The Costly Call

. . . To another [Jesus] said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Yet another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’” – Luke 9:59-62

I have a difficult time digesting these words. Though I like to think I spend my days contemplating Jesus exactly as he is depicted in the Scriptures, when I read of him speaking hard things such as this, I realize just how much my perspective of him is still influenced by fallacious sources—namely, nominal Christian culture and my own imagination. The Jesus of nominal Christianity and my own wishful thinking would never utter the words in this text. He would never instruct some poor soul to forego his dad’s funeral. He would never label someone “unfit for the kingdom” simply because he wanted to say goodbye to his family. But the biblical Jesus—the real Jesus—takes no issue with saying such hard and seemingly insensitive things. In fact, four chapters later, he takes “hard” and “seemingly insensitive” to a whole different level:

“Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple . . . any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.’” – Luke 14:25-27, 33

Jesus’ usage of hatred here is obviously hyperbole. When viewed in context of the totality of his teaching, we can be certain he does not mean we should feel a literal hostility toward others. What he’s saying is our affection for him should be of such potency that our affection for the people we cherish most in this world pales in comparison. Jesus calls those who would follow him to a love and loyalty superior to all other loves and loyalties. This may not seem too extreme to many of us—especially if our unbelieving friends and family members aren’t hostile to our faith. However, the costliness of ultimate allegiance to Jesus becomes all the more clear when a Christian’s relationship with a lost loved one begins to conflict with his or her relationship with Jesus.

For example, I received an email some time back from a mom and dad whose wayward daughter refused to have anything to do with them unless they supported a lifestyle choice that God condemns. Simply “agreeing to disagree” wasn’t enough for their daughter—she desired a verbal expression of approval. The parents knew they had but two choices: 1) remain faithful to Jesus and possibly never hear from their child again or 2) defy Jesus and maintain a relationship with their child. Though it was the most excruciating decision they ever had to make, they decided to remain loyal to Jesus. I believe this is precisely the type of situation our Lord was envisioning when he uttered the words recorded in Luke 14. Even amidst the horrifying possibility of a severed familial relationship, he expects his followers to remain unwaveringly allegiant to him. If we refuse to give him the supreme love and loyalty of which he is worthy, he says we are not worthy of him (Matthew 10:37-39).

All throughout the gospels, we find Jesus making strong, sobering statements like this—statements that crush and grind into pieces the easy-believism that plagues the American church. If you aren’t familiar with the term, easy-believism (also referred to as cheap grace) is a way of viewing salvation that detaches costly obedience from authentic faith. It eliminates the need for evidences of belief such as supreme affection for Christ, increasing disdain for sin, growing love for the church, and progression in holiness. Basically, as long as you “prayed a prayer” at some point in your past, the way you live your life from that point forward doesn’t matter much. You will still go to Heaven even if you don’t seek the Lord, fight sin, or love other believers; you just won’t receive many “rewards” when you arrive.

Like I said—Jesus obliterates such thinking. The saving faith to which he calls us is always accompanied by self-denial, sacrifice, and suffering. He beckons us to a kind of belief that is willing to gouge out the eyes and cut off the hands in order to avoid sin (Matthew 5:27-30). He invites us into a relationship that may very well require us to sacrifice other precious relationships (Matthew 10:34-39). He summons us to a faith that will cause the unbelieving world to hate and reject us (John 15:18-20). He calls us to a way of life that may threaten our physical life (John 16:2).

Jesus wasn’t ashamed to let people know from the very get-go how costly it would be to follow him. He wasn’t worried about scaring people off. We shouldn’t be, either. It is right to plead with those who are weary and burdened to come find rest for their souls in Jesus (Matthew 11:28). It is necessary to convey to our unbelieving friends that Jesus is a kind and generous shepherd who wants to give them full, vibrant, and eternal life (John 10:10). But we should not neglect to tell them of the “death” that this life requires—death to self, death to sin, and death to the ways of this world. Following Jesus will grant them incomprehensible peace (Philippians 4:7), inexpressible joy (1 Peter 1:8), and an imperishable inheritance (1 Peter 1:4). But the cost will be high.

