Its not that God isn't a God of love, patience, kindness etc... it's just that some people who claim to follow God aren't - and see fit to single others out - but not themselves.
While I have been a Christian and now consider myself an agnostic and spiritual, I differ personally in my views of the value of the bible as any form of authority as it has been shown to have been manipulated and edited to suit those who use it as an instrument of control. This is of course, a point which is actively disputed by those who happen to agree with points of view which are bolstered and encouraged by these manipulations, mistranslations and other errors in a document which many would use as a rule-book by which to live, run society, judge others, and even condemn people to death.
Let me make it clear in no uncertain terms that that document, while having value as a set of rough guidelines and inspirational verse, is not infallible, inerrant or even an authority.
This has become quite relevant in the discussion around the recent findings of a Methodist Church tribunal in South Africa, which has dismissed a gay minister for marrying her long time girlfriend. The Methodist church should be ashamed of its narrow mindedness and persecution of people who should be welcomed. Excuses do not cut it anymore.
"Amiel Joshua" - a detractor and critic of gay rights, wrote on the wall of the Facebook support group set up to support this minister:
"Look, you cant blame the church for following the rules as laid out in the bible, the bible is the final authority on how we lead our lives, thats what we believe as christians. The methodist church has given her a lot of leeway, more so than any other church denomination would have, in some of the churches I know of they wont appoint ministers who would marry gay couples let alone a gay minister.
Marriage is a between a man and women, from reading ecclescias story she knows that she ougth to have been celibit. I think shes trying to move the boundaries for her own gain and is short sighted. Look around you, the gradual lessening of standards has started endless problems, rampant crime starts with petty rule bending. We're called to be set a part, called to a higher standard of living. no we've not perfect, but we should fight our battles with Gods help and not just succumb to carnal instinct, its like premarital sex, self control with Gods help is needed."
It is because of such attitudes and people who push them that churches everywhere are empty and emptying.
It is because of such attitudes that gay people (and others) turn their backs on God. And I cannot blame them for doing so, although I wonder who is going to answer to this God for that? Us? Or those who lie and steal the light from those who need it most?
Marriage is a piece of paper, and an agreement between people who love each other, regardless of gender. How can a person's marriage be for any other gain than that of love and the formalization of their union. I see by your own statement here, how short-sighted you are. In fact, I find your underlying attitude in implying this, insulting and offensive.
Especially when half-wits and idiots start pointing fingers at crime and deterioration (and natural disasters) and blame it on "low morality" and us wanting to get married or to stop you from treating us as cattle.
"...the issue in the church was never orientation" (despite the fact that gay people were unwelcome in churches for decades) "but how that orientation plays out in lifestyle" (how you figure this one out only heaven knows, lol), "that is the issue."
Of course, people choosing to live heterosexual "lifestyles" are somehow sinless and those not are fit targets for the wrath of "God's perfect sinless people".
God came to save all, Jew, gentiles, murderers etc etc etc... including religious fundamentalists, Christians and even gay people. Don't forget to include all those pedophiles out there, who are "obviously gay" and also into bestiality and incest too, according to you. Oh and as a minor detail, where is incest listed as a biblical sin? Ah, gotcha there, haven't I?
Its not a them and us... (but yet we stand on the outside looking in at them) we all sin in different ways but the idea is that we all least attempt to live sinlessly and not brazenly live in contradiction to the way God would have us live. Yet some sin is somehow seen as worse than the sins of those who see themselves fit to judge others. Of course a select few of us know exactly what God wants, who he/she/it hates and what God says. And of course a select few of us choose who is welcome in Gods presence and who isn't, and what is sin and what isn't, and which sin is the flavor of the month in terms of who is welcome and who isn't.
It was fine for Ecclesia to be a pastor and be gay (and live together in technical sin out of wedlock) but "marriage" (I love those "quotation marks" - you know, like the ones I put around "Christian") was 1 step too far for the church - what astounding double standards.
I think people who are of this line of thought should stop placing themselves on a pedestal - you are no higher than the rest of us.
Have a read here:
http://www.otkenyer.hu/truluck/index.html Steps to recovery from bible abuse. A response to the abusive use of the bible against gays and lesbians.
http://www.godmademegay.com/ A Letter to Louise: A Biblical Affirmation of Homosexuality
And our friend did not read any of the material he was referred to - and continued to say:
"The bible is the authority of any church and cant be disregarded. Why believe only parts of it if its tainted, you need to accept it as a whole or not at all."
Yet people do the VERY SAME THING - picking and choosing parts of the same book to hit us with. WHY?
