Holy Love: The Life

In the final chapter of ‘Holy Love’ I hope to turn theory into practice, beliefs into behaviors—what John Wesley called “practical divinity.”  He believed that faith had to be practiced, not just professed.  He called it “living faith”—in the spirit of St. James who wrote, “faith without actions is dead” (James 2:26).  And so, to the already-existing Anglican trilateral for doing theology, he added experience (lived theology) to the picture.

In the final chapter of ‘Holy Love’ I seek to do the same.  Since I became an ally with LGBTQ+ people in 2014, many people have asked me how they might consider becoming so.  The last chapter of the book is my response to their inquiry.  This post develops that response further.

I begin broadly, and with a pastoral challenge.  Attitudes and actions toward LGBTQ+ people are critical today–significant matters in our time—both with respect to the society and the Church.  Here’s my question/challenge: are you willing to base your opinion solely on second-hand information and on what you have been taught—or—do you recognize the need to do your own homework and develop first-hand convictions?  Are you willing to stand on your own two feet, or are you going to settle for only getting your ideas from others?

This is a serious question.  It means are we active or passive—engaged or disengaged?  This is important to think about with respect to any significant matter, and it is a crucial consideration with respect to our beliefs about and behaviors toward LGBTQ+ people.  As Christians, we are called to “ask, seek, and knock,” ourselves and not be spoon fed by others.  I hope you are willing to do this.  The rest of this post is a response to the question, “How can I go about doing my homework?”

First, establish relationships and friendships with LGBTQ+ people.  Talk with them.  Invite them to speak in your church, and attend the meetings of religious and civic LGBTQ+ groups and related advocacy organizations.  More than anything else, forming these relationships will provide you with discoveries, experiences, and learnings you cannot get any other way. [1]

Second, study.  Hopefully, your reading of ‘Holy Love’ has already set this point in motion for you.  Now, use the Reading List in the back of the book to keep going.  Ask LGBTQ+ people what you should read.  Inquire the same from local organizations.  There is plenty more to explore.

Third, manifest the fruit of the Spirit.  If you become proactive, and especially if you seek to learn about views other than those advanced by conservatives/traditionalists, you will receive pushback.  Accept that fact, knowing there is more than one way to view the matter.  Keep love for all paramount.  

Fourth, follow the example of Jesus.  He bore witness to inclusion through his words and deeds. Do the same.

I cannot predict how these four things will change you or where you will end up.  But I guarantee that a year from now, you will not be exactly the same as you are right now.  And that brings us back to the original question, “Are you willing to do the work necessary to form your own opinion, or will you settle for second-hand information?”

[1] Begin by going online.  The websites for the Human Rights Campaign and the PFLAG organization contain a wealth of information, including contact information for local chapters of these groups.  This action alone will get you started.  You can also call your City Hall, Chamber of Commerce, and United Way to discover additional groups in your area.  Once connected, you will be able to befriend LGBTQ+ people, be befriended by them, and learn so much in the process.

Posted in Holy Love

In-Sight: Immanuel

​Michael Card has been one of my favorite musicians for a long time, recognized by many as a musical theologian, not just a performer.  His composition, “Immanuel,” is the song Jeannie and I turn to every Advent. We are still moved listening to it, even after doing so for decades.

Immanuel is the one-word summary for Advent—God with us.  The cosmic Christ fit into a manger and lived among us full of grace and truth (John 1:14, 17).  Indeed, the Kingdom of God has come near.  We no longer have to ask what God is like.  Jesus puts a face on God.  We no longer have to ask what it means to be a disciple.  We are followers of Christ.  We no longer have to ask what the Christian life is.  It is Christlikeness.

Immanuel provides the vision, the intention, and the means of our faith and our life. [1]  Indeed, in him we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28).  Advent is not a time to limit our focus on “baby Jesus,” though the stories in Matthew and Luke are memorable and moving.  Advent is a time, as the word shows, to begin (begin again) our journey “with God.”  Advent is the reminder that it is God who initiated the journey, becoming incarnate in Jesus—and who now, through the Holy Spirit, continues to be with us.  Immanuel is the one-word reminder that we are never alone. [2]

Advent is our annual opportunity to renew the with-God life.  The Christian Year begins in Advent as a realization of the fact that twelve months is the maximum amount of time any of us should be in a distant relationship with God.  Every year, God says in Christ, “I am with you.”  Every year, God asks, “Will you be with me?”  And in these days of Advent, we have the marvelous opportunity to respond, “Yes, O yes!”

