Wednesday, October 5

Why same sex marriage

As Christians we are commanded not to judge one another.  We, however, do judge situations.  Sometimes, we come to the conclusion that behaviors are inherently sinful.  For example, while we wouldn't condemn a repentant adulterer to hell we would certainly find adulterous acts to be inherently sinful as God has always held.  However, when he encountered Mary about to be stoned, Jesus, showed compassion and empathy.  He discouraged her attackers and one by one laid down their stones and departed until it was just them.  We might also not let an unrepentant adulterer be part of our church.

I don't think anyone in the church would argue that sin requires repentance to receive grace.  We also all can agree that grace is not earned by repentance but by faith. 

This is the dilemma when it comes to unmarried people in sexual relationships.  The Bible is abundantly clear that this is sexual immorality and this has good logical basis. 

For example, who has not been "in love" with someone and had their "heart broken" even without sex being involved?  How much worse is it if you gave yourselves to each other?  Horrible, right?

So God gives us marriage and tells us that is how it should be.  Permanent and life altering. 

I can testify that life for me changed the DAY I married.  It has never been the same since.  Every decision I make is tempered by her needs and the same is true for me.  At least if we get it right....

I suppose this is why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:
32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.

However, he also says:
8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Clearly marriage is, at least impart, the cure for sexual immorality. 

In fact it's so clear throughout Pauls writings that it's mentioned this way repeatedly.  Take for example 1 Timothy 5:

 11 ... For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12 Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. 14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15 Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.
Of course, we know that marriage isn't just a cure for sexual immorality.

Mary Fairchild, on, sums up the foundation of marriage account from Genesis:
We can conclude from this account in Genesis that marriage is God's idea, designed and instituted by the Creator. In these verses we also discover that at the heart of God's design for marriage is companionship and intimacy.  (
Paul also draws another lesson from marriage.  He talks at length about how marriage is like the relationship between Christ and the church.  Take for example this passage in Ephesians 5:
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
What's clear here is that the relationship clarity is that in marriage we learn self-sacrificing love about Jesus for the church and us to our spouses.

Ecclesiastes 4 talks about how life is just BETTER when you aren't alone.  Just as God said in Genesis when he saw Adam by himself.

So lets review up to this point, marriage:

  1. Cures loneliness
  2. Teaches self sacrificing love
  3. provides companionship and intimacy
  4. cures sexual immorality
 This is why if a young man and women get involved with each other and are in a sexual relationship we direct them to marriage.  We always have.

Let's be really clear here, 4 out of 5 of our CHILDREN in the church have sexual relations OUTSIDE of marriage.  This is only slightly less than those outside the church.  (  Let's also not pretend that it's a new thing.  I know I did the same thing.  With my wife before I married her.

I married her though and stopped sinning because, as we covered, marriage cures sexual immorality.  Sex inside marriage is a divine blessing.  Sex outside is a curse. 

The question I pose then is if marriage has all these benefits and cures sexual immorality...then why not same sex marriage? 

For the last 100 years or so we might say that it's because it's a perversion of what God intended.  We might say it's because it's banned in the old testament and called a curse in the new testament.  Ultimately we conclude we can't give our blessing on unrepentant sin.  We might be right.

What if we aren't though? 

Does same sex marriage not provide companionship, intimacy, cure loneliness, and teach self sacrificing love?  Are they not capable of doing much good in the world just because even if we are fallen and flawed we are still a reflection of God.  If marriage cures sexual immorality, why wouldn't God allow it for EVERYONE? 

Gay people don't and most can't find the satisfaction that heterosexuals can in a relationship and almost all of them have tried to.  In fact, for most, the need to find that in a relationship overcomes them just as it would for a young widower.

A recent study from the ex-gay organization Exodus international concluded with 

Can we find one logical reason why someone should be denied, in Gods name, the right to follow God because of who they love?

When they go to church and are turned away because of who they love then everyone loses (God, them, and the church). 

How would you feel if a Pastor looked you in the eye and told you that a murder who repents of their sin is welcome in Heaven but you are not because you don't believe you are sinning? 

By the way, sinning, is missing the mark, not bad, not evil, not condemned....just off mark.  That's what it means.  Look, I don't know a LGBT person who would not admit that they wanted to be normal.  To hit that mark.  They just can' they want to do the right thing in Gods eyes.

