5 My Response to Georgia

I have long thought that Mom was more the preacher than Dad.  I certainly take a lot of Mom’s character in that respect, and I note a lot of similarity in style as well as sentiment in your letters, mine and hers.  I think also we have inherited from both of our parents a spirit of sincerity and compassion.  And I appreciate your letter and your willingness to share it.  I will share (hopefully briefly) my difficulty with the “standard” church arguments against homosexuality and other orientation issues.

As to sexual orientation, the focus in the church has long been on homosexuality: choice or imposition.  As I look at the broader issue, I wonder about the hermaphrodite which is neither addressed, to my knowledge, by the Bible or the stated church positions on homosexuality.  Regarding it, a long standing medical practice has been to select a sex for that infant early so the child will not grow up confused and subject to ridicule, often later to find that the wrong choice was apparently made for that child, and that the process destroyed the sensations that are part of being human: akin to making the child a eunuch.  No one can argue that such individuals exist and they did not choose the dilemma.  The trans-sexual I know at church has XXY chromosomes: genetically that person has the wiring for both male and female.  For my friend, the male mentality predominated but also the female genitalia.  His condition and XXXY are called Klinefelter’s syndrome.  How would we handle that situation if that was our assigned inheritance?  Are we really in a position to judge his choice in a matter that does not affect us?  Turner’s syndrome is a condition in which an individual has one X and no Y chromosome, thus they are neither an XY male or a XX female. In addition, the gonads degenerate before birth. In most respects the person will be anatomically female, which is the initial course of all human development, however without hormone treatment there will be no secondary sexual characteristics.  Would the introduction of hormone treatment be a trans-sexual act and sinful insofar as it changes the state?  I wonder what the religious arguments would do to contribute to the lives and spirituality of these people.

What if these people, as my friend, profess the Christian faith but they don’t fit the normal pattern on the inside, on the outside or in their feelings or behavior.  Are we to assume that despite their professed sincerity they are ignorant and nonetheless persist in their sin?  Given those genetic and physical ambiguities, which can be objectively determined, and about which no one can reasonably argue, I wonder how clear really is the distinction assumed by the religious arguments.  I wonder, how much are we really in the position to judge any of these persons?  My position is that healthy judgment is for the purpose of making choices for one’s own life, as we are not in a position to make those choices for another.

Finally, I believe that when Jesus says, in Matthew 25:31-46 that those who were kind to the suffering [with no regard to any faith at all] shall enter into the Kingdom but those who do not, [with no exception for “right belief”]  shall go to eternal punishment, he mentioned examples of those who suffered and did not provide an exclusive list.  I believe he would have included the hermaphrodite, the XXY and XXXY, the sexually confused and the oppressed homosexual in that group deserving of our loving help.  Whereas one can cite Paul and other Biblical sources for the proposition that homosexuality is a sin, does anyone want to judge them, exclude them or just plain ignore them on that basis at the risk of eternal punishment?  It seems to me both kinder and safer just to accept them and love them as they are.

Love, Rob

 

Next blog post: 6 Joanne’s Reply https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/321

5 My Response to Georgia

4 Georgia’s Reply

Hi Robert,

I always appreciate your thoughts on life, you are a deep thinker, and a loving person.  Reflection is an important part of life.   As much as I do appreciate your thoughts, I find some I disagree with.  I have worked with several lesbians/homosexuals at the hospital, and we’ve had  fine working relationships.  I was fortunate that they didn’t feel the need to make a “statement” and it wasn’t something that was discussed.

These people also never professed to be Christians, and don’t believe the two I worked fairly closely with even attended church.  I do know there are people who profess to be Christians and also say they are homosexual, and apparently proud of it.    I would question the validity of that, but I also know many people say they are Christians just because they attend church, or they feel they live morally good lives, or they believe in a God.  None of those things makes them Christian.  Many are into being “spiritual,”  and really don’t have a faith in the God of the Bible, nor believe the Bible is the Word of God.  Any religion that believes there is any way to salvation other than through the blood of Jesus Christ, is just a religion, not Christianity.

