Monday, October 19, 2009

A manifesto from our friend Bishop John Shelby Spong

Friends of Walking With Integrity,

Perhaps many of you are already subscribed to "A New Christianity For A New World: Bishop John Shelby Spong on the News and Christian Faith." If so you received this note a few days ago, and perhaps shared it far and wide already. We hope that if you haven't, maybe now you will. As you may know, Bishop Spong is one of the most vocal and passionate advocates of LGBT people everywhere. So when this article came across our inbox well, we knew we had to share it. We do so by permission of Waterfront Media, Brooklyn, NY, Website www.johnshelbyspong.com.


Thursday October 15, 2009
A Manifesto! The Time Has Come!

I have made a decision. I will no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the church with anyone. I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance that emanates from so many right-wing Christians about how the Bible condemns homosexuality, as if that point of view still has any credibility. I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me how homosexuality is "an abomination to God," about how homosexuality is a "chosen lifestyle," or about how through prayer and "spiritual counseling" homosexual persons can be "cured." Those arguments are no longer worthy of my time or energy. I will no longer dignify by listening to the thoughts of those who advocate "reparative therapy," as if homosexual persons are somehow broken and need to be repaired. I will no longer talk to those who believe that the unity of the church can or should be achieved by rejecting the presence of, or at least at the expense of, gay and lesbian people. I will no longer take the time to refute the unlearned and undocumentable claims of certain world religious leaders who call homosexuality "deviant." I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality that certain Christian leaders continue to employ, which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that "we love the sinner but hate the sin." That statement is, I have concluded, nothing more than a self-serving lie designed to cover the fact that these people hate homosexual persons and fear homosexuality itself, but somehow know that hatred is incompatible with the Christ they claim to profess, so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement. I will no longer temper my understanding of truth in order to pretend that I have even a tiny smidgen of respect for the appalling negativity that continues to emanate from religious circles where the church has for centuries conveniently perfumed its ongoing prejudices against blacks, Jews, women and homosexual persons with what it assumes is "high-sounding, pious rhetoric." The day for that mentality has quite simply come to an end for me. I will personally neither tolerate it nor listen to it any longer. The world has moved on, leaving these elements of the Christian Church that cannot adjust to new knowledge or a new consciousness lost in a sea of their own irrelevance. They no longer talk to anyone but themselves. I will no longer seek to slow down the witness to inclusiveness by pretending that there is some middle ground between prejudice and oppression. There isn't. Justice postponed is justice denied. That can be a resting place no longer for anyone. An old civil rights song proclaimed that the only choice awaiting those who cannot adjust to a new understanding was to "Roll on over or we'll roll on over you!" Time waits for no one.

I will particularly ignore those members of my own Episcopal Church who seek to break away from this body to form a "new church," claiming that this new and bigoted instrument alone now represents the Anglican Communion. Such a new ecclesiastical body is designed to allow these pathetic human beings, who are so deeply locked into a world that no longer exists, to form a community in which they can continue to hate gay people, distort gay people with their hopeless rhetoric and to be part of a religious fellowship in which they can continue to feel justified in their homophobic prejudices for the rest of their tortured lives. Church unity can never be a virtue that is preserved by allowing injustice, oppression and psychological tyranny to go unchallenged.

In my personal life, I will no longer listen to televised debates conducted by "fair-minded" channels that seek to give "both sides" of this issue "equal time." I am aware that these stations no longer give equal time to the advocates of treating women as if they are the property of men or to the advocates of reinstating either segregation or slavery, despite the fact that when these evil institutions were coming to an end the Bible was still being quoted frequently on each of these subjects. It is time for the media to announce that there are no longer two sides to the issue of full humanity for gay and lesbian people. There is no way that justice for homosexual people can be compromised any longer.

I will no longer act as if the Papal office is to be respected if the present occupant of that office is either not willing or not able to inform and educate himself on public issues on which he dares to speak with embarrassing ineptitude. I will no longer be respectful of the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who seems to believe that rude behavior, intolerance and even killing prejudice is somehow acceptable, so long as it comes from third-world religious leaders, who more than anything else reveal in themselves the price that colonial oppression has required of the minds and hearts of so many of our world's population. I see no way that ignorance and truth can be placed side by side, nor do I believe that evil is somehow less evil if the Bible is quoted to justify it. I will dismiss as unworthy of any more of my attention the wild, false and uninformed opinions of such would-be religious leaders as Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Albert Mohler, and Robert Duncan. My country and my church have both already spent too much time, energy and money trying to accommodate these backward points of view when they are no longer even tolerable.