When I look at the Bible it's clear that the RIGHT thing is marriage.  Every Christian LGBT person should come to the conclusion that their are two right choices:  Be celibate or marry the person who would otherwise bring you to sin if you know you can not be celibate. 

That's the choices for heterosexuals and I am convinced GOD wants it that way for everyone.

The DAMAGE from denying same sex marriage rights is astounding.

The effects on people include death, mental illness, high rates of STDs, drugs, drinking, broken families, loss of faith, etc.

The effect on the church is that people are rejecting it because the generally held belief is that most people see it as unloving and hypocritical.  Our youth more so than our elders.  Worse, churches are splitting and dividing because within church roughly half of the people support same sex marriage because they have seen the issues play out with family and friends.  They think the church is failing God and the people.

Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:
1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.  6 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 

Maybe you have heard "Love the sinner, hate the sin" and live by it.  Do you know where it comes from?  Mahatma Gandhi.  It's not Christian. 

Maybe we need to give Gandhi a toss and pick up grace and give it.  We have the authority as the church to look at the evidence, talk to the spirit, and love ABUNDANTLY.

Tuesday, August 30

A dream and a study...

I was given a dream recently that I am supposed to share. I pray that I accurately portray what I saw.

In the dream there were initially two groups of people.

In one group there was a group of people engaging in all sorts of sexual perversions. None of which were loving each other but just using the others. There were homosexual activities as well as heterosexual. It sheer and utter hedonism. God was not with them. There was sickness and disease spreading among them. They hated God.

In the other group there were Christians talking about what they saw and how to fix it. They loved God. They had all the answers to every problem on display. They seemed to know exactly what to do.

They didn't seem t0o concerned when one of their own would slip over and go into the other group and start engaging in the hedonism. They also were very happy to welcome people into their group when they just stopped being part of the other group and wanted to come over.

This second group accepted everyone back except for the homosexuals who tried to join them. Many were turned away and went back to the hedonism broken and sick. Some, however, stopped taking part in hedonism and started loving relationships and worshiping God. Those people formed a third group.

The second group turned its attention from the first group and started telling the second group what to do. They weren't talking amongst themselves any more. They had stopped looking at the hedonism of group one and were focused on the new third group. They had all the answers still and told them God wasn't with them. At first the second group was very sure of itself but then some of the people started moving into the third group.

The third group was like the second except no one who left the first group was ever turned away. Soon almost half of the second group had left and was with the third group.

The second group was furious. Still saying the same things about the third group.

God was angry with the second group. He loved them but so many people who tried to join them were turned away. Many in the first group thought about leaving only to watch people be turned away.

God asked who is saved? I said the second and third groups. He said no. Only the third group was loving all their neighbors.

He then asked, who is it easier for me to reach? The lost and wicked who know what they are doing is wrong or the righteous who are lost on the path?

A study was released today by the Public Religion Research Institute looking at how we view homosexuality as it intersects with our faith.

Only 10% of the people in the study would turn away homosexuals at the door. The numbers say that 46% think it's not a sin and of the 50% that think it is a sin 68% would call it a sin but welcome them in their church. (see Q31 and Q32)

This is an issue that is tearing the Christian church apart and where there is such division amongst people that say they love God there is guidance. We should throw open the door and love abundantly. Leaving the decision to God to decide.

When we fail that call we drive a wedge between people and God. This is the greatest sin. To be the wedge between God and one that he is calling. The mere accusation of this should send shivers down your spine. What will GOD do if you are in the one who judges wrongly?

Well according to this study, over 54% of the population believes that religious groups are alienating young people by being too judgmental. (See Q34 b) Let me be clear, this is all age groups this is ALL young people...not just homosexual youth.

Worse though, 69% of the YOUNG people say that it's the case (See summary). They know best because it's a question talking about them.

When we see our young people fleeing the church and we are wondering it is and it's not just a disturbing dream but it's a fact.

I'm in the third group. Please join me no matter where you are right now, there is room.

Wednesday, June 15

Coming out

When I was 7 I knew when I grew up I wanted to work with computers or be a pastor. Now that I am grown up I work with computers and will be one of Gods representatives to the LGBT community, particularly the transgender community.

My new name is Christine Spencer. I grew up Christopher Spencer.

