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Hate is not a conservative Christian value

Biblical literalism shouldn’t trump message of love

by Brady Born

As published in Creative Loafing

I’m a 62-year-old conservative Christian Republican who has slowly but steadily come to the awareness that gay rights and lifestyle probably aren’t near the threat to life on earth that so many of my ilk seem to believe. Please know that we don’t all hate those we disagree with. I’m not even sure I disagree. Most of us just want to be treated as average people and allowed to live our lives unmolested and unridiculed. Some of the Pride Festival events make that attitude a bit difficult to maintain, but surely they’re no different from the displays seen at big football games. Cheese wedge worn on the head? Stripped to the waist with body paint? Equals or exceeds anything gay, in my opinion.

When confronted with the argument that sexual orientation is a choice, Neal Boortz likes to ask his callers when in their lives they decided to be straight and how difficult a choice it was. Part of my receptiveness to this view is that the few gay people I’ve met have been — all of them — delightful.

Let me briefly go into the logic behind the church’s stance on homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22 prohibits sex with mankind as with womankind. I can’t say much pro or con on that one. It says what it says. And the often-quoted Leviticus 20:13 prohibits men having sex with men. However, one rarely hears Leviticus 11:7 mentioned. This is where the “no pork” idea comes from. The same chapter prohibits eating any kind of shellfish and rabbit, and you can scratch ravens, ostriches and eagles as well. Did I mention I love lobster?

Sometimes we let our literal interpretation of the Bible totally push out the attitude that Christians purport to hold: love for all persons. The love is not felt when lathered on with self-righteousness and you’re-a-sinner-and-I’m-not type of messages. I’ve never had good results proffering unasked for lifestyle advice.

Christianity’s teaching against homosexuality is in no way based upon fact, history or social research. The fact that gays do not appear to be tearing society apart at its core merely makes us slightly less confident of something that most have long since made up their minds regarding. We’re against excess of all kinds, too, like alcohol, but we seem to be OK with overeating and obesity — note the girth of most any Southern Baptist minister.

A more even-tempered approach taken by many Christians is in Romans 3:23, which states, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” It basically says we’re all in trouble and doesn’t single out any particular group for special treatment, be it punishment or praise. That’s an entirely scriptural basis upon which to run a church and leaves out that rather un-Christ-like hate thing.

Christians believe that what they have is perfect for everyone. They could be correct, but it still requires persuasion. How open is anyone going to be when your sales pitch is, “You’re going to burn in Hell for eternity. Would you like to hear about the love of God?” Hate pretty much sends the customer out of the store.

A Prayer-Poem for Non-Violence

By Darlene Darlington Wagner

Dear Eternal Mother (or Father),
How does your peaceableness manifest
In sentiment, thought, deed, and spoken word?
Across these aspects of existence
Which peace-building arts would you instruct
Me in? A person’s haste I recompense
With deference, a person’s anger I
Toil to reward with calm compassion.
Yet, how shall I respond to arrogance,
Cold ridicule, or power-lust-propelled
Brutality? (Any suggestions here? I’m not quite a true pacifist!)
This world now trembles in
Her weariness of fiery blasts and blood-sopped
Bodies rending and insulting her
Life-nurturing skin. A new, invincible
Peace, whose practitioners fall never to
Vindictive wrath’s allure, nor break ranks for
Just cause by forceful means, must claim all lost
In strife, must give sight to those blind by rage,
And heal the earth of hatred’s scars at last!
Sweet, Gentle Goddess, whose touch eases hurts
Within, calms discord separating hearts,
And promises to heal earth’s wounds and rifts,
To your unbounded Spirit bind me tight!

Should States Recognize Same-Sex Marriage?

By Ansley Kasha

By definition love is a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. Love is a concept that everyone knows about. How would you feel if all of a sudden your right to love was taken away? Empty? Alone? This is how approximately 8.8 million people feel all the time. Gay marriage is a touchy subject to discuss because it deals with religion as well as personal values. Although in American society people as a whole are not in favor of gay marriage, I strongly believe in the right to marry the same sex. I can understand why people would be against same-sex marriage, but do they understand why I would be for it?

