Reply to A Reply On Several Items

So I’m finally getting around to updating on a regular basis again, and I have lots to put up, but I’ll start with a long overdue reply. I’ll post the initial email, and then my replies to it (original email will be in italics).

Thanks for your question, since that was not my blog I thought it better to email you personally.I am not Catholic but have great respect for the church. I do believe though that even in the Catholic church homosexuality is considered a “sin”.

A point of correction on my part (not just to you, but to many Catholics and non-Catholics) – having a homosexual orientation (being romantically/sexually attracted to a person of the same gender) is not a sin in Catholicism. It is considered “disordered” in the sense that it is not the normal way of things, but in and of itself it is not a sin. The Church considers romantic/sexual homosexual actions to be sinful. So, for example, a person may be attracted to people of the same gender, but if that person never acts on the impulse to engage in sexual behavior, there is no sin.

But before i go on, let me explain to you how I view “sin”.This is from my blog misspellings and all:”As you get to know me I think you will be really surprised as to my view of sin and right and wrong. Jesus was not concerned with our “right and wrong”, He was concerned for our restoration to the Father. Or as in your case, unto Himself. My view of sin is not right/wrong thinking but opening up to goodness. Goodness transends the modern view of Right and wrong thinking of sin…The story of the Good Samaritan…(I am borrowing this thought heavily from Brian McLaren) the robber was on one end of the spectrum…and the priest, levite and Pharisee were on the other side of the spectrum…a la right and wrong…but these ignored the issue of doing good. Here Jesus was speaking of the “Good” Samaritan…someone in Jewish thought would find a contridiction…for they were half breeds thus impure and not acceptable to God… Here this Good Samaritan does neither right nor wrong, but was good.If we focus on sin as right and wrong we will gravitate to the “sin”, just as one will tend to gravitate toward anything one focuses on. But, to focus on the Relationship and enter into the Conversation… then growth of character occurres. This growth, is above stopping a behavior.. but prepares us for Eternity and Life when we pass through the door way of death.I see this as so far from and above and much more worthy of pursute than to stop my pet sin.”

I conditionally agree with what you’ve written. I see sin as a rupturing of the relationship we have with our God. This rupturing occurs when we take actions (or don’t take actions) that help bring about the reign of God on earth. A person’s sexual orientation is not an action – it is a part of their psychosexual makeup, and they are free to take actions based on that. When they act in a way that ruptures their relationship with God (when they engage in sinful actions), then and only then does it become sinful.

How does homosexuality fit in all this? Truthfully I am not really sure.This is what I have figured out though.
1. The Bible calls it a sin and that one who identifies with homosexuality will not inherit the Kingdom. I can’t deny this for that is what the Bible teaches and says. I am sure you can find the verses yourself.

Actually, I can deny it. πŸ™‚
I’ve read up a bit on this, and while I’ll admit that I don’t know everything, and that all of my sources haven’t been Catholic, this is what I’ve come up with.

First, some psychology/sociology . . . the majority of people are not 100% heterosexual or homosexual. Most people fall somewhere in between – we’d be OK in either a heterosexual or homosexual relationship. We are socialized into our roles, and that’s fine – if we were all socialized into homosexuality, we’d die out pretty quickly! πŸ™‚ But even more then that, the majority of people tend to move towards the heterosexual side of the scale, and our socialization just tips it more – we move in the direction that we were tending to move towards anyway.

I’ve read a few studies that were done on the effects of drinking on inhibitions. A surprising outcome was that when heterosexual people got drunk, they started to exhibit homosexual tendencies. And when homosexual people got drunk, they started to exhibit heterosexual tendencies. (“Tendencies” being used to mean that they acted out romantic urges towards people of the gender they normally wouldn’t.) (That’s an awkward sentence) πŸ™‚

So it helps shore up the notion that our sexuality is at least in part socially constructed – if it weren’t for that socialization, we might start seeing more homosexuality (as we seem to be seeing now).

Finally, as near as I can tell, not all of the condemnations in Scripture regarding homosexuality are leveled at two consenting adults engaging in sexual intercourse. They were leveled at 1) men taking advantage of young boys and 2) people engaging in homosexual activity for the purpose of worshipping other gods (“situational homosexuality” – these were heterosexual people who only engaged in homosexual acts as a form of praise, petition and/or worship).

