Monday, September 24, 2007

The Real Outcry Against Sodom

I compiled the following rather lengthy study on the destruction of Sodom a few months ago, but held off on posting it because a debate on the topic of homosexuality unexpectedly transpired on my blog. So, I decided to let the dust settle and wait for a more appropriate time to emerge. Since I just finished listening to yet ANOTHER dishonest sermon on the subject of Sodom, I felt it was time to post it. Please read ALL the way through before bombarding me with comments. Thank you.

"It is not enough to rage against the lie, you have to replace it with the truth."--Bono

If you were to ask most evangelical Christians "What was the sin of Sodom?" I guarantee most would unflinchingly answer, "homosexuality." I want to examine the story of Sodom because I am utterly ashamed of how many preachers (not all) abuse, edit, and twist this account to single out gay people, elevate their sin above the rest of our "normal" sin, and perpetuate the lie that there is some sort of extra fiery judgment awaiting them. Every time there is a gay person on TV or a gay parade, it is always noted as a sign that America is "a modern day Sodom." While an honest and comprehensive study of Sodom in the scripture will definitely affirm that America is headed down the same path as Sodom, it is not for the reason most people think.

The Genesis account DOES NOT name the specific reason for Sodom's destruction. God speaks to Abraham and says He is going to destroy the city "because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave," (Genesis 18: 20). God sends two angels to rescue Lot and his family and that is when the mob of ALL the townspeople of Sodom, not just the men (Gen. 19: 4), surrounded Lot's house and demanded to "know" God's messengers. Lot unbelievably offers his daughters to the angry mob, but the angels strike the crowd with blindness and Lot and his daughters escape before God destroys Sodom.

While this vile scene epitomizes the extent of Sodom's wickedness, it was NOT what brought on their destruction. God already decided to destroy the city before this incident and sent the angels to rescue Lot and his family. God said to Abraham BEFORE that their destruction was in RESPONSE to the massive outcry against Sodom. The angels repeat this by declaring in Genesis 19:13: "For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.”

Old Testament scholar Inge Anderson makes a good point by noting:

"Saying that the last recorded acts of the Sodomites -- the demands for same-gender sex -- are proof that they were destroyed for homosexuality is like saying that a condemned man cursing his guards on the way to his execution is being executed for cursing the guards. Sodom was judged worthy of destruction before the incident with Lot and the angels."

But what exactly brought on Sodom's judgment? Why were so many crying out against Sodom? Exactly whose outcry was God answering? Genesis 14 describes that Sodom and other cities had just engaged in brutal warfare, savagely pillaging surrounding cities and shedding innocent blood. It makes sense that the surviving victims of such heinous violence cried out against Sodom for their war-mongering, violence, and lust for conquest. In turn, Sodom was also invaded and pillaged, caught up in the cycle of warfare and violence.

Even those who insist that it was the incident between the angry mob and the angels that brought on Sodom's destruction, homosexuality is NOT the only sin at play during this scene. Let's start with the obvious: RAPE. Rape is NEVER permissible, whether it's homosexual rape or heterosexual rape. The townspeople weren't after consensual adult sex, but savage, degrading rape. Anyone who knows anything about rape knows that it has more to do with power, dominance, and humiliation than it does with sexual lust. Besides the intent to rape, there is another obvious sin going on. The people of Sodom did not want to rape mere mortal men, but ANGELS. In a sense, they wanted to commit bestiality, because it was inter-species sex, (ick). Sexual union with angels is forbidden for all humans, men and women alike (see highly debated Genesis 6).

Some biblical scholars speculate that the Sodomites' motives for demanding sex with angels has to do with something other than just lust. Some point out that it was not unusual for foreigners in ancient lands to be raped as a means of humiliation and control, as well as to discourage other foreigners from settling in or traveling through a city's territory. Also, ancient armies used rape as a means of interrogation. It was their way of torturing strangers, foreigners, and enemies to get them to give up information. This would be especially common for a city on high alert after warfare. Other scholars point to Sodom's well known idolatry and deeply held pagan beliefs (other grave sins) as their motive to rape the angels. Ancient pagans believed that they could absorb a divine being's power and immortality through sexual intercourse (hence temple prostitutes, who represented goddesses, and sacramental sex rituals). If the people of Sodom suspected that Lot's guests were divine, it would explain why ALL the townspeople were there. If the gathering was meant solely to engage in a same-sex orgy, I find it hard to believe the men would invite along their wives and children.

Regardless of their motives, there was more going on than homosexuality. Actually, out of all the sins going on in that scene, homosexuality is the least disturbing one, yet it is almost always the only sin ever mentioned when referring to Sodom.

Sodom is mentioned over 50 times in scripture and only once are their sexual sins explicitly pointed out, with ZERO explicit mentions of homosexuality. Jude 1:7 is the closest verse you will find :

"As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."

