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This is me...
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

This Is What I Believe (And I Don't Expect You To Agree)


I've had a post on my mind for a while that will most likely cost me some followers.  It is a very current topic, but I am on the "wrong" side of it as far as society is concerned.  So before I write it, I just want to say -- It's been nice knowing those of you who will be leaving after you read this.  I also want to make clear that this is not meant to be a theological post -- it is a social commentary, and an expression of MY opinions, I am not trying to speak for everyone who has a religious faith (or even everyone who shares my basic beliefs).  But this is my blog, where I express my views and my opinions and this has been nagging at me for a long time.  I wanted to talk about this topic, but I was afraid I would offend some, or possibly all of you and I let that fear control what I wrote.  While I have touched upon this topic in other posts, I always diluted what I wanted to say.  Not today.  Today I will no doubt lose a LOT of followers, but before you go, please read everything I want to say and then think on it first.  I am not being purposefully inflammatory.  I am not trying to pick a fight with any one person or group.  My opinions do not negate yours.  I am not claiming to be right or wrong.  I am not accusing you of anything by disagreeing with me.  I am doing what I claim to always try to do here -- I am honestly expressing myself on a topic that has been in my thoughts more and more recently because of current events.  I will not apologize for having my own opinion, but I do apologize for not being as honest in writing about it in the past as I could have and should have been.  I think that part of the problem is that I was attempting to sneak it into another post.  I don't know why.  I am not ashamed of what I believe and I have no trouble defending it.  I think that part of it is that some people are super easy to offend, and writing something like a blog and putting it out there is a lot different than talking to someone one on one.  Also, as much as I try to prostrate and pretend that I don't care what anyone thinks, I do. I especially care about what you, those who read what I write here on a regular basis think.  And this topic is personal for many of you. 



So what is this topic you ask?  Well, it's homosexuality. 

Let me start by saying as vehemently as I can that I am NOT anti-gay.   I have friends who are gay. I consider them good friends, I have no issues with them being gay and they know how I feel about homosexuality.  (In fact, I had 3 of them read this post before I published it to make sure that I wasn't saying something that I wasn't intending, to make sure that the message that they got from it was in conjunction with what they knew about me and that I had expressed myself as well here as I had in our personal conversations on this topic).   I have made no secret on my blog or in my life that I consider myself a Christian.  I attend church services.  I pray daily. I read the Bible and believe that it is God's Word.  There is no doubt that the Bible is pretty clear that God considers homosexuality a sin, so yes -- I think homosexuality is a sin.  (Some of you will stop reading here.)  I also believe that lying is a sin, adultery is a sin, murder is a sin, sexual immorality is a sin, and countless other things are sins and the Bible tells us that God does not view sin in "degrees" -- we are the ones who tend to assign "values" to sin making one worse than the other. And I am guilty of sin, as are you and everyone else in the world whether they acknowledge it or not. 

I am free to believe that the life we live on this Earth is the result of a loving God who wants us to love Him in return and strive toward the perfect example that He gave us in sending His son, Jesus to die for our sins and you are free to not believe that.  I am free to live my life in pursuit of that and you are free live however you want to.  I am free to interpret His word by my beliefs and my faith, and to identify and worship with others whose interpretations closely match mine and you are free to do that as well or to totally disregard the Bible as an old book.  I cannot make you accept my beliefs and you cannot make me accept yours.  Where the problem lies, is in those people who try to assimilate others to their way of thinking.  I will gladly share my beliefs and share the Word of God where they originate if you are willing to listen and discuss, but I cannot make you "accept" my faith.  You also cannot make me "accept" your point of view. 

