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November 03, 2005


Clint Walker

It is a challenge.

Tony Myles

Here's a question, then... should we call heterosexual couples who live together "married?"

"No, no, no... that's not the same issue. They could get married if they wanted to."

Right, but they haven't.

"But they could."

But they haven't.

"But they *could*!"

Okay... why haven't they?

"Well... because they see marriage differently than others do."


chris pritchett

I wasn't able to read the article because I don't have a membership, but here's food for thought: A hundred years ago the church used the Bible to support slavery, only to find out years later, with the help of cultural advancement and theological insight, that those passages were misinterpreted and God wanted nothing to do with slavery. Then, the church used the Bible to argue against the rights of women within the church and society, only to find out once again, with the help of cultural advancement and theological insight, that those passages were also misinterpreted. Are homosexuals modern-day slaves or oppressed women, in the way that the church now approaches and responds to homosexuality? Is it possible, that sometimes and in some areas, culture is ahead in terms of theological insight, and the church works hard at catching up, building a reputation of being oppressors? No implications, just questions.


I think that it is our job as Followers of Christ to love on everyone, no matter who they are, but I believe that the bible takes a clear stance on the intimacy between two men or two women.

"If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." Leviticus 20:18

"Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable." Leviticus 18:22

"In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion." Romans 1:27

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prositutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slandereres nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Cor. 6: 9-10 (NIV)

Eric Wakeling

I wholeheartedly believe that homosexuality is a sin. However, I do not believe that means that people should oppress them or legislate against them. The church is completely hypocritical with the way it condemns homosexuality both in word and deed and then divorce is completely tolerated. We might preach against divorce, but we sure don't treat a divorcee the way we would a homosexual. It's very sad. Are we working on legislation against divorce? Are we working on legislation against pride or greed or gluttony? No! Why do we work so hard to legislate against homosexuality?

Mike DeVries

I'm with you Eric, I find it fascinating that the "religious community" often touts that the greatest threat to marriage is homosexual unions. Really? I think the greatest threat to marriage is divorce. While the church is standing "against" homosexuality, the rate the divorce is as high, if not higher in the church than in society at large.

Okay, setting aside the discussionm of whether homosexuality is a sin or not, the question is one of possible discrimination. The fact that Jesus would never be on the side of discrimination against anyone, regardless of whether he "approved" of their lifestyle is fascinating. Jesus' harshes words were resevered for the religious people who were trying to protect their "in-ness" while enforcing others "out-ness". The sad fact, I believe, is that Jesus would have some pretty harsh words for us in how we actually love people today.

We say we should love everyone, but it's all too often just hollow rhetoric, backed very infrequently with any form of action. If we do not act, we do not love.

chris pritchett

In actuality, I agree with the stance Karl Barth takes on this issue, that homosexuality is not part of God's original design or intent, based on Genesis 1:26-27. I don't think that the New Testament passages are valid evidence of this stance, as they were not intended to be interpreted that way. In any case, I agree in thinking that homosexuality should not be treated any differently than pride, lust, greed, self-indulgance, envy, etc. I think it's interesting that greed often times gets ignored, but look around you, it's all over the place and it's just as destructive and dangerous as homosexuaI behavior. I also agree in thinking that the point is not for us to debate whether or not they're "sinners" like the rest of us, but actually start talking about how to end the oppression and discrimination, since oppression is certainly against the life and teachings of Jesus, regardless of how sinful the sinner is. So maybe, as Christians, it's not good enough for us to simply accept those homosexuals who walk in our door, but maybe we need to be active agents in our communities caring for gay people. Which raises more questions, of course, like, how?

Mike DeVries

Was doing some reading/studying for the teaching on Sunday night at SCU and came across this midrash [or interpretation] on the heart of Jesus for "sinners" in response to the Pharisees questioning of why he welcomes and eats with "sinners". It comes from Kenneth Bailey's book Finding the Lost: Cultural Keys to Luke 15...

Gentlemen, I understand that you accuse me of eating with sinners, with the 'am ha-'arets. You are correct, that is exactly what I do. But I do not merely allow them to eat with me. And I do not only invite them, but like a good shepherd searching for a lost sheep and like a good woman looking for a lost coin and like this father running through the village to welcome his boy, I go out with costly love seeking these 'am ha-'arets whom you so despise. I am ready to pay any price to win them and to bring them home to eat with me.


