Ted Haggard: Gay marriage should be legal (even though it’s not biblical)

From the Christian Post:

“We’ve reached a point where human dignity and mutual respect is so important,” Haggard said in a recent online debate with Rabbi Benjamin Hecht, director of Orthodox Jewish think tank Nishma.

Responding to the question, “Should same-sex marriage be allowed by the state?” he went on to say, “If someone is dealing with same-sex attraction or homosexuality, and they want someone to be their life partner of the same gender, though we would oppose that in our churches, it should be allowed by the state.”

So… what do YOU think… is Haggard right or wrong on this?

Do you generally think that all things non-biblical should be illegal?  Isn’t that the question he’s trying to raise here?

Would love to hear your comments.

Todd

More here…

Gay Grandson Speaks

Gay Grandson Speaks

Oral Roberts’ gay grandson Randy Roberts Potts says he has been shocked on occasion by how his family has treated him, but that has just inspired him to help other young gay people deal with their own issues of sexuality and religion.

Potts will talk about growing up gay in an evangelical world Sunday at All Souls Unitarian Church. It is the first time he has told his story publicly in Tulsa.

Potts was born in Tulsa, spent his first nine years in Colorado, and then lived in the Roberts family compound just north of Oral Roberts University until he graduated in 1992 from Jenks High School, where he was a junior varsity football player and a class president.

“I lived on the compound about 20 yards down the hill from Oral and saw him often, but we were not close,” Potts said in a telephone interview this week from Dallas, where he lives.

“I was always told he was busy.”

But he was extremely close to his grandmother, Evelyn Roberts, whom he visited nearly every day.

At age 20, Potts married a woman he met at the University of Oklahoma. After graduating from OU in 1996, he taught English for five years.

Potts said he was aware of having same-sex attractions as a child, but he didn’t know what they meant.

When he was 18, he told close friends, and later his fiancee, that he was bisexual.

“This was my way of admitting my attraction but also trying to be more ‘normal,’ ” he said.

He and his wife “spent a few years trying to figure out what that would mean for our marriage. … We fought for the last five years,” he said. “It was an unhealthy relationship.”

At age 27, Potts said, he began to identify as gay with a counselor and with himself.

“I told my wife a few years later that I had to leave, and we were divorced legally in June of 2006,” he said. “I have been openly gay ever since.”

They have joint custody of their three children, ages 8, 10 and 12.

Potts remains estranged from his parents, Ron and Roberta Potts. His father was an ORU basketball player, and his mother is a Tulsa attorney and ORU board member.

“My parents and I stopped speaking in 2003,” he said.

Roberta Potts said she learned from her daughter-in-law that her son was gay.

“Randy has never discussed it with us,” she said. “We have tried to contact him, and he won’t contact us.”

The family division runs deep.

via Oral Roberts’ gay grandson to discuss experience of coming out | Tulsa World.

20 day suspension

20 day suspension

A United Methodist minister acquitted Wednesday on a church charge of being a “self-avowed practicing homosexual,”was sentenced Thursday to a 20-day suspension for presiding at a holy union ceremony for a lesbian couple in 2009.

As part of the penalty, the Rev. Amy DeLong must work with Wisconsin church officials to craft a document that will help resolve future disputes in a more collaborative way in an effort to avoid trials.

Both sides heralded the penalty and split verdict as just.

“I feel good about what the church has done. I think we’ve sent a message that the United Methodist Church will not throw out its gay and lesbian people, and that it has opened the doors for a more inclusive church,” said DeLong, who has long acknowledged to church officials that she is a lesbian in a committed relationship.

The Rev. Tom Lambrecht, a Wisconsin elder who served as church counsel in the trial, said the penalty recognizes that DeLong harmed the clergy covenant and that there are consequences for such actions.

“I think the suspension is just the first step,” said Lambrecht, who had asked the jury to suspend DeLong indefinitely until she agreed not to officiate at same-sex unions in the future. “What’s important is Rev. DeLong’s written work that will look at ways we can resolve issues without creating that adversarial spirit and doing harm to the clergy covenant.”

DeLong, 44, of Osceola, is executive director of Kairos CoMotion, a United Methodist advocacy group that promotes, among other things, greater acceptance of gay and lesbian people. She was appointed to that job by her bishop.

via JSOnline.

Thoughts?

Todd

HomoBias?

HomoBias?

Jonathan Dudley writes, Growing up in the evangelical community, I learned the Bible’s stance on homosexuality is clear-cut. God condemns it, I was taught, and those who disagree just haven’t read their Bibles closely enough.

Having recently graduated from Yale Divinity School, I can say that my childhood community’s approach to gay rights—though well intentioned—is riddled with self-serving double standards.

I don’t doubt that the one New Testament author who wrote on the subject of male-male intercourse thought it a sin. In Romans 1, the only passage in the Bible where a reason is explicitly given for opposing same-sex relations, the Apostle Paul calls them “unnatural.”