We have, as a society, been preaching acceptance for years -- acceptance of religion, acceptance of the lack of religion, acceptance of politics, and acceptance of culture.  "Acceptance" is the wrong word.  We should be teaching "tolerance."  I can tolerate different faiths, differing political views, different lifestyles, and different cultures.  I can tolerate the differences and peacefully coexist.  But you and I cannot force "acceptance" of anything.  Think of it this way -- if you don't like the color brown for example, do you set out to eradicate brown from the world?  Do you try to get others to hate brown as much as you do?  No.  You simply avoid brown in your own life as much as possible.  Should others who love the color brown try to change your mind?  No.  They accept that you don't like brown and continue with their own lives regardless of how you feel about it.  You have to learn to tolerate brown, but no one can force you to accept it as a great color.  I can tolerate lying, adultery, homosexuality -- in fact, I believe that the Bible teaches us as Christians that we live in a world where we will be exposed to and have to tolerate all sorts of sin.  We (as Christians) are instructed to spread the message to those who have not heard it, we are to teach it to our children, and we are to strive to live it, but no where in the Bible are we told to force it on others.  We are instructed to point out these sins to our brothers and sisters in Christ, but even then we are to do so "in love."  When people of the same faith come together and form a congregation, then they become to some degree responsible for each other's salvation (this instruction is in the book of James for those interested).  Think of it sort of like when friends decide to team up to start a diet together, we team up to help each other "stay on the straight and narrow" so to speak.  If you and I are dieting together and you "sin" by eating a doughnut, as your diet partner, it is my responsibility to call you out on it as a violation of what we are trying to accomplish together.  If some random stranger is eating a doughnut, it is NOT my responsibility to corner them and list all of the ways that they are harming their body by eating that doughnut.  It is also not my responsibility to hand out anti-doughnut propaganda, to organize anti-doughnut rallies, or to scream obscenities and spew hate at those who choose to eat doughnuts.  Now, I can rationally defend my point of view about the doughnut, but chances are that in today's society, the person eating it knows full well that it is not health food and has chosen to eat it anyway.  That is their business and their right, just as it is my right to NOT eat doughnuts.

In this country in particular, there are very few people who have no idea what is in the Bible.  Some have chosen to accept it as the Word of God, some believe that it is the Word of God but believe that it needs to be reinterpreted as more culturally relevant, and some have decided that it is not anything but a book of old stories and take and leave from it what they want.  Where we have problems is when any of these groups try to force their beliefs onto another group. 

Let me ask a question to those who are chomping at the bit to finish reading so you can comment and tell me that I am a hateful bigot for saying that homosexuality is a sin:  Why are your beliefs okay to talk about, but mine aren't?  Why is it okay to speak out against a religious belief but not okay to speak up for it?  Do we not all live in a country where we are free to believe whatever we want?  Is my opinion somehow less valid?  The unpopular truth is that it's not.  Those who disagree with you have every right to their opinion (and the right to express and defend it) as you do. 

Now, having said all of that, let me point out that while the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin, so is hate.  I don't hate gay people -- as I stated before, I have gay friends that I love.  They are very nice people who just happen to hold different beliefs than I do.  We disagree.  But we are still friends and we can have open dialog about our beliefs without feeling judged or persecuted.  I don't believe that just because two people have vastly different beliefs that they cannot be friends.  I also have Muslim friends, Jewish friends, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic friends, Buddhist friends, Mormon friends, atheist friends and Wiccan friends -- none of us agree on everything spiritual, political, or even on what's socially acceptable.  Yet we all love each other and value what the other brings to the relationship -- a different point of view.  None of us advocate alienation, violence, or hateful talk.  Words like "fag" and "queer" are not part of our vernacular.  And I completely understand how homosexuals are offended by those who make signs, shout insults, and take to the streets in rallies against their chosen lifestyle or call for violence against homosexuals (or any other group).  What I do not understand, is how some do not understand that Christians can become equally offended when certain groups mirror that behavior and take to the streets in protest of us having faith in a religion that does not support their lifestyle.  It is a double standard. The problem is, we are all so busy screaming at each other to "accept" the other's point of view that we have quit listening. 

This is what I have come to realize -- there are nut jobs on both sides of any issue.  They do not really want to coexist or to have tolerance.  They actually want more than even acceptance.  What they really want and in many cases demand,  is for EVERYONE to not just tolerate or accept, but SUPPORT and PROMOTE their beliefs, opinions, lifestyles and religions. They mock, reprimand, degrade, and hate on those who do not see things from their perspective.  It is the same on both sides with the extremists -- lots of shouting and name calling in an attempt to be heard and to get their point across and absolutely no attempt to listen.  And those of us who are quiet, those of us who can openly discuss without anger or hate, are lumped in with the nuts.  It is how stereotypes are born.  It is how prejudices are formed.  And it is how hatred is bred into future generations. 


I am no authority.  I am also done being silent.

