An awkward ‘homecoming’ – Part Two – A Grapevine member’s response and my responses to him


The choir director of my childhood church, Grapevine Baptist Church, has responded to my previous post, “An awkward ‘homecoming,'” in which I describe portions of my childhood and my recent “homecoming” and confrontation at the church where I first learned the harsh lessons of hate, bigotry and exclusion in the name of God.

His comments (click here to view his original comment posting) are quoted below (in the gray boxes) with my comments following.

Matt, Amazingly I Google’d Grapevine and look what popped up. This is Bro. Tarron from Grapevine and you forgot to mention there was a third person in the room during your conversation. It’s often said when there’s a disagreement, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. While you did express truth in your post about the comments you made, you also left out some very important points made by Pastor Comer.

Brother Tarron… Thanks for stopping by my website/blog; if you haven’t already, I hope you will take the time to look around. I have great Google PageRank, so I’m not surprised that my site popped up when you searched for Grapevine. It is good to know others who may be looking for information about the church will be able to find the truth via my website. I didn’t mention you because I did not think it necessary to include you. I assumed you were there only for witness sake (or, if I happened to have only come back to crawl for the church’s mercy and forgiveness for something I have nothing to be ashamed of).

Matt, I wasn’t going to post this, but when you say our church is filled with hatred, bigotry and oppression, I felt obligated to write a comment, especially as a person who was in the room and also tried to encourage you as a youth, and I can’t think of a time when Michele or I were ever mean or rude to you. I remember taking you to many youth activities including conferences at the very church Bro. Steve Cox (who you rip pretty well) is out of.

You are right, Bro. Tarron: Neither you nor Ms. Michele were ever mean or rude to me. In fact, I have fond memories of you both. When I look back into that mixed bag of a childhood, I think of you and Ms. Michele. You two were definitely bright spots. In your first comment, you imply I’m not being totally honest. If I were to say that Grapevine was a wonderful church that taught real Christian values, I’d be lying. Hence, the purpose of my post. Bro. Steve Cox is no better than Preacher Comer; he, like Preacher Comer, preaches hate, exclusion and bigotry against another group of people. If you cannot see how teaching children not to shake hands with their neighbor isn’t hate or exclusion; or if you can’t see how teaching children that all gays should be exiled from society on an island where you hope they die of AIDS isn’t hate or exclusion, then you are well past the point of being persuaded by anything I have to say.

I’m amazed that for a church of “hatred, bigotry and oppression” we “haters” are the ones that send buses into neighborhoods, picking up kids (and adults), feeding them and trying to teach them about Jesus. Our church of “hatred, bigotry and oppression” is the ministry you were saved under and called to preach under. The problem’s started when your point of view changed, not our church’s, because it hasn’t.

Yes, Bro. Tarron, Grapevine does operate a very successful youth and bus ministry. Not only do you teach them about Jesus, you teach them a Jesus and a Gospel that is un-biblical and entirely antithetical to the purpose of Christ’s life, lessons, ministry, trials, death, resurrection and ascension. While you teach these children a false Christ, you throw in (I guess, for good measure?) hate, bigotry and exclusion.

Again, you are right Bro. Tarron; Grapevine is the church where I first learned of Christ and where I was saved. For that I am thankful — eternally grateful. Grapevine is also the church under which I was called to preach, even at such a young age as 8, 9, 10 or 11. For that, I can only be thankful that I was able to get out of such a church. If I had not, I would still be there contributing to the preaching of hate, exclusion and bigotry. In the process I know I would have blood on my hands, contributing to the isolation, depression, exclusion and eventual attempted (or, God forbid, completed) suicide of another lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender young person.

Bro. Tarron. You are wrong about where the problem started. The problem started when Grapevine decided to preach and teach that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are less than, undeserving, unloved, untouchable and unwanted by Christ. The problem began when Preacher Comer — whether he remembers it or not — preached that gay people should die (I have to give him credit — he did stop just short of calling for execution of gay people). The problem started when Grapevine thought it was a good idea to tell a 14-year-old that all he had to look forward to in life was drug abuse, alcoholism, pedophilia, depression, suicide and the eternal hate of God Almighty.

The problem started when Grapevine took on the role of God. The problem started when Preacher Comer took of his tie and coat, slipped on a robe, ascended a judge’s bench and decided to dole out justice and judgement where and when he saw fit. The problem started when Grapevine forgot about the two greatest commandments, the two upon which all of the entirety of the law hangs.

Matt, everyone at Grapevine, to my knowledge, has been kind to you. If they haven’t, please accept my apology for us. You could call Pastor Comer today and ask his counsel on any matter and you know he would be there for you, he would not be rude or nasty toward you in any way.

You mistake outward kindness and Southern gentility with true love. A person who believes in exile or death for those unlike him cannot truly love a person. Furthermore, I’d dare say that while I still attended Grapevine many people did not yet know of my sexual orientation. It was only after I stopped attending Grapevine (because I was made to feel unwelcome and unsafe) that my sexual orientation became publicly known to the world through my activism and advocacy.

As far as Sister Ruth, perhaps that situation should have been handled differently, but as a father of six, I can tell you, I wouldn’t let my kids go to any activity that I thought could disagree with my beliefs. I don’t let my kids spend the night with their cousins, not because I think I’m high and mighty and they’re not, it’s because I believe differently than they do about a lot of issues. Furthermore, I wouldn’t give 5 cents for any parent who wouldn’t try to protect their children.

Yes, the situation could have been handled much differently. What activity would disagree with your beliefs, Bro. Tarron? A sleep over? I have news for you: I am not a pedophile. Being gay does not make a person a pedophile. No friend of my 14-year-old brother could have been “influenced” (Preacher Comer’s words) by me. I am simply me when I am at home. My sex life, like the millions of other young people my age, is not a topic of regular conversation in my family. If a friend of my brother would have been “influenced” by anything, it might have been true Christian values of true love and tolerance.

Matt, I believe homosexuality is a sin, I believe their are plain teachings in the Bible against it. That’s my belief, that’s Grapevine’s belief and you know that no one their “hates” you even though your beliefs differ from ours now.

Bro. Tarron, please explain to me why so much focus is put on this one “sin” at Grapevine? Why so much attention to homosexuality? By far, the number of gay members at Grapevine is the extreme minority. On the other hand, those guilty of other sins discussed with much greater length in Scripture are not faced with a constant of barrage of hateful and exclusionary rhetoric and dogma.

Bro. Tarron, you are overweight correct? You are overweight to so much of an extent that you are, without a doubt, obese, correct? I’d dare say that your obesity is bordering on morbid obesity. There are also many other members of Grapevine guilty of the same sin of gluttony, far many more than those who are “guilty” of the “sin” of loving another person.

Gluttony causes more deaths than any the religious right attempts to pin on homosexuality. The entirety of American culture focuses on more, more, more… eat, eat, eat… drink, drink, drink… buy, buy, buy… McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s.

If Grapevine is so concerned about the total teaching of Scripture and denying “sin,” why isn’t there a bigger focus on gluttony — a sin discussed more in Scripture than any perceived passages of homosexuality, a plague affecting more Americans — and Grapevine members — than homosexuality and a death sentence facing more Americans — and Grapevine members — than homosexuality.

Wait… Those words hurt you didn’t it? Welcome to my life… every day of it.

I’m sorry once again, if you truly feel we are a church of the things you mentioned earlier, I think deep down, you know that’s not the case.

You are being deceived by lies built upon false doctrines of hate, exclusion and bigotry. You are so blinded by the dogma, you can’t even see hate for hate anymore.

I wish you would focus your energy as much on getting folks saved as you do on the issues you believe in on this website. (And you may! If you do, put that info on your website as well!) I wish you nothing but the best for you and your brothers as I’ve spent time with you all, and despite what you may think, I enjoyed seeing you at Grapevine and will be praying for you. Take care!

I have spoken plenty of my personal religious beliefs on my website. The public is well aware of my personal religious beliefs and I mince no words when discussing my belief in Christ, the Messiah and Saviour.

View the original “An awkward ‘homecoming'” here.

Related:

Matt Comer’s Testimony — Anti-gay group hosts “Can you be Gay and Christian?” forum

In my past post, “An awkward ‘homecoming,'” I mentioned that I agreed with a lot of what Preacher Comer said in his sermon the day I returned to Grapevine. In that sermon he spoke of how he didn’t believe suicide was a sin that would send someone to hell. What he said made a lot of sense, theologically and spiritually. But when I was 11, 12, 13 and 14, I certainly did believe suicide would send a person to hell. Even now, I’m still not sure about that one.

