Editor's Note: Craig Gross is the pastor and founder of XXXchurch.com and is the author of seven books. He just turned 36 and is no longer a hip 20-something pastor from California.
By Craig Gross, Special to CNN
After Anderson Cooper came out this week, I posted a link on Twitter to a story that included this quote from Cooper: “I love and am loved.” As I said in my tweet, Cooper is one of my favorite journalists. I was honored to once be on his show.
After I tweeted I got e-mails and a direct message asking the same question: "You still like him now?"
I was saddened by that reaction and started thinking: What would happen if we read the Bible and, instead of highlighting certain passages, we took it all for what it is – truth.
In 1 Corinthians, the Bible says don't indulge your body with food or sex: “‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,’ and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”
My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage
I deal with people who indulge their bodies with sex. I’ve done it for 10 years with XXXchurch.com, helping people caught up in porn addiction.
If you indulge your body with sex via pornography, affairs, strippers or hookers, and your secrets are exposed, you will not be preaching on Sunday. Sexual sin is not tolerated in our churches. If clergy are caught in these things, they’re disqualified.
What if you indulge your body with food? Well, then you can pastor some of the largest churches on the planet and have the most successful broadcasts on the religious channels and sell a lot of books.
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Same biblical passage, same sin. Why is one accepted and one rejected? Why is it that religious folks want to camp out on a few things rather then all things?
Why do they believe that the gay guy goes to hell but the fat preacher who builds some of the largest churches in the world makes it to heaven?
I have no problem bringing my fat friends to church; they fit right in. Our Los Angeles church has doughnuts to eat during worship service, which makes the hymns we sing sound so much better.
My Take: Why many Christians focus on homosexuality
I coached my son's soccer team last year. My assistant coach is a lesbian. My son became great friends with her son, and my wife and I have become good friends with his mom and her partner. We played on three teams this year with them and have spent time in each others’ homes.
Could I bring them to church? Absolutely not.
Most evangelical Christians don't have gay friends. We just have gay stereotypes and we base our beliefs on a few biblical passages, ignoring passages about things that people in the church really struggle with, like food and other addictions.
The problem is that the church has only one answer for homosexuality: Don't be gay. Come as you are, but you'd better not be gay. But you can be fat.
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Most Christians believe you should just help your friends to not be gay when, in all honesty, only Christ can do that.
I love my lesbian friends. Let’s say I share Christ with them and they accept Jesus – or maybe they already have. Where do they go to church?
There is no way I would send them to an evangelical church, because not everyone would treat them the way they should be treated. But if they attend a gay church many Christians look at them as crazy.
People will push you to take a stand one way or the other on homosexuality, but no one has ever asked me to take a stand when it comes to fat people.
The goal shouldn’t be to change anyone's sexuality. Ultimately, I believe homosexuality gets blown way out of proportion in our churches. If we would all see gays as fellow sinners instead of “others,” there wouldn't be a need for gay outreach, because they would already be incorporated into our community based on a shared need for Christ.
God loves gays and Jesus is for them. God loves the fat preacher. Homosexual activity and overeating are both sins - just like speeding, gossip, lying and cheating. I think I did all of those just today.
All are forgivable in Christ and, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, can be changed. Just remember that change does not happen overnight.
Have you ever seen someone lose 100 pounds overnight? The process takes time. When it comes to the Lord, it’s nothing less than a journey of sanctification.
And wherever you are at on that journey, I think there should be a place for you at church. Because there’s probably one in heaven.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Craig Gross.
Anderson Cooper is very good at what he does, and what the heck does his being gay have to do with "liking" him or not?
Being gay has nothing to do with brilliance, ability to perform a job well, having compassion on those that are homeless or just less fortunate than most others. When we didn't know Cooper was gay we respected him; now that we know he is gay, we still respect him.
Speak for yourself ron, we got no use for the peter puffer.
Its ridiculous how so many christians "gay bash" when they have huge logs in their own eyes. Having been a bible-believing christian for a very long time, i have witnessed a lot of self-righteousness and pointing of fingers while people are blind to their own sin. How about focusing on what we do wrong ourselves before God ourselves instead of focusing on others and love and pray for others instead?
Having been a devout atheist for many years, I was not astounded to see how many of my co-nonbelievers in god were anti-gay zealots.
It was terrible. Every other sentence they spoke was that fing ag. That g d psie. Much like ssmbo and females
One might expect a preevertted peddie like sambo would be more compassionate towards people with her proclivities for all things stanky 12 gauge desires for kids
There better not be fat people in heaven. Thats one of the seven deadly sins.
