Browse category by SEXUALITY
HOWARD  SNYDER’s HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE CHURCH

HOWARD SNYDER’s HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE CHURCH

June 30, 2019 By dwayman

In 2014 Howard Snyder wrote a “personal and pastoral” reflection on homosexuality.  It is presented here as another ingredient to our ongoing conversation.

 

Homosexuality and the Church:

Personal and Pastoral Reflections

 

Howard A. Snyder

 

[Foreword]

 

One of the foundational problems with the contemporary discussion on same sex marriage is that the church has lost the debate before the first exchange of ideas takes place. This is because the underlying presuppositions of the dialogue are never properly disclosed.  For example, the actual biblical teaching regarding marriage is utterly incomprehensible to the wider culture.   If you read Christian interactions about same sex marriage, it is clear that the church has largely abandoned the notion that there is a divine design to marriage.  In short, we have a priori accepted the culture’s view of marriage; namely, that it is a legal arrangement which allows two people to fulfill each other’s emotional and sexual needs and desires.  Personal choice and autonomous notions of personal fulfillment are just a few of the values which fit neatly within the larger utilitarian framework of the modern understanding of marriage.   Today, marriage has become commodified along with the rest of the culture, as even social relationships are often reduced to measurable economic and emotional exchange units.

In contrast, the Scriptures posit a covenantal view of marriage which is unitive,

A CALL TO DISCOURSE

A CALL TO DISCOURSE

March 29, 2019 By

As a global church it is important that we listen intently to Christians throughout the world.  Often each of us can be insulated by our own cultural experience that we unconsciously, and sometimes with full awareness, see those of other cultures as not being as informed or aware.  In this thoughtful call to discourse based on the recent international experience of the United Methodist Church, Dr. J. Derek McNeil provides guidance for all of us as a part of the global church.

He says, in part:

“In the wake of the UMC vote on Human Sexuality, I’ve become increasingly concerned that we are losing the capacity to see relationally and to hear each other beyond social categories. I have noticed a familiar tendency, in what started as an international vote concerning a global denomination is turned into a particularly American discussion—universalizing themes and inflections that are firmly located in our national political, religious, and social discourse. This shortchanges our understanding of the complexity of our human discourse and limits our ability to listen deeply.

To raise this point is not to intellectually diminish the real rejection and pain felt across the UMC denomination. The voices in this discourse matter, and I pray that we continue listening to the stories and honor the tears of those who have felt harmed and isolated by this vote, who have experienced the last few weeks as the deepening of an old wound. And may we also remember that there are voices—beyond and within our borders—who do not easily fall into the familiar categories and talking points of our national discourse.

UMC Keeps Tradition’s Sexual Ethics

UMC Keeps Tradition’s Sexual Ethics

February 27, 2019 By

When Wesley looked for truth he went first to Scripture and then to Tradition, Reason and Experience.  In the February 26, 2019 vote of the United Methodist Church concerning the ordination and marriage of avowed homosexual and lesbian people, the majority of delegates voted in agreement with the almost 2000 years of Church tradition as well as the Wesleyan biblical interpretation and tradition in what was called the Traditional Plan.

One of the reasons the denomination stayed connected to the “traditional” theology and practice, passing by a small majority, was the presence of the global church and its delegates.  In this speech by the Rev. Dr. Jerry P. Kulah, Dean of Gbarnga School of Theology, United Methodist University in Liberia, he states in clear unequivoacal and civil manner that the church in Africa will stay true to historic Methodism and “not a culturally liberal, church elite, in the U.S.”

Dr. Kulah says in part:

“Another road invites us to reaffirm Christian teachings rooted in Scripture and the church’s rich traditions.

It says, “All persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God,” that “All persons need the ministry of the Church,” and that “We affirm that God’s grace is available to all.”

It grounds our sexual ethics in Scripture when it says, the UM Church does “not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers [it] incompatible with Christian teaching.”

While “we commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons,” we do not celebrate same-sex marriages or ordain for ministry people who self-avow as practicing homosexuals.

