Category Archives: Church of Christ

My Church

Salute one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.

— Romans 16:16

By now, those who read my Sunday religious posts probably know that I grew up and am a member of the Church of Christ. It is a faith that I adhere to, and I hope that it will someday follow the teachings of the Bible fully and openly accept LGBTQ+ Christians as members. Most Churches of Christ do not at this time, and I believe it is one of their greatest faults along with their prohibition on women in leadership roles. However, this is not the point of this post today. I wanted to talk about growing up in the Church of Christ in rural Alabama. I grew up in a small country church with around a dozen members, half of which were my family.

The Church of Christ is a simple church with a simple set of beliefs based on the New Testament of the Bible. The church teaches that the process of salvation is achieved through the following actions:

  1. One must be taught appropriately and hear the Word of God.
    • How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So, then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:14-17)
  2. One must believe or have faith.
    • But without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
    • He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16)
  3. One must repent, which means turning from one’s former lifestyle and choosing God’s ways.
    • And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commanded all men everywhere to repent. (Acts 17:30)
  4. One must confess the belief that Jesus is the son of God.
    • And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” And Philip said, “If thou believe with all thine heart, thou mayest.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (Acts 8:36–37)
  5. One must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
    • Then Peter said unto them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)
  6. One must live faithfully as a Christian. 
    • But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

I do my best to follow each of these daily. I also try to follow the Golden Rule: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12) Likewise, Luke 6:32 says, “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” I also follow the Greatest Commandment as given to us by Jesus in Matthew 22:37–40: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” I believe in the simplicity of love and faith to guide my Christian life.

I learned this in my little country church from the various preachers we had while growing up. In the earliest years of my life, we had two preachers that alternated every other week and preached at a second church. We had one preacher who was not kind to people who were not church members, like my mother, who was a Baptist. This preacher nearly tore the church apart before he was asked to leave. After that, I remember we got a young seminary student from Faulkner University (a Church of Christ university in Montgomery). I thought he was one of the most gorgeous men I have ever seen. He was so handsome and charismatic. I hung on his every word. It didn’t help that I was going through puberty at the time and had an erection at the drop of a hat. I always dreaded him finishing his sermons because it meant that I’d have to stand up and sing the song of invitation. I was always so embarrassed that I had an erection every time I had to stand up. Come to think of it today, while puberty may be to blame for part of that, carnal thoughts about the attractive young man who was our preacher probably had something to do with it as well, but I digress.

There were rarely any surprises at our church. Things ran relatively smoothly every Sunday to a particular routine. We all had our regular places to sit in church. My family sat on the left side of the church behind the song leader and his family. The song leader sat in the front pew, and his wife sat in the second. Behind his wife sat my parents and my sister. I usually sat in the fourth pew next to my grandmama and, before he died, my granddaddy. My aunt sat in the pew behind us. On the church’s right side, the preacher sat on the first pew, and his family sat on the second. Behind them was the lady for whom the church was built. Various neighbors of hers either filled the pew beside her or behind her. Her husband, who had donated the land and built the church, sat two rows behind her.

I mention the couple who was instrumental in building the church because when they got married and moved into the house, they would spend the rest of their lives in, the wife said, “Everything would be perfect if I had a church close by.” Even though her husband was a Methodist, he knew his wife valued her denomination and set out to find a church that needed a new home. He found one a few miles away and offered to donate land a build them a new church. The church accepted, and his wife had a church within walking distance to her house. It was a simple white church, initially just one room with outhouses behind the church and a fellowship table on the grounds surrounded by pine trees. As I got older, they expanded the church to include a Sunday school room and bathrooms, though the Sunday school room never saw any use as a classroom. That was my small church.

At age 13, I was baptized into the church along with my sister one Sunday night. At first, my duties at church became reading the lesson’s texts (sermon) that Sunday, much like I post a Bible verse at the beginning of each Sunday post. Soon, our song leader’s emphysema made it increasingly more challenging to lead the song worship, so I was asked to take over. I was maybe 14 or 15 when this happened. I remained the song leader until I graduated college and moved to Mississippi for graduate school. I was a terrible song leader. I could barely carry a tune, and I only knew about a dozen or so songs well enough to lead the song worship. Usually, I would start the song, and the lady the church had been built for would really lead the song worship. I always thought they should have just let her lead the singing instead of me. She was much better. She was also the de facto church leader, though no one would admit it. The men of the church would meet to make any decisions, but nothing would actually be done without her informal approval. She also prepared the Lord’s Supper (Communion) every week. I truly loved that woman; she was so sweet and so kind and loving. As she got older, she declared that it was too much for her to wear a dress every Sunday when she felt more comfortable in pants, and she never wore a skirt or dress again to church. She always wore pants. 

As the church grew larger, we eventually doubled in size. After I left for graduate school, we had a new church member take over as song leader. I had other duties in the weekly service, which I continued to do when I came home from Mississippi. I served communion alongside my father. Originally, my granddaddy and father served communion, but after my grandfather had a heart attack walking into church one Sunday morning, he rarely returned to church after that, claiming that he had bladder issues and did not want to disturb the service by getting up to use the bathroom. So, I took his place serving communion.

