May 30, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 4.17.10

Editor’s note: Comments that disagree with the post or its contents are welcome. Disagreeable comments are not.

Saturday Ramblings will be a regular feature here at Internet Monk, our attempt to clean the kitchen at the end of each week. Saturdays are a good day to clean up around the house and yard, putting away the stuff we dragged out throughout the week. We’ll try to present items of note that may not have a deserved a whole post, or that we didn’t have time to get to, or were just too darn busy to write about. Grab a second (or tenth) cup of coffee, put your feet up for a few minutes, and enjoy some Saturday Ramblings.

Antony Flew died this week at the age of 87. Flew, the son of a Methodist minister, was a renowned atheist philosopher until 2004 when he declared that he was now a deist. The change came through his study of DNA and led to his saying, “The most impressive arguments for God’s existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries.” In 2007 Flew released There Is A God. He continued to state he was a deist only, not a Christian. I wonder if his views have changed now…

Jennifer Knapp has come out with a new album, Letting Go. And that is not the only way she has come out. She confirmed long-standing rumors that she has been in a same-sex relationship for some time. Her music has always had a strong degree of honesty and vulnerability, and now she is being open and honest about this very difficult aspect of her life. Christianity Today has a very good interview with Jennifer, and Matthew Lee Anderson at Mere Orthodoxy talks about why this is bound to ignite a firestorm of evangelicals vs. homosexuals comments which will do very little good for anyone, especially the very real person of Jennifer Knapp.

Good news for those who want to experience God, but at times and places of their own choosing. Apparently taking a dose of the hallucinogenic drug psilocybin can give you the same religious feelings you get from a really good worship service. No more hassles of the getting whole family ready for Sunday service. Just add a pill to the morning bowl of corn flakes and you can experience the experiencing of God in the comfort of your own home! Mark Galli of Christianity Today comments on this fantastic discovery. Warning: This article could be dangerous to the minds of those addicted to “worship highs.”

You most likely know by now that John Piper has requested an eight month sabbatical from his duties as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis beginning May 1. Here is there sermon in which he outlines his reasons for this request.

Site news: In case you missed it, we wrote about the changes here at Internet Monk a little more than a week ago. Please continue to pray for us as we transition without really transitioning, if you know what I mean. We want to maintain the continuity of this unique community as much as we can, yet we know we cannot stand still either. We are praying for wisdom and skill in continuing our journey in the post-evangelical wilderness. Thanks to all who have sent along very good comments to Chaplain Mike and myself.

Finally, this is known in advertising as a “tease.” We are close to announcing a way that we can help those among our family who are authors. This is a way you can get your writing published and, at the same time, help the Internet Monk community. We’ll have more information next week–same Bat time, same Bat channel. If you can’t wait until then, you can drop me a note, and I’ll try to get back to you as quickly as I can.

“Man is born broken. He spends his life mending. God’s grace is the glue.” Eugene O’Neill, from The Great God Brown.

Comments

  1. “Jennifer Knapp has come out with a new album, The Way I Am. And that is not the only way she has come out. ”

    Nitpick: “The Way I Am” is her album from 2001. Her newest album to be released next month is “Letting Go.”

  2. I don’t know whether homosexuality is acceptable or not. However, I know that Jennifer Knapp appears to seek Jesus Christ, and anyone who has listened to her old albums (i own them all) knows that this woman knows the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and not some feel good pseudo Gospel.

    I will pray for my sister, who is going through a difficult time. May God’s will, whatever that be, be done, and may she know her Master more and more every day. May all Christians, whether they agree with her lifestyle or not, treat her with the Grace and love exemplified of our master.

    ALL men are sinners. Jesus loves Sinners.

    • It sounds like Jennifer isn’t going through a ‘difficult time’ so much as enjoying sex with a woman and living off her romantic music about Jesus;; guess she doesn’t view celibacy as an appreciable lifestyle option for her. I’m sick of seeing Christians debauch our beliefs and asking us to Deal With It. I’m sorry that so many people are going to defend her ‘struggle’ as if it weren’t a total capitulation though. I’m real bored with being asked to sympathize with people who are gaming our sympathies with this front of Bravery In Front of Those Meany Old School Christians about their sexual adventures; how come NOBODY wants to die to themselves these days? I’ve read about Christians doing that kind of thing; I’d just like to see it once, so I can believe it.

      • I posted my assessment of this “J. Knapp is Gay” thing pretty confidently about this without reading the article (or knowing who she is) because I could smell this line coming from a million miles away, but just to give you a sense of why I’m bored with this in it’s entirety, this is from the Christianity Today article linked here:

        “It never occurred to me that I was in something that should be labeled as a “struggle.” The struggle I’ve had has been with the church, acknowledging me as a human being, trying to live the spiritual life that I’ve been called to, in whatever ramshackled, broken, frustrated way that I’ve always approached my faith. I still consider my hope to be a whole human being, to be a person of love and grace. So it’s difficult for me to say that I’ve struggled within myself, because I haven’t. I’ve struggled with other people.”

        Yawn. Anybody else sick of this cliche yet?

        • This is a very difficult issue for me. I tend to fall on both sides… which I am unsure of what that necessarily means. We are all completely dependent on God’s grace, no matter what our sins may be. We are completely unable to merit His favor and love. At the same time, there are those who believe that we should view homosexuality as something a person should not guard against at all, while any other sin can and should be guarded against. That is hypocrisy. I completely agree that it is very difficult to side with those that are asking us “to sympathize with people who are gaming our sympathies with this front of Bravery In Front of Those Meany Old School Christians about their sexual adventures.”

          Her struggle is not with the Church, as she states in the interview, in my opinion. Her struggle is with the leading of the Holy Spirit. But that is the same with all of us. I think that her’s and our struggles do not worry the Father in the least. He is not overly concerned with our sin, I am sure. He is madly in love with her and the rest of us.

          So. With all that being said, I will certainly not be the one casting the first stone in her direction. (And I am not implying that you, Patrick, are wanting to do that , either). Again, this is a very difficult issue for the Church to face. We need to encourage each other with love and truth with much as much grace as we can muster.

          May God have mercy on us all!

        • This response saddens me very much. Sorry to be so blunt. I do believe that homosexuality is a sin, and I do believe that God’s plan is for heterosexual marriage for those who feel called to marry. I also do believe that celibacy is a good option for homosexuals if therapy isn’t effective. So fundamentally, we do agree on every theological point. But a prideful and flippant attitude does not help us accomplish our goal; in fact, all it accomplishes is to thrust the prideful person into deeper sin himself. As a happily married woman, it would be devastating for me to resign myself to a life without romantic companionship. I do believe that marriage is a gift given to us by God that can in some instances (but not all of course) bring us closer to Him. How sad to feel compelled towards an intimate relationship and be consigned to celibacy! It is heartbreaking to me, I am just beyond thankful I am not afflicted with that particular sin, although I have many to battle myself (I will admit that I think people are born homosexual, just like some people are born with a temper, a proclivity towards addictive activities, pride, recklessness– being born with a trait does not mean it isn’t sinful). So apparently she’s not ready for celibacy, or doesn’t see it as an option– that’s a sad thing, but it really isn’t our place to put ourselves above her, unless we have teased all latent sin from our own hearts. Hate to use a cliche myself, but really, hate the sin, love the sinner, yadda ya. We “tire” of someone’s struggle with homosexuality and call it a “cliche”? The reason why it seems like a cliche is because all sin is a “cliche” by definition, a tireless cycle from which we cannot release ourselves. Thanks be to God that His patience contains multitudes! I am sure he is sickened by our pride as much as he is by homosexual practice. All sin comes from the same place, a fundamental unwillingness to trust God’s word and apply it to our life. So our pride and her sexual orientation are, to me, the same sin. She needs to be loved, to be given a little confidence that there are options out there for her.

