Thursday, October 04, 2007

Went to a Gay Bar. That's right. You heard me.

Amber's aunt came into town last night and we had dinner with her associates, five men and one other woman. All five of the men were gay. They were very nice and funny, as most gay chaps are. Plus, I got over about 90% of my homophobia long ago being in the arts, and music schools where hetero men are rare exotic birds. BUT, I have never quite jumped the hurdle of Gay-bar phobia. Doubt I ever will.

Amber and I finished up our meal, paid for by the company that my aunt and her friends worked for, and they asked us to go to a bar with them. We did. I don't know why it didn't dawn on me that they would be taking us to a gay bar, but some naivety just never goes away. It didn't take long to realize after entering the courts of bar that it was indeed a den of dudes on dudes.

Amber instantaneously became my Siamese twin but that didn't stop the longing eye-glares from other chaps sitting at the bar.

So there I was, good ole Sethro, wife now on my lap, wondering what the Lord was up to... and whilst feeling a tad uncomfortable at the gently pecking lips of young yuppie men... I had to tell myself, "This is exactly where Jesus would have been." It helped a little, not much; in fact, the thought was a bit comical. So now I ask you, "How far does that old standard "Jesus hangin' out with sinners" analogy reach? Strip clubs? Gay Bars? KKK meetings? Monster Truck Rallies? Rufus Wainwright concerts? Youth Camp? Is the gap really that far between me and you and the swirling stripper or cuddling dudes?

And what about that whole Gay thing... Why not open the floor up to this whopper of a topic? I know how Texas protetstants SAY they feel about it... but I hat to burst the dreamy bubble, lots and lots enjoy a good episode of Will and Grace as much as their BSF study or a Joyce Meyers book.

Thoughts appreciated.

The End.


euphrony said...

Having a wife in the theater, I too have become somewhat acostomed to being around people of non-conservative ways (be they gay or some other exotic descriptor). But the pda is still more than I want or can handle - I'm not even a big fan of hetero pda.

Would Jesus hang out in the strip club? Don't think so. But I wouldn't be surprised to see Him in the donut shop that is adjacent to the club in the strip mall (ironic name, considering the businesses in the strip mall).

Chaotic Hammer said...

Seth. Worms. Can-opener. Etc.

Good questions, actually.

So first, the disclaimers: The first date my wife and I ever went on, we went to a gay bar. Hey, they played the best music in town. And in the interest of full disclosure, this was during a time when we were both spiritually confused, ambiguous, backslidden, whatever.

When we visited my wife's best friend in Phoenix a few years ago, we went to a gay bar -- again largely because they played the best music in town (and this time, we were practicing, sincere, Jesus-seeking Christians). But this time we actually got some dirty looks and snide, snotty remarks, to the effect of "What are they doing coming in here, don't they have enough straight clubs they could have gone to?". Hey, we paid something like $10 cover each, it wasn't very crowded, and my wife and her friend were buying drinks -- we thought their attitude seemed sort of uncalled for. But I digress...

When I was a new Christian (years ago), I had a friend who had been "gay" (not sure that he'd actually had a sexual relationship, but he knew and acknowledged that he was attracted to males) who became a Christian. He was very serious about the Lord, seemed to show Fruit of the Spirit and genuine life-change, led others to the Lord, studied the Scriptures with fervor and prayed. But he always struggled with the gay thing. Fought it, resisted it, married a woman, had a child, then eventually divorced the woman. Last I heard (years ago) he was attending a "Gay Church" somewhere in Houston, living with a boyfriend or husband. I never really got to talk to him much after he had the kid -- we lost touch, lived across the country from one another and I only heard about him through mutual friends. But I'm told he decided that after years of asking the Lord to change his heart, when he still found himself attracted to men, he finally gave up and basically said "Well, I'm just a sinner in need of grace like everyone else, so I hope the Lord understands and forgives my gayness. So I'll go to a church with like-minded people."

