In a column today, Peter LaBarbera joins in Stephen Bennett’s criticism of Alan Chambers remarks in the LA Times and CNN. In it, he gives me a new label:
There are many people – perhaps due to the “weirdness” of homosexuality (after all, this is a lifestyle whose advocates now proudly embrace the moniker “queer”) – who would have us focus incessantly on the “cause” of homosexuality and the “feelings” of homosexuals. They have come to sympathize with people caught up in homosexuality’s embrace in a way that drives them to become de facto apologists for “gayness” – more suspicious of pro-family groups engaged in the uphill fight against homosexual activism than they are of the homosexual activists themselves. (I would put Groves City College (sic) psychology professor Dr. Warren Throckmorten (sic), who has emerged as a “Switzerland” of sorts in the culture war over homosexuality, in that camp.)
Peter, if you’re going to nail me, at least spell my name and school right. But hey, no problem. I have never been to Switzerland, but now I can be the country. You know maybe Peter is right. After all, I do get love notes from all sides. To wit, this post from Wayne Besen – DR. WARREN THROCKMORTON HIDES BEHIND ANONYMOUS SOURCE IN CHICAGO TRIBUNE ARTICLE.
All I can say is I call them as I see them; and when I think I have been wrong, I breathe deep and say so. If that makes me Switzerland, all I can ask is: “Does anyone have a Ricola?”
72 thoughts on “Switzerland R Us?”
Eddy, I do not think it’s fair for you to say that I have “preached (not stated)” my “take on the Bible numerous times on this site”. I have not tried to argue from Scripture that gayness is OK, only that I don’t think gay behavior is always sin.
Most of the time, I have simply asked questions, like “what does malakoi mean?” or I have commented that we are “saved by grace”, or that “Jesus ate with sinners” — or that EXODUS should tell the truth in its advertizing.
I have begged EXODUS to issue an anti-hate statement (which they finally did) bcause I believe that we should “do unto others as we would like others to do to us”. How is that “preaching” or “bashing”? With all due respect, please either give me some examples — or an apology.
Timothy, my brother, do lighten up!
Michael asked that question about the meanings at least 3 or 4 times and I did have my recollections of what I’d found. So I shared them. And I said ‘it’s what I concluded’ based on ‘nothing definitive’. How you can assume judgemental or arguing out of that is totally beyond me.
We DO disagree–and we’ve known that from the start and chose to keep dialoguing anyway. I thought one of our goals was to begin to understand one another and to learn from one another. Can we actually do that if you’re going to take affront when I state (not preach) what I believe or why? Haven’t I heard you and Michael preach (not state) YOUR take on the Bible numerous times on this site? (I think if this site had a ‘bashmeter’, you’d trip the needle a lot more than I would.)
Oh, and regarding our next meaningful topic. I’m still chewing on that Hindu thing they threw in on another thread….
My point was that Timothyâ€™s criticism of me for making moral claims that are applicable to others could be leveled at virtually everyone (except perhaps sociopaths) because we all make moral claims that are applicable to others.
Well yes and no.
The distinction is that those moral claims that we make of each other BY LAW are those which have a measurable physical impact on others. But seeking to impose those aspects of your moral code that are internal to a person – ie sexuality, greed, bitterness, slothfulness – on another is (to me) the worst sort of immorality. And I do think that this is one of the strongest, most emphasized, point of the gospels.
Over and over Christ rebuked those who sought to punish others for “immorality”. Perhaps you have a better source than Christ but I’ll take Him as the ultimate authority 🙂
I’ve yet to hear the phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin” when it wasn’t in the context of excusing bad behavior towards the sinner. If you are the exception, that’s great.
Also, we will not come to agreement on issues of what is or isn’t “moral” or what is or isn’t “sin”. Nor will we come to agreement on the proper interpretation of the clobber passages.
But let’s be careful on our claims about the meanings of words.
â€œMalakosâ€ means soft, as in clothing. We may suppose that it meant morally soft, or a dandy, or effeminate, or luxurious, or extravagant and wasteful, or anything else we want, but all we can say for certain is that the word meant “soft” and was used elsewhere in the NT in the context of clothing.
â€œArsenokoitaiâ€ was a created word. There are no examples of this word being used before Paul decided to write this down and very few thereafter. It appears to be a combination of two other words and would translate roughly as “manbed”.
We can spend the rest of our lives arguing the meanings of these two greek words. But for now I think we can agree to disagree and move on to something less controversial such as whether baptism is essential for salvation, whether it should be by emersion or sprinkling, whether at birth or as adult, and whether in Jesus name or in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Thanks Eddy for your take on “malakoi”. It’s still as clear as mud. “Nothing definitive but I concluded that â€˜malakosâ€™ was likely an open gay prostitute.”
“Nothing definitive” and “likely”? If that is so, how can you be certain that arsenokotai definitively prohibits all homosexual behavior? If you’re not sure about one word, how can you be sure about the other? This verse is the one most often cited to PROVE that “unrepentant gays” won’t inherit the Kingdom of God — or is that “nothing definitive” and “likely” too?.
You also mentioned that “In my studies â€˜malakosâ€™ meant â€™soft, effeminateâ€™ while â€˜arsenokoitaiâ€™ meant literally â€˜man in bed with man for purpose of sex” How is being “soft and effeminate” a sin worthy of Hell? What IS “soft and effenimate”?
You say you were “advised to look within the cultural context for clues as to the distinction between the two.” Hey, I thought we weren’t supposed to look at the cultural context. Folks like me have caught a lot of flak from conservative Christians for suggesting that we should.
Thanks Eddy – yes I think you’re right. There was nothing like the homosexuality we see today 2,000 years ago. I also think there is more to that argument, but I’ve never been one to study it all that much.