          • “I am sure he is sickened by our pride as much as he is by homosexual practice.”

            This is the kind of waffling about the issue that I’m talking about.

            Take a happy, successful person in a committed relationship, who is contentedly following their passions and ordering her life as she likes it. Now, sell her on the idea that she has no confidence and needs Real Love, and instead of her quant little life, she should live alone and hang out with you on Sundays. Oh, and concede that all that same-sex domestic pleasantness she’d been cultivating was really a big Sin with a capital-‘S’.

            Feels kind of unlikely, right? After she’s spent all this time singing to us about Jesus, you think she’s going to care what WE think about how she lives her life?

            It’s not as if being prideful and being homosexual are mutually exclusive; but we can certainly say that it takes a pretty proud soul for a Professional Serious Christian to live gay and be happy. You don’t have to be gay to recognize when somebody is (sure, just like us!) defiant of Christian teachings on morality, and you aren’t a bigot for noticing that it sucks to feel used by someone who looked so pretty and sang so well and let silly Christians call her ‘anointed of God’ and who unrepentantly turns out to be Just Like Us.

            You’d be depressed though, if you noticed that Christianity Today was able to use Jennifer Knapp’s scandalous sin to make a bunch of money in web and print advertisements – and without offering a word of perspective to go with it. I think it’s because they don’t have a wise word to give.

            I really do think Christianity is just our diversion. For Jennifer (and pretty much all the rest of ‘Christian artists’), it;’s a gimmick and an artistic beau geste that’s all melisma and no soul, and it’s a cliche and it’s boring, and even our secret debauchery is cliche and vain and boring.

          • Patrick– I am not sure if I am posting in the right place, was trying to reply to your 10:42 message, but it appears that comments are blocked….anyway, I agree, to an extent. All sin, even carnal sin, stems some degree from pride, I guess this was where I was coming from when I said that all sin stems from an unwillingness to let God lead our lives, essentially pride. So, let’s say her sin is not homosexual behavior, but actually pride, which is expressed in homosexual behavior. As a fairly new Christian, I’ve never been big on the Christian music scene, so I am not personally offended by her coming out of the closet; I never bought her albums or allowed her to become a role model to my children or whatever, so I guess I can’t relate with your feelings of offense, but I guess I understand them. I do think, as one who is outside Christian Culture, that it is funny how the Christian Culture-makers define the culture as some sort of bastion of Christian values but in reality it has just as many scandals as any other culture, and is vulnerable to the same flaws; it just goes to show that every man-made thing is corruptible, and that you can’t judge a religion by its followers, Frankly, this is hardly upsetting to me, it is what the Bible told me to expect.

            Anyway, I’m not even talking about how judging homosexuality is a form of bigotry. I think it is really fine to judge her homosexual behavior as wrong. But we have to think of this in terms of healing. I don’t mean to be all new-agey, but I feel that just like any entrenched sin, homosexuality is something that will be a lifelong battle, and if a person is going to fight it, they need the support of a community. We can’t get stuck in that whole “well, her sin is not my fault” attitude. I mean, yes, it is her fault…it is mankind’s fault. But we are a community and we have to help each other. I know this is the case with my many sins…if I did not have a family to whom I was accountable, who knows what behavior I would be able to justify! Anyway, if we are committed to helping this person overcome this sin, we have to come to her with an attitude of love. Not of unconditional acceptance of sin….but an attitude of love and respect that creates trust. If I were a gay woman, and this group of people was telling me I needed to become celibate, or fundamentally alter my lifestyle in a way that felt totally unnatural to me, I would have to trust them before I started that process. But if, for example, they said my sin was a “cliche”….well, I wouldn’t be able to trust them to help me. I really think we have to think about the best ways to get to people, to help them to understand what is wrong with their behavior. When I was atheistic and pursuing all number of sinful behavior, no amount of dismissive ranting and raving from a Christian was going to give me the strength to face my behavior. It was seeing Christian love (backed up by very strong Christian ethics), and most importantly the FRUIT OF THAT LOVE (loving marriages, loving Christian parents, wonderful children raised in Christian homes, loving families) that made me realize what I was missing out on. I’m not kidding when I say all this, I really think this is the way to people’s hearts.

            Also, maybe I am going out waay on a limb here, and I really don’t know anything about this girl at all, but I do believe she is a believer. I don’t think being homosexual is any more of a sin than any other behavior that other Christians engage in on a daily basis….and I don’t want to even discuss it being a “lifestyle sin” versus a “once-every-once-in-a-while” sin. All sin is a lifestyle sin; if we don’t understand that, we simply aren’t understanding the message. So since I believe she is a believer, I also believe that it might be a lot easier than you’re making it out to be for her to change her behavior. Not that it will be easy, but it might be easier than it is with your typical, atheist or agnostic urban homosexual who has so many more obstacles to overcome, namely accepting grace to begin with. I mean, let’s have a little hope here.

            I’m not surprised if you feel like many Christian artists use their Christianity as a vehicle for making crappy art. Most Christian art is crappy, because art thrives on struggle and chaos, and the whole Christian experience is about finding order in the midst of chaos. It takes a tremendously honest person to make good Christian art. Most of the Christian art I’ve seen or heard is tremendously boring.

            To respond to Nate below, I don’t think it is wrong to judge someone for being sinful. But to judge someone flippantly, to say that their sin is a “cliche,” to belittle their sin as if it were not a war raging internally in that person, that is terrible. It burns bridges instead of building them. So I think we actually agree. I just think that when we’re talking about sin, some empathy could go a long way towards building trust. I’m not saying we excuse the sin, but we need to come at that person in a loving way instead of being dismissive.

        • ha, I’m an idiot. The post ended up in the right place. But all that other stuff I said….yeah!

          • “But if, for example, they said my sin was a “cliche”….well, I wouldn’t be able to trust them to help me.”

            What I mean to say is that her explanation is THE post-Christian cliche to end all cliches, and I don’t care how much soul-searching you do – if “I struggle with the people around me” is all you come up with for a grand rationalization for why it’s good and great for a Christian to engage in same-sex relationships, you need to head back out into the wilderness and try again.

          • Aaaaah! Its like Waiting for Godot or something, an endless cycle….no, actually, I get what you’re saying. She has presumably read her Bible and has found a way to intellectually rationalize pretty much all the passages about homosexuality; now her only problem is justifying her decision to so-called “bigot Christians.” Therefore on top of the homosexual practice, she’s also got a totally different sin issue, which is using human rationale to justify her sins. Like all sin, it is never just one sin, and yet it is always just one sin, the sin of pride, as we discussed earlier. She does need to head out to the wilderness again if this is her perspective. But I’m not totally sure she needs to be in the wilderness. As a (hate to bring it up again) former vehement atheist who engaged in pretty much every sexual sin except homosexual ones, and as someone who has very many homosexual friends to this day, I can see that this individual completely lacks role models. She is probably, as I was, hanging around with liberal agnostics and/or liberal Christians all the time. She is probably talking to with people who reinforce her perspective. She needs to see some real– yet loving–models of Christian values and ethics, then maybe she’ll start to remember why the Gospel of Christ is so special– because, outside of the amazing gift of grace, you also become a new man in this life. The coolest thing to me is when someone who is not a Christian comes to realize that there’s really no difference between themselves and the average Christian, that they struggle with the same problems, are prone to the same grievances, but that the Christian has found a rubric they use to respond to life’s challenges, and a rest and joy in Christ. Again, I am not kidding, this is how I was saved. Not to be so personal over and over again, but really, if we stop making salvation personal, and just start thinking of people as stereotypes or whatever, we lose the race.

