Questioning our beliefs makes us grow.

Image

“Religious belief, like history itself, is a story that is always unfolding, always subject to inquiry and ripe for questioning. For without doubt there is no faith.”

Jon Meacham.

 

A decade or so ago, I read a book called “20 Hot Potatoes Christians are Afraid to Ask”. I was reminded of this book this past week in part because of Jars of Clay’s lead singer Dan Haseltine’s question. All he asked was “Not meaning to stir things up BUT… Is there a non-speculative or non “slippery slope” reason why gays shouldn’t marry? I don’t hear one.” And then followed it with “I’m trying to make sense of the conservative argument. But it doesn’t hold up to basic scrutiny. Feels akin to women’s suffrage.”

All he did was ask a question and then was berated for okaying LBGT people, gay rights etc… Why attack someone for asking a question?

Then a day or two later a friend of mine posted a meme that asked a question of Christians. It was a conversation between an Eskimo and a Christian. Eskimo: ‘If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?’ Priest: ‘No, not if you did not know.’ Eskimo: ‘Then why did you tell me?’ I found that to be a legitimate question and luckily no one jumped his case.

At my last church it was impossible to really ask questions. They were either ignored or ignored. It was either a roll of the eyes and “anyone else have anything to add?” question or you were given the “this is what the denomination’s beliefs are” speech. No answers, only frustration.

If the church does not allow questions how can it grow? Jesus was always asking questions of the religious leaders of the day. “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” “The son of David,” they replied (Matt 22:41). The religious leaders also questioned Jesus many times. Jesus never told them to stop asking, but he hoped by hearing his answers they would learn something.

Questions are to help us think. To help us try to understand what the teacher is trying to teach. Most people aren’t trying to trick the teacher or pastor. They really want to know, to learn. However, many church leaders discourage questions. They want people to just take their word, because they are the teacher or pastor. Obviously they know what they are talking about.

I feel that if a pastor or teacher does not allow questions, they are a lecturer, not a teacher. A teacher encourages others to think for themselves, a pastor leads people to the answer but doesn’t give it to them. He allows people to find the answer for themselves. Many churches and their leaders today, find these questions dangerous. It was only dangerous because they feel their power slipping away.

As I write this it is the anniversary of the day that John Wycliffe and Jon Hus were condemned at the council of Constance. Two people who merely asked why. Why do we pay indulgences? Why can’t the people read the Bible? Does not seem like the church or its people have changed much does it?

It seems like anyone who questions the teachings of the church gets ridiculed by those who have to hold on to that belief. It often seems to be when we question our beliefs that it is an attack of Satan or “how can you question God?” types of responses. There does not seem to be a path of meaningful dialogue. It’s “Why?” and in response, “You’re going to Hell.” Not “Why?” and in response “Why do you feel that way?”

The thing is people believe that if you ask a question you are questioning God, but really it questions the human theology. Humans make mistakes, so our theology should not be set in stone and yet we hold on so tightly to our man made ways of thinking.   If your theology can never be wrong then maybe, just maybe, deep inside you are questioning it too, but are afraid to let it out. If not, then at least be open to listening instead of berating those who question something. They are thinking and learning and growing. Something we all should be doing.  Theology has changed over and over in the 1900 years of Christianity and if Christianity wants to continue it must continue to change.  But it will only change if we are allowed to ask questions.

So, I encourage you to go ahead and ask. Keep asking until you understand, even if that is 50 years from now.   “The key to wisdom is this- constant and frequent questioning, for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth.” Peter Abelard.

 

http://www.thewire.com/politics/2014/04/jars-of-clays-christian-fans-lash-out-after-the-lead-singer-tweets-for-same-sex-marriage/361256/

http://www.glaad.org/blog/jars-clay-frontman-posts-apology-stands-support-lgbt-equality

The meme http://www.whyistheresomething.com/answer/going-to-hell

Crazy Life, Crazy Love

Image

People say I’m crazy doing what I’m doing,
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin,
When I say that I’m o.k. they look at me kind of strange,
Surely you’re not happy now you no longer play the game,

John Lennon

 

Nope, I no longer play the game. I don’t want to play the game. The rules suck and I want no part of it. If I could overturn some tables I would. I’m not crazy; I’m just not going to follow traditions to make everyone happy. Just like someone I admire and most of you do to.