One thing the Bible teaches is that God never changes.  There was a reason God had to give the Israelites a bunch of rules….they need guidance.  I don’t understand the mind of God, but for some reason certain foods were not to be eaten, etc….and we’re told in the New Testatment that we no longer are bound by that old Covenant;  we are under a new covenant, our sins paid for through the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.  Moral sins, lieing, cheating, killing, immoral living, were different.  God hated those sorts of sins in OT times, and he hates them now.  God does not change.  That is one of the things I find strength in.  So much has changed through time, but God is my constant.  Homosexuality was a sin then and still is;  this is confirmed in the New Testament, also.  That does not stop me from loving that person, however.  Am I supposed to turn a blind eye and say “whatever is right for them is right for them?”  Jesus didn’t ask us to do that, in fact we are to be discerning.  When Jesus said “judge not lest ye be judged,” I believe that was where the Pharisees were judging a woman in adultery and going to stone her.  If I’m remembering correctly they were told, “let he without sin cast the first stone.”  That is a little different judging than recognizing sin.

One of the marks of a Christian is that they recognize their sin, though it might take them a while at times to do so, and then strive to remove that sin from their life.  Any person who claims to be a Christian, but harbors a sin, whether it be pornography, adultry, sexual immorality, being dishonest in any way, but continues in that sin without remorse…..I’d have to wonder whether God is truly alive in their lives.  Also, we are commanded, as Christians, to hold each other accountable.  God’s Word sets the standard.  If I have a Christian friend, relative, or acquaintance who is continually living a sinful life, it is my responsibility as a Christian to point their sin out to them lovingly.  I am commanded to do that.  That isn’t me judging them.  If point out where God’s Word is clear that they are sinning, I am to do that in love.

Well, that was a long response to your New Year’s letter.  I should have typed it out and edited and rewritten to make more sense, but I think you may be used to my rambling and can make some sense of it.  I just think it is really wrong for Christians to downplay or water-down the Biblical Standards.  Anything goes, anything is accepted, doing what makes you feel good…..all those things will destroy us.

By the way, I read that book by C. S. Lewis a few years ago and loved it.  This will sound strange, but I loved that he went to the Pub and had beers with his buddies and discussed doctrinal issues and theology–how cool is that?!

I love you, Rob,

Georgia

 

5 My Response to Georges Replyhttps://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/319

4 Georgia’s Reply

1 Two Discussion Strings Concerning the Bible and GLBT Issues

I have ten siblings. Our father is a retired pastor, and our mother saw her calling as a witness in her home.  Both remain active in their Christian witness and unconditional service. We love each other but we have a wide range of views on the Bible, religion and sexuality as they relate to GLBT key issues.   It is always frank and sometimes it gets a little and dicey; but we are still family, we still love each other and we still communicate at least at some level.

I suspect that as to our disagreements, we are not so different from other families and certainly not so different from the various members of other societies, churches, and religions.  But these differences do not tear apart the “ties which bind us.”    As to siblings who joined these discussions, I will assign randomly a name since their identity is not necessary to these purposes.

There were two series of discussions, the first was initiated by my 2009 New Year  greeting, which I will identify as “First Family Discussion”  and the second began with my  post  on one of my sites in 2012, which I will call, “Second Family Discussion.”   I see these discussions as representative of the larger debate on GLBT issues that remains hot in various denominations, religions, and political arenas and generally in society.

The next several posts will share the various contributions to each discussion.

 

2 New Year’s Greeting of 2009https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/309

1 Two Discussion Strings Concerning the Bible and GLBT Issues

It’s a Matter of Choice

It’s a Matter of Choice

We often hear of objections to the GLBT community: “It’s a matter of choice – to sin or not to sin.”  I believe the resolution of the conflict in the various Christian churches over full inclusion in the life of the church is a matter of choice, not of gender or sexual orientation, but of where we put our faith.

I note in the article concerning Rev. Amy DeLong , http://www.rmnetwork.org/trial-of-rev-amy-delong-approaches/, that it concludes that the trial is “incompatible with scripture . . . [and] with our larger Church Tradition . . .”  I do support Rev. DeLong in this matter.  But I think it is as mistaken to quote scripture as though it is definitive on loving inclusion of the GLBT community within our own  as are the various biblical arguments for judgment and exclusion.

