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Some Final Thoughts on Pride Month

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This post brings an end to my Pride Month series of blog posts. Over the course of this last month, we have had an in-depth look at the six “clobber” passages that have been used to condemn homosexuality and LGBTQ+ people and why they don’t say what many tend to believe they do. I have also presented some of my thoughts and experiences that have led me to become an affirming Christian and pastor.  My main focus this month has been to dismantle the unhelpful perceptions that people have towards the LGBTQ+ community based on false or biased information they were given about the bible, God and Christianity. I hope to have shown why I believe the bible does not condemn same-sex orientation or same-sex couples in mutually-committed and consensual relationships. Not only do I believe that the bible does not condemn same-sex relationships, I strongly believe that a faithful reading of the bible supports same-sex relationships and can give us wisdom and tools for healthy same-sex relationships

What else does the New Testament say about Homosexuality?

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  So far in this Pride Month series of blog posts we have studied three Old Testament passages (Genesis 19:1-29, Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13) and one New Testament passage (Romans 1:18-32) that have been used to condemn homosexuality and LGBTQ+ people. We have learnt how these passages were actually about gang rape, inhospitality, priestly restrictions against the blurring of boundaries, and an exposure of Jewish prejudices in order to unite the Church. In today’s post, we are going to look at the final two clobber passages, both which are also found in the New Testament. These are in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:10. Let’s read them now: Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. - 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV) For the sexually immoral,

“Love the sinner, hate the sin” and “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” - Challenging some unhelpful perceptions and catch phrases thrown at LGBTQ+ people.

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There are many common phrases that are thrown around by non-affirming people that may be well-intentioned, but can be extremely painful for LGBTQ+ people to hear. Some of these may even be believed to originate in the bible. Whether you are personally affirming of LGBTQ+ people and relationships or not, I am sure that we would all like to be more loving towards each other so please take these reflections to heart and perhaps think twice about the words that you use when talking to LGBTQ+ people (in fact, a good rule of thumb is to be careful with our words no matter who we are talking to - not least because many LGBTQ+ people are still living in the closet and may not disclose how they feel to you). “Love the sinner, hate the sin” This phrase is commonly quoted by non-affirming Christians to claim that they still love LGBTQ+ people, even though they “disagree with their lifestyle” (another very harmful phrase to avoid). This phrase is declared so strongly by some that you would swea

The Ultimate Irony of Romans 1

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  The Romans Clobber Passage If you grew up in a non-affirming church as I did, you were probably told that you can either affirm homosexuality or uphold Paul’s authority as a biblical writer - you cannot do both. For many non-affirming Christians, Paul’s words in Romans 1 are the end of the debate. There’s no question that Romans 1 is the most significant biblical passage in this debate. It is the longest reference to same-sex behaviour in the bible and it appears in the New Testament. Paul’s letter to the church in Rome has been used to label countless LGBTQ+ people as unnatural, shameful and immoral. This is also the only passage in scripture that seemingly refers to same-sex relations between women as well as men. But as we dig into this text, we may be surprised by what we find as we try to determine whether it is fair and a faithful application of the text to use it to reject all same-sex relationships and LGBTQ+ people today? Paul’s discourse that is often quoted in this debate

The Challenge of Finding a Church Home as an LGBTQ+ Christian

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One of the most difficult parts of an LGBTQ+ Christian's life is choosing a church to attend. Many have experienced much hate and abuse in the church in the past and are fearful of being hurt again. There are three main approaches that churches have towards LGBTQ+ folk: Welcomed One of the most common stances towards LGBTQ+ folk in many churches is to declare that they are welcome to attend the church's worship services on a Sunday. I think that even the most conservative churches today would not prevent LGBTQ+ folk from attending their services. After all, it adds to their attendance figures and increases their financial coffers. However, there is usually a catch. While LGBTQ+ folk might be welcome to attend these church's services, they will never be allowed to take up any leadership roles, they might be prevented from partaking in certain parts of the church's life, will probably receive many condescending looks and will be at risk of being made to feel inadequat

The Laws of Leviticus

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The second and third passages of scripture that are used to condemn homosexuality and clobber LGBTQ+ people come from the often-read book of Leviticus (sarcasm alert). Before digging into these verses, let’s quote them here: “Don’t lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.” - Leviticus 18:22 “‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” - Leviticus 20:13 These strong words in the Bible have armed anti-gay protesters with enough content to fill their picket signs with hatred and violence. “Homosexuality is an Abomination” and “God hates fags” and “To death with the gays” are all signs that make regular appearances at Pride parades throughout the world, unfortunately often held up by so-called Christians. Regardless of someone’s belief about homosexuality, I will never understand how some Christians see this as a Christ-like response

One pastor’s journey towards the full affirmation of LGBTQ+ folk

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I have been vocal in recent years about my support of the LGBTQ+ community. One thing I have yet to do is share my story of how I came to a point of being fully affirming of LGBTQ+ people and relationships. This is what I hope to do here. My Early Homophobia (fear/dislike of LGBTQ+ people) I can’t remember the first time I encountered LGBTQ+ people in the world. All I can remember is that, as a child, I was taught that homosexuality is wrong. Whenever a gay couple came on the TV or walked past us in the mall, someone in my family would make a comment about how it was “against nature.” I never questioned it. I just presumed this was the way it was - anyone who was gay chose to go against the flow of how things “should” be. I attended an all-boys school where toxic masculinity ran rampant and the word gay was a synonym for anything that was uncool or it was used as a derogatory term for anyone who didn’t fit the mould of a macho man. As I became more involved in the church as a te

The Sins of Sodom and Gomorrah

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One of my goals with this series in Pride Month is to unpack the passages of the Bible that seem to address homosexuality directly. The bible’s texts about homosexuality were my biggest stumbling block in my path towards full affirmation of LGBTQ+ folk. I grew up being told that the reason homosexuality is seen as a sin by Christians is because the bible says so. This was enough for me to stand firm in my opposition to homosexuality and with a brief glance at the often-quoted "clobber" texts, it was easy to confirm these statements. However, as I began to take my study of the bible seriously, I noticed that a lot of what I had been taught about what the bible says about homosexuality was simply not true. This was my first realization of how easy it is to pick and choose verses from the bible to support any particular beliefs. In these posts, I will share some of the information I have learnt in the hope that you too will learn to take the bible seriously and not be afraid