Friday, February 11, 2011

Lady Gaga. . . Born This Way. . . The Voice of a Generation?. . .

I'm not sure I can recall the release of a single that's been more trumpeted, more anticipated, or even more methodically marketed than the Lady Gaga song dropped onto our pop culture landscape just a few short hours ago. The trend-setting and cutting-edge pop star who - at every turn - sends shivers up the spines of anyone and everyone (either shivers of great, liberating joy. . . shivers of great fear and distress. . . or shivers of something in between)told us all back at the 2010 MTV VMA's that this was going to happen sometime soon. Today, the first single release and title track from her new album - "Born This Way" - is out. . . and it's probably the biggest thing happening in the world of pop culture. That's no exaggeration. This is big. Really big.

While the video is yet to be released, this morning's release of the audio track is a teaser for her live performance of the song which is scheduled for Sunday night's Grammy Awards. The video release will be even bigger. One young fan posted this reaction to the song on a message board: OH MY GAGA. THIS SONG IS ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE! SHE IS FEARLESS. THIS IS THE ANTHEM OF A GENERATION. WE WERE BORN THIS WAY BABY!!!!!!!

I don't think it's a coincidence that two days ago I met with three representatives of Harvest USA, an amazing ministry that addresses sexual brokenness with great compassion and integrity. During that meeting I told them that I believe that issues related to sexuality, particularly same-sex attraction and same-sex experimentation, are the most pressing issues we must address in youth ministry over the course of the next 12 to 24 months. It's crucial. Lady Gaga's new song reminds us of just how important this is. Give "Born This Way" a listen. . . and follow the lyrics as you do. Remember, this is just the song without the support of the video treatment which we have yet to see. . .

It doesn't matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M
Just put your paws up'
cause you were Born This Way, Baby













I'm anticipating some major push-back from some folks, but I think that the release of this song marks a watershed moment in our understanding of who we are and where we're going as a culture. That's why it needs to be listened to, watched, tracked, and talked about. It cannot be ignored. "Born This Way" offers a mix of truth (God as Creator, inherent value and worth, etc.), and a host of very dangerous ideas that are evidence of our slide into a postmodern world void of the truth factor. Yes, God has made us just the way He wanted to, instilling in us tremendous value and worth. The Scriptures are clear on that. But we are sinful and polluted beings who need to exercise Biblical discernment in our assessments of ourselves, our natures, what we believe, and how we live. Without a deep and sobering understanding of our own sin, we can never fully understand or appreciate the grace we received at the cross. The song puts forth and promotes a way of thinking about, looking at, and living life that's been increasingly embraced in our culture. We are who we are. . . but we need to be who we've been called to be. Lady Gaga is making some powerful statements about the nature of God, the nature of humanity, the nature of sin, and how to live life. The whole world is watching, listening, and believing.

Lady Gaga is not a flash-in-the-pan performer. She is speaking for a generation. She is leading a generation. If you are older, think about how attitudes, values, and behaviors have changed over the years. . . over a very short span of years. As I've said before, I'm so thankful that our kids have by-and-large walked away from the attitudes that I and my peers had towards homosexuals when I was in high school. Thinking back, it was horrible. But now, the pendulum has swung in the other direction, to leave us living in a world where we love sinners and celebrate sin. What was once seen as vice is now virtuous. And to use the words "sinner" or "sin" . . . well. . . that's actually the only thing that's seen as a sin.

"Born This Way" is a wake-up call. What are we going to do with it when we get out of bed? Stay tuned. And do I think Lady Gaga is the voice of a generation in this song? Yes, absolutely. I'm sure I'll be sharing more thoughts in this during the coming days. What are thinking?


Mike McGarry said...

Hey Walt, this is great stuff. It will be interesting to see the different reactions coming out about this in the coming days and weeks. I blogged about it here, if you or anyone's interested. Jonathan McKee posted a great evaluation of it on his blog too.

Jasper said...

I do believe that you are right that this is going to have ramifications. It has a great beat and catchy tune and the words definitely advance an agenda. However, you said:

"Today, the first single release and title track from her new album - "Born This Way" - is out. . . and it's probably the biggest thing happening in the world. That's no exaggeration. This is big. Really big."

I take a small amount of issue here. I think it is an exaggeration. this is big. don't get me wrong. Maybe Ellen D big but to say it is the biggest thing happening in the world? Really? Maybe we should tell that to people in Egypt and Tanzania. I agree this is a turning point but in someways let's try and keep perspective.

Walt Mueller said...

Jasper- good catch - not what I meant to say at all. I corrected to what I meant to say - biggest thing in the world of "pop culture" - thanks! There are many, many more big things happening in the world - poverty, hunger, conflict, etc. Sorry folks.

Jasper said...

Thanks for the clarification. I thought maybe there was something missing here. Just read the Yahoo review of the song and it was pretty negative. maybe there is hope in that? Maybe.

Dagney said...

thanks for getting this review out so quickly. Getting a tweet on it from a good basic Biblical perspective and so quickly, really gives me the awareness I need to be a part of my students worlds (youthworker). I would not otherwise have known so soon. Thanks for helping me do my job with excellence!

Christopher said...

I wonder if this is as "big" in the communities of color as it is outside of them.?

Lady Gaga is the voice of a niche of this generation, but no one artist can truly represent this extremely segmented & niched bunch of adolescents!

Sue Kauffman said...

I am a Christian with a Lutheran background and I have always struggled with this issue. Why does God create people who are attracted to their own sex and then expect them to live a totally celebate life? Are they forbidden to ever find a soul mate and live in a loving sexual relationship? Is that really what God intended? I would love to hear your perspective. I totally understand the objection to the types of homosexual relationships described in the bible (such as the situation in Sodom and Gommorrah-sp) I'm sure God doesn't want any of us to engage in damaging promiscuous relationships be they hetero or homosexual in nature. Please share your thoughts on this.

Gretchen said...

right on, thanks! We are dealing with this more and more in our ministry. This is certainly not going away and we definitely need to be more pro-active in our approach.

Brian Pengelly said...

Hey Sue! Thanks for your question. I don't have time to stab at answering the whole thing right here...though there is a lot of good stuff to be talked about.

The question "Why does God create people who are attracted to their own sex and then expect them to live a totally celibate life" starts with what I think is a major logical flaw: assuming that because same sex attraction is not chosen (and as a gay man I can attest very much to the fact that it wasn't) then God must have made us this way.

This is where the doctrine of the Fall is so important. What is now is not God's best plan. The world as we experience it now is twisted by the results of sin. I do not believe God created me gay, any more that I believe my friend with Spina Bifida was created with a twisted spine, or my straight friends were created to desire multiple partner even after marrying a beautiful spouse. In my understanding of Scripture many things that are, are not as they are ultimately meant to be, and my life and choices are shaped by moving in tune with God's plan rather than the current experience of human brokeness.(I can feel a side track argument about sovereignty, predestination etc coming on but will resist the urge.)

It seems to me that too often in Christianity we have fallen to one of two extremes: either how we are is perfect, and thus sin isn't real..or how we are is our fault and thus we should feel personal shame and guilt.

But the truth is our nature is fallen, and creation itself is fallen. What we desire is not always what God has planned for us. I do not have to feel ashamed for that fact that I happen to be attracted to the same sex. I use the term gay to describe myself and reject any attempts to stigmatize myself because of that reality in my life. But just because I feel a certain way, and did not chose to be that way, does not mean that to act on those attractions is right.

I don't know a guy yet who is naturally monogamous, and yet as a Christian I teach that God's plan for sexuality includes faithfulness in marriage. I have sat with enough of my heterosexual brothers to know the deep struggle this is for many of them. I have many many heterosexual friends who are for whatever reason not married though they very much long to be, and celibacy is no picnic for them either.

When grappling with the question of what the Bible says about gay relationship there are a lot of questions that need to be asked that the church is doing a poor job answering:

1) Do we use the same rules of interpretation on the issue of homosexuality as we do on other issues such as divorce and remarriage?

2) Are we focusing too much on enforcing rules rather than compassion for people (Matthew 12 is as important to this debate at Romans 1)

3) Are we applying the contexts of passages such as Romans 1 properly?

4) If the church does call gay individuals to celibacy are they actually providing support for such individuals?

5) If God's rules are not arbitrary, then what harms is he protecting against when he forbids homosexual behavior. And if those harms can be avoided is the behavior still wrong?(Traditionally evangelicals have given false statistics to make it sound like homosexuality is more dangerous than it is.)

I think these are all better questions to ask. I do not say this to belittle you for asking, because I have been there and asked it myself. But I think in this discussion that has turned to intense and so heated within the church we need both better questions, and better answers.


Alex Humphrey said...

Sue, let me ask you this: Is sex the ultimate goal of existence? If it is, then your hesitations make sense. If it is not, then homosexuality is a sin like any other.

Romans 7 has a call out to all of us, but one that Christians struggling with any sexual issue should cling to:

18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Anonymous said...

I am a Christian with a Lutheran background too. I'm attracted to people of my complementary gender, but have never found my soul mate, and so I have not ever had a loving sexual relationship. At age 54, I continue to rest in God's care for me; I am learning to be content in all situations, including not having sex.

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

SUE KUAFFMAN, tremendously thoughtful and emotional words. May I graciously respond? You make your mistake in believing that God wants gays to remain celibate. Nowhere does God or Jesus ever say such a thing. That idea only comes out of the sick and perverted minds of ancient biblical leaders who also expressed that an unruly son should be stoned to death, along with women who were found to be non-virgins on the marriage night, the approval of owning slaves, and many other imbecilic rules of behavior recorded in the Bible. Why does Jesus, in His entire life, never once mention condemnation of gayness? If this is of such critical importance, then why is it not one of the Ten Commandments? If it is so important why did God not add it as an 11th? He certainly could have.

