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19 comments | Monday, January 12, 2009







Please excuse the tardiness of this post. I'm aware it's about a week late:)


To some of you this headline may not be shocking, but to others you're probably already drafting the e-mail in your mind to send me later on to tell me I'm going straight to hell. Let me spare you the wasted energy because a) I've heard it all before and b) this is not my statement (although I happen to agree).


Oprah Winfrey and Rev. Ed Bacon of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California caused quite a stir last week during Oprah's Living Your Best Life Week: Spirituality 101 episode where the good Rev. Bacon made a statement that was heard all around the world, "Being Gay is A Gift from God".


The advice was given to a young man named Sedrick from Decatur, GA who was struggling to reconcile his sexuality with his faith, societal views, as well as controlling his finances.


Needless to say Oprah's message board lit up. I could only stomach two or three comments before I had to close the page. If I wanted to be bashed repeatedly in the name of God all I would have to do is watch this or attend any black mega-church in this country.


So do you agree with Rev. Bacon? Is being gay a gift from God or a curse?


19 Comments:

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

What's Up Darian, my name is Clientel. I come to your website often and agree with much of what you say with the exception of the Bible vs Homosexuality argument. And yes I personally do believe that the real battle is between what the Bible states about Homosexuality and the Gay Rights movement and not the people that often sully the debate. Pastors who use the words "sissy", "faggot" or even "homo" don't have the Spirit of God in them, or if they do they are clearly ignoring it. And the people who sit in their pews and listen are NO better. But lets forget about them for this particular post. Lets concentrate on what God's Word says and not what man says...God will deal with them for their lack of love.

I am a 43yr old black male who is gay and has always struggled between God and Gay. I have decided to try to stop living that life because I believe in the Bible and believe it to be the true inspired Word of God. NO, GOD HASN'T TAKEN THE FEELINGS AWAY FROM ME. So as you can imagine it is a lonely hurtful existence. But thats my decision and I will stick with it the best I can.

My question to those who say they are Christians or believe in God is always the same two part question that I hope you will really think about.

1)If one really wants to have a genuine relationship with God, shouldn't that person come to God on God's terms or should God come to you on your terms.

2)I believe the Bible was inspired by God. I hear many try to make the argument that "man wrote the bible". If one cannot trust what is in the Bible because they believe parts of it were "tainted" by man, how can you believe ANY of it? Unless God came to you and told which parts are true and which parts are false, how can we know whats what? Maybe the parts about Jesus are false...? We would have no way of knowing what to follow. That would be a really mean God to expect us to follow a book that He allowed to be tainted. Who would want to serve a God like that.

I don't understand how one can be gay and Christian or "believe in God" yet ignore parts of the Bible that we all know are there. (Believe me, I wish they weren't).

I wake up every morning wishing I was in the arms of a man. I'm not one of those who say God took those feelings from me although I believe He could if He wished. Maybe its just my cross to bare. Those feelings are as strong todays as they were when I was in High School. But I want to worship God in Honor and in truth. According to His will. And the Bible is supposed to be a blueprint of His Will for us to show how he dealt with others who were chosen and the plans he has laid out for us.

I don't believe Homosexuality is a gift from God and I don't believe it is a curse. But I do believe those who say they believe in God should want to worship him in truth. They should deny themselves and take up the cross.

I love my gay brethren and still consider myself to be a gay man since I do still have those feelings. But I am going come to God on His terms, according to His Will as laid out in His Word.

Just an opinion from a loving gay brother on a different path.

Peace
Clientel

January 12, 2009 12:47 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

"So as you can imagine it is a lonely hurtful existence. But thats my decision and I will stick with it the best I can."

Wow, this really says it all. Yes, yes, I know, "this-is-just-your-cross-to-bear" We've heard it all before from people who perpetuate toxic theologies. Don't you realize that making people comfortable with "lonely, hurtful existences" is a traditional pastime of abusive theology? You don't see anything wrong with this? What a tragedy.

"If one really wants to have a genuine relationship with God, shouldn't that person come to God on God's terms or should God come to you on your terms."

How about a two-way, negotiated relationship? Have you read the stories of negotiation with God in the Bible? Does God have total contempt for our personal needs, including our physical and emotional needs for love and companionship? Is that what you're arguing?

Perhaps our relationship with God is more complex than some one-directional "submission" rhetoric that is used by authoritarian religious traditions.

"If one cannot trust what is in the Bible because they believe parts of it were "tainted" by man, how can you believe ANY of it?"

