A friend of mine sent me the following email over the weekend:
Hey, long time no see. I apologize for being out of touch for so long and this being a mass email (bcc'd of course). Some of you were social acquaintances; tricks; one-date wonders; some posing as friends yet enemies; and a select handful were actual friends to me & vice versa.
I made a decision that will test the tolerance between you and me. I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ which means I live my life for Him and by Him. Do I hate you? No. Do I think I'm better than you? No. Is it my goal to change you? No. Plain and simple my life is one of a humble servant of God who sees where he has come from and is not one to throw stones in regards to the eternal life of others. Jesus Christ was not a means to an end, yet the only answer to the situation.
My former life happened to be a homosexual one which is only mentioned twice in the Bible and the word "sinner" is found 46 times. In essence I'm not rampaging against the homosexual community and its causes, but my sin against a holy God. Believe it or not I'm for gay rights as I look at the society, I don't agree with any discrimination of any group that doesn't break man's law, if you ask me about God's law that is a different story.
Here is the cliffhanger of this phase in my life. I still would like to be in contact on the same level we were before or more so at your discretion for I do not want to impose on anyone. Obviously I live by a different standard now, but open to have a drink with you, dinner, or even see a movie, etc. As I tolerate your lifestyle I would ask you tolerate mine and I will not "preach" to you, yet if asked my opinion it would be based on the wisdom of the bible. Feel free to contact me. If you know me you know I wouldn't say that unless I meant it.
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."
What to make of all this? I generally have thought pretty highly of this person. He was not one of my closest friends, but we had hung out a lot, although less in the past year since he had supposedly come down with mono (and less still since I moved away). But it sounds like there might have been a lot more behind why he had dropped out of the social scene.
I have a long-standing opposition to people who use biblical arguments in the public-policy arena. But people who use those arguments in their own lives? Hey, it's a free country, I guess.
As I have stated before, I think it is dangerous to believe that "God" is all you need to turn gay people straight, and it makes no more sense than trying to doing the reverse. (Indeed, too many people turn to religion as a crutch for things they are unable or unwilling to do themselves.) Our focus instead should be on loving acceptance, and a modern understanding of homosexuality that does not view it as inherently evil.
If "homosexuality" is mentioned only twice in the Bible, as my friend states (I assume he means passages in Corinthians and Leviticus), then it doesn't sound like God has a monomaniacal focus on it like other sins. After all, it doesn't even make the list of top-ten no-nos. And Christ sure didn't seem to mind much, because it is nowhere to be found in the New Testament, either.
But I do find it ironic that his email closes with the verse from Ephesians. Despite my friend's assurances that he won't preach, the context around the verse he selected argues for evangelism with a bellicose zeal. ("Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.")
Even more perversely, that same biblical chapter advises slaves to basically shut their mouths and be good, little slaves. Does my friend also believe in that verse?
Look, folks, the Bible was a product of its time. It was a time of myth and superstition, not of science and enlightenment. It is almost an embarrassment that people would continue to hew so literally to its words thousands of years later, even when common sense and compassion would dictate otherwise, and even when those words directly contradict each other.
I am certain that my friend means well, and that he has been struggling, and I certainly wish him the best. But surrendering to the zealots, even on an individual level, has profoundly damaging effects on GLBT people generally. For him, it is the path of least resistance; for the rest of us, he offers succor to the lunatic fringe at a time when "reparative therapy" is increasingly not supported by evidence.
So to my friend: I will probably see you at the back gay bars again in a few years. When I do, I will buy you a drink. And I also promise not to "preach" about just how wrong you were.