Homosex Entitlement

Such a complicated and charged debate dividing all venues of our society; politically, families, sports and social clubs. Division is especially striking in church settings.  A middle ground is yet to be found.  The extremes are ruling the debate and the extremes seldom represent the true story.  Both sides are too full of bias and subjective preference, what people want to believe apart from objective evidence and sense.

The first side expressed such a harsh judgmental lane straight out of puritan hyper-righteousness; anyone guilty of homosexuality are in the express lane to hell.  Eternal torment is only fitting for such an abhorrent choice of lifestyle.

Then came the so called “politically correct” which pushed homosexual behavior into a different express line to heaven.  Not only is the practice not their fault, that’s the way God created them and so they deserve a special entitlement.  In our modern context we ought not to even mention the possibility there might be something wrong within the individual that motivates the behavior.  It’s now a divinely programed character issue, and who are we to change what God has put into order?

But my Hegelian convictions urge me toward a third position which may be premature in 2014.  I’m not sure either side will be able to tolerate this position.  But let me present it in full knowledge it is politically incorrect and will gain the scorn of both sides, but in the hope it might be remembered when hostilities subside.   Perhaps this third view might even temper the extremes.

Werner Hegel is credited (perhaps Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762–1814) deserves at least a footnote in this idea) with the synthesizing of argument.  First a thesis is proposed seeking enlightenment of some dark corner of human reasoning.  Before long an antithesis will appear challenging the previous proposal.  Be it the logical pursuit of philosophical truth or just plain contrariness is in the mind of the asserter.  But Hegel’s goal derives from the debate and interchange of the two opposing ideals until the golden thinking emerges which he dubbed synthesis.

The synthesis holds the key values of both sides, with refined luster.  Truth is never found in the extremes, rather in the streamlined qualities which both sides produced.  The problem was that both sides immediately assumed their opinions rivaled anything Moses ever ventured to publish.

The modern debate of homosexuality has divided our senses.  Pastors once guided by compassion and loud pleas for “grace as a free gift and never by any works of man” are now jumping to the other side of salvation issues with judgment and condemnation.  Plenty of Christian worship services supposed to be focused on experiencing God’s loving grace apart from works are now engineered by the spirit of Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”

Not just articles, blogs and essays, but the whole worship service is somehow driven off courses to expose the slippery choice of sin plaguing our churches and priming us for God’s judgment, not because we are necessarily guilty of the sin ourselves, but because we have turned a blind eye to the abhorrent plague.

Yeah, it’s rather overplayed to say the least.  Seekers under the impression of “invitation” to come and try out the good feeling of the gospel are surprised and rightfully offended by an attitude they have been seeking to escape in their own life.  Might “false advertising” be true of such churches practicing such an ego driven power theme as God’s messengers of not just his will, but of his supercharged judgment?

But is the other extreme thereby excused in avoiding such an angry tone?  Apparently in direct correlation to the judgment they have been driven to the other expression of entitled status for homosexuals.  Churches can’t wait to be the first to host a “Gay Pride Weekend” (have they ever ventured a blessed equality by hosting a “Heterosexual Pride Weekend”?)  They not only espouse the political spin of their context they enshrine a special status to counter the hostility.  The entire Bible is altered through their narrow lens of homosexuality.  God’s call upon Moses to approach the burning bush with naked feet and Jesus disciples “reclining” at the dinner table is selectively and imaginatively altered into sexual assertions.  The extreme opinions draw them into extreme reworking alterations of what might otherwise be understood as simple cultural inclinations.

Some have explained this as the need to make up lost ground from all the exclusive and cruel pounding of judgment.  They need compensated time to recover before they can stand on equal ground.  Others counter that the churches are simply doing anything to gain new members.  If the gospel fails to allure enquiries then perhaps the shock effect will do just as well to gain the attention.

Neither side provides a conscionable harmony of biblical truth with behavioral practice.  The former embraces the Bible like a Pharisee with the Law of Moses.  The latter minimalizes the Bible as soon as it confronts their deeper emotions, thus trumping timeless truth in the name of sentimentality.

There must be a better way through this tumultuous forest.  Must we compromise our beliefs in order to maintain and enjoy family and social harmony?  Could we ever truly believe in grace when judgment (and face it, ego) is motivating our thinking and even our worship experiences?  Naturally, one will have to excuse themselves from the humanly devised trenches to seriously consider a better way.  As always, extremes are cruel, but mostly they blind us to balanced thinking from a broader perspective.

