Archive for the ‘Gay and Lesbian’ Category

>Random thoughts on a cloudy morning

October 16, 2009

>This is really going to be random.

Balloon boy. I’m sure you’ve heard about the giant Jiffy Pop balloon and the boy spilling the beans last night on the Larry King show, and spilling his breakfast (or something) on cue on two different morning shows this morning. Yesterday afternoon I was driving when the boy was located in the cardboard box, and had the radio on the Lee Davis show. Davis is a certified right wingnut whacko, but he said that finding the boy in his attic was a “miraculous” ending to the story.

Huh? A miracle would have been if the boy fell from the balloon and landed on an albatross that glided him to safety or something like that. Saying that finding him at home is a miraculous ending is like saying it’s a miracle I wasn’t hit by a train on a morning that I didn’t cross any railroad tracks.

Emails. Let me just say that I feel I have a moral obligation to respond to and correct the lies about our president and health care and other issues that I receive through emails. And if you have included my email address in a mass emailing with such lies, I will “respond to all” so that everyone you spread the lie to gets my response. If that angers your friends, then either quit sending me those hateful lies and don’t include my email address in your mass mailings.

Defeating the right wing. How it’s going to be done and who will do it. Here, on Examiner.

Support. Is it normal for a newspaper or magazine that one writes for to continue week after week printing letters that demeans the columnist? While I don’t mind seeing letters that offer opposing views, four weeks of letters by the same author attacking my character just seems a little much. Especially when the letter writer is nuts. Would you continue to write for a paper that offered no support? Am I egging it on by responding to the ludicrous assertions? For those of you who haven’t read the letters, I will soon post them on Facebook along with the columns that they are in response to.


Helen Keller. I will be posting some info about her and the National Cathedral within a few days. Did you know she was a big supporter of the ACLU, in fact helping to found the organization?

America the Beautiful. The words to this song were written by a lesbian, Katharine Lee Bates. After her partner Katharine Coman died, Bates wrote, “So much of me died with Katharine Coman that I’m sometimes not quite sure whether I’m alive or not.” That is not the only evidence of their committed relationship.

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>Honeymoon in Vegas

November 10, 2008

>No, we didn’t.

But we were in Las Vegas the week of the election. California is close by, and it would have been easy enough to take a day trip and get married.

It would not have been recognized in Alabama, but possibly one day it would.

Anyway, in the Houston airport on the way out there I noticed in the Sunday, November 2, New York Times, that 6 of the 30 wedding announcements were for same sex couples (that’s 20 %), including a feature article on Max Mutchnick, the creator and executive producer of Will and Grace, and Erik Hyman, an entertainment attorney.

Photo Credit New York Times

In September the two became fathers to daughters Rose and Evan, and decided to get married in California before the vote on Proposition 8. On October 25 the couple vowed their love to each other in a ceremony officiated by Rabbi Lisa Edwards. For a couple living in California, that made perfect sense, as there is a good chance that even with the right to marry being taken away, those already married will get to remain married.

Even though over 22,000 lesbians and gay men have married in California, many have waited to see what the vote on Prop 8 would bring, wanting to make sure their marriage would be permanent before taking the vows.

Some where in that mix my partner and I fall. I mean, there is chance we would have come back married. I won’t reveal what our plans were. But for argument’s sake, let’s say we were planning a West Hollywood wedding and a Vegas Honeymoon, and for whatever reason, we had decided to wait until after the vote to do it.

Tuesday’s vote took that option off the table.

A lot of people feel that this is California’s problem, but it does not stop there. People from every state have travelled to California to marry, and many in the U. S. looked at the right to marry in that state as the second chapter in a fifty chapter book on marriage equality.

I know that not everyone who reads this agrees that gays and lesbians should have the right to marry. But most would agree that same sex couples should be treated with dignity and afforded the same rights as other couples.

The passage of Prop 8 is not a done deal. The vote itself may have been illegal, as California law requires that measures used to take civil rights away from a group would have to first be passed by the legislature. In other words, you can’t vote away people’s rights, if that were so, would blacks have achieved equality?

