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."


Blogger Randy said...

Timothy, (Can I use your first name?)

I have been dwelling on (more like obsessing) about the unofficial LDS Church’s stance on gays (as you know) and this celibacy-for-life thing You Should Do.

Here is where I want to go a little deeper: Jesus once said to a sinner: “Go and sin no more.” Since there is nothing mentioned about homosexuals in the New Testament I keep wondering what Jesus would say to me today. Would He say: “Go and sin no more.” But now I have to ponder what that “sin” means:

I have no control of my desires. My subconscious and my nocturnal dreams seem to pretty much indicate I am a homo. Since I cannot change from being a homosexual how can I go and sin no more? I could speculate Jesus would say to me to abstain from one-night stands or prostituting myself…but he certainly would not expect me to abstain from participating in a good, monogamous relationship with someone of my desire? Is that a sin?

I cannot believe Jesus/God would wish me unhappiness and a life-long existence without a meaningful companion. Did He not say we should never be lonely or it is not good to be alone? What does that mean for a homosexual?

I get implied from religious people I should retreat and go live with my parents until they die, muddle through my middle ages alone and then happily live the rest of my life on the ranch…all the while being single. A persona non grata is how religion thinks my lot in life should be.

I’m presuming you are the consummate authority on Biblical stuff. (Just kidding). I just wanted to get an idea or opinion from you. What would Jesus say to a homo?

11:35 AM  
Blogger grace said...

I spent several months pondering the whole "go and sin no more" thing...and i'm not even gay!!haha!!
If you know me, and Timothy does, I mean that with love and affection.

It finally dawned on me that he was just telling that lady to go and stop doing that ONE thing (the promiscious thing).....stop that...and she left happy and excited to have heard it...which i found odd until i realized he wasn't saying "don't ever ever sin again you whore" he was just saying..."i know you...and here's what you need to do about this one situation. I'm very intrigued about how compelling he must have been in that exchange since there's obviously so much more to it than the few sentences we get in the Bible.

I just reread your comment and i think we're saying the same thing.


OH...Great post Timothy!

love and grace,

6:10 PM  
Blogger Timothy Kincaid said...

Thanks for that, Pam.

Good point about it being one woman and one sin. It amazes me that this single scripture is the basis for some folk's entire dogma.

It's especially interesting that this is the only Bible story that may well not have been in the original text - the oldest copies don't have it.

I tend to read it as "OK, now go be good." but I'll think of your "one sin" comment now when I do.


I would say this (but I have an odd view on sin, anyway): God requires of us that we love Him and love our neighbor. All the Law boils down to that.

Children don't know how to "just be good" so we have to give them a whole long list of rules. When they grow up, they realize the rules may not apply 100% all of the time. "Bedtime at 9:00" may well not be relevant sometimes.

I think as we mature in Christ, the "rules" become less important than the general principle. That which applies to 95% of the population may not apply to you and we cannot expect that the "rules" (or "sins" if you prefer) are written for the exceptions rather than the majority.

I can't tell you how God wants you to live. But I can tell you that if you are loving God and loving your neighbor you're doing better than about 99.8% of people and probably on God's list of super-duper extra special people. If not (cuz you're human like the rest of us) then work on that part first and if God has any problems with whom you are in love with He's more than capable of letting you know.

6:24 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

Thanks for the clarification/opinions, both of you.

I can relate to the maturing thing. (I have a lot still to do.) I shudder at what I have done in the past (as in: having one-night stands and the shallowness) but now I think I have learned a valuable lesson. I see where love is not a trifle thing to toss around like a cheap watch. I should treat it like a diamond-encrusted, platinum Rolex and wear it responsibly.

Can I continue with another analogy or speaking metaphorically…as in the Bible?

In some memory cell in my brain I seem to recollect a phrase: “my cup runneth over”. I tend to feel I have a cup** full of love*** stashed away and waiting for the right person(s) to share it with. Would it not be wrong to withhold the contents of my brimming full cup? To stash it away unused until I die and then that cup gets dumped down the drain…there is no sense to that.

Ha! I cannot believe I’m quoting biblical stuff when I consider myself a non-spiritual kind of a guy.

**More like a Big Gulp®
***Love is defined here as caring/sharing/altruistic/unconditional/sex all mixed into this category.

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