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Source: (consider it) Thread: Homosexuality and Christianity
Luke

Soli Deo Gloria
# 306

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*snip*
quote:
But my co-workers? My aunts and uncles? It's simply not my place to comment on their choices, unless they ask my opinion.
*snip*
quote:
There's a limit to "mind your own business," of course.
well I think we’d almost agree except of course on the matter of whether or not homosexual relationships are a sin. I said earlier that...
quote:
I also weigh up how well I know them and consider the fact someone else might already be talking to them about it.
So yes it does depend on your relationship to the person.

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Emily's Voice

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Righteous Rebel
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Kelly Alves, in response to your question as to whether or not the gay community is divided on whether or not civil rights and gay rights are one and the same, I should properly and more clearly say, it is a topic of lively discussion, especially among those in the gay community who practice law or are involved in advocacy groups. I too wish the church were more open to homosexual Christians; after all, they greet former criminals, drug addicts, alcoholics and "closet" spouse beaters, )among others. Many years ago -way back in the early '80s, when I pastored a small independent church in Colorado, one of the other local pastors approached me and asked me, "Doesn't it bother you that you have former drunks, drug addicts, etc, attending your services?" I asked him, "Do you mean to say you have no alcoholics, etc. in your congregation?" He said, "Yes, we do, but THEY are all prominent business leaders in the community." [Roll Eyes] Need I say more about not just the issue of gay rights, gay Christians, and our place in the Body of Christ? [Waterworks] For those fervently praying for Jesus' soon coming, the Church will have to get it's act together first, in a lot of areas! [Killing me]

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iGeek

Number of the Feast
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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
I suggest you familarise yourself with what Christ actually said on this subject before putting words into Luke's mouth to misrepresent his position. It is completely incorrect to assert that Christ did not say one word about homosexuality - he did.

Neil

I missed this, Neil. What did Christ say on the subject of homosexuality?
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Faithful Sheepdog
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quote:
Originally posted by iGeek.:
I missed this, Neil. What did Christ say on the subject of homosexuality?

I will answer this by referencing an earlier post of mine that never received any response, convincing or otherwise. It was originally posted at the bottom of page 36 of this thread in response to Callan:

quote:
I suggest that you look closely at Mark 7:20-23 (ESV)
quote:
And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Gagnon provides a comprehensive study of this passage looking at what words such as “sexual immorality” (porneia) and “sensuality” (aselgeia) meant to a first-century Jew. He adduces a great deal of supporting evidence from contemporary Jewish literature. Not surprisingly, these Greek terms also reappear frequently in St. Paul’s writings.

The word translated “sexual immorality” in Mark 7 is actually in the plural in Greek (porneiai), hence the KJV translation “fornications". In the plural it has the nuance of “various kinds of sexual immorality”. To a first century Jew porneiai in the plural was interpreted in the light of Leviticus and the OT generally. It definitely included a reference to homosexual acts.

So, it simply will not do to say that Jesus said nothing about homosexual behaviour. On this point you are quite simply incorrect. Read Gagnon’s book – then we can talk.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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mousethief

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So "porneia" includes the modern concept of homosexuality because Leviticus was clearly speaking of the modern concept of homosexuality? It all becomes clear now.

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Faithful Sheepdog
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quote:
Originally posted by Mousethief:
So "porneia" includes the modern concept of homosexuality because Leviticus was clearly speaking of the modern concept of homosexuality? It all becomes clear now.

If you'd read Gagnon's work, you'd be aware that the "modern concept of homosexuality" was well known to the ancient world. There's nothing "modern" about it at all.

And while you're at it, perhaps you can enlighten me on how the Orthodox Church understands the Greek terms porneiai and aselgeia in St. Mark's (and also St Matthew's) Gospel? What does Holy Tradition have to say on this subject?

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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Barnabas62
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Faithful Sheepdog

While I take your point that Jesus made reference to sexual sins in general in that passage, it is a stretch to argue that as a result he was endorsing the Levitival view of homosexuality as a norm.

Josephine seems to me to be right. While Jesus illuminated, clarified, extended and in some cases set aside traditional Jewish understandings of many aspects of the Law in his moral and ethical teaching, there is no record of him saying anything specific about homosexuality. Any argument that he therefore endorses the Levitical status quo is an argument from silence. So it seems perfectly legitimate for Christians to point to his wider ethical teaching about the dangers of judgementalism and self-righteousness, the primacy of compassion and a special heart for the "outcast" as the norms to be applied.

Josephine's story of a daughter being outcast stands in sharp contrast to Philip Yancey's story in "What's so amazing about Grace". This concerned the parents of a man who had been long associated with evangelical ministry but who had "come out" and received a lot of public vilification. The parents, both believers, were being interviewed by a local braodcasting organisation, and the interviewer confronted them with a quote within which their son had been called "an abomination". The mother replied along these lines.

"'Abomination' he may be, but he's still my pride and joy".

Personally, I would far rather be guilty of a misplaced compassion than an excessive judgement. That is just "specks and logs" thinking - but it is a powerful aid to good behaviour.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
If you'd read Gagnon's work, you'd be aware that the "modern concept of homosexuality" was well known to the ancient world. There's nothing "modern" about it at all.

I find this very, very difficult to believe. I haven't the slightest inclination to read Gagnon, but I have never seen any indication that the Ancients™ countenanced a homosexuality considered as an inborn predilection which could result in permanent, stable, long-term, exclusive relationships functionally equivalent to "traditional" marriage.

quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
And while you're at it, perhaps you can enlighten me on how the Orthodox Church understands the Greek terms porneiai and aselgeia in St. Mark's (and also St Matthew's) Gospel? What does Holy Tradition have to say on this subject?

I have no idea. Do your own homework.

[ 29. September 2005, 13:42: Message edited by: Mousethief ]

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HenryT

Canadian Anglican
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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
...If you'd read Gagnon's work, you'd be aware that the "modern concept of homosexuality" was well known to the ancient world. There's nothing "modern" about it at all....

I always thought that Oscar Wilde invented the modern concept of homosexuality.

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"Perhaps an invincible attachment to the dearest rights of man may, in these refined, enlightened days, be deemed old-fashioned" P. Henry, 1788

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leo
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I think people should actually read Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views Dan O. Via and Robert A.J. Gagnon
Fortress Press 2003
This is supposed to be a debate but each side have their own section and do not reply to each other, except for a brief afterword. I found this a most disappointing book.

Via demolishes the 6 bible references against homosexuality in much the same way as people have done of this thread but his chief view is that the Bible is not some sort of moral handbook.

Gagnon regards the bible as definitive. He argues that its prohibition against incest and remarriage after divorce might seem ‘unloving’ but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t right.

His argument about natural law is based on his observation that male and female genitalia ‘fit’ each other. On that basis, logically, he should ‘condemn’ what many ‘straight people’ do, e.g. oral sex – and he is hooked up on the physical actions involved in sex rather than on what two people in love do to express their affection – so he regards relationships as more about bodies than about emotions and feelings.

Re ‘porneia’ – he assumes that when Jesus uttered the word, his hearers would automatically assume the list of forbidden activities in Leviticus – that would, of course, include sex with a menstruating women, about the church has surprisingly little to say!

Gagnon is an important writer to keep an eye on because the evangelicals are reading and quoting him all over the place. In my own Church of England, liberal views were in the ascendancy in the 1960s and 70s – then the tide turned in the 80s when the evangelicals started to increase in strength and they made a lot out of the 6 biblical proscriptions. They lost the argument to the liberals who ‘explained away’ these references – so they turned to ‘nature’ instead. Liberals pointed out that there is ample evidence of homosexuality among animals so the evangelicals said that humans are ‘more than’ animals. Natural law is traditionally a Roman Catholic idea so it is odd to see evangelicals appealing to it but they are clearly winning the argument at present.

In the end, it all comes down to how you see scripture. As an Anglican, I ‘balance’ scripture with tradition, reason and experience.

I think every possible angle on this subject has been covered on this thread and there are not going to be any winners or losers because we are playing by different rules, i.e. the anti-gays are playing from the bible and tradition, the rest of us from reason (i.e. modern science in this case) and exerience e.g. being gay or knowing people who are gay and listening to their stories.

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Paige
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I think every possible angle on this subject has been covered on this thread and there are not going to be any winners or losers because we are playing by different rules, i.e. the anti-gays are playing from the bible and tradition, the rest of us from reason (i.e. modern science in this case) and exerience e.g. being gay or knowing people who are gay and listening to their stories.

leo---I would add one thing to your observations. As a "liberal" on this issue, I am trying to take quite seriously Jesus' injunctions to love my neighbor and stop judging others (and that includes those whose position on this issue I find....difficult to accept).

I refuse to cede the Bible--or Jesus--to the conservatives. I believe that I am arguing from the Bible and tradition as well---especially the tradition of inclusion of the outcast (however poorly we may do it, we talk about it a lot!) and freedom from the OT law.

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Faithful Sheepdog
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quote:
Originally posted by Mousethief:
I find this very, very difficult to believe. I haven't the slightest inclination to read Gagnon, but I have never seen any indication that the Ancients™ countenanced a homosexuality considered as an inborn predilection which could result in permanent, stable, long-term, exclusive relationships functionally equivalent to "traditional" marriage.

Perhaps your unwillingness to do any research on this subject explains your difficulty in accepting what the ancient world knew and experienced. I am told that Plato's Symposium is a good place to start if you don't trust Gagnon. This issue was so openly discussed that other ancient writers even came forward with various theories about the origin of homosexual desires.

The ancient world didn't have access to our medical technology, but they still knew an awful lot more than you are giving them credit for. As the Preacher said in Ecclesiastes, "there is nothing new under the sun".