So Scripture is silent as to a full-scale condemnation of homosexuality the way many people would like to interpret Scripture. It merely condemns it in two specific instances (rape/pedophilia & worshipping false gods).

2. Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save it…

I think many people have trouble with this – they want to be the agents of God’s condemnation in the world. They want to ignore the plank in their own eye and focus on the splinter in their neighbor’s eye. They want to use Scripture as a weapon, thrusting it at others to change their ways, instead of using Scripture to transform their own lives.

We have trouble with the fact that if Jesus came now, he would be dining with drug addicts, homosexuals, gang members, Democrats :-), abortion providers, atheists, people with multiple piercings, the homeless, the destitute, youth ministers :-), and all other sorts of unsavory people – the exact same kind of people we would be horrified to learn had moved next door, or were coming to our Church to worship next week.

I think most people (and I include myself in here) have trouble following the *example* that Jesus left us of always seeking those who are marginalized and demonized. I think Jesus, if he were here now, would skip out on his appointment with the Pope or the President to help the person with a flat tire, to listen to a teenager cry about their ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, or to pop in at the wedding of an old friend.

3.”‘All’ have sinned and fallen short the glory of God”….Romans 3:23. This means no one is sinless apart from God forgiveness.

Again, I’ll tweak your interpretation of this particular Scripture passage. I think it means that no one is perfect or should consider themselves better than another person. The simple fact that historically contingent idiosyncrasies have conspired together so that I am now in ministry does not make me intrinsically “better” in God’s eyes than the person who owns the bar down the street. I have no more prior or special claim to God’s love and forgiveness than the CEO who’s embezzled millions of dollars. We will never be “sinless” as long as we live . . . but we do live lives that have been redeemed (justified) by the Paschal Mystery of Jesus’ incarnation, life, death and resurrection.

5. One can only believe and trust in Jesus to be saved.

I’ll reply to this in a later post – this is getting longer than I thought it would! πŸ™‚

With this I must add that I believe no one can know or understand truth for mans mind is so far removed and corrupt that even if we did see truth in its purity we corrupt it with our perception. in other words man without God and even with God can not know Truth, other that the person of Jesus. With Him we are confronted with Truth for He is Truth.

Here I must respectfully disagree, and I think this is a point where, historically, Catholic thought and Protestant thought have diverged. The Catholic viewpoint is that we *can* come to know Truth, both by the light of reason and through divine revelation. We are in a corrupt world, true, but we also have the light of the Spirit to illumine the darkness that covers our heart. We will not know the fullness of Truth until we die (now we see darkly . . .), but we can know aspects of the Truth. Our Church even affirms that those who are in non-Christian religions catch glimpses of the Truth that we have in it’s entirety through the revelation of Jesus.

I see that gay couples can have loving relationships…the same as hetero couples… but neither really can have truly loving relationship for mans understanding of love is corrupt. We must rely on God’s Grace and mercy.

Again, I disagree. πŸ™‚
We can have “truly loving relationships.” In Catholicism we celebrate seven sacraments, moments where we believe God breaks into our world in a special way. We celebrate marriage as one of these sacraments. We believe that in the union of husband and wife (spiritual, psychological, sexual) we can catch a glimpse of the bliss that we will find in heaven. We believe that the loving struggles of a married couple lead then towards holiness. We affirm that God created us in our entirety, sexual organs as well, and that we are good in the eyes of God, and that God takes pleasure in our pleasure.

Apart from that, I believe that we are fully capable of entering into truly loving relationships – we are called to be Jesus in this world, and one of Jesus’ primary commandments was to love others, not in our words but through our actions, through our suffering, through our giving – we can truly love because we are Jesus in this world now, and we can do everything that Jesus asked us to, and even greater then he did, because of the power of God’s Spirit flowing through us.

I see that God wants what is best for all of us… while far from perfect and as I said corrupt in it’s own way, a hetero relationship is what God intended… it represents who God is relationally within Himself in the Trinity and with us.

So this is the humor part of the reply, but if we’re looking at a relationship between God as Father and Jesus as Son . . . πŸ™‚ (Yes, yes I know – I’ll go to confession!) πŸ™‚

I believe a man and man can love each other greatly… as a woman and woman… we have example of this in the Bible… yet none of these examples included sexual relationships.Pure love is more than sex. Sex is something that is a part of our expression of love but is not a necessity for love to exist.

