Friday, April 13, 2007

Jesus never said, "Only straights shall eat at my Father's table."

By Diane Silver

Nope, Jesus never said that, but apparently the pastors at the Pennyback Baptist church in Philadelphia thinks he did.

They told lesbian Colleen Ott to either force herself into an ex-gay group or get out. Ott, very wisely, chose sanity and left the church she had attended for eight years.

In her time at that church, Ott served on the church's education board, supplied refreshments for the church's coffee house, sang in the choir and tended the grounds of a adjacent cemetery. Apparently none of that meant a thing once she came out as gay.

She has since joined the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia, and her new pastor, The Rev. Gerardo James de Jesus, noted that the actions of the other ministers just don't make sense to him.

“When Jesus was preaching the Gospel, he never said, ‘Only the straights shall eat at my Father’s table.’”


Joe said...

Jesus never said that those that sin without repentance would eat at his Father's table either.

Humans, by nature, are sinful. Jesus was sent to Earth to correct that inherent problem. If Colleen Ott sincerely believed in God and his salvation, she would seek to correct the sin in her life, not make it her lifestyle.

Diane Silver said...

Hi Joe,

It's always good to hear your contrary opinion, although I certainly don't agree with you. I think sin is letting yourself get cut off from the divine. I think sin is letting yourself fall into hate. I think sin is going out of your way to hurt people. And sometimes we all hurt others without realizing we've done it. In that case, I think the sin come into the picture when a person refuses to change their ways.

Loving, though, isn't sin, not if you do it honestly, not if you work every day to help and to be a good partner.

Think of it this way: Being heterosexual does not automatically make a person good or bad. Thousands of rapists are heterosexual. Serial killers like Ted Bundy have been heterosexual.

Being homosexual also doesn't make a person inherently sinful, evil or pure of heart and good.

Sexual orientation is inherently neutral. It's what we do with our orientation that matters. It's how we live and how we love.

Many churches teach this. I suspect that if Jesus were here today, he would sit down at my table and he would invite me to his father's.

Take care, old friend.

Joe said...

We're not old friends, so don't refer to me as one.

Your attempt to pluralize sexual orientation within Christianity is offensive to Christians who strive to uphold the teachings of Christ.

You failed to address my main point: If Colleen Ott sincerely believed in God and his salvation, she would seek to correct the sin in her life, not make it her lifestyle. There is no doubt to any rational Christian, that Jesus is open and willing to meet sinners. However, at that point, the onus falls upon the sinner to repent and change their ways to meet Christ. As it is, Ott is not willing to do this. If this is the decision she makes, then she should seriously consider her decisions and evaluate herself deeply.

Furthermore, what do serial killers have to do with this discussion? For what it's worth (apparently quite a bit to you!), John Wayne Gacy was a practicing homosexual.

Diane Silver said...

Joe, apologies for calling you a friend. Actually, my comment wasn't meant to hurt, only to reference the fact that you do post here often. I do appreciate when anyone engages in dialogue and does so without descending into name calling. Many thanks for that.

The point about serial killers is that sexual orientation is morally neutral. Being heterosexual or homosexual doesn't make one automatically a good person or a bad one.

You said that I missed your point that if Ott (or me for that matter) believed in God and his salvation, then we would seek to correct what you see as our sin.

But what God are you referencing? My church doesn't believe in the kind of God you describe, a God who hurts people for loving.

Many churches, in fact, teach that sexual orientation is morally neutral and that the sin in sexuality lies in how we live and treats others, not in whether or not a person loves a man or a woman.

The sin is in coercion, promiscuity, abuse and countless other things that people inflict on each other in the name of sexuality and love.

For those of you who are nterested, you can get more information on these churches and their approach to the love of being lgbt, go to:

*, go to hot topics and click on Religion.




Joe said...

I do not know your religion or faith that you practice and I will not speculate on it.

Nevertheless, the counterpoints you make are not what Christianity is about. As I've told many people before, loving and accepting a sinner is one thing. All Christians, if they are to be true followers of Christ, love everyone despite their sinful nature. But this is where the distinction must be drawn: loving the sinner is not the same as loving the sin. Many, many murders alcoholics, child abusers, tax evaders, thieves, slanderers, etc. have changed their lives and been accepted freely into the Christian faith. However, those same people who willfully maintain their sinful lifestyles are not living the teachings of Christ, thus bringing their Christianity and decision to be a Christian into question.

Christ himself spent a huge amount of his life among sinners. But instead of overlooking their sin, he sought for them to correct it and find the salvation he offered. While you do a fine job of exposing many so-called Christians that do not follow this model, you lump in those that resist the sinners that are unwilling to correct their sin. There is a huge distinction between these groups--just as there is among militant, murdering Muslims and peaceful Muslims.

Diane Silver said...

Joe, I think here's where we part company:

Neither I nor many churches believe that living as a lesbian or gay person is a sin. A loving, deeply committed relationship between two people of the same sex is not a sin.

What is sin is using sexuality to hurt others. I personally believe that promiscuity is a hurtful and ultimately self-defeating way to live. There are also many other ways that sexuality can be twisted.

People who oppose our civil rights and fairness under the law sometimes talk about a homosexual or gay lifestyle. But the truth is that there is no one lifestyle for all gays, just like there is no one lifestyle for all heterosexuals.

Have a nice day, Joe.

Joe said...

Then we've reached the fork in the road: I view homosexuality as a sin, you do not. (However, I also view Christianity as a lifestyle--perhaps you do not.)

I would suggest investigating the testimony of Dennis Jernigan, a powerful Christian songwriter.

Diane Silver said...

Yup, we've definitely come to a fork in the road. Just a couple of things before I leave this discussion.

You wrote: "I also view Christianity as a lifestyle--perhaps you do not."

The problem with your statement is that it is based on the idea that there is only one Christian viewpoint on sexuality.

That is most decidedly not true. Many Christians support same-sex relationships and argue, as I do here, that sexual orientation is morally neutral. Many Christians, many straight Christians and many denominations, teach that it is not a sin to have a same-sex relationship.

You write as if your narrow view of Christianity were the only one. I will grant you that you see it as the only true way. However, many others, many scholars and many Christian ministers see it differently. Not even all evangelicals agree with you.

I remember one study that showed that 15 percent of evangelicals support, yes I said support, marriage equality for same-sex couples. While that's not a huge number, it is certainly far more than I ever expected.

I briefly visited the page of the songwriter you mentioned. His "ministry" is to tell others about the horrors of being gay. I did not read his story in detail, although it appears to include a claim of being abused.

If anyone ever abused him, then that certainly is a horror. But then, it is also a horror for the many girls who have been sexually abused by fathers and brothers and the many women who have been raped by men.

I do not downplay any problems this singer suffered, but it is simply a lie to claim that this is the universal gay experience, just the same as it is a lie to claim that rape is the university heterosexual experience.

Here are some more sources on Christianity and same-sex relationships.
Founded by The Rev. Dr. Mel White, an evangelical writer who worked with Billy Graham, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell

Diane Silver said...

Oh heck, another typo... I meant to write:

I do not downplay any problems this singer suffered, but it is simply a lie to claim that this is the universal gay experience, just the same as it is a lie to claim that rape is the UNIVERSAL heterosexual experience.

Anonymous said...

Thank You, Diane Silver thank you indeed you're words made me smile!!! I have searched to know what happened to this interview, and I think that you are right that, "sin is letting yourself fall into hate."