Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Here's a Solution

Oy Vay. 

My last post about thought reform and conditioning (not about homosexuality) created still more discussion about homosexuality and sin, just like the post that preceded it (which also wasn't about homosexuality). It's almost as if the people getting all up in arms about sin and homosexuality don't realize that they're serving as the proof of the merit of what I was writing.

I sometimes wonder if I'm writing in a foreign language, and if not, if some people can see through their threatened, angry emotions to actually read what's been written. In my last post, I even said the following in reference to the post prior...

"And, once again, I didn't even write about homosexuality, by default taking no position on it! Although it always happens to varying degrees, that post was a masterclass of an example of people reading in to what I wrote rather than reading it. What a shame."

...and, there you have here it again - for the post prior, just like last time.

So for those whose hearts are literally breaking over the GLBT community, believing they've punched a one-way ticket to hellfire and brimstone, having made a deliberate choice to live a sinful, depraved lifestyle...I have a solution for ya.

Pray for them. It's that simple.

I don't mean this...

"Dear God, please show the gays the truth of the sin of homosexuality."

That would seem to me to be a selfish prayer, prayed by someone who doesn't genuinely care about the person they're praying for, the truth, or even really God. The person who would pray such a prayer would seem to me to only care about the comfort and security of their own paradigm.

Try something like this...

"Dear God, please show them the truth, Your truth."

If your heart/motive is genuine in your prayer, that should be more than enough.

While you're at it, ask the same for yourself. I always do. 


  1. I would recommend to everyone Andrew Marin's book Love is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community. Also check out his website:


  2. I know what mean, Lewis. Sometimes, it really is like talking to a brick wall. It makes you wonder just how many words in the English language you need to use before they finally get the point.

    I honestly think they just feel like they need a platform to spew their hate and they'll take any opportunity.

  3. I grew up in a family where homosexuality was spoken of as sin, and with disgust and horror. Then I went to college and met actual gay people. They're normal people with normal lives and normal relationships - it just so happens that the people they fall in love with are the same gender as they are. Period and full stop. Can we stop freaking out now? Isn't Christianity supposed to be about loving people, and absolutely NOT about judging people?

  4. The Conservative Evangelicals are the WORST at changing their minds. They have their pat answers and biblical arguments and will NEVER stray or be convinced of anything that that doesn't match whatever dogma they are clutching.

    My upbringing in a Quiverfull family was awful - like I cannot even believe the condition we lived in and what my parents forced on us and what we children never questioned, especially as we older kids reached adulthood.

    But nothing would ever have convinced me that the way my family was living was ungodly and ultimately very damaging. I could defend homeschooling, not using birth control, homebirth, courtship, etc, to a fault to any questioning outsider, and I never realized these weren't my own beliefs in the least.

    When I try to express the inherent evil in the Quiverfull system to young couples heading in that directions, tell them about my stepfather who abused his authority and the consequential divorce of my parents, they hug me and tell me sweetly and, oh, so patronizingly, that I wasn't raised in a TRUE Christian home and that they'll pray for me.

    It's the same with conservative Christians in general, not just with extreme families. They don't listen. They stand by their dogmas to the death. Like you said, Erika, talking to a brick wall. They will never believe that being gay isn't a choice. They will never believe that's it's wicked to vote for someone who doesn't want to ban abortion. That's it!

  5. Here's a question:

    In the scheme of things, does it really matter if being gay is a choice or not? After all, for the types that hate it, isn't becoming a Christian a choice? So, why is one good and the other bad?

    I think the correct answer to the whole "being gay is a choice" argument should be an eye roll and a shoulder shrug.

    Seriously, if my wife ended up being bisexual, I would celebrate it. Why? Because I love her for who she is INCLUDING those changes in her life.

    She married me as a conservative, patriarchal, Christian whack job. I changed. I changed because I chose to and I am better for it.

    I might have just shot my argument in the foot, being that one could simply say, "becoming a Christian is a good choice, but becoming gay is a bad choice." That still requires the eye roll and shoulder shrug.

    Who cares!

    Hold the phone while I call my good friend from college and invite him over for Christmas. Oh yeah...he's gay. And I love him to death. He is one of my biggest fans, and I his.

    Ramble = over.

