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Jarred
Rochester, NY
I'm a software engineer who lives with his cat.
Interests: dance, linux, tarot, computers, mythology, witchcraft, c/c++, runes
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Oh, and one last thing, I think referring to Warren's behavior as mere "reservations" is stretching things. Interrupting someone you've asked to talk is just plain rude. Inviting someone on a "get to know you" lunch solely for the purpose of ambushing them with a moral lecture is dishonest. Asking for someone's opinion solely for the purpose of arguing with that opinion is both dishonest and rude. And again, I have to wonder at the notion that Christians who believe same-sex sexual activity cannot (or will not) sit and listen openly to a gay man share a story of how a fellow Christian engaged in dishonesty and rudeness toward him. I sincerely have a bigger issue with that than I have with their belief that my sex life is immoral. Infinitely bigger.
Toggle Commented May 9, 2013 on Gay Sex for Evangelicals at Curious Christian
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So let's look at the consequences of you as a privileged person determining the best way to dismantle privilege/solve the church's LGBT issues. 1. Because you had to abandon the morality question with Hindu families altogether, you've likely pressed your congregation to listen to Hindu families as best as they can, even if it means having some reservations in the listening process. But yet because you're holding out hope that you can find a way to see same sex sexual activity as moral and convince your congregants the same, you're engaging in that debate instead of pushing them to listen to LGBT people as best as they can right now. This is called making the perfect an obstacle to the good. Because seriously, your congregation is now showing more respect to a group that even you agree is engaging in something sinful than one you're hoping may be found to not be engaging in something sinful. That strikes me as pretty messed up. 2. Also, while you and your congregation are busy having this debate that you think is important to have before you push them to get on with the listening, you've effectively disappears those LGBT people who have chosen to remain celibate for life. So you're not even listening to people that your congregation already doesn't consider sinful. (I'm assuming your congregants believing same sex sexual activity is sinful rather than believing that even being attracted to members of the same sex without actually doing anything about it is also sinful.) 3. You're also refusing to give me, an actual gay what I've asked for all along (for your congregants to listen to me) because you've already decided what I deserve (for your congregants to listen to me in the way that you think they should listen to me). I'm not asking for what you think I deserve. I'm perfectly willing to have them listen with reservations, as long as they're actually listening and not just "listening to find their next argument." Your insistence on waiting until you can give me what you think I deserve rather than simply giving me what I've asked for and said I can live with right now? That's paternalistic. That's privilege. That's a host of other things, all of them problematic. 4. Oh, and the underlying idea that you should be the one determining what I deserve rather than letting me determine that? I find that problematic in its own right. 5. Oh plus there's the fact -- and I admit that this is a new addition on my part to this conversation -- that in focusing on the question of whether same-sex sexual activity is sinful, you've effectively reduced my entire complex, multi-faceted life and sexuality (because there's more to sexuality and romantic relationships than having naked fun times, yes?) to sex. I'm always amazed and dismayed by the fact that evangelical Christians often seem to spend more time obsessing over my sex life than I spend even thinking about it myself. And we won't even go into how much more time they pend obsessing over it than I spend actually having sex! ;)
Toggle Commented May 9, 2013 on Gay Sex for Evangelicals at Curious Christian
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When I say that I think this should be an in-house Evangelical discussion, The problem with "in-house discussions" about the lives of LGBT people and other marginalized people include: 1. The fact that such "discussion" often turn into little more than a change for the in-crowd to re-affirm their superiority -- be it moral or other. 2. Thinking privileged people can -- let alone should -- try to "solve the problem of marginalization" without the participation of those being marginalized is called "white knighting" and does not work because it continues to feed into the notion that the privileged people are somehow better able to do this because they are somehow better, which is one of the cornerstones of privilege. I suspect you will either not understand this, not see how you are engaging in this, or insist it will work despite mountains of evidence to the contrary provided by just about every effort to redress the problems of just about any marginalized or oppressed group you name. (As an aside, the most effective methods have usually involved privilege people giving up their privilege and following the lead of marginalized people who are already fighting for their own justice.) So I will not try to convince you, but will merely state that fact and let you do with it what you will.
