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Website launched to share stories of Christians with same-sex attractions

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  1. As a gay Christian I welcome this sort of website and organisation – I wish there had been more encouraging information out there when I was younger.

    But I am disappointed at this missed opportunity. Rather than uniting all Christians who support same-sex relationships, and other people who support the church giving a positive message to gay people, the organisation only promotes its own message and narrow interpretation of the subject.

    There’s no room for debate, and it presents the only Christian way of being gay as remaining celibate and certainly not marrying in the same way as a straight couple would – something I strongly disagree with. The fact the website doesn’t even mention that some people have different views undermines their other arguments to the point where they will have little to no impact.

    As such this group will only appeal to a small number of gay Christians who, despite what they say, haven’t really reconciled their sexuality and faith.

    1. Midnighter 29 Nov 2013, 7:19pm

      Are you kidding me? They purport to “help” but go on to affirm that they believe that ” homoerotic sexual practice is incompatible with His will”

      If you are a gay Christian and you think that engaging with people whose stated belief is to ensure that you loathe yourself according to bronze age concepts of morality, then I predict that you are going to end up one damaged and unhappy individual.

      “There’s no room for debate” . Correct. The doctrine of whichever religious sect you follow is non-negotiable. It is either Truth or it is not Truth.

      You may find this bible more palatable; unlike most bible translations this one has some scholarly support for its key differences from the King James:

      http://queenjamesbible.com/

      Or do what Henry VIII did when he couldn’t reconcile his marital status with his desire for a new wife; invent a new version of Christianity. There are over 50,000 out there to choose from already, so its perfectly legitimate to make your own up.

      1. I may not have been clear enough – I support the overall concept of the website in that it aims to ‘help’, but – like you – I strongly disagree with their message and think it does more harm than good.

        I find the Church of England much more in line with my beliefs than theirs, and feel it is finally moving in the right direction. While I’d be sorry to see the size of the church diminish, I think the church would be stronger if extreme beliefs like this were not a part of it.

        What attracts me to the CofE is that it is not – as you claim – ‘truth or not truth’. Within even the two churches I attend there is space for much debate and disagreement – but in a well balanced and friendly fashion. We’re united by central beliefs, and amicably disagree over others. My experience is that most churches are like this, it’s just that the only people and groups who get talked about are the extremists.

        1. Midnighter 29 Nov 2013, 9:57pm

          I don’t personally claim it is “truth or not truth” but my point was rather that is the claim of any given religious sect, by definition. I am referring to those “central beliefs” you mention yourself (doctrines, dogmata and prescribed practices and so forth.)

          Historically your local vicar (or their predecessor) would have taken a much stricter view regarding your friendly disagreements, and would not have been afraid to make dissenters unwelcome. This is still the case in some CofE Churches even today sadly. For the record I’m happy to hear you have a safe and welcoming place to worship, which is as it should be.

          1. I see what you’re saying, but I’m not sure quite how that agrees with “The doctrine of whichever religious sect you follow is non-negotiable.”? Other than the basic stuff about the Trinity, etc. almost all the Dogma is fairly negotiable – from what happens during the Eucharist to pre-marital sex.

            When an issue is raised both sides of the argument are put forward, people give their own views, and it allows people to make up their own mind. Yes I know a lot of churches aren’t that open, but I think an unknown majority are.

            I’ve written a biography on a previous vicar here, and yes he was much more strict, but interestingly he was involved with an organisation criticised for it’s ‘effeminate’ tendencies’ – highly controversial in Victorian times! But thanks for your good wishes.

          2. Ah, ok. Dogma in the religious context specifically means the teachings and practices which are mandatory. Doctrine is the general body of what is taught that includes dogma but also includes everything else that might be up for discussion about details such as histories of key figures in the faith etc. So it would have been more accurate for me to have said “dogma” in that context first time around. But no, you can’t argue with “dogma” (well you can, but then there’s thumbscrews and burning at the steak and suchlike).

            I’m all for open discussion and open minds when it comes to discussing religion and spirituality ;-)

          3. Ah – the good old debate over what’s Dogma and what’s Doctrine!

            I’m actually struggling to think of anything every Christian I know would agree with.. Probably just the Trinity..? The Creed sums it up, but even then things are up for discussion. I recently had a long discussion over the ‘Virgin Birth’ – I think it’s good to consider these things, not accept everything without thought.

