Love Thy Neighbor | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Love Thy Neighbor

I grew up in the Episcopal Church, and it was the center of everything my family did. From Sunday school to youth group and potluck dinners, the church provided a sense of community and belonging.

A few years ago, the church I was baptized in became divided over the question of gay bishops and same-sex marriages within the denomination.

The debate led to a schism in our congregation. More than half the members renounced the Episcopal faith and became Anglican. The divided members literally packed up and left to start a new church.

It would be incorrect to define this as the reason I stopped participating in church, but it was definitely a turn-off. Despite the fact that I believe gay couples should have equal rights, this difference in opinions severed a church once unified. Relationships that ran years deep were silenced.

The Episcopalian Church isn't the only church dividing itself over gay marriage.

Last week, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., threatened to discontinue providing social programs unless the city changes a proposed same-sex marriage law to be voted on next month.

Even though the proposed law would not require religious organizations to make space available for same-sex weddings, the archdiocese fears it will eventually have give to employee benefits to same-sex couples.

Catholic Charities, the organization that runs the social programs, serves 68,000 people in the city. Services include homeless shelters, food pantries, rental assistance, health care and adoptions. While other modes of funding (public and private donations) contribute to the program, The Washington Post reports that the Catholic Church supplements the program with money from its coffers.

Basically this means the Catholic Church is willing to sacrifice 68,000 of the city's most vulnerable people in an effort to deny other citizens equal rights.

This reasoning defies the church's main purpose of showing God's love, demonstrating compassion to others and empowering others to do the same.

D.C.'s city council members are calling this move a weak attempt at blackmail, and show no signs of changing their support for the law. I imagine that the Catholic Church has managed to successfully isolate and turn off the entire gay community as well as those believe in a core message of Christianity: Love thy neighbor.

Here in Mississippi, we are seeing progress in terms of generational paradigm shifts, emerging activist groups and the practice of tolerance. The religious community must be central to this progressive shift.

With this issue in mind, I decided to attend Safe Harbor Family Church in Jackson last Sunday.

Taking a different approach, this church does not just tolerate, but it welcomes everyone including the LGBT community. In October the church hosted an interfaith church service and workshops during OUToberfest. The church also performs wedding and commitment ceremonies for all couples.

The atmosphere was different from other churches I've been to in the past. I was hugged when I walked in the door, and several members greeted me during the service.

Egon Cohen, a first-year law student at Mississippi College, gave a sermon that humorously compared Jesus to Elvis (as two larger-than-life cultural phenomenon). His overarching message was that sometimes we get caught up in debating the facts and trying to figure out what we believe instead of just stopping and listening to the music and experiencing God.

Cohen, who moved here from West Virginia said he has attended churches of the Baptist faith and has gay family members. He said that while many churches will "tolerate" gay members, rarely do they welcome them and offer them a sense of belonging.

When I mentioned I was writing a column on religion and the LGBT community, a few members expressed anxiety and concern because revealing the names of members could result in backlash from their employers or family. Safe Harbor creates an environment of acceptance and trust, and as a first-time visitor who happens to work for the media, I endangered that space.

I may not know what it is to be judged, picked on and denied equal rights to that same extent, and I can't imagine what it's like to have my family disown me or my church label me a sinner.

But I do understand the power of a good story. Ceara Sturgis's story, reported by Adam Lynch in this week's issue, is impressive because she is happy with herself and doesn't let her sexuality define her. She is more than a lesbian—she is an athlete, a daughter, friend, an honor-roll student, a Mississippian.

I hope that others will stand up like Ceara and take part in conversations about the LGBT community in our state. This isn't a fringe group with issues that should be swept under the rug. These are our community members, friends and co-workers.

The story of Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist and politician in San Francisco, exemplifies the theory that standing up for what you believe in can change the world. He said it best himself during his campaign in 1978.

"I cannot prevent anyone from getting angry, or mad or frustrated," Milk said. "I can only hope that they'll turn that anger and frustration and madness into something positive, so that two, three, four, 500 will step forward, so the gay doctors will come out, the gay lawyers, the gay judges, gay bankers, gay architects. … I hope that every professional gay will say 'enough,' come forward and tell everybody, wear a sign, let the world know.

"Maybe that will help."

Previous Comments

ID
153451
Comment

Bingo! This is a great editors note that will hopefully encourage people to reflect on the way they treat their fellow human beings. On a side note, considering that Catholic Charities receives roughly $2.64b of its $3.94b income from the government (http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/NetCommunity/Document.Doc?id=1924), I would love to see them lose their contracts with D.C. Maybe then organizations who would not discriminate based upon sexual preference could step in.

Author
Ryan
Date
2009-11-19T10:13:37-06:00
ID
153489
Comment

A well-written article, which shines light on why some people are beginning to look at institutions that call themselves Church and ask the question, "What really is Church?"

Author
J.T.
Date
2009-11-19T14:53:07-06:00
ID
153497
Comment

Lacey... welcome to the 21st Century! The key to happiness is believing in yourself first. Sometimes, we do not follow in our parents, or religious ways that we were taught while growing up. This is not rebelling ... it's part of growing up, and setting our own standards to live by. I happen to have a unique perspective when it comes to gay rights. I quit high school in Chicago back in the early 1950s, because it was taboo just to know someone or be "queer"... that's is what we were called back then. I moved to San Francisco in 1960. I called myself a beatnik... and soon found OUT that many other beatniks were also gay. However, it was at the tail-end of that movement. I bought a cheap camera to send tourist like images of the bridges, wharf and cable cars back to family and friends in Chicago. But those images changed to hippies, flower children and peace mongers and Vietnam war protesters. To start the 1970's, I moved between the Haight-Ashbury and a changing S.F. neighborhood called the Castro. I bought a better camera and became a Free Lance photographer that specialized in gay clients and businesses... at a time it was not yet fashionable to be openly gay... even in San Francisco! I used to display my photographs in the window of a Castro St. bakery just yards away from today's Harvey Milk Plaza. I used to have my film developed at Harvey Milk's camera shop... and we became friends. By osmosis I became involved in the early gay sports and political scene. One of my favorite pastimes was to attend Sunday services at a downtown Methodist Church called Glide, and I am Jewish! The Rev. Cecil Williams made everyone welcome... using quotations from "Chairman" Jesus among others. It was right across from the Downtown Hilton, and often visitors showed up expecting their usual services... and I can honestly say... in most cases... they stayed for all the services and stood in line to Hug Rev, Williams. Progress in gay rights has been slow in coming... However, since the Movie "MIlk"last year... millions and millions of people, young and old, gay and stright, here in America and around the world have been introduced to Harvey, and that era in the gay rights movements. I am proud on my contributions To gay history, through my images and timely t-shirt creations. I would like to recommend a web-site that had documented that era... unlike the movie, it's not a recreation. The stories and images are by the pioneers(like Harvey and myself). It is called: www.thecastro.net/ for my images and stories thecastro.net/street/memoriespage/pritikin/pritikin.html I enjoyed your perspective... and believe with people like you... that Equal Rights for all is within reach, because as JFK said in inaugural speech back in 1961... that the torch is being passed... I believed then he was talking to me and I was 24 then... and now that torch is being passed to your generation... and judging from your words, your on the right side of history at the right time. Thanks for being there now, and for the future.

Author
jerry pritikin
Date
2009-11-19T15:11:19-06:00
ID
153522
Comment

Great ed note, Lacey! The hypocrisy of the church is so disheartening, especially as a follower of Christ. The world is full of so many problems that the church has the influence and resources to combat, yet it wastes its time and money attacking the people it's supposed to love. Life is too short to fill it with hate and anger.

Author
maggie
Date
2009-11-20T09:06:41-06:00
ID
153523
Comment

Amen, Maggie, and Amen, again.