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said yesterday on CNN he hopes the State Supreme Court overturns the ban. Of course that would create all kinds of chaos as supporters of Prop 8 would cry foul, but let them cry.

Tens of thousands of protesters marched in Los Angeles and San Diego, as well as Palm Springs and Long Beach over the weekend, and the Mormon Church is taking a lot of heat. They provided half or more of the millions of dollars used to support the ban, and hopefully they will lose their tax exempt status because of it.

It is so odd to me that proponents of same sex marriage are being accused of “changing the definition of marriage” with the argument that you can’t change the definition, and the funding to prevent the “change” comes from the group whose definition of marriage has included polygamy and child marriage. WTF?

There is also the issue of strong support for the ban from the African American community in California. Again, how odd, since California led the way in allowing recognition of marriage between the races.

Well, even though the equalization of marriage in California was a huge deal, this is not so huge, because progress marches on. Massachusetts still believes in equality. Connecticut will take up where California left off. New York may soon follow.

Maybe a trip up east will be planned for the not too distant future.

>Joe the Dud

October 17, 2008

>So Joe the plumber turns out not to be the winner of last nights debate. Not unless you consider it a win to let the world know that:

1. You are not a licensed plumber,

2. you cheat on your taxes,

3. you are not trying to buy a business that makes $250,0000 a year,

4. you belonged to the Natural Law Party, before joining the Republican party (some confusion over this as his name was misspelled on the voter lists).

The Natural Law Party was founded in 1992 in the United States by a group of educators, business leaders, and lawyers in Fairfield, Iowa who practiced Transcendental Meditation. The Natural Law Party was a transnational political party with national branches in over 80 countries.
The party based its platform on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s view that natural law is the supreme organizing principle that governs the universe, and that the problems of humanity are caused by people acting against this natural law. The Natural Law Party claimed that it could realign humanity with this organizing principle through techniques such as the practice of Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program, and problems would be alleviated.
The various Natural Law Parties disbanded over a period of years from 2001-2006.

Yet the Republicans are still touting the guy as a hero. They can have him, after he made a “Sammy Davis” comment regarding Obama. Just another bigoted Republican hack. That’s getting to be so commonplace, it’s boring.

To get your mind off of politics for a bit, watch this. And be appreciative of “The Gays” for all they have brought to the world: Handbags, nice abs, women’s basketball, gentrification, blogging, cargo shorts…and more! Thanks Mandy, and thanks Ty for the tip.

Back to being Joe the Stripper. That’s wallpaper, of course.

>What I am Doing to Celebrate

June 16, 2008

>I probably won’t post anything (but I will respond to comments) for the next couple of days, as we are making a quick trip to Palm Springs to tie the…

Oh, just kidding, but it would be nice. Actually though, the trip is to Montgomery. We are having a statewide disaster drill Tuesday in the Department of Agriculture and I will be preparing and taking part.

But isn’t it a grand day as equality comes to California. Anybody, from anywhere, reading this and getting married to your same sex partner? Let me know, we will celebrate. Equality for All

for updates from California…365 Gay or L A Times

While reading the LA Times yesterday I came across this, an article about science trying to determine the origins of being gay or lesbian:

Science asks what gay looks like Well, we knew that part about size, didn’t we?

Our project this week might not arouse as much curiosity, but is certainly interesting:

From the June 6, 2008 press release about what we are doing this week:

A Foreign Animal Disease is defined as an important transmissible disease of livestock or poultry believed to be absent from the United States. Foreign animal diseases are considered a threat to the United States when they significantly affect human health, or when there is appreciable cost associated with control or eradication of disease in livestock. In addition to disease control costs, the most immediate consequence of an FAD in the United States is the loss of export markets.
This particular exercise will focus on the state’s response to Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).


FMD is a severe, highly contagious disease of cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and deer. Humans are not affected by FMD but can carry the disease on their clothing and infect other animals. The 2001 FMD outbreak in the United Kingdom is estimated to have cost the U.K. $20 billion and their cattle market is 10 times smaller than that of the United States. The economic impact of FMD as well as the fact that it is a highly contagious disease makes the preparations to respond to FMD a main concern for the State of Alabama and the United States.

