Cascade Church Portland

Revisiting Paul:: Paul & LGBTQ+

February 18, 2019

When I was 18 years old my favorite activity was to go buy clothes at thrift stores.

Some of my favorites included;
A shirt for "Ben Toilet Rentals" that had a bear and an outhouse on it (since it wasn't "Ben's" I liked to imagine there was a man somewhere named Ben Toilet)
A shirt that had iron-on felt letters that read "I'm Going to be a Daddy" (I wore this shirt for my eldest son's birth)
A shirt with several quilt pieces that read "The One Who Dies With the Most Fabric Wins"

I also found a shirt that read "Straight Pride" and had the classic male and female silhouettes from restroom signs holding hands. I wore it several times until an older friend told me to stop. I couldn't see what the problem was. The LGBTQ+ community could be proud of their sexual orientation, so why couldn't I be proud of mine?

He told me that being in the majority meant that you don't go around flaunting it.

This was new information for me and it started down a very slow path of wrestling with the explicit teaching from my youth that anyone in the LGBTQ+ community was living outside of God's best. After engaging in homophobic joking throughout high school and college I transitioned to indifference and avoidance.

For years I would have told you that I just didn't know what I thought about the Bible and the LGBTQ+ community. It wasn't until seminary that I started to see the privilege in this position. I didn't seriously wrestle with the conversation because I didn't need to. My close friends were heterosexual, so there was nothing urgent driving me forward.

With an understanding that Jesus pushes us past the conversations that impact us, I looked more closely at the the 6 (or 7) verses in the Old and New Testament that were said to deal with LGBTQ+ people. What I discovered in the process was that we should do as much study of how our culture of origin influences how we read the Bible as our study of the Bible itself. I found a path of love and acceptance that takes the Bible incredibly seriously. I found equality and justice.

In this message we look at 3 of New Testament passages (all written by Paul) that have been used to condemn the LGBTQ+ community. We study some Greek words, look at context and take Paul seriously. We also talk with some friends who have been seriously harmed by the church and these verses. Their stories help us hold together theology and humanity in the way that Jesus invited us to integrate.

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