Thursday, November 09, 2006

Distinguishing between personhood and behavior. Glesne

Post #10 Understanding Homosexuality meets Straight Into Gay America, a dialoge between Pastor David Glesne and Pastor Lars Clausen.

Dave Glesne takes a look at some of the agreements and disagreements in our dialogue so far, including listening, distingushing between personhood and behavior, and loving the sinner but hating the sin.

Dear Lars,

I continue to value our dialogue. I do admit, however, it is getting increasingly more difficult to decide what aspects to focus on since more and more issues are arising – from ourselves and others. I am trying to guard against becoming overly frustrated with not being able to respond to all concerns and I hope that others will guard themselves also.

I do have a particular concern in making this post. What I am attempting to do is to put forth a reflective and reasoned argument that is informed both by science and Scripture and I am concerned that emotional responses might prevent some from seeing into my thinking and following that thinking through to its end. At the same time I am hopeful that the concern is unwarranted.

I am going to focus here on a few important themes that I see reoccurring in the first and third sections of your most recent post. (I am currently in San Diego, the capital campaign is cresting back home, we’ll be hosting a national conference next week, and so time does not presently allow me to give an adequate response to Tim’s concerns. Therefore your call to devote a post solely and extensively to answering Tim will have to wait for another day.)

One of the keys to a good conversation is the willingness of the participants to listen attentively to one another. Thanks for being a good listener, Lars. As I listen to some of the comments of those who have joined the discussion, I hear pain and frustration and anger at what is perceived to be injustices and discrimination against same-sex persons. The anger and pain and hurt is very real. I have heard it time and again in the voices of same-sex persons.

At the same time I am struck by how much agreement there is in this discussion. The charge is made that there is discrimination in society against same-sex persons. I agree and believe it is an injustice we need to fight against. The charge is made that there is homophobia and ill-will shown against same-sex persons in the church. I agree there are such attitudes and behavior and believe it is sin and must be condemned. I would like to think that we equally support the call in my book for the church to repent of its attitude and behavior toward same-sex persons and to amend its ways toward them. I believe we both agree that the Christian’s call to love one’s neighbor unconditionally includes one’s homosexual neighbor. I believe we both agree that we are to fully accept one another as God accepts us, to have compassion for one another as God has had compassion on us, to show humility before one another. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think we are in full agreement on these matters.

Where then are the disagreements? Let me try to flesh out a root of the disagreement between us as I see it – and I look forward to whether or not you see it the same way.

Might not a major difference stem from not distinguishing between personhood and behavior? For example, when same-sex couples – because they cannot legally marry – are denied a number of significant benefits available to those who may legally marry, that is, opposite sex couples who fall within certain restrictions set by law, e.g., age, relationship, etc., it is called discrimination.

In response I would say that while the complaints are true, they are legally frivolous and irrelevant because same-sex persons are defined by their behavior, not by any identifiable state of being. Since there is no scientific, medical, or biological evidence that homosexuality is inborn or unchangeable, no one can authenticate that he or she is homosexual. It is only declared. In their declaration, such persons only lay claim to being a practitioner of sodomy in one of more of its many forms. As such, any claim that same-sex couples are entitled to certain rights granted to a legally married husband and wife has no more legal merit than that of persons engaged in such similarly aberrant sexual behaviors as consensual adultery, incest, or polygamy.

When society discriminates against black people or women by denying them equal rights, it is wrong because it denies them rights granted to other persons on the basis of their state of being. Black people and women are defined by their state of being. As such, discrimination denigrates them as persons. This is wrong. But, I would argue, homosexuality is not a civil rights issue because skin color has no correlation to sexual behavior. Same-sex persons are not identified by any identifiable state of being, but by their behavior. If it is good for society and public policy to conjoin truth, righteousness, and compassion, then honest public policy will not discriminate against persons but it will have a vested interest in the behavior of its people for the good of society – whether that be the destructive effects of homosexual behavior or even perhaps second-hand smoke.