Notice the way scripture itself tends to “highlighted” according to our various preferences.  Such a contentious topic certainly exposes the old accusation that modern Christians tend to use the Bible to support their already established conclusions, instead of accepting the full teaching of God’s word itself to guide and inspire us apart from our personal opinions.

Romans 1:26-32 is the most charged teaching on homosexuality.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Granted, Paul’s point is quite to the mark, apart from rationalizations which try to presuppose what Paul “really meant.”  These spins of assumption are comical at best, such as Paul was really talking about idolatry or of heterosexuals not practicing homosexuality.  Such points are nowhere asserted in these writings, except in the contrived logic of the narrow perspective (on both sides) who already have their mind made up before they got around to seeing what the New Testament itself had to say.  In seminary we humorously classified this as the discipline of eisegeis, instead of exegesis, for reading into the passage.

But please notice the whole context, apart from our modern social conditioning!  We are picking and choosing the notable social taboo and overlooking what the passage has to speak to us.  We have our mind made up and are only looking for verses to back up what we have decided.  Please note the whole checklist of rebellious sins.
We are ready to cast out the homosexual for getting into this context, but please consider the full passage and the eventual point that the Apostle Paul is seeking to make.  Even if the homosexual might be an offense, what of the one who disrespects their parents?  How about envy?  Arrogant and boastful?  Are we ready to throw out these who vaunt themselves every Sunday morning?  Slander and gossip?  The Bible speaks of gossip as a sin in nearly 20 times as many verses.  Why isn’t that sin lifted up to its full revulsion?  What are churches tolerant of Bernice spreading harmful and divisive words that destroy lives and careers, and yet homosexuality is the chosen sin for expulsion and purging.  Does it not sound like double standards being established?  The reality is that all of these matters are equally repulsive to our Lord, but we have picked out our social taboos, while excusing the rest.  If we would really suppose ourselves to be so righteous then let’s see some consistency in the charges.

The bold reality is that no one is allowed to come to the cross in a parade of personal acclaim and pomposity.  Only those approaching the cross on their knees might be deemed worthy of such a trek.  Humility is the key to spiritual regeneration and salvation.  Entitlement is never the acceptable way of finding forgiveness of our sins.  When we pick and choose righteous preferences, be assured that we have strayed off course of our quest for wholeness.

We all stand I need of forgiveness. Despite our humanly assertions to excuse chosen transgressions, we still are bound to the call of repentance and regret for our selfish ways.  The gossips as well as the homosexual are obligated to the call of humble submission to Christ and his call.  There is never room for personal agendas, preferences or disavowal of responsibility.  We stand in need of mercy and grace, the unmerited forgiveness and favor of our Lord based on his love, not on our rationalized spin.

Eventually we must accept each other with our weaknesses and faults, rejecting the entitlement labels.  As Morgan Freeman boldly asserted his place with racial tensions during a 2005 interview with Mike Wallace for television’s 60 Minutes news magazine program, the way to get rid of racism was to “stop talking about it.”

FREEMAN: I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.

WALLACE: How are we going to get rid of racism until …?

FREEMAN: Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man. And I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You’re not going to say, “I know this white guy named Mike Wallace.” Hear what I’m saying?

 

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“Balanced News” ~~ MIA

News reporting has been under suspicion for a long time.

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed.
If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.”

..                                                                    Mark Twain

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“I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers.”

..                                                                    Mahatma Gandhi

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“Advertisements… contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.”

..                                                              ~Thomas Jefferson to Nathaniel Macon
..                                                                 1819. ME 15:179

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Whether it be in the printed page thrown on our driveway or the internet we look for reliable information about how the world is functioning and what we need to know for the day.  But the days of objective journalism have diminished.  Simply comparing the headlines of various internet news sites will reveal that unless there is a “major” event today, the news sources are not at all united on what they believe is prime news.  In fact, the preferences and biases are abundant.  What we have suspected but not wanting to admit is true.  News agencies do not bother defending objective news and “balanced” news is sometimes lambasted by news reporters and editors alike who should know better.  That secret is no longer even guarded.

Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has been tracking views of press performance since 1985. In September 2011, a Pew survey poll showed,

  • 66 percent believe news stories often are inaccurate
  • 77 percent think news organizations favor one side over the other
  • 80 percent believe news organizations are often influenced by powerful people and organizations

When Americans were asked how much trust and confidence they have in the mass media, 55 percent responded, “not very much” or “none at all,” according to a Gallup Poll (September 2011).

But the real problem comes down to two points.  The first is the incredulous way the power of the press “spins” their biases.  But the second is just as worse that people buy into all of this.  There’s something in people’s minds that if they see it in print then it must be true.  We are so programmed for convenient truth and the less we have to think the better.  Let the big news sources tell us what we are to believe, and life is so much easier.  Thinking for ourselves and making up our own mind on matters are nice objectives, but seldom make it through all the controversial news bits thrown in our path.

The press holds such extraordinary power to influence how we see the world.  Along with the human urge to “get with it” barters quite a dilemma.  We want the big power opinions on current news.  To be left out of the loop would not only be embarrassing, but also risks being labeled ignorant and not up to the level of the rest of the group.  Social isolation is way too much to bear for the “masses” and most people will do whatever it takes to remain within the “herd.”

But at risk of being seen as not “with it,” please let me raise a few points.  Let me pull the curtain back from the Wizard of Oz.  Let me announce that the Emperor is not really wearing any clothes.   News media have agendas in their reporting, “balanced” news is no longer a priority.  Ignoring this reality is to pull us into unreliable orbits of our perspective on life.  Handing over our judgment to these power outlets deprives us of our own ability to decide for ourselves.  Blindly trusting their influence primes the vision of George Orwell’s “1984.”  Let us break away and restore the stability of our own thinking.

Let me raise three key points to hopefully defuse some of the unwarranted authority handed over to these powerful media players.

 

1) Selection

A casual perusal of the headlines in all the major news sources will prove this point.  Excluding days of obvious news urgency and crises, they may not bear any similarity at all in what they select as the key information you need to know.

Simple truth: there is too much news to report! Especially to fill a 24 hour, seven day week void.

Problem: Who is picking the news for us to read?

For a survey of the development and practice of Media Bias see www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_bias.

 

2) Profitability

Why do people overlook this simple reality?  In a high stakes capitalistic society as ours one rule will always prevail, “Money talks.”  That’s what keeps things functional and moving, the motivation for income and especially the ever illusive wealth.  Media does what it can to retain readers and remain profitable, just like any other business.

 

3) Sensationalism

Remember the old time movies when the paperboy stands on the street corner announcing the big news, “Extra, Extra, Read all about it!”  What a sad day when nothing much is happening to motivate people to buy his newspapers.  Imagine the editors in their offices fearing the plummeting sales.  They need calamities, crises and trauma upon the public to get the sales and profits moving.

Modern news media is for profit, and the profit is big … providing news-worthy items are flowing.  If not, they may need to hype things to gain interest.  And that task is simple.  News items are plentiful.  They need merely select something and run with it.

Shock journalism was once viewed as a demeaning alternative to maintaining a respectable professionalism.  But today’s ruthless market competition pressures high stakes competition.  Look at the big picture with discerning eyes and you will begin to wonder if media has begun competing with reality TV.  The divide between responsible journalism and the National Enquirer is not as wide as it once was.

The following quote expresses just what the modern reporter really feels and the objectives they seek,

 “. . . ‘balanced’ coverage that plagues American journalism and which leads to utterly spineless reporting with no edge.  The idea seems to be that journalists are allowed to go out to report, but when it comes to write, we are expected to turn our brains off and repeat the spin from both sides.  God forbid we should attempt fairly assess what we see with our own eyes.  ‘Balanced’ is not fair, it’s just an easy way of avoiding real reporting . . . and shirking our responsibility to inform readers.”

Ken Silverstein, “Turkmeniscam: How Washington Lobbyists Fought to Flack for a Stalinist Dictatorship”                   (Random House, 2008).

Do you see the hypocrisy in modern journalism?  “Balanced is not fair” to whom?  Silverstein is only thinking of espousing his own opinions striving for that elusive Pulitzer, not objectively providing the facts.  What he ridicules as “spin” is the expressed viewpoints of the politicians that we need to know so we can make up our own minds.  But Silverstein would deny our own resolve.  He wants to make up our mind for us, to see things “his” way instead of risking the possibility we may arrive at a different conclusion.