What I am Doing to Celebrate

June 16, 2008

I probably won’t post anything (but I will respond to comments) for the next couple of days, as we are making a quick trip to Palm Springs to tie the…

Oh, just kidding, but it would be nice. Actually though, the trip is to Montgomery. We are having a statewide disaster drill Tuesday in the Department of Agriculture and I will be preparing and taking part.

But isn’t it a grand day as equality comes to California. Anybody, from anywhere, reading this and getting married to your same sex partner? Let me know, we will celebrate. Equality for All

for updates from California…365 Gay or L A Times

While reading the LA Times yesterday I came across this, an article about science trying to determine the origins of being gay or lesbian:

Science asks what gay looks like Well, we knew that part about size, didn’t we?

Our project this week might not arouse as much curiosity, but is certainly interesting:

From the June 6, 2008 press release about what we are doing this week:

A Foreign Animal Disease is defined as an important transmissible disease of livestock or poultry believed to be absent from the United States. Foreign animal diseases are considered a threat to the United States when they significantly affect human health, or when there is appreciable cost associated with control or eradication of disease in livestock. In addition to disease control costs, the most immediate consequence of an FAD in the United States is the loss of export markets.
This particular exercise will focus on the state’s response to Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).


FMD is a severe, highly contagious disease of cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and deer. Humans are not affected by FMD but can carry the disease on their clothing and infect other animals. The 2001 FMD outbreak in the United Kingdom is estimated to have cost the U.K. $20 billion and their cattle market is 10 times smaller than that of the United States. The economic impact of FMD as well as the fact that it is a highly contagious disease makes the preparations to respond to FMD a main concern for the State of Alabama and the United States.

>When Jesus Met a Gay Man

June 13, 2008

>I put this on my myspace page a few years ago and probably would not have thought to post it here but then Darryl came along. Darryl has been posting comments on a previous post ( Vote Today… ) about my views on religion and sexuality and he wrote, “There is nothing in the Bible that supports the gay lifestyle. Not a single verse…”

Now Darryl, unlike some of the people placing comments in the past, is cordial, seems intelligent, and is able to carry on a conversation in writing without resorting to screaming and name calling. However, he is wrong. And what he wrote sounded like a challenge.

I could have paraphrased this, but the authors do such a good job and I didn’t want to mess up their logical progression of their case.

When Jesus met a Gay Man

An excerpt from The Children Are Free by Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley. Emphasis is mine.

From our days in Sunday School, many of us are familiar with the Gospel story where Jesus healed the servant of a Roman centurion. The story is recorded in Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. In Matthew, we are told that the centurion came to Jesus to plead for the healing of his servant. Jesus said he was willing to come to the centurion’s house, but the centurion said there was no need for Jesus to do so. He believed that if Jesus simply spoke the word, his servant would be healed. Marveling at the man’s faith, Jesus pronounced the servant healed. Luke tells a similar story.

Just another miracle story, right? Not on your life!

In the original language, the importance of this story for gay, lesbian and bisexual Christians is much clearer. The Greek word used in Matthews account to refer to the servant of the centurion is pais. In the language of the time, pais had three possible meanings depending upon the context in which it was used. It could mean son or boy; it could mean servant, or it could mean a particular type of servant one who was his masters male lover. (footnote18) Often these lovers were younger than their masters, even teenagers.

To our modern minds, the idea of buying a teen lover seems repugnant. But we have to place this in the context of ancient cultural norms. In ancient times, commercial transactions were the predominant means of forming relationships. Under the law, the wife was viewed as the property of the husband, with a status just above that of a slave. Moreover, in Jesus’ day, a boy or girl was considered of marriageable age upon reaching his or her early teens. It was not uncommon for boys and girls to marry at age 14 or 15. (footnote19) Nor was it uncommon for an older man to marry a young girl. Fortunately civilization has advanced, but these were the norms in the culture of Jesus day.

In that culture, if you were a gay man who wanted a male spouse, you achieved this, like your heterosexual counterparts, through a commercial transaction purchasing someone to serve that purpose. A servant purchased to serve this purpose was often called a pais.

