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.
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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.
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.
And, God do not accept black people in heaven....
and hereee.. we.. goo..
"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. "
So basically the lesbian couple of the story still has to make their "journey of sanctification", which in their case is not loosing 100 pounds, but rather, destroying their family. Quite a bit of difference between loosing some weight and tearing apart your whole life.
I'm 50 years old. I've heard the same sort of comments and debates go on for over 30 years. My God says this. My God teaches this. Your God is wrong. My God is right. There is no God. God is evil. It's all so boring. I don't think after this lifetime I will be returning to Planet Earth. It's just too primitive, ignorant and backwoods for my taste.
next stop: Planet Anus
I'm ready for you William 😉
Prayer changes nothing. Really.
watchout your comments bro
i'm going to pray for you to help find the path of salvation in our lawd jesus almighty christ. i pray that you are guided into the light.
LOLL JUST KIDDIN'
PRAYERS DON'T DO ANYTHING.
they're just a mental fix for things in life that are helpless. we're at the mercy of things and that's the way it is.
any "answered prayers" are mere coincidence.
quit praying all day
start fapping all day
Love first, and don't concern yourself with anothers sin, yours are worse.
I love you loving me although we both love our other partners.
Now what you gun do? Gooby pls go
Let me phrase it in a way that unlocks universal truth: OP IS A PHAGGOT.
I completely Agree. Christians are scarred of gays, in my opinion. Gays are now such a protected group. Christians are scarred.
Liars, Prideful individuals, spreaders of discords are not a protected group. Sin is sin. Everyone just needs to repent with a sincere heart. It always sad when you see Christians judging rather than being a witness, a true testimony of the love of God. Lets just be fear. Sin is Sin! No exceptions.
what is this I don't even
What! Hundreds of posts, and no one has brought up stoning. None of you will get to heaven now!
It is egotistical to believe God cares one way or the other what we do. God is as interested in me as He is my cat, or my bubblewrap, or my nail clippers. Religion, on the other hand, is VERY interested in me. Because I fund it. It can exist, but not thrive, without my money.
Still, I see a lot of similarities between being gay and religious and a being a Jew in Nazi army. A little bit hypocritical, maybe?
Yahoo, You have a strange, eerie mind. Are you in counselling?
No, are you?
If a gay person wants to go to church, they're looking for something, just like any other religious or spiritual person. They don't deserve your mockery anymore than that they deserve Christian judgement.
Excellent article! Love one another as I have loved you (without reservation, warts and all), that is what I consider the most important thing in the entire bible. God is love, love is God.
Nonsense. You are not saying anything here. It's like patting yourself on the back for job well done.
"the Greatest Commandment" some of my more conservative friends always want to chide me when I refer to the 11 Commandments, noting there are ten. I smile nicely and tell them it's very obvious they forgot "The Greatest Commandment"
@katydid Touche! Agreed!
Is homosexuality a sin?
Self-indulgence is a sin. But the relationship of two people of the same sex may or may not be self-indulgent.
Abusing the neighbor is a sin. But the exploration of relationships among homosexuals as they search for partners, evaluate their existing formative relationships, and relate to each other may or may not be abusive.
Disobeying what God commands in the Bible is a sin. But, we have biblically-derived criteria for assessing and applying specific commands by reading them against larger themes.
Turning your back on God is a sin. Homosexuals are often among those who have turned their back on the church, and may be sinning because they also rejected the God they found in church. The church needs to be in mission to homosexuals with the message of Jesus and who God really is.
Yielding to your passions, even celebrating them is a sin. Homosexuals do include those who have done this. But it is not an inherent aspect of being gay.
Since we see people who have dedicated themselves to God, and for whom their gay sexual life is integrated into that decision and we see that their sexuality does not draw them away from church we must conclude that being and living gay is not a behavior in and of itself that produces pain to the neighbor and leads one away from God.
By the criteria the scripture sets for us for what is godly life, and by the reasoning scripture asks us to employ, homosexuality cannot be described as against God’s law.
If this seems like a rather quiet sort of justification for homosexuality, then perhaps it is because the grand clichés of this debate have been shouted at us for too long. But look at the Bible: it's demands and vision cut across all categories, not staying on the surface but penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, rejecting all forms of self-justification, all forms of attack on the "other" and all forms of escape from God's assessment of our behavior. How on earth could we have ever thought that a series of flat rules was all God wanted to tell us on morality?
