Pride and Prejudice: A Conversation with My Wife About Homosexuality and the Bible

Once upon a couple weeks ago…

Wife: Do you want to go out for lunch after church today?

Me: ummm… whatever.

Wife: Oooo, there’s that new restaurant downtown, they’re supposed to have like 30 local beers on tap.

Me: Awww Yisss, this is why we’re married.

We drive downtown, find a place to park…which seems a bit fuller than usual. Then we see (something like) this:

repent signHuh, random…

Then we see a group of people walking towards the restaurant dressed like this:

rainnbow_outfitsOOOHHHHH!  I get it now.

Wife: What’s going on?

Me: I think it’s Pride Festival.

Wife: I thought that was last week?

Me: Our town must do it a week late, maybe?

We get closer to the Christian protestors and notice there is a crowd gathering around them. Clearly there is some arguing going on

enhanced-2379-1404323481-17My wife gets visibly angry… mutters this under her breath

Wife: Oh, yeah, sure…great way to represent Jesus you assholes

Walking to the restaurant we pass by a married (straight) couple dressed like this:

RNS-GAY-ANGLICANThey brought their small children to the parade.  Methodists maybe?

We arrive at the restaurant

Hostess: How many?

Me: 5

Hostess: Name?

Me: Jameson

Hostess: It’ll be about 20 mins.  As you can see we’re a little busier today because of the parade.

The wife is notable upset, stewing in anger.

Me: Honey, are you alright?

Wife:

Me: Honey?

Wife: Who do they think they are?

Me: Who?  The pastor couple in rainbow stoles or the protestors.

Wife: The protestors, obviously!  Like, why?  Why do they need to come here, and be so…so…hateful?  What’s the point of Jesus talking about love and grace, when all these people do is come out here and tell everyone they’re going to burn in hell?

I’m stuck in a bit of a pickle here.  I’m still employed as a conservative pastor and this is a very public place.  As a closeted atheist I’m also a closeted Queer ally.  My wife knows my position, but I have no idea who is around me.  I try to be discreet and supportive at the same time.

Me: Well, honey, some people have this strange need to be assholes.  They actually enjoy being angry.  They enjoy hating people.  I’m sure there’s a few protestors out there that think they’re doing the “right thing”, but mostly it’s part of the persecution complex.  To them, it makes them feel holy to come out here and be mean to people.  It makes them feel holier when people argue back.  I’m sure if they got the shit kicked out them today, they’d consider it suffering like Jesus and for Jesus.

Wife: God, I hate Christians like that.

Me: Think of these people like TBWSNBN on steroids.

This is a loud restaurant, which works to my favor.  I really want to talk about this with my wife.  I don’t want to let this issue pass, this is a perfect opportunity to disabuse her of her biblical views on homosexuality.  Out of all the beliefs one is required to have in order to be an conservative christian, this has obviously always been the one she never like swallowing.  Gay uncles, transgender childhood friends, and a love for fashion tv shows, has always been a source of cognitive dissonance for her.

Hostess: JAMESON PARTY OF 5!

I hope she sticks us in the corner…nope, right near the entrance.

Damn it.  Gotta still have this conversation anyways.

Me: So what bugs…

Princess: Daddy, I want izza

Me: Ok, princess.  We’ll order you pizza.

Princess: Izza daddy, izza

Me: So what bugs…

Middle child: daddy, I don’t want izza! Izza is yucky!

Me: Ok, then order something else.

Joshua: I’m hungry daddy.

Me: Yeah I know, that’s why we’re at a restaurant

Princess: IZZA DADDY IZZA!!!!!!!

Middle Child: NO I DON’T WANT PIZZAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

Joshua: Mommy, daddy, I’m huuuunnnnngggggrrryyyyy!

Wife: Well what do you want to eat Josh?

Princess: IZZA! IZZA! IZZA!

OH FOR FUCK SAKE!!!!

Waitress: Can I get you something to drink?

