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Straight Pastors Cannot Possibly Know the Suffering of Lutheran Queers

We’ve been exploring “the gay debate” in the Lutheran church on Queerty for several weeks. Last month’s vote by the ELCA to permit non-celibate gay clergy set off a firestorm of debate inside the church, both before and after delegates voted. Last week, Washington State’s Pastor Erik Samuelson, who is straight, shared his insight into the vote. Today, Houston pastor Lura Groen (pictured below), who identifies as queer, responds to him.

lura

Pastor Erik,

Thanks for your boldness in writing this article. And way to get the Gospel out there, clearly read by so many people!

I bet you know this, but there are some things that being straight makes it harder for you to see. That’s privilege. You didn’t choose it, I know, so don’t blame yourself, but can I show you how to be a better ally?

I first have to disagree profoundly with your statement that the biggest thing the Lutheran church did was agree to disagree; we did something real for LGBT people! Not enough, not soon enough, not clearly enough, but something. We allowed queer pastors to be open about who they are and who they love without losing our jobs and callings! That matters to us queer clergy! It also matters to the LGBT folks who can see themselves in their pastors, and even to the young queer folks in conservative churches who at least know that, somewhere out there, someone like them can be a pastor. This is so much more than agreeing to disagree!

The church, including the Evangelical Church of America, has done great harm to people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. Not only has it denied our callings and refused to bless our relationships, it has provided a theological framework for homophobia. This is more than causing pain to us; this is participating in our discrimination.

I’ll look across the table and say “pass the salt, please” to the anti-gay folks in our church, and love them as my sisters and brothers. I’ll feel their pain. But I won’t agree to disagree, and I hope you won’t either.

Homosexuality is not wrong, sinful, or deviant. But homophobia is deviant. Heterosexism is sinful. Remaining silent in the face of discrimination is wrong. Homophobia, Heterosexism, and silence have caused many of us to lose our livelihoods, our families, our safety, and even our lives. By providing theological reasons for these sins, the church has participated in this discrimination.

The church has also tried to teach us that the love at the center of our beings is sinful, that our sexualities are not created by God, and that the church’s acceptance of us is conditional. The harm caused to our relationships with God is even more violent than the beatings, the murders, some of us have endured.

I won’t pretend to know what Pastor Ryan Mills feels. But to equivocate the suffering he, and other like him, may be feeling to the queer experience is false and perpetuates discrimination.

By:          
 
lura Lura Groen is an openly queer Lutheran pastor. She serves Grace Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas.
 

On:           Sep 4, 2009
Tagged: , , , , , ,
  • 110 Comments
    • John
      John

      Amen!

      Sep 4, 2009 at 11:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dgz
      dgz

      awesome.

      Sep 4, 2009 at 11:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alex
      Alex

      Amen!

      Sep 4, 2009 at 12:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill
      Bill

      Thank you Pastor Lura Groen!

      This is the kind of letter that Pastor Erik SHOULD have written.

      Instead, he chose to further degrade and marginalize us. And in the name of God, no less.

      Oh well, I love Pastor Erik, I just hate his sin.

      Sep 4, 2009 at 12:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WestCanuck
      WestCanuck

      Wonderful essay!

      ‘I’ll look across the table and say “pass the salt, please” to the anti-gay folks in our church, and love them as my sisters and brothers. I’ll feel their pain. But I won’t agree to disagree, and I hope you won’t either.’

      Exactly! Thanks for a great article!

      Sep 4, 2009 at 12:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stevie
      Stevie

      I love this woman:) She’s great. I love that bit at the end with home brew.

      Sep 4, 2009 at 12:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dsdrane
      dsdrane

      This is an excellent response…thank you, Pastor Lura.

      The only concern I have is here:

      “Because we need to truthfully, lovingly, tell those anti-gay sisters and brothers not only that they are wrong, but that they are sinful.”

      What worries me about language like this is it’s just the flip-side of what the anti-gay rhetoric for us is: “truthfully and lovingly” telling us we’re “wrong and sinful”.

      I don’t see how this wins hearts and minds. SHOWING them, on the other hand — like you do when you stay and “pass the salt” — speaks louder than words. Fortunately, you can continue to do this without worrying about losing your job. And that’s a very big deal, indeed.

      Thank you for all your work!

      Sep 4, 2009 at 12:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JohnVisser
      JohnVisser

      Excellent, thoughtful, to the heart and honest. Thank you.

      Sep 4, 2009 at 1:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Distingué Traces
      Distingué Traces

      DSDrane:

      If somebody is actually doing something wrong, it is appropriate to say so.

      Sep 4, 2009 at 1:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dsdrane
      dsdrane

      @Distingué Traces:

      Say it all you want, but don’t kid yourself that you’ll be heard. That’s all I’m saying.

      Sep 4, 2009 at 1:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Larry
      Larry

      This is great thinking and analysis. Thank you!

      Related to this subject, I was disturbed to hear a straight woman crying at the microphone at Churchwide Assembly, speaking against the resolutions welcoming gays as pastors (though not completely!), and asking CWA to not make her family “outcasts”. This is such disturbing homophobia and shows a great lack of understanding of discrimination.

      You cannot consider yourself an outcast if you remove yourself from a group. You ARE an outcast if the groups tells you “You are not welcome here.” There is a huge difference. LGBTQ folks have been outcasts for far too long in the church. Straight folks who do not accept homosexuality as a gift from God are homophobes but they are still welcome in the church, even though they sin by promoting homophobia. They may remove themselves from the church, but that does not make them outcasts.

      Sep 4, 2009 at 2:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @dsdrane:

      What worries me about language like this is it’s just the flip-side of what the anti-gay rhetoric for us is: “truthfully and lovingly” telling us we’re “wrong and sinful”.

      Why are you making it okay for the church to tell us that we’re “wrong and sinful”, yet not okay for us to tell the church that it is they who are “wrong and sinful”?

      Isn’t that a tad hypocritical?

      The church has and continues to arrogantly and cavalierly tread all over our blue-suede shoes, without apology, and we are obliged to timidly and respectfully request that they stop doing so, lest they be offended? Hello?

      That sounds a little too much like Jack Benny doing his “Now cut that out” routine with his arms folded.

      We’ve been asking verrrry nicely and verrrry respectfully for a verrrry long time now “Would you mind?”

      They’ve chosen not to hear us or comply.

      Ask not what we can do for the church. Ask what the church can do for us?

      The time has come for us to not “ask” politely and respecfully, but “forcefully demand” that they back off and drop their bigoted, hateful and discriminatory stance. it is they who are the purveyors of rhetoric, not the victims who have been pleading for it to stop.

      Historically speaking, Standing up to the bullies, is the only language that bullies ever understand.

      Sep 4, 2009 at 3:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rudy
      rudy

      Brava!

      Sep 4, 2009 at 3:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cheesus
      Cheesus

      um, its queer (in the traditional sense) to even be a pastOEUR. Didn’t Neitcheeee say that religion is anti-life … i agree.

      Sep 4, 2009 at 4:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Chapman
      Bob Chapman

      I read this blog piece. Then I let it sit for a couple hours, thinking about it.

      I’m not sure how this blog article furthers understanding in this issue.

      Sep 4, 2009 at 5:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cheesus
      Cheesus

      @Bob Chapman:

      hey bobbi,

      it not good to let blogs make u think all day. Thank you for reminding me to live in the moment. Um, yeah, it wasnt made to further understanding. That would be enlightened, rather , i suppose it is meant to solidify opinions…Its america 2009…fuckin A man grow some balls…

      lol ?

      Sep 4, 2009 at 5:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Chapman
      Bob Chapman

      @Cheesus

      Thank you for responding the same way a right-wing nut job does on health care.

      Sep 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cheesus
      Cheesus

      @Bob Chapman:

      you’re welcome ! :)

      Sep 4, 2009 at 5:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dsdrane
      dsdrane

      @schlukitz:

      You wrote [in part]: “Why are you making it okay for the church to tell us that we’re “wrong and sinful”, yet not okay for us to tell the church that it is they who are “wrong and sinful”?

