Homosexuality and Christianity – Three Views and the Media Attached to Each

(This post is for a Christian Sexual Ethic blog that I plan to create, so it does not fit with my usual posts)

Whenever I teach about sexuality and Christianity and we talk about the current landscape I make sure that people understand the three ways that Christianity and Homosexuality intermix within the church. This is an overview and does not go into the reasons:

  1. Ex-Gay Community: Core beliefs… homosexuality is a sin and orientation is fluid. (Note: Ex-Gay does not imply the feelings absolutely disappear, but diminish and something replaces them)
  2. Gay, but not practicing: Core beliefs… homosexual action is a sin and may or may not be born that way, but pre-disposition does not determine right and wrong. So, the big difference between the Ex-Gay vs. Gay but not practicing is a belief on how fluid orientation is and possibly, but not universally if celibate or hetero is embraced.
  3. Gay Christianity: Core beliefs… consentual in spiritual marriage homosexual action is not a sin, but uneven power dynamics, sex outside of marriage are sins. Orientation is born that way and established by God. There is actually a whole gay theology that is used to support this. (Personally I disagree with the exegesis on much, but not all gay theology, but I want to represent their view).

Media that supports each:

Ex-Gay Community movies and books:

  1. There is an organization named Pure Passion that has some amazing testimonies from the Ex-Gay community and has a great documentary on the subject. The documentary is called: Such Were Some of You and goes over theology, biology and psychology for the whole thing citing some of the experts and largest proponents of the ex-gay movement and including large chunks of testimonies from ex-gay individuals. The documentary can be found here. Such Were Some of You documentary
  2. “I Was Once Gay” by Luca Di Tolve – Luca was a famous Italian gay activist actor, business man, who now is married with kids. This book is the story of his journey. An article about it can be found here. Article about Luca Di Tolve
  3. “Gay Girl, Good God” by Jackie Hill Perry – This is an amazing book by poet Jackie Hill Perry where she explains her sexual journey with the more important background context of her finding God. It very much is a counter balance to the book “Torn” by Justin Lee that is listed below.
  4. Culture Institue: The Bible and Homosexuality Series by Dr. Robert Gagnon” This two dvd teaching lesson would probably fit both into the Ex-Gay and Gay but not Practicing areas. I have not watched it yet. Dr. Gagnon is also featured on the “Such Were Some of You” documentary.

Gay but Not Practicing Community media:

  1. Living Out Website – One of the primary websites for this view is called Living Out. On the site there are testimonies and view point articles that greater explain this point of view.
  2. Writer Andrew Blunt in his blog about what it means to “Come Out” in the “Gay but Not Practicing” community. His blog can be found here. Coming out advice for Gay but not practicing Christians

Gay Christian Community movies and books:

  1. “Torn” by Justin Lee – “Torn” is the story of Justin Lee resolving his Christianity and his homosexuality. What’s interesting about Justin is almost all the usual psychological things that are associated with homosexuality he is missing. His attachment to his parents is not lopsided at all and his relationship with father is healthy and mother is not over bearing. No abuse, no pornography usage. He may or may not be an outlier, but his book is worth reading.
  2. “Camp Out” – “Camp Out” is a documentary about a Gay Christian summer camp. High school students that have identified as being gay join together with a gay pastor and explore Christianity and struggle with what it means to be gay and Christian.

Hate Speech vs Free Speech – Bigots, Nazi, Republicans and Democrats

(This post is for a series of posts on sexuality that I will eventually move to a different blog)

Right now in the media hate speech is a big deal. The word hate conjures up a person yelling and spitting irrationally. In normal speech we use the word all the times, like a Red Sox’ fan going “ugh I hate the Yankees”. Obviously that brings up a different picture.

In the Bible as in all of life there should always be a separation of inward feelings from outward expressions. “Hate Speech” would be an outward expression of an inward feeling. Making it illegal or punishing people for saying a certain thing, does not change their heart. What’s begun to happen is the process of re-education is being introduced to deal with the heart, where people are forced to attend classes to change their view.

What this is essentially saying is having some views in society is unacceptable and forcing people (through laws and re-education) is necessary to change their views. I highly disagree with this. I believe that in a free society where ideas are valued, that bad and corrosive ideas should be dealt with through honest debate and contention. Not by force, the true points and biases should be brought forward and dealt with one by one. I think the word “hate” has become a “poisoning the well” type of word. “Poisoning the well” is when someone tries to get you to have a strong feeling against a point of view, not through reason, but through emotion, so that you never actually reason through it. Negative words, that paint horrible pictures of views, like hate, bigotry, shame, extreme, far, nazi etc. even associating ideas with “Republican” or “Democrat” can poison the idea or issue, so that people never really deal with the issue at all. In my writings you will never find me disrespecting another’s position like that and “hate” has no place here, everyone’s views I will treat as reasonable and deal with on their own merits.

You can also recognize this mindset, when you have people either give death threats, or threaten to “dox” (release someone’s personal info online). These tactics again instead of fairly dealing with ideas in the public arena… try to personalize and control things, by force. This is the real hate.