Our services were simple. Before the service started, we would usually catch up with each other, i.e., gossip, but it was never malicious gossip that I remember. At precisely 8:45 am each Sunday morning, the song leader would call our service to order, and we would sing two songs, usually the first and last verses of the song. We always remained seated for these first two songs. Then the service would be turned over to the preacher for the main prayer, although sometimes that honor would be offered to a special guest if we had one. After the prayer, the song leader would instruct us to stand. We would sing another song before the preacher would stand and make his way to the pulpit and give a sermon, usually lasting around 30-40 minutes. As he finished his sermon, he would call us to stand for the song of invitation as he stood at the front of the church to welcome anyone who wanted to join the church and be baptized. After the song of invitation, my father and I would stand and go to the communion table where my father would say a prayer before I would pass around the unleavened bread, which was the representation of the Body of Christ. After I had passed around the bread, I would return to the communion table and offer my father the bread, and we would eat the bread together. Then he said a prayer for the “fruit of the vine,” which represented Christ’s Blood, and I would pass it around just as I did for the bread. When I returned to the table, we also drank from the small communion cups that usually grape juice. (Occasionally, the woman who prepared the communion would run out of grape juice and substitute her homemade muscadine wine, much to everyone’s surprise. She never warned anyone ahead of time.) Then my father would hand me a wicker basket that had been with the church since its beginnings. (It was still stamped on the bottom with 5¢.) My father would return to his seat (I returned to my seat too before I became song leader), and I would call for any announcements. Then, we would stand again and sing the first verse of the closing song before my father gave the closing prayer.

After the service concluded, we would usually gather outside the church and socialize for a bit before we all headed home. Usually, my Sundays after that consisted of my mother cooking a large lunch, which she sometimes started before leaving for church. On special occasions, we would go out for lunch. Because we often got out of church by 10 am, we were fortunate to be able to eat lunch out at 11 am when the restaurants opened and before the “church crowds” arrived. We did have Sunday night services for a short time, but with such a small congregation, it was not worth it if only a few people attended. Eventually, we discontinued Sunday evening services. We never had Wednesday night services as many southern churches did because my family went to my grandparents’ house for supper on Wednesday nights. We also rarely had Sunday school, even though we eventually added a classroom to the building. We tried a few times, but it was never very successful.

It was a simple church with simple people who cared a great deal about one another. Most of the church members from my formative years have now passed on: the song leader, the couple who established the church, and my grandparents. My parents have moved away, as have my sister and I, so my aunt is the only family member to still attend the church. My sister even became a Baptist, much to my father’s horror. I think he took the fact that I was gay better than he took my sister becoming a Baptist. Ironically, my parents now attend a Baptist church. However, my mother claims that it’s Baptist in name only as it’s made up of community members where they currently live and comprised of people from many different Protestant denominations.

I don’t know if this description of my church upbringing is interesting to anyone, but because of the love amongst my church’s members, my primary philosophy of love and acceptance was formed, despite some of my parents’ more discriminatory beliefs. Except for the preacher who nearly broke up our church with his insistence that anyone who was not a member of the Church of Christ was going to hell, very little judgment was ever practiced within the church. I mentioned the incident a few weeks ago about the current preacher’s sermon on the evils of homosexuality and another sermon on gambling. Our preachers have always focused on being a better, more loving Christian, which was always most important to me.


Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples, Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.

Luke 20:45-47

On Friday, I wrote about my mother’s Southern Baptist pastor passing away from COVID-19, and I admitted that I have two prejudices: Republicans and Southern Baptists. Besides the unwelcoming nature of Southern Baptists, I thought I would explain why I think they are the modern-day equivalents of the scribes and the Pharisees that Jesus laments about several times in the Gospels. The Pharisees and scribes were upset because they believed the people were abandoning the purity of the covenant that Jews had made with God. They believed that Jews in the Roman Empire were being lax in their morality and in their obedience to the commandments of God. So, they sought to draw together and draw apart from the masses and to set a moral example. These were the conservatives of the day. They had a high system of honor and virtue, and they committed themselves to obeying God. Yet, they outwardly professed their faith the loudest, but they secretly did not follow their own beliefs and morals. They were hypocrtites.

Growing up in the South, the religious right was often centered around the Southern Baptists. They are the largest Protestant denomination, and they tend to be the loudest. Of course, there are other denominations that follow suit, but it is often the Southern Baptists that try to speak for all Protestants and condemn those who do not believe like they do. One reason for this is their seminaries and universities, and another reason is because of the press the annual Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) receives, especially when it comes to their views on the LGBTQ+ community.

In its history, the SBC has issued several resolutions in which it rejects homosexuality as a lifestyle and refers to it as a “manifestation of a depraved nature”, “a perversion of divine standards and as a violation of nature and natural affections” and “an abomination in the eyes of God.” It opposes same-sex marriages and equivalent unions. The SBC has urged churches not to show any approval of homosexuality; however, it also holds that “while the Bible condemns such practice as sin, it also teaches forgiveness and transformation, upon repentance, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” But that is only if a person turns away from the sexuality that they were born with. I personally think it is a gift from God. The SBC doesn’t even allow the term gay Christian because they say that even if you are celibate you cannot identify as both gay and Christian at the same time. The SBC only allows members of the LGBTQ+ community to worship with them if they denounce their sexuality.

My sister and I were raised in the Church of Christ. My father was far angrier at my sister for converting to being Southern Baptist when she got married than he ever was for me being gay. Yet, to show you how filled with hate he has become, he and my mother now attend a Southern Baptist Church. When I was growing up, he hated to even step foot in one of their churches. My mother was raised a Southern Baptist but claimed years ago that she was truly a member of the Church of Christ where we attended. I just don’t understand the sudden change in them. The only excuse I can find is because the church is convenient to where they are now living, and all my parents’ friends and neighbors attend that church. I find it disgusting that they would attend a church that is part of such a hate filled denomination. They think I will attend with them the next time I am home. I will not be. It will probably cause some strife, but I will not budge on this. I have been to a Baptist Church a few times in my life, and I always felt an evil surrounding me.

