Straight Guy + Gay Pride?

[I would often make fun of gays, lesbians, and anyone else who wasn’t unquestionably heteronormative. Of course I never directly harassed or assaulted “them” because that just wouldn’t be Christian of me, but I would certainly mock them and speak terribly of them behind their backs. Perhaps the most common and most justifiable way I would do this was to tell my Christian friends and family to “pray for them, because they’re really messed up” or something to that effect. I would then segue into mocking them, doing my most flamboyant caricature. And then I’d go back to saying something like, “But just pray for them.”]

For many if not most Christians, the gay issue is the line in the sand. Once you cross it philosophically, you are officially “out there.” Sure, there are other issues that define the barriers of Christianity, but for many, one’s stance on “the gay thing” is currently the single most combustible topic. One might be considered merely “iffy” if they were to deny or question some basic tenets of the faith. But if one even vaguely affirms the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT/Q) community, they have crossed a line that deems them truly deceived.

Churches that welcome and affirm non-hetero people represent the ultimate edges of Christianity. Even if those churches were to believe some of the most conservative doctrines in Christendom, if they, for instance, allow a gay man into leadership without requiring him to denounce his “lifestyle” as sin, they are a “weird” church, or a cult or something like that, but they are certainly not really Christian. Because affirming non-hetero individuals is, for many, the one thing that is most definitely incompatible with the Bible.

So doing what I did this past weekend was a big deal: I marched in a gay pride parade. Yes, I am straight (and so is my wife). And no, I wasn’t there to protest. I was there to walk beside and affirm my brothers and sisters who happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, and those of other non-hetero nature. And I wasn’t alone. I was with many other Christ-followers from my church. And there were scores of others from other churches as well. And we joined with thousands of others in the streets of Austin and celebrated the beauty of us all.

The cheers were amazingly celebratory when the crowds watching us realized we were a church, and when they saw our banners, which said things like “You can love God and love gays too!” and “God loves everybody!” Onlookers whooped and hollered in agreement.  People pointed and took pictures of our signs, some teared up, some gave us hugs and high-fives. And some looked confused. And to be sure, this was definitely the first time I’ve ever seen the LGBT community actually cheer for Christians. Because Churches are known to be the ones that protest pride parades, not march in them. And because Christians are, unfortunately, the last people expected to fully accept, much less affirm LGBTs.

But enough of this dancing around the issue. What you really want to read in this post is what I believe about homosexuality, right? What side of the line do I stand on? So here it is:

I believe that what I believe does not matter unless it helps make things better. I believe that God has not pronounced that my approval or disapproval of someone or something has any credence whatsoever. What I do or do not deem as “sin” will change absolutely nothing. But I do believe that when I am face to face with another human — when I look into their eyes, when our hands touch or when we exchange a smile — if I can see them as beautiful and valuable to the universe, as a representation of God, and not just as an anonymous representative of an argument or a mindless pawn of the devil — if I can treat them with the same love that I so desperately seek — I think we can get a glimpse of the better way of living that Jesus talked about. When we join hands as humans instead of pushing against “the other,” we can create a tiny spark of divine beauty that opens a door to let God’s plan enter our lives. That’s what I believe is the Kingdom of Heaven. And while there are  arguments on both sides of the line, none really matter in the big scheme of things. But actions do.

That’s why I believe that every Christian should march together with LGBTs in a pride parade at least once. Whether I do or do not approve of something or someone makes no difference. But the way I see people does. The way I treat people creates either an environment that’s open or closed to divine possibilities. My words and actions — not my beliefs — determine, moment by moment, whether God’s will is or is not being “done here on earth as it is in Heaven.”

And when I allow God’s spirit to talk more than me, I begin to see that the line is in fact drawn in sand, not concrete. And God made the sand; we just decided to scrawl in it. To make ourselves feel more secure, perhaps? To call the best players over to our side to ensure that we’ll have the winning team in a meaningless game? I say these things not as a statement that I’m on the opposite side of some line, nor to demean people who disagree with me. I say these things because a powerful love that I feel deeply tells me that there does not have to be a line. But if there is, I choose to let God do the drawing. Because his artwork is so much more beautiful than my little lines.