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
Perhaps your unwillingness to do any research on this subject explains your difficulty in accepting what the ancient world knew and experienced. I am told that Plato's Symposium is a good place to start if you don't trust Gagnon.

I haven't read Gagnon (& I doubt if I will in the near future) but I have erad Plato and he certainly has nothing like our modern concept of homosexuality.

quote:

This issue was so openly discussed that other ancient writers even came forward with various theories about the origin of homosexual desires.

Much more openly discussed than even nowadays, never mind the recent past. They knew lots about homosexual desires.

What they didn't have was the idea that gay men aer a distinct group from straight men with different kinds of desires which may or may not be in some way "natural" to them.

So the idea you sometimes see expressed here of a "straight" man unnaturally indulging in buggery because women were not available, or as a power-play, being in some way a distinct kind of behaviour from "gay" homosexuality would have seen absurd to them.

quote:

The ancient world didn't have access to our medical technology, but they still knew an awful lot more than you are giving them credit for.

Personally I think the modern fashion for genetic determinism is more likely further from the truth than the ancient view of things.

But they ancient Greeks did not have our modern idea of homosexuality. Or at any rate, if they did, they didn't put it ion their books, so we aer unlikely ever to find out about it.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Josephine

Orthodox Belle
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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
And while you're at it, perhaps you can enlighten me on how the Orthodox Church understands the Greek terms porneiai and aselgeia in St. Mark's (and also St Matthew's) Gospel? What does Holy Tradition have to say on this subject?

I can't tell you about how the Church has understood those specific terms -- I rather think porneiai has to do with prostitution, but beyond that, I'll confess linguistic ignorance. I know English rather well, but Greek is -- well, as they say, it's all Greek to me.

However, I can tell you some very interesting things that you can glean from Holy Tradition. First of all, when the Desert Fathers talked about fornication -- and they talked about it, because some of the monks of the desert really struggled with it -- they made no distinction at all, none, between a monk fornicating with a man and a monk fornicating with a woman. They didn't use a different word depending on who the monk's paramour was -- if he was having sex with someone, male or female, he was fornicating. Which causes me to believe that, in their minds anyway, sexual morality or immorality didn't have much of anything to do with the genders of the people involved. Otherwise, they'd have said so.

The second thing is that the Desert Fathers -- the great saints and ascetics like Moses the Black and Dorotheos of Gaza and Macarios the Great -- they didn't judge other people. In fact, there are plenty of stories about when other people were caught in sin (including sexual sin, and including sexual sin with people of the opposite sex), they did whatever they could to cover up the sin, to hide it, to deflect people's attention away from it, and they steadfastly refused to condemn anyone else. They believed, strongly, that their own sins were enough for them to deal with, and that God was more than capable of dealing with the sins of other people.

There are also plenty of stories about the outcome when people did choose to judge the sins of others. Those who sat in judgment over others always came to shame because of it.

So, what Holy Tradition tells me is that homosexuality is irrelevant as a category of sexual immorality. If you want to accuse gays and lesbians of sin, the proper one to accuse them of would be fornication. Of course, if you start doing that, you'll be stepping on the toes of the many, many straight people who are also fornicators.

Holy Tradition also tells me that my own sins, and the sins of those for whom I have been given a particular responsibility for teaching (e.g., my children and my godchildren) are the only sins that need to concern me.

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I've written a book! Catherine's Pascha: A celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church. It's a lovely book for children. Take a look!

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Adeodatus
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josephine, that's the wisest thing I've read on the Ship in ages. (No disrespect intended to other posters.) Thank you.

It's also reminded me of those wonderful stories of the lengths the Fathers would go to in order to avoid speaking a word of judgement against someone else. I must reread them a.s.a.p!

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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Barnabas62
Host
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Just endorsing Adeodatus' view, Josephine. That's a great post and its going on my hard drive for keeps. Thanks very much. [Votive] [Smile] [Votive]

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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ananke
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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
I am told that Plato's Symposium is a good place to start if you don't trust Gagnon. This issue was so openly discussed that other ancient writers even came forward with various theories about the origin of homosexual desires.

Neil

I think The Symposium is an okay place to start as far as homosexuality in the Greek intelectual elite goes, but like I told a classmate who used it to endorse the idea that all Greek men were gay "just because a lot of modern intellectual wear glasses doesn't mean they all do". Not to mention the ancient Greeks considered the paramount of homsexual liason to be one of imbalanced power - the two halves of the soul joined by homosexual liasons were of differing sizes (paraphrased badly I know). Not to mention the rather obnoxious view of lesbianism.

Modern homosexuality is reflected better by Christ's relationships with the disciples than by the OT or even by homosexual Greek philosophers. Modern homosexuality (at least that ideal which is strived for) is akin to the 'prefect Christian marriage' - a meeting of partners based in equity and love. Not the use and domination of another coutenanced by Plato and Levticus (even if Plato calls it love).

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A Perfect Circle - Magdalena

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Fish Fish
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quote:
Originally posted by josephine:
So, what Holy Tradition tells me is that homosexuality is irrelevant as a category of sexual immorality. If you want to accuse gays and lesbians of sin, the proper one to accuse them of would be fornication. Of course, if you start doing that, you'll be stepping on the toes of the many, many straight people who are also fornicators.

But isn't that what most "conserative" people are saying? Homosexuality isn't a sin. But sexual expression outside marriage is a sin - fornication ( The dictionary definition of forniaction). And so anyone of any sexual orientation having sex outside marriage is sinning. I don't see how we are inconsistant about that. (Phelps excluded)

Of course then there is the accusation that we don't accept gay marriage. But to be honest I can't face getting into that argument again!

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Thought about changing my name - but it would be a shame to lose all the credibility and good will I have on the Ship...

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Faithful Sheepdog
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quote:
Originally posted by josephine:
So, what Holy Tradition tells me is that homosexuality is irrelevant as a category of sexual immorality. If you want to accuse gays and lesbians of sin, the proper one to accuse them of would be fornication. Of course, if you start doing that, you'll be stepping on the toes of the many, many straight people who are also fornicators.

This confirms what I have been saying about homosexual behaviour being subsumed under the general category of porneia (fornication) in Judeo-Christian morality. As for heterosexual fornication, it may be different in your part of the USA, but I am not aware of any UK conservatives saying that this is now acceptable under a Judeo-Christian morality.

As for "stepping on the toes of straight people", I can assure you that I am prepared to step on any toes. The one occasion when I have done that for real was a very damaging case of heterosexual adultery that ultimately destroyed two marriages and affected four children.

quote:
Holy Tradition also tells me that my own sins, and the sins of those for whom I have been given a particular responsibility for teaching (e.g., my children and my godchildren) are the only sins that need to concern me.
I think you're missing the point completely with this comment, possibly because this issue has not caused hearly the same amount of ructions in the Orthodox Church as it has in the Anglican Communion.

I agree that we are not called to go prying into anyone else's private life, but if that private life is held out publicly for my approval, then that is something very different indeed. This is especially the case when the request for approval contains the premiss that the church's understanding of the sin of fornication has been fundamentally flawed and must now change radically.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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Faithful Sheepdog
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I think people should actually read Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views Dan O. Via and Robert A.J. Gagnon
Fortress Press 2003
This is supposed to be a debate but each side have their own section and do not reply to each other, except for a brief afterword. I found this a most disappointing book.

I have read that book. You are right that there is little interaction between the two writers, which is disappointing. I think this was down to the publishers rather than anything else.

quote:
Via demolishes the 6 bible references against homosexuality in much the same way as people have done of this thread but his chief view is that the Bible is not some sort of moral handbook.
My recollection is that Via does nothing of the sort. He certainly has nothing like the weight of biblical and historical scholarship that Gagnon can bring to bear on this subject

quote:
His argument about natural law is based on his observation that male and female genitalia ‘fit’ each other. On that basis, logically, he should ‘condemn’ what many ‘straight people’ do, e.g. oral sex – and he is hooked up on the physical actions involved in sex rather than on what two people in love do to express their affection – so he regards relationships as more about bodies than about emotions and feelings.
Your argument appears to be that Gagnon doesn't condemn enough people. On my reading of his work I don't see him condemning anyone.

quote:
Re ‘porneia’ – he assumes that when Jesus uttered the word, his hearers would automatically assume the list of forbidden activities in Leviticus – that would, of course, include sex with a menstruating women, about the church has surprisingly little to say!
Perhaps Jesus did mean to include this activity under the general category of porneia - the prophet Ezekiel certainly does. You should start a thread in Purgatory and get the woman's point of view on this.

Women had few enough legal rights in the ancient world. Perhaps this is one example of Leviticus granting them an important legal right. In that case I see it as a humane piece of legislation.

quote:
In the end, it all comes down to how you see scripture. As an Anglican, I ‘balance’ scripture with tradition, reason and experience.
Tradition and reason are considered important across the church. Experience is a vague, nebulous and highly personal category. To use it as a trump card puts one onto very thin ice indeed.

quote:
I think every possible angle on this subject has been covered on this thread and there are not going to be any winners or losers because we are playing by different rules, i.e. the anti-gays are playing from the bible and tradition, the rest of us from reason (i.e. modern science in this case) and exerience e.g. being gay or knowing people who are gay and listening to their stories.
Here in Scotland the liberal lobby are definitely not playing from reason. If they were, we might at least have some common ground. So I think that you're right to say that we are playing by "different rules".

