Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 15, 2012 1:58PM

On Being a Christian Lesbian

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When I first realized I was gay and had my first crush, Adrienne, I was a little southern Baptist girl living in a small town insulated by the ideas of the church, handed down to me by the imposing hands of my foremothers and forefathers.  Adrienne came to hand me a revision, something that I had to cope with, something that changed my life forever, and something that I’ve forever grappled with.

I’d grown up between the four worlds of my mother and my grandparents, each of whom had starkly different value spectrums.  My mother attended church off and on when it fit the bill, but after falling in love with a woman when I was six never reconciled her faith and her beliefs.  My grandma, the pianist for the First Baptist Church where she lives, is fiercely religious.  My grandpa however was a sci-fi loving, discourse-engaging skeptic.  It’s like living with Cynthia Nixon, Tammy Faye Bakker, and Bill Maher.  My mom was conflicted on being gay and conflicted on religion.  My grandma was convicted—staunchly anti-gay, pro-religion.  My grandpa was anti-religion, anti-government, and anti-labeling.  Rightly I’d be a little confused by the time I’d hit puberty.  And when one party, likely the one with the most sense, my grandpa, passed away when I was 13 I was left with little to no comprehension of how to navigate between the four worlds I was floating in.

My first problem was when I heard a repeated message from both sides: gay kids don’t come from gay mothers.  Assuredly, I was straight and I didn’t have to worry about grappling with my sexuality.  I took on my religion as my main focus, hosting a bible study at school and going to church every Sunday.  It was after a night of reading my bible that Adrienne came to visit.

I spent hours reading my bible and praying after Adrienne left.  I knew every church I’d ever been to had condemned lesbians to hell.  I knew that’s why my mother hadn’t gone to church for years.  I knew Jesus didn’t love gay people.  I knew in my mind that if I chose to listen to my body, I’d be sent to eternal damnation, away from my Father in Heaven, away from my grandpa who’d just passed away.  I quit the bible study.  I read my bible daily, I searched for clues to why I could be a lesbian or how I could be a lesbian and ignore it, or how I could just get rid of it.  I searched for ways to make it go away.  I searched for a religion that could promise I wouldn’t be gay anymore if only I’d follow it to the letter of the law.  I learned a lot about religions.  I went to so many churches that I couldn’t count them on ten hands.  I’ve had hands laid on me, prayed for, anointed, baptized, and condemned.  Nothing made me any less a lesbian.  It wasn’t from a lack of trying.

After accepting that there was nothing I could do and entering a relationship with a girl my senior year of high school, the personal insults began.  Those who had previously loved me to death started threatening me.  I received hateful looks, dirty comments, and condoms on my tailpipe of my car, broken CDs scrawled with nasty words in my driveway at home, and multiple voicemails with condemnation on my box at home.  It was insanity.  These were Christians who professed love.  Were they so “afraid” for my soul or so afraid to be “wrong” that they would resort to threatening me to save me?  Did that ever work?

I grew up and fell in love with the idea that Christianity was a four-letter word.  I had become so fed up with the way I had been treated in the past that the future without Christ was a better option.  I attended a reform synagogue for several years, and what I learned there was invaluable.  Tradition, love, and good works are the ties that bind us to each other.  I saw myself not as a Jew, but as a faith seeker.  I found myself furthering my progress toward rectification and healing.

It was Christmas of 2010 that I entered a church of my own volition upon invitation of friends for a candlelight service.  The calm and peace of the familiar hymns and carols echoed back to my soul somewhere down deep to the Tammy Faye Bakker side while the Cynthia Nixon side sat holding the candle still, keeping face.  It wasn’t long before the smudged eyeliner of Tammy Faye could be seen on the outside, running down my face.  Finally, I could feel peace in a church.  Finally, I felt home.

Christ never spoke about hellfire and brimstone for lesbians.  He spoke about acts of loving-kindness and radical love for neighbor and enemy.  He spoke about the evils of being rich and judgmental and the blessings of being merciful and meek.  My God is a loving God, who wouldn’t send His creation away because of the way she was made in His image.  My church is one that understands my need to question faith in order to have faith.  My four-year relationship with my partner is based upon the biblical principles of respect and mutual care.  It enhances my life tremendously.  When I have enough money for a wedding I hope to have a traditional church wedding.

Still, the opposition is out there.  My partner’s brother and his wife are adamantly anti-gay and we worry about every holiday and what her nieces and nephews will call me.  It breaks my heart.  Churches preaching that we are evil, sinful creatures who deserve to rot in hell, that we’re demons, that we’re going to take down America every Sunday across this country when I couldn’t even finish my dinner much less ruin the nation.  We’re all afraid of what we don’t know and what we don’t understand; we’re all also afraid to be wrong.  America is such a culture of being right.  But can we really afford to be right all of the time?

I’ve only met a few Christian lesbians, but we’re out there.  Don’t assume lesbians are all godless heathens.  We all have a lot to learn from each other if we dialog and get over those assumptions.  And if there was nothing else I learned from spending years as a non-Christian, I learned a few things from Rabbi Hillel, standing on one foot, “What is hateful to yourself, do not do unto your fellow man.  That is the whole Torah; the rest is just commentary.  Go and study it.”  And if you’re not ready yet to accept the words of others, listen to Jesus, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  All of your neighbors—gay neighbors count!

 

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CC:
I am glad that you have come to terms with who you are if others can't or won't. As a recovering Catholic, I am always amused that some of the most avid preachers of Christ's teachings overlook the very essence, the most fundamental tenet of what he stood for.

I wish you the best life has to offer.
Good post. Most organized religions just don't make much sense to me. There are some out there like the Episcopalians who are not anti-gay.
jesus had very little to do with christianity. it's mostly paul's fault.
Aloha Sister,

Thanks for sharing your experiences in the struggle. It goes on, but you may already know that in Oakland, California, among other places, their are large congregations of Christians like this one I Googled in about 2 secs:

http://www.uuoakland.org/welcoming_congregation/

There are a lot, a lot, and a lot more people out there aware enough to know that the lgbt spectrum is, like everything else, just an evolutionary fact.