I make these statements because it is time to move on. The battle is over. The victory has been won. There is no reasonable doubt as to what the final outcome of this struggle will be. Homosexual people will be accepted as equal, full human beings, who have a legitimate claim on every right that both church and society have to offer any of us. Homosexual marriages will become legal, recognized by the state and pronounced holy by the church. "Don't ask, don't tell" will be dismantled as the policy of our armed forces. We will and we must learn that equality of citizenship is not something that should ever be submitted to a referendum. Equality under and before the law is a solemn promise conveyed to all our citizens in the Constitution itself. Can any of us imagine having a public referendum on whether slavery should continue, whether segregation should be dismantled, whether voting privileges should be offered to women? The time has come for politicians to stop hiding behind unjust laws that they themselves helped to enact, and to abandon that convenient shield of demanding a vote on the rights of full citizenship because they do not understand the difference between a constitutional democracy, which this nation has, and a "mobocracy," which this nation rejected when it adopted its constitution. We do not put the civil rights of a minority to the vote of a plebiscite.

I will also no longer act as if I need a majority vote of some ecclesiastical body in order to bless, ordain, recognize and celebrate the lives and gifts of gay and lesbian people in the life of the church. No one should ever again be forced to submit the privilege of citizenship in this nation or membership in the Christian Church to the will of a majority vote.

The battle in both our culture and our church to rid our souls of this dying prejudice is finished. A new consciousness has arisen. A decision has quite clearly been made. Inequality for gay and lesbian people is no longer a debatable issue in either church or state. Therefore, I will from this moment on refuse to dignify the continued public expression of ignorant prejudice by engaging it. I do not tolerate racism or sexism any longer. From this moment on, I will no longer tolerate our culture's various forms of homophobia. I do not care who it is who articulates these attitudes or who tries to make them sound holy with religious jargon.

I have been part of this debate for years, but things do get settled and this issue is now settled for me. I do not debate any longer with members of the "Flat Earth Society" either. I do not debate with people who think we should treat epilepsy by casting demons out of the epileptic person; I do not waste time engaging those medical opinions that suggest that bleeding the patient might release the infection. I do not converse with people who think that Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans as punishment for the sin of being the birthplace of Ellen DeGeneres or that the terrorists hit the United Sates on 9/11 because we tolerated homosexual people, abortions, feminism or the American Civil Liberties Union. I am tired of being embarrassed by so much of my church's participation in causes that are quite unworthy of the Christ I serve or the God whose mystery and wonder I appreciate more each day. Indeed I feel the Christian Church should not only apologize, but do public penance for the way we have treated people of color, women, adherents of other religions and those we designated heretics, as well as gay and lesbian people.

Life moves on. As the poet James Russell Lowell once put it more than a century ago: "New occasions teach new duties, Time makes ancient good uncouth." I am ready now to claim the victory. I will from now on assume it and live into it. I am unwilling to argue about it or to discuss it as if there are two equally valid, competing positions any longer. The day for that mentality has simply gone forever.

This is my manifesto and my creed. I proclaim it today. I invite others to join me in this public declaration. I believe that such a public outpouring will help cleanse both the church and this nation of its own distorting past. It will restore integrity and honor to both church and state. It will signal that a new day has dawned and we are ready not just to embrace it, but also to rejoice in it and to celebrate it.

– John Shelby Spong

So, friends--what do you think? Have you written your own manifesto? Does this resonate with you?

49 comments:

John said...

Yes, it resonates with me, even though I am in the ELCA.

Tomte said...

It resonates with me. As a progressive person of faith who has a large extended family and relatives who are on the other side of this issue, I get very sick of "debating" an issue which to me is a matter of simple civil rights and human dignity.

