The NSA, the End of DOMA, Filibusters, and Don Draper

Protesters In Texas Statehouse Block Texas Lawmakers From Passing Abortion BillWe have all sorts of stuff to discuss this week, and with Amy sidelined due to carousing, Christian and I tackled it all alone.

Okay, not entirely alone. We bring back Mike Collins, the hacker extraordinaire who explained Bitcoin a few months ago, to discuss Edward Snowden, the intelligence analyst who’s currently hiding out from the feds in Moscow. Mike gives us insight into why Snowden is viewed as a heroic whistleblower by so many Americans, and why the whole government monitoring program wasn’t particularly surprising.

Later, on a long Echo Chamber sequence, we discuss the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act, and why everyone loves filibusters (assuming you side with certain politics). We also discuss abortion, which is obviously a thorny subject. After that, I was really excited to discuss the bizarre Mad Men‘s Season 6 finale. If you don’t want to hear spoilers, skip everything from the 48 minute mark to around 59:15.

And finally Amy emerges from the shadows to discuss the utter horror of sending her son on a trip alone.

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Jay Bakker, Exodus International, and Twitter Wars Between Patton Oswalt and a Youth Pastor

We don’t usually drink while recording the podcast since it’s usually morning. But this was late afternoon this time, so we all sipped some Great Divide Oak-Aged Yeti and some Fire Mountain Summer IPA. Things…get a little sloppy. I won’t give too much away, but some violence ensued, and it’s all captured on tape. You will not be disappointed.

Christian also had to interview Jay Bakker alone, which maybe he should do more often, because it was awesome. Jay opens up about his new book, Faith/Doubt, and Other Lines I’ve Crossed, his life and evolving theology, and why Exodus International once brought him in to speak without knowing his stance on homosexuality. Jay weighs in on their recent apology before we discuss it further in the Echo Chamber.

So, yeah, we talk about about Exodus International. And then, the violence occur in all its terrible, terrible glory.

Then, in a conversation where I get a little rambly, I try and explain the bizarre Twitter war waged on @ProdigalSam, a South Carolina youth pastor who drew fire from the likes of Patton Oswalt for plagiarizing tweets. I won’t get into it here, because I talked about it far too long in the podcast.

Then, to close things out, Christian and Amy talk about seeing Patty Griffin the night before, and two super-secret surprise guests stop in! (SPOILER ALERT: It’s my wife and daughter.)

(DISCLAIMER: At the end of the episode, I make some remarks about my daughter, Lana, talking like a baby. I just want to be clear that I’m not being nearly as mean to my three year-old as it seems. She sometimes talks like a baby to tease me. Just wanted to make that clear.)

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Homosexuality: the difference between TV and Greek Tragedy

bible wedding

Blogging is a fascinating way to interact with people over an issue or topic.

Once in while a blog will unexpectedly come back to life after months of lying dormant. It usually happens when A) somebody references it month later B) when the topic hits the news again. The dying embers leap back to life in flame! 

This week my old post on and Evangelical approach to same-sex marriage has fired back up – for obvious reasons. I’m not going to link there because I just can’t wade into the 195 comments without getting lost.  I did, however, want to report about a most interesting exchange that came out of it.

Someone who disagreed with my saying that ‘homosexual’ as we currently understand and conceive of the term, never existed until the 19th century. Some people keep wanting to argue about sexual acts and missing that there are broader issues of orientation and identity that were not addressed in Greco-Roman culture or the greek language of the New Testament.

One such person – let’s call him TM – engaged the issue this way: 

For example, the statement “The Bible (the inspired written word of God) is not talking about homosexuality. It didn’t exist.” seems somewhat confusing, even if we only focused on the Roman era of indulgences of the First Century. Are you suggesting that homosexuality didn’t exist in this era… simply because they may have called it something else?

This is along the lines of your attempt to make a point about television – in one sense, it didn’t exist; and yet in another, it did – as plays/theater. Are you suggesting that simply because the presentation was different that there weren’t actors and actresses who presented drama, comedy, tragedy and more to a mass audience? Are you really going to argue that because a word didn’t exist that means the concept didn’t exist?

Do you see the how the analogy works? This is really important to see because those who sincerely believe that they are being faithful to the scriptures are often mashing contemporary experiences into ancient writings in a way that is … how should I say this?
Let’s try it a different way: when your faith is constructed in such a way that you need your sacred text to speak to every area of your life – then you will, by necessity, fit your modern data into the provided molds.