          • Keep talking about it, cpilgrim. Your perspective on this is a good one.

            Don’t mind me so much; I’m just mad because it seems nobody ever turns back from making rationalizations like that one, and I don’t understand why or how, or how to help.

        • wow…..just WOW…..not only is homosexuality (in practice, not just desire) not wrong: it isn’t even SLIGHTLY wrong, no hint of sin whatever; I haven’t read the whole CT article yet, but this is reallly sad and delusional.

          GOD help us all.
          Greg R

      • Paul made it clear that none of us will ever become perfect sinless good boy and girl Christians. I am a sinner, I will always be a sinner. I am not saying that my sin is good, indeed it is quite evil, but I have faith in the Grace of God and the work of the Cross that although I fail daily, My salvation is in the Hands of Christ Jesus not my ability to do what I should.

        Regarding dying to one’s self, yes we are called to do this. We are called to seek to kill the old man and that God expects us to Repent. In fact, we are called to be PERFECT.

        Yet, the same Scriptures that exhort us to these goals in fact also points out our complete inability to do them. Paul describes the struggle with the sinful nature, and his repeated bouts with his own sin. This man was an Apostle, hand picked by God in a holy vision. This man was an enemy of God made his faithful servant instantaneously.

        Why do we expect so much more from homosexual sinners than heterosexual sinners? Is their sin worse than ours?

        • John: I totally agree about how homosexuality has become a hot topic sort of sin to talk about in the Christian community, and how crippingly unfair that is– not to the homosexual, but to those Christians who need to be ministered to about other issues not as polemic as sex/politics. I was looking for churches last year and had to rule one completely out because he ended up spending a great deal of his sermon talking about homosexuality. The small room, fifty congregants, was filled with blue-hairs, people who had been married for probably 30 years or more, maybe 3 young couples, all with kids. I’m not saying that the sin of homosexuality is less than any other sin, but why on earth would a pastor whose entire church body was 50 people, all seemingly straight, decide to preach on that subject? I can understand in a more urban area, maybe at the college ministry down the street. And perhaps there was some latent need that he was aware of but that I didn’t know. But I unfortunately must conclude that he preached that sermon because homosexuality is a sin that is a hot-subject right now politically, but also because this pastor probably didn’t know, as none of us really do, how to adequately address the other ambiguous sins that the Bible admonishes– greed, gluttony, pride, wrath, jealousy, etc. Those are the hard sins. Not having sex with someone your same sex is pretty cut-and-dried, but how do we define greed? Pride? Judgement? Hypocrisy? How do we know when we’re greedy, not just prosperous? How do we know when our church has excessive greed? These subjects would have hit so much closer to home for this congregation, but instead they got a message about why they shouldn’t be gay. What gives?

          • “, but also because this pastor probably didn’t know, as none of us really do, how to adequately address the other ambiguous sins that the Bible admonishes– greed, gluttony, pride, wrath, jealousy, etc.”

            Christianity today is a belief vacated totally of context and controvertibility; we proven inarticulate about public sins OR private ones, so what the hell are we doing with ourselves in our churches week after week? Why are we listening to each other blather on with these vain encouragements when Nothing, no kernel of positive and arresting wisdom, is at the center of us?

            I’ve long thought that ‘Christian’ and ‘credibility’ were a contradiction in terms in the eyes of the world, but are we really so insecure in our teachings and each other that we can’t draw ANY permanent strength from them anymore?

          • Donalbain says

            Because that is what sells. You don’t get people to your place of business by telling them that THEY are evil. It is much better for business to sell them the idea that they are the last remnant of goodness in a world gone to hell. Talking about the sin of envy, or the REAL crimes of Sodom are going to make them uncomfortable and they will go elsewhere.

      • One thing that I see in this is the example that is set by such artists. Christian artist Ray Boltz, who sang the song “Thank You,” came out and divorced his wife after thirty-three years.

        As a man, I hope to one day be married and be a quality husband and father. I hope to be a man of fidelity, who is faithful and loving, who embraces his family with grace while standing for the truth of Christ.

        Yet, I see so many Christian men who are divorced or co-habitating or “struggling” with adulterty. Their example discourages me from my intense desire to abstain, marry and then proclaim, “I do,” to “‘Til death do you part.”

        My ideas seem like fantasy in today’s world of “love,” but I still hold to the idea and pursue it with all that I am, trusting in God.

        • Ray Boltz’ wife, Carol, has a blog about her struggles with Ray’s coming out and the ending of their marriage, its affect on their kids, etc. She recently re-posted the “coming out” interview that Ray gave to The Washington Blade in September 2008:

          http://myheartgoesout-carol.blogspot.com/2010/04/reprint-of-ray-boltz-original-coming.html

          If you read the interview, you’ll see that Ray didn’t simply come out and divorce his wife after thirty-three years. It was not that simple.

          I don’t think he is setting any example, just trying to follow Jesus as best he can and being who he is.

      • Thank you, Patrrick. I think you hit the nail on the head.

      • I found myself writing a very angry comment about the judging of sins as greater or lesser depending on their status in the culture wars. I’ve deleted it and am instead retreating back to read the iMonk entries on “Love is an Orientation.” I’d strongly recommend that to all parties here.

        • That might be good for us backstage, but I insist that all Christians, same-sex-attracted and otherwise, need to collaborate on the frontstage or we give ourselves over to incoherency.

    • Looking at the CT comments, it’s almost biblical. Here you have a woman, a homosexual, who confesses her love for and faith in Christ. Over here you have an angry mob bent on casting the woman from the body of Christ for violating the law, telling her she will burn in hell. My my my what would Jesus have said?

      • There may be a lot of Christians who are disappointed in Jennifer, but angry mob is not quite how I would describe them. I think a lot of Christians are becoming desensitized to the issue and care little about it.

        • Actually, I haven’t seen any angry mob telling her that she will go to Hell. Instead, I’ve seen quite a lot of “if it feels good, do it” and “God will love you no matter what” reactions. We are supposed to love gays and realize that everyone is broken. But we are also NOT supposed to use that as an excuse give approval to sin.

          • I’m finding myself sympathizing with Patrick Lynch above. If most of us were wiling to say things like that to the people we love, there’d be lot fewer platitudes, a lot less

            Approaching these situations is way too easy to screw up. Not sure exactly what to do but..

            1. People need to be passionately involved in the lives of folks like Jennifer Knapp. It’s not a negotiable. That means maintaining affectionate connection with people in these situations. That means not distancing themselves simply because of sin. That means getting their hands dirty, and weeping when they weep, etc.

            2. People IN these relationships need to be fearlessly able to draw attention to sin and call it what it is, hurt feelings when necessary, draw connective lines to consequences, etc. IN the context of unwavering devotion. Claiming that it’s “judgmental” to do this is a ridiculous dismissal of much of Jesus’ ministry.

            Combining these two is not attractive for anyone cause it’s MUCH harder then ignoring sin and by extension God’s hatred for it, or separating from the “unclean.”

            Most of what’s going to be said about Jennifer Knapp won’t matter. That’s cause it’s being said by people who have no investment in her life whatsoever. But then Jesus seemed to have no problem calling attentino to sin, offending people, and getting angry, even while maintaining deep involvement and affection for people. That’s why much of the “don’t be so judgmental” side is going to be useless platitudes.

          • There’s a major assumption here that people are excusing sin. I am not, others may be, but I can only speak for myself.

            All I can say is that the issue of sexuality is a confusing one. However, the Gospel of Grace is Clear. If this woman seeks God through the person and Sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth, she is our sister, regardless of the sin in her life.

