Jennifer Knapp: Let the Judgment Begin!


Jennifer Knapp

After over a 7 year break from music, Jennifer Knapp announces the release of her new album, and reveals her same sex relationship of 7 years in an interview with Christianity Today. (full article)

What will her fans do? How will she be treated in the Christian community?

Here’s my proposal:

Let the Judgment Begin!

(on ourselves)

Ask yourself a few important things:
What in your life should you look at more deeply?

If you like to come up with decisions about people, is it to make you feel better? And what other ways could work better?

What is your hidden payoff for taking the focus off your growth to focus on someone else’s shortcomings?

Are you hospitable?

Are you welcoming?

Are you loving?

Are you gracious with the same amount of grace you’ve been given?

Could these areas improve?

Let’s get serious, and List a few ways how we could work toward our own improvement, through God’s grace.

What does speaking any ill of Jennifer Knapp do for our practice of hospitality?

Or, for our Christ-likness?

Or, for our growing in the Love of Christ?

Do Christians HAVE TO be the best at shooting our own wounded ones?

Please, I beg you, no.

Let us enter into a concerted time of Spirit-led introspection, discovery, confession (to both God and each other), repentance, accountability, and ongoing, loving discipleship–in unity.

Sometimes these types of personal revelations seem interesting or fascinating–along the lines of scandal, intrigue, and excitement. Yet, it’s dangerous to fixate with our idle curiosity on public figures, like Knapp, or the ordinary people we know. It’s distracting. It misses the lesson. It skirts the point of the Kingdom.

The truth is, men and women like Knapp are in pews, or they are afraid to be, and they are on the fringes. They feel like they have to choose between being secretive, or being pushed out of the church community. If we had Christ-like hospitality, we would know about them. We would walk *with* them, not just talk *about* them.

But more importantly, if we weren’t so concerned about Knapp, in a judgmental way, we could do the deeper, and far harder work of looking within, and allowing God to work his sanctifying agency.

I pray no one vilifies Jennifer, rejects her, or condemns her. But, I think it will happen. The temptation is just so irresistible.  Laying waste to those anything like Knapp is so common, that it hardly seems wrong to our conscience, in general. We have this corny idea of righteous indignation, to give us motivation. But guess what? It’s more irresistible to gossip under the cover of righteous indignation, and far more common than same gender attraction! If we only had righteous indignation for our own problems, first, or ever! Imagine the spiritual growth then.

I don’t think we should applaud her, or marginalize her, but rather know that her journey is neither  yours, or mine, directly. When I think of her, I think of the words Jesus said.

Matt.9:11-12When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”

BUT-Here’s the distinction. I know this verse is about me. If you don’t realize you need God, and you need help, well, you won’t get any.

Besides that, It saddened me to read that in the article with CT, Jennifer said she was not involved in a church family now. We all need community, to be our best. What could be more beneficial to her than to be surrounded and supported by brothers and sisters in the faith? She dearly loves God. She continues to sing to him, and seek him, unabashedly. Now is not the time to focus on her particular statements, though. We have greater work to do. It’s the kind where personal change is truly possible–the kind within ourselves.

Let us love one another, for everyone who does not love, does not know God.

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18 responses to “Jennifer Knapp: Let the Judgment Begin!

  1. Great title and great post. This really is a time for us to do a bit of introspection.

  2. Lisa, as I announced on Face Book—YOU, Girl, are my Official Hero of the Week.

    And, you are a Mother. And as I discern a lovely mother at that.

    I too am a mom of four magnificent, thankfully adult sons and a daughter. What a blessing to know and love and share Jesus with these 4 tremendous people — each of whom LOVES JESUS–in a particular and unique way.

    And, one of my beloveds has 2 things in common with Jennifer Knapp: Loves Jesus in Song; in a same-sex relationship.

    What we do:

    We LOVE each of these rockin-awesome people with the endless Love of Jesus Christ…

    …and we do them all the great honor of Staying OUT of their sex lives.

