In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.
The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan.
James M. Kauffman,
Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia
(It would be a damn shame if we couldn't own a Canadian :)
HOMOSEXUALITY & THE CHURCH
The most beautiful word in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is “whosoever”. All of God’s promises are intended for every human being. This includes gay men and lesbians. How tragic it is that the Christian Church has excluded and persecuted people who are homosexuals!
We are all created with powerful needs for personal relationships. Our quality of life depends upon the love we share with others, whether family or friends, partners or peers. Yet, lesbians and gay men facing hostile attitudes in society often are denied access to healthy relationships. Jesus Christ calls us to find ultimate meaning in life through a personal relationship with our Creator. This important spiritual union can bring healing and strength to all of our human relationship.
Not a Sin, Not a Sickness
For many centuries, the Christian Church’s attitude toward human sexuality was very negative: sex was for procreation, not for pleasure; women and slaves were considered property to be owned by males; and many expressions of heterosexuality, like homosexuality, were considered sinful. Such tradition often continues to influence churches today. Many teach that women should be subordinate to men, continue to permit forms of discrimination against peoples of color, and condemn homosexuals. They say that all homosexual acts are sinful, often referring to their interpretation of the scripture.
Other churches today are influenced by a century of psychoanalytic thought promoted through a powerful minority in the field of medicine. They see homosexuality as some kind of sickness. Although this view has now been soundly discredited by the medical profession, some churches and clergy continue to be influenced by the idea. They say that homosexuals are “imperfect” and in need of “healing”.
The good news is that, since 1968, when the Metropolitan Community Church was founded, the emergence of a strong lesbian and gay community, and the conclusions of new scientific studies on homosexuality have forced the Christian Church to reexamine these issues. A growing number of biblical and theological scholars now recognize that Scriptures does not condemn loving, responsible homosexual relationships. Therefore, gay men and lesbians should be accepted – just as they are – in Christian churches, and homosexual relationships should be celebrated and affirmed!
ABOUT THE BIBLE
The Bible is a collection of writings which span more than a thousand years recounting the history of God’s relationship with the Hebrew and Christian people. It was written in several languages, embraces many literary forms, and reflects culture very different from our own. These are important considerations for properly understanding the Bible in its context.
There are vast differences in doctrines between various Christian denominations, all of which use the same Bible. Such differences have led some Christians to claim that other Christians are not really Christians at all! Biblical interpretation and theology differ from church to church.
Biblical interpretation and theology also change from time to time. Approximately 150 years ago in the United States, some Christian teaching held that there was a two-fold moral order: black and white. Whites were thought to be superior to blacks, therefore blacks were to be subservient and slavery was an institution ordained by God. Clergy who supported such an abhorrent idea claimed the authority of the Bible. The conflict over slavery led to divisions which gave birth to some major Christian denominations. These same denominations, of course, do not support slavery today. Did the Bible change? No, their interpretation of the Bible did!
New Information Refutes Old Ideas
What influences lead us to new ways of understanding the Scriptures? New scientific information, social changes and personal experiences are perhaps the greatest forces for change in the way we interpret the Bible and develop our beliefs. Scientific awareness of homosexual orientation did not exist until the nineteenth century.
Most Christian churches, including the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), believe the Bible was inspired by God and provides a key source of authority for the Christian faith. Therefore, what the Bible teaches on any subject, including sexuality, is of great significance. The problem, however, is that sometimes the Bible says very little about some subjects; and popular attitudes about those matters are determined much more by other sources, which are then read into the biblical statements. This has been particularly true of homosexuality. But fortunately, recent scholarship refutes many previous assumptions and conclusions
What was the sin of Sodom? Some “televangelists” carelessly proclaim that God destroyed the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of “homosexuality”. Although some theologians have equated the sin of Sodom with homosexuality, a careful look at the Scriptures corrects such ignorance.