The phrase translated as "strange flesh" in the original Greek reads: "sarkos heteras." Ironically, our English word "heterosexual" is derived from "heteras." Anyway, the meaning is a bit ambiguous. The term definitely refers to sexual perversion, but it's unclear whether this passage is referring to homosexuality, fornication, promiscuity, pedophilia, pornography, adultery, rape, temple prostitution, bestiality (in this case, sex with angels), or all of the variations of sexual immorality.

But the point of this post is not to deny the presence of homosexuality in Sodom, the goal is to reveal ALL the reasons for their demise to better understand the heart of God, to be accurate in our representation of His Word, and to realize that ALL of us have something to learn from Sodom. God directly reveals the REASON for Sodom's destruction in Ezekiel 16:49-50.

"Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abominations before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit," (NKJ).

Another translation puts it like this:

"Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. She was proud and committed detestable sins, so I wiped her out, as you have seen."

There is no getting around this verse. It clearly and specifically lists the sins that did Sodom in.
Now, one could argue that the reference to "abomination" or "detestable" sin was homosexuality, but I'd like to point out other sins that have earned the "detestable abomination" status in scripture. The seven deadly sins are a good place to start:

Proverbs 6:16-19: a lying tongue, haughty eyes, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes. feet that are swift in running toward mischief, false witnesses and a sower of discord among brothers.

All of the above are abominations in the eyes of the Lord. Clearly, homosexuality was not the only sin of Sodom. God hates ALL sin; it is man that creates the hierarchy order that places sins into special categories. It is man that creates systems and mindsets that shun one group of sinners and embrace others. It is man that builds obstacles to the grace we have been freely given. Now, before the stone throwing begins, I am NOT implying that homosexuality was not existent in Sodom. It would be foolish to assert that while the people of Sodom were bloodthirsty, greedy, lazy, idolaters, and thieves, their sexual practices were impeccable! :)

However, the first time I read Ezekiel 16:49, I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head. I felt utterly betrayed by the countless sermons given on Sodom and Gomorrah that NEVER mention the clearest verse in scripture describing the real reasons for their destruction. It is much easier to make Sodom and Gomorrah SOLELY about homosexuality, because it's a seemingly far off sin of the outside world. It's an easy scapegoat. It gets our focus on how perverse other people are. "See how loathsome those homosexuals are that God rained fire down on them," I've heard that said verbatim. But in actuality, pride, gluttony, laziness and ignoring the needs of the poor are sins certain corners of the church has all too often been accomplice to. What arrogance to sit in our pews or preach from behind pulpits labeling gays as sodomites, when we can be just as much a "sodomite," if not more!

Isaiah 1:9-11, Jeremiah 23 and 49, Lamentations, and Matt. 10:14-15 collectively correlate Sodom sins to: perversion of justice, cruelty and neglect of the poor, oppressed, orphaned and widowed, shedding innocent blood, inhospitality, greed, pride, falsely prophesying, lying in God's name, abusing power, neglecting God's flock, leaving the hungry unfed, causing others to err, making up visions, and cannibalism (eww). None of these passages mention any type of sexual immorality as the REASON for their judgment.

In 1 Corinthians 6:8-10, even Paul makes a separate distinction between homosexuality and the sins of Sodom. He lists various types of sinners that will not inherit the kingdom of God (obviously, no sinner will inherit the kingdom of God because believers will cease to be tainted by any sin, made perfect by Christ’s blood), but he lists homosexuals AND sodomites. If those terms are synonymous, why list them twice? Many biblical scholars confess that Jewish and early christian writings did not associate Sodom with the sin of homosexuality until 1700 years after Sodom's destruction, when the Roman Empire openly embraced man on boy pedophilia. In ancient Jewish literature, such as the Ethics of the Fathers and the Talmud, there are many references to Sodom. The phrase "middat Sdom" was used. It may be translated as "the way the people of Sodom thought." It meant a lack of charity and hospitality towards others; ignoring the needs of the poor, etc. In the ancient Middle East, a person's survival could depend upon the charity of strangers. To help strangers was a solemn religious duty of paramount importance. See Leviticus 19:33-34 and Matthew 25:35, 38 and 43.

America may indeed be the modern day Sodom, not because 3-5 percent of the population is gay, but because America makes up 6 percent of the of the world's population and consumes 43 percent of the world's resources. Out of the 22 industrialized nations in the world, the U.S. is DEAD LAST in the amount of aid we give to the poor, giving less than 0.15 percent of the federal budget, when the INTERNATIONALLY AGREED UPON MILLENNIAL GOALS are 0.7 percent. Now, in light of what God reveals to Ezekiel, "The sin of Sodom was that she was full of pride, overfed, and unconcerned, nor did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy," who are the real sodomites today?