Okay, so this raises a whole new set of questions for those of us who are followers of Jesus. What would it look like to have a "costly love" for those of another sexual orientation? Could we share the vision of Jesus of loving and seeking to embrace those some "despise"? What would that truly look like, not just a hollow rhetoric of "love the sinner, hate the sin", but actually lived out in this world? Could the community of Jesus followers love the supposed "outsider" so much, that we would stand for certain rights, while still acknowledging that, like all of us, we are living with some amount of brokenness?

In other words, regardless of what we may think about the "right or wrongness" of homosexuality, should we not stand for treatment that is ethical and filled with dignity for the person?

Just a thought.


What if we've gotten the homosexuality thing wrong? In OT times, Yahweh was a tribal God. Knowing this, it makes sense that the dietary laws, purity laws, etc were all for the purpose of furthering the growth/prosperity of the tribe. Following these practices helped the tribe to grow faster and be stronger...and thus have an advantage over rival tribes. Obviously in a tribe full of homosexuals, pro-creation and tribal expansion would be low. What if God's warning against homosexuality in Leviticus served no other purpose than to insure the steady growth of the tribe?

I'm a firm believer that our husbands/wives are mirrors/windows into God's love. We can experience His perfect love through one another. If homosexuals can see that love through one another, who am I to deny them that blessing? Why would I ever want to keep someone from experiencing God, and loving another human being unconditionally? If we say that "God is Love" and that Love is a gift and experience given by God...and admit that it is possible for homosexuals to experience love for one another, then we have to admit that God is present in/throughout their love.

I'm not officially advocating homosexuality. These are just ideas going through my mind right now.

Scott Buttes

What a fascinating discussion! There are a lot of different aspects to this conversation. Here are a few I am trying to sort out.

1. Should there be a difference in how we treat people (i.e. lovingly or unlovingly) and how we treat ideas (i.e. more true or less true)?

2. Is there a difference between what we find to be moral/immoral and what we find to be legal/illegal?

3. Is there a difference in God's eyes between one having a homosexual orientation verses acting on homosexual behavior? (Just as a recovered alcoholic may will still have disposition towards alcoholism).

I think there are some major differences here and that really affects the way I enter the conversation. It forces me to separate the following questions rather than lumping them all together.

a) Is homosexuality against God's design for human relationships in Gen. 2? (Here we are dealing with an idea, not a person)

b) How should I act towards my homosexual neighbor? (Here we are dealing with a person, not an idea).

c) Do I have sociological, philosophical, or cultural reasons to think that gay marriage ought or ought not to be legalized, despite whether or not I think it is moral/immoral? (E.g. Some think that divorce is wrong but should remain legal, and at the same time think that abortion is wrong but should not remain legal).

I sense the church often muddles the conversation by not being clear on exactly which question it is asking. I think all these different questions will have different answers some being more clear than others. My main point is that I personally found it beneficial for me to know what question I was asking before I started seeking answers.

eric grenier

personaly i feel that as the Christians in society we need to step up and put our foot down on this tough issue. i believe that homosexuality is wrong based on the nature of the human body and the biblical view point. i also believe that homosexuals are a product of their nurture not nature so therefore are choosing in effect to go outside the marriage laws of today. there were studies done in the 70's and 80's before the whole homosexual rights movement, and 85% of the homosexuals said that they were not gay because they were born that way but because that's what somewhere along the way they decided they would be. also the main reason that i feel that we should not allow homosexual marriage is because legalizing it would change many people's stand point on homosexuality, especially the everchanging impressionable mind of teens and young adults. if we legalized homosexual marriages and gave them the same marriage that we give to a heterosexual couple then we would be saying that it is ok and that it is normal. studyies show that as homosexuality has become more accepted more people have claimed or took part in a homosexual life style. so by legally approving we would be claiming it as a legitimate lifestyle and therefore we would most likely see more people living in homosexual sin. here is another fact that i found sorta disscussion worthy. homosexuals are about 80% more likely to commit a sex related crime of some sort. also in a study done in the mid 90's 86% of homosexuals said that their first homosexual experience was with a older man, who approched them, in their teen years. 76% of the same group said that they had approached a teenager at some point in hopes of a sexual act or relationship of a homosexual nature. i have a lot more to say but you can read it on my blog if you would like. www.egrenier.blogspot.com



Eric, I appreciate your thoughts, respect your freedom to express those thoughts, and I admire your passion for Christ. However, by "putting our foot down" we will end up stomping on people. As Christians, it is our divine resposibility to engage with people where they're at, through love, as Jesus did. This issue is far too complex to be crushing people. Remember, it's God's kindness that leads us to repentence, not his brute force. Giving people the freedom to choose for themselves, as God gives us, and then engaging with them, allowing them to have their own voice as you desire to have for yourself, will find much better results. We are called to love and embrace and set people free, not bind them into legal contracts or act as their judge. We ought to let God judge people, he's much better at it anyway.