Let’s take religion to start off with. Someone once anonymously stated on an online article, “I always thought the freedom of religion implied to the right from religion as well.” If this were to be true, is it right for the country to take away someone’s right to love based strictly on their beliefs? What if someone is a different religion other than Christian and doesn’t go by the Bible? How does being atheist fit into all of this? All of these are significant points to consider. What about the fact that state and religion are supposed to stay separate? If state and religion were actually separate, I bet more than six states would approve of gay marriage.

Morals also play a part of this ongoing argument. The way you were brought up affects your view on this. Your religion, how your parents were raised, and the type of household structure you were brought up in can affect your opinion on this issue. I was raised to accept everyone for who are. If they had disabilities, you accept them and learn to live a lifestyle that accommodates their needs. How is gay marriage any different? The way you feel about other people is just a part of who you are, just like disabilities. If someone wouldn’t look down on another person with a handicap, why would they look down on someone who is in love with the same sex?

Naturally people are going to disagree with my point of view. But if I were to ask someone who has a different viewpoint than me why gay marriage shouldn’t be legalized, what would their argument be? Does not legalizing gay marriage come down to feeling uncomfortable? Is it something people aren’t used to and therefore it is presented as wrong? But when you think about it, isn’t that how everything new works?

I believe that same-sex marriage should be made legal everywhere because it is simply just love. When you think about it, who is really hurting? How is it going to affect you in a negative way? Same-sex marriage, whether between men or women, is just a form of love. Maybe it is different from what you are used to, but when it comes down to it, it is all just the same thing. It’s just a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.

In One Brief Year, this Visitor from God Changed Us Forever

Dear Friend,

We want to share with you the story of a dear friend of ours, Charles Harris.  We didn’t realize how truly special he was until he explained to us how he came to be in our midst at Gentle Spirit Christian Church about two years ago.

The simplest way to tell it is just that he turned up one day.  He was hungry more than anything, so he waited through the service and the sermon, and he enjoyed a sandwich at the picnic luncheon that followed.  When we asked him where he lived, he pointed to the east and said he lived under an overpass.

The reason Charles liked that overpass was that the police essentially ignored it — and with no ID and a powerful addiction, Charles found it easiest to stay out of the way of the police while nursing his addiction and foraging for food.

Not that Charles preferred this life; what he really wanted was to get off the streets.  Which is next to impossible if you’re in the grips of an addiction, so Pastor Paul urged our new friend to consider getting clean and invited him back the next Sunday.

The next Sunday, Charles showed up again and quietly offered a prayer of thanksgiving for seven days of sobriety.

A year later, we had helped Charles find housing and employment, and he never missed a Sunday service in the park.  In fact, when his supervisor attempted to schedule Charles to work on Sundays, Charles told him point-blank that going to church every Sunday was part of his recovery, and that without his recovery he doubted that he ever would have returned to work.

And then, just as quickly as God brought Charles to us, God called him home.  The substances Charles had put into his body had taken their toll.   Charles always understood this might be the case, and so did we. Still, we were devastated.

Later, we began to understand why it was that we became Charles’ last stop before going home.  And we’re grateful for that opportunity.  Charles had a beautiful smile, and during his time with us he always seemed to have it on.

So when people ask us why for four years running we’ve been worshipping in a park, year-round in all sorts of weather, Charles is part of our answer.

Any given week finds us helping people just like Charles.  We empower them to find food, housing, transportation, employment, recovery.  Sometimes it’s just about providing care, hope and love.

But no matter how we’re able to help, we want first and foremost for those in our midst to believe in themselves — to believe that no matter where they are in their lives, they still have a chance to find the things that have eluded them.  It’s why we start every service by greeting each other and saying, “You’re in the right place.”

Next week we know there’ll be someone else who believes they have no one to turn to, and we’ll be there to assure them that they do.

It doesn’t take much to help someone get back on their feet.  For instance, only $10 helps secure a bed for someone spending their first night off the streets.  $17 helps someone afford a MARTA Breeze card to get to their new job for a week; $68 does the same for a whole month.

If you would like to help us continue this ministry, just click on the You Can Help tab above to learn how.

We are deeply grateful for whatever you can do, and we wish you many blessings.

Kurt’s Story

February 23, 2010

Dear Friend,

We want to share with you the story of Kurt [not his real name], a 26-year-old man who came to our attention after he found himself in a local jail after an accidental brush with the law.  By the time Pastor Paul arrived at the jail, he had already been told that Kurt had just been casually informed by a jail employee that the mandatory intake bloodwork revealed Kurt to be HIV-positive.  They had then tossed Kurt into his cell to be alone with this new knowledge.