In the interest of further disclosure about myself, as recently as a couple of years ago, I was playing drums for a completely non-Christian hard rock band, in lots of clubs and bars. And then on Sunday morning playing drums during worship at a pretty mainstream Protestant church. All the while seeking Jesus sincerely, not feeling any problem with being in the clubs.

So, in terms of the practical, relational aspects of what a Christian can and cannot do, and where a Christian can and cannot go, I'd be a hypocrite if I tried to come off as being clean and pure and above certain things you've brought up here.

But lately, I've been doing lots of very serious seeking of the Lord, studying the Bible a lot, praying, meditating, willing to hear pretty much anything the He has to say to me about how I live my life, what I do, where I go, etc. I'm particularly finding that a solid, orthodox, historically-accurate presentation of the Gospel seems to me to be increasingly important. Meaning, not that I think we need to judgmentally beat people up with doctrinal discussions and legalistic minutiae, but that it is important that we not give people a falsely-easy version of the Gospel that says "Just believe in your mind, and say the words of the prayer, then you are saved and guaranteed eternity in heaven, no matter what you do after that!" I know grace is generously given and freely available to all, without any conditions being attached or good works being required, but it's extremely apparent that God says that once the spiritual rebirth truly happens, certain things will naturally follow, and that we should all work out our salvation and continue to grow and persevere.

In other words, if we make people feel comfortable in their sin (by sin, I mean rejection of God, not necessarily the specific acts they engage in), and if we seem to tacitly endorse it, are we really being a servant of the Lord? I don't know.

And is there a difference between Jesus having a meal with a tax collector at home or talking to a prostitute in the street, vs. the idea of Jesus going into the whorehouse and drinking wine with them and laughing and dancing and partying? Was He a friend with sinners because He knew the sick needed a doctor, so He went to where the sick could be found in the marketplace of human interactions, or did He actually venture into the seediest places and blend in seamlessly? Would He have avoided the blatant appearance of evil, which could have confused His followers and given His critics genuine cause for criticism?

Sorry, this comment is too long even by my standards. Somebody else say something.

euphrony said...

Good comments, C-Ham. Appreciate your personal historical perspective. And, for various reasons, I needed to hear that today.


Seth Ward said...

Yeah, I agree with you c-ham. At that point I realized more than ever the great distance I have yet to go to be like the Lord. He WOULD have known what to say and would have known what to do. What did I do? I sat at the end of the bar and pinned my wife to my side and tried to avoid eye-contact.

At the same time, I read the account of Jesus in the bar or Jesus with the tax collector and I don't get the sense that he was railing on them and they were hitting the road. When Jesus spoke to a sinner, it was always first in love. Whether word or action. "Can I have a drink? I'm thirstly." or "Woman, where are your accusors?" or "I am willing."

Very true about an attitude that condones vs. one that doesn't. However, the answer CANNOT be "well, i'll just alienate myself from the fags and that's how I show them the light!"

Can't be. Right? It has to be somewhere in between all of that. It has to be more about just "love" than it does "I'm gonna make you see the error of your gay ways." I know that I'LL never change a gay man's mind. That's all God right there. I just have to show them who He is by loving that person.

Right now, most Gays don't get to know God because they think that God doesn't hang out with Gays. Well, I say, the Gospel says different.

Thanks for your comments here fellas. Keep em coming! Need to sort this out.

Euphrony, I didn't know that your wife was in the theater!!!! Shoot!

Super Churchlady said...

OK - Superchurchlady will take the bait!

I agree with c-ham. I don't think Jesus "hung out" with sinners. Rather, he moved in their midst - loving them, but always calling them out of their life of sin. Many of the examples of the "sinners" Jesus encountered seemed to be already looking for change. I'm thinking specifically of Zacchaeus and the Samaritan woman at the well. I may be wrong, but I think there is a difference in being a "sinner" (a class in which we all fit for sure ) and living in a "state of sin" without a spirit of repentance.

P.S. Superchurchlady has never seen a single episode of Will & Grace.

