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A Retired Pastor’s Thoughts on Red Shirts and Blue Shirts

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Tonight at the Assembly Chambers in the Loussac Library is the next bout of public testimony about the now infamous Ordinance 64, which would add the term “sexual orientation” to the current non-discrimination policy for housing, employment, public facilities and education.

The meeting runs from 5-11pm, with details HERE.  Link to streaming and live blogging will be available on The Mudflats.

This guest blog is from a Mudflats reader who is a retired pastor with a doctor of ministry (D. Min) degree.  He is a long time Anchorage area resident who wanted to share his thoughts.

******************************

I went over to the Loussac Library on a beautiful, warm, sunlit Wednesday evening in June. I wanted to see for myself what had been reported on the news: the Anchorage Assembly was considering a proposal to ban job and housing discrimination against homosexuals; numbers of people wearing red were turning out in opposition; numbers of people wearing blue were showing up in support.

The Assembly chambers were already packed when I arrived, and the area outside the council room was filled with people trying to edge their way in through the doors. No problem: there was another show out on the lawn, lining up along the street, and it looked like it would be a more entertaining show than the one inside. People wearing red shirts waving signs and yelling at the passing traffic. Other people in blue shirts waving signs and yelling at the passing traffic.

I watched the people in red shirts busily condemning sinners. They sure seemed to know who was righteous (think red shirts) and who was condemned by God (um, blue shirts). Signs quoted Leviticus. I watched more and more people in red shirts get off busses and make their way to the lawn. The people wearing red were serious: doing God’s work is a great responsibility. They talked about Jesus a lot. They frowned a lot. They showed great indignation that those other people (the ones in the blue shirts) were even there.

I watched the people in blue (and in purple and in rainbow and all in kinds of colors) busily . . . having a party. Some music. Some dancing. A lot of smiles. A whole lot of accepting, and welcoming one another.

And it took a while, but eventually I realized that I had heard this story before.

Jesus told a story about two brothers. You can read his telling of the story in Luke 15:11-32. The older brother (think red shirts) was obedient, hardworking, and respectful to his father. The younger brother (think blue shirts) was less obedient, a lot less hardworking, and downright disrespectful to his father. Okay, he demanded his inheritance and then went to Vegas and blew the money on loose living. He was an out-and-out sinner. We know he lived with pigs. There’s an allegation about harlots. And when the money was gone and he was desperate, he came home.

Now you would expect the father to give him the Big Lecture. How this son had failed. How he had disgraced the family. The many violations of Leviticus. How the disgraceful son should look up to his older brother – the good one, the obedient one – as an example of proper behavior.

But none of that happened.

The way Jesus told it, the father ran down the road to embrace his son, welcomed him back, invited the neighbors over, had the fattened calf slaughtered for the party, and sent for musicians to help with the celebration. He loved his son! The father’s love for his sons had nothing to do with obedience to rules; it was simply love.

Meanwhile, the older brother – who never left, who never once violated a law from his father – just could not believe that his father threw a party for the younger son. “What’s this I hear? Music? Dancing? For that sinner?” He was aghast that the father would welcome such a sinner. And he stayed out in the fields, refusing to welcome his brother.

When the story ends, the older brother is out there alone, refusing to join the party, unreconciled to his brother, unreconciled to his father.

And I saw the same story on the lawns outside Loussac Library on that Wednesday evening in June. A party going on — and people who refused to join in the celebration, more intent on self-righteousness and condemnation of their brother than on the father’s love.

Isn’t it funny that the red-shirt people – who talk about Jesus a lot – have not learned from his teaching?

Comments

comments

Comments
127 Responses to “A Retired Pastor’s Thoughts on Red Shirts and Blue Shirts”
  1. akmuckraker says:

    Thanks to all who shared thoughts in this spirited discussion. And thank you to the writer of the op-ed. Many thoughtful, intelligent people agree to disagree about matters religious. This is not an easy topic and there are no easy answers… otherwise we would have found them by now!

    I have gone through and done a little bit of editing. I have removed a few ad hominem attacks (as per comment guidelines) but have not changed the text of anyone’s comments.

    Deep breaths all……..

  2. beth says:

    Sue @ 103 writes: “Is this hatred? No, it is simply doing what you, the parent, believes is best for your child.”
    ——–
    And therein, I think, is the potential for a HUGE problem. IF the analogy is *solely* confined to household A (the parent/child relationship within that household and the manner in which the parent(s) have decided to raise *their* child(ren)) there’s no complaint/dispute. Household A is free to exercise/enforce *their* beliefs in *their* household. As is Household B. And as are Households C, D, E, etc.

    Each Household *should* exercise/enforce rules, regs, traditions, etc. that *each Household* believes is best for the child(ren) *of that Household.* That’s the prerogative of *that* Household for *that* family. Each can choose which/what to emphasize, which/what to let simmer on the back burner, which/what to modify to fit *their* Household’s reality, and which/what to toss out all together.

    Problems arise, however, when parent(s) in Household A believe *their* way of doing things/understanding of things is so vastly superior, so awesomely excellent, so undeniably ‘right’, that EVERY Household *must* believe, think, act, reject, embrace, etc, *exactly* as *they* do.

    I reject, utterly, that Household A’s ‘way’ is one that me and mine *must* adopt as our own *merely because* it is what Household A *believes*…and furthermore, believes I would be better off, adopting.

    In reading your response to Spaz, seems to me you are saying you’re perfectly comfortable with the notion that it is meet and right for a *specific* set of beliefs (religious tenants) to be implemented on *everyone*. That it is perfectly acceptable for it to be the case that: *you* are determining (and/or should determine,) based on/through *your* beliefs, what is best for *all.* Am I understanding you correctly? beth.

  3. rebekkah says:

    Sorry, I shut off before finishing the last part of the parable; the last part of that was, “For many are called, but few are chosen”.

  4. Sue says:

    Spaz says: “Sue:
    If the sinner is not a Christian, we are not to tolerate the sin; in many cases, we are told not to associate with the sinner.
    —–
    Thank you Sue for pointing out to me the biblical birthplace of discrimination and hate.”

    —————————

    Not discrimination and hate; separation and prayer. Think of it this way. Suppose you have a teenaged child. Your child is hanging out with kids who are doing something you think is wrong–for example, using meth, or maybe stealing cars and joy riding. You don’t want your child to hang out with this group of kids because you are worried about your own child’s safety and well-being. So you tell him/her to stay away from these kids. Is this discrimination? Is this hatred? No, it is simply doing what you, the parent, believes is best for your child.

  5. teri says:

    JP – Love what you said (#97 & #98). Stay in the field and sulk or join the celebration, the choice is yours.

    It is truly Godly to embrace the son with love, join the father and the celebration: that is the point. Red shirts choose to remain judgmental and sulk in the field.

    Interesting thing about parables. What you get from it reveals a lot about one’s psyche. Those who believe in tolerance and acceptance (as Jesus did), see this.

  6. rebekkah says:

    My 2 cents on the meaning of the prodigal son. The oldest son represents an established obedient loyal good son, who doesn’t “rebel”, doesn’t “rabble-rouse, or dishonor the father. Then, the youngest, who asks for half of his inheritance, takes it, spends it on riotous living, as they say, or a hedonistic lifestyle. He returns home with nothing, asking his father for forgiveness. The father is so thrilled to have him back, he embraces him, has a celebration complete with fatted calf and all the dressings.

