Last Sunday, my church newspaper, which they hand out instead of a bulletin, ran not one, not two, but three articles about homosexuality. This was the Sunday immediately following the release of the Manhattan Declaration. I doubt this was a coincidence. These articles, I think, are unfortunately written to an edifying degree, so I present them here with interlinear commentary that is every bit as serious and incisive as the articles deserve.
In explanation of the title, I’m only including the two articles written by church members; the third was an excerpt from a pamphlet entitled “Homosexuality: Speaking the Truth in Love.”
A Daunting Task?: Being a Christian in the midst of a homosexual society isn’t easy. But what does this look like?
By Matt Wrye, senior managing editor
Oh boy. We haven’t even gotten to the body of the article and we’re already running into problems. “A homosexual society?” You know perfectly well that estimates place gay people as somewhere from 1% to 20% of the population. I realize that’s far too much for your comfort, but the person next to you on the bus is far more likely to be a Christian than a homosexual (yes, I’m aware that’s a false dichotomy, but Matt probably doesn’t think so). Or do you mean that our culture embraces homosexuality but not Christianity? But our state voted to ban gay marriage, so no, wrong again. Face it. Whichever way you look at it, you’re in the enfranchised majority, not the marginalized minority.
You’ve heard the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19. With fire, God destroyed two cities the Bible describes as “exceedingly wicked” because of their deep-rooted practice of homosexuality.
Exegesis fail: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy” (Ezekiel 16:49, NIV). Also, beginning your article with Sodom and Gomorrah? This can go nowhere good.
Does God hate gays and lesbians? It isn’t so. The Bible reminds us of God’s love for the world and that includes homosexuals.
If this is your point, then why mention Sodom and Gomorrah? That’s just the first passage that comes to mind when you think of homosexuality, isn’t it?
I say that, but am I living it? That’s a hard one to swallow.
Hee. Okay, that was not very mature. I’ll stop.
On one hand, the homosexual agenda is daunting to me.
Yes, he referenced “the homosexual agenda.” I wonder what he thinks it is.
But it’s not my battle–it is God’s battle. He deals with the hearts of homosexuals the same way He does with anyone.
He’s still dealing with me, too, and I’ve been a believer for 20 years. As we end a full year of homosexual-political turmoil, both in the Christian and non-Christian realms, I’m reminded of my role in this world. God calls me to be light in a culture of darkness.
He’s telling me every day to love my fellow man like He would.
“Yeah, I should probably treat gay people like human beings. I mean, I don’t want to or anything, but God says I have to.”
If that means inviting a gay or lesbian acquaintance or friend to church, so be it.
Actually, I think inviting a gay or lesbian to church that week would have been the least loving thing he could possibly have done, short of physical assault or egging their house.
If it means cultivating a sincere Christian love for homosexuals, then I gladly obey.
Why are you talking like this is some kind of major revolution of thought? And I think you meant “grudgingly obey.”
If it means not letting anger cloud over an opportunity to witness, love or show kindness to a sexual culture that’s opposite to mine, then I follow through on this.
Why are you angry? What did they ever do to you? Or is their very existence abhorrent to you? Yes, that’s probably it. At least he admits it. Honesty is a good thing.
Because otherwise you would be a jackass?
Because Christ ministered to me. We must see the world through compassionate, Spirit-filled lenses. There will be times where we blow it…
*snrk* Okay, no more innuendo, I promise.
…times where we wish we could go back and say something different, or act more grace-filled.
Nonetheless, we must relish those moments of victory, where we let the Spirit lead us in word and deed towards this sexual culture.
We have to remember there is hope forus [sic] all. God has met us where we are, and He can meet them too.
It gets better near the end, I suppose, but still, the thesis of the article is “we should be nice to homosexuals, I guess, because we have to, and maybe if we’re nice enough, we’ll convince them to stop being gay.” Also, if you’re still trying to figure out why he opened with Sodom and Gomorrah, so am I.
Feeling alone (and very uncool) in a crowd of 3,000
By Tami Boomsma, staff writer
Last month, Ron and I went to a live taping of one of my favorite radio programs: “Wait…Wait…Don’t Tell Me.” It was so kind of Ron to get tickets for us–he knows that I enjoy listening to the podcasts and laughing at the well-written material and humorous bantering between panelists.
I should mention that Tami Boomsma is the pastor’s wife. For this reason, I feel bad snarking at her and instead try to cast everything in the edifying light of constructive criticism. First off, beginning with suspiciously disclaimer-like positive statements about a comedy show fills me with a deep sense of forboding.
As we took our seats in the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, we were excited to see the people we’ve been listening to for so long. It was fun to be with other fans and see the diversity of others who listen and laugh at the same jokes we do: Old. Young. Cool. Nerdy. Granola. Green. Scholarly. Cowboy. City Girl. Distinguished. Trashy. Hip.
All of the elements of the program were there–Carl Kassell’s deep, booming voice. Peter Sagal’s witty remarks. The liberal bias and the ever present Republican bashing…
Oh, there you just went, putting politics into the church newspaper. The thing that gets handed to every person who walks in the door. I suppose it doesn’t matter. The liberals already left after seeing Matt’s article.
Also, you’re talking about “bias” and “bashing” in a comedy show. Avoid this. It makes you sound like someone who gets up in arms whenever someone makes a joke about anything she likes.
…all familiar to us, and, up to this point, just overlooked by us. We were, however, unprepared for what followed.
Spoiler: a gay person came on the show. And talked about gay stuff.