            We all have sin in our life, and apart from God we are nothing. If we can trust God to Save not only us in our sinfulness, but also the self proclaimed Chief of Sinners (Paul) Why is this one Sin amongst hundreds so much worse in our eyes?

            Why don’t we show this attitude towards those who continually violate the speed limit? Or continually view Pornography? Or continually act in unrighteous anger and hatred toward their friends/family/colleagues?

            If the Bible says that Homosexuality like the type that Ms. Knapp is engaging in is sinful (I am honest enough to admit I’m confused), it is but a footnote compared to the constant themes of hatred, Greed, Selfishness, etc. Are we telling the Glutton (i am one) to stop eating more than he needs to and that he needs to get right with God, and stop pretending he can have jesus and his sin at the same time? Are we telling the constant Gossips in our church that they need to get right with God and stop pretending they can have their sin and Jesus too?

            If we believe our sister is sinning, we need to pray for her. If we believe our sister is sinning, we should inform her of this IN LOVE AND COMPASSION. However, we must never act as if we know her state before God, as in reality we all have the same state before God, Unholy Sinners clinging on the Mercy of the Cross.

          • If the Bible says that Homosexuality like the type that Ms. Knapp is engaging in is sinful (I am honest enough to admit I’m confused),

            From what I’ve read, there is a major dearth of statements in the Bible, as well as in rabbinical writings and commentaries, about or against female homosexuality. In fact, based on some respectable scholarly studies, Romans 1:26 may not be about female same-sex relations but about non-genital male-female sex. And in line with that, the other anti-homosexual statements in Romans 1 and elsewhere in the NT (i.e., re: arsenokotoi and malakoi) may not be about/against the kind of male same-sex attraction and relations(hip)s that are prevalent in our culture. Judging by the comments from Christians on Jennifer Knapp’s Facebook page, there seem to be many, many young Evangelicals who don’t have a kneejerk or “traditional” rejection of same-sex attraction and relationships, which may indicate the Evangelical church in America will change re: this simply because of numbers. If not, it will at least split it, if it hasn’t already.

          • There’s a dearth of writings on female-specific morality IN GENERAL in the Bible; that’s because in the Biblical anthropology, women follow men and men follow God and the only anthropology that matters to any of us should be the example of Jesus – which wasn’t gay.

            So Romans 1:24 is really all the indication that we need that homosexuality was and remains verboten for Christians and is ill-advised for everyone, if the Bible is to be trusted.

            Other pressing issues not covered in the Bible include bathroom etiquette, familiar greetings, the Freedom of Information Act, and whether it’s proper to spot on a scratch, play it ‘ball in hand’ or leave it in the pocket.

  3. Dear Jeff,

    Whatever other changes you decide to do here at iMonk, I hope you will incorporate a “Saturday Ramblings” post or something similar every week. I really enjoyed reading it and checking out the links you provided. Thank you!

    Christine 🙂

  4. Rajendra Masih says

    Satan is good at infiltration and ambush warfare. Use a well liked “Christian” artist or celebrity and you will have many “Christian” fans following her to your side very soon.

  5. Only when gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered STOPS meaning anything of any value whatsoever in regards to religious belief will the “struggle” be over for all concerned.

    In the same way that racism has had to be fought tooth and nail to STOP meaning anything of value regarding religious belief, so too must sexual preference. To those who claim it as a sin, think about the dastardly sin of trimming the corners of your beards. Should facial hair grooming mean anything valuable to the quality of religious belief?

    Come on, people.

    • Your example is ridiculous. Nowhere in the New Testament does anybody ever get chastised on pain of sin for not trimming their beards properly.

      If you want to love men, it’s on you, but don’t come around here talking about “its just like trimming my beard!!!!!1”

      • One of my two Big Papers this semester is on Paul and Christian Liberty. In my research I came across an author who was talking about how some of the folks that heard Paul’s message of Liberty in the areas of dietary laws, holy days, etc. were then applying that to areas of sexual morality with an arguments to the effect of of “hey, that’s just Law, too. And besides, that’s just biology, and if we’re ultimately about the spiritual and God is Spirit, what’s the big deal?” But Paul puts a pretty quick stop to that line of thinking. I found it kind of ironic that the day after coming across that in my research, I come across the Jennifer Knapp thing where she’s basically using the same argument as the antinomian folk.

        All that to say, sexual morality issues (including homosexuality) aren’t just an issue one finds in the Pentateuch and the Old Testament. It comes up quite often in the Epistles also.

        I see the key NT text dealing with stuff like this to be how Jesus dealt with the woman caught in adultery. Definitely, “He who is without sin should cast the first stone.” But Jesus’ answer is a two-parter. There’s also “Go and sin no more.”

        I can dig the idea of having certain sins that we’re “struggling with.” Heck, there are some sexual sins that I have struggled with and am struggling with. But the rationalization is what gets to me. Not that I don’t sometimes rationalize things, too. Nonetheless, if we’re not willing to confess our sins, we’ll never get better. Rationalization is spiritual poison.

  6. I guess it should be no surprise that the only issue that people seem interested in with regard to Chaplain Mike’s post is the Jennifer Knapp portion (I have to admit I have no idea who she is, but I don’t pay much attention to CCM or whatever it’s called these days – I prefer the Eagles).

    Not that it’s surprising, but, seriously, how predictable we are!

    • I, too, vote for a regular “Saturday Ramblings” post!

      • Sorry – that was Jeff Dunn’s post – not Chaplain Mike’s – but still happy they will be a regular feature.

    • Not True!! I’d already read about (and read the interview) Jennifer Knapp.

      My interest in Chaplain Mike’s post was the quaint and curious note that CT only recently learned that psychedelic drugs can mimic or create transcendent and religious experiences of enlightenment. (see my other post about this below)

      That Mark Galli and CT only now stumbled upon this is truly stupefying. Taking the title from William James’ famous 1902 study The Varieties of Religions Experience, Robert Masters Ph.D. and Jean Houston Ph.D. wrote an entire book on the religious effects of psychedelics, The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience: The Classic Guide to the Effects of LSD on the Human Psyche, 44 YEARS AGO in 1966.

      Where was CT when all the hippies who tripped on acid in the ’60’s and ’70’s met “God” and then came to Jesus?

      CT’s and Galli’s naïvete and ignorance about this boggles (or should I say “blows”) my mind. 🙂

      • I am glad you commented on psilociabin and mescaline because I was in the university by 1969, and I certainly remember quite a few religious experiences floating around the campus in those days.

        But, in a very mild defense of CT, I think they were quoting some of the latest research into brain imaging and religious experiences. The brain imaging of the type that is cited in the study did not exist in the 1960’s. [Side thought — I wonder what a brain scan of Keith Richards would show.]

      • One book that looks at the same phenomena, is “Saints and Madmen” by Russel l Shorto. I read it fairly recently, and thought is quite interesting.

        Basically, he points out similarities to mental illness and various ecstatic religious states. One thing that I remember is that on some testing, that the mentally ill scored poorly on one that measures stability, while the religious folk scored very high on the same test.

    • But re: Jennifer Knapp – log in to your Facebook account and search for the Jennifer Knapp page and read the comments on her Wall. Naturally the interview has generated lots of talk – and the FB page gives you a snapshot of the reactions of her Christian fans.

    • Hey, for the record I’m just as annoyed with Antony Flew and the accusations of his being ‘corrupted’ by a cadre of Conservative Christians and swayed in his decrepitude from his atheist convictions.

      It’s stupid, but on the other hand, I read his last book, and it wasn’t very good, so who really knows?