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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Josephine

Orthodox Belle
# 3899

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quote:
Originally posted by Fish Fish:
anyone of any sexual orientation having sex outside marriage is sinning. I don't see how we are inconsistant about that. (Phelps excluded)



The inconsistency, Fish Fish, is in the way we treat homosexuals and heterosexuals who have sex outside of marriage. And it's not just Fred Phelps. It's every single Christian parent who disowns a gay or lesbian child, when they did not disown a child who had heterosexual child who had sexual relations with their boyfriend or girlfriend. (In fact, the gay or lesbian child probably doesn't even have to be sexually active to be disowned -- my friend's mother didn't ask if she were currently having sex with anyone, she was kicked out because she was lesbian, period. Not because of fornication, but because of orientation. It's every Christian employer who has fired an employee because they're gay or lesbian, who doesn't fire heterosexual employees who are living together but not married. It's every Christian who owns an apartment building who won't rent to gays and lesbians, who doesn't care whether the heterosexual couple renting a flat is married or not. It's every Christian who doesn't want gays and lesbians teaching at their child's school, but would never consider demanding that an adulterous teacher be fired.

Look at the way heterosexuals are treated who live together without marriage, who have children outside of marriage, who simply screw around with as many people as we can. Then look at the way gays and lesbians are treated when they do those things -- or when they are celibate and simply fancy people of the same sex.

The fact is, Fish Fish, that a young man sleeping with a different woman every night is often viewed as "sowing his wild oats." A gay man doing the same thing is a devil, a monster, someone to protect our children from.

When Christians are consistently treating gays and lesbians exactly the same way they treat adulterers and fornicators, then you may have a point. But until then, it seems to me that the need for repentance is far more on our side than theirs.

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Josephine

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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
As for heterosexual fornication, it may be different in your part of the USA, but I am not aware of any UK conservatives saying that this is now acceptable under a Judeo-Christian morality.

As for "stepping on the toes of straight people", I can assure you that I am prepared to step on any toes. The one occasion when I have done that for real was a very damaging case of heterosexual adultery that ultimately destroyed two marriages and affected four children.

Conservative Christians may not say that adultery and fornication between persons of the opposite sex are acceptable. But, as I just told Fish Fish, the way people treat fornicators and adulterers and they way they treat gays and lesbians are simply not parallel. Conservative Christians do not act as if the sins of the straight people and the sins of the gay people are essentially the same sin. They act as if there is something abhorrent about homosexual relationships that is fundamentally different from anything that goes on in heterosexual relationships.

And I've got to tell you, Faithful Sheepdog, that there is far more preaching done on the evils of homosexuality than on the evils of adultery or fornication, that Gay Pride events are held up from the pulpit as examples of depravity far more often than Mardi Gras celebrations and St. Patrick's Day Pub Crawls. And that's true even though far more people are straight than gay. Why is that, do you think?

quote:
I agree that we are not called to go prying into anyone else's private life, but if that private life is held out publicly for my approval, then that is something very different indeed. This is especially the case when the request for approval contains the premiss that the church's understanding of the sin of fornication has been fundamentally flawed and must now change radically.
You know, Faithful Sheepdog, no one has ever held out their private life publicly for my approval. Ever. I've known straight people, gay people, people who co-habited without getting married, people who co-habited and later got married, people in short-term adulterous relationships, people in long-term adulterous relationships, people who slept with anyone they could get between the sheets, people who were entirely celibate.

And never, ever, has any of them sought my approval for their choices. One or two of them have asked my opinion (not my approval, but only my opinion), but for the most part, it seems that everyone I know considers their sexual behaviors to be their own business and not mine.

I'm sure it must be extremely uncomfortable if a gay person asks you to approve of their choices, when you really don't. I honestly didn't realize that was a problem for you, since it isn't for me, or frankly for anyone I know. I know I'd be extremely uncomfortable if someone asked my approval of a consensual relationship that involved bondage and domination. I just couldn't go there, so I understand your difficulty.

But I think the most appropriate thing to do in such a situation, if you're not their confessor or spiritual advisor, would be to tell them that it's really none of your business, and if they feel the need for that sort of discussion, they should, perhaps, go to their spiritual advisor.

I don't think doing that entails admitting that the church's understanding of the sin of fornication has been fundamentally flawed and must now change radically.

But tell me, something, Faithful Sheepdog. I have a good friend who lived with a woman in a committed monogamous relationship for over 20 years. He never slept with anyone else after they moved in together. The last two or three years of their time together, he nursed her through terminal cancer. He was with her at the hospital when she died. He was as devoted to her as any husband I've ever met.

It seems to me that to call his relationship with his life partner fornication is to miss something extremely important. As far as I'm concerned, while they did not have a sacramental marriage (and could not have, since his wife was not Christian), they certainly had what I think Orthodox theologians call a natural marriage.

Likewise, it seems to me that to call the relationship of a committed gay or lesbian couple fornication misses exactly the same important thing. And while the gay couple doesn't have a sacramental marriage, I think their relationship is every bit as legitimate as the relationship of a straight couple in a long-term committed relationship.

I understand why you would step on toes when you see a damaging adulterous relationship. But if you saw a man taking care of his partner when she's going through chemotherapy, when her hair is falling out, and she can't eat without throwing up, when he's taking care of her, and their home, and the pets, and at the same time trying to work to keep the bills paid, would you step on his toes? Would you upbraid him for his fornication? Or would you take his dog for a walk so he can spend a few hours with his life partner?

And would it be any different if his life partner were a man?

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by josephine:
Conservative Christians may not say that adultery and fornication between persons of the opposite sex are acceptable.

No, but they do have widely different opinions as to what constitutes πονρνεια, "fornication"

For a start very many will include marriage to a divorced person as adultery & therefore porneia. Others won't.

A very small group would not include polygyny as porneia. A small but larger group (which I suspect has little overlap with the previous one) would not include consensual sex between adults neither of whom is married to anyone else at the time (its not once condemned in the Bible)

Many - perhaps most - of the Church Fathers would have counted sex between married partners too old to have children as porneia. Some Roman Catholics probably still do.

Others would include oral sex, or mutual masturbation, or buggery, even within a marriage.

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Ken

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Barnabas62
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The issue of proportionality goes deeper for evangelicals - or at least I reckon it should. There are about 20 verses of scripture dealing directly with homosexuality - and a good deal of dispute over their meaning and current relevance. There are about 3,000 verses of scripture dealing directly with the responsibility of God's people for the poor and the outcast - and a good deal less dispute about what they mean.

Josephine is right about disproportionate treatment of heterosexual/homosexual sin. But this comparison pales into insignificance compared with the the sinfulness of the neglect of the needs of the poor. The privatisation of sin - and the overweening concern with sexual sin - stands in sharp contrast to the real biblical imperatives on poverty.

It is a legitimatic critique of the evangelical right in the US that they have elevated questions of private morality above the ongoing global scandal of social immorality. Priorities are just way out of whack here.

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Adeodatus
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quote:
Originally posted by Fish Fish:
quote:
Originally posted by josephine:
So, what Holy Tradition tells me is that homosexuality is irrelevant as a category of sexual immorality. If you want to accuse gays and lesbians of sin, the proper one to accuse them of would be fornication. Of course, if you start doing that, you'll be stepping on the toes of the many, many straight people who are also fornicators.

But isn't that what most "conserative" people are saying? Homosexuality isn't a sin. But sexual expression outside marriage is a sin - fornication ( The dictionary definition of forniaction). And so anyone of any sexual orientation having sex outside marriage is sinning. I don't see how we are inconsistant about that. (Phelps excluded)

Of course then there is the accusation that we don't accept gay marriage. But to be honest I can't face getting into that argument again!

You don't see how you're inconsistent? When the thread on "Heterosexuality and Christianity" runs to 53 pages, I'll believe you.

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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Faithful Sheepdog
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quote:
Originally posted by josephine:
Conservative Christians may not say that adultery and fornication between persons of the opposite sex are acceptable. But, as I just told Fish Fish, the way people treat fornicators and adulterers and they way they treat gays and lesbians are simply not parallel. Conservative Christians do not act as if the sins of the straight people and the sins of the gay people are essentially the same sin. They act as if there is something abhorrent about homosexual relationships that is fundamentally different from anything that goes on in heterosexual relationships.

Here you are generalising wildly. If you want to post about what you personally have experienced and witnessed in the USA, that’s fair enough, but the moment you begin to draw broad generalities, your argument becomes very shaky indeed.

Please also note that the church scene in the UK (and Scotland especially) is very different to the USA. In particular, the word “evangelical” implies something very different over here. What may be your experience in your part of the USA cannot be generalised in the way you are trying to do so.

quote:
And I've got to tell you, Faithful Sheepdog, that there is far more preaching done on the evils of homosexuality than on the evils of adultery or fornication, that Gay Pride events are held up from the pulpit as examples of depravity far more often than Mardi Gras celebrations and St. Patrick's Day Pub Crawls. And that's true even though far more people are straight than gay. Why is that, do you think?
Once again, you are making generalised assertions that may be true in your personal experience, but they are certainly not true in mine. I don’t think we have Mardi Gras parades as such in the UK, but we do have all sorts of public community celebrations, as well as gay pride marches in some places.

You seem to be singularly unfortunate in the type of sermons that you have heard. Personally I have never listened to a sermon on “the evils of homosexuality” or heard a preacher hold a gay pride march up as an example of depravity. Where have you heard these kinds of sermons?

In the UK it’s far more likely to be our binge-drinking yob culture that features in a sermon. If sex ever does get a negative mention, it’s likely to be our huge unmarried teenage pregnancy rate, the highest in Europe, I think. Of course, binge drinking and promiscuous sex (hetero or homo) are not unrelated.

quote:
You know, Faithful Sheepdog, no one has ever held out their private life publicly for my approval. Ever. I've known straight people, gay people, people who co-habited without getting married, people who co-habited and later got married, people in short-term adulterous relationships, people in long-term adulterous relationships, people who slept with anyone they could get between the sheets, people who were entirely celibate.

