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Some Religious Double-talk?

11 Jan

I meandered to WordPress to reply to some comments made on my last blog when I saw this on my MSN home page:  “Pastor Joel Osteen to Oprah:  Homosexuality Is Sin – But Gay People Will Get Into Heaven” (http://news.yahoo.com/pastor-joel-osteen-oprah-homosexuality-sin-gay-people-185334950.html).

My first thought was, “Who’s this dude?”  At first, I wasn’t going to read the article but, damn it, I just had to!  So, those of us familiar with the Old Testament know that homosexuality is a sin and, well, it gets kinda iffy after that because we’re taught (or at least I was in Sunday School) that if you’re a sinner and you die, you don’t get to go to heaven… unless you repent (or confess) your sins, stop all your wicked ways, stuff like that there.

The article is… not what I expected in the sense that it mentions this Pastor Osteen not really talking about sins when he preaches… I don’t think I’ve ever met (or heard of) one who didn’t get the fire and brimstone going up there in the pulpit.  What he said to Oprah had me thinking that, hmm, kinda odd to see a man of the cloth waffling on something that pisses in the face of religious stricture and dogma.

The whole debate about sexuality and religion is an interesting one and one I’ve participated in with various people over the years and what I tend to take away from such discussions is that while a lot of non-straight people do believe in God, um, their belief in religion is practically non-existent.  Those same people adamantly and insistently pressed the point that their relationship with God was (1) none of anyone’s business and (2) because it is so deeply personal, being bisexual or gay and sinning in the eyes of the Lord doesn’t make them lose any sleep over the matter.

I recall there’s a branch of the religious tree that allows gays to be ministers; that actually divided that particular church, if I remember correctly, into different “branches” (for lack of a better word) because, like a lot of people, it was highly believed that a gay person had no business preaching the gospel, just like that whole riff about gays being teachers.  One the one hand, well, they have a point… because it is a sin and the OT makes that quite clear (along with the ancient punishments).  On the other hand, their being gay has nothing to do with their ability and dedication in bringing The Word to the masses, something that makes sense when you take into consideration that whole Catholic Church thing and, on a personal kind of note, the fact that I had a rather in-depth conversation with a gay priest about this very same subject – and it didn’t seem to bother him a whole lot.

I suppose that, at the end of any day, what Pastor Osteen – or anyone of the cloth – has to say about it all depends on what and how you believe when it comes to things religious.  Here of late, religions have been losing a lot of their credibility and, in some cases, we’ve read in the news where transgressions are being dealt with in the ancient ways, something even the prudes here in the United States deem as being uncivilized and horrifically brutal.  Indeed, one of the reasons why the Islamic extremists are calling for our eradication is because their people are “turning their backs” on that religious teaching in favor – or to avoid – literally getting bricked to death, and coming to America so they can practice the more peaceful aspects of Islam in peace.

Fortunately for us here, our ministers of faith haven’t been ordering huge stockpiles of stones or other forms of masonry…

Pastor Osteen said this to Oprah:  ““I believe that homosexuality is shown as a sin in the scripture,” he responded. “Oprah, it’s a hard thing in a sense, because I’m for everybody. I’m not against anybody. I don‘t think anybody’s second class,” Osteen continued, as he explained that the bible’s message on the matter, in his view, is clear.”

So, me, I’m asking (kinda/sorta) that if the bible’s message is clear on this, why doesn’t his thoughts on the matter of homosexuality reflect this clarity?  Or is it really a matter of the difference between what his Calling dictates he must know… but, as a human being, his thoughts are more middle-of-the-road?  Like, I’m sure that John, a former Baptist minister himself, wouldn’t make such a statement and even to me, someone who is, ah, not exactly the most religious person you’d ever meet, it sounds wishy-washy… coming from someone who, by the nature of his Calling, isn’t supposed to be like that.

