Who Are Damned by the Sins of Sodom?
In my last Blog, I discussed a whole series of sweet experiences with dear friends and total strangers on the day of the St. Pete Pride Parade.
I have continued to find sweetness and delight in many more social gatherings since then.
A week ago, I attended the beautiful wedding of two wonderful women friends at the Metropolitan Community Church of Tampa. The recent Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality added historical significance to the occasion. The following day, I went to Quaker worship at the Tampa Friends Meeting, with my ex-wife in attendance. There was a sweetness in our socializing with her and other friends. Later, I visited with dear friends and my ex-girlfriend. This was the first time she and I have really visited since our breakup 14 months ago. It was a very nice visit that added to my healing.
This past week I have had several excellent sex coaching sessions with clients, an excellent visit with one of my sons, and phone calls and visits with more good friends. All good.
But there has been a dark side, also. I share that overview of the past two weeks as a contrast to some drastically different interactions I have heard about during the same time period. I found myself going back and forth between my sweet encounters and seeing the suffering of my friends caused by comments from people claiming to be Christians.
These friends have told me of the judgmental comments they have heard from friends and relatives about the wrongness of gay marriage and same-gender relationships. I have seen many such comments posted on friends’ pages in Face Book by their friends and family. At first I couldn’t believe how mean-spirited and cruel some of the comments were. It was upsetting and sad, especially as I saw the hurt that such comments caused to people I care about. More than just hurt, these moralistic judgments were opening deep wounds—soul-crushing wounds.
Over and over, those comments referenced the Bible as their authority. They insist that the Bible defines same-sex relations as immoral. The most often cited example of this is the story of God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah for the sin of “sodomy.” They use this Bible story to end all debate. In their minds, there is nothing more that needs to be said. The case was closed several thousand years ago. End of discussion.
But I like to get all the facts before I make up my mind about important issues. And I get suspicious when anyone tries to shut down a discussion. History is full of examples of destructive leaders who try to silence victims of injustice.
As a sex and intimacy coach, I am sensitive to the deep suffering in our culture related to sexuality. And I have a personal stake in learning how to heal the wounds of sexual shame that I have experienced in this culture.
So I went to the Bible and read the story.
Have you read it recently? Actually looked it up in the Bible and read it? You can find it in Genesis Chapter 19. It’s short, so you can read it in just a few minutes.
You can take this story as literal fact or as metaphor. Either way, I believe it is very clear in what it defines as sin.
Here is my short version of it.
God had heard bad things about the people of Sodom and the surrounding area. So God sent two angels to visit Sodom and investigate the behavior of the townspeople. A man named Lot lived in Sodom. He knew the importance of hospitality for travelers and insisted the two visitors stay in his home as honored guests. But the townspeople did not like outsiders. So they formed an angry mob and demanded that Lot surrender the two strangers to them for male-on-male sex. Lot refused and the mob tried to break into his house. Then the angels blinded the attackers and warned Lot to flee with his family. After they had fled, God rained fire and brimstone down on Sodom, destroying everyone.
So what is the lesson here?
Were the men of Sodom condemned because they loved men sexually and emotionally? Did these men want to live together as same-sex couples or families? Or was their sin that they had a history of raping men to humiliate and subjugate them?
I guess the people who are condemning same-gendered relationships have never read this part of the story reported in Ezekiel 16:49-50:
Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.
They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.
It pays to do your own research on such important matters. And stop listening to the mean-spirited judgments being made by arrogant, haughty, uncaring people.
We have so much healing to do.