Why I Support Same-Sex Marriage

Let’s begin with the beginning.

God, having crafted a good world and a very good man to till it, declares that it is “not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

A lot of energy has been expended on that word, helper. On the face of it, it sets up a nice little proof text for straight marriage. A man is alone, so God makes a woman and, thus, a cosmic balance is achieved. Let never humanity tip it asunder.

But the more interesting word in “it is not good for the man to be alone” is the word alone. Eve isn’t spun into existence for her uterus—the “child bearing hips” modern society imagines all ancient cultures reduced women to—but for love. It is not good for man to be alone.

Of course, it is also not right for mankind to die out because there was nobody around to have any babies, but I think it is important to note that while Adam immediately jumps to Eve’s function (it has to do with getting her pregnant. Not everything has changed since the Garden), God’s concern is communal. He’s a romantic at heart, this God.

In even a cursory scan of Christian theology, this is not radical. A core tenant of Christianity has always been the idea of the Trinity—three persons whose love for each other runs so deep and pure that the boundaries of their identities blur and they become one. God does not think it is right for people to be alone because He Himself has never been alone.

I do not believe we must necessarily accept a literal reading of the creation narrative for this point to stand. Even as a myth, it is notable that the creation of woman was not primarily utilitarian, but relational. The core truth of Eve’s identity was not that she was a woman, but that she was a human. Strictly speaking, God didn’t create women to be anatomically useful, but simply to be. He didn’t create love as a pleasant incubator to keep humanity coming, but because love is in His nature. The whole idea of childbearing doesn’t even show up until God curses humanity’s sin.

It follows then, that the primary aim of marriage is not to propagate mankind through children. No, the aims of marriage are made clear in the vows: to have and to hold, for better or worse. It might be better said that marriage, while certainly not without its uses, was not created to be simply useful. It was created to be beautiful.

This should be a comfort to those married couples who find themselves without children, either by choice or otherwise. I believe it may also be a help to same-sex couples.

*     *     *

When I was newly out of college, I worked at a church in Chicago. The church was in a neighborhood called Boystown, and I’m sure you can guess what Boystown was all about. The church I worked for was very explicitly not about what Boystown was about, and this made things very complicated.

They would have been complicated anyway. The church couldn’t afford to pay me much, so I lived there. They put me up in the laundry room, and I was eventually in charge of something we called Safe Haven.

Safe Haven was simply a night we opened the doors of the church up to the neighborhood’s homeless and homeless-ish. It was a motley crowd. Mostly gay. Mostly young. Sometimes angry or unruly or even violent, but definitely hungry. That’s where Safe Haven came in.

Every Friday, we’d make a dinner for everyone who showed up, which generally ended up being around fifty people. It was almost always deafening—people screaming at each other, playing the church keyboard, sometimes shrieking in laughter and sometimes arguing. But they always ate. Everyone always, always ate. We made all the food on fifty dollars a week, a fact that astonishes me to this day. I have no idea how we did it.

I was fresh out of a conservative Christian college at the time, and it’s impossible to overstate the seismic shift in my surroundings. I learned a lot of fine theology there, and I cherish that. I really do. But theology that doesn’t work at Safe Haven is not very good theology, and a good number of solid truths I had learned evaporated on those Fridays, in that church, around those people.

One day, in the midst of all that clamor, a boy pulled me aside. He didn’t come very often, I don’t think. I didn’t even know his name. But he had a question for me.

“If God doesn’t want me to be gay, why did He make me this way?”

There were a hundred things going on. The coffee needed to be refilled. A fight was breaking out in the hallway. I was on my way to the bathrooms, where someone said people were doing drugs. There were a hundred things going on, but that moment is frozen in my mind like a painting. I remember his face, glassy-eyed and honest. I remember the din. I remember my own stomach, which felt like it’d been punched.

I know all the answers to this, my friends. I know there is a conservative, Christian response here that is gentle. I have read many of them. I’ve read the books.

But I promise you, in that moment, in my heart, those answers were as sensible as Sanskrit.

*     *     *

“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”

-Leviticus 18:22

“Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

-1 Corinthians 6:10

“The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

-1 Timothy 1:10

I could go on. There are many—a good deal more than most people think, actually. I print them here only to prove that I am not ignorant. I know the Bible. I know what it says. I’ve been reading it all my life.

And I know that there are a lot of rules in the Bible. Some of them we follow imperfectly, some we re-contextualize for our time, and some we don’t follow at all. We’re all doing the best we can, I guess.

There are attempts to explain this away. Some Old Testament scholars will split the law into different categories about which ones were intended for just Israel and which continue to apply to anyone who follows Jesus. So, laws about slaves, rape and women were meant for that time, and laws about wearing linen and eating shellfish were meant for that culture. But laws about murder and theft continue to be relevant for our lives today. As do laws about gay marriage, the thinking generally goes.

If you do that, then it becomes very easy to sort through the Scripture and systematically choose which of God’s laws seems most reasonable for you to follow.

Perhaps that is how God intended the law to be understood. Perhaps He never meant for it to be a whole cloth. It seems a bit odd to me (it seems contrary to a plain reading of James 2:10), but it could be true.

Or perhaps when Jesus came, he truly did free us from the law. Perhaps he didn’t free us from it in a complicated way, but a simple one. Perhaps the burden of our law is love. Perhaps the many, many scholars who believe Paul’s writings about same-sex relationships referred to a cultural practice no longer applicable to our modern conversation around homosexuality are right.

Perhaps. It could be true.

*     *     *

The phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin” is a trickier principle than it’s made out to be. Its origins lie with Saint Augustine, who wrote um dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum—roughly, “With love for mankind and hatred of sins.” This phrase was appropriated by Mohandas Gandhi, who wrote “hate the sin and not the sinner,” which seems rather more gracious than the dichotomous phrasing trumpeted today.

Of course it’s brought up most frequently around the question of homosexuality. But what exactly is meant by it? What is the sin, and what does it mean to hate it?

Is the sin in simply being gay? If so, loving the sinner becomes awfully tricky, because the sin is part of who they are.

Is the sin, as the plainest reading of the Bible would have it, in the act of sex itself? Perhaps, but what then is permitted for a gay person? If two gay men committed to a lifelong but celibate marriage, would this union be welcomed by the Church, being thus sinless?

I suppose most same-sex marriage opponents would say the best course of action for gay people would be a life of abstinence from romantic love altogether. Not a gift of celibacy, but more of a curse—plagued with a longing for companionship forbidden by God Himself.

But then, it is not good for man to be alone.

I’m not trying to be liberal here. I’m not trying to be cool, or falling in with faddish theology. I am simply thinking of the LGBTQ men and women of the world and trying to find a good reason for God to condemn them to a life without love. I am hard pressed to find them.

*     *     *

Opponents of same-sex marriage will often point to children as the purpose of marriage. Matthew Lee Anderson, in his very beautiful essay, explains how children steel love against death itself, as the love of the parent is manifested in their progeny. The child survives as an icon of the parents’ eros. 

This is a grand thought, but I do not believe in it. Not entirely. I do not believe in it for its rather crude materialism, the way it reduces love to flesh and function. In this view, a love that does not procreate is denied a truer, eternal form. The woman who cannot bear children, a newlywed couple whose lives are cut tragically short, even the father and mother who must bury their own children—all of these lovers must grapple with the reality that their love is marked by a missed opportunity.

This is a very Protestant view of eros, which has always elevated the act of sex to a mythic act of inevitably eternal consequence. I’m sympathetic to that line of thought, but I find it a bit wistful.

The Song of Solomon, the Bible’s chief teaching on love and marriage, does not mention future children. Paul was a bit reserved about marriage to begin with: “To the unmarried and the widows,” he says in 1 Corinthians. “I say it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self control, they should marry.”

This is a rather dim view of sex, which isn’t all that surprising, considering Paul. He seemed hugely unbothered by anything that wasn’t strictly spiritual. I love him for this, but I can’t help but think he would scratch his head at a good deal of the fuss made about marriage in modern Christianity.

*     *     *

I don’t know. Could it be that Paul had no understanding of monogamous homosexual love? He did not address it because there was no ancient context for it? It could be true. Many people think so. I don’t know. Neither do you.

But I know that faith, hope and love remain. And the greatest of these is love. And a love that must hold people’s identity at bay is an imperfect love—a love that refuses their own loves. If someone were to say they loved me but saw my own marriage as an affront to God, I would say that that person does not then really love me. I could not abide that sort of love in my life. I just could not.

And I know that the Church is full of openly gay men and women, people of astonishing courage, who continue to believe and build the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. These people are the Church. They just are.

And I know this is an emotional argument. I do not write it to convince anyone, but to make myself understood. If you disagree with the Supreme Court ruling, as I know many of you do, I love you. I know that being a homophobe and opposing gay marriage on religious grounds are different things. They just are.

And I know that I write this with tears in my eyes. Tears for long, difficult road of our brothers and sisters. Tears for the young man who told me last week, “I finally feel human.” Tears for the young woman who told me she is still too frightened to enter a church. I would hope that all Christians can join with me in affirming that, whether or not you agree with gay marriage, legal equality is a noble goal. It just is.

And I know that when I told that young man that I think God created him to be gay—that God celebrates that too—I saw God’s honest love shining from his eyes. I saw it. I just did.

*     *     *

One last thing.

It seems to me there are two options before us. Either the God affirms same-sex marriage or He does not. I understand that thoughtful, loving Christians believe one thing or the other. It is a disagreement. The Church has spent the entirety of its history in disagreement on this or that point. We are carrying on a proud tradition here. Gone are the days when doctrinal disagreements led to excommunication, or worse.There is no need for the barbs and stones that have been thrown. If anything, we should be grateful that the Supreme Court ruling has finally forced the American Church to discuss this issue in earnest.

One day, I may die and discover I was wrong about this. I am surely wrong about many things—this may be one of them.

But I’m not scared of it. I won’t be damned for this. I don’t fear judgement, because I do not think God is some strict old schoolmaster who means to check beliefs against a divine answer key at the pearly gates. The secret to salvation is not a pass/fail exam in which doctrines are lined up, weighed and measured.

And I don’t believe you’ll be damned either, if you believe God forbids same-sex marriage and it turns out you are wrong.

However, I do urge you to consider: If you are wrong, what is the cost in the here and now? A life condemning others for something they can’t change about themselves? A life judging love?

That’s the wager. It’s not one I’m willing to make.

This August, I’ll have been married for one year. The best year of my life. It wasn’t right for me to be alone, I can tell you that much. And having tasted a year of marriage, I won’t deny it to others simply because of their orientation.

Instead I will say God did not have a certain type of person in mind when He found the first problem with humanity, before war, disease, doctrine and before the problem of sin itself. A problem I don’t mean to exacerbate:  the problem of being alone.

(I will leave the comment section open as long as everyone conducts themselves like adults. I will delete hurtful and mean-spirited comments. If things go off the rails altogether, I’ll just turn off the comment section.) 

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  1. Tyler, I really want to agree with you. I continue to struggle with the way a majority of the church treats people with varying sexual tendencies. However, I think there is a healthy middle ground growing in the church, helping people wrestle through their sexual urges and the way they identify themselves. Mark Yarhouse has some excellent material on the difference between attraction, orientation, and identity that I highly recommend. He started the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity and has authored a few books that are very helpful on effectively loving people with same sex attraction or gender dysphoria. Also the website http://www.livingout.org/ has some great testimonies.

  2. amateurmovietalk

     /  July 7, 2015

    I don’t agree with you because I sincerely believe that acting on homosexual urges is a sin. But my heart goes out to all of the people that do have homosexual urges, and I honestly can’t think of much to help them except for Jesus Christ. But it is nice to hear a different viewpoint from a christian and I appreciate your courage in writing this.

    • Have you read the article at all? The whole point is that you don’t have to agree on if homosexual behaviour (or which part of it) is a sin, but there is still a decent way to behave towards lgbt people.

      • amateurmovietalk

         /  July 13, 2015

        Yes I did read the article. What part of my comment made it seem that I said not to behaved decently to homosexuals?

  3. Tyler, thank you for this. As someone who is also an LGBT ally, it means a TON to see folks within the church speaking out and sharing how they’ve come to believe what they do surrounding this topic. I know it must mean a lot to our LGBT friends as well. I also know it’s likely that you writing about this will spark a shitstorm. If you’re lucky, maybe not. I’ve written and shared about this topic extensively, so I know the feeling. Hang in there and keep doing what you’re doing. Though it might sound cliche as it sounds at this point, I do believe love always wins out every time.

  4. Here in Canada, gay marriage has been legal for about 10 years, but I’m not sure the church is any farther along at grappling with the issue and how to deal with it.

    I believe that we are born sin-stained, where many of our natural inclinations are not what God intended for us. Our natural inclination from birth is to be selfish, it is to do whatever we want. However, when we come to Christ, we realize that he wants us to fight against those inclinations. When Adam and Eve were in the garden, they chose their way instead of God’s way (which is the definition of sin). When Jesus was in the garden, he prayed, “Not my will but Yours be done”. Jesus also spoke about “taking up our cross and following Him”. Being a Christian is difficult. It means denying ourselves. It means sacrificing what we want for what God wants–what we believe to be ultimately beneficial and fulfilling–even if we don’t understand why. It’s a tough sell to gay people. It’s a tough sell to everybody. Who said following Jesus was easy?

    • I understand that the call of Christ is a call to come and die that you might live, but I find it very hard to believe that God would create some people designed FOR love and companionship and some people FOR isolation and loneliness. At that point, you are saying God created two types of people – one type meant for marriage and one type not meant for marriage. That means following Jesus, while never easy, is definitely much, much easier for certain people.

      • You know as well as I do that there has been a long history of believers having to endure far worse than isolation and loneliness because of their commitment to love and follow God. What’s the difference between a gay Christian and a Christian who never marries or never finds a partner even though they deeply desire it? Would we suggest that the person marry just anyone to curb their isolation and loneliness? Would we suggest that they sleep around? Would we suggest that they masturbate or view pornography? (Many poor substitutes). God said that loneliness was not good, but I don’t know that he’s suggesting that our need for loneliness trumps everything else. Is sin ok as long as it curbs our loneliness? God created us, but that creation has been marred by sin– it’s not the way that it was meant to be. Was a gay person born that way? Absolutely! That doesn’t, however, mean that God INTENDED that person to be gay and is thrilled with the idea of his/her pursuit of that lifestyle.

        I don’t want to sound super dogmatic here. Certainly I could be wrong. A gay Christian who interprets the Bible differently is still my brother or sister in Christ. We can disagree and still be friends. I would suggest that the Holy Spirit will convict them of sin in his own timing, but when that happens (and I believe it would), would the gay person choose their relationship and family life over Christ? When (what I perceive to be) sin is so engrained in their identity, lifestyle, and family, what kind of emotional and spiritual turmoil will they experience as a result? It saddens me to think of it. I was always startled at Jesus saying that we should hate our parents in comparison to our love for him. Choosing Christ over our family seems like an impossibly difficult choice, but, in this situation, what else is there to do? It’s like a Pandora’s box of pain and heartache. Probably something far worse than isolation and loneliness.

      • Benjamin,

        As I’ve said in a few other comments, the difference between a straight Christian who never marries because he or she can’t find someone and a Christian who never marries because he or she is gay is pretty significant. In the first instance, the person might be lonely or angry, but everyone would agree that their sadness was justified and that, ideally, they would find someone they love and marry them. In the latter case, that loneliness and isolation IS ideal, because that person’s very desire for eros is wrong. The only “best case” scenario is to ignore their desire for love.