After many conversations with pastors, not one of them had an answer to the above questions. The best they could come up with for Jesus’ opposition to gayness is KJV Matt. 19: 4-5. – “ …at the beginning (He) made them male and female. (5) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh.” But it is vitally important to not take these two verses out of context. Let’s include verses 3, and 6-12. Jesus’ response to the Pharisees in verses 4 - 12 is to their question in verse 3 – “Is it lawful for a man to put away (divorce) his wife for every cause?” Verses 4-5 were not His response to a question having anything to do with gayness. Nothing. Verses 4-5 were his partial responses to, on what grounds can one secure a divorce. Jesus then goes on and states in verse 6; “…What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” In verse 9 He gives the sole reason a divorce can be granted – fornication. He even goes on to give examples for whom marriage of a man and woman is inappropriate in verse 12; “ 1) eunuchs born as such; 2) eunuchs which were made eunuchs of men and; 3) those which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.”

Christ uses eunuchs as an example of persons not able and therefore not expected to physically cleave with a woman due to the effect of castration. Likewise it is the exact same case for truly gay men. The necessary physical response cannot occur and therefore we cannot expect them to be able to cleave to a wife. It is in cases such as these that Christ clearly states in verse 11, “…. all men (men who are, and are not able to cleave) cannot receive this saying (that men should leave their parents and cleave to their wives and not divorce), save they to whom it is given (those men who can cleave to a women).” So here Christ is saying that only those men that are physically able to cleave to a woman should leave their parents and cleave to their wives. Eunuchs have the necessary body part to cleave, but not the necessary hormones to engage that part. Likewise for gays in relation to opposite – sex attraction. One cannot expect another to achieve something that they are physically incapable of achieving. Would it not be malicious hatred and/or ignorance to condemn a eunuch for not cleaving to a wife?

I have no doubt that those religious leaders presently fighting gay acceptance are trying to stave off a tidal wave by use of a sand wall. They will also later be remembered in the company of those who fought for separate water fountains, the prohibition of child labor laws, and the suppression of a woman’s right to vote. It is now their choice to either stand for condemnation and scourge, or love and understanding.

My husband and I are parents of a gay son who is no longer with us.

Christopher said...

No judgment, but a question: what do we do with the passage from Romans 1:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools

23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.

27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God‑haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

32 Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

craigbenno1 said...

I am troubled with the standard response to this topic Tim. One area that is left out of the equation is that of Intersex people. That is those who are born with both sets of genitals. Over the last 40 plus years over one baby out of 1500 have undergone Gender Reassignment surgery and often the doctors have got it wrong... so in reality boys are growing up as girls; girls as boys! And we the church condemn those like it as being sinful...

I wrote about this here

I challenge you to read this man's story he was born with a tiny penis. The doctors cut it off and made him into a girl.. ( This has been standard practice for such cases) He was brought up as a girl... he considers himself a man (which he is) has huge anger problems. He has a girl friend and yet society and the counsellor considers him a lesbian.

The church really needs to grapple hard with this issue; I am yet to read any reformed church person blog or write about this particular topic... yet there are possibly 10's of thousands of people affected by intersexuality and paediatric gender reassignment issues...whom we wrongly label as being sexually offensive... when in fact they are in reality living in the Gender God made them.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jasper,
You thought that Walter might be exaggerating, but I'm watching 20/20 right now and the two feature news stories are: What's happening in Egypt and An Interview with Lady Gaga.

Rick Lawrenson said...

God created male and female and told the to procreate. He did not create homosexuality. That's man's creation as a result of our choice to rebel against God.

I realize that's not a politically correct statement, but correct, nonetheless.

Jeremiah Fyffe said...

I just spent the past six months leading our youth through two questions ::

1) What is the gospel?

2) Do you know the gospel well enough to share it?

The GOSPEL is the most important issue for these youth, but this song provides the impetus to answer how the gospel touches upon the questions that are pressing in on the lives of these young adults.

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

CHRISTOPHER, thank you for the very thoughtful and considerate way you introduced your question. It is sincerely appreciated. Although not specifically addressed to me I will give my feelings on it, but my response is not directed toward you personally at all.

Although I didn’t want to name names, but when I mentioned “sick and perverted minds” yes, I had Paul in mind. Before judging the reasonableness and legitimacy of verses 29-32 representing God’s opinion, we must be aware of all of Paul’s teachings. You’d be surprised at what else he says. I suggest we read all of Paul’s teachings .If we find major problems with his other teachings, how do we determine which ones are legitimate? A rational person upon finding some of a certain teacher’s ideas to be illogical, unreasonable, reprehensible, vile, and repulsive, could reasonably then discount all of said teacher’s teachings.

The “haters’ are very good at picking only those verses of Paul that fit their agenda. Again, nowhere in the Bible does Jesus condemn gays. NOWHERE!

In listening to a modern day Paul ranting Romans 1: 29 –32, on a street corner today, who would he remind you of? Does the name Fred Phelps come to mind? Paul certainly doesn’t describe the gays I know. How about you? Does Paul’s description of gays fit the gay persons you know? Does it even come close? Do you believe they are “worthy of death”? If you do, you have more of my pity than my wrath.

Ben said...

Well posted Christopher, Romans 1 is very applicable - verse 32 hits home to anyone who tries to defend any of the sexual perversions, be it hetrosexual sex outside marriage, homosexuality, beastiality, etc.

Truly His word is good for reproof, rebuke and correction so that the man of God may be equipped for every good work. May the Lord continue to use His word to strengthen and convict His people - to His glory!

Chris Brooks said...

It is my hope that we can, eventually, remove the emotion of this dialog and get to the core of it. God created all human beings in His image. The 2 key questions that naturally follow (in this context) are:

1) Is homosexuality something that God created/intended, and

2) What is the appropriate response to "gays" for those who follow Christ?

God's word teaches that sexual behavior outside of God's will is the result of living in a sinful, fallen world. Based upon Romans 1 and other passages, homosexuality is clearly not a behavior that God intended. It is sin. The good news is that through Christ, there is a way to live life to the full, despite the same-sex attraction. This is the same as a man or woman living free of lust, through Christ, despite decades of poor thoughts, behaviors, and choices.

All of this is easy for me to say, because I am a straight man in a society that is very harsh to gay people. ALL people were created in God's image. ALL people have inherent worth, and deserve to be treated with respect, dignity and unconditional love - especially by the Body of Christ.

Mistreating people for their sexual choices is wrong. Speaking the truth in love is the best solution, but is extremely difficult and rarely practiced.

God loves all of His image-bearers. Yet, He does not endorse all of our choices, and can differentiate beteween His children and their choices.

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

RICK LAWRENSON. I commend you. Your comment is full of the compassion and understanding one would expect from a leader of a congregation and follower of Jesus.

You state that gayness is “our choice”, even though it is not a politically correct statement. You are only 1/2 correct. It is also not a correct statement. You seem to have no knowledge of the definition of the word “choice”. Let me help you. Do you remember when you chose to be a hetero? For such a major decision I’m sure you must. Can you picture any young boy during puberty experiencing their first hormonal rush of attraction toward the opposite sex, and declaring, “Wow, what a feeling! Wait a minute though. I have these incredibly strong feelings toward females, BUT, I could also “choose” to be attracted to males. Let’s see, which one should I choose?” Decisions, decisions. Sounds absurd now doesn’t it?

You also seem to have no knowledge of the scientifically proven and accepted genetic and environmental make-up of sexual attraction that shows it is not a choice (Science Daily, June 30, 2008 and many others). If you can stomach the thought, tell me, if it is a choice, do you think it would be physically possible for you to “choose” to consummate a homosexual engagement? If you can’t stomach it, then how could you choose it? Something that is physically impossible is not really a choice now, is it? Likewise, the same holds true for the truly gay man to physically consummate a hetero engagement.

By the way, who is responsible for our genetic make-up?

Amy said...

Was she born with those horns? Weird.
I linked to your blog from mine.

Andrew said...

Jim and Diane,

The studies on homosexuality have not definitively linked it to genetic reasons. For everyone that claims to, another is released that shows errors in the previous study. But still at the end, we must ask, Could it be that the Fall has impacted us so deeply that it reaches to the level of genetics? And the answer is almost definitely, yes. There are many diseases caused by genetic mutations. We would not see these as good, so why would we make the same assumption about homosexuality?

Suggesting that Jesus nowhere condemns gays is an argument from silence that is ignorant of the differences between Jesus' context and Paul's. Jesus affirmed the whole of the OT, which included laws prohibiting homosexuality. But he spoke in a cultural context where no one would have argued for homosexuality. It was a non-issue, so Jesus would have been only affirming what the people already understood to be clear from Scripture.

Paul, on the other hand, is dealing with a Gentile context in the wider Greco-Roman world where homosexuality was more prominent. He was forced to deal with this issue, and pointed the Gentile believers back to the OT. His creation of the compound word 'arsenekoitai' in 1 Cor 6:9 links back to Lev 18 & 20 in the LXX, where a man ('arsenos') was not to bed ('koitos') another man.

We don't get to reject Paul for Jesus. It's not an either or. Both stand in the same Christian tradition. And no, that is not the tradition of Fred Phelps.

