July 5th, 2012
01:11 PM ET
My Take: Will there be gays in heaven? Will there be fat people?
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.
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
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.
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
I think Craig does a good job, though a broader approach may have been clearer. No one is going to heaven, because we all have sinned against God in someway or another. Once we recognize this and believe that Jesus made the way thru His death and resurrection, then our relationship with God is restored. Heaven is then our home. The problem is one side thinks you have to act perfect before God accepts you, and the other side thinks sin doesn't matter.
So what you are saying is that you are such a horrible person, the only way you will receive this unsubstantiated promise of eternal reward is if another person is tortured to death so that you aren't accountable for your own actions.
No thank you. If I am so bad, I don't expect anyone else to pay for my crimes. I'll be responsible. That's what adults do.
People are held accountable for crimes whether they believe in God or not, talluah. A crime is not the same as a sin. Also using gross oversimplifications of the stories does not lend any credibility to an argument. It just shows a lack of understanding for what your against.
If I came in and stated "Oh Origin of Species is just a story about how a silly fish turned into a monkey then into a man doing calculus, trying to figure out if he's a monkey or not," It would sound silly. Because it would clearly demonstrate I had no clue what was going on in the book at all.
Semantics, poltergeist. If is sin isn't a crime, then why will should anyone be punished forever for a sin? It sounds like the christian god is little more than a malicious child, punishing those who don't do as he says.
Michelle Obama said that these political issues should be discussed by the church.
July 02, 2012
(CNN) – First lady Michelle Obama made an impassioned pitch for black churchgoers to embrace political action on Thursday in a speech to the country’s oldest black religious denomination.
“To anyone who says that church is no place to talk about these issues, you tell them there is no place better,” Obama said at a conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Because ultimately, these are not just political issues,” she said. “They are moral issues.”
A really thoughtful piece.
The video down below is even better.
CNN BREAKING NEWS: Do fat people and gays get into a mythical fairyland?
CNN Breaking News Atheist replies to religious post
omg now THAT is news =O
I am so tired of reading about gays, hearing about gays, and "learning" about gay issues. Seriously enough of midia attention to gays.
Stop double-clicking the "Gay" headlines.
We are here to stay, the next move is yours. We 'll be watching!
Actually sooner or later gays will be extinct, they can't procreate 🙂
Marvin, are you joking or are you just that stupid? It's hard to tell.
Denver, I'm sorry that people who make you uncomfortable have the audacity to exist, but you have an easy solution to your problem. Just don't click on the article. Read something else. But clicking on an article to tell the world that you don't want to read stories about the topic is just plain silly.
People are born gay no? so now they aren't? lol you can't have it both ways.
yet you took time to comment on the article
Marvin: Straight people keep on making gay kids.
Exactly, Sam. Thanks for explaining things to Marvin.
Thank you for answering my initial question, Marvin. You weren't joking, so the other option must be correct.
Not all "fat people" are gluttons. You sound like a jerk.
I don't know who goes to heaven or if there is such a place. I love life and being here on this beautiful earth. All this other stuff is crap put out by stupid, ignorant human beings. It takes a lot of faith to keep them from ruining my day.
Oy! This pastor still has it completely wrong. Anyone can be fat, but not everyone is even attracted to the opposite gender. This pastor still has it completely wrong. Gay people aren't perfect, but call them sinners for being overweight, speeding, or doing anything wrong that the rest of us are also likely to be guilty of, not for being what they naturally are.
What tripe this is. Religion.Blog.ISFOR.those who refuse to accept reality and think for themselves.
oh great make a blog where the point is to show how ironic the belief system of the christian fundamentalist is by praising gay people and making fun of fat people! wonderful! lets create this wonderful analogy at the expense of certain people! okay since you all like analogies. since gay people are born like that? are fat people born loving food or born fat? or is it a choice? hot dog. your analogy... i get it... really, but you do it by making fun of another group of people in which some of them have been hurt most of their life for being overweight... being put down, called names etc. etc. now its getting to the point that is okay to make fun of fat people or what? no one sees the malignant error in logic here?
America's religious addiction has become a clinical psychosis of delusion. The only reason it is not widely accepted as a mental disorder is because so many people suffer from it.
Wake up and make the most of the one and only life you will ever have!!!
if only we could get that message "preached" weekly in every community.
I've always wondered what atheist mean by make the most. I'm attending college, I go to parties, I love the outdoors, I like meeting new people and hope to travel the world one day. Everyday I wake up I'm pursuing my goals. So what are atheist doing that is so special that it can only be done while not believing in God?
Gays and fats! That's two third of America. Sounds good to me. Good riddance.
Yeah, I suppose fat people and gays go to heaven.
I'm not so sure about idiot reporters who make up stupid stories.
How is this in any way a made up story? it is an opinion. Dummy
How is this in any way a made up story? it is an opinion. You are ignorant
thats what i thought you would say, but why do we accept asssholes also?
Do you realize that if Jesus Christ showed up today, he would not be allowed to enter a Mormon temple because he had been vetted. And that's all you need to know about the Mormon church.
Its fantastic to view your hypocrisy you preach for acceptance of gays in your church but you also equate them as sinners even though in your article you state that their sinners because their gay according to the passages you follow in the bible but did it ever occour to you that others omit this passage from their religious views. There is nothing wrong with gays they aren't sinners because their gay. Just like fat people aren't sinners for being fat. God is supposed to judge who is and isn't a sinner, not you.
If you worry too much about the myths of heaven and hell, you're wasting the only life you have right now.
Great article and very on point. The other posts show what ignorance is out there on both sides.
OMG – That video was fantastic! How true
You should pray to kush for forgiveness,or a great buzz