Listen, as Michael Card takes you into this good news…https://g.co/kgs/BLHsPk

[1] The ‘Life With God Bible’ (HarperOne, 2005) uses the “With-God Life” the interpretive paradigm for the entirety of Scripture.  This version of the Bible was developed by Richard Foster and others involved in the Renovaré spiritual formation ministry, and it is remains the central resource of that ministry.

[2] Joseph Girzone has written a moving testimony to this reality in his book. ‘Never Alone’ (Doubleday, 1994). 

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Holy Love: Passages #4

Romans 1:18-32

There’s no doubt that this passage is the focal text for interpreting human sexuality in general and LGBTQ+ sexuality in particular.  Romans links in spirit and substance with Leviticus.  Just as Israel was entering a new land, so too Christians were moving into a new world.  In both contexts, separated by more than a thousand years and a thousand mikes, the people of God were moving into cultures and religions that viewed and practiced sexuality differently than God intended.  In both cases, it was important to address sexual immorality and affirm sexual righteousness in keeping with the principles of the Covenant which we have previously explored: sacredness, fidelity, permanency, and (with the coming of the New Covenant) monogamy.  This is why some scholars view this passage as a “Holiness Code” for Christian sexuality.

The passage also provides the larger context for the sexual addiction (malakoi) and sexual abuse (arsenokoitai) which Paul specifically named in the two passages we explored in the last post.  Romans provides the “why” factor to any of the “whats” regarding human sexuality.  Consequently, it is the pivotal passage.  And like the other passages, there is a key in the text itself which opens the door to interpreting it: the “downward spiral” that Paul describes as the passage unfolds.  We can trace it through the following words and ideas.

First, multiple concerns.  One of the immediate mistakes in interpreting this passage is the rush to make sexuality the emphasis.  The same mistake is made with respect to the Holiness Code. Paul’s and Moses’ concerns included many things.  Paul mentions twenty two concerns in this passage.  We must begin here, or we will never interpret Paul’s words correctly.  There are things that Paul is equally concerned about.  Read the list in verses 29-31, and be prepared to be surprised by what’s on it.  Also, ponder why there is comparative silence about 21 sins and so much “noise” about one.

Second, idolatry (v  21-23).  This is the single source from which all the sins mentioned by Paul emerge.  He begins exactly where Moses began, setting sexual sin in the context of Covenant violation, and specifically the violation of the first commandment (Exodus 20:3).  In Canaan, Greece, and Rome sex was idolatrous because it was egoic, glorifying the fallen self rather than God.  This takes sexuality out of its original context (the imago dei), turning God-given sexuality into self-serving gratification—a complete perversion of covenant love. Paul sums it up as sex that “ worshipped and served the creation instead of the creator” (1:25), sex that does not “ acknowledge God” (1:28)—that is, sex which is not sacred.

Third, lust (v 24). Here is the one-word summary for fallen-world sexuality, whether in Canaan, Rome, or our country.  It is the sexual manifestation of idolatry—what the Bible describes in two key words: fornication and adultery.  Lustful sexuality is inordinately passionate and promiscuous.  It includes the two kinds (malakoi and arsenokoitai) that we have already explored—and more.

Interestingly, John Wesley used the phrase ”lustful idolatry” to summarize this passage. [1] He rightly saw the comprehensiveness of the sinfulness Paul was pointing to, emphasizing in his notes the multi-faceted ways in which we abandon the ways of God and embrace thevways of egotism/ethnocentrism.

Fourth, the downward spiral continues with promiscuity (v 24-27).  We see this in two ways: Paul’s use of plural words and more especially in his use of the words “ traded in” (CEB) or “exchanged” (NRSV).  The Greek word means “temporarily set aside” their orientation for another one.  This is the pivot for the kind of sexuality Paul is describing.  Get ready.

He is describing heterosexual persons, not homosexuals!  The sinners here are heterosexuals who behave as if they were homosexuals. Simply put. Paul is not writing about LGBTQ+ people, but about heterosexual persons who sin by acting contrary to their orientation.  And this leads immediately to the next stage in the downward spiral.

