“Hey Chris, you want to come to a gay bible study with me over by White Rock Lake? I want to make sure that they are not way off base.”
“Okay, I’ll do it. What time?”
I arrived at 6:45pm and found Don in the parking lot.
“Hey Chris, I’m so glad you made it.”
“Brit is going to be here, too.”
“Hey have you given any more thought to the resurrection?”
“Why is the resurrection so important? My belief came from acknowledgement of the sacrifice and that action is the reason for my sharing my faith. I can probably lie and say sure, what the ****, I believe it all. But I’m not going to lie about my Christianity or anything else. I guess it’s like everything else, just stupid ignorant faith in faith.
“Well pretty much if there is no resurrection, our faith is retarded.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well if the dead aren’t raised, what good is it to be forgiven?”
I pulled out my bible.
“Where’s your family bible? The one you first met me with and you brought a wheel barrow into Starbucks to carry it.”
“You’re ridiculous. Listen.” I opened my bible to 1 Corinthians 15 and read verses12-17, “Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” I closed the Bible. “Pretty black and white, Don.”
“I think it’s just something I can’t lie about. I trust my conversion and what I think is that things like that will make sense even though now it seems like so much bull****. It will eventually, possibly click, either here in this realm or in the next. I’m open to ALL of it—even though my mind and my personal history has told me different.
“The Watermark guy called me back today—had a long chat, I didn’t curse much. He even knows Matt Chandler and also is a DTS grad, man you guys are all over the place, except in the day to day lives of anyone I care about.”
“Had you cursed him out before?”
“Yeah, remember when I talked about how Todd talked for forever and didn’t respect people’s lives. He wasted a good 30 minutes of my life when I could have been in my shop.”
“Well, Todd’s motto is he doesn’t want to give sermonettes to Christianettes—or something like that.
“Who was it?”
“Nate Graybill, do you know him?”
“No, what is his job?”
“I think he is over the whole Christian version of AA thing, Celebrate Something.”
“That’s it. I think I might need to remind him that he is number one, when I see him—much like I need to remind you,” Don said extending his middle finger.
“You’re ridiculous,” I said.
“Hey, do you honestly never doubt the whole resurrection? Your mind is based with ability to reason, so how do you turn off all reason?” Don asked.
“Well you don’t doubt your conversion, I don’t doubt mine, but my conversion is based on the resurrection, and there are also verses like Romans 10:9 that says if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved.”
“We can talk more on that later, I guess.”
We went inside the old community church and I immediately felt weird. The church had that creepy old people, old church smell—only with drag queens. I smiled and shook hands with manly women as we found the room that the Bible study would be held.
The pastor, Jim, was in his 50s and had a beard. He looked like any older southern pastor would look. There were several chubby fat guys, a couple of women, one guy that could have passed for a straight metro-sexual guy, but given the environment was clearly gay. There were a couple of people I had to stare at for a while to figure out gender and then eventually had to give up because, well, it didn’t really matter.
Pastor Jim opened the time up with prayer and asked God to heal his partner and guide the discussion.
“Thank you all for coming. Many have been asking me for a study on how we can be gay and still okay. So, I wanted to walk with you through several clobber passages that conservative Christians use to bash us and then show you how their wrong reading has lead them to believe this way. Now, of course, there probably is some bigotry there, but I believe that when truth is taught, those who really love God will see reality as we see it.”
We then went around the room and introduced ourselves. I didn’t say much. I felt it was more of my place to listen. I was a guest and had to remember that they weren’t here for my opinions, but to hear Jim teach about homosexuality. I figured I could get over myself for an hour and learn as much as I could. Who knows, maybe I could learn something. And if this guy could prove homosexuality was God ordained, I would be all for it.
“Open your Bibles to the most widely misused clobber passage. Genesis 19: The Story of Sodom,” he said.
I opened up my bible and waited for the other men in the room to find their way to Genesis 19. Don had become very quick at passage look up and I could tell he was proud of himself and his new Bible skills.
Pastor Jim broke down the story for us from Genesis 19. We first read the story about Lot and the angels and then Lot looking to trade his daughters to protect the angels. A couple jokes were made that Lot sounded like their father. Pastor Jim taught us that this passage was not about God’s hatred of homosexuality, but rather the focus is more on the practical issue of hospitality and how the Sodomites were guilty of being quite inhospitable.
Pastor Jim pointed out that homosexual rape was often a way conquerors degraded and devalued their enemies. He concluded that comparing this case of rape to a committed loving relationship between two men or two women is nonsensical. He further pointed out that no one condemned heterosexuality based on Amnon’s rape of Tamar in 2 Samuel 13:1-33.
The city of Sodom was not destroyed because of homosexuality, but because God finds abuse of any kind repugnant and that the city needed punishment. Pastor Jim found some other Old Testament passages to support his argument. Ezekiel 16:49-50 specifically gives the reason that Sodom was destroyed.
Ezekiel 16:49-50 says, “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.”
I’ll be honest, I always thought this was a black and white homosexual issue case. But maybe I was wrong. I looked through my concordance for other references to homosexuality and came to Jude 7.
I wondered why Pastor Jim didn’t bring up that passage, but I kept my mouth shut.
After the study, Don and I went over to Sonic across the street and got some cherry lime-aids.
“Well, what did you think?” Don asked.
“I liked it. Definitely different. Those people really wanted to learn and it was like they were like every other Christian in the world. They prayed the same. They talked about God’s love the same. They were very kind. It could have been any church in Dallas, except you had a couple dudes dressed like women and people there that support Barrack Obama.”
Don laughed. “What did you think of their opinions.”
“Actually changed my view on Sodom. Before I wasn’t convinced that the primary issue was hospitality, now I am.”
“Wow, Chris Plekenpol, wrong? Is that possible?”
“Shut up,” I laughed. “But Pastor Jim didn’t bring up Jude 7 where it talks about the sexual immorality and how the men of that town went after strange flesh.”
“What do you mean?” Don asked.
“Look it up—read it to me,” I said and Don opened his Bible.
“In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire—So what’s wrong with that?”
“Sexual immorality and perversion.”
“Well, I think like Pastor Jim said that was about rape and inhospitality.”
“He is talking about a license to sin. No one has ever in history been like, um rape isn’t too bad. I think raping is good.”
“Maybe Jude meant the angels.”
“Bro, if you knew there were angels who were hot, would you try and rape them.”
“Also I think a better word for word translation is the New American Standard. It says, ‘just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.’”
“So, I think that Genesis 19 gives us a good example of what not to do in entertaining strangers, but I also feel it supports the conservative view on gay sex.”
“Well ****, I thought this would be more helpful. I thought you might change your view.”
“Maybe, I do think this class will teach us a lot though. I’ll keep coming back.”