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#121 of 132 Old 12-12-2008, 09:56 PM
 
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Oh, I wasn't implying that you think everyone should think like you, HP. I have really appreciated your tone throughout this conversation. My question was a genuine one, just wondering if you recognize that sincere God-seeking people can and do come up with different answers to these questions. I suppose it came from the fact that, just as the word "fundie" can be code in liberal circles for "ignorant bible thumper", I've found that in religious circles the exhortation to "seek God in prayer" can be code for "you obviously haven't prayed enough because your answer is wrong". I'm glad to know that is not what you are thinking.
no, I truly don't think that. and yes I completely get it. I have strong feelings/beliefs about it... but again... I respect that this is an issue that needs to be brought before God on personal terms, not just corporately. what good would it be for someone to blidnly follow another person anyhow? everyone has to reckon before God on His terms, not the terms of other people. and i have just as big a chance of being wrong as anyone else does. when i break it all down, that is how i feel about it spiritually speaking.

I'm glad you understood what I was saying

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#122 of 132 Old 12-12-2008, 10:04 PM
 
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Granted anyone who really struggles with whether homosexuality is a sin for Christians should also be struggling with ceremonial cleanliness surrounding menstruation or any of the other issues raised.

yes I agree with this. and i have given much thought and prayer and study to these ceremonial things as well...

I don't feel you just pick and choose what we want from the Bible/Christianity and expect it to work on our terms. does this inconvenience others? yes. does it inconvenience me? certainly!!! but being inconvenienced isn't my first concern. Obeying the true desires of God is. will I fail? yes. might I misunderstand them? yep. but god commands us to continue towards the path of righteousness. and that path is a path designed by God... not me. or you. or any other human being no matter how intelligent or well meaning they are. my point is how inconvenient it is for me or any other person isn't the biggest concern to me. not b/c I lack empathy towards other humans, but because my goal in life is to serve God.

(I apologize if any of this is scatterbrained. it's that time of the night were my kids are hyper lol... and bouncing off the walls a bit... so I'm a little distracted. let me know if this needs clarifying.)

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#123 of 132 Old 12-12-2008, 10:08 PM
 
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But I don't think that I (or anyone else who shares my views here) has advocated "advising" anyone else on how to live his or her life.
ok well clearly we agree no one should tell another how to live. so what is it you're trying to say here? it seems to me you're saying the same thing as last time... am I missing something more??? I know I haven't said this. and you haven't said this... so...?

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#124 of 132 Old 12-12-2008, 10:52 PM
 
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But those of us who dont know arent vying for the title of "thoughtful and spiritual"... we really read the bible and truly dont know!
Okay, so since you truly don't know -- why not just focus in on what you do know and live according to that? At least, that works if you're not dealing with the issue of a homosexual orientation within your own life ...

For those who are gay, the living-out of their Christian faith through relationships that please God, and that draw them closer to God, is really between them, God, and their significant others (which of course is the case for all believers, gay or straight).

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But we are called to lead. We are to be the light of the world. The NT is chock full of the apostles admonishing against some sin or the other. Christianity isnt a passive religion.
But why would you "admonish" about something that you admit you're not even clear on? Why not save the admonishment for things you are clear on?

Christianity certainly isn't a passive religion! Which is why I'm feeling drawn to discuss so many issues like this -- I'm realizing that there are so many areas where fundamentalist leaders have said, "It's settled. This is what God thinks, there's no room for anyone to think otherwise" -- and this is literally slamming the door in many people's faces. I can't be passive about this.

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Granted anyone who really struggles with whether homosexuality is a sin for Christians should also be struggling with ceremonial cleanliness surrounding menstruation or any of the other issues raised.
Yes -- and, you know, I've never heard a pastor preach about all those sinful married folks who don't count a full 7 days after the menstrual flow has stopped before having sex (granted, they're not likely to know who does or doesn't follow the Law of Moses in this particular area ... But they don't even teach on it, which means they basically leave it up to individual husbands and wives).

I do recall hearing a conservative Christian youth leader telling kids that once you're married and in the privacy of your own bedroom, "anything goes." And another conservative Christian woman was shocked when she heard that another female churchgoer was so "legalistic" as to deny her husband sex while she was menstruating (I'm guessing that this particular woman would be literally appalled at the thought of adding on an additional 7 days of abstinence).

