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Re: Thoughts on Romans Chapter 1

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  • nyguy_1225
    I ve
    Message 1 of 31 , Sep 9, 2004
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      <<Alex, I am not a divinical major and for you to suggest that I am
      picking and choosing is out of line. I compare scripture with other
      scriptures.>>

      I've never been to divinity school either and I fully agree with you
      that all Scripture should be compared with and viewed in the light
      of other Scripture. But if we really want to properly get at what
      God is saying to us through His Word we have to be very cautious
      about wooden or literal interpretations of passages. Otherwise our
      understanding will almost certainly be misunderstanding.

      You took argument with me when I said that ideas and understandings
      of sexuality have changed greatly over the centuries. This is not
      my opinion, Dale; this is an undeniable fact. We can site example
      upon example of this from the Bible. As just one example, according
      to both the Old and the New Testaments, when a married man in Israel
      died childless, his widow was to have intercourse with each of his
      brothers in turn until she bore him a male heir. Jesus himself
      mentions this custom without criticism (Mark 12:18-27). I am not
      aware of any Christians who still obey this unambiguous commandment
      of Scripture. Would you?

      And while some are quick to say the Bible is clear on the matter of
      homosexuality (as you yourself inferred in your first post), the
      fact is we Christians learn together what the Bible is clear about.
      The intuitive interpretive clarity one experiences where the Bible
      is concerned has been conditioned by the church culture that taught
      us Christianity -- and history has taught us sometimes that can lead
      us into trouble, rather than truth.

      Jesus provided a very important hermeneutic tool to help his
      followers negotiate their way through moral debates about law. He
      identified one Levitical command as the key to understanding the
      rationale behind all the others. Quoting Leviticus 19:18, he
      said: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

      This suggests that, when trying to determine why a law was given and
      what its relevance is to a modern Christian, two vital questions
      must be asked:

      1. What HARM to neighbor was this command intended to PREVENT?
      2. What GOOD to neighbor was this command intended to PROMOTE?

      And though Leviticus 19:18 was not all that popular in the days of
      the Old Testament, it is THE verse from the Torah (or first five
      books of the Bible) that is the most frequently cited in the New
      Testament. It's a summary and a fulfilling of the Law that was
      repeatedly referred to by Jesus, Paul and James.

      The point I've been trying to make -- and maybe I haven't done a
      very good job of it -- is that as Christians we're all called to
      take responsibility for difficult decisions that arise when we try
      to apply the Bible sensibly to a contemporary world that is very
      different from the one Moses and Jesus lived. And if we're not
      careful we end up hurting, if not destroying, a lot of innocent
      people.