    And we really appreciate it that they stay out of ours—cause, frankly they’d be SHOCKED! 🙂

    Smiles and Jesus and Love to you!

    Thanks for standing for Righteousness and Love

  3. Pingback: A Wrap on Knapp: Ending Our Celebrity Proxy Wars | :: in.a.mirror.dimly ::

  4. This view definitely seems in keeping with ‘what Jesus would do.’ When I had a lesbian boss at some point, I decided it was for God to judge–not me. She was fair, loving, considerate and a great Mom. She was kind beyond anyone I’d known besides my husband, so I couldn’t judge her myself although I did not understand nor imbrace the lifestyle myself. This issue is being pushed to the forefront of our society like others considered shocking in generations before this one. I’m not comfortable with it, and like lots of issues in life, it seems bigger than I can ‘wrap my mind around’. I opt for the loving approach as well–and yes…I have my own ‘issues’ to deal with and will move on dealing with them and let God and Jennifer deal with hers. And…she is not the only person outside the church. Lots of people do not feel accepted within the walls of a church…sadly…she’s not alone.

  5. I have to say that I had my reservations about responding to your post. Not because it wasn’t loving or inclusive to the LGBT community, but because I am the very person, among many that have felt punished and pushed out by the Christian community. Hence, my past experiences instinctively tell me to brace myself from your readership comments. As you know, there are many “religious” disagreements between the LGBT community and mainstream Christianity; however, there is one thing that most of us have in common, our love for God. With this in mind, what keeps the LGBT community from engaging within congregations are the very people that preach the word of God. Yes, we can intellectually and emotionally disagree on bible verses and direct revelations from “Religious Leaders,” but when we explore the boundaries of hatred both communities lose out. The LGBT community has been just as responsible for responding in kind. You couldn’t have said it better when you wrote, “If we had Christ-like hospitality, we would know about them;“ indicating a separateness. Perhaps if both communities loved each other unconditionally, without judgment, we could begin to remember our kinship, while there is no need to say, “I don’t embrace this lifestyle” or alternatively, “Jesus, please save me from your followers.” Personally, I’m grateful for setting the example for others to witness. Perhaps love for all of our sisters and brothers can be taught by the clarity of our examples. As a side note, I applaud Jennifer Knapp for “coming out.” For some people, it literally means the difference between life and death. Honestly, I’m not sure what is worst in God’s eyes – the person who was emotionally unstable and took their life or the people that turned their backs; Certainly a universal moment for pause. As always, your unconditional love for others radiates for all to see. xxoo

    • I deeply appreciate your response, Kim.
      I know you’ve suffered a lot with your decision to be openly lesbian, and the rift between you and unloving Christians has been very painful. I realize there are many who become emotionally tortured to not be able to tell their true feelings, even to the point of death. If Christians realized how bad it was, I do think more grace and compassion would abound. Thank you for pointing that piece of it out. I felt that your response would add insight that can be hard to find in the Christian community. I hope your thoughts help others to have a more stereoscopic perspective of the issue.

      And I have to say, I think your response was exceedingly gracious, considering some of the awful things people who say the love God have said to you, and your friends. how hard it must be to not want to chuck it all, when it seems like all Christians are against you.

      We go back close to 20 years, (dang-that sounds like we’re 80 years old or something. Maybe I should have said 7 years,) and your friendship has always been a source of kindness and refreshment to me. You bless me. Thank you for pushing through, and doing me this favor.

      Perhaps new paths can be forged together with all who call God, Lord of their lives; and all who wish to be more gracious and loving people in this world. Nothing would please me more.

      May the God of all creation pour out his Spirit on you, and fill you with Divine words, and further grace and love, as you encounter those who are hurting. You have a unique position to reach others with God’s redeeming love.

