Anniversary Follow Up

This amazing theme has developed over the past few months when a particular blog or Facebook post will elicit a fabulous debate amongst my fans, and I’ll sometimes get a particularly stunning message from a fan, and then I have to feature it as a follow-up post.  Yesterday, I got one such message from a fan regarding my 10-year anniversary post on the subject of gay marriage in America.

That has been the single most popular post I’ve ever written…well over 8,000 people have read it, and I’ve received over 200 comments here on my blog and on Facebook about it.  The response has been overwhelmingly heart warming, from BOTH sides of the issue.  But an email I received yesterday really struck me, and I feel like I have to share it:

“I was born in Southern California to a pretty traditional family. We attended a Charismatic Christian church that was usually held on the beach. It was pretty free. Pretty laid back. We moved to Texas in 1976 and when my parents couldn’t find a church that matched what we had in California they started their own along with some new friends.  I loved that church. We usually took off our shoes when we got there so we could dance better. :)~  It was a great up-bringing but it didn’t last for-ever. What does?

There came contention in the church. A fellow parishioner cheated on his wife and the church disbanded him and told the rest of the parish we were to no longer have any thing to do with him. My parents severely disagreed and left the church.
My mother still will not have anything to do with church.

About 6 years ago I converted to Catholicism. I craved a Traditionalism and order that i had never had in my life. Their beliefs are not always lined up with my own but nothing ever will be.

My beliefs on homosexuality began in the Charismatic church. We were given TRACTS. Little pamphlets distributed, I believe, to distance us from the rest of the world. Designed to let us know what we were doing right and the rest of the world was doing wrong. In one in particular, there were homosexuals beating preachers because of their “hate messages and bigotry”. Remember….this was the late 70’s. I remember thinking as a young girl this would NEVER happen. It wasn’t hate. It was following Biblical principles. THEY were the ones being hateful by physically abusing people for OUR beliefs.  This was my mindset at age 7 but still, my parents taught me to respond to ALL people in LOVE.

As you know, the world is not much different than that now. I still see that TRACT in my minds eye and i wonder where the hate comes from.

Lead in to now.

About 12 years ago i married a man a little older than me and definitely set in his ways. He is very narrow minded and very out-spoken about his beliefs.  Over the years my beliefs and my behaviors have slowly matched up with his. Once I became aware of this, I started questioning myself.

What is really right? What does the Church tell me? What do I remember from my teachings as a child? But most importantly, what do I really FEEL is right???

Ben, I was always taught that homosexuality is wrong. An abomination. However, with all this in the news the past few years and all the hate and anger spewing so abundantly, I can’t help but question everything I’ve ever known.

I’ve gone to my priest, I’ve gone to other religious pastors, I’ve gone to my parents and I’ve asked my spouse….but the most important thing….I went to Jesus.
I’ve cried over the turmoil in my mind but the one thing I can’t seem to undermine is that everybody deserves the right to be loved!!! Not just by a spouse but by me!!!

Ben, your writing really put so many things into perspective for me from the very beginning when you said not to listen to any one but ourselves. I can’t tell you the hours I’ve struggled over this issue and after I read what you wrote I really believe my struggle is over.

I will never know for certain what God’s ultimate thoughts are so all I can do is trust the ones He gave me and those thoughts are nothing but LOVE.  It’s been a very, very long time since I’ve been able to put down what the world expects me to think and to feel and I really want to thank you for being the catalyst that helped me land here. In the land of LOVE and peace where God planted me the day I was born.

I still come to Texas at least once a month. My dad, brother and my 2 boys are still there.  I hope to get to meet you very soon. I feel as though you are a brother God finally allowed me to meet. Someone He knew would melt my frozen heart.  I am so thankful I found you on your web page last year and added you as a “friend” on Facebook.

I am now taking away the quotations. You are truly considered a friend.”

That is such powerful stuff, and I can’t express how honored I am for her to have been so vulnerable and raw in her expressions of her struggle.

