Without going into detail about my life story, I at least want to start by saying I have had a 16 year experience steeped in evangelical Christianity. Part of me trying to “fix” myself was seeking some help from God. He didn’t “fix” me. One of my old pastors told me, as I was being branded an apostate, that it was because I didn’t pray sincerely enough. The truth, in fact, was that I spent every single day in prayer, often on my face in tears, begging for Him to make me "normal".
God didn't fix me because I wasn’t broken. God made me this way and He doesn’t make mistakes.
Sadly, my coming out involved my church announcing my "sin" in a public worship service that the leadership felt would be good to have my children attend. They weren’t even going to tell me about it. I found out and had my Dad take my kids to his cabin for the weekend so that they didn’t have to be there.
I knew I needed to know more about why these people, who all used to be very good friends of mine, were not only not speaking to me, but even lying about me in court so that I would lose custody of my kids. What makes them believe that being gay makes you a bad person and not fit to be a parent, even after those people used to say that I was the best mother they knew – one even asking me to take her 5 children in the event of her death? Why did they feel the need to disfellowship me in a public service instead of just letting me resign as a member?
I had a nice meeting one day with a sweet pastor of an open and affirming church. This pastor gave me a book by Daniel A. Helminiak called “What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality”. I was told that the book was a little bit “brainy” and “dry” but I did not find it that way. After all, I had been studying systematic theology for several years trying to make sense of my faith the way that the evangelical churches that I went to were presenting it.
Reading the book has given me a righteous indignation about how the Bible is continuously misinterpreted. Not only in the past, but right now and on a daily basis. It also makes me furious for God that so many people are too lazy to study the Bible for themselves, but believe what they hear being preached and then go act out the hatred that they are taught to perpetuate because they think they are pleasing God. They think that rejecting me and my friendship will please God because the "theology" they learn teaches them to ignore what Jesus called the second greatest commandment: to love others as much as you love yourself.
In a nutshell, the literal interpreters are extremely reluctant to accept any historical context if it changes a scripture’s meaning from what they are used to it being. When something doesn't fit a literal interpretation, they will use the historical/cultural context as an excuse not to take it literally (such as ignoring Jesus telling people to gouge out their eyes if they lust). Otherwise, if they can use it to their advantage, they will literally interpret.
An example: Genesis 1:1-2 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep: and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”
These verses are what the early church used to justify burning “heretics” at the stake for trying to teach that the world was really round, not flat. The church argued that “the earth was formless” meant that it was flat. To admit that it might be round would have discredited them among the uneducated and they would lose power.
Now that we have proof that the earth is not flat, the church has accepted it as round and we no longer kill people for saying so. Still, they are not willing to accept new scientific or historical evidence that sheds light on certain scriptures because the meaning changes and it messes up their systematic theology and they would have to admit that they are not right about everything.
I am going to be writing a series of articles for you all to read about what their arguments are in the Bible against homosexuality. Then, I am going to show you why God loves you just the way you are and how you can have an intelligent debate that should get them to stop and think about what they believe and why they believe it. I will try to have them once a week until we work our way through each argument. I will be using a lot of this book as my jump-off point so if you’d like to read along, go grab yourself a copy and read along with me.
When we finish and you have kept up, you should be able to deliver some serious lesbian apologetics to any person who believes in a literal interpretation of scriptures. You should be able to, in a spirit of love, reach out to them and help them become more loving and gentle, just as Jesus would be. And if you can’t, at least you’ll force them to run back to their pastor (instead of their Bible) and ask some questions so that they don’t look like a fool again.
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