Below are a list of links where we see “hate” used in a “poisoning the well” force sense.

Visit the cartoon by Adam Ford which points out the flaw in “hate speech” perfectly: Adam Ford’s cartoon on definig hate speech

Recently Amazon’s banning of books by people who once practiced a gay lifestyle, but no longer do, counts, because instead of letting them speak and defeating them on the content of what they are saying, their books are banned, because they do not view orientation as unchangeable. I encourage you to sign the petitions to amazon to reverse this course. Petition to stop speech ban on Amazon

PragerU did a great semi-animated video about the ridiculous reaction some people had to someone who simply disagreed with a position video is here

This inability to talk to each other and have open constructive dialog is satirized often in the Babylon Bee. Here is one about Megan Rapinoe who apparently has said she will only meet with politicians that agree with her. Megan Rapinoe Bee Story (Note: this story is satirical poking fun at her inability to consider other view points)

The Babylon Bee has another satirical point which pokes fun at our inability to want to listen to anyone else’s point of view. The headline reads Study Confirms All Your Opinions are Correct

The New Morality – Dishonest about slavery

I just got done reading about something called “The New Morality”. The basic idea behind it is that everyone should adopt this new moral code that these people wrote up and decouple morality from religion. Even though this post has nothing to do with Visual Teaching, I just had to write it up.

First and foremost separating morality and religion only works in an atheist worldview because religion is irrelevant and amounts to as much as choosing what your favorite color is. Here is the thing though… what if… God is real, if you ignore what he says, since he holds all the cards, then you are doing something very dangerous and the core of Christian morality is a relationship with God on his terms… not ours.

So, in reading about the new morality they say that Christians and Jews have supported slavery and they use quotes from Jefferson Davis and Richard Furman to support this. In doing this, they leave out the other side of the coin. If you have a chance I encourage you to watch the movie “Amistad” one of the key figures in the movie was John Quincy Adams. John Quincy Adams was the sixth president of the United States and was vehemently opposed to slavery and considered it his God given duty to bring down the institution and in his later years in congress he did everything he could until he died to accomplish that. The surprising thing is if you read most abolitionist literature and look at most abolitionist lives, you will find people deeply committed to Jesus. Another classic example is Harriet Tubman. So, who is right… Jefferson Davis or Harriet Tubman… the answer is easy, if you look at the arguments used by the South to justify slavery and the abolitionist to abolish it. One of them is based on theological interpretation that has existed forever… the other (the Southern) is cut from whole cloth. The southern justification was created almost completely from an episode in Genesis when Noah said that “Canaan would be a slave of his brothers”, scientists at this time had come to assume that black people were from the line of Canaan and hence black people should be slaves to white people. Noah’s prophecy was fulfilled during the conquest time of Joshua and has nothing to do with modern America.

You might be thinking wait… there you just said it, the prophecy of slavery was fulfilled in the Bible. It’s really easy to judge the ancient world by our safe anonymous protected by our military selves, but it is not fair to the ancient world. Life was brutal, food could be scarce and the economic system was hard. The thing the Hebrews had built in for them is two-fold. 1) They didn’t really have racial slavery, they had conquest slavery and indentured servitude. 2) All slaves were released every 7 years, which means there was no such thing as life-long forced slavery. This was amazingly progressive compared to the rest of the ancient world.

Later on Christianity began to break apart the institution in the Roman Empire, in Galatians it says “there is no Free or Slave in Christ Jesus”, well what this began to do and this is well attested historically is that a master and his slave would go to church together and the slave would be acting as a church leader where his master would be subservient to him. The effect of this is it brought about a dignity and an equality that brought slavery to an end in Christian areas, while it continued and intensified in other areas, such as the Muslim world. When racial slavery began to practiced during the colonial period it’s very foundation was against the Hebrew practices for three big reasons: 1) Again it was lifelong which is against Hebrew slavery (which was more of indentured servitude) 2) Hebrew slavery was never based on skin color, it was war and financial related 3) It is against the Hebrew scriptures to kidnap anyone, yet many of the African slaves were kidnapped.

In fact the reason black slaves latched onto Christianity so readily was due to the Exodus history. The Jews knew what it was like to be slaves and they attained freedom.

So, today slavery once again is a huge problem and not only have I never met a single Christian promoting it, but the vast majority of the people working against it I have met are Christians.

To sum up the New Morality is not only wrong about slavery, but a better moral principle would be to treat people’s world views fairly, which they clearly do not, which means their morality cannot be superior.

Wayne

 

Interview with Art Ayris of Kingstone Comics on how Sin is depicted in Christian Art

One of the difficult aspects of doing Christian art is how do you deal with the depiction of sin. From having a married actor kiss another his co-star (not his wife on screen) to how sex and violence are depicted in visual media.

I thought it would be good to get the opinion of someone who is deep in the subject, so I asked Art Ayris of Kingstone Comics his thoughts.

Wayne: How did Kingstone Comics start?