When Pastor Paul met with Kurt, he could tell that in Kurt’s eyes, his world was crumbling.  Kurt believed that when he left the jail he’d have nowhere to live, no job, and a new medical condition that he didn’t know the first thing about.  Paul could also see in Kurt’s eyes that he thought this minister had only come to preach to him.

Instead, Pastor Paul let Kurt tell his story, and he comforted Kurt and asked him to come by the church office after his release so the church could see about getting him a job and a place to live.  A week later Kurt was in the church office, and Paul walked him over to a local restaurant where he got an interview and a job.

Almost every week we encounter someone like Kurt.  Someone who’s just lost something — or maybe everything.  And every week we try to help them get it back.  In the last year, Gentle Spirit Christian Church has helped three people find housing, five people find jobs, and one person overcome an almost lifelong addiction.  We also feed anyone who shows up to the first picnic pavilion in Candler Park around noon on Sunday, and at the end of the meal we put all the leftovers in containers and send them home with the hungriest among us.

People give us looks when we tell them we meet outside year-round, but for us it all became worthwhile when Charles showed up last year.  He joined us at the picnic table because he’d heard we had food, and he shared that he lived under an overpass and had an addiction.  We invited him to eat with us again the following Sunday.  Six months later he was celebrating his sobriety, and we’d helped him find housing and a job.

Next week we know there’ll be someone else who believes they have no one to turn to, and we’ll be there to assure them that they do.

It doesn’t take much to help someone get back on their feet.  For instance, only $10 helps secure a bed for someone spending their first night off the streets.  $17 helps someone afford a MARTA Breeze card to get to their new job for a week; $68 does the same for a whole month.

If you would like to help us continue this ministry, just click on the You Can Help tab above to learn how.

We are deeply grateful for whatever you can do, and we wish you many blessings.

What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality & Transgenderism?

What does the bible say about homosexuality & transgenderism? This bible study is designed to be used in small group, Sunday school and interactive bible study formats, to help people fully understand the verses used by scriptural literalists to condemn gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people.  The overarching thesis of the study is that these verses, when understood in their historical and cultural contexts, only describe exploitative and abusive forms of sexuality, not loving same-sex partnerships. Click here to get started.

This bible study was originally published by Open Door Communities and written by Micah and Katharine Royal, who hold the copyright for the information.  A special thanks to Micah and Katherine for allowing us to republish it here. In some parts of this study, where the authors reference handouts or online resources, we’ve attempted provided links to current online resources.  Please feel free to send us an email if you find a broken link. We’ve also made some minor edits for style and clarity.

Does God Discriminate Against Gay People?

Does God Discriminate Against Gay People?

Session 1 of Homosexuality & Transgenderism: A Bible Study.

Hook: Ask anyone willing to, to share about a time they experienced prejudice or discrimination of any type.

Ask: In what ways have you seen the bible used to support such action? Do you think that is a proper use or misuse of the people?

Explain: Today and in the next couple of weeks we are going to be looking at seeing if the bible teaches prejudice against homosexuals or homosexuality and discrimination against gays and lesbians. Many people today believe it does.

Explain that today you will simply be looking at the general question, “Does the Bible support discrimination and prejudice?” and in sessions that follow you will look at particular verses that deal with GLBT people.

Prejudice and Discrimination

When they have finished, ask: Does the Bible teach any form of discrimination or prejudice? Why or why not?

Have someone read Luke 4:18-19.

Explain that here we have Jesus’ mission in life.

Ask: Do his words suggest that he and his bible have the purpose of oppressing people based on their sexuality, race, or gender – or the purpose of setting people free from oppression?

Have someone read 1 Samuel 16:7.

Ask: According to this verse, does God judge people based on external qualities like height, economic class, sexual orientation or gender? By what characteristics does God judge a person? If this is the case, would God condone discrimination or prejudice?

Have someone read Acts 10:34-35.

Ask: Does God show favoritism based on externals like national origin, race, background, or sexual orientation, according to this verse?

Have someone read Galatians 3:27-29.

Ask: What does this verse say about how God views us? Do distinctions like gender, sexual orientation, race, and social status matter in God’s eyes?