“Real reporting” is exactly what we need, not to be avoided!  Silverstein and his peers have replaced this with their own narcissistic sense of reality.  Give us the facts and respect our ability to think for ourselves.  In a trial, the witness stepping forward to present their input are asked to simply report what they saw or heard.  As Joe Friday would say, “Just the facts, Ma’m.”  That simple reporting of events is what we need today, not more coffee shop rigmarole from reporters who have forgotten their ethics classes in journalism school.

And he’s not an isolated case, he’s the former Harper’s Washington Editor.  Welcome to modern journalism.  This is what we are inundated with on a daily diet, biased opinions trying to pass itself off as valid fact.

 

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C.S. Lewis on Newspapers

“Even in peacetime I think those are very wrong who say that schoolboys should be encouraged to read the newspapers. Nearly all that a boy reads there in his teens will be seen before he is twenty to have been false in emphasis and interpretation, if not in fact as well, and most of it will have lost all importance. Most of what he remembers he will therefore have to unlearn; and he will probably have acquired an incurable taste for vulgarity and sensationalism and the fatal habit of fluttering from paragraph to paragraph to learn how an actress has been divorced in California, a train derailed in France, and quadruplets born in New Zealand.”

..            Surprised by Joy (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: 1955), p. 159

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Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“And I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter, – we need never read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications?”

 

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Thomas Jefferson on newspapers

To your request of my opinion of the manner in which a newspaper should be conducted, so as to be most useful, I should answer, “by restraining it to true facts & sound principles only.” Yet I fear such a paper would find few subscribers. It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more completely deprive the nation of its benefits, than is done by its abandoned prostitution to falsehood. Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. . . . I will add, that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false.

Letter to John Norvell, (11 June 1807)

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Journalists as mouthpieces

“So much for Objective Journalism. Don’t bother to look for it here — not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.”

Hunter S. Thompson
Fear and Loathing: on the Campaign Trail  (1973)

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“What sort of responsibility does a journalist or a newspaper have to the readership or to history? If they have misled public opinion by inaccurate information or wrong conclusions, even if they have contributed to mistakes on a state level, do we know of any case of open regret voiced by the same journalist or the same newspaper? No; this would damage sales. Hastiness and superficiality — these are the psychic diseases of the twentieth century and more than anywhere else this is manifested in the press. In-depth analysis of a problem is anathema to the press; it is contrary to its nature. The press merely picks out sensational formulas.”

Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn
“A World Split Apart” — Commencement Address Delivered at Harvard University, June 8, 1978

 

 

Media social unrest

 

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The shipwrecked sailor had spent several years on a deserted island. Then one morning he was thrilled to see a ship offshore and a smaller vessel pulling out toward him.

When the boat grounded on the beach, the officer in charge handed the marooned sailor a bundle of newspapers and told him, “With the captain’s compliments. He said to read through these and let us know if you still want to be rescued.”

 

Life Perspective

If only we realized and accepted the broader picture of life and eternity.

Notice how the old woman is gazing back at the life that she is leaving…then passes through the veil of death into the open arms of the Savior. Please read this entire posting below.

“The ‘Come Unto Me’ bronze sculpture took more than a year to make its first appearance. Unveiled in the year 2000; today, the original life-sized bronze monument stands in the grand foyer of the Spilsbury Mortuary in St. George Utah. It has become a scenic attraction, in addition to a comfort to countless families at a most tender time of their lives. It portrays the spiritual journey from mortality to immortality. It is a portrayal of an aged woman’s body, returning to its symbolic prime, and back to the arms of our Savior.

Death is not the end. We all “have an eternal destiny” as ‘Come Unto Me’ portrays.

 

 

Just Getting Started

 

“Under Construction”

This Web Site is newly launched.  So far, we have only added pilot articles to enable custom design and direction.  Hopefully these few steps will give you an idea of our intention of what we have conceived to develop.

Our purpose is to provide a resource for churches and ministers in the grips of crisis and conflict.  Such valleys tend to dim our hopes and especially our capacity to reason.  Reality, we need help at those times before the pain of irreversible destruction takes it toll on a needy congregation or place of business.  Such pain is unnecessary, once the available tools are in place.  Our prayerful hope is in this adventure.

 

 

 

P.S. Please forgive the use of pilot articles.  It serves several purposes

  1. Learning to navigate the WordPress procedures
  2. Coordinating mutual efforts
  3. Tricking out the inevitable spam    😉