Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Heresy of Albert Mohler

It has long been the belief of Christians that salvation comes by the grace of God through faith in the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ. That criterion is the sole criterion in Scripture and, indeed, throughout the New Testament much caution is given that works or other criteria not be raised as a barrier between God and man.

However, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. has found a new standard: heterosexuality.

Earlier this week Mohler was subject to a protest in his office by SoulForce, an organization of devout persons - mostly Christian - who use non-violent means to bring about an end to anti-gay discrimination. Reading the testimonies of SoulForce volunteers, one cannot help but note their devotion to God. But Mohler has declared that because they are not heterosexual that therefore they are unsaved.

"The only way we have come to Christ is that we have come to desire something far more than we desire our sin," Mohler said. "We need to pray for their salvation, not merely their salvation from homosexuality, but their salvation from sin and death, the salvation by God's grace that we have come to know -- a salvation from sin equally as ugly, equally as deadly."
Mohler thinks those who challenge his bigotry will be barred from the kingdom of God. But according to the Bible that I read, Mohler's eternal soul is in much greater danger for rejecting these young people and pushing them from God.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

YSD's (Here's Your Burden - Let's Make it Heavy)

In an article today about how some African-American preachers are having to requestion their traditional anti-gay attitudes in light of the realities of their families and friends, one comment caught my attention

Mr. Hill said he agreed with Mr. Meredith that God loves everyone, including gay men and lesbians. “But God corrects you because he loves you,” he said, explaining that for gay Christians, such a correction would probably mean lifelong celibacy or eventually being with someone of the opposite sex.
Mr. Hill is probably a nice man and well intentioned. But he, like most evangelical Christians, is quick with the YSD's. He's ready to tell you what You Should Do. Not having any knowledge, experience, or desire to know or empathize, he nonetheless has his handy YSD's ready to tell gay Christians what the Law has for them.

Hill's attitude is neither unique nor new. The week in my devotions I was reading in Luke where Jesus dealt with this exact same thing. The religous leaders of his day had perfected the fine art of the YSD and Jesus had put up with enough of it.
Jesus replied, "And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them."
Todays 'experts in the law' are all ready with a lifetime of celibacy. "Here's your burden", they say. "And we all have burdens too, so it's just too bad for you. Now I have to run, it's my anniversary and the kids are at the babysitters."

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Samaratan or the Priest

Part of my daily ritual is a morning devotion. This morning's reading took me to the 10th chapter in the gospel of Luke and the very familiar story of the good Samaritan.

Reading this story again, it seemed so relevant to the recent events surrounding Mike Jones' efforts to raise funds for an AIDS meals charity and the counter-effort by preacher and ex-gay activist Karen Booth to halt that contribution. For those unfamiliar, Mike is the gay masseur whose witness exposed Ted Haggard's secret life and Mike was trying to auction his massage table on eBay to raise funds for Project Angel Heart. Karen led an e-mail campaign to stop the sale because it was "reprehensible" and "inflicted more pain and humiliation on Ted Haggard, his family and friends."

This inspired the following paraphrase:

"A man was living in Colorado, when he fell victim to a virus. It stripped him of his ability to work and care for himself, leaving him half dead. A preacher happened to be hear about an organization that would feed the man but she passed by on the other side. So too, fellow participants on her website, when they heard about him, passed by on the other side. But a gay prostitue, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He set up to sell an item through an online auction, something of value which he had purchased himself, and pledged the proceeds to a charity to feed the man. Hearing this, the preacher rushed back and lobbied the auction to withdraw the effort. She rallied those who agreed with her and they bombarded the auction with protest.

"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Another Bomb in the T-Shirt Wars

The ADF has found another poster-child in their campaign for the right to harass gay students on campus. This time they have Heidi Zamecnik, a young lady who in April 2006 wore a t-shirt to school on the National Day of Silence:

In response to a Day of Silence event at the school in April 2006, Zamecnik wore a shirt that read "MY DAY OF SILENCE, STRAIGHT ALLIANCE" on the front and "BE HAPPY, NOT GAY" on the back, according to the suit filed Wednesday.

Although the ADF says it is trying to "enable Christian students to express a contrasting viewpoint on homosexuality", that expression is not evident in the content of the T-Shirt. Zamecnik made no visible connection between her faith and her opinion.

Anti-gay activists such as ADF continue to draw no distinction between efforts to support students, such as Day of Silence, and efforts to condemn students, such as Zamecnik's T-Shirt. They pretend not to understand that "I support Black History Month" has a significantly different impact on the well-being of the student body than "Blacks are Inferior". In the community and country at large both ideas are protected, but in a publicly mandated institution such as a school, these are not equal positions.

I would support Zamecnik wearing a shirt that promoted her faith such as "Day of Christian Pride" but one that attacks other students has no place on campus.

And Zamecnik and ADF have both participated in yet another example to the students on her campus that Christians are hostile, litigious, vindictive, and hateful. And for that they should both be ashamed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Episcopalians Stand up to Exclusion

In other church news, the Episcopal Church has denounced the demands made upon them by the Global South to set up a parallel authority to defy the Church's authority and to represent the rogue churches who have disassociated themselves due to the Episcopal Church's inclusionary position on gay and lesbian Christians.

Responding to an ultimatum from the leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion, bishops of the Episcopal Church have rejected a key demand to create a parallel leadership structure to serve the conservative minority of Episcopalians who oppose their church’s liberal stand on homosexuality.

The church has not yet responded to demands that it stop ordaining gay Bishops or blessing same-sex couples but the language within their first response suggests that they will not be receptive to demands that are viewed as rejection of "all God's people".
What About Scandanavia?!?

That is the cry often heard from those who oppose marriage equality. Then comes some claim that recognition of gay couples has irreparably destroyed marriage in those countries and some garbled "statistics" that frankly don't make sense.

So what do those closest to the issue think?

Sweden, where same-sex couples have been able to register partnerships since 1994, is ready to make a change. Having looked at the consequences of recognition of same-sex partners, they are ready to throw them out. And replace them with marriage.

Sweden took a step toward allowing gay marriage Wednesday when a government-appointed committee proposed expanding the rights of same-sex couples.

Having spent 12 years with this system, 71% of the population favors converting the partnerships to full fledged marriages.

And what is the response of the church in Sweden? The Church of Sweden indicates they will perform same-sex marriages while the Lutheran Church says they will perform them but call them something else.

Anti-gay activists have cried, "what about Scandanavia?" Scandanavia heard and answered.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Greetings to any new readers

Some of you may have known me by my writing on Ex-Gay Watch. I am no longer writing at that site. I wish only the very best for all of those who write, administer, and otherwise participate at XGW and hope that site thrives and prospers.

I am at present uncertain where or to what extent I will continue to blog. I will no doubt do some posting here and perhaps elsewhere.

I also have other non-blog related projects with which I will be participating and hope that some of those will be able to be discussed in due time. But only time can tell.

I hope you enjoy what little there currently is at this site along with anything new that wanders through my head and makes its way onto my page.