Affirming and Non-Affirming

scared

(The picture may be the response of some on “both sides” to “the other side.”)

What I will no longer say. Probably until a few years ago, I would have stated boldly and unequivocally, “According to the Bible, homosexuality is a sin.” But I won’t say this any more. It is not because I’m afraid of being “blasted” or “labeled,” which is actually kind of fun. But it is for these reasons:

First, I’d much rather say, “God loves homosexuals, and I love you too.”

Second, it’s because I have a much stronger, better, positive and affirmative message of the good news of God’s grace to declare unashamedly and primarily (Ac 20:24).Third, so why would I make any statement that turns off, offends, infuriates and even hurts and wounds a large segment of the world? They are the majority of the non-religious world, and an increasing number in the Christian world, especially those who enthusiastically support monogamous homosexual unions? Surely I have a much more appealing, lovely and marvelous declaration of the gospel to proclaim than to make any negative statement that enrages people, sometimes to highly volatile and emotional levels.

Fourth, making statements–regardless of whether it is right or wrong, true or false–that simply breaks the communication and relationship is unwise. It is foolish and a detriment to the gospel of God’s kindness, forbearance/ tolerance/ restraint and patience (Rom 2:4). This often creates a permanent barrier before the two sides can even begin any meaningful dialogue or conversation.

An ostrich hiding its head in the ground. In recent weeks I’ve been reading and watching blogs and videos from “both sides” of the homosexual marriage debate. So, I’m an inexperienced novice on this topic, which I’ve barely skimmed the surface of. It’s also not my “area of interest.” I’d much rather read “boring Bible commentaries” and live with my head in the clouds! Presently, in order to preach through Isaiah, I’m reading 5-7 Bible commentaries on Isaiah, which completely appeals to and satisfies my cerebrally and intellectually inclined introversion. But I should be an informed Christian who is not entirely like an ostrich with his head in the sand. So I felt compelled to at least begin to look into the homosexual marriage debate–without digging my heels resolutely into any particular position.

Can both sides be right? There are so many arguments, so much analysis, and so much explanations and detailed exegesis of the same biblical texts supporting completely diametrically opposite conclusions…and with both sides insisting they are right!

Cisgender. One thing that struck me recently was the use of new words, phrases and vocabulary that I’m unfamiliar with. I was recently surprised to find out that I’m a “cisgender.” My limited understanding is that it is a term popular among some activists and scholars. Personally, my preference is to be referred to as either “male,” “a man,” or “heterosexual male.” I hope this is not offensive (it is not intended), especially to those who are ambiguous about their sexuality and may not like such black and white clear cut and precise distinctions and definitions.

Non-affirming. Next, I felt that the phrase “non-affirming” is being increasingly used by those who are strongly supportive of homosexual unions. In Brian’s recent comments, he stated that he regards as “affirming” only those who are celebratory of homosexual unions. I have to confess that I had a discordant and dissonant inner reaction to this. It is probably because it immediately puts Christians who are anything but celebratory and in full agreement of homosexual unions on the defensive. Then no matter how much Christians are genuinely gentle, tender, kind, compassionate, respectful, empathetic, sympathetic, embracing and loving toward homosexuals, they would always be defined negatively and categorized as “non-affirming.” Even a genuinely loving gracious non-imposing tolerance would always be regarded as “non-affirming.” I guess I am empathetic toward anyone who disagrees with homosexual unions being labeled as “non-affirming.”

I think I understand that a lot of the gender language today is a backlash and retaliation toward those who have treated homosexuals and transgenders horribly, violently and with prejudice, disgust and contempt (both historically and currently). This is inexcusable and reprehensible, especially if one claims to be a Christian and to love God and to love his neighbor, even his enemy.

Nonetheless, in my opinion, to center or impose upon the world of gender and sexuality (which includes everyone) based on the preferred language of non-heterosexuals can be just as offensive and unloving as heterosexual Christians being opposed to homosexual unions.

Would it not be equivalent to those who are celebratory of monogamous heterosexual unions regarding anyone who is not pumped and excited about it as being “non-affirming”?

Am I over-stating my argument? Am I being offensive or unloving by voicing my reaction toward the “new” gender vocabulary such as “cisgender,” and especially “non-affirming”?