The word boy in English offers a rough comparison. Like pais, the word boy can be used to refer to a male child. But in the slave South in the nineteenth century, boy was also often used to refer to male slaves. The term boy can also be used as a term of endearment. For example, Jeff’s father often refers to his mother as his girl. He doesn’t mean that she is a child, but rather that she is his special one. The term boy can be used in the same way, as in my boy or my beau. In ancient Greek, pais had a similar range of meanings.

Thus, when this term was used, the listener had to consider the context of the statement to determine which meaning was intended. Some modern Christians may be tempted to simply declare by fiat that the Gospels could not possibly have used the term pais in the sense of male lover, end of discussion. But that would be yielding to prejudice. We must let the word of God speak for itself, even if it leads us to an uncomfortable destination.

Is it possible the pais referred to in Matthew 8 and Luke 7 was the roman centurion’s male lover? Lets look at the biblical evidence.

The Bible provides three key pieces of textual and circumstantial evidence. First, in the Luke passage, several additional Greek words are used to describe the one who is sick. Luke says this pais was the centurion’s entimos duolos. The word duolos is a generic term for slave, and was never used in ancient Greek to describe a son/boy. Thus, Luke’s account rules out the possibility the sick person was the centurion’s son; his use of duolos makes clear this was a slave. However, Luke also takes care for indicate this was no ordinary slave. The word entimos means honored. This was an honored slave (entimos duolos) who was his master’s pais. Taken together, the three Greek words preclude the possibility the sick person was either the centurion’s son or an ordinary slave, leaving only one viable option: he was his master’s male lover. (footnote20)

A second piece of evidence is found in verse 9 of Mathew’s account. In the course of expressing his faith in Jesus’ power to heal by simply speaking, the centurion says, “When I tell my slave to do something, he does it.” By extension, the centurion concludes that Jesus is also able to issue a remote verbal command that must be carried out. When speaking of his slaves, the centurion uses the word duolos. But when speaking of the one he is asking Jesus to heal, he uses only pais. In other words, when he is quoted in Matthew, the centurion uses pais only when referring to the sick person. He uses a different word, doulos, when speaking of his other slaves, as if to offer a distinction. (In Luke, it is others, not the centurion, who call the sick one an entimos duolos.) Again, the clear implication is that the sick man was no ordinary slave. And when pais was used to describe a servant who was not an ordinary slave, it meant only one thing: a slave who was the master’s male lover.

The third piece of evidence is circumstantial. In the Gospels, we have many examples of people seeking healing for themselves or for family members. But this story is the only example of someone seeking healing for a slave. The actions described are made even more remarkable by the fact that this was a proud Roman centurion (the conqueror/oppressor) who was humbling himself and pleading with a Jewish rabbi (the conquered/oppressed) to heal his slave. The extraordinary lengths to which this man went to seek healing for his slave is much more understandable, from a psychological perspective, if the slave was his beloved companion.

Thus, all the textual and circumstantial evidence in the Gospels points in one direction. For objective observers, the conclusion is inescapable: in this story Jesus healed a man’s male lover. When understood this way, the story takes on a whole new dimension.

Imagine how it may have happened. While stationed in Palestine, the centurion’s pais becomes ill experiencing some type of life threatening paralysis. The centurion will stop at nothing to save him. Perhaps a friend tells him of rumors of Jesus’ healing powers. Perhaps this friend also tells him Jesus is unusually open to foreigners, teaching his followers that they should love their enemies, even Roman soldiers. So the centurion decides to take a chance. Jesus was his only hope.

As he made his way to Jesus, he probably worried about the possibility that Jesus, like other Jewish rabbis, would take a dim view of his homosexual relationship. Perhaps he even considered lying. He could simply use the word duolos. That would have been accurate, as far as it went. But the centurion probably figured if Jesus was powerful enough to heal his lover, he was also powerful enough to see through any half-truths.