My response to TM included 3 points of departure:

“TV is indeed different from ancient theatre.

1) One can sit alone in a house and watch TV, absent of the social connection and crowd interaction.

2) One can also change the channel when it gets boring. You can not do that at the theatre.

3) Plays also so do not have commercials which deeply influence us.

In those three ways I would say that one can not simply say “TV and theatre are the same” as you have.

You are comfortable mashing modern categories onto the ancient & calling them the same. This willingness to mash is why you are frustrated that the Bible isn’t talking about what we are talking about.  TV is a different medium than ancient theatre – I hope that you can see that.”

It seems like a great example of the where the ‘two’ sides are missing each other in this debate.

It reminds me a great deal of the ongoing issues of conservatives ‘starting in the middle’ that I am perpetually having to point out.

That is where Ray Comfort takes the highly refined and cultivated modern banana and reads meaning, design, and intention back into it by the ‘creator’ – even going as far as it’s fit to the human hand, its easy pull tab opening, and its built-in disposal wrapping.

Maybe it would be easier for us to talk about TV & theatre in a categorical way before we wade into the elevated hostilities of the same-sex debate.

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Day 7: Sodom’s Sin Wasn’t Sexual

iI am blogging my way through Neighbors & Wisemen for Lent. Today we are in chapter 7. Neighbors & Wisemen

The final sentence hits you hard.

“True hospitality pushes past what we can afford to give up and makes deposits in accounts we can never lose.”

It is truly humbling, and a bit disturbing, to be in a hospitality culture. When you ,as a visitor, are given the first, the best, the most  – even though you know there was great sacrifice in oder to provide it – it can be upsetting.

What was eye opening for me when I began to travel internationally was to see this kind of hospitality and to recognize that this foreign hospitality was far more like what I read about in the Bible than the customs of my U.S. American culture.

The irony is that we were bringing the gospel to them. That felt weird at some level.

The line that hit me the hardest in this chapter was not about hospitality however. It was

“How could I possibly compete with the threat of eternal damnation?”

Which is a really good question.

How can you compete with the threat of eternal damnation?

The answer is that you can’t. It is a trump card of sorts. It holds great power in our imagination.

 

Give Me That Old Time Religion

I love the Bible. Or at least I thought I did until I began to study it.

Take hospitality for instance. When most people hear Sodom & Gomorrah then think of a sexual act.  But there are two interesting things in the Bible about Sodom – one is in the story itself and one comes much later.

In the story itself, you see that the whole scenario is set up by a lack of hospitality. Lot will not leave the visitors in the town center as the sun sets. Lot insists that these strangers come to his home.

This sort of thing is shadowed in the New Testament when Jesus famously talks about the sheep & the goats of the final judgement. I needed a place to stay and you gave me one. You took me in. 

So I ask myself a simple question: am I like Lot going into the city center to see if anyone needs a place to stay?
The answer, unfortunately, is no.

Then there is the other part of the Bible where the prophet – speaking for God – explains what God’s problem with Sodom & Gomorrah was.

Ezekiel 16:49 says

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”

Ouch.

But wait… I thought their sin was … ya know…  

That’s the odd part of the story. That night the men of the village surround Lot’s house and threaten to violate his guests. He is SO hospitable that he even offers his own daughters in order to protect these visitors. This is a kind of hospitality I have no frame of reference for.

So I have to ask myself a second question:
Am I, as Ezekiel 16:3 outlines,

  • arrogant?
  • overfed?
  • unconcerned?
  • not helping the poor and needy?

Unfortunately the answer to all four of these is yes.  I have Sodom’s sin problem.

I thought Sodom’s sin problem was … ya know …

No. It turns out that homosexuality is not Sodom’s sin.  Well that is convenient!  Are you telling me that in the richest country the has ever existed – where we have an obesity problem … and a Bible in every hotel room … that Christian preachers are more concerned with something that never happened that with what the Bible says was the real problem?

Yes. We make Sodom’s sin one of sex that never happened rather than the lack of hospitality and care that we as affluent Americans so often imitate.

At least we are going to heaven. After all, we have the gospel and we take it to them. 

 

No, unfortunately something odd has happened where our gospel has so often not compelled up to go out in the city center and make sure that everyone has a place to sleep – but instead we put our energy into

A) preaching against others’ sin and

B) going to another country to tell them why they should believe what we do.

 

It is an interesting little knot we have tied for ourselves.

