The Church and the New Civil Rights Movement

Richard “Dick” Brogan was a personal friend, and he was one of my heroes.

Dick was a white Mississippi Baptist minister who worked tirelessly to build relationships between whites and blacks during segregation and even up until he passed away last year. Not so long ago, Dick was followed, harassed, threatened, and derided as a “nigger-lover” because he not only dared speak against segregation, but he dared to act as if in Christ there really was no Jew nor Greek and no black nor white.

Shortly before he died, Dick, a veteran of the Civil Rights movement, said that Gay Rights is today’s Gospel movement. I believe he was right.

Just consider the role of black churches in leading the Civil Rights movement, and the role of white churches resisting it (isn’t anyone disturbed that we still have to have “black churches” and “white churches”?).

Though Martin Luther King Jr. and other black ministers found liberation and hope in the Bible, some white preachers remained silent while many others openly preached segregation and racial inequality as biblically sound.

“Red birds do not fly with blue birds,” white Christians smugly joked, emphasizing “it’s just the natural order of things.”

With a clear conscience, white church deacons and Sunday School teachers witnessed (and some participated in) lynchings, cross burnings, bombings, and mob violence against marchers and sit-in participants. Stories abound in Mississippi of deacons at white churches armed with guns protecting the dignity of worship for the white folks within. They were, after all, defending “the way God intended things to be.” After all, black people were tolerated just fine as long as “they stayed in their place.”

A Baptist Broadman Commentary from 1970 reminds us that “The people of God are called to renewal in each successive era of their existence.”

In the 1950s and 1960s Baptist preachers such as Martin Luther King Jr.  and Dick Brogan followed the leadership of the Holy Spirit and called the people of God to renewal in a new era of their existence. Through them, God was transforming the religious life of His people, often meeting the greatest resistance through the “guardians” of the Truth and the Faith.

Jesus pleaded with the religious establishment of his day, according to the Broadman Commentary, to “open the life of Israel to the power of the work of the Holy Spirit …”

The larger religious community’s response to Jesus was his crucifixion.

And so King, Brogan and others made the same plea. The response to them were death threats, violence, exile, and for King, assassination.

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We are in the midst of another renewal; we are in the midst of another set of leaders pleading with the guardians of the Christian establishment to open the life of the Church to the power of the Holy Spirit already at work; and some of the same words are being exchanged and variations of the same expressions of hatred are emerging in response.

There are a growing number of “gay churches” and welcoming and affirming groups pleading with the larger Christian community to recognize the movement of the Holy Spirit among the Gay & Lesbian community. And, many of the long-standing institutionalized “straight churches” are actively resisting the work of God among those whom the “religious guardians” insist are not worthy. (One day, our grandchildren may sigh and ask why there have to be “gay churches” and “straight churches”).

“They want their children to go to school with our children! They want to live in the neighborhood we live in! They want the same rights we have!”

“God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” straight Christians smugly joke, “it’s just the natural order of things.”

And with clear consciences, good church-goers will openly bully, harass, and tease their gay neighbors – trying to get the gays back in the closet (“to keep them in their place”).

Despite what almost every single church sign says, openly LGBT people are NOT welcomed in most churches across the South and across America. There may not be deacons armed with guns to keep them out and to protect the dignity of the worship service for the righteous folks within, but Sunday School lessons, book studies, and sermons bully them to either stay in the closet or stay out of the church.

When bullying leads to suicide, the church at large – at best – sits in silence. At worst, it leads the attack. Too many Baptist pastors are pressured to stay quiet on the issue, while other Baptist pastors continue to verbally terrorize LGBT people sitting quietly in their pews, living quietly in their families, and working quietly in their communities.

I am sometimes asked why I continue to write and speak about being a gay-friendly Baptist minister. Then a fellow Baptist pastor answers for me by making national news acting like a 1950s Southern governor justifying racial segregation (most recently, it’s a brother in North Carolina preaching what some have labeled a “beat-the-gay-away” sermon – instructing parents how to deal with boys and girls who may not be masculine enough or feminine enough, respectfully).

And like Dick Brogan, deep in my heart, I do believe, that blacks and whites and gays and straights will walk hand-in-hand some day

—-
Bert Montgomery is a writer, minister and college lecturer living in Starkville, Mississippi. His new book is Psychic Pancakes & Communion Pizza (2011, Smyth & Helwys).

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  • Keith Carr61

    Bert, You mention that there are still black and white churches. Yeah, there are still Black Ms America pageants, Black Colleges, Affirmative Action, etc etc…You cant have it both ways.
    As to your point of “gay” Christians you submit that they have “churches” that the holy spirit is moving in. If that is true then you will agree that a church full of drug attics can meet in Gods name, do drugs while practicing their religion, and God will bless the sinful activity and encourage it. Your premise is totallly offbase and continues to blur the lines of sinful activity. It doesnt matter what the sin is that is practiced one thing is for sure….If God is to bless us we must relinquish whatever it is that keeps us from him. For you to not only affirm their sinful activity but to ask the church to affirm it is really totally against Biblical teachings. As far as them going to church, Ive never experienced a gay person who was turned away by the church. What I have seen is people, be they gay, drug attics, aldulterers, who refuse to relinquish their sin, become so uncomfortable that they quit coming to church. It is Gods responsibility to convict and condemn however it is our responsiblity to make sure that the word is not diluted nor misconstrued in order to mislead people and affirm their continual living in sin. What do you think that Gods teaching is about? The acceptance of Christ is not the only thing to consider when becoming a Chrisitan. You cheapen Gods wonderful and miraculous sacrifice when you teach such contradicting messages. I wonder what Baptist church you pastor? Does your congregation agree with your message? If so the Baptist association should be dealing with it.

    • Keith Carr61

      Bert, Nevermind about where you preach as I looked you up. I will say that there has to be some control over tax payer dollars going toward liberally biased professors like you who want to teach our young people garbage and fill their head with antimosity toward America. Your position as “pastor” at a Unviersity church makes sense. Hopefully conservative will regain the Whitehouse and measures will be taken to reign in the rediculous efforts by tax paid professors to pollute our youth and try to instill your “view” of America…..Sorry but the disdain I felt from your article increased 10 fold when I found out your “real” vocation.

      • Tarl_hutch

        I am a bit shocked by the tone and animosity you are taking against your brother in Christ. We all may not agree, but there is no call for this kind of speech. As the Church, we are called to let others know us by our love, especially our lobe for our Christian family. Let us disagree and discuss things in a calm and respectful manner, to show the rest of the world another way. I can attest that I have no feelings but love and a little confusion towards you as my brother. Let us act like family and not to year each other down needlessly.

        • http://twitter.com/namastechi Namaste Chi

          I’m calling your bluff; you are merely trying to play the soft approach so as to throw grace back in the face of those who believe in grace after mischaracterizing statements as more abrasive than they are.

          • Tarl_hutch

            Interesting idea, please explain to me what is my bluff?

        • Drew

          Although I don’t agree with the way Keith worded his argument, I agree with the spirit of the argument.  We has a Church need to start calling out false teachers and teachings.

          • Tarl_hutch

            Which parts of Bert’s piece do you find to be particularly false? As to make such a statement is very serious, calling into question one’s motives. Very interested in your side…

          • Keith Carr61

            Here is why his arguement is false. If Jesus was the Saviour and you only believe what he said then you will also agree that he appointed 12 men to spread his word. If you discredit what the diciples said about homosexuality then you are saying that Jesus is inept and allowed his ‘chosen’ men to run around spreading false teachings. How absurd is that. Do you have that little faith in Jesus?? or could it be that it is a good excuse to allow sin to be reconciled just because it wasnt directly in ‘red’? You cant separate the teachings of the 12 and deny their divine appointment without calling Jesus a liar……thats a fact.