        I think your latter point is good—an important coda to my own little spin on Pascal’s wager. I had not thought of it that way and I concede the point.

      • Tyler, I would have to interject and say that you’ve set up a false dichotomy here.

        ” I find it very hard to believe that God would create some people designed FOR love and companionship and some people FOR isolation and loneliness. At that point, you are saying God created two types of people – one type meant for marriage and one type not meant for marriage. That means following Jesus, while never easy, is definitely much, much easier for certain people. ”

        To respond directly, I would start by saying that it doesn’t matter if we find anything hard to believe about God. That is irrelevant to what the scriptures teach. The question is, what is your source of authority? Secondly, the false dichotomy is that God created some people for love and others for isolation if (as you seem to be implying) homosexuality is sin. Lets assume homosexuality is sin for a moment, I do not think your scenario logically follows in the slightest. In order to say that it does, you would have to say that God cannot change the sexual desires of people with that disposition, or that God will not be their strength if their desires do not change and they are unable to find love in marriage. (man and woman) I reject the notion that people with a homosexual disposition are incapable of finding love with the opposite sex, and I also reject that notion that Christ is insufficient to fill our needs. There is the body of Christ, the church, and there is also the holy spirit. It would be wiser to walk in truth and pray for strength to do so. It is certainly a fact that it is easier for some people to follow Christ than others. Think of Christians on the other side of the world who live in fear, and have to meet in secrecy. Places where you can be killed for being a Christian. It is certainly true that it is harder for some people to follow CHrist than others in this life. But the word is very clear that God will be our strength, and we are to ask the Lord “for our daily bread.” God bless. I’ll finish reading your article now and respond to that 🙂 I just scrolled down and saw this first.

    • millie lammoreaux

       /  July 8, 2015

      Your god is a lie and you’re wasting your life.

      Free yourself and start living for today instead of a fictional afterlife you’ll never enjoy.

      • See, Millie, these are the sorts of comments I was asking people to not make.

      • Amy

         /  July 12, 2015

        Millie, if you believe God does not exist, then it makes a ton of sense that you would support people getting exactly what they want in this life.
        This is actually why intentional abstinence from sexual activity is such a testament to the existence and love of God.

    • I find the instant discounting of their own disapproval that some people offer intellectually sloppy and often disingenuous. This is not to be mean to you Benjamin, but it is quite a stretch if people keep bringing forth arguments like “we’re alike you and I, we’re all fallen”. I’m not only gay when I fall in love with a man. I am gay when I wake up in the morning and am gay when I go to bed. Having to accept such a big part of myself as completely wrong and something I can never live out in harmony with a person that I’m in love with is different in quality and magnitude from what a straight Christian who can’t find a partner (hope remains) feels or what a Christian who lusts after people who aren’t their partner feels. That’s just a fact. If you still want to offer stern disapproval and want to fight with all your strength to keep civil rights from people that you claim to “love” by doing so, do it, but don’t discount it with logical fallacies. Sorry for the rant. I just had to get this out.

  5. You based your whole argument on the idea that God does not want man to be alone and ignored the rest of Scripture. I have been single for 24 years (I’m a straight female), and I don’t feel alone because I have family and friends. A person is not “alone” just because he or she is not married.

    Also, God allows all kinds of sin and evil in the world. Homosexual desires—like heterosexual desires outside the confines of marriage—are part of our fallen world. And just because you desperately want to do something doesn’t mean that you should make up some excuses to do it. The Bible clearly forbids homosexual behavior. You didn’t provide any arguments against passages such as 1 Cor. 6:9. You can’t just pick and choose what in the Bible you want to believe.

    • Oh, I understand! I was single for well over 24 years myself, so don’t think I’m unmindful of singleness and how good it can be.

      However, that’s not what we’re talking about here. While you might be single, any desire for companionship or marriage that may one day come into your life is going to be welcomed as a good thing. For a gay person, any desire they have for marriage and companionship is to be shunned and avoided. It’s not equivocal. Same with “heterosexual desires outside the confines of marriage.” Those desires of yours aren’t bad – they’re good, within a certain context. A gay person, by traditional understanding, would have to say the very desire is bad. They themselves are bad.

      And there are many arguments against 1 Corinthians 6:9 that have been brought up by people more intelligent than myself! Start here: http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/god-and-the-gay-christian-discussion-part-5-i-corinthians-6

      • Abraham

         /  July 13, 2015

        Mr. Huckabee,
        Temptation isn’t a sin as I understand it. Is it wrong for heterosexual men to be attracted to women who are not their spouse or who they have no intention of marrying? No, but it is wrong to give into that temptation, whether that means having an affair, sleeping around, or just letting your mind wander. Likewise, it is not wrong to have homosexual urges, but it is wrong to give in to those urges. What do you think… does that make sense?

  6. David Holland

     /  July 7, 2015

    I can tell you have put much thought into this and your desire to love God and love people is evident. If you have the time I would encourage you to check out my church’s website and check out the video of the seminar a couple of our pastors led on the gospel, culture, and sexuality. One of our campus pastors at the Disney World campus has done much reading, studying Scripture, and has a deep connection to the LGBTQ community and shares extensively in the video. Also, our church has many LGBTQ that visit from time to time and hopefully in the video you will see why when you see the heart, passion, and thrill we have as the church to extend the beauty of the gospel into every life and situation we encounter. The website is: thisismosaic.org. Blessings man!

  7. Tyler, I really appreciate this. I do. I’m not in support of homosexuality but I’ve been in support of same-sex marriage for some time. When I was much younger, most of my friends were gay or bisexual. It opened my eyes to how similar we were. My community, the disability community, wasn’t allowed to marry or even have children. In the 50s, any type of disability warranted being sterlized. Many of us were not welcome in churches because we were seen as financial burdens or distractions. I know many people today in my community that won’t step foot in a church because of that rejection. I understand intimately the struggle of being denied civil rights.

    I don’t think people choose to be born gay. I just don’t think anyone would actively choose that burden. I agree with same-sex marriage simply because I believe that people should be given the choice to live out their lives as they want, whether I agree with it or not. What the world does will not impact my ability to love someone else as Jesus would, not condoning sin but not condemning it either. I’m not God.

    I take issue with one thing though: the twisting of the scripture on it not being good that man be alone.

    Marriage is not an idol, nor does it need to happen in order to be loved. Even Paul talked about the gift of singleness. I have lost my family, I’m not married and I am now sitting in a living room after driving for hours to a new city because God ripped away what was left of my life. And I don’t feel alone. It pains me when I hear people use that scripture to justify same-sex marriage. Because you don’t have to be married in order to experience love and companionship.
    I’ve been very angry with God because of my singleness. Because I don’t even have the bare minimum of what others have. But every time He takes more away from me, I’m reminded of what it means to have a healthy, intimate relationship with my creator.

    A little off topic but my point is that if you use that verse to justify any marriage, unbiblical or just unhealthy, you miss the point of seeing Christ as sufficient and that marriage isn’t the only way to be loved and find companionship.

    • Emily,

      Thank you for your kind words, and for sharing your story. I do not know you, of course, but you strike me as very kind and very brave. I am sorry for the road you have had to walk, and admire the spirit you have fostered through it.

      You are very right that you do not have to be married to know love and companionship. I do think that still fails to address the fact that, for straight people, the desire for romantic eros is considered a good thing, which is not something the Church has historically afforded to our gay brothers and sisters.

      But I appreciate your grace and vulnerability. I have much to learn from it.

  8. Sam

     /  July 7, 2015

    “Why I support same sex marriage”

    “Cause its culturally easier than not supporting it…”

    • I certainly hope you don’t actually think that’s the point I’m trying to make here.

    • A.M.

       /  July 12, 2015

      I have to be honest, that is seriously a temptation!

      No, I don’t think that’s what your article was about, but it is a good point.

  9. You’re a funny guy, Tyler Huckabee, and you’re an insightful one too. I’ve been following your stuff for the last year or so, and while I always appreciate your humor I wish you’d blog like this more often. I’m a gay Christian myself, though personally convicted against the notion of a homosexual marriage/partnership. I guess that makes me a gay celibate Christian, but that label sounds super depressing. I much prefer “wanderer” or “pilgrim” or something a bit more endeavoring. Despite my same-sex attractions, I’ve never been super drawn to same-sex romance. Convictions aside, I guess I’ve been fortunate to realize here in my 20s that my heart yearns more for brotherhood than partnership. I grew up lacking male friendships because I was always felt weird or marred among boys, and now among men. I wouldn’t necessarily say that every gay person, male or female, has same-sex attractions for the same reasons as I do — that what they really want is brotherhood or sisterhood more than a single romantic partner for life. But I do think many inside the Church and out, myself included, would benefit hugely from such a same-sex support system. I think the Church has failed to rally behind people with same-sex attractions (at least in my own life), because they don’t know what to do or say. Really, all guys like me need is a listening ear and occasionally some open arms to fall into without shame. A guy named Tim Timmerman wrote an incredible book about homosexuality and same-sex needs, claiming that some men just have more male needs than most. I would put myself and fellow “pilgrim” friends into that category, regardless whether we were “born this way” or our environment shaped us or likely some complicating combination of both. I’ve come to respect and support gay people who desire equal rights in marriage, but I also encourage gay people who haven’t found fulfillment in sex or romance to seek out healthy siblinghood within the Church. Easier said than done, I realize, but whenever I’ve found and plugged into such a strong male community, I’ve been the healthiest I’ve ever been. It isn’t good to be alone. I hope everyone can feel a little less alone. Especially within the Church.

    Thanks so much for writing this, Tyler. Keep being insightful. Keep being hilarious. Keep being you. You inspire me.

    • Thomas, this has given me a lot to think on. I appreciate your authenticity and willingness to share, man—I really do. I’ll be chewing on this for a while.

  10. bahickey01

     /  July 7, 2015

    As a rule, I generally avoid blogs that exist to give a take on some topic. I’m glad I broke that rule to read your thoughts. I appreciate the fact that you have had to wrestle with this. Most of the vitriol comes from people who haven’t had to actively love a gay person. “Love the sinner hate the sin” is easy when your version of love stops at that glib comment. I think love means not being okay with the pain of our friends. You expressed that well, thanks for being an example of love in a complicated discussion.

    I have thought similar things to another commenter – that as a single person I’ve found that love can be big, radical and spectacular completely unassociated with marriage. But I also am allowed to flirt and date and daydream about some unnamed future husband without fear of judgement from my church family.

    Not sure what I’m trying to say here except that I’m glad we are talking about this from the perspective of people who have actually loved someone who is gay, not just used that stupid motto.

    • Thanks for breaking your general rule! I completely agree that there is more to love than just romance, but I do think the Bible (and the human experience) will attest to the fact that romantic, marital love is perhaps the rarest and most beautiful form of love between humans. Even if it’s not something that every single person finds in their lifetime, we would all agree that the desire for it is part of who we are as people. I am merely arguing that that part does not become bad just because you are gay.

      Thanks so much for your graciousness in replying. It’s more than I deserve!

  11. Brian

     /  July 7, 2015

    While I appreciate the thought you’ve placed into this I think the core failure of your argument hinges on whether God makes people gay. This goes one of two ways, in one circumstance we look for the genetic or epigenetic marker that defines a person as homosexual. We know from current research that there is hardly anything to go on, but everyone is certain there is something there we just have not found it. I’m inclined to believe we’ve put the cart before the horse in this and have made science claims about existence because of outcome. You can say God made me black, white, Asian, male or female because these are genetic traits that are identifiable. Homosexuality can’t make claims such as these and as such I struggle with the “I was born this way” argument.

    The other way this goes is that we understand that we all have unhealthy desires due to our sin nature. I think we’ve failed mightily as a church by demanding homosexuals to struggle publicly with their sin while we deem it ok to consider our “cleaner” struggles to be private sins that we struggle against. Scripture calls for all of us that claim Christ to deal with any and all sin in our lives as the Holy Spirit convicts us of it.

    While I respect you, I feel that you have elevated one piece of scripture far outside of its context and you’re using it to reshape the rest of scripture.

    My biggest question that I would ask you to apply to your framework is this: As a homosexual man draws near to Jesus (a far closer intimacy available to believers than marriage) will he naturally lay aside his homosexual desires in his pursuit of Christ?

    Put another way, if scripture considers the act of homosexual sex a sin,will being Gay come between him and his pursuit of Christ?

    Please forgive typos and punctuation as I’m on a mobile.

    • Brian,

      You are correct that the science of homosexuality remains a bit fuzzy (though many studies suggest that there is *something* to it) but I do sort of thing the question of genetics is besides the point. It seems our sexual orientation is *either* something we are born with, or something engrained so deeply that it’s inseparable from your identity. Christianity’s spectacular failure at many attempts at “gay conversion therapy” stands as a testament to this.

      As you might expect from my article, I do not believe homosexual desires are something the Holy Spirit would necessarily lead someone to set aside.

      • Brian

         /  July 8, 2015

        If the process of sanctification is one that A. Draws a believer closer to Christ and B. Causes them to be more like Jesus then it would stand to reason that anything Scripture considers sin would be an issue that Holy Spirit would convict a believer over. Are you advocating that in the pursuit of holiness that a homosexual should maintain their homosexuality in a celibate manner as the specific acts are what scripture considers sinful?

        I feel as though you are giving ascent to one issue without coming to grips with the reality that it encourages sinful behavior.

        Please understand that I’m only speaking about homosexual believers that claim Christ. I don’t believe that Christians should have anything to do with enforcing Christian morality on non-believers.

    • Just Me

       /  July 9, 2015

      I hope its ok to respond. You say his argument hinges on wether or not God makes people gay.
      My son came out to me as bisexual last yr. He was 14. Even before that and since than I’ve been reading anything and everything I could get my hands on, considering pros and cons.
      At this point I’m inclined to believe that God didn’t ‘make’ Gay people. He intended procreation. However things have changed very much since then.
      I’ve watched John Barrowman’s search (documentary) as he participated in a scientific research which proved there is a ‘gay’ gene. Which means people are now born that way. Which entails that ‘we as a church’ should be at the very least accepting of homosexuals and gay marriage.
      Of course the biggest part for me is that I think that as being a church, the body of Christ we should be more accepting of people who we think of as different as a whole. the sinner/sin sentence is one I’ve always hated. I like: ‘Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future’ a whole lot better, but I understand that’s not the issue here. 🙂

      The point Tyler was trying to make I think is primarely that God is love. And since the law indeed is fullfilled by Jesus I do not think He will judge this kind of love.

      quote: “My biggest question that I would ask you to apply to your framework is this: As a homosexual man draws near to Jesus (a far closer intimacy available to believers than marriage) will he naturally lay aside his homosexual desires in his pursuit of Christ?”
      I’m not sure why this would be such an important question. Do you think homosexuals are incapable of doing that? Isn’t this a question we all face? Will we lay down our desires in persuit of Christ? If you are truly a follower of Christ I think you will lay down any desire. (Which by the way is still a process and a hard thing to do.)
      I know of a deeply faithful man who works in Vietnam, bringing people to God. He is ‘alone’. He had to give up his desire for marriage and kids in his persuit of Christ. (As many other commenters have pointed out, he is very happy and has a full life with friends and family. Even without his worldly other half, so to speak.) So laying down a desire in ones life isn’t specific for a homosexual man.

      Please forgive any spellings mistakes for English is not my mother tongue.

