Tag Archives: gay
Hebrides News – 20 December 2014
I see that the Church of Scotland continues to defy and undermine the word of God by asking its 46 Presbyteries to vote – before Hogmanay – on whether to allow congregations to appoint ‘gay’ ministers.
The folly of putting God’s law up for a vote, especially in a morally compromised church, is nothing less that demonic. The church is not a political entity and ought to know that the Bible, the word of God, is its operating manual and no law is paramount to that.
Who does the Church of Scotland think they are when they freely give presbyteries and congregations the opportunity to vote on whether they should accept ‘gay’ ministers?
National kirk is an “ungodly institution”
Any church that brazenly, and bizarrely, fancies it can decide on what is acceptable or unacceptable in the perfect word of God has lost its very right to be called a church. Not only is it an apostate church, it is also a synagogue of Satan.
The truth has to be formally recorded about the Church of Scotland. The national kirk is an ungodly institution run by godless, and graceless, men and women. The kirk is both a disgrace and a sinful blot on our nation’s spiritual landscape, and shame on it. The scandalous evidence of its reputation is in the public domain for all to see. Instead of being a light in the midst of darkness it has blackened the nation by approving of practices which a holy God, and His unchanging word, condemns and abhors.
Let us set the record straight here. Nowhere in the Bible does God approve of a homosexual relationship, and neither does a holy God let sinful man redefine marriage.
Scripture clearly tells us that the Rev Scott Rennie should not, because of his immoral lifestyle, be in the Christian ministry. A manse and a pulpit is no place for a man who unashamedly disregards God’s word and Divine law, and who has no love for the truth. The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Homosexuality and Christianity can never approvingly coexist beside one other. It never has and it never will. This is absolute truth as recorded in the Bible, and Divine truth cannot be edited.
When the Church of Scotland says and thinks otherwise, and it quite clearly does, then it is guilty of hypocrisy and religious sacrilege. In their approval of relationships which are depraved, ungodly and unbiblical, then God’s damning words of judgment are pronounced upon the hierarchy of the church. He regards them, not as true Christians but as “traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God…men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the truth.” (2Timothy 3v4&8) This is God’s verdict, not mine, and what solemn condemnation it is. He will not be mocked, when church commissioners dare to poke fun at all that is sacred and ‘change the truth of God into a lie’ (Romans 1 verse 25).
What is desperately needed more than anything else, both in the heart of the Church of Scotland and in the heart of every other Scottish church that has turned its back on God’s word is repentance and reformation.
Mr Donald J Morrison
85 Old Edinburgh Road
Right-wing televangelist Pat Robertson has claimed that “terrorist” same-sex couples are forcing Christians to marry them or else face jail.
The right-wing TV host, who runs the Christian Broadcasting Network, made the claim on his show, The 700 Club.
He said: “It’s one thing to want to persuade somebody to believe like you do, that’s what Christianity is about, to bring the Gospel message and say this is good news and we’d like you to accept it.
“It’s something else to take the arm of the government to force somebody to do something that is against, contrary to their religion, and that’s what these homosexuals are trying to do.
“They are trying to force people who are Christians to marry them or else face jail, to make cakes honoring them or else go to jail and give their sermons over and divulge their innermost thoughts or go to jail, that’s the kind of thing we’re dealing with.
“These people are terrorists, they’re radicals and they’re extremists.”
Opinion by Rachel Held Evans , special to CNN
(CNN) — On March 24, World Vision announced that the U.S. branch of the popular humanitarian organization would no longer discriminate against employees in same-sex marriages.
It was a decision that surprised many but one that made sense, given the organization’s ecumenical nature.
But on March 26, World Vision President Richard Stearns reversed the decision, stating, “our board acknowledged that the policy change we made was a mistake.”
Supporters helped the aid group “see that with more clarity,” Stearns added, “and we’re asking you to forgive us for that mistake.”
