Conundrum of American Christianity: Gays

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    Jul 13, 2014 5:55 AM GMT
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    The Rev. Frank Schaefer and his son Tim last month.

    NYT: Father and son had always been close, from the moment Tim Schaefer was born, six weeks premature, with blood poisoning, a weak heart and lungs, and a doctor who thought he would not make it through the night.

    His father, the Rev. Frank Schaefer, a United Methodist minister, thought of his eldest son as a miracle child, saved by some combination of medicine and prayer, saved for something special.

    “We couldn’t even touch him; he was in an incubator, and we had to reach in with latex gloves through those holes in the sides,” Mr. Schaefer said. “I begged God to please save his life.”

    Their bond was such that, years later, facing a choice between upholding his church’s teaching and affirming his son’s sexual orientation, Frank chose to endanger his own career by officiating at his son’s same-sex wedding. The actions that followed — a rebellion in his congregation, a church trial, a defrocking and then, last month, a reinstatement — have made the Schaefers symbols of the conundrum facing much of American Christianity: How does religious doctrine on homosexuality respond to the longings for spirituality and community from congregants and family members who are gay?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/13/us/a-pastor-his-son-and-the-test-of-gay-marriage.html?_r=0
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    Jul 13, 2014 3:06 PM GMT
    How heartworming.
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    Jul 13, 2014 3:56 PM GMT
    It is a heartwarming story but it's interesting that the church continues to have no issue with the divorce, only being gay. Somewhere throughout the history of the church, this must have changed as it is considered wrong by scripture also. This tells me that as society accepts homosexuality, that the church will re-review it's interpretation of the scripture and eventually recognize that there is no choice to being gay and being born gay means that you were in deed created by God in that way. My guess is that eventually the interpretation of debated scripture will end up mirroring them along the lines of debauchery and drunkenness rather than based solely on sexual orientation.

    Anyone who grew up in the church or a family that was closely associated with the church has endured the struggles that this man had growing up, hiding his true self and struggling with how to come out or just give it all up. A tough spot for both he and his dad.
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    Jul 13, 2014 4:15 PM GMT
    Jack_NNJ saidHow heartworming.



    icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif
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    Jul 13, 2014 4:28 PM GMT
    Jack_NNJ saidHow heartworming.


    Two suggestions. Put your shirt back on and close your mouth, because no one wants to see either exposed.
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    Jul 13, 2014 4:41 PM GMT
    i like how men get to say what god wants and to keep changing their mind about that. super convenient ;)

    eating shrimp is a conundrum for them too, eh? oh right, god wasn't super serious about that one, you guys! L OH L.
  • Lincsbear

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    Jul 13, 2014 4:43 PM GMT
    A very interesting story.

    Christianity, and all religions, have their many 'conundrums' down the centuries as theology and practice evolve, and the church`s views change. No religion stays exactly the same. The church pesents itself as a bastion of eternal truth but its history shows otherwise.

    I`d love to see the day when the pope announces his church will accept women priests, and all those clever cardinals, bishops, and priests will argue so passionately and with such intellect for the policy....when they had done the reverse so recently!

    It`s always heartening to see individuals follow their conscience, rather than the conventions of their church or society generally; that they`ve really considered these matters.

    The one in the UK that`s really growing is assisted dying/voluntary euthanasia as an ex-Archbishop of Canterbury has come out and talked of being much more sympathetic to the practice, and how the church needs to have a more open and honest debate on the subject(having previously held throughout its history that human life is absolute in all circumstances).
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    Jul 13, 2014 4:43 PM GMT
    Once I learned to love myself I stopped looking to my religion, my family, my "friends," my government for validation. I left religion behind; I don't care what my family and friends think of my homosexuality, and all I want from my government is to be treated as fairly and as equally as any other citizen.

    We have to stop looking to others for validation.
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    Jul 13, 2014 5:52 PM GMT
    JackBoneTX saidi like how men get to say what god wants and to keep changing their mind about that. super convenient ;)

    eating shrimp is a conundrum for them too, eh? oh right, god wasn't super serious about that one, you guys! L OH L.


    Maybe because god didn't say half the shit that's been attributed to him/her/it?
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    Jul 13, 2014 6:01 PM GMT
    Lincsbear said...

    It`s always heartening to see individuals follow their conscience, rather than the conventions of their church or society generally; that they`ve really considered these matters.

    ...


    It would be interesting to know what his conscience would have told him to do if the man who approached him to perform a same sex marriage wasn't his son but a total stranger? Would he have followed his conscience and risk his livelihood for a total stranger? Did he REALLY consider the matter until it hit close to home? Doesn't seem to be the case. I'm not so impressed.
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    Jul 13, 2014 6:30 PM GMT
    American Christians cannot hear you.

    The sound of Revelation is too loud.

    What sound of Revelation?