Mark 3:21 and 22 When his family heard what was happening, they tried to take him home with them. “He’s out of his mind,” they said. But the teachers of religious law who had arrived from Jerusalem said, “He’s possessed by Satan, the prince of demons. That’s where he gets the power to cast out demons.”

These verses make me think about what some family and many religious people think of me. That I’m crazy or out of my mind that I have changed my beliefs from what I grew up with. According to Mark, I’m in good company. Even the family of Jesus thought that he was a lunatic and we follow what he taught 2000 years later. Now that’s crazy! Those that knew the law (their holy words) thought he was possessed and yet now the words of Jesus are the holy words. Maybe that is crazier!   Guess the religious know it alls didn’t quite know it all.

I think often it is a lot of misunderstanding. I’m misunderstood because my family lives so far away and don’t know me like they think they do. They see through a cloudy window filled with visions of what they remember me as. But that window has been fading for 20 years.

You see today, all I want is to stand up for the helpless, hurting, oppressed, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, help the homeless, clothe the naked, help the prisoner etc.. What I got from religious people is “they are sinning”,” they want to be like that”, “they live in a scary part of town”,” and they are the wrong color”, etc.. etc… I guess my question to them would be “what is Christianity?”

Is it a set of beliefs and like thinking and looking people or is it how we treat one another? When I look at Jesus and his teachings, he doesn’t discriminate against the Samaritans. Those people who married the wrong person and worship at that other place of worship is basically how they were seen in Jesus’ day. They were hated much like an illegal alien who was homosexual would be hated by religious people today. Samaritans were not welcomed in the homeland and they loved the wrong person.

But I want to be like Jesus, so I welcome these people. I make them know that Jesus is for them and that they are loved. Is that crazy or what? I bet that is what the Samaritan woman at the well thought. Crazy that someone like him actually talks to me. That just doesn’t happen. The woman caught in adultery probably thought,” thank God, someone actually cares.”

A few verses after this Jesus asks, Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he looked at those around him and said, “These are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (33-35) So get this. The real Christian family is the ones who follow God’s will of loving, self sacrifice, acceptance, kindness etc… are the real family members. They are the ones the religious leaders and those that follow the religious leaders think are crazy.

I like this quote by R.C.Sproul . He said “Was Luther crazy? Perhaps. But if he was, our prayer is that God would send to this earth an epidemic of such insanity.”  Like Jesus and like many reformers Luther had to be different (crazy) to change the world.

So let’s get crazy and make a difference. Drop traditions, drop the my way or the hellway, drop your stones and learn to accept and love people unconditionally as Jesus did. Let’s go CRAZY!

MY Reformation Begins

Image

Is it faith to understand nothing, and merely submit your convictions implicitly to the church?  John Calvin

 

After Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the “king of the Jews” I wonder if he ever regretted it. Did he ever think, “I don’t want to die yet?” I’m betting that was part of it as he prayed in the garden. “Not my will but yours.” What about Luther after he nailed his 95 thesis to the church bulletin board. Did he ever think “oops, what have I done?”

Each year as a minister I have to fill out an “Annual Service Report”, to let my denomination and district know that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing and that I still believe everything that they want us to teach. For most years I just check the boxes and go about doing what I believe to be right and true. This year was different. Maybe because I’m fed up with things or maybe because I feel a little freer, I decided to let them know what I felt about several things.

I let them know that the church wastes the money that is given. According to many statistics in an average church only 3-5% of all the tithes and offerings goes for outreach. If that was a charity would you give? Yet that is one of the biggest things a church should do. I think we should tell our pastors to get jobs, sell our churches and rent, but I know that won’t happen. We are stuck in the mindset of having beautiful churches and full time pastors. I know that is extreme but to change the church to where it needs to be needs to be extreme.

I also told them tithing was not important. It was a rule with many others that the church has that holds people back. We make people believe that if you do this that and the other things that you’ll be OK. But that isn’t what Jesus taught. His rules were love God and love others. You give out of that love, not out of duty. If people don’t follow the rules then we make them feel guilty so that we can control them. Get them to act like the rest of us, because we don’t want anyone to shake the boat. I mean Jesus never shook the boat. Oh wait, yes he did. Every time he met a religious leader. I could go on about how we make them feel about church attendance and being”involved in the ministries”. It’s constant “if you are not doing this and that, you’re not really a Christian” attitude. Instead we should be teaching them to love God and love others. If people see true love they will get involved.