“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:27-33

  • Lyle Nelson

    When one considers what Jesus’s primary mission was and is, that is to save as many sinners as possible from eternal damnation, then the urgency and priority of calling disciples with this level of commitment becomes much more understandable.

    It may be easier to understand from the viewpoint of human tragedy. Think of the number of firefighters, policemen, and other rescuers who gave up their very lives to attempt to save the lives of those trapped in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. These were, for the most part, people they didn’t even know. And there have been many other tragedies like that of smaller magnitude. As well as those who gave their lives serving in the Armed Forces of their country. (Note that there are many Biblical references to us being in a spiritual war.) Many who did not get a chance to say any final “Good-bye”s to their families either. And who did not get to attend funerals, weddings, births and other important events in the lives of members of their family. And those who chose these types of careers were, in many cases, not Christians, and were saving people from physical death or injury, and not eternal damnation (other than where the person saved was not a believer).

    When one considers the level of commitment required in these earthly situations, it becomes easier to understand the requirements that Jesus had for following Him on an eternally important mission involving the entire world.

    • Regan DuCasse

      I’ve been having some exchanges with Bradley Joel, and I put forth the experience of being in a crime scene photo unit, as precisely the reason I can’t take anyone for granted.
      I witnessed so much sudden death, especially by horrific violence.
      I lost both parents early in my life, and such imprints of loss of people I most depended on, does make a person more mature and it requires you also have to rely on others in addition to your family.
      Military and paramilitary environments like firefighting, peace officers and EMT’s involve much dependency on each other. Exceptional trust in life and death situations where there is no time to consider one’s faith or that of the other person you’re in this moment with.
      But these environments, more and more involve diversity, while tied together through badge and uniform.
      It’s not the mission of the Christian to proselytize, nor advance their religious beliefs in ways, an atheist, agnostic, nor non Christian would have to follow on condition of having the same beliefs.
      This is why police and fire chiefs who do this, find themselves fired for doing so.
      Your analogy is a good one, at least in the kind of loyal following Christians might be called to.
      But the gay person who is achieving the same goal, has the same responsibility, and who is as accomplished as anyone else, might and rightly, not be too sure of the necessary trust they’d need in such an environment as you bring up.
      They don’t have the option of deciding who is fit for their service and who is not, according to belief.
      This is why Christians do make things exceptionally hard for gay people in particular. And when lives depend on it, really, who has time for it?

  • I had to give up many things, many of which I have been decried for. In the end it is not about me, but serving my Lord. It may seem selfish to some, to place all your devotion to an unseen God; but it’s not. He first loved me, and was there for me when I almost died, and the provided for me and my family when we were in need. He proved Himself to me, when I wasn’t asking, when I had rejected Him. My Father came for me. I can never give Him up now.

  • mike

    Perhaps the hardest saying from Jesus is the one of the narrow way in Matthew 7: “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
    Breaks my heart that “only a few ever find it”. Why I ask? Why only a few? Sometimes when deep in sin I wonder am I one of the few who will make it? Then I remember the verse you quote: ” while the other (King) is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.”
    How sweet are God’s “terms of peace”. Confession and being made clean again because of what Christ did on the Cross and repentance with His Help to make it another day!

  • Regan DuCasse

    Now see, this is where it gets very confusing and hard for anyone to understand, what’s supposed to be so clear.
    Matt brings of a scenario of a “wayward daughter” whose parents weren’t accepting.
    Well, there weren’t any specifics.
    And specifics are necessary, because as I keep pointing out, a blanket of offenses, amorphously called sins, aren’t necessary to give up and could be accepting.
    For example, how Baptists eschew dancing.
    Dancing is healthy, it’s a very socially invigorating thing to do. So if this daughter loved to dance, and even taught it, is she and her family supposed to have a rift between them because of it?
    I’m guessing though, that the parents aren’t accepting if she’s gay?
    But again, I find this excessive attention to it as if it’s the sin of all sins, and cause for entire families to be separated from each other because of it, rather extreme too.
    At the end of the day, I think Christians are finding themselves a hard road of it convincing someone their responsible, successful and loving siblings, parents or friends who are gay, are less worthy of loving them, then following Christ as Christians inconsistently expect.
    Not even a devil’s advocate here. But the religious teaching I was also raised with, subscribes to keeping an open mind and open heart about such things in order to keep learning more.
    Isn’t that more than fair?

