July 15, 2018 – As Ugly As It Gets

Posted on : Jul 12th, 2018 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

I strongly want to believe that if the Apostle Paul had any clue about the way his writings would be used to inflict spiritual damage and violence upon women, those forced into enslavement, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and/or non-binary persons, he wouldn’t have stated his beliefs the way he did.  But unfortunately, Paul had an overly inflated sense of spiritual self-righteousness and we’ve been paying the price for that for centuries.

Life is not as bad today as it was 25 years ago for LGBT people and LGBT Christians, but Paul’s writings are still used as “clobber texts” in many conservative and evangelical churches.

Two recent comments from our church website highlight that reality.

A teenage male wrote: “Hello, I am a homosexual teen that is scared to come out.  I go to a conservative church that says marriage is between a man and a woman, and I do know what they will think of me.  Also, my parents are conservative and might be angry. I feel like I am on the road to Hell.  What should I do?  I know you guys are affirming, will I be discriminated?”

A mother wrote this in response to a question she raised about wanting her son, who is gay, to find a supportive church: “When I visit my son, I will be sure to come to your church.  When my son was younger he didn’t tell us he was gay and I didn’t know this at the time but the youth pastor told him being gay would send him to hell.  He wanted to end his life.  [Later when he told us,] I was so happy he told us instead, because I love him and told him my Jesus, my God, loves him just as he is.  It breaks my heart that people teach this.  And it breaks my heart how some folks suffer just trying to be themselves.   Life is truly tough but my life would not be as sweet as it is if my son wasn’t in it.  We need more understanding and more love😊 Thanks again Pastor.”

And so it continues.  Because of the Apostle Paul’s wrongful understanding about sexual orientation and the misuse of a slang term that was culturally bound, for centuries thousands of Christians have taken it upon themselves to use Paul’s teachings to condemn LGBT people.  Thankfully, due to a prophetic generation of LGBT Christians and their heterosexual allies, the effects and impact of Paul’s writings is diminishing.  But the violence and dehumanization that has been supported by Paul’s teachings continues and will continue to be part of our history for generations to come.

This Sunday we will focus on what Paul actually said about “homosexuality” – that word wasn’t even in existence when Paul wrote his letters to the Christians in Rome and Corinth (Corinthians) – and how Paul’s understanding of “homosexuality” is no longer the accepted understanding of sexual orientation today.  I’ll also share with you a new movement within Christianity in which some Churches and religious denominations are now publicly apologizing to the gay and lesbian community for the violence and abuse they inflicted and upon gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and non-binary people.  That’s amazing!

More on Sunday.

Blessings,

Dan

Romans 1:16-2:1  

For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.”

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world God’s eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things God has made. So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honor God as God or give thanks to God, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural,  and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents,  foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them.

Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.

 

 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

 

 

 

 

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