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Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Butt Sex
Now the title was meant to get your attention. Here's what I really want to say: Unless you are personally wrestling with your sexuality and how to honor God, let go and place the matter gently in Christ's hands. It's time for us to stop obsessing over the gay issue.

I attended a mainline church for a period of time and felt frustrated by the double-speak, (ie "We are a welcoming congregation, but homosexuals cannot serve in ordained positions." This is like serving biscuits with shit smeared on top. How much worse is it be stigmatized where you thought you were welcomed?

Now imagine this:

We welcome gluttons, but binge eaters cannot serve in ordained positions.

We welcome gossipers, but busybodies cannot serve in ordained positions

We welcome self-righteous people, but judgmental Christians cannot serve in ordained positions. Whoops, there go most pastors flying out of their pulpits!

Whatever our beliefs about homosexuality, we cannot make gays out to be any more or less sinful than anyone else.

After all, we may have different opinions on what is appropriate, godly sexuality for heterosexual people, but we don't usually make these opinions into convoluted, politically loaded official church statements! Church-sanctioned stigmatization of homosexuality is pointless, as well as damaging to our gay neighbors, whatever the beliefs and convictions of individual parishioners. Let's remember that God cherishes each gay human being just as much as his kids who stick with the heterosexual missionary position within a governmentally sanctioned liason.

if you've been spending more time fussing over what people do in their private bedrooms than uniting with folks of all faiths and orientations to help the sick, feed the hungry and comfort the prisoner, it's time to turn your orientation toward grace and refocus. Remember, the sheep and the goats were not distinguished by their preferred sexual modality, or their opinion on whether butts should be tattooed with an "exit only" sign.

Romans 14 has some nice stuff that can help us live with the ambiguities we face within ourselves and the differences we discover among one another:

"Give a welcome to anyone who is not strong, but do not get into arguments about doubtful points...It is to God, then, that each of us will have to give an account of himself." And for me, the ultimate litmus test is, "Does my theology enhance or hinder my ability to love my neighbor as myself?" Because if our beliefs limit out ability to love our brothers amd sisters, it's an indicater that we're also having trouble loving God.


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posted by Jemila Kwon at 1:09 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


15 Comments:


  • At 10/25/2006 01:50:00 PM, Blogger Doxallo

    Gee Jemila, tell us how you really feel.....

    :)

    I agree with you on 'our' focus, been sayin' that a long time. We treat some sins/behaviors very differently than others based on what's more socially acceptable or where we find ourselves....neither of which is a good plumbline.

     
  • At 10/25/2006 03:59:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    A BIG AMEN!....(and I am not real open with those Amen's)

    I appreciate your thoughts. This is one area I have completely flipped on this year. I went from passively going along with the fight against the "homosexual agenda" to half jumping into being a gay rights activist. I totally agree with your reasons. I have said many times, sin is sin (if you take the position that it is a sin). It's easy to focus on others "SINS" when I could analyze my own on a minute to minute basis. We like gossip, our food, our anger, our abuse of others, our addictions etc., but we really like to focus on others. Anything to not have to face our own problems.
    Funny little comment on this... I was talking to a family member recently, and they were mentioning how "Satan" liked to show up on Sunday's and cause problems when they were getting ready for church. She said for years, the family would fight every week on Sunday's. It was just a given. Well, I guess it couldn't be "our" behavior, it must be Satan. I have heard this many times before, but for the first time, I thought, "How come we don't take responsibility for our actions." There is something that seems to happen to many of us when we become "Christian". We inherit righteous soap boxes.

     
  • At 10/25/2006 05:51:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Hey - I don't want to fully jump in on this right now. Just want to give a reminder that there are people on this site whose committed reading of scripture leads them to believe that homosexuality as practiced today is not sin as well as people here who identify themselves as LGBT...

     
  • At 10/25/2006 06:16:00 PM, Blogger lydia

    This is one area I have completely flipped on this year

    I'd be curious to hear the story of how you changed your mind, Michele.

     
  • At 10/25/2006 06:40:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    I would like to add that I don't personally believe homosexuality is a sin; in fact I think reducing intimate relationships to the genitalia involved is a rather crass approach to human/God-given sexuality. It's almost a concession that romantic love boils down to carnal physicality, rather than a deeper love. Shouldn't committed, God-honoring love be about something more profound than parts that fit a certain way? These are my thoughts.

