This post is something I posted on Cowtippers.
— In SacredCowTippers@yahoogroups.com, *~Mystic Blue Rose~* <mystic_blue.rose@…> wrote:
> not every word in the bible is inspired or inerrant. perhaps Paul’s homophobia was manifest in his attitude rather than GOD’s homophobia.
Ted here… looking for a place to weigh in.
I’ve browsed forward to see what everyone else said then came back to jump in at this post.
I start here because I have a real problem with the term “homophobia.” “Phobia” means fear. I am claustrophobic, meaning if someone locked me in a small room it would scare the crap out of me. There are no two football players big enough to get me into an MRI. I am uncomfortable in elevators. On the other hand, while I find the activity of homosexuality unpleasant and gross I am NOT “afraid” of those who practice it nor of the knowledge of what it is.
Dictionary.com says the word means, “unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality.” Homophobia is the most popular word in the Liberal lexicon, used to brand anyone who even hints they do not approve of homosexuality. The implication is that “people don’t know what they’re afraid of,” or “don’t be a sissy, don’t be afraid,” or “conservatives are cowards who are afraid….” etc. The word generates many erroneous assumptions.
I don’t like asparagus but I’m not Asparaphobic. I despise sex abuse but I’m not sexabusaphobic. Before a discussion of the subject can be complete or meaningful appropriate terms should be used. Many people of faith in all kinds of religions do not approve of a same-sex lifestyle but they are not “afraid” of it. Fundamentalists, of course, might be and they certainly hate it but then it’s only one of many things on their naughty list. So let’s be clear, the subject is not fear of homosexuality but a belief that the PRACTICE of it is wrong–or not.
Now, that out of the way, people are missing the point. Chris wrote this in a post: “Homosexuality really isn’t the issue. Our refusal to believe that sin has already been dealt with is the real issue. Christianity isn’t about behavior, it is about identity. When we identify someone by their behavior instead of who they are in Christ even if it’s our self we are judging by the flesh. Our behavior tends to be a fruit of who we believe our selves to be.”
I can agree almost completely with this statement. Homosexual activity is not appropriate. Neither is ANY sexual activity outside of marriage. Neither is murder or lying or cheating or stealing. “Sin is what we make into sin,” Jesus says in the Gospel of Thomas. Anything that serves ourselves, that defies perfect love, that works against nature or the teachings of Jesus is “sin” not because it is a rule somewhere but because it runs counter to true love as Jesus taught it. I differ from Chris because I believe sin–which I define as anything that contradicts Truth and works against the Kingdom–is a choice that every person makes from one day to the next and has not “already been dealt with.”
As individuals who choose to follow Jesus we should be totally accepting and forgiving, we should show loving-kindness to all, no matter who they are or what they do. That does not mean we approve of or practice what they do, either. Jesus showed a better way, a way of Truth, a way of restraint, self-control, of selflessness. This we should demonstrate to any and everyone. To the homosexual as to anyone else living a selfish life our attitude should be, “I love you. Perhaps I do not approve of your lifestyle. It’s up to you to seek God in truth, though, not up to me to dictate your morality.” Then love and forgive and hope the other person finds the way.
OK, I DO speak boldly against things I see as immoral. This is not contradictory. Jesus was bold, too, in general and as he spoke against the practices he did not approve of. But in dealing with people he was kind, loving and forgiving. For example, he spoke against fornication but to the prostitute he said, “I forgive you.” I believe it is our duty as citizens and concerned humans to speak out against wrong and injustice as we see it, provided that we do so in an appropriate way. It is also our responsibility to forgive and love the participants whether or not they ask for it.
Singling out any activity and elevating it as a “big sin” worse than other “sin” is wrong and ridiculous. Christians, as some have said, have done a horrific job responding to homosexuals. They always will until they stop quantifying sin according to their own standards and tastes. They must stop seeing the “sin” altogether and start seeing the person. (I did not say “sinner” because who are they to determine that?)
Catherine quoted this verse: “1 Cor 6:18 – Keep on running away from sexual immorality. Any other sin that a person commits is outside his body, but the person who sins sexually sins against his own body.” The simple fact is that a sex act cannot BE a sex act if there are not two partners. Anything less is merely lust and masturbation.
Since the act requires a second person and involves a second (or more than one other) person, it is extremely important that we consider the other person/s before we choose to get involved. No matter how little it might affect us, we might be ripping another person’s value system completely apart. People go along with things many times for reasons other than just wanting to. How often does “Oh, well, OK” really mean, “NO?” How many caught up in the throws of passion will hesitate or stop once they get the “OK?” No matter the act or the gender of our partner, we violate them if the activity isn’t one hundred percent mutual.
A primary argument mentioned in favor of homosexuality is this: “I just can’t HELP it, I was born with these desires / thoughts.” What a cop-out! Serial killers, child molesters, thieves, compulsive liars, you name it, use the SAME excuse. Hello? Having feelings we think we’re born with does not mean we should ACT on them. Duh. I have a strong desire to raid the frig, get drunk, sometimes even go running through the woods screaming out of frustration, but I restrain myself. The whole POINT of serving Jesus is learning how to say “NO” to self.