I do have to share one other comment that really struck me, and it was an oversight for me not to address this issue in my blog.  The issue of judgement.  However, so many pro-gay-marriage people spout that scripture “judge not lest ye be judged” that I didn’t want to play that card.  Still, this fan’s words are probably more appropriate to the issue than ANYTHING I wrote in my blog:

“I am a Christian woman. I study the Bible from the original manuscripts. (I try to follow the Levitical food laws, no pork or “scavengers” which makes it hard to be a foodie.) Without going into passages and in-depth study at this time, I would like to sum up one thing that “mainstream” Christians seem to miss. The Lord said, “Judge not, lest thou be judged.’ Check out St. Matthew 7.

This is not talking about courts and things of a legal nature. This is discussing how we treat our fellow man, and the point is, GOD is the judge. Not some some preacher, or a person who blindly sits in church believing everything some man or woman tells them for years on end, without delving into the Word themselves. (Pew potatoes.) There are people out there calling themselves Christians that give the rest of us a bad name.

If God feels something is wrong, He will deal with it in His time.

God doesn’t like it when people speak for him when they don’t know what they are talking about. People who say, “You’re gay so you’re going to hell” are putting themselves in a position of judgement. With God being the ultimate judge, how do you think He feels about this? He doesn’t like it! God knows what is in people’s hearts. Love is love, and we are supposed to love each other.

Regardless of how someone feels about a subject, they have no right to speak on God’s behalf.

As I mentioned in the previous blog, the verses most often used by those who condemn gay marriage are from the Old Testament, which, though it makes up the majority of the Bible, is studied delicately by the modern church because it advocates slavery, genocide, polygamy, etc.  But the strongest reference to homosexuality in the New Testament is from Paul in the first chapter of the book of Romans: “Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”

This verse is the biggest sword used against gay marriage, yet reading the ENTIRE chapter proves the folly of trying to pull single verses from the Bible and use them out of context.  For the chapter ends thusly:  “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself…”

Paul’s reference to homosexuality wasn’t intended to be taken as a criticism of homosexuality.  He was describing one of several sets of people that the modern church was casting judgement upon.  The entire chapter is a lesson from Paul about judgement…not about homosexuality.  Yet a single verse pulled out of context from that chapter is used to judge and condemn homosexuals.  Ironic?

Ultimately, if you are a Christian, Christ’s message to you is to love your neighbor, love yourself, and love your God.  Leave the judgement of yourself and your neighbor to God.

Again…please share this post and comment below.  The conversation isn’t over!

37 Responses to Anniversary Follow Up

  1. Both of those letters gave me goosebumps. I can’t imagine how you reacted reading them. My faith is strong, but I am not & have never been a fan of the “middleman”. It might have actually started with my love of literature, but I always got frustrated with narrow-minded teachers telling us what to think in school. By the time I’d reached college, my debating skills were so strong that my Canadian Lit. prof pretty much threw up his hands & went to me first before he even delved into what he thought!

    Same goes for the bible!

    It’s pretty universally agreed that Biblical events occurred hundreds of years before these stories were actually committed to paper. And when they were finally written, it was by many different individuals. (Hence the names of the books) And it was written in a virtually defunct language – Aramaic. From there it’d likely be translated to Greek, then Latin, then English, although who knows if it went through other incarnations before it became the King James version most of us agree upon today?

    Wanna try something fun? Lets take 3 lines of Chaucer, written in Middle English about 800 years ago & translate it. I tried languages more common today – from original Middle English to Spanish, Japanese, French, Dutch, Russian & back to English.

    Canterbury Tales – from The Prioress

    “His felawe, which that elder was than he, Answerde hym thus, “This song, I have herd seye,
    Was maked of oure blisful Lady free,”

    Actual English translation should be –
    “His fellow was an older lad than he, And answered thus: This song, as I’ve heard say
    Was made to praise Our Blessed Lady free,”

    But the translation through the 6 languages above (much like hundreds of years of re-translating the Bible) turns it into a big game of ‘telephone’ –
    “Her partner, the old — a child, And answered: the song, I had the privilege
    women freedom is admire and as I listen,”

    So is The Word really the word? How can a sane person follow the letter of the bible when you might just be following a cleaned up version of the translated nonsense above run through someone’s personal “oh, this must be what he meant” filter?”