    Personally, apart from however Greek words are interpreted, I am okay with saying, "Paul got it wrong -- no offense to Paul, all followers of Christ get some things wrong along the way."

    However since I know that many genuine Christians have a conservative view/reading of scripture, my purpose was to lay out a way that everyone can move forward together without causing anyone to stumble, meaning leading them to either (a) reject their own conscience or b)stigmatize a human being made in God's image.

    Because the fact that Christians are so hung up on this issue is a stumbling block for secular people who've already delt with this and get that human beings are...well, human beings, all deserving of dignity and respect.
    None of us is perfect. Every one of us is beautiful.

    It's a shame for the church to be less accepting than the world...and regardless of our particular interpretations of scripture, we need to work on this together...

     
  • At 10/26/2006 07:18:00 AM, Blogger kpjara

    I always want to say something like...should divorced people be serving in ordained positions? After all the Bible talks about divorce!

    This was a wonderful post.

     
  • At 10/27/2006 10:35:00 AM, Blogger Michelle K

    I have to admit that when I first read this post yesterday I felt slapped. I am very new into the consideration of homosexuality being sin or not and therefore it is still worthy of consideration for me and I am not able just to say "oh .. let's just don't think about that anymore."

    I don't feel that homosexuals will go to hell anymore than I feel that any other person with sin will go to hell. I will not presume to be able to pass judgement on anyone's soul. That's between the person and God alone.

    However, while "to each his own" sounds easy enough I still have to consider generations to come. My children are very young. What I am after is an understanding of is it a sin or not so that I am able to make appropriate choices to what they are and are not around/taught/explained, etc.

    So, I will continue in my "what ifs" until I am able to get to some sort of choice or faith for my family and life and hopefully not at the expense of doing good for others. I do think that it's appropriate at times to stop, think through, re-set and then move forward. I think that's what I'm experiencing right now.

    Again, I am in no way suggesting that all people - regardless of their lifestyle and weaknesses (gluttony, lieing, whatever) do not deserve respect, love, and acceptance as individuals. I cannot, however, change what might truly be a Biblical standard against their behavior (not them as people, mind you, but their behavior) simply because it would be more convenient to do so.

    All of that to say, I just don't know and I wish God would email us all directly with a big form-memo explaining all of this stuff to us. :-)

     
  • At 10/27/2006 03:16:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Michelle K,

    I'm sorry you felt slapped. I should have been more sensitive about the timing of my post in relation to your comment about struggling with your understanding of the issue. You are on a journey, like we all are, and while I would challenge you to honor your questions without becoming preoccupide with coming to a conclusion, or letting sexual issues loom larger than other spiritual priorities, I respect that your process can't be forced, and no one has a right to take away your journey from you.

    Your comment hit a hot button issue for me in that, while not in terms of homosexuality, I have experienced God-loving man who has truly shown me the grace of Jesus. My friends were so preoccupide with their theology and wrestling with their opinion of what was right and trying to make a godly judgment that first they were unable to see the extent of the abuse and felt that because there was no penile penetration of another woman, I had no grounds for divorce; then when I finally found my dark night breaking into dawn through the love of my husband David, they were all tied up in knots and unable to just be happy for me that I found someone to love me and help heal all those wounds. These were very dedicated Christian young women with the best of intentions, but their preoccupation with their sexual theology totally inhibited their ability truly love me as a sister without judging me. My Christian sisters really let me down and broke my heart at a time my heart was already pretty extremely broken and just beginning to see some light...from my new husband who actually loved me and accepted me! I felt very alienated from Christianity and even God -- if that was the kind of God Christianity was about, and I struggled with bitterness for so long, and I am growing closer to God and healing and finally finding ways to love God and walk with Jesus authentically as who I am, but I still have miles go go in my healing journey, and I'm sensitive to those issues on behalf of others, including gay Christians.

    I don't honestly believe you can be preoccupide with a sin and truly love the sinner, esp when the "sin" is a big part of who the person is, like who they love. It's a matter of what's focused on, and in the case of sexual issues, too often a theological opinion becomes a roadblock to just relating and loving one another as human beings. This is my main concern.

    I also have young kids, and I totally understand your desire to have something to offer them in terms of your beliefs and values. At the same time, I think the best gift we can give our kids is the blessing of being loved and and having their own questions honored, and seeing that we ourselves are able to love God and others even as we hold our questions before the Holy One in grace and humility.

