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jaybird

Most of us, including Christians, have gays in their families, and if not in their own families, then we all have close friends who have the situation of a child or sibling being gay. The family story you link to is ubiquitously commonplace.

The writer never really explained exactly what it was that the Luterans were doing to "discriminate" against their son, nor why it was so necessary for them to leave the Church and denomination. What I gleaned from it was that the son wasn't encouraged to be gay in the church with welcoming, open, and loving arms, and praised for his gayness. Instead he was told that homosexuality is a sin, and that he should avoid acts of homosexuality.

Most Christian traditions hold to the notion of hating the sin but nevertheless loving the sinner. What I sense was going on here is a desire for the church to love both.

Peg K

Jaybird, I believe why they felt they "had to leave the church" was because of the church's teachings that their son was sinful and wrong because he was a homosexual.

As I said in my post, it is difficult for me to understand why some Christians believe it so wrong for two consenting adults to love one another. I know what it says in the Bible.... but, it also says in the Bible not to wear clothing that mixes wool with linen, and not to eat anything from the sea without scales.

I can understand the hurt which someone must feel if they are told that who their son is essentially is a sin.

jaybird

People are born homosexuals --at least that seems to be true-- and the simple act of being a homosexual is not a sin. It's engaging in homosexual acts that's the sin, acts which are wholly voluntary.

Another question is, why would someone who wants to engage in homosexual acts and follows through on that desire want to then be in or join a church that teaches that such acts are a sin? It's not as if Church teachings and doctrines are open to change through debate and persuasion, or subject to popular vote. They are what they are. Trying to be in a traditional Bible-believing church on the one hand, but expecting the church to look the other way on some key parts of those beliefs that you don't like, seems like a huge disconnect to me.

That may not seem fair, but there are Christian churches out there that either don't regard it as a sin, or they excuse it. That seems like a match made in heaven. What isn't fair is to have the expectation that an entire congregation who doesn't like it and doesn't believe in it, should have it forcefully rammed down their throats and be told that they have to accept it whether they like it or not.


Peg K

I'm not a church-goer, jaybird - so, my experience is most limited. It's my understanding, however, that many churches have evolved over the ages - and what was not acceptable hundreds of years ago is today, or vice versa.

Perhaps families like the one in the op/ed are hoping that they can change hearts and minds - and church policy - and remain in the congregation that was theirs for generations.

I will say that I've never been given any good reasons why "engaging in homosexual acts" should be a sin - other than, "it's in the Bible."

That's why I prefaced some of my remarks with wondering why some churches today seem to focus so on homosexuality - and yet do not concentrate on the myriad of other "sins" that people commit (like wearing wool and linen together).

Is it wrong to expect one's church to give some rational reason as to why an act is a sin? Or should one accept it blindly, without reason?

Ally

It does not need to be an extreme issue, which is what I think the problem here is. Homosexuality does not need to be welcomed with open arms, nor should it be a bastion upon which to rail against. There is an inbetween. Before anyone gets high and mighty, consider this - he who is without sin....remember that passage? Who are we to point fingers at homosexuals when we have sin in our own life? If their son is gay, so be it. It doesn't mean he can't be a Christian or a follower of God. It just means he sins. Who among us doesn't gossip, overeat, speed, lie, cheat, steal pens from work, etc. And we may do it on a regular basis. It doesn't mean that we must be banished from the church. I do not understand that attitude that because you sleep with someone different, you are evil and sick. Explain to me the man who sleeps with several women....or the woman who sleeps with several men. Adultery? Cheating on taxes? Murder? Aren't these all "evil?" So what is the big freakin' deal with homosexuality? They are all forgivable, according to Christian doctrine.

I truly don't get it. Yes, the son in question commits his "sin" everytime he engages in a homosexual act. So do you, everytime you overeat and abuse your body. So do you, everytime you scream at your children or loved one out of frustration that is not their fault. So do you, every time you do not "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's"....

Deal with it people. We are all in the same boat. What makes YOU so much better?

Amy Ridenour

The family joined a group (in this case, the Lutheran Church) organized around a set of beliefs. Over time, the family decided that it disagreed with one of these beliefs, so the family decided that it did not wish to be a member of the group any more.

That's all this is. The Church says "here I stand; I can do no other." The family says the same. The beliefs differ, that's all.

Peg K

Ally and Amy--

I understand that the views of the church and of the family differ. I understand that many churches teach that homosexuality is a sin.

What I do not understand, however, is upon what basis a church would focus so on homosexuality and continue to classify it as sinful, with what we know today.

Why are other precepts in the Bible seemingly ignored today - but homosexuality is not?

Are there any other principles of Christianity that homosexuality contradicts?

This is what perplexes me.

jaybird

I said it before, but it seems to be missed. Being a homosexual, i.e., being attracted to members of the same sex, is not the sin being taught and preached against. It is the engaging in and doing of sexual acts that is the sin.

Okay, judge not, lest you be judged. Well and good, we all commit sins, right? Who are we --sinners ourselves-- to judge, right? But implicit in that concept is that we will at least try to change our behaviors and make an effort to not be sinners. Homosexuals who engage in homosexual acts and have no intention whatsoever of changing that behavior, or even trying to change it, and then choose to sit in a congregation that teaches that homosexual acts are a sin and flamingly flaunt it in the faces of the rest of the congregation, well..., let's just say that they are going to have some things said about them and to them that will make them uncomfortable until they either stop the acts or stop going to that particular church.

