Love Won Out in Palin-country this weekend

In my efforts to track down information regarding the Covenant House story, this AP article got by me.
“Palin church promotes converting gays” begins:

Gov. Sarah Palin’s church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.
“You’ll be encouraged by the power of God’s love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality,” according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed since she was a child.

A couple of things should be pointed out. According to all reports, Wasilla Bible Church is not where Palin has prayed since she was a child. She just recently joined the Wasilla Bible Church, having left an Assembly of God church, possibly over some disagreements with AoG practices.
Some bloggers have said the LWO is being held at Palin’s church. It is not. The conference is being held September 13 at the Abbott Loop Community Church in Anchorage. Instead, Palin’s church announced the conference to church goers.
I think the language Focus uses to communicate Love Won Out can be confusing. While I suspect the emphasis for churches is more on conversion to Christianity than to heterosexuality, phrases like “overcoming homosexuality” and using the word “transform” make it sound like the conference will focus on changing gays into straights. While this has been emphasized more in past conferences and promotional material, I think there might less of this now. LWO used to have a slogan that included the idea that homosexuality was “preventable and treatable.” Now they say, “to those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions, we offer the Gospel hope that these desires can be overcome.”
This is a subtle shift from a treatment framework to a ministry framework. However, I understand why this is confusing to people. “Overcoming desires” to most people most likely still sounds like change from gay desires to straight desires. It could mean (and perhaps this is what Focus means) that the desires are there but the person does not act on them. Thus, a desire could be overcome by not actualizing it. The desire is still there but it has been managed.
While these issues are of great concern to those interested and involved in sexual identity ministry, they attain national significance infrequently (as they did in the Bush-Kerry presidential debate). However, the confusion over terms and phrasing now enters conversation over the beliefs of the Republican VP nominee. I advocate a much clearer portrayal of what Christianity offers. Conversion is a proper and historical focus of religion, but the question is, conversion from what to what? It seems to me that sexual identity ministries should work overtime to make it clear what the answer is to that question.

40 thoughts on “Love Won Out in Palin-country this weekend”

  1. It was for you, since you had said that I did not need to defend or explin. I felt otherwise. When a fellow Christian tells me that I am not a Christian — because I do not agree with their understanding of a particular Biblical passage — I speak up.

    I understand – thanks for letting me know. I am sorry that anyone would tell you or others what you are or are not regarding religious beliefs. That is kind of why I don’t care too much for large religious organizations – egos and empty words seem more important than faith, quiet prayer, thoughtful discussion, and reasoning differences out. I’m too simple to understand the kind of complexity that humans have put into religion. I like the words “follow me”.

  2. It was for you, since you had said that I did not need to defend or explin. I felt otherwise. When a fellow Christian tells me that I am not a Christian — because I do not agree with their understanding of a particular Biblical passage — I speak up.
    Not so much to defend myself, but to challenge the arrogance that one Christian can judge the salvation or “true” Christianity of another. In my mind, that’s the Holy Spirit’s job, not ours.

  3. Michael,
    Was the post you just wrote intended for me? If so, what was it in response to? I try not to understand large religions and organizations as they are mostly things that men and women have made up over the years and are far away from the simple teachings of Jesus that I want to follow.

  4. Ann: In our demonination (Presbyterian) we have something known as “individual conscience before God”. It means that we accept and respect each other as brothers and sisters in Christ (“true” Christrans), but that each believer is free (or one could acutally say “bound”) to follow his/her own understanding of God’s will for them.
    We believe in the essential doctrines of Christianity, as can be found in the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds, but leave room for indivdual believers to follow their own conscience, the guidance of the Holy Spirt and their best understanding of Scripture and of God”s will for them.
    We do not believe that we possess perfect knowledge. We are not inerrant. We do not sit in judgement of another’s salvation or claim that they are not really “true” Christians if they disagree with us, We do not claim to have absolute understanding of the Bible. .
    Instead, we try to show grace and tolerance — and leave it to the Holy Spirit to “guide us into all truth”. We sometimes agree to disagree, but we find it arrogant and rather self-righteous to insist that our way, and only our way, is the right way to follow Christ’s teachings.

