Even if God dictated every word of the Bible and every word is literally true in the original languages, there is still no condemnation or even discussion of homosexuality or sexual orientation in the Bible.
No words for homosexual or homosexuality as we understand the terms today exist in the Bible. The term homosexuality with the present day meaning of romantic and erotic love between people of the same sex did not come into use until less than 100 years ago. The concept of sexual orientation developed in scientific use only within the last 40 years.
Neither the Old Testament, Paul nor Jesus condemned romantic or erotic love between people of the same sex. They never discussed it. All Bible references that are used to condemn and destroy homosexuals are taken out of context, translated incorrectly, and used to hurt people not intended in the original setting.
Religious, academic, ethical and polemical preoccupation with homosexuality in the Bible is a vast wasteland of ignorance and speculation that has darkened the minds of multitudes of people and created pain and death that the Creator and nature never intended.
FOR SPECIAL STUDIES ON SAME SEX ROMANTIC UNIONS IN THE BIBLE; also see my book on "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse."
Recent news and endless analysis about Roman Catholic priests sexually molesting young boys has accelerated the media attention to homosexuality and the many confusions and misunderstandings that prevail in our culture regarding LGBT people. Every day I receive a long list of e-mail messages from various news groups reporting on the misinformation, distortions and religious nonsense poured out by various elements of our homophobic abusive society.
These daily attacks on GLBT people can beat you down and make you question your own value and self-esteem. Resist accepting and taking in these panic reactions to homosexuals and homosexuality. Don't swallow the acid medicine that is being offered to you in every homophobic newspaper, television station, magazine and church pronouncement.
Internalizing the hate and abuse that is being dumped on GLBT people can and does lead to massive self-destructive behavior. All of us have at some time begun to believe some of the lies and distortions about us and have internalized the enemy. What have you done to resist and defeat the enemy within?
Never judge or evaluate yourself on the basis of the ignorance of other people!
REPLACING THE ENEMY
You can defeat the enemy within by replacing the enemy with a friend. The friend that God has given to you through the Spirit of Jesus has the expulsive power of a new affection. The more you focus on the Jesus within, the more you are liberated from the false spirits and destructive forces from without that have found paths into your thinking about yourself.
The more the self-affirming attitudes, ideas and spirit of Jesus become part of your thinking, the better equipped you become to resist the alien takeover of your brain by hostile forces. In what setting is this most likely to happen for you? Have you found a place of "quiet rest" where you can meditate and let go of the inner tensions and stress that the enemy uses to drag you down and belittle you?
ESCAPE FROM RELIGION
Leaving the enemy within can mean distancing yourself from abusive controlling manipulative religion, just as liberation from severe codependency can come only by detaching yourself from the presence and power of your codependent partner. Letting go of attitudes and ideas that you have become convinced by abusive religion are good and even necessary for you can be a great challenge. Sometimes what God most wants you to do is nothing. Just be still and know that God really is with and within you and requires nothing of you and expects nothing from you to prove your value to God or to yourself.
The last time that I visited the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, the flowers and trees were at their peak of color and beauty. As I approached the park, I thought to myself, "What does God want to tell me to do today?" As I enjoyed the beauty of nature all around me, the answer of what God wants me to do was: "Do nothing." It suddenly occurred to me that the garden did not have to "do" anything, just be what God has created the plants, rocks, sky and water to do. When we are anxious to do something, we focus on what we do and not on what God has already done and is doing in and around us unseen but powerfully and purposefully at work.
The Psalmist repeatedly said: "Wait on God, and again I say: Wait on God."
BUT I DON'T WANT TO WAIT!
"Don't just do something, stand there!" Our culture rewards doing something, not just being ourselves and celebrating who and what we are. When we meet a new person, our first question often is, "What do you do?" We define ourselves by what we do, not by who we are as individuals.
Negative enemy forces within keep you so busy trying to justify yourself and "do something" to make things "right" that you have to force yourself to take a break and let go and just accept and affirm yourself. The constant media assault against LGBT people keeps us off balance and defensive even to ourselves. You can become so preoccupied with finding the right path, the right person, the right thing to do that you have little energy left just to enjoy being yourself.
