Letter to an Anti-Gay Relative

A person recently asked for sample letters to convince an anti-gay Christian that they were wrong. I don’t think that is likely to help, so I submitted this…

Dear Uncle Luke,

I think you know you are very special and important to me. If you were not, I would not be sending you this letter. I think you also know we disagree on how God views homosexuals, though I used to totally agree with your perspective.

I used to disapprove of gays (the old word for all LGBTs), but I now affirm them. I wish I could say my change came through a flash of insight and understanding such as Paul had on the road to Damascus, but it did not. It was a cautious, step-by-step process for me.

I grew up assuming that God disapproved not only gay behavior but gays themselves. God was a forgiving God, but anyone who ‘chose’ to be so ‘perverted’, and who refused to give it up, was perpetually defying God’s laws. How could God forgive constant sin?

I knew about their depraved ‘lifestyles’. Just think of Sodom—or Paul’s description in Romans. Their depravity was obvious to me.

However, I didn’t actually know any gay people. There were no gays at my school (right?). There were no gays in my church (right?). And there were no gays at my Christian College (RIGHT?). It was not an issue I really thought about much because it did not immediately concern me or any of my acquaintances. I just accepted assumptions I had absorbed from church.

But it was at my Christian college that my assumptions were first challenged.

The Lord is My Shepherd and He Knows I'm Gay

The Lord is My Shepherd and He Knows I’m Gay

I loved to poke around the religion section of the college library. I learned so much and discovered so many new things. One day while browsing through the stacks I ran across a book titled ‘The Lord is My Shepherd and He Knows I’m Gay’. It was written by a gay minister who was kicked out of three denominations—including mine. Why the book was in our conservative college library, I have no idea.

The author’s name was Troy Perry. His story was so sad—and so human. He did not resemble my image of perverted gay people at all. He seemed to genuinely love God and wanted to preach the good news of Jesus, but three denomination threw him out. After much discouragement and travail, he started a little church that would accept gays. He called it the Metropolitan Church; and that church grew into a new denomination.

Wow! Was this ever a challenge to what I thought about gays! The book was not a sudden flash of insight that changed my mind but did make me think about the issue—which I had never done before.

Years later, I read another shocking biography: ‘Stranger at the Gate’ by Mel White. I knew very well who Mel White was—he was a conservative Christian political activist who was very involved in developing the Moral Majority in the 1980s. He worked with the major Moral Majority leaders, and his name was well-known to those who followed such things.

In the book, Mel describes his coming out as gay and immediately being ostracized by the Moral Majority. He, like Troy, seemed a genuine, human person who wanted to do the right thing. He caused me to deliberate further on the issue of Christian gays and to seek other books on gays and Christianity.

One writer insisted that Jesus supported gays. When pressed for proof they stated that Jesus’ entire demeanor was inclusiveness. Well, this is true but it did not convince me. What if Jesus did NOT approve of gays? Other writers suggested some gay relationships affirmed in the Bible: David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, and Jesus’ affirmation of the centurion’s gay relationship with his servant. As much as I wanted them to be, these cases seemed unconvincing to me—they still do.

The Clobber Passages

Along the way, I learned about intersex births, where the sexual organs are completely ambiguous, and the doctor or parents must make arbitrary decisions on whether the infant is male or female. This made a big impact on me—individual sexuality is not so clear-cut after all!

I knew that God was loving and accepting, and my empathy and compassion pulled me toward acceptance; but the major concern for me were the biblical ‘clobber passages’ that condemned homosexuality. I could not act contrary to what the Bible taught on the subject.

I studied them all and concluded that none of them said what I thought they said.

I also read books by two other gay Christians, Justin Lee (Torn) and Matthew Vines (God and the Gay Christian) who both came across a genuine dedicated believers, and who both did great jobs exposing the clobber passages.

My Final Conclusion

I did not want to be mistaken and accept what Jesus did not but decided I could either err on the side of caution or I could err on the side of love, compassion, and inclusion as Jesus did. So I chose to discard my inherited assumptions and prejudices and follow love, compassion, and inclusion.

I did not make the change quickly or easily, but between the weakness of the clobbers and the constant example of Jesus’ inclusion, I committed to full affirmation. Since then I have studied even further and am completely convinced that I made the right choice—the one that Jesus would make—full affirmation.