  6. The banning abortion stance is a sham. If they really wanted it, it would have been done already. Politicians need that carrot out there to get votes. Remove it and they would have to stand up for really sticky issues where there might not be an accepted spectrum.

  7. I saw this over at Confessions of a Former Conservative too. Fundamentalists and mainstream Christians just speak different languages. I was raised on the Creeds and Catechisms, repentance and grace, and on reading the entire Bible in a two-year cycle in plain English without somebody yelling in my ear about what I was supposed to think it meant. I was raised on metaphors, parables, paradox, and mystery. Trying to engage with people who were raised on checklists, decrees, punishment, and hunting for the sin in the camp is nearly impossible. Kudos to you and to FC for trying.

    Jenny Islander

  8. Lewis, I think part of the problem is that Christians (and I include myself in this) are sometimes afraid that "re-thinking" an issue means "allowing the Devil to tempt you to believe a lie."

    I truly believe that this fear of being "led astray" or "down a slippery slope" is so great that even level-headed people can become afraid to truly THINK--because that boogeyman of being "led astray" has always been presented as the ultimate evil that a Christian can capitulate to. Even Christians who aren't part of crazy fundamentalism live with this fear on a regular basis.

    Now here's the catch: Satan DOES try to lead us astray, and he often WILL tempt us toward wrong thinking one step at a time.

    Ergo, may I suggest that what many Christians struggle with is HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE between a new thought that is a truth breaking in, and a new thought that is a nicely-packaged lie. Obviously, this is a big problem, because it seems that discernment has largely walked out the door when the church as a whole is constantly engaged in this kind of paranoid struggle.

    I don't know exactly what point I'm trying to make here. Maybe I'm just trying to figure out why it took ME so long to become someone who would think outside the box.

    In any case, it's not about agreeing with every new thought or challenge that comes along; it's about discerning God's will for this world on an issue-by-issue basis, even a case-by-case basis if need be.

  9. @Anon 11:31...

    "Lewis, I think part of the problem is that Christians (and I include myself in this) are sometimes afraid that "re-thinking" an issue means "allowing the Devil to tempt you to believe a lie.""

    True. That's something I've struggled with a lot in my own journey.

    One thing that's helped me (and what I've tried to do within these posts) - Rather than think directly about the issue (in this case, homosexuality) and its merit as a first course, I try to think about the people involved as a first course. Sometimes I fail, sometimes I succeed, but its always the goal.

    I think the Christian community, when considering gay people, focuses too much on the "gay" and too little on the "people".

  10. And the irony is...in the passages used to demonize homosexuality, there's a plethora of other "sins" listed which cut a pretty big path through most of us straight people. For instance, if people consider it impossible for someone to be gay and be a Christian, they'd also have to consider it impossible for my former future in-laws, and even my ex, to be Christians.

    I'll go even further and say those lists would make it impossible for just about ANY of us to be Christian.

  11. To Rebecca,

    I know, right? It drives me crazy. I am completely embarrassed to know that I DID that! I knew all the talking points and when people told me that the doctrine/dogma didn't hold water, I ALSO said that they must not have been doing it right.

    Aaaargh. I am so disgusted at times with who I used to be. And I didn't take it as far as many. Thank God because the damage I did was damage enough. In fact, it was too much.

    I am still uncovering the depths of the damage I did to my little girl's heart by trying to turn her into a "good Christian". And like I wrote before, I was (only compared to other Christian home schoolers, not compared to any other standard) grace-based in my parenting. I didn't insist my daughter grow up to be a SAHM, or wear ugly clothes or completely eschew television, etc.

    But whoopdefrickingdoo. I hurt her heart just as much by expecting (demanding) that she be a good Christian girl. All good Christians are cheerful, compassionate, friendly, teary-eyed during mission films, etc. I definitely had an expectation of what a godly person would feel, want, and do. All my parenting was focused on producing a person who felt, wanted, and did the "right" things.

    Well, ***k you, everyone involved in the Christian parenting business industry! You screwed me and my family over, and got filthy rich doing it.

    I so regret every Focus on the Family broadcast, every Bible study I attended, all the money and time I spent trying to be the best mom I could be to my children so they could be the best Christian person I could achieve in them. That was my goal, because it was the goal to which I was told to aspire.

    Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    All I needed was to love unconditionally, accept unconditionally, and avoid books/articles/lecture that told me how I *should* be and how my children *should* be. If I had asked twice as many questions as precepts and verses I taught, then I wouldn't have damaged my daughter's heart nearly so bad, and I could have been the parent SHE needed me to be.

    Anyway, I've gone on enough. Looks like I need to write my own post today. =D

  12. I think we pick out what we think are the worst sins and hammer away at those, all the while ignoring the sins of anger, greed, self serving, judging, unkindness, partiality and unbelief in our own lives. There is no sliding scale of sins - 10 being worst and 1 being the best. We forget the gospel along with why Christ came in the first place.

    Why is it that a divorced person is shunned and excluded from being able to participate in every thing from teaching sunday school to singing in the choir, yet a convicted murderer is welcomed with open arms and encouraged to be part of the church and all of its activities?

    It is time we start learning who Jesus really is and start living the way He taught us to live. And a good place to start is to examine ourselves by first repenting of and confessing our own sin and to truly become involved with those around us. To many times we look at everyone else without ever looking inward to who we really are and what is in our own hearts.

    That is my 2 cents worth on why we focus on homosexuality, aborton and divorce making them the mega sins all the while priding ourselves on not being like those other sinners who do those things. I am speaking in general generic terms not neccessarily stating my own views on homosexuality, aborton and divorce.

  13. Shadowspring, it's strange to feel the same helpless disgust for both the conservative Christians in your present life and for the person you once were, all of whom subsribed rigidly to random unreasonable dogmas, isn't it? To all the legalistic Christian families in my life concerned about my spiritual state, I want to demand, Why do you think I would return to a lifestyle that ultimately almost cost me my faith? I think it's ironic in a sad way that these parents are so set on turning out perfect Christians and yet so many of their children lose their Christian faith because of the example of their parents.

    It sounds like you were a very "worldly" Christian parent as opposed to mine - I'm so happy you got out before it was too late, and I know you're daughter will be forever grateful. It's funny, I'm very close to my mother - I'm living with her and my younger sister since the divorce - but she never mentions those ten years of my life. I can never imagine doing to my child what she did to me and the rest of us, but she has never expressed regret. True, my stepfather was responsible for much of our pain, but he has proved himeself to be quite mentally unstable, and my mother has a good head on her shoulders.

  14. Rebecca,

    Oh yes, very worldly by the standards of a lot of other families. And yet still self-righteous enough to have my own list of people not good enough to hang out with us. I cringe to think of some of the people I snubbed and how much they could've used a friend.

    I'm sorry your mother has never apologized. My daughter thinks I am more self-aware than the average person. Is it possible it just has not occurred to your mother that she also brought harm to your life? You can direct her to my blog if you think it would help in any way.

    Peace and good will, SS

  15. Shadowspring - I'm not exactly sure how my mother feels about her role during those Quiverfull years. It’s something I try not to dwell on too much because I know I can easily grow bitter about the stifling my brothers and sisters and I went through at her hands. Facets of my personality, the things that made me ME, were criticized because they didn’t fit the mold. The main problem with me was my secret desire to go to college, a hunger I couldn’t rid myself of, even though I prayed that God would take it away. I had a burning desire for learning that I couldn’t rid myself of. Most of my formal schooling ended when I was 16 since that was all I needed to be a wife and mother, but I would bring home books from the library about teaching myself Spanish and trigonometry. Most parents would have been pleased with my need for academic stimulation, but my parents viewed it with suspicion. I remember when I was 21 and I finally went to a rigorously academic school on scholarships, someone told me what a good job my mother must have done homeschooling me, and I wanted to laugh and say that I went to college in SPITE of my parents, not because of them.

    I know that I need to tell Mama how I feel about that time. But she is going through so much stress right now, and I am literally her only source of moral support down here, and I would feel so guilty about confronting her right now. I used think that she never brought up the past because she felt bad about it, but she recently told me that she had the best intentions, as if that justified what she did, and she said if we kids really suffered that much, we would just leave when we were adults. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing - we were never allowed to BECOME adults - we weren’t allowed to watch movies past PG and Mama always had to censor the library books we brought home - until I was 21! I was so outraged...

