Friday, January 13, 2006


Transubstantiation into intolerance?


Great quote, from Dan Savage, from PZ Myers' Pharyngula, via Bitch, Ph.D.:

And finally, to Rob in Albany who felt my aside was proof of my intolerance and hypocrisy: Joking about Christianity isn't evidence that I'm intolerant—hell, I'm perfectly willing to tolerate Christians. I have never, for instance, attempted to prevent Christians from marrying each other, or tried to stop them from adopting children, or worked to make it illegal for them to hold certain jobs. I don't threaten to boycott companies that market their products to Christians, and I don't organize letter-writing campaigns to complain about Christian characters on television.

It would indeed be hypocritical for me to complain about fundamentalist Christians who've done all of the above to gay people if I turned around and did the same thing to Christians—but, again, I've done no such thing. Intolerant? Hell, I'm a model of tolerance! Oh sure, I joked about the Virgin Birth because I think it's silly and sexphobic. And I'm free to say as much, however unpleasant it is for some Christians to hear. Fundamentalist Christians, for their part, are free to think homosexuality is sinful and unnatural, and they're free to say so, however unpleasant it is for me to hear. But fundamentalists aren't willing to just speak their piece, Rob. Nope, they seek to persecute people for being gay, and that's where their low opinion of homosexuality—which, again, they have an absolute right to hold—transubstantiates into intolerance.

ER talking: Critics will say that homosexual activists don't want tolerance; they want acceptance or more: They want the law to enshrine them.

ER talking: Critics will say that fundamentalist Christians don't want tolerance; they want acceptance or more: They want the law to enshrine them.

From Mayflower Congregational Church's Covenent of Openness and Affirmation:

We know, with Jesus, that we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, and that those neigbors include all human beings - encompassing our families, our Church, all other churches and faiths, and the world at large.

We also know that both society and the larger community of faith have often scorned, excluded, attempted "cures", and condemned lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people in the name of Jesus, in the name of the Bible, and in the name of religious doctrine.

We know that Mayflower Church has been very public in its determination to be a reconciling force between gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people as they are and the church, welcoming all people whatever their sexual orientation - not as doing something new, but as doing something very old, harkening back to the early church's radical hospitality. ...

Read all about it.


Jesus himself said (Luke 12:51) Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division.

If your church is afraid to preach the truth for fear of offending, then I would encourage you to find a church that isn't.
Maybe I misunderstand. All people should be welcomed into every church. Once there, however, the truth should be preached. If this Mayflower group is simply kow-towing to the homosexual community without admonishing them, then they are not doing the Lord's work.
While it is admirable for churches to open their doors to all people, it is important to understand the reason churches should open their doors to homosexuals.

It is to convert them, not to celebrate the fact that they are engaging in acts of rebellion against God, for that is what homosexuality is.

The Bible, which, in spite of an ever increasing movement to humanize it, is God's Word. And God says homosexuality is an abomination to Him. Being a homosexual in itself is not a sin. Engaging in homosexual acts is, because the Bible, God's Word, condemns any sex outside of marriage, which in turn, is defined as congress between one man and one woman, regardless of what those who seek to change the Word of God to fit into the model of their own sexual mores say.

Churches are charged with the responsibilty to preach and teach repentance before forgiveness. Repentance doesn't mean saying, "oops, I had homosexual sex. Forgive me" and then going right back to doing it. It means a genuine remorse for sinning against God and committing to never sinning again.

Anyone who believes himself to be homosexual (I don't believe anyone is born that way) who truly believes, in his heart and not only his mind, in God and repents and is converted, will not want to continue to sin. Therefore, He would no longer be homosexual.

And that is the reason for welcoming Homosexuals into the church, and any church that accepts them into their church but excuses their reprobate behavior, is not a true church of God, at least, not in that sense.

It goes without saying that an admonition to repent from the sin of homosexuality should be done in Christian love and gentleness.
The Lord's work is to 1. Love God., 2., Love your neighbor as yourself.

It's the church that admonishes, which has always puzzled me, since that's what the Law did.

"Being" homosexual is one thing, Rem. B-e-i-n-g.

Doing is another. D-o-i-n-g. And any reckless sexual "doing" -- d-o-i-n-g -- homo, hetero or whatever, is sinful, we're told.

On the other hand -- the main one -- if this church, or any other, preached ALL of "the truth" about what the Bible says, it would be a real ugly world.

Slavery, anyone? Ah, but that's the trap: Quoting Scripture in the first place, rather than talking about what the sum total of the Christian message means, is why so many of us can't communicate. Because it's true: Anyone can pull any verse, or group of verses, out to bolster an argument. I'd rather not.

If this church is kow-towing to anyone, it's kow-towing to Jesus, who never said a word about homosexuality that we know of, not to the redneck Paul. And for damn sure not to modern redneck church leaders, who want us to accept their interpretation of what the words in the Bible mean, unquestioningly. I will not.

The Bible HAS been used, misued, to abuse every sort of "other" that makes mainstream culture uncomfortable for way too long.

Take the Bible literally and after the current flare-up of fundamentalist Christianity burns itself out, the remnants of Christianity will be a pitiful, ineffectual parody that no one takes seriously.