      -Alex


      --- In exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com, DALE MALHENZIE
      <ssgdalbz@y...> wrote:
      > Alex, I am not a divinical major and for you to suggest that I am
      picking and choosing is out of line. I compare scripture with other
      scriptures. Nor do I have total recall. I am not a judge to say
      anything is wrong or any person is sinning by having same sex. I
      only know that I felt very much like I had sinned after I did. I
      even remember the palpitations in my chest that I would get when I
      was on my way to meeting a guy.As far as feeling free by admitting
      that I am gay. that would lead me into less freedom because then I
      would totally feel like I had failed my God and caved into someone
      elses philosophy. I have to make my own choices and read HIs word
      for my self. I hadn't read much lately so you have stimulated me to
      read some. Dale-
      >
      > nyguy_1225 <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:<<I do find a verse
      that says in 1 Tim 3:2 -- a bishop then must be
      > the husband of one wife and later on even a deacon should be the
      > husband of one wife.>>
      >
      > Yes, these verses address God's will that Christians not have
      > multiple spouses. And Christians who indeed adhere to this, as
      well
      > as homosexual partners, are both seeking to fulfill the same
      > fundamental, God-implanted human need for a shared life of
      intimate,
      > committed and exclusive love with one other human being. And
      > they're both striving to do the one thing the Lord considered
      > supremely important about all sexual relationships: they are
      living
      > their sexual lives within their covenants with each other.
      >
      > <<I also know of a verse that talks about marrying if you can't
      > maintain self control.>>
      >
      > Indeed. You're referencing Paul's admonition in 1 Corinthians.
      > Even the Apostle Paul, who advocated singleness as "the better
      way,"
      > knew that most people are not given the "gift" of celibacy and
      > therefore says that if one doesn't have this gift, one should
      > marry "for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." In
      > fact, from the very beginning God declared, "it is not good for
      man
      > to be alone." Paul further states that each one should have his
      or
      > her own spouse "to [among other things] prevent immorality" and,
      on
      > the same line, speaks of the importance of not depriving one's own
      > mate of physical intimacy. Paul well understood the power of this
      > most wondrous and complex aspect of our humanity and how central
      and
      > intrinsically connected it is to our hearts and souls.
      >
      > But, Dale, for someone who started his argument a few days ago by
      > warning against the danger of isolating certain passages and words
      > to make a point (you said if we pick and choose what we want from
      it
      > we can get it to say anything), it would appear you're now guilty
      of
      > the very thing you warned against.
      >
      > Are you getting caught up on the literal translation of the
      > word "marry?" Is this word in this passage what you base your
      > doctrine on? For gay people, and so many others, very selective
      > literal Biblical interpretation, removed from its social and
      > historical context, has been devastating. It is still being used
      to
      > justify the denial of equality and human rights. Equally
      disturbing,
      > it has been used to make some gay individuals hate themselves and
      > has blighted their relationship with God.
      >
      > It should be pointed out that Jesus NEVER applied any passage or
      law
      > in a wooden or literalistic way. Rather, he looked at and spoke
      > about the original purpose of it. The radical consequences which
      > resulted from Jesus looking at the Sabbath, for example, in this
      way
      > are clear in all the gospels. He blatantly disregarded the
      onerous
      > rabbinical interpretations of what Sabbath observance required on
      > the grounds that the institution was intended to be a blessing and
      > not a burden [e.g. Mark 2:27]. The application of those same
      > interpretive principles to the few passages many Christians still
      > use for their antigay theology would similarly lead to more
      > compassionate conclusions regarding homosexuality.
      >
      > Paul also perpetuated the ancient place of women in the church,
      > admonishing them to cover their heads and keep silent. How do you
      > handle those passages? Paul also wrote in Ephesians that slaves
      > must obey their masters and do so cheerfully. The obedient slave
      > will find his or her reward in heaven. (These are the famous
      > passages quoted so often during the Civil War to justify
      slavery.)
      > Slave owners were not defensive about owning slaves. On the
      > contrary, they believed that the Bible (and Paul) taught that
      > slavery was part of God's plan for mankind. Those who wished to
      > challenge the morality of slavery found that they had to challenge
      > both the authority and the interpretation of scripture. They found
      > also that it was not as easy as it might appear, for the biblical
      > case for slavery was both strong and consistent.
      >
      > The biblical writers never contemplated a form of homosexuality in
      > which loving, monogamous and faithful persons sought to live the
      > implications of the gospel with as much fidelity to it as any
      > heterosexual believer. All they knew of homosexuality was
      > prostitution, pederasty, lasciviousness and exploitation. These
      > vices, as we know, are not unknown among heterosexuals, and to
      > define contemporary homosexuals only in these terms is a cultural
      > slander of the highest order. Sexual orientation is never
      mentioned
      > anywhere in the Bible.
      >
      > When you read the Bible, be careful of what you think you know.
      > What you think you know powerfully influences what you read. We
      > all think the text says more than what it says.
      >
      > The Quakers use the Bible in a powerful way to examine same-sex
      > relationships. Their sentiment is somewhat similar to that which
      I
      > expressed in an earlier post today. In a recent statement a