(At this point the objection often rises, “But you can’t legislate morality?” But to say that “we cannot legislate morality” is disingenuous, illogical, and contrary to historical fact. All law is based on someone’s moral code, on someone’s understanding of right and wrong. Except in cases of arbitrary power struggle, morality is the only thing we legislate.)

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”
The comment is put forth that “love the sinner and hate the sin” is really anti-gay. I would agree IF the distinction between personhood and behavior is not made. But it is precisely this distinction that I am making.

There is a reality of which I am absolutely certain and that is that I am a sinner. There is just too much empirical and logical evidence for me to deny it. That is my condition and because this condition is real, I commit sins. But when I ask myself, “Because God is holy and therefore hates my sin, does that in any way diminish his unfathomable and radical love for me? As a parent, when I disapprove of my child’s sinful behavior, does that in any way diminish my love for my child?” I have to answer “no”. God hates my sin while simultaneously loving me the sinner. I believe this is the very reality that God teaches us in the Scriptures and in the person and life of Jesus Christ. God hates my sin but God loves me and so sent Jesus to the cross that my sins might be forgiven.

Jesus demonstrated this attitude of love and acceptance one day while sitting at a well with a woman of Samaria. (John 4:4-26) The woman had been married five times. Jesus never approved of her multiple marriages, but he didn’t allow them to disqualify her from receiving Living Water from him. He accepted her. He accepted her without approving of her behavior. And this woman’s life was drastically changed when she realized she was accepted. Jesus shows us there is huge difference between accepting and approving. We are to be as accepting of others as Jesus is accepting of us.

I believe it is therefore also my calling to hate sin (first of all in myself and then when appropriate in others) but to love the sinner, to accept myself and others but not necessarily approve of my and their behavior. Given the compulsive and addictive nature of homosexuality and its destructive and lethal consequences, would a loving person – be that God or a compassionate legislator – approve homosexual behavior, or reject and forbid it? If love seeks the welfare of the beloved and not emotional bondage, then it seems to me that love speaks the hard truth even when it causes pain and it will not allow a person caught in bondage to define the diagnosis. I contend that a loving and compassionate person would say “no” to the behavior.

Love not based on objective truth is no love at all. It is betrayal. A loving response does not condemn persons, but gives a candid assessment of behavior. “What we do” is different from “who we are”. I believe we are required to judge behavior, whereas only God can judge persons. The truth does hurt. It does cause pain. That is why we are to speak it in love. A loving response condemns sin precisely so that the sinner will not be condemned, neither by God nor by the behavior itself. Tough love just says “no”.

While I believe “love the sinner, hate the sin” is good advice, then, when done the way Jesus does it for all of us, I must admit, I often cringe inside when I hear it spoken. It is often spoken so flippantly and casually by religious people with very little reality behind it. If it is spoken when in fact the sinner is not loved, it is dishonest and hypocritical. If it is spoken when in fact the sinner is loved, it conveys the same reality as Jesus loving us while at the same time hating our sin.

Before going on, I want to say something else anecdotally which I think is important. I really like my homosexual friends. Some months back I developed a friendship with a young lesbian woman here in the area. We agreed to meet monthly for lunch and did so for many months. We got to know each other, our backgrounds, our families, our interests and hopes and dreams. I have grown very fond of her as a friend. She is fun to be with and has so many great qualities. We disagree on certain matters, but we are comfortable with and like each other – at least I like her (I’d better not speak for her!) This is true of my relationship with other homosexual friends as well. This distinction between “who we are” and “what we do” is critically important, it seems to me, in all our relationships.

Difficulty in accepting love. I have been asking myself as I have been reading this blog and its comments, “Why is it that same-sex persons have such difficulty accepting a person’s love for them? I am saying – and hopefully demonstrating in practice albeit ever so imperfectly – that I have compassion and love for same-sex persons, but some don’t seem to be able to accept it. They don’t believe me.” Could the reason again lie in their not making a distinction between personhood and behavior? When I speak against homosexual behavior, there is an intimation that I don’t really love and am not really compassionate toward same-sex persons. I am anti-gay. My words are taken as showing hostility and hatred for same-sex persons.