      Isn’t that a tad hypocritical?”

      [...and...]

      “Historically speaking, Standing up to the bullies, is the only language that bullies ever understand.”

      Firstly, I’m not saying it’s ok for a church to tell us we’re “wrong and sinful”. Obviously. I’m saying that we should avoid the “I know you are but what am I” scenario that would come when we throw back the very words they use against us.

      Additionally, I think standing up to bullies is fine unless you’re trying to steer, say, an entire demonination like the ELCA or the Episcopalians through a process of growth and evolution…in which case, a little finesse might be useful.

      Sep 4, 2009 at 6:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Obie Holmen
      Obie Holmen

      Whew, I’m surprised I haven’t found your blog earlier since I’ve been very active blogging and cross posting on the ELCA convention before, from the assembly, and after.

      I think there’s great truth in what you say, but do you advance dialogue or inhibit it? At this time, should we embrace the other or shoo them away? Words with the cutting edge of a prophet yes, but are they pastoral? I confess, I’m merely a straight ally so I can’t really feel your pain; would you chase me away too?

      Here’s a photo of me (on the right) wearing my Goodsoil prayer shawl at the convention. My cousin Bill, ass’t bishop from Indiana/Kentucky on the left.

      [img]http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2013042&id=1586434241&l=3de247b8db[/img]

      Sep 4, 2009 at 6:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bambu
      Bambu

      @Obie Holmen:

      When sounding as poobah as you seem to want too…try not to use contractions….ok straight ally?

      Instead of Whew – Use “Well!”

      I think “there is” great truth…

      blah blah blah

      Anyway Gibson Girl, your pic link is broken

      Toodles!

      Sep 4, 2009 at 9:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Obie Holmen
      Obie Holmen

      Hey Bambu, if you’re, whoops, if you are going to insist on formal English, learn how to spell your own name!

      Toodles to you, too!

      Sep 4, 2009 at 10:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bambu
      Bambu

      @Obie Holmen:

      I’m back.

      Yes I made a mistake. I realize that, ‘too’

      … Bambu?

      My rolling papers were nearby. I smoke marijuana.

      You should try it.

      Have a fucking great night!

      Sep 4, 2009 at 10:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @dsdrane: “Additionally, I think standing up to bullies is fine unless you’re trying to steer, say, an entire demonination like the ELCA or the Episcopalians through a process of growth and evolution…in which case, a little finesse might be useful.”

      We’ve been using “finesse” for hundreds of years and we don’t have much to show for it. It’s time for Christians to get over mere “acceptance” and “tolerance” and set the record straight. Homosexuality is not wrong. People need to take a stand.

      Sep 4, 2009 at 10:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Marvin
      Marvin

      I like the way Archbiship Desmond Tutu put it, quoting an African Proverb: ‘If you come into a clearing where an elephant is stepping on the tail of a mouse, and you declare yourself neutral, the elephant will be pleased, but do not expect any thanks from the mouse.’

      Sep 4, 2009 at 11:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @dsdrane:

      in which case, a little finesse might be useful.

      And which hand do you use to do that with?

      Your left hand or your right hand?

      Sep 5, 2009 at 12:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Marvin:

      I like Desmond Tutu’s quote as well.

      It’s priceless.

      Sep 5, 2009 at 12:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • nikko
      nikko

      Wow! Awesome! Exactly my thoughts, BILL!

      Sep 5, 2009 at 1:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Merv
      Merv

      As an atheist, let me offer an outsider’s perspective. I’ve read the Bible, and, unfortunately, I would have to say the bigots are right, as far as finding support for their views in the Bible.

      Sep 5, 2009 at 4:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane
      M Shane

      Offer your suffering up to God! Why not, you might get some chips for free.

      Sep 5, 2009 at 8:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Obie Holmen
      Obie Holmen

      Bambu,

      A tea party! Isn’t that precious.

      Oh, you’re not old enough to remember when marijuana was called tea? Actually, I have tried it (that’s a gross understatement–I’m a 60’s kind of a guy), but I gave it up over thirty years ago. Now I get high on Jesus! Isn’t that the sort of bullshit your stereotype of a Christian would say? It would seem that Christians don’t have a monopoly on narrow-mindedness.

      Sep 5, 2009 at 9:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      I expect my straight allies to take up this work, not ask to be congratulated for the small steps we have taken. And I don’t expect non-Lutheran queer people to celebrate when we reach a compromise that still falls short of the church apologizing for the sin of homophobia, heterosexism, and silence.

      Absolutely. Thank you, Lura. It is incredibly important that we all recognize that, while a small, positive step in the right direction, the work that progressive churches have done are not yet nearly enough.

      One would think that some straight pastors out there would truly want to do the right thing, to do what’s good, and moral, and so crucially important. We can be happy for the Lutherans, but still expect, and demand of, them to do more.

      Sep 5, 2009 at 10:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TomE
      TomE

      Excellent article. Thank you pastor.

      Sep 5, 2009 at 11:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @M Shane:

      No fish?

      Sep 5, 2009 at 12:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      Pastor Lura Groen:

      When will Lutherans or a single Lutheran Congregation have your courage and Declare:

      Homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.

      I appreciate your comments and the apology. I think you understand we will never be equal as long as we are wrong. I hope other Christians listen to your heartfelt words and do something.

      Thank-you.

      Sep 5, 2009 at 1:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alan brickman
      alan brickman

      If I had a “pigface” like him..I would hope i wouldn’t hate myself..and project that hate on others too….

      Sep 5, 2009 at 7:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Pastor Lura Green

      Nothing any Christian, gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, etc says to Brian above will ever be good enough. His request is insincere and springs from rank prejudice.

      He rejects all evidence that doesn’t match his pre-conceived prejudice.

      Very familiar behavior, actually, other kinds of bigots do it all the time too.

      Sep 5, 2009 at 9:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Chapman
      Bob Chapman

      The problem is that Christians like Pastor Ryan Mills do not treat all sinfulness (sinful nature) the same. Even if heterosexuals are practicing their sexuality in a male-female way, the Bible is full of references to how heterosexuals are not practicing it right. Jesus’ words about having committed adultery in your heart in the Sermon on the Mount makes that clear.

      When Pastor Mills makes the connection that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God really means ALL (straight and gay), he will realize he isn’t worthy of his call on the same basis as any gay pastor in a publicly acknowledged, life-time, monogamous, same-gender relationship.

      Only then will Pastor Mills know that his call from God to be a pastor is pure grace, not law.

      There is a level where pointing at Pastor Mills is unfair, though. All pastors are human. All have their faults, as does every congregant they pastor.

      The only thing that has changed attitudes, I’ve seen, is quietly-but-openly going about your ministry at church, being an example.

      Sep 5, 2009 at 10:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • patti in ny
      patti in ny

      why is the Elca following the Episcopal Church? Wasn’t the Episcopal Church founded for the distinct purpose of allowing the King to divorce his wives? We are not Episcopal,yet we are all children of the Most High God. This is His world we are not permitted to tell Him what we want to do. He as our loving Father tells us what we are to do,so that we will be safe from harm. Just like any parent what pain He must feel when His children stray,when we say things that will hurt another even if we do not intend to. I have a gay uncle. I love him. I do not support the lifestyle he leads. I can not I was taught by Pastor Bosch in Sunday school and confirmation class that we are not to argue with God. We are to obey Him. If He says and he did in Genesis that homosexuality is forbidden then it is forbidden. I am not here to judge, that is God’s right, I am here to love and respect others. Christ said the sacrament of Marriage is between a man and a woman, God created Eve from the rib of Adam so that he would have a companion. He did not create Steve for Adam,nor Madeline for Eve. I have known a few pastors who quietly were gay, That was a hard life for them, and it was their choice. We all make a choice whether to do one thing or another. Please folks I pray that we are able to worship together,and respect each other

      Sep 5, 2009 at 11:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • patti in ny
      patti in ny

      Now we hear of the 95 openly gay pastors, if they are not celibate does that mean they should be defrocked. Have they taken their promise to serve God seriously? If we are to believe God and honor Him these pastors should step down and that is the opinion of many. Whether it happens I do not know

      Sep 5, 2009 at 11:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Chapman
      Bob Chapman

      The ELCA is not following the Episcopal Church. The ELCA and the Episcopal Church (and many other denominations), recognizing that all have sinned, are following God by listening for God’s call in all the children of God.