We all have to leave certain biblical ideas in the ancient world. All Christians pick and choose what passages they will make relevant for today and which ones they claim are "cultural." For instance, we have to leave ideas that women should keep their heads covered as a symbol of their submission or that they should stay silent in church and not have authority over men in the ancient world.

"But I want to worship God in Honor and in truth. According to His will. And the Bible is supposed to be a blueprint of His Will for us to show how he dealt with others who were chosen and the plans he has laid out for us. "

Blueprint? Is this biblical terminology? The Bible is inspired and is PROFITABLE (think about the word "profit" for a moment--gains vs. losses which produce a yield) for our understanding of God's will. It is not a "blueprint." The Bible is full of theological changes, negotiation and renegotiation between God and God's people. It is dynamic and living, not static and unchanging.

January 12, 2009 1:56 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

"I don't understand how one can be gay and Christian or "believe in God" yet ignore parts of the Bible that we all know are there. (Believe me, I wish they weren't)."

Clientel, what about the the Bible passage that says homosexuals should BE PUT TO DEATH. Do you believe that, too, since you claim to believe everything in the Bible?!

I don't want ANYTHING to do with a "book" that says I should be put to death for being a homosexual. Not to mention the parts that say I am an abomination for being me.

By the way, Clientel, you can click on "NAME/URL" and write in the name, Clientel, since you use that name.

January 12, 2009 5:58 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I've always felt that being gay is a gift from God, just as everything about me is a gift from God. I think God does everything for a reason. God made some people gay ans some people straight. Maybe God created gay people in order to teach people how to love everyone, even people who are different from them. Maybe it was to show us that love comes in many different forms. Or, maybe God did it to teach gay people to love who we really are. Being gay doesn't make us better than anyone else, but God did have a purpose in making us gay.

January 12, 2009 8:32 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Just to add: I don't think there are too many people who live the Bible word for word. There are plenty of people who call themselves Christian, but that doesn't stop them from eating shellfish, wearing clothing made from mixed fibers, getting divorced, having sex before marriage, not sacrificing their kids, I could go on and on. I think those Christians, just like homosexual Christians, see that the Bible is more than words. They also probably know that the Bible has been translated so many times, that it doesn't make sense to stick to a hard and fast literal translation.

January 12, 2009 8:39 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Being gay CANNOT be a gift from God. It's against God's nature.

January 12, 2009 11:06 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

This is where STUDYING the Bible comes in. I continuously hear people mention other things written in Leviticus and other parts of the Old Testament as things we have long disregarded. Please keep in mind that Jesus' birth, death and resurrection ushered in a NEW COVENANT. So we are not bound by some of the laws, practices and even holidays of the Old Testament.

The problem is that in the New Testament, the decrees against Homosexuality are reiterated again and in more than one place.

The other thing I wanted to say is, if I understood the reply to my question. It sounds like you are saying that the Bible is negotiable? Yes people "negotiated" with God but they did when there was an actual give and take with God or one of His Angels. Now unless you and every person who believes you can be gay and Christian is prepared to tell a story of when God actually told you he would relent from His opinions in the Bible and allow Homosexuality to be the norm...then its just a decision you've made. A decision I understand, I just can't make it for myself.

I believe the Bible is God's inspired Word. So If I believe that, and want to worship Him in truth, I must follow Him His way.

I will end with what I always call the "MADONNA RULE". I read an article some years back when she was searching out various religions, she said she couldn't be a Christian because she felt women were second class citizens within Christendom. While I would disagree with the opinion I respected the fact that she didn't try to change Christianity, she simply moved on.

My question was simply, how can gay men claim to be Christians and believe in God and continue to ignore His Word? Shouldn't Gay men and women take the attitude that Madonna took? I can't be a Christian because I feel Gays are treated badly by that Ideal so I will move on?

To me it's a doctrinal issue, not an emotional issue.

I said before, I am a gay man who doesn't personally find anything wrong with me loving a man. BUT...I believe in a God who does see something wrong with it. And He is PERFECT, ALL KNOWING AND DOESN'T MAKE MISTAKES and He has set a paradigm for how He thinks things should be. So I want to live according to His Will and not mine.

I really do respect you gay brothers (and sisters) who view this topic differently. I am not part of the Ex-Gay movement nor any of those other "So-Called Christians" who spew hate rapped up in a Christian bow. I just believe in the Word of God and want to abide by it. Doesn't mean I don't fall and struggle because I do and I have. But I have to continue to run the race towards God and His truths.

You and I are the same in heart, we differ in the path we have decided to take. If we were neighbors we could sit and laugh and be grat friends. I would just be the one struggling to leave that lifestyle and you would be the one living it proudly. But there would be NO animosity. Just two people with differing opinions.

The argument really is about Doctrine.