    I think the oldest son is traditional religion. The youngest, may represent the “sinner” crowd. But, as christians know, they are taught that we are all sinners. The older son represents the phariseeical tight-legal-bound religious types, who seek revenge, eye-for-an-eye, and have no sympathy, or regard for those who struggle.

    The youngest son represents all children of God. Those who have made mistakes, been bullied, abused, forsaken. True, they made improper decisions, living for the “now” instead of saving for the future. All of us fit into that category, if we are willing to admit it.

    The oldest son again represents institutionalized legalism. Youngest son, a wayward spirit. The two come together, finally, and the oldest is jealous, resentful because the youngest gets forgiven so easily and doesn’t have to do a jot of “religious” works to get forgiven.

    Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard; a master of a vineyard hires labourers for a day, they get a denarius for a day’s work. Then, mid-day, he hires more labourers, then again at the 11th hour, he hires more. When they’re finished, he gives them all a denarius. Guys who worked all day are angry . “But he answered one of them: “Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Didn’t you agree with me for a denarius? Take that which is yours, and go your way. It is my desire to give to this last just as much to you. Isn’t it lawful for me to do what I want with what I own? Or is your eye evil, because I am good? So the last will be first and the first last.

  7. oregonbird says:

    Hey, JP: No name-calling, I was sticking to the facts. And each of the posters who’ve responded to me have managed to do so without addressing what I continue to point out is my main issue with the op-ed — that an educated pastor with years of experience chose (that’s an important word) to misrepresent scriptural text, and in so doing, changed the inherent message and purpose of that scripture.

    Each person who has responded directly to me has had obvious and heart-felt ties to religion, which I respect; each has also had an amazing ability to avoid addressing the actual point I made. I’ve been told that my opinion didn’t count because I didn’t read it in the original language, and because I didn’t *know* what language the New Testament was translated from!

    You suggest that I simply ignore the text of the pastor’s editorial and alter the analogy offered to one that will fit the circumstances. The implication being, the pastor is correct in that, at the least, the parable offers a clear warning of a wrong course of action. One thing guaranteed is that scriptural text is not clear in the least; there isn’t a line of it hasn’t provided fodder for unending dialogue and conjecture since being scribbled down!

  8. Spaz says:

    Sue:
    If the sinner is not a Christian, we are not to tolerate the sin; in many cases, we are told not to associate with the sinner.
    —–
    Thank you Sue for pointing out to me the biblical birthplace of discrimination and hate.

  9. JP says:

    If the fact that the parable as told ends with the older brother remaining unreconciled *bothers you*, ….

    Sorry.

  10. JP says:

    If the fact that the parable as told ends with the older brother remaining unreconciled, then just take the analogy as between the red-shirt protests and the older brother’s initial reaction of judgmentalism rather than acceptance.

    You are right that the original parable leaves the ending open. Here, too, the ending is open: the red-shirts may yet see the unChristlike nature of their current ways and adopt a more tolerant stance.

    But if they don’t, and choose to (metaphorically speaking) sulk in the fields feeling superior, then the warning of the parable holds true. The parable clearly warns that this is the wrong course of action to take, and the red-srhirts are clearly taking that wrong course. As such, calling them to account for dishonouring their own scripture is fair play. Do you really think they are ready to join the celebration, as the older brother may or may not have done?

  11. Sue says:

    Spaz says:But we are not to see and judge with God’s eyes as only HE is to judge. We may choose to live with regard to how He judges, but the actual judging is for Him alone. I see with my own eyes, and where I see an individual worthy of respect and love and friendship, I extend those to him or her, with no regard as to their religious beliefs, sexual orientation, skin color, gender, etc.
    _________________________
    There are numerous scriptures in the New Testament in which God tells us to judge. When we find sin, we are not supposed to tolerate it. If the sinner is a Christian and continues the same sin (over and over), we are told to speak to him about it with love and humility. If he contines, we are to take another Christian with us an to speak to him again (in love and humility). If he still continues, the elders of the church are to be told so that they may speak to him. If he will not repent and stop, we are told to remove him from the church. (If he eventually repents, we are to welcome him back. If the sinner is not a Christian, we are not to tolerate the sin; in many cases, we are told not to associate with the sinner.

  12. nebraska mudflatter says:

    With all due respect that is really due to all of you in this heated discussion, as a non-believer (LGBT identified person) i really think this debate highlights the frailty of religious discourse . . . we humble beings seek to interpret what is presented as divine knowledge, acknowledging that our experience of it has been filtered by generations of MEN, through different languages and across cultural contexts. And our credentials of expertise are found where?

    “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”
    -Galileo Galilei

  13. sally says:

    I’m bisexual and aetheist…but my little brother is straight and protestant. He truly believes in God and God’s love, and I am awe struck by his faith, even though I have none of my own.

    The most remarkable thing about my brother I learned at Fred Meyer’s:

    we were being checked out at the sales counter by a large drag queen, but the only clue that this employee was a queen came from her long acrylic nails with just a tint of glittery polish, and then, her slightly flamboyant accent. My brother (from a small town in North Dakota, not used to seeing someone like this) asked me what was going on as we left the store. I said, “oh, that’s a queen…yes…” “you’re right, he’s gay”

    i asked my brother if that bothered him. He answered that it didn’t, really, that it surprised him b/c he’s not used to seeing men dress and act like that. But – this is the best part – my brother said to me, and I quote this word for word, “Sis, I personally feel that the Bible clearly states that being homosexual is a sin, but I also firmly believe that I have no authority to judge another human’s soul. I also believe that we are all sinners, in different ways, and so WHO AM I to judge this man?” He continued, saying he would not judge a man for being Hindu or aetheist, and I won’t judge that man for being gay. God gave us free will and we are exercising it.

    my little brother is very mature for his age, and very loving. He knows what he believes in, and he stands by it, but he is also so tolerant and good and kind. If I ever did find faith, it would be in a church where people accept homosexuality and bisexuality, because that’s who I am. I am exercising my free will, which really means, I am doing what God made me to do.

  14. Spaz says:

    Sue: re: “being gay is wrong” In God’s eyes, having sex with a person of the same sex is a sin. In Galatians, we are told how to talk to someone who is committing a sin–in love and humility.

    —–

    But we are not to see and judge with God’s eyes as only HE is to judge. We may choose to live with regard to how He judges, but the actual judging is for Him alone. I see with my own eyes, and where I see an individual worthy of respect and love and friendship, I extend those to him or her, with no regard as to their religious beliefs, sexual orientation, skin color, gender, etc.

  15. Spaz says:

    Awesome post. Such obvious (yet often-overlooked) observation about those who sometimes preach the word of Jesus without living by it.

    Thank you so very much to the person who wrote it. I’m sure you were a great pastor.

  16. Sue says:

    re: red and blue shirts….I am not saying that one color is Christian and the other color is not….There are, most likely, Christians and non-believers in both “colors.” I didn’t think the pastor’s analogy fit the circumstances.

    re: “being gay is wrong” In God’s eyes, having sex with a person of the same sex is a sin. In Galatians, we are told how to talk to someone who is committing a sin–in love and humility.