And never, ever, has any of them sought my approval for their choices. One or two of them have asked my opinion (not my approval, but only my opinion), but for the most part, it seems that everyone I know considers their sexual behaviors to be their own business and not mine.

Well, this is where the rubber hits the road. In the Orthodox Church I suspect you have been to a large extent sheltered from what has been happening in the Anglican Communion, although Orthodoxy has suspended or even broken some ecumenical links with Anglicanism as a result.

It is an exceptionally naïve perspective to think that Gene Robinson’s consecration as the first openly gay Anglican bishop was not signalling the approval of homoerotic behaviour in a very public manner. It was a very significant political act that cannot be ignored.

Indeed, IMO Gene Robinson was elected as a bishop, not in spite of being openly gay, but precisely because he was openly gay. Many in the Anglican Communion, not least on SoF, are now openly cheerleading for the onward march of homoerotic normalisation.

At the same time there are many other Anglicans sitting on the fence saying nothing. They look the other way and just wish the whole subject would go away. I can understand their distaste for this debate, but frankly I consider silence to be a cowardly position.

Taking into account the current political pressures within Anglicanism, saying nothing will lead to the normalisation of homoerotic behaviour by default in due course. It is as good as a thumbs-up now. And once that normalisation has happened, the political pressure will hit Orthodoxy too.

quote:
I'm sure it must be extremely uncomfortable if a gay person asks you to approve of their choices, when you really don't. I honestly didn't realize that was a problem for you, since it isn't for me, or frankly for anyone I know. I know I'd be extremely uncomfortable if someone asked my approval of a consensual relationship that involved bondage and domination. I just couldn't go there, so I understand your difficulty.

But I think the most appropriate thing to do in such a situation, if you're not their confessor or spiritual advisor, would be to tell them that it's really none of your business, and if they feel the need for that sort of discussion, they should, perhaps, go to their spiritual advisor.

I don't think doing that entails admitting that the church's understanding of the sin of fornication has been fundamentally flawed and must now change radically.

Here I must fundamentally disagree with you, but then my perspective is as an Anglican, not as an Orthodox (which is what my wife now is). I do not understand how one gets to the viewpoint that “homoerotic behaviour is not inherently sinful” without unravelling a great deal of Judeo-Christian theology and morality to the point of complete incoherence.

quote:
But tell me, something, Faithful Sheepdog. I have a good friend who lived with a woman in a committed monogamous relationship for over 20 years. He never slept with anyone else after they moved in together. The last two or three years of their time together, he nursed her through terminal cancer. He was with her at the hospital when she died. He was as devoted to her as any husband I've ever met.

It seems to me that to call his relationship with his life partner fornication is to miss something extremely important. As far as I'm concerned, while they did not have a sacramental marriage (and could not have, since his wife was not Christian), they certainly had what I think Orthodox theologians call a natural marriage.

Here you have changed the subject markedly. The extent to which a faithful long-term cohabitation can be termed a marriage is something that needs to be debated. I note that you beg this question by referring to the man as the woman’s “husband”.

However, whatever we decide to call the man, the nursing of someone through a serious terminal illness is a noble and honourable act. His loyalty and devotion to his partner before and during her illness is praiseworthy, but his disregard for marital legalities is much less so IMO.

quote:
Likewise, it seems to me that to call the relationship of a committed gay or lesbian couple fornication misses exactly the same important thing. And while the gay couple doesn't have a sacramental marriage, I think their relationship is every bit as legitimate as the relationship of a straight couple in a long-term committed relationship.
Personally I think you have a very sentimental and idealised view of homoerotic relationships. I cannot agree with you that they are in any way comparable in legitimacy to heterosexual relationships. I base that statement on my understanding of Judeo-Christian morality.

Practical acts of kindness, service, support and deep friendship can always be applauded in any context, but such acts do not legitimate the eroticisation of a same-sex relationship, any more than they legitimate any other form of fornication.

quote:
I understand why you would step on toes when you see a damaging adulterous relationship. But if you saw a man taking care of his partner when she's going through chemotherapy, when her hair is falling out, and she can't eat without throwing up, when he's taking care of her, and their home, and the pets, and at the same time trying to work to keep the bills paid, would you step on his toes? Would you upbraid him for his fornication? Or would you take his dog for a walk so he can spend a few hours with his life partner?

And would it be any different if his life partner were a man?

Here you present me with a false dichotomy. It’s perfectly possible to be a good neighbour to the unmarried (or gay) couple next door, especially if one of them is seriously ill, at the same time as holding to the view that fornication (heterosexual or homosexual) is sinful and falls short of the glory of God. As it happens, my brother is in this kind of situation with his unmarried (female) partner who has been very ill.

There is obviously a time and a place to explain one’s moral perspective in accordance with one’s understanding of the Christian faith. Without being invited to speak, I would not impose my views on anyone, but if the right opportunity came up, honesty and integrity would require me to be faithful to my own viewpoint, hopefully with tact and grace.

My brother knows what I think about the immorality of cohabitation, but then he doesn’t claim to be a Christian. That doesn’t stop me being a loving brother to him or him to me. The same is true for your hypothetical neighbour with the unmarried or gay partner.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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Josephine

Orthodox Belle
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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
quote:
Originally posted by josephine:
Conservative Christians do not act as if the sins of the straight people and the sins of the gay people are essentially the same sin. They act as if there is something abhorrent about homosexual relationships that is fundamentally different from anything that goes on in heterosexual relationships.

Here you are generalising wildly. If you want to post about what you personally have experienced and witnessed in the USA, that’s fair enough, but the moment you begin to draw broad generalities, your argument becomes very shaky indeed.
And later, Faithful Sheepdog also says:
quote:
I do not understand how one gets to the viewpoint that “homoerotic behaviour is not inherently sinful” without unravelling a great deal of Judeo-Christian theology and morality to the point of complete incoherence.
And then:
quote:
I cannot agree with you that they [homoerotic relationships] are in any way comparable in legitimacy to heterosexual relationships.


Forgive me, Faithful Sheepdog, but it seems that you have just made the point that, in the first quote, you seemed to deny, saying it constituted a wild generalization.

Let me say it again: Conservative Christians act as though homosexual relationships and heterosexual relationships are fundamentally different in some way. You say that's a wild generalization, then you say that they are fundamentally different. Not in those words, but "inherently sinful" applies to one and not the other, and further, you explicitly state that they are not "in any way comparable." So you are saying that homosexual relationships and heterosexual relationships are fundamentally different. At least, that's the only thing I can get out of what you said. If that's not what you mean, please clarify for me.

quote:
Please also note that the church scene in the UK (and Scotland especially) is very different to the USA. In particular, the word “evangelical” implies something very different over here.
I'm aware of that, and I didn't use the word evangelical.

quote:
What may be your experience in your part of the USA cannot be generalised in the way you are trying to do so.


I would be most happy to believe that were true. If the gay and lesbian Shipmates would confirm it for me, I will be happy to clarify anything I've said about conservative Christians, and to say that it applies only to conservative Christians in the US. If any gay and lesbian shipmates are willing to post here, or send me a PM, and let me know whether the unfortunate experiences of gays and lesbians in the US don't happen to gays and lesbians in the UK, I'd be most appreciative.

quote:
It is an exceptionally naïve perspective to think that Gene Robinson’s consecration as the first openly gay Anglican bishop was not signalling the approval of homoerotic behaviour in a very public manner. It was a very significant political act that cannot be ignored.
Ah, Gene Robinson. I remember that name. He and his wife divorced so he could be with his gay partner, is that not correct? Yet he was made a bishop, while at the same time, some other gay but celibate man was not made a bishop, because he was gay.

It was all very confusing to me, but since I'm not Anglican, it didn't seem to be any of my business.

Perhaps the unfortunate situation would be an argument in favor of a monastic episcopacy, as we have in the Orthodox Church. I'm quite sure we have gay bishops, as well as straight bishops. But since they're all celibate, I don't think that who they're not having sex with makes any difference at all.

quote:
Originally posted by Josephine
But tell me, something, Faithful Sheepdog. I have a good friend who lived with a woman in a committed monogamous relationship for over 20 years. He never slept with anyone else after they moved in together. The last two or three years of their time together, he nursed her through terminal cancer. He was with her at the hospital when she died. He was as devoted to her as any husband I've ever met.

It seems to me that to call his relationship with his life partner fornication is to miss something extremely important. As far as I'm concerned, while they did not have a sacramental marriage (and could not have, since his wife was not Christian), they certainly had what I think Orthodox theologians call a natural marriage.

Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog

Here you have changed the subject markedly. The extent to which a faithful long-term cohabitation can be termed a marriage is something that needs to be debated. I note that you beg this question by referring to the man as the woman’s “husband”.

No, I have not changed the subject. It is my contention that conservative Christians regard and treat unmarried gay couples and unmarried straight couples differently. So bringing up a straight unmarried couple goes exactly to my point. And, no, I did not call the man her husband, and I'm sorry if my wording was ambiguous. My meaning was that he was as faithful to her as you could ever hope a husband would be to his wife, even though he was not her husband.

quote:
However, whatever we decide to call the man, the nursing of someone through a serious terminal illness is a noble and honourable act. His loyalty and devotion to his partner before and during her illness is praiseworthy, but his disregard for marital legalities is much less so IMO.
My belief is that, because of the love and loyalty and devotion, because they shared a home, and bills, and chores, as well as their bed, they were, in a fundamental way, married, even without the marital legalities. Not a sacramental marriage -- but most marriages are not sacramental, and that does not mean that they are not marriages.

quote:
Practical acts of kindness, service, support and deep friendship can always be applauded in any context, but such acts do not legitimate the eroticisation of a same-sex relationship, any more than they legitimate any other form of fornication.
So, do you believe that a 25-year relationship between a man and a woman who have never married is fundamentally different from a 25-year relationship between two men or two women? Both are guilty of fornication. Does it matter who they are fornicating with?