      • Anna

         /  July 9, 2015

        The one thing I feel is important to tell you is that being gay is not genetic. There was one study that originally made the claim, but it has since been proven wrong, and the scientist behind it has admitted to fudging his work. There is no scientific evidence to back the claim that homosexuality is genetic. That being said, I fully support same-sex couples, as a bisexual Christian myself.

    • As a gay man who has wrestled with his identity for quite some time but who is also close to Jesus, I’d like to offer an alternative: In so many other areas in our churches, we are okay with grey areas. Some people get healed from cancer, but many more die from it. Some people pray in tongues, some don’t – even if they want to. Our church calls this an open-handed issue. Jesus – that’s a close-handed issue, but is the flood allegorical, was it local, or did it engulf the whole planet – that’s an open-handed issue. Now do you expect every single homosexual person to change as they grow close to God? God is not binary and God is not our spiritual Amazon, who will rush to deliver a desired response within seconds. Just as much as it is conceivable that God might change someones desires, it is equally plausible that he might not do that – especially with homosexual orientation, which every single credible scientific source believes to be unchanging. Yes the science is unclear, but let’s be intellectually honest: The science is unclear regarding WHEN or HOW orientation is determined, not regarding the fact THAT it appears to be determined quite solidly.

  12. Shani

     /  July 7, 2015

    Wow Tyler. I’ve thought about this a lot and you introduced new thoughts. Thank you for such a thoughtful reflection.

  13. Linda

     /  July 7, 2015

    Tyler, your article is thoughtful and worded kindly, but I do see some flaws. I would respectfully ask you what scriptures you are using to justify this lifestyle? For instance, we see in Acts that the Peter had a vision of the unclean animals being lowered from heaven with God telling him to eat and that nothing He had created was unclean. I do not recall any verses that say the homosexual lifestyle is now acceptable. Instead, I see Romans 1, which really is a condemnation of a society that embraces the same-sex lifestyle.

    Sometimes, we have to bank on God’s grace being sufficient even in the tough times and the great disappointments of life. My husband and I lost 2 of our sons in 2003 and 2004. This was almost more than either one of us could bear, and yet I am called to continue living and let my life bring glory to our Father, even without two of the loves of my life. Never a day goes by that I do not think about them.

    My point is that many of us are called to lives of pain and sacrifice, and I have to accept that in some strange way it will bring glory to God. While it would indeed be a struggle to sacrifice your true love, God is bigger. He is greater than those desires, and life really is just a vapor. You can make it through this life in obedience. Will you have scars? Oh, yes. Will life at times feel endless? Yeah. But along the way, something begins to grow stronger within you, and a peace begins to emerge that you did not think possible.

    • Linda,

      Thank you for sharing your story. I simply cannot imagine the pain and heartache, and the fact that you are able to speak from that pain is astonishing. I know that God gives people grace that does not always make sense from the outside, and I am in awe of it.

      I do not mean to ignore your larger point, but I want to honor what you’ve shared too by not trying to correct your struggle and heartache. I will pray for continued peace in your life, Linda. I hope you will pray for me.

    • Jon

       /  July 10, 2015

      Hi Linda,

      I have to ask you to reconsider what Romans actually says about same sex sexuality. What Paul is referring to in Romans is a condemnation of the adult youth pagan sex rites in the temple. Men who gave up their natural desires to pursue their own lusts. There is a world of difference between what the Bible says about homosexuality (a word that never occurs in the Bible) and what the gay rights movement is trying to accomplish. There is not a single verse in the Bible that condemns loving same sex relationships. It does clearly condemn some same sex activity such as in Romans and in Sodom where they attempted to rape the angels, but there is no argument outside various church traditions that condemns same sex relationships. You might say that since it is never positively mentioned that it is wrong, but interracial marriage is never positively mentioned in the Bible either, and no mainstream church is arguing that today interracial marriage is wrong. If you don’t agree with Tyler s argument about marriage’s original intent for companionship, I can’t force you too. I can’t see how the Bible could be clearer on the issue. There are no more male and female after Christ.

      You talk about pain and sacrifice, with which the gay community is well acquainted with. I was raped and sexually abused multiple times growing up in a Christian home. While most kids were worried about school grades, I was worried if I had AIDS or not, and had no way of being tested because the church and my family pit such a stigma on homosexuality that I was afraid if I revealed the abuse, my attractions would come to light. I don’t really have words to explain to you in one post all my life story, but trust me when I say, I understand pain, and I understand sacrifice. I would love to have kids some day but that doesn’t seem to be something that will ever happen biologically. You’ll have to trust me when I say that I have seen the evil that is described in Romans and in Sodom. And that is nothing like what same sex marriage is all about. Men raping men and raping boys is a far cry from two men laying down their lives for the other in marriage.

  14. Sammy

     /  July 7, 2015

    Hi Tyler,
    I appreciate your openess and transparency in writing this. I also appreciate your motive, a heartfelt desire to show love to all of our brothers and sisters for whom Christ died. Indeed, our ability to effectively show love to any and every group in society should take precedence over our ability to accurately evaluate the morality of what they stand for. This is central to what it means to be followers of Christ.
    I will also say that I have no issue with the recent supreme court decision, since the government is only stating what it defines as marraige, and not dictating what any religious group is required to believe morally.
    Having said that, I do believe that it is also important for us to love people in a way that is being honnest both with ourselves and with them. For example, I have many close friends who are alcoholics. They feel that they were made that way, and in a way they have legitimate reason to think this. (As you know I was born, raised, and currently work in Cameroon.) These friends of mine were absorbing alcohol into their bodies while in their mothers wombs, and then through their mother’s breasts for the first 2 years of their lives. They were then given alcohol as children right up to their teen years, when they consciously continue to buy it. They feel that they are that way, cannot be any other way, and that it is an important part of their identity. One person even told me, “God made me this way”. I believe that to truly love these friends of mine, I need to affirm their value as image-bearers, affirm their God given gifts, demonstrate genuine compassion for the way they feel trapped, and demonstrate that I hear them in what they feel is their identity. However, I do not feel that I would REALLY BE LOVING them if I were to tell them that I affirm their IDENTITY as alcoholics. I do not believe that it is a part of how God intended them to be, a part of his “best plan” for their life, or even a nessesary evil in their lives. I believe that they can become completely free of it.
    Now before you get too offended over my comparing gays to acoholics, let me say that I do not share your presuposition that gay people were made that way, were born that way, or even that they are permanantly gay. If I could be properly convinced of any one of those three things, I would seriously consider the rest of your argument as highly compelling. I recognize that most gays believe those three things, as does the bulk of American society. That does not make it true.
    There are two statistics that I think should be more commonly known than they are. 1) The average life expectancy of a practicing homosexual. and 2) The percentage of gay people who were sexually abused by a trusted adult before the age of 12.
    If you are aware of those two figures, then does it not call into question whether this is really a love ordained and intended by our Lord?
    There is a second major presuposition that I would like to question; today’s definition of who is gay.
    I wear pink frequently. My favorite color when I was little was violet. There have been many times in my life when I preferred male companionship. I am not gay.
    I have a friend in Canada who frequently feels strong emotional and even physical attraction to other guys. He is not gay – not according to what I believe is a Biblical understanding of the word. The fact that nearly every heterosexual man alive has lusted after women does not make them either fornicators nor adulterors. (Jesus says that we have already commited adultery in our hearts. He never says that this is the same as doing it physically, nor does he say that they are of equal moral weight. He simply says that it makes us all equally guilty.)
    All of us have desires deep within us that, if persued, would twist us, distort us, pervert us and ultimately destroy us. To truly love ourselves is to learn to conquer and suppress those desires while feeding, facilitating, and reveling in the desires that come from and bring glory to Christ. To truly love another person, we must seek to help them nurish those desires that will be really good for them in the long run, and help them supress those desires that will ultimately destroy them. For me, the desire of a man to have intercourse with another man would clearly fall into the second category. I know several former gays who would agree with me. I can truly love a prisoner and accept the fact that they are a prisoner, while still believing that they can be free. Let my desire for their freedom never be misinterpreted as a lack of understanding of their condition and or the difficulty that the persuit of that freedom presents. All things are possible for God.

    • Matt

       /  July 8, 2015

      Sammy- what you are asserting is a bit of a chicken or egg conundrum. To assert that a differently-oriented individual lives a shorter life or was abused a child due to their orientation would be like saying that the fact that a far lower percentage of black Americans have a college education than the percentage of college-educated white Americans is due to black individuals being less intelligent. Consider for a moment what it would be like to grow up in a world where a large part of you was considered shameful, wrong and not like everything around you. It could cause you to have higher stress levels (which we know attributes to shorter lifespans) and increase shame around sexual behaviors (which we know can lead to more deviant behaviors and less safety in these behaviors). You and many others on this thread are correct in stating that we have not uncovered the gene tied to sexuality, however there is a large body of research concerning the adverse effect of being born a minority.

  15. Kayla

     /  July 7, 2015

    I admire your bravery in writing this and I can tell it is something you have thought much about, probably more than me. And I do not think I am alone in the fact that I have witnessed many close friends suffer through some really tough, tough marriages. Situations where every syllable of their vows were tested and bent and some broke and others did not. And as a friend to those people there have been many times where I wished so much that the bible did not say what it said regarding divorce. That there were more loopholes because surely God sees how hard this is for them? But in those friends whose hope was set in Christ and not in their present circumstances, the blessing received through it all was a greater degree of holiness. A gift far greater than the healthiest of marriages could ever hope to give apart from Christ.
    And so I say all that to say, each of us is called to our own struggle. The working out of our own faith through fear and trembling and for some of us the painfulness of sanctification may come through a difficult marriage and for some of us it may come through a life of fighting sexual desires and for some of us it may come through a life of longing for companionship but never finding it. But whatever our call, dismal as it may be at times, I believe the ultimate goal should always be holiness. To be holy as Christ is holy. To love as Christ loved, humbling ourselves even to the point of death. If that is not our answer then it doesn’t really matter what the question is we will be going about it wrong.
    So for those I love I want them to have the best possible outcomes and if I believe that the best thing you could hope to get out of any situation is Christlikeness then I am going to have to say some very difficult things to them. Things that are not always palatable to modern ears. Like when Jesus told the rich young ruler to go sell everything, not because he really needed him to sell everything but because Jesus always goes after the thing our hearts would love more than Him, even if it’s excruciating, or in that case, unthinkable.

  16. Kass

     /  July 7, 2015

    I appreciate how you approach this topic with a tender and compassionate heart, feeling empty for people that do not get to experience intimacy with another person. It is a very special gift. But I think we as a culture have missed a massive first point in all the excitement: God does not make mistakes. He does not create homosexual people then tell then they cannot receive the Kingdom because they are homosexuals. There are no case studies that hold that people are born this way. Yes there have been (many) theories but when tested or the control group was escalated to a higher number they all fell short and started back to square one again.
    My point with all this is that I believe it is an issue of the heart. Everyone “wrestles with their demons” as some say, and for some in the population this is their demon. You showed verses from God’s book, His own words (in the New Testimate) that this is an abomination in His eyes and for that reason I stand by the fact my God stays the same through all the ages, He doesn’t make mistakes, and though we do love the people wrestling with it, this is still a sin.

    • David

       /  July 8, 2015

      Perhaps what I like most about this article is the comments I’m reading here below, which are very clear, balanced and loving, and explaining how the Bible cannot support the ‘practice’ of homsexuality. We must explain with mercy and truth, and you all do an excellent job.
      Kudos to everyone.

  17. Amy

     /  July 8, 2015

    I often start out thoughts with, “If God loves me then why….?”
    This question doesn’t really get us anywhere personally or theologically.

    First, lets start with the “If”….and just take it out.

    God loves me.

    It is tempting to say, “I know this because…he has blessed me through x, y, z…” OR to say “I doubt this because of these reasons (usually related to me feeling inadequate, wrong, or wrongfully treated)” OR “God if your love is real then why is x, y, z so hard/confusing?”

    This isn’t how it works.

    God loves me….and I know this because I believe Jesus came as Redemption for sinners.

    God so loved everyone that he sacrificed his dearest thing – his own communion with his son.

    God doesn’t love us or not love us because of WHO WE ARE. God loves us because of WHO HE IS. And in that loving he is sacrificial in a powerful way. We can’t make theological decisions based on who we are.

    What all that means is simple and complicated, and specific and general, and universal and individual.

    But, we really have to start there and be really firmly rooted in that.

  18. I think the loneliness you continually refer to is a natural consequence of sin. Sin separates us from the love of God. It is no wonder those who are acting out homo-sexually feel lonely. It is a natural consequence of living contrary to God’s law. No amount of legalizing sin is ever going to clear the conscience of men. God does love all men, but he is also patient and just, not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance. To condone sin is to only prolong the loneliness and reinforce the barrier sin creates between God and the sinner. If you really love someone you will try to help restore them in their relationship with God, not encourage them in what is separating them from a relationship with him.

  19. JM

     /  July 8, 2015

    You have taken every thought I’ve ever had on the subject, and eloquently put it down in words. This is amazing.

  20. Elissa Yost

     /  July 8, 2015

    I remember you telling us that story of the young gay man with tears in his eyes while you were in Chicago. When I heard it from you and up until recently I was stuggling with many of the same questions you are; biblically speaking I knew homosexuality was sin, but I couldn’t wrapped my head around the fact that God would create someone with such a deep desire that wasn’t able to be fulfilled. It has been a long time in coming, but this year there was one main thing that has challenged and changed my thinking-we decided to foster a sibling set of girls.
    I am going to speak pretty generally to protect the girls and the case, for others reading my comment. I will refer to my eldest daughter as ‘Star.’
    As you know, Simon and I have struggled with infertility for five years. This has made me wrestle with God’s design more than I thought was possible and frankly wonder many times, Why would God make me in such a way, that my body isn’t able to do, what is supposed to easily happen? and Why would a good and loving God let this happen? Frankly, I don’t know and I don’t have any good answers. I don’t think I will, while I am on this earth. I do know that God is good and works in mysterious ways that are beyond me. Our story proves that over and over again. I am not stating this to compare my struggle with someone who identifies as gay or say that it is the same. It’s not even comparable. I am simply starting with this to give some context.
    Flash forward to this year with Star, we knew she struggled with homosexuality before she came to live with us. We entered into her living with us scared and excited-both because we had no idea how to parent a teen who is struggling with homosexuality, much less parent a teenager. We were incredibly excited because it was very clear that God was orchestrating the plan of having the girls come live with us. To say we have no idea what we are doing is an understatment (but does any parent with their first kid, really?!?). I have my teaching experience and Simon has his heart and strong empathy, and we know we are called to love widows and orphans, but are we expert parents- not by a long shot. So what I am saying is I am no expert all I have to offer is our story, which is all really anyone has to offer apart from Christ.
    When I say Star struggles with homosexuality, I mean she is viewing it as a decision, which I know is different from how culture and the world views it. This is because she is very vocal about that being abused in her previous home has affected her deeply in a way that is indescribable. It has changed what she thinks about herself. She has been scarred. The sin of other people has hurt her so badly that she often wonders why this was allowed to happen to her. Why didn’t God help her sooner? Star’s story is her own, but in many ways I have found out it is not a unique one. As I have done research I have found out that girls who are sexually abused are much more likely to struggle with homosexuality. It only makes sense: men failed them in the past, so women are safer. The journalist in me wants to find a statistic about this-but you won’t find one because many physchologists and reseachers argue that it is not connected. However if you listen to Star’s story and the story of others who have been abused in domestic relationships or as children, it’s hard not to hear the pain of wanting to be loved by someone, anyone. And, unfortunately our own pain leads us many times to develop sin patterns that are insidious and seem like a coping mechanism or something that is innate to us. However, you and I know God is bigger than any of that.
    My challenge is to continually view my own sin struggles in the same light as something that has gotten as blown up in our culture as homosexuality. Is my tendency to be passive aggressive in order to get my way really that much different? So now we have talks much more often about sin we are struggling with often in our house. I apologize more than I ever have and have to admit daily that I need Jesus. I think the challenge for all of us, as Christians, is to listen to more of people’s stories, to open our hearts, and to make the discussion about struggling with sin a regular discussion. The gospel is that we are all more incredibly broken than we imagine, we need Jesus more than we know, and until He returns the world will still be a broken place where we are never fully fulfilled without Him We can’t expect people who aren’t believers to have struggles with sin at all and we especially can’t expect it when we don’t talk about it ourselves.
    We love you Tyler, would love talk to you more about this when you come to visit St. Louis. Remember you owe us a trip!