 

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TNT: Bible Bash with Brueggemann and Fretheim

Bo and Tripp riff off of Terence Fretheim and Walter Brueggemann answering the same set of questions. These two legends of Biblical Theology give us their best take on passages to preach when controversial subjects come up.  Topics include:TNT Version3

  • Economy
  • Ecology
  • Homosexuality
  • Immigration
  • Other Religions
  • Bible Stories for Kids

You can hear the original HomeBrewed interviews for Fretheim and Brueggemann at these links.
Remember: Easter comes early this year so Lent starts on February 13. Bo will be blogging through the book Neighbors and Wisemen every weekday through the Lenten Journey.  Come and join the conversation!

Sign up for the Subverting the Norm Conference 2 in Springfield Missouri April 5th and 6th. Thanks to both Drury University and Phillips Theological Seminary for sponsoring the conference and making it the most affordable two-day event of the year.

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Moving Toward Multiplicity

Listening to Howard Zinn (author of the classic A People’s History of the United States) at a town hall meeting style presentation recorded in 2007 (you can get it on Itunes from  WGBH Politics) I was struck by the need to recognize the sheer complexity of issues and multiplicity of perspectives.

To state it as simply as possible: Not everything is the same. When we attempt to represent EVERYthing as if it were represented by ONE thing, we often neglect the complexity and multiplicity involved in the matter.

I will use two examples that Howard Zinn illustrated well at the community forum, then address the issues that it seemed relevant to connect to.

 Zinn takes on the idea of “Family values”. Some conservative political interest say that they represent ‘family values’. But he asks “Which family?” I think it is a valid question. There are families with single moms and multiple kids, divorced dads raising a family, there are foster families, adoptive families, multi-generational families living in the same house. There are lesbian couples with no kids and gay couples with kids. My wife are were D.I.N.K.s (double income – no kids) hen she lost her job while were trying to adopt (which fell through recently) and every permeation you can imagine.

Which family is represented by Focus on the Family’s values?  It is erroneous to act as if there is one kind of family and that you represent their values.

That is, unless you are saying that you value only one type of family.

That would be fair enough but you would have to stop using the phrase ‘family values’. Some families value making money or achieving success. Some value conformity. Some value religious adherence above all else.  Some value military service while others value independent thinking or even civil disobedience.

 Zinn says the same thing about the ‘National interest’. I am a big fan of Paul Kahn’s Political Theology and both he and Zinn talk about President’s ability to declare war or even launch the nuclear codes should the President deem it ‘in the national interest’.

But which of the many National interests? The Nation is not interested in only one thing. There are hundreds or thousands of interests. Unfortunately the reductive mono-speak is code. These buzz-words become code-words for an assume-unstated single issue that clouds the true complexity behind the language.

Zinn touched another example which has been showing up in a lot of my reading lately. The phrase ‘We the people’ is a magnificent ideal. I admire the phase and the idea behind it so much. But I think that it is worth noting that when it was written – we the people were not in the room. At the time of it’s writing, not every ‘we’ was represented.

There were no native americans in the room, no women, no blacks, no commoners. Just land-owning white males. But they had an idea – and it is that idea that we love!

I actually think that this is the exact type of trajectory mentality that we see in a progressive reading of the New Testament. When Paul says in Galatians 3:28 that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” He is doing this exact thing. He wrote in prophetic expectation using the 3 categories employed in his day were being broken with resurrection power. Barriers between nationality (or race), legal status and gender were being dissolved. My assertion is that it was not for the purpose of homogenization but for multiplicity! The former containers can not contain what it being poured out and welling up in Christ’s new life.

This is why I don’t sweat the fact that Paul appears to by anti-gay (though I argue that he was not anti-gay in the same way that those who quote him today are). You have to read Paul on a trajectory. Within the fruit of the Spirit of God is seed of liberation and transformation. So like ‘We the people’ – it looks forward to a greater reality than was present at it’s writing. Contained within the words is an ideal not yet realized. That is part of why I don’t want to conserve the reality of the time of it’s writing, but spring board off of it to be propelled to a greater one.

We can get caught up in reductive views that ignore the inherent complexity that we are dealing with. For instance, “Is the world essentially good or bad?” or “Are humans inherently evil or innately good?”   That kind of simplicity is blind to the multiplicity of factors that we are dealing with in any conversation and allowing the conversation to be framed that way almost ensured that no progress will be made.

Good people still do bad things or even do good things with poor motivation. People who do bad things often love their own families.