      Quaker
      > group explains: "We believe that sexuality is governed by the same
      > New Testament ethic that guides every other conduct choice for
      > faithful Christians. Responsibility, mutuality, love, justice,
      non-
      > violence, non-domination, and non-exploitation characterize what
      > Jesus called the "Kingdom of God." How will sexual expression of
      > love be judged? "By their fruits you shall know them." (Mt 7:20)
      > Does this relationship create an environment of love and justice?
      > Does it further the creation of loving and sustaining community?"
      >
      > In the final analysis, the authors of the few passages used to
      > condemn homosexuality knew nothing about sexual orientation. They
      > were fighting pagan idolatry, temple prostitution, reckless self-
      > indulgence and irresponsible sexuality. They knew nothing about
      gay
      > people living in committed relationships, who lead, normal,
      > productive lives, and who cherish and honor their families. Yet
      we
      > continue to perpetuate the same hurtful lies due to Scripture that
      > has been mistranslated, misinterpreted and/or taken out of
      context.
      > Too often we're intent on reading certain passages of Scripture in
      > such as way as to lend legitimacy to our own doctrinal
      prejudices.
      > We'd rather hold on to our own ideology then concede to the
      > possibility than the Bible and the God who inspired it may be a
      > little more gracious and inclusive than our doctrinal prejudices
      > will allow.
      >
      > -Alex
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com, DALE MALHENZIE
      > <ssgdalbz@y...> wrote:
      > > Alex, I am not acquainted with the meaning of the term sex
      ethic.
      > I do find a verse that says in 1Tim 3:2 A bishop then must be
      the
      > husband of one wife and later on even a deacon should be the
      husband
      > of one wife. In ephesians it says that husbands should love their
      > wives. That does sound like the kind of marriage that might
      include
      > romance. I also know of a verse that talks about marrying if you
      > cant maintain self control. The ref escapes me. It talks about not
      > burning in desire but you should marry and yes society changes
      but
      > what society does is of little importance to me right now. If my
      > neighbor decides to jump off of Niagara Falls that doesn't mean
      that
      > I will follow. I do struggle with staying off the porn sites and
      > other behaviors as well but I also cant imagine leaving my wife
      > because society deems it okay. I have seen too many mixed up kids.
      > one tried to kill himself just cause his parents split up. gotta
      > run. Dale
      > >
      > > nyguy_1225 <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:<<What I do find
      > missing are the verses that say its okay to go have
      > > sex outside of marriage. Can you find one? >>
      > >
      > > Hi Dale,
      > > Good question! I'm tempted to turn that around back to you and
      > say
      > > what is missing from the Bible are verses that say one is never
      > > allowed, under any circumstances, to be sexually intimate
      outside
      > of
      > > marriage. Can YOU find one?
      > >
      > > Let's not forget what "marriage" meant in ancient times. People
      > in
      > > biblical times did not share our knowledge or customs of
      > sexuality;
      > > we do not share their experience. In those days there was no
      > > romantic dating as we know it today; marriages were arranged by
      > > fathers. Romance, as we know it, did not come into being until
      > the
      > > Middle Ages, which is precisely why the period is referred to as
      > > the "Romance Period." There were no marriage "licenses," no
      > > ministers conducting "services," etc. Marriages were arranged
      by
      > > parents for the modality of power. When a man married a woman,
      > > a "price" was paid for the woman and she became the
      > > man's "property." That's why to look at another man's wife and
      > want
      > > to sleep with her was akin to coveting your neighbor's
      property.
      > It
      > > was like driving your neighbor's car.
      > >
      > > But to answer your question: we've talked about this before but
      it
      > > seems to me quite simply (and please feel free to correct me if
      > you
      > > believe I am mistaken), that the Bible has no sexual ethic per
      > se.
      > > There is no "Biblical sex ethic." Instead, the Bible exhibits a
      > > variety of sexual mores, some of which changed drastically over
      > the
      > > 2,000+ year span of biblical history. Mores are unreflective
      > > customs accepted by a given community. Many of the practices
      that
      > > the Bible prohibits, we allow, and many that it allows, we
      > > prohibit. The Bible knows only a love ethic, which is
      constantly
      > > being brought to bear on whatever sexual mores are dominant in
      any
      > > given country, or culture, or period.
      > >
      > > The very notion of a "sex ethic" reflects the materialism and
      > > splitness of modern life, in which we increasingly define our
      > > identity sexually. But sexuality cannot be separated off from
      the
      > > rest of life.
      > >
      > > NO SEX ACT IS "ETHICAL" IN AND OF ITSELF, WITHOUT REFERENCE TO
      THE
      > > REST OF A PERSON'S LIFE, THE PATTERNS OF THE CULTURE, THE
      SPECIAL
      > > CIRCUMSTANCES FACED, AND THE WILL OF GOD.
      > >
      > > What we have are simply sexual mores, which change, sometimes
      with
      > > startling rapidity, creating bewildering dilemmas. Just within
      one
      > > lifetime we have witnessed the shift from the ideal of
      preserving
      > > one's virginity until marriage, to couples living together for
      > > several years before getting married. The response of many
      > > Christians is merely to long for the hypocrisies of an earlier
      era.
      > >
      > > Our moral task, rather, is to apply Jesus' love ethic to
      whatever
      > > sexual mores are prevalent in a given culture. We might address
      > > younger people, for example, not with laws and commandments
      whose
      > > violation is a sin, but rather with the sad experiences of the
      > many
