Mr. Hetero Contest?!?

Okay, this is stranger than fiction. Scott, a regular commentor, sent me a Focus on the Family “news” story about a pastor in Massachusetts who is running a Mr. Heterosexual contest.

The homosexual community has flooding the marketplace with products and opportunities exclusively for gays and lesbians. Now a talk show host in Massachusetts is turning the tables. Tom Crouse, pastor of Holland Congregational Church and host of the radio program “Engaging Your World” is launching a “contest” to name the most heterosexual guy in Massachusetts.

“We’re just looking for tolerance for heterosexuals.”

Someone should stand up for heterosexuality, someone should stand up and celebrate how God’s made us and I said, ‘I’m gonna!’, so I think I’ll have a Mr. Heterosexual Contest!”

I thought I WORKED in satire. Read the whole story here. The event is February 4, 2006 about 35 minutes away from my home. Hmmm, maybe my “ex-gay” character, Chad, should enter….I feel some performance art coming on.

This post has 45 Comments

  1. heath on December 8, 2005 at 10:33 pm Reply

    Are you kidding me?? That’s insane!!

  2. Daniel Gonzales on December 8, 2005 at 10:36 pm Reply

    Peterson, I nearly spit out water all over my keyboard when I read your comment about entering the contest. You should! Oh that would be hilarious!

  3. Jeff Harwood on December 8, 2005 at 10:49 pm Reply

    and don’t forget these websites:

    http://www.heteropride.com

    and

    http://www.straightpride.com

  4. Clint on December 9, 2005 at 1:34 am Reply

    So, what are they saying–they’re running a contest to see who is the most heterosexual? Is that the contest for the sloppiest guy who watches the most football and cares the least for clothes? If so, I am in!

    😀

    Peace

  5. Contemplative Activist on December 9, 2005 at 10:43 am Reply

    Ooooh, I think Chad would throughly enjoy himself … are healthy, celibate, ex-gays allowed to enter?

    CA

    PS. OH MY GOD!!! Unbelieveable – its like something straight out of The Onion.

  6. Willie Hewes on December 9, 2005 at 12:22 pm Reply

    Cool! Yes, Chad should definately go. 🙂

    Silliness!

  7. Bob Painter on December 9, 2005 at 2:31 pm Reply

    I double-dog dare you to do it, Peterson!

    I might even have to fly north to lend my support (and a few cat calls)…

  8. Contemplative Activist on December 9, 2005 at 9:42 pm Reply

    Bob – maybe you can go too and film Chad then is antics could go on the web for all to see ;)!

    Damn, I wish I lived closer!

  9. Peterson Toscano on December 12, 2005 at 4:04 am Reply

    Keep your dares to yourself. I may be tempted to enter but I am not stupid!

  10. Ann on December 12, 2005 at 8:00 pm Reply

    I’ve been pondering this contest as well as some of the other mean-spirited things afoot this holiday season. Last night I heard a minister whup-up his congregation about the people that “want to take our Christmas from us.” He told them that in the past they at least had the courtesy “to keep their mouths shut” during this time of year. He received applause amid rounds of “amens.”

    And as a pastor, I’m left feeling grieved that all this anger, divisiveness and ridicule is coming out of the church (or at least, some segment of it). What to do? Remember this contest is not sponsored by a Rock 98 and some radio shock jock, but someone who identifies himself as a minister of the Gospel.

    Two things come to mind. One is that some of the folks, like these two pastors, have decided that the end justifies ANY means. So in dealing w/someone like that, I know I cannot win because I’m not willing to use their methods or go to the same places they will. By entering the contest, Peterson, you would be going on their turf…and you will not win…any hearts, any minds. You may actually fuel the fire of those at the extreme and push those on the fence further away from you.

    That leads me to my old training manager days when I did Change Management training. We always targeted the folks in the middle of the continuum. Those on either extreme were not who we tried to reach. These two pastors are at the extreme. You and I won’t reach them. So I leave them in the loving hands of our wildly creative God. Then there’s all those people, in the middle and its a broad middle, that in a different context can hear and even want to hear us. As a wise woman once told me, “There’s a world waiting for a reflection of Christ’s love through you.” As followers of the One who is Love Embodied, our calling is “to keep on and reach them.” And, as I so often have to remind myself, our methods and motivations must come from the Shema…the Summary of the Law. Loving God with every fiber of who we are because we know the Love which first loved us and allowing that love to overflow our own lives to others…lest we be the same sort of clanging gongs that assault our ears and wound our souls this Advent season.

  11. Hollands Opus on December 13, 2005 at 7:35 pm Reply

    Ann writes, ” I’ve been pondering this contest as well as some of the other mean-spirited things afoot this holiday season.”

    First of all, let me say that your comments about the love of Jesus are terrific. His love is amazing. Hence he died in my place, that I may be free to love God.

    But I wonder why you immediately call this “mean spirited?”. You have judged without even speaking to that Pastor. On what basis do you thus judge his motive and character. You have no idea how many people Jesus has reached out to through him in everyday experience.

    WHat is wrong with celebrating heterosexuality? WHen homosexuals have parades, I don’t think it is mean spirited. I think there is every reason to believe sexual immorality of any kind is dehumanizing, and that includes homosexuality and heterosexual adultery and porn. So why is it wrong to celebrate my heterosexuality?

    I sure would welcome some decent dialogue on this.

  12. Ann on December 13, 2005 at 7:59 pm Reply

    Well, Hollands Opus, as we say in North Carolina…you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, it’s only the hit dog that yelps.

  13. Peterson Toscano on December 13, 2005 at 9:02 pm Reply

    Alright folks, I already deleted tw0 UGLY comments that were not about dialogue but was just being UGLY. So this is how it works on this blog. Be real, be honest, but don’t personal attacks.