So the centurion approaches Jesus and bows before him. “Rabbi”, my the word gets caught in his throat. This is it the moment of truth. Either Jesus will turn away in disgust, or something wonderful will happen. So, the centurion clears his throat and speaks again. “Rabbi, my pais, yes, my pais, lies at home sick unto death.” Then he pauses and waits for a second that must have seemed like an eternity. The crowd of good, God fearing people surrounding Jesus probably became tense. This was like a gay man asking a televangelist to heal his lover. What would Jesus do?

Without hesitation, Jesus says, “Then I will come and heal him.”

Its that simple! Jesus didn’t say, “Are you kidding? I’m not going to heal your pais so you can go on living in sin!” Nor did he say, “Well, it shouldn’t surprise you that your pais is sick; this is God’s judgment on your relationship”.

Instead, Jesus’ words are simple, clear and liberating for all who have worried about what God thinks of gay relationships. “I will come and heal him.”

At this point, the centurion says there is no need for Jesus to travel to his home. He has faith that Jesus’ word is sufficient. Jesus then turns to the good people standing around him those who were already dumbfounded that he was willing to heal this man’s male lover. To them, Jesus says in verse 10 of Matthews account, “I have not found faith this great anywhere in Israel.” In other words, Jesus holds up this gay centurion as an example of the type of faith others should aspire to.

Jesus didn’t just tolerate this gay centurion. He said he was an example of faith someone we all should strive to be like.

Then, just so the good, God-fearing people wouldn’t miss the point, Jesus speaks again in verse 11: “I tell you, many will come from the east and the west (i.e., beyond the borders of Israel) to find a seat in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs (i.e., those considered likely to inherit heaven) will be thrown into outer darkness.” By this statement Jesus affirmed that many others like this gay centurion, those who come from beyond the assumed boundaries of God’s grace are going to be admitted to the kingdom of heaven. And he also warned that many who think themselves the most likely to be admitted will be left out.

With this story, we rest our case. Who could ask for more? In this story, Jesus restores a gay relationship by a miracle of healing and then holds up a gay man as an example of faith for all to follow. What more do our fundamentalist friends want? Who is Lord? Jesus or cultural prejudice?

Footnotes:

18. K. J. Dover, Greek Homosexuality (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1978), page 16; Bernard Sergent, Homosexuality in Greek Myth (Beacon Press, Boston, 1986), page 10.

19. Mercer Dictionary of the Bible (Mercer University Press, Macon, 1994), page 554.

20. For an excellent and thorough discussion of the terms pais and entimos duolos in these two gospel accounts, see Donald Mader’s article The Entimos Pais of Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10, (Source: Homosexuality and Religion and Philosophy, Harland Publishing, Inc, New York, 1998).

*****************************************************************************************************
If you have made it this far, you may want to read more. The book is The Children are Free, by Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley, published by Jesus Metropolitan Community Church, Indianapolis, Indiana. Jesus MCC. Or just ask. I will loan you the book.

When Jesus Met a Gay Man

June 13, 2008

I put this on my myspace page a few years ago and probably would not have thought to post it here but then Darryl came along. Darryl has been posting comments on a previous post ( Vote Today… ) about my views on religion and sexuality and he wrote, “There is nothing in the Bible that supports the gay lifestyle. Not a single verse…”

Now Darryl, unlike some of the people placing comments in the past, is cordial, seems intelligent, and is able to carry on a conversation in writing without resorting to screaming and name calling. However, he is wrong. And what he wrote sounded like a challenge.

I could have paraphrased this, but the authors do such a good job and I didn’t want to mess up their logical progression of their case.

When Jesus met a Gay Man

An excerpt from The Children Are Free by Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley. Emphasis is mine.

From our days in Sunday School, many of us are familiar with the Gospel story where Jesus healed the servant of a Roman centurion. The story is recorded in Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. In Matthew, we are told that the centurion came to Jesus to plead for the healing of his servant. Jesus said he was willing to come to the centurion’s house, but the centurion said there was no need for Jesus to do so. He believed that if Jesus simply spoke the word, his servant would be healed. Marveling at the man’s faith, Jesus pronounced the servant healed. Luke tells a similar story.

Just another miracle story, right? Not on your life!