    • Brian

       /  July 8, 2015

      Elissa, I don’t know you, but from one adoptive family to another, this is beautiful and your family is beautiful.

    • Bailey

       /  July 8, 2015

      Important and very relevant thoughts, Elissa. Loved reading this, and love you guys.

      • Elissa Yost

         /  July 9, 2015

        Thanks Brian! Adoption is beautiful!

        Bailey, I miss you and your gorgeous little fam. I guess writing this comment has made me realize I need to write more. I just need to figure out a way to do it and still protect the girls. Love you!!

  21. Beautifully written. I grew up in the midst of the Bible Belt, but went to school in DC, and in those four years, I got to know some of the sweetest people, and my views on same-sex marriage changed, much to my father’s chagrin. I agree wholeheartedly when you say that the recent ruling is forcing the Church to finally talk about this more, because so many don’t. I know many kind-hearted people who have such strong opinions about the “gay issue,” without actually seeing a person affected by it, and it makes my heart hurt. Too often, people like to distance themselves from important matters, yet have strong views on how it should be handled.

    Thank you for your courage in writing this.

  22. I love, love, love your piece.

    Based on what some commenters have said and on discussions with a particular non-affirming Christian friend of mine who is in his late 40s and has never married and isn’t happy about it, I wonder if straight married Christians are more pro-SSM than their equally conservative, same-aged straight unmarried friends. Usually being married correlates with conservatism, but I’m not sure if that applies on this issue. I’m married, Christian, and conservative, but I support not just SSM but open and affirming churches. While I think I’ve been pretty thoughtful in coming to my views, my feelings are in no small part inspired by my desire for others to have what I have. Also, being married has its own quirks that make me see sexuality as more complex than I imagined it to be when I was single (and fwiw a virgin). So, my own experience as a husband has made me more sympathetic to SSM. My friend, on the other hand, doesn’t hide the fact that his loneliness makes him less sympathetic to gay persons who want to solve their own loneliness through marriage. Anyway, just something I’ve been thinking about.

    Anyway, blessings to you. And blessings to all the gay Christians out there who don’t face an easy time from their brothers and sisters in the Church.

  23. Christopher Lyon

     /  July 8, 2015

    Hi Tyler. I really like reading your stuff, and I’ve long admired your boldness. Thanks for taking the risk to explain your conviction on this issue. What follows is truly not meant to be combative.

    “I don’t fear judgement, because I do not think God is some strict old schoolmaster who means to check beliefs against a divine answer key at the pearly gates. The secret to salvation is not a pass/fail exam in which doctrines are lined up, weighed and measured.”

    I agree with this paragraph(!), but I wonder what you believe the secret to salvation is. You clearly have a kind and compassionate heart – and you have clearly shed some of that fine theology you were taught. So I’m wondering where you stand on the issue of who will be saved.

    It’s pertinent to this conversation, right? If God is just too loving to condemn anyone driven by one sexual attraction or another to a mortal life of unmarried loneliness, how could he possibly condemn anyone to an eternity apart from him for any reason?

    It seems to me that the beauty of the Christian message is that, in Christ, God is not holding people’s sins against them—not that our sins are not sins, after all. The beauty of the Christian message is that God offers to transform our identities from “adulterer, idolater, thief, drunkard, reviler, swindler” into the sinless identity of Christ himself—not to admit in the end that he was the guilty one for allowing us to be that way in the first place.

    Either the God of the Bible demonstrates his love for us, in part, by warning us away from sexual sin for our good and offering forgiveness in Christ for that sin (even while we still long for it)—or the version of God painted in the Bible is unloving for describing our reasonable choices as sinful and deserving of judgement and we should be done with him.

    How much rewriting of Christianity does it take before we’ve created something else? Wouldn’t it be simpler to say that we no longer believe in the God of the Bible than to try to get him to fit into something that makes more sense to us?

    • Thanks, Christopher, and I appreciate the thoughtfulness of this critique. It’s clear you’ve taken what I wrote seriously, and that means a lot to me.

      That paragraph was certainly not meant to imply anything about God not condemning anyone *in spite* of their sexual attractions, only why I have come to believe that same-sex marriage itself is not a sin. My paragraph is there to point out that this is not a salvific issue and there is room for disagreement on this.

      I think we need to stop lumping the LGBT community in with “adulterer, idolater, thief…” etc. Those are all behaviors that, yes, God can transform. But Christianity’s brief, disastrous flirtation with gay conversion therapy ought to be enough to convince us that same-sex attraction is not simply a matter of something people can get over. This is not a behavioral issue.

      • Congrats on all the varied feedback and engagement here. You obviously touched a nerve with your openness. One last rejoinder from me, and I’m out.

        First, I didn’t originate that list of “adulterer, idolater, thief, etc.” And that was kind of my point. You either believe those lists and other passages on the issue came from a loving God or you dismiss the Bible as a valid source of information about him and start assembling your own.

        Second, I’m saying we need to lump ALL of us into those lists. You’re right. It’s not the behavior that needs to be transformed; it’s the person. It’s me. It’s all of us that need our identities replaced with Christ’s.

        The issue of whether “God affirms same-sex marriage” may not be salvific, but the basis (and need) for believing in the Christian idea of salvation at all gets pretty thin if you’re willing to set aside so much of the Bible as authoritative to make the point.

  24. Lewis

     /  July 8, 2015

    Great post.
    It all comes down to who you think God is.
    Would God abandon one of His children even if they continued to sin?
    (If let’s just say being gay is a sin)
    I think not.

  25. John olmstead

     /  July 8, 2015

    Tyler you’ve written a very good article and yet you skirt the basic truth – you don’t *want* to believe that same-sex relations might actually be wrong. As you mention, you “might be wrong” as those who condemn homosexuality “might be wrong” as well. For someone apparently very learned this a cop-out of epic proportions.
    A child who asks their parent “why can’t I have candy for breakfast” never thinks they might be wrong – they assume that for some reason the parent is crazy or out to lunch and just doesn’t understand how natural their request is – and how it should be automatically obeyed. But at some point, most children grow up and realize that what they thought they wanted, wasn’t what they actually needed. Every film and screenplay is the same / the character starts with struggling with what they want and yet what they end up with instead is what they need. Two facts can simultaneously be true – 1. God loves you whether you are straight or gay, angry or sad, perverse or celibate. He loves you because Jesus died in your place, and washed clean whatever you have done or have yet to do.
    2. Not everything we want to do is right. To admit this is very difficult but I have yet to meet a gay person willing to even address it. I would be a fool to think that everything I’m “born” with – anger, dominating thoughts, control issues, fear, rebellion, etc.. are all good and right for me to do simply because they come naturally and – let’s be honest – because they feel pretty damn good!
    If “God did not want man to be alone” means the vagueness you suggest, then Lassie or Trigger should be suitable life companions, and worthy of love and romance as you suggest.

    • John, thanks for taking the time to put together such a well-reasoned comment. I appreciate anyone willing to put this much thought into something I write.

      I do think you misunderstand me on a few points (which may well be my fault!) First of all, I think it’s hardly a cop out to admit that I might be wrong. I call it humility, and I hope I don’t lose it soon. I’ve stated what I believe, but I’ve also made a sort of modified Pascal’s wager and determined that this is the better option.

      Second, the two facts you postulate *can* both be true, but the comparisons you make in the second point “anger, control issues, fear and rebellion” are behavioral traits with unilaterally negative consequences.

      Being LGBT isn’t a behavior. It’s not like having a quick temper. Being LGBT is part of your very identity. It’s having the same desire most people have, but for you, it is considered sick and sinful. It’s more than saying some people are born with inclinations to different temptations – it’s saying some people are born with sin baked irrevocably into their identity.

      (I think you can probably see how and why my argument doesn’t imply a pet could be valid substitute for romance.)

  26. This is something I have been pondering a lot lately. Some of our dear friends, with kids the same age as ours, are a married lesbian couple. They are full of kindness and love and care for each other and those around them. They aren’t from any sort of religious background. We walk this interesting journey together, sharing life (which includes conversations about our faith as well as conversations about their experiences as a homosexual couple in America) and honoring each other’s experiences. My husband and I love them a heck of a lot and are so thankful they’re in our life.

    I can’t reconcile those verses in Scripture with these wonderful people. I can’t for the life of me figure out how the passages about homosexuality work when I’m looking at a committed, awesome couple who love each other and their children. I want them to come to know and love Jesus. But if that happens (and that’s the only way I see Christians having a right to speak into someone’s lifestyle), I honestly don’t think I’ll be able to muster up the desire, much less any rationale that I can get behind, to tell them their lifestyle is a sin. It’s this weird tension. I can’t explain away those verses. But I’m also not planning on actively trying to justify them, either, because I can’t figure out how they fit into the big picture of who God is, or why He would want marriage just between a man and a woman (I have yet to see a good argument for the why of that), or whether maybe they’re set in a historical context I don’t get. A gay Christian I know (celibate by choice because he does believe the action is a sin) says, “If someone in your life is gay and says they follow Jesus and asks you if their lifestyle is sin, just send them to Jesus, and let Him deal with their convictions.” I’ve taken this to God over and over and haven’t gotten any clear sense one way or the other, so that’s pretty much what I’ve decided to do.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your journey and your story. I do believe that the sorts of friendships you and your husband are investing in are the single best way to go about exploring all this!

  27. Tyler, there is no doubt that the church has behaved horribly toward the LGBT community, and I am so sorry for your pain. But I just cannot change what God says and how his word is being used to justify something he clearly says is unacceptable. Granted, we do a lot of unacceptable things, but I don’t celebrate my pride or my anger or adultery or (fill in the blank). And to suggest that people like Rachel Held Evans or Matthew Vines have the scholarship credentials of an N. T. Wright or Wesley Hill or any number of scholars who affirm the traditional view of Christ and His Bride and marriage between a man and a woman is just hard to swallow. Did we really discover something new in the last 40 years since Boswell that is different from the first 2000 years of the Church? Might I suggest that you read Caleb Kaltenbach’s book, “Messy Grace” when it comes out in October? Caleb preaches at Discovery Church in Simi Valley, California, and as a child of gay parents, discusses the challenge between grace and truth, the messy grace. He is an amazing and loving individual. And, I have to reiterate (and I know you refute this thought line) that what do we say to heterosexual single people who never know married love? Are they less than? Are only single homosexual folks allowed to be “happy? If there is one thing I have learned through the years, it is that God has commanded us to be faithful, but he has not commanded us to be happy. It seems somewhere along the way we have decided to have Christianity without a cross and feelings over what Scripture actually says. Please know I am not saying any of this is easy. But God calls the shots, not you or me. May you find peace and comfort in your journey.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Lynne. I appreciate the grace and spirit of unity you’re seeking in this. I know it’s a difficult conversation. (I will absolutely put “Messy Grace” on my list.)

      A few points. First, I have great respect for Dr. Wright and Dr. Hill, of course, but to suggest that they trump Matt’s scholarly work just by their pedigree is a very unsatisfactory argument. OF COURSE I believe that we may have discovered something new 2000 years of church history missed – God’s grace continues to work and expand on earth, and that goes for the church as well. 2000 years of church history has had some beautiful moments, but has also believed in some very terrible things until long-held assumptions were re-examined and ancient paradigms were found wanting in light of progress. This is often seen as *bowing* to culture, but I think it can also be viewed as the Holy Spirit’s ongoing redemptive work in the world, and that work is getting better, not worse.

      I have addressed the comparison between gay people and an unmarried single person several times in the comments. I’m afraid it just does not hold up.

      Thank you again for seeking understanding along with me.

    • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

       /  July 8, 2015

      Lynne, may I gently assure you, as a student of biblical Hebrew, that your English translation is very different in places than the Hebrew. And nowhere in the original languages does God condemn gay people. I would be glad to explain it further, if you need.

  28. Kara Ferry

     /  July 8, 2015

    Tyler-I think we graduated together or maybe a year apart from MBI. Thank you, from the deepest part of my heart, for this article. I feel so alone sometimes as a Moody grad. who supports gay-marriage. Your article brought to light so many questions I grapple with myself in terms of cultural context, rules we half-follow and those we do not at all.
    I know that we are currently in the minority, but I believe that articles like yours is a great starting point! My hope and prayer is that in 50 years gay-marriage is viewed as inter-racial marriage is today. (How was this never not legal?)

    Kara Ferry-
    Class of 2009

    • Hi Kara! It’s an uphill climb to the sort of world you’re looking for, but I do think it will get there. Thanks so much for your kind words.

  29. Jess

     /  July 8, 2015

    You spoke in my Intro to Comm class with Janosz. I think you said something along the lines of “Comm students will be poor for a while.”

    Anyways, I’m living in NYC right now. My wife and I are working and socializing regularly in the middle of the theatre scene. One of my family members came out last year. A very boystownish situation.

    I’m also on the path of becoming a pastor, or something like that. I’m learning and growing and worshipping and communing in ways I never had before, and I’m loving it. But –

    I’m afraid of what I believe (That the Bible prohibits this). I’m afraid of what I believe in the sense of what it will do to my (our) community. I’m more afraid of that than afraid of my views changing in the future. I’m not so interested in the arguments anymore, they seem to have all been laid out on the table. I’m interested in how to live among the “other siders”. My brothers and sisters who see this differently. I’d love to see an article on Holy, unified, dissension.

    Thank you. I’m always thinking about my family member in light of every single article I read on this topic. You are a shining example to me and others.

    • Jess, I set out to write this article not so much to convince others (because I, like you, don’t really believe there are a whole lot of new cards to be played there) so much as to say something forceful without alienating those who disagree. I hope I’ve achieved some of that. I will pray for your family member. Incredibly tough situation.

  30. Tyler, I always enjoy reading your thoughts, and I was struck by the tenderness you bring to this subject. I’m still wrestling with what I think, and your thoughts added a lot of nuance to my emotions. Thanks for adding your voice to the conversation.

  31. Juan

     /  July 8, 2015

    Beautiful but more importantly honest words. I double down on the wager for love.

  32. Thank you.

  33. Thank you. ❤️

  34. I appreciate your heart, Tyler. This is a beautiful post which will hopefully give conservative Christians much to consider. I’m a gay man who gradually accepted celibacy as my life vocation–a decision I fought for a few years. I personally had difficulty applying the arguments and logic of affirming theology when I approached scripture. Nothing about faith is certain, but I felt like there were too many gaps for me to continue believing the affirming position. That said, I believe grace is a central part of our faith, one which many Christians seem quick to ignore. I don’t think this is a question of Heaven and Hell, but for me it is a matter of submitting to my conscience and understanding of scripture. I have many LGBTQ Christian friends and acquaintances who disagree with me, and I still count them as my brothers and sisters in Christ.