I now strongly believe the clobber passages are without merit—all of them. If you are interested, I discuss each of them on my Blog Resource Page on Gays and the Church, which also includes articles by others and additional resources. I hope you reconsider your rejection and condemnation of LGBTs. And feel free to continue this conversation if you wish.

I love you, Uncle Luke, and wish the best for you.

Jesus without Baggage exists to assist and support those questioning beliefs they have been taught in fundamentalist, traditional evangelical, and other groups. If you know someone who might find Jesus without Baggage helpful, feel free to send them the introductory page: About Jesus without Baggage.

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45 Responses to Letter to an Anti-Gay Relative

  1. tonycutty says:

    Brilliant. What a testimony!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Doug Stratton says:

    Thank you, this is very helpful and mirrors my own journey. The tapes of my youth still rise to haunt me, but a commitment to a welcoming Jesus slowly is lowering the volume of the tapes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Doug, it is often surprising to learn how many people have had journeys such as ours on this issue. And, Yes! Those old tapes can be very powerful; but they can eventually fade away completely.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jesse Irvine says:

    Thanks Uncle Luke 🙌… Jesus just wants you to be happy fam. Wants the world to be kind to each other, no matter who it entails.. the law is this.. hate👎🏻.. acceptance👍🏻.. there is no dogma with that guy😂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. newtonfinn says:

    Extremely effective “letter,” Tim, deftly employing the art of gentle persuasion, an approach which has sadly given way these days to verbal bullying and shouting matches. In my own case, I was lucky enough to become the close friend of several gay people in early adulthood and came to realize that they had been born with this orientation, that it was not a choice but rather a part of who they were. Once you accept that simple fact, you’re left with essentially two options. The first is that God made mistakes in creating such human beings (or created them only to sin and suffer); the second is that sexual orientation is like skin color or hair color or eye color or right or left handedness, etc., and that God chose variety instead of uniformity when He created human sexuality, along with the rest of this miraculously multifaceted world.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Thanks, Newton. I am glad you had a few gay friends; I am sure that made your acceptance easier. In fact, I did have a gay friend in high school–I just didn’t know it. In fact, it seems he didn’t know it either until a few years later. But when I did find out about it even more years later I was able to accept him as gay right away.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. michaeleeast says:

    Tim, As a gay Christian I can assure you that you have made the right choice.
    My experience of God is that He does not discriminate at all.
    I am loved as well as, if not better than, others.
    God requites our love and His love is steadfast and faithful.
    It is important that voices contradictory to prejudice and hate are heard.
    It is not good to be told that God hates you.(Or you hate God).
    This is extremely damaging and a tragedy of our modern world.
    So I keep reiterating that God loves His gay sons and daughters.
    I know that this is true. Because God loves me.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Dennis Wade says:

    Tim, i agree with Newtonfinn when he says “deftly employing the art of gentle persuasion, an approach which has sadly given way these days to verbal bullying and shouting matches.”
    This post goes beyond advocating for acceptance and extension of God’s love for “gay christians”; it is also an amazing example of how to communicate with the negativity and opposition of others, being able to clearly present your case without giving in to a judgemental attitude. Often I feel so tempted to thump self-righteous believers with the same harsh attitude that they throw at me and others, forgetting that by doing so I become just like them. Thank you for this reminder and example!
    On another note, a couple of years ago I had a part-time job washing dishes in a local restaurant. The owner was a woman who was originally from Trinidad, and in the process of working for her we became good friends. She is a very positive and kindhearted person who has often been discriminated against by others not only because she is black, but also because she is gay, and yet she is always finding ways to reach out to others and bring benefit. Last week I got an email from her telling me about her exciting news. She has been in a relationship with another woman who just asked her to marry her. In her words, “I am completely and utterly over the moon with excitement. Who would have thought that i would find this love at my age!” I am so thrilled that she accepts me enough to want to invite me to their wedding!
    Just think: if I was trapped in the narrow, unaccepting attitude of legalism that so many find themselves trapped in, I would miss out on sharing her joy at finding a loving partner to share her life with!

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Dennis, I definitely agree with both Newton and you that “verbal bullying and shouting matches” are NOT the way to have discussion–on any subject, though discussion can sometimes become very frustrating. And “thump[ing] self-righteous believers with the same harsh attitude that they throw at me and others” doesn’t get us anywhere either.

