If you are looking for support for a particular Christian view of Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual or Transgender issues, whether for or against, this site is not for you. It is designed to help all persons of the mono-theistic religions, i.e. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and all others, whatever their orientation or views, to stimulate discussion on the topic, to examine what we believe we know religiously, biologically and biblically about these issues.
I happen to have been raised in a Christian home. I am most familiar with it, and I will therefore address these issues as a Christian. Many of the roots of Christianity reflect notions already addressed in what we call the Old Testament.
The Reverend, Chaplain Clifford Bond has contributed to this front page, below.
This site will celebrate the sacredness of each of us, “created in the image of God,” without regard to gender or sexual orientation. I have designed the materials to be used in a discussion group setting or in Sunday School or Sabbath School.
We will examine some religious and societal arguments both for and against inclusion of the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transsexual) community in the life of the church, including its leadership. I advocate for love, rather than judgment. We will consider whether we are in a position to make judgments concerning others’ sexual orientation or decisions regarding their overt gender. We will also examine the meaning of the commands in both the Christian New Testament and the Old Testament to love and not to judge.
The Good Samaritan VAN GOGH
See http://www.abcgallery.com/V/vangogh/vangogh56.html for the source of the above photograph of the painting.
I notice in the above painting that the religious leaders are retreating into the background. The man that was of a different religious orientation, from a different country, was the good neighbor. The Samaritans were the Jews who were not deported to Babylon, who survived in the homeland and adapted to local ways. Upon their return from Babylon, Jews shunned the Samaritans as reprobates from true Judaism, mixing pagan customs with their Jewish roots. Upon their return, they discovered and reestablished “true Judaism.” With the orthodoxy of the diaspara Jews, the Samaritans became the equivalent of the “bastard.” For a Jew to even touch a Samaritan would corrupt the purity of that Jew. For the Samaritan to lay a hand on the beaten Jew was, in the Jewish mind of that time, to corrupt the beaten man as he was being saved. And yet, the Samaritan saw this Jew in need, put aside all differences, and cared for him as a neighbor.
With whom do we identify? The compassionate “neighbor” or the self-righteous leaders of the beaten man’s religious family? With whom would an outsider identify us? Those of us in “mainstream” American religious society, how do we see the person who is the good neighbor and inclusive of all into our communities, including the GLBT community? Is such love and inclusion threatening to our sense of purity, as though it were illigitimately tainting our religious environment? Or is that person who invites the GLBT community to our church, without judgment, being the good neighbor that each of us is “called to be?”
For an excellent discussion of the religious connection with GLBT-bashing, both for the connection and against it, see http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2010/10/03/it-gets-better-a-theological-response-to-anti-gay-bullying. See http://www.rmnetwork.org/1-31-2011/ for activities and resources of reconciling ministries in the United Methodist Church.
SEE THE TABLE OF CONTENTS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE AND CLICK ON THE LINK
Other blogs by me:
The Bible through Artists’ Eyes
Getting over Childhood: an Abandonment Paradox
If with All Your Hearts: a Faith Journey