Preachers who harp on the sin of homosexuality while omitting the rest of Sodom's sins are performing a grave disservice to their listeners. This trend has contributed to the disproportionate disdain for homosexuals and the stirring of hatred and cruelty towards them. It also contributes to concealing the fact that too many corners of the church (hi, prosperity gospel!) resemble the other sins that played a pivotal role in Sodom's destruction. It spurs on the mindset of special sins. But if we read the scriptures honestly and see what the entire outcry against Sodom was, we in the church just might have to admit that we are guilty of the sins of Sodom, too. We'd have to admit that we would share in the same judgement as Sodomites if it were not for the GRACE of God that is available for ALL.

Have we neglected the poor? Have we been idle? Have we been greedy? Have we been proud? Have we been arrogant? Have we been INDIFFERENT? Suddenly, the terrible destruction we reserve in our minds for homosexuals hits a little too close to home. Are we not Sodomites as well? Let's hold the mirror up to where it should always be, on ourselves, on the church.

Every story in the Bible should be approached and processed in a way that asks, "What can I learn from this? How do I resemble this? What things in my own life need to be changed or challenged?" Preachers who have reduced the Sodom account to the destruction of homosexuals have robbed their flocks of the story's full meaning and the chance to evaluate themselves in light of that meaning.

"The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off."--Gloria Steinem

"Truth is generally the best vindication against slander."--Abraham Lincoln

49 comments:

catrina said...

I just wanted to say that my other home church never taught it the way you say some churches did. I always knew it wasn't just about that night of perversion or "gayness", but of overall complete debauchery. I have heard many times homosexuals refered to as Sodomites though, and since that story is one of the only ones that more graphically describe the perversion of the sexual nature I think people tend to jump on it. It is a highly disgusting picture that the Bible paints.

catrina said...

Oh I forgot, I have seen the doc Invisible Children, and it is beyond moving. Heidi Baker and Iris ministries also have done some wonderful work in Africa, every time I read her newsletter it makes me want to sell everything and move to Africa. Then I remember how much people barf and have the runs and I get chicken. Jennifer has her link on her sideboard.

Tia Lynn said...

That's good Catrina. Ofcourse there are SO many good bible-teaching churches that don't slant the scriptures to single out certain groups of sinners...it's more the highly public preachers that tend to perpetuate that mindset. I researched an online sermon banks with over 80,000 sermons from preachers from all sorts of denominations and countries---over 4,000 were on the subject of Sodom and I could only find ONE, that's right ONE, that talked about any other sin besides homosexuality. I believe barna (a christian research institute) also conducted a poll among evangelicals that concluded over 70 percent of the people polled believed the the same about Sodom. It just disturbs me, so i ranted. :)

I'm so glad you saw the documentary! I cried and cried! The part with Jacob breaking down crying while talking about his brother was SO SAD. I'll have to check out that link on Jennifer's blog.

Matty Hillard said...

That's it! I am not reading this trash you spew any longer. Everytime I come to this blog you are either whining about the environment, alluding to your anti-war propaganda, praising pagans like Gandhi, or defending the lowest form of ilk, homosexuals. Its so obvious that homosexuality was the reason for Sodom's destruction...hello?!?! SODOM=SODOMY!!! That's the essence of homosexuality. You are nothing but a godless liberal trying to promote some socialist tolerance agenda by posing as a christian. The bible says there will be those that do the work of the enemy that infiltrate the very church. Well, I'm done being an outlet for this crap!

Anonymous said...

I, too, have read your blog for sometime and have wondered how in the world you could be a sincere believer and ascribe to all these worldly ideas, liberal politics, and dangerous theology. This little tirade of yours is exploiting the scriptures and "historical facts" to cover up the perversion of homosexuality. So, the story of Sodom is not about homosexuality? What's next? The story of Noah is not about a flood? The story of Moses is not about hebrew slaves in Egypt? In your world, do Shadrach Meshach and Abendigo get thrown into a vat of bubblegum and lolliepops? The Bible speaks for itself. You may not like it, but take it for what it says or not at all.

Jeff D. said...

You seem to be oblivious that Christians are smack dab in the middle of a culture war in this country. Just like any war, the primary objective is to CONQUER the enemy, not to understand them and make them feel better.

Sodom and Gomorrah should absolutely be taught in the traditional and literal interpretation of homosexuality being the root cause of their destruction. The spoutings of fringe factions teaching otherwise should be condemned by the faithful ministers of of the gospel. The traditional teaching must be kept intact because it reveals what will inevitably happen to a society when homosexuals take over. Sodom is a vital part of our sword of truth that slices through the lies of the homosexual agenda.

How dare you compare the church to perverse homosexual sodomites. Your mind has clearly been warped by "progressive" liberalism and needs to be renewed.