37 comments

  1. Joe Schafer

    Ben wrote:

    Fourth, making statements–regardless of whether it is right or wrong, true or false–that simply breaks the communication and relationship is unwise – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/07/17/affirming-and-non-affirming/#more-9365

    Pope Francis has been saying this as well. On his recent trip to Bolivia, he called for church leaders to focus on creating an environment/process for sorting out disagreements, rather than expending their energy arguing why their positions are right.

    And Francis said a similar thing back in 2013: “We must initiate processes rather than occupy spaces.”

  2. Ben, your article is a great example of the kind of conversations I hope to spark with my presentation. I especially appreciate how you write using “Ben style”–you are speaking in your authentic, genuine voice. That is so helpful in all these conversations.

    As MJ’s article pointed out, language is so important in our understanding. I have many ideas and will share more thoughtful responses later. But I will say that the essence of your article is inline with my thinking in regard to LGBTQIA.

  3. Some thoughts on your first point, Ben:

    “Probably until a few years ago, I would have stated boldly and unequivocally, “According to the Bible, homosexuality is a sin.” But I won’t say this any more”

    I’m glad to hear this. There are so many topics wrapped up in that one, loaded statement. The answer is of course a mix of “yes” and “no” and repeating that phrase without any thought is mindless and damaging.

    We should be aware of some history around the word “homosexuality”.

    – The word “homosexual” was invented in 1892 from an English translation of a German paper, written by Krafft-Ebing called “Psychopathia Sexualis”.

    – The word “homosexual” is not in the KJV version of the Bible, since it was written in 1611. So it was not possible to go around saying “homosexuality is sin” for thousands of years.

    – The church has had a really tough time figuring out what word to use for the Greek words “malakos” and “arsenokoitai” (namely in 1 Corinthians 6:9). Check out some translations: abusers of themselves with mankind, boy prostitutes, effeminate, those who make women of themselves, sissies, the self-indulgent, sodomites, lewd persons, male prostitutes, catamites, the unchaste and the masturbaters. For about 400 years, the church could not make up her mind about what words Paul was really referring to. Maybe we should keep searching?

    – The first use of the word “homosexual” in a Bible translation was in 1946, in the RSV. Some ask why are we just now talking about homosexuality so intensely? Well one reason is that the word was NOT in the Bible until recent years, and it was not until the 80’s that the word became more widely used in many translations.

    – In 1952, in the USA, the medical term “homosexuality” was considered a mental disorder and placed in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM).

    – In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder.

    – In 1975, the American Psychological Association Council of Representatives declassified homosexuality as a disorder.

    – Major mental health organizations followed the American organizations, including the World Health Organization in 1990

    – Note how the RSV translations followed the new knowledge of medical info and corrected the translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9

    RSV1952: homosexuals
    RSV1977: sexual perverts
    RSV1989: male prostitutes

    RSV Today:

    1 Corinthians 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_and_psychology

  4. Ben, your point is well taken: “Then no matter how much Christians are genuinely gentle, tender, kind, compassionate, respectful, empathetic, sympathetic, embracing and loving toward homosexuals, they would always be defined negatively and categorized as “non-affirming.” Even a genuinely loving gracious non-imposing tolerance would always be regarded as “non-affirming.”

    We may just be playing with words, but I recognized that you can be affirming toward the person but not affirm samesex marriage. I would call this “partially affirming”. And so I changed my “gay acceptance scale” accordingly.

    If you are indeed having a “genuinely loving gracious non-imposing tolerance”, then you are more than merely tolerant, you are “accepting”. I respect such a position very much.

  5. “in my opinion, to center or impose upon the world of gender and sexuality (which includes everyone) based on the preferred language of non-heterosexuals can be just as offensive and unloving as heterosexual Christians being opposed to homosexual unions.”

    I don’t see an imposing of LGBTQIA onto everyone. What I see is the medical, historical, political and religious fields of study coming across new information about humanity. We simply cannot conform every human being into the “pure male” or “pure female” catogories. That wineskin of thought is bursting.

    For exmaple, there are over 30 different combinations of XY and XX chromosome combinations that have been discovered. There have always been people born with extra body parts and a mix of male/female biology. And what is more our brains are gendered just as our bodies are gendered. On top of all that, there are mountains of social expectation issues to navigate.

    So my main argument is to persuade the church to “have the conversation” and keep the discussions going.

