To My Fellow Christians, After the Supreme Court Ruling

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To my brothers and sisters in Christ,

I write this with a humble, heavy, and somewhat broken heart.

As you know, the Supreme Court ruling that was announced this Friday made same-sex marriage a right nationwide. Now, this letter really isn’t about legalities, or whether or not the government has any business being involved in marriages in the first place.  That’s clearly another conversation altogether.

But I can’t keep silent about some of what I’m seeing come out of the Christian community right now, at a time when individuals are simply trying to celebrate that they are finally able to legally marry the people that they love.

Thankfully, I’m not personally seeing any Westboro Baptist-style hatred (I seem to have done a pretty efficient job of culling my Facebook friends list since the Duggar  scandal broke).  What I’m seeing is just as upsetting though, if not even more so, because it’s really the same message of judgment and intolerance;  It’s just couched in “Christian-speak.”

First, I need you to understand that this is not about disagreement.  Disagreements are a normal and healthy part of life, of society, and of relationships.  I disagree very strongly about some pretty big issues with some of my dearest loved ones.  This is not about disagreement.  I keep seeing that syrupy little Rick Warren quote passed around that says,  “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”  It frustrates me every time.  I’ve never heard anyone, ever,  insinuate that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do.  So to say it’s a “huge lie” that’s been accepted is pretty much just ridiculous.  And as for the first part: Absolutely, yes. Simply disagreeing with someone does not mean you fear or hate them.  That’s correct.  But can your resulting words and actions, even if you intend them to be “loving”, still convey fear or hatred?  YES! Can they still contribute to feelings of persecution, of personal affront, of judgement?  YES!  Can they still push a person (or many persons) further AWAY from God, and Christians, and the church (which I think is probably the complete opposite of your intent)?  YES!

I don’t believe that homosexuality in and of itself is a sin.  I do believe that consenting adults, of any gender or sexual orientation, should be able to marry their loved one, no matter what that may look like.  I absolutely respect your right to disagree with me – I truly do – just as I’d hope you’d respect mine.  But when you make sweeping comments such as, “I believe the Bible, so homosexuality is wrong,”  or, “Well I’m a Christian first, so homosexuality is wrong,” then we have a problem.   Please do not mistake your beliefs as being synonymous with “Christianity” as a whole or with “The Bible” as a whole.  Please do not speak for me.  Please do not speak for the thousands of other Christians who have different interpretations, and different philosophies than your own. Please do not perpetuate the idea that because a person happens to have a relationship with God, that he or she needs to live out that relationship in the same way in order to be “right.”

There are LOTS of different ways to live out a Christian faith, and from where I’m standing, the only one we need to consistently meet on is this:  “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets”. —Matthew 22:35-40.

Which brings me to the point of this letter.  And believe me, I ask this with complete sincerity and genuine sadness and confusion:

Do you honestly think it is loving to continually browbeat this one segment of society by telling them over and over and over how sinful you think they are?  Yes, even if you preface it with, “I still love you!  I still pray for you!  I don’t judge you!”  Do you really think that that love and those prayers are going to come across when you’re reminding them, AGAIN, that you think that by virtue of who they happen to love, that they are sinning?

Because guess what.  They already know you think they’re sinning.  We already know you think they’re sinning. So until or unless you are giving continual updates on ALL the things you think are sinful, it’s just not fair.  And I’m sorry, but it isn’t loving either.  It’s not.  Why them?  Why this one issue?

A real-life, actual threat to marriage in this country is infidelity and divorce.  But no one ever talks about that, unless it’s to cover it with words of, “Oh, well, you know, we all make mistakes… we shouldn’t judge another person… everyone sins.”

You shouldn’t judge another person because they sin differently than you;  this much is true. Well you know what?  You shouldn’t judge a person because they love differently than you either.

I’m so tired.  I’m so tired of saying the same thing over and over again.  I’m so tired of this one segment of society getting so much negative attention from Christians, at the exclusion of anything else.  I’m so tired of the back-handed, “I love you and pray for you and don’t judge you, but I need to keep reminding you that I disagree with your “lifestyle”” rhetoric of disgust.

Please stop.

Please, please stop.  They know you disagree already.  They really do.  They will always know. It has been well-established.  