Princess: IZZA DADDY, IZZA!

Middle Child: (breaks down crying)

Joshua: Excuse me lady, but, um, but, I’m hungry

I AM GOING TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION WITH MY WIFE, EVEN IF I HAVE TO KILL THE LEACHES!

Wife: Can we get the food for the kids started now, and 2 IPAs for us?

Waitress: Sure we can get food started for them.  And you both want an IPA?

Wife: No…we both want 2 IPAs

Waitress: (laughs)

Wife: (poker face)

Waitress: Um…ok. Let me get your order.

As soon as the kids are brought apple Juice, there is silence at our table.

Wife: I am sooo mad, I am shaking.

Me: Kids getting to you?

Wife: No, those stupid “christian” protestors.

Me: You know, I never understood that style of “evangelism”.  Do they actually ever change anyone’s mind?

Wife: Right?!

Me: But aside from their style, do you think that there is anything wrong with their message?  Do you agree with their point?

Wife: Of course not!  I believe we’re supposed to love people and be patient with people.  Yelling at people and telling them they’re going to hell is just not very Jesus-y.

Me: Ok, good.  I’m glad.  But that’s kinda beside the point.  You’re talking about style and not substance.  Their style is hateful, your style is loving…but do you actually believe different truths than they do?

Wife: Well I believe God loves people.  They believe God hates people.

Me: Ok, but what about gay people?

Wife: God loves them too.  God loves the whole world.  That’s the point of Jesus.

Joshua: Daddy…

Wife & Me: Not now!

Wife: You know I’ve never hated gay people.  I’ve got my uncle, now uncles.  My friend Angelica who used to be my friend Angel… people are people.  Everyone deserves grace.

Me: But what about God and the bible?

Wife: Well, I do believe that God created men and women to fit together emotional, physically, and sexually.  Marriage is between a man and a woman.  But that doesn’t mean it’s right to hate gay people.  No one should be told they’re going to hell!  Those “christians” are just a bunch of assholes.

Me: But we’re still talking style here to an extent.  Do you believe that gay sexuality and gay marriage is a violation of God’s law?  I mean, let’s play this out.  Even though you may disagree with how those protestors are presenting the message, I’m asking if you deep down inside agree with the message.  I know you would never tell people they were going to hell.  Even if you believe they were, you wouldn’t hold up a huge sign at a Pride festival and start yelling at people.  But if you agree with the bible, then aren’t these people here today arrayed in rainbows going to hell?

Someone could almost argue that those protestors are doing more to “save” people than you are.  If you believe in the bible, the Apostle Paul makes it pretty clear in Romans 1 that gay sexuality is the wrath of God.  LIberals be damned, there is no way to unify a belief in the bible and the acceptance of the LGBTQA movement.

Is the message, not just the style but the message, of the protestors wrong?

Wife: I don’t know anymore. Sometimes I don’t even know what I believe anymore.

And I relent.  Loosing your faith is a hard, traumatizing process.  It’s not something I want to push her through.  She needs to do it on her own and at her own pace, if at all.

But it’s safe to say that will probably be the last time she’ll consider homosexuality as a sin.  I think next year I’ll invite her to the parade.

Advertisements

30 thoughts on “Pride and Prejudice: A Conversation with My Wife About Homosexuality and the Bible

  1. The ones that confusr me the most are the christians who are getting divorced over gay marriage being legalized. I mean, really? If you are comfortable breaking the vows you made to your partner over something that doesn’t affect you one bit in some blind idea of zealotry, then you never really loved your partner. Not to mention the hypocrisy of breaking your vows made to your god as part of the ceremony.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. If I may ask, what was your position before you lost your faith? Was it in line with the conservatism of your church? If not, how did you approach the topic, if at all, in your sermons, or respond to members of your congregation who expressed that sort of hatred in front of you?

