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

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quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
Hi Toujours Dan,
I think you might have missed where debate restarted on this thread about the Cybele/Attis claims. I'd suggest going back those few pages and reading from the post I've linked up to here. Or else we really will end up re-inventing the wheel on that one!

cheers,
Louise

Thanks Louise but I didn't miss it. I saw that there was a standoff where two people on both sides of the claim demanded links to original sources that neither could provide. It didn't seem to go anywhere.

The problem being even if there isn't documented evidence that actual homosexual cult-prostitution existed in the cult (an unproven claim), it doesn't necessarily further Peter Ould's assertion.

There is plenty of documented evidence that the galli engaged in cross-dressing and orgiastic activity.

quote:
The Galli castrated themselves during an ecstatic celebration called the Dies sanguinis, or "Day of Blood", which took place on March 24. At the same time they put on women's costume, mostly yellow in colour, and a sort of turban, together with pendants and ear-rings. They also wore their hair long, and bleached, and wore heavy make-up.
(From the link above.)

One could still argue that the sexual activity Paul spoke of had the appearance of same-sex activity - viz., a man dressed as a woman had ritualized sex with women, and a woman who had cut off her breasts serviced men. This was, in fact, a cult whose deepest followers sought to transcend gender which adds additional complications.

Claims of cross dressing by the followers of both sexes and ritualized sexual activity are, in fact, documented in the book written by Maria Grazia Lancellotti in 2002 called Attis: Between Myth and History : King, Priest and God amongst others. Whether Paul is describing the actual or contrived gender of the people involved is anyone's guess.

The point I am still trying to raise, confirmed by the standoff you referenced, is that there is plenty of ambiguity in the text - certainly enough, that using this descriptive text to prescribe behaviour whose only resemblance to the text is the gender of the participants, is stretching it to the breaking point. We really don't know what Paul was talking about: I merely wish conservative Christians could admit that too.

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
But logically, Johnny S, the position you are putting forward is that we are all 'depraved'.

And it seems to me that this means that you think we have all abandoned the worship of God for the worship of idols.

Sorry, but... REALLY?

Yep, that's right. That is my position.

I had always seen that the fundamental problem God's people faced in the OT was idolatry. It was this passage in Romans 1 that first opened my eyes to the fact that idolatry is about a lot more than bowing down to statues.

Passages like this one and 1 Thessalonians 1: 9-10 seem to frame the gospel in terms of turning from idols back to God. Idolatry is not just about stone statues but any context where I try to seek satisfaction and security in a created thing rather than in the creator. Taking something good (a created person / thing) but perverting by putting it in the place of God - that is idolatry.

quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Because that certainly isn't an orthodox interpretation of the passage. I don't recall anyone ever standing up and preaching from Romans 1 about how we are all, every one of us, depraved.

What can I say? You don't get out much? Read someone like Tim Keller (Redeemer NY) for this as a classic explanation of the gospel.

I've lived my whole life in mainstream evo circles (i.e. exposed to most flavours of evangelicalism) and this is the only way I have heard this passage explained.

quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
I've never heard anyone stand up and preach about how WE knew God, but WE neither glorified God nor gave thanks to him and how OUR thinking became futile.

Ah, but that is not what I said. I think Paul is explaining the panorama of human experience here. This is the general trend of society. As I said about worshipping idols there is nothing in the passage to assume that when God hands 'them' over that he is talking about progressive steps for every individual. Rather this is the natural trend of human society. There is a step from turning to idols (from God) which leads to depraved behaviour but that doesn't necessarily mean that we all go through each individual step.

quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
If people actually believed and preached this point of view, they would NOT flick open their Bibles to Romans 1 for the purpose of bashing homosexuals over the head with it. There'd be no point.

Here we are agreed. As TD points out this passage is descriptive. I don't like the idea of proof texts anyway, but if I did I'd be turning to passages like 1 Corinthians 6.

What I've been arguing on this thread is I don't see anything in this passage to overturn a traditional view of homosexuality. That is not the same as saying that I think Romans 1 is all about bashing teh gayz. It saddens me too how it has turned into that.

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
I've never heard anyone stand up and preach about how WE knew God, but WE neither glorified God nor gave thanks to him and how OUR thinking became futile.

Ah, but that is not what I said.
Ah, but that IS what Romans 1 says. With THEMS and THEIRS of course.

I fail to see how you can continue to try and have it both ways.

It's truly amusing that you think we are asking for evidence in this passage to overturn the traditional view. The whole point is that it's usually presented as the evidence on which the traditional view is BASED. Why on earth would you keep the traditional view without the Biblical support for that view?

But again, you seem quite keen to have it both ways. You see this passage as showing that Paul thought, or accepted, that all homosexuality is bad... and now suddenly you don't?

Sorry Johnny, I'm no longer that interested. All I can see is an argument that ties itself up in ever-widening knots in an effort to sound simultaneously polite/not too prejudiced and yet maintaining the traditional line.

[ 12. May 2012, 04:58: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
Yep, that's right. That is my position.

I had always seen that the fundamental problem God's people faced in the OT was idolatry. It was this passage in Romans 1 that first opened my eyes to the fact that idolatry is about a lot more than bowing down to statues.

Passages like this one and 1 Thessalonians 1: 9-10 seem to frame the gospel in terms of turning from idols back to God. Idolatry is not just about stone statues but any context where I try to seek satisfaction and security in a created thing rather than in the creator. Taking something good (a created person / thing) but perverting by putting it in the place of God - that is idolatry. ...

So if two people - who happen to be of the same sex - love one another, make their vows, with all my goods, until death, yadda yadda, they are committing idolatry? But if they're different sexes they're not? That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. OliviaG
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Boogie

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# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:


Sorry Johnny, I'm no longer that interested. All I can see is an argument that ties itself up in ever-widening knots in an effort to sound simultaneously polite/not too prejudiced and yet maintaining the traditional line.