Scott Buttes


At the end of the day, I agree with you and do not believe same-sex marriage should be legally instituted. But I find the the grounds you give to reach that conclusion to be intellectually irresponsible. First off, statistics are perhaps the worse way to argue. Anyone can go find studies that have been done that will show statistics that are just the opposite. Secondly, who did these studies? Was it tenured professors from high-ranking universities or some crazy right-wing, Christian fundamentalist organization.

If you want some good resources to help you make a case against same-sex marriage, I would recommend you read some articles by Dennis Prager (www.dennisprager.com), Francis Beckwith, or Thomas Schmidt (google them). If you want a good resource to help you make a case that Scripture finds homosexual behavior (which is distinct from a homosexual orientation) to be against God's design plan, then see articles by Robert Gagnon of Pittsburg Seminary (www.leaderu.com).

Also, I personally have found as much as I learned from studying the issue from books and articles, I think the most important things I learned came about from becoming friends with a gay person I studied philosophy with in college.

Derek Frenzel

Most of our discussion has been "what" in nature- what should we do differently, what have we done wrong, what rights do/should homosexuals have, what events in people's lives led to them becoming homosexual, what are the real motives of the homosexual rights movement, what are all the layers of the onion here (Scott, I love the way you think). These are all great questions, which have been spinning around my head for a while. I've been trying to post something for days now, but I haven't quite been able to figure out what angle I wanted to approach the issue. This morning I woke up thinking Why?

Why share the love of Jesus Christ with homosexuals, or anyone at all for that matter? Why are we motivated? Sure it's to obey Christ's charge of the Great Commission, but it can't be just out of obedience alone. For me, not in any particular order it's to:

1) show the world that Christ's love for me compels me to "pay it forward," ("for out of the overflow"-Luke 6:45),
2) try my hardest to reflect what Christ's love looks like, as to better show them who Christ is ("Christ's ambassadors"- 2 Co. 5:20- and man do I suck at it sometimes),
3) let them know that life was meant for more that sin ("God's workmanship" Eph. 2:1-10),
4) let them know that God loves them so much he paid the ultimate sacrifice for their/my salvation (John 3:16),
5) let them know that everyone (including myself and all Christians) has sinned and are in need of God's grace (Rom. 3:23),
6) give dignity and respect to all, with tact ("no unwholesome talk...kind and compassionate" Eph. 4:29-32)
7) and, frankly I'm tired of Christians behaving badly and dragging Christ's name through the mud. This needs to be undone, not by pointing out who the "good/real" Christians are and the "bad" Christians are (a house divided), but by simply living it out (faith without deeds is dead-James 2).

God's ultimate plan is to bring about the salvation of man through the sacrifice of his Son and return to a place of relationship with man, not separated by sin. This salvation starts here on earth, when we become followers of Christ. Our role as Christians is twofold- to be humanitarian (how we're to act, what we're to do, who is in need) and to be eternally-minded (how will God use us to unfold this plan for everyone's salvation). It is clear that none of us wants to offend, hurt, or disrespect another one of God's creations. However, we cannot be so wrapped up with being PC, comfortable, and friendly that we lose sight of God's big picture. Ultimately, homosexuals are people, (just like Soylent Green)...(sorry, funny image) and they ought to be viewed as such- just like any other person with sin in their life. Instead of pride or anger being their "big sin," it's homosexuality. Just because it's hard to wrap our minds around socially or intellectually doesn't mean that our approach should be any less adaptive to best "win" them to Christ (1 Co. 9:19-27).

The homosexuals we know, the Mary Magdelanes, the rich young rulers, the Pharasees, the meek, the drug addicts, the mockers, the proud, the bitter intellectual, the samaritans of our time- God wants to change their lives and use them to further His kingdom. Not just the good little Christians. Do we stand in the way of that by getting caught up in the details?

Mike DeVries

Loving the discussion. So let's go a step further with this. As Jesus followers we talk about "loving the sinner, but hating the sin" and that we should "love others". What does that look like in this situation? How do we embody the message of love and the risen Jesus?