I'm not sure if cutting off engagement with the other side is the wisest course, however. Maybe I don't travel in the same circles as Dr. Spong; from where I see it the issue is not as settled as he or I would like it to be.

hector said...

Very well put and needed to be said. I have reservations about cutting off communication with those who have a different opinion. I'm sure many are just covering up their discomfort and hate, but there are others who are reachable as all of us who have changed our minds were reachable. Hector Black

Redsonja said...

I agree with both Bishop Spong and Hector. There are some who are not comfortable with all the bigotry being expressed by so-called religious people, who do accept their gay and lesbian family, friends and neighbors, but are still dealing with their own prejudices (and we all have prejudices). Those are people who it's worth being talking to.

Pastor Peter B said...

Amen! I agree. As an ELCA pastor for 32 years I am tired of the debate. It's time to move on with action---no more discrimination of any kind.

Mark said...

Bishop Spong has been a personal hero since I heard him speak at MCC in LA years ago.
This is the sanest thing I've ever read. Engagement with the Christian right does not work, and it's high time someone said it.

Eric said...

This resonates with me. In fact, it brought a tear to my eye. I'm a church musician at a number of parishes in New Jersey and have seen a startling number of "petitions" flying around which basically attempted to clothe hatred in church garb. I had discussions with my local clergy who attempted through tortured logic to explain how the petitions were Christian and I felt as if such could never be the will of God.

Thank you for taking a reasoned stand. Thank you.

lizziebee5 said...

Thank you for this.

Shirlann said...

Amen. And thank you for speaking so eloquently and passionately what I have felt for years.

d. breeden said...

Amen! Love has no need for defense.

luva.washington said...

A new day has dawned..., however, what of those poor gay persons recently kicked to death in London streets? By youngsters? Does debate not help educate?

Chretien said...

I understand the refusal to communicate--there is no communication with those who still find it acceptable to cut people off from God. I attempted to have some discourse on the subject of God and homosexuality. I painstakingly went through Biblical passages on the matter offering evidence of mistranslations, passages taken out of context or even how we just choose to ignore those things we consider obsolete. The menstrual hut is a prime example. We choose not to obey that little directive so what makes other outdated, Bible supported edicts absolutes that cannot be ignored?

I thought my well-known, open and unwavering faith in Christ, as well as my Biblical literacy, would lend credibility and lead to enlightenment. The truth though was that these people were not remotely interested in engaging in dialogue. They did not even attempt to refute anything or even offer support for their views. They were right and I was wrong. Period. Why discuss an "absolute" truth?

The situation led to revelation. Human beings decide what limits to place on a limitless God. The question isn't about God's nature, but rather the nature of believers. From where do our views of God come? What is at the core of our belief in those views? Why do we want whatever nature of God we choose to have faith in?

I will certainly join you. God bless you for so boldly speaking out. As a fellow Episcopalian, I am especially glad to hear your expression of faith.

Sincerely,
Aisling Ireland

prolificreader said...

This is kind of boring. Sorry.

RTP said...

While I agree with the bulk of his message, all the unnecessary quotation marks make me "crazy".

nicholas.aspey said...

He uses absolutism to try to decry those of us with legitimate concerns. I have gotten to know and befriended more homosexuals than I can count. Yet simple because I believe one small portion of their lifestyle (sex is NOT everything) is immoral and ungodly this "bishop of the Lord" claims that I hate them. I too am Bible literate, and find more and more evidence that homosexuality is more than just "Holy Code" than this man would pay attention to. His reinterpretation of the verse in I Cor 6:9 makes the passage overly redundant and further ignores what we know from the greek text in Leviticus 18:22 (lie with a man - manliers, effectively: this is the word translated homosexuals.) Facts overwhelm feelings. God is wiser than man and their institutuions.

Chretien said...

This is a perfect opportunity for me to make good on my commitment not to engage in any debate on this subject whatsoever. It is also a perfect opportunity for prayer.

Deb said...