          • Tarl_hutch

            Excellent point, I do believe that Jesus chose the right men to continue his message. Do I believe every word they said and every did they did is infallible? No. Even Paul had to address a problem with peter and the other apostles appearing to favor the Jewish believers over the gentile ones. I assume you ate mainly pointing to Romans 1 and other sections in the epistles that address sexual immorality, I am not disagreeing with what is said there, only saying that maybe we misunderstand it and that it was more about promiscuity and less how we have seen it. That aside Paul also talks quite a bit about love and grace, and even Romans 2 flips it back on the supposed chosen religious people who assumed they were right. Should we ignore God’s love and mercy for judgement? Surely this is just as bad a fault as its opposite?

          • Drew

            I explained it in another post on this thread.

          • Keith Carr61

            Sorry Drew however there is coming a day…and it is approaching very fast, that you will not be able to sit on the fence….The rhetoric will become much more heated and divisive as the liberals will force the issue of compromising your faith. I for one, am not here to make friends since this is supposed to be a site where we are already Christians. I would do the same thing if I were a part of a team and some of the team members were undermining the program. Tough if they dont like it.

          • Drew

            Well, I think the Higher Education system has been unfairly targeted by conservatives.  Yes, most of the professors are liberal, but rarely does one see a liberal bias.  I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from a public state school and saw little evidence of bias in the classroom.  Although rare, since I was in business school, I also saw some instances of conservative bias.

            Also, while you personally have not seen a gay person turned away from your Church, that does not mean that it happens.  Personal experience is an extremely poor substitute for how the world works and what happens in the world.  I’ve never seen a child sex slave, but I know they exist;  I’ve never seen a gay person be treated poorly by a Church, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

          • Keith Carr61

            Drew, I dont have time right now but I will give you some examples of liberal agendas in college classrooms. I consult with youth every week and 90% of them will give you example after example of liberal professors who challenge their students to contradict their liberal agenda. Happens all the time. Ask Bert, if he would be honest, if he ever states his position on political issues and if he ever ridicules conservative points of view in his class.

          • Drew

            Read carefully, Keith.  I never said it “didn’t” happen.  I just challenged your assumption that it happens on a regular basis.  I would strongly disagree with that statement.  I went to two different schools and had classes that ranged from Eastern Philosophy/Religion to Strategic Business Management, and I found very few examples of liberal or conservative bias that were so severe as to impact my learning.

          • Keith Carr61

            Drew, were those colleges theological ones? In other words was it a religeous college or a liberal school? Just asking ;)

        • Keith Carr61

          Well maybe you need to look up the word ‘rebuke’ I dont consider someone trying to destroy the gospel and spreading untruths as a ‘brother’   Tough Love…..ever heard of it? I think you forget the other side of our father….but you will see it in the end.

          • Tarl_hutch

            It is certainly your place as my brother in Christ to “rebuke” me if you see me going astray, but I believe that it says we should do so out of love. I feel that you think I am trying to attack you and force my beliefs on you. Not so, I am simply
            bringing up a counterpoint to your post and trying to foster a little thought about the possibility of a different interpretation. I hope I can properly express my desire to discuss civilly and as family. There is the possibility that God is judge and has given Christ the authority to do so, while providing redemption for all. I simply believe that I am not authorized to pass judgement when I do not see smothered heart. We can both spill out numerous verses to support our positions, but where do we find unity and redemption between the two?

          • Keith Carr61

            Tarl, Im not sure my friend. I was raised not to compromise my convictions. I believe you are seeing the same thing in congress at this time. There are fundamental differences and we have hit an impass thus nothing is getting done. I will say that I believe you are genuine and truly want to find a solution and I appreciate your spirit. With that said, I must tell you that I believe that by compromising my position it is a sin in itself. How can we relinquish our beliefs without destroying the foundation of why Christ died?? There are numerous verses which specifically condemn homosexual activity and not even different translations can reveal it any other way. The result of liberal interpretation of this issue can be applied to many sins that are not in question at this time but  may at some point be challenged. Where does it end?

          • Tarl_hutch

            I wish I could tell you where the ending will be, but unfortunately I have no clue. Obviously we have a movement within the church, that I believe is at least inspired by Jesus due to the fruits of its mission so far. I for one have had very positive responses from my non Christian and gay friends, which may mean I have slid to far, but I believe I am showing them the way to Christ. They have been inspired by the love, peace, and grace I have demonstrated and have seen Christ in me. And these are people who hate Christians. Through my way of being all things to all people, which is Paul’s saying, I have seen people want to give Jesus another try.

            I think there is a way to reconcile our differences and work to bring the kingdom of God here on earth as it is in heaven. I don’t want anyone to compromise their morals, but there must be some way to find common ground. I am not saying I am perfectly but I am working on the right path. There are so many denominations that all believe but we can find a generous orthodoxy that can find a middle ground while allowing peoples convictions not to be compromised.

    • guest

      “Does your congregation agree with your message? If so the Baptist association should be dealing with it.”
      The founding principles of Baptists in America include the autonomy of the local church, and the priesthood of the believer.  So the Baptist association should not be “dealing” with anything, sir.  I realize there are Baptists that no longer hold these principles, but some of us remember history and still hold them dear.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Keith,
      I decided to read the comments & then read the post itself.
      I would agree with your point that Mr. Montgomery makes an error in equating gay-affirming churches with a move of the Holy Spirit.
      Although all folks seem to do is talk about gay-affirming or not – it really ends up being a surface matter that’s rooted in a deeper question – whether folks & churches decide to ultimately trust the counsel of the whole Bible. I’ve seen some instances of rejecting some Biblical truths in the comments, from those who applaud the movement of gay-affirming churches.
      Although RLC isn’t the blog for this – whether “gay marriage” would become the law of the land & subject to the public protections of marriage is based on the powers that be’s legal understanding of marriage & how a state should define it. If people are interested, there are plenty of other sites with that kind of relevant legal analysis.

  • Tarl_hutch

    When did God decide that he needs us to defend him and his word? It seems like we sometimes take the reigns away from God because we disapprove of the way he is guiding things. I understand a Passion for God and his commands, but where do we draw the line between honesty without compassion and God’s all consuming love and grace? Being that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality during his ministry, which seems odd given the popularity of it in the Roman culture, we see him instead focus on “religious” people and chastising them for their religious arrogance.

    Please take a moment to consider what God’s love looks like in action in regards to our gay brothers and sisters. Does it look like a condemning judge offering love with contingencies, or like a caring friend with open arms persuading people to believe God’s story for them and falling onto his grace?

    • http://twitter.com/namastechi Namaste Chi

      Dude, God called us to be God’s hands and feet. Nobody is taking the reigns away.

    • http://twitter.com/namastechi Namaste Chi

      Dude, God called us to be God’s hands and feet. Nobody is taking the reigns away.

      • Tarl_hutch

        I have always taken that particular passage to mean bringing God’s love and redemptive works to this world. Not so much as a call to defend what God can defend on his own or to necessarily force what I perceive to be his plan. Though obviously you could say I am trying to defend the love and grace of God, while defending that particular stance. I like many of you am worried that we may be misrepresenting God’s desires for his creation, but I would rather focus on showing his love to others so they will see and know him, thus allowing his redemptive power to work in their lives. Thoughts?

      • Anonymous

        who is the Head of that Body?

    • Keith Carr61

      There you go again….Are you saying that the diciples were not God appointed????  Are you saying that God is so inept that he let 12 appointed men run around and say things that arent true??? Are you saying that God allowed these men to spread “hate” in his name?? Please, your arguement is the same as any person who clings to sin…Dont judge, just love me. The problem is that you condemn yourself…not the others you so fear.

      • Tarl_hutch

        Not at all what I am trying to convey, just that I feel God is right to judge, not for me to do. I have no problem with people stating their beliefs and calling sin sin, I just hope we do it in a spirit of love.