  5. Timothy,
    Granted – I don’t like his smugness in assuming that “he knows” that all one has to do is walk in a different direction. Very limited view as well.

  6. Timothy,
    Keep in mind – that the reason AIDS was the final name for the disease is because it was becoming obvious that other besides gay men were dying. The name from GRIDS (gay related immune deficiency) to AIDS was in due to this. And though it was only 10% of gay men – gay men with comorbidity (ie: homelessness, drug addiction, incarceration, prostitution etc…) can cause that number to go up in a tightly defined group.

  7. Michael,
    I don’t think you need anyone else’s opinion or to follow a religion to have your own personal relationship with God. Listen to the gift of that small, still voice and you will know God’s grace. IMHO I don’t think it is necessary to explain it to anyone either.

  8. Timothy,
    I don’t know. Sounds like Brian has lived in some very rough places. Like those who claim to have never known any of “those kind” who contracted AIDS and died of AIDS – some live more isolated lives. Others are in the trenches counting the bodies. If you have been in the prison environment, homeless shleters, drug houses, sold yourself for sex – drugs – food, etc…. you will have known a different group of people. And many if not all of those people are dead today.

  9. Brian said: “What you are doing my friend, is re-interpreting the Bible to have it mean what you desire.” But that, my friend, is exactly what I think YOU are doing!
    You have already made up your mind that all homosexual behavior is sin and you use the Bible to bolster your own prejudice — just as “true” Christians before you used it to endorse slavery or to enforce the inferior status of women.
    “True” Christians used to teach that a woman should not lead or even speak in church. Now these same “true”, “conservative” Christians want a woman for Vice-President!
    I am not reinterpreting it. I have prayed, studied, discussed and asked for God’s guideance — and I actually BELIEVE that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. Not because I WANT it that way, but because that’s what I believe. That I disagree with you on these passages does not nullify my salvation.
    I realize that God created male and female — but he also created males and males — and gave them friendship, love and sexuality for their bonds — just as He did for straights.
    If you and Cathy think that means I am not saved, then you believe a different Gospel than I do — since I beleieve that we are saved by GRACE and not by what we think the Bible says.

  10. I’m just saying it is possible for someone to know 30 to 50 men who have died. That was not uncommon.

    Mary and Brian,
    Yes it is very possible and true and I believe you. I have lived and worked and volunteered in a very diversifed city for many years and have lost more than a “few” friends to AIDS. I can tell you there were many.
    Brian, my friend Brett told me something very similar to what your friend told you so I understand what you are saying and I believe you are saying it with sincerity.

  11. Mary,
    I agree that it is possible to have known many people who died, especially if one was part of the community and lived in an urban area at that time. It was a sad and frightening time and I was very very fortunate to have only lost a small number of friends. Some folks I know lost dozens and I’m sure Michael will attest to having lost many folks he cared about.
    But I’m sure you will agree that when one proposes that virtually all (or even most) of the gay people that they knew died of AIDS, that seems rather peculiar. Even at the very height of the epidemic, not more than 10% of gay men died of AIDS.
    While the demographics were not homogenized (infection and death was more urbanized and probably more evident in those who were more visible), even so it would have been rather peculiar for all or most of one’s gay acquaintences to have died. The numbers just aren’t there for this being a common occurance.
    The whole thing sounds more to me like someone creating stories that fit with stereotypes. I wouldn’t have called foul if it had just been one or two peculiar claims but when taken as a whole, Brian’s witness appears false.

  12. Timothy,
    Just so you know, I have also lived through the first wave of AIDS patients dying and have known many that died. I lived in very gay populated areas as well. Alot of them through MCC. I’m just saying it is possible for someone to know 30 to 50 men who have died. That was not uncommon.

  13. Wow Brian,
    In the first sentence I read from you ( I am an ex lesbian and christian ) I read some glaring over generalizations of people – and then you call them gay. WOW! I am impressed at your limited knowledge of gay people.
    Perhaps you have only been in contact with those that exhibit such a lifestyle. However, having been there myself, and having many friends who gay, there is a wide variety of experiences as a gay person JUST AS THERE ARE FOR heterosexuals.
    Now, I do agree that there is SOME environmental ques for being gay just as there are environmental ques for straight – and there are also some biological causes as well. TO BE TRUTHFUL – WE DO NOT KNOW THE COMPLETE ORIGINS of SEXUALITY – whether it is gay, straight or otherwise.