  17. mlaiuppa says:

    Well, I don’t consider Homosexuality a sin. I’ve read the ten commandments and it’s not mentioned anywhere.

    It was my understanding that Christ came to make the make the old testament “old” and preach a new gospel. Christ had two commandments: Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself. (Personally, I think sometimes it’s a lot easier to love you neighbor than it is to love yourself. I think people should work on learning to love themselves first.)

    Everything else is bible browsing. You can’t say homosexuality is a sin and then eat shellfish or wear that cotton/polyester blend shirt.

    As for Paul. I don’t pay much attention to him. He wasn’t one of the original disciples, didn’t know Christ and the inclusion of him (and his agenda) reflects the agenda of those that were picking and choosing what to include in the bible. Christ preached love. Paul…doesn’t. Paul’s preaching is full of…conditions. That’s not love.

    So throw out the old testament and Paul and what do you have left?

  18. slipstream says:

    Hey there Oregonbird — the parable under discussion, and the entire gospel of Luke, was written in Greek, not Hebrew. At least get your languages straight, if you’re going to present yourself as knowing the Bible.

  19. oregonbird says:

    @ 83 teri Says:
    oreongbird: unless you understand the bible in it’s original greek you too, have been swayed by it’s misrepresentation.
    —————
    Sorry, teri, that gives me no clue what you find misrepresented in my commentary. It cannot be that the parable under discussion is NOT open-ended; that has been affirmed by both Hebrew and Biblical scholars. It was a common method for teaching via discussion, back in less bloggy times. It does suggest that you can read the “original greek” scriptures… ?

    There is presently an on-going project by scholars around the work to re-transcribe the bible — every limp scrap of it, not just the bits King James’ monks kept in. Where ‘poisoner’ was mistranslated as ‘witch’. I’m still looking for an on-line version, so if anyone knows where its sited, please let me know!

  20. beth says:

    [Possibly OT, but have any Pups read Adam Nicholson’s “God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible”? [ http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Secretaries-Making-James-Bible/dp/0060185163 ] To me, the KJV soars! I don’t think there’s a passage in it that doesn’t sing with magnificent majesty – ALL other versions pale in comparison. (Just a personal bias? You bet’cha!) And reading Nicholson’s account(ing) of the men who ‘transcribed’ [wrote] it was fascinating. So many egos, so many talents, so much baggage, so much depending on the words they selected and put down/codified on paper… OK; enough of that. We return now to the regularly scheduled program. beth.]

  21. nebraska mudflatter says:

    wow, this discussion really did evolve in amazing ways from this morning. as a non-Christian LGBT person I have to say that I really did not get the hate and sinner stuff that so many others did. I have known the parable, and guess I have always understood it in the way that Teri#83 does. love and acceptance. sin is everywhere and everything in certain denominations, so just leaving his father’s house was enough for the younger son to have sinned. of course the older brother was not without sin, as his jealousy/envy was in itself a sin.

    It is really cool to see all the analysis, reflection and thinking here. Maybe some over-thinking, though?

  22. teri says:

    I understood what the pastor meant. He most certainly didn’t misrepresent Luke. Love and acceptance of everyone was the basis of what Jesus taught. This parable was but one example.

    It doesn’t have to do with “who represents the sinner” but the reaction of a human being to one who has wronged him. Forgiveness….love….acceptance.

    Why don’t the fundies get this?

    oreongbird: unless you understand the bible in it’s original greek you too, have been swayed by it’s misrepresentation.

  23. beth says:

    Sue @ 68 wrote: “Both the sons symbolize Christians; one obeys God and one does not. This pastor’s analogy does not fit because the two colors–red and blue–do not both represent Christians; they represent Christians and non-believers.”
    ————
    I’m having a bit of trouble with that second sentence, Sue …are you saying the *Pastor’s essay* is about “Christians and non-believers,” or are *you* interpreting the wearing of specific-colored clothing/shirts as a ‘sign’ of the wearers being in one of two camps: “Christians [or] non-believers”? If I’m not mistaken, *many* blue-shirters are affiliated with/believe in the tenents of Christianity. Am I missing totally what you are saying?

    And, I echo many when I say I really enjoy the discussion the Pastor’s essay has generated, here. So nice to read thoughtful, polite, insightful posts on this site (as opposed to the name-calling, ugly drivel on issues so often found on Rwinger sites.) Y’all add, daily, to my knowledge of all manner of things. And in a darned good way! For that, I thank you. beth.

  24. the problem child says:

    May I just point out that a fundamental tenet of Christianity, at least as I have understood it, is that everyone, all, tout le monde, are sinners? The sins of the older brother (pride, resentment, failure to honour the “father”, steadfast condemnation) are no less in magnitude than the sins of the younger (carnal, unkosher behaviour). In fact, many Christians would consider the sins of the elder to be of greater concern, as they are “soul” related rather than “body” related. My 2 cents.

  25. Treces12 says:

    @Sue Says:

    This pastor’s analogy does not fit because the two colors–red and blue–do not both represent Christians; they represent Christians and non-believers.
    Re: “casting the first stone…” Remember, though, that after the crowd dispersed, Jesus then talked to the woman. He told her that he knew of her adultery, and he told her to stop.

    I have to ask – are you implying that someone who is gay cannot be a christian? And your second comment seems to imply that being gay is somehow “wrong.” I’m really offended by both of these comments unless I am somehow misinterpreting your words. Am I?

  26. Physicsmom says:

    I haven’t read all the comments, didn’t want to be influenced by them. My first reaction was: nice try pastor, but this doesn’t cut it and is insulting to the LGBT people and their supporters because it assumes they are sinners who need to be forgiven by the redshirts and embraced in spite of their past behaviour. The blue shirts should be embraced because they are humans who are not hurting anyone else, while potentially being hurt by others in being denied employment, housing, etc. I understand that AKM doesn’t necessarily agree with all of her guest posters and I appreciate her generosity of spirit to share her site with people whose voice we might want to hear. However, I think she missed the mark with this one. I wouldn’t call this inflammatory, but I don’t think it’s helpful either. My take, now I’ll go back and see what the others have said.

  27. Sue says:

    Re: “casting the first stone…” Remember, though, that after the crowd dispersed, Jesus then talked to the woman. He told her that he knew of her adultery, and he told her to stop.

  28. HistoryGoddess says:

    I would just like to again thank all of you for such insightful and respectful comments. I would love to be able to sit down with all of you for meaningful discussion. I think all of us were able to get some stuff to chew on. I know that later tonight, when things are quiet, I am going to be closely re-reading this parable.

    There is much beauty and wisdom in the Bible, as well as in the writings of other faiths. My challenge is to find meaning for me, but often it is through the thoughtful exchanges with others that the a-ha hits. I think the pastor had the right message, but maybe the parable fell short. But, he shared what he saw: hatred and intolerance from the red, and joy and acceptance from the blue. In his mind, he saw love being displayed, and it wasn’t from the group claiming religious superiority. (I don’t think he meant to imply that the blues weren’t Christian, they just weren’t shouting about it.) I am thinking that he, s a pastor, was very disturbed by those who claimed to know the truth, but not acting like true Christians. THEY were his target. The good sons and their families were so busy hating, they forgot this story.