    • I listen to both “secular” and CCM. Jennifer Knapp was a huge splash in the late 90s early 00’s and then suddenly disappeared off the face of the earth. I think that’s why the impact is so huge when she returns out of nowhere, is suddenly doing secular music and confirms rumors about her homosexuality.

  7. Apparently taking a dose of the hallucinogenic drug psilocybin can give you the same religious feelings you get from a really good worship service. No more hassles of the getting whole family ready for Sunday service. Just add a pill to the morning bowl of corn flakes and you can experience the experiencing of God in the comfort of your own home! Mark Galli of Christianity Today comments on this fantastic discovery.

    Rather old news.

    Alan Watts wrote a book about this very fact called The Joyous Cosmology in 1962, though he was more specifically writing about LSD, not psilocybin. You can read it online here:

    http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/LSD/jccontnt.htm

    And he was riffing off of Aldous Huxley’s books about the same thing, The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell, which were written in 1954 and 1956, respectively.

    Per Wikipedia:

    In October 1955, Huxley had an experience while on LSD that he considered more profound than those detailed in The Doors of Perception. ‘Huxley was overwhelmed to the point where he decided his previous experiments, the ones detailed in Doors and Heaven and Hell, had been nothing but entertaining sideshows.’ He wrote in a letter to Humphry Osmond, that he experienced “the direct, total awareness, from the inside, so to say, of Love as the primary and fundamental cosmic fact. … I was this fact; or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that this fact occupied the place where I had been. … And the things which had entirely filled my attention on that first occasion, I now perceived to be temptations – temptations to escape from the central reality into a false, or at least imperfect and partial Nirvanas of beauty and mere knowledge.” The experience made its way into the final chapter of Island. This raised a troublesome point. Was it better to pursue a course of careful psychological experimentation…. or was the real value of these drugs to ‘stimulate the most basic kind of religious ecstasy?’

    Trivia: Huxley died the exact same day as C. S. Lewis and John F. Kennedy. Peter Kreeft crafted a fictional post-life meeting between the three in a short book entitled Between Heaven and Hell (IVP, 1982). IIRC, Huxley’s wife administered LSD to him per his instructions to aid his passing.

  8. I am saddened by the latest Christian singer to come out as being gay.

    I hope that Jennifer turns from this sin – she has embraced.

    A CCM article read;

    “Jennifer Knapp doesn’t consider herself to be a crusader for the gay community and she still considers herself to be a Christian, a gay Christian [Emphasis added]. Her new album will be a little more mainstream and she hopes her fans, Christian and non-Christian alike, will give it and her a chance.”

    I’d submit there is no such thing as a gay Christian.

    • And I would submit that you don’t get to decide who is saved and who is not.

      That’s like saying there’s no such thing as a Christian liar, a Christian glutton, or an unfaithful Christian.

    • Would you be willing to say then that there is no such thing as a gluttonous Christian, or an adulterous Christian, or a lying christian, or a Christian that hates, a Christian that contiunally breaks the speed limit?

      • a Christian that continually breaks the speed limit?

        A pastor I know jokes that the last part on a Christian to get saved is his right foot. 🙂

      • So far, the real issue in is not so much “are there chriatian (fill in the blank with your favorite worse sin H-E-R-E) but what are we to say , and how are we to deal with someone who acts , habitually, in a way that has been understood as sinful according to widely accepted interpretations of the WORD, AND HAS NO PROBLEM OR QUALM in doing so. In other words, it’s a cheat, or adulterer , or whatever, who says “sin ?? what sin ??…….no sin here, I’m sure of it……” TO me that is an entirely different kettle of fish than someone who stumbles, even often, and KNOWS IT. And is tryiing to get back on a path to repentance and healing. What would the word “healing” mean to Knapp ?? Healing from being offended by judgmental christians ???? A well person has no need of the Physician.

        Welcome to the blog, BTW
        Greg R

        • Last i checked justification of a sin is still a sin. As we Christians believe that we are not saved because we are perfect, but rather because we are imperfect, shouldn’t we recognize that rebellion is simply another artifact of the sin nature that Christ has not yet purged from us in this lifetime?

          Although it may SEEM to us to be a different sort of sin, I can see nowhere in Scripture where self delusion is anything worse than lying, theft, etc.

          • by different kettle of fish, I dont’ mean to imply some kind of impardonabe sin, or a sin that somehow has GOD REALLY angry (compared to mine or yours) what I mean is that a failure to admit wrong, even a refusal to admit wrong is a deeper level of delusion than doing wrong and making some kind of lame rationization about it (which is me about every other miniute…..) I’m NOT saying that Knap is not a christian or even some sub-category of chirstian, but that this kind of delusion (I nevery reallly struggled with it……) is a very deep form of deception. I’m not putting a scarlet lettter on her so much as pointing out that if she keeps her course, there is no healing and no help for her. Healing for WHAT ?? She has no problem (in her eyes). That’s a sad state for anyone to be in.

            Hope this helps
            Greg R

      • John,

        [ In answer to your questions see my reponse to Savannah above. ]

        You said earlier, “All I can say is that the issue of sexuality is a confusing one.”

        Actually it is not – the Bible makes it 100% clear that homosexuality is a sin.

        • the Bible makes it 100% clear that homosexuality is a sin.

          With a HT to the eminent Theologian-In-Chief The Right Reverend William Jefferson Clinton: “It depends upon what the meaning of ‘homosexuality’ is.”

        • Even if you’re right, matthew (which you may very well be, i’ve been intentionally staying neutral on this issue) you’ve yet to prove that this particular sin is any different than the types we all engage in daily.

          Regarding will, can one sin WITHOUT will? I’m not quite convinced that there is a thing such as accidental Sin. As I understand Scripture, all sin is willful rebellion.

          • Hi John,

            Staying neutral on certain issues that are unclear at times can be very wise.

            However, when it is as clear as day , like this particiular case, staying neutral is just plain man pleasing comprimise.

            Let me ask you; would you stay neutral as to whether the God of the Bible is Triune? Hopefully no you would not – if one did then they are heretical in doing so.

            The reason behind many staying ‘neutral’ is they do so with areas of controversy in worldy affairs. The world is not going crucifiy you upside down for saying that the Bible reveals a Triune God [not yet in the west anyhow!] but they will scodl you for saying homosexuality is sin.

            It is that which leads many to stay neutral in an age of comprimise and tolerance.

            We’d do well to be lovingly bold!

          • This is a response to matthew johnston’s post of April 19, 2010 at 8:30; I could not reply directly.

            Matthew, I do not stay silent duew to cultural pressure, and to assume so is quite presumptuous. I loudly proclaim my belief in what the world around me calls faith in a dead Jew who claimed to please a Sky Fairy by being executed. The Gospel is frankly ridiculousness as pointed out by Paul, but I stand up and proclaim it proudly. Do not assume I am bowing to cultural pressure.

            And frankly, I am confused on the issue of homosexuality. Frankly, there is a lot of question about the reading of the various passages regarding homosexuality in the New Testament. I am not saying that I believe homosexuality is either sinful or acceptable, I am simply saying that one should not open his mouth unless he is sure.

            Regarding the Trinity, Yes I believe that the Scriptures preach the Triune Nature of God. However, I do not hesitate in stating that I firmly believe Modalists to be Christians, merely confused. I used to be a Modalist, and I know that these men and women, though confused, truly believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

            Last I read in the Scriptures, Christ and the Apostles did not teach faith in the triune nature of God, or the correct stance on certain controversial topics. What Jesus and his followers taught was faith in the Crucified Lord God Jesus Christ for the Remission of Sins and his defeat of Death on the Third day.

            I have my beliefs about Doctrine, I have my beliefs about controversial political issues, and I have my beliefs about God.