Yep - that's what I see too.

(Or maybe it's a very slow letting go of the traditional line - hopefully)

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leo
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If Romans 1 is about idolatry, which I believe it is, the heterosexual marriage can be just as idolatrous.

So can 'belief in the Bible.'

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
I've lived my whole life in mainstream evo circles (i.e. exposed to most flavours of evangelicalism) and this is the only way I have heard this passage explained.

I've lived my whole adult life in mainstream evo circles, too.

But you're putting a spin on this, possibly to save your blushes. I have *never* heard an explanation of Romans 1 *without* also being referred to the remedy of Romans 5.

Our depravity (if you want to believe we were all once depraved) is behind us. Not we're still depraved but one day we'll be justified. We are (present tense) justified - not perfect, but justified.

Anything else is just weird heretical shit.

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Sorry Johnny, I'm no longer that interested. All I can see is an argument that ties itself up in ever-widening knots in an effort to sound simultaneously polite/not too prejudiced and yet maintaining the traditional line.

No worries.

I thought that our discussion had petered out a while ago but only stayed because you asked me to.

So, I'm quite happy to let this drop.

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ToujoursDan

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quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
Yep, that's right. That is my position.

I had always seen that the fundamental problem God's people faced in the OT was idolatry. It was this passage in Romans 1 that first opened my eyes to the fact that idolatry is about a lot more than bowing down to statues.

Passages like this one and 1 Thessalonians 1: 9-10 seem to frame the gospel in terms of turning from idols back to God. Idolatry is not just about stone statues but any context where I try to seek satisfaction and security in a created thing rather than in the creator. Taking something good (a created person / thing) but perverting by putting it in the place of God - that is idolatry. ...

So if two people - who happen to be of the same sex - love one another, make their vows, with all my goods, until death, yadda yadda, they are committing idolatry? But if they're different sexes they're not? That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. OliviaG
And, if you believe that Romans 1 is based on Wisdom 14 it wouldn't make sense. In Wisdom 14, the idolatry is really, truly, literally idolatry, viz., the actual building of statues like the Golden Calf and worshipping and making sacrifices to them. It's not materialism, worship of celebrity or wealth, or lust or anything else. When Paul talks about idolatry it's really, truly, literally idolatry. The Bible means what it says.

Johnny seems content to turn this particular passage into metaphor when there is absolutely no evidence that it is and quite a bit of evidence that Paul isn't invoking metaphor at all.

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Crœsos
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This is an example of what I refer to as "idolatry creep", a situation where the term "idolatry" goes from having a very clear and useful meaning to basically meaning "any worship practice I don't like". This seems linguistically sloppy since there are so many other useful words (heretical, blasphemous, sacrilegious, etc.) to describe various religious practices regarded as wrong.

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ToujoursDan

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# 10578

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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
This is an example of what I refer to as "idolatry creep", a situation where the term "idolatry" goes from having a very clear and useful meaning to basically meaning "any worship practice I don't like". This seems linguistically sloppy since there are so many other useful words (heretical, blasphemous, sacrilegious, etc.) to describe various religious practices regarded as wrong.

I was composing a post to make the same point but you beat me to it.

At best homosexual sex may break a purity code, but there is no Biblical support that breaking a purity code is considered idolatry.

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
... I think Paul is explaining the panorama of human experience here. This is the general trend of society. As I said about worshipping idols there is nothing in the passage to assume that when God hands 'them' over that he is talking about progressive steps for every individual. Rather this is the natural trend of human society. There is a step from turning to idols (from God) which leads to depraved behaviour but that doesn't necessarily mean that we all go through each individual step.
... As TD points out this passage is descriptive. ...

So it's descriptive, but it's not describing the thing it's describing, it's describing something else, which doesn't necessarily happen according to the description. My brain is about to explode. OliviaG
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ToujoursDan

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The passage says:

quote:
Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
But I'm supposed to believe that when Paul actually says "images made to look like... Therefore" he's not actually describing paintings on temple walls but a person of the same sex that you are expressing love towards, or somesuch.

Sometimes idolatry is really, truly and literally idolatry. This passage, of all of them, it the most specific. Paul even describes what the images of the idols look like and then links them to the activity. How can such a specific description of images mean anything other than images?

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orfeo

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Oh, do stop reading the text, Toujours Dan. You might start noticing what it actually says.

Whoops. Too late.

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leo
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Surely this must be the largest dead horse - 90 pages.

Seems to prove that there IS life after death - but only where LGBTs are concerned.

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Horseman Bree
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Just gone 10.5 years - must be the oldest still-running thread.

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luvanddaisies

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I set out this week to work my way through the monster that this thread has become. Having got to the end of page 28 so far, I've slightly lost the will to read any more just now, but have been stirred to a couple of questions and comments. It's been interesting - yes, there're a lot of circular arguments - but there are some really interesting posts here too, and I've learned a lot.

I'm wondering what impact this thread might have had on its participants and readers in the more-than-ten-years since it started. Have your opinions changed since the thread started, and was that due in part to the debate here or to other stuff? If other stuff, anything specific? What was the main argument or instance that made you change your mind?

I've noticed a couple of people whose view seems to have changed, and I've been reminded about the Ship's great strength that is the diversity of its posters who somehow manage to engage with each other in dialogue ( http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=5#000225 )when people from less often heard perspectives post - a notable example being ChastMastr (here on page 2) http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=2#000071 summarising where he's coming from (the number comes from a tongue-in-cheek but rather observant post of J-t-O-D's back on p1, http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=1#000012 ).