Isn’t it about time that we reached out to the LGBT community, a community by the way whose teens are three times more likely to commit suicide than their straight peers, and just offer love?  Real, actual love, with no disclaimers?

Let’s bring a little more “loving thy neighbor” back to Christianity.  Thy straight neighbor, thy gay neighbor, thy transgender neighbor, thy black neighbor, thy white neighbor, thy Democrat neighbor, thy Republican neighbor, thy Atheist neighbor, thy Jewish neighbor, thy Muslim neighbor….

and yes, thy Christian neighbor like you, and me, who deep down inside really do want to love, and are still learning how to get it right.

** Comments have now been closed.  Thank you to everyone who provided respectful discourse.**


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58 Comments

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58 Responses to To My Fellow Christians, After the Supreme Court Ruling

  1. MIchelle

    Thank you for this post!!!

  2. Amy Sanders

    Beautiful message and I needed to read it, Jen. Thank you.

    You have helped me clarify so much of what I was feeling and could not find the words to express.

    I want so share one small disagreement, because you are right. When two people disagree, the possibility exists for either one (or both) of them to grow. That’s healthy!

    I personally do not believe infidelity is a threat to marriage. If it was, marriage would have ended long ago.

    I actually believe the institution of marriage needs infidelity and divorce, because without their existence, how would we know that fidelity and a lasting marriage are both things to be treasured?

    I am grateful for you, Jen.

    I am a Christian and felt alienated from other Christians, until I read your words.

  3. Lea

    Thank you SO MUCH for writing this. I am glad to have the words of a Christian woman to share with my Christian friends and family. So that I can show them “see, I don’t just support the LGBTQIA community because I am a Pagan!” And you have a way with words that I hope will help a few of those that I love see these issues with their hearts. Thank you!

  4. chris

    Thank you. As a christian transman, this was very healing.. thank you with tears.

  5. Meredith Indermaur

    “You shouldn’t judge another person because they sin differently than you; this much is true. Well you know what? You shouldn’t judge a person because they love differently than you either.” YES!!!

    Beautifully articulate post. This is my first time stopping by, and as a mom to a Jesus-following gay child, I couldn’t be more pleased to find your sanctified words.

    If other Christian moms of LGBT kids are reading this and are looking for a safe space to live and grow in their new reality, then I hope you’ll consider joining a private FB group of loving, supportive moms who “get it.” You can email me at carolinagirl84@bellsouth.net for more info.

    Thank you for putting your heart out there, Jennifer. Big thumb’s up!!

  6. Phil

    Jen, I must respectfully point out that you have violated your own stated position here. In your own post, you have described the position of those who disagree with you (to use your own words): “just ridiculous”, “back-handed”, guilty of spreading “disgust”, and, without ever actually seeing into anyone else’s heart or considering the rest of what Scripture has to say about expressing heartfelt concern toward others on a dangerous path, you have labeled those on the other side of this issue to be both unfair and unloving. So, I must ask you the same question you asked others: Regardless of your sincere intentions in your post, isn’t it possible, and even likely, that your words might “still contribute to feelings of persecution, of personal affront, of judgment?” toward those who don’t share your views?

  7. Michael

    As you battle, defend, affirm and further exhaust yourself, here’s something for you to consider…

    My son has a genetic disorder – this is something he was born with, and it limits activities he can participate in and prevents him from doing things most kids his age can do (water slides, driving cars, riding bikes). God allowed my son to have this ‘genetic mutation’ (as the doctors describe it), this disorder in him is natural and incurable.

    Did God make my son perfect? Yes, in a perfect way for God’s plan (but not how *I* wish he could have been, and not how *he* wishes he would be)

    Is it fair that my son is not allowed to participate in aspects of life he sees everyone else doing? No, but there are alternative options for him – different ways to feel like everyone else – different ways to experience happiness.

    Could we ignore the doctors’ orders and prepare my son to get a driver’s license? He *could* pass the test, but it just wouldn’t be wise, right or safe.

    Although you quote a very important verse of the Bible in Matt 22, you do so missing that within that very quote Jesus indicates, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” The context is that he was asked ‘which commandment is the greatest?’ -Jesus didn’t say, ‘Forget all the commandments, just love each other and you will be fine.” He said all other laws are hinged on this concept of love. That means the existing ‘laws’ must be enforced with love.