Yeah…, ok Laurie, but……
“Finally, the belief that all moral views are social constructs reflects a post-modern worldview and its unproven assumptions. I would argue that some moral claims reflect absolute truth and that our task as moral beings is to discover, not create and give assent to, moral truth.”
So god-given is the default scientific answer? Not in those scientific circles I have encountered. Nor is any moral truth then absolute since they are necessarily the work of man. Morals are only absolutes because you claim an absolute arbiter in the form of a god. But man’s own claims neither make gold nor the truth.
That was the ‘homosexuality as we know it today’ possibility that I closed with. Maybe I didn’t pull that thought back together as I should have.
“Malakos” would have been a male prostitute; “arsenokoitai” would have been straight men doing gay things—those would be the ONLY homosexual sins. “Homosexuals as we understand them today” wouldn’t be discussed in that verse…therefore, wouldn’t be sinful.
It’s not my belief but I’m quite familiar with it. You’ll also note that I DID qualify ‘Nothing definitive but I concluded…’ I’ve been blogging here for quite some time and never once remotely suggested that my Bible view was the only one. I think I passed that test some time ago.
And just to be fair Eddy – I know you know this, and I’m sure everyone who reads this thread has heard it before, but your interpretation of the Bible is not the only interpretation, and there are many gay and straight people who don’t see married, monogamous gay couples to be sinful.
There are many churches that will perform same-sex blessings/marriages, and they will be recognized as such – whether the secular State recognizes them is another matter entirely. 🙂
I’m thinking it may not be appropriate here to shut someone down with ‘we’ve heard this all before’. I believe we’ve already learned that few of us here are by any means ‘typical’ or ‘easily categorized’. Sometimes we’re going to use word or phrases that spark reactions in one another. When this happens, rather than dismiss the current speaker, maybe it would be more productive to see if they are really meaning the words.
The ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ line was brought up again as an example of more of that conservative gobbledygook. I’m sorry but NOT WHEN I SAY IT. Many of us say it coming from gay backgrounds. We are persuaded Biblically that it is sin but we KNOW and LOVE many gay people. And we don’t have any Biblical directives not to love the ones we haven’t met yet. We’re not out to take anything away; most are motivated to see that gays get the same opportunities to hear the Gospel as anyone else.
To most of us, we live in a world filled with sinners. We don’t get to pick and choose which ones we are called on to love. But on a whole truth level, beyond the Biblical command to love, most of us just happen to care about and like gay people MORE than we do some of those other sinners. (Oh joy! We REALLY, REALLY love YOU! …I can sense your bliss!)
But, we do feel that the Bible calls it sin. More whole truth: on a personal level, having had a certain fondness for homosexual behavior, I have trouble consistently hating it. (But there are other sins I have trouble hating too…slothfulness, gluttony, overdrinking…a little white lie sometimes looks so appealing…) So, anyway ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’…
It’s the political involvement that’s the real rub. How can they say they love us and yet feel that way politically?
I used to be fascinated by the relationship between James Garville(sp?) and his wife–(lol…who’s name I can’t come up with ’cause I’m mixing it with the famous deaf actress…temporarily lost both.). Outspoken Democrat and outspoken Republican married to each other. I learned that it’s the heart that counts. We might see(and do) things radically differently but we share many common concerns. (Laurie mentioned one specific issue where she wanted to bring balance–not end gay rights. It’s okay to agree or disagree but it’s not fair to assume how she stands on other ‘gay rights issues’.)
AND AS TO THE BURNING QUESTION FROM SEVERAL POSTERS: In my studies ‘malakos’ meant ‘soft, effeminate’ while ‘arsenokoitai’ meant literally ‘man in bed with man for purpose of sex’. I was advised to look within the cultural context for clues as to the distinction between the two. Nothing definitive but I concluded that ‘malakos’ was likely an open gay prostitute while ‘arsenokoitai’ was just ‘regular homosexuals’. Some have contested that ‘arsenokoitai’ meant ‘straight men having sex with each other’ and didn’t take into consideration ‘homosexuality as we know it today’.
I’m not Catholic nor ever have been, so I followed the link you sent, and this is what I read: “2353 Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman.”
Regarding the meaning of intrinsic: You define it as something that is “an emotional necessity” but I and the dictionary define it as inherent or existing as an essential constituent. I believe that selfishness is inherent in all: it is fundamental to the essence of human beings — and not good. It is not extrinsic to human nature, and it certainly, in my view, is not emotionally necessary.
Again, I did not introduce examples of moral claims in order to show the ways homosexuality is like any of the others, but rather to provide evidence of common moral claims that we all make and that are applicable to others. My point was that Timothy’s criticism of me for making moral claims that are applicable to others could be leveled at virtually everyone (except perhaps sociopaths) because we all make moral claims that are applicable to others.
Your paragraph about equivalence is confusing, but I’ll respond to what I think you’re saying. First, I don’t believe that homosexuality is wrong because it’s not equivalent to heterosexuality; I think it’s not morally equivalent because it’s wrong. You also made an assumption that I was referring to emotional equivalence when I was very specific that I was referring to moral equivalence.
Regarding your statement about Christians belittling homosexuality by comparing it to other sins: You are right that those, Christian or otherwise, who believe homosexual conduct is wrong will put it in the broad category of wrong behaviors. Of course, all wrong behaviors have a specific nature, but they share in common that they’re wrong. I’m sure if you think polyamory is wrong, you think it can be put in the same broad category of wrong behaviors.
