Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Daniel Francis said:
Would Christ discriminate and hate you because of your sexual orientation? No, he would not and he does not. THe GOd of love and Truth will not abandon you, and he does not abandon you now. So be encouraged. As the Psalmist said "Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me." (Psalm 27:10)
Quakers? Many Quakers believe that being gay is a sin. Many believe it is a gift from God. So we cannot speak for all. But as your brother in Christ and a gay man myself, I will stand with you, and give you comfort if you need it.
Here are some resources for Gay Quakers:
This is the website for Freedom Friends CHurch, a community of Gay affirming Evangelical friends.
This is the website for an intentional community of Friends who are also accepting and affirming of Gay people.
This is an organization of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender friends, most of whom are affiliated with Friends General Conference.
This is the New Association of Friends a Yearly Meeting in Friends United Meeting that is more accepting of Gay people.
I hope that these resources will help you find a fellowship of Quakers who can give you the support you need as a gay seeker after truth.
Hello friends, Hello Justin,
Thanks for an interesting and civil discussion. I would just like to add one thought if I can manage to articulate what's on my heart a bit.
While I live, my understanding of God and of Christ grows and changes. I can't get it to do otherwise. I can't reach a point at which I know it all. It keeps growing. So far this is where I've gotten to in one particular way:
I used to believe in a God separate from us. I took seriously the people who felt that God might be judging us, because sure, God was big enough to do that.... and what's the evidence of being a Big God unless you're smite-ing here and there and judging this or that group or individual, or at least leaving them with some fear and trembling (sorry Kirkegaard).
So I took seriously the people who felt that God might be judging us, even though God gives a lot of material in the new testament that suggests that it is we who have to stop judging and then God will not judge us.
According to the message of Christianity, Jesus Christ was in the form of a man for a while, but was already a direct and divine intermediary between us and God before that, or was himself God (John 1 and plenty of other places)... and he went on, after death, to becoming God in a different form again, as Holy Spirit which was to descend upon us and be available to us always, through us and in us.
Where does modern Christianity (or any Christianity) get off separating us from that direct Holy Spirit within even us? I'm an awful lot like a liberation theologian, I think. God within one person may look like a vulnerable gay human being, inviting you to judge him and trying to find out where you stand and if you'll REALLY mean it and really be loving or just kind of inclined to split hairs and try to sacrifice his hunger before the external spectre of a God that says to us "you'd better watch out."
Try love! Try not having terms and hairs you need to split over it. When a person needs to know they are loved, if you can respond with possible ways that they need to recognize any sinfulness, you need to realize that you are doing this to That Which is Divine. I thank those of you who have that within you to simply choose mercy and love. For those inclined to find this man sinful, are you equally willing to confess your own greatest vulnerabilities on this website (with specifics!) and see how your peers feel about you? And if not, does that make you a better person or less sinful?
jeepers, I have still managed to NOT make my point: we make a great fallacy of this religion when we think of Christ as an external, instead of Christ as what's already functioning quite well within this man, Justin, who asks the initial question. Justin, the point of Christianity in its Quaker expression is that you be able to sit down with yourself and seek the Light within you and find that YOU ARE GOOD.
The promise is that you, just as you are, are filled with the Light of God. Judging yourself or receiving shame from the judgment of others will only interfere with your ability to see that Light in yourself. Your job is just to sit in the silence seeking that Light within you and being willing to hurt with it, wherever it leads you. Being willing to feel vulnerable with it, wherever it leads you. And letting that Light lead you FROM WITHIN YOU -- Yes! from within a gay man! We do hurt with it, but it is not an internal Divine Presence of judgment or shame or commentary on your sinfulness. It is your own Holy Spirit. You are good.
Forrest, that was an awesome reply!
Forrest Curo said:
The division into male & female is built into the human conceptional structure of the universe.
Ursula LeGuin invented a human variant in which people periodically changed their biological configuration, ie most of the time a person would have no sexual urges whatsoever, but once a month it would go to a designated place to meet others who happened to be going into heat at the time -- and depending on who it bonded with there, and what configuration its friend was going into, would change appropriately. Probably (outside scholars thought) a more powerful civilization had once genetically altered their planet's population, in a high-handed sort of experimentation -- producing (as her visitor-observer protagonist suddenly noticed) a place in which sexuality would not be a major factor in how people felt/thought about a person. [Even they had a sort of yin-yang polarity in their religions; it just wasn't male/female.]
While genetic-exchange seems to be a necessary condition for producing large, complex intelligent organisms, our arrangement isn't the only possibility, merely the simplest, most energy-efficient. Each individual doesn't have to maintain two sets of reproductive organs, or keep one overly-complex versatile set. We're built with pretty much the same basic structure, except that corresponding organs develop with different sizes, configurations, purposes. Everyone gets the option of seeing the other sex in one of two ways: "Umph! Is like me!" or "Umph! Way different, strange! Dangerous?"
And of course we're all a little bemused by this mystery of how men open women's bodies so that those pesky spirits can get in to incarnate as people. Every tribe may conceive of the process a little differently, but there's obviously some heavy magic at work there!
Near Eastern civilizations? Well, Biblical stories really seem to imply that the customs and cultural expectations were changing drastically between the times they were first told and the times they were eventually written down. In the ancient neighboring empires -- many goddesses underwent a sort of cultural sex-change, or had their functions taken over by male deities, or simply lost status over the centuries. When David leads a royal procession into town... Saul's daughter, Michal, is waiting, looking out her window in much the way a Sumerian priestess would await a 'Sacred Marriage', which had been a traditional ceremony for giving a city's king her goddess's blessing, a little derivative authority. David has his own god and a professional army behind him; he don't need no stinkin Sacred Marriage to legitimize his rule; and so Michal is offended! -- a lasting grudge that really doesn't make sense unless a concept like this has been part of generic Canaanite culture (The Israelite tribes had never had a king before, 'like other nations' -- so whose customs of kingship are they going to follow? Not the ones that she'd expected?)
There's always been politics & property mixed up with people's customs for accommodating this wild magical energy... & that was true in 1st Century Galilee, equally true (and equally unremarked) today.
I don't think contemporary Christians privilege the mythic poetry of Matthew 19 particularly out of the desire to keep gay people down; I just think that some of them don't want to have to think about changing their customs -- while other contemporary Christians do want to change those customs (for generally humane reasons, as Jesus would have approved) without having to think about 'how can I fit this change into a heavy, rigid tradition?' Jesus would have sought the needed rationale in the spirit & divine intention of the tradition -- and if he couldn't find that explicitly, still: "Something greater than Solomon is here!"