Dumbfounded why Christian’s are called Bigots?

In light of Sunday’s tragic and horrible event, Christian’s are dumbfounded as to why they are being compared to this mass murderer. What Christians in general fail to recognize is the enormous amount of rejection, threats, bullying, physical harm, and hate, that the LGBTQ+ Community has endured most of their life. Christians in the name of God justify all sorts bigoted language and behavior. I know that Christians will deny this, but let me give you a few examples in my own life.

I’m not LGBTQ+, but I love them and I’m fully accepting and affirming. The reality is, this is nothing new to me. Let me say this upfront, God loves the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender person unconditionally and so do I. But when I chose as a Pastor to be inclusive and affirming of the LGBTQ+ Community at our house church I was ostracized by my church group organization. I was asked to resign, so I did. This was just 9 months ago.  Yes I was very hurt by this, still hurts today. I do miss some of my friends and wish that they would be more open. Have I responded to all of my critics in the best possible gracious way? No, not always. If you know me personally you know how highly bothered I get when people are mistreated.

So these were the sorts of questions asked of me and the sort of statements made by my Pastor, leaders, and Christian friends within my church organization.

Will you let them be in ministry?
Will you marry them if they ask you?
I understand your desire to show compassion, but you will tell them that they need to repent of their homosexual practices?
Homosexuality is abomination.
The Bible is very clear on this matter.
Are they practicing abstinence?
Are you struggling with homosexuality?
Allow one sin, and you must allow them all.
I welcome all homosexuals to my church… but their sin is still sin.
Homosexuals are destroying our families.
Homosexuals are the enemy of the church.
I simply cannot change just because society is pushing so strongly for acceptance and a very shallow love.
Are you really surprised that I would question you regarding this subject (homosexuality)?
If the phrase “gay Christian” refers to a person who actively, perpetually, and unrepentantly lives a homosexual lifestyle – no, it is not possible for such a person to truly be a Christian.
There is nothing I see that needs to change in my local church.
Why get together for coffee I’m not going to change my views? (response from a pastor friend that I invited to coffee after I submitted my resignation).
A letter was published by my friend and pastor on Facebook to make it crystal clear that they are not at all associated with me and in no way are they in any agreement with my views regarding the LGBTQ Community.

Let me say this there are some Pastor’s (a small number) that did reach out to me, that have befriended me and are seriously thinking through their views. They even apologized to me for the way this was handled and how I was treated.

So when LGBTQ+ hear this sort of ignorant language of course they think you are bigoted and hateful. Your phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin” is about the most hateful, hurtful, ignorant thing you can say. Christians think that they can say any hurtful, ignorant words so long as they think that their god supports them. Because of this they will continue to behave and talk to the LGBTQ+ Community in a way that is both shameful, and hurtful. But that is the Christian way, according to them god is always on their side, and ironically their enemies are also god’s enemies.

Christians operate under the rule of the bible. To them the bible contains The Very Words of God, all of it. They read it without ever questioning it and view it as having one unified view of God (which it does not). They are very good at memorizing text that supports their hateful views. There are various extremes within this sort of commitment to the bible. But more or less this is the underlying doctrine that determines their views. Within Christianity it is called inerrancy, it’s the teaching that the bible is the word of god and without error. Once you are committed to this belief then you are stuck and forced to support idiotic thinking that comes from a 7,000 year old culture that is patriarchally dominated, views women and children as property, where slavery is endorsed, and homosexual should be stoned until dead. Because of this it makes it virtually impossible to have any meaningful conversation with them since their only objective now becomes to defend their views. Yes they will smile, shake your hand, say you’re welcomed, and even hug you. But they will make sure to tell you that if you don’t repent of your homosexual practice, you will go to hell for all eternity. Oh yeah this literal belief that the bible is the word of God, coupled with the idea that it contains a unified view of god leads to all sorts of weird beliefs that are littered with identity markers to ensure there is always an us and them, a holy and unholy, the righteous and the unrighteous.

Within Christianity there is a major shift going on that is splitting the church. Unfortunately it is because of the church’s rejection of the LGBTQ+ Community. I say unfortunately because it never should have reached this point, Christians of all people should have been the first to stand up and walk along side them. The amount of doctrinal differences among Christianity is pretty sad. But when the Good News (Gospel) is no longer good, but becomes sad news of a god that simply has an ego so big that if you don’t get your beliefs exactly right, and can’t change, then his only option is to destroy and torment you for all eternity is utterly absurd. That is so far removed from the message of hope, love and peace on earth that Jesus came to give.

I do apologize to my LGBTQ+ friends and those that I haven’t yet meet for taking so long to take this stance. The power of acceptance is powerful and my group meant a lot to me. But that is no excuse, please forgive me I’ve should have taken this stance many years ago.