            But I will NEVER put these doctrines above the One Gospel of Jesus Christ, and whoever proclaims this Gospel no matter how much I disagree about every other doctrine, will be treated as my brother or sister.

            The Gospel is not “By Grace through faith and not being a liberal” or “by grace through faith and being a heterosexual” or “by Grace through faith and being a trinitarian”.

            The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his glorious resurrection, by Grace through faith

          • Amen John……amen.

          • John, I’d advise you to do nothing else but to get really close to some faithful, orthodox gay and bisexual Christians and listen to them explain to you (you’ll likely get many differing explanations) their assessment of their sexuality and why they seek the Gospel in spite of an initial impulse to do otherwise.

  9. Christopher Lake says

    To the degree that the sinfulness of active, practiced homosexuality is supposedly “not mentioned” in the NT, might it not be because the issue is already addressed in a clear way in the OT?

    The original Christians were Jewish. Do we have any reason– any reason at all– given in the NT texts themselves, to believe that the original Christians would NOT have continued to hold to the OT’s teaching on the sinfulness of practiced homosexuality?

    I strongly empathize with Christians who struggle with homosexual inclinations. I am heterosexual and single, and for many reasons, it is coming to seem more and more likely that I will never be able to marry. What this means is a lifetime of battle with unfulfilled romantic and sexual desire– similar to the battle faced by the Christian who is homosexual. It is NOT easy. It IS very, very painful and frustrating. However, God still does not give me license to simply “fulfill my desires” in ways that are revealed to be sinful in His word. My struggle is not with justifying myself to people around me. It is in obeying God’s word as a single, 36-year-old, unemployed man with a physical disability who might never be in a position to marry.

    Now, I could tell myself that God’s word is (at least to some) not clear on what exactly constitutes a marriage, and that therefore, premarital sex is allowed. I could tell myself that God’s word doesn’t make it exactly clear that premarital sex *is* sinful– but I would be lying to myself. As with any sinner, I *do* lie to myself whenever I choose to engage in sin, but by God’s grace, I pray not to ever actually enter an *ongoing sexual relationship* in which I would be required to continually lie to myself in order to maintain said relationship.

    Two things sadden me about Jennifer Knapp’s current situation– 1. That many Christians are likely to suddenly see themselves as much “better” than her, due to her relationship choices, and 2. The fact that she does seem to convinced that what she is doing is actually approved by God. Is she lying to herself? From what I know of God’s word, the answer does not seem to be encouraging. I only pray, though, in desperate humility, that I will not give in to romantic and sexual temptation to make a similar choice, from the heterosexual end of things. God help me!

    On another subject covered in the above post, I strongly commend John Piper, as a brother in Christ, for having the integrity and caring for his family to make the decision he has made. He is a model for all married Christian men. In the last several months, my theology has moved pretty drastically from the Reformed Baptist views which Piper holds (and which I used to strongly hold), but I still think fondly of all that I have learned from him– including how I have been challenged by him to grow in so many ways as a Christian.

    • The context of the old testament law is not relevant for us. There are many wonderful things to be gained from the Old Testament, and I am the last person you’d hear to dismiss it. However, the letter of the Law of Israel is not applicable to those in the New Covenant. If we must condemn homosexuality by the words of the Old Testament, then there are also a myriad of other sins that are being ignored by the Church.

      I understand your frustration as a single Heterosexual, I too am a single heterosexual and quite a frustrated virgin. However, Paul is much clearer on the meaning of the marital relationship to sex, including encouraging marriage for those who are unable to control their lust. The discussions of homosexuality are much more vague, and much less detailed in description. I am not saying you are wrong about homosexuality. I am saying that I need to study the issue more before speaking authoritatively. We all must question our long held beliefs from time to time and that is what I am doing.

      However, the sinfulness or acceptability of homosexuality is irrelevant regarding the Gospel. All people are sinners with no exceptions. We all go before God broken, sinful and frankly rebels. No one on this site can say truthfully that they no longer sin.

      • The NT speaks much of homosexuality being a sin.

      • The Old Testament law, I think, is absolutely relevant to us; its geometry and borders are transformed by the coming of Jesus but gay, straight or etc., all Christians are following Jesus through the eye of a needle to get to the Kingdom of Heaven. We have to trust the entirety of God’s revelation for guidance if we’re to follow Him at all – no less than the Jewish Apostles relied on their traditions to follow Jesus (with God’s blessing) to their own crosses, the Christian doesn’t find the freedom of Pentecost until he’s exhausted the virtues of his own religious ideals.

        Gay or straight, if your life as a Christian is not a crucifixion and a glorious mystery, it isn’t Jesus and it isn’t really happening.

  10. However, the sinfulness or acceptability of homosexuality is irrelevant regarding the Gospel.

    I think this depends on what you mean by “acceptance”. Accepting the people as precious in the sight of GOD, made in HIS image, valuable and treasured in GOD”s eye’s……..great. But if you mean “accepted” as in “don’t even start to talk to me about my sexual orientation , that has NOTHING to do with my spiritual state…….” then I think you and I agree to disagree. The gospel takes people “just as I am” but does not leave them that way, that’s part of the gospel also. Again, the lie that is picking up steam in our culture, and in the church it seems. is that there is nothing about the homoxexual condition that needs salvation. I think the NT reaches otherwise.

    • No. It is irrelevant in the fact that all Christians are sinners.

      Their homosexuality is the same as my pride, my anger and my laziness. Yes we seek to become more and more like Christ, and one day we will be transformed into perfect reflections of our master. But Scripture is pretty clear that that is not going to happen in our lifetimes.

      Do you claim to be without sin?

      • acceptability of homosexuality is irrelevant regarding the Gospel. All people are sinners with no exceptions. We all go before God broken, sinful and frankly rebels. No one on this site can say truthfully that they no longer sin.

        nothing here that I disagree with at all, and as my wife (and many others) would quickly testify: GregR is one bodacious sinner. Maybe we are getting stuck on your use of the word acceptance and (apparently) Ms. Kanpp’s; It seems she does not see homosexuality (again, as a lifestyle, not just urges toward or temptation) as anything sinful. I cannot accpept that kind of “acceptance”. I don'[t think Jesus does either. He takes us where we are, and gradually, slowly, we are made into HIS image. That is where the gospel, the good news, goes “bump” with our pride, our sloth, our anger, our lousy sexual choices (of which homosexuality represents one brand).

        maybe we are talking past each other: is there anything in the above that does not represent Jesus ??

      • John,
        You said:

        “Their homosexuality is the same as my pride, my anger and my laziness”

        Isn’t the difference that homosexuals themselves wouldn’t make that connection? They would say that pride and anger are sins but homosexual behavior is not—nothing to apologize for, nothing to be “transformed”.

        I appreciate your points that we’re all sinful and I agree that the church could more credibly speak on this issue if we cleaned up our act on all the non-homosexuality-related sins. Why should we single that one out and sweep the others under the rug? But just like sinful parents shouldn’t just abandon any attempt to teach their kids right from wrong, I don’t think we should abandon our efforts to speak the truth, so long as we’re sincerely doing our best at the same time.

        This gets so divisive for Christians and I hate having to talk about it!
        Peace.

        • JeffB; very similar to what I said and let me emphasize, SOME homosexuals DO make the connection, repent of their sin, find healing , and glorify GOD with either celibacy (I think that was Henri Nouwen’s path, if I remember correctly) or a heterosexual relationship; I know this is very UN-PC to state it this way, but our culture doesn’t make the rules……the Ruler does.

          • thanks Greg; I wasn’t trying to imply that some don’t act in the way you described and I’m thankful for those who do so successfully

        • I understand your logic. Yes there does appear to be a difference on the surface between someone who fights their sin yet fails, and those who do not appear to fight it at all.

