Wednesday, October 1, 2014
How can we be more hypocritical than this? In this video Melissa Klein the Oregon baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a Lesbian couple because of her religious beliefs, describes the joy she felt when she baked a cake for a bride. Melissa and her husband were invited to the conservative Values Voters Summit this week where they were part of a panel on religious rights vs. same sex marriage.
As Melissa spoke about the joy that she experienced when she talked to a future bride about her blessed event, I couldn't stop thinking about the disclaimer. You know; Straight Brides Only.
When did discrimination become a fruit of The Spirit for Christians?
No matter what we must never return the indifference that those like the Kleins show our Lesbian and Gay brothers and sisters.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Growing up, my mother always told me to not make promises that I couldn't keep. I knew what she meant. At an early age I had felt the pain of a broken promise and told myself that I would not do that to anyone.
Some years ago a family friend died, and on the day he died I promised to fight religious based homophobia/heterosexism and HIV/AIDS. Every Sunday he would sit in church leading the choir, playing the organ and Amening anti-gay rhetoric; while he himself was gay. His sexual orientation if it was a secret, was a very bad one. It was a don't ask don't tell thing. Many people around him benefited from his many talents and yet they would not embrace him fully.
He deserved better from the church. He deserved to be loved as is and accepted as is. He deserved to be free. Now he is free.
So, here on this World AIDS Day 2010, I continue my promise to Larry!!!!
I will not keep silent.
Friday, November 19, 2010
It started out with a question some months ago, “Are you bi or something?
The question came from a young black gay male to me. He was clearly and visibly puzzled to why a straight married black male who is a Christian minister could be concerned about gay issues. The rest of our conversation went like this:
Me: No, I am an ally
Him: Are you bi?
Me: No, I believe in fighting for social justice for all.
Him: Hmm, Are you bi?
Him: Then why do you care about gay people?
The conversation came easy but its impact still lingers as it shapes who I am and my approach to ending religious based heterosexism and homophobia. Those series of questions opened up more for me to ponder.
As a Christian isn’t my Bible clear on Homosexuality?
Am I a deeply closeted gay man? Bisexual?
Do I have a martyr complex? Why else would I speak such a message that goes against what we as Christians have been traditionally taught in the Church?
What is my agenda? Doesn’t everyone have an agenda?
From my experience I’m seeing that the black LGBT community (well many), don’t know how to react to a straight married black minister; preaching a message of inclusivity on a landscape molded and formed on the rejection of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people.
This public rejection has created a not so secret culture of sexual promiscuity (in which some married men who publically engage in the rejection of gay men also engage in sexual activities with those that they reject) that masks the self hate and the don’t ask don’t tell mentality of the church.
Today’s church environment is fertile ground for HIV/AIDS which preys on rejection, self hate and sexual promiscuity.
The current environment is spiritually damaging. We build our religion on Jesus Christ and yet our reactions to others do not model our Lord.
Many will argue that it is homosexuality that creates the environment that I mention, I disagree.
It is not homosexuality or sexual orientation that is the problem, it is our negative responses to those that we say we love.
How can we speak on love when we are inflicting pain?
“I hear that but are you bi?”
How can we speak on love when we are inflicting pain?
“I hear that but are you bi?”
Saturday, October 9, 2010
34Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:
36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
So many of us at some point in our lives have been told and treated as less than and we blamed ourselves for the negative treatment we received from others. In return we begin to internally self destruct. For some of us it is a quick process that involves engaging in risky behavior such as the overconsumption of drugs and alcohol or risky promiscuous sex. For others this process of self destruction is a slower process that can include maintaining poor eating, exercising and sleeping habits, engaging in dysfunctional and harmful relationships (romantic, family, church or friendships) and ignoring self altogether. We spend our lives in denial that we are slowly allowing these behaviors to kill us. This is not love.
In the land of Christian religiosity, we have been taught to subdue self and run away from such beliefs as self esteem and self love. Now if we look closely at verse 39 we see “And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself'.
Jesus stated love your neighbor as yourself. This wasn’t a new thought, in fact Jesus was repeating the Law to those who were simply trying to trap Him. Leviticus 19:18 states "'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD”.
Do we see the theme of as yourself?