            Anyway – I’d love to discuss this further, but we’re off topic! I think we can just come to an agreement that the total lack of open minded discussion reduces this project from a helpful, thoughtful tool for LGBT Christians to something that could potentially harm young, confused people – which is a tragedy.

    2. “Their own narrow interpretation” – come on even you must know that this is the historical and most obvious biblical interpretation whether you agree with it or not.

      They have reconciled their faith and sexuality..perhaps you may not want to judge those you dont know quite so quickly.

      1. Historical maybe – but that’s only because historically homosexuality was largely misunderstood.

        I don’t accept it’s the most obvious interpretation, and by only showing one viewpoint of the whole variety that exist I feel justified in calling the website ‘narrow’.

        I certainly don’t judge them for believing what they believe, but by limiting the website I feel they could confuse many young gay people at a difficult time. When such differing views exist any Christian that says “this is true”, rather than “I believe..” undermines their own argument.

        1. They “limit” the website because they are convinced that they are right.. you may not accept that it is the most obvious but that doesnt make you correct.

    3. Sebastian Pinder 1 Dec 2013, 1:42am

      There is no room for debate because that is the view of most of the Christian Churches and the view of the Bible. You remain celibate or place your self out side the faith.

      1. I think that depends who you’re polling – I’d be surprised if the majority of CofE Christians were in favour of universal gay celibacy. I could be wrong, but that’s based on my experience.

        As to lack of debate – it is always worth looking at the whole picture and questioning faith. Some fear that weakens faith.. But surely, if you believed in God, he could stand up to our human criticism!

        I’ve personally convinced many homophobic Christians, after sitting down with a Bible for an hour or two with them, that it’s not against gay relationships or sex.

        1. Sebastian Pinder 1 Dec 2013, 10:05am

          The Bible is not against gay relationships only gay sex. I mix in a lot of Christian circles and have for many years. Most Christians I know do not want a minister that is gay in a relationship.
          I am a gay Christian and have been celibate all my life. I have no issue with people having a sexual relationship, but the priest must be celibate.

          1. The New Testament does not forbid anal sex, but it criticises it as a harmful practice. This is a cultural thing, as almost all homosexual acts were between elderly men and young boys, and it was also seen as giving up masculinity. With our modern understanding of homosexuality we can see that anal sex is not harmful in a loving relationship, therefore is not condemned or forbidden.

            The Old Testament more clearly condemns it, but that is within the context of laying down cultural rules to make a stronger society in that time (rules on what could not be eating were traditional ways of strengthening a sense of a society for example) and do not apply now.

            As someone training for Ordination I’d be happy to have sex with a husband, but the rules currently won’t allow it. But since it wouldn’t harm anyone this should be a decision I make, not the church or anyone else.

          2. Midnighter 1 Dec 2013, 3:58pm

            @Private “almost all homosexual acts were between elderly men and young boys”

            Without context, this is a gross generalisation at best and is frankly absurd given what we know about human sexuality. I suspect you may have read something about specific practices in pagan temples, but you might want to consider the agenda of who is writing. The Ugandan authorities would have it that gays are a small number of deviants who are as likely to abuse animals and children. Your comment sounds like a source putting much the same sort of revisionist spin on the subject, quite frankly.

            You also will struggle to find New Testament sources who are directly criticising homosexuality; those portions frequently cited are in the context of being exemplars of a larger concern, such as turning from god to worship idols and prostitution. I have yet to see a New Testament quote that either stands clear of a fallacy of division, or of questionable translation from the greek.

          3. Sorry – I badly edited my message. I was referring to ‘homosexuality’ as referred to in 1 Corinthians 6:9 – one of the most widely used anti-gay passages.

            The Greek ἀρσενοκοῖται translates loosely as “man f*ck” – and one of the most likely practices this refers to (as far as my own research has found) is the practice of older men having anal sex with young boys before they married to pass on their seed. It was believed to help puberty. There are other practices it may also refer to, but in the culture Paul is writing to this seems to be what they would largely understand by the word. It was unacceptable to continue gay sexual relationships into adulthood, such were the pressures to have a family.

