Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Kath

Homosexuality And The Progressive Christian

191 posts in this topic

Hello, my new friends.

 

Let's get started.

 

I'd very much like to know the thoughts of 'progressive' Christians on the subject of homosexuality.

 

respectfully,

 

Kath

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I belong to a "More Light" church. It is one of a small percentage of Presbyterian (PCUSA) congregations that supports full inclusion of people in the life of the church without regard to, among other things, sexual orientation. Does that help?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Kath,

 

Point 4 of the 8 points pretty well covers it but if you use the search function, you will find many discussions concerning homosexuallity or you can continue this one if you like. It has been a well discussed subject here.

 

Joseph

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I belong to a "More Light" church. It is one of a small percentage of Presbyterian (PCUSA) congregations that supports full inclusion of people in the life of the church without regard to, among other things, sexual orientation. Does that help?

 

Thanks for your reply Grampa~

 

I'm glad to hear of your church. I'm not gay but I am a supporter of gay rights. Being a Presbyterian church, I wonder how they preach the bible and avoid the whole "abomination" thing.

 

Thanks also for response from JosephM!

 

Kathy

Edited by Kath
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your reply Grampa~

 

I'm glad to hear of your church. I'm not gay but I am a supporter of gay rights. Being a Presbyterian church, I wonder how they preach the bible and avoid the whole "abomination" thing.

 

Thanks also for response from JosephM!

 

Kathy

 

Hi Kath,

 

Much like I am not Dutch in another thread, I'm not Grandpa Wombat here :)

Nevertheless, here is a good place to start on things with the PC(USA). This page is on the ordination of homosexuals, and this one has work to deal with matters of what is Biblical.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am definitely a supporter of gay rights, same-sex marriage, etc.

 

As far as how to support that biblically, I used to worry about that some, but I really don't today. I know there are interpretations on the "abomination" passages that are different from the way conservative Christianity interprets them.

 

Basically, any relationship can be an "abomination" before God, if it is loveless & abusive. Contrarily, relationships (traditional or same-sex) that are loving and nurturing do not fall into that category.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Kath,

 

Much like I am not Dutch in another thread, I'm not Grandpa Wombat here :)

Nevertheless, here is a good place to start on things with the PC(USA). This page is on the ordination of homosexuals, and this one has work to deal with matters of what is Biblical.

 

Thanks, Nick~ I'm still new at this, so don't be surprised if I even call you "Kath" until I get the hang of it! :rolleyes:

Kath

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am definitely a supporter of gay rights, same-sex marriage, etc.

 

As far as how to support that biblically, I used to worry about that some, but I really don't today. I know there are interpretations on the "abomination" passages that are different from the way conservative Christianity interprets them.

 

Basically, any relationship can be an "abomination" before God, if it is loveless & abusive. Contrarily, relationships (traditional or same-sex) that are loving and nurturing do not fall into that category.

 

Hi Marsha~

 

Thanks for your response! Yes, you know this, and I know this, but I wonder how many churches which consider themselves 'progressive' are pastored by one who not only does not preach the bible literally, but is mindful of the mixed associations.

 

I wonder how the gay Christian population is able to find a gay-friendly church? However, as I ask the question, I'm sure there must be publications which contain information regarding this.

 

Kath

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kath,

 

You can go to our main site here to look up progressive churches that support the 8 points which includes to be inclusive of gays. Here

 

PS No log-in is required to use the search function for churches on the right side of page or other areas of the site for that matter.

 

Joseph

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Joseph! It's a great resource. I hope it shows up on google searches as well!

 

Kath

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Kath. You asked, "Being a Presbyterian church, I wonder how they preach the bible and avoid the whole 'abomination' thing." Then I think it was Nick who provided some links that are probably very helpful. But I wanted to respond with some personal reflections. In Leviticus, abominations were particularly associated with worship of other gods. So if a man had sex with a male cult prostitute in the Temple of Baal in order to insure a fruitful crop from his fields, that was such an act. And it is my impression that the Hebrew word that the KJV translated as "mankind" was actually intended to describe such a person as a male cult prostitute.

 

There are half a dozen or so passages that are supposed to indicate "clearly" that homosexuality is sinful. One in particular is from Romans 1. JSS discussed it in some detail in The Sins of Scripture. I'm biased of course, but I don't think any of these passages, even if taken authoritatively, actually prove the case.

 

But that brings up the question of the nature of Biblical authority, and my experience is that there is a wide spectrum of beliefs in the PCUSA in that regard. Among the Presbys that I hang out with, proof texting is not held in very high regard, for example.

 

Right now, the denomination is dealing with a proposed change in the Book of Order regarding who can be ordained, and whether language that excludes LGBT folks should be removed. Twenty years ago it wasn't even discussed, but this year it is going to be a close vote, which says to me that the denomination is moving in the right direction.

