The people of North Carolina went to the polls yesterday, and they spoke their minds. North Carolina became the 31st state in America to have a gay marriage ban in the language of its state constitution. Even though gay marriage is already illegal in NC, the people of the Tar Heel State decided that the time was right to pass a law that will make it even harder if someday in the future its citizens tried to give people who are gay equal rights. With this one voting stone, they killed a second civil rights bird by stripping gay couples who had entered into a civil union of any rights that they previously had with their same-sex partner. It is yet another victory in the battle that has been waged by “the religious right” in this country to make sin illegal. Once (their idea of) sin is illegal, we can finally have the sin-free paradise that the Founding Fathers envisioned.
Something tells me they’re not going to touch that tricky old sin of divorce, though….
So I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to all gay people within the sound of this blog post. I know it seems like Christians have led this charge to make homosexuals feel like second class citizens–and it feels that way because it is largely true–but on behalf of the many people who call themselves followers of Jesus who think this sort of law is complete bullshit, I’d like to say that I’m so, so sorry. I’m sorry for people who make it look like Jesus is all about ignorance and fear and bigotry. That’s not what Jesus is about. Jesus is about love and justice and service and freedom and life. Jesus is frickin’ awesome, and there are a whole lot of people who call themselves Christians who will work beside you until this unjust garbage is a thing of the past. But yeah–So sorry.
Also, if you want to check this older post out, FEEL FREE
Some people listen to Jesus’ message and others play God. People who believe in Jesus, ‘let go and let God’ – scared people try to control others into conforming to human rules that make them feel more comfy – following Jesus aint about bring all cozy-comfy, it’s about loving your brother as you love yourself. I don’t claim to understand Thee Messages absolutely – then again – its them absolute fuckers that got it all wrong… They’re running around babbling about God helping us all be like them – I often think they may have the wrong idea – I thought we were all s’pose’duh be like Jesus?!!
Now let’s see if I can post this – lol – I do keep saying, ‘dear god’ or ‘oh jesus, please’ ALOT when it comes
to technology – I am sure this is all man-made fun cuz when I pray for techno-help… a response is rare yet when I search quietly and ask sincerely for guidance with my health or my son – I DO get directed; not so true with my iPhone .
Actually, I have my very own igod – he just lives so far away in the mountains, he’s way harder to get help from than God – except when it comes to iPhone issues – I’m right back to the, ‘punting option’ as the best solution which as I think about it is similar often to my relationship with God – prAy’n punt.
Thanks for your thoughts, Vicki. You have a very interesting voice.
I could NOT AGREE WITH YOU MORE. I keep saying over and over again that if Jesus walked among us on earth today, in the flesh, his Zaccheus and Mary Magdalene would be a little different, because we’ve all moved beyond judging plain old tax collectors and prostitutes, but would be just SHOCKED to see Jesus seeking out and enjoying the fellowship of RuPaul and heroin users.
Thanks for reading, Sarah. Jesus is full of surprises–Then AND Now.
Truly ridiculous. People can be so exhausting. dream hampton had a nice series of tweets last night about the whole thing. Here are three of my favorites:
@dreamhampton I once walked past one of those quickie chapels in Vegas & watched a girl puke a gallon of liquor before stumbling inside to be married.
@dreamhampton Legally married.
@dreamhampton The fact that marriage equality is being defeated based on some fictional set of American values is enough to make me puke a gallon.
Check out her feed for more great tweets like these.
I’m now following.
Thank you. I do not have anything quirky or profound to say in response… I am still numb and dumbfounded from the shock of it all and the realization I am stuck in NC for eternity.
That gives you all kinds of people whose hearts you can change about this. I love Carolina!
There is a profound difference between Jesus hanging out with prostitutes, heroin addicts, and RuPaul – and Jesus saying that whatever prostitutes, heroin addicts and RuPaul are doing with their lives is just okay with Him.
Jesus did not seek out people and tell them that the sin in their lives was just fine. He came to them where they were and said, “Go and sin no more.” Read the words. He was about changed lives. He was about showing people the love of God so that they would live the lives God intended for them. He is about the love of God changing you within.