I am probably being a hypocrite on this because the Church of Christ is no better when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues. However, there are fundamental differences between the Church of Christ and the Southern Baptist Church. Most importantly, every congregation of the Church of Christ is independent. Southern Baptists claim the same thing, but they have the Southern Baptist Convention that governs all their churches and the denomination’s doctrine. The Church of Christ has no equivalent. Each Church of Christ could decide on their own to affirm the LGBTQ+ community because the elders of the church are in charge, but the Southern Baptist must abide by the doctrine of the SBC. Therefore, while I hold no hope for the SBC ever changing their stance, I do believe that the Church of Christ could and should. Will it ever happen? I can only hope and pray. One day, Christianity will accept the belief in a true universal love of God and will act accordingly.

Pay It Forward 

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Luke 19:1-10

Many of us know the New Testament story of Jesus and Zacchaeus (see Luke [Lk] 19:1-10).  The events of that story took place near the end of Jesus’ ministry.  Jesus entered the Judean town of Jericho and a man named Zacchaeus climbed up a tree so he could see Jesus as Jesus passed by.  Zacchaeus was a short man, so he needed to climb the tree in order to see over the crowds.  But Zacchaeus was also the chief tax collector in Jericho and an extremely wealthy man.  One does not expect such a person to climb a tree to see anyone.  His willingness to do so indicates the degree of desire which he had to see Jesus.  It may also indicate that He was a humble tax collector not given to haughtiness or pretense.

So there he was, perched in a fruit tree, when Jesus walked right to that very tree, looked up at Zacchaeus, called him by name and said, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today” (Luke 19:5).  Notice Jesus’ words.  “I must stay at your house today.”  The word translated “must” indicates throughout the Gospel of Luke that what is taking place has been planned by God.  It means that it is important to God’s purposes that the designated event occur.  Jesus has found the man whom God had led Him to Jericho to see.

But why?  Why Zacchaeus?  I think that a look back through the preceding chapters of Luke makes it easier to answer that question.  Notice that in Luke Jesus interacts with many people who were, for one reason or another, outcasts–-social pariahs.  The Jewish religious establishment criticized Jesus often because He spent so much time with those whom they referred to as “sinners.”

In Lk 15, we read the parables of the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the Prodigal Son.  That chapter makes clear, in verses 1 & 2, that Jesus told those parables in response to the Jewish complaint that He should not be spending time with such low life.  You see the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the prodigal son all represent, in these parables, the “sinners” whom the Jews wanted Jesus to stay away from.

But we also must notice the way that the persons whom the Jewish establishment rejected are so often described in Luke.  They are described by putting together two nouns.  The two nouns are “tax collectors” and “sinners.”  A devout Jew of Jesus’ day would not eat with a tax collector because such a person was considered ritually unclean due to their involvement with the Roman Imperial authorities.  The fear that one might have touched a tax collector is one of the reasons that the Jews ritually washed their hands before they ate; they feared that just touching such a person might religiously poison their food.  And Jewish laws in Jesus’ day did not allow a tax collector to hold a “communal office” or even give “testimony in a Jewish court” (Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 4:522).

The view of the Gospel of Luke, however, is entirely different.  John the Baptist, in Lk 3:12, is asked by a group of tax collectors what they should do to show the proper fruits of repentance.  John does not tell them to change jobs; he tells them to be fair (Lk 3:13).  And Jesus Himself even calls a tax collector, Levi, to follow him as an apostle, and Levi does follow Him (Lk 5:27-32).  And Jesus eats with tax collectors regularly.  He clearly does not fear being defiled by them.

So Jesus had come to Jericho to meet Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, the only person referred to in that way in the entire New Teatamwnt.  And, to make matters worse, Zacchaeus is rich.  Take a person holding a hated position; make that person rich; the hatred only increases.

So when Zacchaeus and Jesus walk together toward Zacchaeus’s house, the crowd grumbles; they complain.  They complain loudly enough that Zacchaeus hears it and stops.  I know that the New International Version says that he “stood up,” but the verb here can and, in my judgment, should be rendered as stopped, which is the rendering employed in the New American Standard Bible.  Anyway, Zacchaeus responds by turning to Jesus and saying what is most naturally and literally translated by the Revised Standard Version.  The RSV in Lk 19:8 says, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold.”

Now most English translations render the verbs “to give” and “to restore” here as future verbs, i.e., “I will give” and “I will restore or I will give back.”  But the Greek verbs here are both present tense verbs.  Now, it is not impossible in Greek for a present tense verb to have a future meaning (such is called by Greek Grammarians, a futuristic present).  But, for such a rendering to be chosen, the more normal time reference of the verb has to be impossible or unlikely.  Here, I do not think that the natural understanding of these Greek verbs is unlikely at all.  Read as normal present tense verbs this story is telling us that Jesus has been sent to Zacchaeus to help expose how unjust Jewish religious intolerance really is.  He has been sent to bring salvation to him, and salvation here has the idea of Jesus the Savior staying with this “son of Abraham” and, thereby, making clear that this man is not outside of the love and care of his God.  Jesus is saving Zacchaeus from the feeling foisted upon him by His fellow Jews that he is sinful, wicked, and separated from God’s people.  Jesus makes clear that he is a son of Abraham and that the very reason that Jesus is going to Zacchaeus’s house rather than someone else’s is due to the unfair treatment which he has been receiving.

