What does the Bible really (really!) say...?

In the on-line magazine “Charisma”, Michael L. Brown writes an article called What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality (27.10.14). He makes five points, but they are wrong, all of them. Let’s look at them one by one.
1) The testimony of Scripture remains unchanged: The Bible forbids homosexual practice.
…no new textual, archeological, sociological, anthropological or philological discoveries have been made in the last 50 years that would cause us to read any of these biblical texts differently.
Put another way, it is not that we have gained some new insights into what the biblical text means based on the study of the Hebrew and Greek texts.
Well, in a way that’s true. We have, however, gained insights into what kind of authority different biblical passages have on us Christians. For instance, the passages in Leviticus that speak about “not lying with a man as with a woman” are part of a larger whole that forbid many practices that the Israelites’ heathen neighbours had – the idea being that God’s people should remain faithful to God, instead of being lured into worshiping their neighbours’ gods.
2) The Bible is a heterosexual book.
There are a few, very strong, very clear, references to homosexual practice—every one of them decidedly negative—and then not a single reference to homosexual practice throughout the rest of the Bible. It is not part of God's "recipe" for humanity.
This is not so. There are several biblical examples of love between people of the same sex – David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi and (arguably) Martha and Mary. They are soft-pedalled, since the Bible is largely a heteronormative book, reflecting the standards of the societies in which it came into being – but they are there. The Bible is not an exclusively heterosexual book!
3) Gender complementarity is of foundational importance.
Despite recent attempts to downplay this truth, male-female complementarity is part of God's foundational design.
Of course it is. Biologically. And the majority of humanity is heterosexual, so there is no question about the human race becoming extinct.
However, when God created Man (the species), He created us with a wish for “twosomeness” as opposed to lonesomeness. Most people find that “twosomeness” in a heterosexual relationship, as Adam and Eve did in Genesis, but many find it in same-sex relations. The Genesis passage does not specifically state that heterosexuality is the only option, only that it is the usual option, for human beings to find “twosomeness”.
4) Jesus knew exactly what was inside people, including their "sexual orientation."
“Are gay theologians willing to say that the Lord Himself didn't understand modern-day, still-evolving concepts like "sexual orientation"?
And are they willing to say that the Lord Jesus, who literally looked into the hearts and souls of human beings—John 2:25 says that He knew what was in man—didn't understand that certain people were "gay"? We're not talking about the writers of Scripture understanding modern science. We're talking about them—including Jesus Himself—understanding human nature.”
I have no problem affirming that Jesus knew that some people were homosexual. I don’t see him mentioning that fact anywhere in the Gospels, however, and I certainly don’t see him condemning it!
5) The gospel brings good news to homosexual men and women.
It certainly does. Jesus died for our sins, and in Him we can all – gay and straight, man and woman, young and old, black and white, rich and poor – find forgiveness, peace, hope, and purpose.
Is the gospel of Jesus hard to follow? Yes. Love for God and for our fellow humans is not something that comes easily to us. We need to change and grow to be more like Jesus. But that regards us all, not only homosexuals. In fact, one of the first things we need to change is our tendency to judge others by our own standards. Especially if we imagine them to be God’s standards.
We must open ourselves to God and let Him teach us the standards He expects us to stand up to. We must NOT let ourselves be deluded into thinking that our own interpretation of God, His will, or His Word is the correct one.
I am never sure that my interpretation is correct. If I find that I’m wrong, I will change my opinion. There is only one interpretation that I KNOW is incorrect, and that is the literal one.

If you are interested in more
of my biblical interpretations,
and can read Swedish,
please visit Hbt-bibeln!

Word play: Cashtration

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. One of the winners is:
Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time. 
The English language needs this...
Thanks to the Episcopal Padre!

Intellectual joke

What does a dyslexic agnostic insomniac spend most of his time doing?
Staying up all night wondering whether there really is a dog.

Desperate opposition

In 2006, a fellow pastor and I were reported for heresy to the diocesan chapter of Porvoo. The reason eas that we had participated in an ongoing debate about sexual minorities in the Church, and since we wanted to accept them, we were labeled heretics. Well, the Chapter didn't agree and we were exonorated.

Now, an even flimsier excuse has been used to report another pastor to the Chapter of her diocese, Mikkeli in eastern Finland. Pastor Maarit Hirvi of Sammonlahti parish wrote a letter to the Editor of a local paper, saying that if the gender neutral marriage law now being prepared is passed by Parliament, and if pastors are given the right to marry same-sex couples, she would be prepared to do so. Kotimaa24 reported this on October 18.
So, if a hypothetical legal situation arises, she is willing to follow the law. That was the extent of her message, but that was enough for someone to react. This reaction is, in my opinion, desperate and ridiculous. If you are opposed to the aforementioned law, to the Church adopting its principles, and to pastors willingly following it, then there are ample political measures yet to use in your struggle. Legally persecuting individual opponents is hardly above board.

I have no doubt that pastor Hirvi will be exonorated, just as we were eight years ago. But i know how taxing the situation can be, so I wish her strength!

How many inches?

The doctor comes in and says, "Ah, I see you've regained consciousness. Now, you probably won't remember, but you were in a pile-up a month ago on the M50. You're going to be okay, you'll walk again and everything, but... something happened. I'm trying to break this gently, but the fact is, your penis was chopped off in the crash, and we were unable to find it."
The man groans, but the doctor goes on, "You've got £9000 in insurance compensation coming to you, and we have the technology now to build you a new penis that will work as well as your old one did - better in fact! But the thing is, it doesn't come cheap, it's £1000 an inch."
The man perks up at this.
"So," the doctor says, "it's for you to decide how many inches you want. But it's something you'd better discuss with your wife. I mean, if you had a five inch one before, and you decide to go for a nine incher, she might be a bit put out. But if you had a nine inch one before, and you decide only to invest in a five incher this time, she might be disappointed. So it's important that she plays a role in helping you make the decision."
The man agrees to talk with his wife.

The doctor comes back the next day.
"So," says the doctor, "have you spoken with your wife?"
"I have," says the man.
"And has she helped you in making the decision?"
"She has," says the man.
"And what is it?" asks the doctor.
"We're getting a new kitchen."

Thanks to MadPriest!