    I so welcome respectful dialogue, but if your comment attacks someone, is in ALL CAPS and is generally ugly, it gets deleted.

    So now for my $.02 (okay $2.50), basically the contest is silly because heterosexuality is celebrated practically EVERYWHERE and all the time. Nearly every movie, song, TV program, children’s book, sermon, etc presents heterosexuality as the normal preferred way to live.

    As a youth with same sex attractions I heard the messages over and over again that anything but hetero was strange, abnormal, dangerous, evil. That or I only heard about heterosexuality.

    Heterosexuals have the power and priviledge in this country. Virtually every politician in the land is heterosexual (and male). Gays have been an oppressed minority for most of US history and only in the past 30 years have begun to be heard in the mainstream.

    Ripping a pile of Oprah magazines (one of the proposed contest events) does not prove someone’s heterosexuality–rather it smacks of sexism and racism.

    What Would Jesus Do? Tear up Oprah magazines and compile a list of uses for Duct Tape? Sounds more like a poorly conceived Comedy Central comic sketch than an event that celebrates anything God has made.

  14. Hollands Opus on December 14, 2005 at 10:58 am Reply

    Peterson writes, “What Would Jesus Do? Tear up Oprah magazines and compile a list of uses for Duct Tape? Sounds more like a poorly conceived Comedy Central comic sketch than an event that celebrates anything God has made.”

    First, Jesus did address sin, you can’t get around that. One of those sins was judging wrongly – on appearances only. WHo are you to say that tearing Oprah magazines is racist or sexist. I personally have read but a few of the artciles in those, and indeed I would suggest that some of the artciles represent the worst in sexism, male put downs and exaltation of the feminine. I think it is entirely unbalanced, and I think Oprah espouses a new age spirituality that Jesus warned against. So perhaps you are condeming a thing out of personal bias against people like me. By the way, I attend the church where Tom Crouse is the pastor, and tearing Oprah magazines was my idea. Its in good fun.I am no racist, though admittedly I have at times put my own foot in my mouth as a chauvanist, without even knowing where chauvanism comes from, but knowing that the Lord and I are killing those traces which remain.

    I appreciate your taking down name calling blogs, etc. That is genuine and respectful.

    Peterson wrote,”What Would Jesus Do? Tear up Oprah magazines and compile a list of uses for Duct Tape? Sounds more like a poorly conceived Comedy Central comic sketch than an event that celebrates anything God has made.”

    I think Jesus would appreciate the humor of the duct tape. Where I come from, duct tape is a staple. I suppose that makes me a “redneck”!!!

  15. Hollands Opus on December 14, 2005 at 11:01 am Reply

    Ann writes, ” Well, Hollands Opus, as we say in North Carolina…you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, it’s only the hit dog that yelps.”

    I don’t know what that means. If it means that since I reacted to the charge of being mean spirited, then your argument is circular and proves the weakness of it. That would be like my saying you are a poor debater beacuse I accused you of poor debate and you responded with a negative reaction.

  16. Bob Painter on December 14, 2005 at 3:59 pm Reply

    Ann, thanks for the reminder of who we are to be in Christ. Peterson doesn’t need to enter the contest to protest his disapproval; gay couples do not need to attend and offer boos and hisses OR hugs and kisses; we don’t have to debase ourselves to prove a point.

    HO, go ahead a have a good time celebrating your masculinity. The duct tape humor will probably go over quite well. I don’t really get the Oprah magazine destruction, but if that makes your testosterone bubble, go for it. I’d also like to offer myself as a prop for your production: you can kick me, shout insults at me, castrate me…whatever it is that makes heterosexual Christian males feel superior and godly.

    Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I realize that the most powerful method of protest is not shame-for-shame but sacrifice-for-shame…Reminds me of my Savior…

  17. Hollands Opus on December 14, 2005 at 4:44 pm Reply

    Bob P wrote, “I’d also like to offer myself as a prop for your production: you can kick me, shout insults at me, castrate me…whatever it is that makes heterosexual Christian males feel superior and godly.

    In what way has anything that I or the founder of the event remotely suggested that? You don’t need to build straw men with me. If you disagree that’s fine and respectable, but please do not hide behind the thin veneer of homosexual tolerance, while berating those who disagree with you and mischaracterizing thier positions.

    “Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I realize that the most powerful method of protest is not shame-for-shame but sacrifice-for-shame…Reminds me of my Savior..”

    Why do you you suppose anyone would even want to protest this event? And please do not characterize Jesus as someone who merely protested. He died in the place of sinners like you and me. His cross was no protest, it was a conquest for those who are reconciled to God by it. When you are all done slamming people with whom you disagree and about whom you know nothing, you will be taken more seriously.

    By the way, there will be people there that have left the homosexual lifestlye. What tender comments do you reserve for them I wonder?

  18. Bob Painter on December 14, 2005 at 5:54 pm Reply

    HO: “When you are all done slamming people with whom you disagree and about whom you know nothing, you will be taken more seriously.”

    BOB: Sorry you felt slammed. I was serious about the duct tape humor being good comedy. Very clever! Regarding the need to be taken more seriously, I don’t think I need to be taken any more seriously than you are are taking me.

    HO: “By the way, there will be people there that have left the homosexual lifestlye. What tender comments do you reserve for them I wonder?”

    I say this: Guys, when you are tired of living a lie and sacrificing your identity to the Law, remember there is a God who loves you just as you are because He made you who you are.

    I saw on a bus stop waiting booth last night the verse “With God all things are possible.” Most of my life, I’ve heard Christian leaders use this verse to try to prove to me that God can change my sexual identity. And I believe He can–if He wants to. I’m convinced He’s not that interested anymore in my sexuality. Perhaps the thing that’s possible with God in this instance is that His love, forgiveness and acceptance is even offered to homosexuals. Maybe–just maybe–it’s possible that God is happy with me as I am because I am His creation, and He doesn’t make junk.

