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.
Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter
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.
Believe whatever you want but when the seas get rocky, hope you have something that will sustain you. If you are empowered by thinking you know who will go to "heaven", knock yourself out!
The repentant who accepts Jesus Christ will go. Active gays are not repentant. That's not judging, that what the bible says.
have a little belief in yourself, not some tired, sky-spirit.
What that I can save people from the consquences of their sins, that I deliver people from drugs and illnesses and feed them, etc. etc. etc.
Atheist Hunter, very true of what you have said.
The stupid leading the idiot.
Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son – There is no much difference from seeing the blind (unbeliever) leading the blind (unbelievers).
You're a promiscuous drunk, Higgy. You have no business judging anyone. You're an ignorant woman who can barely understand the English language.
"Dieu a créé l'homme à son image. L'homme le lui a bien rendu." ("God created man in his image. Man returned the favor.") says Voltaire.
Uh no, christ CAN'T help you not be gay. "Pray the gay away" therapy has proven to be ineffective, damaging and downright dangerous.
Gay is sin choice, that's all, no different the chosing to do drugs, chosing to be a their, chosing to sleep with someone's spouse, beastiality, pedophlia, etc. etc. etc. They can't change cause they love the sin and chose the way it makes them feel.
It's "CHOOSE", doofus. And experts who actually DID go to college have overwhelmingly disagreed with you.
God says my body is a temple. I work out at the gym 5 nights a week. I'm trying to downsize my temple. I have
struggled with my weight for over 30 years. I know this battle very well. The hardest thing for me was the first
night that I went into the gym. The cruel comments alone were enough for me to want to leave and never go back.
When someone sees you outside the gym, they say, "they need to be in a gym". Then, when someone actually
goes into the gym to work out, the skinny folks say, " she's /he's too sweaty, I don't want to use that after they've been on it".
Would you want to hear that all the time??? I go 5 nights a week and I work out as hard as my body will allow. I am always
pushing myself beyond my physical limits because the faster I'm in the gym, the faster I will be able to leave. I am NOT in
the gym to "impress" anyone. I AM THERE TO SWEAT AS MUCH AS I CAN. I am there to become a "healthier" me. I focus
on what I need to be doing when I am in the gym. I try super "hard" to block everyone else out until I am finished with my
gluttony is a sin but gay is an abomination according to the bible. thinks there's a difference there?
That God is sort of a d-bag to some of the people he created?
why don't we just make excuses for pedophiles too, that is as long as it's not your kid that they were born attracted to
It isn't surprising you are clueless, AH. Pedophilia has nothing to do with a consensual relationship. Grow a brain.
How about illegal immigrants in heaven? Perhaps Obama will give them amnesty there too.
I don't think gay or fat is a problem with getting into heaven but Jesus was fairly clear on being Wealthy and your odds of getting into heaven.
I heard an interview where a reporter spoke with many ministers, priests, etc.. and asked given that Jesus spoke so much about wealth and heaven that they don't preach about that concept while spending so much time on other issues that Jesus either never mentioned or brought up much less frequently.
To which almost every religious leader said that those types of discussions might make their church attendees feel "uncomfortable" and a few admitted because it would drive people away who they count on for larger donations.
Can't any religious person accept logic and common sense instead of this drivel.
The idea of heaven and hell is just a way for religious leaders to control people.
Mary...why do they want to control you? What do they have to gain? Obamacare is control.
Do you really want the answer to your question?
Yes if you know it.
The church makes its money from t.ithes mostly. And the best way to keep t.ithes coming in is to somehow assure your congregants will stay, as well as getting new congregants. The way that you can be most certain of the continuation is through control based on fear and misinformation. Churches specialize in this.
Now, I'm not saying all churches will always do this, but you asked what would be in it for the church and why a church would want to control, and I gave you the reason. This has been seen throughout history, and I merely give an observation.
hawaii....then it would be unfair to label religion as such as a whole. many starving children see a different side and give nothing in return...there are good christians who begg money to give clothing, food, and shelter to people who have nothing. People are corrupt in all walks of life and it's unfair to only apply that to religion.
Do you think the churches get nothing out of charities and mission work? Look at what's happening in Africa, exchanging food for land to build more churches on. Putting certain requirements on their aid constantly. If it were only to help the less fortunate, then there would be no strings, but there almost always are strings.
I'm hoping they let atheists in too.
I totally agree
I hope they make it too, but then they won't be atheist anymore.
I would love to see them there to, but you can't be an atheist and expect for God to let you in. You MUST first know He is God and have a RELATIONSHIP
......with God through His Son Jesus Christ. It's not that hard.
Great write-up Craig and great insight. I hope people read this article with an open mind.
I'll bet they do. It seems everyone goes to heaven. I suppose we'll see Hitler there.
He accepted god or jebus into his heart so apparently he will.
There's no heaven and there is no hell. We are all just worm food in the end. Stop it w/ the delusions.
And your words are living proof of that, right? Please enlighten us Christians with your evidence so we can start following your thinking, okay?
Higgy, prove there's no Tooth Fairy.