     
  • At 10/27/2006 03:32:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Somehow something got cut out of a paragraph in that last post, so a quick clarification:

    I married a guy who turned out to be abusive and unfaithful while I was attending an evangelical college

    That ended. David came into my life and has truly shown me God's love, grace and acceptance. We had a private, just us and God commitment ceremony a little over three years ago, and also one with a pastor present, but Uncle Sam doesn't know that we've decided to spend the rest of our lives together.

     
  • At 10/29/2006 09:37:00 AM, Blogger post-atheist

    i love the spirit of the comments and the original post. this is one of the most loving, intelligent and nuanced discussions on this topic that i've encountered in the emerging church.

    i just want to add a couple of thoughts.

    first: homosexuality is not "practiced." it's an identity position much like being female, or jewish, or pakastani is an identity position. in fact, as far as i know it's the only identity that is considered a sin. it is not like lying, or committing adultery, or stealing, or killing.

    second: i love that kpjara brought up the issue of divorcees. the current discourse about "the gay issue" is similar to that which took place regarding divorce decades ago. this actually came up at EC '04 (Tennessee) in one of campolo's sessions (what a firecracker, that one! tony campolo is an incredible speaker). campolo welcomes gay people into the church, but they are only welcome if they abstain from being in relationship with someone of the same sex. a very astute young woman pointed out that he doesn't require divorced people who have remarried to abstain from sex to be members or even leaders.

    his response? a very thoughtful pause (something out of character for him, i assure you) and a remark that he can't promise that his theology is always consistent, but that he's doing the best he can.

    *

    what struck me is that everyone is so interested in talking about "the gay issue" but there aren't actually any gay folks involved in the conversation.

    and who could be surprised? if you were african american would you want to engage in communities and conversations which asked "what are we going to do about the blacks?!?" how about a conversation that asked "what are we going to do about the women?"

    i think the emerging church needs to choose different language when speaking about these things. the language that jemila, doxallo and others have used in this forum is a great start.

     
  • At 10/29/2006 03:41:00 PM, Blogger Sarcastic Lutheran

    Thanks for starting this post.
    Here are some thoughts -

    There are those of us out here who read the passages from the BiBle that pertaiin to homosexuality as condemning sexual violence, not gay people.

    In my theological purview it is difficult to picture a God who would not support love and commitment in a world so desperately in need of both.

    I don't think God cares about sex. I think God cares about hurting others and hurting ourselves (through sex, words, images, consumption, commerce, you name it)

    I am deeply committed to a denomination who does not allow non-celebate homosexuals to serve in ordained positions and this is deeply difficult for me. I have (as have many others) decided I love the Lutheran church too much to leave it as it is. We will not be silent, or silenced.

    The whole "love the sinner, hate the sin" in reference to gays is total bull-shit to me. We could say this about abusive partners, the promiscuous (straight or gay), white collar criminals, any other collar criminal etc. But not gay people, or short people or Republicans, or people with bad hair (no matter how much we'd like to)

    Can we please stop using scripture to proof-text our own bigotry...it has also been used to keep women out of ordained ministry, to uphold the legitimacy of slave-holding, to justify genocide etc...Find something else to help you hate who you hate.

     
  • At 10/29/2006 10:27:00 PM, Blogger Amy

    This is a great post...and very thought provoking for me. Like Michelle K, I'm pretty new to this particular conversation.

    Interestingly, a concern in my church/denomination as we address women in ministry is how then do we address homosexuality.

    I'm still working through this. Coming from a pretty fundamentalist background, it's definately different than what I was brought up with! Thanks for everyone's thoughts. I appreciate it.

     
  • At 10/30/2006 07:34:00 AM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    I really appreciate everyone's honesty in a spirit of community on this post. As we hear each other's stories, perhaps hearts will find a resonance with God's Spirit even before minds are fully resolved...because minds are literally made of convulted pieces of slimy white matter, (I'm not dissing the the importance of using our brains, just putting it into perspective,) But where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, and this is often the highest place we can meet and love those who are different than we are in profound and little ways.

     
  • At 11/02/2006 01:25:00 AM, Blogger Donny

    Fantastic blog entry! So many Christians need to read this.

     
  • At 9/21/2007 10:36:00 AM, Blogger Hopgoblin5

    The teachings of the Catholic church are so outdated, they make radical Islam look like a girlscout cookout. I especially like the one about how unbaptized babies go to Limbo! Also the fact that if you commit suicide (mental illness) you go to hell. Why not then have a sexual act then also lead to an eternity in the fire with our good buddy Lucifer?

     

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