The Homosexual Challenge

27May08

What do you think about the gay marriage ruling? Would you perform a gay wedding?

No, this is not a contest. There’s no prize. I’m referring to the challenge facing the Church of how to respond to Homosexuality and Gay Marriage.

The recent ruling legalizing gay marriage is very interesting for the Church. It brings up several questions. I think the most important one is this: assuming homosexuality is sin, would Jesus perform a gay marriage?

I can see both sides. On one hand, homosexuality is sin, so performing the marriage is “enabling” and accepting sin – which is bad, right? On the other hand, not performing it will be taken as a hateful thing to do – the gay couple wouldn’t understand, they’d see it as yet another example of how evil Christians are.

What would Jesus do? How does he deal with sin like this? It’s an odd situation where a church is asked to affirm a legally binding marriage for the State that is totally wrong. Perhaps the churches in America are too tied to the State? If pastors are forced to perform such marriages to keep their tax break, should they do it?

QUESTION: What do you think about the gay marriage ruling? Would you perform a gay wedding? Why or Why not?

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42 Responses to “The Homosexual Challenge”

  1. Great questions man. It is easy to jump to the fact that churches marry sinners all the time but it seems like there is something different in this case. It seems that if a church were to marry a homosexual couple there would be an affirmation of the sexual relationship.

    There could be serious constitutional issues if a state mandated churches to do anything outside of how it handles money. After all, it seems to me that the original intent of the “sepration of church & state” amendment was to keep the sate out of the business of the church so there could not be a government controlled church.

    Personally, I will not be doing an gay weddings.

  2. 2 Abigail P.

    Yeah I agree with what was said above. Simply because Christian’s appear to be evil or hateful doesn’t make it true. People could think that it was evil and hateful for Christians to not endorse anything that is a desire of the cultural norm but that wouldn’t give Jesus a reason to accept everything and to follow along the lines of the media simply for the fact of him looking good and appearing more lovable to people.

    He’d always give grace and mercy but afterwards He always said “your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more.” I can’t see Jesus endorsing something said to be sin simply to “look” good or to appear more lovable — nor do I think he needs to. He was very gracious and kind to every person he came into contact with — some in a “harsh” manner, some in a more sensitive way. Either way his actions were always out of love. If one would read the New Testament they would understand what JESUS really thought about sins and such, rather than believing the typical media-represented Christian who says “God hates the gays.” Jesus had other kinder, loving, and intimate things to say on such matters. His words were always carefully chosen. He never gave in to the pressures of society, and yet he was followed by the “sinners” and hated by “the church.” Typical. We people get things backwards so very often in what we believe happened back in “the day.”

    Sometimes its more loving to hold to a standard than it is to give in to every pressure that runs into your ministry, job, etc. Pastors aren’t the only people who can perform a legal marriage. One only have to go to a courthouse to be married. But to answer the question directly do I think Jesus would marry a gay couple? — No. Do I think that we should continue our questioning on how Jesus would approach the whole scenario? — Definitely. To answer with a simple “yes” or “no” always gives fuel to a flame of anti-Christians who are judgmental and hurtful — sometimes it’s loving to make a judgment when the judgement is correct, in principle, or when it helps get an outcome of ultimate good. Then you get your whole relativistic scene where “what is good” and blah blah blah — but think about this — if there is no such thing as good and bad and truth is owned by people rather than something constant, how could Jesus be said to be hateful for not wanting to marry gay people if it was “good” and “right” for him to be that way? There are… so many ideas and reasons in all these things…

    Reading the New Testament in context would be a GREAT step I think for people — they could see past the hate of the media-displayed Christians and see what Jesus was really all about. I hope this didn’t come across as some jerk posing this “I know I’m right” opinion — I encourage everybody to research this stuff and REALLY give thought to and WEIGH the situation — don’t just jump on my bandwagon or somebody else’s because it “FEELS” right or “LOOKS” fair — our opinions change with the wind — fashion is a grand example of that. Respect yourself and others and look into it for yourself. Be smart with yourself and challenge yourself outside what you’ve been taught by your emotions or “all your life” and experience a world outside your comfort zone. I’ll keep trying to do so every day — although there are lots of days when I’m sure I fail to do so.

  3. Jesus never allowed himself to be back into a corner like this. Whenever they tried to, He often responded with another question. With that in mind, let me ask you this:

    Should the government be in the business of governing marriage? If I remember correctly, governments historically weren’t involved in marriages until recently. It was the territory of the church. If there were not the legal benefits to being married, I think the movement for gay marriage would have a lot less steam. Legal marriage and spiritual marriage are two different things, aren’t they?

  4. 4 jessephillips

    Thanks everyone for the comments! =D

    I’m not trying to paint Jesus into a corner. Michael, I agree that legal marriage and spiritual marriage are different. Essentially, to our culture, marriage has no value or meaning – i feel like it’s a special thing that’s becoming unique to us.

    I’m most interested, though, in the question how do we deal with it. So, I disagree with gay marriage, how do I interact with those gay couples? I obviously don’t hate them. They’re just like all the other non-Christians – lost/confused. And, according to our culture, what they’re doing isn’t even wrong – they don’t get it. So, I feel, that we need to be gracious to them and loving, (of course right?).

    I don’t feel we should oppose gay marriage the way some Christians do, b/c it makes no sense to our culture. Allowing gay marriage is like allowing people to buy porn, or get drunk, or divorce (!dang!) – it’s wrong, but we’re not a Christian nation, so we allow it. Don’t think it helps us to fight it, just makes it harder for us to win people to Christ.

  5. 5 Lara

    But think about this- are we to win people to Christ by “enabling” sin, or are we to win people to Christ by showing them a greater love and a greater way to live?

    Either way, the answer is not easy.

