In the name of the…

Christianity.

It’s such a simple word.

And when you lose most of the rhetoric the ideas of Christianity are quite simple.

Matthew36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a]38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

This is pretty simple.  Leaves very little to interpretation.  And for the most part if Christians would live their lives as best they could to these commandments there would be far less strife in the world.

Matthew36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a]38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

I felt like these commandments needed repeating.

I started to list all the things it doesn’t say, but I feel like I’d be preaching to the choir.  As far as it applies to me, it does NOT say I’m going to hell because I’m gay.  No where in those two most important commandments does it say that.

Unfortunately.

There are only two churches in the country that live by these commandments.  I’m joking.  There are probably four.  The public is not really familiar with these churches because they don’t have preachers in the news spouting hate.  The truth really is that if they weren’t spouting hate they probably wouldn’t be in the news.

Unfortunately.

I’ve been at the wrong end of a lot of Christian debates.

It started when I was 15 and my friend Lee Anne invited me to go to church with her.  That morning all was well.  I got up.  Got dressed.  Walked down to the church.  It was just down the street.  And joined her for Sunday school.  At the end of Sunday school, the minister/pastor/other loving term said to me:  “Are you ready to accept Jesus as your lord and saviour?”

“I don’t know.”

“Are you ready to spend eternity burning in the fires of hell if you were to die tonight.?”

“I’ll have to think on it.”

I did not accept Jesus that day.

Then I applied to and got accepted to the college in my hometown.  A little liberal arts school that was 150% associated with the Southern Baptist Association.  It’s very ironic that they call themselves a “liberal” arts school.  A friend from there jokingly called them the Fox News of Education.

Before you ask.

The school was in my hometown and costs less than any other school in the state.  When you are paying your own way through college you take what you can get.  Going there will always be one of if not THE biggest mistake of my life.

My first encounter there during Freshman Orientation.

“Hi.  I’m Karen.  Are you saved?”

I can still see the day.  It was one of those hot, sunny days in the middle of July.  Humid.  I was wearing shorts and a polo.  She was wearing khaki pants.

I should have run screaming then.

What I did do, was bury who I was deep deep down to a place where no one would discover it.

I didn’t come up for air for five years.

At the end of my time there, I was part of a production of Godspell.  For a short time it really did change my opinion about Christianity.  I was part of a group of mostly outcasts.  Everyone was as accepting as they could be at a VERY conservative school.  There were at least five men in the cast who were gay.  I’d slept with four of them.  I really wanted to sleep with Rich, the fifth.  Roger, one of the three, had slept with Jesus, who is straight now with a wife and four kids.  Lisa had been threatened with expulsion because she kept writhing tirades to the school paper. She had a way with words.  Paul was just a loving gentle man.  His girlfriend, now wife, was equally amazing.  He now calls himself a Buddhist.  Emily and Amy both got pregnant before the end of that school year.  Roger, one of the five gay guys was the father of Amy’s child.  They got married, but for the life of me I don’t know how no one explained to them why it was a bad idea.  That’s 11 out of the 13 in the cast.  The two left were and are still ultra conservative Southern Baptists.

It lead to:  Getting baptized on April 12, 1987.  It was my birthday.  I liked that it worked out that way.

I tried to be devout.  I tried to be good.  I even went a month without masturbating because we were taught that was bad.  I’ve been making up for that month for years now.

I went to church for about three more months.

Then I made the mistake of going to a new church after moving to Kansas City for the summer.  I didn’t like what they preached and it was finally clear to me that I wasn’t going to find what I was looking for in church.

I found it three months later.

The church of gay.

I got hired at Bennigan’s as a waiter at the Lenox Mall in Atlanta.  I got the job after sleeping with _________ )for the life of me I can’t remember his name).  His boyfriend worked there and he told me he’d get him to put in a good word for me.  The moral of that story.  Sleeping with married men can be a good thing.

I started there in November of 1987.

I didn’t know it then, but there were only two male front of house employees that were straight.  I was not one of them.  At my friend’s Stacy’s first annual Jewish Christmas Party, I made out with Stacy and went home with Dwayne.  Two things of note here.  Stacy was the first Jewish person I ever met.  I was 22.  She didn’t speak to me for six months for leading her on, but I now count her as one of my oldest and dearest friends.

By the January 1988 I was becoming comfortable with my sexuality.  And in turn I was becoming comfortable with myself.  By the summer of 1988 I was having the time of my life.  I was dating a guy named Matt.  Everyone in Atlanta knew that I was gay.  And I was finding the acceptance and love that I’d never been able to find in college and by default church.

I’ve never been a regular church goer since.  I’ve attended with my mom and dad when I was home.  I attended with my friend Curtis in San Diego.  I haven’t been in a church since I left San Diego.

I’m pretty sure I don’t believe in god.  I have a hard time believing that there is an all powerful being up there that is really concerned with what I’m up to.  I have a hard time getting Adam to be concerned with what I’m up to.  There’s no way the former is true.

I also have a hard time believing that if there was a god there’d be so much suffering in the world.

I have a hard time believing that men of god would be allowed to reek such havoc on the world in the name of Jesus/God if there was a god.

I have a hard time believing that priests would be allowed to molest 10000000’s of children.  If there was a god.

I have a hard time believing that there is a world of gold, and harps and angels singing where I will lie around on clouds forever in the after life.

