Gay Marriage & The Bible

Note: This is 100% my opinion. Not fact. Just opinion. 

I wasn’t going to write this post. But then I realized: that’s exactly why I have to write this post.

Last week the Christian world got so jealous of this ridiculous election scandal that they had to have their own dumpster fire saga. Enter the Jen Hatmaker interview with Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service. I strongly, strongly encourage you to read the entire interview, but here’s the bombshell:

You mention faithfulness and God. Do you think an LGBT relationship can be holy?

JH: I do. And my views here are tender. This is a very nuanced conversation, and it’s hard to nail down in one sitting. I’ve seen too much pain and rejection at the intersection of the gay community and the church. Every believer that witnesses that much overwhelming sorrow should be tender enough to do some hard work here.

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You guys, I almost cried when I read that. I can’t believe I even clicked on a link from “Religious News Service,” because, eye roll. But I was jaw-dropped, praise-hands, teary-eyed reading Jen’s honest words.

She knew the backlash that would happen, but she couldn’t stay silent.

She goes on to say that she and her family did not arrive at this opinion flippantly. They studied the scriptures, prayed, and sought wise counsel.

And yet, BACKLASH from the Christian community.

Let me say this: I am so hurt by the horrendous words said towards Jen and Brandon Hatmaker. I’m angered by Family Christian bookstores pulling the Hatmaker books. I’m sickened by people using God to shame and judge others.

And for that, I now refuse to call myself a Christian. | Jesus? YES ALL DAY LONG. | “Christian”? Heck no pass the peas please.

I’m so grossed out by the way Christians have behaved themselves in the last year. Not because they’ve behaved poorly, because we all have, but because they’ve done so in the name of God.

And, to my Christian friends who are already getting miffed by this post, you should just stop reading. Because this post isn’t for you.

It’s for the people who aren’t sure about Jesus.
It’s for the people who have been hurt by the Church.
It’s for the people who have, firsthand, experienced the hatred, bigotry, and condemnation that comes from our current Christian culture.
It’s for the atheists who say “There’s literally no way I could believe what you believe, because your actions are so insanely hypocritical and different than your Savior’s.”
It’s for my LGBTQ friends who are hurting and confused because they’re finally starting to feel accepted and then they meet a Christian who claims that we “love” them but “hate” their sin.

You know what? I’M OVER IT. My internet-soul-sister KT who is a lesbian says this: We are not offended by your theological stance, we are brokenhearted by the rejection of our person. And one can write emphatically about love, but LGBTQ people cannot feel love and the condemnation of their person, simultaneously.

I’m sticking with Jesus (#4lyfe), but ain’t no way I’m sticking with Christians if this is how y’all act.

Yesterday, one of Jen Hatmaker’s BFFs and another Christian leader that I love, Jamie Ivey, released a statement along with her husband. I was shocked at her words. She prefaced about how much she loved Jen and Brandon, but then went on to say, “God’s Word is clear and consistent when it addresses the practice of homosexuality, and it’s also clear and consistent on God’s intent and desire for marriage between a man and a woman, to represent Jesus and His Bride, the Church. To disagree with that requires such a degree of bending and distorting the original languages and contexts of the Old and New Testament.” (emphasis mine)

Basically, she is saying that Jen and Brandon have bent and distorted the scriptures.

AND THAT MAKES ME MAD.

Because, and here’s where I get so many Christians to get their panties in a bunch, I do not believe the Bible can be literally interpreted. (Go ahead, prepare the stakes and fire. I’ll wait.)

And that is my opinion.

And that was Jen and Brandon’s opinion.

And Jamie and Aaron are sharing their opinion (even though they believe they’re presenting fact, and that Jen and Brandon are not presenting fact and they’re just wrong but Jamie and Aaron are right.)

Looking back on Jamie’s statement about how the bible is so clear about homosexuality: IT IS NOT. It is not clear. It’s ambiguous at best. Christians who want to argue differently are grasping at straws, ignoring historical context, and misinterpreting language translations. (Again, freaking calm down, this is my opinion.)

Here’s something I want to be really clear about to those of you who are reading and are unsure about this whole Jesus thing: There are two (actually, probably a million) different camps when it comes to biblical literalism. One camp believes that the bible should be interpreted literally, word for word, and will always be exactly, specifically true. In fact, this is the camp most Christians fall into.