John Cleese once said, “So real religion is about reducing our egos, whereas all the churches are interested in is egotistical activities, like getting as many members and raising as much money and becoming as important and high-profile and influential as possible. All of which are egotistical attitudes.”

Most of my board meetings have been about how we can get more people here instead of how we can meet more people’s needs. Church has become more about how the church looks (we look) than about those who are in need. In one church I belonged to the only out reach that went on was from me and my wife reaching out to kids and their families. One of those kids once told me that the only people who loved the kids were my wife and I and one 80 year old woman at the church. I told the board members that and they responded “Oh they are just kids.” It broke my heart to hear both of those statements.

Then I discussed the whole human rights issues of today and how the church has treated gay people wrongly with no scriptural backing.   Once again the church is using the Bible to hate people instead of love them. The church needs to embrace and love all people, not just those that act a certain way. That is Pharisitical thinking.   (Is Pharisitical a word?)

I’m sure that will get their attention, but if not I hit on the Inerrancy of the Bible and the idea that God gave the words to the writers. There are way too many contradictions in the Bible for a God to have put it together as one book with everything agreeing. God does not forget things, but as in my Bible quiz of last week there are so many variations to the stories in the Bible that there is no way God wanted us to try to make them all fit into one story. Reading each book separately is the only way to make sense out of what each individual writer was trying to say. We have to learn who wrote it, when they wrote it, to whom they wrote and why they wrote it before we can ever try to understand what it means to us. However the church teaches just pick it up and God will tell you what you need to hear.

So here I sit, waiting for the call. Like Jesus waited to be arrested and many reformers waited to be called to Rome, I will be called to stand for what I have done and said, because it is against the ideas of the church. They will have to convict me of some heresy, and no one will stand with me. They won’t because they’d be afraid that they would be next. But maybe, just maybe I can open some hearts to what Christianity is really about.

I leave you with these words from Martin Luther. “You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you don’t say.”  And “Peace if possible, truth at all costs.”

So you think you know the Bible. A Last week of Jesus quiz

Image

 

Many questions will have more than one answer so be careful what you think might be right. Do you know your Bible or traditions better? Oh and yes, I threw in some funny answers to make it more enjoyable.

 

1)      What color was the robe that was put on Jesus?

  1. White
  2. Scarlet
  3. Purple
  4. Gold
  5. Rainbow

2)      On what animal did Jesus ride into Jerusalem on?

  1. Horse
  2. Donkey
  3. Colt
  4. A Harley

3)      What day was Jesus Crucified?

  1. The Sabbath
  2. The Day of Preparation
  3. Passover
  4. Fourth of July

4)      Who carried the cross for Jesus?

  1. Mel Gibson
  2. Simon of Cyrene
  3. Jesus didn’t have help
  4. Rufus

5)      How many trials did Jesus have?

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three
  4. 40

6)      In what language was the superscription written that was placed above Jesus?

  1. Aramaic
  2. Greek
  3. Latin
  4. English

7)      What Priest was judge at Jesus’ trial?

  1. Judas
  2. Caiaphas
  3. Aaron
  4. Annas

8)      At what hour was Jesus crucified?

  1. 1st hour
  2. 6th hour
  3. 3rd hour
  4. Depends on if it was daylight savings time or not.

9)      How many of the thieves or robbers crucified with Jesus mocked him?

  1. None
  2. One
  3. Two
  4. Three

10)   How many angels/men met the women at the tomb?

  1. One Angel
  2. Two Angels
  3. Three Angels
  4. Two Men
  5. Two Men
  6. Two Men and a Baby
  7. An angel in the Outfield

 

 

1)      Matthew 27:28 uses kokkinos: Means Scarlet, Mark 15: 17 and John 19:2 use porphura which means purple

2) Mark 11:7 and Luke 19:35 say colt, Matthew 21: 5-7 says a donkey and a colt, John 12:14 say a donkey. Some versions use ass.

3) John 19:14 Jesus was crucified on the Day of preparation, therefore no last supper in the book of John. All other Gospels Jesus is killed on Passover, but before the Sabbath.

4) John 19:16 says Jesus carried his cross “into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 19.18 Where they crucified him,” Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21, and Luke 23:26 all say Simon the Cyrenian carried it for Jesus.