I have a hard time believing that just because you are not dunked in a wading pool painted blue in front of a whole congregation that you are going to hell.

I believe there are toooo many people already living in hell for there to be a place that is worse.

I don’t believe there would be so much poverty in the world if there was a god.  The catholic church has billions if not trillions of dollars in it’s banks.  If they spent even a small amount of that wealth on the needy think how many people could be helped.

I don’t believe that a book that was written by a bunch of old white men, and then revised by a bunch of old white men, and then revised again by a bunch of old white men, and then revised again by a bunch of old white men is the word of god.

Yeah.  I’m pretty sure there is not a god.

That being said.

I try to live a decent life.

I try not to Lie.  Steal.  Cheat.

I try to be nice to people.

I take the high road whenever I can.

Do I do this perfectly?  Of course not.

I do however, think I come closer than a lot of Christians that are on TV blowing their own trumpets.

I believe what I believe.  I think I have the right to believe what I believe.  I think you have the right to believe whatever you believ.  As long as your beliefs don’t infringe on my rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  If they do then your right to your beliefs end there.  And just for the record my being gay does NOT in any way infringe on your right to your religion.

I hope I haven’t offended you Catrina.  I don’t mean to.  This post started as an email response back to you.  I figured when it was all said and done it would make a better post.  The fact that you are a loyal reader proves that you are not of the mindset of the people I speak of.  Based on the comments you’ve left along the way you seem to be a loving, caring person.  I will however, challenge you to this.  Have your church become the drum beater.  Demand that  your minister to make as much noise as Fred Phelps.  Or Ted Haggard.  Or the Pope.  Wouldn’t it be nice if your church made CNN’s headlines on Friday because of the things they are doing.  Perhaps if enough of us demand that the people fighting the good fight stand up and yell we’ll drown out everyone who gives the rest of us a bad name.

PS.  While doing some research for this post I found this as part of the First Baptist Church of Richmond Kentucky’s Vision Statement.  It was added in 1998.   I know I have a few women who read my posts.  I find it highly offensive.  Give me your opinion.

The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.

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6 thoughts on “In the name of the…

  1. Lemuel June 8, 2010 / 05:37

    I hear you, Maddog. There are times when I, a person of faith such as I am, wish that the real Christians would stand up and make themselves known, kind of like a universal version of the old TV show “To Tell the Truth”. But it will never happen. In the first place they would never get the press because their ways will not fit into the Fox News Agenda. But it must also be said that it will not happen because that is not the way of the real ones. The real ones I have known have always been the kind who quietly work out of the limelight. Much like lighting engineers in a dramatic production who are unknown and unseen, they make the magic on the stage of life come to life. 😉 Loving your neighbor as yourself often does not make very exciting copy.

    Even so, I must say that I am glad that at least one facet of false teaching by the false prophets held you captive for only one month and that you continue to make up for it. Good grief, had it lasted longer than a month and you were making up for all that time, I fear that Adam would be so worn out that he would never walk again! *GRIN*

  2. spamwise June 8, 2010 / 12:36

    Religion is Man’s way of making order out of a chaotic universe.

    Many of the inherent ideas are, when viewed from this stance, not at all surprising.

  3. Karen June 8, 2010 / 18:45

    My bottom line is Jesus preached Love. He didn’t say to just love those people who agree with you, or only those who are straight, or only other Christians.
    As for the husband being the head of the house, I was taught to be self sufficient. I have a career and kids and a house and a car and a dog and a husband. He’s not in charge, and neither am I. The house is in my name beacuse I have a real job and he is a musician.
    God is not the problem. People who project their wishes and issues on Him are. He’s not a magician, and like you said, I really don’t think he is paying that much attention to each of us.
    Religion has too many questions, and too many people anxious to answer them for the rest of us.
    My philosophy is be kind, do your best, and watch and see what happens.
    Thanks for making me think.

  4. catrina June 9, 2010 / 11:06

    Maddog, thanks for your reply. My church family actually does make a lot of noise in our community. But being non-judgemental Christians who don’t preach fire and brimstone and boycott funerals (Fred Phelps, YOU SUCK!), we don’t get a lot of PR. I believe that God has His expectations of us, but forgives us even though we don’t ‘measure up.’ As for the two commandments, our preacher quotes Matthew every week, and challenges us to live by those commandments. There are far too many so-called Christians who preach hate and fear. Luckily, I don’t associate with those. I understand your belief that there is no God, just as I know you understand mine that He exists. I’d just rather believe that I’ll have an eternal life millions of times better than this one.
    As for the Baptist church’s mission statement, it’s meant to ridicule gays and lesbians. It’s actually a quote in the Bible, and one that, I admit, I have a problem with. It relates to the wife submitting to the husband, NOT that there can ONLY be a man and a wife. The dregs of society took the verse and ran with it to spew their hate.
    Oh, and by the way….you didn’t offend me!

  5. javabear July 1, 2010 / 23:03

    Jeff, here’s a link to news about a church that is on the right track.

    http://www.timschraeder.com/2010/06/30/a-different-kind-of-demonstration-at-gay-pride/

    This is the first positive story I’ve seen in a very long time depicting Christians acting Christlike.

    I sympathize with their cause. I used to be one of those judgmental Christians, and am very sorry for any pain that I caused during my course in that church system. And now the term “Christian” leaves a really bad taste in my mouth.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post.

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