It' taken me a long, long time to get from where I started, a literalist fundamantalist, to where I am: a place where Jesus is worshipped, not the Bible, which is idolatry, not the physical church, which is bureaucracy, and not culture, conservative or liberal.

I am a Christian. Not a Biblian. Not a churchian. What passes for mainstream Christianity now is at odds with the spirit of Christianity's origins. Call me a Jesusian.
Red States/Blue States, I wonder if we are already well into the next "Civil War". It may not be a shooting war(although we have already started the actually killing of one-another), but sure as the dickens is a cultural divide which has few bridges across it. Each of us will become a Blue or a Red regardless of which state we live in. ER has hit in the last two days on the two issues that will be the focus of the divide: Abortion and Homosexuality. Noticed I said focus, for they are symptons of the underlying division.
The real division is fundamentalism versus non-fundamentalism.
This is not the same as Liberal and Conservative, most certainly is not status quo versus change.
Fundamentalism is always not as advanced as the status quo. True most liberals are non-fundamentalist and many conservatives are are fundalmentalist, but this divide is sweeping up all of those who consider themselves moderate or middle of the road, and forcing them into one camp or the other.
Rather than turn this post into a full fledged thesis I'll end with this historical observation: The Fundalmentalist often win many of the battles and rule for significant periods of time but eventually they always over-reach and lose the war.
Mark said: "Anyone who believes himself to be homosexual (I don't believe anyone is born that way)...."
I wonder where is the line drawn on this? How about a trans-sexual who was born without a well defined sex organ (or both sex organs), identified at birth as one sex, but is found to have the other sex's chromosome structure?
Are they sinners? God made them that way? How do we tell them apart from the so call arbitrary Homosexual? Transexuals are not really all that rare, about one in five hundred. How do we treat these people?
Drlobo, "The real division is fundamentalism versus non-fundamentalism."

YES! Amen. Fundamentalism eschews compromise, and without compromise there is no consensus and with no conensus this country gets damn ugly damn fast. (That's a subthesis of Jimmy Carter's new book.)

Anon., Exactly. What we, as Jesusians, should do with them is love them. Period.

And that don't mean bangin' them over the head with a Bible. It means introducing them to a radical and his radical acceptance and radical love:

It's a shame if all you're doing is loving them straight to Hell.

Harsh, yes, but also reality.

What ER cites as the Lord's work is not correct. That citation is simply what Jesus considered to be the 'greatest commandments'. The word greatest imples that there are other commandments over which they can be greater. We should not ignore the other commandments 'in the name of love'.

I would argue that the following verse is what the Lord's work is about:
Matthew 28:19 - Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
But ER, wouldn't they fall under these laws, remembering that Jesus didn't come to change the law:
From Leviticus, 20:

I am the LORD who sanctifies you.
9 ‘For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him.
10 ‘The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death. 11 The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. 12 If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death. They have committed perversion. Their blood shall be upon them. 13 If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. 14 If a man marries a woman and her mother, it is wickedness. They shall be burned with fire, both he and they, that there may be no wickedness among you. 15 If a man mates with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal. 16 If a woman approaches any animal and mates with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood is upon them.

I don't see any hiarchy here? They all seem to be at the same level of abombination and have the same penalty. Any of you guys belong to a church that holds cursing your parents and adultry at the same level as homosexuality and bestiality. If a guy walks down the isle and repents and confesses to chicken f......, how will he be treated in Sunday School the next week.
Rem said:
"It's a shame if all you're doing is loving them straight to Hell."

Now are you saying that a transexual is damn to hell if they have any sex at all?
No, and I think you know that. I'll explain myself, though - ER's contention is that all you have to do is love. Love your family, love your enemy, love 'the others'. Without teaching them about sin and then about the saving grace of the Lord, all that love doesn't do a thing to save their soul.
Exactly, Drlobo.

Rem, "teach" what? And note it says "teach," not even "convert."

(Anybody got a concordance handy? What Greek word was translated "teach"?)

Here's the lesson: "You're lost. Nothing you can do will gain you favor with God. Nothing you do will earn you hell. You're lost because you're on your own. Come to Me (Jesus speaking), and find God -- AND YOURSELF.)

And then the presence of God in the lives of those so touched will change, yes. Exactly HOW they change is between individual people and God. Not me. Not you. Not the bureaucracy of the church. IMHO.
Mathew 28:19
".....teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you..."

The Greek is definitely "teaching" although could be stretch to "endoctrinate"

ER: "teach" what? And note it says "teach," not even "convert"

Teach what: to obey everything I (Jesus) have commanded you...

Who does that?
Nobody does, ER. But we are supposed to try.
But what Jesus is known to have commanded, and everything the Bible says, and what the church says, and what our comfort level says -- those are all different things. Otherwise, we're putting words in Jesus's mouth, faulty human interpretation in the place of the Gospel itself, and feelings over conviction. Aren't we?

Better to open the doors to the church wide than to EVER answer for turning people away.

Let Jesus be Jesus. Let those who encounter Him be transformed as He sees fit -- not us.

