more intense when a conscious decision is made to step out of SSA… that’s where vehemence increases… toward those who are trying to follow the path which God has laid forth. Where are the groups who fight for these “civil rights”? We need more like Matt to come out (so to speak) of the SSA closet who are disgusted with it and see it for what it really is. Thanks for the well said comment!

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      • Gene,

        No one is trying to take away your “civil rights”. The first amendment allows you to say whatever you want. All we are trying to do is knock some sense into your head.

        I’m sure you will want to bring up the recent law in california that outlawed conversion therapy for non-adults. Many states have laws that only apply to those that are underage. There are laws on the books for minors that relates to alcohol consumption, ability to get birth control, ability to get an abortion, etc. In this country, you are not a full citizen until you reach adulthood. Almost every reputable organization has determined the conversion therapy is harmful. It only seems logical that a state would want to pass a law to protect minors.

        Like

      • @gene, thanks ya I’m kinda tired of talking about all this gay crap..if I don’t quit I’m going start growing boobies…nubs!

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  27. Davide,

    What an irresponsible bunch of lies you just told. You know that much of what you posted are complete falsehoods. I would love to see your “sources” for many of the “facts” that you state.

    1. Lie
    2. Lie
    3. Opinion (even though most of the science has pointed to a genetic component)
    4. Lie
    5. Opinion

    Did any of you watch the Dr. Oz show yesterday? If not, I highly recommend it. He really gave both sides of the “reparative therapy” argument their say.

    http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/gay-straight-controversial-therapy

    Like

    • James,

      I know truth can be a bitter pill to swallow:

      Boehmer, U., et al. (2011). Cancer Survivorship and Sexual Orientation. Cancer 117, 3796–3804.

      American Psychological Association ( 2008). “Answers to Your Questions for Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality.” J. Michael Bailey, at al. (2000). Genetic and environmental influences on sexual orientation and its correlates in an Australian twin sample.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 524–536.

      Laumann, E. et al. (1994). The Social Organization of Sexuality: sexual practices in the United States. University of Chicago Press. Kennish, K. K., et al. (2005). Sexual differences in the flexibility of sexual orientation: a multi-dimensional retrospective assessment. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 34, 173–83.

      Sandfort, T.G., et al. (2003). Same-sex sexuality and quality of life: findings from the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32, 15-22. Rubinstein, G. (2010).  “Narcissism and Self-Esteem Among Homosexual and Heterosexual Male Students.” Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 36:24–34. Parkes, A., et. al. (2011). Comparison of teenagers’ early same-sex and heterosexual behavior: UK data from the SHARE and RIPPLE studies. Journal of Adolescent Health, 48, 27-35.

      Greenwood, G. et al. (2002). Battering victimization among a probability-based sample of men who have sex with men. American Journal of Public Health, 92, 1964–69.

      McWhirter, D. and Mattison, A. 1985. The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop. Prentice Hall; Schumm, W. (2010).

      Most of science has NOT point to genetics. That is fantasy.

      Dr. Oz really? He’s a promoter of non-sense…he is well known for is quackery…

      Like

  28. @ James,

    Not exactly I was unaware that the article existed. The data was sent to me from a younger brother who happens to be a university student at a Catholic school in Florida and he happens to be enrolled in a sexual ethics course. The data of facts was sent to me in an email on November 11th. Both him and I are well aware of Dr. Friztgibbins outstanding studies and work with homosexual teens.

    I am happy you shared the article with us. Some great stuff there. You claim the studies is bias but have you checked all the sources?

    I think we need to look at motive here. What would be my motive, the doctor’s motive, and all the sources listed to lie? What motive?

    I also ask you what is your motive for calling this scientific research bias? I think we both know what that is James…feelings aren’t facts James…sure you might find scientific data and research offensive but so what? You have lived you life as a homosexuals and I am possitve you have friends who are homosexuals so certainly you must have seen and been a witness to the harmful effects of homosexuality. Perhaps even you have had sich experiences? This information is not here to hurt you and other hosexuals but help…

    James when I think of LGBT propagandists they seem to me to be living in a universe without remorse. There are no regrets. Forgiveness is never sought nor given. No listening or interest in finding Truth. Where nothing is revealed but all is relative…  And the LGBT image must be protected even at the cost of children. The LGBT movement and their apostles are second cousins to the messiah complex. They can not distinguish between vehement disagreement and “oppression” because for them it’s all about “tolerance” and “equality” and they are one of the same and assume if you disagree with them you are a hater,  homophobe and bigot. But the LGBT propagandist with his forced consensus ends up offending everyone.