        Not sure at what point I accused the apostles of spreading hate, I am mainly addressing the current situation in our church and culture. We are fighting each other and breaking each other down, instead of talking and discussing why we each feel lead by God in such different directions. Your thoughts?

        • Keith Carr61

          I understand that you think that ‘love’ trumps all however I disagree with the fact that ‘love’ allows you to follow your sin and basically tell Jesus that hes not enough and you wont relinquish your sin. I believe that Jesus loves all of us…even the ones he condemns to hell by their choice. My point about the apostles is exactly what you refuse to see. By denouncing the diciples writings you are saying that God chose 12 people to spread the gospel and that they preached and taught contrary to what God teaches. It would be the same thing as the President picking his cabinet and they subvert his message and theology. I dont think that the ruler of the enitre universe picked those who would act, speak, and teach in conflict with his message. That is exactly what you are saying when you say that you dont believe the other passages in the bible just because they arent in RED.
          Think of it another way, if you had Sunday School teachers teaching something contrary to your Pastors position dont you think that your pastor would deal with it?? Do you think he would be silent and never mention it?? Thats right and Jesus never rebuked his diciples for false teachings, thus we must concur that they were teaching according to his word. Really  not that hard but if you want to confuse the issue you can always find those who even question the existence of God. That is where many wind up when they just cant accept Gods word for what it is and says.

          • Tarl_hutch

            Keith, I believe you at least partially misunderstand me. No where have I said I disbelieve any other parts of the bible just because they aren’t in red, I and many others question how they are sometimes interpreted. This of course is common and nothing new, as evidenced by our numerous denominations. I believe I have even given some paraphrased examples in a few of my posts from Paul’s own words.

            I also do not believe love gives you a license to sin, as Paul refuted many times. I simply believe that in our mission we should be welcoming and persuading others to follow Jesus, by living out his love and reconciliation. Then let Jesus and the work of the spirit change their lives. Jesus does not require us to ne perfect to follow him, but works in us as we seek him and changes our hearts.

          • Drew

            Tarl,

            First, I want to commend you on your thoughtfulness and how you engage.  It is very good to see that there are still people like you out there.

            I would just say this – the problem is with unrepentant sin and sinners versus repentant sin and sinners.  The Bible is clear that Christians will still make mistakes and sin.  However, the Bible is also clear that they are to repent.

          • Tarl_hutch

            Thank you for your words and for the continued conversation. I have to agree that we need to acknowledge our sins/repent, I just find that in practice there are many people who respond best to love and grace first and then find that they need to change as they stand in the light of Christ. Now we may disagree on what this looks like, but I believe that even if we are working from different sides we will meet in the middle for the good of the world.

          • Keith Carr61

            I agree again Tarl, I just find it irresponsible to affirm behavour that is contrary to Gods word.

          • Tarl_hutch

            Reckless and irresponsible it may be, but I do believe there is something inherently scandalous about the love of Christ.

            Affirming also may not always be the right term for my actions either. As there are many opinions I will tell my friends when asked. I try to let my life do the talking, though I am not always successful. I do not shy away from speaking my mind, as you guys now well know, but I do temper my words with grace, knowing that I am imperfect and still unfinished.

            I know we all have more in common than we sometimes think, it has become one of my goals to try and get others and myself to see that. I would not want you to feel as if you have done a disservice to someone my not speaking the truth or by compromising something you shouldn’t, but ultimately God will teach out to everyone and do his work to the fullest that he is allowed. It is our goal to facilitate that, but in the end God is responsible for working the change and I play but a small supporting role.

          • Drew

            Actually, I agree with you 100%, and I agree that the best way to respond is with love and grace first.  I named my first child Grace, in fact, because that has been a big part of my own life.

            I don’t go around saying people need to repent; however, when people say that sins are not sins, or that unrepentant sinners can go to heaven, I will correct those people.

          • Keith Carr61

            No arguement here sir. I believe the same thing only I choose not to affirm sin to patronize sin. How can you affirm something that you believe is against Gods will? If I disagree with drug addiction, can I not still love the druggie and not tell them that their addiction is ok and God is pleased with their choice?

  • http://twitter.com/namastechi Namaste Chi

    Excellent, excellent piece. Unfortunately, today’s Pharisees won’t follow Jesus any more than they did when he was here. The only difference is today’s Pharisees are in the church instead of the synagogue. 

    • Drew

      Care to expound on your pithy comment?  It’s easy for liberals to say that all conservatives are Pharisees, but I find it much more engaging to move beyond slogans and actually explain your viewpoint.

    • Anonymous

      that might be true, but there are many kinds of viruses and parasites in His Body, not just Pharisees. we struggle to find His way to live (in the body) while always knowing our intentions (of the mind) matter.

  • http://twitter.com/mrld27 Mike Robert

    Excellent article Bert!

    • http://twitter.com/BertMontgomery Bert Montgomery

      thank you, Mike!

  • Drew

    When I think of Christianity today, I am reminded of the Book of Revelation.  Of the seven Churches, only two Churches were on the right path.  I think that’s where we find ourselves today – relatively few Churches on the right path, holding to scripture, while many Churches have strayed to varying degrees.

    Being black is not a sin and is not a choice, and you cannot find any scripture to say that it is a sin.  Having homosexual sex is a sin and is a choice, and you can find scripture in the Old and New Testament that says it is a sin.  While Jesus does not talk about homosexual sex, he does talk a lot about sexual immorality, of which homosexual sex, as mentioned in the Old and New Testaments, is in that category.  Comparing the Black Civil Rights movement to the Gay Rights movement is intellectually lazy and dishonest.

    Love does not mean that we lie to unrepentant sinners and tell them they don’t have to repent and that everyone goes to heaven and that salvation is available for unrepentant sinners.  Love does not mean that we lie and rewrite and reinterpret or ignore scripture so that everyone can do whatever they want and have Biblical justification.

    A lot of liberals talk about Jesus and the adulterous woman, but what they never mention is that Jesus says to “go and sin no more.”  Love ultimately means that scripture stands – bullying and hate need to be eliminated but the message to sinners is the same – repent.  It’s easier for liberals to tell people that anything they do is okay rather than to tell them to repent, but that is not the truth.

    Bert, I hope you reconsider your false teachings and beliefs.  We need strong Christians in our Universities who have a love for the Word and in an increasingly secular world, will stay true to the Word and not reinterpret, rewrite, or ignore the Word in order to please the world.

    • R Rankin

      I agree with you drew. being black and being gay are apples and oranges. this post disgusts me that we (the church) think that there is even such a thing as “gay” churches. i love all people, but i think we are crossing the lines of APPROVAL and ACCEPTANCE. i accept every gay, mudrerer, rapist, drug addict, prostitute, and liar, but i do not approve of their actions. God is still God and we better make sure we are sitting on the right side.

      Rev 3:16

      • Tarl_hutch

        I think the author was saying that in the past certain Christians used the bible to imply that being black was a sin or at least made them less than human. I believe he is pointing out that today we use the bible to dehumanize gay people and misread the bible about the issue. Whether one agrees with his premise. I believe that is what he was getting at. This also hinges on whether you believe people are born gay or it is a choice.

      • Tarl_hutch

        I think the author was saying that in the past certain Christians used the bible to imply that being black was a sin or at least made them less than human. I believe he is pointing out that today we use the bible to dehumanize gay people and misread the bible about the issue. Whether one agrees with his premise. I believe that is what he was getting at. This also hinges on whether you believe people are born gay or it is a choice.

        • Drew

          Even if one is born gay, having sex is a choice.