Here is my question. “Is hostility and hatred often wrongly attributed because same-sex persons tend to identify ‘what they do’ with ‘who they are’?” In doing so it becomes impossible to criticize their behavior without it seeming to them to be an attack on their personhood. Becoming free of a behavioral addiction requires that one separate “what I do” from “who I am.”

When I feel the sadness of loving a same-sex person and that person not accepting or receiving that love, I wonder if that is just a small glimpse into feeling how God feels when He loves sinners so much that He sent His Son to die for them and then they turn their back on that love and say they don’t want his love or forgiveness.

Created gay. A variation of this failure to make the proper distinction between “what we do” and “who we are” is to assert that gay people are created gay. As such, it is argued, homosexuality is a person’s true identity because God created them gay. With all due respect to Dr. Cameron, his assertion that same-sex people are created gay finds no support in science. Therefore, no “gay-identity” can be established on the basis of genetics or biology. As I state above, since no scientific, medical, or biological evidence exists that homosexuality is either inborn or unchangeable, no one can authenticate that he or she is homosexual – it is only declared.

If my understanding of recent history is correct, it was not until the 1990’s that advocates discovered the “PR” value of getting people to believe that their condition was “genetic” or “biologically determined”. During the early and middle ‘90’s several studies were alleged to prove such. (I refer you to pp. 23-25 of Understanding Homosexuality) The claim was false. Those studies have not survived scientific peer review, and few, if any researchers today will support that claim.

It is important to realize that prior to the 1990’s, no researchers on either side of the fence said either that homosexuality was genetic, inborn, or otherwise “hardwired”, or that one could not change one’s orientation. Alfred Kinsey, John Money, Masters and Johnson, all pansexual proponents, said that persons could change, and that it was their own business – difficult, but possible. Recently, Robert Spitzer, the chief decision-maker in the 1973 APA decision that removed homosexuality from the official diagnostic manual of mental disorders, has changed his view on homosexuality. He says, “Like most psychiatrists, I thought that homosexual behavior could only be resisted, and that no one could really change their sexual orientation. I now believe that to be false. Some people can and do change.” (Page 31).

Disease-causing behavior, coupled with denial of lethal dangers, provides strong evidence that gay orientation is a compulsive and addictive condition – with practitioners looking for self-justification in a pseudo-identity.

That is why I state on page 59 that many prefer not to talk about “homosexual people” as such. They believe that designation tends to define persons by only one small, particular, aspect of their identity. Rather, they prefer to talk about persons with homosexual thoughts and feelings and desires just as they talk about people who struggle with anger and pride and covetousness.

This got longer than I anticipated. My apologies. Yet, I believe it gets to a root issue in our discussion.



shamrock_isle said...

I apologize in advance for potentially bouncing all over in this Lars can tell you, I have a habit of stream of consciousness writing...

I have read this blog with interest... and tried to keep an objective non emotionally charged view when I read this.

I reminded myself of that when I read the latest entry especially after your noting of somewhat emotional responses Rev. Glesne.

And then I found this... "Disease-causing behavior, coupled with denial of lethal dangers, provides strong evidence that gay orientation is a compulsive and addictive condition – with practitioners looking for self-justification in a pseudo-identity."

My jaw literally dropped and sat there in disbelief for a moment... I reread it several times and I fear and even hope that I missing the point you are trying to make...because of the many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered peopled I now...I would NEVER call any of them compulsive or having an addictive condition especially when it involves their sexuality and identity. Self justification is not really in their makeup. If anything, many of them looked for ways to not justify their "gayness"... to look for any way for this not to be true...but they are. I read that quote Rev. Glesne and I emotionally respond with the feeling that the quote is saying these people choose to be gay...