      And, the Episcopal Church was not founded to facilitate any divorces. If you are referring to Henry VIII, remember that all monarchs maintained a level of control over the church in that kingdom. Phillip the Fair of France had some famous arguments with the Pope, also.

      The separation of the Roman and Anglican churches did not happen under Henry VIII. It happened during the reign of Elizabeth I. See the Elizabethan Settlement for more information. The Settlement actually has a great deal to say about the current difficulties, and how we receive and pray with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

      Sep 5, 2009 at 11:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • patti in ny
      patti in ny

      @Bob Chapman: thank you for that . The Episcopal Church is not the church I have chosen, or that chose me. We do have differences in theology, this just seems to be another political movement by the leaders of the church. I am saddened by it all. What is wrong in His eyes wounds our Father.

      Sep 5, 2009 at 11:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Chapman
      Bob Chapman

      @Patty in NY: Did you ever note what Jesus said about Sodom and Gomorrah, and why it was destroyed? For that matter, check out the minor prophets in the Hebrew Scripture. Sexual immorality is never the reason for the destruction.

      Hospitality–how we receive the guest among us–is why Sodom was destroyed. In particular, how we receive the prophet with God’s message.

      The angry crowds in Sodom were not interested at all in the gender of the messengers. Lot offered his daughters, and they were ready to rape them.

      Rape has nothing to do with a publicly acknowledged, life-long, monogamous, same-gender relationship. Absolutely nothing.

      Sep 5, 2009 at 11:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • patti in ny
      patti in ny

      With the way I was taught in confirmation and Sunday School we are to love others as ourselves. We are not to follow those who will not follow Him. To that extent how can I follow a Lutheran Pastor who is gay? I can not. Genesis 18 talks about this. I will not support a gay pastorate. No . I will respect the person,accept them as a brother or sister in Christ. I will not judge them,but I will not follow them. What of the effects this will have on the children of our church? We teach our children that His word is all encompassing the end of all things and the beginning of all things. If we tell the children. No its ok do not do what God says. God did not mean that homosexuality is wrong when it is in the Bible. Does that mean we need to throw out the Bible. Does it mean we need to write a new one? What are we to do now. Lutherans have always been taught to love others and respect them. Kindness ,the resolve for equality has always been the way we were taught. Now you tell us that the Bible,the Torah,etc all lied… ok maybe we should shut the doors to all the Lutheran churches. Maybe we should change the name of our churches to …Welcome to the politically correct way to rewrite the Bible, to change God’s word to fit our positions. Any pastor who is currently gay and a pastor should remove themselves from the Pastor position. You do not have to be a pastor to serve the Lord.

      Sep 5, 2009 at 11:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • patti in ny
      patti in ny

      @Bob Chapman: Yes they were destroyed for their wickedness. Yes the men wanted to rape the angels, yes lot offered his dtrs, that was not good enough for the crowd. The crowd was angered and threatened to do to Lot what they would have done to the angels. yes i do read and understand it. It is not merely hospitality. Those cities practiced deviant sex, bestiality,depravity. Jeremiah spoke of the depravity,and immoral behavior of the inhabitants as well, Even in Josephus a roman jewish historian wrote in his books about the rapists who were beautiful men,as well as the homoerotic behavior.

      Sep 5, 2009 at 11:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Chapman
      Bob Chapman

      @patti in ny: Where in Genesis 18?

      Actually, you need to be careful. Since the word “homosexual” (or “heterosexual”) was not coined until the 19th century, it is very safe to say the word “homosexual” is not in any original text of scripture.

      When you might find it today, it is always an interpretation. But, you will never (or should never) find “homosexual” in Genesis 18.

      Do you understand the difference between rape (a sexual act of power used against another person) and a relationship between two people (which may never involve sexual relations)?

      Sep 6, 2009 at 12:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • patti in ny
      patti in ny

      Not only were the sex acts depraved,but those in the city also were totally doing everything brutal to each other,hateful horrible things they totally were going against the word of God

      Sep 6, 2009 at 12:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • patti in ny
      patti in ny

      You are wrong about the townspeople wanting the dtrs they did refuse the dtrs and then threatened to do to Lot what they would do to the visitors had they had the chance. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire and brimstone, Lot and his family were told to leave. Lots wife was told not to look back, she disobeyed and was turned into a pillar of salt. Scientists and archaelogists have said there was a terrible catastrophe a huge inferno in the area believed to be those cities. One scientist said that the heat being as hot as it was could destroy a human, turning them to ash which could be construed as salt.

      Sep 6, 2009 at 12:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Chapman
      Bob Chapman

      @patti in ny: No one disagrees that the crowd wanted to commit rape.

      Do you see that? It was attempted rape. Everyone agrees on that.

      Rape, or attempted rape, has nothing to do with two people in a committed relationship. Or, it shouldn’t. (If you are in such a brutal relationship, get out. Now.)

      There are examples of committed same-gender relationships in the Hebrew scriptures. It is unknown if these relationships were sexual, but that is beside the point. A same-gender (homosexual) relationship does not require sexual relations, even if such relationships are typical in them.

      Why did Jonathan tell his dad, King Saul, to make David stay with him? Because Jonathan’s heart was knitted to David’s heart, that’s why?

      Johnathan made a covenant with David. (Note that all marriages in the Hebrew scriptures are covenants, but all covenants are not marriage. Even if this wasn’t a marriage, it was still the same type of contractual relationship.) They renewed that covenant. They kissed in the moonlight when David had to be sent away from the court.

      David refused to kill King Saul, Jonathan’s father. David, during his eulogy for Jonathan, said Jonathan’s love was better than the love of women.

      The only relationship we really read about in scripture between David and a woman was his rape of Bathsheba. That was not a love relationship, but a power relationship.

      You may need to catch up on your Bible study.

      Sep 6, 2009 at 12:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @patti in ny:

      Patti dear, I hate to tell you this, but this is not a bible-study class.

      This is a gay site for the free discussion and dissemination of information and data of interest to the LGBT community, not a place to hurl stones at us.

      I suggest that you save this sort of bible-thumping for your Sunday School Class. We’ve all heard enough of this “wickedness” shit to last us a lifetime. If you are just here for the purpose of making us wrong, then please leave.

      Sep 6, 2009 at 12:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @David: “Nothing any Christian, gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, etc says to Brian above will ever be good enough. His request is insincere and springs from rank prejudice.”

      Seven simple words:

      Homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.

      Soon, a Christian denomination or individual congregation will make that very clear Declaration. It hasn’t happened yet.

      Sep 6, 2009 at 11:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark, Houston TX
      Mark, Houston TX

      @Brian: ^ Seems simple enough. Come on Christians. I’d like to see some group make that statement. I think it would be very helpful to lgbt people. My “gay-friendly” Church (UCC) hasn’t said it, yet. I’m going to present it and then stop contributing/attending until they do.

      I don’t know how other people feel about this. I have a relationship with Christ that is more important than a relationship with my Church. I don’t want to be part of something that makes me wrong – not anymore.

      Although I think Brian may be anti-religious, I think it makes sense to get our Churches to be clear about what they really think about us. I am imagining sitting in a Church that has dismissed all bigots and haters based on our actual beliefs. That’s what I want my Church to become. To that end – I am not wrong. Any others?

      Sep 6, 2009 at 11:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Mark, Houston TX:

      Although I think Brian may be anti-religious…

      I get that Brian is anti-church, which one could construe as anti-religious. And given all of the harm religion and the church have meted out to members of the LGBT community over the past two-thousand years, I personally, wonder how anyone could possibly be pro-religious or pro-church?

      I think it should be pointed-out, however, that I have not heard Brian say anything against your Christ. His beef is with the official “doctrine” of those churches that have failed to clarify their position and state positively and unequivocally that Homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.