      > > who found too much early sexual intimacy overwhelming, and who
      > react
      > > by voluntary celibacy and even the refusal to date. We can
      offer
      > > reasons, not empty and unenforceable orders. We can challenge
      > both
      > > gay and straight 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, after all, 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
      > > of same-sex orientation, 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.
      > >
      > > -Alex
      > >
      > >
      > > --- In exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com, DALE MALHENZIE
      > > <ssgdalbz@y...> wrote:
      > > > Alex and all. There is no doubt a lot more history associated
      > with
      > > Romans and what you wrote was not new to me. Neither are
      > experiences
      > > that some of you may have not had. And I am sure you have had
      > > experiences that I have not had. What I have not experienced is
      > the
      > > anti gay theology. I could have been an alcoholic or divorced or
      > > some other category and recd worse. I have not met the same
      people
      > > you guys have for sure but the ones I have met have been loving,
      > > understanding, helpful, forgiving etc Christians who welcome
      > anyone
      > > with any problem. That is except for a certain church in Georgia
      > > where not even blacks are welcom. I still haven't got over this
      > and
      > > it was over 25 years ago.
      > > > What I do find missing are the verses that say its okay to
      go
      > > have sex outside of marriage. can you find one? I would have
      been
      > > better off physically if i had not done so. Maybe you cant
      relate
      > > but I have been married to the same woman for 28 years. I
      haven't
      > > met very many men that stayed with another man for anywhere that
      > > long. Just once, they were cousins. They would have guys like me
      > > over and want to have a threesome. I have met a lot who go from
      > one
      > > guy to the next, some married to a woman. There doesn't seem to
      be
      > > any lasting fulfillment in these encounters. It sure wasn't to
      me
      > > and then I met someone who gave me a virus. It didn't stop my
      > desire
      > > to meet men but it does make me wonder why I didn't quit before
      I
      > > got it. I have no reason to smoke or drink. Neither are
      appealing
      > to
      > > me. I also am to the point of fatigue and wondering what happens
      > > next with my health. If I was wealthy enough I would try the
      > clinic
      > > that I heard of where you can go and be cleansed and eat all the
      > > > right foods and feel better,perhaps.
      > > > Thanks for the info about the magnifier. I wish it were
      that
      > > simple. Its not that the print is too small. Its fuzzy. so if I
      > > magnified it I would just have bigger fuzzy. Bigger is not
      always
      > > better(I'm still human) dale
      > > > nyguy_1225 <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
      > > > It took me a long time, Anthony. I was taught "antigay"
      > theology
      > > > just like everyone else. And I bought into it, hook, line and
      > > > sinker, for many years. It took me a long time to see it had
      > more
      > > > holes than swiss cheese.
      > > >
      > > > -Alex
      > > >
      > > > --- In exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com, "Anthony Venn-Brown -
      > > > Personal Coach" <avb@m...> wrote:
      > > > > Heaps of research Alex………..I know……but it takes a very
      clever
      > > > manlike you
      > > > > to take all that and condense it in such a way that dummies
      > like
      > > > me make
      > > > > sense of it.
      > > > >
      > > > > Anthony Venn-Brown
      > > > > Accredited Life & Business Coach (ACC ICF)
      > > > > Author of 'A Life of Unlearning - Coming Out to the Church,
      > One
      > > > Man's
      > > > > Struggle' Foreword by Hon. Michael Kirby.
      > > > > Download Chapter 1 'The Confession' FREE on the book page of
      > > > > anthonyvennbrown.com
      > <http://www.anthonyvennbrown.com/book.html>
      > > > > Doing all I can to inform, inspire and dispel the myths.
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > -----Original Message-----
      > > > > From: nyguy_1225 [mailto:no_reply@yahoogroups.com]
      > > > > Sent: Wednesday, 8 September 2004 10:44
      > > > > To: exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com
      > > > > Subject: Spam Message:[ExExGayMinistry] Re: Thoughts on
      Romans
      > > > Chapter 1
      > > > >
      > > > > Thanks, Anthony. Fact is there has been tons of scholarly
      > > research
      > > > > done on this subject in recent years. I'm just one of many
      > who
      > > > have
      > > > > had the opportunity to benefit from it.
      > > > >
      > > > > As we look back over our 2,000+ years of Church history, we
      > find
      > > > > that oppression of one sort or another against people who
      > > > > are "different" -- whether by means of race, color, gender,
      > > class
      > > > or
      > > > > sexual orientation -- has always been endemic. And to our
      > great
      > > > > shame, the oppression and injustices are always carried out
      in
      > > the
      > > > > name of someone's Christianity.
      > > > >
      > > > > One of the lessons we should learn from this is that reading
      > and
      > > > > interpreting Scripture is not quite as simple as some would
      > like
      > > to
      > > > > believe. A text does not simply "say what it says" despite
      the
      > > > > rational good intentions of some readers. For reading
      > Scripture
      > > is
      > > > > not only a matter of what is written there, but also what we
      > > expect
      > > > > to find there, what we bring to the text, and what we take
      > away
      > > > from
      > > > > it.
      > > > >
      > > > > R.C. Sproul once said: "If God speaks, he must use words to
      do
      > > so.
      > > > > Words express thoughts, commands, descriptions, and the
      like.
      > The
      > > > > problem is that words and sentences must be interpreted if
      > they
      > > are
      > > > > to be understood. It is far more than a matter of
      translation,
      > > for
      > > > > while translation gets at what God says, we are still left
      > with
      > > the