    I, as a person who has been divorced, committed adultery, not honored Sundays, taken God’s name in vain, put gods of money and pleasure ahead of God, been a part of taking life, and many many terrible things of which I am ashamed and forgiven, I am grateful for the balance of chastisement and correction I’ve had in my life. When my family lovingly chose not to invite me to family gatherings until I reconciled my sins – they were loving me. It hurt, but they were loving me. I needed to hear a thousand times that I needed to change my ways before I took the action to reconcile. Only once I finally reconciled with myself, with my family and friends, and with God could I be at peace.

    What if Ms. McGrail’s entire blog replaced references to homosexuality with references to smoking? What if references to the Bible were replaced with references to medical journals or professionals? Is it brow-beating to tell a loved one I don’t want them to smoke? Is it chastisement to require them to ‘take it outside?’ Is it hurtful to tell them I want better for them?

    The comparison to smoking works well to understand the LOVING CONCERN with which some Christians are attempting to temper the celebration of free love.

    God bless you all!

    • Meredith Indermaur

      Michael, two things come to mind when I read your comment: First, I’m very sorry about your son’s genetic disorder and can only imagine your sorrow and grief about it, as you’ve indicated that it limits his ability to do certain things or enjoy certain activities. No loving parent would ever want this for their beloved child. Same-sex attraction is not a disorder, however, per both the AMA and the APA. Secondly, I cannot fathom telling anyone that they must live without the same kind of deep, intimate, soulful love that my husband and I share based upon something they did not choose and one interpretation of a handful of highly contested verses of Scripture. The term “homosexuality” wasn’t added to the Bible until the ’40s, and in the times of those who penned verses referring to same-sex sexual activity, there was no concept of sexual orientation, just as there was no concept of our earth orbiting our sun or the fact that sperm did not hold all of nascent life, as both egg and sperm are required to create an embryo. Science is a key that continues to unlock a lot of mysteries that the Scripture writers attempted to explain without the benefit of said science.

      I think those of us who have never experienced SSA need to tread very, very carefully when we tell those who do how and/or whom they should love. I’m not in agreement with the way your family chose to hold you at arm’s length when you were struggling; I’m all for boundaries, but keeping you out of family functions until they deemed you worthy to rejoin is not love in my book but shame and control at its worst. And telling an LGBT family member that they aren’t “welcome at the table” because of their UNCHOSEN sexual orientation is evil; this is one reason why the suicide rate of LGBT teens is off the charts – a lack of family acceptance. At least you could change your behaviors, but LGBT people cannot change their orientation.

      The bottom line for me is this:

      I think those of us who have never experienced SSA need to tread very, very carefully when we tell those who do how and/or whom they should love.

    • Linda

      Michael,
      I hear what you’re saying, but comparing smoking to same sex relationships is apples and oranges. Smoking has been proven to harm the person smoking and those around them. Consenting adults participating in a same sex relationship does not hurt anyone. Before you say children of those unions, please know that studies have consistently shown that children of same sex parents fare just as not as well (if not better than) children from different sex parents. The bottom line is that this just doesn’t affect you, unless one of your children or close family members comes out as LGBT. Then you will wish you had shown people a little more grace and acceptance.

  8. Phil

    Thanks for your honesty, Jen. It seems to me quite confusing, then, that you would call people out on something you admittedly are doing yourself. Jesus said we should remove the logs from your own eyes before trying to remove the speck from another’s eye, otherwise we won’t be seeing clearly to help others (Matt. 7:3-5). I will be praying that God grants you (and all of us) further clarity on this issue, according to the full counsel of His word.

    • jen

      Why am I calling people out? Because it’s not about them. It’s about the people who have been, and continue to be, treated horribly by Christians simply because they are gay.

      • Phil

        Jen, I have not questioned why you are calling people out; you made that quite clear in your initial post. My point is, the fact that you have called people out using, by your own admission, the same rhetoric that you yourself have rebuked others about, makes your entire post (according to Jesus’ words in Matt. 7:5) hypocritical and ultimately self-defeating.

        • jen

          You know what’s funny to me about this…. using that same scripture you’re doing the same thing to me that you’re accusing me of doing to others.

