Today in bible school I found out some pretty disturbing news… some people it seems are this new thing called “gay”!
Ok, now seriously.
What I really learned was that the odds are that if you are gay, and are going to some church that claims to “accept you” – they probably don’t. How did I learn this? Well it is a long story that has been going on for a while now, but it came to a conclusion today when I found out about mandatory church membership requirements.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some churches out there that do fully accept gays in their congregations. They stand up for gay rights, approve gay marriage, adoption, sex, church leadership, and pastors/clergy. If you want to be sure where your church stands, ask to become a member. That right there is going to be very telling as to where they really stand.
Let me explain, I bring up the “membership” part for a reason. You see, there is this new church that I was impressed by. I knew that they considered themselves to be “gay friendly” (which is quite uncommon in their denomination) and so I wanted to look into what they were really all about. A while back I tried to get some straight (excuse the word) answers out of them on what they really thought of gays, and it was like pulling teeth.
I remembered from a course I took that one test for acceptance was membership, while another was leadership. You really are not supposed to let people become members of your church if you do not consider them to be Christians in right-standing with God and your faith. So I asked “can gays become members of your church?” and their pastor simply stated back to me that the “do not have members” they simply have people who join their “community” and “all are welcome to join their community”.
But today I found out that all churches are required to have members. It is mandatory by the church denomination itself, and is also required to keep it’s government non-profit status.
Gay people, if you ask about membership and are denied it – leave and find a church that actually does accept you. If you are told that there are no “members” leave because you are not being told the truth.
What the heck is up with this new half hating, half gay friendly church movement that is going on today? Yes, there is a new movement in anti-gay churches to try to appear more gay friendly. I had to take some classes on how and why to do it actually. There are a few factors for this new movement, and none of them are based out of any kind of compassion towards homosexuals – nor a change of heart.
The idea centers around two primary factors: 1. attendance and 2. money
Let me explain further, the church realizes that it’s harsh stance on gays has somewhat diminished it’s reputation. It has made them seem a bit harsh, and judgemental. This has resulted in bad media attention, jokes, publicity, and has decreased attendance and the chances of new converts in this new open-minded age. It has also made other religions seem more loving and compassionate that Christianity, and we can not allow that.
We are also told through our research and books that church attendance and growth is at an all-time low, and that if we progress at this rate we will be extinct before we know it. We have to revamp our image and get some new life in there. There is a great untapped (no pun intended) market out there in the gay community! Many of them would love to go to church if they thought they would not be hated and rejected. Allow the gays to come into church and we get much needed bodies in the door, and filling our seats.
Also, there is a chance that one day these gay people may still get really saved and stop being all… gay. But our ministry outreach technique of yelling at them and throwing things at them seems to not be working. It seems no matter how many times we stand outside with giant sings saying that “God hates fags” or “turn or burn” they just do not seem to come to the saving love of Jesus. A new approach must be made. Let’s get them to come to church, thinking that we do not want to change them, and then change them. Research does tell us that people are more suggestible to influences when it comes from someone they trust anyway.
Besides, extra bodies = extra revenue! All our problems are solved.
Well, despite the fact that you basically have some pastors who either misunderstand, fear, or even hate gays reading a new Christina best-seller on how to grow his/her church – who are now resorting to letting gays into church as nothing more than a ministry tactic or a desperate way to pump life into their dying community.
Or that we have some wonderful homosexual men and women who love God, and are sooner or later going to get very hurt when they notice what is really going on in their new “open-minded” church.
In the book Adventures in Missing the Point, Tony Campolo states that the church today needs to be involved in gay rights and also allow gays to come to church. He is also recognizes that people can be both gay and Christian at the same time (a view that many churches do not hold still to this day).
He makes some very good statements such as “I believe that is Jesus were in our shoes, he would reach out in love to his homosexual brothers and sisters.” Or that Jesus and us as Christians should stand up for gays not being oppressed or denied their human rights.
He even admits that there is overwhelming scientific evidence that people are simply born gay. That God created them that way. He even discusses the discovered “gay gene” Xq28 and other hard evidence supporting this theory.
But this is pretty much where his advances stop short of anything revolutionary. In fact, what follows next is quite baffling in conjunction to the beliefs that he previously states. What he does next is still point out that the bible states that homosexuality is evil, so despite any of this evidence it is still evil. But how can it still be sin if we know now that these people were simply created this way? To answer this Tony Campolo comes up with the notion that it is not homosexual orientation that is evil, but only homosexual intercourse. So you can be as gay as you want, since that is not a sin, but you can not have gay sex.
He then talks about “counseling people out of their gayness”, mentions that bisexuals are easy to convert since they are really just confused anyway (since it is not a valid sexual orientation), and then advocates finally that if you are gay and Christian and are unable to force yourself to enter into a heterosexual relationship – then your only other option is to declare a life of celibacy for God.
Seriously? Come on.
This is the forerunner of open-mindedness in our churches?
Even he admits that there is strong evidence that the scriptures that we use to condemn homosexuals could be in error. There is more than enough evidence to show that these anti-gay verses in the bible were actually misinterpreted, and misunderstood. These verses were either simply against “perversion” or “perverted violent sex” and we changed that to “gay”, or in other cases it was speaking out against incest, rape, molestation, and teachers taking advantage of their young students (as was custom with other religions and we were to try to be held to a higher standard).
His excuse for not believing in these claims is simply that if he agrees that some of the bible is wrong or was interpreted wrong – it goes against his belief that the bible is infallible and needs to be taken literal.
Please understand that no matter what anyone says – it is impossible to take the bible literally. Nobody does it. You may say that you do but you don’t. Everyone comes across certain verses that they ignore, skip over, declare as being “old law”, or not applying any longer.
If we took it literally we would cut off our hands and pluck out our eyes in punishment from, and to avoid, sin. We would have never abolished slavery. Women would not be allowed to braid their hear, or wear jewelry of any kind. They would also keep their heads covered (a veil), and not be allowed to speak in church. Is there a Mrs. Campolo? How literal is your bible interpretation as a couple? We would also be not allowed to associate as friends with any kind of non-believer, and would be forced to kick out of church and not talk to any Christian who is sinning.
Not to mention other things such as a literal translation of the bible would result in believing that a man lived in the belly of a whale, road a chariot to heaven, teleported, angels had sex with people and gave birth to a race of giants and monsters, and that the sun revolves around the earth (note: we already proved pretty well that the earth revolves around the sun).
No, people do not treat gays this way because they believe in a literal bible – they do it because they want to, or because they are afraid to do otherwise.
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