      > > > > question of what God means."
      > > > >
      > > > > -Alex
      > > > >
      > > > > --- In exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com, "Anthony Venn-Brown -
      > > > > Personal Coach" <avb@m...> wrote:
      > > > > > Thanks Alex for the well thought out, informative and
      concise
      > > > > description.
      > > > > > As usual well done.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > I'm saving this post for future reference.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Anthony Venn-Brown
      > > > > > Accredited Life & Business Coach (ACC ICF)
      > > > > > Author of 'A Life of Unlearning - Coming Out to the
      Church,
      > One
      > > > > Man's
      > > > > > Struggle' Foreword by Hon. Michael Kirby.
      > > > > > Download Chapter 1 'The Confession' FREE on the book page
      of
      > > > > > anthonyvennbrown.com <
      > > http://www.anthonyvennbrown.com/book.html>
      > > > > > Doing all I can to inform, inspire and dispel the myths.
      > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > > > -----Original Message-----
      > > > > > From: nyguy_1225 [mailto:no_reply@yahoogroups.com]
      > > > > > Sent: Wednesday, 8 September 2004 08:40
      > > > > > To: exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com
      > > > > > Subject: Spam Message:[ExExGayMinistry] Re: Thoughts on
      > Romans
      > > > > Chapter 1
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Hi Dale,
      > > > > > As you know, there is only text in the NT that actually
      > > discusses
      > > > > > male-to-male sex in any length and it is this one in the
      1st
      > > > > chapter
      > > > > > of Paul's letter to the Romans. This is famous text from
      > where
      > > > > > people get the notion that homosexual sex is "unnatural."
      > This
      > > is
      > > > > > also the text from which they erroneously argue that
      venereal
      > > > > > diseases, and today, AIDS and HIV, are punishment for
      > > homosexual
      > > > > > activity.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Without doubt, this passage from Romans is the most
      important
      > > > > > statement on homosexuality in the Bible. It occurs in the
      > NT,
      > > so
      > > > > > unlike Leviticus no one can simply dismiss it as part of
      > > > the "Old"
      > > > > > Testament. And it is long and detailed, so unlike the
      other
      > > two
      > > > > > references in the NT, no one can claim it is a mere passing
      > > > > > comment. But precisely because this passage is long it
      > > provides
      > > > a
      > > > > > lot of material for analysis, and more and more surely as
      the
      > > > > > evidence mounts, this analysis shows that this text has
      been
      > > > > misused
      > > > > > and misunderstood. If we like, we can spend a few posts
      on
      > > this
      > > > > > passage, as there is that much to say about it. But for
      the
      > > sake
      > > > > of
      > > > > > space, I'll try to keep this post somewhat contained and
      yet
      > > give
      > > > > > you a lot of meat to ponder:
      > > > > >
      > > > > > The text:
      > > > > > [Romans 1:26-27] "Because of this, God gave them over to
      > > shameful
      > > > > > lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for
      > > unnatural
      > > > > > ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural
      > relations
      > > > with
      > > > > > women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men
      > > committed
      > > > > > indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves
      the
      > > due
      > > > > > penalty for their perversion."
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Comments:
      > > > > > The apostle here is ridiculing Gentile religious rebellion
      in
      > > > > > typical Jewish polemic, saying that they knew God but
      > > worshipped
      > > > > > idols instead of God. He illustrates with the unnatural
      > > > practices
      > > > > > of fertility cults involving sex among priestesses and
      > between
      > > > men
      > > > > > and eunuch prostitutes such as served Aphrodite (the
      goddess
      > of
      > > > > > fertility, love and beauty) on the hill high over Corinth,
      > > right
      > > > > > from where Paul was writing his letter to the Romans.
      Their
      > > > self-
      > > > > > castration rites did result in a bodily "penalty" (v27).
      > All
      > > > Paul
      > > > > > had to do was look up to the hill from where he was
      writing
      > > and
      > > > he
      > > > > > could see the temple and he was quite well aware of the
      > grisly
      > > > > > practices of the fertility cults.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > German Evangelical theologian Helmut Thielicke
      says: "Paul's
      > > > > > conception of homosexuality was one which was affected by
      the
      > > > > > intellectual atmosphere surrounding the struggle with Greek
      > > > > > paganism." Says Victor Paul Furnish of SMU: "Homosexual
      > > practice
      > > > > as
      > > > > > such is not the topic under discussion." Says biblical
      > scholar
      > > > > > Robin Scroggs: "The illustrations are secondary to
      [Paul's]
      > > basic
      > > > > > theological structure," (cf 3:22b-23, Paul's own summary).
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Since those who claim the Bible speaks against all
      > > homosexuality
      > > > > use
      > > > > > this Romans passage as their biggest weapon, I'll go into
      > some
      > > > > > detail here. But I warn you before you read on you will
      > need a
      > > > > > strong stomach; it isn't a pretty picture.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Paul knew the Mediterranean world and he knew exactly what
      > he
      > > was
      > > > > > doing in selecting this illustration for his ridiculing of
      > > > > > idolatry. Writing on "The Apostle Paul and the Greco-
      Roman
      > > Cults
      > > > > of
      > > > > > Women," in The Journal of the Evangelical Theological
      > Society,
      > > > > > Catherine Kroeger makes the following comments about "the
      > > > > deliberate
      > > > > > sex reversal practiced in some of the cults." She
      > > asserts: "Sex
      > > > > > reversal was a specific distinctive of the Dionysiac cult
