19 Concluding Response to Georgia

Georgia, you mentioned about how much liberal politics and religion had dominated family e mails.  Whether or not it has dominated, I would like to explain my heavy contribution, if that is necessary.

I have observed over the years that fundamentalist-sounding language was a regular part of e mails exchanged with family.  That is the language that our family is familiar with and it is the underpinning of much of our values. It is to be expected that many of the family have gotten to love and acceptance of others by that path, and others have gotten there by other paths.  (I don’t think anyone of us would be accused of being uncaring of other people, although I, at least, can be accused of having faults, generally or in specific instances.)  In recent years I have noted an increasing globalization and with that the need for us to understand that all the world, whatever their ethnicity, religion, culture or even sexual orientation are loved and accepted by God as they are.  If we cannot accept that, we will never be able to get along.  I cannot escape the message of Matthew 25:31-46: it is not just a proclamation that one loves another that brings one into the kingdom, but acts of compassion for all those in need, for whatever reason, those in prison for whatever reason, even those deserving prison because they did bad things.  Jesus, in that passage does not make entry into the kingdom conditioned upon right belief but upon loving action, compassionately drawing the outsider into the circle of loving community.  This story further interests me because those who were righteous and were told to enter the kingdom were surprised: “when did we see you?”  They clearly did not act compassionately “in order to be saved,” but out of genuine love.  And those who thought they belonged in the kingdom but were told “to go to Hell” are also surprised and ask the same question, “when did we see you.”  To me the message is inescapable: that compassion is what brings one into the kingdom of heaven, without regard to race, orientation, creed or even religion.  I don’t know what the judgment would be if we are compassionate to some but not to others.  Since it is our lot to be forever working on sensitivity and compassion for others,  I suspect that it is not just “either/or” but that there is some degree of becoming in that process and, just as in life, we get second chances to “get it right” and a good dose of grace.

I have noted a polarization of the Christian community along lines of “right belief,” often used as a justification for excluding some from what ought to be, in my opinion, our inclusive and loving communities.   The world cannot thrive, to my mind, with such judgmental exclusion.  The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an expression of this polarization on the basis of a sense of entitlement bestowed by God Almighty, which, in that view, trumps compassion and justifies clinging to things.

I voted for President Bush (both of them).   When the second was elected upon the decision of the Supreme Court, there were those who supported Gore who were upset, but in a short while the rancor evaporated from public view.  When Bush led us into two wars, he was supported by both parties and by the public.  The people of the US backed him and the Supreme Court win to election was no longer an issue.  When he used religious labels of evil to mark rogue nations, I thought it was a mistake.  I saw it at risk of falling into the same line of false sense of altruistic commitment as when Islamic terrorists took down airplanes to sure death of all on board with cries of “Allah is great!”  I became concerned with some of his cavalier responses to serious situations, such as “bring it on.”  It concerned me that we were alienating much of the world community that we, in truth, are part of and that we ought to be in community with.  But, I didn’t begin bashing Bush or preaching the imminent demise of our country because of what I believed to be some unwise positions.  In fact, I also wondered if indeed we were fortunate in the wars we found ourselves in that we had experienced people guiding the President such as Cheney, Rumsfeld and Powel.  Time will tell if we were fortunate or if that was the beginning of our path to demise.  And that is how I feel with President Obama – time will tell.  But I get frequent e mails, not just of the usual political banter and humor, but mean-spirited and claiming that we are heading to ruin.  I hear mean-spirited political commentary on the radio and on TV.  I see lies as a means to oppose legislation to reform health care instead of honest, lively debate that our framers intended.  Now, I see many of the same labels that Bush used for rogue nations being applied not abroad but to our own president, who, like it or not, has been elected as our leader.