    Gosh, I really can’t say enough how impressed I am with the collective insights here. From close readings, to cultural information about feet, to the challenge of seeing the story through the eyes of all of you from such different background…I truly thank you. And Pastor, if you are reading this, isn’t this the type of dialogue you want people to have?

    May your day be good and iceberg very, very large…

  29. Marnie says:

    I appreciate your imphasis on the father’s love and forgivness. That’s where Christianity is supposed to be as the New Testament credits this story, this moral as coming directly from him to us.

    Peace be with you, and thanks.

  30. Nan (aka roswellborn) says:

    strangelet (63)
    I think this post was very supportive of the ordinance, and LGBT folks in general. The parable was not 100% applicable, but was, I believe, intended to whack the red-shirt worldview with a healthy dose of WWJD. Seeking hidden meanings in the post is, in my opinion, a serious over-reaction.
    _____________
    Village Reader (67)

    After reading the article, then the comments and the article again, I came away from the story as talking about acceptance despite all.
    ______________

    It seemed right to me to read this in the spirit it was offered to us, and with the intent of the telling in mind. Even when I did things my mother didn’t agree with, her love for me never wavered. Period.

    So this parable isn’t a perfect mesh with the situation; the loving intent of reconciliation is there, and I am grateful to see it.

    Thank you, Reverend, for this loving reminder that each of us is loved for who and what we are, whether we’re in line with so-called established thinking or not.

    We are all loved.

  31. clydedog says:

    71 strangelet Says:
    July 21st, 2009 at 3:36 PM
    ————————————————
    You have a point. I can’t speak for LGBT persons, but I guess any level of respect above being a “red shirt” is a good thing.

  32. strangelet says:

    @clydedog: I apologize. I misread your comment.

    My remarks still represent my opinion, but I believe we are much closer in opinion than I thought.

    Sorry. Sloppy reading on my part.

  33. clydedog says:

    If we have to be precise then one would say the pastor was commenting on the two groups he was observing at the public hearing, not LGBT persons. If he had left the biblical reference out, I think he would have made a better point with some.

  34. strangelet says:

    @clydedog: “Wrong, but I accept it” is, in fact, the minimal definition of equality. For a simple example, consider that I hate tobacco smoke. I wish that nobody smoked tobacco. But quite a lot of folks want to. So, because we’re equal, I do not support many efforts to legally restrict tobacco, even though I tend to regard tobacco smoking as “wrong”.

    I do support restrictions on smoking in restaurants, because the damn smoke affects me. That isn’t an issue of equality; it’s an issue of politeness.

    If equal rights for LGBTs affected me (or anybody) adversely, perhaps I would oppose them. But, of course, that is not the case.

    Now, I have to be clear. I am about as wacko straight as you are going to find. For me, gayness is right out. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s as “wrong” as smoking. So suppose someone who thinks LGBT “behavior” is as wrong as I think tobacco smoking is. But this “someone” accepts it, like I accept smoking.

    That’s the best version of equality you’re gonna get before we all go borg.

  35. Village Reader says:

    After reading the article, then the comments and the article again, I came away from the story as talking about acceptance despite all. The father ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him, before the son asked for forgiveness for his sins. I don’t believe the story was a slam against the LGT community but to illustrate that a father’s love (God) is for both his children (Red & Blue shirts). He was pointing out that the ‘red shirts’ didn’t learn from Jesus’s teachings of love and acceptance.

    I’m sure people will disagree but that is what I came away from the story with.

    In another point, years ago (memory fails) I took a class called ‘Tolerance and Persecution in the Middle Ages’. It was an interesting class. Basically, I’m going to boil a semester down to a few sentences. The church needed to bring the people into line, but who to make an example of? Homosexuality was picked. Why? Because there weren’t many of them and it was easier to pick on that ‘sin’ then it was all the liars, thieves, murderers, adulters, LIARS, coveting neighbors stuff, LIARS, etc.

    God mentioned many sins which were talked about over and over and over throughout the Bible. But Homosexuality which was mentioned only a couple of times (memory serves) was chosen as the calling card of attack and rally. God also said something like (bad memory), ‘HE despises LIARS above all else, because you/they speak with a forked tongue’. Also ‘all sin is equal’.

    What I am trying to say is Homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible, ONE OF MANY, and one that isn’t touched as much as other sins within the Bible. BUT God also said, Forgive, Don’t Judge, Cast 1st stone, etc.

    So, I guess from my rambling ‘word salad’ (I’m at work, couple of minutes) is that I believe the article above is about acceptance above all else. Be thankful for the people in your life and don’t judge.

    Ultimately, adding the term ‘sexual orientation’ to the ‘current non-discrimination policy for housing, employment, public facilities and education’ should be included because NO ONE should be denied housing, employment, public facilities and education based on something private.
    ———-Seperation of Church and State—————–

  36. oregonbird says:

    @ 59 mlaiuppa Says:
    July 21st, 2009 at 1:45 PM
    Oregonbird:

    Everything you quoted is in the vernacular of the period in which it was written. Including the pastor’s version here.

    If the Pastor had told a hip hop version…no difference. It isn’t blasphemy and AKM has nothing to apologize for.
    ———————
    I have not asked AKM to apologize; I did point out that her site is known and appreciated for accuracy in content, and the pastor’s op-ed did not meet the standards previously set.

    The retired (and I daresay, aged caucasian) pastor did not, in fact, use a “hip-hop” vernacular. His word choices and sentence structure were decidedly middle American, and very clear. His views were well-expressed.

    He sees members of the LGBT community as sinners who must be embraced, despite their sins. He does not support the howling mob, which he feels has not allowed the bible to influence its actions. Which admittedly garners little more than an “um-hmm?” from me, as I prefer actions influenced by ethical standards.

    His choice of language, his ‘vernacular’ flourishes, have nothing to do with the fact that the pastor ADDED an ending that supported his own political and social positions. The parable, in every edition and vernacular, was deliberately left open-ended. It is *scripture*. The pastor did not acknowledge that basic fact — the immutability of the words — instead, he offered an AU version that met personal goals.

    He misrepresented the teachings of Christ.

    That doesn’t bother you?

    He stated, without biblical back-up, that the elder son was left alone outside the house. The scripture ends — absolutely ends — with the father and son together, in conversation. The pastor, again without biblical support, states that the elder son has refused to listen to the father, refused to be reconciled to his brother.

    The pastor finishes with what must be one of the more awkward segues I have come across in a very long time — “And I saw the same story on the lawns outside Loussac Library on that Wednesday evening in June. A party going on — and people who refused to join in…”

  37. Sue says:

    This parable is often referred to as the Return of the Prodigal Son. In it, the two sons represent two of God’s children (Christians), and the father represents God, Himself. The point of it is to show Christians that, even if one of us commits sins (symbolized by leaving home), we are to rejoice upon his return–his return to repentence and Godliness. Both the sons symbolize Christians; one obeys God and one does not. This pastor’s analogy does not fit because the two colors–red and blue–do not both represent Christians; they represent Christians and non-believers. I do agree, however, that it is wrong to be cruel to those who choose to sin. The Bible teaches that we are to love the sinner but hate the sin. We are to lovingly show the sinner that he is sinning. If he chooses not to repent, then we are to walk away, not hassle him.