Of course, many would say that God’s already drawn a firm line on this issue, based on the same ancient middle-eastern laws that also defined menstruating women as untouchable, and on the opinions of the first Christian missionary (Paul, not Jesus). So this is why LGBTs are the untouchable lepers of our society. I just choose to believe that God’s drawing does not consist merely of a series of straight dividing lines. I suggest instead that what some may see as a singular dividing line is really just a tiny section of an infinitely big circle that includes everyone.

My LGBT friends are precious, beautiful people. And one of my gay friends has been for me an amazing example of what a real man should be: integrous, loving, genuine, honest… Because people like this are in fact people like all of us, these individuals deserve the same rights and privileges. They deserve for their loved ones to be able to visit them in the hospital and make decisions on their behalf. They deserve to have their marriages acknowledged…as marriages. They deserve to be left alone. They deserve to not be mocked by people like me. They deserve the unconditional love of God as much as anyone. And they are not untouchable.

I think I may have caught a little glimpse of God’s artwork this weekend when we gathered with thousands of others to celebrate the touchableness of each other. And especially when, in an incredibly rare moment, people actually rejoiced and cheered when Christians came around…

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26 Responses

  1. “They all doing what was rite in thier own eyes”
    Jeff, i somewhat understand what your saying. In that it’s a belief that we should be excepting of that anything goes as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. This being suggested that “God turning them over to a REPABATE MIND’ is mearly an incorrect interpratation of the bible.
    There are many things that may or may not be hurting anyone; however in a Christian forum of church government
    any way you cut it there are certain guidelines in what goes for church leadership. This includes guidelines for a man in leadership to keep one wife etc. So in respect to christian doctran rather than whats allowed in America today.It seems to be very clear. This is not saying we should not reach out to all. But sin is sin.You can rationalize or try to make anything acceptable. That doesn’t make it pure sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is rite either.

    • Hi Kimi,

      I totally understand where you’re coming from, and I wrote to describe how some of us have moved from where you are to a new place – and that there are significant and important reasons for the move. It’s apparent you have not made that move, and you may or may not. From my experience in these conversations it is very hard to go back and forth point for point on each issue because the base “starting point” or you could even say, worldviews are so different.

      As I said, you are holding with integrity to the way you interpret scripture and hold to doctrine and to a point no one can fault that.

      So let me respond, but with the caveat that I know there will be some things that are difficult to get across because of how different our starting points are, but I’ll do my best.

      “They are all doing what is right in their own eyes”…this refers to unrestrained living, people who seek to serve themselves with no thought for others. Basically the classic idea of sin. And likewise, “God turning them over to a reprobate mind” is spoken of people living in utter wanton sin, just carousing and consuming with no limit.

      Now let me address this looking at on one hand people “emerging” like me, and on the other people in same sex relationships.

      People like me who used to hate gays and realized slowly that I was hurting humans and then sought to reform myself if at all possible, is not that. I sought the teaching of scripture, advice and conversation in community, deep and many long hours of prayer to slowly over a 2-3 year period to change a piece of myself in order to love more ably, love more completely. And the same story for many of my friends. This has to do with restricting ourself for others, not seeking self benefit.

      Then applying those ideas to the gay population in general (whether Christian or not); This has to do with the whole issue of, “Are people born gay”?

      That is a long conversation. For me living in Manhattan with a large gay population, over time I just heard enough stories of people that clearly did not choose to be gay…One day, they were 13, and they saw another guy, and they got sexually excited. Same story over and over again (mostly from men).

      When you are a teenage boy you get sexually excited all the time, it’s somewhat uncontrollable…and no one in their right mind would claim that at that young puberty chemistry flowing everything growing in all directions point, that a person would be able to “decide” what makes them, to use a fond old term, “pop a boner”. If you pop a boner when a certain girl gives you a look, your straight, if it’s when the starting quarterback walks by, you’re gay. That’s it. People do not choose to be gay.

