Letters to the Editor


Readers are an integral part of Whosoever. We appreciate hearing from our readers, whether they have praise or hot coals to heap on our heads. With the new year, we're beginning this new feature of a reader forum. Here's some of the things our readers are saying.

Want to add your comment? Fill out our reader survey.


Editor:

I thoroughly enjoyed the article [God Bless America by Candace Chellew]. I would point out that while material possessions are not an indicator of God's blessing, many in the Old Testament were described as being blessed as demonstrated by their material wealth. This would include Joseph, David, Solomon, Lot, Job and the list goes on.

Sadly, our nation does not trust in God to be its leader, its healer, its provider. In fact, we have done just about everything humanly possible to eradicate God from our society. I suppose what struck me the most during the Iraq war was how the population continued to gather in houses of worship and to get on their faces before their god in the face of "shock and awe."

We are a nation of lost sheep. "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chron 7:14). Scripture tell us there is a way that seems right unto man. Unfortunately that way is usually not God's way.

Renee


Editor:

I just wanted to drop a quick line and thank you for your site. As a teacher in a small rural community, I am often confronted with the views that "homosexuality is condemned in the Bible." I teach communications, but sometimes our discussions lead us into other areas, and interpretation of the Bible seems to be common. I say "interpretation" but generally teenagers don't know that what they've been taught all of their lives is just somebody's point of view. They can't understand how a Christian, heterosexual man can have the belief that all people are equals in God's eyes.

Students always reason with Leviticus' "Thou shall not lie with mankind as with womankind." It was nice to find your site to support my views. I am a Christian, but definitely not a "student" of the Bible. Your site gave me the information I needed to back up my thoughts.

Thanks again!

Tim


Editor:

I'm a heterosexual, very married, and am a father of one daughter. I currently run a Christian Campus Ministry at USC. I don't really have the time to explain the dynamics of my own faith and faith-journey, but I encourage you to not assume you know my spirituality and opinions. I just don't fit those fundamentalist stereo-types. I've had to face this issue often in my work since it not only comes up in normal conversation often, but annually I come into contact with a couple student cases. I'm very humble in approaching the subject, as I am with so many difficult issues. I noticed in the article What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality words like "clearly" and "certainly" are used to describe the obviousness of the Bible's stance on the issue from your perspective. That worries me a bit, because I don't trust people who are so settled on any sensitive subject as this. Are you so certain? Don't you ever wrestle with the issue? I do all the time. To be settled is (in many cases) to be close-minded. I'm a careful listener and threaten no judgment on others, yet voice an honest opinion (especially when asked). I've gone over so much material and had so many conversations concerning the gay lifestyle, and at this point I'm reaching some very contemplative subject-matter, which I rarely hear discussed. I'd appreciate it if you could give me your input. Here are a few questions I have:

What is considered "immoral" in the gay community? In other words, is there any sexual practice that gay Christians would consider wrong, or displeasing to God?

As a Christian I consider many heterosexual practices to be sinful, such sex before marriage, adultery, orgies, pornography, incest, and pedophilia. How does the Christian homosexual culture respond to these issues?

What difference do you see between Christian and non-Christian gays, and how do you respond to them?

I look forward to hearing your responses. Please, I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't simply regurgitate writings, or gay theology. I'm really looking for your honest opinion based upon your own convictions. Thank you for your time.

Cheers,

Garrett

Editor Candace Chellew Responds:

Hi, Garrett,

I know you don't know me at all, but it seems you've made a few assumptions about me in your letter. First off, I would never "simply regurgitate writings or gay theology" in response to anyone's letter. I always give my honest opinions based upon my own convictions. Of course, some of my "opponents" say that even my honest opinions based upon my own convictions are nothing more than regurgitations of writings or gay theology. So, often I just can't win! ;-)

The section in Whosoever on the Bible was not written by me. The section notes where the material came from and who wrote it. If I had written it (and one day I will do my own version) I don't think I would use words like "clearly" and "certainly" because I find much of the Bible to be very unclear and uncertain. The Bible contradicts itself in many places and I don't believe that's anything that invalidates the Bible more than it is meant to keep us struggling and searching for God's will in our lives. If things were so settled then we'd all be arrogant enough to think we have God in our back pockets. I don't believe that at all. God is bigger than a book, bigger than a religion -- God's ways or not our ways, God's thoughts are not our thoughts. We must always be in discernment mode, seeking and struggling with every passage of scripture from "Jesus wept" to Romans 1.