Peace,
Clientel

PS - Please keep in mind that I am not a theologian or a preacher I'm just a gay man who reads his Bible and love Jesus. I love men, but I love Jesus MORE! And if I have to choose, which I feel I do. I will choose Jesus every time.

January 13, 2009 11:04 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

All life is a gift from God! Stop judging and just live your own. No one is asking people to condone something they don't believe or understand. Just stop choking oters with your religion. Its yours....live in it. You dont have a heaven or a hell to put anyone else in. So don't be mad because others choose to walk in THEIR truth. Clientel's experience is valid and true...BUT it is not a blanket expeperience for all Gay people. We are unique individuals. Get yourself right with GOD! You don't have to go to church for that...you don't even have to go to the Bible (in its trillions of manipulated versions)...GO TO GOD DIRECTLY!!!!!!!!!!! YOU'LL BE SUPRISED HOW MUCH RICHER YOUR LIFE BECOMES! GET IN TO IT PEOPLE! STAND IN YOUR LIGHT!

January 13, 2009 11:13 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Clientel, I disagree. I think it is both a doctrinal and emotional issue.

Think about it: would you continue to believe in something if it brought you no sense or sign of improvement in any area of your life? Our course not.

People believe in various religions because they ultimately they feel if their heart not only that their God is real, but because they feel their lives have improved for the better in following that God.

Also, if we were to apply the Madonna Rule, black folks should've left Christianity behind eons ago, since what was taught as doctrine for many years was that we were cursed because of our dark skin and were to serve as slaves to whites since we were inherently inferior. This is what God has intended.

Interracial couples should've also given up on Christianity, since it was taught that mixing of the races was against God and the natural order of things.

Dr. Martin Luther King should've never uttered a word of protest against the government's institutional racism, since by doing so he was violating Romans 13:1-2 which states: "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."

My point is that if the biblical interpretations of slavery, racism, interracial relationships and the equality of women have been challenged, reexamined and proven to be incorrect, why can't the same be true of homosexuality?

You're right. We have taken different paths. But think about your path. Would a loving God really want you to live what you yourself have called "a lonely hurtful existence"? Has it been His will for you to live in emotional turmoil for decades, with seemingly no end in sight, with feelings you say are just as strong as when you were a teenager? Waking up wishing you were in the arms of another man?

It just sounds like a form of emotional death.

January 13, 2009 5:44 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Maybe it's neither a gift or a curse.

January 13, 2009 11:43 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Is being heterosexual a gift from God? If so, why can't being gay be a gift from God also?

January 14, 2009 6:20 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

The fact that white racist used the Bible and God's decree against Ham in the Old Testament as an exuse for slavery is not an indictement of the Bible, but a false interpretation of scripture. They will have to stand before God for that.

I can't argue your point about Martin Luther King...that was an EXCELLENT POINT which I have no good answer for. (You get 25 points for that one..LOL)

But when all is said and done, my soul literally hurts when I'm with a man. I know in my heart I am sinning against God. And while I am a envious of those of you in happy relationships with men, my conscious and my spirit won't allow My love for men and my love for God to exist simultaneously and therefore, for me...God must win!

As I stated in the beginning, I like and respect this site, my gay brothers and sisters and the choices they make because God gave us all freewill. If God is going to judge us by the way we've lived our lives, then I believe we each have the right to live the way we seem fit.

Am I lonely, YES! But I have to believe my love for God will sustain me. I pray the same for you. I pray God blesses us both and opens our hearts to His Truth.

Good luck brother and thanks for a mature discussion amongst gay brothers with differing opinions. I really do appreciate it.

One more thing...
Not everyone who disagrees with the homosexuality is a bigot. There are many people out there who will hate us both because we are gay men. But please recognize that there are many heterosexuals who are also caught in between their gay friends and their God. And they like me are choosing God. That doesn't mean they hate homosexuals, it just means they are trying to stay true to God. (I am not talking about the hate spewers in pulpits that I have seen on this site before).

Not my will, or your will but His will be done.

Peace,
Clientel

January 14, 2009 1:08 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

"The other thing I wanted to say is, if I understood the reply to my question. It sounds like you are saying that the Bible is negotiable? Yes people "negotiated" with God but they did when there was an actual give and take with God or one of His Angels."

Oh and so these stories have NO relevance to explaining our relationship with God today? Well, that's your (convenient) interpretation. The legacy of abuse by Christians and Christianity also suggests we have to look at it this way so that "God", that is, people who claim to be speaking for God, isn't dictatorial of abusive.

