Sunday, November 23, 2008

Great Moments in Forgiveness

Remember when John Lennon said the Beatles were bigger than Jesus? Well, the pope finally gets it.


"The remark by John Lennon, which triggered deep indignation mainly in the United States, after many years sounds only like a 'boast' by a young working-class Englishman faced with unexpected success, after growing up in the legend of Elvis and rock and roll," Vatican daily Osservatore Romano said.


No shit, Sherlock. That's what he meant in 1966 and if the church could get it's collective head out of its ass it could have seen that 42 years ago.

And people wonder why the Catholic leadership is becoming obsolete.

Here's the story: http://music.yahoo.com/read/news/61898954

On another front - Bob Jones University - the rabidly conservative Christian college in Greenville, SC has apologized for its racist policies that forbade interracial dating and admitting black students. They didn't admit black students until 1971.

The apology reads, in part:

"For almost two centuries American Christianity, including BJU in its early stages, was characterized by the segregationist ethos of American culture. Consequently, for far too long, we allowed institutional policies regarding race to be shaped more directly by that ethos than by the principles and precepts of the Scriptures. We conformed to the culture rather than provide a clear Christian counterpoint to it. In so doing, we failed to accurately represent the Lord and to fulfill the commandment to love others as ourselves. For these failures we are profoundly sorry."


My suggestion to BJU is keep that statement for a template when they apologize to gay and lesbian people in another 50 years. Here's a taste:

"Like any human institution, we have failures as well. For almost two centuries American Christianity, including BJU in its early stages, was characterized by the HOMOPHOBIC ethos of American culture. Consequently, for far too long, we allowed institutional policies regarding SEXUAL ORIENTATION to be shaped more directly by that ethos than by the principles and precepts of the Scriptures. We conformed to the culture rather than provide a clear Christian counterpoint to it. In so doing, we failed to accurately represent the Lord and to fulfill the commandment to love others as ourselves. For these failures we are profoundly sorry."


Ah, one day we'll be reading that statement from BJU - but not anytime soon. If it took them this long to repent of racism, homophobia will probably take even longer.

But, there is always hope.

Here's the BJU story:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27844969/

25 comments:

Stephen said...

You should never allow your mouth to go down under into the mire. If you are a christian and you have been washed by the blood of the Lamb, that is!
Fowl language is only indicative of your world view on sexuality. If you think anything goes, well, God has already judged you, but He still loves you and wants you to repent from your sins!
Will you?

Candace Chellew-Hodge said...

Fowl language? I didn't say one word about chickens.

Norm said...

We both know he meant foul. A little forgiveness please. Isn't that what you want? You want the Pope to forgive the Beatles for blasphemy. Wait, no, you want everyone to affirm your lifestyle that is clearly condemned in the Bible. God really loves you, but he is Holy (read Revelation 4) and we are not. We need to be bowing at his feet, repenting of every sin we ever committed, and pray that he will pour his grace and mercy on us, then take up our crosses, and be all-in for him, getting rid of every sin and every thing that hinders, sacrificing our own desires for that of the Supreme God of the universe

Candace Chellew-Hodge said...

If he meant foul that's what he should have typed. He didn't, so I can only go by what he types. Besides, if he can't take a joke there are plenty of other blogs to post on.

As for forgiveness, I pray for forgiveness for my sins daily. However, my sexual orientation is a gift from God and not a sin - just as heterosexuality is not a sin.

I forgive you for your unforgiveness.

PAUL REYNOLDS said...

It seems a little odd to equate homosexuality with heterosexuality when God has clearly affirmed the one and forbidden the other. Do you claim Biblical grounds for saying that your sexual orientation is from God?

Homophobia - fear of homosexuality - is clearly stupid. And hatred of homosexuals is clearly sinful so in that respect yeah, anyone guilty of either should apologise. On the other hand, would you throw into the homophobic camp all those saying that God's Word says the practice of homosexuality is wrong and that therefore it is? Because of nature, those people bear no similarity to racists.

Rgds, Paul.

Candace Chellew-Hodge said...