Toggle Commented May 9, 2013 on Gay Sex for Evangelicals at Curious Christian
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Let's try a thought experiment: Imagine you have several Hindu families in your neighborhood. (From what I gather from Matt -- and assuming you live in the same part of Australia as him -- this might not require any imagination.) You find your congregation knows absolutely nothing about Hinduism. In fact, you find out they have a lot of misconceptions about Hinduism. It's affecting how some members of your congregation are treating these Hindu families in the neighborhood, and it's not pretty. After all, you know you all have to live together. But by and large, your congregation believes that those families are following a false religion, which they have a moral problem with. So they refuse to engage with the Hindu families or even listen to their experiences of living in the community, which on a whole tends treat those families poorly. If you handled that situation the way you're handling the situation with LGBT people, you'd have to present religious arguments that Hinduism is a false religion and that those who worship Hindu gods are not immoral. Until you did, they would not be willing to sit down and listen to the Hindu families that they are mistreating. I'm guessing that you aren't ready to argue that Hinduism is on part with Christianity or that it's okay for people to worship Hindu gods. So again, if you limited the way you handled that scenario the same way you're handling the LGBT issues, I guess the Hindu families would go on being mistreated and your congregation would go on refusing to listen to those families' grievances. I'm guessing that's not the approach you'd take in that situation, however.
Toggle Commented May 9, 2013 on Gay Sex for Evangelicals at Curious Christian
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Quite frankly, I'd much rather someone listen to me -- even "with reservation" -- rather than ignore me or shut me out.
Toggle Commented May 9, 2013 on Gay Sex for Evangelicals at Curious Christian
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We have the problem and as far as I can see, we have to fix it. Agreed. I merely take exception to your apparent belief that you think the way to fix this is to argue over whether same-sex sexual activity is a sin rather than saying, "Hey, it doesn't matter. We shouldn't be dicks to people. Not even people we think might be sinning. And we should certainly be able to listen (not approve, not agree with, just listen) to someone without first deciding whether we agree with them." Because by insisting on answering the morality question rather than saying, "listen already," you're implicitly saying it's okay to refuse to listen to and continue to mistreat people they think are (or might be) sinning.
Toggle Commented May 9, 2013 on Gay Sex for Evangelicals at Curious Christian
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I also hope it's not lost on anyone that the story I chose to share involved multiple people who were so focused on declaring their "moral position" to Justin that they talked over him, ignored what he actually said, and made all kinds of assumptions about him as a person.
Toggle Commented May 8, 2013 on Gay Sex for Evangelicals at Curious Christian
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With a rational and compassionate resolution, which can be laid down at the start as a basis for discussion, not only does the listening becomes safe, but it can be heard without reservation. In Justin Lee's book he describes an experience he had when he first joined his campus's Christian organization, only to discover they had invited a speaker from an ex-gay ministry to come and discuss homosexuality at one of their meetings. Justin describes an online conversation with the speaker prior to the event. I'd say the conversation is a trainwreck and would encourage you to read it (and Justin's whole book) if you have the time to do so and the means to get your hands on the copy of the book. Unsatisfied with the outcome of that conversation, he decides to take his concerns to the leaders of the group: I spotted Claire with a free moment, so I approached her. "Hi Clair!" I said, my hand outstretched. "I'm Justin Lee. I'm new, but I'm really excited to be involved." "Nice to meet you Justin," she said with a smile. "Can we talk?" I asked. "Sure," she said. I glanced around at all the poep.e. "Maybe someplace a little more private?" I ventured. "Of course. How about over here?" She motioned to me, and we stepped into a quieter adjoining room. I wasn't sure how to start. "Um, so I was looking at the schedule for this year--" "Uh-huh..." "And In noticed that there's an event coming up about homosexuality, with a speaker from out of town." "Right." I realized I was sweating. "Well, I guess I should explain. I'm a committed Christian but I'm also gay." Her brow furrowed at this, but I kept talking. "I'm celibate, but I'm attracted to the same sex. I didn't choose to be. I don't know why I am. But it's true." She fidgeted uncomfortably but didn't say anything. I continued. "Anyway, I looked up this guy who is supposed to come speak, and I"m concerned about some of the things he says. He seems to believe that just being tempted like I am makes you a sinner, and I"m not sure that's the message you really want to send....Is it?" She was frowning now. She took a deep breath before responding. "You would have to talk to Mandy about that," she said flatly. "She's the one who recommended him." "Mandy?" I asked. Claire explained that Mandy was another leader in the group and