First of all I would recommend you read the About me page as this will explain why I’m writing and give some of my personal background by way of context. A few years ago I started writing an essay to work through my understanding of what the Bible says about those who are in the LGBTQ+ community. Some have called it an opus because of it’s size, but I have simply stuck to calling it an essay, because I was writing for myself – I never wrote it intending others to read it. It’s all rather frightening, but I was challenged to put it out there somewhere, because it might just help someone. I pray that is the case.
I finally settled on calling my essay “Changing Minds:- A Thorough Exploration of the Issues To Reconcile being LGBTQ+ with the Bible.” hence the title of this blog. It might be a long title, but it does what it says on the tin! Some might say the word “Thorough” is not an exaggeration, but I hope it’s length doesn’t put you off. In my first chapter, called “Setting The Scene – Where Do We Find Ourselves Today?” I take a look at my growing background unease with the traditional conservative evangelical teaching, even though I didn’t actively do anything to resolve my unease until what I regard as being late in the day. I was into my late fifties, though I hope you don’t wait that long.
In the first chapter, I spend some time defining my terms, because it is important to know who we are referring to. We have become more familiar with the term LGBTQ+, but if we want to be truly inclusive we perhaps ought to refer to those who are LGBTQQIAAP or LGBTQQIP2SAA! I’ll not explain those acronyms here because I do that in full in Chapter 1. In essence, for those who may not understand what LGBTQ stands for, it is Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender and Queer. We sometimes use a “+” or a “*” to indicate there are others. Some may be familiar with the asterisk being used on the computer where you use it as a wildcard when searching for a group of similar items. LGBTQ+ are not just letters or abstract concepts, they represent individual people – people made in God’s image, people who God loves, people over whom God pronounces a blessing (Genesis 1: 28). Indeed Genesis 1: 30 says: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” A good many of them are Christians and love Jesus in the same way as anyone else I have ever known.
Those who identify as being part of the LGBTQ+ community have been around since the earliest days of civilization, and have been known under different names in different cultures. In some cultures they have been honoured as special, standing between the spirit world and the real world. In others, they are just treated as a fact of life – nothing out of the ordinary. However today, and particularly since 1946 when the word homosexual first appeared in our Bibles following a mistranslation (have a read through the http://canyonwalkerconnections.com/ website) Christians have taken against those in the community in a much greater way than previously.
In this chapter I make some initial arguments about what it is we object to and I also ask “why?” because we must understand clearly exactly what it is we are condemning. I go on to look at the character of God and ask why God would create people in His own image and then condemn them for their perceived “sin” (being LGB), even though it is physically impossible for someone to change their orientation. Christians say “you can’t be saved because you are still gay (etc.). If you were truly saved you wouldn’t be gay anymore”. I then ask how many of God’s character traits would be at odds if He simply creates these people, just to condemn them when there is never a chance of Salvation. I used the “never a chance of Salvation” expression there, not because it is true (it isn’t) but in many Christian’s minds there is a requirement for someone to change, to prove they have been “Saved”, and this change simply doesn’t and won’t happen, regardless of the level of the person’s faith in Jesus. So this obviously requires that we open our Bibles to see what what is going on and what it really says.
So when I read Scripture, I therefore need to ask these questions:
• As what I read apparently conflicts with God’s nature and character, have we understood or translated the Bible correctly in these areas?
• Secondly, what images were in the original authors mind when he wrote the words he used; what was he trying to convey to the people he knew he was writing to?
• Finally, Jesus is by very essence God’s Word, so how does the life and teaching of Jesus (especially in the Beatitudes) influence my understanding of the Scripture that I have just read?
The question of Choice is the elephant in the room for the conservative evangelical Christian. If the LGBTQ+ community has “chosen” their lifestyle then perhaps a moral argument can be made. If they have no choice (as with left handedness or the colour of eyes) then we have a very real theological problem justifying our spitefulness and hatred, and I spend some time looking at these issues.
I want people to really love reading their Bibles and not just give up if the text looks difficult – like when God seemingly encourages ethic cleansing. I have now come to read my Bible in a different way to when I was younger and no longer have to pretend certain passages aren’t there. Since 2014 I have read the Bible through from cover to cover once every year, and as I am not a Pastor, or professional Bible teacher, this is something I do for enjoyment, not because I am obligated as part of my job.
I haven’t included a discussion forum, because of the way I have seen some correspondents on other sites using it to attack other Christians whose views they do not agree with. However, if I get interesting and helpful comments, contributions or questions, there is a good chance I will incorporate them in future blogs, with comments where appropriate