      So, if I’m a living man and I believe in God and I pop boners when I see guys, then I am gay, and I have to believe that God is behind it. I know God created me and I know I’m gay. So how should I live? Should I not enter into a loving relationship with another man because someone else’s abstract ideas say I shouldn’t? Will I be hurting anyone? No. So I go ahead….all that is just basic self determination, the human right to live out the life the persons been given. Not having anything to do with Christianity per se.

      So gays are not doing something where they’ve chosen to go the wrong path and are going to stick to it with steely gritty sinful determination. They are just being free to pop boners in a self appropriate manner.

      Now, let me mention, I’m not refering to anyone popping boners whenever and wherever with whoever – ie. multiple partners, whether gay or straight. It is clear that community is hurt, often deeply, by uncontrolled sex. Teenage pregnancy, STD’s, children born without fathers, families broken apart by adultery, the mental anguish of giving your precious inner self wantonly to too many, and on and on.

      In other words, human sexuality deeply affects community. I’m not saying we interpret life by a philosophy of, “Anything goes as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else”. I’m saying after a long and deep interaction with scripture and Jesus that it appears to some of us that Jesus is teaching us how to build community and how not to hurt community.

      As an interesting aside, if you look out upon a Christian congregation of 100 people, and you wonder, “How is the abuse of sexuality hurting this community”?

      Out of the fifty men there, you’ll probably have ten single guys who have sexed multiple partners that year, five married guys who are cheating on their wife and putting the family in jeopardy, Forty Nine and a half men who are consuming porn online and supporting an evil industry as well as diminishing their own life and marriage, and two gay guys, one in a committed relationship and one in religious motivated denial who occasionally gives in and has a brief tryst.

      So who in that group has the reprobate mind and is doing what is right in their own eyes? And as a pastor, where should you be putting your mentoring energy? And as Godly men and women in the church, where should you be concerned and praying heartily?

      Gayness isn’t a problem. In fact, the gay guy above in a relationship according to demographics is a highly productive member of society. And the gay guy in religious denial – he’s a greater community hurter because he cannot allow himself to go ahead and get into a monogamous relationship where he can find safe harbor, but instead tries to be celibate and falls into various trysts from time to time.

      So what’s happening is a new way of understanding the word sin. When you say sin is sin – what do you do with people from other denominations who have different lists of sins than you do? The sin on some of your lists is not on their list?

      So instead what you’re really saying is, certain restricted behaviors are what our cultural/religious tradition has decided. And then you accept or reject people according to how they relate to the list. In fact, with that way of thinking, they don’t even need to sin, they just need to hold to different lists of “good things” like doctrines, in order for you to reject them.

      There has been much talk in recent years of “Evangelical distinctiveness” – in other words, getting our lists really together and then rejecting everyone else whose lists are different. My point is, whether it is the idea of sin or the idea of doctrine, they way we have held both these ideas is as points of separation. If you sin too much we push you away, if you hold beliefs we don’t believe in we push you away.

      But when you believe that the God community of three is trying to show us how to create community, you see that the operative directional norm is to “draw together” not to “push apart”.

      And so a new “way of living” is to do things that draw together and reject things that push apart.

      What is happening is that we are rejecting typical Evangelical culture and behavior that pushes so many away, and are trying to create communities that draw together. And when we read the bible in light of this thinking it seems to match up so much better than the previous way.

      I hope that helps explain what is happening. And I hope that you can see how this is all motivated by a desire to serve and love God more, not by trying to get away with anything.

      • Jeff K: Just was going over this old post again and wanted to thank you for a well-thought-out, respectful comment. You’ve helped me further define my view. Thanks!

  2. I thought I would respond to Kimi and Jen who have similar concerns – and they are concerns I equally shared in my life and so I understand.