No there won't be fat people or gay people in Heaven. There won't be anyone there because it's a fairy tale and doesn't exist. How about Mt Olympus people? You believe in that too?
No just Jesus and heaven.
There's Olympus Mons (Mt. Olympus) on Mars, does that count?
I've said it before, I'll say it again: organized religion has screwed up more people than anything else in creation! And that goes for you agnostics and especially for you athiests, too! Most athiests I've ever met are so hard core in their belief, they can't recognize that it's as strong as my own belief in God!
Jesus told us, simply and openly, to love one another. His unconditional love for us showed us how to do it. We may not LIKE one another, but we should LOVE one another......and by loving someone, we should endeavor to do so unconditionally, as we were shown. Putting conditions on your love, as the author said (i.e.- I love you, but only if you're not gay) is the WRONG way to do it!
One day, we will all have to appear in front of God, and answer for something. I think a lot of people will have to answer the question, "Why did you not love one another, as I loved you??"
If you need religion to love one another, or to show you how to love one another, then something is very very wrong with you.
See me and you belong in the same room. I only recognize one power one source being God. You would almost have to shoot me in the head to get me to attend church. Please people don't let Church interfere with your relationship with God.
If they are repentant and TURN AWAY from their sin and ask Jesus to forgive them and come into their heart. Otherwise neither.
lol. help me jebus, help me!
bobcat....there you go, now say forgive me from my sins......
Sorry, too busy promoting acceptance and love of all people, no matter what. Us darn atheists are so troublesome.
Does that include the active rapists, pedophiles, murderers, child abusers, serial killers, etc? or just your choice sinners?
Most, not all of you, are a bunch of ignorant idiots. Conservative Republicans and religious ideologues Inspire hate and move our species closer to well deserved extinction. I believe in a holy spirit who is loving and who would not inspire such hatefull words. Ignorance is not bliss, it is just stupid.
Dfoley........"...ignorant idiot......Inspire hate.........well deserved extinction....... such hatefull words. Ignorance is not bliss, it is just stupid." Talk about hateful words!
Kim – Every single one of us chose to sin, including those you mentioned. Remember the 2 men who were crucified next to Jesus Christ? Both of them were criminals and only one of them repented and went to be with the Lord. So yes, if any of these criminals that you've mentions repent from the heart and is sincere about it, they are saved and goes to heaven. No one knows the heart of the repented person like God knows. Mankind can be fooled, but God can't be.
Hom.ose.xuality has nothing to do with those other things you listed, and you're merely throwing out a bunch of red herrings.
no i was just trying to ask bob if the love and acceptance is extended to all those type people too who are not defended by the media and politically. They are people too.
And yet every single thing you point out have one thing in common that hom.ose.xuality doesn't. And that's a VICTIM having their rights or protections infringed upon in a very direct way. I would have thought that would be obvious.
At least hell would help fat people BURN off the fat.
Any mall gym is the definition of hell...
If Anderson thinks he's getting in because he's skinny he's mistaken
Into bowling? The shriners club? Pool league?
Yes, there will be fat people in heaven. But gays are not allowed in because they are not God's people
gods people. lol
Trouble with reading comprehension? According to the Bible, we are all sinners, fat people and gay people, there is no distinction made in your precious Bible. Even tattoos are sinful, yet I bet you never turned away a person with a tattoo.
cement, god also does not allow those with hate in their heart into heaven.
justa...who said cement hates? I didn't read that.
Does this mean Rush Limbaugh won't be going to Heaven?
hmm wont let me post my reply that i want...wonder if CNN like Rush limbaugh
I am sure unorganized religion, absence of religion and personal religion has it wrong too
Sorry organized religion, you ALL got it wrong....HIGGS BOSON: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTVT-MlRq6o
How does it disprove God and creation?
Let's just cal it God's Paticle, God's nature, God's world. Get it.
The burden of proof isn't disproving what has been posited, it's on the claim of "there is a god" to provide the evidence or proofs.
What does higgs have to do with God, beyond being a creation just like everything else? That particle does zero to prove or disprove a Creator. Nothing can prove or disprove, and trying to do so is a waste of time. The religious have faith, and the non believes do not. It can't go deeper than that. Stop being condescending. You can't know everything – nobody can. If there is a God there is no way you can understand God. If there is not, then there is no way to understand all of the cosmos. You can't say for certain.
Really, I'm asking what does the particle do that says organized religion has it all wrong? Just curious. No insults requested just answers. Thanks.
It's the way you phrased your question. In answer to your intended question, it has absolutely nothing to do with religion, and the original post is pretty much just a red herring. At least in terms of the Higgs Boson particle hypothesis in and of itself.
Tara – Atheism is now know as a religious group. The only difference with them is that they gather on ever news network to preach the contrary to what saith the Lord, so you better start explaining how right their religion is.
Seems like you can still only throw out random assertions without any basis to actaully back it up. Then again, actual evidence would be to much to ask from you, as it always has been. You just have way to much fun making wild, asinine statements.
Awww don't run away now. Defend your assertions if you can.