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Re: [ExExGayMinistry] Re: The Big Question

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  • Kapitano
    ... Well, I m trying. I m ploughing through the exgay bible study course at http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com/door_hope/. It s quite possibly the biggest pile
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 19, 2002
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      > Thanks for joining and posting your thoughts, Kapitano. It seems
      > that you have a pretty good handle on the whole conflict:

      Well, I'm trying. I'm ploughing through the exgay bible study
      course at http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com/door_hope/.
      It's quite possibly the biggest pile of horseshit I've ever
      read.

      Goes on (and on) about how salvation - and 'freedom
      from the homosexual lifestyle' - only comes to those who
      are 'broken', much as a horse is broken by a trainer.

      Very authoritarian. Reminiscent of the version of
      christianity promoted by naziism - submit to the state,
      lose your will, love the leader, suffering and sacrifice
      bring salvation, only the elite succeed. The difference
      is that the state ('God') is replaced by the church ('God').

      > > Specifically, I'm interested in why this conflict
      > > often *fails* to find a resolution. Why apparantly
      > > intelligent and sane people find they are trapped
      > > between a irrisistible force (their beliefs) and
      > > an immovable object (their sexuality).
      >
      > Why and how people get stuck between their beliefs and their
      > sexuality is the core of this conflict. Many people, for a time,
      > try to live double-lives (angel during the day, devil after dark).

      Yes. Some people manage to deal with the conflict by
      forgetting that there is one. The best way to avoid answering
      a difficult question is not to ask it.

      > Some try to modify or suppress their beliefs to accommodate their
      > sexuality. Others try to modify or suppress their sexality to
      > accommodate their beliefs.

      Well, something has to give. And although sexuality does shift
      in unpredictable ways over time, it seems that it can't be
      changed by an effort of will. Beliefs, on the other hand, are
      very easy to change - especially for people who can convince
      themselves that they're not *really* changing.

      > Personally, I found myself stuck in this position having been raised
      > into fundamentalist-leaning Christian doctrine. [snip]

      I was lucky enough to be raised in that strange British Protestant
      tradition. This means that no one cares if you can't remember the
      ten commandments, so long as you obey the one true commandment
      - Don't Make A Fuss.

      That church was easy to leave. Somewhat more difficult was
      understanding why other people had a problem with my
      homosexuality. They held very strong opinions, but didn't
      seem to know what they had strong opinions *about*.

      They could offer no facts, and no justifications. All they
      had was a set of empirically false myths that all contradicted
      each other. So at age 13 I decided to find out how and
      why people could life with that mess inside their heads.

      17 years later, I have some answers, but not all. I've
      spent most of my life in educational institutions, partly
      because they are less full of deranged homophobes than
      the outside world.

      > > Liberal Theology? Too vague. Queer Theology? Just
      > > another fudge. Biblical Revisionism? Misses the point.
      >
      > Are you searching for a particular form of Christianity such as a
      > specific church, denomination, or religious doctrine? Since you've
      > dismissed liberal churches and Biblical revisionism (I'll let you
      > define what you mean by that),

      Biblical revisionism is like historical revisionism. It involves
      'airbrushing out' whatever is unfashionable at the time, and
      'reinterpreting' what remains.

      All religions survive by shaping themselves to whatever
      culture they find themselves in. Some doctrines are quietly
      dropped, others have their emphasis changed, and some
      are raised from obscurity. Revisionism is the same process,
      carried on more openly.

      In my experience, liberal churches miss out most of the
      bible. The sex, violence, hatred, genocide and impenetrable
      metaphors are ignored. As is most of the history. What
      remains is a few miracles, some parables, and a feeling
      that God is a giant Oprah Winfrey in the sky.

      > it seems that you have a specific
      > picture of what you are seeking.

      Yes and no. In case you haven't guessed, I'm an atheist, but
      for years I've been searching for a form of spirituality that
      wasn't offensive to reason, or a moneymaking scam.

      So far, I've found devout believers who don't know what
      they believe, philistines who just want a simple answer to
      all questions, snakeoil sellers who sold 'bottled salvation' as
      a fashionable drug, and a lot of people who find it very
      convenient that God agrees with all their opinions.