5) All gospels have Jesus tried before the Sanhedrin and Pilate, but only Luke adds a trial before Herod. Luke 23:7

6) Mark and Matthew did not specify, but Luke and John say Hebrew/Aramaic, Latin and Greek

7) John 18:24 Annas first and then Caiaphas Matthew 26:57-67 Only Caiphas

8) In the Gospel of Mark, it says Jesus was crucified on the “third hour” (Mark 15:25), and the Gospel of John says the crucifixion sentence was on “about the sixth hour” (John 19:14).

9) In Mark, the thieves say nothing, in Matthew both mock Jesus 27:44, in Luke one mocks Jesus and one defends him 23:32-43, in John again there is silence.

10) An angel of the Lord on the stone (Matthew 28:1-2) – “Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. 2And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.”
A young man (Mark 16:5) – “And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.”
Two men (Luke 24:4) – “And it happened that while they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling apparel.”
Two angels (John 20:1-2, 12) – “Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2And so she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him. 12 and she beheld two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying.”

 

I do not write this quiz to mock Christianity in any way. I am a Christian, but many of us have tried to cram the 4 stories into one and with the differences that is very hard. Each author was trying to make points to their audiences and that is what we should be looking for. We have four stories written by four different people in different times to different audiences. Let’s not cram them together as one, but learn from their differences.

So next time you read a story, ask why this story is different and don’t try to make them the same story. Maybe you’ll learn something new.

Bearing Arms, A Right

Image

I don’t know how many people have actually looked up to see what it says.  Most people seem to believe that it says that the average American should be able to own a gun without any regulations.  That anyone should be able to go into a gun shop and walk out with whatever they are able to afford.  No questions asked.   I am a gun owner.  I have owned a gun for most of my life, but I find it odd that good people would not want some kind of regulations on who might be able to buy a lethal weapon.

The following is the entire second amendment.

Amendment II

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

First note is that it states “A well regulated Militia”.  To me “well regulated” means that there are laws controlling it from getting out of hand.  I don’t see how we can have”well regulated” guns without laws to manage them.   The definition of regulate is to “control or maintain the rate or speed of (a machine or process) so that it operates properly.”  I personally have no problem with regulating guns based on this definition.  I don’t see that the government is doing anything differently than this either.  What I have seen is that it’s OK when a Republican congress or president regulates, but when a democrat does it, it is not OK.

I remember Reagan trying to regulate guns back in the 1980’s but I didn’t hear people yelling back then.  But they did when Clinton tried to pass regulations (that started under Reagan) and now there is complaining as President Obama wants to.  I don’t remember either Bush trying to regulate anything with guns.

Secondly the amendment says it is for the “security of a free state.”  This statement means keeping America free from outside attacks.  I don’t know how someone having a gun without regulations is going to keep America free.  If Russia, China, or whoever attacks we have the military to defend us.  When this amendment was written we did not have a large military.  Local militias were our main defense, so we needed people to own guns in case the British attacked like they did in 1812.

Today only China has more people in the military than the United States. In the late 1700’s when this amendment was put into place we didn’t have much of anything.  By the war of 1812 the British had nearly 1/4 of a million troops compared to 7,000 in the U.S. military so we needed people to have guns.  When Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812 he had over half a million troops.  We were tiny and insignificant.  We needed anything and everything we could get to defend ourselves.  We did eventually get up to the mid 40,000 during the war, but there was still a big disparity.

With the invention of planes, rockets, tanks and so much more, the idea of a militia has become obsolete, like maybe this amendment has.  We have no need today for an active militia because we have such a large military.  Militias in the way that the amendment was written no longer exist and haven’t for a century.

Thirdly, what is wrong with background checks on people who want to own guns?  Do you want criminals to go buy guns?  If you take away regulations then they will be able to walk into a store and buy one just like anyone.  No questions asked.  Of course they may go steal one, but it would be less risky to simply buy one without questions so that they can go rob that gas station or shoot their neighbor, spouse, or whomever they are ticked off at at that moment.

Is there something wrong with banning assault weapons?  Who needs one?  You can’t hunt with one.  I can defend my family easier with a handgun than I could an assault weapon, especially at close range.

Another thing the Obama administration would like is to limit ammunition magazines to a 10-round capacity.  I don’t understand why you’d want more rounds than that.  Realistically if you haven’t hit your target in two shots, it’s gone.  So what would you need a gun with so many rounds for?

