To the dear ones in my former homosexuality and the church discussion group:
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It is with sadness I resign from this group. My time is not my own these days and I find it impossible to keep up at this point. To those who agree that this step must not be taken, please stand firm ... fight the good fight ... run the good race, etc. Please know that each morning as I meet with my (indeed "The") Boss I will be praying for all of you and those who have lead you to these errant conclusions. It would seem that no matter which part of scripture I choose to read each morning, it only serves to reinforce from every conceivable angle that the church must not take this step. This group has served to strengthen my resolve to serve and my determination to fight this cancer within the body. I have tried reading familiar passages in all the translations available to me with the purposeful intent of proving this new idea appropriate. It is not. And if I lay reason and my own personal experiences next to scriptures -- as you yourselves have put forth as the standard, it is impossible to even make it OK let alone bless it!
You have been given choice and taken license
You have faced discernment and called it judgment
You have already achieved compromise and mistaken it for permission
You have met with patience and considered it approval
You have mistaken discipline for prejudic
You have considered self-discipline a form of legalism
You have indulged in all kinds of gluttony and renamed it grace
You have mistaken lust for God's Love (there is no two ways about this and it's the worst abomination of all!)
You have mistaken feelings for fact and innuendo for truth
You have blackened the eye of Christ all over again with your "I can't help it" hopelessness
We, as a church body have taken our lessons from the secular humanistic community instead of God's word. We have gotten caught up in the numbers and dollars games to measure our success. We have tried to be everything to everybody (standing for nothing) instead of spreading the good news of hope and gathering together believers old and new who would spur one another on toward love and good deeds. We've stopped running the good race and gotten bogged down contemplating our own shoelaces and sucking our thumbs while the public schools usurp our place in community. And since God also said "And if anyone causes one of the little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck" we therefore, historically, have more often believed it was better to err on the side of caution than not ... until now.
There are ways that seem right to mankind but only lead to death. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in EVERYTHING you do and He will show you the right way. Watch out for false prophets and teachers. They come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruits you will recognize them. If you continue in God's word you will become Christ's disciple THEN you will know the Truth and that Truth will set you free (from your bondage of sin ... and enable you to become the bondservant of Jesus the Christ) For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
I urge you, brothers and sisters in Christ, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. (And whoa to those of us who have already not taught the present-day young what is indeed right in God's eyes and what is not!) Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. And then He tells us to "go and sin no more!" If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His work has no place in our lives.
I haven't heard one word in this discussion about the Holy Spirit! I find it oddly interesting that the more education one partakes of, the less one considers the spiritual part of the faith important and becomes more intent on the business part of things. We profess to believe in the Holy Spirit ... but not in ghosts of course, and no matter how real evil is in this world speaking of the devil personified is totally archaic and backwoods superstition. I have also not heard word one about "consider the cost before you start to build." If you keep insisting that God created you this way you do two things. 1) You redefine God as the same old type of trickster and "human anguisher" that the Greek and Roman gods were. (And, by the way, the same definition of god that is in the Koran) Just playing with men and enjoying their misery because they were bored and had nothing better to do. I've been told that was one of the reasons that Judaism was such a radical faith. They professed that their God was a God of Love. Not mean and vicious and pranksterish. And 2) you sling “hopelessness” in the face of every believer on the planet despite the fact that Hope is one of the very cornerstones of Christianity! I suppose, if you REALLY want to believe that you truly have no choice but to be a homosexual person, that this is the cross you just have to bear. If it were any other handicap or shortcoming you'd figure out how to live with it, around it, and/or through it. Suppose that you are missing the opportunity to "suffer for the faith" and become a martyr as Paul and so many other named and nameless did. Are you willing to give up everything for Christ ...... except your sexuality??? In THIS grand and glorious country what other meaningful sacrifice would there presently be? Don't TELL me it's a broken and CONTRITE heart! It is not against the law to be a Christian (yet). We don't live any differently than the rest of the nation so what IS there to draw non-believers to faith. Honesty? Loyalty? Good works? Standards? Consider the parts of Acts that report people flocking to "the new way" by the hundreds!