So what happened within those 48 hours to cause such a sudden reversal?
The Evangelical Machine kicked into gear.
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In a historic shift in thinking a panel of bishops recommend the Church of England allow special services which will amount to gay marriages in all but name
In principle the Church of England is still committed to the belief that any sex outside a traditional marriage between a man and a woman is a sin
By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor
11:15AM GMT 28 Nov 2013
The Church of England is poised to offer public blessing services for same-sex couples in a historic shift in teaching.
A long-awaited review of church teaching by a panel of bishops recommends lifting the ban on special services which will amount to weddings in all but name.
Although the Church will continue to opt out of carrying out gay marriages, when they become legal next year, the landmark report recommends allowing priests to conduct public services “to mark the formation of permanent same sex relationships”.
The report repeatedly speaks of the need for the Church to “repent” for the way gay and lesbian people have been treated in the past.
In what will be seen as a radical departure, it also suggests that the Bible is inconclusive on the subject of homosexuality.
The report does not recommend drawing up special liturgies for the blessing service, although it suggests new “guidelines” are drawn up.
Unlike weddings, priests will not have a legal obligation to offer such services and the decision will be left to individual parishes.
The report insists that the Church continues to “abide by its traditional teaching”, but the recommendation undoubtedly represents a fundamental shift in practice.
Opponents have been warning that any attempt to change the church’s position in sexuality would lead to a split which would make the disagreements over women bishops pale into insignificance.
It would also trigger a major rift within the 80 million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion.
The review, chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling, a former civil service mandarin, and including four bishops, was ordered last year in an attempt to resolve years of tension over the Church’s approach to gay worshippers and clergy.
But it was granted a wide remit to explore all aspects of its teaching on human sexuality – an issue which has dogged it for decade on sex.
Although the report itself will not change Church teaching or liturgy – something only the House of Bishops and General Synod can do – its publication marks a landmark moment for Anglicanism.
The debate over gay marriage earlier this year was just the latest in a series of issues exposing growing divisions as liberals and conservatives battle for the soul of the Established Church.
Questions over remarrying divorcees, its approach to cohabitation have plagued the Church for decades.
In principle the Church of England is still committed to the belief that any sex outside a traditional marriage between a man and a woman is a sin.
Any official endorsement of lifestyles outside those limits draws anger from traditionalists who argue that the Church is turning its back on 2,000 years of teaching.
But opponents argue that an apparent obsession with people’s private lives is a distraction from the Church’s core mission to spread the Christian gospel.
In practice its position has shifted dramatically in recent decades and even leading evangelicals have acknowledged a need to accept massive social change.
Last year a new official handbook for vicars on conducting weddings made clear that they should expect most couples wanting to marry to be already living together and probably have children.
The House of Bishops agreed last Christmas that openly gay clerics who are in civil partnerships are now officially allowed to become bishops – as long as they claim to be celibate.
The approach taken by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, typifies that of the Church in recent years.
An evangelical who once opposed gay couples adopting children, the Archbishop strongly objected to the Government’s introduction of same-sex marriage when it was debated in the Lords.
But only weeks later, he used his first presidential address to the Church’s General Synod, to warn Anglicans of a need to face up to a “revolution” in attitudes to sexuality.
He later said that most young people – including young Christians – think its teaching on gay relationships is “wicked” and has angered traditionalists by inviting the gay rights group Stonewall into church schools to combat homophobic bullying.
The Archbishop of York, who led the Church’s opposition to gay marriage, has himself signalled support for some form of blessing for same-sex relationships.
Speaking in Lords in July, he pointed out that it already offers special prayers and services to bless sheep and even trees but not committed same-sex couples – something he said would have to be addressed.
When your Christian family rejects you because you’re gay
November 23, 2013 By John Shore
I get what invariably strikes me as a baffling amount of criticism for being “too divisive.” “It divides the body of Christ!”, for instance, is/was Complaint #1 about The NALT Christians Project (which I co-founded). If I’ve had a Christian “instruct” me that I’m being too divisive one time, I’ve heard it from more Christians than you could swat with a ruler.