And it isn't just homosexuals. A heterosexual couple living together outside of marriage would be treated much the same way.

Sandy

An explanation is in the link you included.

The old testament law, such as mixing linen and wool, were ceremonial laws that represented moral truths. Christians no longer practice the external rules, but hold to the moral truths of these laws.

However, the laws defining family relationships are not ceremonial.

It was part of the very essence of our design that God made man and woman for one another. He created the family before there was ever a church or the law.

I would agree that the modern church tends to focus on the sin of homosexuality above other sins of the same nature, fornication or adultery for example. I would guess that it is easier to rail against when fewer in the congregation are tempted.

But, to be fair, no mainstream christian church could allow the pastor to have an affair, in the full view of the congregation and with its approval. Preachers do have affairs of course, but when discovered, they are unable to continue in their role. They either amend the situation or step down.

But, an affair is about loving people, right?

Should we allow the preacher to continue to lead the congregation in spite of his ongoing affair?

No? What's the difference between adultery and homosexual acts? Both are sexual sins according to the moral code of the bible, right?

Are we going to argue that adultery is different because it violates a vow and hurts his wife and possibly their children?

Well then, how about if the preacher just lives openly with his girlfriend?

How then can he preach to his flock that fornication is a sin?

You see the problem?

An interesting side note. I'm reading Medved's Right Turns. He mentions that the government changed deferment rules during the Vietnam era so that only post grad students to become doctors and seminarians were excluded from the draft. The shift to liberal theology in our churches can be traced to that time due to all the students packing the seminaries to avoid the draft.

Peg K

Sandy, I can understand some of your points. Perhaps where our agreement breaks down is a view of what homosexuality is.

From all that I have observed, it appears that one's attraction for those of the opposite sex or same sex is not a matter of choice. I have not yet met an individual in my life who said that they debated and weighed whether to have a same or opposite sex life.

IF you accept this premise, and then also judge that people are this way because God made them this way, it seems odd to me to further argue that it is a sin for people to mate with those to whom they are attracted.

All the arguments that work for adultry, polygamy, pedophilia and so forth don't hold up for homosexual relationships. I can see why each of these actions causes harm.

But who is harmed when two adults form a commitment and remain faithful and loving to one another - even if they are of the same sex?

Perhaps those who think differently from me believe that homosexuals can be "changed" and ultimately desire someone of the opposite sex. I do not believe this - at least, not in the vast majority of cases.

Again, if this is true, then it seems somewhat cruel to damn an individual to a life without a loving, caring partner.

Samantha

I just have to comment on this bit:

it seems somewhat cruel to damn an individual to a life without a loving, caring partner

Being single for whatever reason is not the end of the world and it is not the worst thing that could ever happen to a person. In the Christian context there are many merits to celibacy. With all of the hype in our society about finding the perfect soul mate Christians tend to forget this. This is mostly an issue for heterosexsual Christians but it bleeds into the discussion about homosexual Christians as well.

Now back to lurking.

Peg K

Oh, Sam. I completely agree with you that singlehood - and a celibate one at that - is not the end of the world.

Nevertheless, I do think that everyone ought to at least be able to have the opportunity to be in a loving relationship - should they want one and find the right person.

And to me, if one is attracted to those of their own sex rather than those of the opposite sex, it seems sad that God would demand that they remain celibate to not be sinning.

Sandy

Actually, there's a lot of evidence that with the trend to mainstream homosexuality in the present day, many are "trying it out", often times during high school. My impression is that this is especally prevalent among girls, because two females together are more socially acceptable to society.

But, let's accept for a moment that some people are born with a strong predisposition to choose the same sex.

First we must travel back all the way to the Garden of Eden and the concept of original sin. When we chose our own desire over God's plan we fundamentally changed both our very nature and the nature of the world that we live in.

From that point on, man, and the earth has been broken. Where once we were in relationship with God, we are now born in rebellion to Him.

Our new (fallen) nature is to serve our own desires, rather than to serve God. We tend to think of children as innocent, but any parent can tell you, they don't have to be taught to misbehave if it will further their own interests. Think of the Toddle Rules of Possession.

1. If I like it, it's mine.

2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.

3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.

4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.

5. If it's mine, it must NEVER appear to be yours in anyway.

6. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.

7. If it looks just like mine, it is mine.

8. If I saw it first, it's mine.

9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.

10. If it's broken, it's yours.

It's humorous because it rings true. Yet it's also revealing about our nature. Parents, and society, agree that children should be trained to overcome these instincts.

So, if we are born selfish and uncaring of others feelings, is that the way God made us? No. It is a symptom of the fallen nature of man.

If one is born with a predispoition to become an alcoholic, should we say that it is the way God made them? We could conceivably as a society faciliate a safe way for those people to drink themselves to death without hurting others. Would that be the compassionate thing to do?

There is a reason that God called homosexuality sin, because it is not the best he has for us. In today's PC environment, we're not allowed to examine the true cost of living a hmosexual lifestyle without being branded homophobes.

I'm probably over the length for comments already, but in that vein let me say this. I do not distinguish between my own sinful nature and that of a person attracted to the same sex. We are BOTH born in rebellion to God.

As a christian I am called to love others as I love myself....and we do love ourselves in spite of our sins.

However, loving those around me does not require that I deny that what God has called sin is sin. There's really so much more to say. Maybe if we ever make that lunch, or if I get time to seriously blog on the topic from a christian perspective.

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