Announcing judgment on these cities in Genesis 18, God sends two angels to Sodom, where Abraham’s nephew, Lot, persuades them to stay in his home. Genesis 19 records that “all the people from every quarter” surround Lot’s house demanding the release of his visitors so “we might know them”. The Hebrew word for “know” in this case. yadha, usually means “have thorough knowledge of”. It could also express intent to examine the visitors’ credentials, or on rare occasions, the term implies sexual intercourse. If the latter was the author’s intended meaning, it would have been a clear case of attempted gang rape.
Horrified at this gross violation of ancient hospitality rules, Lot attempts to protect the visitors by offering his two daughters to the angry crowd, a morally outrageous act by today’s standards. The people of Sodom refuse, so the angels render them blind. Lot and his family are then rescued by the angels as the cities are destroyed.
Several observations are important. First, the judgment on these cities for their wickedness had been announced prior to the alleged homosexual incident. Second, all of Sodom’s people participated in the assault on Lot’s house; in no culture has more than a small minority of the population been homosexual. Third, Lot’s offer to release his daughters suggests he knows his neighbors to have heterosexual interests. Fourth, if the issue was sexual, why did God spare Lot, who immediately commits incest with his daughters? Most importantly, why do all the other passages of Scripture referring to this account fail to raise the issue of homosexuality?
What was the Sin of Sodom?
Ezekiel 16 : 48-50 states it clearly: people of Sodom, like many people today, had abundance of material goods. But they failed to meet the needs of the poor, and they worshiped idols.
The sins of injustice and idolatry plague every generation. We stand under the same judgment if we create false gods or treat others with injustice.
LEVITICUS 18:22 & 20:13
Christians today do not follow the rules and rituals described in Leviticus. But some ignore its definitions of their own “uncleanness” while quoting Leviticus to condemn “homosexuals.” Such abuse of Scriptures distort the Old Testament meaning and denies a New Testament message.
“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” These words occur solely in the Holiness Code of the Leviticus, a ritual manual for Israel’s priests. Their meaning can only be fully appreciated in the historical and cultural context of the ancient Hebrew people. Israel, in a unique place as the chosen people of one God, was to avoid the practices of other peoples and gods.
Hebrew religion, characterized by the revelation of one God, stood in continuous tension with the religion of the surrounding Canaanites who worshiped the multiple gods of fertility cults. Canaanite idol worship, which featured female and male cult prostitution as noted in Deuteronomy 23:17, repeatedly compromised Israel’s loyalty to God. The Hebrew word for male cult prostitute, qadesh, is mistranslated “sodomite” in some versions of the Bible.
What is an “Abomination”?
An abomination is that which God found detestable because it was unclean, disloyal, or unjust. Several Hebrew words were so translated, and the one found in Leviticus, toevah, is usually associated with idolatry, as in Ezekiel, where it occurs numerous times. Given the strong association of toevah with idolatry and the Canaanite religious practice of cult prostitution, the use of toevah regarding male same-sex acts in Leviticus calls into question any conclusion that such condemnation also applies to loving, responsible homosexual relationships.
Rituals and rules found in the Old Testament were given to preserve the distinctive characteristics of the religion and culture of Israel. But, as stated in Galatians 3:22-25, Christians are no longer bound by these Jewish laws. By faith we live in Jesus Christ, not Leviticus. To be sure, ethical concerns apply to all cultures and peoples in every age. Such concerns were ultimately reflected by Jesus Christ, who said nothing about homosexuality, but a great deal about love, justice, mercy and faith
ROMANS 1: 24-27
Most New Testament books, including the four Gospels, are silent on same-sex acts, and Paul is the only author who makes any reference to the subject. The most negative statement by Paul regarding same-sex acts occurs in Roman 1:24-27 where, in the context of larger argument on the need of all people for the gospel of Jesus Christ, certain homosexual behavior is given as an example of the “uncleanness” of idolatrous Gentiles.
Does this passage refer to all homosexual acts, or to certain homosexual behavior known to Paul’s readers? Romans was written to Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome, who would have been familiar with the infamous sexual excesses of their contemporaries, especially Roman emperors. They would also have been aware of tensions in the early Church regarding Gentiles and observance of the Jewish laws, as noted in Acts 15 and Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Jewish laws in Leviticus mentioned male same-sex acts in the context of idolatry.