  38. clydedog says:

    yellerdogg Says:
    July 21st, 2009 at 12:05 PM
    Lee323@ #22, I too am troubled by the use of this parable.
    ————————————————
    I know many people do think that it is “wrong but I accept it”, which is not equality. The pastor did use the phrase “He was an out-and-out sinner”. But in this case I don’t think the son is the issue, it is the father. The pastor quoted:

    “He loved his son! The father’s love for his sons had nothing to do with obedience to rules; it was simply love”.

    It may not be a great parable but I liked that part.

  39. strangelet says:

    Well, I imagine I’m going to piss off some people, but I think that it is counter-productive to over-analyze from the victim perspective.

    This post invoked the parable of the “prodigal son”. Admittedly, it did not quote it exactly (I think — I admit I don’t speak Aramaic). I read it as a contrast between the acceptance and openness of the “blue-shirts”, and the judgmentalism and rejectionism of the “red-shirts”. Throwing in the notion that the prodigal was a reformed sinner really muddies the water. (BTW, as I read it, the big deal isn’t that the prodigal is “reformed” — indeed, he may not be — but that he is “returned”).

    I think this post was very supportive of the ordinance, and LGBT folks in general. The parable was not 100% applicable, but was, I believe, intended to whack the red-shirt worldview with a healthy dose of WWJD. Seeking hidden meanings in the post is, in my opinion, a serious over-reaction.

  40. There are some cultural details in the parable that we westerners miss completely and that add depth.

    It would have been considered unseemly for an older man, especially one of some means, to run down the street to welcome anyone, let alone a wayward son. Showing one’s ankles or the bottoms of one’s feet in Middle Eastern culture is taboo. That the father allows himself to break with custom is an act of unconditional love for his younger son. Perhaps that is the greater lesson in the parable, and it’s the one the pastor picked up on when comparing the accepting blue shirts to the somber red ones.

    A great part of Jesus’ ministry was in poking at social norms that resulted in branding certain people as “less than” because they somehow didn’t share in the privileges that accrue to the upper classes. It was radical then and still is.

  41. Joe says:

    I really enjoy your blog, but the writer’s cluelessness in using this story to talk about the LGBT community is pretty amazing. His writings speak to me, but they are telling me a lot more about him than the people in red shirts.

    I agree with the comments above that the story’s older brother has a right to be pissed off, the younger brother is a parasitic jerk, and the father is an unjust bastard. Family values in action.

  42. Fern says:

    @HistoryGoddess

    I went to the source text as well, and I had not realized that the story of the prodigal son is part of a very tightly constructed series of three stories, all about things that are lost and found. It is followed then by another story that is a very pointed slap at the religious authorities. And the stories follow an brief introduction that creates a clear context – the stories are a response to the complaint posed by the religious leaders; “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So, to me, that makes a difference in how you read the story. To me it seems to be about challenging notions about who is “us” and who is “them”, and about Jesus’ relationship to religious structures and authority.

    And here is something that I never noticed before – the younger son will not inherit his father’s wealth. All he gets is the party and the new clothes. So there are still levels of inclusion/exclusion.

    I’ll be thinking about this for a while…

    But carry on – I am easily amused by small things and apt to become tedious.

  43. slipstream says:

    Sorry, Oregonbird, but there’s not a word in the text about the older brother being reconciled to his brother, coming into the house, or joining the celebration. The last we see of the older brother, the father has gone outside to plead with him to join the celebration. No indication at all that the older brother does. When Jesus ends the story, the older brother is still outside.

  44. HistoryGoddess says:

    Wow. I have certainly had my eyes opened!

    First, after reading these posts, I can now understand how members of the LGBT community could be offended. I am sorry I had not seen that viewpoint. Huge lesson learned.

    Second, I hadn’t actually read it in several years. I completely read over the pastor’s ending. I knew it was open, though, because Father Rink (moment of silence) always left it as “what will you (the “good son”) do? Since we didn’t want to burn in hell, we were supposed to follow the Father’s lead. Since I was a kid, I didn’t really think there was another option.

    Third, This parable is used a lot with kids and my mom took full advantage when we would tell on each other or question why a sib wasn’t getting into trouble. Now as a parent I have used it, too. But as an adult, I try to keep in mind this parable is told to people of a particular time period and uses examples from that time. The trick for those of us who don’t necessarily take every word literally is to apply the principle to today. In this case, it would be imagining the worst possible thing the prodigal son could do, knowing that what would upset me may not bother anyone else. (and, that would speak more about us, in not a good way.) Father Rink really stressed that we were the “good son” in this message. (ooh, now I am thinking he didn’t let us be the prodigal son because we might go out and sin and all will be cool? Damn.)

    Bottom line, this is a good example that even though we mean no offense, we must be very, very careful. I learned quite a bit, and I thank you all for sharing your thoughts. Father Rink died a week after my sister bumped into him (correlation only if you are 7 and 8.) Otherwise I’d sure like to chat with him about this.

  45. mlaiuppa says:

    Oregonbird:

    Everything you quoted is in the vernacular of the period in which it was written. Including the pastor’s version here.

    Would you care to go back to the original Greek and do your own translation?

    Christ himself told parables to make stories accessible to the population in a way they could relate too. Retelling this parables in the vernacular is no different. If the Pastor had told a hip hop version…no difference. It isn’t blasphemy and AKM has nothing to apologize for.

    I think it’s great everyone can digest and interpret the various messages. Yes, I too am disturbed by the younger brother as “sinner” in the parable. But it would be pretty hard to find a parable that doesn’t involve a sin of some kind.

    While casting the first stone also comes to mind, I think the parable that would have served a better purpose would be the pharisee and the publican. I think of the red shirts more as pharisees and the blue shirts more as publicans. Who worships God more respectfully and as would please him?

  46. Jake says:

    Amen doctor of ministry.

  47. mlaiuppa says:

    That story always bothered me but not for the reasons given.

    I understand the older son’s ire. His Father never showed any appreciation for the older son’s hard work, respect or obedience. Perhaps the Father never even communicated to his older son how much he loved him. And here he is fawning all over the other, making it blatantly clear that he loves his younger son no matter what he’s done. Is it any wonder the older son doubts if he would get the same unconditional love and treatment if he behaved the same? And quite frankly, those of us with deadbeat, loser relatives know that you don’t get anyone to learn from their actions or change their destructive behavior by rewarding them for it.

    As parables go, I think it was one of Christ’s weaker ones.

    The kicker is when the older son points out that the Father never let him have a fatted calf for a party with his friends. Why not? Didn’t the Father appreciate his older son’s hard work? The excuse is lame ‘But you’re always with me.’. Way to alienate your older son. Maybe he should take off for a few years so Dad gets a reality check on just what he’s been taking for granted.

    I always sympathized with the older brother and felt the Father went overboard with the younger. I also felt that after the party was over, the younger brother would probably just continue the same behavior and spent all of his older brother’s inheritance too. And still expect a fatted calf party when he dragged himself back home again.