I think what you find objectionable about “Christians” comparing homosexual conduct to other “sins” is simply that you don’t think it’s a sin, so how dare anyone else believe differently. That, again, is the fundamental moral claim on which we disagree. Imagine some particular behavior that you do believe is fundamentally wrong. Is there something problematic with you categorizing it as such and plunking it in the category of other behaviors you consider wrong? You believe it’s inappropriate for people to compare homosexual conduct to other wrong behaviors because you have arrived at a different moral conclusion. And around we go.
Finally, the belief that all moral views are social constructs reflects a post-modern worldview and its unproven assumptions. I would argue that some moral claims reflect absolute truth and that our task as moral beings is to discover, not create and give assent to, moral truth.
YIKES! You’re right! I am formerly Roman Catholic and when you said anti-fornicator I guess my mind got stuck on adultery. The Roman Catholic Catechism lists the sexual sins under the 6th commandment which has them all under the umbrella of “adultery” – even homosexuality.
So, I guess I flashed-back to my Roman Catholic background… my apologies. Though I will throw a caveat into the mix at the end….
Eh… there is that proper amount of work and the drive to do it to provide for one’s own life and then there is that which your family, your community or others might so need of you. To withdraw that in favor of yourself is selfishness. I don’t see that as intrinsic – as an emotional necessity – since man is a social animal which (normally) moderates one’s actions.
I have no desire to show that homosexuality is moral to you as that is impossible to do. Any system of morality, no matter how much anyone wants to attribute it to a god, is purely a human construct to which a society shows tacit agreement. But if you want to talk about selfishness and morality, what about the group selfishness which many (most?) heterosexuals throughout time have prevailed upon non-heterosexual peoples by imposing their construct of morality which excluded a healthy expression of those non-heterosexual sexualities?
Uhhh…. then why bring them up in that context? And also why specifically say, “I am opposed, rather, to the claim that homosexual conduct is morally equivalent to heterosexual conduct.” You would seem to be saying that since homosexual conduct isn’t on par with homosexual conduct it must be on par with these other behaviors and that the force of mind behind such behavior, a queer sexuality, is also on par with such emotions/attributes/behavior and not at all the emotional equivalent of heterosexuality.
At least let me say that is the attitude and ‘mentality’ of many Christians which I encounter, to belittle homosexuality by comparison with other ‘sins.’ And it is that attitude to which was speaking in order to show why Dr Throckmorton acts like “Switzerland.”
And that is the entire point that I was making, whether or not it applies to anything you have written in this thread, it seems to be a universal consideration of much of Christendom. I was drawing from your writing to make a greater point concerning the homosexuality and psychology and that difference which Dr Throckmorton has – and I think this is a good word – transcended beyond that which Christian morality might demand to consider the emotional well-being of any person without a determination that their homosexuality need be the root of any or all problem.
So Laurie, since you are only interested in defending your right to make moral claims about homosexuality, I presume you have no problem with employment nondiscrimination laws and civil marriage rights for homosexuals? Or do you require the force of the state to back up your moral claims in case your claims by themselves are simply not persuasive to people?
When I was criticized by Timothy for making moral statements, he said that the problem is that my claims are directed at others. I responded that all statements of moral conviction (e.g. premarital sex is wrong, polyamory is wrong, holding conservative beliefs on sexuality is wrong, selfishness is wrong, greed is wrong, drug use is wrong, the use of obscene language is wrong, abortion is wrong, pornography is wrong, indolence is wrong, adult consensual incest is wrong, zoophilia is wrong, lying is wrong etc.) are applicable to others. You responded by criticizing the examples I cited, trying to show how particular behaviors are different from homosexuality. There are several problems with your reasoning. First, you said my comparison to adultery is flawed because adultery involves deception, but I never used adultery as an example.
Second, you said my comparison to selfishness is wrong because homosexuality is intrinsic which means that you believe selfishness is extrinsic, a claim with which I would strongly disagree. Now if you really meant that the comparison is flawed because selfishness is wrong and homosexuality is not, then you are engaging in circular reasoning in that you have not proved that homosexuality is moral. The moral legitimacy of homosexuality is the presupposition on which we disagree.
But the most significant problem in your criticism is that I was not making the argument that homosexuality was like any of these behaviors. I was responding to Timothy’s earlier criticism of me for making statements of moral conviction that were directed at others. I was using those statements as examples of common moral claims that people routinely make and that are equally applicable to others.
I don’t claim that you hate anyone – at least not by your definition of hate, so I won’t be debating you on that. But there is a great difference between intollerance and hatred.
First, let me give you my sympathy. I can’t imagine being past middle aged and still having minor children in school – especially with you working for a school. It must be a burden and I wish you well with it.
But when you write letters claiming that discrimination against gay persons is “an essential personal and civic activity”, you can see how I might questions your claims of tolerance. And when you make the argument that gay school children need to be told that “homosexual conduct is wrong” within the school setting, you can see how I am questioning that you treat others with respect. And when you throw homosexuality into the same paragraph as drug use, you can see how i am beginning to think that your opinions are not benign.
You claim – rather bizarrely I think – that by questioning you I am “actively interfering in [your] life”. Now we all know that is just not true.
I am not writing letters to the editor to try and impact your marriage. I am not trying to stop programs designed to help and affirm your children. I am not seeking to stop science-based information from being provided in an educational setting to you or anyone you care about.
In no way am I actively involved in your life. But, conversely, you have decided to step outside of your life and involve yourself in the life of others. Perhaps you did so with trepidation, but nonetheless you did.
I am sure that you think that your moral values justify anything you do. After all, you’re right and others are wrong and therefore you get to tell them how to live their life.