    If I could say one thing to LGBT propagandists everywhere it would be:

    “Get off the cross we could use the wood.”

    If you are interested in having a honest debate than we can but I have absolutely no interest in listening to false accusations….

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  29. @ James it appears the Dr. Oz show wasn’t exactly fair and balance. Even on his website at the bottom he has listed pro-homosexualists website links…odd. Fair and balance actually means only one side of the story can be told and believed?

    James I have no opinion on this type of therapy. Also I am done taking about this crap honest dialog between you and I can not exist….anyways good luck

    http://www.emaxhealth.com/8782/dr-oz-show-fails-televise-balanced-gay-cure-reparative-therapy-debate

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  30. Davide,

    Provide for me one…. just one…. MAJOR (non-religious) medical, scientific group that that believes anything but self acceptance is the correct healthy path for gay men and women. BTW….. saying that they can’t PROVE sexuality is genetic…. is NOT the same thing as saying it isn’t genetic. Just because you can’t prove something does not mean the opposite is true. You’ve tried to use this logic several times.

    How many examples through history must we look at where science has proved “scriptural” teachings wrong? How many people burned because they thought the world was round? Heresy! How many black people died and suffered because “slave to scripture” thought it was ok to treat black people as part of a person (which seems quite reasonable from scripture)? Slaves are people too? Heresy! How many things do literal readers of scripture have to get wrong before Christians start to read their bible with an open mind…. To embrace science….. to finally realize that the bible isn’t the answer to all of life’s questions?

    The only harmful affects of homosexuality are the bigots and liars created who pervert facts and demonize something about themselves and others that cannot be changed. All of my gay friends who fought “the gay” only found true happiness when they finally accepted themselves…. When they quit a life of loneliness, pain and self hatred. You talk about forgiveness and regrets. For what? Falling in love with someone? You are only interested in finding the “truth” that you have blindly accepted.

    I have no idea what you are talking about: LGBT image? At the cost of Children? Some of the highest suicide rates are from gay children from religious homes. (http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/study-highest-rate-of-suicide-among-religious-homosexuals/2012/09/05/

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    • @ James and Davide and Jeffrey and Gene, etc

      I am a bit disappointed, although intrigued, at the dialog occurring over the last few days. Why am I intrigued? Because I’ve heard very passionate and emotional and reasonable discourses from both side, and initially I felt this might be a very good forum for me to receive input and perspective as I embark on “foreign territory”. Why am I disappointed? I do not feel that this has been a place for open conversation the last few days…mostly it has been a platform for arguing. Maybe I’m just being selfish, but I really want to learn and not be told I’m a fool, bigot or not a true follower of Christ. On monday or tuesday (it was supposed to be today,but thank the Lord a conflict in schedules came up and it will be postponed) I will be meeting with a young man who is gay/ssa/etc whatever your preferred label (btw, I just learned what ssa meant yesterday, that shows how naive I am to this whole area of social discussion) and I desperately want to be of service to him. I want him to find in me a safe, honest, loving place to talk that is covered in prayer and obedient to the Truth and the Holy Spirit. You want my background? Fine. I am a Christian man (caucasian if that matters to you) raised in a conservative Christian environment in the mid-west USA. I am married to a black women who also happens to be Deaf, and I now live amongst and work with disadvantaged youth. compare me to 99% of the world and i have led a privileged life, growing up in relative affluency and access to whatever I wanted. compare my wife to 99% of the world and she shouldn’t have had a chance, growing up in a very poor family without much of a shot. if you could walk a day in my shoes you’d see the oppression and lies that faces so many of our youth, in BOTH cultures. now i have the honor of embarking on a great learning curve…working with a young man who is gay and also is a Christian.

      where this dialog has been intriguing? your perspectives. i have enjoyed reading all of your perspectives and putting myself in your shoes. for the most part, folks have tried to honestly answer my questions without putting down others.