  48. CrabbyPatty says:

    Pastor, thank you for your commentary – I really appreciated it! Also today I read former President Carter’s words about the Southern Baptist Conference and their incredible attitude toward women. I think Carter is a godly man who is willing to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk …. big time.

    AND as a long, long time church goer, I gotta say the older I get, the LESS religious I get, and the more spiritual I become. RELIGION is the artifical man-made and man-intrepreted construct that we have placed around God’s word, and I truly think that if Jesus came to earth today, he would kick RELIGION out, just as He threw the money-changers out of the Temple. Today’s intrepretation of “religion” has desecrated God’s word.

  49. karen marie says:

    Lee323 is absolutely right, the writer needs to go back to his bible and try again. Well meaning as he/she might have been, it is just as insulting to suggest that LGBT people are sinners whether you are willing to party with them or not.

    Is there a bible story about punishment for those who judge the lives of others?

    Yeah, I think I remember something about “let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” I think that would be somewhat more applicable here.

  50. oregonbird says:

    @ 50 Gramiam AKA Smoke Strapon Palin Says:
    July 21st, 2009 at 1:02 PM
    Oregonbird, I sourced the quotation, too. I don’t see that the pastor added anything to the text.
    ————–
    Last lines: King James Version: 32It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

    American Standard Version: 32 But it was meet to make merry and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

    New Living version: 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

    The pastor’s version? “And he stayed out in the fields, refusing to welcome his brother.

    “When the story ends, the older brother is out there alone, refusing to join the party, unreconciled to his brother, unreconciled to his father.”
    —————
    This is exactly the sort of misinterpretation that religious leaders have used for centuries to sway their flocks. The words of the scripture do NOT suggest any permanent disassociation by the elder brother. The words do not imply that that reconciliation either is or is not achieved. The story is open-ended, deliberately so. For the pastor to provide an ending, to ADD TO THE TEXT, in order to make a political point, is exactly why our society is in such disarray between the forces of church and state. No biblical scholar would accept such an interpretation as anything other than deliberately influencial opinion.

    And it was influencial, wasn’t it? From the pen of a pastor? You didn’t even SEE the addition, because it is natural, part of human nature, to want a story to have a clean ending. This story did not — but one was provided to you.

  51. Bent Alaska says:

    Thank you for the words of support from the retired pastor, and for the link to more ordinance information on Bent Alaska. As for what the red-shirts might learn from this post – they would proudly copy it onto their anti-ordinance web site with the headline “Pro-gay pastor agrees that homosexuals are disgraceful sinners” like they did to Ivan Moore’s Press article supporting a watered-down ordinance. Their hearts are hardened against us and they cannot see beyond their fear.

    Who else will be at the hearing tonight?

  52. oregonbird says:

    @22 Lee323 Says:
    July 21st, 2009 at 11:50 AM
    Interesting post but flawed analysis regarding this issue.

    The prodigal son story (as presented) bears the implication that the prodigal son is the wayward sinner who is to be forgiven, loved, and accepted DESPITE his “sins.”

    Sorry, Pastor….but that implication of a wayward sinner is exactly what LGBT persons have been struggling against.
    ———————–
    And this was my first reaction to the editorial, as well. AKM, do you, personally, see the LGBT community as people who must be ‘accepted despite…’ ?? Because hosting an editorial on your site does imply that you agree with the content.

    It’s the reason Sarah & Eddie & Rush get along — they agree with each other’s content.

    I have never implied that I fully agree with the content. I found the piece thoughtful enough and well-written enough to post it. It comes from a respected source in the community. I do not look upon sexual orientation as having anything to do with religion as I see it. But this piece wasn’t about my opinion. Again, this is my virtual living room. I can invite all kinds of people in here. They don’t have to pass an agreement test before I give them a place to share their opinion. AKM

  53. Gramiam AKA Smoke Strapon Palin says:

    First, here is the text in the Gospel According to Luke:

    There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, “Father, give me my share of the estate.” So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
    After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.” So he got up and went to his father.
    But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate.
    Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. “Your brother has come,” he replied, “and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.” The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, “Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!” “My son,” the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:11-32)

  54. Gramiam AKA Smoke Strapon Palin says:

    Oregonbird, I sourced the quotation, too. It says that the older son refused to join the celebration, and the father went out to ask him to join the party. I don’t see that the pastor added anything to the text.

  55. Thanks, Pastor, who sharing your perspective with all of us. It’s one of those stories that shouldn’t be taken so literally. It’s all about acceptance, inclusion, celebrating others as they are. The part where the son who left and didn’t follow the father’s rules is more, I think, about children who take a path that is not the same as their parents’. But the parent still loves the child. The obedient brother doesn’t need to be excluded from the celebration, but excludes himself. It is a choice he makes out of his view that he is perfect and his brother is not.

    There are all kinds of examples of how we are to treat others, and this is but one.

    What do you call people who read the Bible and don’t use it to beat other people over the head with their beliefs? Those are the Christians. The others (typically the ones in the red shirts) are not Christians, but like to tell people they are. I think the bigger question is what do we call the red shirts? And maybe the point is that we lead by example and we don’t label them at all. They are human beings like everyone else, and Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Like it or not, that includes those with whom we disagree and even those who don’t like us back.

    Wonder what would happen if a blue shirt walked up to a red shirt and smiled and gave them a hug or just said something friendly to them.

  56. Janmarie says:

    Amen, Amen and Amen!!! It speaks for those of us, whose God is Love!!

  57. oregonbird says:

    I went and reacquainted myself with that verse — in three different versions. In each and every one of them, the story ends on the father’s exhortation — there is NO indication of the final disposition of the elder son. Or the younger, for that matter.

    I see all the appreciation and thanks from your readers for the interpretation this pastor provided — there is no question in their minds of being diddled. Did anyone bother to check the source material? Is it asking too much to bring percipicity, curiosity and research into a discussion, if it is presented framed in a religious context? Is it enough that a ‘learned’ person agrees with our views, and can “quote” scripture to back us up?

    Does it matter that the scripture was falsified?

    AKM, you allowed false information on a political matter to be presented under your journalistic banner. The only reason I can fathom such an easily discredited interpretation of source material passed your net was that it came from a respected christian pastor, and you felt comfortable in not doing a simple fact-check. You took his veracity for granted.

    When you invite an op-ed, does that negate your responsibilities as the editor of one of the most influential blogs on Alaskan politics? Yes, that was rhetorical. You quite rightly laud the importance of an editor, in the post immediately after this one.

    This was an editorial penned by a man educated in his field. What does it say to his own belief in his religion, that he would twist and add to the verse in order to make it come out in favor of his own take on a political situation?

    To me, it says that he found his religion does not support politics, and in order to force that connection, he bore false witness. Of course, that’s just my opinion.

    But check the source material.

    I don’t have a journalistic banner, nor am I a journalist. I present material, both my own and that of others, for discussion. I invite people in to my virtual living room for a discussion. I have posted items from various politicians, authors, and other readers of the blog. I don’t fact check them all. I don’t agree with them all. That’s why newspapers an magazines have a staff. Blogging is not my profession, nor my full-time job. Anyone’s opinion is welcome here as long as they abide by the comment guidelines. AKM

  58. rebekkah says:

    Nice writing. And, I so agree in the last paragraph about those “more intent on self-righteousness and condemnation of their brother than on the Father’s love. Yes, it’s true the Bible has OT references to some items being sin. And, that is another topic for another day, I guess.