      I myself, am an atheist, but have no problem with who or what people choose to worship and I will vigorously defend their right to do so, as vigorously as I would defend my own right to choose not to worship so long as they do not condemn me for whatever reasons they deem to be good and approved by God.

      Brian and I do not go around telling people that heterosexuality is wrong, sinful or deviant. I am sure that I speak for Brian as well, when I say that I find any person, group of people, cult or organization who espouses this sort of bigoty and hatred to be deplorable, despicable and unacceptable.

      They will never get my respect, much less, my support until they abandon that position and offer a sincere, heartfelt apology to the LGBT community.

      Sep 6, 2009 at 12:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      @Mark, Houston TX: I don’t think what Brian posted is per-se “anti-religious.” I think it’s logical. Religion is anti-logical in nature. Religion asks us to put aside logical thinking in lieu of “faith.”

      Religion has, historically, been at the root of our persecution. Religion continues to be the root of our persecution.

      What sects of christianity such as MCC, UCC, now the Episcopalians (next the Methodists?) are doing is trying to reincarnate a bigoted, hateful, anachronistic set of bronze-age superstitions. If what he posted is anti-religious, then it is a justified anti-religious post. Christianity, and all of the world’s religions have been constantly (and increasingly due to increases in technology and international communication) trying to revise their theology and reinvent themselves based on breakthroughs in science.

      It goes back to the science vs theology battle. I work in the medical field. We drive the latest technology cars. We buy the latest technology electronics. We expect 21st century, cutting edge medical breakthroughs when we are sick. Yet, some insist on basing their whole self-esteem on bronze-age, 3000 year old superstitions and that leaves me scratching my head.

      Sep 6, 2009 at 12:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • patti in ny
      patti in ny

      @Larry: Homophobes No. Believing in His word Yes. Look at Genesis 18 to start off. Homosexuality is not God’s plan for mankind. If God wanted that why would he have created Eve from Adams rib. He would have created Steve. Science can go hand in hand with God or evil. IT depends on who is speaking at the time. Opinions are like taxi’s either you take the taxi of your choice to where you want to go, or you take a ride somewhere else. The choice we as children of the Most High God is to obey Him or not. We have been given free will. I do not hate anyone, this is not a science vs theology issue. It is an issue of following the word of God. I am not here to say you are evil, but to hope that you and the straight community will both see a way to compromise

      Sep 6, 2009 at 12:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • patti in ny
      patti in ny

      @Bob Chapman: Who said that a knitted heart was only for homosexuals? I have friends that I would move all the earth and sky for. My heart my love for them is not impure. we are all sinners each of us. I have a real issue with being told I am not welcomed to this discussion, I am leaving, and pray that all concerned will find the meaning that God has for each of us clear and concise. If God can love us with all our flaws I do not see why it is necessary to attack each other. May He bring enlightenment to all as to where we should be

      Sep 6, 2009 at 1:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • raz
      raz

      wow,nice letter. Now if we could only begin to expand our minds a little more and understand that straight blacks cannot possilby know the suffering of white queers, we might be able to make real change.

      Sep 6, 2009 at 3:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @schlukitz: Well said. I think many of us just want some “clarity.” Either LGBT people are wrong or they aren’t. It’s not asking much to formally state that as a belief. I think we’ll see some progress soon.

      Mark – let us now how it goes. I’ve already sent emails to UCC and I can send the package to your church in Houston.

      I think once Christians start un-wronging homosexuality by signing the Declaration, we’ll see many of them following that lead. The fundamentalists may take some time, but certainly Catholics don’t want to lose business.

      ALL LGBT persons need to make it unacceptable to contribute to any institution that makes us wrong, sinful or deviant. If we do choose religion, we must choose only those that Declare we’re NOT WRONG. No window-dressing or mere acceptance or affirmation – un-wrong us. ALL of us.

      It’s really only about putting Equality before Religion. Good people will do that. Good Religions will do that.

      Sep 6, 2009 at 4:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      @patti in ny: Your religion IS homophobic AND discriminatory, whether you like it or not. Science says we gays are every bit as equal human beings as you are, like it or not based on your religious beliefs. The APA has stated that in their DSM. The AMA, the ANA, the APA, you name the organization based on realistic research and you will find that we gays are normal and just as good as you. Your sole reference is a book that was written 1700 years ago and was then based on folk tales that were 500+ years old.

      You quote the folk tales of “genesis.” I have another suggestion for you: read McCance and Huether, 5th edition, 2006, Pathophysiology. It’s MUCH more up to date as to science and superstition. We no longer bleed people for bad humors. We don’t write people off because they are sinners in the eye of an angry god. We no longer believe people die because “god” doesn’t like who they love or how their life plays out.

      You are nasty in how you swing the quotes of your bronze-age holy book. You really should examine how your religion treats PEOPLE. We are just as good as you! We deserve the same civil rights as you.

      Sep 7, 2009 at 1:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rudy
      rudy

      @tinkerbell: We are not just as good as Patti.
      We are better.

      Sep 7, 2009 at 4:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark

      Spot on!

      Sep 7, 2009 at 11:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew

      I bet this Pastor gets fired.

      Sep 7, 2009 at 3:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Chapman
      Bob Chapman

      Just because something is natural, “found in nature,” it does not follow that it is good. The adult soft-tissue sarcoma I had removed from my leg in 2003 is found in nature.

      I will disagree with anyone that says I should have accepted the tumor and lived with it, simply because it is found in nature.

      The arguments that homosexuality is OK because it is found in nature are flawed. It is buying into the line (by engaging in the argument) from those afraid of or against homosexuality when this group says homosexuality isn’t “natural.” It is like opposing groups of children taunting each other on the playground.

      Rise above it.

      Everyone has issues that prevent living life to its fullest. Gay or straight. Male or female. Young or old.

      Don’t expect anyone to ever say homosexuality is good. It is neither good or bad. It just is. Start living in that truth, and then you can start finding the way to live your life to the fullest.

      (The same is true for heterosexuality. It is neither good or bad, although some try to say it is good. Heterosexuality just is, also.)

      For the record, the Episcopal Church has passed resolutions condemning the practice of trying to “cure” homosexuality through coercive means. See Resolution 2003-C004. http://www.episcopalarchives.org/cgi-bin/acts/acts_resolution.pl?resolution=2003-C004

      Sep 7, 2009 at 3:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Bob Chapman: “For the record, the Episcopal Church has passed resolutions condemning the practice of trying to “cure” homosexuality through coercive means. See Resolution 2003-C004.”

      Nice of them to do that. When will the Episcopalian Church Declare:

      Homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.

      That’s what we need to hear in the LGBT Community. “Neither good or bad,” doesn’t help either. Welcoming, affirming and lots of inclusion isn’t enough either.

      We need the Declaration.

      Sep 7, 2009 at 4:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Chapman
      Bob Chapman

      @Brian: Are you using the royal plural when you say “we”? If not, your statement “We need the Declaration” is wrong.

      You may feel you need such a declaration. There may be others that agree with you. That isn’t everyone.

      This post has been written, erased, rewritten, erased–and the repeated several times. This isn’t a Bible study class. It also isn’t a class in denominational canon law (or policy, rule, or whatever it is called in the particular denomination). It isn’t a moral theology class. It makes it difficult to explain reasons.

      In what follows, I cannot, nor will I, speak to resolutions or positions by denominations, congregations, or para-church organizations outside my experience or knowledge.

      For churches such as the ELCA and the Episcopal Church, passing a resolution like what you want would be wrong. It would be like passing a resolution saying having red hair isn’t wrong, deviant, or sinful.

      It’s what you do with red hair that may or may not be wrong, deviant, or sinful.

      We don’t want anyone to be passing laws, resolutions, policy, or anything else based upon something over which you have no control. Such “power” could be used against another group as easily as it could be used for us.

      For example, would you say a resolution saying that, because of World War II, everyone born in Germany is wrong, deviant, or sinful?

