2 churches: Back off 'Day of Silence'
I am saddened deeply by Pastor Tim Frega of Auke Bay Bible Church's statement, which said: "...We love the lesbian and the gay individuals ... but there is plenty of places in the word of God that say (homosexuality) is wrong."
Perhaps Pastor Frega's comments were edited by the paper for maximum effect. Regardless, I must respond.
If a young person reads the pastor's comments, they possibly walk away thinking that their life will be spent being detested by their family and friends, that they will be alone. And they are getting that message from the very institution that should be emanating unconditional love. Mine is a different perspective. I have lived that young life of silence. I respond not because I want to promote an agenda, rather, I believe there is a kid out there who needs to hear what I have to say. This is for you.
After studying the scriptures extensively and thus earning a bachelor's degree in Biblical Literature at a highly regarded Bible college, from an equally reputable major denomination, my perspective is an educated one. I am not from the fanatical fringe.
I think what should be asked is "What would Jesus say regarding my sexuality?" And the only person that should be asking that question is the person affected. It is their relationship with God, after all, and not anyone else's. From what we have of the Bible, Jesus hasn't said one word regarding homosexuality. And that is exactly my first point. It's a speculative question. The answer resides with the individual alone who asks it. It's their journey, their relationship; therefore it should be their answer.
" ... but there is plenty of places in the word of God that say (homosexuality) is wrong."
There are also plenty of places in the Bible that say it is wrong for women to teach in the church, to hold places of leadership, to be educated, and to have short hair. It says it is wrong to plant different seeds in the same field, or to wear clothing made of different materials, or to do many other things in our society that we as Christians do. Take holding a mortgage loan on our houses as another example. The Bible says that usury is wrong. Usury means loaning money with interest payments on it. How many Christians work in the lending industry?
Here's my second point. Everybody interprets the Scriptures differently. The Bible has been used to defend slavery, wars, sexism, homophobia, racism and countless other prejudicial attitudes and biased positions. That is not what Scripture is intended for, however. It is meant to be a revelation - the story of a certain population of people and their journey towards wholeness. It captures their mistakes and their projections onto God. Everything about Jesus' life was about love, justice, reconciliation, and healing. Pastor Frega's interpretation does nothing but contribute to the problem we have with unacceptably high suicide rates among our teenagers. If someone is to take the Bible literally, then they need to take it all literally, instead of picking and choosing what fits their agenda.
" ...We love the lesbian and the gay individuals... but ..."
To me that reads "We love you but you have to live a certain way." So who gets to decide what that "certain way" is? Does anyone have a corner on the Truths of God? Isn't God's love unconditional? I think what Jesus said to the prostitute when she was caught red-handed and when everyone wanted to punish her by throwing stones at her, ("everyone" included those in leadership), should be kept in the forefront of all opinions. Jesus said that he who is without sin could cast the first stone. Guess what? Everyone walked away after that.
In closing, the main point I'd like to make is that we need to listen to our kids. We spend too much time espousing popular teachings that coincide with popular soapbox issues instead of letting our kids talk to us. I commend those who have tried to support those who cannot talk at all. No one has a right to say that my life is wrong - that is God's responsibility. After 10 years of searching and fully experiencing the ex-gay ministries, I am thinking God would have let me know by now regarding the issue. And God has. It's just not the answer mainline Christianity expects to hear. I don't fit the mold Christianity has constructed and has heralded as God's way to live. But that's OK. Neither did Jesus.
This is for you kid.
Rena Balzer of Juneau grew up on Prince of Wales Island.