If you read this passage with the words in verse 8 as words of repentance and change (i.e., reading the relevant verbs as future tense verbs) then it is the grumbling of the crowd which causes Zacchaeus to repent, and grumbling is not normally a positive thing in the Bible.  I think it is better to view Jesus here confronting, as He so often does, a social stigma that was unfair and unjust, a stigma based upon religious elitism rather than upon the actual deeds of the person or persons concerned.

But what I want to notice this morning is the lesson that this passage gives us for the use of our wealth.  Jesus revealed the goodness of Zacchaeus by giving Zacchaeus a stage on which to communicate the generous way that he used his wealth and compensated for any mistakes that he made.  He gave half of his goods to the poor.  If he took more from anyone than he should have, then he gave them back four times more than that.

In the days of Zacchaeus we would all be considered wealthy, and I suspect that many within the religious establishment would have doubted our religious purity as a direct result of that wealth and the types of jobs we do to create it.  I want us to follow Zacchaeus’s model.  I want us to be surprisingly generous in the way we use our wealth.  I want us to pay our money forward, forward into eternity, by using our wealth to bless others and by using our wealth to give glory to God.

We have lots of stuff.  But the persons who pay it forward realize that it is not their stuff at all.  It is from God, and God really owns it.  The persons who pay it forward use it in ways that show forth the heart of God, the giver of all that we have.

We Americans like to think of ourselves as the land of the free.  But my experience is that outside of this country we are known as the land of stuff.  What will we do with all that stuff?  Let’s follow the example of Zacchaeus.  Let’s be generous in using for others.  Let’s follow the example of Danny.  Let’s use it to communicate love.  By doing so we will spread peace and the righteousness of God.

This is an edited version of a sermon by Dr. Rodney Plunket, the former pastor of Broadway Church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas.  The parts I edited out were not because of the message, but because it dealt with members of the Broadway Church of Christ congregation.  I also want to add a few words of my own.

We far too often hear about people who call themselves Christians but only teach hate and fear and condemnation, and far too often these same people end up in scandals about their wealth and status.  They forget that Jesus ministered to those condemned by the Jews.  I think in the present day, LGBT Christians are the Jewish tax collectors of Jesus’s day.  Churches shun us and don’t want to have anything to do with us.  They preach about their hatred of us.  The argument against homosexuality used to be that gay men were promiscuous and committed fornication with other men.  However, now that gay people can get married and more and more of the LGBT community are in long term monogamous relationships, the very thing we were criticized for not having, the same people are trying to block us from marriage.

My thought is this, no matter what other Christians say or believe, LGBT Christians are still “Christians.”  We should continue to give back to those who need it.  I mentioned the other day that I have some medical expenses looming and the help I received from several people was tremendous.  They paid it forward, and whereas I am unable to do that monetarily right now, I try to find other ways to “pay it forward.”  Zacchaeus was judged simply because of his job, and Jews of the time didn’t care to see what Zacchaeus did with his wealth, but Jesus knew what Zacchaeus did as he knows us in our hearts.  So don’t let the judgement of other people stop you from helping those in need.  

When We All Get to Heaven


After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18

Yesterday, I went with my mother to visit Pop’s grave. Pop was Mama’s daddy and thus my grandfather. Pop died three years ago, and Mama faithfully puts new flowers on his grave. She took his death particularly hard, and she’s having just as hard of a time with her sister’s death (my aunt who died a few weeks ago). A few words about Pop before I go into the main part of today’s post. Pop was a giving and godly man. He was a faithful churchgoer and deacon until he was no longer able to attend church because of his failing eyesight, growing deafness, and his inability to walk very far. I have never heard anyone say a bad word against Pop, and I doubt I ever will. I also never heard Pop speak ill of anyone. There was truly nothing anyone could say against him. There are very few genuinely good men in this world, but Pop was one of them.

While we were at his gravesite, Mama remarked, “I won’t tell him that [my sister] died. I’m sure he already knows.” To which I remarked that they were together in heaven. Mama said, “No, they are not. They won’t be together in heaven until the Judgement Day.” And she is right, as the song below says:

When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

When we die we don’t automatically got to heaven or hell (Yes, I know Catholics believe there is a Purgatory in between). The Bible tells us that we will all go to heaven on the Day of Judgement, but many people believe that this occurs at the moment of death. Since I was raised in the churches of Christ, I go strictly by what the Bible says and have always been taught that it is on the Day of Judgement when we will all be together again. In my belief, and I really have nothing to back this up, but I believe that we do not know from the time of our death until we reach the Day of Judgement that any time has passed. I believe that the next thing we will know after death is that as we are judged on that day that our Lord will either say “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:23) Or, as I hope and believe He will say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21)

So as I was thinking on this brief conversation I had with my mother, I thought of beloved friends and family members who have gone on before us, and i was suddenly singing the song below in my head. It has long been one of my favorites, because I love the message it gives.

When We All Get to Heaven

Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
Sing His mercy and His grace.
In the mansions bright and blessèd
He’ll prepare for us a place.

When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

While we walk the pilgrim pathway,
Clouds will overspread the sky;
But when traveling days are over,
Not a shadow, not a sigh.

When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

Let us then be true and faithful,
Trusting, serving every day;
Just one glimpse of Him in glory
Will the toils of life repay.

When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

Onward to the prize before us!
Soon His beauty we’ll behold;
Soon the pearly gates will open;
We shall tread the streets of gold.