    • mike

      Specifics are there in the post. The daughter demanded not only “support” but “she desired a verbal expression of approval” for a lifestyle choice that God condemns.
      The parents response is curious to me because it shut the door to relationship with her. Is that the way of Jesus? Is that what God is like?
      The story of the Prodigal son comes to mind. The Father in that story funded the wayward son’s lifestyle thus indirectly supporting/approving that son’s lifestyle which the Father would not necessarily approve. Why did the Father do that? Because it left open the door to relationship in the future. The Father knew where it would end because he knew it was not wholesome.
      I’m disappointed at Matt’s example because it is not how God is. God goes the extra mile and more until the very end to seek out His lost sheep and always leaves a door open for relationship.

      • Regan DuCasse

        Well, mike…
        This ‘our way or the highway’ stuff, veiled as ‘it’s God and Christ’s way’, isn’t in any way ‘keeping the door open’.
        Saying the same thing, but having an ulterior motive, just sets people up for not trusting sincerity.
        “God condemns it”…
        Christians are finding out that using breaks with the family, or other forms of exclusion just doesn’t have the impact it used to.
        There are positive role models among gay people, and other less control minded Christians.
        Because I do see both sides here, I’ll offer this observation: I lived next door to an Orthodox rabbi and his wife for a few years.
        The rules they held to, like him not ever touching me as a non relative female, was something I could live with.
        But if they’d rejected me for being of color, or non Hebrew, I never would have enjoyed a sparkling friendship with him, his wife and two daughters.
        They were surprised I spoke some Hebrew and knew the kiddush. And they invited me over for Shabbas dinner all the time and I’m non Jewish, so that’s a big deal.
        The rabbi and his wife and I talked about gay people and the temple’s attitude on it. Very different now, than just ten years ago, actually.
        Because the door was open to learning more about gay people and THEIR needs.
        Jews do believe in open doors, open minds and open hands.
        As I said, otherwise you learn nothing when you close off too much.
        Why this persists about gay people but nothing else, is also very inconsistent with a lot of important things like progress in human relationships.
        Perhaps what’s being witnessed, isn’t moral decline, by accepting (not necessarily approving) gay people’s romantic needs, but that people are learning that the church is more needy of adherents, than people in need of God and Christ?
        Could happen.

        • mike

          In the story of the prodigal son the Father knew something important.
          It was that what was in the world would not satisfy. It never does. Only God’s ways truly satisfy in the end. And so the Father’s kindness led to repentance of the son.
          It’s what the parents in Matt’s example don’t understand. Firstly, they don’t understand that their daughter choice of lifestyle would never satisfy in the end. And that their kindness toward her would bear fruit like it did for the Father of the prodigal son.
          But Regan. You are stuck in this paradigm that what SSA’d folk need is to pursue their romantic attractions and learn from good gay role models. For some reason you think that is their nirvana. If it were than smart people like me and others like Matt would have found that but did not. Having been there and back I think your paradigm is not the correct one. It didn’t work for me and others that I know. We are a minority too. Have some mercy and compassion for this minority.

          • Regan DuCasse

            Excuse me, but I haven’t and don’t think that ssa folk’s pursuing their romantic attractions is nirvana.
            “for some reason”.
            I never gave you a reason to think that.
            So don’t second guess.
            I’ve been straight forward enough, it’s not hard.
            I’m imparting to you, that when you belong to a minority that hasn’t been treated with the same expectations or support, and are kept isolated from positive role models (and do not deny this isn’t true), then it’s going to be harder to have the same success in WHATEVER pursuits you want to enjoy.
            This is as true for black women, as it is for gay people.
            I have romantic problems too, and been involuntarily isolated because the field is thinner.
            You’re not going to have as much opportunity on the ground, any more than I will pursuing black men as romantic partners.
            I’m not stuck in a paradigm, but have lived a similar reality as a gay person.
            I know what I’ve seen, and I know what a similar experience is.
            Stop patronizing me please.
            All I’m saying is, that it’s understandable, the problems that have arisen being a gay person.
            And if you are born into a situation that makes it hard to be one, and you have less of a sense of value in yourself, then some of the negative outcomes will occur.
            This is also true of other people besides those who are gay.
            But what DOES have to happen, is those societal unfair societal restraints, unrealistic expectations and prejudices, deserve to go away now.

