Reverent Responses

I Cannot Overlook Your Sin!
Angela Rose Responds

[Posted on March 21, 2001]

Hello Lisa!

This letter is in response to the many letters I have seen in your column. First I am glad there is a safe place for homosexuals to be in your site. To be loved is so important. To be loved unconditionally so rare.

I'm glad you stopped by the site and took the time to write! I'm also glad you took the time to read through some of the articles on the site. Hopefully you will find that this is a safe site for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender, religion, gender identity or anything else.

If I can please use my bible knowledge to address what I see is an over-sight in the thinking that I have witnessed here. I hope I can do it here. This information is not to offend, hurt or degrade. I would be interested to hear anyone's biblical knowledge. And in fairness, I expect that I would receive the same consideration from another Christian. Fellow Christians, our God loves us, but he hates our sin. I have tried to read and re-read the Word to try to embrace your thinking on relationships. I could not. You see, the Bible does tell us that homosexuality is wrong. Many times over the Word tells us this. You are correct in your statement about "who so ever". God does love us all. He is able to set us apart from our sin and love us, much unlike the world around us. I would hate to be constantly be judged by my own sins of the past and I do not want others to judge you or treat you badly. Yes, I, like you and the rest of the world was born with a sin nature.

I agree with most of what you say here. I agree with the idea that "sin is sin," that God does love everyone, that being judged by past sins (or even present ones) is a sad state of affairs. And even though you have not offered any scriptural references to support your ideas, I would even agree that the WORD OF GOD says that homosexuality is wrong.

Before you begin to think that you've just witnessed my conversion from lesbianism, I hasten to add that the Bible also says the following are wrong: eating shellfish (Deut 14:9-10), having tattoos (Lev 19:28), wearing blended cloth (Deut 22:11), not having a fence around your roof (Deut 22:8), women having authority over men (1 Cor 11:3, 1 Tim 2:11-15 - interesting to note here how we women are to attain our salvation), men having long hair and women having short hair (1 Cor 5-7), women wearing pearls or braiding their hair (1 Tim 2:9), and the list of "don'ts" can continue for an awfully long time. The Bible condones slavery (Ecc 2:7 and Eph 6:5) and genocide (1 Sam 15) as well, just to throw in a couple of things that are apparently divinely sanctioned. The point I make here is that the Bible is not some mystical rulebook of do's and don'ts that fell out of heaven to be slavishly adhered to in every time, culture, or situation. The Bible says many things that were specific for a time or a culture or a people; in the Bible's case, the ancient Hebrew people of several millennia ago. For all these verses I've just listed, people have since read the passages with an open mind, looking back to original texts, trying to understand the culture the people lived in at the time the passages were written. We now have women in pulpits, wear poly-cotton blends, see many women with short hair (uncovered in church, no less) and men with long hair, have abolished slavery, and so on. To try and create some divine mandate against homosexuality demands that you must just as uncompromisingly adhere to all the rest of the written law and condemn the rest of the above-listed acts.

I read in one of your columns your reference to a writers statement that homosexuals are often mis-labled or labled as a group as being promiscuous. I have never (I promise) heard this lifestyle bashed by my fellow church-goers. I attend a small nondenominational Bible Church. Our Pastor preaches directly from the pages in the Bible. I share this only to give you back ground on my own thinking and the influences in my life

I know very few promiscuous people at all -- gay or straight. They do exist, but the circles in which I live tend not to have promiscuous people in them. It's not a relevant issue to this discussion, and I'm glad you point that out. We are both in agreement that any promiscuity, gay or straight, is sinful.

I do believe that sin ought to be called sin. It ought not be embraced. We cannot be so liberal in our thinking that we over-look a sin in our lives or a sin in the lives of our loved ones. This does not mean that we stop loving, quite the opposite. If a loved one sees sin in my life, I would hope he/she would not over look it just because he loves me and does not want to hurt me. My prayer to those around me is that if they see sin in my life, then lovingly show the sin to me and be there for me when I FALL BACK INTO SIN AGAIN. Being 37 years old, I know many of my weaknesses. Many of my sins are so strongly and emotionally tied to me that I have to lean on the strength of the LORD, BECAUSE I WILL MESS IT UP EVERY TIME. FEELINGS ARE SUCH A POOR INDICATOR OF WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS WRONG.

Then, really, you're stuck. Most of us feel today that women have the gifts of preaching, teaching, leadership and administration. I would think we have all seen such women, and I for one have been very thankful for the female clergy I have known and who have led churches I've been in. But, by your argument, our feelings are a poor indicator of what is right and wrong. The WORD OF GOD (placed in all caps because so many churches seem to revere the Bible, and their own interpretation of it, above God) says that a woman must remain silent in church (1Cor 14:33b-34) and have no authority over men (1Tim 2:12). So very obviously, according to the WORD OF GOD, many Protestant churches must be in a state of unrepentant sin by allowing women to lead their churches as pastors. This must be liberal thinking to which we have succumbed, that we have overlooked this very apparent and unrepented sin in many of our churches today.

