Tuesday, November 8, 2011

FIRST, THE GOOD NEWS - Chapter Ten

CHAPTER TEN






The Sound of Silence


"Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock..."
Matthew 7:24 - NKJV)



Words are important.

According to the Genesis story, the worlds were spoken into existence...literally created by words (Hebrews 11:3)...

To a Christian, the words of Jesus should be the most important words ever uttered...words to live by...words on which to build one's spiritual house.

In most Bibles, His words are printed in red to give them the honor and prominence that they deserve.

The words of Jesus Christ are the most important ones in the Bible.

In the last two chapters we've discussed a story in Genesis which many people believe has relevance to people with same-sex attraction, and two things that Moses said that many modern-day Bible believers like to quote to show their disapproval of gay people. We'll get to Paul's Epistles next, but right now we come to what I believe is perhaps the most important chapter in this book.

When Jesus said in His teaching "You strain and gnats and swallow camels", He was talking about knowing the difference between what may or may not be important to God, and what is absolutely vital to Him. To me that means that, as a Christian, if Jesus talked about it then it's vital to me...if He never mentioned it, I have to assume it's low priority, if not completely immaterial to Him. Thank God for what David and Isaiah and Abraham and Peter and the rest of the Bible authors said, but at the end of the day, what matters most...maybe all that really matters...is what Jesus Christ said.

Jesus talked about a lot of things...a nearly endless array of a variety of topics...His Father...His purpose for coming to the earth...the Kingdom of God...religion...the Pharisees...His parables...love...forgiveness...baptism...prayer...faith...the Temple...Abraham...sowing and reaping...the destruction of Jerusalem...servitude...the rich...the poor...unbelief...the Sabbath...fishing...the lilies of the field...sin...living water...the Scribes...taxes...the heart of man...prophecy...Samaria...loving your enemies...sparrows...harvest...the Holy Spirit...Jonah...money...death...feeding the hungry...healing the sick...fasting...casting out demons...the anointing...foxes...Gehenna...the cost of discipleship...satan...sheep and goats...judgment...John the Baptist...turning the other cheek...the Two Great Commandments...worry...the Law...Noah...stewardship...the end of the age...His death, burial and resurrection...and on and on...

He was eloquent when He wanted to be...confrontational when He needed to be.

His words were so revolutionary that they said of Him, "Never a man spake like this man."

He said, "The flesh profits nothing, but the words I speak are spirit and they are life..."

...and "Now are you clean through the words I have spoken to you"

That being said, I want to talk about Jesus' words...about what Jesus taught...concerning people with same-sex attraction.  As I said, we've looked at what Moses said about it, and we'll look at what Paul said about it, but the Kingdom of God is built on the words of Christ...Jesus' words...the words in red...the words which are definitive. They are the most significant of all.

He said that heaven and earth would pass away, but His words would remain, so I think it's of the utmost importance that we, as Christians, examine and take to heart every single thing that Jesus said on this and every other subject.

The life of Jesus, the Christ, is of course revealed to us through four biographies that we call The Gospels...The Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John...

First, let's look at everything Jesus said about homosexuality recorded in the 28 chapters of the Gospel of Matthew*:























































That's everything.

Now let's look at His complete teaching on the subject...all that Jesus said about homosexuality in the 16 chapters that comprise the Gospel according to Mark:









































































That's every bit of what Jesus said about it in Mark.

Now, let's also examine the entire teaching of Jesus on God's attitude toward homosexuality in the 24 chapters that make up Luke's Gospel:






























































































That completes His entire teaching on the subject in the three Synoptic Gospels.

And, finally, let us read every single thing that He said about homosexuality throughout 21 chapters in the Gospel of John:





























































That completes Jesus' entire teaching on the subject.

The Gospels are so important, especially if you really want to be a disciple...a follower of Jesus Christ. That's why we need to take the time to observe and meditate on all the teachings of our Lord.

Jesus said that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, so we need to pay attention, not only to the things that Jesus did in His earth-walk, but especially to the things that Jesus said, because they indicate what was abundantly in His heart...what was really important to Him.

We also need to pay attention to the things He didn't say.

Selah.




*As I said earlier, I personally do not believe that Jesus' teaching on eunuchs in Matthew was in reference to homosexual people, mainly because He said that some people are eunuchs by choice, and I absolutely do not believe that sexual orientation is a choice. However, many of my contemporaries...some of them much more academically astute than I am...do believe that He was talking about gay people there. In fact, I know several learned scholars who believe and teach that every time the Scriptures mention eunuchs throughout both Testaments that they're really talking about gay people. I have no argument with them, just a difference of opinion. But, for the sake of point, I will include the much-debated passage from Matthew In The Now...hopefully it will bring some clarity to the subject for you...

3. And while He was in the area, the Pharisees came to Him again and put Him to the test by asking, “Is it legal and right for a man to dismiss his wife…to divorce her for any reason that he may have?

4. He replied to them, “Have you never read in your Scriptures that He Who made them from the beginning made them male and female?

5. This is why a man has to leave his father and mother at some point, and be united and bonded to his wife…and when that happens, the two of them become, in a sense, one single entity,

6. so that they are no longer two separate physical bodies, but actually become one new one. And if a particular union between a man and a woman is, indeed, God-ordained, then no human being should do anything to create a disconnect between what God has put together.”

7. They shot back at Him, “Well if marriage is so special…if, indeed, it is a God-created thing, then why did Moses make it so practical and easy to get a divorce? According to his law, all a man has to do to get out of a marriage is to send his wife a written notice, and then just simply dismiss her from his life, and be done with her, altogether.”