I think I've spent most of my life in the place of people not sure where they stand - Mousethief's post here, on p7, rung very true for me. http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=6#000286 , as did That Wikkid Person's on p16 http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=16#000789 .

Over the years I've become less and less conservative. I've also stopped going to church in the last couple of years, both as a result of spending quite a lot of time at sea and because I've been rather put off by the big central London evangelical church I used to attend's approach to dealing with a couple of things. I'm now totally happy to stick to what I think was my initial instinct of assuming God knows what He's doing when He makes people, and thinking that same-gender couples being able to marry each other is a good thing - and to not be bothered or a bit guilt-tripped by the fact that conservative evangelical thinking would disagree with that, but rather to think with humanity and humility - as The Wasteland points out in this post http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=26#001260 (there are a couple of posts by the same person that it follows).


Wood referred to an interesting link on "what the Bible says" page 9 -
http://www.soulforce.org/resources/what-the-bible-says-and-doesnt-say-about-homosexuality/ ,and Joan the Outlaw Dwarf had already posted some stuff way back on Page 1 in 2001 I'd not previously read (much time in very conservative anglican church, didn't really engage with the topic because I didn't agree with some of the stuff people around me accepted about it - I know this probably isn't new to many, but some of it was to me) http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=1#000033 It's not a point of view often taught in conservative evangelical churches, so a lot of it was arguments I'd not really come across. There's even a mennonite's perspective on what the Bible says, in a link given by Rowen on p17 http://www.ambs.edu/LJohns/Homosexuality.htm


People through the thread have posted lots of notable little windows into their lives, Inanna posted a very gracious, considered and statement of her and her partner's approach to a Christian approach to their relationship on page 3 http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=3#000137 , and I was struck by how i imagine Lipleurodon (posting here on the "anyone know any "cured" gay people" thread - http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=20#000959 ) must've been totally weirded out at first by falling for a man - at least I imagine I would be if I fell for a woman! - I guess it shows that you never know what's coming round the corner! http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=19#000949 There was a programme on the radio today about gay people who've suddenly found themselves falling for someone of the opposite sex. One lady, who had always dated other women, had fallen utterly head-over-heels in love with a man, utterly unexpectedly, and they had married, had children, she described him as her soulmate. Sadly, he'd died after 13 years of marriage, and after she picked up the pieces, she began dating - women. She described him as a 'freak wave', which seemed like a helpful analogy.

Arabella Purity Winterbottom posted a little about her journey into being accepted for ministry stuff by the powers-that-be in the church - http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=20#000952 . It was great to read this post from her [Smile] http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=23#001138 , and a bit later again, not so great to read this one http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=27#001317 .


Some people posted quite big personal stuff about their lives - Ian Climacus posted this - http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=23#001152 , and later this http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=28#001372 - as did iGeek back on p9 http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=9#000416 )

Other bits & bobs that've struck me include (edited highlights!)

Prayers
Joan the Outlaw-Dwarf, page 2 http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=2#000062 - a rather beautiful prayer.
iGeek - http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=16#000758 another prayer, p14

"Cures"
Inanna again, on page 5 http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=5#000229


What various bits of the official Church line say
is this http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=12#000589 , in a post by Hatless on page 12 still the case in the Baptist Union of Great Britain? It seems odd, for the reasons he states.

Link from Sakura on p20 - An African archbishop criticises the amount of energy being expended on debating homosexuality rather than other more pressing issues http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/content/news_syndication/article_2003_09_8_2240.shtml - this was in 2003, apparently around the time there was much debate and heat about Gene Robinson, an openly gay bishop, being ordained in the USA, and the near-appointment of Jeffrey John, openly gay, but celibate, as bishop of Reading in the UK.

Josephine talking about the Orthodox Church's position on p22 http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=22#001066 -
"- all our bishops are celibate. Whether they aren't having sex with men or aren't having sex with women is totally irrelevant. I can't imagine why anyone would care."


Other Noteworthy bits
geelongboys's email to the Phelps clan, p16 http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=17#000820 - no response though, apparently http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=17#000846


Stuff that raised questions from me.
ChastMastr linking to a website called QueerByChoice - http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=7#000316 - This never got taken up as a discussion point on the thread, and would still be interesting to see what LGBT shipmates make of it.

link from Louise http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=20#000959 - just wondering if the problem is as bad now as it was nearly ten years ago, and if the church in the UK has thought to do anything helpful

this post by helluvanengineer never really took off - http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000047;p=24#001197 - I mean, the aspect of it that said there was a 'sudden' acceptance. Was there a sudden move to acceptance of homosexuality, or is that the sound of someone's knee a-jerking? If there was, why?

Maybe this thread is needing to die quietly, something like 4500 posts and more than ten years after it started, but the activity on the other threads around the subject of homosexuality here suggests that people are still talking about bits of it. I wondered whether it might be that there is ever a time where it becomes a virtual non-debate topic, like slavery.
All this time later, has this discussion been worth it so far? I think it has, the variety of people who post here has made the discussion a wider range than one often finds in the pub after a church service. It may be that there's a lot of repetition here (hence me giving up on the thread for a while well before halfway through!), but I guess that's what Dead Horses as a board is for.

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Gracious rebel

Rainbow warrior
# 3523

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Thankyou thankyou luvanddaisies for that summary. I was particularly struck by your comment about people who had changed their position over the years. I think I have got to be the biggest example of that.

<takes deep breath>
For in the past couple of weeks I have been coming out myself, in particular to my con evo parents. And something I printed out this week to help them understand that the Bible references do not necessarily mean what they assume they do, is a copy of George Hopper's book 'Reluctant Journey', now found at http://www.reluctantjourney.co.uk/

And in an amazing window into the past, one of the links that luvanddaisies posted led me to a description of my response to that publication when I first read it, which can be seen on this thread (from 2003) here. Who would have thought that 9 years later I would be using this very same material to help my parents deal with my own sexuality?