But, modern science wasn't needed to see the obvious, the Polynesians have never segregated our Mahu, in fact they've had a huge role in preserving our culture.

IMUA (ONWARD)
My question to YOU, Ms. Pollyanna, is why in her wildest dreams (or nightmares) would a lesbian ever WANT to be a Xian? EVER damn Xian religion condemns us. Every damn xian religion screams to the heavens that we are evil and sinners.

Why would you WANT to associate with a bunch of asshole who hate you for simply being whom and what you are? Who will gladly murder you in the name of their made up deity.

Why do you WANT to put up with their hate?
@Alaskamojo: Thank you, and the same to you.
@Chuck Hancock: As well there are a lot of Christian denominations that aren't anti-gay. As soon as one denomination accepts that lesbians and gay men aren't abominations, though, it seems a fringe group splits apart from them because of the issue because one side wants to be "right." See "lutherans" and "lutheran-Missouri synod." It's a terrible, divisive issue.
@al loomis: Sadly, you're close to spot on when it comes to evangelicalism!
@Oahusurfer: Oh, if only I could be somewhere that has a plethora of my kind! I'm glad to know that somewhere we've got a good thing going.
@Safe_Bet's Amy: First of all, not every Christian religion condemns us. My church and my denomination is welcoming, one of the only churches in town to do so. Secondly, it's not about THEM, it's about ME. I go to church and follow Christ because I am a Christian, not because other people are Christians or because of how they feel about me. And lastly, the problem with not being a part of the Body of Christ, in calling myself something OTHER than a Christian would be in that these people you say that would kill me for who I am are not exposed to what it really is to be different. I "put up" with the hate because if I didn't, those that hate would never know the true value of turning the other cheek. I "put up" with the hate because we're not going away, and by being a part of the community I'm contributing to the idea that we're all a part of this together--color, race, sexual orientation, creed, gender, or status aside.
Great post. Great truth. Wonderfully inspiring as an expression of the human spirit. It ain't just about being "gay" it's about anybody for any reason who lives outside the standard "norms" and as a result suffers persecution and oppression.

Mix it with "religion" and mindless prejudice and you have the story or humankinds quest for greater consciousness since the beginning. Thanks for your honesty and sharing. Fuck the rest.
I'm a Christian lesbian too, Constant. Good post and yes, The Episcopal Church is very welcoming and becoming more so every day. The hateful churches get most of the press, but the welcoming ones exist aplenty and are a witness to those that aren't. I have tweeted your post, too.
No way to get around it, God hates fags and Jews...unless you're Anglican. They actually seem accepting of stuff.

The 1st sentence is somewhat true...the anti-gay, anti-Semitic parts of the bible are the only ones that can't be interpreted in any sort of positive, morally correct way.

Basically, you should be a godless heathen. Paganism, which is really a religion of balance between male and female, seems to have been taken up by the ladies most recently.

Same stuff - chants instead of prayers...searching for morality.

Judaism seems cool as well, though...at least it's not static and backward focusing.

Sorry about your family. That blows ass (though, at a certain point, will they call their Aunty a carpet muncher? Maybe getting it out there now when they haven't been fully trained to hate ain't the worst thing in the world...)
@Ben Sen: Thank you so much.
@Jett Noire: I'm glad to see someone else out there! The light is shining on the darkness... but it's always a battle, isn't it? Thanks for tweeting!
@MalcolmXY: I'm sorry, I'm not looking for ideas to change my religion. I'm comfortable being a Christian. Being pagan isn't the same as being a Christian, nor is being Jewish close. I have many pagan and Jewish friends who'd take offense at that. And I'm sorry, God does not hate "fags" (a very hateful term, mind you) and Jews. A lot of things in the bible are misconstrued to suit individual prejudices, and humans have made a lot of morally questionable judgments whether based on the bible or not. And I'm sure my family won't be calling me a "carpet muncher," though you might want to watch your language, lest you come off as the one that has the training to hate.
I have met many Christian gay and lesbian people in my work on the board of the Let's Reach 1 Million LGBT rights organization. We sponsored a 32-city international march/rally series of events last April 21st. The Christian LGBT I work with are no less committed to equality than the rest of us, gay and straight, religious and not.

r.
note...my piece tomorrow may be of interest. It'll be up around 7 am Eastern.
I'll give your concerns to the lesbian couple watching me write this response. And, you should read The Book of the Dead - paganism, Christianity, Hindu, Muslim...they are all exactly the same...they just changed the names to protect the innocent,

How do you resolve Christianity with the fact that the book used in that religion, by Christians, the recognized "word of God", calls what you do every time you fulfill your sexual desires an Abomination.

That means that according to the God you pray to, your existence is disgusting and he can do nothing but exhibit an intense loathing for you.

Now, I'm not saying that I believe these things, and my language prior was to use their hate in a playful way, because those words only have the power we give them, but there is no getting around it. If you believe in the God of the Bible, it explicitly states in that book that God hates you (condemns and loathes you).

Why would you want to stick with a religion in which the God you love is meant to hate you? If it were me, I'd find a new God...there's like 2,700 of them...there's gotta be one better suited to your sexual proclivities.

(and, telling the kids now will be your best bet at them being accepting, loving people in their adulthood...it's easy to hate fags...until you already love one.)
@MalcolmXY: You might have a point if you stated that religion all stems from a need to explain the unexplained internally or externally. However, not all religions are the same, nor are the books the same, nor are the players the same.

Telling kids now that I'm a lesbian is a moot point. And I'm sure they love us. It's a matter of how they resolve the religion of their parents and their own love for us.