Thank you so much, Bishop. I so appreciate what you said. Living in the midwest I often have a hopeless feeling even when compelled to speak out for inclusivity in the Church. This is certainly the mind of Christ and not "traditional biblical teaching" which many be used as the cover for exclusivity and excuse for being hateful. I commend Jack Rogers' book, "Jesus, Homosexuality and the Bible." Jack was the Moderator for the Presbyterian Church USA a number of years ago and made a complete turnaround based on his extensive biblical research (he is a seminary professor) his discussions with many people including Christian leaders who are homosexual. I've ordered a bunch of copies of this book and intend to give it away with prayers for God's peace, grace and justice.

skewlboypin said...

I'm glad I'm Jewish, my partner and I are fully integrated into the life of our synagogue.

Rev. Kathryn Rayner said...

I am with you 100%. It is time we live the life that Christ has called us to live and that is Love one Another as He loved us.
Rev. Kathryn Trucano
Interfaith Minister and Episcopalian

Nicholas said...

@Chretien

In your first post you mentioned a desire to engage in dialogue, and bemoaned that no one who would disagree with you would offer evidences for their views. I find this odd: I offer a counterpoint and mention indicate that I am open for discussion (and claim more than base knowledge of the subject) and your response is now that you don't want dialogue.

As an aside, I find it terribly annoying that the spell-check on this forum doesn't recognize the word "dialogue."

The church was not instituted to be a gathering of all to be as they are, but to be as Christ in his submission to God. We do not exclude anyone, but when someone in their stubborness refuses recognize the need for change in their lifestyle they are not a part of the church. They may participate in the assembly, but their hearts are not there. Those of us still practice Pauline principles (as opposed to modern tolerance) do so for the sake of the maligned individual. It is a method of informing the immoral brother of their need to recognize their sin and (hopefully) initiate change. I speak not just of the trend of recognizing practicing homosexuals as blameless for such action, but of the tolerance afforded unrepenting adulterers, thieves, addicts, liars, etc. I am afraid the idea of bearing one's cross is dying.

Chaz Longstaff said...

Nicholas.aspey... "We do not exclude anyone, but when someone in their stubborness refuses recognize the need for change in their lifestyle they are not a part of the church. "

Well, exclusion certainly is one thing that the church seems to have mastered the art of over the millenia. thank god for the radicals in the church in the past who ignored the church's teachings on women as chattel, blacks as slaves, the great unwashed (that's us) not being worthy of voting, and Jews as child killers. The only thing the church has been infallible at is getting it wrong, every step of the way, in the story of human advancement. Synagogues and rabbis have done more to advance mankind and a compassionate society than priests and churches. The track record of the church, frankly, stinks to high heaven, and that's why the church no longer deserves on its own merits a place in the public forum. It's completely discredited itself.

Siriuslee said...

Dr. Spong’s comparisons to issues of race are invalid because race is not a behavior, nor even a consciousness or state of mind. In fact, many of the analogies used here are not unlike comparing being heterosexual to being blonde or brunette.

By all means, speak your heart and your mind and your experience, but don't manipulate portions of the Holy Writ as a means of their justification. For when you are finished bending the truth of scripture, it will spring back into its original place undisturbed and unchanged. It is our knee that must bow to God, not the other way around.

The entire point of the earliest human story in the Bible is that we humans are easily deceived into devaluing the mandates of the One who created us -- and to our own peril, every time.

Accordingly, may we please take the religious context and lay it aside, Dr. Spong? There is no need to color this as a spiritual or religious matter, unless and until you become willing to admit the vocabulary word "sin" into the discussion.

Because of the first choice to sin that, was made many millennia ago, we live in a fallen world. Since that early point, our tendency as a race of humans has been to shape our lives by means of willful dismissal of God.

The will to dismiss God is followed closely by the numbed comfort of denial that our values are subjective, self-appeasing, and self-pleasing. How else could we believe that we are other than arrogant and delusional, in thinking our self-generated ideas are on par with the perspectives of our Creator?

This is not rocket science. This is simple and freeing truth. We are sinners -- by nature and by choice (That is, we are wholly inadequate to live as we should).

Whether our sinful behaviors involve sex or not, they are just that: SIN. There is a single standard given to us to live by, and it's His standard.

And we don't measure up to His standard of utter wholeness and perfection. Therefore, He pronounces us forsaken by Him – then saves the day, by redeeming us from His own pronouncement! Call it death by love, and then apply it to your own heart and spirit.