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Mary LA
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Yes, thanks luvandaisies. This is a magnificent thread and I pop in whenever I feel the need to procrastinate for an hour or two.

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infinite_monkey
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At the risk of getting All-Saintsy...my best to you, Gracious Rebel! I'm on a somewhat similar sort of journey towards a better and more open understanding of myself as bi.

I think one thing that's held me back for a long time is possibly the same thing that's held folks back on a societal level--a sense of "otherness" that, in my personal current opinion, didn't/doesn't need to be there. As a kid and an adolescent in the church, I was shown one idea of what it meant to be queer--the shock footage, for want of a better term, of very specific subgroups in Pride parades. A few seconds of a video with the lens zoomed in--how can we ever think that's the entirety of even those people's lives, much less the entirety of a much larger group of people? But as a kid, and as a teenager, I bought it. I figured that, since my feelings were quieter, more monogamous, more conventional, more "love" than "SEX!!!", they didn't quite jive with who "homosexuals" had to be.

Now I, er, don't buy it. Now, I'm able to replace that caricature with a much larger, more complicated understanding of human sexuality--a much bigger "tent" with room for a lot more of us beneath it.

I'm gradually being more open with more people--since I have attractions to men as well as women, I've sort of held on to the option of not doing that, because my life is still in flux and I may ultimately end up partnered 'straight'. But I recognize that it's kind of important for me to add myself to the mosaic, if you will--to lead my devout Mormon facebook friends and my very traditional mother to a realization that exactly this person they know is exactly one of the "others" they've been taught to see differently.

And that's a process for me, as well.

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His light was lifted just above the Law,
And now we have to live with what we did with what we saw.

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Horseman Bree
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Probably a similar story to one that's been told many times, but this article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press stirred up a lot of emotions in me. It deals with the gay son of a Baptist preacher in Tennesee, who eventually died of AIDS, and whose father left his church in disappointment over the difficulties, both within the church and within his damaged belief system.

And the father's eventual return to that church, seventeen years later. The article does describe the welcome back to the church, but does not indicate whether any members of that church continued to keep up the contact in the interim. Otherwise an excellent summary, thoroughly researched. The reporter's coverage of the religious teaching is quite fair, for instance.

quote:
But here Matt was, swallowed by questions.

How was a man supposed to read Scripture? What else did the church get wrong? Can you toss out certain parts of the Bible and not others? Why were divorce and premarital sex and greed -- all condemned in the Bible -- overlooked but not homosexuality?

He had watched Stephen die, holding on to God with one hand and the hand of his partner with the other -- unapologetic to the end.

Thanks to Slacktivist for the link.

[ 26. June 2012, 20:58: Message edited by: Horseman Bree ]

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It's Not That Simple

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Nenya
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# 16427

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I too am working my way through this stupendous thread (am only up to page 15) but recent conversations with others, and reading other material too, have made me realise that for many people sexuality is far more fluid than I'd previously thought.

Someone I know said they find it hard to understand how people can be anything except bisexual, because people are wonderful and you fall in love with a person, regardless of what bits they have. [Smile]

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The Great Gumby

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quote:
Originally posted by Gracious rebel:
Thankyou thankyou luvanddaisies for that summary. I was particularly struck by your comment about people who had changed their position over the years. I think I have got to be the biggest example of that.

Wow, and all the best for dealing with it.

On this topic, I find it amusing (or ironic, or something) that had I been around when the thread started, I'd have been anti. Now, without ever consciously noticing a specific change, I find myself considering my position in a church effectively because their position's broadly what I would have thought 10 years ago.

The situation's a bit more complicated than that, but it's a strange realisation.

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The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. - Richard Feynman

A letter to my son about death

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Nenya
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quote:
Originally posted by The Great Gumby:
On this topic, I find it amusing (or ironic, or something) that had I been around when the thread started, I'd have been anti. Now, without ever consciously noticing a specific change, I find myself considering my position in a church effectively because their position's broadly what I would have thought 10 years ago.

I know what you mean - if I understand you correctly. I find myself now in a church where I have to be very careful what I say about a number of issues, homosexuality being one of them. I was talking to a couple of gay friends about this a few weeks back and one of them asked how I can be part of such a church; I said it's because I used to hold such views and people can change. I'm proof of that. [Smile]

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They told me I was delusional. I nearly fell off my unicorn.

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badman
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I still remember with shame and embarrassment a discussion at a restaurant 25 years ago when I said, without having thought about it very much at all, that I could understand the Church of England's position that the clergy shouldn't be in gay relationships even though the laity could be. When I was pressed to explain why, I said because the clergy were held to a higher standard. One of my good friends was at the table, and was clearly upset; and our friendship never recovered; although he wasn't out at the time.

Now I feel so strongly in justice and equality for gay people, including gay marriage, that I sometimes wonder if I am wrong to take my own children to church (but I still do take them).

Since my views have changed, I do think I have to give people who now seem to me unacceptably homophobic in the church a little bit of slack. I was never homophobic; but I disagree now with what I thought then.

[ 27. June 2012, 17:57: Message edited by: badman ]

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Palimpsest
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# 16772

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As a new comer I haven't noticed how large the backlog is. Whenever I'm on this board, a song pops in my head from a Polish movie. A magnificent chorale sings a chorus that goes;
"I got drunk and drank six horses".

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The Great Gumby

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# 10989

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quote:
Originally posted by Nenya:
quote:
Originally posted by The Great Gumby:
On this topic, I find it amusing (or ironic, or something) that had I been around when the thread started, I'd have been anti. Now, without ever consciously noticing a specific change, I find myself considering my position in a church effectively because their position's broadly what I would have thought 10 years ago.