Addendum: The fact that I allowed Bro. Tarron’s comments to remain public on my website, and the fact that I responded, should act as a testament to who is right in this debate. I have very little hope that I’d ever be given the chance to publicly air my personal testimony on Grapevine’s home turf (a home of which I was once a member, a “son of the church,” if you will). In fact… I challenge the church today. Preacher Comer, elders of the church: Allow me to give the sermon one Sunday. I guarantee it will be one you’ll never forget.


Comments
77 Responses to “An awkward ‘homecoming’ – Part Two – A Grapevine member’s response and my responses to him”
  1. KipEsquire says:

    …we “haters” are the ones that send buses into neighborhoods, picking up kids (and adults), feeding them and trying to teach them about Jesus…

    I am so tired of hearing this lame, disingenuous “good works” argument from Evangelicals and especially Catholics. It harkens back to the old days of indulgences — the notion that virtue, sin and redemption are merely debits and credits on a ledger and that one can “pay for his bigotry” by tossing a can of tuna fish at a poor person at Christmastime.

    In this, I must admit, the Mormons get it exactly right: they provide aid, comfort — and a brochure for those who want to learn more about their faith. They don’t precondition their charity on compulsory proselytizing the way Evangelicals so insolently do (e.g., this shameful incident).

    The only “good work” I see here is Matt’s post.

  2. Matt says:

    Wow… Not holding back today, are we? That’s how I felt when I wrote this last night. I’ve even been reminded by my Soulforce friends that I’m dangerously bordering on being violent “in thought and word” with my post.

    I told a friend that I’ll make personal and spiritual amends later in life, if necessary. Right now I’m pissed.

  3. Antonio says:

    I was directed to this post from Pam’s House Blend. Very passionate response. Did they REALLY mention gays every Sunday at your church? That’s insane. At my home church they don’t do that and they’re not welcoming at all to my knowledge.

    I’m glad you brought up obesity. People rarely bring that up at church and it’s a real issue that needs to be dealt with.

  4. Zeke says:

    Matt, don’t forget that there is such a thing as righteous anger. Christ didn’t drive the vendors from the temple with kind words and angel kisses. There is nothing to feel guilty about there.

    I will say that I personally would have pointed out adultery (including pre-marital sex), rather than glutony, as the sin that fundamentalists conveniently ignore. First, you can never be sure that a person’s weight problem is the result of glutony and second a like/like comparison (at least in THEIR minds) would be more accurate and applicable. In their eyes, both adultery and homosexuality are forms of sexual immorality but they clearly let one slide (for the most part) while breathlessly ranting, raving and pushing legislation against the other.

    I understand your point but I think you left yourself open to accusations that you made a personal attack on Big Brother Tarron. Of course those who will complain about this “vicious personal attack” will be oblivious to how telling us that we are diseased, perverted, child molesting and selfish family/country/society/world/religion distroying parasites might be taken as a personal attack.

    Of course reason and reality have never been the strong points of fundamentalists of any religion.

  5. Jack says:

    Matt, right is right, wrong is wrong… there’s no amendment necessary on your part. You are justified in your feelings, and if they refuse to acknowledge your arguments then they reveal themselves for whom they really are. Will they rise above their own stereotypes? Probably not. They have too much invested in them. You have every right to be pissed when someone tries to guilt/goad you into seeing something their way by playing upon the very childhood memories that anger you in the first place. I think you handled this very well. If you need me to hex them, just say the word 😉 just kidding… maybe.

  6. Jarred says:

    Powerfully spoken!

    One of my biggest criticisms of evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity is that too often, they have so abstracted the concept of love that they can justify all kinds of questionable behaviors towards their fellow man and still consider themselves “loving.”

  7. DivaJean says:

    I am so sorry you have treated badly at your home church.

    But I have to disagree about making church a laundry list of sins to review every week- like “gluttony”, pride, etc.

    CHurch should be a time where we reflect on the shoulds we should be doing, not the shouldn’ts. I have always felt far more connected and spiritually nurtured from the sermons my pastor delivers (I go to a Lutheran church; my pastor is a baby boomer who became a pastor as his second career) about being a good steward to God’s world, being the good Samaritan, and trying to clothe, feed, and help anyone in need- as I would for my Lord. Pointing out sin and hate does none of these. It disconnects us. It makes those who happen to not have that particular “sin” feel like they have a pass thru life.

  8. John says:

    Matt: I came across this thanks to Pam’s site. I don’t know anything about Grapevine or the persons you mentioned in this post, but I can say that you are not alone in receiving this message from many “Christians” who twist the Gospel into a message of hatred — whether they know it or not. Even when the message isn’t explicit and from the pulpit, like you say it is at Grapevine, it definitely comes across in the actions and behavior of many “Christians” let alone clergy. Thanks, you said many of things I have thought for quite awhile now.

  9. BentonQuest says:

    I do not think you have anything to be ashamed of. I think that sometimes people need an “object lesson” and pointing out the gluttony is a good way. Even if the overweight condition is a metabolic problem, it still drives home the point.

    This may be nit picking, but one thing that Br. Tarron said made my skin crawl. He said, “I wish you would focus your energy as much on getting folks saved…” As an ordained priest, I must say, Jesus “get[s] folks saved” not us. You do much to advance the Gospel in the world, espeically for those who need to hear the truth of God’s love. Keep it up!

  10. Tarron says:

    Matt, first of all, thank you for your kind comments about Michele and I. I, as well, have fond memories of you growing up and I wouldn’t want anything to damage our friendship as I do consider you that.

    I must agree that you have pretty good Google page rank, if you have any tips on that you’d like to share, I’d appreciate it for my business, since I’m so non-technical on this stuff:):)!(I’ve always heard fresh content over and over)

    I did not mean to imply you were being dishonest, in fact, I said you were truthful about the comments you made. I only meant to say that all of Pastor Comer’s comments were not included.

    Next, let me say,(and I hope you would imply the same to your posters) that I am not a “false, compassion homophobe” or a “buckshot-in-the gum bigot” as I have read, or full of hatred. I understand that these people don’t know me, personally, just as I don’t know them.

    Let me also state that I do not agree with the “gays should just die” school of thought that is mentioned in your post or, for that fact, violence against any “group” of persons for any reason. I hope you realize this as well. I just happen to disagree with you on this topic (homosexuality), you happen to disagree with me. I respect your opinions as I hope you will respect mine. (Oh, and for BentonQuest, you are absolutely correct, Jesus does the saving, not us. I should have said getting the message of Christ’s saving grace out. I did say that Matt may do that on my post and Praise the Lord if he does!!)

    Matt, I can assure you of two things. One, homosexuality is not preached or touched on every Sunday or every service at Grapevine. Two, it would really blow people away it they heard everything that is preached against at Grapevine. I think it just seemed that way to you, just as I can recall every message preached on gluttony (yes, it’s preached on! the last days, men given to excessive food & drink! and how with an out of shape body hurts you in serving the Lord because physically you can’t do as much for Jesus), punctuality(wasting time God gives us and I’m always late:), being a better husband and father (which I need to be), divorce (I’ve had one)and that’s just a real short list of sins I’ve committed, my list is much, much longer and I always feel uneasy when these are hit on.

    I found it interesting that you touched on obesity, I found it just as interesting that you thought the comments would hurt or bother me. Trust me, I know I’m obese (let’s say fat for lack of political correctness:)) Heck, I’ve tried to get on The Biggest Loser the last 3 years, but I never get picked:). I actually lost 100 lbs last year, but have put most of it back on (please pray for me on this), but most interesting is, I made a choice through my lifestyle to be obese, I made a choice to lose 100 lbs (again through my lifestyle and a bunch of working out and dieting), and I’ve chose (through my lifestyle) to put the extra baggage back on..UGH!!!(You forgot to mention my personal favorite–Pizza Hut) My point is, I choose (whether knowingly or unknowingly) through my lifestyle and I will have to answer for my choices, just as you will for yours. I know, as with my long list above, it’s covered under the blood of Christ as are yours, as I believe you are truly saved. (And I’m not talking about being gay or my being fat, I’m talking about the sins we commit daily.)