Author
J.T.
Date
2009-11-20T09:13:31-06:00
ID
153531
Comment

Please come to St. Andrew's Cathedral in Downtown Jackson some future Sunday. We are trying our best to reach out to all in the community.

Author
Tom Ramsey
Date
2009-11-20T11:15:56-06:00
ID
153532
Comment

How many more times does the church, the bible, Koran, Talmud and all the pastors and reverends and whoever preaches in the churches have to be wrong before people stop treating what is taught in those places and by those people like.... well, gospel. The sooner people realize that belief in those myths is counter-productive to a modern society the better off we all will be.

Author
WMartin
Date
2009-11-20T11:28:32-06:00
ID
153534
Comment

Faith, love, tolerance, justice, peace...yeah WMartin, I can see how preaching these things can hurt you. Give me modernism any day. What ideals are espoused by modern society? I forgot.

Author
Tom Ramsey
Date
2009-11-20T11:45:00-06:00
ID
153536
Comment

Can't go there with ya', WMartin. I do agree that SOME of the religious institutions and leaders are more interested in putting God on a leash and trying to control god and people than they are in spreading Love and Reconciliation and Peace and Inclusion and Acceptanceand Freedom. And, further, as we know firsthand, it is under the guise of "religion" that so much harm and hate can be inflicted. But, I make a huge distinction in my life between spirituality and religion. And, then I make a huge distinction between the institutions that call themselves church and God's Church. Love and kindness and goodness come from all directions. It certainly should come from religion. However, my soul won't let me throw out the baby with the bath water. I cling to God and Love and try to be open to seeking Truth everywhere, not just inside a church building. But, at the same time, I believe that churches are those places where people gather expecting to find God and, so, God, who can't be leashed, can be found there, despite human kind's attempts to take center stage.

Author
J.T.
Date
2009-11-20T11:54:59-06:00
ID
153537
Comment

They do teach faith I will grant you. It's the only way to get people to believe their fairy tales. Love, tolerance, justice and peace? Well we all know religions have no problem going around those as long as the object of your hate, intolerance, injustice and war are "sinners" according to whichever "Holy" book you read.

Author
WMartin
Date
2009-11-20T11:57:52-06:00
ID
153539
Comment

WMartin, believing dogma is a far cry from Loving God, Self, Others. I understand your comment with my heart. And, the irony is that sometimes some in those religions that deem themselves to be Christian seem to sometimes overlook the fact that Christ lived in and among and supped with those people deemed by society to be "sinners" or those who fell outside the purification code of that time, which included women, the disabled, those afflicted with disease, or anyone that didn't match whatever was arbitrarily considered to be "pure." It was, in part, Jesus's identifying himself with people that society's elite considered outsiders that marked him as a troublemaker. So, to call oneself Christian and assert he/she believes in Christ and, simutaneously, turn one's back on anyone is oxymoronic.

Author
J.T.
Date
2009-11-20T12:13:36-06:00
ID
153540
Comment

Wait... this thing isnt about whether or not a religion is right or wrong... thats for another discussion on some other forum. This is about the fact that it is no longer acceptable for the debate about equality to exclude sexual orientation, among other things. This is about all men and women who say they will embrace mankind, yet turn away those who disagree with their religion. Modernists tend to be guilty of having the same affection toward religion as religious literalists do toward the LGBT community.

Author
Ryan
Date
2009-11-20T12:21:56-06:00
ID
153547
Comment

WMartin - At the church I attend, St. Andrew's Cathedral, there is no teaching or preaching about hate (unless you include the teaching and preaching AGAINST hate). I'm fairly certain that there are no words that I can type that would convince you otherwise. There's really not much reason for argument and I will close by saying only that my faith is ALL about inclusion, peace, justice and love. My mother used to tell me that "hate is a poison that destroys the vessel from which it flows." Although I know I can never live up to such a lofty goal, it gives me comfort to know that my church encourages me to love those who choose to hate me.

Author
Tom Ramsey
Date
2009-11-20T14:55:55-06:00
ID
153550
Comment

I wouldn't be too sure your church doesn't preach hate if your liturgy is not gender-inclusive. Think about it - is God really a "He" or a "Father"? Those are some images or visions of God, but a church that will allow that and not "She" or "Mother," in my book, is inherently preaching hate. The hate of exclusion.

Author
Izzy
Date
2009-11-20T17:37:02-06:00
ID
153551
Comment

Funny you should mention the gender issue of a deity. I was at lunch with a St. Andrews priest one time and a very conservative member of the Cathedral came to our table and angrily asked the priest "just what do you think god Looks like?" The priest replied with a big smile, "Who really knows? But I would guess that she's probably black." I don't think the people who asked the question are still at the Cathedral. The Episcopal church is actually studying the idea of "gender neutral" language in its liturgy and prayers. I don't however feel that gender references rise to the level of hatred. Trying to place human characteristics on a deity is counterproductive to me. I don't want a small and manageable God. I prefer one that I can't fully understand.

Author
Tom Ramsey
Date
2009-11-20T18:03:15-06:00
ID
153552
Comment

Wintrhop, your last sentence "I don't want a small and manageable God. I prefer one that I can't fully understand." bears out that we each have perceptions of God. And, when the terminology used for God in a worship liturgy falls short of being inclusive, some women have a very difficult time understanding that the liturgy is inclusive. And, if one feels marginalized in a liturgical church, worship is interrupted. I am glad that Episcopalians are "studying" the idea of gender neutrality. The issue, however, has been before the denomination long enough for it to have addressed it already, if inclusion were really a priority. There is a very wonderful New Zealand Prayer Book which has existed for many years that incorporates gender neutrality in its liturgy. Izzy,Wintrhop, you would love it.

Author
J.T.
Date
2009-11-20T18:37:03-06:00
ID
153553
Comment

it's not enough to just study something - at some point you have to act. Systematic exclusion can be read as hatred, even when those involved in it do not feel it to be that. This is the nature of systemic injustice, of which we all play a part in different ways. I don't relate to God as human-like, either, though I do prefer at times to see God reflected through people in their actions or their creations.

Author
Izzy
Date
2009-11-20T18:37:37-06:00
ID
153556
Comment

I ran across an article [BBC News] this morning titled "Archbishop and Pope make progress," http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8371807, which is about the Catholic Pope and Archbishop, Dr. Rowan Williams, Church of England--from whence the Episcopal Church in the United States sprang--meeting for 1/2 hour to move closer in relations. Williams is head of the 70 million -strong worldwide Anglican Communion into which some members have accused the Pope of interfering. The Pope says he invited Williams to meet in response to pleas from Anglicans unhappy about the creation of women bishops. The article mentions the other discord being the election of an openly gay bishop and the blessing of same sex marriages, as the above article explains. According to the BBC article, Williams signaled "he would like to build a new relationship, emphasising shared fundamental beliefs rather than 'negative'secondary issues such as women clergy." What gaul, in the face of the fact that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America is a woman. Here we are on this blog discussing studies to neutralize liturgical language in the Episcopal Church and the Archbishop of the Anglican Church--to which the Episcopal Church is wed by history--is reported as saying that ordination of women is a negative secondary issue and not one that goes to fundamental belief in the Anglican Church, when the Episcopal Presiding Bishop in the United States is a WOMAN. Sorta helps us get a handle on why it is taking so long to complete the study.

Author
J.T.
Date
2009-11-21T11:32:17-06:00
ID
153557
Comment

Sorta helps us get a handle on why it is taking so long to complete the study. J.T. um, yes!