But, frankly, your moral values are screwed up. You care far more about whether someone is behaving sexually in a way that you think God disapproves than you are about whether they have food or medicine. Oh, you may give charitably, I don’t know. But I am certain that you would joyfully and with much satisfaction take away the health insurance of someone’s same-sex partner. In fact, you write in opposition of the mechanism by which gay people provide for each other.
I find that kind of thinking unfathomable. And if I read scripture correctly, so does Christ.
Laurie wrote (#33922):
Well, yes, all well and fairly good, except that comparisons of moral equivalence of one’s sexuality to anything less than what sexuality means to a person is that which breeds “antigay” expression.
For instance, you have given homosexuality the equivalence of adultery. The idea of adultery evokes emotions and attributes such as shame/guilt, deception, denial, bitterness, alienation of affections, and betrayal. Then you also consider homosexuality equivalent to selfishness. Such comparisons of what is to any person a most intrinsic feature, their sexuality, is most unfair (is god unfair?). If that is how you feel about a person before anything else, that can only be the beginning of “antigay” considerations.
Also, I would venture that such comparisons are those which have led some in the psychology community throughout its history to apply those same emotions/attributes to a homosexual persons and not consider the base sexuality of the person as most important. I believe that is what Dr Throckmorton has rejected and in doing so it necessarily appears to the more fundamentalist Christian, such as yourself and others on this thread, that he has abandoned that part of his Christian teaching. I would venture to say that if that were true then perhaps the Christian teaching has at its root a mistaken preconception. But I’ll let Dr Throckmorton give his determinations upon that.
Anytime people make moral claims (e.g. premarital sex is wrong, polyamory is wrong, holding conservative beliefs on sexuality is wrong, selfishness is wrong, greed is wrong, drug use is wrong, the use of obscene language is wrong, abortion is wrong, pornography is wrong, indolence is wrong, adult consensual incest is wrong, zoophilia is wrong, lying is wrong etc.), they are making claims that are applicable to others (and perhaps themselves). You certainly make statements that judge my actions and, therefore, according to your statement, you are actively interfering in my life.
I think making moral claims is an essential civic and personal activity. When, however, public school teachers or administrators make moral claims on issues on which there is no social, I think there is an enormous problem. They should not actively interfere in the formation of the moral convictions of others on issues on which society does not agree.
I beg to differ with your assessment of me as intolerant. I put up with the expression of moral claims that I find deeply flawed, and I put up with conduct I find deeply flawed. Rather, I express a counter view about the moral claims and do nothing regarding the conduct. I do not hate people (a claim you apparently find deceitful), and I treat all people with respect including those who treat me unkindly. Tolerance does not mean approval of all ideas or conduct, nor does it mean abstention from dissent. If it does, then you are equally guilty of the charge of intolerance.
I’m past middle-age and until about two years ago, never made a public statement on this issue. But after encountering public statement after public statement, and then having my children’s school repeatedly, either implicitly or explicitly, attempt to impose their moral view on others, I decided with great trepidation to respond.
I am not now, nor ever have been a member of Americans for Truth. His website carried a radio interview I did, as a gay website did also, and he posted some writing of mine that appeared on the Chicago Trib blog and was, therefore, available to anyone. I belong to no organizations, political, religious, or otherwise.
My mistake. I assumed a close association based on all that you’ve listed here and on the fact that Pete knew who you were though you only used your first name.
And yes, yes, we know. You love the sinner not the sin. (though, oddly enough, it always seems to be the sinner and not the sin is punished by being denied the same things anti-gays enjoy and demand).
By the way, I’ve heard the “you aren’t tolerant of my intolerance” claim before. It didn’t convince me then, either.
Laurie, I would find your claims to be much more sincere if they didn’t always seem to be directed at others and what they should or shouldn’t do. If you weren’t actively interfering in the lives of others, then your claims about intolerance and incivility would probably stir my sympathy.
Tim, you made a comment implying that conservatives create God in their own image in order to justify their prior hatred of homosexuals. I have no hatred of gays and lesbians now, nor ever have. There are moral proscriptions and prescriptions in the Bible that indicate that God disapproves of a whole host of temptations and inclinations that I and people I love experience and act upon. My perspective on homosexuality is shaped by my understanding of Scripture; my perspective is not based on prior moral presuppositions or personal animosity that informed or determined my understanding of Scripture. Submission to Christ and death to self require that I submit to His authority which often means accepting teachings that do not comport with either my desires or the desires of those I love.
Doh! Sorry about that. Here I jabbed you for that and I do it too. Fixed now…
I am not now, nor ever have been a member of Americans for Truth. His website carried a radio interview I did, as a gay website did also, and he posted some writing of mine that appeared on the Chicago Trib blog and was, therefore, available to anyone. I belong to no organizations, political, religious, or otherwise.
Just as some take issue with the term “ex-gay,” I take issue with the term “anti-gay” in that I am not opposed to those who identify as gay. Their sexual orientation does not affect the love I feel for them, the respect I have for their admirable qualities, the pleasure I take in their company, or my recognition of their infinite worth.
I am opposed, rather, to the claim that homosexual conduct is morally equivalent to heterosexual conduct. Holding the view that homosexual conduct is not moral nor more represents, in my view, being anti-gay than assertions that premarital sex is not moral conduct represents being anti-fornicator, or assertions that selfish behavior is wrong represents opposition to selfish people. I wouldn’t make public statements on this issue if I weren’t encountering public statements everyday that assert, not only that homosexual conduct is moral, but that statements of dissent constitute hate speech.
Furthermore, I wouldn’t make public statements if public schools were not making public statements that promote only one side of this public debate on which there is no consensus. I am opposed to public schools permitting the exploration of only one side of this contentious topic, because doing so undermines the very purpose of education as well as the deeply held beliefs of many families. Since public schools are increasingly losing sight of their commitment to intellectual diversity and becoming instead beachheads of indoctrination and ideological censorship, I think dissent, including public dissent, is legitimate.