  19. Hollands Opus on December 14, 2005 at 6:27 pm Reply

    Bob said I say this: “Guys, when you are tired of living a lie and sacrificing your identity to the Law, remember there is a God who loves you just as you are because He made you who you are.”

    Are you saying that God has not already changed thier identity? You can’t have it both ways. Why is it so unbelievable that someone would forsake the homosexual lifestyle, and why can’t one so leave the lifestyle without evoking ire or some sense of pity from many homosexuals? Maybe God created them hetero, they strayed for a while, and then returned to thier God made identity? That does not seem to be an option to anyone in this blog? Why? If you believe heteros who turn homo do so because God made them that way, then why can’t you accept that God made them hetero in the first place and then they returned?

    What do you mean by “God loves you just as you are because He made you who you are?” If you mean “accept your homosexuality because God made you that way”, why do you believe that to acutally be true?

    BOB:”Perhaps the thing that’s possible with God in this instance is that His love, forgiveness and acceptance is even offered to homosexuals”

    How would we know whether or not it is possible? I have no doubt at all that God forgives whoever asks forgiveness based on the atoning cross of Jesus Christ, liars, drunks, murderers, adulterers, pornographers, and all sexual perversion.

  20. Bob Painter on December 14, 2005 at 7:27 pm Reply

    HO, I’m not following your logic in the first paragraph. All I know is that I graduated from Love in Action after two years of therapy with a keen sense of legalism and an even keener sense of my homosexual longings. When I stopped trying to live a lie, I became more balanced and real than I had ever been in my life.

    HO: “If you mean ‘accept your homosexuality because God made you that way,’ why do you believe that to acutally be true?”

    Experience. We learned at LiA that we would never lose our homosexual drive but we could willfully sacrifice those desires for heterosexuality. Twenty-five years of living a lie finally takes a toll on your emotional health. Try a little experiment: live life as a gay man for a week. See how quickly you want to revert to your true sexual persuasion.

    HO: “I have no doubt at all that God forgives whoever asks forgiveness based on the atoning cross of Jesus Christ, liars, drunks, murderers, adulterers, pornographers, and all sexual perversion.”

    …and especially legalistic Pharisees…

  21. Hollands Opus on December 14, 2005 at 7:57 pm Reply

    BOB: “We learned at LiA that we would never lose our homosexual drive but we could willfully sacrifice those desires for heterosexuality.”

    Says who? That is but an opinion

    BOB:”…and especially legalistic Pharisees…”

    I hope that is not a charge against me. If so, why? I list myself among the list of forgiven sexual perverts, liars, drunkards, self centered jerk at times, etc. That is why I said sinners like you and “me”.But Phariseism is not a sin you or anyone can convict me of. Because I have a contrary belief I am a pharisee?

    I do not know why you find my previous post confusing. You claim that noone can ever truly walk away from homosexuality. You have offered no good reason to accept that other than your experience. But you do not accept anyone elses experience.

    What if someone has a keen sense of relief from that lifestyle and turns from it? You are not being fair or intellectually honest, or loving as I see it. It is easy to love those with whom we agree.

  22. Peterson Toscano on December 14, 2005 at 8:08 pm Reply

    Bob and Hollands Opus, get a room already! lol 🙂

    What I find in these sorts of “dialogues” is that when we speak about our own experinces and feelings, we have a better chance of being heard. Bob, you write about your time in LIA. That may be a good place to start.

    Hollands Opus, as you already must know, the majority of folks who post here are gay-affirming. Many of us have heard anti-gay arguments all our lives, so we are not hearing anything new. What would be new would be to hear you speak of your own experiences.

    That sort of transpancy can help bring down walls so that we can actually have dialogue and not just keep picking at each other.

    Hollands Opus, I would like to hear more of your story. And I would like this space to be a safe one for you and everyone who posts.

    Peterson

  23. Bob Painter on December 14, 2005 at 8:21 pm Reply

    HO: “I hope that is not a charge against me.”

    It is a charge against all of us. All sin, in my opinion, is rooted in pride. Why was Jesus so loving to the sexually immoral but so hard on the hypocritic Pharisees? It was their pride. The sinful people knew they were sinful: the Pharisees claimed righteousness and were lambasted by our Lord.

    I only added legalists to your list because it’s a group that we easily forget…possibly because it’s the group we most often fit into ourselves.

    HO: “But you do not accept anyone elses experience.”

    Are you ex-gay? What’s your story? Why is it so important to post your criticisms on a gay-affirming blob? Do you feel invalidated by my comments?

    HO: “It is easy to love those with whom we agree.”

    I love you, Hollands Opus. We are brothers in Christ, and you are a fellow struggler in this journey. I am not against you: I am against being forced back into the confines of a very lonely existence as an ex-gay who lives with incredible shame about the real me.

    I do love you…

  24. MARK on December 14, 2005 at 9:22 pm Reply

    you are definately intolerant to views other than your own Mr Toscano

  25. Peterson Toscano on December 14, 2005 at 9:32 pm Reply

    Mark, the deletion of your comments has nothing to do with intolerance. I don’t mind if someone disagrees with me if they do so in a respectful and thoughtful way. I explained above why I deleted your first two comments.

    The other more recent comments are opinions and scriptures that we all know well. I was an “ex-gay” born-again Christian for 17 years. I have read the Bible cover to cover at least three times and have entire chapters memorized.

    Please post your thoughts and opinions, but say something that is more than a talking point. Engage in the conversation and the best way is to share a little about yourself. My regular commentors know that they can’t bash someone here or their comments will be deleted too.