"Should bestiality and incest be legalised as well as someone is attracted to that form of gratification?" - How typical and what a weak pathetic argument. Ah, the old bestiality and incest bit they compare being gay to. There is NOTHING to compare bestiality and incest with being gay. How does being gay in any way legitimize bestiality and incest? How weak and typical to reduce the same instinct of seeking love and companionship which you as a straight man has, to mere "gratification".
Love the sinner but hate the sin, is that it? PLEASE, spare me.
People such as yourself are the reason others have little or no time for God - or those who claim his or her name - and kill others in it. It isn't God that hates us, but people who call themselves Christians and who won't deviate from their laws when they should be seen as mere guidelines and who read between the lines when it suits them.
"why do you want to be bound by a piece of paper, does that define your love? Why do you have to have this institution if its only that?" - Ditto, sweetie-pie - WHY DO YOU? If it is good enough for you, it is good enough for us.
I reject any laws which strip people of equality and dignity and turn them into objects of blame, derision and persecution.
The one law of God is love - and if you stop talking about love, you stop talking about God.
Let those bigoted and invariably straight Christians wonder now about why we do not want to be a part of their perfect world, on their terms. Let them ask why we "reject God" - when it is THEM we reject. Them and their hypocrisy, their hatred and their prejudice. It is time for change, it is time for renewal. It is time they opened their ears, eyes, hearts and minds. After what they have done - and after this betrayal by the Methodist Church of South Africa, they can wonder no more.
"Its not picking and choosing." Said Amiel Joshua.
Ok, so let's see - picking on gay people for how they are born, and for loving each other, but not attacking people who run fish shops for selling shellfish, tattoo parlors, and clothing stores for selling garments of mixed materials is NOT picking and choosing? Oops.
"You have to understand the context of each of the verses quoted and why they are used." He countered.
Oh, and you understand the ins and outs of ancient Greek and Hebrew, do you? Are you even aware of the thousands of translation errors in the modern bible today - and of how they effect the meaning of the texts you hold holy? Are you even aware of the origins of the modern church? And you want to claim that a faith founded on basic Christianity blended with Roman and Egyptian paganism, and a book modified to suit it is "inerrant"? Don't make me laugh. I suggest you read those articles I posted.
"Thats the reality it is gratification. It deviates from thr way it was meant, how God created it to be."
How the hell do YOU know how God meant anything to be? How can anyone? Is needing a life companion "gratification"? Would you seriously expect someone to spend their lives in isolation just because some idiot wrote something which has been mistranslated 4000 years ago?
Yes, your church may gladly accept gay people - and if they think as you seem to - just as long as they stop being gay and don't dare stop apologizing for how God made them. You can keep it.
God is not only found in churches.
"Its not our laws its Gods laws that we abide by." - Laws which were written and manipulated by people as it suits them. Well this doesn't suit us.
"You ahvent asnwered the question, you said "Marriage is a piece of paper, and an agreement between people who love each other, regardless of gender." then why is it so important to you if its only that?" He insisted.
Yes, I have - read it again.
Because we love as you do, we feel as you do, we need as you do - and yet you deny us the same rights and privileges? You haven't the right or the authority.
"No ones being stripped of anything." - Yet Ecclesia is being stripped of her office, her equality, her dignity and her income. Do you not even count her worthy of recognizing the injustice being done to her?
"Marriage is only applicable to people who believe in it, there are rules around it, put in place by God, its His institution. Its 1 man and 1 woman." - Did you also support Apartheid and the mixed marriage act using the same ridiculous "justification"? How is a heterosexist bigot any better than a racist? Are you one of those people who hides their closet homophobia behind boasts of having "plenty of gay friends"? You don't fool me.
It is people like you that ensured that I no longer call myself a Christian - and YOU personally who reinforces my determination never to do so again. Speak to your version of God about that.
And for your information, we are BORN GLBTI - which completely negates the term "lifestyle" as this discredits the implication of choice - if you wish to use such a term, kindly apply it where it fits best - to something such as religion, which implies CHOICE.
"They just wont be able to serve or lead not based on their orientation but their lifestyle choices." - If that is not discrimination and hypocrisy, what is?
What you cling to is the Old Testament - which Christ replaced. He is the New Covenant. If you wish to cling to arcane laws, then you should grow a beard and sew tassles onto the corners of your clothes as well as turn other people into outcasts.
Not being equal is being oppressed. Separate but equal isn't equal - but it sure is separate.
Instead of advocating oppression against other people as though you are perfect, blameless and without sin - you should count your blessings, fall on your knees and thank your God that you are so privileged to be able to sit in judgment of others and to oppress them.