      > and
      > > by
      > > > > the
      > > > > > second century AD was considered to be indispensable to the
      > > > > > religion. Men wore veils and long hair as signs of their
      > > > > dedication
      > > > > > to the god, while women used the unveiling and shorn hair
      to
      > > > > > indicate their devotion. Men masqueraded as women, and in
      a
      > > rare
      > > > > > vase painting from Corinth a woman is dressed in satyr
      pants
      > > > > > equipped with the male organ. Thus she dances before
      > > Dionysus, a
      > > > > > deity who had been raised as a girl and was himself called
      > > male-
      > > > > > female and 'sham-man.'"
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Kroeger continues: "The sex exchange that characterized
      the
      > > cults
      > > > > of
      > > > > > such great goddesses as Cybele, the Syrian goddess, and
      > > Artemis
      > > > of
      > > > > > Ephesus was more grisly. Males voluntarily castrated
      > > themselves
      > > > > and
      > > > > > assumed women's garments. A relief from Rome shows a high
      > > priest
      > > > > of
      > > > > > Cybele. The castrated priest wears veil, necklaces,
      > earrings
      > > and
      > > > > > feminine dress. He is considered to have exchanged his
      > sexual
      > > > > > identity and to have become a she-priest."
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Both "prostitution and lesbianism were associated" with
      the
      > > > Temple
      > > > > > of Aphrodite above Corinth. Aphrodite was another name
      for
      > > > Cybele.
      > > > > > Says B.Z. Goldberg, author of the four-volume book Sacred
      > > Fire:
      > > > The
      > > > > > Story of Sex in Religion, says of Aphrodite: "She is both
      > male
      > > > and
      > > > > > female - a bearded face with full maiden breasts. ...They
      > who
      > > > come
      > > > > > to worship her must hide their sex. Males come in the
      female
      > > > > attire
      > > > > > and females in the clothes of males. The greatest glory
      > they
      > > can
      > > > > > bring to Aphrodite ... is to physically efface their
      sex."
      > > Says
      > > > > > another scholar [Grant]: "Hermaphrodites congregated in
      > > > > > [Aphrodite's] temple." Whether worshippers called her
      > > Aphrodite,
      > > > > > Cybele, Astarte, or Ishtar, they practiced erotic
      > > flagellations,
      > > > > > same-sex orgies, and climaxing castration rites in her
      > temples
      > > > all
      > > > > > along the sea coasts of Paul's missionary journeys.
      > Goldberg
      > > > gives
      > > > > > a colorful description of the rites of Aphrodite: "When
      the
      > > human
      > > > > > being reaches the stage in which he is neither man nor
      > woman,
      > > > then
      > > > > > he is closest in tune with the spirit of the great goddess
      of
      > > > > > love..."
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Meanwhile, Attis (Aphrodite's son and sometime consort)
      was
      > > said
      > > > to
      > > > > > have castrated himself and committed suicide. Goldberg
      > > describes
      > > > > > the rituals of his Galli or young priests of the pine
      > groves.
      > > At
      > > > > > the beginning of the "erotic blood-letting" rites, one of
      > the
      > > > young
      > > > > > priests resembling Attis or Adonis would be found stabbed
      to
      > > > > > death. "The sight of the dead priest ... aroused others
      to
      > > give
      > > > of
      > > > > > their own life fluid for the sake of the son of their
      > > goddess.
      > > > The
      > > > > > high priest drew blood from his arms and presented it as an
      > > > > > offering. And the inferior priests wrought to the height
      of
      > > > > passion
      > > > > > by the wild barbaric music of symbol, drum and flute and
      by
      > the
      > > > > > profusion of blood around them, whirled about in furious
      > dance.
      > > > > > Finally, overcome by excitement, frenzied and insensible
      to
      > > pain,
      > > > > > they savagely thrust the knives into their bodies, gashing
      > > > > > themselves in violence to bespatter the altar with their
      > > spurting
      > > > > > blood. The frenzy and hysteria of the priests spread to
      the
      > > > > > worshippers, and many a would-be priest fell into the wave
      of
      > > > > > religious excitement. He sacrificed his virility to the
      > > goddess,
      > > > > > dashing the severed portions of himself against her blood-
      > > > besmeared
      > > > > > statue. ...[Onlookers joined in.] With throbbing veins
      and
      > > > > > burning eyes, they flung their garments from them and with
      > wild
      > > > > > shouts seized the knives of the priests to castrate
      > themselves
      > > > upon
      > > > > > the very spot. ...They ran through the streets of the
      > Sacred
      > > > Ring,
      > > > > > waving the bloody pieces and finally throwing them into a
      > house
      > > > > they
      > > > > > passed. It became the duty of the households thus honored
      to
      > > > > > furnish these men with female clothes, and they, made
      > eunuchs
      > > in
      > > > > the
      > > > > > heat of religious passion, were to serve their goddess for
      > the
      > > > rest
      > > > > > of their lives. ...The priest ... who castrated himself in
      > > > > > religious frenzy assumed feminine dress not without
      > purpose.
      > > He
      > > > > > continued in the service of the temple and like the
      > priestesses
      > > > > > served man for the required fee. They were," says
      > > > Goldberg, "male
      > > > > > priests serving males in the temples of all the gods."
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Doesn't this all sound like what Paul had in mind in the
      > > > beginning
      > > > > > of his letter to the Romans with an attack on pagan
      > idolatry?
      > > > What
      > > > > > was it he wrote? "Even their women exchanged natural
      > relations
      > > > for
      > > > > > unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned
      > natural
      > > > > > relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one
      > > another.
      > > > > > Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in