    Like

    • My understanding was that all sex outside of marriage was sinful. If you weren’t in a heterosexual marriage, the you were not allowed to have sex. I never understood why Christians looked the other way during divorce, and only slightly grimaced at cohabitation, but seemed outraged at homosexuality. To me they were all the same thing, violating the same commandment. I believed that if you were gay then the only option for you was celibacy. For awhile, I did believe in the pray-the-gay-away organizations like Exodus Int., but when their director was caught in a gay bar in D.C., I started to question such methods.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Sounds like cognitive dissonance is getting to your wife. I would thread very carefully if I were you. She sounds like she is on the right side of most things, but homosexuality is one of those things Christians are not well equipped to deal with.

    Many, like your wife, see the inherent wrongness of the fundamentalist view on homosexuality, yet it is really hard to reconcile a liberal view with the bible and the historical teachings of the Bible.

    Also, from an outside point of view, the “Go to hell” preachers are obviously wrong. But those that bend backwards to biblically justify homosexuality are also on thin ice.

    Someday I’d be interested in hearing your opinion about Jesus being all about Love, love love and how you reconcile that with the obviously not loving passages attributed to Jesus himself.
    Do you think Jesus would be pleased if he discovered he founded a religion of Gentiles? It seems to me he would be at the very least flabbergasted and there is a good chance he would point out that the religion with his name on it represents Paul’s views more than his.

    Maybe something for another day. I don’t want to hijack the thread. I think you are in a very good position to explore that. That’s all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Someone mentioned to me the other day it would be good to have a theologian on “our side”. You’re dealing here with questions of theology that I would love to dismantle!!!! I’m starting to take this Atheist Theologian possibility seriously.

      In short:

      Do I believe Jesus would have a problem with founding a gentile religion? Well clearly the gospel writers want you to believe he wouldn’t.

      Is Jesus all love love love? Well more so than any other character in the Bible, but he also speaks about final judgment more than any character of the bible. Lots of “weeping and nashing of teeth”.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It’s interesting that the Jesus Seminar, as I start to look at this, thinks the harsh statements originated in the earliest churches, as they tried to sort out who was a “true” follower of Jesus. For example, about the parable of the fishnet in Mtt. 13:47, the Sem says, “The fishnet, like the sabotage of weeds… reflects the necessity of the young Christian movement to mark off its social boundaries from the larger world, hence the interest in sorting out the good from the bad. The separation of the good from the bad at the end of the age… is a typical Matthean theme and represents the way he understood this parable. Compare the parable of the man without a wedding garment appended to the parable of the wedding celebration (Matt 22:11-13). These interests are absent from Jesus’ authentic parables and sayings.” [“The Five Gospels,” p.197]

        Once a person drops an inerrancy stance, there’s a lot of figuring out to do about what a Jesus character may have said and what early writers say he said. Jesus Sem is probably worth some study, just to get a feel of where they’re coming from. — The thought of a dyed-in-the-wool agnostic : ) — tho not a bit agnostic about the reprehensible, unjustifiable, and tragic experience of Neil Carter (7/12/15).

        Like

    • If Jesus really did exist, in whatever form (I’m talking about there just being a dude who wandered about preaching stuff, not god in human form) he probably would have been just as anti-gay as everyone else was in those parts back then. He would merely have been the product of his time and location and it would therefore have been completely ‘normal’ to have old-school bigoted ideas.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. First of all, it sounds as if you are married to the best possible Christian you could find. She is a keeper. Then, if you ever want to help anyone go through “the transition,” give them a copy of A.J.Jacobs’ The Year of Living Biblically. Jacobs, with humor, shows how many zillions of contradictions the Bible includes and how it is impossible to apply it consistently. Absolutely impossible. So, if the Bible approves of slaves on one page, sacrificing animals on the next, murder on the next, genocide on the next and hatred of gays on the next, isn’t it possible that the book is not “the word of God?” That’s it’s more likely the word of the devil who is having too much fun messing with people? Or it’s just the most horrible collection of ancient stories that in their totality are idiocy? I made up my mind a long time ago: try to live hate free, as best a human can, and that means reading books that operate on a higher plane than the Bible.