Another issue you raise is how I reconcile the bible with my sexual orientation. I do not see the bible as an inerrant document. We as a people evolve. Paul saw nothing more evil than a woman, yet today women are allowed to speak in houses of worship when at his time "God" banned women from doing so. And my personal views of the scripture might not be shared with everyone else, and that's okay with me. There are still die-hard creationists who refuse to believe the earth was created in any more than seven days because the bible is inerrant. I'm not one of them. And if you look a little closer, there is no condemning and loathing from Jesus anywhere to anyone. I'm not into finding a new "God" to suit my "proclivities". My sexual orientation is not a "proclivity". It's a part of how God created me and loves me. It's not something I've "stuck" with, it's something I've struggled with coming home to. My God is not the bible or the church, my God is to whom I pray and have a personal relationship with. The bible is simply a tool as a Christian I use as a historical document of Jews and Christians who have come before me.
You make a strong point for what we use as a bench mark for Christianity. I say this , as in this trough of an election year, the Righteous Religious love to dredge the sewage system of their belief system, in their attempt to make their point -- politically, socially or any of the large topics that they invest these belief systems in, for whatever purpose.
They love to use this as they feel they are speaking for the whole Christian nation ... it is an army of truth seekers, I suppose. It does gall me that they demean gay people, or anyone who does not fit their neat, pre-cut, ready to wear notion of what is right. Love the really hopeless ones, that proclaim, The Bible says so ... OK, I tell them, But let me ask you one thing: If Jesus were to be here, right now, what do you actually believe He'd say or do? They now jump all over themselves, saying whatever it is that someone spoon fed them. Yet, I know that I know that I know that this is not so. It's a pretty cool feeling. And I know that you're in good grace, feel good about what you have brought to us. Thank you for sharing. R>>>>>>>>>
Begging to differ with Mr. Ecks Wye, et al., there are numerous scholars who have written extensively on the subject of homosexuality and the Bible, and have made convincing proofs that the condemnations of same-sex encounters are more about inhospitality and/or idol worship than anything resembling a committed, loving relationship between two of the same gender. Try William Countryman, Walter Wink, Bishop Neil Alexander, Candace Chellew Hodge. These writers are a bit more articulate than "God hates fags." Judgmental snark is really not helpful when discussing someone's core spirituality.
Matthew 5 - I did not come to replace the Laws and the Prophets.

Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Jehovah are all one entity (again, if you consider yourself a practicing Christian...to me, along with Satan, what you got there is a whole lot of Polytheism, but that's another point for another time). Jesus didn't say it, but Jesus explicitly stated that he's not the replacement of what came before him, simply an addition to that tradition.

And, since he, God and that feelin' you get inside when you're feelin all god-ish are the same thing, and God DID say that homosexuality was an abomination, Jesus DID, IN FACT, state that homosexuality is an abomination. He just didn't do it in the Gospels (which, of course, are the beginning of the New Testament, not the end of it, and later in the New Testament, it states once again that homosexuality is an abomination).

And, no, I meant that all religion is the same...like, the same. As I said, read The Book of the Dead (the ancient Egyptian "bible"). It is, nearly verbatim, Genesis 1 (the one exception being that there is a female god to temper the male god in their creation myth...which is EXACTLY the same as the Christian one...rib out for the lady and everything).

Did you know that there is a "golden rule" in every religion in western tradition, and most eastern ones as well? The thing about the Christian version that makes it "special" is that it was the 1st in the long line of those sentiments, before and after, to be worded positively ("do unto", as opposed to "do not do unto...").

Before you make blanket statements about other religions, you should really get to know your own, because you're making false claims and statements about it, and it is a religion designed to hate you (and Jews...and Muslims...funny that your group is the only non-religion, or "anti-Christ" that the book professes hate toward, huh?).

And, oh yeah...Women could do a whole lot of shit in the time of Paul. It wasn't until the 14th century when a couple of French monarchs/assholes decided they wanted to solidify power and patriarchal rule that all the shit about prohibiting women from this or that came about. It's an incredibly recent phenomenon, and an anathema to the Jewish, and thus Christian (and, ironically enough, Islamic) tradition.

Before you can believe, you gotta know...just sayin'.
@Jett Noire: Absolutely. It might make good reading material that I'm sure MalcolmXY might want to read before making blanket statements of his/her own.

@MalcolmXY: Christianity, in itself, is not one denomination. God did not say that homosexuality was an abomination, the bible did. Men did. And in context, please. Poly/cotton blends are also an abomination. I think we can all agree that's long been considered okay. And did I not just mention to you first that I didn't see the bible as inerrant? What part of biblical fallibility did you not understand?

And yes, many things are shared cultural concepts. Does that mean that the precepts are false? Does that mean love thy neighbor is no longer a valid concept? No, I think that lends to its credibility.

I've long studied my own religion and that of many other religions. It is not a religion in essence designed to hate anyone. It is in essence a religion designed to love the pauper and those who are suffering, to lift up those who are in need, and to include anyone who is on the fringe. Jesus ministered to the leper, the prostitute, and the tax collector, might I remind you--people who were most hated in his day.

And about women--I think you might want to read the bible again about women. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12 both mention the subordination of women to a man, both written by Paul. It's not only from the 14th century onward. I think you might want to brush up on your oppression of women. We evolve constantly as a culture, and our interpretation of the bible needs to come from our logical understanding of the climate in which they were written, by whom they were written, our current understanding of the world, and prayerful deliberation of the meaning of the scriptures themselves.

Faith is nothing without constant question. Blind belief is scarcely believing. I like to say I know nothing, but I am always striving to know. I enjoy the discourse on homosexuality and religion, but I hardly think you're going to change my mind from my religion if that's your intent. Move along if that's your goal.
As much as you think Christianity is not a singular religion now, they very much weren't before the ecumenical councils of the 14th century unified the religion and solidified the divinity of Christ (and, that's not exactly true...Christians are catholic, and Roman Catholics, who are Christian, are also catholic, because catholic means universal, and since the HRCC controlled the book on which your faith is based before that faith tradition came into existence, so you're really more Catholic than you are catholic, but you're at least catholic, and the denominational differences between the Christian sects are truly nominal at best...)