    I don’t know you Mark and where you are coming from. Knowing more about you will help to hear what you are saying.
    Peterson

  26. Hollands Opus on December 15, 2005 at 1:50 am Reply

    Peterson writes, “Hollands Opus, I would like to hear more of your story. And I would like this space to be a safe one for you and everyone who posts”

    BOB writes:”Are you ex-gay? What’s your story? Why is it so important to post your criticisms on a gay-affirming blob? Do you feel invalidated by my comments?”

    God delivered me from the throws of alcohol and drug addiction in 1988. Of course those things have thier own baggage and attendant problems which we deal with and grow bygrace and in grace. I was also addicted in some sense to pornography and for years purchased videos, magazines etc.

    This was an unclean, dehumanizing lifestyle. God delivered from the obsession with these things through Jesus Christ, and by whom I walk in grace today. I have sexual urges for porn etc. and sexual images, but by and large they are diminishing as my affections for Jesus Christ grow. I know what it means to be a slave to sexual passion and unhealthy desire. Reading the adult personals and wanting to call them, a secret double life of fantasy and unfulfilled perverse desires. I also know what it is like to be free from that bondage (pardon the pun!)

    I know that God created me for relationship with Him, and that sin was a nasty cloud that blocked my vision of His beauty – and that Jesus Christ has brought me back to God.

    We have a fundamental disagreement. IGod’s word is that standard by which I must discern all things. In it, homosexuality is mentioned as sin, aling with other forms of sexual sin including adultery, lusting over a man or woman and bestiality.

    I also have a debt of love to Jesus and my fellow man to fulfill His commission to reach and teach His words, above all to try to live them.

    It cooncerns me that it is becoming “hate speech” to have a well informed, biblical worldview that calls sexual sin – sin. And when a hetero opts to have a Mr Hetero cintest to celebrate what we believe to be God’s design for our bodies, I find it remarkable that people protest and judge and assign motive. I suppose it is not without reason though. For I know that at the Mr Hetero event some moron somewhere will bash homosexuals.

    But just calling homosexuality sinful is not bashing. If God has revealed that it goes against our design and His intenet, then those settle for less than God’s best joy by participating in something that perpetuates a barrier to a right relationship, especially as that behavoir is willfully and unrepentantly embraced.

    I don’t know what it is like to be homosexual and try to ignore those desires. I do know what it is like to desire something God has revealed is destructive and t olive in it anyway. The miracle of salvation is the tansformation of desire from man centered things to God centered things – the freedom not to be selfish and prideful.

    Thats who I am and want to b, and I would never, never think myself better than anyone even in my most angry moments. But neither would I neglect to point to the Savior who died for sinners, that we could live for Him.

    In His Love

  27. Peterson Toscano on December 15, 2005 at 4:55 pm Reply

    Hollands Opus, thank you for sharing so much of yourself. As I read about the bondage that you had been in, I remember similar days when I felt trapped in obsessive behavior that drove me away from God and could have killed me.

    You write, “This was an unclean, dehumanizing lifestyle. God delivered from the obsession with these things through Jesus Christ, and by whom I walk in grace today.” Thank God.

    I agree, and I agree that just as heterosexuals can live such an unclean dehumanizing lifestyle, so can homosexuals.

    Not every heterosexual dives down into a life of self-abused recklessness; most never do. Similarly most homosexuals are not out of control sexually.

    Lord knows we fall short–greed, pride, selfishness, bitterness, unforgiveness, unkindness–Lord knows I need God’s presence in my life to transform me daily into the likeness of Jesus.

    Hollands Opus, I hear what you are saying that the Bible seems to condemn homosexual behavior. You need to understand that many of us who post on this blog have sought the Lord with all of our hearts and we love Jesus. And we are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.

    We are still responsible for our lives–to bear fruit that will last, but we are working out our salvation wtih integrity (and plenty of fear and trembling.)

    Accepting the reality that I am a gay man and that there is nothing I can do to change it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I did so fearing I would never be able to be in fellowship with God–the true love of my life.

    God desires truth in the inmost part. The most important thing that I needed to bring to God was to be honest about my same-sex desires. How I live with these desires (just like how you live with your desires) is another thing. I can live in a way that honors God and honors me.

    If you want to read about how people have grappled with the scriptures that seem to speak about homosexuality, there are loads of web sites that give that info.

    The reality is that any Christian living in the world today (particularly the USA) struggles to justify his/her lifestyle with the scriptures.

    I follow Jesus and Jesus never said anything to condemn the homosexual. He condemns greed, hypocrisy, mistreatment of our brothers and many other “everyday” sins. He never said, “Ye shall know them by their doctrine” but by our fruits.

    Perhaps the greatest challenge would be for us to spend time together, worship, talk and serve together and then have to face the realtiy that although we disagree on some points of scripture, we can witness the unmistakable marks of God in each other.

  28. Hollands Opus on December 15, 2005 at 5:38 pm Reply

    Peterson,
    you make some very fine points and that with depth. I sure do appreciate your thoughts, especially as we mutually work out our salvation with trembling and fear. I know that Jesus did not make condemning remarks, but he did tell to repent of sin, which we daily do.

    Also, and I know that this is not a theology site, but do you consider Jesus’ words any more inspired than Pauls. It seems Paul addresses a lot of personal sin that Jesus doesn’t. Anyway, thank you for your warmth and compassion. It is a good example. Perhaps some day we can tease out further the reason I believe unrepentant homosexuality to present a serious problem to the health of the soul. AT the same time, I know very well how easily I can rationalize my own sin and would ask our Lord to never let my attention on someone else’s sin exceed my own. Thanks again for your kindness and patience.
    Soli Deo Gloria
    Merry Christmas.