Rob said...

I'm late to the party... again. Oh, well.

A couple of questions that I think are relevant to the whole Jesus-hangs-out-with-sinners thing:

1. Why did you go?
2. What was the effect of your going?

On the first question, the "right" answer to feel good about going would be something involving a desire to bring the sinner into the kingdom. The "wrong" answer would involve entertainment, inattention, or peer pressure.

So, what happened? Was anyone there influenced to repentance, or were they encouraged to continue? What was the effect on your attitude toward sin?

In the end, I don't buy the whole notion that Jesus associated with sinners, so it's OK for me to do it too. Jesus didn't "associate" with sinners. He went in and dragged them out of their sin and into the light. Nothing he did ever legitimized, encouraged, or condoned their sin. Jesus didn't avoid being in the places where sin was practiced, but he sure wasn't part of the gang. He never just showed up to hang out.

And now back to your regularly-scheduled programming...

Seth Ward said...

Good points Rob. I think that I, we went because Amber's aunt was in town and she bought our dinner and wanted to spend some more time with us. We love her and wanted to do the same. I really had no reason to think they'd be trucking us to a gay bar, and Amber's aunt is so sweet but has no problem with that so she would see no issue with making a deal out of it. (I don't think she knew either.)

So, I had ZERO idea that it was going to be a Gay bar. Or I probably wouldn't have gone out of sheer fear. BUT, my question is: How different is a Gay bar than a regular bar? Both are chalked full of folks that are there to go home with other people outside of wedlock and do the shigg-nasty.

THE REASON for going was because she asked us to go and we love her. No peer pressure and we only stayed about 15 minutes.

But I think you are right on. However, I think you can be at a bar and be fine, as long as you are "being" a light. As long as you are "being" salt. "Being" meaning "to be" with a purpose. BUT if that circumstance were to cause you to fall into sin, or if there is ANYTHING in the intention that is other than the love of Christ and shining a light in a dark place, then you should run away.

THE EFFECT on our going? I don't know. I do know that we met one of the guys there in the group that is in music. We were kind to him and I think by the end of the conversation he knew we were Christians. But you have to understand that being a Christian up here... well lets just say that there are plenty o' churches who condone homosexuality.

Seth Ward said...


You know you have all seasons of W&G on dvd.

But I disagree with you and C-ham about "hanging out" with sinners. I think he did. And I think it pissed people like you and me off. He didn't sin, but he leveled the playing field as far as who God prefers to hang out with and who he doesn't.

Pharisees, sinners, lepors, whores... all where touched by the Lord.

FancyPants said...

Dadgummit. I seriously have no time, but I'm commenting anyways. Gotta do laundry, but I guess it'll wait.

I've been thinking about it alot the past year or so. How do I react with homosexuals?

First thing is this: There is alot more to gay men and women than being gay. By that I mean to say, that Christians, especially Christians from the Bible Belt, have a tendency to look at a gay man/woman and brand them "gay" and "gay" alone, and forget that they're human. We find ourselves saying, "He's gay. He's a sinner. I better stay away because of his sin and I don't know how to react to that sin."

But there's something very wrong with that because there's a person there that needs love just like the rest of us do. And should I really act any different around him/her than I do with my straight friends?

So it's not a question of being around gay men. It's a question of which environment should I allow myself to be around gay men? In my opinion, because of my convictions about homosexuality, I wouldn't make it a habit to be around gay men in a gay bar. But dinner with a gay friend? Sure. How about dinner with two gay friends? Sure. Because my gay friends are people with wonderful qualities, (some who happen to be Christians), and they need a friend. I don't see how we as Christians can properly show anyone what Jesus' love is all about until we love them as they are. And yes, that means being a friend.

I also don't think that evangelizing means pointing out a person's life of sin and demanding it changed without showing an interest in that person as a human being. I'm sure we all have different definitions of "hanging out," but I believe that taking the time to get to know someone, without agenda, but in love, is necessary to effectively communicate the gospel.

