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What Today’s Vote Means for the Church

5/10

“‘Behold,’ says the Lord, ‘I am doing a new thing, can you not see it?’”
Isaiah 43:19

Today, Tuesday, May 10, marks the day now written in the Book of Life when it has become a certainty that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will allow ordination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender faithful Christians as elders, deacons and ministers in the church communities that wish for these candidates to become ordained.

With Twin Cities Presbytery passing Amendment 10A, the needed majority of our presbyteries (87 of the 173) from across the country have ratified the General Assembly recommendation to remove the barriers in the church rules to ordination.

Wow.  This is a step that has been decades in the making. As a long-time advocate for full inclusion in my church, the movement of the Holy Spirit in presbyteries across the country fills me with awe, gratitude, and humility.

In order to help those who may just be coming across this news here on TimeToEmbrace.com, I thought it wise to break down what this means for our church and how we can move forward together.

What this vote means for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Policies
On July 10, 2011, the revised requirements for ordination from Amendment 10A will go into effect.  This amendment restores historic language to the constitutional standards for ordination. Emphasis is on Scripture, the confessions of the church and the vows every candidate must take as they are ordained. And, it rightly places the responsibility for determining fitness for office on each presbytery for ministers or congregation for elders and deacons.

No community is forced to ordain a candidate. But those communities that recognize the gifts, faith, and call of a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender candidate are no longer barred from ordaining that candidate.

The section of the Book of Order – which is part of our church constitution – that deals with ordination will be revised to say:

Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (G-1.0000). The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G.14.0240; G-14.0450) shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003). Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.

What this vote means for the people of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
For decades, I have seen that the ban on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender ordination has divided and hurt the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). I have seen countless lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender faithful leave the church for other denominations, starving us of their gifts that we so need.

Today, I am filled with awe that the Holy Spirit has helped us see a way forward that will make the church stronger and more unified. With this vote, we allow communities that recognize the gifts of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender candidates to place them in positions of leadership. We also leave room for those who feel differently to do so and continue the conversation.

As Presbyterians, a cornerstone of our church life is that each community should decide. This vote allows just that.

Where the conversation will continue
This vote happened as a result of thousands of conversations over decades. And we have thousands of conversations to go.

We are all one in the Body of Christ. Through the many years leading to this moment, I have felt myself to be on the ‘losing’ side many times.  I expect that there may be those who feel that way today.  I am humbled by the shift of power among us if we see this only with the eyes of the world. But through the eyes of Christ and through our shared faith in Jesus Christ, we can envision together a better, stronger, and more unified Church and truly live as One.

In the coming days and weeks, you can find more thoughts and analysis of the passage of Amendment 10A here at TimeToEmbrace.com or by going to http://www.amendment10a.org/.


Video Response Link

Peace,

Reverend Janet Edwards


450 Responses
  • pennyjane hanson on May 10, 2011

    a quick whoohoo!

    i think awe is the word that best describes my feelings right now. at 8:07 this evening when twin cities came in…a new world, a whole new paradigm. no longer must any of us hang our heads and look at the ground when we are talking with perspective members of pcusa. now we don’t have to talk about some “qualified” membership.

    having to have had our adoption ratified might just make us stronger and more productive members in service to our beloved church.

    tonight i am just filled with love, with amazement at the love of our God, at His grace, His universal wisdom. while we are proud of what we have earned, it’s nothing compared to what we have been given.

    AIN’T GOD GRAND???

    much love and hope. pj

  • camille lawson on May 11, 2011

    This gives me hope that the world may be more just than I thought. Peace be with you, and keep doing spectacular thing!
    -CL

  • Kate Roberta Stevens on May 11, 2011

    Today’s vote means that the Presbyterian Church is getting closer to actually living the word of God. Jesus’ message was love, acceptance, and forgiveness and he welcomed all into the Kingdom of Heaven. In my childhood, I have to admit that religion provided the hope I needed to escape brutal torture at the hands of a mentally ill mother who believed she killed Jesus. However, after 45 years of searching, I’ve been able to transition from participation in a religion based on fear and shame to a personal relationship with God based on forgiveness for my mother and myself. I hope my journey could inspire others on their path towards peace. Please read my story in My Mother Killed Christ: But God Loves Me Anyway.

  • Ann Elizabeth Adams on May 11, 2011

    I’m excited about the decision and hope my UMC will soon follow suit.

  • Adam Walker Cleaveland on May 11, 2011

    Janet – thanks for your post! I shared some of my own thoughts here:

    http://pomomusings.com/2011/05/11/presbyterians-to-ordain-gays-lesbians/

  • E.Marshall Buckles on May 12, 2011

    I believe that this is NOT a new thing that God is doing. I believe that it is simply old heresy and sin. Sadly, I have just left the Presbyterian Church USA. I just cannot support it. May God have mercy on the Presbyerian Church.

  • Janet Edwards on May 12, 2011

    Dear pj,

    God is indeed grand!

    I agree with you completely that this will make us a stronger, more unified church as we all get to know one another as beloved children of God.

    We move into s future crafted already by God’s loving hand.

    Peace and joy, Janet

  • Janet Edwards on May 12, 2011

    Dear CL,

    Thank you so much for sharing your hope with us!

    I love Cornell West’s characterization of justice: Justice is God’s love in action.

    With this revision in the PCUSA we are bringing harmony to our words that God’s loves us all and our deeds, in this case how we choose leaders in our church.

    This reform is something to be hopeful about!

    I hope you share your thoughts and feelings another time.

    Peace and joy, Janet

  • Janet Edwards on May 12, 2011

    Dear Kate Roberts Stevens,

    Yes, in this world we are always only approaching the peaceful heavenly banquet Christ promises to us. A moment like this, where we get a taste of God’s grace, is sweet and precious!

    Thank you for offering the story of your journey to God’s peace, love and joy to us.

    I hope you are inspired to speak here another time as well.

    Peace and joy, Janet

  • Janet Edwards on May 12, 2011

    Dear Ann Elizabeth Adams,

    What a gift to us that you share our joy upon passage of 10A from your Methodist perch in the body of Christ! Thanks!

    And whatever we can do to assist in your work in the United Methodist Church–just call upon us! I understand the challenge presented to you as your denomination is the American part of the international Methodist fellowship.

    In this way, you are uniquely placed to give a witness to God’s wide embrace of all including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. News from around the world like that of this week where Uganda may be actually debating their deadly proposed law against LGBT people shows clearly how crucial your witness is within your church and around the world.

    Stay strong! When you need us, just call.

    Peace and joy, Janet

  • Janet Edwards on May 12, 2011

    Dear Adam Walker Cleaveland,

    What a joy to share this moment with you!!

    It was great to read your thoughts on what you call the “trajectory” of the PCUSA.

    You helped me see, in a way I had not before,that it fits for us to say that presbyteries “flipped” when they moved from a No vote in the past to a Yes vote this year. I realized for the first time that this meant that thousands, literally, of Presbyterian ministers and elders–the commissioners to those presbyteries–had also flipped in their minds and hearts.

    Suddenly I see this “flipping” as an exuberant and free action in response to God’s all embracing love. Thanks for planting that inspiring image in my mind.

    Peace and joy, Janet

  • Janet Edwards on May 12, 2011

    Dear E. Marshall Buckles,

    I am very grateful for your honest response to the passing of 10A in the PCUSA. I want to ask you two questions in sincere humility with a prayer that you will be gracious enough to answer.

    First, what specifically is going to change now for you in your experience as a Presbyterian?

    Second, when you read the actual wording of G-6.0106 a and b, the ordination standards for the PCUSA, what exactly is heretical and sinful?

    I do not want to presume anything about how you are seeing this moment in our church. I want to hear from you what yo have to say.

    I know you will give sharing your answers here prayerful consideration. I hope I hear from you again.

    Peace be with you, Janet

  • pennyjane hanson on May 12, 2011

    hi marshall. it is indeed terribly sad that you find yourself in such a place as to have to leave your church…sad for you and sad for those of us who remain. thank you for your parting blessing and may His grace and peace go with you.

    i know first hand how sad leaving ones church family can be. although i didn’t leave by choice, i was kicked out of my family on the day of my transition, it is still much the same. lonliness and eventually desperation foced me into seeking a new family. pcusa adopted me, took me in off the street and offered me love and nurture at a time when i was on the edge. i hope you find such a loving and accepting family as well.

    st paul told us once that “it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” he felt that although he thought the best life was as he lived his, in chastity, that if passion became an obstacle between a person and their relationship with God, plan “b” would be to satisfy that passion and get on with the serious business of giving glory to God and Jesus Christ.

    i guess this is where you find yourself right now…your passion against the ordination of lgbt people is an obstacle to your service to His glory in pcusa. taking st paul’s words to heart, perhaps it is better to serve that passion, find a new church family and get on with the business of service to His glory.

    “you will know them by their works,” we are told…even if many of us disagree fundamentally with your assessment of us being the embodiment of sin and heresy, may the rest of your wonderful works in His name bring glory to Him, and may He find the mercy to not judge you as you have judged us.

    go, then, with all our love and HOPE. pj

  • Bob on May 13, 2011

    Wherer does any protestant faith (let alone the Presbyterian) get the authority from to interpret scripture correctly? How do you know that you are interpreting such an important moral issue (sodomy) correctly? 2000 years of Christian tradition and teaching says that sodomy is a grave and immoral sin. Where do you get the authority to say now that it is not? Just because you want it to be to justify a lifestyle? Or are you just changing the teaching of Christ to fit what you want in life, when maybe you should be changing your life to fit what Christ wants. What’s next……murderer’s saying “thou shalt not kill” is just a suggestion and it’s OK to kill? Sorry…..sodomy is still a grave sin, whether you’ve decided it’s not just because you want it to be.

  • Bill on May 13, 2011

    So sad that scripture is being ignored for the sake of people “feeling good”.

  • Janet Edwards on May 13, 2011

    Dear Bob and Bill,

    Thank you for reaching out to me with your heartfelt questions. My sense is that you genuinely can not see where I am coming from as a follower of Jesus and sincerely want to understand me.

    I see two primary concerns expressed in your comments that I know are shared by many Christians including many Presbyterians. I will speak to them hoping that you will give my words your prayerful consideration and share with us your thoughts in turn.

    First,you both raise the question: where do I get the authority to interpret Scripture and how do I know that I am interpreting an important moral question correctly. I get the authority from being a child of God adopted through Christ with a relationship with God and a heart and mind inspired by the Holy Spirit–exactly the same as you.

    I don’t know that I am interpreting an important moral question correctly (nor do you). I do know that I desire to please God and that this desire pleases God. I know that I reflect upon Scripture every day, that I seek out the triune God in private and corporate prayer, that I watch for Christ in every person I meet.

    We, you and I, live by faith, not certainty, and one aspect of faith is not knowing whether our conclusions from Scripture are God’s will or not until the Judgment Day. And yet, God requires of us conclusions as we seek to live faithfully in this world.

    And my Christian faith teaches me this: If you and I are Christians (as I assume you are) then we disagree on our understanding of Scripture. There is not a difference of good and evil or right and wrong between us. There is disagreement. Therefore we need to talk to clarify the matter. In fact our disagreement may be God’s way of driving us together to talk.

    The second concern you both raise is one that many have, that is, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people just want “to feel good or justify a freely chosen lifestyle.” Neither of these are true of the LGBT Christians I know.

    There is much to be said about our disagreement concerning LGBT people. This is what I want to ask you: What gives you the power to tell another person what their motives are? When an LGBT Presbyterian says he or she knows that God knit them together in their mother’s womb and declared them good along with the rest of creation, what prompts you to disregard their sense of God’s love and acceptance of them?

    Correct me if I am wrong, but my expectation is that you will say Scripture tells me so. Scripture, however, is not as clear as you say. First, I know you see that these LGBT faithful are resting on Scripture in their understanding of themselves.

    Second, “sodomy,” for example, is not as certain as you suggest. Many serious students of Scripture find that the sin of Sodom was inhospitality or rape, not same gender love. So “sodomy” is, for reputable scholars, a violation of the rules for treating strangers. Can you consider this as a possibility?

    I hope you are kind enough to respond and thanks in advance for that.

    Peace, Janet

  • Jeff Walters on May 13, 2011

    Upon hearing this news I was,at first,emtoionally distressed then intellectually disgusted .Observing the decsent of our denomination into the cess pool of collective salvation and liberation theology is a life changing event.. Then, the great epiphany; I was raised to believe that miracles on earth are divine gifts from God. Now I see Presbyterians have divine power.Jesus turned water to wine. Presbyterians turn sin to service! praise Presbyterians!!Catch you later God.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 13, 2011

    lifestyle. i guess i’d have to describe my lifestyle as “christian”. that’s what i live for, to get closer and closer to Him. my days are filled with my church and my church family. our congregation is focused threefold: worship, study and service. these things are all consuming.

    ignore scripture? what a presumptious comment. far from ignoring it, i believe it….i believe it when Jesus told me that not one letter of scripture would be ignored, but that it was all fulfilled in HIM. He said in Him, not in me. i believe it when Jesus tells me that all who believe in Him will know the kingdom of heaven. i believe scripture when it tells me that i am constantly being renewed in order to come to a fuller understanding of my creator.

    i believe that scripture can’t just be read, i believe it must be discerned…and i know that can be most difficult, not just for me but for all people of faith. i am very suspicious of anyone who says they have it all figured out, that are prepared to pass judgment on others they do not understand. as Jesus said, it is all fulfilled in Him…not us. we have always and we will always discern scripture, and we will each do it based on our own gifts of intelligence and discernment. people who don’t read scripture as i do are not “ignoring” it, that’s just a terribly broad and presumptuous statement and, at least in my case, is so far from the truth as to not even be worthy of response. i have spent the last decade of my life doing very little else than trying to reconcile scripture, my own self and the Holy Spirit that resides in me. i will never ignore, not even one word, but i will gladly state that there is much i do not understand.

    i just don’t know what to make of God instructing joshua to kill everything in sight as he entered the land of promise. killing innocent children, even animals…burning the grain…i just don’t know what to make of it. i don’t ignore it, i just don’t understand. the bible is full of such things as this, so full of them that i will never profess to “get it”, to go so far as to pass judgment on those i don’t understand based on scripture. the Holy Spirit in me cautions…”be careful….you don’t know enough to be sure it’s not Jesus you’re talking with.”

    that part about plucking the log from your own eye before you fool with the splinter in the eye of another ressonates with me. “who am i,” asks st peter, “to presume another unworthy of service to God?”

    no…i don’t ignore scripture on behalf of my “lifestyle”, scripture is my lifestyle. when phillip and the eunuch were on the road and came across the water, the eunuch exclaimed, “look! there is water, why should i not be baptized?” phillip didn’t answer, “because you are a eunuch.” but rather baptised him. peter baptized cornelius and his whole gentile family, even dined with them…even though there wasn’t much more against the law that could get!

    “woe to you, you pharisees and teachers of the law…………..you strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” cried Jesus.

    ignore scriptue? not a chance…i just think there is way too much to it for me to presume to pass judgment on others.

    “take no God before my Father and love each other as i have loved you,” says Jesus, “and you will have obeyed THE WHOLE LAW.”

    there’s a lot to it, a whole lot more color than just black and white.

    the sins of sodom are spelled out in detail in more than one place in scripture….but never is what we have come to know as “sodomy” mentioned with those sins. it seems the primary sin was being mean to people you don’t know, about presuming the worst out of ignorance.

    i could go on and on for days. it’s a big bible and an even bigger God. i hope you will join me in an ongoing attempt at discernment, at understanding how to love our enemies as we love ourselves.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Janet Edwards on May 14, 2011

    Dear Jeff and pj,

    I am humbled by the way in which you are participating on this blog in the way I envisioned–real conversation between faithful Christians whose perspectives differ.

    Of course, there are places of agreement like, as you say, Jeff, miracles on earth are God’s doing. And God uses people as arms and legs to accomplish miracles most of the time. It is worth reflecting upon the possibility that this witness to the world made by the PCUSA this week is just such a miracle of God.

    Thank you, pj, for being such an articulate example of the LGBT Presbyterians I was highlighting to Bill and Bob. Now they can continue to get to know you here. I hope they ask you their questions about your faith in Christ and you are willing to answer them. Your generosity of spirit is inspiring to me.

    I am eager to see the conversation continue.

    Peace, Janet

  • pennyjane hanson on May 14, 2011

    hi janet. thank you for the kind words. i, too, hope that our accusers will respond in kind. i am curious to know how those who accuse me of “ignoring” scripture can reconcile some of the scripture and philosophy that you and i have cited. actually i think that both the ministry of Jesus, Himself as well as pure pauline doctrine is very much at the heart of what we are struggling with.

    dear donna. on my, what a beautiful, soft, sincere and gentle voice is yours. i think i understand where you are coming from in your move to ucc. and, as much as i wish i didn’t see your point, you know your gifts far better than i and it’s you who is to put them in practice. those gifts will be effective wherever they are so i confess a bit of envy that you are taking them to ucc…pcusa is in a place where those gifts of yours would make a big difference, in my humble opinion. i’m glad that you are still contributing here and i hope you will always be in conversation with us…you make us a better place.

    when the call of the Holy Spirit causes you to seek change, well…change you must. and i’m sure that His love and care will be with you always.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on May 15, 2011

    Janet
    I started to started to sit down and actually go through the Bible so I could quote verse for verse. But then as a Reverend you should already know this. Th Bble tells us that Homosexuality is an Abomination to the Lord, and is a sin..Several times infact. The Bible also tells us that those who oversee the church ( Bishops,Deacons,Elders,Pastors,Reverends,etc)are to be “above reproach” as well as other directives. A Pastor/teacher is to be an example for the congregation to follow, not a drunkard,not a womanizer,etc. In o0ther words a good godly person that pracitices the commnads of the Lord. Mnay youth will ghrow up under this person and so they must be “above reproach”. When Jesus found the woman Mary about to be stoned for adultry. He intervened on her behalf and told her he forgave her but that she was to go AND SIN NO MORE!
    It is clearly evident that sinners ( homosexuals as well as others) are to be loved by us. But they are not to teach our children thats it ok. And thats exactly what the ordaination of a practicing homosexual does. Jesus it made it clear we are to love everyone. But not turn our backs to thier sn. And by the way, scripture says they are not born homosexuals they are made that way because of sin. But I suspect no one here cares to hear the truth.
    Bill

  • pennyjane on May 15, 2011

    again bill, you’re being persumptuous! what makes you assume that any of us “don’t want to hear the truth.” that’s just the kind of condescending language that turns people away from the love of God…a sin Jesus tells us that will make us wish we’d had a millstone tied around our necks and tossed in the ocean.

    i’d like to hear you address some of the scripture that has been entered here. you judge my sin, and yet the ministry of Jesus admonishes repeatedly against such judgments. do you not see yourself as a sinner as well? isn’t judging the sin of others in direct defiance of the Lord Jesus’ Word?

    sure it is! but i’ll not judge you for it. if i were to take your attitude i should now pronounce you an unrepentant and ongoing sinner and thus unworthy of God’s love and presence.

    what makes you think that your sinful nature and actions are any less an abomination to God than are mine…that’s even if you descern same sex love as an abomination? are you not yourself a walking, talking abomination destined to forever fall short of the glory of God? why am i less than you?

    though Jesus never mentioned homosexuality Himself…not once in all the words written about His ministry is the subject even brought up…and yet He makes frequent admonitions against “judging others.” by your standards, i should now judge you…unworthy of God’s love and presence.

    can you accept this truth? let’s know each other by our works and leave the judgment to God. i’ll see you in heaven, and by His grace…there will be no animosity.

    much love and HOPE. pj

  • Janet Edwards on May 15, 2011

    Dear Bill,

    Thanks so much for adding your heartfelt convictions here for our reflection and response. I take your effort as an acknowledgement that now is a time for embrace in the PCUSA. Because some in our church see this differently, I deeply appreciate your desire to engage in this dialogue.

    With regard to leaders of the church living “above reproach,” you and I are in complete agreement. And the revision of G-6.0106b reflects this when it begins with the standard, “To submit joyfully to the the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life.” And we do well now to revive our commitment to G-6.0106a which says, “Their manner of life should be a demonstration of the Christian gospel in the church and the world.”

    Of course, God throws us back upon the Holy Spirit alone in order to define such terms as “above reproach,” “joyful submission,” and “manner of life.” I know it is the meaning of these words that challenges you and me as we seek to stay in fellowship in Christ.

    With regard to specific passages like Genesis 1-2,and 19, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1:24-27, Jude verse 7, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:3-13, I commend to you Jack Rogers, Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality and William Stacy Johnson, A Time to Embrace for a more extended consideration of these verses when lead to the conclusion that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people can live lives that are above reproach in the eyes of God.

    And they both also remind us that the whole of Scripture is directed to all of us, including LGBT people. One passage that is especially relevant to me is Matthew 7:15-20 ending, “Thus you will know them by their fruits.” And the fruits of the LGBT Presbyterians I know are exactly those listed by Paul in Galatians 5:22, “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.” These are what Scripture highlights as criteria for living a life above reproach. LGBT Christians qualify for membership and leadership just as much as anyone else by this criteria.

    I have reflected upon John 8:1-11 elsewhere on this site. You can search for my thoughts about it and read the comments. It would be great if you would join the dialogue there.

    I can grasp the difficulty you may have when I do not agree with what you see as “clearly evident.” I get this because I share that same frustration, to be honest. I think we please God when we accept that Scripture is not “clearly evident” to us all and therefore we must share our conclusions, trusting that the Holy Spirit will use our earnest words to show us God’s perspective which is different from anything you or I can foresee or imagine. Yet, it will give us both joy when it is revealed through our dialogue.

    Thanks for coming this far with my thoughts. I look forward to your response.

    Peace, Janet

  • Bill on May 15, 2011

    You are correct in that we are not to judge others, but your taking it out of context to suit your own wants,needs and desires. IMO. But the Bible also exhorts us to beware of evildoers and false prophets and to avoid those who practice all kinds of evil. How are we to discern who these people are if we do not make some kind of judgment about them?

  • Nancy Staab on May 15, 2011

    It’s a sad day for the Presbyterian Church. The lesbian/gay/bi/ whatever you call yourselves “won’ because you drove out all the people who disagreed with you and discouraged all new members who disagree with you. You are left with your gay supporters/leftists/and some die hard Presbyterians and of course the property and money. We can’t forget the property and money which the Presbyterian Church put above everything else. Born and raised a presbyterian, spent 43 years in the presbyterian church but left it over 16 years ago and so glad I call myself a Christian and so happy I no longer call myself a presbyterian.

  • Mike Joseph on May 15, 2011

    WOW…As I started to read the comment’s I was getting worried that noone was going to stand for what scripture says. I find it sad that the Presbyterian Chruch USA has twisted scripture to the point they have. Scripture is BLACK AND WHITE…. I pray for the presbyterian church that those that come in contact will find the errors in what they are bringing forth. Those that have made this decision could be responsbile for sending followers to hell. SIN and SIN and unless we repent we can not be present with the Lord. God be with you all and may your hearts seek the truth.

  • Nancy Staab on May 15, 2011

    and just for the record, I do not consider my own sins any less than those of lesbians/gays/by/etc. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” “None are righteous, no not one.” The difference is, I am ashamed of my sin and I am trying to change. I am not flaunting it or defending my sin or trying to say that it’s not sin.
    Would love to hear how all of this “works out for you” at the Great White Throne of Judgement, but, you probably have your own interpretation of that Scripture also.

  • pennyjane on May 15, 2011

    hi nancy. i’m sorry you are so angry and bitter. i was tempted with that two years ago when pcusa failed to pass ammendment 06b. but, with prayer and humility i was able to overcome it and remain in love with my church.

    no, there is no difference between us. i am often shamed by my sin and i most certainly try to mitigate it whenever possible. on that we surely agree.

    i have no doubt that it will work out fine for me on judgment day. Jesus promised me Himself…in black and white terms…that “all who believe in me will know the kingdom of heaven.”

    i’ll repeat a piece of scripture i quoted earier for you…”woe to you pharisees and teachers of the law, you hypocrits!…..you strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.”

    i admit it’s not so black and white to me. i have to discern, to study…to assume that i don’t just automatically understand every word of scripture just because i believe that Jesus Christ is my Savior and the risen Son of God.

    what do you think He meant when he said, “you strain out a gnat but swallow a camel”?

    much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on May 16, 2011

    Pennyjane

    Scriture does in several places tell us we are not to judge a mans relationship with God, but we are to judge a mans actions. “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24). ons.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 16, 2011

    good morning bill, and thank you so very much for this response. i think you have hit on precisely why so many in pcusa have chosen to remove the language from our book or order that does exactly that: judge another’s relationship with God.

    with this replacemnt language we return to our roots and to our tradition of avoiding that judgment, but rather judge a person by the lives they live and the fruits of their lives. we are no longer required to impose human views on the Call, but rather judge the human’s gifts and abilities to serve in the particular position.

    i’m getting the impression that many of the folks who have posted here of late are seeing this as some sort of “gay conspiracy.” it should be noted that the vast majority of us who are personally and negatively affected by the superimposed language prohibiting us from ordained service were not a part of the actual vote. only the ordained were permitted to vote at all.

    with those i have spoken with who voted for this change, i have found none who were specifically advocating gay/lesbian ordination, but rather doing just as you suggest, following scripture: removing a mistake we made back in ’74 that required us to judge a person’s relationship with God while we ignore their particular gifts of service. now we will go back to our roots and traditions, respecting that the Call belongs to God and God alone, we cannot judge that, now we judge only the fruits of the gift.

    this language imposes no view on anyone. if an individual congregant or presbytery holds an individual unworthy based on their life as they see it, then they are free to vote their conscience on the matter…each is now free to vote according to their own relationship with God as directed by the Holy Spirit that dwells in them.

    nothing in this language compels us to odain anyone, it just frees us from legalism and leaves us free to follow direction from the Holy Spirit as we feel it.

    doesn’t that sound awfully congruent with the ministry of Jesus?

    thank you again for you willingness to engage rather than just throw rocks. thank you for discerning together with love and mutual respect. i don’t know if you are a member of pcusa or not, but your curiosity and committment to truth, and to The Truth, would fit very well here, or well, at least in my particular congregation.

    may He bless you with much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on May 16, 2011

    PJ
    No I am not a member nor would I ever entertain the notion of belonging to the PCUSA. The BIble in my opinion is the inspired word of God and is perfect and true. In that book God makes it very plain how we are to view Homosexuality. Hate the sin but love the sinner. Gays are not “made” by God they are made that way because of sin. Its all there in black and white. It seems to me that those that twist Gods word are in fact evildoers and false phrophets that the Bible speaks of. But I’m done with this. In the words of our Lord ” Get the behind me Satan”.

  • Janet Edwards on May 17, 2011

    Dear Bill and pj,

    I appreciate the exchange you have been engaged in here with great honesty and sincerity all around.

    I trust, Bill, that pj has demonstrated that she, too, as I do, embraces the Bible as the inspired written word of God. At the same time, I embrace Jesus as the Living Word of God. And the Bible is clear that Jesus includes in leadership among His followers people who were judged as unclean abominations.

    All the women disciples were suspect as was Levi, the tax collector, for example. These are Biblical examples that set a pattern for inclusion of the outcast that is legitimately applied to those shunned today just as the Samaritan woman and the Ethiopian eunuch were back then. Certainly the treatment lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people receive too often–the bullying and discrimination–qualify them as outcasts.

    There is so much more that we need to share with one another. As Scripture’s word is not plain to me on how we are to view same gender love, I would very much appreciate your sharing with us what is so obvious to you. Then we can continue the conversation.

    I hope to see your response soon.

    Peace, Janet

  • Bill on May 17, 2011

    Janet
    I said I wouldnt but ok…
    So let me see if I understand you. According to your reasoning you would gladly send your two 8 year old kids,one boy and one girl ( pretend you do even if you dont) to church where the Pastor/Reverend,etc practiced beastiality,serial rapist,serial murderer,etc. ? Becasue it was ok with Jesus to include everyone in a leadership role? Please: Yes or No?

  • Russell Scott on May 18, 2011

    EXACTLY why I am going to leave this denomination and so have many others for SCRIPTURE says it’s an ABOMINATION UNTO THE LORD. It makes me SICK to think such a main line once Biblical denomination has fallen away ! But isn’t it in prophecy that many will fall away from the TRUTH! Praise God, the Lord is ready to return, so so close!

  • pennyjane hanson on May 18, 2011

    good morning russell.

    how is it, i just cannot understand…that you are so willing to judge others based on an absolute committment to scripture, while on the other hand you are perfectly willing to ignore other words of scripture.

    Jesus tells us that the second coming will be a surprise! yet, you who so willingly condemn human beings based on scripture, find this piece of scripture irrelvant. you predict with the same confidence that Christ has told you not to predict from one side of your mouth while condemning others based on the same scripture from the other.

    is scripture wrong in your particular case? will the second coming be a surprise to all others, but not to you? is it really just not so black and white?

    i ask you, why does this SCRIPTURE bear no meaning for you:

    luke 6:37 “judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemmed: forgive and ye shall be forgiven.”

    picking and choosing which scripture we shall follow and which we won’t is endemic. i see that not only in others but in myself. scripture is NOT black and white for those who discern, who profess a lack of understanding, for those who would rather love (hope for the best for others) than to condemn of ourselves and our own lack of understanding of scripture.

    anybody can read the words and parrot them back, it takes a desire to understand to make those words sacred.

    what God is it you worhsip, what kind of love is it that makes you so anxious for the Lord to return and “catch” us sinners? if you followed scripture, such as loving your enemies as you love yourself, wouldn’t you dread the second coming before all are saved? why are you “praising God” that the end is near when there are yet so many souls to be saved? i cannot reconcile that with any form of love i’ve yet to come into contact with….and clearly nothing like the kind of love i have for my wife!

    were the Lord to come tomorrow, i would not rejoice over those lost, but i would grieve, i would be heartbroken that i had not done more, that i hadn’t shared the kind of love that might have saved them.

    i hope this poor and human post will spark the Holy Spirit in you, that it might bring attention to the great commandment of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who told us of this great commandment…”love each other as I have loved you.”

    “do these things,” says Jesus in scripture, “take no God before My Father, and love each other as I have loved you, and you will have obeyed the WHOLE LAW.”

    which do you think best expresses this kind of love….rejoicing that the time is near so those lost souls will get their just reward, or praying…in the manner of abraham in his discourse with God at the plight of sodom and gamorrah, that He wait, that he not judge yet but let us gather every possible soul before He pronounces judgment? i pray for this in your case, that He wait! wait until you have reconciled yourself with the WHOLE LAW.” it is my faith that gives me HOPE, hope that by His amazing grace and mercy He will do so.

    love, as i see it, has no condemning qualities, no desire for judgment, but rather hope and even expectation of salvation for every individual on earth. salvation not just in the afterlife, but salvation today, salvation right here on earth.

    may He bless you with much LOVE and HOPE. pj

  • Bill on May 18, 2011

    Pennyjane

    Luke 6:37 is referring to not judging others relationship to God. We are allowed and even told to judge others sin. Thats why we are to go to a Christian brother or sister and tell them when they are sinning so they may be brought back to rightousness with the Lord.

  • Bill on May 18, 2011

    We are also told in scripture to look forward to the day of Christs return…Russell is right.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 18, 2011

    good morning bill, i’m glad you have changed your mind about just picking up your marbles and going home, but instead engage. according to the revelation you have received from the passage i quoted, how do you reconcile your persistance in judging my relationship with God? your posts, perhaps you have yet to precieve, are full of not only judgment but sin.

    i, too, have to disagree with your final assessment of the scripture. as i read the bible, being a sinner myself i am necessarily a poor judge of sin. i am to relate to other christians, gently and with love, my perception of their sin, but the judgment lies with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. i have related many admonitions from scripture teaching us against judging the sin of others, please point out to me specifically where these admonitions are contrdicted.

    from the viscious and self righteous nature of many of your previous posts, i get a clear perception that not only are you judging my sin, but you are pronouncing condemnation as well. you presume that either you are not a sinner, and thus better than me, or that my sin is greater than yours. i reject that line of thinking and i do so from my understanding of scripture.

    humble yourself. allow that you are not necessarily all knowing, allow that there are other perceptions than your own and that you have no hold on righteousness above that which the Lord has, by His grace, afforded you, which may be more or less than my own.

    my best friend in the world is a catholic priest, and most of my friends away from my own church are pentecostal. i love these people and i have great hope for them, not because i agree with their dogma, but because i have learned to humble myself before the Lord, to be very happy that He has reserved judgment for Himself, this allowing me freedom to do His will according to my human abilities….love unconditionally. though it is easily within the power of God, i am yet to meet the mere human being who can unconditionally love anyone who they have judged and condemned. it comes back to the point about serving two masters, love and condemnation…i, personally find those two irreconcilable.

    even if i were to condemn, it would mean nothing. my condemnation comes only from my own authority, not God’s. He is God, i (and you) are not.

    loving your neighbor as you love yourself necessarily compels you to respect them as you respect yourself. were i to dismiss you as just some ignorant know-it-all who is filled with hate and degradation, how could i love you at the same time….i hate these things? so if i saw you only as this, how could i love you? if you reduce me to being a homosexual and condemn me on that basis alone, ignoring all else about me…how can you say you love me? how can you respect anyone you have condemmed, yes, feel worthy of going to hell?

    i am but a weak and powerless mortal, i could not do that.

    i do look forward to the second coming. but i don’t rejoice in that the guilty will then be punished as does russell, and apparently yourself. i grieve for them. i take no pleasure in the pain of others, whoever they may be and whatever be their sins. i know that it is by grace and grace alone that i am saved….”but for the grace of God, there go i.”

    this, “oh boy” attitude of you and others who have posted so hatefully of late, “now we’re gonna get to see you get yours!” does not fit well with me or and i think i can speak with some authority, with pcusa.

    how can you say you love someone, that you have agape for them, and then delight in their sentence to hell?

    sometimes, as donna pointed out earlier, these conversations get pretty far afield. living in hate while professing love…i don’t get it.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on May 18, 2011

    I do not judge your relationship with God. I’m sorry if my persistence to scripture causes you to think that. We are supposed to correct each other when we see that a brother or sister is falling away. Thats what scripture says to do, sorry if that troubles you. I do not hate gays,just because I do not believe they should be leading a church and teaching children that its ok when scripture says it isnt. They like me should be in church learning the truth, and your brand of truth doesnt seem to fit waht scripture says.
    Point is, dont label me a hater of gays just because I’m following scripture and trying to get you to open your eyes and stop following those who would lead you astray. Now that thats out of the way. Would you mind answering the same question I posted to Janet about rapists,murders,zoophiliac’s ( sp)teaching your children in church?
    1 Corinthians 6:9-16, also if you dont mind, would you be so kind as to teach me what this really means?
    Thanks

  • Bill on May 18, 2011

    James 5:19-20 My dear brothers and sisters,if somone among you wanders away from the truth and is in brought back,you can be sure that whoever brings thew sinner back wll save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.
    2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word of God. Be prepared,whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct,rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

    You and I are allowed to judge each others sin in hope of correcting than person….

  • pennyjane on May 18, 2011

    dear bill. would you please show me where in scripture all those other admonitions against judging the sin of others is overuled?

    i did, once, address your vile and vulgar comparison of my love for my wife with rapists and murderers, but i struck it before i sent it. i find such an ignorant and intentionally violent reference beneath the dignity of a christian to respond to.

    i have come to see your scriptural references to be of word only, i find not the Sirit of the Lord in your posts, only self-righteousness and arrogance.

    let me remind you of the story of the praying pharisee and the tax collector. the pharisee prayed with thankgiving, “thank you, oh, God, for making me so clean in your Name, thank you for not making me like that tax collector over there!” the tax collector prayed this, “have mercy on me, oh Lord, for i am a wretched sinner not worthy of your attention.”

    which prayer did Jesus think would be pleasing to God?

    you are like the pharisee, grateful that you aren’t like us wretched sinners. pleased with yourself that you have been made right, as if it were your own doing!

    i feel more like the tax collector, i know i am a wretched sinner and i cannot, of myself, be saved…i cannot anymore save myself than you can save me….or even your own self.

    stop trying to be Jesus and see if you can make yourself somewhat Jesus-like.

    much love and HOPE. pj

  • Bill on May 18, 2011

    and with that….I’m done.

  • pennyjane on May 18, 2011

    for the life of me, bill….i see nothing in the scripture you cited that says anything about “judging” sin.

    beleive me, i recognize sin in every person i have ever met, including myself…but you have stated an obligation to “judge” my sin. again, show me where that is said.

    i see very little patience and a distinct lack of love or encougagement in any of your posts to date….just judgment…plain and simple. you judge, you “rate” sin, you declare which sin fits where…what sin disqualifies who for what…not just seeing sin and pointing it out…but “judging” sin.

    again, i see you like a pharisee, all wrapped up in your own self-righteousness and, frankly, glad that you are not like me…a wretched sinner, not worthy of God’s love and compassion.

    you judge that MY sin, as you see it, homosexuality, is worse than your sin…pick one, there are surely many. why does my sin (as you see it) disallow for ordained service, while your sins…which are many, do not disallow you?

    can’t you see that it is sin you are judging? you aren’t just patiently encouraging, you are just plain flat out “judging.” you are speaking for God, you interpret scripture according to your own limitations, and then profess the outcome of your interpretation as the Word of God, Himself.

    arrogance and self-righteousness. you have not come close yet to figuring out how to love each other as He has loved us, but i wish you blessings in the future.

    i’ll see you in heaven, and it’ll be a joyful reunion, for it will be minus the malice. it will be as paul says…there will be no difference in any of us…for Christ is all, Christ is in all.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Janet Edwards on May 18, 2011

    Dear pj and Bill,

    While I have been away celebrating my younger son’s college graduation, you have been having a lively and passionate exchange. You have given us some good clues to how we need to treat one another as we move into the new world we are entering in the PCUSA.

    Your dialogue reminded me of a saying that I try to keep in mind when I converse with those who disagree with me in the church: When I point my finger at others, three fingers point back at me. I think this is our present day way to make the comparison Jesus was making when he spoke of logs and specks. What I hope in this post-10A time of doing something new is that we can all step back in humility, take a deep breath, start from our agreements and step by step see where the Holy Spirit leads us.

    You have also reminded me of something I learned from being a parent–use I statements. “I feel,” “I think,” “What I see is,” I conclude,” or “I want.” This takes responsibility for our way of seeing others and the world. I hope we do that in the church as we move forward now. It is a serious spiritual discipline, I have found. Perhaps you have had the same experience with the value of “I statements.”

    There is much, much more that needs to be said so Bill, I hope you are not done sharing of your self here. I see clearly that Scripture is central to you but thirty years of quoting verses at one another has taught us that it does not work very well when we just shoot Bible verses at one another. Perhaps we can covenant to respond first to a passage offered by the other in the dialogue before adding an additional quotation from Scripture.

    And, pj, I am always touched by you closing, “much love and hope,” because I know it is sincere. When we each center ourselves in these spiritual gifts, I know our exchange will be pleasing to God and the Holy Spirit will bless us with new insight and communion.

    I hope you each find you way to continue contributing your thoughts on Timetoembrace.

    Peace, Janet

  • Bill on May 18, 2011

    Janet, you are of course right in my need to approach the subject in a different manner. That is one of my sins, and I aknowledge it and appologize for it. Both to you and PJ. I will speak to the Lord about it later. However it just doesnt change what scripture says, even if you dont want us throwing it around. (?)
    So, are we allowed to correct each other for the sake of bringing that person back to God?

