Keeping it Simple
A recent reminder to “love the sinner, hate the sin” triggered my thinking about what constitutes sin and who gets to label something a sin. After all, we’ve taken great liberties in this country (and specifically in this part of the country) to weave into our many local, state, and national laws the conservative Christian beliefs that have consumed our religious lives.
Dear Thomas Jefferson, we are butchering your constitution. Sincerely, Us.
The aforementioned reminder was in reference to a conversation in which I revealed that I no longer accept the idea that monogamous homosexual relationships are sinful. There have been a number of factors that have contributed to my change in views, not the least of which was related to my experience with a beautiful human being most would call an hermaphrodite. “She” had breasts. “She” also had a full beard complete with five o’clock shadow. My heart broke for her and the agony she must have experienced throughout her life. She was a bit more difficult than others around us to fully accept.
Even at 41 years old, I sucked at being a decent human being to her.
In the same group of very cool people was the funniest guy I think I’ve ever met. He was a bit on the goofy side with a deep love for all things related to The Little Mermaid. As everyone became closer to one another, he revealed his preference to date males rather than females. At the risk of stereotyping, I totally saw that one coming. Much about him suggested this might be the case. He was somehow created with tendencies that pushed him in that direction. I witnessed his devastated and totally broken heart when one of his relationships crumbled. His pain was no different than what I experienced during my dating years.
Towards the end of my experience with these two people, I encountered a college acquaintance on Facebook. I more or less sought him out after a mutual friend shared with me the things he was doing with his life and how similar they were to things I wanted to do with my own. She also shared with me that his significant other was male. Again, thinking back, and again risking stereotyping, I wasn’t surprised. I am so glad I sought him out. He has blessed me in ways he’ll probably never know.
There are others, too numerous to mention here. A high school classmate. A seven year old boy in my PE class. Some girls I knew growing up. Something about them suggests the programming was there all along. If that’s the case, then suggesting that following their heart and finding the perfect lifelong companion is sinful also suggests that God screwed up. REALLY screwed up.
These same people will suggest that God doesn’t make mistakes.
Or maybe it wasn’t God. Maybe it was the devil that caused these “abnormalities”.
Sorry. Not buying that one either. That would suggest that we have a God that allows people to be set up for failure and misery in this life. It would imply that God doesn’t accept two people who care deeply for one another, are committed to each other for life, and who model and demonstrate a love and compassion for other human beings in ways many heterosexuals have yet to figure out. It also messes with that theory of free will.
It also got me to thinking about who decided to make homosexuality a sin….an abomination for those who seem to passionately love that word. As Christians, we honor a deity known as God and his human form self known as Jesus Christ. Supposedly we don’t worship Moses or Peter or Paul, so their words would simply be a suggestion rather than an edict. Only the words of God and Jesus should be applicable in deciding this question.
That requires getting back to the core of our belief system. For most, those roots are in the Ten Commandments and in the words of Jesus found in the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Jesus kept it pretty simple. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
God was a little more demanding, but still stayed on the non-complex side of things: No other gods, no idols, no taking his name in vain, rest up once a week, honor your parents, don’t murder, steal, lie, be jealous of what others have, don’t take another man’s wife, and don’t be doing the adultery thing.
Pretty simple stuff.
Good advice for how to be a decent human being.
Nothing about homosexuality.
Which leads me to Jesus’ encounter with the woman caught in adultery and the woman at the well who had experienced various men in her lifetime. In neither case did Jesus condemn them. He sent them on their way to live their lives peacefully. He both showed and allowed them to experience love. He didn’t demand the woman at the well leave her latest squeeze and live a life of remorseful solitude.
He loved them. Yes, he also told them not to sin. Yet he does not indicate that their relationships are their sin. Maybe I’m being too technical. The point is, he did not condemn them.
The other point is men wrote the series of texts we have bound together and called the Bible. Men chose what would go into it. Men chose what would be excluded from it. Men proclaimed a part of God’s creation to be a mistake.
With Human baggage and ideals.
Not God men.
It’s time to stop condemning good and beautiful people who just happen to prefer the company of those of the same sex based on the writings of angry men from three thousand years ago. It’s time to let go of the fear we have for something we don’t understand and allow them to live their lives with the same rights and freedoms available to the pious, (and sometimes murderous) religious right-wing extremists.
It’s time to just….
As for me? What can I say? I really like the opposite sex.
I like men….even gay men.