What are the fruits of the spirit? Isn't that what we should look for, if anything, as evidence of grace?

But here's the kicker for me: I was saved, am being saved and ultimately will be saved. But in 1991 I lived the life of a heathen. Many women. I never "rejected" God. I did embrace my "self" -- and the selves of others. Women.

And I still fail DAILY in other respects.

It's just damn hard to judge people's relationship with God, based on what they do. Isn't it?

Ah, but here we are again: What people ARE and what they DO are different things.
Let's get back to the literalness of the Bible, though.

Jesus ascended to heaven.

My question: Is he there yet.


Assuming an ascension rate of 5 mph -- times 24 hours in a day, times 365 days in a year, times 2000 years to keep it simple -- he would not yet be past the sun.

He would be about 87.6 million miles out. The sun is 93 million miles away.

Silly? No.

The writers of the Scripture seem to have assumed that God and heaven were just past the sky. We can assume that as soon as Jesus got too far away to see, they figured he was just about to heaven. Such were the limits of their concept of cosmology.

Today, we know better.

So, to continue to take the Bible literally in the instance of Jesus Ascension, one would have to believe that He is not to heaven yet -- unless he went into warp speed just past the atmosphere.

Even then, traveling at the speed of light, we could measure how far out He would be.

And here this example falls into absurdity.

Whicyh is why it's absured to believe that the Bible is "literally" factual or true.

Which is why, I think, it's better to listen for the underlying message of the Gospel and quit trying to bless, or damn, people with the details.
E.R., what the H is that last post? What do you mean?

On the third day, Christ arose. He ascended into heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father, from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

You don't really think Jesus is bound by the law of physics, do you? Even using some man-made formula, you'd have to know the location of heaven and the distance if you're going to try to figure out "how long" it took Him to get there.

That's pretty far out. But then, this whole thread is. And I'm not wading any deeper into this one.
ER. Dude.

In order:
1. Everything that Jesus commanded, the Bible says, and the church says should be the exact same thing. Exactly the same. Our comfort level may be different, and in many cases it will be. As a Christian matures, though, that comfort level should also mature to the point that there is no more difference.

2. I have never said to turn people away from church. That would be an indefensible position. My statement was that churches should not be so afraid of offended or dividing that they fail to preach all of God's word. How else can a church teach?

3. Salvation is a singular occurance. In phrasing it the way you have, you open yourself up for people to question your salvation. I'm not here to judge you, but as a concerned Brother in Christ, I am here to aid you if you have questions.

4. We all fail. Therefore, we all still need Jesus.

5. Jesus created the physical universe. He is not constrained by it. I do not know where Heaven is. It may be just outside of the earth's atmosphere - are you telling me that God is not powerful enough to employ Klingon Cloaking Technology? All I know is that the Bible is all we have. I accept it as literal and true.

6. In the future, please refer all physics related questions to me. At a 5 mph ascension rate, were Jesus to be constrained by physical laws, He would never have broken through the atmosphere.
Re, "You don't really think Jesus is bound by the law of physics, do you?"

No, I don't. Which is why I find it hard to take the Bible literally.
Which is different from taking it seriously, which I do.


If 1. is true -- and I'm not saying that it;s not -- then we REALLY have to deal with the question of literalness.

I have no qualms with 2.

I stand by 3. -- and so did Scofield, although he probably used big theological words like "sanctification" and "rengeneration" and the like.

LOL for 5. and 6.

True, yes. Sufficient for salvation, yes. Not literal. No way. No NEED for it to be taken literally, IMHO.
Ya know, anyone saying they "don't believe" that people are born gay -- whether they are or are not -- is about like somebody who has never loved redheads telling me they "don't believe" I love redheads.

Others' belief has nothing to do with otherses' gayness. They either are born gay, or they are not -- none of which has anything to do with what Jesusians should do with the fact of gayness.
Born with a tendency toward a certain behavior does not excuse such behavior. Those with the genetic make-up which tends to favor violence should not be shown leniency in a court of law simply because they are 'born that way'. Much the same with homosexuality - an inate tendency toward such behavoior does not make it acceptable. It may be that the urge for an individual is too great to counter on their own - it would not be too great to counter with God's help.
Since nobody else went and got 'em, here:

The Fruit of God's Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Galations 5:22-23

The only one that might apply directly and negatively to homosexuals and behavior also applies to heterosexuals and behavior:

Rem, I have made the very exact argument myself, in this very space.

Now, not so much.

It's brought out all the time when it comes to homosexuals, and almost never with any other inclination and associated behavior.

Hardly ANYBODY wants to deny fat people full participation in the church, or in churches! And gluttony is a sin, no?

Help is available for fatness, too -- but nobody wants to deny fat people their rights, either in society or in the church.



Found you by way of Bitch PhD.

I heard the call for compassionate Christians, and I'm answering.

Do y'all know the the Bible has been used to justify every conceivable sin know to humankind? Way back in the day those who thought the "coloreds" (sic) should sit in the back of the bus and use a different water fountain used the Bible to justify those sins. Nowadays the Bible is being used to beat up gay folks.