    The revelation that Christianity is the Roman Empire's Emperor Cults of Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian as they try to invent a Jewish based religion to have the Jews recognize the Star Prophecy, not fulfilled by Jesus was fulfilled by Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian.
  • Lincsbear

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    Jul 13, 2014 7:05 PM GMT
    [quote][cite]UndercoverMan said[/cite]
    Lincsbear said...

    It`s always heartening to see individuals follow their conscience, rather than the conventions of their church or society generally; that they`ve really considered these matters.

    ...


    It would be interesting to know what his conscience would have told him to do if the man who approached him to perform a same sex marriage wasn't his son but a total stranger? Would he have followed his conscience and risk his livelihood for a total stranger? Did he REALLY consider the matter until it hit close to home? Doesn't seem to be the case. I'm not so impressed.[/quote

    It`s better he realized what he had to do through his family than not at all, that it prompted self-reflection on the subject, however late; that he has come to see total strangers (who are like his son) in a more forgiving and humane light); though, like you say, to do that for a total stranger would be most impressive. I`ve seen a number of professional church men turn their backs on gay relatives for their beliefs.

    The five years I spent as a full time carer for my elderly mother really deepened my thoughts on the subject of assisted dying/voluntary euthanasia.

    Maybe some people need to see these abstract issues made more immediate?
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    Jul 13, 2014 7:12 PM GMT
    The case against homosexuality in the Bible is incredibly weak. It's easier to justify slavery based on the words of the Bible, and divorce is absolutely impossible according to Jesus - and yet many Christians behave as if that's not a big deal.

    Homosexuality and Christianity are not in conflict, and the various churches could just toss their opinions in the matter aside like they did with flat earth theories (also explained by "but the Bible says...").
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    Jul 13, 2014 7:19 PM GMT
    Thanks for posting, that was touchingicon_smile.gificon_biggrin.gif
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    Jul 13, 2014 7:25 PM GMT
    UndercoverMan said
    JackBoneTX saidi like how men get to say what god wants and to keep changing their mind about that. super convenient ;)

    eating shrimp is a conundrum for them too, eh? oh right, god wasn't super serious about that one, you guys! L OH L.


    Maybe because god didn't say half the shit that's been attributed to him/her/it?


    Yep. It's painfully obvious in many instances.
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    Jul 13, 2014 10:05 PM GMT
    I really don't understand why people make this such a big deal. It's against the Christian religion to be gay. It has been for centuries. I believe it is a sin to be gay, I'm catholic, but I do still believe I'm going to heaven. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has ever sinned. Well there is my response. Sorry if you read this and it annoyed you
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    Jul 14, 2014 12:03 AM GMT
    UndercoverMan saidOnce I learned to love myself I stopped looking to my religion, my family, my "friends," my government for validation. I left religion behind; I don't care what my family and friends think of my homosexuality, and all I want from my government is to be treated as fairly and as equally as any other citizen.

    We have to stop looking to others for validation.


    Better check your privilege, friend.
  • FRE0

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    Jul 14, 2014 1:04 AM GMT
    Jack_NNJ saidHow heartworming.


    Did you intentionally write "heart worming" instead of "heart warming?"
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    Jul 14, 2014 1:23 AM GMT
    The conondrum is never with God. He never changes. He's the same, has been the same and will always remain the same. It's simply put that a certain peope have the gaul to make God fit current social norm instead of molding the social norm around him. In general, the world has moved beyond a point of falling short and into a realm of blatent disregard. The church isn't even church, but a social club house in which, a man, toots his own ideals, and the few bumblers in the crowd, that follow suit, mess it up because they choose to follow the delusions of a religious nazi. God's about relationship, not bigotry. Genuine heartfelt interaction with his kids. This man followed the most important command Christ gave, by showing unwavering love for his son. The sexual orientation of someone else is nonessential to our purpose. It's Love that keeps us in line with God's will.
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    Jul 14, 2014 1:27 AM GMT
    The Rt. Rev. Walter Righter, a retired Episcopal bishop, ordained a gay man (not his son, not even sure it was someone he knew well) IN 1989!! He risked his pension and his vocation, but he did it anyway.

    He was brought up on charges within the church and branded a heretic (a word he later put on his license plate) but was later not found guilty, and the conversation about ordaining gay clergy progressed until the point when - in 2003 - we ordained a gay bishop. Two years ago we passed a resolution stating that being transgender should not, on its own, be a barrier to ordination either.

    Marriage has been a harder road. In 2012 we adopted a "provisional rite of blessing" for same-gender couples. Two-thirds of the 100 dioceses are using it but they were intentionally not calling it "marriage" even though everybody knows clergy can and do perform the civil marriage function for the couples at the same time. We're hoping our next convention in 2015 sees adoption of universal standards for all couples.