    As far as Grapevine goes, it has NEVER been preached or taught that gays (or anyone, for that matter)is “Undeserved, Unloved, Untouchable, and
    Unwanted by Christ”, indeed, just the opposite is true. Praise the Lord that our eternity is not determined by being gay or straight, or good, or even bad. Our eternity depends on accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior. I will answer for the choices I have made as you will yours. Thank the Lord, my choice of Christ covers mine and I know you’re saved and yours are covered as well. I did see where some of your posters comments indicate they’re not, I truly hope and pray they will accept Christ as their Savior.

    Accepting Christ will change your life, if you let it (again, I’m not talking about being gay). I’m talking about becoming a new creature. When I got saved, I was a 30 year old professional wrestler, going through a divorce, living alone without my 3 oldest daughters (By the way Matt, Shannon says hi!), I had hair down to my tush, drank, fornicated, and was a guest of the New Hanover County Detention Center on a couple of occasions:) I had lost everything and was close to giving up myself when I drove by Carolina Beach Baptist Church on my way to the gym. I was in a red tank top and black gym shorts, but I knew I needed to be in that church. I sat in the back as the preacher gave an invitation and I accepted Christ. Don’t know if you ever knew any of that, but I wanted to share.

    Since then, I have tried to walk with the Lord (and failed on many occasions, as we all do). The next statement may shock some of your posters, but through my years as a saved person (I actually don’t like the term Christian, because I believe very few, if any people are Christ like) I’ve never found a church that I agree 100 percent with what is preached or taught and I doubt any of you will either. For instance Matt, as you well know, I have grown to believe the King James Version is THE Bible and not any of the other so-called translations, but I was saved in a church that uses the NIV. I go to Grapevine because in my visits there and elsewhere, it most closely aligns with what I believe in my Bible studies. If I found another church that I thought was closer, I would be there. I also realize that not everyone will subscribe to that position. I ran into a member of another church who once told me if Pastor so and so, told me the sky was orange, I’d believe him. I chastised him for that. I encourage all of you to simply read the Bible and make your own decisions.

    As I said earlier, when I started studying and attending church, I had hair to my tush, I read the verse that says it’s a shame for a man to have long hair. Whether I agree with it or not (I liked my long hair), I can’t argue the fact the verse is there so off went the hair. If you read Psalm 49 and Psalm 50, it talks a lot about music, whether I agree with that or not doesn’t matter, I can’t argue the verses are there. I was divorced and had 3 kids before I got saved and I didn’t see anything wrong with that because it was OK by man’s law, but now, I’m against it and don’t plan to get another one. Whether I agree with this doesn’t matter, the verses are in the Bible. Once again, as I hope you know, I wish you nothing but the best. I know we don’t agree on this issue, but I consider you a brother in Christ. Take care!

  11. Roger says:

    Matt, I admire your courage to revisit and attend services at Grapevine Baptist, confront the pastor in private and follow-up with the associate pastor when he posted a message on your blog. Overall, I think you’ve done the right thing to point out this church’s leadership with their hateful proclamations and indoctrination that intentionally misleads their congregation to further commit acts of Hatred because in their view it’s OK and acceptable to do so. The church Leadership is very wrong to cultivate such an environment; it’s Sin and goes completely against the teachings of Christ of unconditional love towards one another. The Bible is a guide book but not the definitive answer book on how to live one’s life, it’s a creation of man and like man, it’s imperfect. Much of Life and our existence on this Earth is mystery to which only G-d can provide the answers and those answers remain unpublished.

    Matt, you fully understand the importance of “Seek and Ye Shall Find” and live your life accordingly. Your past attendance at Grapevine has provided you excellent equilibrium of Christ teachings with personal ability to recognize deception. Your story is familiar to mine; I also attended a Southern Baptist church in TN in the ‘60s & 70’s. The Preacher(s) often preached of Hell, Fire & Brimstone with special emphasis on Homosexuality. I’ve known of my same sex attraction since age 4. Preacher Sermons really did send me on guilt trips, but I came to reconcile my faith in G-d, that he made me this way and he will protect me. Not being able to accept yourself as you are is also Sin. I left TN as soon as I identified the “Right” solid opportunity came about and haven’t regretted it at all. G-d has truly blessed my life with so much including my special guy that I feel happily “married” to for over 13 years. His family is my family and my family is his family, we all get along quite well and it’s all good.

    These “Religious Leaders” who promote un-acceptance of GLBT people are Dangerous to Society.

  12. JWSwift says:

    Hmmm. I have to wonder if Brother Tarron continues to put so much time and effort into replying to all of Matt’s points because he’s questioning some of the Baptist-interpreted doctrine himself. Usually someone who is truly comfortable with their feelings/positions on things don’t have to argue and defend their points of view quite this much. I certainly understand why Matt has gone so far and puts so much time and energy into his efforts (being a “recovering” Baptist, myself and seeing their hypocrisy first-hand over just about every moral stance they take) but I find myself curious as to what Bro. T. thinks he’s going to accomplish by continuing to preach to the non-choir (as it were)…ESPECIALLY in light of (as he so freely admits) things in his OWN life that he should be spending time on (which have a FAR more likelihood of a positive outcome than spending further time here with those who’ve already seen his brand of “religion” for what it truly is).

    On the other hand, just like his Pizza Hut addiction (granted, that’s one area where I can’t be throwing stones, myself) he probably just can’t help himself.

  13. Intentionally misleads?

    Southern Voice not two months ago was talking about normal behavior with gays, teenagers, and sex.

    The numbers suggesting steady condom use among gay youth don’t harmonize with 23-year-old Kelvin Barlow’s experiences in Atlanta. “A lot of my partners are not thinking about condoms,” said Barlow, who was diagnosed with HIV at age 17. “I think I’m usually the first one to bring [condom use] up [in sexual situations]. Sometimes my partners know my status and sometimes they don’t — they just want to jump in the bed.”

    Barlow believes a combination of ignorance and emptiness led to his seroconversion. “At that time I was the dumbest thing walking — I thought I was invincible and could do whatever and not get ill,” said Barlow, who was 15 and dating a 35-year-old man. “I thought I was in this relationship with this man who loved me, why do we need to wear condoms?”

    Or, in the same article:

    As he began frequenting gay venues and indulging in promiscuous sex, Fitzgerald developed a crude HIV-detection system that he thought would keep him safe. His screening process led him to start a relationship and have unprotected sex with a boy he met at a birthday party in early June 2006.
    Fitzgerald had never seen the young man before, which he interpreted as a good sign.

    “I figured he was somewhat of a new person who hadn’t been around the block,” said Fitzgerald, who had a three-and-a-half week relationship with the young man. Three months later, on Sept. 17, 2006, Fitzgerald tested HIV-positive at age 17. “I never felt like I was Superman, I just felt like I could outsmart the system,” he said. “I always felt like it definitely could happen to me, but I thought I could figure out a certain method of how it was dispersed by people.

    Pardon Sister Ruth and Grapevine if they’re not really wild about their teenagers having sex with older men and getting a lethal disease from it.

    And personally, this was an interesting statement.

    The public is well aware of my personal religious beliefs and I mince no words when discussing my belief in Christ, the Messiah and Saviour.

    What they are also well aware of is the silence when it comes to the antireligious bigotry of your fellow gays like Pam Spaulding, who can’t seem to go a day without mocking the Savior as “Jeebus” and claiming that His followers are nothing but superstitious idiots.

    Or, even better, the suggestions of gay leader Paul Varnell this week:

    3) We can mount a sustained effort to counter religious literalism and inerrancy themselves. This would include pointing to holy book inconsistencies, contradictions, easily demonstrable errors, readily apparent barbarisms, etc., with the aim of weakening the hold of literalist thinking. Religious belief of any sort is too often given a free pass in this country. But nothing in our tradition of religious tolerance precludes forceful criticism.

    Increasingly, I find myself leaning toward adding the third option to the other two. I am encouraged to think this can be productive by two facts. One is the recent publication and substantial sales of books attacking religion by Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett. No doubt many thoughtful Americans are appalled at religious influence in our current government.

    Or, my favorite line:

    Another possibility is writing (e-mailing) to correct newspaper writers who unthinkingly assume the truth of biblical stories, whereas we know that many are merely myths and legends with no historical basis.

    You hear that, Matt? The gay belief system is that the Bible is nothing but myths and legends. Furthermore, gays support Richard Dawkins, who claims that evolutionary theory disproves God, claims that religious belief is a “disease”, and claims that anyone who would believe such a thing is intellectually and emotionally retarded.

    In short, it’s hard for me to say that Grapevine owes you anything. The people with whom you have chosen to associate mock their faith, mock their belief system, mock their intelligence, think it is normal for thirty-five-year-old men to have sex with underage teens and give them a lethal disease, and publicly state that they are going to tear down religion in the name of getting what they want written into law.