"...when God actually told you he would relent from His opinions in the Bible and allow Homosexuality to be the norm"

I will tell you that it was the same time I realized the views of women, slavery and submission to "governing authority" (Rom. 13:1-7) weren't actually "His opinions."

"The fact that white racist used the Bible and God's decree against Ham in the Old Testament as an exuse for slavery is not an indictement of the Bible, but a false interpretation of scripture. They will have to stand before God for that."

This statement changes nothing about the fact that the Bible condones slavery and forbids resistance to the institution.

Furthermore, the use of biblical condemnations of specific expressions of "homosexuality" that were condemned because of their problematic cultural associations (slavery, prostitution, non-self-mastery), is also a misinterpretation. The way people understood same-sex acts in the ancient world was different from today, and so, Paul and others condemn them for reasons far different from the reasons the Church condemns them today.

And what about the references to women in the New Testament? Don't we reinterpret those?

Again, I say that you are eating up toxic theology because, apparently, you feel guilty about your sexuality. You assume you are doing God's will, but actually you are holding on to a socially induced guilt. That's a shame, but I'm not surprised. As I said, it is a classic pattern of religious abuse.

January 14, 2009 1:51 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

That was a fascinating exchange.

Clientel in particular was very interesting to me because those are not my experiences and I'd pretty much put my foot down on people with his perspective. I have not taken the time to hear them explain their thought process. That was very informative.

For what it's worth I do think religion is the major contributor to homophobia (internal and external). It's also been my experience that most self-proclaimed Christians are extremely judgmental and not the "love the sinner hate the sin" type that others have described.

Good work all.

January 15, 2009 1:38 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Everything we have and are is a gift of God. The Creator of All-That-Is does not make mistakes!
"There ARE no accidents."
The old "Bible is the ONLY inspired word of God" argument does not hold water - it is a belief.
We humans create religion to attempt to explain the mystery of life, and we create an image of God to reflect our current explanation!
What IS..., is THIS:
There is a certain percentage of humans who are attracted to members of their own sex.
AND
There are people who tell them how bad and wrong they are.
We're ALL here to learn, but it seems to me that trying to change people by telling them that what they are doing is WRONG, doesn't work anyway, but especially if the jury is still out about WHY those people they're trying to change do what they do.

January 15, 2009 9:50 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Clientel,
Good on you brother. I consider your position clear, precise and logical. Each of us has a choice to make based on the evidence.
I happen to believe that if one is not prepared to accept that the Bible is at odds with same-sex relationships, one should simply abandon the Bible. The two are not compatible. Many have already abandoned the Bible, and they are free to do so. I am not one of them.

My same-sex attractions have not gone away and I am younger than you by half. However, they have lessened somewhat over time. God might choose never to take these feelings away from me, but He will never give me more than I can bear.

I cannot, though, say that I live a lonely existence or that I wake up wishing I were in the arms of another man.

I do agree, though, that these feelings are not a blessing or a curse. They are what they are, and I don't even feel bad about them anymore.

You are fighting against an emerging culture though--one that has much different assumptions about God and His sovereignty, and who--from a traditional perspective--would seem to be trying to tell God on what terms He must accept them.
I will not be a part of that.

People have a right to live their lives the way they feel is right (with or without criticism).

January 18, 2009 11:20 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

honestly, I don't care what religious zealots and the bible have to say.
My orientation is a gift because it is part of what I am. I am happy to be me. I love being me. That is what fundamentalist Christians hate so much. They can't stand anyone affirming themselves.
I didn't need a pastor on Oprah to do it for me. I am wonderful and worthy just as I am.

January 22, 2009 5:37 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Clientel,

I was following all of what you said but do you really think that God wants you to live a "lonely & hurtful" existense? No! I too struggle with God & Gay but we both know that being gay is not a choice. I think you should continue to pray and let God show you the way. This life is already full of pain and strife, so I don't think you should intentionally deny yourself things like love and compnaionship.

-Mr. Me Too

February 05, 2009 12:53 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Wow! This was emailed to me by a friend. And I am thankful that he did. I consider myself a black gay Christian. I love my relationship with God, my church - the youth I work with. I am embraced in a congregation that is open and affirming and acknowledges the Yes for all of God's Creation. If you believe that Homosexuality is your cross to carry. Then, I choose to put God and the cross he gave me before me, and trust him to walk in the sunlight he gives me and work to show his love to mankind. I am glad to have a forum so that our community will engage in conversation about this. I feel we loose to many good faith believing individuals to the internal conflict with no place to turn for dialogue. It is my prayer, that as a community we will bridge the devide, and find commonality in the belief of one body and move to be a better people, better community, and better society.

June 12, 2009 10:19 AM

 

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