      Sep 7, 2009 at 6:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Bob Chapman: “For example, would you say a resolution saying that, because of World War II, everyone born in Germany is wrong, deviant, or sinful?”

      That’s simply moronic. You have only contributed double-talk seeking to protect religious belief or ignorance (it’s hard to tell).

      Religion made homosexuality wrong. +75% of Americans (all armed with votes influenced by their BELIEFS) believe homosexuality is WRONG. Numerous polls and surveys confirm this reality. That’s why LGBT people have NEVER won a popular vote – people believe we are WRONG.

      Pastor Lura Groen said in this Article that “Homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.” She’s an Episcopalian from Houston. She said it, her denomination hasn’t yet, BUT they need to.

      Welcome to the future of Christianity. Those faiths that want to continue to make homosexuality “wrong” will be marginalized. They will no longer receive our contributions. It has already begun.

      You can write silly comments, but this is serious. We will never be equal as long as we are wrong. Religion is based on “moral authority” and “biblical beliefs.” Christians are either for or against us – we are either wrong or not-wrong.

      So Bob, you can contribute to that or find something else to do on behalf of all LGBT people. We’re not Wrong – not anymore.

      Sep 7, 2009 at 7:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DSDRANE
      DSDRANE

      @Bob Chapman: “For churches such as the ELCA and the Episcopal Church, passing a resolution like what you want would be wrong. It would be like passing a resolution saying having red hair isn’t wrong, deviant, or sinful.”

      Uhhhh, the Bible never made “red hair” wrong. I don’t think red hair is an abomination, either. Red hair was not the problem at Sodom and Gomorrah. Matthew Shepherd didn’t have red hair.

      Are you crazy or just drunk?

      Sep 7, 2009 at 7:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Chapman
      Bob Chapman

      @Brian: It must have been the royal plural.

      The statement “because of World War II, everyone born in Germany is wrong, deviant, or sinful” is moronic. Congratulations. You now understand the principal why this shouldn’t be done.

      I’m trying to find where the Episcopal Church or the ELCA has said someone is wrong, deviant, or sinful (simply) because a person is homosexual. Would you mind supplying the relevant resolutions?

      Sep 7, 2009 at 7:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Chapman
      Bob Chapman

      @DSDRANE: The Bible never said homosexuality was wrong. The concept wasn’t developed until the 1800s (along with heterosexuality). The Bible was written long before that.

      There have been people who have interpreted the Bible to say that committing homosexual acts are wrong. But that is strictly an interpretation.

      I’m not saying there wasn’t a problem of homophobia by some. But it wasn’t universal.

      You might consider that some people bring their biases to religion and search for reason to continue them there.

      Sep 7, 2009 at 7:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Bob Chapman: I agree with DSDRANE. You’re denying the obvious. Take care.

      Sep 7, 2009 at 8:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Chapman
      Bob Chapman

      What have I denied? So far no one is coming up with an actual resolution, policy statement, canon, or anything of an official nature that says that being a homosexual (in and of itself) is sinful from the ELCA or the Episcopal Church.

      I’m not talking about what individuals have said.

      Have any of you considered that bishops, as a group, would have had to be pretty stupid not to know who they were ordaining through the centuries?

      Consider that the loudest individuals are usually those with the most to hide. Just don’t confuse the individuals with the organization.

      Sep 7, 2009 at 8:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      @rudy: i agree. we don’t hate and discriminate. we value all people, and think that we all should be treated the same.

      Sep 8, 2009 at 1:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lura
      Lura

      Raz- Amen,and yes.

      Brian-
      My congregation, and the religious group that creditionals me (Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries)as well as the MCC, many UCC churches, and others, affirm all sexual orientations and gender identities. Do you know what that means? Affirm means “say yes too.”

      Your statement is a negative: “We aren’t saying no.” I’m not sure why you’d prefer that to an affirmation. It is a step backwards.

      If I asked my congregation to vote on the statement that homosexuality is not sinful, deviant, or wrong, they’d be confused. They’d say we’re already way past that, have made clear affirmations by taking risks to marry same-gender couples before they were allowed by their bishop, by calling an openly Queer pastor. Why should they take a step backwards, say they don’t say no, when they’ve already said yes? Because some guy on an internet board asked them to?

      My congregation, and many others, affirms, celebrates, and rejoices in the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identites that God has made. Including yours. I hope you can feel that one day.

      Pastor Lura

      Sep 9, 2009 at 12:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Lura: Seems you are minimizing your statements in your original article. That was when you said:

      “The church, including the Evangelical Church of America, has done great harm to people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. Not only has it denied our callings and refused to bless our relationships, it has provided a theological framework for homophobia. This is more than causing pain to us; this is participating in our discrimination.”

      What the Christian church has done for 2,000 years is make homosexuality wrong, sinful and deviant. THAT is what has caused LGBT pain, suffering and discrimination. Welcoming, affirming and “being nice to” LGBT people does not change how we have been defined by Religion. Only religion can do that by un-wronging homosexuals.

      In your original article you stated very clearly “Homosexuality is not wrong, sinful, or deviant. But homophobia is deviant. Heterosexism is sinful. Remaining silent in the face of discrimination is wrong. “ What happened since you made that VERY CLEAR statement?

      I am not “some guy on an internet board.” I am one of millions of LGBT people who understand that religion made us wrong. I don’t think any of this should confuse your congregation, or you’re a bad teacher. It’s actually quite simple. We deserve not only the “apology” you offered in your article, but we deserve clarity.

      Churches such as yours “affirm” murderers and prostitutes, too. But, the difference is they committed a sin – up until then they weren’t wrong, sinful or deviant. According to Christian belief the whole “idea” of homosexuality is wrong, sinful and deviant. Recent polls indicate +70% of Americans believe “homosexuality is wrong.” None of your “welcoming” or “affirming” changes those beliefs.

      Rejecting the “Biblical lies” about homosexuals would be “making a great stride” at ending the “wrong” of being LGBT, not the “small steps” you mentioned. Like you said in your article:

      “Because we need to truthfully, lovingly, tell those anti-gay sisters and brothers not only that they are wrong, but that they are sinful. I expect my straight allies to take up this work, not ask to be congratulated for the small steps we have taken. And I don’t expect non-Lutheran queer people to celebrate when we reach a compromise that still falls short of the church apologizing for the sin of homophobia, heterosexism, and silence.”

      I believe you can teach the members of your congregation that homosexuality is not wrong. That’s your job. You are supposed to give them guidance.

      In 2,000 years we have gone from one Christian denomination to more than 1,800 because of “differing beliefs.” In the near future there will be Christians who think homosexuality is wrong and Christians who declare it is not wrong, sinful or deviant. It is a very important distinction.

      Some of us would like to worship at a place that makes homophobia and bigotry wrong – even dismisses those people. We expect that from our “moral” leaders. We expect that from you.

      Sep 9, 2009 at 1:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Luke
      Luke

      W@Lura: Was this comment even written by the same author as the article? It’s now saying the complete opposite. Was someone’s job threatened, hmmmm?

      Sep 9, 2009 at 4:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      You’ve lost your courage, Pastor Lura.

      I agree with Brian (although not with his questionable use of bold) – we need and deserve clarity. I was thrilled by your initial article because it was brave in its honesty and simplicity. You were not afraid of the simple clarity in the phrase, “Homosexuality is not wrong, sinful, or deviant.”

      Now there’s so much doubletalk and double/triple/God-knows-how-many-standards. It’s incredibly disheartening.

      You have one standard for yourself, one for your congregation, one for other congregations, one for your denomination, one for other denominations, one for gay clergy, one for straight clergy…

      After all, you said that the affirmations of gay clergy and blessing same-sex unions, as covered by the ELCA vote, were “Not enough, not soon enough, not clearly enough, but something.” [emph added] You were clear about the further responsiblity of straight clergy when you said, “I expect my straight allies to take up this work, not ask to be congratulated for the small steps we have taken.” And you demonstrated a strong need in the non-Lutheran queer community for no less than the clarity of an apology. These are all bold, courageous calls for integrity, accountability, and clarity. They were inspirational.