    In my personal life however, I have no time to wait on all that to be sorted out. I must start with love first, and figure out the theology and biology later.

    • There is a degree of LGBTQIA ideology impacting everyone these days. Whereas some government forms have had fields for ‘Mother’ and ‘Father’, there have been moves to replace these terms with ‘Parent A’ and ‘Parent B’, so as to not discriminate against gay and lesbian parents. And although ‘marriage’ has tended to imply monogamy, gay males are less monogamous, and there’s a 50/50 chance that a gay male marriage is not monogamous. So the term ‘marriage’ doesnt imply monogamy as much as it once did.

    • Yes, and LGBTQIA Bible scholars, like my friend Matthew Vines, are going to bring major reforms to the Christian church. God has hidden the gospel in the closet.

      What the governments do is of little concern to me anymore. Today we have co-parents, tomorrow we will go back to mother and father. Who knows? I no longer expect my wishdream of a priestly nation to be established. Instead, I see the amazing, all-surpassing grace of God exploding like new wine!

    • Charles Wilson
      Charles Wilson

      I question the statement, “gay males are less monogamous” [than straight males], if I’m reading you correctly. The recent Ashley Madison leak is recent example showing how not monogamous straight males are. So, I’m not sure where the stats on monogamy are coming from. I don’t think adultery would have made it into the ten commandments had it not been a serious issue for straight people.

    • Charles, yes of course straight people struggle with monogamy too. I think my post implied that. But Im saying that gay couples are much less monogamous. They are also much more up front about it between each other. There are numerous statistics out there, and some state quite different rates than others, but for example: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/06/26/most_gay_couples_aren_t_monogamous_will_straight_couples_go_monogamish.html
      and
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2906147/

    • Charles Wilson
      Charles Wilson

      The dynamics, legally, and what has been socially acceptable, of being a couple for straight people and gay people, I think need more consideration and don’t allow for a fair 1:1 comparison and judgment on who tends to be more monogamous than the other. For sure, the numbers regarding monogamy and straight couples are nothing to boast about and I don’t think should be an issue in granting rights to gays by comparison. It’s not just something straight people “struggle with.” It’s a real and widespread issue. I know I’m combing the two separate things, but I think where I’m going with this. Straight people have had all of the legal backing and social acceptance, and still have a problem. So I don’t understand the argument to say gays are less monogamous and granting legally recognized marriage rights will degrade or deteriorate what marriage stands for and how it ought to be upheld.

    • Charles Wilson
      Charles Wilson

      correction: *I think you know where I’m going with this.”

    • Well I dont want to get into a debate about whether gays should or should not have civil marriage rights. I prefer to focus on Christian contexts. Whether secular gays become increasingly monogamous as gay marriage becomes more common, remains to be seen. Who knows. But we do know that at present, those in gay marriages are less monogamous than straight people in straight marriages. I made that point because I was trying to point out that gay culture can and does affect others – including Christians.

    • I really loathe stats like this, especially in the Christian context. The church says to LGBTQIA people: “You cannot marry!”. Then they bring forth stats that say LGBTQIA people are not monogamous, or that they are more promiscuous, or they have more incidents of suicide.

      Well duh! Of course they do. The church, run by male-dominated cisgender heterosexuals, has told the gays they are broken, need to be fixed, possessed, less than human, forbidden from marriage, confined to the closet, and excluded from Christian service. We’ve told them they can sit in our pews but not serve our children. We’ve told them they are child molesters and the cause of hurricanes and the reason for God’s wrath.

      Yea, no wonder the stats show less monogamy and more suicides.

      There is much apologizing the church needs to do. And many reformations still needed.

  6. Ben, your voice is once again a welcome breath of fresh air. I apologize if I painted your views negatively (not sure I know your views entirely). It just gets a bit frustrating when there are wackos out there blaming gays for the end of the world, gays are destroying families, homosexuality is a disease like swine flu, etc. Such teachings are pathetic.

    Here is an example:

    “They worshiped idols, materialism, political power, and pleasure-seeking. Because of these, they fell into deep sins. They were very corrupted morally and homosex spread wildly in their society, like Sodom and Gomorrah. To Apostle Paul’s eyes, one million Roman citizens walked on the street not as human beings, but as zombies.”