      I am glad you are able to participate in the joy and happiness of your friend at this important point in her life!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Cheryel Lemley-McRoy says:

    As a former conservative Christian I had the same slow eye opening change if mind. TORN by Justin Lee was a game changer for me.
    Then in 2016 the UMC GNC conducted listening sessions all over the US. The following is the statement I delivered to my local session. I share it if it helps anyone, feel free to use.
    “The Crossroads of Science and Scripture”
    > Cheryel Lemley-McRoy, Methodist Lay Servant, Detroit Charge, NE Texas
    > UMC 2016 General Conference Delegate Listening Session, FUMC, Rockwall,
    > Texas
    > April 3, 2016
    >
    > Psalm 93:1 (KJV)
    > “The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with
    > strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished,
    > that it cannot be moved.”
    >
    > Psalm 104:5 (KJV)
    > “Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for
    > ever.”
    >
    > Based on these and other scriptures, the Church in the 16th and 17th
    > centuries censored Nicolaus Copernicus, banished Galileo Galilei, and
    > burned Giordano Bruno at the stake.
    >
    > In 1633 Galileo Galilei was convicted of grave suspicion of heresy for
    > “following the position of Copernicus, which is contrary to the true sense
    > and authority of Holy Scripture”.”
    >
    > But centuries later, we now know the scientists were right, and that we
    > had taken the poetry of the Psalms as science, and not for the poetic
    > license it is.
    >
    > Ecclesiastes 10:2 (KJV)
    > “A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.”
    >
    > This and other references to the left hand in the Bible were cited for
    > centuries by the Church for its teaching that left handed people were
    > demonic and had the left hand of Satan. Left handed people were persecuted;
    > their left hands sometimes cruelly cut off.  Parents hid or rejected their
    > left handed children. Even in the last century reparative therapy was
    > practiced on left handed children. And even though science has proven that
    > being left handed is either genetic or biological in origin, and that to
    > try to change a child sometimes results in cognitive damage, superstitions
    > persist to this day.
    >
    > So throughout history when science makes a discovery that seems to
    > contradict the Bible, the Church historically has rejected science and
    > continued in ignorance for sometimes centuries until it is proven that the
    > Church has in fact mistranslated or misinterpreted the Bible.
    >
    > We have not always been welcoming to genetic minorities, birth defects, or
    > gene mutations.  There were times and eras in history where I would be
    > standing before you pleading for my life, and declaring to you that I was
    > not a witch simply because I’m a red head.  But not today because now we
    > know science tells us that my red hair is a gene mutation and not the
    > result of the occult.  There was a time when we kept African American
    > slaves, and justified it because we believed they were genetically
    > inferior.  We have historically ostracized minorities for religious
    > superstitions.
    >
    >
    > We may shake our heads about the ignorance of the historical Church in
    > these matters, but the church is once more presented with the dilemma of
    > making a choice between science and scripture.
    >
    > Many Christians wonder why, at this point in history, gay people are
    > coming out of the closet, no longer ashamed, demanding respect, equality,
    > and civil rights. One answer is science. Science is telling them that there
    > is nothing wrong with them; that they’re a biological minority.
    >
    > Science today tells us that being gay is either genetic or biological in
    > nature, and current studies hypothesize that homosexuality is the result of
    > prenatal maternal hormone levels that either deprive a male fetus of
    > testosterone, or overdose a female fetus.  And that when a female brain is
    > born with male genitals, or a male brain with female genitals, the result
    > is a gestational anomaly known commonly as transgender.  So science is
    > telling us that being gay or transgender is not a choice, nor the result of
    > a depraved mind, but a natural phenomena.
    >
    > So what do we do with all the scriptures that tell us homosexuality is an
    > abomination?  Do we learn from our history and go back to the Bible and
    > “scrutamini scripturas”: search, examine, and scrutinize our translations?
    > Are we afraid to learn that we have mistranslated and misinterpreted the
    > scriptures?  Do we hold our Church traditions so sacred that we cannot see
    > that we may be wrong? Are we afraid to learn that we have persecuted a part
    > of Christ’s Body with ignorance and prejudice?
    >
    > Haven’t we learned that science is the study and discovery of how God
    > created the natural order?  Physics? Biology? Mathematics? Astronomy?
    > Aren’t those all studies of the workings of the hand of God?  We must not
    > fear science. Science may seem to contradict the Bible, but it never
    > contradicts God. It affirms and reveals His mighty hand, and His awesome
    > creative powers.
    >
    > Will future generations of Christians shake their heads at our ignorance
    > of scripture and science? Will they be appalled, as we are when we read how
    > the ancient Church treated scientists and genetic minorities?  Today the
    > Church’s treatment of the LGBTQ community is appalling, and downright
    > un-Christlike.  But one of the fastest growing communities in America is
    > that of the gay churches. I shake my head in wonder that people who have
    > been treated so badly by the Church can worship the God we preach. Just as
    > African American slaves embraced the God of the Bible even while white
    > Christians were criminal in their treatment of them.
    >
    >  Did we change our stance on heliocentrism, left handed people, genetic
    > minorities, slavery, women’s rights because we wanted to be politically
    > correct? No we changed because it was the right thing to do. It was the
    > scientifically correct thing to do. It was the scripturally correct thing
    > to do.
    >
    > So what is the Church to do now that we are confronted with data from the
    > scientific community that is seemingly contradictory to scripture? We are
    > at a crossroads that we have been at before in history.  But this time let
    > us not turn our heads and close our eyes to people for whom Christ died.
    > We have a growing crisis in America of a high suicide rate amongst LGBTQ
    > children. They cannot wait for us to wake up to the reality of this needy
    > mission field. We cannot delay to recognize them for who they are, people
    > who are fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image. Our mission as
    > Christians stands at the crossroads of science and scripture.
    >
    Cheryel Lemley-McRoy”

