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PART 2 (page 16 of 34)
How Should We Read and Understand The Bible?
And How Does The Holy Spirit Come Into Play
Reading The Bible More Metaphorically and Less Literally


Most Christians don’t form their views; they inherit them, either from their family or from the doctrine of the church that they attend. In the case of the Fundamentalist, those who teach them seldom interpret the Bible; they are content to “let the Bible speak for itself” - you know the “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” mentality. So the surface reading of the scriptures is left as the final meaning rather than as the starting point for understanding. It’s as though the Bible should be read the same way we read the morning paper, without taking into consideration that some 2,000-3,000 years separate us from the original documents. (1)


About 100 years after the Protestant Reformation, Lutheran Johann[es Andreas] Quenstedt (1617-88) wrote that the books of the Bible “...in their original text are the infallible truth and are free from every error...”From that time forward fundamentalists, conservatives and evangelicals (the late Rev. Jerry Falwell said a fundamentalist is “an evangelical who is angry about something”) have tended to interpret the Bible literally, saying it is without error. They often cite 2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is inspired by God...” However they forget that “all scripture” to which Timothy was referring would have been Jewish scriptures since Christian writings at that time were not yet considered scripture.  Click Here to read the entire article by The Rev. Steve Brown which this paragraph is taken from. (2)

If You Are Going To Take The Bible Seriously, You Can’t Take It Literally
And what the Bible reads may not be what it says and means for us today. (1) In understanding the scriptures we always must subject them to a "serious contextual analysis that takes into consideration the limits of authorial understanding, the literary form and intent of a given passage, and the difference between culturally-conditioned opinion and the underlying eternal truths being expressed through that opinion." And doing this exhaustive study "does not mean that we are presumptuously setting ourselves 'above' scripture - passing judgment in our human frailty and sinfulness upon that Word of God." Fundamentalists "grossly misapprehend" the nature of how we go about understanding the Bible by saying that "either the Scriptures are the Word of God and therefore absolutely, literally true in every detail, or they are not literally true in every respect and therefore cannot be the Word of the God who is Truth." "It means, rather, that we are willing to recognize (and give ourselves over to) the sometimes elusive, always interactive process by which the Holy Spirit reveals God's self and will to us." (3a) Click Here to read "Worshiping God and not the Bible."



As my former Pastor, the Reverend Dr. Laurence Keene [Mission Hills Christian Church-(Disciples of Christ)], said in the documentary, For The Bible Tells Me So. "I have a soft spot in my heart for literalists because I used to be one. However, when someone says to me, 'This is what the Bible says,' my response to them is, 'No, that’s what the Bible reads.' It is the struggle to understand context and language and culture and custom that helps us to understand the meaning of what it is saying."  And as retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu puts it in the same documentary. “The Bible is the word of God through the word of human beings, speaking in the idiom of their time. And the richness of the Bible comes from the fact that we don't take it as literally [as if] it was dictated by God.”

Idolatry?  Weighing The Importance of the Holy Bible versus the Holy Spirit
But firstly and lastly, whenever there is a disagreement about the meaning of scripture among people of faith it is imperative that we look to the Holy Spirit in deep and focused prayer as the final guide and arbiter of God’s Word and its meaning for us today and not the literal words in the Bible. John 14:16,17 [New Living Translation] - reads and says “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. . .   As I go into in more detail on page 8, it is a form of idolatry to consider the imperfect Bible of more importance than the perfect Holy Spirit, i.e. GodWhenever anything other than God is made absolute, the result is idolatry.  And as I have mentioned elsewhere on this site, some of these words have been mistranslated from the original Hebrew or Greek because of prejudices and ignorance taken from the society in which these translators lived or frozen in time as to their interpretation and application without consideration of the cultural context of the time they were written as was mentioned above. And I like the way Rev. Dr. Keene put it in a e-mail to me recently, "I am in favor of the Bible being a 'living' document (not locked in history) where one is guided by the Holy Spirit which helps one to free oneself from the prejudices and short-sightedness of utterances from the distant past."  (See Footnote B on page 30 or click here). 