    “Paul says homosexuality is unnatural, indecent and abnormal. These days in America and Europe, homosexuality has spread like swine flu. What is worse, some Christian leaders are homosexuals. Five states of America made homosex marriage legal. But this immorality destroys families. According to one of high school teachers in Chicago said that about the ninety percentages of the students are broken families. The family is the core of our society. If the family is destroyed, the society will be destroyed. If the society is destroyed, our societies of the earth would be like orphanages without families.”

    source

    • Oh wait! But there is a solution! That same lecture above tells us what we must do:

      “Even if earthquakes come and shake your 1:1 tables, you should not be afraid. You should hold your Bible study tables and preach the gospel.”

    • So in case of an earthquake, don’t worry about the people dying around you… never mind that your bible student just fell into a hole opened up by the earthquake.. they are all just zombies anyway… but you oh self-glorified, self-appointed holy servant, just keep preaching.

    • I don’t know about you, but the written English is a turn off, such that I am disinclined to read it. I hope that we will get a full time English speaking editor to at least correct the grammar and awkward sentences.

    • Joe Schafer

      Problem: Too many native English speakers have left UBF, so there’s no one there to correct the English. And why should Americans be merely correcting the grammar in copy generated by old Korean men? They should be acring as leaders and generating the content. Native speakers have served on the website committee in the past and gotten frustrated and resigned because they were treated as secretaries, only allowed to make minor corrections to grammar, never allowed to make substantive changes even when the material is silly or objectionable.

      My opinion: Leave them alone. Allow ubf publications to continue as they are, chock full of bad grammar and konglish and strange content, because it reflects the reality that ubf is a “student ministry” run by elderly Koreans for elderly Koreans.

      I find this rather funny: “On July 9 to 12 Jongro2 UBF held its SBC with the theme: “God’s Warm Breast”… http://ubf.org/world-mission-news/korea/jongro2-ubf-sbc-korea

    • Everyone knows that famous Bible teaching: A warm breast goes with a boil on your butt!

    • “God’s Warm Breast” This actually speaks to some theories I’ve read that God is transgender :)

    • Joe Schafer

      UBF leaders must be monitoring this website, because someone edited the conference title; “God’s Warm Breast” was changed to “God’s Warm Heart.”

      Leaders are now asking for native speakers to volunteer as proofreaders to correct the grammar on ubf.org

      http://ubf.org/world-mission-news/international-hq/proofreaders-needed

      Notice that they have not asked anyone to provide input on the actual content. They only want native speakers to proofread their material, to help hide the fact that elderly Koreans are still firmly in charge. They still want to use Americans as their personal secretaries, to put an American mask on a Korean organization.

  7. I think it’s the first time I’ve heard Ravi Zacharias speak on sexual issues: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPYRXop7aPA He is vocally affirming of heterosexual unions only.

    I’m wondering if you know what the LGBT response to Ravi is?

    • I watched the entire video just now. Ravi does not come up among the LGBTQIA activists I am associated with. I think there are at least three reasons why: 1) Ravi is willing to dialogue and share thoughtful ideas 2) Ravi concludes with advocating walking along-side gay people and 3) Ravi does not make any new or overly compelling arguments, at least in that video, and argues from a classic evangelicalism viewpoint that not all Christians subscribe to.

      Here is my summary of what Ravi is saying in that short clip.

      The question asked to Ravi is this: “How do you respond to non believers who accuse Christians of being hateful to those who support lifestyles not in accordance with the precepts of our faith?”

      Ravi responds by describing three dilemmas of non-believers who make such accusations.

      He says there is a sociological dilemma. He asks what kind of culture do we live in, a theocracy where all people believe in God’s laws or a dictatorship type society where beliefs are given from authority figures or an autonomous society where each person decides for him or herself what to believe. He says we are in an autonomous society.
      He says no one can impose their beliefs on others in such a society. So the non-believing accuser has a dilemma in that that the accusation is full of conflict because no one can say what is right or wrong in such a society.

      He says there is a theological dilemma. He claims that race is sacred, so Christians are against racism. He says sexuality is sacred so Christians are against homosexuality. He says marriage is also sacred. He contends that the Bride of Christ narrative in the Bible restricts marriage for people to one man, one woman and is a procreative act that cannot ever be changed.