We do ourselves a great disservice when we allow our media to talk about ‘the evangelical vote’ or even ‘the black perspective’ as if those parameters only mean one thing or as if everyone within designations voted the same way or believe all the same things, hold all the same values and act in unison. It is fictitious, deceptive and paralyzing.

You can’t even say ‘gun owners’ and mean one thing! Our language (and the dualism behind it) is crippling our culture.

There has been a great “De-centering” that has happened to humanity in the past 500 years. If you just look at the effect starting with Copernicus and continue to Darwin, the earth is not the center of the universe and neither are humans.

It would do us well to move from a reductive mentality (center/ order) to a dynamic interplay of emergent elements. When we recognize the complexity and multiplicity involved in the reality behind our ‘code words’, we will begin to access the real issues that face us.

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Justin Lee on Rescuing the Gospel from the Gay-vs.-Christians Debate

After a delightful anecdote about Christian’s daughter and a painful listen to the worst version of “O Holy Night” ever recorded, Christian and Jordan welcome Justin Lee, founder of the Gay Christian Network and author of Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate, to the show.

Justin was raised in a conservatives evangelical culture, and around the time he reached puberty realized he was gay. He has since found a call from God in his ministry of reconciliation between those in the LGBT community and those in the church currently wrestling with issues of sexual identity. The guys ask him about clobber passages, the potential pitfalls of trying to bridge such an explosive cultural divide, and whether the Apostle Paul might’ve been gay.

In the Christian Echo Chamber, Pat Robertson says something entirely reasonable about science! Then Bill O’Reilly said something about Christianity being a philosophy, which he was either wrong or not wrong about, depending on your perspective. Either way, the War on Christmas is stupid, and Jordan gets kind of upset about it at the end.

 

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McLaren Changed His Mind

Brian McLaren recently posted a very interesting note from a former fan who was feeling the need to ‘break ranks’ with the author over his position regarding homosexuality. 

I wanted to post part of it here for several reasons.

  1. I have been saying that ‘People Do Change Their Minds’. 
  2. We talked about Brian doing the religious  ceremony for his son and his son’s partner on the last TNT.
  3. In the post Brian quotes his new book – which we are giving away next week.
  4. Brian doesn’t allow comments on his blog so I thought it would nice to host a little comparing of notes conversation.

After the reader’s very cordial note, McLaren begins his response by saying that we don’t actually have to break ranks with each other.

So, it’s important for you to know that if you hold a different view than I do, whatever the issue – I would not want to “break ranks” with you. In fact, I am continually enriched, instructed, and challenged by people who differ with me on this and other issues – and I hope the reverse could be true.

Brian’s second point is that in the current configuration of conservative v. liberal positions, some groups place a lot of pressure of people to ‘break ranks’ with those who differ – or they are in danger of ‘guilt by association’.

McLaren’s third point is that if you just look at sheer percentages, that if roughly 6% of every population is homosexual …  if they were not forced to live in silence,  in denial, or in the closet  … that the numbers quickly become significant of people who are directly affected (parents, siblings, and friends) to the point that old views simply become untenable. [you will actually want to read McLaren's reasoning here if you plan to push-back on it.]

Then he gets to the quote from the book (p. 52).

I think of a friend of mine from the same background of Christian fundamentalism I hail from. When his son came out, he had no support to help him accept the possibility that his son could be both gay and good. With deep ambivalence, he stood with his tradition and condemned his son. The cost alienation from his son – was high, but it grew unspeakably higher when his son internalized the rejection and condemnation of his community and took his own life. Or I think of another friend, the mother of a gay son, also from my heritage. She came to me in secret to talk, knowing that one of my sons had come out around the same time as hers. Through tears she said, “I feel like I’m being forced to choose between my father and my son. If I affirm my son, I’m rejecting everything my father stood for. If I stand with my father, I’m rejecting my son.”
In religion as in parenthood, uncritical loyalty to our ancestors may implicate us in an injustice against our descendants: imprisoning them in the errors of our ancestors. Yes, there are costs either way.

