Saturday, March 22, 2014

SodoMIGHT wanna check again

First of all, let me apologize for my month-long break from blogging. I've always been very silent about my faith, and after my blog reached 4000 hits I was feeling a little over-exposed and overwhelmed.

However, taking this break has not been sitting well with me. There is so much to be done and so much to learn regarding this issue, and I'm reminded of it every single day.

That's why I'm back! (Are you all saying YAY right now?)

As a reminder, I'm using www.blueletterbible.org for all of the original translations and study tools. Never take my word for anything.

I'm going to go in chronological order of the six gay-condemning verses, which means I'm starting with Sodom and Gomorrah.

In case you haven't read it, it's in Genesis 19.

To summarize, two angels dressed as men arrive at the city of Sodom, and are greeted by a man named Lot. Lot is a super nice dude who offers to let them stay with him and feed them a meal. The angels agree to go home with him. As they are getting ready for bed, ALL of the men in the city, "both young and old," surround Lot's house and say, "bring the men out so that we can have sex with them!" As the angry mob is trying to break the door down, the angels strike them all with blindness. After this, the city of Sodom is destroyed.

Alright, so that sounds pretty gay right? Men wanting to have sex with men?

Scholars on both sides of the argument have widely agreed that this story is not about homosexuality at all. I'm not even sure how one would argue that the sin of Sodom includes homosexuality after doing a little research.

But because many Christians are deathly allergic to critical thinking, I'll help you out.

This story is about two foreigners entering a city and not being welcome. It's clear this city doesn't do very well with visitors because they angrily call them "foreigners" and threaten them with gang rape.

Yes. Gang rape. That is what this story is about.

In ancient times, it was a common practice for men to rape other men to show their power over them and "defeat" their enemies. The idea was to humiliate and dominate.

Here are a few things that support the notion that this story is about power rather than male-male sex for pleasure: 

1. As Justin Lee points out in his book Torn, it makes more sense that these men were participating in an ancient practice of domination rather than the entire male population of the city being gay (let's be real, if they were all gay, they'd be a lot nicer).

2. The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah are brought up 20 different times in the Bible, and there is not one mention of homosexuality.

Ezekiel 16:49
"'Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."

 3. Being hospitable was something that people of ancient times took very very seriously. In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot even offers up his own virgin daughters so that the two men he has taken under his roof will be spared. Which goes along with point 1, if it were true that EVERY man in the city, young and old, were flaming homosexuals, why would Lot offer his daughters to try to satisfy them? Maybe he didn't know he was living in a gay city...

The main sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is widely accepted as being inhospitable and unwelcoming to guests.

So while this story is the reason Christian's call homosexuals "sodomites," a look closer shows that it is absolutely not relevant and holds no weight in the discussion of committed, loving, gay relationships.

To be clear, I'm still against gang rape.

9 comments:

  1. No need to apologize Missa! I can imagine the pressure you must feel to blog more often, but truthfully I appreciate it when people blog because they have something important to share and not because they feel the need to take up white space. As for your topic, THANK YOU! I love that you will be tackling the "clobber" verses from your perspective. Always good to see what others are thinking and how God has been speaking to people. I pray that the people that read your blog will be encouraged and blessed by your words!

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement! I hope you'll continue to pray for me and share your thoughts as I go through this series :)

      Missa

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  2. Missa, have you heard of the play "Seven Passages"? It's about experiences of gay Christians and is structured around these six/seven passages that people often use as condemnation. I read the play last year and found it moving.

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    1. I haven't heard of it, but it sounds like I'll have to look it up! :)

      Missa

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  3. Hey Missa, this is an interesting research project you're doing. Question: you quoted Ezekiel 16:49 but cut it off before verse 50: "49Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it." That word abomination is included in the list of their sins, and is connected with homosexuality elsewhere in scripture, so I'm interested in how you know that's not what it means here.

    One example which uses the same Hebrew word for abomination is Lev. 20:13, "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them."

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  4. Hi JD, Justin Lee does a nice job talking about "abomination" in a short video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNssnfM1zFw&list=PLDA1EBE6901CF9CE4

    Justin doesn't go into this in his video, but "abomination" means something that is detestable to a certain culture or religion. For example, the Israelites did what was an "abomination" to the Egyptians:

    Gen 43:32 the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination (H8441) unto the Egyptians.

    Exodus 8:26 we shall sacrifice the abomination (H8441) of the Egyptians to the LORD our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination (H8441) of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?

    Ezra 9:1 Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, (H8441)

    And since the verses about homosexuality being called an abomination are found in Leviticus, the book of rules on temple worship, it makes sense it is called an abomination because that's a ritualistic word.

    Other things to consider...

    Deut. 14:3 Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing. (H8441) But this abomination was overturned when the sheet of unclean animals was lowered to Peter in Acts 10.

    Deut 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination (H8441) unto the LORD thy God. This is why women did not wear pants until the 20th Century. Few Christians think this is an issue anymore, and yet, it's called an abomination.

    Deut 24:4 Remarrying a former wife is an abomination. It even causes the land to sin.

    There are more, but you get the idea.

    What about the dealth penalty that comes with the abomination of man to man sex in Lev. 19:20? There are lots of things that require the death penalty in the Old Testament:

    Deut 21:20-21 a rebellious child must be stoned

    Eze 18:13 He lends at interest and takes a profit. Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable (H8441) things, he is to be put to death. This is talking about bankers who charge interest, or credit card companies and all the employees of those industries. It's called an abomination.

    Exodus 35:2 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.

    I'm so glad that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament rules and regulations.

    Colosians 2:14-17 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

    Galatians 3:23-28 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed.So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

    So I'd say that the idea of "abomination" is not a strong argument against homosexuality, and requiring Christians to follow Old Testament laws is also not necessary.

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  5. "But because many Christians are deathly allergic to critical thinking, I'll help you out." Hahaha! Excellent post, Missy. Look forward to the rest. :)

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  6. Just want to say that I am enjoying your blog. I see that you haven't posted anything since March, and hope you are still planning to post something new soon. My sister is gay, and I have struggled with my thoughts on it. I obviously love her and accept her for who she is. And looking back, I know she always was gay, definitely not something she "chose" to be. As a Christian, I have been taught to believe homosexuality is wrong, but at the same time, I know the same God who made me also made my sister, and I know He doesn't make mistakes. I've just seen it as her "cross to bear", we all struggle with different sinful tendencies. However you have given me a lot to think about. I believe I will be doing some of my own research on this topic. Thank you for sharing some information I never thought to look for. May God continue to use you.

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    1. Hi Lois,

      Thank you for reading! As you can see I posted the next section in my series tackling the 6 verses. I hope my posts continue to make you think. Please feel free to ask any questions:) And thank you for caring so much about your sister and being willing to learn as much as you can before forming an opinion.

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