In the original language, the importance of this story for gay, lesbian and bisexual Christians is much clearer. The Greek word used in Matthews account to refer to the servant of the centurion is pais. In the language of the time, pais had three possible meanings depending upon the context in which it was used. It could mean son or boy; it could mean servant, or it could mean a particular type of servant one who was his masters male lover. (footnote18) Often these lovers were younger than their masters, even teenagers.

To our modern minds, the idea of buying a teen lover seems repugnant. But we have to place this in the context of ancient cultural norms. In ancient times, commercial transactions were the predominant means of forming relationships. Under the law, the wife was viewed as the property of the husband, with a status just above that of a slave. Moreover, in Jesus’ day, a boy or girl was considered of marriageable age upon reaching his or her early teens. It was not uncommon for boys and girls to marry at age 14 or 15. (footnote19) Nor was it uncommon for an older man to marry a young girl. Fortunately civilization has advanced, but these were the norms in the culture of Jesus day.

In that culture, if you were a gay man who wanted a male spouse, you achieved this, like your heterosexual counterparts, through a commercial transaction purchasing someone to serve that purpose. A servant purchased to serve this purpose was often called a pais.

The word boy in English offers a rough comparison. Like pais, the word boy can be used to refer to a male child. But in the slave South in the nineteenth century, boy was also often used to refer to male slaves. The term boy can also be used as a term of endearment. For example, Jeff’s father often refers to his mother as his girl. He doesn’t mean that she is a child, but rather that she is his special one. The term boy can be used in the same way, as in my boy or my beau. In ancient Greek, pais had a similar range of meanings.

Thus, when this term was used, the listener had to consider the context of the statement to determine which meaning was intended. Some modern Christians may be tempted to simply declare by fiat that the Gospels could not possibly have used the term pais in the sense of male lover, end of discussion. But that would be yielding to prejudice. We must let the word of God speak for itself, even if it leads us to an uncomfortable destination.

Is it possible the pais referred to in Matthew 8 and Luke 7 was the roman centurion’s male lover? Lets look at the biblical evidence.

The Bible provides three key pieces of textual and circumstantial evidence. First, in the Luke passage, several additional Greek words are used to describe the one who is sick. Luke says this pais was the centurion’s entimos duolos. The word duolos is a generic term for slave, and was never used in ancient Greek to describe a son/boy. Thus, Luke’s account rules out the possibility the sick person was the centurion’s son; his use of duolos makes clear this was a slave. However, Luke also takes care for indicate this was no ordinary slave. The word entimos means honored. This was an honored slave (entimos duolos) who was his master’s pais. Taken together, the three Greek words preclude the possibility the sick person was either the centurion’s son or an ordinary slave, leaving only one viable option: he was his master’s male lover. (footnote20)

A second piece of evidence is found in verse 9 of Mathew’s account. In the course of expressing his faith in Jesus’ power to heal by simply speaking, the centurion says, “When I tell my slave to do something, he does it.” By extension, the centurion concludes that Jesus is also able to issue a remote verbal command that must be carried out. When speaking of his slaves, the centurion uses the word duolos. But when speaking of the one he is asking Jesus to heal, he uses only pais. In other words, when he is quoted in Matthew, the centurion uses pais only when referring to the sick person. He uses a different word, doulos, when speaking of his other slaves, as if to offer a distinction. (In Luke, it is others, not the centurion, who call the sick one an entimos duolos.) Again, the clear implication is that the sick man was no ordinary slave. And when pais was used to describe a servant who was not an ordinary slave, it meant only one thing: a slave who was the master’s male lover.

The third piece of evidence is circumstantial. In the Gospels, we have many examples of people seeking healing for themselves or for family members. But this story is the only example of someone seeking healing for a slave. The actions described are made even more remarkable by the fact that this was a proud Roman centurion (the conqueror/oppressor) who was humbling himself and pleading with a Jewish rabbi (the conquered/oppressed) to heal his slave. The extraordinary lengths to which this man went to seek healing for his slave is much more understandable, from a psychological perspective, if the slave was his beloved companion.

Thus, all the textual and circumstantial evidence in the Gospels points in one direction. For objective observers, the conclusion is inescapable: in this story Jesus healed a man’s male lover. When understood this way, the story takes on a whole new dimension.