Anyway, you're talking about The Epistles. Epistles means letters, and those letters were directed toward a specific group of Jews to whom Paul and [what's his name Rabbi that I can't remember off hand in 1Corinthians, and then Timothy in 1Timothy] wrote them to. In that case, it's Jewish Women being spoken about, not all women (in the epistles, you always need to read the 1st verse to determine both who is writing the letters, and to whom the letters are being written...it's like if I wrote you a letter asking you to pick me up at the shipyard when my boat arrived...it's not the duty of all people at all times to be at that boatyard to pick me up...only you, or in this case, the Jewish women of the temple to which the letters were written, and only at the time the letter specifies).

However, if you are a practicing Christian, and you follow the tenets of your religion (and, even if you don't, the majority do), then The Bible is the Word of God, and since He is infallible, his word is infallible. You may say that you have chosen to exclude the parts you find distasteful, but that is not, in any way, the prevailing sentiment among those who practice your religion, and then, in essence, you have created yet another denomination of Christianity, and one in which God is flawed according to your personal standards.

At this point, what is the purpose of God, and what is the purpose of continuing on in a religion that you do not accept the hatred of (which, on a certain level is definitely a good thing), but which everyone else within the faith does?

(NOTE - The Epistles had little importance in Christian faith until the divinity of Jesus was established and proselytizing became so important in the tradition, since those books are a chronicling of Paul, a real lazy douchebag, by the way, doing his darnedest to either kill, imprison or convert the Jews to whom his letters are being written, which is why I said at the start of all of this, there's no way around it, if you're a Christian, your God hates fags and Jews...or, His words say so, anyway. This is the section of The Bible where "The Anti-Christ" are mentioned, not in Revelation, because Anti-Christ means exactly what it one might think it means, and so anyone who is not Christian, in this case Jews...and apparently anyone who enjoys a little intergender affection...are Anti-Christ...anyway, it's the Anti-Christ ladies for whom those rules were written, not the Pro-Christ ones...)
@MalcolmXY: I'm not creating a new religion in believing a book is flawed or people at their very nature are prone to making mistakes in judgment. You cannot speak for every denomination by claiming to know one just by saying there is very little difference in them. There is quite a difference in them and each person is free to believe personally as they wish. The term Christian is not resolved to mean just one who is Catholic. It is resolved to one who follows Christ. I follow Christ and the values of loving-kindness he set down for me. You may choose differently. You're not changing that by circular dancing around a barn. It's still my barn. I will choose to believe personally as I believe. We each have free will, and that's the beauty of the design of the universe.

I don't care what the "majority" do, as you can tell. The majority of people may jump off a bridge. Will I jump with them?

Corinthians was not written to the Jewish people, but to the Christian church established by Paul in Corinth. Timothy was not directed to Jews, but to his protege Timothy, thus the name. You might try reading the first verses of both of those chapters again to grasp the context. However, this is neither here nor there. This is a moot point. It was to designate a point that the bible is in context and is only as culturally relevant as our culture allows. The authorship makes it a fallible document. Our relationship with our brains, given by God, and our relationship with God gives us the ability to challenge the norms established in the past and overcome them.

The purpose of God? The nature of God? That's a question you must ask yourself. A book will not tell you. My interpretation will not incline you to do so. You have to seek out your own soul's salvation. To each their own.

You and I disagree. You will not understand that there are stark differences in denominations and beliefs or that there are fallibilities in the bible while you claim to not believe at all. After many years of being a skeptic, studying religions of all kinds, reading my bible back to front, reading other bibles back to front, going to churches, synagogues, and houses of worship other than the one I've come home to, you have to realize you are not going to change my pattern of thought. You are becoming degrading and I'm not going to entertain insults to my orientation and my personal religion to this degree. Dialog is a wonderful thing, but when two parties can't be civil, I think it best to end the discussion.
There was no such thing as synagogues back in the day, so there were a lot of different names for the places where Jews worshiped because there were so many different sects of Jews.

Sosthenes was a Jewish priest (rabbi...who can keep track of all the names those crazy chosen people called their holy leaders back then) who Paul had just previously, in Romans, tried to have a judge sentence to death, basically without due process...or the other way around...probably the other way around since they try so hard in this part of the Bible to make Paul look like more than the wealthy neerdowell he is...probably because whoever "Paul" was, was actually the person who first scribed this portion of he book onto paper, or paper-like stuff... Anyway, I can't remember for sure, but it's Sosthenes who declares that his formerly Jewish church was now a church of Christ (It's confusing because, seriously, who the hell writes tag team letters these days?).

So, the point of 1Corinthians is to get all the current residents of the church (and in that, I can't tell if it's more like a monastery, or if the Jewish congregation is staging a sit-in of sorts) all Christed-up and un-Jewed.

I will give you this, though, you know a hell of a lot more about the book than almost anyone else I've spoken to in a very long time, which is why I've kept coming back to see what you'll throw at me.

I was almost on my toes there for a sec...I know that sounds condescending, but I've spent a long time studying the Bible recently, and it's hard to find anyone who can even hang for a couple rounds without getting all angry and frustrated.

Given that you understand as much as you do, it's surprising to me that you've stuck around, but in the end, I'm a firm believer in whatever gets you through to the next day.

If I came off rude initially, or even if you still think of me as such, it's simply a hyperbolic internet conversation style.

I've very much enjoyed this conversation and I hope, in the end, you have, too. It was all meant in good fun. I hope we find ourselves embroiled in a conversation equally as interesting on another topic, soon.

Ciao, bella.
Also, since Paul and Sosthenes tried to kill one another and then entered into an intense and lengthy letter writing session together (very intimate, no?), I'm thinking there were some incredibly repressed sexual urges they were working out together (also, Paul's servants were always guys, which was a little weird for the day, or queer, if you will).