      Oh, and I've also found a lot of neurotic married men who
      slept with each other.

      > I believe faith has more to do with
      > what a person's sincerity and selflessness than necessarily
      > upholding church doctrines. What is important is find a community
      > that encourages people to explore their faith rather than being
      > indoctrinated.

      All very sensible.

      > I wish I had the answer you're looking for. Maybe others here can
      > give you a more concrete answer.

      Ah. A *concrete* answer. One rooted in social human reality, not
      in a vague mystical force or a disguised form of the political state.




      -- Kapitano
      Poing! Poing! Poing! Poing! Poing! Poing! Poing!
    • Kapitano
      ... It isn t true of all Christianity. Or all Islam, Shintoism, Tao or whatever. Just most of them. Indeed, most secular philosophies - Maoism, Stalinism,
      Message 2 of 6 , Sep 19, 2002
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        > I appreciated your thoughtful post, Kapitano. You wrestled with
        > some good questions and shared some interesting observations. One
        > of the things you alluded to was Christianity being "a system of
        > belief that cannot accommodate the facts of sexuality." While I can
        > well understand where you're coming from, I'm not sure I'd agree
        > that this is at all true of Christianity.

        It isn't true of all Christianity. Or all Islam, Shintoism, Tao or whatever.
        Just most of them. Indeed, most secular philosophies - Maoism,
        Stalinism, Corporate Capitalism - can't deal with sex either.

        > While there are many who experience and teach Christianity as an
        > endless series of dos and don'ts and a constant endeavor to earn
        > brownie points with God, there are others, like myself, who
        > understand it fundamentally in the knowledge that we are deeply
        > loved by Jesus Christ and we have done nothing, nor could do
        > anything, to earn that.

        Okay, but so what if Jesus loves me?

        If someone told you that a stranger loved you unconditionally, for
        absolutely no reason, would you feel compelled to return that love?
        If reciprocating the emotion meant gaining eternal life, you might
        consider it I suppose, but it's not as if Jesus is bribing you.

        His love would only have any relevence to you if
        (a) You were already in love with him - it's always nice when an
        emotion is returned.
        (b) His love wasn't just his attitude towards you. Rather, it was
        something that reached out and affected you.

        The English verb 'to love' requires a grammatical object (sometimes
        implied), but cannot take a semantic patient. It is a verb of state, not
        of action. It describes something that is done, but not something that
        is done *to* anything.

        So we're not dealing with anything like the literal meaning of 'love'.
        Rather, we're dealing with some kind of force. Unfortunately, no
        one seems to have defined this force.

        To say that such a force is unmeasurable is obviously nonsense -
        if it has an effect then it can be measured. If it had no effect we
        wouldn't know it existed.

        > But responsible students of the Bible also understand hermeneutics.

        Yes, I understand that. I've even done a bit of Biblical Redaction
        Archeology myself.

        > The conflict between one's faith and sexuality "fails to finds a
        > resolution," as you so aptly phrased it, when one has a high view of
        > Scripture but ignores these fundamental hermeneutical principles and
        > portions of Scripture are then applied woodenly with no regard for
        > the intent, spirit and/or context of the passage.

        Indeed. One might say Christianity is a Method, not a
        Doctrine. Methods can look at new facts and interpret them.
        A fixed doctrine can only deny new facts.

        > The few passages of Scripture that address same-sex activity do not
        > at all address homosexuality as we know it today, as a sexual
        > orientation. Our own romantic sexual experience was not known in
        > the ancient world of arranged marriages and socially constructed
        > inequities between men and women.

        Again, yes. I'm not sure whether sexual orientation is a discovery
        or an invention. If the former, then the discovery process is
        incomplete. If the latter, then the concept works pretty damn well
        for a falsehood.