Chaotic Hammer said...

...But I disagree with you and C-ham about "hanging out" with sinners. I think he did...

Hey! How did I get lumped in there? While it was both lengthy and rambling, I didn't intend for my comment to say that Jesus didn't hang out with sinners. I gave a few small snippets (there are many more I could have detailed) of my personal experiences relating to gay bars, homosexual friends, and hanging out in clubs and bars in general. I asked a few questions, but they really were meant as questions, not rhetorically.

I actually think there are two major subjects being discussed here, and even though they are related, they are not entirely the same.

One is the whole question of homosexuality -- whether homosexuality is named as a sin in the Bible, whether someone can be a practicing homosexual and still be a Christian, etc. That's a whole subject on its own, and a pretty messy and complicated one.

The second is the question of the company one keeps -- whether it's okay for a Christian to hang out in certain places, what a Christian can or cannot do while in those places, etc.

By mingling these two subjects together it's going to be even harder to discuss either one on its own. And while we're on these subjects, I have to be honest about something -- I'm not really a big fan of the "what would Jesus do?" approach to things. I know that we Christians constantly use the expression "I want to be more like Jesus", and that Jesus was the ultimate standard and example of human perfection, that we as Christians are supposed to idealize. But Jesus didn't have a seedy past. He was always perfect. He didn't work the same professions that we do, or have the same life experiences. I know that the Bible is very explicit that He experienced every part of the human experience (except willfully sinning, of course) and truly knew what our weaknesses and sicknesses are like, and was tempted in all the ways we are. But read the rest of the NT and you'll see the writers (like Paul) talking to Christ-followers about a whole array of subjects and practical considerations that were not ever a direct part of Jesus' life. So rather than "What would Jesus have done?", I would prefer "What would Jesus have us do?".

And right off the bat, I'll give you an idea why I think this approach is helpful. I think there are human weaknesses and struggles among members of the Body of Christ (take me, for example -- I have plenty) that require wisdom and self-restraint to deal with. While we have tremendous liberty as believers living under grace, we should not all exercise that liberty all the time. An alcoholic, still struggling with a craving for alcohol, should likely not be in a bar. A recovering child molester should not be in a school yard, and somebody with a history of lust and drunken one-night stands should probably not be in a bar if he/she is not strong enough to deal with the temptation.

So, I think it's wrong to have a simple yes/no answer for everyone when dealing with many aspects of a Christian's life. As I said, I played in a band that played in the bars. It's worth noting that I do not drink alcohol at all, and really didn't find anything about the "bar scene" appealing. I was there with friends, long-time friends in fact, as part of an ongoing relationship I have with my friends. My friends know I am a Christian, and I have earned the liberty to speak to them about pretty much any subject, including my relationship with the Lord and why I believe, because they have been able to observe me over the long haul. I show them love, and help them out when I can, even when it means really going out of my way for them. I am NOT what they think a Christian is, if they compare me to their normal image of a Christian -- somebody who dresses a certain way, has lots of rules about what they can and cannot do, is active in right-wing politics, thinks everyone is evil and worthy of hell, etc.

So as a continuation of an ongoing friendship, I would find myself in certain places and situations that I sincerely and honestly do not believe were in any way sinful or wrong, even though they might be for many people if they ventured into the same places. A person who had struggled with homosexuality for many years, and was trying to give that area of their life over to the Lord, should probably not be in a gay bar.

In my opinion, Seth and Amber, accompanying a beloved family member and her friends into that place, were not in sin. Not even in the slightest. I don't think there's any need to dictate what you should or should not have done or said, since your being there was part of an ongoing relationship and dialog with friends. It would not have been received, and was not the right time or place, for you to suddenly stand up and begin loudly reciting some Old Testament passage about wickedness and abomination (unless the Lord told you to do that -- and you'd better be damn sure it was the Lord when doing things like that).

But, you get my point. I think this is the huge advantage that wisdom, discernment, and being given a new heart where the Holy Spirit lives and guides us, has such a huge advantage over the Law, or a set of rigid rules and regulations.