          • Tarl_hutch

            But isn’t only pre or extra marital sex a sin? Therefore if you are born gay would that imply that God made you that way or is it a symptom of “original sin”? If it is God creating or allowing people to be gay, then would he also want them to marry out of love and commitment or just remain celibate for their entire lives? What happens when a gay person decides to follow Jesus, but their being gay does not go away? Does this imply God is ok with it or wants them to struggle and never experience love and sex?

            What are your thoughts?

          • Drew

            For the record, Tony Campolo, an Evangelical and creator of Red Letter Christians, believes that the act of homosexuality is a sin but not the orientation.

          • Tarl_hutch

            I would still be interested in your opinion if you are willing to share.

          • Drew

             I did, but I can repeat it here – “This is too long of a discussion to have on a forum, but in general, I
            think celibacy is the most likely path.  While it sounds harsh, there
            are a lot of “harsh” decisions that Christians make, including ones that
            lead to their torture or martyrdom.”

          • Tarl_hutch

            Very interesting, thank you for sharing that. One last thing I am curious about, do you feel God has “made” them this way or is it a condition of original sin?

          • Seth

             Tarl, if I may jump in, I would quote Psalm 51 “Birthed into iniquity, in sin did my mother conceive me” We are born with bent toward depravity, whether gay or straight, that is why Jesus said to Nicodemus, “you must be born again”

          • Drew

            I would point to original sin I suppose.

          • Drew

            I would point to original sin I suppose.

          • Tarl_hutch

            What do we do if someone who is gay becomes a Christian and prays to be healed of his desires, but never feels freed? What does this mean? Also, Seth I see that verse and that does sound like original sin, but it is also a psalm of David directly after he committed adultery, thus is it possible that he is perhaps so overwhelmed with guilt and regret that he is exercising a bit of hyperbole? Not saying this what is happening, but is it possible?

          • Frank

            This life is not the place where we are suppose to feel completely free. That’s for the new heaven and the new earth.

          • Drew

            This is too long of a discussion to have on a forum, but in general, I think celibacy is the most likely path.  While it sounds harsh, there are a lot of “harsh” decisions that Christians make, including ones that lead to their torture or martyrdom.

          • Phineas

            According to Romans 1:21-26:
            “21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
            24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.Amen.

            However, it should be noted that homosexuality isn’t the only thing mentioned there:

            “ 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

            There are plenty of Christians who will rail against homosexuality but ignore the rampant greed in our society.

             

          • Drew

            What’s your point?  That neither should be ignored?  I agree.

          • http://hopingforfigs.wordpress.com/ Michael Killick

             Jesus commended the publican who ‘would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me, a sinner’. Agonising over sin is shown as appropriate. The publican was not comfortable, but he ‘went down to his house justified’.

        • http://twitter.com/BertMontgomery Bert Montgomery

          thanks, Tari!

      • Peacock Lloyd

        It’s quite amazing that ” Some Christians” always seem to lump gay folks together with murderers and rapists. I supposed we could compare that to whites who lumped blacks with dogs. My spouse and I have been in our relationship for 44 years and legally married in Canada for 8 years. We both accepted the Lord Jesus as our Savior in 1988. Though our church is made up primarily of gay and lesbian people, it is a church that welcomes everyone. I have attended mega churches where there is no evidence of the Spirit of God being present. I have yet to attend one that ministered to the LGBT community where God’s presence is not manifested in a visible way. So many Christians remind me of the parable of the good Samaritan. They walk by the person in need, while the drag queen stops and shows mercy. May the Spirit of God show you Truth.

    • Phineas

      I also don’t see being black (or being a member of any ethnic minority) as being equivalent to being gay.

      Yeah, it seems to be fashionable now for a lot of Christians to say that “Jesus never talked about homosexuality” and thus imply that He thought it was OK.  Maybe Jesus didn’t address the topic directly… but then again Jesus was not in a social context where homosexuality would have been very common.  Paul, on the other hand, did move in circles where it would have come up being a Roman citizen who travelled a lot through Greece & Asia Minor where homosexuality would have been fairly common – it was in fact something of an institution in Greece.  And Paul did address the subject very directly in Romans 1.  I’m running into more and more Christians who seem to want to throw out Paul, but I’m definitely not willing to do that at this point – he wrote a huge chunk of the NT after all, and he was probably the single most important developer of Christian Theology after Jesus Himself.

      While Paul mentions homosexual behavior as a mark of a culture that’s forgotten God, he also lists other sins like greed, slandering and arrogance.   Those American Christians who rail very specifically against homosexuality don’t often address those other more socially acceptable sins like greed.

      The Christians on the Right want to especially vilify homosexuality and ignore greed, while those on the Left want to vilify greed but accept homosexuality.  However, we’re called to be neither Left nor Right – we’re called to follow Jesus. 

      • Drew

        Phineas,

        I completely agree with everything you said.

        It is unfortunate when we focus in one any one part of the Bible to the point of excluding others.

      • Drew

        Phineas,

        I completely agree with everything you said.

        It is unfortunate when we focus in one any one part of the Bible to the point of excluding others.

    • Questioning

      I have been on both sides of this issue.  Last summer my son, who is 22 and a Christian, came to me and his mother and informed us he is gay. Walking through this year with him, praying and waiting, I have learned some things.  Like it or not, this entitles me to a perspective some of you do not have.  First some facts, gays are discriminated against, marginalized, bullied, and hated for no other reason than their sexual orientation. They are not breaking the law and most just want the same opportunity as we have to pursue life, liberty and happiness.  In this regard, Bert’s comparison s of gays and blacks is right on the money.  
      All the condemnation of homosexuals is based on two assumptions:  first that their lifestyle is some kind of choice and secondly that it is sinful.  Long before my son made his announcement, I had ceased believing that same sex orientation is any kind of a choice. For those reading this, if you still in this camp, then you may as well stop now and go read something else.  Whether it is genetic, chemical, enviromental  or some combination of the 3 we do not know. Now the only choice really becomes how we respond to it. Some ignore or deny it for years and oftentimes wind up only hurting themselves and others.  Some bravely choose to remain celibate, but this is the same as a heterosexual denying themselves the chance at a lifetime of love and companionship.  It’s just not realistic for the entire population.  So where does this leave us…   but wait it’s sinful and we have to turn away from it or I cannot accept you as a brother or sister in Christ. I am not going to go into the 6 verses that we use to confirm this.  One can find those discussions all over the internet, if truly interested.  There are many fair and evenhanded (in my view) discussions to be found. Given the fact that Jesus never said anything about it and instead said, “Love your neighbor” ,  and that Paul is the only NT figure that ever addressed it, and that the word homosexual only appears in the modern translations of what Paul said, not to mention all I have indicated above, I think  that there may be room for  prayerful reconsideration of the sin assumption.
      If we are unswayed, then on the other side many like to point out that homosexuality is just another symbol of man’s brokenness. I understand this viewpoint and it’s potential validity. Assuming that for a moment and setting it aside, the question becomes how do we respond to this brokenness?  How do we respond to the adulterer, to the fornicator, to the liar, to the thief, to the addict, to the proud, to the gossiper, to the slanderer, to the envious, to the gluttonous, to the lazy….  do I need to go on?  Jesus only said to love them.  But wait we say, homosexuals are living in sin, they have to turn away from that life.  How many of us are not living in sin? We sin every day, by commission or omission, it does not matter. One sin disqualifies us from the prize. Yes Jesus told the woman to “go and sin no more” and maybe she turned away from adultery, but I guarantee she failed at the “sin no more” part.  If we could “sin no more” we would have no need of a savior.  You see, I personally feel there is more at play here than just the sin angle and it is nothing more than prejudice.  Most heterosexuals do not, cannot, and do not want to even think about or try to understand homosexuality.  At worst we find it disgusting and revolting. I get that…   We want it, and any linked to it, as far away from us as possible so let’s shove them over here in the corner and pretend they do not exist. At best we recognize their existence, their struggle and allow them in, only accepting them if they clean themselves up first. 
      Now I believe that the Bible is God’s Word, but it is also a translation done by men.  To think that it has not been influenced by the politics, culture, and knowledge of the days it was done is naïve. Of course we all know the Catholic Bible has books not in the Protestant Bible.  What does this mean?  Whose version of truth, interpretation and scripture is right? Is it my tribe’s version?  I wonder if too many of us base our truth decisions on tradition, upbringing and rhetoric rather than thoughtful prayer, reflection and spiritual discernment.  Some examples:  people who said the earth was round were once thought of as heretics.  Not so long ago we used the Bible to rationalize that slavery was accepted and the Southern Baptist convention was born, not to mention that hundreds of thousands died fighting over it.  Not too long after that we rationalized that “separate but equal” status was acceptable and enacted laws to enforce it.  None of these things could have happened without the support of Christians.  I hope you see where I am going. In every case, we were wrong. 
      This leads me to the point I really want to make.  I honestly don’t know whether I am right or wrong, especially with respect to the sin assumption, but I think my current leanings are obvious.  As I said above, I am praying and waiting and this is what I wish I would see more of in these discussions.  I wish we would stop with all the hate speak, stop assuming we are right and that our version of truth is the correct one, and wrap our minds around the fact that we need to go to God with this. People are being hurt because of us and our attitudes.  But wait, we say we do not hate gays and we may believe that.  But when we call them an abomination, blasphemers, and sinners, as I have seen done here many times, I guarantee you hate is what they feel.  