One of the disturbing aspects of this debate is that the vitriolic and hostile responses of gay activists in and out of schools are leading conservatives to self-censor out of fear of personal and professional repercussions. In public schools, conservative staff members and administrators fear that any articulation of their views on sexual orientation or how sexual orientation is being addressed in schools will lead to hateful responses from colleagues and/or negative professional consequences. I can personally attest to the incivility and intolerance they will encounter if they should venture into this important but contentious dialogue. The hypocrisy of liberal commitments to honoring diverse voices, to challenging biases and assumptions, and to tolerance has become all too apparent. In an academic setting, purportedly committed to free speech and open inquiry, I think that’s a problem.
So, yes, I guess I’m an activist — an accidental activist, but one who belongs to no organization.
Warren, my name is spelled LaBarbera. See your initial post for reference. 🙂
Well, I am one of the folks who will be attending the “counter conference” down the road. And I can tell you that I will simply tell my personal “ex-gay” story — and the stories of many of the men who were directly and deeply harmed by the EXODUS message. I WILL tell the truth about my experience and theirs.
I will NOT “try to project my experience” onto everyone or deny hope to anyone. In fact, I plan to do the opposite. I plan to point out that EXODUS may indeed have helped many people make positive changes in their lives, even if their sexual orientation didn’t change. As for “overcoming homosexuality”, I will share that it is not a sin or sickness that needs to be overcome in the first place. I will give examples of how that kind of teaching has harmed many. I will express hope and healing to EXODUS survivors like me.
And wow, Alan is 34? I feel ancient! I have more years of experience as a gay, ex-gay and ex-ex-gay than Alan is old. By the way, I also hope to attend part of the EXODUS conference. I am looking forward to the possiblity of meeting Alan and hearing him speak. Alan knows the pain of anti-gay hatred, he struggles with his own ongoing gay feelings — and he is my brother in the Lord. I am looking forward to both conferences and I plan to build bridges of hope, not burn them down.
Also of note is just how little Focus on the Family is paying any attention to this “controversy.” A new article on Focus’ CitizenLink concerned the Exodus Freedom Conference in California. The article notes that Alan Chambers, who left homosexuality when he was 18, will be a keynote speaker. And goes on to quote Randy Thomas, executive vice president of Exodus International, concerning Chambers:
Thomas also had this to say about the Beyond Ex-Gay (bXg) conference down the road:
One fundamentalist Christian’s denial of hope, is another moderate Christians new hope in Christ. And so it goes….
Except to say… I made the list? Never thought I would.
What I find interesting about this discussion is that you have those most strict, who apparantly do little to nothing but talk at people, trying to tell those who are flexible, who actually talk to the same people, what those very same people are really feeling. If that makes any sense. Except that it is nonsensical. I’d rather have someone who listens and speaks to me with respect speak for me than one who speaks at me.
Case pretty much closed in my book.
Yes I do like that section. And I like that which immediately preceeds it and puts it in context.
Jesus was rebuking those all caught up in rules and commandments and tradition such that they cared more about that than what they were saying to others. They were careful about what they did and followed all the religious rules but they were vile in their behaviour to others.
I also like the section that follows it. A Caananite woman – outcast, sinner, pagan, unacceptable to God – came to Jesus. And to demonstrate his grace and mercy in front of his disciples, he quoted scripture at her. And when she showed her faith was greater than those who sought to rebuke her and send her away, Jesus illustrated that his grace was for all.
It is a very good set-up to Peter’s vision. And it establishes Christ’s intention to provide good news to those who were rejected by the religious establishment. Christ reached out to the “dogs” and Peter reached out to the gentiles.
Those whom the religious structure has rejected have always had a special place in the heart of God.
Thank you for reminding me of this passage.
Peter Labarbera asked : “Do you believe in absolute truth?”
Well, I do. What I DON’T believe is that ANY human being can absolutely claim that he or she knows absolute truth. Each person brings to scripture his or her own experiences, beliefs, prejudices, preconceptions, cultural background, prior religious training, etc.
Not every passage of Scripture is crystal clear. For example, some Christians ABSOLUTELY claim that one MUST be baptized to be saved — or that blood transfusions are ABSOLUTELY sin. Another equally devout believer may believe that women should ABSOLUTELY not be allowed to speak in church — or wear jewelry.
Some Christians ABSOLUTELY believe that the King James Version of the Bible is the ONLY “correct” translation. (I wonder if these same people know what the absolutely correct Japanese version might be?) Some believe that the death penalty is ABSOLUTELY wrong, others don’t. Some folks used to believe that slavery was absolutely OK with God — and could quote scripture to prove it.
I could go on… God’s truth and God’s love ARE absolute, but human beings are not. Paul makes that clear in First Corninthians, chapter 13: “What I know now is only partial, THEN it will be complete..” NOT UNTIL THEN. To claim otherwise is kinda arrogant — and therefore not very “Christian”.
Since you like the Acts 10 story of Cornelius, Tim, you might also be interested in a related passage, Matthew 15:16-20:
“Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’ ”
In the ESV, the last part says “These are what defile a person.”
Are you spending your time in straight bars and at straight events and conferences where they are demonstrating straight sex?? Are you visiting brothels, houses of ill repute and the like??
Nah, I don’t have the time what with always updating my enormous straight porn collection. When I was in grad school my straight friends used to drag me to straight bars where openly straight people would sit around flaunting their straight sexuality. I noticed they mostly seemed lonely and alone, desparate for the next short term straight fix. I hear many straight men are so degenerate, they have a special term for when they get liquored up and go home with women who would normally repulse them- “wine scuba masks”, or something they called it. Anyway, I decided then and there that my choice to feel all warm and funny when seeing hot women had been the correct one, and that I wanted no part of the sexually broken straight lifestyle.