To some degree faith is a gift; but it also involves choice.  I am reminded of Hans Kung’s book Does God Exist?  He proceeds through the proofs of God and concludes that there is no ironclad proof of God’s existence.  He then traces the proofs that there is no God to its ultimate conclusion of nihilism. He likewise concludes that it cannot be proven that there is no God, or that there is no purpose in life.  As I interpret my recollection of the book, one is left with a choice: choose God or no God and take the consequences: meaning in life or no meaning.

Eric Fromm, in Psychoanalysis and Religion asserts that a healthy religion is necessary to mental health.  Interesting coming from a person popularly categorized as an atheist and a humanist. He defines religion as that which gives us an object of devotion and a sense of orientation.  Rev. Bruggeman says that the command not to worship idols also means not to reduce God to our private purposes, as in church fund-raising.  Have we idolized God into the form of our image, our prejudices or our purposes?  That would certainly be contrary to the Jewish (Christian Old Testament) notion of the nameless God and the living God.

How does this apply to my view of GLBT issues?  We must accept that the Bible can be used to support almost any position, no matter how disparate.   We find the same of Jewish, Muslim and other sacred scriptures.  We like things to be black and white, right or wrong.  But, as our world is a mixture, from our individual point of view, of good and bad, so is our scripture.  The Wesleyan Quadrilateral recognizes this.  In this blog, I have attempted to set out the various biblical arguments used by some Christians to judge GLBT issues (sometimes politely distinguished as “discernment”) and, at the opposite end of the spectrum, I set out a homosexual’s biblical argument justifying his sexual orientation.

I suggest here and in the blog that we will not find clear, consistent answers in the Bible on the issues of gender, sexuality or sexual orientation.  We are in the same position Hans Kung found himself on the issue of whether God exists:  we must make a choice, and that choice will have practical effects: ranging from “life has meaning” to “it has no meaning;” or from, “I am the center and condition of all existence”  to “life is bigger than I am;” or “I am the author  of my fate” to “life is something that happens to me.”  My father, Rev. Edgar F. Wheeler, once put it to me this way, “People think Christianity is all about dying and going to heaven.  I say, ‘No.  It is about living a life of eternal significance.’”

For my part I choose for my object of devotion and sense of orientation Matthew’s quotes of Jesus: “Inasmuch as you did or didn’t do it unto others, you did or didn’t do it unto me;” “By their fruits you will know them.”  To paraphrase a great figure in another day and situation, “Choose you this day whom you will serve.”  Life involves choice.  It just does.  Make your choice and see what kind of fruit it bears.  Does it bear hatred and exclusion or love, respect and inclusion?

In this blog, I note the biblical contradictions and I suggest that if you can find an honest way to both judge and to love unconditionally, to both judge the act and love the “sinner,” and if it bears good fruit, do it.  As for me, I must make a choice between the two.  I can’t hold onto judgment of another’s gender or sexual orientation, whether by choice or circumstance, and still love the person.  I choose to love unconditionally and share in the rich give-and-take of community.

 

Next blog post: “Clergy Call for Justice and the Quality” by Bishop Minerva C, Carconia               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/151

It’s a Matter of Choice

United Methodist Groups and Positions on Homosexuality

See http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_umc3.htm for an excellent article examining different churches and groups in the United Methodist denomination, both positive and negative on the issue of homosexuality.

Discussion

What if Rev. Juillart were a Methodist clergywoman?  What should she have done when she met the woman and discovered that she had “feelings” for her?

What should she have done when the relationship developed into a lesbian relationship (whatever that means?)

If she lived with that woman in a loving, but nonsexual relationship, would that make a difference?

What effect did the much later lesbian relationship have upon Rev. Juillart’s teenage call to the ministry, if any?

What reaction do you have to “the Sacramento 95?”

What is the significance of acts of Civil Disobedience?

Why should the fact that there were so many ministers involved in the service of union performed by the Sacramento 95 make a difference in how the UMC applied its Discipline?

Why should the outcome of that union service be different from that of Rev. Jimmy Creech?

What significance do you see in the act of Rev. Jimmy Creech?  In the UMC’s discipline of him?

What is your opinion of the Reconciling Congregations?  Pros and cons?

What implications do expenditures for reconciliation have concerning the Discipline provision prohibiting expenditures for promotiing the acceptance of homosexuality?