  6. I once worked in an office where about 50% of the men were gay. It was quite a change for a guy just 1 year out of a Baptist theological college. I worked for three years and got to know many of them well. I think I could have become good friends with some of them if I had allowed myself to. I know this is obvious for most, but not all homosexuals are the same. Some are more outspoken, while other resent the ‘flamers’ as promoting stereotypes. Some will ‘check you out’ like many guys do women. Some will just be your friend like any other guy. All of this to say…you deal with them like any other person in need of Christ.

    Our goal is to win them to Christ. Is holding protests at the courthouse going to do that? Is passively allowing gay marriage to be legalized going to do that? I think we pin too much hope on legislation. The issue is not the law. The issue is that most ‘Christians’ act like gay people have the plague. They’re afraid to even be in the same room with someone they think is gay. Unless we get over this, how can we ever hope to share Christ’s love with them?

    Just this week, I learned of a couple that was living together but not married. God was working in their lives, and they recognized the sin they were living in. A pastor was able to marry the two that same week. The husband now speaks of the huge burden being lifted from his life. What if this pastor and church had not befriended this family? Until they confessed, no one knew they weren’t married. They looked and acted like a normal family. But because homosexuals act and look different, we avoid them. We may be missing a chance to be used by God to change their lives.

  7. 7 Asher

    I just wonder if we are as serious of the inward sins in our Christian lives as we are of the outward sins of the “homosexual”.

  8. 8 Asher

    Perhaps the best place to start is on ourselves. What are our sexual sins? What do we struggle with. In God’s eyes lust, adultery, and homosexuality are all the same. The all carry the same weight. Maybe we ought to get the speck out of our eyes first before we respond to homosexuality. To lead with compassion and end with clarity.

  9. 9 Jonas Bryer

    This kind of hateful, (yes, hateful) rhetoric is what drove me from the church decades ago. I will never ever go back. And yes, I am gay. Jesus never ever commented on homosexuality. Period. I am so sick and tired of arrogant, pompous so called Christians who believe they have the last word on Jesus. It’s apparent and obvious that none of you were born gay. If you were, you would shut your mouths and know what it’s like to experience a lifetime of prejudice from people who have no idea what they’re talking about. If you want to talk about what sin is, quit picking and choosing the sins you can shoot like a cannon ball at others as long as they don’t apply to you. Check out the rather long list in Leviticus. But then again, I found these posts by accident. I’m smart enough to know that the bible was written for a society that no longer exists. And it’s been hijacked by a bunch of fools who need to feel superior. This is why so called “outcasts” like me have no desire to be a Christian. Your tired and well worn phrase, “we love the sinner but hate the sin” is insulting. What would Jesus do? He’d smack all of you clear into the middle of next week. And then he’d tear down your gawdy mega churches. Then he would remind you that your decisions not to recognize the sanctity of gay marriages is just another excuse for arrogant Christians like yourselves to continue to feel superior in the name of your manufactured god. By the way, there is no phrase anywhere in the bible that speaks of a “personal relationship with Jesus.” Thank you so much for pushing me farther into the agnostic corner. Oddly enough, it’s becoming a friendlier place to be. If there is a hell, it’s embers await you people, not the homosexuals and lesbians. Now, get off your high horses and ask your jesus and your god for some enlightenment. You all need it.

  10. 10 jessephillips

    Jonas, I’m sooooo sorry that you feel this way!

    I’m very grateful for your comment because it helps us understand how we’re communicating and how you feel.

    I don’t know if you read the above post or not, but I’m trying to be loving and cooperative with the gay community. Jonas, my problem is that I’ve experienced God and Jesus in a powerful way through the bible. This has changed my life. The bible’s message is one of betrayal, sin, love, forgiveness, grace.

    I’m a regular guy like you. I want everyone to get along, I want peace, I want love, I want the best for humanity. From my experience that’s Jesus/God/The Bible.

    The bible is very clear that homosexuality is sin. As is even lust, backbiting, hatred, etc. While I know that it’s very unpopular to believe that something like homosexuality can be a sin, I still must believe it – it’s pretty clear. What do you think I should do?

    Does this mean I hate homosexuals? No. I’m a sinner of the First Degree. I believe that I’m saved only by Jesus, and that I still have destructive patterns in my life. So, I’m not trying to condemn or anything. You and I disagree about homosexuality, but we agree on lots of other stuff probably. Can we talk about this?

  11. 11 Jonas

    The bible is not clear about homosexuality any more than it is clear about what kind of tie you should wear with the next suit you put on. The bible was written for a society that no longer exists. You obvious don’t want to face the truth about what Leviticus really says. And Sodom and Gomorrah was not about homosexuality. It was about the sin of not offering hospitality to those in need. It was about rape, not true, committed homosexual love. No, we cannot talk about this. I’m through talking to people like you who think that they have it all tied up in a box with a bow about homosexuals. You are one arrogant guy to say that you must believe it and it’s pretty clear. NO, it’s not. It might interest you to know that your brand of Christianity has caused more pain for homosexuals and lesbians than any other belief system. You’re right up there with the Islamic attitudes toward women and gays. The bible is not your book alone to interpret. How dare you? It’s obvious that one of the “destructive patterns in your life” is ignorance. If you had been born gay, you’d shut your mouth once and for all. Go read a book like “Prayers for Bobby.” It’s about a gay teenager who committed suicide because his so called Christian family could not accept him as he was. They “loved the sinner but hated the sin.” If after you read a book like that you still choose to keep your head in the sand and wear your arrogance on your lapel, then hell’s fires await you, not me or any other gay individual. Do your homework, Jesse. Then you can mouth off about what you think the bible is clear on. Good luck with that.