81 WORDS: HOW THE DESIGNATION OF HOMOSEXUALITY WAS REMOVED FROM THE DIAGNOSTIC STATISTICAL MANUAL

81 WORDS: HOW THE DESIGNATION OF HOMOSEXUALITY WAS REMOVED FROM THE DIAGNOSTIC STATISTICAL MANUAL

December 18, 2018 By

When you live through a seismic cultural change it often catches individuals and nations by surprise.  This occurred in 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association changed the defining of homosexuality from a disease to a dysphoria disorder which was then quietly removed in the succeeding years.  The circumstances surrounding the transition is a combination of activism and gay psychiatrists within the APA rising to the highest and most strategic positions.  In this American Life the granddaughter of the gay psychiatrist who was president-elect of the APA when the change was made explores the personal, political and cultural dynamics which brought about the change.  Although we like to think it was the science that led to the removal of the designation of homosexuality as a DSM disorder it was not.

The story begins with our author, Alix Spiegel, explaining first in 2002 and recently repeated on This American Life on December 16, 2018:

“Alix Spiegel

This is the story of a definition, three single sentences composed of 81 words. It’s the story of how this particular definition became another definition, nine sentences, composed of 237 words.

Now according to some parties, this change from 81 words to 237 words liberated an entire category of humanity. According to other parties, it undermined the basic family unit, compromised the scientific authority of psychiatry, and quote, “tampered with the basic code and concept of life.”

Now,

TRANSGENDER SURGERIES

TRANSGENDER SURGERIES

December 17, 2018 By

Perhaps for political reasons, Gender Dysphoria has been grouped together with sexual preference under the label of Transgender.  However, most professionals recognize this DSMV designation found in 0.005% to 0.014% of the population as being of a different nature from that of same-sex or bisexual desire.  The research has been exploring how best to care for persons who experience this with one of the possible solutions being a sex change surgery.   In 2004 the Guardian studied this and found that:

“There is no conclusive evidence that sex change operations improve the lives of transsexuals, with many people remaining severely distressed and even suicidal after the operation, according to a medical review conducted exclusively for Guardian Weekend tomorrow. The review of more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transsexuals by the University of Birmingham’s aggressive research intelligence facility (Arif) found no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective.  

The Guardian asked Arif to conduct the review after speaking to several people who regret changing gender or believe that the medical care they received failed to prepare them for their new lives. They explain why they are unhappy with their sex change and how they cope with the consequences in the Weekend magazine tomorrow (July 31).

Chris Hyde, the director of Arif, said: “There is a huge uncertainty over whether changing someone’s sex is a good or a bad thing. While no doubt great care is taken to ensure that appropriate patients undergo gender reassignment,

ABUSE, ABANDONMENT, ADULTERY

ABUSE, ABANDONMENT, ADULTERY

October 1, 2018 By

Free Methodist clergy recognize that marriage is a covenant that is not meant to be broken.  We also recognize, along with Jesus and Paul that there are circumstances from a “hardness of heart” that make a marriage abusive.  To require a person to stay in such a marriage would be contrary to the intent of Scripture.  Thus Free Methodist clergy also recognize that with the biblical explanation of abandonment and adultery destroying the covenant of marriage so does abuse.  In this writing by Herb Vander Lugt with editor Martin R. De Haan II we are provided a detailed study of Scripture in support of this understanding.  

In part De Haan says:

THE LAW OF MOSES

The apostle Paul reminds us that all

Scripture is inspired by God and full of wisdom for living in a fallen world (2 Tim. 3:16). With this reminder, let’s review some often-overlooked provisions in the law of Moses. While Jewish rabbis have seen significance in these passages, the church has often focused on the marital ideal rather than those conditions which, according to Moses, required protection for even the most weak and vulnerable women in Israel….

God’s ideal and intent formarriage has never changed.  What has changed, however, are the conditions that occur when hard- hearted people break and are broken by the timeless principles of God. The same law that offers penalties for murder, theft, perjury, and adultery also provides consequences when the purpose and covenant of marriage are broken by contempt and abuse.

PREACHING ON DIVORCE

PREACHING ON DIVORCE

August 24, 2018 By

It is difficult to preach on topics like Divorce.  Pastor Colleen Hurley-Bates does so eloquently as she teaches the clear affirmation of Jesus’ view of marriage while emphasizing also the grace and forgiveness of his love and ours. This is an example of excellence in preaching and pastoral guidance in sexuality.  If you would like to listen instead of read, click here.