I actually think the references to homosexuality in the bible are add-ons, placed there well after the fact by the HRCC. They make no sense where they are placed, except in the case of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, but there it's not condemning homosexuality, per se, simply noting that shit got so chaotic, the angels figured they'd catch a little ass-play, so shit must have been stupid chaotic, 'cause I'm not even sure that angels have asses in the first place.

Anyway, I don't hate you, so there's like one less thing to worry about, or barely. not really worry about or whatever.
I leave you with this -

http://youtu.be/j80w4d9U2Fs

Peace out, Ms. Muse (ick!)
Great post and comment's -I do agree with your church about that cotton-poly blend thing, anything less than 90/10 cotton make it difficult to pay attention on a hot summer day.
I am a RC and I find some churches becoming more tolerant. I am considering moving to a new church as I see it as more tolerant and loving to all and I am trying to introduce my sons to a religion/mass that is more of a celebration than a lecture.
Good luck, In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Remember "I am the gate" -not the preacher or the parishoners. They all need a reminder and you might be there for them to grow more than anything.
So…you think nothing of referring to those of us who think a god who would condemn homosexuals to be stoned to death and who considers slavery to be moral and acceptable, to be little more than a cartoon character…as “godless heathens!”

Your god makes no bones about it, CC. Homosexual conduct, according to that god, is so contemptible it deserves a punishment of death. Because you can find a church willing to be hypocritical enough to flaunt the expressed directive of the god…is no reason to suggest your need to be a Christian is reasonable.

You may get accolades for this essay, but respectfully as possible, I see it as a joke…one you are playing on yourself.
The Bible is incredibly anti-slavery, Frank. The whole "sell your daughter into slavery" deal from Lev. that everyone loves to point out as a counter to that, is actually the amount of shit one needs to sacrifice to God in lieu of ones daughter, because the only entity in the bible that can have slaves is God. (stems from a story where a general prays for victory in battle and gets a little more than he bargains for).

Porn = slave. Bible, very anti-porn. The Jews were slaves for like...I don't know...the whole "let my people go" thing, so at least like 4 hours and a little bit in the epilogue. After 4 hours of slavery, do you really think that you're gonna fill your high holy book with pro-slavery messages?

That's just silly talk.
a message of love cannot become a message of hate. A lie preached is still just a lie no matter how often it is preached.
Constant Calliope, thank you for sharing this thoughtful, beautifully written post about your journey. "We all have a lot to learn from each other if we dialog..." I agree!
There's an old blues tune with a lyric that goes like this:
"I read my Bible often
I try to read it right
As far as I can understand
it's nothin' but a burnin' light".

It looks to me like you knew that early on.
The trouble with Christianity nowadays, in my opinion, is that for centuries everything has been based on pious make-believe. We have very little history to go on. Most of it doesn't pass the test of history. I think that any effort to make historical sense of it all is a step in the right direction. The same goes for the fundamentalist movement. They seem to think that they can pretend that science didn't happen. We need something more inspiring and relevant than Barney the Dinosaur. Unfortunately, too many people get nothing but the equivalent of this, when they go to church on Sunday. You are blessed to be different, and to challenge the status quo. The world needs you.
CC,

I was also profoundly religious when I came out, though through shear naivete decided to test the limits of that "Christian fellowship" and come out to my friends at church. I do not want to call the decision stupid, but it certainly was not the most calculated move I have made. It was not the reaction I got but what happened later which got to me.

Even as a Bible Belt Brat I loved to club. It was a passion I picked up in my early 20s and it stuck with me. I was very proud of enjoying myself while keeping to my Christian ways, so when I came out to my church I naturally retreated to the clubs, which were mostly gay bars. Convenient, no?

One night I was actually enjoying a drink at the bar and spotted a familiar face. It took me a few minutes to make the recognition, but when I did I confess I was filled with certain rage I had never felt before, and have never since.

It was one of the guys from my church's college ministry, and he was not alone. Virtually the entire group was there, at least the boys, and they were quite obviously enjoying one another's company, in ways that also stung me with jealousy.

These were the same gentlemen who just weeks prior explained to me what happened to homosexuals in the Bible, completely comfortable being gay together, but more than prepared to crush one of their own to keep up appearances.

The hypocrisy of the situation pushed me to leave early. They never noticed me and to this day think no one knows. Well I know, and I do not think I can forgive them. I do not think I can forgive any one of them, or those who think like them, or those who teach like them, or preach like them.

It broke my faith and I have no intention of rekindling it.
I find it sad that so much of the response to your proclaiming who you are and what you believe is a demand that you defend both against who they are and what they believe. I hope you simply continue to accept yourself as the person you were born to be trusting your heart and faith to keep both free.
MalcolmXY wrote:

The Bible is incredibly anti-slavery, Frank.

Nonsense, Malcolm. It is very, very pro-slavery. Here are a few passages that indicate it is.

"Slaves, male and female, you may indeed possess, provided you BUY them from among the neighboring nations. You may also BUY them from among the aliens who reside with you and from their children who are born and reared in your land. Such slaves YOU MAY OWN AS CHATTELS, and leave to your sons as their hereditary property, MAKING THEM PERPETUAL SLAVES. But you shall not lord it harshly over any of the Israelites, your kinsmen." Leviticus 25:44ff

"When you march up to attack a city, first offer terms of peace.
If it agrees to your terms of peace and opens its gates to you,
all the people to be found in it shall serve you in forced labor.
Deuteronomy 20:10



"All under the yoke of slavery must regard their masters as worthy of full respect...Those slaves whose masters are brothers in the faith must not take liberties with them on that account. they must perform their tasks even more faithfully, since those who will profit from their work are believers and beloved brothers." 1 Timothy 6:1ff


"To slaves I say, obey your human masters perfectly, not with the purpose of attracting attention and pleasing men, but in all sincerity and our of reverence for the Lord." Colossians 3:22


"You slave owners, deal justly and fairly with your slaves..." Colossians 4:1



"Slaves are to be submissive to their masters. They should try to please them in every way, not contradicting them nor stealing from them, but expressing a constant fidelity by their conduct, so as to adorn in every way possible the doctrine of God our Savior." Titus 2:9



"The general rule is that each one should lead the life the Lord has assigned him, continuing as he was when the Lord called him...Were you a slave when your call came? Give it no thought. Even supposing you could go free, you would be better off making the most of your slavery...." 1 Corinthians 7:17ff


In the Epistle, Philemon, Paul returns a slave (Onesimus) to his master (Philemon) and tells Philemon that although he (Paul) feels he has the right to command Philemon to free Onesimus, he would not do that, but would instead appeal to Philemon to do it on his own.