    But, not one sin is worse than another sin as I’ve heard pastors preach. We all sin, as the NT says, everyday, even in small things, gossip, envy, divisiveness. and that is why New Testament says, “For we have all sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. And for christians believers, they know they can fall, and try again. I truly have felt His love in my life. And, I feel that same love for people with all differences, including gays.

    I know for some beliefs, the sin question is debatable. But, regardless, for this story on the prodigal son, it’s Jesus that told this story, and it says a lot to the red shirts.

  59. HistoryGoddess says:

    While I understand what others have brought up regarding who is the sinner, I have never thought of the prodigal son as the sinner, only the one who made choices that mainstream didn’t approve of. The Father didn’t make any judgment.

    I am very touched by his story. Once again, like all good “preaching,” I had to ponder this. The behaviors I would assign to a modern day prodigal son may say more about me than the other person. At least that’s what Father Rink taught us growing up. I hope he is proud I remember this, as uncomfortable as it can make me feel. On my own, I much prefer vengeance 🙂

  60. the problem child says:

    anadventurer Says:
    July 21st, 2009 at 12:35 PM

    Fourth: Why is it that I (never having been to a Church in my life) know more about Jesus them many who claim to follow him?
    ===========
    Because you have curiosity and explore the world and ask questions. 😉

  61. anadventurer says:

    First: there is a whole lot of crazy stuff in Leviticus that most Christians ignore since it does not make sense, they only use parts of it when it suits them.

    Second: I am using the word Christian in a negative way to describe those that damage or disregard the teachings of Jesus.

    Third: Logically I know there are a lot of good ones that follow Jesus teachings out “there” but I don’t know what to call them.

    Fourth: Why is it that I (never having been to a Church in my life) know more about Jesus them many who claim to follow him?

    Anyone know what this group is called that truly follows the teachings of Jesus (and not some group of guys 300 years later that got together and made up a bunch of rules)?

  62. Laurie says:

    Pastor…you just gave this old gal some hope. What a lovely post…and the story of the prodigal son is one of my very favourites. Thankyou so much. I wish you could relate that same story at the Loussac Library this evening.

  63. Misfit in Texas says:

    Irina, No-one is asking you to sign on to ANY behavior. These people are only asking for the same RIGHTS as anyone and everyone else enjoy.

    Stay out of thier bedroom and protect them from discrimination.

  64. WakeUpAmerica says:

    So well said. Perfect.

  65. Gramiam AKA Smoke Strapon Palin says:

    Not all professed Christians wear red shirts! Thank you ,Pastor, for reminding us of that. I think your commentary is a sign that the problem is not with God’s word, but with those who would distort that word for their own purposes.

    I read a commentary from another deeply committed Christian today. Jimmy Carter has been a beacon of faith for as long as I have known about him. His remarks give me hope that he and you represent many more of the faithful than do the committed haters.

    http://www.cartercenter.org/news/editorials_speeches/observer_071209.html

  66. gayinmt says:

    Love the last line. Brilliant.

  67. anon blogger says:

    Wow, AP said Palin may have violated the ethics violation…the Legal Defense Fund…..

  68. irina says:

    I am far from being a ‘red shirt’. However, regardless of political incorrectness,
    from a medical / biological perspective sodomy is, always has been and always will be an extremely unhealthy way to express sexuality. If saying so makes me a ‘bigoted homophobe’, so be it. I refuse to sign on to a behavior which dishonors body and soul in such a fundamental way.

  69. Misfit in Texas says:

    “…..When the story ends, the older brother is out there alone, refusing to join the party, unreconciled to his brother, unreconciled to his father.

    And I saw the same story on the lawns outside Loussac Library on that Wednesday evening in June. A party going on — and people who refused to join in the celebration, more intent on self-righteousness and condemnation of their brother than on the father’s love.

    Isn’t it funny that the red-shirt people – who talk about Jesus a lot – have not learned from his teaching?”
    ==========================
    I do agree with this …
    However, I have to agree with

    22 Lee323 Says:
    July 21st, 2009 at 11:50 AM ………..Sorry, Pastor….but that implication of a wayward sinner is exactly what LGBT persons have been struggling against…..and have been ostracized for. …………
    ++++++++++++

    LET HE WHO HAS NOT SINNED CAST THE FIRST STONE seems a better lesson here.

  70. gdwyer says:

    My thoughts exactly only I haven’t had the ability to express it in such a clear manner. Thank you pastor for writing it and thank you AKM for sharing it with us.

  71. nebraska mudflatter says:

    Thank you Pastor, for making me smile and calming my heart, if just for a moment. I have the weakness of letting that hate come in some time. I don’t know how it happens, it find those drafty cracks we seem to have in our souls and just like vapor starts to fill the space.

    I wanted to give up on Christians eons ago, but people like you pop into my life all the time and gently remind me that the name just gets appropriated and I don’t need to worry about the label so much.

    Peace be upon you this day!

  72. yellerdogg says:

    Lee323@ #22, I too am troubled by the use of this parable.

    I could not have written of my misgivings about applying this philosophy to the current ordinance debate any better than you have done.

  73. Ennealogic says:

    Thank you both, Lee323 and Fern. My thoughts exactly. Homosexuality is not a sin unless you wear a red shirt.

  74. LiladyNY says:

    Om Shanthi Pastor. Thank you for the beautiful retelling of that parable. We shape the place we inhabit by our thoughts and actions. We can make it beautiful or we can make it ugly.

    These red-shirt folks are so afraid of anything that is different, I almost pity them. It’s a shame but they would be the sort that would slap away the hand that is extended to them in love and friendship.

    I have always told my children to never pre-judge anyone because you never know in what form or shape or color you might meet a godly person, your soulmate, your very best friend ever.

    Creation LOVES diversity. If She didn’t, we’d have One tree, One flower, One fish, One fowl and on and on and on.

  75. Fern says:

    @Lee323

    Thanks for that – I wanted to point out the same thing, but you did it so well – I don’t much like the implications about who is the sinner.

  76. Diane says:

    No Pastor, it does not surprise me that these Red shirted people have not learned from the Lord.
    The older I get, the more I know how much I don’t know. The world is not black and white and I have learned that there are other way to look at. My way is not always the right way and I do not have the authority from Anyone to condemn others.
    My marriage is strong and is not going to be destroyed if Sally marries Janet.

    I try to live by Do unto others as you have them to unto you.
    It has served me well.

  77. CougInPortland says:

    What Dr. Patois said! Hear! Hear!

  78. AK_Mama says:

    Thank you for sharing that with us, AKM. It’s a shame this pastor is retired, we need more churches that are lead by people like him.

  79. Dr. Patois says:

    Pastor,
    May The Lord bless you and keep you.
    May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.
    May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

    And may the red shirts open their hearts!

    Thank you!

  80. bubbles says:

    the problem child~~~~~~~yes. we do know that story well.

  81. Lee323 says:

    Interesting post but flawed analysis regarding this issue.

    While I agree that love and acceptance should be the paramount lessons, the prodigal son story still has lurking in the background the implication that the prodigal son (blue shirt) is the wayward sinner who is to be forgiven, loved, and accepted DESPITE his “sins.”

