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I'm not LGBTQ, but I can say that not ALL Christians interpret the Bible that same way, and that many don't believe in sin. Our church (and many like it) acknowledge that being gay is NOT a choice, it's biological, and therefore can't be a "sin" ... it's the way a person was created by "god". Most of the protestant mainline denominations follow this stance, the "going to hell... sin" beliefs are held by the much more conservative evangelical congregations, many of which do not have actual denominational ties... HTH :)
PS- here's a link to my church so you can "see" what I'm saying, since I'm not a great wordsmith :)
I'm not LGBTQ either, but have friends and family who are. I am Jewish, and have never heard of LGBTQ being mentioned in all of my religious education and experience (and I go to synagogue weekly).
The synagogue I go to would welcome LGBTQ with open arms though. We don't believe in hell, and we don't focus on sin...we focus on loving and accepting others around us who may be different.
Oh that’s easy. They’re wrong and I’m right. :)
Being more serious now:
A big issue I had to deal with when I hadn’t been a Christian very long at all was whether or not I was going to let the actions and words of other human beings interfere in my relationship with God. I decided I was not going to do that.
My faith is in God not people or human institutions. I don’t need a human being to approve of, agree with, or otherwise endorse me. My relationship with Jesus is healthy and alive no matter how humans say that’s not possible or how loudly they say it.
I believe the bible is an accurate account of man’s history with God. I believe it requires the Holy Spirit’s guidance to correctly interpret it. My understanding of the bible is always changing because I am actively involved with God, reading and praying and seeking understanding. If I or anyone else comes up with an interpretation of a passage that flies in the face of what Jesus is about, then I think I or the other person has gotten it wrong some how.
I know without a doubt that I cannot contain all the wisdom of God. I will be wrong about some things. I will do things, sometimes unknowingly and sometimes intentionally, that end up hurting me and/or other people (i.e., sin). But, I believe God is merciful and will forgive me not because I’m a basically good person (I’m not) but just because I ask for mercy. That’s kind of the crux of Christianity. A Christian should not have lingering shame and guilt. A faith that pushes shame and guilt is not Christian.
They have a lot of info on their website, but in particular look at the stuff under the “Resources” tab for the topic ‘what the bible says’. You might give that website to your friend if he is open to that. Actually, feel free to share this post with him, if you think it might help.
As far as how to be a good friend to him, the number one thing you can do is accept him where he’s at, wherever that is. He has to work through this himself. Don’t push him to do anything that he doesn’t feel comfortable doing.
I have so much more to say on this topic. But this is already getting long. And I’m really more of a lurker than a poster. So, I’ll stop now. I wish you and your friend the best.
Last Edited on: 4/2/08 7:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
I am a straight Christian with a gay brother, and my husband's brother is gay as well. I was raised in a Southern Baptist church which, believe it or not, had a pastor than never mentioned homosexuality that I can remember in my whole childhood.
What he did emphasize, as the most important verse of scripture, was John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not parish, but have everlasting life."
"Whosoever" means just that, no one is left out. It is what my whole family, including my brother and brother-in-law, believes. Luckily we have found churches that believe this as well.
I came to the realization that I was gay at a very young age, and I came out to my parents when I was twelve. But, it was...poorly accepted by them.
Shortly thereafter, I switched my world view from Buddhism to Christianity through the influence of a small ultraconservative Bible church. The church taught the absolute inerrancy and literal interpretation of the Bible. Thus, the world was created in 7 days, the earth was only 6000 years old, etc. Of course, the church also condemned homosexuality. It was a tremendous source of conflict in my life. I was a committed Christian, but I also knew that I was gay, and all the prayer and fasting and studying did not change my innate homosexual attraction. I tried a few ex-gay ministries, and I even went to counseling to be rid of the "demon of homosexuality." My counselor used our time innapropriately and took advantage of me sexually. That obviously didn't help me resolve my spiritual/sexual conflict. Many times, I considered suicide because the internal conflict seemed overwhelming.
My fundamental Christian outlook did not broaden and I didn't find personal peace and acceptance until well into my medical school education. I started reading other theologians who were strong Christians and committed to loving and serving God, yet they had a vastly different interpretation of Scripture. A book called _Openly Christian, Openly Gay_ helped, as well as several other resources. Sodom was not destroyed because of homosexuality but rather inhospitality. And Jesus never in his ministry spoke one word regarding homosexuality. The Apostle Paul wrote a lot about temple prostitution and sexual promiscuity, but he did not address a monogamous gay relationship, since such a concept did not exist at that time.
At this point, I still consider myself a Christian, even an evangelical one, but my understanding of God's love is much more encompassing than it used to be. I personally think the God of the Bible loves all people and desires all people to have a personal relationship with Him, gay or straight. My partner and I currently go to a church that is open and affirming, and we are just one more couple in the crowd.
Lea, I'd be happy to talk to your friend if he wants to email me.
I have a nephew who's story is a lot like Minh's.
He knew at a fairly young age he was "different" (his word not mine) but didn't know what it was. He started to figure it out about the same time his church (at the time) started preaching about how wrong homosexuality was. It caused a lot of inner conflict in him, he believed in a higher power and a lot of things the bible said but he felt like a sinner because he was attracted to other boys.
He fought his urges and "tried to be staight" for many years. He just recently came out at the age of 20. Not only has he learned to love himself and his homosexuality, but he's also started "praying and talking to God more" (again his words). Him and I kind of think a like, that there is a higher being and he loves everyone. Like Sam said being gay is not a sin. If you live your life to the best of your ability and try treat each and every person with respect and understanding, and if you persue and active relationship with God that is all he asks.
I know many LGBTQ people who feel this way. There are also a lot more churches that fill this way now days (thank goodness!).
I don't know how to answer that, Lea, because I ask myself that same question everyday. I'm a lesbian who grew up in church. My parents are both ordained ministers who believe that homosexuality is a sin and all gays will go to hell. I'd really like to find a place where I can be who I am and still worship God, you know? Unfortunately, most churches that I've seen in my life aren't tolerant.