I think it's pretty safe to say that, in the conservative Christian circles I used to move in, wifely submission was seen as much more of an absolute than the Laws of Moses regarding sex.

So, anyhow, since conservative Christians seem totally cool about staying out of heterosexual couple's marriage beds, why can't they show gays the same courtesy? And, no, it's not because "Gays are flaunting themselves in our faces." The problem is, it's seen as "flaunting" for a same-sex couple to want the same freedoms heteros have been enjoying for a long time now.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#125 of 132 Old 12-12-2008, 11:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Okay, so since you truly don't know -- why not just focus in on what you do know and live according to that? At least, that works if you're not dealing with the issue of a homosexual orientation within your own life ...

For those who are gay, the living-out of their Christian faith through relationships that please God, and that draw them closer to God, is really between them, God, and their significant others (which of course is the case for all believers, gay or straight).



But why would you "admonish" about something that you admit you're not even clear on? Why not save the admonishment for things you are clear on?

Christianity certainly isn't a passive religion! Which is why I'm feeling drawn to discuss so many issues like this -- I'm realizing that there are so many areas where fundamentalist leaders have said, "It's settled. This is what God thinks, there's no room for anyone to think otherwise" -- and this is literally slamming the door in many people's faces. I can't be passive about this.



Yes -- and, you know, I've never heard a pastor preach about all those sinful married folks who don't count a full 7 days after the menstrual flow has stopped before having sex (granted, they're not likely to know who does or doesn't follow the Law of Moses in this particular area ... But they don't even teach on it, which means they basically leave it up to individual husbands and wives).

I do recall hearing a conservative Christian youth leader telling kids that once you're married and in the privacy of your own bedroom, "anything goes." And another conservative Christian woman was shocked when she heard that another female churchgoer was so "legalistic" as to deny her husband sex while she was menstruating (I'm guessing that this particular woman would be literally appalled at the thought of adding on an additional 7 days of abstinence).

I think it's pretty safe to say that, in the conservative Christian circles I used to move in, wifely submission was seen as much more of an absolute than the Laws of Moses regarding sex.

So, anyhow, since conservative Christians seem totally cool about staying out of heterosexual couple's marriage beds, why can't they show gays the same courtesy? And, no, it's not because "Gays are flaunting themselves in our faces." The problem is, it's seen as "flaunting" for a same-sex couple to want the same freedoms heteros have been enjoying for a long time now.
Mammal mama -

I think the issues you bring up are commonly revered as LEVITICAL law for the jewish culture. however the issues that people bring up such as homosexuality and wifely submission are both in the NT and the OT... which leads to the confusion. (however i do think it was worth bringing up if you feel that the levitical law does apply to us now... I'd be interested in hearing about it for sure! ... though maybe on another thread so we don't take this one even farther from it's purpose )

however I do think it should be taught on. at least taught on why a church doesn't follow levitical law (it was in our old liberal church and our old conservative church, both). I'm sorry your old church didn't do this... seems odd really. This was something brought up often in our churches. and much discussion came from it...

and personally my husband and I have and will give it a lot of thought. I brought it up to him a few months ago actually when we both decided God was leading us to lead a family life open to him (often referred to as quiverful) and we both have prayed over it with no clear answers yet. Wish I had the answers now, so I could act on them, but as I do not I try to be in obedience as much as I do know how to be. (God's grace is wonderful, is it not?)

transtichel.gifMom of three - (2.5 yrs, 7yrs, and 11yrs). Birthing Doula, editor, and wife to my soulmate. I've had a c/s, hospital VBAC, UC and not yet decided what I'll do about this next little one

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#126 of 132 Old 12-12-2008, 11:37 PM
 
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ok well clearly we agree no one should tell another how to live. so what is it you're trying to say here? it seems to me you're saying the same thing as last time... am I missing something more??? I know I haven't said this. and you haven't said this... so...?
It sounds like we're both saying we don't believe in telling others how to live.

We've both studied and you lean toward believing it's a sin. So, if a fellow believer studies, prays, searches her heart, and comes to the conclusion that God is indeed calling her to live her life as a lesbian woman -- is this an area where you might feel that you could love and respect her as your sister in the Lord, and continue to fellowship and serve the Lord alongside her?

Or would you feel less than total fellowship with her, simply because "you" wouldn't feel okay about living out your life as a lesbian? I ask, because I don't think gays/lesbians are asking for us to tell them, "Okay, go ahead and be gay!" -- I think they just want respect and acceptance.