  14. Matt says:

    North Dallas… We’ve had plenty a good debate right here on this blog else where, the two of us.

    I’m sorry that Fitzgerald’s experience was one of pedophilia (well, ephebophilia actually, but legally, pedophilia). To say that all gay people are pedophiles is a lie. For a gay man to insinuate such is both harmful to himself and other people like him. Stop giving baseless ammunition to those who would seek to harm us.

    Moving on… Pam Spaulding and I are good friends. I do not always agree with her and, quite honestly, find her mockery of Christ to be quite blasphemous. I’m not her judge, however.

    Moving on… You say there is a “gay belief system” as if all gays believe exactly the same thing. I am a Baptist. I’m also gay. I don’t believe that my faith is based on nothing but myths and legends. Have I ever told anyone that I actually believe Noah’s flood happened? And the Tower of Babel? And Abraham’s obedience to sacrifice his son Isaac?

    Do I believe that some parts of the Bible have been used in misguided ways to cause the harm and oppression of other people? Yes. Do I believe the Bible itself is false or “myth?” No.

    Please don’t lump me in with some perceived “gay belief system.” I am my own person – you know this; remember the hell I took from LGBT progressives for standing up against the “outing” of Tyler Whitney?

  15. Hayden says:

    Jesus Christ ND30, have you ever met a gay person, other than (supposedly) yourself, that you liked or a homophobe that you didn’t?

    I am a father, a husband, a Christian and a conservative yet NO ONE can make my flesh crawl like you can. I have seen you rant and rave in defense of some of the most indefensible conduct of Republican politicians and fundamentalist scam artists but I have never seen you write one nice thing about gay people in general.

    I honestly don’t understand what motivates you. I certainly don’t understand what drives you to have such a rabid and angry vendetta against the entire gay species.

    I’m starting to sincerely question if you’re real or not. Does anyone actually know ND30 personally?

  16. Stop giving baseless ammunition to those who would seek to harm us.

    The fact that I can quote those stories directly show quite nicely that they aren’t baseless.

    Furthermore, the irony is that I quoted it directly from a gay newspaper. Are you going to accuse them of “harming” gays, or “giving ammunition” as well?

    The problem is, Matt, rather than confronting the behavior, you get mad at the people who pointed it out.

    Moving on… Pam Spaulding and I are good friends. I do not always agree with her and, quite honestly, find her mockery of Christ to be quite blasphemous. I’m not her judge, however.

    Well, well. Matt can judge the people at Grapevine quite nicely, but all of a sudden, when it comes to confronting one of his fellow gays and lesbians, he gets all upset about judging.

    Or, again, rather than confronting the behavior, he gets mad at the people who point it out.

    Do I believe that some parts of the Bible have been used in misguided ways to cause the harm and oppression of other people? Yes. Do I believe the Bible itself is false or “myth?” No.

    Matt, when you tell ME this, you’re preaching to the choir, because I agree with that. Again, rather than confronting the behavior where it is happening, you’re ranting at the person who pointed it out.

    Now why is that?

    Short answer:

    remember the hell I took from LGBT progressives for standing up against the “outing” of Tyler Whitney?

    That is why you and your fellow Soulforce gays, instead of confronting the antireligious bigotry and plain-wrong sexual behaviors among gays, go running off to yell and scream at Grapevine. The latter is popular; the former would deprive you of sex and public acceptance, and, as you found out the hard way when you decided to express an opinion contrary to gay “progressives”, would bring down on your head the same vitriol that is regularly flung by gays at Grapevine.

  17. I honestly don’t understand what motivates you.

    Well, simply put, I’m tired of seeing statistics like these.

    Furthermore, I’m enraged by seeing things like this.

    However, “we also found that almost a third of the men — 31.4 percent — said that they had had unprotected anal intercourse with at least one partner of unknown serostatus, and almost a quarter had unprotected intercourse with a partner who they knew was HIV uninfected,” said the lead author of one of the studies, Dr. Kenneth Mayer, medical research director at Fenway Community Health, in Boston.

    Do you realize what that means? Gay men WITH HIV are deliberately having unprotected sex with people who they either don’t know to be negative or positive or, astonishingly, know to be negative.

    Adding fuel to the fire are stories like the one I cited above, in which these men are having unprotected sex with fifteen-year-old kids — and giving them a lethal disease that, even if they survive, will be with them for the rest of their lives.

    And what finally sends me over the edge is the gay community’s reaction: instead of confronting their own bad behavior, they throw hissy fits at people who point it out and then whine about “Republican politicians” and “fundamentalist scam artists”.

    I’ve got news for you, “Hayden”; I’ll take those “Republican politicians” and “fundamentalist scam artists” any day over those who have unprotected sex with underage kids and give them HIV. The gay community, on the other hand, seems to be under the delusional belief that, because these people are gay, criticizing THEM is wrong, and that we should instead criticize “Republican politicians” and “fundamentalist scam artists” while writing only “nice things” about gays.

    Furthermore, any whine about “Republican politicians”is beyond hypocritical when gay organizations and gays endorse, support and give money to politicians who push and promote the very same Federal and state legislation that gays blast Republicans over — and then gays have the gall to call them “pro-gay” and “gay-supportive”.

    I’m starting to sincerely question if you’re real or not.

    Ah yes, because if I were “real”, I’d be only writing nice things about other gays and be hating on Republicans and Christians, right?

    The problem with you, Hayden, is that you, being a gay parent, don’t understand regular parents; First off, you don’t think there’s anything wrong with a fifteen-year-old having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive man twenty years older, and even if you did, the good of the gay community requires you to keep your mouth shut and not criticize or judge; after all, speaking up only “gives them ammunition”.

    Second off, being a gay Christian, you don’t understand regular Christians; you know, for instance, that it is more important to be supportive of those who call you and your fellow believers ignorant and superstitious, who mock your Savior as “Jeebus”, and who claim the Bible is nothing but myths and legends because they’re gay than it is to express your faith in any way because, after all, “judging” is wrong.

    There are those of us who are same-sex attracted who don’t believe this. But, as happened to Matt, “progressive” gays don’t take well to people calling themselves gay who aren’t ideologically identical, just as you don’t think I’m really gay because I’m not.

  18. Zoe Brain says:

    One thing bothers me about much of Literalist Christianity. The “picking and choosing” about the literalism. Biblical cosmology is quite straightforward: we live in a bubble, with a beaten metal shield above us to keep the waters above out. This ‘firmament’ has valves in, the ‘windws of heaven’, which when opened, cause rain.
    Today, few believe this. Certain facts in the KJV Bible are not always taken as being true in the ordinary meaning of the words therein, but symbolically true. This is because we have the technology to show that they can’t be literally true. Yet other things that contradict our observations are deemed literally true, and moral decisions based on that.

    I see an awful lot of goodwill, basic humanity and compassion, honesty about one’s own failings, what can be best described as “Christian Charity” both in the original article, and Bro Tarron’s reply. I’m relying on that for an answer.

    Tieing these two ideas together… I’m Intersexed. I come under the first line of Matthew 19:12. I try to do the best I can, in accordance with the promise made in Isaiah 56:4-5, despite the awful pun in it (and in the original).

    1 in 100,000 boys look like girls at birth, female genitalia, the works. They have 5ARD or 17BHDD, minor genetic glitches. But at puberty, what looked female becomes male, organs descend from inside, things that were shrunken grow, and a few can even become fathers.

    There are other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, even some that cause an apparent male to become apparently female. We don’t understand very much about these conditions, any more than we do about other 1-in-several-million medical syndromes.

    This situation goes against many strictures in the Bible, and undermines all of the “men are men, women are women” articles of faith. Those articles are usually true, but not always. However, doctrine makes no allowance for such exceptions, and people who have these rare conditions, people like me (my own condition is 1 in 3.5 million, we think) are shunned, ignored, persecuted, and even sometimes killed, because our mere existence threatens literalist dogma.

    I have asked learned theologians what I should do, what I should have done, in my life. I’ve received few answers, and none in any detail.

    For those who believe homosexuality is a sin, when my body looked male (though inside I always knew different), was my mild attraction to other women lesbianism? For now the medical tests confirm that I’ve always been a tragically androgenised female, rather than the mildly undervirilised male I appeared to be. I had no attraction to guys then, and if I had, I would have been anathematised as being Gay, and my attraction abominable.