I know what you mean - if I understand you correctly. I find myself now in a church where I have to be very careful what I say about a number of issues, homosexuality being one of them. I was talking to a couple of gay friends about this a few weeks back and one of them asked how I can be part of such a church; I said it's because I used to hold such views and people can change. I'm proof of that. [Smile]
You do understand me correctly. My problem is that while people can and do change (although usually through more of a drift than a conscious decision, which I find interesting), the institutions don't, or at least not with anything like an appropriate speed. There are reasons for this, which I'm hoping to blog about soon, but when the whole church structure is the problem, my options are limited.

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The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. - Richard Feynman

A letter to my son about death

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Curiosity killed ...

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I think it's sad because it's not the whole church structure. There are people who've been moving for change - Bishop John Gladwin and Bishop David Stancliffe when they were both Diocesan Bishops.

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

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Unreformed
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# 17203

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As a newbie I'd just like to give my thoughts on this issue, and God willing never have to speak of it on here again except in passing.

It seems to me Christendom at large has reached a stalemate on this topic.

The Mainline Protestants (what's left of them, anyway), with the exception of the United Methodists, have changed or will shortly change their teachings on homosexual activity and redefine marriage.

Evangelical and Confessional Protestants, at least for now, will not. I'm not so sanguine about the Evangelicals in the future, though.

The Catholic Church has not, will not, and most importantly cannot change their teaching on these matters. It doesn't have the authority to do so.

I can say with 99.999% certainty the same will be true of our brethren in the Eastern Orthodox Church. A Church that survived Joseph Stalin is hardly going to be cowed by charges of "homophobia".

It's over for now. Let God look, and judge.

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In the Latin south the enemies of Christianity often make their position clear by burning a church. In the Anglo-Saxon countries, we don't burn churches; we empty them. --Arnold Lunn, The Third Day

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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# 11274

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Well, Unreformed, I doubt other Shippies here are going to let you off that easily. Or were you just being coy in your disclaimers? Actually, the RCC and even the Orthodox can, firstly, shift their emphasis and have a good deal of pastoral flexibility or economia in practice. Secondly, the RCC can in fact get over its "natural law" teachings about various matters of human sexuality and introduce alternative paradigms: the idea that every human sexual act must be open to the possibility of procreation - no matter how remote or objectively, scientifically implausible - to pass the litmus test of morality is an absurdity on the face of it. The teaching against artificial contraception is irresponsible to the point of constituting the perpetration of a crime agsinst humanity. Of course, it's disregarded by just about every Catholic with the means to procure birth control, absent some economic incentive militating for the abundant production of children, extreme stupidity, intellectual defectiveness or psychopathology. By the same token, the proscription of sexual intimacy between same-sex couples who are, of course, unable to conceive is as lacking in merit and as morally vacuous as is the proscription of contraception in relations between heterosexual couples. Rome has painted itself into a corner now such that it can't suddenly reverse itself, but it can and undoubtedly will start a slow process of gradually modifying its teachings in the future. We'll see, however, if the RCC can do this before it collapses under the weight of its pedophile clergy, its bigotry toward women, and its alienation of large numbers of fair-minded young people who won't buy into its bigoted and superstitious "natural law".

[ 06. July 2012, 23:56: Message edited by: Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras ]

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Unreformed
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quote:
Originally posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras:
Well, Unreformed, I doubt other Shippies here are going to let you off that easily. Or were you just being coy in your disclaimers? Actually, the RCC and even the Orthodox can, firstly, shift their emphasis and have a good deal of pastoral flexibility or economia in practice. Secondly, the RCC can in fact get over its "natural law" teachings about various matters of human sexuality and introduce alternative paradigms: the idea that every human sexual act must be open to the possibility of procreation - no matter how remote or objectively, scientifically implausible - to pass the litmus test of morality is an absurdity on the face of it. The teaching against artificial contraception is irresponsible to the point of constituting the perpetration of a crime agsinst humanity. Of course, it's disregarded by just about every Catholic with the means to procure birth control, absent some economic incentive militating for the abundant production of children, extreme stupidity, intellectual defectiveness or psychopathology. By the same token, the proscription of sexual intimacy between same-sex couples who are, of course, unable to conceive is as lacking in merit and as morally vacuous as is the proscription of contraception in relations between heterosexual couples. Rome has painted itself into a corner now such that it can't suddenly reverse itself, but it can and undoubtedly will start a slow process of gradually modifying its teachings in the future. We'll see, however, if the RCC can do this before it collapses under the weight of its pedophile clergy, its bigotry toward women, and its alienation of large numbers of fair-minded young people who won't buy into its bigoted and superstitious "natural law".

Sorry, LSK, but the Church didn't change the deposit of faith for Marcion, the Church didn't change for it for the gnostics, it didn't change it for Arius, it didn't change it for the Cathars, it didn't change for Luther, or Calvin, or Zwingli, or the Unitarians, or Joseph Smith, or Karl Marx, or Jean-Paul Satre, or Ayn Rand, so its certainly not going to change it for Maureen Dowd and Dan Savage.

Sorry.

As to young people, boy, The Episcopal Church sure is dynamic in that department, isn't it? Tons of young people running out to be Episcopalians. It's not like the median age in your denomination is 57 or anything. It certainly isn't circling the drain when it comes to ASA. Nope. Nor is it over 87% white in an increasingly brown country.

Why, I only could dream of the Catholic Church having those kind of dynamic demographics! I guess we'll need to completely reverse 2,000 plus years of sexual teaching after all.