Fifth, this sexuality is unnatural (v 26-27).  Scholars are generally agreed that the word “unnatural” as used here by Paul is not a physical term, but a philosophical one taken from Stoicism.  For the Stoics, “natural” sexual behavior was respectful, relational, personal, and affectionate. [2]  The kind of heterosexual sin described by Paul as “unnatural” was (as the larger context shows) exploitive, transactional, objectified, and loveless.  The connection of Paul’s thought with Stoicism comes through his use of the word ‘foolish’ twice (v 21 and 22), the very word that Stoicism used to describe “unnatural” sexuality.  

It is worth noting in this point that Paul is being a good evangelist in this passage.  He used something the Romans who read his letter would understand, Stoic thought about sexuality.  He did not appeal to the Law (as Mosrs did in Leviticus) because the Romans would either not have known it or would have ignored in their culture.  Without ever saying it outright, Paul was saying, “Heterosexual sin is denounced in your own culture by the Stoics.”  In other words, heterosexual sin (behaving as if they were homosexual) is wrong, and the Romans’ own accepted philosophy said so.

The Romans passage is complex, and to fully understand it requires a depth of historical, cultural, and religious knowledge beyond what I have written about here.  But the gist is this: the passage is not about LGBTQ+ people or their sexual behavior.  It is about heterosexuals behaving contrary to their orientation because they idolatrously and lustfully prefer self-gratification over God-glorification.

In short, sexual sin as Paul describes it here is sexual behavior contrary to one’s orientation.  So, when. LGBTQ+ people express their sexuality in congruence with their orientation and with covenant love (sacredness, fidelity, permanency, and monogamy), their sexuality is holy. [3]

And so…

(1) Assuming this interpretation of Romans 1 is new to you, rather than posing a question, I simply ask you to reflect further upon this post.   It took me a while to “see into” the passage.  Be willing to do so.

(2) Consider reading one of the books in the “Scripture” section of the ‘For Further Reading’ list at the back of ‘Holy Love.’  Jennifer Knust’s book is a good overview.

[1] John Wesley, ‘Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament’ (1755), comment about the passage as-a-whole. He makes no comment about homosexuality.

[2] Arius Didymus’ work, ‘Epitome of Stoic Ethics’ goes into detail about these qualities of wise sexuality.

[3] After I wrote ‘Holy Love,’ I found five additional books that are noteworthy for understanding the Romans passage in its historical/cultural context: (1) Marilyn Skinner, ‘Sexuality in Greek and Roman Culture’ 2nd edition, (2) David Garrison, ‘Sexual Culture in Ancient Greece,(3) Judith Hallett, Roman Sexualities, (4) K.J. Dover, ‘Greek Sexuality,’ and (5) Craig Williams, ‘Roman Sexuality.’

Posted in Holy Love

Here and Now: Resting

​Our journey this year through the lens of “Here and Now” has taken us in many directions.  As we conclude the series, we must remember that here-and-now living brings us into a deep rest.  We live from the rest of a contemplative foundation. 

It is the rest of existence.  E. Stanley Jones said it’s the sense that enables us to say,”for this I am made.”  Living here-and-now is living from the core purpose of loving God and others, being an instrument of God’s peace.

it is the rest of pace.  Susan Muto calls it living in the pace of grace. It is entering into what is happening rather than working to make something happen. Living here-and-now is living receptively.

It is the rest of increments. Mother Teresa called it the “little-by-little principle” It is living with the belief that the meaning of life is in its steps than in its conclusions.  Living here-and-now is living appreciatively.

It is the rest of authenticity.  Parker Palmer calls it living in our “season” of life rsther than trying to be someone other than who we are.  It is receiving the gifts that each stage of life has to offer. Living here-and-now is living abundantly.

This coming Sunday, we begin a new Christian year. I hope that Advent and the seasons which follow it will be provide you with many opportunities for living here-and-now, and that as you do so you will find rest for your soul.

Posted in Here and Now

Holy Love: Passages #3

​1 Corinthians 16:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:10

Paul’s missionary journeys had taken him to Corinth and Cyprus before he made it to Rome.  So, I decided to treat these two passages before Romans 1.  What he experienced with respect to sexuality came through his firsthand observation in Asia Minor.  In fact, what he wrote in Romans 1 was based on second-hand information, only later confirmed when he ended up in Rome.