Rev. Colleen Hurley-Bates, August 19, 2018

Today we study a teaching of Jesus about divorce, which is a painful topic because most of us have lived with it’s effects in various ways. When we stop and think about those in our lives, maybe we ourselves who have been part of the breakdown of a marriage, it brings up strong feelings and difficult memories. To have people start out being so full of love that they want to commit their whole lives to another person, only to find themselves later in a place they never thought was possible, is a surreal experience. Most people never imagine something so beautiful could end that badly or think they themselves would be sunk in the mire of despair, anger, and regret made all the worse by legal maneuvering, custody battles, family drama and changing friendships.

Most people do not go into marriage intending to ever separate. There are circumstances which make it nearly impossible to stay together, especially what is called the 4 A’s: abuse,

INSIDE THE MIND OF A PEDOPHILE

INSIDE THE MIND OF A PEDOPHILE

August 18, 2018 By

A Grand Jury in Pennsylvania fears that as many as a thousand children were sexually abused by priests. This horrifying accusation requires all Christians to understand the persistent nature of pedophilia. Because Jesus Christ is the great physician, it is often assumed that confession, prayer and forgiveness will change a pastor or priest so that he or she no longer has this desire for sexual relations with children. Since we know that Jesus can forgive all sin and may choose to miraculously heal a person from anything, the fact is that the risk of allowing a person with pedophilia access to children is too great. We, as a safe and healthy church, must take action whenever this is found. Like most sexual desires, pedophilia is persistent over the life of the person and no current treatment is effective in changing the person, however helpful such treatment might be in encouraging them to not act on their urges.  In this professional article by Neuroanthropology we have a good presentation of the facts on which to have conversations.

In part the authors say:

Role of the Brain

There is significant evidence that indicate structural abnormalities in the brains of pedophiles (Schiffer, 2008). Abnormalities occur when the brain is developing and can be on-set through certain experiences, such as sexual abuse as a child. Abnormalities in the brains of pedophiles may result in compulsion, poor judgment, and repetitive thoughts.

These abnormalities in the brains of pedophiles are caused by early neurodevelopmental perturbations (Schiffer,

PORNOGRAPHY AND ACEDIA

PORNOGRAPHY AND ACEDIA

July 9, 2018 By

The attempt to empty human life from its spiritual foundation has created a secular culture that is vulnerable to addiction.  This is true whether the addiction is physical, financial, relational or spiritual.  In this excellent article on the spiritual foundation for the use of pornography, Duke Divinity Professor Reinhard Hütter provides a profound explanation of both how we got to where we are and how to find our way out.  Unsurprisingly it has to do with the Spiritual Disciplines that connect us with God.

Professor Hütter begins his article by saying:

“A uniquely toxic combination of the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh has become an almost normal component of everyday life: the perturbingly pervasive use of pornography in general and internet pornography in particular, with its dangerous addictiveness and its lethal effect on the Christian spiritual life. To comprehend the spiritual roots of this crisis, we need to recall an all-too-forgotten vice, acedia, usually called “sloth” but better rendered as “spiritual apathy.” It is the very forgoing of friendship with God—which is the fulfillment of the transcendent dignity and calling of the human person—and the embrace of the self-indulgent deception that there never was and never will be friendship with God, that there never was and never will be a transcendent calling and dignity of the human person. Nothing matters much, because the one thing that really matters, God’s love and friendship,

RAVI ZACHARIAS on the CHRISTIAN VIEW OF HOMOSEXUALITY

RAVI ZACHARIAS on the CHRISTIAN VIEW OF HOMOSEXUALITY

January 16, 2018 By

Ravi Zacharias provides a three-fold understanding of homosexuality and Christianity, or more appropriately sexuality and Christianity.  His call to be clear sociologically, theologically and relationally is a very helpful addition to the discussion.  It is a ten minute video.

Click here.

The comments on YOUTUBE provides opportunity to understand the responses of the “autonomous culture” to this area of our lives.