a personal friend of Derek's. As she told me how to get in touch with Mandy I became aware that her manner had changed noticeably. She was frowning at me with her arms folded i front of her. Her voice had become a low monotone. Suddenly it seemed that she had a very pressing need to be somewhere else. I contacted Mandy after the meeting. but she was out of town. She promised to meet with me at some point before the speaker came. *** After Claire's somewhat icy response to my question, I was nervous about going back to CCF next week, but something pushed me to do it anyway. it seemed divinely inspired when Warren, Claire's husband and co-leader of CCF, made his way over to me during the meeting and invited me to have lunch with him the next day. "I'd love a chance to sit down and chat with you," he said. "It would be great to just get to know you and talk a little over lunch." And so the next day there we were, sitting in a quiet section of one of the campus dining rooms. As I ate, he peppered me with questions. "How's life?" "How are your classes going?" "What else is new?" It was nice to have leader of the Campus Christian Fellowship take an interest in me. I was sure his wife had told him that I was gay, so that made this the first time a Christian leader, knowing I was gay, had taken an interest in me for me and not as a pretense for preaching at me about y sexuality. It felt good. The, without warning, Warren pulled otu a big, thick Bible and dropped it on the table with a thud. "Justin," he said, his tone suddenly serious, "I'd like to hear your thoughts on some Bible passages." Ah. So this was it. He had opened the Bible and was thumbing through the pages. "Here, he said, turning the Bible so I could see it. "Leviticus 18:22 says, 'Do not lie with a man as with a woman.' How do you respond to a passage like that?" I didn't even need to look. By now I knew the passage by heart. "I'm not lying with anybody," I tried to explain. "When I say I'm gay, that's not a statement on my sexual behaviors; it's just being honest about what I feel. And besides--" But he wasn't listening; he was already thumbing to the next page he had marked. "First Corinthians 6:9," he said, interrupting. "It says homosexuals won't inherit the kingdom of God." "It says homosexual offenders,'" I pointed out. "Whoever they were, they were at least doing something. I'm not doing anything." [Jarred's note: Justin took a "Side B" approach in response to his feelings at this time in his life, though that terminology had not been established at the time.] He didn't acknowledge the comment. "When God created humanity, he created Adam and Eve.," he said, his voice growing in intensity. "The Bible says a man will leave his parents and cleave unto his wife. It doesn't say anything about homosexual partners. It's clear God designed men and women for each other. Men and men aren't designed to fit together the same way." So much for Warren wanting to know my opinions. None of this was about me at all. It was about Warren preaching against the sin of homosexuality. By the end of lunch, I knew exactly where he stood. He still didn't know the firs thing about me. Justin's conversation with Mandy wasn't much (if any) better. I'd post his conversations with both her and Derek, but I really think I already pushed the Fair Use clause far enough when I quoted his conversation with Warren. Now here's my thing. This is a story that various heterosexual evangelical Christians feel they need to resolve the moral question before they can listen to it "without reservation"????? I find that...problematic. And that's an understatement.
Toggle Commented May 8, 2013 on Gay Sex for Evangelicals at Curious Christian
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I cannot stress this enough, but I don't think it's being heard, so I'm going to say it one last time and then bow out of this thread: The insistence by heterosexual Christians that they must first answer whether LGBT lives and relationships are moral before they engage in acts of love toward and relationship with LGBT people is an aggressive act of power against and privileging heterosexual Christians over LGBT Christians. As long as heterosexual Christians insist on reserving that power and privilege for themselves, they are actively causing harm toward LGBT people. I call this sin and would ask that all evangelical Christians who believe that harming LGBT people and exercising power over them to be sinful to call all who engage in this particular act of aggression and pride to repentance.
Toggle Commented May 7, 2013 on Gay Sex for Evangelicals at Curious Christian
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It's partly due to this experience that I'm persuaded that, for most Evangelicals, this won't occur until the specifically Evangelical issues which prevent it are resolved. Of course it won't. Because most evangelicals don't want to give up the power involved in being the moral authority in my life. However, I'd like to call the desire to keep that moral power over my life sin. I'd also like to point out that by agreeing to help them answer those questions, you are enabling them to remain in that sin rather than calling it out and challenging them for it. The Bible says to love your neighbor. It doesn't say anything about getting around to loving your neighbor after you figure out if their life choices are okay. The latter is exactly what evangelical Christians are doing to their LGBT neighbors. I would ask again that you quit enabling that behavior by playing their game and instead remind them of what their Christian duty actually involves regarding LGBT people.