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

RICK LAWRENSON. I must express this follow-up, which I previously held in. I say the following as graciously as possible. After reading your comment I was left visibly shaken. I was totally taken aback by you so nonchalantly reducing such a complex and affectuous issue to an unrealistic level of simplicity. Not only as a pastor but also as a human being, your short 4-sentence comment was extremely curt, cold, and totally devoid of the slightest bit of empathy. No matter the position that Walt may take, I know it will be filled with sincere feelings of immense care and compassion, emanating from the very depth of his soul, and only after much prayer and abundant thought. You seemed not the least bit concerned about the troubled lives of millions of gay people around the world – young, middle-age, elderly, male, female, yellow, black, white, brown, and red. Some are most probably in your congregation. Are you aware of Matthew Shepard, who due to his gayness, was brutally beaten senseless and hung on a fence post to die; that his father felt compelled to wear a bullet-proof vest at the funeral due to the death threats he received; of Tyler Clementi, a young college student, with his whole life ahead of him, jumping off a bridge due to his societally-inflicted shame in being secretly video-taped by his college roommate during a gay encounter? That’s how strong the hatred, and the response to that hatred, is. Could you have expressed your stoic viewpoint to the parents of those young men? Well, you did. Your comment even seemed callous to the several comments posted just prior to yours of expressed struggles and sadness in dealing with gayness. It was that close to you, yet still ignored - the antithesis of Christ-like.

Believing that gayness is a choice is indicative that one does not have a clue of what being gay encompasses. Who would ever make this “choice”? It is a life where on a all too frequent basis one is ridiculed, laughed at, bullied, taunted, spat upon, ostracized, hated, and physically assaulted. It is a life where on a daily basis one has to hide their true self as they listen to gay jokes and expressed disgust at the office water cooler, and feel forced to laugh and nod in agreement with that disgust, so as to remain hidden in their dark closet. It is a life where your own government tells you that you are militarily unfit to serve due to fears that your uncontrollable lust would create havoc in close quarters such as in submarines, barracks, and shower stalls. It is a life where your constant companions are inward focused feelings, societally induced, of gross depravity, unspeakable perversion, unworthiness, and extreme loneliness. It is a life with such a damnable stigma, that many feel the need to fake a marriage. It is a life where one is fully aware that in some countries the reigning authority and populace wholeheartedly approve of stoning people, like themselves, to death. It is a life of being called queer, fag, homo, and much worse. Rick Lawrenson, who would ever “choose” such a life?

One last thought. You state, “God did not create homosexuality.” Oh, but He did! God created all sex drives. We are incapable of creating even a single one. Some of us have sex drives for animals. Thankfully, most of us don’t, but forever how hard we could try to create one, we would fail. The desire must be innately in us. It must be implanted in our creation, even if latent. To prove my point, out of all the sexual desires that now exist, try as hard as you can to create one of them within you that doesn’t already exist, or even try to create a new unique one. If that proves too difficult let’s take it down a notch. Just try to create a simple “turn-on”. For instance, if your wife in curlers has never turned you on, try to create the feeling of being turned on by it. How successful were you? Likewise, one cannot create homosexual desires, no matter how hard one may try. Therefore, in total refutation of your statement, ONLY God can create homosexuality.


Walt Mueller said...

I thought I would add a comment here regarding where our sexual desires come from. Sexuality and our desires are part of our humanity - yes, God created them and gifted us with them from the beginning of time. As part of all the things God created which he declared "Good!", our sexuality is a good and wonderful thing. Just like our ability to talk, communicate, listen, create, etc. But since the events of Genesis 3:6, all things that were once good are now broken and marred. We have diseases which people are born with and which they contract. We die. We fight. We get depressed. We watch marriages fall apart. etc. Our sexuality wasn't left untouched by the scourge of sin and depravity. What God made as good, sin has distorted. So, God has intervened in this in-between time before all things are redeemed and made new to reveal his will and way for his fallen creation. As a follower of Christ who takes his word seriously, I must embrace his parameters, even though I might not understand them or everything about them. As far as sexual desires go, God created sex for one man and one woman to experience together within the confines of the exclusive covenant of marriage. Anything outside of those parameters - in thought or deed - is wrong. Consequently, I myself have gone down that road and broken God's will. What I can't do is somehow argue God's will away based on my preferences or feelings, which I think we do very often in today's world. So, I wouldn't go down the road of saying that God made all sexual desires. Could I make a suggestion here? There's a wonderful book I'd love to invite you all to read - "The Meaning of Sex" by Dennis Hollinger. Dennis is a christian ethicist who deals with these issues with great respect for God's Word, and a great and graceful respect for people. It's a good read. To all of you involved in this conversation, let's work hard to keep it civil and graceful in tone. Blessings.

tim funk said...

I'm no expert on this subject but i felt the need to respond. God loves us so much that he sent his son to die on the cross for us. I'm a sinful man that God adopted into his family even though i don't deserve it. God made his will very simple LOVE HIM first then love people. If we put this as our first goal we can't go wrong. Everything hinges on this. Something i just started to understand. I recommend the family life marriage seminar, it may not talk of homosexuls but it does declare what we were created to be as men and women. Thanks for your time.

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

ANDREW, thanks so much for your kind offer to help me understand this issue. I will be using your own words to respond. YOU STATE, “The studies on homosexuality have not definitely linked it to genetic reasons.” By “studies” you are obviously referring to “theocratic studies”, as “scientific molecular genetic studies”, most certainly do. Plus, I stated that both genetics AND environment are causes of gayness. YOU STATE, “For everyone that claims to (link genetics with homosexuality), another (study) is released that shows errors in the previous study.” My discovery in researching these studies is that they differ on the weight that should be given the genetic factor verses the environmental factor. But NO scientific study has ever shown that gayness is due to “choice”. The next quotation of yours has me baffled, as you appear to diametrically oppose your very first statement that I quoted above. YOU STATE, "Could it be that the Fall has impacted us so deeply that it reaches to the level of genetics? And the answer is almost definitely yes." See the contradiction? You are now admitting that homosexuality can be caused by genetics. YOU STATE, “There are many diseases caused by genetic mutations. We would not see these as good, so why would we make the same assumption about homosexuality?” My answer: 1)Yes there are many diseases caused by genetic mutations, along with homosexuality having a genetic basis as you describe in the Fall. But why is homosexuality the only genetic mutation condemned so severely, even “being worthy of death”. Why not just as severely condemn those born with the genetic mutations of: spina bifida, cerebral palsy, autism, etc.? 2)NOWHERE did I ever make the assumption that homosexuality is “good” as you imply in your above quote.
YOU STATE, “Jesus affirmed the whole of the OT, which included laws prohibiting homosexuality.”
You are absolutely correct. He states this in Matthew 5:17. Therefore, in affirming the entire OT He is also affirming: (KJV)
1) One should be stoned to death if caught working on the Sabbath. Numbers 15:32-36
2) That a virgin wife (?) should be stoned to death if she does not cry out while being raped,
Provided the rape occurs in the city, not the countryside. Deuteronomy 22:23-24
3) A man who is wounded in the stones or has his privy member cut off shall not enter the
Church of the Lord. Deuteronomy 23:1
4) If a man commits adultery with a married woman, both of them shall die. Deuteronomy 22:22
5) People can own people. Joel 3:8 and many other verses
6) That a man should rule over his wife. Genesis 3:16 and many other verses
7) A man shall not trim his beard. Leviticus 19:27
8) Homosexuals should be put to death. Leviticus 20:13
The above verses are pointed out for the following two reasons. The first reason is, you imply that it is legitimate to refer to the OT for guidance on issues, especially since Jesus affirmed the laws of the OT in Matthew 5:17. So, in strongly believing in God’s commandments in the OT you would be 100% biblically correct in following all 8 of the above. I concede you that. But would you feel comfortable in referring someone else back to any of them? And what about #8, since you state, “Jesus affirmed the whole of the OT, which included laws prohibiting homosexuality.” Ah, just a little difference there Andrew, #8 does not say, “prohibit homosexuality”, it says, “put to death”. I know, “Picky Picky !” The second and most important reason I pointed out the above 8 verses is, are you advocating #8 ? If you only feel homosexuals should be condemned and not be put to death, on what grounds do you justify your disagreement with God’s spoken Word to Moses? Perhaps I have just introduced you to #8, Leviticus 20:13. If that’s the case, that you were unaware of this commandment, take a good long moment to digest that verse, since you believe that “Jesus affirmed the whole of the OT”. Now Andrew, would you personally be willing to follow God’s commandment to kill a queer, or would you rather have someone else do it? Just askin’.

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

TIM FUNK. We agree fully and totally with everything you say. Matthew 22:36-40, Love God and love your neighbor sums it all up on how one should live. The trouble is, that is not the “Church’s” position as an institution. Therein lies the problem. Unfortunately what you, others, and I believe as individuals, carries nowhere near the weight of the Church’s official position. And it is that pervasive, pernicious and deplorable position that has stigmatized gays for years and years and has had such a devastating affect on the lives of so many.
In a study involving eleven different religions and denominations on the degree of the members condemnation of homosexuals, the White Evangelical Protestant Churches ranked 2nd highest. Who ranked first? The African-American Evangelical Protestant Churches. Go Figure! The one group with the most intimate and current experience with hatred, prejudice, and discrimination, leads the way. Things will never change until the Evangelical Protestant Churches stop being the vanguard, the flag bearer, and the banner waver for homosexual condemnation.

Jon said...