Note from Gary Lynn:
I believe that one of the ways that the Holy Spirit works in our lives is the process of bringing new information to our attention so that we make better decisions and form better opinions when we learn about new credible scientific discoveries in every field imaginable. And I believe that this has happened throughout history.  Click Here to take you to my Scientific Discoveries page and see how the Holy Spirit has allowed us to learn so much more about homosexuality.   

I also like the way that Bishop John Shelby Spong puts it all in perspective on page 163 & 164 of his book, "Living in Sin - A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality:

Faith is not an exact science.  There are no changeless eternal creeds or Bibles.  There is only the changeless Eternal Truth of God.  The moment that truth is articulated or codified it becomes finite, limited, and in the end falsifying.  Living with the eternal Word of God has about it the nature of being on a journey.  The Bible is something like a travelogue.  It moves from the Garden of Eden to the Eternal City by way of Ur, Egypt, Canaan, Babylon, Corinth, and Rome. The people of the covenant were traveling people.  Tracing the adventures of our spiritual mothers and fathers shows us important landmarks for our own journeys. We learn from those faith stories how previous generations have walked.  They inform us of the terrain that we must cover, dangerous pitfalls to avoid, the way stations of respite, and the occasions to celebrate.  Their stories light and make the paths to be chosen, but they do not and must not bind our course to the maps of yesterday. . . . . . [Therefore] the sexual values of today's religious system must reflect today's understanding of life, [not yesterdays]. 

Those of us who have literalized the word of God, confining its creative power to a mold that accommodates only yesterday's wisdom, will not be able to adjust.  In time that inability will force our faith to be rocked relentlessly until it is shattered and replaced either by a hysterical anti-intellectual retreat into an unreal world or by the despair of nothingness.  On the other hand, those of us who know that the dynamic Word of God cannot be bounded will be able to change and grow, bringing to that Word our new questions, our new experiences, our new insights, [and] our new perceptions of that Eternal Truth.  The living Word of God will then be heard again, speaking in new accents, calling us to embrace new possibilities.  

What is happening now in the sexual revolution. . . . will happen again and again in other areas, as we live into our scary and exciting future.  God's Word is the Word beyond the words of Scripture, beyond the formulations of tradition, beyond the human attempt to capture or to literalize.  It is rather the Word that by the grace of God is perceived as Spirit beyond letter.

Reading the Bible in the literal sense leads us into proof-texting, which means that anybody can refer to specific Bible verses or texts to back up or prove a belief or practice without taking into account the historic and cultural context in which it was written.  This means that not only is the Scripture considered the Word of God, but also every part of it is the Word of God in and of itself—irrespective of context. This sets the stage for the idea that if we lift a verse out of the Bible, it is true in its own right and can be used to prove a doctrine or a practice.

The Historical Results of Proof-Texting
Whoa! And let's now stop and remember what exactly are the results of proof texting; proof texts, have been used at various times in Christian history to justify slavery, polygamy, genocidal warfare against indigenous peoples, the oppression of women, South African apartheid and a host of other evils including the subject under discussion on this website, homophobia, or at the very least, treating homosexuals as sinful second-class citizens and inferior. In other words throughout history, people who have called themselves Christians have been using the Bible to justify their own bigotry and hate by cherry picking the scriptures. Somehow they lost sight of the only two commandments and criteria that hold true for all our actions as followers of Christ for all time: "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" and you must "love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39) 
And according to author Tom Horner in Jonathan Loved David: . . . human  beings "are to love God, to be sure," writes Norman Pittenger, "but their loving God is expressed practically and immediately in a loving relationship with other human beings."  For Pittenger, this relationship may be a homosexual as well as a heterosexual one.  What is really important is the quality of the relationship, not its method of expression.  (3b)