    I don’t think you can just go from believing one thing to just believing another thing by switching a flip, there has to be a series of events, be they intellectual/theological or relational, etc. that take you in steps (nor am I saying take steps toward “this better” or “more mature” view of things, simply saying how people like me changed from the same view you now hold to a more “Dave-centric” worldview:)

    If you are still grounded in doctrine/biblical interpretation, etc. as a series of “truths” or ideas that you hold to, and then you look at those truths and see gayness clearly banned – OF COURSE – you will not have a way to suddenly say, “Ah, nevermind, let’s just take a pass on this one and give it the thumbs up”. If you have integrity, you can’t do that.

    But what is happening for many of us is a new understanding of “reality/truth” that sees it not as ideas we hold to (which have been passed down), but rather human behavior in community which is either community building or community destroying.

    Something like this…Jesus came from God the Father to us on earth, after Jesus ascended he sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and so the three persons of God came down in Jesus who became a human in order to draw us into their community of three in love. And they are trying to teach us how to further expand that community (not that we are the center of it or responsible for it).

    So, then we can see that all the Old Testament laws and the teachings/examples of Jesus are simply “ways of building healthy community” and we imagine this community is what Jesus refered to when he said he came to announce The Kingdom of God.

    So, then how do we interpret all the stuff in the bible (how then shall we live?) as we seek how best to become a part of the existing society around us, to be good neighbors who by behavioral example live out a life that is inspiring to others to also live for others? (Not that we have the best idea or way, but because we do see a lot of bad stuff going down all around us).

    We see all the commands and wisdom of scripture as clearly showing us what hurts and destroys people, and we avoid that. So, it’s pretty clear that things like NAMBLA and bestiality destroy community. No culture or religion today would affirm those ways of life. To kind of toss those in there with the gay community is deeply offensive to people who would shudder to imagine their own child (they have children!) or relative being so abused. It is a relic of the monsterization of “the other” that you could even do so. And in fact, is community destroying, because now people in the gay community would have a hard time feeling comfortable around you if you said that around them…imagine if you were the teenage child of gay parents and heard people saying that about your parents?

    So, then for you, as for me over the last few years arises the big question – OK, it’s obvious with many behaviors that they hurt community…so what about same sex relationships? Does that hurt community?

    And what others and myself have found is that when you look at it from every angle, you just can’t find any point at which it hurts community…I won’t go into all the scenario’s here, but it’s fascinating to think through them all. It turns out that whenever someone does come up with an idea of how it hurts community, it becomes very transparent that the scenario proffered is clearly shaded by various forms of the IDEA that it is wrong because of a doctrinal or scriptural interpretation they have been taught…BIG POINT HERE…not God’s word itself, but a mental idea a human extrapolated from it, based on all kinds of historical/cultural baggage. (obviously this happens all the time, that humans create mental ideas in their head about the truths in God’s Word that you completely don’t agree with…ie, all the other Christian denom’s and traditions that you think have bad doctrinal ideas).

    But, but, but…what about the “clear” BIG anti homosexual verses in scripture????? When you are willing to look at them without bias, when you are willing to look at them through this lens – “OK, here I have a fellow human who I will accept or reject based on these biblical words…read words…make decision…allow all the other scriptural commands toward love and acceptance to weigh in…”

    Then you can be willing to see that there are other ways of interpreting those verses that don’t blanket condemn same sex relationships. A lot of new scholarship puts a lot of very interesting new light on these Words of God. And of course anyone FUNDAMENTALLY opposed who would never change will view this new “scholarship” as just pussy wallowing pansy punks trying to get away with some agenda they have to destroy something or another.

