Misconceptions I Run Into as a Christian Ally

gay-christian-windowAs a Christian who supports the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the church I often find myself on the defensive, which is to be expected. I’ve been called everything from a heretic to an apostate often at the same time (not sure how’s it’s possible to be both). But what really frustrates me are the misconceptions people have about me and my larger beliefs because of this one issue. There seems to be a lot of misconceptions on what I am about as a Christian ally, so I’m here to clear up some things.

While these can probably be applied to a number of Christian allies, let me be clear that I am speaking from my own personal engrained beliefs and am not claiming to be able to answer or defend every person who supports inclusivity in the church. I’ve written the most common misconceptions in forms they often appear in as they’ve been addressed to me. While I use the second person to suggest a fictional dialogue, my responses are not meant to be addressed to readers personally. Here are the misconceptions that come up most often:

1. “You don’t believe in Bible at all or don’t consider it authoritative.” I actually take the Bible pretty seriously. I read it about every day and I devote a lot of time to studying it, praying over it, and discussing it with fellow Christians. You don’t need to point to the texts that you think have anything to say about homosexual behavior. I’ve read them all many times over, and I’ve read commentaries and interpretations from all different sides on them. I and most of the allies I know are pretty darn serious about scripture. We know it well and take things like the Beatitudes as directives for Christians. So please, don’t just post lines from Leviticus, Romans, or a poorly translated verse from 1 Corinthians by themselves like we’ve never seen them before. Guess what, we’ve read them all, we’ve studied them all, we thought over them all, and we’ve prayed over them all. Many of us have written our thoughts and interpretations of these very texts and you don’t have to look very hard to find them, so please stop pretending we ignore scripture. If you want to engage in a discussion with us on Biblical interpretations that’s fine, but you have to be willing to actually debate it.

2. “You are not Christians in any real sense of the word anyway, and do not follow any orthodox teachings.” There are a lot of faces to Christianity and the people who claim to be Christian, so just the word orthodox is a loaded term, but if you look hard at the various faces of people who support LGBT inclusion in the church, you may find people who you share more in common with you than you think. Sure it’s easier probably to dismiss us all as a bunch of post-modern, free-loving hippies, but my guess is you probably already know that’s load of crap. I can only really speak for myself, so here goes. I’m a Trinitarian Christian. I affirm the councils of Nicaea, Constantinople, and Chalcedon (and yes I do know what was discussed at these councils). I’m a Protestant and an Arminian, which means I don’t believe in predestination or irresistible grace. I’m Methodist so I believe grace precedes justification and the need for Christians to strive for entire sanctification. I believe in two sacraments, the baptism of both infants and adults, and the real presence of Christ in communion. I have a 39 book Old Testament, though I also sometimes read the Apocrypha. And I read a 27 book New Testament. I affirm all Twenty-Five Articles of Religion set forth by my denomination, which are themselves adapted from the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of the Anglican tradition. I affirm the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and the Pentecost. Whether these characteristics in particular match whatever definition of orthodoxy you may hold in your head, the fact of the matter is that many professed Christians throughout time have held any or all these and considered themselves orthodox. So do I.

3. “You are trying to make the church conform to the world rather than act prophetic.” This is an important one, because Christians are guilty of this all the time. We want to be popular, hip, get featured on some blog, etc. I agree with Jesus when he points to the corrupt and immoral practices that undergird much of society in his time, and still undergirds our own. We have to be in the world, but not of it. Agreed. But I disagree with the assumption that I and other Christian allies are supporting gay rights in the church out of a desire to be popular or trendy. For one thing, the popular pendulum has only swung toward celebration and affirmation of homosexuality in recent years, whereas allies have existed within the church for decades (and sometimes been forced out). While I often hear the argument that the church needs to support gay rights to attract young people or stay relevant, that’s not why I support gay rights in the church. I support them because I believe it is what God is calling me to do. The experiences I’ve had and friendships I’ve formed with homosexual and lesbian Christians that have challenged my old assumptions made it impossible for me to ignore the pain many of them have experienced, sometimes at the hand of the church itself. I’ve seen so many people called to ministry (some with otherwise orthodox or conservative beliefs) not being encouraged because of this part of themselves. I’ve seen those who’ve experienced abuse or rejection from their church and family who still seem most at peace when they are kneeling before God’s altar. I’ve seen same-sex couples offer the kind of loving home and care we always envision parents giving their children, but they’ve had to fight tooth and nail simply for the right to offer it. This has nothing to do with conforming to the world and everything to do with seeing and celebrating God’s love and grace in the world. I support gay rights because I believe fundamentally that the Holy Spirit has put these individuals before our eyes and is calling us to be the hands and feet of Christ to them. You may disagree with the manner in which we try to be the hands and feet, but please stop questioning our intentions. Call us heretics, apostates, or whatever else have you, but don’t think for a minute you can dismiss our actions as mere attempts at trendiness.