Imagine how it may have happened. While stationed in Palestine, the centurion’s pais becomes ill experiencing some type of life threatening paralysis. The centurion will stop at nothing to save him. Perhaps a friend tells him of rumors of Jesus’ healing powers. Perhaps this friend also tells him Jesus is unusually open to foreigners, teaching his followers that they should love their enemies, even Roman soldiers. So the centurion decides to take a chance. Jesus was his only hope.

As he made his way to Jesus, he probably worried about the possibility that Jesus, like other Jewish rabbis, would take a dim view of his homosexual relationship. Perhaps he even considered lying. He could simply use the word duolos. That would have been accurate, as far as it went. But the centurion probably figured if Jesus was powerful enough to heal his lover, he was also powerful enough to see through any half-truths.

So the centurion approaches Jesus and bows before him. “Rabbi”, my the word gets caught in his throat. This is it the moment of truth. Either Jesus will turn away in disgust, or something wonderful will happen. So, the centurion clears his throat and speaks again. “Rabbi, my pais, yes, my pais, lies at home sick unto death.” Then he pauses and waits for a second that must have seemed like an eternity. The crowd of good, God fearing people surrounding Jesus probably became tense. This was like a gay man asking a televangelist to heal his lover. What would Jesus do?

Without hesitation, Jesus says, “Then I will come and heal him.”

Its that simple! Jesus didn’t say, “Are you kidding? I’m not going to heal your pais so you can go on living in sin!” Nor did he say, “Well, it shouldn’t surprise you that your pais is sick; this is God’s judgment on your relationship”.

Instead, Jesus’ words are simple, clear and liberating for all who have worried about what God thinks of gay relationships. “I will come and heal him.”

At this point, the centurion says there is no need for Jesus to travel to his home. He has faith that Jesus’ word is sufficient. Jesus then turns to the good people standing around him those who were already dumbfounded that he was willing to heal this man’s male lover. To them, Jesus says in verse 10 of Matthews account, “I have not found faith this great anywhere in Israel.” In other words, Jesus holds up this gay centurion as an example of the type of faith others should aspire to.

Jesus didn’t just tolerate this gay centurion. He said he was an example of faith someone we all should strive to be like.

Then, just so the good, God-fearing people wouldn’t miss the point, Jesus speaks again in verse 11: “I tell you, many will come from the east and the west (i.e., beyond the borders of Israel) to find a seat in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs (i.e., those considered likely to inherit heaven) will be thrown into outer darkness.” By this statement Jesus affirmed that many others like this gay centurion, those who come from beyond the assumed boundaries of God’s grace are going to be admitted to the kingdom of heaven. And he also warned that many who think themselves the most likely to be admitted will be left out.

With this story, we rest our case. Who could ask for more? In this story, Jesus restores a gay relationship by a miracle of healing and then holds up a gay man as an example of faith for all to follow. What more do our fundamentalist friends want? Who is Lord? Jesus or cultural prejudice?

Footnotes:

18. K. J. Dover, Greek Homosexuality (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1978), page 16; Bernard Sergent, Homosexuality in Greek Myth (Beacon Press, Boston, 1986), page 10.

19. Mercer Dictionary of the Bible (Mercer University Press, Macon, 1994), page 554.

20. For an excellent and thorough discussion of the terms pais and entimos duolos in these two gospel accounts, see Donald Mader’s article The Entimos Pais of Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10, (Source: Homosexuality and Religion and Philosophy, Harland Publishing, Inc, New York, 1998).

*****************************************************************************************************
If you have made it this far, you may want to read more. The book is The Children are Free, by Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley, published by Jesus Metropolitan Community Church, Indianapolis, Indiana. Jesus MCC. Or just ask. I will loan you the book.

>Bringing Bigotry Back Into Fashion

April 24, 2008

>Larry Langford is becoming more bigoted as time goes by. On Friday he will host his “sackcloth-and-ashes prayer service to save the city’s soul,” according to John Archibald in his column today.