    Personally I’ve never understood it. So I tend to live my life prepared to be judged by one single & ultimate Judge. I’ve made a kazillion mistakes, but I’m pretty sure I’m fine with sitting down to discuss my long game. I try to do more good than bad. I try to give back. I try to be sincere. And I genuinely try not to judge. I hope those that lived their life “by the book” are as confident in that conversation as I am.

  2. Ben, you’re one of the people that make me want to believe again in a God that cares. I gave up on faith in religion a long time because I’ve had bad times in the church my family went to and I’m quite tired of super conservative ideas that stem from ages old beliefs. Those that advocate these beliefs somehow have a powerful presence in my mind and I’ve constantly pushed further and further away from people in general. More than losing faith in a god, I’ve been losing my faith in people.. But you have helped me see, so many times, that there are good people in this world and it’s really uplifting just to know someone like you exists.
    I started watching Masterchef as a distraction to fill my time, but I’m so glad I did because otherwise I don’t know how I would have seen and been exposed to your presence 🙂
    I’m young, but society makes me feel like I should have accomplished so much more; I simply haven’t and I feel pretty useless a lot, but reading your blogs and reading the great comments that your fans leave make me want to be a more ambitious person. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much.

    • Miki, this is an incredible response, thank you much for sharing.

      You touched on a VERY sensitive topic at the end when you said, “society makes me feel like I should have accomplished so much more.” I struggled with this in my youth. My family and those around me expected SO MUCH of me, and I constantly felt like I was letting everyone down by not rising to their expectations. Eventually (while wandering in the desert in Egypt) I came to a realization that changed my life:

      YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIVE UP TO ANYONE’S EXPECTATIONS BUT YOUR OWN.

      And your own shouldn’t be influenced by anyone else. Period.

      Live your life on your own terms. Don’t give a second thought to what our society says you have to have in order to be “successful.” The only definition of success is this: personal happiness. You don’t need to drive a $100k car. You don’t have to wear the latest fashion. You don’t have to have a McMansion in a master-planned neighborhood and your kids don’t have to go to the “best” school or university. You don’t have to get promoted to the top of your company. You don’t have to belong to the country club. Anyone who tells you otherwise is secretly a miserable person trying to compensate for their own sense of unfulfillment.

      You search your soul to discover what makes you happy. And then you do that. Even if you end up making minimum wage for the rest of your life, never getting a “title” or “recognition.” If you are happy, you will be a beautiful soul that people will be drawn to. Your beauty will change other people’s lives and be infectious. Don’t EVER give credence to someone who criticizes you for not “fulfilling your potential” or “not being ambitious enough.” I am fed up with our country’s obsession with wealth and success. NEITHER of these things will bring you an ounce of happiness.

      What brings you happiness is doing things for yourself that make YOU happy, and doing things for others that make THEM happy. Period.

      🙂

  3. I try incredibly hard not to judge others by their appearances or their sexual orientations, in this case. But, I thought it might be interesting to bring up a point my Nana made one day during lunch. She is, quite frankly, racist, age-ist, intolerant, and in my opinion ignorant because of her inability to accept any one else’s opinions (don’t get me wrong, I love my Nana, but she can be frustrating *sigh*). At this particular meal we somehow got onto the topic of gay marriage and after Nana endured about two and a half minutes of my sister’s and my pro-gay outlooks she quite literally burst into tears. She proceeded to explain to us about how scared she was that we were going to go to hell, and how she was scared that if she accepted homosexuals and their sexuality, she would go to hell, too! Now, I have a hard time even considering this opinion since the churches that I grew up in consistantly preached that Jesus died for our sins, and as long as we accept him into our heart as our saviour, we’re guaranteed a spot at the table of God in Heaven. However, this is was not the upbringing my Nana recieved. She grew up in the fire and brimstone everything-you-do-will-be-judged-and-God’s-wrath-will-be-unleashed-upon-your-wretched-soul churches of the 1930’s and 40’s, so while I don’t think her fears are rational, I can totally understand and accept them!