Jim and Diane, Having read the entire stream here I can understand your passion for this topic but I cannot let go of the callus way you treat scripture. In one of the earlier comments your made reference that any rational person would reject Paul's teaching on this subject along with many other of his teachings. This is is just plan wrong there is now way around it. What Paul was saying to the church at Rome was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and to say that you reject what he is saying is to reject the power and uniqueness of scripture. Taking your reasoning farther if I believe what John wrote about love in his letters was wrong then I could just as easily reject them as you have rejected what Paul says. How about we all pick and choose what we want to believe from scripture and call that Christianity. But you can't for to reject one part is to reject the whole of scripture.
As for the subject in question I cannot see anywhere where God has condoned homosexuality. I also unimpressed by some of the research about it being genetic. I would take a close look at the methods of the studies as well as the authors themselves. Making sure that their procedures bear up to actual statistical study of significance and that they do not have a personal ax to grind in conducting the study.
Until it can be proved ( and I doubt it ever will) I will continue to believe that this is a lifestyle choice the many young people have been pressured into making at time when there reasoning skills are not fully developed. I will also strive to deal with it as it comes up in my ministry in the love and example of Christ.
Jon McFarling

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

Walt, let me preface this comment with the following. Although it is quite obvious that we disagree with you on this subject, more importantly, there is never a doubt of your deep, sincere and loving concern for our youth. For that my husband and I earnestly thank you.

Prior to us searching for an answer to this issue we utilized the “wisdom” of our pastor and religious leaders. It wasn’t until our son took it upon himself to resolve the issue, that we took it upon ourselves to meticulously research this issue ourselves, utilizing more resources. Why we didn’t research the Bible and other resources ourselves, prior to our son’s decision, was due to fully placing our trust in others, without questioning them. Before each study session of the Bible and other materials, we offer a prayer to God to lead us to the “truth”, no matter where it may lead. We do not ask for any other guidance. We are willing to let the chips fall where they may – either in condemnation of our son’s orientation, or in showing us how totally wrong our response was. No matter how strong our new convictions are, we are open to input of a sound and logical basis.

You state, “Anything outside of those parameters (marriage) – in thought or deed – is wrong. Consequently, I myself have gone down that road and broken God’s will.” You say this in a sympathetic sort of way, trying to emphasize that gays aren’t the only ones to sin. From this response you seem to be explicitly saying that homosexual acts are no different in severity than committing adultery of the heart or body. Is this what you mean? Nevertheless, you don’t get it. Of course we all have lusted, we all know that. The burning question here is, why is the sin of sexual orientation so extraordinarily magnified as the most disgusting and damnable among all the other sexual sins? Did your sexual sin lead to a lifetime of scorn, verbal and physical abuse, fear for your life, total ostracization, societal-inflicted lifelong feelings of guilt, depression, being hung on a fence post to die, jumping off a bridge, etc., etc.? Please, don’t ever compare your sexual sin to a supposed sin with the ramifications of homosexuality.

Jesus directly connects lust to be synonymous with adultery in Matt.5: 28. He also strongly condemns adultery in several other passages. Where is there anywhere near that condemnation, the equivalent condemnation for homosexuality? There isn’t. If you are trying to spare us of facing the revelation of Jesus’ outright condemnation of homosexuality, please don’t. As said earlier, our only desire is to know the truth on this matter, whatever it may be.

We were disappointed that in expressing your opinion that it was bereft of any substantiation. With your extensive education we were looking for something less generic. Are you basing your opinion on Matthew 19:4-5? And if you reach back into the OT for justification, you will inevitably be cherry picking and be requested to justify such. Matthew 19:4-5, is Jesus’ answer to a question on divorce in which He was being “tempted by the Pharisees” to contradict Moses on the law of divorce. Jesus then proceeds to lay a background of God creating a man and woman to marry with the EMPHASIS on them never getting a divorce. Knowing that Moses had sanctioned divorce, the Pharisees were baiting Him. This in no way was a direct or even an indirect response to a question concerning homosexuality. Matt, 19:4-5 was NOT a self-initiated statement to make known his view on homosexuality, such as could have been included in His Sermon on the Mount. This response was given by Jesus to firmly cement a direct and straightforward condemnation of divorce.

Why does the emphasis in the Protestant religion's condemnation on homosexuality dwarf that of adultery? Perhaps because it then becomes “those sinful people”, and not “we sinful people”. Moving the spotlight strategy. Why is the youth pastoring emphasis now going to be on addressing sexual orientation, instead of Jesus’ damnation of divorce, which will affect so many more of our youth?

Anonymous said...

No disrespect meant to anyone on this forum, but I don't understand the logic of claiming to be a Christian, yet picking and choosing which passages of scripture to believe. It is either all the infallable truth of God or not. People like to rationalize their behaviors by interpreting the Word their own way or rejecting scripture that might in some way condemn their behaviors or feelings. That is wrong. Either believe the whole Word or don't, but don't try to justify sin (any sin) by twisting the Word.

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

JON McFARLING. Jon, you are right. I was totally wrong in expressing such harsh words for Paul. My sincere apology to you, Walt, and everyone else I offended. My husband has pointed out to me that I am making this a personal vendetta. It is just so hard for me not to be influenced by my personal status as a woman and mother of a deceased gay son. Unfortunately it is so difficult in reading the list of the degrading terms Paul uses in Romans 1:29-32, that I cannot help but attach each one of those to my son, and scream out, "No, No, No, that is not my son!" And of course the coup de gras is Paul referring to God’s belief of homosexuals as “being worthy of death”.

As far as Paul’s “apparent” patriarchal misogynist views, I am disturbed. I have read much that these verses: I Timothy 2:9, 11-15; I Corinthians 11:3-9, 14:34-35, and Ephesians 5:22, if taken in the proper context, are not as misogynist as they first appear. I have read these explanations but I remain unconvinced. I guess it is reading Paul’s words as a liberated woman, albeit an old one, which influence my opinion.

NEVERTHELESS, just saying that I disagreed with Paul on the issues of homosexuality and women would have sufficed. Again, my sincere apology to all I have offended. And please note that I do not use that one little word in my apology which would then change the entire meaning. It is a word that most politicians always use in their public apologies. That one word is, “ IF”, as in, “If I have offended anyone I am sorry.” The use of that one word implies that the supposed insulting remark did not necessarily have to be interpreted as insulting, but IF it was…” No “ifs” about it here.

My primary concern involving the strong condemnation of gays is that it creates a dehumanizing effect. Once a person or segment of our society has been effectively dehumanized, they lose their right to be treated humanely. Such was the case with African- Americans being relegated to the role of chattel; Hitler’s frequent reference to Jews (and homosexuals), as “parasites and leeches; and Fred Phelps and others, using dehumanizing terms for gays, resulting in Matthew Shepards.

In a follow up comment Jon, I hope to discuss the other issues you raise in your comment.

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

Walt, thanks so much for your patience in allowing me to continue to comment. After reading responses to mine I realize I have not done a good job of presenting my thoughts. Thanks for the many opportunities to respond to them.
JON McFARLING. Let me now comment on your specific statements.
YOU STATE, “How about we all pick and choose that which we want to believe and call that Christianity.” Jon, that is exactly what you and all of us Christians do. That is why we have so many different varieties of Christianity: Evangelical, Roman Catholicism, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah Witnesses, Church of The Brethren, Church of Christ, Baptists, Anabaptists, Southern Baptists, Assembly of God, Episcopalians, Reformed Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Reformed Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, and many, many, more.
YOU STATE, “I can’t see anywhere where God condones homosexuality.” Here you imply that if God does not condone a specific type of behavior that it is unacceptable. That is fallacious reasoning. Just because something is not condoned does not mean it is unacceptable.
YOU STATE, “I also (am) unimpressed by some of the research about it being genetic.” Could you please cite one molecular genetic study, published in a scientific/medical journal that you are “unimpressed” by?
YOU STATE, “I would take a close look at the methods, making sure their procedures bear up to actual statistical study of significance.” The only studies I review are those published in scientific/medical journals. These highly acclaimed journals do not publish any study without having been thoroughly reviewed by their highly qualified staff. They must meet all the necessary and myriad criteria to qualify as a legitimate scientific study. The scientific method used must be determined to produce unbiased, quantifiable, credible, and reliable results. Now, what scientific or even unscientific study are you aware of that purports that homosexuality is a choice?
YOU STATE, “…(homosexuality) is a lifestyle choice the (that) many young people have been pressured into making…” Using this reasoning totally invalidates your belief that homosexuality is a choice. If “pressure” – be it peer, parental, religious, or societal, could direct one to choose their sexual orientation, there would not be one gay person.
YOU STATE, … “Until it can be proven (and I doubt if it ever will) I will continue to believe that this is a lifestyle choice.” It has already been proven Jon. For just one of the many studies, please review Science Daily, June 30, 2008. For some people there will never be enough proof. They are determined to believe what they want to believe. Are you aware that there exists today an organization called “The Flat Earth Society”, whose members believe that the earth is flat.
In addition, in saying that homosexuality is a choice, you are purporting that all heterosexuals are telling the truth if they say they chose to be heterosexual, and that all gays are lying if they say they did not choose to be homosexual. Quite a statement there Jon!
YOU STATE, “… to reject one part (of scripture) is to reject the whole of scripture.” Do you accept or reject each of the following:
1) One should be stoned to death if caught working on the Sabbath. Numbers 15:32-36
2) That a virgin wife (?) should be stoned to death if she does not cry out while being raped, provided the rape occurs in the city, not the countryside. Deuteronomy 22:23-24
3) If a man commits adultery with a married woman, both of them shall die. Deuteronomy 22:22
4) People can own people. Joel 3:8 and many other verses
5) A man shall rule over his wife. Genesis 3:16 and many other verses
6) A man shall not trim his beard. Leviticus 19:27
7) Everyone who curses his father or mother shall surely be put to death. Leviticus 20:9
8) Homosexuals should be put to death. Leviticus 20:13

Remember now, to reject one is to reject the entire scripture. To reject none, I don’t have words for.