      • Tarl_hutch

        Thank you for sharing your very personal, messy, beautiful story. I believe it is one that needs to be told. Just know there are many of us, and growing every day, that are trying to forge a way to rise above discrimination, misunderstanding, and sometimes hate. We may never know in this life exactly why and what God wants us to do regarding issues such as these, but I for one would rather err on the side of love and grace. Thank you for adding your voice to the conversation.

        • Drew

          Tarl,

          Err on the side of love and grace, but not on the atheistic, secular, and politically liberal definition of love and grace, but rather, the Biblical definition of love and grace.  Love does not mean that we rewrite, reinterpret, or ignore scripture so that man feels better about himself, as the atheists, secularists, and political liberals want us to do.

          • Tarl_hutch

            Drew,

            Thank you for your continued conversation and for you Passion and concern for the gospel. I do want you to know I am not interested in rewriting the bible or lessening the true love and grace of God. I do try and avoid creatinf such an us vs them mentality relating to other Christians or non Christians, but I do believe what love nonbelievers experience ultimately still derives from God, at least in all positive ways.

            I err on the side of the prodigal son, whose father did not even let him fully apologise and loved him and accepted him even as he was far away. I err on the side of the “good samaritan” who loved those who were different while requiring nothing in return. I err on the side of the good shepherd who left his flock to find the one wayward sheep despite the danger and despite the lost sheep itself. I err on the side of the woman who lost but one coin, searched all day for it, only to throw a party at its finding. I choose to err in the side of the bible, holding to truth yet fully realized and grace and mercy abounding.

            I am glad their are people in this world like yourself, that strive to keep truth and goodness in the world. It makes it easier for people such as myself to spread the good news of the reconciliation offered by Jesus.

          • Drew

            There is a lot of false teaching out there under the guise of love.  Pastors like Joel Osteen teach the false prosperity gospel out of “love.”  Rob Bell teaches false views of hell and God out of “love.”  And I believe many churches/pastors/Christians are teaching false views around homosexuality and whether or not it is a sin out of “love.”  Real love, however, is telling the truth about the Word and about God. 

          • Tatl_hutch

            You know one interesting thing about falling in love, and bear with me on this, is when you fall in love or feel love, you see things differently and sometimes through rose colored glasses. When we fall in love, sometimes we don’t see the full truth of the person we are enamored with, but we fall in love nevertheless.

            I say this to point out that the full “truth” is not totally necessary to fall in love and give your life to someone. So in one essence, love and truth are not necessarily tied hand in hand. Sometimes the full truth comes later, but more often than not we never fully get to know another person. We continue to be surprised and what we thought of as true, was only a half truth.

            I think this analogy can work with our relationship with God. Not many of us know all the truth about God when we fall in love with him and we are constantly surprised by what we discover about him for the rest of our lives.

            One other thought on some of the “false doctrines” listed above, is that they too can use a slew of bible verses to prove their point, even using the overall arch of scripture. What makes yours, or my, reading of those very same verses more true than theirs? Just a question I find interesting.

      • Drew

        Thank you for sharing.  It’s not easy sharing personal stories.  I disagree with you on many points, but out of respect, I will not share those points of disagreement.  Instead, I will focus on one thing we can agree on – that the violence against the LGBT community, whether physical or mental, needs to stop.

      • Frank

        They should feel hate but towards their sin. The fact that they hate those who uphold Gods word simply shows a misdirected hatred. What they really hate is God and they need to take it up with Him.

        • Questioning

          I don’t think you understood a word I typed, but that’s neither here nor there. So a few observations….   You say they should hate their sin, i.e. hate themselves for something they did not choose.  Secondly, I did not say anything about “them” hating those who uphold God’s word. I said they feel hate “from” those who uphold God’s word and some do return hate for hate. We can debate who hated who first. but it would be pointless. I hope they do take it up with God, especially since the church seems to be so unwelcoming.     

          • Frank

            I did understand what you wrote. Very little in this life is of our choosing except our behavior and even then sin is a powerful force working against Godly choices. I never said they should hate themselves. They should hate their sin. The problem lies when we make our sin our identity and then of course we hate ourselves because we make our sin our identity. And I would dare say that hatred is healthy and if properly understood can move us closer to God. The people who encourage sin and tell people they are born that way and cannot change. They are the real haters. But once again their hatred is caused by sin.

            All that being said Gods word that homosexual behavior is sinful is not hatred. And the people who point that out are not haters either.

          • Questioning

            I think you are still missing my point. Let me try to make it this way. Are there fat people in your church. The Bible clearly lists gluttony as a deadly sin.  Are you loving them and pointing out their sin? Are there people who appear to be lazy? There’s that sloth thing…. Are there people who have divoced and remarried? Serial monogamists? Are we pointing out and warning about these sins? I doubt it. One of my primary points was that there is another element to this sin discussion and it’s nothing more than prejudice. We don’t like homosexuals. Until we recognize it and accept that it is an 800 pound gorilla in the room, we will only continue to neatly wrap and tie it in “clobber” bible verses. Oh and it’s pretty widely accepted now that therapy does not work in “changing” homosexuals. God can change anything but it does not mean He will. 

          • Otro tierra

            Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Indeed, The bible is clearly against gluttony. In addition, Jesus repeatedly taught against divorce. But on these topics, Frank becomes curiously silent. Suddenly, Jesus is curiously missing in Frank’s fanfare. 

          • Frank

            Give me a break. No one is suggesting that gluttony, slothfulness, etc… Is not a sin.

            So can we all agree homosexual behavior is a sin?

          • Questioning

            I’m afraid you are still missing or perhaps ignoring my point. Folks like to point out the Bible verses that seem to condemn homosexuality, while the Bible is very clear on the topic of gluttony, if we are just cherry picking verses. However, gluttony gets a pass when we are ”rebuking” and correctring others while homosexuals are marginalized and bullied. Why? Again, because we don’t like homesexuals. That’s nothing more than prejudice and it is decidedly unloving. In this case WE are being the judges, not God. Should we enact an Amendment that says gluttons can only eat at certain times of the day or only certain amounts or in certain places because they offend me and the Bible says it is sinful?                

          • Anonymous

            I’m sorry, but I’m running short of “first stones” to throw. Can I borrow some of yours?