  • Caryn on May 18, 2011

    We left the Episcopal Church when they decided to ignore the Bible and pretend that sins were not sins. If the UMC follows we will have to find yet another church. Christians need to stop following pop culture and remember what God did to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Sin is sin. We are all sinners and can be forgiven. However, forgiveness only comes from repentence and that requires the sinner to recognize the sin.

  • Caryn on May 18, 2011

    The Bible calls us to judge what is right and to seperate ourselves from sin. Praying that you are right doesn’t make you right. Heresy is believing that you know more than God. What is next. Maybe, adultery is not really a sin, after all it feels right. Maybe, stealing is not a sin, after all the person who stole needed or wanted what they took. Maybe child molestation is not a sin as long as the adult is kind to the child. Maybe, you are wrong. Those of us who stand up and say NO are not hateful we are prayerful and we are answering God’s direction to stand in the face of evil and do His will.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 18, 2011

    dear bill.

    here’s the deal, i don’t need corrected, by my interpretation of scripture loving my wife is no sin. it seems that rather than trying to understand why i feel this way, you are absorbed with “correcting” me.

    you cannot correct me. i think that where we part company is right there. i feel differently than you, but i am not so self righteous as to “correct” you. i will share my beliefs, but i will not impose them on you.

    you, on the other hand, are so sure of yourself that you are willing to impose your views on me. you are judging my relationship with God when you say i am not fit for ordained service. who makes the Call?

    have you even read ammendment 10a? do you know the language that was replaced in 06b? the new language specifically allows us to not make such judgments. it allows for each person to vote their own conscience. that would be you and me, if you were a member of pcusa.

    if you were a voting member of pcusa and you felt as you do, you would be perfectly right to vote as you see fit, with no restrictions on you.

    i have studied the “clobber passages”, those parts of scripture that seem to comdemn homosexuality until i’m blue in the face. i wish you would look at them with an open mind…if you did you’d find that at best, any of them are problematic…not nearly so black and white as you suggest. there are many, many heterosexual people who see scripture in the same light as i do…why should you have a right to impose your interpretation on any other Holy Spirit filled christian? share your views as you see them, but imposing them will get you nowhere. badmouthing homosexuals will not bring one to the table of the Lord, all that accomplishes is alienation.

    as i have said before, you can take just about any position on just about any subject and find scripture that seems to support it. the trick is to disagree on it and yet not use it to condemn another believer. the bible is not a weapon of mass destruction, it is a guide to christian living. and good, decent christian people can differ in their perceptions, one doesn’t have to be good and the other evil, Christ is in all of us.

    please don’t judge me unworthy of whatever call God might have for me. it’s His call. judge me based on the fruits of the Spirit, just as i judge others. that is what pcusa has declared with this recent vote, and i am thrilled that we have so said.

    God bless you with much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on May 18, 2011

    Pennyjane, Would you please explain to me 2 Timothy 4:2?
    1 Corinthians 6: 9-16?
    I obviously dont understand it and if so I would love to be corrected.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 18, 2011

    can the sarcasm bill, it’s most unbecoming a christian man. you may think this is all very cutsey so being a smart alec is appropriate.

    i do not. the Word of God is very serious stuff to me.

    and as of now, until you develop an attitude conducive to learning, i choose to end my frustrtations with you.

    perhaps janet will continue this, but your sarcasm is not anything i care to address any further.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on May 18, 2011

    Hi,

    The many issues raised here have been with me for close to 25 years, and I know and understand both “sides” – the “conservative” and “liberal.”

    Sincerely, God knows I have other things I should be doing, but I hope it’s okay to offer some comments and questions:

    – Ordination requirements require not only require comprehensive (course material) exams but very often a panel presentation/exam. Some denominations require background clearances and psychological testing. Beyond that, however, I would suggest that GLBT pastoral candidates have, as their foundational calling, to preach the Gospel, to serve Christ. The amendment holds all candidates to one standard, and presbyteries where the myth of GLBT “recruiting” (and other such myths) is seen for what it is (a myth) will likely approve GLBT candidates for ordination, while other presbyteries will not. A first step in understanding GLBT culture is to become educated about long-held stereotypes and myths that are used to propagate prejudices. Even if one doesn’t agree with the idea of a spectrum of sexual orientations, it’s important to separate fact from fiction.

    – I am, too, still learning as yet the full meaning of scripture, which I understand to be an endless process because the Holy Spirit continually brings to us new insights about the text. However, I have one question and one observation about why the Bible is used to condemn GLBT people.

    Observation: While I agree that the Bible is inspired by God and is Holy, my practice is always to go to what Jesus said and did (in context, of course). All I have found that comes close to the consideration of homosexuality is when Jesus offers a word or two about eunuchs (who were predominantly gay) in Matthew 19. Verse 12 ends with: “He who is able to accept this [teaching], let him accept it.”

    Question: How can we apply the one remaining portion of Leviticus (the “abomination” scriptures), when we have let go of scriptures that prohibit us from eating shelfish, or clothing restrictions, field plowing regulations, or those that have been interpretted to support slavery – ancient cultural practices that do not endure in Christian circles? That is to say, have we become “enlightened” in all ways but one?

    – Knowing that we are all sinners saved by grace, the point is not whether we are right or wrong, winners or losers, but how we can continue to love each other anyway and continue on togethe with the mission of being witnesses for Christ. That is the great commission.

    I am sorry to go from the PC(USA) but the debate and conflict are too much for me. The way we clobber each other, even here on this site, would make a non-Christian wonder, I’m sure. However, I am even sorrier that long-time Presbyterians would choose to leave a church they love over these “issues.” How your presence must be missed.

    Donna

    PS Sometimes I think we become so passionate about these things, and rightly so, that words without a voice or intonation can be misconstrued to have meaning that was not intended. I wouldn’t let that end the conversation…Please let me know if anything I’ve said here needs to be clarified.

  • Bill on May 19, 2011

    Pennyjane said”and as of now, until you develop an attitude conducive to learning, i choose to end my frustrtations with you” I did ask a question that keeps me from agreeing with you or the pcusa.So, I thought about it and decided to come with the attitude that maybe I really dont understand. Those two verses are the biggest reasons I believe Gays shouldnt be ministers/teachers. I did come with an attitude of learning…..so, I’m listening.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 19, 2011

    dear donna.

    oh my! your words most certainly have a voice. and a very christian voice at that. gentle, loving, patient and sincere: a voice so easy to hear the Lord in that even hard-headed, stubborn people like me can’t miss. i am instructed by each and every post you make.

    and thank you for so concisely bringing the conversation back on point. 10a is not about homosexuality at all, it’s about responding to God’s Call with the Holy Spirit. it’s precisely about doing away with these mindless scriptural rock throwing contests that i have (regretfully) allowed myself to get sucked into here. all that really does is lead us into demonsrating our pride and self-righteousness to each other and to the world….as you say, “what must non-christians think of all this?”

    i remember a lenten study we did several years ago. a question like, “what in scripture validates this sentiment.” i forget the sentiment, but i remember just randomly opening my bible and reading a random verse…which validated perfectly the sentiment in question. we can, and do, read scripture to validate our own sentiments all the time. that’s a trap, a devilish trap intended to divorce us from the Word and the Spirit and leave us to our own worldly devices.

    i thank you for bringing this to my attention and for instructing me. as a scriptural novice i should be very careful about instructing others on scripture, but rather confess that so very much of it is still far beyond my understanding, but do as you suggest, allow the Lord to continue to grow me, to remain open to new insight. once one thinks they have got it down, they are done. i’m reminded of my very early days of learning scripture, days when everything was fresh and new, virtually every word was a joy and an insight…the days before i came to “know it all.” i’m going to pick up my bible and start there again!

    thank you for remaining in the fray here, your demonstration of the Spirit is helpful beyond words. the ucc is truly blessed…but thank you for allowing Him to continue to bless us as well.

    much love and hope. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on May 19, 2011

    dear bill.

    as a novice in scripture i choose not to instruct you in scripture. i would just refer you back to the far more learned sources that janet provided for you in an earlier post. i would add to that a book written by reverend jeff minor called, “the children are free.” in this study, he reflects in great (scriptural) detail on all six of the “clobber passages”.

    i will share with you this: as a person who is homosexual and works with young, stuggling homosexuals and transkids, i am personally aquainted, perhaps again beyond my actual capacity, with the devastation heaped on them by the “church” and those with your attitude about us. i see kids every day who have become not just indifferent to christianity, but to hate us. as a christian i accept responsibility for that…for being a part of the voice that drives them away from the God and the Christ that i know, not a mean-spirited, narrow minded stalker, lurking in the corners trying to “catch” us sinning…but a loving, caring God who loves each and every one of us so much that He shed His own blood for us. He didn’t shed His blood for the righteous, for those who can adhere totally with the Law, they don’t need Him…but for the poor, the weak, those who cannot save themselves. the first of the listed beatitudes in matthew speaks of this: “happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the kingdom of heaven belongs to them!”

    what, then, do those of us who are spiritually rich have to offer these kids?

    bill…driving people away from God, however righteous and spiritually clean we might feel about ourselves is not christian. however you feel about homosexuality doesn’t give you the right to do that. if you are apposed to homosexuality and are willing to preach it’s evil to others, you should fully instruct yourself about it…what it is, what is it that these kids can do about it? when i tell you that there is no power on earth or in heaven that would change my love for my wife even just a little, what then should be your reaction? condemnation or acceptance that this is the fact of my life. contrary to the opinion of some, there is no such thing as “ex-gay”. attempting to change us has for all time been nothing but a miserable failure. evidence of this is clear to any open minded person on earth. some homosexuals have decided to remain chaste, as paul says is the best way of life for us all…yes, he said that! not to homosexuals, but to all unmarried people of the time…and according to your understanding of scripture…for all time. but, he went on to say that if one cannot control their desires, then it is better to marry than to “burn with passion.” i think that if paul had known that not only was he not living in the last generation, but that the world would still be going on thousands of years from his time…he might not have said a lot of things that he said. for, if we took his words literally and all complied…we would be extinct as a species already.

    consider the context: paul didn’t know he was writing the bible; he believed he was writing specific encouragment to specific people who were struggling with specific issues in a specific culture and at a specific time. that’s not to take anything away from his words, but in order to instruct they require discernment, not just blind ahereance…there is context.

    what good does it do to beat people over the head with the bible? who learns from a beating? in your last post to me…the sarcasm i read was all about “correcting”. either you correct me or i correct you. perhaps there will come a time when you or i can correct one another, but we’re not there. we’re in the early stages of discerning together, we have yet to learn a single thing from the other…we have not developed a report anywhere near the point at which we can “correct.” to correct me i would have to hear far more than your personal interpretation of the bible, but i would need to hear the Spirit in you…i confess, i haven’t heard that from you. from you all i hear is your personal desire to trump me, to prove you’re more scripturally knowlegable than i am.

    to correct me, you have to do better. you have to not just tell me about how righteous you are, but show me. i would have to see in you a sincere desire for my well being, not just trying to convince me that YOU are right about this or that and i am wrong.

    i say these things because that’s what i hear from the kids i work with. i can tell you that i am ashamed to my core when i hear kids say, “you are a christian???? ewwwwwww….don’t you know christians hate you?”

    i have been described as something akin to a “jewish nazi”. if i could see no truth in that i could laugh it off…but, to my great dispair, there is truth! it was only after extended meetings with american evangelicals, such as rick warren…who you might remember delivered the benediction at president obama’s innaguration…that the ugandan christians began to explore their “kill the gays” legislation. legislation that would make being homosexual a crime punishable by death.

    do you think they’re going to far? is that “over the top” to you? ok, where do you draw the line? what should happen to unrepentant obominations? there’s a rationale there…if we are abominations before the Lord, there is plenty of scriptural support for just killing us, stamping us out in order to make the world a cleaner, more righteous place for non-homosexuals to live in…remove a “temptation”.

    christian gay, or jewish nazi, what’s the difference?

    whether you accept responsibility for this or not, i do. these children are my responsibility! they are children of my God. my sitting around being all pious and self-righteous, beating them up with scripture is, in my opinion, the exact wrong way to go about bringing them to the table of the Lord. however one personally feels about homosexuality, however one precieves scripture, that methodology has proven itself over and over again to be a miserable failure. it’s gone so far afield as to have christians make up their own denominations just in order to enter God’s house to hear His Word without being cursed. what kind of world is that?

    i do not profess to know your intentions, only what i hear in your words. i presume, as i do with all christians, that your intentions are pure…but i argue passionately against your methodology, i judge it by it’s fruits. what true homosexual have you ever brought to the Lord? how many do you think your words have driven from His presence? therin lie the fruits.

    learn that you are as spiritually poor as the next person and you will know the kingdom of God…not just in the afterlife, but right here on earth!

    “the road to hell,” it’s been said, “is paved with good intentions.”

    much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on May 19, 2011

    Pennyjane
    Thanks for that. We need to end this right now though. I believe the Bible to be true and correct even if I dont like to hear it. Thanks for the discourse but you and I will never agree…..I hope you have agreat day.

  • Frank on May 19, 2011

    Janet,
    as a former member of the PCUSA I probably have no right to weigh in here, but for what it’s worth I would like to encourage some reflection as to what this decision means to one who is now on the outside.

    Like many who have left the PCUSA I left, only very partially because I saw this decision coming. I knew it would be a reality someday as I think many others did. It would be a re-hash of what I’m sure you consider tired, old arguments that this decision (among others) is counter to scripture so I won’t go there. The kind of rationalizing taking place to claim that scripture actually supports this is frankly staggering. But I digress.

    I think the only thing that I would hope you might reflect on before you continue to engage in unrestrained celebration would be to think about those that have left and those who will leave.
    You said that this vote was a “movement of the Holy Spirit in presbyteries across the country.” Really? So what was it when for the decades previous to this vote when people time after time voted it down? Was that not the Holy Spirit speaking? Was that actually a case of conservatives in league with the devil? What if in the near future others bring this up for a vote again and it happens to go the other way? Will that be the Holy Spirit too? Only when the decision comes about which we happen to endorse does it become the Holy Spirit co-signing our desires. Let’s be honest. This was people voting. That’s it. Many people, who have socio-political agendas. People that have had a strangle-hold on the denomination for some time.

    You also said: “For decades, I have seen that the ban on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender ordination has divided and hurt the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). I have seen countless lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender faithful leave the church for other denominations, starving us of their gifts that we so need.”

    And what of the greater countless numbers of lifelong faithful individuals and even entire churches that have left the PCUSA because of this slide toward political activism, liberalism and their eventual ramifications. Where are the tears shed for them?
    I’ve heard some of the most graceless talk coming from so-called compassionate liberals. In my former church when the largest church in our presbytery had sought and was finally granted dismissal from the denomination, I heard elders on the session which I served openly claim that they hoped that “those people would just slide off the face of the earth.” I was new to the session at that time and I couldn’t believe what I heard. No one said a word of rebuke. Not even our very liberal pastor. I didn’t know the church that had left very well, nor it’s pastor, but I was so disgusted by what I heard that I emailed them just to say that I understood that it had to be a difficult, heart-wrenching decision for them to come to this point and leave the denomination that they had given so much to, just because I didn’t want the very last words they heard to be the ones of those people that I’d mentioned.
    I also read recently on Adam Walker-Clevelands blog that he hoped that all the churches that were contemplating their options and who were opposed to the change should just hurry up and get out and leave the rest of us the hell alone. There’s maturity. There’s grace for you. Get off of our playground, it’s ours after all.
    I often felt that it wasn’t so much that people and churches were fleeing the PCUSA because of what they were witnessing as much as there was a kind of purge going on. What better way to have a vote go your way? Is anyone really surprised that when the last remnants of traditional thought and theology have gone that this vote would go any other way?

    So reassure yourself if you like by telling yourself that this was the work and movement of the Spirit, but most fair-minded people know better.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 19, 2011

    bill. as donna said, if agreement were our goal, then the whole thing was pointless from the beginning.

    i wanted to get back to the point. what does passing 10a mean for OUR church.

    diclaimer: when i came to pcusa i wouldn’t have known a presbyterian from an anglican…and frankly, dogma was way down on my list of reasons why i wanted a church, i was simply desperate to get myself into a pew on sunday morning and worship God and my savior Jesus Christ. i had been kicked out of my former church about six months earlier, not for being transsexual, but for BEING transsexual. being transsexual wasn’t, it seemed, the real problem, but being open and honest about it was deemed “a distraction”.

    so first presbyterian church offered me a chance. i guess they felt confident enough of their own faith that any distraction i might present wasn’t enough of a threat as to compel them to bar the door to me.

    i respected that..and as i continued to come to services i learned more and more about them and the more i learned the more i respected them. i have no doubt that there were many among even this most loving congregation who were suspicious of me. the true beauty of this congregation was that the ambiance, the general attitude of the people, required all to look beyond my transsexualism and see the fruits of the spirit that lives in me. this first showing of spirit, for me, was just how much joy and pleasure these folks took in worship. everybody, it seemed, was just like me when it came to worship. loving and praising God seemed like a blessing that each person took great joy in. i felt right at home in worship.

    the next demonstration of faith, i found, was a deep and devoted committment to service. coincidentally, that is my second need when it comes to a church. i found a very well considered and efficient infrastructure dedicated to just that goal…service in the name of bringing glory to God.

    two very good fits down and two to go.

    the next very good fit was their dedication to learning. there were all levels of opportunities to learn there. beginning bible studies to specific looks at theology, from knox to bonhoefer. wherever one was in her journey, from milk to steak, resources were provided for her growth. from these studies i learned presbyterian dogma.

    it fit like a glove.

    next came process, and that’s where 10a reflects perfectly with my interpretation of presbyterian dogma. when our delegate to g.a. returned, a young woman i’d studied with since the beginning of my life here and who’d influenced me not just a little over those years, and told us about 10a, read for us the proposed language and reported on how the committee, she sat on same, arrived at the new language, i was faithfully confident at that minute that it would pass. it fit perfectly with the dogma as i had come to know it.

    i related this supreme confidence to the chair of our adult ed committee not long afterwards. she was shocked! she was suddenly very curious as to why i felt that way, what “inside” information i had. this is a woman who has been with pcusa for longer than i have been alive, a princeton seminary alumni, a scholar in theology…she was shocked!

    so much for my supreme confidence, but my hope and my faith remained.

    process: that’s all 10a is about. it is neither an indictment nor an endorsement of homosexuality. this language says not one word about homosexuality. the language is not new, it is a return to our tradition, a tradition that asks us to take a look at the whole person we are considering for ordained service. it asks us not to reduce a person of God to one sin as we precieve it, but to consider the whole person and their qualification for service. it instructs us to recognize that we are all sinners, there is no getting around it…from the highest of the ordained to the poorest in spirit…we are all sinners. it acknowleges that if we allow only the sinless to be ordained, then we should have no ordained at all.

    10a acknowleges this: reports it as fact. 10a applies the scripture that all of us fall short of the glory of God. it asks us to recognize that only God is the judge of sin, we are ALL but the sinners He will judge. if one sees another as a sinner, they are correct..we know that none of us will ever escape sin in this lifetime…no matter how pious, how righteous we become…we are still sinners and we will each continue to sin every day of our lives: it’s an irrefutable fact, we will each die sinners. whoever does not see this has no use for Jesus, as paul pointed out, they can save themselves. so, in assessing a Call, it goes without saying or specifying, we are considering a person who lives in sin. in the structure of pcusa worship, we, each and every week, and each and every one of us acknowlege that in our prayer of confession….”if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” we do this for our whole lives, as long as we attend service we confess that WE, each of us, lives in sin. i think….and back to scripture (sigh) that this brings into focus paul’s speech in colossians 3:10-11,

    “…this is the new being which God, it’s creator, IS CONSTANTLY RENEWING in His own image, in order to bring you to a full understanding of Himself. as a result, there is no longer any distinctions between gentiles and jews. circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarians, savages, slaves and free, but Christ is all, Christ is in all.”

    10a brings to life this scripture for me. and this scripture is repeated virtually word for word in other places.

    if one chooses to ignore this scripture in favor of another which seems to contradict it…they are free to do so.

    the beauty and wisdom of 10a, it acknowleges that none of us are the source of The Word, but we are all indivdual interpreters of It. it asks us to acknowlege in ourselves that we are not the final interpreter, but mere human beings struggling with each other to do the best we can. this, as i understand it, is the prime catalyst of the reformed church et al. it asks us to be humble. it asks us not to focus on the speck in the eye of another as if there were not a log in our own eye. it asks us not to strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. it asks us to zero in on the sanctuary that makes the gold sacred.

    what does 10a mean for our chruch? in my humble opinion, it will renew us again in His image and bring us to a fuller understanding of Himself.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Janet Edwards on May 19, 2011

    Dear Donna, Bill, Penny Jane and Frank,

    Wow–while I have been away celebrating my son’s graduation from college you all have written a passionate and articulate precis in dialogue form of the wrestling hold the church has been stuck in for 30+ years and from which 10A offers a way to let go.

    Maybe 10A will also help us give up seeing life in the PCUSA as a wrestling match all together. Please, may it be so.

    I am grateful to you all for speaking up here so honestly since being honest is the first indication of respect for the other we are speaking to. And, however many times we are tempted by frustration to walk away, that many times, in my understanding of God’s desire for us, we are to return to be together in Christ again. Thanks for you all doing that, no matter how difficult.

    I have two thoughts to share that I hope will further your reflection and writing.

    First, whether your comment is short or long, all of you express hurt–deep, real suffering. All of you; everyone of you. Can we acknowledge this? Can we see the pain in the other’s eyes? Does this offer us a place of common ground? How can we take that as grace and let Christ show to us what we do next?

    Second, I agree with Bill that the Bible is true and correct and I agree with pj that all any of us have is our interpretation of the written Word in this life. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is an excellent example of a verse that belies one solid unshakable meaning of Scripture.

    What does it take to convince us that God has arranged faith so that we only see through a glass darkly in this life? If the truth of the Bible were self-evident then we would not have huge libraries full of books finding different meanings.

    I confess I am desperate to recreate the PCUSA because the wrestling hold of the past season is strangling us to death. And your dialogue here gives me hope because you have kept at it despite the obvious (to me) hurt and temptation to give up. At the same time, your dialogue also convinces me again that the way we talk with one another has to have a different spirit, otherwise we will end up in the same dieing place.

    I know you all want to get to a new place. Penny Jane has suggested that 10A gives us the opportunity to start again. Can others see that, too?

    I look forward to your thoughts, all of you.

    Peace, Janet

  • pennyjane hanson on May 19, 2011

    yes, janet…there is so much hurt. and i do believe this struggle is getting the better of me.

    i wonder if some of the others can understand how difficult it can be to remain even civil to people who are describing my beautiful love for my wife as a perversion, an irredeemable sin? how can i not take that personally, how can i not be outraged?

    i wonder how many of them could sit and listen to such “hate” and remain civil. they don’t even know me or my wife…we are same sex and they are capable of reducing us to no more than that. i want to jump up and call that stupid, mindless bigotry…but that wouldn’t even be civil, much less christian.

    it is difficult, it is a very disturbing struggle and a deep, bleeding wound.

    it must be an easy life, not having to struggle with scripture. just seeing everything as black and white, no struggles, being so self assured all the time…so self assured as to pass judgment…no…pass condemnation.

    i confess…that kind of self assurance astonishes me. it is beyond my comprehension. i struggle with small things, having to be the judge of another human being would terrify me!

    and yet, here i am…sitting here listening and trying to reason with the unreasonable. trying….and failing often…to love my enemies as i love myself. i preceive people like jim and bill and frank as enemies…i don’t think it’s even a little paranoid of me to believe that these people would gladly drive me from the house of God and be happy to be done with me. i’ve seen it happen…i’ve had it happen to me!

    yes, there is hurt, and there is disgust, and there is a world of frustration! i want to tell myself, “be still pennyjane, you are better than that.” but, the truth is…i’m not. i am a weak mortal who does care what others think. i am touched by the words of others.

    eric, our late interem pastor preached a sermon not long before he left where he advised us…”curses and blessings have legs of their own. once they leave the mouth they can’t be withdrawn.”

    be careful who you condemn, it just might be Jesus! they saw him but they didn’t recognize Him.

    some people are willing to condemm and cast out all who don’t walk in lockstep with them….don’t they know that one of them is surely Jesus?

    there is only one valid point of view, and it is MINE!

    it’s sad, and i’m so sorry, but i can take no more of this. i am not strong and i am hurt.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on May 19, 2011

    I don’t know, Janet. I’ve seen small church disagreements over issues and denominational disagreements over issues, and regardless of scale, there are two sufferings: the suffering of Christ, because the focus is drawn away from Him, and the suffering of people. Everyone wants to be “right” and “win” but sometimes it seems that everyone loses, most of all God because His glory is diminished.

    At present I am remembering a minister at a church I attended, where each year on Holy Thursday, she knelt before each person in attendance and annointed their hands with oil to do the work of Christ. She was following the model of Jesus, God incarnate, who knelt at his disciples feet and washed them to teach them about true humility. Perhaps such a thing is easy to do for people someone knows and loves, but what about people who disagree with us? Can I offer up my will as Jesus did to be of service to someone else, give someone else what they need even when I know they hate me? Is it possible for both “sides” to pray together, in earnest, for the ability to serve one another, to take seriously that portion of the Lord’s prayer “They will be done” and refuse to let ourselves get in the way?

    Frank, I’m sorry to hear of your experience, and I hope you grasp my sincerity when I say that I grieve the moment any person decides to leave their church because it is a painful experience to do so. The amount of pain I’m sure is in direct proportion to the amount of love that existed, otherwise there’d be no pain at all.

    May God’s love abound –

    Donna

  • Donna on May 19, 2011

    Dear PJ,

    Give the hurt to Jesus and ask Him to help replace it with love. You have and will suffer these things, as we all have, but nothing we suffer can be more than what Jesus suffered. Be confident in God’s love for you, always.

    We are all on a journey with and to Christ, even intersecting here on this website, for God’s purposes alone.

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on May 19, 2011

    thank you, donna, for your kind words. i know it is Jesus who can, and will help me through this.

    i have to disagree with one thing though. i don’t believe any christian could utter such monstrosity as to compare my love for my wife with being a serial rapist or a serial murderer and have ever suffered anything like the kind of pain that kind of HATE talk brings to me…and even to dish it out with no more concern than he would have offering a bowl of cereal.

    no, nobody who knows that kind of suffering could be so vile. people so full of themselves that they KNOW they are righteous, are so positive that they know the mind of God that this affliction of pain is not just acceptable, but necessary!

    no, those people don’t know pain…they are above it…it’s all so simple for them.

    frankly, frank…i’m thrilled to have been left behind with the sinners, because it’s with them that i’ll find Jesus…not with the righteous, you all don’t need Him…you can save yourselves with your own blown up righteousness.

    the kids might just be right…if this is an example of the christian church today, then they do not serve the same God and Jesus that i do. self-righteousness, hatred and bigotry abound. the love, compassion gentleness and mercy that Jesus i know speaks of is not represented by any of the accusers here. throwing bible verses around like knives without any conception of what they actually mean. people who are convinced that God is on their side so they need make no effort to get on His side. they don’t need Jesus, they are already above Him. they have EARNED their salvation with their pious righteousness, His blood is superfluous!

    and he quotes to me, “get thee behind me satan” as if he, himself were Jesus!

    nope, such clean and righteous people as these don’t know suffering at all, they are oblivious. they bask in their certianty, foot loose and fancy free. they are glad to leave us sinners behind, pick up their good old plastic Jesus and go home.

    goodbye, i say, and may He come to bless you and me with love and hope.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 19, 2011

    i think you are very kind, perhaps a little too kind to frank, donna. he chose to leave the church of sinners to go be among those of equal righteousness to his own. he left of his own free will.

    my sympathy lies with those whose church kicks them out. my sympathy lies with 13 year old leah, who…along with her whole family, were kicked out of their church and school (catholic) when she transitioned. i praise God that there was a pcusa in their town that took them in to love and nurture.

    and with 17 year old kristi, whose baptist family considered her an abomination unworthy of a seat on one of their pure and righteous pews when she did the same. thank God there was a ucc nearby, or she would be out there floundering with no christian guidance at all.

    my sympathy is with aiden, who ran away when when locals threatened to “out” him to his baptist church. unfortunately when i contacted the pcusa church in his town, to my great shame, they offered no hope for him either. i’m trying to get aiden up here with me, so i can introduce him to a chruch where Jesus lives…but, he’s pretty snake bit right about now…he’s not at all sure he will fit in any church.

    my sympathy is with the thousands and thousands of victims of the kind of self-righteousness arrognace and bigotry we’ve seen here.

    frank? why pity him, he’s where he wants to be…among the righteous, no trannies or gays there to soil him with our existence. can you just imagine one so pious and righteous as frank washing my gay/trannie feet? he’s to busy praying, thanking God for making him so clean and righteous, not an abomination like me.

    the good news is, Jesus will wash my dirty feet. He would never consider kicking me out of my home. shock of shocks, frank, bill et all….He loves me and He will never abandon me! the whole christian church in the world can abandon me…but Christ never will…He’s calling me now.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Frank on May 19, 2011

    PJ
    Based on the tone and tenor of your comments it seems as though you may have gone completely tone deaf, and not, I’m sure, without good reason. But I want to take one and only one shot at helping you to understand a few things where you may, just may be wrong and should think again. It is possible you are wrong about some things isn’t it?
    First, yes I did choose to leave. It was something that for me was a titanic, gut-wrenching struggle. Was I unwilling to love others and fellowship with others with whom I disagreed? Did I harbor un-Christlike biases? Was I just plain wrong in my understanding of many things? I had to do a lot of serious introspection, which isn’t easy, but I think necessary. I had to take some hard stock of my theological assumptions. Theology is not tidy, because life is not tidy. Through much prayer and anguish I decided it was best to leave. You have no idea the lengths that some so-called compassionate, liberals will go to when they believe that THEIR cause is the righteous one. In my case I became a casualty. Someone to covertly undermine, because I believed them to be sincere when they asked for openness and honesty. At that time I was still trying to understand my own convictions and if they were even justified. I was in searching mode. But it seemed as though if people were willing to do what was done to me, they must want this thing awfully badly. Who was I to stand in their way? So contrary to your portrayal I did not cavalierly choose to wave good-bye to so many people that I had come to love so that I might look to find a group of people that were all of like mind. Like my mind. I actually thank God for all of the provocations and disagreements that I had with people, people I cared about and continue to do so, as it created in me a period of great spiritual growth. As far as leaving the sinners behind to find those of equal righteousness, there is no such place. There are none that are righteous, no not one. There are none who are good but God alone. If you have two people in a church you are going to have disagreement. But in my world disagreement does not necessitate resorting to the use of terms like, hatred, bigotry, self-righteous, or other names when referring to others and which you freely draw upon. You presume too much to believe that people in other churches, the ones you don’t particularly care for don’t struggle, with many, many things. Because my struggles are not your struggles does not make them any less difficult for either of us. Can you at least grant me that?
    Also, I didn’t ask for pity and I don’t believe Donna was offering any. But I do believe she offered sincere compassion and her effort at understanding, of which I sincerely appreciate.
    My sympathies are also with the people (and others like them) that you’d mentioned. It’s beyond comprehension to think that the doors of the church would be barred to anyone.
    But is it all possible to see through your particular hurt and believe that some people actually don’t disagree with you because they hate you, but because they love you. Disagreement does not have to mean judgment or consignment to hell. That’s absurd. Jesus loved the prostitute, all the while acknowledging that she in fact was sinning. I am the prostitute. You are the prostitute. I don’t change for Jesus in order to be loved by Him. But Jesus loves me through my sin, and his love and acceptance of me makes me want to change. Just as no one can tell me I must change so no one may tell you either. If you sincerely search your conscience and believe that all is well and good then I have no right to impose anything upon you. Those things are between you and God, just as they are for me.
    PJ, know that I do not stand in judgment of you, but also don’t try to silence me through name-calling. Your pain seems too fresh to just be ignored, but don’t be above loving critique and don’t take every critique as un-loving.
    I pray for healing of the hurt in your life, and in the life of the PCUSA and it’s members.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 19, 2011

    well, frank….pcusa thanks your for your prayers, but we’re doing just wonderful thank you, and we’re getting better.

    go back and read the posts of the last few days and see what i have been dealing with. and you just chimed right in. “this decision is counter to scripture,” you righteously declare with all certainty, as if it were a foregone conclusion. well, again, i’m happy for you that you have such a good handle on scripture that you can state categorically what’s right and what’s not. you didn’t say, i note, that this decision is counter to scripture “in my opinion”, you just stated your opinion as fact. very arrogant and self-righteous, in my opinion.

    if you would please read back to me the wording of ammendment 10a and show me where it is “counter to scripture”?

    wait a minute, i’ll just go ahead and post the wording for all to read.

    the infamous ammendment 10a:

    standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life. (G-1.000). the governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G14.0240; G14.0450) shall examine each condidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office. the examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W4.4003). governing bodies shall be governed by scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual condidates.

    this, frank…you state with all certainty, not as opinion but as fact, is “counter to scripture.”

    can you entertain the possibility that you might be wrong? you have your OPINIONS, those necessarily are differentiated from fact. you state your opinion as fact and ask me to respect is as fact…no, i can accept and discourse with your OPINION, but when you confuse that with fact…we’re on different pages.

    i can see why you were having problems with the “liberals” in your church. Jesus was a wild eyed liberal in His day, you know….an outright revolutionary! us “liberals” are cursed with imperfection. we’re left with opinions while you know the facts.

    what part of 10a that you saw coming “partially” led to your leaving pcusa?

    i’m guessing, so correct me if i’m wrong…my guess is that you think that since i am engaged in a thirty one year, very blessed and very loving marriage with a person of my same gender that i am automatically unqualified for ordained service. that no matter how i live my life, no matter what wonderful gifts the Lord has blessed me with, no matter anything else…my love and union, through Christ, with my wife renders me unworthy.

    is that “partially” what you saw coming that caused you to leave pcusa?

    others have stated that categorically, others who have come here lately. homosexuals are not worthy of ordained service.

    doors should be opened to all? it’s ok for homosexuals to sit in the pews…it’s ok for us to feed the coffers, it’s ok for us to sweep the floors and take out the trash…but teach? would you take communion from me, or would that be going too far? is ordination where you draw the line?

    maybe i should just shuck and jive, grin and maybe do a little tap dance now and then for your entertainment…would i be qualified for that?

    personally i think those who do bar the door are more honest and trustworthy than those who open the door only partially. hmmm…does that fly in the face of scripture too?

    scripture teaches me to “judge not, and i will not be judged, condemn not, and i will not be condemned.” does that scripture teach you anything?

    what is condemnation to you? one condemnation might be saying that i am not worthy of ordained service based on who i love. that’s a very clear condemnation to me. it condemns me forever to having no chance of fulfilling Christ’s Call to me. it condemns me to floor sweeping while those of equal or lesser gifts go on to leadership roles in the church. there is nothing what-so-ever wrong with sweeping floors, but God calls us to maximize the gifts He gives us…to use them to the fullest, to get every stitch of use out of ourselves in His service. my role models in pcusa sweep the floors AND serve on session. your “condemnation” flies in the face of that, it replaces His Call with your opinion. i’ll put my faith in His call over your opinion any day.

    it’s my opinion that 10a corrects that horrible mistake. good for us! and good for you wherever you have gone.

    much love and hope. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on May 20, 2011

    friends:

    after a night of sleepless reflection and prayer my passion is deminished. praise His Holy Name.

    i confess that releasing and verbalizing this passion was not just an expression of hurt, but was done with, perhaps misguided, intention: it was done as a human demonstration of just what eric said in the sermon i mentioned earlier: curses have legs of their own, when you curse someone it’s out there and there are consequences. real, tangible consequences in the real world.

    bill: when you called me satan….yes you did, to me you said, “get thee behind me satan!” that wasn’t just a scriptural reference, it was a curse…it had legs of it’s own once you said it. if i were a perfect christian i could have dealt with it perfectly, but i’m not, i’m a “practicing” christian. being a practicing christian having another christian refer to me as satan raised extreme passion. it was like driving a dagger into my heart and instructing me not to bleed. that’s the kind of wound that doesn’t just bleed on the afflicted, but it bleeds out on to all who are close by. i was wounded by that curse and i bled from it. my “sin” was to intentionally allow the blood to flow freely onto others.

    when you, bill, catagorized the gentle, tender love i have with my wife with rape and serial murder…you cursed us, and there were consequences. that dagger went right through me and into my angelic annie. you made me bleed all over her too, and my blood mingled with hers.

    curses have legs of their own; and there are consequences. even well intentioned christians suffer from curses, we are made less…even though the Lord, if it is His will and by His grace, will pick us up, first we are driven down.

    cursing one another, in my opinion, is what destroys community, it puts an end to conversation and releases only passion and further accusation.

    this, what we saw from me yesterday, is what comes of curses….not really very pretty.

    perhaps, frank…it was that i was still bleeding all over the place from bill’s curses that fueled my response to your post. i confess that i was throwing rocks at you from a glass house. i, too, have been guilty of surplanting fact with my opinion. i confess that i was squenting pretty hard around that log in my eye to point out the speck in yours.

    i repent, and apologize for that.

    i am, however; happy that i belong to a church that now neither makes a futile attempt to list all possible sins that might preclude one from ordained service, nor singles out any one particular sin for automatic disqualification.

    in all honesty and humility i’m glad that pcusa has recognized that exercise in futility and moved it aside, chosen not to limit God as to who He may Call for what.

    we do disagree on that fundamental point. you see it as counter to scripture and i see it as submissive to scripture as interpreted by the Holy Spirit in the ordaining authority. the non-homosexual, presently ordained people of pcusa have spoken their hearts and minds…and have said so now with quite some authority…the disparity in the vote keeps growing.

    i know how difficult it can be to exist as a minority. it can be very difficult indeed, and for some, it just won’t work. God has trained some of us for it since birth, while others have no reference point at all. if being in a minority in pcusa interferes with your particular ability to serve God, then i think you have made the right decision by leaving. i know that’s not the politically correct response, we should mourn the loss of each. but i see, what i precieve, a higher principle. if you think you will make a better witness for Christ somewhere else then i believe you, go there and be all that you can be…in the end, that’s the most important thing.

    this all kind of reminds me of the apologists for the confederate aristocricy after the american civil war. they state with all ferocity, now that slavery has found it’s proper place as a foul and disgusting institution in the american lexacon, that the war was about “state’s rights.”

    that’s very true, but failure to qualify that the state’s right in question was slavery is more than just a bit disingenuous, in my opinion.

    at the heart of the debate in pcusa…and the context must be made clear…a vast majority of members are neither homosexual nor transsexual…is whether or not we reserve the right to limit God as to who He may call for what. remember, those who are making this decision are neither gay nor transsexual, this is not a “gay conspiracy.” it’s a matter of how we relate to God and how much we trust the Holy Spirit. for many of us, that’s the fundamental issue.

    for me, a married homosexual, my passion is for full, unqualified membership in my church. my theology is this: God is soverign in all matters and all i have to go on in discerning His will is the Holy Spirit. i can either trust the Holy Spirit completely, or not. if i lay preconcieved limits on where the Spirit might lead me, then i am not a follower of Him, but His master. that’s my theology in a nutshell, “God is soverign in all matters and i have to trust fully in the Holy Spirit as my guide to His will.”

    i was very encouraged the other day when i had my first real heart to heart with our new pastor. he said that he thought that in a hundred years from now peole will look back on the period of paranoid homophobia in our chruch, shake their heads and wonder just what we could have been thinking?

    scripture isn’t that black and white. the are any number of references in scriture as to how we should treat our slaves. a black and white reading of it easily confirms that slavery is correct according to scripture. owning slaves was not in question, but rather laws were laid out as to how we treat our slaves. if slavery were the abomination most of us see it as today, why would we make laws guiding their treament? i think that it is one of those places where we have been renewed, in order to bring us to a fuller knowlege of Himself.

    scripture is packed full of admonitions against women being in any leadership role in church. paul tells us bluntly that it is an “abomination” for a woman to even open her mouth in church. if she has any questions she is to go home and ask her husband. i guess he felt that widows and the unmarried had no need to even question.

    no, i shouldn’t be that hard on paul. i honestly believe that if he’d had any notion that he was writing the bible, that his words of encouragment to a specific church and a specific culture at a specific time in history would be interpreted thousands of years later as the literal Word of God, he might have been somewhat less passionate and a bit more deliberate with his thoughts. i think that if he’d known that the letter he wrote to the emerging church in corinth was going to be extrapolated two thousand years later as having the prescise same meaning to the second baptist church on the corner of 4th and main in anywhere, usa he’d have balked at even writing at all. i think that if paul meant for whatever he said to one church at one time to have the same meaning for all church’s of all times, then he’d have most likely just written a form letter, had it copied and sent out to all the church’s. i think that paul meant for his letters to be discerned in their context, not just worshiped in black and white. i forgive you, st paul. all the pain and suffering we heap on each other using your words as weapons against each other is not your fault…and your lessons are inspired!

    anyway, i think most of us believe that we have been “renewed” from that admonition. in even the most conservative, bible thumping, literalist congregations around here…it’s quite common for women to open their mouths in church, and even to lead worship.

    we are constantly being renewed. we are always, by His grace through the Holy Spirit, being given new insight into His Word. scripture is the Holy Word of God, but if we stop seeing new things in it, it might as well be dead. we should just put it away on the bookshelf somewhere and let it gather dust.

    frank, by your standards we would be an extremely “liberal” church…and i wish i didn’t hear condemnation when you use that word, but i can’t help it…it’s palatable. but, patrick was about as conservative as a person can get. patrick was a man who exemplified Christ to me like very, very few ever have. we was an elder here…one of those who would just as likely be seen taking out the trash as sitting as the stated secretary of the presbytery. he did either and anything in between with equal fervor for service. it meant nothing to him, the need directed the service. patrick was admired and loved by everyone who knew him, i know of not one preson in this “liberal” church who didn’t feel themselves incredibly blessed by his presence. for me personally i can say that i believe he taught me more, both quantitatively and qualitavely than any other single person i have ever met. one of those things is that saying “no” to God’s call, for any reason, is just plain silly and full of hipocricy. “Your will be done!” we exclaim, “well, except in this case…i’m sorry but i’ll have to overrule you here, You can’t call me, a homosexual, to ordained service in this church, you don’t understand the circumstances here, and besides, don’t you know that it would be counter to scriptue?” patrick is gone, but his spirit remains and we continue to receive his blessings from his legacy, from those things in us that he taught. we don’t “hate” conservatives, we struggle for balance. when our church began leaning further and further over into the liberal theology, patrick didn’t leave, he stayed and continued his service. he provided us with balance, that was His call…i’m so glad that no one reduced him to being a “conservative” and out of step with the general flow, but clung to him for his mighty gifts and spirit. patrick was a great man of God, not in spite of his conservatism, but in harmony with it.

    and now i am done. i’m going to sleep. everyone will now be spared the homilies…errrr…sermons for the next week.