I find no "clear" condemnation of homosexuality within the scriptures. I read prohibitions of same sex sexual activity when it comes to rape, idol worship and other uses of sex that use or abuse another person. But, then, those are condemned for heterosexuals as well, without condemning ALL of heterosexuality. There is no condemnation of loving, committed same-sex sexual relations.

Feel free to check out http://www.whosoever.org/bible/ for more information.

Scholars have argued the point many times and we won't settle it here. I won't argue the Bible with you because no one wins that argument.

Instead, I take the evidence of God's love and blessings on my life - God's guidance and assurance that I am in the center of God's will as both a believer and a lesbian. My sexuality is God given - used in a moral and pleasing manner to God.

That's all I need to know. The opinions of others neither bother me nor shake my faith.

Speaking out against the very lives of other human beings is, indeed, a phobic act - as is trying to pass laws to make their lives harder and miserable.

That, I believe, is something God condemns. But again, we're all free to have our opinions - until they start to harm the lives of others.

Candace Chellew-Hodge said...

Sorry, here's the link all linked up:

http://www.whosoever.org/bible

PAUL REYNOLDS said...

Hey Candace, you say:
"Scholars have argued the point many times and we won't settle it here. I won't argue the Bible with you because no one wins that argument.

Instead, I take the evidence of God's love and blessings on my life - God's guidance and assurance that I am in the center of God's will as both a believer and a lesbian. My sexuality is God given - used in a moral and pleasing manner to God."

Doesn't Scripture say that the ONLY way to test the truth is Scripture itself, and never our own opinions/perception? God blesses everyone's life who still has a life, and many deeply sinful people have great blessings, so that in itself is hardly an argument is it? And if our assurance is outside of the Word then surely it is false assurance.

"Speaking out against the very lives of other human beings is, indeed, a phobic act..."
Except that God tells us to rebuke one another in love an humility. If someone murdered in the name of God you would be entitled to speak out against it. If someone deliberately, self-consciously and consistently ate too much you would also be entitled to challenge them as a fellow-believer to live more in line with God's commands to us.
Not phobic but Biblical.

PAUL REYNOLDS said...

(Can't load the page you cited - is there a problem with the site?)

Candace Chellew-Hodge said...

"Doesn't Scripture say that the ONLY way to test the truth is Scripture itself, and never our own opinions/perception?"

No, you test the truth by making sure it displays the fruit of the spirit "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control." And don't go off on the whole "self-control" bit. My partner and I share love, not lust. Our relationship is based on love - if sex were to disappear tomorrow I'd stay with her for the rest of my life because we love one another and have vowed to be together in that love.

"Except that God tells us to rebuke one another in love an humility. If someone murdered in the name of God you would be entitled to speak out against it."

There you go again, comparing the love my partner and I share with something horrible like murder.

Rebuke me, fine - but don't rebuke me for something God has made clean. Love is never condemned. For you to condemn it is to slap God in the face.

Candace Chellew-Hodge said...

The link works fine for me.

PAUL REYNOLDS said...

"There you go again, comparing the love my partner and I share with something horrible like murder."

My point was that when you asserted "Speaking out against the very lives of other human beings is, indeed, a phobic act..." you were not speaking Biblically. God tells us to humbly and gently rebuke eachother, and that includes doing so in the context of a wrong lifestyle choice. i.e. to try to suggest to you that God proscribes homosexuality is in itself, at worst, wrong, and at best exactly what God wants to happen. It only becomes "phobic" if I fail to do so in love, gentleness and humility.

To say I mustn't rebuke you for something God has made clean takes us into circular argument territory. Obviously, if I felt God had done that I would not be discussing this with you. Also, you asserted your rightness in part on the basis of how you felt about it.

Candace Chellew-Hodge said...

"a wrong lifestyle choice"

First, I made no choice. God has created me this way and I honor it by honoring my sexuality in fidelity and love.

Second, my "lifestyle," such that is is, is driven by my income and not by my sexual orientation. There is no "gay lifestyle." We are not monolithic. We are human beings who live a variety of "lifestyles" just as heterosexuals do. Stop trying to paint us all as one "lifestyle."

