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  1. #21
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    A lot of the treatment of homosexuals by biblical conservatives is dependent on the context. The university is an interesting place because it's neither church nor regular community, but rather some sort of combination of the two. In a community biblically conservative Christians would seek to love their neighbors and treat them well to bring Christian love into the community and ultimately to spread the gospel and bring people into the church. The goal isn't to get their neighbor to stop some particular activity in particular, but to bring them to the point of repentence for all their sins so they might be forgiven and enjoy fellowship with God and fellow believers. Once within the church there is an expectation that members will refrain from unrepentant sin. Church members hold eachother accountable and ultimately anyone who continues in unrepentant sin is subject to expulsion. This is a messy business and should be approached with all humility, but there are countless examples of it being done in a poor manner. But, there are also examples of marriages being saved and people giving up self-destructive behaviors because of this accountability mechanism. At the end of the day the only people who are held accountable are the people who commit to being held accountable.
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  2. #22
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    There are definitely plenty of Christians who don't have a problem with gays and aren't trying to change them. I go to church with a bunch of them. Some of them are openly gay themselves, some raising families with their partners.

    I am not 100% sure that the Christians described here fall into the "don't have a problem with gays and aren't trying to change them" category, though. If I had to speculate based on my experiences with conservative/evangelical Christians (I was brought up in a very conservative Christian tradition and I've been around lots of different flavors of Christianity over the years since), I would say most likely they are doing a "I'll be a good model of right living for my gay friends and maybe, with that exposure, I can love them to straightness." They're not actively trying to change them, no, and they do love them, in a way, but they're passively hoping that if they're nice enough to the gay folks that exposure to their Christlikeness will make the gays see the light. I can't say this is true across the board but I have definitely encountered this attitude, spoken aloud by the people themselves (just not around gays) and this is what it looks like. They think they're doing a good work.
    This. So much this.

    I get this from my family. I'm straight. I abstained from sex until I was married. I've been faithful to my husband the 20 years we've been together. I don't break the rules about drinking, smoking, etc. I've been going to church pretty faithfully for the last several months. And yet, my brother still felt the need to lay hands on me and pray that God would bring me back to Him during a recent church service in which I made no indication that I wanted prayer. Why? I'm not emotionally demonstrative during praise and worship. I don't force my kids (ages 14 and up) to attend church. I'm politically and fiscally liberal. And my husband and I are not in the full-time ministry. So I'm out of God's will and I'm backslidden and my family prays earnestly and sincerely for my soul because I am in danger of God's loving correction at best and the eternal fires of Hell at worst.

    A few years ago someone actually left a religious tract in our mailbox about a man that was called to the ministry and did not become a minister chronicling all the horrible things that happened to him and his family, including his wife dying and his children becoming criminals. I have no idea who left that because there are so many people who could have and would have done it. It's sincerely considered a loving thing to do. Sending the equivalent of hate mail is loving.

    I can't imagine how it must be for someone who is gay or trans, etc especially if they are out, not 'repentant' and trying to quit.


    Now certainly not even all Conservative Christians are like that. I met my husband at a Conservative Christian Bible college and I could see some of our professors, maybe most of them, displaying the kind of love that Brandon experienced. However, if they believed that homosexuality was not sin and/or that a person did not choose their sexual orientation, they would have had to have kept those opinions on the down-low if they wanted to keep their jobs. Unless they were related to someone very high up in the denominational hierarchy. Maybe.
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  3. #23
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    As I said...

    Quote Originally Posted by Beorn View Post
    This is a messy business and should be approached with all humility, but there are countless examples of it being done in a poor manner.
    The lack of humility is particularly absent amongst Christians who believe God directly talks to them, which naturally develops a certain level of hubris.
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  4. #24
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    cafe, that's pretty nutty and I don't know how you put up with it. When I was a teen, there was tremendous pressure for people once they turned about 11 or 12 to start "seeking the Lord," which meant standing up and asking to be saved in front of everybody, every time, and going to the altar at the end to be prayed over. I was absolutely mortified, as a young introvert with social phobia, about this expectation- I had a faith of my own, but I wanted to keep it sort of private, and being pressured like that wasn't helpful to me. My parents sent me to a private Quaker school and I was very interested in the Quaker way of doing things, but if I had stood up and said "Quaker things" they would have been horrified and probably kicked us out of the church (which they eventually did anyway, for many reasons including that my dad didn't want to stop wearing his wedding ring when they "convicted" him of breaking whatever Bible verse says a man shouldn't adorn himself with gold. It was awful and I stayed away from church for a long time because of those experiences- church shouldn't give you PTSD!)

  5. #25
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beorn View Post
    As I said...



    The lack of humility is particularly absent amongst Christians who believe God directly talks to them, which naturally develops a certain level of hubris.
    BOY HOWDY is this true.