Jesus said he brought A NEW COVENANT. He said things like, "Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone." He said he wasn't down with the eye-for-an-eye stuff. So, we know that he didn't like some of what was written in the Old Testament. He told us. .

So, really. Stop it. Stop pulling verses outta the book to hurt others. Because for all your talk of welcoming them, you are not. You who are literalist are the new Pharisees. You are in love with the letter of the law and you are in love with power. You are so in love with the letter of the law that you have missed the meanings. You use your considerable intellect to cloak the fact that that you think it is your job to "save" others.

That's Christ's job, and He already did it. And there is the power you so crave. It just ain't your call, man. You don't get to say who gets into heaven. If I was gonna run around talking about who gets into heaven, that would be because at some point Christ had said, "Well, SuperB, I was wondering if you think I should let John Doe in?" He hasn't done that. It is not for humans to decide. We are collectively talking outta turn.

And He totally created them gay. Yep. He loves them gay folk just the way He made 'em.

And equating homosexuality with violence is offensive beyond my powers of articulation.

And He really meant it when He told us not to judge each other. Really.

Thank you, SuperB.
You are more than welcome.

Oh so good! Thanks SuperB. I've made similar posts the other times this same topic has come up. Nice to see someone different say it.

What irks me no end is those who pull random scriptures without reading all the way through the New Testament with some good study guides to see how Jesus reframed the whole she-bang. But no, I'm not going to go into lecture mode. There are plenty of Bible studies for people to attend or self-guided studies available from Mardel's and other Christian bookstores.

I do want to say this, however:

God made us (all of us) in HIS image. Male and female He made them.


It does NOT say "they were all made identical, like Barbie and Ken dolls."

With all of our differences, HE MADE US. How dare any of us criticize any of HIS creations? If HE said "It is VERY good," we can't say to Him "Well, Steve and Michael aren't so good, but the rest of us are fine." What audacity!
ER said:
"Help is available for fatness, too -- but nobody wants to deny fat people their rights, either in society or in the church."

Actually Leviticus does have a prohibition against eating "fat", and the punishment is exclusion from the people.

Also Leviticus has a prohibition against eating insects that walk on four legs, with exceptions for those that hop.

But as Super B noted above:"Jesus said he brought A NEW COVENANT."

So now I guess we can eat ants, hogs, sleep with our wife's mother, lay with the same sex, and not offer sacrifices at the temple, and still go to heaven.

After all once saved always saved.

And then, where did Jesus condemn homosexuality? Was that condemnation part of the new covenant.

Like I said way up at the top of this post, their ain't too many brigdes across this divide between Red and Blue. The largest one is named Love, but it seems to be empty of people crossing over either way.
I assume Trixie and SuperB were addressing me. I'll have to admit that I've never been called a Pharisee before. I'm curious as to what the 'random scripture' is to which you both refer. Everything I offered was germane to the conversation.

Re Trixie's last comment. Adam (man) was made in God's image. It was 'good'. This was, of course, before the fall. Once sin entered into the equation, man was no longer 'very good'. God never looks upon sin and says, "It is good."
And God would not have sacrificed His son if He didn't still think His Creation (us) were worth it, Rem.
Before you get too comfy casting stones, just remember that those you are criticizing could wind up being your roommate in heaven.
"Salvation is a singular occurance."

REM, I'm sure you didn't mean it this way, but you are absolutely right: The singular event happened 2,000 years ago on a cross. Question all you want, but there is NOTHING we can do to be saved. If that were the case, we would be more powerful than God. And we are not. Salvation is totally up to God. It's not about us. It's about what Jesus did for us.
The Bible and most of the practices of "worship" Christianity are, in fact, manufactured by human societies and power structures long after the fact of Jesus' life. The recovered materials which were hidden or supposedly destroyed after the Nicene Creed are further indication that the creation of the Christian church as many know it is not the work of god but the hand of man.

Preaching the bible is meaningless absent this context. If you really want to find God, you need to look into what the historical Jesus has to offer - a direct, unmediated, unstructured connection to the divine, available to the whore, to the fag, and to the rich televangelist alike.

It isn't about purity, it is about divinity. Otherwise, y'all are just a bunch of neopharisees, bent on creating lots of mindless little rules that restrict access to your special club. Google "Marcus Borg" and get on with it.
Amen, Buxom Broad!

And Rem, I don't think any comment, before Trixies remark about heavenly roomates, was fdireected at you. Theyt were directed at fundamentalists who read the Bible literally, without thinking too much about the meaning behind the words.

Amen Drlobo, too. Love is the ONLY bridge. Agape, please, extra helpings. But phileo first, to get things going. Even eros is part of the creation!
Trixie said:
"Before you get too comfy casting stones, just remember that those you are criticizing could wind up being your roommate in heaven"

I don't suppose there is a single room rate available?
I'm not sure what the lodgings will be like when we get there -- of course the point being that WE don't know who's going to be there when we arrive. And no, until the roommate comment, I had directed nothing at Rem. And I apologize if that was not clear.

Hey, if you REALLY want to start a heated thread, start something on baptism!
ER said:
"Love is the ONLY bridge. Agape, please, extra helpings. But phileo first, to get things going. Even eros is part of the creation!"