I don't believe that either homosexuality or heterosexuality are sinful within themselves: I actually see them as God's gifts to us, but with either gift, there are choices that will take us outside of God's will and cause pain to ourselves and others.

I'm glad that you don't have a problem with legal unions for same-sex couples. And I guess if some churches won't honor gay marriage, there are enough other churches that are already honoring them, to make it possible for gay Christians to marry and live out their Christian faith in loving communities where they can be truthful, and don't have to hide who they are.

Because, to me, the best way to promote healthy sexuality that glorifies God, is to enable all loving couples to marry and serve the Lord together, as active members of the body of Christ.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#127 of 132 Old 12-12-2008, 11:38 PM
 
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So, anyhow, since conservative Christians seem totally cool about staying out of heterosexual couple's marriage beds, why can't they show gays the same courtesy? And, no, it's not because "Gays are flaunting themselves in our faces." The problem is, it's seen as "flaunting" for a same-sex couple to want the same freedoms heteros have been enjoying for a long time now.
ummm.. this conservative Christians doesn't and hasn't ever felt or expressed herself this way. I feel it's equally as sick to flaunt ANYONE's sexuality in public. that should be for the bedroom. it's private and spiritual in my opinion.

for instance, we had these two great neighbors not long ago. they were a "married" gay couple. (not legally, but emotionally). I never took any issue with them, infact they were the nicest neighbors I've ever had. most considerate people I ever had the pleasure to share a road with. I never saw them "flaunt" anything, ever... but it also wasn't any of my business. I'm sure they couldn't care less if I approve of their relationship and that was fine by me. I was open with my kids about it. We also open with them about not feeling this is the life God choose for us, but we never refer to it as gross or disgusting or anything such thing. just a choice we didn't feel was what God wanted for His people. (that said, they aren't Christians anyhow, so it's kinda moot on that issue).

my point being... I'm sorry you had bad experiences with conservative Christians. that's really sad for them and for you and for anyone that learns bad things from them. But there are plenty of us out there with common respect for other people based on the fact that they are human.

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#128 of 132 Old 12-13-2008, 12:00 AM
 
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It sounds like we're both saying we don't believe in telling others how to live.

We've both studied and you lean toward believing it's a sin. So, if a fellow believer studies, prays, searches her heart, and comes to the conclusion that God is indeed calling her to live her life as a lesbian woman -- is this an area where you might feel that you could love and respect her as your sister in the Lord, and continue to fellowship and serve the Lord alongside her?

I guess it would totally depend on the circumstances, wouldn't it? were they my friend to begin with? were we already close? are we family? would they teach their beliefs in my church? (beliefs that I disagree with being biblically accurate?)

wouldn't that be like me asking you would you fellowship with me, as a gay person, if i disagreed with your views of homosexuality being permissible in the Bible? would you want to fellowship alongside me, honestly?

truthfully, we all seek to raise our families in surroundings we feel to be purest and with the best reflection on who we think God is. If anyone goes strongly against something we believe in then likely there will be a rift. what can I say about that?

all in all. would I stop loving her? no not at all. but my desire to raise my family in the way I feel God says too would come first. so if the later as jeoprdized by the former, then yes I would cut ties. but again... it would really depend on the situation.

for instance, I believe in abstinence before marriage. if my best friend (and christian/fellow church goer) confessed to me she thought God showed her it was infact permissible ot have sex outside of marriage how would I react? I just can't say the exacts of how I would react. I would strongly disagree. I'm sure we would discuss it. and I could love her, but likely fellowship would be detsroyed. I believe the marriage bed to be sacred, and she would not. if would be against everything i stood for... so... I just don't know. I see both examples (the homosexual friend and the sex-outside-of-marriage friend as equals as I feel both are agianst god's moral sexual commands to us as humans.) all in all it would be between her and God and i respect that... but i would not agree whatsoever.

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#129 of 132 Old 12-13-2008, 01:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, so since you truly don't know -- why not just focus in on what you do know and live according to that?....

But why would you "admonish" about something that you admit you're not even clear on? Why not save the admonishment for things you are clear on?.....

To the first - Because if you dont expand your focus you will stagnate. I've never been one who can accept "ignorance is bliss". Im sure many would respond "but why pick on homosexuality?" One thing that has become clear on this thread is that it isnt just about gays its about how we respond to a host of mandates written in the bible. Gay rights are just happen to be one everyone's mind, it seems, so it comes to mind first.