    God bless us all with much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on May 20, 2011

    PJ:

    At some point in this struggle you will find the ability to balance your passion (which seems to me a mixture of love for others and the church, and anger at the injustice). It’s easy for me say, and it hard to do (this I know from experience), but to be Christian means to be desirous of becoming like Christ. And His teaching is: pray for and bless those who persecute you or are against you, for what good does it do to do so for only people who love you. What is the reward in that? And so, it is my aim to love and respect others in this way. Everyone who has written here has something to offer and reflect upon. This is a place to offer hope and information, and a place to listen and learn and inquire.

    I personally do not see this struggle as a “civil rights” issue within the church, and I’m sure my GLBT brothers and sisters in Christ are ruffled at that statement, but the church is not a civil organization, it’s a religious organization based upon hundreds of years of tradition and binding creeds. Frank is right, if a church would have only two people in it, at some point there would be disagreement. If that weren’t true, the Catholic church would have been the only church since its inception.

    This is a unique opportunity for the PC(USA). I know it can survive a reformation based on inclusion of GLBT people, but does it want to? Do we all have the ability to put the Body of Christ first? I believe so. The UCC has done it.

    Can “conservatives” hear the witness that anti-gay church teachings wound people to the point of suicide (is that Christlikeness?) Can “liberals” hear the witness of what conservatives say is a “holy life?”
    These are the core issues, not “civil rights.”

    The contention comes from Scripture. I love the Bible but I was taught in my youth (by a fundamentalist church no less) to refer to Jesus’ example. No matter what it is, the answer is there in the Gospels, in Jesus’ actions and teachings. Others point to Paul and the old testament, but, in my mind, the best point of reference is the Son of God. And even though first-hand witnesses disagree on what Jesus said and did, the truth shines through regardless. Jesus was both fully human and fully God. Paul was human, the apostles are human. So, I defer to Jesus. And so, I think you, too, are right, the letters were written to specific churches dealing with specific issues and were likely not meant for public consumption beyond that. But here we are…

    What do “conservatives” and “liberals” need from each other in order that we can come together and worship as one? In Janet’s most recent blog, Michael Adee indicates “trust.” I think he is right. We must trust God and each other as Christians enough to serve God and each other, knowing that God will never betray us but that our trust may be betrayed by others, even hurtfully.

    I’m thinking just now of when the disciples asked Jesus to be at seated at His right hand. He said to them: you don’t know what you are asking… He knew that the privilege carries a burden, and suffering. All of us can expect the same as Christians (liberal or conservative).

    If we love, we love in Christ. There is a world of things we all agree on and we do so in Christ. If we disagree, let it be that we can disagree in Christ

    And, PJ, I grieve when people leave the churches they love, because it is God that loses glory, and I grieve when people are forced out of churches that they love, because it is God that loses glory.

    May it be that all we do (liberals and conservatives) gives God honor and glory.

    Donna

  • Janet Edwards on May 20, 2011

    Dear Donna, Frank and PJ,

    You are giving a great gift to all who find their way to your amazing attempt at dialogue. You are taking this site at its word, that it offers a time to embrace.

    I want to reach back to Franks’s insistence that he is the prostitute; I am the prostitute; everyone of us is the prostitute in need of forgiveness On one level we can all agree on this, I trust.

    Where we do not agree is on same gender love being the reason a person is akin to the prostitute. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Presbyterians I know have prayed, pondered, read Scripture, met with pastors, prayed more and do not find that aspect of their selves to be what joins them with the prostitute. Do we sin–yes. Is that our sin–no.

    Did the passage of 10A turn same gender love from a sin to not a sin? As PJ has helpfully shown us–no. 10a creates a level field where the Book of Order does not tilt one way or the other on this matter. What 10A does is to encourage all voices to speak up at the place where we have Christians talking directly with Christians, in congregations and presbyteries, about real people in specific situations.

    I am humbled by this needed dialogue happening right here because it has been my desire all along that this might be so.

    Does the shift in the presbyter votes of about 55% No on 08B two years ago to about 55% Yes on 10A mean that same gender love has shifted from being a sin to not being a sin? As we all know, God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. So what do we make of God’s will for us in this moment? And what do we now do together?

    I hope you will all add your voice to answer these questions.

    Peace be with you all, Janet

  • Bill on May 21, 2011

    At the heart of the matter ( even though I’m called a hater of gays,arrogant, oh and self rightous, only because I disagree )here is why I believe what is happening to the PCUSA is from Satan. First read 2 Corinthians 11:13-14, then read the book of Jude. Jude tells all about Apostasy.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 21, 2011

    bill. in order for you to feel as strongly as you do about us “gays” refererencing us as “satanic i find it hard to beleive that you don’t hate us. it would take a most remarkable man to not hate what he percieves as “satanic”….i hate that which i see as satanic.

    from your posts, and in all honesty and sincerity,i have seen absolutely no evidence of that kind of remarkable character.

    the conversation has moved on…all but you, it seems, have agreed to stop slinging bible verses back and forth at each other with no end in sight.

    accept this: there is not one word in the new testemant that i have not read dozens of times. you aren’t just suggesting that i read it, but you are saying, bluntly, that if i don’t interpret it just as you do…then i am satanic.

    end of conversation.

    the question here is: what does this vote mean for our church, that is, pcusa. since this is a satanic church that you would never entertain the possibility of becoming a member of, what is it that you can add to the conversation?

    if you have something to add, please do…but if you’re just here trying to make yourself feel good about your own righteousness…acknowlege that, own it..and move on.

    as far as i am concerned, this conversation has.

    much love and hope. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on May 21, 2011

    for those who instruct me:

    i would very much appreciate a demonstration. rather than just tell where i’m going wrong, i’d appreciate a real live example:

    engage bill. show me the right way. i am not being angry or smart alecy about it…i’m sincere, i would love to actually see what it looks like done well. i acknowlege that i have not done well, show me how to do better.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on May 21, 2011

    Pj
    It doesnt matter what I say or how I say it. If I disagree with you,you feel that its hatred,bigotry,arrogance.etc. You accuse me of “slinging” around Bible verses. Well ,Thank You. I cant think of a better name to be called than a Bible thumper( my words, not yours). I do not hate you! I do not hate gays. I believe and according to scripture, the pcusa is being lead by someone other than the Lord. I cant think of any other word to use except satan…sorry.On the other ahnd you continually confront me with this 10A thing whatever that is..I do not care that a church can somehow decide that the Bible isnt correct , so they just change it. Scriture says this as well. I’ll not post it since you find Bible verses offensive. And this isnt a personal attack on you, it is just stating a fact that the pcusa is commiting apostasy, and I want very much for everyone that reads this blog to understand that. Scripture says that the “Truth” will perish, so I agree with you that in a hundred years people will have wondered what all the fuse over Gay ministers was about. But it doesnt mean its correct or from the Lord.I have read on here as well as other places that scripture is difficult to read and understand. I disagree. Again I wont quote scripture, but it does say that some will hear the truth and others will not. Anyone can if they want. And there is a reason but since I cant use scripture I’ll leave it at that. So, why am I so persistent on this. Because you keep saying that you read nothing in scripture that indicates anything your doing is wrong. But then you turn around and mention ” clobber passages” in the Bible. That tells me you have read it and refuse to obey. That tells me you are lost, and hopefully you can be brought back from the heretical teachings of the pcusa. One last Bible quote if i may. 2 Corinthians 11:4-15. This defines the pcusa to a tee….Jesus forgives anyone who believes, but he NEVER condoned sin. ” I forgive you, now go and sin no more” ( scripture quote).
    So, to make a long story short, I’m trying to save your soul. Why? Hate the sin ,but love the sinner.
    PS and your church that kicked you out, was wrong. But that doesnt make the pcusa right.

  • Donna on May 21, 2011

    We are too often called to defend ourselves about what the Bible is interpretted as saying is against GLBT natures. But if I am allowed to imagine for a moment that we all are sitting with Jesus and having this conversation I think He would likely say what He has already said. See Matthew 19 below, in full context of discussing relationships and marriage, which echoes the great prophet Isaiah, through whom God extended (moved beyond) His original covenant to include everyone (in response to how Israelites were treating eunuchs as inferiors and unworthy of the Law). See below text – note it gives “Thus says the Lord,” indicating that Isaiah is speaking for God.

    Beyond that I think Jesus would refer to the original covenant, which talks about what we should do and what we shouldn’t do, and there is no mention of GLBT natures in it. Clearly, Jesus points out in Matthew that Moses made decisions as a leader that were not given from God. Is Leviticus then questionable?

    So, here we have Jesus’ words, an oracle from Isaiah, and the ten commandments in support of each other. Or, in other words, the original covenant, the extended covenant, and the new covenant in Christ which fulfills the old and offers countless examples of how we are to be as followers of Christ.

    For me this is enough to know that if I am in line with all of these things, and following Jesus’ teachings, believing that He is my personal savior, then I am redeemed and acceptable in His sight. Whether I am GLBT or not is of no consequence to God.

    Jesus, help us to see that our differences need not separate us so…

    Donna

    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    Matthew 19
    1When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2Large crowds followed him, and he cured them there.
    3 Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?’ 4He answered, ‘Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning “made them male and female”, 5and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? 6So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’ 7They said to him, ‘Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?’ 8He said to them, ‘It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but at the beginning it was not so. 9And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.’
    10 His disciples said to him, ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.’ 11But he said to them, ‘Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. 12For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.’
    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    Isaiah 56
    1Maintain justice, and do what is right,
    for soon my salvation will come,
    and my deliverance be revealed.
    2 Happy is the mortal who does this,
    the one who holds it fast,
    who keeps the sabbath, not profaning it,
    and refrains from doing any evil.
    3 Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say,
    ‘The Lord will surely separate me from his people’;
    and do not let the eunuch say,
    ‘I am just a dry tree.’
    4 For thus says the Lord:
    To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
    who choose the things that please me
    and hold fast my covenant,
    5 I will give, in my house and within my walls,
    a monument and a name
    better than sons and daughters;
    I will give them an everlasting name
    that shall not be cut off.
    6 And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
    to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
    and to be his servants,
    all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it,
    and hold fast my covenant—
    7 these I will bring to my holy mountain,
    and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
    their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices
    will be accepted on my altar;
    for my house shall be called a house of prayer
    for all peoples.
    8 Thus says the Lord God,
    who gathers the outcasts of Israel,
    I will gather others to them
    besides those already gathered.*
    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
    2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
    3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
    4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
    5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
    6. Thou shalt not kill.
    7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
    8. Thou shalt not steal.
    9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
    10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~

  • pennyjane hanson on May 22, 2011

    thank you donna, your point is well taken. you can not engage in rational conversation with one so deluded as to think he has to power of Jesus Christ, the power to save souls.

    i pray for you, bill, that The Savior will reach out and touch you. He CAN save souls and it is my hope and my EXPECTATION…that He will save yours.

    see you in heaven, much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on May 23, 2011

    Never said I was Jesus, but I can read………

  • Frank on May 23, 2011

    @ Janet,

    Thanks for your efforts at respectable dialogue.

    You had said: “The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Presbyterians I know have prayed, pondered, read Scripture, met with pastors, prayed more and do not find that aspect of their selves to be what joins them with the prostitute.”

    I don’t doubt that this is true. But may I ask, as most people concede that we all come to scripture with some kind of bias, is it possible that the GLBTQ Presbyterians and their advocates that you speak of are reading into scripture their own biases in order to come to the desired conclusion? It often seems to me that you really have to do an awful lot of mental and theological gymnastics to remove the notion that GLBTQ ordination/love(eros)/marriage are something that God really wants as portrayed in scripture. I only mention those things in conjunction because they are necessarily intertwined as issues people struggle with in the church and in society at large. And I wanted to make the distinction that love (agape, phileo, storge) is not the same thing as love (eros). I think these things are often confused to our detriment.

    Granted, people with a more traditional understanding of Christian theology and scripture cannot escape the bias problem either. But if we are of a mind to believe that there is this real thing called verbal plenary inspiration, then the bible will have a kind of power of its own to speak through paradigms and have a kind of plain sense, even to non-seminarians or those without degrees. The Holy Spirit will guard the scriptures in a sense and the real meaning will not be lost in an endless vortex of deconstruction. I don’t believe that God has left us at the mercy of PhD’s, theologians (conservative or liberal), or philosophers, to tell us what it all means. Don’t get me wrong, I am no rabid fundamentalist. I do take cultural context very seriously and I am not anti-scholarship in any way. Extremely intelligent people have disagreed on many aspects of scripture as we all know and it can be difficult to de-vein the issues.

    Although the passage of 10A is not a direct sanction or disaproval of any particular sin or lifestyle it really doesn’t have to be, as it is nonetheless lawyer-speak of the order that commits a tacit endorsement of non-hetero ordination. As any good lawyer will tell you, if you can get the wording just right, it can open the door to many other things you might want to pursue.

    I don’t know what your particular view of scripture is but if it’s anything like that of those that I interacted with in my PCUSA days, I’m guessing that you don’t have quite the regard for it that someone like myself would. In other words I think I probably have a higher (not literal)view of scripture and its authority than you might, and herein lies the divide that has caused the mass exodus from the mainlines. I don’t know that this divide can be reconciled, but I would just ask one thing of you, PJ, and others in the PCUSA.

    In all of my assessments regarding everything I’ve said here I want to make it very clear that I could very well be very wrong in all my understanding. But it has to be shown to me, lovingly, and not assumed. I, like those you have mentioned, have also prayed for wisdom and have asked God to minister to me through His Spirit so that I may be fair and discerning. One very big reason I left the PCUSA was that the liberals (sorry for the use of the word, it’s not meant as a pejorative) in my former church and presbytery, would never take a backward step. They would never acknowledge that they could also be wrong in all of their understanding and that perhaps they had taken a view of scripture which had acquiesced to the dominant culture. This was an impossibility in their view. It would have made it much easier to stay if I would have heard at least some humility. But no, I had to come over to the enlightened view. There was so much talk of openness and inclusion, until it came to the exploration of Christianity in a historic sense and why it might hold some truths worth pondering. It made all the chatter about openness, to my mind, ring hollow. So if you hope to persuade further people and whole churches from defecting, please show some humility and admit you could be wrong.

    Peace.

  • Janet Edwards on May 23, 2011

    Dear Frank,

    I could be wrong. I know it. I see through a glass darkly.

    When I read the Bible every day (for 15 years I have followed a program that leads me to read the whole BIble through in a year) I approach the Bible as I promised upon ordination, as, “by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal and God’s Word” to me. What I receive from the first page of Scripture to the last is God offering a covenant of love with creation that invites us to love God back and to love one another.

    I am a Reformed Christian so change in our understanding of Scripture or of what God requires of us delights me as I see it as our moving closer to what God desires us to be. I know that full embrace of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is a new idea.

    It emerges from the Holy Spirit inspiring us to see in Scripture what we had not seen before–the embrace of the eunuch Donna highlights, for example. It may emerge as well from shifts in our culture. That God is sovereign over all means that God sometimes works through culture too. This, as I expect you know, is another Reformed perspective.

    Since I know I could be wrong, what guides me? Jesus said, By their fruits ye shall know them.” Perhaps we can agree on the fruits of the forty years in which PCUSA church policy has made lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Presbyterians second class citizens–endless strife. And the PCUSA has participated in sending a message of denigration toward LGBT people in the name of Christ that has offered religious cover for bullying and discrimination that has led to suicide and endless grief. It is time to try another way and I am grateful we will.

    I could say more. Thank you for your honest sharing of your experience in the church. I start, and try to return, to a place where I trust we are all doing the best we can. I try to see Christ in all I meet. I hope you get this from my response to you and that you will be moved to comment again.

    Peace be with you, Janet

  • Bill on May 23, 2011

    After a little research I found this” While most Presbyterian churches will agree on general themes such as the depravity of man, the holiness of God, and salvation by faith, there is wide divergence in how they define and apply those themes. Some churches treat sin as a disease and essentially erase any personal responsibility, while others hold a firm line that sin is a violation of God’s unchanging law. Some teach that the Bible is verbally inspired of God, and therefore infallible, while others teach that it is man’s book and therefore subject to error. As with any other church, a person would be well advised to carefully examine not only the formal statements of doctrine, but also the practical implementation of those doctrines to determine whether a church is conforming to Scripture”.
    I could not figure out why the pcusa ignored scripture( in my opinion)but this explains it perfectly. With that I will bow out and appologize for any hurt feelings that I obviously created. I do pray that each and every one of you will make it to heaven. I will also pray that your eyes will be opened…
    Have a great day y’all.
    Bill

  • pennyjane hanson on May 23, 2011

    i’m sorry for the problems that you’ve had, frank…but it really doesn’t surprise me.

    when you say things like…perhaps you take scripture more to heart then “the others” do…you just lose credibility as a fellow in conversation. those kinds of statements are read as condescending and dismissive…as if you really do think that your way is the only right way.

    you already have such a well developed sense of “us and them”, that i don’t know if you will ever find a place with any “thems” in it that will live up to your expectations.

    i think i can reduce my whole argument for 10a down to the very simple paradigm you suggest…we could all be wrong.

    i think where we might be seeing things in another light then our own, i will err on the side of inclusiveness, you would err on the side of exclusiveness.

    that is where i see our fundamental disagreement. you see in scripture that i am unworthy of ordained service, (you could be wrong) i don’t see such a reading (i could be wrong)…why not just try it and see where it ends up? if i turn out to be lousy as an ordained servant of my congregation, then i will be removed. if i turn out to be an exempliary servant, then the truth is found…as janet (and scripture)says, in the fruits.

    can you not trust the fruits of the Holy Spirit?

    much love and hope. pj

  • David on May 23, 2011

    It is clearly evident that the Presbyterian Church body rebelled against God and removed Him as the head of their church, then they raised up the body of the church to become the new head of their church.

    Now they are no longer under Gods leadership, but under their own leadership which is being led by their own fallen sin natures, lusts of the flesh, and evil desires that we all have. They are no longer a church under the authority of Jesus Christ, they are now simply a godless institution free to do whatever they please.

    The great tragedy in all of this is that God truly loves everyone and wants the best for everyone. Jesus said repent for the kingdom of heaven is near. Jesus was saying to turn away from sin and resolve to reform one’s life. In reforming one’s life we will become a new creation in Christ and begin walking in the Holy Spirit and no longer walking by our fallen sin natures, lusts of the flesh and evil desires that we all have. When we remove God from being the authority over our lives we simple hurt ourselves and others in the process.

    David

  • Janet Edwards on May 24, 2011

    Dear David,

    Welcome and thank you for adding your opinion to the mix in this ongoing conversation concerning what the affirmative vote of the presbyteries in the PCUSA on 10A means to the church and the world.

    I know what you express here is the deeply felt conviction of some Presbyterians.

    I treasure the traditional summary of how we live in harmony in the Reformed branch of Christianity: in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. This explains the variety of perspective in the PCUSA and the foundation of our unity.

    Confessing Jesus as Lord is our unity, as you point out. This holds together all the Reformed Churches around the globe and then the variety begins because we recognize that the Holy Spirit works through our talking together about the variety of things we see in Scripture and in the way God is working in our lives right now.

    What the PCUSA has just done is to free our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members to share their full selves with us. They are now able to testify openly to the way same gender love arises from the authority of Jesus under which they stand. And we will be blessed to see with our own eyes the fruits of the Holy Spirit born by our LGBT faithful which have already blessed the church–we just did not know.

    One other consequence of 10A passing is that Presbyterians who share your view, David, need to show clearly from Scripture, the Book of Confessions and the questions for ordination where their opinions arise, just as LGBT Presbyterians will. And the conversation will begin.

    We will all share what we see in Scripture and the Confessions. My conviction is that the Holy Spirit will bless our conversation and God’s will shall be done.

    And I am glad this website is a place to practice such dialogue. I look forward to your response.

    Peace, Janet

  • pennyjane hanson on May 24, 2011

    thank you, david…for sharing with us your perception of us, as infalible Truth. as we stand, once and for all, condemned as godless heathens before you, we can only rejoice in that you are not God, Himself, only an idol.

    my own inner reaction to this (and the whole of this KIND of condemnation) really doesn’t call for engagemnt, just pity. (condescending and dismissive) in return. i have more difficulty than i can handle confronting infalible Truth as revealed by God to me, it’s impossible for me to engage such truth when expressed by (falible) human beings. response has no point, your expression sounds to me just as linus said to lucy, “don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up.”

    this is one very decisive manner in which being a transsexual, please read: not TRANSGENDER but TRANSSEXUAL, has informed my life. when i was about three or four i learned (the hard way) that although there was nothing in the world i could do about *being* transsexual, i had better keep my mouth shut about it, expressing it lead only to universal and infalible condemnation of ME, often violent condemnation. for most of my life “transition” was not a viable option. shutting up about it wasn’t an option, it was the only viable means of survival….given for all that time i had only the minds of man to instruct me, the Holy Spirit was absent in my consciousness. i didn’t know the infalible love of Jesus and i didn’t know the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. when Jesus revealed Himself to me and pointed to the Holy Spirit in my soul as a guide, as a very wise and surprising guide, i began to examine everything in a new way, in a clearer, more focused light. a light permiated with love, hope and extreme care. i came to believe that lying and deceitfulness were not just things i perpetrated on others but on myself and my relationship with God as well. i learned that while lying about MYSELF to others was bad enough, lying about GOD and what He was doing with me was even worse. in this matter (that i am, now and forever, transsexual) denying the truth of God in order to avoid the condemnation of man was ever so destructive. it limited the instruction of the Holy Spirit in my life…it limited the fulfillment of all the gifts God has given me in the name of sharing with the rest of His creation…it limited the power of God within me.

    i learned that by comitting suicide, by rejecting the only paradigm among men leading to survival, i freed my heart and mind to fully experiencing the Holy Spirit …that which indeed is *infalible* i learned to put all my faith and trust in the Holy Spirit of God even when it flies in the face of virtually every man on earth.

    for me, that has worked out just as scripture predicted…i have come to know *life*.

    so, the tangible lesson this has taught me in my every day life: there are those among us who will reject and persecute me out of hand. usually, these are people who are utterly uninformed as to what transsexualism is, but their minds are made up about it anyway.

    i have learned that the returns associated in *engagement* with this paradigm is fruitless. these folks are endowed with an infalible truth, i am a pervert, an abomination destined for hell and to be avoided, mistrutsted…to be perceived as a threat to all that is decent in the world. they are possessed with the kind of conviction that i, the human, cannot penetrate. i have to leave any insight they may have to God, personally intervening in their lives.

    then, there are those who have heard only the negative stereotying of us…are just as ignorant about what transsexualism is as the first group, but, in their ignornace and humility, can see beyond the stereotype. rather than having arrived, even in ignorance, at *infalible* truths, they have yet a bit of inquisiveness in them…and thus a capacity to learn new things.

    these are the folks where i can see the fruits of my confession work. with these folks there is the potential for a payoff, they might learn something about how transsexuals are just people, whole people who just happen to have been born with this incongrence of brain and body, but none the less are capable of being much more than that, we can be whole people…it is possible for the face to Jesus to shine in us as well. i have seen this repeatedly in my own life. egagement with these folks is like planting seeds in productive soil, it bears fruit. engagement with that first group is like planting in the rocks, no return on your investment.

    engagement with the davids and the bills here is like toiling in the rock hard, unproductive soil. their minds and spirits are endowed with the *infalible* truth and they preceive any thoughts that don’t fall in line with theirs as “santanic” and therefore a threat to them. their interpretation of scripture is guided by the “true” Holy Spirit, others are guided by a fraud.

    everything, it seems, is ultimately defined in conversation, by what it is not. God can deliver us from this, but it would be a matter of grace. grace belongs to God and to God alone. attempting to give Him advice on the matter of It’s dispensation is an exercise in futility, as i see it.

    all i can do is be the best tool of His i can be…knowing up front that i am a falible, ignorant, rebellious, prideful person who can do no good that does not come as a result of His direct intervention, intervention by grace. where my life has been an inspiration for others to see more clearly, is His doing.

    when it comes to engagment, i think like a lot of things, the serentiy prayer applies:

    God, grant me the serenity to accept those things i cannot change…
    the courage (please read *fearlessness* from a coward like myself) to change those things i can…
    and the WISDOM to know the difference.

    “God, as you continue to do Your will with Your grace, may You bless us each with much love and hope.” amen

  • pennyjane hanson on May 24, 2011

    i guess, what i’m trying to say is this: all of us are ignorant of what transsexualism actually is: it’s still being discovered by all of us. those of us who are transsexual do have profound insight into it, but our actual ignorance is only slightly mitigated by the insight.

    i know this: if transsexualism is a sin, a sexual perversion, an abomination to God…then i was all these things at three years old…that’s when i discovered i was transsexual and that’s when i was most sure of it.

    a three year old sex pervert…impossible for me to imagine, but…it seems to others, very real. that’s, i guess, the main insight that mitigates my own ignorance.

    those whose ignorance provokes humility are reachable. those whose ignorance provokes fear and judgment…are not. those with humility are open to learning, those who fear transsexualism, fear even an open examination of the stereotype itself as a threat to their own righteousness, a temptation to go from the temple into the unclean, uncircumcised paradigm of the gentiles, will never do it, never learn about it. they will, in their fear, remain in the temple…and thus they will be guided by their ignorance for all time….unless, God, Himself should bring their fear to an end.

    some fears can’t even be related to with courage, they are irrelevant to one another. for those who don’t see themselves as homophobic or transphobic, who don’t recognize that the basis of their continuing ignorance is rooted in fear, cannot confront that fear with courage.

    how often have those of us who are homosexual heard this,”i’m NOT homophobic, i don’t “fear” them, i just hate faggots!” or those less inclined to fully express themselves…”hate the sin, but love the sinner.”….the same thing, just said with different levels of truthfulness….both are disguising their fear as righteouness. courage has no power over fear expressed as self-righteousness.

    it is only in the fearlessness found in the Holy Spirit that fear can be confronted. homophobia isn’t about fearing persons, it’s about fearing people. it’s about the defense of one’s own righteousness, a need to utterly destroy any and all threats to righteousness, as we see it.

    people just don’t get it! yesterday i was talking with a woman who expressed just the opposite of the negavitve judgment we’ve been talking about here.

    she said to me, of *gay people*, “oh, they are so nice! and so talented!”

    i cringed. i reacted to this with the same feelings i experience when people say we are abominations. the same thing, just said out of a different side of the mouth. this woman had confronted the negative stereotype, destroyed it…but then just built another one in it’s place, a more “positive”….stereotype. i’m sure it took courage for this woman to confront her fear…but in the end it seems as if her fear and courage had just blown by one another without even noticing the other was there. there is equal scriptural support for the treatment of one as for the other. the power of the same scripture guides both the one who reviles us and the one who puts us on a pedestal. from both we are “those people”. hate us, love us, condemn us to hell or see us as guides on the road to heaven, defining us by the gender of who we love misses 99.999 percent of who we really are….individuals.

    i remember once being told, to my face, “pennyjane, you are one of the good ones!” when i reacted with hurt and indignation to that statement, i told him that while i appreciated his sentiments, the substance of that statement was demeaning, an insult to my integrity as a full human being, the giver was perplexed. “wow! *you guys* are just so sensitive! you can’t even take a compliment without being hurt by it. ok, i’ll never offer you a compliment again.”

    two ships, passing in the night.

    much love and hope. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on May 24, 2011

    well…we’ve heard a lot from presbyterians who believe in 10a

    we’ve heard from ex-presbyterians who left the church when they “saw this coming”.

    we’ve heard from non-presbyterians who just dropped in to offer their condemnation and then left.

    we’ve even heard from people who would never even entertain the notion of becoming a member of pcusa, but thought they could save our souls….then left when they saw they couldn’t do it.

    what is very loudly absent is the voice of those loving and committed presbyterians who are still in the church but disagree with 10a.

    i extend, and i’m sure with janet’s blessing, an invitation to you…join us in this conversation about the future of OUR beloved church.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Frank on May 24, 2011

    @ Janet,
    Once again let me say thank you for your candor and sincerity in all of your responses. I don’t know if that in some of my earlier interactions here I may have come off as fairly strident, so for that I sincerely apologize. Some of my responses to your comments may seem challenging, but hopefully not obnoxious. This is helpful to me so I will keep it going a bit longer.

    You had said: “When I read the Bible every day (for 15 years I have followed a program that leads me to read the whole BIble through in a year) I approach the Bible as I promised upon ordination, as, “by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal and God’s Word” to me.”

    First, I too am engaged in a one year bible study, although I am not so ambitious as you are as mine is NT only, for now. One thing that struck me in your comment was your addition to the vow the words: “to me.” It struck me for several reasons, one being that it reminded me of an occasion when I was with my former church. I was part of a group that was tasked with meeting regularly over the course of nearly a year for the purpose of study, prayer, and discernment of God’s will for our church. The church had been in disarray in many ways (much like the greater denomination), including theologically and membership was declining. People were divided and it was felt that we needed to hear from God. Another agenda item for each meeting was that we were to have a period of bible study. Several times during the course of our meetings when it came time to do the study, people whose turn it was to lead simply copied down a few favorite verses, passed them around and then posed the question: “What does this say—to you?” The emphasis was always on personal experience, rather than exegesis. As you can imagine when you have a room full of people offering their subjective opinions as to what a particular verse might mean to them you can get some wildly creative offerings. The question may as well have been “what is your opinion of butter pecan ice cream?” I will grant that our experiences will color how we see and interpret, and I also grant that we are not all at the same point in our perspective walks with Christ. But does this then mean that these discussions have to be devoid of all objectivity? As an example, one thing that was never even considered was the idea of authorial intent. If I get a statement from the bank stating that I am overdrawn, can I simply interpret this to mean that the bank actually owes me money? Or if I write a poem regarding my love for my son, can someone else come along, pick up that poem and decide that it actually is about them? There may be common strands that they will identify with, but the intent was never that they create their own private interpretation for themselves because bad assumptions and tragic consequences can result if one were to follow this line of thinking. I think it’s fairly easy to see how this approach can foster much mischief and confusion. And it has.

    The question it seems throughout the history of the church has not been, “What does it say to you?” but rather– What does it say?

    Also something that I confess I find rather troubling is the tendency, when adding a postscript such as “to me”, is how this does not honor the spirit of the vow taken. It is playing word games in order to rationalize into the vow ones own desires and preferences. It is a means around authorial intent. I’m sorry to say I find this to be a very dishonest practice. I, like many others before me find that it’s not so much that we happen to disagree with our more liberal brothers and sisters. Disagreement and seasoned discussion given in love and with gentleness and respect is healthy and necessary. Rather it is felt that people are not being open and honest in their disagreements. So what then transpires is that people take ordination vows and then 5 minutes after they are in they begin to play these disingenuous word games and then begin to decry the very vows that they had previously affirmed and embraced. As a consequence people get hurt, they feel betrayed and they will break fellowship.

    Janet, I think I understand what it means to be Reformed. But somehow I don’t think our definitions match up. I have heard a hundred times how “Reformed and always reforming” means that as time goes on we will gain new insights as to our understanding of scripture and to what God is doing now. This is not my understanding. “Reformed and always reforming” was never a license for on-going, continual doctrinal innovation or upgrading. Rather it is a persistent call to come back to the Word of God, the Holy scriptures, and to be continually reformed by them because the temptation to move away from them and towards the dominant culture would always be present. If we are counseled to keep coming back to God’s Word and to be reformed by it, surely it must be because there is something solid there. Something to which we may anchor our lives however tentatively and fearfully. If all we have is interpretation then there is surely no grounding nor any hope for unity. Friedrich Nietzsche was famous for saying “interpretation is all there is.” I personally don’t share Nietzsche’s skepticism.

    I say all this to inform you that, at least in my case and I suspect that of many others, this call for inclusion is not even so much the heart of the matter. If I struggle with this issue (which I do, greatly) it’s mostly because I really do not want any person to feel that they are forsaken by God or by His church. Scripture does talk about differing roles in the church and I do not find support for the idea that any of those roles are a right that any of us can claim, and good people can disagree on what might prevent one person or another from doing so. But what makes my struggle even more problematic is the knowledge that people will do bad (dare I say evil) things if they are convinced that their cause is the righteous one. Honor, integrity, and especially truth become casualties. But then many people feel that there is no truth.

    Again Janet, I believe you are a sincere person, well-meaning, with a great desire to hold the church together. But the call for peace and unity now that you perceive a kind of vindication of all of your efforts, just seems rather insincere. I am not normally a cynical person. May God forgive me of my cynicism.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 24, 2011

    wow, frank! the more i hear from you the less i am surprised that you just couldn’t get along with your old church.

    interpretations are for us fools, you need not interpret, you have been endowed directly from God with perfect knowlege of the absolute truth, you are the judge, you need not interpret. you are so full of yourself it isn’t even funny. i can easily see why all those nasty “liberals” in that old church cut you off, they just couldn’t deal with your self-righteous ego any more.

    by the way, our….one of the more ghastly “liberal” pcusa church’s…is not declining, we are growing.

    you judge janet a sincere person but insincere in her vows. “hate the sin but love the sinner.” you and bill do seem to be cut from the same self-righteous cloth. maybe that’s one reason you hate 10a so much, it acknowleges that one person cannot know the sincerity of another’s vows….something you personally disagree with…you, like bill thinking he can save souls, think you know the heart of another…and then go right ahead and judge them harshly.

    a little humility, frank, can go a long way in trying to convince others of your views. actually, a little humility can go a long way in almost any endevour. you judge the sincerity of another’s heart and bill thinks he can save souls…but it’s pcusa that’s going to hell in a handbasket.

    good grief, charlie brown!

    much love and hope. pj

  • David on May 25, 2011

    Dear Janet,

    We are all of a fallen sin nature and deserving of death. That is why Jesus died on the cross, to pay the price for our transgressions. But His sacrifice on the cross must be acknowledged by us that we are sinners and then receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then we must repent which is to turn from our sins, and resolve to reform our lives to become like Jesus.

    When we resolve to reform our lives and become more Christ like, we must acknowledge that Jesus is neither gay or lesbian. Therefore anyone taking the gay or lesbian lifestyle road is in error if they truly want to follow scripture as it is written in the bible.

    Jesus said: I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. John 14:6

    Most of the world either rejects or denies Jesus as Lord and Savior. That is why Jesus said;

    “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad the road that leads to destruction, and MANY enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life , and only a FEW find it”.
    Matthew 7:13

    If you crunch the numbers of how many people are Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Other religions, non religious, etc., (all of which deny Jesus as their Lord and Savior). it is clear only a few will find the narrow gate just as Jesus said.

    Personally I do not want to take any foolish chances of doing anything not found to be sound doctrine as written in the bible, whether it be of a sexual nature or otherwise. Others who wish to take chances or risks by trying to circumvent (go around the scriptures) have that freedom of expression and choice. God gives each person free will to obey Him or disobey Him as they choose, however, there will be serious consequences for many when they face God for judgment.

    Each person really needs to think long and hard of what we are doing and not doing.

    In the Lord,
    David

  • pennyjane hanson on May 25, 2011

    david:

    entering through the “narrow gate”, as i interpret scripture, refers to those who have accpeted Jesus Christ as their Lord and personal Savior, that and nothing more. i arrive at this from other scripture “all who believe in Me will know the kingdom of God.” i confess, this is my interpretation, not necessarily The Truth.

    you say you don’t want to “run the risk” of doing anything that might not be scripturally sound.

    from my experience, speaking for myself, i not only run such risk, but every day of my life i do things that are NOT scripturally sound…i do this even though i don’t want to and i try not to…i am just not perfect. this, to me, is why Jesus shed His blood on the cross. but if that were the end of it, i’d still be hopeless. He went further, He then rose from death and still lives in my heart. it is this ressurection that gives me hope for myself.

    the truth i hear in your post is this: “i don’t want to do anything THAT I DON’T WANT TO DO…which might run the risk of being scripturally unsound.”

    when we interpret scripture, when we *liberals* ask, “what does this scripture mean to you?”, i don’t see it as foolish, but rather and exercise in humility. it’s owning the fact that we are not the bearers of Truth, but mere pilgrims in search of Truth. if we already know The Truth, then we are not among the others, we aren’t fellow searchers, we are done deals…above the others.