    Liked by 3 people

  8. sheila0405 says:

    I read Matthew Vine’s & Justin Lee’s books. I think Justin’s “Torn” is a must-read for every anti-gay believer. I wept as I read it.

    Great post, Tim!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. theotherlestrangegirl says:

    I recently had a very moving experience about this very thing. My husband’s cousin/best friend, Jake, is a gay man who just married his partner. While most of my in-laws are very accepting and loving, one person that was not was Jake’s stepfather Robert.

    Robert raised Jake (and his brother) from the time they were children, but they clashed and fought for years and years. That all came to a head when Jake officially “came out,” and Robert kicked Jake out of the house. Jake was never allowed to return home after that, and he did not get to see the other members of his family because of it.

    Just a couple of weeks ago, Robert unexpectedly passed away. While condolences were passing through the family, my husband called Jake to see how he was doing. He said he was shocked to find Jake crying. He asked Jake why and said he figured he wouldn’t feel too upset over Robert’s passing, given their history and the shoddy way Robert treated him. Jake said, though, that he learned a lot from Robert because some people are there to teach us what NOT to do.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Strange Girl, this story is sooo touching–a tear jerker. It appears that it was Jake who embraced the good in the situation and in Robert. Thanks for sharing this.

      Like

  10. necron48 says:

    Did you just seriously delete my comment because you didn’t agree with it?

    Wow!! I guess you leftists liberals really are disgusting cowards who endorse filth and perversion like sodomy and transsexualism

    I do not subscribe to ANY blogger who is a COWARD and who is against free speech

    Good riddance you faggot enabler

    Liked by 2 people

    • theotherlestrangegirl says:

      Wow, seriously? You just said you don’t want to be like the right wingers that show no love, acceptance, and tolerance. Yet you show no love, acceptance, or tolerance, and you bring vulgarity and hateful speech here. You’re spouting off like a spoiled child, so I’d recommend doing that elsewhere. You won’t find anyone to validate you here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • necron48 says:

        I take very seriously those who cowardly delete comments because that is against free speech

        I may have overreacted but I’m entirely happy with what I wrote in the original comment that got deleted, and if indeed it was deleted because of personal bias then what does that say about YOUR tolerance and “love”?

        It seems that only a pro gay sentiment is allowed here on this blog, and only a pro gay “tolerance” is allowed, which I find hypocritical

        And if I’m wrong about Jesus Without Baggage then I will personally apologize to him

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Necron, you said: “I take very seriously those who cowardly delete comments because that is against free speech…It seems that only a pro gay sentiment is allowed here on this blog, and only a pro gay “tolerance” is allowed, which I find hypocritical.”