What is “Natural”?
Significant to Paul’s discussion is the fact that these “unclean” Gentiles exchanged that which was “natural” for them – physin, in Greek text – for something “unnatural”, para physin. In Romans 11:24, God acts in an “unnatural” way, para physin, to accept the Gentiles. “Unnatural” in these passages does not refer to violation of so-called laws of nature, but rather implies action contradicting one’s own nature. In view of this, we should observe that it is “unnatural”, para physin, for a person today with a lesbian or gay sexual orientation to attempt living a heterosexual lifestyle. Romans 1:26 is the only statement in the Bible with a possible reference to lesbian behavior, although the specific intent of this verse in unclear. Some authors have seen in this passage a reference to women adopting a dominant role in heterosexual relationships. Given the repressive cultural expectations placed on women in Paul’s time, such a meaning may be possible. The homosexual practices cited in Romans 1:24-27 were believed to result from idolatry and are associated with some very serious offense as noted in Romans 1. Taken in this larger context, it should be obvious that such acts are significantly different from loving, responsible lesbian and gay relationship seen today.
1 CORINTHIANS 6:9 & 1 THIMOTHY 1:10
Any consideration of New Testament statements on same-sex acts must carefully view the social context of the Greco-Roman culture in which Paul ministered. Prostitution and pederasty (sexual relations of adult men with boys) were the most commonly known male same-sex acts.
In 1 Corinthians 6:9 Paul condemns those who are “effeminate” and “abusers of themselves with mankind,” as translated in the King James version. Unfortunately, some newer translations are worse, rendering these words “homosexuals.” Recent scholarship unmasks the homophobia behind such mistranslations. The first word – malakos, in Greek text – which has been translated “effeminate” or “soft,” most likely refers to someone who lacks discipline or moral control. The word is used elsewhere in the New Testament but never with reference to sexuality.
The second word, arsenokoitai, occurs once each in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy, but nowhere else in other literature of the period. It is derived from two Greek words, one meaning “males” and the other “beds,” a euphemism for sexual intercourse. Other Greek words were commonly used to describe homosexual behavior but do not appear here. The larger context of 1 Corinthians 6 shows Paul extremely concerned with prostitution, so it is very possible he was referring to male prostitution. But many expert now attempting to translate these words have reached a simple conclusion: their precise meaning is uncertain.
No Law Against Love
The rarity with which Paul discusses any form of same-sex behavior and the ambiguity in references attributed to him make it extremely unsound to conclude any sure position in the Net Testament on homosexuality, especially in the context of loving, responsible relationships. Since any arguments must be made from silence, it is much more reliable to turn to great principles of the Gospel taught by Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. Do not judge others, lest you be judge. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love…against such there is no law.
One thing is abundantly clear, as Paul stated in Galatians 5:14: “the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
“The homosexuality the New Testament opposes is the pederasty of the Greco-Roman culture; the attitudes toward pederasty and, in part, the language used to oppose it are informed by the Jewish background.”
--Robin Scroggs, Professor of Biblical Theology Union Theological Seminary, New York City
“One cannot be absolutely certain that the two key words in 1 Corinthians 6:9 are meant as reference to male homosexual behavior”
--Victor Paul Furnish, Professor of New Testament Perkins School of Theology, Dallas
The strongest New Testament argument against homosexual activity as intrinsically immoral has been derived traditionally from Romans 1:26, where this activity is indicated as para physin. The normal English translation for this has been ‘against nature’. Two Interpretations can be justified concerning what Paul meant by the phrase. It could refer to the individual pagan, who goes beyond his own sexual appetites in order to indulge in new sexual pleasures. The second possibility is that physis refers to the ‘nature’ of the chosen people who were forbidden by Levitical law to have homosexual relations.”