Explain that each of these verses teaches us the basic principle of scripture that God does not discriminate. This means that God’s Word has to be misinterpreted for it to be applied in a way that discriminates against anyone or condones prejudice.

Confronting Bible Abuse

Ask: How is it then that people can use the bible as a tool of discrimination?

Have someone read 2 Peter 3:16.

Explain that here the scriptures describe how certain people will take hard to understand passages of scripture and distort their meaning for their own purposes.

One example of this is bible abuse, the ripping of select verses of scripture out of context in order to use them to support things they never were intended to – like the oppression of or discrimination of some other group of a minority group.

Ask: Is anyone familiar with other forms of bible abuse than misusing scripture to exclude GLBT people?

You may want to point out how scripture was misquoted to oppose the abolition of slavery, the civil rights movement, and basic human rights for women.

Close by quoting Romans 10:9-13. Explain that this verse shows us that God does not discriminate, though at times we as God’s followers might want to try to say God does, so we can remain in our comfort zones. All who call on the Lord in faith, trusting God as Savior and Lord, are counted by God as God’s beloved children, regardless of what human distinctions might divide them.

Hopefully these verses demonstrate to you that God is not a God of discrimination and prejudice, but a God who looks on the heart, counting as God’s own all who put their trust in God. In the next several sessions, we will look at verses that specifically deal with GLBT-related issues. But, in the meantime, be rest assured, God does not judge you for being gay, straight, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, male, female, or any other human distinction, but loves you for who you are.

Close in prayer.

What the Bible Says About Homosexuality

What the Bible Says About Homosexuality.

Session 2 of Homosexuality & Transgenderism: A Bible Study.

Ask: Have you ever been misrepresented by someone else? What happened? What did it take to get that misrepresentation corrected?

Explain that during your last lesson, you discussed how God is not a God who discriminates against any of God’s children and how God’s scriptures have been twisted by others throughout history to try and say God supported their prejudice.

Unfortunately, this means that many people who promote prejudice and bigotry against minorities such as gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, have verses of scripture which they can throw around as “evidence” that God is on their side. During this session, we are going to be looking at how we can discern what a verse of scripture, such as some of the verses quoted against GLBT people, means and what it doesn’t mean.

Keys For Understanding The Bible

Ask: What are some key pointers for determining whether a scripture supports a particular teaching or not?

Explain that you are going to look at five keys for understanding what God is saying to us through the bible. Using these five principles is a good starting point for really understanding what God is saying about an issue such as GLBT equality.

These five principles can be pictured as parts of a triangle.

Explain that each of these five principles is important, with the most important being on the bottom.

Ask: What are the different principles on this triangle? Why do you think they are important?

One key to understanding what God is saying about something is scripture.

Ask: How do you use scripture to interpret if a scripture is being misused?

(Hold up an orange)

Ask: What do you see?

(Allow comments)

Explain: A lot of our study of the bible is like our looking at this orange – we only look at the surface. Most of you said an orange. But a really observant person would point out the texture of the skin. (Peel off skin). A more observant person would talk about what was underneath the orange skin – the texture of the fruit inside, the size of the seeds…

There is a lot more to an orange than just “orange”.

The same is true with the bible: To truly see what God is saying about something we need to take time to really examine the scriptures on a topic. Folks who misuse scripture for their own ends are playing off the fact that many of us only go “skin-deep” in our reading of the bible. To make sure we are not being misled by bible abuse, we need to really look at the whole orange, seeds and all.

Ask: How can we do that with scripture?

Explain: Here are some keys for that:

1. Read the whole context.

Most people, when they quote a verse about homosexuality, or about hell or about anything, just lift verses out of the bible without paying attention to the story behind the verses. It’s like the old joke about the man who was depressed and opened the bible randomly to a page to see what God would say to him and he came across the verse “And Judas hung himself…” Horrified, he opened the bible again at random and saw the random phrase, “Go and do likewise”. Dejected, he opened the bible again one final time and came to the verse, “What you must do, do quickly”.

Now, if he only read those verses out of the context of the story they are in, he would end up in some big trouble – thinking God wanted him to kill himself.

But if he realized these were parts of a bigger story and read the verses leading up to these verses and following these verses he would realize that there was a bigger message which gave those verses meaning. And he would realize that God wasn’t really saying “Go kill yourself” at all but saying a very positive, life-affirming message.