            And the same romantic pursuits be as accessible and supported as they are in heterosexual people.
            That’s ALL.
            No more, no less.
            It’s hardly mercy and compassion, to give others a feast, while isolating a distinct group to witness the feast, while limiting them to less and demand they enjoy it, and tell everyone else how wonderful that feast was.
            When you didn’t get all of it to begin with.

          • mike

            “All I’m saying is, that it’s understandable, the problems that have arisen being a gay person.”
            No, to me it is not “understandable” Regan what you mean? If gays lived on planet gay where there were no road blocks or Christians to thwart their lifestyles are you saying than they would be happy and your job as an activist would stop?

          • Regan DuCasse

            It’s not understandable to you? You haven’t considered what life would be like if there had been no anti Semitism, or racism, misogyny and yes, anti gay sentiment?
            Being gay isn’t a lifestyle. Not any more than one’s gender or color is.
            Heterosexual romantic successes and failures aren’t called a ‘heterosexual lifestyle’.
            Because it’s not.
            Setting aside homosexuality for that definition is wrongful.
            I would LOVE it, if I didn’t have to fight for the equal treatment and justice for gay folks that I’ve spent a lifetime at doing.
            Just as I’d be thrilled if I didn’t have to do so, for females and people of color.
            Christians being so self righteous about “thwarting” a gay person’s self determination isn’t healthy.
            I’m pretty sure a lot of families would still be whole, many gay people not having been violated, or children committing suicide if not for Christian and other religious interference.
            So in a word to your several questions is NO.

          • mike

            “Being gay isn’t a lifestyle”! Regan you’re being bad. Merriam-Webster def’n of lifestyle: a particular way of living : the way a person lives.
            Have you ever considered whether the gay lifestyle is inherently beneficial? Heterosexual lifestyles such as polygamy, sexual addictive lifestyles, divorce, or male chauvinistic marriages where woman have to be veiled are equally not beneficial.
            But that is your paradigm in which you are stuck in. You think the gay lifestyle is beneficial and good. Just because you believe that doesn’t make it good. You must think that people like Matt or me who have SSA are hurting ourselves because we don’t embrace a gay lifestyle? Do you believe that?

          • Regan DuCasse

            You just did this dance right over the fundamentals of what I’ve said, to keep pressing me to accept comparisons of anti social behavior with homosexuality.
            I just told you, those things that are supported and accepted, even applauded among heterosexuals, such as commitment, fidelity, monogamy, responsibility, loving care and support, benefit gay people as much as heterosexual people.
            Therefore gay people deserve to be supported and enabled in those things.
            Stop twisting what I say.
            You don’t listen, and don’t want to.
            So I have to keep repeating myself.
            To have an honest conversation here, putting orientation into it’s proper context is the right place to start.
            Heterosexuality in and of itself is only a specific attraction to persons of the opposite, who should share the same orientation.
            And homosexuality is attraction to persons of the same gender, preferably also who share the same orientation.
            They are the central range, opposite from the orientations attracted to either gender, or not to sex at all.
            Period.
            Any anti social behavior isn’t exclusive to any orientation.
            But of course, anti social behavior deserves to be discouraged for obvious reasons.

            I’ll tell you what I think about you and matt, so you don’t have to guess.
            Whenever intractable religious doctrine, is used as a blanket definition of certain behaviors, wrongly and unjustly, then the approaches to those behaviors will be also.
            And considering the hurtful and damaging doctrine that’s denied gay people full access to the same support all this time, continue to say that such doctrine should be embraced and ALL gay people should believe as you do and follow your example, is already proven to be unworkable.
            This can only be decided if people have been treated the same way, for the results to not be skewed.
            Hence, why I told you to imagine what the world would have been like without racism, or anti Semitism, anti gay sentiment or misogyny.
            You asked me, and I told you.
            Since the Christian doctrine is the one with the most influence that’s been negative for the most part, it’s YOU stuck on a paradigm that only works for people who’d wished and matt had never lived at all.