    God doesn’t intend for any of His children to walk this earth alone. I agree with you there, man. But I disagree that marriage is the only means of belonging on this side of eternity. I have found such beautiful friendships that have nurtured my soul over the years as I’ve made myself vulnerable and opened up about my experience as a Christian sexual minority. I have been loved well by family and friends, and I think that has made all the difference. No one is immune from loneliness, married people or single people. But our loneliness drives us to community, to love. I would disagree that I live a life without love, rather my life is filled with love for every person God allows me to know.

    I do believe the church has much to learn from those like me. There is much that needs to be changed so sexual and gender minorities can thrive and belong. Thank you for speaking up for us, Tyler.

    • Obviously (well, *hopefully* obviously) I think your voice and opinions have a bit more weight than mine here, because experience is a brutal teacher. I will think about this, Seth, and I’m glad you’ve been able to find what seems to be a great amount of peace and grace with the decisions you’ve made about your life.

  35. When I learned the possibility of my being 1/4 Jewish, i decided to learn what they believe about the scriptures, since Jews are the ones who wrote them. Read a study Bible “Love the Lord with all your Heart (1). Look up (1) and see 1. lit. “kidneys”.
    Love the Lord with all your KIDNEYS? They knew you don’t think with your kidneys. It was a metaphor for your souls.
    TWO of them.
    One human soul – it can grow like our bodies do – it is “fed” so to speak, by good deeds.
    One “spark of Godliness” – made in God’s image – and like God, it is perfect and can’t grow.
    As you live, all your good deeds from prayer, offerings, good works, a cup of water given to a child, etc, will be stored in heaven. At the rapture spoken of in Daniel 12, these good deeds will be used to “grow” your human soul. But since your “spark of Godliness” is merged with it, THAT soul will grow too. These are the “treasures stored up in heaven where moth and rust cannot corrupt”. These treasures will be used to mature your soul in heaven.
    When you spend your time condemning others, you don’t add to the good you have stored. There is no Gold silver or jewels, just wood, hay and straw. All that will be burned and your soul will not grow like a seed when planted. These people are not helping themselves OR others.
    For a better explanation – I hope this link will work… http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/3194/jewish/What-is-a-Soul.htm

  36. Willem

     /  July 8, 2015

    I believe you may have thrown the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. While it is unconscionable at a legal level for homosexuals to be denied the right to marry, it is equally unconscionable to try to purport an interpretation of the Bible in which God is anything less than wholly condemning of the homosexual practice. I think this bears repeating – at a legal and social level, it is UNCONSCIONABLE to discriminate against gays or to deny them the right to legal marriages and equivalent social standing in society.


    I read your entire article, and from it I gleaned some basic points: you don’t understand how a loving God could make a person gay (as that person would be exposed to ridicule and isolation in the Christian community by virtue of shunning those involved in sexual unrepentant sin), and so you say that because God is love/loving, then our understanding of Scripture must be wrong.

    Might I posit that you have a faulty view of what love actually is?

    As a student of Scripture, surely you must be familiar with 2 Timothy 4:3 where it speaks of a time when people will surround themselves with teachers who tell them what their ears want to hear? The absolute most loving thing you can do for someone is to _tell them the truth_.

    Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but profuse are the kisses of an enemy as they say…

    You have become a false teachers as described by 2 Timothy 4:3 by virtue of using your platform to propagate a view of God that undermines Scripture, undermines holy marriage, and undermines your own salvation. Yes, you have actually taken a step towards your own damnation, sad as it is to say. Let me explain further…

    No, this view you have on gay marriage by itself will not damn you, as you have said. However, what it will accomplish is to set a seed of doubt – much like Eve was tempted in the Garden with the line “Did God _really_ say that?”, you are going through a temptation in which you are being deceived into believing a fundamentally untrue thing about God – that his word cannot be fully trusted.

    How long do you think it will be until this road leads you to completely abandoning the faith you once had? Do you think that once you take the position that the Scripture is wrong on this issue, that you will not then “open the dam” and start making other allowances as the decades of your life pass by? There comes a time where you will pile enough stuff up on the scales that they will tip and you will say one day “I just can’t believe in God anymore.” It is the long, slow slide to atheism and it happens ALL. THE. TIME.

    I want to challenge you to be intellectually honest with yourself. You don’t believe in the God of the bible – not anymore. You believe in moralistic therapeutic deism – in a God that exists to make people happy and to alleviate their suffering and make them “good people”. It is very American, and in today’s society would be viewed as a very noble way to think about God.

    It also happens to be tragically, comically wrong.

    • Katie

       /  July 13, 2015

      Willem, you took the words right out of my mouth. This is moralistic therapeutic deism at it’s finest and it makes my heart hurt.

  37. Reblogged this on Another Anomaly Among Many and commented:
    Yes, I think that a lot of people in the world and in this country can appreciate this post. I’m grateful for people like Tyler.

  38. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, Tyler. Wonderful, and I’m so thankful for people like you who are willing to speak up and say something about this. Keep on doing what you’re doing. You’re touching more people than you realize.

  39. Mark Taylor

     /  July 8, 2015

    Your words here have moved me in various ways. I’m writing to describe one way in particular — you’ve uncovered a memory — and also I’d like to make a point. I’m from the Deep South, but I’ve lived in Manhattan most of my adult life. I have a set of cousins whose family name is Pentecost, a fact I’m adding for flavor. I was raised well: not Pentecostal but Presbyterian. One of my Pentecost cousins, my grandmother’s first cousin, I had the privilege to know and admire from afar before she passed away after having lived almost a full century. We most often met in large family gatherings, but one time I remember she asked me to have a word in private: “You live in New York City, and I know you must know and know well a great many Jewish people. I’m not being presumptuous?” “No ma’am, you are not.” She went on: “Well, as a favor to me, would you consider praying for your Jewish friends? They’ve never accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. And I know they are good people. But they are all going to burn in Hell.” Benighted as she was (I’m reluctant to add one more fact – she was a long-time public school teacher of note) I promised her that I would pray. The only person I prayed for in this respect was my cousin Pentecost. I believe there are two kinds of very religious people: the benighted and the enlightened. But in my opinion my cousin, albeit a “Good Christian Person” never once saw the Light. Nay, she lived a life of disillusionment and perhaps worse – malignant prejudice. Whereas, you and nearly every single practicing Jew I’ve ever known fall into the latter group. In finding faith, you’ve managed to merge intense, deep feeling with analytical and critical thought. God, in her glory, had a plan in mind for you when she led you to share yourself the way you’ve chosen. Only my opinions… They just are.

  40. Eric

     /  July 8, 2015

    Much to agree with here, but I am left feeling like we need more space for single people to be ok too. It’s not good for Adam to be alone, but it’s also not good for Adam to marry for the wrong reasons. Community is bigger than marriage. Thanks for the thoughtful, well-written post Tyler!

  41. I appreciate your intent, Tyler, and yet completely disagree with your conclusion.

    Then again, our opinions really don’t matter –

    God always gets the final word. I see that we at least agree on that.

    Where we part is I’m leaning into His “first words” on the topic, too.

    Why wouldn’t we?

    It’s likewise a dangerous thing to read the Normal of Genesis 1 and 2 through the filter of an abnormal world that does abnormal things and tries to pass those things off as… Normal. We all do this cannot presume that God’s intentions with Adam and Eve – a man and a woman – are meant to be applied any scenario outside of that. (I’ll refer back to this in something below.)

    We cannot presume, likewise, that since God said that Adam being alone was not a good thing that we need to do whatever it takes to make sure loneliness gets cured. After all, how many wrong things in the world are people doing to scratch the itches inside of them?

    And on the topic of loneliness, what do we do with prophets and apostles who seemed to live a lonely life? Did Jesus ever feel alone? Why didn’t God satisfy Him or them with a spouse?

    Or was there something greater than that to satisfy them?

    How does that gel with your conclusion?

    I am honestly also intrigued by the skillful way you attempted to make your point through your narrative. I’ll provide a slightly shorter and satirical example of it here in my comment, not to mock you but to show you and readers what I think you just did (perhaps not on purpose):
    “I own a key. It is a key that opens the door to my house. Whether it came from the creator of my house or someone who came up with it before me, I don’t know. I never will.

    And speaking of keys, what if that key really was meant to be more than a key to just my house? What if it can open up doors besides my own? Every door?

    And speaking of doors, I once lived in a neighborhood that had many doors. Its residents all had keys, too. But their keys weren’t like mine. One day one of them asked me, ‘Why was I born to live in this neighborhood? And why don’t I get the same key you get? And why won’t my key open up the door to your house?’

    And speaking of houses, it left me wondering if in me holding the key to my house if I was being judgmental. I must have been – it has to be judgmental to not let everyone have the same key to my house that I was given. Or maybe everyone should have a house.

    And speaking of everyone having a house, why am I the only one who gets to have a key to a house? Why shouldn’t everyone in the world get to own a house? A big one. That will make everyone happy, and there will be no real societal consequences to every single human being on earth suddenly owning a house, all at once. No impact to the population or social structure. And people will feel happy, and maybe that will mean they aren’t alone.

    And speaking of being alone, being alone must be what matters to God the most. It’s why Jesus never felt alone. Or did He? Or didn’t He? We won’t ever know. Or will we? At least he had a house. A big one. Perhaps. We won’t ever know. Or will we?

    So… why am I still selfishly holding onto my key? It’s condemning others for something they can’t change about themselves. I’m not sure if that’s what the creator of my house intended my experience to be, but if that’s the wager it’s not one I’m willing to make.”

    I apologize if that feels like I’m poking, but I truly am simply attempting to reveal a trend I see in these discussions:

    – We presume that asking questions is enough to make a point – without realizing the direction it points us in. (i.e. “What harm is there in asking, ‘Did God really say…’ anyway?”)

    – We allow the “I have a friend who…” rationale shape the Story of God versus letting the Story of God be our only rationale.

    – We believe mentioning how God is love somehow means we don’t have to remember He is also holy. God’s love never trumps His holiness, just as His holiness never trumps His love. It’s a beautiful tension that we don’t seem to want to dance with, so we pick the side of the Father that takes us to Disney World and overlook the just-as-important side of the Father who spanks us when we are wrong.

    I’m weary of these discussions. I’m not sure why I’m even blurting out this comment.

    Maybe it has something to do with trying not to grow weary in doing good.


    • Katie

       /  July 13, 2015

      I could not agree with this more. Thank you for commenting this!

  42. Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

     /  July 8, 2015

    As an long time and ongoing student of biblical Hebrew, I’m glad to see you quoted Leviticus 18: 22 accurately. The word is male, not man or mankind. This is a critically important because male is an adjective for an unspoken but understood noun. To make a long lesson short, the missing word is kadesh, priest. God is talking about Baal priests whose place it was to “receive”, anally or orally, a worshipper’s” offering “. Further proof lies in the word translated abomination in the similar verse, Leviticus 20: 13. It is to’evah, related to idol worship. God is not talking about His gay children whom He wonderfully and fearfully made.

  43. Tyler:

    Thanks for writing this. You are clearly speaking from the heart here. I have two questions that I would like to ask.

    1. What defines the suitability of the companion? Mutual desire?
    2. Don’t you think your wager, while rhetorically powerful, was a bit dishonest?

    The other side of your wager would be eternal damnation, if we were to take Paul at his word in 1 Cor 6 (“shall not inherit the kingdom of God…”). The wager asks us to choose between this life and the next, but you don’t come out and say that.

    Thanks for your time and consideration, Tyler.

  44. Josh

     /  July 9, 2015

    I think you make a great point about not being afraid of judgment. I also like your wager reasoning. I think Jesus will always appreciate when we err on the side of love (or our best estimation of what love should look like in any given situation.) I think one of the most important things you said is that homophobia and believing SSM is a sin are not the same thing. I personally enjoy a close friendship with a married gay man who knows that I disagree with him on things. We know very well that we love each other and we have the benefit of a life-long friendship to back it up. That category doesn’t exist for a lot of people and I appreciate you highlighting that. I try my best to promote the other side you mentioned which is that Christians affirming SSM are still Christians at the end of the day even if I don’t like what they say. I honestly believe love can be the motivation behind both positions. Thanks for including that.

  45. You seem like a decent reasonable gentleman who has come a long way, might I challenge you to go one step further.

    Now Like Jesus, you no longer have a problem with homosexuality or gays marrying, perhaps you can tackle what I have always considered to be a potential problem. One that has arisen I believe because of humanness of the apostles, their reluctance to always seek clarification when they were not sure.

    If it is not broke why fix it, is the reason I give for using the KJV of the bible for the past 49 years. Jesus Christ introduced a word for the first time in history in Matthews Gospel chapter 16 at verse 18. None of his uneducated and educated followers ever heard the word before. Jesus said upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

    No one asked him what he meant by the use of this new word CHURCH. And he did not explain.

    What? and this is my challenge to you sir, What if that which we know today as Church is nothing like what Jesus had in mind when he said those words? What if we got it all wrong, total wrong end of the stick.

    For 40 or more years I have not had to deal with the Gay life or marriage issue for when I applied my slide-rule I seen that there was no problem, no issue (for me).

    my slide rule to any moral question is, What did Jesus say and what would Jesus do.

    You noticed in all your biblical quotes above (including words like homosexual that were never in the original and definitely not in the KJV) there is not one of these from Matthew Mark Luke or John. None from any of the books that carry the words spoken by our God, Jesus Christ. If it was the serious problem it seems to be in the Nuclear weapons of Mass-Genocide holding nation of the United States of America – you think He would have mentioned it. Jesus is not the sort of guy that ‘things slip his mind’

    Gay Marriage and homosexuality is not, never has been, an issue for the Church,

    Jesus’s Church.

    But how many people do you know are actually members of the Church that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 16?

    Do you know any?

    Do you know what it is?

    Do you care?

  46. Lynn Miller

     /  July 9, 2015

    Tyler, it might help to know that the word “helper” in English was the word “Ezer” in Hebrew, and it meant “the one who rescues”, not the one who cleans house and washes dishes. Eliezer (God who rescues) is a good example of how it was orginally used.

  47. Perhaps those of you who support loneliness for your fellow Christians who happen to be gay have never seen a loving same-sex family. Watch this short video about my family. Caution: it is a sad story. https://youtu.be/-P64X96Voss

  48. Reblogged this on franiel32.

  49. clayton2903

     /  July 9, 2015

    Tyler, I have honestly not heard of you until now. Your article showed up on my Facebook newsfeed and, because of who shared it and because of the rainbow flag, I decided to read it. So let me start by saying thank you for your thoughtful words.

    I am 52 years old and grew up in the church, and like many Christians struggled with how to interpret the Bible, and how to reconcile my faith with many issues with which we as humans are confronted. As a young person, I was taught what most of have been: homosexuality is unnatural, an abomination. Contextually speaking, my childhood and teenage years occurred in a time when homosexuals were essentially forced to live in secret, which by extension meant that theirs was the “love than cannot be named.” As time progressed, it became a conversation about sex. Period.

    It seems to me that the basis for much of the discussion on both sides of the debate about homosexuality in general, and same gender marriage in specific, was seemingly boiled down to the question of whether or not homosexuality is born or learned. If the former, than much of the scripture we see with regard to the behavior is moot. If the latter, we are to pray for the sinner, or hate the sin and love the sinner (person). To quote South Carolina Presbyterian minister, Mark Sandlin, this resonates like “hate the toppings, love the pizza.” The obvious point is that without the pizza, we cannot have the pizza… I would submit the question is not whether homosexuality is learned or genetic, but rather, as with any relationship, is it affirming, positive, loving and supportive-both of the people involved and, as a Christian, to one’s faith.