      But then, enough time went by for the thread to die down, and then you came back for… what? Official clean up?

      Apparently, for the rest of the Lutherans, deciding to allow gay clergy and bless same-sex unions, “still falls short of the church apologizing for the sin of homophobia, heterosexism, and silence.” But for you and your church, those same ‘affirmations’ show that you are “already way past that.”

      Excuse me?

      So everyone else needs to be clear, but you can just use those affirmations.

      And you’re the only one who mentioned anything about having your congregation vote. When do congregations ever vote about their beliefs? You’re a pastor. A guide. A spiritual leader. So lead. Keep being bold and declaring the truth. Don’t backpedal and say that you’ve already done enough.

      And don’t play your semantic games with us. Affirmation is not nearly a clear enough word, and you know it. You’re affirming… what? That we exist? That we can preach? That we have relationships? There has to be something clearly stated to be able to affirm it. You can’t affirm an abstraction. An example of how completely obscure ‘affirmation’ can be – from the UCC’s ONA info:
      “What does “Open and Affirming (ONA) mean?”
      To say that a setting of the UCC is “Open and Affirming” means that it has publicly declared that “lesbian, gay, bisexual” people (or those of all “sexual orientations”) are welcome in its full life and ministry (e.g. membership, leadership, employment etc.) It bespeaks a spirit of hospitality.

      So when you affirm us, are you just welcoming us? Are you just being a gracious host? Or are you actually doing something of real importance? Because now you’re contradicting yourself.

      Please get back to us when you make that decision. It’s very important. Gay kids are still committing suicide because conservative pastors and their congregations don’t play with semantics when they tell us we’re sinners. So be as clear as you can be.

      Sep 9, 2009 at 5:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      Copy on Brian, Luke and Chance.

      I too see a clear shift to a defensive posture.

      Sounds a little like the old song by Karmen Miranda “Yes, We Have No Bananas”.

      Sep 9, 2009 at 7:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      This is a copy and paste excerpt from a commentary made by Ross Murray, interim associate director of Lutherans Concerned/North America on another Queerty thread. Here is the link to his entire commentary.

      http://www.queerty.com/4-things-the-lutheran-gay-vote-doesnt-mean-and-5-things-it-does-20090909/

      A very Lutheran question is, “What does this mean?” I think it is a relevant question for all of us as we digest the news from the Lutheran world.

      elca1

      First, let’s address what this doesn’t mean:

      • Discrimination against queer people was not eliminated in the Lutheran Church.

      • There is no universal Lutheran statement that “gay is OK” or any equivalent. The Social Statement lays out four categories of opinion about homosexuality. They range from abhorrence to celebration. Nowhere in the Social Statement does it state that Lutherans now whole-heartedly endorse the full inclusion of LGBT people in the life of the Lutheran Church. It basically just describes the debate we’ve been having for the last couple of decades.

      • Clergy in a same-gender relationship are not necessarily going to find a call wherever they want. Because the decision lies with the congregation (no one can “force” a pastor on a congregation), the congregation can continue to discriminate by not offering a call to an openly queer clergy member. Women have been ordained since 1970, and there are still places that will not issue a call to a woman. The same can be said for a person of color, a divorced person, or someone with a disability.

      • A queer couple looking to have a wedding/blessing ceremony will not necessarily be able to have it in any ELCA congregation. Again, this is a decision that pastors and congregations are going to have to make for themselves. There may still be places that won’t ritualize any of the milestones of queer life.

      I am certain that we would all be interested in hearing Pastor Lura’s comments.

      Sep 9, 2009 at 8:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Chapman
      Bob Chapman

      For those of you that think that Christianity universally condemned people now called homosexual (the concept did not exist until 1800), you need to consider the 3rd century saints Sergius and Bacchus. In the oldest accounts of their martyrdom, the two were described as “erastai” (lovers). (There is doubt whether these two saints really existed, although they are widely venerated–especially in Orthodox [Eastern] Christianity.]

      Anal intercourse is condemned regularly. But, this act is condemned for male-female as well as male-male sexual relations. There was no specific anti-gay agenda. Considering that it is easier to cause damage with anal intercourse, and that “holiness” code is also a “health” code (holiness and [physical] health come from the same root word), there would be prohibitions.

      Any prohibitions were prohibitions against potentially harmful actions, not against a state of being.

      As everyone reading this should know, one may be homosexual without ever having anal intercourse.

      Be careful about applying arguments by St. Thomas Aquinas to all of Christianity, in particular his arguments from nature. Aquinas is not respected in Orthodox Christianity as he is in Roman Catholicism.

      Some of you have clearly been hurt by those taking the name of Christ. That is unfortunate–for you and those that did the harm to you.

      Not all of us have done harm to you. Besides, we don’t worship humans. We worship Jesus Christ. He is not some Sky God, removed from the world. God is with us now.

      If you are having problems with some of followers of Jesus, can you imagine how many problems Jesus is having with them?

      Sep 9, 2009 at 8:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Brian, Luke and Chance:

      There is no universal Lutheran statement that “gay is OK” or any equivalent.

      Now you know why Pastor Lura gave us such an ambiguous commentary in her post no. 74.

      How painfully similar that sounds to the promises Obama made to the LGBT community…not of which have been kept so far.

      Why does it always come down to “We’d like your money and your support, but don’t expect anything in return for it. Oh, and remember your place when you address us and don’t forget to be respctful when you do.”

      Sep 9, 2009 at 8:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Chapman
      Bob Chapman

      @Chance: My partner is an employee of an Open and Affirming ELCA congregation. It has been made very clear that BOTH of us are welcomed.

      From a practical point, I try to stay out of my partner’s gigs. That is, I will still primarily continue to go to my Episcopal Church. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been to my partner’s employer. And, I’ve been welcomed warmly.

      Can’t speak for other congregations.

      Sep 9, 2009 at 8:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Chapman
      Bob Chapman

      Even if the ELCA passed some sort of universal resolution at a Churchwide Assembly, what would it mean?

      It would mean the Churchwide Assembly passed something. We know that, no matter what a higher level says, not everyone will buy onto it.

      Changing people’s hearts takes time, and will never be done.

      Sep 9, 2009 at 8:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Bob Chapman:

      Changing people’s hearts takes time, and will never be done.

      Um, let’s see if I have this right now.

      Changing people’s hearts will NEVER be done. But, it will take time.

      Such profound clarity! A veritable paragon of sagacity.

      Are you a friend of Pastor Lura by any chance?

      Sep 9, 2009 at 8:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Bob Chapman: “Even if the ELCA passed some sort of universal resolution at a Churchwide Assembly, what would it mean?” It would mean, at least for Lutherans, that homosexuals are Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant. Lutherans would be the first Christians to Declare that LGBT people are not wrong. Other Christians would follow. Eventually we would marginalize those Christians that cling to their hateful belief that we are wrong.

      I’d say that would be huge for our Equality. +70% of Americans believe we are “wrong,” they got that belief from religion and religion alone. Curiously, Lutheran Pastor Lura Groen (Houston) said we weren’t wrong and then a few days later changed her mind. She’ll still “affirm” us though. Affirmation has no effect. It means “it is what it is.” For instance, an Appeals Court will “affirm” a decision of a lower court – basically saying “we agree.” So, Lutherans and UCC “agree” that we are indeed homosexuals. That has no cause or effect. It’s an empty nicety. Just, as Pastor Erik said “window dressing.”

      If one asks a very simple question: Do Lutherans believe homosexuals are wrong, sinful or deviant? The answer is apparently yes, no and maybe … BUT GEE WHIZ YOU ARE WELCOME HERE. Oh, and BRING CASH.

      Sep 9, 2009 at 8:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @Bob Chapman: I’m so glad that you’re welcome. Really, that’s fabulous. It’s not enough for me, but if you’re willing to sell out your equality for – not one but TWO! – semi-hospitable spiritual homes on Sunday morning, well that’s fine. But maybe you should keep that to yourself.