Another Reason For Not Taking The Bible Literally - Punctuation Marks Did Not Exist In Ancient Languages
Another rarely mentioned fact - but a very profound reality - is that punctuation marks do not exist in ancient languages. The use of italics, semi-colons, periods, commas, etc. would not appear in usage as grammar until the 1400's [Aldus Pius Manutius (1449/1450–1515) and his grandson, both printers, are credited with introducing a standardized system of punctuation to the world]- meaning all punctuation in translations of the Bible is [or could be] arbitrary. Take for example the Jesus quote "Verily I say unto you this day you shall be with me in Paradise": Protestants place punctuation to make the phrase "Verily I say unto you, this day you shall be with me in Paradise." while Catholics place punctuation to make the phrase "Verily I say unto you this day, you shall be with me in Paradise." The differing placement of the comma in just this one sentence is monumental. Jesus is talking to a condemned thief who is either going to Paradise that day with Jesus (the first phrase) or going to Paradise someday (the second phrase). The debate over this one comma in this single sentence has lasted for centuries and created the Catholic notion of Purgatory, while Protestants have no such stopover in their version of an afterlife. This one comma (not to mention the entire arbitrary punctuation placed into the Bible) demonstrates the massive subjectivity of ancient texts. See for yourself. Remove and introduce punctuation throughout translations of ancient texts and you will soon realize the meaning is all in the way you place, or do not place, commas, periods, colons, dashes, exclamation marks, question marks, and semi-colons - all elements of grammar introduced into the text more than a thousand years after the original writings. (The above paragraph is taken from http://www.gaylibrary.com/area/GLbelief.htm

The Bible Taken Literally Can Be Like A Cookie Cutter With Very Sharp and Hurtful Edges
[A] woman has two sisters and a brother who have chosen the family religion as their vocation. "God save us from people who have a religion based on a book," she told me.  "I came out to my family before I left our country and they ran to their book right away and said, 'Oh, no, no, no.  You cannot be this.  Look here in our book.  You cannot be that way.'  I asked them who wrote the book and they told me 'God did.'  What can you do? I say that they believe in a cookie cutter with sharp edges and I will not submit to the cutting.  Their cookie-cutter book is more important to them than I am.  They pray all the time for me to change.  So I live thousands of miles away and we write letters about the weather." (3c)

The Metaphorical Approach To Understanding The Holy Bible

In his book, "Reading The Bible Again for the First Time: Taking The Bible Seriously But Not Literally", Marcus J. Borg (click on his name to go to his website) argues that much of the Bible has to be read in more of a metaphorical sense and not literally. According to Borg:

The metaphorical approach enables us to see and affirm meanings that go beyond the particularity of what the texts meant in their ancient setting. . . . .

What It is: I am using the words "metaphor" and "metaphorical" in a broad rather than a narrow sense.  In its narrow meaning, "metaphor" refers to a very specific kind of comparative language and is distinguished from its close cousin "simile": a simile explicitly uses the word "like" as it makes a comparison, whereas a metaphor does not.  For example, "My love is like a red, red rose" is a simile. "My love is a red, red rose" is a metaphor.  . . . . . I use "metaphor" and "metaphorical" in a much broader sense, however.

Metaphorical language is intrinsically nonliteral.  It simultaneously affirms and negates: x is y, and x is not y.  The statement "My love is a red, red rose" affirms that my beloved is a rose even as it negates it.  My beloved is not a rose, unless I am literally in love with a flower.  Rather, there is something about my beloved that is like a rose.

This realization leads to a second characteristic of metaphorical language:  it has more than one nuance or resonance of meaning.  In terms of its Greek roots, "metaphor" means "to carry with," and what metaphor carries or bears is resonances or associations of meaning.  The use of the plural is deliberate: a metaphor cannot be reduced to a single meaning.  (If it could, one might just as well express than meaning in nonmetaphorical language.)  To return to the rose example again, to say, "My love is a red, red rose" calls up more than one association.  The metaphor may point to my  beloved's beauty, to her pleasant smell, to her being in full bloom; it may also point to ephemerality and finitude (since, like a rose, my beloved will wither and die); it may even point to difficulties, for there are thorns among the roses.  In short, metaphorical language is intrinsically multivalent, with a plurality of associations.

"Metaphor" also means "to see as": to see something as something else.  Metaphor is linguistic art or verbal art.  If you can bear the rose example one more time, I see my beloved as a rose.  Or, to use a biblical example, we can see the story of the exodus as a metaphorical narrative of the divine-human relationship, depicting both the human predicament and the means of deliverance. A metaphorical approach to the Bible thus emphasizes metaphors and their associations.  It emphasizes seeing, not believing.  The point is not to believe in a metaphor, but to see in light of it.