  12. 12 Jonas

    And one more thing? “Lust, backbiting and hatred” are indeed sins. To lump homosexuals and lesbians in that heap is an insult and a byproduct of ignorance. You need to check yourself, Jesse. How can you honestly wonder why so many gays and lesbians have no interest in Christianity? Are you serious?

  13. 13 Asher

    Jonas you do raise interesting points, and it is apparent that some Christians that you have met have treated you poorly. Either by dismissing you outright, not taking the time to understanding where you are coming from, or not treating you with respect and dignity. It is a horrendous thing to witness Christians (and people for that matter) let ignorance blind their actions and perspectives. You pointed out that a common motto for Christians is to “love the person and hate the sin”, and sometimes Christians forget to hate their own sin first before they address someone else’s issues. A error to be sure and Christians forget that Jesus lead his relationships with compassion and closed with it with clarity. Before Jesus ever spoke on what commandment is the greatest or spoke about someone’s sin he always met that individual where they were at. Meaning he affirmed their intrinsic value and loved them for you they are. Then he would be clear what he thought and where he stood on a particular issue.

    You are correct to state that Jesus never directly spoke about homosexuality. You are also correct to point out that the bible is not always crystal clear on a particular topic and interpretation plays a role in understanding what the bible says. Though to stop here I think is stop short of understanding what Jesus (and furthermore the New Testament) has to say about homosexuality. It is as uncharitable as saying Jesus is clear clear on homosexuality.

    Jesus says that he has not come to abolish the Torah (Old Testament) but rather fullfill (live it out) it. Matthew 5:17-19 is where Jesus is recorded as saying this. People like to commonly assume that Jesus completely did away with the Old Testament laws, but here Jesus is not only affirming them but says that they all hold equal weight.

    Furthermore Paul writes specifically on sexual immorality and homosexuality. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

    For you to say that Jesus and the New Testament does not address homosexuality is wrong. After some research the New Testament does in fact address the issue. What I find interesting is that it does not get none-homosexuals off the hook. Paul also includes adultery and idolaters and Jesus says if you look at one lustfully then you have committed sin. So I think I vouch for all guys when I say that all men have lusted.

    Again, I think you are correct to point out that Christians tend to overlook their sin. In my last post I said just that. I also think you are correct in saying that people do not take time to “walk in people’s shoes” and consider how one’s life might be different if they were born gay.

    I do not think you are ignorant but I would encourage you to dig a little deeper when you are arguing your case. As you put it to “do your homework”. The New Testament does address homosexuality. A better question might be to ask “how does that apply in our contemporary culture (if at all)”, or “did Jesus have in mind people who were born gay”? These are the types of conversations and discussions I would love to be a part of.

  14. 14 Jesse Bryer

    The bible has been through many translations. These translations have been made by men. The bible is a book written by men and interpreted by men. Jesus DID NOT say anything about homosexuals. A frustrated nobody named Paul, who may or may not have even existed, listed all his rules and judgements about what he thought sin was. Paul means nothing to me. Neither do any of the other fictional characters in the bible. You can cry love for others all you want, dude. The truth is, Christians like to be right and when they can’t be right they adopt agendas. I urge you to read Bruce Bawer’s “Stealing Jesus.” As for “arguing my case?” I do not have to argue these points as I am not a lawyer. I do know however that Christians have caused homosexuals and lesbians more pain and sorrow than any other group of people in history. Oh wait, did I forget the Nazis? Yeah, well, I guess you all did keep interesting company. There is no way I am interested in becoming one with the alleged know-it-alls. Christians makes me sick. You are all the same. If Jesus had a problem with gays, he wouldn’t have made so many of them. Unless, of course he is some sort of sadistic creep, which would explain a lot of junk I’ve read in the bible. And I mean JUNK. Sorry. Your typical arguments do not stack up. Again, the bible is a book written by men and interpreted by men. And, as all the translations of the bible that are currently available will prove, it is also a book translated by men. How convenient. You should also check out Christopher Hitchen’s book, “god is not Great. How Religion Spoils Everything.” But you won’t. I’ve yet to talk to a Christian with an open mind. Why would you be any different? And thank you soooo much for not thinking I am ignorant. How big of you to patronize me in such a kind, compassionate, Christian way. Wow. I don’t know what to say. With shallow friends like you pompous Christians, who needs enemies?

  15. Jesse/Jonas – THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENTS! I really appreciate you continuing to dialog with me.

    Let me say that we probably agree on a lot more things than we disagree on.

    I believe, and the bible affirms, that we’re all messed up. All of us have severe problems with sin, whatever that is, in our lives. Assuming homosexuality is not “sin,” it doesn’t really change much. We all will stand before God and we’ll all be found wanting. That’s what Jesus said, and it’s why he came – because we need some kind of salvation/forgiveness/grace, otherwise we’re not gonna make it.

    So what I’m saying is, I’m willing to give-up my idea that homosexuality is sin, if we can have dialog, it’s not central at all to what I believe.

    What do you think about sin, forgiveness, salvation?

  16. 16 dewde

    Jonas and Jesse:

    I have to tell you something important: a new season is upon us. I have sat in a small baptist church and listened to an entire sermon on “The Gay Agenda” and it grieved my heart. It was 3 years ago and it STILL grieves my heart. I have sat in a mega church and heard teaching on Sodom and Gamorrah and heard the preacher say at the beginning, to ~20,000 people, “If you think this story is about homosexuality you are missing the point.” And then he proceeded to preach without another word on homosexuality.

    All of this is going on now. How can it not? Information and conversation between social groups is more available than ever before in history. More skeptics are analyzing what Christians think and believe and do than ever before, and their children are not being raised in the same religious cocoon. I mean, they are… but the walls are thinner thanks to technology.

    Here is the bit where I offend you unintentionally. I say unintentionally because my motives have nothing to do with offending you (I actually want to do the opposite) and I am purposefully trying to soften my language for fear of your reaction(s).