I would love to choose a new lifestyle, and if you're willing to contribute I'll let you know how to make donations through paypal.

Paul, we disagree on what the Bible says about homosexuality. You could be wrong and so could I. The bottom line is, God expects us to love one another, even in our disagreements. If you can't do that, then our conversation is done.

PAUL REYNOLDS said...

"Love is never condemned. For you to condemn it is to slap God in the face."

If I decide I love a woman other than my wife and would rather be with her, is it OK then to leave my wife?
If I decide I love myself more than anyone else can I devote myself entirely to myself?
If I decide I love money may I devote myself entirely to the pursuit of it?
No, because proclaiming that you love something does not mean you are thereby acting Biblically.
I am not suggesting that the God-defined love (1 Cor 13) you feel for your partner is wrong at all, and would not presume to doubt you feel that way about her.
But that does not in itself mean that the sexual dimension of the relationship is part of what God wants for you.

PAUL REYNOLDS said...

Sincerely, I am not trying to "paint us all as one 'lifestyle'". All I mean by lifestyle in this context is your choice of sexual behaviour, nothing more.

"...God expects us to love one another, even in our disagreements. If you can't do that, then our conversation is done."
Absolutely sister, and I apologise if I appear to be not loving you in our conversation. That is not my intent.

"First, I made no choice. God has created me this way and I honor it by honoring my sexuality in fidelity and love."
I am not suggesting that you woke up one day and thought I know, I'm going to be sexually attracted to women. But that does not mean the fact you are attracted to women is something God gave you.

You said that we are to judge truth by the fruits of the Spirit and yet you would not affirm my patient, kind, giving, selfless sexual love for my own biological sister (if I had one). You would maintain that God says I must not go there. The fruits of the Spirit not a public demarcation between the saved and the lost but a symptom of what it is like to be filled with the Spirit.
God's Word is the final arbiter of right and wrong (2 Tim 3:16).

Candace Chellew-Hodge said...

"You said that we are to judge truth by the fruits of the Spirit and yet you would not affirm my patient, kind, giving, selfless sexual love for my own biological sister (if I had one). You would maintain that God says I must not go there."

Spurious argument. I would rebuke you on the basis of biology and society. Sexual love for your sister is soundly condemned by society (religious or not) and biologically is perilous because of genetic defects.

Why do anti-gay people always go for the slippery slope arguments when it comes to our lives?

The same arguments were made when inter-racial marriage was being debated. It would lead to bestiality, incest, pederasty, polygamy and weight gain. Good Lord, the fear!

Get this through your head my friend - all sex that uses or abuses another, breaks covenant or harms anyone (like pederasty, bestiality, incest, polygamy, rape, adultery, etc) is wrong. Not just because God might have said so, but because it causes havoc in society and in personal relationships.

Loving, committed relationships, be they gay or straight, is prized by God. Where there is love there is God. Incest and all the other abusive forms of "love" misunderstand what love is all about.

Your arguments are spurious and irrelevant.

Candace Chellew-Hodge said...

"If I decide I love a woman other than my wife and would rather be with her, is it OK then to leave my wife?"

Many do - and some are better off.

"If I decide I love myself more than anyone else can I devote myself entirely to myself?
If I decide I love money may I devote myself entirely to the pursuit of it?"

Again, you arguments are spurious and misunderstand love. Love does no harm - these are harmful practices - abuse of love.

My partner and I harm absolutely no one with our love and we harm absolutely no one when we have sex as an expression of that love.

Love that does no harm is a love God honors.

"God's Word is the final arbiter of right and wrong (2 Tim 3:16)."

Fine, just remember, 2 Timothy says "all Scripture" - not "all Christian Scripture." If you believe scripture to be the final arbiter, then the Upanishads and the Quran are just as authoritative as the Bible.

All means all.

But, really, that verse was written some 300 years before the Bible appeared on the coffee table. The "scriptures" referenced in that letter are not self-referential (since it wasn't scripture then), but really refers to the only Scripture they had - the Hebrew Scriptures.

Again, we won't be convincing one another one way or the other. I know God loves me, created me as I am and blesses me. You can type all day, but you won't change what God has revealed. I listen to God, not men.