  6. #26
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    cafe, that's pretty nutty and I don't know how you put up with it. When I was a teen, there was tremendous pressure for people once they turned about 11 or 12 to start "seeking the Lord," which meant standing up and asking to be saved in front of everybody, every time, and going to the altar at the end to be prayed over. I was absolutely mortified, as a young introvert with social phobia, about this expectation- I had a faith of my own, but I wanted to keep it sort of private, and being pressured like that wasn't helpful to me. My parents sent me to a private Quaker school and I was very interested in the Quaker way of doing things, but if I had stood up and said "Quaker things" they would have been horrified and probably kicked us out of the church (which they eventually did anyway, for many reasons including that my dad didn't want to stop wearing his wedding ring when they "convicted" him of breaking whatever Bible verse says a man shouldn't adorn himself with gold. It was awful and I stayed away from church for a long time because of those experiences- church shouldn't give you PTSD!)
    Just... wow. (And Cafe's story too.) But that's where some of us who are older are coming from, we were born in that in-between stage between the old ways and the new in terms of spiritual attitudes.

    Those examples are pretty overt. I think where it really gets frustrating and confusing is when people claim, "it's not about rules but about relationship," but don't seem to know exactly how to live by relationship or what it looks like and end up living by rules anyway while mislabeling it. So they think they're doing it, but are actually behaving in ways that sunder relationship, and that obfuscation makes it difficult to change the behaviors. (Examples like cafe's are the extreme versions, but there are more subtle ways that Ivy describes, such as the attitude of paternalism.)
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  7. #27
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Just... wow. (And Cafe's story too.) But that's where some of us who are older are coming from, we were born in that in-between stage between the old ways and the new in terms of spiritual attitudes.

    Those examples are pretty overt. I think where it really gets frustrating and confusing is when people claim, "it's not about rules but about relationship," but don't seem to know exactly how to live by relationship or what it looks like and end up living by rules anyway while mislabeling it. So they think they're doing it, but are actually behaving in ways that sunder relationship, and that obfuscation makes it difficult to change the behaviors. (Examples like cafe's are the extreme versions, but there are more subtle ways that Ivy describes, such as the attitude of paternalism.)
    Yes, exactly. What I grew up with was extreme. It wasn't exactly a "snakes and strychnine" church, but it was close. My brother was baptised in a river with water moccasins swimming around him- this was fine because they were in there doing the Lord's work and the snakes would stay away. And it was not very lady-friendly- I wasn't allowed to cut my hair or wear pants for many years. And when everyone stood up to give their testimony, the men with power went first, followed by young men and even little boys if they felt led to share. Only then did the "women with power" share, followed by young women and girls at the end of the line. That's all easy to say no thank you to, for most of us (though for some reason my parents felt like they had to be there, even though they now say they realize it was extreme).

    Where it gets harder is when there's no overt condemnation/oppression, there's a veneer of acceptance and you might not even find out until later that it's offered in that paternalistic manner. And there's always "plausible deniability" so you could end up being the wretch anyway if you try to point it out.

  8. #28
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Actually, as I was trying to find a good example of Christians living in community I realized my previous description was woefully lacking in that I only recognized the needs or problems with neighbors (their sin) and I failed to mention the importance of Christians finding value and dignity in the community as it already is and trying to create opportunities for people to do good and serve each other. That's where Christian acceptance comes in.

    I've posted this before in another thread, but this is a good example of Christian engagement of the community. The polis institute was instrumental in the turn around of the worst trailer park in Orlando. But, it was really the residents who did all the work.

    http://vimeo.com/52440920

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  9. #29
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    A conservative, agnostic friend of mine attends Oklahoma Christian University due to the pressures of his Fundamentalist family. Even though I'm not agnostic, I understand his plight in that the emphasis on certain points of his education is disagreeable to him. I.e., it's easy for him to blend in with the stature of the school etiquette, and surprisingly easy to be accepted among his peers, yet the philosophical backdrop of what one is required to accept as truth there grates on him. IMO, that very backdrop dictates the foundation of the rules and the social acceptance an individual student ultimately perceives. In order to blend in seamlessly and keep himself sane, he approaches his college career as though it's a tongue-in-cheek endeavor. In the case of the educational process for a homosexual who's very identity rests on a philosophical deviation from core curriculum, I imagine it would be difficult to stay in the closet, despite how untimely it might be to come out. Certainly, there's bound to be a level of homophobia regardless of what college/university you attend, but a secular backdrop really diminishes the implicit expectations from an educational standpoint.

    Granted, not all Christian universities dress their courses up with a heavy emphasis on theological interpretations of the sciences, but the hidden expectation to change one's sexuality seems to be the logical consequence in a university that does.

  10. #30
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Really, though, who cares about weirdo churchy folk and what they say? I've always (even since childhood) thought they were a bunch of weirdos who need that kind of community for some odd reason that I'll never understand...and it really doesn't matter what the contents of their beliefs are. It seems that their beliefs are secondary to the gratification that they get from gathering with their possies and cluck-clucking at those not in their possy. Religious communities are basically an institutionalization of the worst forms of in-group out-group behavior, and unfortunately there are some people who are more naturally drawn to that than others (and they're usually the ones in leadership positions or positions of influence.)

    They can go fuck themselves no matter what they spout off about.
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