We need to quit letting the nuts speak for us.  We need to coexist and teach tolerance to each other and to future generations.  I can be your neighbor, your co-worker, and your friend without supporting your choices.  Sure, it is nice to be around people who think and believe what we do, but it is also great to be able to learn from each other.  I am reminded of a great old saying -- "It is because we are so different that we have so much to share."  I hope that those of you who wish to share your opinions and thoughts with me either through the comments or in an email.  I will not delete comments unless they are hateful.




But in the meantime....

16 comments:

The Brady Bunch on Crack said...

I love it!!!!! Well written!!!!

Xoxo

Hope you weren't trying to get rid of me bcs it didn't work.

walta75 said...

very eloquent and well said. could not agree more. i have friends who are homosexual. they know i do not agree with their lifestyle, but accepted them for who they are and tolerate their lifestyle. it has made us closer friends. we can love people as God intended without agreeing with everything they say, do or believe.

Untouchable said...

Well written my friend... I think I love it so much because you hit on the topic that should be discussed... It isn't about the belief itself, but how we co-exist with differing beliefs. I think one of the biggest issues we have, and it might of always been this way, we not only let the nut jobs take center stage, but the nut jobs are the leaders anymore. All the voices of the leadership for democrats and republicans, for Christians and Muslims... all those leaders of TODAY are whacked individuals who probably need medication, most of who have an ulterior motive with their media presence. And the sheeple, they are sheeple. The rest of us are just spectators, pointing and laughing, sometimes blaming, more or less laughing. The nut jobs are somewhat entertaining. I mean who can't resist jumping into an anti-westboro discussion? Same reason why we all have watched at least one episode of Jerry Springer. Drama. We get bored.

I think psychologically, people are always looking for a great evil to squash, a super villain, a cause to give their life meaning and purpose, and when you take one with a low IQ (considered average anymore), it doesn't take much for a nut job leader to give them purpose, and that's where some of the fanaticism comes about. But I still can't figure out why they are so attracted to the fanatic point of view and less attracted to something more normal and productive. Either way, it's those people you expected to encounter with negative comments and unlikes, and you still may encounter them, but the point remains, you are entitled to your own belief and it should probably help you sleep better through it all to know that you are probably cognitively on a higher plane than they are. I've gotten to a point where when you are up against a species less evolved than you are or intellectually inferior (like a bunch of ants or a group of idiots), the ethical thing to do is to not interfere too much in their world.

Untouchable said...

And... I don't personally think the Bible says homosexuality is a sin. i don't think it says it's not. I think sin is in reality more like love, where no matter how vast the English language is, there just aren't any words to truly define it, so it all ends up like a poem subject to interpretation. Sin is just a very deep subject, and I know people like it to be black and white like the rules at school, show up, don't be late, no running in the hallways, walk single file.... It's not. Our bodies and minds are just too stupid to handle our spirits like that. That's what gets me. Our spirits have no gender, so the HOMO part cannot in of itself be a sin. It's something to do more with intention, like sexual addiction vs love... I always say it goes back to sin being something between God and the sinner because only God knows our hearts.

Most churches, however, have deemed it a sin from their interpretation, but I also believe most churches are Pro Life, Pro Creation, anti-sex (a logic I don't follow too well, but I can see where they get that). So, I make it easier on myself and avoid churches because I don't agree with them, and I can't go unless I do (not by my terms)... I don't expect anyone to agree with me. Way I feel about it, your spirit is your own. What you do in this life is on you. You have your own lessons God wants you to learn, and I'm not to interfere with it. It's like having 2 college students, one majoring in Math and one in English. Both have some knowledge of each other's majors, but for the Math major to expect the English major to perform advanced mathematical functions is like idiotic, a little narcissistic, and might as well be forcing his major on the other guy because that's what it is... I think the problem is SOME people don't know their role in this life. We are people. Not God. And I thank God for that because most people would suck at being God. But He gave us free will, and I have faith in Him that it's for a very good reason. For me to remove that from anyone, to take away their right, would interfere with His plan for that person. While He is a very loving God, I still don't want to piss Him off with that.

Shoot, I could have written a blog with this. I'm just too random to keep up with one.

nitty gritty mommy said...

i think it's a great post. Everyone is all for being open minded until someone has a different opinion. Especially if the opinion is CHristian or conservative based.

Counting Caballeros said...