      where has this dialog been disappointing? your reactions in recent days. it always seems that one attacks the other. i do not think all of your responses have been very sensitive, in particular using terms like “comic book” to refer to one’s position and calling homosexual acts by various plumbing terms and calling people bigots and liars.. although i recognize you have your views, it does not mean you should throw around callous words. others of you often do not acknowledge questions but instead bring up a new comment instead of staying on topic, make very broad and sweeping accusations and twist words.

      i believe strongly in a Christian having an identity that is based firmly in Christ. however, our identities in this life will never be SOLELY in Christ, as this is impossible from a cultural/psychological/biological/etc life. therefore, we must first be grounded in Christ and second we must filter all other aspects of our identity through this truth.

      today is the first time i’ve heard of this so-called “reparative therapy” and i don’t have the time or interest (at this point) in delving into both sides of this argument. what i can tell you is that the word does have a very unappealing connotation. my wife does not like to be referred to as “hearing-impaired” because it means something is wrong with her and needs to be fixed. she doesn’t need nor does she want any fixing. so reparative therapy seems somewhat insensitive. i believe in the power of reconciliation, in all aspects of life. first, reconciliation with our creator God, that He alone is worthy of our praise and is the giver of all good gifts. second, reconciliation with ourself, and that we are not perfect. third, with our fellow man. finally, with the created world and nature that God has given us dominion of and control over. so, if this “therapy” is something that can be used positively with a trarget group of people who want it, i don’t think anyone should say it can’t be used and i also think we should focus on reconciliation, because its what we all need. we don’t need fixed, we need reconciled.

      james, i very much agree with you. self-acceptance of who we are is critical for healthy development. sorry i’m a broken record, let me go back to my wife. we both work with Deaf and hard of hearing young kids who have serious issues with self-acceptance, mainly because they have been exposed to very negative environments and faced various forms of discrimination, marginalization, stigmatization, and all the other -ation’s. the result is often depression, harmful behavior, rash decisions, lack of emotional processing skills, etc. those kids we work with who are successful in handling life’s challenges and developing a healthy identity are those who accept who they are as a deaf individual and embrace it. now, one can either use this reality and compare it to SSA and say one must accept it. possibly. another may say that its a totally different situation, one dealing with a physical loss of hearing while one deals with somethign far less concrete. possibly. i guess my point is that self-acceptance is very critical. but short of where maslow take’s it, the pennacle of self-acceptance is not in self-actualizaiton. its in a recognition of our identity in Christ, and in Him alone. our identity is firm when we are reconciled in all four areas of life’s encounters.

      am i even making sense? sorry, i will try and re-clarify some of my scrambled thoughts later…my wife has been patiently waiting to use the laptop so I gotta get going.

      what i’d like is for folks here to be able to share their perspectives in a way that does not tear down but that edifies. this may mean one person, from their perspectives, will stand for what they believe in and thereby mean they believe someone else is wrong. that’s ok. but lets be careful with our words and sensitive.

      and what i’d like is for some feedback and input on first steps to take next week when i talk with this young man. i am not trying to make up my mind or bias myself with saying “he was born gay” nor “his broken family upbringing and struggle to accept his identity as a deaf person is the source of his SSA” (by the way, i heard there is research out there that deaf persons have a much higher SSA rate, not sure on its validity or broader meaning, but i wouldn’t doubt it), so please don’t try to convince me one way or the other. i’m not sure it matters whether its genetic and inherent or elsewise. i think our duty and response should be the same. so, i want to be of service to him. my plan is to listen and understand him more than provide my two cents. but, from your perspectives, are there certain things i should NOT do and things i should NOT say, and vice versa, are there things i should DO and things in should SAY?

      ok, wife is really on my case. tomorrow or on the weekend i look forward to further discussing.

      Like

      • @Blake: Your point is well taken and I totally agree with you. This discussion should be pointed toward gaining truth, not winning arguments. I don’t like to give my “opinions” but here’s my take (for what ever it’s worth): We need to find where we all stand on common ground and start from that point. A good starting point might be: … do we all believe in a God? …do we all believe in scripture which is His inspired word? …do we all believe and/or understand the difference between the old and new law of scripture? These kinds of plateaus will provide a good launching pad for further discussion without going for the “answer” in which we seek and having it in a few statements of conversation. There are complicated, yet simple answers in scripture about lots of issues but getting to that end will take much contemplation along the way and with each of those steps we have to (must) agree on each point of the path along the way. Perhaps you can take this approach when chatting with the person with whom you are going to be discussing issues. I do know, from personal experience, that it’s a must to have a strong fundamental faith, before great accomplishments can be made, no matter what mountain we are trying to climb.

