These are acts that involve a personal choice or a choice that two (or more) people make consensually. Though some of these things (like sex and drinking) can carry risk (like nearly EVERYTHING we do in life) and should be practiced responsibly, they are not inherently acts of harm. They are not inherently hurtful, unloving acts.
Yet these are the “sins” that the evangelical church seems most preoccupied with.
By focusing on these “sins” that don’t hurt anyone (except GOD apparently), these Christians effectively take the focus off of the real sins. The sins that actually do harm to fellow humans and the image of God that is in them.
TW: CHILD ABUSE
When Hana died, she became one of at least dozens of adoptees alleged to have been killed at their adoptive parents’ hands in the past 20 years, and part of a far larger group of children who become estranged from their adoptive families—frequently, as it turns out, large families with fundamentalist beliefs about child rearing. Just within the Seattle area, and just among Ethiopian adoptees who came from the same orphanage and adoption agency as Hana, there has been an unreported crisis of “forever families” that fail. These are adoptions that, in an absence of any real oversight and in environments of harsh discipline, began with good intentions but went profoundly wrong.
Answer: Not much.
I’m nearly 31 and only a shade over seven years into this marriage gig and in the totality of life, that’s not very long. I certainly don’t know a ton about the intricacies and mysteries of the marriage union, but I’m starting to learn, little by little.
I’m learning that getting married is about finding the person that you can’t live without. And when you think of that moment - not living with that person - you can hear your heartbeat in your ears and you stop breathing for a bit. The thought is too much.
I’m learning that getting married is about finding someone you want to share your bed with, but it’s also about finding someone who tells you the hard things, the honest things, the true things.
I don’t agree with everything here, especially not with the part about making babies. But I was struck by how much it resonates with me. It seems like she’s essentially talking about marriage as a partnership, and while I’m not big on sex or romance, that does appeal to me.
As a baptized, ordained, practicing, Bible-reading, Spirit-filled, Jesus-loving Christian, I just have to say how sick and tired I am of these straight-marriage activists spreading their heterosexual agenda all over my church and country!
Note, this post parodies the tone of common homophobic arguments, so be aware if that’s something that bothers you.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about the intersection of asexuality and Christianity. I saw a comment on Rachel Held Evans’ blog post “If My Son or Daughter Were Gay,” from a mother asking for advice because her daughter had just come out as asexual. She noted that while homosexuality was frequently discussed on the blog (Rachel is a strong proponent of what I might call a progressive Christian attitude towards the LGBT* community, and often hosts discussion), asexuality had never been discussed.
I made a post on The Asexual Agenda! Content warning for homophobia and acephobia.
What would Jesus not do?
The last thing I reblogged reminded me that Rachel Held Evans posted this last week. Her site has a wide audience, raging from alienatingly progressive people like me to pretty conservative (and sometimes homophobic) people. Homosexuality comes up there a lot, and, unfortunately, some commenters do pull the “get healed and be married to someone of the opposite sex” card. There’s usually a fervent response from at least one person saying, “No. Don’t do that. I’ve seen what happens.” So that’s the context for this.
There’s a lot you can say about these stories, obviously. But I’m not going to say any of it. I think the most important thing I can do, in response to the courage of these people who shared their stories, is to listen, not turn them into talking points.
You don’t get it.
You wring your hands and ask why Young People are leaving the church, and when we try to tell you, you fire us. When we come forward with our honest questions, you tell us that the problem is we’re having too much sex and it’s making us doubt.
The problem is that a lot of the time, you don’t actually want to know why Young People are leaving. What you’re really asking is, how can we convince Young People to stay without changing our bigotry, our intolerance, our sexism, our corruption, our hypocrisy, our terrible stewardship, and our grossly misplaced priorities? How can we convince Young People to stay without taking the logs out of our eyes? And when we tell you, you can’t, you throw your hands up and decry our lack of morals.
This is terrific. I wanted to stand up and cheer when I first read it. I recommend reading the whole thing.
TW discussion of homophobia
The third book of the Bible, Leviticus, has some wonderful passages. The Jubilee laws outlined in chapter 25, for example, provide an inspiring vision of liberty and justice for all. The 10th verse of this chapter even supplied the inscription for the Liberty Bell: “proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”
The Jubilee laws and the ideals they embody, unfortunately, are nearly wholly neglected and forgotten. Most of the book of Leviticus is similarly neglected.
Yet some passages live on, their teachings still regarded as unwavering and binding.
One such passage is Lev. 20:13, which says (in the King James Version), “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.”…
To understand why God is no longer considered a hater of shrimp you have to flip ahead to the Acts of the Apostles, the good doctor’s account of the early days of the Christian church.
Acts chapter 10 finds the apostle Peter on a rooftop in Joppa, praying at noon before heading down to lunch.
The impulsive former fisherman has grown into a genuine leader in the early church. At Pentecost, he preached the gospel to people from every corner of the Roman Empire and he is slowly appreciating that this new community is supposed to transcend any ethnic or cultural boundaries. But the goyim still seem to bug him a bit. Especially the Romans.
So God gives him a vision. Peter falls into a trance and sees a vision of a giant tablecloth descending from heaven. The tablecloth is covered with honeybaked hams, cheesesteaks, crab cakes, calamari and lobster.
"Eat up, Peter," a voice tells him
"Surely not, Lord!" Peter says. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."
"Don’t call anything unclean that God has made clean," the voice says. "And try the angels on horseback, they’re like butter."
This happens three times.
This is generally regarded as an instance in which a New Testament passage seems to set aside a prohibition from the Old Testament. And that’s why our friends on the religious right do not feel compelled to eat kosher and do not consider shellfish to be “an abomination.”
Fair enough, but there’s something else going on in this story. The main point of Peter’s rooftop epiphany has nothing to do with diet. The main point of this vision had to do with the people who were about to knock on Peter’s door.
Peter is about to meet Cornelius. Cornelius is a gentile. Worse than that, he is a Roman. Worse than that, he is a Roman centurion. Cornelius is about as kosher as a bacon double cheeseburger.
But give Peter credit — he understood the vision. “Don’t call anything unclean that God has made clean.” Don’t call anyone unclean that God has made clean.