    Jesus Christ, for me, is the only example of perfection i have ever seen, and i don’t even believe there are, have ever been, or ever will be other examples.

    interpreting is what WE ALL do. some of us in truth and humility, others in denial.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on May 25, 2011

    Pennyjane
    I keep offering to leave this arguement but you have to do your part. You continually bring me back to the arguement by bad mouthing me behind my back ( not very Christ like IMO). Stop dragging me into by saying things like and I guote, “bill thinks he can save souls”,”we’ve heard from non-presbyterians who just dropped in to offer their condemnation and then left”,”engagement with the davids and the bills here is like toiling in the rock hard, unproductive soil. their minds and spirits are endowed with the *infalible* truth and they preceive any thoughts that don’t fall in line with theirs as “santanic” and therefore a threat to them. their interpretation of scripture is guided by the “true” Holy Spirit, others are guided by a fraud”. So Pennyjane, you might want to practice what you preach. You dont like it when anyone uses scripture. This should be a sign not only to everyone else here but you as well. Something is wrong with that picture!
    Scripture isnt that hard to read and understand. IF you come with a pure heart: that means willing to read what God says and then beleive it, repent if needed and then use it to change your life to be Christ like. And yes, scripture says this in several verses, ( I’ll quote them if you want)! Its actually called exegesis as someone alluded to. The pcusa seems to use the opposite word: eisgesis, which to draw from the verse what you want it to say.
    I never said or implied I could save souls. And I challenge you to show me where I did?
    You always sign your post with “much love and hope”, right after you say things that arent true.
    So leave me out of your rants or I’ll keep coming back to defend myself.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 25, 2011

    bill,

    i quote you word for word, “i’m just trying to save your soul.” if you don’t believe you can do it, then why are you trying so hard?

    too, you specifically called us “satanic”.

    if you don’t want your own words to come back and bite you in the behind, you should think and discern before you speak.

    i’m not trying to make you look like a fool, i’m just repeating your own words back to you. if you precieve those words to make you look like a fool…don’t attack the parrot, stop teaching him foolish words.

    your arrogance and self righteousness prevades your every word. scripture is *not that hard* to learn and understand….for people like you who have pure and clean hearts.

    for those of us who, unlike you apparently, have not yet become as Christ like as we desire, scripture is a struggle.

    just what…answer this question and i’ll leave you alone…do you think Jesus meant when He said in scripture, “ALL who believe in me will know the kingdom of God.”?

    much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on May 25, 2011

    Now your playing word games and you know it. I never said that in the context you describe it. Why does your minister preach to you…to try and save your soul! Why does anyone try to spread the word? To save souls. Can they/me do it personally…no. But just like scripture you twist the known context to suit you……

    When I say that scripture is not that hard to undestand, I’m ONLY repeating what God himself says in the Holy Bible…………..

  • Bill on May 25, 2011

    Sorry, I forgot to answer your question. You said “just what…answer this question and i’ll leave you alone…do you think Jesus meant when He said in scripture, “ALL who believe in me will know the kingdom of God.”?
    Thats easy, anyone who believes in God will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Not so,hard. But then Jesus himself says. “If you Love me me then obey me”………

    so ,if you do indeed love Jesus, you must obey him, otherwise perhaps ones professed belief isnt real?

  • pennyjane hanson on May 25, 2011

    not so simple is it bill? in written communications, words are what we have. i didn’t interpret or alter your context…i just took you literally at your word…you were trying to save my soul. that’s what happens in scripture too…when you ignore context and just take every phase as an independent and infalible message from God….of course, that’s only as long as it suits your theology….things that might not be so clear, you choose to ignore.

    please address this SCRIPTURE…it should be very easy for you since you have such a clean and pure heart.

    “ALL who believe in Me will know the kingdom of God.”

    what do you think Jesus means by *all*. as it is scripture, remember…you can neither add to nor take away from it. was does “all” mean to you?

    much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on May 25, 2011

    Pennyjane
    Yes it is……”All who believe in me will know the Kingdom of God”.Here is the answer, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Matthew 7:21-23

    Meaning some will say they believe but if they dont obey, then they are practicing “lawlessness”.
    “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

  • Bill on May 25, 2011

    “All” means all of those that admit and repent of their sins……. easy.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 25, 2011

    are you suggesting, bill…that all who love Jesus live in perfect obedience? those who don’t live in perfect obedience don’t love him and therefore are not a part of the “all”?

    when you start excluding based on scripture, it takes no time at all to eliminate everyone but yourself, and if you are at all honest, you must even bring yourself into question.

    God said, “ALL, who BELIEVE IN ME” you don’t seem to be able to take that as with the same face value you do the scriptures you quote which seem to contradict this…and, i add, seems to support your preconceived notions.

    i hear in you one who reads not to learn to get yourself on God’s side, but to prove to yourself that He is on your side. maybe that’s why it’s so easy for you, you already know the outcome.

    you interpret as you see fit, and yet see satan in others who do the same but arrive at different conclusions. this says that you beleive you are the truth bearer, not a searcher, a done deal, one who has become so like Chirst as to assume His authority….the absolute knowledge of what is right and what is wrong….it’s so easy for you, so simple, so black and white.

    good luck to you, you haven’t come close to “saving my soul” but thank you for trying.

    much love and hope. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on May 25, 2011

    bill. Jesus said, “ALL”. you extrapolate from your understanding of other scripture what that “means”. you add of your own understanding, meaning.

    sounds a whole lot like the rest of us, howver; we don’t pronounce you “satanic” for your extrapolations as you do us. we extrapolate, “judge not, and ye shall not be judged, condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned.” means that judgement should be left to God and God alone. for as we judge, we shall be judged and if we condemn, we shall be condemned.

    you judge and condemn, but even in the face of this clear, simple scripture, i cannot condemn you….just say, in my opinion…not God’s opinion…for i don’t speak for God (as you do), you are wrong in your assessment. that doesn’t make you satanic, it doesn’t mean that you will not know the kingdom of God….it only means that you are humanly disobedient.

    you hold yourself up as the judge. scripture is simple, easy for you….oh well, i quit…trying to make sense to you is like talking physics with a pre-schooler. you already know it all, nothing i can help you with.

    hope you enjoy life up there in your own very, very lonely heaven.

    much love and hope. pj

    what you fail to do is add…..”in my humble opinion.”

  • pennyjane hanson on May 25, 2011

    bill.

    in the scripture i quoted, JESUS did not say, “all who admit and repent of their sins….. JESUS said, “all who believe…….” you ignore this scripture and replace it with scripture that tends to contradict it, in a manner that suits YOUR view.

    and you accuse others who do just that of being “satanic”.

    you hide behind scripture to validate your own (bigoted) view of the world.

    i am convinced in my own mind that God did not intend us to use scripture to beat people up with…as you do, but rather to lift us up, to teach us that we are all sinners.

    not one preacher in pcusa that i have ever heard preach is trying to “save my soul”, those i know are very aware of the fact that souls are saved by grace and by grace alone….and they know that kind of grace belongs to God and God alone.

    you either think you can save my soul or you can teach me how to do it myself…either way, that is not christianity as i know it….and i would dare say…i doubt there are very many “christians” in the world who hold to such views.

    the differences between your understanding of Christ and christianity and mine are polar.

    i see no hope for reconcilation. this experiment in “conversation” has failed and died a miserable death, in my opinion.

  • Bill on May 25, 2011

    Your funny…talk about me turning scripture into something its not. Your the Master.

    I tire of this, it has brought out a part of me that I dont like. We will just have to agree to disagree.
    So please leave me out of your future posts and I’ll not…wait never mind. You just keep on bad mouthing me and I’ll go set my email client to view this as junk.

  • David on May 25, 2011

    Christlikeness: The whole concept is quite wonderful and and easy to understand…… “THE BIBLE ENCOURAGES ALL PEOPLE TO BECOME CHRISTLIKE”

    The bible teaches that to accomplish becoming Christlike requires giving up our old sin nature and walking anew in God’s Holy Spirit, unfortunately, not everyone is willing to give up the old sin nature.

    David

  • pennyjane hanson on May 25, 2011

    david

    the bible teaches me this: if i repent of my sins (i have done so, and please do not judge the sincerity of my repentance, it’s above your paygrade) and if i am baptized (i have been) then the promise of the Holy Spirit is mine.

    with the guidance of the Holy Spirit i begin my journey of Christ-likeness. it’s a journey that will not end until my death. i will not ever become Christ Himself, but by the guidance of the promise i will go on.

    the bible doesn’t teach me that i will ever be able to forsake my human nature completely…not on this planet anyway. in fact, my understanding of scripture teaches me that i will always, along with all other people, fall short of the glory of God.

    but, i do the best i can…along with many, many other christians who are also born of a sinful nature and hold no illusions that they either will ever totally escape it.

    unfortunate or not, none of us will ever turn completely away for our lives in this world. the good news is: Jesus has relieved us of the burden of judging the quality of another’s journey. Jesus has taken that on for us, He will see to our judgment in His own time and in His own way, leaving us free to love, as instructed, and to “judge not….and condemn not.”

    much love and hope. pj

  • Janet Edwards on May 25, 2011

    Dear Frank,

    Back at you, Frank, for your honesty and sincerity.

    Here are the exact words of the second ordination question, G-14.0405b(2), in the Book of Order: “Do you accept the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be, by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal and God’s Word to you?” All I did was turn this around to express my affirmative answer by saying “God’s Word to me.”

    There is way more that can be said for you are getting at a basic dynamic of how God made us as both individuals and within communities and related to God, all at the same time. “For me” or “For you” are not good or bad, they are just an aspect of human existence.

    That what we have is our interpretation because we cannot detach ourselves from our point of view does not mean there are only points of view (I don’t agree with Nietzsche). There is Truth. The Bible is a testament to God as Goodness, Truth, Beauty and Love. And at the same time, as God has created us, we are only capable of points of view, seeing through a glass darkly.

    This means that we need one another because our sharing of our points of view brings us closer to knowing the Truth as our points of view are inspired by the Holy Spirit. This is another basic tenet of Reformed Christian faith.

    As I say, Frank, there is way more that can be said. But that is enough for now.

    I treasure your response. Peace, Janet

  • David on May 25, 2011

    Jane,

    Here are a couple of bible verses that inspire me to do only those things that are scripturally sound and try to avoid all other things which are not.

    1st verse……Jesus said; “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him”. John 14:21

    I believe Jesus makes it very clear that we are to be obedient and obey all of His commands. We are to stop or avoid sinful practices.

    2nd verse……Jesus said; “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter into heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me you evil doers.Matthew 7:21-23

    Again, I believe Jesus is saying that we are to do God’s will and be obedient by obeying his commands. That would mean to follow carefully what God commands in the bible and to stop or avoid any sinful practices and not be evil doers.

    David

  • pennyjane hanson on May 25, 2011

    david.

    it’s clear that you are inspired by these verses…i wonder what they inspire you to, judgment and condemnation of others, or love?

    i am inspired by such scripture as, “all who believe in me will know the kingdom of God”

    or, “those who do these things…take no God before My Father and love your neighbor as i have loved you and you will have obeyed the WHOLE LAW.’

    these verses, and many, many more like them, inspire me to love, not judge and condemn.

    i think janet is entirely right…we have no choice but to see scripture through the filter of our own human experiences, though our own intelligence and perceptiveness. this necessarily causes us to have different views, we see some things more clearly and have difficulty with others…and for each of those the catalyst is different. some things hit one person hard and totally miss another, and the other way around.

    this inspires me to believe that none of us is possessed with THE truth, only God knows that…the rest of us are left with our perceptions of truth. i am not saying there isn’t “The Truth”, i’m just saying that i can’t believe any mortal human being can concieve of It in it’s totality…that would be having perfect knowledge of God.

    where i have trouble is with the lack of humility i’ve seen in so much of this conversation. it seems some think they do have access to that absolute Truth and therefore feel perfectly comfortable condemning others, judging others..in their sincerity and even in their struggle to find such truths in Jesus.

    i don’t think Jesus works the same way in each of us, i think He takes us where we are and gives us, as He says, those things we can understand.

    does He love us less because we are weaker, or not so smart? i don’t think so, i think He will stay with us as long as we ask Him to. i don’t think i can earn His love, trust, or salvation…i have it by His grace.

    “blessed are the weak in spirit, they shall know the kingdom of heaven.”

    much love and hope. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on May 26, 2011

    hate the sin but love the sinner.

    i confess this has always been a mystery to me in the case of homosexuals. to hate my “sin”, as some call my homosexuality, is to hate who i am, how can you hate who i am and love ME? that seems to me a classic oxymoron.

    when i point out that i didn’t “choose” to be homosexual, some call me a liar…of course i chose it, if i didn’t then how did i become so? homosexuality, to these folks, is a “lifestyle”. when i suggest they educate themselves about just what “homosexuality” actually is they bolt in terror. (metaphorically) they put their hands over their ears and make noises, as if the very word “homosexual” was a direct threat to their own salvation. as if learning about it were a satanic temptation to be avoided at all cost.

    this is an extreme case, but it’s lifeblood is far more pervasive then i think a lot of more “enlightened” people think.

    bill (this is not a slam) thinks that the church that kicked me out when i transitioned was “wrong”, but is that “enlightened”? what would happen if i were a member of his church? i suspect it would be endless prayer and laying on of hands in an attempt to drive the demon from me and thus “save my soul.” i would live a life in judgment, torment, anguish and frustration. in that paradigm i would likely never fulfill any of God’s gifts of service to me, i would forever be “homosexual” and nothing more.

    now, and i could be very wrong, but my reading of frank’s vision of my involvement in church is just a little different. frank probably wouldn’t just limit himself to prayer and laying on of hands, frank, it seems to me, would accept that i am homosexual and there probably isn’t anything he can do about it so he would allow some “limited” involvement in service.

    (one reason i love pcusa so much is the emphasis, as i preceive it, the church puts on service. welcoming it with open arms and grateful hearts…those i have met in pcusa welcome service as a blessing, not an obligation. i see scripture reflected so clearly here, giving what we have with a joyful heart.)

    frank would allow God to work through me in certain areas, but he would limit service to what he, and those who think like him, maintain as appropriate. it seems that frank draws the line at ordination and those who do not think like him, who might draw the line elsewhere or draw no line at all, are just wrong…so wrong that he cannot live with them. frank, sincerely, in my judgment, believes that “eunuchs”, an ancient paradigm that includes gays and transsexuals, are not morally fit for leadership. it’s ok to baptize us, as recorded in philips encounter with the eunuch on the road, but that’s as far as it goes. what God can do with us after baptism and the joyful reception of the Holy Spirit is limited to what he (and those who think like him) can justify. we, baptized, Holy Spirit filled christians are not justified by Jesus Christ, we are justified by frank.

    so, what real difference between bill and frank is there…when it comes to homosexuals?

    love the sinner but hate the sin. they might express their love in slightly different ways, but they still hate the sin…who we are.

    then, there are those who accept that homosexuality is what it is…not a demon or a choice, but something in us that makes us vulnerable to corruption, to love with the same love as ruth and namomi, ultra committed, without limitation, unconditional love such as love that says, “your God will be my God.” many of these folks allow that though we are vulnerable, not by our own doing, to corruption, we can overcome it. we can, if we so choose, remain chaste. if we do this, then we have reached a level playing field, pardon the sports metaphore, with our heterosexual brothers and sisters: with one difference…heterosexuals have at their disposal, scripture. paul says that if you cannot control those desires within you then it is better to marry than to “burn with passion”. this group belives that this doesn’t apply to homosexuals, that “burning with passion” is better for us than to marry…i find that strange….as if we were capable of a higher level of self resraint than our heterosexual brothers and sisters. in fact, this “higher level” of self control is demanded of us in this paradigm. the old language, prior to 10a, institutionalized this thinking. *being* homosexual was not a deal breaker in ordination, but failure to exercise a superior level of self control than our heterosexual brothers and sisters….was.

    i see that as both intellectually and spiritually dishonest and therefore unsustainable.

    we must all, every one of us, be full and unqualified members of the family of God, or none of us actually are. for, and this is a perception of mine i get from the whole of scripture, my perception…if we exclude one, that One will inevitably turn out to be Jesus.

    my mind has been changed from a comment and some discernment on another blog on this site…we can, and we must if we are to survive, welcome not only those who welcome everyone, we must welcome everyone, and then have faith.

    love the sinner.

    bill makes this comparison, “if we accept homosexuals for leadership roles in the church, then why not serial rapists? why not serial murderers?” a slipperly slope? is that what he means?

    i wasn’t around then, but i wonder if the same arguement wasn’t made when pcusa made the decision to ordain women? i wonder if there weren’t those who pointed to scripture with a wagging finger…paul states clearly, and with severity in scripture that it is not for a woman to even open her mouth in church to ask a question. he calls this an abomination! he says that if a woman has questions she should wait until she gets home and ask her husband. these folks, i’m guessing as well, also pointed to the long history and tradition in the church of excluding women from leadership (speaking?) roles. i’m guessing they too, in those days, questioned if this might lead to a schizm and wreck the church financially.

    well, some of those things i’m sure came to pass…there was a schizm, i have no doubt that our numbers fell and that a financial crisis(?) came to pass. but, personally, i can’t imagine being a part of a church that didn’t allow for equal leadership roles between men and women. if that was the price to be paid for *justice* as i precieve it scripturally, then it must be done.

    (i don’t mean justice in a legal sense, as a civil right, i mean *justice* as i precieve Jesus means it, as being good to ourselves as His creation)

    the scizm and the financial distress are, sadly, just as predictable now as they were then. the same principle applies here as then though, the same questions asked again, “who are we to limit God’s call to any other human being?” scripture answers that question for me, “man, woman, gay, straight, bi, ts, savage, barbarian, slave or free, Chirst is all, Christ is in all.”

    freedom, and i mean this too in the way i precieve it in scripture, isn’t something we purchase and then own. it’s more like we rent it, we must continually pay the rent or we get kicked out. in pcusa, i preceive, the rent has come due again. as poor and as broke as we are, we have to pay it, or move to an even poorer district.

    10a is the check, now it’s up to us to see that it doesn’t bounce. from my preception, interpretation, point of view, full knowledge of God’s will, or whatever other words one might want to use to express “opinion”, that is the point of janet’s ministry in this particular blog, making the check good.

    love the sinner, lose the disclaimer.

    for those who have read that other blog i spoke of:

    we welcome everyone…no disclamer.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Janet Edwards on May 26, 2011

    Dear pj,

    I confess I have jumped from my chair more than once as I have kept up with you in response to Bill and Frank and David. I have also been pulled back into my seat to continue reading because your full reliance upon Jesus is so obvious.

    I am glad that Bill and Frank and David, for the most part, have stayed in the conversation because I assume that actual engagement with a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual Christian doesn’t come very often for them. Tempers have risen and fallen and the conversation has continued.

    Thanks to you all!

    A reader who has been following this thread sent this to me in an email (She didn’t say where she got it, or if she made it up):

    God loves everyone.
    We love almost everyone.
    Come and see if you qualify.

    Food for thought–right?

    I am so grateful to God that the PCUSA is clear on these matters for the time being until we realize we have fallen again into “loving almost everyone.” And, of course, we still have a great deal of work to do to keep our promises to our lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans members.

    Stay strong. Peace, Janet

  • Bill on May 26, 2011

    Pennyjane

    Thank you for the politeness when using my words and name. I dont know how we/me got to the place where it was hard to be civil. Me and the Lord are working on it…..

    You wrote, “love the sinner but hate the sin. they might express their love in slightly different ways, but they still hate the sin…who we are”.
    I’d like to answer this from my point of view but I have to go work. Which by the way, is working with Chemically dependent men, a couple of which are gay.

    C’ya

  • pennyjane hanson on May 26, 2011

    thank you for your kind words janet. i’m sorry for jerking you from your chair, but thankful for His grace, that you got to sit back down.

    i do know it, but for the life of me i can’t seem to find some permanent way of getting past it: all good that comes from my mouth is a result of His grace, where i fail is when i (pridefully) rely on my own judgment.

    dang it! i wish i could get past that.

    bill. i think i can help you a little with the question you asked, “don’t know how we got to a place where it’s hard to be civil.”

    for me, i can point to a specific time and place in this conversation where civility deserted me: it was when you first said to me, the first time you slammed the door in my face with, “get thee behind me satan!”

    i can’t repent of the hurt and anger this elicited in me, but i do repent of hiding behind the log in my own eye…etc.

    as a christian i’m sure you know, and i expect it is as you intended, a grave insult to be marked as one claimed by satan.

    where i went wrong, and what i apologize for is: writing you off as an ignorant, arrogant, self-righteous, judgmental, bible thumping jerk based on that and that alone. that’s what i think of as “hiding behind the log in my own eye.”

    i think we know best the sins of others when we recognize them in ourselves. i think this extreme emotional response to my preception of you as an ignorant, arrogant, self-righteous, judgmental, bible thumping jerk…is because i recognize that same person in the mirror from time to time….and i don’t like her at all!

    i think a good place to start this all over again might be for me to stop hiding behind the specific language (lawyer talk) of 10a….as you said not that many posts ago, “whatever that is”, and stick to the flash point, as i think it is being precieved: though the (lawyer talk) as frank calls it, doesn’t mention homosexuality, most, it seems, have reduced the language to just that…should homosexuals be ordained in the presbyterian (usa) church.

    i think an honest discussion about what homosexuality is, and what it is not, might be helpful. and, just for my own information, what do you think a transsexual is?

    would you like, and anyone else as well, to engage in an honest (and civil) discussion about that? and, in the interest of civility, can we refrain from such words as sin and satanic? can we just talk about what it is?

    i would love to pursue that with you and anyone else who cares to engage.

    for myself…on the discussion on transsexualism, i need to make the following statement…i own it, it’s mine and mine alone.

    “transgender” is not a word i use in conversation. though there is a lot of argument as to when and where the word originated, it has evolved into an “umbrella” term. it has come to refer to any person who displays any form of gender transgression…from a panty fetishist to a post op transsexual and all in between. so, when you say, “transgender” you have to further describe what you are talking about…from my perspective it’s far more efficient (and honest) to just say what it is you mean…panty fetishist, transvestite, two spirited, androgynous, gender fluid, drag queen…or in my specific case…transsexual.

    so, when i ask what you think of as “transsexual”, i don’t mean “transgender.”

    a transsexual, as the word was coined by dr harry benjamin in his published works with christine jorgensen back in the late 40s and early 50s, refers to a specific instance of gender transgression: those people (such as myself) who were born of one biological sex and the opposite gender identity. dr benjamim indroduced to the world a new thing…that while anatomy is generally a very reliable predictor of gender identity, it is not the determinor. gender identity (that gender which we preceive ourselves to be) and anatomy are not necessarily dependant one upon the other in all people. dr benjamin made no moral judgments, he just examined and reported factually what he found evident in this one patient of his.

    when i say “transsexual” this is the person i am talking about…how about you?

    much love and hope. pj

  • Frank on May 26, 2011

    Janet,

    just one quick comment. I really do not have a problem with GLBT people, unless they get obnoxious, which I think you might have a problem with as well. It is an incorrect assumption that I have not had contact with anyone like this. I am in a creative industry so I interact with lots of gay people. I have gay people in my family.
    I still stay in touch with my high school art teacher and his partner and we occasionally have dinner together. I think we are roughly the same age so that tells you how long we’ve stayed in touch. After I graduated from art school I needed a room mate because I was broke and so I asked a friend who subsequently came out to me that he was gay in case I had any reservations. I didn’t as I knew him to be a really nice guy. We talked often and openly about being gay and straight the way younger people do. No one will ever call me homophobic or sheltered in this regard. My disagreements are more theological, intellectual, and philosophical. But again I restate, disagreement, to me, does not preclude loving kindness or trying and wanting to be the open arms of Jesus, as hard as that may be to understand.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 26, 2011

    hi frank. i just wonder…do any of these “gay” friends of yours know that you consider them theologically, intellectually, wanting because they are gay?

    maybe it’s just me…but i have no “friends” who consider themselves better than me in any way…theologically or otherwise. i know such people, and usually i try to remain civil with them…but being friends with someone who considers me less than themselves?

    maybe it’s just that i have too much dignity, but i couldn’t pull that off.

    by the way, some of my best friends are black! i remember way back when george wallace made a similar statement…and then went on to say that of course all blacks should have jobs…shining shoes, sweeping floors etc. that poor man who had so many black friends was utterly oblivious of how any black man might take such a remark, he thought he was being very benevolent and even gracious.

    sound familiar?

  • Donna on May 26, 2011

    Frank, I’ve been meaning to post that your message to Janet on May 24, 2011 at 7:50 pm was a model message of honesty and gentility. Some points I agree with (that some people will stop at nothing to be “right”) and other points I don’t agree with, but the conversation wasn’t meant for me so, I’ll not engage. But I did want to tell you that your message is well-written and seemed kind.

    I’ll read but otherwise not post here…

    Best wishes all –

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on May 26, 2011

    donna, this conversation is as open to you as it is to frank. you are both ex members of pcusa. you specified what you agreed with in frank’s honest and gentile message…i’m very curious, what was it you disagreed with?

    conversation involves more than just agreeing with each other. any productive conversation involves getting at things we don’t agree with too.

    it’s easy to stay pious and above the fray when you never say anything that might cause controversy. i guess it’s pretty easy to stay clean when you just sit back and let others do the dirty work.

    is this why you are leaving pcusa to go to ucc? is it that, now that all the dirty work is about wrapped up over there, you can stay clean….just sit back and reap the rewards of the hard, dirty work the others have done to make it a warm and welcoming place for you? that would be good timing on your part if that is your motivation…the dirty work is just getting started over here.

    i don’t mean to sound overly harsh…but, hey…i’m just sayin’…

    much love and hope. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on May 26, 2011

    you know what? i think i’m going to make one last comment and then shake the dust from my sandals.

    Jesus said one time, “i didn’t come into this world to bring peace, but to bring a sword.”

    i interpret, yes, frank…i own this, it’s admittedly my interpretation, Jesus has not sat down and explained it to me in detail…that passage in the context of today, and this particular debate.

    somebody has to stand up to gay bashing. i don’t care how honest and gentile, how well written and kind it is….it’s gay bashing.

    frank can dupe all the other gay people in the world with his kindness and gentility, but not this one. frank is a gay basher, plain and simple.

    somebody has to flash the sword, and as usual, that person ends up taking the hits alone.

    i’ve taken all the hits i can for now, donna, yours hit the mark. i am finished.

    may God return me to love and hope.

  • Donna on May 26, 2011

    I’m sorry, I thought this site was “Time to Embrace”

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    me too, donna….i thought it was about embracing issues that conflict us. i don’t see, and i certainly haven’t been instructed here, how you can embrace something you won’t even address.

    from my experience there is only one person here that involves herself in that endevour. at least i have the fearlessness to stand up to the gay bashing that so many others have been doing here.

    whether we’re being bashed with a baseball bat or with a bible…it’s still gay bashing.

    frank isn’t hiding outside a gay bar waiting to jump some innocent kid who’s just been out for a little peace among his peers, but he is providing the “intellectual” and “theological” underpinning for that thug.

    if you won’t stand up to him…(embrace reality) you’ll never get to the thug with the baseball bat. if you aren’t willing to confront frank, then matt shepherd will be beaten senseless, tied to a pole and left to die over and over again.

    you’re right, standing up to frank isn’t embracing his homophobia…it’s confronting it. and you’re right again, not standing up to it is embracing it.

    i’m glad those nice folks over at ucc refused to embrace homophobia, but rather embrace it’s demise.

    have a nice day. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    i am remembering a sermon my old pastor preached on sunday before he left. he ended the sermon with a question for us all. “is the real struggle in the world between good and evil, or could it really be between good and indifference.”

    i’ve seen in this “thread”? a whole lot of evil (gay bashing, homophobia) and even more indifference. and not just passive indifference…but active indifference.

    “frank, you are so wonderful…so kind, so honest, so well spoken, so genteel”…that gay bashing stuff? not worth mentioning.

    active indifference.

    that’s really embracing the time, donna. feeding frank’s (already massive) ego is going to make a whole lot of difference in this world!

    am i going to change frank? heck no, not a chance in the world. but i will stand up to him, i won’t dismiss his homophobia, i will address it and call it what it is. if that means doing anything to be “right” to you, so be it.
    for me, contrary to yours and frank’s dismissiveness of me…it has nothing what so ever to do with *being* right, it’s about *doing* right.

    action.

    i started to say, “i pray it isn’t one of your kids that next gets beaten senseless, tied to a pole and left to die because he’s gay.” (those dirty handed, not so well spoken, non-genteel, not so kind and honest) thugs that frank sics on next….but, then…it’s going to be somebody’s kid…why not yours?

    those testosterone driven, violent monsters out there don’t really give a hoot who they beat the crap out of. beating the crap out of somebody is their mission…it’s frank who points them at us.

    perish the thought that frank would ever stand out there with the baseball bat himself…like you, he likes to keep his hands clean. but, he has to admit…we are not “intellectually” or “theologically” on par with him, we are less than him. you can dress it up in all the well-spoken genteelness you want, but that’s what he says, and that’s what he believes.

    he provides the underpinning, he gives the blessing. he winks and says, “go get ’em boys!” and then, back in the genteel world, he denies it all. the blood isn’t on his hands…they’re as clean as yours.

    maybe not so well spoken, not so kind and genteel…but, hey, don’t i get a point for honesty too? and…rather than avoid it…you have to admit, at least i have “embraced” the issue that conflicts us.

    and now my hip is out of joint.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Frank on May 27, 2011

    @ Janet,

    I’m going to suggest something that I’ve seen done on some other blogs. I’m going to suggest that you ban PJ from further comments on this blog.

    My impression was that this site was supposed to be an invitation and an opportunity to dialogue. PJ’s comments are in no way either invitational nor conducive to open and honest discussion. She berates, engages in ad homenim attacks and name-calling, she seeks to dominate the conversation with multiple, lengthy emotional diatribes, and always insists on having the last word. She seems to lack any rationality and appears to lack the ability to have civil discourse.

    This is your blog and you can have whomever you like commenting here, but as I’d mentioned I’d seen people banned in other places when their incessant, caustic commenting inhibited people from contributing and became poison to the conversation. I basically tend to ignore people like this and I have refused to react to her baiting, but a person can only tolerate so much.

  • Janet Edwards on May 27, 2011

    Dear Frank,

    Deepest thanks for sharing a bit more about your experience–it is really helpful for putting comments here into context.

    Dialogue in cyberspace has some advantages, of course, but just having the words on the page is a difficulty as so much of human interaction comes from knowing aspects of the other person that are unavailable here.

    I take you at your word. Your insights and questions are welcome here.

    Peace, Janet

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    yes, frank…not only am i inferior to you in just all these ways, but i’m gay too! i’m one of those “obnoxious” ones at that!

    why dont’ you stop blowing your own horn for a minute or two and address some of the issues this blog was intended to “address”? why don’t you explain why, in your intellectual and theological superiority, you are better than me?

    why don’t you stop “embracing” yourself and embrace THE issue?

    nah, you can’t be “baited”…you can dish it out, but you can’t take it.

    call mommy, now…and tell her all about that big bad gay girl that’s picking on poor little perfect you!

  • Janet Edwards on May 27, 2011

    Dear Frank and pj,

    I can not ban pj from sharing her self, her convictions and her ideas from this blog.

    My impression is that pj has been banned already in reality and by her own assumptions way too much in this life. I will not join that group.

    Any discomfort you Frank, or I might have when reading what pj shares here is our responsibility, not hers. For myself, I know there is truth in what pj is saying and I need to set aside my discomfort in order to grasp it. I hope you can do this as well.

    One reason this discipline of listening to pj is important is the fact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Presbyterians have been silenced by judgment in the Definitive Guidance of 1978 (until the 2008 GA) and G-6.0106b (to be revised as of July 10, 2011). It takes alot of courage to speak up even now. I hope pj is leading the way for LGBT people to speak up in both the church and our country. And we need to be ready for the same level of anger and despair I hear in pj’s comments here.

    The Brief Statement of Faith in The Book of Confessions declares that the Holy Spirit inspires us to listen to the voices that have long been silenced. We need to listen. pj honors us by speaking. And there is much of value to respond to, not the least of which being the feelings expressed through her words.

    This thread has been, for me, both a reminder of the painful world of the PCUSA for the last 30+ years and a hint of how the church can be different now. I am desperate for us in the church to love one another better into the future.

    Will you all join me in this and start again?

    Peace be with you all, Janet

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    i berate you, frank, because i see in you a gay bashing bigot, a skinhead in a suit and tie…and i stand behind it…and i’d be glad to tell you why i think you are worthy of berating.

    you berate me…you tell me i am less worthy of service to God than you are. why don’t you stand behind it, like a man…tell me what it is about being gay that makes me inferior to you?

    are you blind? it’s easy for everyone to see me berating you…..why can’t you see how you berate me? it’s ok for you to berate me, but, heaven forbid anyone dare berate the great and mighty frank!

    you accuse me of exactly what you do…berate one another….and then you pass judgment and seek condemnation

    you hypocrite!

    let’s see….just what have you contributed to the conversation….ummm…well, we all know what a great, smart and theological giant you are….but, what else have we learned from you? you told us that 10a is scripturally unsound…i printed it out for you and asked to show me where.

    of course, you are too aloof to “embrace” that discussion…that’s way beneath you….shoot! it’s obvious, it’s just us idiots who don’t see it. us poor brain dead fools who have to rely on discernment and interpretation…us peons who can only describe scripture from our own experiences.

    i have invited you to discussion, you have turned me down.

    you hypocrite, you blind guide! you strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

    is that scripturally unsound?

  • Frank on May 27, 2011

    @ Janet,

    “we need to be ready for the same level of anger and despair I hear in pj’s comments here.”

    And you need to be ready for more one-way conversations.

    Peace

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    thank you, janet, for not taking frank’s advice and banning me. during my 23 years in the army and two tours in vietnam, freedom of speech was one principle i clung to, one of the very few good purposes i could see in what i was doing.

    censorship is for those who don’t have the conviction of their own message.

    i tried yesterday to start again. i asked anyone, including frank…to tell us all what they think a homosexual is. it seems to me, that this is what’s at the heart of the “issue that conflicts” us.

    frank stated categorically that 10a is scripturally unsound. i printed it out for him and asked him to show me where.

    frank ignored me. my guess is, that (assming he did) that was the first time he’d ever read it. but, i think if someone is going to make such a pronouncement, maybe just good manners, but he should be willing to tell us why, not just make the statement and then ignore any response.

    i confess, the way i see it, if we’re just going to make statements, read the bible back and forth at one another, tell each other how great we are…and conveniently sidestep the issue…it’s not really much of a “conversation”.

    i wonder, i just really wonder…sometimes i can be awfully naive…but, frank….what do you think i feel when you tell me i’m not good enough to serve God and my church as an ordained servant….just because i’m gay?

    do you not see how that berates me? can you not see how that might provoke a similar response from me?

    i’m honestly wondering this: is the conventional wisdom (that gays are inferior) so deeply engained in straight people that they don’t even know when they are insulting us?

    doesn’t frank, when he separates out all the differnt kinds of love in the world; assign (eros) to homosexuals, and doesn’t seem to think that all these other kinds of love apply to us too?

    how demeaning and condescending that kind of language sounds to a gay person. i hear frank saying that he is capable of agape, but i’m not. i hear frank saying that he’s better than i am.

    i’m human, i can’t respect anybody who thinks that about me from the get go, from before he has ever even spoken to me, before he knows anything at all about me…i am inferior because of the gender of the person i love most.

    i would far rather be hated for who i am than to be worshiped for who i am not. i am not worthy, but neither is frank, or you, or the pope. none of us are, we are all dependant upon His grace.

    i think it’s scripturally unsound to judge one’s self worthy…and especially then to go on and judge another unworthy…just because of how they were born. i can cite plenty of scripture to support that, and if asked, i will.

    i would engage frank in a theological discussion. but, the feeling i get from frank is that he doesn’t think i can keep up with him. it would be an exercise in futility, i get the feeling that he believes he is superior to me in just about every way.

    that’s what i call, self-righteous, condescending and arrogant. that’s the way i read frank’s posts…and he is yet to do anything but furter affirm that attitude in me with each post…right up to suggesting i be silenced….again.

    if anyone wants to converse as an equal, i can be downright approachable. i’m naturally inquisitive and i love hearing and learning about theology. my best friend is a catholic priest. he’s my best friend because we talk about our different views of theology and dogma for hours and hours on end. why this works is: we consider each other equals, neither of us believes we are “THE TRUTH”, we find a whole lot of truth in each other…and you know what? we have found a whole lot more that we do agree on than what we don’t.

    so….what does anybody think a homosexual is? can we start again there?

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    just had to have the last word with janet there, didn’t you frank?

    don’t dispair, i’m sure you can find some little girls around somewhere to bully, they can’t fight back very well.

  • Donna on May 27, 2011

    I’ve been asked here why I have chosen to leave the PC(USA) and it’s this…right here…this kind of badmouthing and the inability to be sincere and kind in the spirit of Christ.

    And before I am labeled further, I did work on this issue for 106b revision. It’s important to point out that over the years and through conversations I’ve heard the lament of not being engaged by convservatives (Why don’t they trust us?). Well this serves as an answer: bait and bash. It’s like being punk’d or hoaxed. Tell us what you think so we can call you a bigot.

    Hate, whether learned on the conservative side or the liberal side, is exactly that: learned, and the only remedy is sincere conversation and education. If it’s understood that no matter how much they (conservatives) try to “beat it into us” that God doesn’t accept us, we will only believe that God DOES accept us, how can we possidbly think that if we try to beat our beliefs into them that it will work? And please don’t respond with “Frank did it first.” That only deserves a “grow up.”

    Furthermore justification of hate or anger by using Jesus’ action of clearing the temple of moneychangers is misuse of scripture. Jesus, the Son of God, was indignant over the corruption of the temple, His house of prayer. He cleared it in anger in order to bring glory to God. That is not what is happening here. This is self-righteous justification of self with no attempt to bring God glory.

    The result is that conservatives can point to this discussion and say “See?” Also what has transpired here is the issuance of a double-standard: don’t bash us, but we can bash you all we want. I’m sorry, but I’m not a believer in that just because we’re gay we can get away with unseemly behavior like this (to wish that someone else’s son would die like Matthew Shepard? Oh my…)

    Well, you have your an answer.

    Donna

  • Donna on May 27, 2011

    Frank, with regard to your post to Janet on May 26, 2011 at 3:33 pm, I would like to ask you to consider something (and please don’t feel that you have to post a response). Could you comfortably worship with and be taught in church by your gay friend, knowing him to be a good person?

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    donna. i think it is entirely disingenuous, if not an outright lie for you to say that i “wished” someone’s child would die like matthew shepard. what i said was, it’s happening and it’s going to continue to happen for as long as we (lbgt) people don’t stand up to the bullying and gay bashing from people like frank, the inspiration for the thugs in the field.

    you just put words in my mouth, and i don’t appreciate it. i have no problem saying exactly what i mean to say.

    and too…you state categorically that i misused scripture when i used Jesus’ example in the temple. who do you think you are that you know my heart? how can you say, factually, that i did not make the reference specifically to bring glory to God. not everybody does it your way, donna, and you aren’t the judge of my heart anymore than frank is.

    i don’t see where you lying about me and passing judement on my heart as bringing any kind of glory to God.

    hypocrite!

    there, you have my nasty (grow up) response to your nasty post.

    what do you think a homosexual is?