Staci said...

I do not hate gays and believe Jesus has called His people to love them, but God obviously does have a superior disgust toward their sin because of how He utterly destroyed the Sodomites for it. It's truth we might not fully grasp in our "modern" age, but it is still truth nonetheless. Maybe you just need to accept that on faith. I hope you find peace about it.

Servant of the Most High
Staci

*Ma* said...

Wow, how can people read Ezekial 16:49-50 and not see that there is more to what they've been spoon fed?
If ANY of us had thoroughly studied the Word in regards to ALL passages noting Sodom maybe something would have registered??
But no, we humans love clean neat little boxes and quick 1 line answers. We don't like to be Bereans and study and allow ourselves to feel unsure or uncertain for a time until we do the footwork ourselves and let the Holy Spirit confirm or deny our findings.
We just grab our emotional swords and go.
And yet Christ died for us.
Is that not a miracle?? and it's relived daily in the exhibition of fear and pride in the redeemed heart.
remarkable!

Cassidy M. said...

"The proud, the greedy, the idle, the neglecters of the poor (guilty self included) can sit relatively open in the pews and behind the pulpit basking in the grace of Christ, while gays are marginalized, demonized, and rejected."--Tia Lynn

You seem to think that gays want our acceptance or that they long to sit in our pews. Gays stay out too late on Saturday nights sleeping around and spreading AIDS to get up early enough for a Sunday morning church service. Gays hate Christians. They hate the Church. They hate Jesus. They would destroy us if it was within their power. They have "marginalized" themselves. You should spend more of your time defending those who actually warrant defense and let the queers fend for themselves.

BgArt said...

It's funny you wrote this. Not but a few weeks ago our pastor pointed out this exact same thing. He didn't go in length, and it wasn't the whole of his message, but he was the first I had ever heard say that. And I grew up in church.

I like the cut of you jib (whatever that means...I hope it's a good thing).

catrina said...

Cassidy,
The church has failed the HS community and it obvious if you just open your eyes. I have known MANY gay people personally and none has ever hated me or my God because I didn't call them names or act disgusted by them. I also established a relationship with them so that when the time was right I could share the hope of Christ with them. To my knowledge none ever accepted Christ but I definitely gave them something to think about and did not destroy my relationship with them or defame God's love in the process. You say that they don't want to sit in our pews and you are mostly correct. Have you ever been in sin and not want to "hear it" so you just didn't go to church or if you went you hid what you were struggling with because you didn't want to give it up. On the other hand some don't think they are wrong and why would they want to listen to someone tell them that they are. That is just human nature not a homosexual indicitive. None of my friends that partied ever wanted to sit in church either, but after their lifestyle left them empty and broken I was there to love them to Christ and I did see fruit there. They should never have to come to us we should be willing to go to them were they are and be their friend. An honest, loving, compassionate friend that speaks all truth in all love, and then we may see them darkening our doors more often. God is not as shallow as you and I are, he doesn't see their behavior and get grossed out like us. He see's them and is sickened by the sin that has seperated them from him just like your sin seperates you. You will never reap a harvest by slander and ugliness, you should guard your heart against bitterness and ask God to give you a heart of love for the lost, no matter what they are. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easily so don't be discouraged that you haven't seen any gays reaching out to the church, just like with most of us the road to the cross is often long and hard.

To everybody else wisdom says to study to show yourself approved. The only enemy we should be fighting is the devil, and that is done with the armour of God. We should vote, contact our officials, and we should pray. I will never abandon my convictions and never cease fighting for righteousness on this earth, but I know who I am fighting and half the time it is my own flesh.

Cassidy M. said...

Poor Catrina. By the looks of your blog, you are probably a naive homeschooling mom with no TV, so you are unaware of the homosexual agenda to take down the church. What a shame, while you a battling your flesh with your head in the sand, the gays are persecuting the Body of Christ. It's brainwashed blogs like this one that pave the way for the homosexual agenda to take hold.

William said...

So, where in the Bible does it say to hate gay people? Why do people act like the devil and his demons are dressed like the Village People and want to gay everyone up? Did Jesus die for all sinners except homosexuals because they skeeve him out? What the heck? I thought the message of the Gospel was love, to show people their need for Jesus and to bless those who curse you. It seems to me that people listen more to other people than they do to Jesus.

catrina said...