          • Phil

            I’m not sure I follow your logic on that last point, Jen, but I’m open to hearing an explanation of your comment above. The way I see it, thus far my points are: 1) In your initial post, you spoke strongly against people who express disagreement with others in a way that might come off as a personal affront or judgment; 2) In your own post, you used rhetoric that you even admitted could come off as offensive or judgmental toward those who disagree with you; and 3) Jesus would call that hypocrisy according to Matthew 7:5. Which of those points are you disputing?

            You seem to justify your behavior based on the fact that 1) No one should expect you to be perfect (indeed, true of us all), and 2) You did it with sincere motives in service of a cause you believe in. But those on the other side of this issue could use those same two excuses to justify their behavior, and indeed often do so. Again, your logic is self-defeating. I think you and I would agree that we should never express disagreement with others using insults or belittling one’s humanity (and there are plenty of so-called Christians guilty of this sin in their condemnation of homosexuality). But you rather rudely dismissed the saying attributed to Rick Warren as “syrupy” and “ridiculous,” while I think that folks who appeal to that particular remark have been much more kind and reasonable than you have been in advancing your views here.

      • jen

        You find me rude and unkind. I get it. Your point’s been taken.

        • Phil

          Thanks for hearing me out. I hope that, rather than just stirring up your defenses, this feedback might be helpful moving forward. I truly wish you all the best.

  9. Barb

    It kills me that the Christians who broke away from traditional Christianity feel they can by fiat declare that Christianity isn’t anti gay. Yes it is. Christianity is the reason why our laws are the way they were. Christianity is the reason we needed a movement. Christianity is the reason why gay people “didn’t exist” for so long, because simply saying who you were was too dangerous.

    For over two thousand years most, if not all, Christians thought homosexuality a sin. And even now as more support marriage equality, they haven’t nevessarily changed their mind on that point. I TIRE of the No True Scotsman defense. I tire of “good” Christians who seem to put more effort into defending their faith from accusations of homophobia than they care about the issue of gays, turning every policy argumeny on the issue into a Bible verse slinging contest.

    I know it hurts to realize Christianity has tortured gays for centuries upon centuries. But it is even more painful to me when that fact gets whitewashed.

  10. Shelly

    Jen, I have read your blog for quite a while, and as a fellow unschooler have enjoyed it immensely. But I’ve got to say something. You’re right. We are not called to judge those living outside of the faith. We are called to call out fellow believers. God will judge the unbelievers. The Bible warns us not to add to or take away from what is written. When you use your profession of Christianity to declare that you don’t feel that homosexuality is a sin in and of itself, that is exactly what you are doing. It’s not about what we FEEL. It’s about Truth. In Romans 1:26-27, Paul writes :

    “That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.”

    Did you catch the word “sin” in there? And, yes, I know that there are all kinds of sin other than this, but this is one of the very few sins that is being paraded as righteousness. I can’t think of many other sins we do that with. So if you want to feel that it’s okay, that’s up to you. But you can’t use God’s Word to back that up. Those words are your own.

    • jen

      Hi Shelly, but that’s just it. A belief that there is only ONE truth. I (and many others like me) interpret/apply those scriptures in different ways than you do. That’s okay. It doesn’t make my faith or Christianity any less true than yours.

      • Shelly

        But if you believe the Bible, there IS only one truth. How could you possibly interpret that passage any other way?

        • Kindred

          Shelly, You are absolutely correct in that the bible does seem to say that. But if it is more of a sin than others, why didn’t it make the top ten?
          And thank you for making perfectly clear the reason why I no longer believe the bible is anything more than a bunch of hogwash written thousands of years ago to control the masses. We can’t have it both ways- you can’t swear to the fact that God made the world and that Jesus is the son of God and his only proclamation was to love one another— and then add exceptions. If the bible truly is the word of god then how can anyone follow such a cruel and violent creator? God gave us brains and reason, now we need to use it.

          • Shelly

            I didn’t say that it’s more of a sin than others. I did say that it’s one of the few sins that is celebrated rather than admonished. And you can absolutely love one another and not agree with all of their choices. I love my children, but if I see them doing something that could harm them, of course I will point it out. Now you would never find me going up to a person uninvited who happens to be gay and lecturing them, because the Bible also says to let Him judge unbelievers. However, since we are talking about this in general terms, I really felt led to point out the truth.

