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PART 2 (page 21 of 34)
What Does The Church Need To Do To Make Things Right With The Homosexual and Bisexual Community?
Gay Marriage and Gays As Leaders In The Church
Achieving and Maintaining An Attitude Of Forgiveness

Cartoon by Danziger - The Case Against Gay Marriage

Making Things Right
It was in the church where the prejudice against gays was born.  Therefore, as the all important first step to correcting its long history of censure, exclusion and theological justification for persecution of gay and lesbian people, the church needs to prayerfully examine itself and then repent and ask for forgiveness of its own homophobia. It must undertake the hard work of changing attitudes and expunging ancient and deep prejudices, including public confession of past wrongs against gay people when appropriate. Individual Christians are under a similar obligation if they are to live out the gospel mandate to their gay and lesbian neighbors.  Christians should also be vigilant in exposing and countering misinformation regarding homosexuals, particularly when such slander has its origin in supposedly Christian sources.  These lies and misinformation have led to the cruel mistreatment and great injustices to gays and lesbians over the centuries. (1)

Repeal Legal Bigotry

In faithfulness to the biblical call to justice for all people, the church should speak publicly for repeal of all laws which make criminal offenses of private, voluntary sex acts between people of legal age, oppose police harassment of homosexuals and speak publicly on behalf of homosexuals in the area of civil rights legislation, including gay marriage. (1)

 

The Inclusive Christian Church Enthusiastically Invites Gays and Lesbians To Participate Fully In The Body of Christ
Given the biblical message of God's particular compassion for the outcast and despised, the church should . . be leading the way in affirming, welcoming and serving gay and lesbian people.  It should enthusiastically invite them to full participation in the Body of Christ.  Christians, by the genuineness and warmth of their welcome of gays and lesbians into their own circles of friendship, association, work, family, worship and neighborhood, should provide a model to the rest of society for the true inclusivity which is a cardinal characteristic of the coming reign of our loving God. In terms of its own leadership, the church should apply the same standards to homosexual candidates for ordination and other church responsibilities that it does to heterosexuals. As the Episcopal Church's Commission on Human Affairs recommended in 1991:

 

[T]he Church [should] be open to ordaining gay men and lesbians otherwise qualified who display the same integrity in their sexual relationships which we ask of our heterosexual ordinands.  (1)

And it must be reported that in line with the above thinking the Rev. V. Gene Robinson was consecrated as the bishop of New Hampshire and the first openly gay prelate [and who was also in a monogamous gay relationship] in the Episcopal Church U.S.A. in 2003. And then on August 21, 2009, the country’s largest Lutheran denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, voted to allow gay men and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as members of their clergy.  So continued progress is being made.   

Yes To Gay Marriage
Understanding as it does the true uniting function of human sexuality, the church should also be setting the example for a world too quick to accept functional or hedonistic views of sex by creating Christian structures for supporting committed gay partnerships. This means offering gays and lesbians public blessing for their unions in rites which unapologetically celebrate the Christian significance and moral goodness of these relationships. Indeed, for many gay and lesbian Christians, the question of same-sex marriage is the crucial issue for the church, a point which Bruce Bawer made in his talk entitled Lecture at St. John's Episcopal Cathedral in Denver on September 18, 1994.

. . . . .to be gay and sit in . . . church week after week beside your partner of five or ten or thirty years and hear announcements of weddings and . . . know that the two of you can't be married in the church is to be reminded that you're not really full, equal members.

If gays and lesbians are recognized as "full, equal members" of the Body of Christ, however - as they must be if the church is to be true to itself - then, Bawer concludes, "the only Christian way for the church to respond to the fact of homosexuality and the identicality of homosexual love and commitment to heterosexual love and commitment is [for it] to bless gay marriages and allow the ordination of openly gay clergy." Anything less than such active inclusivity it is argued, constitutes a refusal to heed the call of Christ and a rejection of the church's role as the preeminent sign of divinely-constituted community in a divided world. (1)



How not to react when your child tells you he's gay - Dramatic live recording - YouTube Plus A Gay Dad's Beautiful Response to the Rejection

 


 

Gay Union and Gay Marriage - The Proposed Rites of Christian Blessing

Dear Friends in Christ: We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the union of these persons in a lifelong commitment of love.  The calling to live in the bond of a covenant is a gift from God, in whose image we are created and by whom we are called to love, to reason, to work and play, and to live in harmony with God and one another. In celebrating this covenant we are reminded of our highest vocation: to Love God and to love our neighbor [as ourselves].