    Even after 45+ years, I recall as early as the age of four being attracted to boys. I recall during prekindergarten wanting to play house with another boy and, when told I should do so with a little girl, feeling that wholly unnatural to me with every fiber of my being. Later, as a teenager in the late 70s and early 80s, I was-like many teenagers-sexually active. In my case, probably over-active. And because of (some of) the reasons previously mentioned, contributed to what became the much deserved reputation that the gay community was promiscuous. It wasn’t until much later I came to understand the gay community did not hold the monopoly on sexual excess. (This is not an argument or debate about whose sexual excess is worse-simply a clarifying point.)

    Clearly, I identify as a gay man, and ultimately, when I met a young man with whom I felt a physical, emotional and spiritual connection, we made a commitment to each other that we would be in relationship. What many folks seem not to understand is that the basis for relationships like this, while including a physical/sexual aspect, are not based entirely that facet of our lives. Curiously, my partner told me early on when discussing sexual orientation, that choosing to be with me represented his recognition of finding his soulmate. To use his words, “I’d hate to think I met and fell in love with my soulmate, and passed that opportunity by because that person was born in the gender not accepted as such by society.” Those words have stuck with me to this day.

    Fast forward 32 years (30 partnered and two married) and I can tell you that our journey has found us stronger and more committed to each other. We are members of an ELCA church in Columbia, South Carolina (the hole in the buckle of the Bible Belt) that is affirming and wholly welcoming to the LGBT community. It has been through this participation that I have truly come to understand God’s grace and that the love of Jesus Christ is blind to sexual orientation, if not sexual excess. While I am a sinner, homosexuality, and acting on that homosexuality is not, in my opinion, one of those sins. My response has gone a bit off of my original intent in commentary about your article, but for me, boils down to this: when in doubt, love. Celebrate the nurturing love that marriage (and committed relationships!) offer the world and community.

    I plan to follow your writing and appreciate so very much, your thoughtfulness on the subject.

    • Clayton, thank you so much for sharing from your own story. I’m a very firm believer in the fact that we all must interpret theology through a lens and that lens must be our experiences. That makes your theology on this richer and more informed than my own (or most people’s!) and I hope those voices are elevated in the future. I’m sure it has been a lonely journey at many times in the past, and I’m so glad you’ve found so much peace through your marriage.

  50. Judy judy

     /  July 9, 2015

    It is easy to see your thoughts have been dealing with the world views of same sex relationships. You have slaved hard to prove your lifestyle along with others of same desires.
    You are DEAD wrong in your bible translations. Write for you alone. Please don’t lead someone else on your interpretations of the BIBLE of Gods Holy word.
    We ALL are sinners!!!!!!
    We all will face judgement!!!!
    God spoke and made the Universe
    God got his hands dirty to make man in his image to be like him.
    God breathed air into man up close and personal
    He gave man ruler over animals
    He saw he needed a companion a woman
    God made Eve from Adams side
    If God wanted same sex don’t you think that would have been done then?
    This is truth and it seems it does not fit your desired answers

  51. Probably in a less spiritual manner than you, I have felt the same way all along and it has been painful to listen to or read such ugliness in regard to same sex marriage. Regardless of religion, God is the constant for all of us and I, like you, find more comfort in believing He wants us all to be happy – he doesn’t want us to be alone – and being gay shouldn’t mean having to be alone without the commitment of love in marriage.

  52. I know you’re still exploring the thought, so for you there’s still much to consider, but there’s another clear step in your logic that I think you’ve yet to see.

    As believers, we think that either people are called to relationships or they are a called to celibacy. Recognizing how hard the latter position is, what is the impact of this on the church and its practices?

    Lifelong celibacy is, as you’ve noted, a very heavy burden for someone to bear. So, as a church, if we believe that is what they are called to, then how are we obligated to treat them? In most other things, we provide commensurate respect for our brothers and sisters who struggle with remarkably loads, but we’ve spent decades slandering same-sex attracted people, deliberately making them feel unwanted. GLBT youth are massively over-represented in homeless populations, largely from *Christian* parents kicking their own children out.

    Simply put, even if you’re non-affirming, there is a very distinct level of love, support, and respect that the church has utterly failed to meet.

    (It’s also important to note that it’s far from cut and dried, as many GLBT Christians are of the non-affirming view)

  53. First I’d like to give credit to Tyler Huckabee (who shares my name) for having the right mindset of loving people first and asking questions later. To me, that seems very Christlike. That being said, I’m not a Christian and never have been despite being raised in the middle of Texas’ bible belt. My parents were fed up with church politics by the time I was born, and they raised me on science and spirituality. Being on the outside of a religion that surrounds you is very difficult, and I came close to converting a few times when friends took me to church. However all I have to hear is one debate on Homosexuality to know that Christians are not as smart as they think they are. To think that one particular book, written by men and translated and edited hundreds of thousands of times, is anywhere close to the ultimate understanding of the universe is just plain silly. No one can deny that not all biblical laws are followed, so who decides what’s really morally right and wrong if God isn’t adding more chapters? The rational thinking of society? It certainly seems like homosexuality has been a major divisive topic for the religion, and by debating whether people’s love is acceptable or not, you serve only to push people farther from Christ. It’s easy to see why the non-religious population in the US is growing so fast because you can’t expect people to choose outdated cultural laws written by ignorant men over what they feel is right in their hearts.

  54. JO

     /  July 9, 2015

    A very interesting line: “salvation is not a pass/fail exam in which doctrines are lined up, weighed and measured.” That’s a sentence that I agree. Even so, in light of the Bible, God does have lists.

    The Bible have a lot of lists, including lists of things “to do” and “not to do.” I think we should not approach them with a cold attitude, simply as a check list for the day to day dutties. It seems to me that God’s intention is for us to love those “things,” to enjoy them and to make them our passion to the point where they become part of us. To me, the image that the Bible portrays of God is that of a creator that is specific and jealous about how he wants his creation to operate.

    No, Jesus won’t hand us a check list before we enter heaven just to see whether we qualify for heaven or not. But I think he did hand us the Bible –which is full of lists– for us to build our earthly lives upon.

  55. jesse

     /  July 9, 2015

    I’m a straight Christian and my brother is a gay Christian and we were both raised in the same family and church with the same religious beliefs and I can honestly say that my previous lifestyle as a whole was far more sinful than my brothers and his convictions of being gay. It has been through my struggle and loosing so much and hitting a bottom in my life that I was able to find my way back to a relationship with my creator. I just feel that after Adam and eve chose to disobey God and open the door for sin it was at that very moment that God’s plan was no longer in charge of this world or what happens in it. It was at that moment that Lucifer was given rule of this world until God decides to come back and cleanse it. But. God still loved his creation so much that in the midst of all this sin and death that we could find our way back to him. And that path is a choice and may for some people be a struggle until they die. Because Satan has come to kill, steal, and destroy and confuse and hurt God’s creation to hurt God. He knows he is defeated. But it seems most of mankind does not. See God didn’t make anyone the way they are. Sin did. It made all of us who we are gay or straight or black or white or what religious beliefs we have. Sin created the world you see today. Slavery, hate, discrimination, war, lying, stealing, all of it came from sin. And as it would seem sin is very powerful LOVE is greater and more rewarding. And while I agree with equality I can not take what is in black and white and addressed many different times in both the old testament and new testament and try to change it somehow to mean something that it clearly does not. But we shouldnt just focus on that issue but on all issues of sin as a whole in all of our lives and how it impacts our salvation. I’m not sure what will happen on the day of Judgment when we stand before our creator in awe of his Holiness but I do know that those who have believed and made the choice to strive to live a sin free life will have an advocate at there side on that day. That advocate will be Jesus Christ on your behalf to stand before his father and say that he forgave you and has seen that you tried to live the example that he set. You know the bible says Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days and was tempted in every way that we are. I wonder if he was tempted with homosexuality. All I do know is that he resisted temptation and sin and came out as the lamb worthy to be slain for our salvation. All I’m saying is sin is obviously hard for all humanity to resist. No matter how much Satan tries to deceive us in our own minds that what we are doing couldn’t be wronge. See we need to be aware and informed and intelligent and not allow that to happen. Not only do we need to love God and have a relationship with him but we also need to be mindful of the fact that he is a God of wrath and will destroy this world of sin. And not only should we know our creator but we should know our enemy and what he is capable of. Is your enemy celebrating, does your enemy have a grasp on your mind and actions? Isn’t it better to be safe than sorry? I don’t mean to preaching fire and brimstone here but it is also a part of the bible and not to be discarded. I love my brother and everyone in my life no matter what or who they are as my savior wants me to. This buisness with the supreme court was just unnecessary. See it is the role of the supreme court to uphold the laws already made. Not to make law. Or to define marriage. States were already on there way to accommodating equality. Many groups have suffered much longer struggles. Slavery for example or women’s right or the genocide of many in Germany. I feel the process was not right. The supreme court did something it was not created or had the athority to do. The LGBT could have struggled longer for equality through the states the right way. And I would have struggled with them to have equality because I believe in that. There’s a difference between the laws of man and the laws of God but even the laws of God Include equality and love. I am appalled by our government and how it has outright done something without due process. It just goes to show that government will do whatever it wants and gay or straight you should be worried.

  56. AWESOME!!!

  57. Andrew

     /  July 9, 2015

    Interesting read, no doubt. In 86 comments, I only found one reference to Romans 1. I also noticed it did not make your list of scriptures in the article. With gentleness and respect I ask, have you never come across that in your Bible readings, or was it left out intentionally? Verses 18-31 directly address the root of all sin, and then gives examples of it picked from the culture at that time. Despite our overall cultures changing, those acts still remain in play, therefore those verses apply without question, in my belief.

  58. greenpointguy

     /  July 9, 2015

    Brilliant! This reminds me of Frank Bruni’s op-ed in the New York Times (super-liberal, I know), that describes the decision to not accept gays and lesbians (or their ability to marry) as “obeisance versus observance”, where one accepts the supremacy of Bronze Age proscriptions written by Bronze Age men over what they observe in their daily lives (for you it was the young gay man in Chicago).

    I agree with you that no one can know exactly what will happen after death, but anyone can see the amazingly positive affects that offering Jesus-like love to all creates. God bless YOU!!!

  59. jesse

     /  July 9, 2015

    I do however believe that it is better for a gay person to marry and have a loving relationship with one person that to be actively gay with many partners. Perhaps if it is a sin and seeing that no sin is greater than another then perhaps if you love a Christian lifestyle and let people see the example Jesus set in you then perhaps your sin will be covered by the blood of Christ as well just like my sins. However, I do not believe that marriage is the type of marriage defined in the bible so I do not believe that a church should accommodate that sort of union. The church is the bride of Christ and is to teach truth. To Condon sin and have a cerimony blessing that sin is not right. Just like it would not be right for a church to marry two straight people who were already married. Or for a church to Condon killing or lying or stealing or adultery or any other sin which is clearly defined. But marriage of an earthly civil union is still possible through the court. I’m ok with that. Then you get your marriage your rights and all that you want. Why is it expected of a church to perform a cerimony of a sin? Would the God bless that church and that union if it continued in that practice? You know the answer to that. It’s in black and white and if you don’t twist it and make it suit your lifestyle but take it as it reads then you know the answer. But I still think all sinners should be in church and in God’s word seeking truth in prayer and a relationship with God. But time is running out and are you willing to place your sence of importance on a relationship with another person or place your sence of importance on your salvation? I’m a sinner just like anyone else and I struggle against sin too. So I don’t hate or wish anything bad on anyone. I just say it like I see it.

  60. Cody

     /  July 9, 2015


    Thank you so much for this post. I am excited to engage with you. Thus, an additional thanks to you for leaving this forum open for dialogue.

    I feel that in the wake of your argument, though you attempt earnestly to balance Paul’s “unbothered” view of marriage along with the phrase “the gift of celibacy,” the rhetorical weight you give to the statement “man was not meant to be alone” suggests that singleness may be an all together undesirable or unattainable thing, even from the beginning of creation.

    Of course, you know that singleness is not either of these things. It is a beautiful thing. We understand Paul being as such. However, are we willing to say it is as just as beautiful as marriage? Resoundingly, that should be yes, right? Can true and deep friendship be as beautiful as marriage? Resoundingly, yes, right? Aren’t marriages built on those?

    I understand that the thrust of your argument is not to necessarily comment on singleness or friendships of depth. Nevertheless, I feel that the weight of your argument, being on that phrase, suggests otherwise. In the wake of the same-sex debate, are we making marriage a God in itself? In the wake, are we forgetting our brothers and sisters who are openly willing to participate in the inbreaking of God’s kingdom as single or celibate? Would they not testify that their lives are incredibly rich and full of love, perhaps a love just as beautiful as marriage?

    I hope that this comment is helpful as you continue to process through your emotions and the context by which you have experienced life vibrantly.

  61. Tyler, I think there are only 1 or 2 days per week for the last few years that I haven’t at least spent a few minutes reading a blog, watching an “It Gets Better” video, or consuming some sort of opinion via sermon or lecture from both sides of the debate. My fascination around the subject began in college, at ORU, where I was punished for having a sexual relationship with a woman, but a friend was forced to de-enroll due to his sexual relationship with a man. It wasn’t fair. And frankly, I can’t imagine the pain and agonizing that someone must feel, Christian or non-Christian, that starts to have same-sex attraction in childhood/adolescence due all the different messages in the world around it.

    I empathize with the fact that you’ve come from a somewhat similar academic and family background. For you to come to the conclusions you have are driven by love and compassion, even if it probably means people in your close circle vehemently disagree. I affirm and applaud you for these motivations. I’m fascinated by this issue because of the countless lives it has affected, the way it tears apart our church, what it means for the future of our church in this country, and the individuals that have been hurt and driven away from Christ due to Christian response.

    All that said, I both firmly and lovingly disagree with your stance. Truth is, I want to agree with you and have looked and looked for Biblical reasons to hold your convictions on this, but cannot with any good conscience do so. Your response is incredibly thoughtful and articulate, but I think in an effort to be loving, you step out on some very shaky ground in the way you interpret God’s intent. This is a debate that will go on until Jesus comes again, and I know you’ve heard it all, but for anyone reading, I think it’s as simple as the following two points:

    1) The ‘categories’ that you mention that divide the rules and laws of the OT are: 1) Ceremonial Law, related to Israel’s worship in the OT, 2) Civil Law, related to daily living in the culture at that time, and 3) Moral Law, which reflect the nature of God and do not change.

    I don’t have conviction over wearing clothes mixed with wool and linen, yet I known that murder is against God’s Will. That’s an extreme example, but my point is there has to be some logical way to contextualize the Old Testament commandments and to divide them in this way provides a logical, Biblical explanation. Or else, I can pick and choose what I want to abide by based purely on my feelings. We cannot ignore the fact that there are ample examples (as you mention) of NT references to homosexuality which make no sense but in our common understanding. Homosexuality is often mentioned and then surrounded in the NT with a host of other sins that we would never advocate. To try to talk circles around it (ala Matthew Vines) always brings me back to this passage in Romans 1:

    22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

    The Bible is not a simple document to understand, but when so much is written about this sin, it just seems that the Christians that go to such great lengths to contextualize and justify are really getting lost in foolishness in their pursuit of wisdom. And while many gay Christians claim to want to love their spouse and love God, they’re building an idol in the form of a man/woman they’re with in place of God when they choose to live this way with so much written in the Bible clearly against it.