        hope this helps!
        Gene

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      • @ James and Gene. Thanks for your input. I don’t have too much detail on him. He grew up in an environment that you and I can’t really even imagine. Very poor, rural community. My wife has known him his whole life and he has had strained relationships with his parents. He prefers to live at the church fellowship hall than at home. He has also struggled in the past with his identity as a deaf person, but I think he has somewhat learned how to accept that. he also lived in a boarding school environment for a number of years where I know, by confession of another student at that school, that older boys often bully the younger ones and force them into performing sexual acts. but, because he and i have never had a frank discussion, i can only use the clues I have to make assumptions, and I don’t really want to do that. so yes, I do plan to simply listen to him. i am approaching him about having this meeting, but he seemed willing to talk. i’ll let you guys know how it goes, but prayers are appreciated. thanks!

        Like

      • Blake,

        Yes, some of the tone of my recent posts has been a bit argumentative. Davide has the knack for bringing that out in me. : )

        Can you tell us a little more about this young man? Is he struggling to understand/accept his sexuality? Is he coming to you to specifically talk about his sexuality, or is his sexuality just part of broader picture of who he is? Does he come from a Christian conservative family/background?

        My best advice I could give you is to just listen. Let him talk. Don’t expect what he has to say about his sexuality to necessarily be very coherent or well thought out. The first person I discussed my sexuality with was a girl I dated in college. I had just finished graduate school. My conversation with her went nowhere. I could not find the words to describe my dilemma because I had been fighting it in my own head for over all my 26 years. The second I tried to vocalize those feels, I just couldn’t do it and make any kind of sense.

        If he is looking for some kind of spiritual guidance on his sexuality, I would recommend that you share some resources with him (since, this is all a bit new for you). People’s stories tend to be the best medicine for situations like this. Some of my friends and I who all went to Bob Jones University started at website that can be very informative: http://www.bjunity.com. Matt’s blog is a good resource. (While I completely disagree with Matt’s take on how we should deal with our shared sexuality, this young man is starting a journey and he needs to be able see both sides of the debate to get comfortable with his life decisions). If this boy grew up in a christian conservative household, then he really needs to hear some of the stories of affirming individuals who have found a way to preserve their faith and their sexuality. I think you are on the right path with this young man if you show up with a completely neutral position.

        Like

      • @ James, Gene, etc: Update. I was able to meet up with the young man today. It was informative and I think I understand where he is coming from much more clearly. I did make a conscious effort to not talk too much and listen. He feels his struggle with identity is over now, and although he has struggled, he has accepted his ssa and knows he will never change. He initially realized his difference when he was 12, but didn’t really do anything about it until he was 17, when he first started talking to someone about it. He then fought against it for a few years but recently has decided the fight was not worth it for him. He indicated it only led to depression and now that he has embraced it and begun experimenting with relationships he feels happier. He asked me what I thought, if he had any other choice so I shared “ron’s view” and “Justin’s view” from gcn with him and said that he can either choose celibacy or a relationship. he was clearly not interested in being single. he also expressed hurt with “the church” and christians who have judged him and been hypocritical by emphasizing homosexual sin as worse than other sin and not addressing other sins. i can totally understand where he is coming from, as I’ve seen that occur. i did not push too much to try and discern if he is continuing in his Christian faith, but he did indicate that he is not interested in church or christian’s any more and that his future homosexual relationships will be with non christians. he say he feels christians talk too much and gossip and are not trustworthy. we talked about the importance of coming to grips with who we are in order to be able to handle life, and he agreed that its similar in his homosexual identity with accepting his identity as a deaf person. i think he has some unrealistic expectations of other people and i encouraged him to not cut people off just because they may not respond to his coming out in a way that he wants. i told him its a lot for people to take in and can be very overwhelming. it was a very calm discussion and i hope that he feels comfortable talking to me again, although i sense he doesn’t feel a great urgency to talk more. i guess time will tell. feel free to offer your feedback if you have any, thanks for listening.