[edited to fix URL - I hope correctly!]

[ 01. October 2005, 10:38: Message edited by: TonyK ]

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I've written a book! Catherine's Pascha: A celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church. It's a lovely book for children. Take a look!

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John Holding

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Sheepdog --

I would like to make two points:

You have correctly suggested that Josephine should not generalize from her experience: Nor should you. You must both stop it at once! Of course that leads to no-one saying anything useful at all, but it's suitably purged of all emotion and humanity.

Gene Robinson was elected only by the people of the diocese of (?)Vermont, not by anyone else. As a married man, as a divorced but celibate and single man, and as a gay man in a permanent relatinoship, he worked with those people as a parish priest and, I think, as a diocesan officail over many years. He was elected on the first or second ballot by a margin of over 60 per cent because the people of the diocese knew him and wanted him to be bishop -- if anything, as the Diocese of Vermont is in one of the most conservative parts of the US, despite, not because he was gay.

And given the constitution and culture of the Episcopal church of the US, I think most observers noted that it would be next to impossible for anything other than confirmation of that election to occur, so that wasn't part of a vile liberal plot.

What other people did about afterwards about his election is another matter, perhaps. As someone who believes that gay people should be able to marry, both civilly (as they can now in Canada) and in church (which they will not in Canada for at least 6-10 years), I regard his election as a major problem and I wish it had not happened. But you would be hard pressed to maintain with any accuracy that he was elected as a part of the agenda of some mysterious group of wild liberals and gay-lovers.


Finally, as Josephine has pointed out, how the C of E dealt with the case of a celibate gay man nominated as a bishop was widely noted, especially as a lot of us had rather hoped to be able to believe what evangelicals on the Ship had said about there being no problem about gay men doing this and that so long as they were celibate. (Not your personal problem, I quite realise, as you're in Scotland dealing with a whole different church body.)

John

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Paige
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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
It is an exceptionally naïve perspective to think that Gene Robinson’s consecration as the first openly gay Anglican bishop was not signalling the approval of homoerotic behaviour in a very public manner. It was a very significant political act that cannot be ignored.

Indeed, IMO Gene Robinson was elected as a bishop, not in spite of being openly gay, but precisely because he was openly gay. Many in the Anglican Communion, not least on SoF, are now openly cheerleading for the onward march of homoerotic normalisation.

Have you listened to anything that's been said in these 53 pages, FS? John Holding summed it up---Gene Robinson's diocese, which is not particularly "liberal," knew him and wanted him as their bishop. Who are you to gainsay them? You have no idea of the Christian witness he has offered them.

And we are not talking about the normalisation of "homoerotic" relationships. We are talking about recognizing that committed, monogamous homosexual relationships can be just as holy as committed, monogamous heterosexual relationships.

By continually using the word "homoerotic," you seem to be wilfully misunderstanding---and sexualizing---the issue. Why is that?

Josephine---as always, your kindness and generosity shine through everything you say. Thank you.

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Sister Jackhammer of Quiet Reflection

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Faithful Sheepdog
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quote:
Originally posted by josephine:
Forgive me, Faithful Sheepdog, but it seems that you have just made the point that, in the first quote, you seemed to deny, saying it constituted a wild generalization.

Let me say it again: Conservative Christians act as though homosexual relationships and heterosexual relationships are fundamentally different in some way. You say that's a wild generalization, then you say that they are fundamentally different. Not in those words, but "inherently sinful" applies to one and not the other, and further, you explicitly state that they are not "in any way comparable." So you are saying that homosexual relationships and heterosexual relationships are fundamentally different. At least, that's the only thing I can get out of what you said. If that's not what you mean, please clarify for me.

The generalisation from which I dissented stated that conservative Christians "treat" gay and lesbian people differently and "act" differently towards them. That is a statement about certain behaviours and actions.

It is a very diffferent statement from saying that conservative Christians have a different moral perspective on homosexual relationships in relation to heterosexual ones. I do not see how you can possibly generalise to the behaviour and actions of a whole class of people simply on the basis of their theological and moral views.

quote:
I would be most happy to believe that were true. If the gay and lesbian Shipmates would confirm it for me, I will be happy to clarify anything I've said about conservative Christians, and to say that it applies only to conservative Christians in the US. If any gay and lesbian shipmates are willing to post here, or send me a PM, and let me know whether the unfortunate experiences of gays and lesbians in the US don't happen to gays and lesbians in the UK, I'd be most appreciative.
I think your research methodology here is flawed, since generalisations across a social class are perilous unless supported with some rigorous statistical research. Even then, the results will be in a statistical format rather than a simple determinism.

No doubt we all have different stories to tell, but one person's bad experience doesn't prove anything on a wider scale. This year I have been called (directly or indirectly) a Nazi more times than I have in the rest of my life, but what does that prove? Only that some people wouldn't recognise a true Nazi even if they saw one.

quote:
Ah, Gene Robinson. I remember that name. He and his wife divorced so he could be with his gay partner, is that not correct? Yet he was made a bishop, while at the same time, some other gay but celibate man was not made a bishop, because he was gay.
Actually, not correct on an important point. Gene Robinson's boyfriend had nothing directly to do with his divorce. I imagine that the divorce was complicated, messy and painful, just like most divorces. The boyfriend only arrived on the scene much later on.

quote:
It was all very confusing to me, but since I'm not Anglican, it didn't seem to be any of my business.
Well, I am an Anglican, and this issue has nearly driven the whole Communion onto the rocks. Anyone concerned about our church needs to understand what has been happening. As I said, some Orthodox have already broken off ecumenical contacts with Anglicanism as a result of this issue.

quote:
Perhaps the unfortunate situation would be an argument in favor of a monastic episcopacy, as we have in the Orthodox Church. I'm quite sure we have gay bishops, as well as straight bishops. But since they're all celibate, I don't think that who they're not having sex with makes any difference at all.
I know the Orthodox don't have married bishops, but I'm not sure that would be a solution for us. In the Anglican Communion a significant number of priests have been doing no differently to Gene Robinson for some considerable time. A lot of blind eyes have been turned by all parties, perhaps very unwisely in retrospect. Gene Robinson's consecration has acted as a catalyst to bring this issue right out into the open.

quote:
No, I have not changed the subject. It is my contention that conservative Christians regard and treat unmarried gay couples and unmarried straight couples differently. So bringing up a straight unmarried couple goes exactly to my point. And, no, I did not call the man her husband, and I'm sorry if my wording was ambiguous. My meaning was that he was as faithful to her as you could ever hope a husband would be to his wife, even though he was not her husband.
Don't worry, I didn't find your wording ambiguous, but I still think you are asking a separate question.

It is an interesting one in historical terms, since marriage licenses, civil registrars and such like didn't exist in the past, and probably only the rich and famous used to have a church wedding, at least in the UK. Neverthless, marriage as a concept was well understood and was not the same thing as our current cohabitation.

quote:
My belief is that, because of the love and loyalty and devotion, because they shared a home, and bills, and chores, as well as their bed, they were, in a fundamental way, married, even without the marital legalities. Not a sacramental marriage -- but most marriages are not sacramental, and that does not mean that they are not marriages.
Unless you have a concept of 'common law marriage' in the USA (and in the UK we don't, but once did), it is a debatable point whether their relationship should be termed a 'marriage'. They have chosen not get married in any kind of civil or religious ceremony, despite presumably numerous opportunities. Why should I choose to think differently of their relationship than they do?

quote:
So, do you believe that a 25-year relationship between a man and a woman who have never married is fundamentally different from a 25-year relationship between two men or two women? Both are guilty of fornication. Does it matter who they are fornicating with?
Yes to your first question, and yes to your second question. As I have argued earlier on the thread, fornication is a broad category in Judeo-Christian morality, covering many bases. The consequences of heterosexual fornication are certainly different from homosexual fornication. For starters, the former may be procreative, but the latter never will be.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

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quote:
Originally posted by Paige:
John Holding summed it up---Gene Robinson's diocese, which is not particularly "liberal," knew him and wanted him as their bishop. Who are you to gainsay them? You have no idea of the Christian witness he has offered them.

Just to clarify, Gene Robinson is the Anglican Bishop of New Hampshire, and not Vermont. However, a bishop is consecrated for the whole Church of God and not just for some limited group of people. As for his words and actions, they are a matter of public record.

quote:
And we are not talking about the normalisation of "homoerotic" relationships. We are talking about recognizing that committed, monogamous homosexual relationships can be just as holy as committed, monogamous heterosexual relationships.

By continually using the word "homoerotic," you seem to be wilfully misunderstanding---and sexualizing---the issue. Why is that?

The misunderstanding here is on your part. I used the word “homoerotic” because it is the right word to use and gets to the heart of the issue. The Christian moral argument with homosexuality is not about doing housework together or nursing the terminally ill. Rather, it is about sexual actions.

Hence the fundamental question that you are begging: can homoerotic behaviour ever be holy or not? Our forebears in the faith were clear on their answer.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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Paige
Shipmate
# 2261

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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
However, a bishop is consecrated for the whole Church of God and not just for some limited group of people. As for his words and actions, they are a matter of public record.