I have never been given a good reason as to why someone wants these types of weapons or that much fire power.  I have never been given a good reason for why a person should not have patience and wait a couple days to be approved for a gun.  I find the reasons given to be selfish and impatient.  I want it and I want it NOW!  No one should be able to tell me what to do, what I can have or what I can do with it.  That is how those who fight against gun control sound to me.  Maybe they need a good time out.

For me the whole issue is about safety. Safety for you, your kids, your family, your neighborhood.  If you have not done anything wrong then there is no reason to not want regulations.  You will still be able to get your gun.  I don’t think any of us wants a gun in the hands of someone who is unstable or has a history of violence.  Those people will be denied.  The less available guns are to people like that, the better and safer society will be.  Yes, I know that criminals will just go out and steal a gun or buy one illegally, but the harder we make it for them the better and safer we will be.

Hope this helps you better understand the the second amendment.

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/guntime1.html

Making Lent Real

Image

“Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice and is never the result of selfishness.”  Napoleon Hill

Lent is about sacrifice.  It has been practiced for at least 1800 years as Christians prepared for the celebration of Easter.  I find it ironic that some churches don’t understand what sacrifice means.

Let me back track for a bit.  About 7 years ago I was with a church that was meeting to define its purpose.  Just what did it want be hold as it’s main standards of living?  What did that church want the community to know about them?  Those who were there split up into groups of fours and fives and talked and discussed what each person wanted.  I’d bet there were close to ten groups that night.  Terms were tossed around like caring, friendly, good kids program, Bible based preaching, good music program and on and on.  But I did not hear sacrifice.  I told my small group that without sacrifice there is no Christianity.  Sacrifice must be the center of everything that we do.  The others in my group eventually decided that sacrifice should be added to our core.  My wife had a similar experience in her group.

All the groups were brought together and each listed it’s ideas of the core values of the church.  My group and my wifes were the only ones that listed sacrifice.  We again had to fight for the idea that sacrifice should be part of the church.  That blew me away.  Then the leader of the meetings said that in the ten years he’d been doing these seminars no church had listed sacrifice as a core value.  I was astonished.

Eventually I got my way and sacrifice was listed as a core value.  However it was only listed as a surface value.  It had no depth.  When you have to fight to put sacrifice or anything into a groups core, the group really doesn’t hold to that deeply and they just let it slip under the rug.

What is Easter if it is no about sacrifice?  Jesus went to the cross to sacrifice himself for the greater good of humanity.  Without his sacrifice there would be no Christianity, and yet sacrifice is now too hard for the church.  To hard for the church to do for the God they so eagerly say they want to serve.

No man can serve two masters, they cannot love God and safety, they can not love God and their comfortable life.  We can not love the poor without sacrificing our pride.  No one can love the sick and dying without sacrificing their comfort.  Jesus loved the lepers, the poor, the prostitutes, the destitute and more.  How much are you willing to sacrifice to be like him?

From Tertullian we got the phrase “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”  What is a martyr but someone who sacrificed everything for God?  You may not give up your life in the name of God, but would you be willing to?  That is a hard question, not easily answered.  No one knows for sure until it’s too late.

Lent as well as life is about becoming more like God.  Giving up our lives to follow the path that God has laid in front of us.  I have found that the more I follow the true path the harder it becomes.  It is not about a life of ease, the nice house, family or job.  It’s about stripping away the things that hold us all back from truly loving those people that we just can’t stand.  Stripping away wants and desires until all that is left is God and nothing else.

Who’s willing to be spiritually naked before the world and let them see your true self.  Not the self that is hidden behind fear, religion, rules, or what society tells us is right.  But the self that God wants the world to see.  The self that God created in the first place.

Answering the Gay Question Part 1

Image

Many people know that I support marriage equality, but many do not know why I could believe that to be OK.  When this issue comes up, especially on Facebook, all I get is scripture quotes.  I don’t get the feeling many people want to listen to anything different than what they grew up with.  I want people to know I did not take this change lightly.  Sure, my wife did have something to do with it because we discussed it for years.  I would share what I found studying the Bible and theological books and she would share things people shared with her (because everyone seems to share things with her) and things she found in books. Ultimately I am responsible for what I believe and no one else, just like you are responsible for what you believe.

