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!