On a visit to Jim Johnson's Straight not Narrow
blog, I noticed that he was having a discussion at the Strang Group on the topic of To Be Gay...and Christian?
Jim, who attends a gay affirming Christian church, didn't take too kindly to the idea expressed that a person can't be both.
I chimed in with a few comments
of my own:
Thanks for your excellent defense of the true meaning of Christ's teachings. When Christ commanded us to "love our neighbors as we love ourselves" He didn't exclude our friends and neighbors who are gay.
Since you live in England, you might be interested in Courage, the Church of England's ex-gay
program. Fortunately many US churches are coming around to this same view, like the one Jim Johnson attends. Since sexual orientation cannot be changed, we need to provide the Christian fellowship experience for our lesbian and gay church goers.
It's not so much about interpreting the scripture as it is about facing the reality of gay existence. All those years of prayer and repentance and the believers they worked with were just as gay as when they started. This confirms the universal understanding that being gay is an innate characteristic, not a choice, and therefore cannot be changed.
So the question then becomes, how do we treat our fellow gay and lesbian Christians. I would treat them as I would all of God's children, like neighbors, the way Jesus taught us.
I'm not sure why you might group homosexuals, adulterers, fornicators, and alcoholics together. Being gay is an innate condition, while the latter three are conditions one may or may not acquire later in life. The Courage program I referred to above, with its prayers and repentance, failed to change what is an essential part of a person's basic make up.
So I'm still curious as to how Christians should treat our gay and lesbian neighbors. What is our Plan B since Plan A doesn't work? For example, if a lesbian couple and their two children move in down the block, how would we respond if we ran into them buying school clothes for the kids at the local Wal-Mart, or met them at the parent teachers conference at our child's school? Would we look after their and their children's spiritual needs by inviting them to join the fellowship of our church?
BTW I agree that discipline is a good thing. As a graduate of the Air Force Academy, the four years of discipline was certainly beneficial.
We all have our demons, that's for sure, many of our own making. But I don't see how being born one way or another would qualify. There's nothing intrinsically good or bad about being born gay any more than it is being born male or female. It's how we live our lives that is important. We won't exclude all women from redemption. Why would we exclude all gays? If a gay couple is raising a family, don't they deserve the same community support that all families do?
There is no dispute among health, mental health
and education professionals that sexual orientation is determined by genetic and hormonal factors that occur during prenatal development. Those who claim otherwise have consistently refused to subject these treatments to rigorous scientific research which would test the veracity of what hey are claiming. In contrast, there are many studies which highlight the great harm that is done by trying to convince someone to pretend to be something they are not. The American Psychiatric Association considers the harm that the attempt to change one's sexual orientation can do makes these practices unethical.
DavidB said: "All attempts to prove some genetic link to homosexuality have been disproven, not that they aren't trying."
There is always some confusion about a genetic link and actually finding the genes involved.
It is not necessary to find the genes involved to prove a genetic link. The genes for eye color, for example have yet to be found, but we know that eye color is inherited. Sexual orientation follows the same pattern of heredity as handedness
More importantly, homosexuality was removed by the APA after two decades of studies found no relation between children's upbringing and a person's adult orientation. If there isn't even a correlation, then one can't possibly cause the other. With no environment causes evident, it has to be genetic by default.
JGrubbs wrote,This is the same APA that prior to 1973 had homosexuality listed as a mental disorder in their books.
Well, no, that was the other APA. In any case, here's how these changes came about:
Homosexuality was once thought to be a mental illness because mental health professionals and society had biased information. In the past the studies of gay, lesbian and bisexual people involved only those in therapy, thus biasing the resulting conclusions. When researchers examined data about these people who were not in therapy, the idea that homosexuality was a mental illness was quickly found to be untrue.
Science continually revises and updates it's practices based on the latest research. Cancer treatments today are much better than those of thirty years ago. Churches are also free to update their practices based on the realities that science provides us. Some do and some don't.There is no "gay gene"!
Well, actually, there doesn't have to be a gay gene at all! Orientation could simply depend on the selection between sets of genes
we already have.
Your said, "Everytime there's a [gene] study with "proof", that study is examined by the scientific community and rejected for a number of reasons."
I'm not getting my point across, I see. The gene studies you refer to have nothing to do with the fact that orientation is innate which is the conclusion of over 50 years of research that lead to the delisting of homosexuality from the DSM over 30 years ago.
Finding a gene might be "nice," but, like eye color or handedness (did you read the paper I referred to above), establishing genetic links is not dependent on finding the location of the specific gene.
Ooh, there's more, I can't keep up. Check it out yourself.