JD, Who cares ???? Who is the Church but a bunch of Holy Rollers who brainwash people from birth on. They don't know what the beyond hold, just like you don't. What is the Church? It's a bunch of Holy Rollers making up laws. Why do protestants hate Catholics. Because they don't like the Papalcy. So who's right? Catholics, Protestants, Budhists, Jews,
etc.? I know, – you are and everyone else is wrong. Right???
Great comment!!! @1225 this is an article aimed at religious people's faith and views...it is not about the subject matter: "Is there a God?" Therefore...if you're an atheist..this article is not for you and your anti God comments are mute here and belong elsewhere. If you don't believe in God...why would you want to read an article about Heaven? (just asking) I'm a Christian and I don't read articles about atheism. They don't interest me at all so why would an article about God interest you? (just saying) You're criticisms of a God believer will no more affect that believer, than a believer's criticisms of you will affect you. So be at peace Mr. Atheist...enjoy your life and stop worrying about it, and criticizing those you disagree with. Life is awesome! Go enjoy it! You don't like it when we believers try to convert you, so stop trying to convert we believers to atheism.
Unbelievable. These morons take the "Christian" out of Christianity. I suggest they take their "religious" beliefs and head for the hills of Afghanistan.
"Of course, gluttony is a deadly sin like gayness"
The Scriptures at no point deal with homosexuality as an authentic sexual orientation, a given condition of being. The remarkably few Scriptural references to "homosexuality" deal rather with homosexual acts, not with homosexual orientation. Those acts are labeled as wrong out of the context of the times in which the writers wrote and perceived those acts to be either nonmasculine, idolatrous, exploitative, or pagan. The kind of relationships between two consenting adults of the same sex demonstrably abounding among us - relationships that are responsible and mutual, affirming and fulfilling - are not dealt with in the Scriptures.
they are not abounding among us. there are more Downs syndrome people than gay people.
You are certainly proof of that.
Sorry yahoo, but just more lies and crap.
Per the CDC, the prevalence of Down Syndrome is 1.18 per 100 live births. Per the Williams Instîtute, the prevalence of being born gay/lesbian is 3.5 per 100 live births.
I'm talking about incidence, dummy! Most Down's syndrome babies are not born, that's a fact!
No you said there are more Downs syndrome PEOPLE blah blah blah...thats a fact
engage your brain before hitting post
Sorry yahoo. More lies and crap. You stated there are more people with down syndrome than there are gay people. The scientific evidence does not support your conclusion.
"Most Down's syndrome babies are not born, that's a fact!"
Are they hatched?
Gayness is a congenital birth defect (a brain pathology), now well understood. Maybe some people will decide not to have gay babies and abort them?
Sorry yahoo, just more lies and crap. Being born gay is no more a birth defect than being born left-handed or black.
How very pro-life. A b o r t i o n is bad except when the baby is gay.
"If all people are made in God's image, then maybe God is gay too. How about that? "
How about you're WRONG 1225 and understand NOTHING about scripture.
People sin, God doesn't sin. God is all powerful, you are not. See the differences?
Made in God's image does not mean we act like God, have his powers or are Gods ourselves.
I think a teenager about ready to leave Sunday School wouldn't make the asertion you just did!
I understand all I need to about your "scriptures"
Scriptures simply means something that is written down. Do not believe everything you read.
Your bible was created by men to contorl other men ( such as yourself)
God was created in mans image, otherwise:
Why would god need eyes, before he "created"everything,there was no light.
Why would god need ears, before he "created" matter,there was no sound.
Why would god need genetalia, having no others of his kind, and he can spontanously "create" anything he wants, he would have no use for it
Why does god have feet, there is nothing for him to stand on.
Man even created a wife for god, but then realized that there can only be one true god, so man stopped worshipping gods wife
The cir cu mstantial evidence is overwhelming for these and many other reasons.
Man created God in his own image, and bestowed upon him great powers that only man could imagine.
No God is just a Terrorist.
Terrorism: Killing people with no political power to influence those with all the political power.
"And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead." (Exodus 12:29-30)
Yep, once again my choice has been proven correct. I believe in God, not religion. Man uses religion to subjugate, extract wealth, and empower oneself, not others. Man uses religion to wrap his own sins and prejudices up in a nice shiny bow and call it godliness. He uses religion to justify killing, maiming, ostracizing, denigrating those unlike himself. If God is into all these things, then I would be calling Him the devil.
God is a nonsensical concept.
oogi - If you will just adjust your concept - think not of "God", but rather the "Creator", then you will have stifled people like Yahoo.
Some agency beyond our ken created the universe - THAT and ONLY that is certain. . ALL the rest is man's clever but destructive invention for his own personal advantage, one over the other.
Well for starters Christians wouldn't get in.