Author
Izzy
Date
2009-11-21T12:18:18-06:00
ID
153560
Comment

What good is a religion that can evolve under the debate of men or women? Either the "holy" book is the word of god or it isn't. The pope, or whatever grand pooh-bah you happen to attend church with, either speaks for god or he doesn't. Either their doctrine is holy or it's a bunch of hogwash. They have been proven wrong time and time again, found to be frauds and liars, there is no evidentiary basis in fact for any of the claims they make, the stories in the books don't even make sense half the time and still smart, modern people buy the snake oil. Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able, and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able, nor willing? Then why call him God?" -Epicurus

Author
WMartin
Date
2009-11-21T15:28:59-06:00
ID
153564
Comment

What good is a religion that can evolve under the debate of men or women? Either the "holy" book is the word of god or it isn't. WMartin, I believe that God gave us the power to grow and debate and evolve. It could be that the ultimate "word of God" is that we're supposed to do just that, no? Beyond that, we have a very serious problem when it comes to the people who want to tell us what the word of God is. It isn't up to you, for instance, to tell me how to believe or worship or act or love.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-21T18:26:12-06:00
ID
153567
Comment

Sin..the great equalizer of the Christian faith. While introducung the 19 Commandments to the youth members of our Children's Church, the adult leaders and teachers emphacized that in God's eyes, as clarified by Jesus, we are ALL sinners, no one sin is greater than another and if you break one commandment,as a Christian, you have basically broken all of the commandments (this is an interesting anlaysis that, in my limited experience, always holds up!). The 10 Commandments For Christian Children. 1. One God. one holy God 2. Any other God a sin.(Don'rorship TV, friends, Clothes, etc.) 3. Use not His name in vain.(No bad language) 4. Sunday belongs to HIM. Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday, the Christian Sabbath 5. Your parents you must obey. 6. Do not hurt or harm or kill 7. Your promises you must keep. 8. Don't steal treasure or time. 9. Don't lie or hold the truth. 10. Don't covet, which means don't wish for things that don't belong to you As Paul taught in Romans, Christians should refrain from condeming the specks of sin in others eyes when we have a tree branch worh of sin protrudung from our own eyes. Sin, the great equalizer...as far as the teachings Jesus gave to his followers...you know the Christians. PS...Jesus said that the greatest of the commandments is to love your neighbor as yourself. I believe that this is commonly know as the eleventh commandment.

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2009-11-21T22:21:45-06:00
ID
153568
Comment

As far as Laws giving gay rights, I believe Jesus said give Caesar what is Caesaar's and pray for your leaders. In other words don't waste your time fighting the worlds issues on the world's terms. Rather, Jesus's Grand Commission instructs the Christian Church to create and nurture more Christians, one Christian at a time. The electon of secular persons of questionable morals using wedge issues to divide and control the populace is not mentioned by Jesus other than an admonition to beware of false prophets. At least in my study of God's Word.

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2009-11-21T22:44:25-06:00
ID
153569
Comment

WMartin writes: "What good is a religion that can evolve under the debate of men or women?" Have you read Acts 15 lately?

Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-11-21T23:21:43-06:00
ID
153574
Comment

Mr. Mickens, I am confused. You say that "Jesus's Grand Commission instructs the Christian Church to create and nurture more Christians, one Christian at a time." Yet, there was no such thing as Christianity, per se, while Jesus was alive. Jesus was a Jew, who grew up studying in the Temple. According to the Bible, he lived and walked among the people in the area of Galilee and Jerusalem (though there are many years from his youth to his manhood which the Bible doees not account for); he healed people; he consoled people; he fed people; he included people who were otherwise excluded by the powers that be; he performed miracles--his first being to turn water into wine at the Wedding Feast; he raised people from the dead; he cast out demons. And, my understanding of the Bible is that Jesus said there was only one and great commandment, which incorporated all those from the old teachings: To love the Lord thay God with all thy heart and all thy soul and to love thy neighbor as thyself. What is this Commission you are speaking of? And To what source would I go to find "Jesus's Grand Commission instruct...[ing] the Christian Church. . .?"

Author
J.T.
Date
2009-11-22T14:11:55-06:00
ID
153580
Comment

I really dislike that this article uses Catholic Charities as an example of an organization who is biased against providing services. CCI, as listed above, receives both federal and state dollars to provide services to ALL POPULATIONS. I would like to reiterate that we follow all the equal opportunity hiring practices and judge NO ONE who comes to ask for any of our services. I've worked at CCI for seven years and have always been amazed as it seems to be a bastion of tolerance in the workplace and have been pleasantly surprised by the liberal thoughts/views that are expressed and tolerated in the office. I think one thing people do not realize is that each diocese is run by its own Bishop. And, depending upon the liberal/conservative beliefs held by this and the governing body at the time, each diocese can hold VERY DIFFERENT beliefs about what is tolerated or not tolerated in the diocese. In short, please feel free to bash the Catholics if you want...but leave Catholic Charities out of it. They do immeasurable good in this community for the disefranchised, poor and especially vulnerable children.

Author
Lori G
Date
2009-11-23T11:24:07-06:00
ID
153581
Comment

I don't see any negative comments re: Catholic Charities on a national level in Lacey's article, but Lori's points are worth emphasizing in a general context. The DC situation is ugly, but we should be blaming the Archbishop of Washington–not the volunteers and staff under him, not the entire Catholic Charities apparatus, not the whole tradition, and certainly not the Jackson branch. The RCC has definite problems, but when I see one bishop/archbishop in one diocese/archdiocese do something and see a headline that reads "Catholic Church [verbs] [noun]"...well, that's just sloppy. That would be like saying the Episcopal Church has gay and gay-friendly leadership because +Gene's Bishop of New Hampshire, when the Episcopal Bishop of Fort Worth is presumably heterosexual and has some pretty anti-gay policies. Organized religion is no simpler than any other human institution. In fact, in my experience anyway, it's more complicated than most. That said, Safe Harbor is a great bunch of folks and deserves props. I've been there many times for events, and the church does good work.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-11-23T11:30:08-06:00
ID
153582
Comment

Right, Tom, the column didn't bash Catholic Charities, but mentioned them in a factual context about what the church is doing there, which was needed to explain the point. It wouldn't have made sense really to leave that mention out.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-23T12:07:04-06:00
ID
153583
Comment

Lori, the article does single out the D.C. archdiocese. But since Catholic Charities explicitly states that it is an integral part of the Catholic Church, "Ten Ways Catholic Charities are Catholic," how can you insist the two be separated? How can you state that one should "feel free to bash the Catholics," yet "dislike that this article uses Catholic Charities as an example..."? (even though the article specifically states "...the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.") That the Catholic Church will only recognize marriage as being between one man and one woman is not limited to a particular parish or diocese. Furthermore, it is absurd for an organization that claims to "promote the sanctity of human life and the dignity of the human person,"(http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=296) and that "we are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences,"(http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=297) to threaten to rescind its commitment to providing social services on the basis that they dont want to marry two men or two women. I commend the fact that Catholic Charities does tolerate different beliefs. How do you feel CC of Jackson would react were Mississippi to recognize same sex marriage and ask the same of those who receive funding for social services?