Then I want my money back for Bob Duncan and Peter Akinola.....

And I reiterate---you don't know Gene Robinson the way the people of New Hampshire do. Therefore, I would argue that you have no business sticking your nose in about him.

I certainly wouldn't think it appropriate to go over and tell Nigerian Anglicans that they ought not to have consecrated a homophobic, power-hungry bigot as their archbishop---even if I believe it to be true. I don't live there, and I don't know what their particular pastoral needs are.

quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
The misunderstanding here is on your part. I used the word “homoerotic” because it is the right word to use and gets to the heart of the issue. The Christian moral argument with homosexuality is not about doing housework together or nursing the terminally ill. Rather, it is about sexual actions.

[brick wall] Let's be honest here---you use the word "homoerotic" so that you can always keep the laser beam on the sexual aspect of the issue, despite the fact that so many of us are trying to say that sex is simply not all there is to it. You are talking about sex---I am talking about love. You are talking about the law---I am talking about grace.

And are you saying that fornication between heterosexuals is bad, but ultimately less bad because at least it might be procreative? That's the first time I've every heard anyone use that argument.....

quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
Hence the fundamental question that you are begging: can homoerotic behaviour ever be holy or not? Our forebears in the faith were clear on their answer.

I'm not begging the question. I know what our forebears in the faith thought. I believe that they were wrong---and I am absolutely convinced by what I find in the Gospel about love and faithfulness that a loving, committed relationship between two people of the same sex can be holy.

As I said before, I refuse to cede Jesus or the Bible to you, FS. It's my book too, and I take it---and the injunctions of Christ---very seriously.

And tradition evolves and changes in response to people's needs. Planting your battle flag on tradition simply doesn't move me. I don't live in 1st century Palestine, I have access to information that was not available to those folks, and I believe God expects me to use what I know---and not to try to dwell in a past that I simply cannot recreate. (Of course, as a woman, I would hardly want to.)

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Sister Jackhammer of Quiet Reflection

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Josephine

Orthodox Belle
# 3899

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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
The generalisation from which I dissented stated that conservative Christians "treat" gay and lesbian people differently and "act" differently towards them. That is a statement about certain behaviours and actions.

It is a very different statement from saying that conservative Christians have a different moral perspective on homosexual relationships in relation to heterosexual ones. I do not see how you can possibly generalise to the behaviour and actions of a whole class of people simply on the basis of their theological and moral views.

It has been my experience, Faithful Sheepdog, that people behave in ways that are consistent with their beliefs. If they believe two classes of human beings are fundamentally different, based on their theological and moral views, they will tend to treat them differently. Look at India for a clear example of that. Or the way slaves were treated by slaveholders. Their theology -- that Africans were descended from Noah's wicked son, and therefore cursed -- certainly influenced their behavior.

And yes, it's true that any time you say anything about a group of people, you're making a generalization, and there will be people in that group who don't fit that generalization. There are high-caste Indians who treat persons from the lower castes well, and there were slaveholders who treated their slaves better than factory owners of the time treated their employees. There are autistic people who are gregarious and outgoing, and there may well be pro basketball players who are less than six feet tall.

But to say that professional basketball players, taken as a group, are extremely tall is not useless, irrelevant, misleading, or false, even though there are exceptions.

And, as a group, when conservative Christians have dealings with gay and lesbian people, and in particular when they are in a position of power in the relationship (e.g., parent, employer, landlord), they treat gays and lesbians badly. I have heard this consistently from every gay and lesbian person I have ever known, and from every straight person who has close friends or family members who are gay and lesbian. I have myself lost a close friend who is a conservative Christian because I wasn't willing to agree with her that every gay and lesbian of my acquaintance is going straight to Hell and that I am responsible for telling them so at every opportunity.

It may be that this bad behavior is limited to a very small minority among conservative Christians, and that the rest of the group is shocked and appalled by it. If that is so, those conservative Christians who find it shocking should, I think, say clearly and publicly that, whether homosexual behavior is sinful or not, treating gays and lesbians badly is certainly sinful. If conservative Christians, as a group, spent as much effort on getting those in their group who sin against gays and lesbians to repent as they do worrying about the sins of gays and lesbians, I think it would be a very fine thing.

quote:
I think your research methodology here is flawed, since generalisations across a social class are perilous unless supported with some rigorous statistical research. Even then, the results will be in a statistical format rather than a simple determinism.


I'm not doing research here, FS. I'm not attempting to say that, at p=0.01, 63.4% of gays and lesbians in the UK have had negative interactions with conservative Christians, while in the US, at p=0.01, it's 78.2%. I'm simply trying to establish, to my own satisfaction, whether the experience of gays and lesbians in the UK is similar to that of gays and lesbians in the US. Apparently, from the responses I've received, it is. I have no way of knowing whether such experiences are more or less likely in one country or the other. But that's not what I was trying to find out.

quote:
Actually, not correct on an important point. Gene Robinson's boyfriend had nothing directly to do with his divorce. I imagine that the divorce was complicated, messy and painful, just like most divorces. The boyfriend only arrived on the scene much later on.
That is an important point. Thank you for correcting me.

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I've written a book! Catherine's Pascha: A celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church. It's a lovely book for children. Take a look!

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Josephine

Orthodox Belle
# 3899

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quote:
Originally posted by Paige:
And are you saying that fornication between heterosexuals is bad, but ultimately less bad because at least it might be procreative? That's the first time I've every heard anyone use that argument.....

It seems to me that this particular argument would cut just as well the other way -- that fornication between homosexuals is less bad than between heterosexuals, because there is no risk of procreation in the homosexual relationship.

It wasn't that long ago that "you might get pregnant" was considered a compelling reason for abstaining from fornication.

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I've written a book! Catherine's Pascha: A celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church. It's a lovely book for children. Take a look!

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Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

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quote:
Originally posted by Paige:
And are you saying that fornication between heterosexuals is bad, but ultimately less bad because at least it might be procreative? That's the first time I've every heard anyone use that argument.....

No, you’ve misunderstood me. I’m not drawing a moral distinction between heterosexual and homosexual fornication, but undoubtedly the absence of any procreative possibility plays an important part in the psychology and sociology of the homosexual world.

quote:
Originally posted by josephine:
It has been my experience, Faithful Sheepdog, that people behave in ways that are consistent with their beliefs. If they believe two classes of human beings are fundamentally different, based on their theological and moral views, they will tend to treat them differently. Look at India for a clear example of that. Or the way slaves were treated by slaveholders. Their theology -- that Africans were descended from Noah's wicked son, and therefore cursed -- certainly influenced their behavior.

I have said nothing about “classes” of people who are fundamentally different. I do however draw a distinction between types of equally sinful behaviour. You’re attempting to play the race card here, and I’m not buying it. Race is an utterly irrelevant category to discuss this issue.

quote:
Originally posted by josephine:
And, as a group, when conservative Christians have dealings with gay and lesbian people, and in particular when they are in a position of power in the relationship (e.g., parent, employer, landlord), they treat gays and lesbians badly. I have heard this consistently from every gay and lesbian person I have ever known, and from every straight person who has close friends or family members who are gay and lesbian. I have myself lost a close friend who is a conservative Christian because I wasn't willing to agree with her that every gay and lesbian of my acquaintance is going straight to Hell and that I am responsible for telling them so at every opportunity.

Here you have moved away from the sin of fornication onto the general area of bullying and abuse in relationships with an unequal power balance.

Conservative Christians (however defined) have no monopoly on this kind of bad behaviour. I suspect that if you went looking you would find such bullying and abuse in just as many liberal circles and even in parts of the gay community itself. Such behaviour is an unwelcome function of human sinfulness.

You are also presuming that a “conservative Christian” is someone who wants to tell gay and lesbian people “at every opportunity” that they are going “straight to hell”. That may be true in your experience, but it is certainly not true in mine.

The conservative Anglican viewpoint to which I subscribe is that “Almighty God…desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness, and live…” (1662 BCP absolution). As the call of the gospel puts it, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand”.

quote:
It may be that this bad behavior is limited to a very small minority among conservative Christians, and that the rest of the group is shocked and appalled by it. If that is so, those conservative Christians who find it shocking should, I think, say clearly and publicly that, whether homosexual behavior is sinful or not, treating gays and lesbians badly is certainly sinful. If conservative Christians, as a group, spent as much effort on getting those in their group who sin against gays and lesbians to repent as they do worrying about the sins of gays and lesbians, I think it would be a very fine thing.
Treating anybody badly is sinful regardless of their sexuality. I would have thought that this much was obvious. No Christian of any stripe has a licence to bully and abuse another person.

What more can I say on this point? Perhaps you could give me some more examples of the bad behaviour that is unique to the “conservative Christians” of your acquaintance, and then I can comment further.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Josephine

Orthodox Belle
# 3899

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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
Treating anybody badly is sinful regardless of their sexuality. I would have thought that this much was obvious. No Christian of any stripe has a licence to bully and abuse another person.

I would have thought it was obvious, too. But it doesn't seem to be.

Those conservative Christians who treat gays and lesbians badly don't seem to think what they're doing is sinful. They seem to think they're perfectly justified in what they do -- but we all feel that way about our own sins, don't we?

So my question for you, Faithful Sheepdog, is whether it's possible to persuade those conservative Christians who treat gays and lesbians badly that their actions are sinful, and that they need to repent? Is it possible to persuade them to seek the forgiveness of those they've sinned against? And if so, how can it be done?

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I've written a book! Catherine's Pascha: A celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church. It's a lovely book for children. Take a look!

