“Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” — 1 Peter 3:15
Note: All letters are posted as they were received. No spelling or grammar errors have been corrected. Links to responses are at the end of the letter.
We Christians are not spreading lies about homosexuals and Christ you are the one spreading lies. Homosexuality is a sin, it’s that simple. Repent and you will be saved…do it before it’s too late.
Rev. Vera I. Bourne responds: Dear Mike,
Somehow, I believe, you have decided that we cannot be both homosexual and Christian, that somehow we are defiled, and therefore outside of God’s salvation. I invite you to share the following passage from Scripture form Acts 11: 3- 18 with me for in it Peter is shown that none of God’s creation is unclean or common.
“The circumcision-party were full of criticism, saying to him, ‘You actually went in and shared a meal with uncircumcised men!’ But Peter began to explain how the situation had actually arisen. ‘I was in the city of Joppa praying,’ he said, ‘and while completely unconscious of my surroundings I saw a vision — something like a great sheet coming down towards me, let down from heaven by its four corners. It came right down towards me and when I looked at it closely I saw animals and wild beasts, reptiles and birds. Then I heard a voice say to me, ‘Get up, Peter, kill and eat.’ But I said, ‘Never, Lord, for nothing common or unclean has ever passed my lips.’ But the voice from heaven spoke a second time and said, ‘You must not call what God has cleansed common.’ This happened three times, and then the whole thing was drawn up again into heaven. While I was beginning to tell them this message the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as on us at the beginning. There came into my mind the words of our Lord when he said, ‘John indeed baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave to them exactly the same gift as he gave to us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could hinder the working of God?’ When they heard this they had no further objections to raise. And they praised God, saying, ‘Then obviously God has given to the gentiles as well the gift of repentance which leads to life.’
Peter, used by birth to a clear distinction between those things that were deemed clean and unclean, was challenged by God to rethink his ideas. Not once, but three times, through this vision God had presented Peter with a collection of reptiles, birds and animals deemed unclean by the Law. Then came the voice challenging Peter to kill and eat these taboo foods. When Peter refused, God admonished him with the words, “You must not call what God has cleansed common.” The New International Version translates this phrase as, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” When we take these words and apply them to circumstances and people in our own experience we discover that God’s divine light breaks through our own misconceptions. Do we consider certain people or things common or impure by our own standards? All who have accepted God’s salvation have been cleansed from the stain of their sins; dare we judge any of these people as common or impure? I believe if we look more closely at this passage we realise that God is actually telling Peter that not one ounce of created matter is impure, unclean or common. Because God’s hands have created all, all is pure, clean and acceptable.
I prayerfully trust, Mike, that this passage will enable you to understand that we who have been created homosexual are also perfect, clean and pure in God’s eyes, and that we too are invited to accept the salvation purchased by Jesus the Christ.
Angela Rose responds: Mike,
I am going to try so hard to be reverent in this response. I apologize in advance if my tone fails to be so. Such a letter as you have written, I have no idea how to respond in anything but like kind. I can just see how we can write the story.
Mike and Angela were playing in the sandbox. Their older brothers were each in kindergarten now, so they weren’t around to play with. Or to referee.
“I’m a Christian and you’re not!” said Mike.
“Am so!” replied Angela.
“Well, God doesn’t like you, but He loves me!” Mike retorted. “You’re a sinner!”
“Are too! My daddy says so!”
“Oh yeah? Well, my dad can beat up your dad!”
“Can not, you poopy-head!
“I’m rubber and you’re glue … “
I think you can see why I apologized for the lack of reverence in my response before I ever opened my mouth. I have to believe, Mike, that you are a far more intelligent person than you show by the letter you have just written. We may as well be three-year-olds fighting in the sandbox some May afternoon if I respond in kind, but you’ve offered nothing to respond to. I’m at such a loss as to how to respond, except to dejectedly shake my head at your ignorance and arrogance. You say I’m spreading lies. A myriad of other authors here, myself included, have shown the results of our scholarship and research, presented them in prayerful and thoughtful fashion, and you walk in with your letter, essentially with your fingers in your ears and shouting, “La, la, la! I can’t hear you! God loves only me! God hates you! La, la la!”
Offer something, anything, in your letter that would give us ground to discuss the issue. You have come across an entire Web site full of intelligent and scholastic discourse on a sensitive subject. My prayer is that you become mature enough to enter into something other than a three-year-olds’ shouting match concerning the issue of homosexuality. My fear is that you will simply walk away calling us “poopy-pants,” which would translate into mature, adult terminology as, “God-hating liars hell-bent on the destruction of family and society.”
I truly feel sorry for you and pity on you if this is the extent of your ability to discuss this issue. May God open your ears and eyes and mind and heart to the idea of dialoguing with others who do not share your views. I also pray He works on removing the arrogance you display when you say, “We Christians,” implying that only those who believe as you do are worthy of being called children of God.
Maarten van den Driest responds: Dear Mr. Reed,
You write a vivid letter, one that deserves an answer. I will you give you an answer.
You are quite right in that I should repent. I shall do so now.
I admit before Jesus Christ and before the world that I sin of my own will and that I do much that is not desirable. I admit that I have done much that is wrong before other people and before the Eternal. I will endaevour to return to the path of Christ’s teaching – since that is the meaning of repenting – and try to do His will before mine. Done. Happy now, Mike?
I think not. Because you want to hear something else, something that I will most surely not say. You want me to turn away from my own soul and my own heart and claim that I am heterosexual. In short, you want me to lie.
Let us discuss this in depth. We’re talking about Christ’s teaching anyway. What does Christ teach? That comes down to just about one bit of Scripture. When questioned on what the most important commandment was, Jesus said that the most important is to love God the most and your neighbour as yourself. That, dear Michael, is the sum of the Law. Any and all bits of biblical law must be understood through Jesus words or lead us astray.
Mike, do you think that Jesus would have written me a letter like you wrote? Do you think Jesus would have flat-out dismissed me as a liar? Do you think Jesus would have told me: repent or die? I think not. Jesus would at the least have dined with me and told me something inspirational. He most certainly wouldn’t have threatened me into submission.
And to what shall I submit? To your will, Michael? Because that is what we are speaking of here. The things I have told you about Jesus’ habits are from the stories in which he meets people on the wrong way in life. This does not cover me. I may do lots of things wrong but there is nothing inherently sinful in my sexuality. I do not rape people, I do not engage in ritual prostitution so what is the problem?
Biblical condemnations of homosexuality are, as you very well know, sketchy at best. I will not discuss those here as you do no effort at all to explain your ideas. And if you don’t know then please go and study a bit more before you come out and hurt me. Micheal, hear me out. “Faggots go to Hell!” is not theology, it is not a well thought-out expression of spirituality. It is just hate. It has nothing to do with God.
I invite you to an intelligent, adult discussion. I recognise that you have a grievance against me and respect your feelings. How you can hold such dislike for people you’ve have never met is frankly beyond me but we all have our differences. I wouldn’t want to judge you prematurely.
I’ll end with a quote from the Bible. Best wishes to you, Mike, and the best of luck in love, life and work.
“For I am certain that not death, or life, or angels, or rulers, or things present, or things to come, or powers, Or things on high, or things under the earth, or anything which is made, will be able to come between us and the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Whosoever founder and Editor Emeritus Rev. Candace Chellew (she/her) is the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians. She earned her masters of theological studies at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, was ordained in December 2003, and trained as a spiritual director through the Omega Point program of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. She serves as the spiritual director of Jubilee! Circle in Columbia, S.C., and blogs at Motley Mystic.