            Obviously we now understand homosexuality very differently, and the word homosexuality was first used in a translation (inappropriately) in the 1940s. What I was trying to say is that the passages refer to practices other than a loving homosexual act as we would understand it.

          4. Midnighter 2 Dec 2013, 1:43pm

            Ok, so case in point …

            Far from being confident of contemporary usage, it is accepted that this word seems to have actually be invented by Paul himself as no prior instances of it have been found.

            Had Paul meant homosexuality, he could have used one of many established words for it rather than inventing one.

            The second part “koites” may be more acurately rendered as “bed”, with sexual overtones. Scholars (eg John Boswell) contest the subject gender based on the declination of the noun. So “man bedders” could be female perhaps.

            This compound word – like “honeymoon” needs contextual explanation; the homophobe would be satisfied that we are talking about a literal moon made of honey in this case.

            Later context of this word in groupings of crimes places it with those of an economic (and not sexual) nature. It is more reasonable to conclude that what is actually being condemned is not the specifics of a specific physical act, but the morality of it in that context

          5. I think we’re making a similar point, albeit with slightly different perspectives on the context.

            A quick search to check a source just yielded this: http://christianstudies.wordpress.com/2011/05/14/230/ which I think gives a good basic overview of scholarly interpretation. My understanding, which seems to be backed up there, is that it’s almost certainly used here in a homosexual context (though I accept the word was later used in heterosexual circumstances), but almost certainly a specific context of the time which is deemed harmful.

            Whether any of them are right or wrong – I think the scholarly conclusion is indeed that homosexuality, as we would understand it, is not what’s being talked about here. We forget how comparatively recently homosexuality has been understood. The idea that Paul is condemning a loving, sexual relationship between men (or women) just doesn’t stand up to any criticism.

          6. Midnighter 2 Dec 2013, 3:32pm

            @Private Clearly you and I agree on the key points, to clarify, my contention here is solely with any assertion that the NT makes definitive criticism of homosexuality. Two things here;
            1) it seemed you may have been conflating anal-sex and homosexuality. The one does automatically not infer the other
            2) Can you cite where in the New Testament it states that anal sex is harmful in and of itself (i.e. with no larger context of prostitution or promiscuity etc)?

            In regards scholarly sources, I am sure you have also found is that there is a considerable amount of cognitive bias in such circles and it can be difficult to find a good ‘signal to noise’ ratio of reliable academic study; the more contentious the topic the more ‘noise’ created. While book-burning and stake-burnings are no longer in fashion, one should remember that some Christians are still keen to to poison the well of academia (such as the Wedge strategy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy).

          7. I think my mistake was the sentence “The New Testament does not forbid anal sex, but it criticises it as a harmful practice.”, which should have read along the lines of “The New Testament does not forbid anal sex, but criticises it in situations when it is harmful.”.

            I was replying to Sebastian’s message where he argued that the Bible was not against gay relationships, just gay sex. I was trying to make the response that it’s not against either (and, I would agree with you, one certainly does not automatically constitute the other). These passages are condemning sexual practices (probably homosexual in nature) only when they’re harmful (prostitution, paedophilia, etc.)

            I very much take your point over the dangers of cognitive bias. Sadly my Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew are not strong enough to create a translation, thus I have to rely on imperfect scholars. I felt that website I linked to gave a pretty good range of opinions – it covered most viewpoints I’ve heard in a succinct way.

          8. Midnighter 2 Dec 2013, 6:34pm

            “The New Testament does not forbid anal sex, but criticises it in situations when it is harmful.”.

            I have yet to see that it does so without bringing us back the point I made in my first reply about the fallacy of division; the sexual act is incidental to that which is being condemned, namely the situation itself.

            Given the statement “it is wrong to drive your blue car faster than the speed limit in Birmingham” we would not be reasonable to conclude that each and every component of that scenario is also “wrong”. There is nothing wrong with driving a blue car. There is nothing wrong with driving faster than the speed limit in Birmingham if you are in fact somewhere with a higher speed limit. We can’t reliably deduce truth in this manner.

            In short, I’ve seen no evidence of such criticism in the Bible a) with certainty in translation as to what it is talking about and b) without committing a logical fallacy in the attempt to draw such a conclusion.