Finally McLaren says the most interesting thing of all: 
“I want to add one more brief comment. You ask, if we change our way of interpreting the Bible on this issue (my words, not yours) “- what else will happen next?” Here’s what I hope will happen. After acknowledging the full humanity and human rights of gay people, I hope we will tackle the elephant in the room, so to speak – the big subject of poverty. If homosexuality directly and indirectly affects 6 – 30% of the population, poverty indirectly and directly affects 60 – 100%. What would happen if we acknowledged the full humanity and full human rights of poor people? And then people with physical disabilities and mental illnesses and impairments? And then, what after that? What would happen if we acknowledged the spiritual, theological, moral value – far beyond monetary or corporate value – of the birds of the air, the flowers of the field, of seas and mountains and valleys and ecosystems? To me, Jesus’ proclamation of the reign or commonwealth of God requires us to keep pressing forward, opening blind eyes, setting captives free, proclaiming God’s amazing grace to all creation.”

And that is why I thought the conversation might be worth hosting here.   What are you thoughts about the last part?  

 

 

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The Church and State are Married in a Civil Union

In last week’s TNT episode, Tripp and I spend the first half hour talking about marriage and the church.

I learned early on in ministry to ask a simple question: If I as an ordained minister perform a wedding ceremony for a couple, but they have not secured a license from the state, then when I say “Before God and all these witnesses – I pronounce that you are husband and wife. What God has joined together, let no one separate.” Are they married?

Overwhelmingly the answer is ‘no’. That they are not married until that paper is signed and it is legal.
So it is indeed that piece of paper that is marriage and not the Christian ceremony that we perform.

This actually happened to me one time. A young couple had secured the marriage license but in all the fun and frivolity of the reception and photos, they forgot to get the paper signed. They were just about to get on the Cruise ship when they realized the mistake!
No big deal, we got it taken care of. What was a big deal was the family’s reaction! What would have happened if they had consummated the union and they weren’t even married??? (legally).

If what we are doing is nothing more than a thin Christian veneer over a civil institution, then one has to wonder why we are also so concerned about who can get married – or even have civil unions – according to our biblical morality.

It seems that the Church wants it’s wedding cake and to eat it too.

But that is a second conversation. There is a different conversation that we need to have first. Like I said, I know hundreds of people who do not (because of what they claim is their christian conviction) support same-sex unions or homosexuality in general. I get that. But why does that then translate into legislating one’s religious belief into a legal morality imposed upon others?

My point is that there is a secondary mechanism involved. There is something else working behind the scenes.

We see this in legislating who can get married based on a reading of the Bible … but we also see it in the assumption of when someone is officially married: when the Christian minister declares it or when the State license is signed.

We try to have the second conversation without having the first and that is why we never get anywhere. Christians ask the question “should same sex unions be allowed” without first addressing “why are Christian ministers performing as agents of the State?

If the answer is what I suspect it is, then we may want to take the ‘separation of church & state’ verbiage down a notch and start thinking about how we are going to fund ministry if our tax-deductible status was not so convenient for people to ‘give’.

The same-sex union is a second conversation.
There is a conversation we should have first that no one seems too eager to entertain.

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Facebook Hermenutics Lesson

I am pretty sure God invented Facebook so people could argue about religion and politics.  Nothing demonstrates the beauty of social media like a good legislative proposition against Gay Marriage to bring out the best in humanity…ugh.

Any way, my home state of North Carolina is being completely ridiculous and attempting to coerce people though the power of the state to comply with a particular religious vision for the home.  That vision isn’t normative in scripture but don’t tell hetrosexist Christians it’s not, they got hermenutical skills no one can match.  I use to think I had heard every contrived way of explaining the Bible failing to speak consistently on behalf of God’s favorite relation math equation, One Man + One Woman = Marriage, BUT THEN I posted a link to Protect All NC Families on my facebook wall saying that I wished I was still in North Carolina to vote against it.

I got a few negative comments, a number of HBC Deacons saying they would vote on my behalf, and then this masterpiece of Biblical exegesis.  One of my former youth dropped a Bible verse and all hermenutical hilarity broke loose.  I learned something.  The patriarchs like Abraham should have just married and reproduced with one woman.  Because Abraham failed to live up to Biblical marriage God cursed him and so Islam was born. That is disgusting.  I hope this isn’t an idea gaining popularity. I had no idea what to say but a College Friend did.  Check out this conversation and see some masterful facebook hermenutics in action.