      Lisa

  6. @ lisacolondelay: Your post gave me something to think about. I agree wholeheartedly that each one of us must examine his/her own self first and foremost. The scripture speaks of speaking truth in love, and I believe that this is what we must do. While it would not be Christ-like to unleash condemnation on Knapp or anyone else, it would also not be Christ-like to completely ignore the proclamations of scripture. Christ Himself said that the scripture cannot be broken. The Christian should know and strive to practice what the Scripture teaches about sexual morality, especially regarding:
    * Adultery and lust (Matthew 5:27-28)
    * Fornication (I Corinthians 7:1-2)
    * Homosexuality (Romans 1:26-27)

    The purpose of knowing and asserting these facts is not to “clobber” Jennifer Knapp or anyone else. Indeed, whenever we see a brother or sister stumble, our eyes should first be on our own selves, to make sure that we don’t fall. Maybe I’m not tempted by homosexuality, but I could be tempted by lust. However the scripture does tell us to correct those who are “overtaken in any trespass” with a “spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” I don’t think that this means that random people should correct such a person, but rather a person who is close to our has a relationship to the person, whether familial or parochial, should be doing that. It would be just as unloving to condone or sanction the sin of someone as it would be to condemn and verbally blast that person. This is a command that is not an easy one for me, either. I am not a confrontational person, I am the sort of person who would rather just be quiet and keep to himself. But we also remember that there our times where we must correct those believers who are close to us who seem to be falling into sin (remember, Galatians 6:1 commands us to do this). And this must be done, of course, after some introspection (Matthew 7:3), and those who struggle with same sex attraction should be welcomed and accepted, and not condemned, and reminded that it is not a sin to be tempted. Indeed, many heterosexual believers struggle with sins such as lust yet are able to maintain celibate lives. God does love each one of us, but His grace to us is not to be used as a reason to sin (Romans 6:1-2); this is a sobering thought for all of us.

    When I share the scriptural position on homosexuality (or any other point) with people, I try to be as factual as possible, not using Knapp or any other person as a “case in point.” People tend to take things very personally if you direct it toward them specifically, but if you merely share what God has said about homosexuality “in general,” any reasonably intelligent adult can make the extrapolation from the general command to the specifics of his/her own life without any help.

    @dee: The issue is not whether a person who is in “y” kind of relationship is just as good and loving of a person in other areas of his/her life; the issue is whether the behavior in question or not is sin. Unfortunately, when discussing with the LGBT community, so much of the discussion is emotive, with hate-filled rhetoric coming from the extreme right (a la Westboro Baptist Church), and emotive rhetoric coming from the left about how “loving” a certain homosexual person.

    You can see the faultiness in logic by removing emotion-laden terms from the equation, as follows:

    Person A is predisposed to behavior “Y”
    Person A therefore regularly engages in behavior “Y”
    Person A is kind, generous, and loving in other areas of his life.
    Therefore, behavior Y is okay.

    This is just faulty logic; there are persons who are very loving, kind, and generous who might commit adultery, fornication, or even pedophilia; that does not mean that these acts are okay (I think everyone would agree that the last behavior is totally abominable; I am not suggesting that homosexuality is as bad as pedophilia, I am just using this as an example).

    Unfortunately, what I have seen lacking from the LGBT community is sound Biblical exegesis that supports their position. I am really open to anyone showing me that the Bible supports a LGBT lifestyle…however, I have not seen anything to date to support such a proposition.

    With much charity,

    Jack

  7. Correction: Three lines above the Galatians 6:1 references should read “there are times” instead of “there our times.” I’m really not illiterate, I just wrote in a hurry.

    -Jack

  8. I can really appreciate the most recent posts stating that we must follow the “proclamations of scripture.” With this in mind, here are a few scriptures to consider: (content provided by answering-christianity.com)

    1. Exodus 21:32 “If the bull gores a male or female slave, the owner must pay thirty shekels of silver to the master of the slave, and the bull must be stoned. (but not to death)”

    2. Leviticus 25:44-46 “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.”

    3. Colossians 3:22 “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.”

    Here are some questions that come to mind: Why are some bible passages read literally and others are read in generational context. In terms of provided a sound “Biblical exegesis” how is this possible when the bible displays a true dichotomy of sorts. Isn’t the reference of homosexuality in Romans (the OT) just as valid at the reference of slavery in Leviticus? (OT) Why is one greater or the other negated?