Often we think the "loving" thing is to be sure to let "them" know that they are "sinners". A friend of mine mentioned this morning, "Do we need to convince them of what we think? I think they know what we think already." Is that true, or not?

So... how are we to love? What implication does this have, or should this have on the issue of gay marriage? How should the community of Jesus respond? What does it mean to ebody the message of love?

This is something we need to wrestle with. How we respond and engage speaks volumes about what we believe and feel. The reputation of Christians is that they "hate gays". So with all the rhetoric, I cannot feel that we have done a good job in presenting the risen Jesus.



I think LOVE is the important thing here. More specicifcally, showing Christ's love. Making it legal or illegal doesn't mean we are loving the person any more or less. Furthermore, using the word "discriminate" here is totally crazy. It is true that pride and greed aren't illegal, but there are plenty of other sins that are (should we make murder legal to "show" the murderers "love"...I know, an extreme example). Bottom line they are all sins. And bottom line we, as Christians and fellow sinners, are called to love. There is nothing wrong with calling a sin a sin and actually I think we are called to hold each other accountable, but it is how we do that that makes the difference. Are we doing it by pointing fingers and judging or are we doing that with gentle and unconditional love? Where is your heart?

Someone I love very much is gay. Will me voting for legalizing gay marriage make him feel my love more? No, he feels my love because I truly love him.

Does that make sense?


So then maybe another question is how do we love others? Do we do it by fighting for their rights? Listening to their needs? If not this than what?


I think Kristin has a good point when she says her friend probably won't think that she loves him if she votes for the legalization of homosexual marriage. It makes me think of parents who give their kids everything they want-- that doesn't really spell love at all. A while back I was reading Philip Yancey's what's so amazing about grace and I remember one of the things he shared in his book was that he had a friend who was gay and he chose to go with his friend to a march simply to support him-- even though he too was still wrestling with the implications of the lifestyle and how that fits into being a christ follower. This has definately been an issue I have been totally baffled by, so I really appreciate the discussion.

Derek Frenzel

Operating from the assumption that sin is sin, would we say that two alcoholics shouldn't be allowed to be married? Or a prostitute and a drug addict? No. Now, we might take a moral stand and say that it is a horrible idea, because their sin would undermine the marriage, but we wouldn't have any legal grounds to deny it. However...
Remember the whole "could God create a rock so big that he couldn't move it" question. We know that that question is nonsensical, because for God to create a rock greater than he would cause Him to cease to be God (infinite, and I AM). So really the question is, could God cease to be God? In effect, I AM be I AM NOT? No.
With that principle in mind, marriage as we're talking about it has two contexts to it. Spiritual and Social. Spiritually speaking, we know what God intended for marriage and how he defined it; ehad was meant for a man and a woman, with it's origins in the very way we were created. It is part of the spiritual "definition" if you will, of marriage. Can "marriage" cease to be anything else but what it is (that is, what God defined it as)? No. For if it were to be anything else, it would cease to be. Gay marriage is a nonsensical term. The ehad-ness of how man and woman were created to fit together, could not be present. By the definition of "marriage," it could not be between a man and a man, or woman and woman. In spiritual terms, I just don't see how one can say to God that what he defined and set into motion is somehow incomplete and needs revision. Spiritually speaking it's not an issue of rights, it's an issue of definition. As Christians, don't we ultimately want to see society to have marriages as God wants them? Without adultery, abuse, bitterness, secrecy, greed, and by creation between a man and a woman?
Socially is another issue...

Socially and historically, marriage has been defined much the same as the spiritual terms. It has been between a man and a woman, but bestowing on them certain rights: Inheritance, common property, custody and responsibility for children, power of attorney, hospital privelege, being taxed differently, as well as a social norm (not a right) of acceptance based on an assumed commitment of fidelity and the ability to procreate, which is ultimately rooted in the Judeo-Christian influence of our culture.
Now, what "rights" have homosexuals really been deprived of here? Can they inherit from their lover/partner? Yes. Can they take common property? Yes; with a few qualifications, but yes. Power of attorney? Yes. Hospital privelege? In a general sense, No. Taxes? No. Custody and responsibility for children? The laws very. Social acceptance? Acceptance is not a right per se; this is a matter outside the law and can't be legislated.
With the "hospital privelege" the issue is not about allowing gay marriage, it's allowing people to see people in the hospital. This can and probably should be revised; there are many other non-homosexual scenarios where the "hospital privelege" ought to be expanded, too.
With the issue of a taxes, it is a privelege for married couples, just like indian casinos have a tax privelege. Certain priveleges are not meant for all; the tax system is inherently "unfair." Oh, well.