    Like

  5. Homosexuality was one of the earliest cracks in my faith. I did a post on that topic myself (The Early Cracks in My Faith). It was really hard to reconcile the message of love and grace with the wrath of God in Romans 1 (and elsewhere). I applaud your handling with your wife. It’s truly hard to know when to push a topic and went to back off. My partner deconverted before I did and I’m grateful that she didn’t push me.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Another Christian here, who’s also struggling with LGBT issues. Believe it or not, LGBT issues was the earliest issues that I wrestled with. It was the irritant that made me dig deeper into learning. But I haven’t been able to reconcile the cognitive dissonance between LGBT and faith.

    I think LGBT issues will be one of the defining issues of the Christian church in this century, and I’m pessimistic that the church will respond well-enough to survive. The hateful crap that I’ve seen American Christians post online, especially since the SCOTUS ruling, has really made me cringe.

    But, when you really get down to the theology, it’s the same for me as it is for your wife. In my journey, I’m probably about there (maybe a bit farther).

    I struggled with this so much and talked with my pastor about it a lot. At the time, he was really helpful to me in reconciling LGBT with Christianity. But then he left the ministry. And then he came out himself. My struggles with LGBT/faith — and theism in general — has gone downhill pretty fast since then.

    P.S. Your wife is so absolutely f*ckin awesome!

    Liked by 4 people

    • What many people fail to see about the Homosexuality vs. the Bible issue, is that this takes the bible head on. You can argue that divorce happens in the bible and is sometimes necessary. You can argue about when a (straight) couple is “married” and whether pre-ceremony sex is really forbidden or not. But in no uncertain terms can you reconcile two men having sex with the bible as being ever ok biblicaly speaking. The homosexual question doesn’t just attack Christian views on sexual ethics, it attacks the Christian view on the Bible itself and it’s authority. This is what many progressives miss. Christians are not just “defending marriage”, they’re actually being backed into a corner to defend the Bible itself as the sole source of authority and morality. It’s is illogical to hold to an inerrant view of the scriptures while declaring that monogamous homosexuality is ok with God. Either homosexuality is morally wrong, or the bible is emphatically wrong about homosexuality and morality. I’d choose the latter.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m the same way. Either this faith stuff is true, and the bible is clear. Or it’s all bunk, and everyone needs to stop fretting about “sins”. I can’t go the progressive Christianity path either.

        Liked by 1 person

      • But in no uncertain terms can you reconcile two men having sex with the bible as being ever ok biblicaly speaking.

        Yet exactly the same can be said about remarriage after a divorce — for Jesus unequivocally calls that adultery, and “Thou shalt not commit adultery” isn’t merely one of those little rules nestled amongst all the others in Leviticus and Numbers that Christians have no problem ignoring, like not eating bacon cheesburgers or not wearing clothing of mixed fibers; it’s a violation of one of the Ten Commandments, and — just like homosexuality — the Bible calls for a punishment of death.

        Yet I’ve never seen Christians picketing a funeral with “GOD HATES SECOND HUSBANDS” signs; I haven’t seen Christians pushing for constitutional amendments in state after state to outlaw my marriage (for I married a divorced woman); nobody’s ever told my wife she’s not fit to teach children because of her unbiblical lifestyle.

        So I can’t accept as sincere the people who hide behind the Bible to justify their bigotry towards the LGBTQ community. If it were really because the Bible forbids it, then my wife and I — and so many Republican politicians! — would be facing the same hatred. That we are not gives the lie to that claim.

        Liked by 1 person

      • In a sense, I agree with you. When I was a believer, I would make this one of the main points of my sermon on the topic of biblical marriage. However the reality is there are a number of biblical justifications for divorce. Coupled with the fact that it’s easier to hide heterosexual sins than a homosexual relationship. No one is going to ask the new couple at church how many marriages they’ve had or their justifications for their previous divorce.