    I think the train runs both ways. We need to understand everyone’s perspectives if we are going to make any kind of an educated opinion on the matter, but most importantly, we need to LOVE everyone, even if we don’t agree with some people or think that they’re offensive or ignorant or whatever.

  4. Ben, I commend you on living a life of love and peace. We should all strive to live such a life. I am glad for the joy you have found in the loved one you share your life with, and I sincerely wish you continued happiness and joy, even if I don’t agree with your lifestyle choices. Even so, you would still have a place at my table, an open invitation into my house and my church. Even though many same-sex marriage supporters would have people believe that anyone who opposes same-sex marriage is an angry hater of gays and lesbians, that is simply not true. I have absolutely no anger, resentment or ill-will towards gays and lesbians. I have many friends and family members who are gay and I adore them dearly as they have shown me nothing but love.
    What I do take issue with in your blog, is in your attempt to use Jesus, and “your view” of Jesus, to convince Christians and people in general that they should accept same-sex marriage, as Jesus would have done, according to “your view” of Jesus. You are not the only one who has attempted to do this, but I figured Christians and non-Christians deserve to know that your biblical argument is flawed and incorrect. If you are a Christian Ben, and I believe you claimed to be, then you are part of a group of Christians I call “Selective Christians”. These are Christians that take it upon themselves to pick and choose which parts of the bible and which of Jesus’ teachings they want to believe and/or follow. Selective Christians do this so that they may justify some of their life choices and actions, which would otherwise be contrary to the ways and teachings of Jesus and to the laws of our God. A true Christian believes that the entire bible is the word of God, the breath of God, and he/she strives to understand its meaning with the help of the Holy Ghost. He/she does not throw parts of the bible out because it is convenient to ignore, or because it makes it easier to justify their lifestyle or life choices.

    My counter argument below is not meant to convince you or anyone else whether this country should allow same-sex marriage or not. It is not meant to address whether being gay or lesbian is right or wrong, whether it is a choice or genetics. My argument is simply meant to establish that there is NO biblical argument that can be made that will ever justify that the word marriage is for anything else other than the union between a man and a woman. My argument is meant to speak for all of those Christians, who rightfully and faithfully believe in the teachings of the bible as it relates to marriage, and because of their FAITH, refuse to be persuaded to change their belief about the definition of marriage. My argument is meant to empower those Christians to continue to believe and have faith, because the bible, the foundation of their life, is absolutely clear on what marriage is, and what it is not.

    So let’s examine Ben Starr’s flawed argument:

    Ben States: “Perhaps the most common argument against gay marriage is that marriage is a religious institution. More than 3/4ths of Americans identify themselves as Christian, whether they are affiliated with a church or not. Yet we permit Muslims, Buddhists, and even atheists to marry, provided they are of opposite genders.”

    Marriage is a religious institution in the sense that God made a woman from a man and for a man, as stated in Genesis 2:22-24 “Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Ben tries to argue “how can marriage be a religious institution if we allow Muslims, Buddhists and even atheists to marry, provided they are of the opposite genders.” Well, I invite you to find a place in the bible that says that marriage is only for Christians, or only for people who believe in God for that matter. As a matter of fact, read Corinthians 7:1-16 “If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband.” Clearly the bible tells us that even marriage between believers and unbelievers is allowed. Guess what the bible also tells us in EVERY single passage that refers to marriage: That marriage is between a MAN and a WOMAN. It tells us this without ANY ambiguity. Here are a few bible verses you can go read that talk about marriage. You will see that they ALL refer to the union, marriage, as being between a MAN and a WOMAN.