Author
Ryan
Date
2009-11-23T12:17:23-06:00
ID
153585
Comment

Ryan, I'm reasonably sure that Catholic Charities in Jackson would keep rolling along like it's doing now; a good clue might be to look at the fact that other dioceses and archdioceses have been regulated by policies similar to DC's without threatening to cut their social service programs. The Archbishop of Washington appears to be a special case. My gut impression is that he's probably in the wrong line of work.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-11-23T13:52:58-06:00
ID
153586
Comment

Ryan, I would answer that question totally and factually, but would probably get fired. Lets just say that CC is one of the most tolerant places in MS to work. Other than that, The "bash the Catholics" thing was a joke...as *I* am Catholic (or rather a recovering one) and completely see the religious parts of that church as separate from my job. I get touchy when people start steppin' on the place that feeds my family (that much I will acknowledge). :) There are parts of Catholic doctrine that I do not believe are true. But, I can't and won't espouse them in a public forum because I sign something for my job that states that I will not. There have been many a column I've written where I've straddled a TEENY TINY line in them just to adhere to that agreement. Some of you may remember some of them. But, I will say that people at CCI Jackson read my columns and most give them nothing but support. With the mostly liberal views that I espouse, it does do a lot to explain how the organization itself works. And, Ryan, I do believe that our Archbishop (Diocese of Jackson) has explicitly stated (regarding the same sex marriage amendment) that the Catholic Church does not believe this to be an issue of "political policy" and therefore wishes to remain silent on the matter. That is the point I was trying to make when I said that each diocese has their own "flavor". It also wouldn't matter what CC of Jackson "thought" if the state recognized same sex marriages. Esentially, we are a non-profit social service organization mainly funded and run off of state and federal grants. We would have to provide services based upon the guidelines of those grants which follow all the laws required by state and federal jobs. The church itself does not provide us enough funds to operate independently of those grants. I think you would be surprised to know that past the State of Mississippi, Catholic Charities is one of the largest providers of social services in Mississippi-to ANYONE.

Author
Lori G
Date
2009-11-23T14:02:36-06:00
ID
153598
Comment

JT: A Christain is simply a follower, or disciple, of Jesus Christ. A Church, from the Greek translation of the New Testament is "a called out body" Jesus started the first Christian Church with 12 common men as his initial disciples. Jesus formed his church, in Matthew 16:13 -18, with Jesus' assignment to Simon, son of Jonah (and renamed Simon Peter). The Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Protestant, Baptist, Lutheran, Anglican, AME, etc. religious sects all originated with the original 12 Disciples of Jesus' original church. A churchn Jesus used to expand his ministry while Jesus waas still alive and walking the earth. Why so many sects in the Christian Church now? Mainly because each sect had a tendency to focus in on a small part of the message of Jesus, at the expense of his total message, in order to differentiate themselves as having the better understanding of what it means to be a follower of Christ. Or in the case of the English Anglican Church, to get a divorce for the King of England. In other words, men using the word of God for their own selfish desires and self promotion. But let's always remember that they, men, we, are all always susceptible to sin (see the 10 Commandments). The so called "Great Commission" of Jesus' Church (Christain), as stated by Jesus, is found in Matthew 28:18-20 "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the end of the age." In my experience, when people say they have problems with religion they are referring to the particular "man created practices and concepts" of a particular organization. The Word of God warns us against this. In fact, one of the reasons Jesus was sent to earth was to free man from the multiple laws written by Jewish religious leaders which clouded God's true intent for his human creations, which is really pretty simple, as stated by Jesus in Mathew 22:34-40 "Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your mind (i.e. Obey the Ten Commandments)." AND "Love your neighbor as yourself" Before Jesus coming to earth the Jewish religious leaders had added so many written laws to interpret the written word of God it was impossible for anyone to either know what the laws were or how to obey them. Some Jewish religious leaders used this complexity and uncertainty of the interpreative law to gain personal wealth, as the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church later did with the selling of "indulgences". Indulgences were able to be sold because the Bible was written in Latin, which only the highest levels of the clergy could read. So the stated will of God was still clouded,and the teachings of Jesus were obscured because of the "ignorance" of the common man.

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2009-11-23T19:52:55-06:00
ID
153599
Comment

Thanks, Mr. Mickens. I agree that a Christian is a follower of Christ. I personally understand that to be someone who actually tries to live as Christ lived, as opposed to someone who espouses a certain dogma. Please know I appreciate your thoughtful response to my questions. Some of your explanation about Jesus and the Christian Church, though given in good faith, attempt to explain 2000 years ago through the lens of 2009. I.e., Jesus, when he was alive, was a Jew, was taught in the Jewish faith. According to the New Testament, the Christian Church arose from the fragments of his followers after his death and resurrection. Thanks for your explanation of what you mean by "The Great Commission." I knew I had no recollection of reading that terminology in the Bible. Arbitrary selection of members into a group and calling the group a certain kind of church because the members say they believe one thing or another might be helpful for some people and very necessary for them. I've got no idea what another person needs spiritually. Neither does another person have any idea what I need spiritually. My pinch occurs when a group calls themselves a "Christian Church" and espouses to so be, while openly dishonoring or excluding others from full participation because of "who they are," e.g., their gender, their sexual orientation, their life's circumstances, etc. It's the exact opposite of the Christ of the New Testament.

Author
J.T.
Date
2009-11-23T21:07:07-06:00
ID
153600
Comment

JT< Thanks for your thoughtful response. I must however, take issue with your contention that Christ never started his church. According to the Bible he did form his church with the commissioning of his 12 (actually 11 at the time) disciples as quoted in the Biblical texts I have already referenced. Since Christ was perfect, no man can live as Christ. Men and womwn can only strive and struggle to temper their actions with the knowledge of what Christ wants them to do as written in his Word. I agree that it is illogical to say that the sin of homosexuality is worse than the sin of adultry, stealing, murder, war, etc. We sit and worship with adulterers, thieves, murderers every Sunday. If we threw out ALL of the sinners the churches would be completely empty. I agree with in in that any Christian church that will take two or three references to one type of controversial behavior and demonize it to the pinnacle of sin, at the expense of the over riding concepts of ALL men are sinners and ALL men are creations of God and ALL men should be treated with the same love we would show Jesus, is falling way short of the mark. Or as you so succinctly put it.."It's the EXACT OPPOSITE of the Christ of the New Testament".

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2009-11-23T22:20:34-06:00
ID
153601
Comment

God created man in his Image...and then man returned the favor. Voltaire? (I believe). And we've been doing it for thousands of years to every (g)od we've "dreamed" up. But I have enjoyed reading Mr. Mickens posts. They are as close to "Non-Dualism" as I have seen traditional Christianly described. Taking the simple teachings of Jesus and "dogmatizing" via the marrying of the early movement into Judaism (Sacrifice for sins) and Paganism (Mithra, Osiris, and others) it is what created the Frankenstein I would call the modern church. It took several hundred years to do it but here we are. All of it would be quite foreign to Jesus. yes I believe in Jesus as "The Christ" but as "A Course in Miracles" has taught me for the last 20 years...I believe Jesus got here just like we all did, sperm and egg. The miracle of His birth was that He came through without an Ego. He was truly one with God. In perfect alignment as the Triune: The Father (the one and only sourse, the Son (all of us as the one thought of the sourse) and Holy Spirit (the inborn memory of the sourse in al of us), the three in one. On what level that happened I do not know. Or how many so called form level life times it took. But the last time was the charm for him and for us all. as far as the teachings of any "church". as soon as you get to the "them and us" sermons....your at the alter of the most high...ego. and you are wasteing time. We have the rest of eternity to figure this out.

Author
atlntaexile
Date
2009-11-23T22:28:29-06:00
ID
153602
Comment

Mr. Mickens, how can you charge a person who is homosexual as being sinful because of his/her sexual orientation if God created that person in all of who he/she is? I recollect Genesis saying God created humankind and it was very good. (my paraphrase of Genesis). Further, for us humans to be so impertinent as to decide what is and is not sinful, in terms of our neighbors, is above our pay grades, I think.

Author
J.T.
Date
2009-11-23T22:31:34-06:00
ID
153603
Comment

JT, As for my using 2009 eyes (lenses) to interpret the teachings of Christ..these are the only eyes I have. Unlike the US Constitution, which has been espoused as a living and growing document (which must be amended from time to time), the Christian Bible, even with all of its posssible typo's, transcription and translation errors and lack of punctuation (that's right, ancient Hebrew did not use any punctuation..), I believe that the Christian Bible, as the Word of God, to be eternal, unamendable, and unshakeable in its concepts of love. In my opinion the Bible's most over looked and central message is the concept of individual responsibility for your personal actions. In other words don't rant and rail about my neighbor wanting to get an abortion. Rather I should provide counseling, services and resources to that neighbor to prevent the abortion from occuring! You know, like Mississippi Catholic Charities does!