While I had such clarity on what I wanted to be when I grew up I also had a secret. Many of my earliest memories are of me cross dressing and thinking I was a girl. I couldn't reconcile that with my body and I thought it was wrong. I knew girls do some things and boys do others. So despite these feelings and despite all the times I snuck on my mothers earrings (clip ons), or wore my sisters or mothers clothes...I told no one. I wanted to be good and I thought I was bad. It was a form of self loathing that only in the last few years have I begun to get over. In coming out now, I have made a choice. I have chosen to stop hating myself and with that choice comes the recognition that many people from family to friends to strangers will hate me for it.

As a child, I often dreamed I was a girl. I loved many girl things and many boy things. I often hid that I loved the girl things like playing paper dolls with my sister and watching girl shows like My Little Pony, Care Bears, and Strawberry Shortcake.

I could never quite reconcile it within myself and honestly I didn't want to. I wanted it to go away.

By high school I knew I liked girls. I thought surely this meant I was a boy but liking girls didn't really change my inner self, I still felt I was feeling more like a girl. I did boy activities but I wasn't fitting in. A large part of my childhood is lost to me now because I was not enjoying it.

When my puberty hit, I started to have breasts. Possibly that was because I was gaining weight fast but it could be something more. In any case, I have had breasts since. This was a source of both great comfort and great pain.

I remember once at scout camp where I was working on a life guarding merit badge and some little kid maybe 8 years old asked their father why I had breasts. It was devastating. He said what I thought, what I wondered, what haunted me.

Even today, I wonder if under the physical male shell there isn't more going on. It's probably nothing. I am probably in just a regular mans body but I am not like other men. I am also not fully like women.

Being trans is best understood if you think of a sliding scale with different points on the line. Some men are all men...Some women are all women...but in between we have a wide variety of people with different tastes and visions of themselves which they express in their clothing choices, in their mannerisms, and in their relationships. None of us are exactly alike.

Most people identify very closely to the lines that match their bodies but many are in between and some, like me, cross over to the other side. It's neither wrong or right, it just is. You are how your mind sees you to yourself and after a lifetime of trying to change it and believe I am not on the other side of the line...I accepted I was and I accepted that it just is.

I think I prayed more prayers than stars in the sky asking to have it changed. God never answered me until I felt him call me Christine and later when he woke me up to start They Know Not...which has not received the attention it has deserved.

All that praying with no answers...but I didn't lose faith because God has been good to me. He has blessed me by answering other prayers, saving my life (on more than one occasion), and giving me my wife and children. Many lessons also have been learned over my life because of him.

Today, I am able and called to come out boldly because of his love and his enduring grace. I can do it with my heart clean having rejected and grown out of much of my sin nature by his guidance without fear that I am letting him down. Without fear that I am lying to myself. Without fear that I am slandering his name.

My God is good. There are none like him. He created the heavens and the Earth and all things in them. His power and vision are unmatched.

It's a mighty small box painted around God if people think he can't create people like me. Clearly he does because I am a witness to it and so are millions of other believers. Our experiences are different, our walks on paths less traveled but our destinations are the same.

I'm out. I'm me. I'm going to reach people that are lost. If you have a problem with that, you are not standing against me...but against God who stands behind me. Leading me from behind much like a driver in a car steers the wheels of the car.

I take the Bible very seriously. I still believe the Earth and all creation are young. I don't believe our story stopped with the early church. I don't believe that the Bible is the end only the guidebook from which we can learn about God. We are his messengers. His people.

He entrusted us with sharing his love in every generation across all time and to all people. My job is to share it with others like me. Standing against someone in Gods name does not bring them closer to God. It does not change them in a positive way. Degrading them does not uphold How precious and wonderfully made they are to God.

Doing these things does not lift up God, it pulls God from their grasp. They get lost and abandoned. This has devastating consequences which are well detailed in study after study.

That is not how God works. It's fruits are layed bare for those with eyes to see. It is because of this that I must come out and pick up my cross.

I am Christine Spencer, trans-woman, follower of Christ, servant to all.

Love and grace to all who read these words. I pray you can understand.

Friday, May 20

In Re: to

I'm a trans woman.  I am not impressed with this event at all if the reporting here is accurate.

First of all, there is no way that 150 out of 300 people are gay or lesbian unless you have an event that is targeted to or organized by gay people.  Certainly not at a church service.  Try 20-40 out of 300.

Next, gay men should be men.  Trans-women should not be.  I don't know what was meant by that but be careful, you might just marginalize the community I belong to and that's not right...particularly from a group that knows what it's like.