So next time you as a Christian are asked why the comparison, stop and think for once in your life.

I encourage you to to read this article at Times Magazine by Matthew Vines
What Christians Must Do in the Wake of Orlando

#onepulse #Pulse

Are You Lost and Out of Step?

Can I share something with you?  Something you can keep to yourself?  Well I’m considering radically changing our house church, and restarting, or rebooting if you will. I’ve heard that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. So it’s time to make changes.  Since leaving my Charismatic group I’ve accelerated my deconstruction and I think it’s been hard on those that were/are with me.  But there is no turning back for me I’m convinced that what I’ve been taught is incorrect and not reflective of Jesus Christ.

I’m committed to truly knowing Jesus even if it cost me everything.  Part of this journey is letting go of ways that have been ingrained in me as to how church should be, how often, what days. In some ways I feel lost, but in my lostness, in my wilderness, it’s there that I always seem to hear God’s voice. It’s there that I find my way back home.  So embrace the feeling of being lost it’s a good place to be.

Since leaving my Charismatic group I’ve rejected the following:

  • a retributive god
  • all hierarchy (within the body of Christ that views one as higher, better, greater than another)
  • all forms of control
  • all forms of power
  • all forms of manipulation
  • all forms of sin management
  • all forms of legalism
  • all forms of ignorance
  • all forms of success
  • all forms of exclusion

I firmly believe that in the body of Christ we are all equal, and the only great one is Jesus (and he defined greatness by becoming human, powerless, and a servant).  Yes I still believe that those that claim to follow Christ should gather together at the Table of the Lord where every one is equal and to bare each others burdens.  That is what I think church is and should be.

I don’t know where you are at in your journey but know this, where ever you are I’ll always be your friend. For the record Yes I believe that God heals, and that the Holy Spirit moves in our presence, and brings about restoration in our lives. Yes I still believe in the gifts of the Spirit, I have no intentions to abandon my Charismatic roots (although I’ve never been anything like the crazies or extreme, that doesn’t mean that I don’t hold those views).
Please keep me in your prayers as I truly value you and those that dare to come along with me on this Path that I have set.  You are here because you are a seeker, like the wise men looking for the God that will bring peace on earth. We’ve been lead to him, so now lets live like him and continue his work of bringing peace on earth.

May Christ be with you and your family,
Robert

Old Testament Library Pretty Weak

I am working on my paper for the my Old Testament Survey course, and just realized what a weak Old Testament Library I have.  My personal library is mostly made up of New Testament commentaries, introductions, encyclopedias, background, Greek, and theology (Systematic, & Biblical).

I have about 5 books on the Old Testament out of my 300+ books.  I really need to grow this section of my library as I find myself a bit frustrated trying to do research with what I got.

NIV 2011 Premium Edition Review

Yesterday I received in the mail from Amazon.com my new NIV 2011 Thinline Reference Premium Leather Large Print Black Letter Edition.  This is a double column bible, with center reference.  Cost $81.89

First impressions are amazing!   I own several premium leather bibles and this one overall is the nicest.  I highly recommend this bible to anyone shopping for a Premium Leather edition.  Here are the things I like best about this edition.

  1. The font and its size 10.5.  The font choice they made is so much better than the choice they had made with the TNIV Renaissance Bible.  I never really warmed up to the TNIV font.  I think it is too small, and they are too tight making it a bit difficult to read, and I have 20/20 vision.  The NIV is using a font that is much better to read possibly Georgia, nicely spread which helps to separate lines.
  2. Two ribbons, every bible should have two ribbons they are not that expensive, one for the OT, and one for the NT.
  3. Center-column reference
  4. Thinline less than one inch think
  5. Premium supple Leather has lots of character, a bible you just love to hold in your hands and read.
  6. Stitch binding which allows it to lay perfectly flat when opened

If you are on a budget and really would like to have the Large Print Thinline Reference edition, Zondervan is offering bonded leather editions as well as a Hardback and Duo-Tune.  I personally don’t care for bonded leather, I actually prefer the Duo-Tone over it.  If I was on a budget I would buy this one, the Italian Duo-Tone Brown for $30.85, and if you prefer you can get the Hardcover for $22.79

Here are some photos for you to enjoy.  I show some comparison with the HCSB Premium Leather Legacy bible.  That one is also a large print, center column bible.  However they used a Time Romans font, and is slightly smaller than the NIV.  Also I included some shots with the TNIV Renaissance bible.  One thing that I like better on the HCSB Premium Leather bible, is the choice they used for the back of the leather.  It appears they didn’t use anything which allows the bible to feel better when you open it, also the leather feels a bit thicker than the NIV 2011. The NIV and TNIV both use some matte paper that is glued to the leather.  It’s fine, but I think I would prefer how the HCSB did it.  Lastly you will see that TNIV is thickest of all three (not advertised as a Thinline), and the NIV and HCSB are about the same thickness.