God did not create you to be a mere machine controlled by negative abusive forces of ignorance, misunderstanding and fear. God created you "in the image of God" and therefore someone wonderfully and beautifully made. God made you with the capacity to be creative, compassionate, and self-confident. Don't let the world around you (including the church) press you into a mold that does not fit you! (Romans 12:2)
BE HAPPY WITH YOURSELF
Jesus said in John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled. Do not be afraid anymore." Jesus gave only one commandment: to love one another just as Jesus loves you and then connected joy and love in John 15:11: "I have said these things to you in order that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be made complete.
The abusive religious demand that spiritual people should be burdened by guilt for sin and be endlessly sorrowful and unhappy is based on misconceptions about Jesus. Jesus was not primarily "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." This victim mentality in religion is a blatant denial of the Spirit of Jesus and in no way reflects the mood and personality of the real liberated joyful Jesus of the Gospels.
LET THE DEAD BURY THE DEAD
When Jesus called people to follow him, he did not make room for working hard to bury the past. When one would-be disciple said that he wanted to follow Jesus but first wanted to take time to bury his father, Jesus said: "Let the dead bury the dead. You follow me." That familiar incident is filled with implications about leaving the inner conflicts and demands of past relationships and going on into a truly new life of joy and peace in Jesus.
You will never defeat the enemy within by working hard to bury the dead. Let it go. Do nothing. God has already done and is doing everything that you really need. Follow Jesus. Cooperate with God. Life really does work better that way. (Read Matthew 8:18-22 and slightly different parallels in Luke 9:57-62.)
Abusive legalistic judgmental religion likes to make two things absolute: statistics and commandments. The New Testament makes only two things absolute: God is and God is love.
Recent flood of recent e-mails has focused on the percentage of priests who are gay and have molested young boys and concluded that the problem is not Catholic priests but is homosexuality. Another recent study tries to show by statistics that a large percentage of homosexuals have had illegal sex with minors. These studies and conclusions are based on faulty research methods and obvious inaccuracies in the statistics. Yet the religious homophobic right trumpets the studies as absolute truth.
A student recently wrote to me to tell me that she had to do a school paper on the Ten Commandments and asked me to explain them to her. I looked back over my notes on Old Testament Survey that I taught at Baptist College of Charleston and extracted my material on the Ten Commandments. I am sending it to her and am adding it to my web site. Click here to see this new material on The Ten Commandments.
COMMANDMENTS AND STATISTICS
Jesus said: "I give you a new commandment (intended to replace all others) that you love one another just as I have loved you. By this everybody will know that you really are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:33-34) As far as I can tell, Jesus never got into the debate about statistics. For Jesus, it was: "whosoever," "all," and "every."
Jesus intentionally broke the Sabbath laws in order to heal broken people and to help troubled and abused victims of the religious system of the time. To Jesus, people, not religion, were absolute. People were always far more important than religion to Jesus. Human need took precedence over everything else.
The rapidly growing industry of religious absolutes in fundamentalism's headlong plunge into homophobic legalism is discrediting all traditional religion, which many GLBT people are avoiding as much as possible. The vacuum of religious credibility in our culture cries out for logical objective response and a radical new beginning for spirituality that is relevant to our present world and that respects and accepts all people just as Jesus is pictured doing in all Four Gospels.
James Kennedy, Pastor of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, is one of the leading advocates of homophobic statistics. He is heard on hundreds of television stations every day. When I was pastor of MCC Nashville, Kennedy showed a video that claimed to tell the truth about homosexuals. He then offered to send a copy to supporters if they gave him $25.00 to use to help Cincinnati fight the LGBT supportive laws of that city.
In this video, many false statistics were given, like the high percentage of gay men who participate in "fisting" and the claim that the average gay man has 50 sex partners a year! When I heard that, I exclaimed: "Where were mine?!" All of the statistics in the video were concocted and were distortions that any thinking person would challenge. Fundamentalists, however, appeal to people who have been conditioned not to think.