"Jane Doe and Mary Smith are here to bear witness to their love for each other and to their intention to embody Christ's love in their relationship.  Each has found the other to be a gift of God in the midst of a broken and sinful world.  We are now called to share in their happiness and to witness this exchange of vows, because we believe god, who is love and truth, sees into their hearts and accepts the offering they are making.

"The joining of two persons in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy, for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity, and for the greater manifestation of love in the lives of all whom they encounter.  Therefore this commitment is to be undertaken and affirmed seriously, reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with God's intention for us." (2)

"In the name of God, I, Jane (Mary), take you, Mary (Jane), to be my dear companion [lawfully wedded wife]; and I solemnly promise here before God and these witnesses that I will stand beside you and with you always, in times of celebration and of sadness, in times of pleasure and of anger, in times of sickness and of health; I will care for you and love you as long as we both shall live."

"Now that Jane and Mary have pledged themselves to each other by solemn vows, by joining hands, and by giving and receiving rings, I declare that they are united to one anchor in a solemn covenant of love, and in the name of God: Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.


I suspect that [the above] words will remain strange and shocking to many.  All words that announce new life sound foreign to the ear, at least until experience illuminates understanding.

As Christians We Don't Take To Change Very Easily - Actually How About Kicking and Screaming
The original Jewish Christians must have recoiled when someone first suggested that Gentile Christians should be welcomed into the church without their having to obey Jewish law.

Western Christians in both Europe and America must have cringed when someone first suggested that non-white members of ethnic minorities must be welcomed into the life of the church as equal brother and sisters.

The rigid ecclesiastical hierarchy, so sure that they spoke for God, must have thought it strange and shocking when someone first suggested that a left-handed person was not evil and might well serve as a priest. 

The male priesthood, certain that only men could be symbolic representatives of the deity, must have thought it outrageous when someone first said that women too are called to be pastors, priests, and bishops, and that ordination must be opened to include them.

The proposal that the church bless and affirm publicly the union forged in love by two persons of the same gender will also be received as strange and shocking.  That too will pass, and the practice will become in time quite commonplace. 

"In Christ," said Paul, "shall all be made alive." Yes, all, including the gay and lesbian couples who have become in Christ one flesh.  Now is the appointed time to break the bondage of this prejudice that prevents that gift of life promised to all by the Christ from being realized. (All of this section I want to attribute to Spong, John Shelby, [Episcopal Bishop of Newark, NJ, USA] "Living in Sin?: A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality", San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1988, pages 196, 205-207)

A Note From Gary Lynn:  The Hardest Thing For Me To Do
Now the last thing for me to do here on this page is to admit to you my readers of my biggest failure in this entire project; To be able to have or offer up an attitude of forgiveness for all the people in the world past and present who have caused and are causing us so much pain, destruction and death. I don't have to wait for them to repent first and ask for forgiveness as was mentioned above.  Of my own free will, apart from whatever the other side does, I can forgive. Yes, turning the other cheek to these overly-rigid religious conservatives while standing up for what I know to be the truth is really hard. But I believe I must continue to strive to do this if I intend to wear the label of Christian. Sometimes I get carried away with my pointed digs at these people I disagree with so much, but on a regular basis I just have to take some deep breaths and get some loving Godly perspective on the whole matter. And what could be better than to use Jesus' own words from the cross as an example of my attitude: And Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.' (Luke 23:34) An eye for an eye does feel good at times, but it is only temporarily satisfying and has long term serious negative consequences.

Click Here or on the image to take you to The Campaign for Love & Forgiveness. This is a community engagement initiative that encourages people to bring love and forgiveness into the heart of individual and community life.

 

 

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

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Footnotes:
(1) Holben, L. R.  What Christians Think about Homosexuality - Six Representative Viewpoints, North Richland Hills, Texas, BIBAL Press, 1999, page 180-181.
(2) Adapted from a study liturgy circulated in the Episcopal Diocese of California, 1986.


If you would like to communicate with me, my e-mail address is: guery1940-arrowhead@yahoo.com.   


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 22 - Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture: (Part 1 of 5)
                          The Proof that Homosexuality is Not a Choice - Test Yourself!
                          Coming Out in Middle School

                          Realizing That You're Different From Others, What a Gay or Lesbian Teen Goes Through
                          I think my Grandpop saved my life

 


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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

Click for Gary Lynn's Home Page


 

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