 

Don

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don,

 

"And it is my impression that the Hebrew word that the KJV translated as "mankind" was actually intended to describe such a person as a male cult prostitute."

 

I am interested in the Semitic languages including Hebrew. If you can cite a specific passage with this word, I would like to check it out. If you are interested, I would be happy to report back what I find.

 

George

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lev. 18:22 and 20:13

 

I looked at these verses and saw nothing unusual or interesting. The Hebrew words are 'ish 'man,' zakar 'male' and 'isha 'woman.' They seem pretty mundane to me.

 

George

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, Don!

 

And it is my impression that the Hebrew word that the KJV translated as "mankind" was actually intended to describe such a person as a male cult prostitute.

 

This is interesting. Realizing how so many things have been mis-translated by scribes as well as the people reading the bible, it shows how it's so obviously easy to take a quote from the bible and make of it as one wishes. And people being the sheeple they most predominantly have been in orthodox churches, it would be a struggle for pastors to think on their own.

 

Why they would even translate as a male cult prostitute in itself says a lot, IMO. Obviously, there was homosexuality from very early on in biblical times and most likely pre-biblical eras. I remember reading Lost Christianity, buy Bart Ehrman, in which he mentions something about this. So if it existed all this time, clearly something was put into place to make it an "abomination" classic stance in Christian churches. How can something so prolific to the point of being mentioned throughout the bible (a select group of books among so many others) be made into an abomination? It had to be political.

 

Clearly, many of the books of the bible deal with the reality of homosexuality.

 

 

 

That night, after supper, just before bedtime, the homosexual men of the city rallied up around Lot’s house demanding to have intercourse with them. [v.3-5] Lot objected, by offering up his virgin daughters to them to do as they please,[v.6-8] even though they happened to be engaged.[v.14] His response infuriated the inhabitants because they didn’t want an alien resident telling them what to do. [v.9] At that point, they began to be intrusive. But before anyone could respond, the angels swiftly reacted by striking the intruders with blindness. [v.10,11] This allowed a small window of opportunity for Lot to make preparations for him and his loved ones to leave. [v.12-14]

 

They actually tell the story as if homosexuality is commonplace. Not to mention how he wanted to offer his virgin daughters instead. How nice.

 

Right now, the denomination is dealing with a proposed change in the Book of Order regarding who can be ordained, and whether language that excludes LGBT folks should be removed. Twenty years ago it wasn't even discussed, but this year it is going to be a close vote, which says to me that the denomination is moving in the right direction.

 

So, you mean you belong to a church that really isn't collectively all that evolved? Well, I hope you win the vote.

 

Thanks for your response!

Kath

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lev. 18:22 and 20:13

 

Don,

 

I did a little more checking and found the word for a male cult prostitute is qadesh (feminine qedesha).

 

This can be found in Deut. 23:18, 1 Kings 14:24 and a couple of other verses. I don’t see any indication that prohibitions in Leviticus refer to cult prostitution.

 

George

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, Don~

 

I came across something I found of interest on the subject:

 

 

http://www.worldpolicy.newschool.edu/globalrights/sexorient/hom_bibh.htm

 

We are faced with the inescapable and rather ironic conclusion that the condemned activities in Sodom had nothing to do with sodomy. As one Christian editor (9) wrote: "To suggest that Sodom and Gomorra is about homosexual sex is an analysis of about as much worth as suggesting that the story of Jonah and the whale is a treatise on fishing." There is still another level of irony associated with this passage: God seems to condemn the citizens for insensitive treatment and harassment of others. But, this is the favorite Biblical passage that some Christian faith groups use to attack gays and lesbians.

 

Kath

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a tad disappointed that this 'discussion' is taking place on the Spong board.

 

I'm with JSS in that raising the matter gives legitimacy to the fundamentalists in that there is 'something' to defend.

 

There is nothing to defend.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No one is trying to defend anything, Wayseer. Bishop Spong did give his thoughts on this subject as there is nothing to defend as far as he is concerned. The reality of the matter is that there are many people who still believe that homosexuality is an abomination. Just because JSS has made this statement doesn't mean others out there are stopped dead in their tracks.

Edited by JosephM
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wayseer,

 

I'm with JSS in that raising the matter gives legitimacy to the fundamentalists in that there is 'something' to defend.

 

I am not sure that Bishop Spong believes that raising the issue of homosexuality is counter-productive as he has expended a lot of ink and cyber-ink to this subject.

 

Also, at least in the U.S., benign neglect of the issue would not be, IMO, a productive strategy. We recently revoked ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ in the military. This was the result persistent effort on the part of many people. Further, the issue of same-sex rights to marriage or civil union remains a hot issue. Without active proponents, this will go nowhere soon.