The power and authority of abusive religion are based on the continued ignorance of their people. Accurate believable information is our best weapon.
All statistics about gay and lesbian people are lies. Nobody knows who we are, because the vast majority of GLBT people are still in the closet. From my contact with gay leaders, publishers, churches, and the gay world on the Internet through my web mail and the e-mails that I receive, I have to conclude that only a very small percent of LGBT people are "out" to anybody.
AFRAID TO COME OUT
Multitudes of homosexuals live in fear of being discovered and work very hard to keep anyone else from knowing their "dreadful secret." See my web site material on "Coming Out" in Step 9 and my section on "LEGALISM AS IDOLATRY."
In the Academy Awards show Sunday night, the acceptance and affirmation of GLBT people was just as obvious as the progress of African American movie people. Did you notice Ian McKellen, nominated for best supporting actor, sitting on the front row holding the hand of his boyfriend? LGBT people are so prominent and so accepted in Hollywood now that little special notice is drawn to anybody's sexual orientation anymore.
Making a show of coming out can still bring unpleasant professional consequences, as we have seen over recent years. Courage and honesty have all too often been rewarded with rejection and hurt.
Who didn't already know that Rosie O'Donnell was gay? But her recent courageous decision to come out as a gay mom and advocate for gay adoptions was welcome and necessary, and it has already made a difference in public acceptance of gay and lesbian adoptions.
A NEW RELIGIOUS SHRINE
Whenever anything but God is made absolute, it becomes an idolatrous religion. Statistic-ism is an emerging new idolatry. Shrines to statistics are appearing all over the place in religious literature, promotional mail-outs, videos, movies, web sites, pictures, doctrinal statements, church laws, Sunday bulletins, graffiti, newspapers, magazines, advertisements, and every available medium that can be used to spread misinformation andPerhaps the fastest growing abusive religion in America is not the Mormons or the Southern Baptists, but Statistics.
Who was it that said: "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics!" (Maybe it was Mark Twain. He would have said it if he had thought of it.)
This weekend I began to think of the religious debate about posting The Ten Commandments in public schools. Like so many issues related to the separation of church and state, the ten commandments debate is blurred by the problem of defining the commandments according to various religious traditions as well as the fact that the cultural basis for the original commandments does not exist today. 3000 years ago, all women were property belonging to men. Rules against adultery were not about sex but about property rights.
Jesus recast the commandments in terms of attitudes rather than actions and went on in John 13:34 to give one new commandment to love one another just as Jesus loves you, which is impossible without the direct help of the Spirit of Jesus.
One problem with posting the Ten Commandments in schools is the obvious fact that they no longer seem relevant to teenagers today, who are connected to the Internet and the world and are far better informed than their parents and preachers. What are the ten relevant rules for living that seem to speak clearly and appropriately to you?
Another problem is our natural human resistance to being told what we have to do without thinking through and coming to the truth for ourselves.
I thought about this for a while and suggested "Ten Commandments" that are right on target for ME. You will have to work out your own list by whatever spiritual light you follow and whatever inner voice of reason and inspiration you hear.
1 GOD CREATED YOU in God's image.
2 GOD CREATED EVERYBODY ELSE in God's image.
3 GOD GAVE YOU A BRAIN.
4 THOU SHALT THINK FOR YOURSELF.
5 THOU SHALT BECOME INFORMED.
6 THOU SHALT RESPECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS.
7 THOU SHALT RESPECT YOUR PARENTS AND FAMILY.
8 THOU SHALT NOT SPREAD GOSSIP.
9 THOU SHALT NOT LIE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE
10 THOU SHALT GET NEGATIVE PEOPLE OUT OF YOUR
Do these things and you will live a full and meaningful life.
How do these 10 Commandments strike you? You would like to make some changes, wouldn't you, in order for them really to fit you? That's the whole point. When you begin to make your spiritual life into a set of propositions, your individuality and your unique life experiences make it impossible for you to come up with anything that exactly fits anybody else but yourself. Nobody else can come up with the perfect list for you, either.