It disturbs me that you are employed full time in exposing the evils of heterosexuality. All those lurid pictures of deviant hetersosexual activity on your website and the press releases and emails you send out describing the details… it makes me wonder about you.
And how many years in a row do you have to go take pictures of Mardi Gras with people doing unspeakable heterosexual acts just to get beads. Tell me, Boo, just how many pictures of women wity their shirts up and men with their pants down do you need?
I thought Laurie was just some random woman who felt strongly about how badly people were treating you. I didn’t realize that she’s Laurie Higgens, who is part of your organization and an anti-gay activist in Chicago.
Well it’s good to finally know who I’m talking to.
Worse than that, Boo, didn’t I see you at Spring Break during my undercover investigations there?
Are you spending your time in straight bars and at straight events and conferences where they are demonstrating straight sex?? Are you visiting brothels, houses of ill repute and the like??
See Laurie Higgins response to Tim elsewhere on Warrenâ€™s blog re: your silly accusation of my alleged secret homosexuality. Are you secretly straight?
No Pete, I never accused you of being secretly gay. I accused you of being not-so-secretly strange, but that’s another matter. My point was you get angry when people impute secret thoughts to you even while you feel perfectly entitled to impute that gay people must feel a “nagging question” that our sexuality is against God. If your critics can’t read your mind, you can’t read gay people’s minds either.
I havenâ€™t walked in your shoes, I canâ€™t begin to describe your struggles, but what I do know is that youâ€™ve thrown up the white flag, as it were, and succumbed to identifying with sin.
I would suggest quite the contrary. Nick is identifying with redemption. He sees himself as a creation of God, loved and made blameless, rather than as a loathsome insect held over the fire by an abhoring and dreadfully provoked god, constantly worried that some action or thought will enrage the furious diety.
This morning in my devotions I was reading from the 10th chapter of the book of the Acts of the Apostles. In this section there is a story about an Italian centurian who was not of the lineage or tradition of the Jews who nonetheless prayed to God and helped the poor.
Though he was devout, he was still outside of the Law of Moses and the provisions God had given. Peter, as a Jew, was forbidden to socialize or visit him. So God sent Peter a vision of a sheet filled with unclean animals and told him to kill and eat. Peter was horrified – he was specifically forbidden these unclean things. Then God said something surprising:
“Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
When Peter visited the centurian, the Jews with him were surprised that the Holy Spirit filled the gentiles – though they remained gentiles.
That is one of my favorite sections of scripture.
See Laurie Higgins response to Tim elsewhere on Warren’s blog re: your silly accusation of my alleged secret homosexuality. Are you secretly straight? 🙂
As far as I know Nick IS a man!!!
There is this nagging question about being faithful to God, and God opposes homosexual behavior
Is that the one right next to the nagging question about whether people who devote so much time to demonizing homosexual might secretly be gay?
See? Projection is fun!
To Peter LaBarbera-
No, I am not at all concerned that I am defying God’s will. And I don’t say that blithely. For 20 of my 30 years as ex-gay, I worked professionally as an editor of Christian books and magazines. I was still writing popular level Bible commentaries right up to time I decided leave my marriage and return to an openly gay life. So I am someone who has devoted a good part of his life to study, writing, and thinking about God, faith, and the scriptures.
It was precisely my study, writing, and thought that led me to the conclusion that the church is wrong in maintaining a moral prohibition on homosexuality as such. I don’t have the time or space here to elaborate on all of that, but may someday write more in another setting. Here, I’ll simply say that I am completely at peace with my decisions in terms of my religious and moral beliefs.
Nick, but aren’t you concerned about what God would have for you as well? In the end, it’s not all about us and our feelings. There is this nagging question about being faithful to God, and God opposes homosexual behavior (Tim might disagree, but he doesn’t have much to stand on in the light of the overwhelming evidence of Judeo-Christian revelation). Do you believe in absolute truth?
I haven’t walked in your shoes, I can’t begin to describe your struggles, but what I do know is that you’ve thrown up the white flag, as it were, and succumbed to identifying with sin. I believe that God would rather have you walk with Him daily in pursuing “righteousness,” an old-fashioned word describing His glory — apart from our “reality.” Perhaps you might be comforted or by knowing that each of us falls short, struggles with besetting sins, and is drawn to do the thing, as Paul said, that we don’t want to do. We all need God’s help in pursuing righteousness.
There will be some sacrifices, and it will require the humility of repentance, but why not try being a “chubby, bald, aging … man” pursuing God’s heart for your life instead?
I appreciate the responses to my comment from both Warren and Alan.
I will say that when I was actually in an Exodus-affiliated group (and in Homosexuals Anonymous, and in therapy with NARTH), I saw a personal acceptance of those who ultimately decided to pursue an active gay identity. But I also found a steady drumbeat of emphasis on the most negative possibilities of gay life. “Relationships never last.” “If you’re not young and good looking, you’ll be more and more alone.” “You’ll get AIDS.” “It’s all just empty sexual gratification.”
When I finally decided that the best course for me was to come out again–after 30 years as “ex-gay,” most of them very happy and successful–I found a completely different reality. Sure, you can find the negatives in gay life, as in any part of human existence. But you also find some wonderful positives. I started to list them, but decided I was sounding too Pollyannaish. Suffice it to say that I genuinely love the life I’ve discovered as an openly gay man–even a chubby, bald, aging gay man!