  14. Brian,
    I don’t wish to accuse anyone of being untruthful. After all, that’s a fairly harsh accusation and I don’t know you.
    But I do know that you are either a) misinterpreting what you are being told, b) have only met gay people who are unique and peculiar and very atypical of most gay people, or c) are lying through your teeth.
    While your claims are consistent with a particular stream of anti-gay activism and the writings present there, they are not indicative of experiences of gay people.
    First, it is not true that “a good number of homosexual attractions, individuals have been introduced to it while they were youth”. Sorry, just not true.
    Yes there are gay folks who were sexually active in youth, just as there are heterosexual that were sexually active in youth. But I have never, ever, met a gay person who was not same-sex attracted and then through “introduction” attained some same-sex attraction.
    That is a myth. It is a lie. And it is extremely offensive.
    Second, I cannot make claims about your neighbors. But I find it ever so interesting that you know all these rather personal details. Frankly, it sounds to me more like a tale of convenience that a recitation of actual events.
    Third, I find it extremely unlikely that you met several nice gay people who are now nearly all dead from AIDS.
    More likely is that you are unaware that HIV infection is present in at most 12% of gay men and that since 1996 and the introduction of HAART there has been a huge decrease in mortality. At present, life expectancy of HIV positive persons who seek medical care is approaching that of HIV negative persons.
    Maybe you were in some dense pocket of deaths pre 1996. But I’ve lived in California all my life and in the SF bay area until 89 when I move to LA. I’ve had a grand total of three friends die of AIDS and maybe a few more acquaintances. So forgive me if your story just doesn’t ring true.
    Finally, I find the statement “He said, if only I had submitted my life to God, rather than pursued the reckless, dangerous homosexual lifestyle, maybe I’d survive this” to be implausable. It sounds like you read it in a Chick tract.
    I respect those who disagree with me.
    But I find it less than admirable when they show up with pat little stories that drip with false compassion and have not even a distant relationship with reality.

  15. Brian,
    One more thing. The people I mentioned are living in two different European countries. They are not living together or together with someone of the same sex. Come on, this is plain English.

    We all have temptations, actions, and behaviors that would could act on (eg. having a one night stand while on a business trip).

    It is a “battle” out there for the souls of people between good and evil.

    These guys would pay money and time to be able to feel some opposite-sex temptations… They’re only fighting evil, so to speak. They have nothing else to hang on to, in terms of attractions. I guess they’re luckless. They can watch other people being comfortably content with both their sexuality and values.

  16. Brian,
    I didn’t get a direct answer from you, but I gather you’re saying that God will deliver them from the evil and plant attractions to women in them. I also deduce that it was Satan that made some guys have only same-sex attractions since early age, to have certain brain patterns (less asymmetric brain hemispheres, female-typical sizes and connections), and to not be able to be attracted to women and only be attracted to men while their brains are scanned or penile responses are measured. It’s possible and worth considering. I’m lucky I came upon these two different people, because if I continue to keep contact with them via the internet, I will be able to find out what their results will be, considering that one is supported by faith while the other is not. According to your answer, only one should experience any degree of change, by the agency of faith. I hope they don’t read this page, because my forecast is that once their emotional brains definitized in their early twenties, they won’t be able to feel a type of attractions that they didn’t feel before that.