Who would choose to ostracized and ridiculed? What would choose potential alienation from family and loved ones?

Of course many prefer not to talk about "homosexual people" as such. It's demeaning and cruel in my book. Sexuality in general goes way beyond things like anger and pride...Sexuality is whole other realm and one that isn't talked about nearly enough in this country whether you are gay, straight or somewhere in between...

As for homosexuality being a sin...last time I checked, behaviors in the bible that could be construed as homosexual in nature had more to do with purity laws and being unclean/clean in the temple than sexuality.

Yes I agree legally people who identify themselves as gay do not have a leg to stand on in regards to benifits, end of life decisions for loved ones, you name it...but does that mean those rights and idea shouldn't be fought for? If we are commanded in the Bible to love our neighbor as ourselves and we see injustice, we are called and compeled by God to do something about it.
There seems to be something wrong with denying people things on the basis of who they love. There is something wrong with keeping children out of homes where they will have two parents that will love and care for them because they are gay...There is something wrong with preventing partners from making end of life decisions for each other because they legally aren't family...

The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments came about because people finally stood up and said this isn't right... I think people get emotional about this topic of homosexuality and rights because they are standing up and saying the same thing...there is something wrong about constitutionally legislating the very definition of which gender one has to be to get married because ultimitly what it comes down to is trying to legislate who people are going to love and care for...Since when was that something that should be legislated?

k...this is really really much longer than I intended it to be...apologies all around...its late, I am tired and now cranky...I bid you all good night

Doctor Joe said...