When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

The author of this song, Eliza Edmunds Hewitt, was a school teacher in Philadelphia and a Christian lay worker who was deeply devoted to the Sunday school movement. Like many of the other gospel song writers during the latter half of the nineteenth century, Eliza’s goal in writing her songs was to reach children and teach them the basic truths of the gospel. She dedicated this particular song to her own Sunday school class in Philadelphia. Though an invalid for much of her life, Eliza did not become bitter but devoted her life to God. I think we can all read the words of this beautiful song and rejoice that one day we will see Jesus, and on that day, we will shout the victory when we are told “Well done, good and faithful servant,” and we enter through the pearly gates to the place He has prepared for us.

The picture above is called “Judgement Day” and was created specifically for the 2009 GLAAD Art Auction by Troy Dunham of troyboydesign and the photographer Jeff Eason of Wilsonmodels and features many of New York’s finest assets in a modern day re-interpretation of the classic Paul Rubens painting “The Last Judgement” (seen below).


The Dynasty Should Be Over


I will admit that I have watched Duck Dynasty on occasion, I’ve even heard Jase Robertson speak in person. The show can be somewhat humorous, just to watch the stupidity of rednecks, but it’s a lie that purports to be real. It only takes a few shows to just see how fake this family is. I have friends who live in Louisiana, and just like in Alabama where this is not always the case, there is a vast amount of ignorance in the state. My friends are all academics, with fairly liberal views, but no matter where you go in America today, ignorance abounds. Phil Robertson is just the latest example of this ignorance, but I have a particular bone to pick with him. He is giving my religion a bad name.

You see, Phil is a minister with the churches of Christ and should know better than to misquote the Bible. By the way, I had already been peeved with the Robertson family for putting on a Christmas pageant at their church. No good member of the church of Christ is going to celebrate Christmas within the church because the birth of Christ is something that we believe should be celebrated year round; however, for sheer monetary gain, the Robertson family flaunted a Christmas Pageant at their church on their “Duck Dynasty: Robertson Family Christmas.” The episode itself was so far removed from what Christmas should be about that it sickened me. The church of Christ does not frown upon its members for celebrating Christmas, but we don’t celebrate the holiday as an official church activity. My own church had a Christmas party but it was hosted by one of our members who invited us all to her house for dinner, but was not sponsored by the church.

The thing is, in the church of Christ we do not add to or take away from the New Testament. Yet, Phil did just that in his comments to GQ Magazine. In his shocking interview with GQ’s Drew Magary, Phil Robertson — the 67-year-old patriarch of the Duck Commander kingdom that earned his Louisiana family a fortune and a hit A&E series — opened up about “modern immorality” and the gay community. In the interview, he stated:

It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.

Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.

The emphasized part of the above quote is a misquoted and mistranslated version of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. The King James Version (which is one of the most accurate English translations) reads:

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (malokois), nor abusers of themselves with mankind (arsenokoitai)
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

The English Standard Version, which is probably the mistranslation that Phil was quoting from, reads:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? 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.

Phil takes an incorrect view of the Bible with this passage. In the King James Version, I have put in parentheses the two original words that have caused the most controversy. There have been 44 different interpretations in English of the word malokois. Most common through history have been weaklings, effeminates, or homosexual. I believe all of these are incorrect interpretations of the word. Greek scholars say that in first century the Greek word malaokois probably meant “effeminate call boys.” The New Revised Standard Version says “male prostitutes.” Some biblical scholars have argued that the term is used for the word catamite, which is a fairly consistent interpretation by most Biblical scholars. A catamite was a young hairless boy used for sexual pleasure by older men. This derives from the more Ancient Greek practice of pederasty (remember that Corinth is in the Greek Peloponnesus). The practice that Paul is condemning is and always has been that of pedophilia, not homosexuality.

As for arsenokoitai, Greek scholars don’t know exactly what it means — and the fact that we don’t know is a big part of this tragic debate. Some scholars believe Paul was coining a name to refer to the customers of “the effeminate call boys.” We might call them “dirty old men.” Others translate the word as “sodomites,” but never explain what that means. In 1958, for the first time in history, a person translating that mysterious Greek word into English decided it meant homosexuals, even though there is, in fact, no such word in Greek or Hebrew. But that translator made the decision for all of us that placed the word homosexual in the English-language Bible for the very first time.

The fact is, there is no clear evidence that homosexual orientation or that the love between two men or two women is a sin. The Bible is completely silent on the issue of homosexual orientation. And no wonder. Homosexual orientation wasn’t even known as a term until the 19th century.

Phil Robertson claims that he studies his Bible and carries it with him always, yet he can’t even correctly quote the Bible. He continues to use a bad translation of the Bible in order to spew his vile comments to the world. The biggest problem with Phill Robertson is that he is a hypocrite. Robertson was once a substance abuser, but in the 1970s he turned his life over to Jesus, according to the Christian publication, The Southeast Outlook. He has since been a devout Christian and strives to be a scholar of the Bible. Like most people who come to Christianity later in life, Phil has become over zealous in his beliefs in order to atone for past sins. Instead of being a loving Christian man, who shows his generosity, he uses his fame and his Bible to browbeat his brand of Christianity onto those who disagree with him.

A representative from A&E released the following statement from Phil Roberston in response to the controversy:

I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.

To be fair, I completely agree with the last three sentences of Phil’s statement; however, how much of it is true considering the statements he made in GQ and statements he’s made in past sermons and speeches. This isn’t the first time that Phil has spoken about against homosexuality, but this was the most public of his statements.

GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz said it best when he released the following statement:

Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe. He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans –- and Americans — who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples. Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.