  17. Brian,
    Actually, through work environments, school and other happenstances, I’ve come to know many gays. And to see many similar patterns of destructive lifestyles, sadly.
    In a good number of homosexual attractions, while not often admitted (due to shame or embarrasment), individuals have been introduced to it while they were youth (e.g. they were abused, molested, or mistreated as a youth).
    So environmental aspects are most certainly a factor in some cases, estimates have varied as to how much it is a factor.
    I witnessed this first hand in a neighbor boy. His older brother was bi-sexual, and would force and/or pay his younger brother to perform sex on him. The older brother was much bigger and domineering. This had profound affects on the younger brother and introduced him to homosexuality where he would not have had otherwise. Similar to the priest-molestions in the past few years, where trusted individuals take advantage of younger prey.
    I also was in an industry where many gays worked and got to know many nice individuals. Nearly all of them are dead today from AIDS. One guy in particular sticks out, he told me in one conversation, of the verbal abuse he had faced from his father which crushed his self esteem during his youth, and he believe lead him into homosexuality.
    When he was dying of AIDS he talked about how if only someone, something had thrown him a life-preserver to bring him out of homosexuality. He said, if only I had submitted my life to God, rather than pursued the reckless, dangerous homosexual lifestyle, maybe I’d survive this… he died a short while latter.
    So, we do bear responsibility of the decisions we make, the choices (good or ill) that are made and then ultimately the consequences we sow. How sad and tragic.
    It is a “battle” out there for the souls of people between good and evil. We all have temptations, actions, and behaviors that would could act on (eg. having a one night stand while on a business trip).
    But again, I come back to one’s relationship with our creator God. Through Christ, change and transformation is very , very possible in submission to his will not ours. IN most cases where we fall into sin, it is because we have not stood the ground and relied on Christ enough to plant a hedge of protection around us.
    Like my friend from prison told me, it is only through the grace of God and my submission to him that I opened His door and walked through it. Had I not done that, I’d still be on the streets eking out my life from one meal to the next, leaving in shelters and constantly seeking a way to find my next fix of coke or other drugs. Only turning my life to him has made change possible so that I no longer have ANY interest or even desire for what tempted me before.
    In the case of your Christian friend who is living with the atheist, that is not a good mix to begin with. And indicates a weakness in real faith, or whether he actually has a solid relationship with God, or he would not be placing himself in such a position. We of course, would only wish him the best, but that environment is not a very good one, and if that is the case he should “flee”
    When we see how close we can get to the line, versus how far away from the line we can stay, it is often we are pulled over that line. It is better to flee that temptation (which we all face to one degree or another) and run to God and his open arms. But again, it requires real submission, and many are unwilling to do that.

  18. Brian,
    THanks for the long reply. I may have been less clear in my message. The question was who could plant attractions to the opposite sex in people who since they can remember were only attracted to their own sex? You know, before I got to know these two friends – who share the same interest as me in science, the Christian one is a scientific researcher actually – I was thinking like you, because I never met in my whole life someone who was not attracted to the opposite sex. I was thinking that it was preference that made some people choose to act on same-sex feelings. But since I was already interested in studying neuroscience related to sexual and gender issues, I asked them to tell me their stories and I found out that they have never once in their lifetime been attracted to a girl during their childhood and adolescence and to a woman during adulthood. They also have never had a fantasy or a sexual reaction in relation to a woman. On the contrary, all their attractions and fantasies have been about same-sex individuals. I became even more curious about what was the first time when they noticed that. One of them said that it was around the beginning of puberty when he browsed through a magazine depicting men and women wearing clothes. He noticed he was strongly attracted to the male model and became very conflicted and anxious, later falling into depression. I don’t suspect he is hiding anything, because I know he is interested in starting a family and therefore he really wants to be able to relate to women sexually. You cannot accuse this man of choosing not to have feelings for women or to have feelings for men, it would be really insensitive to tell him that. What would you tell him?

    “The entire issue of homosexuality’s acceptability (or lack there of) as well as other beliefs has at its core the issue of “world view.”

    I agree. And it has many implications, both for believers and unbelievers. But the problem is who is the arbiter between facts and beliefs. We are walking on thin ice, more and more. This problem won’t be solved without society going through some changes, first by getting rid of the “throw it under the carpet and pretend it’s ok” approach.
    PS for anyone. If my English is not clear, I don’t mind anyone pointing to the need to clarify my messages. I started learning it during high school and I keep learning.