I believe that I should use much of the same language of our religious tradition – my roots and inspiration, also – not to undermine the faith of others, but to call for compassion, as Jesus taught.  And so, I have been willing to bring to the light some of those who have been judged as undeserving of our compassion, not just an idea of such people, but real people I know.  These people bear good fruits, and Jesus said good fruit does not fall from a bad tree.  “By their fruits you will know them.”  I know there are other scriptures that say that right belief saves, but if the Bible is inerrant, then those beliefs must not violate these commands to be compassionate to the outcasts, to all our neighbors.  I happen to have a different view of the scriptures and of their truth.  But that is not important to my mind – Jesus calls all those who show compassion to others into the Kingdom, whatever the path that takes them there.  That is just what I believe, but I respect that you get there by another path.

Love, Rob

I have spoken out not to divide us, but to strengthen our community of love and to enrich it with even the outcasts of our society.

 

Next blog post: 1 On Gay Marriage: Love and Do Not Judge               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/488

19 Concluding Response to Georgia

Spiritual Gifts and Love

 

1 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV)

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poorand give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhoodbehind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Discussion

Both Romans and 1 Corinthians have passages condemning homosexuality.  Each also provides that we are to love others.

 

Can we effectively love and condemn?

 

To what degree should the condemnation of homosexuality in Romans or 1 Corinthians trump the admonition of Jesus in the gospels not to judge others?

 

Is there a question about who had more authority: Jesus or Paul?

 

Next blog post: Gays – – – No Easy Answers; a Christian Response               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/84

Spiritual Gifts and Love

Love and Mercy

Alongside the commands that are cited to justify judging and ostracizing the homosexual are many calls in both the Old Testament and the New Testament for love and mercy.

Hosea 6

6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

Micah 6

8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Zechariah 7

9 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.’

Matthew 5

The Beatitudes

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:43-45

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Matthew 22:36-40

36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

See, also, Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:27-36

Luke 6

Judging Others

37“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

A Tree and Its Fruit

43“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. . . . 45The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

Romans 13:10

10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Romans 8:28

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:34-36

34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

1 Corinthians 2:9

9However, as it is written:
“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him”

1 Corinthians 8:3

But the man who loves God is known by God.

1 Corinthians 13

The greatest of faith, hope and love is love.

Colossians 3

12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Discuss

Is hating the sin compatible with loving the “sinner?”

Can one do both well?

What does it mean to love the homosexual?  How would that show in the way we talked with the homosexual?  The way we interacted with him or her?  How we would treat him or her in our organization or church?

What does it mean to love the trans-sexual?  Would it make a difference to you that the trans-sexual person was a hermaphrodite and simple selected to accentuate one gender characteristic and to enhance the other?  If so, do you have the right to inquire as to the basis for that decision?

How is the surgical treatment of the hermaphrodite different from the surgical separation of Siamese twins?

If it were acceptable for the hermaphrodite to surgically enhance one gender trait and eliminate another, what about the individual who for one reason or another had sexual characteristics of one gender but had non-sexual characteristics of the other sex and identified with that other sex, despite the most obvious physical manifestations, such as a genetic make-up of XXY?

Are we justified in determining for another that person’s proper gender identification or sexual orientation?

 

Next blog post: Spiritual Gifts and Love                   https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/81

Love and Mercy

A Gay Man’s Scriptural Defense of Homosexuality

See http://www.jeramyt.org/gay.html for a gay man’s scriptural defense of homosexuality.

Discussion

How different is the approach of this author from those condemning homosexuality?

How convincing is it?

Do both condemnation and justification fall short of convincing?

 

Next blog post: The Wesleyan  Quadrilateral               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/52

A Gay Man’s Scriptural Defense of Homosexuality

Hate the Sin, but Love the Sinner Position

See http://www.evangelsociety.org/francisco/gaychange.html for the Sinful, but Love the Sinner position.

Discuss

How would you summarize the “hate the sin but love the sinner” position?

What fears does it express?  How does it address those fears?

What about the scriptures it cites?  Is that appropriate use?

What points do you believe are valid?