Well there you go again, no wonder you are an angry unkind person. You don't even know me and you are attacking me. Do you know that some "christians" believe blacks are a cursed race and should be slaves to whites. Do you know that some "christians" threaten, bomb and kill abortion doctors. Do you know that some "christians" abuse their wives and use the bible to justify themselves. Just because these "christians" do this kind of thing does not mean that they are representing me. Of course some HS are militant and are marching and demanding all sorts of things, but the truth is that most HS live, vote, and do their thing just like the rest of us. I have been to 2 rallies in my life and that is because I lived in DC so it was convenient. The media gives them a huge platform and so does hollywood and that is to our shame. Of course they have an agenda, don't you. You can't fight their agenda with your attitude and make ANY headway. I can only assume that you have never made friends with a gay person. Shame on you. Do you honestly think someone will be drawn to you or the lord by your behavior. I can only assume that you care about winning and not the fact that real people are going to eternal damnation. I can only assume that you are young, hence the insults about my naivety, and being a homeschool mom, so I will be gracious with you. You are however correct that my time is now mostly spent on my children and family, but before I put my head in the sand I lead a group of woman peers into the heart of DC to minister on a weekly basis to the prostitute that hung around seedy motels. I was around scary gangs, drug users, and violent people. I saw a lot of stuff there, probably things that you have seen on 20/20. I've travelled to Africa, and Bolivia to work and share the gospel. I've worked in downtown soup kitchens and I helped with a childrens ministry in the inner city that did VBS type stuff with the kids that lived on the street of DC. I have marched in pro-life rallies on the capital, and I have worked with teen girls who had been sexually abused. Is that enough or should I go on about the present things that I am trying to do with orphans. We should be on the same side, and I hope we want the same thing. Which is to see the lost saved and in heaven with us. It is worrisome to see such judgement from one of my sisters. Be very careful of blogworld, things are not always what they seem.

Rachel T. said...

Proverbs 20:3
It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.

Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

1 Timothy 6:3-5
If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Tia Lynn said...

Wow. I anticipated that this post would not sit well with the many people who have been indoctrinated with the prevalent edited version of Sodom and Gomorrah that harps ONLY on homosexuality. But I did not write this post for them, I wrote it INSPITE of them. I know there are people out there, like myself at one time, who are simply unaware of the complete story scripture tells about Sodom because they have never been presented with it. So, it is for them that I compiled this study. It has weighed on my heart to use the TINY platform that I have to express the damage done by the segments of the Church propagating this lie or even wrose, ignoring it. When any segment of the Church gives way to lies or deceit, it affects the ENTIRE body of Christ. When the foot gets cancer, do the hands, arms and legs, say, "oh that's the foot's problem!" No, it's the whole Body's problem. If one part of the Body is sick, we are all sick. Do not be fooled, cancer will spread. The "cancer" that lies and deceitful tactics spur on must be confronted and dealt with to achieve healing and change. And those who have been wronged by those lies, should be stood up for and defended, no matter how "undesireable" or "undeserving" they are deemed.

I am all for having a dialogue between opposing views (heck, that's what this blog is all about)...but no constructive conversation has transpired during these comments, except for Catrina's. Matty, Jeff, Anonymous, and Cassidy have not presented ANY counter arguments based on scripture to refute the evidence presented in my post about Sodom. Instead, they have collectively questioned the validity of my faith (what better way to taint someone's argument than by negating their faith?), and have slung empty accusations and insults to distract from the very obvious fact that they lack scriptural support for their unquestioned perspectives.

I am most concerned with Jeff's mentality of "conquering" gays because they are "our enemies." Gays are not the enemy, and if they were Jesus commands a unique method by which we are to treat our enemies. THEY ARE PEOPLE, whom we are called to love and BLESS. This war you speak of, is not fought with hatred, lies, and the weapons and tactics of the world. It is fought with sacrificial love and truth, even when that truth is inconvenient to your pet crusades.

My purpose is not to cause strife or division, but to truthfully work through these differences to achieve a real and healthy unity. Sweeping these issues under carpet does NO ONE any good. No matter what you think of me or my faith, go to the scriptures I listed and read them for yourself.

My heart will always be with the underdogs of this world, and if that alienates me from the self-righteous attitudes of the world, and even parts of the church, then so be it. Because I know it's in the midst of "undesirables," the complicated, and the outcasted that Jesus Himself is to be encountered.

Peter said...

Someone very close to me is a cellibate homosexual. I am so grateful that you wrote this because the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (the way it's usually taught) was always a source of sercret resentment and bitterness for me. I could not reconcile that story with the God I know and love. I wept as I poured over your words and felt like the blindfold had been lifted off my eyes.

Do not be discouraged by the knee-jerk reactions you have received. They stem from fear-the fear of being wrong, the fear of being vulnerable, and the fear of not being in control. It's like Rob Bell says about a theology of bricks...if one brick doesn't fit the rest fall apart...You have revealed these people's false "brick" and they fear the rest will fall. May God's freeing grace embrace them and tear down every last brick that bounds up their hearts.

William said...