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

ANONYMOUS. Thank you for your opening kind words. I shall now respond to your statement.

YOU STATE, “It is either all the infallible truth of God or not.”
Please review my previous comments covering this false dichotomy your belief creates, and you will see the obvious dilemma.

YOU STATE, “People like to … reject scripture that in some way might condemn their behaviors…”
You are so right. The same people, who so vociferously condemn homosexuality, totally reject and/or ignore Jesus’ unequivocal condemnation of being rich:

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God”. (Matthew19: 24, Mark10: 25, and Luke18: 25)

I challenge anyone to find any of Jesus’ teachings more strongly worded and impossible to misinterpret. Jesus uses such a strong analogy to absolutely ensure that there is not even the slightest bit of doubt about the rich going to Hell. It is indubitably impossible for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle, no matter how much twisting one does. Jesus feels so strongly about the sinfulness of being rich that He makes it an exception to John 3:16. And on top of that, He says it on THREE different occasions to show how adamant He is about it. To see the low level the bar is set for defining “rich”, for those who need a definition, please see Walt’s post of Jan.15, 2010.
I ask you, where are the sermons and youth programs addressing this grave and unforgivable sin, as there are in addressing homosexuality? Where is the Church-imprinted stigma of being wealthy, proportionate to that of homosexuality? A Church–imprinted stigma that should far surpass that of homosexuality, yet does not even come close. Wouldn’t a reasonable person believe that a sin that will, with utmost certitude condemn one to Hell, be taught with far more urgency than the supposed sin of homosexuality, that Jesus never even mentions? And even if homosexuality were a sin, it does not prohibit one from entering Heaven as being rich does.

YOU STATE, “…I don’t understand the logic …choosing which passages of scripture to believe.”
Finally, someone in the religious realm uses the word “LOGIC”. Thank you! Using logic one realizes that one cannot believe that God created the earth a mere 7,510 years ago (Greek Septuagint) or 6,010 years ago (Hebrew Masoretic). In geology 101, in universities around the world, the concept of “radiometric age dating” of the earth’s strata is taught as irrefutable evidence that the earth is millions of years old. In fact the actual age most universally accepted by geologists is approximately 4.54 billion years old – give or take a few years. :-) Therefore my second challenge, to anyone who disagrees with this, please take some time to google “radiometric age dating”, and discover its irrefutable logic. To anyone who refuses to take this challenge, it is evident that believing in what you want to believe, is more important than discovering the truth. And keep in mind, that after looking at it you may still reject it, but please, only on logical grounds.

As someone previously stated on this site, in so many words:

“To deny the validity of dating the earth’s age by radiometric age dating, is equivalent to denying one can determine the age of a tree by counting its rings.”

So you see Anon, it is only upon accepting the true age of the earth as our foundation of discussion, can we then progress to a logical understanding of the Bible and its supposed condemnation of homosexuality. If we fail to use logic in determining the age of the earth as the starting foundation, any further discussion would then result in us “eating fruit from the poisoned tree”.

Jon said...

I was not planing on responding but thinking about it I cannot let some of the arguments go unanswered.
1. Picking and choosing what to accept and reject has lead to the many different denominations we have today. That is not exactly true. Many of the differences do not come from accepting or rejecting parts of the scripture but from interpreting them differently. There is a big difference between rejecting a passage because you do not agree with it and interpreting differently than some one else. Your belief that you can reject what you call Paul's teaching is wrong. Paul was writing under the inspiration of God and therefore what you are rejecting is not Paul's teaching but God's.
2. You argue that because I state the God no where condones homosexuality and there fore wrong is fallacious but God does condemn homosexual behavior (but you reject those parts) Additionally in you own argument you state "Jesus condemn gays. NOWHERE!" is also wrong then since just because it is not condemned does not mean that it is acceptable.
3. The science arguments I'll leave for now
4. As for your verses you quote all Old Testament references with our looking at the context or the overall meaning of the law. The law had two main purposes one to separate the Jews from the surrounding cultures and to show them how impossible it is to maintain holiness outside of God. Jesus himself said that he did not come to abolish the law but to complete it. Paul in Galatians also states that the law was put in place to guide the Jews towards holiness and to show them the impossibility of it outside of Grace. So in a manner I do accept those verse but in the context that the law was a binding way to help the Jews strive for holiness but I am free form those restrictions due to Grace. Again I state you cannot pick and chose what is or isn't scripture and still be a believer (IMHO)

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

JON McFARLING. Jon, I write this to get a better understanding of what you’re saying, and to help you better understand me. If this doesn’t help you understand my position I think that we will just have to respectfully disagree. I certainly do admire your passion in defending your belief, but wish it were more grounded in compassion.
YOU STATE – “Many of the differences do not come from accepting or rejecting parts of the scripture but from interpreting them differently. “- I have no problem with that since you very importantly used the word “many” and not “all”, thereby confirming that yes, there are some differences of Christian belief that are due to the rejecting and accepting different parts of scripture.
YOU STATE – “… Paul was writing under the inspiration of God…” - Jon, do you know who proclaimed that Paul was writing under the inspiration of God? It was Paul. My how convenient. See a little self-empowering going on there. Jesus never once mentioned that His father was channeling His message through Paul. It would be the same as you or I saying that we are writing under the inspiration of God. Fred Phelps and every megalomanical corrupt TV evangelist say that they are preaching under the inspiration of God. Simply stated, saying something does not make it true.
YOU STATE – “… in you (your) own argument you state ‘Jesus condemns gays NOWHERE!’ is also wrong then since just because it is not condemned does mean that it is acceptable.” - I never said homosexuality is acceptable just because Jesus did not condemn it, but I can certainly see where you could interpret my use of Jesus’ non-condemnation as Him having accepting it. I concede that. I failed to make that clear. My statement only means that one cannot point to anything Jesus said to support the condemnation of homosexuality.
YOU STATE – “The science arguments I’ll leave for now.” – Don’t put it off too long Jon. The pursuit of the truth should always take priority no matter how disturbing and upsetting it may be.
YOU STATE – “So in a manner I do accept those verse (verses) but in the context that the law was a binding way to help the Jews strive for holiness but I am free from those restrictions due to grace.” – How in that context could you ever, ever, accept putting adulterers, cursers, non-virgins, Sabbath workers. and homosexuals to DEATH, to help the Jews strive for holiness ? And how in the world does committing these atrocities even “help the Jews strive for holiness”? Execution of these people is the antithesis of holiness. This type of “Christian“ thinking has led to mass atrocities throughout history. Forgive me, but I must ask, are you an ordained or self-proclaimed minister ? If ordained, may I ask where you were educated ?
YOU STATE – “… but I am free from those restrictions due to Grace.” - Do you realize what you are saying? You are saying that you can now work on the Sabbath, curse your parents, commit adultery, and practice homosexuality – all due to Grace.
YOU STATE – “Again I state you cannot pick and choose what is or isn’t scripture.” -
Please see in your first statement where you state “many” of the differences, and not “all” of the differences do not come from accepting or rejecting parts of the scripture…”Here you are directly contradicting yourself and admitting that some picking and choosing has been done by accepted variations of Christianity.

Jon said...

Jim and Diane
I feel we are going to have to disagree mainly due to the fact that we obviously do not agree among other things what inspiration means. It wasn't just Paul who claimed to be writing under the inspiration of God. But it was affirmed by the church leaders of his day (2Peter 3:14-16, at the Jerusalem council in Acts if they didn't believe what he said was coming form god than why would they have listened to him). Following the logic that since it was Paul who claimed inspiration not God saying what he gave Paul was inspired as grounds for rejecting scripture. Then what is left of the Bible looking through it God himself says very little he used men to pass on his teaching. With that belief the only part of the Bible that we could call inspired would be the direct quotes of Jesus found in the gospels. the would be convenient making the bible nothing more than a collection of sayings the might be ten pages long.
As for saying that my beliefs are not grounded in compassion. I resent that strongly. Just because I believe that homosexuality is a sinful choice doe not mean that I am not compassionate about what they go through in this life. It hurts me to see anybody hurting but all I can do is teach what the Bible says and point them to Jesus. I do not condemn them just their behavior. Also please do not lump me in with those hate filled nonbelievers in Kansas.
How can I in any context? simple the context that I stated. We apparently have very different definitions or at least beliefs about God's holiness. Holy- to be set apart, what God commanded in the Law while different from what you believe is not the antithesis of holiness. the Law was giving as I sated before to 1. Separate the Jews from the surrounding cultures, was it harsh, yes but that does not mean that it was opposite of Holy and 2. to show the Jews and us how hard it was to maintain holiness outside of the grace God.
What many people think of Holiness is not what exactly what I feel God calls holiness. Holiness is not that God just overlooks our sin and the consequences of them. God is so Holy he cannot be in the presence of sin. It is an affront to him and any sin must be purged from his presence. In the OT the process for cleansing the sin from a person was the sacrificial system the showed that sin had severe consequences. Many of the laws that you mentioned above God put in place to preserve His holiness. I am not advocating human sacrifice here but just pointing out that behaviors have consequences. God hates sin but loves his creation so much that he provided the ultimate sacrifice to pay to dept of sin and cleanse those who accept it. without that cleansing we cannot be in the presence of God due to our sin.