Dr. Glesne, You started off so beautifully when you talked about areas of agreement. Amen. But the rest of you comments looked as if you have never read the writings of mainstream medicine, psychology, sociology or psychiatry, but rather only the pseudo-science of the reparative therapy protagonists. They are the ones who have tried to say that since scientists haven't found the cause of sexual orientation, it can't be natural but learned. In fact, for twenty years professionals in the field have agreed that although there is not a gene or one cause found, the consensus is that there are probably multiple factors., including genetics, hormonal, neurological, environmental, and they debunked the theory of a "strong-willed mother and a weak or absent father long ago. It is NOT TRUE that "there is no scientific, medical, or biological evidence that homosexuality is inborn or unchangeable". It is definitely known that it is not chosen. It is discoverd. It seems to be determined at an early age but not evident until adoescence or later. The experience of who a person is is not something "declared" (it is more often hidden or denied). They KNOW they are different and are not attracted to people of the opposite sex but rather to those of the same sex. And later or eventually they conclude that they are gay. It is NOT TRUE that they "only claim to being practicing sodomy". That statement is WAY OFF BASE. A left-handed person discovers they are left-handed. Red-heads find out that they are different. A Jewish child learns that they are different. You are right when you say that discrimination is "wrong because it denies their rights granted to other persons on the basis of their state of being." Yes, discrimination "denegrates them as persons. This is wrong" Right on! Depressed people are not identifiable by their appearance but they KNOW they are depressed. Jewish people KNOW that they are Jewish. Asthmatics may not appear disabled but they deserve a handicapped parking space. Society also "has a vested interest in the behavior of heterosexual people (consider that the vast majority of HIV/AIDS is spread heterosexually.) We do have laws that legislate morality. I agree it is not true that "you can't legislate morality") Most bath houses were legally closed in the early 1980s due to AIDS. Laws prevent hiv+ blood from being donated. Laws make it illegal to drive while drunk "Hate the sin" should apply to all people, even with those with a log in their eye. Most young people are engaging in sex before they get married. Yet, I haven't heard any Lutheran preacher say that "I love these young people; but I sure hate their sin." We don't condone it but we don't condemn the engaged couple who we hear are living together. We don't hear pastors saying to their congregation, "I love you all; but I hate your gossip. I hate how little you contribute to the life of this chrurch. I hate that some of you are divorced." I have never been told, sinner that I am, "Joe, I love you, but I hate your sin." It is not sin for two gays or lesbians to love each other. Nor to show affection to the one they love, or hold hands, hug or kiss. Eventually, as their love and relationship grow it would be very unnatural if they would not become intimate and sexually aroused. If they were heterosexual we would say "Now you must not engage in oral sex or intercourse until you are married." But to the gay persons we say, "You may never get married" Be celebate all your life." (but you may eat cake!) We should not approve of promiscuity (gay or straight) ,nor exploitive sex, nor non-consenting sex (gay ro straight). Loving, consenting, safe sex is no more addictive nor compulsive in straight couples than it is in gay couples (the reversal is intentional) Dr. Glesne (may I call you Dave or David?) why do you think that homosexuality is more compulsive or addicting than heterosexuals? Gay people aar NOT in bondage. You cannot tell me that my son,Steve's expression of love to Michael, his partner, is not beautiful, loving, fulfilling, and rewarding. It is neither compulsive nor sin. When we love someone, we want the very best for them. For a gay couple whom we love, we want them to have happiness in their lives together, the joy of sex, the rewards of the help they give to each other and the satisfactions of planning the future. When we vacationed with Steve and Michael in Hawaii, we shared the family values of love and acceptance of all of us as we are. And our family's relationship with each other is beautiful and blessed by our Lord. Why do you think that "gay persons have such difficulty accepting a person's love for them?" of course they are not going to believe that you love them if you do not accept or try to understand their personhood. What they do sexually does not define their personhood. When a person says, "I love you but I hate your sin", they need to take the log out of their eye. I used ot work in Africa as a mission doctor. And we have traveled to Africa twice in the past two years. We do not say to them "Your heterosexuality is a sin." ( you know that most hiv is spread around the world heterosexually) Rather we say if you practice unsafe sex, you may bring great harm to yourselves and your family." In all the sub-Sahara countries of Africa the Churches and Governments are cooperating in programs that teach “if you Abstain, or Be faithful, or use Condoms, the ABC programs, you may be able to prevent HIV. Dr. Glesne, listen to gay people. Listen to professionals in the fields of sociology, pediatrics, gynecology, urology, psychiatrty, psychology instead of the people writing Ex-Gay and Reparative Therapy propaganda under the guise of science. God bless you. My heart goes out to you as you struggle with what you don't like to hear. To see such a conflict. I received great peace of mind when I realized that there is no conflict in Creation and Evolution. That believing Jews are children of God as much as Christians, and when I learned to know wonderful gay Christians who are some of God's favorite sons and daughters. God bless you. Joe Norquist

CherylAnn said...

I was really disturbed by this:

"Disease-causing behavior, coupled with denial of lethal dangers, provides strong evidence that gay orientation is a compulsive and addictive condition – with practitioners looking for self-justification in a pseudo-identity."

Unless you are willing to look into the statistics at more length as has been suggested, it might not be a good idea to make such blanket statements. All sexual behavior can be disease-spreading. None of the homosexual people I know behave in disease-spreading (I really don't understand the use of "disease causing")ways. Neither would I consider their sexual habits to be compulsive or addictive.

Until this latest entry I was engaged in the discussion. Now it seems to me that the chasm between these perspectives is too wide to bridge. And in the wake of recent territory won by anti-gay marriage voters I just find it too heart breaking to continue reading. Bigotry is bigotry no matter how nicely you package it.

Jim Burroway said...

Disease-causing behavior, coupled with denial of lethal dangers, provides strong evidence that gay orientation is a compulsive and addictive condition – with practitioners looking for self-justification in a pseudo-identity.

Rev. Glesne, this is an outrageous insult. As you continue in this behavior, I find it very difficult to muster the good will it takes to "dialogue" with you.

Several of us have offered compelling evidence that the "statistics" you cite to back up that skewed opinion are, frankly, worthless. You have willfully ignored that evidence, deciding instead to hurl this gratuitous insult.