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on May 27, 2011

    …and WHO are YOU to question MY choices? If you want to know why I left the PC(USA), read it on the UCC site.

    Do you know honestly that Bill sends out thugs to beat up gay people? Are you bearing false witness?

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    thank you for that last post, donna. that is both instructive and engaging. that’s what i’ve been just dying to hear.

    if frank will egage you in this question i will be THRILLED to shut up and listen.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on May 27, 2011

    PJ, Don’t call me a liar…

    This is from your post:
    “i started to say, “i pray it isn’t one of your kids that next gets beaten senseless, tied to a pole and left to die because he’s gay.” (those dirty handed, not so well spoken, non-genteel, not so kind and honest) thugs that frank sics on next….but, then…it’s going to be somebody’s kid…why not yours?”

    Hypocrite?

    Bait and bash…

    Donna

  • Donna on May 27, 2011

    I hope Frank considers it prayerfully and doesn’t post. You just want to bash him.

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    liar. where in there do you see where i wished any child would die? i said, “it’s going to happen, might as well be your child as the next person’s. a child is a child, yours, mine or the next person’s.

    sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you are a fool, then to open it and prove the fact.

    bait and bash.

    hypocrite!

  • Donna on May 27, 2011

    Yep, back to one-way conversations…one hand clapping…

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    yep, now that you’ve made a total fool of yourself and exposed yourself as the lying, hypocrite that you are….time to bow out.

    but, i’d still like to hear frank address your question. lying, hypocrite that you are…it was a good question, a conversation starter.

    i’m all ears.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    so, donna….now that you’ve shown us that you aren’t really all that pious and holier than thou, that you can get angry and express your anger…in ways that don’t bring glory to God…just like the rest of us mere humans, what do you think a homosexual is?

    i’m dying to discuss (converse) about the issues…will you engage that?

  • Donna on May 27, 2011

    Angry? Who’s angry?

    No, I will not engage you further, you have either the office of “ha’satan” or you are a mighty prophet whom none can sway.

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    God, why is it so hard for you to be honest? you are mad as a hornet, donna.

    one thing i have learned in this long life of mine: all cowards are not necessarily bullies, but all bullies are cowards.

    bye

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    i’m guessing that you don’t see me as a prohphet, donna, so you must think i’m satanic.

    personally, i think that might be a little over the top…maybe just your anger talking…but at any rate, being so pious and high and mighty, i’m sure your words have to be bringing glory to God….after all, eveything you do and say has that outcome.

    nah, i’m not satan, i’m just another lowly sinner, trying to find my way to God….and survive ’till i get there.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    ‘thou shalt not bear false witness…..”as in, lying about what someone else has said. now where did i read that?

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    oh yeah! it was in one of your posts, donna……ooopppss! (blush) sorry

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    i said, and i stand by it…that it is frank, and those who think like him, that provide the underpinning for those thugs who go out into the street and beat the crap out of gay kids.

    frank tells them that their “theology” is sound. these people aren’t rocket scientists, they aren’t leaders, they are followers. frank’s “white collar” bigotry supports them, provides their infrastructure in the real world.

    i’m not bearing false witness, i think anybody who can put two and two together and come up with four twice in a row can figure that out.

    what is it that these thugs say when they get caught…”they’re perverts, they deserve it…it’s in the bible!”

    it is frank (and those who think like him) who reads the bible for them….somebody has to, they couldn’t make heads nor tails out of it for themselves….come to think of it….neither can a lot of the readers.

    i didn’t lie on anybody, did you?

    oh, i forgot….you can’t engage me anymore, it’s beneath your pious self to even converse with one so satanic as i.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    once president truman was out on the camapign trail. somebody shouted at him, “give ’em hell, harry!”

    president truman shot back, “i don’t give ’em hell, i just tell the truth on them and they think it’s hell.”

    much love and hope. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on May 27, 2011

    and, too, donna….you make me look so empathic. your explanation for why you left pcusa fits precisely with what i surmised.

    the blood and guts, the hard, dirty work…is just getting started over here. there, it’s all done and cleaned up…so you can stay above the fray, keep your snow white hands clean.

    good for you!!

  • Gordon Clason on May 28, 2011

    What are you calling sin? Leviticus 19:24 clearly says it’s a sin to shave your beard. Church organizations which allow shaving are encouraging sin. Sodom and Gomorrah, on the other hand were destroyed fo the sin of pride according to the word of God in Ezekiel.

  • Gordon Clason on May 28, 2011

    But when you discriminate against others you ARE hateful. Your actions speak louder than your words. 1 John 4:20 says “if a man says he loves God, but hates his brother, he is a liar.”

  • Gordon Clason on May 28, 2011

    Again, which scripture are you talking about? Leviticus 19:19 says it’s a sin to wear clothing woven of two fibers, are you following that command of God? Or are you sinning? If you only use scripture when you can point it at others, your actions are actions of hatred.

  • Gordon Clason on May 28, 2011

    You are mistaken. The Bible does NOT tells us (either one of us) that honmosexuality is an Abomination to the Lord. Your presumption that the King James homophobic translators always got the perfect English equivalent for some very complex Hebrew concepts is wrong.

  • Gordon Clason on May 28, 2011

    Do you even know what context is? Here is the context: 1 Judge not, that ye be not bjudged.

    2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be cmeasured to you again.

    3 And why beholdest thou the bmote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

    4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

    5 Thou ahypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

  • Janet Edwards on May 28, 2011

    Dear pj, Donna, Frank, Bill, and David,

    So here we are. What I see at this point in this thread are bloodied bodies lying around, all wounded, all breathing deeply and trying to get up again. I have so desired something different.

    I have been forcefully reminded of Paul’s observation that everything is lawful but not all things build up. I hope we can all agree that this exchange has lost its ability to build us up. For me, it documents how the PCUSA came to this moment because this is the way we have talked with one another for 40 years (and probably longer).

    pj, the question before us here is not “what do you think a homosexual is?” I don’t think a conversation about that would build us up as a community. I don’t use the word “homosexual,” now because it is not the choice of identifier of the people being referred to and what is most important to me is the actual people involved, not terms. We can debate terms forever and not build ourselves up in Christ.

    The question here is “how can the new G-6.0106a and b lead us into the kind of conversation in the PCUSA which does build us up in Christ?” Whether you consider yourself a Presbyterian or not, your thoughts on this are valuable. It is not just a need in the PCUSA but in the Church Universal, in our country and in the world.

    For me 10A asks us to look at the gifts and preparation for service in the church. Those called to service are expected to articulate that call using Scripture, the Book of Confessions and the ordination questions. And those who assess readiness for service as leader, deacon or minister are to do that, too, from the foundation of Scripture, the confessions and the ordination questions. And that requires conversation, as we know, because there are a variety of understandings in the church of these foundational documents.

    I know others see the new G-6.0106 a and b differently. how do you see it?

    I hope we can gather ourselves and have that conversation.

    Peace, Janet

  • pennyjane hanson on May 28, 2011

    dear janet. thank you for trying to return us to the point. i kept asking the question about what one thinks a homosexual is as a starting point. it seems that is the basis for why so many people appose 10a, it’s not about the language itself, it’s that it opens the door to homosexual ordination.

    i get the feeling, and especially from frank’s post talking about love, that the antagonists don’t really know what homosexuality actually is.

    it seems many define us as sexual creatures, and not much more. i think that’s what you’re getting at when you admonish me against the question…defining the whole of us by our sexual orientation. i’d hoped that if we could understand homosexuality itself it might lead to a clearer examination of 10a itself.

    i have looked at 10a from almost every direction….we have had some very productive discussions at church on the subject, and compared it to the old language in 06b.

    the only definable difference i can see in the language is this: 10a asks us not to pre-judge. 10a asks us to consider each and every person who comes before us, apply scripture, the book of confessions and the Holy Spirit and make assessments of them in the here and now, each as an individual, not a member of any “class”.

    it addresses, institutionally, just what we have seen in this thread…and not only the scripture you quoted from paul, but that very powerful admonition from Jesus in matt: 23…as we judge others, we cannot avoid hypocricy.

    none of us, from the lowest to the highest, none of us who judge the hearts and minds of another human being can avoid hypocricy…none of us are worthy, we all (ALL) fall short of the glory of God. i think 10a attempts to have us look at our own unworthiness as we consider others, try to avoid that hypocricy with humility and submit to scripture and the Holy Spirit.

    it asks us to address those very individual reference points that frank seems to so detest, with scripture and the Holy Spirit. i think 10a acknowledges the existance of these individual reference points, and that they cannot be eliminated, but asks us to be aware of them and assess in harmony with ourselves, scripture and the Holy Spirit.

    i have considered 10a from a skeptical point of view as well. owning that it might lead to some “special” consideration for homosexuals. making myself be aware of my own individual refernce point (bias) i have looked into the words trying to find that “special treatment for homosexuals”…i think it can only be found in the eye of an individual who avoids awareness of his own bias.

    this is why, as someone who has looked at 10a, it’s wording, it’s meaning, it’s life blood…i was led to the assumption that when frank pronouned it as “counter to scripture” that he most likely had never even read it. i presumed that he was coming at it from his “bias” and nothing more. 10a (conventional wisdom) opens the door to gay ordination, that’s anti-scriptural from frank’s bias, so if this 10a does that, it’s anti-scriptural.

    i think it actually does just the opposite of that. it asks us to be aware of…not attempt to conquer (an exercise in futility) but to be aware of our own bias and haromize that with scripture and the Holy Spirit…whatever our own bias might be.

    knowing that this, and being aware, is necessarily seen from my own individual reference point (bias) i own it, it is not THE TRUTH. 10a further instructs me on scripture itself. the bible is THE TRUTH, but i am ill equipped to fully comprehend THE TRUTH. i am only able to discern it from my own experiences, my own intelligence and the power of my own human discernment.

    i think i share this *bias* with every other human being on earth. i think this is why i take such offense when people relate to me THE TRUTH, as if it weren’t coming from their own *bias*. when people avoid such terms as, “it’s my opinion” that scripture says this, or “i think” this or that…but rather feel themselves “above” bias, their reading is “THE READING” and all others are by definition, anti-scriptural.

    i can learn, i can be corrected…i don’t know THE TRUTH, i’m just on a long, curvy road towards it…one with not all that many road signs along the way…and many road signs that have been tampered with, signs that lead me, and my bias, in the wrong directions. i have to discern those signs, feel from my own heart (bias) or i will just stand still. i make mistakes, i go wrong…but i’m always willing to address it…discern the next sign and with *HOPE* try to get back on course.

    i am not a “done deal”, i have not arrived. i’m still struggling with my own human weaknesses, sometimes floundering around like a blind fool, but never standing still.

    donna says i’m either a satanic figure, or a prophet. well, i’m not prophet, prophets speak the Word of God, i speak the word of pennyjane and i know it! God does, seemingly, pick the most unlikely people to be His prophets, but, and this is just my opinion, He usually lets them know that they are speaking His Words, not their own.

    so, according to first bill, and now donna, i am satanic. i find that very sad…coming not from God, but from other floundering human beings. i will say i think you are wrong, i will even say i think you are VERY wrong…but to pronounce another as ‘satanic*? that’s a very scary thing to me…that’s just way, way, way above my paygrade. i’d be terrified, in my own human weakness and blindness, that i might have just pronounced Jesus as satanic.

    as a christian community, i think that’s something we should avoid at all cost. *all those things….for Christ is all, Christ is in all.” i own this: in all of paul’s teachings, in all his letters to all the church’s he wrote to…this seems to be a prime, re-occuring theme of his, “Christ is in all”.

    God bless us all, with much love and hope. pj

  • Janet Edwards on May 28, 2011

    Dear pj,

    This is the voice from you that facilitates the conversation–THANKS for it!!

    An elder from a very conservative church in my presbytery introduced herself to me at a meeting and we had lunch a few times. When I raised the idea that I might come and talk with an adult SUnday school class at her church, she told me that the view of many at her church is that I am the one Jesus refers to when He says .”Whoever causes one of these little ones to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea (Mk 9:42, Mt 18:6-7, Lk 17:1-2).”

    I thought, Wow! This is what they think of me. No wonder they have no interest in talking with me at all. I took it as a true refection of their opinion of me and its a pretty sobering situation. I did not take it as truth about my self. I stored it away for further inventory of myself regarding how I might lead little ones into sin because that is not something I want to do.

    I see this comment made to me as comparable to the use of “satanic” in this thread. I think a lot of what you said following that comment had merit, but did it build up the church, did it further the conversation? I think your musings now indicate your own answer to that.

    All of us are allowed our opinions–each one has the potential for being inspired by the Holy Spirit–and to express them. We are not to try to hurt or demean another person and we know our words can sometimes do that without and such intention on our part.

    I agree with you about the purpose and value of the new G-6.0106 a and b. And I hope others have stayed with us and will offer their opinions on its meaning and on the contribution it can make to the life of the PCUSA.

    Peace, Janet

  • Donna on May 28, 2011

    Janet, I used “the office of ha’satan” which equates to “the accuser,” and my meaning in using it was that either that PJ is always accusing or is perhaps a prophet who can, like a psychic, discern the feelings and thoughts of others without knowing that person or their heart. In either case, there is no diussion, only a slap in the face for sharing. How can someone put forth their views for discussion and sincere sharing when all they get is accused of being bigots? What difference does such sharing make if the discussion doesn’t lead to edification but to name-calling and emotional pander? So I have great sympathy for Frank, Bill and David, and anyone else who has been so treated. They had the courage to post here, but all they got was a bashing. These people wanted sincere conversation about the issue and now they are not likely to return.

    Since emails are required, you could reinstate the monitoring of posts and if they are unseemly, email notification could be sent.

  • pennyjane hanson on May 28, 2011

    donna, please…if you are going to gripe about bashing….please, stop the bashing.

    does that make any sense to you?

  • pennyjane hanson on May 28, 2011

    donna. “ha satan” is apparently something that i have not yet to ponder in scripture. but, in all honesty, the “satan” reference was enough to discern your meaning. am i wrong?

    i just posted a very serious and somewhat detailed look at my vision of 10a, and what it means to the church. the stated subject of this blog.

    rather than address that, you chose to come back and just continue the bashing. if you really want it to stop, be the leader, stop it. put your money where your mouth is, so to speak.

    i agree, here and now…that in all future posts i will watch very carefully how my posts might be seen as bashing. i can do no more than that.

    if the conversation, the look at the issues, is important enough to you, then let’s give it a try.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Janet Edwards on May 28, 2011

    Dear Donna and pj,

    I just returned from our local worship service to mark the passing of 10A. It’s title was “Called as Partners in Christ’s Service: A Worship Service Celebrating Spiritual Gifts.” The preacher quoted some words of Oscar Wilde: Every saint has a past and every sinner a future.

    I guess that holds true for blog threads as well.

    I certainly hope that David, Bill and Frank have not left us. We can choose both to refrain from bashing others on this site–as pj has pledged to try to do–and to perceive what another is saying as NOT meant to bash anyone even though, to our own ear, it may sound like bashing.

    Both of these are needed to have a good dialogue.

    Serious bashing and perception of bashing have been terrible dragging weights on conversation in the PCUSA for decades. And we will continue limping along if we keep these ways of being together in the church. We have suffered in this space in the same way the church has suffered. I hope our experience will inspire us to try another way.

    I trust you are both willing to try in Christ to continue to talk.

    Peace be with you both, Janet

  • pennyjane hanson on May 28, 2011

    hi janet. that very scripture the elder used to describe you (as an individual) is something that inspires me as well….and not in very different ways than it does her. we just see it from different points of reference, different experiences.

    apparently, and this is of course an assumption on my part, this elder thought that many of the people in her congregation felt like yours was the voice of evil (satanic?) that would lead them into the world of sin and darkness. i can see that point of view very clearly from my own point of view.

    the difference is the person identified. you, in her case…the “greater church” in mine.

    when i see the church denying access, or even limiting access to a full church life for children who are gay, i suspect we are setting ourselves (the church) up for the same judgment. two Holy Spirit filled christians reading the same scripture and apparently understanding it in the same way, but applying it in diametric directions.

    i wonder, did you find any common ground with this woman?

    if i may, i’d like to explain my perspective. when i was three years old i “revealed” my transsexualism to my family. i didn’t, of course, sit down and explain transsexualism to them, but i made all kinds of fusses about not wanting to be a boy, but wanting to be a girl. this began at the same time i learned there was a difference between boys and girls.

    this wasn’t about anything else but my feelings. it wasn’t about dressing, in my family at the time, it was all boys, we all dressed alike. mom was a grown up, she just dressed weird anyway. it certainly had nothing to do with genitalia (yet) and absolutely nothing to do with any conception of sexuality. i just believed i was a girl and that was that, to me.

    at first all of this was just kind of cutesy to the familiy…a childish eccentricty. by the time i was four, though, the cutsey had all worn off. now they began to take it a little more seriously, i wasn’t “getting over” it.

    their “serious” approach to it was this:

    “you are a boy, you will always be a boy…get used to it. boys who want to be girls are sick, dirty and embarrassing. boys who want to be girls will go to hell.” in my four year old brain, and having already been taught that hell was where they put you when God was done with you, it soon became clear to me that i was going to hell. (period). i was a boy who wanted to be a girl and there was not a thing in the world i could do about it.

    i bought into it, i couldn’t challenge my parents wisdom, they were the personification of wisdom to me. so, i had to accept that at the end of it all, no matter what else i ever did, i was going to hell anyway. kids don’t often “get” the concept of grace, it’s actions that make the difference between heaven and hell to them, so what i learned from this was, my actions don’t matter, i’m going to hell anyway.

    not much motivation for me to be good there. so, my only motivation was to behave, or don’t get caught. morality wasn’t a consideration to me growing up, i was immoral from the get go.

    that’s what i think the church teaches lgbt children. morality is irrelevant to them personally. we don’t teach them a respect for morality, we teach them the opposite, a dismissiveness of it.

    i find that kind of funny….we teach them disrespect for morality and then accuse them of being immoral when they grow up.

    as a church, when we do this, i think it would be better for us to tie a millstone around the neck of the whole body and toss it into the sea.

    two Holy Spirit filled christians, reading the same scripture in much the same way, arriving at diametic applications.

    did you ever find common ground with that elder?

    much love and hope. pj

  • Janet Edwards on May 29, 2011

    Dear pj,

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us–it is an immense gift.

    Michael Adee, the executive director of More Light Presbyterians, recently shared a story he heard Bishop Gene Robinson tell. Bishop Robinson was meeting with a group of young gay men. None of them had ever been inside a church their entire lives. Nevertheless, every single one of those men were convinced that they were condemned to hell. The church has cast this shadow over the lives of these young people. We in the PCUSA are complicit and the revision of G-6.0106b is only one step in the amendment of our ways and repentance for our sin.

    I think this story reaches the same conclusion your life brought you to, pj.

    So I do share the same application of Mark 9:42 as you do but I did not share it with that conservative elder. I listened to her, taking in her interpretation of it and pondering how to speak into her point of view. I am certain that sharing my interpretation would not have been helpful.

    I am fairly certain that sharing of experience,as you do here, is more likely to have an impact upon her, especially such sharing by a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual person she knows well even loves. This courageous sharing starts people like her searching for another way to understand Scripture. Then we can begin to talk about other possible meanings of passages in the Bible.

    Even then, I would not start with Mark 9:42. It is simply a spiritual discipline on my part not to judge others. I may think it but I do not say it because Jesus told us not to. Period. There are hosts of other ways to continue the conversation. In fact, the last 40 years in the PCUSA have taught me that judging others is always a non-starter for dialogue. This is also why it is out for me.

    My common ground with this elder includes that we read the Bible, we claim Jesus as Lord and Savior, we find ourselves in the PCUSA together, we are active in a congregation, we are married, we exercise to lose weight, we like music. Those are the things I remember. I appreciate that she reached out to me. I am sorry that we have not met in a good while.

    There is always common ground. It is an art form to find it. And finding it is necessary because the conversation is necessary. For the church to make amends for the sins you and I see, the dialogue is crucial. Tossing the church into the pond is for God to do (or not do–may it be so). What God requires of us is to love.

    I look forward to your further thoughts and those of whoever else is listening in.

    Peace, Janet

  • pennyjane hanson on May 29, 2011

    thank you janet. gene robinson is indeed a remarkable man. his wisdom never fails to amaze me.

    i think the fact that all these young gay men had never set foot in a church in their lives and yet felt bound for hell is a testament to the long reach of the christian church in our country. whether used for good or evil, it’s a most influencial institution.

    i do know some agnostic and atheist people who dismiss our full humanity with similar zeal to our christian detractors. the difference is, to me, that when this life is over they can see their way to setting us free while our christian brothers and sisters condemn us now and forever more.

    not much in the way of comfort, but at least the athiests offer some hope of escape. our christian brothers and sisters of that mindset offer none…i honestly think there is a connection there between the numbers of lbgt people who follow pagan or about any other doctrine than christianity: rather than eternal hell, they are taught that at least there is some hope at the end of the tunnel, even if it’s only a final death.

    this is not bashing the church, it’s just an observation.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Janet Edwards on May 30, 2011

    Dear pj,

    You speak of a dynamic of the past decades that troubles me terribly: the church has driven people away from Christ.

    As my friend, Jean, says, not every Christian is a follower of Jesus.

    We have a great deal of work before us as followers of Jesus to make amends for this.

    Peace, Janet

  • Bill on May 31, 2011

    Janet

    You said” As my friend, Jean, says, not every Christian is a follower of Jesus”.

    After all the posts on here, thats kind of ironic dont you think?

  • Janet Edwards on May 31, 2011

    Dear Bill,

    Please know, BIll, what a blessing it is for me to hear from you here again. Thank you.

    It may not surprise you that irony was a very difficult concept for me to grasp in high school English. I can see why looking back as I was then the same way I am now–very earnest, very committed to saying what I mean. Irony with its layers of meanings is a challenge for me.

    Given all that, I need you to elaborate some more on how you find Jean’s comment “ironic.” What do you see in it that strikes you as ironic?

    I certainly am aware that both ends of the theological spectrum in the PCUSA could rather easily agree with Jean. Each would see themselves as the true followers of Jesus and those they disagree with as the nominal Christians. Is that what you are alluding to, or something else?

    How to be a colleague in ministry in this situation is huge challenge for me. What wisdom can you bring to bear on this conundrum for the church?

    I hope you and all following this offer your prayerful answers.

    Peace be with you all, Janet

  • pennyjane hanson on May 31, 2011

    i do hope you will address janet’s question to you, bill. i think i might see the same irony you are suggesting, but i’d like to hear more about it from you, not me.

    one voice that is defeningly absent, and i would really love to hear from…are those voting members of psusa who voted in favor of 10a, not because they are lgbt or very close to someone who is, but those who based their vote on their theology or their understanding of God’s call and how it is expressed in 10a.

    i think hearing that voice might be very useful to us all.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on June 4, 2011

    Janet, the irony as I see it, is everyone here that has posted thinks “they” are the one going to heaven. Its the “other guy” who isnt.

    Pj, I too would like to hear from others that voted for this that are not lgbt. Makes me wonder…..

  • pennyjane hanson on June 4, 2011

    good morning bill, and what an unexpected pleasure it is to hear from you.

    i see the irony you suggest…and i think alot of it is true and i’m glad you didn’t exclude yourself from that ironic dynamic.

    where i think i’d have to disagree just a bit is here…i don’t think anyone here is not going to heaven..in fact, i believe just the opposite! i expect that everyone i meet here on this earth i will be reunited with in heaven.

    since i see the final judgment of any of us as wholly the purview of God and He alone, that’s the only rational judgment i can make…until proven otherwise, we’re all going to heaven. by “proven otherwise” i mean we get there and someone else isn’t among us.

    i, honestly and sincerely, cannot imagine the absense of even one. that may not be entirely scriptural, but it’s the only place i can honestly hang my hat. when i say, “i’ll see you in heaven,” i believe that, i expect it to be so.

    as judgment is not my responsibility, i choose to leave it completely to God and assume everyone else to be in my same condition. as i believe with all my heart that the Lord will, in the end, save me from all my sins, i believe He will be just as kind and forgiving with everyone else. i can’t make any more sense of “salvation” than that.

    bill, as harsh and judgmental as i can be in this world, i understand that kind of stuff is coming from me, not God. i don’t speak for Him, and i (being decidedly NOT a prophet) would not even want to. i have come to grips with my limitatations. judging the eternal destiny of another soul is impossible for me, so, yes, i CHOOSE to assume the best in such matters as that. that is a matter of such profound magnatude that even the prospect scares the heck out of me. I am so glad there is a GOD to take that burden from me.

    nope, for me at least, the other guy “is too.”

    can i ask you this: what is it you wonder about when you ponder the motives of those who are in no way lgbt affiliated and yet are willing to step off the cliff and vote for 10a?

  • Donna on June 4, 2011

    Hi Bill,

    I’m hoping we all see each other there!

    Donna

  • Bill on June 4, 2011

    Donna, I pray we all make it too!

    Pj, I wish everyone would make it, but Jesus himself, said it aint so. Not everyone that calls him Lord is going to make the journey.
    To answer your question: First I know less than a dozen Presbyterians so this in no way is a a “majority”, but, the few I know voted against this. All of them are “straight” or whatever the proper term is.So, it just makes me wonder on a grand scale, how many voted for or against strictly because of their being lgbt affiated. Does that make sense? And of the few I know, most have either left their church and coming to mine ( Yay!) or are thinking about it.
    And just so we’re are clear here, my concern is that scripture says a minister should be “above reproach”. This means he/she should be living as close to a Godly/sinless life as possible.Not that anyone can, but they need to be obeying God as close as humanly possible.I know Janet and I disagree on the “above reproach” definition, but if you look it up, its right there in black and white.Having said that, I believe that lgbt folks should be in church sitting right next to me. And I do have strong feelings about all this. I had a nephew that died of AIDS. He and I were close. I used to ask him if he wasnt concerned about disobeying God. He always replied that he was going to heaven anyway and that no one is perfect and on and on. To make a long story short. He was on his death bed at the hospital when I went to see him one last time and he confided in me that he always knew God objected to his life style. All I’m saying is it makes me wonder…….

  • pennyjane hanson on June 5, 2011

    hi bill. well, just to share some of my experience as a member of pc(usa).

    the only people who were even permitted to vote were the ordained. that necessarily leaves most gay folks out of the voting. since 1978 it has become very difficult for any person other than married or chaste heterosexuals to become ordained. we have been asked to swear that we will only express our sexuality within marriage, which, according to presbyterian doctrine is between one man and one woman. this excludes all homosexuals who choose not to live in celebacy. it excludes half of our bisexual brothers and sisters who choose not to live a sexless life. transsexuals can be considered “gay” whichever gender we might love.

    so, while the eligible voters are skewed heavily towards married hetersexuals, the vote itself is pretty convincingly in favor of 10a. so, i have to agree with you on that….most of the voters likely were not gay affiliated, they were more likely influenced by scripture and the Holy Spirit…which, apparently, urged them to end the discrimination.

    your belief that gay people cannot live a christian life above reproach is, in my mind, a falicay…we can and we do, all the time. i think that it is this that separates us…this is the one thing that we cannot ever agree on. personally, i think a lot of those presbyterian ordained simply thought that if they were going to err, they’d rather do it in favor of, what they see as, the greater message of Jesus Christ, love and inclusion…instead of fear and exclusion based on only a few passages in scripture. they chose to take a broader view.

    i can’t tell you how sad i am to hear that you lost a brother to aids, i have had that same experience, and it is devastating. my little brother, bobby, though…claimed Jesus as his Lord and Savior right up to the end…and i am very comforted by that….he did not leave this world believing himself bound for hell…oh my, how greatful i am for that! how greatful i am for Jesus MCC in indianapolis for that!

    i think the experience of your brother is particularily sad, believing that…so sad, so alone…he must have felt completely unloved. it’s just terrible!

    i feel very, very sorry for your little brother, but i can’t say that it makes me think more of you.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on June 5, 2011

    Hi Bill,

    I hope it’s okay for me to respond, but when you say “it’s there in black and white,” it’s clear you’re referencing the Bible. Am I right in this?

    If so, I have some questions for you. How is that we can point to specific scriptures in the Bible to say that homosexuality is wrong (i.e., Leviticus, Romans), and yet disregard other scriptures (for example, the prohibition of eating shellfish? Or in an opposite example, the condoning of slavery? Or, that women should be silent in the church?). This is all in black and white, and yet we choose to retain the scriptures against homosexuality. I am as yet a student in all of this and cannot reconcile that in my mind. How do you reconcile it? I hope you will take the time to answer…

    Donna

  • Donna on June 5, 2011

    Bill,

    I’m delighted you are welcoming to glbt people attending church alongside you!! It is a testament to your love!

    Donna

  • Bill on June 5, 2011

    Hi Donna. Of course you can comment! And what a great question!! How can we point to scripture in one place and not another. Problem is I have to go to work and need to answer a couple emails. Your question has an answer, but a rather lengthy one. So, I’ll have to get back to you on that: and I will! Truely this is an awesome question…..
    Pj, thank you but it was my nephew not brother. I could have typed it wrong and didnt go look. I’m working double shifts at work and am really tired. I’m not sure why you think he was unloved though! He was not alone. He was loved by the entire family and much of th little community. It was a sad day of course when he left, but he repented before he did so it was also a great day. And you have to remember HE said he always new he was rebeling against God. Not me, or his mother or….He said that. Something I’ve noticed. You always conclude that if I disagree with you on the lgbt issue it must have something to do with “fear” or “hatred”. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I may like tomatoes and you may not. But it doesnt mean anything except we disagree. I often fish with with an atheist friend, doesnt mean I hate him or fear him. We just disagree ( fertile fields and all).

  • pennyjane hanson on June 5, 2011

    bill, yes you said nephew. i think that your presentation of him repenting of his “lifestyle”, meaning being gay i assume, speaks for itself about how loved he felt in those last minutes.

    it seems that lonliness, fear and confusion must have led to that confession, but…i have no doubt God will forgive that last indescretion, repenting of what God has done, and lovingly and mercifully welcome him into the kindgom of heaven anyway.

    bill, i think that God will even forgive you for your part in creating that ultimate dispair in him at that time. i think He will lovingly forgive you your ignorance and welcome you into the kingdom as well.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on June 5, 2011

    Pj, I dont mean to be rude, but you dont know what your talking about. You dont know what relationship he and I had. To say that I was responsible for his dispair…is beyond ignorant. You dont know what lead to his repenting, maybe, just maybe he had enough of the lie and decided to be honest with the Lord. I dont know, and you sure dont.You talk of others having such fear and hate. And you are the most hate filled person in the room. I’m off to work…

  • pennyjane hanson on June 5, 2011

    bill. i’m sure this is beyond you, it’s not just simple, black and white stuff, but requires just a bit of a capactity for critical thinking…but i’ll say it for the benefit of others.

    i’m sure the “theology” that kept finding ways to deal with, treat aids patients, off the agenda for so very long is nothing of your doing!

    after all, your responsibility begins and ends with knowing quite surely that it is impossble for any gay person to live an exemplary life in Christ. that’s not judging us harsly, it’s just stating the facts.

    i’m sure, bill, you can’t make the connection…in your very well ordered, black and white, ever so simple view of the world…that’s beyond you entirely.

    to be perfectly honest with you bill, i don’t even believe that story you tell. it sounds contrived…precisely what i’d expect to read in the “ex-gay” texts. word for word, line for line. how the gay guy, finally admitting that his whole life was a lie, repented and found God.

    actaully, it’s quite nausiating.

    have a nice day. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on June 5, 2011

    donna, that’s how i “engage” that kind of biogtry…straight up and honest.

    and i have no doubt, that my approach will end up being just as effective as yours. in the end, after all the shells fall, bill will believe that you and i are incapable of living exemplary lives in Christ because of our lying, perverse “lifestyles”. period.

    much love and hope. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on June 5, 2011

    donna. i don’t mean that i don’t see the face of Christ in your approach, i do. i see the “turn the other cheek” face…and it is lovely, it is kind, it is beautiful.

    but scripture shows us another face of Jesus too. the face who screams at the pharisees, “woe to you, you teachers of the law! you blind guides! you hypocrites!” or the face of Jesus who walked into the temple, overturned the tables of the moneychangers, screaming in outrage, “how dare you defile My Father’s house!!!”

    bill, and his fellow “theologans” believe a little of that…he thinks it’s ok for us to visit God’s house, but we can’t live there. that’s outrageous! how dare he defile God’s house in such a manner! how dare he presume to tell God who might live in HIS house?

    baloney! this whole thing has reached such a point of phoniness that i no longer wish to participate.

  • Donna on June 5, 2011

    Bill,

    It will be great to hear from you…and I meant to say that I’m sorry for your loss. Too many people die from AIDS, too young. Oh, that Jesus were here on earth and would heal all that ails us!

    Sincerely,

    Donna

  • Janet Edwards on June 5, 2011

    Dear Donna, Bill and pj,

    We have returned to the central, sensitive place: how we read Scripture, how we connect ourselves with God and with Jesus, and how we behave as Christians with others.

    I look for Bill returning when he is ready to address Donna’s question about approach to Scripture. I would put it this way: Why does Leviticus 20:13 take precedence over John 12:32 or the other way around?

    I identify with pj’s humility in clarifying that we are not God. And I would put it this way: I have my ideas about God in Christ. I act in this world trying to obey Jesus based upon those ideas. I know I answer to God for the ideas I have. And I think all of us taking this step back from claiming Truth per se and, then, claiming each of our own idea of Truth will help us to be in dialogue. I hope that makes sense.

    I have paused in wonder for a moment at the stark reality you, pj and Bill, have placed before us:

    Two dying gay men. One is assured of salvation in Christ and dies. One is assured of salvation if he repents of same gender love which he does and dies.

    What the passing of 10A has done is allow the voice of the first application of Scripture and Christian life here to be heard in the church as the other has been all along. Now these different ways of how we understand lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians in relation to God will both be able to breath and speak in the church. Both will be able to show how they arise from Scripture and what fruits each bears.

    I am glad this dialogue is going on here–it is my heart’s desire, however difficult at times. May it continue.

    Peace be with you all, Janet

  • Bill on June 5, 2011

    Janet, I’m at work so I’ll make this short and sweet. I opened up to Pj and everyone else reading this. And what did I get for it.I get called a liar! From someone that says they are a Christian…..we cant have dialog with that going on…..

  • Donna on June 5, 2011

    Bill,

    We don’t all feel that way. I’m eager to hear what you have to say…

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 5, 2011

    wait a minute, bill….you didn’t say you hate me…you just said i’m a congentital sinner bound for hell. i only pervieced hate from that.

    by the same standard, i didn’t call you a liar, i just said i didn’t believe your story. you just percieved that i called you a liar.

    which standard to you want to apply to us all?

    oh, that’s right…you like the double standard thing…you can call a spade a spade, but how dare i do the same?

    hypocrite!

  • pennyjane hanson on June 5, 2011

    according to you my whole life is one big lie….and then you whine when you get called out for lying once.

    you have no sense of fairness about you at all. if i won’t let you bully me you have no interest in “engaging” me at all.

    i won’t accomodate you, i won’t maternalistically pat you on your little head and tell you it’s going to be ok…i will tell the truth on you and you will necessarily think it’s hell.

    run to mommy now.

  • pennyjane hanson on June 6, 2011

    dear janet. i am touched by your voice here…there is a real basis for meaningful dialogue, as long as all are willing to participate in the spirit of 10a. bill says, about half way through this thread, that i keep bringing up this 10a thing, “whatever that is?” he asks.

    so i spell it out for him.

    no response.

    bill says he would never even consider the possiblility of becoming a member of pc(usa), i guess primarily because of 10a (whatever that is).

    bill is just simply not open enough to even consider the question you asked concerning the scriptural references to the condition of the deaths of his nephew and my brother. he knows THE TRUTH as the great and mighty prophet donna accused me of being, the one who can’t be swayed. and why not? scripture is clear, it’s simple, it’s just black and white.

    whether his story is true or not, the facts of his nephew’s death are just as sad one way or the other. the fact that he lay on his deathbed repenting of the fact that his whole life had been a “lie” speaks volumes to me of how loved he felt at that time. bill says he loved him and this is an expression of that love. the same facts say precisely the opposite to me, i don’t see a person feeling loved, i see a person dying in dispair, desperately grasping for straws.

    a person lying on his deathbed, at the end of it all, repenting for something over which he has never had any control is just terribly sad. true or not, the greater reality of his story doesn’t provoke empathy for bill in me, just more disgust. he will never be able to put that together…it’s not that simple, black and white.

    empathy from bill? (whatever that is).

    bill calling me a liar? that’s ok, from yours and donna’s perspective…let’s dialogue…me calling bill a liar…bill: “how can we have dialogue with this?”

    can you see where i sense no potential for any meaningful dialoge to occur when we apply different standards to different perspectives?

    if bill had the capacity to see beyond the simple, black and white world he lives in…he might feel very different about the three of us. he might percieve me as addressing him with the respect due an adult, responsible for his own ideas, thoughts and actions. he might percieve donna as more patronizing, condescending, maternalistic. he might wonder if a lesser standard is being applied to him and wonder why that is. he might even be a little put off by that. he might percieve of that in this light, “ahhh, let it go, it’s just bill, you know…the villiage idiot.”

    personally i am very “put off” by condescending people, those who talk down to me…it gets in the way of what they are actually trying to share.

    from bill to ugandan legislation is indeed a very short stroll. from hitler to holocaust was as well. i wonder what would have happened if the whole world would have stood up to him, instead of just letting that little matter of jewish discrimination go in favor of seeing the good in his economic successes. what would have happened if we’d confronted him instead of trying to “dialogue” with him? i wonder what might have happened if so many of us hadn’t just said, “ahhh, let it go, it’s just adolf, you know…the villiage idiot.”

    yes, i am comparing the stroll from american evangelist theology (bill) to ugandan legislation directly with hitler and the holocaust.

    one and the same. hitler and the holocaust has played out in history, bill and ugandan legislation is in the process.

    accomodate, or expose? which is really a Christ like approach, which has the potential for bringing fruition to the love of God in the world?

    perhaps one without the other is not enough. dialogue where it is possible, but do not fear to confront where it isn’t.

    janet, you ask an amazing question and talk about how the voice of lgbt can now be heard with the same potential for consideration as the other voice has been heard all along. but, that’s only within the spirit of 10a. it has that POTENTIAL within pc(usa). but assuming that even possible (the spirit of 10a) with people who flatly deny that spirit, consider it satanic…well, we’re just not even speaking the same language. as amazing and insightful a question that it is…you ask it to a deaf paradigm, you ask it of a “blind guide.”

    “God, grant me the serenity to accept those things i cannot change;

    the fearlessness to change those things i can,

    and the wisdom to know the difference.

    amen.

    i think the hope in that prayer lives in you, me and donna. may He let it be so.

    much love and hope. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on June 6, 2011

    you know, this whole conversation reminds me of story i heard many, many years ago, when i was a young girl parading around as a boy.

    the story takes place shortly after the nazi’s took over holland. most of the dutch jewish beaurocrats left their jobs and went into hiding. one old fellow in the transportation department remained. he thought that if he “engaged” the nazi’s from within his own department, he could show them what a smart, good, efficient transportation beaurocrat he was, they would come to see that their evaluation of him as a jew was incorrect, they would find that his jewishness had nothing to do with his ability to make the trains run on time.

    so, you can imagine his shock when he found himself on the dock at auschwitz.