    I believe you are bringing yesterdays sensitivities into a new era, consequently they are out of context. I want you to be heard. I never again want to sit through another “sermon” about “The Gay Agenda”. But in order for that to happen people, maybe even you both perhaps, need to be willing to forgive people who have wronged you. Otherwise you end up making comments on random blogs and adding fuel to a fire that is on it’s way out. You both made sound intellectual arguments in your posts, but you tainted them with contempt and indignation. One step forward, two steps back.

    Jonas, I was an Atheist for longer than I have been a Christian. You said that it was “people like us” that made you leave the church, and also that we are driving you closer to Agnosticism. I don’t get that, frankly. I used to be all over it until I realized something. The pattern wasn’t evident in any other part of my life. While I was so quick dismiss Christianity because of downright evil Christians, I never gave up on justice because of corrupt judges. Or law enforcement because of corrupt cops. Or politics because of politicians. In this respect, I was a hypocrite.

    A new season is upon us. Jessephillips was inviting honest, open, dialog because he wants more information than he currently has. He wants to talk this stuff out and discover where we are holding on to past “traditions” unnecessarily. You have found a small place on the net where you can be heard and your words analyzed critically.

    I thank him for that.

    peace|dewde

  17. 17 J Bryer

    I proudly have a bumper sticker on the back of my car that says, “Born Okay the First Time.” I didn’t ask to be born. I don’t feel guilty for my mere existence. Christianity is for people who have bought into the notion that they need to be “saved.” If god wanted me to be perfect, he had the option to do that the first time. But no, he gave us free will and then used it as a weapon to keep us in line. I am not interested in your bully god. This ends my dialog with all of you. I do not forgive people who have hurt me in the past because their acts have left me emotionally wrecked, mentally sick and spiritually void. I have no forgiveness to give them. May they rot in the hell they deserve. This ends my comments on this blog. And please don’t write me back and tell me that you’re “praying for me.” I don’t think too highly of people who talk to themselves under the guise of communicating with god. How silly.

  18. 18 Asher

    Isn’t it ironic Mr. Byer that you have become the very people you so hate. Numerous times you have called Christians hateful, judgmental, agenda-driven, ignorant. You criticize Jessie for failing to understand your point of view and you claim that Christians “know it all”. Yet it is these very points that you are argue your points. You compare Christians to Nazis and blame Christians for your emotional wreckage and spiritual void. You feel Christians have hated you and so now you hate back on Christians. You say that Christians put homosexuals in a box, and yet you constantly say all Christians think a like or all Christians harm homosexuals. From the moment you started writing you have said that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. When presented with evidence you resort to saying that the bible has undergone many translations and furthermore Jesus and Paul are fictional characters and they do not matter to you. Lastly you say that you do not have to argue (show evidence, logic, or rational) because you are “not a lawyer”. Well which is it? Are you arguing that Jesus does not have anything to say about homosexuality, that Jesus and Paul do not exist historically, or rather is it that you have an axe to grind with Christians. Sounds like you are agenda driven.

    You take this issue of homosexuality and no matter what Christians say in response you resort back to your past hurts and project them on every Christian that you meet. It must be easy. Say whatever you want to say and proclaim it as truth. When someone suggests any view different from you, you judge/bash them outright, blame them for your past hurt, say that you do not have to present evidence/rational for your views, and leave the conversation in mid-speech.

    You say you have not meet a Christian that is open-minded and not shallow. Yet when people want to have conversations with you, you dismiss them outright. Its like you are not even open to the possibility that a Christian can be open-minded, and thoughtful. That may mean that they have a different perspective from you, but that doesn’t mean a conversation can’t happen.

    From the start you have not been interested in having a conversation. You have come to bash Christians everywhere, hold ever tightly to the grudge that you have for Christians, and you have no intention of getting past that. I quote from you, “I do not forgive people who have hurt me in the past because their acts have left me emotionally wrecked, mentally sick and spiritually void. I have no forgiveness to give them.” Whats interesting is that we in this forum have not hurt you. While we are deeply sorry and wish things were different (in your past experiences) we did not hurt you. For the future it would be mindful to keep this in mind.

    You might counter and say that this is the kind of talk that has hurt you in the past. You might curse me and all Christians to hell. You might also say that you really have no room for Christians and that you want nothing to do with them. So be it and I recognize your opinion and respect it. But don’t hide your true intent/agenda behind a false persona. Don’t say that you are looking for people who want to talk (but can’t find any), and claim someone did not say something when you have failed to do any research and refused to offer any evidence. Thats dishonest, hypocritical, and misleading. In fact that is the very thing you HATE so much in Christians. That must be a tough place to be.

  19. 19 dewde

    J Bryer:

    In the off-chance that you come back I want you to know that I believe you were born ok the first time and that if any single person made you feel guilty for merely existing, I would stand beside you and shout them down for being wrong.

    peace|dewde
    http://dewde.com

  20. 20 j bryer

    Careful Asher, your ignorance is showing. When was the last time you did your research? And I don’t recall requesting a dialogue with you. Pay attention, little man. Oh wait. You’re a Christian. I must have caught you when your head was in the clouds looking for the heaven you people think you deserve someday. Pity.