It’s not a necessity, but it sure feels good! πŸ™‚
And there is sex in the Bible – not like we see in the movies, but it’s there. All of those great Old Testament patriarchs had kids, and lots of them – only one way to do that! The Song of Songs (Song of Solomon), while being used as an allegory of God’s relationship with us, is also a celebration of physical intimacy between two lovers. Sex is not a bad thing – we’re spiritual Jews and they saw nothing wrong with it. I really believe Christianity was corrupted by Greek philosophy and its emphasis on the duality of reality to the point where we started to see the physical universe as bad in and of itself – we forget that God saw everything and named it Good.

I believe one must focus on ones relationship with God. To seek God’s best for oneself… to learn and express this love back to others. I see unhealthy hetero relationships where they should not be married and if they are married it is in name only and not with truth understanding of the commitment. my personal opinion is that homosexual relationships do not express what God intended…for God intends much more in His relationship to and for us. Love as the Bible says, covers a multitude of sins… Christians tend to forget this and target certain sins over others… yet.. to me sin is sin. Wether one commits adultery or murder, is gay or treats his wife without respect…. it is all sin.

One last thought – I tend to see a person’s sexuality as neutral – like you’re intimating, a homosexual relationship where both partners strive to embody selfless service-love and fidelity to each other is better than a heterosexual relationship that trashes marital fidelity or where the people have grown so distant that they’re little more than roommates.

Lots of food for thought – I’ll post more later! πŸ™‚

Blessings & Peace,

9 thoughts on “Reply to A Reply On Several Items

  1. Alejandro says:

    This blog feels meaningful…something that i haven’t seen in a long time. I enjoy you’re disscussions and tend to side with your point of view’s on most things…everything in fact. If only there were more people like you…the world would be a truely better place. I would like you to spew out your views on vegetarianism…if you have any, but i know that seven-day-aventists’s belive that our body wasn’t made to eat meat in order to stay clean, ex. why we have flat grinding teeth like herbavores and not sharp biting teeth for catching animals. also the fact that we don’t really have any parts of our body that we could use to kill an animal, and that killing is violence, and that the bible teaches against violence, so we shouldn’t kill needlessly. (And in fact vegetarians prove to be healthier again and again.) There’s also something about Jesus perhaps being vegetarian, but I personally have no idea whatsoever if this has any credibiltiy what-so ever. Here’s a site I found on the subject though.
    I also know that there’s a verse in romans…Either 1:14 or in chapter 14 somewhere that says that only the week man eats only vegetables, but that has been disputed considering the harsh, cruel, and unnatural forms of animal production occuring today in the united states. I’d love to see you reply to this, so If you get the time I’d be really ecstatic!

  2. Hugo says:


    1. Welcome to the club . . . I know some people that think I’m not as Catholic as I could be (according to their definition of what it means to be Catholic), and some that really like the stuff I teach and prach about (I like the way one person put it: “you’re either a heretic or a saint!” – pretty much sums it up). I’m not ordained, and my work is in a Catholic school as the Campus Minister, thought my degree’s in Religion Studies.

    3. lol! πŸ™‚ When people ask me (or us) why we only have one child I say pretty much the same thing – that we’ve been practicing really hard but we probably need more practice πŸ™‚ (We’ve been married 9 years)

    4. I still say that our sexuality is what enables us to love, what enables us to have the passion for others, for ideas, for causes that we champion. And I still say that there is nothing intrinsically “purer” about non-sexual love – sexual love is just another form of expression for love.

    5. I know there’ve been people on both sides of the sexual spectrum who have “switched sides.” But there are also many more people who would never consider it a choice either to be heterosexual or homosexual – it comes out of their deep-seated beliefs of who they are. Even our current batch of scientists, researchers, clergy, psychologists, etc. can’t definitively tell us whether our sexuality is more nature or nuture . . . so until that pronouncement comes, I tend to err on the side of compassion and apply moral norms and ethical foundations to sexual behavior period (whetehr it’s of th ehomo or hetero kind).

    6. I think that those who choose the gay lifestyle put too much emphasis on their sexuality. But again, we have people that always choose to define themselves in narrow ways (I’m Catholic, I’m gay, I’m Democrat, I’m whatever). And we are so much more than the narrow corners we paint ourselves into!