About you semantic argument with most vs all. I never said that the differences between denomination all hinge upon the acceptance or rejection of parts of scripture. Many differences are based upon difference in interpretation. But the rest of the differences are cultural, differences in practices, and other differences not based upon scripture. You cannot be a Christian denomination and reject what you do not agree with when it comes to the Bible.
This might be a bit snarkey but it goes toward the original argument. there have been studies to show that there might be some people with the genetic predisposition to alcoholism. Does that mean that they have no choice in becoming alcoholics? Or can they knowing that the have this problem abstain from alcohol?

Jason E. Kittrell said...

Thanks Walt! Had an adult from our church send this to me! The ensuing arguments/confrontations are pretty standard for this topic, too! Would you please say a little prayer for us student guys as we teach students how understand God's Word and build a Biblical theology? Our culture, schools, and even some churches have been teaching the opposite so hard this past decade. We've seen the same even in the comments on your blog here. But would you also pray that as we help students have a sound and complete theology, that we could also help them have the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control (maybe several of those feed compassion?) that Christ followers need to have? Not only in the past decade have students been bombarded with errant theology, but unfortunately those with a sound set of Biblical beliefs have lacked the previously mentioned fruits when confronting issues. So we've failed to equip disciples with sound doctrine, and we've succeeded in helping those wounded by sin bleed out until they've become pretty embittered against the complete Gospel. My heart is broken for these things and for the students who I'm called to lead in the midst of it. Would you please pray for us? Thanks man!

Jason E. Kittrell said...

Thanks Walt! Had an adult from our church send this to me! The ensuing arguments/confrontations are pretty standard for this topic, too! Would you please say a little prayer for us student guys as we teach students how understand God's Word and build a Biblical theology? Our culture, schools, and even some churches have been teaching the opposite so hard this past decade. We've seen the same even in the comments on your blog here. But would you also pray that as we help students have a sound and complete theology, that we could also help them have the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control (maybe several of those feed compassion?) that Christ followers need to have? Not only in the past decade have students been bombarded with errant theology, but unfortunately those with a sound set of Biblical beliefs have lacked the previously mentioned fruits when confronting issues. So we've failed to equip disciples with sound doctrine, and we've succeeded in helping those wounded by sin bleed out until they've become pretty embittered against the complete Gospel. My heart is broken for these things and for the students who I'm called to lead in the midst of it. Would you please pray for us? Thanks man!

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...


WARNING: This comment contains a graphic description of torture.

To watch the following described video was absolutely the hardest thing I have ever done. The reason I watched ? A fellow believer, like you Jon, also believed in the righteousness of Biblical stoning. To have him watch what he believed in I used every ounce of emotional strength I had to stay seated, in able to insist that he watch what he believed in. This video was posted on the Internet several years ago.

Let me begin. Thirty to forty women, men, teenagers, and children stood single file in two rows. A young, incredibly frightened Iranian girl 16-18 years old, was led screaming through the rows to a 6' pole firmly planted in the ground. As she was led through this gauntlet she was shouted at, spat upon, and had dirt kicked up onto her. Once reaching the pole a rope was tied to her one wrist, looped around the pole and attached to her other wrist. The same was done to her ankles. The entire time she was screaming hysterically, knowing what was to come. Two large wagons of rocks were stationed about 25’ from her. Upon a given command, all those who were present, including the children, madly dashed over to the wagons and with fervent excitement started hurling the rocks at her, shouting angry words, out of faces gruesomely ugly with hate. One man had a child, most likely his son, sitting atop his shoulders, and was handing up rocks to him. The young woman frantically tried moving from side to side, as much as the ropes would allow. She was constantly moving her head in all directions in a vain attempt to put off the inevitable. Her head was the executioners main target. The entire time she was letting out bone-chilling screams. After several rocks hit her head and glanced off, one finally landed flush on her face. It immediately released a torrent of blood from her nose and mouth, streaming down, cascading off her chin. A thunderous cheer went up with various stoners taking credit for the direct hit. She now appeared stunned and no longer was moving her head from side to side. Her screams eerily yet mercifully stopped. Now her head was an even easier target, which the stoners took advantage of. In a matter of seconds another rock hit her head but did not bounce off. It dropped straight down. This was due to her skull being crushed and offering no resistance to enable the rock to “bounce”. With this she slumped ½ way over until the wrist rope stopped her from falling to the ground. The stoners continued to throw rocks amidst triumphant cheering. What was just minutes earlier a perfectly beautiful face and intact skull, was now reduced to a mushy pulp filled with bone fragments. The stoning did not stop until each wagon was totally empty of rocks. Her crime ? She was found unclothed, asleep, in a loving, intimately reassuring embrace, of another female. A homosexual.

The above was written Jon to try and give you a better understanding of exactly what it is that you accept, when you plead the case for accepting the righteousness of Biblical stoning of homosexuals, who you accept, are “worthy of death”. Leviticus 20:13

YOU STATE: “Also, please do not lump me in with those hate filled nonbelievers in Kansas.” - They are not non-believers Jon. In fact, their belief corresponds very closely to yours in regard to fully accepting the righteousness of the OT’s stoning to death of fags, using their terminology.

YOU STATE: “In the OT the process for cleansing the sin from a person was the sacrificial system the (that) showed that sin had severe consequences.” - Two points here: 1) How does stoning one to death cleanse the sin from that person? You’re not cleansing them Jon, you’re killing them! 2) The “sacrificial system”. My, what a nice, tidy, sterile, and innocent term to describe the horrendous act of stoning one to death. It is exactly this type of wording that is and was used, in an attempt to soften the atrocities of “ethnic cleansing” savagery, and the Auschwitz "purification camps".

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

I will now address your other comments in your recent reply. Most importantly, I write this reply to all readers of this site. To help heterosexuals come to a better understanding of homosexuality, and to offer some comfort to those who may be terribly struggling with their own sexual orientation. I gratefully thank Walt for allowing me.

YOU STATE – “But it was affirmed by the church leaders of his (Paul) day…if they didn’t believe what he (Paul) said was coming from God then why would they have listened to him?”
- They listened to Him because they believed Paul’s words were inspired by God, BUT, just because one believes that someone else’s words are coming from God does not make it so. People believe that Harold Camping’s prediction of the Rapture occurring on May 21, 2011 is coming from God. Their belief that it is a God inspired prediction does not make it true. Even if the Rapture does occur on May 21, the belief that the prediction was true would have nothing to do with the prediction being true. Just because I believe that the earth is more than 10,000 years old does not make it true. What makes it true is the abundance of scientific research and proven age-determining methods that prove it so. Now, what was the belief of the church leaders based on?

YOU STATE – “You cannot be a Christian denomination and reject what you do not agree with when it comes to the Bible.”
-There are a number of subjects that churches PURPOSEFULLY avoid sermonizing on or teaching. For all intent and purposes, they are rejecting them. In fact churches adamantly reject encouraging their members to try and remain celibate for their entire life as Paul advises.
1) I Corinthians 7:1,7. “ …it is good for a man not to touch a woman….but if they cannot contain themselves, let them marry…” Jon would you teach your male students that it is good that they never get married and touch a woman? Would you teach them to repress their God-given need to touch and be touched? Would you teach that only after years and years of trying to be celibate and no longer being able to “contain” themselves, and cold showers no longer working, that then, and only then, should they take a wife? I’m not sure this is the best foundation for a successful marriage, and I am quite sure that it would do little for the woman to know that she is only being sought for her vessel stature. Now that all may sound extreme, but if we don’t reject Paul’s instruction, wouldn’t it be only right to teach students to try as hard as they possibly could to follow Paul’s instruction, until they realized that they could no longer continue to be celibate. But perhaps these words are not being taught because they are in direct contradiction to God telling us to procreate. And isn’t that interesting, here Paul, who is supposedly being inspired by God, totally contradicts Him. Or perhaps you don’t teach celibacy because it would lead to the extinction of the human race. That’s a good reason. Now don’t forget Jon, that if you don’t teach this, you are rejecting it.

I labeled this #1 as I was going to cite several other biblical subjects that Christian churches reject, but now realize that I only need one to express my point – that Christian denominations DO REJECT teaching that which they do not agree with, when it comes to the Bible. If you do need more examples please let me know. I have plenty of them.

YOU STATE – “ The law was giving (given) as I sated (stated) before to 1. Separate the Jews from the surrounding cultures, yes it was harsh, yes but that does not mean that it was opposite of Holy.”
– You call stoning to death non-virgins, adulterers, cursers, Sabbath workers, and homosexuals just “harsh”? How about down right “barbaric”. And if that is not the opposite of Holy, then what is?

YOU STATE – “ Many of the laws that you mentioned God put in place to preserve His holiness.”
– Of the above five criteria that qualify for stoning, which of them did God put in place to preserve His holiness?


Jim and Diane Ruehling said...


YOU STATE – “As for saying that my beliefs are not grounded in compassion. I resent that strongly.”
– Jon, I never said your beliefs are not grounded in compassion. I said that I wish they were “more” grounded in compassion, which implies that they are grounded in compassion to a certain degree. For the reason I said “more” grounded please refer to my previous comment where I discuss your use of the phrase “sacrificial system”.