          • Otro tierra

            OK, Frank, fair enough. Regarding your question: homosexual subjectivity, as it is currently debated, is not addressed in the bible. The physical act of “sodomy,” however, is indeed clearly referenced by Levitical Law as “toeva” or “taboo behavior” such as eating shrimp, a husband sleeping with his wife while she’s menstruating, or wearing two different kinds of fabric at the same time. 

            In short, we can agree that physical acts of sodomy are indeed addressed  under Levitical Law. 

      • Peacock Lloyd

        WOW! Your son is a very lucky young man, to have parents like you. There are so many parents that disown their children when they find out they are gay or lesbian. There are countless stories of children who have taken their lives because they are rejected by their church, and even their parents. When I met my spouse, he was 21 and I was 26. He is now 65 and I am 70. Your words touched my spirit and I do know that God’s Spirit was on the keyboard as you typed. My prayer is that other parents would be as thoughtful as you if they are faced with a child telling them their sexual orientation is different. To your so I would say; live your life to the fullest, and keep your eyes on Jesus. I would like to share your story of my Facebook page. God bless you.

        • Questioning

          no worries… feel free to share.

    • Frank

      Very well said!

    • Clschmitt

      I was going to reply to the article, but you said it absolutely perfectly.  Thank you.

    • Anonymous

      I’m just curious. If we need leaders who will “not reinterpret, rewrite, or ignore the Word in order to please the world” why do you do it? I’ve searched the scriptures pretty thoroughly, often in the original languages, and I just can’t find that part where where any of us is given the right to judge other people or decide whether or not they qualify as “sinners.” What passage was that, exactly? 

      BTW. Exodus 22:18 commands that you do not suffer a witch to live. Christine O’Donnell once confessed on television to having dabbled in witchcraft, and I’ve heard that Stevie Nicks has as well. I’ve not read where you have taken it upon yourself to kill either of them yet, but I’m willing to show you the same sort of grace you apparently wish to extend to the homosexual population by forgiving you in expectation that you are making plans to repent and kill them soon. You’re welcome.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

    Very well written, Bert Montgomery! I look forward to meeting more courageous Christians like yourself.

    • Drew

      Courageous?  How so?  The secular world is in love with Pastors like Bert that will rewrite the Bible so that anything goes.

      • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

        The secular world has been in love with pastors who preach homosexuality is a sin for centuries. Literally. That alone should give every Christian who has been taught that cause for pause. (By your own arguement, of course.)

        Only very recently has any national poll shown that a very, very slim majority supports gay marriage.

        • Drew

          So, again, if America supports civil unions, and college campuses overwhelmingly support and celebrate homosexuality, where is Bert being courageous?

          I would argue that he has an extreme lack of courage – that liberals are shriveling under secular pressure at this moment in history.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            61% of NC voters are against gay christians and any who support them, like Bert. It takes courage to stand with a minority.

            Standing with the majority is safe and far more comfortable. But then you know this.

          • Tarl_hutch

            Very true. I live in NC and it has been a bit crazy. It has been disconcerting to see members of the same church viciously attacking one another and then blaming each other for being insensitive.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            We’re definitely at the crossroads on this issue (finally). The church has caved to the popular culture’s view of homosexuality for 2000 years and now when some Christians, like Bert, are standing up for scripture (courageously) they are the ones accused of caving to public pressure. If it weren’t so sad (how we’re oppressing a minority in Jesus’ name) I’d be laughing at the ironic absurdity of this turn of events all day long.

          • Drew

            Ric,

            Unrepentant sinners end up in hell.  Telling them that they end up anywhere else is not love, it is the definition of hate.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Way to stay on topic, Drew. Hysterical.

          • Drew

            Everything is foolish or hysterical or ironic to you.  Good luck with that, sir.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Drew, rest assured, you do not know me.

          • Phineas

            Homosexuality was actually rather popular in many ancient pagan cultures such as ancient Greece as well as Roman culture.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

             My bad. Its only been like 1.6 millenia. Good catch. Irrelevant, but true. For Greece and Rome. Basically. 2000 for pretty much everywhere else.

          • Drew

            NC has nothing to do with this.  Stay on topic.  Again, what is particularly courageous about Bert?  Again, I would state that it is more courageous to take a stand for Scripture than against – the Bible is clear that worldly rewards are abundant for those who love the world.  I’m sure Bert is looked favorably upon on his college campus for views that are in full agreement with his college students.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Your denial is making you appear foolish, Drew. I’m assuming your friends have already made you aware of this.

          • Drew

            I will pray for you, Ric, that the love of the Word replaces your love for things other than the Word.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Disagree again. Dismissive of relevant, current data. 

            Do you find when you introduce yourself to people with dismissive comments and insults that it leads to charitable conversations? 

            It is here that I decided to treat as a troll. 

          • Frank

            Keep up the good work Drew! You are defining real courage.

          • Phineas

            NC is a Southern Bible Belt state.  It’s easy to be culturally Christian there.  Other polls indicate that over 1/2 of Americans now support gay marriage.  And it’s certainly higher than that in places like California and NY (large population centers).  So to echo Drew, how is it a courageous stand at this point?  Even the President came out in support a couple of days ago.

            Now I certainly think that the American Evangelical church has used this topic in the culture wars while ignoring other sins mentioned in the Bible (Romans 1 mentions other sins of a culture that has forgotten God including greed and arrogance – those seem to be acceptable sins to American Christians) – the Church has been rather imbalanced on the issue for sure.   But that doesn’t mean it’s time to declare homosexual behaviour as  suddenly acceptable either.  

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Phineas,

            So Starkville, Mississippi is no longer in the bible belt? And Bert only yesterday after president’s interview started to stand with the oppressed?

            I understand denial reluctance to read, listen & learn anything that nicks with our denial.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Phineas,

            So Starkville, Mississippi is no longer in the bible belt? And Bert only yesterday after president’s interview started to stand with the oppressed?

            I understand denial reluctance to read, listen & learn anything that nicks with our denial.

          • Drew

            Ric,

            You are extremely selective in what pieces of evidence you listen to.  I pray that you do not read the Bible in the same manner.

            Yes, Bert is in Mississippi, but he is also on a college campus, where homosexuality is much more acceptable.

            Please be thorough when reading our replies, and think them through before you respond.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

              Drew,

            You are extremely selective in what pieces of evidence you listen to.  I pray that you do not read the Bible in the same manner.

            Yes, Bert is on a college campus, where homosexuality is much more acceptable but he  is also in Mississippi, USA, which is a veritable capital of the conservative bible belt.

            Please be thorough when reading replies, and think them through before you respond.

          • Drew

            Proverbs 9:7  “Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.”

            Isn’t that the truth.  Good day, Ric.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Here you disagree with me again. 
            You insult the author (extreme lack of courage).
            You insult all like him (shriveling liberals). 

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            So it’s ok for you to be dismissive and insulting but not anyone else? This is trolling, Drew.

      • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

        Drew (and/or Phineas),

        I’m posting here since the indentation is making it ridiculously difficult to read.

        You are posting anonymously on a website with which you staunchly disagree. That is the definition of an internet troll.

        If you want to be treated as a human being instead, please link to your blog/web-presence and show yourself. Show us that you actually are taking a courageous stand for what you believe. Show us you are unafraid. Show us you are for real and not simply a “liberal progressive” posting as a “conservative fundamentalist” just to have fun. Show us you are not spending your days pathetically trolling the internet simply to poo-poo everyone and everything you think is wrong. In short, show us your ministry of love and reconciliation extends far, far beyond posting negative comments on blogs you dislike.

        • Drew

          Ric,

          I now understand why your heart was full of mockery – it was because you have a lack of understanding, and decided to respond with mockery, score, and derision.  I hope that by responding to you that you will have understanding and put the mockery behind you and replace it with love.