    2) Secondly, for me, it comes down to fruit. The Gospel Coalition wrote a piece on “40 Questions for Christians Waving Rainbow Flags” that I think most people have read. I don’t think all their questions are pertinent to the conversation, but one really caught my eye:

    38. What open and affirming churches would you point to where people are being converted to orthodox Christianity, sinners are being warned of judgment and called to repentance, and missionaries are being sent out to plant churches among unreached peoples?

    In other words, where is the fruit? Open and affirming churches are a growing trend, and while I don’t pretend to know everything about all of them, I have gone on a search for one or more whose message extends beyond loving each other, accepting each other, and community service. These are all great things! However, calling people to repentance is noticeably absent. They’re great at the invitation, “Come as you are,” but there is little to no evidence that they relate the message that a real relationship with Christ creates a radical and sometimes controversial change in someone’s hopes, aims, and desires. Additionally, there is noticeably widespread lack of believe or understanding around hell in these faith communities, something Jesus spoke of frequently. I think this lack of fruit is evidence of a much bigger problem in their understanding of God’s commands.

    In conclusion, I think you, Rachel Held Evans, Matthew Vines, and others are all fantastic, thoughtful writers with nothing but loving intent. But I think your intent and the feelings that have been produced from watching people suffer and agonize, have clouded your judgment. Nevertheless, I want people like you, Rachel, and Matthew in my church. I want you there because my theology and relationship with Christ is ever-changing, and as long as I’m on this earth, I want to be challenged to see where I was blind and hope to do the same for others.

    I hope that you’ll eventually change your view because I believe many will die in their sins due to people in the church that supported their choices, but I also be believe many will die in their sin because of the hateful response of the church to their choices. We need more people that can speak in conviction through love. I hope you continue to write because you’re very gifted, and I pray God blesses you on your journey.

  62. CD Mattox

     /  July 9, 2015

    Thank you for your letter. I agree with so many points that you have made it is difficult for me to recite each here. However, the thing that drives me crazy is how people interpret the Bible to suit their own belief system. We pick and choose the Bible so much from cutting our hair to eating pork and wearing gold. None of us were there to experience Jesus first hand. What we have is a book, written by men, through God then interpreted so many times it is hard to count.
    Ever play the telephone game? Translations lose important pieces with each turn of the new page. Am I saying that the Bible is wrong? Of course not. I am saying that we have to interpret it as best we can. One thing that I do know is Jesus never turned his back on anyone.
    I am married to another woman and we wanted too take our family of 4 foster children and 4 adopted children (all of which are trauma sufferers) to a church in our town. My wife and I had a meeting with the pastor first out of respect. We were told that we would not be welcome at that church. What?! Where is that doctrine in the Bible?

  63. David

     /  July 9, 2015

    Whew! not that was a long post…we do not have to argue about these words…I think we can all agree….no matter how you dice it, no matter how you slice it we can take this litteraly. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” this God of love wanted mankind Adam and Eve to fill the earth and subdue. The earth was made to last forever…and so was mankind….forever in peace in a paridise home…..what went wrong? When first couple took what did not belong to them they were actually telling God that hey did not want Him Got to tell them what was right or wrong, i.e. good or bad..but they wanted to decide for themselves as to what was god and what was bad…since that time mankind has fallen into slavery to sin….perfect man and women had all emotions in balance…in other word…they were in control of all emotions…especially there sex drive…Adams being alone did not mean he needed sex, more so it was companionship….many couples live today without sex….sex is a complement to marrage, Not the marrage….because of our unmalanced nature many focus and put too much emphasis on this desire which is why the biggest industry in the world is the sex industry…the heart the seat of our motivations it will steer us the direction of our thoghts….so people who thing too much about sex are natural driven that way…people who focus on other things are driven in that direction..be it greed…selfishness or what ever….most people do not want to be wrong so the find justification for what they internally know to be out of harnomany with natural laws…excusing and justifying…as they go….sex is a gift for God primarily for continuation oh the human race…but also can be a way to complete the sanctity of marrage…when people make love it does bring much pleasure but the primary pleasure is to our mates first off all..we feel pleasure but the most joy and satisfaction comes in bring pleasure to our mates…if when egging in relations out side the bond of marrage the tendency is to be thinking only of oneselfe…which goes way out side be bonds of what love is alll about…so many issues the point…love in not what we get but what we give..so just what is God’s mind on the matter? Is it just fo rones own gradation…or is is it complete the bonds of love between a man and women… I am not the judge here..each person will stand before God on there own volition…but be warned… all those found outside the boundaries of God’s love will not be welcomed in Paradise where only those who are willing to let God decided as to right and wrong will be….

  64. Nathan C. Wagnon

     /  July 9, 2015

    Hey Tyler, thanks for your post. I appreciate your willingness to voice your position. I’m interested to know how you would square your position that “the whole idea of childbearing doesn’t even show up until God curses humanity’s sin” with the mandate God gives to Adam and Even prior to the fall: “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it'” (Gen 1:28)?


  65. Freya

     /  July 9, 2015

    Thank you for writing this! I’m an atheist and a borderline anti-theist. Religions from all across the world can be so unreasonably dogmatic, hate-filled, and hideous. But reading stuff like this gives me incredible hope for my country and for the future of religion. Any time a person uses common sense, kindness, and love for fellow humans to lead their beliefs is a win for all humankind. Also, it’s really lovely to be reading all of these comments where people are giving their honest opinions and personal stories, but stripped from a lot of the propaganda and hate-fueled rhetoric that regularly frames discussions about gay marriage (esp. discussions made from a religious standpoint). I genuinely believe that love, kindness, and compassion are the only route to righteousness, so it’s always a treat to hear of a God who loves and cares about the emotional, spiritual, and societal health of His children, including His gay children.

  66. I really appreciate this post. I’m a Christian, and I’m not quite sure where I stand I terms of the morality of same-sex relationships. I feel as though I lean toward acceptance, but the traditional condemnation of same-sex relationships and homosexuality within the Church has been deeply ingrained within my mind, and sometimes it’s hard to fight against. It breaks my heart to think that someone who identifies as being homosexual would automatically be sentenced to an existence marked by permanent loneliness. I still can’t say with complete confidence that I support same-sex relationships/marriage, but it really helps to hear from people like you who maintain great faith while also standing up for same-sex marriage. I don’t believe that such a position is incompatible with faith at all, and I respect what you have to say. Thank you.

  67. Seth Gray

     /  July 10, 2015

    I will try to say this as inoffensively as possible, but here goes.

    As an atheist I don’t believe that our natural world requires supernatural explanation. So I read posts like this and, sorry to be blunt, but I just find it nonsensical.

    Look at what you’re doing to yourself. Look at the turmoil and mental gymnastics and hoops you have to jump through just to justify your faith to yourself. Why even bother with all that? It seems like a lot of effort for not much pay off.

    And it will always be that way! That is the reality of trying to express a Bronze Age point of view in a world that has moved and continues to move forward. I’m not yet 30, but I’ve already seen it so many times. Religion is always trying to play catch up to the issues of the day, even as it becomes less and less culturally relevant.

    I was a Christian for most of life until I resigned from my church in my late teens/early twenties (don’t remember exactly). But when I admitted to myself that I no longer believed, that in all honesty I hadn’t for a long time, my life got better.

    Christianity didn’t make me a better person. It didn’t make me wiser, or more moral, or kinder, or more loving. All it ever made me was suicidal. But when I started living a life based on FACT rather than FAITH, I realized I didn’t need some book to know that stealing and killing and lying are wrong, or to treat others with basic decency inherent to all human beings. Those things are obvious to me. And I certainly didn’t need it to tell me I was a sinner just for EXISTING.

    I couldn’t live with such hopelessness. I couldn’t live in a supposed way of love that would demand I change everything I valued about myself. I’ve never been a perfect person, but I’ve always been a gay one. And I would not deny or try to change that fact.

    I’m not trying to bash or bad mouth what anyone believes, although I’ve been told before that just admitting I’m an atheist is offensive. All I’m trying to say is that there is an incredible freedom in realizing that there really isn’t any such thing as believers and nonbelievers, Gentiles and Jews. That we’re all just people, and everyone should be free to live the life they wish to live.

  68. Mike Gantt

     /  July 10, 2015

    “If God doesn’t want me to be gay, why did He make me this way?”

    Like you, Tyler, I was struck by this plaintive question.

    Nonetheless, what prevents me from substituting for the words “be gay” in that sentence words like “look at pornography” or “be alcoholic” or “commit adultery” or “eat excessively” or “anger easily” or any number of other conditions or activities? In other words, for all the centuries prior to this one, homosexuality was considered a sin along with those other activities I mentioned. And there was a biblical basis for that view. In this century, however, we have removed homosexuality from that list of sins and re-categorized it as being just as righteous as heterosexuality. Therefore, 1) On what basis, or by what authority, do we make that change and 2) what other sins on that list should likewise be re-classified or at least considered for re-classification?

    P. S. A corollary issue is that if homosexuality is normal and to be accepted, then shouldn’t homophobia be added to the list of sins? The same questions about authorization to make such changes would then apply here as well.

  69. Paul Shelton

     /  July 11, 2015

    I came to Christ as a late teenager and my conversion experience was quite dramatic. From that day I have always had an evangelical faith even before it was pointed out to me, and this was despite attending a non-evangelical church. This has always been a slight mystery to me as to why I would unknowingly develop this conservative view of scripture despite my environment. That said, as my theology has grown over 36 years since I haven’t changed my views but I like to think that I have matured in my attitudes and so I read your article and the various responses with a pain in my heart for the ‘truth that would set us all free’. One point I would share though is this. I had two friends who both had homosexual feelings. The one chose to remain celibate and struggled with this most of his life. The other asked God to help him, and in his own words, stated “he healed me”. This person then went on to marry, have children and live a life free of his previous feelings. The phrase ‘he healed me’ expresses a mindset that he was ‘ill’ in some way, and maybe reflects in his mind, his uncomfortableness about his feelings. Naturally you cannot comment on this because you can only take my word upon, it but my dilemma has always been – ‘why would God heal him?’. For me it stands alongside the young man in your story who asked: “why would God make me this way?” Like you I know what I believe but I am conscious that I have not received the full truth on life.

    One other quick comment and I have to confess that I have not read all the discussions so thus may have been covered, but there is no marriage in heaven as such (apart from the church). This being so should the concept of marriage (in all its forms) be such a big deal? I don’t know? I also speak from the privilege of being married.

    What I have learned is that ‘being open’ in our beliefs does not necessarily reflect uncertainty of faith, or weakness, or even being gullible. Rather it represents a desire to learn and understand and accept before we evaluate honestly and lovingly.

    That you all have enabled me to do this – I am grateful

  70. JB Abajian

     /  July 11, 2015

    Well, if marriage primarily exists so people won’t be “alone”, as you believe, then is it cool to marry a helper monkey? How about a stepson? Also, you’re wrong, people don’t marry if there is absolutely no romantic intent, because that would be fraud. Lastly, I found your choice of words funny about how you “tasted” your marriage for one year. Most homosexuality is a subconscious action. If you are in that category, please don’t feel guilty if you change. If that happens, you can have a whole new purpose of helping others to change. However, if your affliction is a rare, non-fixable, biological one then continue with your journey. I know what it’s like to be born with a broken body, and I accept it. God bless you. 🙂

  71. Ben

     /  July 13, 2015

    Tyler – Hey man. Really really appreciate your thoughtfulness and humility. I have an interesting question about an undercurrent in this piece. Do we give sex too much power? Does our sexual orientation have a place in our fundamental identity? In my own life, I struggle against this. My sexual desires lead me down a terrible and destructive road of depravity when I let them go. I have followed Jesus for most of my life and I have concluded that any good thing in me can be sin if I don’t keep that good thing in right order as prescribed by scripture. I see homosexuality with a lot of humility because I know without God’s guidance, I would be a prolific adulterer at best, a rapist predator at worst (or as bad as I have courage to face).

  72. Hey Tyler, thank you for this post.
    I too am glad that the recent ruling has caused the church to talk about this, and it weighs heavy on my heart. I want to honor God with my actions, and I’m tired of people just saying “we’re called to love”. I don’t want to just take anyone’s answer as law, but I do want these open and honest conversations to happen.
    I was wondering how you take into account the Bible verses in the NT that talk about the sin of homosexuality? Was that where you thought it was possibly because under those circumstances being addressed the relationship was not monogamous?

  73. Tyler you have written one of the most thought-provoking articles on this subject I have seen. Your point about none of us really knowing, in the end, what all this will mean if we fall on one side or the other of this issue when it comes to eternity is an important one. When Jesus was asked to name the most important commandments, he simply said to love God and love others…if we all would come to the place where we agree to disagree on some of this stuff that we just don’t really know solid answers for and concentrated on these two greatest commandments, I think the world would surely be a better place…Jesus knew this, shouldn’t we?

  74. This may have been addressed already in the comments, so I apologize if my words here are repetitious. I haven’t had a chance to read through all of the comments. My point here is small, but it is related to what I would consider to be an important hermeneutical issue here.

    When we interpret the Bible, looking for a positive stance on homosexuality, we often work in linear fashion. We recognize that theological history has long affirmed a sort of redefining of the Mosaic Law under the new covenant. This has been obvious, because certain parts of the Law cannot be practiced, for instance, when Israel is in exile and incapable of enforcing civic injunctions due to their lack of nation-state authority. So, we see the NT moving past certain elements of the law, because Jesus is opening the covenantal system up beyond the nation-state. Tyler is right to point out that scholars have differentiated the Law into various categories (civic, moral, cult, etc) and have reasoned, through the teachings of Jesus and Paul, that the civic and cult aspects of the Law are not demanded of us under the new covenant. Up to this point I am on board. This theology is fairly explicit in NT writings, even if we still have to work out the how/why of the shift.

    The next interpretive step to establishing a positive stance toward homosexuality is to begin to question the force of the moral law, primarily where it concerns homosexuality. This would be a fairly valid interpretive move if the NT did not mention homosexuality at all. However, the NT does mention homosexuality, and not positively. On the surface of the text there is no movement on the Bible’s stance toward homosexuality. The stance is negative. When we are trying to determine whether a command is culturally based or transcultural, movement is a fairly solid indicator. Per my second paragraph, we can see explicit movement in the NT regarding food laws, from detailed prohibitive laws to an absence of those same laws. Or you could use Mark 8 as a fitting example: Jesus does not enforce the civic laws against the adulterous woman even though the moral part of the law remains in force when he says, “Go and sin no more.” (Which, as an aside, has always struck me as a total denouncement of soft grace; he, quite forcefully, loves the sinner while denouncing the sin).

    But since there is no explicit or surface movement on homosexuality we have started to invoke notions that Paul could not imagine a loving, committed same-sex union, and so was forbidding homosexuality as a part of a catch-all that might be labeled under the larger heading of “fornication,” which would be different from a committed, marital relationship. To be fair, this notion is not unimaginable. In fact, egalitarians (myself included) would invoke some similar arguments regarding Paul’s teachings on women in the church. But I have some serious misgivings about how it is employed in reference to Paul on homosexuality. Most importantly, Paul’s teachings against homosexuality are, in the verses you have quoted, part of a laundry list of things that are strictly prohibited within the church. In other words, could you apply cultural mitigation to any of the other items in the list? Idolatry, thievery, greed, adultery, lying? All of these things, along with homosexuality, are viewed as being contra sound doctrine. There is, in Pauline thought, no quarter for these things, no force of culture that makes any of them permissible. We seem to be pressing Paul not because of any warrant within the text itself, but because of the cultural forces in our day.