It sounds to me that so many people who call themselves "Christian" miss what Christ is all about. Jesus' message is love. Love covers a multitude of sins (apparently not homosexuality, in their minds). This attitude more closely resembles the spirit of the Crusades than it does the Spirit of God. It is God's desire that all come to know him but it is never by force, but by love. Check your hearts to see if you are acting in God's spirit of Love or if it is man's teaching you are a student of.

Mason said...

I found you through blogrush, and well...I think i love you (in a completely non-creepy, non-online stalkerish way, of course).

When I first read the title of your post, I was ready to come at your with all my typing fingers ablazing. To my shame, I have never read the story of Sodom or other verses about Sodom a part from the context of God smiting homosexuals. That Ezekial verse hit me right in the face! I will e-mailing some of my friends this post.

Also, that part about pagans believing they could absorb angel's powers through sex is fascinating. I had learned that before, but never made the correlation.

paul said...

thanks very much, a very thoughtful and thought provoking post that reminds me that being impure is more than just about my sexuality but my character and attitude...

Oh and i married an angel ;)

Shaniqua said...

rachel t...not sure what the point of your scripture verses are. care to elaborate? at least on the false doctrine one...are you trying to imply Tia is preaching false doctrine? Or the people responding to the blog?

|Rachel T said...

shaniqua: I went to biblegateway.com amd searched the the words quarrel and strife. And that is where I recieved those scriptures, maybe I should have prayed about it first. I was not implying Tia was preaching false doctrine are anyone else.
How can we, children of God, show others about Chirst love when we are not loving each other by arguing and debating.
I love Tia and all of the people that have responded. Blessings, from a princess of God Rachel

Tia Lynn said...

Thanks for the clarification. I think we need to remember that it is not debating or disagreements that cause division, but HOW we debate. Giving way to name-calling and grandiose accusations is definitely NOT showing love. But unity is not just maintaining shallow conversations that never counter each other or pretending to all agree....sometimes the best and most effetive unity is found in people who disagree, but respect each other and press on toward the same goal of growing closer to God and each other.

Shaniqua said...

yes, rachel, thanks for clarifying. I totally agree with Tia about unity. Honestly, its good for us as Christians to have "debates". Its "iron sharpening iron". Like Tia said, its HOW we do it.

Missionary James said...

Tia,

Very Well put with Scriptural Integrety. Accurate, Berean like research exposing the Non-Christ-Like Pharisaic stances and attitudes within the Body of Christ, not to mention the lack of FULL-GOSPEL Teaching of the Scriptures, comparing Scripture with Scripture when Teaching any Subject! ....Touche`

As to the Ignorant, Naysaying CHRISTIAN SODOMITES (prideful, gluttonous, lazy & indifferent to the poor & needy Christians) in the church today, COMMENTING about this excellent Scriptural Expose & Teaching on THE REAL OUTCRY AGAINST SODOM, The Lord will deal with you later.....and so will I, with a Scriptural Spanking, that is, if you can receive it!

To Whom do I refer as Ignorant Naysayers?:

1) MATTY HILLARD:
2) ANONYMOUS
3) JEFF D.
4) CASSIDY M.
5) STACI
6) AND ALL OTHERS YET TO COME

If you wish to discuss this further as MATURE CHRISTIANS seeking the SCRIPTURAL TRUTH, come to my web-site at: www.MySpace.com/jd4him

In His Service,

Missionary James

Makeesha said...

Tia - WOW. ok, first of all, I like what you have to say and there's really nothing I can add to support you even though I want to.

I'm sorry you've been so attacked here. I'm not familiar with the history of your blog or your story but it looks like you have a really bit fundamentalists following. I'm sorry ;)

Your post is very well thought through and I like what you have said.

As for the conversation...well, it hasn't been much of one, a bunch of people who don't link to blogs or emails have come here and regurgitated typical fundamentalist rhetoric in a very unkind manner and I'm sorry that you have endured it. But you have been gracious and I applaud you.

Philip said...

I find it terribly hard to believe that Sodom was not destroyed for homosexuality. To imply any other reason would mean that the church has taught the wrong interpretation of a biblical story for hundreds and hundreds of years. Now, I am no gay hater and like most christians living in a modern era, i think most of the Old testament, is just that, OLD and no longer permissable. So, Sodom might have been destroyed for their sin of homosexuality, but such an occurence would not happen today because we are under the new covenant. God told the Jews to wipe out certain tribes of people, but this is no longer a valid admonishment because of His new covenant. But to pretend that Sodom's destruction was a result of some other meaning is just wishful thinking.

Shaniqua said...

missionary james: its so funny to see you saying other people are "ignorant naysayers" cause Im sure thats what everyone that knows you thinks about you.

Tia Lynn said...