Love your neighbor as yourself. Can I break it down to love your neighbor and love yourself?
Now we start to get into the question of can you really love someone if you have no love of self? I believe you can. I believe that there are plenty of Christians who love God with all our heart and soul and love their neighbors but live a life of no love for self. It is time to change that, it is time to maintain the love triangle.
This is no new era self help teaching; instead this is visualization of key principle of living a life for Jesus Christ which is a life of love, a life that includes the love of self.
When we begin to love ourselves we begin to take care of ourselves. When we love ourselves we surround ourselves with those that treat us with respect and love. When we love ourselves we eliminate self defeating behaviors from our lives. When we love ourselves we accept our weaknesses and use our strengths to work on our weaknesses.
How do we get there? How do we work on loving ourselves after engaging in months and possibly years of self loathing?
The first step is to see ourselves the way that God sees us. God loves us and loves us so much that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. That right there is love.
In Jeremiah 29:11 God spoke to Jeremiah when He stated “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope”. Just like Jeremiah, God seeks to give us a future and a hope. That future and that hope are in Jesus Christ. And we must walk in the example of Jesus Christ. So if Jesus Christ loves us even with our flaws shouldn’t we do the same? Shouldn’t we begin to try?
We try by operating in prayer, patience and practice.
We pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit; guidance that we are led to those who will walk with us through this journey of self discovery and self love. Family members, friends, trained spiritual leaders and even strangers (helping professionals) can be used by God to help us through this journey.
We must lean on patience as we take this journey for patience is a Christian trait (Colossians 3:12-13). Change does not happen overnight but we must at least try and we must lean on our Faith in Jesus Christ and seek strength to endure the challenges that we face daily.
This area involves us spending our time in: prayer, being patient that the self work that we are doing will equal change and taking this journey one day at a time.
Keep your head up to the Almighty and remember that love is an action.
"Remember love is an action!!!"
Until next time, your brother in Jesus Christ,
Minister Gerald Palmer,MSW
Word For The Soul Ministries
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Leviticus 18:22: You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination
Leviticus 20:13: If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them
Change is hard for some and especially when that change has anything to do with what we were taught regarding religion.
There is no other issue in Christianity that is more explosive than homosexual (well abortion and women preaching are right there). And sadly what we have been taught regarding the issue of homosexuality (amongst other issues) has been biblically wrong and truly out of context.
When we read those two verses their statements are quite clear but the application and context are not. These verses are from what is called the Holiness Code and they were designed to create a standard of moral behavior that separated the Jews from the Canaanites, whose land they had been given by God.
Now in return for the land the Jews had to exhibit a new standard of moral behavior. They were not to worship the Canaanite god Molech or engage in any of the Canaanite practices.
Those that violated the Holy Code were sentenced to death. Those that committed adultery,incest, or cursed their parents (children), were all put to death.
Those rules were created for the purpose of nation building in a foreign promised land. These laws were highly important for a growing frontier people and community.
And now we must understand the context of these scriptures.
Context: the cultural identity, protection and procreation.
In this very important context homosexual conduct is seen as a risk to those three points listed.
We no longer live as God's lone people in the Promised Land. Our cultural identity is
different as well as our theological view. Christians have been taught that we are no longer bound by the code but we are now under the Holy Spirit.
With that being said many Christians like the person who made the comment ignore most of the Holiness Code. And yet they cite and recite the Levitical codes against homosexuality because it is the basis of their own moral stand on that issue.
In this exchange a tone of hypocrisy is set and the integrity of a religion of love is tarnished.
My prayer is that a healing takes place in homes, churches and communities all across our land.
I pray that those who have turned from God and Jesus Christ because of the misguided practice of some return to God and return to Jesus Christ. For God made no mistakes when He made you, you are His creation and He and His Son will always love you.
For those who are not believers please accept my apology on the behalf of my misguided brothers and sisters. Please know that we do serve a God of love!!!
*Excerpt from the book "The Church Has AIDS: Essays on Sexuality, Sexual Orientation, Taboos and The Black Church"
Copyright © 2010 by Gerald M. Palmer
Word 4 The Soul Communications
PO Box 18369
Kansas City, MO 64133