4. “You are supporters of a broader attack on traditional sexual morality and will open the door to other practices like bestiality, polygamy, and pedophilia.” This is some variation on the classical slippery slope argument. The problem I’ve always had with the slippery slope argument is that it deliberately avoids discussing an issue on its own merits and instead focuses one’s attention on uncertain possibilities rather than the real question. The fact is that I’m probably just as much against these “other practices” as you, but when people make the slippery slope argument that doesn’t really matter to them. The whole purpose of the slippery slope argument is to make you, your opinions or beliefs, and the merits of the issue you’re fighting for completely irrelevant. Know that I don’t consider any of these other practices mentioned above to be moral, nor do I want the church to bless any of them. You have my word that if someone should advocate for them in the future I will join you in resisting, but if you’re out of arguments against my position on gay rights and are therefore resorting to the slippery slope argument as a last resort, then don’t expect me to humor you.

5. “You reject the idea of natural law and believe all morality is relative rather than authoritative.” If this were true, we’d be advocating for a lot of crazier things. It’s very easy to present arguments in extremes when it comes to issues we’re passionate about, but in reality, the way you and I get at our morality is probably more similar than we might want to admit. When one assumes, however, that LGBT allies reject natural law completely and believe all morals are relative, they are also making the assumption that those who are not allies are the complete opposite, believing no morals are socially conditioned and all laws comes from on high. But this simply isn’t true either. As Rachel Held Evans pointed out when it comes the issue of homosexuality in many churches, “Everyone’s a Biblical literalist until you bring up gluttony…or divorce, or gossip, or slavery, or head coverings, or Jesus’ teachings on nonviolence, or the abomination of eating shellfish and the hell-worthy sin of calling other people idiots.” The list can go on. At some point all of us can point to some commandment or law in the Bible and make an argument for why it doesn’t apply to us or isn’t as serious anymore. It’s not always the same argument: 1. It was only applicable to the Israelites, 2. It was meant as an ideal, 3. It’s grounded in ancient Middle Eastern culture, 4. It was superseded by Jesus, 5. It’s not as important as this or that law anyway, etc. I’m not going to critique any of these arguments here, but will say that you’ll always find someone who disagrees with anyone of them. To every Luther there is a Karlstadt. The point is that at some level every one of us contextualizes the commands in scripture. Every one of us draws a line somewhere between which ones are still applicable to us today and which ones are not, for whatever reason. If opponents to LGBT inclusion treated all scripture the same, they would be following Old Testament directives on what to eat, how to farm, when to stone your child, etc. By the same token if all of us allies treated all the commands the same, we might be inclined to toss out “love thy neighbor”, “though shall not kill”, or “though shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor”. Do you hear many allies saying Christians are not compelled to live according to the laws I just cited? Didn’t think so.

6. “You think anyone who disagrees with you must hate LBGT persons.” I realize that for many beliefs on marriage and human sexuality are very important. Mine are important to me too. We do believe there is a way to love a person, while disagreeing with the way they are living. Where I will call you out as not showing Christian love, is in the following instances:
a. When fear of appearing to accept a person’s lifestyle keeps one from actually treating them as a person, such as when a church closes their doors to LGBT persons or actively avoids ministry or encounters out of fear that it will cause trouble or look bad. Christians don’t get to turn away anyone.
b. When churches encourage families or loved ones to reject or shun LGBT persons, or see these things happening around them and do nothing.
c. When expressing one’s beliefs poses as justification for bullying, persecution, or any form of violence or malice.
d. When churches try to discourage homosexuality by spreading lies or slurs against homosexuals. “Though shall not be bear false witness.”