  • FORMER YOUTH Genesis 2:23-24
  • COLLEGE FRIEND Former Youth – Unfortunately, The Bible is not an ally in the fight for such legislation, but rather a liability. If “one man & one woman” is the only definition of a legal marriage then – without venturing out of the book (Genesis) you’ve chosen to cite – the following men were breaking the law: Abram/Abraham (16:3), Esau (26:34), Jacob (29:23, 28; 30:4, 9), and Nahor (22:20-24). There are plenty more examples outside of Genesis that refute the notion that 1 Man + 1 Woman = “Biblical Marriage.”
  • FORMER YOUTH You are correct in saying that those men broke the law, and they suffered serious consequences because of it. Because of Abraham’s actions, it distorted his image of God, eventually leading to the creation of Islam.Just because men did these things in the Bible does not mean they were following God’s will in doing so. Judas was one of Jesus disciples, yet he betrayed him. Just because Judas had been a follower of Jesus does not mean he was doing God’s will in this instance. Jesus supported the Law of Moses (Lev 18:22 & Lev 20:13). Also, in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul says “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

  • COLLEGE FRIEND It’s interesting that you have no evidence to back up your claim that these four men “suffered serious consequences” other than the fact that one of them was used as the foundation of an alternate religion, which is – in your opinion only – the serious consequence 1 of the 4 listed suffered (centuries after his death). I see nothing regarding polygamy in any of the verses you cited, and yet I see polygamists in the Bible who, unless you can show me evidence to the contrary, suffered no rebuke from God for living a polygamist lifestyle. What was Davids punishment? Moses’? Saul’s? Solomon’s? Caleb’s?
  • FORMER YOUTH Although Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death” I would say that Isiah 59:2 is also is a pretty severe consequence of sin of which we all suffer: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you so that he will not hear.” I am not as well knowlegded about the Old Testament as I would like to be and I am sorry that I do not have answers to all of your questions. But I do pray that in time the Lord will answer them. I therefore encourage you: that the power of prayer is enormous: Matthew 7:7 ”Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

  • COLLEGE FRIEND Former Youth, it appears now you’ve taken to simply firing off Scripture that has no application here. The wages of sin may, in fact, be death, but we’ve yet to establish that polygamy is a sin. To the contrary, I’ve provided several unchallenged Biblical examples of Godly men who had multiple wives and God never chose to chide them for it. In closing, two things…

    Firstly, and with all due respect, if you are admittedly ignorant of the Old Testament (OT) (and I give you tremendous credit for your humble admission of this), yet choose to use select passages from it to inform your decisions regarding your political voice, then I would encourage you to become more familiar with it. In doing so, you will find that the many commands regarding how to treat one’s slave(s) are not being put to their full use in today’s America and perhaps could spearhead a petition or legislation to re-introduce OT-based slavery in NC/America… or any one of the other categories of OT laws that are currently being ignored by our government: dietary, parenting, haircuts, clothing, etc.

    Secondly, do pray that the Lord will clear up for you the confusion between “Love your [heterosexual, monogamous] neighbor as yourself,” and “the wages of [what I perceive to be] sin is death [and legislation to deny you man-made government/legal benefits].” Also, while we’re on prayer, I would encourage you, if you truly feel that “the power of prayer is enormous,” to act on that conviction (and encourage others to do likewise), by staying home from the polls on May 8th and, instead of voting against the Marriage Amendment, do something much more powerful: pray against it.

    Tripp – apologies for rambling on your page; much love and respect to you for standing up for love & equality in this world. Peace.

  • SARCASTIC MINISTER These comments have been such a blessing in my life, thank you! I always knew Islam was a lie! May the Truth of Jess Christ win the hearts of those who are under the devils grip.
  • SARCASTIC PHD STUDENT If there was such a thing as biblical marriage, it would include sexual hospitality, i.e. giving one’s wife/wives or daughters to establish social and political connections. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it would be good to read the bible.

  • NICE MINISTER LADY Former Youth, the Corinthians verse you quote above is also talking about having sex as a form of worship to a plethora of Roman deities. In this case, it was about the Corinthian cult of Venus who required worshippers to participate in orgies and things to supply worship. The scriptures have a long history of saying that sex in order to please God is a no-no. Sex as a worship and appreciation of what God made, on the other hand, is the subject of an entire Book (Song of Songs) and is lauded! Whenever Paul forbids LGBT stuff, he’s usually either talking about ritual sex or prostitution (usually boys prostituting themselves to men). There aren’t a lot of words to translate this super well, as the context of the culture the verse was written in is what makes it important. We’re not dealing with many of these issues today, so the verse is irrelevant. Also, Paul’s words are not the words of Jesus, and so many seem to forget that. Jesus doesn’t talk about LGBT stuff… except for that verse when he talks about how being transgendered is totally fine (Matt 19:12) and he DOES forbid divorce. We seem to have a narrow minded definition of what defends families in NC.

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