    “didn’t i prove to you my worth, didn’t i make the trains run on time just as you wished?” he asked the ss guard.

    “what are you beefing about, transportation official, didn’t your train arrive right on time?”

    as the ss guard marches the jews off to the gas chamber he mutters indignantly to himself, “jeeeezzz, you just can’t please some of these jews.”

  • Bill on June 6, 2011

    Hi Donna
    I have a question for you. Out of 613 laws handed down in the Bible, why do you suppose God “highlighted” 10 of them?( The Ten Commandments).

  • Donna on June 6, 2011

    Hi Bill,

    Well, I guess I would answer that the ten are the covenantal laws, God’s covenant with Israel, the core covenant, which came first, and the remainder are “ordinances,” or nation-keeping laws. I don’t know that I’d say the 10 commandments are “highlighted.” You can’t set them (Exodus 20) alongside the ordinances (Exodus 21, which by the way begins with the slavery ordinances).

    How’s your answer to my question coming?

  • Bill on June 7, 2011

    I’m working on it….LOL. I hope its ok to use scripture when needed?

  • Bill on June 7, 2011

    What is “slavery” in the biblical sense? ( Its not the same thing as we think of it today”. Or is it?

  • Donna on June 7, 2011

    Sure!

  • Donna on June 7, 2011

    Hi Bill,

    Literally, in the Bible, I believe it refers to chattle slavery, or indentured servitude. But feel free…

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 8, 2011

    leviticus 14:33-53 (good news version)

    “the Lord gave moses and aaron the following regulations about houses affected by spreading mildew. (these were to apply after the people of israel entered the land of canaan, which the Lord was going to give them as their posession.) if any of you find that the Lord has sent mildew on your house, then you must go and tell the priest about it. the priest shall order everything to be moved out of the house before he goes to examine the mildew; otherwise everything in the house will be declared unclean. then he shall go to the house and examine the mildew. if there is greenish or reddish spots that appear to be eating into the wall, he shall leave the house and lock it up for seven days. on the seventh day he shall return and examine it again. if the mildew has spread, he shall order that the stones on which the mildew is found be removed and thrown into some unclean place outside the city. after that he must have all the interior walls scraped and the plaster dumped in an unclean place outside the city. then other stones are to be used to replace the stones that were removed, and new plaster will be used to cover the walls.

    if the mildew breaks out again in the house after the stones have been removed and the house has been scraped and plastered, the priest shall go and look, if it has spread, the house is unclean. it must be torn down, and its stones, its wood, and all its plaster must be carried out of the city to an unclean place. any who enter the house while it is locked up will be unclean until evening. any who lie down or eat in the house must wash their clothes.

    if, when the priest comes to look, the mildew has not reappeared after the house has been replastered, he shall pronounce the house ritually clean, because the mildew has been completely removed. to purify the house he shall take two birds, some cedar wood, a red cord, and a sprig of hyssop. he shall kill one of the birds over a clay bowl containing fresh spring water. then he shall take the cedar wood, the hyssop, the red cord, and the live bird and shall dip them in the blood of the bird that was killed and the fresh water. and he shall sprinkle the house seven times. in this way he shall purify the house with the bird’s blood, the fresh water, the live bird, the cedar wood, the hyssop, and the red cord. then he shall let the live bird fly away outside the city over the open fields. in this way he shall perform the ritual of purification for the house , and it will be ritually clean.

    (whew) it seems as if the bible has a lot more to say about how do deal with mildew than it does about homosexuality. i wonder how many good, bible believing christians take this long, and detailed law to heart as much as they take the scattered references to homosexuality?

    there it is…it’s right there in black and white.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on June 8, 2011

    In Revelation 18:13 the word “slaves” is the rendering of a Greek word meaning “bodies.” The Hebrew and Greek words for slave are usually rendered simply “servant,” “bondman,” or “bondservant.” Slavery as it existed under the Mosaic law has no modern parallel. That law did not originate but only regulated the already existing custom of slavery (Exodus 21:20,21,26,27; Leviticus 25:44-46; Joshua 9:6-27). The gospel in its spirit and genius is hostile to slavery in every form, which under its influence is gradually disappearing from among men.

    “Man-stealing” was not allowed in scripture. So our idea of slavery today is very different than “slavery” mentioned in the Bible…

    Leviticus 20:13 If a man practices homosexuality with another man as with a woman,both men have commited a detestable act.They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capitol offense.
    John 12:32 And when I am lifted up up I will draw everyone to myself. They seem to contradict each other..yes? Actually they dont. Leviticus is Old Testament. We are not bound under the “old law” except in the Ten Commandments. And they were written for all people for all time. How do we know that, because Jesus told us we no longer live under the old testament,but he did specifically say that we are to keep the Ten commandments. He even added to them.Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-20)
    But if we want to understand the nature of God then we have to read and understand the old testament.

    So what do we make of John 12:32? Simple really. Thats New Testament. So we live under that, but does that mean we are free to do as we want,practice any sin. NO!Jesus said Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

    So what does this tell us. That everyone who wants salvation can have it, but you must repent of your sins and obey the will of God.

    Many phalse prophets will come and some from within our own churches.
    Acts 20:29 – “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.”

    2 Pet. 2:1 – “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.”

    Jude 1:4 – “For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”
    Rom. 16:18 – “…by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (KJV)

    Eph. 5:6-7 – “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.”

    1 Tim. 1:6-7 – Some people have wandered away from love, a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith and have turned to “meaningless talk.” “They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.”

    Titus 1:10 – Paul calls some false prophets “rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers.”

    2 Pet. 2:18 – “For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.”

    1 John 4:4-6 – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.”

    In a nutshell, many will say they believe but if they dont obey the will of God then it just isnt so. Of course everyone sins but the difference is repenting. If you ackowledge your sin ,ask for forgiveness and then “sin no more” Jesus says he will forgive you. If you ask for forgiveness with the intention of continueing your sin, then Jesus says he wont hear you………….
    Eisegesis:?

  • pennyjane hanson on June 8, 2011

    eisegesis? absolutely! you are reading your understanding into every verse you cite.

    when Jesus says, “all who believe in me,” you read “all” to mean all who do certain things. black and white…well, obviously “all” means “all”.

    you say that many who call on the Lord will be rejected. you take that to mean that all who call on him and believe as you say they should believe. i take that passage to mean that many will call on the Lord who do not believe, but are just covering their bases…trying to make accomodation with as many gods as they can. you understand it one way, i another.

    in the scripture you read to us, homosexuals are to be put to death. do you believe that? it’s right there in black and white.

    how far is it from your theology, your understanding of scripture to ungandan legislation…that is scriptural, “homosexuals should be put to death.”

    if you believe in the scripture you just read for us, answer this with a yes or a no….should i, an unrepentant homosexual, and i never will repent, be put to death as scripture demands?

  • Bill on June 8, 2011

    Pj says, “when Jesus says, “all who believe in me,” you read “all” to mean all who do certain things. black and white…well, obviously “all” means “all”.
    Bill says,”All” isnt the question. Believe is. Jesus said ” If you Love me, you will obey me”. The opposite of obey is disobey. Disobediance is linked in scripture to hate…..black and white.

    Pj said, ” you say that many who call on the Lord will be rejected. you take that to mean that all who call on him and believe as you say they should believe”. Nope, Jesus said it……I just repeated it.
    Pj said, “i take that passage to mean that many will call on the Lord who do not believe, but are just covering their bases…trying to make accomodation with as many gods as they can. you understand it one way, i another” Bill says,Eisegesis….read what is says, not what you want it to say. “If ye love me – Do not show your love by grief at my departure merely; or by profession, but by obedience”.

    “Keep my commandments” – This is the only proper evidence of love to Jesus, for mere profession is no proof of love; but that love for him which leads us to do all his will, to love each other, to deny ourselves, to take up our cross, and to follow him through evil report and through good report, is true attachment. The evidence which we have that a child loves its parents is when that child is willing, without hesitation, gainsaying, or complaining, to do all that the parent requires him to do. So the disciples of Christ are required to show that they are attached to him supremely by yielding to all his requirements, and by patiently doing his will in the face of ridicule and opposition, 1 John 5:2-3.Black and white…..
    Pj said,” in the scripture you read to us, homosexuals are to be put to death. do you believe that? it’s right there in black and white. Bills answer.Do I believe they should…no, I disagree with God on this. But IF I lived under the Law and he told me to execute ..then I would do it. I’m obedient. Jesus commanded us to “Love each other”, so i do. But that doesnt mean I have to condone sin, Jesus didnt do it. Pj said,”if you believe in the scripture you just read for us, answer this with a yes or a no….should i, an unrepentant homosexual, and i never will repent, be put to death as scripture demands? I answered that once already but for the hard of reading…No, we live under the new Testament.We are to love each other…..BUT, we are not expected or required to condone sin….black and white

  • Bill on June 8, 2011

    Pj,
    Let me ask you a question.What does this mean? Leviticus 20:13 If a man practices homosexuality with another man as with a woman,both men have commited a detestable act.They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capitol offense.

  • pennyjane hanson on June 8, 2011

    bill, as i said before….your interpretation and mine differ in many ways.

    that we differ even means differnt things to each of us.

    that we differ, to you, entitles you to impose your views on me…at best by relegating me to second class citizenship.

    to me, that we differ, entitles me to not be subjected to your beliefs, but to be just as free to act on my beliefs as you are.

    you think you should have control over my life, according to your beliefs, i think you should have control over your own life, and stay the heck out of mine.

    since you chose not to answer that question i asked you about leviticus 20:13, but rather just parrot it back to me, i think it says very clearly that i should be put to death. do you agree with that interpretation? if you do, then why aren’t you adcovating my execution openly and honesty, according to scripture?

  • pennyjane hanson on June 8, 2011

    more of your hypocricy. you still insist that you have the right to put words in Jesus’ mouth. when He says “all” you feel free….and seem ignorant of it…to add to His words, your very own interpretation.

    you insist that “all who believe will obey”, i insist “all who believe will disobey.”

    i don’t actually think you are perfect bill, i think you are disobedient every day of your life…i really don’t think you have any choise in the matter. i know i can say those things about me.

    so, i can make precisely the opposite statement to yours, “all who believe will be disobedient.”

    you think you can read and judge my heart, you can’t. you say if i don’t believe just as you do, i am wrong, and therefore it is entirely appropriate for you to assume control of my life…you can tell me what i can and can’t do, where i can live, where i can work, where i can sit in church and how i must conform myself to your beliefs, or there will be very real, very tangible consequences.

    i believe that because we disagree on virtually everything, that’s just all the more reason for me to let you live out your life your way. i respect your right to believe as God directs you, i just don’t believe you have the right to impose your views on me any more than i believe i have the right to impose my views on you.

    i see it this way…if i take control of your life, tell you what you must do and how you must believe, and institutionalize that…put it into law or doctrine….and you still end up going to hell, then it’s my fault. i have taken responsibility for your life, i have imposed my will on you by law…i have taken your freedom from you and imposed my will…….i am resonsible for you.

    i’d rather let you run your own life and face your own consequences, and i’ll do the same.

    does that make any sense to you?

  • Donna on June 8, 2011

    Hi Bill,

    I’ll write you back tonight.

    Donna

  • Bill on June 8, 2011

    PJ, when you go to church and listen to a sermon, do you then go home and check your Bible to make sure what the Pastor/teacher has told you is correct? Do use a study Bible?

  • pennyjane hanson on June 8, 2011

    bill, rather than keep changing the subject, a sign of one who has no faith in his own argument, will you answer the question i asked (and answered for you). do you think scripture is clear and right when it says that i should be put to death? i think it’s a fair question, you quoted it from the bible, you asked for my answer which i gave. please be gracious enough for to answer questions asked of you.

    please tell me how you interpret this scripture and how it should be acted upon.

  • Bill on June 8, 2011

    Pj, if you’ll re-read my 9:58am post. I answered your question twice……
    Then I asked a question of you, which is how normal converstaion/debate goes.

  • Bill on June 8, 2011

    Janet
    When your giving a sermon, do you read from scripture? If you do, do you just leave it as is or do you try to explain what the verse menas? If you try to explain it, where do you get that information? Study Bible? Other resource?
    Thanks,
    Bill

  • pennyjane hanson on June 8, 2011

    bill. because i am slow and not too bright, would you please be a little more specific for me.

    just answer the question in simple, black and white terms for me.

    according to scripture, do you think i should be put to death? if not, why not.

    thank you.

  • Bill on June 8, 2011

    I cant make it amymore plain than this Pj…NO!
    We live under the new testament. Its still a sin, but isnt punishable by death.And if you read my post above I clearly stated that I didnt agree with God on that subject in the Old Testament.
    Now please answer my question…..PJ, when you go to church and listen to a sermon, do you then go home and check your Bible to make sure what the Pastor/teacher has told you is correct? Do use a study Bible?

  • pennyjane hanson on June 8, 2011

    so, YOU don’t agree with God on that point, therefore it is invalid.

    i see.

    have a nice day.

  • pennyjane hanson on June 8, 2011

    to answer your question. no. the scripture to be used in our sermons is posted on the friday before. i read it, ponder it, look at it this way and that way, i try to milk all the Truth out of it i can.

    then, when it is read during the service, i read along. then i listen to the sermon and and try to learn what it is about that scripture the preacher is trying to help me understand.

    no, i don’t take it home and play “gotcha” with it.

    and, i don’t disagree with God on anything, when i don’t understand what scripture is telling me, when what i read flies in the face of common decency…which it does more than once in my, not so simple, not so black and white world…i know there is truth in it, it’s just that i haven’t figured it out yet.

    YOU disagree with God….well, we should have known better…we should have Him check wit you before He has to audacity to put things in the bible that the great bill disagrees with.

    you are a phony as a three dollar bill, bill.

  • Bill on June 8, 2011

    so, YOU don’t agree with God on that point, therefore it is invalid.

    i see.

    Obviously you dont…..
    I explained it in the same post as mentioned earlier.God doesnt say we have to agree with him we just have to do it his way.I didnt say it was invalid, Jesus did. But then you’d have to read the Bible and I’ve come to the conclusion that you dont.
    And your not looking for discussion, your just here to try and be a bully…..good luck with that! You spoil for a fight and piss and moan, and call names. You are troublemaker of the worst sort.
    Talk about a hypocrite and phony…you take the cake boss……
    And scripture tells us to listen to the teacher then confirm what they said…..but since you dont believe half the Bible anyway (the parts you dont like) is it any wonder….
    Sticks and stones dude……childish!!

  • pennyjane hanson on June 8, 2011

    well, i’m not a “dude”, but…as you say, “sticks and stones…and all that.”

    you are a phony…..as big a phony as i’ve ever ran into. and you are definitely a hypocrite. you can manipulate scripture to your heart’s desire and then condemn others for doing exactly the same thing.

    Jesus had some really strong words for people like you, sister.

    now, crawl back up under your bigoted rock….BIGOT!

  • pennyjane hanson on June 8, 2011

    and, youbetcha i’m a troublemaker and i always will be, and there are more and more of us coming down the pike. you empty headed, bigoted morons who haven’t got two brain cells to rub together better get used to it. your days of bulllying us, beating us, killing us have seen their hayday….you’ve met your match, you sick bigot, you’re on your way out, and it’ll be good riddance to smelly trash!

  • Bill on June 8, 2011

    Your too funny…………

  • pennyjane hanson on June 8, 2011

    it’s “you’re” too funny…but, that’s ok, idiots are easily amused.

  • Donna on June 8, 2011

    Hi Bill,

    I have one more errand to run and I’ll answer your post tonight, ok? And I promise it will be a conversation. I quickly read it at work and now before I have to run out but I will give you due time diligence in a couple hours.

    Please don’t become frustrated before then…

    Sincerely,

    Donna

  • Bill on June 8, 2011

    Hi Donna, no problem…..take your time.

  • Janet Edwards on June 8, 2011

    Dear Bill and pj,

    So here we are, reduced to name calling. And I know you both are trying. You give us a very sobering measure of the challenge before us to enter into a time to embrace.

    I have two related comments in an effort to bring us back to principles above personalities here.

    First, I would like to share my understanding of Leviticus 20:13. I trust we can all agree that the uniform cultural context at the writing of this verse and in the culture of the entire Bible is one in which women are assumed to be inferior to men. And perhaps we can agree that the sexual act was also an integral part of the assertion of power by the man over the woman.

    Therefore the abomination in “a man lying with a man as with a woman” was the place taken by one of the men in the inferior power place of the woman. For a man to subordinate himself to another man in the way women were expected to allow themselves to be treated was an outrage to all men in those times.

    I trust we can all agree that love between a man and a woman now is presumed in Christian and American culture to be a relationship between equals. Power is shared between the partners. The ancient presumption of power where the man lies with a woman as an inferior being to be dominated is actually an abomination to us now.

    My point then is: two gay men lying together now is not “like a man lying with a woman.” Both know they are men. Both enter same gender love because they are gay. Presumably they love one another as equals in power, just as we presume is so for straight couples. They are neither imitating a straight couple nor are they imposing a power difference like the one presumed in Leviticus.

    In this way, Leviticus 20:13 simply does not apply to the gay men I know. And they do not see it applying to themselves. Where there is no sin then there is no condemnation.

    Second, and following upon this, I certainly follow Bill’s reasoning: If you sin, then you need to repent. We have come back to the basic disagreement over whether same gender love is a sin or not. All that Bill writes assumes that it is a sin. pj is certain from study of Scripture and experience with God in Christ that same gender love is not a sin.

    As I see it right now, the only grounds offered by most to deem same gender love to be a sin is interpretation of isolated verses in the Bible that can all be understood (based on context and history as in the case of Leviticus 20:13)in a way that does not see same gender love between mature, loving women or men to be a sin. Interpretation of these verses is insufficient foundation for saying God condemns same gender loving, in my opinion.

    With regard to our conversation here moving forward, I want to suggest one thing. When you ask a question, give some context to it to help the other respond. Just a question out of the blue is too difficult. Do I study the Bible before I preach–of course. But why is that important to you? Why are you asking? What relevance does that have to the discussion going on here?

    You can help the listener respond by saying something like, “What I expect you to say is. . . .Have I read you correctly? That gives the listener a clue regarding your concern in asking the question and helps focus the answer.

    We are struggling to find our way in a new land. Thanks to you all for making the effort.

    Peace, Janet

  • pennyjane hanson on June 8, 2011

    don’t worry, donna…bill is not going to get frustrated with you….you are right up his alley. telling him things like, “what a testament to his love it is that he’ll allow me to sit right there in the same church with him.”

    what a testament to his love.

    now i am gonna go throw up.

    you go right ahead and feed him all that…..stuff…..you are no more than an accomplice of his. you don’t know the difference between hate and love…you’re right…you need to learn a whole lot more before you start teaching….i’d keep you as far from my kids as i would him.

    i think his graciouly allowing me to sit in the same church with him is a testament to his “tolerance” which, as far as i’m concerned, he can stuff where the sun don’t shine, and so can you!

    i am gonna go throw up.

    and, janet, if this is the conversation about what 10a means for our church…a conversation between two people who are decidedly NOT our church…..then i give up.

    good bye.

  • Bill on June 8, 2011

    Janet
    , I’ll like wise do the same. If Pj is the voice of the new christian, then I want no part of it.Rude,angry,mouthy, nothing but sin…
    Your preaching a perverted version that you say, isnt what the verse meant. In other words God didnt meant what he said….
    Donna, its been a pleasure but dont bother with writing. I wont be here.

  • pennyjane hanson on June 8, 2011

    good riddance, bigot!

  • pennyjane hanson on June 8, 2011

    i watched a show on tv today. it was about a gang down in tyler, texas who targeted gay men to rob. it seems their riegn of terror went on for about two years, until they ended up killing a gay kid.

    their methodology was to kidnap the gay guys, take them to an isolated area, rob, beat, torture and terrorize them and then leave them to their fate. well, inevitably, one kid died, and the gang ended up getting busted. their crimes were tried as “hate crimes”.

    at the trial, the ringleader insisted that these weren’t hate crimes, they picked homosexuals because they figured they would be less likely to report the crime…knowing that if the gay guys got “outed” at their jobs or their church’s it would likely mean the end of life as they knew it.

    it was an economic decision, he related.

    donna, don’t you think it is a testament to their amazing love that they only killed one?

    if you were on the jury, wouldn’t it be easy to believe that since of the dozens and dozens of gay men they robbed, beat, threatened and terrorized, was really just a matter of economic reality, just a reasonable assessment of the job?

    i wonder what it is that makes them think that? i wonder why they feel that gay people would be unlikely to report being robbed, beaten, threatened and terrorized? what would make them think that being “outed” at their jobs or their church’s would be so dramatic?

    isn’t that a testament to their love?

    what a testament to bill’s love…that he would allow some poor, insecure gay kid to sit in his church with him and be browbeaten every sunday with hate and rejection. how kind is bill, that he would gladly allow that child to have every ounce of human dignity stripped away from him, that he could hear every sunday about how he must either repent of who he is, or will surely go to hell.

    how kind and loving of bill.

    and how sick and disgusting of you. that’s what i mean by i wouldn’t let my kids anywhere near the likes of you.

    i think you are right…you should find yourself a nunnery somewhere and spend your life in peace and love and joy…leave the real world of murder, blood, hate and bigotry out here for us who recognize it when we see it, and are no longer willing to just bend over for them anymore.

    i hope you find that nunnery, and i hope you quit speaking as an lgbt person right away…we don’t need no more of that kind of help.

    have a nice day. pj

  • Donna on June 8, 2011

    Hi Bill,

    I’m hoping you’re still here…

    I guess I have two points to make. The first regards the concept of slavery. My question initially was how can you retain the validity of the Leviticus text and yet discard the slavery (very literally referring to chattle slavery or ownership of humans as property). That is to say, if culture has called out and forsaken the immorality of slavery as prescribed in the Old Testament, then it goes without saying that the Leviticus text regarding homosexuality can also be abolished. I learned something new with Janet’s post, and so that is also an interesting point to consider. I want to be clear that the slavery topic came as a result of being an ancient cultural norm that has been abolished, yet, in this day and age, we lift the same ancient text up without question of cultural norm. I would not advocate that in the least.

    Bill, I really liked this “We are not bound under the “old law” except in the Ten Commandments. And they were written for all people for all time. How do we know that, because Jesus told us we no longer live under the old testament,but he did specifically say that we are to keep the Ten commandments. He even added to them.” This is certainly very true, I think. If we are not bound by the old law, then Leviticus would not apply at all, keeping in mind that we have no record of Jesus commenting on a same-gender relationship. The closest He comes to discussing such a relationship is in Matthew 19 where He talks about eunuchs.

    The question this seems to bring us to is that if we are not bound under the old law, then what do we base same-gender relationships on as “sin”? Romans, perhaps, but even that is taken out of context.

    This is a difficult question. Do we retain Biblical texts against homosexuality because it sustains culturally ingrained prejudice, in the same way the scriptures about slavery were used to substantiate for hundreds of years?

    An even more difficult question is, what happens if we “remove” Leviticus as the basis for the definition of same-sex relations sin? How does that change our beliefs?

    I think, Bill, we actually have found a lot of common ground here in terms of beliefs. The difference is where you find the foundation for the definition of homosexuality as a sin. According to Leviticus, eating shellfish is a sin. Is it rational to determine someone’s sinfulness or salvation on that text?

    So my answer is one of logic in applying the texts.

    My point is this: replace – in your mind – the “homosexuality is a sin” text with “eating shellfish is a sin” (or clothing ordinance, or…)and now would you be able to envision your gay family and friends in a teaching role in the church? It seems almost laughable, yes? This is my friend, who loves shrimp, but he’s a great Sunday School teacher!

    Now Bill, I’m not making light of the situation, nor your love for the Lord. We are, I think, all equal in that respect. The logic of applying these ancient texts is critical, I think.

    Sex is a subject still so taboo in the church, and I think that is what is at the heart of GLBT inclusion. Just as heterosexuals can be sodomites (etc.), so can same-gender people form relationships based on love.

    And I want to thank you for your courage to post here, to share your thoughts. You seem to have great compassion and want to understand the struggle over these “issues” in the church. And you don’t want all GLBT people to die or be condemned – that is, it is clear you are not a “hater.”

    You’ve given me hope that there is indeed a place where these “sides” can meet and worship the Lord as one.

    Donna

    PS Yes, I use a study Bible and other books.

  • Donna on June 8, 2011

    Hi Janet,

    It seems to me that Bill was asking if you used concordances and the like. In other words, if you do, maybe you could refer to him some titles. That’s my take…

    Bill?

    Donna

  • Bill on June 9, 2011

    Donna
    I have to tell you that your gentle approach wins me over everytime. IF anyone can show me the light, it’ll be people such as yourself. KInd and gentle….just like the Lord.
    As for your thoughts I will take some time and consider them. Off hand I disagree with several statements, but I want to consider them.
    Have a great day,
    Bill

  • Bill on June 9, 2011

    Donna quick question, Leviticus 20:15-16. Using yours and Janets logic it would NOT be a sin to participate in beastiality and therefor you would allow a minister to teach your children thats ok? Or am I missing something?
    Have great day,
    Bill

  • Donna on June 9, 2011

    Hi Bill,

    Looking forward to more discussion later after work…but no, I think the point is that sexual norms with regard to the church need to focus on consenting adults and activity that does no harm to another person.

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 9, 2011

    good morning donna, i mean that as in, “ARE YOU AWAKE?”

    all your sucking up is just nausiating. for one who prides herself on listening, you are amazingly deaf. it seems you hear only what you want to hear.

    bill is not here to learn from you. his only purpose for engagement is to show you the error of your ways, to convert you to his way of seeing things…..i quote him, “can’t you see i’m just trying to save your soul?”

    honoring him by engaging with him now in how we are full of perversions, beastiality, pedphilia…and on and on, is disgusting, it’s beneath contempt.

    he just said, our preachers preach “perversions” of scripture.

    oh, never mind…i forgot, this isn’t a discussion about 10a and how it affects OUR church, it’s between a bigot who would never entertain the idea of being a member of our “satanic” church, and a homophobic, deaf lesbian who tossed us aside….talking about beastiality and pedophilia.

    i’m sorry to get you off topic.

  • Janet Edwards on June 9, 2011

    Dear pj,

    I have paused for a good while before starting in order to let helpful words come to mind in response to your criticism of both Donna and Bill.

    All your comments here have been provocative,pj, including those that have been pejorative and mean spirited. They show us clearly what does not facilitate dialogue–we can all feel it viscerally as we read.

    I was startled recently by the contention, “That which we resist, persists.” This is a comment on how to bring about change and explains why verbal attack fails.

    I hope everyone continues to talk because this is what God desires.

    Peace be with you all, Janet

  • Bill on June 9, 2011

    Hi Donna
    You said, ” I guess I have two points to make. The first regards the concept of slavery. My question initially was how can you retain the validity of the Leviticus text and yet discard the slavery (very literally referring to chattle slavery or ownership of humans as property). That is to say, if culture has called out and forsaken the immorality of slavery as prescribed in the Old Testament, then it goes without saying that the Leviticus text regarding homosexuality can also be abolished. I learned something new with Janet’s post, and so that is also an interesting point to consider. I want to be clear that the slavery topic came as a result of being an ancient cultural norm that has been abolished, yet, in this day and age, we lift the same ancient text up without question of cultural norm. I would not advocate that in the least”.When I looked up the word “slaves” it comes from Greek and Hebrew that both mean ” bodies”. Then it goes on to say that it can be used as bodies,bond,bondsman, or bondservant.”Slavery” was started with the Law but was regulated by it. In other words the Law was not created by God, instead he regulated it and told how it was to be administered. Going so far as to instruct that “slaves” would have to be freed after a certain time period. And said that “man-stealing” was forbidden. This is what happened to the blacks in this country, they were stolen from there native land and forced into service. Its clear that God did not approve of this( according to scripture). A lot of people sold themselves into “slavery” to pay thier debts. Once the debt was paid they were free to go.Or, they could stay if they and the owner agreed. So it seems to clear to me that “slavery” wasnt what we think of today.
    I initially disagreed with Janets explaination of Leviticus,Janet said,” First, I would like to share my understanding of Leviticus 20:13. I trust we can all agree that the uniform cultural context at the writing of this verse and in the culture of the entire Bible is one in which women are assumed to be inferior to men. And perhaps we can agree that the sexual act was also an integral part of the assertion of power by the man over the woman.

    Therefore the abomination in “a man lying with a man as with a woman” was the place taken by one of the men in the inferior power place of the woman. For a man to subordinate himself to another man in the way women were expected to allow themselves to be treated was an outrage to all men in those times”. I still do disagree which is why I’d be interested to learn where this is being taught.In everything that I’ve ever read concerning theology, I’ve never come across that. I disagree completely that women were inferior according to scripture. Husbands were supposed to treat thier wives lovingly.So, if you can point me to some place in scripture that supports that I’d be happy to reconsider.
    Donna said,”If we are not bound by the old law, then Leviticus would not apply at all, keeping in mind that we have no record of Jesus commenting on a same-gender relationship. The closest He comes to discussing such a relationship is in Matthew 19 where He talks about eunuchs”.Is Jesus not God in the flesh? If he isnt then the Trinity doesnt exist..correct?If the Bible is inspired by God and is perfect, wouldn’t Paul have the authority to speak on Christs behalf? said he did. Revelation says not to add to nor take away from Gods teachings. Is this not doing that very thing? Apparently I dont get it…..

  • Donna on June 9, 2011

    Hi Bill,

    I think we are in agreement with regard to how slavery is defined in the old vs. the new testaments. I like your research into the terms. I thinking exclusively old testament. The problem is the logic in applying old testament scripture and using it to sustain certain religious beliefs but not others.

    You wrote that we are freed from the old law. Are we? If we point to Leviticus as describing homosexuality as a sin, we are living under the old law. But, even if we apply the old law, there are still scriptures which we forego (my example was eating shelfish) because, for whatever reason, they are now no longer sins. Why is it that we retain the homosexuality scripture to be used against glbt people but we do not use the scripture of eating shellfish against shellfish eaters? That’s just one example.

    I wrote that if you would entertain the idea of substituting the “sin” of eating shelfish in your mind in place of the “sin” of homosexuality, the fears we have about “shellfish eaters” become illogical: Shellfish teachers teaching children in the church? Marrying? Having children? Who cares, right?

    Two sins delineated in the old testament; one we retain, the other we don’t. Why is that? If I had the answer to that question, I’d be sharing it with you, but hope instead to explore with you. To me, it has to do with a misunderstanding of human sexuality (along with hundreds of years of prejudice against glbt people, from cultural and religious influences). It also has to do with the church’s unwillingness to seriously study and educate itself in human sexuality. It is easier to let stand the dictates given during a time which is very different from today. It is part and parcel of our culture: human sexuality remains difficult for many people to talk about, embarrassing, because it is a private affair. And yet our world grows larger…

    And I am reluctant to say it, but there is some truth in it: upholding this scripture gives us permission to hate someone, to be in some way “better than” someone else, more “normal.” I’m sure that slaveowners in the South used the Bible in the same way to sustain their views about holding slaves.

    The Bible is true, but the truth rests, I think, in understanding the context in which it was written. We don’t have all of that background (yet) and not all of us will be as persistent in learning that background as you and Janet are.

    I’ve not ever heard Janet’s definition of Leviticus, either, and so I’m glad to have learned something here. However, I did learn a good bit about Israelite tribe and family structure, and she is right about the (almost severe) patriarchal nature and women being considered property. Recall that concubines in the old testament were considered a sign of wealth, and men had many wives.

    Yes, Jesus is/was God in the flesh and one with God and the Holy Spirit in the Trinity, which is why I prefer to look at His example in all of these questions. Of course, what we have of His voice is by virtue of His disciples’ witness (we receive His words 2nd-hand) but even Jesus’s words 2nd-hand are, to me, better than anyone else’s.

    I’m not sure if this helps. If not, let’s keep working on it…I’m glad to.

    Thanks for waiting until I get done with work. Work time belongs to the company. 🙂

    Best,

    Donna

  • Donna on June 9, 2011

    Bill, I’d also like to comment on grouping glbt people with others who “do harm” to other people: rapists, pedophiles, people who practice bestiality. GLBT relations occur naturally, through consent, from the same kind of love you have for your wife (or girl friend if you’re not married). These other behaviors are harmful to innocent others.

    And for as long as I’ve been in church, I’ve never heard an adult (gay or straight) teach a Sunday School lesson on lesson sexuality to children (adults perhaps, but not children). It is an adult topic. I think that might be a fear a lot of people have, as you expressed it is one of yours, but it’s also not logical. Your fear I think based on a myth that you would not necessarily know is a myth.

    Donna

  • Bill on June 9, 2011

    i dont understand what you mean? ” your fear based on a myth that you would not necessarily know is a myth”. It may be just that I’m tired. I’ve been writing a term paper all day…lol.

  • Bill on June 9, 2011

    Hi, As for grouping glbt togehter with rapists, pedophiles…sorry, that never even entered my mind as offensive.

  • Bill on June 9, 2011

    Hi Donna
    I just a Duh moment. I realized what you meant by the feared based on a myth comment. And No i’m not afraid of the pastor teaching children that its ok to pracitice homosexuality by word of mouth.. I dont want him/her teachinjg its ok by living it. At least not until I’m convinced that the Bible says its ok. IF that happens then ok…..

  • Donna on June 9, 2011

    Hi Bill,

    Take your time…This conversation will be here a while. 🙂

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 10, 2011

    dear janet. yes, i think you are exactly right. mean and pajorative language is definitely not conducive to dialogue.

    language like; “satanic”, “perverse”, or even “dude” when you are talking to a transwoman. i let my reaction to such insults shine through, flow free. i did this intentionally, trying to let bearers of such language know how it feels…and to prove your point: you just can’t dialogue with people who continue to insult and demean you.

    i stand by the truth of all i have said, that it has sounded mean spirited and pajorative was intentional. it was an exercise in reflective dialogue.

    then bill says, “sorry, it never occurred to me that identifying lgbt people together with those who practice beastiality and pedophilia might sound insulting.”

    so, i’m sorry. it just never occurred to me that lumping people who call me a satanist or a pervert together with bigots might sound insulting.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on June 10, 2011

    Hi Janet
    This thread of yours has seen its ups and downs. Donna and I seem to get along alright, Both trying to understand each others point of view. And then Pj enters, who has become the person she hates most. I tire of this, there will never EVER be anything good come from it….
    Donna, I wish this was a place where we could continue to have conversation, but it will never be resolved here. Thanks for shedding some light on the topic…I’ll remove my email and bid you all good night.

  • Donna on June 10, 2011

    Bill, Janet,

    Well Bill, we tried…Bill, if you are inclined, I give Janet and website personnel to send you my email address. But that is only for Bill.

    Peace and Love to you Bill, in Christ –

    Donna

  • Donna on June 10, 2011

    That is I give Janet and website personnel permission to give Bill my email address…

  • pennyjane hanson on June 10, 2011

    i think that’s a great idea! then bill can preach his hate and bigotry to his hearts content, and younger ears won’t have to hear that, or even worse, hear a lesbian tell him what a warm and loving guy he is to allow them to sit in on his “ex-gay” ministry.

    that incessant nonsense is just precisely what they don’t need to hear anymore of.

    God bless you both! pj

  • Donna on June 11, 2011

    Dear PJ,

    May the young neither learn your hatred nor the hatred of any others, and may our God of love break our hearts of stone and replace it with His love.

    As for all, my prayer above is repeated: Jesus, help us to see that our differences are not so great as we imagine them to be.

    With that, you have effectively cleared the room so that the only voice to be heard is yours. May you accept the privilege as a burden of love.

    Donna

  • Janet Edwards on June 11, 2011

    Dear pj, Donna, Bill and whoever else has been following this,

    What a ride and my hope is that we are not finished yet. Bill has bowed out before and perhaps he will rejoin us again as he has before.

    This last moment has reminded me of another piece of wisdom that helps continue a conversation like this one on seemingly intractable sensitive concerns: take what you like and leave the rest. Bill was doing that for a while, addressing Donna and not pj. And pj was doing that sometimes and then chose to attack rather than converse.

    How we join in the conversation is our own choice; how we take what is said is also our own choice. One of the strengths of this kind of discourse is the assurance that nothing said here ought to be taken personally because the fact is we do not know anything about each other even what is shared here. We only have what is written here.

    It is my choice to take those who write at their word. When Bill says it never occurred to him that equating same gender love with bestiality would offend someone, I am astounded and somewhat appalled. I do not second guess him and think that can not possibly be. I hope he absorbs what a horrendous insult it is. As Donna pointed out, gay couples who display all the qualities of marriage, who contribute to their neighborhoods and workplaces, whose love clearly empowers both to develop their gifts and to give them generously to the world simply cannot be placed in the same thought as those power ploys.

    And I listen carefully to his comment that men and women are equal in Scripture, that he had never heard that a constant through both Old and New Testaments is a strict patriarchal family structure in which the women are the property of the men. What I see in his idea is an extension to the whole Bible of some of the advice to the Corinthians and to Timothy where Paul encourages husband and wife to love one another, basically as one’s self (echoing the Great Commandment). And my response is to remind us that this encouragement to love the spouse is firmly within the context of the man being the head of the wife, that is, an unequal position of the man over the woman, even in Paul’s mind.

    And this exchange has led me to ruminate upon the fact that, even now, the Catholic, Orthodox and Evangelical traditions all place men above women. The Reformed Christian commitment to equality of men and women based upon the first version of the Creation story in Genesis is a prophetic witness that still needs to be lifted up for all to see and be inspired by.

    I hope this prompts response. My premise is that God desires us to be in dialogue. Please join in.

    Peace be with you all, Janet

  • Donna on June 11, 2011

    Hi Janet,

    I think I didn’t take offense at Bill’s comment because I understand the framwork within which he was taught to group “sins.” The Bible does that too. Again, the root is logic. To quote Fred Rogers, “One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn’t belong.” Why doesn’t homosexuality belong in that grouping? Because it does no harm to innocent others. I don’t know enough to understand the power relationships as you have shed light on them, so I’m learning something new in that regard.