Toggle Commented May 7, 2013 on Gay Sex for Evangelicals at Curious Christian
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"You’re not the target audience." Let's take a closer look at that one statement. So, Nigel is admitting that he's engaging in a conversation about LGBT people, LGBT lives, and LGBT relationships, and expects that conversation to take place "away from" LGBT people -- or at least some LGBT people. He apparently thinks that this is not only something he can do, but should do. So yet, let the heterosexual people return to their conclaves and have Very Important Discussions About Other People And Their Lives while excluding those very Other people from the conversation. Does anyone other than me see just how condescending, paternalistic, and othering it is to be told that while a conversation was about me, it's not for me? Things like this are exactly why I think heterosexuals -- and especially heterosexual evangelical Christians -- need to quit distracting themselves with questions about the morality of same-sex sexual activity and refocus on their problematic -- and often subtle -- attitudes toward and treatment of LGBT people. Their questions about the morality of my sexual choices is distracting them from doing the hard work of self-examination and change they need to take on themselves.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2013 on Gay Sex for Evangelicals at Curious Christian
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Nigel: I feel you have either missed or chosen to completely ignore the greater thrust of my criticisms. So let me blunt: Heterosexual men (and heterosexual women, though they don't seem to saturate or dominate the conversation nearly as much as their male counterparts) need to quit taking it upon themselves to lead the way in addressing this issue. By and large, they need to realize they've talked enough, shut up and actually start listening to the people this conversation is about. Even when LGBT people aren't the target audience. When the target audience is other heterosexual people, they need to say, "Hey, shut up and listen to the LGBT people." Full stop. Heterosexual men need to quit taking it upon themselves to figure out the big moral questions about LGBT lives and relationships, because those big questions don't affect them like they do actual LGBT people. When it comes to the question of LGBT people and their relationships, the real questions heterosexual men should be asking is "What can we do to do to love and support LGBT people, both individually and collectively? What can we do to rectify the large and small injustices that we and others like us have caused LGBT people to suffer, either directly or as a result of the societal systems we have built and reinforced?" My commentary is not just about your paper, but about a system of privilege -- which your paper both benefits from and helps to reinforce -- that says that heterosexual people -- especially heterosexual men -- are the important voices in determining how LGBT people should live their lives. I find it all highly paternalistic and it tends to bring the phrase "straight man's burden" to mind. In fact, I'd argue that your response to me pretty much demonstrates my point: To you, this isn't so much about LGBT people but your thoughts on LGBT people. I find it highly questionable that you'd choose to center yourself like that in a conversation about others.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2013 on Gay Sex for Evangelicals at Curious Christian
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Hi Matt. I got your note on Facebook. I've skimmed (read about 75%) Chapman's paper. I've decided to share my thoughts on my own blog: http://musings.northerngrove.com/archives/2013/05/a-heterosexual-evangelical-christian-writes-about-lgbt-matters-and-a-friend-foolishly-asks-for-my-th.html
Toggle Commented May 5, 2013 on Gay Sex for Evangelicals at Curious Christian
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Not sure how I missed this post.... The short answer to the titular question is "no." Unfortunately, the phrase "the gospel offends some" has been used way too often to excuse unnecessary and inappropriate (in my opinion, at least) offensiveness and mean-spiritedness.
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I didn't realize that a textile could have such strong opinions about a religious figure.... My apologies Matt. I suspect you'll be deleting "satin's" comment, given the site zir name links to. But my own comment was too good to pass up.
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Thanks, Matt.
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Which parable is this? I don't recognize the title. The closest one I can think of is the Parable of the Rich man and Lazarus, which I don't think is what is being referenced here.
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Like Mmy, I'm happy I can pay taxes. I think the CEO of one of my former employers put it well one time when he said, "The key to making a lot of money isn't to pay as little in taxes as possible, it's paying a lot of taxes because you're making a lot of money." (In fairness, I'm not sure how well he put this into practice in his personal life.) That tends to be my mentality as well.