    (But I can assure you, the new scholarship is very meaty and meaningful and not trying to get away with anything but a clearer vision of reality)

    The motivation is that I am more willing to err on the side of behaving with love toward a human I see next to me, than on the side of an IDEA my cultural group has passed down to me. (it helps if you actually have a gay person in your life who your choice will directly affect…often we’ve rejected “others” already so that we don’t really have them in our life)

    And at this point many will say, “But we’re not trying to be mean to them or reject them, we actually love them and want to help them”!!! But if you believe that, then you have a little bit of a journey ahead of you to understand issues of marginalization and how power blinds us to the ways we push others away or oppress them…ie. if you believe black people complain too much and none of us ever owned slaves and didn’t the Civil Rights Act of 1964 already fix everything way back then?…then you are living in a dream world supported by the comforts of your culture and are very unaware of the daily lived reality of many of your fellow earth mates…(As an example, if you don’t fully understand the concept of white privilege and believe it must be destroyed by your daily actions for the sake of those who don’t enjoy such privileges, then you are probably not far enough on your journey toward some of the things I’m saying that would possibly cause a different gay view…start with race it’s much easier to get your brain and heart around…and I say this boldly without an ounce of back pedaling).

    If you are not willing to be possibly willing to take on a new way of seeing things which might possibly affect your biblical interpretations, then you will have difficulty here. If you are having that difficulty but your heart desires somehow to move forward, your heart sees how the gay community has been marginalized and harangued and violently attacked based on ideas in people’s heads, and something in you senses something is off, but you can’t get past those verses (and I applaud you for your integrity)…then a way forward is to examine other times in the history of the church where deeply held beliefs changed.

    There is a deep humility in discovering that everything you were taught is not necessarily true, in discovering that the beliefs and values of the community you reside in could possibly be flawed.

    I always think of solid God loving, quiet time having, witnessing to their neighbors Christians in a Southern state, walking home from Sunday morning service, having struggled recently with the choice to sell “Uncle Billy” to pay off some debts, and thus breaking up his family, but feeling mildly assured by the sermon they just heard affirming the righteousness of slavery…but something just isn’t sitting right.

    Today the issue that’s troubling them was mainly the break up of the family…”I know their slaves and not human, but it sure seemed horrible to see little Sally screaming and crying as they took her father away”…”is it possible they are people too?”…”but if that were so how could we enslave them”?….

    And so a solid entrenched belief starts to flounder up against the witness of human agony. And believe me, you can far more strongly, far more completely find far many more verses in scripture to make a case for the righteousness of slavery than for one against same sex relationship.

    Forgive some of the simplicity of this, but I thought I would lay out in simple terms some of the ways I have found to more fully live out the ways of Jesus by changing how I see my same sex relationship friends….and not to hijack your forum here Dave with such long posts, but here is where a conversation is taking place and I appreciate you starting it.

  3. So join NAMBLA to show your love?
    I agree with most of what you saying here but..
    God so loved the world that he gave.BUT…
    What shall we say then ? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid!
    Yes christions have the rep. of killing their wounded and eating their young alive.Yes there is to much hypocracy in the church especially when Jesus says in LOVE all of the law is fullfilled. We all need to stop being a bunch of haters driving everyone away that may be less perfect than what we call normal. We need to love with God’s love. Bringing healing to the broken hearted.
    But…you said the church should be approving same sex marriage and placement of gays in leadership in the church in the name of love.
    So; how about setting in NAMBLA members in childrens ministry? Or approving/ welcome these as well to follow their hearts in the bonds of holy matrimony to their 10 year old lover. Isn’t their’s all about love too? Are they not wounded as well? Shouldn’t we be excepting of ALL things in the church since after all isn’t this what your suggesting in embracing the gay lifestyle.
    How about the wounded, possibly overzealous christion. Isn’t it as well hypocrytical and being a hater when these are rejected from your church in the name of being open minded, liberal lovers of the world you show disdain for these?
    what about the person on the brink of being torn between maybe binging out because of a drug addiction or battling whether to be straight or gay. Maybe such as in califirnia; in the grade schools. Let’s pull the little children aside and indoctrinate them into accepting, even preparing them for sex change opperations because we might think a little boy may be leaning more to femanine tendencies. Maybe we need to prepare children of drug addicts of petifiles for the exspected turn out by percentage that they as well will become like their parents. Isn’t that the studied outcome? So lets start early so they as well won’t have to be tortured by their inward battle of the inevitable?
    Jesus is our deliverer! He came that we can be freed from the bondage of sin. To heal the broken hearted. To set at liberty the captive.
    So what shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound ? GOD FORBID!