[Roll Eyes]

Not that I would care if the teaching of the Church WAS leading to people leaving pews. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God , and all will be added unto, etc., but to hear an Episcopalian making the argument that unless we follow your example, we'll go into a death spiral, is utterly hilarious. [Killing me] [Killing me] [Killing me] [Killing me]

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In the Latin south the enemies of Christianity often make their position clear by burning a church. In the Anglo-Saxon countries, we don't burn churches; we empty them. --Arnold Lunn, The Third Day

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Unreformed
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# 17203

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And wow, the sordid death of the TEC looks even more rapid when you realize its not just ASA, but actual membership that is taking a nosedive.

It seems to pick up steam around 2002. Hmmm....what happened in THAT year?

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In the Latin south the enemies of Christianity often make their position clear by burning a church. In the Anglo-Saxon countries, we don't burn churches; we empty them. --Arnold Lunn, The Third Day

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Organ Builder
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Oh, how cute!

Another fervent new convert...

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How desperately difficult it is to be honest with oneself. It is much easier to be honest with other people.--E.F. Benson

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Louise
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Hosting

This thread is not for generalised attacks on other people's churches or discussing the general nature of authority in the Catholic Church - there is an open thread in Purgatory for the latter.

Stick to the subject of homosexuality or take your spat elsewhere, either to Purgatory or Hell depending on the level of warmth desired.

Thanks,
Louise
Dead Horses Host

Hosting off

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Organ Builder
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# 12478

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I'm sorry, Louise--I should have resisted.

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How desperately difficult it is to be honest with oneself. It is much easier to be honest with other people.--E.F. Benson

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Unreformed
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Sorry. I should have stuck to the promise I made to myself to make one post on this topic and nothing more.

I've said my peace.

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In the Latin south the enemies of Christianity often make their position clear by burning a church. In the Anglo-Saxon countries, we don't burn churches; we empty them. --Arnold Lunn, The Third Day

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orfeo

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Okay, so if neither the RCC nor the Orthodox ever change their teachings... how exactly is it that we ended up with the RCC and the Orthodox?

Seriously. Regardless of the particular topic, it makes no sense to me to suggest that churches "cannot" change their teachings, otherwise I fail to see how we ended up with different denominations to begin with.

[ 07. July 2012, 04:51: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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Unreformed
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Okay, so if neither the RCC nor the Orthodox ever change their teachings... how exactly is it that we ended up with the RCC and the Orthodox?

Seriously. Regardless of the particular topic, it makes no sense to me to suggest that churches "cannot" change their teachings, otherwise I fail to see how we ended up with different denominations to begin with.

I'd like to discuss this with you but honestly after the warning I got I'd feel more comfortable on a separate thread in the appropriate forum. Since you're more senior than me and know the rules better, I'll let you choose.

[ 07. July 2012, 04:55: Message edited by: Unreformed ]

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In the Latin south the enemies of Christianity often make their position clear by burning a church. In the Anglo-Saxon countries, we don't burn churches; we empty them. --Arnold Lunn, The Third Day

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by badman:
I still remember with shame and embarrassment a discussion at a restaurant 25 years ago when I said, without having thought about it very much at all, that I could understand the Church of England's position that the clergy shouldn't be in gay relationships even though the laity could be. When I was pressed to explain why, I said because the clergy were held to a higher standard. One of my good friends was at the table, and was clearly upset; and our friendship never recovered; although he wasn't out at the time.


Assuming your tone wasn't belligerent and malicious during that conversation, why was he upset? He could have challenged your theology on the matter, which would have been a more robust response. After all, one could make the argument that sexual behaviour between consenting adults has nothing to do with 'a higher standard', or one could challenge the idea that the clergy are supposed to be better than anyone else.

If the person concerned wasn't a Christian, and unlikely to have much to do with the clergy or with churches in any case, then it seems as though his response was more visceral than anything else, which doesn't take us very far.

The CofE sometimes seems a bit schizophrenic about upsetting people, trying to lay down the law on some occasions and standing up for freedom and tolerance on others. Perhaps this 'postmodern' strategy is no longer viable. The irony may be that the most liberal forms of Christianity need to become more fundamentalist in asserting their values, and brooking no deviation in their ranks. Singlemindedness and clarity of purpose may be the only way to survive in today's world, rather than trying to please everybody.

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Lyda*Rose

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# 4544

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badman:
quote:
I still remember with shame and embarrassment a discussion at a restaurant 25 years ago when I said, without having thought about it very much at all, that I could understand the Church of England's position that the clergy shouldn't be in gay relationships even though the laity could be. When I was pressed to explain why, I said because the clergy were held to a higher standard. One of my good friends was at the table, and was clearly upset; and our friendship never recovered; although he wasn't out at the time.
SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Assuming your tone wasn't belligerent and malicious during that conversation, why was he upset?
Perhaps because he had just heard his friend imply that having homosexual relationships were a "lowering" of the self, since not having such relationships was a "higher standard". Keeping in mind that while a heterosexual, either clergy or lay, had the option of a legitimated relationship, respected by most, that of marriage. While, especially twenty-five years ago, the only really respectable, Christian path for a homosexual was celibacy. Although badman didn't realize his friend was gay, his friend got the distinct impression that badman didn't think homosexuality was as nice as heterosexuality. And if badman only knew! [Paranoid]

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"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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Horseman Bree
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Just to add further information on the shifts in attitude going on, here's the NYT's report on the schism within Exodus International as their leader now says that reparative therapy doesn't work and does cause serious damage.

Since reparative therapy has been a mainstay of EI, they will have to redirect themselves to preaching hatred of gays, which will be uncomfortable in the present public shift towards acceptance.

