Thursday, September 20, 2007

am i missing something here?

"Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery."

it just seems curious. i understand all of the reasons why it is said that homosexuality is "not compatable with a biblical worldview". that's not the point of this. what i find curious is how in the same place that paul says homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom, he also says the same of those who are "adulterers". and furthermore, jesus says that any who are divorced and remarried are adulterers. i'm not here condemning anyone, that's not my place. and this is not to say that i think people should be less tolerant of those who are remarried. what i am curious about is why homosexuals are not MORE welcomed in light of this evidence? if we welcome those who have been divorced and remarried and according to paul have NO INHERITANCE in the kingdom, why do we not welcome ALL peoples whom paul said the same about?

why is such a line drawn? what is the reasoning behind such an inconsistancy?


One Voice of Many said...

Good question Jon. I don't know the answer though. I'd love to hear other input regarding it.

Dena G said...

Oh, Jon...I have MUCH to say on this subject. Much that I've learned from my own divorce. Much that I've learned from observing the whole "us vs. them" mentality in most churches.

I'm on my lunch hour and the next 3 days are pretty well consumed already, but...I WILL be back!!

jON said...

ovom: i would love to hear other input on the subject as well, if anyone is willing.

dena: i do know that some people get "excommunicated" because of divorce or remarriage issues in catholic churches. and i don't know what your experience of divorce within the church was like, and i would enjoy hearing it if you would like to share.

i just noticed that when brand new people show up on the doorstep of any given church, people hardly bat an eye if it is a married couple where one or both have been divorced and then married each other. but if it were a single homosexual (or especially a couple!) and they were upfront about the fact, the welcome is less warm and open.

and i think we should welcome everyone regardless of who they are or where they're at. not just draw lines that we're already safely on the other side of.

the most recent sex-positive advice column "savage love" talked briefly about this dynamic from another angle. if you are an adult who can handle frank talk about sex, and can understand that the columnist is NOT a christian but has valid rational thoughts, then give it a lookie-loo. the columnist's response is priceless. it is the second letter that begins "Please tell all the 'better than everyone else' Bible thumpers out there that I'm not a perv."

Nate said...

It is all about exposure. We have been exposed to so many divorced people that we are able to sympahthize and understand the situations that occured to cause the divorce. Since Crhristians don't hang out with gay people as a rule, they don't get to know them. So they just think the worst, because fo the lack of experience with them.

Also it is just a hot button. For many people the act itself is repulsive, and they cannot seperate the person from the act. There is a gay guy at work that has said to me, and I quote, "Oh, Nate. In another life." Then made a 'eat you up sound' and walked away. Maybe he has a thing for overweight middleaged white guys, (he is black) or just has very bad taste in men, I don't know. But I loved it. Thought it was funny as hell, just as he intended it to be. Most people would have been very standoffish in a situation like that. But I am very comfortable with the gays. I tend to like them more than straight people. They are nicer to their friends. I am always their friend,
and I don't know why.

Anyway, we are not accepting as a whole in the common church. We don't want our kids around that kind of thing. It might be catching. We have to protect our reputation. etc.. etc..

I don't care who it is, I accept them as long as they are not a physical danger to themselves or those around them.

John, how do you do links on these damn sites. I can't do it. Call me tommorrow and teach me please.

Dena G said...

Our Sunday school class recently discussed this very subject...unfortunately, I missed that discussion, but it was pretty much the talk of the church for awhile!!

The question posed to the class was "how would you react if a homosexual couple wanted to join our church?"

One person said she would be opposed to it, because she didn't want "those people" kissing in front of her son or holding hands in church. (Another class member reminded her that we all sometimes hold hands when we pray and probably no one would be kissing during a church service.)

After arguing about it for most of the class time, this same person reiterated that she wouldn't want "them" in the church. And someone else spoke up and said "Let 'em join. As long as they're not having sex in the pews, they're welcome."

Amen. :-)

Back to your original questions, though...why IS there such an inconsistency? I think it's because we DO have such an "us vs. them" mentality. It's easy for us to excuse away something that we could possibly be guilty of someday. ('s easy to excuse away something that we've already been guilty of.)

We are such icky creatures sometimes. We somehow think that if we just make someone else look worse than we do by pointing a finger at his/her sin, we then make ourselves look better. I don't think it works that way, though. We're quick to categorize sin as "little" or "big" or "HORRIBLE" and we completely overlook what God has to say.

(Sorry...I'm rambling--I have a lot to say and just a few minutes in which to do it and I'm probably not doing justice to my thoughts.)

About divorce: I now know why God says that he hates divorce. I think it has much less to do with the "level of sin" (ha!) than it does with the fact that God knows our hearts...and he knows how they will break, over and over again, in a divorce situation.

I lost much in my divorce--not only did I no longer have a husband, I no longer had 2 beautiful adult children (my ex-husband's son and daughter from his first marriage). I missed both of their weddings. My stepdaughter has a child I've never seen. My stepson is expecting a baby. But they're no longer part of my life. They're the only children I'll ever you think God doesn't grieve with me over my losses?

We are fallible, broken people. The God who calls me his daughter has no desire to see me broken further.

The bottom line, for me, is God's grace. Poured out in abundance on me. Poured out in abundance on any of us no longer under that says "you have no inheritance here". The divorced. The homosexual. The murderer. The paper-clip thief. Sinners all.

That's it for now...I'll probably be back!

Tessa said...