Thank you for posting this. Very well put.
Reblogged this on lets dance, using words..
Nice, balanced approach. I hope it's clear, though, that if a gay person is in a gay relationship, that person ought not to be received into full communion. That would be like receiving into full communion someone having an affair with a married person - break off the affair first, *then* come to the altar.
How would you know if he is gay?
Good observation about fat vs gay people. However "the church" has one answer is wrong. Several denominations within the body of Christ do openly accept gay people. Many churches within other denominations do too. So to make that generalization of the only answer the church has is wrong. Come to the ELCA Lutheran, Episcopal, UCC and Metropolitan churches. Come to many PCUSA Presbyterian churches to see the body of Christ welcome your lesbian friends. We are constantly asking who is my neighbor and where is the Spirit at work. Our answers vary within the body of Christ. Your evangelical background gives different answers than mine. Keep asking ans searching for the Spirit at work. You are on your way if you keep asking those questions and allow the spirit to work!
"If a man is found lying with a man, he shall be put to death." Probably not entering the pearly gates if fudge packing is your thing.
don't be silly...you are taking a rediculous section of the bible out of context....pretty sure you don't get to decide who goes to your special magic place.
Did you miss the point of this article? YES, the Bible says that is wrong... But it also says eating shrimp, indulging in food, touching the flesh or carcass of a swine (bye bye football), getting a tattoo, wearing a garment of materials mixed together, getting divorced, etc. are all against the precise words of the Bible.
So if you're saying you go to hell for breaking any one rule in the Bible... well, Hell is going to be damn crowded.
It is an interpretations of the bible that says it is wrong. There are other interpretations that disagree.
So Riada, how many gay men have you killed? Your god commands it after all. At least your Muslim cousins, who worship the same god, have the balls to obey his orders. Folks like you; however, just thumb your nose at your god's commands.
Get a life. Do you have nothing else to think about, Riada?
U too, sambo. Stanky weed patch, spray in your face pleuring sidearm 12 gauge, u scking perverted pehile
Riada – you are an ignorant, shallow buffoon.
Belief is based off of opinion, it can either be true or false. Atheist and some scientist believe there is no Creator (God), but creation created itself. Christians know that there is a God due to the evidence all around us. There is a difference between believing and knowing. Scientist cannot give solid physical evidence proving that love exists. Yet doesnt pretty much everyone know it exist? There is less evidence that love exist then there is evidence that God exist. There are physical things all around us proving God's existence. What evidence can anyone prove that love exist? Scientist have never seen black holes nor can they prove that they exist yet they say they know it exist. Is this not faith? They say gravity exist as well as wind is this not faith? So who is really blind Christians or atheist? The answer is crystal clear. Just a reminder John 8:47-"He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." John 15:19-"If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."
You are trying to make a logical argument based on faulty things. The sooner everyone gets it thorugh their heads the better - God can be neither proven nor disproven. Love can be niether proven nor disproven (well, maybe other than the love of a mother for her child).
Once you understand those concepts -- then science and Christianity no longer need to be at odds.For instance, is it possible the big bang theory occurred and that it was God who set those events in motion?
When I hear creationists stating the world is only 6,000 years old I roll my eyes. If the Bible was meant to be taken 100% literally, then Jesus would not have taught and spoken in symbolism and parables. It is clear that much of the beggining of the Bible was meant sybolically to teach societies where 90% of the people couldn't read of write.
If you read the Bible, time doesn't even start until the 4th "day" but the first 3 days are still referred to as days and nights. So what does that tell all our genius "creation scientist" friends??? That maybe a literal translation of the Bible isn't possible?
I am a strong believer in Christ and a strong believer in science. The 2 don't have to be and never should have been mutually exclusive. The only reason they ever were is because religioins feel threatened when science advances human knowledge.
Alright – peace and love to you all
"Love" exists and has been studied by scientists, but there is a huge difference between actually having a relationship with another human being, or even an animal that you can characterize as "loving" and thinking there is some all-powerful unseen being out there that loves you. We just don't have any objective evidence to suggest that God exists. Sorry, but that's the fact.
love is a short term hormonial imblance that can be recreated by eating a large ammount of good quality chocolate.
I was going to post a comment in relation to trolls. But then I realized that it will just get trolled and that trolls will be trolls and that's the end of it. So I didn't.
so instead I'll say something positive: This post is great. :)
Reblogged this on Melinda Blunk...Letting Go, and Letting Life and commented:
I read this article, and I absolutely loved it...it hit the nail on the head...he didn't condone it, but yet at the same time he didn't knock down on them...I feel the same way he feels!