  21. 21 jbryer

    P.S to you Asher. I am what you dirty Christians made me. Take responsibility for that at least and quit trying to twist my words around. Your virtual canonization of fictitious biblical superheroes rival a seven year olds adoration of Spiderman, Batman and the Incredible Hulk. And, not incidentally, I’m still waiting for you to show me that passage in the bible where your superhero jesus HIMSELF says anything about homosexuality. Hmmm…for someone who claims to know the bible so well it kind of surprises me that you’re not able to pull that one out of a hat. Funny, I thought you were a biblical scholar. You know what? I owe Christians nothing because I hate them all equally for their arrogance. I am what you dirty Christians made me. Live with it. LIve with many more like me living on this Earth. Goodbye, chump

  22. 22 Asher

    Actually in my world I do live/interact with many homosexuals. I have the best boss in the world and he is openly homosexual and I have met wonderful homosexual people. We carry out deep involving conversation, and enjoy one another’s company. You, despite what you think, are the odd person out. It is what you have decided to do with your pain and hurt that has made you judgmental, emotionally bankrupt, and suspicious of all Christians. As you said before you do not want to forgive and so its little wonder that you are the way you are.

    So you are waiting for me to argue where Jesus talks about homosexuality? Sweet. But this scene seems really familiar. In my previous post I posted my thoughts (as an introduction) and you responded by saying that Jesus is a fictitious character and that Jesus doesn’t matter to you. Those all could be true statements, but I thought we were arguing whether Jesus talked about homosexuality not whether he existed or not. Something tells me that if I re-present my thoughts that you would counter by saying your not a lawyer and therefore you don’t have to argue your points. (If your still interested my introduction to what Jesus has to say about homosexuality is still posted above).

    Its interesting that you bring up my thoughts of that as a child. What could be more childish than taking personal shots at people, calling everyone around you stupid, and failing to take into consideration someone else point of view. You ignore ever single argument/point I put forth (and everyone else) and because you are homosexual you think that gives you a free pass. That you can say and do whatever you want and never be held responsible. You never once say anything positive about anything except your own views and your experiences. Wow, and you complain that Christians think they are untouchable and God? You do this post after post.

    This forum is designed to foster intelligent conversation (on any number of topics) provided we hold one another accountable. This forum demands that we respect one another and allow ourselves to see another person’s point of view without degrading their character. If at any point one of us fails to do it we do not slam them down or submit them as terrible people. Rather, we offer forgiveness and grace to them and we try again. All with the aim of cultivating deeper relationships and sustaining a higher quality of life.

    I’m sorry if whatever I have said has further deepen your wounds or if degraded your character. What this forum has no tolerance for is hate bashing (whether coming from a homosexual or Christian). You already knew this which is why you are “exiting” this forum without finishing the conversation. Without having a quality conversation.

    J Bryer I hope you find the courage one day to let go and forgive the people who hurt you. While you are justified in being angry it does not serve you (in a positive way) to stay mad. Its only turning you into a person you hate so much. I have been there before. Don’t let the hate consume you.

  23. 23 jbryer

    blah blah blah. no room for hate bashing. now that’s a good one. you wouldn’t know a quality conversation if it came up and bit you in the ass. and i am right. Jesus says nothing about homosexuality. but he does say a lot about the self righteous. in fact, i’ll be there’s a whole chapter in the bible somewhere devoted to the idiots who run this blog. btw, you sound like so many white jerks who claim to have black friends at work. how big of you. you have gay friends. well, be assured, i am not one of them and i am not odd man out. and by the way? i’m still waiting for that bible verse where jesus is making his statement about homosexuality. what’s the matter little man? misplaced your bible?

  24. 24 Asher

    Let me see if I can clarify…

    Have you ever been in a situation or seen a situation when someone asks two people a question and they give the exact answer. They do this not be parroting one another’s response, but rather re-affirming the other person’s statement. For example… A person comes to you and asks you a question. It doesn’t matter the question but lets assume its “describe your perfect date” or “tell me the top ten places you would love to visit in the world”. For our purposes it does not matter what kind of answer you give them, but that you give them an answer. Then that same questioner asks a person right beside you the same two questions. The person responds, “What he (you) said.”

    How is the questioner to evaluate the second person’s response (person B)? The only way the questioner can make sense of person’s B response is to look/compare it to your response. By person B saying “what he said” he has in fact re-affirmed and agreed with what you said completely, without every saying what you said. So the questioner would walk away thinking that both you and person B think the same thing even though you were the only one who made it explicit.

    So how does this apply to Jesus and his response to homosexuality? Well in order to understand what he said we are going to have to brush up on our Torah (Old Testament). For Jesus response only makes sense in light of the Torah.

    Jesus said, ” Do not think I have come to abolish the Law (which is Torah) or the Prophets (Matthew 5:17-19).” What is this Law? The Law contains 613 mitzvot (Hebrew for commandment). The Jewish scriptures are clear about homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13). I should point out that the scriptures does not condemn the personality traits of homosexual people but rather condemns the homosexual sex.

    Jesus essentially says “what he said” in response to homosexuality. The “he” in this context is the Torah. Also Jesus again re-affirms the Torah in Matthew 19:4-5 to describe what marriage ought to look like.

    Does this satisfy your waiting?

  25. 25 JBryer

    If you, Asher, in your little pea brain actually believes that any decent homosexual is going to buy into a Christianity that is constantly condemning them to hell for their natural inclination, then you are just a narrow minded jerk. Go tell that to your bevy of homosexual buddies at work and see how it plays out. Tell that to your boss. Tell him god likes his personality, but doesn’t care for what he does in the privacy of his own home with another person of the same sex in a committed, loving relationship. Go ahead. I dare you. Like I said originally, the bible was written for a society that no longer exists. I don’t see you picking and choosing the verses in the Old Testament that condemn other so-called sins. Perhaps the only one you highlighted is the one that makes you feel superior to others. That would be the passages about homosexuals. By the way, I’m still not seeing a direct quote from your jesus condemning me. I see cut and paste, cut and paste, personal interpretation, etc. And in case you’re wondering why I keep writing? I know it pisses you off that I’m not buying into your manufactured rules about Christianity. It gives me great pleasure to antagonize so called christians. And you keep biting, like a fish who can’t quite make it to the hook. I hate Christians. This is my revenge. Putting them in their place. Oh, by the way,, straight boy? I like your personality. But I don’t approve of your heterosexual sex. There, how does it feel, jerk? god bless you, too you arrogant blowhard. gee i hope the big bad reverend jesse doesn’t spank me for saying that. and even if he does? i’ll just move on to another website as pathetic as this one and sign on under another name like i did with you fools. Suckers. oooohhhh. i’m so scared of your opinions. by the way? i’m not jewish. the torah means diddly squat to me. and, not incidentally, it means even less to more progressive jews who also realize it’s outdated and silly. so i hope you didn’t stay up too late thumbing through your bible on my account. because i’m right. i know i’m right and millions of people think like me, not you. but keep shooting blanks, buddy boy. sooner or later you may hit the mark. hey, why not do something creative with the lord’s prayer? nobody’s tried to reinterpret that lately. good times with the ancient texts. i can hardly wait.