7. “You would be happier going to a church that affirmed your own views on human sexuality anyway, so why don’t you do that?” So you assume just because I support LBGT inclusion in the church it must be the only thing I care about? I’m sure everyone can find at least ten things about their church they don’t like, but at the same time they probably can think of a hundred things they do like just as easily. To suggest we all should leave or would be happier over one thing is silly. When did schism become the preferable option anyway? The fact of the matter is I’m part of the church and larger denomination I’m in because I consider it home. I agree with most of the theology and love the kind of community and practice I’ve found there. If I was willing to leave over the issue of human sexuality and inclusivity I would have done so a long time ago on my own.

8. “You’d watch our churches empty out just to get your way. If we do things your way we’ll lose a lot of members and decline.” Now who’s conforming to the world’s standards? Are we willing to become unpopular or less powerful in order to be more prophetic? Yes. That being said I value a gradual change in the church where hearts are won over rather than issues forced. But don’t quote us membership stats and expect us to tremble. The same crowds that were cheering for Jesus in the streets one day were calling to have him crucified the next. If we’re ready to follow Him, there is very little we’re not willing to sacrifice for justice.

9. “You must be secretly gay yourself, otherwise you wouldn’t support this.” Wow! That’s a pretty cynical view for a Christian to have. That a person is incapable of true altruistic behavior unless they are really looking out for themselves? Believe it or not, I feel pretty sure that about my heterosexuality. In fact, in a way my assurance of that makes me a stronger ally, because I realize that my sexuality was not something I chose. Do I control how I express it? Yes, at least somewhat, but I can’t simply change it nor do I consider it healthy to completely suppress it. I have to believe it’s the same for homosexual and lesbian persons. They didn’t choose their orientation, but it’s nevertheless a part of who they are. It doesn’t seem fair for me as someone who didn’t choose his orientation to hold that against them. While I might celebrate how this part of me along with the rest of my being is a gift from God, I see it just as that, a gift. I would encourage LGBT persons to celebrate their own gifts God has graced them with, even when it makes others uncomfortable.

10. “You hate conservative Christians/churches and want to destroy them, otherwise you wouldn’t be doing this.” Seriously? After what I said in Point 6 you can’t honestly expect to apply a double-standard here. If you can oppose marriages and ordination for LGBT persons without being a labeled a “hater” outright, shouldn’t I be allowed to argue the other side without being called a “hater”? It might interest you to know that I have family and close friends who are on the other side of this issue. And you know what, I love them. Our disagreement doesn’t (and never should) get in the way of that. One of the many reasons I’m still in the moderate denomination I grew up in is because I value the perspective they bring to theology. I believe that blended together liberal and conservative Christians benefit from one another. I generally don’t like churches where either side is made completely unwelcome. If there’s anything I hate it’s a church where dissent is silenced completely. So no, I don’t hate conservative Christians. My love for them simply doesn’t entitle me to silence.

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29 Responses to Misconceptions I Run Into as a Christian Ally

  1. Kay Jordan says:

    Philip;, I admire your well-reasoned arguments. And I am glad you are still a United Methodist.

  2. dnietz says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! So often I will see discussions where our more conservative brothers and sisters are talking about what LGBT-affirming/LGBT Christians think, and I am completely mystified. I never identify with the portrait painted of what people believe I think or act like, and I’m always strongly reproved when I try to suggest maybe “they” aren’t ike that. It’s the same issue with progressives discussing conservative/orthodox Christians, where we see a caricature posited as the norm. May we all learn to look closer.

  3. Michael Kelley says:

    Philip, I think you confusing a persons idenity vs a persons behavior. While the Bible is clear that God doesn’t condone any sex outside of marriage (that being between a man and a woman), the sex act is just considered behavior and not considered ones idenity. As sinners, all who repent of our sins (turn away from them) confess them (saying the same thing that God says about them), are forgiven for those sins and given the power of the (Holy Spirit) to live a life free from them. I do agree as Christians we are to be imitators of Jesus Christ in our conduct and we should always show love to the sinner while not endorsing the sin. That can be difficult sometimes when the sinner calls their sins or conduct right behavior, promotes it, and chooses to make their whole identify in life inseperable from their sin or behavior. In those instances, Christians are instructed not to have Christian fellowship with such people, but to constantly pray that they will see the light. We are never justified to be unkind or cruel to such people but instead should always model the love of Christ to those who are continuing to live in darkness. It does mean that we never accept or become complicit in their sinful behavior.

    • Philip Brooks says:

      Michael, I don’t believe homosexual behavior is a sin in and off itself. Few allies I know do. I’m sorry if that was unclear in this post, but I really wasn’t writing it to argue my position. I was writing it in hopes that the ongoing debate might become more fruitful and respectful by removing common misconceptions.