    Just some food for thought.

  9. Kim,
    There are many different ways these passages are addressed, but generally we need to try to figure out cultural differences and the ways that God’s dealings with humanity have evolved over time. Some see more change over time than others.

    In other words, the passages in Exodus and Leviticus were quite liberal and revolutionary for their time. God pushed the limits of that time. It’s not like he’s going to drop 21st century values into the ancient times. He challenges us where we’re at. That leaves a very tricky task for us in interpreting the Bible. How far should we take this? That’s where there are disagreements.

    All Christians understand this to a certain degree, but contextually speaking, homosexual practice is listed in the New Testament along with other things that clearly sins. So, do we see evolution for this one practice despite the context, or do we group it with the other “sins” mentioned in the NT. That’s what makes this a tough one that will never quite reach a consensus. I can understand where both sides of this issue are coming from.

  10. Hi Ed,

    Thanks for your input. Here is what is confusing me…. If the bible should be viewed with cultural differences in mind, does this negate the passage? In other words, what negates the passage of slavery but not of homosexuality? Culture? If this is so, is it possible those who were living during slave times could have legitimately used the bible to promote their cause? Also, where is homosexuality listed in the New Testament? Thanks again for your input. I appreciate the conversation.

  11. @Kim: I have neither the time nor the expertise to give a comprehensive answer on the slavery question, as this is probably a nuanced topic about which entire books could be written, and which I have delved into only at the surface level myself. There are a few facts:

    1. In the OT, slavery is permitted in order to subjugate conquered peoples, and for the payment of debts.

    2. In the NT, slavery is permitted, with the caveat that the master treat the slave with kindness.

    As Americans, we tend to apply these verses to the slavery history of our own nation, but this is probably a misapplication. Although many Southerners used verses such as mentioned by Kim to support slavery during the Civil War and pre Civil War days, I believe that there are other Biblical teachings that supervene over the American slavery situation per se. Let’s look at I Timothy 1:8-11:

    8We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9We also know that law[a] is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

    The word above rendered “slave traders” is rendered “kidnappers” by other translations. African Americans who were slaved by white Americans in the 1700’s and 1800’s were basically descendants of Africans who were unlawfully kidnapped by wealthy Europeans, and were often handed over to the latter by their own people for a sum of money. Even if one follows a very literal, straightforward interpretation of the scriptures, there was no grounds for enslaving the Africans in the first place (either on the grounds of national subjugation or of indebtedness), so holding their descendants as slaves would not be justifiable Biblically. It would be tantamount to walking down the street and konking someone upside the head, tying him up, and calling him your slave. Such random enslavement is not permitted by scripture, so Southern slave owners had no justification in holding African descendants as slaves.

    As for reconciling these commands of scripture with our more “modern” view on the subject, I think that one can see hints in the NT of a more progressive attitude toward slavery; masters are commanded to show kindness to their slaves, to remember that they, too, have a master in Heaven. One entire book of Scripture, Philemon, is basically a treatise written to a slaveowner, entreating him to welcome back his runaway slave with kindness. Slavery in the NT is becoming less and less like “true” slavery than it was in the OT…in the OT, if I remember correctly, masters were allowed to beat their slaves; this seems to go against the spirit of the NT passages on slavery. Later in Christian history, many devout Christians supported the abolitionist movement, based on their own Christian faith.

    One could argue that, just as God allowed divorce “because of the hardness of your hearts” in the OT, so God also allowed slavery to continue as the status quo in the OT because of the hardness of people’s hearts. We might wish that God had given the Israelites stricter standards, but one need only look at how poorly they behaved with the minimal standards they were given; scripture bears record that Israel turned from God time and time again during this OT period.