What are your concerns about this position?

What is the practical impact of our judgment of the person we profess to love?

On us?

On them?

On our relationship with them?

On their relationship with the community?

Deepak Chopra has written in his book, The Third Jesus, “. . . [H]is teachings have been hijacked by people who hate in the name of love.” p. 7.  How does that apply or not to this position of hate the sin but love the sinner?

 

Next blog post: A Gay Man’s Scriptural Defense of Homosexuality               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/46

Hate the Sin, but Love the Sinner Position

Love and do not Judge

This is a companion blog to Heal Our Church and The Bible Through Artists’ Eyes.  Each of these blogs seeks to heal the divisions at various levels of the organized church, specifically, and divisions among people of different religions or of no profession of religious belief, generally.

This blog is based upon a Sunday School study I had prepared for our local church but was not presented.  In the study, I do not justify or condemn any of the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, and Transexual) community.  Instead, I address positions that various “Christian” groups have taken on the subject and their claims of scriptural support.  We will also examine what it means to “love and do not judge.”  I am a United Methodist and even Methodism is conflicted about how to treat the GLBT community. I may ask questions concerning any position, but I will seek to fairly represent each.

As to judgment of the issues, I ask several questions: How much are we in a position to judge another’s actions? another’s claimed sexual orientation?  As to those who say “love the person, hate the sin,” I ask, “Can you do both well at the same time?”  How can we know what is good and right from what is bad and wrong?  Is it my job to judge what is right or wrong for another person if what that person is doing has no impact upon me?

Most of all, I want to emphasize that we all have sacred worth.  I want to celebrate that.  If you have personal stories relating to the subjects raised, would you kindly share them?  I want to avoid “alienating objectification,” platitudes and superficial judgment of these issues that affect real people.

The overarching theme of this blog will be, like its related blogs, the principle Jesus taught: “By their fruits you will know them.”  What better expression of such good fruits than through the eyes of Vincent Van Gogh?”

The Good Samaritan VINCENT VAN GOGH

Source: http://www.abcgallery.com/V/vangogh/vangogh56.html.  What interests me most about this painting is that the outcast, the Samaritan, is aiding the man, the Jew, who was badly beaten and left at the side of the road, whereas the religious leaders are retreating into the background.  It demonstrates in the concrete what it means to be a good neighbor.

As a United Methodist I note that a large number of retired bishops have signed a statement seeking to strike anti-GLBT language from the Book of Discipline, which is much like a constitution in other organizations.   whereas there support for inclusion of all people is welcoming, yet nonetheless disturbs me that more active bishops aren’t also advocating change.  You may see their recent statement at http://www.rmnetwork.org/act-now/take-action-form/letter-to-the-bishop/#signatures.

In Matthew 25, Jesus teaches that “when the Son of Man comes in his glory,” those who loved their neighbor in tangible ways, fed the hungry, comforted those who were hurting or visited those in prison are invited “into the Kingdom to receive your just reward”.  In that passage, the reward of the Kingdom was available to everyone who bore good fruits, regardless of religion, orientation, nation or clan. Non-Christians, whether self-proclaimed agnostics, atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, or “whatever,” you are also welcome to visit and share your own experiences of the divine, of the ineffable and of accountability, forgiveness and reconciliation.

I highly recommend Religious Tolerance, at http://www.religioustolerance.org/, as a phenomenal resource of a wide range of religious topics ranging from theistic to atheistic, Western religions to the most remote. It is exceptionally well-organized and well-written. In the language of its own welcome:

We welcome evangelicals, secularists, religious conservatives, religious liberals, Deists, Wiccans, other Pagans, progressives, animists, theists, fundamentalists, Atheists, polytheists, humanists, Agnostics, etc.

So, welcome to our fruits.  We hope you find them nourishing.  If you wish to bring your own fruit to share, we would be honored and blessed.