PAUL REYNOLDS said...

"Spurious argument. I would rebuke you on the basis of biology and society. Sexual love for your sister is soundly condemned by society (religious or not) and biologically is perilous because of genetic defects.

Why do anti-gay people always go for the slippery slope arguments when it comes to our lives?"

Er, I made no slippery slope argument -you just did!!

Given your slippery slope argument about genetic problems, if I was to have a vasectomy you could surely have no objection to my having sex with my sister? Is that what you are saying? Are you really giving a reproductive argument for what sexual behaviour is or is not acceptable?

And as for rebuking me on the basis of society, I find that astonishing coming from someone who regards most of the history of society as bigoted.

Candace Chellew-Hodge said...

Oh, you must feel so good thinking you've made your "gotcha" argument.

Again - I've stated my reasons. Read them.

Your arguments are simply ridiculous and desperate. They hold no water - and certainly hold no sway with me.

Candace Chellew-Hodge said...

If you can't figure out on your own why having sex with your sister is wrong - whether you can pro-create or not - then you really are beyond all help.

PAUL REYNOLDS said...

"Again, you arguments are spurious and misunderstand love. Love does no harm - these are harmful practices - abuse of love."

I can devote my life to myself while endeavouring to avoid harm to anyone else. I can do the same with the pursuit of money. There is no inevitable abuse of love if you choose to define that as you do as avoiding harm to everyone else.

"Love that does no harm is a love God honors."

As previously stated, your love for your partner is a complete non-issue in so far as it (and my love for my fellow-man) is as described in 1 Cor 13. It is hardly relevant though to say as you essentially do, that because you love your partner THEREFORE Biblically it is OK to have sex with them. Your argument is that if you do not perceive harm then you are OK with it, making you rather than God the moral arbiter.

"2 Timothy says 'all Scripture' - not 'all Christian Scripture'...The 'scriptures' referenced in that letter are not self-referential...but really refers to the only Scripture they had - the Hebrew Scriptures."

Obviously what Paul was saying is that the OT and the parts of the NT they had were the Scriptures. The whole point of what he's doing is to say that that is ALL you need. There is no need for further revelation, extra insight - everything you need is in Scripture.

It would be ridiculous for Paul to have meant all Scripture of any religion, even if it flatly contradicts what I've just said is equally valid with what I've just said.

And as for the New Testament not having Scriptural status at the time, check 2 Peter 3:16 where the apostle affirms Paul's letters as being Scripture as well as the OT.

When it boils down to it I'm trying to challenge you as myself to say what does God say about this? And by this I mean life, salvation, behaviour, everything. Either we are submitting to him or ultimately we are going our own way. Arguing about what Scripture says is one thing but to then say our experience and subjective views are our god leaves one with no assurance of anything.

Ultimately, I have no more interest in your views on sexuality than you have in mine. My only interest with you is my interest with myself and everyone else, that we understand Christ died for our sins that we admit our guilt, ask Christ to forgive us and turn to seeking to honour him with all of our lives. For that we either turn to the Word he has given us and are granted the certainty of Hebrews 11:1, or we go our own way and hope for the best.

Best regards,
Paul

Terry C, An American Again! said...

Jeezus, these fundies are morons.

Candace, I'm with you. The bible thumpers can't stand the truth. They think their way is the only way when it is the wrong way.

travisssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss said...

Candace,

I've just been reading your stuff tonight, here and over at whosoever.

You're an encouragement, and all I've got say is keep being real.

Robert said...

Hi,

My name is Rev Robert Wright, Editor for Christian.com, a social network made specifically for Christians, by Christians. We embarked on this endeavor to offer the entire Christian community an outlet to join together and better spread the good word of Christianity. Christian.com has many great features like Christian TV, prayer requests, finding a church, receiving church updates and advice. We have emailed you to collaborate with you and your blog to help spread the good word of Christianity. I look forward to your response regarding this matter. Thanks!


Rev. Robert Wright
rev.robertwright@gmail.com
www.christian.com

Darthreader said...

Nice blog! Too bad it will be ending.