    Thank you…

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 11, 2011

    dear janet.

    i am so glad that someone other than myself found that statement of bill’s “astounding and apalling”. and i am thrilled that at least one other lgbt person finally chose to speak up and call it what it is..”an horrendous insult.”

    thank you for that, at least now i can rest in that i am not the only one who is “listening” to bill and actually hearing what he is saying.

    what you call “attack”, i call “defend”.

    i wish you had addressed bill when he stated that you preach a “perverse” interpretation of scripture…then i wouldn’t have felt i HAD to. i wish someone else had addressed bill when he accused me of being satan, or when he described our whole church as “satanic”. if others had chosen to address these, also “horrendous” insults, i might not have felt so all alone, so powerless, in my own defense against such attacks. if others hadn’t seemed so “indifferent” to all this, i might not have become so passionate with my “defense”, i might have felt a part of a “community” instead of being the only one who sees evil in the room. i might not have felt the need to point it out so emphatically. if my voice weren’t the only one it might not have needed to be so loud.

    when frank said that he didn’t mind homosexuals until they became “obnoxious”…i heard, “uppity niggers”, and i was insensed! no one else chose to “embrace” that, just the opposite…frank was called a wonderful, kind, loving and enlightened man…without addressing that at all.

    somebody had to address both of those “horrendous insults”.

    love is a wonderful thing, and i think it is the basis of all good that will ever come in the world…just as sure of that i am as i am sure that bigotry is the source of ALL evil. but, i don’t think loving an illusion is real love. if we won’t address the whole person, then how can we really love them at all?

    maybe it’s just that i do hear what is being said with the ears of all those children i dispair so about. the real victims in all this.

    when bill says that it’s ok for gay children to attend his church…a church that finds mine “satanic”, i hear bill telling these kids, again…for the upteenth thousandth time…that they are sinners for having same sex attraction and will indeed go to hell if they don’t “repent and correct” that in themselves. what i see as horribly destructive, the “ex-gay” paradigm that is at the core of bill’s belief, donna sees as a “testament to his love.”

    if someone else had seen and addressed that “horrendous insult” to the existence of all homosexual people everywhere…then all the outrage might not have been focused in only one voice.

    who is really “embracing” all this, and who is embracing only that which is lovable? who is “embracing” their enemy as they embrace themselves and who is embracing only that which they love and being indifferent to the rest?

    who is really “embracing” the other, me, or donna? i have said that i do see the good, as well as the evil, in donna’s approach….she sees not beyond the evil in mine…who is embracing who?

    donna embraces the part of bill she finds lovable and denies the rest. i embrace the whole of bill, the good, the bad and the ugly. i embrace the whole of donna, the good the bad and the ugly….donna embraces me by ignoring me…how the heck can that represent any form of “embrace”?

    embrace the bigot, ignore the “uppity nigger.” that shows “love”?

    i never want another kid to hear such bigotry as “satanic”, “perverse”, or equasion to beastiality again without also hearing a promt and unambiguous denounciation of it, a real time response.

    that’s why i think that donna, and her approach to frank might really be better done in private. i understand where donna is going, and i know that converting bill is not beyond the grace of God, but it will take a miracle, and i don’t think one can predict miracles. i think she is engaged in an exercise in futility myself, but all the power to her, tilting at windmills isn’t and shouldn’t ever become a lost art. but it shouldn’t be percieved for beyond that…tilting at windmills.

    but, let’s not kid ourselves…they are each trying to “convert” the other. in the end, we will see, that bill’s seeming love and affection for donna is directly related to his hate and detestation of me…it isn’t real. in the end, he will see donna through the prism of his own beliefs, an eternal sinner whose soul he cannot save.

    and bill’s essential biogtry should not be watered down or swept under the rug. bill is a grown up, just like me, and holding him less accountable for his sins than me is not a true picture of what is going on here.

    truth does matter. attacking me for denfending myself (and all homosexuals) against the hate and bigotry of bill while calling his very bigotry a “testement to his love” is not representing truth, in fact it surplants truth by furthering the lie.

    may God never permit me, ever again, to allow such vile and evil language to go undenounced. may He keep me fearless in the face of such evil, may He keep my ears open and my heart vigilant. may He empty my heart of indiffernce and keep me foucused on those who can be reached, his children who are being murdered not just by the thug with the baseball bat, but the voice of those who are so devoid of human decency that they aren’t even aware that equating those children with beastiality is any more than an expression of THE TRUTH.

    Lord, give me strength, give me the courage to face that and never water it down, never let it go undenounced. even if i am hated and denounced by every other person on earth, please, never let me give in, to become apathetic and unwilling to fight for your children. never, please, dear God, let even one of those browbeaten children of Yours percieve me as “indifferent.”

    amen

  • Donna on June 11, 2011

    PJ,

    Your children, your love and livelihood, whom you wish to protect, did you not read on this page or the others that I was one of them in my day?

    Do you think for one minute it does any good to protect them from the ignorance that is in the world? They need to be educated. They need to be armed with the knowledge that God loves us ALL. They need to learn how to engage in contructive dialogue about difficult matters.

    The purpose of this website is to bring people together who are on different sides of this issue, to have delicate dialogue about an already painful issue. You call names, accuse, think only of your own righteousness, and push other people away from the discussion. You provoke people with namecalling and when they respond in kind you use that against them too. It’s clear that you wish to be the only voice that is heard here and that you don’t wish to truly understand like Bill or Frank or David. You presume to know them all and what their thoughts are, and yet you don’t wish to understand the framework within which they were taught or their logic. You wrote that Bill says X and you hear Y. Is that Bill’s fault or your own filter on the world?

    You may be perfectly right that my engagement ends up being futile, but in the process I (and others) am learning about new things that would not have presented if not for our discussion. So you are robbing people of that as well. And I don’t wish to convert anyone from their beliefs – I’m not an evangelist – I wish to learn what they are and share in dialogue about them. In the process, we are all sure to grow somehow.

    Now you say you don’t know how to engage others. Look at Janet’s example here. Model that. Listen to what she says in the meditations and original blogs: we are to love one another.

    Lastly, I haven’t responded to the awful things you’ve said about me on this page and other pages because it is pointless. You’re looking for argument and attention rather than discussion. Your objective is to push all other people out so that your rage is the only thing that is heard. As I said, you have that, but in the going you have defeated the purpose of this site and Janet’s work.

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 11, 2011

    Dear Donna.

    I want to address something you said in an earlier post, and I hope you will engage with me. You said that you don’t think our homosexuality gives us a right to “bad behavior.”

    I want to say I very much agree with you there. It most certainly does not. But I believe there are certainly times when our response to homophobia and bigotry might very positively be addressed through what might easily be called “bad behavior.”

    I’m reminded of stonewall. I’m reminded of the two very different paradigms that exist, pre-stonewall and post-stonewall. The “bad behavior” of those brave girls who led that uprising was indispensable to changing the paradigm. It wasn’t being transsexual or homosexual that gave them the right to “bad behavior”, it was mainly despair. It was their despair that pushed them into such “bad behavior”, the bad behavior was a response to that…to finally being totally fed up with being beaten, bashed, harassed and arrested for doing no more than what came natural to them, and harmed no one. All the sweet, genteel, loving, kind and reasonable protestations of that bigotry got them was the place Janet told us about in the story of her gay uncle. Submission to being a social outcast, the “hidden” life of the uncle who could be loved, but not have his life celebrated in the light of Jesus with the rest of the family.

    That is a story of profound despair to me. I am so grateful and proud of those young people who finally stood up to oppression and chose to “behave badly.” the difference in the life you and i live today and the life Janet’s uncle lived can be directly traced to those bad behaving homosexuals.

    When the aids epidemic hit, when that holocaust struck the gay community….the kind and loving Christian community declared it an act of God. Clearly God’s punishment on us irredeemable sinners. That made it possible to ignore it, to put it away and not address it. It was only after a bunch of “bad behaving” homosexuals created “act up” and began to address the bigotry of that, that things began to change. It was only when the indifference of the masses was addressed through their bad behavior that it became a political issue that even the Ronald Reagan’s of the world had to address.

    I wonder how many lives were saved by the kind, loving and genteel reaction to the murdering bigotry of their own community? I wonder how many lives were saved by those bad behaving homosexuals, those “uppity niggers.”?

    My guess is that there is no end to the number saved by the later, and no beginning count can even be attributed to the well behaving, non-confrontive Christians who only wanted to live in peace and joy.

    Love isn’t only expressed through peace and harmony, Donna…sometimes it is just as loudly professed by behaving badly.

    Sometimes, it is true…we can know them by their fruits.

    I would love to embrace, to dialogue with you about my perception of your pronouncement. I really think that this is at the heart of what 10a might mean for our church. It might come to mean that our voice, the voice of the lgbt, might be heard equally with the “other voice” that has been heard all along, and we might well end up addressing that need to “behave badly” in order to be heard at all.

    Does this make any sense at all to you?

  • pennyjane hanson on June 11, 2011

    donna. i choose not to respond to your last, mean-spirited, demeaning and belittling attack on me, but hope you will choose to engage the question i posed to you in the spirit of respect and dialogue.

    much love and hope. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on June 11, 2011

    and, donna, just so you aren’t confused on this issue. working with the christian-bashed children i work with is not a “livlihood”. it might be considered a “call” or a “vocation”, but it’s earns me nothing.

    that’s just to clear up those kinds of thoughts as you judge me.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on June 11, 2011

    PJ,

    No, and using the wonderful defiance of Stonewall for your irrational behavior is a disservice to their legacy.

    It defeats the purpose of this site and Janet’s work.

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 11, 2011

    donna. i choose not to respond now to your last two posts, both of which have been nothing but mean-spirited attacks on me personally.

    would you engage the question i asked, can we see where you and i differ on the question of the legacy of stonewall?

    much love and hope. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on June 11, 2011

    oh, by the way….i see 10a as a shining example of the legacy of stonewall.

  • pennyjane hanson on June 12, 2011

    dear donna.

    after reflecting overnight on your assertion that my “irrational” behavior does a disservice to the legacy of stonewall, i am humbled in this way: whereas i only express my outrage at bigotry through words, those brave youngsters went one step further, they laid their bodies on the line as well.

    what magnificient courage!

    how totally “irrational” was that behavior! they couldn’t even begin to match the police with muscle, but they dominated those bullies with resolve. when all the bullies had retreated, ran away…the ladies of stonewall were still standing, their voice, in that engagement, was what was left to discuss, and it changed everything…for the better, in my opinion.

    were they just looking for attention? well, all but the “just” part in that i’d agree with. it was about getting attention, but that wasn’t all it was about, they wanted “change” and they wanted it now.

    in that way i welcome their legacy, and i don’t feel i do it a disservice. i think i build on it…i still want change and i still want it now!

    you say i do the legacy of their “defiant” behavior a disservice. i think i honor their “bad” behavior by continuing it, both in spirit and in it’s irrational methodology.

    can you see anything at all in my opinion?

  • Donna on June 12, 2011

    There is a time and a place for defiance. This is not the place for it. This place was meant to bring others of differing viewpoints together to learn, share and grow together.

  • pennyjane hanson on June 12, 2011

    so, this place is too sanctified for defiance? in this place we share only what brings us together and deny those things we disagree with?

    i have to disagree with you on that point…and janet, the creator of this site, might be a better source of her intentions than either of us.

    from my experience, i have heard janet say “NO!” to your depiction. when frank asked that i be censored out because he found my remarks offensive, janet said, “NO!”

    i take my lead from her. it seems that janet has said pretty clearly that she isn’t as clear on where the line between engagement and beneath contempt is as you are.

    and still, although this attack was less virulent and hateful than your previous two….i await your engagement, and will try harder to not respond to your attacks.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on June 12, 2011

    It’s clear Janet’s intent in this site was to be a sandbox where all the children learn how to play together, but you’ve essentially bullied every one out.

    I’m not saying that you don’t have anything to offer. You do. But what good does it do anyone to dialogue with you when the course of the conversation always ends up in your rage?

    For example, Bill’s “grouping” comment could’ve been taken personally. And I, too, took offense at it, but before demeaning him for it, I took time to realize something: HE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT WE KNOW. And so I shared what I thought in a rational manner. You would rather I hit him with a bat. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi led peaceful, non-violent revolutions. GLBT people can too. That doesn’t negate Stonewall, nor does it negate any other GLBT sorrows, nor does it preclude any need for defiance now or in the future. But that doesn’t justify treating others as we have been treated historically, especially when the intent of this site is to explore differing opinions.

    Now you can filter this to be a mean-spirited and demeaning message all you want. It is not. It is spoken with a gentle voice and in the Spirit of our loving Christ.

    Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

    Donna

  • Donna on June 12, 2011

    I answered above…best to you.

  • pennyjane hanson on June 12, 2011

    and so we see. the almighty donna, righteous above all, will dialogue with bigotry but disdains it’s detractors.

    have a nice day. pj

  • Donna on June 12, 2011

    Your bigotry is no different than theirs. Theirs may be borne of ignorance but yours is not.

    Donna

  • Donna on June 12, 2011

    Janet also says NO! to what you’re doing as well…

  • pennyjane hanson on June 12, 2011

    and so i say of yours. but, of course, i’m wrong….bigotry is an imperfection. surely that can’t be said of you, oh great and righteous one without sin.

  • pennyjane hanson on June 12, 2011

    and, back to peception….i believe all bigotry is borne of ignorance, and raised by pride and self-righteousness.

    you were surely adopted, but what you lack in ignorance you make up for with and abundance of pride and self-righteousness.

  • pennyjane hanson on June 12, 2011

    i can call names and throw disparaging remarks back and forth with you all day, nothing to it.

    but, should you ever decide you’d like to come down off your high horse and engage as equals, i’m here, and i’m ready and i am willing.

  • Donna on June 12, 2011

    Bye-bye PJ.

  • pennyjane hanson on June 12, 2011

    fare well, donna, go with God.

    dear janet,

    so, what have we learned…just what might this vote mean for our church?

    well, some of it might be surprising. even surprising for some of those who have worked their buns off for year after year to make it happen. i speak now of our (lbgt) surrogate voice in the church…those wonderful, Holy Spirit filled christians who saw the injustice and fraud in the system that kept us shut up and them as our surrogates. though, through all this time and in all ways, they have spoken for us, and yet they spoke for themselves as well….our voice was filtered through their voice. that being a fact…i am a little surprised to find that now there is a little jealousy, a little resentment, even for those wonderful folks.

    you, yourself, have indicated that you expect the voice to be a little rough around the edges, but i don’t think you even realized just how rough it might be. i can kind of see it like letting a dog off a chain. even if his master has been kind and loving, he still wants to run free…and he might ignore the whistle…given that there is no more chain to back it up.

    i think we might find that this voice just won’t be talked down to anymore, neither by friend nor foe. we have been pronounced equal, and we will speak as equals.

    we are free, free to make our own mistakes, in our own name. we will make our mistakes, and many of those will be very loud and very visible, and we, like all others then, will be so glad there is a Jesus, to atone for our sins, for like all others, we can not do that on our own.

    i am speaking for those who are now members of pc(usa), not those who have left…they have moved on to other communities, other places…we are still here…and frankly, i think a lot more of those who have stayed, and who plan to stay on, than i do of those who left.

    we might learn, in pcusa, that no one can control the conversation anymore. no one can set “the” agenda and expect response only from surrogates, but now can expect challenge from the real deal, our real…authentic voice, loud and proud.

    surprising?

    when someone calls us “satanic”, it will be our own voice who shouts out, “whoa….wait just a minute there cowboy…i’m going to have to call you out on that one!”

    and when someone equates tolerance to love…it will be ours to take that on, straight up and personal.

    we will teach those who remain the difference, the vast difference, between tolerance and love. that lesson won’t be pretty in a lot of cases.

    in pcusa, tolerance has given way to love. love me if you will, but don’t ever try to disguise your tolerance as love, i’ll call you out on it every time. i know the difference, i’ve suffered it and this vote pronounces me free of that suffering…i will hold the church to that promise.

    this is the new paradigm, we shall see who is real and who is bearing false witness.

    i honestly never expect to hear in pcusa, “i’m sorry, it never occurred to me that equating homosexuality to beastiality might be offensive”, but if i ever do, i hope the conversation will take a whole new twist right then and there. and i’m sure, at least in my church, my lgbt voice will not ever be alone in it’s outrage. i expect that every voice in the church would express the same outrage. i expect that, i count on it…it’s the promise of my church. anyone inclined to just “let that go”, in my opinion, would really be better off finding a new church, ours would definitely not be a good fit. no more a good fit than those who oppose the ordination of women.

    i remember in searcher’s class when i was thinking of joining pcusa…that’s one thing our pastor, ben, made perfectly clear. you can come here, and you might even join the church…but if you oppose the ordination of women, you won’t find much here to your liking, we ordain women joyfully, we need our ordained women and wouldn’t consider ever changing that. it’s as “us” as is john calvin. he didn’t say, “go find another church bub” he just said, “go find another church.” i very much appreciated the emphasis he put on that, it’s a principle, it’s our dogma, it’s what we believe and it’s not in question.

    that’s the promise of this vote and pcusa to me…if you oppose the ordination of gay people, go find another church. that point is not arguable, it’s a given…we are equal. if you are still arguing that gays are going to hell, you aren’t even close to us. we ordain gay people. questioning our after life is for first grade sunday school in a bigoted chruch, we’ve moved on from that exercise in futility.

    surprising?

    we feel empowered! that’s going to frighten some people…that’s going to scare the heck out of the outright bigots.

    good! they should be afraid, they should feel their world crumbling around them…it is! God is moving in this church and evil should be trembling in it’s boots.

    there are some very powerful psalms that talk of this…but i won’t go there.

    surprising?

    good!

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on June 12, 2011

    Are you speaking for Janet? Are you claiming power over the whole PC(USA) because it voted to ordain GLBT candidates? Are you saying that people now in the PC(USA) who are not yet “on board” with GLBT inclusion should get out or be afraid?

    Wow…I am really out of this discussion…it sounds like someone let loose a rabid pitbull.

  • pennyjane hanson on June 12, 2011

    if an humble thought ever crossed your mind it would be the lonliest entity in the universe.

    tag! you’re it.

  • pennyjane hanson on June 13, 2011

    and no, donna…responding to just what only with a great stretch can be considered “conversation”, i don’t speak for anyone but myself.

    janet speaks for janet.

    and, again, no….i claim only the power in pcusa that 10a affords me. 10a having been affirmed by a clear majority of our voters.

    and, yes…i’m saying that the time has come that we are equal to women in pcusa. if you aren’t “on board” then either get on board or find another church, you won’t be happy here.

    and, yes…i very clearly said that evil should be trembling in it’s boots. i very clearly said that God is at work in pcusa and the devil is going to get very, very uncomfortable.

    of course, donna, it would take a gift for listening and the power of rational discernment to understand what i wrote, so i’m not surprised that it confused you.

    if you would try to put your hate on hold for a minute…..instead of so loudly talking the talk, actually walk the walk of your profession, you might understand, instead of judge and condemn out of hand.

    much love and hope. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on June 13, 2011

    and donna….in my post addressed TO janet, i confessed imperfection in myself….something you might take a real close look at, something you might even someday learn to emulate.

    i confessed in myself some jealousy and resentment of the voice that has served as a surrogate of my own for so long.

    i confessed that i was somewhat surprised to find that in myself, and now i’ll add…embarrassed and disappointed.

    but i am very glad that the Lord opened my eyes to it in myself, knowing it at least allows me an opportunity to deal with it.

    i want to expound on that: since it involves some humility, i’m sure it will go right over your head, but for the benefit of janet and others in pcusa i want to make the confession, and for my own self i want to verbalize it, so that we all can see it clearly.

    the shame i feel is in the resentment. many voices have spoken on my behalf for quite some time, and never louder or with more clarity than right now. i can’t help but believe, given the circumstances of ordianation for so very long, that most of the voice that spoke for and aprroved 10a was not the voice of any personal affiliation with lgbt people.

    i acknowledge that the vote was approved by a coalition of people: some are like janet, lgbt but, good lgbt, married and having her sex life not be a factor; people who know and love lgbt people who are being discriminated against because of their same sex love; and those who just simply can find no credible justification in scripture for excluding people based on who they love.

    the resentment i feel, i think, is that even in all that, THEY had a vote, i didn’t. i think that down inside me i feel that i owe them a personal debt, we are not yet equal. i am beholding to the very people who have given my voice legitimacy…i still feel like i “owe” them some deference…i think i resent that.

    by my debt, i am not yet “equal”, i am yet subordianted.

    i acknowledge this is in ME, in truth, i owe them no deference. it’s just a feeling in myself…these wonderful folks voted “yes” for their own reasons.

    i wonder if this might not be unlike the feeling of a freed slave, one whose master set him free because of principle, the abhorance of slavery itself? i wonder how long it took that man to really come to feel equal with his former master? did that former slave always then have a part of himself kept in slavery, or did there come a time when he also freed himself?

    maybe i should see this more as this: the majority of voters in pcusa didn’t vote to free me, but voted me the opportunity to free myself. maybe they haven’t really made any choices at all for me, but merely have left me the opportunity to make my own choices.

    i shall see, now, if chanting that mantra might help desolve that sinful resentment in me, if bringing it into my communion with God can help me get past it.

    i expect that those i share these feelings with in my church will not judge me harshly, will not sweep this resentment under the rug, but will help me, with kindness and humility, to deal with it and have a chance to become whole in Jesus and in them, to become a better, more complete servant.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on June 13, 2011

    How does it feel to be butt in on? You do it all the time and your own projections of your own behavior onto me are pointless.

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 13, 2011

    dear janet.

    you also asked here, “where do we go from here?” do we go backwards, or do we keep our eye on the prize, always moving foward, always being reformed?

    when it comes to people who think that lgbt people must either repent of this “sin” or be bound for hell, should we yet consider this a matter for public discourse, or should we file it away with the question of ordaining women, a done deal, no longer in question.

    i think dialoging, in a public forum, with that thinking has no potential beyond pandering. you give the peception of it’s legitimacy by addressing it as if it were actually a legitimate question. it is not, and i think we have far better ways of spending our time and energy than pandering to that thinking.

    for those who accept that homosexuals can and should be full and productive ministers of the church, but without portfolio…well, elvis just left the building on that question too.

    that’s the new reality in pcusa.

    so, do we engage these folks by continuing to beat the dead horse with them? do we continue to engage the agrument that has been solved, do we accomodate and negotiate with them on the point, or might we be better served by acknowledging the reality and see if we can help them accomodate themselves to the new reality? i mean specifically, not calling on the church, which has spoken, to accomodate them, but see if they can accomodate themselves with the church?

    i remember pastor ben saying to me once when i was proposing something to bring awareness of lgbt “issues” to our congregation. he was slighly annoyed, but respectful….he said, “i will be so glad when we can move on from these non-issues and bring our focus back on the work we should be doing.”

    i didn’t read ben as saying that lgbt issues are not worth the time and effort of the church, i read him as saying what a shame it was that they have to be worth the time and effort of the church.

    i hear a lot of people saying that, “this horse has been beaten to death, let’s put down our sticks and see if we can’t get some real work done.”

    we will try to help you accomodate yourself to OUR church, but if you cannot accomodate yourself to us, then accomodation is not going to happen..

    that’s what i mean by, “find another church.” it’s not saying you aren’t welcome here, it’s just acknowledging that “here” is “here” and that arguement is no longer worthy of any more of our time and attention, as a church. if individuals still wish to accomodate that argument, that’s their choice, and God bless them, but as far as the church goes…let’s move on.

    do we stand still, go backwards, or move on….it’s our choice.

  • pennyjane hanson on June 13, 2011

    donna….as i said, i could call names and throw disparaging remarks back and forth with you all day, it’s as easy as falling off a log.

    but, now i am taking my own advice…i have no more time nor energy to waste on you. i have real work to do.

    so…bye bye, donna….i hope for the last time.

  • Donna on June 13, 2011

    Take the best and leave the rest.

  • Donna on June 13, 2011

    So PJ, Hey, I’m just giving you a taste of your own medicine…what you can dish it out but you can’t take it?

  • Janet Edwards on June 13, 2011

    Dear pj and Donna,

    I was away for two days attending a wedding on Cape Cod–thank you, Massachusetts, that the love and commitment between the partners is what you recognize–and I return to the long, sometimes heated exchange between you.

    Thank you, Donna and pj, for allowing others to witness your exchange. You gave us much to think about.

    At the same time, I have come to see that summary dismissal like “bye-bye” is really grievous to me as a serious failure in the comity hoped for in conversation here. I am heartened when I see those saying “bye” or those being sent off, don’t really go. It was momentary and the conversation continues. That is good and makes me glad.

    I want to continue to consider what 10A (now G-2.0104b as of July 10,2011) means for the church. It is worth reading the new section again. pj, it does not do for LGBT Presbyterians what the Kenyon case in 1974 did for women. It does for LGBT faithful called by God to ordained service what the 1958 vote did. It allows the possibility for LGBT members of the PCUSA of ordination in congregations to elder and deacon and in presbyteries to minister (teaching elder).

    And what will turn the possibility into reality by votes of committees, congregations and presbyteries?

    I am sure it will not come from personal attack or what may be perceived as personal attack. It will not come from unleashing of outrage however legitimate.

    The new G-2.0104b is clear about the basis for assessing the call, gifts, preparation and suitability for office for all candidates. Explaining one’s self through Scripture, the Book of Confessions and the ordination questions is the sole means to make clear one’s joyful submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and one’s manner of life demonstrating the Christian gospel in the church and the world.

    The action in the PCUSA moves from GA to the churches and presbyteries, to the Nominating Committees, the Committees on Preparation for Ministry and the Committees on Ministry. And the question is: what will best open ears to God’s call to faithful LGBT Presbyterians?

    And we need to remember that some of those ears will be very like Bill, Frank and David.

    I have my own answers to that question. I am interested in what others have to offer.

    Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts.

    Peace be with you all, Janet

  • pennyjane hanson on June 13, 2011

    no, donna….i can take all you can dish out….just keep right on going.

    the thing is, i’m superfluous in this conversation. you are most articulately pointing out what an unabashed, self-righteous jerk you are with no help from me necessary.

    please, keep going, if i don’t respond it’s only because i am doing something with a purpose, perhaps dialoguing with a grown up.

    have a nice day. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on June 13, 2011

    i’ll get back to you, donna, the next time i have a few minutes to spend doing nothing more than amusing an idiot.

  • Donna on June 13, 2011

    Hey PJ, I guess if Janet wants me here I’ll be here!

    You’re outta luck.

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 13, 2011

    good afternoon, janet.

    i take your point. 10a will not guarantee the ordination of one single person, it merely makes it now possible for lbgt folk in loving relationships to be considered….by the same standards as all others might be considered.

    i know it isn’t the same wording as used to ordain women, but it, at least to me, makes the same promise. you can now be considered for ordination not based on who you were born, but on who you have become.

    i hope, and based on the promise of 10a, that the question of worthiness of ltgb folk based only on who they love, will not be taken seriously in the pnc’s discussions in the presbyteries and congregations.

    i hope that should those kinds of questions arise, they will be quickly dismissed with, “we presbyterians (usa) don’t consider that a question worthy of investigation…we will address who they are and what is their Call.”

    just as, i’m sure, there were many who solidly objected to the ordination of women back in that day, there must have been a majority of voices that refused to engage the question anymore. if they’d kept rehashing the arguement of gender bias on and on and on….well, they didn’t…look around at all the ordained women in our church. i think they just up and said, “that’s enough, we are not required to consider gender bias in our reflections on the individual and we choose not to.”

    i hope those same people make the same decisions now that 10a allows lbgt’s in loving relationships as candidates for ordination to come before the pnc’s.

    i agree with you, that’s a promise…that’s a hope…hope, at least for me, requires expectation…i expect it to be so.

    i hope those pnc’s, presbyteries and congregations take the same stand…”we don’t have to consider that and we “choose” not to.”

    there will be those who don’t take that to heart, and, in time, they will come to not look like “us” at all anymore. in fact, if they presist in that thinking, they not only will not look like “us”, they will not be “us”.

    i understand your point, there are many who have not yet become comfortable with this new reality, and we shouldn’t throw them out with the bathwater…those who can be addressed should be. but, i think you and i differ here, the frank’s and bill’s are not those folk. frank didn’t even wait to see what 10a was going to look like, he left the minute he “saw it coming.” bill would never even consider being a member of pcusa, in his book we are satanic and preach a perverse form of The Word from our pulpits.

    i see no point at all in wasting time on those folk…their minds are made up, they are just as sure of their vision of us as perverts as i am sure we are not. two diametric visions of the truth, both held by true believers.

    i see no compromise with that. i would let them in my church and allow them all the freedom to become who the Lord God makes them, the problem is, they don’t have that same inclusionary spirit, they would deny me access to my own call.

    i want to belong to a church that honor’s us all as equal children before God, each with her own voice and with her own potential. they want to belong to a church that singles us out as unworthy of God’s call.

    just a bill says of our church, i say of his, “i would never consider even the potential of being a member of a church like that.” and if bill were a member of our church, i would always be suspicious of him, i would always be wary, watching for him to start a movement to exclude me.

    we wouldn’t be a congregation, we’d be a group of believers always suspicious and watchful, not trusting one another.

    i know how deeply you feel about keeping the church together, and i share that kind of utopia with you, but for me, that’s a fantasy, not a dream.

    fantasies are for play, dreams are for realizing.

    i so admire your courage, your determination and your focus on what you believe…sometimes you almost change it from a fantasy to a dream in my own mind….but then, bill or frank, or donna comes along and reminds me, it’s just fantasy, in my mind anyway.

    i know this isn’t what you want to hear, but i hope it still makes some sense to you.

    much love and hope. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on June 13, 2011

    hey donna. i never asked you to leave, i never supported your ouster.

    i agree with janet completely…no censorship…period.

    so, stick around as long as you like, keep proving what a hypocrite you are, it doesn’t bother me at all.

    have a nice day. pj

  • Donna on June 13, 2011

    Right back at ya, babe. See you in the sandbox!!

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 13, 2011

    lightweight! even bill chose a better pajorative than “babe”, he had enough imagination to go all the way to “dude”.

    catch up, you’re falling behind.

  • Donna on June 13, 2011

    PJ,

    Babe is better than dude, yes?

    Well, listen I know I’ve been instigating and I want to apologize for that. Can we kiss and make up?

    Now that you’ve gotten up off the floor, yes, that was sincere contrition. I do have it, despite your inistence that I don’t.

    What do you say?

    xoxo?

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 13, 2011

    very much so, donna. i look forward to sharing with you as equals.

    much love and hope. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on June 13, 2011

    dear donna.

    now, if we can engage as equals, let’s talk about our thoughts on what has happened here in this forum.

    it’s true, and i think i made it very clear, the most astounding thing that i’ve heard in this whole thread was you saying that bill’s willingness to allow gays to come to his church was “a testement to his LOVE.”

    i think i said of that, “it makes me want to throw up.” that is true, it did, and i’ll explain why that statement affected me so.

    from the entire context of bill’s posts, having read and listened carefully…i concluded that the only reason bill would allow gays in his church would be that he felt he could convince them to repent of their same sex love and therefore, “save their souls.”

    that, to me, is the crux of the “ex-gay” movement, something i find totally dispicable, destructive beyond belief. i see it as hate and condemnation.

    can you tell me how you, an intelligent and enlightened same sex loving woman, heard from the same voice, “a testement to love?”

    i have stated my reasoning, but i haven’t heard yours…let’s see if we can engage in a conversation about that, repspectfully and honestly at the same time.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on June 14, 2011

    Hi PJ,

    He loves enough to be okay to worship with us (and here on this site, enough to inquire and want to understand) when others would cast us out completely, as witnessed by those who have the PC(USA) directly because they don’t want to worship with glbt people.

    I think when someone’s even a half-way supporter it is better than nothing. If you read from the beginning, he went from saving your soul to sharing about his gay friends to wanting to engage more.

    This isn’t to say that he “converted” or that I wanted to him “convert.” But growth and education happened for everyone, but I think more can be accomplished by sharing and accepting that he and others like him are at least interested in conversation. I think sometimes it is our cross to bear to bear insults, whether said purposefully or in utter ignorance, in order to educate that person. People who don’t care, who don’t want to engage, plop statements down here and never respond.

    To this day, African Americans and other minorities, even women, bear the weight of internalized prejudice. Not hitting those who come here with a bat, I think helps others not to internalize their prejudice; it brings out their biases where we can help them understand. Otherwise, they leave with an even worse impression of glbt people than when they came.

    We’ve all gotten nasty and self-righteous and mean here. I think that says we’re all a testament to God’s saving grace, and thank God for that, huh?

    Donna

  • Donna on June 14, 2011

    …it appears i’m typing too fast and left out some words… those who left the PCUSA directly because they don’t want to worship with glbt people…hope you can fill in any others…gotta go to work.

    Donna

  • Donna on June 14, 2011

    So I think one of the results of 10a will be ordination of glbt people in presbyteries who welcome their gifts, yet at the same time they will be carefully watched and probably judged by even higher standards than non-glbt pastors/ministers. Such was the way with women and African Americans…

  • Bill on June 14, 2011

    Hi Donna
    I did accept your offer of continuing this by email in a friendlier environment But as of yet I have not received your email back from Janet. Perhaps it got lost in the shuffle? Or not received? Maybe Janet would be so kind as to look again? I will resend again as well…..Thanks,
    Bill

  • pennyjane hanson on June 14, 2011

    dear donna.

    i think you are entirely right about this…we have all gotten very nasty and self-righteous….and i don’t exclude me from that….although, i can’t point to an instance where janet has sunk to that level, the rest of us all have. i think i have said before in this thread…it’s the sins of others which we see in ourselves that we react the most violently to.

    regarding being held to a “higher standard” in pc(usa), i have personal experience with that potential. of course it’s only the experience of one person in one congregation, but i found that fear didn’t live up to it’s billing. of course i feared that when i came to my church, it seems like a very natural thing to happen and i prepared myself for it…but it didn’t come to pass.

    in my congregation i am the only “out” lbgt person, and my “out” is very, very visible. i expected some severe scrutiny but what i found was a whole lot of people who gave me a fair chance and responded to me as a whole person; certainly full of faults and weaknesses, but no more so than the rest of us. my service was rendered where asked and there seemed no end to the asking….everything from liturgist to sitting in the front office as secretary (receptionist).

    those two (liturgist and receptionist) speak volumes to me. when you are asked to stand in front of the congregation during worship and read the part of “leader” and nobody leaves, in fact the congregation keeps growing, that says something quite profound to me. and when they will put your face out in front as the public face of your chruch, that says even more.

    i did not see myself being judged by any other standard than ability and willingness to serve.

    that’s my experience with pc(usa) and if people are not willing to worship along side of me, i haven’t seen them…and i was here for the change.

    i will address your take on bill’s love shortly…that’s gonna take a little prayer and a focus on “self-righteousness” to respond to.

    much love and hope. pj

  • pennyjane hanson on June 14, 2011

    dear bill.

    i don’t know if you are still reading or if you just dropped in to try to make that private meeting between you and donna happen.

    if you are still reading, i would like to make a new covenant with you, based on donna’s lead, let’s “kiss and make up”.

    i think the new covenant should look something like this: per janet’s loving and kind offering to us, let’s each own our own remarks. let’s agree that we have different interpretations of scripture and neither of us are professors of THE TRUTH, but are relating our perception of it. let’s agree that the fine line between exegesis and eisogesis is something neither of us are very good at finding, as yet.

    i will agree to that if you will.

    second: i will agree to refrain from words like “bigot” and “hate” if you will refrain from words like “satanic” and “perverse” and from references comparing us (homosexuals) with serial killers and rapists and those who practice beastiality. it is absolutely offensive to any of us to be protrayed with them, as janet said, “it is an horrendous insult.”

    as this is not a covenant between God and man, but between one woman and one man, i welcome your input as to the terms of such a covenant.

    regardless of what happens here, i very much hope that janet will make possible that private communication between you and donna. and, i mean this as sincerely as i can say it, i hope (expect) that much good can come of that.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on June 14, 2011

    PJ

    I accept with one comment though. I should have seen the rapist and satanic statement as rude on my part. But sometimes anger makes my mouth overload my common sense. So I appologize for that. But the beastiality is something I had hoped to discuss with Donna in private. If I am going to converse with you here, then I need for you to kindly and gently let me know of offensive comments. The reason I included beastiality earlier is they are grouped together in scripture. So I wish it wasnt offensive to you, but it came right from scripture. i will refrain from using it in a derogatory manner if thats possible, but I still need for you or Donna or Janet to explain to me, why I cant use it, when its in scripture. Am I making any sense here at all?
    Bill

  • Bill on June 14, 2011

    btw, me and the Lord are working on the anger thing……….LOL

  • Donna on June 14, 2011

    Bill I agree with PJ, but am also delighted to talk with you offline as well. My reasoning is the same as above. I would add that beastality harms the innocent – given in a shepherding context I’m sure it was in direct regard to sheep/lambs. It should in no way be compared to human sexuality. But we can talk more offline.

    Janet, would you folks send Bill my email?

    Thank you,

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 14, 2011

    hi bill. you are certainly not alone in that anger can guide your tongue into places it ought not go. personally, i think ALL of us are subject to the same sin, and sometimes we don’t even see it happening.

    i can’t explain to you why references to homosexuality and beastiality are located in close physical proximity in leviticus. i would only ask you to consider what donna has said: beastiality is not an act of love, it’s only about sexual gratification.

    i would also refer you back to the two references that janet offered you earlier in this thread, and the one i offered you concerning “perception” of the “clobber passages” etal, to include the once you mention here. the creators of those works are far more learned and take a far less passionate approach then i think i can.

    i’m just speculating here, but this has made me wonder just a bit. do you think it possible that the writers of leviticus might have taken the view of homosexuality that many do today, that it is only about sex and not about love?

    is it possible that they didn’t “get it”, but as time has passed and we all, including the priests and rabbi’s have learned more about it, that many eyes have been opened to the fact that homosexuality is no more about sex than heterosexuality….they both can be about expressing love, sometimes in a sensual way, and sometimes not.

    that’s not to say we, i mean the greater “we” heterosexual and homosexual alike, don’t often lose our way when our sexual nature overpowers our natural love….sex is committed in and out of marriage, in and out of love, in both paradigms. many homosexuals have sex with one another for no other reason than to satisfy their carnal nature. many heterosexuals do that same. i seriously doubt there are more than a handful of churchs, synagogues or mosques in the world where that isn’t happening right now, as we speak.

    we are all capable of sexual immorality. my sister and brother in law are devout pentacost’s. they are three times a week in church, testafying and speaking in tongues. he had a sexual affair with another member and broke my sister’s heart. could it be that sexual immorality was what was being addressed by the rabbi’s in the book of leviticus, and even then, they were not able to see love in homosexual relationships, but only sex?

    could it be that only now is the consciousness of the world being opened to see the love we are capable of as well?

    just a thought.

    and by the way, i welcome your return to the conversation, i repent and ask your forgiveness for the anger i have expressed towards you as well. i hope we can share as equals, neither knowing with any surity that we speak in the name of God, but each of us searching for answers.

    much love and hope, pj

  • pennyjane hanson on June 14, 2011

    dear donna. i have chosen not to go into the long and “instructing” diatribe i have been envsioning all day about your refernce to bill’s “testament to love”.

    i would just ask you each to consider what is love and what is tolerance…and what are ther fruits of each.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on June 14, 2011

    Donna and Pj, you are both awesome!And yes Pj, I forgive you….

    Now, My BIG problem here is I understand the Bible to be THE word of GOD. No mistakes,no errors, no omissions. Thats the way I was taught to believe. So by looking at your two statements, it seems to me you are saying that the Old Testament is incorrect ( for whatever reason)? And that is really the biggest hurdle here for me……if thats what your saying?

  • Donna on June 14, 2011

    Hi Pj, Not sure what you mean…I sent my response this morning and that’s all I have to say.

    Thanks,

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 14, 2011

    thank you bill. i don’t think you’re going to find much disagreement in that i think we all hold scripture as true and holy.

    the thing is…it is the LIVING WORD.

    i see scriture as something new every time i read it. if i do not learn something every time i pick it up, i just put it down and try again later, when i am more open.

    there is context. the Holy Bible is the Living Word of God….the Word, we remember, became flesh and dwelt among us.

    remember the pharisees chastizing Jesus for laboring on the sabbath? the pharisees took scripture literally, there was to be no labor done on the sabbath, it was to be a Holy day dedicated to God and nothing more.