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2009-11-23T22:38:39-06:00
ID
153604
Comment

Atlantaexile, Sounds good. Neo Dualism and such. Wow I am so happy that you have found the true meaning, mannerisms and motives of Christ in the "A Course of Miracles" dogma. Now give all of your wealth to the poor. You see Jesus didn't believe in tithing (10%). Relax. Don't worry, Jesus did accept a gift of half of a wealthy man's fortune as a symbol of belief in him. In other words Christ will accept whatever actions of love you are willing to offer his creations. As for discussions of "them versus us"..all of us here be sinners so keep dem stones on the ground!

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2009-11-23T22:55:12-06:00
ID
153605
Comment

Mr. Mickens, we simply don't agree on everything. Nothing wrong with that. Is what makes life interesting. However, you sound like an individual who can easily understand what I mean about the actual life of Jesus of the New Testament occurring in a time very different from 2009 and that factoring in the history that has happened since his life into his life doesn't make much sense. Interesting comment you have made on the Bible. I certainly respect your belief in this regard. I see the Bible as a living breathing document, alive with Truth that I can understand in new ways that speak to me where I am. I can read a passage and meditate with it and get a spiritual understanding and read the same passage and sit with it on another occasion and understand something entirely new. The words can speak to me in unique ways at different times. It is alive. However, I believe that men (and possibly women) wrote the words in it, likely inspired by God so to write. However, all writing is, in actuality, inspired by God, since all writers are inspired to write and it is from the Creator that the creation receives inspiration to create. In fact, I am amazed that lots of people believe that once the Bible was compiled by humans (and edited under the auspices of humans, even some kings, e.g., King James), that God said, okay, this is it. No more inspired writing by anybody else anywhere else ever. This is it. It is over. Kaput. The God I know is still God. Everything is not over. In fact, since the Jesus of the New Testament is purported to have returned, after his resurrection, in the forms of people that looked differently than he did and he was not immediately recognized by his followers, I ask myself on occasion, "Wonder how many times I ran into Jesus today?" By the way, you still didn't answer my question about homosexuality being part of the creation of certain human beings?

Author
J.T.
Date
2009-11-23T23:18:17-06:00
ID
153606
Comment

J.T., Minor clarification. I did not say homosexuality is a sin. The Bible does. The Bible calls homosexuality as an abomination, which has been translated as sinful, unclean, objectionable, immoral, or behavior violating an agreed upon cultural standard. As for everthing God created being good...Genesis, like the Bible is a long book that should be studied and interpreted in its entirety. Yes, at the end of the seven days of creation God was pleased with what he had done, and it was good. However, there was that little matter of Gods supreme creation, Man (you know Adam and Eve)using their God given gift and power of free will to disobey god. With he fruit tree and all. This original sinful act is commonly called "The Fall", and from it we get all of the vices and sins of man. Killing animals for food, murder, adultry. etc. More importantly, sin, which is commonly interpreted as "Separation from God", puts us outside of God's graces and more vulnerable to the dangers and whims of an uncaring and random universe of powers and circumstances. If I was trying to interest a homosexual in living a more Christlike existance, I would not focus on a particular sin or practice, rather I would focus on what we could both agree with. Namely that he has probably treated his neighbor with less than love, that he could do more for his neighbor and that his life here on earth would be more fullfilling, gratifying and happy if he extended himself with more love and discipline. If you noticed Christ didn't waste his time trying to convert the rich (camel-eye-needle), or the highly intelligent or proud (lawyers, Pharises, Saduces, judges, kings and such). Christ ministered to those who came to him for teaching, healing, counseling and comfort. If a person is happy in their homosexuality and the rest of their life, I will let them be. As a potential full time sinner, I need most of my energy to keep myself straight and my neighbor fed. If they come to me as the result of someting they want to change or improve in their lives as the result of their own decision making process, I am willing to offer what ever knowledge and comfort I can...and most certainly a referral to a trained evangelist and a church full of Christlike spirit and service providing resources.

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2009-11-23T23:50:16-06:00
ID
153608
Comment

Mr. Mickens, you said, "J.T.. I agree that it is illogical to say that the sin of homosexuality is worse than the sin of . . ." Please don't imply I have said something which I certainly have not said. I know you didn't mean to. I forgive you. But, clearly, as I have stated above, we agree on very little, and I want to be very clear that this statement, the part of which is quoted above implying I agree, is a misstatement. I have never stated any such thing for you to agree or disagree with. Further, I disagree with any characterization of any human being's sexual orientation as being sinful. Our sexual orientation is an integral part of who we are; it is sacred. It is not something we decide. We get here with it. It's like saying a person is sinful because they have blue eyes. Even some of the scholars who were inspired to write the Bible carried into their writing prejudices around them. If I remember correctly, Paul, himself, wasn't too keen on women. That's okay. I sorta overlook it; he said a lot of other good stuff.

Author
J.T.
Date
2009-11-24T00:16:06-06:00
ID
153609
Comment

J.T. Great post! Heck if we both agreed on everything, one of us would be redundant! PS: You run into Jesus ever day. That which you do unto the least of these you do unto me.

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2009-11-24T00:16:49-06:00
ID
153610
Comment

J.T., Please accept my sincerest apology and pound of flesh for miss-quoting you. I am so sorry that my error has caused you to go from "we don't agree on everything", to "we agree on very little" WARNING THE FOLLOWING IS MEANT TO BE SARCASTIC TO PRESENT A POINT My sexual orientation is towards babies under the age of 2. Thank you for your sacred okay to proceed with this sacred practice. JT my friend be careful of blanket generalizations..I am so guilty of this myself....a lot! WARNING THE PRECEEDING WAS MEANT TO BE SARCASTIC TO PRESENT A POINT Okay, supposing that male homosexuality is not a sin, do you think that some of it's techniques (as performed by hetero and homo couples) just might, maybe be clinically classified as "unclean" practices? What makes you think Paul wasn't too keen on women? Just the facts please.

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2009-11-24T01:17:45-06:00
ID
153611
Comment

Frank, when conservatives imply that gay sex between consenting adults is in any way morally equivalent to raping a toddler (not that this is necessarily the argument you were going for), that doesn't make me have a lower opinion of consenting adults who have gay sex; it just makes me a little nervous about giving conservatives unsupervised access to toddlers. Probably not the intended effect.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-11-24T03:10:03-06:00
ID
153614
Comment

Tom and baquan2k, Smile generated, points received, and on my end, this debate is closed. End result, in my opinion, apparently we can disagree about the particular real and imagined faults of men but we hopefully we can agree that ALL men and women are worthy of courtesy, consideration, love and respect because WE ALL are creations of the same higher power. In my opinion and belief, we are not the creations of chance, mathematics or ignorance.

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2009-11-24T08:18:47-06:00
ID
153616
Comment

by the way Winthrop. St. Andrews DT is a marvelous Church. This was the Church that I was confirmed into the Anglican faith. I identify as an Episcoplain though study "A Course in Miracles". It's somewhat choppy for me as the two are mutualy exclusive paths. The the Anglican faith has symbology that I am very comfortable with. But Jesus is real smart and comes through to each of us in language and symbols that we are each accepting of. A multi faceted curriculum is not only neccesary but required as long as we choose to stay in this patchwork world. Baguan2000..Now as far as this gay sex, straight sex, holy sex, right wrong sex....thing......remember. The penis reacts to friction. That's how it was designed. I think it functions better when it is consenting friction. That of course cuts off the "fundies" accusations and generalizations related to beastiality and pedofilia. Where they seem to be experts in theory if not fixations. Now! I had to get that off my chest. Thanks. I read in my study the other night...The Bible is indeed fool proof. But it is not God proof and it is still being edited.