          However, is it possible they are simply wrong? That these people simply do not see their sin perfectly?

          I am quite sure that there is sin in my life that I simply do not see. Just because we are Christians does not mean that we suddenly have perfect eyes like God does. It is very easy to subconsciously justify sin without addressing it. Frankly I feel it is a much more common experience amongst all people, believer and non believer, than we like to think.

          Yes, if we feel something is wrong we should say so. However, there is a huge line between attempting to lovingly teach a brother or sister, and accusing that person of not having saving faith.

          Is it not possible that these homosexual Christians, are simply wrong, rather than being intentionally rebellious against God?

          How many times has someone more conservative or fundamentalist commented to you that something you consider harmless is a sin? I know many Christians who think less of me because i enjoy The Simpsons. I usually politely ignore them because I think they are being legalistic and not viewing sin properly.

          Isn’t it possible that these people are doing the same, and simply mistaken? Isn’t it possible that these people TRULY do not see the sin in what they are doing and think that we are wellmeaning but legalistic? Isn’t it possible that they have this blind spot in their life, may ALWAYS have this blindspot due to their sinful nature, yet still seek Christ to mend them of the sins they do recognize?

          None of us are perfect, there are times when we all cry sin where there is none, and ignore sin when it is present. Christians must see the fact that they are indeed sinners, but I don’t believe any person is truly capable of understanding the entirety of their sin nature.

          Christ is capable of forgiving all sin for those who believe in him, even the sin of justifying sin.

          • I’m with you on the Simpsons!

            As to your questions:
            “However, is it possible they are simply wrong? That these people simply do not see their sin perfectly?”

            In my opinion, this is why we have revealed truth about right and wrong so that what truly is right or wrong doesn’t just depend on whether this or that person feels that way. Although some might argue with me for making this distinction, I think possibly we could separate the idea of “is homosexual behavior wrong” from “can someone be a homosexual and be a Christian.” To me personally, I think that revealed truth answers the first question with a clear yes, but the second question is where whatever answer one gives, how to actually deal practically with the situation is difficult. If the answer to question one is yes, then the church should deal with consistent, unrepentant, sinful behavior of that kind the same way that it should (in principle if the church were consistent!!) deal with any other kind of consistent, unrepentant sinful behavior. This is true whether the person “feels” they are sinning or not—it’s up to the church to help that person see their sin by presenting the truth and should they choose to reject it, to help the church remain pure by removing that person from the church’s gifts of grace. I say this as a matter of theology, but I personally tend to try my best to be compassionate here.

            Keep watching the skis…skies.
            Peace

          • Jeff, I’m not arguing for a feelings based faith. I am stating that it is possible to be wrong about things.

            Of course, if we believe that Lying, theft, homosexuality etc. are sinful, we should say so. However, as i tried to point out, there is a difference between saying “brother, sister you are in error” and “you do not have saving faith”.

            God deals with is as individuals. Sin is sin, and I stand by that, however to say that one who professes the Gospel is not our brother because he is a sinner, is in my opinion putting ourselves in the place of God.

            Justifying sin is of course sin. But i see nowhere in Scripture where it is any better or any worse than my sin.

            We either believe that we are saved by Grace through faith, or we don’t.

            Repentance is a work. It is a good and beautiful work and glorifying to our master, but it is a work nonetheless, and one that is never complete in this life.

          • Christ is capable of forgiving all sin for those who believe in him, even the sin of justifying sin.

            simple question then: how do YOU apply ” those who are homosexuals will not inherent the Kingdom of God….” not saying this contradicts what you said, but what do you do with this, and where does it fit in our discussion ???

          • Greg it appears that you and I are closer together on the concept of sin than I first thought.

            My frustration is with a seeming attitude of “grace through faith… BUT” that pervades modern Christianity. I agree with you that sin leads to sin, and I’ve seen it in my own life.

            My contention with a great deal of modern Christians though, is that it seems that our idea of the Gospel, contrary to many protestants’ lip service to the reformation, is becoming more and more conditional. As I understand the Gospel (admittedly I am not God) we are saved through our faith in the Atoning Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary and his subsequent resurrection from the dead, not our ability to cease sinning.

            If we were capable of ceasing to sin, we would not need Salvation. It is my contention that we should err not on the side of law, but on the side of Grace. I have my opinions about certain sins, and I actually can be quite loud about them, but I decided long ago that if someone proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to treat them as my brother or sister, Period.

            I may give advice to my sibling, pray for my sibling, and tell them that they are in a sinful state and grieving God in their sin, but to state that they are no longer in Christ is in my opinion borderline Blasphemous, as it places us in the throne of God.

            By the way a dear family friend of ours is homosexual, and one of my close personal friends is a transsexual. One is a lapsed catholic, and the other an agnostic. I understand how emotion can alter these things, and I try not to let it, but I am after all only a sinful human.

          • “If we were capable of ceasing to sin, we would not need Salvation.”

            Every Ash Wednesday, you can hear a priest tell you to your face, just before he writes on it:

            “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.” Which, of course, is a word FROM a Gospel – Mark 1:15.

            He traces a cross in ashes on your forehead because it’s what our great-grandfathers in the faith used to do when sin and grief and despair had completely destroyed them. We are made to appear somewhat as they did; wrung out of any hope of salvation through our own failed, despised righteousness, we’re given permission to break down and repent, and believe in the Gospel that saves the broken while they are still broken and shuns the proud and everything they boast of.

            The other word we Catholics may be given is from Genesis, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Those are words of MERCY for someone whose faith and failure have taken them to the edge of their sanity, like Jeremiah was.

            We can be perfected upon, as our heavenly father is perfect and all His acts are perfect, because HE judges our rightness, not us. HE send us grace and takes our guilt away, if we’ll submit and let Him.

        • “Isn’t the difference that homosexuals themselves wouldn’t make that connection?”

          I think for faithful non-hetero Christians, the answer has to be “yes, and…” – as in, “yes, same-sex attraction and enflamed pride are two sins I struggle with, and in conquering both I magnify the Lord”.

          • To John: thanks for your thoughtful and prompt response. I can see that we agree much more than we differ, and to recap

            My sin (your sin, your momma’s sin) is NOT categorically different than anyone else’s sin; it’s worth repeating though that one of sin’s calling cards and after effects is increasing levels of self-delusion; this does not mean more affront to a HOLY God, it just means we dig our hole deeper and deeper and make it harder for us to get on that process of repentance you mentioned.

            No where have I even hinted that J Knapp is not a sister in the LORD. God only knows, but I would tend to think she well could be, given her words in the past, and the big life changes she went thru in college. BUT, I think there is a place, for those who know her best, and anyone who has a christian history with her, to APPEAL with her in ever increasing urgency, not to through that faith under the but so that she “Can be who I really am….. [NOT……is what I’d add to that lie]” I don’t decide who God let’s into HIS heaven, but the elephant walking thru the room (not for some on this blog, I well understand) is that this just isn’t nearly as grey as many want it to be….neither is fornication and adultery……….oh, well,……..sucks to live with the Fall and alll that…….