    I think that the important thing to remember is that the NT church did not exist to act as a force of social change; it existed to proclaim the Gospel of Christ;(in fact, the whole idea of social change is probably a modern concept that never even entered into most people’s minds during ancient times). Of course, as the Gospel spread and won people’s hearts, societies would change in definite ways, but change of the individual heart is always the key in Christian theology–people change, and then societies. Paul instructed the Romans to obey the emperor, who was actually an evil and self-serving man. There was no idea of some sort of widespread movement that was going to change the structure of society. And from reading the Church Fathers, especially, one can see with distinction certain differences between the Christians of the 1st and 2nd centuries and their Roman counterparts; Christians didn’t leave unwanted newborns out to die, for example, as was Roman practice.

    I think the key difference between these verses and the homosexuality passages is that few people, at least in the Western World, have an axe to grind with the slavery issue anymore. Legalized slavery is in the living memory of no one in the United States, and since slavery is not commanded by scripture, no one can be said to be “wrong” by not owning slaves. However, people do have axes to grind vis a vis issues such as homosexuality and divorce in the Scriptures; I think that having such personal stakes in an issue should give one a reason to take pause when examining these verses. If one’s main reason for believing homosexuality to bo an OK is one’s own propensity to behave in that fashion, then one should exercise caution lest one one be misled by one’s own desires. None of us wants to admit to being fundamentally flawed, though I think all of us are (though we are all tempted by different things and in different ways). I think this sober warning applies not only to homosexuality, but to other issues of our daily lives that are touched upon in scripture.

  12. Hi Jack,

    For not having too much time, you have provided a valuable contribution to this discussion. Thank you! I appreciate your theological approach to this subject. I agree that biblical interpretations have evolved. Indeed, the bible challenges us to not only use our minds but also render what is within our hearts.

    As a gay woman, I can honestly say that the only angst I have experienced has been extended from God’s followers rather than from God himself. I’m sure you would agree that hate crimes of any sorts are not only illegal but also against God’s nature – one of love and inclusiveness. However, I think the true distinction between Slavery and Homosexuality is one of control. In other words, traditional slavery can be described as one controlling another against their will. Homosexuality is a consensual emotional and physical love for another person of the same gender.

    What interests me is why someone outside of -that loving experience- has an “axe to grind.” I have always believed that when a person’s need to be right is more important then their need to “seek to understand,” there is a struggle. I’m convinced that the topic of homosexuality is more about control rather then trusting the diversity of God’s children. Sadly, the more I listen to right-wing biblical conservatives, I’m inclined to believe that the bible is made up of stories that fit one’s ideology. For example, with the reversal of Prop 8 in California, one of the legal supporters of Prop 8 stated, “God was punishing California.” (Blank face) I can even remember when Pat Roberts said that 911 was God’s way of punishing America for her homosexuality. I really thought that the more time I spent with heterosexual Christians, the more I would understand the anti-gay sentiment. However, most of what I see is hate, anger and angst. Yet, I know not all Christians are like this. Much like Lisa, who publishes this Blog, there are those who really seek to understand and love without judgment. Is it possible that both homosexuals and Christians are encouraged to love each other unconditionally? I’m really trying.

    In terms of control, I think this struggle is most evident in our social consciousness of slavery. Even though we do not have a “living memory” of slave times, the African American community (and many others) still experiences the repercussion of being considered “less then.” The “living memory” of slavery has passed through their rich culture of oral interpretation of the past. Without a doubt, our history books remind children of all races of such atrocities. However, the divide between not-Whites and Whites are more statistically evident in the dollar ratio and professional glass ceiling.

    As a final thought, after all of this conversation, there is something to be said that we are listening to each other. White, African American, Heterosexuals, Homosexuals, male, woman, etc. I believe we are all children of God/Universe/All that IS. Perhaps there are those reading this thread that will find one moment in time to be truly spiritually introspective. There really is purpose in all things.

    • Thank you, Ed, Jack and Kimmie for keeping your thoughts/posts on an urbane level. I notice you have all purposefully intended to be kind and create dialogue and understanding, rather than sound off (think: clanging cymbal.)