  19. Evan, I too know men and women who live together and have not sexual relations, and are not gay, they are friends and nothing more.
    Your question would hold the same of a male and female friends, unmarried, and then one (or both decided) they wanted to have sex outside of marriage. Again, that is not God’s standard or plan. They are acting on their own whims and desires and not in God’s.
    But being the fallen creatures we are, we do sin, we do what’s wrong in God’s eyes. The question is do we care about being in God’s will. Do we believe there is a “creator God.” With the one friend you describe being an atheist, one assumes not, therefore he is not in God’s will nor appartenlty cares to be.
    But ALL things are possible with God, including the atheist coming to him, asking Christ into his life, to change it, molding it into the image of God.
    Its really not a quesiton of how we/you/I feel or what we believe about this issue, if we dive to its core… it is what does “God” believe as the standard for his creation? That is always the litmus test, God, not us.
    When decisions are left to us, we fail, especailly if we are not in God’s will. And we cannot know God’s will unless we are in his word, and community of solid Bible believing friends in Christ and a Bible study/accountability group.
    The entire issue of homosexuality’s acceptability (or lack there of) as well as other beliefs has at its core the issue of “world view.”
    Everyone has a worldview, whether professed or not. If we have a Christian world view, we attempt to live by those standards that Christ called us to, and died on the Cross for us, and our sins.
    If someone does not have a Christian WV, then they are open and suspectible to believing and living in just about any condition “they” want to be in… and without accountability to God.
    Bottom line… do we want to run our own lives and do as we want, OR, do we want God to be in control. The real Christian strives (though sometimes fails) to follow the will of God.
    in terms of “who could plant” the seeds or desires of homosexuality or any other sin condition the answer is clear, it is satan. It started in the begining, in the “Garden” with the hiss of the snake… planting the seeds of rebellion in man… “did God really say you cannot do this…” This is where it started, and it has not stopped ever since. Man is sinful by nature and inclined to do wrong, apart from God’s saving grace. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock”… but will we let him in? Or go our own way… so many over time immortal choose “my way”, and in so doing are lost.
    Without God we are like “dead men” walking. Living for ourselves, our own desires, needs, feelings, and immediate satisfactions. This is a pretty sad and lonely life relative to the alternative of God’s gift of eternity.
    Once we really understand the Bible and what God’s gift of freedom and salvation is all about, its a “no-contest’ decision relative to the paltry, earthly, short-term choices.
    Homosexuality is just another sin condition… I have another friend whom I got to know through prison writing. He’s a 5 time felon and 20+ times in local jail. Lots of drugs and theft to support the condition. And he said to me, after he had accepted Christ into his life, ‘Brian, if there was a dead end I found it; if there was a blind alley, I found it; if there was another needle or nickle bag I found it… but I was lost, until I found Christ. Once I made the decision to open that door, my whole life changed radically, because I finally understood I could not be in control of my life and do it well… only God could do that. Once I submitted all these things to God, that is when a radical miracle changed my life. I then truly became a new creation in Christ. But first, I had to choose to submit.
    And that is the key to the door for us all… to submit, or continue going on our own merry way— the choice is yours today… your way, or God’s way?

  20. Brian wrote:
    But if you really believe what the Bible is saying is true (not revisionism of the Bible), then one cannot accept the sin condition of homosexuality as anything but an offense to God, just as other sins are.
    Two of my friends have never been attracted to girls/women in their entire life. One is an atheist and the other one is an Evangelical. Neither of them ever had same-sex contact and they don’t intend to. But what if one of them decided that he’s wasting his life not having any relationship and not fulfilling some basic needs, like having sex, bonding, etc? It would seem kind of awkward to me — I don’t know any gay person in real life — but could I blame the guy? I studied a lot about sexual identity and gender, but I wouldn’t know how to help these guys or to what professional could I direct them that could help them. Who could plant a type of attractions in their minds that was never there to begin with? I am sympathetic with their cause, I support them, but they are really having a hard time protecting themselves from the arguments provided by empirical research which point to something biological at the tail end of the continuum. I suppose that from the Christian point of view, one is going to hell – even if he couldn’t hurt a fly or be mischievous with anyone – because he’s an atheist, while the other one is the virtuous celibate. But what if the Christian one decided to follow his attractions, would the atheist be the better man in front of God’s eyes?