As with the Levitical passages, these two texts are directly related to their cultural cultural/historical context. [1]  And as with the Levitical passages, we must begin with that context but use it to glean abiding messages that we can apply today.  In ‘Holy Love’ I write mostly about the abiding message and its application.  In this post, I will say more about the original context.

Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy is linked to the misogynistic culture of the Greeks.  At the extreme of unbridled hedonism, the sexual ethic was a male “anything goes” sexuality.  But even where the virtues of truth, goodness, and beauty were factored in, Greek culture gave wide-ranging license to men’s sexual behaviors.  The fact that some male sexuality was more civil and discreet (just as some of it is today) did not mean it was moral.  

By pointing specifically at two aberrant male sexual behaviors, Paul was calling out misogyny in general and  expressions of it in particular.  Although in its early stages, here are two texts that show a new day was dawning with regard to gender equality.  Jesus’ regard for women was the pivot, and the first Christians continued to open the door to equality.  We see this even more clearly in other of Paul’s writing– Galatians 3:28, Ephesians 5:21, 1 Tim 3:11, and especially his naming of Junia as an apostle in Romans 16:7.  This dawning of egalitarianism reset the context in which human sexuality came to be viewed in Christianity.  We catch a glimpse of it here through the two male sexual sins that Paul denounces.

In the two texts we are looking at today, Paul addresses both of the expressions. Malakoi is the more general practice.  Arsenokoitai is a more specific practice.  Both words are difficult to interpret because they are not used frequently in the Bible.  In fact, arsenokoitai only appears in the 1 Timothy text.  And even outside Scripture it is a strange word. [2]. In ‘Holy Love’ I focus on these two words because it is through them that we get the abiding message which we can apply today.  I will say a bit more about them in this post, and then turn to an unfortunate turn of events with respect to the words.

Malakoi—this is the word which more generally describes mysoginistic sexuality that characterized Greek culture.  The word literally means “soft,” and it was a way of saying a man was effeminate. But with respect to sexual morality, the “softness” applied  to hedonistic practices that were unbridled, sensual, and egoic.  Today, we would describe it as sexual addiction.  In Greek culture, malakoi frequently expressed that addiction by becoming prostitutes.  But the word means more than that, it means men whose sexuality was out of control.  It describes males whose sexuality lacks restraint.

Arsenokoitai—this word included the ideas contained in malakoi, but in a more sinister way.  Arsenokoitai were males who exploited others for their own gratification, treating their partners like objects, not people.  These males went beyond consensual sex to forced behaviors (e.g. rape), and the word is used outside the Bible to describe men involved in the sex industry (prostitution) and related sex-trafficking. Ardenokoitai are sex abusers.

In looking at these two words, it is important to know that neither of them describe a male’s sexual orientation, but rather his behavior.  The fact is, it is not possible to say these words refer to homosexuals. 

But that’s how both words are viewed.  The two words are generally thought to refer to homosexuals.  How did this happen?

The answer lies in The Revised Standard Version that came out in 1946. It was the first translation to use the word ‘homosexual’ in these two passages.  It was an inaccurate translation so far as the Greek words are concerned (as we have seen above), and it was more nearly a linguistic capitulation to an emerging cultural perception—namely that homosexuality is itself sinful.  With the publication of the RSV, conservative Christians could make their case from the Bible.  Other subsequent translations followed the RSV’s lead.  So that today, there is a cut-and-dried “the Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it” viewpoint—a viewpoint made and held onto simply because the word ‘homosexual’ was put into the biblical text. [3]

So, where does all this leave us?  What is the abiding message?  Most importantly we learn that the two passages are not about homosexuality as we think of it today.  They are not about sexual orientation.  Today, we would call it “males behaving badly”—in promiscuous and abusive ways that violate the Covenant requirement that sexual behavior honor sacredness, fidelity, permanency, and monogamy.  Neither malakoi males nor arsenokoitsi males do that.


(1) What did you learn today that you have not known before?

(2) How do your learnings influence your thinking?

[1] Since writing ‘Holy Love,’ I have found Dale Martin’s book, ‘The Corinthian Body’ (Yale University Press, 1999) and also Marilyn Skinner’s ‘Sexuality in Greek and Roman Culture, 2nd Edition (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013).  Both look at the cultural context for Paul’s words in great detail.  