Well, I have only lost 2 followers since I published this post, but it hasn't been up that long. I have been surprised by how many encouraging responses that I have gotten and continue to get. It appears that despite what the media has presented to us, we (the normal people) are mostly in agreement -- we can coexist peacefully and all of theses people who get air-time are nuts.

In one conversation with a lifelong friend who happens to be gay, he told me that as soon as most of our old friends find out that he is gay that they either unfriend him or seem to hang around out of curiosity in order to gossip about him (we were members of the same church as children). We talked some about how he reconciles his lifestyle with the faith he was raised with and in the end, we agreed jokingly to not try to convert each other. What I told him was that the best way I knew to be a Christlike example to him was to be present in his life, even if it was only on Facebook since we live nearly 1,500 miles apart.

I am glad that you are all still here. I have such a boost of confidence, I think that for my next post, I will tackle the subject of Healthcare Reform....

Opinionated said...

I couldn't agree more re: tolerance v. Acceptance! Couldn't disagree more re: bible interpretations! Whatdoyouknow?! Balance!

Nicely done!!

love in spite of our differences said...

I'm very impressed with your take on this subject. I've always believed that we should love the person but not necessarily their lifestyle. You're so right about God not differentiating regarding sins. What makes some think that being gay is any worse than say, lying or gossiping? My son is gay and I love him unconditionally with all my heart. How could I do anything else. He is a precious gift from God and I couldn't reject such a gift!

Kelly O'Sullivan (HILWD) said...

OK, so you probably guessed I have a different opinion but I'm not going anywhere. People live and learn and grow and love and cling and pray and learn again and find what works for them. I am proud to see anyone stand for what they believe. I don't have to agree with you to respect your strength.

Carin said...

All those pictures on fb are driving me bonkers. I mean the pictures about gays etc., and republicans vs. democrats.
Part of what drives me bonkers is my lack of understanding. I do not understand what makes homosexuals lesser beings to some. I donot understand the difference between republicans and democrats. That makes me happy and confused all at once.

Fortune had it, that I was raised in a free country, where people can be themselves, regardless of what religion or lifestyle they embrace. Of course we also have extremist wash outs that cause grief, but mostly we just coexist.

Your blog gave me a bit of insight in Amercian society, so thanks. Everything is not black and white, most of it is just gray.

Yes, we differ in opinion about the bible (to me an oppressive book and cause of too much trouble), about sin and religion. That does not make either of us less human. We were blessed with our huge brain so we can think and talk about our thoughts. That way we grow, we learn from eachother.

I'm looking forward to your next blog. If you don't mind, I'll stick around a little longer.

Sara said...

I couldn't have said it better myself! Thanks for sharing.

Maren McGimsey said...

Ginger - Thank you for engaging this issue in exactly the way that I was hoping to encourage via my blog post. None of us has to agree. That's not in the great eternal book. What is there is that we need to love each other and show kindness to each other. Christ doesn't wish to win followers by the sword. He wants people to turn to Him based on his teachings. Those teachings often won't be read until they are made real & visible in the lives of those that are already carrying His name. So much screaming on both sides of the issue and not much of a search of common ground...

lifestooshorttoplaypossum said...

I am SO glad I found your blog today. I have been looking for a few to "follow"...ones that are REAL...timely...and ones that I can read and think "wow I would totally say that.."
This ONE post is what made me follow.
I'm not a 'read one post and follow' kinda girl I am much rather a 'think on it' person.
But THIS...
is enough.
Got me.
I'm all yours now! LOL..

Jayde said...

I have to say, you have not lost a follower here and it is because I think that you have expressed your views without judging people for what they do and who they are. I disagree about homosexuality being a sin, but I am still a going to continue to be a loyal follower. I think that it is very important to hold your ground on what you believe, even if it is different than what I believe. I think that it is admirable to express what you believe the way that you have, non judgmental, and more importantly, in a non hateful way. You definitely get kudos from me!! And I like and respect you even more than I did before!! 

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post. Exactly my beliefs and nice to see it so eloquently said.

Sadie said...

Very well written. :) Thanks for sharing.

However, I hate the "I don't agree with their lifestyle" comments. Walta75 (above) said that she has friends that are homosexual and they know that she does not "agree with their lifestyle". I HATE that. Hate hate hate it. It's not a lifestyle. I'm no different than a straight person except I prefer to be with my girlfriend rather than a boyfriend.