When are we going to wake up to the error of binding our minds with ancient ideas and religious rules and speculations, no matter how relevant and useful they might have seemed to be in another time and culture? You and I can have the liberating love and truth of Jesus Christ in our lives only as we live in the Spirit and not by the rules. "Where the Spirit of God is, there is freedom" (2 Corinthians 3:17). 2 Corinthians 3:18 goes on to observe: "We all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of God, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from God, the Spirit."
Why do any of us prefer rules when we can have the Spirit of God to guide and empower us every moment of every day? We live in a rapidly changing world and what we may face or what may happen to or around us goes beyond what any rules can prepare us to handle.
We either live in the Spirit or we don't live.
We either live in love and truth, or we don't survive spiritually.
What is your truth? What Spirit calls the shots in your life?
"THOU SHALT NOT LET OTHER PEOPLES'S CRAZINESS MAKE YOU CRAZY." –the 11th Commandment
This Update added December 10, 1999:
"GOD IS WITH YOU"
Elizabeth Barrett Browning put it like this:
Matthew 1:23: "They will call his name Emmanuel, which translated means: God with us." This applied to Jesus the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14. Matthew concludes in 28:20 with the promise of Jesus: "I am with you always, even to the end of the age." The spiritual meaning of Christmas is the presence of God in you and in your world.
THE PRESENCE OF THE SPIRIT OF JESUS
Pentecostals have it right. They are led by the experience of the presence of God in their lives and do not let any church or book or doctrine keep them from accepting and owning their own personal experience with God. Rev. Elder Troy Perry refused to let the church or anybody else tell him that God did not love him because of his sexual orientation. Troy Perry was a Pentecostal pastor. He experienced for himself God's love and acceptance and the guidance of the Spirit of Jesus, and nothing could stop him. God told Troy to start a church for gay people.
The church began in his home in October of 1968 and developed and grew into The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, which for multitudes of Christian Gays and Lesbians has truly changed the world. UFMCC continues to expand around the world and continues to give support and encouragement to our community worldwide as the largest GLBT organization in the world. It all began as a Pentecostal experience with God in the life of one Gay Christian.
"Where the Spirit of God is, there is freedom" (2 Corinthians 3:17). Liberation from the abusive use of the Bible and religion against GLBT people begins with your personal experience with God for yourself. Jesus said that God is Spirit and that people who relate to God do so in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
"All things are possible with God" (Jesus in Matthew 19:26). Part of the story of the birth of Jesus in Luke 1:37 states: "Nothing is impossible with God."
Many GLBT people dread and even hate the holiday seasons. When I went to Atlanta after being outed and leaving Baptist College in 1981, I avoided the holidays as much as possible. I worked for a courier service and put myself on to work all day every holiday so that I would not be so depressed thinking about past holidays.
God is with you whether you realize it or not. God is everywhere equally present, with you, with me, and with every individual that God has made in God's own image. God is the "First Cause," the "Unmoved Mover," the "Ground of All Being," and the "Ultimate Reality". God is supernatural being and God is love. We don't have to understand God to benefit from God's love and presence with us. Jesus did not explain everything. Jesus instead lived and demonstrated God's love and power in his life. So can you, for Jesus said: "Follow me."
Jesus has given us his Holy Spirit to teach and empower us to be "living gospels." Paul said that we are "living epistles" that people read and see God's love in us (2 Corinthians 3:3). "You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day, by deeds you do and words you say. Folks read what you write, whether faithless or true; say, what is the gospel according to you?"
Don't let anybody take away your joy in Jesus by using abusive Bible interpretations and oppressive religious superstitions and prejudices to demean and condemn you. God is within you, and God is greater than the Bible and greater than religion and greater than the entire universe even when everything seems to be against you. Rejoice in the presence of God in your life. Be happy and gay this holiday season. You are the child of the Creator, and nobody can ever take that away from you.
Rejoice and be glad and celebrate who you really are.
Feel good about yourself, for you really do belong.
"I often have found that unknown to me God was working for my good even in the very worst things that happened in my life. What is God telling you through what is happening to you today?"
[ Home ] [ Why This Site ] [ Bible & Homosexuality ] [ Ex-Gay Fraud ]