Less than a year after Birmingham passed a gay inclusive resolution embracing diversity, Langford is having Bishop Eddie Long from Atlanta as a guest. Southern Poverty Law Center describes Long as “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the relgiously based anti-gay movement.”

Long’s church, New Birth Missionary Baptist near Atlanta, tries to convert gays away from their natural orientation and damns them to hell if they don’t (he’s the judge, you know).

From one of his sermons, regarding women using marital aids…”God says you deserve death!”

I have read the Bible, and I can’t recall that passage anywhere.

But I am very confused about this. Yesterday we recieved a piece of mail about The American Family Outing sponsored by Soulforce, The National Black Justice Coalition, COLAGE and Universal Fellowship of Metrocpolitan Community Chuuches, all gay friendly or gay advocacy organizations. They are hosting “meaningful dialogue” at 6 mega churches across the country. One of the hosts is Bishop Eddie Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

The brochure says “We believe these churches have the potential to be a positive force in ending the physical and spiritual violence perpetuated by some religious voices against LGBT people and their families.”

The group will be in Atlanta May 30-June 1, 2008. Read about it here at Soulforce.

Other pastors hosting events are Joel Osteen, T. D. Jakes, Rick Warren, Harry Jackson and Bill Hybels.

OK I get it now. Soulforce is sponsoring dialogue with influential pastors who are either homophobic or homosilent because of their huge influence over spiritual people.

They will seek to change the beliefs and values of people at those churches, I guess. A worthy endevour. Too bad they are not coming to Birmingham.

Might be interesting.

Bringing Bigotry Back Into Fashion

April 24, 2008

Larry Langford is becoming more bigoted as time goes by. On Friday he will host his “sackcloth-and-ashes prayer service to save the city’s soul,” according to John Archibald in his column today.

Less than a year after Birmingham passed a gay inclusive resolution embracing diversity, Langford is having Bishop Eddie Long from Atlanta as a guest. Southern Poverty Law Center describes Long as “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the relgiously based anti-gay movement.”

Long’s church, New Birth Missionary Baptist near Atlanta, tries to convert gays away from their natural orientation and damns them to hell if they don’t (he’s the judge, you know).

From one of his sermons, regarding women using marital aids…”God says you deserve death!”

I have read the Bible, and I can’t recall that passage anywhere.

But I am very confused about this. Yesterday we recieved a piece of mail about The American Family Outing sponsored by Soulforce, The National Black Justice Coalition, COLAGE and Universal Fellowship of Metrocpolitan Community Chuuches, all gay friendly or gay advocacy organizations. They are hosting “meaningful dialogue” at 6 mega churches across the country. One of the hosts is Bishop Eddie Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

The brochure says “We believe these churches have the potential to be a positive force in ending the physical and spiritual violence perpetuated by some religious voices against LGBT people and their families.”

The group will be in Atlanta May 30-June 1, 2008. Read about it here at Soulforce.

Other pastors hosting events are Joel Osteen, T. D. Jakes, Rick Warren, Harry Jackson and Bill Hybels.

OK I get it now. Soulforce is sponsoring dialogue with influential pastors who are either homophobic or homosilent because of their huge influence over spiritual people.

They will seek to change the beliefs and values of people at those churches, I guess. A worthy endevour. Too bad they are not coming to Birmingham.

Might be interesting.

>Trendy Gays

April 23, 2008

>It’s no secret gays are trendsetters*, and are often the first to embrace new technology. Take Leonardo da Vinci, who drew up plans for flying machines, or Michelangelo, who started that whole “laying on your back for years painting ceilings” thing.

So when it comes to blogging, it’s no surprise that 51% of gays who use the internet read blogs regularly, compared to only 36% of heteros, according to a Harris Interactive poll. 27% of gays and 13% of straights have posted comments, and here is one I really like, 21% of gays have written their own blog in the last month, while only 7% of straight people have. Story is here.

*I do not consider myself a trendsetter. I don’t have blu-ray, bluetooth, single serving coffee maker, or even an iphone. No Dyson DC-24 vacuum cleaner here. I just don’t have time to be trendy…other than finding “relevant and timely information” and posting such here. And there is barely time for that.