True, no law can do that. But don’t make the mistake of believing that Jesus is the guy who tells you that God loves you just like you are. He loves you in spite of who you are. He gave His life so that you would have a better one than the one you picked out for yourself. He loves you so you would be more like Him. He sees the part of you that you can’t stand and He wants to change that. The question is whether you want to. It’s not a matter of His love, but of your will.
Well said Bill, well said.
If you take filet mignon, grind it up, mix it with bread crumbs and ground turkey and make a meatloaf, then serve it to someone who’s never had filet mignon before, and you tell them you’re serving them filet mignon… then tell them it’s their will if they don’t like filet mignon… essentially their fault… when all along you’ve taken something fabulous and made it common, changed its flavor, texture, even how it’s prepared… I think that’s the sentiment our author is aiming towards. I have no problem with Jesus loving people so much that they are changed by Him, but I do have a problem with PEOPLE believing that they have fully represented Jesus’ love, and blaming those who are NOT compelled to change, without understanding that they have actually served meatloaf. I am fully convinced that the pure, unadulterated love of Jesus is irresistible. Any encounter with Him produces change. Anyone who thinks they have encountered Jesus but has come away unchanged has had an inferior or incomplete experience with His love. What, therefore, can I do–what stumbling blocks can I remove, what field stones can I take away, what birds can I shoo away, what weeds can I uproot–to be a cleaner conduit for that love (whether in my field or someone else’s)? THAT is my heart’s response, all political opinions or laws or justice aside. Anything further is liable to be treating a symptom, rather than the heart of the matter.
That’s cool, Miss Mary. Deep. : )
Bill–I have, after a long time of thinking otherwise, come to the conclusion that the Bible is not as clear about this as people think (and as I was taught). My post about gay marriage ( https://theboeskool.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/gay-marriage-and-green-eggs-ham/ ) goes into more detail about my process, but there is a lot of room for interpretation. The Bible is clearly against “sexual immorality,” but maybe the homosexuality that Paul was speaking against in his letter to the Roman church was the sort of homosexuality that falls into the category of sexual immorality. Being promiscuous, unfaithful, and forcing sex on people who can’t stop it–all of these things are gross and sinful, regardless of whether the act is homosexual or heterosexual.
There are plenty of conditions that a person might have (which they have no control over or “choice”) that cause genetic or gender confusion or even physical differences is a person’s sexual organs. We would never insist on a hermaphrodite choosing his/her way out of that condition in order to be told by the church that he/she is welcome. I think you are right that Jesus loves us in spite of who we are, but he also loves us right where we are–“while we were still sinners.” When people encounter Jesus, he changes them. I’m sure there have been people who have encountered Jesus and were suddenly convicted of their sin of sexual immorality and stopped sleeping around. There are also people who decide to leave their sexuality behind and not ever pursue sexual love. Or maybe they were sexually confused, and knowing Jesus healed their confusion. Some of these people may feel restored to heterosexuality…. But what if some, after encountering the life-changing love of Jesus, may finally feel peace that their homosexuality is EXACTLY who God has created them to be? Who are you, who am I, who are we to tell this person that the Spirit of God that spoke to their soul and said loud and clear, “You are mine, and I am PLEASED with you–just as you are.” was actually not God at all? Can you be so certain? Because people were certain about telling women who dreamt of equality that the voice speaking to their soul was not the voice of the Spirit of God. They told that to slaves. They told that to blacks and white who wanted to marry. And all of the ones doing the talking were CERTAIN that they were speaking the truth because “The Bible told them so.” Like I said in the Green Eggs blog post, if I’m going to make a mistake theologically, I’m going to err on the side of love.
I can understand your dilemma. I think we all have felt this. I have gay friends and gay relatives, so I didn’t arrive at this lightly. I agree that however this issue is handled, it must be with love. I read your blog post of earlier too. A few thoughts:
Jesus didn’t say anything about homosexuality, but his strongest statement was in Mark 10:7-9, where he quoted Genesis saying that marriage is ordained by God between a man and a woman, and “what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” He was speaking about divorce, but He puts His definition down. These words are quoted in every marriage ceremony. In other words, it’s not humanity’s place to impose a different definition of marriage than God ordained. Read that quote anyway you want, but it’s going to arrive at the same conclusion.