YOU STATE – “With the belief the only part of the Bible that we could call inspired would be the direct quotes of Jesus found in the Gospels. The (that) would be convenient making the Bible nothing more than a collection of sayings the (that) might be 10 pages long.”
– Try writing down how you would like your students to live. I bet you don’t need more than 10 pages. God was able to set down His instruction on how to live on one stone tablet in 10 commandments. The rest of the bible could then be read more accurately as a history book. And what’s wrong with this shortened Bible being “convenient” ? I think every instruction book should be convenient and not need years and years of deep biblical study to understand Jesus’ teachings. And don’t forget Jesus described how to live in just one theme – love God and love your neighbor (Galatians 5:14, John13: 34-35, Matthew 22:36-40, Luke 10:25-30). In fact He stated that these two commandments overrode the initial 10 commandments. How simple and convenient is that?

YOU STATE – “I never said that the differences between denominations all hinge upon the acceptance or rejection of parts of scripture.”
– I never said that you did Jon.

YOU STATE – “This might be a bit snarky but it goes toward the original argument. There have been studies to show that there might be some people with the genetic predisposition to alcoholism. Does that mean that they have no choice in becoming alcoholics? Or can they knowing that they have this problem abstain from alcohol?”

Excellent question, and not the least bit snarky, but thanks for considering that. I’d like to make five points on this:
1) Due to our interest in gene influence involving homosexuality, we also then became interested in the validity of other gene-influenced behavior. In studies involving AA participants who failed to achieve long-term success, it was discovered that a significantly higher number of them had alcoholic gene determinants, when compared to the AA participants who did achieve long-term success.
2) All non-pharmaceutical treatments – Mindfulness Cognitive Behavior Therapy, psychoanalysis, Rational Emotive Therapy, Mindfulness Meditation,and hypnosis, failed to achieve any significant success.
3) The only therapy that had significant success, albeit not high (53%), was the use of drugs – Naltrexone, Temorsil, Campril, and Disulfiran. These drugs were found somewhat effective in blocking the release of endorphins and opiates, which are released by alcohol, which then addicts a person to alcohol. These drugs would allow them to then drink for the flavor aspect only, greatly reducing their desire to overindulge.
4) The problem then of course is getting the patients to take their medication, which would then eliminate their primary reason for drinking. This now brings in the many environmental factors involved. This is an incredibly difficult disease to cure. It is now classified as a disease due to its genetic mutative origin.
5) So, the short answer to your very interesting analogy Jon, is, considering the incredible influence genes have, no amount of willpower or self-disciple can overcome them.

Once again, Jim and I thank you Walt for affording us this opportunity.

Ralph said...

Jason E. Kittrell, And just what is this one and only "sound set of Biblical beliefs". Inquiring minds want to know.

Jon said...

Just a few things then I'll leave this topic.
When did I ever say that stoning was a valid practice today? Just because I affirm that what God gave the law to help the Jews preserve their and God's holiness does not mean that I believe that it is a needed or correct practice today. Also I never advocated human sacrifices I thought I made that perfectly clear. But if not let me state again God never desire human sacrifice as a matter of fact it was the practice of human sacrifice that among other pagan practices that caused God to send the Jews into exile in the OT. In the sacrificial system God set up in the law the only way to receive forgiveness for sin was through the shedding of sacrificial blood. In the NT this same forgiveness comes through the acceptance of the sacrificial blood of Jesus. The laws that you keep bringing are law that if broken demanded punishment. Just because you feel it is cruel does not make it so.
Also how can you compare Islamic beliefs and practices with Christian? They are two completely different belief structures.
You will know that they are Christians by their fruit.(Galatians 5:22-23,Matt 7:16) What Christian fruit do you see coming out of the church in Kansas? I don't see any and that is why I call them unbelievers. They might believe in something but it is not the God of Christianity. So again please do not lump me in with them they do not believe as I do.
They listened to Him because they believed Paul’s words were inspired by God, BUT, just because one believes that someone else’s words are coming from God does not make it so. People believe that Harold Camping’s prediction of the Rapture occurring on May 21, 2011 is coming from God. Their belief that it is a God inspired prediction does not make it true. Even if the Rapture does occur on May 21, the belief that the prediction was true would have nothing to do with the prediction being true... Now, what was the belief of the church leaders based on?
The belief was based upon their judgment of how what Paul was telling them lined up with what Jesus told them. Many of the believers in Jerusalem at this time knew Jesus personally. Many of them were his closest followers including Peter and John. It also lined up with that God was telling them already. This belief was also supported by Paul's fruit. Here was a man who not a short time ago who was killing and arresting believers but now was following Christ performing miracles and converting large numbers.
I do not know this man you mention but from the start I can tell you he does not speak for God. Look at Mark 13:32. From that verse we know that who ever is making a prediction about the end of the age is a liar. That is how we know who to listen to toady we need to examine what they say with what scripture says.

Jon said...

Again I think you and I have very different definitions of what God's holiness actually is. Here are a few articles that I feel it lay it out fairly well.
You should read the entire section of 1 Cor 7 instead of cutting what you want to try to prove your point. This whole section Paul is talking about maintaining ones sexual purity in singleness and marriage. I feel that he is right when he says it is better to marry than burn with passion and I would tell my student the same thing. Being single in today's culture is hard I know maintain ones sexual purity is next to impossible. Paul here is not telling them to stay celibate until they cannot bear it any more and then marry. That should never be the only basis for marriage.
What is the opposite of Holy? That is rather easy it is us. It is also Sin, immorality, disobedience, and many other things it is not the just commands of God to purge unholiness and law breakers from his chosen people.
Again I state. You cannot pick and choose what to believe or accept from the Bible. It is one unit made up of 66 books written by many authors but inspired by one God with one purpose in mind. If you reject a part you reject the whole if you say one part is not inspired than the whole is uninspired. If a church is purposely not preaching some aspect of the Bible that they do not like then they are doing themselves and God a disservice. We are called to teach the whole council of God whether we like it or not.
In your last statement all I can say is wow I guess if I was so inclined I would be doomed to be an alcoholic no choice at all. That might surprise some of my friends who do make the choice not to drink because of that reason.

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

LANSDOWNE, Pa. - March 18, 2011 (WPVI) -- Police have made an arrest in the brutal beating death of a 70-year-old man earlier this year in Delaware County.
John Joe Thomas, 28, of Upper Darby, was arrested on Thursday and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Murray Seidman.

When he was interviewed, Thomas allegedly told police that he read in the Old Testament that homosexuals should be stoned in 'certain situations.'
According to court documents, Thomas said Seidman made sexual advances toward him over a 'period of time.' Thomas told police that he prayed for an answer and the answer he received was to put an end to Seidman's life.
So, Thomas told police, he took a rock from outside the apartment, put it in a sock and beat Seidman approximately 10 times in the head.

Christopher Brooks said...

I am grieved at how divided this conversation always is - and how divided this blog post has become.

Clearly, homosexual activity cannot be justified Biblically. That does not mean that it is worse than any other sin, nor should gay people be mistreated - especially by the body of Christ!

All are created in God's image. ALL. All sin. All. There is a need for repentance by ALL. Homosexual behavior is sin. Gluttony is sin. Abuse of power is sin. It all grieves a Holy God.

That being said, God does not condone verbal nor physical mistreatment of any of His Image Bearers.


Jim and Diane Ruehling said...


Unfortunately the comments to this blog post are not divided in the least. 99% of the commenters believe that homosexuality is condemnable, versus me, the 1% who believes it to be a non-issue. Not divided at all. This just supports the effective teaching of the Evangelical Protestant Church’s condemnation of homosexuality. It also supports the previously cited study that showed the African- American and White Evangelical Protestant Churches finishing 1-2 respectively in their members having the highest condemnation of homosexuality. I don’t know whether or not that is something to be proud of or ashamed of.

YOU STATE - “Clearly, homosexual activity cannot be justified Biblically.”
You totally miss the point! The point is that homosexuality cannot be rightfully condemned biblically. I NEVER tried to make the point that it is justified biblically, but being that it cannot be condemned, it falls into the realm of being a non-issue. Remember, “The burden of proof rests upon the person who hypothesizes”.

I have put off the following issue as long as I can. In all my years of Sunday School lessons, church sermons, Youth Fellowship, Christian literature, Bible study, listening to renowned and un-renowned Christian speakers, I have never heard this issue addressed – what mutually consented to sexual acts between loving married Christian couples are condemnable, if any? If sex is such an important issue then shouldn’t one expect that the boundaries between a husband and wife should be delineated. Does anything go, or just missionary style?

I and many other women feel that the most sexual act and also the most arousing, is kissing. I may be wrong but I believe that Evangelicals are permitted to kiss by putting their tongues in each others mouth and swirling them around with unbridled, lustful, animalistic passion, but let a man give another man a peck on the cheek, and disgust immediately raises its ugly head. Even if two men did “French” kissing, what is the difference? Isn’t a mouth a mouth, and a tongue a tongue? We can then carry that comparison to any other same body part of females and males being engaged. Really, what’s the difference?

There are three basic sexual acts (“French” kissing being one) engaged in between gay men that are also practiced by a significant number of Christian married couples. SO, if these identical sexual acts are accepted for male-female couples, why are the exact same sexual acts condemned between male-male couples? Remember, a body part is a body part.

What is it that makes the exact same body parts used in male-female engagements acceptable, but totally reprehensible when used in male-male engagement? If it is wrong for a wife to receive her husband in any or all of these three ways, which are they, why, and what is the biblical condemnation if any?