In the backlash to Phil’s statements, A&E suspended Phil Robertson “indefinitely” from the reality series due to his comments about the LGBT community. How much will A&E stand by their suspension, especially with the rest of the Robertson clan standing firmly behind their patriarch? There is just too much money at stake for both A&E and the Robertsons. “Duck Dynasty” is on hiatus until Jan. 15, and a network spokesman said Thursday that nine of next season’s 10 episodes have already been filmed. That means Robertson likely isn’t needed in front of the camera before next March, by which time this whole crisis may have blown over. And blow over it will, eventually, says veteran Hollywood crisis publicist Howard Bragman, who added that Robertson will likely return to the show as well, perhaps after making a heartfelt apology.

A Good Foundation


<blockquote>”Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
Luke 6:46-49

Sunday two weeks ago (I was sick last weekend), we looked at two of the problems that face us as people who have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The first problem is that even though we are “like God” in our ability to know right from wrong, we don’t always know what the best thing is to do. Sometimes we simply do bad things, knowing they’re bad. But, more often, we try to do good, and it turns out for evil, because our perspective is too small.

In the above passage of scripture, Jesus tells us how he can help us with that problem. The earliest disciples gathered around Jesus because they recognized him as a teacher of God’s wisdom. In the Gospel of John, we are told they thought of him as God’s Word made flesh–Holy Wisdom in human form.

Today, we can read Jesus’ teachings and find the same wisdom in them that his earliest followers did. Thanks to the writers of the Gospels, we can be Jesus’ disciples and he can be our teacher, even in the 21st century. This is how Jesus helps us with one of the big dilemmas of having eaten for the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Instead of being stuck with our own small wisdom, we can build on the foundations of Jesus’ teachings. We can become wise people, who build our houses on rock. A house built on rock is more likely to be built well, and the same is true of our lives. If we build our lives on the rock of Christ’s teachings, we will more consistently do good instead of evil, and our lives will be sturdier.

I’m not implying that studying Jesus’ teachings is the only way to know how to do good more consistently. There are other teachers who taught us right from wrong. The Gospels are only 4 of the 66 books of the Bible, and God has given us other wise people to whom we should pay attention. However, listening to Jesus gives us a good foundation to build upon.

Many in the LGBT community, turn away from God because their congregation or people claiming to be Christians rejected them. I think one of the greatest things my parents did was to raise me in a loving church community. Not all churches of Christ are as loving and as accepting as mine was. I’m really not for sure how accepting they would be if they knew I am gay; however, with the love I have seen in my church, I think most members of my church would accept it. They certainly would not ask for me to leave the church. I was taught a good foundation for my faith, and I believe that it is that foundation that has kept my faith strong and unwavering.

Questions and Answers


A church of Christ minister emailed me a few weeks ago with some question regarding my posts about gay Christians and my views about the Church of Christ. In his comment, he stated:

I found your site interesting to come across. There certainly should be a place of discourse about homosexuality. I am a minister in the Church of Christ, and I do find that all sexual behavior outside of marriage between a man and a woman is sinful and contrary to Christ’s words. I do know that many Christians can struggle with difficulties that make them feel on the edges of their church and faith to which I can relate. I think we can help each other. I do have some questions that I hope you can consider and respond.

In his comment and his subsequent email, he asked a number of questions which I will endeavor to answer. In my first email to him, I wrote:

I have struggled for many years to try and understand why God created me in a way that I do not have an attraction to the opposite sex, but an attraction to my own sex. I once asked myself if God made a mistake, but God does not make mistakes, therefore he had a purpose in the way he created me and those like me. I prayed and meditated. I read the Bible, searching for meanings of passages that were difficult to understand, even though some stated that their meaning was very clear and simple. God guided me in that study, as he guides me throughout life. I came to understand and believe that God created me the way I am, that the verses about homosexuality do not pertain to true love between human beings of the same sex, but as perverse sexual acts that are contrary to the teachings of Christ and the worship of Christ.

In what I have read of your views on homosexuality, which I plan to take a closer look to, you equate homosexuality with sexual practices only. Homosexuality is not all about sex. I can be a homosexual and still not engage in sexual practices. There are many who do. However, we are judged by our perceived sexual lifestyle. I am not denying that I have never fornicated, but I have also sought forgiveness for my prior indiscretions.

In his response, he asked how I knew I was born homosexual. While it is true that most people do not develop sexual attraction until puberty, there is more to being homosexual than sex. Though I won’t claim that I was always aware of my homosexuality, it is more because I did not understand. I had no concept of homosexuality, but I certainly knew that I was different. Most homosexuals felt the same way growing up. Most of us did not have the same interests as other boys. I preferred to play with the girls when growing up. I never enjoyed playing sports, though my parents forced me to. So you might ask, how I came to understand my sexuality. It was not easy. When sexual interests began in puberty, it was an attraction to boys not girls. My dreams and fantasies were about boys. Though I tried to think of girls in the same way, it did not arouse me. It took a lot of internal wrestling to come to terms with my sexuality.

Some of the other questions my commenter had that I would like to address:

What do you think it would be like to be a Christian without the desires of homosexuality? How would life be any better?

If I were not homosexual, then I would not have struggled with coming to terms with being gay and Christian. My parents would not worry about me because their concept of Christianity believes that I am damned to hell. In ways, life would be better, but I am the way God created me. I firmly believe that God created me as a homosexual and guided my strong Christian faith because he had a purpose for me. We all have trials and temptations. God tests our faith, as he did Job and Abraham, and so many others. James 1:2-4 says “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” However, being homosexual strengthens my faith, not lessens it, and I take joy in that, just as God commands.