And please, don't try to feign surprise that we would be insulted by it.

As long as you continue to hurl these invectives, I don't believe a "dialogue" is possible. Absent a modicum of respect, its very hard for me to take you at your word.

If others give up on you, I'm sure you'll be able to walk away and say, "See? They're not really interested in dialogue." Well, I can live with that. As you have demonstrated by your statements here that you have no interested in the truth -- or respect -- it won't be surprising if you adopt such an attitude when/if this dialogue breaks down.

I have no problem with walking away from this one. Absent a sincere apology, this dialogue is broken.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... broken dialogue because of something you don't like to hear... perhaps it speaks of the "truth" that Rev. Glesne alludes to? The closer it hits to the epicenter, the greater the pain?

No chasm is too big to bridge; it all depends on how hard you want to work to build it. I, for one, followed through Rev. Glesne's thinking at least, knowing that what he said at the beginning may come true - having to get past the emotional response and into his "reasoning" behind the assertions. Whether I agree or not, at least I know better your thought progression - thanks, as you obviously spent great time and reflection on this post.

Throckmorton said...

Regarding the discussion of homosexuality and health consequences, I have a post which addresses this matter briefly. I welcome some cross posting on this point.

David in Orlando said...

Several years ago, I read some pages from a book by Max Lucado in which he wrote this sentence, “For true love hates what is evil.” It was the culmination of an argument that he was pursuing, and obviously he was unaware of what was, to me, the incomprehensibility of this statement. “True love hates. . .” To Max Lucado, this sentence clearly made all the sense in the world, and was quite important. When I read it, I knew that Max Lucado and I lived with radically different world-views and images of both God and love.

Dr. Glesne has written of the “destructive effects of homosexual behavior.” Obviously, Dr. Glesne is unaware of what is, to me, the incomprehensibility of this statement. When I read it, I knew that Dr. Glesne and I live with radically different world-views and images of both God and love.

Recently at my church I sat through many sessions of dialogue about homosexuality. At one of these, I heard the statement about loving the sinner and hating the sin. I stood up to say that I did not know of any homosexual sin to “hate,” only love to celebrate. After I had spoken, a woman nearby said that God calls homosexuality a sin, and that I wouldn’t feel the same way if my own son were gay. I told her that I would. “I suppose, then,” she went on, “that you would think it was ‘okay’ if your son came home from school and told you he had stolen something from someone else?” I replied that I thought both my son and the other child, as well as our entire community, would be harmed by the stealing, and that my precise point was that I have known no harm to come from loving another person or expressing that love in a committed relationship. When neither she, nor any of the 50 other people in the room responded to this statement with recognition or assent, I knew that we lived with radically different world-views and images of both God and love.

I believe that Dr. Glesne is right in saying that he has tried to “flesh out a root of the disagreement between us.” In fact, for me, he has fleshed out THE root of the disagreement. I see no destruction in true love of any kind, and I celebrate the fruit that it bears. True love loves, and has nothing left over for anything else.

Ben said...

Regarding behavior:
I may be politically out of touch, but it seems to me that marriage is a religious institution which maybe shouldn't be part of our laws at all. We are all people. Some of us choose to commit ourselves to a partner for life. Why should the government treat us any differently than those who remain single? Why should the government care? It certainly has nothing to do with the "sanctity of marriage" -- otherwise we would be working to reduce the DIVORCE rate! Instead, we are fighting to make sure marriage only applies to heterosexuals, effectively restraining the marriage rate! By and large, marriage is NOT sacred in our society right now. Last I heard, 50% of all U.S. citizens who have been married are currently divorced. DIVORCE is tearing families apart -- yet we are focused on keeping homosexuals for forming families. WTF mate?

If I weren't already married, I think I would take a stand by refusing to get married until homosexuals had the right to marry, because right now anyone who is getting married is abusing an unequal civil right.