        It should also be noted that it wasn’t too long ago that divorce was a scandal. No fault divorce laws are relatively recent in our society. Shoot, I’m old enough to remember the single mom Murphy Brown scandal.

        We could see the hypocrisy of damning homosexuality while turning a blind eye to divorce as justifying bigotry. And it is. But the fact that church has become less judgmental of divorce, remarriage, single parenthood, mixed marriages, and the like gives hope that homophobia may very well go out of style even in the church. I think we’re seeing evidence of this as more and more Christian leaders embrace the LGBTQA cause.

        Liked by 1 person

      • However the reality is there are a number of biblical justifications for divorce.

        Sure… which Jesus revoked in Matthew 19 and Mark 10. And though he immediately undercuts his “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” with an apparent exception for infidelity, that’s the only justification that remains. (Which means that Jesus would apparently have been perfectly content to let my wife suffer a lifetime of misery, fear, and violence with her alcoholic, abusive first husband — but that’s a whole different rant from me.)

        Coupled with the fact that it’s easier to hide heterosexual sins than a homosexual relationship.

        True — but that doesn’t explain the failure to put the same energy into outlawing remarriage that they’ve put into outlawing marriage equality. Nor does it explain why the conservative politicians (or talk show hosts) whose serial marriages are a well-known matter of public record are lauded and supported, rather than being treated with the same hatred and contempt as gays and lesbians. If it’s really about “I don’t hate homosexuals, I’m just following God’s word”, then why isn’t “God’s word” applied across the board?

        And you’re right, nowadays divorce and remarriage are much more accepted in society — but while conservative preachers will occasionally pay lip service to that as one of the signs of society’s decline, they put absolutely nowhere near the energy into it that they do towards hating gays. And feminists. And liberals.

        But the fact that church has become less judgmental of divorce, remarriage, single parenthood, mixed marriages, and the like gives hope that homophobia may very well go out of style even in the church.

        On the one hand, I hope it does. But on the other hand, the more people who are driven away from the hateful branches of Christianity because they can’t reconcile that sort of nastiness with Jesus’ teachings about forgiveness and acceptance, the better. (Though I suspect those teachings aren’t usually talked about much in those churches except when the preacher is forced to admit that he’s “strayed”. Certainly I’ve never heard Pastor Steven Anderson talk about forgiveness in any of his sermons that I’ve watched online.)

        Like

      • I have the same wicked response (the devil is making me do this) to hypocrisy in the church as I do to Donald Trump exposing the base of the Republican party. It delights me, because it makes the decent people see how much hatred and bigotry exist therein. And then, hopefully, this in turn will drive young people….well, the educated ones…away from both and we may see a better world. If the seas don’t swallow us first.

        Like

      • Thanks for the helpful perspective on what “metaphorical” approaches mean to someone who’s been understanding the bible as literally true. Important to understand! ….Here’s a literal approach to play with… Genesis 2 says that marriage is about companionship. “It’s not good for the earthling to be alone… I will make a suitable helper.” God’s first thought is other kinds of critters — but nope, nope, none of them fit the bill. Finally God makes another human, and Adam doesn’t say, “At last! someone different from me! who is a perfect anatomical fit!” but “At last! bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh!” It’s not Eve’s difference, but her common humanity that’s celebrated. The children thing comes along after they have to leave the garden and won’t be able to eat the tree of life and live forever. It’s interested me that in the Reformed tradition, Calvin argued passionately against clerical celibacy on two biblical counts: “It’s not good for the earthling to be alone”; and “it’s better to marry than burn with passion.” As I read his arguments, I was thinking how well he was arguing for glbt inclusion : ) And thank you for yours!!!