I can only assume that the Christians who feel that I help foster division within the church are not terribly familiar with such stories as the one below, emailed to me Friday. It must be nice to live in a world where such moral transgressions, such wounding bigotry, such egregious negation of love and humanity—such abominable uses of the infinite love of Jesus Christ—don’t occur.
Seriously, man: How much are tickets to live in that place? Cuz I’ll dig deeply to afford that cost. But until I can afford it—until I understand how any Christian at all can live there—I’m afraid I’m stuck in the world where this pain is a whole lot more real than, as far as I know, any Christian should be willing to accept:
I just discovered your blog. I’m in awe. Where did you come from?! As an openly gay man in my 40’s I have spent the last 25 years feeling as if I jumped from one closet to another. How can I believe in God and most of what I was taught by the Catholic Church and be gay? It’s been a constant struggle in my life. The simple act of walking into a church makes me cringe. I stay away at all costs. I feel that my relationship with God is personal, and I don’t need a church to “teach” me how to manage it. Being around “devout” Christians makes me uncomfortable. I feel shame simply by being in a room with them. Of course I would never admit that to one of “them” but it’s true. I do. I have “unfriended” people on Facebook because I can’t stand to read the biblical quotes and see them “praise” God. It makes my stomach turn. I hate that feeling. Your blog is like a ray of light! Thank you!!!!
As wonderful as your blog is, and despite the feelings I have described above, that is not my reason for writing you. I’m sure you hear this sort of thing over and over—I am hesitant to write at all—but something is telling me to do it. Perhaps you can offer me some advice/perspective.
I have a second cousin that is more like an aunt to me. She and her husband have always been “aunt and uncle” to me, and they have always said that I am a son to them—that I’m their fourth child. Their three daughters are the sisters I never had. I love them with all with all of my heart. I love my aunt and uncle unconditionally, and I would do anything to show my love and support for them. They are also devout born-again Christians. My aunt feels as if the Bible speaks to her, and she believes everything that she reads in it to be literal. It has been a source of constant struggle with the girls and me, dealing with their parents near fanatical belief in their version of Christianity. I have always accepted it for what it was. They have never made me feel unwelcome.
I was married in 2004 when SF opened same-sex marriage. We had a large reception with all of our family and friends a few months later. The girls were there—but my aunt and uncle were not. In fact—despite the fact that she is wedding planner—my aunt felt so strongly about not supporting my marriage that she refused to so much as help me get discounts on invitations. Still, I accepted it, and let it go. I had to. After all, these were two people that, at my very lowest point in life, literally swooped me up, took me home with them, and nurtured a very broken soul. (That’s another story for another day. Suffice it to say my 20’s weren’t so great.) So, although it was hard, I accepted their absence at the celebration of my happiness. My husband and I weren’t permitted to sleep in their home (not in the same room, anyway: we could, however, sleep in our trailer in their driveway), but, except for the sleeping thing, they never made him feel unwelcomed, and accepted him as part of our family.
Fast-forward to 2008, before proposition 8 embarrassingly passed in California. My then husband and I had adopted a 16-year-old girl from the State foster care system in 2006, and we sensed that we should marry again, because our 2004 marriage had been annulled by the court. We wanted to legalize our marriage, both for ourselves and for our daughter. We had a lovely ceremony in our backyard with our daughter officiating. Again, my aunt and uncle were absent. And, again, I accepted that for what it was. This time it hurt more though.