Where Jesus talks about sexual immorality in Matt 15:19, he mentions it as one of the products that flows from a sinful heart. We can assume that his definition of sexual immorality would be the same as any first century Jew, which would point us back at the passages in Leviticus that everyone quotes. He’s obviously talking about promiscuity, fornication, etc. but I think a first century listener would have known all that was contained in that definition.
Paul makes it clear in his writings that when the subject is sin, it also affects doctrine. When our behavior or our doctrine deviates from Scripture, it is not because of the Spirit but because we are trying to justify our behavior, or that of others. I think a lot of Christians look at the pain that gays suffer from families, friends, society, and they are grieved as they are when they see anyone in pain. But instead of feeling the pain they might feel at an unacceptable lifestyle (someone suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction, financial stress) they justify it as something the person had no control over. I don’t believe the Spirit will allow someone peace over something Scripture states is sin. But we may feel that if they have no control over the behavior, that makes them without guilt, so I’m absolved of the responsibility of pointing out their sin! Now I don’t have to worry about what people say about me! I can be just as tolerant as everyone else!
I am not unsympathetic to the idea that the world will think we are judgemental. They already do. But Jesus told us we would be persecuted because of Him. Christianity has always felt pressure to conform to societal norms, because if we tell the world that they’re ok, then we are just like them. I do not agree with people who get off on pointing out “sinfulness” from some pedestal. But I also don’t agree with changing the message in hopes of drawing more people in. That doesn’t work. Christianity is different, because Christ is different.
One last point – regardless of the political rhetoric, the essential issue here is sin. As I said in my first point – Jesus told people, “Go and sin no more.” That doesn’t make homosexuality any greater sin than any other, but it’s in just as much a need of forgiveness. And we all require that. We are all in need of grace. Let us communicate that.
Bill–I did not arrive at this lightly either. Jesus stressed Heart of the Law over Letter of the Law. The issue of the inherent sinfulness of homosexuality is far from settled within the bounds of Church orthodoxy–there are many theologians who would disagree with the grounds for your certainty on this issue. I am one of those theologians. If, when I die, God explains to me that I was getting this wrong, I am not at all worried about that. He knows my heart, and my heart is trying to follow Jesus on this issue. I do not believe that God is the sort of God who sends his kids to Hell for getting an interpretation wrong in an attempt to show love to an oppressed people.
Also, the thought that the persecution the Church was prophesied to endure was going to be the persecution that comes as result of persecuting gays, coming off as judgmental and hateful, and making people to feel like they aren’t welcome in the Church unless they change their sexuality (that is most likely not a choice)–That thought is just plain wrong, man. I’m sorry.
But thank you for reading. And thank you for your well-worded thoughts.
Gotta go with Bill on this one. THe truths the truth. Like it or not.
Tiffany–Have you ever thought something was “The Truth” before and it turned out to not be the truth?
Another great one! Thanks, Chris.
My pleasure, Somer. Thank you so much for reading!
Thanks for your replies as well.
I can appreciate what you’re saying. I too don’t want to turn someone away because of one issue, no matter how emotionally charged it is, if it means someone doesn’t find Jesus. I know some people will, because the nature of the world is that some people will choose fulfillment here rather than an eternal one. As you’re not convinced that the Bible is clear on this issue, I’m not convinced that science is all that clear on whether someone has a choice in this matter. I think the issue has become so politicized as to obscure that.
But Jesus did warn us in Luke 17 that there will be consequences for those who cause people to sin. He said it was better that a millstone be hung around their necks. I’m not saying that is true necessarily in this case, but it should remind us that any attitude we have, whether acceptance or otherwise, should be approached humbly and mindful of His Lordship. Because the consequences for others are eternal.
God bless you.
You too, Bill!