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      • @Blake:

        Sounds like you made a good connection, however thin the thread may be. It’s times like this when it is valuable to compare our own weaknesses and struggling along with the stubborn will that we all have in relation to what we want, over what someone else (God) wants for us. Obviously his struggle with identity isn’t over, but that’s something that he’ll learn with time. We never get beyond the reach of the tempter as long as we live but we do learn how to overcome through God. Maybe the next step is to determine how receptive he’d be in a basic study…answer question as to why a person would decide to follow God over self and/or even want to become selfless, in the first place, and the ultimate value of following God’s way over our own. Depression can be addressed, too, as one of the benefits of getting beyond, when right with God. Perhaps also delve into why he’d feel the need to estrange himself from God over his decision to follow SSA. As in life, he’ll be coming across mean-spirited people in any walk of life, but the kindest are typically aligned within God-fearing people. I feel confident that you’ve probably already thought of these suggestions and others.. however, I thought it might be well to suggest. It’s not an easy issue and I respect you for being there for him.

        Like

      • thanks Gene, i appreciate your thoughts. not sure when i’ll see him next and have a chance to talk, but will certainly keep you posted if/when further dialog occurs. appreciate your prayerful support!

        Like

  31. @blake, dont let our arguments bother you too badly. Things happen. I can not counsel you with this boy with ssa. But i thank you for your input and questions.

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  32. Blake,

    Matt’s blogs, especially his testimony, are good resources. What Davide said in his last response to you was very good. An article that you can find by googling it, “On homosexuality: It’s okay to fight.” is a good one as well.

    I will be praying for the right words to come to you when you speak with this person.

    Like

  33. First Exodus claimed homosexuals could turn heterosexual, and they clung to that idea for years. Now that they admitted it was impossible, they encourage chastity. When they finally realize their current position is as unrealistic as the former, they’ll say “it’s ok to be gay, as long as it’s monogamous”, and so on…

    Like

  34. I found this comment on someone’s blog post that I thought would be helpful and encouraging for you, Blake, when you go to talk to this kid.

    “Christy, I read your words with tears in my eyes. My whole life, my whole approach to religion, everything that I believed about God–changed–when my best friend confessed to me that he thought he might be gay and that he was really struggling. I’ve walked a journey with him for over fifteen years now, and reading your words just- oh. Encouraged me. The thing that confronted me when it happened was that homosexuality was no longer a nebulous idea out there in opinion-land that I could pontificate about all day long- it was real, it had a face, and that face was the face of someone I dearly loved as a brother and friend- it changed everything. Your writing here echoes so many of our discussions over the years- reading your words here was like crawling inside his head for a little bit. I can’t wait to send this on to him…he’s married to a beautiful gal and has two kids now…and wow. I’m so glad I chose love. I could have chosen to rush to a lot of conclusions that day, and forced the issue- but for once in my life I feel like I did the right thing- I shut my mouth, I listened, I loved, and I prayed. Thank you so very much for sharing. God bless.”

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    • Are you sure your friend isn’t having sex with men on the side? Or looking at gay porn? Or his marriage on the verge of collapse?
      Because that’s usually what happens when homosexuals enter in opposite-sex marriages.

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      • Nommie. I don’t see the logic in your comment. One person’s experience does not have to be another person’s experience. And even if a lot of people tend to have similar experiences, it doesn’t mean everyone has to be like that. Your argument could also be said of any heterosexual relationship as well. One could say that most marriages have promiscuity in it and other porn addictions, etc. But that doesn’t mean that my marriage has to have that. And it doesn’t mean that if someone struggled with that before they will always slip back into it. I think we need to show more respect for other people’s views and opinions, and if their experience is different than yours or what you think their experience should be, then you should respect that.

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      • Blake,

        Nommie’s logic is applied to same sex relationships all the time. That because you can say most gay relationships have porn viewing, cheating, etc that all gay guys who get into a relationship are doomed to the same fate. Before me and my ex boyfriend became Christians we were in a five year relationship and never cheated on each other. Neither of us was a porn addict either. And I have had people act as if that was just some sort of anomaly. That given time one or both of us was guaranteed to start cheating on the other. But I think you are right, though. One person’s experience does not have to be another person’s experience.

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  35. This person wasn’t really specific on certain points, but what I got out of this comment was that he was patient, he was respectful, he listened, he wasn’t strict or harsh, and he didn’t stop being best friends with him. I mean this is true friendship here. In the end, the best friend is delivered and has a wife and children.

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