    When my metabolism went haywire, and I feminised in body to match my mind, is my current orientation of being attracted to men now homosexuality? Or does my female body now give me a “get out of Hell free” card?

    Now you perhaps see why I mentioned the conflict between the facts, and dogma. Why the existence of people like me undermines the logic behind the whole “homosexuality is a sin” article of faith.

    Many pastors it appears have not read the Bible, they think Intersex conditions are some myth generated in modern times. Many lump such as me with Gays, Lesbians, men who dress in women’s attire to slake carnal desires, and we generally have a very rough time from many Christian churches as the result. The few that do accept us seem to be a little too willing to ignore scripture when it’s convenient. Yet did not Christ dine with the Quislings, the Prostitutes, and other outcasts? Maybe they have it right after all.

    In any event, I try to “keep the Sabbath” as Isaiah says, while recognising my own fallible and imperfect humanity. I’d just like some help in working out what that entails.

  19. Matt says:

    This situation goes against many strictures in the Bible, and undermines all of the “men are men, women are women” articles of faith. Those articles are usually true, but not always. However, doctrine makes no allowance for such exceptions, and people who have these rare conditions, people like me (my own condition is 1 in 3.5 million, we think) are shunned, ignored, persecuted, and even sometimes killed, because our mere existence threatens literalist dogma.

    I have asked learned theologians what I should do, what I should have done, in my life. I’ve received few answers, and none in any detail.

    Zoe… I’m not a theologian, but I have studied the Bible. I was going to be a preacher at one point in time, 😉

    Yes, the Bible deals a lot with male and female. Of course, it is going to deal with the majority of what exists and probably, as an ancient text, not focus on those medical rarities that we hardly understand and people 2,000-3,000 years ago never would have understood either.

    You say you’ve never gotten a sufficient answer. You say the church has treated you badly (no surprise there).

    Here is an answer (you maybe already know this): There is no male or female in Christ. All are one in Christ. And the Eunuch, the man without male genitalia — What keeps him from being baptized? Nothing.

    I’m glad North Dallas Thirty and I agreed on at least something in this comment thread (although I have a feeling we agree on a lot more points than meets the eye):

    Do I believe that some parts of the Bible have been used in misguided ways to cause the harm and oppression of other people? Yes. Do I believe the Bible itself is false or “myth?” No.

    The church hasn’t always gotten it right. Sometimes the church gets it really, really wrong — sometimes, fatally wrong.

    North Dallas Thirty…

    I, too, am just as angered and shocked at the statistics you provide. I have read both those articles long before you posted them here and had a great many conversation with friends and colleagues about the irresponsibility present in the gay community. Stop giving me excuses and just use a damned condom if you are going to sleep around, I say. It isn’t that difficult.

    The difference in my passion against Grapevine and my silent disagreement with Pam Spaulding is this: Pam Spaulding has not scarred many parts of my life. Even you, I hope, will be able to understand the harm done to me emotionally and spiritually when I was a child — scars I must still deal with to this day. Because of Grapevine, I almost forsook God completely and still, my relationship with Him has never been what it should be: Sometimes I’m too afraid.

    I didn’t disagree with you because you pointed out behaviors in the gay community — I’ve done that plenty myself. I disagreed with you because you painted one situation as if it was a behavior that took place in all of the gay community.

    I’m sorry that Fitzgerald’s experience was one of pedophilia (well, ephebophilia actually, but legally, pedophilia). To say that all gay people are pedophiles is a lie. For a gay man to insinuate such is both harmful to himself and other people like him.

    Let me add here that prosecutors in Georgia should try to find the 35-year-old man who raped Fitzgerald.

    Stop giving baseless ammunition to those who would seek to harm us.

    That comment was directly related to the implication that the behavior of Fitgerald’s rapist was indicative of the norm in all of the gay community; it was not meant to be an attack on your general points (with which I agree). I apologize if I did not write with sufficient clarity.

    I believe I have a right to seek justice from my childhood church. What was taught to me there and what continues to be taught to other youth is extremely violent and, as I’ve said, antithetical to any true Gospel of Christ. If you disagree, I’d hope you would at least respect my right to deal with my past and my anger, if you will, in my own ways. I believe I’ve been fair in respecting your opinions before (specifically our debate on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — which ended quite nicely and with some great new perspectives I’ve never heard before; thanks), can you do the same for me now?

  20. Patrick ONeill says:

    I’m sorry Matt, but you are wasting your time because you refuse to face the real problem – which is “loving christians” who blatantly state “Matt, I believe homosexuality is a sin, I believe their are plain teachings in the Bible against it.”

    As long as you consider such attitudes to be defensible, you cannot parse out who is more or less “hateful” towards gays.

    The religious nutjob is correct, in the sense that he is consistent. It IS a war between gay people and christianity. He sees it as an attack on christians by gays and gays see it as an attack upon them by christians.

    I realize that there are some denominations that try to sweep this disagreement under the rug, but it is somewhat like the people who didn’t want to talk about whether gays were inferior to whites, they thought that they should be “treated fairly ANYWAY”.

  21. Casey says:

    I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, specifically in response to Br. Tarron’s statement that Matt should spend more time trying to “get people saved” (I know he corrected his meaning with this phrasing, but I believe that the initial choice of words still reveals something about his mentality) but also, now, in response to ND30’s contention that we “Soulforce gays” (a label I will claim proudly) are unwilling to defend our faith to members of the GLBT community who attack it. To both of you, I say, the way a Christian speaks about God and His will to another Christian is, and should be, significantly different from the way that Christian can speak to another Christian. In order to be persuasive and have an impact, you have to know your audience.

    It was not very long ago in my life that I had just as much contempt for Christianity as anybody you could name – Dawkins, Pam Spaulding, whoever. I’d been wounded by people wielding the Cross as a weapon, and anybody who tried, even with the best of intentions, to use blunt words to “get me saved” only ever sent me running the other way. There is no way that a blog entry substantially different in style than those times Matt and Brian have written about the impact of their faith on their lives and actions would have gotten through to me. Fact is, it took being forced to live in a community full of Christians who preached the Gospel without using words before I would even consider trying to understand who Jesus was to them. I knew there was something different about them because I saw them forgive each other, give each other grace despite differences… I saw them living as part of a loving community unlike anything else I’d ever seen, and when I asked them how they could forgive (forgive everything from thoughtless habits to a parent’s abuse), then, and only then, did they talk to me about a man on a cross.

    Why am I telling you this? Because it shows the only form of evangelism I’ve ever known to work on people, like most GLBT folks, who have been scarred by the Church itself. (Sadly, today, many, many straight people also fit this description, lest those who don’t know many gays feel tempted to tune out now.) For me to bear witness of my faith, especially to GLBT folks, means I have to meet them where they are, be subtle and gentle in pointing to Jesus when the Spirit tells me the time is right, and above all, I have to be loving (which means I have to be a servant – it does not mean I can rant at them because “it’s in their own good.”)

    So Br. Tarron, ND30, Matt is being a witness to his faith in his work with GLBT people. Not only does he testify to his love of God here on his blog, he has made significant sacrifices to get on a bus, travel to hostile environments, and say to the people he has found there, “God loves you. He is real, and he loves you. You can come home.” The Equality Rides are literally life-savers to the closeted gay and trans people they meet, and to the gay and trans people who come in contact, later in life, with straight folks who are less homophobic than they could have been… and finally, the fact that gay Christians (and others – not all of the Riders profess belief) would make the choice to go into that hostile environment, and accept the opportunity costs incumbent in that choice (graduating later or not at all, thousands of dollars of salery, arrests on their records) is a sign that they are living for something Other than this world… something greater. Many of them do so explicitly because they believe God has called them to do so. Faith can’t just be words on a blog, my friend – its existence is evidenced by the choices we make, to be exiles in this world for the sake of the Kingdom to come. People see that strangeness, and it speaks to them of Jesus… and that’s how hearts are changed, God willing.

  22. Casey says:

    On the other hand, when speaking to other Christians, people who profess to believe in and represent the God I love, I have both a right and a duty to challenge them more forcefully (though still lovingly, and taking care to be persuasive – it is about changing their behavior, and not satisfying my desire to vent my anger, after all). Because fellow Christians share a common context, I (or Matt, or any other believer) can speak prophetically to other Christ followers whose actions clearly violate the Law to love God and neighbor. From the Old Testament prophets of Isaiah, Micah, or Amos to the New Testament works of Jesus and the early church, those who love God want to root out error and call the Church to truth – in this case, the truth that God loves all, and GLBT people are His children, too. By its nature as clearer, more forceful speech challenging the sinful actions of particular parts of the church, it does not surprise me that ND30 hears such challenges more often, and more loudly, than he hears the gentle calling used to reach out to those who don’t yet believe. That does not mean that outreach to nonbelievers isn’t happening, or that people like Soulforce members are wrong to speak out against the church’s spiritual abuse. It’s just the way it is, the difference between conversations that take place within the family, and without.