But it's also more complicated than this, because there are liberties that we have do have as believers that I think wisdom would tell us not to exercise, particularly if exercising them would cause a weaker brother or sister to stumble. For example, I think there is a level of responsibility for people who would be in positions of power or accountability, who are discipling younger and newer believers, not to spend a lot of time hanging out in bars or having wild parties, even though they can do those things. It could send a confusing message, and show a lack of integrity, to young, impressionable minds trying to figure things out.

Wow, look. This comment is even longer than my last one...

Chaotic Hammer said...

Fancy - I'm jealous of your ability to say lots of good things with a lot less words than it takes me.

But I agree completely with all your points there. And I was thinking the exact same thing about wholesale labeling someone "gay". It seems like a giant tattoo we put on someone's forehead that immediately colors everything else we think about them.

Now, I realize that there are many who actively seek that, and proudly wear it. Some march in parades wearing rainbow wigs and ass-less leather pants, carrying signs and leading a militant lifestyle. So when somebody from a conservative Christian background sees that, it's easy to paint a stereotypical image in people's minds, and to wholesale condemn an entire group of people as a bunch of evil sodomites who seek to indoctrinate our children and change our culture. Then they are the enemy, someone it's easy to condemn and marginalize, and someone you don't have to think about or deal with, because you've written them all off.

But let your own friend or family member be gay, or some scandal break where a beloved and trusted pastor admits he's gay, and suddenly it gets much more complicated -- and well it should.

A few years ago, the Lord deeply convicted me in my heart that I was wrong on this one, regarding my attitudes and opinions. It's not that I have changed my mind about what the Bible teaches, or have become morally ambiguous, because I don't think that would be right.

But as a matter of heart, I was wrong first of all for thinking that one sin was in some way worse than others. Conveniently, it happened to be a sin that I never struggled with or understood, so it was even easier to condemn. If we talk about gluttony or covetousness or lust, those are forgivable sins, because those are my sins. But homosexuality? It's almost like we think it's "the unforgivable sin". Given a list of ten or twenty different things a human being can do that displease God, it's the one that leaps up off the page and gets talked about in different terms than all the others. It's written in red, all the others in black.

And I further very much agree that we should not forge friendships with ulterior motives -- just to convert them and that's it. Our love should be genuine and long-term, our willingness to listen and understand the struggles and fears and doubts and pain should be strong and unwaivering.

If anything, I think this one requires an extra dose of grace because it is so strong in people's lives. Meaning, I've heard one after another after another tell me that the cravings and wantonness are overwhelming compared to other temptations. The whole central focus is given to affections that seem unquenchable. That it's not just an alternative version of heterosexuality with a focus on the same sex, but comes with a whole mindset and culture and set of temptations that dominate every other area of your life.

I don't think it's an accident that the Lord has put you (Seth and Amber) in a place where you guys are dealing with these issues and questions and are right in the middle of so many people that you can reach out to with the love that the Lord has already shown to you. I think it would be a helpful and growing experience for both you and the friends you make there if you can be honest and open, and tell them about the questions and struggles that you have about these things. Love and honesty go hand in hand when dealing with matters of such basic human nature mingled with questions of eternally critical matters.

kddub said...

my brother and my car broke down in San Fransisco, and we went into a bar to call someone. As I looked around, I noticed that it was all men, or men that were dressed like women. One man even was wearing chaps with nothing underneath in the behind....
Then again that was SF, I am sure that NY has the classy gays, just to stereotype.

Interesting experience, and has nothing to do with your questions.

Rob said...

C-Ham made a great point up there... this is really two questions mushed together in one discussion. (I'd add maybe more!)

The easier of the two, and the less relevant to this current thread might be the first one, "Is homosexuality a sin?" It's easier because the Bible actually mentions the practice, unlike a lot of the other "sins" we encounter today. It's less relevant because no matter what we conclude about this specific behavior, we are left with the same problem. How do *I* react, respond, relate to, and love these people? How do I make myself see them as God sees them and act accordingly?