          • Jessica

            Hmm, I think you are being a bit disingenuous. Tattooing is explicitly prohibited by Leviticus 19:28, and many people celebrate tattoos and body art. Wearing clothes made of mixed fabrics is banned in Leviticus 19:19, but there are fashion shows every day with polyester garments. I would consider this a celebration. Deuteronemy 23:2 states that no one of illegitimate birth is allowed in a church, so if you have people attending church whose parents were not married, then they are sinning and so is your church.

            Why is it then, that certain Christians focus so much on homosexuality? I’m guessing it’s in large part because homosexuals, like women, were historically a marginalized part of society, particularly when the bible was written. You can tie yourself in knots all day trying to explain why homosexuality is different from other sins, but it’s not. It hurts no one, and the reality is that 65% of this world is not Christian and therefore should not be held up to your standards of belief. If it does not harm to others, then there’s no reason it should be illegal for two consenting adults to get married.

    • Meredith Indermaur

      Shelly, the times and culture in which the verses you referenced were written are important to exegesis. In the times during which the New Testament was written, the Roman conquerors of the region frequently and openly engaged in homosexual acts between older men and boys, and between men and their male slaves. These acts of non-consensual sex were considered normal and socially acceptable, but they were morally repulsive to Paul, just as they’d be to all of us today, whether or not we are gay or straight.

      The universally acknowledged authoritative reference on matters of antiquity is the Oxford Classical Dictionary, and this is what the OCD (third edition revised, 2003) says in its section about homosexuality as practiced in Paul’s culture and time:

      “…the sexual penetration of male prostitutes or slaves by conventionally masculine elite men, who might purchase slaves expressly for that purpose, was not considered morally problematic.”

      Women were also participating in same-sex acts as a form of idol worship.

      This is the societal context in which Paul wrote of homosexual acts, and it is this context that Christians are obliged to bring to their understanding and interpretation of the three clobber passages. Paul absolutely condemned the same-sex sexual activity he saw around him, because it was forced; it was without constraint, and it involved older men and boys. As a moral man, Paul was revolted by these abusive acts — and we know he would have been just as disgusted by the same acts if they’d been heterosexual in nature.

      Most biblical scholars believe these verses were written about heterosexual people engaging in same-sex sexual acts. The concept of someone being homosexual didn’t exist in the time these Scriptures were penned.

      If nothing else, maybe this info will be a bit more enlightening and give you a little more to consider when you read those verses.

      • Shelly

        While I am aware that the practices you mention were occurring at this time, it is also well-known that Rome was considered to be very “sexually liberated.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says:

        “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality (there is a footnote here which I will get into later), nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

        The footnote for the word “homosexuality” says this:

        “The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in CONSENSUAL (my emphasis) homosexual acts.”

        • Meredith Indermaur

          Shelley, I have a great deal of theological study under my belt, so I know the verses plus plenty more. I think it’s important to remember that the scripture you’ve referenced here also mentions “greed.” Greedy people, according to this verse, will not inherit God’s Kingdom. We are all greedy – we live in the U.S., for goodness’ sake. We are ALL greedy. We don’t have a clue just how greedy we are.

          Yet we can choose to not be greedy; we can take Jesus up on HIs call to the rich young ruler and give away 100% of what we own to the poor and own 0%. How many Christians do we see doing that? I do know a small percentage, but it’s not many.

          A gay person cannot choose to be straight, no matter what. Same-sex attraction is not sinful. During Medieval times, being left-handed was worthy of burning at the stake; why? Because of a few misinterpreted Scriptures. We’ve learned, via science, that lefties are born lefties. We’ve learned, via scholarship, that being a lefty isn’t a sin.

          And I’m not sure where you are getting your footnote re: the Greek term used for homosexuality, but the jury is absolutely not out on that – not by a long-shot. The Greek term hasn’t been found in any other writings during the time Paul was writing his letter to the Corinthians – it’s thought that he made the word up.

          I’m not here to even attempt to do any convincing. I’m here to say, unless YOU are raising an LGBT child, to please take a step back and think for one moment how you would feel if others who didn’t know your child from Adam were making him/her an “issue” to be debated. It’s cruel, and it’s not Christlike in any form.

  11. Jen,

    Let me say I agree with you completely about calling out one sin and looking over another. It’s hypocritical. At the same time, the reaction has something to do with the fact that the redefinition of marriage is bigger than just a sin; it defies the constitution, the natural law of God, and damages the family in a way that will prove detrimental.