      Surely-The area of homosexuality is a lightening rod topic. I realize Scripture has been twisted to support just about every perspective on the topic. Ah, hermeneutics!

      Rather than simply use Scripture as a way to come to truth on topic in and of themselves, I have come to learn from the God of the Scripture to understand Truth (Who a Person). God and his standards give us much to live up to, but they provide the basis for our attitude and actions. The more we are born of God (like “him”) the more we will be balanced, loving, merciful, just, and good. We all fall short of these things. Let grace abound. Lord, have mercy on us.

      Kimmie, I thank you for approaching this topic with grace. It’s a very personal issue for you, not just a theory or doctrinal system, or just a hot button item on which you have an opinion. You help us understand from the down-to-earth human side of things better than we can without your help. I’d like to say that you have grown a lot in this way in the nearly 20 years I’ve known you. I am grateful for your insights. There had been such (understandable) hurt, pain, and sensitivity on the topic, that you weren’t willing to discuss too much on the topic, and had a lot of anger towards detractors that would bring out the fiery Italian side of you! It seems God through the Holy Spirit has worked on your heart to heal some of those wounds. You have emerged to a level of grace and love few of us can say we’ve attained.

      Just to be sure everyone knows, including you, Kimmie:
      Kim: you are my dear friend. period. I have valued you, and I always will. You mean a lot to me, and you are precious to my heart.

      A respectful conversation avails much good, though often, in the end, many of us will not be swayed from are starting points. Even when we haven’t changed our minds, it is my deepest hope that love will flourish, that understanding–on a human level–will increase, and that compassion all the way around will not just win the day, but the minute.

      It is the wise and mature among us who aren’t neither shocked nor offended when our words fail to convince others. And more importantly, it is those who seek reconciliation and shalom as a first priority, rather than administering change through persuasion or other means, are to whom we should aspire.

  13. @Kim: I am sorry if other Christians have treated you hatefully in the past. I have been trying to share my own Biblical stance on this subject honestly and thoughtfully. I hope that my posts have helped you in your understanding of what the Bible says on this. I will post more tomorrow as I am out of time for the day.

    -Jack

  14. @Lisa, Thank you so much for your kind, acknowledging and loving words. I have to say when I first began reading your blog I was scared. Scared because I thought perhaps I would permit the opinions of others to make me feel “bad” about myself and my life choices. Yet, it has been so refreshing to have an open dialog with clearly different points of view. One thing I know for sure – unconditional love for others – really does tower over negativity of all types; both pro and con of the homosexual cause. Again, thank you for growing and learning with me. We’ve had some engaging and enlightening conversations throughout the 20 years! I’m grateful for all of those moments. Grateful that you have the courage to encourage inclusiveness of all peoples in God’s community. I like how that sounds – God’s community. I’m encouraged to continue to inspire others in the Gay community that they are not alone.

    @Jack. Thank you for your kind words. There are many, both heterosexual and homosexual, that have experienced hate crimes. I suppose the operative word is “hate” in general, rather then gender preference. Thank you for sharing your perspective on the bible and it’s interpretations. I’m okay with agreeing and respectfully disagreeing within the topic of discussion. It’s wonderful to have this open dialog. One thing is for sure – we both believe in God. And, that feels good and right to me.

    Everyone have a wonderful weekend. =)

    ps. Pray for me. I’ve had pneumonia all week. LOL Unbelievable!

  15. As promised, I am continuing my post. I don’t have internet at home and have to use the internet at McDonald’s when I want to use it; they practically had to kick me out of the place last night as they were closing, hence my relatively short post.

    Kim, before I continue, I want to give you some background on myself, so that you understand where I come from. I grew up in a loving home. My dad went to church off and on when I was growing up, and he encouraged me to come with him, which I often did. However, faith was never something that was forced upon me; in my family it was a matter of one’s own personal choice.