          I have great respect for Tony Campolo.  I own the RLC book, visit this website regularly, and listen to most of his podcasts.  If you do not know, Tony Campolo is a Evangelical that values Scripture and has a conservative interpretation of Scripture (believes the act of homoexuality is a sin among other views).  However, he has seen the Evangelical movement corrupted by conservative (and often secular) politics and wants the RLC movement to bring the Evangelical community back on track.  I largely agree with this sentiment.  So no, I do not staunchly disagree with Mr. Campolo or with the RLC movement.  In fact, I have only voted Democrats for national offices since 2002, so I am hardly a staunch political conservative.  In fact, politically, I am typically a democrat.  But I digress.

          I have posted on this website regularly for over a year.  Yes, I have been critical at times, but I have also praised at times.  In fact, if you look at the last ten blog posts, I have not posted on six (although I did vote for George to win the van), I largely agreed with three posts, and I strongly disagreed with one post.  The reason why I generally post is that I get bothered when I see conservative or liberal politics elevated above Scripture.  What is unique about this website is that while Tony is a fairly conservative Evangelical, most of the people posting are not.  There are a lot of Mainliners that post that have an entirely different view of Scripture than Evangelicals.  This is where a lot of the tension comes from, in my opinion.

          As for being anonymous, my name is Drew (well, Andrew) so that is not a fake handle.  I don’t have a blog or a twitter account or a website, which is the reason that is not linked to my name.  I suppose I could link my Facebook page to it, but I only wish friends and family to visit my Facebook page, as it is pretty personal ( I have under 80 connections, as I post mostly family stuff on there).

          Frankly, I don’t get why people like Keith or Matt come to this site, but this is why I come to this site.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            This comment makes you look more human. It is at odds with your discourse with me up to this point.

          • Drew

            To be fair, you mocked me in nearly ever post.  However, that is in the past.

            I know the temptation is there to shout “troll” whenever someone agrees, especially since that is typically the case.  However, posting critically on one topic doth not make a troll.

          • Drew

            I prayed for you once today Ric, and I will continue to pray for you.  At this point, that is all I can do.

      • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

        Here you disagree with me and challenge me to prove my point.

        • Drew

           That’s the definition of a discussion, Ric.  Not actually a revelation, buddy.

      • Peter’s Legacy

        Courage is in facing reality. The secular world has very little regard for Christian leaders who seek to correct our mistaken exclusion of gay Christians. Stop assuming. Go check it out yourself. Go take a poll of all the secular people you know. Ask them if they would be comfortable car pooling with a gay couple, going to a dinner party where most guests would be gay couples, being best man at a gay couples wedding. Many might say they would do it if they had to for the sake of courtesy. But I assure you, most will let you know they are uncomfortable with it. Thanks be to God, the country is finally changing. But it still takes a lot of courage to be in an openly gay relationship. And there is still great cost for a Christian leader to call out the wrong that we do by excluding our gay Christian brothers from the blessings of marriage and ordination

    • http://twitter.com/BertMontgomery Bert Montgomery

      thanks, Ric!

  • Karl Ziegler

    Well said my Misfit, Exile, Gay-Loving, People-Not-Like-Us Loving Friend. I don’t stand behind you. I stand beside you shoulder-to-shoulder looking and moving forward.

    • http://twitter.com/BertMontgomery Bert Montgomery

      Thanks, Karl!

      • Drew

        I find it disappointing that you are only responding to everyone that is in lockstep with you.  At least Ian had the courage to respond to those who disagreed with him as well.

        • http://twitter.com/BertMontgomery Bert Montgomery

          Drew, it’s not that I am only responding to those in agreement with me — well, maybe I am.  I’ve stated my thoughts in the article.  I have nothing to debate which is what people want to do.  I’m just pleased that it has spoken to some folks and I’m not surprised that it upset many folks.

          Blessings and peace to you in the name of Christ our Lord whose grace is greater than all our sins, and even greater than all our certainties (yours and mine included).

          • Drew

            I understand, some people debate for the sake of debating.  I try not to, but sometimes I do.  In any case, thanks for sharing your reasoning.

  • Matt

    Frankly, all of this comparing the gay rights movement to the civil rights movement against segregation is incredibly insulting to black Americans. How is it that people see these issues as att all similar? Homosexuality is expressly condemned all throughout the bible including the new testament. Being black is not. Now of course Christians shouldn’t try to legislate our morality, but please stop belittling our black brothers and sisters. 

    • http://twitter.com/BertMontgomery Bert Montgomery

      Matt, thanks for your comment. However, I couldn’t disagree more.  In slavery and in times of segregation, the Bible was “clearly” understood, interpreted, and used to justify that blacks were created by God as inferior and as naturally servant animals.  That sounds so unbiblical today, but it’s true. To advocate for abolition of slavery was clearly “unbiblical.” To advocate for integration was against God’s declared natural order as expressed in the Bible. So yes, the way “Christians” treat the LGBT community, the way we talk about the LGBT community, the way we justify their damnation or celebrate their deaths, or sit idly by while bullying leads to suicides … yes. It’s exactly the same.  Thank God He’s bigger than our understanding!

  • http://twitter.com/sle1313 Samantha

    Can someone direct me to where in the Bible reference is made to committed monogamous homosexuals? It seems to me that Paul would have been encountering a different sort of homosexuality.
     
    And on the topic of gay marriage, if ‘we’ wish to enact laws in this ‘Christian’ nation against sexual sin, why not start with making it illegal to have sex outside of marriage and prohibit divorce? If the sanctity of marriage is so important why don’t we spend millions lobbying and get on soapboxes to prevent the heterosexual communities’ abuse of marriage?
     
    I’m not just trying to be argumentative, but I seriously have not heard a single intelligent compelling answer to these questions I have. I really try to at least understand the perspective of my brothers and sisters when I disagree on an issue, but on this issue I remain unable to understand it.

    • Drew

      The Bible is clear in that homosexuality (at least the sexual act of) is a sin – Old Testament and New Testament.  Jesus did not explicitly speak of homosexuality, but it was implicit when he preached against sexual immorality.  As for not mentioning specific derivations of homosexuality (such as committed, monogamous), it would seem to me that is because all homosexual acts are a sin – it makes no difference in which context you put it in.  If you are unable to understand the issue, I would find a pastor or Church that is grounded in solid teaching from the Bible to help explain it to you.

      Homosexuality is not banned, so it is illogical of you to suggest that premarital sex should be banned as well.  As for the divorce rate in heterosexual marriage in the U.S., it is far too high; however, how does that in any way justify gay marriage?  Just because marriage has been cheapened does not mean that we should cheapen it even more.  I’m not a fan of slippery slope theories, but they do occasionally have credence.  It is amazing to me that right behind the gay marriage train is the polygamy train.  Talking on this website a lot I have seen scant opposition to polygamy, since gay marriage argument (consenting adults) can apply to polygamy as well.

    • Otro tierra

      Samantha, thank you for your insightful comments and questions. You are 100% correct…homosexual subjectivity, as it is understood and debated today, is absent in the scriptures. (Physical acts of “sodomy,” addressed as “toevah” or taboo behaviors under Levitical Law, are not synonymous with homosexual subjectivity). 