    Also, to say you define truth differently is not OK when it comes to major issues that Scripture makes so clear. If you and I disagree on how to treat the Sabbath, that’s one thing, because there are some variances of the practice in Scripture. But if you are a Christian and yet disagree with what the Bible calls sin (in the case, homosexuality), we have major issues. There isn’t a way to reinterpret what is written on the subject, anymore than we can say God didn’t really mean “thou shalt not murder.” “Woe to those who call good evil, and evil good.” We must agree on fundamental issues to agree that we follow the same God.

    And it’s more than just for us: “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.’ Romans 1:32

    I plead with you to look sincerely at God’s command to obey Him and love Him in Word and deed, and that homosexuality, along with many others things, is in fact, sin, and we are obligated to say so.

    • jen

      Kelly, actually I already have spent many hours sincerely looking at the word, and praying about it, and seking God. It’s precisely *because* of that study that I have come to the conclusion that I have.

      • Mary K

        I wonder if Kelly follows all the laws of the Old Testament? I doubt it. Talk about cherrypicking! There are plenty of other verses in Leviticus that she likely gives far less attention.

        • Mary K

          It always amazes me that people like Kelly, who make money calling themselves SAHMs (while criticizing working women), have so much time to argue with strangers online. Wouldn’t the time be better spent focusing on her home and children?

          • Shelly

            Kelly was very gracious in her comment, and I don’t see how one comment can be considered arguing. Being passionate about something and expressing that passion is completely different from belittling someone with unnecessary insults. Jen is also very passionate about this issue, hence her post. While some of us may not agree with her on this, I still enjoy her as a writer and a person. Her posts helped me make sense of unschooling when I was first starting out, and I’m grateful for that. My point is that there is no reason we cannot have this conversation and still show respect for one another.

          • Mary K

            But wouldn’t her time be far better spent tending to her home and children?

          • Shelly

            That makes absolutely no sense. I’m willing to bet that most commenters on this blog (including myself) and the author all have children and homes. Why pick on this one person? Could it just be animosity towards her because of what she stands for?

          • Mary K

            Sure, there are lots of moms on here.

            But how many of these moms publically criticize working women, saying that such women don’t spend enough time with their kids? Kelly does so, while leaving her children behind to fly across the country to speak at conferences. Then she spends more time posting comments on random blogs about other people’s sex lives? If the Proverbs 31 woman was alive today, I don’t think she’d be doing that, she’d be too busy tending to her home and family.

  12. Wendy Zamorano

    you cannot support lgbt and be a Christian. Doesn’t work. Homosexuality is a sin like any other sin. You follow his word or You dont. dont choose the verses

    • Meredith Indermaur

      Actually, it works quite well. I support LGBT people by loving them, sharing meals with them, listening to their stories, and believing that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and have inherent worth BECAUSE I am a Jesus-follower.

      I’m truly stymied by how many times people will claim that those who love others without reservation and without judgment (which is the overarching theme of Scripture) are the ones cherrypicking verses.

      Regarding your argument, can you lie and be a Christian? Can you gossip and be a Christian? Smoke? Drink? Is it about rules, really? Therein lies the problem. Jesus doesn’t tell us to love a belief system – He tells us to love PEOPLE – ALL PEOPLE – without judging them. Judgment belongs to Him and to Him alone, and that is all over Scripture.

      I’m sorry that you wouldn’t consider me a Christian but deeply grateful that God is the One Who knows my heart.

      • Shelly

        You’re right. We can absolutely love on them and let them know how much God loves them. However, if the topic would come up, it would be deceitful to let them believe that it is not sinful. Now, there are lots and lots of sins other than homosexuality, and it’s important that we address that fact, but, as with all sin, if they choose to follow Christ, He calls on us to confess our sins and turn away from them. It won’t be easy, but that is where the love and support of other Christians comes in.

        • Kate

          And turnabout is fair play.

          I’m sure Shelley appreciates it when people point out her sins, even if she hasn’t asked their opinion.

          Shelley, could you confess your sins to us, even though it won’t be easy?

          Do you ask grown men to confess their sins of pornography and adultery? Do you tell working women that they are failing at their jobs of being keepers of the home? Do you tell parents when they fail to use the rod on their children?