    The church is changing on this issue, just as society is changing. Remember it was still illegal to have gay sex in many places until just a few years ago.

    Much as it did with race, the church will end up having to ask for forgiveness for the harm it caused. That is already happening.

    What has been interesting to watch is that it is the same people who fought women's ordination and other changes who are fighting this. They are terrified of any change that upsets the entitled white male straight cisgender status quo. Many of them have left our church, I am supposed to pray that we can reconcile, I won't lie and say that's easy.


    UndercoverMan said
    Lincsbear said...

    It`s always heartening to see individuals follow their conscience, rather than the conventions of their church or society generally; that they`ve really considered these matters.

    ...


    It would be interesting to know what his conscience would have told him to do if the man who approached him to perform a same sex marriage wasn't his son but a total stranger? Would he have followed his conscience and risk his livelihood for a total stranger? Did he REALLY consider the matter until it hit close to home? Doesn't seem to be the case. I'm not so impressed.
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    Jul 14, 2014 2:29 AM GMT
    themachine saidThe case against homosexuality in the Bible is incredibly weak. It's easier to justify slavery based on the words of the Bible, and divorce is absolutely impossible according to Jesus - and yet many Christians behave as if that's not a big deal.

    Homosexuality and Christianity are not in conflict, and the various churches could just toss their opinions in the matter aside like they did with flat earth theories (also explained by "but the Bible says...").


    The Book of Revelation's Living, Lord God (Emperor Domitian

    preview-1154.jpg

    who couldn't wait until he died to be deified by the Senate, so he self-deified himself as the Living God) was against homosexuality.

    "Despite his own lack of moral values, he attempted to raise the standards of public morality by forbidding male castration, admonishing senators who practiced homosexuality..."


    http://www.ancient.eu.com/domitian/


    Homosexuality and Christianity ARE in conflict.


    The last word of God in the Bible, The Book of Revelation written by, or on behalf of, or under the direction of Lord God (the Oz behind Christianity's curtain is none other than Emperor Domitian--at odds with the Christianity of his father and brother, Father and Son of the Christian Trinity.
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    Jul 14, 2014 2:59 AM GMT
    For me, the article story illuminates one of two things. First, that his gay son causes him to rethink what it means to be a Christian because he loves his son more than anything. Second, is God moving in mysterious way to reveal to the gay son's father what it means to be a Christian?
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    Jul 14, 2014 3:04 AM GMT
    woodsmen saidFor me, the article story illuminates one of two things. First, that his gay son causes him to rethink what it means to be a Christian because he loves his son more than anything. Second, is God moving in mysterious way to reveal to the gay son's father what it means to be a Christian?


    AND it caused the church leadership to rethink the absoluteness of its prior ruling. I wonder if it mattered at all that in the time since they deposed him, the Presbyterian General Assembly voted in favor of marriage equality (still has to be voted by all the local synods before it goes into effect) but of the mainline protestant churches the UMC was falling behind.
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    Jul 14, 2014 3:35 AM GMT
    artstrength77 saidThe conondrum is never with God. He never changes. He's the same, has been the same and will always remain the same. It's simply put that a certain peope have the gaul to make God fit current social norm instead of molding the social norm around him. In general, the world has moved beyond a point of falling short and into a realm of blatent disregard. The church isn't even church, but a social club house in which, a man, toots his own ideals, and the few bumblers in the crowd, that follow suit, mess it up because they choose to follow the delusions of a religious nazi. God's about relationship, not bigotry. Genuine heartfelt interaction with his kids. This man followed the most important command Christ gave, by showing unwavering love for his son. The sexual orientation of someone else is nonessential to our purpose. It's Love that keeps us in line with God's will.


    Then how do you reconcile the following (attributed to Jesus) with what you just said?

    "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law--a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.' Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."
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    Jul 14, 2014 3:45 AM GMT
    UndercoverMan said
    artstrength77 saidThe conondrum is never with God. He never changes. He's the same, has been the same and will always remain the same. It's simply put that a certain peope have the gaul to make God fit current social norm instead of molding the social norm around him. In general, the world has moved beyond a point of falling short and into a realm of blatent disregard. The church isn't even church, but a social club house in which, a man, toots his own ideals, and the few bumblers in the crowd, that follow suit, mess it up because they choose to follow the delusions of a religious nazi. God's about relationship, not bigotry. Genuine heartfelt interaction with his kids. This man followed the most important command Christ gave, by showing unwavering love for his son. The sexual orientation of someone else is nonessential to our purpose. It's Love that keeps us in line with God's will.


    Then how do you reconcile the following (attributed to Jesus) with what you just said?

    "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law--a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.' Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."


    That was the Gospel for June 22nd. Great sermon about it here, which even kinda ties into our conversation.

    http://walkingwithintegrity.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-rev-william-h-terry-not-peace-but.html