I would be interested in any passages from the Bible that says that slaves should not be owned…or that slavery is immoral. (Hint: Don’t bother looking, there are none. Your assertion that the Bible is anti-slavery is absurd.)
For anyone to believe that a book that has been copied, revised, and re-interpreted for thousands of years by mere mortals can be infallible is for me absolutely incredible. I'm not religious (also a recovering Catholic) and I have never really bought into the infallibility of anything. However, the God I was taught about, in all His forms (i.e., the trinity) was all about love and forgiveness, never hate. To say that God or Jesus hates LGBTs is preposterous if one embraces the whole idea of "God is Love." One of the many reasons I have rejected religion in general is that so much energy is spent trying to frighten people into doing the bidding of church leaders. Hell? Right here, right now. Heaven? I kind of doubt it, but it there is one, it is ridiculously crowded.

Lezlie
One of the Episcopal churches in Lynchburg, VA, home of Jerry Falwell, Liberty University, and Thomas Road Baptist Church, is ministered to by a lesbian and her partner.

If churches hated lesbians how can they be ministers in major religions?
To hell w those who condemn you or demand that you explain yourself.
Bisexual Christian clergy woman (in a committed lesbian partnership) raising her hand here...thanks for this. More Queer Christian (and otherwise religious) stories need to be heard. You tell yours eloquently! Going to add you as a favorite now...
Frank. go to the Latin Bible, then go to Yale.edu and for the "important" words, look for the pre-1350 Latin etymology section of the site and use that to interpret the words.

When you're done accurately interpreting the section you just quoted to me, come back and tell me how pro-slavery the bible is (the HRCC is pro-slavery. the bible is not.). Also, when you're done, I accept your apology.
Our nature is love. Spirituality teaches how to be love. The role of Religion (be it any, as am a Hindu) is guide a person in being more spiritual & loving.
The whole purpose of religion, spirituality and our whole existence is to be at peace with ourselves (with whole past & future concerns) and with others.
So if you've found love in the same sex, so be it. And may your neighbors find their peace too:)
Frank. go to the Latin Bible, then go to Yale.edu and for the "important" words, look for the pre-1350 Latin etymology section of the site and use that to interpret the words.

When you're done accurately interpreting the section you just quoted to me, come back and tell me how pro-slavery the bible is (the HRCC is pro-slavery. the bible is not.). Also, when you're done, I accept your apology.


Malcolm...go to any Bible...and point out the passages that condemn slavery or indicate it is immoral. You cannot do that...so you come up with this nonsense instead.

There is no need for an apology on my part, because what I have said about the Bible not being anti-slavery is correct.

I certainly do not expect an acknowledgement from you that you are completely wrong in saying that it is anti-slavery...and most certainly I do not expect any citations from the Bible that suggest it is anti-slavery or that indicates it considers slavery to be immoral.
@ Eva T. Made:

I am disgusted by people who would condemn someone who is homosexual or bisexual...or who thinks people who are somehow fall into second class citizenship. I am appalled there are people who consider homosexuality to be "sinful" or "wrong" or "detrimental to society." I am disgusted by people who would deny homosexuals equal rights under the laws of this nation.

But the god described in the Bible is a god that does condemn homosexuality--that actually considers their conduct to be such an abomination that they deserve death as a penalty.

Anyone "loving" that god; anyone "adoring" that god; anyone "worshiping" that god is suspect. Respectfully as possible, Eva, any homosexual "loving", "adoring" or "worshiping" that god ought to have his or her head examined!
@Frank Apisa: Firstly, I'm loathe to reply as I feel I have offered up multiple responses to why I don't have to justify my religion to anyone. I am a Christian because I follow the teachings of a loving Christ, not because of a book that I take at 100% face value for what it is out of context without reading into the passages for their cultural context.

However, you're now attacking three people to whom I've become attached to. The bible is conflicting on a lot of things. It can say two things at once. It's not the be-all, end-all to religion. By the way, you're just as guilty of an offense worth killing if you've ever been a brat, if you've ever cursed your parents, if you've ever fornicated, or if you don't believe in God. I think we all know by now it's not right to just go around killing for stupid reasons, right? Life is sacred and people are worth more than the flesh they are entombed by. And we are created to be thinking beings, understanding that times have changed and the context in which these laws were written is starkly different from the times in which we live and understand humanity as it is today. That's the Christianity in which I live. You may have been harmed and may have a starkly different idea of Christians as a whole, but that's the type of Christian I am.