It is interesting that the leader, Alan Chambers, seems to be channeling our own Josephine:
quote:
“I believe that any sexual expression outside of heterosexual, monogamous marriage is sinful according to the Bible,” Mr. Chambers emphasized. “But we’ve been asking people with same-sex attractions to overcome something in a way that we don’t ask of anyone else,” he said, noting that Christians with other sins, whether heterosexual lust, pornography, pride or gluttony, do not receive the same blanket condemnations.
and, at the end of the article:

quote:
Mr. Chambers said he was simply trying to restore Exodus to its original purpose when it was founded in 1976: providing spiritual support for Christians who are struggling with homosexual attraction.
He said that he was happy in his marriage, with a “love and devotion much deeper than anything I experienced in gay life,” but that he knew this was not feasible for everyone. Many Christians with homosexual urges may have to strive for lives of celibacy.
But those who fail should not be severely judged, he said, adding, “We all struggle or fall in some way.”

Does this square with Unreformed's view of how the churches should view this issue? ISTM that Mr. Chambers is moving towards a deeper understanding of the basic message.

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It's Not That Simple

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orfeo

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# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
Perhaps because he had just heard his friend imply that having homosexual relationships were a "lowering" of the self, since not having such relationships was a "higher standard".

I'm sure this was exactly it. I'd certainly have a hard time not having a visceral and emotional reaction to such a remark!

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
Perhaps because he had just heard his friend imply that having homosexual relationships were a "lowering" of the self, since not having such relationships was a "higher standard".

I'm sure this was exactly it. I'd certainly have a hard time not having a visceral and emotional reaction to such a remark!
But everyone has their own view about what constitutes 'high standards', especially when it comes to sexual behaviour. Just because A and B disagree about that, it doesn't mean they have to be emotional about it.

Catholics see (or have traditionally seen) religious celibacy as representing a 'higher standard' of human living that most of us couldn't hope to live up to. But married ones don't get upset about it, do they? Some of them vehemently disapprove of it, and some might think it's a stupid idea, but it doesn't seem to make them tearful!

In other denominations, the happily married, straight family man/woman (especially a church leader) represents the highest standard, and a single person in the church, celibate or otherwise, is deemed to be missing out on something. The singleton might think this is arrogant, theologically suspect, outdated, etc., but getting upset seems like a very weak response, unless the individual is constantly being hounded and insulted about their way of life.

Badman wasn't talking about individuals being hounded and insulted in church about their gay relationships; he implied that churches should be okay about the laity having gay relationships (which, in many denominations, would be considered quite a liberal position to take). Getting emotional about that because it doesn't go far enough seems to be inadequate. What it calls for is an argument about why there should be no difference between the clergy and the laity, or about why Christian theology should make no distinction whatsoever between heterosexual and homosexual relationships.

Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
Perhaps because he had just heard his friend imply that having homosexual relationships were a "lowering" of the self, since not having such relationships was a "higher standard".

I'm sure this was exactly it. I'd certainly have a hard time not having a visceral and emotional reaction to such a remark!
But everyone has their own view about what constitutes 'high standards', especially when it comes to sexual behaviour. Just because A and B disagree about that, it doesn't mean they have to be emotional about it.

You don't appear to grasp the significance of A and B having different views that are specifically about B's sexual behaviour. Not A's.

Many heterosexuals seem to have this blind spot and lack of empathy. If a heterosexual expresses a view about homosexual behaviour/morality, they're often doing it in an abstract vacuum where it's a theoretical question, not a personal one. It's about someone else's behaviour, not their own.

It feels very, very different to have people expressing their opinion about your own sexuality. Especially when they can do it safe in the knowledge that it has no application to them whatsoever.

A single heterosexual person is at least capable of achieving that married heterosexual ideal you referred to. If someone judges against being single, that's a judgement about a person's current situation. A judgement about homosexuality is a judgement about something that a homosexual has pretty well no hope of changing.

I mean, imagine what would happen (or DID happen) if someone expressed the view that members of the clergy really shouldn't marry foreign/coloured women because the clergy were held to a higher standard, and they expressed that view in front of a non-white person. Would you expect that person to sit there calmly? Seriously? Would you?

[ 07. July 2012, 16:35: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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ToujoursDan

Ship's prole
# 10578

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quote:
Originally posted by Unreformed:
And wow, the sordid death of the TEC looks even more rapid when you realize its not just ASA, but actual membership that is taking a nosedive.

It seems to pick up steam around 2002. Hmmm....what happened in THAT year?

*Yawn* It parallels similar declines in many other denominations both liberal and conservative, viz., observant Catholicism, Mainline Protestantism, Missouri Synod Lutheranism, etc. Heck, even the Southern Baptists are in decline. And those who remain in these churches are becoming more gay inclusive.

Correlation doesn't necessary imply causation.

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Jahlove
Tied to the mast
# 10290

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quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
While, especially twenty-five years ago, the only really respectable, Christian path for a homosexual was celibacy.

Not sure you could really say that on this side of the pond at least, Lyda*Rose. In them far-off days, to be homosexual was, at best, to be a laughing stock as a weak and feeble person (if camp - think Kenneth Williams* in the Carry On movies) or feared and hated as a predatory paedo. One's sexual activity or abstinence was irrelevant. That was the general view of society. Churches were no different, in my recollection; although, of course, these things weren't discussed as they are today - if they were, it was only whispered in corners - so I don't think it was often questioned, or even much considered, why Mr X or Miss Y was unmarried tho' if it were somehow known that such people did *bat for the other side*, they would most certainly not have been regarded as *respectable* in or out of church society. Unless they were very rich of course, in which case jibes about their sexual persuasion were just a little icing on the Envy Cake.

*Actors seemed to *get away* with it - possibly because of a lingering feeling that acting was a disreputable profession anyway.

Society has moved on, thank goodness. While it is, to my mind, a Good Thing for a church to hold to and proclaim Eternal Verities, istm, the only Eternal Verities really are those that can be derived from Matthew 22:37-40 -

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

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ToujoursDan

Ship's prole
# 10578

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quote:
Originally posted by ToujoursDan:
quote:
Originally posted by Unreformed:
And wow, the sordid death of the TEC looks even more rapid when you realize its not just ASA, but actual membership that is taking a nosedive.