--John J. McNeill, Adjunct Professor of Psychology
Union Theological Seminary, New York City
“A close reading of Paul’s discussion of homosexual acts in Romans 1 does not support the common modern interpretation of the passage. Paul did not deny the existence of a distinction between clean and unclean and even assumed that Jewish Christians would continue to observe the purity code. He refrained, however, from identifying physical impurity with sin or demanding that Gentiles adhere to that code.”
--L. William Countryman, Professor of New Testament
Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley
“The Hebrew word ‘toevah’ here translated ‘abomination,’ does not usually signify something intrinsically evil, like rape or theft (discussed elsewhere in Leviticus), but something which is ritually unclean for Jews, like eating pork or engaging in intercourse during menstruation, both of which are prohibited in these same chapters.”
--John Boswell, Professor of History
Yale University, New Haven
Thousands of lesbians and gay men, along with many friends and family members have discovered new freedom and deep inner peace in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Their association with the Metropolitan Community Church has brought a new measure of fulfillment and meaning to their lives.
Whoever you are, wherever you may be, whatever the circumstances of your life, it is important for you to know that Jesus Christ died to take away your sins, not your sexuality. Christ accepts you as you are, and so do we. You are always welcome at MCC!
(Written by Rev. Donald Eastman of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC) 1990)
From now on if you listen obediently to the commandments that I am commanding you today, love God, your God, and serve him with everything you have within you, he'll take charge of sending the rain at the right time .... Deuteronomy 11:13-14 (MSG)
"Don't waste your life in a job that doesn't express your heart. "
Repeatedly, the Bible says to "serve the Lord with all your heart." God wants you to serve him passionately, not dutifully. People rarely excel at tasks they don't enjoy doing or feel passionate about. God wants you to use your natural interests to serve him and others.
How do you know when you're serving God from your heart?
The first telltale sign is enthusiasm. When you're doing what you love to do, no one has to motivate you, or challenge you, or check up on you. You do it for the sheer enjoyment. You don't need rewards, or applause, or to be paid, because you love serving in this way.
The opposite is also true:When you don't have a heart for what you're doing, you're easily discouraged.
One characteristic of serving God from your heart is effectiveness: whenever you do what God wired you to love to do, you get good at it. Passion drives perfection. If you don't care about a task, it is unlikely that you'll excel at it.
On the other hand, the highest achievers in any field are those who do it because of passion, not duty or profit.
We've all heard people say, "I took a job I hate in order to make a lot of money, so someday I can quit and do what I love to do." That's a big mistake. Don't waste your life in a job that doesn't express your heart.
Remember, the greatest things in life are not things. Meaning is far more important than money. The richest man in the world once said, "A simple life in the fear-of-God is better than a rich life with a ton of headaches" (Proverbs 15:16 MSG).
Don't settle for achieving "the good life," because the good life is not good enough. Ultimately, it doesn't satisfy. You can have a lot to live on, and still have nothing to live for. Aim instead for "the better life" - serving God in a way that expresses your heart.
Figure out what you love to do - that which God gave you a heart for - and then do it for his glory!
On Saturday, June 25th, as part of the Pride Celebrations in Bagiuo City, three clergy representing Metropolitan Community Churches, a global body of faith with churches in 32 countries, including the Philippines, and with a primary ministry to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, officiated at Holy Unions for eight gay couples. The clergy serve MCC congregations in Bagiuo City and Quezon City.
Since its founding in 1969 by The Rev. Elder Troy D. Perry, Metropolitan Community Churches around the world have offered the blessings, known as Holy Unions, to same gender loving couples, and consider the ceremonies sacramental. Research by leading historians, such as the late John Boswell, brought to light texts of copies of ceremonies between two men dating back to the 4th century C.E. Boswell's groundbreaking work revealed that these ceremonies at one time appeared in the liturgy of the Church alongside ceremonies for opposite gender couples, whose marriages at that point in time were not regarded as sacramental.
"Holy Unions are celebrated as rites of commitment between two people who promise to live their lives together. The promises or vows are made before God and the community of faith gathered as witnesses," said The Rev. Elder Darlene Garner, Vice-Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches. "It is the practice of Metropolitan Community Churches to not discriminate between same gender and opposite gender loving couples. Depending on the nation or locale the ceremonies may or may not be recognized by the state, but recognition by the state does not determine the value of someone's love or the dignity accorded any couple in the eyes of God."