But then there’s the (smaller, less popular) camp that I’m in: those who believe that the bible is a beautiful book of legacy, history, poetry, storytelling–written over 2,000 years ago by eye-witness testimonies. AKA: men. This camp is much more liberal when it comes to interpreting scripture, mainly because we realize the following issues:

  • Historical context
  • Multiple translations over multiple languages
  • Cultural context
  • The unreliable nature of eye-witness accounts (y’all, my own diary isn’t 100% accurate ok?)
  • Many other things

I believe the main themes of the bible: a just and loving God, an omnipotent God, a Savior who was crucified and raised from the dead, and the promise of eternal life for believing in God. I believe that the men who wrote the scriputres were truly inspired by God, but that God did not come and inhabit their bodies, put them into a trance, and write the Bible himself. I just don’t believe that–but you totally can.

Past those general themes, things get a little sticky for me.

Many Christians want to jump in here and tell me I’m a heathen, that I’m literally costing people their eternal lives by not convincing them the bible is 100% accurate and true.

But alas, I disagree. I think that, put to the test, we’d each come up with different interpretations of the bible–even members of the same church. It’s the same as if we both read Great Expectations or A Tale of Two Cities–we’d get different things out of it.

Why?

Because we’ve all had different experiences; all valuable, all important, all influential on how we perceive things.

And I truly believe that the same is true for scripture. Our experiences color how we interpret things.

It’s easy for Jamie to come out against Jen’s stance on homosexuality, because Jamie isn’t gay (and neither are her children–yet).

It’s easy for a Christian to cast stones at a person who had premarital sex because they waited for marriage. (Forget that the person who had premarital sex was sexually abused as a child, distorting their view of healthy sexuality, but ya know, the bible doesn’t cover that part.)

It’s especially easy for a Christian to dismiss the bible’s claims that divorce is a sin, because, well, they got a divorce.

It’s especially easy for a Christian to dismiss the bible’s claims about lust and adultery being a sin, because, well, they’re lustful and adulterous (even if just in their mind & with their eyes #saysPaul).

We all play fast and loose with scripture, it’s just that some of us admit it.

To wrap this up, and to address the looming issue of gay marriage’s “holiness”:

I don’t pretend to know whether or not gay marriage is holy. No one should. But here’s what I do know: My marriage isn’t holy. Your marriage probably isn’t holy either (actually, let me help you: it’s not.). If I went up to God and was like “OMG look at how holy my marriage is!” God would literally LOL and slap me upside the head with the Book of Life. Because it’s not.

So what does it matter if gay marriage is holy if NONE OF OUR MARRIAGES ARE HOLY? Nothing. It doesn’t matter. Isolating and ostracizing the LGBTQ community is done only so that we can get the spotlight off of our own lives and onto others’. “Ohhhh but they’re going to go to hell! Stop sending them to hell!” Well, Karen, if they’re going to hell because what they’re doing isn’t “holy”–THEN SO ARE YOU.

Bless.

xo, A.

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Gay Marriage & The Bible

  1. Loved this. I had a book a long time ago that listed biblical terms A-Z and gave each a definition/context as related from the author (a retired Presbyterian minister). Homosexuality was included in this text and I loved his response. He said he believed that God would approve of a committed, loving homosexual relationship and disapprove of a noncommitted , non-loving heterosexual relationship. This made the entire sexual situation clear to me and made so much sense. God is love. It is really that simple and that complex.

  2. I, simply, could not love you anymore. I’m so grateful you are part of my life and that your deep thoughtful views, and your Christ like love have (and will) shape the beliefs of my kiddos. Thank you for being brave enough to take a Jesus stance outside the popular (and deplorable) Christian stance!

    • BRB…crying!!! Gah these words, Frances. It’s scary to share thoughts that go so strongly against what I perceive to be the capital-C church’s views. Being a part of Anthem, and loving it so dearly, makes it even scarier. Thank you for trusting me with your kiddos and for holding my heart so dearly when it’s beating a mile a minute. xoxox

  3. So I guess I will be the first one to say, I agree with what you say in some ways but disagree in others. So when you say we shouldn’t literally interpret the Bible…are you referring to the 10 commandments or Jesus’s resurrection as well? I mean, no of us were there…we are relying on witnesses to tell us. So how do you pick and choose which parts of the Bible you take literally? Also, Jesus did love all sinners and churches should be a “hospital” for all sinners and as humans, we are not called to judge but love. However, did Jesus tell Mary Magdalene to follow him but keep being a prostitute? Did Jesus tell anyone, just keeping sinning? It’s ok? I will die for you, so keep going? He said to leave their sinful ways behind them and follow him. I have a nephew that is gay and I love him still as much now as I did before I found out his sexual preference. I don’t condemn him nor anyone else, but God tells us we cannot condone the sin. Therefore, I can’t condone his lifestyle choice anymore than I can condone my neice who is living with a man out of wedlock. You CAN love and NOT judge any sinner while not putting your stamp of approval on their sinful choices… just my opinion.