          I DID NOT delete any of your comments. And I believe in free speech, which means that a person has the right to say whatever they wish. However, deleting comments is not a violation of free speech even if I had done it. Free speech is protected, but the reasonable consequences of free speech is not–deletion is a possible consequence (though nothing was deleted). Please read the posted comment policy at the top of the page.

          Your assumption is also mistaken that we do not welcome comments that disagree with us. In fact, I welcome those who disagree and wish to dialog about it. You are welcome to continue commenting here, but you might want to consider a few things:

          1. Be careful of your snap assumptions of other commenters and unfounded accusations.
          2. Try to maintain a friendly demeanor.
          3. Calm down a little bit.

          With those things in mind, I would be happy if you became a regular commenter.

          Like

          • necron48 says:

            I feel like an idiot now. Looks like I was completely wrong about everything and I will heed your advice next time I comment so as not to embarrass myself any further
            Thank you for allowing me on your blog when I was such a hothead
            It won’t happen again

            Liked by 2 people

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Necron, you need not worry about it further; all of us get ahead of ourselves sometimes and feel like ‘idiots’ later. But just to let you know, this comment group is a very welcoming group. Agreement is not at all required, though attitude is important. I look forward to your further interactions.

            Like

        • theotherlestrangegirl says:

          It’s nice of you to apologize. I wanted to say it’s possible that your first comment simply didn’t post, even if you clicked “post” and everything. Sometimes that happens to me, I don’t know why, but it seems to be just an occasional computer glitch.

          Beyond that, I would encourage you to be kinder in your word choices. You can certainly share whatever views you have, but turning to anger and insults won’t get you anywhere. I’m sure you know that by now, but I say that as someone myself who used to respond to fundamentalists with anger and insults. I still have no love for fundamentalism, but I have learned a great deal about responding with love and understanding first.

          Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Strange Girl, what can I say but that I think your response is right on target

        Like

    • Dennis Wade says:

      Sorry, i accidently clicked on the “like” button by mistake. I cannot possibly like your comment because it misses the spirit that this whole post on gays was written in.
      Neither God nor Jesus have hate in their hearts for anyone, and neither should you.
      I say this in all kindness: you seem to be suffering from the same negative emotions that you condemn so quickly in fundamentalists, and i think it would do you well to meditate on Matthew 7:5. Please take this to heart.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Dennis, I was kind of thining the same thing: “you seem to be suffering from the same negative emotions that you condemn so quickly in fundamentalists”

        Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Necron, I am not sure what you mean. I am the only one who can delete comments and I have not deleted any of your comment. I thought perhaps a comment was caught in the spam catcher, but fortunately you re-posted it below so I know which one you were talking about. It WAS NOT deleted–and now it is on here twice,

      By the way, I am not a coward or against free speech; but I don’t appreciate language like ‘faggot enabler’.

      Like

  11. necron48 says:

    By the way here is the ORIGINAL comment I posted before you cowardly deleted it:

    “I utterly despise right wing fundamentalists and their legalistic, self righteous, sanctimonious garbage and I have exposed them many, many times in comments, blogs etc

    All they do is finger point, judge and condemn others, but they show no love, acceptance or tolerance

    However, I must say this: I am having a hard time reconciling my own views on gays with what the bible says
    I often waver between 1: either being too soft and tolerant of the gay lifestyle, even though I know what the bible says about them or 2: being like the right wing fanatics who I despise, and ending up showing no love with my manner of speech towards them

    I seem to sit in the middle now, and I’ve kind of adopted a position of, that it’s NOT a sin to be attracted to the same sex, and that God loves gay people as much as straight people….but that they should not express their attraction sexually, that’s when it becomes a problem and offends God….I’ve always believed that the “anus” is a sewer pipe designed to expel feces, and it is not to be used as a receptacle for the penis, I know that sounds really gross, but I think it’s meant to gross us out so that we don’t ever do it, that’s the “abomination” part that God is talking about.

