Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Truth Sets Free

I was listening to GCN's online radio show today and they were interviewing Justin Cannon, the founder of They talk about the interpretation and translations used in what is now todays versions of the Bible for the word "homosexual". Justin said something in a way that I had never heard phrased before. He said that the Bible talks clearly about prostitution and adultery but it doesn't condemn heterosexuality. Those things are distortions of heterosexuality. Similarly, the references to homosexuality in the original greek and hebrew scriptures weren't referring to same-sex relationships but rather in the context of abuse, rape, violence, and idolatry. I thought that was an interesting point.

He also noted that the word "homosexuality" wasn't coined until the 19th century. So what we think of when we read the word "homosexuality" isn't the same as what the Bible was referring to several thousand years ago. I've spoken to several straight people about that and they seem to just write it off as if it's irrelevant. In fact, I get that alot when I talk to some people about what the gay Christians are saying about why they believe being gay is okay. They just kind of dismiss it as if it's not worth investigating - no reason to challenge one's own beliefs. I used to be that way before this journey - I refused to hear anything related to gay Christian because I didn't want to hear the "lies". I didn't want to get sucked into the sin of compromising "truth". I'm finding that that's pretty arrogant and ignorant. I believe that questioning one's own beliefs doesn't weaken them. Rather, it reveals them.

They talk about quite a few other interesting things. Check out the interview by going here, then find the October 14, 2005 episode with Justin Cannon.


JJ said...

As you know, I am so completely undecided on this issue, but I do find it very frustrating that people are unwilling to even entertain the possibility that there are context or translation issues in looking at the 'clobber passages' that may affect how they are viewed. But these same people will hold tight to the 'fact' that context, translation, and culture are integral in understanding the passages that talk about how women aren't supposed to speak in church. I've heard people 'explain' that this is because women were experiencing new freedom, and were talking out during the service... but there is no proof in the actual text of that... the text just says that women aren't supposed to speak in church. So, why must we take the verses about homosexuality (and let me say that none of the verses are actually about homosexuality... it seems to always be mentioned in passing while talking about something completely different)... why must we take those verses at face value, but we can talk around and explain away others? The cynical part of me is inclined to say that it is because 50% of people are affected by the 'women' verses, so their voice has to be heard... whereas the percentage of gay people is much smaller, so we can be ignored.

But that's me being a cynic. I'm not always like that.

existentialist said...

Hi Eric
Usually when I hear someone use the word 'homosexual' as opposed to 'gay' I know where they are coming from, and I don't want to go there!

I have been trying to be ecumenical with the 'homosexual' camp, but I am burnt out! I am done with them. They bore me.

I even had out with one 'homosexual' Christian who was shocked at how liberal I was. He was like 'how can you think that way?! That goes against what I teach!" Yeah this guy was teaching folks...

Marty said...

"homosexuality" is just as much a distortion of "heterosexuality" as is adultery, prostitution, or any other deviation from Gods plan. It would be a mistake to conflate the two terms "heterosexuality" and "homosexuality" -- even gay people need heterosexual relations to bear fruit and reproduce. Heterosexuality is far more than a mere orientation.

Eugene said...

why must we take those verses at face value, but we can talk around and explain away others?

Because when something feels wrong to the majority, there's no incentive to question whether it actually is wrong. Members of that majority are quick enough to (correctly) warn us that a gay relationship can't be judged right simply because it would feel right to us, but extremely slow to consider how their feelings cloud their own judgment on the matter.

JJ said...

You're right E, they are correct to say that to us... but they (well... most of 'them') are more than just 'extremely slow to consider how their feelings cloud their own judgment on the matter. Most of them downright refuse to concede even the possibility.

I say this hoping that none of my 'female pastor friends' follow the links from my page over here, but I get really ticked off hearing them justify their lives (how they are female pastors) by saying things like "well... sometimes in his letters, Paul puts the women's names before the men, so that means that they were in leadership so it's okay for me to be a pastor" which seems to me to be a ridiculous argument.

And I have no problem with female pastors... I go to a church that has a few women on the pastoral staff, and have attended churches with female pastors as the head pastor. I believe the arguments that say that it's okay for a woman to be pastor. It's just that I get so annoyed when they tell me that the arguments for gay relationships are stretching and distorting the truth in order to justify directly disobeying Scripture, when the arguments for gay relationships and the arguments for female pastors sound so bloody similar -- "it's cultural", "we must understand the context of the times", etc...

I'm going to stop now before I take over Eric's comments here.