Following the blessing of the Unions in Bagiuo City, the three MCC clergy performing the ceremonies were threatened with legal action by local Bishops of the Catholic faith community and Evangelical Pastors, citing Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code included in the country's most recent Constitution. "We view the threats of legal sanction as uncalled for and inappropriate between brother and sister clergy," said The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Marriage Equality Liaison for the Global Justice Institute of Metropolitan Community Churches. "Though we differ with our brothers and sisters in several communions with regard to our beliefs about the value and dignity of LGBT life and love, we teach our clerical representatives and congregants to treat all of God's children with compassion, care and respect.”
"We stand by our clergy in the Philippines and support their decision to incorporate the blessing of Holy Unions as part of the Pride Celebrations in Baguio City," concluded The Rev. Garner. "This is a matter of the freedom of the Church to conduct its duly authorized ceremonies."
Rev. Pat Bumgardner
Global Justice Institute, Metropolitan Community Churches,
The Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) is an ecumenical Human Rights church that brings the good news of God’s unconditional love to all his children regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Founded in the interest of offering a home church to all who confess and believe in God’s immeasurable Love. MCC moves in the mainstream of Christianity of Catholic (Universal) and Protestant (Liberal Christians)
Among the services it offers to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) community is the Sacramental Rites of Holy Union, a ceremony of joining same-sex couples who are in a loving and committed relationship and would want to profess their unending love before God and the community. Aware that current Philippine law doesn’t recognize marriage equality, a holy union does not carry any legal bearing. It is neither legal or illegal. A Holy Union is morally binding in the eyes of God and the LGBTQ community. It matters more to the couple who wants to share their love for one another, being spiritually created in God’s loving image above all
Many argument against same-sex love surfaced after the controversial mass wedding of LGBT in Baguio last June 25. God only made man and woman only. The MCC believes there are no “third sex” in society. Indeed, there can only be a man and a woman. Majority of men and women are straight (heterosexuals) and some men and women are simply gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. There are two gender but diverse sexual orientation.
“Marriage is for procreation, LGBTs cannot procreate” Many gay men and lesbians are parents. They have and still can have children. In today’s era, procreating is the least of our worries when we have already more than enough mouths to feed. Some loving heterosexual couples cannot bear children. Are we to ban them from marrying because they fail to go forth and multiply”?
The Scriptures provide gay men and lesbians with Biblical models of committed love in stressful circumstances.
Ruth and Naomi
The Book of Ruth is a romantic novel but not about romance between Ruth and Boaz. Naomi is actually the central character, and Ruth is the "redeemer/hero." Boaz' relationship with Ruth, far from being romantic, is a matter of family duty and property.
“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”. (Ruth 1:16)
Although used in heterosexual marriage ceremonies for years, this is a vow between two women! When their husbands die in battle, Ruth makes this vow to Naomi, her mother-in-law. Ruth marries Boaz, a close relative, and redeems Naomi's place in her own family, also bearing a child for Naomi. Did Ruth and Naomi have a lesbian relationship? There's no way to know, but it is clear the two women had a lifelong, passionate, committed relationship celebrated in Scripture.
United in a Covenant of Love…David and Jonathan
Another story, that of David and Jonathan, occurs in a time when male warrior/lovers were common and considered noble.
This tragic triangle of passion, jealousy and political intrigue between Saul, Jonathan and David, leads to one of the most direct expressions of same-sex love in the Bible: "I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; you have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful than the love of women." (II Samuel 1:26)
The author is clearly attuned to David's classic male beauty (I Samuel 16:12) in this story of love and loyalty marked by romance (I Samuel 18:1-5), secret meetings (I Samuel 20:1-23; 35-42), kissing and weeping (I Samuel 20:41), refusal to eat (I Samuel 28:32-34), and the explicit warrior/lover covenant which David keeps after Jonathan's death (I Samuel 20:12-17; 42).