  29. Elizabeth on December 15, 2005 at 11:38 pm Reply

    As someone who is involved with the Holland Congregational Church, I am absolutely embarrassed with the entire concept of this event. I am absolutely in awe that not just Tom Crouse, but ALL of the church administration would believe that this type of event would be a good witness to Christ and glorifying to God, when I can’t think of it as anything further from the truth. Jesus dined with prostitutes and tax collectors – he didn’t alienate anybody. He loved.

  30. Hollands Opus on December 16, 2005 at 1:07 am Reply

    Elizabeth said, “
    Jesus dined with prostitutes and tax collectors – he didn’t alienate anybody. He loved.”

    Indeed he did. He also told them to “go and sin no more”. Do you know whether or not the pastor also welcomes sinners, does he dine with “sinners”. I dine with sinners, and sit amongst them as one. But we encourage one another also – to follow Jesus. It is not an either or situation, It is a “both and”. Jesus both dined with sinners and told them to repent, lest a worse thing come upon them.

    By the way, how does this event alienate anyone? Does attending a non aloholic function alienate alcoholics? Does attending a rated PG movie alienate pornorgraphers? Why can’t a celebration of ‘God’s design for the body” just be a celebration? Homosexuals have gatherings. SHould we call them “heterophobic”?

    Have you appraoched your pastor and leaders before going outisde the church with criticism which may not characterize thier intentions properly?

  31. Elizabeth on December 16, 2005 at 4:26 am Reply

    Christ said to ‘go and sin no more’ AFTER they came to belief. Attacking the sin before the relationship is established is useless. We come to Christ covered in filth. We can not clean ourselves, He is the one who cleanses.

  32. Hollands Opus on December 16, 2005 at 11:27 am Reply

    Elizabeth wrote: “Christ said to ‘go and sin no more’ AFTER they came to belief. Attacking the sin before the relationship is established is useless”

    Then why bother preaching repentance at all? Jesus said to repent, like all the prophets before him. The preaching of the cross is the very means God uses to reach lost sinners. So you are in great error with the scripture. Did Jesus only tell believers to repent? Did Paul (“but now God commands men everywhere to repent” ). How about Peter? “Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness”.

    Jesus condemened hypocrisy to Pharisees who did not believe. he did not wait until they believed and then condemn the sin of hypocrisy.

  33. Bob Painter on December 16, 2005 at 3:19 pm Reply

    Elizabeth, thank you for voicing your conscience. You have done nothing wrong by sharing your heart. Love is not a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal: it is the tender voice of a gracious friend.

  34. Bob Painter on December 16, 2005 at 3:24 pm Reply

    HO, WWJD? Would He participate in a Mr. Hetero contest to celebrate his masculinity? I think Jesus was confident enough in his skin not to need to do that.

    If you are using the contest for evangelistic means (to call sinners, namely homosexuals, to repentance), do you think this is the most effective method for doing so?

  35. Hollands Opus on December 16, 2005 at 3:50 pm Reply

    Bob P: HO, WWJD? Would He participate in a Mr. Hetero contest to celebrate his masculinity? I think Jesus was confident enough in his skin not to need to do that.

    First of all it is not primarily a celebration of masculinity, thought we are having some fun with that. There are obviously masculine homosexuals and feminine heterosexuals. Whether or not Jesus would particpate is of no consequence. I think He would gladly – though not in the false context in which you frame it. This is loving God with all our heart mind soul and strength. There is nl limit to how that can be done. The issue is sin. You and I disagree as to whether homosexual sexual acts are sin.

    A better question would be WDJD (What did Jesus do). He clearly identified marriage as man and woman by design,and said he in no way was doing away with the law and prophets who clearly condemn homosexuality, adultery, bestiality, etc.

    Bon P. “If you are using the contest for evangelistic means (to call sinners, namely homosexuals, to repentance), do you think this is the most effective method for doing so?”

    I think I just answered that! This is not an evangelical outreach. This is like a meeting of alcohoics anonyomous where people share tier experience strentgh and hope – its not going into the street and offering to take the first unofrtunate drunk to the hospital (not that there is anything wrong wwith that). This event will be 100% effective in its purpose – declaring the glory of God in His design and intention for human sexuality.

  36. Bob Painter on December 16, 2005 at 4:38 pm Reply

    How far do you carry your opinions regarding the Law? “‘”Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material…Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it…Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard…”‘” (Leviticus 19:19d, 26a, 27). What parts of God’s Law are now acceptable to be interpreted differently from when they were first issued to the Hebrews?

    God also said, “Be fruitful and multiply,” not add. Do you think it’s okay to use contraception and limit the number of children you have?

    Do you welcome remarried people into your fellowship? Are they all legitimately divorced and remarried? Are any adulterers because their first spouses are still alive?

    Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit. Do you share meals with cigarette smokers and overweight people? Do you call them to repentance for destroying their bodies and health?

    Interpretation of Scriptures is much more difficult and complex than we sometimes think…and the world is much grayer than it is black and white.

  37. Hollands Opus on December 16, 2005 at 6:29 pm Reply

    Bob P writes: “Interpretation of Scriptures is much more difficult and complex than we sometimes think…and the world is much grayer than it is black and white.”

    Seems to me it is very black and white to you Bob. I will adress the specifics further over the weekend as I am at work and need to wrap up. The scripture is not all all grey in the vast majority of matter – it is very black and white. Furthermore, even if there is an issue with some of what you listed (which I will answer) that does not mean everything is an issue. ANd if you have not spent time in hermenuetics or proper interpretation then you will not properly discern the texts. When I do adress it, we will consider the texts you offered and see that they have nothing to do with the issue at hand.

  38. Peterson Toscano on December 17, 2005 at 5:01 am Reply

    I don’t have much to add. This conversation is taking a life of its own–cool.