    My own views on homosexuality have changed over the years as I have grown and matured. When I first heard of it when I was about nine years old, I thought it was just totally bizarre, almost like a joke. This was more of a kneejerk reaction than a well thought-out position, and as I entered young adolescence and was exposed to popular media on the subject, I came to hold a more liberal view toward homosexuality, sort of a “live and let live” attitude; at this point I even thought that homosexuality might not even be immoral at all. What really struck my young mind was the fact that certain adults in my family (who shall remain nameless) would tell me that homosexuality was wrong and would make reference to the Bible, yet I knew for a fact that these adults rarely even read the Bible at that time, let alone applied it to their own lives. That seemed a little hypocritical to me, and I think that the more liberal view toward homosexuality stayed with me for awhile.

    I came to know Christ at 14 years old, as a freshman in high school. For me, this was a life-changing experience. Although I had always been a “good” kid, I just realized that I needed God. I began reading the Bible profusely, no longer content with learning about God only in Church. I wanted to know for sure what the truth was, especially regarding many important topics such as the deity of Christ, etc. As I studied the scriptures, I came to the my own conclusion that the scriptures taught that homosexual behavior was wrong.

    My own position on the issue having changed several times, I can understand where people are coming from who believe that homosexual behavior is acceptable. If I were coming from a purely human perspective, without using the Bible, I might very well come to the same conclusion.
    “What interests me is why someone outside of -that loving experience- has an “axe to grind.” I have always believed that when a person’s need to be right is more important then their need to “seek to understand,” there is a struggle.”

    This is not an issue that I have a lot of personal stake in; I have had only one good friend in my life who was a homosexual. At the time he told me, he was not in any relationship. I let him know my stance on it based on the Bible, as kindly and lovingly as I could. However, if someone were able to prove to me from the Bible that homosexual relationships were acceptable, I don’t think that would be Earth-shattering for me, or that it would change my whole theology. The reason I hold the position that I do is not because I don’t like anyone being “different” or because I’m just old-fashioned really like the status quo; it’s simply because I happen to believe in the authority of the Bible, and the Bible uses language that is very strong and, I think, clear in defining homosexual behavior as sin.

    I think that the Bible challenges the behavior of each one of us, albeit in different ways. Consider the following passages, all from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:

    28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

    32But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

    44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?

    The area of sexual temptation is one where most of us adults fall short; even while attempting to live a chaste, single life, how often do we fall short of obeying Matthew 5? (It troubles me deeply when professing Christians condemn homosexuality and yet commit sins such as fornication or adultery in violation of God’s commands. God’s commands challenge us all, yet they are not burdensome; as I John says, those who are born of God are able to overcome the world.). How many Christians give up on their marriages and remarry against the command of Matthew 5:32 (As an aside, this is an issue that is a very personal one to me, since there are many individuals in my family who are dear to me, several of them Christians, who have divorced and remarried; although I cannot judge for sure whether there was “marital unfaithfulness” in any of these cases, I do believe in Christ’s words here and I want to apply them in my own life if I ever do become married.

    “However, I think the true distinction between Slavery and Homosexuality is one of control. In other words, traditional slavery can be described as one controlling another against their will. Homosexuality is a consensual emotional and physical love for another person of the same gender.”

    Generally, the conservative position, which I more or less hold to, is that homosexual behavior is what the Biblical passages are teaching is wrong. Merely having a certain emotional attachment to another person, even a person of the same gender, is not Biblically wrong. In fact, certain non-sexual expressions were acceptable between members of the same gender in 1st century Christian culture, for example, the “holy kiss” of Christian fellowship.

    A more moderate view is one that I have only ever seen propounded by one person, the evangelical moderate Tony Campolo. Campolo agrees with the conservative, based on the applicable Biblical passages, thathomosexual behavior is wrong, but he thinks that those who are attracted to those of the same sex should be allowed to share a life and a home together, provided they remain celibate. Although this is an interesting position that could spur some interesting dialogue, I think that such living arrangements would make a physical consummation of the relationship more likely, human nature being what it is.