      As for me, I wouldn’t and won’t endorse (attend or tithe) either the Episcopals or the Lutherans as a moral authority until they do something REAL to address the wrongs done to LGBT. And a nice welcome – even a warm welcome – even a warm welcome with music! – just ain’t it.

      @Bob Chapman: It would mean that a church had actually taken on some G-Damned leadership. Not everyone would follow that bit of pastoral teaching, but a lot of them would. And those that didn’t would find themselves on the outskirts, and maybe, just maybe, they, too, would realize how misguidedly hateful they were being. But I guess that kind of change wouldn’t really mean anything to you. It’s better to have a place to go on Sunday mornings, so by all means. Don’t rock the boat. They welcome bigots, there, too. Maybe you’ll get to sit next to one. Have coffee and fellowship after.

      And in reference to your other gem…:
      @Bob Chapman: OK, so the word homosexual wasn’t invented until the 1800s. Fine. You can’t possibly be suggesting that no one before then understood that some guys only want to get with guys. Perhaps homosexuality (by any other name) is just a choice people started making in the 1800s. That’s helpful. Thank you for your astonishing contributions to the equality movement.

      Oh, and thanks for the laugh on this one:
      Considering that it is easier to cause damage with anal intercourse, and that “holiness” code is also a “health” code (holiness and [physical] health come from the same root word), there would be prohibitions.
      Any prohibitions were prohibitions against potentially harmful actions, not against a state of being.

      Yes. It’s just because they’re hurting themselves! And that’s why we have to kill them. So they don’t hurt themselves with the anal sex.

      Sep 9, 2009 at 10:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Luke
      Luke [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Bob Chapman: You said: “My partner is an employee of an Open and Affirming ELCA congregation. It has been made very clear that BOTH of us are welcomed.”

      So what. EVERYONE is “welcome.”

      Unless these Lutherans make a very clear statement about homosexuals they still believe we are wrong/defective etc. It’s beginning to sound like a con-job.

      What is up with the Pastor Lura flip-flop? ELCA threaten her?

      Sep 9, 2009 at 10:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Chapman
      Bob Chapman

      Passing a resolution only takes 50%+1 of the delegates. That does not mean everyone in the organization understands or will implement the resolution.

      Those at conventions tend to be better informed than those at home. Since we know that homosexuals and lesbians are normal people, it becomes easier to get your 50%+1 at conventions.

      The real issue is educating those who aren’t at the conventions.

      That is the reason why you see the Episcopal Church still demanding that other national churches in the Anglican Communion truly conduct the “listening processes” of actually talking to openly gay and lesbian Episcopalians/Anglicans that were called for in resolutions at several Lambeth Conferences.

      Those provinces, such as the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church, that have actually engaged its gay and lesbian members are being condemned by those that haven’t.

      For those of you who like to paint everyone with the same broad brush, remember that Great Britain in the late 1800s could celebrate Sir Arthur Sullivan (who, besides writing the music for operettas, also wrote the commonly used tune for “Onward, Christian Soldier”) while trying Oscar Wilde.

      (I know there is debate about the real sexual orientation of Sullivan. Even so, there are those that say the “Kevin” for his hymn tune St. Kevin really isn’t an Irish saint, but a male lover. The evidence exists in letters.)

      Sep 9, 2009 at 10:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Chapman
      Bob Chapman

      @Luke: You are treating Lutherans like they are the Borg. It isn’t helpful.

      By welcome, my partner has a 20 hours a week job in a denomination and congregation of which he is not a member. He is also an Episcopalian.

      That sounds like welcome for all the right reasons.

      Remember, Lutherans are not the Borg.

      Sep 9, 2009 at 10:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Chance:

      Yes. It’s just because they’re hurting themselves! And that’s why we have to kill them. So they don’t hurt themselves with the anal sex.

      No, no, no…you just don’t understand.

      It’s not their pookie holes that they are worried about (after all, this life is temporal), it’s their souls that they are saving.

      That’s why they have to kill them. *sarcasm font on* LOL

      Sep 9, 2009 at 10:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Luke
      Luke [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Bob Chapman: Dude, none of your comments make any sense. Are you high?

      Sep 9, 2009 at 11:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Luke:

      Either drunk…or on drugs. LOL

      Sep 9, 2009 at 11:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      Pastor Lura, affirmation is nothing more than affirmative action. The inclusion of LGBT in the church. That’s all. Big deal.

      Sep 10, 2009 at 3:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Brian:

      Given that we have not had any further response from Pastor Lura since her flip-flop on post no. 74, two possibilities exist for her seeming silence.

      1) She is highly pissed-off by our questioning of her Church’s motives or…

      2) She is too embarrassed to make any further comment because she now knows that we know that her church is not, in fact, willing to state that homosexuality is not wrong, deviant or sinful.

      I am inclined to believe that it is the latter reason. Any further comment would simply serve to make her arguments look ludicrous and Pastor Lura strikes me as far too intelligent a person to cast herself in the light of both liar and idiot.

      I will paraphrase Pastor Lura’s comment by saying that I hope she and her church of which she is a member, can feel that one day they will be able to utter the words we need to hear and re-affirm them in writing, but continue to skate around because of the still homophobic hierarchy they have made themselves accountable to.

      We must always remember that when we deal with religion, what we are dealing with, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Anyone who refuses to see that is deluding themselves and condemning themselves to a lifetime of needless guilt, soul-searching, self-flagellation and suffering.

      But, as my father used to say, “To each his own”. Who among us, has the right to deny anyone their “bliss” regardless of what form it takes?

      I just wish they’d stop denying us our “Bliss”.

      Sep 10, 2009 at 3:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      Sorry. I forgot to include the closing brackets at the end of paragraph 5. Paragraphs 6, 7 and 8 are my comments, not hers.

      Sep 10, 2009 at 3:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @schlukitz: I agree. I did receive one email suggesting she may be in some trouble with the ELCA for her comments. The email said “She is not supposed to contradict Bible scripture,” which it appears she has done.

      That’s too bad. I liked her first message. Then, after it appears she was disciplined, she retracted all the good stuff. She’s clearly been wounded. Do you know if Lutherans still roast heretics?

      Sep 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Brian:

      Well, if in fact that is what happened to Pastor Lura, then it appears that the Lutheran Church has not changed it core value system, only it wrapper.

      And more than likely, this surface-trim, “accepting” posture of the Lutheran Church has been brought on by the hemorrhaging of it’s membership over the past years.

      Someone has to fill the church coffers. Gay money, as many have discovered, spends as just as well as str8 money.

      And perhaps, flows into the church coffers even more profusely than str8 bucks.

      Sep 10, 2009 at 6:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • deadhorsebeater
      deadhorsebeater

      This is full-on about a “Culture-Conforming Christianity.” I’ll try not to be a blow-hard, but the fundamental issue at hand is to do with what we do with our bodies. The queer Christian must recognize that their body is on loan from God. Fundamentally speaking it is a vessel or as the scripture puts it a temple for the holy spirit to dwell within. Sexuality makes a deep impact on a persons innermost persona even their soul, a scarring nature when done at the wrong time, wrong place, and or with the wrong person. Society/Culture tells us to leave our baggage at the door. What is that exactly? Our heritage, scruples and upbringing? I’ll be brief and sum it up with a simple question. God’s miracle of life is modeled through the union of a man and a woman, as is his model for the relationship between Christ and the Church. Considering the fruits of his love and His desire to continue creation through us and in us…Can God be glorified in Gay sex? Or is it just sodomy and fornication?

      Sep 11, 2009 at 2:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @deadhorsebeater:

      You’ve risen to the occasion with with both your screen name “Deadhorsebeater” as well as being a “blow-hard”.

      You’re not here for a discussion.

      You’re here to lay religious shit on us about sodomy and fornication.