Author
atlntaexile
Date
2009-11-24T10:27:58-06:00
ID
153617
Comment

The Bible is indeed fool proof. - um, ok, I have to step in here. Even a 12 year old in confirmation class can spot the inevitable contradictions between the accounts in the gospels. I'm sorry, but the belief that the Bible is somehow fool proof is laughable and to me goes against everything I know about faith and spiritual life. The bible was written by many authors, including some who we don't know the identity of, translated over and over in multiple languages. It is not fool proof. Your obedience to it may be, but that will not erase the conflicting accounts, conflicting messages, and ambiguity in the set of documents (not to mention the ones that got left out). Also, where the hell do you get off comparing homosexual adults to toddler rapists in one breath and then preaching your openness to gay people in the next, Frank Mickens? You must not realize how offensive this is. You truly must not.

Author
Izzy
Date
2009-11-24T10:40:18-06:00
ID
153619
Comment

well, maybe you could, but I couldn't. My very dear friend was a gay male student at Belhaven. I saw what he went through. And he is one of the most dedicated, organized, constructive and sweet human beings I will ever know. He is also someone with a deep spiritual life. I couldn't just sit by and let that happen in front of my eyes. Christians need to wake up - this is why so many other people hate you! They see how badly you treat gay people, and women. They don't want to affiliate with this type of behavior. If you wonder why young people are not flocking to the church, this is a main reason why. It is very cavalier to compare a real life decent human being to a toddler rapist for no good reason other than to play a rhetorical game and make yourself feel intelligent.

Author
Izzy
Date
2009-11-24T10:57:23-06:00
ID
153622
Comment

Re. your response, Izzy, to Mr. Micken's. Amen! Some right wing fundamentalists have, to an extent, tried to kidnap Christianity for their own purposes, which appear to be to sit on the throne, themselves, and demand obedience to certain dogma and creeds, i.e., to control. Please let me clarify. Some Christian groups are still vestiges of decency and acceptance. They, however, at least many of them, are under attack from within by the politics of narrow mindedness and discrimination (gay and women issues). My read on all of this is that God's Church is bigger than the petty exclusivity of any "church." God's Church isn't inside walls and doesn't reside in a particular place. It is everywhere we find people loving God and themselves and others. And, it is in those places where people gather to help empower each other to fully live and love, regardless of what the gathering is called. The idea of man/woman lassoing God and bringing God into only a certain denomination, would be pretty silly, in a way, except that the damage that occurs when people are excluded and derided under the name of God is blasphemous.

Author
J.T.
Date
2009-11-24T11:27:38-06:00
ID
153623
Comment

Personally, I'm always amazed when people come on here and declare what is "true" and factual based on their own personal faith, without regard to or respect for the fact that other people believe differently. It is the ultimate logical fallacy to assume that what you hear in church or synagogue or the mosque or wherever is the guiding faith for everyone else. Of course it's not. That doesn't mean that all real faith isn't based in love: It is. But, beyond that pretty much, the details can get pretty fuzzy depending on one's faith, and that is exactly as it should be. No one should tell anyone else how to believe, or try to force your God, or your version of God, on someone else. Doesn't work. And thank God we live in a country whose laws and foundation honor the principles of pluralism and do not allow any one person to force their religion and beliefs on others. That is a huge part of what is so great about this country: our religious freedom.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-24T11:51:45-06:00
ID
153624
Comment

Just don't jank with me, and I will leave you alone. Love it, Baquan. ;-) A different way to say, "Live and let live." Amen, bro.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-24T11:54:06-06:00
ID
153628
Comment

There is a wonderful Sufi poet who has a good saying that I always like to go back to when talking about who is "right" and "wrong" (and I NEVER quote poetry because its just SO CHEESY...but applicable) "Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I will meet you there."---Rumi I think it describes the ideal relationship between faiths/religions. Having a baby has totally softened me...a little. :-P

Author
Lori G
Date
2009-11-24T13:44:44-06:00
ID
153629
Comment

When ARE you bringing the little one to visit, Lori?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-24T13:48:38-06:00
ID
153630
Comment

Donna-don't make me start gushing. I WAS going to bring her to Fondren Unwrapped and do a tour but I got the HOG FLU (I hope Anne is reading this as I've now admitted to a case of the zombie flu). It took me ten days to recover. God laughs at me...he does. But, back to the baby...She's HUGE. She's 19lbs of pure laughing joy!! You know I got married, had a baby, and changed jobs in eight months. My "life" is just now coming back "online". I will be out and about with her this holiday season so I will have to make a point to stop by the office and show her off.

Author
Lori G
Date
2009-11-24T13:59:36-06:00
ID
153632
Comment

Izzy and J.T. Relax. Meditate. Take a deep breath and re-read what I wrote, including the A)warning statement, B)the sarcastic statement, already pre-labeled, as a warning against making generalizations without important clarifications (I see that the phrase "between consenting adults" was added in the rebuttal to my remark -proving my point), C) the addditional statement where I acknowledge that I also often make the mistake of presenting generalizations without providing necessary clarifying foundation. D)a reprise of the warning statement. If you guys choose to harp upon a statement you deemed to interpret negatively, and completely out of the context I was very careful to define, and use your perceived offence to negate everthing else I have said, then we all can see that the quality of dogmatic thinking is not soley confined to the church. It appears to be a universal weakness of the human mind. Bancquan, or shall I reciprocate and call you banki, Again, I didn't say that homsexuality is a sin, the Bible does. I believe in the Bible, so there I am. As I have said repeatedly during this blog, whether or not I think a particular practice is a sin or not is totally irrelelavent in the Christian faith. We ALL sin...everybody does something..almost everyday. I can love a person without agreeing with everthing that they do.

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2009-11-24T14:21:52-06:00
ID
153641
Comment

I became involved with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Jackson as a teenager. Our church was both racially integrated and welcoming of gay, bisexual and transgender individuals as far back as the 1970s. And our minister was performing gay marriages 35 years ago. That idea is neither new nor controversial to me. It's never even been an issue. So my background is probably as far removed from the fundamentalist religious right as you're likely to find in Mississippi. I also respect that everyone's journey of faith is different and I'm not quick to judge all mainstream Christians negatively, any more than I am Jews, pagans, Muslims, or anyone else of good will. All religions have positive aspects and messages and, like most things in life, become evil only when taken to an extreme. I actually have great respect for some local Christian ministers who have taken what were once all-white, conservative urban churches like Wells Methodist and Calvary Baptist and kept them alive by opening their doors to all races and backgrounds. I have heard these ministers preach on occasion, and have never found their messages to be hateful or condemning of anyone. They simply stress uplifting Biblical stories of hope, healing, and faith. I think I speak for more than just myself when I say, sometimes that's enough.

Author
ed inman
Date
2009-11-24T23:22:43-06:00
ID
153644
Comment

"The Bible is indeed fool proof. - um, ok, I have to step in here. Even a 12 year old in confirmation class can spot the inevitable contradictions between the accounts in the gospels. I'm sorry, but the belief that the Bible is somehow fool proof is laughable and to me goes against everything I know about faith and spiritual life. The bible was written by many authors, including some who we don't know the identity of, translated over and over in multiple languages. It is not fool proof. Your obedience to it may be, but that will not erase the conflicting accounts, conflicting messages, and ambiguity in the set of documents (not to mention the ones that got left out)." <<<

Author
Queen601
Date
2009-11-25T11:40:11-06:00
ID
153822
Comment

Thanks, Queen. For everything. I've mulled over this thread, read everything. Ed, I like what you've said. To me there is always ambivalence about both the good and the evil perpetuated by various incarnations of the Christian church. I recognize the good, and I challenge the bad. I want to address the whole "the Bible says it, so I do it" issue by quoting a scholar of the Bible, Bishop Shelby Spong, who is a retired Bishop of the Episcopal church: "For now let me be clear. Quoting the Bible is not a legitimate argument to deploy in the current ecclesiastical and cultural debate on homosexuality. It is nothing more than an outdated and ignorant appeal to the prejudices of yesterday. It is an illegitimate and even a profane way to approach scripture. It does not illumine the complex issues of sexual orientation. This approach to the Bible should either cease forthwith or the Bible used in this manner should be relegated to the same dustbins of history where the text in the Book of Joshua, stopping the sun in the sky to prove that Galileo was wrong, now resides. Quoting the literal Bible in the service of one's prejudices must be named as incompetence even if it involves a proof text from "the world of God." - Spong full text at http://www.baptistwatch.org/content/biblegay.html I really like the last part - about quoting the literal Bible in the service of one's prejudices - keep in mind people used the Bible to legitimize slavery and abuse of women, too.