I even found it interesting that he said that he’s for everybody when one would assume that he’s supposed to be for God first and foremost… but I could be wrong because what I do know is that ministers are people, too, so it’s not really all that unreasonable for him – or any other minister – to have thoughts that don’t quite go along with the whole “practice what you preach” thing.  Perhaps – just maybe – he’s one of those religious folks who sees which way the wind is blowing these days about sexuality, relationships, stuff like that there and that, short of ordering several tons of stone, there’s nothing religion can do to stop people from not being straight?

This is a touchy subject, which is why it’s two of the “forbidden” things to talk about, huh?  I dunno… this kinda threw me for a loop for a moment because while I don’t know about anyone else, all I’ve heard for a large part of my life was all about the wages of sin and how all sinners will be smitten if they don’t cease and desist.  The article said, “Osteen’s main point in addressing the issue, though, was that homosexuality, should it be considered a sin, isn’t any different from other offenses. In his view, it shouldn’t be raised above the other sins that individuals commit.”

Methinks he has a point here; with all the other sins that we commit, this one seems to, at times, ranks higher than even murder on the moral compass.  However, the words, “should it be considered a sin” is another rather iffy statement and one I think is offered up by the author… because, again, it’s not considered a sin – it is a sin.  The statement seems to suggest that there’s some wiggle room in there and I’d even go as far as to “accuse” the media once more of putting shit in the game and trying to reinforce the sentiment (or the fact) that being gay is okay.

The late pastor of my church used to remind us of two things every Sunday he preached.  One was that we were all born into sin… and that the wages of sin is death.  However he’d also, at some point during his sermon, remind us all that there’s a place in heaven for those who believe in the Lord and those who have accept Christ as their personal Savior and, on Easter Sunday, how Jesus’ crucifixion and His spilled blood washed our sins away.

We all may not truly live by the letter of God’s law but it does beg the question whether belief – having that faith – is enough to get all of us sinners into the Pearly Gates.  Pastor Osteen seems to think so to this blogger.  A question for y’all:  Is Pastor Osteen right or wrong in his assessment of this hot-button topic in our society?  I’d like for those who care to answer not to get all biblical about it – think about the man who said it and what he does for a living more than quoting chapter and verse; I’m sure we know what Leviticus 20:11 has to say about this.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on 11 January 2012 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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6 responses to “Some Religious Double-talk?

  1. Foxfur

    11 January 2012 at 01:52

    As I understood at the time that I signed the contract with Jesus, using his blood, all sins are equal and all are forgiven equally. If my enjoying the company of both men AND women is a sin, I’m still going where I was promised to go. If blowing a stopsign and blowing another guy are equal, I’ll blow a guy every time! The latter is far safer, not to mention far more enjoyable, than the former.
    Just my two cents…

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  2. mysterycoach

    11 January 2012 at 04:28

    I’ve watched this guy when I remember he’s on TV late at night and he’s pretty good. New school, makes everything positive and he has a few books out as well. Which I thumbed through at the store and they seemed really good as well. It’s like he combines life coaching with religion in a way that makes you laugh and relax.

    There’s no guilt, there’s no manipulation (the evil kind) there’s just talk about making life better using the bible for good purpose. I’ve liked watching his … what do you call that? A church show? I dont’ know! 🙂 I found that when I watched I was more open to listening to what he said and how he’d present things.

    Oh and a catholic priest at a BBQ (totally true story) once told me that a good percentage of the priests were gay. He was so cool to talk to I asked him if he was gay and after a very long awkward pause, (oops) he said yes. And, really, so what? Nice guy, funny as all git out and he’s a priest. I don’t know what it says in the bible actually about sexual orientation but do you have to be straight to carry on gods word. That would make no sense at all.

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  3. marriagecoach1

    11 January 2012 at 10:55

    Hey Rob.
    It will of course come as no surprise to you to know that I disagree with Pastor Osteen. The bible not only says that homosexuality is an abomination to God in the OT but in the New Testament as well in Romans 1. Being a homosexual is not a sin, but practicing it is. I know of a christian homosexual who admits to being gay but said that as a Christian that he does not have sex wjhich is admirable. We are all sinnners but someone who routinely practices the same sin over and over is not defined as a Christian because repentenance is necessary for salvation.