I think the problem most people have with the homosexual issue is that we are not just talking about one singular sin. The gay "lifestyle" is seen as "living in sin." I see it comparable as to being an alcaholic. Becomming addicted to any substance would be more than just a singular experience of an error in judgement, it would be "living in sin." Like substance abuse, there is a lot of research saying people are genetically predisposed to homosexuality. I happen to go to a very conservative private christian college as you know, that makes me sign a paper saying i "abhor" sexually immoral acts including homosexuality, yet many times during the year people struggling with this issue are begged to tell somebody about their struggle and are met with love. I think the problem the "church" has with gays is their belief they do not need to repent of the sin of being gay - cuz in their minds they see no wrong.

I am just mearly speculating on why gays seem to push the buttons of church goers so much. A divorce might be seen as "less wrong" because it is a singular act. However, youre absolutely right in pointing out the disconnect in the acceptace level of divorce's and gays. My mom brought up the fact my recent boyfriend was divorced and if i was at all concerned with the moral implications of that, i asked her "what do u think?" she told me she didn't know, but i am sure she would have a lot more to say if i had been dating another girl!

Dena G said...

Speaking from experience, I would have to respectfully disagree with some of your comments, Tessa. (And completely agree with others.) :-)

We as a society tend to look at divorce as a "single act", but it is anything but that. You don't just skip happily down the path of wedded bliss and then wake up one day and out of the blue decide you want a divorce.

Divorce is a process...a process of focusing on self rather than the other person, of seeing "me vs. you" as opposed to "us vs. the world", a failure to consider yourselves as truly "one". The legal act of divorce is only the end result of a lifestyle of sin (we don't usually want to acknowledge this truth).

Homosexual relationships "push our buttons" because it's easier to point fingers at someone else's lifestyle of "sin" than it is to take a look at what's rotting away in our own hearts.

It took me a long time to be able to acknowledge that I was culpable in the failure of my marriage--it was much easier for me to look at the end of the marriage and say "he's the one who left, he's the one who was unfaithful", but I had to come to a place where I could say "I was selfish, I was self-centered" before I could find the healing I needed.

Honestly, Tessa, I wouldn't be at all concerned about the "moral implications" of dating a divorced person, but I WOULD be concerned about other potential issues. I would never believe that someone is completely "healed" from the experience unless I had absolute proof and I would never believe that someone's divorce was ALL the other person's fault.

And I would never get involved with someone who hadn't been divorced at least a year, preferably several. If they seem to have just "bounced back" immediately, they're lying or they have other serious issues.

Words of wisdom from someone who's been there... :-)

Anonymous said...

I think a larger question here is why does the church except either? Without sounding too harsh, if you have a document that serves as the rules and regulations for a particular religion, why do you choose to belive in some and not in others? Why do you believe in some of the aspects the bible portrays but not all? Why do we as humans consider ourselves to be more intelligent than the designer to decide right or wrong?

With that being said and aren't at all my viewpoints but an observation, I think a good portion of the kingdom of God referenced here isn't necessarily about the afterlife. I think a lot of it has to do with the here and now and the kingdom we either create or destroy in our minds on a daily basis. The kingdom of God in my opinion isn't just an attainable goal for the afterlife but a living breathing goal individuals can achieve every day. As the old saying goes anyone can make a heaven out of hell or a hell out of heaven in their own mind. Which I think these scriptures deal more with than what happens to us after we die.

Dena, my heart truly breaks for everything you have and are currently going through. It sounds like a most difficult process. Homosexuals as well live a difficult life. I have known quite a few people who happen to be homosexual in my life and many of them are much better people than a lot of the straight people I have as friends. But they also live a tortured life because of the stigma attached to their sexual preference.

Maybe God realized the difficulties surrounding both of these issues and knew how tough it would be to achieve the kingdom in your own mind while these things are taking place.

Anyways, just my two cents. Jonny boy you always keep it interesting brother. Your mind is a most creative place.

- little bro

Tessa said...

Thanks for that insight Dena, having never been in a relationship anywhere near as heavy as marriage i wouldn't be the right person to speculate on things like that. I like that you say you have come to a place wher you can finally admit you are culpable. I think the root of all sin is usually a self-centered attitude and the end result is usually a bitter blame. I pray you, and others be able to find healing from the deap scar this type of situation brings.

Dena G said...

For me, the answer to all of those questions are "God's grace. God's mercy. God's forgiveness. God's redemption." Abundant and available. No matter what the sin. That's just the absolute bottom line for me.

I certainly don't consider myself more intelligent than my designer...I simply choose to walk in the grace he freely offers and leave the law (to which I can never measure up) behind.

The "kingdom of God" IS right here and now...and it's a kingdom of freedom. I choose every day to walk in the freedom that forgiveness (and, maybe more importantly, the freedom that the act of ACCEPTANCE of forgiveness) gives.

Valorosa said...

"Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

LOL He/she who is without sin cast the first stone ...

We are ALL guilty as charged ... we can all see ouraelves in this scripture verse ...

We are guilty ...

Covered by the blood ...

There is only one requirement for salvation ... and that is believing in Christ and His sacrifice... John 3:16

For God so loved the ""world"" ... that He gave his only begotten son that WHOSOEVER believes in Him will NOT perish but have everlasting life.

He knows how frail we are and He knows we will never stop falling while we live here ... there is only one antidote to our condition and that is to love God and to love our neighbour as ourselves and we can't even do that really well LOLOL we are a mess!! let's admit it and get on with loving each other ...