        > Our moral task as Christians is to apply Jesus' love ethic to
        > whatever sexual mores are prevalent in a given culture. We can
        > challenge both straight and gay people to question their behaviors
        > in the light of love and the requirements of fidelity, honesty,
        > responsibility, and genuine concern for the best interests of the
        > other and of society as a whole. Christian morality is not an iron
        > chastity belt for repressing urges, but a way of expressing the
        > integrity of our relationship with God. It is the attempt to
        > discover a manner of living that is consistent with who God created
        > us to be. For those who are gay, being moral means rejecting sexual
        > mores that violate their own integrity and that of others, and
        > attempting to discover what it would mean to live by the love ethic
        > of Jesus. This is what authentic Christianity is about.

        Okay. But why do we need Jesus (or God) as the source of
        this 'ethic' - or 'method' as I say above? What you call the 'love
        ethic' could be formulated by anyone. And it would be valid
        or invalid according to whether it worked in practice, not
        according to the authority of whoever proposed it.

        Personally, I don't care if Jesus was divine. If his ethic
        doesn't work, then his parentage won't change anything.
        And if it does work, then this is irrlevant to his divinity.





        -- Kapitano
        Poing! Poing! Poing! Poing! Poing! Poing! Poing!
      • nyguy_1225
        ...
        Message 3 of 6 , Sep 21, 2002
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          --- In exexgayministry@y..., "Kapitano" <kapitano@b...> wrote:
          <<IT ISN'T TRUE OF ALL CHRISTIANITY. OR ALL ISLAM, SHINTOISM, TAO OR
          WHATEVER. JUST MOST OF THEM. INDEED, MOST SECULAR PHILOSOPHIES -
          MAOISM, STALINISM, CORPORATE CAPITALISM - CAN'T DEAL WITH SEX
          EITHER.>>

          It isn't true of all Christianity??!! What are you talking aout?
          It is either true of Christianity or it is not true of
          Christianity. Period. Moreover, because some misinterpret
          Scripture does not in any way invalidate the faith. And just
          because some are unable to "deal with sex" does not mean God is
          unable to. I mean, who created it in the first place??!!

          <<OKAY, BUT SO WHAT IF JESUS LOVES ME?>>

          So What??!! Well if the creed true, then as Hauerwas says: It's not
          only Christians' "truth, [and] the truth for everyone," but it's the
          absolute truth about "the way things are ... the way the world is."
          If Jesus Christ is the Lord in the sense that the Jews meant "Lord"
          (i.e. "I am the Lord [Adonai], and there is none else. ... there is
          no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; There is none
          except Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For
          I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself ... That to
          Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance." -- from
          Isaiah 45), then nothing is left untouched by His Lordship. If
          Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not, every Caesar-substitute is
          dethroned. It's the most profound statement that can be said about
          anyone. And it's a statement, then, about everything.

          Physicists talk about a "theory of everything." Physicist Stephen
          Wolfram is now claiming that, by computer experiments, he has found
          the simple rules behind everything. Hearing this, people are all
          ears. Focusing on the central event of the Cross, Richard John
          Neuhaus asserts: "If what Christians say about Good Friday is true,
          then it is, quite simply, the truth about everything." Said Eugenia
          Price: "Jesus is God's explanation for everything." Hearing this,
          are people all ears?

          Sadly, these truly comforting Christian statements sound arrogant to
          people pre-programmed to postmodernist propaganda. And so, in their
          selectively intolerant indignation, they protest: How dare you say
          that Christ is the truth about everything! How intolerant! How
          culturally oppressive! But how beside-the-point can they be? If it
          is true that Jesus Christ is Lord, then that fact of reality – by
          definition – tolerates no competing claim. And if it is not true,
          the fault is not intolerance but falsehood.

          But they're blind to their own intolerance as well as to their own
          illogical argument. They're every bit as dogmatic as the Christians
          they'd fault. They're claiming: Jesus Christ is NOT Lord! And it
          makes no sense for them to allow that Jesus Christ may be Lord for
          Christians but not for them. The terms of the historic creed do not
          have room for such a fashionable favor. That creed, for which
          Christians all over the world have been tortured and killed rather
          than deny their Lord, does not mean to say that "Jesus Christ is
          some sort of little mini-lord" or a petty political hack with no
          jurisdiction over in the next county. The cosmic meaning of the
          creed won't allow for such "true-for-you-but-not-true-for-me"
          exclusion. The creed is inclusivity itself. That Kapitano, is "so
          what?"
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