Dr. Peter Jones’ final session at The Exchange delved into the contentious subject of sexuality—and specifically the redefinition of what is considered normal sexual behavior. “This subject is, I believe, the tip of the spear of a societal transformation going on. And it’s unstoppable,” says Jones. “If there’s any way to stop it, it’ll be that the Christian church will have a discourse where we can describe what ‘normal’ is.”
A New Civilization
Jones believes we’ve come to a significant moment in American history. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” law is about to be repealed; the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and new “anti-bullying” laws are ready to be enacted. We’re likely to see the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, as well as a new push for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States.
“The goal is for a new civilization. It’s not just a question of civil rights,” says Jones. Yesterday (June 23, 2010), CNN reported that Hilary Clinton—speaking of the need to end discrimination in the U.S. and around the world—said, “These dangers are not gay issues. This is a human rights issue…human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights.”
This, in Jones’ words is “breathtakingly ambitious.”
“This is not the normal progress of civic theory and civil rights,” says Jones. The speed of change is unprecedented, particularly since the influx of religious and spiritual options that have become available to Americans since the 1960s.
The Christian Response(s)
Jones offers five possible Christian responses. These are:
- Silence. “You may avoid this issue because you have gay friends, it might make life at school is impossible. You will face intimidation, specifically from the homosexual community. [Or] you don’t want to offend those who need God’s love,” says Jones. These lead to silence.
- Indifference: it appears to be a non-essential issue. 75% of Millennials see no problem with alternative sexual practice. “The problem [in their mind] is up-tight, older Christians,” says Jones. This position asserts that sexuality does not touch the heart of the Gospel. This is perhaps best evidenced by author Andy Marin’s book, Love in an Orientation, which (according to Jones) presents a non-judgmental loving acceptance that refuses to call homosexuality a sin. Ever.
- Acquiescence. This is outright acceptance. The Anglicans, Episcopalians and Lutherans are all openly accepting of homosexual clergy. Some within the “Emergent Church” see homosexuality as normal, such as Tony Jones who says, “The complexities of gender [homosexual, queer, bi-sexual, transgendered, intersexed], are based on the poles of the two genders… [but they] have been thoroughly deconstructed.”
- Anger. This is most overtly sinful response, as best illustrated by Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist “Church” and their “God Hates Fags” campaign.
- Informed, wise application of the biblical worldview or cosmology. Here the writings of the Apostle Paul become our example. He was inspired by the Holy Spirit, and he wrote in a culture very much like our own—the Roman Empire. Nero, the Caesar at the time of Paul’s writing (and martyrdom) married two men—to one as his wife, to the other as his husband. (“How does that work?” wonders Jones.) What Paul shows us is that homosexuality is not about human rights; it’s about the gospel. When we try to avoid God’s judgment, we avoid God’s love. Says Jones, “That’s what makes the gospel precious, that we don’t deserve anything from God. When we slink away from the subject, we are avoiding the gospel.”
The Spiritual Character of Sexuality
Scripture shows us that sexuality is inherently spiritual. Humans are created male and female, made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). This is the basis for human dignity. Marriage and sexuality echo the Trinitarian being of God; in the act of sex, the two become “one flesh.” They’re inextricably linked together. They’re still two persons, but they’re also one.
How Paul Views Homosexuality
In Romans 1:26-31, Paul writes:
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
What Paul shows us is that homosexuality is not the worst of sins (“Paul is not a homophobe,” says Jones). What he shows us is the religious depth of “unnatural” sexuality.
Apostate Theology, Spirituality, Sexuality
He shows us that homosexuality, like all sin stems from apostate theology. One-ism is a foolish rejection of God (cf. Rom. 1:18-22) in favor of worshipping created things (Rom. 1:35). God is unnaturally dismissed from His place as transcendent Lord.
This leads to apostate spirituality. This is a dehumanizing spirituality (cf. Rom. 1:23-25). “When humans made in God’s image reject the two-ist God, they have to worship something so they engage in dehumanizing unnatural worship of themselves and other created things,” says Jones.
This works itself out in apostate sexuality. Romans 1:26-28 says that “women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men…gave up natural relations with women…” But the crux is Paul’s words, “For this reason.” “[These words] show that homosexuality has a deeply religious One-ist component,” says Jones. “With this, homosexuals agree.”
The One-ist View of Homosexuality
Throughout time and history, the priests or shamans in Pagan religions have often been a homosexual. It seems to grow out of a pagan spirituality.
The late Mircea Eliade, a professor at the University of Chicago, argued that “androgyny as a religious universal appears everywhere at all times.”
Assinnu were associated with the worship of the goddess Ishtar from 1800 BC
In the fifth century AD, Augustine wrote this of the homosexual priests of the cult of Cybele:
They were seen yesterday, their hair most, their faces covered in make-up, their limbs flaccid, their walk effeminate, wandering through the squares and streets of Carthage, demanding from the public the means to subsidize their shameful life.
Today, this history is well known. Says Virginia Mollenkott, “To live in the gender I preferred; this striking phrase causes me to think about the native American shamans who were permitted to live and dress like the other sex without stigma and with a great deal of respect for their spiritual power.”
Mary Daly, an ex-Roman Catholic nun who taught theology at the Jesuit Boston College (and had tenure) is a self-identified lesbian witch who “discovered her ‘authentic androgynous being.’” Emily Culpepper, an ex-Southern Baptist and now a lesbian pagan witch, sees gays and lesbians as “shamans for a future age.”
The rise of One-ism since the 1960s has, undoubtedly, given rise to a new age of spiritual homosexuality.
The New Religious (One-ist) Paradigm
Toby Johnson, author of Gay Spirituality: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness, sees an appropriate new context in interfaith fellowship (since those who are “different” and queer have rarely felt as though they fit in with traditional religion).
He argues that gay attraction and (non-possessive) emotional relationships see the world with the harmonious non-dualistic vision of mystical religion. Further gay consciousness is called “pre-Edenic;” innocent; free of “original sin.”
“Since everything is one, there are no opposites like good and evil, sin and holiness,” says Jones.
Gay people have direct experience through psychic powers regarding “planetary consciousness” and humanity’s common mystical oneness with Gaia. And gay identification shows us how to get over dualistic polarized (male-dominated) thinking, so we can all live in peace based on common planetary identity.
These beliefs, according to Jones, are at the heart of the new paradigm.
“Homosexual androgyny is ‘the Sacrament of One-ism. It carries within it the very essence of what it means to worship created things,” says Jones.
“If we fail to make this clear, our homosexual friends will never, ever hear the gospel. You have to hear the truth of two-ism to hear the truth of the gospel,” he concludes. “There are people you know right now that what they need is not stroking their backs, it’s the truth. [But] it might cost you.”