      He says there is a relational dilemma. Christians are to accept people genuinely regardless of their views and accept them as they are. He says we can choose and do have the right of choice. But he claims we cannot change the consequences of our choices. He says our choices equate to determined outcomes and consequences. He says if we do what is right, we will be blessed.

      Is this a fair summary of what Ravi is teaching here? Do you want my responses to this?

  8. Hi Brian, I’m wondering what you mean by saying that Ravi “argues from a classic evangelicalism viewpoint that not all Christians subscribe to.” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/07/17/affirming-and-non-affirming/#comment-18871

    • Ben, I am referring to the brand of Christianity called evangelicalism. There are other brands, such as progressive Christianity, fundamentalism Christianity, Catholic Christianity, Orthodox Christianity, etc.

      I know there may be a fine line as to whether Francis Schaeffer and Billy Graham are evangelicals or fundamentalists. In any case I will use them to make my point.

      My point is that evangelicalism has a major precept in its teaching: The church is the Bride of Christ, who will one day get married to Jesus, who is the Bridegroom. Many other teachings hinge on this teaching. They use this teaching to claim that the Bride metaphor restricts human marriage to one man, one woman and elevate the marriage to a sacred, almost idol-like bond.

      Unless this teaching is revisited and examined more deeply, there is no room for gender and sexual minorities in evangelicalism. There isn’t really room for women either.

      Many Christians, including me, reject this teaching. I do no think the bride is the church and I do not subscribe to the subsequent ideas that we must “get ready or else”.

      This teaching seems to be essential to many streams of theology, exemplified by Billy Graham, John Wesley, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, etc. and the movements of pietism, Methodism, Puritanism, etc.

      Here are some quotes from Francis Schaeffer: “The bride of Christ can be led away and can become less than the bride should be. As there can be physical adultery, so too there can be unfaithfulness to the divine Bridegroom – spiritual adultery” (The Church Before The Watching World, 139). Also, “To turn away from the divine Bridegroom is to turn to unfufillment. This is not only sin, it is destruction.” (The Church Before The Watching World, 147).

      Here are some quotes from a 1950’s Graham sermon:

      “Now the Bible says we are also the bride of Christ. “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom [Matthew 25:1]. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him [verse 6].” This indicates that there will be some church members who thought they were part of the bride of Christ, but are not [see verses 1-13].

      “Now the bride is to love the husband. To be a true bride, you should love the husband. Christ is likened to the husband. You and I are the bride. We are to love Christ supremely. When you get married, if you are a true bride your mind is not thinking about other fellows. You are not wishing you were married to somebody else, if you are a true bride and in love with your husband. When you are with Jesus Christ, He is the bridegroom. We are the bride. Our minds and our hearts are supremely on Him.”

      “But the Bible says there will be some in that day of judgment who thought they were members of the bride. They thought they were ready to go. But when the bridegroom comes, they have no oil in their lamps and they are left out. Oh, the terrible thing of it. They were ready partially.”

      “There are thousands of people whom Jesus indicated in the Sermon on the Mount that will come that day and say, “Lord, Lord, I have cast out demons in your name. I did many great things in your name.” Jesus will say, “Depart from me for I never knew you.” [See Matthew 7:22,23.]’

      “Within every church are members of the real church, but there are many on the fringes of the church. When the bridegroom comes, they will never go with Him. There’s no oil in their lamps.”

      Source: http://www2.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/docs/bg-charlotte/1024.html

  9. I find this rather funny: “On July 9 to 12 Jongro2 UBF held its SBC with the theme: “God’s Warm Breast”… http://ubf.org/world-mission-news/korea/jongro2-ubf-sbc-korea – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/07/17/affirming-and-non-affirming/#comment-18874

    I may be wrong but perhaps they got this “cute” phrase from John 1:18, with some English translations saying “in the bosom of the Father.” (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=jn1%3A18&version=NIV;ESV;NASB;HCSB;NLT)

  10. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel peace laureate, is a long standing campaigner for gay rights: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-23464694

    • Yes that is true. My mother-in-law met Tutu once. He seems to be a good man. He endorsed the excellent book of my virtual friend, Timothy Kurek: The Cross in the Closet

      Timothy’s book is the best book in my opinion to gain an empathetic perspective on the oppression the church has imposed onto gender and sexual minorities. If there is anything Christ-like in Christendom, they have to do better.