That’s part of the reality that I think people “pursuing change” need to hear about. The alternative does not have to be loneliness, addiction and disease. But I don’t think you hear that from Exodus.
Sonja – read CK’s comment at 33575.
I’m curious about one more thing: When you told gay kids to “Hold off â€œcoming outâ€ or making any definitive declarations about your sexuality until you are an adult” – you did offer this same advice to kids who thought they were straight, or is this advice one-sided in favor of your own agenda?
What you have just expressed is encouraging.
While you and I do not share the same understanding on this issue, I believe you are far more likely to sway someone to your position by loving them, praying for them and being committed to them than if you were, say, to accuse them of deliberate rebellion against God.
Now if only I could convince you to love them enough not to try and impose civil discrimination on them. Sigh. Well I can hope that some day you’ll agree with me that litigating one’s faith will lead no one to God. It will only make it that much more difficult for them to feed their family or pay their medical bills.
But I’m confident that in time… hey, if Bob Barr can come around on some things, why not Alan Chambers.
I hope that when you talk about Cameron’s research on gays dying young, you expose Cameron and his research for what it is.
There are millions of gay people living to very old ages – Being part of a group never means you have to become a statistic.
I guess my next question would be, when is someone adult enough to know what they are doing? I’ve met 15 year olds that are more mature than some 21 year olds. We shouldn’t make the assumption that just because someone is young that they haven’t really thought through what they are doing.
The decision to pursue change has, is and will always be squarely that of the individual person. I served as a pastoral counselor for 4 years and my sole duty was meeting with teens day in and day out who were struggling with homosexuality. Some came of their own valition and others came because their parents brought them. It wasn’t my job to change or convince anyone of anything. I listened, shared my story, offered insights and mostly helped guide these kids through the very difficult issues associated with high school.
Four pieces of advice I always gave: 1) Be a good researcher; 2) Never forget that God loves you no matter what. 3) Obey your parents. 4) Hold off “coming out” or making any definitive declarations about your sexuality until you are an adult and old enough to understand the consequences of such a life changing decision.
Of course, it was my sincere hope that every kid who came to me found the same freedom that I have found, but it wasn’t my job to force them to do that, to talk them into something or to manipulate their feelings. I was their advocate and pastor who gave biblical advice and allowed them to be who they were.
Over the course of 4 years I met more than 300 kids and the regulars—the two dozen or so that came to see me weekly—still call, email and visit—the gay ones especially. When they are in trouble they call, too. My wife and I love them, pray for them and are committed to them.
Warren, I am sincere in wanting to understand what you see as the value of the discussions I see on this blog. Why? Because in my one week of regularly reading/commenting, I see a far greater effort to find common ground than to uphold Biblical teaching on homosexuality.
I see an effort to reach agreement — not with seeking sinners (whose sin happens to be homosexuality), but with those who insist that “gay is good,” that homosexuality is innate and immutable, that God embraces unrepentant practicing homosexuals, that they can be saved while proudly continuing in homosexuality.
So I am trying to understand why anyone who professes to be a Christian would spend time trying to agree with people who are in deliberate rebellion against God.
(I am not characterizing everyone who comments as described above, but some who rank in the top commenters here have clearly expressed those beliefs.)
A client who has not made up his mind needs to do more research and soul searching. If the question comes ‘what about the research showing gays die young, etc.?’ I would point the client to the best research on the subject. In all cases, I would point a client to a clarification about belief and value and emphasize personal responsibilty for chosen action. When I portray the research as it is, some might think I am being “soft” on gays and still others will say I am stigmatizing them. It depends on the point of view…
Yes, but can he yodel?
Well, what about my family’s art collection???
Warren, you do have weapons. Switzerland has always had an armed citizen militia. So I guess some of us posters comprise your ‘gay brigade’ ….. we would likely be happy to defend your soft underbelly.
Titilated? You’ve been commenting here for a week or so and you are make assumptions about my motives? When commenters here wonder why Peter attends gay porn events for years, you accuse commenters of mocking. Now I’m perplexed.
Do you hope to reach me by attacking me? It’s not working.
NickC, your story of the teenager and the pushy parents reminded me of an actual situation I had when I led an ex-gay Exodus ministry. Parents called me to see if I would be willing to talk to their son who was coming home to visit for Thanksgiving. They also needed advice since he was pushing to have his partner come along–and sleep in the same bed.
They also weren’t sure what ‘message’ this would give to his brother who was coming home with his girlfriend.
My first question took them totally off-guard. “And, where will the girlfriend be sleeping?” Just as I had suspected, these folks had a ‘sin-meter mentality’. They were quick to point out, judge, react to SOME things the Bible called sin while they were totally oblivious to other ‘more socially acceptable’ sins. The conclusion I left them with was: I don’t know if you’re going to let your son sleep with his boyfriend ‘under your roof’ but you really ought to apply the same standards with your other son.
The son, a college freshman, actually DID call me when he got to town. He wanted to meet the man who had given his parents a changed perspective. He was a bright, thoughtful, young man with a tender heart towards God, his family and his partner. We talked for several hours and he confided that he was ‘torn’ between his traditional beliefs and a ‘new understanding of God’. I let him know what we believed but I also told him it wasn’t an easy road. I also gave him phone numbers and locations for our local MCC and Wingspan (Lutherans Reformed for Gays). I also told him how he could find a more traditional but ‘affirming’ church.
LOL! He really was a thoughtful seeker. He came to see me two or three more times to discuss his impressions of the gay churches and ministers he had encountered.
There were many in early Exodus who saw self-righteous hypocrisy as the BIG sin that had to be toppled and we relished opportunities to expose it.
I think you’ll find that attitude still prevails.