You have no right to question my mental state, or that of Eva T. Made Vaudeville, or anyone else who is a Christian following the precept of a Christ who came to preach a message of lifting up the poor, challenging the status quo, radical love, and treating each other with the same type of respect you'd expect for yourself. It's very unfortunate you think us all to be mentally deficient, and if you'd like to talk privately about what's made you so upset about Christians we can do so, but my mind is absolutely as pathological as the next person. However, when you attack the person's mental state, you leave room for logical error in your argumentation and I assure you that's not the easiest way to go if you're trying to build a strong ethical argument against religion. It didn't work when people tried to make me less gay, it won't work when people are trying to make me less Christian.
Again: This is simple: you owe NO ONE a defense of who you are. You are a Christian Lesbian. There is no contradiction.
@Jonathan Wolfman: Thank you. You've really been a strong reason why I've opted out of the conversation for an extended time because you're absolutely right. The justification is theirs to make and the compensation in their own minds. However, I don't take lightly personal attacks but I cannot stand for someone attacking someone else who stood up and spoke out for her beliefs because I did the same.
you continue to display the courage of your conviction in the face of unreasonable and angry attacks but I agree with Jonathan- do not let the issues of others further intrude upon the peace you have searched for and found.
Hi Constant,
I very much enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing your story. I am the father of a gay daughter who is about your age. I raised her in the church and supported her when she told me she was gay. I think she has remained a believer in part because I have always told her the God made her special and unique and that her sexual preferences are just a part of who she is. I am proud to be her Dad and if I were your father, I would be proud of you as well. I wish you peace and God's grace in your spiritual journey! Keep writing. You are good at it!
your story is inspiring. I grew up in a Christian church in the 70's and 80's and I only remember anti-gay rhetoric being introduced with the sort of rise of the Christian Right Wing...Jerry Falwell's vision. It seemed like such political opportunism even then.
@Frank Apisa: Firstly, I'm loathe to reply as I feel I have offered up multiple responses to why I don't have to justify my religion to anyone. I am a Christian because I follow the teachings of a loving Christ, not because of a book that I take at 100% face value for what it is out of context without reading into the passages for their cultural context.

You are absolutely correct, CC. I apologize. If you want to worship a god who declares you to be scum worthy of death because you are homosexual...you have every right to do so.

The denial in religious people is beyond reason...so I really should not even be attempting it, but the opportunity presented itself...and I took it.
@Frank Apisa: Until you are ready to actually have a relevant ethical conversation, you're free to take your comments elsewhere. You are doing a disservice to yourself and only yourself by your negative, thoughtless, logic-free, borderline abusive comments here.
Until you are ready to actually have a relevant ethical conversation, you're free to take your comments elsewhere. You are doing a disservice to yourself and only yourself by your negative, thoughtless, logic-free, borderline abusive comments here.

I am attempting a reasonable conversation by noting what I have noted here. Not sure why you think it is negative, thoughtless, logic-free, or borderline abusive...but nothing I have said here was intended that way. I attempted to be respectful...but I truly do not see the logic in a gay person worshiping a god who thinks gayness is such an abomination, gays should be put to death for their gayness.

If you are looking only for comments that agree with you...you ought to say so. If you are posting in a public forum for comments, some of which agree with you and some of which are in sharp disagreement...you ought to be reasonable enough to allow what I have said to stand. If you see something wrong with what I have said, please point it out...and we can discuss it as adults.
@Frank Apisa: You're not reading anything I'm writing. I've built a strong ethical argument for living my life as a Christian. Because I follow and believe in Christ, and the basis of his teachings is one to which I conform and strive to live by every day of my life, I call myself a Christian. It has nothing to do with singular passages from the bible (which is not infallible and needs to be taken in cultural context and prayerfully examined), what other Christians do, or what other people say about me. I have let your opinion stand, and I disagree with what you have said (you cannot speak for God or the bible just as much as Falwell can't), but you have to realize what you've said is just as redundant as what I'm now saying again and again. You're refusing to listen to proper ethical argumentation. I will not repeat myself again. As so many people have supported me in saying this, I don't have to justify my beliefs to you. I am doing it to stop you from attacking an innocent party who stepped up for her religious beliefs simply because I made known my own. You have no right to belittle others for their religious beliefs just as I have no right doing the same for yours. I'm also doing this because you began attacking others with little to no adherence to a civil discourse method. We learn best by listening, not attacking. When we disagree, we open our ears and eyes, not open our mouths. And once we're ready to form our opinions and rebuttals, we have a logical conversation, not one built on anger. The golden rule is still applicable even where no divine reward or punishment for adherence to it.

You are formally invited to try these methods or read an article about logical discourse and argumentation theory. I leave you with a link that might be of interest. http://www.dougwalton.ca/papers%20in%20pdf/09ArgShort.pdf This provides a simple, easy to use document on how to argue logically and ethically that might be of help. Until you've come to understand how to use these methods, or to stop claiming to speak for God, or to learn not just simply give up and say I'm not writing enough for you when you're not reading what I'm writing, I'm going to simply state to you that I've said enough on my religious affiliation to satisfy your anger at my religion and the religion of Eva T. Made Vaudeville (and several others who have now posted on my comment section). You've offended many to the success of none, making no valid argument.
Please don't begrudge fRANK for "negative, thoughtless, logic-free, borderline abusive comments here."

It's the only thing he does well and validates his belief that he is part of the human race.
CC: Atheist fundamentalist bigots are just as ignorant and nasty as Christian fundamentalist bigots. Ignore 'em!
Good for you for finding the path that's right for you and following it.
This post is wonderfully done.
I am a "straight" Christian with a wife and four kids and I suppose what, at least for some people, is the classic family...married 30 years and the works.

I wish I could say I am well versed enough to hold a candle in the comments section, but it would be a lie.
What I will share is this.

The God of the Bible comes across in a number of very different ways. My kids have often pointed out that the God of the Old Testiment seems more...well....stict and stern and unforgiving. They will also point out that the God of the New Testiment comes across as a more "forgiving" God.
This is gross simplification of the Bible, but I think there is some truth to it.

What I hope for you is that...that the church or body of Christ you have for your life, if you choose to continue to have one....understands that a God of love expects all of us to love each other...period.
We are on Earth to lift each other up, and to heck with any that choose to tear others down.

Thanks so much or making me think...what little brain I have to do it with.

JD
The moral code of Jesus has nothing to do with Christianity/the Bible (save the Sermon on the Mount and other few teachings here and there).