          • mike

            Well Regan, it is you who miss the fundamentals which has to do with the paradigm that you’re stuck in.
            You said: “I just told you, those things that are supported and accepted, even applauded among heterosexuals, such as commitment, fidelity, monogamy, responsibility, loving care and support, benefit gay people as much as heterosexual people.”
            How do you know that?
            How do you know what benefits people? Who told you?
            How do you know that people with SSA are benefited by a gay lifestyle, by marrying each other, and by having gay sex? How do you know these things!
            And don’t tell me it’s your intuition, or science or psychology that tells you.
            That can’t be trusted. Because with so called ‘evidence-based’ science what is true today won’t necessarily be true tomorrow! I’m in medicine. I know that and so do my colleagues.
            Only the Judeo-Christian faith gave us human rights. Not Athens nor Rome. Only the Judeo-Christian faith tells us that pedophilia is bad. Not Greece nor Rome. And only the Judeo-Christian faith tells us that the gay lifestyle is not God’s best for us. Those of us unlike you who have been there know that. Our stories testify to that fundamental truth.
            You need to re-examine your fundamentals Regan so that you can truly help gay people.

          • Regan DuCasse

            How do I know?
            Well, okay then, I’ll tell you. In the decades before and since just associating with each other could get you police harassment and incarceration, many people chronicled the history of people who had already been in relationships, or developed them. They had to got to courts, and present their lives in front of panels, legislatures and judges.
            There has been a very serious and continued legal and legislative process in which gay lives and that of their children had to be scrutinized and examined.
            When the courts in recent decades were presented with the professional, home and parental lives of so many gay men and women, even some of their public detractors had to admit that it was true.
            The benefits are the same, even if the time being supported hasn’t been.
            The children with gay parents, have in some ways, had more benefits because these are children who couldn’t be born into circumstances as less than optimal, because planning for them or adopting them took time, much expense and investigation.
            Gay people haven’t had the luxury of privacy, nor someone having as much respect for it as they would their heterosexual counterparts.
            Someone who suspected someone gay in their workplace or in their neighborhood, would only be too happy to try and pry the truth out of someone about it.

            When you’re a very serious and committed activist, for gay and trans individuals, a tremendous amount of trust is built. And they share their lives in confident ways.
            That allows for more truth and expansion of social networks and since I had no ulterior motive of conversion or expectations like the religious and/or conservatives that felt THEY had a lock on what gay folk’s intent and purpose was, I’ve been able to have such access and support in it, I consider it a gift I wouldn’t betray whatsoever.
            Had you participated in the political structure in which so much change has become possible, you wouldn’t have to ask such a question.
            This is what you learn, this is what truth is and this is the changes that happen when there is hope for one’s humanity where it matters.
            The results of the benefits towards gay people has been in evidence for many years.
            Evidence brought before some of the highest and most respected courts, not just in our country, but in other Western nations.
            The only ones not accepting the most, are also the most repressive. And not just to gay people.
            If you want to be in the company of countries like that, that should be for personal reasons.
            “only the Judeo/Christian faith gave us human rights”
            “only the Judeo/Christian faith tells us pedophilia is bad”.
            “And only the Judeo/Christian faith tells us the gay lifestyle is not God’s best for us”.
            Don’t try and sell that to me. Because you’re revisionist opinion isn’t worth anything on that.
            If that were true, than the same religious conservatives who believe that, would have gone after all the laws in states where grown men can marry very young girls.
            And again, the J/C faith hasn’t been right as much as you’d like to think.
            Human rights came about through a confluence of many kinds of values including science and research in human behavior that separates the anti social from the pro social.
            Faith has nothing to do with pedophilia being known as bad, but another scientific contribution in which young brains and emotional processes have been examined and it’s known how unformed they are.
            In Biblical cultures, adolescents were considered grown up enough to have certain responsibilities. And girls as young as 14 got married.
            All your stories testify to, is that your life wasn’t optimal, nor were you in total control of it.
            And the same thing that happened to you, happens to heterosexuals.
            So the problems isn’t being gay, it’s being rudderless and not having as much hope as you thought you should have through that community.
            If you couldn’t handle being gay, then that’s on you.
            But writing off millions of other gay people as having the same issues as you, or the potential for not cutting it, no…you don’t get to make that call.
            I know what being misrepresented is like. And I recognize that happening to gay people and THAT is what’s unacceptable.
            And your way, isn’t new. And I wish you’d stop acting like IT is so perfect and wonderful and it makes gay people successes at life and everything else.
            Because all it is, is abdicating a part of life that’s usually messy, and awkward and difficult for just about everyone.
            And God and Christ aren’t going to challenge you, in the sense that a PERSON you’re in a relationship with would.
            They aren’t going to make the same demands and your personal sacrifices aren’t going to be the same.
            You just made things easier on yourself, that’s all.
            That’s fine.
            Just don’t sell it as the end all and be all that ONLY gay people have to look forward to.
            And you’re selling it WAY too hard.