            At what point would someone who knew her well help her by challenging her CLAIM to a living faith ?? And: is she even listening to ANY kind of appeal to put this lifestyle (behaviour and actions, not just urges) behind her…….similar request that we would put before someone who
            1)had a live in boyfriend or girlfiriend AND
            2)had absoluitely NO intention of heading toward marriage

            Again, the gospel speaks accceptance of HER in the situation, but our GOD is jealous and sovereign, and HE said (not me) that opposite sex sex is no go……not the way you or I would have written it…..but we didn’t write it……we just teach it (with compassion and patience and truth)

            I’ll repeat: what she is doing is, IMO, beyond justifying sin, to her there is no sin to be seen……the problem is 100% the OTHER GUY (judgmental christians who hold to homosexuality is wrong/sin). there is no healing for her as long as she takes this path, and the longer she lives this way, the less likely she ever gets out (the heart is always headed in a direction, for good or for ill)

            thanks for the back and forth
            I’ve had (and still have) MANY gay friends, some of whom I work with 40 hrs a week, this is NOT just a theological talk to me.

            Greg R

          • add to my comment to John:

            that should be “throw her faith under the bus…….”: under the ‘but” is…..welll……..just wrong 🙂

          • to John: thanks for the post, and yes , I think we agree maybe ninety percent or better…. I sure like the idea of erring to the side of grace, but grace also comes in funny packages, and someone who USED to know right from wrong in a specific sin, and then starts wandering away from it needs some kind of wake up call. It’s not up to me to figure out what kind of wake up call, God is very creative, but you catch my drift: I think it was Lewis who said “He threatens terrible things if we will not be happy…” and the happiness referred to was NOT traipsing around Europe with your same sex lover. To state the obvious also, the ev. church has been a one note johnny on the homosexual sin thing, and I’m the first to say “let’s not make this a you’re so much worse-er than the straights kind of thing” they are NOT, but….sin is sin and there it is in the BOOK of life……we have to deal with it, GOD knows the best way to live.

            my challenges to those like J. Knapp are urgent NOT because I think she’s not a sister in the LORD but I think she IS and she is SO missing out by choosing the path she is on (and I’m hoping at some level she realizes, or suspects, that) AT least I hope so. I don’t at all see those kind of challenges as conflicting with a salvation that is 100% grace, read Hebrews even quickly and you’ll see what I mean.

            glad to have you here at Imonk-dom
            Greg R

  11. Nothing grand to add to any of this.

    Just really glad that Jennifer Knapp made that 1st cd (my favorite) & glad that she’s come out.

    • So your just like those in Romans 1 right?

      After explaining in just a few verses before that homosexuality is a shameful lust and unnatural Paul then writes……….;

      “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” – Romans 1:32

  12. Matthew Johnston says:
    April 19, 2010 at 6:44 pm
    EricW – do you believe that homosexuality is sin?

    Just answer the question.

    I believe that “homosexuality” is a noun.

    A noun that may or may not map semantically for others the way it maps for you. An English noun that may not have an exact equivalent in the Greek NT for its various meanings in English, though there are some words in the Greek NT that have been translated by the English word “homosexual” (question: Is the exact word “homosexuality” used in any English Bibles?).

    The same can be said for “sin” – i.e., it, too, is a noun that not only has a wide semantic range but translates several different Greek words in the New Testament, which may not necessarily be equivalent to each other except at times in certain contexts.

    No, I’m not sidestepping your question. Just not sure exactly what your question is, for the reason I stated – i.e., it depends upon what the meaning of “homosexuality” is, as well as upon what the meaning of “sin” is.

    • Hi Eric,

      Thanks for your reply.

      Your prolonged side stepping continues on though.

    • Eric, you’ll need to learn Greek and Hebrew and make your own judgment call on that one, but I, for one, think that Christians have spent the last 2000 years trying to divine truths about sin rather than obfuscations, and I think that our traditional reading of the text on homosexuality (which all orthodox Christians everywhere today admit) is defined by the original reading of the text, and given that Christianity is the most prevalent intercultural religious force in history, that our faith has indelibly written its anthropology on the palimpsest of cultures in ever-increasing elaborations since Jesus commissioned its publication.

      I think if Jesus would have thought homosexuality was licit, he would have abrogated the law Himself. Why not? He’s God, after all, right?

  13. If I answer “yes” to Matthew’s question, what does that say or mean?

    Okay: “Yes, I believe that homosexuality is a sin.”

    So? What does that tell you? Without knowing what Matthew means by the terms, or what he thinks a “Yes” answer means or implies, or what he thinks a “No” answer means or implies, or what it means for homosexuality to be a sin, how is my answering his question with either a “Yes” or a “No” doing any good or doing anything?

    As far as Hebrew and Greek are concerned, I think I can handle them well enough, or at least the Greek – and we’re probably more discussing the NT (e.g., Paul’s writings) than the OT – for you or Matthew to reframe or clarify the question with respect to the original text(s) you have in mind, versus an English translation.

    However, I think we’ve gone far afield of the original intent of this post, which was more a posting of some interesting news items than an extended discussion of homosexuality and Christianity. Mea culpa for any of it which was my doing.

    I’d rather discuss the use of psychedelics to experience God. I think I’ll go pop in my DVD of Altered States. 🙂

    • I wouldn’t waste the energy trying to dispose new meanings out of ancient Greek synonyms, because I think it’s the convergence of intentions behind the words that constitutes their Inspiration, not so much the fact of particular word choices on a few parchment scraps in a few dead languages. After all, as Christians we’re inheriting the meaning of the words and the life they call us to, not the words themselves. Successive generations of Christians have treasured sin and redemption, and so we have them.

      A Pearl of Great Price, or what have you.

      The concept of ‘sin’ that we have today (and that they had then) compasses all the synonyms the Biblical writers may have wielded in Greek or Hebrew, and just like modern English contains a lot of words and phrases that approximate a functional equivalency in the vernacular, I think we’re good to assume the same was true of Biblical Greek writers. They weren’t manicuring terms and writing philosophy, they were trying to actually teach us something.

      So we can trust that, just as we, through our education in culture and experience, can maintain a definition of what homosexuality is, what ‘is’ is, et. al., that we can be educated by Scripture and experience to understand what ‘sin’ is.

      But generally, in my opinion we shouldn’t be looking to reinvent the wheel when it comes to what is or isn’t sinful, because God wants our obedience, not our opinion.

      And a sin, as any 4 year old will tell you, is “something bad, and you’re not supposed to do it”. So lets not do it.

      • Sidesteppin’ again, eh?

        This is pretty funny!

        • What am I avoiding?

          I read your link, and somebody there argued that homosexuality and lesbianism might not be coequal because while there are verses talking about how awful it is in God’s eyes for men to lay together, women having sex doesn’t seem to come up much.

          Does that really seem reasonable and parsimonious to you?

          Is the idea of a discreet little tableaux of open Jewish lesbian sexcapades playing out comfortably in the background of say, the Babylonian Captivity consistent with… ANY sensible reading of the Bible?

          Why is that idea attractive to people these days?

          I can come up with a few reasons, but none of them are academic..

          Where, even in the New Testament, is morality or culpability ever gender-coded?

      • nice post(s)…….your words remind me my favorite Mark Twain-ism: “It’s not the parts of scripture that I don’t understand that scare me…..it’s the parts I do……” not bad for a Missouri pagan….

  14. Matthew Johnston says:
    April 19, 2010 at 6:44 pm
    EricW – do you believe that homosexuality is sin?

    Just answer the question.

    – – –

    Matthew Johnston says:
    April 20, 2010 at 6:45 pm
    The NT speaks much of homosexuality being a sin.

    Interesting blogpost and comments on this subject (mostly OT, though), including showing why it’s important to deal with the original languages when discussing what the Bible does and does not say:

    http://goddidntsaythat.com/2010/03/17/who-says-homosexuality-is-a-sin/

    • great to know the original languages, but Id say better to know the mind and heart of God as revealed in Jesus; I have absollutely no confidence, based on his resume, that Hoffman can do that for me, so……

      I’ll pass
      sabbath rest to all who believe and obey the SON
      Greg R