Romans 14: “13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.”–St. Paul.
Bigots masquerading as Christians place this text from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans on tracts:
God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 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.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Those who do so omit the text that follows:
New International Version (NIV)
God’s Righteous Judgment
2 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”[a] 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.
12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
This section, “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) was far more strongly rendered in a copy of THE NEW TESTAMENT which I tore up in the face of a Bible idolater not realizing then how uniquely powerful it was for in that edition the words were given, “When the gentiles who know not Christ live the life Christ teaches THEY ARE CHRIST.”
This month, in Toronto, rainbow colored posters have been going up which say,”RELIGION CAN’T PROTECT YOU.”
Actually, it can. I know this because long ago I placed my trust in Christ. That trust has not been in vain.
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
For all of my life I have placed my trust in the promise of these words from Psalm 91. From experience I can say with authority they are true.
Does this mean that I shall be free from attack?
No, it does not.
In his great essay, AN OPEN LETTER TO SURREALISTS EVERYWHERE, TROPIC OF CANCER author Henry Miller writes, “One man operating alone on faith can accomplish what trained armies cannot do.”
I have been operating on faith all of my life.
We tend to forget when called to witness that God stayed not the hands that drove the nails into Jesus.
We cry, “Why me?”
An all too common question is, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”
Was any man better than Jesus in whom was found no sin?
People pray for blessings without understanding.
For the word “bless” comes from the French “blesser” which means “to bleed.”
When we pray for blessings most think it means getting a new car or a trip to an exotic place.
No, we are asking for wounds.
I bear my stripes with pride.
When I was attacked personally on the streets of Toronto by a man who launched a vicious campaign of lies I was not frightened by it. Why should I be? I was frightened that a man, any man, could unleash an outpouring of such venom.
What had I done to deserve it?
I had done what we are called in Christ to do. I had defended a brother who also was attacked by this man.
Harlan Ellison writes, “You are not entitled to an opinion. You are entitled to an informed opinion.”
That informed opinion is a very rare thing.
We are now in the darkest moment in the history of the human species.
When Crazy Horse, the great Sioux native American, came down from the Black Hills after his vision quest he told his people that we would be entering into a time when men would be brutal to women and children everywhere, that there would be terrible fires all over the earth but not to fear as the Great Spirit was coming to pass judgement on the wicked.
Crazy Horse was not a Jesus freak nor was he, I laugh at the words for their poverty, among those who call themselves “Born Again.”
By St. Paul’s definition in that splendid edition of THE NEW TESTAMENT I tore to shreds (and which I have searched in vain for ever since) Crazy Horse was Christ.
And, like Christ, Crazy Horse was murdered by men who called themselves good. His body lies in an unknown grave.
Consider the great Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca who was denounced as a maricon, a faggot.
Lorca’s words live yet to inspire all who love truth for which he, too, was murdered. Lorca’s body lies who knows where as do the bodies of so many martyrs.
In his letters to Timothy St. Paul writes, “The Lord is like a potter who makes base pots and fine pots each pot to suit a purpose.”
Paul advises Timothy to be a fine pot. I am happier being a base pot. Fine pots only get used on those rare occasions we have company we want to impress. Base pots get used a lot more. No one pays them attention. When they get broken they are cast aside without a thought. I am more than happy to be that.
Matthew Shepard was created by God to suit a purpose. It is hard to see that purpose when we look at a body broken and destroyed by the virulence of hatred. But while we question that purpose let us remember that battered, bruised body that was taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb there, as all bodies before it had done, to rot.
Only that body did not rot.
In the Day of Judgement Matthew Shepard will stand with that body as a witness against those who passed judgement not only on him and condemned not only him but all the innocent.
In good conscience I can be neither Protestant nor Roman Catholic. In good conscience I can bend my knee neither to Pope, nor King, nor Queen, nor to President nor Prime Minister.
In good conscience I can stand with Jesus when he says, “What you do to the least of these my brothers and sisters you do to me.”
I have had many men and women as lovers in my life. I see nothing unclean it that. Those who see it as unclean, as Paul tells us, are those weak in faith.
We do not grow strong by embracing or apologizing for weakness.
In ON LIBERTY, John Stuart Mill writes. “The initiation of all wise or noble things comes and must come from individuals; generally at first from some one individual. The honor and glory of the average man is
that he is capable of following that initiative; that he can respond to wise and noble things: I am not countenancing the sort of ‘hero worship’ which applauds the strong man of genius for forcibly seizing on the government and making it do his bidding in spite of itself. All he can claim is freedom to point the way. The power of compelling others into it is not only inconsistent with the freedom and development of the rest, but corrupting to the strong man himself. It does seem, however, that when the opinions of masses of merely average men are everywhere become or becoming the dominant power, that the counterpoint and corrective to that tendency would be the more and more pronounced individuality of those who stand on the higher eminences of thought. It is in these circumstances most especially, that exceptional individuals, instead of being deterred, should be encouraged in acting differently from the mass. In other times there was no advantage in doing so, unless they acted not only differently but better. In this age, the mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric.
“Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.”
Eccentric has long been a euphemism (a polite word) for being homosexual.
In a time when men who call themselves Christian say that God hates homosexuals it is time to be a passionate lover of men. And what person desires anything less than a passionate lover? Let those who make love in the mind to 2D pictures drop their balls and make love with 3D living flesh.
We have more than enough cowards.
We are fire made flesh. Let our light shine so that all may see it.
As for those who quote Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, they would do well to recall these words of Jesus, “You pass off as the commandments of God things of men.”
If that is not enough recall these words of Peter regarding those same laws, “Why burden them with that which neither we nor the fathers can bear.”
Perhaps your back is stronger than Peter’s. Mine, I know, is not.