Oppression is based upon the "morality" that through virtue of strength, or numbers that one group imposes it will upon others - and that "might makes right".
Well, Amiel - I will neither kneel, nor bow or scrape, nor apologize to any mortal being for who and what I am any longer.
Churches need to figure out that they are houses OF God - and that they are NOT GOD.
"Since when did God need a house by the way?" Somebody else asked. Since people needed a nice little box to put him in, separate from the rest of their lives.
Religion has always been a lucrative business which brokers wealth and power to the highest bidder. Never will you find a more mercenary institution than the Christian Church.
"No, being hetrosexual doesnt mean you're sinless, you can sin in other areas other than sexually." Said Amiel backpedaling again. But just being gay is automatically a sin? So when did you make a conscious choice to be hetero, Amiel?
I ask, because you seem to assume that we made some kind of choice to be gay and to live a "lifestyle" - a word you seem so fond of using.
"Exactly, if Hitler accepted Christ and asked for forgiveness for his atrocities he could have been saved. Anyone can be!!" - Okay, so being gay is comparable to being a genocidal maniac?
"No, its not a select few, many people have access to bibles to see for themselves what Gods standards are, there are also plenty of churches out there that can assist too." And the bible is completely free of error and is reliable in every way, shape and form? You have proof that there is a God and that it is THE actual God you claim is in any one version of the bible - and that this God said any of the things in it? No, I didn't think so.
"No, being gay doesnt mean living together with any one, why would you assume I suggest she live with someone??? certainly not a double standard." - Right so what does being gay mean, Amiel? Hopping from hole to hole, because come on, "we all know" gays "can't commit" and just "sleep around" is that it? Being gay is "all about sex" and not love, is that right? So what are you suggesting then - because you scoff at "marriage" for gay people (love those insulting quotation marks btw) and you don't suggest gay people live together either - should gay people just "stop being gay" or stop "living the gay lifestyle"? Careful dude - you're starting to sound just like those other "Christians" in the ACDP. Fascist wannabes. And they don't know the first thing about being gay either. You're in a hole, buddy - my advice is to stop digging.
So now this guy is in such a knot that he is denying things he has said or implied! And after such an argument I am left angry and disillusioned and unwilling to consider allowing anything religious or spiritual close to me. I believe most people are good, even deep down, even if I have to use a shovel to dig a little - even if some people can sometimes tempt me to pick up a shovel and actually put that theory to the test.
I apologize to all for my anger - I have been at this front line for so long I have seen all the arguments and tasted all the flavors of bigotry first hand. I respect the rights of all people, including the right to believe whatever they choose to - but I oppose the oppression of one by another and the use of personal beliefs as justification or authorization for such oppression.
It hurts me, as I am sure it hurts all of you when people hijack faith and God as weapons to serve their own selfish needs, and to attack and destroy others with.
I grow tired of turning the other cheek. I grow weary of playing nicely and treating bigots and haters with cotton padded gloves and pulling punches - when they go for us they go for the jugular and step over our bodies, to leave us bleeding on the ground.
When they attack our right to exist as human beings they come prepared, with every tooth and nail sharpened to a keen edge.
I grow tired of seeing us bleed for their hate and their hypocrisy and false piety. I grow tired of them using us as scapegoats to justify stripping freedoms and human rights and to pass conservative laws that place them in positions of privilege and power. I grow tired of our kind being expected to apologize for the way we were born, as though we had any choice in the matter. I am tired of being made to feel less human and less good than people who imagine they are somehow superior simply because of who they love or who they imagine themselves to be. I am sick and tired of people claiming that being gay is any more of a sin than being heterosexual. I am sick and tired of people using what we are as a slur, an insult and a curse in the name of the same God who made us all. I am through apologizing, I am through feeling guilty for something which was not my choice, nor my own work.
These people attack us out of the evil in their hearts and the ignorance in their minds. They attack us because we have no nation, state or country to uphold our nature, and unlike any other racial characteristic, we occur naturally in every other race, color, creed and nation and are not unique to a species of our own. We, unlike Americans, Whites, Christians or Jews, do not have a haven to which we can turn to say "look, they are murdering us - look, they are persecuting us!"
We, unlike any other group in the history of humanity, have no power, no military might, no defense whatever - aside from the goodwill, tolerance and open-mindedness of our fellow human beings - and that is precisely what these fundamentalist right wing monsters are actively taking to pieces and suppressing - an act of hatred, systemic isolation and gradual genocide.
We are truly hunted in this world. And those who know nature, know that the fittest survive, not the apathetic. Those who know history and military strategy, know that fortune favors the bold and those who are prepared - not the apathetic.
Which are you?