Finally, metaphors can be profoundly true, even though they are not literally true. Metaphor is poetry plus, not factuality minus.  That is, metaphor is not less than fact, but more.  Some things are best expressed in metaphorical language; others can be expressed only in metaphorical language. . . . (4)

Justification  The justification for a metaphorical approach is at least two fold.  First, some of the biblical narratives are manifestly metaphorical and this requires a metaphorical interpretation.  This realization is not modern, but ancient.  In the 200s, an early Christian theologian and biblical scholar named Origen distinguished between the "spiritual" and "bodily" meanings of the Bible.  By "spiritual meanings," he meant approximately what I mean by metaphorical.  By "bodily meanings," he meant literal-factual meanings.  Using these distinctions, Origen argued that while the Bible as a whole is to be read in a spiritual sense, some parts are not to be read in a bodily sense. (5)

But even when a biblical narrative is not manifestly metaphorical, there is justification for reading it with a metaphorical approach.  The reason is that the Bible is a "religious classic." A classic is a piece of literature that has endured through time and has been (and continues to be) read and reread in new settings.  By definition, a classic has a surplus of meanings.  Its meaning is not confined to the intention of its author or to its original setting.

Limitations The primary limitation of a metaphorical approach is the danger that the imagination will roam too freely, producing uncontrolled, fanciful interpretations that have little or nothing to do with the actual text. . . .

So the metaphorical approach needs controls: one cannot claim a metaphorical reading that has no conceivable connection to the text.  The controls should be "soft," however, since one of the main functions of the metaphorical approach is to keep a text from being confined to the past. . . . The needed controls are provided in part by the historical approach [the historical approach focuses on the historical illumination of a text in its ancient context] and in part by the discernment of the community to which the interpretation is offered. (6) . . . . . .

Example - The Old Testament - Reading the Creation Stories Through a Metaphorical Lens

A metaphorical (and thus nonliteral) approach to [the creation] stories is not new.  In the third century, the Christian biblical scholar named Origen [as mentioned above], commonly seen along with St. Augustine as one of the two most brilliant theologians of the early church, wrote:

What intelligent person can imagine that there was a first day, then a second and third day, evening and morning, without the sun, the moon, and the stars? [Sun, moon, and stars are created on the fourth day.] And that the first day - if it makes sense to call it such - existed even without a sky?  [The sky is created on the second day.] Who is foolish enough to believe that, like a human gardener, God planted a garden in Eden in the East and placed in it a tree of life, visible and physical, so that by biting into its fruit one would obtain life? And that by eating from another tree, one would come to know good and evil? And when it is said that God walked in the garden in the evening and that Adam hid himself behind a tree, I cannot imagine that anyone will doubt that these details point symbolically to spiritual meanings by using a historical narrative which did not literally happen. (7) (8)

Example - The New Testament - Jesus and Peter Walking On Water As A Metaphorical Narrative

The story of Jesus walking on the water is one of only two miracle stories found in both John and the synoptics [Matthew, Mark, Luke]. (9) With small variations, the details are remarkable similar in Mark and John.  It is night, and the disciples are rowing across the Sea of Galilee in a small boat by themselves.  There is a strong wind, the sea is rough, and they make little headway.  Then they see Jesus walking on the sea.  Initially, they are terrified.  But as he says to them, "It is I---do not be afraid." Then they are safe.

Intrinsic Metaphorical Meanings What metaphorical meanings are intrinsic to the story and not dependent on either the "happenedness" of the story or the specific historical associations of the imagery?  As with any good metaphorical story, the meanings of this one cannot be reduced to a single understanding.  I provide a short list of possible meanings - a list whose purpose is not to be comprehensive but to illustrate metaphorical thinking.  There is nothing special about my list; generating it required no scholarly expertise.  You are invited to reflect on the story to see what other intrinsic meanings occur to you.

Without Jesus, you don't get anywhere.
Without Jesus, you're at sea and in the dark.
Following Jesus may put you in difficult situations.
Jesus takes away fear.
Jesus comes to you in distress.
Jesus stills storms.

I think I see some sermon possibilities here.