    Genesis 2:22-24, Proverbs 5:18-19, Proverbs 12:4, Proverbs 18:22, Proverbs 19:14, Proverbs 20:6-7, Proverbs 30:18-19, Proverbs 31:10, Deuteronomy 24:5, Matthew 19:4-6, Corinthians 7:1-16, Ephesians 5:22-23, Colossians 3:18-19, Hebrews 13:4-7, Mark 10:6-9

    Ben States: “And while the current translation of the Bible may, indeed, condemn homosexuality, ANY legitimate Biblical scholar will tell you they are quite dubious about how accurately those passages are translated.”

    This one is just WISHFUL thinking. Yes there are some words that might have been translated with slightly different content, but please find me “ANY legitimate Biblical scholar” that has made an argument that the word ABOMINATION, as translated in Leviticus 18:22, has ANY other meaning other than to CLEARLY declare that (for a man) to lie with another man as they would with a woman is an aberration of the natural law, ergo, an abomination. I think we can all agree that this translation is quite clear.

    Ben then tries to argue that we should let go of our belief that homosexuality is wrong and sinful, since it is only that very old antiquated book, called the Old Testament, which condemns homosexuality and not the New Testament, and certainly not Jesus. Thus, because Jesus never addressed homosexuality directly, it has to be ok to be a homosexual, and thus to enter into a same-sex marriage. Ben States: “Regardless, the majority of what the Bible has to say about gay people is from the Old Testament. The New Testament has far fewer references to gay people, and Jesus never spoke a word about it.”

    Perhaps Ben neglected to read the words of Jesus himself as memorialized in Matthew 19:4-6, when Jesus replies to the Pharisees “”Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Here we clearly see a few incredibly important scriptural truths. One, Jesus invokes word for word the scripture from Genesis, yes a book from the Old Testament. Jesus uses this scripture, to use Ben’s own words, to wield it as a dagger in favor of his cause. Jesus had every intention to wield this passage to make it clear to the Pharisees that what has been written is, even in the Old Testament, the word of God. Since Ben is so big in trying to point out that if Jesus didn’t specifically mention homosexuality, that itself is clear evidence that he accepts it, it is worth noting that Jesus NEVER mentioned that marriage is between two men or two women, or anyone other than a man and a woman. When Jesus does address marriage; he clearly ratifies earlier scripture by re-stating that marriage is between a man and a woman. Ben tries to argue that the Old Testament is just that, Old, but here you see that Jesus himself validates the Old Testament scripture as the word of God, the law of God. And though it is true, and Ben is correct, that Jesus came to the world to break with the old covenant and make a new covenant, this refers to some of the old traditions of making offerings (sacrifices) to God, in order to receive forgiveness for the sins committed. Because God gave us his one and only begotten son, the old ways of receiving forgiveness were no longer needed. Jesus blood was the new and ultimate sacrifice made by God himself, for us, to forgive all our sins, if we believe in His Son, Jesus. This, by NO means, changes what God considers to be Sin. Jesus came to show us to LOVE everyone, even the sinners. Jesus loved the sinners, but Jesus always hated the Sin.

    Ben states: “Jesus spent his time with the outcasts of society. He dined with prostitutes and placed his hands on people afflicted with leprosy. He preached inclusion and love.

    Again I say to you, Jesus loved everyone. Jesus loved even the sinners, but he hated the sin. Jesus believed that those who were sinners, were the ones that needed to be showed even more love, but it was always so that THROUGH love and mercy, the sinner would see themselves and renounce their sin. In Matthew 9:10-12 Jesus goes to Matthew’s house, a tax collector, and there he does sit and have dinner with other tax collectors and “sinners.” Ben would have you believe that this kind of act clearly shows that Jesus wants to simply love everyone and wants us to do the same in turn. Or does he? Let’s read further into that passage and see why Jesus’ sought out these sinners. After being questioned by the Pharisees as to why Jesus would dine with sinners, Jesus replies: “Those who are well have no need for a physician, but those who are SICK. I came NOT to call the righteous, but sinners. Jesus wanted to show love to the sinners so that they would repent, and see the light, and leave their sin behind.