  23. The difference in my passion against Grapevine and my silent disagreement with Pam Spaulding is this: Pam Spaulding has not scarred many parts of my life.

    I think, Matt, you might keep in mind the perspective of the church in relationship to what Pam is saying — and on what Pam is justifying her behaviors.

    Why, exactly, should one fault Grapevine for taking liberal gays like Pam and Paul Varnell at their word that gays and Christians are incompatible, and that advancement of gays requires denigration of Christians? It would also not seem in the least bit unusual that they would take a look at such stories and statistics as I have mentioned and draw their own conclusions about what being gay entails and the appropriateness of gay men being around children and teenagers.

    Quite by fate, your lot has been cast with a group which has spent spent decades distinguishing itself as promiscuous, disease-spreading, and antireligious — and you are insisting that your church not only ignore, but accept that.

    What gives people “ammunition”, as you phrased it, is not pointing out the behaviors; it is practicing the behaviors. Remaining silent in the face of antireligious bigotry practiced in the name of being gay only reinforces the notion of gays being antireligious bigots.

    I believe I have a right to seek justice from my childhood church.

    I believe that Paul has something to say about that in Romans 12, and its quotes from Deuteronomy 32 and Proverbs, that is particularly pertinent in this instance.

    As I like to paraphrase those, applying justice perfectly requires knowing exactly the thoughts and motivations of others, while applying forgiveness requires knowing only your own; therefore, leave the application of justice to the professionals with the omniscience to do it correctly and stick to practicing forgiveness.

    Rest assured, Matt, that I still have giant gaping open wounds and plenty of scars. But know that sitting back and being silent when someone blasphemes Jesus because you don’t like some of His church members is putting your personal need for “justice” ahead of Him, and that is a BIG no-no. As the Book of Job shows us, the mark of a believer is not how they behave when everything is peachy keen, but how they behave in an environment where everything isn’t and where their friends are telling them to curse God and be done with it.

    And along those lines, Casey, I would put it this way; which is going to get you more public acceptance in the gay community, protesting against Christians or protesting against the destructive behavior in the gay community at which Christians point?

    Or differently phrased, why is Soulforce siding with the people in the gay community who blaspheme Him, who say the Bible is a collection of myths and legends, and who say that gay acceptance will never come without the denigration and destruction of Christianity and its believers — and doing so in the name of Christ, the Bible, and Christianity?

  24. Because fellow Christians share a common context, I (or Matt, or any other believer) can speak prophetically to other Christ followers whose actions clearly violate the Law to love God and neighbor.

    Here is the problem, Casey; love does not equal blind and complete acceptance of behavior.

    Jesus loved the moneychangers in the temple because, after all, He was God, God is love, and Jesus died for all out of love; however, that did not stop Him in the least from condemning and taking harsh steps to correct their behavior.

    Proverbs 13:24 puts it very nicely: “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”

    The reason why should be obvious. Not telling a child “No” when they try to touch the stove leads to burned hands. Being unwilling to tell someone that unprotected sex is wrong leads to HIV-positive teenagers.

    The gay community has, perhaps better than any other, succeeded in removing any sort of judgment or right/wrong equation on destructive behaviors, and now — surprise! — has an overwhelming amount and rate of them, ranging from drug abuse to promiscuous sex. Gay parents are dressing up two-year-olds in fetish wear and taking them to sex fairs, claiming it’s OK because it’s an “educational experience”.

    And again, I repeat myself; you’re yelling at the Christians for not practicing their faith perfectly enough in your eyes by their refusal to ignore and accept these sort of behaviors?

  25. Casey says:

    ND30, you presume too much to think you know what I say to GLBT people who express their anger at the church and God, or who do not treat themselves with the respect that they are due as people made in the Father’s image. My friends know very well that I hate seeing them doing anything self-destructive… and they also know that I am there for them when they need somebody to help them stop. Beyond that, you don’t need to know… but do try to recall that for every gay person who is self-destructive, there are also gay people out there working to free people from addiction, get kids off the streets, get people tested and treated for disease, and overall get their lives in order. If Christians were to join us in these efforts, I’ll welcome them – but that’s not what they’re doing when they point out our weaknesses – too often, they’re condemning us to hell no matter what we do, and that’s not right. We are not the selfish freaks that you make us out to be, ND30.

    As Matt has told you repeatedly, we deplore the things you’ve pointed out as being part of gay culture – but I don’t agree with you that these things (promiscuity, drugs, disease, etc.) are inherently “gay” in anyway, nor do I believe it is just for churches to condemn anybody who comes out (as they do) because of the actions and choices of some gay people. ND30, gay people did not invent promiscuity, we don’t corner the market on any form of depravity – the sins you point out are part of the HUMAN condition, not homosexuality per se. To the extent that some of them are disproportionate in the gay community, well, what do you expect? It is damned hard to ask people to repent at the same time as you are kicking them out of the church and telling them that because of their orientation, God has given them up. Hurting people, rejected people, hopeless people… they do stupid things, and you don’t get them to stop doing stupid things by condemning them – you get them to stop by offering them hope for something better. That, my friend, is the heart of the Gospel.

    There is nothing “silent” about our living witness to the gay community of another way to be – forgiving those who have hurt us while at the same time having the self-respect to demand that our brothers and sisters in Christ treat us like the equals we are (for the sake of showing God’s love to the world outside the church, and preventing needless suffering and cruelty to others)… by doing this, we model a way of being gay that has nothing to do with victimhood, or bitterness, or the shallow pursuit of pleasure. Not that most of the gay community really needs that model – most of them, as you should well know, are responsible adults living lives that can’t really be distinguished from their neighbors. But you ask why gay Christians dare associate with non-Christians? Because they are right in combating the stereotypes and harm done by the church we love, and because there is no other way to be a witness to Christ than to put yourself in a place where you’re not preaching to the choir. The way you beat your opponents is by making friends of them, ND30 – and I refuse to see people who are confused and hurting (whether gay or straight, Christian or not) as my enemies. That’s why I speak to all, and make myself all things. There’s no other way to be a peacemaker.

  26. But you ask why gay Christians dare associate with non-Christians? Because they are right in combating the stereotypes and harm done by the church we love, and because there is no other way to be a witness to Christ than to put yourself in a place where you’re not preaching to the choir.

    And I’m sure it’s a lovely example to all when you stand in silent support as they blaspheme Jesus, claim the Bible is nothing but myths and legends, claim Christians are ignorant and superstitious, and plan to achieve “equality” by mocking and tearing down Christian beliefs, rationalizing that it’s all good because these people they’re targeting are bad Christians in your eyes.

    Soulforce’s model for witnessing must be taken straight from Matthew 26:69 – 74.

  27. Matt says:

    Casey… Don’t try to debate North Dallas. He’ll never stop. Like those who condemn us, we can’t say anything that will satisfy him; he’ll always find something to take offense to or debate with. It is just the way it is.

    I’ll let my public record stand for itself. I’ve stood up against blasphemy from the gay community before and I’ll do it in the future I’m sure. I don’t need some stranger telling me what I believe.

    Again, to make it perfectly clear for those who haven’t comprehended it before: I am my own person, gay or not, and I don’t fit into some imagined “gay belief system.” I’ve borne the brunt of attacks from both sides. Therefore, I know I must be doing something right.

    North Dallas… Quit misrepresenting what I say and what I believe and quit making implications that I believe something I don’t. I’ve asked for respect and I’ve given it to you in this comment thread and in the past. I expect the same.

  28. Casey says:

    Matt… I am done for the night, but I’m not going to give up on ND30 – you know as well as I do that giving up on people is an act of violence. ND30, friend, take some time this holiday season, and let go of your anger at the gay community, for your own sake – you act as though there’s some kind of gay agenda out there, that lives for the sole purpose of making you look bad. Such madness won’t do you or anybody else any good, and going from blog to blog yelling at everybody from Matt to Pam to Gaypatriot to the guys over at Independent Gay Forum or the Volokh Conspiracy… it can’t be good for your blood pressure. Take some time, try to forgive those who hurt you or who, in your opinion, make your life harder because they aren’t perfect… and let God soften your heart. You might be able to hear better that way. Take care.