And once applied, the Holy Spirit comes in and erases within us the fallen man. He generates in place of our fallen seed His own seed, a thoroughly incorruptible see that will live forever, because it is HIS.


Thus equipped (gifted!), we go forward in life with our hands tucked in God's hand in childlike faith (with all its earthly rewards)...SO much better than clenching our hands into fists and waving them in God's face as if to triumph over Him, somehow.

May we ask the right questions, Dr. Spong, and stop being led by agendas manufactured here on earth?! We could go on all day about issues of the type you describe, but there's really only ONE issue at the end of the day, and it couldn't be any bigger: What have you done with the inherent level of accountability that comes with all the insight and wisdom He has shown you in His Word across the many decades you have sought Him?

When ceased your fervor for humility before God? How early did the temptation arise to suppress the truth (see Romans 1)? Why have non-eternal agendas supplanted THE agenda He first handed you? Seriously, why?

God teach us to bear witness to His glory, and to the safety and joy found in our dependence on Him. God open our eyes and our ears as often as necessary throughout our days, to see and hear His truth.

God help us cling to the living Truth, the One who conquered sin (not because it dominated Him, but because it dominated US) – To JESUS, who no longer walks among us as a Galilean peasant but as eternal King.

May we have THAT discussion please, and find therein our rest--rather than striving our way through the hot mess we call our agendas? This Jesus, our Christ…He is gentle, He is lowly of heart, and He gives us as much rest as we allow Him to. Yay LORD, and Amen.

'Fletch' said...

Fantastic!

Oh how I wish I was that eloquent in putting out my manifesto, but I will take this as mine within this disgraceful debate and live out my support for all people irrespective of their race, color etc etc.

Go Bishop! Count me as your number 1 supporter.

Cheers

Gwen said...

This is a response from a "christian" friend to this post. I won't engage him in this, but am curious to what Bishop Spong, and others have to say. Mainly, he is offended by the implied accusation that conservatives "hate" LGBT people. Other responses also claim some sort of persecution or victimization of conservative christians.

His post:
"The thing that hurts me the most about this "manifesto" is that this man presumes to know my heart. As a Christian man who has a deep and sincere love for the people in my life who are gay, while holding to the clear teaching of scripture ...that homosexuality is sinful behavior, I am offended that this man judges me and says that the love I proclaim is a "lie". This kind of anti-straight tirade against traditional Christian people like myself who hold to traditional beliefs does nothing but cause gay people to say, "yeah, those so-called traditional Christians really do hate us!" This causes even greater divides among people. And, while I'm sure there are some that may use their Christian faith as an excuse to be prejudice (an abominable sin in itself I might add), there are countless others who deeply love people; yes even those we see as deceived by the lie of homosexuality.

I just think of you. I have always loved you and you are dear to us. When we saw on Facebook the lifestyle you are living that didn't change our hearts one tiny bit! That's why this man offends me, because as I read his article I couldn't help but think about how much I care for you and also for others in my life who are gay. How dare this man tell me (and worse, tell you) that I don't love you?!

You may have decided not to believe the scriptures and that breaks my heart. But please don't believe people like this guy when they tell you that Christians don't or can't love you unless they stop believing the Bible. I believe the Bible is absolutely true about the sinfulness of homosexuality, but at the very same time, I love you very deeply.

I'm sorry to go so long about this, but it really troubled me to think that you might believe that people like me don't care about you.

You are welcome in our hearts, and in our home anytime, my friend!"

John said...

I am not comforatable with applying the word "hate" but I am not sure what else might be better. Like it or not, we are defined by our sexuality. Do I really love you if I refuse to allow you to live that out fully? I might not understand it but it is not for me to judge. I would agree that the Scripture is clear in its prohibitions. However, it is just as clear that the prohibition is directed at those of us who are not gay.

Anna said...

It just amazes me how we have come to this point in the road today. When I was a child only 20 years ago homosexuality was hidden, forbidden, because people knew it was wrong. Today, people no longer have any feeling of wrongness, this is scary. The Bible is very clear about how God feels about homosexuality. How can you change what The Bible says? You Sir,don't have to engage in any conversation here on earth with one more person if you choose not, but you WILL have another conversation one day with God Almighty, and you will answer for the things you said, for making excuses for what is clearly wrong, for twisting the words of The Bible to fit your own needs,and for making others believe that their lifestyle is okay in God's eyes.I'm so sorry for you.