The second question concerns how we are to live our lives. Who should we associate with? Where should we spend our time? C-Ham expressed them in the way we often pose these questions, "Is it OK if I ...?" I believe a better question is, "Should I...?" I think this is harder to figure out than the question of what's OK for a Christian to do. There is nothing we can do that will separate us from God's love, so in a simplistic sense everything is OK for us to do. Of course, everything is not really OK, but that cones down to what we should do rather than what we can do.

I love the message in 1 Corinthians 8 about food sacrificed to idols. Eating such food is "OK" but maybe not "should" behavior.

I might add a third issue that is rolled up in this whole debate, and that's the question about how we feel about other people. Especially other people not like us. As Christians we are often guilty of hating, condemning, and avoiding anybody who doesn't look just like me. That's just plain wrong, and is the very thing Jesus was *not* doing while he was here. He loved and did not avoid the people on bad side of society. He didn't endorse them as models for others to follow, but he certainly didn't avoid them.

I think underneath the words we're all using is a common understanding of this idea. We must connect with people who behave in ways that make us uncomfortable. We must love them as we know God loves them. We must not become like them or become unaware of sin in them or ourselves. We must serve as witnesses to what God has done for us.

The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 1 Cor. 8:2

Chaotic Hammer said...

Rob: "I think underneath the words we're all using is a common understanding of this idea. We must connect with people who behave in ways that make us uncomfortable. We must love them as we know God loves them."

Absolutely right on. (Also love the scripture reference, which almost verbatim said the exact same thing I did, but the Bible did it with a whole lot less words than me -- imagine that!)

I think overall this is a very friendly and agreeable discussion in which we all share similar attitudes and opinions about this stuff, and are almost "arguing semantics" to a degree.

But I recently ran across this:

Maybe You Wouldn't Like...

That would be representative of a completely different take and viewpoint about how to deal with some of these questions and issues (I know it's a college, but the viewpoints and opinions are accurate reflections of a much larger body of thought).

So it would be fair to say that there are other sincere Christians who would differ substantially from our thinking on this. And according to my understanding of Rob's scripture reference (1 Corinthians 8), there is a place for both in the Body of Christ, as each person must determine between himself and the Lord what can be done in good conscience.

FancyPants said...

I actually think there are two major subjects being discussed here, and even though they are related, they are not entirely the same.

One is the whole question of homosexuality -- whether homosexuality is named as a sin in the Bible, whether someone can be a practicing homosexual and still be a Christian, etc. That's a whole subject on its own, and a pretty messy and complicated one.

C-Ham I'm quoting you, but I hear Rob touching on the same topics. Have some thoughts:

First, if I'm not mistaken, it seems that all commenting here agree that homosexuality is a sin. I'm not sure that ever came into question. Although, some interpret the Bible differently and claim it isn't a sin. The argument, if I'm not mistaken, is that the word "sodomite" has been wrongly tranlated to "homosexual" throughout the years, when the term "sodomite" was originally meant to allude to the extreme selfish and arrogant nature of the unrighteous in Sodom, the reason God destroyed the city.

Ezekiel 16:48 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.49 " '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. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

I haven't studied enough to effectively communicate their position. But it still seems clear to me that God's intention for marriage was for a man and a woman, procreation, all that jazz.

Whether someone can be a practicing homosexual and still be a Christian is a question that stands even when homosexuality is agreed upon to be a sin. What I know is that homosexuality is complicated, and most that I've talked to feel they had no choice. Not saying I agree or disagree. Don't know that I even have the right to agree or disagree with that. A friend of mine told me he tried SO hard to be straight. He WANTED to be straight, and still couldn't keep himself from being attracted to the same sex.

So this struggle they have before them is enormous, especially if they ARE Christians. Geesh, what a confusing thing to go through.