          I didn’t think so. It’s just homosexuals.

          • Shelly

            I’ve never gone up to anyone- gay or straight- and demanded that they confess their sins. You’re taking things out of context. The point I was making is that if you are leading someone to Christ, you’ve got to be straight with them. They need to ask GOD for forgiveness- no matter what the sin. Then they need to turn from them.

            “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.”

        • Kelly Dawson

          I find this attitude absolutely abhorrent. I have a neurological disorder called Tourette’s Syndrome. The media sensationalizes the “swearing” part of it, but that actually isn’t the worst of it. The worst of it is the urges that are almost uncontrollable at times, of yelling out rude, inappropriate things, at VERY inappropriate times. I can control these urges, but they are difficult. I have been offered “laying on of hands’ and “exorcism” to cleanse me of the “devil” within me. There is no “devil” within me – it is to do with the dopamine in my brain – God made me this way.
          So if God can make me this way, doing things which others consider to be a sin, why is it so difficult to understand that God made homosexuals too? He MADE them that way! Like my disorder, it’s not something that they can just “turn off” when they want to. It is who they are, it is how they were created.
          Once we understand that, and accept it, how can it possibly be considered a sin? Exactly – it CAN’T. Read the Bible in context, bearing in mind the time it was written, and use the oldest possible translation so it is (hopefully) free of man’s interpretation of ‘issues’ and it is clear. If one is born homosexual, it is not a sin. Sexual immorality is a sin, but homosexuality is not of itself sexual immorality.

        • Meredith Indermaur

          I understand that people genuinely believe they are speaking in love in this entire broad topic – I really do. But it sends chills down my spine when my child, who happens to be gay AND Christian (not an oxymoron), is ‘talked about’ like an issue.

          It’s *really* difficult to give ear to voices who are not raising LGBT kids; who have not been face-planted in prayer in the carpet for YEARS over their LGBT kids; who have not searched the Scriptures and researched homosexuality nearly every single day for YEARS; who have not loved, lived with, and walked alongside LGBT people; and who have not very clearly heard God’s voice telling them to “just love.” Humbly, I’d like to ask for those to whom the above applies who feel obligated/compelled to weigh in on these matters to just not. It’s not helpful. It’s just not.

          • Gretchen

            Your children are very lucky to have a parent so committed to loving them. It sounds like it has been a battle for you to reconcile what you’ve been taught in the Christian faith in light of your own experience. I can truly appreciate that. How could God possibly deny any of his children who cry out to him in weakness? He is not keeping score of who repented today, but then sinned again the next day. God is after our hearts.

    • Jessica

      I urge you to practice what you preach and not choose the verses. Here are some that should be considered:

      When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. Exodus 21: 7-8

      I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent. 1 Timothy 2:12

      If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife. Deteronomy 22:23-24

      When you go out to war against your enemies and the LORD, your God, delivers them into your hand, so that you take captives, if you see a comely woman among the captives and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as wife, you may take her home to your house. But before she may live there, she must shave her head and pare her nails and lay aside her captive’s garb. After she has mourned her father and mother for a full month, you may have relations with her, and you shall be her husband and she shall be your wife. Deuteronomy 21:10-14

      No child of an incestuous union may be admitted into the community of the Lord, nor any descendent of his even to the tenth generation Deteronomy 23:3

      About the same time I realized that some of the men of Judah had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. Even worse, half their children spoke in the language of Ashdod or some other people and could not speak the language of Judah at all. So I confronted them and called down curses on them. I beat some of them and pulled out their hair. I made them swear before God that they would not let their children intermarry with the pagan people of the land. “Wasn’t this exactly what led King Solomon of Israel into sin?” I demanded. “There was no king from any nation who could compare to him, and God loved him and made him king over all Israel. But even he was led into sin by his foreign wives. How could you even think of committing this sinful deed and acting unfaithfully toward God by marrying foreign women? Nehemiah 13:23-27 – This is a good one. This is the same verse that was often used against interracial marriage.

      And put a knife to your throat if you have a ravenous appetite. Proverbs 23:2 – I mean, this is pretty clear. If we’re taking the bible at face value then I would say that you’re a sinner. In fact, there’s of course the commandment against gluttony. Yet we never hear Christians railing against the ungodliness of obesity.

