Sunday, April 3, 2016

Gay Devotionals II

I wanted to answer Paul’s comment because I’d already received one email asking essentially the same thing.  So here is “Gay Devotional, Part II).

What is a devotional? In the church I grew up in we didn't use that term. We had 'devotions' which were rites involving scripture and prayer, but surely there is no lack of that on the internet. What makes a devotional gay? The poster or the posting?

When you look up the term “devotional,” you get definitions like “a short religious service” or a “devotional exercise relating to worship.” It doesn’t really explain what a devotional is or why we do them. What most people talk about when they talk about devotionals is a book that helps you grow in your relationship with God. It is usually broken down into daily chapters that you can read and pray about. There are plenty of internet devotionals out there but not that helps the gay Christian grow in their spirituality as a gay Christian. What I think of as a gay devotional is to take a passage or verse from the Bible and extrapolate a meaning that is not only universal as all of the Bible is, but to present it in a way that speaks to gay Christians and our unique situation. I think the gay devotional is made by both the poster and the posting.

Also, what do you mean when you use the term Christianity in this post? There are certainly still gay, self-professed Christians among us. There are even gay, self-professed Christian congregations of various sects. Is your Christianity dependent on community? Were I a hermit who believed and tried to follow Jesus Christ, but had no contact with other Christians, would I not be a part of Christianity as a whole? Is a self-professed Christian deemed not part of Christianity because they fail to be Christ-like? or because they are unchurched? or because they actively and knowingly violate Christ's command to love one another?

When I use the term Christianity, I mean a person who follows the teachings of Christ and believes in him as our Lord and Savior. The problem that I see is that there are people who call themselves Christians and profess their belief in Jesus as their Lord and Savior but do not follow the message of Jesus. They pick and choose which passages they want to follow, pulling from the Old Testament when and only when it suits their purposes to condemn others. And yes, there are gay professing congregations, the MCC and UCC are just two such congregations. I think that the greatest threat to Christianity is that people fail to act Christ-like (and I am not always saying that I do act Christ-like, I think it is impossible to be so all the time) and that they knowingly violate Christ’s command to love one another. I believe that when hate becomes part of the Christian liturgy then it is no longer Christian.

I always wondered about the passage you quoted where Jesus told the woman to 'go and sin no more', if she succeeded in doing so, if Jesus believed it were realistically possible for her to do so, and how each of them felt when she (probably) failed. Isn't the adultery defense one of the arguments "Christians" use against homosexuality? You can't have sex because you're not married and you can't marry because we say marriage is only between a man and a woman. Ergo, no sex for you, homo. If Jesus were to tell me to avoid this sin henceforth, I don't know what I'd do, but I'd probably burn for it.

The part where Jesus tells the woman to ‘go and sin no more’ is the hardest part of that passage. Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Sin is part of our nature. Sadly we will sin, the question is: will we ask for forgiveness and try not to sin again? The thing about it is that if we really look at the Bible then thinking about sinning is as bad as actually sinning. Can we train our minds not to think about sin? Maybe some would claim we can but I don’t think it’s possible. We all sin, we will all sin, and all we can hope for is for God’s forgiveness of those sins. I think that sex within a loving committed relationship is not a sin, especially now that the loving committed relationship can now be a marriage.


Susan said...

Excellent further explanation, Joe. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I kinda think that there was more to Jesus's talk with the woman who He told to "go and sin no more" even though it is not recorded. Many times in the Bible there are understandings for those in the know that outsiders or Christians without much insight (undereducation) would not know. For instance, in my home church we were taught that taking the Lord's name in vain (as if His name is "God"!) was the same as blaspheming the Holy Spirit. And most of us not knowing any better than that believed it for a long time or probably in most cases still believe it. (I want to say that it's not the same thing. And I doubt our concept of "taking the Lord's name in vain" means what we were taught either.) So to put it lightly I think that the woman understood that Jesus was saying that she was not under the condemnation of the Law if she followed and obeyed the Good News (and the Spirit). In this she would not be sinning because sin is no longer counted against a born again believer. We still sin as far as the world can see or as far as our soul knows but as far as God's view we are not sinning. The only purpose, then, of our spirit still being able to recognize sin is so that we do obey Jesus's command to love each other for no one can love another in truth if we go on selfishly sinning.

Paul said...

Thanks for the elucidation, Joe.