September 20, 2007


This is the latest of a series of articles written byKathy Baldock for RENO OUT. Thanks to Kathy for allowing me to post it here.

There are some things I am sound on. So solid that self-doubt, opposition, criticism and enticement will not move my firmly planted feet. There are other issues that still cause me to search for the footing I would like. My heart knows what I want my head to believe.

I struggle, and who does not? I have been a resident in this society for 51 years and a professing Christian for 25 of those years. Both these citizenships have colored my views. In the most extreme of cases, I have heard the barb, “all gays go to hell”, and I try to place this in my larger contextual solid shell of “Jesus is merciful and compassionate” and chose to hang out with the outcasts and the marginalized.

So, can you see the dichotomy, the struggle? What’s a Jesus-follower to do and, what’s a person who has been wounded and pushed away by society and church to do? Is there a middle we can meet in love and discuss this and make sense of it all? It is part of my personality to be curious , so I investigate into, meditate on, listen to, discuss and read in hope to come to that solid place where I am firmly rooted. When I look down, I am sure my feet are firmly planted on some very major issues, on others, I am still in process.

Sexual issues of morality are not unique to the gay and non-Christian community. Yes, even I struggle with what I want and what I know is right. You may find this amusing, but this is how it sometimes works in my head till I get solid. After lingering five years too long in a difficult twenty year marriage, I found a man who greatly pleased me. My gentle pastor of almost twenty years was brave enough to challenge me on the obvious. I said, “I hope God has some kind of a balance sheet where He knows what I’ve missed out on and has credited me for withdrawal now.” Creative, but very lame. Some things are definitive to me; other thinking may and often does stretch the elastic to the point just before it snaps.

Friends call me a creative thinker; God made me that way and then, I believe, placed me in a spot sure to draw controversy and misunderstanding. In keeping with that, last month in my article, I mentioned the five “clobber verses” in the Bible. These five verses are used by many people in and out of churches to label the LGTBQ community as unworthy of God’s love and society’s respect. I could do an article on each of those verses by going through the Hebrew, the culture, the context…..this is not the forum. In each case, however, the phrases that invite the rejection have been translated as “homosexual”. People with vested interests have helped me look at each of these verses in a different way than the interpretations I have heard. I have a dear friend in the East Bay named Ed who I met at a conference in Seattle. He has come to trust me enough to open up his life, his vast and intelligent approach to Biblical study and his church community to me. I spent a weekend with him and his fellow Freedom in Christ church members this summer. He continues to direct me to books, websites and activists to help me to find information so that I could get the other side of the translations I had read so often.

And, so I struggle, struggle to find REAL meaning, intent, context and historical setting of these five verses that have so offended my gay friends, that so empower some people to judge and condemn. I can get in all kinds of trouble with people when I say that I believe some Bible translations did a horrible job in substituting “homosexual” for what I believe is being spoken of in those verses is a male temple cultic prostitute and in other cases males that dress up as women for temple cultic practices. I just cannot mesh all I know about Jesus, about the loving same sex relationships I know together with these badly translated verses and then conclude that my gay friends are immoral just because they are gay. Sexuality is amoral; it is people who are moral and immoral. I am on my third reading of a “Sex God” by Rob Bell. In it, he explores the connection between sexuality and spirituality. The heterosexual community has certainly done its part to distort sex from its original intent. And do I know plenty of sexually immoral heterosexuals—absolutely! So, why all the emphasis on sexual orientation? Jesus never mentioned it in the Bible, but in fairness, He never mentioned lots of things.

I confuse some people in the lesbian community in particular when I show up to Gay Pride and their softball games and go to Bully’s with them afterwards. I am genuinely trying to hear hearts and understand and reflect Jesus. A woman recently told me she has “no history” with someone like me, so I can be rather suspect. Bono from U2 says, “if Jesus were on earth you’d find Him in gay bars in San Francisco. He’d be working with people suffering from AIDS. These people are the new lepers. If you want to find out where Jesus would be hanging out it’ll always be with the lepers.” I am NOT saying my gay friends are lepers; it is just where Jesus would be. My radical role model.

So how about if we each put down our judgments and inch towards the center? I am trying to run at it; I will stumble, I will offend. If you want to do your own inching, a safe place for the LGBTQ is Light of the Soul Christian Ministries. They meet every Sunday at 7 pm at the First Congregational Church on Sunnyside. They played a great set Sunday morning at Gay Pride if you were there. They love Jesus; they would love to help you find a way back to a place of acceptance.

I want to effect change in a world that breeds too much fear and hatred. I want to struggle less and know more. I challenge you to take the tough road of opening up to be a creative thinker too. As I strive to find an honest way to bring understanding in all this confusion and interpretation, I want to find a place where my feet are so solid on this issue that the certain-to-come opposition will not knock me down. I want to adhere to what one of the Old Testament Prophets answered of the question “What does the Lord require of you?” The answer; ‘ To act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.” I want justice, I do love mercy and I try to walk humbly with my God and His creation, and that is each of you. And finally, I want my head to believe what my heart thinks, don’t you?

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