Author
Izzy
Date
2009-12-01T13:58:14-06:00
ID
153837
Comment

Right again Izzy. I concur.

Author
Queen601
Date
2009-12-01T16:14:20-06:00
ID
153846
Comment

Izzy, Hey even I agree with you this time, especially since you repeated what I have been saying all along!

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2009-12-02T02:03:05-06:00
ID
153856
Comment

like I said....it is still being edited. Regardless is the Canon is closed or not.

Author
atlntaexile
Date
2009-12-02T10:11:48-06:00
ID
153858
Comment

is it? a great question. are we obligated to question the ethics of our faith, to engage deeply with the lessons we are taught by our parents and other spiritual leaders, and make choices? For there are choices. What do you do when you read two conflicting messages in the Bible, for example, messages of peace and compassion, and messages of holy war and violence? I think we are obligated. Accepting what a teacher tells you at face value without question is a sign of blind obedience, and to me does not indicate a more mature faith. As D. L. Dykes, Jr. (a methodist minister out of Shreveport, LA) once said, "The unexamined faith is not worth believing."

Author
Izzy
Date
2009-12-02T10:26:05-06:00
ID
153859
Comment

(paraphrasing Socrates, of course)

Author
Izzy
Date
2009-12-02T10:27:00-06:00
ID
153864
Comment

Izzy...I always had a problem with the genocide in the conquest chapters. "I have given the land over to you"...(sounds kinda like the winners write the history)....so kill all the women and children or put them to the sword as "The Word" says but keep the cattle and mules. Oh and the gold also. And you wonder why the killing goes on. It's always gone on. What's yours is mine cause god said so......

Author
atlntaexile
Date
2009-12-02T11:13:56-06:00
ID
153871
Comment

well, yes, we ought to all have a problem with genocide. right? I would think so. The Bible is not fool proof if it advocates genocide. I think this gets to the core of putting a text like the Bible on a pedestal as if it were perfect. As if any text drafted by humans could perfect, even if they were inspired by God.

Author
Izzy
Date
2009-12-02T13:41:28-06:00
ID
153876
Comment

Mr. Mickens, to me it's a bit of a cop-out to say that the Bible declares homosexuality a sin, so that's that. For one, the Bible declares many things a sin that we don't take seriously today. For example, mixing different fabrics, eating the hoopoe bird, and so forth. Second, the Bible hardly discusses homosexuality. Unless I'm mistaken, it appears only in the books of the law, which ban just about everything--and which we largely ignore, for good reason--and Paul, who despised human flesh. Paul was no better than the Taliban when it comes to his attitude toward women, and he basically opposed heterosexual marriage. I am sure Tom could provide more about Paul's peculiar views. My favorite misunderstanding of the Bible is the idea that the story of Sodom has to do with homosexuality. Here you have a story about a mob that wants to rape angels and the only thing conservatives object to is the fact that it would be homosexual sex. That's truly perverse. What I know for certain is that Jesus never said a thing about homosexuality. It was not a part of his ministry.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2009-12-02T14:07:29-06:00
ID
153880
Comment

Brian writes: "My favorite misunderstanding of the Bible is the idea that the story of Sodom has to do with homosexuality. Here you have a story about a mob that wants to rape angels and the only thing conservatives object to is the fact that it would be homosexual sex. That's truly perverse." Agreed. And considering these are the same people who believe rape survivors should be executed (Deuteronomy 22:23-24) and that genocide is a divine commandment (1 Samuel 15:3), I'm increasingly coming to believe that to support or condone violently homophobic religious types as policymakers is unsafe for everybody--gay or straight. These people may act friendly, but they are not our friends.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-12-02T14:16:40-06:00
ID
153882
Comment

yea no raping angels but wait! here "fop" my daughters....

Author
atlntaexile
Date
2009-12-02T14:46:31-06:00
ID
153883
Comment

This story, along with many of the comments, have confinced me of the validity of Nietzsche's statement (rarely quoted in it's entirety "God is dead; WE HAVE KILLED HIM, you and I. God died over pity for man."

Author
revdrstewart
Date
2009-12-02T14:49:27-06:00
ID
153897
Comment

Can everyone PLEASE stop calling homosexuality a "lifestyle" and "a choice"? It's degrading and shows a tremendous disregard for humans, nature, sexuality, and cultures. For me, it comes down to science and the Constitution. Science proves homosexuality and fluid sexuality abundantly exist in nature. It's not "unclean"; it is as natural as heterosexuality but not as prevalent. Since science hasn't found (a) god(des)(es), I have to side with the provable facts -- especially when dealing with human lives. As for the Constitution, no one person or group's beliefs should impact the security of my family, the expression of my sexuality, and the handling of my finances -- especially in my own home with a consenting adult! Period. You either support equality or not. If you are to base your choice of equality and fair treatment on sins, we should toss the whole institution of marriage out the window. As has been noted, we are all guilty of "sins". So, let's get on with it... Either you support marriage equality or you support the repeal of all legal protections and benefits offered to heterosexual sinners. It's that simple.

Author
kaust
Date
2009-12-02T15:39:45-06:00
ID
153898
Comment

You either support equality or not. Amen. Enough trying to stone gay folks from glasshouses. It's. None. of. Your. Business.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-12-02T15:42:18-06:00
ID
153899
Comment

it's funny as this thread goes on that the thread about Jackson being bang for Buck #3 has a discussion about Tiger Woods. Now's there's the grand design of fidelity and sanctity in action.

Author
atlntaexile
Date
2009-12-02T15:43:05-06:00
ID
153901
Comment

Donna we are so on the same page today....it's been a long time. I was just copying that same line to say "Well said Kaust". I can never understand how people make the bible fit into what is right for them. It is what it is. If one chooses to let this book dictate how they choose to live then clearly and without any question WE ARE ALL SINNERS and commit sins DAILY with mounds of enjoyment as a matter of fact. To each his own, I'm not knocking anyone's belief here. But I really wish that Christians would take half a second to evaluate themselves. It would certainly be easy to see that most Christians make judgements about people without faint. Something that I believe the Bible specifically speaks against. Not only that but Christianity-- people, brace yourselves, is one of thousands of religions. Can someone please tell me what makes Christians so certain that everything else is wrong and they are right when there is no evidence to proove that? At the very least accept other people's beliefs whether they are yours or not. That's the only humanitarian thing to do in this case.

Author
Queen601
Date
2009-12-02T15:49:57-06:00
ID
153902
Comment

I wouldn't call it a discussion about Tiger, atl. The point is that we're *not* treating the Woods affair as a big story over local news or anything else. No one is discussing the affair itself. That wouldn't fit over there.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-12-02T15:53:18-06:00
ID
153904
Comment

Right, Queen. And considering that not everyone is a Christian, and that not all Christians agree, it makes no sense to set public policy on some Christians' beliefs. Uh, that's *not* the American way. We're about religious freedom in this country, not about using one guy's religion to tell another guy how to live his damn life. Freedom means just the opposite of thrusting your views on someone else. (pardon the pun).