  2. How does this website offer ‘support and encouragement’ to gay Christians? A quick browse of the website and I see in bold letters: ‘Homosexuality is a sign of God’s judgment’, ‘Homosexual desire is unnatural.’ and a completely one-sided exposition (with only a patronising nod to other, liberal interpretations) of various Bible texts discussing homosexuality, all rounded off with the statement, ‘The plain interpretation of these passages is the right one’ – well alright then. That’s me told.

    As someone who has come out in church and refused to bow to conservative opinions, this website would support nobody. It will only fuel the guilt that so many gay Christians feel about their natural feelings and reinforce that they cannot embrace these feelings and must live a half-life, never experiencing a close relationship due to the fear that God won’t like it.

    I agree with the commenter above.

    1. The message of Jesus is love, but also leave your life of sin. The problem is we don’t like to be told that our actions are sinful.

      I would rather let Jesus define what is sin and not me or you, then live within a community where his love and grace is expressed to help me leave my life of sin….is that denial of who I am? No of course it isnt.

    2. Sebastian Pinder 1 Dec 2013, 1:47am

      Most of the Christians I know that are gay remain celibate. To stay in line with the faith.

  3. Your title is wrong

    It should say “Website Launched to Encourage More Homophobic Bullying of Gay People by the Church”

    This site is disgustingly homophobic, it shames and demeans us

    1. Here comes the panic…listen and read properly, no hate language just a clear statement in the belief that any sex outside of marriage is wrong. Is it also “living together” or “swinging” phobic as well? No, of course not.

      Actually, promotes love towards those who same sex attracted. That is not homophobic !!!

    2. Please, what is homophobic? there is no hate talk…actually a lot of love, however a clear statement that the bible (and many other religious texts) says that any sex outside of marriage of 1 man and 1 woman is wrong. That is not hatred, it is stating doctrine but making it clear that love is to be given to one and all.

      1. Guglielmo Marinaro 30 Nov 2013, 10:05am

        “That is not hatred, it is stating doctrine…”

        It is stating hateful doctrine.

        1. according to the pc police….

          What is hateful about correcting someone you believe to be wrong in love? Nothing at all…

          1. And nothing wrong with us defedning ourselves from your attacks, and correcting you and telling you that you are wrong and are encouraging hate for those who do not abide by your doctrine.

            Nothing to do with pc police, just to do with love, something you clearly do not understand.

          2. Midnighter 30 Nov 2013, 1:06pm

            Ah the PC Police. No such thing as you know, but its a convenient meme to distract you from WHY religion isn’t being allowed to impose what it claims to be morality on non-believers in a democratic society.

            Your arrogance is to assume that you have any right or authority to correct another person. The self justification of claiming it is through love is disingenuous and deceitful.

            We’re not interest in the lies you are peddling; take them elsewhere please.

          3. @ martin. Get some help. If you are Gay then I pity your self-loathing. If you are straight then you are a troll. Go away.

          4. Guglielmo Marinaro 30 Nov 2013, 5:11pm

            People may sincerely believe a doctrine to be right, but that doesn’t make it right. It may, in fact, be quite wrong. To take an instance at random, some people sincerely believe that gay people are obliged either to force themselves into heterosexual lifestyles or, failing that, to remain perpetually celibate, whether they want to or not. But that doctrine is wrong, abusive and hateful. I repudiate it.

          5. Its amusing really…

            “People may in fact believe a doctrine…it may in fact be wrong” – exactly you may believe your doctrine but you are sadly wrong.

          6. Guglielmo Marinaro 1 Dec 2013, 5:41pm

            Well, Martin, I work on the principle that if a doctrine is vile and hateful (e.g. the doctrine that all gay sexual relationships are wrong), and tends to incite the playing of abusive games with other people’s lives (e.g. attempting to use religion to intimidate or manipulate gay people into unwanted celibacy), then it’s wrong.

          7. Midnighter 1 Dec 2013, 5:59pm

            @martin
            You are shifting the goalposts. It is is the religious doctrine which you have referenced which Guglielmo Marinaro and others here are rejecting.

            A rejection of doctrine is not itself a doctrine. A rejection of a claim is not in itself a claim. Basic logic.