8. He said to them, “Moses set up this system basically because of the hardness of your hearts…specifically, your insensitivity to women. He permitted you to simply dismiss your wives with no regard for required responsibility to them because you have had no concept of covenant. But in this Moses did not have the heart and mind of God, considering that this self-serving male convenience was not in God’s original plan.

9. But I say to you that whoever just casually dismisses his wife for no legitimate reason, and marries the next available woman who comes along, really is only committing adultery with her. His shallow flippancy in such a case shows that he has no understanding of the seriousness of covenant. The situation is somewhat different if the wife has been unfaithful to her husband, but the real issue is still about the apparent disregard of covenant. So if a man marries a woman just because she was dismissed for her unfaithfulness to her husband, he is still just committing adultery with her if there is no genuine commitment to the covenant of marriage.”

10. The disciples, listening in on this conversation, said to Him, “If that’s really what marriage is about…if covenant is really that important…if God takes it that seriously…then no man in his right mind would ever want to get married! What would be the point of limiting your options by binding yourself to that kind of commitment?”

11. But He said to them, “Marriage is for men…not for boys. That’s why not all men can accept this concept. It’s for those who are mature enough to understand and appreciate the value of human, adult relationships.

12. But it also requires a certain kind of maturity to understand that this kind of relationship isn’t for everyone. There are some asexual men who, from birth, never seem to give women or marriage a thought. Other men may have been intentionally emasculated for cultural purposes, or for other reasons. And still others are single and celibate for spiritual pursuits…as if they were married only to the Kingdom of/from the heavens. Whatever the case, it requires insightful maturity to comprehend that not everyone takes the same path, or has the same needs in these matters. If you can receive this, you will be able to live and let live.”


Amen.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Terrell-Muzicboi Christopher Teezy Davis said...

Totally legit, and possibly my favorite chapter in the entire book!

Anonymous said...

Lonna Spencer said...

You always make me smile. Very effective use of blank space. Point well taken. I can't wait to have this in the bookstore.

Sandy said...

And I hear the sound of legalists and Pharisees falling as you go... :)

I agree with you on the translation work on eunuch. This is the accepted meaning across all the rest of scholarship and different traditions. There are those who would say, "Well this just shows how we are the One correct translation and the God breathed." No, it simply shows poor scholarship to try to hold on to an wrongly translated and antiquated belief based on a political need.

Erik said...

The moon is extremely beautiful tonight - an exquisite light in the darkness.

All that is there, and all that is not is illuminated.

It is like this chapter.

Erik said...

Bishop, I enjoy how often you use quotes from sources outside the Council of Nicea. They are very limited in their perspective and application. Kudos to you.

As to the two ‘coming outs’, the first one was what I enjoyed the most. That, to me, is the most real and important. That is what I felt when I was first at CITN in July 2000. As it was more expressed, it just got better each time. ALL are expressions of God, the ultimate God, beyond any dogma or doctrine. You know, the indefinable, unlimited, indescribable, un-boxable, the one we ALL know at birth.

The second, as much as it was more deeply personal you, to me it was “Oh, that is interesting”, and “I never would have guessed”. At most makes me appreciate you even more as my Pastor, since it made you even more real. The first ‘coming out’ was far more important to me, to enjoy you even more. The ‘second’ was interesting, but not relevant, to me. No offense, but that was unimportant to you as my Pastor, and what you do and say.

Your personal life is just that, personal, your business, not anyone else’s business. I understand the value for others to have peace, so good for you and those who have more comfort in their relationship with you and God. For me, it is neither here nor there, -- all space is here and all time now, and I am saying that for those who have primarily linear experiences.

Those that left because you said the last Adam overcame the earlier Adam, had a lot more guilt in themselves than those that left when you expressed your sexual orientation. Funny thing is, even those who left then, they seem more oppressed by the exterior, and those who left regarding The last Adam, were more oppressed on the interior, yet the former could overcome the interior, but not the exterior. Silly rabbits!?

One of my best friends growing up was gay. A running joke between us was because we were so close, and such friends, was that I wished he was a ‘chick’ and he wished I was gay. Neither was going to be changed by God, and we knew we were both also approved of by God. There was no problem between us.

Hell??? Yes, only for those who want it. Remember, each of us can only deal in what we perceive first for ourselves. Otherwise, “they” could not perceive ‘hell’. So, whoever wishes “hell’’ for others has already perceived it in their own experience, and then transfers that into the world they perceive.

The Christ is known by many iterations, in multiple paradigms, and many are inconceivable between each other. The omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, uncontainable, and unlimited Christ, otherwise known as Peace, Love, Hope, and names no one of us can express, only known when we ‘see’ it. So, ‘Jesus’ The Christ is how some ‘see’ The Way. Others ‘see’ The Way in completely different contexts and descriptions. God is, perception is. The plate and the vase with completely different perspectives and engagements are equally valid.

Erik said...

sorry, oops, last post on wrong chapter, re-posting on chap 3.

Not1Lost said...

Very good point! Many times what someone does not say is much more important than what they did say... Or says much more than what they did say...
Peace,
P Dennis

Not1Lost said...

Also I don't see how anyone could say Jesus was referring to gay people when he never used any word in this discourse referring to that, as there were words he very easily could have chosen, several of them... But not a hint... I believe He very clearly was referring to heterosexual relationships in covenant or otherwise....