Trigger Warning: Misogyny, Rape Dave: I'd like to think all of this is implied. We lie in a society where women are frequently objectified. We have a rape culture where a number of men assume that a woman's choice to wear "revealing clothing," not remain a virgin, flirting, or even saying hello to a guy is an invitation to rape ("but it's not really rape because she obviously wanted it"). The women you're talking to may not feel they can assume that all that is implied, because for some guys, none of that is implied. So yeah, you'd probably be doing yourself a great service by clearly and explicitly stating all that.
Toggle Commented Apr 6, 2012 on Getting Carded, Part 5 at Accidental Historian
Dave: You will notice that I never said you don't have the right to say "I just want to get laid." I'm simply pointing out how the person hearing you say it may perceive that statement and you as a result. You have a right to say whatever you want. You don't have the right to avoid the consequences of saying what you want. Even if what you say is honest.
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2012 on Getting Carded, Part 5 at Accidental Historian
hetero (as far as you know), O_o and your best friend is a girl woman who has zero sexual interest in you? If she isn't sexually interested in you, she isn't sexually interested in you. Full stop. Also, said girl woman is not in the mythological "Girl Womanwho is friends with lots of models and porn stars". Irrelevant. Cause seriously, I am down with a partner. Okay. This woman isn't interested in being partners with you. Keep looking. But, for the sake of argument, what if I said that? She might say, "Good luck with that." She might say, "We've been over this before. I'm not interested." She might quit talking to you. She might slap you. It's hard to say what she'd do. But I'd say it's highly unlikely she'd have sex with you. Also, telling someone "I want to get laid" -- particularly someone you're hoping will help you meet that desire -- generally is not charming, flattering, nor endearing. It tends to be a subtle form of objectification in that comes across as sounding like you're looking to get yours more than you're looking for mutual satisfaction.
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2012 on Getting Carded, Part 5 at Accidental Historian
I'll also note that some guys (and this includes me at times) often get pushed into the Friend Zone because they appear to offer no qualities to the woman (or man, in my case) in question other than "really liking her," "wanting to take care of her," and "being a Nice Guy." They present no interests, opinions, or thoughts of their own. They're constantly around the woman (or man) they want to be with because they have nothing else going on for them. I've learned from deep personal experience that this is a formula that really does make the idea of seeing the guy as anything more than a friend seem unappealing. And that's putting it nicely.
Toggle Commented Apr 4, 2012 on Getting Carded, Part 5 at Accidental Historian
Without a better understanding the context and intent of the original suggestion, it's hard for me to evaluate it or your response to it. Personally, I think the biggest problem with evangelism is that far too many would-be evangelists tend to consider it a process of lectures rather than a process of dialogue. That leads to results that, to put it mildly, aren't pretty. Real evangelism requires mutual understanding, and that involves listening on the part of the evangelist as well as the evangelized, rather than the far too common mentality of "me evangelist, you heathen, now listen and be grateful." To be honest, I've seen a lot of that thinking in very badly done "How to witness to people who are X" methods, where X can be a religious group, a liberal party, a sexual minority, or anything else. Such methods often involve having a fellow Christian "expert" explain what X is all about and what it's like (and what it's flaws are and how they can be utilized in evangelistic spiels). Said experts' actual knowledge of the subject can range from fairly accurate (provided one remembers that X is not a monolith and there tends to be diversity of thought and experience among its members) to total fabrications with no basis in reality. This information is then applied to "conversations" with real people who don't always fit the neat patterns of the information offered. Things fall apart. Now, I'm sure there's a lot one can learn about the specifics of X that would improve dialogue with its members, and that's certainly worth learning about. But given the way evangelism is too often approached, I do think that the basic universal principles -- those idea about effective communication that apply not just to X, but Y, Z, and Q as well -- should be underscored as well. Of course, I also think that the most basic principle that needs to be stressed -- and it is universal -- is that if you really want to know what Person who is a member of X believes, how they feel, and what they need, your best bet is to ask that Person.
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I think you're confusing and conflating a number of complicated and subtle concepts in your statement here. I'll explain as time and energy permits.
Toggle Commented Mar 19, 2012 on Always in Season at Curious Christian
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Well, that's certainly an interesting blog title! A serial number of some sort?
Commented Feb 27, 2012 on 6SR57NJ52WV9 at Curious Christian
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