Third and probably most importantly, if you believe you are gay and can't be saved, you need to stop being gay.  If you can't God must be a real cruel master.  What father would create someone in the impossible situation of being something they can't be?

Here's what I believe.  I believe Jesus taught about love.  He was right their criticizing the super religious and told them that they "strained at a gnat and swallowed the camel."  They didn't get it then and they don't get it now.  Same people in different stripes.

Jesus said do as they say not as they do.  Love like they say...not like they do.  Selfless love esteeming others as more important than you and humbly seeking God through prayer is where we LGBT Christians need to be.  We should act as peacemakers between the very conservative and the LGBT community as LGBT members of faith.

We must bridge that gap and extend the love of God to our LGBT brothers and sisters and welcome them into his kingdom.  We can't sit in shame and silence while others whom he loves are lost to lies and confusion.

The purpose of marriage is to prevent the married couple from sinning.  It's blessed and sanctified by God for that reason.  Just because the examples in the Bible didn't include gay people doesn't mean God never intended it.  Just as Jesus saves and sanctifies the church, marriage saves and sanctifies the couple in it from sin.  God graciously allows us through marriage many blessings and many of those blessings also would be of great benefit to gay and lesbian couples.

God made bridges when people needed him too.  He granted GRACE.  He parted the sea.  He guided the stones to fell a giant.  GOD is GOOD.  GOD ALWAYS MAKES A WAY and as the church it is our job to make that way for those that are lost and hurting and needing his love.  We were extended the authority to act and we have every right and obligation to do so.

If we get lost in the rule of the law we lose sight of grace.  Jesus said there is a time and a season for all things and extending marriage to committed same sex couples and accepting the truth of others who are different so that Gods message of love is not LOST on them has come.

Paul asked the question should we continue to sin so that grace should abound and answered it for us also.  Not all things are beneficial so of course not...

Yet this is one thing where we can see the harm and feel the pain.  We can also see how that is overcome by people learning to accept themselves.  We can see the joy and goodness that flows from someone who lives in what they believe to be their truth.  Even if you think it is not what God intended, how can you suggest that they should be stuck being miserable and feeling despised by God?  How can anyone of faith reconcile our loving God with that pain?

Studies conclusively show that if a family accepts and loves their gay child the child will thrive but if the child faces rejection, judgement, or condemnation the risks all across the board are worse.


Know it in your heart.  God loves gay people too.  If you can't see this and your heart is so hard then Paul's words in 1 Timothy 4 are for you:
1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
 Everything God created is good.  LGBT people are born that way.  They almost always try not to be who they are sometimes to the point where they give up on themselves and attempt suicide. (well over 20% have attempted.  Higher numbers in the trans community).  It's often but not always a narrow and hard road.  Particularly at first.  If you can't see the pain then there is something wrong.  If you can't have compassion then there is something wrong.

The Church will overthrow and tear down this wall.  Gods people can not be held apart any longer.  His message will prevail.  You watch.  You see.  Millions will be saved!

Friday, April 8

The great commission

Matthew 28:
18 Then Jesus came to them and said,“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them ina the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

This was what Jesus asked of his disciples.  Go, make believers...and they did.  Today we have 2.1 Billion believers in the world.  Those believers represent some of the richest and poorest people in the world.  They represent people in big cities and small towns.  They represent people of all walks of life and diverse life experiences.

In the general population recent studies have indicated 8.9% of the population is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual (LGBT).  Many of them remain hidden.  If that number held into the Christian population then almost 187 million people are in the Church already, however, all indications are that is not the case.  The simple truth is the church has made them feel unwelcome.  The church has persecuted them even to the point of bearing false witness and murdering them.  Mind you, not every one...but many.

What weighs heavily on my heart is to think that it's likely that 603 million people don't hear the same gospel the same way as the 2.1 billion believers.  To them it's like going to church and finding the doors are closed and boarded up.  They hear that God hates them and is sending them to hell.

My soul cries out for these people.  Can't we preach righteousness without judgement?  Can't we preach love without conditions?  Can't we preach tolerance without limitations?

If we really believe that what God wants is us with him, why would so many have to feel like the doors aren't and never were open to them?

I promise that it is my goal to pry those doors open and rush the gates of heaven with as many of my 603 million LGBT friends as I can take with me.

Matthew 3
7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11“I baptize you withb water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
I am telling you the truth here, the Church is not the one holding the winnowing fork.  That is reserved for Jesus.  Shame on us for ever trying to wield it at the harvest.