  21. Dear Michael… your comment is exactly right (but not in the way you may have intended), that of people mis-interpreting the Bible – – – that is sadly what you are doing my friend, re-interpreting the Bible to have it mean what you desire and to affirm a life that is apart from God.
    And it is because of this, and our own “human will” that people are taken “captive” to those desires that are “not of God”, but which he permits.
    Gen 1:27 God created man in his own image (is God’s image one of homosexuality?), in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
    v18: I will make a helper suitable for him… and as there was none suitable, so God created woman…. v24 For this reason a man will leave his father & mother and be united to his wife and “they” will become one flesh.
    Notice God’s intended design… one man and one woman. God “set apart” his design of man and woman to be the standard relationship for his creation; had he intended for “any’ other kind of loving or committed relatiohship would he not have specified it at the very begining?
    The answer is no, because God’s design is perfect, infallible (if you really believe the Bible is true that is). Since God knows everything and everyone, if this is something he intended it would have been there, but it is not.
    Then we take a look at Paul’s admonition to the church at Corinth… where he lists a long line of “offenses” to God, of which homosexuality is not “the” one, but IS one of among which activities if they continued in, then the “wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
    But in God’s grace, the good news is that through His mercy and grace we can all be washed and made new again (but not if we keep living in the same sin, because then we are not really anew in Christ and His Holy Spirit).
    Further, Paul pointed out to the church the possibility of change for those in the various sin conditions… “and that is what some of you WERE.”
    Demonstrating further, that change of our sin condition is not possible on our own, but only through submitting to Christ and turning to him in complete obedience. That is the challenge for the person taken captive to homosexuality, turning to God in submission… the radical change is not likely without it.
    And so it is with any other aspect of our life that is not in sync with
    God’s will, UNTIL we submit. But in our fallen nature we don’t wish to do that… we like our sin (whatever it is).
    Call it what you want, define it want you want (eg. a loving, committed relationship, etc) it is not of God and it is a sin in God’s eyes.
    You can change, but probably not without taking it and sumbitting your life first to him, and to His will, not yours, or mine.
    Paul goes on to say, 1 Cor:12… “everything is permissible — but not everything is beneficial…. v13 the body is not meant for sexuality immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”
    So, my friend, when you keep denying your sin condition (as we all have done), in affect, we deny the Lord. In creating this illusionary world of God’s acceptance of homosexuaity you are turning your back on him, and “seeing through a glass darkly.”
    Michael, you may believe a loving-committed homosexual relationship is okay before God, but He does not. In the same way an adultrous man or woman believes their affair is acceptable (but they are only deluding themselves). Or an adult believes its acceptabable to have a loving relationship with a child. Its all the same, sin. You are not wanting to accept your sin condition and until you do, you will not be right with God’s will for your life.
    A good friend (former homosexual) tells about his long-time, committed relationship to another man. But once he started really understanding the Bible, REALLY understanding, not twisting it to affirm HIS desires, then and only then could a miracle happen in His life. That was the transforming of his sin condition, submitting it to the Lord.
    Michael, my dear friend, i say this with great concern for you and others held captive to homosexuality… God does love you, and wants you back into his fold… just as the one sheep who has gone astray… but you must make the decision FOR Christ to control your life, and not you. I pray that the Holy Spirit will pierce your heart and mind and that you will come to be all that God has in store for you and nothing less, and that the scales will be removed from your eyes as they were from Sauls, and to be transofrmed to Paul. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock… will you let Him in?

  22. Brian,
    One does not have to be Christian or know about or believe in the Bible to have an opinion on homosexuality. There are religions and cultures all around the world that do not accept homosexuality. It seems like Christianity is the only religion that is blamed for their beliefs on this subject and yet it is probably the one religion that is continually open to understanding and reconciliation more than other religions are.