Why do the feelings of disgust, vileness, and abomination surface when evangelicals think of homosexual acts? Nowhere near those emotions surface when acts of theft, lying, divorce, and marrying a divorced person are thought of. Yet Jesus indubitably condemns these, without one word of condemnation for homosexuality.

Why is a subject that is never mentioned by Jesus given center stage, but subjects He vehemently preached against – acquiring wealth, divorce, adultery in the form of marrying a divorced person, etc., are conveniently shoved off-stage? WHY? The reason for my use of capitalization here is due to others who respond to my comments invariably and conveniently fail to answer my most poignant questions.

YOU STATE – “This does not mean it (homosexuality) is any worse than any other sin.”
Unfortunately that is not what the Evangelical Church teaches. The fact is that people are being killed and committing suicide due to the Protestant Church’s overwhelming presentation of it as the most egregious and reprehensible sin of all. Tell me Christopher, is homosexuality on a par with someone lying about his or her age, or is it worse than the sin of lying?


Jim and Diane Ruehling said...


Due to the Church’s strict adherence to the OT’s dehumanizing vehement condemnation of homosexuality, we have Murray Seidmans, Matthew Shepards, and Tyler Clementis. That’s why people kill homosexuals and not liars, thieves, adulterers, the wealthy, or violators of other commandments. It is the Church’s negative stigmatization of homosexuality that causes such barbaric hatred being vented toward it. I have never heard or read an Evangelical announcement that homosexuality is no worse than any other sin as you state.

YOU STATE – “Homosexual behavior is sin. Gluttony is sin.” Please, do not dare pander to me that the Evangelical Church believes that homosexuality is on a par with gluttony. When was the last time a person was killed for eating too much, or jumped off a bridge for fear of being found out that she/he ate too much? Please!

Now, let’s talk biblically. If you want to go back to the OT you’ll invariably be cherry-picking and have to justify it. And if you do you use Paul’s words, you must also show where he most importantly invalidates his previous laws, with this new testament revelation - Galatians 5:14, “For ALL (my emphasis) the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” If you use Matthew19:4-5, please see my refutation in my comment of Feb 21,2011. Most importantly, in Jesus’ vast number of commandments including grievous and less grievous sins, covering a multitude of subjects, and being fully aware of homosexual behavior, why does He not express condemnation of it? If He never mentions it, then just how much of an issue was it for Him. The only logical conclusion is that it was a non-issue. Lastly, does not Jesus state in Matthew 22: 40, “On these two commandments (love God and love thy neighbor), hang ALL (again, my emphasis) the law and the prophets.” Where does the condemnation of homosexuality fit in here Christopher?

Just curious, - if the Bible never said one word concerning homosexuality, can you please articulate just what is the egregious harm done in homosexual acts between two consenting adults, if any?

This is exceptionally hard to express, but in defending homosexuality from condemnation, my husband and I are condemning ourselves, and holding ourselves strictly accountable for our son’s suicide. Through a long, arduous and prayer-filled search, this is where God has led us. Our belief now is diametrically opposed to our original belief and its tragic result of our numerous attempts in trying to turn our son "straight". (See my April 14 Post comment)

In now believing that homosexuality is a non-issue in Jesus’ eyes, and also believing its condemnation is contrary to any sense of logic, we are willing to give up the only consolation we had – that we were at least trying to follow biblical teaching. In fact, we both now admit that subconsciously our initial premise for beginning this search was to stronger validate our belief and our attempts to change our son’s sexual orientation – to alleviate, if even a little, our guilt. The search did not begin objectively. But slowly, steadily, methodically and in excruciating pain, we were discovering the exact opposite of our initial belief. In allowing others to interpret the Bible for us, we killed our son.

We now put the search for a logical interpretation of the Bible above all else. There is nothing more important. For those of you who are fearful of the word “logical” (as both my husband and I were when it came to our former literalist belief), what type of belief is the alternative labeled? It is either one or the other.

The only earthly redemption we can now possibly find is in sparing any more parents of having to deal with making such a catastrophic mistake in judgment of their child’s sexual orientation, and reducing the fear, hatred, and guilt felt by those condemned.

Unless a new comment requires a specific reply, I will have no more to say on this post. Thank you Walt, for allowing this tremendous cathartic experience.

Tammy Robinson said...

In totally disregarding the rightness or wrongness of condemning homosexuality, I submit the following.

I have followed this discourse from the very beginning. I am stupefied by the palpable absence of a sound intellectual position opined by the pro-condemnation comments. All but one person failed to answer any of Diane Ruehling’s numerous “poignant” questions. The only person making an attempt, although admirable in conviction, I found his responses to be na├»ve, confusing, and lacking in persuasive substance.

If this is the best the pro-condemnation group can do, it makes me question – what are the roots of their strong, seemingly ingrained, condemnatory belief? It is certainly not an intellectual interpretation of biblical dogma. Perhaps it is in THEIR genetic makeup, as in possessing a “survival of the species” DNA sequence. Those condemning homosexuality, presenting a dearth of logic, may be predisposed to being unable to accept homosexuality just as homosexuals are genetically geared to being unable to be heterosexual. This could explain the cause of having such a strong unfaltering belief, without an intellectual basis.

Peanut said...

Great post; I came for the Lady Gaga commentary but I stayed for the flame war!

In all seriousness though, it's unfortunate that people (even in the so-called 'Christian' community) are so divided over this issue. Some days I think that homosexuality is a sin because God says so; other days I think perhaps it's been misinterpreted. But hey, that's life! Nobody ever said following Jesus was going to be easy.

As a heterosexual male it's probably nothing to do with me, so I just try to stay out of it and love people regardless of their beliefs. Nobody can prove for sure what the true Christian stance on this is, just as nobody can 'prove' how we all came to be on this earth, or what happens after we die. It's unfortunate that gay people should be bullied into taking their own lives, but we live in a fallen world (saying 'sh*t happens' might have been too glib a response....)

Still, great post!

Annie said...

Jim and Dianne: Not sure if you're even reading this thread anymore but I wanted to express my deepest sympathies for the loss of your son. I cannot even fathom what it would be like to lose my son. And, I am so sorry that those who claim to represent a loving God forget that your son and all the others were created in His image and deserve the love and respect Jesus so freely gave.

May He comfort you and guide you in the days ahead.

Chris Brooks said...

Amen Annie. I couldn't agree more. ALL of humanity is vreated in God's image. He wants us ALL.

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...


GOD bless you! My husband and I have checked these comments every single day for the last 33 days desperately waiting for just one single comment like yours. We were truly shocked and amazed at how ingrained the grossly over-emphasized condemnation of homosexuality is among the followers of Walt's website. It was as though their staunch and inerrant belief on homosexuality bordered on idolatry of its condemnation. On no other biblical subject do I see such an emphasis.

You would not believe the difference it makes to us knowing that at least one other
person shares our feelings, as compared to none.

From the bottom of our hearts we thank you for taking the time to write your comment. Jim and Diane.

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

May. 5, 2011

By Larry King
Inquirer Staff Writer

This month's scheduled execution of twice-convicted Bucks County murderer Richard Laird has been put on hold.

On March 14, Gov. Corbett signed a death warrant calling for Laird to be executed next Thursday for the slaying of Levittown artist Anthony Milano in 1987.

Prosecutors say Milano, 26, was targeted because he was gay.

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

Copied from "Americablog"

"30 Rock" star Tracy Morgan in serious trouble after saying he'd kill his son if he turned out gay
by John Aravosis (DC) on 6/10/2011 08:05:00 PM

He's in hot water, and his apology today is not being accepted by anyone.

The story needs to be put in context. Morgan made the anti-gay comments in Tennessee, where they're trying to ban the mention of gays by teachers in public schools, and they just repealed every municipal civil rights ordinance on the books, at the request of the religious right and the business community, both of whom were upset with Nashville's new gay and trans civil rights ordinance. It's gone now. And all this happened just a few weeks ago.

And Morgan has a history of gay-baiting in his stand-up routines (he said being gay was a "choice" in a previous routine), but that's nothing like what he did last Friday.

He reportedly said he'd stab his son to death if the boy turned out gay.

That was after he said that people are born gay, and he knows this because "God don't make no mistakes." Get it, we're mistakes.

He said lesbians don't exist, they're just women who hate men.

He then took on the recent news on "bullying", and the fact that it's caused a number of gay teens to recently kill themselves. Apparently that's funny too. He told bullied kids to quit whining and stop being pussies.

That's when he added that he'd stab his gay son to death.

The audience ate it up with lots of "you go, Tracy!"

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

Copied From the blog site RAW STORY

Activists in Kentucky are planning a peaceful response after two gay men with developmental and intellectual disabilities were kicked out of a public pool.
A maintenance technician reportedly cited the Bible while telling the two men they couldn't swim at The Pavilion, a government-funded recreational facility in Hazard, Kentucky.
"We own this place and can tell you to leave if we want to," the couple was told, according to the Kentucky Equality Foundation.
"The Pavilion staff immediately entered the pool area and asked my clients and their staff to leave the Pavilion," Mending Hearts Executive Director Shirlyn Perkins recalled. "My staff asked The Pavilion staff why they were being asked to leave, and they were informed that 'gay people' weren't allowed to swim there."
"My staff told this man that what he was trying to do was discrimination. The man stated that what he was doing was in the Bible and he could do it.

painterboy454 said...

Hi Walt,

Below is the link for a YouTube karaoke video of the song "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga with praise and worship Christian lyrics called "Chose This Way". With these lyrics this song can be sung to the Lord.