    • Philip Brooks says:

      On a further note, if the roles were revered and the Church taught that heterosexuality was incompatible with Christian teachings, how many of us do you think would willingly leave that part of our lives behind and how many would petition for change?

  4. paperthinhymn says:

    Phillip, I have a question that most people don’t have an answer for, i wouldn’t mind your insight

    1. As an Israelite living under that covenant, did God consider homosexuality an abomination and call it that? Would you continue to affirm that “Leviticus prohibits male same-sex relations”?

    2. Was it good and just and worthy of worship for God to command that homosexuals be executed in Leviticus 18?

    • Philip Brooks says:

      One L in Philip, like in the Bible. Can you the answer the question below for me first?

      Based upon the words in Leviticus alone would you condemn all homosexual acts through out all time as sinful and abominable?

  5. paperthinhymn says:

    no one has ever asked me that question before,

    i would say that those verses in and of itself , absent any sort of new testament directive and context, being under the new covenent now, would not be sufficient to condemn all homosexual acts through out all time as sinful and abominable. if i did have a new testament and new covenental understanding, then yes I would./

  6. paperthinhymn says:

    actually upon further consideration, i think i may have misread the question. to that end, “yes” i would condemn all homosexual acts if all we had was that one verse

    • Philip Brooks says:

      Very well. Then I have proposition for you. I will give you my thoughts on these verses in Leviticus. You may respond or refute my thoughts however you like, but with one condition. In order to prove your point, you can’t appeal to any scripture outside Leviticus. To do so would imply it alone was not sufficient to defend your position. Do you accept?

  7. paperthinhymn says:

    i imagine this puts me at a huge disadvantage, as we are to interpret the old testament through the lens of the new, with the old testament being about Jesus. still though- I will play along and see how far we get

    • Philip Brooks says:

      Thank you. Let’s just make sure we’re on the same page first in terms of the scripture we’re referring to. I believe these are two verses in Leviticus that can be reasonably understood as referring to homosexual behavior. Would you agree?

      “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Leviticus 18:22

      “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.” Leviticus 20:13

      These are both common English transliterations of the original verses in Hebrew worded deliberately in a manner to be comprehensible to modern readers. For the sake of full disclosure I will offer a more literal translation of the common verses:

      “You shall not lie down with a male the lyings down of a woman…”

      Now for a little background on the verses themselves. Leviticus 18 is a chapter dealing primarily with laws and issues related to sex with concern for sexual relationships between family members being referenced most often. There is one reference to idolatry and the sacrifice of children to Moloch in verse 21. No punishments are proscribed in this chapter. The final verses declare to the readers “not to defile yourselves in any of these ways, for by all these practices the nations I am casting out before you have defiled themselves. Thus the land became defiled; and I punished it for its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.” (Leviticus 18:24-25). This suggests at least a casual connection between these practices outlined and the pre-existing pagan culture of Canaan.

      Leviticus 20 repeats many of the prohibitions in 18 along with introducing penalties for said practices, many of them capital. The chapter ends much like 18 by calling on Israel to keep all these statues so that they too shall not be “vomitted out” like the former inhabitants. You got to love that imaginery. The final verses change gears from talking about sexual prohibitions to clean and unclean animals, again referencing Israel’s distinction from other peoples.

      Before I dive deeper into my thoughts on these verses and their role in larger book of Leviticus, do you agree that the preminary information I’ve provided is true and accurate?

  8. paperthinhymn says:

    i would not grant that no punishments are stated it Leviticus 18. First, verse five says” Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them” and carries the implicit warning that those who do not keep them will die by them. Secondly, verse 24 describes that the indulgences of these acts resulted in the people being punished- which was the being driven out. verse 28 states that a punishment is that they will be vomited out. verse 29 describes the punishment being that they will be “cut off from their people”

    As far as the transliteration- I have read other versions of it, so I grant that for now with reservation.

    • Philip Brooks says:

      Noted. The transliteration I used was taken from “The Meaning of the Bible: What The Jewish Scriptures and the Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us” by Dr. Amy-Jill Levine and Dr. Douglas Knight of Vanderbilt University.

      Now onto the text itself. First please be aware that the following may be explicit in manners of sex as mentioned in the Bible. Viewer discretion is advised. There is near universal agreement among scholars that both texts refer to men having sex with each other as they would with a woman. There is some divergence among scholars as to whether the writer has a particular form of intercourse in mind, but I am of the mind that they are speaking broadly here about sex in general between males. I’m going to assume you agree.