I don't know about starting out with a bridge named Agape, perhaps to succed we should start with the lowest level of love and work our way up from there. Then we don't have to argue about what the word means so much.

Let's name the bridge "Storge" that's Koine Greek for "affection". C.S. Lewis defined "storge" as the feeling you get after walking for hours around a city and then seeing a sign that says "restrooms". Now that feeling I think would be a common ground.
Storge it is then. :-)

Trixie, I remmember once in college when I, a Baptist, guilelessly said to a good Methodist friend, in an effort to bring to a close a good-natured argument over baptism:

"OK! It really doesn't matter whether you're sprinkled or Baptized!"

He called me on it so quick, and we laughed so hard, about how easy it is to talk past one another. I swear, until that moment, I never considered what Methodists did, no matter what they called it, as "baptism."
Well, did you know that there are actually three methods of baptism used by Methodists? Immersion, sprinkling and pouring. I do have to laugh with you about that comment, though. BTW, I made them fill up the dunk tank at my home church when I was baptized. But there were about four of us that all wanted to be baptized that way, so we did it as a group.
Good for you, Trixie.

Both my little ones were sprinkled. Ole Dad here was immersed at the age of 10, having grown up Baptist.

It kind of cracks me up that the ministers in the fine Presbyterian church to which I now belong are always urging congregants to "remember your baptism."

I'm one of the few in the congregation who CAN -- since I didn't grow up Presbyterian.:-)
When this subject comes up it reminds me of the time the little Baptist Church just five miles West of my little Baptist church who borrowed the use of our Baptistry one Sunday morning.
It seems that they were to have a Baptism the Sunday before so the pastor had started filling up the Baptistry Saturday evening with the garden hose knowing that it would take all night.
It had been some time since their last Baptism, so when the pastor step into the Baptistry, the extra wieght caused the bottom to fall out and flood the the church.
As a kid that story seemed a little funny to me. Now, as a cynical old fart, I really would have like to have been there and watched that.
ER, I gotta say that your spiritual journey here honesty to god does help strengthen my own faith.

Thank you.
GP, in my Methodist congregation we just celebrated last Sunday the baptism of the Lord, so we had the annual remembrance of our baptism. It's similar to the sacrament of baptism of a person, with the pouring of the water and the recitation of the scripture. The water is poured into a bowl which is then shown to the congregation with "Remember your baptism, and be glad."
We had an excellent sermon about baptism, so that's been in my thoughts all week. Probably what prompted the bait here... I was hoping to nudge E.R. into a discussion about whether baptism is an act of man or an act of God, because that could be another jolly rip-snorting discussion. Aren't I a mean widdle kid??
OK Trix, I'll start it.
When my new wife joined the Baptist Church , even coming from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who were dunkers themselves, she had to be re-Baptised into the Baptist Church before she could become a member.
Having already being Baptised in the Spirit and in the corpreal sense in her church, the Southern Baptist said that it didn't count. So as an actual practice the Southern Baptist claiming it is a spiritual activity in fact treated it like an initiation to their private club. Further discussions with one of my Virginia Church of Christ preacher cousins about this event led me to understand that they would require the same thing because unless it was done in their church it was not a Spiritual Baptism either. He went on to elaborate about the dude that accepted Christ into his heart but delaid his Baptism untill his wife could be there to see it, and then was killed on the way to the Baptismal service at the church, in a car wreck, and went straight to Hell because he had not yet been Baptised by the Church. Thus the Church of Christ immediate dunking after a confession of faith.

My wife is still somewhat miffed, even four decades latter, that her first Baptism didn't count to the Baptist.

By the way the Disciples of Christ accept any and all Christian Baptisms as valid, including (shudder shudder, the Catholic's) and condsider the dunking to be at the descretion of the believer.
Let me ammend a statement:
"By the way the Disciples of Christ accept any and all Christian Baptisms as valid"

All ADULT Baptisms.
Let me ammend the ammendment:
All "non-Infant" Baptisms.
Dr. Lobojo said, . . .and went straight to Hell because he had not yet been Baptised by the Church.

There is no Biblical basis for this. Remember Jesus's encounter with the two thieves nailed to crosses beside him? After the one thief asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom, Luke 23:43 records, And Jesus said to him, "Verily I say unto thee, to day shalt thou be with me in paradise." Jesus did not require baptism - if He did, that thief wouldn't be spending anytime with Him in paradise. In and of itself, baptism is nothing but an outward symbol signifying a person's rebirth. As such, I don't think it matters much how this 'sacrament' is carried out.

Any of ya'll ever hear of ole Grady Nut? He's an old timey comedian - might be dead now. In one of his bits he describes the Baptist version of baptism, as it occurs in a river. He points out that it is very important to dunk into the current, lest something flow into your nose. Neglecting this very important point has been the reason behind many different denominations and why they don't 'dunk'. He then tells us that Presbyterian (sp?) is Latin for 'moss in the nose'. Somethin' I remember hearing as a kid - it's a lot funnier to hear him tell it.
Great conversation. Sorry to be so late to the party. Mind if I join?