Problem is, Paul’s only other moral argument from nature is the following: “Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?” (1 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Few Christians would answer that question with a “yes.”

In short, Paul objects to two things as unnatural: one is male-male sex and the other is long hair on men and short hair on women. The community opposed to gay marriage takes one condemnation as timeless and universal and the other as culturally relative.

I also don’t doubt that those who advocate gay marriage are advocating a revision of the Christian tradition.

But the community opposed to gay marriage has itself revised the Christian tradition in a host of ways. For the first 1500 years of Christianity, for example, marriage was deemed morally inferior to celibacy. When a theologian named Jovinian challenged that hierarchy in 390 A.D. — merely by suggesting that marriage and celibacy might be equally worthwhile endeavors — he was deemed a heretic and excommunicated from the church.

via CNN Belief Blog

Take a moment to read the whole article.

What do YOU think?  Does Jonathan make some valid points, or is he just a victim of liberal Yale Divinity School theology?

I’d love to hear what you think on this…

Putting gay front and center

Putting gay front and center

A small marquee on a Tarrant County highway is causing a big stir.

The sign in front of Airport Freeway Church of Christ on Highway 183 reads: “Homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom.”

via wfaa.com

YOUR THOUGHTS?  Is either way a good way to go?  No wonder people who need Christ think we’re morons.

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Church on Trial

Church on Trial

The church’s call to exclusion is ‘killing its soul’.  Those are the words of Dr. Joretta Marshall of Brite Divinity School talking about the upcoming trial of lesbian pastor Rev. Amy DeLong in the United Methodist Church.

Watch this:

The soul of the church is what’s at stake, according to Marshall.

The soul of the church deserves to be set free.

Thoughts?

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Tony Jones: GLBTQ can live in accord with biblical Christianity

Tony Jones:  GLBTQ can live in accord with biblical Christianity

I’ve long said that the way the church responds to homosexuality will be one of the biggest tests of the next years.  Recently, two things have occurred that have spoken to where some parts of the church are heading.  The first was a statement by emergent church leader Tony Jones; the second by ‘out of the closet’ megachurch pastor, Jim Swilley.

The first is a comment by Tony Jones:

One of the key leaders of today’s most cutting-edge church movement has opened an Internet discussion on the issue of same-sex marriage with the bold proclamation that he believes “gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and queer” individuals can and should live out their sexuality in – and blessed by – the Christian church.
“I now believe that GLBTQ can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (as least as much as any of us can!),” writes author and church leader Tony Jones, “and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state.”
Jones is an author and former youth pastor who holds a doctorate from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is also the national coordinator of Emergent Village, a loosely-formed friendship of churches that derive their descriptive name from having “emerged” from postmodernism to take the gospel of Jesus Christ into a post-Christian culture

“I now believe that GLBTQ can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (as least as much as any of us can!),” writes author and church leader Tony Jones, “and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state.”

SOURCE

The second is a message from Jim Swilley, the pastor of a large church in Georgia, who just recently came out saying he was divorcing his wife and living openly as a homosexual.  My friend, Ed Stetzer, has a great post about the Swilley situation, including Swilley’s video where he ‘comes out’.

Ed closes his statement with a great question.  I’d like to post it here as well for your consideration and comment:

Is it possible to demonstrate legitimate love and compassion to homosexuals, while believing homosexual behavior itself is sinful? Is there a kind of accountability for pastors that is both realistic and effective? What would that look like? Is it possible to maintain biblical orthodoxy while jettisoning biblical morality?

What do you think?  How will YOUR church address the issue of homosexuality?  (Because, I think EVERY church WILL HAVE TO; and very soon).

Todd

Oral Roberts gay grandson speaks out

Oral Roberts gay grandson speaks out

Many people don’t know it, but one of Oral Roberts sons was a homosexual and eventually took his own life.  Now, his nephew, Oral Robert’s grandson, who is also gay, has made a video about his uncle and his current view on life.

Take a look here.  [profanity alert]

I’ve said for a long time that homosexuality will be one of the (if not THE) major social issue the church will deal with in the next decade.  Just in the past few weeks, I’ve heard new allegations of bullying by the church of homosexuals (bullying is the new politically correct buzzword, I guess).

If you watched the video… what do YOU think?

What would you say to Oral Roberts grandson?

And what would you say to Oral Roberts son?

Todd

HT:  Jesus Needs New PR

“The Holy Spirit Is Telling Us to Elect Gay Bishops”

“The Holy Spirit Is Telling Us to Elect Gay Bishops”

With special thanks to Frank Lockwood (The Bible Belt Blogger), take a look at this pastoral letter from Episcopal Church presiding bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to the Anglican Communion…

A pastoral letter to The Episcopal Church

Pentecost continues!