          • mike

            But you didn’t answer my question Regan. How do you know that gay marriage is beneficial? How do you know that man/boy love isn’t beneficial? Tell us how do you know?

          • Regan DuCasse

            Asked and answered, mike. It’s beneficial because it encourages gay people to channel their sexuality into commitment, monogamy and responsibility. Love and care motivate such an arrangement and many gay people achieved this, without gov’t or social support.
            That means that gay people are capable, with that encouragement.

            You’re stuck on pedophilia as an aspect of homosexuality.
            Shame on you. That’s prejudiced and wrongful.
            Paraphilias are not exclusive on the basis of gender or orientation.
            And it’s a non correspondent, obsessive behavior.
            Meaning children aren’t sexually attracted to adults.
            Therefore they cannot consent.
            THAT is why it’s not beneficial.
            I know because I bothered to learn, that’s why.
            And evidently, you don’t want to.

          • mike

            Where did you learn that man/boy love is wrong? Where?
            It’s wrong because the Creator designed sex between a man and a woman in the Creation story of Genesis and Jesus Himself refers to it in his dialog with the Pharisees in Matthew 19. That’s where you learned it Regan.
            And so it follows that gay marriage is also not the Creator’s intent and misses the mark and is therefore not beneficial.
            Regan can dismiss God and create her own world and go her own way, but that doesn’t negate the truth of the Creator’s intent. One day we all will give account Regan to God for our doings.
            The ancient Greek and Roman empires are no more. God’s judgement fell upon them for their depravity. So it will be for all nations who create their own god. There is still time to repent.

          • Regan DuCasse

            You haven’t answered any of my questions, except with more rhetorical ones.
            I just told you how right from wrong has been learned, a confluence of empirical experience, socio/political and scientific research.
            It’s for that same reason, gay people aren’t murdered outright anymore in countries with progressive social justice.
            It’s why children are protected from the abuse of adults, even from their own parents.
            Biblical instructions had parents murdering their children for ‘rebellion’, and without specifying exactly what that is, not that it matters.
            You’re such an avid ACCUSER, with no proof or need of evidence I made all this up for myself or in ‘my own world’.
            The Creator made so much immense diversity and variation, there is a lot for us humans to disseminate and learn about. Our march to learn, to understand, to expand our knowledge beyond
            Earth itself, has been a great one.
            And sex only between male and female, and our orientation has variants because humans, most of all, ADAPT.
            And must.
            You think a lot of the Biblical culture that in our own time is being played out in repressive Islamic countries.
            No thanks. We see how it looks when those certain of their divine right to abuse other human beings is all over the internet.
            All this piety and Biblical scholarship you display and you still haven’t got any more moral courage or intellectual honesty, than before you did all that.
            I don’t think you believe in God in such a way to really get control of yourself, but to be able to point fingers at other people.
            I will remind you again, how moral neutrality works.
            Gender, IS morally neutral.
            And homosexuality is strictly a gender based function of sexual orientation. That’s all.
            And if it’s only males and females meant to mate, and make babies (animals do that too, so there isn’t any moral function there, but the instinctual one of species perpetuity), then YOU have explain why females are violated so much BY males.
            And by some males who express a divine right to do so.
            Your own comments have no basis in logic, nor any instruction in modern and legitimate information of human behavior.
            You just wear out the Biblical references. And excuse me, but the writers of the Bible (entirely men), weren’t so expert on human behavior as you like to believe to give your misjudgements weight.
            And as for giving account to God: that’s not for you to decide for anyone else.
            How we treat each other will always matter, whatever motivates it.
            When the results are people who are harmed, period. It’s in the here and now, not some amorphous other time, that matters the most.