Also, I note that you use the term "gay lifestyle." Could you please define this term for me? Please don't take that as a smart aleck question. I'm quite serious. I'm always curious as to why people believe there is such a thing as a "gay lifestyle." I don't think I've ever met two gay people who have the same "lifestyle." My lifestyle is driven by my income, not my sexual orientation. Believe me, I'd LOVE to change my lifestyle! :)

Now, to your questions:

What is considered "immoral" in the gay community? In other words, is there any sexual practice that gay Christians would consider wrong, or displeasing to God?

This has been a point of frustration for me in the gay community. We did an entire issue on it at Whosoever years ago. You can find the issue at http://www.whosoever.org/Issue7/

I designed an entire workshop around the idea of sexual morality and constructing a sexual ethic for gays and lesbians. I was frustrated by the outcome. It seemed to me that some gays and lesbians can justify their sexual practices to the point where damn near anything is okay including bath houses and one night stands. As a Christian, I don't agree. I was accused of buying into the straight ethic (whatever that is) and restricting sexual freedom of gays and lesbians. I argued from a Christian perspective, not a gay or lesbian or straight perspective. My understanding of scripture reveals that any relationship outside of a committed, loving, monogamous relationship is condemned. That would include one-night stands, adultery, prostitution, or any other form of promiscuity. Sexual relations that objectify another person in any way or do not lead to commitment and mutuality on the part of the partners is wrong. But, you would be surprised at how far gays and lesbians (and I suspect some straights) will go to argue that there is honesty, mutuality and commitment (even if it's just for the night) in one-night stands. I was amazed. I, too, worry about the morality of the gay community. I can't understand how the "Christian" view of sexuality is somehow suspect and only applies to "straights." So, I share your question and am still seeking for an answer myself!

As a Christian I consider many heterosexual practices to be sinful, such sex before marriage, adultery, orgies, pornography, incest, and pedophilia. How does the Christian homosexual culture respond to these issues?

Again, I agree with you here on the sinfulness of such practices. I believe that gays and lesbians should confine sexual activity to monogamous, committed relationships. The Christian homosexual culture that I have been familiar with has run the gamut from open relationships to commitments. As I said before, it frustrates me because I would love to see the Christian gay community embrace an ethic of commitment and preach it, but I've met more than one gay pastor who will never, ever preach monogamy for fear of offending their flock. I do wish they'd change their minds and preach fidelity to our community. It is again, a point of frustration for me.

What difference do you see between Christian and non-Christian gays, and how do you respond to them?

Sometimes I don't see much difference. Sometimes I see a lot. I know plenty of fundamentalist gay Christians whose theology I find odious. I've also met some extremely liberal gay Christians whose theology I find odious. I try to respond to each of them in Christ's love and compassion. Instead of preaching I try to follow Gandhi's advice to "be the change you want to see." I try to live my life morally and honestly, showing forth God's love in each occasion. Non-Christian gays can sometimes be judgmental to Christian gays who have embraced "a system of belief that hates them." I try to show them that God is the source of all hope no matter what those who might hate us say or believe about us. Sometimes it works, sometimes their minds are too closed to it.

I'm not sure if I've adequately answered that last question, but maybe I missed the point of the question. Feel free to rephrase and I'll try again.

Thank you so much for writing. I hope my answers help in some way.

Candace Chellew
Editor


Editor:

I have just found out about Rev. Fred Phelps and his views. Angry does not even cover what Ifelt towards him. Then Iread what Rev. Tim Collier wrote [A Letter of Love to The Rev. Fred Phelps] and I think is great that he wrote this with an open mind and did not bash him in any sort of was as I certainly would have. This is a great article.

Matt


Editor:

I am a ordained gay minister. It is really hard to find people who are accepting and willing to teach the correct ideas. I loved your site, and I continue to visit it often. You are doing a great job and I hope to be able to support you in all that you do. Thank you for helping some of us ministers working in the field of helping gblt in knowing that God loves them and that there is a way to be gblt and be a Christian. Again thank you and May God Bless You.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Robert L. Wilson


Copyright © 2003 by the author
All Rights Reserved


 Fill out our reader survey

 Send a letter to the editor


Back to the Table of Contents


Home | Our Mission | What We Believe | FAQ | Issues | Prayer Requests | TeleSeminars | Daily Devotions | Religion Dispatch Blog | Audio Whosoever | Whosoever Podcast | Resources | Letters To The Editor | Reverent Responses | Seeds of Hope | Reader Survey | Bookstore | Contact Us

Whosoever logo