One of the things we are going to be doing while we study what the Bible says about homosexuality is trying to figure out how the few verses that could be claimed to talk about homosexuality fit into the bigger story of the bible and asking: Do they say the same thing if you read them as a part of the big story? Anytime you read the scriptures, you need to see what the verses preceding and following the scripture you are studying say – in other words, how your verse fits into the story of that chapter or book of the bible.

2. Look into the history behind the story.

Again, a lot of times we don’t dig deep enough in the text. There is a story behind the story of the bible that affects how certain things are worded. It was written in a different land and a different time. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply to us, but what it means is we need to try and figure out how the time and place of a particular verse in history affects its meaning.

For instance, if someone just moved to America for the first time and was just picking up English and heard the phrase “it’s raining cats and dogs”, what would they think is going on? Falling felines and crashing canines from above! But if they studied how that word was used by people in America, they’d find out that the bigger story of American culture and history showed that language was figurative.

When people quote verses to discriminate against others, a lot of times they will quote verses dealing with customs that sound like practices today – until you study what those customs really were in the time the bible authors wrote about them. Other times, the text will have phrases which may sound like they describe one thing (like homosexual behavior, or like women being less than men) but which didn’t mean that in the culture of the day.

3. Compare different translations of the verses in question.

Another really big thing is that the bible was originally written in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic and not “English, Spanglish, and Bad English” like we speak around here, so what we read is not the original words of the bible, but a translation. That is why it is important to compare different translations of the bible and find out what different translations translate things differently. (A few good bible commentaries will help here!)

This becomes important in looking at homosexuality because, as we will discuss more later, in some translations the word “homosexual” is used to translate the same word other translations use for “male prostitute” or “paederast” (which means pedophile). The difference in those translations means a lot!

Allow time for folks to discuss each of these points as they come up. Also ask how they think they might be able to apply these principles to verses used by anti-gay activists.

History

This means looking at the question of how it is it that different people have understood this verse over time.

Ask: Why might this be an important thing to consider in determining how to interpret a scripture?

A lot of times you can get insight into this. For instance, Christians of every stripe and tradition in every age have said that what Jesus taught is the foundation of Christianity and that without him we’d be lost. Because of the fact they all agree on this, we know that someone’s relationship to Jesus is key to what being a Christian is.

So seeing the history of how a verse has been interpreted can show us timeless truths that shed light on how to interpret obscure passages.

Ask: How might this affect your reading of scriptures purported to be about sexual orientation or gender identity?

Also, it can help give us a check on reading into the text our own modern ideas.

For instance, one Greek word often translated by modern Christians who oppose gay rights as “homosexual”, arsenokoites, for the first several centuries of Bible interpretation – when most Christians still read ancient Greek – was never used to apply to gay relationships, but instead to masturbation, anal sex between a man and a woman, and child molestation. The fact that it is only after Western society began to discriminate more openly against gays and that only after most Christians quit speaking biblical Greek that this Greek word got translated as “homosexual” tips us off to the possibility that folks who use it to condemn gay people are reading in their own ideas to the bible.

Ask: How might this affect your reading of scriptures purported to be about sexual orientation or gender identity?

Knowing the history of bible interpretation also shows us how Christians sometimes get it wrong.

Throughout history, individuals have also misused portions of the bible, taking verses out of context to support various acts of prejudice and discrimination. For instance, during the time of slavery, people found verses in the bible where the apostle Paul told Christians stuck in slavery in the Roman Empire to submit to their slave-drivers until and unless they could find their freedom and used those verses to defend keeping African Americans in slavery forever. In the time of segregation, people quoted verses against Jews marrying people of other nations who did not worship the true God to support their policy of separating people based on race in a way that mistreated minorities. And throughout the ages, men have quoted verses about a wife’s role supporting her husband (while strangely overlooking the verses about a husband’s role supporting his wife!) as a way to keep women out of power and thus oppressed and voiceless.

Though at one point all these were the mainstream interpretation of these verses, most Christians would agree these were wrong uses of scripture. Over the centuries, as God’s Spirit has led Christians, Christians have begun to understand that these interpretations of scripture were not God’s intended message, but in fact went against the basic teachings of Christianity’s founder, Jesus. The Holy Spirit has shown that Jesus’ message is one that sets people free, not one that oppresses people.