Dr. Throckmorton: Sonja really gave you a tongue-lashing for conversing with us homosexuals! Next thing ya know, she’ll be accusing Jesus of hanging out with sinners and tax collectors!
We visited the Swiss Alps in 2005. While Switzerland was neutral during WW2 officially, it’s plane company Pilatus made parts for Messerschmidt during the war.
The Swiss Alps is beautiful, more than the Austrian Alps. They smoke too much though in Switzerland, Austria & Germany. I’ve also been to 24 states in the U.S., India, Japan (1993), U.K. (many times), France (2003), Thailand (2002) & I lived in Spain from 1981-84. Nations left to visit in this century are China, Portugal, Korea, Japan & Spain.
oops… slight misquote:
You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
For Sonja’s information, I AM a believer, not “a blaspheming, mocking homosexual”. Jesus is my Lord and Savior — and I am saved by the SAME grace that saved her. “My hope is built of nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”
The common denominator is that we all sin, are sinners. The light is not to be put under a shade and it is to shine onto the world.
Sonja’s comments about the enemies of God reminds me of my favorite quote by Anne LaMott
you can tell you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
I am an ex gay woman who is a christian and I find little or no value in the way SB Ministries or Peter L. have chosen to advocate for Christ in the gay community.
Following is way too long for a comment. But I hope you’ll bear with me.
Obviously, a lot of humor here. But itâ€™s also interesting to think about the factors underneath the emerging split on the â€œex-gayâ€ side.
In my view, Bennet, LaBarbera, and others of their ilk are painting themselves into a corner by drawing a battle line on the biological issue. From their point of view, what does it matter if some people are born gay or born with a predisposition to being gay? Research also indicates that some people may have an inborn predisposition to addiction or to criminal behavior. Does that make alcoholism or crime ok?
I think the real division is happening over a different question. Is â€œidentity therapyâ€ (or whatever you want to call efforts to get gay people to live as if they are straight) the only legitimate response to homosexuality? Or is it just one possible response, specifically to help those who have a strong belief that homosexuality is wrong?
Both Warren Throckmorton and (in a few statements) Alan Chambers have moved toward this latter position. I think thatâ€™s partly in an effort to win acceptance for identity therapy from the APA and other professional groups. Warren, in particular, emphasizes his therapy is intended for people who have strong convictions that homosexuality is wrong or undesirable, and want to bring their behavior into line with their values. Why should the APA object to a therapy that helps a client toward his/her own freely-selected goals?
But how far do they really carry this position? Suppose a young personâ€”late teens, early twentiesâ€”comes to Warren Throckmorton or Alan Chambers and says:
â€œIâ€™m realizing that Iâ€™m strongly attracted to my own gender. I donâ€™t necessarily see anything wrong with being gay, but my parents are very unhappy about this. They are religious and think homosexuality is a sin. Iâ€™m not sure I believe that. But I am worried that Iâ€™ll miss out on being married and having kids and having a lot of things in life Iâ€™ve always wanted. So I think Iâ€™d rather be straight if I can.
â€œMy parents have asked me to talk to you, because you help people who are gay move away from that. How can you help me?â€
Now, would either Warren or Alan include in his answer a statement along the lines of:
â€œIf you end up deciding that you are gay, and want to identify as gay, thatâ€™s a perfectly fine decision. You can still pursue the kind of life you wantâ€”a committed relationship, a family, a good careerâ€”and you can even find churches that will support you in a life of faith.â€
For Alan Chambers and Exodus, Iâ€™m quite certain the answer is no. They would try to persuade (pressure, is another way to put it) the young questioner to reject a homosexual identity and pursue â€œchange.â€ Alan would emphasize every negative trait of homosexual life, and underemphasize the life-long struggle with â€œtemptationâ€ many ex-gays experience.
With Warren, Iâ€™m not sure. But this is your web site Warren, so you tell us. Would you tell a potential client who has NOT made up his mind on the moral questions that a decision to embrace a gay identity can be a valid, healthy choice? Not necessarily a choice that you yourself would recommend, based on your own religious beliefs, but a potentially healthy choice all the same?
To the degree Warren answers yes, I think thatâ€™s what the Bennetts and LaBarberas fear. Because the fact is, once you affirm that accepting oneâ€™s homosexuality can be healthy and moral for SOME people with a homosexual orientation, why shouldnâ€™t it be encouraged for all?
What place does self-righteousness, anger and condemnation have to do with being a Christian. You don’t sound like someone who cares about the Good News.
Warren, I’m perplexed… Why are you so titilated with this ongoing conversation with blaspheming, mocking homosexuals? What is it that you hope to achieve — to find common ground with the enemies of God?
“What do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?”
You really do rock Warren 🙂
I wondered how long it would be before the more extreme fringes of the ex-gay movement such as LaBarbera and Stephen Bennet started tearing apart conservatives.
I do seem to remember you playing an odd, deep bass wind instrument in high school…
Hmmmm… maybe it’s all just a manipulative plot by Warren and Alan to disassociate themselves from the most extreme (some might say wacky) elements of the ex-gay movement.
First Cohen was shuffled off. Then Bennett. And now LaBarbera. And Alan is distancing himself from wild claims and exagerations.
Is that it, Warren. Have you been taking your cues from After The Ball?
It’s nefarious, I say. A grand conspiracy.
Hmmm, can’t find the account…
Do you have my money???
The thing about science (performed well) is that it doesn’t follow any particular ideology. This is always bound to upset somebody.
Oh wait, I have no weapons. Remember, I’m Swiss.
Boo – You are the teller of secrets. I will now blow you up.
Warren, have you been mining all your passes with dynamite AGAIN?!
Comments are closed.