[2] Dale Martin has written one of the most complete studies of these two words, in a chapter entitled, “Arsenokoites and Malakos: Meanings and Consequences” in the book edited by Robert Brawley, ‘Biblical Ethics and Homosexuality: Listening to Scripture’ (WJK. 1996).

[3] Kathy Baldock and Ed Oxford have been at work to show how the 1946 RSV charted an inaccurate course, one that a senior scholar on the translation team later acknowledged.  Kathy and Ed have gone through the complete archives of the RSV translation project, and in January 2020, their book ‘Forging A Sacred Weapon: How the Bible became Anti-Gay.’  In the meantime you can read some interim articles on the Canyonwalker Connections website.

Posted in Holy Love

Here and Now: Engagement

​When we are  present to life here and now, we become engaged with life itself.  Communion, celebration, and compassion connect us to life in the present moment in ways that are life-giving to us and to others.  We see this in the life and ministry of Jesus.

Communion.  Out of his ongoing communion with God (Luke 5:16),  Jesus made the astounding claim that his every word and deed was in response to what the Father told him to say and do.  There is no closer connection between heaven and earth than this.

Jesus also communed with nature, “the first Bible.”  I believe this is why he could so easily connect us with life through his parables, many of which were drawn from nature.  He taught against the backdrop of a firmament that showed God’s handiwork (Psalm 19:1), and his insights help us to see it too.

Celebration.  Jesus lived with the note of joy as his keynote.  Sometimes it was the joy of  pleasurable moments and people.  He seems to have been a regular party goer. But he also found joy in the challenging moments of life through offering others hope and healing.  And in his own experience, he could see joy in his endurance of suffering on the cross (Hebrews 13:2).

Compassion.  The first two elements illustrate compassion, but we speak of it in order to remind ourselves that there is no authentic spirituality apart from compassion.  Jesus “went about doung good.”. This was the disposition of his heart and the expression of his will. Several times we read that his first response to others was to have compassion on them.

In these ways and more, he exemplified engagement and told us to “go and do likewise.”  As the Father sent him, he sends us.

This kind of spirituality is not a separate entity, a compartment, or a day of the week. It is the essence of life as God intends for us to live it–to live it engaged, which means to live it in love.  Mirabai Starr describes it this way, “love—active, engaged, fearless love—is the only way to save ourselves and each other from the firestorm of war that rages around us. There is a renewed urgency to this task now. We are asked not only to tolerate the other, but also to actively engage the love that transmutes the lead of ignorance and hatred into the gold of authentic connection. This is the “narrow gate” Christ speaks of in the Gospels.” [1]  This kind of here-and-now engagement is the sign of genuine spirituality.

[1] Mirabai Starr, ‘God of Love’ (Monkfish, 2012), loc 153.

Posted in Here and Now

Holy Love: Passages #2

Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13

Honestly, I was not prepared for the complexity regarding these two passages.  Far from being cut-and-dried as a one-sentence, straightforward condemnation of male homosexual activity, the passages are in relation to a cultural and religious context far different from ours today.  An exploration of this context reveals a number of significant things.

First of all, the family system of ancient Israel was radically different.  Marriage was different, often with a polygamous configuration.  The status and role of women bears little resemblance to today.  The level of male dominance and authority was even greater than is typical now.  All three of these differences were not considered sinful then, even though some would be considered to be so today, and some aspects would even be illegal. [1]  

A second complicating factor has to do with the section of Leviticus in which the two verses appear, chapters 17-26 (or sometimes including chapter 27), called The Holiness Code.  It is the section which applies holy living to all the people, not just the priests.  It was a section specifically to instruct the Israelites as to how their behavior was to be different from that of the Egyptians (from whose land they had come) and the Canaanites (into whose land they were entering), see Leviticus 18:1-3.  What makes The Holiness Code complicated is that portions of it are no longer practiced today, even by many Jews (e.g. 18:19, 19:19).  For scholars this raises these questions: (1) Is The Holiness Code timeless or meant only to apply to its original historical setting?  (2) If it has a timeless dimension, but not all of it, which passages do we follow today?  There is no scholarly consensus on either question.

