Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jesus Loves Us

Jesus Loves Me. This I Know . . . Even If I'm Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgendered

"Jesus loves me. This I know, for the Bible tells me so . . . " unless you are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Intersex or Queer, in which case you are told that Jesus loves everyone EXCEPT me. Well it's time to set the record straight - if you'll pardon the expression. Jesus loves ESPECIALLY His GLBTIQ children - for the Bible tells me so! 

The Protestant Bible is like a library consisting of 66 books, written by about 40 authors over a period from about 2000 BC to about 70 AD. It is divided into the Old Testament (before Christ) and the New Testament (after Christ). In these 66 books, there are 1,189 chapters containing about 31,273 verses. The final divisions into chapters and verses occurred only about 500 years ago for ease of referencing. They are not part of the original texts. 

I believe that the Original Scriptures were God-inspired and contain the truths that God would have us to know. I believe also that subsequent translations must deal with text, where perhaps there is no comparable word for the original, and meanings of words are sometimes lost or changed. 

Translations have been written with the best of intentions by God-fearing, uninspired human beings who have done their very best to convey God's message, as they understand it, with their current knowledge of the original languages, customs, traditions and culture of Bible times, AND with their own biases, based on their understanding of what they THINK the Original Scriptures said. None of us have been brought up in a vacuum, and it is impossible not to let our preconceived beliefs influence our understanding. If these translators believed that homosexuality was wrong, then that's how they viewed the scriptures that they were attempting to translate. New research would indicate that their beliefs were indeed wrong. 

Since the concept of homosexuality as an orientation was unknown until about a hundred years ago, on that basis alone, we know that the "clobber verses" used against gays could NOT refer to homosexuality as an orientation. They refer to same-sex acts, which were understood to be perpetrated by heterosexuals, and therefore were "lustful" and "unnatural". 

There is no word in biblical Greek or Hebrew (the original languages of the Bible) that is the equivalent to the English word "homosexual". The 1946 Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible was the first translation to use the word "homosexual". 

There is no word in biblical Greek or Hebrew for "sodomy". A Sodomite was simply an inhabitant of Sodom, just as a Torontonian is an inhabitant of Toronto. It was not until after the rise of the hierarchy in the institutional Church that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah was inaccurately equated with homosexuality and the word "sodomite" came into use. Any translation using the words "homosexual", "sodomy" or "sodomite" are interpretations and are not faithful representations of the Original Scriptures. 

Wherever same-sex acts are mentioned, it is either with regard to ritualistic traditions which were intended to increase the small population of the Hebrews, or it is among the Purity Codes for the Priests, or it is with regard to temple prostitution (idol worship) which was very common among the pagan people who surrounded the Hebrews, or it had to do with rape, power and violence as in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. 

None of the "clobber verses" used against gays refer to a loving relationship between two people, however you will find examples of same-sex love in the beautiful and romantic stories of Ruth and Naomi, a passage which very often is used in marriage ceremonies and yet it is between two women.
"And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee (Naomi), [or] to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people [shall be] my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, [if ought] but death part thee and me."    Ruth 1:16,17
- and of David and Jonathan
"The soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul."    I Samuel 18:1(b) 

"Thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women."    II Samuel 1:26(b)
Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. Society and the church perceive it to be a sin, worthy of ostracizing family and friends, but Jesus never mentioned it! He talked about money, adultery, divorce, greed and lots of other things, but He never mentioned homosexuality. Rather neglectful of Him - IF being gay were such an abomination - another word usually linked to homosexuals, which has also been mistranslated. The correct interpretation of the word "abomination" refers to impurity and is usually linked with idolatry, not sexuality. 

The Bible has been perverted to uphold slavery, apartheid and segregation, to malign Jews and other non-Christian people of faith, to support Hitler's Third Reich, to resist medical science and to rebuke inter-racial marriage. It has been used to execute women as witches, to defend the racism of the Ku Klux Klan and to perpetrate intolerance and discrimination of women and sexual minorities. It took the Catholic Church 359 years to admit that they were wrong when they accused Galileo of heresy and condemned him to death unless he recanted that the earth rotates around the sun. Oh yes! The Bible has been misused and misinterpreted often over the years, and it has been misinterpreted regarding the issue of homosexuality. 