With many Christians struggling with temptations of sexual immorality, did you ever see yourself as enslaved your homosexual desires as sin?

Before I studied the scriptures and understood the true meanings of its words, yes, I did feel that I was enslaved by my homosexuality and sin. However, when I studied the true meanings of the words, with faith that God was guiding my study, I came to believe differently. I will not repeat this journey, but instead I urge you to go back and read my post “Abusus Non Tollit Usum.”

Do you still think that sexual desires can be deceptive and entice someone to sin (Jas. 1:14-15, 1 John 2:15-17)?

Yes, I do believe that sexual desire, as well as all other desires of this world, can entice someone to sin. However, this is universal, and does not pertain to homosexuals alone, but to all Christians regardless of their sexuality. When we take verses and place a sexual meaning to them, especially when it has such a wider meaning, then we are perverting the Word of God.

Regarding Jesus, what do you think Jesus means concerning sexual immorality defiling the heart in Mark 7:20-23? What sexual immorality would He have in mind and how would we know what He meant?

This was the last of the questions asked, and I think I deserves a post of its own, so I will continue this next Sunday.

Thank you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and may God bless us to live in His love.

Atypical Sunday

Today was not the typical Sunday.  I got up a little late to go to church this morning, so I hurried to get there.  I was about 2 minutes too late.  Church had already started, and our preacher was leading the singing.  I had noticed that our regular song leader had not left his house yet when I went by, so I had hoped that I would make it before they started.  Apparently, our regular song leader has bronchitis, and so our preacher had stepped in to lead the singing.  It’s a small congregation, so we don’t have enough kids to have Sunday School, but we do start every service with “Jesus Loves Me” for the kids.  As soon as the song was over, our preacher stopped and asked if I wanted to lead the singing today.  I was the song leader before I moved away for graduate school.  I was never very good at it.  I’m just not a loud enough and confident enough of a singer to lead a congregation, let alone a small congregation where every singer counts and there is no musical accompaniment since it is a Church of Christ. Luckily, there was already a song service planned out that I had used the last time I had to be the substitute song leader.  I just wasn’t exactly prepared.  I usually need to get mentally read to sing and make sure that the right tune comes out.  I admit, I faltered a few times today.  I even had to restart “The Old Rugged Cross” because I started it wrong.  Overall, I guess the song service went well.  I did my best. The Bible does say:

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:19 (KJV)

Today, we made a joyful noise only because we did it for the glory of God.  Others may not have agreed that it was a joyful noise, but to me, there is nothing more beautiful than a group of people in a small country church where everyone is singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord.

Via, Veritas, Vita

The Way, The Truth, and The Life—John 14:6

Final Thoughts

I hope that I have given us all something to consider whether you are a fellow gay member of the Churches of Christ or of any other denomination or sect of Christianity.  I have not written anything in these posts that I do not firmly believe myself.  I do believe that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life.”  My journey to self acceptance was a long and torturous journey.  When I was sixteen, I took a handful of pills hoping that the agony that I felt would finally be over.  I did not know why I was different.  I did not yet at that time understand homosexuality.  I also did not understand the never-ending love that God has for me and all of humankind.  I thank God each and every day for me being unsuccessful on that day nearly twenty years ago.

Once I understood that the feelings I was having probably meant that I was homosexual, I had to come to terms with that.  It was not easy.  I had never once in my life been told that it was okay to be gay.  One of the early books I read while trying to figure all of this out was one called Finding the Boyfriend Within: A Practical Guide for Tapping into Your Own Source of Love, Happiness, and Respect by Brad Gooch.  Who is the Boyfriend Within? Simply put, he embodies “qualities we find attractive in ourselves but often imagine others to possess more fully, as well as … dormant qualities we wish to nurture and grow.”  The main lesson I learned from this was the technique where you basically schedule a date with yourself.  You dress nicely, cook a wonderful meal, and have a romantic evening with just you.  At first, I thought this would be my answer.  I could love myself and be content with a celibate life.

That was not the answer.  I still wanted the love of another man, and I still do want to find that man.  I wanted to feel another man in my arms, to be held by another man, to kiss another man, to make love to another man, etc.  These were all things I longed for, and things I could not give myself.  However, the struggle that I ultimately faced was: What would my family say?  How would God judge me?  So I began to pray and mediate on the subject.  I did what research I could back then, though I am a much better researcher now (thank you, graduate school).  What I came to realize back then was that God will always love me and never forsake me.  Though I won’t claim that God spoke to me like a burning bush in the desert, I do believe that the Holy Spirit allowed my heart to understand.  My faith could/would/will remain strong and never waiver.  It never did and never has.  The question was whether or not I could act on my homosexuality.  And at certain points I have been very promiscuous, which I do not think God smiled upon, but he did forgive me, and that is the most important thing.  God forgives.  God loves. God will not forsake us.

I love what Justin O’Shea had to say in a recent post in his blog Justin Dunes:

Let me tell you, briefly, I hope, what is at the bottom or foundation of me.  I’ve worked on this and as we joke about here “I am a work of art in progress. . . .always becoming.  .”  I hold fast to this.  We are created in the image and likeness of God. Love does such things. . .Love engenders and creates love.  Being a gay man is part of God’s gift to me. . .how I live this out is my gift to God. . . .and to others.. . .because to be real  ‘religion is relationships – God… Justin . . .and everyone else.’
How I love is how I live and vice versa.  I believe too that God has given me all I need to become. . .grow into the man He created me to be.  All I have to do is use what I have been given. . .and. . .as I use and share this I receive more to keep on going. .