    • Really? You are playing the NAMBLA card? This is your rhetorical move?

  4. Basically brilliant. Glad to have been introduced to your writing. Flipping awesome to have a place to feel ‘not-so-alone’ in my own random thoughts and feelings…..

    peace.

  5. Having read it, great post. I really have nothing to add as I’ve come to a position much like yours.

    I wracked my brains, read all the arguments, but try as I might I can’t find anything “wrong” with gay people I know and their relationships. I have quite close friendships with a few. As someone who once had an inerrantist view of the Bible (and still does when leaning towards theism?) it surprises me to have come to the conclusion that if the Bible teaches GLBT is wrong, then it is the Bible that is wrong.

    I can think of a very few other watershed issues 😉

  6. Hi Dave, Jonathan from Spritzophrenia dropping in again 🙂

    This time I’ve subscribed to your RSS so I won’t miss anything. Are you on Twitter? Probably – I will have a look at your about page. I’ll probably reply to this properly later, just wanted to record that I stopped by.

    Jonathan

  7. Very wonderful post Dave, I’m glad to have found you through your article in the Emergent/C because I have a very similar background as you and emerging journey. I’m a SoCal Charismatic had-a-lot-demons-cast-out-of-me-guy-too. And I similarly both love and cringe at my spiritual history. I still quietly pray in tongues from time to time and love it and have no idea what I think about it other than it draws me closer to God.

    I find your line “I believe that what I believe does not matter unless it helps make things better” and then at the end of the paragraph, “But actions do”, really sums up a new theology that is arising in our midst, and the heart of it is so beautifully described by you in the middle of that paragraph about seeing another human and loving them as being the Kingdom of God. Wow, you’ve really nailed it.

    I am currently enjoying a trip back in time as I spend time with friends and family who are living in a time bubble of the Evangelical Christianity of the 1980’s that we inherited in SoCal – and which I lived out as fully as any of them – and it’s amazing to see their daily actions and behaviors and beliefs toward “others” expressed exactly as you’ve written, “as an anonymous representative of an argument or a mindless pawn of the devil”

    Whether it’s Gays or Palestinian pawns of the devil trying to mess with God’s plans for Israel, or liberal socialists out to destroy America – the monsterization caricatures just never end.

    I like to use the word monsterization where most secular thinkers would say demonization, because with our shared Charismatic “demonology” background, I think it might be better to avoid confusing things by using a word that carries a whole host of meanings for a Charismatic that wouldn’t be there for someone who never lived in that culture.

    I think one of the operative theology’s that is changing our lives is, and wonderfully represented by your above words about, “What I believe does not matter unless it helps make things better” is Peter Rollins bit about the idolatry of concept. Having come through all these years of science worship, we got to the point of ideas being everything – I often find myself even struggling to express things without using the word “idea”. Even in this paragraph where I was introducing Rollins “bit”, I had to pause and instead of saying “Rollins idea”, change it to another word.

    We are uncovering a new sense that ideas are just things in our heads, and people are actually alive and real and our behavior toward them is everything. So…if an idea causes me to produce bad behavior toward a human…then maybe that idea isn’t producing way of Jesus behavior.

    Plus, with the renewed trinitarian idea…uhhh…trinitarian path…uhhhhh…seeing that God is a community of persons in love and extrapolating that to imagine that maybe what God is trying to do in the creation of humans is to draw these new persons into his community of love, and therefore, the whole direction and essence of the ways Jesus came to show us have to do with moving toward togetherness, embracing the “other”, not finding ways to push them further away, goes really well with what you’re saying.