  29. Casey… Don’t try to debate North Dallas. He’ll never stop. Like those who condemn us, we can’t say anything that will satisfy him; he’ll always find something to take offense to or debate with. It is just the way it is.

    Matt, you yourself have stated that you know better than that.

    I believe I’ve been fair in respecting your opinions before (specifically our debate on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — which ended quite nicely and with some great new perspectives I’ve never heard before

    And quite honestly, if you believe that those who “condemn” you will never be satisfied, then all your effort has been and will continue to be for naught.

    Next:

    Take some time, try to forgive those who hurt you or who, in your opinion, make your life harder because they aren’t perfect… and let God soften your heart.

    Human imperfection doesn’t bother me in the least, Casey, and is in fact why I have devoted an enormous amount of my own time and treasure to helping other people in the community who desperately need it.

    But what I have described — antireligious bigotry and blasphemy, promiscuous sex, and dangerous sex, even with underage children — has nothing to do with passive imperfection, and EVERYTHING to do with bad choices. As Luther put it, “Just because we cannot prevent the birds from flying overhead does not mean we should let them nest in our hair.”

    Luke 17:3b – 4 makes it clear: “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

    Notice that, “if he repents”. Failure to confront sin makes you complicit in it, but confronting it does not make you popular — as Jesus alluded to in Matthew 10, “All men will hate you because of me”. It is tempting to go straight to the forgiveness and ignore the repentance, but God Himself makes it clear that the unrepentant sinner does not receive forgiveness, and merely continues to sin in the same way.

    Again, to the analogy of the child at the stove, you do not allow them to continue playing with the stove while you repeat, “I forgive you” over and over and over again. You rebuke the behavior, and THEN you forgive it when the child turns away from the stove.

  30. Patrick ONeill says:

    North Dallas – as one of the gay people you are accusing Matt of being “allies” with, I would just like to point oout that he isn’t my ally, just as he has pointed it out.

    I could care less how much hate you preach in your church – as far as I am concerned the more you tall about sodomites and Noah’s flood

  31. Patrick ONeill says:

    the more people will wise up and leave.

    Matt is not one of those – he is still there, sadly.

    My only concern with christians is their efforts to persecute gays OUTSIDE of the the churches, their love of using the government to punish those they condemn as sinners.

    That may make you see Matt and myself as “allies” but I assure you we are not, other than on the subject of opposing your churches bigotry and persecution

  32. Matt says:

    Patrick… I’m no longer a member of Grapevine. I went back because they were mistreating my little brother. I also went back to confront them on the harm done to me.

    And, I am concerned about any LGBT youth who have to sit through those hateful youth rallies every week. I remember what it was like and no youth should have to go through that.

  33. Adela Sakul says:

    Matt.. I am so sorry for the abuse that you are coping right now from both sides. As a Christian and a lesbian, I really feel your pain.

    Both myself and my partner were brought up in Christian homes, but two different styles of Christianity. I have been hurt as a child very deeply at a Christian demoninaction school, and I held on to my hatred for the Church for a long time. Deep down I loved God, but hated the “Church”. I have stopped reading Pam’s Blender simply because I found myself to be “judging” myself, my heart RAGING in anger at all the things that the Church has done to people. My parents always taught me to be non-judgemental and I have had to pull back, and while I will not support alot of the evangelical churches filling my life with hate for them helps me achieve nothing.

    But my partner was brought up evangelical, she preached, she was in a very popular Church band, but she judges gay people. She sees herself in love with me, but can’t “marry” me nor have kids (in the future we are both in our mid twenties) simply because of her beliefs.

    It’s strange because we seem to be the split in your argument.

    I find it hard to sit in church, my partner finds it hard to sit in a gay bar.

    But I also understand what you mean about trying to seperate yourself from non-christian gays. I love my NCG’s deeply, they are my best friends they have seen me through drug addiction and many times in my life, when I was lost they made me feel at home.

    BUT… (please do not consider this a judgement of GAY people but a judgement of the SCENE that many of us are part of and what it encourages, I in no way am a self hating gay. I do not believe this of all gay people.)

    THE SCENE is deadly. It does encourage promiscuity, drug use, heavy drinking and other things. I have lost friends who have died to drugs, I wandered into the kink scene because my friends were into it. I have one friend who drank so heavily that she forgot who I am… and we lived together for 6 months before hand. I lost a dear friend to the kink scene… she changed from a sweet loving girl into… the darkness…

    The problem is… it’s a double edged sword, the scene is there for most of us as part of our gay identity. Many of us, hurt by the rejection of our community, family, friends OR church, run to it desperately seeking the acceptance there.

    We feel “home” around others like that, or in our community it’s so hard to find a potential partner that we search the drunken masses for it.

    I have had many conversations at university about the gay identity, in my sociology classes. Talking about (here in Australia) how some of the ethnic boys who’s family religiously (either Christian or Muslim) or traditionally anti-gay they will be have in a very butch and manly way, but the second they are away from them they are the campiest people that you have ever seen.

    I think the problem is Matt, that gay people define who they are (most not all again) first by their sexuality and then other things.

    I’m the person that god created me to be first, then a “christian”, and my sexuality is gay.

    Too many times we stand up and say, my name is Adela and I am gay. Our sexuality is who we love not who we are.

    Keep strong darling, I know there are people on BOTH sides trying to bring you down. Why?

    Because people like us challenge their self beliefs, but remember not every gay person and christian on the internet speak for the rest of the world.

    The old saying: Internet + Anymomity = assholes. 😉

  34. Matt says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Adela.

    I challenge everyone to remember that “The Scene” is the “club scene.” Not all gays are involved in “the scene.”

  35. Adela Sakul says:

    I challenge everyone to remember that just as much as the “your freaks” Christians see the scene as true representation of who we are as gay people, that gay people who “hate” “EVIIIIIL EVANGELICALS!!!” see them as a true representation of who christians are.

    Just because you are gay or christian doesn’t make you a living walking stereotype.

  36. Adela Sakul says:

    And… sorry I am super comment girl at the moment Christian need to understand that different christians translate the bible differentally.

    Personally (and I know some pastors and reverends who feel this way) I see books of the old testment about the journy to God. From the religiousity (which is killing our faith and making people hate us) to a true connection to Jesus and God through the New Testment.

    I will eat prawns, I will not cut my hair and I will dress how the hell I feel like, I will not subgate to a man and I feel that I am just as worthy under God’s eyes as anyone else.

    The old testment is very important to me… I am a Jonah… that is who I am, I run and return, run and return, God showed me this in a fantastic moment of bible reading between himself and I. There are lessons to be learned but the idea that we should live by Jewish traditions is bizzare to me. We are the gentles, all of us… The Grace of God is that he opened his heart to all of us, not just the Jewish.

    But I will not attack someone else who doesn’t not believe what I believe and I will not act superior to others because I have a different opinion of God.

    The Glory of God is that we all have a UNQIUE and SPECIAL relationship with him, it’s not the same as everyone elses.

    I was brought up in the anglican church and I often feel the need to return, simply because a Church service to me with out communion (The body and blood of christ) feels strange to me, I often find myself making a home in a more modern denomination but once every two months going to a catholic/anglican church to fulfill that spiritual need.

    I have met in my life beautiful christian with a close relationship with God, in many different kinds of Churches. The idea of a one size fits all church doesn’t work for me. You are different from me, and different types of pastors and community will help us florish in different ways. I watched my childhood church die (From 700 to now two young families and 10 over 65) because the revenend refused to move on and help the church grow. The youth moved away, he is still there and I am now 25. He started before I was born.

    I feel that a Church facilitates your relationship with God, but it is not in control of your relationship to God. It is there to join in praise and be your support but it is not the be all and end all.

    I wonder (this is not an attack on anyone specific) if others use religiousicity to feel superior than others, in the same was that some atheists shut themselves off to the spiritual and mock those that believe there is more that what you see with your eyes.

    It’s not easy to not judge others, that’s why God pointed it out time and time again in the bible. We as humans judge like it’s breathing, making two second judgements about people the very second we see them, or judging them by past experiences and refusing to believe people grow or change over the years, or judge them based on what’s best for us, rather than what’s best for the person who has the conflict/love interest with them.

    We live in the most judgemental time i think that human civilization has ever had, the internet, TV and the radio (mainstream as well as christian) is blaring 24 hours a day feeding us our judgements and half truths. Christians are manipulated in politics by the Republicians as the Gays are manipulated by the Democrats.