        Like

  7. @LutheranSkeptic It all depends on if you’re a biblical literalist or not. If you can accept that many parts of the bible are allegorical, and that in the NT gentiles weren’t expected to follow Levitical Law, then your “tradition” from the gospels should allow you the leeway to love your neighbor in the “spirit of christ” without all the judgey drama. My sense is from having done textual exegesis, that in early christianity there was a period of holdover from Judaic dogmas. Paul, reputed to have written Romans was a Jew struggled with the concept of including the gentiles, was inclusive but still made the distinctions in his writing. To his and christianity’s shame he supported slavery [Eph 6 et al] and it’s another example of his ties to Roman and OT Judaic culture. That’s my theological answer.
    My apostate answer is, it’s all claptrap anyway.
    🙂

    Like

    • The problem is there is nothing allagroical about

      A man shall not lie with a man as one does with a woman. This is an abomination. I am the Lord your God.

      Or when Paul says…

      In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

      It’s not about being a literalist or an allegoricalist, if you take the Bible in proper cultural and linguistic context, interpreting the passages as they are meant to be interpreted…the Bible condemns homosexuality in every form.

      The only way around this is to simply ignore and dismiss these passages.

      Like

      • Did you recently change the format of your blog?
        I didn’t expect to have a theological discussion today, must hunt around for my preacher’s hat. When I refer to literalism, I mean that those passages attributed to “god” were given by god through inspiration. Ergo, the spoken word of god. If you’re not, then it’s moot. It’s “tradition” compiled by man under the auspices of the church. It’s then irrelevant what it says. My point about Paul remains. He was steeped in the Jewish tradition and so retained the prohibitions of the OT.
        I agree that you accurately represent the conservative christian view of it. I was raised in the same tradition. My goal was to find a way to accommodate homosexuality inside the faith.
        I don’t in any way defend it or represent it as my own view as a gay man.

        Liked by 1 person

      • LOL, I was just thinking about becoming an Atheist Theologian. Forgive me for I don’t seem to recall if you are a Christian or an Agnostic/Atheist. Part of me sees the value in helping Christianity accommodate homosexuality, but then the Atheist side of me thinks let the moral repulsiveness of Bible show forth so that it may be roundly rejected.

        Liked by 2 people

      • or… you can view them as part of the cultural tradition in the bible. Tradition has been strong against glbt relations but the biblical case is very weak… around 6 spots in the 2000-year writing, and 2 of those are parallel passages. In Lev. 18, you have to decide whether the 2-men verse belongs with no sexual relations with your mother or with no relations during menstruation. For centuries it’s been grouped with mom, but now thankfully is getting grouped with the other. Sodom is about violence, as a concordance will bear out — in 60- some instances the only mention of sexual sin is “hetero” relations — the “sarkos heteras” of angels (Jude 1:7). Romans 1 is a rhetorical trap on the way to saying respect one another’s consciences. Sem prof recently discovered pro-gay argument that changed his mind while he was researching baptism, and says pro-gay has been there all the time, we just haven’t seen it. If links are ok? here’s his story http://covnetpres.org/2011/01/interview-with-rev-dr-arlo-duba/ Soooo thankful things are changing!!!!!!!!! Thank you for being part of that!!!!!!!

        Like

  8. For Christians the gap between traditional beliefs and modern thinking keeps on getting wider. That’s why Protestant Christianity is on the skids and Catholic Christianity is not doing much better.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Aw, your wife seems so cool. I can relate to her a lot. As I’ve said before, I’m an atheist now, but it definitely is a really confusing time losing faith. I like that you are pushing her to examine her real beliefs. Does she have more to lose than you in the sense that her family might really struggle if she becomes an apostate? It hurts to have your connection with family changed forever. Hold her close, guide her gently. I was extremely close to my brother and his wife and three kids. Now that I’m out as atheist it has changed our relationship forever and that hurts a lot. I can handle losing friends but when it’s just not the same anymore with your family the ache is always there. Big ups to you all. I hope you find an awesome job soon.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s