    I’m so excited to hear your story and can’t wait for my chance to march in a gay pride parade – I will march in it with glorious thoughts of redemption – in remembering how during my early years in Manhattan I felt ill when I would see the gay pride parade, and how once I had to cross through it to get across the street and I literally held my breath and looked down and felt so relieved to arrive on the other side, and probably wondered if I’d caught a few demons on the way across – and I will glory in my own redemption as I march with people no longer monsterized by the ideas in my head.

  8. Thanks for your post! Especially “if I can see them as beautiful and valuable to the universe, as a representation of God, and not just as an anonymous representative of an argument or a mindless pawn of the devil — if I can treat them with the same love that I so desperately seek — I think we can get a glimpse of the better way of living that Jesus talked about.”

  9. Dave,
    Thank you for sharing your experience and your thougths so beautifully. I don’t want to waste my time drawing lines in the sand…a powerful metaphor for our tendency towards exclusion. I can picture the waves rushing each with each tide to wash away our lines and how futile it is to keep drawing in our bounaries. LOVE knows no boundaries!

    Thank you!
    Lynn

    • Thank you for reading and sharing, Lynn. Peace to you and D.

  10. beautiful

    • Thank you, Makeesha

  11. Beautiful. Simply. Beautiful.

    ~H
    (A friend of Mike and Julie’s, just so you’re not creeped out how I found this place.)

    • thanks heather…stop by any time you like. peace

  12. as someone who writes extensively on this topic Dave I have to say that your article is very very powerful. Congratulations.

    I have put this up on our site.. http://www.freedom2b.org/topic/940 ..facebook and twitter….so expect some additional visits.

    You might be encouraged to know that your experience in the parade and also the journey you are on is becoming a more common experience.

    http://alifeofunlearning.blogspot.com/2008/04/100-revs-sydney-gay-lesbian-mardi-gras.html

    http://alifeofunlearning.blogspot.com/2007/03/divine-moment-in-mardi-gras-parade.html

    God bless you

    Anthony Venn-Brown
    An Ambassador for the LGBT Community
    Award winning author of ‘A Life of Unlearning – A Journey to Find the Truth’
    Co-convenor of Freedom 2 b[e]
    Honoured to be on the 2007 & 2009 list of the 25 Most Influential Gay & Lesbian Australians
    “The enemy is ignorance”
    “My morality is a choice, my sexual orientation however isn’t’
    ‘When we choose to live authentically, we chip away at others’ prisons of pretend’
    Blog: http://alifeofunlearning.blogspot.com/
    Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/gayambassador
    Become a fan of ‘A Life of Unlearning’ on Facebook
    Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/gayambassador
    My YouTube Channel is here http://www.youtube.com/user/avb7

    • Thank you Anthony. I think you and John Doba would have good discussion.

      • thanks for invite to discuss with John Doba…..not really sure it would be productive for either of us..

        I am very much into dialogueing though……but I always work within the frame work of this model I created.

        http://gayambassador2.blogspot.com/

        I find this to be most productive and has produced some quite amazing results.

  13. Hi, a Facebook friend, Jen Stuart, pointed me to your link/piece. If you don’t mind I mention in the spirit of discussion some potential spiritual problematics in and for this line of Christian thought.

    No Christian favors persecution, but it is the question of endorsement that concerns me. Now I know what I say here is unfashionable but I think we should carefully consider what it is that we endorse. It seems to me that there is most definitely a slippery slope here. I used to be a very liberal guy but I have seen some things from the far side of the human erotic continuum that led me into a reconsideration. Sexuality that’s understood outside a mission for manifesting God’s purpose for history, in the large, can quickly devolve into a degrading, destructive pursuit of the erotic for its own sake. The Bible is of limited, conflicting use to us, as Christ’s universal love seems to nullify other strictures, as by Paul and from the Old Testament; but it seems to me that “non-heteronormative” identities perforce entail a focus on the animal aspects of our erotic nature— rather than a comprehension that sexuality is a blessing within a relationship oriented towards creating new life and glorifying God. I’m sure you’re aware of agencies like NAMBLA. Of course not all gays would endorse its aims, but once one is on the slope of legitimizing various paraphilias, where can reasonable proscription come to rest? Already, there are calls for the legalization in the US of polygamy. “Who are you to say who I can and cannot love? Society must change to accomodate my desire to marry my Shetland pony.” Gay marriage; polygamy legalized; maybe some lenience for statutory rape… what’s the big deal? Next up: I want state-benefits for my lover/Irish wolfhound.