My point in saying all of this is...we can sit around here all day and call them sinners. But it doesn't get me any closer to loving them. We can decide what we will and won't do as far as gay bars and straight bars. And we should. But what's the real issue? It has to be more than making rules for myself and my fellow Christians.

Chaotic Hammer said...

Fancy: My point in saying all of this is...we can sit around here all day and call them sinners. But it doesn't get me any closer to loving them. We can decide what we will and won't do as far as gay bars and straight bars. And we should. But what's the real issue?

I dunno, ask Seth. He's the one who brought up these subjects and requested comments and discussion about them -- we're just complying with his request. :-)

But seriously, I would encourage you and Seth to continue to pursue genuine friendships with whomever the Lord puts in your path there. I believe that you are there for a reason. I say it's better to venture into new territory trying to serve the Lord the best you can, and totally screw up, than to sit on the sidelines and analyze everything to death, and never actually do anything.

I guess there's a danger with this blogging thing to come across as we're all just sitting around over-analyzing everything, but that's sort of why I'm trying to include a few personal experiences here. These are not just neat-sounding theories, they are information from your fellow sinners saved by grace who have been out there in the trenches and are sharing their experiences.

I've had several different friends just like those you and Seth have described -- struggled with homosexuality, pursued the Lord earnestly, never could overcome their urges and impulses, and for the most part, the story didn't seem to end very happy. I'm afraid that because of certain hang-ups I had at that time, my critical spirit and judgmental feelings about many things rendered me unable or unwilling to really love those people with the kind of sincerity and reckless abandon that I now believe the Lord wants us to show.

Where I am in my life right now, I'm feeling less inclined than ever to worry about well-intentioned Christians judging me or my motives for befriending "sinners" or the "unlovable". I think I've been in the "play it safe and take the easy way" camp for way too much of my Christian walk, and I've just felt an increasing pull from the Holy Spirit toward a much greater abandonment of my selfish desires, towards being a servant, and being ready to help people, or to spend quality time talking to them or listening to them, or whatever other opportunities I find right there in front of me. And there are constantly plenty, if we just open our eyes.

Seth Ward said...

Beautifully said C-hammer. I deeply appreciate you sharing your experiences and insight as Amber and I are in a new place with new challenges. That goes for all of you. Your thoughts, prayers and encouragement are coveted.

This is a tough topic, and the discussion here has helped me immensely. I appreciate the honesty and the grace in which all of you have discussed it. I may have been a tad absentee from the discussion because of current projects that have left me in front of the other computer and on the phone 24/7 but I sorta wanted to hear what other people had to say anyways and shut up for a bit. I have enjoyed reading them all.

(I had typed a huge response and was about to cut and paste when safari quit on me yesterday, but after much cussing, I feel it worked out for the better. C-ham and Fancy summed up what I was saying and said it better.)

Vis said...

The practice of staying out of bars is not a commandment from the Lord to me.

It is so I do not become a stumbling block to others. I do not turn them away from the faith, or put a weapon in there hand against the gospel.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what it's like to be gay. I mean, what if it turns out to be genetic, like being bald. Imagine having a "sin gene". But maybe being gay is about more than sex. I mean I know some old couples who've been together happily for years and I really don't think their relationship has much at all to do with sexual activity. I can't think of anything worse than being denied love and companionship. I think of my wife, how much I love her, how much she's meant to me over the years, how our strenghts and weakness compensate for one against the other. I love her so much I would easily and without hesitation give my life for her. I can't imagine any group or religion trying to condemn these feelings as a sin. Perhaps the physical perversion of putting something where it does not belong, I mean obviously God, the "nature" part of God at least, clearly and obviously meant for males to mate with females. It's just a matter of plumbing. But where does that leave the hermaphrodite with both sets of sex organs? I suppose that's always been my problem, no not the dual sex organ thing, but the fact that for me there are never any answers, only two more questions at least. Is it a sin to be a divergent thinker? I hope not, but if so maybe there's a bar where they all gather in bewilderment.