  26. 26 Asher

    Well I wouldn’t tell my boss that God likes his personality but doesn’t care for what he does in his private house. I explicitly said that the bible does not make comments on personality but rather the homosexual acts. Did you even read what I said? Is this a game and you want to see how badly you can portray someone’s arguments? Seriously. “I should point out that the scriptures does not condemn the personality traits of homosexual people but rather condemns the homosexual sex.” It’s right there.

    I’m not picking out certain sins so that I can feel superior. We are talking about homosexuality because that is the topic we chose to talk about. Or rather that is the question you had in regards to Jesus talking about homosexuality. You are the one waiting for my response on Jesus and what he said on homosexuality. So naturally we would talk about that. Unless another topic is brought up.

    So this is your attempt at “revenge” against Christians? Pathetic. You can’t even employ your intellect to read accurately what someone wrote. How do you expect to read accurately the Torah or the Gospels? You continue to say your right… but what are you right about. That your gay, that you dislike Christians, or that Christians have “made you the way you are”? Yes, you are right on those points….so… what’s your point?

    Are you trying to make me feel guilty? Are you trying to discredit Christianity? Surely you aren’t trying to argue a point. You need to engage your intellect for that. So tell me Mr. Bryer. What are you trying to say and what are you getting at? Or have I already said it at the beginning of this paragraph?

  27. 27 dewde

    Asher:

    Please stop talking.

    peace|dewde
    http://dewde.com

  28. 28 jessephillips

    Guys, seriously.

    Asher, I disapprove of your sarcastic responses to Jonas. This is not kind dialog.

    Jonas, thanks for continuing to come back and post comments.

    Jonas, here’s the reality, everyone is sinful, Christians, non-Christians, homosexuals, straight-boys … everyone. Even if homosexuality is not a sin, all of us are selfish at our very core. Homosexuality is really a very tiny, tiny issue.

    The truth is: God is madly in love with you! He pursues you daily, he’s around you everywhere. Everything that happens in your life is from him, he’s drawing you to himself.

    In the same way that a husband loves his bride, God loves you and desires a relationship with you – to love you and connect with you. It’s a freaking AWESOME connection!

    If you don’t believe me, ask him to prove himself to you – he often does. Try it.

  29. 29 Paulg

    I think the problem with this whole discussion (and with arguments and discussions in general) is that we have no context in which to place the words that we’re saying; we don’t have friendships with each other. So, we bring our own context into the discussion, and that bias prevents us from really hearing the other person. In fact, anytime we make an argument an intellectual discussion, it is impossible for us to know what we’re trying to communicate. (And what else can a discussion between strangers be but an intellectual argument?) Jesus never spoke about being gay because it wasn’t an issue in his community, and likewise, I think Christians do a great dis-service to Jesus’ name when we speak about people we have zero relationship with. If we are going to hold people accountable for any sin, it has to be done in the context of friendship with a motivation of love. Speaking on behalf of the gay people close to me (I have that right because we love each other), they were degraded, abused, and dismissed by the church; I cannot blame them if they would want nothing to do with the Christ which those ‘Christians from their past’ claimed to follow. Jonas, I would like to tell you to follow Jesus, but saying that means nothing outside of the context of us having a friendship together. So, instead, all I would like to suggest(if you’ll do me the favor of granting me permission to suggest anything. As a stranger, I have no grounds to ask for this favor) is ‘try to keep an open heart’ because from my perspective the self- righteous bigots who go around in the name of Jesus condemning people do not reflect Jesus at all.

  30. 30 jbryer

    Paulg, I would break bread w/ you before I ever had a beer with Asher. At least you don’t sound arrogant and rude. Thanks.

  31. 31 Paulg

    lol, thanks… If I had it my way we’d have both bread(preferably with tomato sauce, cheese, veggies, and meat or a torta, I know a great place) and beer (never light) : ) If you’re ever in San Diego, let me know. bolspaulg@yahoo.com

  32. 32 Paulg

    my bad, boltspaulg@yahoo.com … gotta proof read

  33. 33 Asher

    Hey Paulg. Welcome to the forum. I agree with you that some conversations take place in a zero context climate, and in those climiates it is impossible to understand one another. This, I do not think, is one of those climates. Friendship is a good context to have a conversation, but it is not necessary nor required. Two strangers can have a stimulating conversation, know what one another is talking about intellectually, and demonstrate respect and kindness towards one another. The context is that we are human beings and we all have intrinsic invaluable worth. This is enough to have a great conversation, and the greater the context the higher the chances of having stimulating conversation.

    No one is holding anyone accountable for sins. People here keep telling Mr. Bryer that he should accept Jesus and that Jesus loves him. While I suppose that is acceptable for friends to do that has not been mine intent or my focus. Instead it has been to listen to his arguments about Jesus and his views on homosexuality and then to respond with my arguments.

