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.
One things for certain. If you get to the afterlife and see Anderson Cooper there, you REALLY screwed up down here...
MalcolmXcrement, god sees the hate in your heart.
Typical arrogant, elitist opinion from a christian who only thinks the world should respect HIS religion...
Nope. there is no heaven and no hell...get used to it...
and you know this because................and your proof is...............oh that's what I thought – a personal opinion
Typical arrogant, elitist opinion from an atheist who only thinks the world should respect HIS religion...
Judgment is what is this article about.
Every human being is a particle of God's love. God's creation.
In heaven there are No judgments, religions, race, or sizes. We are ONE!
Cool post – could be lyrics to a song!
agreed. Article pretty much blows except that he is correct that over indulgence in anything is a sin. As for heaven? Only God decides and we are not to judge others eternal fate..
well, he starts by saying "what if we take everything in the bible as truth"...if we did that then being gay is a sin, so is being willing to eat food in glutony, beyond need. Both are correctable by one's own determination and effort. The fat guy might be willing to say yes it is a sin, but I am willing to make the change, where do his lesbian friends stand? Are they willing to say that it is a sin and that they are willing to forsake their chosen lifestyle?
Point is, the entire article is based on falsehoods and the author is willing to bend to meet his end point.
I think he is not necessarily bending but being honest that the christian community has a problem with those are gay and will attack that sin but turn a blind eye to all types of other sins. Morbid obesity without medical reasons is a sin of gluttony and nobady challenges John Hagee on that
"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?"
Wait, wait, don't tell me ! Because Christians are hypocritical and religion is BS ?
yep most christians are hypocritical and a lot of religion is BS and incase you wern't aware – most people are hypocrtial and most thoughts and beliefs are BS – welcome to humans running the world.
Please refer to my reply to dude...
I don't take fat people either. They go to Limbo to work off extra ethereal saddle bags and then they are sent to the Vishnu to be reincarnated as Asians. If they do well in the Asian life, then maybe they go to heaven...but probably not.
I don't take fat people either. They go to Limbo to work off extra ethereal saddle bags and then they are sent to Kali and/or Vishnu to be reincarnated as Asians. If they do well in the Asian life, then maybe they go to heaven...but probably not. All Gays go to heaven though.
If you noticed Lucifer did a double post with an edit, then you're certainly going to hell.
How about " HELL NO"!!!!
I agree with Lucifer. You shouldn't take fat people, whatever the hell that means...
Is this a joke?
If you cannot bring your friends to your church, you need to either get a new church, or make some serious changes in your church. Something is definitely wrong there.
Exactly what I thought. Why do someone want to belong to a church that wouldn't let in their friends? They're good enough for the writer but not his God?
Of course fat people go to heaven. But they'll eat everything in sight and fart up a storm, just like they do here on earth.
Gays who practice buggery will burn in hell.
Besides, who wants to go to heaven if it's filled with pigs and packers???b
That is exactly what Jesus would say.
MalcolmXcrement, god sees the hate in your heart. You are warned.
This headline has got to be up there with the worst sac of s**t I've ever had the misfortune of reading. Really????????
Sorry, I don't need your God for redemption, protection, or forgiveness. I don't need your God for a crutch, moral compass, or to be a good person. I can do all these things on my own for I am my own god and I own my words and actions.
Good for you. I assume you won't mind if I laugh as your God mocking body is consumed by fire in hell??
You'll recognize me. I'll be the one laughing at you as you burn, and throwing dog poop at you...
You may want to see a psychiatrist for your sociopathic and sadistic tendencies. You know those aren't really healthy.
MalcolmXcrement, god does not allow those with hate in their heart into heaven.
I'm not the least bit suprised he is gay. But, I was suprised to find that he is Gloria Vanderbilt's son. I had no idea.
Thanks Craig for your cool-headed words of wisdom. You are doing incredible work.
this is so ridiculously stupid CNN what the ?????????????
I left "god" because I think taking a bronze age book seriously makes people too gullible. It is just another excuse to slow scientific progress and personal rights. I have a gay friend, and i would be extremely angry if people were to bully him for being gay.
Who created the university system because it wasn't the Greeks and Romans it was the Catholic Church.
I don't understand why people hate on the pedophiles, didn't God impregnate a 14 year old? Did Abraham or Moses get to heaven? 1 commited adultery, incest, and almost sacrificed his son for the temptation from "God" (I belive it was Satan, makes more sense). Moses killed and had killed a lot of people, then he comes down saying thou shall not murder. What a hypocrite, he has to be burning some intense heat.
The author obviously hasn't read some of the posts to a story about scientists looking at people who eat all they want without gaining weight in order to get an idea of how obesity works. Many of the posts were from self-righteous so-and-so's who treat overeating as a moral issue and those who do it every bit as deserving of contempt as some people treat gays.
First, and foremost - Who left anyone god, and his decision to accept or deny people into heaven? That's the only question that needs to be answered here. Unless you are god you have no say. period.
Let me pose a question. If you had to choose between a mental illness or a weight problem, which would
you choose? For me, and, me alone, I would choose a weight problem BECAUSE with PRAYER, A GOOD
DIET AND THE WILLINGNESS TO WORK OUT AT THE GYM..................I can RE-GAIN a healthier size.
With a mental illness, sad to say, there may be no way to re-gain full mental faculties for the rest of one's life.
YES, I believe that larger people can go to heaven. God created diversity in shapes and sizes. Some people,
not all, really do have health issues that can contribute to them being a larger size. Some are larger because
of their family genetics. In the three months I have been going to the gym, I have lost 21lbs.so far. I live my life
as a christian woman and YES, I know, beyond all shadows of doubt, my soul will be going to heaven!
Wasn't pride one of those deadly sins? Looks like you might be in more danger (according to your theology) than you think.
So... God won't cure you of your mental illness if you pray? But you can pray the weight problem away huh? THAT SUCKS!
Did you read the Gospel of John?
John 3:13 And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.
John 3:15 That every one who believes into Him may have eternal life.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that every one who believes into Him would not perish, but would have eternal life.
John 3:17 For God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
John 3:20 For every one who practices evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his works be reproved.
John 3:21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be manifested that they are wrought in God.
If we have the eternal life, this very life will take care of everything.