I want my life to give God glory. "If you love me then you will obey me". I want to obey you Lord.

I'll call my pastor right now and lovingly ask her to resign. For this would be obeying what the Lord commands.

Please understand I say this only to make a point. The Bible makes a point on some issue; in our two cases here, either homosexuality or female pastors. According to your letter, "feelings are such a poor indicator of what is right and what is wrong," and that we have to look to the Bible to see what God's will is. In the case of homosexuality, you suggest that it's the Bible that wins out, and the feelings and innate sense of God-given self of GLBT Christians are to be deemed a heinous sin, without the repentance of which condemns us to eternal damnation. But in the case of female pastors, my suspicion is (since you, as a woman, are daring to offer spiritual advice to many of the men who read this e-zine, specifically against 1 Tim 2:12) that your feelings about women having leadership roles in spiritual matters would win out over the clear written teachings found in the WORD OF GOD. Lisa, you can't have it both ways, and that is exactly what you suggest we do for you. I apologize for the assumption I make. I am assuming that you do not see it to be sinful for a woman to be a church pastor. It is possible you may see it sinful, although I've offered my reason as to why I do not believe that to be the case. But if need be, the same point can be drawn from slavery or genocide, which are two more issues that the Bible does not condemn, but our society most certainly does.

I want to embrace all of you with alternative life-styles. You are intelligent, funny, witty, hard-workers, sensitive and God-fearing and God loving. I embrace you sweet brothers and sisters, but not your lifestyle. I know many of you feel that this desire of yours is not a choice, I believe you, and I believe the Bible supports us in this belief. But, continuing to act on your in-born sexual feelings as an adult, with full knowledge of the Bible, is my brothers and sisters, sin. So, how then can we deny who we are? We put our old selves away and become new in the sight of God. Please note that I am not trying to over simplify anything.

You say you do not want to oversimplify anything, but you have done exactly that.

1) God made me as I am and has done so according to His will

2) God loves the creation He has made

3) Here is the non sequitur - God does not want me to be the person He created me to be.

I would believe that most GLBT folk, who have had to defend their Biblical understanding from so many people, have gone into great depths of research, study, and prayer to find what exactly the authors of the texts were driving at. We as GLBT people have a much better grasp than most straight people do on the issue because we are the ones that have had to do the looking. Many people who would deny us families, homes, jobs, and even life are the ones who will pass on the idea that, "The Bible says it right there that being gay is wrong. No need to seek God's will any further!" There is no impetus at all for these people to do any study, and in fact it is in their better interest and self-comfort NOT to have the population at large do anything more than a surface reading of the Bible and listen to their own divisive interpretations. I do not sense that you would ever bear ill-will against your GLBT brothers and sisters. But if you were to strive for the "full knowledge of the Bible" of which you speak, I believe your overly simplistic view of what it means to be GLBT and Christian would broaden. And if in your in-depth study and prayer over this subject you were to find something I had missed, I would be very heartened to hear it. But, as I said earlier in this letter, I would respectfully demand the same consideration be granted to me and to my Biblical knowledge. If you've read my response to your letter, that is more of a start than many are willing to make.

I do know that we were all born with a sin nature. Homosexual or not, we are all sinners and we need to confess our sins and begin living one moment at a time FREE from the sin that binds us to this world. Look to your Savior for strength...we who believe that we are sinners and believe that Jesus came down to save us from our own sin, suffered died, and is risen, are His fold.....His sheep, His people. Take the information I have shared here and pray about it. Know the truth for yourselves. Those of you who have not got down on your knees and asked God to make His Word clear to you, should. Perhaps the message I am leaving with you here today will encourage and not discourage your reading audience. Sincerely Signed, Lisa from Texas

I agree that we all sin. I am not, however, in sin for being a lesbian. I was in sin when I harbored bitterness and resentment toward my ex-wife when she divorced me and outed me to our church, her family, her workplace, and probably my workplace as well ("Your ex-wife outed you? How can that be, if she was a lesbian married to you," I hear you ask? When I was in a heterosexual marriage, I was a male. I have since transitioned and married another woman. And of course I do not believe my gender transition to be sinful either. I've looked and found nothing in the Bible to suggest so, but that is fodder for another Response). But the sin was there in that bitterness and resentment, and He made me keenly aware of it. Far more than I ever wanted to be made aware of it. When I was finally able to begin to let that sin go and be forgiving of my ex-wife, His forgiveness and peace was given to me. I've not heard you offer any information in your letter.

Though I hear a very loving and kind spirit in what you say and how you say it, you've presented no information. It's solely been a letter of your personal feelings about homosexuality being sinful. Yours is an encouraging letter because it shows you are willing to dialogue and to respectfully listen to a viewpoint that doesn't agree with your own. My prayer is that you will be open to looking at that viewpoint and not merely dismissing it because one can create a proof-text of a dismissal.

Angela Rose