Dave states: "As such, any claim that same-sex couples are entitled to certain rights granted to a legally married husband and wife has no more legal merit than that of persons engaged in such similarly aberrant sexual behaviors as consensual adultery, incest, or polygamy."

This doesn't logically follow. In reality, marriage legally has NOTHING to do with SEXUAL BEHAVIOR. Historically, marriage was legally all about PROPERTY, and women were part of the property. Same-sex marriage wouldn't have made sense because men weren't property. Thank goodness we've matured enough to realize that women are human beings, not just property.

In modern times, the government has NEVER required me to have sexual relations with my wife! I certainly know plenty of married people who haven't had sex in years. The government also doesn't say that my marriage isn't valid if all of my sexual relations with my wife is penis to anus, penis in mouth, and other forms of sodomy. Furthermore, the government doesn't say my marriage isn't valid if I engage in wife-swapping, consensual adultery, or massive orgies. Clearly, marriage as a legal right is NOT based on sexual BEHAVIOR, but on a historical precedent of joining property.

In contrast, racial discrimination was based on perceived barbaric behaviors of blacks, American Indians, etc. The skin color was merely regarded as an indicator of the barbaric nature inherent to the people.

Regarding John 4:4-26:
Please quote where Jesus disapproves of her multiple marriages. It seems that Jesus is showing the woman that he really knows her, so that she realizes that when he says he accepts here as she is, she believes it. I see no words of disapproval in that text in my Bible.

I am heterosexual. It IS indeed part of who I AM. My being heterosexual is NOT dependent upon my actions. It is how I'm wired. If I can't imagine how I could be gay, why should I assume that homosexuals can imagine themselves as straight?

As far as the sinfulness of homosexuality. Please read "What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality" by Daniel A. Helminiak (2000).

Quoting David in Orlando: "I see no destruction in true love of any kind, and I celebrate the fruit that it bears. True love loves, and has nothing left over for anything else."

Jim Burroway said...

A very brave "anonymous" said:

Hmmm... broken dialogue because of something you don't like to hear... perhaps it speaks of the "truth" that Rev. Glesne alludes to? The closer it hits to the epicenter, the greater the pain?

I'm glad that you have gotten to know me so well, Mr/Mrs/Ms Anonymous. It must be a wonderful gift to be able to make such a perceptive diagnosis.

My objection is not the result of my failure follow his thought progression. I believe I followed it quite well. It's nothing new, and it is quite common among those who "hate the sin but love the sinner" -- and I'm repeating that quote with the greatest benefit of the doubt, because as a Christian myself, it is what we are all called to do.

No, what I was merely trying to get at is that many have pointed out the fundamental errors of the presumed "facts" which Rev. Glense uses to base his conclusions in the first place. And Mr. Clausen offered a very long post (#9) asking some very specific questions which get to the heart of these "facts" that REv. Glense find so compelling.

But instead of addressing any of these comments, Rev. Glesne barrels forward as if everything he has said to this point is undisputed. It is not, and I would like for him to address some of the points that have been raised. He chose not to.

I find it particularly galling that Rev. Glesne tries to inoculate himself against the accusation of bigotry by pointing out that he really like his homosexual friends, much as adults in our neighborhood in the 1960's liked to brag about their many black friends whom I never saw.

On the belief that he inoculated himself, he then tried to separate the person from the behavior, loving the sinner but hating the sin. But when he uses faulty "evidence" to describe the behavior, after many here have pointed out the very poor basis for his accusations of our behavior, then there clearly is no dialogue taking place.

I say that because he is not listening or acknowledging. He's not even responding.

Finally he says, "Disease-causing behavior, coupled with denial of lethal dangers, provides strong evidence that gay orientation is a compulsive and addictive condition – with practitioners looking for self-justification in a pseudo-identity."

Disease-causing behavior? Denial of lethal dangers? Compulsive or addictive? He should presume to know my sex life in such detail based on the flimsy evidence he offers? Well, I'm sorry. This "practitioner" simply does not fit the bill. And while I cannot speak for his homosexual friends, I suspect they may not either.

