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Will, but no Grace

June 1st, 2012

Emmanuel Goldstein, at Your Service

Today someone accused me of being homophobic. And he (or she) was very nasty and rude about it. I made a joke about “trying not to feel gay” in a fabric store, and this person ordered me to keep my “homophobic” comments to myself!

In a way, it’s funny. Obviously, the remark was not hostile toward gays. If it is, La Cage aux Folles (“The Bird Cage”) and Will & Grace are hateful, as is The Ambiguously Gay Duo.

In another way, it’s not funny. The accusation itself was hateful, and it reflects the increasing boldness with which the enemies of Christianity are spewing their rage.

Satan managed to kick the Holy Spirit out of the church around 1700 years ago, and for centuries, the church was no real threat to him. The power was gone. The courage was gone. Look at the lists of the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit. All those things were gone from the church, except in piddling quantities. We were disarmed.

A little over a century ago, the Holy Spirit returned, in spite of our foolishness, and since then, Christians have been getting more powerful. Not all Christians. Only the charismatics. We should have realized God was preparing us for battle. The world is becoming a sea of filth. Humanity is turning against real Christians. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the imbalance in power would put a quick end to us, and to God’s assault on Satan’s kingdom.

Now we have homosexual “pastors.” Not just the closeted kind we’re used to seeing. They are out in the open. We have “scholars” who twist scripture in order to justify perversion. The Old Testament and the New Testament condemn homosexual activity, and contrary to what the revisionists say, the criticism isn’t just directed to acts performed in rituals. It is a blanket condemnation.

It’s surprising, but it’s starting to look like this is going to be one of the biggest weapons that will be used against us when martyrdom returns. When unbelievers gas us and shoot us and loot our homes, this will be one of their excuses. Many of them will call themselves “Christians,” and they’ll say they’re doing God’s work. I guarantee it.

Do I hate gays? Of course not. Could anyone hate Nathan Lane or that kid who played Doogie Howser? I know some people feel visceral anger because other people are having gay sex. I don’t feel that way. When I was young, I thought homosexuality was perfectly fine. I have never felt rage toward gays. I admit, homosexuality can be funny, and the picture of two men entwined in passion will always be amusing to me, but that’s not hate.

Gays themselves realize how funny they can be, as The Bird Cage and Will & Grace prove. They joke about themselves constantly. Joking about feeling gay in a fabric store is not evidence of hate.

That doesn’t matter. People who point these things out will be told that the issue of whether a joke is hate depends on who made it. By that standard, all Christians (real Christians who do not endorse homosexuality) will be considered guilty, and persecution will be excused and encouraged. The presumption of guilt will not be rebuttable.

Here’s a funny thing about causes. People use them to justify cruelty and viciousness. Think of the PETA nuts who throw blood on women. Lots of people are against harming animals, but only a few use that conviction as an excuse to cause suffering. Homosexual rights constitute a cause, and that cause is already being used to ground hateful words and actions. It will get worse.

Today someone pointed out a scripture to me. Revelation 21:6. In it, God tells us the cowardly will “have their part” in hell, which is a lake of burning brimstone. Who are the cowards these days? Seeker-sensitive Christians. The people who let homosexuality (and positive thinking and cult methods and greed and…) into the church.

That’s sobering.

Hell is a hard thing to understand. The Bible doesn’t speak clearly about it. We know it exists. We know certain supernatural beings will be tormented in it forever. We know ordinary people will be placed there. What isn’t clear to me is whether it’s permanent for everyone. The Jews believe hell is a place where people go to be cleansed, and that we will not be punished forever. I’m inclined to believe that, and it makes me think there will probably be many self-proclaimed Christians there.

We know God punishes Christians. The Rapture will only take some of us, and the rest will be here during the Tribulation, when God’s ameliorating presence will be gone from the earth. If God would permit that, I don’t think it’s a big stretch to say some of us will suffer after we die.

If that’s right, it would make sense of Revelation 21:6.

In any case, you don’t want to be cowardly. Displeasing God and helping his enemies are bad things to do, with serious consequences for you and your house. The world is rapidly polarizing, and you don’t want to end up on the wrong side. God is the worst enemy you can imagine. There is absolutely nothing you can do to escape his anger, if he is determined to make you suffer.

How are we going to stand, when society changes and we are seen as parasites and troublemakers? When our Kristallnacht comes, how will we get the courage to affirm our Christianity before the mobs?

The answer is the Holy Spirit. He puts God’s character in us, little by little, as we pray in tongues, fast, read the word, and strive to listen and obey. Peter denied Jesus three times, after seeing him work miracles. That was before he received the fulness of the Holy Spirit. After Pentecost, he became a different man. He watched the Romans crucify his wife, and then he followed her, and all he had to do to survive was to renounce Jesus. Only the Holy Spirit could account for the change in him.

You can’t stand without the weapons and armor of God, and if you check the book of Ephesians, where these things are described, you will see that it refers to prayer in the Spirit. If you were born brave, that’s wonderful, but most people aren’t like that. God’s help is available, and we are expected–required–to accept it.

These things may sound crazy. So be it. I’m going to die, and it’s not going to be that long, because I’m already middle-aged. I can’t concern myself unduly with what people think of me here on earth. I have my future to think about. You are dying, too. You need to ask yourself how much you are willing to pay for temporary peace and approval from misguided human beings.