  16. ((((Rebecca)))

    I am so impressed by your tenderness and kindness to your mother. I greatly admire your tenacity and determination to get the education your heart craved. I take my hat off to you and humbly bow.

    If only the religious crap didn't get mixed in to home schooling, you WOULD have had an excellent experience at home. I don't see any way around this truth at our house and in my long time observations.

    The forces focusing on *education* in the home school movement would have been applauding and encouraging you in your "unschooling", a fancy term for "self-education". John Holt, for example, promoted home schooling parents as facilitators of learning and home schooling as allowing for EXPANDED opportunities and resources for your personal learning. "The world is your classroom" is the sort of statement that pro-education home schooled champions would repeat.


    But the morals police, the Christian parenting business empire that latched on to the home schooling movement like a passel of big fat grey blood-bloated ticks on a hound dog, ruined the education experience for you and SO MANY OTHER students. These people made bank of your mother's insecurities and off of your vulnerabilities as a child. Your mother (and so many other vulnerable parents) didn't choose to home school you for the expanded opportunities. She did so because she was sold the idea that if she followed the directions of the Christian home school business empire, you would turn out perfect.

    That's the product they sold us: happy, well-adjusted adults who oozed moral perfection. They promised us you'd be full of joy. They promised us you would never suffer the heartaches we did, that life for you would be one grand venture "from glory to glory."

    It was and continues to be a scam, but enough of the students play the part they are assigned to keep the scam going. Also, the people who can't pull it off, those who are not cruel and demanding enough to force their students into the mold along with those children unwilling/unable to fit the mold- people like ME and MINE- get ostracized. We get pushed aside and excluded pretty much as soon as the sh** hits the fan, because we don't support the sales pitch.

    People who are still buying into the sales pitch DON'T WANT TO HEAR that they have invested hundreds of dollars and years of their life into a scam. They refuse to listen because IT CAN'T BE TRUE. It's just too awful to consider, so they push aside the people experiencing the fall-out (divorce, drugs, cutting, illiteracy, teen pregnancies, etc) and blame them for not following the paradigm closely enough. The one's who experience failure didn't do "Christian home schooling" right. It's their own fault; the systems works.

    It's called denial. Denial is a powerful mental force, a psychological defense mechanism of protection against painful realities. And it's a bitch to break through.

    Of course as any twelve-stepper can tell you, until you break through denial the healing can't happen. I hope it happens for you family, though I wouldn't presume to tell you how or when that should be.

    I can only offer this:

  17. Shadowspring, I have been browsing through your blog and so much of what you say resonates with me. Even down to the curriculum, all of which we used (and which, I might add, was hardly accurate I found out later on - especially the history!).

    I know exactly what you mean by being self-taught and the world being the classroom - my stepfather insisted that we would never actually have graduation ceremonies like many of the other homeschoolers since "you never stop learning" and a dimploma is "just a piece of paper." I tease my younger siblings about how easy they have it commpared to us older kids, but it's so true! The younger set can wear what they want, watch what they want (within reason), listen to what they want, date, work outside the home... you name it! When I tell my youngest sister, who's seven, that we older girls used to only wear dresses, she thinks it's hilarious.

    I'm so happy for them, but there's a part of me that's a bit jealous. My 16-year-old brother is taking Spanish and Algebra II because he HAS to, and I had to beg Mama to take another high school math class because she hadn't ever used geometry since high school and she didn't want to check it. My 18-year-old sister is waiting tables now that she has graduated from high school, and my parents are concerned because they think she can do better - she's not ambitious at all, and they WANT her to go get a higher education. I wasn't even allowed to my learner's license until I was 17 because my stepfather said there was no need for me to drive, so why should I? The younger kids? They drive at 15.

    I'm really happy for them - and grateful, because how hard would it have been to have left home and still had to see my younger brothers and sisters living as I did! One of my best friends I grew up with has to deal with that.

    And my poor younger siblings are still suffering from the prior choices of their parents. Had we not been in that lifestyle, my horrible stepfather wouldn't have had the ability to abuse his position the way he did, and the family would not be shattered with the divorce.

    I cannot respect you enough for getting out early. Once you start with that kind of thing, it's hard to stop. I'm sorry for the devastion your family went through even in that time and the scars you carry from it.