  23. Brian: I believe that the Bible is the inerrant revelation of God — but that the PEOPLE who read it are NOT. We are only human. We may be WRONG in how we understand it. We “see through a glass darkly” as Paul put it.
    Read I Cor. 13:12 — “‘What we know NOW is partial — THEN it will be complete — WHEN WE BEHOLD HIM FACE TO FACE” . NOT UNTIL THEN! We are fallible. “True” Christians used to insist that the Bible endorsed slavery. To insist that one has absolute, infallible knowledge of what the Bible means is arrogant. You may be wrong.
    I believe that the Bible condemns certain TYPES of homosexual behavior, but not loving and committed gay relationships. About those, the Bible is silent — which means we must ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and live according to our conscience.
    There are many other things the Bible does not condemn or support specifically — so we must decide individually — according to our best understanding of Scripture, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and our own conscience before God.
    Would God have “intentionally created homosexuality”? Yes, I think He did. Just as he created different colors of butterflies. God is the God of variety. Look around. Variations are everywhere. I don’t think homosexuality is a “mistake”, nor do I believe that we “choose it” — anymore than a straight person “chooses” to be straight.
    You and Cathy insist that it’s “all pretty clear from Scripture,”, but there are many “true” Christians who believe the Bible — and who love Jesus and trust Him as Lord and Savior who do not agree with you. We are still your brothers and sisters in Christ — whether you like it or not –and I suspect that bothers you more than our gayness does.

  24. Warren, et al ,
    Do you believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God? If so…
    Do you believe that the Bible supports homosexuality or it does not?
    Is the Bible the word of God and His design for His creation or not?
    These are simple, straight forward questions.
    If God is perfect, how could he make mistakes in His creation? eg. if He created man and woman to complement one another, would He have intentionally created homosexuality?
    Or, is it more akin to other ‘sin’ conditions where we as fallen beings, have turned our backs on Him, and chosen to go our own way.
    This is pretty clear from scripture. Now, we can choose to accept or reject the Bible and scripture, just as people have done for thousands of years (to their own demise).
    But if you really believe what the Bible is saying is true (not revisionism of the Bible), then one cannot accept the sin condition of homosexuality as anything but an offense to God, just as other sins are.
    To do otherwise (eg. accept homosexuality) is nothing more than a mind game and a manipulation of God’s word and will for His people. The only ones then fooled are ourselves.

  25. Warren: I think you know me well enough by now to know that I am not trying to disrespect Cathy or to get into a lengthy discussion on what Scripture may (or may not) have to say about homosexuality. I just do not believe that the Bible teaches that all homosexual behavior is sin. She does. But we are BOTH “true” Christians.
    If she had said, “Mike, my brother in Christ, I believe that you are in error”, I would not have objected. But to assert that I must agree with her in order to be saved is not the Gospel I recieved — namely that we are saved by grace, not by obedience to law.
    I was objecting to her insistance that only “true” Christians agree with her — and that anyone who does not, is not a “true Christian”. I, on the other hand, believe that we (Cathy and I) are both saved by GRACE — not by what we (as “true” Christians) sincerely believe the Bible may (or may not) say about homosexuality.
    To stubbornly insist that one must agree with HER understanding of the Bible to be a “true” Christian is something I find very distatasteful — and not in accordance with what Sciriputre says makes a “true” Christian — namely grace and trust in the finished work of Christ on the Croos as full payment for my (and Cathy’s) sin. She may be right. She may be wrong. But that is not what saves us.

  26. Cathy – I can appreciate that you believe your approach is correct but if you are going to discuss, please do so with reason and not sarcasm.
    I don’t get into this much because I see people on both sides of the theological issues use sarcasm and dismiss the other point of view as if the point is proven.
    However, I am using this comment as an opportunity to say that this thread is not about what the Bible teaches on homosexuality. If those here can get into it with respect for each other, then go for it. But if not, I will not allow it to go on.

  27. Cathy, I am VERY familiar with the Bible, both old and new testaments. I do not believe that in this passage Paul was referring to homosexuality but to specific cult practices common in Rome at the time he wrote it.
    It’s not as crystal clear as you would like to make it. There is legitimate debate among “true” Christians as to exactly what this passage means: Examples:
    J. Nelson: “Paul didn’t write it as a condemnation of homosexuality, but as a criticism of Greek behavior in temple worship. Greeks often incorporated sexual behavior in temple worship.” 1
    D. Bartlett: “It’s the only place in the New Testament where there’s any extensive discussion of homosexual relations. In Romans, there’s no question that Paul thinks certain kinds of homosexual behavior are a result of the idolatry of the pagan world.” 1
    Arland J. Hultgren writes:

    “Paul is not speaking here of homosexual orientation. Instead, he is talking about the gentile world, a world of idolaters, who long ago rejected the worship of God and became a culture of abuse, in which power and conquest were established and displayed in sexual acts.”