As Matthew narrates this story, he adds an episode: Peter walks on the water as well.  After Jesus says, "It is I, have no fear," Matthew tells us:

Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water." Jesus said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?" (10)

I strongly doubt that Matthew's point is literal: if you have enough faith in Jesus, you can literally walk on water.  Rather, his point is metaphorical, and the intrinsic metaphorical meanings might include the following:

Without faith in Jesus, fear takes over.
Without faith in Jesus, you sink.
With faith in Jesus, you can walk on water (metaphorically).
When you're sinking, call out, "Lord, save me!" - and he will.

Historical Metaphorical Meanings  Additional meanings can be added to the above if we factor in the specific historical associations of sea imagery in the Hebrew Bible.  Those associations were ominous.  The sea was a mysterious and threatening force opposed to God.  This, when the ancient Hebrews wanted to stress God's power and authority, they spoke of God's mastery over the sea.  The authors of the book of Psalms exclaimed, "You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them," and "The sea is God's, for God made it." (11) In the book of Job, the voice from the whirlwind declares that it was God who "shut in the sea with doors" and said to it, "Thus far you shall come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped." (12)

Indeed, the plight of the disciples echoes a psalm that may have been the model for the gospel story:

The stormy wind lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths.
The courage of those in the boat melted away in their calamity;
    they reeled and staggered like drunkards,
    and were at wits' end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and God brought them out of their distress;
God made the storm be still,
    and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad because they had quiet,
    And God brought them to their desired haven. (13)

So what more do we see and hear in the gospel story by being aware of the historical associations of the imagery? The primary additional meaning is Christological. The story's portrait of Jesus walking on the water and calming the waves makes the claim that Jesus participates in the power and authority of God: that which was said about God in the Hebrew Bible is now said about Jesus.

Finally, the disciples of Jesus were sometimes a symbol for the Christian community, and a boat was an early Christian symbol for the church.  This suggests that the story is also about the relationship between Jesus and the church.

The story thus witnesses to what the post-Easter Jesus had become in the life of early Christian communities: one with God.  The canonical Jesus is one who stills storms, takes away our fear, rescues us-and does so because he participates in the power of God. (14)


Professor Borg Gives Us Something To Think About


Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me. (15) 


. . . . . It is troubling to many mainline Christians in our time because of how it has commonly been heard and read through the Christian centuries: it has been the classic "proof text" for Christian exclusivism - the notion that salvation is possible only through Jesus, and thus only through Christianity.


Intrinsic Metaphorical Meanings Although this text, like the others we have looked at, has specified historical relevance, it also has universal meanings.  We gain access to those meanings by paying attention to the metaphor at the heart of the text: Jesus is "the way." A way is a path or a road or a journey, not a set of beliefs. (16)


So Jesus is "the way."  But what does this metaphor, applied to a person, mean?  More specifically, what is Jesus' "way" in John's gospel (or what is "the way" which Jesus is)? The answer is found in the movement or dynamic of the gospel as a whole as well as in a single verse:


In the gospel [John] as a whole: From the inaugural scene onward, Jesus' way leads to his death - which is also, for John, his glorification. (17) The way to life in the presence of God is through death.

In a single verse: The Jesus of John says, "Very truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it does, it bears much fruit." (18)


In short, for John the way or path of Jesus is the path of death and resurrection understood as a metaphor for the religious life. That way - the path of dying to an old way of being and being born into a new way of being - is the only way to God. 


The same point is made in a story I once heard about a sermon preached by a Hindu professor in a Christian seminary several decades ago.  The text for the day included the "one way" passage, and about it he said, "This verse is absolutely true - Jesus is the only way." But he went on to say, "And that way - of dying to an old way of being and being born into a new way of being - is known in all of the religions of the world." The way of Jesus in a universal way, known to millions who have never heard of Jesus.


The way of Jesus is thus not a set of beliefs about Jesus.  That we ever thought it was is strange, when one thinks about it - as if one entered new life by believing certain things to be true, or as if the only people who can be saved are those who know the word "Jesus." Thinking that way virtually amounts to salvation by syllables. Rather, the way of Jesus is the way of death and resurrection - the path of transition and transformation from an old way of being to a new way of being.