 

While I don’t think the Bible or religion is the cause of homophobia, it is used by some to give it authority and legitimacy. So, I think it is worthwhile to challenge this authority.

 

George

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kath, in post #15 you commented "So, you mean you belong to a church that really isn't collectively all that evolved? Well, I hope you win the vote."

 

Perhaps my comments on the topic of denominations should go elsewhere, but it is in response to the above, so here goes. The PCUSA is the largest Presbyterian group. It is the result of a merger of the old "northern" UPCUSA and the "southern" PCUS. This happened in 1983, and the denomination has been much more conservative (or whatever term you prefer) ever since. But things are improving. Some other denominations are doing better. I assume that most of the JSS folks are Episcopal, so you are more familiar with that situation than I. It appears to me that the Methodists have been slower at coming around than the Presbys, but I am not certain. The various Congregational bodies (UCC et.al.) decide issues on a church-by-church basis, but overall appear to be more accepting of LGBT folks than my denomination is. Recently the main Lutheran body (ELCA) took a pro-LGBT stance, but the other Lutheran groups (e.g. Missouri Synod) are a long way from that. There are American Baptist congregations that are pro-LGBT, but most are not. The Quakers are generally supportive, and may be the most progressive of all (they often are). Oh, and the U-Us are almost all pro-LGBT.

 

We are about to move from Ann Arbor to the Puget Sound area, and will be looking for a new church home. So I went on line and googled "gay friendly churches." I found quite a few in that area in several denominations.

Edited by grampawombat
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Don,

 

This information is good to know, thank you! I can imagine it's a fairly local situation, but I'm glad strides have been made. I've no doubt that those who have a rigid anti position will eventually fall by the wayside, just as the 'elders' in the OPC I once briefly belonged to who were opposed to any change at all (because it made them uncomfortable to deal with it all in their old age). Insert: To be honest, the person opposing a change in the church which was the "Christian" thing to do was very old, but I'm sure younger people supported his position as well. This is when you get to the nitty gritty and can actually challenge them as to exactly what it is that makes them feel uncomfortable. I find that people are either seekers or like things status quo and the reasons are simplistic to me. I take nothing on authority. I never really have in my whole 62 years of life since I first learned there was a thing called contradiction. It's not easy to be a rebel

 

Kath

Edited by JosephM
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wayseer,

 

I'm with JSS in that raising the matter gives legitimacy to the fundamentalists in that there is 'something' to defend.

 

I am not sure that Bishop Spong believes that raising the issue of homosexuality is counter-productive as he has expended a lot of ink and cyber-ink to this subject.

 

 

 

As someone who is a member of a progressive church that is trying to learn how to fight the fight so to speak I find these discussions not only useful but critical. If we are going to engage in debate with our conservative cousins and hope to convince anyone it is critical that we fully understand their position and arguments so arguments to these positions can be formulated and practiced. We have to help each other hone our skills.

 

We can't afraid of debate we must learn from it.

 

 

I just finished reading MLK's "Letter from the Birmingham Jail"

Text of letter

 

Several things struck me:

 

In the section where he discusses his disappointment in the moderate white church he says "First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods......"

 

Ask your self are we guilt of this still? We must push the debate with the moderate churches.

 

He goes on to say:

 

"There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.

 

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust."

 

We should be encouraging this debate. I think what Spong means in his manifesto is that he refuses to spend any time considering their point of view not that he won't try and change it.

 

steve

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to clarify my position.

 

I follow JSS in that trying to adopt an apology for gay and lesbians to become accepted into the church tends to breath life into the 'debate' thereby legitimizing the 'debate'.

 

I am not referring to the correction of social injustice.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kath, I've just joined this forum. I'm almost ten years older than you are. I'm preparing a book on sexual morality for publication, and I was going to attach the chapter on the issue you asked about. Unfortunately it's more KB than this site will permit. So I guess if you'd like to read it, you'll have to send a request to nhpcoop@yahoo.ca

It's from a Roman Catholic point of view, but the good news is that there are some Catholics who consider themselves progressive.

 

Noel

 

 

Hi Don,

 

This information is good to know, thank you! I can imagine it's a fairly local situation, but I'm glad strides have been made. I've no doubt that those who have a rigid anti position will eventually fall by the wayside, just as the 'elders' in the OPC I once briefly belonged to who were opposed to any change at all (because it made them uncomfortable to deal with it all in their old age). Insert: To be honest, the person opposing a change in the church which was the "Christian" thing to do was very old, but I'm sure younger people supported his position as well. This is when you get to the nitty gritty and can actually challenge them as to exactly what it is that makes them feel uncomfortable. I find that people are either seekers or like things status quo and the reasons are simplistic to me. I take nothing on authority. I never really have in my whole 62 years of life since I first learned there was a thing called contradiction. It's not easy to be a rebel

 

Kath

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0