    One who holds to a more liberal view might believe these scriptures such as Romans 1 speak only of wanton lust, not of a loving, committed relationship between those of the same gender. I simply must respectfully disagree with that position. Paul uses very strong language: “God gave them over,” and calls the behavior “perversions.” Here is the whole passage, for your own reading:

    24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
    26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In 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.”

    Paul is using the example of men and women who “exhanged natural relations for unnatural ones” as an example of mankind’s general turning away from God; he also uses the example of worshipping created beings as an example of this turning away from God. This is very strong language; unlike other passages in I Corinthians 6 or in Leviticus 21, its interpretation doesn’t hinge on the meaning of one Greek word or on the current applicability of certain portions of the Mosaic law. Also, Paul is apparently making a logical equation here:

    Unnatural relations: women with women, or men with men.
    Natural relations: Men with women

    Some have interpreted the word “unnatural” in the above passages as meaning “unnatural for them,” i.e. this is speaking only of persons with heterosexual orientations who commit homosexual acts. However, as Dr. William Lane Craig has noted, the concept of a sexual orientation is largely a 20th century concept that probably never entered into the minds of Paul or any of the other Biblical writers. In the Biblical system, people are defined by the acts that they commit.

    “Sadly, the more I listen to right-wing biblical conservatives, I’m inclined to believe that the bible is made up of stories that fit one’s ideology. For example, with the reversal of Prop 8 in California, one of the legal supporters of Prop 8 stated, “God was punishing California.” (Blank face) I can even remember when Pat Roberts said that 911 was God’s way of punishing America for her homosexuality. I really thought that the more time I spent with heterosexual Christians, the more I would understand the anti-gay sentiment. However, most of what I see is hate, anger and angst.”

    I have tried to keep this discussion as cordial and logical as possible. Indeed, I think God commands this in I Timothy 2:24: “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” Sadly, the only voice of the church that the unchurched in America often hear is that of a Falwell proclaiming God’s wrath on homosexuals or some other “out” group. I think that no one, short of being a Prophet, can truly discern God’s intentions in allowing disasters and atrocities. In Luke 13, Christ warned us against assuming that persons who fall victims to tragedy are any worse sinners than any other people. Moreover, there practices in America other than homosexuality that are described as sins in the Bible that are far more common: e.g. Premarital relations (fornication) are virtually the rule in America, with celibacy before marriage being the rare exception; divorce and remarriage are so common in this country that family therapists now view them as being a “normal” part of the family life cycle.

    I think that I was blessed by God to learn at a very young age how to respectfully dialogue with others; I think that I partially learned this by carefully observing dialogues and debates that tended to deteriorate into emotive rhetoric, and avoiding the mistakes that those debaters made. I think that respect is the key; this is what Christ was teaching when he told us to love our enemies. If I am to love my enemies, then by logical extension, I am to love everyone. This does not necessarily mean being mealy-mouthed and never challenging someone (for sometimes love includes correcting someone who has gone wrong), but it does mean that I am called to love as Christ did…as you know, Christ loved us all the way to the Cross. I never could see this love of Christ in persons when they use pejorative terms against homosexuals or glibly command them to repent and yet won’t extend to them a helping hand.

    May God lead us all to a greater understanding of Him, through the Spirit of His Son.

  16. One more quick thing I meant to put in my post but forgot: I am currently a single man of 28 years. I do believe that God commands celibacy outside of the covenant of marriage…this is not an easy thing, especially in our often overly libidinous society. I believe that what God asks of homosexuals is the same thing that he asks of unmarried heterosexuals, the very thing that Christ lived out in his own life: Celibacy. I know that celibacy is not “cool” in our society, and I don’t yet know how my own life will play out: I may end up being unmarried my whole life. Although I used to think that never being married would be miserable and unhappy, I have slowly come to realize (and have to remind myself often) that His grace is more than enough, and that living life His way is far better than the transient pleasures that the world offers.