What of the Transforming Congregations?  Pros and cons?

Do you see the conflict over homosexuality in the UMC as different from “ordinary” bias against bi-sexuals or trans-sexuals?

Do you see any way to resolve the conflict other than splitting the church?

 

Next blog post: Cry, “Justice!”     https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/124

United Methodist Groups and Positions on Homosexuality

Two Evangelicals on Gay Marriage

For a transcript of an  excellent interview by NPR’s Krista Tippet of two evangelical Christians concerning gay marriage, see http://being.publicradio.org/programs/gaymarriage/transcript.shtml.  The same internet site has a podcast of the interview.

 

Next blog post: Beyond Homosexuality: What Is Transsexual               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/101

Two Evangelicals on Gay Marriage

Offenses Punishable by Death

Exodus 20

13 “You shall not kill.

Exodus 21

12 “Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death. . . .  14 [I]f a man schemes and kills another man deliberately, take him away from my altar and put him to death.

15 “Anyone who attacks his father or his mother must be put to death.

16 “Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death.

17 “Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.

The Old Testament is clear that homosexuality is an “abomination,” as stated in Leviticus 18:22, just a few lines below the edict in Leviticus 11:10-12 stating that eating shrimp is an abomination.  (http://www.livescience.com/health/070320_bad_homosexuality.html)

Leviticus 20

1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any alien living in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech must be put to death. The people of the community are to stone him.

9 ” ‘If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his own head.

10 ” ‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.

11 ” ‘If a man sleeps with his father’s wife, he has dishonored his father. Both the man and the woman must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

12 ” ‘If a man sleeps with his daughter-in-law, both of them must be put to death. What they have done is a perversion; their blood will be on their own heads.

13 ” ‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

14 ” ‘If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire, so that no wickedness will be among you.

15 ” ‘If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he must be put to death, and you must kill the animal.

16 ” ‘If a woman approaches an animal to have sexual relations with it, kill both the woman and the animal. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

27 ” ‘A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.’ ”

Leviticus 24

10 Now the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father went out among the Israelites, and a fight broke out in the camp between him and an Israelite. 11 The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name with a curse; so they brought him to Moses. . . .

13 Then the LORD said to Moses: 14 “Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him. 15 Say to the Israelites: ‘If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; 16 anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death.

17 ” ‘If anyone takes the life of a human being, he must be put to death. 23 Then Moses spoke to the Israelites, and they took the blasphemer outside the camp and stoned him. The Israelites did as the LORD commanded Moses

Numbers 15

32 While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, 34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. 35 Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” 36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD commanded Moses.

Numbers 35

16 ” ‘If a man strikes someone with an iron object so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death. 17 Or if anyone has a stone in his hand that could kill, and he strikes someone so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death. 18 Or if anyone has a wooden object in his hand that could kill, and he hits someone so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death. 19 The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death. 20 If anyone with malice aforethought shoves another or throws something at him intentionally so that he dies 21 or if in hostility he hits him with his fist so that he dies, that person shall be put to death; he is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when he meets him.

 Deuteronomy 7

2 If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the LORD gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God in violation of his covenant, 3 and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars of the sky, 4 and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, 5 take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death. . . . 7 The hands of the witnesses must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people.

Deuteronomy 13

[If a prophet or soothsayer bids you follow other gods, 5 [t]hat prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God . . .  [If anyone tells you, “let’s go worship other gods], Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. 9 You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone him to death, because he tried to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 11 Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again.

12 [If you hear it said about one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you to live in, “Let us go and worship other gods,” and if it is true], 15 you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. 16 Gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 21

18 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. . . . 21 Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death.. . .

Deuteronomy 22

13 If a man takes a wife and, after lying with her, dislikes her 14 and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,”  20 If . . . the charge is true and no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, 21 she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death.

22 If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die.

23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the girl because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife.

Joshua 7

[If someone steals something that was devoted to the Lord], 15 [h]e who is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him.

19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give him the praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me.”  20 Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”  24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 . . . Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them.

John 8

1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11″No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

John 10

31Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

33″We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

34Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’? 35If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— 36what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. 38But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” 39Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.

 

Next blog post: Scriptures on GLBT Subjects               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/70

Offenses Punishable by Death