    Here is another example. John 8:1-11. People bring an adulterer to Jesus and asked him if they should not follow the law of Moses and stone her to death. To this Jesus replies “If any of you be without sin, let him cast the first stone.” Everyone leaves and Jesus tells the sinner woman, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She answers no and Jesus says “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and LEAVE your life of SIN.” A few things that are key about this passage. One; it does illustrate that Jesus came to show us a new approach to deal with sinners, through love, compassion and embrace, and not through judgment, just as Ben states. But note that by no means does loving sinners mean that Jesus accepts their sin (nor does he want Christians to either). Jesus himself clearly tells the woman, “Go and leave your life of sin.” Jesus wanted that woman (and everyone) to understand that he was showing her mercy and compassion, in spite of her sins, in hopes that after seeing that mercy, she would walk away from her life of sin.

    Again on Luke 7:36-50, Jesus forgives a prostitute who, with much love for Jesus, washed his feet with tears and perfume and dried his feet with her hair. Jesus tells Simon a parable, essentially telling him, who would love their master more, a person who was forgiven a huge debt or one who was forgiven a small debt. Jesus used this parable to illustrate that he was seeking to forgive those with the greatest sins, for by showing them great mercy and forgiveness, they would see his love and love him in return, and repent for their sins. Jesus told the prostitute “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” These passages show that Jesus’ purpose and intention is to forgive sin, but forgiveness requires repentance (turning away from sin) and faith (obedience).

    Ben then addresses the Chick-Fil-A controversy and states “I am infinitely more fascinated by the Christians who have risen up in support of Chick-Fil-A over this issue, and who went out to support them by buying chicken sandwiches and marching in front of stores. Is that what Jesus would have done? Picked up a sign and marched in support of exclusion and separation?”

    First let me say how hypocritical Ben is that he didn’t address the group of people that went to Chick-Fil-A to boycott them, to protest them, to show their public displays of affection as a way to try to rebel against the company. Oh it’s ok for one side of an issue to voice their opinion publicly, but not for the other side to voice theirs? Why? Because they are Christian’s and should take the higher road? I don’t have time to illustrate to you the numerous amounts of times in the bible where God commanded his followers to take, even arms, against sinners and governments who would push immorality on his chosen people. But to give you one example of Jesus himself standing up to what is right, please read Matthew 21:12 “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and OVERTHREW THE TABLES of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves.” Ben, stop trying to convince people of your version of Jesus. Jesus loved sinners, but hated the sin. Jesus would show love and mercy to every homosexual, but would in a second tell them, Go and SIN NO MORE!

    I have absolutely no hatred towards homosexuals. I have, as you mention, many gay friends and even family members, and I have been as sweet and loving to them as I am to any other friend and family member. I would never close the doors of my house or my hospitality to anyone because they are gay. On the contrary, I do try to live by what Jesus really came to teach us…. Love Everyone and love those who sin greatly even more, because it is them who are the sick and need our love and compassion the most, in hopes that they see Jesus’ love through us, and come to love the Lord and REPENT, and TURN AWAY from sin, and be obedient to his word and his moral laws. As you can see, not once in my entire argument did I show anger towards homosexuals, or hatred or intolerance? I simply used the Word of God to illustrate to you that your views of the Bible, the Old Testament and of Jesus are incorrect, and that your attempt to try to convince Christians to give up the fight against same-sex marriage because that is what “your inclusion Jesus” would have wanted, is simply fundamentally flawed, wrong and untrue. True Christians can see through these flawed biblical arguments made by proponents of same-sex marriage, because we actually try to live by the Word of God and truly try to learn what the bible is meant to teach us. My Pastor says it almost every Sunday, “love thy neighbor, love everyone, but especially love those who sin and sin greatly. Open the doors for this church and let them know THEY ARE WELCOMED, for this is akin to a hospital and they are the ones that need it the most.” That is what Jesus meant to teach us. Love one another, open your doors to sinners and show them the love and mercy of God so that they too may come to know and love the Lord and follow His teachings, His laws and his ways.