    Sorry, Pastor….but that implication of a wayward sinner is exactly what LGBT persons have been struggling against…..and have been ostracized for.

    Forgiveness by the religious community may make the religious community feel more pious and Christ-like but the LGBT community isn’t seeking your forgiveness. Only a fair shake legally against discrimination. They can obtain their love and acceptance from people who don’t think they were wayward sinners in the first place. Peace to you.

  82. Lee323 says:

    Interesting post but flawed analysis regarding this issue.

    While I agree that love and acceptance should be the paramount lessons, the prodigal son story still has lurking in the background the implication that the prodigal son (blue shirt) is the wayward sinner who is to be forgiven, loved, and accepted DESPITE his “sins.”

    Sorry, Pastor….but that implication of a wayward sinner is exactly what LGBT persons have been struggling against…..and have been ostracized for.

    Forgiveness by the religious community may make the religious community feel more pious and Christ-like but the LGBT community isn’t seeking your forgiveness. Only a fair shake legally against discrimination. They can obtain their love and acceptance from people who don’t think they were wayward sinners in the first place. Peace to you.

  83. AlaskaGuy says:

    But will they listen, and will they learn?

  84. AlaskaGuy says:

    But will they listen, and will they learn?

  85. the problem child says:

    Well, thank you for that. I had not made the connection to that particular story, but it fits. (Not indoctrinated as a kid, does it show?)

    Now, how about the one about the loaves and fishes — mudflatters know that story well!

  86. the problem child says:

    Well, thank you for that. I had not made the connection to that particular story, but it fits. (Not indoctrinated as a kid, does it show?)

    Now, how about the one about the loaves and fishes — mudflatters know that story well!

  87. 24owls says:

    Nice post Pastor. It is unfortunate that the ex gov is the storm cloud in the distance, twitting her religious tweets, mixing up the church with the state and vise versa, impaling those around her with a frenzy war-hoop that just stirs things up into a hysterical mess that in the end it is not known what is right or what is wrong or even what the question was. I really really wish that the second coming would happen now, today, then Jesus could come along and give Palin and a swift kick in the butt and tell her to shut up. I’m sure there would be other things he would like to do to compensate her rotteness but, you know, not being his spokesperson I wouldn’t know.
    Thanks AKM for all you do –
    Peace to all

  88. 24owls says:

    Nice post Pastor. It is unfortunate that the ex gov is the storm cloud in the distance, twitting her religious tweets, mixing up the church with the state and vise versa, impaling those around her with a frenzy war-hoop that just stirs things up into a hysterical mess that in the end it is not known what is right or what is wrong or even what the question was. I really really wish that the second coming would happen now, today, then Jesus could come along and give Palin and a swift kick in the butt and tell her to shut up. I’m sure there would be other things he would like to do to compensate her rotteness but, you know, not being his spokesperson I wouldn’t know.
    Thanks AKM for all you do –
    Peace to all

  89. bubbles says:

    thank you for a beautiful, loving post pastor. the Shepherd of Judea would say Amen to your words. as do i….love bubs

  90. bubbles says:

    thank you for a beautiful, loving post pastor. the Shepherd of Judea would say Amen to your words. as do i….love bubs

  91. VernD says:

    THANK YOU!
    I kind of think that God is looking down saying “this is not what I had in mind”.
    My .02 cents

  92. VernD says:

    THANK YOU!
    I kind of think that God is looking down saying “this is not what I had in mind”.
    My .02 cents

  93. MimiC says:

    Reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw: “Jesus, protect me from your followers.”

  94. MimiC says:

    Reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw: “Jesus, protect me from your followers.”

  95. CGinWI says:

    Thank you.

    There’s another story about a Samaritan…..

  96. CGinWI says:

    Thank you.

    There’s another story about a Samaritan…..

  97. Star says:

    Thank you very much…Wonderful post…:)

  98. Star says:

    Thank you very much…Wonderful post…:)

  99. Cathy in Texas says:

    Amen to that!

  100. Cathy in Texas says:

    Amen to that!

  101. Misfit in Texas says:

    Well thought, well written, well said!

  102. Misfit in Texas says:

    Well thought, well written, well said!

  103. Irishgirl says:

    Thank you for a beautiful post.

  104. Irishgirl says:

    Thank you for a beautiful post.

  105. momcat4obama says:

    Lovely, lovely post. Do these people (red shirts) really think that when they die and stand before God, that He is going to thank them for keeping people out of His church?

  106. momcat4obama says:

    Lovely, lovely post. Do these people (red shirts) really think that when they die and stand before God, that He is going to thank them for keeping people out of His church?

  107. C. Rock says:

    Wow ! Beautiful. Thanks for your post Pastor. Amen

  108. C. Rock says:

    Wow ! Beautiful. Thanks for your post Pastor. Amen

  109. Jody says:

    Well spoken. I just want Jesus. The church not so much…

  110. Jody says:

    Well spoken. I just want Jesus. The church not so much…

  111. sandra in oregon says:

    Why would anyone choose to go to a red shirt party? Doesn’t sound like much fun. Reminds me of how we chose a doctrine of hope last November.

  112. sandra in oregon says:

    Why would anyone choose to go to a red shirt party? Doesn’t sound like much fun. Reminds me of how we chose a doctrine of hope last November.

  113. NautiBuck says:

    Finally…. I finally understand this story. It took this context for it to make sense to me after knowing I should all these years. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. I’ll never understand why people who call themselves Christians feel like they have to scowl and judge and persecute and cast stones at others…. all that energy could surely be put to use in a more Christ-like manner. Thank you again…

  114. NautiBuck says:

    Finally…. I finally understand this story. It took this context for it to make sense to me after knowing I should all these years. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. I’ll never understand why people who call themselves Christians feel like they have to scowl and judge and persecute and cast stones at others…. all that energy could surely be put to use in a more Christ-like manner. Thank you again…

  115. Lilybart says:

    Love your enemies.
    Love your neighbor as yourself.
    Nice.

    as Ganhdi said:I like your Christ, his followers not so much.
    (maybe mIss wasilla should send this quote on twitter.)

  116. Lilybart says:

    Love your enemies.
    Love your neighbor as yourself.
    Nice.

    as Ganhdi said:I like your Christ, his followers not so much.
    (maybe mIss wasilla should send this quote on twitter.)

  117. Sue in Kansas says:

    What a great post, and I have to say that this gentleman truly knows what being a Christian is all about. It’s too bad there are not more like him in this world.

  118. Sue in Kansas says:

    What a great post, and I have to say that this gentleman truly knows what being a Christian is all about. It’s too bad there are not more like him in this world.

  119. CO almost native says:

    Thanks for the message from one who truly ministers to all of God’s children.

  120. CO almost native says:

    Thanks for the message from one who truly ministers to all of God’s children.

  121. teri says:

    Brilliant.

  122. teri says:

    Brilliant.

  123. Justovertheriver says:

    Pastor, thank you for this nicely written article, from a Mudflatter in southwestern Otario, Canada.

  124. Justovertheriver says:

    Pastor, thank you for this nicely written article, from a Mudflatter in southwestern Otario, Canada.

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