It seems to pick up steam around 2002. Hmmm....what happened in THAT year?

*Yawn* It parallels similar declines in many other denominations both liberal and conservative, viz., observant Catholicism, Mainline Protestantism, Missouri Synod Lutheranism, etc. Heck, even the Southern Baptists are in decline. And those who remain in these churches are becoming more gay inclusive.

Correlation doesn't necessary imply causation.

And to stay on topic, my point being that denominational growth/decline has been explored extensively on this board. It seems obvious that it is due to an array of demographic (mostly birthrates) and sociological trends that have little to do with whether a denomination is pro- or anti- gay.

OTOH, becoming a gay Affirming parish often seems to lead to greater vitality and parish growth as people who previously felt excluded from church life seek these congregations out.

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Jahlove
Tied to the mast
# 10290

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quote:
Originally posted by Jahlove:
In them far-off days, to be homosexual was, at best, to be a laughing stock as a weak and feeble person (if camp - think Kenneth Williams* in the Carry On movies) or feared and hated as a predatory paedo.

That's the guys. Should also have said that if you were a gay woman, it was because you were too ugly/harridanish to get a man or, if you met (or even exceeded) the contemporary standards of (hetero) sexual attractiveness, and persisted in gaydom, then clearly you were mentally abnormal. [Disappointed]

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“Sing like no one's listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like its heaven on earth.” - Mark Twain

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SvitlanaV2
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# 16967

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:

You don't appear to grasp the significance of A and B having different views that are specifically about B's sexual behaviour. Not A's.


Well, in this particular conversation, both would be in disagreement about which would be the 'higher standard', wouldn't they? And who's to say that the gay person in a relationship, for example, would be perfectly happy with the way that the other person was living their life? What if the other person was celibate, and expected to be so for life? Some Christians, gay or straight find that an unhealthy or undesirable way to live, and might even say so. The other person might be thrice divorced - presumably some gay people would disapprove! There are many ways of disapproving of someone else's life, regardless of laws or religious doctrines.

quote:
Many heterosexuals seem to have this blind spot and lack of empathy. If a heterosexual expresses a view about homosexual behaviour/morality, they're often doing it in an abstract vacuum where it's a theoretical question, not a personal one.

I don't know how heterosexual I am, to be honest (not very, I suspect) but I understand what you're saying. But, remember - I wasn't talking about gay people being insulted, but about a discussion. If people are being obnoxious then anyone would be angry and emotional about that. Not being emotional doesn't mean you have to sit silently and pretend that you agree.

quote:

A single heterosexual person is at least capable of achieving that married heterosexual ideal you referred to. If someone judges against being single, that's a judgement about a person's current situation. A judgement about homosexuality is a judgement about something that a homosexual has pretty well no hope of changing.

I wasn't talking about gay marriage on this occasion. In some countries and some denominations, it would be possible for a gay couple to get married and also to be members of a church. That's the case in the UK with civil partnerships. Whether that couple could then become church clergy in their particular denomination is another matter. I accept that when Badman was having his conversation, none of this would have been likely, and perhaps not yet a priority for gay people in his area.

quote:

I mean, imagine what would happen (or DID happen) if someone expressed the view that members of the clergy really shouldn't marry foreign/coloured women because the clergy were held to a higher standard, and they expressed that view in front of a non-white person. Would you expect that person to sit there calmly? Seriously? Would you?

The word 'coloured' to describe a person is considered not to be politically correct in the UK. I speak as a non-white person myself.

Anyway, if I heard such a view, I'd be dumbstruck first of all, because I don't move in circles where people talk like that! I'd want to know where this person was coming from. If they weren't very bright or very forthcoming the discussion would probably get boring quite quickly, but it could be interesting to hear what kind of intellectual/theological ideas were being used to justify this position. As it happens, there are African American and other black activists who have spoken against mixed-marriages too. Their arguments are based on historical and social realities. One might disagree with their conclusions, but their journey to those conclusions is worthwhile and thought-provoking.

I wouldn't want to get emotional about it unless the person concerned was nasty and arrogant.

(Actually, the historical question as to whether white missionaries could marry their black or brown converts in far-flung places is an interesting one. The disapproval didn't necessarily spring from biblical sources but social ones. But that's a subject for a different messageboard!)

My point is that we can all get emotional about the things that matter to us, and religion is an emotional thing. My life and faith have a strong irrational streak, so I can't utterly dismiss the emotions. But Christianity is meant to be more than this. I'm not talking about what the secular state allows or doesn't allow gay people to do, because the state needs to cater to people of all different beliefs, ideologies and ways of life. What I want to know is, how can I read my Bible so that I can see what you see, from a Christian perspective? (This is a rhetorical question, I suppose. The answer may belong to another thread.)

Sorry for the length, and for inevitable abstractions.

Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
Louise
Shipmate
# 30

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quote:
Originally posted by ToujoursDan:
quote:
Originally posted by Unreformed:
And wow, the sordid death of the TEC looks even more rapid when you realize its not just ASA, but actual membership that is taking a nosedive.

It seems to pick up steam around 2002. Hmmm....what happened in THAT year?

*Yawn* It parallels similar declines in many other denominations both liberal and conservative, viz., observant Catholicism, Mainline Protestantism, Missouri Synod Lutheranism, etc. Heck, even the Southern Baptists are in decline. And those who remain in these churches are becoming more gay inclusive.

Correlation doesn't necessary imply causation.

hosting

ToujoursDan,
I specifically asked that this spat be taken off this thread.

If you want to take up the argument about church numbers, move it to its own thread please.

thanks,
Louise
Dead Horses Host

hosting off

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