Yes I know that I retired from blogging, but I’m actually just semi-retired from blogging.  I just had to share this with the rest of you.

Photo Notes:
The side by side comparison for Matthew is the NIV (left) and HCSB (right)

Books of the Bible on the iPad

One of the main purposes that I got the iPad was to read books, PDF’s and of course the Bible.   This year I have made it a goal to get back to serious devotional reading, which in recent times always led to research and study.   Which is not bad but it is very distracting, and keeps me from doing any sort of meaningful thought provoking devotional reading.   I have been working really hard every morning to read the Psalms and the Gospels which is working out pretty good.

The other day I came across the “The Books of the Bible” by Zondervan on iBooks which if you are not familiar with gives you a unique way of reading the bible without any distractions.   I read through the book of Epheisans this morning straight through and it was just wonderful.   I now plan to use this as my main method of doing my daily devotional reading.

Here is their brief description:

The Books of The Bible differs from the format of most current Bibles in significant ways:

  • literary forms of the Bible’s books
  • chapter and verse numbers are removed from the text (a chapter-and-verse range is at the bottom of each page)
  • individual books are presented with the literary divisions that their authors have indicated
  • footnotes, section headings and other supplementary materials have been removed from the text (translators’ notes are available at the back of each book)
  • the books of the Bible have been placed in an order that provides more help in understanding, based on literary genre, historical circumstance and theological tradition
  • single books that later translations or tradition divided into two or more books are made whole again (example: Luke-Acts)
  • single-column setting that clearly and naturally presents the
  • You can purchase these from iBooks for .99 cents each and the whole New Testament is broken down into 4 volumes so for $4.00 you can buy the whole New Testament.   I have not found the Old Testament, but that’s ok I still open up my fine leather HCSB bible now and then to read the Psalms.  Anyhow if you happen to own an iPad I highly recommend you give this a try.  You only have to invest .99 cents to give it a try.  Also if you don’t own an iPad you can still purchase the printed version as well.

    New ESV Bible on-line

    If you haven’t already check out the new ESV bible on line. It has some nice features, like highlighting, notes, and bookmarks.

    ESV Bible on-line

    Wheaton, IL (May 13, 2010)—-Crossway is pleased to announce the new ESV Online. A key part of Crossway’s ESV Digital initiative, the ESV Online is a powerful and convenient tool giving access to the ESV Bible and other resources for understanding and applying God’s Word.

    Free access to the ESV Online is now available by signing up at http://www.esvonline.org. Users are able to customize their own interface, highlight and mark verse numbers, add bookmark ribbons, search the ESV text, and manage personal notes. The free version also includes a variety of daily reading plans and devotional calendars.

    Want to try the highly acclaimed ESV Study Bible free? For a limited time, everyone who signs up for an ESV Online account will receive a free 30 day trial access to the ESV Study Bible. Current Online ESV Study Bible users will be contacted via email over the coming weeks and will have their accounts migrated to the ESV Online site with access to all the study notes and resources. The Study Bible module is also available to purchase within the ESV Online platform or for free with the purchase of any print edition of the ESV Study Bible.

    In addition to the above, Crossway is developing many more ESV Online modules to enhance the study of God’s Word. Stay tuned for the release of Greek tools, MacArthur study notes, commentaries, Bible Audio recordings in numerous languages, and much more!

    Coming this summer, ESV Online users will be able to sync their account with mobile ESV Bible apps so personal highlights and notes can be accessed and updated anywhere.

    HCSB 2009 available at OliveTree

    OliveTree has the 2009 HCSB available.  I was made aware by Matt in a previous post.  I happen to own BibleReader and the HCSB, so out of curiosity I went to update it and to my happy surprise the HCSB 2009 version was there.  I went to verify if they had a bullet note for “languages” and sure enough they did.

    The note for 1 Corinthians 12:10 has a small bullet before the word “Languages”, which in the HCSB means that there is further explanation of this word in the back of the bible.  This is what the note says:

    <b>Language(s)</b>
    The Greek word <i>glossa<i> has traditionally (ca 1530) been translated as “tongue” because the Gk word is used for the organ of speech as well as for a language.  Some see <i>glossolalia</i> as having a specialized meaning: either estatic speech or heavenly languages.

    I did a search to see if there are any notes regarding the use of the word “brothers” and found no footnotes or bullet notes to help clarify in certain instances where “brothers & sisters” (family) are being addressed.  I still think that HCSB should include a bullet note similar to what the ESV bible has:

    Romans 1:13 Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to men or to both men and women who are siblings (brothers and sisters) in God’s family, the church

    Not sure why they are being so stubborn on this one, but the final print is not done yet so we still have to wait and see.