One cannot read this account without discerning that Jonathan was the love of David's life. Centuries of homophobic Biblical interpretations have kept them in the closet too long!
A Roman centurion petitions Jesus for the healing of a servant who is dear to him (Luke 7). The Greek word in Matthew 8 is “pais” meaning "slave boy", which commonly described a homosexual relationship in those times. Why did Jesus praise the faith of the centurion but not condemn his lifestyle?
(From the UFMCC website)
The first notable point about this seminar is that it is a “theo-logy” seminar.
That means, of course, that it is a “study of God,” the meaning of theo-logy from the Latin (Greek). Theo = God; logy = study of.
How can a seminar related to sex be a “study of God”?
There are several points we need to understand about God.
First of all, God is the Creator. God is the inventor and author of all creation – and God said it was good. God is the inventor and author of sexuality throughout creation. God is the giver of human sexuality to God’s people. And God said it was good.
When we speak of sexuality, then, we speak of God’s handiwork. Through the ages people (church teachers) have built up a mythical aura around sexuality that somehow separates God from sexuality, or that puts up a duality that sees God as good and sex as bad. But God said it was good. When we speak of sex-positive theology, we need to see sexuality in the perspective of the creator of sexuality – the One who said it is good.
Thus in sex-positive theology we are indeed getting into a study of the attitude of God toward God’s creation.
The long established myth in some Christian circles (read: churches) is that the farther one gets from sexuality the closer one gets to God. That is supported by history but not by Jesus or by Scripture. It is a false myth about God.
God, the monster, myth
At the same time, then, human creationists have created a mythical, unbiblical god which is used to scare children and people like a “mumu.”
God is all too often depicted as a gray-haired, gray-bearded man in the sky looking over a cloud all day long and all night long watching to catch little boys masturbating and pounce on them with dire punishments ending up in the eternal fires of hell. At the same time this gray-haired mythical god is peering over the same cloud to catch and punish every teenage boy and girl caught by his all-seeing eye in the act of making love. And, horror of horror, this same mythical god-creature is poised to pounce on every man caught loving a man and every woman caught loving a woman.
Can you see why we speak of sex-positive theology? Surely a study of the real God of Creation, Who said it is good, would not find a sadistic pouncing punishing white bearded monster. In this course we directly and indirectly always present God as God is. (And that includes understanding that there is no reason to depict the God of Creation as a white-haired man, or as a man at all.)
Jesus, God made human
Then we look at what God did again. First God created sexuality and said it was good. Then God entered into human life, into human sexuality – and became human and sexual just like us. How could sexuality be bad if God said it was good, and God entered into human sexuality with us?
Now what did God do to the story of those who teach that the further one gets from sexuality the closer one gets to God. God entered into human life and became sexual like us. There is no justification for saying that Jesus had a sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene or John the beloved, or anyone else. Nor is there justification for claiming that Jesus, who is fully God and fully human, was not fully sexual.
To make a long story short, there is no justification for turning God into an anti-sex monster. And that in a nutshell is why we have a “sex-positive seminar.” Our God is indeed the God described by the beloved of Jesus strikingly: “God is Love, and where Love is, God is; those who live in Love live in God, and God lives in them.” And as the real life man to man “beloved” of Jesus, John could surely not have been thinking of only boy-girl love when he wrote that God is Love.
What kind of God do we have? It is wonderful and undeniable that our God is the God of unconditional love. The churches teach that in their own way.
Mother Theresa of Calcutta baptized thousands, but every day she fed 7000 hungry people soup and bread. For centuries missionaries went out to far away lands to tell the people that God will save and give them heavenly bread.
Little did the missionaries comprehend that the people were not hearing or caring to hear about their message of heavenly bread. Their stomachs were growling so loud for earthly bread. It’s like the missionaries were saying, “Don’t worry about your stomachs. You will never be hungry in heaven.” That did not work then.