    I did come across a entry on the Parodoxy blog (tag line -“My kingdom for a world where everything is black and white and every question has an easy answer…”)

    E. wrote a great post about God.

    He writes: “There is so much to be learned from those who disagree with us, yet so many times we as Christians proceed with the assumption that all non-Christians are wrong about everything and that anything we disagree with must be stamped out and eradicated from the face of the earth (by force, if necessary). Some Christians even hold this attitude toward members of other denominations that they only disagree with over minor points of doctrine.

    And yet the same Bible that we use to pummel our opponents tells us just how limited our knowledge is. “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (I Cor. 13:12)”

    Read the whole thing here

  39. Bob Painter on December 17, 2005 at 3:06 pm Reply

    HO, I look forward to hearing more. No, I am not a theology major, but I have a friend who frequently posts to this blog who is–Ann. Perhaps she will help me balance your response.

    Believe it or not, I am not a debater. (I really feel quite nauseous when I attempt this kind of banter.) But I appreciate your taking the time to share your heart and knowledge of the Word.

    You seem to indicate by your response above that you have been to seminary. Are you the pastor of the church where the Mr. Hetero contest will take place?

  40. Hollands Opus on December 17, 2005 at 3:09 pm Reply

    Peterson:”And yet the same Bible that we use to pummel our opponents tells us just how limited our knowledge is. “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (I Cor. 13:12)”

    I really appreciate you and Bob. I could not agree more that to think non Christians do not have truth to offer is an insane notion! All truth is from God. Also, we do no see fully clear as has been well noted above. Of course that does not mean that we cannot know an awful lot to its fullest possible extent, lest we would not be able to know what it means to “know in part, or to see in a glass darkly”. In other words, we know the force of those passages because we know what it means to see darkly!! Our ability to know in part does not deprive us of our ability to fully know some things, indeed many things.

    The passage Peterson offered does not mean that our understanding of everything is so limited that we cannot form doctrine and orthodoxy. There are qualifying statements like these to keep us from being puffed up. Ans there are other passages which exhort to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15)and “all acipture is inspired by God and profitable for correction, reproof, training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work . (2 Tim 3:16)

    Therefore it is observed that the same God that inpsired the “see through the glass darkly” also teaches us from those passages just listed that we can know without a doubt some very important things like the Prohphets, Jesus and Apostolic teaching. Or, as Peter put it, God has “given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the KNOWLEDGE (emphasis mine) of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Pet 1:3)

    And so the parameters for knowing God’s mind on a number of issues are firmly established, and we must not ignore the clear teaching of scripture where it is clear, while agreeing that not all things are clear. Furthermore, there is a quality to the scripture that makes the practice of understanding the unclear in light of the clear – or the “perspecuity” of scripture.

    I want to add that I have studied some of the best in atheist thought and cult theology as well. I find that rather than treaten, the truth of scripture is further confirmed and I am a better thinker as a result, having been sharpened by those swords engaged against the truth of Christianity.

  41. Hollands Opus on December 17, 2005 at 3:25 pm Reply

    Bob: “Believe it or not, I am not a debater. (I really feel quite nauseous when I attempt this kind of banter.) But I appreciate your taking the time to share your heart and knowledge of the Word.

    Bob: You seem to indicate by your response above that you have been to seminary. Are you the pastor of the church where the Mr. Hetero contest will take place?”

    Thank you for your honesty and integrity as well. No, I have not been to seminary, though I am widely studied and read. I am presently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Christian Apologetics” (from the Greek apologia – to give a reason or defense) which brings me in contact with much study of doctrine, philosophy, and logic. All gifts that God gives and uses as means for reaching a number of people, and above all as knowing Him more deeply.

    I do what I can to study early church fathers and other tools in my personal study of the scrioture, and these kinds of exchnages either conform my understanding or refine them, and indeed correct them.

    I know that I have a tendency to be very strong inmy assertions. There is a dark side and a bright side to every gift. I hope that when I sound too strong it is not offensive.

    I make it a point to undestand and interact with various passages and I would welcome your friend Anne’s input as she is studying theology.

    I use the classical tools of bible interpretation, though I have no training in the original languages. Neither is such training necessary to rightly divide the word. When such understanding is necessary, I tease itout with a PhD that I know and the plethore of study tools in bible study many of which I have.

    I am a member of the Holland Congregational Church, and for sveral years taught adult Sunday school each Sunday. I am presently taking a break from that as my family comes first, and as I rise every morning at 3:30 to work on the Master’s program (whew – finally on Christmas break)

    Personally, I am married for 15 years and have three children. I graduted college in 1986 with a degree in Urban Studies. I am presently employed as an analyst for an international firm who I have been with since 1988.

    And, as you can tell, I love rigorous debate. But believe it or not Bob, I really dislike the personal discomfort which often attends disagreement. I get all butterflies like everyone else. But some things are important enought press on with in spite of the discomfort. Don’t you think? And I really like your questions and input and in no way mean to intimidate by offering my qualifications above.

    I will address those other verses later that I may give fair time to you and exlpain what I believe about them and why, and please pass them along to whomever – the more the merrier!

  42. Peterson Toscano on December 17, 2005 at 4:48 pm Reply

    HO, I apprciate the time and care with which you are writing your comments. I feel I’m beginning to hear your voice behind the words.

    I disagree on one point in particular–the Bible. OK that’s a big point 🙂

    Two things.
    First-The New Testament (NT) is an ancient text mostly written in Greek. I studied NT Greek at an evangelical Christian College and was amazed at the many options translators have when interpreting a text.

    As a Spanish speaker, I see even in modern languages, whole phrases change meaning based on the translation of a single word. Bible translators make choices based on their belief system.