    Paulg and Jessie have crafted very eloquent words and have showered Mr. Bryer with deep kindness. I very much respect that, and we all can learn from you two. But at what cost have we undervalued honesty, and truth? I would like to believe that we have conversations with people to go to the deeper places in life. To learn, laugh and yes, cry together about the pains and pleasures of life. Things will be rocky, tears will be shed, feelings will be hurt, but our aim is to reach the life places of life. To grow together through conflict and mature in the process. This does not justify nor do we delight in hard times. But we understand that in life there are things that we will disagree with and not like, but by pressing through them we have the possibility of reaching change. Of being changed. For better or worst.

    So at what point does our kindness turn into pity for another individual? Some people in this forum do not approve of my tone. Some think I’m being overly sarcastic. That Mr. Paulg is the price, I suppose, of not have a friendship context. It is difficult to pick up on tone/mood through the internet without knowing someone well. I respect your views. But why have we ignored Mr. Bryer explicit hateful comments towards Christians or his constant name calling against me and others in the forums? Why is no one calling him out and holding him accountable? Why is that okay? If its not okay then why has no one got the courage to say so?

    Mr. Bryer I have said through my posts that I agree with many of your assertions. The church (in general) has mishandled and mis-treated homosexual people. I have no doubt in my mind that Christians can assume that they are always right, and that Christians judge others without judging themselves. My intent and words have been focused on the question of “did Jesus speak about homosexuality”. I have presented an argument to back up my claim (using the Torah argument).

    I’m all about breaking bread with a friend (or stranger), and chatting over drinks. I prefer this any day over chatting on a blog. Unfortunately here we are. Who knows how far apart we live from one another? The only reason we can’t have a conversation is because we choose to talk past one another and not to one another. Its not a lack of context but rather a lack of being charitable.

  34. 34 dewde

    Paulg nailed it. And upon reflection, I was wrong when I jumped in at the beginning and suggested that Jonas and Jesse “move on and forgive”. Whether I believed it or not is irrelevant, the truth is I do not have the relational collateral to suggest such a thing. I knew it would be offensive. Obviously, I stated that outright. But I went and shoved my big fat opinion in there anyway.

    I’m sorry to you both.

    peace|dewde
    http://dewde.com

  35. 35 dewde

    “But why have we ignored Mr. Bryer explicit hateful comments towards Christians or his constant name calling against me and others in the forums? Why is no one calling him out and holding him accountable? Why is that okay? If its not okay then why has no one got the courage to say so?”

    I can’t speak for everyone, but the reason I haven’t called out JBryer is because when I compare his words to what I perceive his worldview to be, I don’t see a contradiction. All I know is he is gay and not a Christian. That doesn’t really confirm much of anything about his worldview. Which should make me relatively neutral on how he decides to conduct himself.

    When I asked you to please stop dialoging, it was because I was holding you accountable to what I perceived your worldview to be. If we’re both Christians, we should have an pre-established relationship. Or at least I think we should.

    Now, do I wish JBryer would attack the topic at hand, and not you or your character? Yes, actually. Do I wish that he would follow my own private definition of respectful dialog? Well yeah. Of course. But does it trouble me that he chooses to be his own person, say whatever the hell he wants to say, and stereotype us (for a change)?

    Nope.

    It wasn’t out of cowardice or lack of courage (for me at least). It didn’t seem necessary. But then again, I’ve already proven I’m not good at judging appropriateness. I’m long overdue to remove myself from this dialog.

    peace|dewde
    http://dewde.com

  36. 36 Paulg

    “The truth consists not in knowing the truth intellectually but in being the truth…Knowing the truth is something which follows as a matter of course from being the truth, and not conversely. And it is precisely for this reason it becomes untruth when knowing the truth is separated from from being the truth, or when knowing the truth is treated as one and the same thing as being truth, since the true relation is the converse of this: to be the truth is one and the same as knowing the truth.” – Soren Kierkegaard

    Asher, thanks for the warm welcome. There’s a friend of mine and a former colleague at a church I use to work at named Tommy. I have known Tommy for over 4 years now, we shared an office together, and we involved in many projects/meetings together; I know Tommy very well. When an “all staff” email would be send out, Tommy would reply in rude and hurtful ways, at least that what it would look like if an outsider in that community were to read the transcripts of those emails. But, to those of us who know the person, who know him as our friend, we know his words were meant as a joke, and were, often, very funny. I mention that story and placed the quote above to illustrate one idea: Any truth separated from a life of truth is untruth. To put it in a clearer way, any words no matter how accurate they are, if they are separated from person; they are untrue. We see this all the time when people are misquoted or they are quoted accurately, but the context doesn’t come across. Another example would be people who picket gay pride parades with signs saying “Fags burn in Hell”. On a technical level, those words are accurate. Hell is a real place and there are homosexuals there just like there are pastors and missionaries there too. (I’ve never been there, but I imagine people of every persuasion is there; it’s sadly a big place) But, the messages on the signs are untrue because they do not bring across the motive and the emotion of a God who is heartbroken that any would choose a life without Him. The emotion and motive can never (I hate saying ‘never’, would ‘incredibly seldom’ be better?) be brought across from a stranger. You’re correct in saying that great conversation can come about, if by that you mean intellectually stimulating, but if you mean great conversation to be a meaningful journey towards truth; great conversations don’t happen between strangers. Jesse and I have not undervalued honesty and truth, on the contrary we have embraced so much to understand where they exist: in the context of a loving relationship. This was the apostle John’s point at the beginning of I John: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes…this we proclaim to you.” and John “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and TRUTH…” God gave the Law, the Words of God to Israel in the OT, but the words can’t be understood as truth outside of the person of Jesus, the person of Truth (“I am the way, the TRUTH, the life…”)