    Which brings up the way in which we invoke the Greco-Roman world in this debate. As a caveat I will state that I am not an expert on the Greco-Roman world and do not wish to speak as one. However, when we invoke Paul’s cultural milieu we have a tendency to state with force that his world could have no conception whatsoever of monogamous homosexual love, as Tyler has above. This, to me, is pressing the GRW too far, probably giving ourselves far too much creative credit for coming up with such a novel idea. I don’t think it stretches credulity to think that some parts of the ancient world, especially one that practiced homosexuality regularly, couldn’t conceive of what we have. Moreover, it’s probably important to note that Paul himself wouldn’t have been able to conceive of marital homosexuality not because his culture limited his imagination, but because the Mosaic Law and sound doctrine limited his imagination. In other words, if you plainly view homosexuality as being contrary to sound doctrine, how in the world would you come to the conclusion that homosexual marriage is just fine? In order to come to the conclusion that same-sex marriage is permissible, you have to first come to the conclusion that same-sex sex is permissible. Which leads me back to the earlier sections of my comments, namely that there is no movement whatsoever on homosexual practice in the Judeo-Christian scriptures.

    I do think Tyler is correct to note that we will not be judged on a checklist of doctrinal stances. This sound theological point, however, should be applied primarily to what I would call esoteric issues. How exactly does the Trinity work? Is there free will or predestination or a bit of both? How exactly does Jesus’ death and resurrection affect salvation for me? We affirm that there is a Trinity even if we can’t explicate the idea with precision. We affirm that God is sovereign even if we can’t quite figure out how choice works. We affirm that the death and resurrection do save us even if we can’t figure out exactly how that works. My point here is that the NT does contain some very pointed remarks about false teachings and those who promulgate them. While we may not be able to figure a number of (largely academic) theological points out, we should be diligent in affirming the things that we can figure out. I am certainly not here to question Tyler or anyone else’s sincerity over this issue, but I do not think the fact that final judgement is not a theology quiz should be used as a hedge against any given position, pro or con in this case.

  75. This may have been addressed already in the comments, so I apologize if my words here are repetitious. I haven’t had a chance to read through all of the comments. My point here is small, but it is related to what I would consider to be an important hermeneutical issue here.

    When we interpret the Bible, looking for a positive stance on homosexuality, we often work in linear fashion. We recognize that theological history has long affirmed a sort of redefining of the Mosaic Law under the new covenant. This has been obvious, because certain parts of the Law cannot be practiced, for instance, when Israel is in exile and incapable of enforcing civic injunctions due to their lack of nation-state authority. So, we see the NT moving past certain elements of the law, because Jesus is opening the covenantal system up beyond the nation-state. Tyler is right to point out that scholars have differentiated the Law into various categories (civic, moral, cult, etc) and have reasoned, through the teachings of Jesus and Paul, that the civic and cult aspects of the Law are not demanded of us under the new covenant. Up to this point I am on board. This theology is fairly explicit in NT writings, even if we still have to work out the how/why of the shift.

    The next interpretive step to establishing a positive stance toward homosexuality is to begin to question the force of the moral law, primarily where it concerns homosexuality. This would be a fairly valid interpretive move if the NT did not mention homosexuality at all. However, the NT does mention homosexuality, and not positively. On the surface of the text there is no movement on the Bible’s stance toward homosexuality. The stance is negative. When we are trying to determine whether a command is culturally based or transcultural, movement is a fairly solid indicator. Per my second paragraph, we can see explicit movement in the NT regarding food laws, from detailed prohibitive laws to an absence of those same laws. Or you could use Mark 8 as a fitting example: Jesus does not enforce the civic laws against the adulterous woman even though the moral part of the law remains in force when he says, “Go and sin no more.” (Which, as an aside, has always struck me as a total denouncement of soft grace; he, quite forcefully, loves the sinner while denouncing the sin).

    But since there is no explicit or surface movement on homosexuality we have started to invoke notions that Paul could not imagine a loving, committed same-sex union, and so was forbidding homosexuality as a part of a catch-all that might be labeled under the larger heading of “fornication,” which would be different from a committed, marital relationship. To be fair, this notion is not unimaginable. In fact, egalitarians (myself included) would invoke some similar arguments regarding Paul’s teachings on women in the church. But I have some serious misgivings about how it is employed in reference to Paul on homosexuality. Most importantly, Paul’s teachings against homosexuality are, in the verses you have quoted, part of a laundry list of things that are strictly prohibited within the church. In other words, could you apply cultural mitigation to any of the other items in the list? Idolatry, thievery, greed, adultery, lying? All of these things, along with homosexuality, are viewed as being contra sound doctrine. There is, in Pauline thought, no quarter for these things, no force of culture that makes any of them permissible. We seem to be pressing Paul not because of any warrant within the text itself, but because of the cultural forces in our day.

    Which brings up the way in which we invoke the Greco-Roman world in this debate. As a caveat I will state that I am not an expert on the Greco-Roman world and do not wish to speak as one. However, when we invoke Paul’s cultural milieu we have a tendency to state with force that his world could have no conception whatsoever of monogamous homosexual love, as Tyler has above. This, to me, is pressing the GRW too far, probably giving ourselves far too much creative credit for coming up with such a novel idea. I don’t think it stretches credulity to think that some parts of the ancient world, especially one that practiced homosexuality regularly, couldn’t conceive of what we have. Moreover, it’s probably important to note that Paul himself wouldn’t have been able to conceive of marital homosexuality not because his culture limited his imagination, but because the Mosaic Law and sound doctrine limited his imagination. In other words, if you plainly view homosexuality as being contrary to sound doctrine, how in the world would you come to the conclusion that homosexual marriage is just fine? In order to come to the conclusion that same-sex marriage is permissible, you have to first come to the conclusion that same-sex sex is permissible. Which leads me back to the earlier sections of my comments, namely that there is no movement whatsoever on homosexual practice in the Judeo-Christian scriptures.

    I do think Tyler is correct to note that we will not be judged on a checklist of doctrinal stances. This sound theological point, however, should be applied primarily to what I would call esoteric issues. How exactly does the Trinity work? Is there free will or predestination or a bit of both? How exactly does Jesus’ death and resurrection affect salvation for me? We affirm that there is a Trinity even if we can’t explicate the idea with precision. We affirm that God is sovereign even if we can’t quite figure out how choice works. We affirm that the death and resurrection do save us even if we can’t figure out exactly how that works. My point here is that the NT does contain some very pointed remarks about false teachings and those who promulgate them. While we may not be able to figure a number of (largely academic) theological points out, we should be diligent in affirming the things that we can figure out. I am certainly not here to question Tyler or anyone else’s sincerity over this issue, but I do not think the fact that final judgement is not a theology quiz should be used as a hedge against any given position, pro or con in this case.

  76. Rachel

     /  July 21, 2015

    The word you completely forgot about is “suitable.” The aloneness of Adam that would be relieved by a helper could only be relieved by a suitable helper. After Adam viewed all other living beings, none was found suitable to him, so God made one. That helper was female, not male, which, considering that God created her from the very stuff of man, obviously means He made a conscious choice to re-work those male chromosomes into something different. If a male was a suitable helper, he would have made a male, but he went out of his way NOT to. To assume that a male is a suitable helper for another male is a mighty big stretch of interpretation.

    • Ed Urbaniak

       /  July 22, 2015

      Of course, the suitable helper for a straight man is a woman. Who is the suitable helper for a gay man?

      • Rachel

         /  July 22, 2015

        Scripture carefully and explicitly makes no distinction between gay and straight men in its description of the unfallen world. “Male and female he created them.” The fact that gay men exist in the fallen world doesn’t change anything, really. Gay men still are a subset of the category “male” and unless there’s solid biblical basis for creating more categories or exempting gay men from God’s original provision, it seems that once again scripture would have to be stretched significantly to allow for any other suitable helper than a female for a male and a male for a female. I have some ideas on how the “suitable helper” plan works out in the fallen world for those who for whatever reason don’t have that suitable helper, but it’s a little harder to find plain words on that in the Bible.

  77. Darren

     /  July 21, 2015

    He is another look into this discussion on marriage.

  78. I think you do a good job of highlighting some of the issues going to the law-based system of the OT to today. I don’t have a firm understanding of what applies today vs. what applies back then. I mean, obviously murder and sexual sins like bestiality are wrong, but having sex with a girl on her period?

    What I don’t quite agree with is the idea that “God would never ask someone to do anything this hard”. It’s a frequent argument I hear from those in the homosexual community, and it’s one I disagree with. Don’t get me wrong; people who are gay go through a struggle that I will never truly understand.

    That being said…does it matter? I was thinking about transgender operations. I can’t think of anywhere in the Bible where it explicitly says it is wrong to change your gender. Sure, maybe someone could look at the narrative in the Bible (God made them man and woman). But, what if it is? Do I treat people in that category any differently? Do I love them any less? Perhaps it’s only an issue to me if I myself struggle with that. Maybe it’s the same for homosexuality as well.

  79. Kate

     /  July 27, 2015

    Tyler, I am trying to understand how you can possibly justify this in light of the Scriptures. There’s so many flaws in your reasoning, I hardly know what to say. As you admit, your entire argument is emotional. You say you’re not trying to be “liberal” or “cool,” but it seem to me that that’s exactly what you’re doing. You’re twisting God’s Word to fit culture. You completely lost me when you dissed Paul, so to speak. And by saying you were single for over 24 years? Let’s be realistic. Who isn’t single as a child? You may have been single until you were 24, but I don’t think you can compare that to those whom God has called to be single.

    I urge you to read this article: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/bible-same-sex-marriage-6-wrong-trajectories

  80. A.M.

     /  July 31, 2015

    So, I guess I’ve still been thinking about this post.

    You made mention of used a Bayes’ theorem kind of idea and then asked,

    “If you are wrong, what is the cost in the here and now? A life condemning others for something they can’t change about themselves? A life judging love?”

    While I think that God has created us to be intelligent, to use logic and apply it, there is more to it than that. God doesn’t say, “Hey, I’ve set up a system, where I’m going to love you, and sacrifice everything, and based on my calculations, this has a high probability of working out.”

    He says things like, ““I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” and “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

    Isn’t He really saying, “This had 0 chances of working out – I am definitely going to get rejected by a bunch of people. And I tried the Hail Mary Pass anyway. I’m all in. What do you think?”

    It’s not a hedging bets kind of situation.

    Eve is tempted when the serpent says, “Did God really say…?” and then when Eve repeats the command the serpent says, essentially, “That’s because God is withholding from you.” We have to start from a place where we believe God has our best interests at heart, even when we can’t see it. Its the kind of love that is really too big for my brain to take in.

  81. Gordon Quickstad

     /  August 5, 2015

    Tyler, I wish you had published my post of July 14th. You must have thought it beneath the level of discussion on your blog. Perhaps blogs are more for the ego of the blogger than for actually discussing ideas?

  82. Drew Gilmore

     /  August 5, 2015

    I’ve never commented on a blog post before, but upon reading this, wanted to pose a question. I’ll try and set it up well. Here goes.

    I really appreciate the close attention you’re giving to this topic for the sake of loving people more like Christ. Your experience at Safe Haven seems so familiar to me (and many other Christians, I’m sure) in that, in the Christian life, there seems to often be a void between the academic and the practical. In your case, that void opened up between your familiarity with biblical teaching on sexuality and the question you were asked by that boy.

    After reading the rest of the article I have one question that I feel you did not answer. It has to do with what you said regarding OT law:

    “…it becomes very easy to sort through the Scripture and systematically choose which of God’s laws seems most reasonable for you to follow.”

    The assumption: You (and many other Christians) are interpreting Scripture in a way that gives homosexual couples the same spiritual and functional symbolism as heterosexual couples and rejects the belief that homosexual urges, acts, thoughts, etc. are sinful.

    My question: What would you say to someone who thinks that this interpretation of Scripture is simply a cultural adaptation to avoid persecution instead of an honest conviction about God’s intention for mankind? I can’t help but believe it’s the former…especially in the context of the quote above. It seems that, after the SCOTUS ruling, many Christians are ruling that what God says in the Bible about sexuality is no longer reasonable to follow. Would love to hear your thoughts on this. If you’ve read this far, I appreciate it!


  83. Moriah

     /  September 1, 2015

    I’m a big fan of yours from the relevant podcast. Celebrity news may be my favorite part. Aside from that, it’s my first time on your blog. I want to say that I have come to this place of convincing myself that homosexuality is good and right by the world’s standards and God’s. But every time I’m at this precipice a doubt begins to form.

    There’s several things that have formed my thinking about this:
    1. If God tells us not to do something (in all the freedom he has given us) it must be for our best because he is infinitely wise and loves us. I also want to do everything in my power to desire to not do that. That includes empower others to genuinely abstain from these things as well because God is good and he wants the best for us. I hesitant to celebrate what God considers wrong.
    2. I believe that if God says to not do something in his word then the holy spirit will call us to repentance and to live differently however this may look. They are many Christians (with homosexual tendencies/desires) whose lives and actions have been transformed by this very thing. To say other wise is limiting how God works, which is dangerous.
    3. I desperately want to think monogamous homosexuality is right or good. I trust that God outside of our culture and time frame will be faithful and gentle to show us the truth. The line of thinking you present in this blog, I sadly believe, falls short of truth. I have wrestled with many of the points you made.
    4. One of your points is that perhaps Paul didn’t have a concept of monogamous homosexuality and that is why the commandment stands. Perhaps they had a culture of homosexual promiscuity instead of dedicated love like we see in our culture. This however is false. There are examples of homosexuality in nearly every culture for a long long time. Monogamous homosexuality is definitely not new.
    In lot’s time, it was a symbol of success to have a homosexual partner. God was not unfamiliar with monogamous homosexuality when he wrote that in his word.

    It’s a hard balance to strike when applying his word to our culture and lives. Blatantly going against what he said and the reflection of his character seems prideful. Just my thoughts. Hope fullyI didn’t come off too harshly, that’s definitely not my intentions. I really appreciate your heart of compassion on this issue.

  84. Yes but what IS marriage, according to the Bible?

    ““Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them MALE and FEMALE,’ and said, ‘For this reason a MAN will leave his father and mother and be united to his WIFE, and the two will become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4-5)

    Ever since the earliest times of the church, passages such as these are read out in marriage liturgies. They are the substance, the very definition of marriage. In the original context, Jesus spoke those words in opposition to a redefinition of marriage (marriage with an easy get-out-clause) which had become widely accepted in his culture. He would no less forcefully oppose modern attempts to redefine marriage as well.

  1. Huckabee’s Heart-Change And Ours: Millennial Issues With Love, The Body, and Marriage | Reformedish
  2. Morning Discoveries | Mylee Forgille
  3. Supreme Court Sets Aside State Bans on Same Sex Marriage | Leadingchurch.com
  4. Riverside Community Church » In the Beginning: A Theological Sketch of Marriage & Sexuality
  5. A Response to Tyler Huckabee on His Theology of Marriage | Matt Heimiller's Hobbit Hole
  6. How relevant is RELEVANT Magazine? - Faithfully LGBT
  7. A Response to Tyler Huckabee’s “Why I Support Gay Marriage”
  8. Moral Sentimentalism and a Mechanized Society
  9. Fictional Liturgy: Tyrion Lannister & the LGBTQ Debate | Keep Calm and Read On Blog

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