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@Gary Simmons: How do I pick up my cross for Jesus? Fair question. I have devoted my life to serving the church. I am currently focusing all of my intellectual energy on grad school so that I can become a positive force in the church. I am at church almost every time its doors are open, where I play bass and sing in the choir, and where many times I have read scripture. I love taking the opportunity to do whatever charity work I can, whether it's feeding the homeless and those with lower incomes at church or doing Habitat for Humanity. When people need a ride, I give it. When someone asks for money, I give it. I don't often say no. The fact that I am a man and am dating a man has no bearing on my ability to deny myself what I could be doing and spend my time serving Jesus and the church instead. I know you weren't making accusations, Gary, but just for everyone's and anyone's sake, I want to make it clear that the fact that a Christian is gay does not mean he or she is extra lustful or decadent, indulging in every personal desire. Gays have as much to deny and as much to offer as heteros do. As for the incest thing, I would certainly say that a same-sex incestuous couple is out of the ordinary (if there is such a thing as "ordinary"), but seeing as their offspring would have no genetic defects (because any offspring they have could not have come from them both), I have no problem with it. If you want to serve the church but you love your cousin in a different way than I do mine, then you're still welcome in my book. And, Chariots of Fire 1, yeah, you are confusing sexual orientation and gender identity. The fact that I'm gay says nothing about where on the (mostly culturally constructed) continuum between masculinity and femininity I would place myself. I am gay and cisgendered (which means I claim the gender that corresponds to my biological sex).
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As a gay Christian myself, I feel the need to comment. 1. Why is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah listed as a "text to read" on this issue? Most scholars agree that the sin of those cities was the attempted gang rape of foreigners—the genders of the people involved is simply incidental. 2. As a gay man, you can take my word for it that I made no choice to be this way, just like none of you made the choice to be straight (if that's what you are). I am not "rebelling against God," as Hays would say. Sure, the Bible presents sexual relations between people of the same sex as not optimal, but I cannot fault millennia-old texts for their ignorance regarding modern psychology and biology. In short, the Bible is allowed to have its view(s) of sexual ethics, but with the knowledge we have today, the issue of same-sex love should not be an issue at all. The UCC, the ELCA, and the Episcopal Church here in America are all accepting, and the rest of Christianity will eventually move that way. I just hope Christians see the injustices LGBT people face and move toward full inclusion as soon as possible.
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I usually enjoy your blog posts, but I've heard the etymological argument about αρσενοκοιτης before, and I don't find it more convincing than any other explanation. But that's not why I'm writing. This word (and μαλακος) are usually translated in published versions as some variation of "homosexual." If we take that to be Paul's meaning, how do we as the church respond? Anti-gay theology that vilifies and demonizes LGBT people is far too common today, and verses like this are often used to bolster hurtful and condemning remarks. Fortunately, the mainstream church is moving away from heterosexist theology and slowly embracing its LGBT members, but the church as a whole has a long way to go. My question then is, if "homosexual" (or, probably more accurately, "males having sex with males") is Paul's intended meaning, how do we leave this hurtful viewpoint back in Paul's culture and embrace a more accepting viewpoint in our own culture?
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Jun 24, 2010