  4. This site links to an “ex-lesbian”. Seriously Pink News, you’re shilling ex-gay therapists now?!

  5. This website is actually very unaffirming of LGBTQ Christians and promotes the heterosexist attitude that the only way to be a gay Christian is to be celibate. Just because the site is run by people who experience same-sex attraction does not mean it is affirming of LGBTQ people. I feel this article does not accurately represent the tone and contents of the site it is promoting, which is problematic.

  6. This is the worst kind of self-loathing poison. I feel sorry for Gay Christians. They are fools.

    1. I take your point – I also feel sorry for the people speaking on that website.

      But ‘fools’? Because all Christians are fools? Or specifically because they’re gay and Christian?

      Because I’m a gay Christian, and I might be a fool in many ways – but my sexuality and religion are not, as far as I’m concerned, in my list of ‘foolish’ faults. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being gay, I’d happily marry and have sex, and from my place within the church (training for Ordination) I feel an organisation surely, if excruciatingly slowly, moving in the right direction.

      1. @Private. To be Gay and to affiliate yourself to an institution that treats you with contempt (yes, it does) is foolish. Faith is part brain-washing, part addiction.

        1. Sebastian Pinder 1 Dec 2013, 1:54am

          The Church does not treat gay members with contempt and faith is not brain-washing or addiction. You are free to become a member of the Church and free to leave at any time. You also choose what to believe by your personal faith and conscience.

        2. Certain members of the religion treat me with contempt, and the current guidelines (which I believe will change sooner rather than later) do as well.

          But neither the majority of the church, nor the wider message of Christianity, treat homosexuality with contempt. The Bible is much more clearly anti-feminism, and we’ve (almost…) got past that at last. The same will happen with gay rights – it’s just a tragedy the church is so slow and hence appears so out of touch.

    2. PantoHorse 30 Nov 2013, 1:38pm

      That was my first thought too, those poor bastards.

  7. I will never judge any gay person who genuinely, honestly, soul-searchingly feels called by their God to remain celibate.

    The problem is that too many gay people-of-faith (like myself for too many years) hide behind their religion as an excuse to not confront their genuine feelings and attractions. Spiritual organisations should be a place for people to find themselves rather to live out a lie.

  8. It is a pity that the Living Out website takes the narrow view that people who experience same-sex attraction are required to live a life of celibacy. I don’t think that many gay people will accept this.

    Celibacy is also unnecessary. An alternative point of view, and also just as biblical, is revealed in the Gay and Christian website (http://www.gaysandslaves.com). This site helps gay men and lesbians who feel a conflict between their same-sex attraction and their Christian beliefs. It shows that a person can be both a Christian and a loving, sexually-active gay man or lesbian.

    1. Sebastian Pinder 1 Dec 2013, 2:00am

      This site not for educated Christians it is written with no theological knowledge.

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  10. Sue Westwood 30 Nov 2013, 9:55am

    This website is opposed to same-sex marriage and blessings, opposed to same-sex clergy, advocates same-sex celibacy, and encourages those with same-sex desires to allow themselves to be ‘transformed’ by orthodox Christian teachings. This is internalised homophobia with a spiritual spin and is not something to be celebrated.

  11. Robert in S. Kensington 30 Nov 2013, 12:37pm

    Delusional. is this a front for the church or even the ex-gay ministries? I assume that the church they refer to is the CoE? Of course it’s homophobic and will remain so as long as it mandates all gay clergy, all gay people remain celibate. Do they really believe gay clergy in relationships with other people of their own sex are celibate? Many catholic priests have proved the opposite.

    As for its opposition to equal marriage, well….religion has absolutely NOTHING to do with civil marriage. The website is an exercise in futility and going nowhere.

    1. Colin (Queenstown) 30 Nov 2013, 7:25pm

      As always beautifully put. well done again.
      Regards

  12. If God, when he created the whole univers and also the menkind, he includet all kinds of human beeing: heteros, homos, lesbien and also transsexuel men an whoman.
    The “one god religions, jewish, christian and moslem” use the “SIN” in the area for their own interests: Met the people under an eternal preshere. Freedam, they don’t like it for there members. Kind regards from Switzerland.

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