Eleanor said...

The Bible's prohibitions may be clear but in many cases they are clearly wrong and have since been followed, or amended, or ignored by sensible people of every generation. They were written down by men of a certain era whose shibboleths we no longer uphold for the very reason that they were written by people, not by God, and are totally fallible: which means that some are good and some are bad, and we are free to choose from the Bible just as much as we are free to choose from any other historical (or, in the case of the Bible, quasi-historical) document. No authority can claim either to know or to explain the mind of God: it is all subject to man's ability to reason out what is best both for society and the individual, and come up with solutions which will differ (and we hope, advance) with every generation.

malkavianism said...

Eleanor, like it or not, your understanding of God is rooted in the writings of the Bible. For you to say that we can "sensibly" discern for ourselves what to dismiss is misleading. Do you not know that "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." 2 Tim 3:16,17. Either you believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible, or you cannot know God, for you can have no certainty to His divine nature, for it is a fiction in your eyes, a grasping of straws.

Mike Bawden said...

Biblical literalists stopped engaging in dialog years ago and have just been arguing their point and damning their opponents ever since. I'm with Bishop Spong on this - it's time to move on.

Let's hope the media finds the courage to start editing out the voices of hate on the extremes and find ways to dive into important nuances to help discover creative solutions to social problems rather than go for higher ratings through the bloodsport of pseudo-intellectual hate speech from talking heads.

malkavianism said...

Mr. Bawden, I would appreciate it if you wouldn't accuse me of hate because I follow a logical line of reasoning. I have already offered to explain what I've learned, you're the one who tries to dismiss anything I've said by claiming it to be hate speech and saying I won't engage in dialogue.

If you REALLY want to discuss this, I would be more than happy to discuss it. But if you'd rather make sweeping remarks in an attempt to appear on a high horse, leave those of us who hold fast to our beliefs alone.

Five Bears A-Blogging said...

Thank you. We need more leaders of faith to speak out and put this issue to rest. This is not a "lifestyle choice" as the chosing of a church, faith or worldview is. Let's practice Christ's teachings, please, rather than follow the rhetoric of public figures promoting their own agenda.

theprinterlady said...

I am reminded that when the Inquisitors did their dirty work, they blindfolded the crucifixes so that Jesus would not see what they did.

It is one thing to preach "do unto others"... it is quite another to live it every day, with every person you meet.

I used to be very anti-gay. I had my reasons (which I won't get into here). Since my 20's, I have revised my beliefs and feelings about gay people so much that I now have several as friends... I do not "understand" homosexuality, but having been close to people who are homosexuals has clearly shown me it is not a "choice", but something that is the product of our very complex human-ness.

What is striking to me is that while the bible is used to justify universal condemnation of homosexuality as something that G-d finds "abominable", the other abominations - found in those same texts - are ignored completely by most Christians (i.e. eating certain foods, etc.)... because Jesus = supposedly = (he never said any such thing, BTW)= set them "free" from such ridiculous requirements (even though those requirements were supposedly written by G-d himself).

IOW, it's interesting how if one finds something repugnant, it is easy to find a scripture to back up that repugnance; but if one actually literally read (and believed) the bible as written, much of what the average Christian eats, wears, and does is against the scriptures that were = again, supposedly = written by G-d. Apparently, He can be ignored when it suits us.

Especially if we like what we do, and hate what someone else does.

stephen clark said...

The good Bishop does have a point.
There is much in his writings that I do not agree with, but I have always admired the way he makes people think, myself included.
I therefore have some reservations about a 'manifesto' that says there will be no more discussion.
But there are times when you feel that the fundies are just not engaging, so I can see his point

Lindi said...

Well said! I applaud you for taking a stand.

Zenspinner said...

I'm a Pagan but I would happily attend this man's church. If I'd felt accepted in my own, I might never have left Christianity. I'm not sorry I left, but it's nice to see that cracks are forming on the solid edifice of hypocrisy and shame that I left behind. Perhaps the church too will be reborn. It's about time.