You can be a follower of Jesus like the so-called Early Christians, but you cannot be a Christian. A "Christian lesbian" is, and will always be, a contradiction in terms. "A Christian who happens to be a lesbian" does work either. To follow the moral code of Jesus is admirable; to want to be a Christian, I believe is an insult to you, let alone to others who believe that we should love all humans. A very nice and sweet post, thank you. R
Religion is a gateway, find your own path. The Buddha says to trust your own common sense even if it doesn't gel w his teachings. Find your own way even if you have to go it alone, we all do really.
[r] I'm so sorry for the cruel and irrational malice you have had to and still have to endure. Pre-judice is pre-judging without knowing the real person is such a waste and a weight for everyone. Demonizing and creating a dark spectre out of a radiant and vital human being is so unjust and irrational. A messenger of a different kind of life is so threatening to incredibly repressed and spiritually disconnected people.

Keep taking care of your precious self.You obviously are. Great and generous and wise write! best, libby
"Malcolm...go to any Bible...and point out the passages that condemn slavery or indicate it is immoral. You cannot do that...so you come up with this nonsense instead. "

Frank - Porn is the Latin root for...well...Porn. Most people know that "Porn" means, more or less, prostitute and that makes the definition of pornography, at a basic level, "written material regarding prostitution", but really, any media will do just fine, because the word came about when paper/vellum/et al was the only media available.

What most people don't know is that Porn was used, in its earliest uses, only to describe a very certain kind of prostitute - one who was also a slave.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but The Bible has several instances where it condemns "Pornea" (at its most base meaning - Pimping, and pimping in this case means slavemaster)

The church has changed the meaning of Pornea (the only word with the root of "porn" which has multiple meanings as luck would have it), but anyone who can decipher a little Latin, find the original meaning of the word, before that meaning was corrupted, and determine the meaning with the suffix added, understands that the word means sex-slave monger.

Like I said, go translate your passages with pre-14th century Latin from Yale.edu and then come back to me.

When you do that, as I also said, I accept your apology.
Oh, sorry, The Bible (New Testament) was written between 100 and 325 AD, or that's when it was written down, anyway. At that time, it was written in Greek and was later translated to Latin.

Greek and Latin are pretty damn similar, and the words tend to make a 1 to 1 translation with an "A" substituted for a "U", a "C" for a "K" and some difference in pronunciation, etc (there's a few more rules, and some of the numbers don't work, but for the vast majority, it might as well be the same language).

So, the definitions of the words when the book was written, or the closest thing we have available at this time, would tend to more closely relate the authors' intent and meaning when they put their respective pieces "down on wax", so to speak, no?
"Malcolm...go to any Bible...and point out the passages that condemn slavery or indicate it is immoral. You cannot do that...so you come up with this nonsense instead. "

Frank - Porn is the Latin root for...well...Porn. Most people know that "Porn" means, more or less, prostitute and that makes the definition of pornography, at a basic level, "written material regarding prostitution", but really, any media will do just fine, because the word came about when paper/vellum/et al was the only media available.

What most people don't know is that Porn was used, in its earliest uses, only to describe a very certain kind of prostitute - one who was also a slave.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but The Bible has several instances where it condemns "Pornea" (at its most base meaning - Pimping, and pimping in this case means slavemaster)

The church has changed the meaning of Pornea (the only word with the root of "porn" which has multiple meanings as luck would have it), but anyone who can decipher a little Latin, find the original meaning of the word, before that meaning was corrupted, and determine the meaning with the suffix added, understands that the word means sex-slave monger.

Like I said, go translate your passages with pre-14th century Latin from Yale.edu and then come back to me.

When you do that, as I also said, I accept your apology.

I furnished several passages from the Bible, both New and Old Testaments...showing that the people who wrote that stuff and the god of the Bible indicate they condone slavery...and see nothing wrong or immoral with it.

ike I said, Malcolm, you will not be able to find anything in the Bible that condemns slavery...and obviously you haven't.

There is no apology due from me...and I recognize that you do not what it takes to offer an apology for being wrong...so no apology will be given here.

I did enjoy the desperation that went into that attempt to make "pornea" be a condemnation of slavery. Wow!
I found this today -- and I'm so glad I did. This touched my heart. I am an at-work Christian -- struggling daily to be all that I believe a Christian should be.

The "gay question" really didn't seem to be a question to me. I knew that God created some folks gay. That's the only thing that made any sense to me. And yet the Bible has so many passages (as I'm so often told by fundamentalists) that seem to speak against homosexuality. I finally reached a point where I decided it was something I was just leaving up to God. I don't know the answers, but I do know it's wrong to judge and condemn and speak death on others.

To me you are an example of the love God must want for us all, of the example Jesus shared with his love and acceptance. Thank you for letting your light shine. God bless!
It is a sorry commentary on Christianity (as we know it temporally) that so many opine so flatulently on things that they only half at best understand.
Pontification is not the sole province of Rome.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had to make good on a promise to them to make of their paltry few a mighty nation and like any good animal husbandry-man culled the less productive breeders from His flock in order to do so.
But Christ was the main thing thathe was breeding for ...
The fulfillment of the law of the Patriarchs.
The covenant that we share as Christians grew out of that legal framework but now stands on it's own, that of Grace (undeserved loving-kindness), Peace and Truth.
God calls those who sexual attractions are naturally toward those like themselves to no higher standard than any others.
Promiscuity is inherently hurtful and while it can be forgiven is just not good.
Faithfulness and devotion toward God and others should be encouraged on the other hand.
The only thing that you are withholding blessing-wise from yourself by not practicing heterosexual intimacy is the natural blessing of child-bearing resulting from the intimate shared bliss of a conjugal heterosexual relationship, but that means less to some and more to others.
God clearly states that He desires godly offspring, and the odds of that coming to fruition are enhanced by loving parents of both genders it is true, but Paul once said "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling!"
It applies to me and it applies to you.
But that being said I can hope against hope for you that your pilgrimage on this earth be blessed by God according to His will as I do for us all.
Lovely and well-written heartfelt post!