      The word used in Hebrew that we translate to mean abomination is “Tō`ēbā” it is one of seven words in the Hebrew Bible often translated into English as abomination, abominable, or detestable. These terms are used to describe a variety of different things including idolatry, taboo sex practices, usury, unclean animals (such as pigs, shellfish, and insects), and unacceptable meat left after a sacrifice.

      Now it’s common knowledge that not all laws contained in the Torah are treated as applicable to Christians by the Church traditionally. That the Church has traditionally treated these particular prohibitions as still effective I will not dispute. However, in order to do so, the Church has usually had to appeal to verses in the NT in order to explain why this is upheld where other laws are not. Since we’ve agreed you are not going to appeal to scripture outside Leviticus I will cite other reasons I’ve heard given and why they I don’t think they hold up.

      1. Laws in the Torah pertaining to sex are universal and appeal to natural law, making them applicable to all, not just Jews
      2. The term “abomination” clearly demonstrates the severity of the offense and its completely debased nature.

      Here’s why they don’t hold up:
      1. Leviticus has not only laws around who one can have sex with, but when and in what context. While the Church has upheld many of the prohibitions against sex between near-relations contained Leviticus 18, it has not traditionally concerned itself with other laws around the time and place of sex. For instance in the same chapter in which it prohibits sex between two men, Leviticus also prohibits sex between a man and woman at the end of her cycle because she is considered unclean during that time (Leviticus 18:19). Traditionally the Church has neither preached nor enforced this prohibition even though it is clearly sexual in nature. Likewise in Leviticus 15:16-17 there’s also a law pertaining to men who ejaculate (whether it refers to intentional or accidental ejaculation is debatable). The laws states that both the man and whatever his semen touches are unclean until washes his whole body (not just parts affected) and can only be declared clean in the evening. So saying a law is sexual in nature does not seem to be sufficient justification for its continued application by the Church.

      2. As I’ve already stated the term abomination is applied to any number of practices or situations. It can refer both to wicked actions (idolatry) or unclean things (non-kosher animals like pigs and shell-fish). The word “abominable” seems to have particularly dark connotations in our own vernacular, but not necessarily in its original Hebrew. Since abomination straddles both the prohibitions that seem to deal both with moral sins and questions of ritual purity, it should not be seen as a red flag for either.

      So what other reasons can you think of for why these prohibitions should be upheld by the Church, again without appealing to the NT?

      • paperthinhymn says:

        that’s not the case i was making or the questions I asked. I asked firstly :

        “As an Israelite living under that covenant, did God consider homosexuality an abomination and call it that? Would you continue to affirm that “Leviticus prohibits male same-sex relations”? We are regulating our discussion to this time frame alone and putting ourselves there. From all indications you would agree with this statement?

      • Philip Brooks says:

        God considered it a toeba which we commonly translate to mean abomination along with many other practices in the Torah. That is all I believe OT says on homosexual behavior. Everything else anyone tries to say on the matter is speculative at best. That is my very literalist interpretation.

      • paperthinhymn says:

        again, my line of questioning last no interest in examining whether or not these varied “abominations” might be allowable for Christians in the present time, but what they meant to Israel in the past.

  9. paperthinhymn says:

    Also you realize that your position would put you in a minority position from people like Justin Lee or Matthew Vine, who readily acknowledge that Homosexuality was considered an abomination in the OT?

    • Philip Brooks says:

      I’m about to post my official reply, which you may be surprised by. Who said my official position is that homosexuality isn’t an abomination in the OT? Are you making assumptions?

  10. Alright, so it seems you’ve granted my first point and we are both in agreement. To the second question
    “2. Was it good and just and worthy of worship for God to command that homosexuals be executed in Leviticus 18?

    • Philip Brooks says:

      When God told Abraham He would destroy Sodom unless He found 50 righteous in the city, Abraham didn’t simply go along with it. Instead he talked God down all the way to 10 all while maintaining that God is righteous. Now neither of us is Abraham and neither us probably have any business questioning God’s decisions, but if tomorrow God announced all homosexuals would be killed I’d like to think I’d try to talk Him out of it even if I thought doing so was theologically inconsistent. Why? Because of the same reason Abraham did. His nephew was in that city. Abraham was driven that very human desire to protect and help those he loves. Likewise I have friends and loved ones who are gay. I have many who are also Christian and would beg God on behalf of any of them. As an ally I’m often accused of putting my heart before everything when it comes to this issue, including scripture and maybe I do, but isn’t that what God expects from humans?