      Take it someplace else, please. We’ve heard it all and don’t need to hear it yet again, if you don’t mind.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 2:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • deadhorsebeater
      deadhorsebeater

      @schlukitz: I’m sorry, but I was actually hoping for some enlightenment on the subject matter. My words were chosen to inspire an inner reflection not condemnation. However the vast majority of the individuals who post here are obviously angry and rightfully so I reckon. My society and culture hasn’t been a friend to you, so I’m sorry and understand your intolerance. But I thought this was a theological discussion board within a “queer” site. Guess they call them straight answers for a reason.
      Peace out.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 2:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @deadhorsebeater: Your comment is all about your particular religious “story” – it isn’t “truth.” It is one of many religious stories “believed” because humans just are comfortable “not knowing,” so they use “faith.” Faith is defined as “the ability to believe something you cannot prove.”

      But, here is a FACT: Religion, by making homosexuality “wrong,” has contributed to ALL the pain and suffering of gays and lesbians. It still contributes to 1,500 gay teens taking their own lives each year. In spite of that “reality,” some cling to the story.

      Well, your story (and all the others) are about to change. Good people will put equality before Religion. Good people will end the hate and dscrimination. Good people will “save” those gay teens from taking their won lives.

      This conversation is about “good people,” honest, compassionate and fair “good” people. Religion can promote whatever beliefs they want – except for the lies about homosexuals. We are Not Wrong. We don’t need your “stories” to know that.

      By the way, I have a tremendous amount Faith – faith in the goodness of human beings, and their ability to show love, compassion and common sense. I can’t prove it, but I believe it. Stay tuned.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 11:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @deadhorsebeater:

      I’m sorry, but I was actually hoping for some enlightenment on the subject matter.

      Laying your belief system is not enlightenment, Sir. The proper term for it is “preaching”.

      My words were chosen to inspire an inner reflection not condemnation.

      And that is where I begin to hear the suggestion of yet another sermon by yet another religious person who wants us to “look into our hearts and re-evaluate our life-style choice” as God and Jesus would want us to.

      However the vast majority of the individuals who post here are obviously angry and rightfully so I reckon.

      A thorough perusal of these threads will reveal a multitude of trolls and fag-bashers who are like moths to the flame and whose only purpose for coming here is to stir the shit and play agent provacateur. It is to be sincerely hoped that you are not among them?

      My society and culture hasn’t been a friend to you, so I’m sorry and understand your intolerance.

      This is quite true. Actually, however, the intolerance first sprang from society and culture which has been thoroughly indoctrinated in bigotry, hatred, discrimination and intolerance, so accusing the LGBT community of being intolerant in return, is not quit fair…even if it is understood.

      The way to end the intolerance, is to stop practicing it. Please lead the way, if y’all will.

      But I thought this was a theological discussion board within a “queer” site.

      Yes, it was. But, you changed it into a sermon about what we “queers” do with our bodies and that, Sir, is none of your concern, no more than what you do with your wife is of concern to us. Privacy is a right for both sides, but is rarely observed by the religious community who believes that they have the God-given right to check our bedrooms out to see what’s going on. Sorry. That’s just being downright nosy and a busy-body.

      Guess they call them straight answers for a reason.

      Sorry, but that comment flew right over my “queer” head.

      What are you trying to say?

      Sep 11, 2009 at 12:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lura
      Lura

      Okay, y’all are confusing my denomination, and my congregation, and my rostering body. (Extraordinary Lutheran Ministires.)

      Brian asked if my congregation could make the same statement I did, that homosexuality is not sinful, wrong, or deviant. I said no, because that would be a step backwards for a congregation that has clearly stated, by its actions, that it says yes to all sexual orientations and gender identities. In my congregation, I talk about discrimination, homophobia, hetersexism, etc, and the harm they cause, just like in my letter. How does that contradict me saying that my denomination hasn’t gone far enough?

      My job is very secure, thank you for your concern. ;)

      Pastor Lura

      Sep 11, 2009 at 3:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Lura:

      Brian asked if my congregation could make the same statement I did, that homosexuality is not sinful, wrong, or deviant. I said no, because that would be a step backwards for a congregation that has clearly stated, by its actions, that it says yes to all sexual orientations and gender identities.

      However, the fact remains that…

      • Discrimination against queer people was not eliminated in the Lutheran Church.

      • There is no universal Lutheran statement that “gay is OK” or any equivalent. The Social Statement lays out four categories of opinion about homosexuality. They range from abhorrence to celebration. Nowhere in the Social Statement does it state that Lutherans now whole-heartedly endorse the full inclusion of LGBT people in the life of the Lutheran Church. It basically just describes the debate we’ve been having for the last couple of decades.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 4:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Lura: “Brian asked if my congregation could make the same statement I did, that homosexuality is not sinful, wrong, or deviant. I said no, because that would be a step backwards for a congregation that has clearly stated, by its actions, that it says yes to all sexual orientations and gender identities.”

      Clearly stated by it’s “actions?” Signing the Declaration would be the only “action” a reasonable person could accept.

      Saying “yes” to all sexual orientations is not the same as Declaring:

      Homosexuality is Now Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.

      You have done nothing to change the “Christian” beliefs that have harmed homosexuals for centuries. Nothing. In fact, it’s very weasel-ish to try to talk your way out of a very simple, very clear statement. I would think “ending confusion,” instead of “interpreting actions,” might be very helpful for all LGBTQ people.

      If the Declaration is what your congregation actually believes, I’m certain they would be glad to sign it. Bring it Sunday.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 5:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Pastor Lura: Or YOU just sign it and give them copies on Sunday. That’s even easier.

      Looking forward,

      Brian

      Sep 11, 2009 at 5:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • deadhorsebeater
      deadhorsebeater

      @schlukitz: I wanted to appologize to you and the others that I offended. In a failed attempt to be a Christian (meaning little Christ), I was a little devil in my own piety. I have been convicted of my own selfish desire to use the Word as MY instrument rather than myself being an instrument of the Word. I’m no longer one to judge, I’m not your accuser. Fear is a terrible thing to embrace, for it only results in anger, then to hatred. I hope that one day we can all enjoy God’s goodness and grace together. I have my own salvation to worry about and have no place casting stones at you. Grace and peace to you, and again please accept my heartfelt appologies.

      Sep 13, 2009 at 12:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @deadhorsebeater:

      You, Sir, are a gentleman and a scholar. I got that your apology is sincere and heartfelt and is gratefully accepted.

      I can only speak for myself when I say this, but I personally believe that you meant well and that you were sincerely trying to be helpful. And for that, I would not fault you.

      I am not a man of religion, but I will be only too happy to join you in wishing that all of us, straight and gay alike, can one day live in grace and peace and without judgement of each other.

      Sep 13, 2009 at 12:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lura
      Lura

      Brian- My congregation, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Houston, is 1/2 to 2/3 LGBT folks who have been deeply hurt by the Lutheran denomination, and many others. The others are mostly straight allies who have decided to join the church exactly because of the acceptance, celebration, affirmation, etc they find there. Members of my church have been working for literally decades to change church policy around sexual orientation and gender identity. For years they have had pastors who teach that God has a special welcome for those who society leaves out, and that discrimination of all sorts is wrong. They have been marrying couples of all gender combinations for at least ten years. Against church policy, they called an openly queer pastor, risking discipline from their bishop. (Who happily, has been supportive.) We regularly study many forms of discrimination, and call them sin. Every Sunday they hear sermons from me calling homophobia, and all forms of oppression, sinful. Do you see now why I treat them differently than my denomination?

      Okay, I need to start thinking about my response to Pastor Erik’s next letter.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 7:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • greg gopp
      greg gopp

      @dsdrane: The only problem is you don’t have any scriptural support for blessing gay relationships and in doing so you have had to separate God’s law from the Gospel. Its called antinomianism and is unfortunately as old as the Christianity. Pesky gnostics. There is nothing new here, the Spirit isn’t doing a grand new thing. This is nothing more than human sinfulness trying to tell God He’s wrong. With no scriptural support for your cause this self righteous judgmental rhetoric is the only tactic left to you. I thought you liberal gnostics would have figured that out watching the hard righteousness of fundamentalists.

      Sep 21, 2010 at 10:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • greg
      greg

      @Bill: Wow that is exactly what honest Christians say about you, the only difference is the scriptures actually define gay sex as sinful. Your denial and hypocrisy is truly fascinating.

      Sep 21, 2010 at 11:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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