    • My issue is with people who love to “not condone the sin” of LGBTQ persons and yet do not the same thing for their own sin. We’re all living in sin, and we’ll all be living in sin until we die—even if we try our hardest! Casting hate (even if it’s “hating the sin”) is isolating and hypocritical when we ALL have sin to “hate”. Honestly, I just think we need to mind our own business :) We don’t have the power to judge, only Christ does. So let’s just worry about ourselves. Because when we start worrying about the sin of others more than our own sin, we’re getting into murky waters (re: the camel and needle analogy).

      As for Biblical literalism (or, I guess, non-literalism? I don’t know if there’s a word for that!), it’s not black and white like what you’re getting at. There is no “this is literal, that isn’t”. The point of Biblical “non-literalism” is that we can each read the Bible and believe/interpret different things. Our experiences and personalities influence what we believe and what we don’t believe when it comes to the Bible, so I can’t provide a yes/no or true/not true list.

      I know that Jesus wants us all to leave our sinful ways. That’s why He died for us. But we’re all broken sinners, and none of us will accomplish that on this side of heaven, so I’m protecting of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters and standing up against the hate, bigotry, isolation, and condemnation that they experience from the Church.

      • This was beautifully written and I (as always) love your heart and spirit. I also just want to make a few clarifying comments as one who differs slightly in my theology:

        There’s a difference between inerrancy- a more fundamentalist, literal reading of all the Scriptures including every historical detail- and infallibility- a belief that the Scriptures present timeless and unchanging truths as they relate to moral and doctrinal teachings.
        Many of us fall into the infallibility category without overlapping into inerrancy. (I hope that makes sense.) What you are describing above sounds more like relativism which would be a different category altogether, though correct me if I’m wrong.

        Also, for me, my inability to accept same sex marriage in the church stems from a trajectory of Scripture that is more and more restrictive in the definition of marriage. The other difficulty is that since that trajectory puts it in the sinful category- I cannot then celebrate it or elevate it as a sacrament or means of grace within the church. I do not see this sin as more egregious than any other, the difficulty comes when it is ongoing and not considered sinful.

        That said, I am infuriated on a daily basis at how the Church engages with people we disagree with. I agree with you that it is repulsive and disgusting. I loathe the phrase ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’- there is only ONE thing that I know God hates and that is MY sin.

        Bottom line- at the root of this debate lies the differences of interpretation of Scripture and unfortunately, while some folks are launching grenades at one another- there are precious souls being lost in the crossfire and if anyone misses the tragedy of that the purpose of the discussion has been devastatingly wasted.

        Not meaning this as inflammatory in any way…hope it doesn’t come across that way!

      • Not inflammatory at all!!! I appreciate your views. I do disagree, but that’s okay! We’re allowed to disagree.

        I hate even mentioning words like literalism/non-literalism, because it leads to a classification system that I’m not in favor of (which, inherently, includes things like relativism, inerrancy, and infallibility). I don’t like these terms because, to me, they are just human words that encourage our faith and beliefs to fit into a box that we can check. And I’ve never found a term that wholeheartedly fits what I believe. So literal/liberal/conservative/relative/inerrant/infalliable, I think I fall in a little bit of each.

        I think I mainly disagree with your statement that Scripture is more and more restrictive of the term marriage. I understand that, while wildly ambiguous (to me), you can find Scripture that would support your argument that homosexuality is sinful—but my issue is when you talk about “ongoing” sin, because we ALL have ongoing sin! None of us have cleansed ourselves of our sinful behavior. Thankfully, we have an incredible Savior that has done that for us! So that’s where I get frustrated because the Church can get so focused on the ongoing, sinful nature of homosexuality, without also acknowledging our own ongoing sinful behavior.

        And if that is the basis for rejecting gay marriage in the Church, then we need to be rejecting ALL marriage in the church, because we ALL suck and live in ongoing sin. I think, at the root of my anger and frustration, is simply the pride that I feel the Church has engaged in (which, hello! sin!).

        Hope that makes sense. I know we don’t agree on this (and again that is SO okay!). But it’s helpful to read the “why” behind each belief, so thank you, dear friend, for sharing!!!! Love you to pieces!

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