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iGeek

Number of the Feast
# 777

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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
Hence the fundamental question that you are begging: can homoerotic behaviour ever be holy or not? Our forebears in the faith were clear on their answer.

Our forbears have been wrong before. On slavery. On the role of women in society and in the church. On mixed-race couplings. On many issues of science.

Our forebears in faith are not infallible. I think they're wrong on this issue. You're darn right we're hoping to get this normalisation behind us soonest because, speaking as a US citizen (2nd class) living in the American south, I believe that in 50 years time people are going to look back and be just as horrified over the fuss we made over this issue as we are when we look back on the civil rights struggle for people of colour or the gender wars in the workplace.

It is no accident, I think, that the most most strident, hostile, hateful vitriol spewed by people who call themselves devout christians comes from the same quarters that splintered from their denominations 150 years ago over the issue of slavery in favor of the status quo. Some of the most heinous abuses of human rights have been justified theologically. I see this as just another.

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Psyduck

Ship's vacant look
# 2270

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Faithful Sheepdog:
quote:
The misunderstanding here is on your part. I used the word “homoerotic” because it is the right word to use and gets to the heart of the issue. The Christian moral argument with homosexuality is not about doing housework together or nursing the terminally ill. Rather, it is about sexual actions.


And you can see no connection between doing the housework together or nursing the terminally ill, on the one hand, and sexual relations on the other? Sex, then, is just sex? And just for procreation? And nothing, of course, to do with I Corinthians 13...

What a washed out view of sex - any sex. Nothing to do with love.
quote:
Hence the fundamental question that you are begging: can homoerotic behaviour ever be holy or not? Our forebears in the faith were clear on their answer.
On your view, it's not clear to me that heteroerotic behaviour is any more edifying. Once you break the link between sex - any sex - and real life, you come up with an abstraction that's basically either hysterically funny to contemplate, or disgusting. It's basically a cheap shot.

If homoerotic actions issue in loving behaviour, that's evidence that needs to be taken with enormous seriousness by Christians.

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The opposite of faith is not doubt. The opposite of faith is certainty.
"Lle rhyfedd i falchedd fod/Yw teiau ar y tywod." (Ieuan Brydydd Hir)

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dorothea
Goodwife and low church mystic
# 4398

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i-geek,
you wrote:
quote:
Our forbears have been wrong before. On slavery. On the role of women in society and in the church. On mixed-race couplings. On many issues of science.
I agree with this sentiment 100%. From my perspective this is where people who hold to a conservative opinion on homosexuality get it wrong. They find it hard to accept that two people of the same gender can fall deeply in love (and that such a love can be a source of sexual, psychological and emotional fulfilment). Christianity appears (from their perspective) to support this view. A lack of empathy combines rather too neatly with a favouring of rules to live by (the law) - after all it's more straightforward and clear cut to have rules isn't it? Well it cuts down on ambiguity and grey areas for a start - and this approach takes precedence over compassion and understanding.

Frankly, it's almost enough to make one despair. A more progressive view of the development of human understandign helps a great deal.

J

[ 02. October 2005, 16:20: Message edited by: dorothea ]

--------------------
Protestant head? Catholic Heart?

http://joansbitsandpieces.blogspot.com/

Posts: 1581 | From: Notlob City Limits | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

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quote:
Originally posted by iGeek.:
Our forbears have been wrong before. On slavery. On the role of women in society and in the church. On mixed-race couplings. On many issues of science.

Our forebears in faith are not infallible. I think they're wrong on this issue. You're darn right we're hoping to get this normalisation behind us soonest because, speaking as a US citizen (2nd class) living in the American south, I believe that in 50 years time people are going to look back and be just as horrified over the fuss we made over this issue as we are when we look back on the civil rights struggle for people of colour or the gender wars in the workplace.

It is no accident, I think, that the most most strident, hostile, hateful vitriol spewed by people who call themselves devout christians comes from the same quarters that splintered from their denominations 150 years ago over the issue of slavery in favor of the status quo. Some of the most heinous abuses of human rights have been justified theologically. I see this as just another.

Being based in Scotland there is only one thing I know about the 19th century American Church. The Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA) had a major split in 1873, with a large body of evangelical clergy going off to form the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC), which still exists.

One of the major issues lurking behind the split was that the parent body (ECUSA) was not prepared to train and ordain black clergy. In contrast, the REC was prepared to do just that. So to this day the REC has a much higher proportion of black clergy and black members than ECUSA, whereas I am told that ECUSA remains an overwhelmingly white church.

Speaking more generally in terms of UK history, one of the major figures associated with the abolition of slavery was William Wilberforce, and he was uncompromisingly evangelical in his theology. Your generalised comments about “heinous abuses of human rights” are well wide of the mark historically.

In general, I think you need to be a lot more specific about your accusations of Christian groups “spewing strident, hostile, hateful vitriol” in favour of slavery. We both know that there are violent white supremacists in both the UK and the USA, but of itself that only proves that some people need to repent and believe in the gospel.

In the meantime I do not accept that there is anything second class about your US citizenship. A large proportion of the world would be happy to change places with you.

quote:
Originally posted by josephine:
So my question for you, Faithful Sheepdog, is whether it's possible to persuade those conservative Christians who treat gays and lesbians badly that their actions are sinful, and that they need to repent? Is it possible to persuade them to seek the forgiveness of those they've sinned against? And if so, how can it be done?

The answer to the first two questions is the grace of God and the conviction of sin by the power of the Holy Spirit. Undoubtedly some people have a lot of repenting to do.

The type of person who will bully and abuse gay and lesbian people will also do the same to many other kinds of people. That is the nature of the bullying personality. Personally I think there is a deep spiritual evil at the back of many bullies.

The answer to the third question is better training in the church on what constitutes healthy relationships and a healthy church community. There needs to be a clear distinction made between words and actions that are assertive (good) and those that are aggressive (bad).

A healthy community will have strong behavioural boundaries in place that permit assertion but not aggression. Those strong boundaries will then help to protect the church community from an unrepentant bully on the loose.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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Josephine

Orthodox Belle
# 3899

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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
The answer to the third question is better training in the church on what constitutes healthy relationships and a healthy church community. There needs to be a clear distinction made between words and actions that are assertive (good) and those that are aggressive (bad).

Does such teaching occur in your church? If so, in what context (homily, Sunday school, etc.)? And does it specifically deal with the issue of how we treat gays and lesbians? And how has that been received?

If it doesn't, in what context would you expect it to occur? How would the issue of the mistreatment of gays and lesbians need to be presented in your church in order to be accepted by the congregation? How do you think it would be received? Would people respond by recognizing their need to repent? Or would they respond by deciding that your congregation was too supportive of gays and lesbians? (Or maybe some of each?) And what can you, or others who recognize the sinfulness of bullying behavior towards gays and lesbians (and anyone else), do to encourage this sort of teaching to be presented and received?

--------------------
I've written a book! Catherine's Pascha: A celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church. It's a lovely book for children. Take a look!

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Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

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quote:
Originally posted by dorothea:
i-geek,
you wrote:

quote:
Our forbears have been wrong before. On slavery. On the role of women in society and in the church. On mixed-race couplings. On many issues of science.
I agree with this sentiment 100%. From my perspective this is where people who hold to a conservative opinion on homosexuality get it wrong.
iGeek had so much dodgy history in his post that I found him almost 100% wrong. [Big Grin]

quote:
They find it hard to accept that two people of the same gender can fall deeply in love
Actually, I don’t have any trouble accepting this at all. I can readily accept that some people form very strong emotional bonds with people of the same gender. In many cases this is wholly to be encouraged. It’s only when those emotional bonds become expressed erotically that the moral questions arise.

quote:
(and that such a love can be a source of sexual, psychological and emotional fulfilment).
It’s at this point that I dissent from your views. Falling in love doesn’t of itself justify anything, least of all an intimate sexual relationship.

quote:
Christianity appears (from their perspective) to support this view.
It’s not just conservative Christianity that says what I am saying. See any secular relationship site dealing with relational issues. Some people find “falling in love” rather too easy, but that is no excuse for subsequent actions that may be unwise and immoral.

quote:
A lack of empathy combines rather too neatly with a favouring of rules to live by (the law)
Here you are simply guessing. How do you have any idea how empathetic I am? Are you not simply basing this judgement on the presence of certain opinions? I think your comment here is on very flimsy ground and little more than prejudice.

I readily admit that a particular post may be clumsily or infelicitously worded, but that problem afflicts us all. Having met many shipmates in real life, I know how much the Internet filters out due to its inherent limitations. Behind everyone’s posts is a real person.

quote:
- after all it's more straightforward and clear cut to have rules isn't it? Well it cuts down on ambiguity and grey areas for a start - and this approach takes precedence over compassion and understanding.
That is a false dichotomy. “Compassion and understanding” do not automatically exclude the need to have rules. Just ask the next medical or child development professional whom you meet. I don’t want “compassion” off my dentist, I want to know if that tooth can be saved or has to come out. Love has to be tough.

quote:
Frankly, it's almost enough to make one despair. A more progressive view of the development of human understanding helps a great deal.
Well, I agree with you about being tempted to despair, but probably not for the reasons you would like. Given the current state of UK society, I think your view of the “progressive development of human understanding” is naïve and unrealistic.

Fundamentally I think you’re confusing technological progress (undoubted) with social progress (much more debatable). For many people, all the technology that has made the Internet possible is now used to download porn. Where is the social progress in that?