Wishing you the blessings of peace and love,

Robert Wheeler

To navigate the contents of this blog, click on the link of the Table of Contents, below.

A Study of GLBT Issues, Religious and Scientific, Religious Pro and Con

TABLE OF CONTENTS

This Marvelous Creation                               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/28

Catholic Judgment on Homosexuality               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/33

A Fundamentalist Protestants Condemnation of Homosexual Christians               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/37

Dr. Dobson’s Position on Homosexuality                 https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/39

Hate the Sin, but Love the Sinner Position               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/41

A Gay Man’s Scriptural Defense of Homosexuality               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/46

The Wesleyan  Quadrilateral         https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/52

Scripture Accounts of How God Has Been Heard to Speak               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/55

Detestable or Abominable Things               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/59

Thou Shalt Not Kill, but…               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/65

Offenses Punishable by Death      https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/68

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

Love and Mercy                               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/79

Spiritual Gifts and Love                  https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/81

Gays – – – No Easy Answers; a Christian Response               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/84

Publications concerning Hate Crimes Relating to Sexual Orientation               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/88

Psychiatric Association: Homosexuality Is Not a Pathology               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/92

Is There a Gay Gene? What If…?                 https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/95

Two Evangelicals on Gay Marriage               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/99

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

United Methodist Groups and Positions on Homosexuality               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/103

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

“It’s a Matter of Choice”               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/141

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

Rev. Amy Delong: God Bless You!               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/154

“Spiritual Violence”          https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/187

We Understand and Mean the Lyrics That We Sing?               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/173

Fight for Justice                https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/202

“Fundamental” Problems              https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/204

Memorial to the Norwegian Victims of Judgment, Hate, and Fear               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/211

Rev. Gilbert H Caldwell Speaks for Inclusiveness                   https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/225

Bishop Hagya Courageously Speaks Out                  https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/231

Love of God and Neighbor Letter               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/238

What about Maladapted or Stressed Children of the GLBT Couple?               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/243

Bob and Betty Dorrs Story             https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/302

12 Discussion Strings concerning the Bible and GLBT Issues               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/304

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

3 Stuart’s Reply                 https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/315

4 Georges Reply https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/317

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

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

7 My Response to Joanne’s Reply               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/324

8 Joanne’s Reply               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/330

9 My Friend’s Reply to Me https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/340

10 a My Scriptural Response to My Friend                  https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/342

10 b My Second Response to My Friend: the Impact of “the Fall” on Our Different Views               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/345

11 My Friend’s Scriptural Reply to Me                https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/348

12 My Response to My Friend               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/351

13 My Friend’s Response to Me               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/362

14 My Response to My Friend               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/364

15 Brief, Punctuated Exchange between Rob and My Friend              https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/366

16 My Response to My Friend               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/368

17 My Friend’s Reply to Me               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/370

18 My Response to My Friend               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/372

19 Concluding Response to Georgia               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/374

Discussion of GLBT Issues

1 On Gay Marriage: Love and Do Not Judge               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/488

2 On Compassion and Forgiveness               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/493

3 Compassion, Accountability, and Forgiveness               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/498

4 On Adam Hamilton: Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White                  https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/500

5 On Frank Turk                 https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/502

6 On Implications of a Dualistic World                     https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/505

7 The Gospel Message That I Hear               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/507

His Spirit Is Crying out and Yearning               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/580

Niebuhrs’ Moral Man and Immoral Society               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/587

Foreword to Stories of Sacred Worth               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/596

Coming out and Signs of Hope in Our Lives               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/600

Anonymous 1’s Story       https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/603

Abby’s Story        https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/606

Allen’s Story        https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/611

Liz Bady:: Advocate for Reconciliation               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/614

Rev. Don Marsh: Haven’t We Come a Long Way?!               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/617

Kathy England: A Mother’s Story https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/620

Nan and Peggy’s Story    https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/623

Nameless                           https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/656

 

Love and do not Judge