Neither does it work now when churches tell LGBT people God is a God of love, and God loves you if you don’t love the person you love. Or worse yet, God will get you and zap you into hell if you love the person you love. Heavenly bread did not satisfy the hunger of starving people. An unloving God does not appeal to people yearning to love God and to love the person they love.
Word made flesh
In sex-positive theology we have God on our side. A God of unconditional love, an all embracing love, a love like the love of the father of the prodigal son. We do not have a God who loves us – IF…. anything. Our God’s love is without any ifs. Nothing we can do will make God love us less; nothing we can do will make God love us more (cf. Romans 8).
Jesus, the Eternal Word, came into our world as a fully human person, sexual like us.
He came to show us what God is like and throughout the Gospels he did just that. And one thing he showed was a complete lack of prejudice of any kind in his life.
Prayer for Sex-Positive Attitude
Lord God, our Father and Mother,
when you created me in my mother’s womb,
you fashioned me as a sexual being
with all the longings and desires
that are part of such a state.
Your Son, who assumed our full human nature,
was a sexual being like us,
and the truth about human sexuality
must come from a deeper and fuller understanding
of the Word-Made-Flesh
who came and lived among us.
Help me to appreciate and embrace my sexual orientation
without fear or shame.
Because my sexuality is your personal gift to me,
help me to accept it graciously, and to use it wisely and well,
with full human responsibility.
And as I grow into the fuller possession of my humanity,
of my powers of understanding and affection,
I want to offer them back to you
as an appropriate sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.
Amen.(From “A Book of Prayer: For Gay and Lesbian Christians” by William G. Storey)
While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you
and the breasts at which you nursed.” He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”
Our Lord must have been so proud about such complimentary remarks in reference to his mother Mary of Nazareth. Surely, all people would agree that Mary was blessed to bore a son who was and is the Word of God made flesh and dwelt among us. But Jesus told the woman that more blessed are those who hears the Word and live it in their lives.
“I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word” Mary was the best example of being the perfect woman who willingly said yes to the Word. She was with her by the cross and until his resurrection. Because she surrendered everything to God’s will, she was called blessed of all women throughout generations.
Like Mary, we too are called to live our lives totally surrendering ourselves to the Word of God and according to our Divine Parent’s will. But none of us today can be as perfect as Mary was in her time. We need to be guided by God’s Word through the people speaking to us daily. We just need the wisdom to discern God’s gentle nudge and promptings in the events of our lives and in the company of our friends. But God’s word can be a double edge sword.
There are times when the word makes a person comfortable and some people only wanted to hear what they want to hear and do away with the things they don’t want to hear.
But in living the word of God helps us re-direct our lives and challenge us to be better servants to others. It calls us to constantly make course corrections, some bigger than others. By living the word, we constantly make adjustments and amendments of our mistakes that we may not be driven off course from the righteous path based on the living and active word of God.
If we do not allow the word of God to challenge us to make minor course corrections, we will gradually wander off the path. We can react to God's word in one of two ways. We can be as a cold, hard brick, unyielding. Or we can be as clay in the hands of the master potter, and let him mold us.
The most beautiful word in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is "Whosoever". All of God's promises are intended for every human being. This includes gay men and lesbians. How tragic it is that the Christian Church has excluded and persecuted people who are homosexuals.
We are all created with powerful needs for personal relationships. Our quality of life depends upon the love we share with others, whether family or friends, partners or peers. Yet lesbians and gay men facing hostility in society are often denied access to healthy relationships. Jesus Christ calls us to find ultimate meaning in life through a personal relationship with our creator. This important spiritual union can bring healing and strength to all of our human relationships.
We firmly believe that God's love for all people is universal and unconditional.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16)
Now, more and more Christian churches and denominations are begining to open up their doors to welcome all. MCC Metro Baguio embraces everyone who believes that love binds us all to God who loves us the way He created us. Experience spirituality that celebrates your sexuality and holy identity without fear of discrimination and condemnation. Come as you are. Join the community of believers and proclaim to all that God LOVES us the way we are!
BAGUIO AIDS WATCH COUNCIL (AWAC)