  11. I appreciate that, but you’re still not answering the question. I could go into the fact that Abraham was pleading on behalf of a “righteous man”, and that his concern wasn’t with the evil men of sodom, but the righteous. “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?, but that would be a distraction from my question. You are going outside of Leviticus, which we said we would not do.

    “2. Was it good and just and worthy of worship for God to command that homosexuals be executed in Leviticus 18?”

    • Philip Brooks says:

      Yes I did go outside Leviticus because we don’t perceive the righteousness of God from a single verse in a single chapter. Only through the whole narrative do we fully appreciate God’s righteousness. Only by knowing how the story ends do we understand it at all. I’ll confess I will never understand why God included this in his laws setting Israel apart from the other nations, anymore than I understand why He allowed for slavery in Israel, why He declared unruly children should be stoned, or why women are stoned for cheating on their husbands, but not vice-versa. And sure don’t claim to understand why not only the armies of Canaan, but the women, children, and in some cases even livestock all had to be utterly destroyed in the first ever holy war in history. But ultimately this old covenant heralded salvation offered through Christ and for that we know it was a righteous covenant. That’s the answer you’re going to have to settle for.

      • Well, it seems like you have agreed to my two points, that yes, God viewed homosexuality as an abomination and that it was good for him to command their deaths and it was a command worthy of praise. I can appreciate the viewpoint that you have- that you acknowledge it, even if you don’t understand it.

        two more questions

        If you were an ancient Levitical Israelite, would you partake in the stoning of a sodomite if God directed you to?

        If your homosexual friends who were in a joy-filled, committed, monogamous relationship came to you wanting you to hide them from Moses and the leaders, would you give them shelter, or would you turn them over to be killed?

      • Philip Brooks says:

        The answer is no on both accounts. No, I wouldn’t stone them and no, they would have to stone me first before I turned them over. I’d ask Moses why my friends have to die when by the standards of his own laws, Moses himself should have been put to death as murderer. And just to be clear if I believe you’re using this blog to suggest or call for violence against of LGBT persons, I will delete this entire conversation and permanently ban you from commenting. Just thought I’d put that out there before this conversation goes any further.

      • Philip Brooks says:

        Also I was agreeing with your point. I said that God is His overall purpose carried out through Christ was righteous. I never declared the particular law good. I’m not an inerrantist.

  12. i’m not. i abhor all violence, mockery and ridicule directed towards lbgt people.

    So then because you’re not an inerrantist, you would say that God did not actually command or approve of the levitical codes? that the words in leviticus are not from God, but rather….are Moses and the people’s…misguided beliefs about what they THINK God wants, even though he actually does not? Would that be a good understanding of your position, or is it something else?

    Or are you suggesting that God may have given the law, but God’s law was not good and God should never have given it?

    • Philip Brooks says:

      Good me too. Do I believe the Bible is divinely inspired? Yes. Do I believe its foundational to our faith? Yes. Do I strive to live according to its teachings and pray for proper understanding of it? Yes. Do I treat it like God Himself took a pen and wrote it? No. Do I reject the idea that human hands and language have influenced it? No. In fact I believe certain texts such as the creation story were deliberately written in a manner that people of that time would understand it. Do I believe all the narratives qualify as objective historic facts? No. I believe some narratives are allegorical and some deliberately mythic, but all are driven by the purpose so that humanity can know God. The bottom line is I don’t know which parts of more directly God and which parts are more man. I never claimed to. I’d like to think the texts that treat men better than women were mostly the work of the men written them since the same Bible tells us both are made in the image of God and Paul tells us there is no gender divide in Christ. I also believe from reading the Bible is that God did not introduce violence or murder to the world. We did and God’s first response was not to encourage or proliferate it, but try to stop it, but it seems are inclination toward violence was too strong. Even more so I’m confronted by the most pure and unaltered Word of God in the form of Jesus Christ, the greatest source of revelation into God’s mind. Then I ask the question “Who would Jesus execute?” Certainly Jesus encountered plenty of people guilty of terrible things who seemed worthy of death, but he never raised a finger against any of them, not even Herod or Judas. And I know he was righteous.

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