Ask: How might this affect your interpretation of scriptures purported to be about sexual orientation or gender identity?

Reason and Experience

Ask: What are these? How do they apply to one’s reading of the bible?

The next two principles are reason and experience. These principles are based on the idea out that what God is truly saying will make sense in real life. God’s way works, while other ways won’t.

This works on a personal level and on a technical level.

On a personal level, if an interpretation of scripture is true, it will fit your experience of life and will ultimately make sense for how we live.

If someone’s idea of what God is saying about life doesn’t work in real people’s lives, they probably aren’t hearing God, however much they believe it.

Likewise, you have to experience God yourself and decide for yourself what God is saying and ultimately responsible for your own beliefs.

So, if it doesn’t work, it probably isn’t true

Ask: How might this affect your interpretation of scriptures purported to be about sexual orientation or gender identity?

There is another way these two principles of interpreting what God is saying fit together and that is in the technical sense that I mentioned earlier. These are the basis of modern science. Scientists observe and thus experience things, record others’ experiences of things, and then apply reason to very earthly facts. Based on their study of how what God made works, they come up with explanations for life.

These two principles stem directly from scripture, too. Have someone read Romans 1:19-20 and someone Psalms 19:1-4. Explain that these verses show that through what God has made, our experience of it, and our reasoning, God reveals certain truths about God’s self and our lives.

History has shown how failing to pay attention to this aspect of interpretation has led people to misunderstand God. For instance, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and the pope of the time all condemned as heretics people who, after studying the universe through a telescope, decided that the earth circles the sun and not the sun the earth, because the bible uses language like “the sun sets” and “the sun rises”. They said, that the bible obviously made it clear that the sun circles the earth!

Now we understand, based on looking at the story behind that story, based on studying the history of how God has revealed himself to people, and based, of course, on applying reason and our experiences from scientific experiments, that, you know what, that was a figure of speech like “it is raining cats and dogs” and that Martin Luther, John Calvin, and the pope were doing the equivalent of claiming that falling felines and crashing canines from heaven were meant by that phrase.

Ask: How might this affect your interpretation of scriptures purported to be about sexual orientation or gender identity?

The final and most important principle of understanding what God is saying about a subject through scripture is using Jesus as your measuring stick for how to interpret scripture.

Have someone read Hebrews 1:1-4.

Explain that Jesus is God living, speaking, and acting in a human life. He is the perfect image of God, as this scripture says. In the New Testament we are told that he is Lord and his life is a revelation of God’s will for us.

That means that whatever God is saying has to fit Jesus’ model of living and Jesus’ message.

So if we think that God is saying X is true from a particular verse and Jesus has said not X, but Y, then we know we must have misunderstood God’s point.

A really big example of how this principle is helpful deals with how God views women. For the longest time, women were treated as second class citizens because society had always treated women as second class citizens and there are some verses in the bible that seem to support that. But, if you look at how Jesus treats women in the Gospels, you find that he treats them in a way that is revolutionary. In a society that says women should not be taught to read, what does Jesus do? He takes on women as students to learn the way of the Kingdom from him. He teaches women as individuals, not just servants of their husbands. He uses a few images for God where God is depicted like a mother or a housewife. He has the first people who proclaim the Easter message that “Jesus is risen!” be women.

There are a lot of other examples like this I could mention, but I think you get the point. Ultimately, Jesus is the perfect image of God, so whatever verses we read about anything – homosexuality, women, chewing bubble gum – have to be looked at through the lens of how Jesus lived, what he taught, how he died and rose again.

Ask: How might this affect your interpretation of scriptures purported to be about sexual orientation or gender identity?

Concluding Question and Challenge

We aren’t going to have time to get into all the verses that deal with homosexuality today, but these are the different principles we are going to be using to evaluate what God is really saying in these passages.

I thought it would be neat to ask you to think about, from what you already know, what some insights are that we can gave from applying these principles to the question of homosexuality?

(Allow discussion)

Then pass out sheets listing some of the verses we will be studying, challenging those involved to really examine one of these passages, using all five principles.

Also, pass out the American Psychological Association [statement on] homosexuality, explaining that this is what unbiased scientific research has unveiled about sexual orientation.

Close in prayer.