So, what's really the issue? Socially, I think what is sought after here is validity not the "rights" given to married couples. The question really ought to be, should we as Christians seek to bestow on gay marriage validity, since the "marriage rights" are largely already present? We can't. Is it being too narrow minded to take God's word and intent at face value?


Such a tough issue. I know - I've been dealing with it since 1992. Mike - You already know some of my story since you visited my blog.

The discussion of LOVE has come up in these discussions and it should. Afterall, my final decision to follow Christ was about LOVE. A few of my friends that were instrumental in the process of me coming to that decision - showed me LOVE. They did NOT do it by supporting homosexual rights, they did NOT do it by saying homosexuality was ok - but they did offer me grace and love. They offered me truth without being judgmental. They offered their friendship and welcomed me at church. They WALKED ALONGSIDE ME during this journey - they were not just bystanders trying to tell me what to do or think - they walked alongside me in truth and love.

When I became a Christian in July this year, I was still in the relationship with my ex-partner - so I was a Christian who also happened to be a lesbian. I was STILL loved by my friends (who walked alongside me), I was STILL loved by God. Obvsiously, I did break up with my partner of 10 years (in Oct) - and have since then moved out. This is NOT something my friends told me or encouraged me to do.

I believe - that this decision came about through God revealing things to me about myself - because I was willing and open to being honest about my life and myself. I do not know if this is how it is across the board for all Christians that are homosexual - but I know it was true for me. It's been a long journey - but I will tell you that it started with LOVE. If I had been judged or nagged or whatever - I would have turned on one heel and walked away. This change for me had to happen in God's timing - not my friend's timing, not my timing - but God's. SO - that being said - I think showing LOVE without judgment - the way my friend's did - and then coming to realize that God loved me in a very real way - really made the biggest difference. Actually - it was the way they walked alongside me through this journey that had the biggest impact. I remember asking my closest friend - "Do you think God wants me to break up with my partner?" and she replied "If God wants you to make the change - He will make that known" of course that is also in the context of when you are deeply commited to Jesus in a relationship with Him - I do believe that if He wants you to change that part of your life - you'll end up finding out. That's my take so far - I'm still in the middle of processing all that has been happening. Hope I didn't ramble too much.


By the way - I didn't really answer the question of whether or not Gays/Lesbians should have rights... I used to be a HUGE supporter of Gay/Lesbian rights... I am now struggling with this due to recent changes in my life. This is something I need to spend time thinking about so this post and discussions are good to read. I was always a big supporter of separation of church and state...and saw the "religious right" movement as trying to eliminate that separation by stomping on gay rights.


Wow, what a journey you've been on. I'm so relieved you have found friends to support you and show you Christ's love. Most of my gay friends describe a different experience. The ones who grew up in the church (many of them worship pastors) feel the need to LEAVE the church once they "realize" what sin they are dealing with. It can only be a move from the enemy to take people at a time when they most need of support and community and convince them that they have to leave.

And then there's the friends who did not grow up in the church. Let's see, where are they going to go to find love and support? Certainly not a place that greets them by pointing out that something they don't have alot of control over is wrong. As if a person has an on/off switch.

I think your (FLIP'S) post sums up what I believe. People can't stop sinning until they are surrendered to the Holy Spirit. Why should we make people clean up before they enter a church? It is the Spirit's work in us that transforms us, not guilt or determination. Nobody chooses what sins they're going to struggle with in life. I've been struggling with certain sins for most of my life. How awful it would be if my sins were on the list of ones you can't struggle with or talk about at church.


What a discussion!! I’ve been pondering a lot of these questions for many years. I think in recent years I’ve argued more on the side of treating people choosing a gay life style like my brothers and sisters rather than the “them” syndrome. Jeannie just said something amazing: ” How awful it would be if my sins were on the list of ones you can't struggle with or talk about at church.” Man that rings true with me and I think everyone. Where do you feel comfortable sharing what demons haunt you?? I’ve always been scared of what would happen if I aired all my garbage. I think even past this discussion the “church” (US!) need to make a shift. We are all saved by the same grace. It’s not our decision in the end right!? It’s an individual thing between us and God. This world is an F’d up place. Not many of us would disagree. The thing for me is that I’m living right in the middle of it and just as messed up as the next guy. I need God to save me just like my gay friends and just like anybody else. We as a church should be a place for people to come and say here is me……and we embrace.

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