  11. “…quotes from Francis Schaeffer: “The bride of Christ can be led away and can become less than the bride should be. As there can be physical adultery, so too there can be unfaithfulness to the divine Bridegroom – spiritual adultery” (The Church Before The Watching World, 139). Also, “To turn away from the divine Bridegroom is to turn to unfufillment. This is not only sin, it is destruction.” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/07/17/affirming-and-non-affirming/#comment-18877

    I do not find Schaeffer’s quote or the quote from Billy Graham objectionable. It is to willingly love God with all your heart (Dt 6:5) and not loose your heart to an idol, any idol (1 Cor 10:14), because you realize the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus (Phil 3:8), in whom a Christ follow will enjoy the fullness and abundance of life (Jn 10:10b) and find peace and rest (Isa 30:15).

    • Those quotes are not so objectionable by themselves. It is what they have become that I find objectionable. The issue I raise is that an entire theological system with thousands of variations has been built up from those kinds of thoughts. I call this the “bride of Christ” precept of evangelicals. It might be more accurate to say this is part of Reformed Theology but I’m not a theologian :)

  12. MJ Peace

    BK, your mother-in-law met Tutu? Is she from South Africa? I would love to meet him.

    • Yes she shook hands with him once on a trip somewhere. She is from Pluto :) Oh wait, bad mother-in-law joke… actually she might be reading this. Anyways, she is American, I think with German ancestry but not sure.

  13. I never thought that people will take issue with the church being regarded as the bride of Christ. The symbolism of being regarded as a bride works even for me, though I am a male. For as much as I delight in my bride, I am simply in awe and amazement that God could delight in me as His bride. (http://www.ubfriends.org/2011/10/05/marriage-is-covenant-keeping/#more-3646)

    Regarding people twisting and distorting biblical teachings, this is perhaps to be expected. Any creative and imaginative person (who is also fallen and fallible) can use the Bible to justify almost anything and everything under heaven—killing, holy war, money, materialism, power, oppression, exploitation, injustice and every manner of sexual expression.

    • “I never thought that people will take issue with the church being regarded as the bride of Christ.”

      I know that the Bride metaphor exists. My points are that we should search out this metaphor more deeply and that this metaphor does not exclude samesex marriage. My main point is also about the definition of “church”. If we see the “church” as bigger than just the visible Christendom, then I’m ok with the thought. My objection is that the Bride should not refer only to the visible church i.e. Christendom. Then “falling away” becomes “not going to church” and we get a whole host of abusive teachings.

  14. “…the Bride metaphor exists. My points are that we should search out this metaphor more deeply and that this metaphor does not exclude samesex marriage.” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/07/17/affirming-and-non-affirming/#comment-18890

    I can somewhat see people stretching the bride of Christ metaphor into all sorts of sexual connotations. But in terms of the plain and simple reading of verses that allude to the Bride of Christ (as the church, or Israel, or the people of God), it simply communicates God’s positive and delightful sentiment toward us (God’s people throughout the ages) like that of a bridegroom toward his bride.

    I find it very very very hard to see how this has anything at all to do with same sex marriage, even if people would use this argument to exclude them.

    If one is sure that “Christ, my Bridegroom, delights in me as his bride–by his grace alone,” this is such an encouraging and wonderful metaphor regardless of one’s gender identity or marriage choices.

    • Precisely one of my points Ben! If we bring sex and gender into the Bride metaphor, we have a whole bunch of problems to deal with. Bringing gender into the Bride metaphor is reading too much into it, as you also point out.

      If we do such a thing, then we have to say that Jesus was wanting a massive gay-sex polygamous relationship for His Wedding of the Lamb. My point is that Jesus meant nothing like this, and we need to keep gender and sexual identity OUT of the Bride teachings.

  15. “UBF leaders must be monitoring this website, because someone edited the conference title; “God’s Warm Breast” was changed to “God’s Warm Heart.” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/07/17/affirming-and-non-affirming/#comment-18978

    Yea Joe they definitely do read this site. South Korea and Chicago often rank high in our stats.

    In the sheep spiritual order, sheep cannot talk to the senior leaders. But this website opens a new avenue of communication. Posting a comment to ubfriends is the fastest and perhaps only way to say something to the ubf echelon. Make a negative comment here and see how quickly some ubf person rebukes you (for those still under their authority).