Being a Christian is a total and complete way of life so let me make this suggestion: Close your concordance, your Greek and Hebrew dictionary, your lexicon, your catechism, the lectionary and all the other reference books for just one day (24 hours) no TV and no radio, DVD etc. BE ALONE AND IN SILENCE. Retreat into your personal relationship with .... hello? Is anybody there? Also close your eyes right now. Slide forward on your chair and place your knees on the floor. And now comes the really tough part. Bend your neck forward and bow your head, your heart and your mind, your sole and your spirit to Christ your King. This is not the church now, this is YOU. Since you are our spiritual leaders - that's what we PAY you to be anyway, you should be spending more time in scripture, prayer and service than the rest of us anyway. (To show us how ... lead the way!) Yes, I know you need training for counseling and leadership etc but not to the exclusion of the principles and precepts of Christianity taught in scripture. How many of you, if I asked you to put your faith in one sentence could do it? (Is the pain starting in your knees yet? Funny how when you're not used to being there either spiritually or physically that discoimfort begins pretty quickly ... and your next thought will be "I can't DO this any longer". There's that big old capitol "I" again)
There are very few but there ARE several references to how one treats a believer differently than a non-believer and believe it or not I found a couple that help us to determine WHO is a believer and who is not. There are also a couple of references to how so many of us will be fooled in the last days and that some believers are – indeed will be - more spiritually mature than others and what we might do about that. And that some of us just plain won't make it. How can you possibly teach others when you are still quibbling over the basics? Your jobs, by the way, is to work yourselves OUT of jobs so to speak. That is to teach the basics – and then to teach us how to feed ourselves. Whoever wrote Hebrews lays out a pretty good case for evaluating our spiritual growth by the choices we make. How about 1) Teaching others rather than just being taught. 2) Developing depth of understanding rather than struggling with the basics. 3) Self-evaluation rather than self-criticism. 4) Seeking unity rather than disunity. 5) Desiring spiritual challenges rather than desiring entertainment. 6) Careful study and observation rather than opinions and half-hearted efforts. 7) Active faith rather than cautious apathy and doubt. 7) Feelings and experiences evaluated in the light of God's Word rather than experiences evaluated according to feelings!
So my suggestion is to follow Luther's example. If you're so sure about this, get out of here and set up your own church just as those did who think we should worship on Saturday instead of Sunday, and those who believe we should have communion every Sunday instead of once a year or once in a lifetime and whether you should serve grape juice or wine, bread or fish food (wafers!) We've lost track of just why there ARE different denominations and your brand of unity would put us all back in the Catholic camp selling indulgences and all. Like cells growing and dividing, the Catholic Church did not die when those who disagreed "came out" and the Lutheran church will not collapse when you leave. The last time I checked people join churches for different reasons at different stages in their lives. But the most common one is community. And if you can find one that agrees with what you (already) believe so much the better. This is a far cry from the origins of "church." I always got a kick out of watching my kids "discover" that other moms at church had the same standards and convictions that I did (not so with the public schools even back then!) So all of you who truly believe this is the right way band together and begin a new denomination. There ARE those who believe that I am not saved because I do not speak in tongues ..... which is why I do not choose to attend that church!
OK, I'm done now. Thanks to those of you who stuck with me through all this. I guess I got a little scared when I read Leviticus 18:24-30. This issue WILL cost us this country so as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord and follow His lead NOT because we must or are under obligation but because we CHOOSE to. He created us and knows what's best for us. He is the potter ... we are merely clay. As a parent you train up a child. Then you live by faith that after the teenage meltdown they will return to the right way. You HAVE to choose ... He won't MAKE you do it. You can reason all you want but it won't change any of the facts. I've watched this problem ruin too many lives and families to consider it a valid "alternative".