      > > > > > themselves the due penalty [castration] for their
      > perversion."
      > > > > > Doesn't this better describe these cultic rites of his day
      > > than
      > > > it
      > > > > > does the mutual love and support in the everyday domestic
      > life
      > > of
      > > > > > committed gay couples today?
      > > > > >
      > > > > > At any rate, even in this illustration -- whether of these
      > > > > sickening
      > > > > > cultic rites of the pagan temples or, if one insists,
      > > > homosexuality
      > > > > > as such, -- we must be careful to note that Paul was just
      > > setting
      > > > > up
      > > > > > his self-righteous readers for his theological kill that
      > comes
      > > at
      > > > > > chapter 2 verse 1: "You, therefore, have no excuse, you
      who
      > > pass
      > > > > > judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge
      the
      > > > > other,
      > > > > > you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment
      > do
      > > the
      > > > > > same things."
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Paul wants us all to know we are not to condemn each
      other.
      > > We
      > > > are
      > > > > > all guilty of doing the same things we accuse others of
      > doing,
      > > > says
      > > > > > Paul. But Paul's great message of Romans is grace. Grace
      in
      > > > > > exchange for guilt. Grace for living graciously with
      > everyone
      > > > > > else. Grace to live the Golden Rule. Grace to love
      others
      > as
      > > we
      > > > > > love ourselves.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Do we really grasp this grace when we try to dump ancient
      > texts
      > > > > > about gang rape, prostitution and idolatry onto the heads
      of
      > > our
      > > > > gay
      > > > > > and lesbian neighbors? Would you want them dumped onto
      > you?
      > > The
      > > > > > clear commandment is this: Do unto others as you would
      have
      > > them
      > > > do
      > > > > > unto you. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > A very common misunderstanding of this verse sees
      > > homosexuality
      > > > as
      > > > > > the error, and sexually transmitted diseases, or even AIDS
      > and
      > > > HIV
      > > > > > is supposed to be the due penalty. But that
      interpretation
      > > > doesn't
      > > > > > make sense. Heterosexuals also have sexually-transmitted
      > > > diseases,
      > > > > > and if AIDS is God's punishment for homosexuality, God
      must
      > > love
      > > > > > lesbians, for of all social groups they are least at risk
      > for
      > > > AIDS.
      > > > > > Obviously the text needs a better interpretation.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > In closing let me say also say:
      > > > > >
      > > > > > (1) There's a very wide spectrum of human experience
      between
      > > the
      > > > > > extreme situation Paul describes depicting those who've
      > TURNED
      > > > > THEIR
      > > > > > BACKS on God and resort to a depraved lifestyle, and those
      > at
      > > the
      > > > > > other end of the spectrum who have TURNED TO GOD and seek
      > > after
      > > > Him
      > > > > > with all their heart.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > (2) Those Paul speaks of had refused to acknowledge and
      > > worship
      > > > God
      > > > > > and for this reason were abandoned by God to their lustful
      > > > > > depravity. The gay Chritian people I know have not
      rejected
      > > God
      > > > at
      > > > > > all. They love God and thank him for his grace and his
      > > gifts.
      > > > How
      > > > > > then could they have been abandoned to homosexuality as a
      > > > > punishment
      > > > > > for refusing to acknowledge God?
      > > > > >
      > > > > > (3) Those Paul speaks of were constantly lusting after
      each
      > > other
      > > > > > and in their actions were only following their lusts. The
      > gay
      > > > > > Christian people I know don't lust after each other any
      more
      > > than
      > > > > > heterosexual people lust after each other. They seek
      abiding
      > > > > > personal companionship, enduring love, shared intimacy and
      > > > complete
      > > > > > trust from each other just as heterosexual people, at
      their
      > > best,
      > > > > > do.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > The error Paul refers to is not homosexuality, but Gentile
      > > > > > idolatry. Idolatry is the concern throughout the whole of
      > that
      > > > > > chapter: they knew God and they did not worship God.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > For Paul the root of all evil is the disregard for God.
      This
      > > > > > idolatry, this turning from God, is the gravest of all
      human
      > > > > > faults. For Paul and the Jewish religion, this is sin,
      and
      > > all
      > > > the
      > > > > > things we call sins are merely expressions of this core
      > fault.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Hope this helps!
      > > > > > -Alex
      > > > > >
      > > > > > --- In exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com, DALE MALHENZIE
      > > > > > <ssgdalbz@y...> wrote:
      > > > > > > Hi Alex,
      > > > > > > Please give me your thoughts about Romans Chapter
      one.
      > > > Where
      > > > > > it speaks of men lusting after each other and leaving the
      > > > natural
      > > > > > use of the woman. Dont get me wrong I "have enjoyed" that
      in
      > > the
      > > > > > past. this chapter doesn't sound like it is approving of
      sex
      > > > > between
      > > > > > same sex couples. I could be wrong though cause I am the
      > first
      > > to
      > > > > > admit I am human and have made many mistakes.
      > > > > > > I dont have much time and have trouble seeing clearly
      > now
      > > > days,
      > > > > > Dale
      > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > > >
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    • Bob Griffith
      Anthony - I do understand. Dale said that divorce is not an option he desires. If he chooses to stay married, then from a Christian viewpoint being faithful
      Message 31 of 31 , Sep 11, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        Anthony -