To the second - Im not saying that I would admonish anyone. But I do maintain that for all the love and grace that is in the gospel there is an equal or greater amount of "right vs wrong". So it's either one or the other. I dont have a vested interest in it either way. Which you may feel makes me heartless for even posing the question.
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#130 of 132 Old 12-13-2008, 03:19 PM
 
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To the first - Because if you dont expand your focus you will stagnate. I've never been one who can accept "ignorance is bliss".
I'm sorry I wasn't clear and created some misunderstanding! I wasn't saying that you shouldn't discuss this issue and try to learn more. My previous post was in response to your comment that we're supposed to lead, and that the early Christians admonished one another.

It just seems to me that there's quite a bit that really is clear -- you know, like loving our neighbor and caring for the most vulnerable among us. As a matter of fact, I believe a "sodomite" is someone who fails to extend hospitality and safe refuge to the refugees/newcomers and other needy around us.

This seems clear to me as I've grown in my understanding of the cultural context of what happened with Sodom in Genesis, as well as from other Scriptures that reference Sodom. I strongly recommend reading the article that Ms.QsMama provided the link to. It made some things even more clear to me. Such as the fact that it was commonplace back then for the men of a conquering tribe to rape the men of the tribe they'd just conquered, as a way of demonstrating their dominance.

There was a whole unhealthy dynamic associated with male-male sex, a dynamic that often involved one man shaming another -- this was probably tied in with the Mediteranean concept of sex being seen as something that should never happen between equals; it was always supposed to be about dominance and submission. Which, to me, is not a healthy dynamic for male-female sex, either, you know?

Anyhow, I really wasn't advocating for a stance of "ignorance is bliss." I'm all in favor of the quest for greater knowledge and understanding. What I meant was, if something just seems unclear from a Scriptural standpoint, why make judgments about it at all when it comes to what's right for other people? Why not just support our gay brothers and sisters, as they seek God's guidance for their own lives?

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#131 of 132 Old 12-13-2008, 03:52 PM
 
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Also, I wasn't trying to take the thread off-track when I brought up Old Testament law regarding sex and menstruation. I was thinking of these verses (bolding mine)--

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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
1 Timothy 1:10:

"People who engage in sexual acts against the law of Moses, anal penetrators, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and anything else that is opposed to completely healthy instruction and training."

1 Corinthians 6:9:

"Don't you know that people who are not right with God won't obtain God's Realm as their inheritance? Make no mistake! People who engage in sexual acts against the Law of Moses, idol worshippers, adulterers, receptive male homosexual promiscuous cross dressers, anal penetrators ..."
When I read that bolded part, I thought, okay -- is Paul focusing on the strict letter of the law here? Will I really lose my inheritance in God's realm if I have sex with my husband one day after my period stops, instead of counting off a full 7 days?

This is not really off-topic -- because if we have to follow the literal letter of Old Testament Law regarding sex -- well, it's a lot stricter than what I think most Christian heterosexual couples I know are actually doing.

And I'm not saying my whole experience of Conservative Christians has been bad (this is where I got saved, so how could I say that?), and I'm not faulting those preachers for not cautioning couples to abstain from sex for 12-14 days every month.

I'm simply saying that it seems inconsistent to say that things have relaxed for heterosexuals, but that the letter of the law still applies when it comes to same-sex relations. I'm saying, either we all are under the letter of the law, or else Paul was speaking more in generalities.

I think he was speaking more in generalities, and exhorting husbands to be faithful to their wives. We've got to realize, he spent the first part of his life as a legalistic Jew (I'm not labeling all Jews "legalistic" -- just saying that from what I've read of Paul, that's how he seemed to me before his conversion) -- then he met Jesus, and His grace turned Paul's world upside down. On the one hand, he embraced the freedom ...

On the other hand, he saw the danger that other believers (especially those coming to Christ from a more promiscuous, "anything goes" lifestyle), might interpret grace as a license to just keep having their orgies and following the impulses of the flesh, rather than being constrained by the Spirit and learning a better way to express their sexuality -- a way that protected society's most vulnerable, the ones who were getting exploited so badly in the current atmosphere.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#132 of 132 Old 12-13-2008, 04:22 PM
 
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this is one of the most informative threads i have ever read on this subject. i have learned a lot.
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