      • Shelly

        In the New Testament, with Jesus came a new covenant in which believers were no longer to be enslaved to the law. With exception to the verse you mentioned in 1 Timothy, all of those examples are from the Old Testament and are not mentioned in the New Testament. However, homosexuality is mentioned in BOTH the Old Testament and the New Testament as a sinful behavior. And as for the verse you mentioned in 1 Timothy, our church does not employ female pastors and women only teach other women or children. If there is a class with men and women or teens, then there is a male teacher. And I am not by any means at a legalistic church. We have all sorts of people from the most conservative housewife to tattooed skaters.

        • Jessica

          Sigh. Isn’t the Old Testament God the same as the New Testament God who is the same as Jesus? I mean, really. You can preach about Jesus all you want, but the Old Testament God IS Jesus. And that dude is hateful, vindictive, petty, jealous, and misogynistic.

          And your church sounds awful. Heaven forbid a dirty, filthy woman try and teach a male, who is inevitably smarter and stronger.

          • Shelly

            I’m not going to even try to explain the new covenant to you because it’s obvious that you have no interest in Christianity. As for my church being awful…here is a list of our AWFUL deeds-
            – providing free haircuts for the surrounding community every other month along with a hot meal and free
            household supplies
            – providing free clothing year-round to anyone who needs it and specifically bringing in people from a drug
            rehabilitation program and homeless shelters
            – collecting everything from shampoo and diapers to socks and underwear for the local women’s shelter
            – providing a women’s ministry for women from difficult circumstances and providing them with support,
            friendship, household needs, and food
            – sending a medical team to Jamaica every 3 months to provide free medical care and medicine
            – providing a prison ministry
            – sending our youth groups to poor neighborhoods in our area and other states to hold kids clubs and
            visit shelters
            – raising money for wells in Africa

            I could keep going on and on. Awful? I don’t think so and as for misogynistic- I think our ministries speak to
            that accusation.

  13. I totally agree with you, Jen.

  14. Kelly Dawson

    Excellent post Meredith, I agree with you wholeheartedly. It truly saddens me, the hateful attitudes I see in so many *Christians* today.
    All of us sin, (multiple times a day if you’re like me) and the Bible tells us that no one sin is greater than any other – sin is sin. But being a Christian is about what’s in our heart, and that is between us and God.

  15. Kelly Dawson

    And Jen McGrail – the original post you wrote is awesome too. I agree with the sentiment wholeheartedly, but it is in the comments section that I am learning so much 🙂

  16. Holly

    You say this isn’t about disagreement, but the only option you seem to leave open is that of agreeing with you. “Do you really think that that love and those prayers are going to come across when you’re reminding them, AGAIN, that you think that by virtue of who they happen to love, that they are sinning?” The rub here is not belittling, or excluding, or demeaning. It’s THINKING that someone is sinning. You have not just stifled free speech, but free thought as well. Jesus told us to love our enemies, to pray for them and to do good to them. Not content with that, you would have us go one more step and agree with them. Are you willing to do the same?

  17. Pat

    We as Christians know the love of God, we also have the Holy Spirit with us at all times. In order to spread the word of God we need to know, believe and show it. Our Lord Jesus fellow shipped with the lowest of the population because they needed Him. He also lead by example. He calls us to lead with love. When we show compassion and love people are drawn to us and they want what we have. We have the love of Jesus. But along with that love comes great responsibility. Our responsibility is to our Lord and to teach from the bible. The bible isn’t just a nice book, it’s our owner’s manual. And there is only ONE bible, many different translations.

    A few years ago I did the California Aids ride, I rode my bicycle of San Francisco to LA. I raised over $2500 for Aids research. Last year I had a huge argument with some other Christians on Facebook because they were appalled at the pink tutus that were worn the day the riders came through our town. I tried to explain the meaning behind the tutus and I was blasted for supporting “those” people. Several people said they couldn’t just hate the sin and not the sinners. In other words they couldn’t separate what was going on. Judge not lest you be judge. It is not up to me to judge, it is up to me to love. No I do not support same sex marriage or unions or same sex love. But if someone is in my face giving me their views I will definitely express my views. I am a Christian, I believe in the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit and I take the bible seriously. Am I perfect…OH FAR FROM IT. I also don’t believe that as Christians we need to roll over and play dead. Lead by example!!!

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