“I believe what the Bible says about homosexuality.”  I’ve heard that so much in the last few years. However, I don’t believe the Bible clearly says that homosexuality is a sin.  In fact it barely if at all discusses homosexual relationships.  How can I say that being a pastor? Actually, I find it pretty easy today, but just a few years ago I would have had a different view point.  Change in my beliefs did not happen overnight.  It was through a lot of study and learning that I came to my conclusion.  I hope that you as the reader will consider what I have to say and make your own educated decision.  Please look up the verses, read books etc… but maybe most importantly, talk to a homosexual and learn about them.  They aren’t really much different from you.

They want to be loved and to love.  They want to go to church and serve God.  They want to be treated with respect.  They want to be a family and live in peace, go to work or school and hang out with friends.

A few years ago, my eyes were opened to the homosexuality issue.  Up until then, I really had not thought about it much.  My eyes were opened, not by the church, not by my wife, not by the Bible, but by a person.  This person happened to be a homosexual.  Up until this time I believed only what I had been told from my youth.  Homosexuality is a sin and homosexuals will burn in hell.  After all that is what the Bible says.

Though I did not talk in detail about homosexuality, this person really tried to follow Jesus.  They loved God but felt they were screwed because they would be rejected by the church and according to the church, by God.

This did not seem right to me.  How could someone who really wanted to love God and follow the Bible have no chance to make it to heaven?  You might say that they did have a chance.  That is that they needed to repent.  But repent from what?  Their actions were more Christlike than many “Christians” I’d known over many years.  They had a great compassion for people.  Most Christians I’ve met, especially in the past ten years, really only cared about themselves, and what the church could do for them.

So I started doing some research.  What does the Bible really say about homosexuality?  Have we really been taught the truth or are we missing something?  I got out my Greek and Hebrew Bibles and grabbed every book that I could find on the subject.  Wow, there are some differences of opinions, but you probably knew that.  Even on the same sides, people have discrepancies.  But the following is the basics of what I discovered.  Unless otherwise specified I will use the NIV translation.

Some of these verses we don’t need the Greek and Hebrew; we just need to take them in context.

Leviticus: 18; 22 “‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”  Taken by itself it could be very damaging.  However we often neglect to read the verses around it.  Verse 21 states “”‘do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.”  In other words the “sin” of lying with a man is connected with the temple worship of those who worship Molech.  It is not about personal relationships, as the first 20 verses of that chapter.  The next few verses after verse 22 seems to be connected too.  So to me this verse is and has been taken out of its context.  It’s not about relationships but prostitution at the shrines of Molech.

Leviticus 20 is all about the punishments for the crimes.  Previously the writer of Leviticus has described crimes and now he lists the punishment.  Verse 9 – if anyone curses his parents, DEATH, Verse 10 – adultery is DEATH.  Then as you continue through the chapter you find out that sex with mom is death, and sex with daughter in law is death, sex with an animal, death, sex with sister, death.   Then Stuck in the middle of these is verse 13.  “‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman,” Death.  So I’m not sure that we can take this into consideration without looking at the other verses about homosexuality.  In the Old Testament there are none that specifically mention homosexuality except the above mentioned verse and a few in the books of Kings that specifically mention temple prostitution.

1 Kings 14:24 And there were also male cult prostitutes in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations that the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. (ESV)

1 Kings 15:12 He put away the male cult prostitutes out of the land and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. (ESV)

2 Kings 23:7 He also tore down the living quarters of the male and female shrine prostitutes that were inside the Temple of the LORD, where the women wove coverings for the Asherah pole. (NLT)

According to many scholars, Leviticus would have been written sometime after the books of Kings so quite possibly the author of Leviticus could easily have been referring to this type of action rather than two people simply having a relationship.

So as far as the Old Testament, I find very little that directly relates to homosexuality outside of cult prostitutes.  We don’t have temple prostitutes today so this is not an issue for us to worry about.

In my next blog I will discuss the Romans 1 and what I have discovered has or does not have to do with homosexuality.

Also if you want my thoughts on Sodom and Gomorrah and Judges 19 you’ll have to read my blog, “Rethinking Sodom”  https://hadespotos.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/rethinking-sodom/

This subject is going be at least 4 blog posts (maybe more) and I’m sure I won’t touch everything I have discovered. so please keep coming back.  I typically post every Sunday and Wednesday.