    (Consider the case of King James who authorized an English translation of the Bible. He had been accused of being a homosexual and some historians and Bible scholars believe this influenced the strong anti-homosexual language chosen to translate passages that may speak about some gay sex acts.)

    Second-and more important-is the matter of biblical authority. In the words of my friend Christine, like many Christians I believe that “The Bible contains the word of God but the Bible is not the word of God.”

    The collection of writings that we call the New Testament were compliled by certain leaders of the early church. Many writings were tossed out. From Gnostic writings we find an early church that had differing beliefs about the life and death of Jesus, the atonement and resurrection. If a belief did not fit in with the teachings of the key authorities in the church, writings supporting that belief were tossed out. The concept of the spiritual chain of command (from Jesus to Peter to Bishops to Pastors) reinforced the idea that individual Christians needed to sumbmit to the authority (and interpretation) of Christian leaders.

    Earlier in these comments Elizabeth questioned her pastor’s actions. In many churches in the world most people do not have the authority to make any real changes in the church–only the leaders do. To stand up and say to the pastor, “I believe you are wrong” might get a polite reception (often not) but will almost never bring about change.

    Bottom line: I do not believe the New Testament can be used as the final authority in making individual or corporate decisions regarding faith and morality. It is much more complex than that. And that is one of the primary reasons that many conservative Christians feel threatened by what they term the “gay agenda”. If it is not sinful to be a same-gender loving person, then we must begin to question many other things. That is terrifying for many of us (it was for me!) but that is the place where we can grow up in our faith and not live soley by the words and teachings of others who have been placed above us.

    HO you asked if I consider the teachings in the Gospels of more weight than the writings ascribed to Paul. Yes, I do. As a Christian, I follow Christ. Even in the Gospels though there are differences in how a particular teaching of Jesus is presented (this is apparent in any English tranlatsion). But Jesus did say that we receive the Spirit who leads us into all truth.

    My concern is that many modern Christians trust more in their pastors and church leaders then in God’s Spirit. Many of us have put our faith in the Bible and our church leaders thinking that that is the same as a faith in God.

    If you want to analyze and explain the various scriptures Bob mentioned that is fine (and might be helpful for the courses you take) but just because your apology seem to line up with scripture does not make it truth. Truth, that is a much more tricky thing to discern (thus the whole work out our salvation with fear and trembling).

    Peterson

  43. Hollands Opus on December 17, 2005 at 7:04 pm Reply

    Peterson: First-The New Testament (NT) is an ancient text mostly written in Greek. I studied NT Greek at an evangelical Christian College and was amazed at the many options translators have when interpreting a text.

    Hollands Opus: Peterson, the Greej texts are amazing in thier agreement. Respectfully, you are innacurate if you think that the range of meanings open to any particular Greek text have the range of pssoble translations that would literally alter the meaning of the text. Textual criticsim is apllied to all writing of antiquity the NT enjoys exponentially more support that any other writing. There are many texts to compare with one another. It is not as if a certain text could be translated “Jesus died” or Jesus ate popcorn. Those types of disparity are not allowed for.

    Peterson: “As a Spanish speaker, I see even in modern languages, whole phrases change meaning based on the translation of a single word. Bible translators make choices based on their belief system.”

    Once agian, that just isn’t accurate, not in terms of a paradigm shift in the revelation of God from “Genesis” to “Revelation”. Now indeed there are those that translate according to some a priori doctrinal commitment, but we only know that according to the text itself when studied as compared with those so called translations. The Greek language is very precise and capturees nuances that are very difficult to express in english.

    Peterson:(Consider the case of King James who authorized an English translation of the Bible. He had been accused of being a homosexual and some historians and Bible scholars believe this influenced the strong anti-homosexual language chosen to translate passages that may speak about some gay sex acts.)

    Hollands Opus: It is agreed upon by many that King James was at least bisexual. If anything though, one would think that would make the bible more favorably disposed to homosexuality, not les. In any event, all one has to do is study the original texts to determine whether the translation was fair. One mught just as well say that any translator could be predisposed to making anything look better. Shall we suppose adultery is not really sin because the translator’s wife committed adultery and it left a scar on him? No, for the languages tell us otherwise

    Peterson: Second-and more important-is the matter of biblical authority. In the words of my friend Christine, like many Christians I believe that “The Bible contains the word of God but the Bible is not the word of God.”

    How can one contain the word of God without being the word of God. And by the way, Jesus validated the authority of the OT constantly. He affirmed all of it.

    Peterson: The collection of writings that we call the New Testament were compliled by certain leaders of the early church. Many writings were tossed out. From Gnostic writings we find an early church that had differing beliefs about the life and death of Jesus, the atonement and resurrection. If a belief did not fit in with the teachings of the key authorities in the church, writings supporting that belief were tossed out.

    Regardless of who compiled them, the earliest writings are entirely Christian. Gnosticism is not all all Christian, and no gnostic gospels approach the earliest Chrisitan texts. Gnosticism contradicts Christianity and so those writings were never considered. For example, the Gospel of Thomas records Jesus telling Peter that women cannot enter heavne unless they first become men! The majority of the Canon had alreadt been decided, if not compiled togther.

    Peterson: Bottom line: I do not believe the New Testament can be used as the final authority in making individual or corporate decisions regarding faith and morality.

    Hollands Opus:Then what is? ANd if you say the Holy SPirit, how do you know it comes from the Holy SPirit. What is your final authoity?

    It is much more complex than that. And that is one of the primary reasons that many conservative Christians feel threatened by what they term the “gay agenda”. If it is not sinful to be a same-gender loving person, then we must begin to question many other things.

    On what basis do you make that assumption? I think it grossly unfair. One might just as easily say :that is why homosexuals are threatened by the conservative agenda, as it doesn’t let them lead the kinds of lives they choose without challenge. I think you ought to abandon that. It assumes what the very thing you should prove.