The following Christmas I sat down with my aunt. She was reluctant, because she thought I was going to try to make her wrong. I did just the opposite. I simply told her how I felt, and said that I would always love her and accept her, but that I did not understand. I asked her to explain to me how it was that between her three daughters there had been six marriages, all of which she had attended when she fully disagreed with their divorces—and yet she could not attend my marriage. For that she had no answer. I needed her to know that it mattered a lot to me that they had refused to celebrate my happiness. I told her that her prayers had been answered: that I was okay and I was happy; that I had a full, rich life, and felt truly blessed. I told her that just because God didn’t answer her prayers the way she wanted or thought he should didn’t mean that he hadn’t answered them. We both walked away from that conversation feeling respected and understood—sort of.
Well, my “happiness” didn’t last much longer. I found out that my husband had been doing things with other men that put my life at risk. We amicably split.
Then I met him—the one—and everything changed. My whole life turned upside down. I felt love like I had never felt it before. I loved more than I ever knew I could love. I would have done anything for him. He wasn’t out yet. He was tormented—tortured—and he fell deeply in love with me, too. Technically I was still married, as was he (to a woman for 25 years). His ex-wife decided to out him. That’s when we both realized how blessed we were. His family (strict Portuguese Catholics) embraced us both. His children also embraced us; heck, even his ex-wife’s family embraced us. His family—my family—it really was like something out of a Lifetime movie! My aunt and uncle adored him as well.
Then he proposed. I was thrilled. Everyone was thrilled. Everyone, that is, with the exception of my aunt and uncle. I expected that. I had, after all, been through it before. But it was different this time. I chose to hold out hope that this time they would see the difference. Everyone else did. How could they not see how this man—this love—had changed me and my life for the better?
We decided on a simple ceremony at City Hall with just his kids. It was wonderful (and the best birthday I had ever had!) That was on July 1st. Rather than having a big fancy wedding(ish) party, we decided on something more casual. We rented a campground and invited all of our family and friends to bring their RVs and tents. We barbequed a whole pig (!). We intentionally stayed away from anything “wedding”-like, because we wanted the focus to be on family and friends and all who had supported us throughout our journey.
My beloved aunt and uncle did not come. Their daughters and their grandchildren did. This time they at least sent a response card, declining to come, but saying they “loved us.” This time—again—it hurt more. This time I was devastated. It was such a wonderful day for me: but there was a giant hole right in the middle of it. They couldn’t even come to a family BBQ to celebrate my happiness. My Catholic godparents came, for Pete’s sake!
This time, I just can’t turn the other cheek, and I’m stuck. I don’t know what to do. I just can’t get passed it. Yesterday my aunt sent me a text: “Hi – I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. I hope you’re ok. I LOVE YOU!” I didn’t respond. I couldn’t. I just can’t pretend that everything is okay. I consider myself to be Christian, and I believe in forgiveness. I’ve thought of writing them a letter, but I wouldn’t even know what to say. I feel rejected and judged. I love this man with every fiber of my being. I would die for him. I get it now. To them, though, we are just “friends.” We are not worthy of marriage. Our marriage means nothing to them, and I just don’t think I can go on pretending that that’s somehow “okay.” It’s not.
I believe that God made me who I am and how I am. I believe that God brought my husband to me—and me to him—at the exact moment in both of our lives that we needed God the most. How can I possibly understand or make room for a system of beliefs that doesn’t recognize me as a whole person? The problem I’m facing is that my love for my aunt and uncle is so strong that my natural instinct is to see past it and accept. This time, though, I’m genuinely stuck. When I got my aunt’s text I wasn’t happy to hear from her. I felt pain. I felt rejection.
This time I just don’t know how to agree to disagree. To be honest, it is this relationship that has kept me from going to church.
I think this is what Oprah calls an “ah ha” moment. As I’m typing this I’m realizing that is exactly why I have been so estranged from any form of organized religion.
Anyway – this email has turned into a small book already so I won’t take any more of your time. Any advice you can give me on how to handle this would be greatly appreciated. And thank you again for your wonderful blog
Advice-wise, I guess I’d say this:
Friend. Tell your aunt and uncle to come read what you’ve written here. Tell them to read and listen to this. But mostly ask them to read this letter from you.