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Leprechaun

Ship's Poison Elf
# 5408

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quote:
Originally posted by josephine:

If it doesn't, in what context would you expect it to occur? How would the issue of the mistreatment of gays and lesbians need to be presented in your church in order to be accepted by the congregation? How do you think it would be received? Would people respond by recognizing their need to repent? Or would they respond by deciding that your congregation was too supportive of gays and lesbians? (Or maybe some of each?) And what can you, or others who recognize the sinfulness of bullying behavior towards gays and lesbians (and anyone else), do to encourage this sort of teaching to be presented and received?

Joesphine, this is an excellent question and one I have been thinking about a lot recently. A while back I went to a large evangelical men's gathering in my area, where a guy who has homosexual desires, but belives acting on them sexually are wrong, gave a seminar about dealing with homosexuality in evangelical churches.
He talked about how he had been cut to the heart by people who didn't know about his orientation making "gay jokes", not acknowledging the issues in their discussion of relationships, their reaction to the gay rights movement in the media. he said, and I agree, that really, we must be willing to get to the stage where people in the church will worry that we are going against the Bible by being too accepting before we have begun deal with this issue properly. I felt totally convicted.

There's been a lot of talk on this thread about how useless this discussion is. That's probably right, and my theological view hasn't been changed by reading it. But it has made me consider carefully how I address these issues in the contexts in which I lead a church and work in a para church movement, and specifically to address that hate and victimisation and even lack of consideration are sins just as much as sex outside marriage when I'm talking about it.

I don't think the revisionist position on this issue is right. That conservative Christians have lot of repenting to do on this issue is beyond doubt.

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He hath loved us, He hath loved us, because he would love

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Faithful Sheepdog
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# 2305

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quote:
Originally posted by josephine:
quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
The answer to the third question is better training in the church on what constitutes healthy relationships and a healthy church community. There needs to be a clear distinction made between words and actions that are assertive (good) and those that are aggressive (bad).

Does such teaching occur in your church?
Speaking personally, I have not received any such relational training outside some pre-marital preparation, some Myers-Briggs assessment, and some more general counselling for personal matters (although that did inspire me to do some further reading and research on relational topics). In general I have had to educate myself on issues of bullying and abuse.

quote:
If so, in what context (homily, Sunday school, etc.)?
These issues can only be dealt with very superficially in a sermon. Better would be a course of study arranged for a house-group, or some form of half or whole-day seminar. There are some useful websites to visit and some good books to read.

quote:
And does it specifically deal with the issue of how we treat gays and lesbians?
No. I think such training needs to be at a more general and less politically contentious level. That way it is left to the people themselves to apply the training appropriately to any vulnerable minority groups they encounter.

Those groups would include not just homosexual people but all other kinds of vulnerable minorities, especially those with disabilities (I am long-term ill with ME/CFS, and my wife has Asperger’s Syndrome). I’ve already been accused on these boards of being a benefit scrounger. Some people definitely do need disability awareness training.

quote:
And how has that been received?
Speaking personally, very well,. I have learnt a great deal from studying the issues of bullying and abuse in general terms. My decision to leave a certain church four years ago has proven to be very wise.

quote:
If it doesn't, in what context would you expect it to occur?
I would expect to find such training in any context where growth into emotional maturity, relational wellbeing, and community wholeness is encouraged. That would include some websites, directed reading, personal counselling, some career training, weekend courses, pastoral conferences, and formal tuition at a school or college.

quote:
How would the issue of the mistreatment of gays and lesbians need to be presented in your church in order to be accepted by the congregation?
Your question here presumes mistreatment of homosexual people as a fact of life. I think one would need to make a good statistical case that gays and lesbians (or any other vulnerable minority) are indeed being systematically mistreated by the wider church.

It is a sad fact that nearly everyone in the wider church has a bad experience at one time or other, but one bad experience is not enough to establish a systematic pattern of bullying and abuse.

As someone who used to work in nuclear safety, I am well aware that public perceptions and statistical realities are often very different. Any presentation that manipulates people’s perceptions with superficial emotional anecdotes is well out-of-order.

quote:
How do you think it would be received?
I have certainly benefitted from a knowledge of what constitutes bullying and abuse, but then I have some unpleasant practical experience to measure it against. It’s not my present congregation that desperately needs this knowledge.

I have no idea how my present congregation would respond to such knowledge, but I am happy to confirm that they are already a very hospitable bunch. They haven’t bullied and abused me yet, nor anyone else so far as I can see.

quote:
Would people respond by recognizing their need to repent?
One sows, another reaps…

quote:
Or would they respond by deciding that your congregation was too supportive of gays and lesbians?
Well, I can think of at least one congregation in Scotland that comes into that category, but it’s not mine. [Smile]

quote:
(Or maybe some of each?)
The Anglican Communion is working on it. [Smile]

quote:
And what can you, or others who recognize the sinfulness of bullying behavior towards gays and lesbians (and anyone else), do to encourage this sort of teaching to be presented and received?
As Tony Blair said, “education, education, education”. Speaking personally, I have lent books to people, put them onto relevant websites, and written personal messages to friends and acquaintances.

I would like to emphasise that it’s not just some Christian homosexuals who find themselves being bullied and abused. This is a problem across the board in the wider church. It is the only organisation known to bayonet its own wounded.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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iGeek

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As far as dodgy history goes, I was referring to the southern baptists. I certainly don't blame the current folks for the sins of the fathers but I do hold them accountable for perpetrating a culture of oppression. The 2001 census shows 17.2% of the population self-identified as baptist.The Southern Baptists claim circa 16 million members. In this country in many of the matters I touched on in my post it has been conservative christians who've been the ones dragging their feet. The KKK had/has religious underpinnings. Laws against miscegenation to support the idea of racial purity were justified religiously. Apartheid was justified through religion. The effort ongoing now in the US to pass laws defining marriage soley involving opposite gender partners is fired from the religous right. There's already a federal law on the books. Many states have passed laws. Some states are going further to embed the idea in their consititutions. There's a movement to do the same to the federal constitution. Many of the laws don't just define; they go further to remove recognition of *any* legal agreement that *looks* like its intended to provide the benefits of marriage to a same-sex couple (inheritance rights, child guardianship, powers-of-attorney for medical decisions, etc.)

So the state is being used as a tool of oppression for partners in a same-sex relationship in some cases by targeting laws specifically for their situation to invalidate otherwise legally binding contracts.

As it stands in Texas, they're apparently only willing to go so far as to refuse to recognise anything that looks like civil partnership from other jurisdictions.

How nice for you in a heterosexual partnership that you don't have to concern yourself with such mundane issues.

I *do* have to concern myself and at the present time in this country for the reasons I've described above, my position as a full and equal citizen in this country is compromised and, indeed, is under intense attack. Your blithe, "sucks-to-be-you" attitude in this regard seems rather par for the course to me.

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HenryT

Canadian Anglican
# 3722

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quote:
Originally posted by iGeek.:
...
As it stands in Texas, they're apparently only willing to go so far as to refuse to recognise anything that looks like civil partnership from other jurisdictions....

doesn't that violate the "full faith and favor" clause of the U.S. Constitution? Note: the link doesn't address this.

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"Perhaps an invincible attachment to the dearest rights of man may, in these refined, enlightened days, be deemed old-fashioned" P. Henry, 1788

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iGeek

Number of the Feast
# 777

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One would expect that the "full faith and credit" provisions in the US constitution would, ultimately, invalidate laws as Texas proposes to pass.

That's why everybody is keeping their powder dry for the really big fight -- the one over the proposed amendment to the federal constitution. And that's why the duration involved with "ultimately" is important.

If a case were to bubble up to the Supreme Court (a couple married in Massachusetts suing to have another state recognize it, for example, or as a challenge to the federal DOMA -- "Defense of Marriage Act") and the SC were to find in their favor based on the full faith and credit clause, it is likely that a social backlash for a DOMA-like constitutional amendment would occur. Getting something like that repealed could take generations.

The longer we have states with marriage (like Massachusetts), civil unions (like Vermont & Connecticut) and domestic partnership provisions (like California), the more people get used to the idea, discover that civilisation doesn't fall down (any more than it did when women abandoned "traditional" gender roles in greater numbers), the less energy behind such a backlash.

After all, it doesn't affect nearly the same number of people that prohibition did (another ill-advised populist fired amendment).

(ETA fix incomplete sentance. Even preview post sometimes doesn't help)

[ 03. October 2005, 18:53: Message edited by: iGeek. ]

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iGeek

Number of the Feast
# 777

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Actually, I should have read that Wiki article a bit more fully before posting. It points out why it's possible that the FF&C clause might not apply in matters of marriage. I think that's why the state-level efforts (like the proposal in TX) are being worked in earnest. If the challenge fails in the SC, then the state laws take precedence and we'll continue with a mish-mash of laws across the states.

The effect might be that if you have legal agreements in place for guardianship of minor children or powers of attorney for making medical decisions for your partner (typical benefits of marriage/civil union), when you cross the line into some states (like Oklahoma), those rights simply disappear. In fact, in the case of adopted children, it gets worse.

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Via demolishes the 6 bible references against homosexuality in much the same way as people have done of this thread but his chief view is that the Bible is not some sort of moral handbook.

My recollection is that Via does nothing of the sort. He certainly has nothing like the weight of biblical and historical scholarship that Gagnon can bring to bear on this subject

...Tradition and reason are considered important across the church. Experience is a vague, nebulous and highly personal category. To use it as a trump card puts one onto very thin ice indeed.

Yes he does - on pp. 4-14

Re - experience, it's a biblical thing to do - In Acts 15 the church revises its stance in the light of those who have experienced baptism in the Spirit despite being gentiles

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corvette
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# 9436

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Experience? of course you have to use it as a trump card. If your theory doesn't fit the facts it's the theory that has to change. Otherwise you have nothing but a pretty theory. A pretty useless one.


"But it does move"

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