Corruption is already in the Spirit-filled churches. We teach greed and pride as though they were virtues. Other garbage will creep in through the cracks we have already made. One of these days, we’re going to see someone like Joel Osteen stand up and say he was wrong about gays or abortion or some similar issue. People who want to fill stadiums (and their pockets) will make up whatever lies they have to. They never cared about the flock. The desperation that drives them will eventually take control, unless they get into the Spirit.

Joshua was given to us as a symbol of Spirit-filled believers. He went forward to possess his inheritance–his place in the Promised Land–and before he did, he said this: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” You are going to make a choice, even if you do so by refusing to choose. You will be rewarded, with good or evil, depending on that choice. I say go forward with the Spirit. You can’t make it on your own, no matter how many positive thinking preachers you listen to.

Let the dogs bark. What’s right is right, and foolishness will not stand forever. Better to be slandered and insulted now, by simpletons, than to be blamed justly by God himself.

Homosexuality is wrong. If that looks like hate to you, it’s in your mind, not my heart. I don’t hate gays, gamblers, drunks, prostitutes, the greedy, the gluttonous, potheads, or anyone else who harms himself through iniquity. Believe it or don’t. God shares his power and his help with me every day, and he helps others through me. I am not giving that up so I can be your pal.

7 Responses to “Will, but no Grace”

  1. Heather P Says:

    Steve, I’m so glad to read your thoughts on this issue.
    I have been so conflicted because I believe that homosexuality is a sin as dictated in the Bible, but I have some very good friends who are gay. It’s heartwrenching because I want to shake some sense into them. I pray for them because I don’t know what else to do.

  2. Steve H. Says:

    I can understand not wanting to condemn your gay friends. I deal with that myself. But I can’t understand being conflicted. The Bible isn’t ambiguous on this topic.

  3. Heather P Says:

    The conflict comes from loving these people but knowing they are in direct conflict with my beliefs. Not wanting to shun them either.

  4. Steve H. Says:

    I know how that is. A friend of mine had an abortion before she got married.

  5. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    I’ve been wanting to post on gay “marriage” and I’ve been too busy to sit down and do it.
    Then I put something on FB from my phone, and all my thoughts gelled as a gay friend and a liberal friend challenged me.
    I cut and pasted the dialog at my blog and I’d like you to comment

  6. John P. Says:

    Hammer meets nail. I have friends and family who know me and know my heart for people, know my position on the sanctity of marriage, and yet find it all too easy to make comments about homophobia as the source of opposition to gay marriage.

  7. Aaron's cc: Says:

    I find it perplexing that the LGBT community embraces the rainbow symbol, which happens to be the symbol of G-d’s displeasure over having to create the flood, whose final trigger (according to ancient Jewish sources) was the codification of marriages between men and marriages between people and animals.

    Seeing a rainbow should not evoke joy. It is meant to communicate a reminder of Divine displeasure over human behavior. There is a Hebrew blessing upon seeing a rainbow: “… who remembers the covenant, is loyal to His covenant, and fulfills His word.”

    This was the Noachide covenant, 7 colors (ROYGBIV) correlating to the 7 Noachide laws. Among these laws was a prohibition against male-male marriages.

    Marching half-clad (in the San Fran/Berkeley area far worse) while waving a rainbow flag is akin to a parade of Jews eating traife and waving flags with depictions of the golden calf.

    There are no words for homosexual or lesbian in Biblical Hebrew. More evidence that it is our acts, not our natures, which matter most to G-d.

    Hebrew, instead, has words depicting roles: mother, father, son, daughter, teacher, student, Levite, priest, king, owner, lender, borrower, employer, worker, husband, wife. There are no words for democracy, socialism, communism, etc. There are no words for pedophile, zoophile, etc.

    In fact, one’s nature could identical to that of a NAMBLA member who has an unrequited sheep fetish… there is no transgression… until acting on those impulses. And it is pretty clear that it is very dear to Him that one suppresses urges to do His will.

    Is there anything IMMORAL for me (or anyone) to eat bacon? ONLY because G-d proscribes it for Jews. There is nothing prohibited for me to love bacon, to dream about a day where someday pigs mutated to chew a cud! But until that day… no bacon for me.

    It seems pretty clear that anyone who wants to repent from past actions is welcomed by G-d. The not-yet-religious 19-year-old girl raised in public schools with MTV’s values and who has an abortion but then becomes religious years later and regrets her actions is heading in the right direction.

    There is a halachic concept of “tinok sh’nishba”, a captured infant. If an infant was kidnapped and raised by pirates, the child is not held accountable for behaving as a pirate until he begins to learn of moral ways. Obviously, for anyone who understands the mean value theorem of calculus, people don’t do a quantum leap from such a criminal community into fully religious behavior. It takes time to learn and transition away. Likewise, people raised with contemporary MTV and university values need to be encouraged to take the first steps toward living as G-d would like.

    “G-d is near to all who call upon Him.” – Ps 145.

    No, I don’t think that there’s some magic formula that will take Doogie Howser and make his pulse race when he sees an attractive woman, but we all have our challenges.