If they could possibly choose their aberrant, widely discredited, manifestly destructive version of Christianity over you—if they could actually remain unchanged and unmoved by this letter of yours—then … then all we can do is pray for the poor people. Because the pain they are suffering—each of them, individually—is surely more than even the suffering they are causing you.
I spoke with a friend today. We had coffee and caught up with where we both are in life and in ministry. It was good to share some time together, and to talk about our congregations, especially about how our congregations are dealing with the repercussions of the last General Assembly of our Church. His set of circumstances isn’t widely different from my own. In both of our instances, our congregations are experiencing a significant drop in income as church members and adherents divert their Christian liberality in any other direction but in the direction of the Church of Scotland. Like me, he has experienced congregational disunity and a loss of members.
Coincidentally, I spoke to a Church of Scotland minister yesterday who, in another part of the country, has experienced precisely the same things, on a different scale. A loss of members and adherents; a drop in income; a slump in morale and a sense of being unsupported and alone.
It has been striking since May how ‘a Church of Scotland spokesman’ has from time to time told the media that it is ‘business as usual’ on each occasion a congregation is reported as having left the Kirk or held its first service outside the fold. Each time a congregation leaves, our spokesman tells the world that our business is going on just as it always does. It is business as usual for the Church of Scotland.
I find it to be a callous and insensitive statement. I regret its use, and I wish that our administrators in Edinburgh would abandon it and find something more understanding and, well, realistic to say.
I don’t for a moment think that we are so strong a denomination that we can simply shrug our shoulders whenever a congregation leaves and say that it is just business as usual for the Kirk.
How does the Church of Scotland possibly think that we can conduct our ministry and mission, just as usual, each time we lose congregations, ministers, members and adherents?
Of course, what we are really being told is that we can all relax. There is no need for anyone to be worried. After all, it is only a congregation here, and a congregation there. We don’t have to fear the worst. It is not the mass exodus that some would have hoped for, and which others predicted. We can all breathe a little more easily. The apocalypse has not materialized. We can get back to business as usual.
But I find the assertion that it is business as usual each time we lose a congregation to be theologically deficient. How can it be business as usual each time the body of Christ is lacerated and dismembered? How can the loss of ministers and congregations not affect our denomination deeply and lastingly, at this stage of numerical and financial decline in every sphere of our work? How can it conceivably be described as business as usual when a congregation divides, when some who have worshipped together for years and years now meet in the community centre whilst others remain in the church building down the street? How can it be business as usual when families are divided and worship separately? When hearts are broken? When the friendships of decades are torn apart? This is what is happening in evangelical congregations in the Church of Scotland.
Is that business as usual for the Church of Scotland?
Two nights ago I spoke to a couple who have left our congregation because they felt we ought to have seceded, and we did not. We have been friends for twenty years. From now on, we won’t eat and drink from the Lord’s Table together any longer. We won’t sing the Lord’s praises side by side any more. We won’t pray together.
Is that business as usual for the Church of Scotland?
In my congregation, as with many evangelical congregations in the Church of Scotland, friends and family members have left, whilst others have stayed. Finances have been massively hit, by those who have left and by those who have stayed but who don’t want to support the Church of Scotland’s mixed agenda any more. There are great and pressing financial problems for many of us, right now. We are deeply worried, at one level, though at another we believe that God will show us a pathway through the Red Sea.
But is this business as usual for the Church of Scotland?
The claim that the Church of Scotland can sail on as though everything is just business as usual is simply theological nonsense, and pastoral clumsiness. Like all pastoral clumsiness, it hurts, at the end of the day, and it alienates.
When my friends told me two nights ago that they were no longer going to associate with my congregation, or with me, that did not feel like business as usual.
But perhaps decline and disinterest is business as usual for the Church of Scotland?
Soli Deo Gloria