I wish he would address that. I wish he could see that. Until he does, he has, in fact, effectively conflated the person with the behavior. The sinner is the sin, despite his protests otherwise.

Bridging presumes that we try to understand, acknowledge, and respect *each other*. To paraphrase Rev. Glesne, I have many Christian friends, and have few problems with Bridging with many of them (quite unlike my partner, who has no patience for it). Bridging doesn't require agreement, but it does require a mutual willingness to explore the many different possibilities.

But here, I'm only seeing a one-way dialogue. It's not bridging. It's stonewalling.

Tim Fisher said...

Dear all,

I think it is best if we all sign our notes in this discussion. Comments from "anonymous" leave a lot to be desired, I think, no matter what the sentiment expressed.

Can we agree to do this?

Tim Fisher
Minneapolis, MN

Nadine Anderson said...

I was wondering when you would use the tough love arguement, Rev. Glesne. Your love of GLBT people requires you to call them on their behavior, to bring them back to God's way. Have you had a similar set of sermons on the inappropriate sexual behavior of heterosexual people? That is, on the sexual behavior of people who engage in heterosexual acts since you do not see sexual orientation as an identity.

At some point in any discussion we come to basic assumptions, ones that cannot be proven or disproven. I think that we have gotten to that place now. Rev. Glesne thinks that our identity is not related to those to whom we are attracted, that sexual behavior is the defining factor. (Does that mean he is not heterosexual by identity but only by behavior?) Most who have written comments think that our sexual behavior follws from our identity as heterosexual or homosexual. There is no way to prove either assumption.

Is there any chance of coming to an accomodation or understanding when there are such different starting points?

Nadine Anderson

Anonymous said...

I apologize, but I'm new to "blogging" - so "Anonymous" is the only thing I can figure out right now.

I read these posts and realize that Rev. Glesne is greatly out-numbered and I simply I'm trying to reiterate that... and as an observer of this discussion, it does seem to me that Rev. Glesne IS building bridges and not "stone-walling" by his very presence in this dialogue. Without him, this would only be a "one-way" blog and I just want all of us to keep this in mind. (And I'll sign my name)

-Ted Brown

Ted said...

Learned something new... "other"

Anonymous said...

I would like to raise a distinction between empirical and moral questions, because I think it's lacking here. A distinction between personhood and behavior is central to conservative Christian moral thinking, and I grant that. But a lot of empirical questions are being approached here as if they are relevant to this discussion, when they are not.

Conservatives are correct in that whether homosexuality is genetic or inborn is almost completely irrelevant to a moral determination about homosexual intimacy. But what I don't understand is why conservatives insist that other empirical questions that are likewise irrelevant must have particular answers. It doesn't matter whether gay people have lots of sex with a lot of partners or not, so I don't understand why conservatives feel like they have to insist that they do when the evidence shows that, likely, they do not. Whether gay people have a "compulsive and addictive condition" doesn't matter a whit to a conservative's moral determination about homosexuality, so it puzzles me that they feel that they have to keep asserting it.

I don't understand why conservatives can't just say: "Sexual orientation is a real phenonomen and is not chosen. Although change in orientation may occur, to the extent that it happens it does so rarely. If they choose to act on their sexual orientation, most do not do so irresponsibly. Nevertheless, homosexual sexual intimacy is a moral wrong. While we should not encourage mixed-orientation marriages, it is still our responsibility as Christians to save these people's souls and try to prevent them from acting on their sexual orientation. To that end, we support the creation of a series of programs to help homosexually oriented persons find meaning and joy in a life of celibacy." I just don't understand why they can't do this, because this is logical conclusion of their own position. And they might actually have better success in achieving what is ostensibly their true aim--to protect the souls of homosexually oriented persons from the liberals who would endanger them--if they took this approach.