From Meet the Feebles by Peter Jackson...you just knew from this clip he was destined to win an Oscar.
God loves us all...stop sweating the stuff that just "is" – God did not create "junk"...every single one of us is a child of God. He loves us all and wishes we would love each other with the same passion. People, get on with your lives, they are a gift.
The fact is, God loves us, BUT not all love Him!
And Those who refuse to come to Him and accept His love, will spend eternity apart from Him. There is only one other alternative.
I appreciate you're phrasing it as spending "eternity apart from Him", instead of the usual spending "eternity burning in Hell." It's a much more compassionate position to have, and can sorta fit our atheistic position that when we die, we just die, and we're gone forever. Thank you!
I'm sorry friend, but there is only one another alternative. Although it is not spelled out in my post, I as/sumed the alternative is understood.
Cq, we can wish and hope and even make ourselves believe that there are more alternatives, but there are not! We have immortal souls, and there are only two places for those souls to go: to God, our creator, or to satan who deceived those who didn't think it being important to pursue and seek God.
WooHoo for False Dichotomy idiocy.
Your entire post is false and does not depict God as he in fact is. Perhaps you should study the scriptures in earnest before you speak.
nottolate, what does your moniker mean, if anything?
But you don't know that yours is the only end result, do you? You may have faith that this is so, but other humans with as much faith believe in the alternatives. Sorry, but it's all just a matter of opinion.
I am seriously appalled.. not only is this society full of bs when it comes to "being fat" or being "skinny", now your going to hell if your fat? I can understand GLUTTONY.. but being a tad heavy, IS NOT a sin.... not only does this author abuse the scripture, he points out the "pick and choose" flaws in many of these arguments... and then goes on to only use one verse himself... LOL this guy should right Obama's speeches.
I think the point is that, for a Christian and for all of us who otherwise think that Jesus had a lot of wise things to say, there is something fundamentally wrong with our society when so many people have difficulty burning off calories that others could easily use just to keep from dying. We actually waste about a third of all the food grown and imported into the USA due to spoilage, and throwing away the parts that just don't "look" as pretty to eat, or the stuff left over from the enormous meals we do eat. If there was even a fraction of that kind of waste going on around Jesus he'd have likely identified it as "wrong."
I think you meant "write" and I think the president is capable of speaking intelligently on his own. Unlike the one before him.
"Gay people Dont go to heaven "
Some argue that since homosexual behavior is "unnatural" it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this pronouncement are stereotypical definitions of masculinity and femininity that reflect rigid gender categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the same gender, if that experience calls both partners to a fuller state of being. Contemporary research is uncovering new facts that are producing a rising conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness, sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy, natural and affirming form of human sexuality for some people. Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in the nature of a significant portion of people, and that it is unchangeable.
Our prejudice rejects people or things outside our understanding. But the God of creation speaks and declares, "I have looked out on everything I have made and `behold it (is) very good'." . The word (Genesis 1:31) of God in Christ says that we are loved, valued, redeemed, and counted as precious no matter how we might be valued by a prejudiced world.
There are few biblical references to homosexuality. The first, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, is often quoted to prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But the real sin of Sodom was the unwillingness of the city's men to observe the laws of hospitality. The intention was to insult the stranger by forcing him to take the female role in the sex act. The biblical narrative approves Lot's offer of his virgin daughters to satisfy the sexual demands of the mob. How many would say, "This is the word of the Lord"? When the Bible is quoted literally, it might be well for the one quoting to read the text in its entirety.
Leviticus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, condemns homosexual behaviour, at least for males. Yet, "abomination", the word Leviticus uses to describe homosexuality, is the same word used to describe a menstruating woman. Paul is the most quoted source in the battle to condemn homosexuality ( 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and Romans 1: 26-27). But homosexual activity was regarded by Paul as a punishment visited upon idolaters by God because of their unfaithfulness. Homosexuality was not the sin but the punishment.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul gave a list of those who would not inherit the Kingdom of God. That list included the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers. Sexual perverts is a translation of two words; it is possible that the juxtaposition of malakos, the soft, effeminate word, with arsenokoitus, or male prostitute, was meant to refer to the passive and active males in a homosexual liaison.
Thus, it appears that Paul would not approve of homosexual behavior. But was Paul's opinion about homosexuality accurate, or was it limited by the lack of scientific knowledge in his day and infected by prejudice born of ignorance? An examination of some of Paul's other assumptions and conclusions will help answer this question. Who today would share Paul's anti-Semitic attitude, his belief that the authority of the state was not to be challenged, or that all women ought to be veiled? In these attitudes Paul's thinking has been challenged and transcended even by the church! Is Paul's commentary on homosexuality more absolute than some of his other antiquated, culturally conditioned ideas?