  37. 37 Asher

    Hey Dewde thanks more making your thoughts more explicit. I appreciate you doing that. if you allow me, I think another way to say what you said is that you do not understand Bryer’s perspective and therefore you can not hold him accountable, or at the very least you must remain neutral on his views. Me, on the other hand, you can hold me accountable because I’m a Christian and you feel that Christians should have a pre-establish friendship with a person (before any conversation can take place). That makes perfectly good sense and I see how you could support that biblically. But doesn’t that mean it is impossible for me to have any type of meaning conversation with a stranger? But everyone we meet is stranger at some point in our lives? How is it then possible to grow a friendship if not through talk and speech? If you are arguing that friendship must come before conversation.. how is that possible? Furthermore, Jesus had deep conversations with scribes and pharisees never met before. They were strangers to him and Jesus to them. They were strangers yet they hit deep theological questions. How is this so? To put it in Christian terms Jesus lead his life with compassion and clarity ( I have mentioned this before). He cherished and respect the people in came in contact with and then followed it up with clarity (You have heard it this way.. I say it this way fort example).

    To put it in secular terms we are to hold one another accountable because we are all democratic citizens. I will be a little technical but I think its worth it to say this. Democratic citizens are suppose to hold certain social discursive norms, goods internal to the practice, practice virtue and excellence. One of these social discursive norms is that everyone is suppose to hold one another accountable for their actions and words. Meaning you are entitled to believe and do (within reason) whatever you want to do. But because you hold certain beliefs/practices (i.e Christian, Muslim, Jew, Homosexuality, republican) that does not give you a privileged status. That does not mean you can say/do whatever you want and not be expected for someone to ask questions or call you out.

    While you do not understand my worldview Dewde (not all Christians are the same) nor do you understand Bryer (not all homosexuals are the same), that does not mean that you can not call someone out or hold them accountable. To be troubled by my sarcasm, but to be okay with inflammatory personal attacks and obvious stereotyping is I think, to miss the point. It only helps to empower the very thing we all want to get rid of and put behind us. Ignorance.

    (If you think I’m calling any of you ignorant, you have completely missed the point. The point is not that we reach a place where we all agree, but as we talk and learn that extend respect and fairness to one another. No one is privilege or has a special pass that gives them power with no responsibility. No matter who you are, what you believe, or where you came from).

  38. 38 jbryer

    god came to earth and said, “hey I’m da boss”
    i’m sending my boy down to hang on a cross.
    you better watch out cuz i’m watchin’ you,
    and you don’t get a break till i say we’re through.

    i give you free will but i watch like a hawk,
    i watch every action and listen how you talk.
    i’m your big bad bully and my name is Big G,
    so get on your knees and worship me

    you take this book and make it fit,
    i created a system that’s full of sh*t.
    you’re my puppet and i’m in charge,
    your my soldier and i’m your sarge.

    i came to spread misery and accuse you of sin,
    you get out of line i’ll squash you again.
    my main purpose is to make your feel guilt,
    it’s on this foundation my house is built.

    enjoy

    love, your friend, god.

  39. 39 Asher

    Hey Paulg thanks for your prompt response. I appreciate the quote. There is much wisdom in reading Kierkegaard. If I may I think I can put your argument another way. Words without context is meaning less. Not that the words suddenly lose coherent value but rather they are stripped from the very environment that give them life. It is not that truth stripped from a person become untrue, but rather they becomes untrue of what the person meant. So one can imagine reading the bible without any context or background knowledge. That person would walk away with a certain perspective and his perception would be truth in one sense. But that person would not fully understand God’s original intent or focus without context. Without knowing something about Jewish culture and Temple system it would be impossible to know why Jesus had the die the way he did. Other examples can flow from here.

    Where I fundamentally disagree with you is similarly what I just wrote to Dewde. Great conversations do happen between strangers. This conversations can in fact lead towards truth and often do (depends on the two people).They do! In fact I tend to have them more than not. In fact I will use a example that we can all relate to.

    The first time I met Jessie. Yes the same Jessie that is the creator of this forums. Jessie you may not remember this, but we first met at Taco Mac. You remember right? Miguel was with me. We sat at a large table (your friend from South Carolina was there) and we had a fabulous time. We had great talks about psychology, relationships and the ones that failed, and about God. In fact I remember walking out of there thinking wow. I want to intimate Jessie’s heart and I admire the way how prayer was second natural to him.

    You may not qualify that as reaching towards truth. I absolutely do. Now is friendship required for our continued journey towards truth required. Absolutely. Must our friendship deepen in order for us to reach truth together. Absolutely. Must we fundamentally be friends in other to begin/reach towards truth. By now I hope you can answer no. Admittedly its hard to reach towards truth with a friendship context. But its not impossible. In fact I’m constantly surprised but the high level of intimacy and conversation I have with people I meet for the first time.

    Can a stranger extend love, respect, charity, honesty to another stranger. Jesus said, By the love you show one another that is how the whole world will know you are my disciples”. Loving our friends…and loving the stranger. The question is really how deep do we want to go with the strangers/friends around us? For those that do not want to go that deep that thats cool. You have the right to that. But lets not make the mistake of saying its impossible to do so. We, ourselves, are the only things making that impossible. Failure of conversation is not always due to lack of context but rather lack of us being charitable.

  40. 40 jbryer

    “Christians are enemies I just haven’t met yet.”

  41. 41 jessephillips

    Thank you everyone for your comments. Jbryer, I’m sorry you hate us =( If you’d like to talk or discuss it, or make a compromise or something, I’m open.

    Dude, Paul, Asher, Michael, Lara, Abigail, Chris – thanks. I’ve recently written some new stuff you might be interested in. Working on creating a new blog: churchology.org. this is just the test run – that’s why it’s ugly and boring.

  42. 42 Asher

    Here here. Looking forward to it!


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