Hey Philip,

While I am glad you realize acting out genocide is probably not a good idea, it seems strange to me that your logic hinges on man's capabilities, even if it is men in the church. Extra details have been read into biblical texts since the bible's conception and are constantly being revised and corrected. Throughout history leaders in the church have taught bible passages in such a way to justify genocide, racism, slavery, idulgences, the crusades, oppression of minorities and women, witch hunts, and all sort of injustices.

No matter how you look at it, the same has happened with the Sodom account...extra stuff has been added over the years and important factors have been edited out for far too long. If you can counter with scripture or an historical context that would support your assertion that God destroyed Sodom because of homosexuality, I would love to hear it. The church is not perfect, hence all of our needs for a savior. Don't turn a blind eye because man has once again erred.

Mya said...

COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY! I've been in church my entire life, and while I don't go to one that preaches fire and brimstone, they have definitely glossed over the Sodom account. I never even realized Sodom was mentioned so much and so clearly throughout the Bible. How could we deviate so far from the original account? Astonishing. Thanks for posting this, very informative.

musicmommy3 said...

OK, since everyone has calmed down a bit there is probably NO need to write this but, being who I am, I cannot stop myself.

For those of you who questioned Tia's christianity...Catrina was right- shame on you!

I know Tia in real life (not very very well but well enough) and I have to say she is a GENUINE believer who dares to think outside the box and question things. I do not always agree with everything she has to say but I appreciate SO MUCH her desire to abandon image, hold people to the truth, and search out answers to her questions instead of relying on being spoon fed.
I have leaarned so much from her thoughts and have enjoyed getting to know her better through the blog world. This woman is a real believer; and I mean real in every sense of the word. Those of you who would question otherwise need to come back with Scripture to support your views instead of attacking someone's character.

I love you Tia. I enjoy a good loving, respectful debate, and I am proud of you sister for standing up and putting yourself out there so that God can use you to touch people.
Blessings!- Angela :)

p.s. I enjoyed this post also. I always thought it was the homosexual thing. The verses you pointed out obviously point toward much more. My husband did point out that in societies that have fallen (like Sodom, or Rome) rampant sexual depravity seemed to be towards the end. It seems, to him, like that comes after a long list of other sins. Does that make it "worse" than the other sins? No. It does, however, show a natural progression of the heart of man.
Goodnight!

Makeesha said...

musicmommy - I'm not sure about the "progression of the heart of man" but I personally have an eastern orthodox view of sin and atonement which speaks to the soul sickness that causes certain behavior and that sickness needs a healer. this account in scripture speaks to unhealthy sexuality which is something very prevalent in a humanity that is soul sick and in need of a healer.

Tia Lynn said...

Thank you Angela for your kind words! That meant very much to me! Love ya too sister! I am happy we have gotten to know each other through this crazy alternate blogging reality!

I would also like to say, that I am aware that many of my posts will not sit well with everyone and I don't expect everyone to agree with me. I would hope that we could all learn to respect each other and learn from each other's point of view. I heard a pastor once say: "we don't need to teach people WHAT to think, but HOW to think." And that's what this blog is about....the record my journey in learning how to think about God and the world and everything in between. Thank you all for being a part of that, for contributing and challenging! HUGS to all, even to those who let their fears get the better of them and lashed out. I truly hope you can find freedom from such deceiving hatred that makes people the enemy instead of the principalities and powers.

James F. McGrath said...

Although this is a great topic in its own right, I think I liked the Gloria Steinem quote the best.

I remember once when I taught a class that included the book of Amos. After reading through a list of the sins condemned in the first two chapters, I asked what they were focused on, and was astonished when someone said "sex"! Many Christians today have a blind spot when it comes to the much more prominent emphasis in the Bible on social justice.

http://exploringourmatrix.blogspot.com/2007/09/poverty-and-worship.html

Joy said...

You have a new reader!

I am so floored at the depth of your study on this subject. In a cursory study on Jude, I came across the same Ezekial verse and came to the same conclusions.

To Jeff D--As far as conquering... The only thing I recall Jesus conquering is death!! He was no militant!

Peace!

Tia Lynn said...

thank you James and Joy! Glad to have you!

hamiam said...

It's been awhile...Tia, thanks for stopping by my place.

I'd meant to add you to my blogroll before - now I am.

Bless your heart, my sister in the Lord.

iggy said...

Tia Lynn,

This was a great post...

I might have missed it but part of the story also involves the Kings of S and G being helped by God through Abraham... God blessed them by getting their people and their possession back... actually Abraham was more interested in getting Lot back. After they did, the Kings offered Abraham a great amount of bounty which he declined... stating that he did not want anyone to say they helped him gain his wealth and that only God would give him his wealth. This story starts in Genesis 13 and 14

Now, here is were the story gets interesting. The Kings of S and G go to Melchizedek and give offerings to him and His God and they had a ceremony of bread and wine. .