    Peterson: HO you asked if I consider the teachings in the Gospels of more weight than the writings ascribed to Paul. Yes, I do. As a Christian, I follow Christ.

    Hollandsopus:That does not adress the question. How do you know that the words of Jesus have been transmitted more accurately accross the ages than the words of Paul? Jesus taight the the OT canon was the authoritative word of God, and Jesus promised that the Holy SPirit woulg guide the apostles into all truth. All the words of scripture came to us the same way. If you think the words of Jesus are more authoritative, then again I ask why. Besides, there is no contradiction between Jesus and any NT writing.

    Peterson: Even in the Gospels though there are differences in how a particular teaching of Jesus is presented (this is apparent in any English tranlatsion).

    Hollands Opus: Please give an example of this.

    Peterson: But Jesus did say that we receive the Spirit who leads us into all truth.

    Hollands Opus: But that is not without the scripture. Otherwise you and I could claim contradictory revelation from the Holy Spirit, as I mentioned above.

    Peterson: My concern is that many modern Christians trust more in their pastors and church leaders then in God’s Spirit. Many of us have put our faith in the Bible and our church leaders thinking that that is the same as a faith in God.

    Holland Opus: I agree 100%. However, that is why the scripture is what it is – the ultimate standard. In other words, how do you know that some follow their own dictates and not “God’s Spirit”. God’s SPirit will alwys be in agreement with His word, as the Holy SPirit inspired the word.

    Truth, that is a much more tricky thing to discern (thus the whole work out our salvation with fear and trembling). The fear and trembling verse is from Paul! ANd it is scripture. How do you then discern spritual truth? Scripture warns us to “test every spirit to see if they are from God” because “not every spirit is from God” Scripture is the method God has given for that and everything must be tested by it, for as Peter says “some twist the scriptures to their own destruction”

    I too am getting a good sense of where you are coming from. I am enjoying the exchange. But Imust insist that you have a fairly low view of scripture, and are without any real authority as result. Great guy from what I can tell, but amiss in the Holy Writ in spite of the common ground we embrace.

  44. Peterson Toscano on December 18, 2005 at 9:26 pm Reply

    HO, I get the sense that you are not interested in dialogue but debate. I may be wrong but I see a response like yours and I feel exhausted by it. Did you read my post to hear what I had to say or to critque every point I mentioned?

    I will never be able to answer you to your satisfaction. The important thing is that I have done the work for myself and feel confindent in how I believe.

    I think I know your points fairly well since I espoused and preached them for 17 years as a conservative evangelical Christian. If you hope to engage someone in discussion, you may find that folks open up more if you show what you are hearing and not just the points in which you dissent.

    As I suggested earlier, perhaps the most important thing we can do is to connect as two humans who love God, pray, worship, serve together, glimpse God in each other. You shall know them by their fruits (and they don’t come fruitier than me! 🙂

  45. Hollands Opus on December 19, 2005 at 3:07 pm Reply

    Peterson wrote:”HO, I get the sense that you are not interested in dialogue but debate. I may be wrong but I see a response like yours and I feel exhausted by it. Did you read my post to hear what I had to say or to critque every point I mentioned?

    Hollands Opus: I suppose that I will then disengage. But I will not do so without confronting what I consider to be rather mixed messages I am getting from you. You made some very specific points about some very specific things. I gave an answer to those very specific things. You did the very thing you are criticizing me of doing. You never gave the impression initially that I could not offer disagreement. You told me we disagree on the bible and indeed we do. You also made some points about conservative Christians looking for a basis uppon which to avoid thier own sin by focusing on homosexuality. I responded. Not only that, but I have noted in general when we agree, in fact my last post mentioned agreement as to the way people tend to see what they want in scripture.

    Of course I read your response to hear what you had to say. May I ask you the same thing? Dialogue does not have to be agreement. Call it debate if you want. But when you make truth claims about the scripture and what the greek says etc., and then acuse me of having a particular agenda, aren’t you doing the same? Why is it when I offer well thought points (whehter you agree with the points or not) I am debating, but when you take me to task for my point of view it is meaningful dialogue?

    Peterson: I think I know your points fairly well since I espoused and preached them for 17 years as a conservative evangelical Christian.

    Hollands Opus. That sounds very patronizing

    Peterson: “If you hope to engage someone in discussion, you may find that folks open up more if you show what you are hearing and not just the points in which you dissent.”

    Hollands Opus: Once again, Peterson, I thought we were having a rigorous debate/dialogue on a number of levels. I have in no way been insensitive to people, in fact I have made it a point to let you know I hear you. I assumed you offered certain points that you thought I might just be missing. I reponded with why those points are or are not a problem. And I prefaced everything with the notion that I believe unrepentant sin is a barrier to right relationship with God and other people. As a follower of Jesus, part of my place in the body is to confront false ideology which leads to broken relationship with God and one another.

    I do thank you for hearing me and bearing with me. I understand that we are very different in our understanding of scripture, and we each consider the other wrong on some very important points. I have spoken of my struggles and of my hopes. I have tried to share my soul with you and others. I truly regret that you are dissapointed by the exchange. I am always in need of more grace to demonstrate more love to all people, especially those with whom I disagree. Perhaps electronic communication removes the personal element too much. It is easier when their is a face to look at and gauge when perhaps confusion is setting in or if there is some offense.

    This is your blog and I am glad to have been welcomed into it for participation. I leave it with perhaps a better thinker and richer. In my proper (and misunderstood method) I yield the floor that you may have the final word 🙂 And thank you again, and all your readers, for listening and interacting with me. I am glad for it.
    Merry Christmas
    Patrick

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