    7. I agree – as Christians, and especially as Christians living in a highly sexualized world, we tend to emphasize sexual sins over all others (goes back to our Puritan background here in the States!). I’m especially appaled at how many youth ministry and religous education programs for teens make it seem like the *only* sin you have to worry about!

    We’ve also done a generally ppor job of reaching out in compassiona nd understanding to those who are marginalized in society – we tend to marginalize them in Church as well . . .

    We’ve got lots of work to do before, as a worldwide Church, we show the same mixture of love, compassion, forgiveness, trust and Spirit-filled power that our founder showed . . .

    Blessings & Peace,

  3. Hugo says:


    That’s one wierd website – and that’s my professional opinion! πŸ™‚

    Some of the non-end-of-the-word points he makes are OK, but I’d put him on the extremem end of the conservative Catholic scale. He doesn’t want women to do anything at Church, he has . . . interesting ideas about Catholic colleges & universities, and overall . . . he’s just plain wierd. I liked your comment on his blog, and I tend to agree – I don’t ut much stock on people who insist on trying to correlate Biblical passages to the end of the world.

    My opinion? Drop it (unless you want a good laugh or a good idea of what some fringe Catholics believe!)! πŸ™‚

    Blessings & Peace,

  4. Matt says:

    Oh, you want the NAME of the website. I thought you would just know which one I was talking about. Are there lots of these “websites”? πŸ˜‰

  5. Hugo says:

    Matt: “Token Catholic” . . . lol! πŸ™‚ Sounds good . . . just let me know which web site it is! πŸ™‚

    Iggy: I’ll take a look @ your post tonight @ home & respond.

    Blessings & Peace,

  6. iggy says:

    Thanks for your response… agian I hope you understand I am no expert.. I gave only my opinion to your original question.
    I just want to clear up a couple of fine points though.
    1. I am not Catholic… nor would I be a poster boy for the protestest movment. My back ground is much varied… from episciple to evengelical… and even some baptist…the latter would fight to the death about being a protestant. I am, if one must classify, more Postmodern in thought.I have no formal schooling and am ordained through United Christian Ministries International. We emphasize unity of believers and the Body of Christ. (not all in this organization would consider themselves Postmodern)
    2. In light of #1., My views would not fit in most churches and would be considered being “soft on sin”. Sin being interpreted in the meaning of right and wrong. Not in my definition of transending right and wrong and focusing on good.
    3.I am not against sex, nor do I think it in itself is evil… I have a 1 year old and one on the the way, after being married to the same woman for 20 years…. so we have had lots of practice time… (grin)
    4. I agree one can have urges.. and urges do not equate witht he the action… yet, if you transend both as Jesus taught “even if you look at a woman with lust you have committed adultury”, or “if you looked at you neighbor in anger you have committed murder” Jesus transends the issue and teaches us the issue is deeper…not seeing Truth. Also, seeing the love (in it purity without the need of expression of sex, in the Trinity should teach us about love as and in a higher expression.
    5.Jesus is Truth… yet the god of this world blinds us to much. Sin (unbelief) and death…have caused much havoc on all. I have had some gay and lesbian friends… great people… loving and caring. Yet, I have seen some of them come out of the life style and talk of making a “choice” in their life which orientaion they chose. I will not say some have “leanings” whether organic or environmental…but most do struggle. The core is not who I say I am, but who does God say I am… and who do we believe.
    6. It is a matter of identity. If I choose to identify myself as gay, or a murderer or on and on, I am choosing an identity. God calls us His children, Jesus calls us brothers… we can not identify with Christ and have another identity that we put on ourself. That is the problem from the Garden. God said, eat from any tree except… and they walked daily…together. Then man decided to not go and talk to God about what woman had done, but severed the ties to God and became his own god…
    7. In the bigger picture I think we agree on many things. I think the Church (both the Catholic and catholic) have treated gays and lesbians worse that any other “sin”. Yet, Jesus never saw the “sin” but a chance to forgive. I will close here with the words for the lady caught in adultry…’John 8: 10. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11. “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” ———- 12. When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” ‘
    Be Blessed,

  7. Matt says:

    Since you’re the “token Catholic” πŸ˜‰ within the blogs I read, I want to get your perspective on a blog I’ve been reading lately. (My opinion seeps into the comments I think…)


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