    Jesus didn’t tell them they were wrong to keep the sabbath Holy, but He did ask them what more reflects love of a neighbor, keeping the sabbath Holy or serving needs that may arise on the sabbath? by example, he gave us His answer. he did not correct the pharisees, he just expanded their horizons, offered them a new understading of the Word of God. you said yourself, we don’t live under the laws of the old testement, we live by the example of Jesus, the Holy Spirit and scripture….all intertwined, all Holy and all here for no more than our own good…but none relieve us of the burden on descernment.

    i would like to note: prior to the 1860’s there was no word “homosexual”, that’s when it was coined. prior to that there were many words used to describe different visions of homosexuality…”eunuch” being one of them.

    so, when you read the word “homosexual” in scripture, you are reading a word and an understanding that didn’t even come into existance for nearly two thousand years after the earthy ministry of Jesus. every reference before that time has, necessarily, a different meaning and context.

    “eunuch” was a very common word used in ancient times to decribe what we now think of as homosexual-like. donna quoted scripture from both isaiah and matthew that spoke of eunuchs. in isaiah we are exhaulted, we are told that God has a very special place for us in heaven.

    in matthew, Jesus makes a very bold statement for the time, suggesting there is more to eunuchs than meets the eye…and concluded with, “this teaching is for those who can understand.” i hear Jesus saying that the time is not right for most to understand, but i also hear a promise..that time will come.

    has it come?

    much love and hope. pj

  • Janet Edwards on June 14, 2011

    Dear Bill, pj and Donna,

    What a document for the whole church this thread has become as you have engaged in a seriously difficult conversation. Thanks to all three of you for your persistent faithfulness!! Keep it up in the spirit of the promises you have made to one another.

    I want to add two things that, I hope, will help us continue.

    First, I want to list for us all what are known by some of us as the Clobber Passages because we feel that they are used to clobber lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

    Genesis 1-2
    Genesis 19 and the parallel in Judges 19
    Leviticus 18:22, 20:13
    Romans 1:24-27
    1 Corinthians 6:9
    1 Timothy 1:3-13
    Jude vs.7

    There is scholarly exegesis of these passages that concludes that none of them apply to same gender love between two women or two men in mature, loving, committed relationships which we see all around us now. At the same time, there are hosts of passages in Scripture that support LGBT inclusion, Two that come to mind are Isaiah 56 and Acts 10. I trust you will add to these as the conversation continues.

    Second, Bill is helpful in articulating his greatest stumbling block: the Bible is “the word of God, no mistakes, no errors, no omissions.” Historical criticism of the last two centuries, the various interpretative positions of the Luther, Calvin and the other Protestants and really the consideration of Scripture underneath the umbrella of the church reaching back to the branches of the Pauline and Johannine churches in the early days have always thrust us all back onto faith rather than certainty concerning the meaning of Scripture.

    For me it is a mysterious paradox that the written Word of God is both complete and only available to us via our own fallible interpretation. The Holy Spirit guides us by inspiring our understanding. We do our best. We need each other to come closer to the living Word.

    I pray that these words and my encouragement inspires you to continue.

    Peace be with you all, Janet

  • Bill on June 14, 2011

    Hi Janet

    Forgive me and I mean no disrespect. Scripture tells us we are to test evry kind of spirit to make sure it comes from God.( 1 John 4:1) To me that means I should not take everything I’m told as the truth, even from those teaching the word. Having said that you say, “There is scholarly exegesis of these passages that concludes that none of them apply to same gender love between two women or two men in mature, loving, committed relationships which we see all around us now”. So outside of the Presbytarian churches teaching, who are these scholars that you mention?

  • Bill on June 14, 2011

    I wasnt sure about the word eunuch. But this doesnt seem to match what you all think…right? Wrong?Word History: The word eunuch does not derive, as one might think, from the operation that produced a eunuch but rather from one of his functions. Eunuch goes back to the Greek word eunoukhos, “a castrated person employed to take charge of the women of a harem and act as chamberlain.” The Greek word is derived from eun, “bed,” and ekhein, “to keep.” A eunuch, of course, was ideally suited to guard the bedchamber of women.

  • pennyjane hanson on June 14, 2011

    hi bill. i wasn’t, and still am not, sure of the word “eunuch” and so did what seems the same research you did.

    i found it to be far more complicated than it seems on the surface….one complication arises directly for Jesus’ reference in matthew….”some eunuchs are so from birth” He tells us. that necessarily leads me to believe there is a wider definition than the dictionary tells us, “a castrated man”, or one vocation of ancient eunuchs, that of harem protector.

    can you explain what Jesus meant by that?

    i’m not saying that the word “eunuch” was only applied to homosexuals, but i can see it as one word that might have applied.

    try this: look up “homosexual” and see where that leads.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on June 14, 2011

    Hi Pj

    You said” can you explain what Jesus meant by that?”
    Bill says….nope.LOL. I do have my own interpretation of it, but I am doing some research on the subject before commenting.
    Homosexual? I’ll go look……

  • Donna on June 14, 2011

    Hi everyone,

    If I recall correctly, someone, a woman, I believe, somewhere is doing research into the role of the eunuch. The key question for me comes from Isaiah 56, where Isaiah is clearly talking about eunuchs, and yet says, “…better than sons and daughters.” AND DAUGHTERS. How can a woman be a eunuch unless she has suffered female castration?

    That’s where there’s some clue that this great prophet who predicted the coming of Christ and the crucifixion, provides a glimpse of some meaning more than just “a castrated male servant.” Otherwise why would he say “and daughters”? Daughters did not normally receive an inheritance at all, and were, as Janet pointed out, considered property and inferior to men. So this text, I think does warrant research. It is one of my favorites and what I hold to in terms of promise from the Lord for our (glbt) future.

    Bill, I’m so glad you’re back, delighted in fact. I’m trying to get this all in so I’m not on the computer all night, so forgive me any brevity. I really can’t offer anything more about “beastiality” – I don’t know what causes it and certainly don’t know, other than what PJ offered as “lust,” what the attraction is. I love my dog, as if he were my child, but that’s quite maternal and not a sin. So I would agree with PJ’s offering that such a scripture comes as a result of lust, perhaps lonely shepherds or other such situations. But I honestly don’t know anything about the topic as a sin, disorder, or whatever…My instinct is that it is a shameful harming of an innocent animal (for lustful sexual gratification). Penny’s explanation seems suitable, although I think you’re probably looking for sources like books & articles. If you Google or go to Amazon, you’ll probably find more than you want to know.

    I think it’s incredibly telling that we are talking about difficult stuff -sexuality. This is where the problem rests, I think, because people confuse sexual acts with relationships. For example, if a stranger overpowers and sexually takes a woman, it is rape. How many hundreds of years until the same action committed by a man to his wife, or to a boyfriend to his date, was considered rape? Well I’d better not go down that path… I don’t want to be on here all night.

    Penny, I do hope you are right about how new glbt pastors/ministers will be treated, but I’m basing my opinion on how society treated other minorities. Not many years ago, if who were women managers were too “business like” they were “bitches” or “manly” and if they were too “feminine” they weren’t really leadership quality. (Pardon my language, but you know it’s not coming from me.) And women are only now seeing equality in battle in the armed forces. So what does society hold for glbt ministers? I hope for the best, but realistically think there will be a higher standard of judgment – they will have to be more above reproach than their heterosexual counterparts.

    And last but never least, Janet, I would like to ask you if you would take a moment to explain the Romans “clobber passage” in this or another blog. Maybe those passages in a single blog would be helpful.

    Have a good night everybody –

    xoxo to all!!! 🙂

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 14, 2011

    dear donna. thank you for this post. and especially thank you for pointing out another place in scripture that points away from the dictionary definition of eunuch, one i had never considered.

    though i am far from assured, the more i learn about the word, the more context i see it in, the more i can see it as a word that did in fact include what we think of today as bgtl.

    i want to second your idea to janet as well…taking a look at all the clobber passages, one by one and with learned staff…we might really all (ALL) find new meaning and a new understanding. i emphasized ALL meaning as not something directed at bill, but meaning that i have no doubt that folks like myself can learn a whole lot from digging into them in real time instead of just reading the thoughts of others and talking it over with myself.

    who knows? with all the drama and plot twists we’ve seen here it could be that we’ve attracted a silent audience, what do they call them in the cyberworld…those who just watch but don’t join in?

    oh well, i forget…but maybe those folks are there and if we should get real meaty and less obstructive…they might even want to join in!

    God bless you all with much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on June 14, 2011

    This is a paper on eunuchs, but I am sure there is another site by a woman regarding females as well. Unfortunately I didn’t bookmark it when I came across it a couple months ago. 🙁

    http://www.well.com/user/aquarius/thesis.htm

    Donna

  • Donna on June 15, 2011

    Hi Bill,

    I added a link below that is a good discussion on this. Hope it is helpful.

    Donna

  • Bill on June 15, 2011

    Thanks for the article Donna. It still doesnt make good sense to me. And like in the article I am hunting down words,Greek,Herew,and Aramaic…..I being the simpleton of the group think there is way to much thought being put into this, but am doing my due diligence…..

    Hi PJ, are you thinking of “Lurker”?

  • pennyjane hanson on June 15, 2011

    yes, thank you bill…but, hearing the word itself, i’m not sure i like it in this context. i guess i associate a negative with “lurking”, while those i’m thinking of are more just interested observers.

    funny how words and labels work, isn’t it?

    and thank you greatly for the link, donna…my morning was fillied with it. i guess i’m as simple as bill, it’s going to take me several more readings to even decide if the young man has made even the case he seems to think he has. but, he has expanded my access to a whole lot more context, and that’s a very good thing!

    i did have to giggle a bit when i read, “trangender and intersex people are closer to that holy state.” we in the transsexual community hear that quite a lot…not nearly as much as we hear “satanic” and such….but both depictions give me a minute of comic relief.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on June 15, 2011

    Maybe they’re “in the closet.”

  • Donna on June 15, 2011

    Penny,

    That’s a mainstay for Native American religions…and glbti people were mostly shaman (don’t know the plural of shaman) and considered holy…

    Donna

  • Bill on June 15, 2011

    Touched…………..

  • pennyjane hanson on June 15, 2011

    yes, i know donna…and, as a transsexual person i find it kind of cute and funny. though i like being thought of in that way far more than being thought of as satanic, i find both depictions kind of absurd….i am no more holy than i am satantic based on having been born transsexual. i’m just another girl, albeit…of unusual origin.

    anyway, the writer here was just relating the perceptions of another, it didn’t much matter to his thesis.

    in his conclusions page, i wish he’d said “gay men are eunuchs” instead of “eunuchs are gay men”. that statement alone causes me to question the credibility of his conclusion, but i still admire his research and all the different contexts he introduced me to.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on June 15, 2011

    Hi Penny,

    If you go to the references and look them up, you’ll see where some of those authors do. There is a quote from Sobonfu Somé who believes that glbtqi are spiritual “gatekeepers” according to her African religion. Very interesting.

    I would rather Malik’s article said lgbtqi people are eunuchs. More will come to light, I’m sure.

    Best,

    Donna

  • Bill on June 15, 2011

    Hi All,
    I’ll post more tomorrow, but it seems according to aramaic and greek a more appropriate word would simply be “celibate”. Some were celibate from birth others were made that way ( castration). Like I said I’ll post the words later, I have company right now.
    Bill

  • Janet Edwards on June 15, 2011

    Dear pj, Bill and Donna,

    Greetings to you all! You are engaged in some heavy duty Bible study here–I look forward to the sharing the fruits of your labors.

    Rather than repeat myself on Scripture, I invite you to type “apologia” in the search line here to bring up my brief for the trial three years ago where I summarize common liberal understanding of the “clobber passages” on pages 14 to 21. The References at the end of the Apologia also point us to some of the scholars in addition to Jack Rogers whose work has contributed to my thinking.

    I do have a question, as well, arising from the fact that we know that Christian scholars differ on their interpretations regarding Scripture and LGBT equality. When all of your research is in, what are we going to do then?

    Thanks for your faithfulness.

    Peace be with you all, Janet

  • Donna on June 15, 2011

    Dear Janet,

    Hmmm…with greater understanding on all “sides” hopefully we’ll all be able to converse better and with mutual regard.

    Donna

  • Donna on June 15, 2011

    Hi Bill,

    Celibate is a possibility, except that the context of the passage is about relationships…and Jesus is echoing the legal definition(s) of eunuchs…

    More to study…

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 16, 2011

    dear donna.

    i know the holiness of tbgliq…etc…has been expressed often and in some very diverse areas. viscerally, and from, of course, my own perspective…i reject the idea. the only place i have ever even seen cause for pause is in isaiah’s depiction of where “eunuchs” might be found in heaven…and that to me it yet to be revealed in it’s true meaning. i remain, neither holy nor satanic.

    janet, your question is profound…just what will each of us do when all the research is in? i confess, all the research in the world isn’t likely to trump my “visercal” beliefs.

    i think that is the product of my own upbringing, and especially as it relates to gender identity. when all the evidence was in, when there was proof beyond question that i was a boy i just viserally knew better. eventhough every credible source i could find, even when every rational explanation pointed to the opposite, i knew i was not a boy, i was a girl. even when, it seemed, every other person on earth believed otherwise…i was convinced of what i believed and would not, indeed could not, be convinced otherwise.

    so, in my personal experience in life, i have found that i could be the only person on earth who was aware of the truth…and remain sane.

    a mighty prophet who can’t be swayed? no, i don’t think so, i rather think one person trying to retain her sanity.

    this, i think, is the case with most “true believers”, whatever their true belief might be. we just viscerally know certain things, and many of those just aren’t open to compromise…and at some point even go beyond the will to dicuss.

    so…if our research shows that “eunuch” means “gay man”, “abstinate”, “holy” or even all inclusive of the vast lgtbqia…acronym, i remain…one tiny little slither of the acromyn…one tiny portion of the “t” and barely peeking in the door of the “l”. but, alas, i will still see myself as but one individual, trying to get myself closer to God in ways i can be moved.

    “true believers”, we can be some pretty tough nuts to crack, evidence not withstanding.

  • Janet Edwards on June 16, 2011

    Dear Donna and pj,

    Thanks to you both for weighing in on this! You both,each in your own way, point to my answer to the question.

    I trust we know already that there are learned scholars and what pj calls “true believers” at all points of the spectrum of Biblical interpretation regarding LGBT inclusion (Professor William Stacy Johnson reports that there are seven Biblically rooted positions in the PCUSA). Our purpose is not to reach one conclusion after research and argument from it.

    Our purpose is exactly what Donna articulates: increased knowledge, ability to converse and growing mutual respect. This is the road to getting to know one another and getting to know one another is the best road to inclusion, being one in Christ.

    We are doing the most basic, crucial work of the church. Amazing. Peace be with you both, Janet

  • pennyjane hanson on June 16, 2011

    dear janet. i am a “true believer.” there is no evidence even possible that might convince me that the love i have for my wife, all the love, in all it’s forms, is anything other than an amazing gift of grace from God, Himself.

    i can never be convinced otherwise, in fact even egaging such an idea that it might be conceived in sin is absurd, to me.

    i hold that the faith those whose truth is the opposite of my truth must be at least as strong. the willingness of one to condemn, to discriminate against me…to comprehensively denounce my whole being based on that faith…leaves me not much hope of ever touching those “true beleivers.” the very willingness to discriminate tells me they must be very, very sure of themselves.

    i recently saw a survey, a survey conducted first in 1989 and then exactly again in 2011. in the ’89 survey 38% of americans believed that civil “marriage” should be allowed of all people, without regard for gender. the 2011 survey showed a 15% inclease in that number, the question came in at 53% in favor of that idea. you can argue that you can make a survey say anything you want it to say, i concur with that view, but this survey question was worded in exactly the same way…so, the trend is not in question. generically, americans are moving away from discrimination.

    what the survey doesn’t tell us is, who those 15% are. my guess is that they are people who didn’t hold a very strong view of the alternative, just an inbred cultural bias that when confronted with the evidence was willing to change.

    i don’t put “true believers” in that group. i think they remain with the 47% of those who remain apposed to civil equality. how many more remain in that “middle ground”…not “true believers” on either side? i think that’s where the fertile ground for change lies. bopping the same negative ends of polarity together just pushes each away.

    i believe bill and i respect his faith, i think he is an honest “true believer” and, truthfully, i don’t believe he will ever be convinced of anything that doesn’t, in the end, confirm his faith. just as i can never be convinced of anything that doesn’t confirm my own.

    in this conversation i will offer no illusion, i am not open to change. there is no chance that whatever anyone says, no matter what evidence there is, no matter how strong, how unshakeable that evidence might be…it will not even dent my belief that my love is beautiful, wholesome, healthy and blessed by God.

    that’s what i mean by “viseral” belief, you could just as easily say “faith” belief, or “true believer.”

    this does not mean i hold bill in disdain for his beliefs, i respect his faith and i respect his right to believe as he believes and i have no right to impose my beliefs on him, just as i believe he has no right to impose his beliefs on me.

    which brings us to the meaning of “freedom of religion” in a secular society. i will address my aversion to any and all “theocracies” at another time, but…it’s a very important point in this discussion, i think.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on June 16, 2011

    Janet,

    I think one of the interesting things about this conversation is that we are all “true believers.” One thing I hope for is the time for younger people to have a voice. Younger people are decidedly more liberal when it comes to non-heterosexual orientations. (PJ, perhaps that is where that 15% comes from that you mentioned above.) And they seem to resist labels, for which I admire them. Even here, it has been assumed what my letter in the gay alphabet soup is…older folks follow labels… Even if I mentioned elsewhere on this site, I’m not entirely sure it’s accurate, but only where I seem to fit best in “the land of labels.”

    Maybe that will be one of the positive outcomes of 10a, that labels will no longer apply to anyone, that we all are seen as souls longing to serve Christ.

    xoxo

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 16, 2011

    hi donna. i see where you are coming from with the young people being a factor in that 15%, i also think the fense sitters fit in….i doubt that “true believer” account for very much at all.

    i think that “labels” are natural, even necessary in communication. i think if i had to insert a qualitative definition of what i meant every time i said “transsexual” i’d just not bother.

    i think what you are getting at is innacurate or pajorative labels. that is the reason i don’t use the term “transgender”. it has so many meanings that it is an ineffective label….if you use the term and want to be understood you have to continue to qualify what you mean by it…it is at best an incomplete label.

    this is precisely why i am against the “inclusive” enda legislation, the incomplete and misunderstood term “transgender” is inserted when, i think, what is meant is “transsexual”

    should a drag queen or a transvestite enjoy the exact same protections as i do in society? both are “trangender” and would be covered under that kind of legislation. a man who is erotically aroused by wearing women’s clothing and viewing women in lingerie would be protected in the ladies’ rooms…he would have a legal right to be there.

    perhaps it is a statement about my own evolution, but i just would not be comfortable in that circumstance…i would feel i was being violated. i know for certain i am among a huge majority in that.

    were this language adopted and passed into law, those kinds of cases would come up…and i fear a backlash that might set back transsexual rights for a long time to come. that is a very, very unpopular opinion in the “transgender” community, but i am not transgender, i am transsexual and i think that most “thinking” transsexuals can see the value in what i say here.

    so like with this example, innacurate or misleading labels can be very damaging, whereas if we used the accurate label those problems could be averted.

    just a thought. pj

  • Donna on June 16, 2011

    Hmmm…but a man who becomes a woman and retains his preference for women – lesbian or transgender or heterosexual? I say no to labels, particularly in the church.

    Donna

  • Donna on June 16, 2011

    What bothers me about your example is that someone can say the very same thing about a transgender person…should lesbians use men’s rooms and gay men use ladies rooms?

    The “gay labels” just aren’t accurate, particularly in a church setting.

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 16, 2011

    i understand and appreciate your devil’s advocacy donna…and i can only answer it in one way…which is a long way from perfect even from my point of view.

    men should use mens’ rooms,
    women should use womens’ rooms.

    sexual orientation should not be a factor, just from my imperfect perspective.

    who identifies ones gender? oneself.

    i don’t think the restroom model is really as much about sex as it is about space. the ladies’ rooms of the world are one of the very rare places in our society where women can congregate with a complete absence of male being…congentital male dominance. males take up space like an elephant, both physically and psychologically.

    when a male enters a room of even ten women, the dynamic changes. the very presence of a man alters the whole ambiance of any position or place.

    i very much like a place like the ladies’ rooms…where women are with women and no men are there to take up space.

    remember, transvestites and cross dressers….if there is even a real difference, identify as MEN…transgender men, but essentially men.

    they should use the mens’ rooms, however they are dressed. transwomen, regardless of anatomy, should use the womens’ rooms.

    gender identity lives between the ears, not between the legs.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on June 17, 2011

    I don’t know…I think it’s a perfect example because it reveals biases and our society’s reliance upon what is between the legs and not between the ears. It’s not about how glbt (and cd-ers) view themselves, it’s about how society views them. In God’s house, we should be all equal souls before the Lord.

  • pennyjane hanson on June 17, 2011

    i couldn’t agree more, donna…equal is what we are in my perception of God’s view and equal is what we should be in each other’s eyes as well.

    but equal has very little to do with sameness. as i look around, God’s love of, indeed obsession with diversity is clearly evident. i celebrate our gendered species, i love my gender and am oh, so happy for it.

    transvestite, unlike transsexual, is not about who one is, but about what one does. dressing up like a girl, to a transvestite, is an erotic act: he is pleasuring himself sexually with this activity. do you think people should be encouraged to pleasure themselves sexually in God’s house?

    if we protect the rights of transvestites to express themselves erotically in public, then shouldn’t we examine other sexual fetishes as well? what about infantilists, grown ups who are erotically aroused by dressing up and acting like babies? their fetish is no less benign than the transvestite’s. if we allow transvestites (cross dressers) to express themselves sexually in public, or God’s house, wouldn’t it be hypocritial of us to deny infantilists the same right?

    but, we are really digressing here.

    i hope to hear from bill soon, so we can continue our discussion of the meaning of “eunuch”. of the definition of that term, i can be moved…i’m curious, not in the know.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on June 17, 2011

    Me, too. I don’t think I like where this discussion is headed. I don’t know how you can presume to know what other people are thinking…or differentiate between people’s rights. That’s what the “straight” world does to glbt people.

    Donna

  • Bill on June 17, 2011

    Hi Y’all
    Sorry I didnt come back and post what I found. It wont be today either…sorry.
    I have to assignments due today and I’m behind. I went back two college after retirement at age 55 and am struggling to keep up.But I wont forget ya….I’ll be back

  • Bill on June 17, 2011

    two…………..

  • Donna on June 17, 2011

    http://gendertree.com/Eunuch%20Biblical.htm

    The oldest available version of Matthew is a translation probably from Aramaic or Hebrew into Greek, and the word used in the Greek translation is eunouchos, from which we get our word eunuch. The word eunouchos comes from eune (bed) and echein (to hold), and most scholars accept that it means “one who guards the bed.” But Jesus would not have used the Greek word, since he spoke Aramaic. The Hebrew and Aramaic word for eunuch is saris, an Assyrian loan word that has been interpreted to mean “at the head.” an ancient Syriac translation of the Bible used the word mu’omin for eunouchos and saris. Mu’omin means “person of faith” or “person of trust.”

  • pennyjane hanson on June 17, 2011

    donna, please listen carefully….i said: who determinines their own gender identity? they do.

    i’m not presuming to know anything about another’s heart other than what they tell me.

    as far as determining what is acceptable in civil society, i take the same responsibility for my beliefs as i ask of others.

    a “transvestite”, or “cross dresser” is one who claims to be of one gender and yet likes to present the image of the opposite. that is a sexual fetish.

    i do not agree that a transvestite should have his rights to “gender expression” equal to my own….as a transsexual.

    you can judge me harshly if you like, but i, presonally, do not hold “illusion” in the same hand i hold “reality”. a transvestite or cross dresser is a self-identified male who enjoys presenting himself a woman.

    a “self identified” male.

    transwomen are not males….our gender is not determined by what’s between our legs, but by what’s between our ears.

    i, and this is just opinion, think that is what the spirit of the deuteronomical law against cross dressing was trying to get at …presenting a fraud on the public; presenting a false illusion of who one really is…SELF IDENTIFIED.

    the spirit of this law was the catalyst for my transition…i had to admit to myself that i was presenting a false image to the world…i was acting, dressing and living as a gender that i am not. i was presenting illusion, a fraud upon all who knew me, or even saw me in public. i knew myself to be female and yet persisted in presenting a false illusion of myself.

    diagnosing “transsexualism”, or “harry benjamin syndrome” is problematic at best…i wouldn’t presume to do it. and without the diagnosis all we have to go on is ones own word.

    i take a person’s word for it unless or until i have some reason to doubt it.

    i don’t see my ideas as coming from either the straight or the gay communities. i don’t see this as a liberal or a conservative position, it’s just common sense as i see it.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on June 17, 2011

    Were the queens at Stonewall presenting a fraud then? How do you praise the legacy of their actions and yet deny the rights?

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 17, 2011

    donna…i choose to end this right now. i haven’t heard even one of those “queens” express that they were fighting for the right to go down to macy’s and use the ladies’ room dressed in drag. they were fighting for their right to congregate with like-minded people without being beaten, harassed and arrested.

    i fully support their right to do that and admire the courage it took to fight for the rights they were fighting for. had they been fighting for the rights of men to use ladies’ rooms across the world i would not have supported them.

    this has now reached that point…we are each “true believers” and i choose to stop butting heads with you. i will not address this line of conversation any further in this thread.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on June 17, 2011

    So, if I’m not getting your point, educate me. Because in one post you are appluading the Stonewall drag queens for standing up for their rights (to gather in a public place) and their legacy has had a major impact on the church.

    In another post you are saying Transvestites are different than Transgenders, because Transvestitism is a fetish and a fraud, whereas Transgenderism is not. One is worthy of the right to use a public ladies restroom and one is not.

    Your logic is the same logic that grips the church: being glbt is a sexual thing and we are not worthy of equal status with heterosexuals.

    If I were in church and a Tvt or Tgr woman wished to use the ladies room, I’d hold the door for her.

    You can quit the conversation if you like but you’ve contradicted yourself, appear to believe in a double-standard, and you appear to be angry that I called you on it.

    I’m sorry, but that’s what it seems to me. Correct me if I’m wrong, but show me how your logic is different from the church’s historical view on glbt people.

    I personally have no vested interest in defending Tvt or Tgr people, because I don’t ascribe and am not either one, but rather I’m interested in the logic.

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 17, 2011

    no, donna….you have not understood a word i have actually said.

    i give up. you just want to fight and i thought we’d gotten past that.

    have a nice day.

  • Donna on June 17, 2011

    I’ve understood what you’ve said. I’ve been to churches where both Tvt and Tgr attended and didn’t flinch, and wouldn’t. I think we can’t presume to know what that person’s thoughts are, whether a Tvt is on their way to Tgr, or not, but in that moment they are as they are dressed to be. But you are saying otherwise, or are you?

    Please explain.

    Donna

  • Janet Edwards on June 17, 2011

    Dear Donna and pj,

    An image of the spiritual life that I have cherished for a long time is that of a V formation of birds flying across the sky. Eventually the lead bird tires. When that bird falls away the whole flock loses its pattern. Chaotic fluttering around ensues for a while until another bird establishes leadership again.

    I feel like we have witnessed this as you both flew together for a good while then fell away from each other. I trust you will return to give us the gift of your dialogue in due time.

    And your exchange is a gift in a host of ways.

    Most of us are completely ignorant around the experience and perspective of all the people who live under the umbrella of transgender. That distinctions most of us have never considered are crucial to you, pj, is important for all of us to hear and learn from. You widen our awareness in a way that can transform how we meet and treat people in our own communities.

    In that light, I take Donna’s query about the Stonewall drag queens as an honest effort to learn.

    And your whole conversation is not that far from the topic before us at this point in this thread: the meaning of eunuch in the Bible. My sense is that “eunuch” is coming to be understood as an umbrella term in Scripture (like transgender in that way)and I wonder if any of you have found that mentioned in your research.

    So far, Donna’s findings have suggested to me that the key to “eunuch” is trustworthiness with the harem. And that trustworthiness could rest upon a variety of sexual orientations and practices. That raises the question for me of implications for the primary New Testament texts that deal with eunuchs, Jesus’ sayings in Mt 19:10-12 and the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip in Acts 8:26-40. I am very interested in what you all conclude about God’s word to us in those passages.

    Thank you both for your restraint. I hope we can continue our flight together.

    Peace, Janet

  • pennyjane hanson on June 17, 2011

    ok, janet…just for information purposes. transvestites don’t grow up to be transsexuals. they are two entirely different things.

    transsexuals are people born of one anatomical sex and the opposite gender identity. we don’t develop this identity, we are born with it.

    transvestites are people who have developed a sexual fetish….they interact erotically with the clothing generally associated with the opposite gender.

    transvestites self-identify as male.
    transwomen self-identify as female.

    i don’t believe any man should have legal protection for using ladies’ rooms no matter how they dress. they are still men..and men should use mens’ rooms.

    that’s all i am saying…not that one is any better than the other, but we are different.

    clothes don’t make a woman, being a woman is what we are, not what we wear or how we get off sexually.

    drag queens are men who present female illusion. doing that on stage, in front of a willing audience is one thing. doing it undercover, in hiding is another thing all together. the truth does matter…..at least to me.

    the stonewall uprising was not about gender expression, it was about human expression.

    i am personally against anyone acting out sexually in public. sexual interactions should be between consenting adults, when a transvestite acts out in a club, or at a party where there are all willing participants, i think that’s fine. but when he acts out in public, using everybody as audience for his exhibitionistic sexual behavior, i take exception…i want to at least be consulted before i become a part of another’s sexual activity.

    transvestism is about sexual expression.
    transsexualism is about gender expression.

    the two are very different things, they have alternate genesis’, different practices and produce very different people.

    fundamentally, one is male and the other is female.

    i rather think that when it’s all said and done…if ever that happens, we will find “eunuch” to have had several different meanings….one of which might be “gay man”.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on June 17, 2011

    Thank you…sorry to have wearied you so.

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 18, 2011

    i’m sorry to have become so easily waried donna, i apologize.

    this is one reason i really, really do not like the term “transgender”. it is so vast and so wide as to have very little meaning in conversation. it’s an umbrella term that has been given such deference in today’s language because it is so general. it allows those who don’t want to discuss who they actally are to keep the whole conversation convoluted, unclear.

    perhaps that is also the case with “eunuch”, as janet suggests. i can find no word in biblical language that springs from what we think of today as specifically “homosexual.” this is why when people use the term “homosexual” in a biblical context, it just screams out to me for skeptical scrutiny. if no specific word existed in greek or aramaic, then how confident can we be of a translation of that non-existant word into english?

    it’s an example of an innacurate (pajorative)? label. good labels are good, bad labels are bad, labels are indifferent, merely tools of communication.

    as to homosexuals being some kind of spiritual gatekeepers….well, i dismiss that out of hand. homosexuals are just people, good, bad and otherwise. i see no particular difference in our spirituality (congenital) and others.

    that idea brings to mind one very loud example in my experience….a monster named ernst rohm. a perfectly horrible, montrous, evil man who just happened to be unabashedly homosexual. if he were the keeper of any gate, it would surely have been the gate to hell. of course there would be no end to the list of those monstrous homosexuals, just as there would be no end to the list of good, clean, God loving of homosexuals either.

    i think that homosexuality should be neither canonized nor demonized, it’s just another of the wonderfully diverse expressions of love people have from one to another.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Bill on June 18, 2011

    I agree with Pj, there isnt anything anyone is going to say that will make me change mind. After PJ and I agreed to be nice to each other I did honestly try to see it from the “pro” side…but I dont. It really only affirmed my beliefs. So the best we can hope for is that we are at least polite to each other as we walk away……

  • Donna on June 18, 2011

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks. My interest is in the logic. If we mean all, we mean all. I did ask again for my email address to be sent to you, but that didn’t happen. Here is an email address you can reach me at: borderland27@gmail.com

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 18, 2011

    and donna, and janet…or anyone else who might be listening….men can’t “become” women and women cannot “become” men.

    gender identity is congenital, innate and unchangable. is is not the product of environment, socialization, spirituality or any other “introduced” phenomenon. gender roles are social constructs but gender identity has nothing to do with those gender roles.

    nobody can influence the gender identity of another. that is a widely held, although utterly inaccurate misconception about transsexuals, that we “change” or “tranform” ourselves from one gender to the other.

    the truth is exactly the opposite. we don’t alter our gender through surgery and transition, we alter our bodies and our social presentation into congruence with our congenital gender.

    one cannot “become” transsexual, you are either born transsexual or you are not transsexual.

    i offer myself as one example of this dynamic. for the first half century of my life, my parents, family, culture and society did everything they could collectively concieve of to make a man out of me. every thing from kind and loving admonitions to beatings to utter rejections….and eventhough i even had a perfectly heathly and normal male body to work with….all of those efforts came to naught. i was born female and no power on earth could touch that inner awareness.

    you can’t make a man out of a girl and you can’t make a woman out of a boy. “you” have no say in the matter, God has spoken and so it will always be. oh, and i have no more influence over my gender identity than anyone else does….i am what i was born, end of story.

    i hope this little talk might encourage you to look further at what transsexualism is, and what it is not. education and awarness among those willing to learn is the key….as Jesus said of eunuch, “this teaching is for those who can understand,” as he pointed out all those different origins of “eunuch”.

    i think “transsexuals” are among those who come from the womb “eunuch”.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on June 18, 2011

    Thanks PJ more information than I’m interested in at this point. But thanks.

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 18, 2011

    you’re welcome donna, sorry to have overloaded you with education and information. as Jesus said, “this teaching is for those who can understand”…meaning not for the disintested or those who already know better.

    much love and hope. pj

  • Donna on June 18, 2011

    Whatever you say.

  • Donna on June 18, 2011

    Bill, if you’d like continue offline in email, feel free.

    Donna

  • pennyjane hanson on June 18, 2011

    dear bill.

    first i want to say how much i appreciate and respect your honesty and faithfullness in this last post.

    i hope that what you mean is after this exchange we can part company with more than civility, but, if with nothing more, a honest respect for each other’s faith and humanity.

    i hope we can discover in ourselves a willingness to restrain our contempt for the others beliefs to conceptual instead of actual. i think you should believe as you believe in a church of like minded believers, without any interference from me….just as i believe i am comfortable with a church of like minded believers.

    i hope we can agree that sharing our views with one another is a good thing, imposing them is not. whenever you or i take our beleifs outside of our chruch and into to arena of civil legislation, that is when we run the risk of “imposing”.

    just as i feel that gathering up all people who think like you and carting you off to an island somewhere so that your influences wouldn’t be heard or practiced would make us a better, more Christ like society of people….that would not be respectful, it would be imposing my beliefs on you, there would be no justice in that. and i feel the same way about you imposing your religious views on me…telling me who i can marry, what jobs i can have or where i might live through civil legislation.

    that’s where we get into places like “the tyranny of the majority”, if we do not protect the religious views of one group, than all groups are in peril: depending only upon numbers, not righteousness or conviction.

    i hope you will always feel free to practice your beliefs in your church, and i in mine…but restrain ourselves from imposing our views on one another.

    outside of our church’s, i will not tell you who you may or may not marry, and you don’t tell me who i might marry.

    deal?

    much love and hope. pj

  • Janet Edwards on June 19, 2011

    Dear Bill, pj and Donna,

    It always makes me smile to check in here and see that you all have been adding to this thread–Thanks!

    Once again, I hope that Bill does not permanently abandon us. What he says strikes me yet again as emphasizing persuasion or conclusion rather than connection or learning. Whether I agree with pj or not, I benefit from her knowledge of and perspective on the meaning of ‘transgender” and “transsexual.” And I expect that is true for us all.

    We are, here, a microcosm of the church and we have learned that changing of minds is not central to our life together. Loving one another is central. And we can not love one another by going away.

    So I hope you all stay. We have not come close to completing the conversation about “eunuch” in Scripture.

    I look for further word on it.

    Peace be with you all, Janet

  • E. Marshall Buckles on January 10, 2012

    Ma’am, I happened to return here after about 8 months. I don’t know if anyone will ever see this, however, I apologize for not getting back sooner. Anyway, in case you or anyone else ever does see this, peacefully, gently, kindly speaking, there was a time, in my younger years when I – althouhg having been raised in an independent Christian Church with some strong Presbyterian influences and connections, decided that I did not know what to believe about God, so, in my mind, I declared myself to be an agnostic. Thanks to the influence of some good, Christian Presbyterian people, I arrived at my adult faith in God and in Jesus Christ, the Virgin born, crucified, risen, living Son of God as my Lord and Savior. When I arrived at that point in my life, I also came to the point that I felt that I had to accept the Ten Commandments as COMMANDMENTS and not as the Ten Suggestions. To try to make a long story shorter, based on what I read in the Bible, God loves us ALL, no matter who or what we are dearly beyond anything we can ask or even imagine, yet, even so, God does have, for some reaons which are clear and for some reasons known to God alone, God has some standards for us to meet which include such things as one man, one woman marriage, no promiscuity of any kind, and celibacy if we are not married. I think that someone can be an ordained Minister if they are a homosexual. however, as I read the Bible, they MUST remain celibate and so forth. Well, anyway, that said, my wife, daughter and I have left what was our Presbyterian Church and have joined a conservative Southern Baptist Church. This did make it necessary for my daughter to be baptized, by immersion this time, for the second time in life, however, we tell her that we now enjoy using her holy glow as a night light, ha, ha! ;> Seriously, this was NOT a decision made lightly and was NOT a desision made in anger – although, I should have used a better choice of words above and apologize for that. My wife, daughter and I, after discussion of this matter, prayerfully considering it, just decided that we needed to make the move, recognizing the right of Presbyterians to worship God as they choose, and we simply followed what we felt that God would have us do. I don’t believe that you all are going to H-E-Double Hockey Sticks, however, I do feel that, as we are told, “all have sinnned and fall short of the Glory of God”. I do not judge you all, it is for God to judge us all with those of us who are Christians relying on the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation. I, with my wife and daughter, simply follow God where God seems to have been leading us. And I pay that God will bless and have mercy upon us all. As some of our Catholic brothers and sisters pray, according to what Sister Faustina Kowalska shared of what she saw in a vision, I also pray, “Eternal Father, we offer you the Body, Blood, Soul and Divninity of our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! AMEN!”

  • E. Marshall Buckles on January 10, 2012

    Dear Ms. Hanson, ma’am, I don’t know if you will ever see this, I am very late in replying, howver, I am very sorrowful that your church family excluded you. I feel that they should have at least attempted to minister to you redemptively – I don’t judge them, I just wish that they had – and I do feel that God loves us all, dearly, not matter what or who we are. What I have done has not been easy for me, it has simply been a matter of having to follow what seemed to me to be God’s leading just as what the Presbterian Chruch has done is their veiw of God’s leading. And we have something in common, I ended up leaving the church of my childhood not because of my sexual orientation but because some people there felt that their church was an exclusive club and that my family was not wealthy and influential enough to be members there so I understand something of how you feel in my own way. Also, ironically, my Pastor was “kicked out” as Pastor of our Presbyterian Church, at the time, not because of the national issues but because some wealthy members felt that he was not charismatic enough to bring in new members and that deeply troubled me about my former church just before the move of the national church. He was, I feel, an excellent Pastor and is now looking for another church. My wife, daughter and I have alerady moved to a Baptist Church. Ironically, on the way to our new church, each Sunday, we pass by a large Evengelical Presbyterian Church which has picked up so many new members that they need police officers to direct traffic for them every Sunday. I dunno, go figure. Anyway, I pray for God’s blessings upon you and I pray that God will somehow work through all the various circumstances no matter what we human beings do. And May God bless you and those remaining in the PCUSA.

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