Amber K said...

It seems that homosexuality is an abomination (like eating shellfish) to some "christians," but slavery, invasion, desecration of others' holy places, wholesale killing, blood sacrifice, and rape are not--even though they are endorsed in the Old Testament.
I'm not a Christian of any sort myself, but I had the impression that Jesus brought a new teaching based on love. Can you be a Christian if you don't try to emulate Christ?

Snoozepossum said...

Thank you for this writing. I have a friend whose coworker has told him that God would bless her for "doing away with a filthy little faggot like him", and another whose neighbor routinely vandalizes his home and yard as proof of his "intolerance of evil". I'll send them here.

I figure if someone wants to judge, shun, and play arbiter of righteousness on their own time and dime, among people who agree with them that's their business (problem). That said, I have never understood the mentality that singles out one "sin" as so much worse than all others, in spite of Biblical writ stating that the only unforgivable transgression is something entirely different than the pet sin.

Sometimes I feel like sending Christ a nice card and a box of chocolates in sympathy for some of the meanspiritedness that appropriates his name. May he be proud of your wish for fairness and compassion, and may they come back to reward you tenfold.

Snooze Hamilton
Pagan hedge witch and serving priestess, Carolina Grove

Jerry said...

That was unbelievable. Probably one of the most beautiful and moving things I have read in decades. You give hope Sir. You give hope of a better tomorrow for everyone.

Richard Ramsey said...

"Love the sinner but hate the sin," may very well have become an overused cliche, but those who mock that phrase as obviously ridiculous and self-contradicting are just inadvertently admitting that they hate people with whom they disagree.

Morwen said...

Thank you. This needed to be said and I am glad you have said it.

John Andrews said...

Amen and Amen!!!

Life Abundantly! said...

AMEN!
Let's go on to love and serve the Lord.

Sherri said...

Thank you for words so eloquently spoken. I am the mother of a wonderful gay son and when he came to me and asked if I thought that God could love him, if he were gay, it hurt me to think that he could question it. The only thing that I could think to say is, I hear that God loves you more than any earthly parent ever could and I know that I love you alot, so don't you ever question it again.
This idea of useing the Bible as a weapon to beat people down, has got to go.
Some wise person told me that you can set a gun on the table and a bible on the same table. One kills the body and the other can be used to kill a man's soul. When used like a weapon to hurt another, it can kill a soul.
The God that I coose to worship is a loving God.

Clay Center said...

Very good. Finally. God does not judge. Humans do. They use scripture to judge. All God ever says to any of us is: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased". All we as humans are called to do is forgive, forgive, forgive. The only sin ever committed is our idea of being separate from God. And that is not true, never was true. God only knows us as whole and perfect. I applaud you for this but I am going to say what took you so long. Guess I have to forgive you for that. Welcome home.

Berit Hines
New Christian Church of Full Endeavor, Wisconsin Dells, WI

Clay Center said...

In response to malkavianism, who said: "Either you believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible, or you cannot know God, for you can have no certainty to His divine nature, for it is a fiction in your eyes, a grasping of straws."

That is actually not true. God goes with me wherever I go because God is in my mind.

(Jesus speaks of this in A Course in Miracles)

deAnna said...

Sir,

You are the only other pastor i know who has decided to act like a real Christian. Thank you.

May i ask one more favor of you. Please apply this to those who are pagan. I do not believe in Satan (he's yours sorry) I do not eat children. I do not perform spells, i simply pray like you do with a candle.

The afore mention pastor does this, and it has helped me to see that there are Christians and there are ChriSTAINS (those who judge, have no compassion nor tolerance)

Thank you and may God (and The Goddess) bless you and keep you safe.

DeAnna Rice

Muskle said...

as long as you use a book that states homosexuals are an 'abomination' for your religious pretense, you are still just as guilty as the other raving homophobes.

Nice try, tho.
Sounds good on paper to those who are not being oppressed.

Beth said...

YES YES YES I wholeheartedly concur and thank you so very much for sharing your personal manifesto! I couldn't have said it better myself and will pass this on to everyone I know! Thank you thank you thank you!

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