    I jest, but perhaps you see my point. I don’t call for persecution, but it’s one thing to be tolerant, and quite another to endorse lifestyles that are not only doctrinally suspect from the traditional standpoint but also suspect in the theological sense of locating human identity in the erotic dimension rather than in a dimension at least potentially transcendent to the normal, spacetime world—that is, in God himself. I believe that such a shortsighted focus can lead to much suffering and to a ruinous collapse from the state of grace.

    Cordially,

    John Doba
    Houston

    • Thanks for commenting, John. I understand your perspective, which seems to have a good heart, and I appreciate your willingness for dialogue…although making the old “slippery slope” jump and lumping in all non-heteros with beastiality is reactive and fear-based more than it is reasonable, and is more akin to anti-abolitionist rhetoric than it is Christ-like rhetoric. Regardless, without going down a circular rabbit hole of apologetics, I think our most significant point of difference could best be realized in two items: First, your claim that “no Christian favors persecution.” In the most obvious, literal, physical sense that may be partially true. But Christians are not immune to living out (if even unconsciously) Darwinian/Machiavellian ideals. Persecution comes in many forms, and to counter, some — in fact many — Christians DO favor it. I have seen it, heard it, and done it. And that’s why this is such a big stink. I suggest that if more Christians lived up to the straightforward teachings of Jesus himself instead of justifying their harsh words and actions by their own theology, this discussion may be different.

      Secondly is your description of “lifestyles that are not only doctrinally suspect from the traditional standpoint but also suspect in the theological sense….” While I agree that we should not, as you put it, “locat[e] human identity in the erotic dimension,” to cite the alternative as being defined and approved by “the traditional standpoint” and theology has its own dangers. Traditional perspectives on theology have given us what we believe today. For that I am appreciative because they gave me a starting point. Some see such a perspective as an anchor for stormy nights and others see it as a ball and chain. I see it is as both and neither. But my biggest sticking point is the fact that, if we (heterosexual Christians) really valued things like the traditional understanding of marriage as much as we say we do, we might actually have lower rates of divorce than non-Christians. If we lived up to the values that we profess, statistics would show otherwise. As far as I’ve researched (for instance, in the book unChristian), the statistics don’t fare well for proof that orthodoxy (read “traditional standpoint”) is the transformative thing we claim it to be. To the contrary.

      In the end, in this discussion we will find that my views on scripture are perhaps too flexible for you, and yours too inflexible for me. And that’s okay. I’m just glad that you care enough to try to have civil discussion. Thank you. In the meantime, I’m not the most effective debater, so I’ll leave that to the theology experts. I’d rather just keep living according to my heart. Peace to you.

    • C’mon, John Doba. NAMBLA? “not all gays would endorse its aims”? Do you really believe that most would endorse its aims?! Seriously, I have yet to meet a gay or bi person who supports such. And your ponies and wolfhounds bit? Not only not funny, but detrimental to your position rhetorically (not to mention a tired use of the slippery slope gambit).

    • People always talk about the “slippery slope” leading to polygamy like it would be a bad thing. I personally hope that the “slippery slope” DOES lead to legalizing polygamy. It wouldn’t hurt anyone who isn’t interested in a plural marriage, but if some people do want multiple spouses I see no reason they shouldn’t be allowed to.

  14. Well-written and thoughtful. And thought-provoking. We appreciated the wide-ranging conversation Friday night, including on this issue. Thanks.

    • Thank you! and Thank you again for such a wonderful evening. You guys are lovely friends.

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