    Finding your PERSONAL truth in God is more important than ever.

  37. adam kautz says:

    Look nd30 and tarron, your anti-gay policies at your churches will someday have to be changed, the thing you have to ask yourselves is do you want to be remembered as the ones who changed the policy because it was the right thing to do or because you exhaust all other options. The church of my youth the mormon church made the latter choice when it came to giving blacks the priesthood. They only changed the policy after exhausting all other options and that fact is the very reason that church has a only a 20% retention rate in Africa, and blacks here in the states avoid it like the plague. You can be champions of history or pariahs of history it really is up to you. But upcoming generations who are more accepting of us will leave the church if you drag your heels.

  38. Matt says:

    Adam… Thanks, but ND30 isn’t from an anti-gay church — he’s a gay man.

  39. Casey says:

    Y’know guys, one little thing – as somebody who spends a fair amount of time hanging out with friends and socializing in West Hollywood, I’ve gotten a chance to know some of those infamous “scene” gays… and really, they aren’t so bad. Yeah, yeah, bars are evil, yeah, yeah, people being dressed sexily is of the devil… but try to remember that most of these folks are just people, like anybody else, out to let off a little steam at the end of the week, having some fun dancing and spending time with friends (and I say this as somebody who rarely has more than two drinks in a night, and grew up going to AA meetings with family members). Of course, anything taken to excess is a problem, and I’m not condoning habitual drunkenness or promiscuity… just saying beware the tendency to the “holier than thou.” So remember to give a little grace even to the folks in “the scene,” k? Christ came for them, too.

  40. Adela Sakul says:

    Absolutely true Casey… merry christmas.

  41. adam kautz says:

    Sorry Matt, I just assumed from his tone and demeaner that he was just another anti-gay conservative christian.

  42. Jarred says:

    Thank you for your last comment, Casey.

    Personally, I think one of the great tragedies is that we as humans seem to have difficulty getting past our tendency to stereotype, classify and “divide” people (especially into “us and them” categories), even when we’ve been hurt by others who’ve done the same thing to us.

    Speaking as a non-Christian who, despite disagreeing with much of Christian theologies, enjoys Matt’s blog and the blogs of several other Christians, I’m saddened by the almost implicit assumption some appear to hold that all of us are as anti-Christians as Pam Spaulding — or worse, Richard Dawkins. Personally, I tend towards the attitude of “live and let live.” And while I’ve never spoken out against any of the people specifically mentioned, I have spoken out against anti-Christian talk and even tried to address a few misconceptions held by some non-Christians I’ve met. (I’ve also been known to tell ex-Christians that the only way they’ll ever truly have freedom from the religion they left is to also let go of the bitterness they’re harboring against it.)

    Not everyone can be painted with the same broad brush. Gay, straight, Christian, non-Christian, we’re all individuals. And these aspects of our lives are often expressed quite uniquely.

  43. That would be because, Jarred, of statements like this and the reaction.

    Matt is not one of those – he is still there, sadly.

    Notice that this is a person who, in their post, makes it clear that what they want is to depopulate and diminish churches, that they think stories like that of Noah are myths and legends, and — most interestingly — that gays who are religious are to be pitied.

    What amuses me is this; the Soulforce gays who are here and who allegedly speak out against injustice and hate wherever it occurs can’t seem to find their tongues on this one — probably because it’s coming out of the mouth of another gay person.

    And that is why, Jarred, people think, as you mention, that gays are antireligious; they know full well that gays and gay organizations like Soulforce will mount full attacks on churches who don’t fully accept gay promiscuity, unprotected sex, drug use, and antireligious bigotry, but will fall back to the non-confrontational, passive “live and let live” when it comes to confronting gays spewing antireligious bigotry.

    If they can’t attack the latter, they shouldn’t be going after the former.

    And that leads along similar lines to this.

    Of course, anything taken to excess is a problem, and I’m not condoning habitual drunkenness or promiscuity… just saying beware the tendency to the “holier than thou.”

    Well, here’s something, Casey; drunkeness, drug use, and promiscuity kill and maim vastly more gays annually than Christians do, yet you seemingly have no trouble embracing the tendency to the “holier than thou” when it comes to protesting and marching on Christians.

    You see, I just can’t get upset over someone saying that

  44. Continued…..finger slipped on the “Submit” button”

    You see, I just can’t get upset over people reacting accordingly to a population that demonstrates on a daily basis that it lacks the self-control and judgment to stop from hurting itself.

    One simple example, with what I cited above. Gays, which by most estimates, are less than 10% of the US’s population, make up over half of its HIV cases. An estimated one in four gay men has HIV. Thirty-one percent of gay men with HIV have had unprotected sex with someone whose serostatus they didn’t know. Nearly a quarter of them have had it with someone they knew was NEGATIVE. Syphilis, once to the point of being nearly eradicated, has exploded once more in the Western world, with scientists explicitly linking its spread to risky sex among gay men.

    And you’re going after the f’ing Christians for pointing this out?

    I thought it was hilarious that so many people thought I was an “antigay conservative christian” even though I never once said gays should be automatically damned to hell or whatever; all I did was quote and provide links to scientific studies of gay sexual behavior and articles published in gay newspapers.

  45. Patrick ONeill says:

    North Dallas – I am simply pointing out that you are not being honest id you dialogue with Matt – you are accusing him of my sins because you claim that we are “allies” when in point of fact our only alliance is on the issue of the disgraceful bigotry displayed by most christian churches.

    On this subject you seem to have views most similar to the Pope and Islamic mullahs, yout Matt is not accusing you of trying to institute burkas and ban birth control because of your “allies”.

    I will admit that if your objective is just to continue the hatred you are doing a terrific job, though

  46. cara michele says:

    Matt, I just want to say that I love you.

    And these verses come to mind as I read this post and your comments throughout the thread:

    “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” — Phil. 2:12-13

    Peace, CM

  47. On this subject you seem to have views most similar to the Pope and Islamic mullahs, yout Matt is not accusing you of trying to institute burkas and ban birth control because of your “allies”.

    Probably because he knows I have made a very clear delineation on what I agree with them about and what I don’t.

    North Dallas – I am simply pointing out that you are not being honest id you dialogue with Matt – you are accusing him of my sins because you claim that we are “allies” when in point of fact our only alliance is on the issue of the disgraceful bigotry displayed by most christian churches.

    I am not accusing him of your “sins”. I am accusing him of being complicit in your “sins” and choosing to look the other way because his need for revenge against his former church and acceptance by other gays is more important to him than anything else.

  48. Patrick ONeill says:

    ND:

    >Probably because he knows I have made a very >clear delineation on what I agree with them >about and what I don’t.

    Just as he has made clear to you his disagreements whit “christian bashers”

    >I am not accusing him of your “sins”. I am >accusing him of being complicit in your “sins” >and choosing to look the other way

    Just as you are complicit in the sins of the Islamic mullahs ….

    Just pointing out that you are not honestly debating Matt – you are attacking him by character assassination.

    This is pretty much a standard christian techinique, I realize – I’m surprised that you haven’t accused him of doing Satan’s work – but it is unlikely to work. Matt seems smarter that your average christian.

    If you are capable, which I doubt, you might try an honest approach – but to do so you will have to acknowledge the truth of Matt’s basic point – the hatred and bigotry of so many christian churches under the guise of “christian love”.

    Everyone who is honest can see it, and if you don’t then you really need to ask yourself why.

  49. Just as he has made clear to you his disagreements whit “christian bashers”

    Not really. For instance, he hasn’t said a word about your statements.

    Just as you are complicit in the sins of the Islamic mullahs ….

    When I start advocating for the execution of gays, then you can start making that comparison.

    If you are capable, which I doubt, you might try an honest approach – but to do so you will have to acknowledge the truth of Matt’s basic point – the hatred and bigotry of so many christian churches under the guise of “christian love”.

    So again, we have you, who namecalls Christians, mocks their Scriptures, claims that gays who are religious are to be pitied, publicly states he wants people to leave the churches, and so forth….. having the temerity to accuse the people you are specifically targeting of “hatred and bigotry”.

    What that looks like is rationalization of your actions.

    Furthermore, Patrick, if you want to deal with the greatest threat to life, limb, and prosperity of the gay community, the best place to start would be what actually kills and affects the most gays annually.

    But then again, since that would require you to criticize gays, it’s no surprise that you decide to go after Christians and the religious instead.

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