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-12-02T15:55:54-06:00
ID
153905
Comment

I think of the Bible as a compilation of stories about the Creator's relationship with humankind, regardless, and the Creator's pursuit of humankind in love, regardless. Also, I see the Bible--in total--as a gigantic metaphor for the Creator's never-ending loving pursuit of humankind. Which brings me comfort when I look at my own screwups and those of my fellow humans.

Author
J.T.
Date
2009-12-02T15:57:26-06:00
ID
153911
Comment

Oh! I know Donna, and your right. It would be quite inappropriate to discuss it anywhere, in my opinion, other than a fast comparison to these "pick and choose morals" that exist in our theologies today. Tiger needs to be left alone to deal with this with his wife. But REVDRSTEWART..."G"od ain't dead. The god we made up to support all of our separate view points is certianly on shaky ground but that is inevitable in our evolution. As Paul said..."When I became a man" (or woman as we need to read) I put away childish things. And that goes for the "sandbox" gods......

Author
atlntaexile
Date
2009-12-02T16:05:22-06:00
ID
153915
Comment

good stuff J.T.

Author
atlntaexile
Date
2009-12-02T16:13:25-06:00
ID
153916
Comment

I find comfort in my own personal relationship with my Creator. I don't have or need instructions on how to relate to the Creator because we relate directly to each other. I have sense of right and wrong within my gut that I believe to be what other people call religious. That is where my conviction lies, my joy, my pain, and my stregnth. My spirit lets me know when I'm right and when I'm wrong. I even have a choice on whether I want to listen or not. that's all the guidance I need. I can go to any church and find a connection with God because it is not in the church where my connection lies. it's in my heart. It's my foundation in the Bible that came from my parents that introduced me to the Creator. But it's prayer and inner-spiritualism that created the peace I eventually found in the Creator. I can't take a book full of contradictions and let that be my guide to salvation - or what others consider salvation to be. The only thing that I can trust to be real is my relationship wtih the Creator as it is in my heart. That's it for me. But I don't expect everyone to agree with that. That's fine. My father was a preacher, my brother is a preacher. I was raised in a Christian household. I can't even talk to my mother without hearing something about God before the end of the conversation and that is just fine. Because I know that the Creator is real. Whether you call him Allah, Buddah, God, Jesus, or Creator. There is a force out there that is looking after us. That force could be many things to many people. My point is that I don't care what God you serve. Be true to that God and live righteously. Be kind and good in nature. That's it. How difficult is that? Oh and STOP TELLING ME THAT I"M WRONG BECAUSE WE DIFFER...

Author
Queen601
Date
2009-12-02T16:17:06-06:00
ID
153922
Comment

Queen, Amen!

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2009-12-02T17:35:47-06:00
ID
153924
Comment

I think that alot of the obsession w/ homosexuality would cease if people would quit worrying about the SEX part. For the most part it's just people trying to live peaceful, productive lives like everyone else. And riddle me this Batman, why is it that The right-wing christians seem so obsessed with sex?

Author
prentiss reeves
Date
2009-12-02T18:14:47-06:00
ID
153925
Comment

I'll add an Amen, too, Queen. You are a wise woman. The Bhagavad Gita (Hindu, between 3,000 and 5,000 years old) says that praising God by any name is still praising God. Kind of says it all for me.

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2009-12-02T18:40:37-06:00
ID
153930
Comment

Hi........... we are so on the same page today....it's been a long time. I was just copying that same line to say "Well said Kaust". I can never understand how people make the bible fit into what is right for them. It is what it is. If one chooses to let this book dictate how they choose to live then clearly and without any question WE ARE ALL SINNERS and commit sins DAILY with mounds of enjoyment as a matter of fact. To each his own, I'm not knocking anyone's belief here. But I really wish that Christians would take half a second to evaluate themselves. It would certainly be easy to see that most Christians make judgements about people without faint. Something that I believe the Bible specifically speaks against. Not only that but Christianity-- people, brace yourselves, is one of thousands of religions. Can someone please tell me what makes Christians so certain that everything else is wrong and they are right when there is no evidence to proove that? At the very least accept other people's beliefs whether they are yours or not. That's the only humanitarian thing to do in this case. ========= Marry http://cataractsurgeontoronto.blogspot.com

Author
marry256
Date
2009-12-03T01:04:39-06:00
ID
153956
Comment

Great point atlntaexile. Nietzsche's point was to shock his readers into realizing that the violence and division over matters of religion (none of which we can truly know anything about outside of a personal experience with the divine)had made it so difficult for people to really connect with the spiritual that God may as well be dead. He never said "God does not exist." I have always liked a quote that he makes in his later writings, "I could not believe in a God that does not dance", i.e. take many different forms for different people. I am an Episcopalian by choice. We recently joined the church to support their positions on progressive issues. Anyone on the South or West side come by the Episcopal Church of the Creator in Clinton one Sunday. You won't be disappointed.

Author
revdrstewart
Date
2009-12-03T12:06:48-06:00
ID
153958
Comment

good insight into Nietzsche's famous line - I never knew what he meant by that. Though maybe one congregation I was part of fed my spiritual life, most places I've visited seem to cancel out my experience of the divine, rather than strengthen it. The congregation I loved had only gender-inclusive language relating to God and this made me feel so connected. In worship settings where God is referenced only as male or masculine, never as feminine, I get distracted by that and angered by it. So as a result I lose the thread. I pray often alone in nature or in settings of a musical nature.

Author
Izzy
Date
2009-12-03T12:59:58-06:00
ID
153963
Comment

Is marry256 spam? What is the reposting about?

Author
Queen601
Date
2009-12-03T13:48:29-06:00
ID
153964
Comment

Well, Izzy, you can always order a copy of my book on Nietzsche and lern more fascinating things . . . ;)

Author
revdrstewart
Date
2009-12-03T13:58:04-06:00
ID
153965
Comment

I disagree somewhat with revdrstewart's assessment of Nietzsche's infamous line, "God is dead." Nietzsche's point was that Christianity was no longer a viable foundation for European thought. He believed that Christianity had greatly refined and deepened Western thought, but it had become stifling and life-denying. When he writes of a God that dances, he is contrasting exuberant paganism (Dionysus) with dour protestantism. (Note that Nietzsche's father was a Lutheran minister.) Of course, Nietzsche can be interpreted in many ways. Perhaps the most important point is that his infamous phrase "God is dead" is certainly not an assertion of atheism, which is usually how people understand it.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2009-12-03T14:03:00-06:00
ID
153966
Comment

Can I just say that I love this thread. I didn't know Nietzsche was a PK.

Author
Izzy
Date
2009-12-03T14:07:19-06:00
ID
153999
Comment

Now anyone who says Jackson (or Mississippi for that matter) is full of ignorance is a fool. Look at this, a serious discussion on Nietzsche's transcendentalism! Brian, I do not disagree with your assessment. I think both of our interpretations have good basis in his writings, especially Thus Spoke Zarathustra (a masterpiece of world literature). Nietzsche actually admired Christ himself, what he hated was Paul. He argued that Paul had "tamed" christianity from its radical roots to something acceptable to the Romans and Gentiles. Nietzsche also hated Paul's misogyny and support of slavery. Nietzsche cited Christ as one of his examples of the ubermensch (overman) as he embodied the Dionysian principles with that of the Apolline, challenged authority, and refused to give up his convictions even in the face of torture and death. That is why he said there was "only one true Christian, and He died on the cross." One of the things I love about Nietzsche's writings is that he INTENTIONALLY wrote in a way to provoke different interpretations, so that he could never be pinned down and "fossilized", as he said.

Author
revdrstewart
Date
2009-12-04T13:23:57-06:00

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