I'm with ER. I'm a Jesusian.

So much of this argument is pending on so VERY little basis in the Bible. As one who was raised in a traditional baptist church and believed as I was taught for many years, I know that it is just assumed that the Bible is very clear on the matter of homosexuality.

It's an abomination and a sin. Period. End of discussion. Right?

Not so fast. There are maybe 15 passages in the Bible that even SEEM to deal with homosexuality. Most don't.

You have the passages such as Sodom and Gomorrah, which are actually talking about rape or attempted rape (if the angels had been women, would we be condemning heterosexuals?).

(And in fact, Ezekiel points out exactly the reason for Sodom's destruction when God says that they were "arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy." !! How about that?!)

You have some passages dealing with male/boy prostitutes. We'll agree that that's not healthy.

And ONLY THEN do you have about six passages that really seem to deal with homosexuality.

You have the Holiness Code (Leviticus) where men laying with men are condemned (to death - I hope we don't take that passage literally) in the OT (and by the way, eating shrimp is also an abomination - I hope we don't go there, either!)

Then you have three or so passages in the NT where the Bible translators are unsure of the translation (calling the word "effeminate," "homosexual offenders" and various other words - they're simply not sure how to translate the word).

And THEN you have Paul in Romans saying that men should not give up "natural relations" with women. But we know, of course, that for gays natural relations would be with the same sex.

Sorry ER for doing a bit of biblical review, but I think it very important to know on how very little biblically we justify spending so very much of our time and energy.

Now, why don't we start talking about greed or war-making, something the Bible REALLY gets in to (and on which Jesus has a position)?
"straight to Hell because he had not yet been Baptised by the Church"

That's just ridiculous and dangerous to believe that way. Baptism isn't even necessary for salvation. It is a ritual, like commumion. both are simply acts of obedience to God.

And dan, you said, "Then you have three or so passages in the NT where the Bible translators are unsure of the translation (calling the word "effeminate," "homosexual offenders" and various other words - they're simply not sure how to translate the word)"

This is true. But have you considered why it's true? I have heard that it's because the act of homosexuality in Biblical times, was considered absolutely unthinkable and ummentionable. Therefore, there was either not a word for it, or it was considered too obscene to actually print it. Hence, there is no actual definite word in the original language to translate.
Rem 870's Grady Nut reference reminded me of a story of the two missoinaries in SE Oklahoma among the Choctaw in the 1870's.(story's from memory so it may not be accurate) One guy's church was built by a beautiful clear stream down fom a waterfall and the other's church was on a muddy tributary that flowed into that stream. But the Choctaw converts flocked to the church on the muddy stream even when some of them passed right by the clear stream church on their way to the other. Now the two missionaries compared their sermons and their theology and couldn't find a whit of difference between the two, so why did the people prefer the "muddy water" church over the "clear water" church.

Well it seems that the "clear water" church was trying to Baptise its converts in a stream where years ago a giant Serpent had taken and devoured two little children, and then had also bested one of their greatest Shamen in a fight to the death. Now the Oklahoma stream really wasn't the same exact stream but looked like the one in their homelands to the East where the tale originated, and had been named after it. Sometimes it is what's in the water that counts.
Mark said:"I have heard that it's because the act of homosexuality in Biblical times, was considered absolutely unthinkable and ummentionable. Therefore, there was either not a word for it, or it was considered too obscene to actually print it. Hence, there is no actual definite word in the original language to translate."

MARK, it is written in GREEK for God's sake. GREEK!
Who is on top, who is on bottom, down front, etc. Try: "erastes," "eromenos," "paedika," "paederastes" and many others all good Koine Greek words which he did not use why????
B, :-)

Dan, good stuff there; thanks.

Trixie, ? Never considered baptism anything other than a commemorative thing. Same for the Lord's Supper. Although I do realize other traditions see much more at work than water in a tank (or bowl) or crackers and grape juice (or wine).
Oh, Grady Nutt died in a plane crash in late 1982 or early '83, whehn I was a Gospel radio deejay in Arkansas. He was a Christian country commedian, on "Hee Haw" some, which is where I remember him.

He died in a plane crash. The Rev. Lester Roloff, a preacher in Corpus Christi, Texas, who was on the radio all over the country, died in a plane crash. Keith Green, a latter-day Jesus person communalist in Texas -- and beautiful singer and inspired songewriter, died in plane crash.

All within a year of one another, I think.

Which caused to opine:

"Well, Jesus died say, 'Low, I am with you always.' "

....All baptisms recognized in the Presbyterian church. All believers invited to participate in the Lord's Supper as well, since, as the minister says, "This is not a Presbyterian table. It is the table of our Lord."

Thanks Trixie, I haven't participated in a baptismal remembrance service just like that. I would like to.
Yesterday I disagreed with Rem's statement that "salvation is a singular occurance," pointing out that salvation is an act of God -- not man.

I just wanted to further explain that: I did not mean to denigrate Rem's own singular experience. (I once walked the aisle, as well, and I consider it a strong recognition of what Christ did for us.)