Art: We really researched the comics industry as well as the CBA market – began identifying niches that weren’t being filled by Marvel-level graphic media. But it was really graphic novels that looked like the ticket.  As a former public school teacher as well as a children’s pastor for years, was always scrambling to find good material for kids. Some of the comic material veered into Catholic bashing, some was not up to the Marvel-quality that kids would read. A vision began forming and we felt a God-magnet type pull into media.


2) When doing art visually, what limits are there in representing sin? So for instance how graphic can violence be and why? How sexualized can images be or why?

Art: That is always the balancing act. Comics and graphic novels in the general market already have a reputation for over-sexualization and graphic violence. Especially since our market is young adult we don’t want to entice or give people reasons to look wrongly or with evil thoughts. But at the same time God made the human body and we can’t show everyone walking around in fur coats. There are always limits in portraying or representing sin but we still have to be faithful to what the Bible says happened – or will happen as in the book of Revelation. In the account of Judges 19 and the concubine that was raped and killed we show her lying on the ground with her hand on the threshold but she is bruised but still cloth, with text describing what the Bible says happened. In David’s affair with Bathsheba as recorded in II Samuel 11 we see David lying in bed but Bathsheba is leaving the bedroom. It is evident what happened and we also state what the Bible states.


Wayne: What’s your opinion of Christian art that has a see no evil attitude towards sin? As an example can visual violence in moves like Braveheart or Saving Private Ryan, can the violence there be compared to the bloodiness in movies like the SAW franchise. Many would condemn both as unhealthy for society.

Art: Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan and Hacksaw Ridge were all fairly accurate depictions of what happened. I never saw any of the SAW franchise but from what I could tell was pretty gratuitous violence. Silence of the Lambs, Texas Chainsaw, Saw and others don’t put good thoughts and good ideas in young minds that are forming nor in mentally unstable individuals. Attached is an article from Wired magazine that quotes from psychological studies how thinking about God helps with self-control. That is where Kingstone is, trying to move people thoughts, hearts and minds in a Godward direction.

 

Accordance Bible Art

When looking for good Bible art there are many sources. Both Logos and Accordance Bible Software has art sets that are either embedded in their base packages or are for sale.

The reviewed set here is Accordance Bible Art which can be found at the attached link. This set includes around 340 pictures. I say around because they are in order of Bible reference so many images show up multiple times for multiple passages.

Two thirds of this set is made up of Gustave Dore’s biblical engravings which are very common. The set does not include Dore’s Deuterocanonical etchings for Maccabees and Tobit etc. The Dore drawings are good size and resolution.

The other third is a mixed bag of classical artists and one modern artist named David Lang. All of these other artists pictures are dark tinted, the comparative pictures that are found in Logos Fine Art collection are better colored. The one redeeming feature of these pictures is there maybe fifteen rare paintings here that I have not found anywhere else.

To make a long story short, it is a good source for Dore’s paintings, though Glo is better. Both Accordance and Glo are hard to extract the paintings from for use in Presentation.

Making Your Own Bible Study Pictures

A friend of mine pointed me towards this great article where a church is making their own Bible Story images using play mobil. This is great, lego has been used most notably by Brendan Powell who is an atheist. Brendan’s public books are inline with Christian beliefs, but in reading his website and looking at his images it becomes clear his is an unbeliever. That is why it is nice to see people doing still motion toy Bible pics that believe the history.

Check out what one church is doing with Play Mobil at http://www.covchurch.org/bible-story-slides/

 

Kingstone Bible – An unbelievable source of great art

The Kingstone Bible is an amazing piece of Christian art for the visual teacher, because it contains so many pieces of scripture that for otherwise there are no pictures.

Kingstone Bible Volume 8
Kingstone Bible Volume 8

For instance, who else fully illustrates Nahum and Habakkuk, not many, but you find it in the Kingstone Bible. The Kingstone Bible is actually more complete in this sense than the “Action Bible” it’s chief competitor.

The main site for the Kingstone Bible is here: https://kingstone.co/

Some parts of the Bible are available in Logos Software, you just have to buy them from Vyrso and they will show up in your logos.

Most issues are available for Kindle Kingstone on Amazon

 

 

Revelation – Best Visuals to Teach It

Apocalyptic literature is one of those things that visuals add to the experience so much. In teaching the book of Revelation if you really want to make the book pop and you want to add visual resources I am going to give you a couple of Recommendations, normally most visual books are not that useful here, the only thing a Bible Atlas usually gives you is the location of the Seven Churches, that is why it is important to seek out other resources:

  1. The Visual art of Ted Larson. Ted has a Revelation Digital Art set that is amazing. I also have a blog article on Ted’s Art here.

Below is a sample pic

rev-1_9-1-among-lampstands-by-ted-larson
Revelation 1:9 Among the Lampstands by Ted Larson

2. Charting the End Times by Tim LaHaye, this is an amazing CD-Rom of charts/time lines. I have an blog post about the charts here.

Below is an image.

charting-the-end-times-screen-shot

3. For really understanding all the different views of Revelation and getting some nifty charts and pictures see Rose Guide to Bible Prophecy. I will give you a more in depth review of this resource later, but in my opinion this should be your third choice for visual resources after the two above.

Rose Guide to End-Times Prophecy
Rose Guide to End-Times Prophecy