Melchizedek means "My King is righteous"... and he was also called the king of Salem... later to become Jerusalem. It was in the city called "peace" which is what "Salem" means... that these kings paid homage to the "High God".

Now, instead of being changed from their wicked ways, they became more perverse... I sometimes wonder if they even thought the "High God" had their back and was protecting them as they plundered and committed many other atrocities as you noted very well.

To me the big sin was that they were blessed by God and given a chance to change, just as Nineveh was, yet chose to stay in their own wicked way.

This is not just a story about homosexual sin being judged... that is only a small part of the big story.

Again, thanks for your post, and thanks for you comment on my blog.

Be blessed,
iggy

Tia Lynn said...

Thank you for sharing that Iggy. Just another layer to a complex story that for too long as been oversimplified, polarized, and made shallow. :)

inWorship said...

Well written. And as others have said, well studied. I appreciate your concern to uphold scripture while speaking truth. There was not one statement in this post that would tell me you were speaking from anger or opinion. This post would be a great catalyst to hetro/homosexual conversation...if both sides are willing to hear as well as speak.

I think you have some interesting thoughts and I will continue to read and listen. I am sure that you could be a person that would help "sharpen iron".

Brent

inWorship said...

Another thought. Isn't it interesting that most of the "concerned" generally yell and run.

I've always found it interesting that people want to "bash and run".

Tia Lynn said...

inworship...thanks for stopping by and welcome! Just to give you some backgroud, I have a few very close friends that are gay, but remain cellibate because they do not feel they can reconcile homosexuality with their Christian faith. I also have nonchristian friends that are gay. They are some of the sweetest people I know and are searching for truth. I am SO tired of them being the scapegoat for everything and demonized in many christian circles. So I want to build bridges that challenge the current mindset and attitudes in Christendom and promote really loving people, no matter what our opinions are on the topic.

inWorship said...

Tia, it is my pleasure. It is always great to get around and meet people and see what God is doing in each of their lives.

Thanks for the background info. I too have some very close friends(both Christian and Non) that are homosexual. One specifically that is like a brother to me.

As you have said, the church does tend to demonize this act as the worst thing ever. There are good and bad in both camps on both sides of the discussions, but what you have spoken to is the key. Loving people.

We have been speaking to the family in our church the last couple of weeks and the topic of kids came up. Often Christian(and Non) parents will cast their kids out, for whatever. I think there is some correlation between this attitude and the attitude that causes someone to hate another or at least classify them as "less". Our teacher challenged us to realize that there is nothing Godly about "casting" people out. This is not love on any level.

Anyway, thanks for the time. I'll be watching for your next post.

Brent

MDMOM said...

You sure stirred the pot with this one. My pastor presented your version when he preached on Sodom and Gomorrah. The truth is usually NOT comfortable. But the Word of God is meant to be personal. The Holy Spirit applies to individually as you read (or hear) it. I know if I'm feeling smug - watch out! I'm about to step in a pile of something. Kepp speaking the truth and we'll pray that those feeling smug about this topic will be convicted by the Spirit in His good time.

Anonymous said...

Jesus was always sure to turn the tables and change the issue from a physical one to a Spiritual one. For example, "you have heard it said 'do not commit adultery' but I say to you, if you even lust after a women you have already committed adultery in your heart"

Or "it is not what goes into the body that defiles it, but it is what comes out of it, for all evil comes forth out of the heart"

Jesus turned the issue from physical riches to Spiritual riches. If we were to do that today, who are the REAL poor people?
The ones without Christ that's who! Therefore, you should do like Christ and direct your comments towards those who withhold the greatest treasure ever. Whoever is not preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and warning those who are not in Christ about the judgment of wrath to come upon the sinners, that is the person that is withholding wealth.
You're exactly right! There are many in the church, in America who are going to be judged with fire just like Sodom. and not for homosexuality, but for refusing to proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So test yourself and see if you are guilty of proclaiming that truth. Are you warning your friends about the judgment that they will face if they step out of this world without Jesus Christ?
Are you warning them of the need to repent and put their trust in the one and only savior?
Because lying lips are an abomination. If your friends have lied even once they are in danger of judgment. Scripture says that "all liars will have their part in the lake of fire"
Are you warning them?

Anonymous said...

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GJ Tryon said...

NIce try! The bonehead Bono couldn't have put it any better- or any more mendacious. Your quarrel isn'yt with thousands of years of exegetics and common decency, Tia, but with Moses and Paul. Suppose you convince them first.

Tia Lynn said...

GJ Tryon:

I think you missed the point of this post. If all you can ascertain from the Sodom account is condemnation for homosexuals, then you are not taking into account the whole of scripture, how scripture has been understood throughout history. I hope you will take another look and no matter what your convictions are on the "issue" of homosexuality, that you will advocate love and justice for all people, heterosexual and homosexual...