    When the bible talks about Rom 1:27  ……………”and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet” I believe it’s talking about the natural consequences of diseases the human body will get for indulging in anal sex. It’s not so much that God is punishing them, it’s more of the fact that the anus is extremely filthy and YOU WILL get diseases for violating it’s natural use. The massive rise of Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and A.I.D.S amongst gay men is merely the fruit of that lifestyle. And I do not laugh at their pain and suffering when they get those diseases….it is our Christian duty to show love and compassion to everyone, no matter what their lifestyle is

    Do I hate gays?, NO!!, do I have gay friends? YES!! do I judge them? NO!!! but at the same time, I don’t pretend that the “acting out” of that same sex attraction isn’t deeply offensive and repugnant

    Perhaps this issue in the body of Christ will never be solved, it is a deeply divisive issue, but it seems to have put the spotlight on harsh, uncaring Christians and their nasty treatment of gays, whilst they conveniently overlook their own sins……..at the same time it has exposed the LGBTQ movement for aggressively promoting behavior that God is against. I mean honestly, do we as Christians who name the name of Christ want to see a society where 2 gay men can get married and are encouraged to raise little children? with NO mothers??

    If we as Christians find no problem with that, I think we should evaluate whether we are even Christians to be honest. Whether we like it or not, love has boundaries, and true love does not endorse wickedness

    Anyway that’s my 2 cents

    Like

    • Dennis Wade says:

      Necron48, you have raised some important issues in your post. And although you did get comments about your “attitude”, something we all occasionally fall into, I know I speak for all of us when i say that it is not necessary for you to be in total agreement with the positions taken in this blog. We are all here because we have a sincere desire to better understand how to follow Jesus and what He actually did teach.
      This topic is a BIG one, and I. too, still battle with what you said at the end of your post:
      “Whether we like it or not, love has boundaries, and true love does not endorse wickedness.”
      I will be honest and admit that watching two people of the same sex show displays of affection for each other publicly makes me very uncomfortable. But is my uncomfortableness due to them being wrong and “wicked”, or is it my problem?
      I know I dislike the anger and hatred towards gays that i see in both strict religious people and in a lot of straight society, and gay-bashing is just another form of bullying. We are talking about people that God loves and Jesus lived and died for, so having anger and hatred towards them is something that we cannot allow ourselves .

      I often think there is an even bigger question at work here: do we have the right to pass judgement on others, to act as moral police and tell others how they should be living?
      Or is that something that we should leave up to God?
      I can’t think of any moral issue that doesn’t find good-hearted people choosing to stand on opposite sides for various reasons. Sometimes those reasons are well thought out and sometimes it’s just a gut-response. It’s not easy having a moral compass in this life.
      As Christians we are told that we should just follow the Bible, because it’s the infallible Word of God, but whenever we try to do that we are left with the question as to whose interpretation of the Bible we are going to follow. Everybody seems to have a different way of understanding even what looks like the simplest and clearest verses.
      When you look at it in this light, then you begin to understand that of course we are going to have disagreements and different opinions.
      I really don’t have a quick and easy solution to a lot of these questions, but there is a way that I have found to live with them. I think about all of the teachings that Jesus gave on not judging others, and how having a hard and judging heart leads to a rigid, unforgiving and legalistic attitude and makes us hypocrites.
      I think about how this hard attitude causes me to feel “righteous anger” towards those who I see a wrong and makes me want to give them what I think they deserve, and how there is no room for compassion, empathy and forgiveness in this attitude. This mind doesn’t want to forgive; it wants to judge!
      And I think about what Jesus taught about how God allows the tares to grow right along with the wheat until it is time for Him to separate them.
      Him, and NOT me.
      I still don’t have a clear answer to a lot of these questions, but I always feel more peace and well-being when I allow myself to “err on the side of love”. Kindness and acceptance gives me more joy than judging others does.
      I do find issues that I am willing to take a stand against, but even there I find that unless someone is in direct danger of being harmed or killed, most of the time what is called for is making sure that I am doing my best to act from a loving heart and trying to set a good example.
      So, i guess in the end, my moral compass is kindness and acceptance.
      And I trust that Jesus is more than capable of clearly seeing who is right or wrong on these issues, and that no one will be able to defend their wrongdoings when they stand before Him.