Jesus' love was INCLUSIVE! His friends were not the Pharisees and Sadducees of the faith who were always trying to catch Him breaking the letter of the law - which He often did. Jesus made it clear that the only law is LOVE.
On one occasion Jesus was asked: "Master, which is the great commandment of the law?" He answered: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets"     Matt. 22:36-40
If what you have been told does not agree with Jesus' Great Commandments, then what you have been told is wrong. God's love is for ALL, especially gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people! Jesus was the First to reach out to the rejected of society. Jesus reaches out to us now. 

"It is never legitimate to use the words of Scripture to promote a loveless agenda." - Right Rev. Dr. Peter Short, Moderator of the United Church of Canada
"God loved the world so much, that Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, was freely given, that WHOSOEVER believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."    John 3:16
Jesus' friends were the marginalized of society - the despised tax collectors, the uneducated, the prostitutes and the lepers. Doesn't it just make sense that He would choose we gays for His close friends if He were here today! So smile because God has a plan for your life and "Jesus loves YOU. This I know, for the Bible tells me so!" 


silvereagle said...

A lesson that will not be spoken, much less taught, anywhere in most of the states this morning!

Susan said...

A beautiful message. Thank you.

JiEL said...

It's my only Christian Law that I try to put in my life.

LOVE, the REAL LOVE toward every living being on Earth.

This is unfortunatly not the same for those extermists that are stwisting God's Gospel.

IF we could simply apply this simple «LAW» and teaching that Jesus told us there wouldn't be any bashing of any kind.

HOPE is for me to think that, everywhere on Earth, mankind will be living in Peace and Love.

Inspiring post as I'm looking to the closure ceremony of Sochi's Olympic Games......

(((( HUGS ))))

Michael Dodd said...

As you point out, the problem is that we must deal with texts. Some of us fall into a sort of bibliolatry -- worshiping the word (or even the specific translation of the word) that was written, paying more attention to that than to the Word who spoke. Or to the One who speaks the Word in eternity.

Jay M. said...

Well said, Joe. Thanks. Now how do we get this to the haters and bigots and so-called "Christians" who refuse to pay attention to God's REAL commandmants?

Peace <3

Vilges Suola said...

Odd that an omniscient deity should choose language, of all possible media, to communicate with His people. Language that changes, becomes obsolete, becomes the subject of debate, gets mistranslated, and in the Bible become pretty much all things to all believers. It seems to me indisputable that the Bible condemns homosexual sex and nobody who argues otherwise really has a leg to stand on: whoever / whatever the αρσενοκοίται were, they were indulging in male to male sex and ol' Paul didn't like it. So what? Why should anybody give a fuck what near-eastern agrarians and Paul thought on the matter 2000+ year ago? Why didn't the All Powerful One edit those bits out, as He could easily have done?

JoeBlow said...

I want to thank everyone for their encouraging and affirming comments. However, VS, I will respectfully have to disagree with you. Man, not God, is the problem with biblical translations. We are told of the word in John 1:1-18:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'") For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

And we are also told that the word would be perverted for others uses, uses that were not the intent of God in Matthew 7:15-20

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

JiEL said...

The men that wrote the Gospel NEVER saw Jesus and wrote them by listening to what was told about Him....

Also, there were so many translations and interpretations of the REAL Gospel that it may be very far from what really was the truth about Jesus life....

So, what is it to believe?
I think, as I said earlier, that the law saying to LOVE each other as we love ourselves IS the main thing to achieve in our lives...

As the Coran and any other sacred books, they were written by ordinary men and in a time where you'd have to put the words of wisdom in stories such as they could be more understandable by simple and poor men....

Not easy to explain but it's what I think about those ancient texts.

Best regards

David Jeffreys said...

Jesus was a real historical figure just like the Dalai Lama is today and they both represent good and what we should do.

However, religion (both pre- and post- Jesus) is a construct of man. The bible and every other religious document was written by men, usually related to power and control.

Yes, there is good and evil, and using justice we can figure out which is which. However, I have trouble with god and the devil, because they are of human creation.

Religions of the world have caused (and continue to cause) more suffering in the world than even disease. As to an afterlife, if you want heaven, you best create it for yourself in this life, because your present life is the only opportunity you are going to have.

Truth (not faith - another human construct for what can not be explained) will make you free.

I suggest you read god is not Great by Christopher Hitchens. Joe, you are a history guru, so read your history as it does reveal the truth.

Vilges Suola said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vilges Suola said...

That rather supports my point. There's nothing you say there that homophobe fundies couldn't quote verbatim for their own purposes.

'You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. '

And in the eyes of many believers, your fruit, in this and your other blog, would be enough to condemn you as of the devil. To them these posts would be self evidently bad fruit from a diseased tree.