But I've come to see a couple of other problems with putting so much reliance on a one-time "salvation":

-Not every Christian gets there that way. Being 'born from above' -- indeed transformational -- for some comes over time, rather than by a lightning bolt.

-"Getting saved" can lead to the idea that the saved person no longer needs to worry about sin. Big problem there. We are always plagued with sin, every one of us, and we constantly need to recognize it and deal with it.

Also, many see it as the one-time hand stamp into heaven. But actually, affirming a commitment to Christ is a BEGINNING, not an ENDING.

The question, then, is 'What next?'

Also, I really believe one Christian should NEVER question whether another Christian is really "saved." That, in essence, is to question whether Jesus' blood really has enough power to redeem.

I totally agree with ER, conversion is a lifelong process. So, the answer to the 'What next?' question is to seek to serve Him here on Earth for the remainder of our lives.
Some cynics used to call -- still call, probably -- the Baptist emphasis on "walking the aisle" and "getting saved," then reliance on that singular event for assurance that i "really happened," marked by the familiar Baptist refrain "once saved always saved," as taking out "fire insurance." In other words, those who never get past "milk" in their studies and meditation, can tend toward relying on that "event" to save them from hell, then continue living like hell. And that's dangerous because, as Anonymous pointed out, it makes it easy to quit taking sin seriously.
And obviously the Christian life has no effect whatsoever on one's ability to type or keep grammar straight when one is thinking as one types into this blog contraption. :-)
drlobojo, The original text of the Bible was written in Greek and Aramaic, amd Hebrew, if that's a language, if it isn't, it was written in whatever language the ancient Hebrews used which wasn't Greek.

Better go dive back into you books to see what you are supposed to think about that.
Mark, I'd be careful. You don't know what you're talking about. And you're not very good at being a smartass, so I'd watch that, too.
New Testament, which is what Dan was talking about, and Drlobo was referring to: Greek.

Jesus spoke Aramaic, which is why there is no exact "transcript" of what he said, since the earliest documents "quoting" him weren't in the language he spoke, but were in Greek.

Misplaced hubris is a riot. Drlobo, just wipe up after you're done here, please.
Wipe up? Wipe up?
OK, here is my janatorial work, but I want union wages.

Actually we don't really know what the "original" text were written in. We simply don't have any document that could possibly be "original". It is most probable that they were in Greek. It is certain that Paul and Timothy wrote in Greek and that is where most of the discussed admonitions of Christian behavior are found. At any rate the earliest documents we do have are in Greek and Greek has no shortage of words to describe sex acts of any sort. In fact in both Timothy and First Corinthians htere is even an invented Greek word (found nowhere else)used by Paul and then Tim to describe a sex act in Greek. That word is "asenokoitai" which in the Inter-linear Greek Bible seems to mean "to bed a male". Modern Bibical translations have this mean "homosexual". But Paul and Timothy's church audience were not exclusively male, so they may have been aiming this prohibiton towards women rather /or in addition to men (the term used just before it translates as "whoremongers"). That's why it is so difficult to translate these passages. If Paul and Tim had really wanted to come down hard one same sex-sex then they had a plethora of Greek words, of certainty and exactitude, that they could have used, either to condemn male-male or female-female sex or both.
They did not use them. Why? It was not because either of them were too prudish. Paul for example participated in the death and destruction of whole Christian congregations in his youth, and even in the stoneing of christians. Anyone who can spend and hour or so beating another human being into a bloody, pissing, bleeding, crying lump of meat by throwing rocks at them, is no prude.
One more point from the "books".
Gender orientation and even the word "homosexual" are products of the 19th century. It was arround 1860 that the concept of "sexual orintation" was created by 19th century "phsychologist". Up until then it was the act that was catagorized and the actor that was given a name associated with the act, it wasn't until "modern" times that we created a "class" of people called homosexuals, and indescriminately lumped all these various actors into it.
Thus any Biblical translation that uses the exact word "homosexual" is placing a modern concept and word into the interpretation of an ancient text.
That is kind of like refering to a "nueclear holocost" wipeing out Sodom and Gomorrah.
There is an old saying that sometimes a translation tells you more about the translator than what is being translated.

ER,I guess I'm almost done sweeping up here.

Mark, thanks for having me dig deeper into this. You are helping me stay sharper than I might otherwise be. Your opinons may be valid, but this particular proof doesn't work.
Give it another shot.

Lights out, door closed. We can pick this up next time. Mark, ER, etc. I'll see you then.
You should all watch the book of Daniel on Friday night so you'd know what's what.
I have to admit I like the Book of Daniel much better than I ever expected.
The Book Of Daniel is in a schedual conflict with the new season of Galactica. A man has to have his priorities. I'll catch it when Galactica goes into re-runs.
Friday night! Dang it, it's bad enough that "Monk" is on Fridays.

My inner 20-something still struggles to actually come home on Friday nights. That's the night to par-tay, even if it's just goin' out to eat with Dr. ER.

I had a small epiphany the other day. "The Book of Daniel" might very well be over the top, but if every right-wing Christian group in the country is so opposed to it, it might very well have some redeeming value -- even if it's just getting people to talk about Jesus and who He is.