  • Keith Carr61

    What if we approched drug addiction in the same manner? What if drug attics organized and told you that their addiction was from their prenatal parents’ use of drugs therefore they have a genetic predisposition for using drugs? How would we address this issue? Should the church say it is ok and Jesus loves them. Would we tell them that Jesus doesnt hold them accountable for using drugs and the issues that an addicted lifestyle would bring? Take it to the secular world. If AA told their participants that its ok to still do drugs as long as they came to the meetings because none of us are perfect. What kind of success would they have in helping their members??
    From reading the posts on this blog it seems that most of you want to allow homosexual activity in your churches and never teach that it is a sin. What are we going to church for? Are you just in it for the “love” and feel good message? What difference is there between the saved and unsaved? Why send them to hell? Is it just a matter of saying I ‘accept’ you Lord and then never living as though his death meant anything? If a gay person gets mad with the message of Jesus then their fight is with him however when you bring it to the masses and ‘demand’ acceptance when some believe it is a sin then what do you expect? Are you saying that you cant come to church because people treat you bad or because they dont accept you lifestyle?
    I continue to be amazed at the twisting of scripture to blur the lines between right and wrong.
    My last point is this. If homosexuality is in your genes, that means that someone in your family had it too. I know many families who never had a single gay person in their family for generations and then all of a sudden someone turns up gay. Scientifically that is impossible just as blue eyes, green eyes, short, tall etc are manifested form generation to generation. Also, you can not explain bi-sexual people unless you want to say that the ‘gene’ is bi polar. You also cannot explain why people turn from being gay when they accept Christ and turn from that lifestyle. I didnt say they never have the urge for as we know the devil works on us daily and if you tasted the sin then he wants to feed you more of the same. God “hates” sin. All of it. We are hypocrits when we pick and choose what we want to ignore or accept. The difference here is that the gay community wants the church to condone something that is at the very core of why the church exists. I submit it is the gay community that is being unreasonable in their request for the rest of us to ‘ignore’ sin and play along. What I am posting will be attacked and railed against as ignorant, homophobic and out of date and my response to them will be the same as always. ” Jesus is all I need”  no other approval is needed.

  • Arynne

    Reading these comments makes me sad and terribly angry. Or angry and terribly sad. It’s hard to tell the two apart right now.

    I cannot believe that some people here see gays and lesbians as equivalent to rapists and murderers. Or to heroin addicts. How many LBGT people do you actually know?

    The greatest human joy I have ever known has been in my relationship with the woman I love, and the greatest source of delight. She motivates me to be a better person, in order to be worthy of her…and she says the same about me. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who sees our bond as “missing the mark” (to use the original definition of the word “sin”) has logs in both eyes and cannot see the target at all.

    (And for the record, Paul was not one of the chosen Twelve. He was a very much a self-appointed Apostle.)

    • http://twitter.com/BertMontgomery Bert Montgomery

      Blessings and peace to you Arynne … thanks for your courage.

      • Arynne

        Thank you, Reverend, but I don’t really deserve to be called courageous. I live in a big city, follow a profession in the arts and attend a welcoming and affirming church. I’m not putting myself at too much risk by being honest. The courageous people are the ones who dare to affirm both their sexual identity and their faith in very different settings. 

    • Frank

      How sad that the greatest relationship you have ever known is not with Christ. Your raising up your human relationship is very telling. You have so missed the mark that you are oblivious to it..

      • Arynne

        I said “human joy”, Frank. I never said human relationships were the only thing I had. 

        When I go out at night and look and the stars; when I watch the rising and setting of the sun; when I walk through a sleepy summer meadow or a golden autumn forest; when I sing carols at Christmas in a church lit only by the candles we hold, or hymns at Easter in a sanctuary filled with green and blooming signs of resurrection; and yes, when I lie embraced by love and blessed by intimacy — all these are relationships between me and another. I don’t feel them to be in conflict with each other. I know that they spring from the same source, Who created them and sees that they are good.

        I’m not oblivious. I see quite clearly that I’ve been blessed.   

        • Frank

          Arynne thanks for clarifying but you only further expose your own deception. God blesses with Godly relationships and active homosexual relationships are not Godly according to His Word. I am sorry and I pray you see the truth one day.

          • Arynne

            I don’t see Paul of Tarsus as being identical with my Creator, Frank. And besides, if I felt myself eternally bound by every line he ever wrote, I’d have to support slavery and other disgusting (and obsolete) societal institutions. We understand now that slavery is wrong, as people in Paul’s time obviously didn’t. We should understand now that homophobia is wrong as well.

            Beyond that, there’s not much you and I can say to one another. Your interpretation of Scripture makes it necessary for you to see me as delusional and deceived, and ignore the love, peace, and yes, grace I experience every day. Since you cannot accept my life experiences as real, and I don’t grant you the authority to decide what’s real and what isn’t, we have nothing to discuss.

          • Frank

            Just remember Satan knows scripture very well and is the father of lies which means his lies really do seem like truth.

          • Arynne

            Just remember that the same caution applies to you.

          • Frank

            Thats why we must trust what Gods word says even if it makes us uncomfortable or does not make human sense. One way to know Satan is involved is if our decision fulfills a human desire. Homosexual behavior is one of those things.

          • Peter’s Legacy

            Every sane atheist, Bhuddist, Muslim, Jewish and Christian parent intensely feels a human desire to nurture and love their child. It’s built-in as are many other good, healthy human desires. Having a same-sex orientation is one of those normal, healthy desires. And fulfilling it by seeking to marry another Christian with the same orientation is certainly as blessed by God as is the marriage of straight Christians. Turning those healthy desires towards the abuse and harm and exploitation of others is where the sin lies. Always has been.
            If we seek a spiritual discipline–to do something for God that may make no logical sense to the world–let it be a discipline which demands our own personal sacrifice–not a sacrifice we place on others. For example, we can acknowledge that responsible, moderate consumption of alcohol is not a sin. Yet, to completely abstain could be considered a spiritual discipline intended to keep the sanctity of the temple of the Holy Spirit. But to declare that God requires others to abstain–that’s where the Pharisee bit comes in. How about no fast food? How about double tithing? How about fasting? How about no computer/no TV on Sunday? Etc. etc. choose your discipline. Just don’t call a healthy human desire in others sinful until you can demonstrate in the real world that it harms others. If you fail to recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in the relationship of your gay Christian brothers you risk committing the one unforgivable sin–grieving the Holy Spirit.

      • http://twitter.com/BertMontgomery Bert Montgomery

        Frank, as you throw your stones, I commend you for your apparent success in removing the log in your own eye that allows you to be concerned for the speck in others’ eyes. It is by God’s grace in Christ that we are called His children, not by being able to “hit” any “mark.” It is in human relationships that we catch glimpses of the Holiness of God – the image of God in each of us, and ultimately in the human incarnation of Jesus.  

        • Frank

          I agree Bert that we see Christ in our Godly relationships but homosexual behavior is not Godly.

          Believe me I see the planks in my life quite well and I know there are probably ones I still have to discover but that in no way invalidates observations.

    • Otro tierra

      Thank you Arynne for your thoughtful comment. You give us much to think about and ponder! Amen!

  • Peacock Lloyd

    Dear Frank, I for one don’t believe homosexuality is a sin, nor heterosexuality. The real sin is when we abuse others in the Name of God.

    • Frank

      It’s not abuse to tell people not to sin.

  • Anonymous

    I remember a few years ago, driving a van full of senior citizens to a church-sponsored outing at a nearby monastery. It was a great learning experience for everyone, but somehow, on the trip, I overheard a woman talking about the issue of homosexuality. At one point, in an effort to be magnanimous, she said something like “I guess I can live with their being around, but I just can’t stand the fact that they persist in protesting, asking for rights, and being who they are in public.” At that point, I just had to ask her if she remembered ever hearing anyone say anything similar about black folks back in the 50′s and 60′s. It was the last time I ever heard her talk about the issue.

    It seems that, human nature being what it is, we will always be looking for some “other” to put down and oppress, if for no other reason than to make ourselves feel better. It pains me that some of the worst offenders in that regard are people who were, themselves, recently oppressed - as if they feel a need to get back some dignity by heaping similar indignities upon others. It’s just too bad that after all these years, people who claim to follow Christ use that claim as the basis to oppress others.

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