Three other references in the New Testament (in Timothy, Jude and 2 Peter) appear to be limited to condemnation of male sex slaves in the first instance, and to showing examples (Sodom and Gomorrah) of God's destruction of unbelievers and heretics (in Jude and 2 Peter respectively).
That is all that Scripture has to say about homosexuality. Even if one is a biblical literalist, these references do not build an ironclad case for condemnation. If one is not a biblical literalist there is no case at all, nothing but prejudice born of ignorance, that attacks people whose only crime is to be born with an unchangeable sexual predisposition toward those of their own sex.
Gay people Dont go to heaven . Read ur bible. I love all kinds of people. I have nothing against gays. But i am not the judge . Of course fat people go to heaven
so do judgemental people. you should read that part also.
" I am not the judge ". Annnnnnnd then you proceed to pronounce judgment on both groups. Ya can't make this stuff up, folks.
In truth I'm mildly retarded and live in a home with a bunch of other MR people. I don't like gay people because I'm so ignorant. I like fat people because I'm well over 400 pounds myself!
According to the bible, there are a lot of activities considered "abominations." These things include eating pigs or seafood, or wearing the wrong fabrics or getting the wrong haircut. So if you enjoy bacon, you're damned. If you like lobster, you're damned. If you wear a nice silk-linen blend (my particular favorite), you will be burning with the gays and the atheists.
I guess it's a good thing that there isn't a lick of proof that supports the existence of any god, any heaven or any hell. Once we stop worrying about silly fantasies, we can start thinking about being good, decent people who are actually okay with people who are different than us.
If gay people don't go to heaven just because they're gay and not willing to be celibate, then Heaven isn't for anyone decent. Sorry, but that's completely unfair.
They're considered "abominations" because outsiders, the gentiles, did those things. Gay relations were also common amongst the gentiles, and foreigners. Sometimes it was even linked to their religious practices, which is probably why the Bible writers lumped it with all the other things that separate God's chosen from everyone else. Gay relations aren't part of pagan religious rites in our modern society. So, for gentile Christians who still feel they can enjoy a lobster, mixed fabrics, getting a tattoo, and going uncercu.mcised, it really ought not be an issue anymore.
Need to post more verses to prove your point...This blog is great>>>>http://esoriano.wordpress.com/?s=gays+
Trolls aside, I think Mr Gross is making a valid point from a Godly perspective. One sin is no better or worse than another, and Jesus commanded us to love. Love our enemies, our neighbors, *gasp* sinners! Trolls. We are not given the right to consign people to hell just because we don't like them. A little compassion goes a long way.
Still, being gay is no more wrong than being left-handed. If God exists then he created gay people. Why then would he call them sinful for doing something he created them to be?
@ Sim34: Not going to argue that point. I tend toward gluttony. I LOVE to eat. I also tend toward sloth, I hate to exercise. My choosing to indulge in these natural proclivities to a point of excess, is what is sin. God made me this way. He also gave me control over whether or not I engage in these activities. My sticking point is that I have yet to love God more than I love chocolate ice cream or want Him more than I don't want to exercise. I'm not married, I choose to remain celibate. I guess what I am saying is: Everyone has something they hold on to TOO dearly. God doesn't want to punish us, He just doesn't want anything to get between Us and Him. The only thing that can come between us is Sin. You need to ask God about this and listen to what He says. Ignore the trolls and those who hate for no reason except their own fear. God loves you. And though we have never met, So do I.
God is real. I put on diapers and crawl on my large cross in my room and tlak to him. I always wanted to be like Jesus.
So, you remain celibate because you don't want anything to come between you and God? Am I to assume that you are unemployed, childless, and have driven all friends and family from your life as well? How terribly sad you must be.
" I choose to remain celibate"
You are celibate because you are fat, and nobody wants to fvck you.
One sin is no worse than another. Brilliant morals from a flawed mythology.
murder = talking back to your parents.
People really need to just start thinking for themselves.
Are you really comparing spending a life together with one's love to chocolate ice cream?
You really do have a problem.
Here's a big difference between gluttony and homosexuality – gluttony is bad for you. Homosexuality hurts no one.
Get that through your head people. The only issue with homosexuality is that an ancient text of VERY questionable morals says its bad. Right near the part where it says you shouldn't wear polycotton blends. And not too far from the part where it says you can beat your slaves to death as long as that death is a slow one.
I think another good view on this topic is done by Joel Osteen on the Oprah Show. Here is the link.
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