Finally, the language of incarnation [the union of divinity with humanity in Jesus Christ], so central to John, is crucial for understanding the threefold affirmation of this verse: Jesus is not only "the way," but also "the truth", and the life." Incarnation means embodiment.  Jesus is the way - Jesus is what the way embodied in a person looks like.  Jesus is the truth - Jesus is what the truth embodied in a person looks like.  Jesus is the life -Jesus is what life (real life) embodied in a person looks like.  Taking Jesus seriously is not about a set of beliefs but about a person in whom we see embodied the way, the truth, and the life.


. . . . . . .This is who Jesus is for us as Christians.  Some modern Christians have been uncomfortable with these claims because they seem to partake of Christian triumphalism.  But for Christians, these claims should not be watered down.  For us as Christians, Jesus is not less than this - he is all of this. And we can say "This is who Jesus is for us" without also saying "And God is known only in Jesus." (19)


OK, But What are Professor Borg's Thoughts on Homosexuality?


Professor Borg doesn't have a lot to say on this subject in the same book sited above, but this is what he does say, and I believe he says it very well, on pages 23 and 24 under the heading:


The Difference our Perspective on the Bible Makes
The justifications for seeing the Bible as a human product are compelling, and the case has been made by many writers.  Most basically, it seems to me that a close and careful reading of the Bible makes it impossible to think that what it says comes directly or indirectly from God. So, rather than making the case that the Bible is a human product, I will offer five illustrations of the difference that these two ways of seeing and reading the Bible make.   


. . . . . . My third illustration concerns the laws of the Bible.  If we think of the Bible as a divine product, then the laws of the Bible are God's laws. To illustrate with a contemporary Christian controversy, the single law in the Hebrew Bible prohibiting homosexual behavior between men is found in Leviticus: "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination." The penalty (death) is found two chapters later.  (Lev. 18:22 and 20:13)

If we see the Bible as a divine product, then this is one of God's Laws. The ethical question then becomes, "How can one justify setting aside one of the laws of God?" This is, of course, how fundamentalist and many conservative Christians see the issue.


But if we see the Bible as a human product, then the laws of the Hebrew Bible are Ancient Israel's laws, and the prohibition of homosexual behavior tells us that such behavior was considered unacceptable in ancient Israel. The ethical question then becomes, "What would be the justification for continuing to see homosexual behavior as ancient Israel did?"


The question becomes even more acute when we realize that this law is embedded in a collection of laws that, among other things, prohibit planting two kinds of seed in the same field and wearing garments made of two kinds of cloth.(Lev. 19:19)  We do not worry about these matters; most of us wear clothing made of blends without giving it a second thought.  We readily recognize some of these prohibitions as the laws of an ancient culture that we are not bound to follow.  Why, then, should we single out some as "the laws of God?"

. . . . . . . . . . .
Marcus J. Borg (Ph.D., Oxford University) is known as one of the leading historical Jesus scholars of this generation. Professor emeritus in the Philosophy department at Oregon State University where he held the Hundere Chair in Religion and Culture, he is Canon Theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon, and author of the bestselling Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, The Heart of Christianity, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, The God We Never Knew, and Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary.  


But in the end we know that God is Love, that He is not cruel and that He accepts us all exactly as He has created us. He never intended that His message in the Bible be used to bring about self-hatred, suicide (20) and the physical and mental abuse in the lives of the 10% or less of His children who just happen to be attracted to members of their own sex.

Click Here for What Parents of Gay and Lesbian Teens need to Know about Suicide - What Are The Warning Signs?

. . . . . . . . . . . .
(1) Taken from an interview with Rev. Steve Kindle who is the Executive Director of Clergy United for the Equality of Homosexuals.  Click here to read more.
(2) The Rev. Steve Brown is the pastor emeritus of the Family of Christ Presbyterian Church of Greeley, Colorado. 
(3a) Holben, L. R.  What Christians Think about Homosexuality - Six Representative Viewpoints, North Richland Hills, Texas, BIBAL Press, 1999, page 128, 155 and 156.
Horner, Tom, "Jonathan Loved David: Homosexuality in Biblical Times", Philadelphia, The Westminister Press, 1978, page 107