          • mike

            The difficulty Regan is that your premise that ” right from wrong has been learned, a confluence of empirical experience, socio/political and scientific research” is the problem. Without a moral compass with a true north that “confluence” of yours changes with the wind. It becomes politically divorced from science, sidetracked by legal squabbles over human rights, and hijacked by sociologists with their own take.
            The problem with making your “confluence” a god is that basic human rights become more and more important in that type of society such that WHO decides. WHO has the right to tell a sophisticated bright mature nine year boy he CAN’T love an older man? Who has that right to decide. Who decides the age of sexual consent? On what basis is that decision to be made? That’s why I bring that up.
            There are groups making that sort of argument right now for those minorities. Your right it’s WRONG! But on what basis Regan. Our intuition! On what basis is the age of sexual consent determined in this free society?
            And that’s the problem with this “confluence” god of yours. He changes with the political prevailing winds!
            There must be a higher court of moral truth to say how humans are to be and not public opinion. That’s why the “confluence” god today in NYC says there are now 31 genders because each one has a right to declare it. In Canada we are having pronoun wars so that each gender can have its own language. Such is the chaos your “confluence” is building.
            And soon, very soon there will be a gender for man/boy love and man/girl love because love is neutral and gender not moral as you say. So who is allowed to prohibit love??? Don’t you see Regan the difficulty?

          • Regan DuCasse

            You keep accusing me of so many things that in no way are true.
            Guess that’s what being a Christian is ALL about for you, constant accusations and charges, without any evidence.
            And you just keep rolling on with your rhetoric about me and misjudgment so that you don’t have to answer to your own shortcomings here.
            This isn’t a confluence of “mine”, there are millions of people whose consensus has proven valid in the regard I mentioned.
            It doesn’t ‘change with the wind’ and never has. I have been VERY specific about what anti social behaviors are.
            Given clinical definitions and their meanings are valid.
            I DO have a true north, you just like denying it.
            YOU are the one divorced from science, you have denied it all from the outset.
            And you really think that conflicts over human rights and the research of sociologists that’s advanced the rights of gay people are ‘squabbles’?

            And then you diminish and dismiss the important work that protects children from labor abuses, and those of adults who’d enslave them in such things.
            And who are in the business of protecting children from predators.
            I worked in law enforcement, not YOU.
            I have spent a lifetime in that, precisely to protect.
            But of course, you and other Christians, turn that into just the opposite, because of the reasoned way I (and millions of others ) accept homosexuality.
            I know the distinctions, and clearly you don’t.

            I haven’t made anything a god. I don’t do that.
            “And soon, very soon there will be a gender for man/boy love…”
            Conjecture isn’t facts, and so far, the parade of horribles predicted by the anti gay, hasn’t come true.

            I directly went to each and every major voice against marriage equality, and told them of the states in which laws over a century and a half allowed grown men to marry young girls. Heterosexuals. The dominant class of people who, if they’d put nearly as much time, energy, money and political capital into overturning THOSE laws as they did keeping gay adults from marrying, THAT would have actually made more progress in social justice that I have worked towards.
            So the question really is: why didn’t Christians press for most social justice for girls in that ‘true north’ direction?

            Precisely because of exactly the southerly direction our conversation has gone, because females are less important than boys.
            Males and what the definition of that is supposed to be, has confounded religious communities and there is no interest in changing anything where it matters for the dominant members of our species.
            Hetero males.
            Evidently, the energies towards actual change that would improve things, are dissipated in keeping it all the same.
            Women, have tried to have more control in such laws, and with regard to protecting ALL children, but tend to get thwarted in all the noise people like YOU keep making.
            You’re clearly uninterested in WHAT TO DO, all you do is come for people like me whose lives actually reflect more moral and reasoned morality than yours does.
            And I NEVER said, love was morally neutral.
            Again, putting words in I didn’t say.
            I’ve maintained that GENDER is morally neutral.
            And mutually consenting relationships that are supported with commitment, monogamy, responsibility and the love that maintains those endeavors DO benefit gay people (and therefore society as a whole), because it has NOT been argued that marriage is BAD, but a GOOD thing for anyone to aspire to.
            And now that aspiration is a reality for gay people as well, to have the same support in being responsible and a primary caretaker as one to the other.

