Saturday, November 12, 2016
non-PC excerpt--The Butcher, the Baker, and the Coffee Makers
This is an excerpt from the middle of the book, so there will be characters in it who weren't in the excerpt posted earlier.
"Oh, boy, this could get interesting!" She muttered to herself, then took the role of leading the discussion. "Mary, could you read that first question to us."
"Sure. Let me see... "What are some good ways we as a church can show a loving welcome to those who are involved in alternative lifestyles". Wow, that's quite the question."
"So, any thoughts."
As expected, it was Cindi who took up the gauntlet. "Well, I think this definitely is a step in the right direction. A church should be a place where everyone is welcomed and accepted, and not just put up with. We need to be just as welcoming to the gay couple as we are to the family with five children, maybe even more so, since the gay couple isn't overpopulating the planet."
Tony was nodding his head with vigor. "I agree, I agree, and I'd go further. While I appreciate this as a good first step, the church really needs to get with the times, and finally accept and embrace any form of love that two or more people have for each other. God is love, and where there is love, God is there, and as someone who knows several gay people in college and knows that they truly love each other, I cannot with a clear conscience condemn their love and the expressions of their love for each other."
"So what are you saying?" Naomi asked him.
"I'm saying that if this church wants to truly have a loving welcome to those in alternative lifestyles, it needs to do more than just adopt a version of the "don't ask don't tell" policy. It needs to see the gay couple, or the group of bisexual lovers, as being just as much a family as the hetero couple. It needs to lose the language of sin in regards to outdated sexual taboos, and see that the Bible nowhere condemns the loving and caring expressions of love between consenting adults. Homosexuality itself is never condemned in the Bible, only unhealthy forms of domination in any sexual practice."
"That is wrong." Bob interrupted. "When the Bible speaks about any such sexual practices, it always says they are wrong."
Tony wasn't going to back down. "There are only like, what, six or seven verses in the Bible that deal with homosexuality? And Jesus never said anything about it, so it's hardly that big of an issue."
Naomi knew already that Bob wasn't one to shy from a confrontation. "There are very few verses that deal with many important issues. If we're staying in the realm of sexual issues, how many verses deal with sex with animals? Not a whole lot, but they are there, and are you going to say that it isn't a big issue nowadays simply because nothing is recorded of Jesus saying anything about it? And there are few verses concerning parents having sex with their children, or vice versa, but are you going to say that practice is ok now simply because it's not something addressed in every other chapter of the Bible?
"And you're wrong, again. Jesus plainly said that in the beginning, they were to be husband and wife, male and female. The overall teaching of the Bible is that marriage is between men and women. The closest you can come to any divergence from that is that polygamy was an accepted practice in Israel during the Old Testament times.
"But even granting the complication of polygamy, at not time was any form of same-sex practices ever accepted in the Bible. And there are liberal theologians who know that the Bible cannot be used to support their own acceptance of such practices, so they have to come up with their own ideas to somehow make it seem like God is more accepting of such things nowadays."
Tony was pretty mad, and Naomi wasn't sure she blamed him. Not that she disagreed with Bob, but he spoke rather bluntly on the matter. But before she could say anything, Evan asked, "So, how should we welcome people in such alternative lifestyles?"
"The same way we welcome all people. It doesn't matter that their sins might be sexual, or greed, or lying, or any others, Christ died so that they can be forgiven of those sins through repentance and faith in Him."
Evan nodded in a thoughtful matter, but Cindi now jumped in again. "Don't talk to us about sin." her face was contorted in an ugly manner. "How dare you try to put on a holier-than-thou act!"
"I'm not." Bob was getting a bit heated, too, though he was trying to stay calm. "I am a sinner, it was for my sins that Christ died. I am not holier-than-thou, I am well aware of my fallen state and sinful nature, that I am the vilest sinner that I know of, and if Christ can save me, he can save anyone."
Her head set in a haughty manner, Cindi replied. "It's such a shame when you use your religion to hurt people. You should feel ashamed of yourself, because all you see in your religion is a bunch of Thou Shalt Nots, and all you end up doing in hurting a bunch of good, caring, loving people, who want nothing more than to live in the love that they have for each other. They aren't doing you any harm, they aren't demanding that you stop loving women, all they want is for you to love and accept them as they are, as God made them, as they have no choice but being. You're not better than those stupid bigots back in the sixties, saying white people shouldn't marry black people."
For the first time in the few weeks she'd known Bob, Naomi heard real anger in his voice. "You are the one who is not showing them real love, ma'am. You are the one who is telling them that their sinful sexual choices are acceptable to God, a lie that leads them to believe in a false god, and will ultimately lead them to Hell. You are the one who is really and ultimately hurting them. You are not showing them godly love, you are simply showing them politically correct cowardice."
"And your analogy to racism is absolutely ludicrous." Evan jumped in with some heat in his voice. "Skin color is nowhere near the same thing as choices concerning sexual activities. There are many black people who resent how gays have tried to use the civil rights movement to justify their immorality, and are comparing their sin to our skin."
"Guys, guys, we're all friends here." This discussion was threatening to get out of hand, and Naomi was afraid it would cross some serious lines, and might even come to look bad on her. "I think we can discuss this without insulting each other."
"I doubt that." Evan muttered. " I agree with Bob. I hope this church makes gay people welcomed, just like a church should make thieves, liars, porn watchers, and all sinners welcomed. They should be welcomed, but not made comfortable in their sins. Bob has said nothing that any Christian through the past couple of thousand years wouldn't agree with."
"This isn't two thousand years ago, it's now." Tony obviously wasn't ready to concede anything. "Whatever backwards views of sexuality they had in ancient times, I hope it can be expected that we have advanced beyond those homophobic morals. If this church wishes to succeed and grow, it will have to change with the times, it will have to not only welcome, but accept and celebrate all forms of caring, loving relationships, no matter how those relationships may violate the church's arcane and outdated moral codes.
"People like you have been around the past two thousand years." Bob said. "You've been wrong all that time, and you, sir, are wrong now. The church is not a bull horn by which the world proclaims what it has declared right and wrong. The church does not echo the world, but speaks the Word of God as God has given to us in the Scriptures. The commands against homosexuality are no more outdated then the commands against murder, adultery, or theft.
"If Lanover Church wishes to grow in godliness and holiness, it will not hold the opinions of the world over the commands of God. It will speak the Gospel, telling sinners of their sins, including homosexuality, and telling them that even for those sins, Christ died. If it does not do those things, if it accepts the world's twisted moral codes or even tries to play nice by remaining silent, then it will have lost any notion of being a Christian church, and the anathema should be pronounced over it."