    • Thanks for your very detailed reply. Unfortunately, I’m in the desert at the moment about to journey 2000 miles home, so I don’t have the time to address every one of your points. But I wanted to approve your comment because you had posted a terse comment earlier about me deleting you, which is incorrect…all comments have to be approved, and I haven’t had internet for 12 days.

      The first thing I have to address is the word “abomination.” Any Biblical scholar will tell you that the English translation of this word carries far more weight than the original Hebrew term…the same word is used throughout the Bible for a variety of innocuous things, including the existence of insects and birds of prey and shellfish (Lev 11). In the time in which the Old Testament was written, this “abomination” related more to something that was taboo for a certain tribe. It didn’t carry the kind of weight that we associate with the English word “abomination.”

      I have not ever claimed that I am a Christian. My spirituality is a VERY private matter, I do not discuss it with ANYONE. I am open to my fan base about the fact that I was raised in a Christian family and was educated at a Christian university, therefore I feel that I can adequately discuss the issue of homosexuality and Christianity.

      I STRONGLY caution Christians who “selectively” wield scriptures as you do in this response. You say that it’s un-Christian for Christians to selectively ignore parts of the Bible…yet ALL Christians do, including yourself. If we all followed strict Levitical law, we would be permitted to stone our children and our wives to death for disobedient behavior…we would be permitted to keep slaves…we would be unclean if we embraced menstruating friends. Women would not be permitted to speak aloud in church.

      The Bible is an antiquated document that, while it may have roots in the word of God, exists in a man-created medium: language. Even the Bible itself was assembled by the atheist emperor, Constantine, who selectively chose books and pointed translations in such a way as to give himself maximum control over the church and his own empire. To claim that man has not dramatically influenced this written word of God is foolish and completely inaccurate.

      Therefore, it is INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS to draw verse-specific lessons, and even more dangerous to draw verse-specific attacks. A responsible Christian uses exegesis to understand the Bible’s message. He attempts to understand the historical context of Biblical events and lessons. He attempts to understand the greater meaning of the Bible as a whole, and the message of Christ to his people. Which was…love everyone, love your God, love yourself.

      By writing messages like this, you do more harm than you realize. You alienate. You drive people AWAY from Christ. Away from the church. Perhaps you are saving your own soul, but you aren’t doing much to save others. Love, inclusion, tolerance, acceptance are the tools a successful Christian uses to spread the word of Christ. Jesus lived in a very different time than we did. Yet he was effective. If you wish to be an effective tool for evangelism, you must, like Jesus, spread the Word in a way that is effective in the time in which you live.

      The “best” Christians I know are those who emulate the life of Jesus. They love everyone. They don’t criticize. They don’t judge. They simply try to life their life the way Christ would have. And their life is the example. The lesson. Not Bible verses they throw like daggers.

      If you want to spread the love and joy of Christ, you can’t throw the Bible at people who don’t give it any credence in the first place. Live your life as a shining example, and everyone around you will wonder why you are so happy and fulfilled. They will ask questions. They will be impacted.

      But the Bible is YOUR tool to understand how God wants YOU to live YOUR life. Not a tool for you to use to point out why others are not living upright lives. The Bible will NEVER be an effective tool toward non-Christians, because they don’t believe it any more than they believe it is any more true than Cinderella or Moby Dick.

      God is the judge. You are his child. The child of the judge is never in a position to judge. To condemn.

      I believe the Christian’s job is to love and accept everyone. Never to chastise or attack, and most certainly never ever ever EVER to pass judgement. Never to alienate.

      You must live your Christian life according to your own terms, of course, but if you’d like to take people to heaven with you, your tactics may need a bit of adjustment, because they turn people away from Christ instead of toward him.

      Using the Bible, verse by verse, to judge others is very, very, very much against the teachings of Christ.

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