            You’re the one that’s never made a case, AGAINST doing that.
            And neither could so many courts and legislatures not just across this country, but many others.

            The ‘difficulty’ you keep bringing up, is the irrational rhetoric you ascribe to, and constant rhetorical questions that have no basis in reality.

            Now, anyone who wants to take a literal view of the Bible and enforce it, would KILL you.
            There is no room for you to live, no matter how many ways you’d beg to live, and promise to be a good Christian and be a neutered individual who wouldn’t challenge religious authority over your life.
            You’d have to die.
            Period.
            But now, gay people aren’t executed, nor imprisoned, nor institutionalized, because of the very confluence of science and empirical experience that accorded you the human rights you have now.
            And more.
            Makes you an ungrateful piece of work really.
            And not engaging the reality about the kind of civil policy work that needs to be done to protect girls and children in general from the poverty, neglect and domestic violence abuses they suffer still, makes you a
            moral coward.
            But hey, that Bible is your get out of it free card, right?

          • Regan DuCasse

            A friend of mine, a gay man married to another man who have an adopted son, just posted an article about a friend of theirs on Facebook.
            It was about a lesbian mom of SEVEN adopted boys. Most of whom have special needs.
            One of the boys (who has Down’s syndrome and wasn’t very verbal), just made the cheer squad at his middle school. With the support and acceptance of the virtually all girls squad.
            He’s become far more verbal, and has increased his physical acumen and is beloved by his fellow cheerleaders.
            My friends adopted a boy from a horrendous home situation in which NONE of his relatives were competent enough to raise him.
            By the way, these are adoptive gay parents willing to open their homes to children of color.
            But for a confluence of medical and psychological science and a community of people all written off by Biblical standards, NONE of these families would exist, let alone have the love and support needed.
            The cheer squad of kids have already learned a valuable lesson about helping and supporting someone who used to be institutionalized.
            The gay adults in this scenario have changed the lives of children who’d otherwise be state wards all their lives (and that’s never good either).
            For all your mouthiness about God and Christ, there are people actually doing the work of ANGELS.
            And that, is what God’s work really is.

            And I also noticed that the very same Christian groups and their leaders who didn’t want gay people to adopt children, haven’t adopted any children themselves.
            And in fact, treated any child unlucky enough to not have the competent love and support of their biological parents, as if they were chopped liver.
            I’ll be taking my friend’s young son out to the movies this weekend.
            His fathers, have surrounded themselves with all kinds of women to help them raise their son.
            Did you EVER think what the world would really be like without sexism, racism, anti Semitism, and anti gay sentiment?
            It’s actually going to look JUST like the families I describe.
            Ta!

          • Hi Mike! I think the story of the prodigal son was a beautiful parable, showing God’s love for the sinner. It is not a parenting tip, nor is meant to be taken literally.

          • mike

            More than “a beautiful parable”! Much more.
            The context you’re right is why does Jesus waste his time with “despicable people” like me. Jesus uses three parables: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son to illustrate the heart of the Father.
            If our Heavenly Father is like that, should NOT we have hearts like that for our wayward sons and daughters? Yes!

      • Stacy

        It may be too late, but… don’t feed the trolls. You don’t need the frustration.

        • mike

          Hi Stacy,
          It is not important who is right, Regan or I. What is right is that Regan is a woman whom Christ loves and for whom He died. I have engaged her not to win an argument but my prayer is that Regan might think. Think on what foundation her thinking is based. Think on what strength that is and maybe think more… It is good to think.

          • Stacy

            I appreciate your intentions.

  • Matt Moore
  • Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
    Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
    Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
    And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
    Ephesians 6:10-18