    Regardless of how you or I understand this passage, you still dodged my question. Am I not saved if I do not agree with your understanding of this passage?

  28. Michael, do you think that only the Old Testament have passages regarding homosexuality? If so then you should read Romans chapter 1. That’s in the New Testament. Check it out. You ask, “How do we determine what is wrong?” Then you say, “I search the scriptures”. So if you live by the precepts of God’s word, then why are you confused as to what God thinks of homosexuality?

  29. Cathy — Ah, yes — but how do we determine what is wrong? Do I just go along with you? Or do I search the Scriptures, guided by the Holy Spirit, and then live according to my best understanding of how God would want me to behave?
    The point is — you believe that “true” Christians agree with your understanding and only your understanding of those passages that seem to relate to homosexuality.
    If they don’t agree with you, they are not saved? Are you suuggesting that you could not possibly be wrong? If so, that seems to me rather arrogant and self-righteous. Some “true” Christians believe it is a sin to dance, or to have blood transfusions. Some early believers – who were all “true” Christians – insisted that all new believers obey all Old Testament Laws. Others did not. (See Acts 15 for example).
    What am I to do if I, as one who loves the Lord, after much study and prayer, have come to a different understanding than you? Am I any less saved by grace?

  30. Cathy said, above: “People who are truly Christians realize that homosexuality is not an acceptable practice .” No. People who are truly Christian are those who have been saved by God’s grace through the sacrifice, death and resurrection of Jesus as full payment for their sins.
    “True” Christains can and do disagreee on what the handful of passages really mean — those few passges that some Christians believe are undeniable proof that homosexuality is an abomination.
    To insist that all Christains agree with your interpretations of these “clobber passages” is an addition to the Gospel that, in my opinion, borders on heresy.
    The early Church was full of disagreements on what laws and scriptures still applied to new converts — and which did not. Their disagreements did not make them less “truly Christian”. The same is true of “truly Christian” people today.

  31. Love Won Out wants to help people that are struggling with the feelings of homosexuality. People who are truly Christians realize that homosexuality is not an acceptable practice and is said to be a sin and abomination in God’s word (not just some people’s opinions). So if people believe that God does not want them to have or act on these feelings then an organization like Love Won Out has a real purpose in these people’s lives. These people are tormented with these feelings that they know are contrary to God’s word and they are seeking help with getting out of that lifestyle. Just as someone who is addicted to alcohol or drugs needs outside help to, yes, RECOVER.

  32. LWO used to have a slogan that included the idea that homosexuality was “preventable and treatable.” Now they say, “to those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions, we offer the Gospel hope that these desires can be overcome.”

    While they have changed the verbiage (in the past couple of years) on the LWO website, they still refer to “same-sex attraction” internally and at the LWO sessions as “a preventable condition.”

  33. If Palin’s church announced the event, then it is obviously endorsing the event.
    From news accounts of other Love Won Outs, it seems the event is mainly attended by and directed to heterosexual conservative Christians opposed to the gay rights movement — not necessarily for those with same-sex attractions. So, it seems clear that Focus On The Family’s intention is to promote the message that homosexuality is merely a condition that can be “overcome” and “changed” (and therefore gays and lesbians are not entitled to rights of their changeable disorder/fetish).
    I’m sure media-saavy FOTF is well aware that the message of “managing” and repressing desires is a much less promising message than “change”. However, it would be odd if a right-wing Republican candidacy forced FOTF to modify its misleading gay-change rhetoric.
    Palin has campaigned on her conservative religious credentials, so it is appropriate for the media to explore what this unknown, small state politician with little experience believes — just as the media scrutinized Obama’s pastor.

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