Methinks He would be hangin' out with a dysfunctional family with lots of problems before he'd be wasting wime with the "perfect" bunch who wouldn't think it needed, or would even recognize, His grace.

I just need to learn how to work my dang VCR.
I think I'm very good at being a smart ass. My ex wife thinks so too.

Personally, I think it's something of a stretch to say the authors of the Bible didn't mean homosexuality in those several passages.

More of a stretch than saying they meant something else.

Remember, the Bible wasn't intended to only be understood by the intelligencia, but by all men, including the common folk like me. Why oh Why would the authors, who, by the way, weren't scholars by any means thenselves, want to write somethimg that is undecipherable?

I think some of you are reading a lot more into this than is there, particularly if you don't happen to agree with the consensus or popular viewpoint.
Mark, YOU are the one making assumptions about the meaning. The "authors" used the language of the day, Greek primarily, which YOU DON'T SPEAK. Those people didn't know you wouldn't know the language. That's why they had such a vast vocabulary. How dare YOU come along millennia later and say they didn't know what they meant?
(And again, why I am so surprised and still exasperated by this?)
Let's see:

Mark eschews education, brags about not being well-read and often makes a point of telling people that he doesn't read "main-stream media" or "books," and actually insists that being "over" educated is a liability.

Somehow, he feels insulted when people appeal to research, others' opinions and experience and other sources besides one's own "gut, inherited beliefs or preconceinved ideas.

Wha-? Gah.
"Salvation is better than smart answers." R.A. Lafferty

of course HE was being satirical
One further thought: Whatever the Bible authors meant in the handful of verses that seem to deal with homosexuality, if you read them in context, they appear to be referring to something pretty bad, "homosexual offenders," mixed in with the greedy and murderers (and Greed is one of the Biggies in the Bible, I'll hasten to point out again).

In context, they don't appear AT ALL to be talking about a loving, respectful, committed relationship between two people (of whatever gender), do they?

So again I'll ask: Why spend ALL THE ENERGY, TIME and MONEY fighting against this one negligible, questionable sin when there are much more clear directives from Jesus' mouth to your ears to be dealing with?

"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in." and

"Woe to you who are rich, for
you have already received your comfort."

Why do we not heed these warnings and spend our time on a questionable and sometimes hateful crusade against gays? Perhaps because Jesus' actual words hit too close to home.
Trixie, I never said the writers didn't know what they meant. And frankly, I don't know how you got that from what I said.

Oh the heck with it. Believe whatever you want to believe. If you want to believe God wanted men to have sex with other men and women with women, go ahead. Far be it from me to try to talk common sense to you.

That's it. I won't be back.
Slams door. Stomps away mad. Pbtbth.
Well Mark, there you go again.

Just where in this thread did Trixie say, "God wanted men to have sex with other men and women with women"?

I can't find it.

Because she didn't say that. You did.
To Mark et. al.
Point of fact: Saul of Tarsus,aka Paul the Apostle, was among the most educated people of his day. Check it out in in your basic Scofield Reference Edition Bible preferred by evangelical types. He wrote what HE ment to say. It just doesn't come down across 2000 years as plainly as some need for it to.
You can run but you'll be back, like a moth to the flame. It is a place of light for you.
Oh, I have to comment now. Just. Can't. Help. Myself.

ER hit the nail on the head referring to Mark: "Mark eschews education, brags about not being well-read and often makes a point of telling people that he doesn't read 'main-stream media' or 'books,' and actually insists that being 'over' educated is a liability. Somehow, he feels insulted when people appeal to research, others' opinions and experience and other sources besides one's own 'gut, inherited beliefs or preconceinved ideas.' "

He feels as though those presenting factual information, debate with references and a -- oh, dear heavens, hold me back -- a DIFFERENT OPINION are out to get him. All swarm the Maness "house," for we are not worthy of his banter. Sheesh!

Now THAT's why I come back here -- ignorance oftentimes breeds ignorance, and the fun that ensues is so worth reading through the other information. Ah, thank goodness for ER's "house."
I agree with Teditor. Ignorance Breeds.
Not sure I understand 'zactly whatcher sayin' Teditor, but glad to see pipe up.
Whatch-I'm-sayin' is this: Mark's biggest pet peeve is that people don't agree with him, and therefore "those people" -- whether educated or informed or otherwise presenting a valid argument -- are just plain wrong and there is no other way to see it.

His comments rarely are based on factual information and more rarely are they anywhere near profound.

Oh, and him saying he won't be back, well, that's simple bullshit. He may not be back as a commenter for a long while -- what was the last time, three week? -- but he'll be back reading every day just hoping someone will actually agree with him.

And his ears will perk up a bright pink color when he reads these and other comments.
OK. I think Mark meant he wouldn't be back to this particular topic. I didn't take him to mean he wouldn't come back to ER at all. He and I have both, by the way, made such declarations in the past. We both like a good tussle. And he is welcome here anytime.
"We both like a good tussle."

Nope, I think he likes a good tromping better. and he doesn't seem to care whether he is the tromper or the trompee.
And this now-4-day-old post lives!
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