Pentecost is most fundamentally a continuing gift of the Spirit, rather than a limitation or quenching of that Spirit.

The recent statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury about the struggles within the Anglican Communion seems to equate Pentecost with a single understanding of gospel realities. Those who received the gift of the Spirit on that day all heard good news. The crowd reported, “in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power” (Acts 2:11).

The Spirit does seem to be saying to many within The Episcopal Church that gay and lesbian persons are God’s good creation, that an aspect of good creation is the possibility of lifelong, faithful partnership, and that such persons may indeed be good and healthy exemplars of gifted leadership within the Church, as baptized leaders and ordained ones. The Spirit also seems to be saying the same thing in other parts of the Anglican Communion, and among some of our Christian partners, including Lutheran churches in North America and Europe, the Old Catholic churches of Europe, and a number of others.

That growing awareness does not deny the reality that many Anglicans and not a few Episcopalians still fervently hold traditional views about human sexuality. This Episcopal Church is a broad and inclusive enough tent to hold that variety. The willingness to live in tension is a hallmark of Anglicanism, beginning from its roots in Celtic Christianity pushing up against Roman Christianity in the centuries of the first millennium. That diversity in community was solidified in the Elizabethan Settlement, which really marks the beginning of Anglican Christianity as a distinct movement. Above all, it recognizes that the Spirit may be speaking to all of us, in ways that do not at present seem to cohere or agree. It also recognizes what Jesus says about the Spirit to his followers, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:12-13).

The Episcopal Church has spent nearly 50 years listening to and for the Spirit in these matters. While it is clear that not all within this Church have heard the same message, the current developments do represent a widening understanding. Our canons reflected this shift as long ago as 1985, when sexual orientation was first protected from discrimination in access to the ordination process. At the request of other bodies in the Anglican Communion, this Church held an effective moratorium on the election and consecration of a partnered gay or lesbian priest as bishop from 2003 to 2010. When a diocese elected such a person in late 2009, the ensuing consent process indicated that a majority of the laity, clergy, and bishops responsible for validating that election agreed that there was no substantive bar to the consecration.

The Episcopal Church recognizes that these decisions are problematic to a number of other Anglicans. We have not made these decisions lightly. We recognize that the Spirit has not been widely heard in the same way in other parts of the Communion. In all humility, we recognize that we may be wrong, yet we have proceeded in the belief that the Spirit permeates our decisions.

We also recognize that the attempts to impose a singular understanding in such matters represent the same kind of cultural excesses practiced by many of our colonial forebears in their missionizing activity. Native Hawaiians were forced to abandon their traditional dress in favor of missionaries’ standards of modesty. Native Americans were forced to abandon many of their cultural practices, even though they were fully congruent with orthodox Christianity, because the missionaries did not understand or consider those practices exemplary of the Spirit. The uniformity imposed at the Synod of Whitby did similar violence to a developing, contextual Christianity in the British Isles. In their search for uniformity, our forebears in the faith have repeatedly done much spiritual violence in the name of Christianity.

We do not seek to impose our understanding on others. We do earnestly hope for continued dialogue with those who disagree, for we believe that the Spirit is always calling us to greater understanding.

(You can read more of the letter and some great comments over at Frank’s Blog)

What do you think?

Todd

Ray Boltz: “I don’t believe God hates me anymore”

Ray Boltz:  “I don’t believe God hates me anymore”

Remember Ray Boltz? It’s been nearly seven years since Ray ‘came out of the closet’ and took a hiatus from Christian Music…

But now Boltz is back with a new album, and a new belief.  And a call for Christians to not discriminate against homosexuals.

Here is one of the lyrics to a song called “Who Would Jesus Love?”

Would He only love the ones
Who looked the same as me
Would He only offer hope
When He saw similarity
Would He leave the others waiting
Like a stranger at the gate
Would He discriminate.

Or, part of the lyrics of his song “Don’t Tell Me Who To Love

Don’t tell me who to love,
Don’t tell me who to kiss,
Don’t tell me that there’s something wrong,
Because I feel like this.

Maybe you’re in love today and you’ve been making wedding plans
But there is someone in your way shouting things cause they don’t understand
The judge says that’s not legal, the preacher calls it a sin
Oh you just remember they were wrong before and they’re wrong again

On his transformation, Boltz says:  “I don’t believe God hates me anymore…I always thought if people knew the true me, they’d be disgusted, and that included God. But for all the doubts, there’s this new belief that God accepts me and created me, and there’s peace.”

Make no doubt about it… how the church responds to the issue of homosexuality will be one of the major issues in the church over the next decade.

What do you think?  You can read more on Boltz in a New York Times article written recently here

Todd

(PS — I was never a big Ray Boltz fan.  Ever.  But take a short listen to the song linked above.  Let’s just say, the music itself would not make me a fan, ever.  Not one of Boltz’s best songs, gay or not gay.)

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