      Liked by 3 people

  12. jesuswithoutbaggage says:

    Necron, I am keeping both of these identical comments from you. It was not necessary to post it again, though, because it was never deleted.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Douglas E. Burns says:

    I was interested in the banner of your blog. In Matthew these words that Jesus spoke are in the context of a deep call for repentance. In the beatitudes Jesus emphasizes, “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. blessed are those that mourn for they will be comforted” your banner on your page is often taken out of context. Jesus said those words, in a segment on confession and and repentance. I find there is very little mourning of sin whether it be people on the left or people on the right. No matter how many gymnastics anyone does, all mention of homosexual behavior in the scripture is negative, except in in Corinthians where Paul says, “this is what some of you were” redemptively putting the behavior in the past. In the letter you spoke of some that argue that Ruth and Naomi had a gay experience. They were mother in law and daughter in law; is this where are dialogue has come to. I am a broken person and must confess and repent of my sinful thoughts and behavior, and I believe the same for those tempted towards homosexual behavior. I’m sure I’ll be castigated for my next comment. What of child orientation, pedophilia, do those that deal with that not feel that it is their orientation, that they honestly love children, but we know that it is a deep brokenness. Society has come to a time when it trusts it’s own constructs more that the Natural, Moral and Revealed Word of God. I say this not at all in Judgement, but in the depth of my own heterosexual brokenness. We need to come to God through Jesus Christ in a poverty of spirit and with a mourning of our sinfulness. Then the kingdom of heaven and comfort is ours.

    Liked by 3 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Douglas, you mention ‘confession’ and ‘repentance’–even ‘mourning sin’. I think we understand the meanings of these three terms differently. I used to be a fundamentalist and then an evangelical and probably held a view close to yours on these words. But confession just means to admit the error of one’s direction and behavior–it is not a liturgical or gut-wrenching action. Repent simply means to change one’s mind about their direction or the way they think. I think the fundamentalist-evangelical concept of a ritual of ‘confession’ and ‘repentance’ in order to be ‘saved’ instantly from hell in order to go to heaven is misguided.

      I said in the article that I DO NOT accept that Ruth and Naomi were in a lesbian relationship. But I must disagree that the Bible condemns same-sex relationships. And I do not think comparing same-sex relationships with pedophilia is a valid comparison.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. newtonfinn says:

    I, too, hope that necron48 stays with us here at JWOB. We’ve all overreacted and shot off comments we later regretted. I’ve probably done it more than most on various political forums. As Tim notes, it’s vital to the breadth and depth of discussion on this website that alternative views are expressed. Social change that happens quickly always creates discomfort, often anger. We need to work through those understandable human reactions, consider the good faith arguments made on all sides of a hot-button issue, and hopefully find some common ground…if only an amicable agreement to disagree. On a side note that indicates my political position, I’ve begun wearing a yellow vest around my Midwestern rustbelt city. But most who see me likely assume that I’m just working near a street. So I’ve come up with a sticker to put on the back: “The country’s broken/The people are not.” For me, JWOB is one of those places where we strive to hold things together while everything seems to be falling apart–hold things together in the unifying, uplifting spirit of Jesus.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Well said, Newton!

      Liked by 1 person

    • necron48 says:

      @newtonfinn

      That was a very gracious comment 🙂

      I make no excuses for my behavior but it comes in light of every single blogger I’ve met on WordPress, especially those of our faith, who have a no comment allowed policy, where everything is so moderated that nothing gets through, unless you agree 100% with everything they are saying….they also are extremely quick with the ban hammer and unless you’re kissing their proverbial behinds, your comments stay locked away in moderation forever and will never see the light of day
      It was under this barrage of never being able to find any Christian blogger on WordPress that didn’t act exactly like the SJW’s out there, who they despise, and being constantly being put in moderation, that I acted out in stupid anger, as I started to think, “everyone is like that around here”

      Jesus Without Baggage and all the other commentators in here have been extremely gracious and kind to me, so I just wanted to acknowledge that

      Liked by 3 people

  15. newtonfinn says:

    Occasionally, I like to inject a bit of poetry into a thread on JWOB, not directly to address the subject matter of the discussion but rather to provide a brief respite from what is usually an excellent and intense discussion (like this one has surely been, thanks to Tim and all participants). So here’s a Beat poem about Jesus that I consider one of the coolest expressions of a portion of Christian truth. Hope others enjoy it as much as I do.

    https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/42860/sometime-during-eternity-

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Nathan says:

    Thank you for sharing this!!

    Liked by 1 person

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