(3c) Clark, Don, Ph.D., "Loving Someone Gay" (Fourth Edition), Berkeley, Celestial Arts, 2005, page 186.
(4) Borg, Marcus J., "Reading The Bible Again for the First Time: Taking The Bible Seriously But Not Literally", HarperOne, 2002, pages 40 and 41.
(5) Origen, De Principiis IV.1, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979, reprint of the 1885 edition), pp. 360-73. (Borg's footnote)
(6) Borg, Marcus J., "Reading The Bible Again for the First Time: Taking The Bible Seriously But Not Literally", HarperOne, 2002, pages 42-44.
(7) Origen, De Principiis, 4.1.16 Translation is mine [Borg]; parenthetical material added.  For an older English translation, see The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979, reprint of 1885 edition) vol. 4, p. 365.  Origen also says that the Bible contains "countless instances of a similar kind that were recorded as having occurred, but which did not literally take place." Even "the gospels themselves are filled with the same kind of narratives." Origen also strongly affirms that he sees much of the Bible as historical. (Borg's footnote)
(8) Borg, Marcus J., "Reading The Bible Again for the First Time: Taking The Bible Seriously But Not Literally", HarperOne, 2002, pages 70 and 71.
(9) Mark 6:45-52, Matt. 14:22-33, John 6:15-21.  The synoptics (but not John ) also have a second "sea" story: the stilling of the storm in Mark 4:35-41 = Matt. 8:23-27 = Luke 8:22-25.  In this story, Jesus is with the disciples in the boat, but asleep.  When a storm comes up and the boat is in danger of sinking, they call out to him, "Do you not care if we are perishing?" He then stills the storm. (Borg's footnote)
(10) Matt. 14:28-31; the full story in Matthew is found in 14:22-33.  (Borg's footnote)
(11) Ps. 89:9, 95, 5. (Borg's footnote)
(12) Job 38:8, 11. (Borg's footnote)
(13) Ps. 107:25-29. (Borg's footnote)
(14) Borg, Marcus J., "Reading The Bible Again for the First Time: Taking The Bible Seriously But Not Literally", HarperOne, 2002, pages 206-209.
(15) John 14:6 (Borg's footnote)
(16) "Way" or "path," as noted in the previous chapter, is a central image in the Jewish wisdom tradition.  It is also a central image in Mark (as well as the other synoptics), as argued in this chapter: to follow Jesus is to follow him on his way. (Borg's footnote)
(17) The death of Jesus is anticipated already in John's inaugural scene, the wedding at Cana; "my hour" in v. 4 refers to Jesus' death. (Borg's footnote)
(18) John 14:6. (Borg's footnote)
(19) Borg, Marcus J., "Reading The Bible Again for the First Time: Taking The Bible Seriously But Not Literally", HarperOne, 2002, pages 215-218.
(20) Click Here and Here to see the detailed results of over 100 studies showing that homosexual, bisexual and transgender youth and young adults consistently are about from 2 to 14 times more likely to attempt suicide when compared to their heterosexual peers. And here is an example of just one of these studies: Results of the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey of Massachusetts High School Students (Click Here to see it) showed that students who described themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual were significantly more likely than their heterosexual peers to report attacks, suicide attempts and drug and alcohol use. When compared to heterosexual peers, this group was:
● Over four times more likely to have attempted suicide in the past year
● Over three times more likely to miss school in the past month because of feeling unsafe
● Over four times more likely to have been injured or threatened with a weapon at school

A Gay Teen Short Story ♂♂
GOD MADE ME THIS WAY by Grant Bentley

Church is so confusing for Zack.  His new pastor preaches nothing but hate and condemnation of gays and lesbians, but no matter how carefully he reads his Bible, he can’t find where it says God hates him.  Will things change when Zach's boyfriend Billy suggests that they all go to his church instead?    Click Here or on the icon to read the story.


Click for Page 17 - We All Live by The Same Rules -Two People of the Same Sex Can Live in a Committed, Monogamous, Loving 
                           Relationship with the Blessing of God
                           The Homophobic Agenda  


Click below to go to:
The Anti-Gay Religious Right's Really Cruel and Idiotic Argument
Their Message to a Gay Person is: Be alone. Live alone. Die alone.


Click for Homosexuality is neither a Choice nor a Sin - Table of contents

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