One of the most important reasons that I was able to come to these same conclusions is through the loving relationships I had with my friends who welcomed my sexuality and never, not once, made me feel bad about it.  My family has been another struggle, one that I hope I will be able to resolve some day.  If you are struggling with sexuality and religion, then know that I am here to help.  I started these posts to reach out to other GLBT Christians and to GLBT members of the Churches of Christ.  I know there are other GLBT members of the Churches of Christ out there, and I do hope that they eventually come across these posts.  We need the strength that friends can supply, we need the strength that God can supply, and we need the strength that our GLBT community can supply.

Thank you for reading, and God Bless You.
I feel like there should be an AMEN in there somewhere, LOL.

Vince Malum Bono

Overcome Evil with Good (Romans 12:21)

What We Should Do As Gay Christians?

How do we move forward from here?  First of all, we must realize that not all heterosexual Christians hate us.  Yes, there are fundamentalists who will always hate us, and not much can be done to stop them.  Their answers are not for us. There is no need to pretend to ourselves and others to be straight.  There is no need to turn to celibacy, especially when we are in a committed relationship.

Dr. Randall Maddox, a professor at Pepperdine University, makes some great points about the Bible and homosexuality.  In an article in the Pepperdine student newspaper, Graphic, Maddox states:

As I understand it, the Bible says nothing about homosexuality as we use the term today.  It neither accepts nor rejects it, and, yes, I am very aware of the biblical passages that appear to address the issue.  To decide what we should do with it, I believe we must look to broader biblical principles that might seem unrelated on the surface. 
This should not be disconcerting, for we have already done this on a number of issues.  Slavery is an issue about which we have drawn conclusions that contradict the accepted practice of all societies in scripture and effectively dismiss some of God’s specific commands.  To condemn slavery requires that we call on scriptures that do not address it, and discount those that do address it by appealing to overriding biblical principles. 
There are many other such questions, past, present and future.  Interracial marriage, whether women must wear veils in church and whether they are allowed to speak, whether men may have long hair, divorce and remarriage, when life begins, genetic engineering and cloning, environmental issues, the pros and cons of a capitalistic economy, globalization, poverty, genocide, and how we should relate to extraterrestrial life if we ever encounter it — all these are examples of issues that are either not addressed in scripture, or are very muddy.  We would shudder if someone suggested we follow the clear scriptural teachings and examples on such things as women’s issues or genocide.  We must not approach any of them simplistically.

For a mathematics professor, he makes a lot of sense.  (Lame attempt at a joke; I never was great at math.) The truth is, our interpretations of the Bible have changed.  We just need to be logical and knowledgeable about the Bible.  If we are able to answer their rhetoric we can make convincing arguments.  Those who do not have faith will find it difficult to debate religion with authority because they do not hold the faith that we have. Even though many non-believers are very knowledgeable about religion, most religious people will not take credence to their words merely because they do not have faith.  Therefore, we have to speak the language of our persecutors and know how to refute them.

So I want to end this post with a few last thoughts from Professor Maddox in his response to another article by Pepperdine Accounting Professor Marilyn Misch, who had written an article stating that homosexuals should remain celibate. (The entire foundation of Dr Misch’s article lies in the following syllogism:  All sexual relations outside of marriage are sin.  Homosexual relations are (by definition) outside marriage.)  Here are Professor Maddox’s final remarks:

[First,] the reality of homosexuality is very difficult to sort out in the context of faith, even if one is forced to face it in a loved one, or in oneself.  Many faith traditions are addressing the question, are at different points on the journey, and are drawing different conclusions as they go.  I am not claiming here to present definitive answers to the biblical questions.  I am merely proposing that Dr. Misch did not present them either. 
Second, it is against my nature to write as I have written here, especially when I realize how incompletely I have addressed a complex issue.  The reason I must write is that I feel for the many readers of Dr. Misch’s article who are struggling with the reality of homosexuality in the context of faith, only to find their situation, indeed their entire selves, reduced by her article to a simplistic and faulty syllogism, implying that their entire sexual and romantic natures are nothing more than an inclination to sin.  Such undiscerning judgment has done much damage to struggling Christians.
This judgment has reduced many people to despair and led to their ultimate suicide.  And it was not because they lacked a support structure to resist temptation; it was because the romantic attraction and, yes, the love they felt for another was called sinful, and absurdly compared to such things as the addiction of alcoholism, the predatory abusiveness of pedophilia, or the birth of a retarded child.  In their hearts these struggling people wondered if their love was really like these tragedies. 
Furthermore, I know of many deeply religious people who threw away their faith, either because the dichotomy produced by simplistic exegesis was the source of irreconcilable internal contradiction, or because they tired of the naïve and undiscerning arguments presented by those who clearly could not understand their situation but claimed to represent God. 
Finally, I do not want us to be polarized by the issue of homosexuality.  Simplistic arguments in black and white can only polarize a community.  Life and faith are much more colorful and complex than Dr. Misch’s article suggests, and there will always be questions to which we do not have completely satisfying answers.  As a mathematician, I find such inconclusiveness disconcerting.  But I believe we must be willing to live with some inconclusiveness, even on matters as volatile as homosexuality, and even when it produces dissonance within our own hearts and disagreements between us. 
We all have much to learn, and much we have never experienced.  I accept that some questions do not have clear answers, and I have learned to live with the dissonance, not because I am content with it or because it allows me to live how I please, but because I am on a journey of faith.  God is leading me somewhere, and I am doing my best to follow.

The next post will be my final post in this series on Religion and Sexuality, and after that, we will return to our regularly scheduled program.