    Does that mean that if they sin that they will go to hell, no, we all sin. It is the routine consistent sinnning that says that you have not had a lifestyle change and more importantly a heart change.

    Mr Osteen preaches all positive to grow his church but this is in violation of Christ’s teachings where he forbid teaching the doctrines of men for salvation. The Word does divide people. People who are saved and those who are not.’

    Jesus also said that it would be “better that a man have a millstone hung around his neck and be cast into the sea than to hurt a little child which Catholic priests do on a very regular basis. But then 95% of Catholic doctrine is in direct contradiction to biblical teachings.

    John

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    • kdaddy23

      11 January 2012 at 13:55

      Nope, John, no surprise at all – and you’re right on time, too! Yeah, I recall the passages you mentioned… which is probably why what Osteen said got my attention. Christianity, as we know it, comes in so many different flavors these days and the ministers of these many faiths find themselves in a bit of a quandary: How to bring the ultra-old-school message to today’s flocks. We tend to not pay much attention to those who constantly preach hell and damnation and, in this instance, we start scratching our heads when some new school minister – like Osteen – appears to be waffling on… stuff.

      I’m sure a lot of old school ministers would be rolling their eyes as well. I do understand that ministers have to be able to have a “style” that is effective in bringing the Word to those who want and need to hear it; I also understand that they do have to be aware of current events, trends, and the like so that when they preach, listeners can have a point of reference – doesn’t make sense to preach about a given topic and no one in the congregation understands what he or she is talking about, right?

      To Mystery (in case you thought I forgot about ya), we have several channels on Comcast dedicated to religion; even my own church has a half-hour spot that comes on weekly. I get that televangelists have been around for quite some time – it’s a great way to reach a whole lot of people. This is one of those topics in which I agree with what John says about what the bible says… but I agree with you in that if a minister is gay, so what? Obviously, there are some church officials here and there who ain’t crazy about this – goes along with what John said – but even in this, you see a softening or relaxation – which is a better word, I think, in the “qualifications” to be licensed to preach these days.

      What I really think is that religion realizes that they’re losing ground to more “modern” thinking; memberships in the churches are dwindling because of doctrines being so tightly adhered to and if they were to “shun” homosexuals, there’s a chance that half their congregation would get in the wind. Conventional thinking suggests that being gay has nothing to do with what or how a person believes and more than anything else, religion needs people to believe; otherwise, they’re out of a job altogether. So, some waffle on “items” that, in the past, would never be considered. It’s not as if they can turn a blind eye to the fact that, yep, there are a whole lot of homosexuals out there, practicing or otherwise, who do attend services and wholly participate in the church and, sure enough, some are major financial contributors as well so to isolate them – and their money – is kinda like cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.

      I’m not saying that Osteen “caters” to homosexuals – he takes a very “soft” approach. There’s what he knows about this matter, as indicated in the bible – then there’s what he said about it… and they’re not quite the same thing.

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      • mysterycoach

        11 January 2012 at 15:12

        You know me … I try to view people as people regardless of their sexual preferences. And, course, as long as we all respect one another, what’s the point of all this separate and dividing.

        LOL 🙂 According to this nice priest at the BBQ seems “many” priests are gay. I wonder, do they ask that question when the gentleman goes through whatever training to become a priest or enter the church? Like, does it say “check here if gay?” and then, this nice person with these beliefs to serve god show up and the school says NO! You can’t preach the word of god! You’re a homosexual? That’s not logical.

        I mean, and you know, I’m not all that up on all these teachings … nah, we’re people right? Does it matter. Does it matter really someone’s sexual orientation or at the end of the day, we’re all people… As I mentioned earlier, I like Osteen,I do’nt fall asleep 🙂 He makes me laugh and I enjoy it when I come across it. I like that… he just talks to you. That’s cool.

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