Who wouldn’t think it appalling if rapists or murderers or thieves could simply say, “sorry, judge, I was just born with these desires,” and walk free? Being “born with” particular urges does not make them good or acceptable. Many studies indicate neither homosexuality nor any of the other things I’ve mentioned are innate but are the result of conditioning sometime after birth. Either way, there’s a huge difference between having urges and acting upon them.
Lust is a corruption of our natural desire to procreate. There is an acceptable outlet for heterosexual sex. Promiscuity is an incorrect way to engage in an acceptable human activity. The same can’t be said for homosexuality. This is another reason why dismissing homosexual impulses because “I was born that way” is absurd. In heterosexual promiscuity at least the plumbing works. In homosexual sex the construction of the human body invalidates the idea that the act as “natural.” Unless, of course, one things rectums were made to accept… well, you get the idea. That’s the point of contention, isn’t it? Everybody beats around the bush and never addresses the reality of just what constitutes a homosexual act. Men can love men, women can love women, but doing the deed is more than holding hands or talking effeminate. It involves doing things with another person’s body that is inherently unnatural and not found in nature. Does anyone know of a species that performs oral or anal sex at all, much less two of the same gender? I sure don’t.
Chris wrote something else I absolutely and completely disagree with: “I believe the sin issue really has been dealt with. Is there sin
dwelling in us? Sure but it isn’t our job, or even possible for
us to deal with it.” To be blunt, I believe this is a crock. It dismisses us from our responsibility entirely. Not our job? Not possible for us to deal with it? Then what was the purpose of Jesus’ teaching at all? Why give us instructions if they were meaningless?
Of course the idea comes from the theology of “sin forgiven on the cross.” It’s a convoluted theology if one digs deep enough. Denominations deal with the “sin nature” vs. “sin actions” of individuals in various ways but none can come up with an acceptable solution. Not even Paul could. He lamented, “Hey, just because we’re forgiven does not mean we should run back into sin!” He never could really explain why.
This will make some unhappy but I do not believe at all that Jesus died for anybody’s “sin nature.” There’s nothing just or fair in God punishing a whole race for thousands of years just because some person had no willpower and/or was selfish. The “generation to generation” idea is a Hebrew concept that should be chunked along with animal sacrifice. It wasn’t the sin nature of humanity but the evil that the act brought into the world that Jesus had to combat through his death.
While the evil that threatens us has been conquered the selfishness in our own heart is our own responsibility. We are STILL responsible for ourselves. Every action we take is of our own choosing and “sin” we commit is a sin of choice.
On homosexuality, the point is that homosexuals are not “an abomination,” whatever that means, but that their actions are not wholesome or healthy and in the case of what they DO to each other’s bodies, it’s not natural. But neither is stuffing our mouth with sweets or dozens of other things humans do that are damaging to our bodies, our minds, and our spirits–not to mention those who we might influence.
I just finished an essay on dignity and restraint, how they are two terms that have disappeared from the American vocabulary. “What is good about them?” the writer asks. “…for one thing, if we don’t have any restraint, we don’t have any control over where our lives are going. Anything that comes our way immediately pulls us into its wake. We don’t have any strong sense of priorities, of what’s really worthwhile, of what’s not worthwhile, of the pleasures we’d gain by saying no to other pleasures….
“…At the same time, we’ll never know our impulses. When you simply ride with your impulses, you don’t understand their force. They’re like the currents beneath the surface of a river: only if you try to build a dam across the river will you detect those currents and appreciate how strong they are.” Of course, this kind of thinking is rare in Christian circles. Either we’re told “it’s sin, don’t do it,” with no rationality or we get the idea that “we’re saved” and so we can sort’of get away with a few things. Never is there any mention that some things we should not do just because NOT to do them is better for our psyche, our heart, and for others. These quotes come from an essay called, “Dignity and Restraint” in a book titled The Best of Buddhist Writing 2005.
“As the Buddha said,” the author writes, “if you see a greater pleasure that comes from forsaking a lesser pleasure, be willing to forsake that lesser pleasure for the greater one.” The writer then says it should be a no-brainer but it isn’t. No kidding.
As followers of Jesus, what is better, fulfilling our personal sex drives, whatever they are, or glorifying God by serving, by loving, by restraining ourselves? What pleasure do we seek and WHO is it we want to please? Isn’t the greater pleasure that which pleases our Creator and Jesus, and the others whom we’re supposed to love? Then what’s the problem? Forget sin and hell and condemnation and “phobia.” Consider what is best, what is most pleasing to those whom we should be pleasing, and DO THAT. Restrain from that which might be displeasing even if we can get away with it and/or they will forgive us.
Doing as we wish just because we’re forgiven is taking advantage of someone’s love in the worst kind of way. Whatever the act, sex or thievery or lying or whatever, if what we do is displeasing to the ones we love and those who love us we are taking advantage of that love and NOT showing love.
On the other side, if we are resentful, hateful, judgmental, or unkind to someone because we simply don’t like what they do we are not showing them love and forgiveness and, again, we’re not pleasing the One who loved us the most.
This is the point. Should we do what ever feels good, whatever is expedient, or whatever is most loving and whatever is best? I think Paul did hit on this, didn’t he?
PS: for the non-faint of heart and any who want to gripe at my prudishess… or whatever, I have another rant on sexuality on my blog, brought on by an article I read about two women who were celebrating their promiscuity in an article that told how they used craigslist to find sex partners. The blog is here:
Be advised, the language is a bit “adult” in places.
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