These two complicating factors have led some scholars to dismiss the Levitical verses as not applicable today (in much the same way nearly all scholars no longer include Genesis 19 in the discussion of homosexuality).  In ‘Holy Love’ I took a different approach on two levels.  First, I did not write about the historical factors because the book is a primer-level study.  But second, I did not dismiss the verses because they remain active and influential in the current conversation, and I felt that omitting them would be viewed as sidestepping a key portion of Scripture. 

My choice to include them is based on my general sense of biblical revelation—that even time-bound passages contain a message that can help us live faithfully and well in the present.  If we omit time-bound passages from our study, we reduce the influence of the Bible in our lives. Truth be told, every verse in the Bible is time bound from our vantage point.  The most recent passages are over 1900 years in the past, and the earliest may be nearly 4,000 years away from us.  To dismiss any passage because of its historical distance and difference is a decision that casts a shadow over the entire Bible one way or another.  We see this today in those who view the Bible as irrelevant precisely because it is an “old and outdated book”

In ‘Holy Love’ I have walked another path with respect to Scripture.  I have avoided a straight-line approach that generates a literalist mindset which says, “It’s in the Bible, so I have to practice it now as people did then.”  As I have already shown above, almost no Christians (even very conservative ones) read Scripture that literally.  There are historically-contextualized passages, and we must acknowledge them.  But that does not mean dismissing them.

I believe the two Levitical verses are significantly historically contextualized, so I do not simply  lift out the words and put them on today’s table saying, “The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it.”  The Levitical passages (and others in Scripture) are not that “then and now” cut-and-dried.  But neither are they irrelevant or devoid of a message for us with respect to human sexuality.  I take them seriously, and in doing so, two things stand out.

First, the context.  As I noted above, the Holiness Code is a statement about how the Israelites were to behave when they entered Canaan.  In short, the Code was about how they were to prevent Judaism from being amalgamated into Canaanite religion.  The two Levitical texts are culturally/religiously about not connecting Judaism to fertility religion,  a religion that included same-sex acts with temple prostitutes as a way to invoke agricultural prosperity.

In the cultural/religious context, the two verses are violations of the first commandment, “You must have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).  In that context, the two verses have nothing to do with the person’s sexual orientation.  They are about not being idolatrous.  God was saying, “Do not depend on the Canaanite deities for your agricultural prosperity, depend on me.”

The second thing to take seriously is the text itself, and the phrase “lie with” or “have sexual intercourse with.”  These are English renditions of the Hebrew word shakab. Rather than being a universal prohibition of male homosexuality it is a prohibition against promiscuity.  The word shakab means “roaming”—what we refer to today as “sleeping around.”

The Bible is against promiscuous sex because (as I pointed out in the last post) it violates all four aspects of the Covenant ethic: sacredness, fidelity, permanency, and monogamy.  That is the timeless message.  The verses have nothing directly to say about  male homosexuality itself (as an orientation); in fact, the practice prohibited by Leviticus (as we know from biblical history) was one that males in general were subject to practicing.  The verses prohibit promiscuity, have nothing directly to do with homosexual people, and are silent about whether or not two males (females are not mentioned) could have a lifelong relationship that keeps the Covenant.

There is one more point that we can make early on through the Leviticus texts, a point continued in the Bible; namely that there is no biblical teaching that LGBTQ+ people must be celibate.  That is a view 100% concocted by conservative Christians as a way to build their case for being “welcoming but not affirming”—a view I am personally familiar with because I held it for so long.  It is a conservative way of accepting LGBTQ+ people while denying them the right to marry.  It is a human constraint that puts LGBTQ+ people in a category the Bible itself does not create.  There is no biblical passage to support mandatory celibacy for LGBTQ+ people.  In fact, it is a prohibition that artificially precludes them from the opportunity to live in a Covenant relationship that honors sacred, fidelity, permanency, and monogamy.

Simply put, the Levitical passages send us a message, but it is not the one that many Christians say it is.  The Levitical message is this: promiscuous sexuality is not the will of God.  It is a message for us all, not just LGBTQ+ people. 


(1) Are you willing to look at these passages in a new way?

(2) If not, why?  If so, what have you learned as a result? 

[1] The CEB Study Bible has a good summary of sexuality in relation to the Israelite family system, p. 184 OT.  A much more detailed and scholarly study has been written by David Baile, ‘Eros and the Jews: From Biblical Israel to Contemporary America’ (Basic Books, 1992). 

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