We never checked to see who the guest would be that night on one of their quizzes, “Not My Job.”
If you’re easily offended, you may want to check these things. I’m just saying.
So when the theme of the show was announced as “family,” it all started to make sense when George Takei (“Sulu” from Star Trek) shows up. His (much too long) interview quickly turned to the topics of homosexuality and his marriage to another man, Prop 8 and gay rights.
Wait, he married Prop 8? Homosexuality really has undermined marriage if a man can marry a bill. Odd choice of bills for a gay man to marry, too. I know I’m supposed to be analyzing the content and not the writing style, but while I’m on the topic, parenthetical remarks like that will not strengthen your argument. They will make you seem like a whiner.
We had to suffer through an extensive (and uncomfortable) explanation of his engagement and wedding.
What did I tell you about parenthetical remarks? You are not going to garner any sympathy with your description of the tribulation of listening to someone’s exercise of free speech at an event that you voluntarily attended. How dare he talk about his wedding!
Biggest laugh of the night: “So how many marriages have you ruined since you’ve gotten married?” Not only did it receive laughter, but thunderous applause and whole-hearted approval. Another thing that was evident that night was disapproval and intolerance towards any who would disagree with them.
That “whoosh” noise you just heard was the sound of that joke going over your head. Regardless of whether or not you think George Takei should be able to marry a dude, you can’t argue the fact that no one has gotten divorced or otherwise had their marriage ruined because of it. But you were so busy being vehemently opposed to all things homosexual that you didn’t think about the joke: you just listened long enough to detect that it was pro-homosexual and then disapproved of it.
By the way, the people there mostly aren’t intolerant of your opinion. They’re intolerant of your desire to make everyone conform to your opinion, or in other words, they’re intolerant of your intolerance. Also, congratulations on being less considerate and open-minded than this gay man who attended Love Won Out.
To be a conservative Christian in L.A. can be a challenge, but in the 20 years I’ve been here, it was never so evident as to how “alien” we are as it was that night sitting in the civic center.
I’ll go ahead and laud you for including the word “conservative.” But in the mean time, what was the point of all this? Every piece of nonfiction, however brief, should have a thesis, but so far, yours is nothing beyond how mad you are that someone said something you didn’t like. Forgive me if I tell you to call the wahmbulance.
At this point, the article switches gears.
It reminded me of an article I read from Al Mohler. (“The High Cost of Being and Staying Cool”: www.albert-mohler.com/2008/12/19/the-high-cost-of-being-and-staying-cool-rick-warren-in-a-whirlwind)
OK, now we’re quoting someone else. I can snark freely again. I’ll start by saying that Albert Mohler is definitely not a qualified judge of coolness.
Here’s some of what Mohler says:
It doesn’t take much. We would all like to be considered cool. Cultural opposition is a tough challenge and bearing public hatred is a hard burden.
That doesn’t mean you have to actively seek public hatred.
Being cool means being considered mainstream, acceptable, and admirable. Believing that same-sex marriage is wrong is enough to turn “uncool” in an instant, at least in many circles.
…No matter how cool you think you are or think that others think you are, the hour is coming when the issue of homosexuality–taken alone–will be the defining issue in coolness.
That must be the homosexual agenda!
Yeah, Mohler doesn’t have any idea what he’s talking about. Doesn’t he know that “that’s so gay” is a derogatory slang term? Doesn’t he know that gay and lesbian high schoolers in many areas are not embraced as “cool” in any way, but face discrimination and bullying instead? In one tragic case in April, an 11-year-old boy committed suicide because of constant bullying from other students, who accused him of being gay. In many circles, being gay is far from cool.
If you accept the full normalization of homosexuality, you will be cool. If you do not, you are profoundly uncool, no matter how much good work you do nor how much love and compassion you seek to express.
How about how much disconnect from reality you express? Mohler desperately wants to be part of a victimized minority, but he simply isn’t, so he’s making up silly future scenarios that envision a homogenous gay dominance over all culture. Given how little sense this makes, I’m inclined to doubt Tami’s closing statement.
Here’s another good read by Mohler: “A Christian Vission [sic] of Marriage and Family” at www.albert-mohler.com/2009/07/06a-christian-vision-of-marriage-and-family
One can follow the logic that took her from her self-inflicted uncomfortable evening to Mohler’s apocalyptic vision of a gay-ruled society, but I’m still wondering what the thesis of this article was supposed to be. Was George Takei’s interview supposed to be a sign of the oncoming gay culture revolution–or proof that it’s already here, because people are allowed to say stuff in public that offends her? More likely, she’s trying to show that her being uncomfortable was a good thing, because getting along with the crowd would have proved her to be a gay sympathizer.
Regardless, any article that begins with a comedy show and ends with the writer being offended is going to be ineffective at communicating other than the writer’s humorlessness.
As I mentioned before, I believe both these articles were directly inspired by the Manhattan Declaration. The whole declaration and everything related to it is unfortunate, but one of the most unfortunate consequences is the way people are going to distill it. It doesn’t matter how much florid language like the following the document includes:
We confess with sadness that Christians and our institutions have too often scandalously failed to uphold the institution of marriage and to model for the world the true meaning of marriage. Insofar as we have too easily embraced the culture of divorce and remained silent about social practices that undermine the dignity of marriage we repent, and call upon all Christians to do the same.
People are going to see that the section header says “Marriage” and say “We need to crack down on those gays!”
Sadly, they’re not even misrepresenting it, because despite its pious language, that’s all the document means to say.