        I do understand. Dale said that divorce is not an option he desires. If
        he chooses to stay married, then from a Christian viewpoint being faithful
        to the marriage vows is very important.

        Bob

        --- Anthony Venn-Brown - Personal Coach <avb@...> wrote:

        > HI Bob
        >
        > In talking about marriage vows before God and being gay and staying with
        > your wife....I'm not sure you completely understand the situation.
        >
        > The vows I made to my wife were based totally on a false premise..that I
        > was
        > heterosexual. How could I ever love a woman like she needs to be loved.
        > My
        > ex wife deserves the best..that is a man who loves a women and will be
        > devoted to her and satisfy her sexually.
        >
        > Once again..I say that it is totally the individuals decision..but I
        > find
        > that some men who stay with their wives are being second rate
        > husbands...and
        > there are many subconscious things have kept them from making the
        > decision
        > to end a marriage that is a farce. One of those is fear ..fear of what
        > it
        > would mean living as a gay man with integrity....another is the loss of
        > security of what they have known...many others though...I know..I had to
        > face all those fears. For me to stay would have been a selfish act...and
        > a
        > lie.
        >
        > But when it came down to it...even though my wife didn't want me to
        > go....I
        > had to make the tough decision for both of us. She now with a new
        > husband
        > and child...knows I made the right decision.
        >
        > Anthony Venn-Brown
        > Accredited Life & Business Coach (ACC ICF)
        > Author of 'A Life of Unlearning - Coming Out to the Church, One Man's
        > Struggle' Foreword by Hon. Michael Kirby.
        > Download Chapter 1 'The Confession' FREE on the book page of
        > anthonyvennbrown.com <http://www.anthonyvennbrown.com/book.html>
        > Doing all I can to inform, inspire and dispel the myths.
        >
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Bob Griffith [mailto:blgriffith@...]
        > Sent: Saturday, 11 September 2004 00:49
        > To: exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: Spam Message:Re: [ExExGayMinistry] Re: Thoughts on Romans
        > Chapter 1
        >
        > Dale,
        >
        > You have mentioned a couple of times, and asked for examples of,
        > positive
        > portrayals of homosexuality in the Bible. The truth is, as you know
        > already I am sure, there are none. Some posit that Jonathan and David
        > (I
        > can't remember the reference right now) are examples, but that theory is
        > very questionable, if not completely doubtful.
        >
        > Those who demand positive biblical examples of homosexuality in order to
        > condone homosexual relationships are not consistent. There are many,
        > many
        > things that are not mentioned in scripture that we do not forsake or
        > condemn simply because they are not mentioned in scripture. There are
        > also plenty of things that are condemned in scripture that we no longer
        > condemn - Alex has given only a few examples.
        >
        > If you desire to remain married to your wife, that is an admirable
        > decision - your marriage vows are important and need to be considered
        > mightily. To enter into and remain married to your wife does not make
        > you
        > any less homosexual, it just means you are a homosexual person who has
        > decided, for whatever reason, to be in relationship with someone of the
        > opposite sex. From what you have written thus far, you know you are
        > attracted to men, period. Yes, you love your wife, but it is men that
        > you
        > are attracted to sexually and long for affectually. Scripturally, you
        > are
        > called to be faithful to your marriage vows - to your wife. You have
        > selected, perhaps erroneously perhaps not, a very difficult life, yet
        > this
        > is where you find yourself. No one is suggesting that going behind your
        > wife's back and engaging in illicit sex with men (or other women) is a
        > godly thing to do. According to your marriage vows to God, it is sin -
        > it
        > is adultery. Thank God for His grace! You have to do what you have to
        > do,
        > according to what you believe God is calling you to do. Do not,
        > however,
        > hide behind the Bible to deny reality in yourself or in our world - both
        > temporal and spiritual. Some have decided, individually or in
        > conjunction
        > with the spouse, the divorce is the best option. It seems that for you,
        > this is not an option.
        >
        > As Alex and others have shown, there are very reasonable and legitimate
        > and Evangelical alternative interpretations of scripture that does not
        > deny the truth, reliability, or sanctity of the Bible, but present the
        > possibility of faithful same-sex relationships under the permissive will
        > of God.
        >
        > What we all have to be very careful of is to not take what we feel God
        > is
        > calling us to do individually and demand all others abide by the same
        > decision or path in life.
        >
        > Bob
        >
        > --- DALE MALHENZIE <ssgdalbz@...> wrote:
        >
        > > Alex,
        > > In respect to the law it was done away with when Christ came. He
        > > himself said he was the fulfillment of it. I dont need to follow all
        > the
        > > jewish idiosyncrasies. Christ even called some very religious people
        > > whited sepulchres. Sounds a little different that the tolerance
        > message
        > > that is going around today. Maybe I would think that ssa is okay if
        > > there were some clear instances in the Bible of it being shown in a
        > holy
        > > light. I might be blind( I am legally) but I dont see it. I do see a
        > lot
        > > of verses that say he took a wife. Even Lot tried to offer his
        > > Daughters for sex. Its not mentioned that Lot ever had sex with a man
        > > but I am sure that there were plenty of guys around he could have. If
        > he
        > > didn't I dont know how he managed. I dont know all the customs in Lots
        > > city either. It looks to me like they were not living right or else
        > God
        > > would have not destroyed them.
        > > As far as other hurting others. If some had not hurt me I would
        > > not be having this dialogue with you. I was approached by several guys
        > > before I had the desire to do anything with them. There is much
        > voiced
        > > about the the rights of the gays to not be discrimated against. Where
        > > are the voices that shoould have said leave Dale alone so he can live
        > a
        > > happier life until the Lord comes again or he leaves here thru death?
        > I
        > > am just a little bit tired today and may not sound very loving. I am
        > > guilty of a lot of things sometimes. dale
        >
        >
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